Recruiting: Where Things Stand

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Michigan’s coaching staff has been on the road for the last week, checking in on various class of 2015, 2016 and 2017 targets across the country. Michigan’s 2015 recruiting board has narrowed significantly, but the 2016 board remains full with seven outstanding scholarship offers and a commitment in hand. Here’s the latest on where things stand with Michigan’s recruiting.

Class of 2015

The commitment of Duncan Robinson changed Michigan’s recruiting focus in the class of 2015. Robinson is a transfer, but he’ll gain eligibility next season and his commitment caused the Wolverines to cool on 2015 guard Jalen Coleman, who is now down to a final three of Notre Dame, UNLV and Illinois. Other former offers, Jalen Brunson and Eric Davis, made recent commitments to Villanova and Texas respectively, which leaves one primary option in the class of 2015: PJ Dozier.

John Beilein will have an in-home visit with Dozier today, following up on LaVall Jordan’s in-home visit last week. Michigan will then host Dozier on his first official visit on September 26th for home football weekend against Minnesota. Dozier also has trips planned to North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgetown.

Michigan also remains in contact with five-star big man Caleb Swanigan. Michigan State is the presumed leader in Swanigan’s recruitment, but the Wolverines hosted Swanigan for camp last year and continue to work in his recruitment. Kentucky and Purdue are two other schools that have been linked to Swanigan as Matt Painter had an in-home visit on Monday.

Class of 2016

Jon Teske

Michigan’s lone commitment in the class of 2016 continues to show improvement on film. We posted fresh highlights of Teske earlier this week and the Wolverines were already in to check on their future post player during the evaluation period.

Derryck Thornton Jr.

John Beilein was in to check on Derryck Thornton and the Wolverines continue to do everything right in his recruitment. Thornton is now a top ten recruit nationally, ranked No. 7 in the 247 Sports Composite and as the No. 1 point guard in the country by Scout.com. The Wolverines continue to have plenty of competition and Kentucky appears to have made the biggest impact. Fall visits to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness and Michigan for a football game have been discussed as the next step in Thronton’s recruitment.

TJ Leaf

John Beilein also stopped in to see TJ Leaf when he was on the West coast. Arizona’s Sean Miller, Florida coach Billy Donovan and UCLA have also stopped by to see the versatile combo forward. Leaf has discussed a February visit to Michigan and there’s been speculation that he could aim to make a college decision this spring. Michigan has hosted Leaf on two unofficial visits and there’s heavy mutual interest. Leaf’s top ten includes Arizona, Duke, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, SDSU, Texas, UCLA and Xavier along with Michigan.

Tyus Battle

John Beilein, Jeff Meyer and LaVall Jordan were all in-home with Tyus Battle and his family on Monday. The Wolverine staff made an impression on Battle’s father with their thorough approach.

“They did a great job of laying out for Tyus what it would be like at Michigan for him and how they would develop him to reach his goals, and the campus life and stuff like that,” Gary Battle told ZagsBlog. “They did a PowerPoint on the iPad and they were pretty thorough. They were really good. Really good.”

Battle has also been visited or will be visited by Thad Matta, Billy Donovan, Kevin Ollie, Tony Bennett , John Calipari, Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan and others.

Cassius Winston

John Beilein and Tom Izzo were in to watch Cassius Winston last week and Fred Hoiberg (with two assistants) and Thad Matta have also been in to watch the talented point guard. Winston visited both in-state schools for football games during over Labor Day, but Ohio State and Iowa State have been very involved in Winston’s recruitment for a long time. Winston is up to No. 36 in the 247 Sports Composite rankings and should be poised for a big season at U of D.

Josh Langford

John Beilein, Jeff Meyer and LaVall Jordan were also in to check up on Michigan’s most recent offer, Josh Langford, on Tuesday. Langford and his family have kept things close to the vest, but expect Michigan to be very involved in this recruitment once the Langfords begin to move the process along. Florida Atlantic, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan State, California, Stanford, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn and Memphis are other schools expected to check up on Langford.

Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray doesn’t hold a Michigan offer yet, but the Wolverines have made their interest in the Canadian combo guard clear. John Beilein made the trip to Canada to watch the 6-foot-5 guard last week. Murray is also hearing from Michigan State, Syracuse, Illinois among others and there remains a chance that he could reclassify to the 2015 class. Murray will play on a loaded squad this season at Athlete Institute as Thon and Matur Maker both opted to transfer to the Canadian powerhouse.

Seth Towns

Michigan continues to track the 6-foot-7 Northland scoring forward and he continues to improve. Wolverine assistant coach Bacari Alexander was in to check in with Seth Towns last week and Towns continues to speak favorably about Michigan.

