Welcome back to another Wednesday Michigan Recruiting Roundup!
The spring evaluation period has officially kicked off, so get ready to see plenty of prospects across the nation picking up offers from the staff. In the meantime, the staff is focusing on getting their top targets on campus, and it seems to be working so far. Let’s see who’s been on campus or will be soon.
Top in-state target to return to Ann Arbor yet again
Across all positions, there may not be a more coveted prospect to Michigan’s staff than 4-star defensive end Braiden McGregor. Luckily, McGregor has been reciprocating this interest, and according to The Michigan Insider’s Steve Lorenz, will be on campus once again this weekend ($).
This visit will be an unofficial, which is good news since it means he can visit again without the cost, although it’s not too far from Port Huron to Ann Arbor. McGregor recently used up his official to Notre Dame, which is viewed as the biggest competition.
McGregor is ranked No. 199 overall by the composite, but 247 slots him much higher at 27th in the country and the No. 1 player in Michigan.
The Wolverines lead the crystal ball here, and their chances have withstood McGregor’s Southern trip to Clemson and Alabama. He hasn’t revealed a commitment date, but it’s definitely possible he gives his verbal to the staff while on this trip.
2020 4-star reaffirms his commitment during official visit
Given quarterbacks commit so early in the recruiting cycle, once you have one in the class, it’s important to hold on to him. It seems that after some wavering, Michigan accomplished this after hosting 4-star JD Johnson on his official visit last weekend.
Johnson has taken trips to Texas A&M and Oregon in the past couple months, causing some doubt on the firmness of his commitment. But after he talked to TMI’s Brice Marich, it seems those concerns have been alleviated ($).
“The visit was terrific. I got a chance to spend quite a bit of time with my position coach, the new offensive coordinator and coach Harbaugh. It was a very enjoyable visit,” Johnson said.
The Arizona prospect was recruited by Pep Hamilton, but used this trip to continue forming a bond with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
“I was excited to see that he is a high energy coach and his installing some very exciting things on offense,” said Johnson. “I certainly did a feel a strong connection with him. The message he sent was that his system allows a quarterback to be ‘right’, but decisions need to be made quickly.”
This is great news for Michigan’s class, as having a quarterback leading the way can help attract other top talent. Gattis and Ed Warriner also visited Johnson’s high school this week to further strengthen their relationship, and check in on Johnson’s touted teammate, 4-star offensive lineman Tosh Baker.
3-star Nebraska WR enjoys trip with his father
One of the more underrated prospects — until recently — that Michigan handed out a scholarship to a few months ago is 3-star Nebraska wide receiver Xavier Watts. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound speed demon has been receiving a ton of interest lately, with Notre Dame and Nebraska hot on his heels as well.
But Watts took the opportunity to visit Ann Arbor last weekend with his father, who spoke to TMI’s Brice Marich about the experience ($).
“I would be totally comfortable with him (Xavier) going there. Great education, great facilities, great coaches, great town of Ann Arbor, great people and great football team,” Mr. Watts said. “It’s like the best of everything, so it’s a no brainer that he is really interested in them now.”
Mr. Watts revealed “Michigan is now heavy into the mix of schools he would choose,” and they are planning an official for “one of the first game weeks.”
There’s some work to do here, as in-state Nebraska leads the crystal ball, and he’s also visited South Bend and has a return official visit planned. Having Watts on campus at the same time as JD Johnson and meeting Josh Gattis had to have helped Michigan’s case though.
4-star 2021 OL previews upcoming Michigan visit
Finally we move on to the 2021 class, where you shouldn’t be surprised to learn one of the staff’s top offensive line targets will be on campus soon. This time it will be Maryland 4-star center Ryan Linthicum.
Linthicum spoke with TMI’s Marich to preview his upcoming trip ($).
“I’m so excited. I hope to build a good relationship with the coaches,” Linthicum said. “Michigan is one of (my) top schools. I like the atmosphere there and everything.”
Hailing from Maryland powerhouse Damascus, Linthicum is ranked 172nd in the country and the No. 1 center in the early 2021 rankings. He doesn’t have any predictions yet, but holds offers from Ohio State, LSU, Maryland, Louisville, Pitt, Virginia and East Carolina, along with Michigan so far.
The concludes this week’s Recruiting Roundup! Come back again soon for the latest recruiting updates.