Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Justin Turner, CB Adrian Witty, LB Isaiah Bell, LB Mike Jones, LB Brandin Hawthorne, DT Will Campbell, DE Anthony LaLota, DE Craig Roh, OL Michael Schofield, OL Taylor Lewan, OL Quinton Washington, and WR Cameron Gordon.
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 6'1" 180
|Scout||4*, #17 WR, #169 overall|
|Rivals||4*, #14 WR, #104 overall|
|ESPN||82, #8 WR, #69 overall|
|Others||#60 to TAKKLE, #53 on the Athlon consensus list, #40 to TSN.|
|Other Suitors||Georgia, Penn State, Tennessee, Illinois|
|TomVH interviews Stokes.|
|Notes||Tennessee decommit; Army AA; brother is 2010 QB|
When Je'Ron Stokes committed to Michigan I was in an airport about to board a plane for Egypt by way of Germany, and as soon as he did I logged off and forgot all about him. Ever since when something reminds me of that commitment, it's like a weird bonus: oh, yeah, that universally-praised wide receiver in the class I never remember. He's like a ghost recruit.
So it's ironic that Stokes is one of the best-scouted and most-well-known players in the class. He first burst onto the scene as a sophomore, when he started hitting camps and killing them:
Stokes, 6-foot-1 and 171-pounds, was named the MVP, with a 28-inch vertical, 8’8” broad, 4.49 shuttle, 4.62 40, 21 reps at 150-pounds, and a number of circus catches during 1-on-1’s.
From appearances he went to virtually every camp within reasonable driving distance of Philadelphia, establishing his athletic bonafides time and again. It's gotten to the point where people in Pennsylvania name-check Stokes when they're trying to hype up their own kids:
Harrigan said of Jackson: "…for my money, not even that kid from Northeast [Tennessee-commit Je'Ron Stokes] has anything on Malik when it comes to athleticism."
This familiarity led to an avalanche of early offers. By the time he committed to Tennessee he had a boatload of major ones:
Stokes had offers from all over the map, including UCLA, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, N.C. State, Oklahoma and Rutgers.
Penn State and Notre Dame were also on that list; later Georgia would try to get involved. Oddly, Rich Rodriguez's offer gun would skip Stokes until a few days after his commitment. This would become relevant when Phil Fulmer went out the door, Lane Kiffin entered, and Tajh Boyd got cut loose. Understandably leery of Tennessee's quarterback situation, Stokes re-opened his recruiting, focused on Penn State, Michigan, Illinois, and picked Michigan on signing day. Divers alarums.
Ghost recruit can play. ESPN was extremely enthused, saying he's a "really good football player, no matter how you slice it" and ranking him well within their top 100. Details:
He's a high-motor player who is aggressive in everything he does. Always seems to be going full speed. Has very good height and a wiry build that can take on additional bulk and get stronger. Has exceptional foot quickness and appears faster than he is. He's sudden, shifty and explosive. May not be a true burner, but his long speed is very good. Can line up outside or in the slot, where he shows very good zone awareness. Knows how to find open holes, settle in soft spots and work the intermediate zones. Has the quickness and acceleration to separate from man-to-man coverage. He's very explosive out of the break. Shows soft hands and plucks with ease on the run. He's a very good leaper who can elevate to high-point the ball and make difficult catches in traffic. Has the ability to threaten defenses vertically because he reaches his top speed so quickly. Works the middle of the field a lot as a slot receiver and shows some toughness.
ESPN does provide some notes of caution about route-running, but yow! The Pittsburgh Sports Report echoes:
An electrifying game breaker with excellent speed, Stokes could use more size on his current 6’1” and 180 pound frame. He has great hands, knows how to get open, makes a lot of acrobatic catches and is terrific after the catch.
"Great hands" was a descriptor I came across with regularity during this googlestalk. Another example, this from a major combine where Stokes took home the offensive MVP:
Stokes, from Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast, was dominant in the one-on-one drills, showing off his excellent route-running, quickness in and out of his cuts and great hands en route to his award. It didn't matter what route he ran, he was smooth, got separation and caught any ball within reach.
