Flip or Flop: Michigan Recruiting Edition
The days of backing off a player who has already committed to a school are over. Michigan has plenty of targets still on their recruiting board who are currently pledged to other programs. We’ve seen this time and time again. Until that NLI is signed, the recruitment is not over. I wanted to take a look at a few players Michigan coaches and staff are still pursuing, that could end up flipping to Michigan, or flopping and staying with their current team. Now, we expect this to be a small class, so there are different scenarios that have to take place for each player. I could write a novel explaining each one, so I’m going to try to avoid that. But if we’ve learned anything following recruiting in the Harbaugh era, it’s that anything can happen, and no player is lock for or against Michigan.
Note: I have an 8 month pregnant wife at home. There has been a lot of HGTV on in the house, so we’ll just call that inspiration for the theme of this article.
Marquan McCall, OG – Flip
The best players in Michigan, play at Michigan. An old mantra that has returned under Jim Harbaugh. Michigan is not afraid to go into enemy territory, and will recruit where the talent is, looking at you Georgia. However, Harbaugh will always want to get the best talent at home, to stay home. Michigan landed the top 6 players in last year’s cycle, and currently has the top 3 in state. Which made the commitment of Marquan McCall to Kentucky a little surprising. He was ranked #1 in the state at the time, now #4, and is exactly the kind of guard Michigan has been recruiting. When he chose Kentucky, McCall made the point to mention Michigan wasn’t pushing for him very hard. Everyone has an opinion on this, but we’re going to push rumors and theories aside. McCall will be at the Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday, and it appears Michigan is now showing interest. Some are suggesting McCall will be the backup plan if Emil Ekiyor indeed chooses Alabama. For what it’s worth, I think Emil stays put. He was the second commitment in this class, and whenever a player is committed for this long, these rumors will come up. He has been a recruiter for Michigan, but Bama is Bama so who knows. In my opinion, Michigan will add another lineman in this class regardless, and frankly if you haven’t learned yet, that the position a player is playing now doesn’t matter, you haven’t been paying attention. Any offensive lineman, defensive lineman, or tight end is a candidate to play somewhere else once they get to Michigan. We’ll know more after his visit this weekend, but I predict McCall will end up in this class. Giving Michigan the top 4 in state recruits for consecutive seasons.
Chris Smith II, DB – Flip
I’ve had Smith in this class since April, when his friend and fellow Georgia defensive back, Myles Sims, committed to Michigan. Sims has been a solid recruiter for the Wolverines, and one guy he has been on since the start is Chris Smith. I know Michigan has wanted him in this class, but Smith decided to commit to his home school Georgia Bulldogs after a visit at the end of April. He hasn’t been mentioned much since then, but like McCall, he will be attending the MSU game this weekend. Harbaugh has made great strides in Georgia, and I believe Smith will be another steal from the backyard of SEC country. The question with Smith, again goes back to position and size of class. Along with Sims, Michigan also has commitments from the Green brothers and Sammy Faustin, all slated to play defensive back. It may be a matter of timing for Smith, but I think he ends up in this class. Michigan is also in heavy pursuit of another defensive back currently committed elsewhere.
Josh Jobe, DB – Flip
Jobe’s recruitment is an interesting one. He has been committed to Miami for over two years. He visited the Hurricanes eight times this summer, and a few months ago announced via Twitter he was shutting down his recruitment. So why even mention him as a flip candidate? Because Josh Jobe is 19 years old, which made him ineligible to play high school football in Florida this year. His high school coach, Chris Merritt wanted to help Jobe find the right school for him to complete his senior season. Merritt was put in touch with high school coach David Dykeman through a mutual friend. Jobe ended up choosing to play for Dykeman at his school in Connecticut. That school is the home of Michigan WR Tarik Black, Cheshire Academy, and that mutual friend was Michigan DC Don Brown. Brown recruited players from Cheshire while at Boston College, and is loved in the northeast. Harbaugh has also been involved in Jobe’s recruitment, and his bond to the Michigan coaching staff is strong. At this point, I’d consider his commitment to Miami irrelevant, and his flip to Michigan inevitable.
