Extended Dead Period And The 2021 Recruiting Class

Staff of WolverineDigest.com

Just a couple of days ago, the NCAA announced that it had extended the 2020 recruiting dead period until January 1, 2021. That means that recruits and their families can not have any in-person contact with college coaching staffs, on or off campus.

“The Council has been reviewing the dead period on a regular basis since April,” the NCAA said in a statement. “A dead period precludes all in-person recruiting. Phone calls and correspondence can continue to occur.”

That means that across the country, prospective student athletes have had to work their way through a very important recruiting process without visiting the campuses they could potentially live on for four or five years.

When it comes to Michigan's No. 10 ranked class, everyone seems quite solid, but there's always going to be some concern when it comes to kids who live far from Ann Arbor. There doesn't seem to be any immediate reason to worry but players like Fresno (Calif.) Central East wide receiver Xavier Worthy and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas inside linebacker Jaydon Hood are two players that are being monitored closely.

Several people in the know have raised concerns that extending the dead period will make it more difficult for Michigan to hold onto recruits who have not visited, like Worthy and Hood. However, they committed to U-M during the recruiting dead period, so the only thing this changes is their ability (or inability, rather) to go visit other schools. With Worthy, he was looking at schools away from home in his top group before committing, so those are obviously tough to visit. 

For Worthy it's more about his timeline than anything else. The 6-1, 160-pound speedster plans to enroll early, meaning he won't be able to visit campus as a commit before starting classes as a Michigan freshman. That's a lot to ask a kid to be comfortable with. He's coveted and from California. Programs out there aren't going to give up on him and, while he can't pal around campus with the coaching staffs, he can check things out on his own. That's just not that feasible at Michigan because fo the distance.

Worthy has heard the rumblings but as of right now, he's saying all the right things to put Michigan fans' minds at ease.

Fellow California wide receiver Cristian Dixon is worth keeping an eye on as well for the same reasons. He also hasn't given any indication that he's looking around, but the 6-2, 187-pounder out of Mater Dei is also way out west and is definitely on the want list of some Cali schools.

With Hood, things seem a little more pressing. Nearby Miami is putting a lot of pressure on him, so that is more of a situation to monitor than with Worthy. While he still says that he's 100% committed to Michigan, he's openly talking about how much he likes the Canes and head coach Manny Diaz. He's also very outspoken about how comfortable he is in south Florida and has made it known that he's never really been anywhere else.

I'm not quite ready to say that Hood is more likely to end up at The U than U-M, but I've seen this movie before. When commits are just fine with talking about other schools, particularly ones much closer to home, an eventual pledge to one of those schools seems inevitable.

Michigan did experience two decommitments recently with Clayton (Ohio) Northmont wide receiver Markus Allen and Marshfield (Mass.) Noble and Greenough School inside linebacker Casey Phinney choosing other options, but they had little to do with the dead period. Allen felt he was deserving of more attention, and Phinney likes his opportunity at Boston College a bit better than Michigan. So far, U-M has recruited the WR and LB positions very well, so the future depth chart likely played a role in each case.  

When you look at the big picture, there are two timeframes to monitor here: the early signing period and national signing day in February. Since Michigan only has a few spots left, it makes sense that the Wolverines would look for elite players to fill those remaining positions. Typically high profile kids don't sign in December and also generally like to take official visits, so Michigan would have an opportunity to host prospects in the month of January if the dead period is not extended again. This could give Michigan the chance to flip some kids or to further cement how solid various U-M commits are. 

At the end of the day, Michigan landed most of the members of its 2021 class after the dead period started, so the staff has adjusted to the change in recruiting well. There is no reason to expect this to change over the next couple months. Look for Michigan to land around five more commits before this cycle is done while hanging on to everyone. If anyone from the class is does switch things up, it would be Hood, but as of right now, I'd bet on him sticking with the Wolverines.

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