Boards of note:
Lots of changes on the defensive tackle recruiting front in the past couple days.
First things first, MI DT Johnathon Hankins picked Ohio State yesterday over the Wolverines. Allow me to editorialize for a moment here: This blog has a tag called "basketball recruiting is dirty like dirt in a dirt sandwich," but if half of the rumors about the Southeastern coaching staff's handling of Hankins's recruitment are true, we may need to expand that tag to football as well. Genuinely Sarcastic provides some angry detail.
FL DT Todd Chandler seems to be looking primarily at Louisville as an option outside of USF (where he is committed). Michigan might become a stronger option if his teammate, FL OL Torrian Wilson, visits Ann Arbor, but this one appears to be on the back-burner for now. Chandler's top schools have gone from the likes of Miami, Michigan, and Florida to Memphis, Louisville, and FIU, so he may have some issues—grades?—that are causing bigger schools to back off.
Wilson, by the way, is down to USF, Michigan, and Tennessee. Michigan could really use another offensive lineman in the class.
Cincinnati high school sports reporter Mike Dyer reports that Michigan visited OH DT/DE Jibreel Black both in-home and in-school on Monday. Black, who has been committed to Cincinnati, but is reconsidering after the Brian Kelly departure, will also visit Michigan sometime this month, probably the weekend of the 22nd. According to Dyer's full article, the Wolverines have replaced Louisville on his list.
Michigan has a couple defensive ends and a couple three-tech defensive tackles so all they need is a nose; if they pick up Black it's because they really like him.
More on his actual game performance in a delayed Friday Night Lights post next week, but MI QB Devin Gardner participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Saturday. He impressed in practice:
"(Devin Gardner) really impressed me a lot," [Scout Florida expert Geoff] Vogt added. "He was bigger than I expected him to be. His arm was everything that people made it out to be. He was accurate... He clearly, in my opinion, is the top quarterback on that team... He'd be the No. 1 quarterback in Florida straight out this year and that's really saying something. I think he has a really bright future at Michigan."
Of course, being the clear #1 QB on the team got him by far the fewest snaps out of the 3 QBs, with Nick Montana and Phillip Sims getting more (the order was determined randomly, FWIW). That Webb article also says that Michigan is pursuing Tennessee commit LB Michael Taylor. I've added him to the board. Taylor remains a soft commit to the Vols.
FL CB Tony Grimes participated in last weekend's Offense-Defense Bowl, and MGoReader J. Lichty reports that opposing offenses mostly stayed away from him. He played both corner and safety. MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Grimes last week, and he reiterated what we've been hearing for some time on both Grimes and his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy:
TOM: Are you and Clarence still planning on going to the same school?
TONY: As far as this point, yes that's the plan.
TOM: Is Michigan still on top for you?
The two still both favor Michigan, and plan to announce on Signing Day. Tony also said that he didn't know there was a dead period between college coaches and recruits, and was wondering why Michigan wasn't contacting him as much. Sounds like other schools haven't quite been following the rules. THE NCAA WILL BE ALL OVER THIS!
This upcoming weekend is a little more notable for Michigan fans: Commits WI P Will Hagerup and PA CB Cullen Christian will play in the US Army All-American Bowl, and CA S Sean Parker who is down to Michigan, Cal, and USC, will also participate.
The semester started today, so we should finally have a good idea of which 2010 Michigan commits were able to get in for the winter semester and spring practice.
MI QB Devin Gardner is still trying to enroll early, but Inkster's semester ends really late and there are some issues with getting him accelerated. Michigan should know by the end of the week whether he will or not. Stephen Hopkins, Jerald Robinson, Ricardo Miller, Christian Pace, Jeremy Jackson, and Austin White are all enrolling, though as of Wednesday morning Robinson and Miller did not have UMich directory entries. Marvin Robinson is also making an effort to enroll early:
Robinson, who took 3 classes over the summer in an attempt to graduate in December, said the holdup stems with 2 classes he took last semester.
"Most likely things are going to work out where I can go up there tomorrow," Robinson said.
