Kareem Walker, one of the top prospects in the country and the #1-ranked running back in the 2016 class, was one of the 110,452 people on hand who saw the Wolverines demolish a tough Northwestern team yesterday in Ann Arbor. His teammate, Nebraska commit Quayshon Alexander, was also on hand.
The 38-0 demolition of Northwestern proved and disproved a lot of myths along the way. The Big House crowd was rocking, proving that its reputation as a "quiet stadium" was a little superfluous. The Wolverines were workman-like, proving that this is not a team caught up in the moment, or by its own winged helmet. And Harbaugh was not satisfied after the blowout, proving that as impressive as this game was, more is still needed.
Dispatching what had been an unbeaten and 13th-ranked team - and doing it as impressively as they did - was a respectable show for a New Jersey prospect that committed to Ohio State during halftime of the national championship game last year. Of course, Michigan has not reached any truly elite peaks yet, but it's shown that it's headed in the right direction (in a hurry) under Jim Harbaugh. Furthermore, it's shown it can attract interest by several high-level prospects that will be able to contribute right away. And once Harbaugh's recruits start to cycle into Schembechler Hall, especially the ones on the offensive side of the ball, this team will be able to really flex its muscles.
As for Walker or Alexander, don't expect any major changes right away. The 6'1", 210-pound bruiser with great lateral quickness and agility would be smart to slow down and take his time here, with almost four months yet to go until National Signing Day. 2016 recruits still have the luxury of watching the rest of the season unfold, pondering choices, and watching as two Big Ten powers and bitter, ancient rivals try tapping into their teams' potential. Ohio State still has a lot of things in their favor with Kareem's recruitment, and flipping a five-star from the defending champs would be a very big accomplishment.
Walker, who had shown interest in Michigan last year when recruited by Hoke, might still be genuinely interested; then again, maybe he's moved on and gotten comfortable with Columbus, and simply wanted to enjoy a fall Saturday in Ann Arbor. The good news for Michigan is they have several more opportunities to prove themselves as an elite destination - and for a running back who's clearly enamored by the biggest of stages, continuing to get work done in front of the biggest crowd in college football should go a pretty long way in helping to change his mind.