The Wolverine

June-July 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 55 BY EJ HOLLAND M ichigan's recruiting operations overhaul continued in a big way last month. Director of recruiting Matty Dudek is off to Mississippi State in a move that shouldn't come as a total shock. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has shown a commitment to making needed changes this offseason. While Dudek did a terrific job of scheduling calls, coordinating self- guided visits and keeping parents informed during the pandemic, there seemed to be a lack of aggression within the recruiting department. Coaches obviously have on-field responsibilities, so having a full-time recruiting staff that is willing to keep contact with recruits when coaches are overwhelmed with game plan- ning, practice, etc., and is building a wide network of resources with high school coaches, trainers and others is imperative. In fact, it's the lifeline of any major college football program. While it doesn't all fall on Dudek, it's clear Harbaugh knows his re- cruiting operation needs to resemble those of schools like chief rival Ohio State that invest so much into their recruiting department staffers. Michigan has honed in on its an- alysts to supplement the coaching staff not only with on-the-field plan- ning, but also with recruiting. The latter seems to be taking precedence. Ryan Osborn, who was brought on this offseason, has been tremen- dous in helping defensive line coach Shaun Nua with the recruitment of edge rushers, even having the abil- ity to make his own offers. Aashon Larkins has bolstered U-M's recruit- ing efforts in the South, specifically Alabama, where Michigan is a strong contender for Rivals250 prospects Justice Finkley, a defensive lineman, and Shemar James, an athlete. Other analysts such as Joe Staab, Steve Casula and Kyle DeVan are expected to see their recruiting work- load increase as well. Of course, Michigan moved quickly to replace Dudek and hired Court- ney Morgan as its director of player personnel. The former Michigan of- fensive lineman has been a recruiting staffer at San Jose State, UCLA and most recently Fresno State. He is origi- nally from Los Angeles and has deep ties throughout the West Coast. One West Coast source said: "He's the man. If Michigan hires up, we're pulling up with all our kids for a visit as soon as possible." Another added: "That's my guy. Would be a big hire." The aforementioned Nua has been a bit disappointing with his West Coast recruiting. However, one of the sources mentioned above said Nua "is getting better" and that Morgan will definitely help. Morgan should also boost recruit- ing from a national perspective thanks to his personality and back- ground. He played for the Maize and Blue under former head coach Lloyd Carr from 1999-2003, winning Big Ten titles in both 2000 and 2003. He was a three-year letterman in Ann Arbor, appearing in 28 career games and making 11 starts along the offensive line. Morgan played all five positions up front during his tenure, before graduating with a degree in sports management and communica- tions in 2003. "Courtney is a Michigan man through and through," Harbaugh said via a press release. "His im- pressive track record will help our program tremendously. I'm look- ing forward to his fresh perspective and new insights from a recruiting and player development standpoint. Michigan football welcomes Court- ney back to the athletic department and university community." Morgan has hit the ground run- ning since arriving in Ann Arbor, making calls to several high school coaches and private trainers on the West Coast. He has also dished out a couple of offers and been involved in some Zoom calls with Harbaugh. Overall, Morgan should be a step in the right direction for Michigan's evolving recruiting department. "I want to thank Coach Harbaugh for bringing me back to the Univer- sity of Michigan, a place that means a great deal to me in my life," Morgan said in the release. "I look forward to showing our student-athletes what Michigan football can do for their lives on the field and beyond their playing years. I can't wait to work with the outstanding staff that Coach Harbaugh has assembled." Morgan previously served as the director of player personnel at Fresno State in 2020 and San Jose State in MICHIGAN RECRUITING Matty Dudek Resigns; Former U-M Lineman Courtney Morgan Is Hired Morgan, who started 11 times and appeared in 28 games from 1999-2003, takes over as the Wolverines' director of player personnel and will helm the team's recruiting efforts. PHOTO COURTESY SAN JOSE STATE 2022 Michigan Commitment List Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Will Johnson DB 6-2 182 Grosse Pointe, Mich. (Grosse Pointe South) Connor Jones OL 6-7 285 Monument, Colo. (Palmer Ridge) Kody Jones DB 6-0 180 Germantown, Tenn. (Germantown) Marlin Klein TE 6-6 215 Rabun Gap, Ga. (Nacoochee) Davonte Miles DL 6-4 265 River Rouge, Mich. (River Rouge) Tyler Morris WR 6-0 175 La Grange Park, Ill. (Nazareth Academy) Tay'Shawn Trent WR 6-4 205 Eastpointe, Mich. (Eastpointe)

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