'Battle Of The Big House' Unleashed
Here's another idea from Harbaugh that skirts the edge of recruiting news, much like his commencement speech at Paramus Catholic or his decision to participate in a national council on poverty. The newest idea? Fourteen Michigan high schools will play their first game of the season at Michigan Stadium from August 25-27.
"I don’t care if we make a penny," said the head coach of one of the schools, Clarkston's Kurt Richardson. "I just want the kids to have that opportunity to walk out on that field. It will be memories they will have forever. I think it’s awesome, and hopefully we can continue after this."
Running Back Recruiting Not Dying Down
The nation's #2 running back in the 2017 cycle, Cam Akers, has released his top-ten list with Michigan included. Obviously Michigan is already set up quite well at the position, but that hasn't stopped the staff from looking around - either for a replacement or an addition. For example, this week Ty Wheatley stopped by the neighborhood of three-star Tennessee native Chase Hayden, and Wheatley said the search for more athletic runners is still in full swing ($):
"He told my coaches that I am a priority for them," he said. "He said they are still looking for that all-purpose guy. Michigan is in my top group. I am looking to come up there sometime this summer still."
Unsurprisingly, both Hayden and Akers have the athleticism to qualify for that 'APB' role. I particularly liked this film of Akers busting up defenses Denard-style.
On a slightly more somber note, Wheatley also visited one of Michigan's current commits, O'Maury Samuels, to 'get on the same page' ($) regarding his recruitment. Samuels has since announced he will be taking some visits this summer to other schools to keep his options open. The four-star from New Mexico has gone pretty far under the radar to this point, so a little exposure and a few more offers should be good for him.
Michigan 'Moving Up' For Five-Star CB
We'll see how long we can keep this train of five-star updates going. Darnay Holmes, the five-star corner out of Calabasas, California, had this to say this week ($):
"Michigan is for sure moving up in things," Holmes told Huskers Illustrated analyst Mike Schaefer over the weekend. "Coach Jim Harbaugh is building a monster up there. My best friend David Long is going up there in June. Dylan Crawford is up there. A lot of California guys go up there. That shows Ann Arbor isn't a bad place to go."
David Long has been recruiting the nation's top corner pretty hard, and that more than anything is keeping the Wolverines on Darnay's radar. The two are extremely, extremely close - "blood brothers," Long called it.
Michigan Eyeing 2018 New Jersey Haul
Steve Lorenz has put together an excellent look ahead ($) to New Jersey's top recruits of 2018, but one story in particular stood out - that of five-star defensive tackle Tyler Friday. What is it about Friday?
He plays at another program (Don Bosco) whose head coach (Greg Toal) has bad blood with linebackers coach Chris Partridge after the Jabrill Peppers fiasco back in the day. Not surprisingly, Toal is another coach who is pushing his players to attend Rutgers' camp on the 8th. Friday has told me he's undecided on what he will do, which probably means he wants to attend the Michigan camp but is being pressured to do the opposite (he would not be the only one). We're told that Michigan's staff has a great rapport with Friday's family. He may visit this summer.
It's good to know Jersey's pipeline to Michigan is still in good shape, then. The players are the ones who really matter here.
McCaffrey On Upcoming Visit, Recruiting DPJ
Normally reclusive, the five-star Michigan commit Dylan McCaffrey gave an interview this week in which he said he'll be coming to Ann Arbor for the Aerial Assault QB Camp on June 18th. He also mentioned he is trying to recruit Donovan Peoples-Jones.
"I talk to Donovan Peoples-Jones a lot," he said. "I've been talking mostly to receivers and guys up front. I talk a lot with Cesar Ruiz up at IMG Academy and (four-star center) Brett Neilon. I've been talking to guys all over."
Michigan Getting O.V. From Isaiah Wilson
We all know Michigan is in good standing with five-star offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, and that was confirmed yesterday when Wilson tweeted out his five official visits. However, two things I did not know: Wilson is 6'6.5" and 354 pounds ... and he's still athletic enough to play tight end. Unreal.
Top Defensive End Target To Attend Satellite Camp
Not a five-star, sadly - but the 6'5", 240-pound defensive end D.J. Johnson out of Sacramento, California is still pretty good. He ranks 151st in the 247Sports Composite in the 2017 class, and will be attending a Michigan satellite camp on June 23rd at Inderkum High School. This gives D.J. a chance to familiarize himself with the coaches ($).
"Coaching style and a relationship with the coaches is probably the biggest thing for me," he said. "Instead of having to travel across the country to find that out about Michigan, I will get a chance to do it at the camp instead. That's a big thing for me. I am excited to see them in action."
Johnson's situation is fluid, but some believe Michigan is in his top three as things stand today. Michigan also has Johnson very high on their recruiting board, possibly at #1 or #2.
Harbaugh Does It Again
Out of all the amazing things that Harbaugh has done, maybe it's weird that this is what blows me away. But after recruiting Carter Dunaway well before he even started for his high school team - a move that proved very wise - Harbaugh is now in wonderful position with Michigan legacy Will Mallory, an unranked 2018 tight end out of Jacksonville, Florida. I'll let Steve Lorenz take it away:
Michigan's scholarship offer to Jacksonville (FL) Providence 2018 tight end Will Mallory way back in May of last year was rather nondescript, as not much was heard from him before or after it.
However, we're hearing from him now, as the son of former All-Big Ten linebacker and current Jacksonville Jaguars special teams coach Mike Mallory has established himself as a national name on the recruiting trail. In May alone, he has picked up offers from South Carolina, Mississippi State, Alabama, Miami (FL), Louisville and Tennessee to name a few.
Harbaugh, you are irrevocably brilliant. Steve Lorenz recently put in a Crystal Ball ($) for the Wolverines.
Heavily Pursuing An Alabama Linebacker
Stop me if you've heard this before: a three-star linebacker from the deep south finds himself high up on Michigan's recruiting board. Am I talking about Texas native Kenneth Murray, who was mentioned last week when Chris Partridge flew out to see him twice? Or maybe Shanon Reid, the Floridian who's being recruited like heck to play SAM in Don Brown's defense? Well, I could have been. But today I'm talking about Oxford, Alabama native K.J. Britt, who admitted he hears from Michigan "three or four times a week" ($).
And if the Alabama connection tipped you off to a possible mention of Coach Bam, you would be right. "We talk often," Britt said of Michigan's offensive analyst. "He is like a mentor to me. We talk about everything... he encourages me a lot to be the best I can be in everything."
And about Jim Harbaugh? "He is different, but I like him." Yeah, me too, K.J.
Other News & Notes
Bleacher Report put out a wonderful - and free - bio of Michigan commit Josh Ross yesterday. A great opportunity to see the person behind the name.
Cass Tech's Donovan Johnson received an offer from Oregon - yes, that Oregon - and said in an interview with Rivals that a Michigan offer would vault the Wolverines high on his list ($). No offer so far.
Benjamin St. Juste has been a star of the summer camp circuit, and Rivals' Mike Farrell offered up a video scouting report of Michigan's future cornerback.
Michigan may be backing out of their satellite camp collaboration with Baylor due to the turmoil there. Baylor has also lost a commitment from elite tight end Kedrick James, but James seems enamored now with Texas A&M - and, according to Steve Lorenz ($), Michigan hasn't pursued him that hard.
Remember the NCAA's decision to rescind the rules limiting text messages? Well, early returns haven't been as bad as many thought.