"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of FL QB Jeffery Godfrey, FL CB Tony Grimes, OH OL Christian Pace, OH S Latwan Anderson, articles on FL WR OJ Ross, FL CB TC Robinson, FL OL Torrian Wilson, MI DE Will Gholston, DC LB Javarie Johnson.
Removed LA S Ronnie Vinson (dropped M).
Here's another top 150, this from Athlete Vault. It has Jeremy Jackson(!). SoFlaFootball offers a Pahokee overview. Praise for Rod Smith. Speculation on MN OL Seantrel Henderson. Some links from Varsity Blue. OMG Lemming!
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
LA S Ronnie Vinson is down to a top five that doesn't include M and has gotten the axe; he was a longshot in any case.
Some defensive tackles—hurrah—a corner, a fullback vaguely committed to Washington, and—ack—a wide receiver? Sort of. Though Swigert is currently listed as a wideout, Michigan is recruiting him as a safety and he'll get moved over soon. I don't know much about any of the new guys, but here's a little on Swigert:
"I was pumped up when it [the M offer] came," Swigert said. "It surprised me. Hopefully it will lead to some more big offers."
Swigert has over a dozen offers including Colorado, Cincinnati, Pitt, Indiana and a host of MAC schools. He has no plans to select a college anytime soon.
There's also video at Scouting Ohio.
FL WR OJ Ross is claiming a Michigan offer and has M in his top three:
"Florida's interested in me," proclaimed Ross, "but they haven't offered. I have offers from Texas Tech, Arkansas and Ole Miss this spring. My top three are Arkansas, Michigan and FIU. I like Arkansas, Michigan and Florida International. I've talked to the coach from Arkansas before, he's real cool. I like coach (Rod) Smith at Michigan. FIU is the local school. Close to home and a chance to play. If Florida offers I'm very interested in them."
Ross has since picked up a Texas Tech offer and booted FIU; he plans on camping at Florida and Georgia, too. I don't think this one is going anywhere and an offer from a big school in the south will knock M out of contention.
Various Floridians Rumored To Be Ticketed Elsewhere
None of these rise to the level of a "happy trails" reference, with or without a board removal, but the whispers on several prospects have them leaning towards schools that are Not Michigan:
- GridironStuds says FL CB Tony Grimes, who recently picked up a wide array of offers, is looking to decide soon, probably for Miami.
- MGoBlog's own Tom VanHaaren reports that the vibe on FL CB Lo Wood points to Notre Dame. A decision is likely soon; without another visit from Wood it doesn't look likely to go M's way. The sudden flip from M to ND is annoying—mutter mutter Corwin Brown—but Michigan remains in strong position for Cullen Christian, Dior Mathis, and Rashad Knight and shouldn't suffer too much if Wood makes a 40-year mistake.
- FL DT Richard Ash is rumored to be leaning to Florida according to SoFlaFootball.
That SoFlaFootball article also mentions a couple other Pahokee prospects with Michigan offers:
Merrill Noel 2010 CB 5′8″ 160: While Noel is being recruited as a cornerback, look for him to be used a lot inside the box this fall for Pahokee. Noel has great speed and is a physical defender. Noel has a host of offers, the latest being Michigan, but the school to keep a close eye on is Wake Forest.
Zach Allen 2010 LB/DE/TE 6′2″ 180: Allen lines up as a defensive end during the 11-on-11 portion of the practice, where he was fairly active. Allen is lean right now, but in the future should be able to add the weight needed to play at a high level. The Alphonso Smith affect seems to be flowing through Pahokee, as Wake Forest is a school to watch for Allen.
Things You Might Already Know
Let's reiterate the bold print on a couple TomVH prospect interviews from the last week. PA LB/DE Ken Wilkins has Michigan on top of his list and is looking to decide soon:
TOM: Where does Michigan factor into all this, are they near the top, or at the top?