Even if things don't, Robinson said he's firm in his commitment and will sign with Michigan in February.
I don't recall if the Athletic Department announced early-enrolling prospects last year until after Signing Day, but hopefully we'll have the final data by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, FL CB Adrian Witty was also supposed to be a midseason enroller after not qualifying for fall but is not in the Michigan directory. It's looking grimmer for Witty by the day; from the sounds of it he is qualified in the eyes of the NCAA; Michigan's admissions are the holdup. The most likely issue is a radically improved test score that got flagged.
Persistent rumors that TX RB/WR Tony Drake is so far from qualifying that he shouldn't even be considered part of the class any more get stronger by the day.
Maxpreps published its Junior All-American teams, with few prospect of interest for Michigan fans, outside of a couple pipe dreams. SoFlaFootball has also published its first 2011 top 75.
FL RB Demetrius Hart may not be the Michigan lock that we thought:
The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder has had the Wolverines out in front for some time and continues to do so, though he jokingly said that cold temperatures in the Orlando area recently may have him thinking a little.
So, yeah: That's not as negative as the headline "Florida Prospect Considers Local Programs" would make it seem. It would still be an upset for him to not land in Ann Arbor.
Michigan has offered a trio of prospects from Gardena Serra High School in California. WR George Farmer appears to be the headliner, holding offers from a who's-who of bigtime schools, including Florida and Oklahoma. DE Jason Gibson and S Marquise Lee have also received Michigan offers, along with scholarships from the likes of Miami (Yes That Miami), Oregon, and Washington.
Michigan commits Tony Drake and Austin White come in at #8 and #10, respectively on Sports Illustrated's top running backs of 2010.
Out of Town Guests
Wow, this would be an awesome recruiting weekend if it weren't for a game in which Michigan is likely going to get taken to the woodshed (plz don't, guys). Looking at past recruiting updates, we have the following list:
- FL CB Tony Grimes
- FL DE Clarence Murphy
- CA LB Tony Jefferson (pictured at right, courtesy of the Detroit News).
- PA CB Cullen Christian
- FL RB Cassius McDowell
- FL S Rashad Knight (leaving for Ann Arbor at 6:45 AM Saturday)
- FL S Commit Marvin Robinson
- 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
- MI CB Dior Mathis
Jefferson came in for the Sam Webb treatment in the Detroit News last week:
"They said they are in need of a player like me," Jefferson said in April after he received his Michigan offer. "They said I could play early at whatever position they think I could play -- outside linebacker, safety, or even offense. They liked my (physicality). That's what Michigan recruits."
He's a 4-star to both sites. MGo-Recruiting Guru Tom Van Haaren adds that Jefferson will not be the only California prospect in attendance. CA WR Kenny Stills will be in town along with CA Ath (and USC Commit) Dillon Baxter. Tom talked to Baxter yesterday. CA RB Brennan Clay, an Oklahoma commit and high school teammate of Tate Forcier, might also make it in. Or not.
SoFlaFootball says FL DT Richard Ash will visit for the Ohio State game as well. Ash comes from the familiar Pahokee pipeline, so Michigan might have a good chance to land him.
Add to that TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum.
FL WR Kenny Shaw will be in the house as well. Remember, he's a former teammate of Ricardo Miller and current teammate of 2011 FL RB (and heavy Michigan lean) Demetrius Hart. Speaking of whom...
Expect a bunch of juniors as well, including Hart. Demetrius may be in the "good visit = commitment" category. 2011 OH S Ron Tanner will also be in attendance ($, info in header).
As previously discussed, GA teammates DT Michael Thornton and LB Tyrone Cornelius will take a fall visit. I wouldn't be surprised if it's for this game, though that's certainly not confirmed.
Added OH S Ray Vinopal, who has received a Michigan offer. Vinopal had been on the radar much, much earlier in the process, but it didn't seem like he'd ever receive an offer. With that offer in hand, expect a winter visit from him. Here's his highlight video, courtesy of ScoutingOhio:
I honestly don't intend to reinforce racial stereotypes, but just from the highlight film, he looks like a guy who is always in position because he plays smart, not because he has elite speed. Vinopal also looks to be a big hitter. Cardinal Mooney is a traditionally strong program, and it couldn't hurt Michigan to have an in there.
