"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
Bryson Cianfrone, Max Domi
If you're a Michigan fan, Saturday's OHL draft was the Best OHL Draft Ever. This isn't exactly a high bar to leap, but not only did Michigan commits plummet well into the "what the hell, why not" range* but Bob Miller of The Wolverine reports Michigan may have actually picked up(!) a commitment instead of lost one:
A very valued source reports this morning that Bryson Cianfrone's selection in the third round of yesterday's OHL draft instead of the first round position he should have held may be due to a commitment to the University of Michigan. Cianfrone is smaller in stature and large in talent. Seen by many as a lock for the first round, he fell to hometown (Toronto area) Brampton in the third round.
The third round is not quite what-the-hell territory but that drop is significant. I poked around some OHL mock drafts published before Saturday, and all had him in the top ten because he is "explosive." Yost Built has more details. As a small, skilled Italian center from Toronto the comparisons to Cammalleri are inevitable, but Miller says he's more of a Shouneyia—a playmaker. I'm not sure how reliable this site is but it says Cianfrone will graduate in 2012, which means he could be a very young freshman next year if he so desired.
The other possibility is that Cianfrone really wanted to go to Brampton for some reason and he'll sign. We'll see. If Cianfrone is really ready to go in 2012 that means one fewer year cooling his heels and indicates he's the kind of student who puts a priority on his education.
Meanwhile, while Max Domi did go to Kingston like everyone figured he would, the second thing everyone thought he'd do—reconsider the college thing for the OHL and his dad's old teammates—hasn't happened yet. In fact, the younger Domi tweeted he'd be at Michigan yesterday:
@jjmarks16 naw man im not playing for kingston... heading down to the ushl and playing for inde i think
@jjmarks16 ya man im heading down to michigan u in 2 years
Doug Gilmour also said his first round pick wasn't going to report:
“I spoke to Tie and his ex-wife Leanne (recently) and their decision is to go elsewhere right now,” Gilmour said. “But this is junior hockey and there could be changes. If he wants to play in this league, it's kind of up to us. I'd love to have him.”
If that seems insane to you, remember that the OHL now gives you a compensatory draft pick one slot lower if you don't get your first-rounder signed. They may think it's worth the flier that Max doesn't take to the USHL since the cost isn't that steep.
So is that, like, a commitment? We're past the OHL draft and so there's no reason to say you're going to Michigan unless you're… like… going to Michigan. If so that would put Domi in the 2013 class with Compher, et al. (Note: I had erroneously assumed Domi was a 2012 prospect earlier.) If only hockey had developed an intricate hat dance rite that marked a prospect's passage into commitmenthood. Then we would know and pester Chris Heisenberg to update his spreadsheet.
In any case, the possible additions of Cianfrone and Domi in 2012/2013 would create a huge logjam at forward. Those two would bulge Michigan's forward corps to 17 in 2013, and while you have to expect some attrition there aren't a whole lot of early departure types on that list save Boo Nieves (who would be a sophomore) and maybe Alex Guptill (a junior). Two years is a long time to keep 17 kids in the boat, though, and Domi and Cianfrone are still liable to wriggle out.
Bonus Random Scouting
Since the world gets scouted for the OHL draft it provides an opportunity for Michigan fans to figure out just what kind of player they can expect at Yost in a couple years. A few bits on Evan Allen:
Silverstick MVP. Absolutely punishing hitter that plays with a mean streak. Did a great job of overwhelming the Marlies in their lone meeting this season. Very solid skill set, and obvious point producer. Most likely going to be a part of the USNDP team.
“Speedy forward who competes at a very high level. Possesses a very good shot with a pro-style release.”
“Reads the play in the offensive zone well. Extremely dangerous in the goal scoring area. If my team needed a goal, this is the guy I want with the puck on his stick.”
“Good north/south skating prospect with excellent acceleration. Not afraid to go to the tough areas of the ice to score. Another player that improved his overall game by playing Major Midget this season.”
Miller also reproduced the OHL media guide descriptions of Domi, Compher, Cianfrone, and Guertler. Save Compher, They're all small, skilled, and explosive.
*[Motte, Compher, Allen, and Talcott were all drafted after the tenth round and only Allen went to a team (Windsor) with any rep for picking off Americans with college commitments. Michigan target Gabe Guertler went in the sixth but if Michigan really has commitments from Cianfrone and Domi I can't see how they can cram him onto the roster, too.]
This weekend ended up being a huge deal for Michigan recruiting. Not only did they secure commitments from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia, but they got instate receiver Aaron Burbridge and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn to visit as well. Here's a look at what Dunn thought of his trip, what may be happening in the near future, and thoughts from a few other prospects.
