Sunday Thoughts: Michigan Recruiting Thoughts, New Standouts and Rivalry Talk

Sunday Thoughts: Michigan Recruiting Thoughts, New Standouts and Rivalry Talk

Football

Sunday Thoughts: Michigan Recruiting Thoughts, New Standouts and Rivalry Talk


Some quick thoughts and tidbits about Michigan football that don’t fit anywhere else.


Sunday Thoughts: Michigan Recruiting Thoughts, New Standouts and Rivalry Talk

There’s not a lot happening right now.

Of course, it’s one of the deadest times of the year, given that the staff has been on vacation, it’s a recruiting dead period, and it’s really the calm before the storm, with Big Ten Media Days just over a week away. The BBQ at the Big House and fall camp start soon after that, so we’re really in our final stretch with just about nothing happening.

Meanwhile, I have some recruiting notes that don’t really fit anywhere at all, and weren’t necessarily pertinent on their own, so we’ll put them here.

Recruiting

One of the things I’ve been genuinely curious about the past few weeks is about some of Michigan’s remaining targets, particularly at all-purpose back. The Wolverines wowed (now four-star) Giles Jackson, who went on to impress at The Opening earlier this month. Likewise, heard good things about Wandale Robinson after his official visit during that big June visit weekend. Michigan already has Eric Gray and Zach Charbonnet in the fold — perhaps the best one-two punch in the nation at tailback as currently committed in the 2019 class. And yet, it seems like the Wolverines will be adding yet another in either Jackson or Robinson, if all goes to plan.

But what if they both want in? Which one wouldn’t be “a take?”

It’s what we call a quality problem, and based off of one source close to Michigan’s line of thinking that I recently spoke to, if both wanted in, both would be in. Of course, there would be something of a logjam at RB, given that that would make four-plus (George Jackson III is basically an offensive utility). But we’ve seen that type of thing happen before, in 2016 at wide receiver, when four top wideouts pledged to the Wolverines.

We’ll know soon enough, with Jackson making his decision official on August 24th. Robinson doesn’t have a set decision date as of current, but does have Michigan it his top six. Personally, I’m more optimistic about Michigan’s chances at landing Jackson, based off his “it’s a 40 year decision, not a 4 year one” quote he told me. But we’ll see.

Aside from that, the place where I continue to be curious is along the defensive line. I think Michigan is in good standing with Aeneas DiCosmo. I’d call Zach Harrison a coin flip based off what I’ve heard and what I posted earlier in the week. (Not that it’s an actual coin flip. I think he knows where he wants to go.) I don’t expect him to go to the BBQ, by the way, for those who are curious. Michigan is still pursuing George Karlaftis, and he continues to listen to its overtures, despite his commitment to Purdue. And the Wolverines already have an impressive haul at the position, with Christopher Hinton, Mazi Smith, King Ojabo and Gabe Newburg already in the fold. And yet, the position could continue to grow.

Still waiting to see what happens with cornerback Mike Sainristil. I posted about him two Sundays ago, and I imagine he’ll be a Wolverine sooner than later. Which couldn’t hurt with his former Everett (MA) teammate Lewis Cine.

I’ve continued to reach out to some of my guys and continue to have no idea what Daxton Hill is going to do. I posted about Michigan having tepid optimism, but I still could see him picking a handful of schools, with Michigan being no worse than third.

It’s been a quiet week, so that’s all I’ve got on my end.

Under the radar

I say that, yet neither of the names I’m going to mention are truly under the radar.

I’ll start with Joe Milton, who I’ve continued to hear more praise about from various people. One current high school coach told me that, as a football junkie, he’s paid close attention to Milton’s career, even back when he was a junior at Orlando (FL) Olympia. According to said coach, he jumped off the page as a likely superstar.

Which is exactly what one source close to Michigan reiterated to me.

