The Wolverine

April 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 47 of 67

48 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2022 BY EJ HOLLAND N o Courtney Morgan. No Shaun Nua. No problem. Michigan lost Morgan, its former direc- tor of player personnel, and Nua, its pre- vious defensive line coach, to Washington and USC, respectively this offseason. Morgan, a Los Angeles native, was a recruiting machine in Southern Califor- nia, while Nua served as the Wolverines' area recruiter out West during his tenure in Ann Arbor. While U-M is left with no direct ties to the region on staff, the Wolverines are still making a concerted effort to pull elite talent out West. And that push starts spe- cifically in the Pacific Northwest. Michigan went out to Oregon last cycle and pulled top-100 wide receiver Dar- rius Clemons from Portland Westview. Admittedly, Clemons is a Michigander at heart. He grew up in Lansing and was a youth football teammate of fellow U-M wide receiver Andrel Anthony before moving. Still, earning a signature from Clem- ons on signing day created the splash Michigan was looking for in the Pacific Northwest. The last recruit the Wolver- ines pulled from the region was prep All- American offensive lineman Steve Schil- ling in 2006. Schilling was born and raised in Bellevue, Wash., and developed into a sixth-round NFL Draft pick during his time in Ann Arbor. Before Schilling, Tacoma, Wash., de- fensive end Larry Stevens signed with Michigan in 2000 and eventually spent a few years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. Clemons, Schilling and Stevens are the only three Pacific Northwest re- cruits to ink with Michigan since the turn of the century. However, the opportunity is there for Michigan to make a move. Both Or- egon and Washington have new coaching staffs, and Morgan laid the groundwork last year, bringing in top-100 Tacoma (Wash.) Lincoln defensive lineman Jayden Wayne, On3 Consensus four-star Lake Stevens (Wash.) High running back Jayden Limar and three-star Ferndale (Wash.) High offensive lineman Landen Hatchett in for visits. All three remain interested in Michi- gan as do others in the region like top- 100 Portland Central Catholic tight end Riley Williams and top-100 Seattle Rainier Beach cornerback Caleb Pres- ley, a teammate of 2022 On300 offensive lineman Josh Conerly, who is still on the market and has U-M in his top group. New Michigan director of recruiting operations Albert Karschnia was hired for his reputation as a relentless worker and relationship builder in the Detroit metro area. However, Karschnia has a bridge to the Pacific Northwest through Marcus Griffin. A former Arizona defensive lineman, Griffin signed with Central Michigan as a graduate transfer thanks in large part to the recruiting efforts of Karschnia. Grif- fin is now a trainer and club 7v7 coach for Ford Sports Performance in the Seattle- area and visited Michigan last fall with the aforementioned Limar and Hatchett. "[Karschnia] pays attention to the de- tails," Griffin said. "When you say some- thing, he really takes note of it. He'll cir- cle back to that if it's important to you. For me, I was big on education and my master's [degree] program. He did ev- erything he could to have the details of that worked out. It all made sense when I saw it. "He's diverse enough to land kids from anywhere, and his eye for talent is there. Obviously, we have this connection and relationship. I know what kind of man he is. I played for him, and everything he says, he does. I'm definitely going to keep shooting kids his way." Tracy Ford, who heads up Ford Sports Performance and is arguably the most notable recruiting figure in the Pacific Northwest, also made the visit to Michi- gan last fall and believes U-M could be a great fit for several student-athletes he works with. "It was the best college football game I've been to in my life," Ford said. "That place is phenomenal. Michigan is amaz- ing — the culture and the atmosphere. We just don't have that on the West Coast. We have Oregon that will pack the house. But the atmosphere at Michigan is phe- nomenal. It's just different." Morgan and Nua were especially active in California last cycle, helping the Wol- verines land On300 Concord De La Salle defensive back Zeke Berry, On3 Consen- sus four-star Anaheim Servite defensive lineman Mason Graham and three-star Apple Valley High quarterback Jayden Denegal. Recruiting in California — especially in the Los Angeles-area — will prove to be difficult. USC made a splash hire this off- season by luring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, and the Trojans already have the No. 1 recruiting class in 2023 despite holding only three commitments. Resources should be used wisely with California prospects, but Michigan has recruited the state well, dating back to its monumental win of future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who signed with the Wolverines out of San Mateo Ju- nipero Serra. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh also attended high school in California and made his mark in the state by leading San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance before arriving at U-M. Simply put, California will always be an option.   FOOTBALL RECRUITING Despite Loss Of Direct Ties To The Region, The Wolverines Can Still Win Out West Four- star wideout Darrius Clemons was a big get last cycle out of the Pacific Northwest for the Wolverines, their first from the region since former prep All- A m e r i c a n o f f e n s i v e l i n e m a n S t e p h e n Schilling in 2006. Michigan is targeting sev- eral others from the area this year. PHOTO BY CHAD SIMMONS/ON3.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - April 2022