For Michigan recruiting, the last fireworks of the summer are occurring this upcoming week, followed by a submarine dive into official visits for top recruits and actual, honest-to-goodness football.
That’s not to say that there won’t be commitments and other recruiting news during the fall season; in fact, far from it. But the race to National Signing Day will start to take a backseat. The best recruiters will be the ones doing their talking in the Big House, on the football field, on Saturdays. Five-star prospects, like the rest of us, will just watch.
But, there is a BBQ yet, and that is a fitting grand finale for Michigan’s very successful summer recruiting efforts. Najee Harris will be in Ann Arbor; he’ll be accompanied by his mother, which is a good sign for Michigan. Steve Lorenz says that “sources closer to the Alabama side of things believe Michigan is the Tide's biggest threat ($) right now for Harris.”
Aaron Banks will be there. The massive California lineman is apparently a big Michigan fan, more so than anybody had previously reported before Wolverine247 did this week, and the Wolverines will need to capitalize on getting him to campus and having a home-like atmosphere to compensate for the distance.
Donovan Peoples-Jones will be in attendance. The five-star target is visiting for at least the seventh time in the last year; and while it can be difficult to host a prospect so many times and have something new and exciting every time, there will be some Nike gear for him to try on during this trip, and some exciting photos coming in Jordan gear.
Nico Collins will be there. He’ll be visiting Michigan for the third time in four months - all paid for by himself. Collins has already built up a good relationship with Dylan McCaffrey (who will be in attendance) and now he’ll be able to extend that network to as many as a dozen more commits, various elite recruiting prospects, and Michigan assistants.
Darnay Holmes will be at the barbecue. According to a source of Garrett Fishaw, Holmes would already be committed to Stanford by now if the school had let him enroll early. However, they did not. This can be viewed as a good sign for both UCLA and Michigan, two schools that are heavy on academics and are giving him the green light to enroll in January.
Isaiah Wilson, also, will be in Ann Arbor. The top offensive line target will get a chance to mingle with “a group of great guys,” something that clearly seems important to him during his recruitment. Here was a quote he gave 247Sports in June ($).
"I like to think of it as a five-way tie between my schools that I've seen, that I've slated my officials for. But I'm still very high on Michigan and I like what the program is doing. I also like the coaching staff a lot. I feel very comfortable in Ann Arbor. But I also need to take my time with my recruitment.
"They're just special. They're special guys. I honestly haven't met a group like them - that's not to say that they're better than anybody else or that other people are bad - but that group is just a special group. With Harbaugh leading the way, and Drevno - we all know what he's capable of with his offensive linemen. Coach Wheatley is a great guy. Really down to earth, a real genuine guy. He has been to my school a few times. Talked about the little things. That whole staff is just a group of great guys."
Ambry Thomas and Jaylen Kelly-Powell will both be there; in fact, Thomas will be visiting with his mom. Oliver Martin, the explosive receiver who developed a connection with a number of Michigan commits at The Opening, will be there. New Jersey native Markquese Bell will get to hang out with Rashan Gary and others. Stanford commit Sione Heimuli-Lund, a running back with some resemblances to Sione Houma but even more athleticism, will be checking out the town as well.
Josh Falo, Michigan’s top target at the tight end position in 2017, is making it over from Sacramento; the same goes for Major Tennison, a three-star tight end out of Texas. Toryque Bateman will be in town, and many are predicting that Bateman is the most likely to commit during the barbecue. Jordan Anthony will be in town. James Hudson will be in town. There are plenty of top 2018 and 2019 prospects, as well.
And, as Allen Trieu points out, Michigan has gotten a commitment in five of the last seven years during the BBQ. In the other two years, a commitment came within the week after. It looks very likely that trend continues this time around.
A big shout-out to Steve Lorenz and Wolverine247 for supplying much of the information this week.