After seeing a large purple flash blow into the backfield, several analysts at NIKE+ Football’s Opening Regional in Chicago last Saturday looked at one another in a way that suggested they had happened upon something special.
That was St. Louis Parkway North sophomore defensive tackle Michael Thompson. Every bit of his listed 6-foot-5 and 277 pounds, Thompson, while still technically raw, was bigger and quicker than most of a field of linemen where the majority were rising seniors holding major offers.
He is already an early four-star prospect on Scout and holds offers from Nebraska, Iowa State, Louisville, Iowa, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri and Michigan. The good news for Wolverines fans is, despite having those other opportunities closer to home and having never been to Ann Arbor, he holds the Wolverines in very high regard.
“Michigan is probably on top right now,” he told The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk. “I like Michigan’s coach, Jim Harbaugh. I want to meet their coaches. I want to have a chance to talk to them and meet them.”
The Wolverines offered him a scholarship as an offensive tackle, where he earned all-state honors as a sophomore. Other programs are recruiting him as a defensive tackle, where he was all-conference a year ago.
With two years left, and the potential for continued physical growth and technical development, it remains to be seen which side of the ball will best suit Thompson. What is already evident is that whether it is on offense or defense, some school, possibly Michigan, will land a major talent.
Thompson added that he plans to visit Michigan this summer.
Wolverines host SEC commit
According to Scout’s Brice Marich, Toledo Central Catholic defensive lineman James Hudson will be on campus this Saturday.
Hudson, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior-to-be, is committed to Kentucky, but has added offers from Michigan State, Alabama, Tennessee and Miami (Fla.) in recent weeks.
While he has maintained his commitment to the Wildcats, Hudson says he will continue to field interest from other programs and take visits.
He visited Michigan State last month and hopes to get to Tennessee, Penn State, Miami and possibly Alabama over the next few months.
He does not currently hold a Michigan offer.
UM commit earns Opening Finals invite
While an invitation to NIKE’s annual Opening Finals, a gathering of the nation’s top high school football prospects, is not a guarantee of success at the college level, in Michigan’s case, the correlation has been strong.
Jourdan Lewis, Jake Butt and Delano Hill are just some of the current Wolverines who participated in the event and are now among the best players on the team.
Josh Ross hopes to be the next as the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s linebacker earned his spot Saturday when he was a top performer at the regional event in Chicago.
“I’m super excited,” Ross said of his invite. “Going into this camp I really didn’t expect myself to make it to The Opening.”
Ross now joins a select group of players already chosen to head to NIKE’s world headquarters on July 5-10 for testing, drills, 7-on-7s and more. Fellow Michigan commits A.J. Dillon and O’Maury Samuels also have been selected.
The Opening always has been a great opportunity for committed players to recruit other top prospects who are still going through the decision process. Ross plans to do that in Oregon, but he has already been in on recruiting the Wolverines’ top targets, and he believes one close to home may join him in the class in the near future.
“I know I talk to Corey Malone-Hatcher a lot,” Ross said. “I think he could possibly come to Michigan soon.”
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. 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.