...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Latwan on the Table
Aside from MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the most notable 2010 prospect to not sign a letter of intent so far is OH S Latwan Anderson. The message boards are all abuzz with the final list of schools he's considering: USC, West Virginia, Ohio State, and... Michigan?
He doesn't currently hold a committable offer, and wouldn't get one unless he were to visit campus. Even then, it's a question of whether there is room in the class for another prospect, and whether Rich Rodriguez is willing to take a second behavioral risk after last week's Dorsey-gate.
Anderson is visiting USC soon, and we'll se if Michigan makes an effort to get him on campus. Until he takes a visit, Michigan's chance with him is holding steady at zero.
Though the 2010 class is wrapped up (barring any late surprises like Anderson), news about preferred walkons is just starting to come to the forefront.
MI WR Baquer Sayed will join the Wolverines as preferred walkon, despite garnering offers from MAC schools and interest from some BCS programs. Last winter, the Detroit News profiled him, and here's a breakdown of his game from Scout.com's Allen Trieu:
“I think, as a high school receiver, Sayed could be the best in the state. [College] Prospect wise, [Jeremy] Jackson brings a little more size and Banks brings a little more explosiveness. However, I think Sayed has the best ball skills of the three.”
Sayed is the crown jewel of the walkon class so far, garnering three stars from Rivals.
MI K Jeremy Ross will walk on in Ann Arbor:
Two Pioneer players also plan to walk-on college programs in the fall. Jeremy Ross, a first-team AP Division 1 kicker, at Michigan and Omari Robinson, an offensive lineman, at Grand Valley State.
MI TE Dylan Esterline from Blissfield (pictured at right) will join Michigan in the fall, as either a tight end or defensive end:
“(Being a walk-on) will make me go up there with a little bit of an extra fire,” said Esterline, who had 21 catches for 384 yards and four touchdowns last fall for Blissfield. “I know it’s going to be a challenge. The coaches are really good with walk-ons. Coach (Rich) Rodriguez was a walk-on at West Virginia and has a place in his heart for them.”
That quote also gives a pretty good indication of the importance Rich Rodriguez puts on the walkon program.
Tate Forcier's former teammate, CA LB Quintin Tucker, has been planning to walk on in Ann Arbor for quite some time now, and made it official ($, info in header) shortly after Signing Day. Like Sayed, he held some small-time offers, but chose to pay his own way in Ann Arbor instead. He played DE in high school, but has size more suited to the linebacker position. If he can get a little faster, that's probably where he'll play in Ann Arbor. Highlights:
This is definitely not a comprehensive list of preferred walkons, and we'll continue bringing updates as they become available.
This should be a somewhat-hectic update, since 2011 prospects were neglected last week due to Signing Day 2010. Things should calm down again in the next couple weeks, and the 2011 recruiting primer is coming soon.
OH QB Braxton Miller does not have Michigan in his top 5:
In addition to Ohio State, Alabama and Florida, Miller said he was also seriously considering Georgia and Notre Dame right now.
The Wolverines are a longshot for him, but he'll remain on the board until he starts trimming down the list. In the 2011 recruiting prospectus, I'll give a little more clarity on Michigan's needs at QB in the class.
I removed SC QB Everett Golson, who committed to North Carolina.
The Wolverines have offered MI RB Justice Hayes ($, info in header). Though he grew up a Spartans fan, the Michigan offensive system is a better fit for his skill set. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in his recruitment.
Michigan is showing interest in FL WR Sammy Watkins, from South Fort Myers high school. Other schools that have been in to see Watkins include Ohio State, USC, Florida, LSU and a number of other high-profile schools. The 6-2, 190-pounder runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, and will be a top prospect nationally.
Michigan has offered IL WR DaVaris Daniels, the son of former NFLer Phillip Daniels.
Though he's been thought of as a Michigan lean for quite some time, MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has the Wolverines outside his top 3. USC, Notre Dame, and State lead, with the Wolverines in a group of 5 following that top group. Tom says not to read too much into it yet.
