When the clock struck midnight earlier today, the winter recruiting dead period came to an end, meaning college coaches are now free to make contact with players and hit the road.
Coincidentally, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh's staff is all but official, and they appear as if they are ready to attack the recruiting trail "with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind."
National Signing Day is but a few weeks away (Feb. 4) and the Wolverines have a lot of work to do to fill out the remaining spots in their 2015 class. With only six committed players and a class size that will likely be in the 14-16 range, things can and will move quickly in the next few weeks.
Harbaugh and staff will be traveling a lot and they also have a huge weekend coming up starting tomorrow of prospects taking their official visits to Ann Arbor.
Below are a handful of names to watch for as we get closer to NSD:
Four-star tight end Chris Clark (Avon, Connecticut) and his recruitment have been fascinating to follow. He was once committed to North Carolina before decommitting and eventually giving a pledge to the Wolverines early last summer. Almost immediately after Brady Hoke was fired, Clark announced his decommitment from Michigan, but that they would still be in play depending on the hire.
Well, the coaching hire as you know was a buzzworthy one that seems to have shot Michigan back near the top of his list. Clark has said his final two schools are UCLA and Michigan, but that he was leaning slightly towards the Bruins. Harbaugh has made it clear that Clark is a major priority and that he fits what they want to do on offense perfectly, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Clark is taking an official visit to Michigan this weekend. When it's all said and done, he seems destined to be a part of this class.
Three-star athlete John Kelly (Oak Park, Michigan) has been an in-state prospect that has flown under the radar for quite awhile but has emerged as one of Michigan's biggest targets in recent months, especially now that Harbaugh is calling the shots.
An offer from Michigan back in October shot them up the list for his services and he will be taking an official visit on Jan. 30, but Butch Jones and Tennessee have emerged as legitimate threats here. Kelly will be visiting Knoxville this weekend. We'll see what happens but Michigan's chances are pretty good here as well.
Five-star cornerback Iman Marshall (Long Beach, California) was a player that had some interest in Michigan throughout the process whose curiosity has peaked quite a bit since Harbaugh was hired, as he will use his final official visit to check out Ann Arbor on Jan. 19.
A commitment from Marshall would give the Wolverines the top corner prospect in the class for the second consecutive cycle and solidify the secondary as the strongest unit on the team. It may be a longshot to bring him in from the west coast, but Michigan has to like their chances with an official visit.
Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith (Montezuma, Georgia) is a new name that has emerged, but one that has put Michigan in the driver's seat following DJ Durkin's hire as defensive coordinator. Durkin was recruiting Smith pretty hard while at Florida and he's continued to make him a priority now that he is part of Harbaugh's staff.
Smith will be taking his official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend, as well. I'd be a bit surprised to not see him sign with Michigan come Feb. 4.
Four-star running back Mike Weber (Detroit, Michigan) has been a huge priority for both Hoke's and now Harbaugh's respective staffs. He originally committed to Michigan back in August, but then reopened his recruitment in late November before committing to the rival Ohio State Buckeyes a few days before his official visit to Columbus in December.
It's really hard to imagine Weber backing out of his pledge to Urban Meyer and OSU at this point, but Harbaugh has continued to recruit him hard and even reportedly made a call to the Weber family while still on the plane to Ann Arbor prior to his introduction.
It's going to take a huge effort from Harbaugh and staff to bring Weber back into the fold, but it would be foolish to suggest they can't get it done. Weber will listen, and in turn will create one of the more interesting storylines heading into signing day.
Tyrone Wheatley Jr.
Four-star tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (Manlius, New York) has been a name linked to the Wolverines for quite some time, even before his father, Tyrone Sr., was hired as Michigan's running backs coach recently.
Some have asked why/if it was possible that Michigan would take two tight ends in this class. First off, outside of Jake Butt, Ian Bunting and AJ Williams, there really isn't a whole lot of depth at the position and Harbaugh's offense relies heavily on the tight end. Secondly, Wheatley has also been recruited as a strong-side defensive end by some programs, so playing on defense is not entirely out of the question either.
Wheatley's recruitment has been a quiet one, but all signs have pointed to him ending up in Ann Arbor throughout the cycle.