Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Farewell Montae Nicholson, Hello Unnamed 2015 DB?

It has long been thought that Gateway High School ATH Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, PA) could be a piece to the Wolverines projected strong finish to the 2014 class.  Early yesterday word leaked that Michigan is no longer recruiting Nicholson, a prospect they were pursuing for the S position rather than WR, a position he qualified for The Opening as.  After speaking to Nicholson, it was confirmed that the Wolverines were no longer interested in his services.

The reason given to Nicholson was that, "They got injured at other positions and needed help there".  It is not clear whether this is referring the recent commitment by fellow PA linebacker Jared Wangler or a reactionary move to the injury of Amara Darboh.  The latter would be confusing as Nicholson is an accomplished two-way player receiver who has drawn offers at safety and wideout, but this is purely speculation at this point.  To give an idea of where Nicholson regarded Michigan, I asked how this would impact where he takes his official visits.  "Not a huge impact," Nicholson says.  "They were most likely going to get one of them, but now I've just got to find another school that would be good for me."  This shows that Montae's interest in Michigan, a school who he mentioned as reserving a spot for him, was very real.

Since Michigan is finished at defensive back in 2014, it looks like the Wolverines might finish their class with defensive linemen Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell, possibly banking the third and final scholarship for 2015, a class with limited numbers in its own right.  And there might be some pretty quick turnaround with that scholarship if late Tuesday's rumblings were any indication.  The M Block has received information that there may be some big news from a 2015 defensive back very soon that helps explain the sudden move to halt Nicholson's recruitment.  The top candidate as the protagonist of this move looks to be Minkah Fitzpatrick, a defensive back out of New Jersey power St. Peters Prep.  While he does not currently hold an offer, he has been in contact with the staff for some time now and has mentioned his plans to visit Michigan later this fall.  Fitzpatrick has also been rumored to transfer to Paramus Catholic, his good friend Jabrill Pepper's school, in the near future.  Oh, and if you missed Peppers' video-game-esque run in a scrimmage yesterday, you'll want to check it out here.

If Fitzpatrick is not the unnamed recruit in question, that title may belong to Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, CA) cornerback Iman Marshall.  The 6'1", 186 lb. defensive back has the length, speed, and athleticism to play either safety or cornerback and is also the teammate of Juju Smith.  With defensive backs Tyree Kinnel and Shaun Crawford already in the fold for 2015, Marshall would have the benefit of trying each position and seeing where he fits best in a couple years.  Already holding an offer, Marshall has been exposed to the Michigan program for some time now and he may be warming up to the school in the time leading up to the Michigan - Ohio State game on November 30, a game Smith is slated to visit Ann Arbor for.  This will be an interesting situation to monitor in the coming days.

You can view Fitzpatrick's 2012 highlights here and Marshall's here.


  1. "The M Block has received information..." sounds like something should be happening. Any more insight to the situation you can offer? Is this a guarantee?

  2. Are we in good position with Marshall, Fitzpatrick etc? If so how good, are we a in their top 3 for example? These are top kids positionally for their class, and border line 5*'s, so just trying to guage if this is wishfull thinking.

  3. I would say were in good position with them. Doubt they have a top 3 right now. I wouldn't say borderline. Both these guys are 5 star CB for sure.

  4. Here I go on another "Deep Thoughts with Caleb" rant as to why Michigan has cooled on Nicholson...

    Corners: Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis from the sounds of it are absolutely NOT redshirting and seem to have a very bright future. Delonte Hollowell and Raymon Taylor are both proving to be solid corners that the staff likes. Countess is looking good as well. All that said (we no nothing about Reon Dawson or what the issue(s) are with TRichardson), with Peppers and Watson coming in and last year's deep DB class there is no need to use any more scholarships for more corners.

    Safety: Dymonte Thomas and Delano Hill who are both listed on the depth chart at safety as true freshmen. Dymonte will also play some nickelback. Jarrod Wilson will only be a junior next year, add in Hill (So), Jeremy Clark (RS So) and Thomas (So) and there is good depth there and its all realatively young as well. If we are star-gazing, Wilson and Nicholson seem to be in about the same position as recruits. Thomas higher, Hill and Clark lower.

    But the strength of our defensive backfield is the corners! There is a lot of QUALITY, YOUNG depth. The coach's want to get the best 11 out on the field and I have a hard time believing that Peppers wont on the field no matter what and with Mattison and Hoke's, Best 11, philosophy. He very well may play safety as a true freshman (or nickelback) as he is probably the most versatile all of the db's. How do you bench a guy like 2 year starters in SR Raymon Taylor and JR Blake Countess, especially if Strib and Lewis are really looking as good as we've heard? Peppers will be a safety, if they don't want him to ever come off the field. He will be the nickelback if he is going to play some offense as well. His versatility and the corner depth has closed the door on Nicholson.