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Michigan Monday Crootin’: 4-star commitments set tone for wild week heading into early signing period

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Two 4-stars in OL Trevor Keegan and LB Anthony Solomon pledged to Michigan (as well as a PWO). Who else is on the horizon just three days out from early signing day?

Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After Daxton Hill flipped his commitment to Alabama a week ago, plenty of people grumbled about Michigan’s ability to close on big-name recruits.

It only took one weekend to restore order. Recruiting coordinator Matt Dudek ensured the fanbase on Twitter took notice.

It started Friday with 4-star Illinois OT Trevor Keegan choosing the Wolverines over Penn State and Georgia.

The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder joins a strong class of five other linemen, including fellow four-stars in Ohio guard Nolan Rumler, Georgia tackle Trente Jones and Michigan guard/tackle Karsen Barnhart.

He ranks as the No. 1 player in state, the No. 17 tackle nationally and the No. 163 overall prospect.

Based on body type and physicality, he figures to be a run-blocking right tackle. As Allen Trieu at 247 Sports put it, “Keegan is a classic Midwestern lineman. He is a big, strong, physical mauler more so than an elite athlete at the position.”

This is as opposed to the 6-foot-6, 282-pound Jones, who demonstrated lighter feet even as a junior at Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga.

The next commitment came from a familiar source in St. Edward of Lakewood, Ohio. 2-star running back Jordan Castleberry committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on, joining current prep teammates in receivers Quintel Kent and Caden Kolesar.

The 5-foot-8 jitterbug flipped his pledge from West Virginia, telling Jonathan Simmons last week that Michigan was his “dream school.”

He also told 247’s Ohio analyst Bill Greene that the thin roster in Ann Arbor contributed to his decision.

“They won’t have a lot of running backs next year, so I will get reps in practice,” Castleberry said. “There will be an opportunity for me to show the coaches what I can do, and I didn’t see that opportunity at West Virginia.”

He frequently references not only his St. Edward ties, but to former Wolverine great Jamie Morris. Castleberry shares a similar frame to Michigan’s former all-time leading rusher.

The contemporary comparison is Tru Wilson. While the junior has a few inches on Castleberry, both finished their high school careers as two-stars and well outside the top-1000 nationally.

The major flip this weekend came courtesy of 4-star outside linebacker Anthony Solomon, formerly committed to Miami (Fla.).

The St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) product ranks No. 193 overall in the 247Sports composite and No. 10 at his position.

This commitment is all about Don Brown’s persistence. Since the defensive coordinator arrived in Ann Arbor in 2016, he pursued Solomon with gusto. The 6-foot, 190-pounder relayed that the relationship was important to him.

“Me and coach Brown have a really nice relationship,” he told The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb. “He’s a great coach. I respect him a lot. I feel like playing for him will make me the best football player possible.”

There’s some speculation that Solomon de-committed from the Hurricanes after the departure of former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to Temple. He emphatically denied this, citing Michigan’s academic standing and the team’s strong bonds as bigger motivators.

It didn’t hurt that the Wolverines lasted in the playoff race until the final week of the regular season. Miami floundered to a 7-5 mark this fall.

His frame suggests he’s a future Viper in the mold of Khaleke Hudson, and the type of sideline-to-sideline player that thrives in Brown’s system.

SIGNING DAY DECISIONS AND BEYOND

The early December signing period starts on Wednesday, and Von Lozon pointed out two races for Wolverine partisans to follow.

First, the big fish has been 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison out of Columbus, Ohio. He plans to decide in a very under-the-radar manner.

Something that needs to be said. Harrison’s interest in Michigan surged throughout Urban Meyer’s scandal regarding the handling of Zach Smith’s domestic violence. Harrison reportedly didn't jive with Meyer, but much more now with current Buckeye head man Ryan Day.

Add that to the recent beatdown in Columbus, and Harrison’s destination is as foggy as ever. With the local connection and the recent momentum, the tie looks to be breaking for Ohio State.


The other commitment to watch this week is 4-star Connecticut receiver Cornelius Johnson.

He officially visited Ann Arbor last weekend, fostering positive vibes with interim receivers coach Ben McDaniels and even President Mark Schlissel.

He 6-foot-3 target is the No. 256 player in the 247Sports composite. He is seen to be deliberating between the Wolverines and Penn State.


More detail on these later, but nuggets on 4-star Quavaris Crouch and 5-star Dax Hill.