I feel as if all I've done lately is share bad news in this thing.
Perhaps that's the trend of Michigan football recruiting as of late. Oh well, here goes nothing:
Michigan Makes the Cut for Five-Star Hilliard
Even though I just mentioned bad news always, here is a bit of good news (for once)!
2015 5-star linebacker Justin Hilliard released his top-ten schools late Monday night via Twitter. Michigan made the cut! Here is the list in no particular order.
TOP 10 (No Order) ND Alabama Iowa Kentucky Michigan Oklahoma Florida State Southern California Ohio State Florida— Justin Hilliard (@JHilliard47) March 31, 2014
This is a big deal for Michigan who has hosted the talented linebacker many times over the course of their recruitment of Hilliard. Michigan is looking for a linebacker and I personally feel he 100% fits the bill of a prototypical Michigan linebacker. He is a solid tackler with terrific closing speed. He has a rare sense for the ball and almost always seems to be around the action.
Back to the list, what does this mean for Michigan? Not really much as of right now. To be honest, Michigan making the top-ten list was kind of expected. Personally, I am more interested in whether Michigan is in his top five or, better yet, his top school.
I don't believe Hilliard has a top school in mind just yet, but I feel as if Michigan is sitting very well for him currently. He has a great relationship with the coaching staff and is coming off another solid visit to campus just a few weeks ago. He is not exactly a slam dunk to be in Ann Arbor, but I feel they have a great shot in landing him.
The obvious contenders for his services are in-state school Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama and Florida State. Though I do believe he will stay in the Midwest, it would not shock me to see him end up at Alabama or Florida State. It's hard not to be intrigued and go to a winner. In fact, Hilliard will be visiting Alabama for the weekend coming up in a few days.
However, and this may sound farfetched, don't count out the Hawkeyes. Hillard's brother, sophomore running back CJ Hilliard, plays for Iowa and is a big reason why they are considered the dark-horse school to get him. Which makes sense, playing with your brother at the next level would be a fantastic opportunity.
As always, more details on Hilliard and his recruitment as it becomes available. Michigan should be in this until the very end.
2015 LB Sets Date, Opportunity Passing By
Now, time for the negativity.
ESPN's Tom VanHaaren tweeted out this early Monday afternoon:
ESPN Jr 300 LB Darrin Kirkland Jr (Indianapolis) will be committing at his school on May 30. He will have a top 8 later this week— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) March 31, 2014
This is interesting because I was expecting Michigan to have offered by now, but it hasn't come yet and I am not entirely sure why. Considering they've lost out on Josh Barajas to Penn State, they may lose another quickly if they do not extend an offer.
The window of opportunity for Michigan to land Kirkland is closing quickly, an offer might be able to open it for at least the time being. Kirkland has visited campus a few times in the past couple of months, so the interest is there. An offer from Michigan is something Kirkland has wanted for quite some time, and I feel would have a significant impact on his recruitment if it did happen. Of course, May is still a month away and anything can happen. But, it doesn't look good right now.
This is all pending on whether Michigan actually makes the cut.
I still feel as if Michigan makes his top-eight schools. We've seen it before with Josh Rosen and Stanford, a school that never extended an offer made his finalists. Will this sudden announcement force Michigan's hand and finally extend an offer Kirkland has been wanting? Possibly. Only time will tell.
If the announcement were today, I strongly feel as if Penn State would land Kirkland. Already securing a projected inside linebacker in Josh Barajas over the weekend, the Nittany Lions under new head coach James Franklin will continue their good recruiting fortunes in 2015 with Kirkland. They were in on Kirkland early and really impressed him with what they had to offer during the visit. Goes to show how getting in on a kid early and recruiting hard makes a world of difference.
As always, we will have the latest if anything changes with Kirkland's recruitment.
"You're Killin' Me Smalls!"
This is how I feel when trying to find content for the Link Roundups as of late. March Madness has consumed a lot of the time of these sites, and deservingly so. With that, please excuse the lack of linkage.
Did Michigan make a move with a recent offensive lineman who visited over the weekend? 247Sports has more ($).
Lorenz also gives an early look ($) into the recruitment of a 2016 defensive end.
Rivals' Tim Sullivan has more ($) on the Dre'Mont Jones offer.
Rob Cassidy from Rivals talks to 2015 TE Hale Hentges on his visit plans ($). Michigan is on the docket.