Michigan Football: Impact of a Potential Leonard Fournette Visit This Weekend

Austin FoxCorrespondent IIJuly 9, 2013

January 1,2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke talks with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first half of the 2013 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Is Leonard Fournette planning on visiting Michigan this upcoming weekend? According to a report from 247Sports, he is.

Fournette is already going to be in Cleveland this weekend for a 7-on-7 tournament and, by the sounds of it, plans to head up to Ann Arbor when he gets a chance.

Rivals.com ranks Fournette as the best running back in the country and the third overall recruit. Of course, the only two players ranked ahead of him are Da'Shawn Hand and Jabrill Peppers.

Fournette, a New Orleans native, has long been considered an LSU lean, so even if Michigan does get him on campus, it will still be a longshot.

But simply getting him on campus is step one in the recruiting process. Without doing so, the Wolverines would have no shot.

We've seen recruits' opinions of Michigan skyrocket after the first time they visit Ann Arbor, most notably with Hand and Peppers.

As a result, Peppers is currently a Michigan commit, and the Wolverines appear to be Hand's leader.

Now, I don't expect those kind of results if Fournette does indeed visit this weekend, but at the same time, it will raise Michigan's chances from almost zero to at least possible.

Fournette isn't the only 5-star running back Michigan is in on; the Wolverines are also involved with California native Joe Mixon, but he too is a longshot.

Even if Michigan strikes out with both Fournette and Mixon, I'm sure the coaches won't be losing any sleep over it. It has been made quite clear that running back is not a priority in this class, with both Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith being freshmen this fall.

Anything that can be added to the position in this class would just be a luxury.

Now, again, it needs to be said that Fournette will be incredibly hard to pull out of the south, with both LSU and Alabama believed to be eventual destinations.

Perhaps this is as big of a story as it is simply because of what it would do to Michigan's status with the three best players in the country; elite players take notice of what other elite players are doing and, lots of times, want to play together.

What's even more impressive is that none of these three players are from the Midwest.

Brady Hoke has simply dominated the Midwest since he has been at Michigan and is now showing that he is pretty darn good at reeling in elite players from outside of it as well.