“You know, it’s a great system, great school,” Towns told Zach Fleer.  “[Alexander] was talking about how I fit just right into their program, I mean, I can’t argue with him, so I’m just looking forward to seeing how things work out.”

Ohio State, UCLA Wisconsin, Iowa and Harvard were also in to check in on Towns recently.

Quentin Goodin

Quentin Goodin visited Florida over the weekend and added an offer from the Gators. Alabama, Marquette, Tennessee and Xavier are a few schools that have been or are planning to be in to check in on Goodin during the fall evaluation period thus far, according to reports.

Miles Bridges

At one point mutual interest between Miles Bridges and Michigan appeared to be very cool, but it’s picked up a bit in recent months. John Beilein and Bacari Alexander have been in contact with Bridges and his family and the Wolverines were in to watch the do-it-all forward last week.

Tyler Cook

Michigan was in to check on Tyler Cook last week along with Kansas, Missouri and St. Louis. Cook visited Ann Arbor in August and the No. 58 Composite forward is another front court player to track this season.

Class of 2017 Targets to Watch

John Beilein watched 2017 Canadian wing guard Christian Davis during the evaluation period and Saginaw Arthur Hill super-sophomore Brian Bowen has already visited Ann Arbor for a football game. It’s still very early for class of 2017 recruiting, but these are two targets that are high on Michigan’s recruiting board in the early stages.

  • Kenny

    I don’t buy the augment that taking Duncan Robinson is the reason to cool down on Coleman BUT NOT on Dozier. Dozier and Coleman essentially plays the same position, a 2 with some capacity at 1, and Robinson is a 3 with some capacity at 4.

    Sure Dozier is ranked higher than Coleman by all major recruiting sites, but Coleman is an elite recruit by his own right. Either the coaches are very confident about our chance with Dozier, or they have serious misgiving regarding Coleman.

    • DingoBlue

      What I have heard is that they are recruiting Dozier as a PG, which is interesting. Both from the outlook for 2015 and for 2016 recruiting.

    • guestavo

      If Coleman goes to Illinois……man.

    • The argument here is that Dozier is a guy that can play PG — and he wants to be recruited as such. Coleman is an off-guard/shooter, a role that they expect Duncan Robinson to fill (even though their games are obviously different as one is 6-7 and the other is 6-3).

      • I come around and watch Dozier’s video every once in a while because i enjoy watching the kid play. I will concede here that it’s a fine distinction, but I think Dozier is a PG, as opposed to a guy that can play PG. I also think that Dozier shares this opinion. I think further that Beilein agrees with both of us.

        I love Derryck Thornton, but I’d take Dozier as a PG prospect in a heartbeat, even if it costs Thornton to Kentucky. I’d like to see it be us with that big, smooth 6’7″ point guard running pick and roll with a big, smooth, athletic 7′ big man for once. Especially with the cast of shooters we have accumulated and/or are in on going forward.

        I’ve said this before, but I like the idea enough to say it over and over. While Beilein says that all that 1-3-1 stuff is over for him, he also admits that his assistants bring it up every once in a while and that he listens. Think about the size, length and mobility we are assembling. That particular zone, even as a change-up every now and again would be a nightmare to run up against, especially with the addition of a 6’7″ point guard patrolling somewhere.

        I really want Dozier.

        • Mattski

          Yes. I think it’s possible that Teske is going to prove another insane Beilein steal. And while I really try not to get too hung up on recruiting, I am going to cook my family ribeyes if we get Dozier. Because I will know that I have at least a year of beautiful basketball watching ahead of me.

    • geoffclarke

      I think Coleman is a 4-year type, someone who *probably* would have contributed a lot his first year out of necessity, but ideally would like to work in slowly. Robinson is definitely a project, but again, a long term type, but would get a head start this year. Dozier is at least a 2-and-through, if not one-and-done type talent in our system. Someone who *will* contribute heavily his freshman year.

      • John

        I don’t agree with the Robinson is a project premise. He was getting looks from other majors. Already has played a year of college ball and did very well.
        A project in my mind would be MAAR and not Robinson. Bulking up and getting stronger is less a project than learning how to shoot from the perimeter.
        From the film, Robinson might also need some work defensively but not a project. I expect him to compete for playing time immediately. The only reason he is sitting this year is because of transfer rules.

        • guestavo

          Robinson is more of a project than MAAR.

      • sane1

        Gonna be interesting to see Robinson take the floor a year from now. Some, like me, see a guy who can step in and contribute significantly right away. Others see him as a “project” who might help out as a junior or senior.

