While the recruiting calendar is in a dead period in between the two signing periods, there’s still some action going on. After the Under Armour All-American game practices started Sunday, the All-American Bowl practices began.
Michigan has several commits on both rosters, and they’ve been making waves during the last opportunity to increase their ranking before they’re finalized in February.
Top performers at Day 1 of the All-American Bowl
Of Michigan’s three commits participating in the All-American Bowl — Daxton Hill, Chris Hinton, and Cornelius Johnson — two of them earned mention for their play on the first day of practices on Tuesday.
In Barton Simmons of 247Sports’ rundown of the top performers (FREE), 4-star defensive tackle Chris Hinton was named in the top 10. Simmons said “Hinton’s use of his hands and his quickness at the snap were striking.”
The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk spoke with Hinton yesterday about his performance at practice (FREE). “I always feel like I belong. But today I think I showed everybody that I can compete with the best,” Hinton said.
He also pushed back on the growing sentiment he has a higher ceiling on the offensive line.
“I definitely feel like I shocked some people,” Hinton said. “Some people say I should be an offensive lineman, but today I feel I showed people I could play inside, that’s my position.”
The second player mentioned by Simmons was 4-star wide receiver Cornelius Johnson. He was described as a “big, fast outside receiver who looked sharp running routes on air and also made a few of the day’s most spectacular catches.”
TMI’s Newkirk also spoke with Johnson about his day (FREE).
“It was a good day to finally get out here with the guys. I felt good. I felt fast. I felt strong,” Johnson said. “I was able to get in-synch with the quarterbacks and get the play calls down. I felt like that was good.”
One of Johnson’s most impressive plays was a long touchdown catch against Notre Dame stud commit Kyle Hamilton, who he left in the dust on a go route.
Commits making plays at Under Armour All-American practices
The other all-star showcase has twice as many Michigan commits participating, with six. They include Zach Charbonnet, Mazi Smith, Nolan Rumler, Trente Jones, Anthony Solomon and Quinten Johnson. Just like with the All-American Bowl, a few are making a name for themselves.
Two players had top 10 plays of the day according to 247Sports’ John Garcia Jr (FREE).
At number 10 was 4-star defensive tackle Mazi Smith, who is sharpening his skills before he joins Michigan next week. In an interview with TMI’s Sam Webb, Smith talked about his attitude as he gets on campus (FREE).
“It’s pressure. It is. But I don’t mind. I’ve got to rise to the occasion, you know? (There) is a lot to be done,” Smith said.
He also emphasized the Michigan commits weren’t freaking out over the bowl loss.
“Man, we weren’t tripping. We did similar things to them the past two years,” he said. “So we aren’t really too worried. We aren’t worried at all. We’re trying to come in and get that work in and contribute the best we can.”
The other commit to land on the top plays list was 4-star safety Quinten Johnson, who had a “rock solid day” according to Garcia Jr. That day was good enough to be called the fifth-best defensive performer by 247Sports’ Greg Biggins (FREE).
“He made several nice plays on the ball in one on ones and the 7v7 portion of the camp including an interception that was one of the plays of the day,” Biggins explained. “Johnson is a thick kid with a safety build but has good straight line speed.”
Lastly, Biggins named 4-star offensive tackle Trente Jones as another strong performer on Day 3 of practices.
“The Michigan signee worked out today at right tackle and showed high level athleticism and toughness,” Biggins said. “He took a number of reps and has all the tools to be a very good player at the next level.”
After getting a couple sizable ratings bumps in the last rounds of updates, it looks like Jones is continuing his upward trajectory.
As the week moves forward and the games approach, Michigan commits are being continually praised for their play. If their performance in the actual games match their efforts in practice, a handful could be in line for notable ranking bumps.