Recruiting never stops.
Less than 72 hours after the Wolverines’ heartbreaking double-overtime loss at Ohio State, Michigan football coaches were on the road all over the country. The final contact period for the 2017 recruiting cycle began Monday.
Here are some of the story lines to follow during an important closing period for the U-M staff:
The race for No. 1: Michigan coaches are expected to be in northern California sometime this week, visiting the nation’s top overall prospect in five-star running back Najee Harris of Antioch. Harris took his official visit to Alabama over the weekend and also recently visited UCLA. Despite his verbal commitment to Alabama, the Wolverines are believed to be in the race. He will officially visit Ann Arbor the weekend of Dec. 10. Michigan is expected to learn more about its chances when the coaches see Harris this week.
Closing in-state class: Michigan has verbal commitments from five of the top seven in-state 2017 prospects and appear to be in good shape with the other two: five-star Donovan Peoples-Jones and four-star Ambry Thomas. Thomas’ recruitment, however, might have gotten more interesting, coming off of his recent official visit to Penn State. Michigan State is still a factor, as well. Michigan had multiple assistant coaches at Detroit King on Monday. For Peoples-Jones, U-M is battling Ohio State and Florida, with Michigan State and Florida State on the periphery.
Sifting through OL targets: Michigan has four verbal commitments on the offensive line and would like to add at least three more as its attempts to build a foundation. The names the Wolverines continue to pursue are many, including Alabama five-star commitment Alex Leatherwood. Michigan also is chasing LSU verbal commitment Austin Deculus and top-100 prospects Chuck Filiaga (also considering Oklahoma, USC and Nebraska) and Isaiah Wilson (Alabama). Be prepared for a lot of changes on the offensive line before National Signing Day.
Reeling Solomon back in: Michigan desperately wants to get defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon (Leesburg (Ga.) Lee County) back into the fold after his summer decommitment. They hosted him for an official visit a couple of weeks ago, and he named the Wolverines a leader shortly thereafter. However, a visit to Alabama might have changed things, at least a bit. Michigan has worked hard to overcome his mother’s desire to keep Solomon closer to home, but it remains to be seen whether its efforts will pay off. It’s Michigan, Alabama, Georgia and possibly Clemson in the race for one of the nation’s top defenders.