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How the Josh Gattis and Anthony Campanile hires affect Michigan recruiting

Two words: New Jersey.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

After lamenting losing two of Michigan’s best recruiters earlier this week, the program flipped the script and added Josh Gattis and Anthony Campanile just a couple days later. Like I did with Greg Mattison and Al Washington, let’s see what the new duo brings in terms of recruiting.

Overall, these are exactly the types of hires I was looking for Michigan to make to boost recruiting. Both are young, (Gattis is 34, Campanile is 36) have moved up the coaching ladder quickly and have deep recruiting connections in talent-rich areas.

Gattis has a reputation as one of the best wide receivers coaches in the country. A native of North Carolina who played football at Wake Forest, Gattis has mostly been tasked with recruiting the Mid-Atlantic at his last two stops, Penn State and Alabama.

His 247Sports recruiting page, which lists all the players for which he was the primary or secondary recruiter, is pretty impressive.

Obviously recruiting kids to Alabama isn’t the most difficult job, but I’m focusing on the area and position on which he focused. The bulk of Gattis’ top prospects were from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with some forays into Georgia. This is pretty similar to Chris Partridge’s bread and butter.

Of course, wide receivers also pop up the most frequently on this list. He pulled in Justin Shorter, the No. 1 wide receiver in the country, for Penn State last cycle. Being from New Jersey and a wide receiver was a perfect combination for Gattis.

For 2020, the confluence of these two areas of expertise line up again, fortunately for Michigan. The top wide receiver in the country, Julian Fleming, just happens to be from Pennsylvania this time. Gattis was his primary recruiter at Alabama, so he already has an established relationship with the 5-star and he’s planning on visiting Ann Arbor soon.

Fleming is just one example of a recruit with whom Michigan’s chances increased with the new hires. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

Next up is Campanile, who is even more ingrained in New Jersey than Partridge was. (Notice how both of these guys compare favorably to Partridge?) Campanile’s father is a coaching legend at Don Bosco Prep and he coached on his dad’s staff there for a few years, as well as at Rutgers.

Campanile’s brother is currently the head coach of Bosco’s rival Bergen Catholic. Both schools are perennial powerhouses who produce heaps of elite college football talent. After gutting New Jersey in 2016, Michigan hasn’t had as much success in the Garden State. With someone who has such great name recognition in the state like Campanile, and the added benefit of Gattis, that pipeline should start pumping once again.

In fact, there are a couple top 2020 New Jersey prospects who already have existing relationships with the new coaches — top 100 running back Jalen Berger, who plays for Don Bosco, and 4-star safety Jordan Morant, who plays for Bergen Catholic.

If you’ll notice on their player profile pages, Campanile, Gattis and Partridge were the players’ primary recruiters at their respective schools before Michigan hired the former two. Now all three are on the same staff and bring their long-standing connections together.

Having someone like Campanile or Gattis who can lock down New Jersey, and hopefully the Mid-Atlantic as a whole, leads to a domino effect for recruiting. If Partridge doesn’t have to focus as much on his home state, it allows him to spend more time spanning the country. He’s already burrowed himself into Georgia, and I could see him expanding more into Florida and Alabama.

In the wake of this staff shake-up, Michigan may have diminished its standing in Ohio, but have opened up more territory across the country to attack.