The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
As everyone knows by now there are several Michigan commitments and targets at the Nike event, The Opening, in Oregon. You can watch some of the events tonight on ESPNU at 9pm. The first part of the week was spent with the prospects running combine drills to figure out their Sparq training score.
The Sparq score is determined by using an equation that combines the prospect's forty yard dash, shuttle, powerball* (measured in feet), and vertical leap. Here are a look at the scores for the Michigan commitments and targets, and you can also see the rest of the scores here. The finals video is here.
|DB Anthony Standifer||4.61||4.38||38||30.7||91.77|
|DB Terry Richardson||4.55||4.22||31||33.2||87.93|
|DE/LB Mario Ojemudia||5.02||4.44||35||30.1||79.29|
|OL Erik Magnuson||5.38||4.78||41||22||77.85|
|WR Dwayne Stanford||4.73||4.35||40||34.9||101.64|
|OL Kyle Murphy||5.31||4.52||42||28.3||96.21|
|DE Adolphus Washington||4.97||4.57||42.5||24.6||91.89|
|OL Josh Garnett||5.38||4.68||38||28||90.81|
|OL Adam Bisnowaty||5.31||5.34||44.5||25.6||79.89|
|OL Zach Banner||5.54||5.34||44.5||19.6||79.89|
|TE Ron Thompson||5.27||4.51||38||25.4||75.51|
Top Three Scores:
|DB Daje Johnson (TCU)||4.34||4.01||45||40.8||146.52*|
|RB Derrick Henry (2013)||4.54||4.29||42.5||39.2||134.19|
|RB Altee Tenpenny (2013)||4.49||3.92||41||35.1||133.77|
As you can see this testing isn't necessarily set up for the bigger prospects to score high. The forty times were, I believe, laser timed also. That's at least what people were tweeting that were at the event. Take from this what you will, just interesting to see how they all stack up if nothing else.
Derrick Henry is also a 6'4", 222 lb running back. He's in the 2013 class and took second in the preliminary ratings.
Ohio RB Bri'onte Dunn only had a 40 time recorded, it was a 4.77.
*The powerball is throwing a weighted ball from their knees as far as they can.
**I believe Daje' Johnson's score is a record
Unfortunately this part didn't quite make it into the Erik Magnuson article I wrote earlier. I got a hold of his offensive line coach a little late, so it didn't get in there. I at least wanted to share with you what he had to say about Magnuson. Since he works closely with him on a day to day basis I thought it was important.
All the guys I've had a chance to coach, Erik is by far the best overall lineman. Size wise, physicality, athleticism, and grit is a big part of it. I've coached little guys, big guys, and everyone has their own thing. By far he's the best I've coached. I was very fortunate to coach John and Dan Saleaumua, Danny played for the Chiefs in the NFL. Those guys were probably the closest to Erik. The Saleaumua brothers were brute force guys. Erik is a guy that can go in and compete, and once he gets out on the edge he's so athletic it allows us to do most things others can't.
On what Erik's strengths are and what he's working to improve:
Right now I think he is without a doubt the best pass blocking lineman. The guy can pass block anybody. Everyone always challenges him at the camps. The other day he came back and was scratched all over. His chest, his arms, everything except for his face because he knows how to keep his head back. He has great form and technique. He's going to get way better once he gets stronger. He trains like no one else. He could survive at Michigan right away. The one thing we work on here is just to get his frame extended a little more, getting his chest up a little more. His strength is pass block, he needs to work on his run block which will come with strength and learning [Darrell] Funk's system.
On the new Michigan coaches:
My wife surprised me for my 50th birthday and took me out to the Michigan Ohio State game in Ann Arbor. It was great, I know Erik is going to fall in love with that place. You guys are the luckiest team in the nation because of Coach Hoke. We knew him before he was at San Diego State. He was an assistant at Michigan. All our coaches loved the guy before he was at SDSU. When he went [to SDSU] whatever we could do for him we would do it, because he's that type of guy. Coach Funk, I was really fortunate to play for some great coaches. When I was in high school we had a guy named Dave Lay. Coach Funk played for Dave Lay, so we had something in common. The first time we met we imitated the way coach Lay spoke and were goofing around, so that was great. He's been coached by Coach Lay and I know how he coaches, so I know Erik is in good hands with Funk.
