Each month, Michigan writer Kevin Goheen will look at the Wolverines’ to-do list. This outlook focuses on three concerns for the program’s recruiting efforts in the weeks ahead. In this edition, we look at what Michigan has to do in April.
Spring football is in full gear for Michigan with the final 10 of 15 allotted practices scheduled for April. That includes the annual spring game on April 14, which will be a nighttime kickoff at Michigan Stadium. Those practices focus on the team of the present but they’re also opportunities to recruit and further relationships with potential future Wolverines.
Here are three things Michigan needs to accomplish in recruiting this month:
Impress with the spring game
The spring game will be under the lights this year with a 7 p.m. planned start at Michigan Stadium. The big focus will be on the quarterbacks, especially transfer Shea Patterson. It’s possible the NCAA will have announced its decision on Patterson’s request for immediate eligibility by that time.
Subtle focus will be on the prospective players visiting that day. Michigan has made multiple staff changes, especially on offense, and it will be interesting to see how that manifests itself in play-calling style. Jim Harbaugh is just getting started with the changes he’s making to the offense, be it adding more run-pass option plays or shifting players to different positions. He’s not going to give away all his secrets but there will be some impressions left.
They should be good ones. If Michigan is going to start turning recruiting heads with more than its name and tradition, this would be a good spot.
Line up official visits
Rising seniors no longer have to wait until September to start taking official visits. The new recruiting calendar that includes the three-day early signing period in December also allows for official visits April 1 through June 27. Just as there was an unknown to the early signing period and how it would play out, the same goes for this new window for official visits. Players still get only get five official visits, so the question becomes how many will be used now and how many during the fall or winter?
Harbaugh has said Michigan will welcome official visits now, and there are a few lined up already. They are pegged to the spring game.
Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep teammates John Dunmore and Te’Cory Couch are scheduled to visit that weekend. Dunmore is rated a 4-star wide receiver by the 247Sports composite, while Couch is a 4-star athlete who primarily plays cornerback. Couch has committed to Tennessee but analysts consider it a “soft” commit with his recruitment still open.
Tight end Luke Deal of Greenwood (S.C.) Emerald, a 3-star prospect, has also scheduled an official visit.
I’ll be there‼️ https://t.co/WQNBGgxyDL
— Luke Deal (@lukedeal5) March 22, 2018
Linebacker Anthony Solomon is a 4-star prospect from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas who is deciding from Michigan, Miami and Ohio State. He’s scheduled to visit Ohio State on April 7 and then be in Ann Arbor on the following weekend.
One way the new official visit window benefits players and teams is that it gives those that are farther away from the school, say Florida or South Carolina, the chance to visit without trying to cram it into what is sure to be a tight schedule in the fall.
Add to commit list
The Wolverines currently have six players committed for the 2019 class, a group that consists of one 5-star prospect in defensive end Christopher Hinton, four 4-star players (defensive end Stephen Herron Jr., quarterback Cade McNamara, and offensive linemen Nolan Rumler and Trente Jones) and 3-star linebacker Charles Thomas. They would like to add to that list this month.
Hinton has been a good recruiter for this group. He was at junior day last month helping with the sales pitch for players such as 5-star safety Daxton Hill of Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington, 4-star tackle William Harrod of Fort Washington (Md.) National Christian Academy, 3-star athlete Steele Chambers of Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity, and 2020 tackle prospect Paris Johnson Jr. of Cincinnati St. Xavier.
👀👀cmon GA>AA make the move https://t.co/j5q0LccjRi
— Christopher Hinton (@Thechrishinton) March 27, 2018
Commitments aren’t binding. The six players who have pledged themselves to Michigan are still going to be recruited by other schools, just as Michigan will continue to recruit players who are committed elsewhere. Getting more commits, however, would provide some momentum going into the summer.