KEN: If I had to name a leader I would say it is Michigan. Once I go up there, if I like it I’ll pull the trigger and commit. I’m talking to my uncle about it, and I think I’ll be up there in about two weeks. I think I fit what they’re trying to do right now, and the coaches that I do know are all great. Everything about Michigan is great, and I could definitely see myself there.
And the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay is swinging back towards Michigan:
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.
Clay also had nice things to say about QB coach Rod Smith in an ESPN piece:
"I would say that coach Smith is one of the best recruiters in the country," running back Brennan Clay (San Diego/Scripps Ranch) said. "I look at him more as a mentor and a friend. He's one of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met. He doesn't just recruit you because of your talent, but because of what you are made of, what's in your heart as a true person."
Lead for Large Men
Michigan is maintaining its lead for FL OL Torrian Wilson:
"They're still No. 1," Wilson said. "It's a football city and everyone in the city loves Michigan and comes out to support Big Blue."
Wilson recently released a top five that didn't even have Miami, the presumed leader until Michigan stepped in, on it, and did have Stanford, which indicates how serious Wilson is about academics and, like, places that are far away. When Wilson visited I mentioned that post-visit leads often fade and that hopes should remain holstered for a couple weeks; now it's a couple weeks later and Wilson's still saying the right things. Unholster thine hopes here.
That article also has a quote on MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the #1 recruit in the country…
It was a late March visit to Michigan, though, that Henderson said he, “loved… more than any other college I've been to so far.”
…but that's recycled from Henderson's earlier trip and shouldn't be added to the moderately-sized pile of positive information we have on him. FWIW, BuckeyePlanet silverback unionfutura says point-blank that Michigan leads for Henderson, though he's right when he says that's like leading the first lap of a marathon.
DC LB Javarie Johnson appears to have a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, and Miami. (The latter has yet to offer). So we know he loves the letter M. Thanks to this Webb article in the News, we also know Johnson has a background similar to that of PA DT Sharrif Floyd—tough. Johnson's coach:
"He lives in a tough neighborhood. Like a lot of kids, he is the first one in his family to go to college. He is going to move out of a neighborhood where most of the kids in the area have babies, do drugs, and drop out of school. He loves football so much that he's going to do everything that he needs to do to play."
Johnson visited Michigan earlier and reports back thusly:
"(The visit) went great," Johnson said, referring to his time in Ann Arbor. "Everything went great with the coaches and everybody. I met Coach Rodriguez and Coach Dews (receivers coach Tony Dews). They're good people. They offered me right before I left. The thing that stood out there was definitely the stadium. That's bigger than NFL stadiums."
If you want to read between the lines—and we do!—Johnson's quotes on Michigan State contain the word "good," not great, and there was that Dunbar assistant who mistook enthusiasm for a commitment. I have the vague impression Michigan is in pretty good shape here, but Johnson plans a June visit to Miami. That's is a long way to go without an offer, and indicates serious interest on his part. He plans on deciding over the summer, so that trip—or the lack of one—looks likely to be the determining factor.
Sidenote: odd that Illinois isn't a factor here, given their DC dominance of late.
OMG LEMMING OMG LEMMING
This blog's longstanding opinion on Tom Lemming is that he was just one guy—which made his rankings considerably flakier than lists compiled by many educated opinions—with had a huge slant towards prospects he liked for their geography, personality, or desire to go to Notre Dame. As such, it's usually ignored his rankings. No more, though! WOO LEMMING:
"It's a very good year [for the state of Michigan]. I'll probably have two players from Michigan in my top 10. (Quarterback) Devin Gardner (Inkster) is the real thing. He has an NFL body. William Gholston (Detroit Southeastern) has long arms, quick feet and a good burst. It's a good year for defensive ends and he's right there with the best of them."
Yes, the implication is top ten nationally.
But seriously folks: though I'd much rather the situation was reversed and Gardner was top ten on Rivals and (relatively) dissed by Lemming, I'll take any exuberant praise for a commit.
