Coach Hoke and his staff have been very active on the recruiting trail this year and even though we've still got ten months until signing day our top prospects for the class are taking shape. I thought since many of us follow this pretty closely we might, as a group, be able to effectively handicap the candidates for the remaining spots.
It seems to me we have the following positions to fill:
QB - 1
RB - 1
FB - 0 to 1
WR - 1 to 2
TE - Devin Funchess, A.J. Williams, and 0 to 1 more
OL - Ben Braden, Caleb Stacey, and 2 to 4 more
DE - 2 to 3
DT - 2 to 3
LB - Kaleb Ringer, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and 0 to 2 more
CB - 1 to 2
S - 1 to 2
With this in mind, I've created a poll where the amateur recruiting experts on this board can vote for their best guesses. Maybe collectively we can identify our next class.
If you choose other in the poll, please identify your other player in the comments section.
[Ed-M: We've been waiting for you Obi-Jim. The write-up is now complete: bumped]
Evening, folks. Last night I had the honor of meeting and having a pleasant conversation with Lloyd Carr, so I thought I would share the story. Nothing too exciting but some of you may find it interesting.
One of my friends, who is a prominent athlete from Windsor (prominent to Windsor people, probably not to you guys) was up for an award at the Wespys. So i went with him without even knowing that Lloyd was the keynote speaker. When I found out, excitement ran over me. After the awards, we went to his table and he told us to sit down as he congratulated my friend for being nominated, although he didn't win. I should mention at this point that when one meets Lloyd Carr, he exudes class and sincerity even before he begins to speak. He then asked me if I was up for any awards, to which I replied that I was simply a spectator and am currently in law school. His reaction to this was to ask what I studied as an undergrad. When I mentioned philosophy, he said "Wow, that's excellent, you must be a heavy reader."
As a Michigan football fan of gargantuan proportions and a boy who became a man during the Lloyd Carr era, my first reaction upon hearing that Coach Carr would be speaking at the event was to behave like a child meeting Santa Claus and ask him a million football related questions. However, as someone who intends to become a hockey agent after law school and who knows a few athletes, I understand that these people receive the same questions ad nauseum from the general public. It is understandable, but at some point they develop pre-packaged, often repeated, and extremely generic answers to these encounters after hearing them constantly. Thus, I decided to refrain from asking any football questions at all and just enjoy his company.
The conversation was about 8-10 minutes long and we mostly discussed literature and philosophy. There was a great point in the conversation when we talked about writers who make their work inaccessible to most people by unnecessarily writing in complex schemes just for complexity's sake. I said I prefered the simple, classic, and understated genius of writers like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, whose complexities come from the depth of their characters. He agreed.
When it was time to go, I shook his hand and told him it was a pleasure to meet him, to which he responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "You're a very charismatic young man and I'm sure you will go far." This, to say the least, made me feel like a million dollars well into today, and probably beyond.
So, I have nothing new for you guys, no inside knowledge about about his opinions on Hoke, Denard, or Rodriguez. Just a very enjoyable evening with a world-class human being and someone we should all be proud to say coached our football team. Thanks for reading.
There was recently some confusion about whether or not Illinois DB Anthony Standifer (6'1", 178 lbs) had actually received a Michigan offer or not. At first his coach had told him he did receive the offer, but it was later found that there was a miscommunication. Anthony told me that he spoke with the Michigan coaches today and they got everything cleared up. He says that the coaches have told him his offer is pending on his camp performance, and they will also be out to see him in the next two weeks.
By the sound of that it seems like he could very well have an offer soon. Here's a look at his highlight film and how he feels about Michigan.
TOM: Were you surprised to hear from Michigan this early on?
ANTHONY: Yeah I was very shocked and surpised when my coach told me. There are a lot of schools that are telling me they want to offer me once they see me in person at camp.
TOM: What other offers do you have right now?
ANTHONY: Northern Illinois, Toledo, Western Michigan, and Akron right now. I'm also hearing from Boise State, I just got an email from Oregon, and Iowa.
TOM: You're from the midwest so I'm assuming you are familiar with Michigan?
ANTHONY: Oh yes, I'm a fan of Michigan. My favorite corner Charles Woodson went there. The atmosphere at the stadium is crazy.
TOM: WIth Michigan contacting you so soon, does that mean anything to you? Does a school have a better chance if they start recruiting you earlier?
ANTHONY: Yeah, it shows that they have a high level of interest in me which is nice. They told me that they're going to be coming out to the school in the next two weeks so they're serious about it. I'm going to go visit the campus and meet the coaching staff sometime in May, probably the first week.
TOM: I know it's all really early, but where would Michigan stand with you if you were to get that offer
ANTHONY: Very high. Michigan is the best school to me. I look at it as an honor to wear a Michigan jersey.
TOM: You've been called a sleeper prospect, and for anyone that doesn't know a lot about you what kind of corner are you?
ANTHONY: I have good size, I'm fast for my size, good at finding the ball, I have good enough hands to be a receiver if I wanted to be, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.
TOM: Do you know how your recruitment is going to play out yet?
ANTHONY: I haven't decided yet, I'm just going to take it day by day for now.