Aaand how about one more from Athlon:
When the ball is in the air he has what scouts like to call ownership of the ball. It is his and his alone. He uses solid leaping abiliy, good hands and tremendous body control to make tough catches in traffic.
Though Stokes is slightly less well-regarded on the other major sites, he started off around the same level on Scout, where he was a five-star at one point, and Rivals, where he was in the top 50, before a steady drop over the course of his senior season. Why? I couldn't find any explanations, except a mention in that Athlon article about Stokes playing mostly defense towards the end of the year.
I did get an email from a reader who had corresponded with a local preps guy not fond of the shift key who was not a fan, claiming his average per catch—around 10—to be lowest among city leaders and citing a lack of willingness to go over the middle. The guy's opinion seemed heavily biased by dislike of the family, though, and I don't put much stock into the scouting prowess of one bitter guy with no track record versus, you know, everyone else.
Where will he play? Maybe the slot. Maybe on the outside. In this AMP video prompted by Stokes' early commit to Tennessee, Rivals' Mike Farrell projects him as a slot receiver and has high praise for his abilities:
Stokes is a guy capable of turning the short gain into a big play. His lateral quickness and good feet give him great change-of-direction. He also possesses excellent speed. When he makes the first defender miss and gets a seam, he can take it the distance.
And now, here's Pat Summerall not being even slightly hyperbolic:
HE'S TAKING OVER THE CITY. HE RUNS A 4.3. SEND IN MOTHRA.
Why Mario Manningham? Stokes ended up a bit lower on Scout and Rivals but ESPN and a wide array of ancillary ratings ranked Stokes around where Manningham was. Stokes is about the same size and is praised for his ability to make catches in traffic, plus his athleticism. What about that slot stuff? Well, remember that Citrus Bowl when Michigan came out in the spread and Manningham jetted all over the field taking handoffs and darting from place to place? Yeah. Manningham could have been a slot in this offense, too.
Guru Reliability: High. Stokes participated in every camp he possibly could and made an All-Star game appearance. If there's anyone in the class the recruiting services are intimately familiar with it's him.
General Excitement Level: High. Stokes has the offers, the ratings, and the praise. Also, the scratchy voice seems like rich material for RBUAS, should Johnny emerge from hibernation.
Projection: Where he starts will depend more on Jeremy Gallon's SAT score—about which I know nothing, to forestall the inevitable questions—than anything Stokes does. If Gallon makes it, Stokes will probably slide outside and fight for a spot on the second unit behind Mathews and Hemingway or Stonum. If he doesn't, he'll probably shoot it out with the slots. Either way, a redshirt is a 50-50 proposition:
"They never promised him that he would start or anything," Ronald Stokes said. "But they said that if he came in and did the things that he's capable of doing, there would be a good shot that he would not be redshirted the first year.
PA LB/DE Ken Wilkins is a new offer of Michigan's radar from Washington Trinity, the same school that sent Andrew Sweat to Ohio State and Mike Yancich to Penn State. Wilkins' coach says he's more physically gifted than either, or just about anyone else:
"The sky is the limit for him. He's one of the most phenomenal, naturally gifted athletes I've ever been around. He was born with gifts that a lot of people couldn't imagine having."
Wilkins is strongly considering Michigan. Tom Van Haaren got the latest, but first some highlights:
TOM: I don't think a lot of people know about you yet, so tell me about yourself.
KEN: I’m really aggressive, and I’m pretty speedy. I can pretty much do anything on the field. I play a lot of positions. I play linebacker, defensive end, tight end, and quarterback sometimes. I’m just real versatile.
TOM: You live in Pennsylvania, so is the Midwest where you want to play college ball at?
KEN: Distance doesn’t matter to me. I just want to find the best fit for me. I’m going to check out all the schools, and see where I think I fit in the best.
TOM: You're 6'4" and 235 pounds, as a junior. Like you said you play LB, DE, and TE. What are you the best at? What position, and inside that position.
KEN: I’m best at defensive end. I have a real quick first step, and I have a nose for the ball. I can play that hybrid role, the linebacker and defensive end role pretty well too. Schools say I could play both, but I think the hybrid role is best for me.
TOM: You're pretty fast for your size, is that something you've been focusing on, your speed?
