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Monday Michigan Recruiting Roundup: Picking A Fight With Bama

Eric Upchurch - MGoBlog

Najee Harris Will Visit For The BBQ

First, let’s take a step back and cover some basics about five-star Alabama commit Najee Harris. He’s awesome. He’s really, really, quite fantastically awesome. And if you want a more nuanced, professional view, I’d say he can do anything you would ever need a running back to do. But mainly, he’s just awesome.

Najee’s junior highlight video on Hudl starts with him hurdling two guys, and it ends more than twenty minutes later with him cutting to the outside on a goal-line run at about 80% speed and strolling in easily for a touchdown. In between those are more broken tackles than you can count, and the tape of a guy who’s deservedly a #1 overall recruit.

So, Najee Harris will be visiting Michigan this August for the BBQ. On the one hand, I’d say don’t expect too much; it’s been clear for a while that he’s not a fan of all the recruiting drama, and instead prefers to go ball out on a football field somewhere. Alabama is, certainly, a pragmatic choice for someone dedicated to being the best.

On the other hand, the fact that Michigan turned a satellite camp in Antioch into a Harris-paid to Ann Arbor - all for some barbecue and a tour of the place - is a good sign. Michigan, under Jim Harbaugh, is also looking like a pragmatic destination for someone who wants to be developed into an elite talent. And, the coaching staff, recruiting class, and university are all first-rate in a myriad of other ways. There’s fodder for a home run recruiting visit, basically.

"(Michigan) is all in on Harris," a source said. "That's the guy they want."

We've written a lot lately about Michigan narrowing their recruiting board down heading into the season. At running back, it currently appears to be Najee Harris and then everybody else.

I think the staff's chances with him are better than people realize. In talking to some sources closer to the Michigan side of things, there's a belief that he's a fit for Jim Harbaugh's culture and what he's trying to do at Michigan.

Obligatory Offensive Line Update

Scout sat down and talked with Alabama native Toryque Bateman, who has a top two of Michigan and Tennessee with Mississippi State, Miami and Memphis rounding out a top five. Toryque downplayed the possibility of a late offer from a big-time school changing his recruitment ($).

“When Michigan offered I was young at football. I was pretty much new and they had seen something they had liked in me and ran with it. They didn’t sit around like some of these colleges. Michigan seen what they saw and thought why not go ahead and offer him? When I went down there, it made it even better because I was blown away and they were very excited to see me and have me up. It was just an A+ for me and them.”

Bateman also talked about the relationship he has built with Michigan assistant Bam Richards, and praised Jim Harbaugh, as well.

“I love Coach Harbaugh, man. He’s awesome and he’s like one of the players,” he said. “He’s not that head coach, he’s Coach Harbaugh. Kind of like Coach Bam and Coach Drevno. He’s just like one of the players. The rap video pretty much explains what I said, he’s not afraid to build a relationship with the players and him doing the rap video is kind of him stepping it down. I’m sure the players loved it and I loved it.”

Throwing A Hat In The Ring

This past week, Michigan offered one of the top prospects in the ‘18 cycle, Xavier Thomas out of Florence, South Carolina. The same day, Notre Dame and Oregon offered.

To put a skill-set to the name I figured I’d embed his highlights; they’re fun, believe me.

Thomas is the #2 overall recruit in the ‘18 class, behind Georgia pro-style quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Clemson is in very good standing with both, but it’s early.

Other News & Notes: Looking Ahead

Drew Singleton included Michigan in his top 12. Isaiah Wilson said he’ll be committing either on Signing Day or the UA All-America Game. Michigan, Bama, and Georgia are in the mix.

And, here’s a column on Andrew Stueber and the work he’s put in to get the opportunity to go to Michigan.