After missing just about everything recruiting related in 2020 due to COVID, the Michigan coaches, staffers and recruits are definitely excited about the return of The BBQ at The Big House today.
With a brand new recruiting staff in place, an event like today is a big deal for 2022 prospects who might be getting on campus for the first time as legitimate Michigan targets, especially as some of them near their decisions. However, some of today's visitors are definitely familiar faces. No matter the status of each visiting recruit, today's event is a chance for Michigan to make some big impacts.
Seattle Rainier Beach offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr.
The 6-5, 275-pounder is one of the best offensive tackles in the country, so getting him on campus in an unofficial capacity for the BBQ is a big deal for U-M. He has a loaded top 12 with programs like Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, USC and Washington being the biggest players for him. Most think the hometown Huskies are going to be tough to beat. It's likely that Conerly will be back in Ann Arbor for an official visit for Michigan's game against Washington, which is growing more important by the day.
Merrillville (Ind.) High defensive tackle Kenneth Grant
Grant doesn't have an official top three but the offers from Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin are standing out to him the most. At 6-4, 335 pounds, Grant is the type of defensive tackle Michigan is targeting now under Mike Macdonald. He's arguably Michigan's top target at DT (behind Walter Nolen) and is giving the Wolverines a very serious look.
Clearwater (Fla.) Clearwater Academy International defensive tackle Isaiah Hastings
Heading into the weekend, it looked like Hastings might commit to the Wolverines, but things have slowed on both sides. The Michigan staff is definitely interested in the 6-4, 290-pounder, but they aren't pushing for his pledge. On the flip side, Hastings recently picked up offers from Miami and Oregon, which give him a lot to think about. It's good that he's on campus, and if things go well Michigan may remain at the top of his list, but for now there are no fireworks expected.
Grosse Pointe (Mich.) Grosse Pointe South cornerback Will Johnson
I know Johnson is already solidly committed to the Wolverines, but I think his presence at all of these big events is huge for U-M's recruiting efforts. Johnson has such a charismatic and magnetic personality, that putting him around top targets is one of the best approaches for Michigan. He also happens to be one of the best football players in the entire country, which is a big feather in the cap for U-M. Good players want to play with good players, and Johnson makes that possible at Michigan. Throw in the fact that he's extremely intelligent and good at talking to people, and he becomes one of Michigan's best recruiters.
Detroit Cass Tech defensive tackle Deone Walker
Walker has become one of Michigan's top remaining targets in the 2022 class and he feels like a heavy U-M lean. At 6-6, 340 pounds, he's a little taller than the typical defensive tackle, but he's absolutely massive and has great feet for his size. He's not committed to Michigan, but he sort of acts like it. He doesn't seem to be in a hurry to go public with anything, but I almost view him as a member of Michigan's class already.
NOTE: Along with Johnson, Michigan is also hosting several other commits from the 2022 class. Belleville (Mich.) High linebacker Aaron Alexander, Clearwater (Fla.) Gaither defensive end Mario Eugenio, Monument (Colo.) Palmer Ridge offensive tackle Connor Jones, Germantown (Tenn.) High athlete Kody Jones, Windsor (Conn.) The Loomis Chaffee School offensive tackle Alessandro Lorenzetti, Bolingbrook (Ill.) Nazareth Academy wide receiver Tyler Morris, Columbia (S.C.) Hammond School running back CJ Stokes and Detroit Harper Woods wide receiver Tay'Shawn Trent are also expected in town for the event.