Just get ‘em to campus
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve talked about a number of instances where Michigan has held on to make a top list in a player’s recruitment despite that player visiting other campuses and not Ann Arbor. This has been thanks to Jim Harbaugh’s persistence and the myriad of benefits from the Michigan experience - but in the end, you gotta get ‘em to campus to have a chance.
A negative example of this is Michigan not making the top six for uber-destroyer of worlds Alim McNeill, who shaved his previous top 10 (with, yay, Michigan!) down to a not-top ten that excluded Michigan. McNeill was planning on a visit sometime this month to a bunch of Big Ten schools, but he’s already spent lots of time at Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and more and it’s not clear if he’ll be coming.
On the plus side, a campus visit remains an ace in the hole for this coaching staff, and a few recent examples are four-star Georgia cornerback Myles Sims, four-star North Carolina defensive tackle Rick Sandidge, and four-star Florida offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frère. All of them are 2018 recruits.
Myles Sims and his family recently spoke to Sam Webb about Michigan’s persistence, which gave them an opening later on for a successful visit.
"Georgia had an opportunity to build that relationship with Spider early,” said his dad, Merrick. “They didn't establish that relationship with him, and along came Michigan. And Michigan, like Spider said, they were consistent, built the relationship with him and I think Georgia probably took it for granted because he was a Georgia boy and from the south. Michigan did a great job with establishing that relationship and I think a relationship means a lot. I think that's what separated Michigan.”
“I did not want to like Michigan. I said, ‘man, this is too far. I wish he was somewhere close to home where we could drive and see it.’ I thought it was just enough to give Michigan a shot because of their persistence with my son, to come and see it. But man, I swear I didn't want to like it. But when I got here it blew me out of the water. We knew the academics were good, but we were like, ‘it's too far.’ When we got to campus, they rolled out their red carpet. We felt like we were needed and not just wanted. They showed that from top to bottom all the way to the receptionist."
Campus visits help showcase not just the coaches, but the support staff that Harbaugh has built up, as well.
“When you get on campus you can’t really hide anything because you’re really there,” said Sims. “That’s what’s real. When I got to meet all of the other coaches, they were player’s coaches. They’re friendly, you can interact with them, (and) you can have conversations about stuff other than football. I just like the coaching staff. They made me feel like I was at home.”
Michigan also hosted Rick Sandidge and his family last week, and it turns out there was an ace in the hole nobody was expecting - a student recruiting assistant named Sam Popper, Michigan’s own version of Ken Bone. Popper out-dueled Jim Harbaugh for recruiting MVP.
"Sam is the best ever,” said Keshia, Rick’s mom. “He should be the superstar of that school, I promise you. He made our visit absolutely wonderful. I wish there was a Sam at every program that we've been to thus far."
“He was down to our level trying to understand how our dynamics are built as a family. He just kind of became one of us that day and let it all hang out. Usually folks don't do that.”
Told y'all Sam joined the family... Love it!!! 〽️〽️〽️ pic.twitter.com/TG10ejSkHA— Keshia Sandidge (@Kesandidge) June 16, 2017
As for Harbaugh, "I expected him to be an outgoing, funny guy and I was right about that,” said Rick. “I thought (the vibe with him) was kind of cool. We were talking about all of his players that he had right now and talking the position I played. Actually I had my sister and cousin come over, and his daughter was there, so then my sister and cousin played with her the whole entire time."
The visit, all in all, was a big success. (And nice touch, by the way, on what appears to be a Michigan-designed photo in that second tweet.)
I have a little less to say about Nicholas Petit-Frere, but Steve Lorenz is saying that Michigan feels confident after hosting him last week ($). It’s still a wide-open race, though, for a guy who’s high up on a lot of top programs’ boards.
There’s a joke in here somewhere
One trend in Michigan recruiting news lately concerns German players camping during the summer to earn scholarship offers, and the latest example of this is 2017 wide receiver Zavier Scott, who spoke to Scout about his Saturday visit ($).
“What would (getting an offer) mean? It’s the University of Michigan, this is obviously my dream school,” he said. “Like it’s been a great program throughout the years and it’s always attracted the best of the best. It would be amazing to play for.”
Even though Scott won honors for fastest at the camp, he did not get an offer from U-M.
Meanwhile, Julius Welschof (who got a mention last week) camped at Michigan and got a lot of personal attention ($) from Greg Mattison. The staff is really high on him, and an offer might be coming down the road - after the staff’s had a chance to evaluate him ($) and his academic situation some more.
Here was a quote that I liked about the differences between German and U.S. football: “All the facilities, the weight room, if you go to Germany you don’t have a weight room, so everything is so big, it’s like being a professional.”
In America, we have weight rooms.
Michigan also hosted a two-star 2017 recruit named Jaeger Meister, but no word yet on how that visit played out. I have a bad feeling it didn’t go well.
Scouting Taylor Currie
So, let me get two quick things out of the way: he’s a three-star kid. And I like him a lot. Yes, he’s not about to float in thin air while eating a cheeseburger on his way to a dunk from a nearby building like Michael Jordan, but he’s long, athletic, has nice length and jumping ability and a sweet-looking shot. He moves well without the ball, is comfortable in the post, and blocks shots, as well.
Good offense, good defense, and a good pick-up by the Maize and Blue.
2019 News & Notes: Eventually, eventually
Don’t make the mistake I did and watch this highlight tape of 2019 wide receiver Cornelius Johnson, who seems like a mid- to high-four-star candidate at 6’2”, 177.
Cornelius spoke to Scout this week and had positive things to say ($).
“My mom actually went to med school here at Michigan,” Johnson reported. “So she was excited to fly down (last Saturday). She grew up in Detroit.”
“I always had my eye on (Michigan), just as school my mom went to. She takes pride in that. Overall, it’s a great academic school and obviously, their football program is outstanding. So taking those two into account you have to check it out.”
The Connecticut product has a friendship with Tarik Black, as well. Connecticut has been a surprising well for Michigan football lately.
Michigan also hosted four-star tight end Grayson Boomer, who was similarly effusive about Michigan’s campus ($).
“We just toured the place and obviously talked to Coach Harbaugh for a while. At first, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming (laughter), but he was so friendly and genuine. He just told me I had an offer and I was blown away. He also said you remind us of Jake Butt and you would fit right in. I’m one of the biggest Jake Butt fans ever. Watched him since the 7th grade.”
“It was so far away I thought I wouldn’t feel comfortable, but it felt very good and I did feel comfortable. Just how genuine everyone was made me feel so comfortable. Every part was amazing.”
Lastly, four-star athlete and Delano Hill cosplayer Litchfield Ajavon said Harbaugh practiced part of a speech ($) he was going to give in D.C. to him.
“Each coach had something special about them. Coach Harbaugh is the funny guy and he is outgoing. Coach Brown just talked football, so you have to love that also. Coach Smith hit on a little bit of everything like life and other sports I do, so I can’t tell you which coach I vibe with the most because I clicked with all of them and all of them had something different we did.”
Michigan’s A4 Aerial Assault camp happened this weekend, and Jim Harbaugh spoke out against some of the NCAA rule changes that limited who could coach there.
Michigan will get visits this weekend ($) from 2018 three-star linebacker David Reese and 2018 three-star safety Jamien Sherwood, who are close friends.