to play football, not to play trumpet
Somewhat light update this week, though delayed until Thursday due to a busy Wednesday. All-time updates can be found on the 2010 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. Don't forget about the 2011 Michigan football Recruiting Board, although there is no 2011 news in this update.
I've added TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum (pictured at right) to the board, as he plans on visiting Michigan ($, info in header). He's currently committed to Arkansas as a running back(!) and is a 280-pound dual threat QB(!) in high school. That's one heck of an athlete that the Wolverines are pursuing on the defensive line.
Both MN OL Seantrel Henderson and PA DT Sharrif Floyd opted against visiting Michigan last weekend, which seriously damages Michigan's chances at both of them (though it may be a better thing that they didn't sit through the rain to see Michigan get pounded). The Daily Gopher thinks Michigan is hanging on near the back of Henderson's top schools, though that was with the assumption he would visit Ann Arbor. As for Floyd, he went to Ohio State instead, and he has a new top five:
In no particular order, they are: Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, South Carolina and USC.
Last Line of Defense
Michigan's woes in the secondary, compounded by the dismissal of Boubacar Cissoko from the team yesterday, have a number of recruits giving Michigan a hard look. CA CB Tony Jefferson, currently a UCLA commit, plans to take a Michigan visit for next week's Purdue game, as mgoblog's own TomVH said Tuesday. UCLA (where he is currently committed), Florida, and Miami are his other finalists.
Added LA S Carvin Johnson to the board, as he took an official visit to Ann Arbor for the contest against the Nittany Lions ($, info in header). He really enjoyed the visit, as well ($, info in header). Johnson has a Michigan offer, and favors the Wolverines pending a couple more official visits. Carvin is on the left in the photo, next to Wolverine commit PA DE Ken Wilkins (image courtesy of Josh Helmholdt in the Detroit Free Press).
FL CB Tony Grimes has had Michigan near the top of his list for quite some time now, and the Wolverines may be in a similar position for his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy. However, neither is ready to make a decision any time soon:
"I'm just letting things come to me in recruiting," Grimes said. "I'm more focused on my play on the field, but I am staying in touch with certain college coaches. The recruiting stuff will all play itself out in the end. I'm in no hurry to make a decision."
Added Murphy, "We are probably just going to continue to focus on high school football right now and then once it gets towards that deadline, we are going to put our heads together after we take our officials and (determine) where we want to be the next three to four years."
Grimes is one of Michigan's top prospects at corner, and adding a pass-rusher would be icing on the cake.
Elsewhere in Michigan leans, PA CB Cullen Christian enjoyed his visit to West Virginia. The Mountaineers are probably Michigan's biggest competition for Christian.
Moving to a prospect that the Wolverines don't have a great chance with, CA S Dietrich Riley is favoring Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida, and USC. I think the title "Riley Down to Four" might be overstating the case, but any other school is definitely facing an uphill battle. Michigan is one of four schools vying for his final official visit.
OH LB Steve Mehrer visited Ann Arbor last weekend ($, info in header). His best current offer is Bowling Green, so he's probably way down the list of possibilities. OH TE Alex Smith has Michigan in his final two with Cincinnati. ESPN has (rather unwisely) made it impossible to link to their "On the Trail" recruiting updates, so no link, but CA RB Anthony Barr has eliminated Michigan, and I've removed him from the board.
As always, you can see all the updates on the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
The Penn State game had been built up (at least in my mind) as a pretty big visit weekend, but it's cooled off a bit, and the November 21st weekend, when the Wolverines play Some Team from South of Here, should be the blockbuster weekend now. Still, there are a couple noticeable visitors for this Saturday.
OH TE Alex Smith, a longtime Cincinnati commit who has been considering Michigan for a while, will make his long-awaited trip to Ann Arbor this weekend. His school, Lakota West, also has a number of other D-1 prospects, including OH LB Alex Smith, but none of them are considering Michigan.
PA DT Sharrif Floyd's on-again, off-again visit to Ann Arbor this weekend appears to be off-again. He won't take any more visits until his high school season is completed. Er... since then, he's said that Ohio State will be his destination this week, and any report of Michigan interest is "just a rumor." That sounds... discouraging. Floyd is also excited to prove himself at the Army AA Bowl.
MN OL Seantrel Henderson is in a similar situation, with his Michigan visit for this weekend shrouded in mystery.
