...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Every so often it's nice to take a step back and look at the recruiting picture from more distance than "recruit X visits school Y. Here's a look at needs, commits, and remaining prospects at each position. Rodriguez has said he expects to sign a full class of 25. There are currently 19 commits and 22 spots available.
Conventional recruiting updates will return next week.
Current Commits: 2
MI QB Devin Gardner and SC QB Conelius Jones are waiting in the wings to become Michigan's next signal-caller. Gardner has talked about preparing to enroll early, but still isn't certain if he plans to do so. Jones could potentially move to another position if the Wolverines find another QB that they like in the class of 2010 or to make the depth chart more appealing for prospect in future classes. LA QB Munchie LeGeaux is still considering Michigan if there's need for another QB, but Michigan is basically done here.
Tentative Grade: A. Gardner is the top QB recruit in the country to Rivals and Jones is a good developmental prospect.
Current Commits: 2
TX RB Stephen Hopkins is the team's big back in the class of 2010. MI RB Austin White is more of a versatile all-purpose back. There has been some talk that Hopkins may find his future on the defensive side of the ball, as a linebacker. He plays the position in high school, and the Wolverines definitely have more need there than they do at running back. FL RB Eduardo Clements is still considering Michigan, although it seems he's decided on a non-Michigan school.
Tentative Grade: B. White and Hopkins were early offers and thus guys the staff wanted from the start; they're both hovering around the 3/4-star borderline. You'd like to see Michigan reel in a blue-chip at some point but they look pretty set for the next few years.
Current Commits: 2
LA Slot Drew Dileo will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Wes Welker over the course of his career as Designated White Slot Guy. TX RB Tony Drake is a combo RB/Slot. Michigan is already pretty full at this spot, since Martavious Odoms and Kelvin Grady are just sophomores, while Terrence Robinson and Jeremy Gallon are freshmen. With the increase in tight end usage, there is only room for one slot on the field most of the time. This might be a spot where the depth chart turns off and jumped ship.
Tentative Grade: C. Nether Drake nor Dileo had much in the way of offers when they committed and their recruiting rankings are towards the bottom of the class.
Current Commits: 4
Michigan is stocked—possibly excessively so—at wideout, especially considering the emergence of young players already on the roster, like sophomores Darryl Stonum and JR Hemingway. A couple of the current commits are likely to change positions, such as MI WR Jeremy Jackson moving to tight end, MI WR Ricardo Miller moving to tight end, or OH WR Jerald Robinson moving to defensive back. Only OH WR DJ Williamson, a straight-line burner, seems locked in at WR.
Miller and Jackson both plan to enroll early, and Robinson may do the same. Further evidence that moves are potentially on the way: Michigan is still offering outside wideouts, as they just sent an offer to CA WR Kenny Stills ($, info in header).
Tentative Grade: B+. Miller's sudden and mostly unexplained ratings drop is bothersome, but he had a lot of impressive early offers so it probably doesn't mean a whole lot. He should be good. Robinson was great at summer camp and the other two guys have the potential to contribute.
Current Commits: 0
I noted above that Ricardo Miller or Jeremy Jackson may be destined for this position, but Michigan is also looking for a true tight end. The play of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb has shown Michigan's coaches the value of having a playmaker at the position. The only tight end that seems to be a realistic possibility is OH TE Alex Smith, and even that is a longshot.
Tentative Grade: Inc.
Current Commits: 0
Mark Ortmann will leave Michigan following this season, leaving very few proven tackles on the roster. Though Patrick Omameh, Taylor Lewan, and Michael Schofield have tons of potential, there is a need for more players at the position, particularly talented ones. MN OL Seantrel Henderson is the only top prospect that the Wolverines are strongly involved with, though OH OL Skyler Schofner is lesser-regarded, and still a possibility. Even if Michigan can't land one of those guys (and odds are that they won't), there is the opportunity for some sleeper prospects to be picked up later in the recruiting process.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Not looking good at this point with few options other than Henderson, who is a tossup.
Interior Offensive Line
Current Commits: 1
OH OL Christian Pace is destined to be a center in the future, as he's a little short to be a true guard. Michigan would also like another guard in the class, though pickings are getting slim for top guys. FL OL Torrian Wilson was favoring Michigan for a long time... until he committed to Stanford. He's still a little bit open, though it looks like his Cardinal commitment may stick. Michigan will likely be looking for sleepers at this position as well.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Again, few options on the board now that Wilson has committed to Stanford.
