Trieu: Will Big House BBQ produce big-time commitments for UM?
Michigan’s annual BBQ at the Big House event is Saturday and the Wolverines will be welcoming in top prospects from around the country and from various classes.
There will be prospects there entering their senior seasons, but also a small handful of kids who are only entering their freshman seasons. Twelve states, by Scout’s unofficial count, will be represented at the BBQ.
The question most fans have going into the BBQ each year is: Will the Wolverines receive any commitments on that day? Not every BBQ has produced a commitment, but a lot of them have. The most likely candidate going into this year’s is Indianapolis Lawrence Central linebacker Cameron McGrone.
Although McGrone, a rising senior, has maintained he would like to make a decision in the fall, the Wolverines have been climbing his list quickly and the atmosphere this weekend – along with additional time with coaches, players and recruits – might be enough to speed his process up. Most experts are now predicting him to the Wolverines regardless of decision date.
The Wolverines will have several other top targets in their 2018 class visiting. Frisco (Texas) Wakeland offensive tackle Rafiti Ghirmai is a national-level prospect who would be a big piece to completing the offensive line class (along with commits Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes, who will also be in attendance). Texas is the favorite to land Ghirmai currently. St. Louis Parkway North defensive tackle Michael Thompson and Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra athlete Bryan Addison are among the other notable 2018 prospects.
Suddenly, Indianapolis Cathedral offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor Jr. has become an important visitor. Ekiyor Jr. is committed to Michigan, but visited Alabama last weekend and now says he will take official visits to both schools and potentially Florida State before making a firm decision.
The list of 2019 prospects who will be in town reads like an All-American team.
Five-star running back Quavaris Crouch from Charlotte (N.C.) Harding and five-star quarterback J.T. Daniels from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei lead a group of 17 prospects in that class who are rated as four- or five-star recruits on Scout.
East Kentwood (Mich.) offensive tackle Logan Brown and defensive tackle Mazi Smith; Indianapolis Warren Central wide receiver David Bell; Akron (Ohio) Hoban wide receiver Nolan Rumler; and St. Louis Trinity Catholic athlete Isaiah Williams, wide receiver Marcus Washington, and linebacker Shammond Cooper are all four-star prospects and all are scheduled to attend.
Jackson (Miss.) Prep running back Jerrion Ealy will be in town despite a prior commitment to Mississippi State.
West Lafayette (Ind.) defensive end George Karlaftis will be there, as well. The Wolverines offered Karlaftis a scholarship in May and he now lists Michigan as one of his leaders along with Miami (Fla.), where his father went. A 6-foot-4, 250-pound recruit, Karlaftis lists his relationship with defensive line coach Greg Mattison as one of the primary reasons Michigan is high on a list of offers, which also includes Notre Dame, Alabama and more.
From inside state lines, Detroit King rising junior Marvin Grant comes in with an offer. Oak Park offensive lineman Justin Rogers may be the best rising sophomore in the state, and right behind him, Belleville offensive lineman Damon Payne will be in contention for top in-state prospect in the class of 2021.
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.