this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Though they had been long-considered near-locks to join Michigan's 2010 recruiting class, that is no longer the case for FL CB Tony Grimes and DE Clarence Murphy. Murphy committed to Maryland last week, and since then, Grimes has not sounded so positive on the Wolverines. Mgoblog's own TomVH talked to Grimes and says:
With Murphy choosing Maryland, everyone is kind of seeing the writing on the wall. I'm not sure what happened to change Grimes mind, but it seems like it is changing.
He's playing everything close to the vest right now, so he's not telling a lot. Like I said, I don't think it's good news, though.
Murphy talked to The Baltimore Sun about his commitment, and what his teammate is thinking:
“Me and my friend, Tony Grimes, were planning on going to school together,” Murphy said. “I think he stopped favoring Michigan a little bit. He went up there and got into some cold weather a little bit. … [So] he’s still weighing things out a little bit.
The Wolverines are still in a small group for Grimes, though Ole Miss is probably his new leader. To add insult to injury, Tony was just selected to participate in the USA v. the World All-Star Game. Jay Hopson's departure may have played a role here.
In other recruiting attrition, 2009/2010 FL CB Adrian Witty sounds like he will not be making it to Ann Arbor. Though some fans speculated that Michigan offered him only to help land Denard Robinson last year, the coaches seemed to really like Witty, and losing him is a hit. With Michigan's extensive DB recruiting in the class of 2010, hopefully the damage is limited.
The final piece that appears to be dropping out of Michigan's 2010 class is TX RB Tony Drake. The source is admittedly second-hand, but Michigan commits talk to the coaches about recruiting a hell of a lot more than you or I do. At this point its tough to consider Drake committed.
All of this changes the numbers for the class, taking it down to 23 commits (removing Grimes and Witty), with the potential to get up around 27 or 28. With Grimes and Murphy no longer penciled in, the Wolverines can find about 4 more prospects. Hopefully, Calvin Magee;s candidacy at USF won't affect any of Michigan's other commits.
The Other Side of the Fence
It's coaching change season around the country, which means that other schools' recruiting classes may be ripe for poaching. We first turn our attention to sunny Los Angeles, where Pete Carroll and a number of his assistant coaches are heading north to the NFL. One of the crown jewels of the Trojans' class, CA RB Dillon Baxter, will open his recruitment, and Michigan was the only other school to which he has already taken an official visit.
If the Michigan coaches can convince him to go Blue ("Baxter said Friday that Florida and Michigan had reached out"), it would be a huge recruiting coup, and a more than adequate replacement for Drake. MGoBlog's TomVH has talked to Baxter, who indicated he nearly switched his commitment to Michigan following his official visit. Carroll's departure is probably a positive for Michigan's recruitment of CA S Sean Parker as well.
The fact that it's uber-recruiter Lane Kiffin taking over may bolster the Trojans' recruiting. Despite showing no ability to be a head coach, Kiffin is a proven winner in February.
To the best of my knowledge Michigan wasn't really a serious player for any of Tennessee's current commits other than GA LB Mike Taylor. He will decommit from Tennessee, though it's assumed he will commit to Florida, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that is a "false statement." It would still be an upset for him to land anywhere other than Gainesville.
One other player may be affected by the Kiffin departure: FL OL Torrian Wilson. Wilson visited Michigan in the summer and maintained the Wolverines as his leader before a surprise Stanford commit. He decommitted in search of a school closer to home and announced a top three of South Florida, Tennessee, and Michigan. Michigan is the farthest from Miami but is currently the only school of those three with, you know, a head coach. That would seemingly bode well, but watch out for Louisville. Charlie Strong has been hitting Miami Northwest hard and already has two of Wilson's teammates committed. Wilson's next list will be interesting.
