This Saturday will be the eighth BBQ at the Big House, a recruiting event at Michigan started by Rich Rodriguez that is now being continued by Jim Harbaugh.
There have been many large groups of top recruits who have attended in the past, but the 2017 group is making a strong bid to being the most talent-laden one of all. More than 20 recruits rated as four-stars by Scout and three five-stars will be on campus.
Many of the Wolverine commits will be there, including quarterback Dylan McCaffrey, who will have an opportunity to work on an impressive list of skill position players to add to the class. The wide receiver group includes Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Oliver Martin and Tarik Black, all of whom have Michigan offers. Collins and Peoples-Jones both have Michigan high on their lists, while Martin, who was offered after playing with McCaffrey at The Opening in a star-making performance, will see the campus for the first time.
In addition to those wide receivers, Sacramento (Calif.) Inderkum tight end Josh Falo, one of the Wolverines’ top targets at that position, also will be on campus.
The names do not get any bigger than another visitor from California, running back Najee Harris, the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect and an Alabama commit. Harris attended one of Michigan’s West Coast satellite camps, and will now get to campus for the first time.
Another committed back, Sione Heimuli-Lund from Salt Lake City, who is committed to Stanford, will attend.
More than 1,500 pounds of offensive lineman will be on campus.
Brooklyn (N.Y.) Poly Prep’s Isaiah Wilson is among those. He is an important visitor as Michigan was once believed to be one of the teams to beat for him, but recently, talk has shifted to Alabama being the top school in his recruitment.
Speaking of Alabama, Toryque Bateman will come north from Gadsden City, and Michigan is considered the leader for him. Also, 6-foot-7, 344-pound California native Aaron Banks, Jedrick Wills from Kentucky, one of Michigan’s top class of 2018 prospects, Oak Park’s Marquan McCall, and Belleville’s Devontae Dobbs, who most believe is the state’s best in 2019, round out a great group of big guys on offense. Dobbs does not yet have a Michigan offer, but could see one come his way this weekend.
After recently visiting Michigan State, Toledo Central Catholic defensive lineman James Hudson will be at the BBQ. Hudson (6-5, 280) visited the Wolverines in June and is down to Michigan or Michigan State, with a decision expected soon after the BBQ. Michigan and Michigan State are also two of the top contenders for Flint Southwestern’s Deron Irving-Bey, but unlike Hudson, he is not looking to commit until after his senior season. Irving-Bey has not visited Michigan since being offered in the spring, so this will be his first trip to campus.
While he is in the 2018 class, Central Dauphin (Pa.) defensive end Micah Parsons is a big-name visitor. A five-star and top five overall player in the country on Scout, Parsons is committed to Penn State, so his presence at the BBQ is noteworthy.
At linebacker, two of the top 2017 names on the board, New Market (Ala.) Buckhorn’s Will Ignont and IMG Academy’s Jordan Anthony, both have Michigan in their top groups of schools and will be at the BBQ. One of the Wolverines’ early in-state offers, Detroit Country Day linebacker Kolin Demens, will attend. He is the younger brother of former Wolverine Kenny Demens.
In the defensive backfield, five-star cornerback Darnay Holmes will be on campus and Detroit King’s Ambry Thomas is a likely attendee. Safety Markquese Bell, who recently named Michigan among his top schools, will be back on campus, and several notable young in-state defensive backs, including Detroit Cass Tech’s Kalon Gervin, who has a Michigan offer, will be on hand as well.
Michigan has gotten commitments in five of the last seven years of the BBQ. In years when no one committed at the event itself, commitments came in the week following. That includes last year when Ahmir Mitchell announced for Michigan one week after being at the BBQ.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.