Midnight Maize, perhaps best known for their photoshop work on MGoBoard, recently interviewed AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena (hell of a name, that), who holds a Michigan offer. Yrure… Yrureta… that guy attends Chapparal, the same school that provided Michigan with Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan last year. Greatest hits:
I'm planning on taking a visit to Michigan ASAP and Taylor said he'd be my host or whatever. I'm really looking forward to it because Michigan is my favorite school with Oregon.
Nastyness, finishes blocks, fast, technically sound, good pass blocking, strong punch, wide base. Everyone can always improve but I'd like to get a lot stronger, and faster. I didn't let up a sack this season but I'd still like to get better at pass blocking, and keeping a wider base when I run block."
Yruretagoyena (That's going to be fun to type all the time...) plans to decide after his season. Craig Roh's dad posted a little info on the Scout free board:
Talked to a chaparral parent who saw him play all last year and said he is a stud. Started playing late and the light bulb "went on" during the season. Expect great things from him....and this guy knows how to evaluate players. We should have a good shot at him with Craig and Taylor both knowing him. the Chaparral to Michigan pipeline for the top kids should be pretty strong.
Take it FWIW.
OH OL Aundrey Walker, a product of Ted Ginn Sr.'s Glenville program, now holds an offer from the Wolverines. As per usual, it will be tough to break the scarlet fence around that high school.
Rivals is high on MI OL Anthony Zettel after he impressed at the BadgerSports Lineman Challenge. They also mention that the Wolverines are the team to beat for Anthony. Check out the link for a breakdown of his performance; Zettel is in Rivals's initial 250 watch list.
FL DT Tim Jernigan (pictured at right) is among the top prospects nationally, and though he's almost certainly ticketed for Gainesville, Michigan is in his top 5:
Michigan — "I met some of the coaches. It seems like a pretty good program. It's a place I'd like to look into more."
It sounds like he wants to visit, and anytime the coaches can get a kid on campus, there's a chance. The monstrous defensive line haul the Gators brought in last year might help challengers with Jernugan, as well.
Michigan (and Boston College and Nebraska) offered OH DT Kevin Williams from Toledo:
"I'm very interested in all three," Williams said. "I'm also interested in Notre Dame, Florida State and Ohio State. At this time I really don't have a favorite. All the schools are great."
MGoBlog's own TomVH interviewed Williams, who will make an early decision, and is currently high on the Wolverines. Check out the interview for all the details.
According to MGoBlog's own TomVH, Michigan leads for OH DE Robert Mincey, even though he hasn't received an offer yet.
Michigan offered MI DE Brennen Beyer. This is sort of old news, but I've been focusing on the 2010 class over the past couple weeks, so it hasn't found its way into a recruiting update yet. Beyer is expected at Michigan's junior day on the 20th, and may make an early decision.
TX DE Nathan Hughes is also holding an offer from the Wolverines, though he'll be a tough pull. Texas is expected to offer this weekend, which could result in a commitment. Hughes does come from the same high school as Terrence Robinson and Mark Ortmann.
Rich Rodriguez traveled to Springfield High School a couple weeks ago to drop in on OH LB Trey DePriest:
The business of football recruiting — and don’t be fooled, this is a business — is in full swing, and high-profile college coaches from across the country wanted to make sure Trey DePriest knew they were in town.
Trey is a huge priority in the class of 2011, and I believe he's planning to attend the next Michigan junior day (more on that as the February 20th date approaches). A little additional fluffy stuff and a troubling development in his recruitment from the same article:
DePriest is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior linebacker with terrific football instincts, natural speed and strength and a handshake that rivals the strongest grip. He’s 16 years old and he bench-pressed 185 pounds 28 times at a recent combine.
That’s not all these colleges see, though. His grades are good, and he’s kept a level head throughout this process. He’s visiting Alabama this weekend with assistant coach John Cupps.
That was a couple weekends ago.
When Michigan dropped in to Boyd Anderson High School before Signing Day, they were looking not only at Demar Dorsey, but also his 2011 teammate, FL LB Kent Turene. I've added him to the recruiting board, and you can check out his film from SoFlaFootball at the link. Tom has an interview with Turene coming up today.
