The 2017 cycle is officially over. And the Wolverines are now gearing up for the 2018 cycle. Check Land of 10 daily for updates on all things Michigan recruiting.
Let’s do some housekeeping
We had a ton of National Signing Day coverage on Wednesday. And we followed that up with a ton of analysis of the big day’s biggest events. Here are some links to some stories you should check out.
- Which of Michigan’s 30 signees will have an early impact in Ann Arbor?
- Grading Michigan’s 2017 class
- Michigan football signee Oliver Martin plans to conquer the hearts of Ann Arbor by land — and by sea
- Michigan’s final list of signees after National Signing Day
- Michigan Signing Day superlatives
The story behind Michigan’s final group on National Signing Day
Since it’s all over, I wanted to go a bit more in-depth on what exactly went down on the days leading up to National Signing Day with Michigan’s final targets.
Michigan got 247Sports’ No. 2-rated defensive tackle on Signing Day. And we reported in the weeks leading up to Feb. 1 that there was a lot of confidence from both sides that the Wolverines were in a safe spot to land Solomon. Dating back to November, we had him in our Land of 10 projected class.
Here’s a breakdown of what led us to that proclamation, which inevitably held true.
- When Solomon de-committed from Michigan in the summer, the Wolverines were counted out for many reasons. One big one was because the staff still hadn’t become familiar enough with Solomon’s family — specifically his mother.
- Solomon took his official visit on Nov. 5, alongside his mom. He liked Michigan enough on his first visit that he committed to the Wolverines. And now, Michigan needed to reincarnate that one-time love Solomon had for U-M. The key in this recruitment was his mother, and she was there.
- By all accounts, from multiple people, Michigan knocked it out of the park with Solomon’s mother. Even Solomon told Land of 10 that the staff answered her questions in “paragraph form,” and it resonated in a big way for the entirety of his recruitment.
- After Solomon named Alabama his leader, and the video of him saying “F– Michigan” was seen by the world in early January … it was a dark future for Michigan with Solomon, or so we thought.
- Following that video, Solomon had a “great call” with Michigan’s staff. And that’s when the confidence with Solomon heading to Michigan began to build.
- A member of the Lee County staff thought he was all blue. Multiple sources in the South confirmed that all of the chatter was his intentions to choose Michigan. It was so far off what the Najee Harris recruitment was. We were nearly positive that he was putting on the Michigan hat on Wednesday. But as we learn in recruiting, you can never be too sure.
So all in all, it came down to how much Solomon’s mother loved Michigan. And a healthy dose of Solomon falling in love with Ann Arbor during his first visit in June, during his first commitment. This led to Jim Harbaugh beating out Nick Saban and Kirby Smart for a 5-star prospect from the Deep South — not once, but twice. That’s a big-time feat for Harbaugh & Co.
Collins was a Michigan favorite since his visit in June. It was well publicized that Collins’ family favored Michigan strongly for its academics, but another big reason was Harbaugh.
Despite that fact, Georgia was the heavy favorite in the final week. Yet Collins still chose Michigan, even when his final official visit, on the final weekend, was to UGA.
Here’s a breakdown.
- Collins’ family never spoke of Georgia being the leader, per a source. The academics at Michigan stood out among everything else every team offered.
- When Collins’ two main Michigan recruiters — Jedd Fisch and Tyrone Wheatley, Sr. — left for new coaching jobs, many, including myself, said that had a huge effect on Collins’ decision. Per another source, it didn’t. It was always about Harbaugh. And that’s why Collins came to Michigan.
- Sometime over the weekend, Collins informed Michigan that he would be committing to Ann Arbor. The craziest twist of all? A source said Georgia found itself eliminated in the final chapters of the Collins recruitment.
Michigan didn’t need Gay, but the Wolverines definitely wanted him. He would be a luxury to an already super deep linebackers class, and was definitely considering the Wolverines for a long, long time.
- Once Gay visited Michigan in the fall, and de-committed from Ole Miss the following day, we heard rumblings that Gay was a silent commit to Michigan. The reason he hadn’t committed yet was due to figuring some things out behind the scenes, academically.
- As time progressed, Gay remained a strong favorite to choose Michigan. We didn’t have clear enough proof, and still don’t, on whether or not he was truly “committed” to Michigan behind closed doors. But for the Wolverines to be that close, and not get him, shows why silent commitments are complete trash to rumor about during the process. They’re worthless, and more times than not, the silents go elsewhere.
- Gay began to favor LSU in late December — and once LSU hit the scene, the Wolverines seemingly disappeared. Before that happened, it felt like Gay was going to have everything in line to head to Michigan. But the South — and staying close to home — came into play, and that’s when Michigan found itself distant in the race for Gay.
- Gay changed his mind around seven times in the final week-and-a-half, but never once was it Michigan. Of course, he picked Mississippi State, and will be staying in Starkville.
This one was really weird. It got to the point where, on National Signing Day, I seriously didn’t know where Becton was ending up. His 6-foot-7 stature had a lot to do with why Michigan wanted him so much, and for the first two weeks or so in January, it had him. And then the schools closer to home got late official visits and, like the Gay situation, Michigan found itself gone.
- Becton was fully equipped to choose Michigan before his official visit to Louisville on the second weekend of January.
- After the visit to Louisville, Becton told Land of 10 that the Cardinals and Wolverines were “neck-and-neck.” But, even then, we were still confident that Michigan was going to land Becton.
- The following weekend, he took an official to Virginia Tech. At that point, we had reason to believe that he was 100-percent bound to be a Hokie. Until two hours before his decision, my 247Sports Crystal Ball remained on Tech for Becton.
- In the end, it all came down to that visit to Louisville. Again, we still don’t know the whole reason behind all of this craziness. But, it went from Michigan, to all Virginia Tech, to finally Louisville when, on the eve of signing day, the Cardinals swept him away.