A top-15 matchup against Wisconsin. College GameDay on campus. Michigan’s sixth night game ever at the Big House. All of this adds up to the biggest recruiting weekend of the 2018 season.
Swarms of recruits will be on Michigan’s sidelines this weekend. Commits and targets representing the next four classes, from 2019 to 2022, will be interacting with the coaches, players, and themselves.
The biggest name expected to be on campus was originally five-star Quavaris Crouch, but he canceled earlier this week. Word is he’s trying to reschedule to a later date that isn’t as hype and crowded so he can get more individual attention. This is similar to Daxton Hill, who visited during the SMU game, which, besides him, wasn’t a significant recruiting weekend.
But, as you’ll see, Crouch has been replaced with another top target on the board who is just as, if not more, exciting. Let’s get to the list.
Mazi Smith - Four-star, #124 overall, #7 DT
Eric Gray - Four-star, #219 overall, #3 APB
Trente Jones - Four-star, #298 overall, #30 OT
Giles Jackson - Four-star, #374 overall, #52 WR
Karsen Barnhart - Three-star, #411 overall, #40 OT
Charles Thomas - Three-star, #419 overall, #21 ILB
Jack Stewart - Three-star, #643 overall, #61 OT
Gabe Newburg - Three-star, #707 overall, #56 WDE
Joey Velazquez - Three-star, #959 overall, #83 S
Tyrece Woods - Three-star, #1635 overall, #105 DT
Kalil Branham - Four-star, #306 overall, #59 WR
Cornell Wheeler - Three-star, #467 overall, #15 ILB
The most notable visit from this group of commits is Eric Gray, who visited a couple SEC programs in the last month. The Michigan staff doesn’t seem to be concerned with Gray flipping, as he as always clearly communicated with them about his visits, but Ole Miss seems confident in their chances and received a few crystal ball picks after his visit there.
Getting Gray on campus will be a great opportunity to shore things up with him and remind him of why he chose Michigan in the first place. Having him surrounded by commits like Giles Jackson, who have been charismatic recruiters, will be another positive.
Zach Harrison - Five-star, #4 overall, #3 WDE
Harrison’s visit is big news and a bit of a surprise, as the consensus opinion was he’d visit for the Penn State game. Michigan continues to do everything right in this recruitment, as Harrison continues to build a relationship with Al Washington.
He’s also getting close with some of Michigan’s commits. Fellow Columbus native Joey Velazquez and Harrison have known each other for a long time and have a good friendship. Velazquez will be visiting this weekend as well, which is helpful.
As this recruitment stretches out, the chances Harrison chooses Ohio State get less likely. Michigan will take their swing this weekend, and hopefully get him on campus again before the season is over.
Trevor Keegan - Four-star, #140 overall, #16 OT
Keegan is one of the few recruits left on the board at one of Michigan’s most needed positions. He is in the middle of a stretch of officials that include trips to Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State.
Next month he’ll visit Georgia and Clemson. The former has gotten some buzz in this recruitment lately, and the last few cycles have shown you can never count the Bulldogs out. But, Michigan is still sitting in a good position here.
Jalen Perry - Four-star, #165 overall, #18 CB
The staff’s recruitment of Perry has gone under the radar until now. Perry decommitted from Georgia last week, and South Carolina immediately became the favorite. But this visit is an unofficial, meaning he can come back on Michigan’s dime later in the season. Plus, Chris Partridge has shown how well he can recruit Georgia. This will be a name to watch moving forward.
John Branham - Three-star, #849 overall, #56 RB
The older brother of 2020 commit Kalil Branham, John has been visiting Ann Arbor for several weeks. He’s still looking for an offer, but with three touted running back in the class, I’m not sure one is coming. He’d be a solid backup option if something happens with Eric Gray.
Kobe Myers - Three-star, #1916 overall, #156 ATH
Myers is a speedy defensive back who is also probably a backup option at this point. He loves Michigan and has visited a couple of times already, but isn’t a take right now.
Jacob Dobbs - Two-star, #2825 overall, #203 OLB
Michigan is trying to get Dobbs to spurn his Holy Cross commitment in order to walk-on for the Wolverines. He can ask Tru Wilson about how walk-ons from De La Salle perform here.
Jay Butterfield - Four-star, #46 overall, #2 PRO-QB
Harrison Bailey is the main focus on quarterback for the 2020 class, but don’t sleep on Butterfield. Michigan was his first offer and he’s reciprocated interest. The only issue is he’s a Stanford legacy and they have a habit of offering literally one quarterback a class, and getting that quarterback.