KEN: I do parametric, and our school has a speed training coach. We work with him two times a week. I’m gaining weight pretty quick, so I want to keep my speed too. We just started doing that this year, but I can already tell the difference, it’s definitely helping. I can’t wait for next year when it really kicks in.
TOM: You've got offers from almost every school in the east and Midwest. How are you going to narrow this down?
KEN: I just want to see the area, the environment, and the school. What the whole school is about and the overall program. The biggest thing for me is the relationships with the coaches and players, and how I feel around them.
TOM: When do you plan on making your decision by?
KEN: Probably mid June or July. I just want to get it over with before my season starts, so I don’t have to focus on it anymore. I have enough offers that I can make my decision, and be done with it. Once I commit, that will be it.
TOM: Do you already have a good idea of a top 3?
KEN: I don’t really have a top list, but Michigan and Pitt are near top. Michigan was always my favorite team growing up. Coach Gibson has been coming in lately, and I’ve been getting to know him. I also have a good relationship with the Pitt coaches.
TOM: Where does Michigan factor into all this, are they near the top, or at the top?
KEN: If I had to name a leader I would say it is Michigan. Once I go up there, if I like it I’ll pull the trigger and commit. I’m talking to my uncle about it, and I think I’ll be up there in about two weeks. I think I fit what they’re trying to do right now, and the coaches that I do know are all great. Everything about Michigan is great, and I could definitely see myself there.
TOM: What do the coaches talk to you about? What is it that you like about them?
KEN: They’re really laid back. They’re like a good friend, and not a recruiter. I really like that they aren’t pressuring me about the school. Coach Gibson told me that all these schools are good, even if it’s not Michigan, they’re all 5 star hotels, it’s just which one you want to stay at. So it was nice to talk to someone who didn’t try to tell me what to do. He’s like a good friend.
TOM: I saw a play on your highlight film, where it actually looked like you ate someone. Are you one of those guys that just throws his body around, and loves to hit?
KEN: Yeah, I love to hit. I just always played defense, and I find the ball easy. It’s just fun to go out there and hit somebody.
TOM: Have you been in contact with any other recruits? What do they say?
KEN: I built a relationship with some guys from my area, Chad Hayden is one. Most of the guys around me, I’m trying to see if they’ll come with me and play with me.
The evening started with an autograph session during which each coach was scattered around with throngs of people surrounding. The first humorous event of the evening was watching Bill Martin wander around with... fewer people, and at one point introducing himself to a confused little boy for someone to talk to. Rodriguez obviously had the longest line, but listening in on some of the conversations, the coaches were refreshingly honest and down-to-earth in their dealings with the fans.
If you're in the Chicago area you can catch the show your ownself at the Standard Club tomorrow. Details can be found on the Alumni Association website.
Suin' and hopin' and prayin'. More on this Sam Keller lawsuit, which has ignited the college football commentariat in a way that would be surprising if it wasn't May. Darren Rovell says these guys have a case:
I've seen many lawsuits brought about by student athletes in my day and this is probably the best case I have ever seen constructed. I think Keller was smart to go after the video game business instead of the jersey business because I think he can make a better case with the former even though Nike and adidas call up football programs so that they can only produce jerseys with the numbers the stars are wearing each year.
Meanwhile, a law-talkin' reader who works at a class-action firm that works closely with the one Keller has retained says these guys are "pretty big time" and that if they "didn't think this suit had merit, they wouldn't be wasting their time on it." He's gone through the complaint, so let's hand the mic to him. I've bolded some parts for emphasis:
The complaint is pretty thorough and lists several causes of action which all have different remedies, but in general it asks for the following basic things as a remedy:
-Damages- This would include money to compensate for the loss of past earnings/punish EA and the NCAA for their conduct/etc. Now, assuming the court certifies the class (which is a big, big assumption) any damages would be paid out on a class wide basis. So each athlete would be due some percentage of the pot of money at the end, minus the plaintiffs' attorneys' cut. Usually, the class rep (Keller, in this case) would be due a slightly larger percentage to compensate them for time and effort. Like, Keller may be due a couple extra grand. It's not (supposed) to be a huge amount.
