Michigan has an important recruiting weekend coming with several major uncommitted official visitors heading to Ann Arbor for “The Game” on Saturday against Ohio State.
Three of the official visitors were recruited by Florida, whose coaching change has allowed the Wolverines to make progress with some Gator recruits.
Braden River (Fla.) defensive end Taylor Upshaw still is committed to Florida, but the 6-foot-5, 240-pound prospect has been extremely receptive to the Wolverines and set up a visit to Ann Arbor fairly quickly after receiving a scholarship offer at the end of October.
Offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, rated by 247Sports as a five-star and ranked as the No. 1 player in the country at his position, is one of the most important recruits left on the Michigan board. An athletic 6-foot-6, 272-pound prospect, many analysts believe he can challenge for playing time as a true freshman no matter where he commits. Florida and Notre Dame are among Michigan’s primary competition for him. Former Wolverines kicker Garrett Rivas is one of his coaches at Tampa’s Berkeley Prep.
“(The decision will come down to) just how well I’ll fit in with the school,” Petit-Frere recently told The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb, “like the feel of the school, the players around the school, and like how I can fit in. Whatever the distance is, is whatever the distance is. My mom says she’ll make it work and doesn’t really affect her in any way, and shouldn’t affect me in any way.”
The Wolverines have two offensive tackle prospects committed in Jalen Mayfield and Ryan Hayes, but depth at the position is needed, and there is still a possibility of Hayes playing tight end.
Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase once was committed in the Florida class with Upshaw, but de-committed earlier in the month, just over a week after Michigan extended a scholarship offer. This will be the first visit to Ann Arbor for the explosive Metairie (La.) Archbishop Rummel target.
Many of the predictions on the 247Sports Crystal Ball have Chase (6-1, 195 pounds) projected to choose TCU, but Michigan is considered to be right there with the Horned Frogs.
“I was happy and surprised. I wasn’t (expecting this offer) and it came out of nowhere,” Chase said. “Like I said earlier, it’s just surprising that big of an offer I have. All I can say is I’m blessed.”
Norcross (Ga.) Wesleyan School tight end Tommy Tremble and Corvallis (Ore.) Crescent Valley safety/athlete Talanoa Hufanga, a composite four-star, are the two other uncommitted official visitors this weekend.
Michigan also will have a strong list of underclassmen making their way to campus as unofficial visitors.
Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal athlete Litchfield Ajavon has a Michigan offer and is rated as a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.
A crew from St. Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic will visit. The Wolverines already have offered junior athlete Isaiah Williams and wide receiver Marcus Washington, and are considered to be among the leaders for both. Their sophomore teammate, an exciting running back named Teriyon Cooper, also will be along for the visit. Michigan has not offered Cooper yet, but Ohio State, Auburn and others have, so the Wolverines may not be far behind.
Steele Chambers, a highly recruited 6-foot-2, 215-pound athlete from Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic will take an unofficial visit. He holds a Michigan offer.
UM commit to play for state title
Seven of Michigan’s class of 2018 commits are still alive in their state playoffs, but only one actually plays for the state title this weekend, that is Grand Rapids Catholic Central offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield.
Mayfield and the Cougars will play Edwardsburg at 7:30 p.m. Friday for the Division 4 championship.
Catholic Central won the title a year ago over Detroit Country Day.
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.