CA S Dietrich Riley enjoyed his Notre Dame visit (as did his buddy, CA CB Josh Shaw), and a Michigan visit doesn't seem to be set in stone, as it was earlier in the process. Also, local Riley fluff. Dietrich Riley picture by Keith Birmingham for the Pasadena Star-News.
GA DT Michael Thornton may take an official visit at a later date.
SC CB John Fulton will apparently visit Michigan November 28th, the week after the season ends. Something tells me that's not accurate, since there's no need to do it that soon after the season, especially with the basketball team out of town. I'd guess that visit is actually for the OSU game a week prior.
Still Seeking Linebackers
Josh Helmholdt shares in the Free Press that a couple new linebackers have entered Michigan's radar. FL LBs Jeremiah George and Greg Hickman have been hearing from the Wolverines, and both are supposedly true MLB types. Also from the article, the Wolverines are taking a look at MI LB Michael Kinville from Detroit Catholic Central, the alma mater of Mike Martin. All three of those gentlemen will be added to the board.
Meanwhile, OH LB Jewone Snow visits Morgantown, no Michigan mention (grumble grumble).
Though he maintains an official top 5 of Michigan, West Virginia, UCLA, Ohio State, and Pitt, ESPN certainly gives the vibe that the Wolverines and the Mountaineers are the only two teams remaining for PA CB Cullen Christian. He has plenty of nice things to say about Michigan:
On the flip side, Rodriguez and Christian maintain regular contact, Christian said. "I talk to him all the time. He tells me they really want me. I'm No. 1 on their board. He tells me I'll fit right in. He tells me that all the time -- trying to get it stuck in my head."
Christian has been talking with people close to the Michigan program about exactly what it's like to play for Rodriguez, in Ann Arbor. "He seems like a cool dude to me," Christian said. "He was real laid back."
But from what Christian has been told by those who are already in the program at UM, Rodriguez's laid back vibe from the recruiting trail can change. "What everybody's telling me, he's real intense when you get up there. The intense one up there is [strength and conditioning coach] Mike Barwis. He's intense all the time," said Christian.
He says some nice things about West Virginia as well, but nothing as positive as the Michigan portion. He still plan a visit for the OSU game and a decision immediately thereafter.
As for Christian's teammate, PA S/WR Brandon Ifill, the list has been narrowed to Pitt and Maryland. Michigan isn't going to get Ifill, and the Penn Hills duo will probably go to different schools. I've removed Ifill from the recruiting board, although his final decision won't come for a couple months.
MI LB Lawrence Thomas is considered a heavy MSU lean, but Michigan was his childhood favorite:
"Michigan meant a lot to me when I was growing up," Thomas said. "When I was young I saw them in all the bowls, so they were one of those dream schools."
They may be able to work that angle to good results. Thomas has also gotten bigtime, scoring offers from the like of Florida, Oklahoma, and Penn State. He won't make a decision until his senior season, which is still a year away.
In other "2011 Instate recruits blowin' up" news, MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has garnered offers from Oregon and LSU, with Oklahoma likely on the way. Also from that article, MI WR Kenny Knight is apparently getting Michigan interest. I've been looking for information on the kid for a looooong time, and this is officially the first recruiting news I've seen on him.
While we're on the topic, the 2011 Recruiting Board should debut a little bit later this week. Stay tuned.
EDIT:OR RIGHT NOW. 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan is still "in touch" with Clemson. Local recruiting fluff on OH OL Skyler Schofner, who sounds like he's not considering the Wolverines anymore. Might MI WR commit Ricardo Miller visit UCLA with FL WR Kenny Shaw? I'd be surprised.
Editor's note: Tom's back after a happy hiatus with a roundup on the defensive prospects. Items in blockquotes are direct quotes; items outside are impressions gleaned from Tom's conversations with the below recruits.
In light of the depth chart, defensive players are now the focus of recruiting. Michigan has 19 commits on board and will look to fill the rest of the open spots with defense. Here's an update from most of the recruits left on the board:
Bobby Swigert. He will be visiting for either the Penn State, or Ohio State game. He wants to make a decision relatively soon.
Cullen Christian. Cullen is visiting November 21st, and making his decision on November 24th.
