Trieu: Will Nauta, Crawford be Michigan men Saturday?
The future of Michigan football will be on display Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl (1 p.m. ET, NBC) as commits Brandon Peters, Michael Onwenu and Jordan Elliott are all on the West squad.
Wolverine fans have plenty of additional reasons to tune in as two of Michigan’s top remaining targets, five-star tight end Isaac Nauta and four-star wide receiver Dylan Crawford, will publicly announce their commitments during the broadcast.
Both say they already have their decisions made. Nauta is ranked the No. 1 tight end in the nation by Scout.com and Crawford is ranked the No. 24 receiver.
“Without a doubt, it was the hardest decision of my life,” Nauta told The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb. “I never thought that through this process, coming to the end it would be this hard, but I think I finally feel comfortable with a spot.”
Nauta has not informed any of the three schools he is down to – Michigan, Georgia and Alabama – of his decision and will not until the day of the game. The Bulldogs are considered the biggest threat to Michigan’s chances of adding the Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy star to their class.
“Georgia, it helps that it is 45 minutes down the road from my house,” he said. “It's really convenient for my family. It's an SEC team that should always have a chance to compete for the Eastern side of the SEC championship and it's just really appealing with the staff they brought in.”
Jake Butt’s 51 receptions and the history Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has had of using and developing tight ends is one of the primary reasons Nauta has them on his final list.
"Michigan is a great spot,” Nauta said. “That's originally where I'm from so I have tons of family up there. And to be honest with you, that's where they're all pulling for me to go just cause they want me to come back home and to be able to support me. Coach Harbaugh's system, he's done nothing but produce tight ends and I feel like I would be doing myself a big disservice if I didn't look at them really hard.”
Michigan is the expected choice for Crawford’s announcement. The caveat is his desire to take additional visits even after his makes this commitment known.
“I’ll probably take three (more visits),” said Crawford. “I’ll probably take one to Miami, one to Washington, and one to I think Georgia. I haven’t really got to get exposed to an SEC environment like that before so I think it would be fun to check that out.”
Detroit King wide receiver Donnie Corley will announce his decision during the telecast as well. Michigan is one of the final four schools along with Tennessee, Ohio State and Michigan State, but his choice is expected to be either the Buckeyes or Spartans.
Corley’s teammate, cornerback Lavert Hill, the nation’s top-ranked athlete, Mecole Hardman, and defensive back Jordan Fuller are among the other Michigan targets playing in the game, but will not be announcing their commitments during the contest.
Buckeyes offer Michigan commit
Indianapolis Ben Davis senior Chris Evans, who has been committed to Michigan since last summer, was offered a scholarship by Ohio State on Wednesday. Evans, who had 4,763 all-purpose yards and 59 touchdowns in his high school career, was viewed as a running back or slot recruit for Michigan, but was offered by the Buckeyes as a defensive back. He reported to Scout that he is not yet certain if he will visit Columbus once the dead period ends.
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.