Though Tyler Moore holds a Michigan offer, he has committed to Nebraska, where his father played (and where he'll enroll early). However, that hasn't stopped Michigan from showing interest in his teammate, FL S Alex Dixon.
The headlines make it pretty obvious, but Michigan is at or near the top of the list for two Ohio prospects. OL Brandon Jackson "has Michigan high," and Michigan might lead for ATH Rico Butler, given that headlines asking questions on recruiting sites are almost always answered with "yes." Both articles are $, but the money shots are in the titles.
TN QB/slot/DB/ATH Jabriel Washington holds a Michigan offer, according to Tom. No word on what position Michigan's coaches would like to see him play, but his film is impressive on both sides of the ball:
I don't even know where to put the kid on the recruiting board for now. I guess QB, until we get further clarity where the coaches want him.
Recruiting Boards of note:
Davion Rogers, Jake Ryan, and Delonte Hollowell Go Blue
Yay, commit-a-palooza! OH LBs Davion Rogers and Jake Ryan are in the current recruiting class, and both are linebackers who :gasp: play linebacker in high school! Rogers is a tall guy who may eventually play defensive end if he can put on the necessary weight. Ryan looks like a true middle linebacker, though he's apparently been told that the coaches are looking at him as a "pass-rushing outside linebacker," which sounds like the Quick position. MGoBlog doesn't buy that since that would make about eight guys in the class destined for one position.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell is a cornerback who hails from Detroit's Cass Tech high school, but won't join the Wolverines until 2011. Small in stature, he has drawn comparisons to former Wolverine Boubacar Cissoko. Delonte is still a long way from campus, but if you want to know more about him, check out the Hello: Delonte Hollowell post.
- GA QB/S Blake Sims has recommitted to Alabama. He decommitted from the Tide last week, and had been considering Michigan.
- CA RB Dillon Baxter reopened his commitment last week, but last night he recommitted to the Trojans on local TV.
- CA RB Brennan Clay will stick with Oklahoma.
- NJ OL Jake Kaufman committed to USF. He hadn't been involved in Michigan's recruiting plans for quite some time.
- FL OL Torrian Wilson committed to Louisville (after decommitting from USF). It doesn't seem like Michigan is going to bust their tails to get him to visit.
- TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum has solidified his verbal commitment to Arkansas, and doesn't appear to be an option anymore.
- FL DE Clarence Murphy looks like he'll stick with Maryland, as Michigan won't heavily pursue him to land Tony Grimes. For his part FL CB Tony Grimes is still considering Michigan, but looks like a longshot.
- As expected, GA LB Michael Taylor committed to Florida after switching from Tennessee.
- MI CB Dior Mathis will play for Oregon.
- OH S Latwan Anderson is committed to West Virginia.
- MD S Lorenzo Waters committed to Rutgers.
With the recruiting class almost completely full, it's time for a little cleaning on the board. A bunch of guys who haven't committed elsewhere, or would otherwise still be possibilities, will be removed. That includes:
FL RB Cassius McDowell, DE RB Jamaal Jackson, OH RB Demetrus Johnson, MI OL Jarhaur Jackson, IL OL Andrew Schofield (South Dakota commit), MD DE David Mackall, MI LB Austin Gray (Iowa commit), FL CB TC Robinson, OH S Bobby Swigert (Boston College commit).
Some of those guys don't have many D-1 offers, and are potential preferred walk-on candidates, but the ones committed to BCS programs will definitely stick with those schools.
And it All Means?
With the above guys taken off the board, there are very few bodies left as options for Michigan. Those would be:
- CA S Sean Parker: He visited USC over the weekend, and will take a final visit to Washington before his decision.
- FL S Rashad Knight: He told mgoblog's own TomVH that he truly enjoyed his visit, and Tom speculates that the Wolverines are now #1.
- FL S Demar Dorsey: a cousin of Denard Robinson, rumor has it that Florida is getting frustrated with his wandering eyes, and is considering revocation of his offer. Dorsey is pictured at right.
A few guys, like FL WR De'Joshua Johnson, have mentioned taking visits to Ann Arbor, but it's highly unlikely that anyone else signs with the Wolverines unless another sleeper or two emerges.
