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Friday Michigan Recruiting Roundup: Thinking Outside The Box

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Two blue-chips visiting this weekend, plus a couple stories about blueberries and hospitals.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Neilon Talks About Harbaugh, & Blueberries

In a column for the Detroit News, MnB's Brandon Justice takes a look at four-star 2017 center prospect Brett Neilon (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), who shares a funny story that Harbaugh told him about the kind of players he wants to recruit, centered around blueberries. A great read.

Michigan Commitment Likely For Luiji Vilain

According to insider info from 247Sports ($), Michigan is a heavy favorite to land four-star 2017 weakside defensive end Luiji Vilain (Ontario, CA). Vilain will be visiting this weekend with one of his coaches, but a commitment won't be likely until early June.

Vilain stands at 6'4", 240 pounds, and his film is a joy to watch. He reminds me of 2016 commit Ron Johnson.

U-M Also Getting A Visit From James Hudson III

Earlier this week, four-star defensive lineman James Hudson (Toledo, OH) penned this tweet declaring he was no longer committed to Kentucky. Hudson, who has offers from Alabama, Miami, and Ohio State, hasn't received an offer yet from Michigan, though that could change this weekend. If it does... ($)

"It would be huge," Hudson said. "That offer would be huge. I mean I'm only 45 minutes away from Ann Arbor, if that. I grew up watching Michigan a lot. Just to have an opportunity to play in the biggest stadium in college football is a blessing. No (I didn't grow up a Michigan fan), but my uncle loves Michigan though. He would love it (if Michigan offered me)."

More Good News With Donovan Peoples-Jones

So, this was interesting: word has gotten around that DPJ has been doing some shadowing at U-M's hospitals, something that Steve Lorenz confirmed ($). Obviously that's a big leg up for Michigan; not only are UM Hospitals ranked nationally, they are ranked in more specialties than any other hospital in the state: eleven.

Georgia Athlete Has Michigan In His 'Rough' Top Three

Four-star 2017 athlete Deejay Dallas (Brunswick, GA), who has a verified 4.61 40-yard dash, is getting a lot of attention from plenty of schools. But the three schools that are recruiting him hardest, and the three he's most high on, are Michigan, Miami, and Alabama. Dallas had this to say ($) to Scout's Chad Simmons.

"I am ready to get up there and see Michigan. They have really been recruiting me hard and they have a lot of history there. I love Jabrill Peppers and they say I could be like him up there. Coach [Jim] Harbaugh lets his guys be who they are and do what they do. Peppers plays offense and defense and I love how coach Harbaugh allows his guys to find themselves.

"I have a great relationship with coach Partridge and it is a school I really want to get to, to spend some time at."

Dallas was once a Georgia commit, but re-opened his recruitment after Mark Richt parted ways with the Bulldogs. This has caused some to believe he will ultimately be Miami-bound, but try telling that to Michigan or Alabama. Chris Partridge visited him last week, and Alabama has repeatedly made comparisons between him and this year's second-round draft choice, Cyrus Jones.

4* 2018 DT Michael Thompson Has Michigan 'On Top'

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Thompson is used to getting an early start. He played varsity as a freshman. He's already grown to 6'5" and 277 pounds, despite not playing his junior year yet. He's also a little early on liking Michigan.

The good news for Wolverines fans is, despite having those other opportunities closer to home and having never been to Ann Arbor, he holds the Wolverines in very high regard.

"Michigan is probably on top right now," he told The Michigan Insider's Josh Newkirk. "I like Michigan's coach, Jim Harbaugh. I want to meet their coaches. I want to have a chance to talk to them and meet them."

Michigan is recruiting him as an offensive tackle, which has made more and more sense as he's added height and lost weight. In addition to his size, he has great footwork and good pad level.

Concerted Effort For Three-Star Florida Linebacker

You've probably not heard of Shanon Reid, a three-star linebacker/safety prospect out of Fort Myers, Florida. But in an interview with 247Sports, Reid said Michigan is one of the schools recruiting him hardest ($).

"They were by my school late last week," he said. "Coach Brown said they really like me as a SAM linebacker in their scheme."

Reid, who stands at 6'1.5" and 195 pounds, has a long frame, plenty of athleticism and great hands in coverage - in other words, perfect for the SAM position.

Michigan already has commitments from two 2017 linebackers, Josh Ross and LB/FB Ben Mason. They are also pursuing Paramus Catholic's Drew Singleton, IMG Academy's Jordan Anthony, and many others.

Checking In On A Pair of 2018 Legacies

Scout caught up with Kolin Demens (Franklin, MI) this week. Demens, who is the little brother of former Michigan star Kenny Demens, had a lot of positive things ($) to say about the Wolverines.

"I love Michigan a lot," Demens said. "I miss being there with my brother. I miss him living there. Being there every weekend for games, it's a great atmosphere in the Big House - I love it there."

At the moment, Demens is listed as a linebacker, but says he might switch to safety in college due to his speed. And, well, that so happens to be what Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown likes about Demens' game.

"He says he likes my speed," Demens said of Brown. "He said I would be a good fit for the defense. So I'm working on that, keep working on my speed, get stronger, just be ready."

Kolin is currently unranked, but he was one of the top performers at this week's Chicago Opening Regional. A three- or four-star ranking should be headed his way soon.

Another top performer at that camp was four-star linebacker Dallas Gant (Toledo, OH), who's the younger cousin to Michigan's Allen Gant. Dallas hasn't gotten a Michigan offer yet, but said an offer would "mean a lot" ($).

Osiris St. Brown, Joseph Lewis Updates

Stop me if you've heard this before - Michigan is in pretty good standing with a blue-chip 2017 receiver. In the case of Osiris St. Brown, the odds-on favorite is not the Wolverines, but instead the Fighting Irish, where his older brother plays. That hasn't kept Michigan from putting in every effort, though ($).

"I've been hearing a lot from Michigan lately," he said. "I couldn't talk to Coach Fisch when he was at my school, but I've been in contact with multiple assistant coaches at Michigan and have been developing a good relationship with their staff."

St. Brown, a California native, is planning to visit Michigan this summer. Meanwhile, five-star 2017 wide receiver Joseph Lewis (Los Angeles, CA) spoke about schools ($) that are standing out for him - the four he named were Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oregon - and also admitted he might want to stay close to home. "It's just where I feel comfortable ... Sometimes I feel like just to stay home to be close to my family." Michigan will be fighting for an official visit.

Cass Tech's Donovan Johnson Talks U-M, MSU

Neither school has offered Johnson yet, but the three-star 2017 CB/RB out of Cass Tech still included both schools in his top five. Johnson is hoping to get an offer at the upcoming Sound Mind Sound Body camp.