“Michigan still leads.” –Cullen Christian
Michigan is in good position to land Christian, and always have been. A lot of the current commits have been contacting him, letting him know how much Michigan wants him.
Marquis Flowers. He’s focusing on his season, and will start evaluating schools once his season is over. He’s not sure if he’s going to visit Michigan. He said he will probably visit, but he’s not sure.
"Notre Dame is really the only visit I have set up right now. I'm going to make my decision either at the Army All American game, or at signing day. I'm just going to take my time with it." –Marquis Flowers
By the sound of how he was talking, he hasn’t put a lot of stock or time into his recruitment yet.
Rashad Knight. Knight is visiting for the Ohio State game, which is shaping up to be a huge game for recruit visits. He doesn’t have any leaders as of now. He has never been to Michigan before, and wants to wait to see the campus before naming any leaders, which is a good sign for M.
Aramide Olaniyan. He recently took a visit to UNC, and (surprise!) he liked it. Everything is still wide open with him. Until his parents get to see the campus of the schools he’s really interested in, he won’t make a decision.
Josh Furman. Josh just visited Virginia Tech. That scares me a little, and I can’t get a feel for what he’s going to do.
Tony Grimes. Grimes will be visiting with his teammate, Clarence Murphy, for the Ohio State game. They have said before that they both want to go to school together. Michigan is one of few schools that have offered both prospects.
"As of right now, Michigan leads for both myself and Clarence (Murphy)." –Tony Grimes
Grimes will be deciding on signing day, and I’m assuming so will Murphy, otherwise that would ruin the surprise.
John Fulton. He has interest in Michigan. We’re not in his top group, he’s an outside shot, but there’s still a shot. I spoke with him the other day, and didn’t sense that much interest, FWIW.
Dietrich Riley. Will take a visit after his season is done, he’s not sure if it will be official, or not.
"They pretty much call every week, so I definitely know that they're interested. I'm just waiting until everything slows down." –Dietrich Riley
He said he liked that they have shown so much interest. This will be a wait and see. He’s one of the better prospects out there, and is being recruited for both safety and running back.
Some names that might still pop up. Ricardo Allen, Dior Mathis, Sean Parker.
Alltime updates can be found in the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
Your Breathless Seantrel Henderson Update Returns!
It's been a while since I've talked about the recruitment of MN OL Seantrel Henderson (Photo by the Pioneer Press) in Wednesday Recruitin', so this should be a pretty serious update, especially considering that he's one of the most-discussed recruits in recent memory. First, we head to ESPN and Steve Wiltfong:
"The choice will ultimately be up to Seantrel, but we're trying our best to make sure he gets the best experience," said Sean Henderson, Seantrel's father.
Not that I'm going to accuse any parental tampering here, but this quote is fairly ironic, considering Seantrel started the recruiting process saying "I'm not interested in Notre Dame." The instant his father took over the media correspondence, Notre Dame was suddenly among his favorites, and they're now receiving an official visit. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Also of note from the article:
Besides the schools he's taking official visits to [ed.: ND, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Florida] and Minnesota, the five-star Henderson is also considering Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin.
That's still a top-10 list, and there's a lot of time before Signing Day, when he plans to decide. All teams still have a somewhat-legit chance at landing the guy.
Local fluff on Seantrel. For what it's worth, he still plans to try both football and basketball at his school of choice. The emergence of Michigan's basketball program can only help the Wolverines in that regard.
Tim Brewster took to a helicopter to impress local recruits, including Henderson (photo from MNdaily.com). In an article on the same topic, his high school coach implies that there may be some (slight) academic concerns with Seantrel:
"He'll always take care of the football part of it," Scanlan said. "I just hope he gets his homework done and that he is getting everything taken care of when he comes back on Monday. That's the part that might be a concern. Because there are so many distractions; he's really focused on football. Let's just make sure that school takes care of itself, too."
Keep on eye on that, though it doesn't sound like he's in danger of not qualifying.
Seantrel is writing a weekly diary for the Pioneer Press, and I hope this is just an unfortunate coincidence in paragraph structure:
I heard this week from Ohio State, USC, Michigan and Oklahoma. It is tough sometimes to tell a school you aren't really interested...
Considering it's the Wolverines among a group of his top schools, I don't think that's intended to imply that he's uninterested in any of those programs.
