Recruiting & Scouting

Michigan gaining ground on the recruiting trail, in-state and elsewhere

Football   | Scott Burnstein

State Champs! Sports Network




In a matter of just three weeks, any luster or prestige that may have been missing from the Michigan recruiting brand the last few years, returned emphatically.

The Jim Harbaugh-led Wolverines are 5-1 and moved up in the polls to No. 12 (AP) after posting their third consecutive shutout, the last two against Top 25-ranked opponents and elite recruits are taking notice.

More importantly, high-profile prospects who just last month weren’t thinking of spending their college careers in Ann Arbor, now are.

“A bunch of kids that flat-out said no in the past, are now coming back into the fold, they’re discussing Michigan again as a serious option,” said’s Allen Trieu of the sudden change in mentality.

The nation’s No. 1-rated tailback prospect, Kareem Walker (6-1, 205 pounds), from New Jersey’s DePaul Catholic, and four-star linebacker-defensive end Carlo Kemp (6-3, 265), the top player in Colorado, were on the sidelines on Saturday at Michigan Stadium to watch the Wolverines dismantle then No. 13 Northwestern, 38-0. Walker previously spurned Michigan, committing to Ohio State in early January less than a month into Harbaugh’s tenure as coach. Walker is reportedly considering the Wolverines once again after seeing what Harbaugh has already been able to in less than a year. Kemp is also being wooed by UCLA, Washington, Wisconsin, Kansas State, Arizona State and Colorado.

In-state recruits like Detroit King receiver-defensive back Donnie Corley, Jr., and King defensive back-kick returner-receiver Lavert Hill, Ypsilanti’s Marquis Smith (athlete) and Rockford place kicker Quinn Nordin have each admittedly either upped Michigan on their list of schools that they are currently choosing between or have started reconsidering the Wolverines all together after crossing them off their list before.

“The whole college football world is talking about Michigan and what they’ve done the past three weeks, that changes the perspective from a recruiting angle immediately and for the better,” Trieu said. “For a lot of highly-rated recruits, Michigan has gone from low on their list to high on their list. You can tell simply by the kids that are showing up on campus. They had some big-time players at the Northwestern game Saturday and they’re going to have some more coming to town this weekend for the Michigan State game. That says it all.”

Corley (6-3, 185), is a four-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan in State Champs’ preseason rankings. He visited Tennessee this past weekend and is expected to be in Ann Arbor when the Wolverines tussle with No. 7 MSU on Saturday. Trieu said Corley will most likely chose U-M, MU, Tennessee, Ohio State or Notre Dame.

Hill, Smith and Nordin are each committed to other schools, Hill and Nordin to Penn State, and Smith to Kansas. However they were all on the sidelines this past Saturday for the Northwestern game. Hill (5-11, 180) is the top-rated defensive back in Michigan. Nordin is the No. 1 ranked placekicker in the country and Smith (6-0, 170) plays quarterback for Ypsilanti but is projected as a cornerback at the college level.

“Kids have always loved Michigan for its’ beautiful campus and its’ rich tradition, when you start winning though, really winning and getting back on the map nationally, it’s obviously going to alter some things,” Trieu said. “Kids just want to go somewhere and win. Michigan is showing everybody with how it’s playing lately that if you come to Ann Arbor you’ll probably be doing a lot of it under this Harbaugh regime.”

Another player who could be in the mix is linebacker-running back Daelin Hayes of Ann Arbor Skyline. Hayes made an oral commitment to Southern California but he de-committed on Sunday.