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Friday Michigan Recruiting Roundup: Looking For New Wings

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Today, we talk about wide receivers, a pair of top in-state targets in Ambry Thomas and Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and also the latest from Jersey.

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Michigan An Early Leader For Nico Collins

Here is some good news for Michigan, but don't forget to take it with a few grains of salt: Michigan has stood out in the early going for four-star receiver, and all-around bad-ass, Nico Collins. Nico "loved" his visit, and he spoke about it after to 247Sports ($).

"Right now, Michigan has caught my eye," Collins said. "I fell in love with them on my visit. They might be my leader - with Georgia, Alabama, and Clemson pushing them. There is just something more with Michigan - they have a plan for you after college - plus their football program is pretty nice."

To be fair, Collins doesn't exactly call Michigan a leader there, but the praise he's thrown Michigan's way since his visit has been indicative of a team that's stood out. In an interview with Rivals ($), Collins called Michigan "the place to be."

"That visit was pretty fun. I loved everything about it," Collins said of Ann Arbor. "When I walked in, they showed me love. Every day I was there, we talked, had fun together, and just visited. We talked academics and everything and went on the field to take some pictures. Michigan is the place to be. It's kind of fun down there."

Apparently this was his first time on campus, which goes against earlier reports. Also, while we're crossing t's and dotting i's, this seems like a good time to reacquaint ourselves with one of Michigan's off-season coaching additions: Coach Bam, Antonio Richards. Collins said he's grown close to the former Prattville assistant coach, and it's clear Antonio Richards does a little more than offensive analysis for the Wolverines.

Wide Receiver Recruiting Taking Shape

The strategy for 2017 is clear: recruit the blue-chips hard. In fact, there appears to be a golden opportunity for Michigan on the horizon - they can improve their athleticism dramatically if this cycle goes well for them. Fans know about Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Nico Collins is another terrific weapon that Michigan is in good standing with. California five-star Joseph Lewis is also in the mix.

A fourth possibility, as well, is Jhamon Ausbon, a top-100 player and IMG Academy transfer by way of Houston, Texas. Ausbon measures in at a little under 6'3" and 217 pounds, and his Crystal Balls all point to Texas schools. However, that may be a case of people underestimating Michigan's recruiting ability against local southern teams. Nico Collins has 100% predictions going to in-state Alabama, but his race is still wide open.

Back to Ausbon - he had this to say to 247Sports ($). "Michigan's going to be highly considered for me going forward. I want to check them out." Michigan offered just a few weeks ago.

Ambry Thomas Discusses His Top Four

Reading the tea leaves can be a surprisingly hazardous occupation, but it seems from this article ($) as if Michigan is coming in fourth (behind Michigan State, Penn State, and Pitt) for the #2 recruit in Michigan and the #14 cornerback in the country. An upcoming visit with Don Brown, though, could propel the Wolverines ahead.

Another reason for optimism with Thomas's recruitment is his connection to fellow four-star 2017 defensive back, and cousin, Jaylen Kelly-Powell. Kelly-Powell, who has a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and OSU, spoke to Scout ($) about the chance to play alongside Ambry. It's much easier to be optimistic about Kelly-Powell's recruitment thanks to tweets like this. Still, neither recruitment is about to wrap up any time soon, so put this on the back burner for now.

Quick Update At Tight End

According to Steve Lorenz of 247Sports, Michigan's top two targets at tight end right now are four-star Matt Dotson out of Cincinnati, Ohio and three-star Major Tennison out of Bullard, Texas. Matt Dotson had this to say to ESPN ($):

"Michigan, their coaches are great," he said. "It was my first time up there, but it didn’t feel like it and I’m pretty sure out of the six tight ends they have, five played in games."

Pretty standard stuff. Steve Lorenz also said that Michigan is confident regarding his recruitment, and that Dotson is looking to wrap up his recruiting "sooner rather than later" ($).

U-M Enters The Running For Grant Delpit

Four-star 2017 safety Grant Delpit (Houston, TX) released his top ten schools in late April, and LSU has been thought to lead. But more recent offers from Michigan, Florida State, and Arizona have forced Delpit to reassess things a bit. A visit to Michigan seems "very likely" ($).

"I don't know much about Michigan but I like Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and what's he's doing with the program," Delpit said. "I also know that the fans are great at Michigan."

Delpit is terrifically quick with a penchant for interceptions; he also is pushing 6'4". Delpit looks very similar to the athletes LSU has gotten for years while creating their reputation as DBU. If Michigan can land his services, they'll be getting a great one.

2018's Jaelen Gill Likes Michigan

Four-star 2018 running back Jaelen Gill (Westerville, OH) spoke to Josh Newkirk this week about his March visit to Michigan ($) and his relationship with Mike Zordich. A lot of positive quotes in that article, but there's a very long time yet to go in this one, obviously.

Also, Gill's 2015 highlights are worth a look.

2018's Leonard Taylor Likes Ohio State

Taylor may be a Michigan commit, but there's a lot of work ahead to maintain that commitment from the defensive lineman and tight end prospect. Here's some of what Taylor had to say to 247Sports earlier this week:

The recent NFL draft and so many Buckeyes being selected early also caught Taylor's attention.

"Man, I have a chance to go to Ohio State," Taylor said when asked for his reaction to the NFL draft. "I still think about it almost every day. They had five people go in the 1st round. That's lovely. It's going to be (a part) of my thinking."

Taylor is the #22 overall prospect for 2018, and the #3 player in Ohio.

The Latest On Michigan In Jersey

Steve Lorenz shares a few of his thoughts ($) on Rutgers' spat with Michigan, as well as Michigan's itinerary abroad. Here's an update on the Paramus Catholic camp:

The Paramus Catholic camp has over 300 participants currently signed up and is quickly approaching capacity. Former Michigan assistant and new Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin has joined Jim Harbaugh and Pat Narduzzi (not a duo we would have ever imagined together) among others for the camp in an announcement on Wednesday. Paramus Catholic also announced that the camp will be live-streamed as well.

Steve also reported that Michigan had approached Rutgers about attending the June 8th camp at Paramus, but Ash replied that he would consider it and then simply announced his own. Well done, Ash.

Other News & Notes

Hunter Echols will indeed be visiting Michigan this summer ($). Donovan Peoples-Jones has not decided on a top five, but does like schools that have a Detroit connection ($). Here was a great piece from Rivals ($) on Phillip Paea. Mitch Sherman from ESPN pens a few thoughts about Michigan's satellite camps.

Markese Stepp will be visiting Michigan ($) this weekend; the 2018 four-star running back has Michigan State and Notre Dame in his top two. Michigan has also offered its first running back of the 2019 cycle, and it's the younger brother of Dalvin Cook ($). James is currently committed to FSU.