Michigan is heading west in the 2021 class in pursuit of a rare specimen at defensive tackle in 6-foot-3, 315-pound Victory Vaka of Westlake Village (Calif.).
Vaka is strong, quick off the snap, and considered a four-star by the 247Sports Composite.
“He is one of the top interior defensive linemen in the West, regardless of class,” 247Sports’ West Coast-based analyst Brandon Huffman said.
Schools from around the country have recruited Vaka.
Tennessee, Vanderbilt and LSU have offered in the SEC, and, of course, many schools in the Pac-12 have offered. Arizona State is one that is pegged as a top contender in this race, and the connection to the Sun Devils leads to Ann Arbor as well.
“The groundwork that Shaun Nua laid when he was at Arizona State has continued since he went to Michigan,” Huffman said.
“ASU was one of the first offers for Vaka when he was a freshman, and Nua’s continued pursuit showed Vaka that Michigan was serious about him.”
Vaka is going to show the Wolverines that he, in turn, is serious about them when he travels to Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit on November 30th, the day Michigan hosts rival Ohio State.
While Nua was the point man in this recruitment, other coaches, namely head coach Jim Harbaugh, have also joined in.
“Coach Harbaugh contacted me at midnight of September 1st,” Vaka told The Michigan Insider. “He just wished me good luck on the season and is excited for me to visit for the Ohio State game.”
Vaka plans to commit Jan. 6th, 2020, his mother’s birthday. He could move the date if he is not ready by then, but Michigan will hope to move into further contention after he gets to campus.
“He’s been high on them for a while,” Huffman added.
Michigan currently has two commits in the 2021 class — quarterback J.J. McCarthy and offensive tackle Giovanni El-Hadi.
Fast-rising OT gets offer
Chantilly (Va.) offensive tackle James Pogorelc has been on an offer run since early September. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound senior held over ten offers going into this fall, but has added Arizona State, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee and now Michigan all in the last month and a half.
An excellent student, Pogorelc just visited Stanford and said that was his favorite school to date.
He does plan to visit Michigan, North Carolina and return to Virginia before making a commitment.
West Coast tight end offered
Napa (Calif.) junior tight end Brock Bowers was offered by Michigan last weekend.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Bowers has 16 scholarship offers now. Arizona State, California, Tennessee, UCLA and USC are among those.
Bowers, who is being recruited by tight ends coach Sherrone Moore for Michigan, is ranked as the nation’s No. 8 tight end in his class by 247Sports. He is an athletic pass-catcher with verified, laser-timed 4.55 speed in the 40-yard dash.
He has not been to Michigan before, but said he would like to visit in the spring.
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.