Trieu: Mayfield, Michigan targets shine at Opening Regional

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Jalen Mayfield

Nike’s Opening Regional took place in Chicago on Sunday with athletes from mostly around the Midwest, but a few from other regions too, vying for a spot in The Opening Finals in Oregon, which takes place at the end of June.

Many of Michigan’s top targets from the upper Midwest were there.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Jalen Mayfield was one of them. A lean offensive tackle, the end of basketball season has allowed the 6-foot-5 prospect to add about 10 pounds to get to 260. He had a good showing at the camp, demonstrating the athleticism and toughness that caused Michigan to offer recently.

Mayfield de-committed from Minnesota shortly after that Michigan offer came and he is now taking a second run through the recruiting process. He visited Michigan at the end of March and was present as NFL teams descended upon Ann Arbor for the Wolverines’ pro day. He is likely to visit again for the April 15 spring game.

This time around, he wants to be sure he makes a decision he is comfortable with and does not feel rushed.

"I just want to make sure it fits me," Mayfield said. "I'm not rushing into things. I felt like I kind of did that the first time, so I want to let everything settle out and separate itself. I'll probably make a decision closer to the end of summer, end of camp season, before the start of the football season."

Michigan has been recruiting St. Louis a little harder in this class than they have in previous classes, and three of the primary Wolverine targets from that area – wide receiver Kamryn Babb, and defensive linemen Michael Thompson and Ronnie Perkins – were there. Babb was limited by injury, but Thompson and Perkins were both named to the “final five” on the defensive line based on their performances, and Perkins came away with the MVP award and an invite to The Opening Finals.

Babb, a standout at Christian Brothers College, was coming off a visit to Michigan.

“It was great,” Babb said. “I saw a lot of things. I heard a lot of great things about Ann Arbor and the coaching staff, and I finally got to see it. I got to meet (Jim) Harbaugh, talked to the whole coaching staff, and met some of the players. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to get up there again.”

The Wolverines are battling Ohio State, LSU, Notre Dame and others there.

With Perkins and Thompson, both are at different points with Michigan because Thompson has been to campus and Perkins has not. Perkins calls Michigan a “great school” and plans to visit in the near future.

Thompson, initially recruited as an offensive lineman, has had positional talks with the staff.

“I’ve kind of heard what I want to hear,” Thompson said of Michigan. “At first they were recruiting me at O-line, but they said they want me for D-line. So I feel like I can sit well with that.”

Nebraska, Ohio State, Missouri and others are among the competition for Thompson. Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others are the schools the Wolverines are looking to beat for Perkins.

Wolverine commit earns finals invite

Indianapolis Cathedral offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor Jr. was named offensive line MVP and will participate in The Opening Finals this summer after earning that invitation. Ekiyor, a four-star offensive lineman, used his strength and power to win reps against some of the camp’s top defensive linemen.

Dearborn Divine Child’s Aidan Hutchinson, another Michigan commitment, was also at the event. Hutchinson measured over 6-foot-6 and showed good bend and athleticism during the day. He did not earn an invitation to The Opening Finals, but more invitations may still be given out later in the month.

More information

Jalen Mayfield profile 

Michael Thompson profile

Ronnie Perkins 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.