It's Football Season
As we prepare for Michigan's opener, high school football is already underway in several states, which means less recruiting news and more useful scouting information as prospects turn their focus back to the field.
2015 LB commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. earned the top grade of any player Josh Helmholdt saw in two games scouting Indiana prospects, as he turned in a four-TFL performance in his squad's seven-point loss to open the season ($):
Performance: Kirkland got off to a strong start in his 2014 campaign, registering four tackles for loss among his 12 total tackles. The Rivals250 prospect was lined up at middle linebacker, but was making plays sideline-to-sideline. He was at his best, though, when he was playing downhill, filling holes and coming off the edge to make plays in the backfield. Kirkland overran a few plays in the flats, but also made several impressive open field tackles on running backs trying to get the edge and made it difficult for Avon's offense to scheme around him.
Scout's Brian Dohn caught 2015 OL commit Jon Runyan Jr. and his St. Joseph's Prep squad scrimmage against Philadelphia Imhotep ($):
Jon Runyan, OL, 6-4, 291
Skinny: Runyan, who is committed to Michigan, plays left tackle and was markedly bigger. He put on 20-plus and now has the strength needed to be dominant this season. He fired off the ball and did a nice job of getting his hands onto the defensive lineman, but he wasn’t as active as he was when in the midst of the grind of the season. He was [solid], but not overwhelming. When he was able to engage the defensive player, Runyan did a good job of finishing the block.
At 6'4", 291, Runyan very much has the look of a future guard.
[After THE JUMP: Michigan's strong presence on the Freep's top 25 list of in-state players, updates on several 2016 prospects, and more.]
Iman Marshall To Take Official To U-M
Five-star CA CB Iman Marshall, who'd previously mentioned interest in both an official and unofficial visit to Michigan, placed the Wolverines among the group of schools he'll check out on official visits this fall:
— Biggie (@iman_marshall8) August 21, 2014
I'm sure Oklahoma and Texas fans will handle this responsibly and non-creepily. Yup. Definitely.
It's worth noting that doesn't constitute a top six for Marshall. He's quite familiar with the California in-state powers, and won't need to use officials on those schools—they're very much in play.
— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) August 21, 2014
Michigan does have something going for them: Marshall and Freddy Canteen are "good friends" according to Steve Lorenz; they worked out together before Canteen enrolled at U-M. That said, while getting an official visit is a big step, it'd be a pretty major upset if Michigan ended up landing Marshall.
More Top Lists/Officials: Wheatley, Robertson, Bates
While four-star NY TE Tyrone "TJ" Wheatley Jr. doesn't have a timetable for his decision, he's whittled down his list to five finalists, per The Buffalo News:
TJ Wheatley begins his senior season of high school football with five finalists among the many Division I powerhouses who recruited him: Alabama, Michigan, USC, UCLA and Miami.
Wheatley, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end/tight end who put on 15 pounds of muscle since this time last year, said Monday that he has no timetable for making his final decision on where he'll attend college.
"No, I'm not sure, I'm just going with the wind," Wheatley said, before commenting on any possible official recruiting visits he will take to schools. "I don't know when I'll take my officials; I don't even know if I'm going to go on officials to all five of those schools."
Wheatley has been so quiet on the recruiting trail that any guess as to where he'll end up is purely conjecture based on the fact that his dad is, you know, Tyrone Wheatley. Which that certainly means something, how much it'll affect Wheatley's decision is unknown, and there's another factor at play: Michigan's small class size means the longer he waits, the greater the potential that U-M runs out of room in the class. We'll know a lot more when he determines where he'll take his officials.
Michigan recently offered four-star CA OT Zach Robertson—who plays at the same school as top QB Josh Rosen—and will receive an official visit from him for the Penn State game, though it's likely he'll be a UCLA commit by then, per Rivals' Adam Gorney ($):
"UCLA is still my top," Robertson said. "I'm still open. I'm definitely going to be committing soon even in the next couple weeks. Even after I commit I want to take my officials."
Robertson called Michigan a "huge offer," so it looks like he'll give them a fair shot even if he's committed elsewhere when he visits. For what it's worth, Rosen reportedly enjoyed his U-M visit quite a bit, even though it wasn't enough to sway him from pledging to UCLA; this could end up working out in similar fashion.
Three-star LA DE Jalen Bates has a top five and two official visits scheduled, per Scout's Chad Simmons:
"My top five are Texas Tech, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Louisiana Lafayette, and Michigan in no order," said Bates.
"I am going to Texas Tech for an official visit on September 13 and I am going to take my official visit to Arizona State on August 30."
Bates said he is unsure if he'll take all five officials; you can safely count Michigan out if they don't receive one. As evidenced by the presence of Louisiana Lafayette on this list, pulling recruits to the Midwest out of Louisiana is hard.
[Hit THE JUMP for updates on an early enrollee, Michigan commits in the new Rivals250, Brian Cole's future role, and more.]