The state of California is loaded with offensive linemen in the 2012 class and tackle Max Tuerk is among the best. The 6-foot-6, 281-pound lineman already has offers from Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, and Washington to name a few. Here's a look at Tuerk's film and where he's at in the process.
TOM: I know you have an offer from Michigan, but do you think any other schools are close to offering?
MAX: I hope so. I'm not sure if they're actually going to offer me or not, but I have been talking to Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Stanford came by my school last week.
TOM: You already have a good list now, have you thought about narrowing everything down any time soon?
MAX: I haven't thought about it yet because a lot of new offers are still coming in. When it starts to die down I will start to narrow it down.
TOM: Sounds like a good plan. Since you're from California do you know much about Michigan?
MAX: Of course. I know Michigan has a great football tradition and they produce a lot of great linemen. I really like Coach Funk and Ferrigno, and we're developing a solid relationship.
TOM: To stay on that note, since you're from California do you think distance will factor into all this?
MAX: I don't think at all. I'm actually leaning towards getting out of California.
TOM: You said you're building a relationship with the coaches. What do you guys talk about and what have they told you about Michigan?
MAX: We talk every once in awhile and they've told me that Michigan not only has a great football team but it's a great school as well. Hopefully I can check it out soon.
TOM: Did these coaches recruit you while they were at San Diego State at all?
MAX: No, but SDSU is recruiting me now.
TOM: Is Michigan a school that you're going to try to visit?
MAX: Yes, this summer I am definitely going to try to get out there.
TOM: When you take visits to these schools and try to analyze them what are you going to be looking for?
MAX: A good fit with academics, the football program, and my overall comfort level with the people I am going to spend my college career with.
TOM: For anyone that hasn't gotten to see you play, how would you describe yourself?
MAX: I play as hard as I can every play. My best attributes would probably be my speed and aggressiveness.
TOM: Do you have any idea of how you want your recruitment to play out?
MAX: It's still up in the air for me but I think I am going to narrow it down to three to five choices in the summer, so it's not so overwhelming during the season. I plan to take official visits to those top schools.
Armani Reeves (5'11", 185 lbs) is one of the few defensive backs that Michigan has offered for the 2012 class. Reeves' Catholic Memorial teammate Camren Williams decided to make the call for Penn State, but that hasn't affected how Reeves is going about his process or where Michigan stands. Here's a look at his film and where he's at overall with his recruitment.
TOM: I know you've taken some visits now, but what are your plans from here? Are you close to narrowing things down?
ARMANI: Yeah, I'm close. Since we last talked I haven't been out to any more schools because of school and SAT stuff. I went to Pitt for the 7 on 7, but that's it. I think I did good [individually] but we lost to a Detroit team.
TOM: You say you're close to narrowing things down, but what does that mean?
ARMANI: After I visit some more schools in the summer I will officially narrow it down.
TOM: Do you have a leader right now, or do you have an idea what schools will be in the top group?
ARMANI: No, I don't have a leader right now. I know Michigan will be in the top five, but I'm not sure of the others yet.
TOM: Do you know what trips you're going to take this summer?
ARMANI: I'll be up at Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, and Stanford this summer but I don't know who else yet. I'll narrow it down to five, take those officials, then make my decision.
TOM: You say that Michigan is already going to be in the top five, what about them do you like?
ARMANI: I like pretty much everything about them. I just want to get a feel for more of the college life around the normal students and see if I would fit in with the people.
TOM: Overall when you go to narrow your list down what is going to be most important to you?
ARMANI: The academics, the coaching staff, and that players around them.
TOM: Now that everything is in full swing have you started to hear more from the Michigan coaches?
ARMANI: I know that Coach Mallory is coming to the schools soon, but other than that just talking and getting to know each other.
TOM: Do you feel pretty comfortable with Coach Mallory now?
ARMANi: Yeah, he's a real cool guy. I like him a lot. We talk about more than football, and we just have a good bond with each other.
TOM: Someone else you know has Michigan connections too. You're friends with Chris Barnett, what has he been saying to you about Michigan?
ARMANI: He just tells me it's the best place, and that with more pieces there they could be really good in a couple years with the new coaches.
TOM: Are you still going to wait until January or December to announce?
ARMANi: Yeah, or maybe a little sooner.
The spring game was a success from a recruiting perspective on a few different levels. The commitment from instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone was an important early get that most didn't expect so soon. Outside of the commitment here's a look at what some of the other visiting prospects had to say. As always you can find me and more updates on Twitter, and if you have any questions or tips please email me at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'6", 289 lbs
Diamond is a big-time prospect nationally and for a Michigan class that needs a hig- profile tackle or two. He has been to Ann Arbor plenty of times, but this time he brought someone new.
I've seen a lot of that stuff before, and they were just showing us around. My father was there for the first time and he said everything was great. He got a great impression from everything, and he thought the coaching staff was great. He actually said he would feel comfortable with me playing there so that felt good.
Since Diamond has taken numerous visits to Michigan's campus, and the fact that his teammate Chris Bryant signed with Michigan, these visits are more about comfort than discovery for him. But...