Current Commits: 1
OH DT Terry Talbott is underrated by the recruiting services, and should be a very useful player for Michigan within a couple years. The Wolverines still need another player at the position, though, and unlike offensive line, there are a number of options. PA DT Shariff Floyd is one of the top players in the nation, and he's gone back and forth over whether Michigan will get a visit. MN DT Beau Allen recently received an offer from Michigan, and has interest. MI DT Johnathon Hankins is favoring other schools right now, but a Michigan offer could vault them right back into the race.
Tentative Grade: C. Talbott's a good pickup but Michigan is nowhere near picking up any blue-chip guys and needs some more depth.
Current Commits: 2
Michigan has bodies at the defensive end positions, but they're lacking true playmakers waiting to take over for Brandon Graham once he leaves. PA DEs Jordan Paskorz and Kenny Wilkins are more likely to be solid contributors than game-changers, so Michigan would like at least one more DE in the class. There have been rumblings that Paskorz could bulk up and move to defensive tackle, and that Wilkins will probably end up at Quick DE. Michigan doesn't have a lot of options here, as prospects are dropping to Penn State, and now FL DE Lynden Trail has committed to Florida. Michigan will either look for a sleeper with a lot of potential, or hopefully jump back into the recruitment of a top guy if they continue having a good season.
Tentative Grade: C+. Wilkins is a great athlete who can grow into the strongside DE spot; Paskorz isn't rated that high. Michigan's gotten beaten out by PSU for approximately 8 DE prospects.
Current Commits: 1
OH LB Antonio Kinard is Michigan's sole commit at this position, and he's not really a top guy. He's got potential, but the Wolverines need a lot more than that, considering the weakened state of the linebacker corps. Fortunately, there are lots of options, though CT LB Khairi Fortt is now off the table, as he committed to Penn State. VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has visited Michigan already this fall, where he enjoyed himself. He plans another trip to Ann Arbor this winter. MD LB Josh Furman is also a strong possibility here, and he plans to decide fairly soon. MD LB Troy Gloster was a possibility, but he recently committed to West Virginia. A good backup plan here is OH LB Jewone Snow, a Michigan legacy.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Will be good if they pick up Olaniyan and Furman.
Current Commits: 1
FL S Marvin Robinson was considered a top junior, and although he isn't as highly-ranked as a senior, he's still a good grab for the Wolverines. He intends to enroll early, but Michigan still needs at least 1 more player at this position. OH S Latwan Anderson seems to be looking elsewhere now (and deciding soon), but CA S Dietrich Riley is still looking at Michigan, as is CA S Sean Parker. Both are top prospects, and plan to visit Ann Arbor this fall. There are a couple prospect a little lower on the board, including AZ S Marquis Flowers.
Tentative Grade: Inc. If they keep Robinson and add another decent prospect it'll be a B.
Current Commits: 2
OH CBs Terrence Talbott and Courtney Avery are good gets, but Michigan needs one elite corner in this class (Don't believe me? Watch the team play this year). Fortunately, PA CB Cullen Christian has been heavily favoring Michigan since the beginning of time, and plans to announce a decision a couple days after he visits for the Ohio State game. There are also a couple more options back here, which would allow Christian to play safety if he goes blue. They are FL CBs Travis Williams, Rashad Knight, and Tony Grimes, as well as top CA CB Joshua Shaw. Grimes is also thought to be favoring Michigan; Knight has been quiet for a while but the last time someone pinged him he also said Michigan was his leader pending a potential Florida State offer which looks like it won't come.
Tentative Grade: A-, assuming they latch on to Christian and one other guy on the list, possibly two with the intent of moving someone to safety.
Current Commits: 1
WI P Will Hagerup is the man at punter after Zoltan leaves Ann Arbor on his spaceship. Hagerup is among the top punters in the nation, and was Michigan's #1 choice from the start.
Tentative Grade: A. Woo nation's top punter.
As always, you can see the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board for all the updates.
Next week's recruiting update will take a step back and look at remaining needs in the class, and the likelihood that they get filled.
Welcome Will Hagerup
As covered on Sunday, WI P Will Hagerup committed to Michigan during his official visit to Ann Arbor. Hagerup is the nation's #1 or #3 punter, depending on which service you trust. He'll fill the Space Emperor's role when Zoltan graduates following this year. For more information on, Check sunday's post.
In other puntin' news, AZ P Jordan Morgan (not that Jordan Morgan) was in the house for the Wolverines' victory over Indiana. With Michigan taking a commitment from Hagerup, however, Morgan is probably no longer on the radar except as a preferred walk-on.
