Michigan is coming off an unexpectedly hot recruiting weekend stemming from the Western Michigan game. The staff added three players from Florida, Texas and California. I hear those states are good at football!
With most of the class wrapped up, the staff is focused on their few remaining elite targets to round out their class. Luckily, there have been several substantial updates with the top guys on Michigan’s board in the last few days. So let’s see where things stand with some of the top players in the country.
5-star safety breaks down recruitment before official visit
The SMU game this weekend will play host to some of the most important recruits for Michigan, including Oklahoma safety Daxton Hill for his official visit.
The No. 1 safety in the country, Hill seems to be down to deciding between two schools, Michigan and Alabama. Having already taken his official to Tuscaloosa in June, Michigan will have a good shot to make a lasting impression.
The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb flew to Oklahoma to talk to Hill ($) and see where his recruitment is at.
Over the summer, Hill tweeted he was near a decision and was going to commit soon. But he backed off and now says he’ll take as much time as he needs to make a decision. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a leader in his mind, though.
“I feel like I know where I’m going. I just want to make sure though,” he said.
This could mean a couple different things. He could be talking about Alabama, the school many believe he almost committed to this summer. Maybe he’s taking a couple more officials to make sure nowhere else stands out.
Or, since he already officially visited Alabama, he could be leaning towards Michigan and wants to wait until his visit to know for sure that Ann Arbor is the place for him.
Wherever he picks, he will be taking several factors into account.
Arguably, the most important to Hill is the relationships he forms during this process.
“I don’t really pay attention to the classes and the rankings,” said Hill. “The communication I have with the recruits, I care about that. Relationships, they go on forever. That aspect of it I care about. But the class (ranking)? I don’t really care about all that.”
If he is looking for relationships with the school’s commits, Michigan has clear edge. After The Opening Finals in July, there was a lot of buzz from Michigan recruits about how they felt about Hill. A lot of them, especially Cade McNamara and DJ Turner, spoke positively about their interactions with him.
In another talk with Webb ($), Hill mentioned McNamara and 5-star defensive end Chris Hinton as guys he was talking with the most.
Another key relationship is with Sherrone Moore, who is an Oklahoma graduate and knows the area. Hill says he is in contact with Moore a lot.
“Coach Moore has always been in communication with me,” said Hill. “I’ve always been in communication with him. I’m always talking to coach Moore. If I’m not texting him, I’m calling him or Face Timing him.”
Besides relationships, Hill also said he is looking at early playing time opportunities and academics. Hill says he wants to study journalism in college.
“(Academics are) real big, (Booker T Washington) is a great school academically,” Hill said. “Sometimes I’ll be in my room just doing homework for hours, so I take my academics serious. That plays a big part of it. I don’t want to make it too easy for me. Wherever I go I just want a challenge academically and athletically.”
Michigan looks to have advantages in those areas as well. But, with all that said, Michigan is still going against Alabama here. If Hill was really close to committing to the Tide, it will be hard to pull him away.
A lot of fans are really skeptical with the chances to land Hill, considering the recent recruiting history of the two programs. All the groundwork for Michigan to land Hill is there, though. They excel in areas he is considering heavily and have had excellent communication. I wouldn’t expect a commitment this weekend, but don’t be surprised if he picks the Wolverines down the road.
4-star offensive tackle has Michigan presence around him
Webb wasn’t the only member of the TMI staff to travel to talk in person with a major Michigan recruit last week. Brice Marich traveled to Illinois to check in ($) with top tackle prospect Trevor Keegan.
The big takeaway from his conversations with the 4-star and his high school coach is Keegan has several people around him rooting for Michigan in this battle.
First, Keegan’s mom’s side of the family is from the area.
“My family is from there,” Keegan said. “My mom was born there literally like 30 miles outside of Ann Arbor, my grandparents are big fans and just the school itself. It’s very comfortable. The football program is amazing and could really set me up for life after football.”