Guru Loves Us, Guru Loves Us Not
Post all-star lists have been published and it's been a long time since I can remember such a difference of opinion between the sites on Michigan's recruits. Devin Gardner got the boot from the Rivals 100 and Cullen Christian dipped to 99; on that site he's Michigan's only top 100 recruit. Gardner sticks at 132 and is the only other Michigan recruit in their top 250. Three others (Ash, Robinson, and Wilkins) get four stars, but that's it. Michigan is 19th in their rankings largely because of class size. To Rivals, this is the worst Michigan recruiting class since people started tracking these things systematically.
Scout, on the other hand, peppers their top 300 with Michigan recruits:
43. Devin Gardner
56. Cullen Christian
98. Josh Furman
155. Austin White
167. Ricardo Miller
201. Marvin Robinson
258. Jerald Robinson
If Sean Parker signs with Michigan he would be a fourth top 100 kid at #81. That's about an average haul for Michigan, and Scout has M in about the range they usually are: Michigan ranks #9 in their rankings right now. They've got a big class and are close to full, so that's a ranking you expect to see drop and grudgingly concede is a bit overrated—team recruiting rankings don't do a good job of accounting for opportunity costs—but after the last two years I'll take a top-ten-ish recruiting class and run.
At MGoBlog, the correct guru is always the one that favors Michigan, so one point for Scout this year.
Side note: at least it's been an off year for Ohio State, too. They've got a small class and a better star average than M at Rivals but are currently 24th(!) in their rankings. Penn State is this year's undisputed Big Ten recruiting champion.
That is what I am calling new fourth-string QB Conelius Jones. Yes. Yes. AnnArbor.com did a story on the oddly named recruit* that indicates he can't throw worth a lick…
"What I look at when I see him, guys that have come through like Woody Dantzler at Clemson, Pat White," Spartanburg coach Freddie Brown said. "Athletic quarterback, pull it down, run it, throw it guy. He can be a 50-50 (run-pass) guy. A guy that probably runs it a little bit better than he throws it, but Conelius can throw it, too."
…and that he's open to whatever, man:
“I’m a quarterback," Jones said. "But I wouldn’t have any problem with not being” one.
Coner 2000 is about the most guaranteed redshirt in the recruiting class; we'll see how he develops. That Cutcliffe offer from Duke is more appealing than your average Duke offer is, but I bet one dollar he ends up somewhere else.
*(Months after MGoUser Clarence Beeks reported back that this kid apparently didn't have the R in his name that every recruiting site and newspaper said he did, this story makes the same understandable gaffe. I don't blame them at all. "Conelius" cries out for an R. If someone was named Elizaeth no one would ever get their name right, either.)
[/end editor bits]
As noted above, MI CB Delonte Hollowell has become member #2 of the 2011 recruiting class. It's a little too soon to speculate on class composition until after Signing Day, but that's already two DBs following what looks like a very DB-heavy 2010 class.
Potentially adding to that is OH S Ron Tanner, who currently favors Michigan ($, info in header).
Moving along to non-DB news, SC RB Demetrius Williams is now holding an offer from the Wolverines. Despite that, Michigan is a longshot to land him:
“(Growing up) I had three favorite schools,” he said. “I liked (South) Carolina, Clemson and Florida. I really prefer to go to Carolina. If I get an offer from Carolina that is probably where I’m going to go.”
At this point, it looks like a token offer. Bamberg-Ehrhardt has pumped out a bunch of talent in the past few years, and Michigan's coaches may simply be trying to get their foot in the door.
Butler High School outside of Charlotte, NC is perennially stocked with talent, and has a long-standing relationship with Michigan, as the Butler coaches work the Wolverines' summer camps, and guys like Jamar Adams have gone from Butler to Ann Arbor (to the NFL). The class of 2011 appears to be a special one at Butler, with 6 BCS-caliber prospects, including at least two Michigan will try to land:
*Christian LeMay, QB: A national talent of the first order. “I don’t even count his offers anymore,” Newsome said. “He can get one from any school he’s interested in, from Alabama on down.”
