5-star FL WR George Campbell committed to Michigan during the Big House BBQ today, which, like, first: WOOOOOOOOOO. Working on a Saturday never felt better as I stumbled upon the news refreshing Twitter aimlessly on my office computer. I then had the distinguished honor of re-breaking the news to my friends first via text. These are the things that matter to me. I'm being serious.
As with any big time commitment, Campbell's presence has both on and off the field implications. On the field is easy: Campbell, teammate of 2014 OL commit Mason Cole, is currently the #1 WR in his class and #3 overall recruit on ESPN. He clocked a 4.37 Forty at this year's The Opening as a sophomore -- one of the fastest times among other elite recruits, most of whom are upperclassmen. At 6'4", Campbell gives Michigan the lengthy, over-the-top, outside receiver it's been dying, and quite frankly struggling, to land over the last few years. It's safe to say both Morris and Speight have huge smiles on their faces today.
Off the field, Campbell's commitment effectively ends a lingering concern among Michigan fans--and occasional criticism from national media--of Hoke's inability to land elite players at skill positions. This conversation first emerged around RB, which Derrick Green addressed head-on. Then came whispers surrounding WR. After whiffing on recruits like Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss) and even to some extent more recently Artavis Scott (Clemson), who is also teammates with Mason Cole, Campbell (+ Drake Harris) not only shuts that door, but also serves as the cornerstone commit for the 2015 class. He is Michigan's future, in more ways than one.
That Hoke can only recruit in the trenches or Midwest holds little weight these days. With Mattison by his side, Hoke has brought in arguably two of the most dynamic players in the country in Jabrill Peppers (NJ) and now George Campbell (FL) back-to-back. In the Rivals/Scout era, 5-stars coming to Ann Arbor have been few and far between, even for Carr and definitely for Rodriguez; Hoke is starting to land them at an alarmingly consistent rate, with more players potentially still in the pipeline like DE De'Shawn Hand and RB Leonard Fournette. No more perception: the reality is Hoke and his staff have emerged as some of the best recruiters in the country, grounded by growing evidence with guys like Kalis, Pipkins, Kugler, Poggi, Morris, Green, Ferns, Cole, Harris, Peppers and now Campbell.
All of this, of course, has little to do with the Michigan team who will take the field in a month. Actual college football is and should be back on everybody's radar. But I'm a firm believer that a program's energy, momentum and direction matter, even in off-season recruiting. News like Campbell's commitment reaffirms Michigan is moving forward in a big way. Competition breeds success. And with elite talent, it produces championships. Peppers said he wanted to play with the best. Well, he's getting his wish: Go cover Campbell.