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The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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42 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2020 BY EJ HOLLAND W ith the ongoing coronavirus pandemic preventing recruits from making their way to campus, Michigan has had to adjust its re- cruiting game plan. The Wolverines are known for win- ning a large portion of their recruit- ing battles once they get prospects on campus. U-M head coach Jim Har- baugh and company thrive when it comes to face-to-face meetings with players and their families. While the pandemic would, in the- ory, limit a school like Michigan, the Wolverines have taken full advan- tage of available technology. In fact, Michigan was one of the first schools to utilize video chat platforms like Zoom and FaceTime. These services allow coaches to directly see recruits and their families over live video conferences. All of Michigan's assistants have been extremely active on these plat- forms. During the first couple of weeks of the pandemic, director of recruiting Matty Dudek orchestrated more than 70 calls with coaches and recruits. Dudek did and is continuing to do a terrific job of creating indi- vidual daily schedules for coaches and finding times that work best for recruits to chat with them on video or over the phone. And it is not just the coaches that are taking advantage of all of these platforms. Dudek has made sure to get the strength and conditioning as well as the academic support staff involved. Parents of recruits have virtually met with advisors that specialize in specific majors such as business and engineering. Despite the pandemic, Michigan's virtual efforts have paid off in a big way on the recruiting trail. New commits Casey Phinney, a three-star linebacker, and TJ Guy, a three-star defensive lineman, committed to Michigan without ever visiting Ann Arbor. The dead period is set to end May 31. Until then, Michigan will have to con- tinue its virtual recruitments. JIM HARBAUGH REACHES OUT TO TOP 2021 TARGETS With no spring ball, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has honed in and taken full advantage of the afore- mentioned video technology. Harbaugh surely doesn't have time to chat with every recruit on the Wol- verines' recruiting board, but he has personally been involved with the top tier of Michigan targets in the 2021 recruiting class. One of the first video chats Har- baugh had was with Rivals100 West Bloomfield (Mich.) High running back Donovan Edwards, who may be the top overall target in the class. The four-star Edwards was thought to be leaning towards Ohio State, but the door opened back up when the Buckeyes landed a pair of national top-100 ball carriers. Michigan now appears to be back in the pole position for the nation's No. 2 running back and No. 59 overall recruit per However, the Wolverines will have to fend off Georgia, which is making this recruitment interesting. Clem- son is also ramping up its pursuit of Edwards. Harbaugh being involved only helps Michigan's chances. The U-M head coach is making it a priority to keep the best of the best at home. And that's why he also had video chats with Rivals250 offensive linemen and Clarkston (Mich.) High teammates Rocco Spindler and Gar- rett Dellinger. The four-star Spindler, who is listed as's No. 2 offensive guard and No. 55 overall prospect, has actually had multiple calls with Harbaugh and is a must-get this cy- cle. Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State are considered the three true players in his recruitment. He wants to officially visit the trio before mak- ing a decision. On the flip side of the coin, Del- linger is considered an LSU lean, but he's in no rush to make a decision. The four-star, who is ranked as the No. 22 offensive tackle and No. 155 overall prospect nationally, is looking to make an official visit to Michigan in the summer, while the Wolverines are hoping to slowly turn the tide. Sticking with offensive linemen,   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Wolverines Working Hard During Pandemic During the dead period, head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff had to ramp up their efforts over live video chats, conducted via platforms like Zoom and FaceTime. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN 2021 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Raheem Anderson OL 6-3 295 Detroit (Cass Tech) Greg Crippen OL 6-4 270 Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy) Tommy Doman K/P 6-3 178 Orchard Lake, Mich. (St. Mary's) Giovanni El-Hadi OT 6-6 285 Sterling Heights, Mich. (Stevenson) Dominick Giudice DE 6-4 262 New Monmouth, N.J. (Mater Dei) TJ Guy DE 6-4 240 Mansfield, Mass. (Mansfield) Louis Hansen TE 6-5 225 Needham, Mass. (St. Sebastian's) Ja'Den McBurrows CB 5-10 175 Plantation, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas) J.J. McCarthy QB 6-2 180 La Grange Park, Ill. (Nazareth Academy) Casey Phinney LB 6-1 228 Dedham, Mass. (Noble and Greenough) 2022 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Myles Rowser DB 5-11 170 Detroit (IMG Academy [Fla.]) Alex VanSumeren DT 6-2 260 Essexville, Mich. (Garber)

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