the season has truly begun now
It was an important weekend for offensive line recruiting with a total of six linemen on campus: Jordan Diamond, Andrus Peat, Chris Muller, Blake Bars, Trey Keenan, and Steven Elmer. New offers were also extended and camp has begun. Here's a look at some of the recent happenings and what a few recruits had to say about Michigan.
6'5", 270 lbs.
Michigan was always high on Keenan's list since his family is originally from Michigan. A summer visit had always been in the works for him and he finally got to take in Ann Arbor this past weekend.
All the places I've been to are southern schools and I've never really been to a place like Michigan. It's flattering to be here and see all the tradition and history in the buildings. They have national championships and all americans so it's pretty cool to be here.
This visit gave Keenan a better look at what Michigan really has to offer, and it also gave him a chance to meet face to face with the coaches.
We got to talk to everybody, Coach Hoke, the Athletic Director, Coach Funk. We took a tour of everything and you could definitely tell that the whole thing was a well thought out process. Every place has nice stuff and nice facilities but Michigan has so much tradition. I really felt welcomed, too, and I felt wanted and needed.
Feeling like he was wanted was something that really stuck out to Trey while he was on campus.
They only have something like eight scholarship linemen. We've been to places that have said they need linemen, but with Michigan it was major here. There's a chance to play early here and that is something really cool at a place like Michigan. I also really liked the strength coach and how he put everything. He talked about everything and how they individualize certain aspects.
So what's next for Keenan?
We're going to the morning session of camp tomorrow [Monday]. I'm going to work out with Coach Funk to get a feel for him and how he interacts with his players. We do have a short list right now and Michigan is on that short list. I don't want to say how many are on it yet. We're going to take the next week then talk about everything with my coaches and family. All my planned summer visits are done with so we'll figure out what's going to happen next. This visit did nothing but up Michigan's status though.
Like he said he plans on meeting with his coaches and family within the next week to discuss what's next. If I had to guess it would seem like he's getting close to a decision, and it seems like Michigan could be in good shape.
6'3", 325 lbs.
Kansas City, Missouri
Pipkins recently released his top seven of Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida. It's no secret that Ondre has ties to Michigan, especially with his father still living there. He has planned on taking a summer visit to Michigan all along and it looks like he has an idea of when it will take place.
I'll be up there in late July or the beginning of August. I just can't wait to see the Big House, somewhere that I can possibly live out my dreams.
I know that Pipkins has wavered on when he would like to make his final decision, but it seems like there's a chance that it could be sooner than originally planned.
6'6", 297 lbs.
Elmer was on campus today with his father and was extended an offer from the Michigan coaches. He's a 2013 offensive line prospect that now holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Mississippi State. It's safe to say he'll be one of the better prospects in the country come next year. His father told me a little about how the visit went today.
It was great, we took an unofficial visit before camp today. We got to meet with the coaches, Coach Hoke, Borges, Funk, and the fact that it was the busiest day for them and they got us in there says a lot. I told Steven that this will probably be as good as or better than anything he's ever seen so far, and we were very impressed.
Academics will be a big factor in Steven's recruitment and Michigan always seems to impress in that department with Shari Acho.
The academics was the best part of the trip. Shari gave the part that I wanted to hear the most and it was fantastic. She explained that when you go to the University of Michigan you are part of a select group of people and you don't really understand that until you hear it in person. She was trying to talk fast and squeeze it all in but I told her we can see everything else any time. If I could go back and talk more about the academics with her I would.
This is all happening very early, especially for an offensive lineman, so the family is still taking everything in.
Steven did really well at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. We really like the message that camp sends so we went out there for that and he did really well. There's obviously been a good amount of interest from what he did there and people have been watching the videos all over the place, too. My wife is actually going with him out to Notre Dame later this week. She hasn't seen Notre Dame. She needs to see that stuff too, and the academic pitch from places like Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
The family plans on sitting back and watching everything play out. They plan on trying to get out to a few games during the season as well. I spoke more with the elder Elmer and will post more on Steven later in the week.
5'7", 151 lbs.
Wiggins was another 2013 prospect who had an outstanding performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. Following the event he was notified that he had received an offer from Michigan. He also reports holding offers from Cincinnati and Ohio State. He told me that he was very surprised to see Michigan jump in the mix.
