also duty-free guys falling over and grabbing their shins
Ray Ball is an offensive tackle out of Westerville, Ohio. Ray was in Ann Arbor this weekend for camp, but didn't work out. He just wanted to come up, and get a chance to meet the players and coaches, to get a feel for everything. He told me today that he got that and a lot more. Here's a look at his highlight video, and then our conversation:
TOM: How was the trip up to Michigan?
RAY: It was awesome, I really enjoyed myself. I got to look around at the whole campus, and we got to watch some of the camp, and all the players work out. We got a chance to talk with the coaches, which was great. Those coaches are awesome, and really cool to be around; I really liked them. I also got to meet three of the players on the team that will be freshmen this year. I know next time I come up there, we're going to hang out some more, they were really welcoming and nice.
TOM: When will you be coming back for your next visit?
RAY: I'm not sure exactly, but since this one was so fun, it will probably be very soon.
TOM: Ok, so it sounds like this visit might have pushed Michigan further up on your list then?
RAY: Yes, sir. I know the top schools I have on my list are Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA, but this definitely puts Michigan in a better spot than before.
TOM: Do you know when you're making your final decision yet?
RAY: Either at the beginning of the season, or in the middle. I'm not positive yet.
Valdez Showers is a versatile athlete out of Madison Heights, Michigan, mainly being recruited as a defensive back. Sitting in Michigan's backyard, Valdez has an offer from the Wolverines and just picked up a somewhat surprising offer from Florida. Auburn, Michigan State, and others have offered.
First his junior highlight film:
There's film on him from a 7 on 7 tournament, as well. Here's what Showers had to say.
TOM: Word on the street is that you received an offer from Florida recently?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went down there on the 16th to visit the school. I camped the next day, and I could tell that the coaches were impressed. When I got home, I talked to one of the coaches, and he offered me a scholarship. They just said that overall I'm a great player, and I would fit well at cornerback for them.
TOM: Is that what most schools are recruiting you for? Cornerback?
VALDEZ: Yeah, that's what pretty much everyone sees me at.
TOM: That's a pretty big offer; how many total do you have now?
VALDEZ: I have a total of around 16 now. I don't have a top list yet, though. I'm going to sit down this week, and see if I can narrow it down.
TOM: There has to be some schools that stick out to you, though, right?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I mean, Florida sticks out because they have great football, and academics. Michigan sticks out, they'll probably be in the top group, too. I have a good connection with the coaches at Michigan, and they're well rounded, too.
TOM: When you say you want to narrow your list down, how are you going to decide who makes the cut? You have some nice offers from Auburn, Cinci, Michigan, and Florida, what's the criteria?
VALDEZ: I'm looking for great academics, great football, and a good coaching staff, of course. I really want to find the school that's the right fit for me, though. So, I'm not sure when I'll decide. I just want to take my time with it, and put it in God's hands.
TOM: With some offers out of state, and across the country, how will distance factor in?
VALDEZ: Distance won't be a factor. I'll just go where ever is best for me. My mom was excited when I got the Florida offer, and she's said that she'll come watch me play where ever I go, so that doesn't matter.
TOM: Were you able to make it back up for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this weekend?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went, but my flight got delayed from Florida. I came late to the second day, so I couldn't do a whole lot. I got to talk to a couple coaches from Michigan, and they were telling me to come back up and visit sometime soon. I'm going to try to get back up there pretty soon. I'm not sure when, though.
TOM: Since you're from Michigan, are you friends with any of the other Michigan recruits? Do they try to recruit you?
VALDEZ: I'm friends with Shawn Conway. We met through the 7 on 7's, and became cool through that. He doesn't really try to recruit me, he just tells me to pick the best school for me.
TOM: Describe yourself as an athlete to someone who has never watched film on you.
VALDEZ: I'm a leader on the field, a hard worker, explosive, fast, and I just make plays. I ran the 40 at the Florida camp, and I was timed at a 4.48, and a 4.5. I have a hamstring injury, too, so I know I can run faster than that.
I had just spoken with a sophomore recruit, and he told me the first day he would be able to receive an offer was September 1st of this year. I reported that. Tim tweeted me, and told me the rule had changed, and that Junior prospects can not be offered until August 1st, of their senior year.