It did give me a chance to see how they coached and how they were showing the players what they need to do. I saw Coach Funk is doing a good job with those guys getting the fundamentals down. I've seen a lot of them now and it's about getting familiar with these schools. These visits, I have my parents go up to see where I might be going. I didn't really see anything new, it was just more of a confirmation of what I've been seeing.
While he didn't necessarily see anything new with the program, Jordan definitely got to be a part of a new experience.
When we got there we came out on the field and there was a bunch of fans telling me Jordan we need you. To have them recognize an offensive lineman and ask me for autographs was pretty cool. I was getting stopped on the street and people were asking me if I was Jordan Diamond. I was signing autographs for little kids, and to have that happen at a big school was cool. Being with the players is always great too; they're exactly the same on and off the field. The character and attitude they have is always the same.
Jordan isn't positive exactly when he wants to make his final decision, but he knows how he wants to get there.
I'm going to keep taking visits right now, then narrow it down to a top ten during the summer. After that I'll get it to a top five before the season starts and I'll take my official visits to those five. I know Michigan will definitely be in the top five. Michigan is looking solid right now.
Diamond has always wanted to take his visits and take his time with the process, so this is nothing new. These early visits have helped Michigan lay the ground work for later on in the process when the tough decisions come around.
6'7", 305 lbs.
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
Denman is a huge offensive lineman that has racked up around 21 offers from schools like Michigan, Boston College, Miami, MSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin to name a few. JJ took in Ann Arbor for the first time and came away impressed.
I spent the whole day Friday looking around the campus, and then Saturday we spent more time at the facilities and the spring game. I was the only one there on Friday so we got talk to all the coaches. We talked about how they're bringing back a pro style offense and that they need big linemen. Everything overall was good, I really liked the coaches. The coaches seem real down to earth and straight shooters. The Big House: I walked in there and it was just huge. They said they were going to put up scoreboards and that they might be adding more seats which is crazy.
The Big House is typically something prospects remember from their visits, but the MIchigan players were what stuck with Denman.
All the players are genuine guys. I talked to Denard Robinson and it was just like he was a normal guy. He saw me walk by and was just like "hey what's up man," it was like he didn't even do what he did on the field. I talked to Jake Long too and he was the exact same way. It's like Michigan doesn't produce cocky guys, they're all humbled and that was cool.
Although JJ has a pretty big offer list he already has a good idea of who makes up his top group.
I think I know the schools that I like, I'm going to go out to a couple more just to make sure. I definitely know I'm going to take an official visit to Michigan, and I'm going to try to make it back for the Notre Dame game because it will be their first night game. I'll probably take all five of my officials. The five schools right now are Michigan, Boston College, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Rutgers.
It sounds like this visit helped Michigan but it won't mean much until he starts taking official visits.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Ojemudia is an interesting instate prospect that has been up to Michigan with his teammate TE Devin Funchess a few times now. If you remember last time Mario said that he was surprised that he liked his Michigan visit so much. It seems like the spring game might have helped Michigan a little more.
It went really well, it was fun. I didn't really see anything different but I'm feeling really comfortable with all the coaches, and I really like Michigan now which is kind of weird since I grew up not liking them. I think these visits have sort of leveled everything out now.
Mario has also been to Michigan State three or four times now, but hasn't been in a while. Having processed the trips he's taken, he thinks the visits have helped him narrow down his list to a group of three.
I've somewhat narrowed it down. I like Michigan, Stanford, and MSU, but that could all be subject to change if I get another offer from a school I like. Two schools that I really like are Penn State and Ohio State.
All of these trips he's taking are helping him get to his final decision, which he says he wants to have done before his season starts.
2013 QB Shane Morris was also on hand for the spring game. He seemed to enjoy the fan attention he got as well.
It went really well, I had a lot of fun. I signed my first autograph on a #12 Michigan jersey. That was crazy. I've pretty much seen the whole school three times now so I just want to get to know the coaches better and get more comfortable at the school.
Michigan commit OL Caleb Stacey had his decision validated while he was on campus for the first time as a commitment.
It went great, I had two kids around the age of ten ask for my autograph. It made me feel like I was at home with great people, great atmosphere, great fans, and just all around great place. I was trying to recruit [JJ Denman] and Sheldon Day while I was up there.
** QB Zeke Pike is announcing his decision on Wednesday. He told me that he's down to Auburn, Michigan, and Purdue. He said you shouldn't look too much into the rumors about him being committed to Auburn. I have a strange feeling about this one.
New York DB Wayne Morgan's coach tells me that Michigan has moved up on his list.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden took in Ann Arbor with his parents, and may be nearing a decision.
I hinted on Twitter that there was going to be a silent commit yesterday. The prospect told me it was ok to tell people his intentions, but to obviously keep his name quiet. The plan was to commit to the coaches, take two more visits then come forward with the announcement at his school. He told the coaches Sunday night and they told him that he should take the other two visits first then commit to them. It wasn't a rejection, but more so not acknowledging a commitment from a kid that wants to take visits. The announcement should happen in 3 or 4 weeks.
If you missed it here's last week's Weekly Update with TE Pierre Aka, DE Noah Spence, and WR Amara Darboh.