The Wolverine

January 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 51 of 67

52 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2020 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan received some good news, some bad and some that could be construed in a few different ways during the early signing period (Nov. 13-19). The Wolverines and head coach Juwan Howard were expect- ing to sign two players, Montverde (Fla.) Academy's Zeb Jackson (6-3, 165 pounds,'s No. 59 senior nationally) and Raleigh Word of God Academy's Isaiah Todd (6-10, 210, No. 10), but only Jackson inked. "I am so appreciative to Coach How- ard and the rest of the staff for believ- ing in me and giving me this oppor- tunity," Jackson said in a statement released by Michigan. "It's amazing to see this dream come true, and it is exciting to say I'm officially part of the best university in the world with the best fans in the world! Go Blue!" It's taken some time for Jackson to get accustomed to the better competi- tion he's faced after enrolling at Mont- verde, national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi noted. His team- mates include four-star Moses Moody, a former Michigan recruit and current Arkansas pledge, and guard Cade Cunningham, Rivals' No. 2 senior in the land. Jackson struggled to make an im- pact in the two games in which Bossi saw him play in early December, but the analyst said that wasn't all that surprising. "He's got dynamic players all around him at Montverde, arguably the best player in the country in Cade Cunningham. He's got to find his role and how to mesh with all these great players," Bossi explained. "Sometimes he might be a starter, sometimes he comes off the bench … figuring out what his role would be seems difficult for him so far in the transition." A 25-point-per-game scorer at To- ledo (Ohio) Maumee Valley Country Day a year ago, Jackson didn't produce close to what Bossi had seen from him in the past. "It's early in the season, so I don't know if it's a basketball struggle or adjusting to an entire new place," Bossi said. "But I don't think in the long run Montverde is bad for anyone. You get in the weight room, get coached hard and are held accountable. "Even if it means a short-term strug- gle, it's going to prepare him for Michi- gan." Todd, meanwhile, told USA Today Nov. 13 he "can't wait" to play at Michigan, but added he wasn't ready to sign. He elaborated on his options in a Dec. 10 interview with Rivals' Corey Evans. "There wasn't a reason," he said of not signing early. "There is no com- ment, really. There is nothing that did not make me sign, but it is just that I didn't." Todd has long been rumored as a candidate to play overseas for a year rather than go to college, possibly in Australia. He didn't dismiss the idea when asked of his thought process on the professional possibilities, noting he keeps tabs on RJ Barrett and LaMelo Ball, two preps who passed on college last year to play in Australia. "My options are still open right now seeing that I didn't sign yet. Right now, I am just focused on my high school season," he said. "I see that [Hampton and Ball] are doing their thing over there. I have talked to RJ about how he likes it over there and how things are off of the floor and what the differ- ences would be compared to that and college. He said he loves it. "My mom would probably have to be the one to persuade me [to go over- seas]. I really do want to go to college, but also really want to make the best decision. Like I said, right now, I am just focused on the high school sea- son." Howard saw Todd play at the Na- tional Hoops Festival Dec. 7 in Wash- ington D.C., where Todd put on a show. He averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds and spoke highly of How- ard, saying the coach is "like an uncle" and noting they've formed a bond. "That is not saying that I don't love all of the other coaches who recruited me, but I just love who he is as a per- son," Todd said. "We have connected on another level, and I just felt at home at Michigan." Todd's uncertainty is pretty much where the bad news ends. Howard has continued to hit the recruiting trail hard, and the Wolverines are thought to lead for a pair of AAU teammates in Terrance Williams (6-6, 210, No. 94) of Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga High and Hunter Dickinson (7-1, 260, No. 38) of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha. Williams had a list of Michigan, Notre Dame and Georgetown before committing to the Hoyas this summer. He didn't sign, however, and reopened his recruitment in early December. U-M and Notre Dame are once again on his list, and Evans believes the Wol- verines have a great shot with him the way their coach has been recruiting. "I had my doubts," Evans admitted Dec. 12. "Juwan Howard's first few months at Michigan saw the Wolver- ines miss on some of their top targets. Howard has since rebounded and found success wherever he looked, whether it be the commitment from top-10 forward Isaiah Todd or his team's rise up the national polls. "It seems that every prospect that I speak with brings up Michigan. Unlike his predecessor, Howard has decided to chase after the best of the best to add to his roster."   BASKETBALL RECRUITING Zeb Jackson Signs, But Commit Isaiah Todd's Options Remain Open Jackson is listed by as the nation's No. 14 point guard and No. 59 over- all prospect in the class of 2020. PHOTO COURTESY THEHOOSIER.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - January 2020