So, I looked into it.
The proposal is here, on page 11: 2009-47-B
Question: Prior to August 1 of the prospective student-athlete's senior year in high school, may the institution verbally indicate that it will offer a prospective student-athlete athletically related financial aid?
This rule was adopted by the NCAA in May, as you can see here. It was adopted, with a 60-day override period (not 100% on what that means).
Another rule that was proposed, was 2009-45 on page 10. This rule would have allowed Juniors, who had completed their academic year, would be allowed to take official visits starting in June. The maximum number would have stayed at five. Unfortunately, this rule was defeated, as you can see here.
2009-45 – Recruiting – Official visit – First opportunity to visit – June immediately prior to senior year – Football. Status: Defeated.
I'm not sure how the rule that was adopted will help, since it seems like it will get more confusing for a recruit to keep track of "verbal" offers, than written ones. A verbal offer, from this standpoint, will be pretty much the exact same thing as an early written offer is now. I would have liked to see them defeat that proposal, and adopt the early official visit proposal. That to me would have made more sense.
I've written, and tweeted, quite a bit about QB Kevin Sousa, from Lake Nona High School in Florida. I figured that Michigan would eventually start recruiting him, because most of the quarterbacks Michigan had offered, weren't that interested in Michigan.
I received an email from Kevin today, and it said the following:
I called coach (Rod) Smith today, and they are going to recruit me. He is meeting with coach Rodriguez tomorrow as to a possible offer. He said that the guys they were recruiting are no longer interested in Michigan, and they have opened it up again as far as looking for a QB.
This probably gives you a clear picture on the status of Cordale Jones, and it has been known for awhile now that Marquise Williams isn't picking Michigan. Kevin keeps in constant contact with me, and has been hoping for a Michigan offer this whole time.
I had an update on Kevin, back in March about visits he was taking, and how his coach felt about Michigan. Kevin's coach said:
He's a perfect fit for a Michigan, West Virginia, or Oregon type offense....Kevin and I both think that Michigan is on the top of that list.
Here's the most recent film on Sousa, from Lake Nona's Spring Game in May:
Kevin had this to say about a potential commitment.
I wouldn't commit until I sat and visited with the coaches, and talked it over with coach Paradiso (Kevin's coach). As much as I am impressed with the tradition of Michigan, I still would like to talk face to face, and see the facilities first.
Michigan has a really good chance here, they're just a little behind on building a relationship with him. The coaches were supposed to come down to see him in the spring, and didn't make it. They did apologize for that, and Kevin told me he's excited to start building a relationship with coach Smith and Rodriguez.
Jack Miller is a versatile athlete out of St. John's Jesuit, in Toledo, Ohio, who just added a new offer to his list. Jack was in Ann Arbor two days ago, and received an offer from the Wolverines. This was an offer Miller was hoping for, and was very excited about it.
He's versatile, currently plaing on the defensive line for his team, but Michigan happens to be recruiting him for the offensive line. Here's a look at his film, and what he had to say about Michigan.
TOM: Who from Michigan have you mainly been in contact with?
JACK: Coach Tall recruits Toledo, so it's mainly been him.
TOM: How did this offer come about, and how many are you up to now?
JACK: I visited up there today (yesterday, June 14th), and they offered me. I have somewhere around 20 or 25, something like that.
TOM: With all those offers, where does Michigan rank in there?
JACK: They're pretty high up there, that's for sure. I'm still processing everything, but it's safe to say that Michigan and Boston College are my top two. I've taken a visit to Boston College already, too, so now I just have to figure out which school is the best place for me. I'm actually best friends with Ray Hamilton, too, so we've talked a little about it. We've been best friends since first grade. Our approach is to find the best place individually for us. If that turns out to be the same place, then that will be cool.
TOM: When do you think you'll know?
JACK: I have the offers I want, so it's time to decide. I'm really going to thin it out this week, and I'll hopefully have the decision made by the end of the week.
TOM: Where does Michigan see you fitting in?
JACK: They'r recruiting me for offensive guard, or center. I'm comfortable on the offensive side, and I really like the idea of playing offensive line for them.