Makari Paige - Four-star, #190 overall, #11 S
Paige has been scaring some fans lately, since he got a crystal ball pick for Ohio State after being considered a heavy Michigan lean. There’s still a lot of time to swing the momentum back, and Michigan has the hometown advantage.
Reece Atteberry - Four-star, #231 overall, #26 OT
This will be Atteberry’s second trip to Michigan, after visiting for the BBQ this summer. That’s significant for a prospect coming from Colorado. However, he’s often called Ohio State his dream school growing up and they have 100 percent of the crystal ball right now.
Jaheim Thomas - Four-star, #246 overall, #16 OLB
Al Washington will try to continue the staff’s renewed efforts in Ohio with Thomas, who plays at a position of need for the 2020 class. He also has 100 percent crystal balls to Ohio State, but these ones are old and he doesn’t even have an offer from the Buckeyes yet.
Ethan West - Four-star, #250 overall, #11 ILB
Another linebacker Michigan has a good chance with is West, who is coming from Virginia. The staff offered in May during the spring evaluation period, and will look to make a big impression on the four-star.
Braiden McGregor - Three-star, #349 overall, #18 SDE
Bet on McGregor to shoot up the rankings sooner rather than later. His film is really impressing people, and Michigan made a smart move to offer him early. As an in-state prospect, he’s visited several times over the summer and fall already. Notre Dame has emerged as the main threat, but he also just picked up an Ohio State offer.
Beau Allen - Three-star, #421 overall, #18 PRO-QB
This will be Allen’s second visit, after coming up from Kentucky for the BBQ. He seems to be very interested in Michigan, but the staff has higher targets on their board for quarterback right now.
Devell Washington - Three-star, #446 overall, #83 WR
Washington is yet another Michigan-Ohio State battle right now. The Buckeyes are recruiting the state of Michigan well for the 2020 class. The staff will need to work harder than usual to keep in-state prospects home.
Grant Toutant - Three-star, #494 overall, #51 OT
This is the second trip of the season for Toutant, who visited last month. He’s looking for a Michigan offer, but only holds ones from Toledo and Indiana State so far.
Jakob James - Three-star, #578 overall, #59 OT
James is an Ohio prospect that also doesn’t hold a Michigan offer. He has several low-Power 5 offers, though, including Boston College, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, LSU, Louisville and West Virginia.
David Baker - Three-star, #647 overall, #116 WR
Baker does hold a Michigan offer, and could be seeing a rankings bump when the 2020 class is re-shuffled. Iowa and Purdue are schools standing out to Baker now, but Michigan could make a push.
Brandon Fields - Three-star, #738 overall, #61 RB
Fields is an interesting prospect, in that he is committed to South Carolina to play baseball. It’s unclear if he’ll pull a Joey Velazquez and also play football in college, but Michigan has shown they’re willing to do that for a recruit, which has to be promising for Fields.
Despite his low ranking, Fields holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, UCLA, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Louisville.
Josh Priebe - Three-star, #829 overall, #76 OT
Priebe is a generic in-state prospect with a couple MAC offers and some interest from Big Ten schools.
Garrett Dellinger - Five-star, #2 overall, #1 OT
Dellinger is an early darling of his class, ranked second overall right now. His Clarkston team has another top-10 prospect in the class, defensive tackle Rocco Spindler. With two elite prospects so close to Michigan, they have a great shot of landing both.
This will not be Dellinger’s last visit to Ann Arbor, either. He is already planning on attending the Penn State game is a couple of weeks as well. This is a promising start to his recruitment.
Damon Payne - Five-star, #26 overall, #3 OG
Another highly touted offensive lineman from Michigan’s backyard, the staff has good reason to build that relationship with Belleville. The program is loaded with studs coming up for the next couple of years, and Payne is one of the best. Michigan holds the lone crystal here.
Branden Miller - unranked QB
Drapher Cribbs - unranked RB
These two are part of another program, East Kentwood, that Michigan would like to be in a good position with as well. They’re teammates of commit Mazi Smith.
Ramier Lewis - unranked OT
Lewis is making a return visit to campus after visiting last weekend. He’s another Belleville prospect, but doesn’t have the pedigree of Damon Payne yet.
Tag Bonnema - unranked QB
This will be the second game Bonnema attends, after coming for Western Michigan. Bonnema could play linebacker or quarterback at the next level, but has impressed as a freshman playing on varsity.