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Monday Crootin’: Michigan working hard on in-state RB Peny Boone, using friend Cornell Wheeler

With Wheeler in the fold already for 2020, Michigan is trying to leverage his friendship with Boone to reel the 3-star toward Ann Arbor.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan considers Peny Boone one of the more underrated running backs in the 2020 recruiting cycle. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound possesses the bulldozing frame necessary for a Harbaugh ground game, but he’s only a 3-star according to 247 Sports.

Regardless, running backs coach Jay Harbaugh is in hot pursuit, and as The Michigan Insider reports, he’s getting help from 2020 linebacker commit Cornell Wheeler.

“He’s been in contact with running backs coach Jay Harbaugh and while the communication has only been about every other week,” Brice Marich writes ($), “he looks to build upon that relationship going forward....

“One feather in the cap for the Maize and Blue could be Wolverine commit Cornell Wheeler, who he plays on the same 7v7 with him. Boone added that he’s really good friends with Wheeler and wouldn’t mind playing with him at the next level either.”

With the Wolverines battling Michigan State, as well as Tennessee for Boone’s services, all the local help will be greatly appreciated. The two competed alongside each other at the Legacy 7-on-7 in Brighton (Mich.).

Boone is the No. 371 overall prospect nationally, while Wheeler is exactly 100 spots behind his friend. They live only a half-hour apart, as Wheeler attends West Bloomfield High.

According to Marich, both are seeking an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor for spring practice, which started Sunday. Wheeler pledged to Michigan back in September, while Boone has not laid out a timeline for a decision, stating he “currently has no favorites.”

Gattis Interested in Several Wideouts

The Wolverine’s Chris Balas laid out several new offers toward wide receivers in his most recent Inside the Fort ($).

He indicates that new offensive coordinator and wide receiver guru Josh Gattis is currently evaluating a pair of 3-star wideouts for the 2020 cycle. First, there’s Xavier Watts out of Omaha.

“They just really like everything about him as a pass catcher,” a source close to Watts told Balas. “They like his size (6-1, 180) and think he plays bigger than that. He’s well put together and is a handful after the catch. He does a good job at getting open, has really strong hands and really doesn’t have much of a weakness.”

He’s under the radar at the moment on recruiting services, but some major programs have taken notice. While only the No. 134 receiver nationally per 247 Sports, Watts is considering offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Nebraska and Tennessee alongside Michigan.

Only two classes ago, Harbaugh and company identified former basketball prospect Ronnie Bell out of Big XII country and brought him to the Mitten. This could be a similar situation, as Watts comes from a lightly-recruited part of the country in Nebraska.

The other wideout mentioned was Jay Brunelle out of Shrewsbury (Mass.). The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is outside the top-1000 in the 247 Sports Composite, but Gattis extended an offer in January on the condition that he gets to see Brunelle camp.

“Michigan has been on and off with their contact with me, with the deal being made that I have to go to camp to really continue the process,” Brunelle explained to Balas. “We’re still in touch, they just want to see me at camp. Right now I’m still figuring out my camp schedule for all of that.”

This is a different situation than Watts, who is starting to get noticed by big-time programs (which subsequently should lead to a ratings bump). Brunelle may be a recruit along the lines of Luke Schoonmaker, the tight end out of New England from two classes ago.

Since Don Brown arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan has unearthed many New Englanders such as Kwity Paye and Sean McKeon. If Brunelle impresses with a workout, the Wolverines will just have to beat out teams like Boston College, UMass and Holy Cross, as well as some Ivy’s.

Final Note

  • Michigan on “short list” for 2021 five-star OL Donovan Jackson out of Bellaire (Tex.) Episcopal.