-Disgorgement of profits- Meaning that EA would have to give back (to the class) all the money they've made off their illegal conduct. This is generally an appropriate remedy for unjust enrichment suits like this, but I really, REALLY doubt that a court would actually do this to EA. Basically, Keller's asking for this for leverage.
-Destruction of all copies of the offending titles- See my comments on Disgorgement.
-Equitable/Injunctive relief- This is the bit you were worried about in your article. Keller's asking the court to prevent EA from making games in the future where athlete's likenesses are used. If they get this, then we're looking at randomization and the games will suck ad infinitim.
My thoughts on what is likely to happen from here on out: EA is going to fight this like hell because this is basically the survival of their brand. Keller (or, more accurately, Keller's attorneys) know this and will push strongly for an early settlement. EA may be able to make a small concession (like randomizing the state of origin or skin color or whatever) in order to give the settlement an appearance of legitimacy for the court and that might be that. In that case, everyone will get a small amount of money and EA still gets to make their products. The problem with THAT solution is that it leaves EA open for another suit a few years down the road that alleges the same basic things, but I'm sure they'd take that. This is kind of what everyone should be rooting for. The IDEAL solution (as you alluded to) is to make ongoing payments to college kids for their likenesses in the future, but I think we can both agree that the odds of the NCAA signing off on that are somewhere between nil and bupkis.
If they don't settle early, then EA may win on class certification (which is a process that takes a year or so all by itself) and then this all pretty much goes away. But if it gets past that point and Keller can certify the class, then EA is very probably fucked (legal term).
Bottom line: Unless EA can kick this stuff out on a "technicality" within the next year or so, we're very likely going to have some change to the way EA makes their college games. The only question is how big the change will be and how much EA will have to pay out in the interim.
It's always been a fiction that EA wasn't profiting off the likenesses of college athletes, especially after consoles hooked themselves up to the internet and roster downloading became commonplace. The fig leaf of not using players' names doesn't change the fact that it's Mike Hart in the #20 jersey, and that this is an illegal use of player likenesses. Listen to the law-talkin' guy.
If the NCAA has any sense they will use this opportunity to provide players in revenue sports some of the fruits of their labors. Here's an opportunity to provide some level of payment over and above the scholarship money they're already getting. The money comes from an outside source—so it won't cannibalize whatever the NCAA wants to do—and can reasonably be distributed on an equal basis to everyone. I'm betting EA would prefer that to randomizing players entirely if they lose the suit. There is a way to comply with the law that is a win-win and a way that's lose-lose. The NCAA should pick the good one, because in all probability they're going to have to choose.
Unless, that is, EA's lawyers boot up a 2003 version of the game and use John Navarre to option the universe into submission. In that case, all bets are off.
Just don't grow awesome hair, kid. Oklahoma's decisions on which marginal characters to keep and which to ditch are mystifying. Last year, wideout Josh Jarboe brought a gun to school and got expelled. Oklahoma decided they'd still take him but he was on triple-secret probation. Jarboe then showed up on the internet smiling as he rapped about, you know, things that are in rap, at which point Bob Stoops said this:
"Kick a guy off the team for what he says?" Stoops said. The whole Internet culture frustrates Stoops. "We're starting to talk about everything kids say and do," Stoops said. "Now we're in people's homes, in their private spaces."
The probation was so triple-secret that not even Stoops knew about it. The local vultures in the Oklahoma newspapers swooped in and the kid got gone.
Now enter Justin Chaisson, who has issues at least as severe as Jarboe's (warning: link has video that plays automatically; advise you skip it):
Outside the coffee shop, Chaisson grabbed the girl's arm and forced her into the back seat of his sport-utility vehicle, according to the report.
The girl told police Chaisson punched her in the ribs and drove her to the desert before pulling her out of the vehicle. She said that’s when he placed a screwdriver to her neck and threatened to kill her, according to the report.
The reprehensible Barry Tramel, the main vulture mentioned above, has an opinion on this: take him because now we're all cynical and stuff. What's the message here? Just don't show up on the internet screwing around with your friends and we're good? Avoid amazing dreadlocks?* Words are words, man, especially when they're not directed at anyone.
*(Actually, given Johnny Sears this might be a good message: kids, if you have amazing dreadlocks they will bring you naught but misery.)
