Poll: Nessel, Benson widen leads over Republican challengers struggling with name ID

Trieu: In Friday, UM continues to mine New Jersey

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

New Jersey has been a fruitful recruiting ground for Michigan in the last few recruiting cycles. No further proof is needed than watching Jersey native Jabrill Peppers impress at the NFL Combine this week and seeing his high schools teammate Rashan Gary lead the way in offseason drills.

In addition, Michigan has signed other top Garden State talents like Kareem Walker, Drew Singleton, Brad Hawkins, Cesar Ruiz (prior to his IMG transfer) and more.

In the 2018 class, Michigan is again targeting that state heavily. One of the top prospects they are pursuing is Don Bosco Prep defensive end Tyler Friday, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound pass rusher who could end up as the top player in the state.

Friday first visited Michigan last June and has now set a return visit to Ann Arbor for a spring practice on March 27.

“It’s the atmosphere of the school, and they have a great history, and the education (is strong) as well,” Friday told Scout’s Brian Dohn. “My parents liked that.”

This recruitment may be a Big Ten battle as Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers are among his other choices. He will visit Ohio State the day before heading to Michigan, and recently was on the campus at Happy Valley.

Further away from home, programs like Florida State, Florida and Clemson are showing him interest.

Part of the intrigue of Michigan and a primary reason he wanted to get back to campus again was the relationship he was able to build with Jim Harbaugh.

“I think (recruits) like his coaching style because he tries to relate to the kids,” Friday said. “You see him on Twitter and he’s talking (about) the new rappers. I love the fact he wears cleats as well. It makes him feel like he’s about to play. I love Jim Harbaugh.”

Friday says he does not plan to narrow his list or move toward a commitment until after his senior season of football.

Wolverines top list for 2019 athlete

Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett sophomore athlete Javonni Cunningham told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich that he has Michigan “at the top” after the Wolverines recently offered him a scholarship.

Since Ann Arbor is farther away from home, Cunningham is not certain when he will be able to make a visit yet.

Michigan is his second scholarship offer, with Howard offering first.

A 5-foot-10, 170-pound prospect, Cunningham played wide receiver last season and caught one touchdown pass. He also scored four touchdowns as a return man.

Large Texas tackle offered

Frisco (Texas) Wakefield offensive tackle Rafiti Ghirmai was offered by Michigan on Monday. A 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior with rare quickness and athleticism, LSU, Georgia and Arizona State have all offered in the last week.

Alabama, Ole Miss, Oregon, Minnesota, UCLA and Florida all offered during the final weeks of February.

Ghirmai has been rated a four-star prospect by Scout.

More information

Tyler Friday profile

Rafiti Ghirmai 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.