The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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50 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021   PREP PROFILES Dillon Tatum is gearing up for the final stretch of his recruitment. The four-star 2022 athlete out of West Bloomfield (Mich.) High released a final four of Baylor, Michigan, Michi- gan State and Notre Dame in early March, and could be making a deci- sion in the very near future. "I'm thinking of maybe making my decision in April," he said. "I feel like that wouldn't be too late. It can change, but I think that's a good time to do it. I just have to make sure I'm making the right decision for me and my family." Michigan has long been considered a front-runner for Tatum. After all, U-M offered Tatum early, hosted him for a visit before last year 's dead period, hired h i s h i g h school head c o a c h R o n Bellamy and landed good f r i e n d a n d former team- mate Donovan Edwards last cycle. That familiarity is a big reason the Wolverines are a finalist for Tatum. "Michigan is a program that I know and that I trust," Tatum said. "I've already built up that relation- ship with them. Those guys are a family and are building an even bet- ter family with this class." U-M is off to a hot start this cycle, landing five-star cornerback Will John- son, who plays club seven-on-seven with Tatum on Sound Mind Sound Body's Max Ex team. Johnson and Ta- tum teamed up in early March and led Max Ex on a run to the semifinals at the Legacy Pylon national qualifier. "He's great," Tatum said of John- son. "I feel like he's a really good defensive back. He's leading the Michigan class and trying to get me to com- mit there. I would play nickel, and h e w o u l d play corner. He just tells me that I'm the last piece. He's a great guy and a great player." Of course, Bellamy is doing his part, too. Tatum was the first recruit he called when he made the move over from coaching wide receivers to safeties last month, and the two are keeping in regular contact. "It's like talking to a guy you've known for years," Tatum said. "We're just keeping the relationship that we've built before. I just want to see how he coaches the safeties. I feel like he'll do a great job." A versatile prospect, Tatum played both cornerback and safety as well as running back for West Bloomfield last season and was a big reason the program won a state title in January. R i v a l s . c o m r a t e s t h e 5 - 11 , 185-pound Tatum as the No. 6 pros- pect in Michigan and the No. 18 ath- lete in the country. — EJ Holland Jaleel Skinner has a unique op- portunity. The Rivals250 tight end from Greer (S.C.) High is playing club seven-on-seven with C1N1 this offseason, which is coached by NFL quarterback Cam Newton, one of the best professional players of the past decade. And Skinner is loving every minute of it. "It's great," Skinner said. "He tells you how it is. He tells you what's real. He tells you what's going to make you better. He teaches you what they're doing in the NFL. He's preparing you for the next step." Skinner is one of the most sought- after tight ends nationally. While he has yet to release an official list of favorites, a handful of top programs are making strong impressions. "Recruiting is going great," he said. "I'm loving every minute of it. Florida, Clemson, Michigan, Texas and Oklahoma — those are some of my top schools as of right now." Skinner might be from the South, but that won't deter him from strongly considering U-M. "Michigan is a school of interest for me because it's a great program," he said. "I have no limits on where I want to go to school. Distance isn't a factor for me. I like the coaching staff and the way they use the tight end. "They have [quarterback] J.J. McCar- thy coming in. He's told me good stuff about Michigan. I know I would have a great guy throwing me the ball." U-M initially offered Skinner in July 2020. Since then, the Wolverines have made some major changes to its coaching staff. With former primary recruiter Sherrone Moore moving from tight ends to offensive line, Skinner is now developing a relationship with new tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh. "We're just building that relation- ship right now," Skinner said. "It's going great. We're talking almost ev- ery other day. He's a great guy." Despite the change, Moore— who is known as one of the best recruit- ers on the staff — is still actively in- volved with Skinner. "I love Coach Moore," Skinner said. "I just love talking to that guy. Coach Moore's message to me is that if you want to be the guy, you have to build a legacy somewhere. You can come build something special at Michigan." Skinner is looking to take some visits before making a decision. Right now, he has no exact commitment timeline. The 6-5, 215-pound Skinner is ranked as the No. 3 tight end and No. 155 over- all recruit nationally by — EJ Holland The Wolverines Are A Front-Runner For In-State Athlete South Carolina Tight End Has Interest In U-M ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ West Bloomfield H.S. West Bloomfield, Mich. Class: 2022 Position: Athlete Ht.: 5-11 • Wt.: 185 Rankings: No. 6 prospect in Michigan and No. 18 athlete in the country Dillon Tatum ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Greer H.S. Greer, S.C. Class: 2022 Position: Tight End Ht.: 6-5 • Wt.: 215 Rankings: No. 4 player in South Carolina, and No. 3 tight end and No. 155 overall prospect nationally Jaleel Skinner Tatum "Michigan is a program that I know and that I trust. I've already built up that relationship with them. Those guys are a family and are building an even better family with this class." Skinner "Michigan is a school of in- terest for me because it's a great program. … I like the coaching staff and the way they use the tight end."

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