Michigan Football Recruiting Updates on Danny O'Brien, Zach Banner and More

Matthew HansenCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2011

Will Michigan be victorious in the Danny O'Brien Recruitment?
Will Michigan be victorious in the Danny O'Brien Recruitment?Leon Halip/Getty Images

It has been quiet on the recruiting front over the past couple of weeks, with the exception of the Notre Dame weekend, which was as good of a visit weekend as one could imagine. Michigan found itself adding a second 2013 recruit in Dymonte Thomas, a safety and running back prospect, but his highest upside is on the defensive side of the ball. He is incredibly physical and loves to create contact, which makes him an exciting safety prospect at the next level. I am starting to compile the 5Q Top 100 and Top 250 for the 2013 Class and so far I’d say he will probably fall in the 4-Star 100-150 range nationally. 

There was a large list of visitors for the Notre Dame weekend and none of them were disappointed. Two prospects were particularly impressed and Michigan moved to the top of both lists. Offensive Tackle Zach Banner (5Q No. 17 Overall) and wide receiver Jordan Payton (5Q No. 57 Overall) were both blown away and were as close as one could be to committing on the spot. Both Banner and Payton are from the West Coast, so the worry is always that some of the shine will wear off after such an incredible experience and the distance from home will start to factor in again.

Banner in particular has a very tight-knit family, but he insists that the most important thing in his recruitment is finding a place that he feels comfortable and he certainly came away with that sense from Ann Arbor. Maybe even more importantly, his mom came away loving the university as well.

For Payton, Michigan was his stated leader coming in to the “Under the Lights” experience. Payton has a visit this weekend to Oklahoma and one in November to Penn State. It will be interesting to see what he thinks about Oklahoma in comparison to Michigan.

Danny O’Brien (5Q No. 88 Overall), a Defensive Tackle out of Powers Catholic in Flint, MI has had a very bizarre recruitment that had seemingly pointed to Tennessee until the past few months. It is definitely a two-way battle at this point and the rumors have been flying for quite some time. Many very close to the situation are still unsure which way the standout will go. At the end of the day his best friend Matt Godin is already a Michigan commitment, he is from Michigan and the Wolverines offer the best defensive line coaching he will find anywhere. That is going to be tough to beat for anybody, but Tennessee was his first love. 

We won’t have to wait much longer for O’Brien to make it official as he has set October sixth as his announcement date. He is scheduled to head back to Tennessee for a visit later in October, so the timing of things would seem to favor the Wolverines. Stay tuned on this one, it could get very interesting as the date approaches. O’Brien has genuine love for both schools and coaching staffs, so this will be a difficult decision for him either way.

Michigan already has a commitment from Defensive Tackle Ondre Pipkins, but they sorely need help at the position and O’Brien would be a huge addition to an outstanding defensive line class. 

The Wolverines are still in search of their running back of the future and if they don’t land Bri’onte Dunn in 2012, expect that search to extend itself to the 2013 class. Two early targets that have strong interest in Michigan are Kamani Thomas and Ty Isaac.

Thomas touts Michigan as his dream school and was quoted in the Atlantic Journal Constitution as saying: “If it was my choice, I’d sign with Michigan.” Thomas has family in Michigan and his dad loves the Wolverines as well. Even better news is that Thomas will visit Michigan’s campus this week for the showdown with San Diego State.

Ty Issac is a 6’3″, 215 monster of a running back who has just received an offer from Michigan. He has several offers already, but Michigan stands out. Don’t expect any real development in this recruitment any time soon, however, as Isaac will be coveted recruit for programs across the nation.


Check out my website, www.5thQuartersports.com, which features this story along with other articles and reports on college and other major sports. You can also follow me on Twitter for real-time updates on recruiting and other breaking news, @5thQuarterMatt.