Michigan offered Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes athlete Michael Barrett last March, and throughout the next 10 months, the Wolverines staff would remain in touch, host Barrett on visits, and return to Lowndes to recruit him.
That continued persistence helped Michigan earn his commitment on Tuesday night, despite late charges from Nebraska and Florida State among others.
Barrett was the Class 7A Offensive Player of the Year as a quarterback. For his career, he passed for 4,640 yards and 45 touchdowns, but it was the 2,647 yards and 38 touchdowns he accumulated on the ground which had many schools, Michigan included, seeing him as an athlete, a versatile offensive weapon.
He has long stated he has no preference as far as position in college.
The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk traveled to Valdosta in the fall to see Barrett play, and saw his package of skills on display.
“Sometimes you see a player and he has the ‘it’ factor, and that’s the perfect description of Michael Barrett,” Newkirk said. “He put on an athletic display that had me sold that he is big time. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. You saw his athleticism, he made the right throws, made the right cuts, and outran defenders when he wanted to. He simply looked like the best player on the field — and he was.”
Running back, slot receiver, some wildcat quarterback, maybe even returning kicks are all roles Michigan has discussed with him.
“He’s the best player I’ve seen live all season and if he played running back, I think he would’ve been ranked higher,” Newkirk said. “I don’t care if he has a position yet, he’s a football player, and that’s what Michigan needs right now.”
Barrett took an official visit to Ann Arbor on Dec. 8. Following that trip, his father noted the staff’s treatment of him and his family, as well as getting to speak with not only head coach Jim Harbaugh, but his father Jack Harbaugh.
This all came after Harbaugh came to see Barrett during the fall.
“A lot of schools don’t do that,” Barrett said. “They send a position coach or area coach, so it’s a pretty big deal. Jim Harbaugh one of best coaches around.”
Other schools followed suit.
Nebraska offered in December and sent coaches his way. Florida State turned up the heat, and new head coach Willie Taggart made his way to Lowndes. Georgia Tech offered the opportunity to play quarterback in their system, a system which matches his skill set at that position.
Michigan, notably area recruiter Chris Partridge, had one of the longer-standing relationships there, just another example of why retaining him was a major coup for the Wolverines.
Barrett now becomes the 21st commitment in Michigan’s 2018 class.
UM offers 2 in Ohio
The addition of Al Washington to Michigan’s staff has brought an immediate aggressiveness to the Wolverines’ recruiting efforts in Ohio, where Washington is from.
This week, he offered Pickerington Central’s DeWayne Carter and Columbus St. Francis De Sales’ Rodas Johnson, two of the state’s top juniors.
Carter (6-3, 270 pounds) adds Michigan to an offer list which has Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and others on it. Michigan has had success at Pickerington Central in the past, signing several recruits, notably Taco Charlton.
Johnson (6-3, 285 pounds) has offers from Notre Dame, Penn State, Wisconsin and more. He is rated as a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.