Michigan received a commitment from Loganville (Ga.) Grayson offensive tackle Trente Jones roughly two weeks ago, and since then, Nebraska, Florida State and North Carolina State have offered the 6-foot-5, 300-pound junior.
That is in addition to the offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee and others he had before committing to the Wolverines. Michigan has recruited Georgia and Grayson aggressively in the last several cycles, which included signing running back Kurt Taylor in the 2017 class. While Michigan had built good in-roads there, the addition of Al Washington, hired this winter, helped the Wolverines close on Jones also.
“He visited a few schools the last couple years, and that was the first school that made him feel really comfortable,” said Kenyatta Watson Sr., the recruiting coordinator at Grayson. “He loved the individual attention, as any kid does, but he also liked everything else. He liked Coach Harbaugh, and spent a lot of time with him. Coach Washington did a phenomenal job recruiting him too. He was recruiting him at Boston College, and when he left and went to Cincinnati, he kept in touch, then when he left Cincinnati for Michigan, it was the same thing.”
Those experiences with Michigan protect the Wolverines against the threat of these new offers and others that may arise.
“I don’t think any of that matters,” Watson said. “I forget which offer it was, but (Jones) was talking to a coach who offered him and that coach talked about him coming to visit and the conversation went dead. He’s really happy with Michigan. Michigan is the place he wants to go.”
Jones has made a quick jump in the last year, and the recognition of his upside and improvement is what made him a top target for Michigan, and then recently convinced these new schools to jump in despite his verbal commitment.
“Well, his sheer size, and he’s very versatile,” Watson said. “He can play guard, can play tackle, and he has a nasty mean streak and that came from, initially, 9th grade and part of 10th grade, he was a defensive lineman. He got that mentality and then his sheer size and athleticism, and the way he finishes on the offensive line …”
The offensive line has been a key need for the Wolverines in recruiting, and Watson believes Jones, with one more yea coming up, should arrive in Ann Arbor ready to compete.
“He has such a high ceiling and last year was his first year starting,” he said. “He will only get better and he got a lot stronger in the weight room. He improved the most of any kid on the team in the weight room and he’s working hard on his agility. Our head coach is an O-line guy, and he sat down with him and has gone over the issues he had last year and what he needs to improve on. He will do those things because he is a competitor, so I think he can come in and compete and definitely play early.”
Jones is rated a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite and ranked as the nation’s No. 33 offensive tackle.
Nation’s No. 1 prospect will be in Ann Arbor
Zach Harrison, a defensive end from Olentangy (Ohio) Orange ranked as the nation’s top junior recruit by 247Sports, will visit UM on March 17, according to The Michigan Insider’s Steve Lorenz.
Harrison is an outstanding athlete who ran an electronically-timed 4.62 40-yard dash at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds during last year’s Nike Opening Regional in Cleveland.
Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Wisconsin and others have offered Harrison.
In-state OL visiting soon
March 17 will be a big day for recruiting in Ann Arbor. Walled Lake Western junior offensive lineman Jacob Dean will also visit that day.
Michigan offered Dean back in December and he was on campus again in January.
Iowa State is the other current Power Five offer for the 6-foot-9, 305-pound Dean. He started at guard for the Warriors in the fall.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. 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.