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Michigan football hosting official visitors this weekend prior to Early Signing Period

Michigan has circled back on some previous highly-ranked targets and got them on campus right before signing day.

Michigan v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

This is the last weekend before the Early Signing Period opens up on Wednesday, so the Michigan Wolverines are getting some last-minute official visits in.

All these prospects weren’t legitimate targets as of last week and speak to the momentum on the trail Michigan has right now. If the staff can get some more breaks to go their way, adding all three would give a big boost to the class.

St. Frances Academy (MD) Derrick Moore - Four-star, No. 79 overall, No. 12 DL

Michigan has always been on the periphery of Moore’s commitment, but never really made a move until now. The top-100 prospect was committed to Oklahoma but opened up his recruitment after Lincoln Riley left for USC.

Reportedly, Moore was scheduled to take a visit to Los Angeles to check out Riley’s new digs, but Michigan got him to take the official to Ann Arbor instead. Steve Wiltfong put in a Crystal Ball for Michigan following the news, but qualified it with the fact he had to move it off his previous Oklahoma one and there is still much to prove here. Penn State and Ole Miss are also in the mix.

The obstacle with landing Moore is the rule that prohibits prospects from following high school coaches for two years before or after they were hired at a college. Biff Poggi has served as Michigan’s associate head coach since August after a previous stint on staff. Former St. Frances Academy players Blake Corum and Nikhai Hill-Green had to get waivers from the NCAA to remain eligible after he was hired.

By the time Moore gets to campus, it will be very close to the two-year deadline since St. Frances didn’t play during the 2020 season. Also the fact two other players received a waiver could mean Michigan has a good chance at working through the kinks to allow Moore to be eligible. But we also know things often get gummed up in the works at Michigan’s compliance department sometimes, so you never know. Having Moore take an official visit does indicate the staff is confident they’ll get it worked out.

Westview (OR) Darrius Clemons - Four-star, No. 130 overall, No. 19 WR

Michigan is still looking to add another wide receiver or two to the class, and Clemons is the top reasonable option still available. Earlier in the cycle Michigan was more involved with the four-star, but things fell off.

But once Mario Cristobal left Oregon to take over at Miami, Clemons started looking around as the Ducks were his presumed favorite. Now it looks like Michigan is battling Auburn to sign Clemons. On paper it looks like an easy decision given Auburn’s 6-6 season and general state of chaos, but the Tigers have been seriously after him for longer.

A good card for Michigan has up its sleeve here is Clemons’ childhood friend Andrel Anthony on the roster. They grew up playing together in East Lansing before Clemons moved to the West Coast. Having Anthony break out later in the season certainly helps Michigan’s chances here. Auburn already having used its official visit back in June also plays to Michigan’s favor.

Sachse (TX) Alex Orji - Three-star, No. 415 overall, No. 28 QB

Wide receiver is not the only position Michigan is looking to upgrade in its class. The staff took Jayden Denegal at quarterback after missing on several other targets, including Orji.

After Virginia Tech, where Orji is committed, fired head coach Justin Fuente though, the three-star began looking around. Michigan was never able to get him up to campus before he committed back in April, so the Wolverines have the potential to make a big impact on him this weekend.

Orji is a dual-threat quarterback with more than 1,000 rushing yards his senior season. That’s the mold Michigan was looking for at the position with its targets earlier in the cycle before falling on Denegal. If Michigan keeps both in the class, it’s possible Orji could move to another position if quarterback doesn’t work out for him.