Etc.: I think I'm a fan of Philadelphia's new MLS team. "Join or Die": I choose join.
Florida cornerback Rashad Knight (right, obviously) recently picked up two pieces of good news: a Michigan offer and four stars from Rivals, where he's the #18 cornerback. After the Michigan offer he declared the Wolverines his leader. MGoRecruitingGuy Tom Van Haaren caught up with him and got the latest.
TOM: When did you get your offer from Michigan?
RASHAD: It was recent, about 2 weeks ago. Right now I have a total of 12 offers though.
TOM: Was it something you expected? Were the coaches in contact with you before hand?
RASHAD: Michigan’s a big school, and I got a lot of hand written letters from them, but I didn’t expect it this soon. I did expect to get one eventually though.
TOM: What coaches have you started to build a relationship the most with?
RASHAD: From Michigan, Rod Smith. I have the nicest relationship with coach Disch from Illinois, we talk a lot.
TOM: You have all offers from up north schools; do you have ties up there?
RASHAD: No, I don’t have any ties. A lot of the north schools want more speed, and they say that I can add a lot. So, I just think it’s because they know that there’s a lot of speed in Florida. UCF recruits me really hard; I get a lot of letters from them. I talk to the coach from USF a lot too, but that’s really it for the south schools.
TOM: Are you comfortable leaving Florida?
RASHAD: Yea, I have no problem with that. My family will probably stay here, and come up for a couple home games, but there’s no problem.
TOM: I saw that you play safety, running back, wide receiver, and you return kicks too. What do you think you play the best, and what do you like playing the best?
RASHAD: I play safety, but I'm good in man to man coverage, which is why a lot of schools are recruiting me as a corner. Offense is ok with me, but I love playing defense.
TOM: What are most schools recruiting you as? How are they saying you can help them on the field?
RASHAD: They’re recruiting me as a corner. Louisville said they want me to play a little offense. They said if I get in real good shape I could play both. Most schools are just for corner though, which is what I like.
TOM: Have you taken any visits yet? Where do you plan on going?
RASHAD: I’ve been to Florida State a couple times. Towards the summer I’m going to Illinois, Vanderbilt, Louisville, and I want to make sure I go to Michigan too. I’m still planning out when though.
TOM: Who’s helping you the most?
RASHAD: My coach played at FSU, but he’s like my high school agent. He does everything for me, and takes care of everything for me. My other coach went to Florida, so they know the process and take care of everything.
TOM: You recently were quoted saying Michigan was your leader, and then retracted that and said Indiana is one of your top schools. Let’s clear this subject. Where do all the schools stand?
RASHAD: I don’t really have a top 5 for sure. I’m still open, but I would have to say that right now Michigan is at the top. I still want to take a look at everyone though. Michigan is just a good school, and I would have to say right now they are probably at the top. I just want to make sure I see everyone.
TOM: Do you have a timeline for when you want to make your decision?
RASHAD: I might take it to signing day. My coaches told me to make sure I’m comfortable, and build relationships. When I go take a look, I want to make sure I feel comfortable on campus, and the atmosphere. I also want to see if there’s a chance for me to play early, that’s important.
And by "ate" I mean "popped a little rubbery thing in my mouth, made a face, spit it out, spent a good two minutes trying to cut it into pieces, gave up, and looked it up on Google where I was horrified to find out it was a barnacle oh and by the way Wikipedia says they taste like 'rubber dipped in ammonia.'"
Softballin'. Michigan's perpetually successful softball team won the Big Ten this year and gets to host a regional. They're the #5 overall seed. Details:
Michigan is joined by regional No. 2 seed Notre Dame, No. 3 seed Cleveland State and No. 4 seed Miami (Ohio) in the double-elimination event. Michigan opens regional play against Miami [Of Ohio (Not That Miami Of Ohio) –ed] on Friday (May 15) at 7 p.m. following the Notre Dame and Cleveland State opener, which begins at 4:30 p.m.
Five to ten bucks gets you in for the day each of the three days; weather is supposed to be gorgeous.
(HT: Michigan Sports Center.)