Doug Lesmerises gives fluff from Seantrel's official visit, including a couple relevant quotes:
"Mostly I want to know about academics," Henderson says. "I want to learn about that if I'm going to be staying here for three years or whenever, and I want to know the people I'm surrounded by. I didn't know Ohio State was like, the biggest school. I didn't know they were so high on the academics and they give a lot of help to athletes."
Obligatory laughing at each part of the last sentence for entirely different reasons. For the record, Seantrel enjoyed his visit to Columbus, though there was nothing really said other than standard post-visit quotes (aside from his dad thinking Oklahoma is still in the Big 8, of course).
And, after that huge information dump, I'll editorialize for minute. Henderson (unlike many prospects) realizes that it's talent, and not school choice, that will get him to the NFL. Sure, he can pick up better coaching at some places than others, but if he's an NFL player, he's an NFL player, regardless of where he goes. Because of that understanding, the two biggest factors in his recruitment are expected to be education (check) and ability to win a championship while he's in school.
There's been a lot of murky insider-y talk about Michigan being one of Seantrel's favorite schools, but he's uncertain over whether he'd be able to win a championship in Ann Arbor. The fast start to the season really helps in that regard, especially beating one of his other contenders, in Notre Dame. If the Wolverines keep winning, they can really help themselves with a number of prospects, Henderson not least among them.
Your Quarterbacking Overlord Fears No Man
There has been some internet hand-wringing about what will happen to the commitment status of MI QB Devin Gardner with Tate Forcier having such a good stellar season. However, there's nothing to worry about. Devin thinks Tate looks very good, and he's not worried about competing against a possibly-entrenched starter. He'll compete to earn playing time, and if he doesn't get any of those minutes, he'll accept a redshirt.
Because it's Clear they're Needed...
...Michigan is still pursuing a number of linebackers. The main options:
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a soft commit to Duke for quite some time, and his visit to Michigan seemed to have softened it even further. Since his interest in the Blue Devils has been waning, he made it official, decommitting from Duke. That's a good sign for Michigan, especially considering how much he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor. He's taking another one sometime this winter, so if Michigan wants him, they appear to have as good a shot as any.
MD LB Josh Furman had long been planning to announce a decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl in December, but now it seems like a decision may be coming sooner ($, info in header). He was also in attendance for the Michigan-Notre Dame Game, which again is probably a good thing, considering it came shortly after heading to Ann Arbor.
MD LB Troy Gloster is a third realistic option, and he has had the Wolverines near the top of his list for quite some time now. Now it appears as though they're in a top 2 with West Virginia, and a decision might be coming before the end of his high school season ($, info in header). If such a decision does indeed happen, Michigan would at least know where it stands in it linebacker hunt.
If Michigan is unable to land any of those three linebackers, there are a couple prospects slightly lower on the recruiting board that they still have a chance at landing. One such player is OH LB Jewone Snow, son of Michigan great Garland Rivers (and nephew of Michigan State's Percy and Eric Snow). He'll observe the in-state battle on October 3rd, which may help him decide which team he likes more. Of course, one reason I'm personally enamored with Snow is his connection to 2011 OH DE Steve Miller, one of the top prospects in the Buckeye State.
In the Trenches
Though they'd fallen off his radar, the Wolverines have put themselves back on it for NC DE/DT Gabe King. Still, his coach has a lot of connections out west (his two favorites are Oregon and Cal), and he's now moving to Oregon, so don't expect MIchigan to seriously contend for him(King photo by Roy Philpott for the Detroit News).
MN DT Beau Allen was receptive when Michigan finally came after him, but it appears as though they may have been too late. He has a top four, with a couple schools trailing behind, and Michigan is nowhere to be found.
Update 8/11: Linked to video on PA DT Sharrif Floyd, articles on CT LB Khairi Fortt (#2, #3), MI CB Dior Mathis, CA CB Joshua Shaw (#2, #3, #4), FL CB Tony Grimes, CA S Dietrich Riley, WI P Will Hagerup, PA CB Cullen Christian, MI WR Commit Jeremy Jackson, TX RB Commit Stephen Hopkins, MD LB Josh Furman. FL RB Eduardo Clements.
Local content on commits Devin Gardner and Austin White, along with 2011 WR DeAnthony Arnett.
Josh Helmholdt discusses recent visitors Talbott(s) and Ifill. Moved Terrence Talbott to offered.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting Board lives here. Slow week.
