Martin cuts the brakes on his recruitment, leaps from van soon
IA WR Oliver Martin did not make a visit to Ohio State last weekend; he's got a couple visits left but people think he's just taking the one this weekend. "Flight issues" were cited, as they usually are; we'll see if that's accurate or not when Martin ends up on someone's campus this weekend. OSU, Auburn, Florida, and Michigan are all vying for that visit. If it's Michigan that would be a very good sign since he's already been on campus. Somewhere else would not be the death knell.
FWIW, Lorenz reports that Martin's recruitment has evolved into quite the wildcard:
Based on who I've talked to, there are three different coaching staffs who believe they are going to sign Martin in Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State.
Michigan State thinks a lot of things, I'm sure. It's a luxury to be (mostly) competing with teams that went 4-8 and 3-9 this fall, which Notre Dame and Michigan State did. Go 4-8 and 3-9. Those were their records. That they had. This year.
Losing both Martin and GA WR Nico Collins (who has gone radio silent) would be a bummer, but one that takes an A+ class down to an A-.
Gay still fairly mysterious
Relatively good news in the recruitment of MS LB Willie Gay: after his LSU visit there is still uncertainty about where he'll end up. As per usual, Team X Is Confident:
"I think the coaches at LSU feel great about landing him but no one seems to truly know what he's going to do," Scarborough explained.
LSU is battling local Mississippi State and Michigan for the Starkville (Miss.) High standout, and while Tigers sources feel good here, no question this one could still go a few different directions.
Lorenz reports that "multiple members" of Gay's camp are in Michigan's corner, however, and Michigan can really hammer home the certainty they provide when Harbaugh goes in home. Gay knows he'll play early at Michigan. He knows the defense has a spot that is perfect for him. He knows that Don Brown and his five-year contract will be there for the duration of his career. By God, if Michigan can't get Willie Gay out of Mississippi they'll never get anyone.
Becton VT trend?
A bunch of crystal balls for VA OL Mekhi Becton to Virginia Tech came in after his official visit. Tim Sullivan:
"Virginia Tech made a huge move," Sullivan said. "He's not going to commit soon but confidence is very high in Blacksburg."
As mentioned in the previous recruitin' roundup, Becton has people all over the place as they try to project where he might end up. The sudden VT interest isn't good for Michigan's chances, but this is another one of those recruitments that is low on certainty. Harbaugh is going in-home today, so expect some pictures of him hitting some dingers with a baby strapped to him.
Inevitable decommit happens, less inevitable one probably doesn't
FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert made the obvious official by decommitting, throwing off some slightly upset comments as he did so. Given Herbert's previous quotes about how there was opportunity at Miami and/or Florida while he'd have to compete for time at Michigan, it sounds like some assistant got in his ear.
In happier news, NM RB O'Maury Samuels's visit did in fact happen and went well. Any concerns about in-class competition should be mitigated by Najee Harris and AJ Dillon heading elsewhere; Arizona is the only competition. That would be a stunner, to say the least.
While we're on the subject, some brief rumbles about CT OL Andrew Stueber possibly flipping to BC are unfounded.
Weird guy watch
Michigan's been casting around for a fifth DB in the class and may have struck upon their guy: MA S Ifeatu Melifonwu, a Syracuse commit. Per Sam, Melifonwu is in town currently and is staying through Thursday. The vibe is that an offer will be followed by a flip.
Melifonwu is a deep cut New England recruit who is no doubt directly attributable to Don Brown's connections in the area. Specifically, Brown recruited Melifonwu's brother Obi to UConn. Ifeautu was a who-dat two star until recently, when 24/7 took a new look at his tape and bumped him into the low-to-mid three star range. (He's #874 if you want to get specific.) He's a true sleeper with a max of four articles on any of the sites, none of which scout him. Mostly they say "this person committed to Syracuse" in slightly different ways.
ESPNBoston comes in with the save:
Melifonwu ran a 4.58 in the 40 last year, so he has legitimate Division 1 speed. He plays even faster than that on tape. He moves well in space and he gets in and out of cuts with ease. Melifonwu is a long strider and he can accelerate quickly when running with or without the ball.
Melifonwu is also a receiver, so the ball skills are evident on both sides of the ball. He can high point the ball one on one in coverage and he's strong with the ball in his hands. Melifonwu has long arms and a wide catch radius which enables him to win jump ball situations.
Melifonwu has the size and the athleticism to be a productive press corner at the next level. Teams at the NFL and college level want corners with length that can jam and re-route receivers out of Cover 2. Melifonwu can do that and effectively support the run. The 40 time might not be ideal, but Melifonwu plays faster than his time and his athleticism is evident on tape. There no question that Melifonwu has the physical tools to be a multi-year starter at Syracuse.
If Melifonwu is anything like his brother he'll be a steal. Obi redshirted and then was a four year starter at UConn, earning All AAC honors this year. He's set to get drafted, possibly very high:
Executive 2: UConn safety Obi Melifonwu
"The UConn safety is really intriguing. He's freaky athletic and he's going to put up big-time testing numbers. He'll run low 4.4s (in the 40-yard dash) and jump over 40 inches. He can play in the slot as well. Huge upside."
While everyone prefers bigger names with more proven ability, Melifonwu is deep in Don Brown's wheelhouse. I'll ride with him.
No other fringe names appear likely to surprise at this juncture. PA OL CJ Thorpe's visit to Ann Arbor was as pointless as it looked; he immediately reaffirmed to PSU. Lorenz reports that VA LB Ellis Brooks didn't get an in-home and Michigan isn't actively recruiting him.
The thing about fringe names is that you don't often know them until things suddenly happen; 50/50 another guy comes out of nowhere if Michigan has a spot late—and it looks like they will, especially since Jeremy Clark got screwed.
Ryan Bartow recently told the USC board he's still sticking with his Michigan pick for GA DT Aubrey Solomon.