Happy April, and welcome to another Michigan Recruiting Roundup!
Normally, the month of April is a busy one for not just college football teams, but for recruits taking visits. But you can wipe the next two months off the board, as the NCAA extended the dead period through May 31.
So for now, we update you on a few top targets for the Wolverines in the 2021 class who have been in contact with Michigan through call or FaceTime (the new norm for recruiting).
Four-star LB plans to commit in May
The top linebacker on Michigan’s board in 2021 is four-star Junior Colson. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder from Brentwood, Tennessee has said in the past how Michigan coaches have told him he’s No. 1 on their board, and he was told that once again from the headman himself.
“We have been FaceTime almost every day this week with coach Harbaugh and the defense,” Colson told The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb ($). “They are telling me how much they want me and how they will use me. I am their top linebacker priority.”
With things being shut down for in-person recruiting, Colson admitted this time has allowed him to grow his relationships with the schools at the top of his list. It also has sped up his process a bit, as he now plans on committing at the end of May, which means he will be unable to make anymore visits before his commitment.
Tennessee has been rising up in this recruitment lately, which was the last school he visited before the in-person recruiting shutdown. Still, Michigan has had him on campus twice — the most recent being the OSU game last fall — and his mom is a huge Wolverine fan. As of now, I view Michigan as the slight favorite, but we’ll see what happens.
Entire offensive staff video calls with top in-state RB
On Tuesday’s Recruiting Roundup, my guy Jon Simmons told you how Michigan’s whole offensive staff was in on a FaceTime call with 2021 in-state four-star offensive lineman Rocco Spindler. Well, the exact same thing happened with another top 2021 in-state player — four-star running back Donovan Edwards.
According to TMI’s Webb ($), a major topic of conversation in these video calls is how the coaching staffs plan on using him. Edwards doesn’t want to just be a one-trick pony — he wants to run, catch, essentially do it all in the backfield.
Josh Gattis is the one making that pitch, and he’s pointing to the running back receiving stats from his former stops at Penn State and Alabama, specifically Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders. Gattis, according to Webb, mentioned last year’s lack of running back catches as “more a function of personnel than scheme.”
As for Edwards’ connection with Harbaugh, it sounds like they are hitting it off quite well.
“One source credited Michigan’s headman with ‘doing an excellent job.’ Their FaceTime session last week was an especially good one that featured Harbaugh emphasizing Edwards playing a major role as a true freshman,” Webb wrote.
With the Buckeyes landing five-star running back TreVeyon Henderson, they are out of contention for Edwards. The team to rise up to take OSU’s place as a contender — the Oklahoma Sooners. Georgia remains a threat, too, given their success at the position and Edwards’ relationships with Kirby Smart and Bulldogs’ running backs coach Dell McGee.
I don’t see this recruitment ending anytime soon. With Oklahoma rising, and Georgia remaining a thorn in Michigan’s side, I could see this one going the distance. He is clearly Michigan’s top target at running back in 2021, so losing out on him would be a big loss.
Top S target has to reschedule visits
Safety is a position Michigan won’t need many of in the 2021 class, but the coaching staff is still going after a couple guys they think would fit nicely in the defense. One of Michigan’s top targets at safety in this cycle is three-star Pennsylvania native Donovan McMillon.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder released a top 15 last week consisting of Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Penn State, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Arizona State, Purdue, Northwestern, Louisville, Cincinnati and Duke. Despite being a low-ranked three-star on 247Sports’ composite, he is clearly drawing interest from top-tier programs.
McMillon had plans to visit Michigan and Notre Dame this weekend, but that is now on hold until at least the beginning of June.
In the meantime, he has been interacting with coaches over FaceTime, and hasn’t missed a beat with many of them. He discussed his relationship with the Michigan coaches to 247Sports’ Brian Dohn ($).
“I have a great relationship with coach (Jim) Harbaugh, (director of recruiting) coach (Matt) Dudek, (defensive coordinator) coach (Don) Brown,” he said. “I was super excited when coach Harbaugh came to my school and offered me. That was one of my more exciting parts about my recruitment. They are also a dominant team in the Big Ten. They definitely need help trying to beat the big one, OSU.”
McMillon doesn’t know when he will make his final decision at this point, but he has some visits to reschedule first before even thinking about that. With his choices narrowed down to 15 schools at this point, one can assume it’ll be a little while before he decides.
That’s all for now! Come on back Tuesday for another roundup.