Trieu: Top targets like flavor Michigan served up at BBQ

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
James Hudson

While no public verbal commitments were given at Michigan’s BBQ at the Big House on Saturday, the day served as an opportunity to lay a foundation that could lead to commitments down the road.

One already happened as Toledo Central Catholic defensive lineman James Hudson committed to Michigan on Monday after attending the BBQ. That day served as a final push in a recruitment that went back and forth between Michigan and Michigan State down the stretch. Hudson admits he did not have a decision made until Sunday night. He said relationships with the Wolverine coaches and players like Rashan Gary and Carlo Kemp were keys to his commitment.

He also cited Saturday’s one-on-one sit down with head coach Jim Harbaugh.

“The BBQ went great,” Hudson said. “Me and Coach Harbaugh, we sat down and talked, he spoke to my family real well and that was what made me say that the University of Michigan is where I want to go. His message to me and my family is that Michigan is the place for me. Michigan is going to help me, not just become a better football player, but also a better person.”

Hudson, now pushing 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds, is slated to play defensive tackle (three-technique) after playing a good amount of defensive end at Central Catholic.

The Wolverines also made moves with a number of top targets.

There has been positive buzz on two California five-stars – running back Najee Harris and cornerback Darnay Holmes – in the days following their visits. Harris, an Alabama commit, came to the visit with his mother, and The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb has noted that while the Wolverines still have a ways to go to unseat the Crimson Tide, the visit moved the Wolverines closer to that goal.

As for Holmes, he told Scout’s Greg Biggins that Michigan made a big impression.

"Michigan definitely moved up in my eyes after this visit,” Holmes said. "I was already considering them pretty heavily. I have an official visit already set up, but after being on campus for the first time and seeing what the school has to offer, I was really impressed.”

Closer to home, Michigan had several of Detroit’s top uncommitted prospects on campus, such as wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, cornerback Ambry Thomas and safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell.

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But the biggest in-state move may have been with Flint Southwestern defensive end Deron Irving-Bey, who made his first visit to Ann Arbor since being offered a scholarship in the spring.

“It blew me away,” he said. “The coaches, the friendships among the players, the facilities. Another thing was the (Jordan) gear.  Everything I experienced stood out. It was way more than what I expected. It was a 10.”

Another prospect who made his first visit to campus since receiving an offer was Iowa City West wide receiver Oliver Martin. The Wolverines are battling Iowa, Michigan State and other schools for Martin.

“They’re right at the top with a few other schools,” Martin said.  “(Michigan) would be a great place to go, especially after coming and seeing everything that I saw today and knowing all of the commits.  It didn’t let me down at all.”

Many of these prospects expect to be back at Michigan Stadium for games in the fall, and once again, the BBQ served its purpose as an opportunity for the Wolverines to get top recruits on campus and around the coaches and commits, and that should pay dividends down the road.

More information

James Hudson profile

Darnay Holmes profile

Deron Irving-Bey 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.