Having a recruit’s family, especially his mom, on board with a college is a huge benefactor. Because of his family’s fandom, he feels a level of familiarity that he wouldn’t with other schools.
Also a big fan of Michigan is Keegan’s football coach Rob Fontana ($). He’s a lifelong fan and isn’t afraid to profess his infatuation with the school.
“I love everything about the program,” Fontana said. “The history in itself is incredible. I could go there and spend months looking at everything on campus and taking in truly the history of the program. I have a million books on Michigan football and my kids probably the first song they could sing was Hail to the Victors, so I’m a little twisted when it comes to that kind of stuff.
With those influences in his life, Keegan will definitely have a constant positive view of the Wolverines.
As for deciding, Keegan says he is holding up for a little while, but has a date in mind.
“My plan was to commit on my mom’s birthday, which was two weeks ago,” Keegan said. “I kind of haven’t committed yet, but I think I will do it on my sister’s birthday and actually I think that’s a 100 percent I’ll be ready by then, which is Dec. 11.”
He has narrowed down his list to five schools, and plans to use all five of his officials. He doesn’t have any dates set up yet, but he assured Michigan would on the schedule.
Other than Michigan, Keegan’s list includes Ohio State, Penn State, Clemson, and Georgia. Michigan holds the crystal ball lead with 67 percent. This race looks good for the Wolverines as it stands now.
5-star wide receiver still planning on official visit to Michigan
Michigan is looking for a stud outside wide receiver to finish off their offensive skill position haul. They’ve set their eyes on one of the best in the nation, California prospect Kyle Ford.
After taking two of his official visits already, Ford is still looking to use one on Michigan, per TMI’s Steve Lorenz ($).
”I’m still looking to get up there for a game this fall,” Ford said. “They are still recruiting me really hard.”
Ford officially visited Colorado in June, and Washington this past weekend. Other contenders for the remaining three visits include Oregon, USC, Florida State and Ohio State.
His crystal balls still favor USC considerably, but Michigan will hopefully get a fighting shot to sway him when he gets on campus.
3-star wide receiver raves about visit
One of the two official visitors last weekend, Texas receiver Jaylen Ellis was blown away by the experience.
“Everyone felt like it was home,” Ellis said. “I’m happy that not only I enjoyed it, but my family did. My parents didn’t think this much was going to happen.”
Ellis added that he “loved it” and that the vibe he got was “crazy.”
Being committed to Baylor in name only, Ellis named a top five of Michigan, Baylor, Arizona, Tennessee and Houston.
He plans to take the rest of his officials before announcing his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5, 2019.
Michigan heating up with 5-star guard
There was a lot of disappointment when the two 5-star tackles from the state of Michigan for the 2019 class committed elsewhere. Even more grumbling ensued when another in-state 5-star lineman, this time in the 2020 class, didn’t include Michigan in his top 13.
However, Michigan seems to have gotten the message and started re-building the relationship with guard Justin Rogers.
The junior from Oak Park lost touch with the staff when Greg Frey and Tim Drevno left the program. Now, new offensive line coach Ed Warinner is working on getting that trust back.
“I never knew the new O-line coach. Me and him are building a good relationship. We’re talking on a daily basis right now,” Rogers told Wolverine Wire’s Evan Petzold (FREE).
Early on, Rogers is impressed with Warinner’s ability, adding, “He’s a great coach — he can get people to the next level.”
Rogers is focused on taking his time to make a decision and exploring all opportunities. He’s visiting Texas next week and Tennessee the week after that. Ohio State and Georgia are the schools with crystal balls, with the Buckeyes holding 78 percent so far.
Considering there’s a while to go before the 2020 signing day, Michigan has plenty of time to get back in this race. They rectified their communication issue after the staff turnover and will look to keep Rogers home. Getting him on campus multiple time in a week is a great start.
Well, that was a lot of information on some of Michigan’s most important targets! It will be a furious race to the early signing date for several of these guys.
There is plenty of activity on the recruiting trail with the season in full swing, so be sure to stay with Maize n Brew for all of the latest news.