Needs Moar DB Talent
CA CB Joshua Shaw has replaced an SEC team on his list with a Big Ten one ($, info in header). He's also scheduled a visit to aforementioned Big Ten school. Using our critical thinking skills, we can deduce that the Big Ten school is Michigan, which he had previously said was just on the outside of his top group.
Another big time corner has long been favoring the Wolverines, and things haven't changed for PA CB Cullen Christian. If Ohio State offers him, they'll move into his top 5, but the Michigan still holds the top spot. He'll likely visit for the Penn State game.
FL S Demar Dorsey is committed to Florida, but still considering Michigan. His pledge to the Gators is being "firmed up," so it's unclear whether there's enough of an opening to grab him.
Michigan was dropped a while back by SC CB John Fulton, but the Wolverines' good season has moved them back into his consciousness ($, info in header). Michigan is still on the hunt for elite DBs (if you've watched them play, you know why), and their pool of options is expanding.
Michigan is in strong position for VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who visited for the Notre Dame game. There have been lots of articles to that effect, with no actual new information, so this should be the last one unless there's an actual update.
CT LB Khairi Fortt is announcing a decision on Monday. All conventional wisdom points toward Penn State, but Michigan is on his list of finalists. Still, I'd be shocked if he picked the maize-and-blue.
...and now for some video on MD LB Josh Furman, a more realistic option for Michigan:
King's Travels and other Tales of Defensive Linemen
The odd saga of NC DE/DT Gabe King continued last week, when he moved from North Carolina to Oregon. He had been declared ineligible to play his senior season in the state of North Carolina, and will be able to play at South Eugene High School in Oregon. I guess this lends credence to the conventional wisdom floating around that he's a lock to end up on the West Coast, no?
As miniscule as Michigan's chances were before the move, they've shrunk even more now. Look for King to end up at Oregon or Cal, barring a complete shocker. Considering he's "walking distance" from UO, they're likely the favorite.
As discussed in last week's update, MN DT Beau Allen has been offered. Michigan will have to fight a number of programs if they are to land him, including Notre Dame ad Stanford.
In other defensive tackle news, PA DT Sharrif Floyd is still considering Michigan, although he doesn't have plans to take an official visit:
“Those aren’t my final five,” Floyd said. “I wouldn’t even call them my top five. They are just the five I scheduled for my official visits. I’m also looking at Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College and West Virginia.”
So Michigan is in a murky Top 9-ish situation for Floyd. The 5 officials he has planned are Florida (two weeks ago), USC (last weekend), Penn State, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The chances of landing him aren't great, but they're (slightly) better than zero.
Miami DT commit Louis Nix is wavering, and is considering Michigan for an official visit. The Wolverines are in a second group behind the Hurricanes and Notre Dame, but if he does manage to make it to campus, Coach Rod and Co. have a chance.
The interior of the line apparently isn't the only place Michigan is still looking for help. They looked to the school of CB target Tony Grimes, and offered his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy ($, info in header). Surprise, surprise, that's rocketed the Wolverines near the top of his list ($, info in header). His other offers come from schools like Wisconsin, Maryland, and Florida International, so Michigan could put themselves in pretty good position.
For the future
The 2011 news has been slow in the past couple weeks, but FL RB Demetrius Hart is a kid who many expect to eventually pick Michigan. He went off in his high school game on Friday. The evidence of said performance begins about a minute into this poorly produced video. [Editor's note: OH SNAP.]
NY Ath Quentin Gause is hearing from Michigan, and it may not be a coincidence that the Wolverines are the first school he mentions. A commitment is a long way off, but Gause may be leaning Blue at this early stage. He plans to take a set of unofficial visits when his high school season ends.
Michigan appears to be fading for OH TE Alex Smith. "Spartans winning with recruits," unfortunately for them not on field. I believe I forgot to mention this last week, but I removed CJ Olaniyan, who has committed to Penn State, as well as the similarly-committed NY DE Dominique Easley. Josh Helmholdt says most recruiting visitors will come to the Penn State or Ohio State games. I missed this a while back, but OH WR commit DJ Williamson had ankle surgery at the beginning of the month ($, info in header).
All recruiting updates can be found on the Recruiting Board.
Michigan had long been considered at or near the top of FL OL Torrian Wilson's list, but Wilson has committed to Stanford. I wouldn't be surprised if he still took some visits, so he'll stay on the recruiting board for a little while longer.
Likely-similar results from the decision of FL RB Eduardo Clements. He's made up his mind, but for some reason (probably to annoy me) won't announce it until Signing Day. Michigan was his favorite as recently as a month ago, but I would guess he's picked somebody else.