For those concerned about his low recruiting profile, it appears that Vinopal's strong senior year is drawing interest from Notre Dame, Pitt, and a number of other local BCS programs. If a couple of those inquiries are followed up with offers, it'll be clear he's a Lewan sort of late bloomer, not a reach.
Cullen Near the End
PA CB Cullen Christian, as noted above, is visiting Ann Arbor this weekend. He had also planned to visit Ohio State last weekend, but that apparently didn't happen. The Buckeyes were one of the prime challengers for his commitment, so not visiting the Buckeyes can only hurt them. He still plans to decide on November 24th, so as long as his Michigan visit doesn't go poorly, he could be the next addition to the 2010 recruiting class.
Christian has made several unofficial visits to Ann Arbor, most recently in June. He is comfortable with what the program has to offer, but wants to spend a few days around the players, coaches and students before rendering his decision.
"I want to get everyone's opinion about Michigan before I make a choice,” Christian said.
Definitely sounds like his mind is all but made up. Michigan has been eliminated from contention for his teammate, S/WR Brandon Ifill, so don't expect a package deal.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who had previously named Michigan near the top of his list, has committed to UCLA. He visited the Bruins a week ago, whereafter he named them his favorite. I'd accept a trade of Olaniyan for Jefferson (a UCLA commit), if it's possible. Olaniyan's off the board.
CA CB Joshua Shaw, who I removed in the last update, picked Florida yesterday.
Permanently removed TX DT Jay Guy, who has switched his soft Cal commitment to a hard Nebraska one.
Spurned commit Holmes Onwukaife may be back in the picture for the Wolverines. Michigan and VT are the leaders for MD LB Josh Furman ($, info in header). MI QB Commit Devin Gardner isn't wavering, which is good because he does things like this. 2011 DL Donte Phillips was "wowed" by his Michigan visit a couple weeks ago ($, info in header). OH TE Alex Smith has parted ways with Cincinnati. He'll make a final decision within a couple weeks.
Just Win, Babby?
Michigan fans have seen what impact a tough season can have on a recruiting class, as the terrible 2008 squad led to attrition from last year's class, and made this year's crop more difficult to pull in. With the Wolverines facing similar struggles in 2009, some recruits may be out of reach, but a few key guys see the team improving:
"It doesn't change anything," said Millersville (Md.) Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman, who officially visited Ann Arbor in September. "They are a young team and they need people at certain positions to play and be successful like they have been (in the past)."
While the losing streak has probably put the likes of MN OL Seantrel Henderson out of reach, Furman is an important recruit, as Michigan's linebackers have... struggled this year. The article also mentions that CA LB Tony Jefferson will visit for the Ohio State game (rescheduled from last weekend), despite MIchigan's trying season. More on visits a little later.
One Game to Sway Them All
As mentioned above, the Ohio State game looks to be an important one for recruiting. Aside from providing an opportunity to show that this ship is headed in the right direction (plz plz win), it's the biggest visit weekend of the year. The list will probably change over the course of the next week, but it's shaping up to be a blockbuster, per Josh Helmholdt in the Freep:
- FL CB Tony Grimes
- FL DE Clarence Murphy
- CA LB Tony Jefferson (as mentioned above)
- PA CB Cullen Christian
- FL RB Cassius McDowell
- FL S Rashad Knight
- FL S Commit Marvin Robinson
- 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
- MI CB Dior Mathis
Aside from that article, GA LB Tyrone Cornelius has talked about visiting Michigan (as mentioned last week), but no word on whether it will be for the OSU game or post-season. CA WR Kenny Stills is in a similar situation. There are also a number of indications that some 2011 prospects will be in attendance, including FL RB Demetrius Hart, a possible commit if he really likes what he sees.
