If you missed part one of our news & notes, click here.
The Wheatley Effect?
The race for 2016 Southfield (Mich.) RB Matt Falcon appears to be heating up, and currently Tennessee leads the pack. Michigan is among those giving fierce chase and will have the opportunity to make up a great deal of ground next weekend when travels to Ann Arbor for the Wolverines’ annual spring game. When it comes to why the Maize & Blue currently trail the Volunteers, that is anyone’s guess… and that includes one of the most influential figures in his recruitment, Reggie Wynns. That much was clear when the Southfield High assistant and owner of Rising Stars Recruiting responded to a question about what his talented pupil likes most about the program in Knoxville.
“The color of their uniforms? (Laughter). I don’t know if he knows anything about Tennessee,” Wynns said. “He likes Tennessee and Coach Stripling over there is going to visit soon. I’m guessing (he likes) the color of their uniforms.”
What Wynns isn’t guessing about is the advice he will continue to pass along to Falcon and his family about the recruiting process.
“Make sure he evaluates the position coach as well as the program,” Wynns said. “Make sure he’s checking mainly academics, but make sure he evaluates the program and position coach before he makes a decision.”
And when it comes to his would-be position coach at Michigan Wynns didn’t hesitate in sharing his thoughts.
“The best running backs coach in the country,” Wynns said emphatically. “Tyrone Wheatley is a great person, great coach, a father figure to the kids, and he’s one of my favorite guys.”
Wheatley is among the coaches Wynns believes are capable of helping his 6-1, 220 lb. student become an impact player on the next level.
“Matt Falcon is a big running back (that is) strong, fast, (and has) great hands like a receiver,” stated Wynns. “He needs to work on more lateral movement, but he is a big back… a north and south guy that is going to help you out and you can throw him the ball to him out of the backfield.”
In-State Package Deal?
The chatter around the field about the potential for Michigan to gain commitments from a few in-state prospects in the coming weeks was hard to ignore. Farmington (Mich.) teammates David Reese and Desmond Fitzpatrick, Detroit King wideout Donnie Corley, Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison DE Khalid Kareem, and Falcon were all featured in one rumor or another. According to Wynns there may be some merit to the talk, but not necessarily with all the guys being mentioned.
“Anything is possible,” said Wynns who knows all of the young men in question. “Could they all go to the same school? I do know this, Dez and Reese are really best friends. Now (the rest), I don’t know about that. They’re all cool, but Dez and Reese are very close. Anything is possible with that.”
Fitzpatrick himself alluded to a potential domino effect for the Maize & Blue. According to Wynns it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Louisville WR commit was the first to fall.
“He loves Michigan,” stated Wynns. “(The Michigan offer) has shaken things up a lot. He loves Louisville, loves the staff, and Louisville has been recruiting him very hard. He likes Louisville’s fit and what they offer him, but he is a Michigan fan. He loves Michigan. It’s going to be a tough process for him.”
Reese is staring a similar decision square in the face. A commitment flip appears to be on the horizon in the aftermath of the offer extended to him personally by Jim Harbaugh. There is just one slight question about position. The Wolverines like him as a fullback, but he fancies himself more of a linebacker. Will that be a big hold-up in the grand scheme of things?
“I’m a team player,” insisted Reese. “I definitely want to have a shot at playing linebacker. If linebacker doesn’t work out for me when I get there and get the shot, then I’ll move to fullback.”
All that’s left now is figuring out the right time to make a decision on his collegiate future.
“Probably sometime soon,” said Reese. “I’m going up there for the spring game, so sometime soon.”
Wynns Advising a Former Wolverine Too
Devin Funchess has long been one of Wynns top pupils, so after athletically gifted youngster turned in a not-so-gifted showing in the forty at the NFL combine he reached out to his old coach for advice. Wynns’ solution was to put Funchess with former Wolverine standout and track Coach Stan Edwards.
“(Funchess) worked on his starts,” said Wynns. “What happened was he got taught different at IMG. He came back and worked with Stan Edwards and Stan helped him out. Stan got him down and ran a sub 4.42, a sub 4.47. He’s always been fast, but if you watched him at the combine, his start was terrible.”
Another Edwards on the Radar?
Michigan hasn’t been a presence in in the recruitment of 2016 Chelsea (Mich.) WR Bailey Edwards up to this point, but that could change in the coming weeks.
“Bailey is getting under-recruited,” said Wynns. “He legitimately ran 4.45s (Saturday) consistently. He ran a 4.39 at my camp. He is very, very raw. What is so impressive about Bailey and all Stan’s kids is their work ethic is impeccable. His ceiling to grow is going to be phenomenal. So if somebody can get ahold of him and teach him, he is going to be a special kid.”
Two Likely Big-Timers
Oak Park (Mich.) is home to two of the tip line talents in the state. That distinction is rendered more impressive when taking in to account that one is a 2017 prospect and one is a 2018.
Jaraymond Hall (2017 OT, 6-5, 255) and Marquan McCall (2018 OG, 6-3, 280) are just scratching the surface of how good they can be, and they’re already pretty good. They got better as the day went along Saturday, as evidenced by a few dominant turns toward the end.
Wheatley has been by the school to check up on both, and they each have strong interest in the in-state schools. They are locks to camp if/when invited, and this is one where a package deal seems likely. The two youngsters are extremely close and McCall is currently pretty adamant about committing to the same school that his “big brother” does.
Stay tuned for more on this talented duo in the coming days.
Pallante Part 2?
One of the more surprising moves in Ann Arbor this spring was Brady Pallante’s decision to give fullback a try. A defensive lineman by trade, Pallante has held his own at the position. His surprising mobility has made him a legitimate presence in the competition. His success in practice thus far may at least in part be shaping Michigan’s view of Walled Lake Western DT Bryce Brand.
The three-star DT is the biggest at the position standing 6-0, 265 lbs., but he is fairly nimble for his size. That has led Harbaugh & company to look at him possibly as a fullback also. He has visited Michigan’s campus a number of times of the past few months, with his most recent trip coming last Thursday. The Wolverines currently sit outside of his top five due in part to the lack of an offer. However, he could move closer to one if he works out at fullback in front of the Maize & Blue brass this summer.