Brady Hoke and his Michigan Wolverines coaching staff’s recruiting efforts are far from finished.
While the Wolverines rake in premier athlete after premier athlete, key targets remain who could strengthen an already healthy and robust 2014 recruiting haul.
The obvious biggies are Woodbridge, Va. 5-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand and Paramus Catholic 5-star corner Jabrill Peppers. If a 6-star ranking was possible, they’d have one from Rivals, Scout, 247Sports and every other prep-talent evaluating service on the Web—that you can take to the bank.
Should the Wolverines have the fortune of landing Hand, a behemoth 6’5”, 247-pound man-child, and Peppers, a 6’1”, 205-pound possible Charles Woodson-in-the-making, Hoke’s 2014 collection would almost certainly be the No. 1 in the land—it’s No. 5 at the moment, according to 247Sports.com—and quite possibly the best-ever Michigan class since the inception of the wonderfully entertaining process of rating prep stars.
But let’s say that Hand and Peppers choose other schools—they both have plenty options, so thinking about them opting for a program other than Michigan should be in the minds of every Wolverines recruiting follower—next year’s grocery bag of eliteness won’t be short on the goods.
And that’s not because of the players who have already given their pledges to the Maize and Blue—it’s because of the ones out there in pick-a-school limbo who could very well commit to Michigan in the coming months.
Jones is an interesting case to evaluate.
At 6’5” and 290 pounds, he’s near-perfect in terms of size to one day fill the void at left tackle. He’s predicted by 247Sports' Steven Lorenz to roll the dice with Ohio State. But Fox Sports Next’s Allen Trieu feels differently.
Trieu was a guest Tuesday on the HUGE Show, a popular syndicated program in Michigan. While talking with guest host Sam Webb, the Detroit News’ Wolverines football beat writer, Trieu stated that he felt Jones would pick Michigan State.
Why? Trieu just had a feeling. He didn’t elaborate much, other than saying that Jones likes the Spartans.
But there is another angle to consider.
For starters, one of his schoolmates has already chosen the Spartans: Alvin Ellis, a 3-star rated guard, is joining Tom Izzo’s basketball team this season. Perhaps that could influence Jones, who most likely is familiar with Ellis.
After all, they attended school together. They’re athletes, and as we all know, athletes tend to associate with other athletes.
That’s just food for thought.
Ellis’ decision may have absolutely no bearing on whether or not Jones does or doesn’t choose Michigan State—or Michigan, for that matter.
Jones visited Michigan on April 4. The popular thought, at least on Twitter, is that Jones likes the Buckeyes. So there goes the Ellis-Spartans theory…for now.
Elite 4 star Tackle Jamarco Jones who has over 30 offers coach tells Steve Wiltfong he believes OSU his leader decision coming in May-June.— jbook (@jbook37) April 10, 2013
Adoree’ Jackson (Junipero Serra; Gardena, Calif.)
Jackson is expected to commit to USC, according to 247Sports USC insider Scott Schrader.
But as we’ve seen so far, those predictions don’t always come to fruition; they’re educated guesses. They're probably pretty accurate at the time made, but high school kids are so finicky these days. The slightest whisper could change a decision in an instant.
And that’s why Jackson, a 5’11”, 185-pound, 5-star rated corner/defensive back could flip his interest more towards Michigan’s direction.
Wolverines tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Dan Ferrigno is on the trail for Jackson, who's a No. 3-ranked corner of 2014 according to 247Sports calculations.
Why does that matter?
Here’s why: Ferrigno was almost entirely responsible for landing Drake Harris, the 4-star Grand Rapids Christian two-sport stud who originally committed to Michigan State at about this time in 2012. Harris was Green and White all the way—most thought—and nothing could have made him change his tune.
But that was until Ferrigno strutted his recruiting savvy and pulled the 2014 receiver from the grips of the Spartans, who hoped that Harris would play both basketball and football. That was the original plan, mind you.
If Ferrigno works his magic with Jackson, Michigan may not suffer all that much if it doesn’t get Peppers. Jackson wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize, but getting Peppers—who wants to basically do everything in college, including winning the Heisman Trophy as a true freshman—is ideal for the Wolverines’ overall athletic-talent level.
Note: Peppers is classified as an athlete/safety by 247Sports, which ranks him No. 1 at both spots. However, he’s being recruited as a corner by Michigan.
Brown is 6’4” and 282 pounds, and his size brings about options for any coaching staff that secures his services.
As the No. 4-ranked prospect of 2014, Brown is a nightmarish 5-star defensive tackle (No. 1 overall) to handle. But he could be equally horrific for offensive lines to contend with should he be moved to defensive end: It’s possible to play around with Brown at different positions given his athleticism. He’d have to drop weight, but plenty of guys have done that in the past.
Now, if Hand waives goodbye to Michigan and chooses, say, Virginia Tech, the Wolverines would want to pounce on Brown immediately—not that they haven’t already.
Browns’ two-position potential could supplement the loss of Hand. Again, he brings so much to the table. Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison would have the time of his life coaching Brown, who would be a surefire NFL candidate after prowling college fields for three years.
The cupboards are quickly being stocked in Ann Arbor. More topnotch talent will surely commit to Hoke’s program. And Jones, Jackson and Brown could be among those to make the choice to play for one of college football’s sleeping giants.
Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81