When Country Club Hills (Ill.) Hillcrest running back Mar’Keise Irving received a scholarship offer from Michigan, it did not take long for Wolverine commit A.J. Henning, also from the state of Illinois, to reach out with a congratulatory message and an early recruiting pitch.
Henning, a senior, and Irving, a junior, are similarly dynamic with the ball in their hands. Both can go around defenders, both have excellent balance, and both can change scoreboards in a hurry.
Irving has an eye-catching highlight tape that has helped him receive offers from Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Duke and now Michigan. He admitted that the Wolverines are an offer he wanted from the start of his recruitment.
"I know the University of Michigan offers great academics and their football program is elite year in and out," he said. "I look forward to learning more about the school and football program."
Irving will take his first visit to Michigan on Oct. 26 to see the Wolverines take on Notre Dame.
The arrival of these major scholarship offers is something Irving has been dreaming about for quite some time, and those who saw him play growing up had an idea that he would reach these heights one day.
“I always knew he was a really good athlete and good running back from following him through youth football,” Hillcrest head coach Morgan Weaver said. “He won the starting running back position as a sophomore, but the varsity game I remember where I knew he was a special kid was last year against Lemont for homecoming. He rushed for 303 yards and scored all our touchdowns against a great program.”
Irving’s running skills were apparent. In the offseason, he worked more on catching the ball and this season, he has played some in the slot and gotten more involved in the passing game. In addition to that, he also stepped up vocally.
“He is being more of a leader within the team,” Weaver said. “Last year we had a ton of seniors, so he could sit back, but this year, he is stepping up more as junior, as well as working on his hands. The mindset he has is he wants to be the best on the field. You can’t coach that. He just has that. He wants to be different when he steps on the field.”
That dedication to his team also means that Irving is only devoting so much time to recruiting.
“Right now, he’s feeling out the process. It’s new to him, so he is taking it all in,” Weaver said. “He is listening to all the schools offering and talking to him, and I think it will pick up in the spring time and he will get more serious and put more thought into it. Right now, he is pretty even keeled. He is focusing on the season and then after the season, he will dive in.”
247Sports ranks Irving as the No. 11 junior in the state of Illinois.
UM commit officially named All-American
Milton (Mass.) Academy linebacker Kalel Mullings, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior committed to Michigan, received his All-American Bowl jersey on Tuesday and will participate in the game on Jan. 4, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas.
Mullings is ranked as the No. 13 outside linebacker in the country per the industry-generated 247Sports composite.
He committed to the Wolverines in June over offers from Boston College, Stanford 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.