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.
Frisco (Texas) 3-star OT Rafiti Ghirmai gets unexpected Michigan offer
On Sunday night, Michigan offered Frisco (Texas) Wakeland OT Rafiti Ghirmai. A 3-star prospect, according to the 247Sports composite, Ghirmai has been seeing his hard work pay off over the past 11 days, receiving offers from Alabama, Arizona State, LSU, Georgia and Michigan.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman has seen his stock rise because of strong camp performances, most notably at The Opening regional in Dallas. A strong junior season film showed Ghirmai dominating defensive ends. His energy on the field is most notable, playing like it’s the last play of the game every snap. Add his strength, athleticism and football IQ, and that equals a 3-star prospect with the potential to end up with a higher rating when it’s all said and done.
On Tuesday morning, Land of 10 spoke with Ghirmai over the phone about his recruitment, the Michigan offer and more.
Here’s the latest.
On what coaches who offered have been telling him recently: “They really like my quickness, and how I play through the whistles.”
On the Michigan offer: “I didn’t really expect Michigan to offer. It took me by surprise, but it was great surprise. Right after coach (Tim) Drevno called me, I did some research on Michigan. I know Michigan well because of Jabrill Peppers, he’s one of the best defensive players in the nation … I watched Michigan sometimes just because of Jabrill.”
On Michigan’s 2016 season: “They were really a good team. I saw their game against Ohio State, that game was crazy. I thought they played really well.”
On his early opinion of Michigan’s program, what it has to offer: “They’re a great program that can offer me a great life after college. I know Michigan has really good academics, that’s really good. And, they’re sponsored by Jordan – the (uniforms) are sick.”
On visiting Michigan: “I’m trying to visit right now, but it’s so far away. If it was closer, I would’ve visited this week, because I’m on spring break. I’m trying to plan a visit there. It can be 30 miles or 300 miles – it doesn’t matter to me.”
On leaving Texas: “I’m open. I really don’t care (about the location) of where I play. I could play at SMU, or all the way in Syracuse. I’m really open.”
On when he plans to commit: “I’ll probably wait it out until the end … probably January.”
It’s early for Ghirmai, especially with all of his new offers rolling in each week. He matches Michigan’s style well, so keep a close eye on his recruitment.
IMG Academy 3-star OT Daniel Faalele impresses before playing a single down
A 3-star OT prospect, according to the 247Sports solo rankings, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy OT prospect Daniel Faalele has yet to play a single down of American football. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Faalele moved to this country in the fall to play for one of the country’s elite high school football programs at IMG Academy.
Now standing 6-foot-9, 390 pounds, Faalele has finally been able to show off his potential for the public to see.
— Gerry Hamilton (@HamiltonESPN) February 26, 2017
Faalele was discovered by the Michigan staff in the satellite camp it hosted in his native Australia. And now, he just might be Michigan’s top target on the offensive line for its 2018 class.
— Eric Single (@Eric_Single) March 7, 2017
In a story written by SI.com’s Andy Staples, Staples quotes IMG Academy offensive line coach Derrick Elder recalling a Faalele practice rep that involves collarbones doing things collarbones aren’t supposed to be doing.
In one of Faalele’s early practices Elder taught him to punch the pass rusher with both hands, then grab his chest. During a one-on-one drill that day, Faalele fired his hands to disrupt the lineman’s charge. Then one hand disappeared inside the rusher’s shoulder pads and the kid went limp. Sensing something wrong, Faalele let go and backed away. “He had grabbed [the defender’s] collarbone,” Elder says, shaking his head at the memory. Elder clarified: Seize the chest plate of the shoulder pads. “His hands are steel,” Elder says. “If he gets them on you, it’s over. Doesn’t matter if he has good technique or bad technique, it’s over.”
The full story is a must-read, including more quotes about how punishing Faalele truly is, and what his potential might hold for the future of the program he chooses.
But one quote stood out among the rest, again from Elder.
“He doesn’t know the difference between Alabama and West Alabama,” Elder told Staples. “He’s about to learn.”
Faalele is growing – both in his recruitment and physically – by the minute. He’s become a household name in Michigan recruiting since the new cycle started.
Can the Wolverines make it happen with the Aussie?