Several OL targets headline No. 19 Michigan's recruiting visitors list for battle with No. 8 Notre Dame
Hosting the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday at 7:30PM ET on ABC, the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines have an opportunity to knock off a top-10 opponent and make a statement on the national stage.
Facing the same possibility on October 19, the Wolverines fell to the No. 6 Penn State Nittany Lions, 28-21, in State College. Down 21-7 at halftime, Michigan outscored Penn State 14-7 in the second half and was a near Ronnie Bell touchdown away from tying the game.
Looking to keep the momentum they established in the final 30 minutes at Beaver Stadium going, the Wolverines can impress several key recruits on Saturday, too.
Michigan is set to welcome 15 prospects spread out over the 2020-22 classes on Saturday. Of these 15, seven reside on the offensive line.
Beginning with the upcoming class, Columbine (Littleton, Colorado) four-star tackle Andrew Gentry will be taking another trip to Ann Arbor. Primarily being recruited by offensive line coach Ed Warinner, Gentry took his official visit back in June as part of Michigan’s “BBQ at the Big House.”
BYU is the overwhelming favorite to land Gentry, holding all 14 of his “Crystal Ball” predictions. The Wolverines, along with the Stanford Cardinal and Virginia Cavaliers, remain in the race, however.
Holy Names (Windsor, Ontario) four-star tight end Theo Johnson will be the other guest from the 2020 cycle.
Having unofficially visited for the victory over the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes on October 5, Saturday will serve as Johnson’s official visit.
While these two prospects are very high on Michigan’s list of priorities, the 2021 class will be the focus of the weekend. 11 of the 15 recruits will graduate in this cycle, headlined by Good Counsel (Olney, Maryland) four-star tackle Landon Tengwall.
One of the top-five offensive tackles in the class, Tengwall is the No. 1 player in the state of Maryland, a state Michigan has placed an emphasis on in recent years. Possessing a reported 29 offers, the Wolverines appear to have made Tengwall’s final three schools, along with, ironically, Notre Dame and Penn State.
A pair of Clarkston, Michigan teammates, four-stars Garrett Dellinger and Rocco Spindler, will also be in attendance. Dellinger is considered a Notre Dame lean, but Michigan has a strong chance to close the deal with Spindler.
Receiving his offer from the Wolverines back on March 25, 2018, this will be Spindler’s third trip to campus; he previously stopped by in July and for the double-overtime victory over Army on September 7.
I watched Clarkston play Oxford High School in a game on September 27, and can vouch for Spindler’s ability. Also playing defensive tackle for the Wolves, he is a difference maker on both sides of the football.
Rocco’s father, Marc, the 1986 USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year, was a third-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1990 National Football League Draft. The elder Spindler would go on to play nine years in the league with the Lions (1990-94, 97-98) and New York Jets (1995-96).
Another in-state product, Cass Technical (Detroit) four-star center Raheem Anderson will take the game in. Like with Spindler, Michigan is considered the leader for Anderson’s services. The No. 2 center in the class, he is an ideal candidate to eventually follow in junior Cesar Ruiz’s footsteps.
Jim Harbaugh’s program will also be welcoming in four juniors who star on the defensive side of the football: Linebackers Jamari Buddin (Belleville, Michigan) and Bryan Sanborn (Lake Zurich, Illinois), and four-star defensive ends Jack Hollifield (Shelby, North Carolina) and Rodney McGraw (Elkhart, Indiana).
Michigan looks like a strong bet to land both Buddin and McGraw, but is in a far less favorable position with Hollifield and Sanborn.
A top-10 linebacker nationally, Hollifield is the younger brother of Virginia Tech sophomore linebacker Dax Hollifield. Considered likely to be a Hokie himself, special teams coordinator/safeties coach Chris Partridge has been trying to swing the pendulum in the Wolverines’ favor.
Interestingly, Sanborn is also the brother of a Power Five linebacker, Wisconsin’s Jack Sanborn. Largely due to this built-in connection, it is anticipated the younger Sanborn will commit to the Badgers, too.
Bailey does not hold an offer from Michigan yet, but has received one from No. 2 LSU, South Alabama, Tennessee and UAB.
Williams has picked up an offer from the Wolverines, in addition to Austin Peay, Central Michigan, Maryland and West Virginia.
Clearly still very early in the process with these sophomores, getting them on-campus for one of college football’s best rivalries is a good start.
Michigan will also have six current commits on the sideline, headlined by Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort, Illinois) four-star wide receiver A.J. Henning and fellow four-star, West Bloomfield safety Makari Paige.
Allowing just 19 points per game this season, Michigan’s (5-2) defense ranks just outside the top-20 in America at No. 21. Arguably the toughest test Don Brown’s unit will have faced yet, Notre Dame’s (5-1) offense is scoring 39.2 points per game, 13th in the nation.