The Distant Future. The Year 2011.
September 1st is the first day juniors can receive offers. A number of 2011 guys have gotten them thus far, and as I've noted, one of them has already committed to Michigan. Check out the commitment post on Greg Brown here.
Moving along to other juniors who have received offers, there a number that can be confirmed via free sources. The positions on some of these guys may not be definite quite yet, because jesus they're 16 years old.
FL RB Demetrius Hart was being kept in the dark on his offers, so he can focus on his football season. I can virtually gurantee you he got a Michigan offer, and he's considered a heavy Michigan lean. Hart is a top prospect, and is visiting this weekend (see below). I'm sure the coaches would be ecstatic if he made a commitment. Central Florida Varsity Prospects has video on Hart.
When I talked to MI WR DeAnthony Arnett in August, he had 3 unofficial offers. Offer Day came and went, and now he has 3 official offers ($, info in header). I'm willing to bet they're the same three - Michigan, MSU, and Eastern Michigan.
FL OL Tyler Moore received his Michigan offer. His dad played for Nebraska, so he's considered a virtual lock to join the Huskers down the road. Despite the M offer, they're not in his early top 4, and he plans to decide this fall.
AZ OL Christian Westerman has an official offer from the Wolverines. His dad also cryptically mentions that Christian likes snow. Might that be a hint that Michigan is near the top of his list? Maybe I'm reading into things a little too much.
MI OL Anthony Zettel has not yet received a MIchigan offer, but should he get one, he would probably end up wearing the maize and blue. He attended the Western Michigan game, and I believe is expected to be in town again this weekend.
FL DE/LB James Wilder should be one of the top prospects in Florida. He received a Michigan offer on September 1st, along with offers from the likes of Florida, West Virginia, and Miami (Yes That Miami). Rivals video:
OH DE Chris Rock also received his Michigan offer in the mail already. He admits only knowing about Ohio State, since he's grown up in Columbus. However, he is a former high school teammate of Wolverine Patrick Omameh (well, same high school - Omameh was a senior in Rock's freshman year).
OH LB Trey DePriest has a verbal offer from Michigan, and I'm sure he's gotten the written edition in the mail since that article was published nearly a week ago. He's a top prospect in Ohio, and grew up liking the Wolverines. He plans to take his time in making a commitment. GBMW scouted DePriest last week.
No word on an offer, but OH S Ron Tanner visited Michigan last week ($, info in header), and apparently really liked what he saw.
See below for a little more detail, but OH CB Doran Grant has received an official offer ($, info in header).
A 2011 recruiting board will be debuting sometime soon.
The Free Press has an article on visitors to last week's Western Michigan game (link is no-followed). Other than Dior Mathis, there were mostly current commits and junior prospects in attendance. Photo at right (courtesy of Josh Helmholdt in the Free Press) is 2011 OH CB Doran Grant. MGoBlog's own TomVH caught up with some of Michigan's commitments, and they gave him their reactions to the season-opening win.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a longtime Duke commitment, but he's been soft in that commitment basically the whole time. He still plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor, as well (also of note from that article, FL CB Tony Grimes is down to M, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss). Two visits this fall/winter, one on his own dime? Sounds like the kid really likes Michigan, and might be a serious possibility for OMG SNAKE OILZ~!~!~! It's not like Duke is living up to their promise of being a team on the rise. Olaniyan comes in for some fluff from his high school coach as well:
“I've got two Division I line prospects and a center who's nastier than they are and he's just killing them. At one point, he just blew by two blockers and crushed the quarterback. He's the fastest kid you're ever going to block – literally.”
He plays DE for his high school, but is more of an LB at the next level.
MD RB Josh Furman will be in the house ($, info in header) when Michigan squares off against the Irish.
While we're talking visitors, I may as well mention that this weekend is huge for the hoops team as well. Dylan covers the particulars over at UMHoops.
Maxpreps fluff on a number of Michigan targets. He may get more pub in Recruitin' posts than anyone outside of Devin Gardner and Seantrel Henderson, but how about some more on PA CB Cullen Christian? Game report from his team's season-opening loss, including video highlights of a pretty nice one-handed pick by Cullen. He'll visit UCLA soon. This is more FNL-y, but The Wolverine Blog has video from Jeremy Jackson's game last weekend.
The 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board holds all the updates on prospects of interest.