*Kris Frost, LB: Another player expected to be recruited on a national scale, he’s received his first written offer, from North Carolina. But he also has a few verbals, including one from Michigan. “He’s always been a Michigan fan; wearing Michigan shorts and T-shirts to practice ever since he started here,” Newsome said. “Any school that wants to beat them will have to work real hard.”
LeMay will be one of the nation's top QBs, and holds a Michigan offer. His dad is the former team chaplain at Florida, however, and he is considered all but a Florida lock. Frost also holds an offer from the Wolverines, so I have added him to the board as well. It certainly sounds like Michigan can land the kid if they go hard after him.
Another linebacker target, OH LB Trey DePriest, hit up Ohio State's junior day over the weekend, instead of heading up to Ann Arbor ($, info in header). He's a very important prospect for Michigan, and hopefully he'll be able to make it to a recruiting event sometime this spring.
Once the class of 2010 is signed (which is shockingly close), I'll start taking a closer look at available scholarships and needs for the 2011 crop.
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.
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 ($, info in header). He currently favors UCLA, Oregon, Kentucky, and North Carolina. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has named 8 schools on top of his recruitment, and Michigan isn't among them. He's bumped down to a Nefarious Eduardo, and is soon to be removed. Removed FL CB Eric Mitchell, who committed to Ole Miss.
Note: In an effort to remove the enormous and uninviting block of text from the top of the recruiting posts, I've excised the recruiting board update from the post itself. It can still be seen on the actual board.
Elsewhere in Committed Prospects...
OH CB Commit Courtney Avery is already known as a multi-talented player: On top of being a defensive back, he's also a startlingly accurate quarterback for his Lexington team. Add a new segment to the resume, as he's also a very accomplished hoopster.
Avery, who originally planned to play football and basketball for Stanford, will focus solely on football at Michigan. Did another national championship leave him second-guessing the decision?
"I'm going to miss basketball, but I'm comfortable with the decision I've made," he said. "This was just a chance to go out and play one final time.
"We started a dynasty together and we wanted to finish it together."
The AAU national championship was his team's third in a row.
Devin Gardner is now a 5-star, and the #4 overall QB on Scout (moves that I predicted would happen, though perhaps not this early). He also passes William Gholston as the #1 in-state prospect.
Cornelius Jones leads Spartanburg to a 13-0 scrimmage victory.
Slightly Longer Shots
AZ S Marquis Flowers "knows two visits he plans to take" ($). Considering the article is written by a staffer from The Wolverine, we can assume that one of those two visits is to Ann Arbor.
Michigan is likely done recruiting running backs unless they can land an elite prospect (i.e. Eduardo Clements), but should they need a backup plan, FL RB Cassius McDowell is probably a good bet. A good friend and former teammate of Denard Robinson, he's the new leader of Deerfield Beach. Also interesting is the fact that the Bucks ran a Wing-T offense last year, but will transition to a spread in 2009. Great timing, guys.
OH S Latwan Anderson has West Virginia, Michigan State, and Georgia atop his list right now, with the Mountaineers leading the way. Michigan seems to have slipped out of his recruitment, though he plans to take his visits before deciding.
CA RB Anthony Barr, who had up to this point had only been on the periphery of Michigan recruiting attention, has included the Wolverines in his final five, along with USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal. He's a big dude at 6-4 and 223 lbs, so perhaps the Wolverines like his upside at linebacker? He won't decide until his football season is completed.
MD LB Josh Furman will definitely take a visit to Ann Arbor, along with planned visits to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl, which The Google Machine says takes place on December 19th.
One of the last remaining players interested in Michigan from the DeMatha contingent is S Lorenzo Waters. He includes Michigan in his top four, along with Maryland (the favorite), Miami (That Miami), and Wake Forest.
Other People's Money (and Four-Stars)
OH TE Alex Smith has been "committed" to Cincinnati since February, but the solidity of that commitment has not been constant over time. At this time, he is in an off-again phase with the Bearcats, and the Wolverines have an opening:
As positive as that experience was, it did not propel the Wolverines over a familiar hurdle of theirs when it comes to recruiting tight ends -- scheme.