Elsewhere in prospect rankings of indeterminate value, Athlete Vault put out a top 150 a couple months ago I just ran across. Relevant persons (ie: players M is heavily involved with; there are a ton of targets on the list):
2. Seantrel Henderson
43. Will Gholston
50. Marvin Robinson
58. Ricardo Miller
78. Devin Gardner
104. Jeremy Jackson(!)
113. Dior Mathis
118. Torrian Wilson
FWIW. Jackson so high actually reduces my faith in the list given how negative the other sites are.
Etc.: Video of FL QB Jeffery Godfrey, who once claimed M as leader but now seems more likely to stay in-state; MI RB Austin White picks up an LSU offer; Rivals AMP on OH S Latwan Anderson, but no news; AMP on OH OL Christian Pace, who claims no favorites; fluff on Gholston.
Update 5/2: Linked to articles on FL WR DeJoshua Johnson(second), FL RB Roy Finch, SC RB Marcus Lattimore (second, third), FL S Daunte Carr(second), OH DE Jibreel Black, LA S Ronnie Vinson, MD LB Troy Gloster($), FL QB Christian Green, FL CB Travis Williams, FL WR Chris Dunkley, MD LB Josh Furman (and PA QB Malik Stokes). Video of PA DE Dakota Royer, MI QB Devin Gardner, MN OL Seantrel Henderson, IA QB AJ Derby, TX LB Corey Nelson. Moved LA WR Drew Dileo to committed.
Removed MD WR Adrian Coxson(PSU), FL WR DeJoshua Johnson.
Added PA WR Andrew Carswell, FL CB Rashad Knight, GA CB Jonathan Mincy, PA LB Jordan Paskorz, MD S Lorenzo Waters, NJ RB Tony Jones, UT DT Ricky Heimuli($), MD S Michael Coley, MD S Lorenzo Waters.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
MD WR Adrian Coxson committed to Penn State, which is obviously not a big deal since he is an outside WR and Michigan has four of those in the class already.
I wasn't going to take FL WR DeJoshua Johnson (of Pahokee!) off the board just yet since this report comes from a source I'm unfamiliar with…
Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft.
…but I pretty much believe these guys since a recruit getting down to a top three is a crazy thing to lie about and the conventional wisdom on Johnson matches up with those final three schools. (Also, Johnson might want to check on what Oklahoma State runs before making any rash decisions.) Then came this article and this interview that confirmed, so he's gone.
Also destined to leave the board at some point in the future is PA DE Dakota Royer. He's made a number of visits to schools across the Midwest but hasn't stopped by Michigan. In this Rivals AMP video it's clear that Penn State is a considerable favorite:
Unless Royer makes it to campus in the near future—there are no plans to do so at the moment—he'll probably drop Michigan whenever he comes out with a shortlist.
Um, no seriously
MI QB commit Devin Gardner put in an appearance at a camp and, uh, had an interesting go of it:
But Gardner didn’t come looking to impress with his quarterback skills. Instead the super athlete stressed he was looking to impress everyone with his ability as a wide receiver and overall player.
Gardner would take a few snaps as a quarterback but he also took part in all the testing and had one of the top forty times by posting a 4.57 electronic timed forty. Gardner didn’t disappoint anyone and took home overall combine MVP honors.
Uh, I guess it's good Gardner's such a kickin' athlete he can crush a combine at any number of different positions, but no thanks on the position switch. Though that 4.57 isn't in the realm of Florida's FAKE (FAKE! FAKE!) 40 board, these things take place under highly variable conditions. An electronic 4.57 in a 6'4" beast QB is plenty fast. All you need to know about his athleticism is this: showed up at a combine, screwed around at a variety of positions, got overall combine MVP. The end.
Throwing motion? What throwing motion?