Shocky Jacques-Louis, WR – Flip
A recent commit to Tennessee, after decomitting from Kentucky, Michigan has always been in the running for the Florida wide receiver. There hasn’t been a lot of chatter regarding his recruitment, but it seemed at the time his offer from Michigan may have been the biggest factor in his decision to back off his commitment to Kentucky. He will also be visiting Ann Arbor this weekend, making his third official visit in as many weeks. Jacques-Louis was in Kentucky two weeks ago, and Tennessee last weekend. I’m guessing he will look to make a final decision and lock down his roller coaster recruitment very soon after taking in his top 3 schools. Michigan obviously has the huge advantage of getting the last shot, and it just so happens to be a night game against the in-state rival Spartans with a bunch of other prized recruits in the house. One of those prized recruits includes fellow wideout, Amon-Ra St Brown, the #1 WR recruit in the country. Not sure how this one is going to play out, but if he’s a take for Michigan, I think there’s a good chance he flips.
Tyler Shough, QB – Flop
First, it’s pronounced “Shuck”, and Michigan really wanted him to be the second quarterback in this class. I considered Shough a lock for a long time, especially after his visit to Michigan in the spring. I think Shough very easily could have committed to Michigan that Monday, but he decided he wanted to go a little more into summer and take additional visits. Shough comes from a family of Michigan fans, and his favorite player is Tom Brady. He is a smart kid, like considered attending Harvard, wicked smart kid. Michigan seemed to have everything he wanted. Then Shough took a visit to North Carolina, committed the next day, and he was gone. We know Michigan reached out to him recently, and we know Michigan recently added a second QB in Kevin Doyle. I put him on this list because I don’t think Shough’s commitment to UNC is solid. I would not be shocked to see him decommit in the near future. At this point, I don’t know where Michigan would fit in, and I would guess a west coast commitment like Oregon would be more likely. Again, anything can happen, and Shough is a favorite of Jim Harbaugh. I’m calling him a flop at this point, because it’s hard to envision the scenario where he ends up at Michigan, but he’s worth keeping an eye on if he indeed backs off his UNC commitment.
Shayne Simon, LB – Flop
Another state Michigan has infiltrated under Jim Harbaugh in recruiting, is New Jersey. The addition of Chris Partridge has helped huge in the Garden State, most importantly with the 2016 consensus top recruit, former Partridge player, Rashan Gary. In the case of Shayne Simon, a former Partridge rival may have hurt his recruitment. Simon was down to Michigan and Notre Dame, and rumors are Simon’s high school coach in New Jersey is not a fan of Partridge, and steered Simon to the Irish. Michigan always felt good about their chances with Simon, and I know that behind the scenes his commitment to Notre Dame was seen as no more than a speed bump. Simon is exactly the kind of player Don Brown wants in his defense. His versatility makes him a candidate for the viper position, or a rover safety like Josh Metullus. An advantage for Michigan, was the potential turmoil in South Bend. After a terrible season in 2016, Brian Kelly was thought to be on the hot seat heading into 2017. The Irish have performed well so far, but aside from their loss to Georgia that looked like a neutral site game, the strength of their schedule is yet to come. Games against USC, Miami, NC State, and Stanford loom, and bad losses could derail Notre Dame’s season, and end Kelly’s time as Irish head coach. I considered Simon a toss-up for Michigan, even after his commitment to Notre Dame, but I’m not so sure anymore. Aside from that turmoil, I don’t know if the timing will be right for Simon to flip to Michigan. At this point I’m going to have to file him under flop, but that turmoil is possible, so he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Just Missed The List
Brey Walker, OT – Oklahoma
Taron Vincent, DT – Ohio State
Brian Asamoah, OLB – Oklahoma
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