Tom Lemming's top prospects list is generally pretty kind to M:
#1 Combo-passer Devin Gardner
#23 Tailback-slotback Austin White
#25 Tailback-slotback Tony Drake
#6 Big back Stephen Hopkins
#13 Wide receiver Ricardo Miller
#19 Wide receiver Jeremy Jackson
#20 Offensive guard Christian Pace
#24 Inside linebacker Antonio Kinard
#4 Safety Marvin Robinson
There are a bunch of other targets included on the list, obviously. While we're talking rankings, Rivals recently updated theirs, and say hello to the #1 QB in all the land:
That of course means I'm contractually obligated to point out the rockin' MGoBlog HD highlights of Gardner.
Cullen Christian's reported visit plans seem to change by the day, but for now, he's planning to visit only Michigan and UCLA, along with maaaybe a third school to be named later. He still intends to make a decision during his senior season. (Christian photo by Bob Donaldson of the Post-Gazette). His teammate, Brandon Ifill, will visit in September (likely along with Cullen), and says that the two prospects are no longer tied to the idea of going to the same school. How about a little pre-season fluff on their team, as well.
The Particularly Revealing Scout Header is becoming a staple of recruiting posts lately, and who am I to change that?
Maryland safety Josh Furman will be taking his first official visit on Sept. 12 to Michigan. “Michigan is showing a lot of interest,” Furman said. “I’m very curious to see what the campus is like and I can’t wait to see a game at the Big House. I also really like (wide receiver) coach Tony Dews. He’s a great guy and I just get a good feeling about him.” Although Furman still denies a leader...
The rest of the article is behind paywall, but jesus is that one informative header. So: Furman likes Michigan, and add him to the list for next weekend's visitors. Fluff on him, mostly concerned with his ability to run the ball.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has set up four of his official visits, one of which will be to Ann Arbor. His others will be to North Carolina, Duke, and UCLA. For his fifth and final visit, he's considering Stanford, Wake, and Vanderbilt (quite the student, no?). No word yet on which game he'll be attending.
Michigan is in the final 5 for CT LB Khairi Fortt, along with Penn State, Georgia, USC, and North Carolina. The article implies without explicitly stating that those will be the schools he officially visits, as well.
MI DE CJ Olaniyan talked with Rivals AMP:
Nothing earth-shattering. He wants to make a commitment by the middle of his season, and the two visits he's thought about so far are Notre Dame and Penn State. As far as Michigan goes, he likes the academics, and has been on campus for three unofficial visits.
He Who Has Amazing Name
Though Michigan's QB recruiting is probably all wrapped up, LA QB Munchie Legaux still likes the Wolverines. M has made his final three along with Baylor, Oregon, and Tulane (they must not be able to count very well in Louisiana, I guess), and seems to be still giving him some pretty good attention. The rest of the article is pretty M focused, so I suggest checking it out. Munchie himself says he might not be fast enough to play receiver, so bringing him in for a position switch is probably not what Michigan is going for. I would presume he's being given the attention in case of another decommitocalypse, a la last year. In addition, he looks like Vince Young with dreads. (Legaux photo by Susan Poag of the Times-Picayune).
Michigan is still nominally in the running for CA RB/LB Anthony Barr, but when your finalists are 3 schools from your home state, your dad's alma mater, and Michigan, Michigan is probably the odd man out here. If he doesn't end up signing with the Irish, it will probably be with one of the Cali schools.
Michigan is still in the top group for FL RB Eduardo Clements, though Georgia is on top of the heap for now.
Michigan is not in the top 4 for MI DT Johnathon Hankins. I think that ship may have sailed when he was too... hefty... to earn an offer in camp. He'll likely be removed soon.
Bill Kurelic thinks Michigan will end up with Dior Mathis, and Seantrel Henderson and Sharrif Floyd will go to Minnesota(!) and Florida, respectively.
There was also an article on Tony Grimes from the Miami Herald but you now must register (for free) to view it. Hey, great way to get me to not link to your paper, guys. Same with an article linked up on MGoBoard: Torrian Wilson got hurt last week, but it doesn't appear to be too serious.
Removed MD RB Marcus Coker, who will be a Hawkeye.
Removed FL DE Corey Lemonier, who is no longer considering M.
A pretty light week as most high school prospects are focusing on preparation for their senior season, rather than recruiting. Once official visits start rolling, it should get interesting again. All updates can be seen on the 2010 Recruiting Board.
Your Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update - Now with Co(r?)nelius Jones!
Fluff on MI QB Commit Devin Gardner. It's nothing you've never heard before, if you're more inclined to not click Free Press links.
Inkster has eight road games and three brutal trips to Ohio to play against Cleveland St. Edward, St. Ignatius and Steubenville High -- all powers.