6'2", 215 lbs.
While Dunn is still committed to Ohio State he has been public about his desire to visit Michigan for some time. The Michigan coaches impressed him when they offered him, and there has been some sort of interest ever since. The recent happenings with Ohio State and the NCAA have gotten the Dunn's attention, and they have said they will continue to monitor what happens in Columbus. I spoke with both Bri'onte and his father after the trip to Ann Arbor. Here's what his father had to say first.
[The visit] went pretty good. They showed us around, we went through the stadium, and basically went around the whole campus. We got a good welcome in there. The head coach, Brady Hoke, wasn't there but we were talking to the rest of the coaches.
They told him he fits in their offense and that they want a back his size. They need a running back. We went up here because he wanted to go to a few places to get the experience. It's just been all Ohio State, so he wanted to look around a little bit. You always have to have a backup plan, too. It was a good trip, though, and his cousin [2013 DB] Dymonte Thomas schooled him on it after he went up there. They've talked about going to school together too.
Both Bri'onte and his father didn't really want to let out too much about the visit or where he stands on either side. Here's the limited amount that Bri'onte was willing to say.
It was better than I expected. They showed us around a lot and explained all the schooling stuff to us. They were good people, they seem like I could build a relationship with them. I'm just looking around right now, I'm still committed to Ohio State.
Like I said, Bri'onte didn't want to put too much out there yet. He wasn't comfortable answering a few of my tougher questions about his situation. I think a lot of this will depend on what happens with the NCAA investigation. I also think that this is just the start of a courtship, and I wouldn't expect anything to happen anytime soon. Either way, it's a positive for Michigan to get him on campus and put a face to a name with the coaches.
6'1", 178 lbs
Standifer had been told he was close to a Michigan offer a few weeks back. One of the Michigan coaches was out to see him in person this week, and Anthony was given an offer based on his performance. Things could start moving pretty rapidly for him now that the offer is official.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
He says he has very strong interest, but isn't sure when he wants to make his final decision.
I haven't been down there yet to see much, but I love the stadium and just the football atmosphere there. They told me that I'm a Michigan corner and that they want size, and to get down there ASAP.
I'm not saying it will for sure happen, but I believe there is a chance that Anthony could pull the trigger on his visit. He seemed excited but unsure of what he wanted to do. If the trip goes well don't be surprised if he makes the call on the spot. Before you ask, this wouldn't have any affect on the recruitment of any other defensive backs, including Terry Richardson.
6'3", 195 lbs.
Gilmore is a prospect that has been a little on the quiet side lately. He holds a Michigan offer as well as Arizona State, Duke, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Despite living in California Gilmore says he has serious interest in Michigan.
[Michigan] is definitely a school I'm interested in. I mean we don't really hear that much about them out here, so to learn more about the program and school would be great. I know they have a rich tradition and good academics, it's a huge program. They have been down for awhile, but the new head coach that they have I'm sure is going to turn it around.
Gilmore wasn't positive but he had thought that Brady Hoke offered him previously while at San Diego State. While GIlmore does like Michigan, it's still early in the process for him.
I'm still taking everything in right now. I want to get out and take my visits and then I will start to narrow down the schools. I've been hearing from Cal, UCLA, and Northwestern lately, so we'll see. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I will be seriously considering Michigan in all this.
Gilmore holds a Michigan offer, but since he wants to take his time, I'm not sure how it will play out for him.
The commitment of Mario Ojemudia has increased Michigan's chances with his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. If they put the full court press on Burbridge they have a chance at landing him.
Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing this Thursday the 12th. He's down to Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. His announcement will be public, so you'll know.
A lot of people were asking if the commitment from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia would have any affect on Chris Wormley or Matt Godin, and the answer is no. Brown and Ojemudia are weakside ends, and Michigan is recruiting Godin and Wormley for the strong side. They will take all four if they fall that way.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson was offered this week. I believe Michigan has a good chance with Johnson.
Arizona ATH DJ Foster was offered this week. He has interest in Michigan, but they will need to get him on campus before any serious interest could happen. Oregon is the likely early leader.
[Ed: Chatter on twitter is that MI CB Terry Richardson may be announcing soon; hopefully "Roll Tide Nation" is just a tweak directed at Ross and RJS. Also, the Rivals 100 is out. RJS is the only state of Michigan player in the top 100 at #87.]
Michigan re-skin is go at EDSBS:
There's also a Bo gnome that pops up erratically that I didn't have the patience to get a screenshot of. Various people are vomiting the comments. You have done well, Michigan internets.