The Michigan coaching staff has made it apparent that they would like to recruit a running back prospect for the 2012 class. However with the number of offers extended and prospects committed, the opportunities are becoming slim. That may require the coaching staff to look for new prospects to extend offers to, and there just happens to be an uncommitted back waiting for an offer from the Wolverines.
Muskegon RB Juwan Lewis (5'11", 208 lbs) laid everything on the line recently at Michigan's camp and is now hoping that performance will earn him an offer. I caught up with both Juwan and his father, who also happens to be his coach. Here's a look at his film and then we'll start with Juwan.
TOM: Tell me first where you're at in your recruitment, and who you've all heard from so far.
JUWAN: My parents and I are taking our time with recruiting. My dad has been taking care of everything for me and it's been a great help. My feelings right now for every school is mutual, no school is above the other. I've been in contact with schools from the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Pac 10, Big East, Independent, and MAC schools. My parents have mainly been telling me to enjoy the process and take my time with my decision right now.
TOM: When you camped at Michigan what did the coaches say to you?
JUWAN: They've been impressed with my work ethic, and they were happy with my work outs at camp. They're very interested.
TOM: What offers do you currently have?
JUWAN: I have offers from Buffalo, Western Michigan, and Eastern Michigan.
Since Juwan's father handles most of his recruiting I also spoke with him about what's happening now and what could be coming up in the near future.
TOM: I know Juwan told me he's hearing from a lot of schools, does he have any favorites yet?
MR. LEWIS: He's getting letters and phone calls from all over. His options are open for now. Does he want to go to a Big Ten school? Probably. They're all starting to come around and talk to him. I coach so they can talk to me about him and he has a lot of letters, he has a tub full of letters from schools all over.
TOM: With Michigan specifically what do you think is next after his camp performance?
MR. LEWIS: He had a great experience down there. I've been working Michigan camps for the last 11 years. I'm injured right now so I couldn't this year. They worked him over though and he was one of the best at the camps. With them it's a waiting game. I like Michigan, I love Michigan, but I don't know if they feel like they have enough backs or not. My understanding is that Juwan could be on the backs that they would take. Until they offer him we have to keep options open. He's talked about Indiana, Northwestern is definitely a school that's right there. Iowa has contacted him. The only school that's fallen off with us is Ohio State.
TOM: Can you tell me about who he is off the field?
MR. LEWIS: He plays the drums in church, too. He's in the church band so I never have to wake him up to go to church. He does a lot of community stuff without people asking him. He's a well rounded kid that's humble. I try to make him see the other side of it. Little kids come up to him, and we're in a small town, and they look up to him. People talk about not just the football but what he does in the community, he's in honor society, and he's probably going to be around top twenty in his class. He was born in Ann Arbor, I brought him up from Ann Arbor and I took everything personal with him. I'm an educator and we focused on that with him, and I'm proud of where he's at.
TOM: Do you have any idea of when he'd like to have his decision made by?
MR. LEWIS: What I want to do is have him done by a couple weeks into the season. Have him getting an offer and just saying let's go with it. I don't want him to have to worry about anything and just have fun. That takes a lot of pressure off the kid. He only has two classes next year and he has a 3.8 GPA, so he'll graduate early. In January I want him to be in someone's system, learning their program. The academic side is why I like the Big Ten schools. It's up to him to finish his major, I know he wants to major in broadcasting. I preach with him because I know he can play football. I want him to embody the student athlete and be in the study hall as much as he is in the film room.
Michigan technically now has 18 commitments for the 2012 class, if you include S Jeremy Clark who accepted a greyshirt role. Outside of the commitments the coaching staff also secured Illinois WR Bo Dever (6'2", 195 lbs) as a preferred walk on. You know you're doing well on the recruiting trail when you have kids accepting greyshirts and walk on roles and you're not even half way through summer.
That's just how things are going, and it looks like things could wrap up sooner than later for the coaching staff. Here's a look at recent happenings and what could be in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH, or email me with any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'5", 290 lbs.
Garnett has been expressing strong interest in Michigan for some time now. He has stated that he would like to take an official visit, and recently included Michigan in his top list.
I cut my list to eleven. They're Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Auburn, Nebraska, Stanford, Oklahoma, and Cal. I thought it would be easier just to focus on a top eleven rather than all the schools involved.
As for summer visits, it doesn't look like any more unofficials will be in the cards for Garnett.
I don't know if I'm going to take any visits to any other schools. I know I'll take official visits. I've already seen Oregon, USC, UCLA, Washington, Cal, and Stanford. I feel good about Michigan, taking an official out there and seeing the Big House.