Rivals100 Update: Clark, Cole Move Up
Rivals updated their 2015 top 100 today, and one of the biggest risers on the entire list is a Michigan commit. After excelling at the Rivals elite invite-only camp, TE Chris Clark vaulted up 90 spots to #56 overall, where he's in a dead heat with UCLA commit Alize Jones for the honor of top-ranked tight end:
Clark had a fantastic showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour in Baltimore. He is a complete tight end, not just a glorified receiver. His film shows that he is an excellent blocker. In Baltimore, Clark showed that he can run and catch like a hybrid tight end. There was a heated debate about whether he should be the top tight end in the country, over Alize Jones. The two are ranked No. 55 and No. 56 in the country and the smallest of differences were part of an extensive discussion. -- Friedman
Also mentioned among the top risers on the list is NC SDE Darian Roseboro, who many feel will be a Wolverine—myself included—when he announces his college choice on August 29th. He rose 37 spots to #42 overall, just 12 spots away from five-star status:
Roseboro is a defensive end in a defensive tackle's body and that's a good thing. He has the explosiveness and nose for the ball one hopes for in a defensive end and the size of a defensive tackle. Roseboro has the natural ability to play with good leverage as well. This helps him anchor down against the run. -- Friedman
Aside from Clark, Michigan has two other commits in the top 100: CB Garrett Taylor, who stayed put at #48 overall, and WR Brian Cole, who moved up from #106 to #89. (Cole's nearly caught up to former commit George Campbell; the one-time five-star slid to #78, as concerns about his hands continue to hurt his stock.)
Also of note: Michigan's top-ranked remaining target, CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, climbed five spots to #30 overall, earning him the final five-star designation on the list.
While RB commit Mike Weber didn't crack the list despite being ranked at #103 the last time around, it's doubtful he drops much, if at all—after strong showings at multiple camps, he's impressing Rivals Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt in fall camp:
Watching Cass practice - difference for #Rivals250 RB Mike Weber this year is size. Bigger, more powerful, but still explosive, elusive.
— Josh Helmholdt (@JoshHelmholdt) August 15, 2014
The full Rivals250 and further rankings updates will be out this week.
[Hit THE JUMP for updates on a couple Cass Tech prospects, Asmar Bilal, Michigan's pursuit of a top-five 2016 prospect, basketball recruiting, and more.]
Hoops: Michigan Drops Jalen Coleman
Since basketball recruiting news comes in waves with long periods of inactivity, and I'm the basketball guy around here anyway, hoops recruiting updates have been absorbed into the regular recruiting roundups; please excuse—and correct!—any errors I might make while I acclimate myself to the hoops recruiting scene, which I've largely ignored while Brian handled the updates.
The big recruiting news in either sport this week is that Michigan, in the wake of landing D-III transfer Duncan Robinson, has dropped high four-star 2015 IN PG Jalen Coleman from consideration, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):
Via a phone call Tuesday afternoon, Coleman’s father Piankhi Lands said that recruitment is now over.
“Well we were trying to (set up an official visit) and they told us they were only recruiting one person for the class of 2015 and a Division III guy they had picked up, they didn’t want to set up an official date, Lands said. “They had already given a scholarship out.”
This means a couple things. For one, the staff must be very optimistic about Robinson if they're willing to pass on a shot at an elite 2015 recruit like Coleman to get him—Michigan was a very strong contender (along with Notre Dame, oddly) to land Coleman until this development. It also means the scope of the 2015 recruiting focus has narrowed significantly. Five-star IL PG Jalen Brunson announced five official visit destinations recently that did not include Michigan ($). Sam Webb believes Michigan is also done recruiting four-star Saginaw SG Eric Davis ($).
Two names appear to remain on the board for 2015, players Michigan would take despite the fact that either one would knock a slot out of the very promising 2016 class. The first is Indiana five-star Caleb Swanigan, a skilled 6'9" big man with offers from the likes of Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, and Michigan State. It's hard to see a scenario in which Michigan wouldn't take him if he wanted to come. While the Spartans are thought to lead in his recruitment, Michigan isn't out of it, per The Wolverine's Chris Balas ($):
The Michigan camper (last summer) has kept the Wolverines in the mix.
"The relationship is pretty good," Swanigan said, "and it's starting to build strength. They usually don't offer guys until after the year because they're real concerned about academics, but they're starting to recruit me more.
"Michigan, definitely, they show a lot of love. I've been to the facilities once or twice before. They've been pretty strong."
The other is high four-star combo guard Perry "P.J." Dozier, who's probably still under consideration because he's 6'6" (and reportedly growing) with point guard skills. He's slated to take an official visit to Michigan on September 26th. Dozier sees himself as a primary ballhander at the next level, and apparently so does Michigan, which Dozier's father said is a big positive when talking to Bogenschutz last week ($):
“And again, we never really told the coaching staff what we were looking for, we wanted them to tell us what they saw him as and Michigan did a great job in recruiting, they were there pretty early in the game, showing a lot of interest and with the history of what they’ve done there.
“And Michigan, we have much more respect for the coaching staff there. But mainly, they’re recruiting him the way he wants to be recruited.”
Dozier could potentially eliminate the need/spot for a point guard or shooting guard in the 2016 class given his size and skill-set.
