Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel shoot down NFL rumors on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at Crisler Center.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
Daxton Hill turned a few heads over the weekend when he announced his decision to flip his verbal commitment from Michigan to Alabama.
The 5-star safety prospect from Oklahoma had been committed to Michigan since September. Members of Michigan’s coaching staff paid him a visit earlier last week.
Yet Saturday night, the entire recruiting world — Michigan included — found out about a noted change of heart at the same time.
“It caught everyone by surprise,” 247Sports recruiting analyst Steve Lorenz said. “Since I’ve been doing this, I’d probably accurately say that’s the first time the Michigan staff found out about a kid decommitting when we all did. So, when we say this was unexpected, it was legitimately unexpected.”
The news caught Michigan by surprise.
But it hasn’t caused Jim Harbaugh and company to stop recruiting Hill.
“If they’re still recruiting him, and we know they are, I don’t think they would be still recruiting him unless they thought there was an opportunity to pull this one back out again,” Lorenz added.
With less than a week before the start of the early signing period (Dec. 19), Michigan is still trying to get Hill — who has not shared his reasons for the commitment change — back into its class. The recovery of a prospect who has decommitted is rare, though it has happened before.
It happened for Michigan as recently as the 2017 class when 5-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon backed off his pledge publicly before eventually re-committing and signing with Michigan.
This would be something different, though. Hill not only backed off his pledge, but he immediately flipped to Alabama — the defending national champion and the favorite to win the College Football Playoff this season.
Still, the Wolverines appear to be doing what they can to make that happen.
“The fact they’re still recruiting him like we believe they are leads me to believe they still think there’s some kind of shot,” Lorenz said. “Logic would lead me to believe they’ll try to go back in-home with him. But as far as a concrete date and who would be there, I can’t really say right now.”
The other piece of this situation centers around whether Hill plans to sign during the early period or wait until February. He hasn’t made any public announcement about that.
Back in September, per Lorenz, Hill was thinking about signing in February. Whether that has changed remains unclear.
“I’m interested to see if Alabama tries to get him to sign early so this is over and done. If they know Michigan’s still pushing, maybe they push back in an effort to get this over with,” Lorenz said. “And if Michigan thinks it can turn the tide or re-flip him, then maybe they try to get him to sign early as well.
“I’m not sure they want this to go on for two more months.”
This is recruiting, though. And ultimately teams will do what they can to sign a player of Hill’s caliber.
The 6-foot, 186-pounder is rated at No. 8 overall in the 2019 recruiting class. He was Michigan’s highest-rated commitment and is considered by many as the fastest straight-line player in the country for this cycle.
He’s the top-rated safety in the class and a player who is believed to have the athletic polish to enter a school and compete for a starting job right away.
“It’s going to be a task,” Lorenz says. “It’s recruiting, man. We’ve been down the road with decommits coming back before. But a re-flip? That’d be rare.
“That would definitely buck the historic trend in that regard if they can somehow pull this one out.”
Contact Nick Baumgardner: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.