Also in coaching change news, Michigan State RB coach Dan Enos is heading north to become the head coach at Central Michigan. Since the Spartans have a heavy in-state bent on their recruiting class, there may be a chance Michigan can step in for a couple guys, no? The following recruits have Enos listed as their primary recruiter on Rivals:
- MI QB Joe Boisture
- MI DE Taylor Calero
- MI LB/DE William Gholston
- MI CB Mylan Hicks
- MI RB Nick Hill
- MI RB Jeremy Langford
- MI WR/Ath Tony Lippett
Of those prospects, only Gholston and Hicks likely interest Michigan, and Gholston ain't happening for. Hicks was also recruited by Harlon Barnett, State's secondary coach, so I doubt he is likely to wriggle loose. It appears as though MSU's recruiting class is safe (unless Gholston, as rumored, has legitimate interest in Alabama). For the future, however, recruiting Detroit may suffer slightly for the Spartans, as Enos was their main man in Detroit. That's good news for the Wolverines.
In non-coaching change poaching, GA QB/Ath Blake Sims has decommitted from Alabama after being unclear where he figured into the Tide's future plans. He's considering a small group of other schools including Michigan and West Virginia, though Tennessee and Georgia probably lead.
“I am not sure if I would have played receiver or where at Alabama, but I am just looking for a place I know they spread the ball out and where I will be used the best,” Sims said.
It's important to him to have a chance on offense rather than in the secondary, and if the coaching staff can give him a shot at QB, he may end up in blue.
With Grimes seemingly out of the picture, Michigan will probably turn up the heat on FL S/CB Rashad Knight. TomVH thinks Michigan no longer leads, but he is officially visiting this weekend, giving the Wolverines a chance to close the gap, and possibly even seal Knight for the Maize-and-Blue.
As mentioned last week, OH DT Jibreel Black is expected to take a January visit to Ann Arbor. I believe Michigan's only other big recruiting weekend will be January 30th, the weekend before Signing Day.
SC WR Hakeem Flowers "Will Look to Get Away," and also holds a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He should be among the top wideouts nationally.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell gave GoBlueWolverine an interview during the US Army Combine, and considering the headline says "his thoughts on committing to U-M," it sounds like there's not only a good chance he'll become a Wolverine, but also do it soon ($, info in header). I've upgraded him to a Blue Smiley on the recruiting board.
The high school season is long over, but there are post-season honors to cover, and a number of Michigan commits took part in All-American games over the past few weeks. Here's a roundup of those performances in what is likely to be the second-to-last FNL for the 2010 recruiting class (after Signing Day, I'll recap the seasons of everyone who commits after today).
MI QB Devin Gardner
Gardner was part of the winning Black Team in the Under Armour All-American Bowl, completing 2-of-4 passes for 15 yards and a score, while rushing 4 times for 14 yards. The Black Team won 32-7.
Gardner drew similar praise from Black team coach Sam Wyche, a former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Devin is going to be a big-time player at Michigan," Wyche said. "He and (Alabama commitment) Phillip Sims are guys to me that are going to come quickly to the scene. Devin has a great smile. He is going to sell a lot of product for somebody. He's got a great personality. He's smart -- you can change directions with him and it doesn't bother him at all. He is ready to go."
Game highlights, courtesy of Under Armour:
Gardner's TD toss takes place at the 2:00 mark. As mentioned elsewhere on the blog, Gardner did not enroll early in Ann Arbor.
SC QB Conelius Jones
MI RB Austin White
Named Honorable Mention All-State at RB.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
FL DT Richard Ash
Ash participated in the Outback Bowl All-Star game. No word on how he did.
OH DT Terry Talbott
3rd-Team All-State at defensive tackle.
LA S Carvin Johnson
PA CB Cullen Christian
Local pregame fluff. Christian participated in the Army All-American Bowl over the weekend, playing corner. His East team fell to the West, 30-13. Christian was thrown at 4 times, with only one pass completed - a 39-yarder to USC commit Robert Woods. Postgame fluff. Cullen has been selected to the Big 33 Game.
WI P Will Hagerup
"My brother has been in some big stadiums before and he was saying after that first kick you'll be a lot more calm," Hagerup said. "The first kick I was real nervous and it definitely could have been better. I was definitely more relaxed for the second two."