Grinding it out. The Realests have a new project called "Lost Lettermen" wherein they track down college stars of yesteryear and let you know what they're up to. Marcus Ray is trying to break into coaching:
Being a GA is tough because of the grind and the low pay. Especially being 32 with a family. I really miss my family. They still live in Columbus, because I did not want my wife to relocate without the proper security. She is the backbone of our family. It will be a rewarding experience in the end though. I break down opponent's game film, recruit high school players, create scouting reports, as well as coach the safeties. Last season I didn't do as much hands on coaching, but as a result of some changes on our staff, I have become more like a position coach.
Ray was going to be a Michigan GA until Carr's retirement; he guarantees he'll be one of the hottest DB coaches on the market this year and hopes to latch on at a MAC school.
THIS IS A TERRIBLE LETDOWN. Denard Robinson finished third in Florida's state 100 championships. See for yourself, and marvel a bit at the internet:
To be fair, Robinson got beat by a guy who smoked the Florida state record. And he got off to a terrible start. I think we should revoke his scholarship. Or maybe shoot him.*
*(KIDDING, Mrs. Robinson! Kidding!)
Way to focus. Someday I hope to meet the man who writes Free Press headlines and call him a nasty name. (I'm leaning towards "obtuse twit" at the moment.) Darius Morris and Matt Vogrich participated in an all-star game called the "Academic All-American Classic". To get in you have to have a 3.0 GPA, which while not stellar is less depressing than most high major prospects. Michigan has two kids smart enough and good enough to be in this meaningless game. They had the usual amount of fun that is had at meaningless all star games. The Free Press headline?
U-M recruits hotdog in final game
Here's a tiny nofollowed link you shouldn't click on.
He strikes again! Speaking of Free Press Headline guy, he translated this noncommital statement from once and future transfer Steven Threet…
Threet said he has no indication what will happen in fall camp but figures the tipping point will be decision-making, which gives Sheridan a chance to play.
"I feel like Tate has a good opportunity coming in early with the extra reps in the spring and that should be beneficial," he said. "But Nick does a good job of executing the offense the way they want it to be run. People may point out the physical things Tate or Denard may have at a physical advantage, but a lot of time at quarterback in this system comes down to decision-making."
…into "Threet gives starting nod to Sheridan." To me that quote is a standard boilerplate "Both teams played hard" answer. Nine of ten obtuse twits evidently disagree.
I can't seriously believe Sheridan executes the offense the way the coaches want it to be run…
…unless Threet means they've given that side of the ball a cigarette and a blindfold. Sheridan's decision-making last year was not a strong suit. Remember the desperate, insane heave that was intercepted late in the first half against Utah and proved to be the margin of victory? Even in Sheridan's opus to date—the reasonable performance against Minnesota—he threw two first-half passes that definitely should have been intercepted. Why am I even spending time on this? The chances Sheridan takes a snap over a healthy Forcier are 0.001%. Seriously, people.
(HT: Doctor Saturday.)
In the spirit. It's OT season on the message board, so it may as well leak in here. Some guy at the Chicago Tribune "gorged himself" in Ann Arbor for three days and reported back with rapturous praise. Unfortunately, the restaurants visited consisted of…
- Cafe Zola, where he eats Zingerman's challah
- Sweetwater's, where he has coffee
- Monahan's, a place owned by a guy who used to be a partner at Zingerman's
- Zingerman's… again
- Zingerman's Bakehouse
- Blimpy Burger
- Dominicks, where he has a $21.40 jug o' drink
- Zingerman's Roadhouse
- Zingerman's Roadhouse… again
- Zingerman's Creamery
- The Dexter Cider Mill
- Zingerman's Roadhouse… again again
There is the slightest hint of a pattern here. Seven of the twelve places food is consumed are Zingerman's owned and nine are at least vaguely affiliated. This isn't a newspaper article, it's an advertisement.
I don't have the antipathy for Zingerman's that my girlfriend—who once flew into what can only be described as a conniption fit after seeing a Zingerman's catalogue that huffily advertised "Indonesian" cinnamon when 1) that's not actually cinnamon, but cassia, and 2) it's cheaper and widely regarded as inferior—does*, but I do think it's overrated based on reputation. Just like, I'm sorry to say, Blimpy Burger, which is certainly not "cheaper than food." The motto should be "where the yelling makes up for fries softer than Sam McGuffie's head, except not really."