SC QB Commit Conelius Jones's Shrine Bowl profile is now available, and he's listed as a wide receiver, who will be a defensive back at Michigan. Obviously, we won't have full confirmation of his future position until Signing Day.
In other quarterbacking news, MI QB Devin Gardner comes in for a solid round of fluff from Sam Webb in the Detroit News. He's still looking at possibly enrolling early.
"He had a great junior year and has simply built upon that," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He is considered one of the top handful of quarterbacks in the country and is firmly entrenched as a five-star prospect. As far as upside goes, I don't see many quarterbacks that have his potential."
Rivals recently named Gardner the best scrambler among 2010 QBs, and the second-strongest arm, behind Penn State Commit Robert Bolden. At this time, I am obligated to grumble that I think Bolden is overrated.
LA QB Munchie LeGeaux committed to Colorado. Once Michigan took Conelius Jones, the writing was probably on the wall that LeGeaux was no longer an option.
Though CA CB Josh Shaw was talking as recently as last week about taking an official visit to Michigan for the Ohio State game, that's no longer a possibility. He will decide early next week between 5 schools that aren't Michigan: Florida, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and LSU. I'ma be straight with you: one of those things is reallllly not like the others.
PA DT Shariff Floyd has been alternately not very interested in Michigan and not at all interested in Michigan, so the latest sign of no interest (he will fill his final official visit slot with North Carolina) isn't quite cause to remove him from the board. Michigan is totally not landing that kid, though.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan was positively raving about Michigan following his unofficial visit in September, but now UCLA may have moved to the forefront. That does give him a reputation for falling in love with the most recent school he's visited, so don't read too much into it. Still, there's no mention of an official visit to Michigan in December, as there was immediately after his first trip.
Olaniyan said he plans to take two more visits in December and then make his decision.
"I have Duke set for (Dec. 4) and North Carolina (Dec. 11)," Olaniyan said. "I'll make my commitment right after those visits. If I get invited to an All-American game, I'll announce then in January but otherwise, I'll do it in mid-December after my last visit."
Yeah, so that probably means Michigan has really fallen off.
OH S/WR Bobby Swigert has selected Boston College.
Michigan's chance at TX DT Jatashun Beachum is "big" ($, info in header). Michigan offered MN DE Tobi Okuyemi... but he immediately committed to Nebraska. GA DT Mike Thornton has the Wolverines "in his thoughts" ($, info in header).
While Michigan fans can hope that current commits see their stock rise when Scout, Rivals, and ESPN update their rankings, players often stay stable or drop. In this look at Michigan's recruiting class, we'll see which guys have probably reached their maximum guru approval (or close to it).
MI/FL WR Ricardo Miller
|Ranking||WR #24||WR #19|
Why Here? When Michigan fans were told how good Miller was, it sounded like he was a shoe-in for 5-star status. Even the Florida rankings released by some sources prior to the release of Rivals' and Scout's official lists had him in the top 5 prospects in the state. However, when the major sites released their rankings he was a mid-4-star to both.
It's not from lack of exposure. Miller's situation (being a southeast player committed to a non-southeast school before the rankings came out) may have hurt him somewhat. Southeast recruiting analysts are likely to ding a prospect for being an early commit to a school from a different area of the country.
Prediction: Miller has moved to Michigan, so it will be an entire different set of eyeballs looking at him. If he blows up in the state of Michigan, it doesn't hold as much weight as if he had done so in Florida. Miller's move to Michigan probably helped him in terms of getting acquainted with the area, recruiting other prospects, and getting ready to enroll at the University. But it put something of a cap on his rankings. Miller will probably remain a 4-star.
FL S Marvin Robinson
|Ranking||OLB #11||S #10|
Why Here? Robinson has a lot in common with Ricardo Miller. Michigan fans have been hearing for years about how he would be a Locky McLockerson for both Michigan and 5-star status. He impressed at Michigan's summer camp as a rising sophomore, and ever since we've been hearing about how awesome he is. Eventually, the 2010 rankings came out... and Robinson was a medium-range 4-star. The only plausible explanation, given his apparent exposure, is that he just isn't quite as elite as we'd been hearing. If he isn't highly ranked by now, it's probably just not in the cards.
