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Michigan Monday Crootin’: Main WR Targets Post-Kalil Branham Decommit

Where will the staff go to replace the 4-star OH WR for the 2020 class?

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Michigan hosted a ton of athletes for the 2019 Spring Game, but one of them likely heard bad news during his trip. 4-star OH receiver Kalil Branham made the trip from Northland to Ann Arbor, but when he left, he was no longer a Wolverine commit.

The No. 342 player in the country in the 2020 class, Branham announced on his Twitter Saturday that he would be re-opening his recruitment.

Much of the scuttlebutt after the news broke this weekend is that new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis re-evaluated Branham, and decided to go in a different direction with receiver recruitment. It’s worth noting that the 4-star was previously recruited by Al Washington and Pep Hamilton (both no longer on staff).

For those wondering where the staff would target next, one option went off the board last weekend, as well. After Bay City (Mich.) 3-star Devell Washington placed the Wolverines in his top-5 on Thursday, he went with West Virginia on Saturday.

Washington is a different situation to Branham. Gattis had been recruiting him as recently as Michigan’s Junior Day back in late January, with the in-state wideout confirming as much with our own Von Lozon.

“He talked about getting the best players the ball in space. He also talked about how important it is for us receivers to block to have explosive plays,” Washington said.

Washington is a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, and fits in well with what Gattis is trying to build in his receiver corps: Basically, a combination of large targets with smaller ones that provide “speed in space.”

With that said, here’s a brief list of targets to look out for to replace Branham in the 2020 class:

Christian Fitzpatrick

The West Bloomfield product made the short drive to Ann Arbor for the Spring Game, indicating that the staff is interested at this stage. He’s a 6-foot-4, 200-pounder that rates as a 3-star per 247 Sports.

He also holds offers from teams with decent receiver evaluation ability, including Purdue, Oregon and West Virginia.

This is what Rivals had to write about him prior to the MSU Elite Camp last June:

Christian is the younger brother of former Michigan wide receiver target and current Louisville Cardinal Desmond Fitzpatrick making him a bit of a known commodity on name alone. On ability alone, he can play. He’s bigger than Dez was at this stage in his high school career and really uses that size well. Fitzpatrick has good range, strong hands and runs routes pretty well for a bigger receiver.”

This recruitment may heat up if he impresses during this summer’s camp circuit. At the moment, his visit to Michigan at least indicates mutual interest.

Rashawn Williams

The last time we talked with Rashawn Williams was with Devell Washington after Junior Day. The newly-minted Mountaineer pledge talked about his interest with Michigan, and how he and Williams had a “very high chance” of playing at the same school together.

With Washington out of the picture now, where does Michigan stand with Williams, a 4-star out of Detroit King? First off, his Crystal Balls mostly point to uncertainty, as the only ones picking Michigan are on the MSU and OSU beats.

The likes of Sam Webb, Steve Wiltfong and Allen Trieu are “foggy” on where Williams is going.

What we do know is that the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder provides the “speed in space” required by Gattis. He commented to Rivals that he vibes with the new offensive coordinator.

“My feeling for Michigan was always that it’s a great program with a lot of (possibility),” Williams said. “Now that they have a new wide receivers coach, he knows what to do and he knows how to get playmakers the ball.”

Josh Helmholdt comments that contact has fallen off recently, and that Williams is taking visits to the likes of Purdue and Cincinnati. Williams plans on a decision later this month, so it remains to be seen if Michigan is still an option.

A.J. Henning

The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder out of Frankfort (Ill.) is an absolute speedster. Allen Trieu compares him to the Chicago Bears’ Tarik Cohen.

“Has elite speed. Great burst and acceleration and can score from anywhere on the field. Very good hands. Catches the ball well away from his body and shows the ability to go up and catch passes that are above his head. Good lower body strength and will break tackles. More of a kid that will run past defenders than a make-you-miss in a phone booth guy.”

He ranks as a 4-star and the No. 126 player nationally. 247 Sports also lists his Michigan interest as “warm,” but with competition from the likes of Notre Dame and Ohio State. In fact, the Irish have 100% of the Crystal Balls at the moment.

Gattis hit the ground running in this recruitment, as Wiltfong noted that he did everything he needed to do with Henning back in late January. However, Wiltfong is one of those predicting Henning to South Bend, so it’ll be important to get the Lincoln-Way East star back to Ann Arbor this summer (possibly for the BBQ).

The opportunity seems to be there, as Henning has visited several different schools over the last few months and still only has a top-10, which includes the Wolverines. This recruitment is far from over.