Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
LB Sean Duggan (St. Xavier/Cincinnati, OH) has an unofficial top 5-10 (11) schools that are sticking out to him. He told me he has a lot of great schools after him, so his list changes every day.
The two that seem to be sticking out the most, at this point, are Wisconsin and Boston College. He said, they're not really his official leaders, but they stick out right now. The rest of the list includes Michigan (top 5), Virginia, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Oregon, Minnesota, and Arizona, Louisville, and NC State are tied. (Yes, I realize that's 11).
His father and grandfather both went to Notre Dame, so the rumor goes that he too will have a golden dome. Sean said that Notre Dame hasn't offered, so he's not worrying about them, and that he doesn't want to be someones second option, either. He wants to go to a school that wants him as much as he wants them.
He seemed pretty genuine in that, and I have to take him for his word. If Brian Kelly swoops in on a silver horse, with an offer in hand, they might still ride off in to the sunset, but I can't tell. He made it pretty clear that the rumors about Notre Dame leading, even if they were to offer, needed to be squashed.
He's been in contact with Coach Dews and Singletary, and finds them both very easy to talk to. He and Coach Dews have a few things in common, which has made the conversation easier. Sean was also excited that Michigan has a strong need at the linebacker position. He won't be at Michigan's elite camp, because he already has an offer, but is very excited to visit campus soon. His list will continue to change as he takes more visits, but he was adamant that Michigan is near the top.
Ohio sophomore Myles Hilliard has already started to garner attention from college coaches. Recently hired head coach, Sean Williams, has been around the block, and says Hilliard is one of the best he's coached. "Myles is a walking warrior. He's already 6-foot-6, and 240-pounds. He wears an 18 1/2 size shoe; his parents haven't been able to buy him shoes at the store for the past two years," Williams said.
Hilliard has been playing both left tackle and defensive tackle for Bedford, but Coach Williams says he's best suited for the left tackle spot at the next level. "With his long arms, his quick feet, and the punch he has, he'll be best for the offensive side. He's versatile enough for both, but we're only going to play him in situations on defense. I don't want him to be a jack of al trades, and a master of none. If he can master that tackle spot, he'll be more valuable to a college program," said Williams.
When comparing Myles to other players, Williams gave a comparison to a former Bedford player, recently drafted to the NFL. "Rodger Saffold played at Bedford, and then Indiana, and I think Myles has a chance to be better than Rodger. Myles has longer arms, and he's a little bit faster than Rodger. I was shocked at how well he can move at his size."
Since I can't find any film on Myles, here's film of Rodger Saffold, for Indiana, going against Brandon Graham:
Some of the schools and coaches already showing interest in Hilliard have been Toledo, Wisconsin, and former Michigan player Tyrone Wheatley, from Syracuse. "When Coach Wheatley came down, he was in awe of what Myles could do. He was shocked," Williams told me. One of the teams that sticks out to Myles at this point, happens to be Michigan.
Coach Williams actually at one point said Myles reminds him, up to this point, of former Wolverine Pierre Woods. "He is actually hoping that Pierre will be at one of the camps he's going to. He really wants to meet him," said Williams. "Myles loves Rich Rodriguez, and loves the style of offense they play, even back to West Virginia. Michigan is a school that he talks about a lot. At the National Underclassmen Combine, Myles was talking to some of the high school coaches that were from Michigan about the University of Michigan."
Hilliard will be in Toledo on June 5th, to attend their big man camp, and both he and Coach Williams will try to get up to Michigan's summer camp, as well.
Extra - Here's a video of Myles talking to a local station about a concussion he suffered recently.
Impeccable timing by Mark Dantonio, who just offered PA LB Branden Jackson. If you somehow missed the front page, and I don't know how you did, but here's my interview with Branden. Branden told me he had been hearing a lot from MSU, so this isn't out of the blue.
He's also been hearing from Louisville and Texas Tech quite a bit, so I would expect offers coming from them soon.
[Editor's note: Tom's put out a torrent of content about this weekend's BBQ at the Big House. Other items in you may be interested in:
- MD DT Darian Cooper didn't name any leaders following the trip but did say Michigan helped themselves: "They weren't trying to hype anything, and I really liked that. We just got to sit back and talk about life and not all football, which was great."
- FL RB Demetrius Hart did not make it in due to the expense of two trips to Michigan back-to-back. "Nothing has changed" as far as the Harts' opinion of M.
- Michigan has offered three additional kids in Ohio: DE Austin Traylor, TE Nick Vannett, and C Ryan Kelly. Traylor says he will visit; the interest levels of the other guys is unknown. Vannett is reputed an OSU lock.
Now on with this particular show.]
One of the prospects in attendance at this past weekend's BBQ was McKeesport linebacker Branden Jackson. Branden is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound middle linebacker for his team who runs a 4.5-4.6 forty. Here's what he had to say about the trip, and his versatility.
TOM: What did you know about Michigan before this trip? Why did you have interest?
BRANDEN: I just knew that Michigan was always good. They have a good track record, a huge alumni base, and they have those nice helmets. I liked some of the players growing up, and I also knew they had the biggest stadium, but that was about it.
TOM: So what were you expecting out of this kind of visit?
BRANDEN: I was really just expecting to get a feel for the school, the players, and the environment. I wanted to see if I could fit in, and I got exactly that. Exactly what I thought I would.
TOM: What about the environment, or atmosphere, stood out to you?
