Jim Harbaugh sent a handwritten letter from France to Wichita (Kan.) Northwest defensive end Marcus Hicks. It made headlines, but was just the continuation of what has been a spirited recruiting effort from the Wolverines.
Hicks, a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder rated a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite, was on campus in Ann Arbor in March, and that visit along with the contact from the coaches has allowed the Wolverines to be one of the top options among his 22 scholarship offers.
“I really liked Coach (Greg) Mattison, Coach (Sherrone) Moore and Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, he’s a cool guy,” Hicks told The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk. “I really liked their family atmosphere there. They immediately took me in, just like I was already on their team.”
“I think he has a solid top six or so, but I think Michigan and Oklahoma are on top,” The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb said. “I think the visit really opened his eyes, and frankly, the fact that his dad is a huge, huge Michigan fan is what preconditioned him to liking what he saw. Once he got here and got the treatment, got more face time with Coach Mattison, watched practice, saw how good the defensive line is and saw the defensive line coaching, he could see how he would fit in.”
Hicks’ father has admitted to his affinity for the Wolverines, but is making sure his son makes the best decision regardless of fandom.
“His dad made it a point to say he is neutral and made it a point to say he will support his son wherever he goes,” Webb said, “and I think that’s true, but I do think that contributes to how his son views Michigan and part of why they are up there in the top two, even though that doesn’t guarantee he will go to Michigan.”
Notre Dame and Washington will receive official visits from Hicks, along with Michigan and Oklahoma. Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon and others are also still in the mix.
He competed at a Nike Opening Regional in Dallas and an Under Armour All-America Camp in Chicago recently allowing recruiting analysts to further see his skills.
“I think he has great positional versatility,” Webb said. “He is a legit 6-foot-5 and has gotten bigger even from what I saw him in January at the Army combine. I think, while he can be a strong-side defensive end, he could very easily slide in and be a three-tech and I think Michigan sees that, too. I think they see him much like a Chris Wormley who they used in that kind of way, a defensive end who can slide inside to the three-tech and they are doing that right now with Carlo Kemp.”
The 247Sports Composite ranks Hicks as the No. 2 junior recruit in Kansas.
He finished his junior season with 19.5 tackles for loss and ten sacks.
Wolverines offer ’20 DT
Michigan offered West Aurora (Ill.) sophomore defensive tackle Denver Warren on Tuesday. The Wolverines were at the school recruiting the 6-foot-3, 318-pound Warren.
That was offer No. 14 for Warren, who has additional opportunities from Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois, and more.
A varsity starter since his freshman year, Warren is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 4 sophomore prospect in the state of Illinois.
UM commit offered by Pac-12 school
Paw Paw offensive lineman Karsen Barnhart, who committed to Michigan last month, was offered a scholarship by the USC Trojans on Tuesday, but reiterated that he was solid in his commitment to the Wolverines.
Barnhart (6-4, 282 pounds) is coming off a weekend where he was a top performer at the Nike Opening Regional in Canton, Ohio, and the Under Armour All-America Camp in Chicago.
He chose the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Arizona State, Indiana and more.
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.