Trieu: Michigan commits stand out in U.S. Army practices

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Tarik Black

Michigan has five commitments in this week’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl: wide receivers Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, quarterback Dylan McCaffrey, defensive lineman Deron Irving-Bey and cornerback Ambry Thomas.

Through the early part of the week, those players have represented the Wolverines well. On Monday, Scout named Peoples-Jones and Black as two of their top-five performers at the East practice. On Tuesday, Thomas was named to that list.

"Peoples-Jones and Black have been maybe the two best receivers on the East roster through the first couple of days of competition,” Scout analyst Gabe Brooks said. “Both really stand out as soon as you see them because of their big frames. Their suddenness relative to their frame potential is especially impressive. They should be perfect fits as big, playmaking outside receivers in a pro-style offense."

Detroit King’s Thomas has been matched up on Black (6-3, 206) and Detroit Cass Tech’s Peoples-Jones (6-2, 190) frequently. That is a tough assignment but Thomas has more than held his own. He broke up several passes on Tuesday and his physical traits caught the eyes of Scout’s John Garcia, who has been observing practice all week.

“I think he’s one of the most athletically-gifted players we’ve seen at any position,” Garcia said. “He has great speed to recover, which complements his aggression well as a cornerback, and he’s also shown well above-average ball skills against very good receivers this week.”

The Wolverines hope that by National Signing Day, they will have several more Army All-Americans in the class as running back Najee Harris, offensive lineman Chuck Filiaga, linebacker Willie Gay and defensive tackle Jay Tufele are among the other players participating this week who Michigan continues to chase.

Filiaga announces his choice during the game Saturday in San Antonio.

“He’s down to Nebraska, Michigan and Oklahoma,” said Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider. “I think his mind is made up. I think Michigan has done a great job not only building strong relationships with him, especially Jim Harbaugh, but also mapping out for him, on and off field, plans that have really resonated.

“I think they have sold him on the ability to come in and compete for playing time as a true freshman and from an academic standpoint, sold him on Michigan’s extensive alumni network and all of the professional opportunities from being a part of it and having that degree.”

Harris confirmed to Scout on Tuesday that he will play the game on Saturday then fly to either Michigan or Alabama to enroll.

Tufele and Gay both have official visits to take before making decisions.

Mississippi junior receives an offer

West Point (Miss.) athlete Marcus Murphy was offered by Michigan on Sunday.

Murphy, a 6-foot-0, 170-pound junior who can project to either running back or defensive back in college, was once committed to Mississippi State, but de-committed two days after the Wolverine offer.

Michigan and Mississippi State are his only two offers currently.

He finished his junior season with 1,764 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.

More information

Tarik Black profile 

Najee Harris profile

Marcus Murphy profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for 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