Boards of note:
Lots of changes on the defensive tackle recruiting front in the past couple days.
First things first, MI DT Johnathon Hankins picked Ohio State yesterday over the Wolverines. Allow me to editorialize for a moment here: This blog has a tag called "basketball recruiting is dirty like dirt in a dirt sandwich," but if half of the rumors about the Southeastern coaching staff's handling of Hankins's recruitment are true, we may need to expand that tag to football as well. Genuinely Sarcastic provides some angry detail.
FL DT Todd Chandler seems to be looking primarily at Louisville as an option outside of USF (where he is committed). Michigan might become a stronger option if his teammate, FL OL Torrian Wilson, visits Ann Arbor, but this one appears to be on the back-burner for now. Chandler's top schools have gone from the likes of Miami, Michigan, and Florida to Memphis, Louisville, and FIU, so he may have some issues—grades?—that are causing bigger schools to back off.
Wilson, by the way, is down to USF, Michigan, and Tennessee. Michigan could really use another offensive lineman in the class.
Cincinnati high school sports reporter Mike Dyer reports that Michigan visited OH DT/DE Jibreel Black both in-home and in-school on Monday. Black, who has been committed to Cincinnati, but is reconsidering after the Brian Kelly departure, will also visit Michigan sometime this month, probably the weekend of the 22nd. According to Dyer's full article, the Wolverines have replaced Louisville on his list.
Michigan has a couple defensive ends and a couple three-tech defensive tackles so all they need is a nose; if they pick up Black it's because they really like him.
More on his actual game performance in a delayed Friday Night Lights post next week, but MI QB Devin Gardner participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Saturday. He impressed in practice:
"(Devin Gardner) really impressed me a lot," [Scout Florida expert Geoff] Vogt added. "He was bigger than I expected him to be. His arm was everything that people made it out to be. He was accurate... He clearly, in my opinion, is the top quarterback on that team... He'd be the No. 1 quarterback in Florida straight out this year and that's really saying something. I think he has a really bright future at Michigan."
Of course, being the clear #1 QB on the team got him by far the fewest snaps out of the 3 QBs, with Nick Montana and Phillip Sims getting more (the order was determined randomly, FWIW). That Webb article also says that Michigan is pursuing Tennessee commit LB Michael Taylor. I've added him to the board. Taylor remains a soft commit to the Vols.
FL CB Tony Grimes participated in last weekend's Offense-Defense Bowl, and MGoReader J. Lichty reports that opposing offenses mostly stayed away from him. He played both corner and safety. MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Grimes last week, and he reiterated what we've been hearing for some time on both Grimes and his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy:
TOM: Are you and Clarence still planning on going to the same school?
TONY: As far as this point, yes that's the plan.
TOM: Is Michigan still on top for you?
The two still both favor Michigan, and plan to announce on Signing Day. Tony also said that he didn't know there was a dead period between college coaches and recruits, and was wondering why Michigan wasn't contacting him as much. Sounds like other schools haven't quite been following the rules. THE NCAA WILL BE ALL OVER THIS!
This upcoming weekend is a little more notable for Michigan fans: Commits WI P Will Hagerup and PA CB Cullen Christian will play in the US Army All-American Bowl, and CA S Sean Parker who is down to Michigan, Cal, and USC, will also participate.
The semester started today, so we should finally have a good idea of which 2010 Michigan commits were able to get in for the winter semester and spring practice.
MI QB Devin Gardner is still trying to enroll early, but Inkster's semester ends really late and there are some issues with getting him accelerated. Michigan should know by the end of the week whether he will or not. Stephen Hopkins, Jerald Robinson, Ricardo Miller, Christian Pace, Jeremy Jackson, and Austin White are all enrolling, though as of Wednesday morning Robinson and Miller did not have UMich directory entries. Marvin Robinson is also making an effort to enroll early:
Robinson, who took 3 classes over the summer in an attempt to graduate in December, said the holdup stems with 2 classes he took last semester.
