The early National Signing Day for the class of 2020 is coming up tomorrow, December 18, 2019. For the past few years, NSD has lost some of its luster when everything worked up to a froth in February. Now kids can sign in December or January. That’s good in some ways and bad in others.
But for our purposes, we want to know what’s going on tomorrow.
QUESTION #1: WILL THERE BE ANY BAD SURPRISES?
In short, no, I don’t think there will be. We will probably find out that there is a departure from the current commitment list, but not to one of the top-rated commits. The one who has garnered the most hand-wringing is safety Jordan Morant from Oradell (NJ) Bergen Catholic, who has taken a couple visits elsewhere. There has also been some concern that he would stay home and go to Rutgers. By all accounts he is expected to sign with Michigan.
Hit the jump for more.
QUESTION #2: WILL THERE BE ANY GOOD SURPRISES?
I suppose I could have put this in the last section, too, but they’re called “surprises” for a reason. If I knew what was going to happen, I wouldn’t be speaking with uncertainty. Most of the questions are about two players:
- QB C.J. Stroud: The Rancho Cucamonga (CA) Rancho Cucamonga product is a 4-star, the #2 pro-style quarterback, and #83 overall. All signs are pointing toward Ohio State, who received the most recent official visit. I don’t think it makes a ton of sense since OSU already has a highly rated QB (Arizonian Jack Miller) in the class, but obviously OSU has a more positive football situation overall.
- CB Darion Green-Warren: The Harbor City (CA) Narbonne corner has been going back and forth between Michigan and USC. He doesn’t plan to announce publicly until the All-American Bowl in January, but things have a tendency to become public earlier than that. When he signs I expect to find out sooner than January, although probably not tomorrow.
For the record, I think Stroud goes to OSU and Green-Warren picks Michigan.
QUESTION #3: WHAT WILL MICHIGAN DO FOR A QUARTERBACK?
If Stroud picks the bad guys instead of the good guys, Michigan will be in a pickle. They had a solid quarterback committed in Phoenix (AZ) Pinnacle’s J.D. Johnson, but Johnson announced recently that he has to retire due to medical reasons. Michigan is in a rather dire situation at quarterback. The Wolverines did not take a QB in the 2012 class with seeming can’t-miss prospect Shane Morris committed for 2013, and that hurt them for several years. This is more like the class of 2011, which was a transition year from Rich Rodriguez to Brady Hoke. That’s the year that Kevin Sousa decommitted in early December 2010, and Michigan had to scramble for a passer, eventually landing 3-star Russell Bellomy, whose career went poorly, even after he transferred to UTSA. Michigan has offered a grayshirt opportunity to Plainedge quarterback Dan Villari, who’s not very accomplished as a passer but at least has some position flexibility at 6’4″, 215 lbs. to potentially contribute at other positions if the QB thing doesn’t work out. Otherwise, Michigan could pursue Honolulu (HI) St. Louis quarterback Jayden de Laura, a current Washington State commit who plays with Roman Wilson.
The early signing period makes sense for low-rated players who get an opportunity at a big program or the school of their dreams. For players with some upward mobility like Villari, the best thing to do is wait until February (or later). De Laura, on the other hand, is committed to a school with a little bit of quarterback oomph since former Mike Leach quarterbacks are popular coaching targets, and Gardner Minshew of the Jacksonville Jaguars is the first Leach quarterback to really make a splash in the NFL. Nationally, people care way more about Michigan than WSU, but that doesn’t mean the QB development at Michigan is better.
QUESTION #4: WHAT’S WITH THE DEFENSIVE TACKLE POSITION?
Obviously, Michigan is not too concerned about defensive tackle going forward, or else they would have addressed it. They can’t talk about these players publicly until they sign, but I think it’s pretty obvious that they must have some plans to bulk up a guy like Aaron Lewis or Kris Jenkins, Jr. to play on the interior. The most obvious thing to do would be to extend new offers or push for guys within the state, but there’s been no such movement with guys like Southfield’s Bryce Austin (Purdue), who was offered by Michigan, and Dearborn’s Ali Saad (Minnesota), who wasn’t. I don’t expect the defensive tackle position to be addressed any further in this class.
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