- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
Coach Jim Harbaugh decided to continue Michigan’s annual BBQ summer recruiting event, and it’s looking like another good idea by the new coach. The Wolverines already have the No. 10 ranked class in 2016, but there are some big targets expected to attend the event on Aug. 2.
Most of the commitments will be on hand for the BBQ, including quarterback commit Brandon Peters, offensive linemen Ben Bredeson and Erik Swenson, athlete Kiante Enis and defensive end Ron Johnson among others.
The biggest uncommitted prospect, No. 1 ranked Rashan Gary, was trying to make the trip to Ann Arbor, but it’s looking like Gary won’t be able to attend. The ESPN 300 defensive lineman has ACT prep on Saturday and is now lacking a ride from New Jersey.
That’s a big deal that Gary won’t be there, but he and his mother have already been to Ann Arbor so it’s not a make-or-break situation. Besides, there will be plenty of other uncommitted prospects in attendance.
One of the more anticipated visitors is ESPN 300 wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell, who is making his second visit in two weeks. There has been some chatter that Mitchell could be close to making his decision and if it happens in the very near future, it could be in Michigan’s favor.
Mitchell isn’t the only ESPN 300 receiver expected, as in-state prospect Donnie Corley will also be visiting. Corley took a visit to Michigan earlier in the week and is now coming back for a second visit. Things have been heating up with Corley and Michigan and a source says that the Corleys feel that Michigan could be a great fit and are exploring the level of comfort with the coaches.
Another prospect expected for the BBQ that Michigan could end up reeling in is defensive back Sir Patrick Scott. Outside of having an awesome name, Scott has said the Wolverines are near the top of his list. This visit might be the event that pushes him to make his decision as well.
Scott is a big-name defensive back, but there is a chance that another important prospect will be joining him. Penn State commit Lavert Hill could also attend the BBQ despite his commitment to the Nittany Lions. There has been a lot of chatter surrounding Hill and his commitment, so if he does attend the BBQ, that noise will only increase.
Along with a few other 2016 targets, some big 2017 prospects are expected to attend as well.
Michigan is using this event to try to gain an edge with a lot of the young in-state talent and some of the bigger 2017 targets in general. That’s a smart move considering Harbaugh and his staff haven’t had a ton of time to build relationships and gain momentum in-state.
ESPN Junior 300 receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones is the biggest name in the 2017 class expected to be on hand. Peoples-Jones is ranked No. 11 overall in his class and just won the Nike football rating championship at The Opening in July.
One of the few out of state targets, Georgia running back Kurt Taylor is also planning on taking the trip North to check out the Wolverines.
While this will be a big deal for Michigan’s 2016 efforts, it is going to be especially important with the 2017 class. Having the opportunity to get most of the top-ranked prospects from Michigan in one place at one time could end up paying dividends.
The pitch will be to keep the prospects together in college and to imagine what it would be like to all play together in Michigan Stadium. Most aren’t ready to make a decision just yet, but this event could start to lay the groundwork for Michigan’s staff to keep the top talent right at home in 2017.