On top of taking home MVP honors at the Top Gun camp, CT LB Khairi Fortt has pared his list to a top 6, and Michigan is in, along with Penn State (the presumed leader), Georgia (the stated leader), USC, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Fortt has only planned officials to Penn State and Georgia, and plans to finish his recruitment by the end of September. He does however, say Michigan will be receiving an official visit ($, info in header). He plans to enroll early at his college destination.
Also, need some tips for recruiting him? Have I got the article for you! Fortt prefers laid back coaches and meeting his position coach in person, but not coaches who bother him on Facebook. As noted above, Michigan must have taken good enough notes to get him to commit to an official visit. No public word on the date yet.
All Your Good-Not-Great Running Back Are Belong to Us
FL RB Eduardo Clements has long had Michigan in a top group along with the Miami Hurricanes and Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia may be sliding out of favor with a commitment from GA RB Kendrun Malcome, but Miami was perceived to be the favorite… until now?
Eduardo Clements, a Rivals250 running back from Miami, named Michigan as his leader after a visit to Miami.
Typically, a visit to School X, then naming a leader immediately thereafter means school X is going to be the on top for a recruit. It’s highly encouraging that Clements visited a school that many thought he was favoring and then proclaimed Michigan as his leader. As Ace points out, there’s a still a long way until Clements makes a decision, but it’s better to be in the driver’s seat than anywhere else.
That brings us to RB recruiting, where Michigan already has commitments from Stephen Hopkins, Austin White, and Tony Drake (if he’s not a slot receiver). With lots of needs on defense, can they justify taking a 3rd/4th RB? With a top recruit like Clements, you take the kids and figure out to work out the numbers later, I guess.
I Shot the Sharrif
Yes, Tuesday Recruitin' now features HORRIBLE PUN HEADERS! [Editor's Note: You have to take the bad with the good. Sorry.] Anyway, Rivals AMP talks to PA DT Sharrif Floyd:
Contrary to last week's update, he says he will not officially visit Penn State. HOWEVA, that doesn't imply a lack of interest in PSU, just that they're close enough to not waste one of his five slots. Michigan and Ohio State are two schools he definitely wants to see, at least unofficially. The Wolverines still have a puncher's chance in this one. In this interview it even sounds like he has particular interest in Michigan, which is a major upgrade from last week's pessimism.
Whither the Secondary?
At one point, Michigan was the favorite for MI CB Dior Mathis, but now he's got two other schools on top:
That headline is terrible, because it directly contradicts the body of the article, but Mathis does favor those two schools. He rounds out his top four with Michigan and Miami of Florida, and even says "I know I can go to Michigan anytime I want." Mathis's decision timeframe is flexible, as he wants to fit in as many official visits as possible before schools start filling all their spots.
Recent board addition CA CB Joshua Shaw is hearing plenty from Michigan about a potential official visit this fall. He currently has visits planned to Ohio State and Notre Dame for their games against USC, in addition to a midwest swing last weekend (though maybe that was just to Columbus?). He has now named Ohio State his leader ($, info obvious from header).
FL CB Tony Grimes has mentioned Michigan as a favorite in the past, and now he has set up an official visit to Ann Arbor, though he doesn’t mention a date. Also of (relatively minor) note, he says two of his teammates are interested in Michigan. Keep the names Clarence Murphy and Caleb Vincent in mind, though they won’t be added to the board until we see that Michigan is returning their interest.
At safety, California prospect Dietrich Riley has Michigan in his top group, and it sounds like the Wolverines may be in line for an official visit. Though the article is premium, context clues (written by an author from The Wolverine) indicate there's a pretty good chance Riley plans to visit Ann Arbor.
MI P Mike Sadler, who had been not-so-secretly campaigning for a Michigan offer, never received one, and committed to State last Monday. So why did Michigan, in need of a punter for 2010, never give Sadler that honor? It's because of this guy:
Presented above in excessively large fashion is WI P Will Hagerup, who has plenty of other offers, but is assumed to favor Michigan and Ohio State:
“Michigan is definitely one of the schools I am looking really hard at,” Hagerup said. “(Rodriguez) said that with the combination of academics and what the football team is going to accomplish in the next few years, it’s going to be a good place for me.”
