Going to the West Coast and challenging the Pac-12’s best for recruits has not always been a winning strategy for Big Ten schools. But Michigan under Jim Harbaugh has shown no fear in going after prospects nationally, and that certainly includes western states like California, Nevada, Colorado, Washington and Oregon.
The Wolverines have several prospects from the region set to visit for the July 29 BBQ at the Big House, and others who cannot attend hope to visit during the season as Michigan looks to land West Coast recruits as they did with David Long, Dylan Crawford and others.
Now the Maize and Blue have their sights set on Bryan Addison, a 6-foot-4 standout from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra who could play receiver or safety at the next level.
“Addison is one of the top two-way prospects in the West, and nationally, in this class,” Scout’s director of scouting Brandon Huffman said. “He's a top-50 national prospect and you could make a case no prospect has had a better offseason out West than Addison. Now, it’s a matter of doing the same with the pads on and during his senior season. He could be an elite safety, he was excellent at The Opening Los Angeles regional, but is also a big-time receiver prospect. He is in a similar situation as former Serra great Marqise Lee, who won the Biletnikoff Award at receiver at USC.”
Addison will be at the BBQ. It will be his first visit to campus and the Wolverines’ first chance to make an impression.
“The Wolverines have a shot,” Huffman said, “but have to overcome history and location.”
USC has gotten just about every elite player Serra has produced, and most of Addison’s college favorites are in the West, close to home.
La Mesa (Calif.) Helix is home to one of the very best pure athletes in the country, Isaac Taylor-Stuart. Taylor-Stuart won fastest man at The Opening Finals, running sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. That is the type of athlete the Wolverines would love to add, and they are likely to receive a visit from him in the fall.
“Michigan has always been on his very short list,” said Huffman. “In fact, Taylor-Stuart said recently that Michigan was recruiting him harder than anyone, and they were certain to make his finalists and get an official visit from him. While most Pac-12 schools are prioritizing him, he's said numerous times he's very open to leaving the West Coast.”
Speaking of outstanding athletes, Talanoa Hufanga is ranked as the nation’s No. 1 athlete. The Corvallis (Ore.) Crescent Valley star was outstanding at The Opening Finals. He said recently Michigan will be a school he looks to visit in the fall and that will give the Wolverines a chance to overcome some of the connections he has to other programs.
“Hufanga has a top 10 right now, but much of the buzz is for Oregon, Nebraska and Oregon State,” Huffman said. “Willie Taggart has done a great job in-state since being hired. Oregon State is the hometown school. Nebraska has Mike Riley, who recruited Hufanga when he was a freshman when he was still at Oregon State and coached his brother. Michigan, though, is very much in the mix to get an official from the No. 1 athlete in the country.”
While Addison, Taylor-Stuart and Hufanga are all in the 2018 class, there is a West Coast kid in the 2019 class creating excitement in Ann Arbor – five-star Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei quarterback J.T. Daniels, ranked by Scout as the No. 1 quarterback in the country in that class.
Daniels will visit Michigan for the BBQ.
“Michigan has a chance, but they have their work cut out for him,” Huffman said. “It's probably more realistically a USC-Stanford battle, but with Matt Corral decommitting from the Trojans, that puts USC in the driver’s seat, which shouldn't be a surprise, given the long Mater Dei-to-USC pipeline.”
Michigan has won unexpected battles in the West before, and got very close with other prospects that were considered longshots for the Wolverines early in their recruitments. California running back Najee Harris, who ultimately signed with Alabama last year, is one such example.
Addison, Taylor-Stuart, Hufanga and Daniels will be tough battles, but all plan to be on Michigan’s campus at some point this year, giving the Wolverines another chance to surprise.
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.