Welcome to the spoOoOoOkiest recruiting roundup in all of the land!
Today’s roundup features a couple terrifying recruiting stories — a highly-touted commit may flip to an SEC school and Michigan offered an unranked player with no other FBS offers! Plus other updates that go bump in the night. Keep reading to get the latest recruiting updates, if you dare.
Will Eric Gray ghost Michigan?
During the bye week, the Michigan staff used the opportunity to crisscross all over the country and visit a bunch of their top targets. But arguably the most important visit was to Tennessee, where the Harbaughs sought to shore up the commitment of 4-star running back Eric Gray.
Both Jim and Jay Harbaugh stopped by Gray’s school on Friday, according to The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk ($). The head man stopped by during school before, like the devil, heading down to Georgia. The gesture had an impact with the No. 3 all-purpose back in the country.
“That was big. That lets me know he wants me a lot. For him to come this week and they’re playing a big game next week, for him to come and see me, just me, that was great to me, and I felt really honored by that,” Gray said.
Running backs coach and Gray’s main recruiter, Jay Harbaugh, stayed to watch Gray rip off 200 yards and four touchdowns on only six carries in a comfortable 45-7 win. Despite the blowout, the younger Harbaugh stayed the whole time, which Gray noticed.
“It means a lot for him to come and watch the game. Not many coaches do that,” said Gray. “I only had one other coach come and actually watch the game. That coach left in the second quarter and (Jay) stayed for the whole game. So that’s big.”
But now the bad news.
Gray emphasized seeing Michigan in a game atmosphere was “crucial” for his recruitment, since he has never witnessed a game live. However, this weekend, instead of attending what should be a raucous game against Penn State, Gray will be heading to Baton Rouge for the LSU-Alabama matchup. Next week, he plans on being in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama-Mississippi State game.
That only leaves the last home game for Michigan, against Indiana, on Nov. 17 for Gray to attend. This is disappointing considering that atmosphere will not be as electric as it will be this weekend. It’s also concerning Gray says, “I want to go up there really bad because I feel I need to witness that atmosphere” about Michigan, but is prioritizing other visits.
Gray said around the first signing period date, Dec. 19, is when he’ll be making his final decision. Michigan is still in the best position, given he is still committed, but this will be a battle right up until that day.
Official visit looking promising for 5-star WR
Michigan’s highest-ranked wide receiver still on the board is California prospect Kyle Ford. For a while, chances with the 5-star have depended on if he ever makes it out to Ann Arbor again. Well, according to 247Sports’ Greg Biggins (FREE), that visit may finally come to fruition.
After this weekend, Ford will have taken official visits to Colorado, Washington and Oregon. He mentioned to Biggins USC “for sure” will be getting one as well.
As for the last one, Ford said, “I’m not 100 percent sure on that last visit but Michigan is looking good for it.” He then went on to talk about his pleasant experience at last year’s BBQ.
“I haven’t locked anything in yet but I liked Michigan a lot when I visited for their BBQ over the summer so I’m leaning towards getting back out there for an official,” said Ford. “It’s a great school, not just football wise but academically and I love the tradition they have.”
Ford added Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin are other schools he’s considering for the final visit, but it looks like Michigan is in a good spot to land it. Dates aren’t set for the USC or possible Michigan visit, but getting the final visit in a recruitment is a big advantage.
Also helping Michigan is the disappointing seasons his other contenders are having. Washington, USC and Oregon all started the season in the AP top-25 and are now unranked. If Michigan can keep its season on track and finish as the clear top school in this group, it can only help.
4-star Cole Boo-vard “in contact with Michigan a lot”
Michigan is going hard after the top player in Indiana for the 2020 class. 4-star defensive tackle Cole Brevard talked with TMI’s Brice Marich about what he thinks of the Wolverines ($).
First, Don Brown’s defense is making a big impression. “I’m very interested. I like Michigan because of their education and their defense. It’s kind of hard not to like the defense when it’s No. 1 in every defensive category underneath the sun. I think I could fit into that defense too.”
Brevard was on campus for the BBQ at the Big House in July, and he wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the visit. “My mom came and she brought my brother too,” Brevard said. “My mom loved it and really liked how they have a great alumni base and how you can get a great education with the football program.”
He still hasn’t had a chance to make it up for a game yet this season, though. He was planning on coming up for this weekend, but it may be tough. “I would like to visit and I would like to go next week, but it might be hard with film here. It’s a long shot, but if I can make it, I will,” he said.
If not, he said he’ll go after the season ends. Brevard said he doesn’t have any more scheduled visits, but could go see in-state Indiana or Purdue if he was able. He’s already visited Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Penn State this fall.
Brevard has one crystal ball pick to Oregon, which I don’t get frankly. This seems like a classic Midwest battle, with most of the local powers fighting for him.
Michigan trying to reanimate the Ronnie Bell story?
Last year, the staff took some guff for taking the commitment of Ronnie Bell, who was a low three-star with barely any offers. Bell has proved his doubters wrong by seeing the field as a true freshman and already catching two touchdown passes.
Well, it looks like Michigan may be trying to capture lightning in a bottle twice after offering Kansas athlete Amauri Pesek-Hickson. His similarities to Bell are numerous. Pesek-Hickson was also a stud basketball player, and even played on the same AAU squad as Bell. But he picked up football again this year after not playing it in high school and started getting attention.
Like Bell, Pesek-Hickson’s only other offer is from Missouri State, but he is also hearing from Kansas State and Iowa State, he told TMI’s Allen Trieu ($). He also attends the same high school as Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, so it’s somewhat surprising it took schools this long to notice him.
In the regular season, he’s been extremely balanced, with 563 yards rushing and 595 yards receiving, and 14 touchdowns total.
However, Pesek-Hickson most likely projects to defense and he said he would “probably play safety,” but at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, may grow into a linebacker. He has already set up an official visit for Dec. 8.
It sounds like Michigan could easily land him if he was a take. This seems to be part of a newly renewed effort to add another linebacker or two after the Drew Singleton transfer.
Understandably, Pesek-Hickson doesn’t have any crystal ball selections. He’s not even ranked on the composite yet.
Congratulations, you survived the bone-chilling Wednesday Recruiting Roundup! May you all get 5-star candy in your bags tonight, and come back for more updates on the big recruiting weekend that is coming up fast.
JOIN US on Friday, Nov. 2 for a hangout at the Detroit Beer Company! Free beer, free food, who says no to that before a win over Penn State? RSVP HERE!