Hagerup plans to decide in September, and if his choice is not Michigan, Rich Rodriguez may hit panic mode for a 2010 punter. For now, Hagerup is the #1 and only priority, but Sadler or another option could come back into the picture.
Michigan maintains its lead for PA CB Cullen Christian ($, info in header). MI WR commit Jeremy Jackson is changing HS positions. BUT TO WHAT, JEREMY? [Editor's note: just about has to be TE, no?] (HT: mgoboard member hailtothevictors08). TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins may be the best player in the north DFW area. Josh Furman's official visit will be for the ND game. Talbotts and Brandon Ifill enjoy respective visits, Talbott the CB has now been offered.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of OH OL Christian Pace, OH S Kurtis Drummond and OH RB Andre Givens, articles on IL WR Kyle Prater, FL OL Torrian Wilson (second), MN OL Seantrel Henderson, MI LB Daniel Easterly, OH OL commit Christian Pace, DE RB Jamaal Jackson, FL CB Tony Grimes, MI DE Will Gholston, MD RB Zach Zwinak, TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, GA CB Darius Robinson (more, yet more), CA RB Dietrich Riley (second), SC S Bashaud Breeland, FL QB Jeffrey Godfrey, TN QB Barry Brunetti, OH WR commit DJ Williamson, MI LB Daniel Easterly (second), OH TE Alex Smith, OH LB commit Antonio Kinard, MI QB Devin Gardner, MI RB Austin White.
Added OH CB Terry Talbott, FL LB Justin Wilson, OH OL Travis Jackson, OH OL Matt Rotheram.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. This is late and thus even bulkier than normal; there's just a lot more information floating out there these days and it's getting tough to track all this on the regular. In any case…
To the right: OH WR commit DJ (or "Deaver" or "D'Aver"; maybe I'll just call him Deathbacker, too) Williamson winning the Ohio state championship in the 100 M, as a junior. (It was a 10.90 into a headwind.) He's fast. Let's hope he can play football.
More kids Michigan had chucked offers at but had little shot at go off the board; you can observe them above if you care. Only one guy that had come in for any mention around these parts makes an exit, but it's a disappointing and surprising one: the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay committed to Oklahoma over the weekend.
Which WTF? When last we left Clay he had scheduled officials in the fall and was telling Tom this:
TOM: What’s all this I’ve been hearing about you and Michigan?
BRENNAN: There’s been a lot lately. I really like them a lot right now.
That turned into this:
"I kind of misled him earlier in the week," Clay said. "I wanted to make it a full on surprise but I told him I was narrowing decisions down. I think he thought it was going to be a top three, top five kind of deal.
"When I told him I was committing I think he said four or five times how excited he was. I'm pretty sure he has a great feeling going through his spine still."
What about my spine, eh? Doesn't anyone ever think of my spine? Anyway, that was almost immediately followed by Tate Forcier telling his facebook legions to ping Clay on behalf of M, which I'm betting is some sort of NCAA violation.
So… I'm leaving him on the board for now, just because this has the air of something that might be less than permanent, and Clay seems like one of those guys who changes his mind frequently. But even so Michigan's chances went from like 40% to like 2%. Lame!
This seemed inevitable as soon as OH TE Alex Smith took a BBQ visit and started talking about taking stadium tours across the country, and now it is official:
Lakota West High junior TE Alex Smith said this morning, June 9, that he will reopen his recruiting process.
One Cincinnati fan has a This Week In Schadenfreude-worthy response to all that:
Let me remind everybody that this is the same guy who said that he wanted to start a trend of hometown talent staying home and attending UC. And then he goes and commit treason, yea I said it TREASON, it's that serious when Rich Rod the SNAKE has been snaking our recruits from us since BK has gotten hear, the snake got one of our recruits to decommit from us last year right before signing, and then this.
Smith evidently has some interest, but it'll be a while before it's clear how much. A camp visit would be a very good sign.
War on the floor
Camps and combines continue apace, with the Champaign Nike camp of particular interest, as it featured a wide array of targets and commits. Michigan kids were "the story" of the camp according to Bill Kurelic. Amongst them was QB commit Devin Gardner. Various reports on his performance follow. Kurelic:
Gardner started a bit slow, but by the end of the camp was throwing very well. He showed a strong arm throwing the out pattern.
