Stay updated as Michigan rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Kevin Goheen, who brings two decades of experience as a sports writer to coverage of Michigan recruiting. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Wolverines recruiting news.
The lesson of Brandon Peters
Our recruiting mailbag doesn’t run until Wednesday, but I received a question that I wanted to delve into deeper than I would for a mailbag column. Here it is, from Facebook follower Scott Parker:
“Did Jim Harbaugh miss on Brandon Peters during his recruitment? Could that be the reason he’s not playing?”
The old adage of “patience is a virtue” is a daily struggle for sports fans.
The biggest topic concerning Michigan this season has been the inconsistency on offense, particularly the play of quarterbacks Wilton Speight and John O’Korn. Statistically, Michigan is middle of the road in the Big Ten. It is averaging 27.2 points per game, ninth in the 14-team conference, and 376.3 yards per game, eighth best in the league.
The offense hasn’t lived up to expectations and too often has been placing the burden on the defense or special teams to secure wins.
Which brings us back to the quarterbacks, because it’s always about the quarterbacks, right?
Of course it’s not, but quarterbacks get the largest share of credit and blame. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has made his decision to go with, and now stick with, O’Korn after Speight was injured against Purdue on Sept. 23.
Fans are clamoring to see redshirt freshman Brandon Peters, just as they were clamoring to see O’Korn get a shot. The way the offense has performed, that’s not a shock, but just because Harbaugh is keeping Peters on the sideline doesn’t mean the player was a “miss” or isn’t capable. It means the coaching staff, and Harbaugh most importantly, believe O’Korn gives them a better chance to win.
Peters was a 4-star recruit from Avon, Ind., and the top-rated player in the state, according to the 247Sports composite. He is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, having put on more than 10 pounds since high school. Peters got to show off his arm during the spring game when he was facing backup defensive players, and it sparked intrigue. Would he get a chance to win the job from Speight?
He did get that chance, as did O’Korn, during preseason camp. Speight won the job.
That doesn’t mean Peters hasn’t developed or can’t be the starter some day. It just means he isn’t now.
Recruiting a player requires projecting him into the future. Some players make coaches look brilliant fast. Others take patience. The same question regarding Peters is being asked about running back Kareem Walker. Fans want to know why the 5-star signee from 2016 isn’t playing more, even though Karan Higdon is coming off a 200-yard game at Indiana, Ty Isaac started the season with consecutive 100-yard games, and Chris Evans had more than 600 yards rushing last season.
Circumstances and coaching decisions are keeping those players on the bench — not “misses” in recruiting.
Decision time for George Karlaftis
Four-star 2019 defensive end George Karlaftis says he will announce his commitment Friday night after his West Lafayette (Ind.) team opens Class 3A sectional play against Benton Central. Karlaftis, who is 6-5 and weighs 260 pounds, is set to choose between Michigan, hometown Purdue, Miami (Fla.), and Notre Dame.
Committing this Friday‼️🤐
— George Karlaftis III (@TheGK88) October 16, 2017
Purdue is the pick by the 247Sports Crystal Ball, but Michigan has had good luck in Indiana the last few years, including signing Peters and Evans in 2016. The top two rated players in Indiana for 2018 — offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor and linebacker Cameron McGrone — are committed to Michigan.
Karlaftis has visited Purdue twice recently — Sept. 23 for Michigan’s 28-10 win, and Oct. 7 when Purdue beat Minnesota, 31-17.
More visits on tap
The guest list for the game against Rutgers on Oct. 28 is growing. Hassan Haskins, a 2018 running back, is among those who have said they plan to visit Michigan that day, along with Ekiyor and 2019 commit Christopher Hinton and younger brother Myles Hinton, who is being recruited in the 2020 class.
Evan Petzold of Scout.com reports that 2020 tight end Jackson Hodor of Orlando, Fla., is also planning a trip to Ann Arbor.
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) October 17, 2017
As we mentioned in the Monday edition of the Winged Helmet, tight end is a position of priority for Michigan. That’s especially true considering the loss of 2016 signee Devin Asiasi as a transfer to UCLA and not signing a tight end in the 2017 class. Michigan has used as many as five tight ends in its offensive rotation this season.
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