What We Know: Michigan, Alabama and Daxton Hill

What We Know: Michigan, Alabama and Daxton Hill

Football

What We Know: Michigan, Alabama and Daxton Hill

Things seemed awfully bleak for Michigan a week and a half ago when former Wolverines five-star commit Daxton Hill, from Tulsa (OK) Booker T. Washington, flipped to Alabama — something that no one seemed to see coming. Sources indicated to WolverinesWire that even some very, very close to Hill were blindsided by the news, as they were not consulted or kept in the loop.

But, just days later, optimism reigned supreme in Ann Arbor, which came about when Lettermen Row’s Jeremy Birmingham, an Ohio State writer, put in a 247Sports Crystal Ball flip for Hill back to Michigan.

It seemed like an odd person to have intel on that particular situation, given that he covers Michigan’s rival. However, I’ve spoken with Birm all throughout, and he’s shared intel as to what he’s been hearing. If you’ve been listening to the Locked on Wolverines podcast, I’ve opened up a bit about some of what he’s relayed.

So, before we get into what I’ve heard from the Michigan side of things from multiple sources, let’s get into some of the things that Birm shared. Last Wednesday, when he put in his flip to Michigan, his sources indicated that Hill was likely to flip back to the Wolverines, and expected it that day. When that didn’t happen, the intel was that it would happen soon, and before Signing Day. As I discussed throughout several episodes of the podcast, the closer to Early Signing Day we got without a commitment, the less likely Hill was to flip back.

Then, on Tuesday morning’s episode, I went from saying it was a 45% likelihood to a 65% deal. Why? Because of an interesting recruiting battle going on between Alabama and Ohio State.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) four-star safety Jordan Battle has been committed to Ohio State since June as a cornerback. However, per Birm — and a 79% 247Sports Crystal Ball — Battle isn’t expected to be a Buckeye once everything is said and done. Instead, there is a heavy expectation that he will flip to Alabama. Currently, the Crimson Tide have two safeties committed: Hill and former Michigan target, Demarcco Hellams. The word is, Hill is not looking to be a part of a class that has three safeties. So, in short, watch what happens with Battle and Alabama on Wednesday. Should he sign a letter of intent before Hill to end up in Tuscaloosa, there’s a strong indication that Hill could be back in the fold in Ann Arbor.

But why did Hill flip anyway? Sources have indicated that there’s multiple reasons.

While Hill’s family indicated it might be a matter of distance that caused for the flip, Michigan went on an all out assault just hours after Hill’s flip, dismantling the argument that Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh would be moving on to the NFL soon. Harbaugh went to ESPN that Sunday morning and dispelled the rumors, and Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich made an impassioned argument that the loss to Ohio State was a ‘mirage.’ Sources have indicated that there was a concerted effort by Alabama to push the narrative that Harbaugh & Co. would be out this offseason to secure his commitment. Now that that narrative is dead, once again, it’s given Hill pause.

As far as how Michigan feels about the possibility of landing Hill again, it remains optimistic — which is a far cry from where it stood that Sunday, after being surprised by the news. Sources have indicated to me that they feel good about bringing Hill back into the fold, independent of all of the aforementioned intel on Jordan Battle and Alabama. Additionally, Hill has remained in contact with Michigan’s still-committed players in the interim, and is still being lobbied by members of the 2019 class to rejoin them in Ann Arbor.

As of now, I remain at about 65% in my expectation that Hill could be a Wolverine when all is said and done. However, as we’ve seen with the Zach Harrison recruitment — where I was 95% certain, based of sourced intel, that he would become a Wolverine — things can change rather quickly in the world of recruiting.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

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