Trieu: Optimism grows over Michigan’s chances with 5-star Zach Harrison

By Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Zach Harrison

Zach Harrison remains one of the more talked-about recruits in the Midwest, ironic considering he is one of the more quiet recruits when it comes to interviews. Harrison visited Michigan on Saturday, saw the Wolverines take down Wisconsin, and left campus with Wolverine faithful wondering if the experience furthered Michigan’s chances to land the five-star Olentangy (Ohio) Orange defensive end.

They should not expect to hear much, if anything, from Harrison directly, and while recruiting analysts admit that there is not as much to go on in this recruitment as others, there has been a long-standing feeling that Michigan has made steady progress in the race.

247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong changed his Crystal Ball prediction from Ohio State to foggy following the visit, indicating that the recruitment, as he assesses it, is very much up in the air, and that the Wolverines have casted enough doubt around the Buckeyes’ chances to change that pick.

“This is the most optimism I’ve heard around Michigan in a while,” Wiltfong said. “We know they have been in it and we also know that if his mind was made up, he would be committed by now. His interest was always genuine but now there is some serious smoke to go with it.”

More: Michigan receiver Tarik Black to return on Saturday, or maybe not

The Michigan Insider’s Steve Lorenz has also reported positive vibes emanating from Ann Arbor following the visit.

“Michigan has been trending up slowly for what seems like months with Al Washington as one of the primary drivers,” Lorenz said. “His visit was his first real taste of the Big House at its best. His family was with him and winning the family over is very important. He is planning to enroll early, so a decision can’t be too far away, and that might have been the last opportunity for Michigan to get him on campus.”

Harrison visited Penn State earlier in the fall and took a mid-week trip to Ohio State for an academic visit, not a football one. Those are the three contenders barring an unforeseen change.

Should Michigan go from long shot to contender to the ultimate winner in this race, they would not only gain one of the nation’s best overall athletes, they would also win a recruiting battle over two of their Big Ten East rivals. For all of those reasons, he would be one of the more significant additions in modern Michigan recruiting.

“I think it would be between him and Daxton Hill,” Lorenz said. “Jabrill (Peppers) grew up liking Michigan and had eyes on Michigan, and with Rashan (Gary), you had Jabrill, Juwan Bushell-Beatty and Chris Partridge at Michigan. Aubrey Solomon comes to mind. Before this I would have said Daxton because Michigan had not beaten Alabama for a five-star kid, so I lean toward the guys you don’t expect as much, or the guys Michigan had to come from behind in, and nine or 10 months ago, Michigan wasn’t really a factor with Zach.”

Harrison is ranked the No. 2 player overall in the 2019 class by 247Sports.

The early signing period begins on Dec. 19 and ends Dec. 21. Players wishing to enroll early (and those signing early but not enrolling mid-year) must sign their Letters of Intent during that window.

Wolverines offer spot to De La Salle senior

Jacob Dobbs, a senior outside linebacker at Warren De La Salle, was offered as a preferred walk-on by Michigan following his Saturday visit to Ann Arbor. Dobbs (6-0, 215 pounds) is currently committed to Holy Cross.

Notable recent preferred walk-ons for Michigan include the Glasgow Brothers – Jordan, Graham and Ryan – Tru Wilson and Nate Schoenle, among others.

Wolverine commit reschedules return visit

Memphis (Tenn.) Lasaunne Collegiate running back Eric Gray is one of Michigan’s highest-ranked commits in the 2019 class, but there has been some concern on the part of Wolverine fans as Gray has taken visits to Tennessee and Ole Miss this fall.

Gray was scheduled to return to Ann Arbor last Saturday for the Wisconsin game. The Michigan Insider reported beforehand that he would not end up making the trip.

He is now looking to make a later home game with Nov. 3 against Penn State as a strong possibility.

More information

Zach Harrison profile 

Jacob Dobbs profile 

Eric Gray profile 

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