"Most likely things are going to work out where I can go up there tomorrow," Robinson said.
Even if things don't, Robinson said he's firm in his commitment and will sign with Michigan in February.
I don't recall if the Athletic Department announced early-enrolling prospects last year until after Signing Day, but hopefully we'll have the final data by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, FL CB Adrian Witty was also supposed to be a midseason enroller after not qualifying for fall but is not in the Michigan directory. It's looking grimmer for Witty by the day; from the sounds of it he is qualified in the eyes of the NCAA; Michigan's admissions are the holdup. The most likely issue is a radically improved test score that got flagged.
Persistent rumors that TX RB/WR Tony Drake is so far from qualifying that he shouldn't even be considered part of the class any more get stronger by the day.
Maxpreps published its Junior All-American teams, with few prospect of interest for Michigan fans, outside of a couple pipe dreams. SoFlaFootball has also published its first 2011 top 75.
FL RB Demetrius Hart may not be the Michigan lock that we thought:
The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder has had the Wolverines out in front for some time and continues to do so, though he jokingly said that cold temperatures in the Orlando area recently may have him thinking a little.
So, yeah: That's not as negative as the headline "Florida Prospect Considers Local Programs" would make it seem. It would still be an upset for him to not land in Ann Arbor.
Michigan has offered a trio of prospects from Gardena Serra High School in California. WR George Farmer appears to be the headliner, holding offers from a who's-who of bigtime schools, including Florida and Oklahoma. DE Jason Gibson and S Marquise Lee have also received Michigan offers, along with scholarships from the likes of Miami (Yes That Miami), Oregon, and Washington.
Michigan commits Tony Drake and Austin White come in at #8 and #10, respectively on Sports Illustrated's top running backs of 2010.
Starts at 11 on ESPN. Devin Gardner is Michigan's only commit in the game, but prospects Todd Chandler and Torrian Wilson will play as well. Blog gets crackin' about 15 minutes early.
All-time updates can be found on the 2010 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
The Final Few
"These are the three schools that he likes the most and has a good relationship with. And he has enjoyed being there," said Byron Moore, Narbonne's unofficial recruiting coordinator and a close family friend.
He will announce his commitment on Signing Day.
Michigan has gotten in touch with OH DT Jibreel Black ($, info in header). Black is reconsidering his Cincinnati commitment after the Bearcats lost coach Brian Kelly to Notre Dame. He's more of a 3-tech DT, however, and Michigan already has two of those on board. He does have four visits set up ($, info in header), and considering the article was written by a reporter for TheWolverine, I imagine one of those is to Ann Arbor.
FL DT Todd Chandler decommitted from Miami because he hadn't heard from the Canes, and turned around to commit to South Florida. He's still open, though, and considering Michigan's recruitment of his teammate, FL OL Torrian Wilson, and the need for a nose tackle in this class, he's definitely an option for the Wolverines, especially considering the mystery Miami DT who will visit Ann Arbor ($, info in header) in January.
Michigan is "still on top" for FL DE Clarence Murphy. He and teammate FL CB Tony Grimes will announce around Signing Day, likely for the Wolverines. Don't consider them mortal locks, however, as Grimes will take at least one other visit ($, info in header).
Under Armour Weekend
The High School All-Star Bonanza kicks off this week, as the ESPNU/Under Armour game goes down in Central Florida. The game can be seen on ESPN at 11AM on Saturday.
Devin Gardner (#7 for the Black squad) is the only Michigan commit in the game, but there are a couple other guys that Michigan is still recruiting, or was until recently:
FL OL Torrian Wilson #76 White
FL WR Kenny Shaw #84 White (He'll commit at the game, but probably not to Michigan)
FL DT Todd Chandler #95 White
The Offense-Defense Bowl also goes down this weekend, and FL CB Tony Grimes, who heavily favors Michigan, will suit up for the East Team. The game kicks off at 5PM on Saturday, and can be seen on Fox College Sports.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board can be found here. A couple new offers come to us FROM THE FUTURE:
SC QB Everett Golson holds a Michigan offer. He was also named the 1st-Team All-State quarterback in South Carolina, and was one of only 4 juniors to make the team.