University of Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) is a carbon copy of Bolden in terms of build. He is a tall and intimidating signal-caller who delivers the football to the right spot as the receiver is making his break. He needs to polish his technical skills but is quick and athletic with a strong arm.
This camp also served as the Elite 11 tryout for everyone who showed; Gardner didn't win the MVP, which went to three-star Illinois commit Chandler Whitmer, but if he's even in the ballpark with pro-style guys—and it sounds like he's getting there—when it comes to sitting in the pocket throwing outs that is major win when you put him in a situation where he can kidney-punch linebackers en route to the endzone. Gardner was an Elite 11 ballboy last year; hopefully he gets an invite this year, if only for the instruction.
MI RB Austin White was the RB MVP:
RB, Austin White, 6-0, 189, Livonia (Mich.) Stevenson
White is one of the more versatile 'backs seen on the 2009 NFTC tour to this point. Blessed with a solid 6-foot frame that should be able to easily carry 210-220 pounds in college, White is also light of foot and very smooth with the football in his hands. Is also one of the top pass-catching and route-running backs in the country
Kurelic on White:
White was the top running back at the camp. He flashed his excellent speed, has a powerful looking frame and can catch the ball.
IL WR Kyle Prater also remains very, very good:
He is on the brink of being one of the top skilled athletes in the country. Prater is smooth and fluid in his routes and absolutely towers over the secondary -- standing 6-5. Prater can separate from defensive backs with his quickness and speed. He snags the football out of the air with his long arms and big, soft hands. It was no surprise that Prater made several acrobatic, reach-back receptions during the camp.
Prater named USC, Oklahoma, and Illinois as a top three recently but Gardner's apparently working on him and in other spots he claims no leaders from his group of ten. MI DE Will Gholston also came in for the usual amount of praise. Perhaps more interesting is this bit from Rivals on a guy who stood up to him:
But after the one-on-ones started, the attention quickly turned to the guy who was dominating Gholston in those battles – offensive lineman Connor Kruse of Lowell (Mich.) High.
Not much was known about Kruse heading into the camp – he wasn't even in the Rivals.com recruiting database until just recently – but after handling Gholston in one-on-ones and looking solid in drill work, he's a name to remember.
"I have one offer from Western Michigan," said Kruse, who is 6-4 and 280 pounds. "I'm hoping a camp like this will help get me on the map even more. I wanted to test myself against the best, and [Gholston] was supposed to be the best. I think I handled him quite well. You saw he didn't want anything to do with me when it was time again. He backed away from me."
Oh snap. Might be a guy to watch if he comes to Michigan's camp.
More on a couple other attendees in another section.
Here's a complaint I thought we'd never get around to this recruiting cycle: what's with Michigan not offering a couple of instate prospects? MI DT Jonathan Hankins plays a spot Michigan has few other prospects at, had an Oklahoma offer, and now sports another tres shiny letter:
Detroit Southeastern defensive tackle Johnathon Hankins added an offer from Ohio State recently.
Ohio State now leads, pending some sort of Michigan response. That almost has to come at Michigan's summer camp, doesn't it? Hankins grew up a Michigan fan and a couple of premium insider sorts claim he's highly likely to drop when (if?) he gets that camp offer.
Hankins also showed at that Nike camp:
Hankins is a true power-rusher who is difficult to stalemate. He has a great motor but needs to expand his repertoire of pass-rush techniques.
Apparently the major holdup on Michigan's part is that Hankins is carrying a lot of cheeseburgers around and Michigan would like to see him in better shape before they offer, which is beginning to happen.
Meanwhile, Cass Tech S/LB/maybe DE Daniel Easterly has his own set of swank offers:
Easterly said he landed a scholarship offer from UCLA right before leaving for Illinois, which was offer No. 18. Easterly anticipates offer No. 19 coming soon from Cincinnati. Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Syracuse, Alabama and Kentucky are among the other schools to offer Easterly.
Michigan has yet to join them, possibly because they're not quite sure what you do with a 6'5" 200 pound guy in their new Greg Robinson defense. Right now he's a safety, but many are projecting a move:
Daniel Easterly (Detroit/Cass Tech) played safety during his junior season, and feels that is where he will likely play in college. However, the 6-foot-5 and 200-pound Easterly said some recruiters have mentioned a move to outside linebacker if he gets big enough in the next couple of years. For that to happen, Easterly has a way to go. In shirts and shorts, it was easy to see how lean Easterly is. He is nowhere close to linebacker size at this point.
