FOOTBALL RECRUITING: UofM's in-state commits face hard decisions in wake of program's rough timesFootball  |
The University of Michigan’s historic football program has seen better days – the Wolverines are a dismal 4-5.
So has its’ coaching staff.
With the firing of athletic director David Brandon last week, speculation is rampant that Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke will be the next head placed on the chopping block, most likely once the season is complete.
This instability has inevitably trickled down to the recruiting game. Hoke’s Top 20-ranked 2015 recruiting class has already seem some big names from out-of-state jump ship in the past month (defensive tackle Darian Roseboro from North Carolina and Garrett Taylor of Virginia both de-commited).
What does this mean for the three high-profile in-state commits, Birmingham Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone, Detroit Cass Tech running back Mike Weber and Saginaw Heritage wide receiver Brian Cole?
National recruiting experts believe Malzone (6-foot-2, 185 pounds), one of the premiere prep field general prospects in the country, is the firmest of the group in his commitment to Michigan. As of right now, he is set to graduate from Brother Rice next month and enroll at the school in January.
“I’ve wanted to be a Michigan Man my whole life, I don’t plan on giving that dream up because of some bumps in the road,” said Malzone recently.
Maybe the least-likely to stay on board with the Maize and Blue is Cole, who is already in the midst of taking visits to other schools. Cole (6-foot-2, 190 pounds), considered by some analysts the best athlete in the state, visited Wisconsin last weekend. He’s also allegedly been seen sporting Michigan State garb in recent weeks .
“Brian’s weighing his options,” Scout.com’s national recruiting editor Allen Trieu said. “There’s a chance he could leave (de-commit). His family is putting together a back-up plan if Brady Hoke gets fired. They want to cover all their bases and then possibly reevaluate after everything plays out.”
Like Cole, Weber (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) will be taking a look around outside Ann Arbor city limits, too. Stating publically his intention to go on more visits prior to Signing Day, a report earlier this week on ESPN.com claimed that Weber, one of the heaviest-recruited backfield prospects in the Midwest, will be descending on Ohio State, Michigan State, Miami (OH) and USC soon.
Trieu believes a deep playoff run by Weber’s Cass Tech club bodes well for the Wolverines in keeping him.
“The longer Cass goes in the state tournament, the better it is for Michigan because Cass will probably be playing on Saturday and that will prevent Mike (Weber) from taking a bunch of immediate visits,” he said.
In the end, though, Trieu is of the belief that Michigan has a very good chance of holding on to Weber’s commitment.
“I think Michigan is the best fit for him,” he said.