There are plenty of awesome restaurants in town (Logan, Eve, Red Hawk, various sushi huts, Seoul Garden if you like dangerously authentic Korean, Angelo's if you like hollandaise sauce and you're a commie if you don't, and, hell, NYPD sells a killer slice) as long as you avoid Main Street; this guy went to exactly zero of them. And it's not like he was going the cheap route. Look at all the Zs above. I give this a FAIL.
*(Her take: "Assholes like this are why Zingerman's exists." Did I tell you?)
Update 5/12: Linked to video on MI QB Devin Gardner LA QB Munchie Legaux, articles on CA RB Brennan Clay (second), MI DE Will Gholston (and TN QB Barry Brunetti), FL CB Rashad Knight, PA DE Kyle Baublitz, OH LB Jewone Snow, OH LB Jordan Hicks, FL LB Christian Jones, FL RB Eduardo Clements, PA DT Sharrif Floyd (video interview), MD RB/LB Zach Zwinak (and teammates, also more), OH WR commit DJ Williamson, CT LB Khari Fortt, MI CB Mylan Hicks.
Headers on FL CB Spencer Boyd.
Removed TX QB Jeremy Johnson (Baylor or WVU).
Added FL CB Josh Fulton($), FL CB Tony Grimes, NC DE Fre'shad Hunter($), SC OL Eric Mack (more on Mack; HT JCCW), PA LB Ken Wilkins, FL LB Zachary Allen($, more), MD OL Arie Kouandjio, FL CB TC Robinson, TN LB Justin Maclin($), FL CB Merrill Noel, FL DT Richard Ash.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. I even updated it this week. Many links, but not a whole lot of news. One good thing for Michigan fans currently apoplectic about the rankings that make NO SENSE but very ANGER—why have I gone into EPINION MODE—is this top 100 list from TSN. I'm not sure how it was compiled, or how credible it is versus the Scout/Rivals lists that have built up a reputation over the years, but who cares when it says this:
26. Ricardo Miller
31. Devin Gardner
90. Marvin Robinson
That is more along the lines of what I am talking about, sir.
TX QB Jeremy Johnson dropped us in favor of Baylor or WVU, which okay. I know he had an "offer" but given how many offers Michigan has out at the moment that's no way to tell how seriously Michigan was pursuing him.
FL RB Eduardo Clements hasn't left the board yet, but he favors Georgia, FSU, and Miami. He mentioned Michigan was a school of interest after their offer and is, I believe, still contemplating a visit; I'd be very surprised to see anything come of it.
Quick Commit Now
CA RB Brennan Clay is this year's Sam Montgomery: a guy who isn't shy about telling you who his leader is, or changing it every 15 seconds. I'd virtually written him off a couple times already this year. So, naturally:
"I loved playing with [Forcier]," Clay said. "I love the players on the team and I love the Michigan coaches. I enjoy talking with [Wolverines head coach] Rich Rodriguez and [quarterbacks coach and area recruiter] Rod Smith. Honestly, they would be my top school if I had a top school. I just really like that program."
Clay shot up the rankings after an extremely impressive camp performance; USC is still holding off but virtually everyone else has put their name in for Clay. Oklahoma is the latest. Expect Clay to wobble several more times. I have moved him from red to yellow, FWIW.
MI CB Mylan Hicks started the year as a guy who looked like he'd pick up offers from Michigan State and a few other middling Big Ten schools, with Michigan's interest contingent on a summer camp performance. Well, Michigan offered a month ago and Hicks just racked up a combine MVP performance:
His nickname is “Clamps” and Hicks lived up to it today. He began the day by measuring in at over 5’11 and running a 4.49 forty (on a hurt hamstring), one of the top times on the day. He then set the bar in the shuttle with his 4.23, which was later equaled by Arnett. 1-1s was what he came for though and again, he impressed me as he did at the Columbus 7-7. This kid is confident, aggressive and cannot stand giving up completions.
Alabama and Notre Dame were mentioned as potential future offers; Hicks is seeming like a higher priority by the day. Conventional wisdom has Hicks favoring Michigan State, but that might be an artifact of his high school, which sent a couple kids to MSU last year.