Ganett is one of the 150 elite athletes that will be attending "The Opening" in Oregon this week. The event will be televised on ESPNU and will include a good number of Michigan recruits and commitments.
There's going to be a lot of skilled players there. A lot of the guys I've made friendships with are going to be there. I talk to Erik Magnuson and we've talked about schools, where we see each other fitting. It definitely helps to get together with those guys and see who else is being recruiting and who else will be on their team. It makes you feel more comfortable with potential teammates.
Garnett has been very impressed with what Michigan brings to the table and is excited to learn more.
It's just the atmosphere around Michigan, the legacy, the fan support, and the great academics. It's a top notch academic program, and all the games are packed. You don't get that feel on the west coast or anywhere in the nation. Michigan is rolling out NFL linemen and they all have great NFL careers. I think I get a bad stigma being from Washington. You don't think nasty guys come from Washington, but I'm 6-foot-5, and 290-pounds right now. I'm very athletic and I know that's the kind of guys Michigan likes.
It will be interesting to see how offensive line recruiting plays out. Depending on what happens in the near future with other prospects Michigan could be out of spots depending on when Garnett would like to visit.
6'3", 275 lbs.
The five star defensive tackle has been making noise ever since he decommitted from Stanford. Rivals ranks him as the number three best defensive tackle overall in the country, and he told me he has list down to ten.
I don't think I'll be taking any other summer visits. I'm focused on my team more than recruiting right now. I have it narrowed to ten schools though with Arizona, Stanford, Auburn, Cal, Washington, USC, Michigan, UCLA, Florida, and Nebraska.
Shittu is another prospect that has maintained he would like to take an official visit to Michigan. He too will be at The Opening this weekend, and as mentioned will be with Michigan recruits and commitments.
I haven't figured out a specific date yet, but it could possibly be for the Notre Dame night game. I'll be at The Opening this week and I talk recruiting everywhere I go, but I'm mostly going there to have a good time. It's cool to hang out with the committed players to see if your personalities match up.
Defensive tackle is another position that will likely start to fill up soon. The coaching staff have told recruits that they will likely take one interior linemen, but I have to imagine that they will take two at the end of the day. Either way, Shittu says that doesn't bother him.
It's 50% that I'll sign on signing day and 50% that I'll do it at the Army game. Nothing sooner, and if their class fills up then it fills up. I'm making my decision on one of those dates.
The scenario could get interesting with Ondre Pipkins' visit coming up, and instate DT Danny O'Brien saying that he would like to take official visits. If Pipkins decides to make an early decision and the coaches decide to take two defensive tackles it looks like it could be down to Shittu and O'Brien for the last spot. A lot of ifs, but they're in a good place.
6'2", 199 lbs.
Westlake Village, California
I recently reported that Payton had decommitted from USC this past week. He had been feeling uncomfortable with his commitment for awhile, so this wasn't anything that was surprising. He has a lot of interest in Michigan and plans on taking an official visit if things go as planned.
My coach wants me to make a decision relatively soon, but no matter what I want to take an official out to Michigan. We can take official visits during our season as long as we don't miss any Oaks time, miss any class or anything with our teams.
There was recently a CBS Sports article published that quoted Payton as saying, "I'm going to tell you this, it's going to be interesting the next couple of weeks in recruiting…You're going to see a lot of changes. Just think Fab Five." Naturally people began to tie that to Michigan. He clarified what he meant there.
When I said that the reporter, he was just like oh so you're going to Michigan? I told him that I just meant I've been talking to some other recruits and trying to get a fab five group to go to the same school, not necessarily Michigan.
Interesting comments to say the least. The article did clarify what he meant as well, I just thought I'd get him in his own words. If you look at what he said though it sounds like his decision could come soon. We'll see.
Ohio S Jarrod Wilson is announcing his decision on Friday July 8th at 2:30pm EST. He's kept everything close to the vest, but it seems like it will be worthwhile to monitor the announcement.
DT Ondre Pipkins named his top six of Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Florida. He will be visiting Michigan at the end of July or beginning of August. That visit will be big for Michigan to get him on campus.
Offensive line recruiting is starting to get tight, as I mentioned above. I've said this before, but I don't expect Ohio OL Kyle Kalis to take too much longer with his decision. I have been in contact with him this entire time. His decision could likely have an effect on what other prospects decide to do and when they do it. We'll see what happens.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley will be making his decision relatively soon, sometime before the end of the summer.