With no home games and needing to win five games just to make the playoffs, Gardner's situation is different from any top-flight quarterback in the state.
I've yet to figure out why the Vikings have no home games. There's a pretty good photo gallery by the Free Press, as well. There was video floating around the interwebs of Gardner's performance at a scrimmage last week, but it appears to have been taken down.
Rivals AMP caught up with QB Commit Cornelius Jones. They're currently not allowing embedding of said video, but Jones says he's 100% solid with Michigan. He's open to switching positions once he gets to Ann Arbor, but will come in as a quarterback. Jones's high school season began on Friday, and you can see how it went in this week's Friday Night Lights feature.
By the way - there's still some confusion about whether Jones's first name is "Cornelius" or "Conelius" (no 'r'). Alas, I've been unable to definitively clear that issue up, so I'll continue with option A until it can be settled once and for all.
Officially Visitin' (Or Not)
Hopefully once the season gets underway, I'll be able to devote an entire section of each recruiting post to that week's docket of visitors. For now:
OH TE Alex Smith has started talking about his favorites, despite being "committed" to Cincinnati. I think at this time it's fair to say he's no longer a commit to the Bearcats, they just lead for him. Wisconsin and UNC are atop his list behind Cincy, with Kentucky shortly behind. Smith's only scheduled official visit thus far is to Wisconsin for the season opener, and a Michigan visit no longer sounds like a lock.
WI P Will Hagerup had named his official visit to Michigan for the Western game on September 5, those plans are changing. He'll now head to Ann Arbor for the Indiana game on September 26th. This will be his last official visit before deciding, which is a minor boost to Michigan's chances.
Michigan will get an official visit from VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, currently a Duke commit ($, info in header). He's taking all five visits, so the Wolverines may have a chance to pry him away with Duke if they really want him.
Though there was talk about who would be getting Sharrif Floyd's official visits in the last update, he intends to change his plans for those visits ($, info in header). Since Michigan was not under consideration in the previous list, any chage is good for the Wolverines. No word on whether they're in his newly-adjusted plans.
Scouting Reports? Scouting Reports
Rivals covered a couple scrimmages, and talks about a couple M prospects of note:
S- Latwan Anderson- Glenville- After turning in a great performance vs. Elyria Catholic from the safety spot, Anderson put on a show at wide receiver against Cardinal Mooney. He made a spectacular catch above his head along the sideline against Braylon Heard. He also made a circus one-handed catch out of bounds that drew loud applause from the crowd. At safety, he forced a fumble at the goal line on Braylon Heard.
WR- D.J. Williamson (Michigan commit)- Warren Harding- Speed will never be an issue with Williamson, he can really glide on the football field. He is still growing into a natural receiver, but should really benefit from having a solid passing quarterback take over at Harding, transfer Jordan Miller. Williamson also played some cornerback, and showed good ability to break on the football.
Williamson sounds like a potential sleeper; you can't teach speed. Ohio HS Sports.com also took a look at a few players, including WR Jerald Robinson:
Jerald Robinson, WR/DB , Canton South -- Michigan commit is always a big-play threat and also had 7 interceptions last year. His three-year QB has graduated and he'll face double and triple teams, but he'll still produce.
So, hooray for that, I guess. A lot more preview-type stuff on Michigan commits in Friday Night Lights.
OH S/WR Bobby Swigert has narrowed to a list of four suitors: M, Stanford, Nebraska, and BC.
If things go as planned, Cullen Christian may end up as the "Guy Everyone Took For Granted And Aren't Excited When He Commits" for the class of 2010. He's still saying good thing about Michigan, and will play multiple positions for Penn Hills this season:
"Michigan is No. 1, but I probably won't make my decision until sometime during the season. I don't know how close I am to pulling the trigger...
Teams didn't throw the ball to my side much last year. At safety, I can make plays."
He is taking official visits to UCLA, WVU, and Maryland in the first month of the football season. I would presume one more official visit, then hopefully a commitment to Michigan when he takes his final visit to Ann Arbor.
FL CB Tony Grimes has narrowed to a top 3 of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss. He does not plan to make a final decision until Signing Day.
CA WR Kenny Stills is still nominally considering Michigan. I wouldn't get your hopes up, though he may be taking an official visit. OH DE Derrick Bryant once favored Michigan, but now it appears as though he doesn't want to play in the Big Ten ($, info in header). He currently favors UCLA, Oregon, Kentucky, and North Carolina. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has named 8 schools on top of his recruitment, and Michigan isn't among them. He's bumped down to a Nefarious Eduardo, and is soon to be removed. Removed FL CB Eric Mitchell, who committed to Ole Miss.