Despite the assurances offered, Smith remained skeptical about how prevalent a role the tight end will play in Michigan's new offense...
Michigan's best chance at dispelling what it contends is a common misconception about how it uses tight ends will come on the field this fall. Getting Smith back on campus so he can witness the increased productivity of the current tight end tandem of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb will be a major priority. Smith plans to oblige the request, but he plans to do the same for a few other programs as well.
"In no order I'm liking UNC (prior visit), Michigan (prior visit), Wisconsin (prior visit), Miami, LSU and Kentucky (prior visit)," he reported. "Two or three (will receive visits), for sure. I don't know how many I need to take because after going places, I know what they have to offer and there's no real need to go back. I still want to (make a commitment) pretty early (in the season).
So, it looks like Cincinnati is basically out. As long as Michigan uses the tight end effectively this fall, the Wolverines are probably at the top of Smith's list. Smith is also quoted as saying that Michigan is his mom's #1 choice. HOWEVA, Michigan isn't in Smith's top list in this Kurelic article…
When asked to name his top choices Smith said, "Cincinnati, then Wisconsin, then North Carolina, and Kentucky is in there too."
…though he does list Michigan first when asked what schools he'd like to visit in the near future.
In the Trenches
After the commitment of OH DT Terry Talbott, the need at this position is likely for one more high-level DT.
FL DT Louis Nix, a longtime commit to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, has opened his recruitment. He will officially visit Notre Dame, and will also consider Michigan along with Florida and Florida State.
There is some confusion over the official visits of PA DT Sharrif Floyd. Michigan fans are up in arms that Bill Kurelic wrote an article with Ann Arbor not among his destinations. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet, though, as he sounds less than definite in those plans (emphasis mine):
"I'm going to take all five official visits," Floyd said on Tuesday evening. "I'll probably visit Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida, something like that."
So, less than certain. He's also said in the past that he definitely will not take an official to Penn State, so this can all get quite confusing. For now, I'd say Michigan fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Floyd. Additional fluff on Floyd, noting that he'll play offensive guard this year, along with maybe a bit of linebacker(!).
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, though a top-5 list a couple weeks ago did not include Michigan, FL OL Torrian Wilson has narrowed his list to three, with Miami, Stanford and Michigan remaining. The Wolverines had been his favorite earlier, but Miami has come on strong, and will probably be the team to beat. And let's check out some video from SoFlaFootball, for good measure:
Season preview fluff on OH OL Commit Christian Pace:
Christian Pace, a 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle, was first team All-SWC last year and will attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship in 2010.
He also plays defensive tackle. For the record, that's by far the tallest I've seen him listed (most reports say 6-2ish, though he's listed at 6-3 on the recruiting sites). Avon Lake also scrimmaged against Midview over the weekend (Friday to be precise), and posted a photo gallery on their website. The only good Pace photo from the gallery can be seen at right.
Wrapping up the OL talk is the official visit docket of one Seantrel Henderson. The top OL in the country will take official visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Florida, and Notre Dame. Michigan is absent, as you can see. Not that I think the Wolverines will be added, but I take this list with a grain of salt since it comes from the mouth of his father, not Seantrel himself. It also includes Notre Dame, while Henderson the younger has been adamant for some time that he's not interested in the Irish. Either way, MIchigan is likely no longer a player.
Michigan still leads (still!) for PA teammates Brandon Ifill and Cullen Christian, though Ifill says Maryland is even with the Wolverines. Byrnes wideout Nick Jones wants to make an Ann Arbor visit. Michigan seems to be out of it for OH S Kurtis Drummond. MI DE CJ Olaniyan seems to really like... Oklahoma State?
Removed FL LB Christian Jones. Michigan is outside of his top 6 ($).
FL RB Demetrius Hart confirms that Michigan is his only verbal offer so far, and though he seems to favor Michigan, he no longer plans to make an early decision. He will, however, try to enroll early at the school he ultimately chooses.
FL QB Teddy Bridgewater doesn't really like calling the signals. Does that mean a move back to wideout for college? If so, Michigan interest might not be worthwhile.
Added FL CB Eric Mitchell($).
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.