My coach in Atlanta always talks about Ohio and Michigan players are real ballers. So I wanted to come up north and show my southern skills. I wasn't trying to impress anybody, just go out there and play. I really wasn't expecting the offers at all. I never really heard anything from them so I guess when they watched me in the one on one drills they liked me.
An early offer is definitely a good indicator of how interested they are. Wiggins also talked about his process and who he grew up watching.
My dream school was Florida State, but after Cincinnati offered me I had a long conversation with their staff. They made me really comfortable. I like how FSU uses their cornerbacks, and I know that Michigan is known for great talent at corner. Guys like Charles Woodson, I can't remember some of the other names but they're good for cornerbacks. From how I feel now I'll probably wait until after my junior year or during my junior year. I think I'll make my decision pretty early so I get my recruitment over with.
Wiggins told me that he plans on making it back up to Michigan very soon. I have a feeling that Michigan has made a very good impression on him and he wants to explore that further. There's a good chance Michigan is one of his top schools.
Arizona OL Andrus Peat discussed his visit to Michigan. I think this trip helped Michigan tremendously with Peat. He didn't know much about the city or university so this gave him a good look at what they have to offer.
2012 Georgia WR Jason Croom recently received a Michigan offer. His mother happened to be in Michigan and stopped by campus this past weekend. Jason will make it back up to Ann Arbor in August.
Here's a list of some of the visitors expected in for camp this week.
2013 Ohio DB Cameron Burrows could be hearing from Michigan soon. He hails from Trotwood Madison which is the home of Roy Roundtree, Mike Shaw, and Brandon Moore. He is friends with Roy and talks to him on occasion. Keep an eye on his name.
I reported last week that Ohio DB Jarrod Wilson will be meeting with his coaches again on Monday [the 20th] to discuss what's next for him. He's very quiet so they aren't sure if he plans on making a decision or waiting things out.
Ohio QB Maty Mauk told me via text that his decision should come in the next few weeks. He's been keeping everything close to the vest so I'm not sure where he's leaning, or who he's deciding between.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond stopped by Michigan before he made it over to the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. He also made it back over to Ann Arbor Sunday morning for one more trip.
Massachusetts OL Eric Olson told me that his decision will likely come before the 4th of July. I think Michigan has a good chance, but he keeps everything quiet so we'll see what happens.
Nike and ESPN are hosting an event called The Opening that takes place in Oregon on July 5th to the 9th. It is invitation only and you'll notice some familiar names on the list. Anthony Standifer told me that he will likely be going, as will Ron Thompson and Danny O'Brien.
Note: I edited this since my original post to better utilize the ESPN data. Apologies if this makes some of the comments confusing.
Never having contributed anything of value to this site, I thought I’d take a shot at combining the Scout, Rivals, 247, and ESPN player rankings into one. The goal is to come up with a straightforward way to compare elite recruits’ status with the ranking services (i.e. without forcing people to juggle rankings and star ratings from four different sites in their heads).
Aggregating across the sites is not easy, partly because of data availability and especially because of the different methods used by different sites. There are countless ways to do this, with most requiring some kind of data imputation. Since no data imputation strategy would be liked by all, I’m proposing a different method that requires no imputation. Let’s call it the Veto-Based Aggregate Recruiting (V-BAR?) Rankings. (Crappy name & acronym? Check.)
The basic idea is that we restrict the rankings to players who appear in every site’s top X list (i.e. no one was unimpressed with the recruit) and then order them based on their average rankings across the sites. It’s “veto-based” because any site can prevent a player from appearing on the aggregated list.
I see two primary objections to this:
(1) It eliminates highly regarded prospects when only one outlier site is unsold on them.
(2) It gives excessive veto power to ESPN (and eliminates a lot of players) just because the ESPN 150 only ranks 150 prospects while the other services rank 247-300.
First, for (1). This is just the design of this ranking. Basically, to get on this list, there is consensus that you’re outstanding, and the average rankings tease apart just how highly you’re regarded. Interestingly, for each recruiting service, one guy stands out, rankings-wise, as a glaring omission. For Rivals, it’s Sheldon Day (#65 to Scout, #80 to 247, #144 to ESPN). For Scout, it’s Amos Leggett (#104 to Rivals, #75 to 247, #95 to ESPN). For 247, it’s Avery Young (#38 to Rivals, #13 to Scout, #119 to ESPN). For ESPN, it’s Zeke Pike (#72 to Rivals, #33 to Scout, #18 to 247). In general, though, there aren't too many really serious outliers.