Added FL CB Eric Mitchell($).
Editorial Opinion: Sort of a light week outside of the Elite 11. There was a Rivals revamp, I guess.
About the departed:
- IL WR Kyle Prater took a visit in the spring and mentioned Michigan high up immediately afterwards but once that faded it became clear he wasn't feeling it. Cramming him into this class would have been difficult in any case.
- FL LB Jeff Luc was a major longshot.
- MD OL Robbie Havenstein mentioned M like once and then went radio silent; I'm not sure how much mutual interest there was in the first place.
- FL CB Nickell Robey said he'd visit, but will not. Minor ding there but CB still looks strong.
- CA LB Tony Jefferson's sudden commit to UCLA robs Michigan of a touted prospect at an area of need; even if they weren't in the driver's seat a 20-ish percent chance of landing him is better than none.
And then there's TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, who tried to commit to Michigan earlier and was told by the coaches that Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz had taken his spot. He was offered the chance to come in as a middle linebacker and turned it down, went to Florida State's camp as an outside linebacker, got offered, and committed. Swing and a miss by the coaching staff here; if Onwukaife pans out it's going to be painful.
Here's a direct example of Michigan's eagerness to accept commitments probably costing them a better class. I mean no offense to Antonio Kinard or Jordan Paskorz, but if I had to pick one guy from the three just based on offers, recruiting buzz, and whatnot, it would be Onwukaife. I know, I know: Rodriguez forges two-stars into firey death machines and so forth and so on. It'll be interesting to see how Kinard, Paskorz, and Onwukaife end up panning out.
Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update
No, it's not this week that sees the recruiting roundup go without mention of Devin Gardner, but I've got a good reason: Gardner just participated in the Elite 11 camp, where he won awards for Best Feet—no doy—and Best In The Classroom. From there it gets schizophrenic. Gardner did not finish in the top five in the "Overall MVP" voting, but did cause Rivals analysts Greg Biggins and Barry Every to swoon:
Rivals.com national analyst Barry Every ranked Gardner as the top overall quarterback at the camp based on long-term potential and the ability to win football games.
“I don’t think there’s any question, after having seen him for four days, how hard he competes and how hard he wants to be the best,” Every said.
Every and Biggins agreed Gardner compares favorably at the same stage of his career to players like Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Juice Williams and Dennis Dixon, all Elite 11 alumni.
Yow. That's a huge disagreement between the camp counselor voting—current college QBs—and the scouting professionals. I'm naturally inclined to take the word of the professionals. According to Every, Gardner is a lock to shoot into the top 100 when Rivals revamps its rankings again. (Odd that Rivals would re-do their rankings before the most important quarterback camp of the year, no?)
Every's other favorite QB there, by the way, was PSU commit and OLSM QB Robert Bolden; MSU commit Joe Boisture finished last. MSU's resident Guy Who Knows Guy Involved With Elite 11 was not pleased with what he heard from his guy.
Other opinions also exist, though they're necessarily less star-struck. Scout's Scott Kennedy:
"Gardner is a superior athlete who is handcuffed a bit by a passing camp that doesn't showcase his playmaking ability with his legs. However, as one might expect, Gardner was solid in the bootleg drills, and while struggling hitting the deep-out to live receivers, Gardner picked up his game in the target practice segment, showing off better accuracy than many of his Elite 11 teammates."
ESPN's evaluation intertwines Bolden and Gardner:
Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./Saint Mary's) and Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) could almost be considered identical. They are the same in height, weight, frame, athleticism, arm strength, dual-threat capabilities -- you name it and they are probably alike in it. It is hard to tell the two apart. Bolden surprised a bit with how compact, quick and capable he was of getting rid of the ball. At times, the ball jumps off his hand with tremendous zip and power. Gardner is mechanically more like Vince Young with a bit of a three-quarter release, but he has the same "pop" out of his arm as Bolden. As the week wears on, these two will likely see a big jump in overall, consistent accuracy. Bolden, a Penn State commit, and Gardner, a Michigan commit, are terrific fits for their respective programs from a scheme standpoint.
Aaand JC Shurburtt:
Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich./Inkster) has also surprised many. His hustle, leadership and athleticism add up to a tremendous maturity that will help him compete early for playing time in Ann Arbor. He was a notch behind Bolden throwing it, but still has a strong arm and excellent size.
All told, a highly positive camp for Gardner and Michigan.
Rivals did rejigger its rankings. Plenty of folks moved around but only a few items seem worth mentioning:
- PA DE Ken Wilkins got a fourth star.