        • geoffclarke

          Point taken. Anyone who can shoot like that will probably contribute right away for Michigan, which is part of the reason I thought Coleman would definitely get PT. But at this point, he isn’t a creator/ball handler, and that would be the biggest need.

    • sane1

      Robinson is probably not the only reason for cooling on Coleman. Coleman’s apathy towards Michigan, in fact, was one reason why Beilein was willing to consider Robinson. Coleman had clearly cooled on Michigan, and it seemed that he was looking to get other offers over the last 6 months; he and/or his advisors were no longer high on Michigan. After getting strung out by Booker just a year ago, I believe that the staff took a hard look at Coleman’s recruitment and pulled the plug in favor of Robinson. Dozier’s serious interest may also have played a part. Dozier is a better prospect.

      • guestavo

        I don’t think it was “apathy.” Coleman has been very deliberate and tight lipped about where he is going for the next 4 years of his life. First time away from his parents for an extended period. Claiming a big decision like that not coming ASAP is “apathy” is a bit unfair.

        • geoffclarke

          But I think it is fair to say that our coaches had a better finger on the pulse of this recruitment than you or me. It is speculation, but at least it’s reasonable speculation.

          • sane1

            Semantics aside, the coaches gave him 14 months to decide. At the outset, he appeared to be ready to give an early commitment. He didn’t, and over time, his interest seemed to fade. Can’t recall, but did he attend a game last season? He has the right to be deliberate, but there’s the risk that you lose when you snooze. I mentioned Booker, but there’s some Blueitt in this recruitment, too. Had the chance to commit, but wanted to look around. Strung it out. Canceled a visit, IIRC. Beilein pulled the plug. Will be interesting to see where Coleman ends up.

          • BlueRev

            Always the voice of sanity, but miss your puns of yesteryear.
            Agreed. 1 in hand over 1 with slightly better upside.

          • guestavo

            “there’s the risk that you lose when you snooze.”

            Just who is losing is up for debate.

          • sane1

            It may work out great for Coleman wherever he ends up. He only lost if he was at least leaning towards Michigan when Beilein backed off. Had Beilein pulled Booker’s offer in August 2013, neither would have lost anything since he was likely headed elsewhere by then – and he did, of course. It’s only a loss for Michigan in Coleman’s case if he would have ended up here in the end. It may be that Beilein thought that he was only losing a small chance for Coleman. If he held out for Coleman to the bitter end, he’d lose Robinson for sure, and it might have effected Dozier, as well, even though Dozier is the better prospect.

          • chazer

            Well stated….only time will tell.

          • Manny

            ILLINOIS

  • BrianUofM

    Dylan thanks for the updates I think everyone has been waiting to see how things are rolling out. Personally I love recruiting updates. Without making any bold predictions who do you think we have the best shot at in 2015 and 2016? Its really going to be a battle to get Battle but if Michigan is able to scoop him up his talent with what we have now could put Michigan at another level. Every year its a step up higher and higher Belien does a great job, but landing a #1 recruit like Battle should blow Michigan up.

  • Michigan was also in watching 2016 PG Payton Pritchard this week.

  • Mattski

    You guys know better than I do, but I see Dozier taking Michigan through whatever glass ceiling remains to truly elite. And–again I gladly concede to those with greater knowledge–but the fact that they are so assiduously pursuing a guy who may just be here a year would seem to speak volumes.

  • Chezaroo

    His name escapes me ( help me out Guestavo ) but there is a 6′ 8″ Frosh at Lansing Eastern that I believe has already camped at M before, that has loads of ability and future promise. Long way down the road ( 18 ) but this kid will be known very soon.

    • geoffclarke

      Googled it: Brandon Johns.

      • Chezaroo

        You got it! Saw him this summer was very impressed. Thanks, he’s one to watch for sure. I’m assuming we are still heavily involved with ’17 legacy Xavier Tillman too! Made me gag looking at those pics of Izzo mugging with him over the summer.

  • Telekinetic

    Did Mike Rice get hired somewhere else? Different one?

  • FGCU Maize Rage

    If we could somehow land Dozier in 2015 and then Thornton and/or Langford in 2016… wow.

  • jakerblue

    It seems like Towns was a little miffed that everyone just assumed he was UM bound, but now that he’s getting some love he’s very begrudgingly realizing that UM is still the best place for him. Like he almost doesn’t want to come here just to prove everyone wrong.

    • geoffclarke

      If he were a silly teenager, it would seem that way. But in the end, whether he chooses Michigan or not, I’m sure the ultimate decision won’t be so frivolous.

  • SBell

    BA was in Otsego Wednesday to see Seth Dugan, as was Bob McKillop. MSU was there Thursday. UM wants him to wait for the spring. Oregon and Purdue likely to offer before then.