Checking In On DPJ
There isn’t any major breaking news here, but Rivals had a piece on DPJ and a source therein said Michigan is leading ($).
Our source named Florida and Michigan as the two schools believed to be highest up on Peoples-Jones' list and believes that the Maize and Blue holds a slight edge. That is consistent with what we've believed for a long time and while it's not gospel, it seems to make sense given what Peoples-Jones is looking for in a school and where he's visited and will visit again.
Peoples-Jones' recruitment is still hard to read but someone very, very close to him saying that Michigan is at the top of his list is encouraging. Florida is very far from his mother, who Donovan is very close with, which should give U-M fans a reason to be cautiously optimistic.
Also, DPJ is now up to around 6’3”, 200 according to this. The number of 6’3” receivers who can move like him: few.
Tarik Black Has His Decision Set
Michigan is looking to add 3-4 wide receivers in this cycle, and after such a large haul in 2016, they’re really only aiming for elite, top-level guys rather than trying to replenish depth. There are four guys worth keeping in mind: DPJ, Nico Collins, Tarik Black, and Oliver Martin.
Black is a Connecticut native who has elite height (6’4”, 208), great body control and good speed. He would represent a continuation of a recent surge in Michigan’s Connecticut recruiting, with Andrew Stueber (Darien) and Ben Mason (Sandy Hook) already in the fold. And, as Garrett Fishaw details, Black has said a few times before that he’s interested in silently committing before his upcoming season (which starts September 7th) and then announcing at the Army All-American Game.
This weekend, Tarik tweeted, and then quickly deleted, this:
2017 4-star WR Tarik Black has made his college decision. He has an offer to play for Michigan. pic.twitter.com/URr2Xr7oei— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) August 20, 2016
Michigan and Notre Dame have been the main schools tied to Black so far. His only planned official visit is to Ann Arbor. Now, information here is thin, but it’s theoretically possible that Michigan has a silent commit right now from one of their top targets.
Tedarrell Slaton Update
There continue to be good vibes surrounding the recruitment of T.J. Slaton, though Steve Lorenz reported that Western Michigan was hanging around in his recruitment for a while because it was serious about letting him play basketball. But, apparently that’s a no-go ($).
With Slaton, it's hard at this point to get an idea of who is really contending against Michigan. Miami (FL) is not believed to be a factor at all. Florida and Florida State aren't really in it either. Is it one of Ole Miss or Tennessee? Nobody on their end really thinks they have a shot with him from what we've been told as well.
The only hiccup for me putting in a 247Sports Crystal Ball here remains the fact that Slaton appears to be adamant that he will make his decision on National Signing Day. I think Michigan will wait for him until the end, but with the numerous elite targets the staff is in on at offensive line, I want to see some things clear up before I move forward with it. If he was choosing today, I have zero doubt the Wolverines would be the choice.
This also feels like a good time to include his highlights; again, Slaton’s Hudl page is mostly full of basketball but there is this against IMG. It shows a very nimble 340-pounder who can pull with terrifying effectiveness. (See the right tackle at 1:05.)
I’d expect Harbaugh to appeal to Slaton’s competitive inner spirit, as well as the prospect of one day becoming one of the best in the world at a position he may not have fallen in love with yet. Slaton is still just a prospect with potential, but you don’t find many players as big and nimble as him. There should be a spot open for him at the end of this cycle, especially since Michigan is safely in the best position for him.
Fall Football & Georgia
First, here is an article on Leesburg football players Aubrey Solomon and Otis Reese, who played their first game of the year this past Thursday. The team did okay:
54-18 W at Tavares... not bad for 3 quarters of varsity! It's great to be a Jacket! pic.twitter.com/FlToceQk2M— Leesburg Football (@LHSJACKETSFB) August 20, 2016
“Following Solomon's Thursday night performance, he has moved up in the 247Sports rankings to No. 110 nationally and he is now the nation's No. 7 defensive tackle. Solomon also was invited and accepted an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.”
I usually spurn updates of changed rankings in these roundups, as I’d much rather rely on scouting and film. But, to that end, the upcoming few months will be very interesting and relevant - Michigan commits and targets will be taking to the field and showing off how much they’ve been working and improving when no one was watching them.
As Hudl updates become available, I’ll make sure to keep you guys posted on my thoughts of high school players’ performances. Some guys will be making drastic improvements; those who do not might be losing a spot in the class.
Oh, one other, and decidedly more relevant, thing to note on Aubrey Solomon. Georgia is not going away any time soon, nor would I expect them to. He’ll be around Georgia’s campus quite a bit this fall, so getting him up to Ann Arbor a few times will be important for keeping the Wolverines firmly in his mind. This will be a tight race.
But, on the flip side, I’d like to see a little more confidence from Michigan fans as we fight for top players from the South. Distance can be a factor, and the convenience of a Lee County player heading over to Athens is annoying. But Michigan will always need to fight to hold onto top talent. That’s just the nature of the beast.