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The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 43   MICHIGAN RECRUITING Harbaugh and company have priori- tized Rivals100 Lititz (Pa.) Warwick prospect Nolan Rucci. The Wolverines are going all in on him as their top left tackle target and are making progress. Rucci is a Penn State legacy, and the Nittany Lions are considered the team to beat for the nation's No. 6 offensive tackle and No. 34 overall recruit per Clemson is a strong contender, as is Wisconsin, where his brother plays. However, Michigan and Notre Dame are on the rise in this recruitment. Harbaugh is also working hard on elite prospects on the defensive side of the ball. Four-star outside line- backers Dallas Turner and Jamari Buddin have both been on video chats with Harbaugh recently. Turner, who hails from Fort Lauder- dale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and is ranked as the nation's No. 20 outside linebacker by, has visited U-M in the past and is very intrigued. Meanwhile, U-M is in a heated battle with Michigan State and Penn State for Buddin, a Belleville (Mich.) High product who is ranked as the nation's No. 15 outside linebacker and No. 219 overall prospect by JIM HARBAUGH CHATS WITH TOP 2022 TARGETS College coaches are not allowed to contact recruits in the 2022 class until Sept. 1, but recruits are allowed to reach out to college coaches. Despite the pandemic and regu- lations in place, Michigan was able to coordinate video chats with Har- baugh and some of the program's top overall targets for next cycle. With Rivals100 quarterback J.J. McCarthy already on board in 2021, Michigan has been able to focus en- tirely on 2022 recruiting at the posi- tion. One of Michigan's top targets is four-star Gordo (Ala.) High signal- caller Tanner Bailey. Harbaugh spoke to Bailey for the first time in April, and the video chat went extremely well. While Bailey resides in the heart of SEC country, he has legitimate interest in Michi- gan and visited last fall for the game against Notre Dame. Harbaugh also got on the line with two elite Chicagoland wide receivers in Tyler Morris and Kaleb Brown, who are both listed as four-star pros- pect by Morris attends La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy, the same high school as the aforementioned McCarthy, which should help the Wolverines in this recruitment. Mich- igan and Notre Dame are considered the early frontrunners. Brown, from Chicago St. Rita, plays running back at the high school level but shined at wide receiver this offseason. He projects best as a slot receiver that can move all over the field in college. Michigan is squarely in the mix early on. Harbaugh also had a long video chat with five-star Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei defensive back Domani Jackson. Michigan was a "dream school" for Jackson growing up. His father is from Ohio, and most of his family still resides in the Midwest. Jackson is a top national recruit and will have plenty of suitors across the country, but Michigan is poised to be a mainstay in his process. QB COMMIT J.J. MCCARTHY STILL WORKING HARD The world is experiencing an un- precedented time. Business have shut down and cities have gone on lockdown amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Sports, of course, have been canceled as well. For top high school recruits like Rivals100 La Grange Park (Ill.) Naza- reth Academy quarterback J.J. Mc- Carthy, finding work is a must to stay competitive. After all, March was supposed to be busy for McCarthy, who was set to compete in an Elite 11 regional and the Adidas seven-on- seven national championships. "I'm not getting distracted," Mc- Carthy said. "We're getting together as much as we can as a team and getting school work done. I'm get- ting together with my receivers all the time. It's disappointing not to get those regular lifts in with the team, but we are still getting on the field some and having fun." McCarthy, a Michigan commit, is also working regularly with private quarterback coach Greg Holcomb. McCarthy tries to train at his Chica- goland facility at least once a week. "He's not one of those guys that because he's ranked high he feels like he's reached his peak or anything like that," Holcomb said of McCarthy. "He's constantly asking questions. He's extremely cerebral. He's hard working. His character is top notch. "He's one of those guys you wish everyone was like because he's con- sistently trying to make himself bet- ter. It's easy to coach guys like that because they want it more than the average kid." Holcomb's sessions with McCarthy are small and only feature a tight- knight group of quarterbacks. Most of his drills are focused on mechanics and fundamentals. "There are always little things he can learn and do," Holcomb said. "I don't care how high level you are. Even the top guys playing the game on Sunday are always learning. We just try to focus on the technical things more than anything. "I don't get into X's and O's. That's more so for his high school program. But I'm working with him to be as smooth and as polished fundamen- tally as he can be." McCarthy hopes to get back to Michigan after the dead period comes to an end. For now, he is con- tinuing to work on top Michigan tar- gets like Donovan Edwards, Rocco Spindler and Thomas Fidone. At 6-2, 195 pounds, McCarthy is ranked as the No. 5 pro-style quar- terback and No. 31 overall prospect in the nation by ❑ On The Web For regular reports on Michigan football recruiting plus videos of U-M commitments and targets visit D e s p i t e t h e c o r o n a v i r u s p a n d e m i c , McCarthy is continuing to hone his quarter- back skills and help the Wolverines recruit some of its top targets. PHOTO BY EJ HOLLAND

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