The Michigan recruits and commitments to watch in The Opening this week are OL Adam Bisnowaty (who Michigan really likes), RB Bri'onte Dunn, OL Erik Magnuson, DT Danny O'Brien, DB Terry Richardson, LB James Ross, DT Aziz Shittu, DB Anthony Standifer, WR Dwayne Stanford, TE Ron Thompson, DE Adolphus Washington, OL Zach Banner, DE Mario Ojemudia, and OL Joshua Garnett. You can watch it on ESPNU on July 7th, 8th, and 9th, at 9pm EST.
The Big House BBQ is July 31st, I will confirm names for that as it gets closer. It looks like it was by invitation.
I just spoke with Cali WR Jordan Payton who has a Michigan offer. He has decommitted from USC and says that Michigan is in it for him. He doesn't have a list yet or plans to visit, but he said he will most likely take an official visit to Michigan.
On why he decommitted from USC:
I just need to explore all my options. With their 15 scholarships I felt like I was being unfair.
When California offensive lineman Erik Magnuson committed to Michigan the fans were excited, but were still unsure of just what or who they were getting with the talented prospect. A 6-foot-6, 275-pound four star offensive lineman with around 20 offers from the biggest programs in the country typically means you have a star on your hands. His position on the field and geographic location however made it hard for fans to get a read on whether Magnuson was worthy of the hype.
Magnuson's head coach Sean Sovacool believes that Michigan is getting the real deal with Erik. "He's one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the country," he said. "That's his big selling point is that he's a real athlete. At that size, a full 6-foot-6 and 280 plus pounds he can run with just about everybody on the team. It's ridiculous how athletic he is." While Magnuson is slated for the offensive line at the next level he often tries to play defensive end, tight end, and even wide receiver sometimes in practice.
Coach Sovacool mentioned Erik's playful and fun side, but was quick to reply with how dedicated he is on the field. "He's a jokester and has a lot of fun, but he's got an edge, he's not afraid of anyone," he said. "He works his butt off and has that midwest blue collar approach. Always competitive, almost overly enthusiastic sometimes, very energetic. He's a big time kid." Magnuson was one of the few prospects invited to both the Army and Under Armour All American games, and chose to play in the Army All American game in January.
Sovacool had spent six years coaching at Palomar Community College prior to manning the La Costa Canyon High program. His experience there saw numerous division one athletes come through, but he still believes Magnuson is one of the best he's seen. "There's a few names that come to mind when you think about Erik. Outside of those couple guys though he's kind of in his own category," his coach said. "He has camp film online doing some drills and it's like are you kidding me? The footwork at his size is great."
The attention that high school prospects get compared to JUCO prospects is somewhat different, but Erik has handled it all in stride from what his coach can tell. "I don't think he could have dealt with all this any better. He worked hard, did his due diligence and made the choice," said Sovacool. "He was very responsible returning phone calls and emails, and he did a great job handling all that attention." La Costa Canyon and their coaching staff were used to the attention, though, with former players like WR Kenny Stills at Oklahoma and DE Ian Seau at Kansas State.They had been there before and knew what to expect with Erik.
The coaches had also heard the sales pitch from college programs before, and believe that there was one school that stood out above the rest. "Coach Ferrigno did a hell of a job recruiting Erik. I think they did the best job out of everyone," he said. "I know Coach Hoke and he did a very good job recruiting him. He's a real personable guy and that's a quality you have to have because sometimes you're more of a politician than a ball coach." The comfortability with the coaching staff ended up being a huge selling point for Magnuson, and the fact that they were honest with him really seemed to hit home. "They were being real with him, and you can kind of see the guys that aren't," said his coach. "It was can I play tight end? No. Can I return kicks? No, you're here to play tackle. Not that he was asking that but they were just real about it. They told him you're going to be a part of something special and Erik found that refreshing."
It was refreshing enough for Magnuson to commit to the Michigan coaching staff in person while on a visit to Ann Arbor. The decision was right for Erik and he knew Michigan was the place for him, even if it was his coach's rival school. "I'm a buckeye fan, I have family back in Ohio and they gave me a hard time about it, but it's all in fun," he said. "I called and emailed Ohio State three times about Erik and didn't hear a single thing back from them. I know sometimes they think West coast kids can't play but they're about to find out on Saturdays," his coach said. Erik was also kind enough to bring a Michigan t-shirt back from his visit for his coach, just in case he wanted to change sides.