So. There's all that. Right now Illinois is the tentative favorite:
"I don't have a favorite yet, but I'm starting to look more to Illinois," Easterly said. "I like everything about Illinois. I like the coaching staff and the players. I like how they play. I like how their secondary plays. The coaches have told me I would play safety, or if I get big enough, Will (weak side) linebacker."
Michigan's new 4-3 under protects the WLB and loves LB/safety hybrids so that's where Easterly could fit. He believes an offer will come:
"I plan to go to Michigan and Ohio State's (football) camps," Easterly said. "Dior [Mathis] and I are going to both. Michigan wants me to come to camp, and then they are going to offer."
One to watch as well, mmm. [/yoda]
Hey: This Is Useful
This may be the most interesting and useful recruit evaluation I've seen. It's Rivals AMP on the commitment of OH OL Christian Pace:
"It seems like every play he's putting someone into the ground," says the Rivals guy, and there is plenty more effusive praise for his latest film; the implication is that he's likely to move into the four-star range but for his smallish frame. This limits his pro potential, which Rivals does consider in their rankings.* The overall impression is that despite his limitations, Pace will get a rankings boost in their next re-rank.
One of Rivals' small complaints—Pace's time to field—should be mitigated by his plan to enroll early. More about Pace's ability to turn you into a tulip:
"He enjoys physical play and is a real versatile big, strong kid," Dlugosz said. "He has exceptionally quick feet. … "He finishes his blocks," Dlugosz said. "If he locks on you, he's going to put you into the ground."
I was already enthused about Pace's commitment, and this stuff only heightens it.
*(This, by the way, is something I find totally reasonable. It's a potential sanity check and an excellent metric to use. It does mean that certain systems, like the spread 'n' shred, will find their overall rankings depressed a bit because they prioritize different things than your typical NFL team.)
That Thing No One Believes: Not True!
CA RB/S Dietrich Riley did not commit to Tennessee, not that anyone thought that he had. Guy hasn't even been to UT. Nevertheless, The Smokey Chomp clears this up and offers a tantalizing nublet of information:
Riley, who claims 15 offers but not a top school, says Michigan is recruiting the hardest.
What schools does Riley plan to visit this summer? “Tennessee, so I can meet the new staff and build a relationship with them. Also Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida if they offer, Oklahoma, Alabama, and I plan to attend the USC Rising Stars camp."
Riley's been dynamite at camps…
"He was incredible," Campbell said. "We've seen some great backs this year, guys like Marcus Lattimore, Roy Finch and all the guys at the USC camp but Riley is the best kid I've seen. He's a beast with size, speed and moves and he plays with an edge to him."
…but in protesting his willingness to head out of state he sort of confirms the likelihood he'll stay in state:
"I know right now a lot of people think I'm mainly looking at just USC and UCLA but I'm open to some out of state schools too. I'm going to go through the recruiting process and take my time before I make my decision."
I hold out some moderate hope here; the visit will tell all.
Mr. Henderson has a tentative list:
"Right now it is not official, but I like Minnesota, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida and LSU. There are some other schools, but that would be my top choices right now."
And he would like you to know, pro-style folk, that he will not be swayed by that pitch:
"I want to know the teams' depth chart and who they have coming in. I want to know if they are going to have a nice quarterback and who else they have on the offensive line. Then just being comfortable around the team and on campus, and finding a school where I can be at for the next four years, or maybe even five. I can play in any offense, and distance from home doesn't really matter."
Etc.: GA CB Darius Robinson is almost definitely headed to Miami; Clemson leads for SC S Bashaud Breeland, another guy high on my list of "recruits who could be from Dune"; FL OL Torrian Wilson drops Tennessee from his top five… in favor of FIU. lolz. DE RB Jamaal Jackson picks up three offers… from I-AA schools. I doubt his offer is "commitable," as they say.
Uh… Kurelic headlines an article "Bucks, Lions to battle for [PA RB/LB Zach] Zwinak" and ends it with "Zwinak does not plan to select a college in the near future and says he has no favorites."
This guy thinks Tennessee will offer and get TN QB Barry Brunetti, who's basically Tajh Boyd. Way to go, Kiffin!