SAN ANTONIO — The long-awaited U.S. Army All-American Bowl is officially underway with a week of practice leading up to the contest between the best players from the East against the best from the West on Saturday.
There is no shortage of Michigan commits and targets playing in the game … here’s what I can gather from Monday’s practice regarding Michigan’s uncommitted targets.
Michigan has a long way to go with Aubrey Solomon
Michigan’s top target left on the board at defensive tackle is its former top commit, Aubrey Solomon. A 5-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings, Solomon decommitted from Michigan in August after having committed in June.
Based on what I heard leading into this event, Michigan was still well in it for Solomon. And I still believe that to be true. But it’s pretty clear the Wolverines are far from landing the coveted Georgian.
It’s obvious Alabama leads, with Georgia maybe even ahead of Michigan. Solomon told our SECCountry.com’s Jeff Sentell that Alabama has a “huge lead” and he believes it to be an “SEC fight.”
All of that is terrible news for Michigan.
On Monday, he told me this:
A. Michigan is the best academic school, which is huge for him.
B. Michigan checked all of his mother’s boxes on their visit. His mom brought a lengthy checklist with numerous questions; Michigan answered every question with a paragraph. That meant a lot to him and his mom.
C. His mom told him to “go as far away as possible for school,” and to not stay home.
D. Michigan isn’t recruiting him nearly as hard as Alabama and Georgia. At least, that’s how he feels.
So, while I do think that he thoroughly enjoys Michigan, the program, the atmosphere, the school, etc. — it’s just simply not the glowing program as Alabama. And Michigan is not recruiting him the same, either.
It’s obvious why everyone wants him so badly. I can break down his film all day, but it’s simple: he’s ferocious.
— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) January 2, 2017
Willie Gay is seriously good
Starkville (Miss.) 4-star LB Willie Gay is Michigan’s only target left at linebacker. If the Wolverines were to land him, he would also be their best linebacker commit.
That was on full display Monday. His speed and strength matched with his work ethic on the field, which is hard to find anywhere else in the country.
I don’t know if I would call him the best linebacker in the country, simply due to some issues with mechanics. But his athleticism alone puts him in the discussion.
He isn’t a must for Michigan, due to having four linebacker commitments already. But he would be an enormous addition for this fourth-ranked recruiting class. I don’t know if he’s a plug-and-play guy for Michigan, due to the return of Mike McCray and the expected emergence of Devin Bush Jr. But it will be hard for the Michigan staff to keep him off the field.
He’s a dude, as Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown would describe it. Michigan’s academic standards might hold him back from being able to become a part of the class. But if that gets settled, then consider him a Wolverine, if you ask me.
Chuck Filiaga is a must for Michigan
I was at the East practice Monday. I’ll have a lot of scoop from the West on Tuesday. But from asking around, watching videos on social media, etc. — 4-star OT Chuck Filiaga continued his crushing tour on the offensive line.
He’s dominated against the Texas 5A competition in his first year playing in a state that does everything bigger, including producing 6-foot-7 linemen such as Filiaga.
His mechanics are far beyond the average high school tackle recruit. And they’re better than most, if not all, at the U.S. Army Game practices. I’ve always thought of him as a 5-star prospect.
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) January 2, 2017
He doesn’t have many flaws other than he needs to get stronger to have more college-ready strength. But that’s about it.
I don’t see Michigan striking out here. I still fully expect Michigan to land his commitment during the game on Saturday.