Trieu: Herbert’s decision leads off big week in UM recruiting

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
O’Maury Samuels

The Opening Finals are this week in Oregon at Nike Headquarters and Michigan will not only have six commits at the event, but there will be several players the Wolverines are targeting in attendance. Here are some storylines to keep an eye on.

Will Wolverines start it off with a commitment?

While he won’t be at The Opening Finals yet when he announces, Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage offensive tackle Kai-Leon Herbert is set to make his commitment Wednesday before heading out to Oregon, and popular opinion is that Michigan will be the choice.

Should that happen, it will not only give the Wolverines another highly-regarded lineman in the class, but it will also give them another recruiting presence for the week.

Wide receiver C.J. Holmes, who is considering Michigan, announces his commitment Friday.

The Wolverines also are in the mix for offensive lineman Jordan Reid and tight end Matt Dotson. Both announce their decisions this week, but Michigan is not expected to be the choice for either.

How will Dylan McCaffrey do?

Michigan quarterback commit Dylan McCaffrey is considered by analysts more of a gamer than he is a camp guy, so The Elite 11 and Opening Finals are a setting where some of his best qualities won’t necessarily be shown. That said, he’s an accurate passer who did well enough at the regional to be invited out, and now will have an opportunity to show he belongs among the national elite.

Progress with top targets

McCaffrey and the other Michigan commits will be working hard on several major recruits still on the Wolverine board, including wide receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, cornerback Ambry Thomas, center Cesar Ruiz and more. After a week of spending time together, it will be something to note for Wolverine fans if the Maize and Blue make progress with any targets during the event.

Flip watch

UCLA commit Hunter Echols will be in attendance, and after recently coming to Ann Arbor for a camp, it is believed the Wolverines are in position to make a move on the four-star defensive end, whose father is a Michigan fan. He is one more recruit the Wolverine commits will certainly be talking to as the week goes on.

Which commit steals the show?

The Opening Finals is where the recruiting world first realized Jake Butt was a national-level prospect, the same with Jourdan Lewis and other players who have gone on to be outstanding performers for the Wolverines.

This year, several of Michigan’s commits come in already ranked highly by the recruiting sites, but some still have room for upward mobility.

Running back A.J. Dillon and cornerback Benjamin St. Juste both surprised at their Opening Regionals, earning finals invites that were not necessarily expected going into those events. Similarly strong performances in Oregon should lift their rising stocks even more.

The same goes for running back commit O’Maury Samuels, who attended one of the first regionals and was largely unknown at the time, but quickly put himself on the radar with outstanding testing results.

Wolverines offer Los Angeles safety

Los Angeles Hawkins safety Aashari Crosswell picked up a Michigan offer after the Wolverines’ satellite camp at Hawkins. The Wolverines became his 22nd offer after seeing him perform.

He says the Wolverines would “probably” be in his top 10 now.

He took an unofficial visit to campus in the spring.

"(Jim Harbaugh) is a nice coach,” the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Crosswell said. “He's really funny and he's just one of those coaches you want to play for one day."

As a sophomore last fall, Crosswell made 50 tackles, intercepted four passes and broke up another five.

More information

Kai-Leon Herbert profile

Dylan McCaffrey profile

O'Maury Samuels profile

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.