Fact or Fiction: CJ Carr is a lock for Michigan
Rivals national recruiting analyst Clint Cosgrove along with Josh Henschkle from MaizeAndBlueReview.com, Jon McNamara from BadgerBlitz.com and Blair Sanderson from HawkeyeReport.com tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.
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1. Wolverines legacy CJ Carr is a lock for Michigan.
Cosgrove's take: FICTION. While I do believe CJ Carr will more than likely end up at Michigan, I also believe he is far from a lock for the Wolverines. It is hard to imagine Carr – grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr – not wearing the Maize and Blue when you consider the family history, but when we have talked in the past he has always indicated that there isn't any pressure from his family to attend Michigan. He has also told me in the past that his recruitment is open and has spoken of legitimate interest in other teams as well. He was even wearing a Wisconsin hat when I recently saw him at a camp. I understand that Carr could simply be enjoying the process and that a hat is no indication of a future college choice, but as of today I do believe he remains open with his recruitment.
Henschke's take: FACT. It’s easy to say that CJ Carr is essentially a lock for the Wolverines just by the strong bloodlines and connections he has to the university. From his grandparents, to mother and father, everything about the Carr family says Michigan. However, that doesn’t always equate to Carr being a guarantee in the 2024 class. The Wolverines still have to put in the effort with Carr and make him feel like a priority, which is exactly what the Michigan coaching staff is doing. Carr has stated previously that he appreciates being treated as a priority recruit and not just a legacy member of the football program. That approach by the Wolverines, in my opinion, has me believing he will end up in Ann Arbor.
2. Wisconsin has a good chance of landing five-star Ryan Wingo or four-star I’Marion Stewart.
Cosgrove's take: FACT. Ryan Wingo may end up being one of the most highly recruited receivers in the 2024 class, so while it will be an uphill battle for the Badgers, I still give them a fighting chance. Wisconsin 2022 receiver signee Chris Brooks Jr played at Wingo's high school and they are also good friends, so the Badgers should at least be able to leverage that relationship to get Wingo on campus. If they can get Wingo to a big game at Camp Randall and display an improved passing game, that experience could go a long way toward landing Wingo. I'Marion Stewart seemed to light up when I talked with him about his Wisconsin offer the other night and he seems to really like what the staff has told him thus far. He has also experienced a gameday at Wisconsin when his brother played against the Badgers last season, and that experience alone can win a player over. Combine those factors with Madison's proximity to Bolingbrook, and Illinois native Jack Sanborn's recent success at Wisconsin, and I don't see why Wisconsin cannot be in it until the end for Stewart.
McNamara's take: FICTION. Since 2002, Wisconsin has signed just five wide receivers – Nick Toon (2007), Kraig Appleton (2009), A.J. Taylor (2016), Danny Davis (2017) and Markus Allen (2021) – who finished in the Rivals250. With that, I’m not overly optimistic the Badgers will land their first ever five-star in Ryan Wingo, even though the connection to 2022 signee Chris Brooks Jr. could get their foot in the door. With the schools currently involved and the potential for elite programs to join the mix in the near future, Wingo feels like a longshot at this point. Stewart seems like a more realistic option, and the geography also favors Wisconsin a bit more in his recruitment. Landing top talent from Illinois, however, has been challenging for the Badgers, especially if Notre Dame were to get involved in Stewart’s recruitment at some point. Illinois and Northwestern have also done a better job of keeping talent inside the state in recent recruiting cycles, making things more difficult for UW, among other schools.
3. Iowa’s 2022 class was the first since 2014 that did not have multiple players sign from Illinois high schools. Iowa will sign multiple players out of Illinois in 2023.
Cosgrove's take: FACT. There are a few reasons that I see Iowa landing multiple players from Illinois in the 2023 class. First one being that the Hawkeyes already have one in the boat with recent commit John Nestor. Iowa has developed a lot of trust within the state throughout the years and Illinois players have gone on to have a lot of success in the Hawkeye program and beyond. The Hawkeyes currently have five offers out to uncommitted players from Illinois, and even if they don't sign a single one of those recruits, they have one more thing in their favor. They recruit the state hard and Iowa is one of a few top Power Five programs that continues the practice of late senior evaluations. They are often able to find an Illinois diamond in the rough and you have to look no further than the recent success of Sam LaPorta and Jermari Harris as examples of this.
Sanderson's take: FACT. Iowa already has one on the board with a commitment from Chicago Marist safety John Nestor this month and without having anyone in particular in mind, I'll go ahead and say the Hawkeyes land at least one more from Illinois because they are expected to sign a bigger class this year. Last year's class of 18 signees was the smallest in Kirk Ferentz's 23 years at Iowa so a lot of the numbers were lower than usual from a state and position perspective. Also, Iowa is a school that likes to leave a couple spots open so it can wait and evaluate senior film, which has led to late offerees like Sam LaPorta and Jermari Harris from the state of Illinois in the past.