With Urban Meyer drawing the most noise from the national media this past weekend, Michigan quietly gained two commitments in its two main sports.
Both were sleepers when they joined the Wolverines. The basketball one has already made a big jump.
Basketball: Cole Bajema pledges his allegiance to John Beilein
Washington combo guard Cole Bajema joined Jalen Wilson Saturday in the 2019 basketball class.
Rivals’ Corey Evans made a tantalizing comparison.
2019 wing Cole Bajema just committed to Michigan. Break out in July that brings size, athleticism and shot making to Ann Arbor. Some Nik Stauskas with his game and skillset— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) August 4, 2018
It’s nice being in a program where players are almost expected to go from generic 3-stars to NBA first-rounders.
A lack of size before this past year placed him well under the radar. From his sophomore to junior seasons, he skyrocketed from 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-7, all while maintaining his guard-like abilities.
“His handle is crisp,” writes Matthew Bain of the USA Today, “His passing is pinpoint. His long-range shot is a high-arching beauty. His decision-making off a ball screen is smart. His first step is quicker than what you’d expect from a 6-7 player.”
After shining at Michigan’s elite camp, Bajema’s offer list exploded, including Michigan, Xavier and Virginia. The latter two were one-seeds this past March. Trust their scouts.
The Lynden, Washington product shot up the rankings almost immediately, going from a low 3-star to the No. 61 player nationally in the 2019 class, according to 247.
Keep in mind, these highlights were before the growth spurt.
While the projected roster for 2019 is technically full, natural attrition may open a spot. With two guard/wing types in Bajema and Wilson, this most likely signals the end of the Rocket Watts and Joe Girard recruitments.
Football: Quintel Kent bolsters 2019 receiver haul — Who’s next?
Lakewood, Ohio (St. Edward’s Prep) receiver Quintel Kent became the second 3-star receiver of the 2019 class, joining likely slot receiver George Johnson III.
At 6-foot, 170 pounds, Kent has the frame for Ben Herbert to mold him into an ideally-proportioned wideout. Bill Greene, 247’s Ohio scout, gave the typical size evaluation.
“Kent will need to get bigger and stronger in the weight room,” he writes, “because he is pretty slight right now.”
Kent ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at Michigan’s summer camp, and his overall performance drew the praise of Jim Harbaugh and company. He is much more a strider than a sprinter, but he constantly gets separation from the defender in his junior year highlights.
He earned the Super 25 Top Star after catching three passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns against rival Archbishop Moeller. The honor goes to the best players from the top 25 high school football programs in the country per USA Today.
Unlike Bajema in basketball, Kent has not seen a ratings bump yet. He ranks outside the top 1000 nationally, as well as No. 56 in the state. Michigan is currently his only Power 5 offer, as they beat out MAC competition such as Ball State and Kent State for his services.
Greene emphasized to Michigan fans they should trust the staff on this offer.
“I can understand people questioning the offer,” he writes, “but I would again point back to Harbaugh and staff offering based on what they saw with their own eyes at their camp where he was the wide receiver MVP. I do think Kent is rated properly, but will be flexible enough to adjust it after seeing him play this year as a senior.”
Like Johnson, he figures to compete in the slot. His size is comparable to former Wolverine wideout Roy Roundtree, who started in the slot and moved to the outside his senior year.
Wide receivers coach Jim McElwain still needs a pure outside target to complement the slots. The big fish is Orange Country, California 4-star Kyle Ford, though he seems to be all USC at the moment.
The most realistic option is 6-foot-3, 197-pound 3-star Trevon Raphael of Solon, Ohio. He’s a top 500 player with all of his Crystal Balls pointing towards Maize and Blue.
Negative recruiting against Ohio State mid-scandal
Ohio State 247Sports reporter Bill Kurelic summed up the state of Buckeye recruiting in an ESPN Radio segment this past weekend.
In short, programs need to wait for the Urban Meyer investigation to play out before contacting committed prospects. Kurelic stated some players’ parents fielded calls from opposing coaches mere minutes after the news broke, which naturally upset them.
Expect the status quo to remain, unless Meyer ends up leaving (at least according to Kurelic).
Regarding 5-star Columbus defensive end Zach Harrison, most still predict he’s going Scarlet and Gray. However, it’s a commitment to keep on eye on, considering it’s been a month since he said he’s, “more confused than ever.”
The recent news, surely, has done nothing to clear his mind.
Kickoff against Notre Dame is now 26 days away. That means we have three more Monday Crootin’s left before then!
The arduous offseason is close to its merciful end.