Trieu: Michigan enters race for Canadian WR Claypool
Chase Claypool was advised to tell Michigan if he was not interested in the Wolverines. Coaches from the school had recently connected with the fast-rising wide receiver from Abbotsford, British Columbia, and assistant coach Jay Harbaugh was looking to set a date to fly out and see him before the evaluation period ended.
With many thinking Claypool had Oregon at the top of his list following an offer from the Ducks, it was presumed the honest thing to do would be to tell Michigan not to waste time and money flying that far for nothing. Well, Michigan came, and Michigan offered, and now the Wolverines are firmly in the thick of his recruitment.
"Oregon is definitely in a good spot for him," Scout national analyst Brandon Huffman said, "but the Michigan offer was a significant one for him. He's also planning to visit Michigan State when he checks out Michigan this summer. Washington has a chance because they're the closest to home, too."
At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds and continuing to get bigger, Claypool's size and athleticism would give the school that wins his recruiting derby several options on where to play him. Huffman saw him at a recent 7-on-7, and it gave him a chance to not only see how he would do against American competition, but also to also give him a better read on what position he might play in college.
"I was really impressed with Claypool," Huffman said. "He's big, physical, runs decently well, can go up and get the ball and still seems like he's raw with plenty of upside. I think he'll end up projecting as a tight end/inside receiver when he gets to college. He's not explosively fast like you want a true receiver. He'll be a big-time red-zone threat. He also played a lot of outside linebacker and looked pretty fluid in space and covered well enough. But he's an offensive weapon at the next level."
Claypool has no preference about a college position.
"If they can put good weight on me, I'll play tight end," he said, "but I'll start off as a wide receiver."
Summer will be a busy time for Claypool. In addition to 7-on-7 tournaments, he will also take visits and head to several camps. He plans to attend the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy, which takes place at Macomb Dakota this year, and visit Michigan and Michigan State while he is in the Midwest.
Michigan has not signed a Canadian player since Renaldo Sagesse (2007-10, from Montreal), but each and every year, more and more football prospects are beginning to come from Canada, and the exposure now available to players from the country, like Claypool, is not taken for granted.
"It's nice that we're starting to get recognized in Canada and getting a chance for prospects to come look at us," Claypool said.
And it was nice that he, even after a few bigger offers, has not closed any doors yet.
Top offensive line target on campus
Cranford (N.J.) offensive lineman Will Fries (6-6, 265 pounds) is visiting Michigan on Thursday. He has a Wolverine offer and holds Michigan high on his list. The Wolverine are battling Clemson, Penn State, Rutgers and more for the three-star prospect.
Last shot at Robertson?
Michigan may get one last chance to woo Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne defensive end Auston Robertson before he makes his commitment public on June 7. Robertson, who visited Michigan earlier in the month, told Scout's Josh Newkirk that he "might" visit on Saturday with his mother. It is possible that teammate and highly-regarded wide receiver Austin Mack would also visit. Mack will also commit on June 7. It is widely believed that Robertson will choose Michigan State and Mack will choose Ohio State.
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.