Michigan Tapping Familiar Pipelines For Talent in 2021

Eric Rutter

In recent weeks, the Michigan coaching staff has hit the Northeast hard on the recruiting trail, pulling in commitments from offensive lineman Greg Crippen, a Massachusetts native, and Dominick Giudice, a current Mater Dei defensive end in New Jersey.

Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown, who joined the program from Boston College, holds serious clout in that area, and he has become a staple in recruiting that region. In the last cycle, U-M hauled in roughly a dozen pledges from the Northeast, which proves the impact Brown has had in scouting the area.

Baptiste sold on U-M staff

That trend has continued for the 2021 class, and Everett (Mass.) High three-star athlete Tyrese Baptiste is one recruit that the Wolverines are after. Checking in at 5-10 and 175 pounds, Baptiste played both wide receiver and cornerback for Everett and is listed as an athlete by many of the recruiting sites.

Baptiste, who plays at the same school as current Michigan wide receiver Mike Sainristil, landed his U-M offer back in January and has kept steady contact with the Wolverines staff since that time, and the coaches have made a positive impression on the junior prospect.

“The coaches show that they care about not only football but [want] to make you a better person overall,” Baptiste told Wolverine Digest. “They show a lot of love since my school has a good relationship with Michigan.”

According to 247Sports.com’s composite rating, Baptiste is ranked as a top 100 athlete in the country. When lined up on defense, Baptiste shows quick instincts when he breaks on the ball, has plus-hands and has the agility to stay with receivers in and out of their breaks. These qualities bode well for his future at defensive back, but he is also an accomplished wideout as well.

At the moment, Baptiste has not finalized his official visit schedule, but the versatile recruit confirmed that he does plan on visiting Michigan before making his decision.

Following a similar pattern of revisiting well-established pipelines, the Michigan staff is prodding a talent-rich California school in hopes of landing another notable recruit.

Kirkwood hearing of Michigan's structure

Listed as a four-star athlete on 247Sports.com, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra’s Devin Kirkwood is one of the more dynamic prospects in the cycle. With the ability to play offense or defense, Kirkwood particularly shines in the secondary, and his length at 6-3 is a clear advantage on passing downs.

Kirkwood is open to playing either safety or cornerback in college, and he particularly wants to show his ability to play both, a trait that may afford the blue-chip recruit early playing time down the line, which is very important to Kirkwood.

In terms of his recruitment, Kirkwood says he hears from Michigan “every day” and also picks the brain of a current Wolverine, former Junipero Serra corner Darion Green-Warren.

“I talk to Darion about Michigan all the time,” Kirkwood told Buffs Country’s Chase Howell. “I see how he likes it. The coaches really take care of their kids, trying to get their kids to the next time, getting the kids better at practice and everything that they do. And they hold their kids accountable for everything they do on and off the field.”

With nearly 25 offers to his name, Kirkwood is in no shortage of opportunities to reach the field early at the next level. After visiting Notre Dame in the past, Kirkwood plans to visit the Fighting Irish again, in addition to trips to Michigan, Cal, Arizona State and Colorado.

Kirkwood and Baptiste both show potential on offense and defense. Where would you slot either prospect in college? Let us know! 

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Why can’t Don Brown get guys from in state, for example Damon Payne or Justin Rogers? I guess that they would rather go somewhere where they will be developed into top NFL material.