Over the weekend, Michigan's 2021 wide receiver board saw a couple updates when East Lansing (Mich.) three-star Andrel Anthony listed Michigan in his final four and Fresno (Calif.) Central East four-star Xavier Worthy postponed his commitment date.
While those players are top targets for Michigan in this cycle, U-M is also hoping to land Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy four-star Jayden Thomas. Standing at 6-2 and 205 pounds, Thomas holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State, so the blue chip prospect has plenty of collegiate options.
Lately, much of the discussion surrounding Thomas focuses on Michigan and Notre Dame, but the playmaking recruit admits that it's been difficult to learn about various programs during the dead period.
“You can only learn so much over Zooms and virtual visits, so I can't wait until this is all over so I can visit the colleges I'm interested in,” Thomas told Wolverine Digest.
While Thomas does not have a concrete list of schools he'd like to visit, Michigan is certainly in the mix. Thomas mentioned that he has been hearing from the Wolverines on a regular basis and that the coaching staff has employed a strong recruiting effort.
“It's been picking up a lot,” Thomas said. “Coach[Jim] Harbaugh, Coach [Josh] Gattis, those guys are just really, really pushing me. It's on Zoom calls, phone calls, FaceTimes with my parents and stuff.”
As the architect of Michigan's speed-in-space offense, Coach Gattis has tackled Thomas' recruitment for the most part.
“He is telling me that when I get there, there's going to be a lot of spots for me,” Thomas said. “He said he needs more X receivers because he has kids that are all under 6-foot, just speed guys and inside guys. He needs X kids, and he is looking at me, so that's where he said I would plug in.”
Currently, Michigan has one wide receiver commit in the 2021 class in Markus Allen, and he projects as an outside receiver as well, so it is clear what type of wideout the Wolverines are prioritizing in this cycle. And after hearing from the staff so much, Thomas has learned quite a bit about the U-M program.
“Definitely the tradition and the football, and the academics there is top notch,” Thomas said. “They're the No. 1 college in America, so that's a big factor in my decision. I love to hear that.”
While Michigan is making a strong pitch for the four-star prospect, Thomas is not close to a decision as he would like to take his official visits once the dead period is lifted.
“It could be mid-season if I feel that way after I get done with my officials or even after the season in December, so I don't know yet,” Thomas said.
From a game play standpoint, Thomas is a dangerous outside weapon that has command of the entire route tree. Thomas is quick in and out of his cuts, which allows him to create separation downfield, but he has the strength and size to go across the middle as well. Thomas also takes pride in his blocking ability, and he has continued to work over the offseason to improve his game as a whole.
Do you think Jayden Thomas winds up in Michigan's 2021 class? What other programs do you think are the Wolverines' toughest competition in terms of landing a pledge from Thomas? Let us know!