Official visits galore next weekend
The coaching staff dust is finally starting to settle and things with assistants should be finalized in the coming days, setting up what looks like could be Michigan's biggest recruiting weekend since the Under the Lights III game against Penn State.
Jim Harbaugh and his new staff will host a plethora of 2015 prospects next weekend that they are looking at to fill out the remaining 10 or so spots in the cycle.
According to 247Sports' Steve Lorenz, two current commits will be in Ann Arbor: safety Tyree Kinnel and kicker Andrew David. They will join early enrollees Alex Malzone and Brian Cole as players trying to help the staff bring talent in.
The most notable name that will visit next weekend is the nation's top tight end prospect Chris Clark, who looks like Harbaugh's biggest priority moving forward in this cycle. He loves to use the tight end in his offense and Clark looks like a near-lock to re-commit to the Wolverines after he gets back on campus.
Other players set to visit that were offered recently by defensive coordinator DJ Durkin are cornerback Damon Arnette and linebacker Roquan Smith. Both have expressed interest in recent days following news of Durkin's arrival.
We'll see what happens, but I would be surprised if Clark at the very least did not commit during his visit.
Kendrick Norton throws Michigan into the mix
Four-star 2015 defensive tackle Kendrick Norton (Jacksonville, Florida) released his top five schools on Thursday on his Twitter account.
New top schools and maybe AU pic.twitter.com/lVgphfRrcJ— Kendrick Norton (@norton_kendrick) January 8, 2015
Norton's top five consists of UNC, Miami, UCLA, Ole Miss and a newcomer to the list: Michigan.
He has not previously been recruited by the Wolverines, but he has ties to new defensive coordinator DJ Durkin, who recruited him while he was on Will Muschamp's staff at Florida.
The hiring the caliber of coaches that Michigan has brought in has created a buzz among prospects that has made many of them anxious to hear from the school. Now, it's up to Harbaugh and staff to let the smoke clear and reciprocate some of the interest that recruits have shown them recently.
Previewing the early enrollees
As mentioned above, Michigan had a pair of members from the 2015 recruiting class enroll early on Monday and are now officially members of the football program in quarterback Alex Malzone and Brian Cole.
This is a potentially huge step for both, as good showings in the spring and fall camps could earn them some playing time with question marks at the positions they play. Our very own Joshua Henschke took a look at where these two could possibly fit into the mix.
Originally recruited by former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, Malzone could be finding himself entering an open competition for the quarterback spot in 2015 under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Although junior-to-be Shane Morris will be coming back with the most on-field experience, he didn't exactly prove himself worthy of a guaranteed starter at quarterback.
Malzone is fortunate enough to be entering a staff where his head coach could also be his position coach, one that has a track record of mentoring successful quarterbacks. Even if Harbaugh doesn't assume the QB-coach role, Malzone will benefit from his tutelage. Could Harbaugh see Malzone as his first freshman project during his time at Michigan and groom him to be the next starting quarterback at Michigan? It's possible, but there will be competition at that position.
Cole will be listed as an athlete for now because he's still a little bit of a mystery. He isn't suited to be a two-way player, it's either one way or the other. A judgement can't exactly be made right now, but the quickest path to the playing field is at wide receiver. With the departure of Devin Funchess, a space for a playmaker has opened up with a returning cast that hasn't exactly proven its capable of big plays.
Cole could see a Freddy Canteen-like spring where he could make a lot of noise preseason, but also needs to back it up throughout the fall (which was the opposite of Canteen). In time, we will learn more about where Cole stands and will do a further analysis when that happens.
Time will tell where both of these players stand when the season rolls around, but they already have a leg up on their fellow members of the 2015 class by just being on campus.
That's it for Friday. Check back in Monday for the latest in Michigan football recruiting.