It’s the offseason, but recruiting never stops in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines are building their classes of the future. Check Land of 10 daily for the latest inside the Michigan recruiting room.
Can — and should — Michigan add a grad transfer?
A hot topic every offseason is the NCAA’s version of free agency — the grad transfer pool.
Players who graduate with playing eligibility remaining can request a release and, if approved by the school and NCAA, transfer and be eligible to play immediately at their new school.
Sometimes you see limits imposed by a school, such as not being able to transfer within the conference. But sometimes those restrictions are lifted, as was the case the last time the Wolverines added a grad transfer in 2015 — QB Jake Rudock from Iowa.
Most of the time, however, a player transfers out of conference.
And that brings us to Michigan and and OT Sunny Odogwu. We discussed his re-recruitment earlier Thursday in our mailbag. But now let’s dive deeper.
Specifically, let’s look at the two most pertinent questions: Should Michigan add a grad transfer? And can Michigan add a grad transfer?
Let’s start with the should.
The bare facts are Michigan is extremely short on veteran tackles. In fact, unless the Wolverines move center Mason Cole back to tackle (his freshman position), Michigan has virtually no experienced tackle with a chance to start.
And even if Cole were to do that (we see it happening), that still leaves a hole at the other tackle spot.
Junior Juwann Bushell-Beatty has a lot of question marks in his game. And junior Grant Newsome has to sit out an entire season, at least, due to a right knee injury suffered early last season.
So, logically speaking, adding a grad transfer at tackle makes perfect sense.
The counterargument is that saving the scholarship would be smarter. Michigan knows it’s going to be forced to take fewer than 20 guys this recruiting class after taking nearly 30 in back-to-back classes.
By not adding a grad transfer, that scholarship can be used on a recruit who could be in the program for the long haul.
But if you’re using it on anyone, at any position, adding a tackle the likes of Odogwu makes absolute sense.
He’s worth the use of what could be a future scholarship, due to the Wolverines being so thin at tackle in 2017.
Sure, he’s a “rental,” but he’s one that the Wolverines could become far more dangerous with on offense. He answers the offense’s biggest question in the offseason — who’s going to anchor the right side? There really is no clear answer without Odogwu on the roster, as the mammoth 6-foot-8 lineman would be the heavy favorite to start in his one season.
The other, more important, question: Can Michigan add a grad transfer?
Some other names might develop down the road — but if the Wolverines add a grad transfer, they’ll have to do it soon. So we’re sticking with Odogwu here.
He’s getting a really good academic institution at Michigan. On the field, he will have to compete, but against a thin and young crop. And he’ll be playing for a team whose last grand transfer — Rudock — made it to the NFL after splitting time with C.J. Beathard at Iowa.
So Michigan knows a thing or two about getting guys to the league, even its grad transfers.
Odogwu is headed to UCLA for a visit this weekend … a visit that will be very telling as to how serious Michigan’s chances are.
Michigan turning up the heat on a Kentucky receiver commit?
Fort Meyers (Fla.) Dunbar WR Shocky Jacques-Louis is hearing from Michigan even more since the Wolverines offered the fast-rising recruit May 25.
Jacques-Louis posted this on his Twitter account, a picture done by Michigan creative designer Aaron Bills. These pictures usually only get sent, at this time, to the big names and top targets in Michigan’s class.
— Shocky Jacques-louis (@ShockyMVP) May 31, 2017
So have the Wolverines added another name for folks to look out for on the receiver board? Sure looks like it.
The composite 3-star recruit might also be in line for a ratings bump. 247Sports already raised his ranking from 3 to 4 stars in its rankings Wednesday.
But the task remains tall, as Jacques-Lewis must de-commit from Kentucky before anything gets taken seriously in Ann Arbor. And even if he were to de-commit, the Wolverines would have to fight off the likes of Louisville, Michigan State and Tennessee thereafter.
Until then, we still don’t see the Wolverines adding a receiver commit from its current targets.
The Wolverines can flip this kid. But it’s no more than a theory and wishful thinking right now.