Elsewhere in combines, both PA CB Cullen Christian and PA CB Brandon Ifill had good days at the Penn State combine:
Defensive back Cullen Christian (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills) may not get as much publicity as his teammate, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ifill, but it was Christian who came away from the camp with honors. Ifill did a nice job Saturday and showed why he has scholarship offers from multiple BCS schools. But Christian was even better and was named the camp's defensive back MVP.
I was under the impression Christian was a solid four star sort, but a couple reports like this indicate he was trending towards anonymous three star and is now moving up into the four-star range.
Dual freak linebackers
MD LB Josh Furman did this:
Josh Furman (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) may have had the single best outing out of any prospect on this year's Under Armour combine tour. He posted a wind-aided 4.39 40-yard dash, a 42 inch vertical jump, a 4.12 short shuttle and a modest broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. His 16 reps of 185 pounds were also very impressive and a bit surprising given his longer, rangier frame (6-foot-2, 192 pounds).
Daaaang. You can commence the feeding frenzy. A teams are about to make it rain offers. Furman maintains not even the hint of a leader and has been backed off from green to yellow as the initial excitement of the Michigan offer fades and Furman realizes he can go just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, DC LB Javarie Johnson, he of the erroneous post-visit commitment report, also appears to be a guy who's using the combine circuit to shoot his stock through the roof:
…on the hoof, there might not have been a better-looking prospect. Johnson is tall (almost 6-foot-4) with a frame that looks like it was carved out of clay for an outside linebacker. He is long and lean but is also layered with chiseled muscle and looks far thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at.
ESPN says Johnson "could be the next big star to come out of Dunbar." Too bad that commit report was erroneous.
PA QB Malik Stokes—the younger brother of incoming WR Je'Ron Stokes—also gets a mention:
During seven-on-seven, offenses were run out of the spread, allowing quarterbacks to display their passing skills in the short-to-intermediate range. Stokes did not disappoint. He started off a bit rusty -- showing inconsistent accuracy -- but warmed up quickly, hitting receivers in stride and making sound decisions. His touch was very good.
He's switching high schools so he can throw a bit more. Pitt's offered and Stokes claims interest from a number of BCS programs, so a Michigan offer isn't out of the question down the road. Buuut:
He completed a few downfield throws but we do not see pocket-passing arm strength or the requisite size for the next level.
Another Scout report says he could be a really really good… CUSA or MAC QB. Stokes is going to need a big senior year to get a Michigan offer.
Long fluffy-style article on MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn't have a lot of news—he plans on deciding on or near Signing Day—but does have this tantalizing quote:
"The only way for Seantrel to lose that No. 1 spot is if he decides to not play football," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals based in Athens, Ga. "We haven't seen anybody better to make a change. He's definitely a five-star player who will make a major impact in college."
Michigan figures to be in the top five when that time comes.
Excitement about TX LB Corey Nelson, the teammate of TX RB commit Tony Drake who named Michigan his leader a couple weeks ago, should deflate:
"I don't really have a top five but A&M is my top school right now." However, Nelson does plan to make official visits.
Nelson appears to be one of those guys like Sam Montgomery who has a new leader every day, so Michigan's not out of it. The thing to watch for now is potential visit plans.
Okay, so there's this article about FL S commit Marvin Robinson title "Michigan commit considering Canes"($); commence swine-flu-level unnecessary panic. Unfortunately, after the events of last year we can't just laugh it off, but all the insiders remain extremely confident. I'm choosing to spend my time running around screaming "AAAAAAAARRRGH AAAAAARGH DEATH" worrying about Michigan's safety situation this fall. Will inform if my fear increases beyond miniscule here.
Etc.: CA RB Brennan Clay picks up an Oklahoma offer. Freep thing on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has one thing of note, this quote from his coach: "He can turn punts into long gains." Webb article on FL QB Christian Green for some reason; he's almost definitely ticketed for FSU. Michigan is in LA S Ronnie Vinson's top six.