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.
IMG Academy 4-star LB Charles Thomas ‘loves’ Michigan
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy is a factory when it comes to recruiting these days. Producing talents such as Michigan incoming freshman Cesar Ruiz, who Jim Harbaugh said ‘could be the best center in Michigan football history,’ on top of NCAA standouts Bo Scarborough (Alabama), Deondre Francois (Florida State) and NFL talents such as Chad Pennington, David Pollack and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The point is: It’s a heck of a place to get recruits from, as they usually turn out to be pretty good.
The 2018 cycle is in full swing, as the Wolverines claim seven prospects to its class right now. But that doesn’t mean Michigan can’t begin to get a head start on its 2019 class at the same time.
No prospect has committed to the Wolverines’ 2019 class yet, but it could happen as visits begin to become more common once Michigan returns from its trip to Italy.
A name to look out for is IMG Academy ILB Charles Thomas, a 4-star prospect according to 247Sports.
— Charles Thomas (@CtdabeastThomas) January 6, 2017
A 6-foot, 213-pound high school sophomore, Thomas has the size that, after two years at IMG, could be scary. IMG Academy has the best facilities in the country, making for the best workouts and conditioning for its players. Those are resources that should be vital towards Thomas’ growth.
Playing for the nation’s No. 2 ranked team should lend credence to 247Sports’ current ranking of Thomas as a top-5 inside linebacker in his class. If he’s able to crack the starting lineup as a junior, then the hype train should really begin revving, as IMG is a heavily led senior team each season due to the amount of prospects who transfer there.
Currently a top-200 prospect according to 247Sports, Thomas is one of the kids transferring as a junior. He’s originally from Fairburn, Ga. — a state that all of the sudden is becoming Michigan’s most-targeted recruiting pool, with commitments from Aubrey Solomon, Otis Reese, Christian Turner and Myles Sims.
Can Michigan continue its momentum in the Peach State in 2019 with Thomas?
“[Things with Michigan are] great,” Thomas told Land of 10. “I love Michigan; I am going to try to get out there some time this summer [for a visit].”
Thomas’ main recruiter is linebackers coach Chris Partridge, who started Michigan’s biggest pipeline state outside of its own state in New Jersey.
Partridge had the biggest role, assistant-wise, in the surging popularity the maize-and-blue have now in Georgia, too, having a huge role in the recruitment of Solomon.
What’s his message to Thomas early on?
“Conversations always goes well,” Thomas said. “We usually talk about things that are not football-related. He wants me to go out to Michigan and check out the school.”
With plans to visit this summer, the mutual interest between the two parties is obviously there. Thomas fits Don Brown’s system well, and has an assistant in Partridge who is a big fan of him.
As for the bigger picture, where exactly is Thomas’ recruitment at right now?
“I don’t have a list [of top schools] at this time,” he said. “But, Michigan is definitely a school that I am extremely interested in. If I had a list, Michigan would be high on it.”
He’s got nearly two years until his National Signing Day comes along, so a lot of recruiting folk tend to take what’s said now with a grain of salt. And, while that’s sometimes fair, the bond between Thomas and Michigan roots deeper than his love for the program’s tradition and his relationship with an assistant.
So if it’s any consolation to how truly interested Thomas is in Michigan, look no further than his high praise for the head man, Jim Harbaugh.
“Harbaugh is an awesome coach,” Thomas said. “He is intense, passionate and full of knowledge.”
The sophomore boasts other offers from Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, among others.
Thomas has visited Clemson and Tennessee multiple times, North Carolina once and looks to take summer trips to Michigan and Georgia Southern.
Michigan’s athlete options after Dyami Brown commits to North Carolina
Recruiting the athlete position is weird. You could be recruiting a tight end/defensive end, a running back/defensive back, or one of a variety of other combinations.
Michigan added an athlete in 2016 in Devin Asiasi (now at UCLA), but didn’t add one in the 2017 class.
It’s not a position that is a must, but it definitely gives you some flexibility as a staff to be able to move a player around and experiment with him in early practices during his underclassman seasons … or even further down the road.
On Monday night, Michigan made a stacked top 5 for 4-star ATH Dyami Brown.
I will be committing to … pic.twitter.com/tD1H9FJTBW
— Dyami Brown (@deuce2_) April 25, 2017
But the next morning, Brown announced his commitment to North Carolina.
So if the Wolverines do recruit an athlete, here are some names to look out for:
Seattle Garfield 4-star ATH Tre’Shaun Harrison
An extremely talented West Coast athlete, Harrison is a real option for the Wolverines. It’s not often they land a Washington prospect, but one of the industry’s best in Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports has a Crystal Ball prediction for Michigan to land the coveted prospect.
Running backs coach Jay Harbaugh is his main recruiter and is very high on him.
Dayton (Ohio) Wayne 4-star ATH L’Christian ‘Blue’ Smith
The Wolverines aren’t considered a top school right now for Smith, the nation’s No. 119 prospect — at least according to the majority of the industry.
Behind Kentucky and Ohio State is where we have the Wolverines, though, following a very successful visit in March.