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Recruiting Roundup: Top targets react to seeing win over Ohio State up close

Michigan’s victory over the Buckeyes was huge in multiple ways, including their recruiting efforts.

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
Erik Bean Erik is a lifelong Wolverines fan born and raised in West Michigan. He covers a variety of topics related to Michigan football including game analysis and recruiting.

Michigan accomplished another undefeated regular season and a trip back to Indy, defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes, 30-24. The rivalry matchup will easily go down in the history books as one of the best Michigan victories of all time.

The Big House was electric on Saturday, and the fans certainly helped the Wolverines secure the win. The crowd brought the juice and proved they will stand behind their team 100 percent. The atmosphere was described as “insane” and left those in attendance with the memory of a lifetime, including several highly-touted recruits.

Father of five-star said Michigan ‘feels like home’

One of the top prospects in attendance included 2025 five-star safety DJ Pickett. The five-star out of Tampa, Florida is currently the No. 8 player in the class and the No. 1 recruit in Florida in the cycle. Not only did Pickett come away impressed, his father Damien also had rave reviews for the Wolverines.

“Michigan was a nice environment,” Damien told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong ($). “Electric.”

A huge part of recruiting is not only the fact you are recruiting the player, but you are also recruiting their family. With most recruit’s final decision being impacted by the influence of their support system, the Wolverines went above and beyond to convince Pickett’s father that Michigan is the best place for his son.

“What catches our eye is that they have a plan for my son. Seems like I have met the entire staff before, including the recruiting coordinators. Really did feel like home.”

Pickett’s father was concerned the weather could play a factor in his son’s recruitment. Coming from Florida, the junior is not used to the cold weather and harsh conditions. Following Saturday’s game, his father assured the weather is not a deterrent in his recruitment. How the Wolverines plan to use Pickett, should he come to Michigan, greatly outweighs any other factors.

“The fact they talked about him playing both sides of the ball is attractive,” Damien said. “But I love the fact they play a lot of man coverage on the outside. And coach (Steve) Clinkscale is very honest and down to earth.”

Pickett has offers from every major school, with programs such as Miami, Florida and Florida State trying to convince him to stay in the south. Michigan’s huge victory in front of Pickett and his father will surely help the Wolverine’s chances of bringing the two-way recruit to Ann Arbor.

Arkansas commit raves about visit

The Wolverines were impressive on defense in their victory over the Buckeyes. With the contest on the line, Rod Moore called game, intercepting McCord on their final drive. The defensive effort impressed fans and recruits alike, including 2025 three-star Arkansas safety commit Marcus Wimberly.

He committed to the Razorbacks back in July. This was no surprise as he is from Bauxite, about three hours from campus. Although he was set on staying close to home, the Wolverines did not give up their pursuit of the No. 5 player in the state. Michigan made some progress on Saturday, welcoming Wimberly to Ann Arbor for his first visit during the biggest game of the year.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” Wimberly told The Michigan Insider ($). “It’s something I will never forget! There wasn’t a moment on the visit that they weren’t trying to make me feel at home! The family type feel around there is outstanding. The brotherhood with the players is like no others. Obviously winners attract winners and that’s what they did, but what stuck out to me the most was how they hit adversity in the face when Zak Zinter went down with the injury and Blake Corum came back the next play with a touchdown. That speaks volumes!”

Wimberly was quite impressed on his visit. Even though he was a first-time visitor, the staff still made him a priority. He got to meet with several coaches and established relationships that could pay off down the stretch.

“I mainly talked with coach Jay Harbaugh and recruiting director, Sam Popper,” Wimberly said. “I got the chance to talk with coach Clink briefly as well. The main message they were trying to get off was that Michigan is the place to be. They understand that it’s far from home and they understand that that can be difficult. They just made sure that I knew if I chose Michigan, it would feel like home and I’d be around the greatest family in the nation.”

Wimberly is still committed to the Razorbacks, but Michigan piqued his interest. He made it known he felt at home and would love to make a second visit. If the Wolverines are able to get him back on campus, a flip would look a lot more possible.

MSU legacy returns to Ann Arbor for first game experience

The Wolverines have gradually gotten more impressive along the offensive line as the season progressed. The run game has gotten going down the stretch and they have done a good job of protecting J.J. McCarthy.

They are on the hunt for their third-straight Joe Moore Award and continue to leave recruits impressed, including 2025 four-star Kaden Strayhorn.

The Michigan native is the son of former Michigan State center Jason Strayhorn. He relocated to Bradenton, Florida to play at IMG Academy. Despite the ties to Michigan’s in-state rival, he had great things to say about his visit this past weekend.

“The atmosphere was insane, fully packed stadium,” Strayhorn told 247Sports ($). “This was my first game day visit for Michigan and it was by far one of my favorites.”

He was impressed by how disciplined and well-coached the Wolverines are. Michigan plays a very physical brand of football, something that catches the eye of trench prospects such as Strayhorn. It also helped that Sherrone Moore was the one to lead the Wolverines into battle and come away with the biggest victory of his coaching career.

“Michigan is one of my favorite schools right now, due to the fact that coach Moore is the best o-line coach in the nation,” he said.

Strayhorn is being recruited by other top programs like Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan State and more. Michigan has a lot going for it in Strayhorn’s recruitment — not only is it an opportunity to return to his home state, but he also has family ties to the Wolverines with his cousin being Donovan Edwards. The Wolverines will make a strong push for him as they look to continue their dominance along the offensive line for years to come.