BRANDEN: The campus was really nice. I knew it would be, but it was really nice. Once I got around some of the players, too, I knew I wouldn't be left out. Everyone was just real nice, and made you feel comfortable. They weren't hyping anything, they were just being real about what they go through. I hung out with Tate Forcier, and Roy Roundtree a little bit. Roy's hilarious, he was cracking jokes the whole time. I talked a little with Stephen Hopkins, too. It was good to hear from someone that just committed, and just got up there.
TOM: Did you get to have as much fun with any of the coaches?
BRANDEN: Yeah, coach Gib [Gibson]. Since I met him, he's been real cool. He's always been down to earth with me, and he's in to modern things, too. He's not too old school, and I like that. I actually talked to the defensive coordinator, too. He was a little older, so I didn't know how much we'd have in common, but he was real cool, too. I was surprised, he knew a lot about some modern things.
TOM: What was the conversation like between the coaches?
BRANDEN: We were just talking about the things I'd get out of Michigan. The education, how big the alumni base is, and how that can help with jobs. We talked about the defense, and if I came there, I would play outside linebacker. They like quick, aggressive, and athletic linebackers. We also talked about how the head coach wants to offer kids that will add to the family atmosphere, and help create a bigger family, which was cool.
TOM: Does the outside linebacker spot fit you? Are you comfortable with that?
BRANDEN: I'm 6-foot-5, and 220-pounds, but if you look at me, I don't look like I weigh that much. I have really good speed, and I feel like I'm smaller for the middle spot, so the outside is probably better for me. I actually used to play safety, but we were short on linebackers, so I had to play in the middle. I'm aggressive, though. I like to come off the edge, even though I'm in the middle, I cover tight ends all the time in our defense. I'm pretty versatile; I could really be anywhere on the field. The last time I ran the forty was around a year ago, and it was a 4.5 something.
TOM: I know you wanted your teammate, Delvon Simmons, to come with you, too. He didn't make it?
BRANDEN: No, he couldn't make it, but I'm going to tell him everything about it. He'll definitely want to come back up with me in the summer. We talk about going to the same school all the time. I say if it happens, it happens, but he says it's definitely going to happen. I don't really know yet. It's too early for me to narrow things down, until I take more visits. Michigan is definitely up there, but there's no list, yet.
Maryland DT Darian Cooper is on his way home from the Big House BBQ, after he enjoying his visit. "Everything went really well," he said. "We got to see the new renovations and the field and everything. We also had a quick tour of the academic facilities, and the food was really good. I really liked the BBQ chicken, so that was nice."
Cooper and his mother got in Friday night, but got in late, so they didn't really get to take anything in until today [Saturday]. It was important for both Darian and his mother to build relationships on this visit, and he said that was accomplished. "My mom and I both sat down with coach Singletary, Dews, and coach Rodriguez. I like them to meet my mom, so I can get her opinion on everything, too. She liked everything, and even exchanged numbers with some of the other recruits parents. All the recruits kind of introduced themselves, too, so I got to know them a little bit."
His mother has now seen Michigan, Penn State, and Maryland with Darian, and they plan on trying to make as many visits as they can. "I'm going to try to get out to Michigan State, Clemson, and NC State, too. I'd really like to visit everyone that has offered me, because I feel like I owe them that respect, since they offered me," he said. Cooper doesn't have a leader after this event, and probably won't until he gets to see all the schools he wants.
Although he's not ready to name a leader yet, Michigan definitely did themselves a favor with this event. "I liked it a lot," Darian said. "It was real informal and laid back. They weren't trying to hype anything, and I really liked that. We just got to sit back and talk about life and not all football, which was great."
Michigan passed out three new offers recently, and they were all from the state of Ohio. The two featured in the previous link are ATH Austin Traylor, and Nick Vannett. First up, Traylor.
Defensive End, Tight End
6'4, 215 lbs.
Traylor has been rising up a lot of lists lately, and now holds offers from Michigan, Arizona, Boston College, Cincinnati, Kansas, MSU, West Virginia, and Wisconsin among others. Considered an athlete, Michigan is recruiting him for defensive end/outside linebacker.
I haven't narrowed down my list yet, but I'm definitely interested in Michigan. I plan on trying to make it up there this summer. - Austin Traylor
Being from Columbus scares me, so we'll have to see how this pans out. His highlight tape is pretty impressive, or else I guess it wouldn't be a highlight tape.
6'6, 230 lbs.
Vannett has over 30 offers, so just trust me that his list is impressive. He's a junior tight end that's 6-feet-6 inches, and 230-pounds, so it seems pretty natural that he has so much interest. The fact that he's that big, and boasts a 4.8 forty time is pretty impressive.
There have been rumblings that he already committed to Ohio State, which he denies. Sometimes where there's smoke, there's fire, so I wouldn't get too excited about this one. His highlight tape is here.
6'5, 270 lbs.
West Chester, Ohio
Kelly is a national recruit, and has a really nice offer list, headlined by Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, and Michigan among others.
Kelly's offer from Michigan just came in recently, as you can see by the tweet below.
Michigan has offered Lakota West junior OL Ryan Kelly
Kelly also recently accepted an offer to play in the Under Armour All American game. If I might add, the UA game has gotten a lot of really good athletes to accept an offer to the game this year. They're creeping up on the Army game as far as talent goes, especially this year. I can't figure out if this is an early roster list, or not. If it's not, a lot of those names have committed to play in the game, as well. Anyway, Kelly's highlight video is right here.