Saturdays are for the boys, and Friday nights are for the recruits. Here’s your daily update on Michigan football and basketball recruiting — The Justice Report.
Familiar faces will return to Ann Arbor
Michigan’s game against UCF isn’t going to be one that is packed with a star-studded visitor list like the Wisconsin game is going to be. Usually, the official visitors are the names that stick out during fall visits, but on Saturday the two big names are from the 2018 class. The two unofficial visits will headline a very small list of visitors for Saturday.
Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar 4-star linebacker and Michigan commit Antwuan Johnson will be one of the two 2018 visitors on the scene. Johnson — the No. 292 overall player in 2018 — transferred to Dunbar from Springfield (Ohio) this season. In his game last week, he had an absurd 23 total tackles along with an interception. One of the more improved players from last season, Johnson seems to be pretty firm on his commitment to the Wolverines. This will be his third visit to Ann Arbor since his commitment back in March. He has visited Iowa and Penn state during the offseason and will visit Louisville on Sept. 17.
Detroit Cass Tech 4-star cornerback Kalon Gervin will be taking what seems like visit No. 50 for him to Ann Arbor on Saturday. Gervin is ranked No. 3 in the state of Michigan in the 2018 class, and ranked just outside of the top 200 recruits in the country at No. 201. He isn’t expected to make a decision until this time next season — if not longer. He had a fantastic camp season and is going to be the No. 2 cornerback at Cass Tech behind none other then 2017 5-star Donovan Peoples-Jones. Coach Jim Harbaugh has really infiltrated Detroit’s best recruits in 2017, and with Gervin that may continue into 2018. He’s visited more than half of the SEC this summer, but the Wolverines remain in the driver’s seat.
La, la, la Mo Bamba
— Kelly Brooks (@KellyBrooks6) Sept. 4, 2016
New York Westtown School 5-star power forward Mohamed Bamba visited Ann Arbor on Saturday with an entourage of Michigan basketball current players and commits. Better known as Mo, the 6-foot-11, 207-pound player was joined by 2017 Michigan basketball commits Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers and Jordan Poole. He was courted around by recent Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews and current players D.J. Wilson, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Derrick Walton Jr.
— Kelly Brooks (@KellyBrooks6) Sept. 3, 2016
Bamba is not very active on social media and doesn’t say much — to anyone. Landof10.com was able to get the aforementioned commit Jordan Poole to spill the beans on how the visit went for Bamba.
“We all had a great visit. It was Mo’s first time on campus, so he really got the college atmosphere, got to see that first football game, and the facilities,” Poole said. “From his perspective, I think he really enjoyed it.”
The Michigan offer was extended to Bamba on the visit. He is the No. 3 overall prospect in the country in 2017.
The meritocracy is becoming a huge recruiting tool
Everyone has heard about how many freshmen played in Michigan’s game against Hawaii last Saturday. The narrative that’s being forgotten is the recruiting advantage it provided.
Coach Jim Harbaugh put 17 true freshmen on the field Saturday — more than half of the 2016 class. Nothing sells itself more in recruiting than proving a player can get early playing time. These prospects are almost always the No. 1 star and the face of their program. Yet when they hit the field in Division I they’re almost forgotten until their redshirt junior season.
Harbaugh calls the program a meritocracy — the best players will play. Recruits at home watching saw guys like Chris Evans, Eddie McDoom, Ben Bredeson, Rashan Gary and more make plays that weren’t just in garbage time.
Coaches can sell programs as much as they want — the facilities, the rich history — but nothing screams “come play for us” like seeing the field in the first half of the first game of a true freshman’s first season. That should be a great selling point going forward for the Wolverines.
All ratings are from 247Sports.com’s composite ranking system.