Four-star wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, CA) was expected to get an in-home visit from the Michigan Wolverines' coaching staff on Thursday. However, that visit was cancelled, and it is unclear whether or not it will be rescheduled.
The nation's No. 93 overall prospect and No. 15 ranked wideout had Michigan high on his list of schools for much of his recruitment, but once the Wolverines added a second receiver, Jehu Chesson (St. Louis, MO), to their 2012 recruiting class last month, Payton's interest silently cooled off.
The Oaks Christian High School standout committed to Cal at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl two weeks ago and was not going to visit any other schools.
Everything changed Monday afternoon, though, when Cal assistant coach and Rivals.com's 2010 recruiter of the year, Tosh Lupoi, left the program to become Washington's defensive line coach.
The negative effects for Cal have already begun, as 5-star defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, CA) flipped his commitment from the Golden Bears to rival UCLA, and Payton also decided he was open to taking official visits and fielding interest from other schools.
"I'm not going to talk about it much, because I really don't have a lot to say about it," Payton said after he found out about Lupoi's departure. "I talked to him today, and I'm going to look at other schools.
"I'm not de-committing or anything. I'm just going to make sure that this is still the right place. I'm just going to look into other things, just in case. I want to get it out there that I'm still committed."
Payton confirmed via his Twitter account on Tuesday that the Washington coaches visited his home and that he planned on taking an official visit to Seattle this weekend. The Huskies were not one of his finalists when Payton announced at the Army Bowl, but the addition of Lupoi has made them a strong contender for his services.
It is unclear whether or not the Wolverines will continue to pursue Payton at all going forward, given the fact he is still committed to Cal and is undoubtedly being heavily recruited by Lupoi and the Huskies. At this point, Michigan is probably a long shot to secure a commitment from Payton.
One thing that is clear, though, is Michigan's need for a third wide receiver in the 2012 class after the announcement of Darryl Stonum's dismissal on Tuesday afternoon.
The number of proven playmakers at the position on Michigan's roster at the moment is very slim with the departure of senior receiver Junior Hemingway, who was one of the Wolverines' only deep threats in 2011.
There is not a whole lot of interest from available wide receiver recruits at the moment, though, and one of the last prospects to be interested at that position, Monty Madaris (Cincinnati, OH), does not have Michigan in his final four schools.
Madaris has narrowed his list of schools down to Florida State, Michigan State, Kentucky and Cincinnati, which all but leaves the Wolverines scrambling in order to find another talented receiver for this year's recruiting class.
Zach Dirlam is the Lead Editor of College Basketball and Big Ten Columnist for the Fox Sports, MSN and YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work. He is also undergoing a trial period as a Michigan Football Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Check out his blog, Dirlam’s Dirty Dugout Sports Blog, which features this story along with other articles and video reports on the major sports. Follow him on Twitter @ZachDirlam_SPAW!
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