Also of note from that combine was the offensive MVP: 2011 MI WR DeAnthony Arnett. Arnett is in a neck-and-neck battle with Detroit Ren linebacker Lawrence Thomas to be the state's top player next year, and he's already got a Michigan offer.
I'm sure I mentioned a new offer for FL CB Rashad Knight last week. Knight quickly put Michigan on top of his list, but that was a header-only nugget of information. A little more detail is now available:
“Michigan offered me today,” Knight said. “My coach let me know. They called and offered. Then, I got home and it was in the mail. I always liked Michigan. One of my favorite players is Desmond (Howard). Since (Rich) Rodqiguez has gotten they have really recruited Florida hard. I like the coaches. I would say they are my leader at this point. I will try and get there this summer. I will go see a few colleges like Illinois and Michigan. This is a big one for me.”
But not so fast my friend…
"I also really like Florida State. They have not offered me yet. They want to see my come to their camp this summer.”
Michigan's in a good spot here as long as Florida State doesn't offer. If they do… eh… that's probably where he's going.
Rivals has handed out all its three stars, leaving only one Michigan commit unranked: OH WR DJ Williamson of Warren Harding. That means he'll probably get two stars because of a lack of film. Erk? Eh… this is actually a a case where you can argue Michigan's uncovered a diamond in the rough. Williamson isn't going to camps or combines, wanted Michigan from the start, and doesn't care about his rankings. He's a wildcard.
He's also pretty fast:
…meet overall MVP Deaver Williamson won the 100 and 200 and anchored the winning 400 and 800 relays.
"I'm trying to push my team to get win a sixth straight Trumbull County Championship. It feels good to win," Williamson said after the 200 where he grabbed his one leg. "My leg cramped up a bit. I'm glad it happened near the end."
This is the second article from this paper to call Williamson "Deaver," but a couple commenters are adamant it's actually "D'Aver," FWIW. I'm sticking with DJ.
Offer T-Shirt Gun
At this point I envision Rich Rodriguez is in possession of one of those pneumatic t-shirt hurling devices you see at sporting events, except he's gotten Barwis—who is also MacGuyver, apparently—to soup that thing up to the point where it can chuck stuff into low earth orbit. He fills it with offer letters, laughs maniacally, and begins shooting, mostly at Florida.
Offers have landed on the doorstep or heads of the following:
- SC OL Eric Mack. Mack has a top four of southern schools and favors Auburn; this isn't likely to be relevant.
- A host of Pahokee kids: DT Richard Ash, LB Zachary Allen, and CB Merrill Noel. This brings Michigan's Pahokee offer count to five (WRs DeJoshua Johnson and Chris Dunkley are the others). Relevance? Ash is likely to stay south, but Allen and Noel could be names to watch. All have meh guru ratings but some impressive offers.
- PA LB Ken Wilkins and TN LB Justin Maclin. Decent offers for both—more impressive for Maclin—and what sounds like genuine interest.
- Yet more Florida corners: Tony Grimes and Josh Fulton. Don't know much about either yet; Grimes appears to be in the midst of the proverbial "blow up"; I believe OSU has just offered.
- Aaand NC DE Fre'Shad Hunter. Hunter's first name makes me think it's just a matter of time before football recruits are named after made-up words in Dune: Arrakis Smith, Sardaukar Jones, Imperial Pashtun Robinson.
All of these guys have good rankings or offers for the slightly worried.
Not So Much
Varsity Blue saw this quote on FL LB Christian Jones and saw hope…
"Everybody wants to know if they can get him away from FSU," said Tom Oliver, Lake Howell's coach. "Christian's dad wants him to look for what's best for him. He's open."
…and I just saw a guy obviously going to Florida State.
Etc.: CT LB Khari Fortt interview mostly discusses Penn State, which makes sense because apparently they lead. MD RB/LB Zach Zwinak is noncommital, as is PA DE Kyle Baublitz. OH LB Jewone Snow plans a return visit. Long profile on PA DT Sharrif Floyd, who's had a rough go of it. Yet more Gardner video, and highlights of LA QB Munchie Legaux.