Now for (2). Giving ESPN excessive veto power seems problematic, especially since ESPN’s rankings are often questioned for their quality and objectivity. Therefore, in addition to using the ESPN 150, I grabbed the next 150 players from ESPN’s recruiting rankings (link: http://espn.go.com/college-football/recruiting/prospects). So we have rankings for 300 players from ESPN.
By my count, 147 players appear in Rivals’ top 250, Scout’s top 300, 247’s top 247, and ESPN’s top 300. Here they are in order of average ranking across these four sites:
VETO-BASED AGGREGATE RECRUITING RANKINGS (as of 6/19/11)
(incorporates Rivals, Scout, 247, and ESPN)
|3||Mario Edwards||6.25||DE||Florida State|
|28||Dante Fowler||41.75||DE||Florida State|
|39||Jarron Jones||49.75||DT||Penn State|
|40||Trey Williams||50.5||RB||Texas A&M|
|44||Ronald Darby||57.5||CB||Notre Dame|
|45||Kyle Kalis||57.75||OT||Ohio State|
|49||Chris Casher||61.5||DE||Florida State|
|60||Tee Shepard||83.5||CB||Notre Dame|
|67||Brock Stadnik||91.25||OT||South Carolina|
|72||Mario Pender||98||RB||Florida State|
|80||Se'von Pittman||109.25||DE||Michigan State|
|86||Kendall Sanders||115||CB||Oklahoma State|
|90||Michael Starts||116.5||OG||Texas Tech|
|93||Angelo Jean-Louis||119||WR||Miami (FL)|
|102||Matt Davis||131.25||QB||Texas A&M|
|103||Brionte Dunn||131.75||RB||Ohio State|
|105||P.J. Williams||134.5||S||Florida State|
|109||Bralon Addison||137||WR||Texas A&M|
|132||J.J. Denman||173.5||OT||Penn State|
|134||John Michael McGee||173.75||C|
|138||Camren Williams||185.25||OLB||Penn State|
|143||Joshua Perry||194.75||OLB||Ohio State|
|145||Dalvon Stuckey||207.25||DT||Florida State|
Arizona offensive lineman Andrus Peat (6'7", 305 lbs) is one of the top prospects in the nation, a five star to most sites. Peat decided to take a trip up to Ann Arbor this weekend and I caught up with him to see how the visit went. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say.
TOM: What was the reason that you decided to visit Michigan?
ANDRUS: Right now I'm just trying to get out to all the schools that I'm seriously interested in. I've been to Florida State, USC, and Stanford. I just wanted to get out to Michigan because they have a great tradition for winning and getting linemen to the NFL. I'm also going to Notre Dame tomorrow and then going back home.
TOM: Once these visits are done are you going to try to narrow things down based off of what you saw?
ANDRUS: Yeah, I'm going to cut my list to probably around 5 to 8 after I get out to these schools. By the end of the summer I'll make that cut.
TOM: To get to this visit to Ann Arbor specifically, what did you do once you first got there?
ANDRUS: When I got there I got to meet with the coaches, we toured the campus, and then saw the facilities. It was good to see everything, I was really impressed by the campus and the college atmosphere. It was a lot better than I expected.
TOM: I'm assuming you got to meet with Coach Funk, what did you talk about with him?
ANDRUS: He was saying that there's a great opportunity for linemen because they only have like 8 on scholarship, I think. It's a great opportunity to play early and they said they really like me. I definitely want to give them a good look.
TOM: Do you think this visit helped you get more comfortable with the coaches? Since you live in Arizona did this help make a better connection with the coaches?
ANDRUS: I think it helped me a lot to get to know the coaches better. Coach Funk was at my school a couple times so I'm familiar with him. It was good for me to get on campus though and see everything.
TOM: You said you have been out to places like Florida State and USC, how did this visit compare to those?
ANDRUS: It's definitely way up there. It was the biggest stadium I've ever seen, and I had a really good feeling about it. The whole atmosphere, the college town which I like, and the area was good. Talking to all the coaches and seeing the opportunity to play there, it was really good.
