The University of Michigan was front at center at Baltimore’s Patterson Park for another satellite camp stop Monday. Joining the Wolverine contingent were coaches from Syracuse, Wake Forest, Maryland, Navy, and a host of FCS and Division II schools. Jim Harbaugh, in what has become routine now, wore attire commemorating sports heroes from the area. This time he donned the jerseys of Baltimore sports legends Cal Ripken Jr. and Ray Lewis. From 1:30 PM to 8:30 PM in two separate sessions the throng of coaches taught skill development to a captive audience of a few hundred youngsters.
A handful of them were Michigan recruits.
2018 Baltimore (Md.) Gilman TE/DE Thomas Booker – This chiseled two-play player lined up exclusively at tight end and really improved during the day in the areas of release moves and route precision. He began the camp just trying to outmuscle the competition to free himself up (often successfully), but by the end he was doing a better job of using his speed to his advantage. Even though he also showed really good hands as well, word has it that Michigan likes him just as much at defensive end. That leaves the door open for him to play whatever position he prefers in Ann Arbor if he chooses the Wolverines down the line. That said, his recruitment is in its infancy and he is wide open to all suitors. Expect the Wolverines to be a definitively in the mix throughout. He is already very high on the Maize & Blue. “Fantastic school, fantastic academics, (and) fantastic football team,” Booker said of Michigan. He made it a point to mention his excitement over Michigan being his first offer and plans to get up on a visit soon.
2018 Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic DL Austin Fontaine – This rising junior was the most impressive prospect in attendance. His combination of size, speed, and quickness was unmatched. It only took a few running drills for that to become evident. Also noteworthy was how well he responded to Greg Mattison’s coaching style. The four-star prospect is already up to 16 offers. Word on the field was Maryland is strong early, but the Fontaine insists he is open. He is headed to Ohio State next week. Depending on exactly when that occurs look for Michigan to try to get him on campus as well (the Wolverines will be hosting a number of prospects on the 17th and 18th.
2018 Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic OL/DL Evan Gregory – Fontaine definitely commanded the majority of eyes when it came to defensive line drills, but Gregory wasn’t far behind when it came to amount of attention. What stood out most was his versatility. The 6-3 280-pounder seemed to be focused on playing on defense exclusively heading into the camp, but one of the Maryland coaches mentioned wanting to get a good look at him on offense also. Gregory was more than happy to oblige. On defense he showed good off snap quickness and power, but his hand technique was really scrutinized by the coaches. Meanwhile on offense he seemed like a natural at guard. He jarred a number of competitors with his punch and showed nice lateral quickness. Maryland, Syracuse, and West Virginia highlight his early offer list. After his camp showing this is a youngster I’d expect Michigan to keep a close eye on also.
2019 Chevy Chase (Md.) St John’s LB Shane Lee – What a specimen, and only a freshman (soon-to-be sophomore). The 6-1, 235 pounder is a powerfully built youngster with great burst. His change of direction is impressive and he did a good job of sticking with receivers in space. It was same ability he demonstrated last year at Baltimore (Md.) Gilman... ability which has already earned him a Michigan scholarship. With so much time to go in his recruitment he is much more focused on transitioning into his new surroundings at St. John’s. He does plan to get out at visit a number of schools in the coming months including Michigan. Maryland, Syracuse, Toledo, and North Carolina currently join the Wolverines on Lee’s early offer list.
2018 Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic OLB/TE John Morgan – It was a coming out party of sorts for this versatile. He has only a Syracuse offer at the moment, but that should change in the coming weeks/months as he makes it out to more camps. Considered by many scouts to be a tight end prospect, Morgan turned heads Monday on defense. He has good speed (as evidenced by his winning the smokehouse race for his linebackers), demonstrated pass rush ability, and the versatility to play standing up in space. Both Greg Mattison and Don Brown definitely appeared to be impressed. With his hand in the dirt his game is all about speed rush at this stage of development. The coaches spent time working with him on counters. He looks to be about 6-2, 240 at the moment, which is a height/weight combination that might be more enticing to schools on defense. That certainly appears to be the case with Michigan. Expect Michigan to keep an eye on him during the fall.
2017 Randallstown (Md.) DE Eyabi Anoma – This youngster didn’t even play football last year, but plans to get back on the gridiron after a one-year hiatus. He proved to be one of the more explosive players in attendance, but as one would expect he is very raw. He also needs to add weight. He currently stands about 6-5, 190 and was subject to being pushed around when offensive linemen engaged him. He likely too much of a project for Michigan to give serious consideration, but some of the area Power fives might take a shot if he shows well on the football field during his senior season.
2017 Baltimore (Md.) St. Francis Marcus Coleman – A big physical kid that moves well for his size at 6-4, 295. He already lists offers from Syracuse, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Virginia. Impressed but probably but not tracking as a frontline target for the Wolverines. There is down-the-line potential though.
2018 Ridgely (Md.) North Caroline DT Ja’mion Franklin – Another big kid that caught the eye of the coaches with how well he moved. The 6-3, 305-pounder has been flying beneath the radar. Expect the schools to now begin monitoring his progress.
A couple of famous former NFL faces were on hand during the day to support young family members. Former Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs made it out to the afternoon session to support his grandson, 2017 Cornelius (N.C.) Hough quarterback Jackson Gibbs. The 6-1, 185-pounder had the attention of the mid-majors and FCS schools in attendance.
Former NFL wideout Qadry Ismail made it out to the evening session support his two sons – 2017 Bel Air (Md.) Patterson Mill WR Qadry Ismail II (6-5, 175) and QB Qadir Isamil (6-7, 185). Young Qadry has been fielding interest from FCS schools. Qadir, meanwhile, is beginning to field interest from mid-majors.
A Harbaugh Family Affair
Baltimore Ravens headman John Harbaugh arrived for the evening session and dove right in, announcing all of the winners form the speed and quickness categories. Afterward he delivered a stirring message to the campers about dreaming big.
John then turned things over to his dad Jack Harbaugh who counseled the youngsters on earning respect the way Muhammad Ali did.
When the elder Harbaugh was done Michigan’s headman stepped back up to speak one last time. He wanted to address those disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to sign autographs or take pictures with them because of newly established NCAA rules.