- OH OL Christian Pace did not, which is somewhat surprising given Mike Farrell's almost rapturous praise for his film. I don't care; I think he's perfect for Michigan, and so does Rick Trickett.
- MI RB Austin White dropped a decimal point and is now actually behind MSU commit Nick Hill, which makes no the sense given that Hill's BCS offers were Stanford and State and White was clearly preferred by both instate schools, Wisconsin, Illinois, and LSU. But whatever.
- PA CB Cullen Christian flew up from a three star to the #60 player.
- Various stragglers at the mysterious end of Michigan's class all got their requisite three stars.
Grimes, We Talk To You
Rivals AMP with FL CB Tony Grimes:
Elsewhere in secondary prospects, OH S Bobby Swigert has a Michigan offer, has visited, and says Michigan is in his top group:
“Michigan was amazing. I was impressed with everything I saw, like the facilities and the new indoor building … it was just amazing. Coach Rodriguez is one of the coolest coaches I’ve met. And the academic advisor (Shari Acho) explained everything really well.”
With such a glowing recollection, it’s no wonder the Wolverines are in such a strong standing with Swigert, even though he hasn’t officially narrowed down his list.
“If I was to narrow down my list, Michigan would be in there. They are definitely one of the top contenders.”
On the other hand, OH S Kurtis Drummond now has Michigan State in the lead ahead of Michigan. OH S Latwan Anderson has bumped around his list a ton, with the latest update omitting Michigan. We'll see if that sticks; some recent scuttlebutt says Michigan is still in the running but needs a real visit to stay there.
You are large, but hopefully not too large
With defensive tackles thin on the ground—or too fat and on the ground—Michigan needs to make OH DT Terry Talbott a priority. So hurrah: Tom VanHaaren reports that Talbott will come up for a visit tomorrow. He also snags a quote from his coach:
"As for Terry, his strength is his ability to use his explosiveness to get off the ball and change direction. He is very strong upper body and his core is strong. He, like a lot of High School players need to better define his technique. He has good technique now, but to play at the next level and be successful his technique must be great. He uses his hands well now, but needs to always work on using them better." - Jay Minton
Terry's brother Terrance, a cornerback, is also coming in.
Punters are punting in code
WI P Will Hagerup is apparently the #1 guy on Michigan's board—he's the only guy out there with an offer—and a decision is coming soon. Two schools are seemingly in prime position:
Hagerup mentioned that a commitment could come in the near future, "I will decide within another month for sure."
Before he announces, Hagerup would like the further investigate Ohio State and Michigan, "I'm going to visit Ohio State and Michigan for sure within a couple weeks. I'm going to see practices at both places and take another tour at each school."
If it comes down to playing time, Michigan should win. Hagerup would be able to start at Michigan immediately with Zoltan the Inconceivable scheduled to transubstantiate into pure energy after the season. At Ohio State, AJ Trapasso has just graduated. Redshirt junior John Thoma is atop the depth chart; scholarship incoming freshman Ben Buchanan, Rivals' #3 kicker last year, is listed second.
User Mscharbo15 talked with TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins recently and put up a quick summary on the message board:
- He's graduating in December and will be enrolling early.
- His HS has OSU colors and he "wears them with shame."
- He's excited about the possibility of a home-and-home with Oklahoma State, since the 2010 game would be his first as a Wolverine and the 2011 contest would be the closest thing to a homecoming for him (he's from Texas).
- Although being the one power back in the 2010 class, he claims to be getting faster and quicker (can't hurt).
- Had he waited another month to commit, he likely would have received offers from Oklahoma (!!!), Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Sparty and Arkansas.
- He's heard from somebody in the know that if he has a good senior season he'll vault up to a 4-star.
Ooh: early entrant tidbit. That brings Michigan up to six commits with tentative plans to enroll early (Miller, J. Robinson, M. Robinson, Pace, and Gardner are the others).
Caveat: Though I can't confirm the poster isn't having us on, he signed up 28 weeks ago. Unless he was planning an incredibly long-term hoax in which the payoff is "you suckers thought I talked to a running back commit and posted innocuous things about it MOOOHAHA!" it's legit. The troll probability here approaches zero.
Etc.: ESPN evaluates SC QB commit Cornelius Jones and OH WR commit DJ Williamson, giving them three-star-ish ratings. Williamson sounds like the outside burner who will be stupidly wide open when safeties freak out about Gardner. OH DE Marcus Rush was supposed to visit Michigan Thursday but this apparently did not come off; I think this will be where M and Rush part ways. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has two officials, neither of which are M.