To say the last couple weeks have been a struggle for Michigan football on the football field and on the recruiting trail would be an understatement. Losing their last two games after a big win on the road at Minnesota is not what anyone expected, and one of those losses was detrimental in the recruitment of Rayshaun Benny.
Let’s start today’s Recruiting Roundup by continuing the discussion of the defensive tackle position in the 2021 class, and then we will get into this weekend’s big recruiting event.
U-M all in on George Rooks
It is essentially George Rooks or bust at this point for Michigan at the defensive tackle position in the 2021 class. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder from New Jersey has been a longtime top target for Shaun Nua and the Wolverines. He visited Michigan over the summer, but has really stayed quiet over the last few months.
The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich ($) wrote Rooks is Michigan’s “top priority” at the position now that Benny committed to Michigan State. But he also wrote the coaching staff is “keeping tabs on others, but want to wait for Rooks to decide before possibly pursuing other guys.”
Marich did not go in depth on who those guys were, but seeing as most of their top targets are already committed, these prospects they are keeping tabs on probably aren’t highly ranked players by any means.
One of Nua’s most recent 2021 follows on Twitter is three-star Hawaiian Zhen-Keith Sotelo. He is listed as a strong-side defensive end at 6-foot-4 and 268 pounds. He currently has offers from Nebraska, San Diego State, Arizona, Hawaii, Arizona State, UNLV and Utah State. It’s not known at this time if the Wolverines would actively pursue him if they whiff on Rooks, but he could be a guy to keep an eye out for.
Big recruiting weekend ahead in AA
This weekend’s game against Wisconsin is important in so many ways. Michigan really needs to get back on the winning path not just for the sake of its season, but also for the sake of potentially swaying recruits to remain interested in the program.
J.J. McCarthy is one of the recruits in charge of this weekend’s big event in Ann Arbor. Other 2021 commits confirmed to be headed up include Xavier Worthy, Junior Colson, Andrel Anthony, Tristan Bounds, TJ Guy, Ja’Den McBurrows and Jaydon Hood, with the last two being very important since it is their first time on campus. Uncommitted prospect, four-star cornerback Ceyair Wright, will also be in town for the first time.
Along with the 2021 guys, there will be a lot of talented 2022 prospects on campus as well. The headliners include five-star defensive backs Will Johnson and Domani Jackson. Johnson is familiar with Ann Arbor, having grown up in Michigan and having his father play at Michigan back in the ‘90s. But this will be Jackson’s first time in town, so this is a big opportunity for Michigan to distance itself from the rest of the competition.
Other ‘22 prospects expected to be on campus include four-star defensive back Isaac Thompson, in-state four-star linebacker Joshua Burnham and four-star wide receiver Tyler Morris. Four-star linebacker Sebastian Cheeks told Maize n Brew earlier this week he was talking with his parents about the event and he “believes” he will be there.
All these recruits will not be able to interact with any of the coaches, whether it is in-person or not, but this will mark a very important step for a lot of these players. Getting McBurrows and Hood on campus is vital, even though they’ve been committed for months. You always have to recruit until the bell, whether they’re verbally committed or not, so that is exactly what Michigan is doing here.
For the 2022 guys, Jackson is obviously the biggest name, but this is also a big step for Thompson, who has crystal balls in for Texas. It appeared Michigan made some headway after the big win on the road at Minnesota. Two losses later, where does Michigan sit with Thompson? We will likely find out sooner rather than later.
That’s all for this week! Be on the lookout for an entire list of confirmed visitors for this weekend tomorrow. That will be published tomorrow.