Erik Swenson's coach saw 'red flags' with Michigan

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Erik Swenson

While Michigan’s list of committed recruits has been shrinking the last few days — and not without some controversy — the Wolverines added a four-star cornerback and a three-star lineman to the upcoming freshman class.

David Long from Loyola (Calif.) High chose Michigan during his televised selection Thursday night. The 6-foot, 175-pound Long picked the Wolverines over Washington.

Michigan boosted its freshman class to 22 with the late Thursdsay night addition of three-star offensive tackle Stephen Spanellis, who had been committed to Virginia.

Spanellis announced his decision on Twitter: "This was a difficult decision for me, but I had to do what I felt was best for me and my family. #GoBlue".

Long was asked on ESPNU how long it will take for Michigan to compete for a national title.

“Not long at all,” Long said. “I’m going to expect every season to go in and compete for a national championship. We’re bringing in the guys. I’ll say next year if not the year after that. I know big things are coming to Ann Arbor.”

UM gets 3-star OT Stephen Spanellis to flip

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh visited Long at his home earlier this week, and Long posted via social media separate videos of Harbaugh apparently climbing a tree after playing catch with Long’s younger brother. Long explained the tree climbing.

“He was playing catch with my little brother and my little sister asked if he could climb the tree,” Long said. “He never actually got up.”

Long said being recruited by Harbaugh is “crazy”.

“He’s a really loose guy, one of the loosest coaches out there,” Long said told the network. “A lot of people think it’s overboard what he’s doing, but I think that’s just him. It’s really natural with him. I don’t think coaches should go out of the way to do what he’s doing, that’s part of his personality.”

Long, who also played receiver in high school, said he will definitely play cornerback for Michigan. But he hopes his participation doesn’t end there.

“Hopefully I may get some snaps on the offensive side of the ball and will work on special teams,” he said, mentioning similar role to current Wolverine Jabrill Peppers.

Michigan now is ranked No. 3 nationally in 247Sports composite rankings.

Before the commitments, Michigan’s recruiting class was shrinking as the list of decommitments grew.

Antwaine Richardson, a three-star defensive back from Delray Beach, Fla., announced Thursday afternoon on Twitter he is no longer committed to Michigan and is opening his “recruiting process to explore my options to better my future academically and athletically.”

Earlier Thursday, Kiante Enis, a three-star running back/safety from Winchester (Ind.) High, decommitted from Michigan, according to several recruiting sites. Enis took an official visit to Indiana last month, will visit Miami (Ohio) this weekend and might visit Michigan State, according to 247Sports.

Last week, cornerback Sir Patrick Scott announced he no longer was committed to UM.

A few other Michigan commits have indicated they are continuing to look at other schools. Defensive tackle Jordan Elliott from Houston Westside reportedly will visit Texas this weekend. Elliott committed to Michigan in late November. Receiver Nate Johnson, who committed to Michigan last month, now says he will announce his school destination on signing day. Among the options — Notre Dame, Miami (Fla.) and Michigan.

The first day of the national signing period is Feb. 3.

All of this recruiting activity Thursday comes less than 24 hours after four-star offensive lineman Erik Swenson revealed he is no longer a Michigan commit after he reportedly was told to look elsewhere.

Swenson committed to Michigan as a sophomore in 2013, the first commitment to the 2016 class. Brady Hoke was Michigan’s head coach at the time. Hoke was fired after the 2014 season, Harbaugh was hired and Swenson remained committed until Wednesday when he announced on Twitter he was moving on.

Swenson told the Chicago Tribune Michigan offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno told him a month ago to get ready to play for Michigan.

“They called me last week saying I should reopen my recruitment and take other visits,” Swenson told the Tribune. “My family and I were (taken) back by it.”

He told the paper he spoke to Drevno on Tuesday and was told there no longer was a spot for him. Swenson also said he asked to speak with Harbaugh, but that didn’t happen.

Swenson said he helped recruit some of the 2016 commitments.

“I just felt used,” he told the Tribune.

Mark Molinari, Swenson’s coach at Downers Grove South, told The Detroit News on Thursday he knew something was not right with Swenson’s Michigan relationship within the last month.

“It didn’t just happen yesterday,” Molinari said. “We got some red flags three weeks ago, just comments made from coach encouraging Erik to make all five official visits (to other schools). That was the first indication it wasn’t heading in the direction we thought it was going.”

Molinari said he told Drevno, who he described as a “nice man” Swenson was not planning to make any official visits. But Molinari has since called other schools only to find that with so little time before signing day, there are few openings and Swenson has no relationships with other coaches because he has been committed to Michigan. Molinari said the situation did not become clear until Monday.

Molinari called Swenson a “high-character kid” who hopes to land somewhere.

“He never wavered when coach Hoke was fired,” Molinari said. “You feel bad for a kid who held his end up and now is left out in the dark.”