TOM: Oh, wow. What is your height and weight right now, then? I think there's some varying numbers out there.
JACK: Yeah, I'm at 6-foot-4, and I weigh 270-pounds right now.
This is important for this weekend, so this post will probably replace the "Weekly Update" Monday post. I'll continue to add to this, since camp will be from the 19th-22nd. Here's some updates, as they come in.
- Maika Polamalu - Troy's cousin, will be at Michigan on Sunday. Maika is a 5'11, 190 lbs. safety from Pottsgrove, PA. ESPN has a video interview with him. Maika is also teammates with ATH Terrell Chestnut, who has a Michigan offer, and is interested, but can't make it this weekend.
- Trae Waynes - Safety prospect out of Kenosha, Wisconsin will be at Michigan. He's a little under the radar, but has a lot of speed for his size, at 6'0, 165 lbs.
- Antonio Poole - Antonio is a linebacker from Cincinnati, Ohio. He's been hoping for a Michigan offer for awhile, and was invited to this camp by the coaches. That's usually a good sign, so he plans on being there this weekend. It wasn't 100%, but it sounded like he was going to make it up.
- Tony Posada - Offensive lineman from Tampa, Florida. Tony has Michigan in his top group, and will be up Monday to Wednesday with one of his coaches. This was an interesting quote from him.
There's always the possibility that I could commit, but the trip would really have to blow my mind, in order for that to happen.
- Kris Frost - Linebacker out of Matthews, North Carolina. As I reported before, Kris is extremely excited to show his parents around Michigan. This should be a great trip for them, and Michigan.
- Ray Ball - Offensive lineman, from Westerville, Ohio. Ray was recently offered by Kentucky and UCLA. He will be on Saturday, but won't be working out. He just wants to come up, and take a look around campus.
- Ed Davis - Linebacker from Detroit. Ed, as everyone knows, was just offered by Michigan. He also received an offer from Akron, and he wasn't 100% positive on the others. He said his coach had told him CMU, and a few others came in since the Michigan offer. I would expect more to on their way. Ed also just got back from a trip to Iowa, and is expecting an offer from the Hawkeyes. His newly found fame has led him to hold off on his decision, until what he said would be probably at the end of the month.
- Terry Richardson - 2012 safety from Cass Tech might show up to hang out. If he does he's going to bring LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and LB James Ross. All three are very good friends, and very interested in Michigan.
- Kris Frost - Kris and his family made it in safely. They got a chance to walk around campus, and get to see everything they wanted to see. He left Michigan, and I believe is on his way home right now. (He's calling once he gets home, so I'll have a full update then).
- Jack Miller - Jack originally said that he'd like to make a decision by the end of this week. It looks like that might not happen. He's at Michigan right now, and told me:
I'm not sure about a commitment today; I'm visiting right now.
Sounds like a commitment probably won't happen, but my opinion is that there's a small chance he pulls the trigger tonight. This could be the final visit to get any other questions answered. If he doesn't do it tonight, I'd expect it to happen soon.
- James Farrow - James officially decommitted from Minnesota recently, so he's back in play. A lot of the people at the camp told him he was one of the standout DB's. He took on DeAnthony Arnett, and said he held his own. This is the third time he's gone against DeAnthony, they seem to be creating a little rivalry. I don't think he's on Michigan's radar yet. He's about to get an offer from Cincinnati, and possibly Va. Tech, though. Losing out on Dorsey could have the coaches look for another DB, and Farrow might be a candidate for that. We'll see.
- Jordan Diamond - 2012 OL from Chicago. He has had high interest in Michigan for awhile, and it still stays that way. He had hurt his ankle, so he didn't do anything at camp. He got a chance to talk to a bunch of coaches, including Michigan. They told him they already knew he was a good player, so they weren't worried about him not performing.
- Chris Bryant - 2011 OL, and Jordan's teammate, was at camp, and performed really well. Jordan told me that Chris has a really high interest in Michigan. If they offer, there's a good chance he'll commit. I spoke briefly with Chris, he's flying out to visit Stanford right now, so I should have more soon. I would assume his offer would be coming shortly.