Prediction: He's listed at either OLB or safety, so if the premium sites can come to a consensus on his future position, it might help them figure out where he should be ranked. If he gets bigger, he could be an elite OLB prospect, but he has limited upside in the rankings at safety. Michigan has a perfect role for Robinson, either as a safety if he can keep his speed, a linebacker if he adds a bunch of weight, or as a hybrid if his physical development is complete. He doesn't have the speed that an elite safety his size would have (i.e. Taylor Mays). I think he'll top out near the higher range of 4-stars.
PA DE/LB Ken Wilkins
|Ranking||WDE #17||DE #31|
Why Here? Wilkins is much like Paskorz: a tweener that scouting services don't love. He's athletic and the services recognize at least that, giving him a 4-star ranking. His exposure should be pretty good at his school (trinity has produced a number of D-1 players over the years), so he is probably ranked where the services want him.
Prediction As a tweener, it's going to be tough for him to move up, despite the fact that his coach says he's more athletic than all of the D-1 prospects who have come through Trinity. Unless collects absurd statistics as a senior, Wilkins will probably stay right where he is: a low 4-star. The Quick DE position on Michigan's defense may be a more natural fit than conventional DE or LB spots. That should be encouraging to Michigan fans.
MI RB Austin White
|Ranking||APB #15||RB #17|
Why Here? White has torn through Michigan in the past couple years, but high school football in the state being what it is the competition has not been the best. Looking at Stevenson's results over the past couple years, it's not clear whether White's stats (which are very good) are a product of his team obliterating the competition or his exceptional talent.
Room to Grow? Literally, yes: White's a small guy who could use some time in the weight room. But he's also an established star at his school who's gotten a ton of combine exposure; there's no much secret about him.
Prediction: A good senior season can only do so much for White since he's smallish and proven. He may get looks at a RB/slot hybrid, and Rivals lists him as an all-purpose back, so showing off his receiving ability could give him a bump. But White actually moved down in the Rivals re-rank; not many do that and then bounce back up.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
|Ranking||WDE #36||DE #59|
Why Here? Paskorz is something of a man without a position. Half lineman, half linebacker, he doesn't fit into lots of schools' lists of needed prospects. Still, Paskorz has some physical talent, enough that the recruiting services know about him. The bigger question is whether he performs on the field for his school.
Prediction Especially if he grows enough to become a true defensive end, and puts together a productive senior year, he can move up somewhat. The sites have pretty different opinions of him, so he's might move one way or the other. Scouting services will never really be enamored with players that don't have obvious NFL potential. Unless he gets more athletic or bigger in an obvious way during his senior year, he's stuck where he is.
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
|Ranking||RB #80||RB #57|
Why Here? Hopkins has been solid, but not great, against high-level Texas competition. He has led his team to successful playoff runs in the past couple years. However, he lacks that one attribute that really sets him apart. He runs tough, but doesn't truck the hell out of guys. He'll get to the second level, but not outrun everyone in the secondary. He'll put a move on you, but won't make most defenders go looking for their jockstraps.
Prediction: Since he plays good competition in Texas, if Hopkins has a big season of any sort he could move him up. But he has the exposure and body of work that comes with being a two-year-starter at a big Texas program and hasn't gotten more three stars from the recruiting sites. He might move up a little bit if he's able to put in the offseason work to increase his speed or toughness, but I'd be surprised if he gets to a fourth star. He should end up a high(er) 3-star, not far from his current ranking. Note that Hopkins disagrees with this assessment, stating he's been told a big year will get him a fourth star.
OH OL Christian Pace
|Ranking||OC #7||OG #36|
Why Here? Pace's film is impressive. He is an aggressive blocker who will drive defenders into the ground. However, he is limited from being ranked any more highly by his height. At only 6-3—which may be exaggerated—he does not have ideal size for a guard, nor does he excel in pass protection. Pace's team success may not have much bearing on his ranking, so even if they improve from last year's finish, he won't reap much benefit. He will probably not grow. That will always limit him in the eyes of the recruiting services, regardless of how impressive his film is.
