We are less than 24 hours away from the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Here’s some news on the guys who will affect the game in the future.
On the other guest list
Since it’s an away game, there’s no visitor list for Michigan this week, but there are a couple of visitors who will be in East Lansing that Michigan hopes will be playing their football in Ann Arbor next season. There also are two recruits from the 2018 class that Michigan is after.
Detroit King 4-star CB Ambry Thomas is taking a visit to Michigan State this weekend. Aside from Calabasas (Calif.) 5-star prospect Darnay Holmes, Thomas is Michigan’s No. 1 target at the position. Their biggest competition just so happens to be the Spartans, along with Florida.
From what I can gather, Michigan remains the favorite for Thomas, who is a cousin of strong Michigan favorite Jaylen Kelly-Powell. The two have said multiple times that they want to play together in college. As of now, the belief is they will do that. If Michigan covers the 24.5-point spread while Thomas watches during the visit, that should help its case in landing the Detroit product.
Flint (Mich.) 4-star DL Deron Irving-Bey is expected to be in East Lansing as well. Irving-Bey was once a strong Michigan State lean, but now is leaning toward Michigan. This visit will be critical as it could help decide which school the Flint native eventually picks. But again, the outcome of the game could have a lot to do with it.
Westerville (Ohio) 5-star athlete Jaelen Gill will also visit Michigan State on Saturday. Gill, a 2018 prospect, is considered a strong Ohio State lean, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t choose the Buckeyes. He’s as good as it gets, though, and Michigan can hope to impress him while he watches the Wolverines live for the first time.
Gill is listed as an all-purpose back, but Wolverines cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich is recruiting him. When I saw Gill live during the summer he was as impressive on defense as he was offensively. Michigan State has a chance to make a great first impression with him, should the Spartan upset the nation’s No. 2 team.
Pickerington (Ohio) 4-star TE Trenton Gillison is another mutually offered visitor slated to be inside Spartan Stadium on Saturday. Gillison, who goes to the same high school that Taco Charlton attended, visited Michigan for its game against Illinois last week. Ellison is one of the best tight ends in the 2018 class, but Michigan hasn’t pressed the gas too hard on him yet. Considered an Ohio State lean, Gillison gets to watch the Wolverines live for a second time this fall.
Beginning today, I’ll be asking for your questions on Twitter about Michigan recruiting, and I’ll do my best to get them answered. So every Friday, check my timeline on my Twitter feed (@LandOfJustice) for my tweet that asks for your questions about Michigan recruiting.
@EPNuechterlein asks: Is there a realistic shot at bringing Aubrey Solomon back into the fold?
Lee County (Ga.) 4-star DT Aubrey Solomon decommitted from Michigan in the latter part of summer. Solomon got a letter from the staff at Michigan that spelled his name wrong. He took offense, then decommitted.
Now the question is: Can they get him back? Yeah, I think the shot is definitely there. It’s really good news that he will take an official visit to Ann Arbor on Nov. 8. But still, Michigan has to battle in-state Georgia and the nation’s top team, Alabama. It’ll be tough to pull him out of SEC country (again). While I don’t think it happens, I’d be wrong to say there isn’t at least a chance.
@AdamJKillian asks: Who do you think the most active recruiter is among the verbal commits right now?
There’s no argument that the most active recruiter among Michigan’s verbal commits is 4-star DE Corey Malone-Hatcher. From the west side of Michigan at St. Joseph High School, Malone-Hatcher had the option to attend Alabama, Notre Dame and a lot of other national schools. He chose the Wolverines and hasn’t stopped trying to make his class the very best since.
He made videos for recruits that he wants to come to Michigan, such as 5-star prospect Donovan Peoples-Jones, 4-star prospect Tarik Black and others. He’s constantly texting them and telling them that Ann Arbor is the place to be.
Not only is Malone-Hatcher going to be a great asset on the field, he’s already a great asset off the field.
@UofMKirwin12 asks: What recruits that are looking to enroll early do you expect Michigan to sign? Wouldn’t that require a commitment soon?
To answer your second question first, yes, a commitment would loom from an early enrollee sometime before January. A lot of times these happen during the Under Armour and U.S. Army All-American games.
As far as what uncommitted targets are left, Detroit Cass Tech 5-star WR Donovan Peoples-Jones will be an early enrollee, and I think he chooses Michigan. Another Cass Tech product, 4-star DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell, also plans to enroll early. I say with confidence that he will choose Michigan.
Pensacola (Fla.) 5-star OL Alex Leatherwood is an Alabama commit, but after his Michigan visit against Wisconsin on Oct. 1, the Wolverines have become a serious threat. He’ll be an early enrollee, but unless he gets on campus again soon I think he sticks with Alabama.
Of the current commitments, Malone-Hatcher and Florence (Ala.) 3-star S J’Marick Woods plan to enroll early.
All ratings are from the 247Sports.com composite rating system.