Prior to entering high school, Dublin (Ohio) Dublin Coffman running back Michael Drennen II came up to Michigan for the Sound Mind, Sound Body middle school camp and earned an MVP award.
Today, Drennen II has 28 scholarship offers, including many from the Big Ten, but his recruitment is truly national, with opportunities coming from the SEC and Pac-12 as well.
That early camp experience not only got him on the radar, it helped catapult him into a high school career where he is set to enter his fourth season as a starter.
“He’s been a starter for us since his freshman year, really from day one,” Dublin Coffman head coach Mark Crabtree said. “He moved into our district going into his eighth-grade year, so we knew about him from his eighth-grade season at one of our middle schools.”
With his school being right outside Columbus, Drennen has been a frequent visitor at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes have offered. Michigan and Penn State have also offered, setting up a potential Big Ten East battle. Drennen said in January at the Under Armour Future 50 that all three schools are high in the running.
"My mom is a big Ohio State fan, so if I went there, it would make her proud. I have to consider them,” he said. “Michigan, I just like Michigan, I don't know why — I just do. Penn State probably because of running backs like Saquon Barkley; I just want to be like them.”
What Drennen II has on many other backs is his receiving skills. They have been on display at several camps, where he has shown the quickness to gain separation and the hands to make the plays when the ball arrives. In addition to that, he is a 3.7 student in the classroom who carries that intelligence onto the field.
“He has been blessed with certain skills,” Crabtree said. “But the quality that stands out is, he really understands the game. He is very football savvy. He knows how to play the game. Then he is also good in space, can track a ball while it’s in the air and make adjustments. He has a high football IQ, and is a good classroom student as well. Also, the bigger the game, the better he plays. He has all the things necessary, in my view, to be a really good football player at the next level.”
In the spring, Drennen plans to get outside the Midwest and visit schools further away like USC, Miami (Fla.), Florida, North Carolina and Penn State. From there, he could make a decision in the summer, but qualified that by saying he likely would wait until the fall.
This winter was a busy one for him, as many schools came through the school to check in on him during the contact period.
“It was very hectic, but he’s handled things well,” Crabtree said. “He has done a nice job of filtering out places he is not interested in while still being respectful and courteous. I don’t think he knows yet where he will go. He might have a top five list, but I don’t think he has one individual, favorite place. Saying that, it is important that he treats all coaches with the same amount of respect and is giving them his individual time and attention.”
One of the position coaches Drennen keeps in close contact with is Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh.
“He’s a cool dude,” Drennen said. “Him and his dad (Jim Harbaugh), to me, they’re different because his dad is a family guy, and then Jay Harbaugh is a cool dude. (We’re) closer in age, (so) we can relate more and stuff.”
Drennen rushed for 801 yards and 11 touchdowns, while catching 30 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns as a junior.
He is rated as a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.
New offers in Ohio
Michigan offered Trotwood-Madison junior Sammy Anderson on Monday. Anderson is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound cornerback who now has 14 scholarships offers. Trotwood-Madison is a school Michigan has had success recruiting in the past, with notable names like Roy Roundtree, Mike McCray, and Michael Shaw hailing from the school.
The Wolverines also offered Canton GlenOak cornerback Kindel Richardson, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior.
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.