The Wolverines are truly reeling them in now. Three new commits this week. To the front page again! Action since last rankings:
5-2-11 Michigan gains commitment from James Ross. Notre Dame gains commitment from Justin Ferguson. Wisconsin gains commitment from Bart Houston.
5-5-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Ian Park.
5-6-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Jordan Westerkamp.
5-7-11 Michigan gains commitments from Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown. Michigan State gains commitment from Evan Jones.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
All rankings will be on the 5-star scale this year (when available) for easier comparing across services. Rivals rankings come out this week. Full data after the jump.
It's a commitment-palooza! OH DE Pharaoh Brown is the newest Wolverine. Also, I'm really going to have to practice spelling "Pharaoh" (not "Pharoah").
|3*, #45 DE||NR DE||NR DE||4*, 90, #10 TE, #14 Ohio|
There's alllllllllmost a consensus among the recruiting sites about Brown's size. ESPN is the outlier in height at 6-5 (all the others agree he's 6-6, except the guy quoted below), and 24/7 Sports is the odd site out at 230 pounds, whereas the others all agree that he's 220.
Though 24/7 Sports calls him a tight end, Pharaoh told Tom that he's a defensive player in Greg Mattison's eyes:
"I talked to Coach Mattison today, and then he put the head coach on the phone and they offered me right there. They said they saw my film and they really liked me."
Pharaoh said he plays quarterback, defensive end, and tight end but Michigan is recruiting him for DE.
He's a big guy, but to play at the next level, he's definitely got plenty of work to do in the weight room. There's not a ton out there on him, but Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long has talked about Pharaoh a couple times:
Pharaoh Brown is 6-7 and 215. He runs so well and is so long. Right now he prefers tight end which is very odd as he plays quarterback on offense. The way he plays end I don't know who would waste him at tight end. Yes, I said waste him. I like a good receiving tight end as well as anybody but defensive linemen are what win championships.
He's not sold on Pharaoh's apparent attitude:
I can tell you I did not consider him [for his projected 22-man OSU class]. He says he wants to play tight end. He is willing to play defense but he wants to play tight end. That is not good enough. We talk about defensive players mindset. He has all the skills to be a great defensive end but I can't put a player on defense who does not want to play defense.
But, like, the film, man. It is good. If he's willing to play defensive end, he's an outstanding player at the position. Despite not being in Long's projected Ohio State class, he's listed as one of the scariest to get away:
I have been very excited about Pharaoh Brown. My enthusiasm has been dampened a bit after hearing about his desire to be a tight end. No matter which side of the ball he lines up on he could come back to haunt us...
Long doesn't really have a whole lot to say about Brown's specific skills other than "they exist." His highlight video shows off great athleticism, but a lot of the plays feature some 5-7 white kid whiffing on a block, so don't read tooo much into some of it.
He's physically reminiscent of Terrelle Pryor in high school, though probably not quite that athletic (and he appears to be much worse as a passer). I'm a little surprised with Scout's ranking of him, but it's still pretty early in the process, so whateva.
Brown had a strong regional offer sheet, with a couple of national names mixed in. Arizona State, Boston College, Colorado, UConn, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska and West Virginia are some of the more notable names on his list.
Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon also showed interest, but did not offer him.
Scout has junior year numbers:
Had 49 tackles (13 for loss), seven sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a junior. Also played quarterback.
The amazing defensive end/QB combo!
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites have listed 40 times. Default five FAKEs out of five.
I'm no professional scout, but color me very impressed:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So he's not Ojemudia-skinny, but Brown is still going to have to really put on some weight to be a top defensive end at the next level. With Michigan's haul of defensive players in the 2011 class and so far this year, he'll be able to redshirt and do some work in the weight room.
After that he should get some work into the rotation as a freshman and sophomore. Kenny Wilkins, Chris Rock, and Keith Heitzman are good players, but somebody with Brown's athleticism is a rare treat, so I think he's able to pass at least one of them on the depth chart by his redshirt sophomore season.
As a redshirt junior, he'll burst onto the scene, acting as a disruptive force in opposing backfields. Depending on his production that season, he has the potential to even be an early entrant to the NFL Draft. He could have All-Big Ten potential by the time he graduates. However as a prospect with a lot of developing to do he has to put in the hard work to reach that potential.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The recruiting along the defensive line is going to get a lot more selective, especially at end where the Wolverines got two commits today alone. With Matt Godin announcing soon, and the likes of Chris Wormley (and a host of others from Ohio) still out there, Michigan has the opportunity to only go after the best.
Going forward, the needs are (as you know, since there has been a commitment post approximately every 20 minutes for the past month) quarterback, offensive line, defensive tackle, and some top offensive skill players. A couple defensive backs would be nice as well.
