The recruitment of Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips running back Demetrius Hart has been a tough one to get a hold on for Wolverine fans. Early indications were that is was a matter of time before Hart committed to Michigan, but as time passed, rumored visits fell through, and interest in SEC stalwarts Auburn and Alabama picked up, Hart has not been considered the lock he once was, with Auburn appearing to be an especially dangerous threat to land the four-star back.
And then there were two. Apologies for the cliche, but Dr. Phillips star Dee Hart has cut his list of prospective colleges to two, saying Saturday at the ESPN RISE Champion Gridiron Kings event in Orlando that he has dropped Auburn and now it’s between Michigan and Alabama.
Of the two remaining schools, Michigan has pulled ahead by “I would say Michigan is 75 percent,” Hart said. Leaving the possibility that he might commit to Alabama at 25 percent.
“I like the area at Michigan,” Hart said. “You know I’m from Florida, so I’ve never really had all four seasons and I like that. I like the fans. They have a great fan base up there. They also have great programs up there, like their business program and that’s what I want to go into is business management.”
As for Alabama, Hart said that’s pretty simple, “That’s a great possibility. It’s a great program,” Hart said. “National Championship. Nick Saban. That all speaks for itself.”
Hart, the nation’s #2 all-purpose back and the #34 player overall on Rivals.com, cited Auburn’s recruitment of two other running backs as his reasoning for dropping them from consideration. He is set to visit Ann Arbor again for the Sept. 4 opener against UConn ($), and he says a commitment could come at any time now — not that fans should be holding their breath after the twists and turns this recruitment has already taken.
It is worth noting that Michigan is also involved in another top-100 running back, one who will make his announcement very soon: Grand Blanc (MI) RB Justice Hayes is set to decide between Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Iowa on Friday (more details here, but it’s behind a paywall), and most expect his choice to come down to the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish. Internet scuttlebutt says he’ll likely pick Notre Dame, but Michigan still has an outside shot here — he says he has not ruled out taking official visits after making his choice, and a strong performance by the Wolverines on the field could cause a change of heart for Hayes, who has admitted he would already have committed to Michigan if not for their performance in the last two seasons.
Even if Hayes, as expected, commits to Notre Dame, Michigan is still in a very good position to land an elite back in the 2011 class. We’ll see how long Dee Hart’s recruiting process plays out, but if Michigan can get off to a strong start — especially in the opener, with Hart visiting — I really like our chances to land the Florida product.