TOM: I know Michigan fans are curious, now that Nebraska is in the Big Ten, your brother Todd signed with the Cornhusker in last year's class. Is that going affect on you at all?
ANDRUS: I'm going to give them a look, but just because he's there doesn't mean that's where I'll go. I want to find the right opportunity for me and take a look at all these schools.
TOM: Do you think this visit helped Michigan at all, and when do you plan on making your final decision?
ANDRUS: For sure, I was really impressed with everything. I could definitely see myself playing there. I don't know when I'll make my decision, just whenever I feel right. I will probably take official visits and then decide after my senior season.
Rivals has updated most of their 3-stars, so that update is reflected in these rankings. Action since last rankings:
6-8-11 Indiana gains commitment(!) from Alex Todd.
6-12-11 Ohio State gains commitment from Najee Murray.
6-13-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from Kyle Dodson.
6-14-11 Northwestern gains commitments from Connor Mahoney and Mike McHugh. Illinois gains commitment from Cody Quinn.
6-15-11 Illinois gains commitment from Tajarvis Fuller.
6-16-11 Indiana gains commitment from Nick Mangieri.
6-17-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Scott Ekpe.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
ESPN's initial rankings are finally out, so their numbers in the table above have switched to star averages, rather than 150 Watchlist prospects.
Full data after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 16 Commits|
Mario Ojemudia, despite being one of only two future Wolverines already committed to the US Army All-American Bowl, is the lowest-rated recruit to Rivals. They're tweener-haters.
|#2 Ohio State - 9 Commits|
Buckeyes add low-rated DB Najee Murray to the class.
|#3 Penn State - 8 Commits|
No change for Penn State.
|#4 Notre Dame - 10 Commits|
Irish holding steady. Their averages may be slightly dinged by the fact that they have a long-snapper committed.
|#5 Wisconsin - 5 Commits|
Big pull for the Badgers, as Kyle Dodson got his long-awaited Ohio State offer - and picked Wisconsin instead.
The Wildcats pick up a couple low-rated guys, but their comparable averages and greater volume in comparison to Minnesota move them past the Gophers.
|#7 Minnesota - 7 Commits|
Minnesota picks up another sleeper prospect. I get the vibe that they'll shoot down the rankings once other teams start getting caught up in volume.
|#8 Michigan State - 5 Commits|
No change for Michigan State. If they start getting camp commits, they're very upwardly mobile. They're just about even with Minnesota as-is.
Illinois picks up a couple of commits, and they move past Nebraska on volume alone.
|#10 Nebraska - 2 Commits|
No change for the Huskers.
|#11 Indiana - 2 Commits|
Not only do the Hoosier have commits(!), they're good enough prospects to move IU out of last place in the conference, as well.
|#12 Purdue - 1 Commit|
No change for the Boilers.
|#13 Iowa - 1 Commit|
No change for Iowa. Now at the rear of the pack, thanks to Indiana's newfound competence.
Georgia wide receiver Jason Croom (6'5", 215 lbs) is fresh off of receiving a Michigan offer just yesterday. The Wolverine staff had great timing because Croom's mom just happened to be in the state of Michigan. She got a chance to check out campus and meet the coaching staff today. Jason wasn't with her, but here's what she had to say.
TOM: You told me that you were visiting with the coaches, was that over the phone or did you go check everything out in person?
MRS. CROOM: I went over to campus and met everyone. We are originally from Detroit, and our older daughter got married up here yesterday so we are here. We just happened to be here when they made the offer. Jason didn't come because he was doing a 7 on 7 tournament. Since we were already up here we decided to check it out. I was able to talk to some of the coaches, we didn't get to meet Brady [Hoke] because he was in a meeting.
TOM: Do you think Jason will make it back up to see everything you just did?
MRS. CROOM: Yes, we will be back up in August for unofficial visit with Jason. We'll be up the last week of July to the first week in August to see Michigan and Michigan State with Jason. He won't be taking official visits probably until December.
TOM: Since you're originally from Detroit does that mean you all are Michigan fans?
MRS. CROOM: Yes, we are Michigan fans. We've only been away from Michigan for six years. Jason isn't as familiar with the program as we are though.
TOM: I know Jason said that he had a top three of Tennessee, Miami, and Mississippi State recently. Is that final, or where is he at?
