Andrew Stueber Commits
At a position of great need, Michigan added yet another name to the mix for future seasons; offensive tackle Andrew Stueber will be a Wolverine after earning an offer last week thanks to good camp performances. 247Sports’ Steve Lorenz has more ($).
We're told that Michigan was on the fence but leaning towards an offer to Stueber after the Cheshire camp. The fact that he packed his things and took a trip all the way out to Ann Arbor to continue to show the staff he was an offer-worthy player is something we're told impressed multiple people on the staff. He backed up that performance with an even better one at Michigan and the staff went forward with him.
Sean Fitz of our Penn State affiliate backed up what Stueber has said about Michigan being his dream school, telling me if the Wolverines offered it would likely end his recruitment.
It’s unlikely that Stueber winds up anywhere else; not only is this the offer he wanted, but Harbaugh likes having three-star guys who aren’t afraid of competition in each of his recruiting classes. There are intangible benefits to getting guys with the right mentality, and Stueber has the tenacity, work ethic and smarts to turn a solid but not amazing amount of talent into something great. It’s also a good sign (reaffirming his work ethic) that Stueber has markedly improved during the off-season.
Stueber himself had this to say: “I can't wait to get up there and start helping in any way I can - whatever helps the team to win, I'm up for. But Coach Drevno has told me they need offensive linemen and I think my mix of height, length, and footwork can really develop in a couple of years.”
Indeed, it can. Welcome aboard, Andrew.
More Offensive Line Notes
Four-star 2017 center Cesar Ruiz released his top eight yesterday, and Michigan made the cut. Back in April, Ruiz had released a ranked top twelve with Michigan as his leader, but later backed off his organization of that list, noting how hard it can be to rank football programs.
His new list is not ranked, so he’s learned a lesson from last time. The new top eight features the four teams that were at the top of that April list - Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina, and Oklahoma - plus three other schools from that list and a brand-new entry (Florida State).
Another lineman I’ve mentioned before is Obinna Eze, a raw and very talented Nigerian kid who spoke to Rivals ($) this past week about his recruitment. There’s nothing tremendously new here since we last checked up on him; even with a slew of top SEC offers, the Michigan offer has still stood out for him - partly because of its status, and partly because it is not a regional offer.
"Out of all of my offers, Michigan is the only one that caught me off guard,” he said. “I didn’t know people on the other side of the country knew me. I was just happy and I’ve had such a great relationship with Jim [Harbaugh] and Jay [Harbaugh]. I’m not under pressure but I want to show them that I’m grateful to them for giving a kid like me an opportunity.
"Michigan is a big institution. My mom in Nigeria knows what school Michigan is. I’m just grateful for it."
Eze is taking his time with his recruitment, and for good reason. He sounds like a kid getting used to the big stage that comes with playing football. But, he says he’s slowly forming an idea of what schools he prefers.
Another player in the early stages of his recruitment is Aaron Banks, a 6’7”, 344-pound four-star 2017 tackle out of El Cerrito, California. Banks is working on getting together a still-quite-large list of top schools, after which he will take an unofficial visit to Michigan and then a full slate of officials sometime in the fall. Michigan is in great standing with him ($), thanks in small part to a California satellite camp in his area.
"I talk to (Michigan) often," Banks said. "Almost every day, Coach Jay or Coach Drevno... (Drevno is) really down to earth and he knows what he's talking about. He has the best interest of his players, off the field as well as on the field. How many players (an OL coach) puts into the league matters but it’s not the most important thing.”
Tales From Out West
Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of talent on hand as Michigan swung through the Golden State along its satellite camp tour. Four-star 2017 defensive end Deonte Johnson came away impressed ($).
"It went great," he said. "The staff are some great guys and great coaches."
“D.J.” was not an official camper, so he mostly observed while the coaches interacted with other players.
"I was just watching them coach and interact with each other," he said. "They're still a high team for me... The coaching staff is a bunch of good guys, (Ann Arbor has) great food, I can play early and I can wear the No. 1 jersey (if I want to)."
