The similarities between Kaleb Brown and Tyler Morris are plentiful.
Both are class of 2022 skill-position players from Illinois — Brown a running back-wide receiver at Chicago St. Rita, and Morris a wide receiver at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park. Both are four-star recruits, have a variety of high-major offers and have been recruited since their freshman seasons.
Although the game itself is 18 months away, Brown and Morris were both recently offered the opportunity to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl in San Antonio, and they have committed to participate.
Michigan hopes the next convergence of their football journeys will come in the form of verbal commitments to the Wolverines. In both cases, there is formidable competition. Brown says, in addition to Michigan, the school recruiting him the hardest is Ohio State, but Alabama also offered not long ago. Morris is hearing from many schools, but many recruiting analysts believe Notre Dame is the chief competitor to Michigan.
While the two are not high school teammates, they are 7-on-7 teammates with BOOM, which has won several titles and become one of the most recognizable programs in the country. The quarterback at the helm of much of that recent success is Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy, and that connection is the reason there is optimism the Wolverines could reunite McCarthy, Brown and Morris in Ann Arbor one day.
“I would say just J.J. McCarthy,” Brown said of his interest in Michigan. “His commitment brought a lot of attention to the school and everything. Just the connection between him and the school. He gives good feedback about them, obviously.”
McCarthy was also Morris’ quarterback at Nazareth for the last two seasons before his recent transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“J.J. is always (talking about Michigan),” Morris said. “Every single time I get another offer, J.J. is like, ‘That doesn’t matter because you are coming with me to Michigan.’ So, any little way he can push me, he does.”
Of course, Michigan’s staff is not leaving this solely to McCarthy. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ emphasis on skill players who can make plays in space suit Brown and Morris’ styles of play. Area recruiter Sherrone Moore also has been by both schools during the contact periods and stayed in contact through the spring and summer.
“I’ve spoken with Coach Moore and Coach Gattis,” Brown said. “We just talked about how everything was going and how was I working out and staying on top of things as far as school. They are good people as well as good recruiters. They make me feel comfortable.”
"I talk to Gattis every week now," Morris said. "He's really cool. I think we kind of have the same personality just from talking to him. I think we really do just have the same type of personality. He seems genuine with what he's saying. We don't even talk about specifically just football, but he asks about my family, when we're doing school he would ask about how school is going, and he seems interested in me more than just as a football player. In terms of football, we’ve just been talking about how they would use me and the amount of speed in space. It’s something I could fit into.”
With 17 months until the early signing period for the 2022 class and another 19 months until National Signing Day of that year, neither player has set a decision date yet.
Michigan leads on the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions for Brown, and is tied with Notre Dame for Morris.
UM offers Ohio State commit
Michigan has offered a scholarship to cornerback Jyaire Brown, a class of 2022 prospect already verbally committed to Ohio State.
Brown (5-11, 165 pounds) played his first two high school seasons at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, but has transferred to Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio.
He is originally from the Cincinnati area.
Brown committed to the Buckeyes in April, four days after receiving a scholarship offer from them.
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.