MRS. CROOM: Those are just the three schools that he hears the most from. Those coaches have taken the time to get to know us as a family, that's all.
TOM: I know this is all early and happening fast, but does Michigan have a chance to get in that group?
MRS. CROOM: From a parent stand point this is home, from an academic stand point it's great, and distance wouldn't matter because he would be surrounded by family. It's convenient. One of the [Michigan] coaches actually grew up in the same neighborhood as me and we didn't know it. We had a good conversation, we knew a lot of the same people. The other coaches are all new to campus so they don't really know us yet.
TOM: It's tough to really gain a comfort level with someone in such short time, but what are you and Jason really looking for out of a program or coach?
MRS. CROOM: With him it's going to be a coach that he can truly relate to. It's someone that is going to deal with him being a direct person, somebody that's open, and can create plays around him. It's going to have to be a coach that's very creative. Most schools, including Michigan, are recruiting him as a Z receiver.
TOM: What other visits have you taken so far?
MRS. CROOM: We are actually on tour this week. Last weekend we visited Mississippi State and Alabama. My husband took him to Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, FSU, Florida, and we just got back from Miami and Tennessee. This won't be a snap decision. We have a lot of SEC schools, but things are starting to branch out so we'll look at everything. We have a spread sheet with pro's and con's of each school. We'll begin to narrow things down and go from there. It's definitely an honor to get a scholarship offer from a high institution like Michigan.
Tennessee offensive lineman Blake Bars [6'5", 275 lbs, 4 Star] is on his way up to Ann Arbor for his visit that will take place tomorrow [Saturday the 18th]. Bars' name hasn't been thrown around as much as some of the other prospects Michigan is after, but that doesn't mean he's wanted any less. Blake told me about his recruitment and what lead to a slow start in his process. Here's a look at his film then the answers.
TOM: The fans aren't as familiar with you as they are for some of the other prospects. It seems like your name has shot to the top very quickly though, is there any reason for that?
BLAKE: Yeah, we didn't get any of our game film until late in February. Our coach just didn't give them to us until after the season in fear that we would focus too much on recruiting and not the program. We got it in late February and put together a highlight film, sent them out the schools and got really positive feedback. That's why it took so long.
TOM: That makes sense. Since you got somewhat of a late start, at least compared to the rest of the crop, where are you at in the process? Do you have a top group yet?
BLAKE: My top schools are probably Penn State, Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU, and Michigan. There are some other schools I would maybe want to consider, but that's my top group right now. We're focusing on visiting the top schools right now, and we really wanted to visit Michigan. We're headed down there right now.
TOM: Ok, and to talk more specifically about Michigan how familiar are you with the program?
BLAKE: We lived in Trenton [Michigan] for around 12 years. I went to a Lloyd Carr camp in Wyandotte once, but I can't really tell you much more than that, I was pretty young. We did go up to Michigan last year and took a brief visit. We have relatives in Ann Arbor and we wanted to look around the stadium. We're excited to go back up and meet the coaches and go on a tour.
TOM: Does Michigan have any advantage with all this since you have family there and you've lived there before?
BLAKE: I think my Aunt who lives in Ann Arbor is a pretty good recruiter. She always says that if I come to Michigan she'll have special things for me. She'll bake me cookies and cook for me. I like the fact that my family is there, and my mom's uncle actually played for Michigan, but I'm not sure how much it will factor in.
TOM: What coach from Michigan are you mainly in contact with?
BLAKE: Coach Smith is recruiting our area. He came out to watch me practice and he said he was pretty impressed. The offer came after that. He's a great guy and I'm excited to meet him. When I talked to him on the phone we got to talk to Coach Hoke which was pretty cool.
TOM: With this visit what are you looking to get out of it? Are there any specific questions you want answered?
BLAKE: Right now I'm just keeping an open mind about each school. When we see it tomorrow I don't know that I have a specific questions other than just hearing what the coaches have to say. I want to find out about the academic side of everything. I think I'm looking for a school that's well balanced, good academics and good athletics as well.
TOM: You said you want to visit your top schools, so how do you think this whole process is going to play out for you?
BLAKE: I think I'm looking to get everything done sooner than later. I want to make a decision before our season starts. We have a really good team this year and we have a good shot at states. Getting that decision out of the way will help that. We have the top five right now and we'll try to get it down from there.