What they told me is that if Milton gets the playbook down (which is likely at least a year away from happening, given the complexity), their expectation is that he would start above every other QB on Michigan’s roster. The source said that Michigan’s staff is absolutely salivating over his potential, and views him as a likely first-round NFL Draft pick once his career is said and done. Part of that is his competitive nature — whereas Patterson and Peters are both more soft spoken (McCaffrey isn’t), Milton is fierce and vocal, all to go along with the immense physical talent. This is a definite stay tuned scenario.

However, you won’t have to stay tuned for long to see walk-on running back Tru Wilson, based off what I’ve been hearing. Coach Harbaugh mentioned him on his podcast recently, and I’ve had several people — including Karan Higdon and Chris Evans (who I’ll have quotes from on this sometime soon) — tell me that Wilson is special at the position. “He makes jaw-dropping cuts,” one source told me.

Before recently, I thought it was just hype — despite believing in what Wilson can do — I saw him play as Warren (MI) De La Salle’s QB back in 2015 when I was scouting then-Michigan target Allen Stritzinger. He was something of a positional journeyman for a bit, but that doesn’t always mean it won’t come to fruition — see: Winovich, Chase.

The hype on Wilson, I’ve been assured, is very real. He should get significant carries in an already loaded backfield.

In-state rivalry stuff

Over the last few days, we’ve seen the weird post by Sparty Digital about Devin Bush Jr. and the retort by former Wolverines and then Bush. My friend and colleague on the MSU side, Rico Beard, then posted the gif the next morning of Joe Bolden planting the stake in 2014, saying he finds what Michigan does amusing.

But what I find amusing is the constant over reactions and seeming need for validation — from both sides. With the Bolden post, I remember when that happened (and Brady Hoke subsequently apologized after Dantonio made the big fuss about Michigan “acting like they’re all that”). It wasn’t a big deal then, and it’s stupid that it becomes anything. From what I’ve heard, Bolden was just trying to light a fire under his team, one that was heavy underdogs, yet that turns into #disrespekt. (Narrator: “It wasn’t.) Now, that #disrespekt comes from Bush’s retort calling MSU “lil bros.” It’s all over radio and elsewhere, where Michigan fans say they don’t want to hear it, and Spartan fans are like recent history bro!

Whatever.

In many ways, and dare I say, for the most part, it’s all fun and games. Maybe not for all, because some people get wayyy too into it and take everything far too seriously. But when an MSU fan account starts a battle with a questionable tweet, realize that these things don’t exist in a vacuum. You can question Bush’s decision to respond to it, but if he does, don’t be surprised that he responded in kind.

But that wasn’t the only Michigan – MSU barb-trading I witnessed this week.

In a John Beard-esque “I’m a part of the story, can’t be a part of the story” moment, when our own Evan Petzold tweeted out the preliminary list of BBQ visitors, some random MSU dude responded, “Who cares?” (Well, evidently, you.) But, he left the bevy of Michigan commits tagged, and 2019 TE commit Erick All Jr. responded, “I do.” Then the MSU fan kept going on about “8 outta 10, bro!” blah, blah, blah. It wasn’t a good look.

And I don’t say that because it was an MSU fan doing it to a Michigan commit. I’ve seen similar going the other way (well, less with Michigan to MSU commits, but to OSU commits) and it’s just a bad look overall. I get it, you love the school you root for, you want them to beat your rival and rejoice when they do. But, as Kenny Allen told me back in the summer of 2017, sometimes the fans care way more than the players who play in the games do. And the players are the actual ones with skin in the game.

So, point to all of this: enjoy the rivalry. Hate on them as you will. But realize that it is just a game. Don’t tweet at teenagers who have decided to continue their careers at the other school. If you tweet stuff at current players, don’t be surprised if they tweet back harshly. You may feel entitled to that opinion, but realize they are the ones training at 5am, and putting their everything towards these games. No matter how big a fan you are of either school, you’re not doing one iota of the work of any of those players on either team. So keep things in perspective, and keep it civil, win or lose.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

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