MI DE Mario Ojemudia, a teammate of current commit TE Devin Funchess, has joined Michigan's recruiting class with a verbal pledge.
|4*, #17 DT(!)||NR DE||NR WDE||3*, 89, NR WDE|
So, all three sites agree that Ojemudia is a defensive lineman (including Scout, which calls him a tackle(!)), but, uh, they don't list him with defensive lineman dimensions. Scout, which you may recall lists him at defensive tackle, says Mario is 6-2 and 220 pounds, and ESPN is in the same neighborhood, just four pounds lighter. Rivals and 24/7 Sports both say that Mario is 215 pounds, but Rivals is the most optimistic on his height, listing him at 6-3, while 24/7 Sports credits him at merely 6-1.
As you can see Mario is likely to be emblazoned with the "undersized" label throughout his career should he end up at defensive end. I assume that will indeed be his position, because seriously? Five linebackers?
He talks about his own game on his Scout profile:
“I have great speed. I’m very aggressive and I play hard and fast. I want to work on shedding blockers. I’m trying to get bigger and stronger too.”
That "great speed" should be his main asset, as it so often is among undersized linemen. Of course, it also raises a question of "if you're fast and little, why aren't you a linebacker?"
FHH Coach John Herrington on Mario's selection to the Free Press Dream Team:
"He is relentless on defense. He doesn't stay blocked, and he gets to the football. He has great potential. He will be a great college player someday."
Herrington and a couple of Mario's well-known teammates talk about his game in the Detroit News:
The 6-3, 215-pounder is undersized in the trenches, but his power and quickness mitigates that disadvantage. So, too, does his relentless aggression. "Mario is unstoppable," said Burbridge. "You never seen him blocked. Mario is a beast." Funchess agreed: "(Ojemudia) is just an animal. He just gets the job done."
"Mario just has a motor that is unbelievable," Herrington said. "Now, he is very quiet. We're hoping that he develops as a team leader, but he is so quiet that he really has not done that yet. As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him [standing] up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
Allen Trieu also discussed his game:
"Mario Ojemudia is quick off the ball, aggressive, and disruptive. The main knock on him is that he's about 215 pounds and has been playing out of position as a tackle. I think he will be fine at end, though, because he's so athletic.
No mention of the height being a liability at the next level.
Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Stanford and Syracuse were the non-Michigan schools in pursuit of Mario. Not exactly a murderer's row, but Iowa has consistently turned middling recruits into NFL Draft picks, and Stanford is riding a wave of success without recent precedent.
Mario's junior numbers:
Ojemudia made 127 tackles on the season from his defensive end spot, including 12 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Ojemudia was a driving force behind Harrison winning their 13th championship in 2010. He was also one of only three underclassmen to be named to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team.
Those are some serious numbers, especially from the defensive tackle position, and on a team that has talent to share the tackles.
Other members of the defensive Dream Team are headed to Michigan (Brennen Beyer and Delonte Hollowell), Oregon (Jake Fisher), Florida (CB Valdez Showers), and Michigan State (Lawrence Thomas and Taiwan Jones), so to be one of two underclassmen on the team (along with fellow future Wolverine James Ross) is a big honor.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals both say 4.65. That's quite precise, and considering both sites say the exact same number down to the hundredth of a second, it seems much more believable. However for a guy who's going to play defensive end in college, and is not a 4- or 5-star prospect, it seems a little fake. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Take a look at a picture of Mario. At any position on the field, he'd be due for a redshirt year. He's like the reverse Brandon Graham (way too big as a high school linebacker, whereas Mario is way too small as a high school defensive tackle) Thanks to a few solid Michigan recruiting classes along the defensive line, he'll definitely have that luxury.
Following the redshirt, another year of mostly bench time to continue adding mass and learning the offense is probably advisable. By his redshirt sophomore season, he should start to work into a bigger role in the rotation, and pick up some time on special teams.
As an upperclassman, he should be able to challenge for a starting spot, becoming one of the key players by the time he graduates. His height might limit him in the NFL Draft, unless teams see him as a 3-4 OLB.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has needs along the defensive line, but with a commitment from Matt Godin possible in the near future, spots could start filling up quickly, particularly at defensive end. The Wolverines can hold out for a top strongside end (Chris Wormley pls), and focus on defensive tackles.
Going forward the Wolverines also need more offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a wide receiver. Speaking of wideouts, Michigan has thus far completed two-thirds of the Harrison hat trick, with top in-state WR Aaron Burbridge the lone missing piece. Burbridge doesn't yet have an offer, reportedly because of grades.
Once Michigan starts filling in the needs listed above, they can truly narrow focus to only the top-top prospects, and try to reel in one hell of a recruiting class.