Meanwhile, three-star 2017 offensive tackle/defensive tackle Popo Aumavae talked to Sam Webb ($) about his position in college, the value he places on education and the connection to a fellow Polynesian, U-M’s Tony Tuioti.
Aumavae is rated the No. 24 DT in the country, yet says Michigan is still “open” on whether they are recruiting him on offense or defense.
“I am really starting to like defense a lot more,” Aumavae said. “Because it’s more aggressive, you use your hands more. That’s what I like.” ....
And no matter which school he picks on national signing day 2017, Aumavae says he’ll be looking for certain characteristics in each program.
“Is it a place I want to be at the next four years,” Aumavae said. “Education wise, what am I going to get from there, is it a top school in the education system. And definitely if the players there if I connect with them or not.”
A couple other nuggets: Michigan offered a pair of 2018 and 2019 prospects at Los Angeles Hawkins, a West Coast juggernaut that is home to Joseph Lewis, Jalen Hall, and many other good players. Harbaugh has offered teammates before in the hopes of eventually landing a bigger fish, but this doesn’t seem geared to getting the attention of Lewis or Hall, both of whom are five-star players. Aashari Crosswell is a four-star ‘18 safety with offers from Notre Dame and USC already, and De’Gabriel Floyd is a ‘19 receiver with an inside track to being a five-star himself.
Finally, here is Jim Harbaugh tossing a ball around with four-star 2018 dual-threat QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Updates On A Pair Of Five-Stars
Texas linebacker Baron Browning spoke to Rivals ($) on Friday about last week’s trips to South Bend and Ann Arbor, but he didn’t give too much away. Baron seems to be taking his recruitment very deliberately and evenly - which, one would assume, might favor U-M down the road.
“It was my first time in both cities, so I was just feeling it out,” he said. “I think if I am going to take officials there that will help me decipher better what really stands out to me. I was really just trying to take everything in.”
Baron’s older brother played for Harbaugh at Stanford, and gave something of a recommendation for Michigan.
“We didn’t talk about (playing for Harbaugh) too much on the way there, but afterwards he said ‘One thing I will say about Coach Harbaugh is that he is going to get the best out of you,’” he said. “He said that Harbaugh is really competitive. He also talked about the strength and conditioning coach (Kevin Tolbert), because he was at Stanford with Harbaugh too.
“He said that Coach Tolbert would definitely have me right and ready to compete,” he added.
I would have to assume Coach Harbaugh pulls out all the stops in this one; Baron is a hurricane on the field and the eye of a hurricane off of it.
Some less encouraging news: five-star corner Darnay Holmes has slowed down his recruitment in a big way (okay, fine), and seems to like the Buckeyes (okay, not fine).
The country’s top cornerback, Calabasas (Ca.) 5-star Darnay Holmes, doesn’t really know why people don’t talk about his interest in Ohio State.
“They never mention Ohio State,” Holmes told Landof10. “I always mention them. I’m going up to Friday Night Lights to compete and spend time with the coaches.”
One of those coaches is the Buckeyes’ newest defensive assistant, former NFL coach Greg Schiano. That relationship, according to Holmes, is one of the best he’s got with any program recruiting him.
News & Notes: Pure Michigan, Happy Trails
A piece from Saturday about Ambry Thomas was interesting, even if the ground has already been covered pretty thoroughly ($).
Spending a considerable amount of time with Michigan's coaching staff, Thomas believes the comfort level continues to rise.
"I love their whole coaching staff," Thomas said. "Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, he's a hyped man. That whole coaching staff is just real smooth."
Moving to the 2018 cycle for a second, but staying in state - Farmington Hills linebacker Ovie Oghoufo received offers ($) from Michigan and MSU on back-to-back days this past week. Oghoufo is the cousin of a fellow named Mario Ojemudia.
And finally, happy trails to Michael Harley (West Virginia), Jhamon Ausbon (LSU) and Wyatt Davis (Ohio State). Davis, you’re in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry now. I look forward to seeing you on the field.