Prediction Even though Rivals scouts drooled over his junior film, they actually moved him down in their recent re-rank. If Pace has a dominant year blocking (and his Scouting Ohio film certainly indicates that he's capable of that), he could move up to low 4-star status, but he had a dominant junior year and didn't go anywhere.
Pace seems a lot like current Michigan center David Molk, who is a short but effective center. In the Michigan system, slightly smaller but more athletic interior linemen can still have success (again, see Molk).
LA Slot Drew Dileo
|Ranking||ATH #58||WR #27|
Why Here? Dileo has been productive in his high school career, but perhaps his ranking is held down by a few factors: 1) His team is routinely a behemoth in its small-division Louisiana competition, so it's tough to gauge individual talents at times. 2) He is a 5-10 wide receiver. 3) He is a white wide receiver. None of these factors are likely to change this year, so look out. He has limited upward potential - but as with lots of little guys, that might not mean detrimental things about his career at Michigan.
Prediction Like I said, if the scouts don't already know about Dileo, it’s not because he hasn’t been exposed. He is likely stuck in neutral as far as his rankings go. The situation from last year won't change, and barring an absolutely transcendent performance (which doesn't seem likely), he'll stay where he is. Worse still, other players might be able to move up and pass him down the road, dropping his ranking even further than its current level.
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.
Update 4/21: Linked to articles on SC QB Cornelius Jones, OL Brent Benedict, FL RB Cassius McDowell, SC S Bashaud Breeland, FL S Marvin Robinson (w/ mention of FL RB Roy Finch), PA CB Brandon Ifill, FL WR Kenny Shaw (second), QBs Munchie Legaux and Barry Brunetti, MN OL Seantrel Henderson.
Removed IN OL James Hurst(UNC), OH LB Scott McVey(OSU), SC OL AJ Cann (not in top seven).
As always, some links via Varsity Blue.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
No real surprises: Hurst never showed much interest in Michigan, McVey was ticketed to OSU from the start, and Cann's from SC so it can't be that surprising Michigan isn't strong with him. There were some flimsy rumors Cann was interested in M, I guess. As far as drops from the board go, none of the above are surprising or particularly meaningful.
Soon to be in this section, though is, SC S Bashaud Breeland, who has a top three of South Carolina, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. Slouching towards board removal, he.
Hello? Or no?
TOM: So are you officially committed, or just high on Michigan?
TRAVIS: I'm committed. I talked to Coach Rodriguez today, and told him the news. They just told me to call him back after the spring. He wants me to make sure that I made the right decision, and not make a bad move.
So… uh. What is this? Neither Scout or Rivals considers Williams committed yet, so I'll go with them and leave him uncommitted on the board. And what's going on with Michigan telling Williams to wait? They brought him up, offered him, and then said "wait just a second" when he was ready to accept the offer. Two possibilities:
- They're a little leery of kids they haven't built a relationship with yet jumping on an offer because it looks like a nice offer. Williams is expected to get an array of offers in the near future, any of which could look more attractive if he wants to stay closer to home.
- This is a slow-play and Michigan might try to gently disengage itself if the bigger fish on the corner board land in the boat. Williams' other offers are Kansas State, Indiana, and Miami of Ohio (Not That Miami of Ohio).
Either way, this is sort of what I was talking about earlier: Michigan's offering a bunch of kids but it doesn't seem like they mean it with all of them, which will lead to more uncomfortable situations like this in the future.
As to Williams himself: yes, those other offers and his lack of a ranking aren't terribly exciting. We'll see if this supposed offer wave comes in and who's on it. A debate about Rodriguez's recruiting style and the large number of commitments without serious offers other than Michigan is outside the scope of this post, but will probably get addressed sometime soon.
Sticking With It
“The Michigan visit was real exciting,” said Wilson. “I was real happy and glad to be up there, to see the Big House, meet all the coaches, and talk to the players.”