PA WR Dondi Kirby has been offered by MIchigan ($, info in header), as well as Maryland. I've added him to the recruiting board as an offered prospect.
OH LB Trey DePriest, a personal MGoFavorite for the class of 2011, comes in for some fluff from JJHuddle:
“It was a good game,” DePriest said. “There were a lot of mistakes, but it was real live up there. Michigan is a good school. They need to get out of the hole they are in. They want me to come up and play early.”
Yes, there is plenty of playing time available for linebackers, believe it or not.
The Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo talks to Jeremy Crabtree of Rivals, who says Michigan has a solid class, despite the lack of 5-star talent. OH LB Jewone Snow has committed to West Virginia. He'd been trying to wait on a Michigan offer, but one never came through. He's a teammate of 2011 DE Steve Miller, who is committed to Ohio State.
Josh Furman and Richard Ash Go Blue
The audio is poor, but there is commitment video for MD LB Commit Josh Furman:
FL DT Richard Ash actually preceded Furman in commitment. He was snagged from West Virginia, since Rodriguez thought he needed more ways to make the citizens of his home state hate him.
For (much) more on Ash, check out Hello: Richard Ash.
The Wolverines are done on every offensive position except maybe offensive line, unless they can convince an elite recruit to commit (for example FL WR Kenny Shaw, who has Michigan in his final group of 4). In that case, they'd probably dive into the sketchy world of pulling scholarship offers. At this time, it doesn't appear that would happen, unless a couple guys don't look like they'll qualify.
So who's still available on the offensive line? FL OL Torrian Wilson held Michigan as a heavy favorite early in his recruitment, then abruptly committed to Stanford. Now, he's decommitted from the Cardinal and has a top 3 of Michigan, Tennessee, and USF. I would imagine he'll visit in January if he's serious about the Wolverines.
In other news on offense, MI QB Commit Devin Gardner may be able to enroll early at Michigan, after all ($, info in header). That would allow him to compete in spring and be more ready to play this fall, potentially avoiding a redshirt. There's still a lot that can be said about potential redshirts, the personnel at the QB position, etc., but we'll wait to see whether Gardner enrolls early and, if so, what happens in the spring between him, Tate, and Denard before we speculate on who is and isn't switching positions or taking a redshirt year.
Assuming the commitments of FL CB Tony Grimes and FL DE Clarence Murphy, and the strong possibility of a commitment from CA S Sean Parker, Michigan has to be very judicious with their scholarships, with only 1 or 2 to give out. The most likely candidates for those last couple spots would be a true nose tackle (OH DT Commit Terry Talbott and FL DT Commit Richard Ash are more 3-tech types), maybe a true pass-rusher at DE, an inside linebacker, or maybe even another defensive back.
GA DT Michael Thornton is still considering Michigan, and he's going on most of his official visits in January, with one of them possibly to Ann Arbor. Michigan is still behind for him, and would have to catch up to land Thornton.
TX LB/DE Holmes Onwukaife was at one time committed-ish to Michigan, before the Wolverines let him know they wanted him for a position that he didn't want to play. A fast-rising rumor last week said that he was reconsidering his Florida State commitment and would look at Michigan, but MGoBlog's own Tom Van Haaren reports that ain't true. Onwukaife will stick to his FSU commitment.
FL LB Darrin Kitchens will visit Michigan in January. The Wolverines are joined by the Florida Gators in his recent offer, so he's a prospect on the rise. He plans to commit to a school before making any visits, so unless the coaching staff really likes him, he probably won't ever come up to Ann Arbor.
- FL RB Corvin Lamb, a longshot to land at Michigan at this point anyway, has committed to Louisville.
- PA DT Sharrif Floyd can finally be completely removed from the board, as he's narrowed his choices to a group of 5 that doesn't include Michigan.
- MN DT Beau Allen has committed to Wisconsin. He is a 3-technique interior lineman, so Michigan didn't have a strong need for him anymore.
