Elite pass catchers aren’t easy to find these days, at least not those with big frames and an ability to make the rare play. That’s exactly what 2020 five-star Julian Fleming offers, however. The Catawissa (Pa.) Southern Columbia product is down in Orlando (Fla.) for a few days as he gets set to compete against some of the nations top prospects in his class for bragging rights.
While some insist Fleming is a Penn State lean, that isn’t the case. It’s very early in his recruitment, says Fleming, and Michigan is a school he’s got a high interest level in.
“It’s going well, I’ve been talking to the coaches and we started to talk to each other more on a daily basis and I mean it is my first offer so they really opened up the door for me,” Fleming said of his relationship with Michigan.
“I’m interested in Michigan and I’d like to go up and see the campus for myself. One of my teammates went up and said it was beautiful, So I’ve got to get up there.”
Fleming has yet to set foot in Ann Arbor, but being such a highly sought after prospect he knows just what to look for in a school and program, so that he makes each visit count as much as possible.
“I’ve seen them [Michigan] play enough, so I know their play style, but I’d like to see their facilities, coaching staff and academics. That’s a big thing because you know football doesn’t last forever. So just a lot of life after football things and the education that they carry.”
Fleming added that scheme of play isn’t the biggest factor in his recruitment. He trusts programs to do what they’ve got to do to succeed.
Communication between Michigan and Fleming has been on the uptick he says, and he’s enjoying it thus far.
“I talk to coach [Jim] Harbaugh and he’s a little goofy [laughs] but I like him a lot, he came to one of our practices this year. And then Ben McDaniels, I talk to him a lot. We’re getting a close relationship too.
“This year they had a great season and knocked off some big teams. I mean they killed Penn State, they really blew them out of the water, so I mean honestly Michigan is turning into a powerhouse. If they keep it up and keep making that push they’re going to start getting with those SEC teams and making that push for a national championship.”
He says that he’s “Definitely” going to get to Michigan, and then after that and a couple of other visits he’ll cut his list to five, take those official visits and go from there.
He also says that as a big time receiver he does look at quarterbacks and what each program has to offer in that regard.
“You definitely have to look at who’s throwing you the ball and who’s going to be getting you the ball for those years. So you have to look at current quarterbacks, depth chart wise, and quarterbacks coming in your class. And you know there’s some quarterbacks that are already committed and already trying to recruit me and they’re looking around for their lineman and stuff like that, just trying to build their class.”
Michigan is sitting pretty in that regard, as things stand, with promising quarterback Dylan McCaffrey just about ready to take over the helms as well as class of 2018 prospect Joe Milton sitting behind him, and known for having as strong an arm as there is. U-M also recently picked up a commitment from class of 2020 quarterback JD Johnson, a promising Arizona prospect, who also happens to have a very big arm.
“The schools I talk to the most are Penn State, Ohio State and Florida,” Fleming said. “And all the other schools I talk to a lot as well, mostly that top ten that I have released is where I’m focused.”
Interestingly, while Fleming lives in Pennsylvania, he says he grew up a fan of then Pac-12 power, Oregon.
While a decision is not in the immediate future, Fleming knows that it’s education that he needs to focus on when choosing his future school, because he says it’s clear to him that “not everybody can go to the NFL.”
Fleming is every bit of his listed 6-3, 210 pounds and passes the eye test. Tomorrow he’ll put his skills to the test on the field against speed and talent he may not regularly see in his high school games.
He says he could take his decision “all the way until the early signing day period” but if he does happen to know beforehand he wouldn’t mind pulling the trigger.