Michigan makes pitch to keep commit Otis Reese; basketball early signing period begins

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Stay updated as Michigan rises toward the top of the recruiting rankings! Don’t miss the coverage from Kevin Goheen, who brings two decades of experience as a sports writer to coverage of Michigan recruiting. Read his daily notebooks here at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and follow us on Twitter for the latest Wolverines recruiting news.

Michigan working hard to keep 2018 commit

Aubrey Solomon has started the last two games at defensive tackle for Michigan. Solomon was one of the top recruits in the country in the 2017 class but a high ranking by scouting services will only get you so far.

Solomon has trimmed up since arriving on campus in June, and that has helped him see increased playing time as the season has progressed.

His is a tale that Michigan coaches can point to when they’re out on the recruiting trail, trying to sell prospective players on why Ann Arbor is the place best suited for them.

“Obviously, you want a great player like that to come here,” said Greg Mattison, Solomon’s position coach and one of his main recruiters. “There’s always going to be an opportunity, and that’s the big thing he saw.”

Jim Harbaugh and Michigan have been good at giving incoming freshmen the chance to play their first year if they are worthy. Solomon is one of six freshmen who has appeared in all nine games this season, and one of 12 who has played in at least six games. If not for Tarik Black suffering a fractured foot, those numbers would be higher. Sixteen freshmen have played in at least one game so far.

Selling opportunity and what Otis Reese could potentially become in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme are two big points for Michigan as it attempts to keep Reese among its 2018 commits. Reese committed to Michigan in June 2016 but he has recently taken visits to Georgia, and there is a belief that he could become the second Michigan commit to flip his decision in favor of an SEC school. Offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor changed his mind on Oct. 29 and committed to Alabama.

Reese is 4-star defensive back from Solomon’s alma mater, Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga. He is projected to be an outside linebacker, but the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Reese has the possibility of being a fit at viper ― the hybrid role Khaleke Hudson is excelling in this season.

“He has that rare combination of being very physical and able to play in the box but also having the coverage skills to go out and cover receivers,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This combination is what makes him so unique. There aren’t many kids that are 6-3, 215 pounds who are a mismatch coming off the edge but also can go out and cover the other team’s best wide receiver.”

Reese was credited with 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and 2 pass breakups as the Trojans won their regular-season finale, 23-7, against Coffee to finish 9-1 and win the program’s first regional championship since 2014. Lee County opens play in the AAAAAA postseason Friday at home against Richmond Hill (7-2).

One of the successes of Harbaugh’s tenure in recruiting has been the ability to give players an honest chance to play as freshmen. They have to earn that playing time, but it’s there. Mattison and other coaches have delivered that message while building solid relationships with recruits whether they ultimately sign with the Wolverines or not.

“It’s the same as it is with any player. You’ve got to be yourself,” Mattison said. “You’ve got to be fortunate enough to be at a school like Michigan where, to me when I recruit, it’s a no-brainer for a guy to come here. I really believe that in my heart. You’re going to have a great head football coach, you’re going to have a great football program, and you’re going to have an opportunity to play because we play the best players. It doesn’t matter.

“And you’re going to get the greatest degree in the country. So, what else could there be? If you like weather that’s not hot, you’re in great shape.”

Men’s hoops signs three players

Three of the five players committed to Michigan’s men’s basketball team signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, the first day of the weeklong early signing period for hoops. Power forward Colin Castleton, point guard David DeJulius and shooting guard Adrien Nunez are now part of the Michigan program.

Forward Ignas Brazdeikas and power forward Brandon Johns, the two highest-rated players in the class, are expected to follow suit and sign their letters during this early period. The class is rated No. 5 nationally by the 247Sports composite and No. 1 in the Big Ten. 

Women’s hoops 2018 class rated No. 11 in country

While John Beilein and the men’s team awaits the final two commits to get their paperwork handled, Kim Barnes-Arico and the women’s team received NLIs from five 2018 players on Wednesday. The class features guards Amy Dilk (No. 39) and Ariel Young (No. 97) who are rated among the top 100 players in the country by ESPN. The other signees are guard Danielle Rauch, forward Naz Hillmon and forward/center Emily Kiser.

The class as a whole is rated No. 11 by ESPN.

I think it is one of the best classes we have coming in since I have been here, from top to bottom,” head coach Kim Barnes Arico said in a press release. “It really targets each position that we need, one through five.”

The Wolverines open their season on Friday at Crisler Center against George Mason. They will unfurl the 2017 WNIT championship banner before the game. It’s the first postseason championship banner in the program’s history.  

Miss any editions of our daily Michigan recruiting notebook? You can find them all here

The post Michigan makes pitch to keep commit Otis Reese; basketball early signing period begins appeared first on Land of 10.

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