- MS DE Wayne Dorsey, a JuCo who Michigan was only kinda-sorta involed with, signed with Ole Miss.
- CA WR Kenny Stills and CA LB Tony Jefferson, picked Oklahoma, as expected.
- FL CB Travis Williams, who tried to commit to Michigan in the summer but was turned away, has committed to MIami (Not That Miami).
- CA S Dietrich Riley will not consider Michigan among his finalists.
- AZ S Marquis Flowers does not have Michigan in his final group.
- Cullen Christian's teammate and pal PA S Brandon Ifill committed to Pitt.
The Hopson Ripples
Michigan linebacker coach Jay Hopson will move on to Memphis, where he'll be the defensive coordinator. According to Rivals, he was the primary recruiter for the Talbott brothers and TX RB Tony Drake. It doesn't seem like those commitments are in jeopardy, since DT Terry Talbott solidified his Michigan commitment after visiting for the Ohio State game.
As far as Drake goes, there have been no rumblings of a decommitment, but there has been a bit of talk that he still hasn't qualified through the NCAA Clearinghouse. At this point, he's more of a risk to end up not playing college football at all in 2010 than at a different school.
Torrian Wilson (mentioned above) was receiving in-home visits from Hopson, so it's unclear whether the departure will affect Michigan's chances of landing the lineman. Tony Grimes and Clarence Murphy also had Hopson as their primary recruiter, so it's unclear if their commitments are still a mere formality. I'll have to do more digging to see which other uncommitted 2010 prospects Hopson was recruiting.
On to the Next One
With the 2010 class all but wrapped up, let's shift focus to 2011.
MI RB Justice Hayes likes Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern, according to Sam Webb in the Detroit Free Press. He enjoyed Michigan's camp last summer:
"I stayed (at the Michigan camp) for three days," he said. "They told me to stay for one day, but I wanted to see what their dorms were like. It was very nice. Throughout those three days I was able to bond with Coach Rodriguez, Coach Jackson, and all the coaches. They were tough on me. Even though it was a camp, they were still tough on me like I was one of their players (laughing). I liked that. It was a fun experience."
But sees that Michigan State has so many disciplinary issues that he'd be able to climb the depth chart quickly (seriously!):
"Michigan State has been losing players like flies in the discipline areas, so that's opening spots on the depth chart," said Hayes.
RENEGADE PROGRAM, BRAH! Hayes prefers to play in a pro-style offense, because it would get him the ball more. He's apparently unaware that not all spreads are the same, and MIchigan's goal is to run it as much as possible.
ESPN's Gerry Hamilton reports that OH LB Trey DePriest will be a big target, not only for Michigan and Ohio State, but perhaps across the entire country:
On the recruiting front, Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have stepped up with offers. This past season, he made unofficial visits to Cincinnati, Ohio State and Michigan.
DePriest was impressed with the crowd at Michigan Stadium for the Ohio State-Michigan game.
"It was live up there," he said.
He also says that he wants to go somewhere that he can play early. With Michigan's depth chart at linebacker, he could probably freakin' start as a true freshman.
The same article confirms that Michigan will indeed pursue TX S Sheroid Evans (pictured at right). Evans should be a top player in the state of Texas, but he hails from the same school as current Wolverines Brandon Herron, Troy Woolfolk, and Darryl Stonum, giving Michigan a connection. He is a blazer who is still developing position-specific skills, but would be a hell of a grab for the Wolverines.
Another safety Michigan is going after is OH S Ron Tanner, but things don't sound promising from the start:
"Growing up I was a big-time fan of the Bucks, but after experiencing the (Michigan-Western Michigan) game, I really like Michigan," Tanner said during the fall. "I like how you can see everything when you're on the field. At the Horseshoe, the fans are sitting up real high. In the Big House it was like the fans may be a little closer. It doesn't seem like people all the way up into the sky."
Michigan is chasing the Buckeyes for Tanner, but they have a chance to catch up before Ohio State offers.