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Trieu: Big Three from New Jersey set for Michigan visit

By Allen Trieu, Special to The Detroit News
Ahmir Mitchell has placed Michigan among his top six.

Three of New Jersey's finest will be in Ann Arbor this weekend as Paramus Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary, Cedar Creek wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell, and Camden defensive end Ron Johnson Jr. will all visit Michigan, according to Go Blue Wolverine's Sam Webb.

All three prospects hold offers from the Wolverines. Gary is the nation's No. 1 prospect on Scout, so his return to campus is significant, especially since he admitted that the hiring of his former high school coach, Chris Partridge, onto Michigan's recruiting staff greatly boosted the Maize and Blue in his mind.

"That's my guy," the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Gary said. That's someone that I can come to for personal things (outside of) football. I can talk to him about school and on a personal level. He gives me advice. When I got (to Paramus Catholic) he made me feel like it was home."

"Obviously, the Partridge connection is huge," Webb says. "He is really, really grateful for the relationship he has with Partridge that formed through his transfer. There was a lot of controversy with his move over there. There were charges of recruiting and hearings with the state athletic association, and Partridge assured him things would work out and he would be able to play.

"Eventually the charges were deemed unfounded and they credit Partridge with not only support, but being right in what he had told them. The kid told me that no matter what happens, Partridge will always be a part of his life. Mom really leaned on him too, and Rashan has family in Detroit he wants to reconnect with, so there are a lot of factors there with Michigan."

Gary will also visit Ohio State this weekend.

While he is the highest-ranked prospect of the visitors, Mitchell is not far behind. He is one of the top-50 prospects in the country on Scout and one of the top-10 receivers, but the previous staff in Ann Arbor offered him as a safety last July.

He named the Wolverines to his top six along with Mississippi, Ohio State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. He visited Notre Dame last weekend and will visit Virginia Tech next month with the hope that he can get the field narrowed even further.

"I hope to visit all the schools that are in the top six and maybe still visit some schools that aren't in the top six," he told Scout's Steve Hare. "But we are cutting it to the top six to get a better feel for things and to see where the coaches are at with things and see how the campus is and what it has to offer. Ultimately I'll try to narrow down the list even more."

Johnson Jr. (6-3, 235 pounds) may not be ranked as highly as Gary and Mitchell, but his offer list speaks for itself. He has scholarship opportunities from Alabama, Michigan State, Mississippi, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, Wisconsin and many others.

He was offered by the Wolverines earlier in the month. This will be his first visit to Ann Arbor. He will visit Penn State, a school considered to be one of his leaders, the day after he visits Michigan.

Webb added that in addition to these three, other prospects from the East Coast will visit, including Pennsylvania tight ends Naseir Upshur and Cary Angeline, as well as Hollywood (Fla.) Flanagan linebacker Devin Bush.

Sunshine State receiver offered

Hallandale (Fla.) wide receiver Joshua Hammond has racked up new offers quickly over the early part of 2015. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior is now over 25 total with Michigan being the most recent.

"It means a lot because they're a top program with a lot of tradition," he told Scout's Bill Greene. "I know things have been down lately, but with Coach Harbaugh coming in that's going to change. I don't know too much about them, but I'm hoping to check them out. I might be visiting there this week."

Other schools on his offer list include Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and Ohio State; he will visit the Buckeyes this weekend.

He told Greene he may attempt to add Michigan to this weekend's northern swing, but that is not set in stone yet.

Wolverines offer one of Ohio's best

Akron Hoban sophomore running back Todd Sibley, an early four-star prospect, and one of the top prospects in Ohio in the class of 2017, added an offer from Michigan on Monday. Sibley (5-10, 202 pounds) has started on varsity since his freshman season and has visited Ann Arbor previously.

"I was ecstatic to receive the offer," Sibley said. "That was the last thing I was expecting on a Monday. I'm still trying to comprehend what just happened. It's just exciting. It really is."

He added: "They just moved up to my top two. After a while, I thought they forgot about me because I haven't heard anything from them for a while. But this is crazy. They just moved back up my rankings."

He has an additional offer from Ohio State, who is considered the team to beat in his recruitment. He says he hopes to visit the Wolverines again soon.

More information

Ahmir Mitchell profile

Rashan Gary profile

Ron Johnson Jr. profile

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.