…hey, that sounds pretty good still. Wilson plans on taking officials to Stanford—who mom would like to get a look—Tennessee, and M with the final two slots undecided. Miami (That Miami) is also a main contender since he's from, you know, Miami. He doesn't need to take an official to a local school. Wilson has backed off the "Michigan leads" talk for now.
Please Stick With It
This is something I overlooked in last week's roundup, but hey this is good($):
Dallas (Tex.) Skyline running back Tony Drake made a quick decision for Michigan after receiving his first offer of the process from the Wolverines last month. Now, Drake's teammate at Skyline, four-star linebacker Corey Nelson, is also professing strong interest in Michigan.
Headline of that article states Nelson "has Michigan at the top." This is good since Nelson is currently Rivals' #24 player in the class of 2010. If he holds that spot he'd be a five star by year's end. (He isn't now because Rivals usually starts the list of five stars smaller and expands it as the year goes by.)
Caveats apply: long way out, guys shift all the time, lead without a visit is particularly flimsy, etc. Still a good spot to be in with Nelson.
Michigan's maintaining its lead for SC QB/ATH Cornelius Jones:
“I had just got back to playing football and trying to learn everything that I thought it was something good, but I didn’t know how big at the time,” he said. “I realized after getting back into (the game) that it would be an honor to play in that jersey. I mean they’ve had national championships and Heisman trophy winners.”
At this point I think Jones isn't a true QB recruit, but an ATH recruit who will be given a shot at QB who could end up anywhere from WR to DB to LB.
Michigan's also on top for FL RB Cassius McDowell:
"Michigan is my No. 1 school right now. Everybody else is even. I would like to follow my teammate. I like the cold weather and the spread offense."
McDowell is from Deerfield Beach, where Michigan scooped the package of Denard Robinson and Adrian Witty last year. He's just picked up a South Carolina offer, too.
FL WR Kenny Shaw, a now-former teammate of Ricardo Miller, maintained Michigan as his early leader before flipping over to become a strong Florida State lean at the same time he blew up at a bunch of camps and combines and the like. His situation is not promising unless you're a Florida State fan:
Shaw visited FSU unofficially last month, and wanted to pull the trigger then.
"Honestly the reason was my parents," Shaw said. "They wanted me to wait it out, take my visits over the summer, and then make a decision after my senior year."
I guess that gives Michigan time to get him up for a visit or even an official, at which point Miller can hypnotize him and implant "Bobby Bowden will kill your NFL aspirations* and possibly dribble on you" in his subconscious mind; other than that there doesn't seem to be much chance.
*(kidding, Seminole fans!)
Meanwhile, PA CB Brandon Ifill, teammate of lock-o-licious PA CB Cullen Christian, has a leader:
"I really liked Maryland," Ifill said. "I was really impressed with what I saw. I was impressed with the coaching staff and the campus. Right now my favorite would probably be Maryland."
Michigan is still in it, though, as an earlier article indicates:
Ifill says Pitt and Michigan are next on his list, right behind Maryland.
"I haven't been to Michigan yet," he said. "I want to try to get up there in the summer."
Michigan's got upward mobility what with being in the top three without a visit, especially with Christian's evident enthusiasm for winged helmets. 50-50 Michigan surges into a lead if he takes that visit; Michigan's in pretty decent position with him still.
FL S commit Marvin Robinson attended a combine and showed well:
Michigan commit Marvin Robinson (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region) stood out with the defensive backs. He is a physically imposing and athletic safety prospect. He showed good ball skills and moved well. On film, he displays a good feel for the game. In talking with Robinson after the camp, he said he still wants improve on his ability to read plays.
(That article also mentions FL RB Roy Finch as the best back at the camp. Michigan shot him an offer, but that's all we know about him at this point.) There were premium reports to the same effect, but with added stuff that says "future linebacker" if you squint hard and read between the lines. Some of the folks at Tomahawk Nation also took in the festivities and were kind enough to email impressions: outstanding athlete probably ticketed for linebacker. Think Mouton.