In 2016 hoops recruiting news, Michigan offered 6'6" five-star wing Josh Langford while he was on an unofficial visit last Friday. UMHoops has some video of him dunking all over people, among other things, at that link; Dylan has also compiled sophomore highlights for 2016 commit Jon Teske.
[Hit THE JUMP for football updates, including newly released state rankings from Scout for Michigan and Ohio, and commit Andrew David kicking footballs a very long way with accuracy.]
Five-Star Back Enjoys Visit
2016 five-star NJ RB Kareem Walker visited Michigan last Wednesday; he told 247's Steve Lorenz afterward that he enjoyed the trip ($):
"It was a great day," Walker said. "They have a nice campus and I like the coaches. I met a lot of the coaches and got to talk to Jabrill (Peppers) and spent some time with him as well."
With Mike Weber committing that evening, Steve asked Walker whether having a highly touted back in the class ahead of his would affect how he viewed Michigan, and Walker said he's "not really worried about competition." In fact, he said he "wouldn't mind" playing with another top back.
Walker also visited Ohio State during the week and told Sam Webb that he felt comfortable at both schools. His recruitment should stay in a holding pattern for a while now; he doesn't plan to take any more trips until after his upcoming junior season.
Another 2016 ball-carrier, four-star Southfield (MI) RB Matt Falcon, visited U-M last week and liked the intensity of the practice he watched, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($):
"When I went to Michigan, everything was good up there," he said. "I saw the practice. They were just in shells, shoulder pads and shorts, but there is a different kind of intensity up there at Michigan. I like it."
Falcon also visited Michigan State last week; he told Trieu that both in-state schools are showing high interest in him. Neither have come through with an offer yet, but that may just be a matter of time—Ohio State has already put one forth, and a couple other big-name programs are considering him, as well.
Yet another top 2016 back, NC four-star and former UNC commit Antonio Williams, came up with an interesting way to announce his top six schools—stadium photos:
— Antonio Williams (@A_B_Williams34) August 6, 2014
The tweet itself is self-explanatory.
[Hit THE JUMP for a new blip on the 2015 recruiting radar, how not to handle a commit tweeting word of a new offer, and more.]
Mike Weber: Class Rankings Impact
After securing a commitment from four-star Cass Tech RB Mike Weber on Wednesday night, Michigan is at or near the top of the board on the recruiting services when it comes to the pure quality of their commits (taking quantity, admittedly also an important factor, out of the equation). The Wolverines are tied with Alabama at #1 in average star rating on Scout (3.90) and they're third on both Rivals (behind Bama and USC) and the 247 Composite (ditto). This is especially impressive given a kicker represents a full 10% of Michigan's class, and while Andrew David is a highly regarded kicker, specialists are lucky to get even two stars on the recruiting sites—that's what David merits on the 247 Composite.
With ten commits in a class that should get up to just 14-16 players, Michigan won't land atop any of the team rankings—for good reason, as quantity does matter—but that doesn't mean they're not doing well there, either. Weber's commitment shot them up six spots to #19 in the composite rankings, the highest placement of any program with ten or fewer commits. Florida is next in the ten-or-fewer club at #29, and then you have to scroll down a good deal to fine Ole Miss and Oklahoma at #42 and #43, respectively. Make no mistake: Brady Hoke is once again putting together a really good class, and it may be his most impressive to date when factoring in the preceding season.
Another One Coming?
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) August 7, 2014
Above is four-star NC SDE Darian Roseboro, whom you can watch obliterating his teammates in practice if you click through to Gerry Hamilton's Twitter—including him lining up at running back(!) in the Oklahoma drill. Roseboro has long been thought to be a Michigan lean, though he's mentioned in the past that location would play a factor in his recruitment, as family is very important to him. When Roseboro talked to Scout's North Carolina outlet on Wednesday, he gave a very positive indication that this won't affect Michigan's standing one iota ($):
According to Roseboro, location won’t factor into his decision.
“My parents, they’re going to come wherever I go,” Roseboro said. “We’ve already talked about that. They said, ‘Don’t go somewhere just because you don’t think we’re not going to make it. We’re going to be at every game.’ They’re in a position where they can do that.”
The UNC guy then asked a bunch of questions about whether Roseboro could be a package deal with fellow North Carolinian D-linemen Shy Tuttle and Jalen Dalton, both of whom are also announcing in the near future—they all hold UNC offers. Roseboro basically dodged those questions. This may be why...
Sam Webb has a "gut feeling" about ANOTHER recruit.
Yes, he's referring to Roseboro—you can hear it for yourself on the WTKA recruiting roundup from yesterday (segment 3, 5:40 mark). Roseboro will announce his decision on August 29th at 2:30 pm. If he commits, expect that Hello post to go up quickly.
KLS: Michigan Is "My Favorite School"
Five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South broke down his top five schools to Rivals' Adam Gorney; I'll let you compare the Michigan and UCLA quotes yourself ($):
"I love the program," Lucier-South said. "It's my favorite school. The tradition there is insane. I've been watching them since I was a little kid. I can feel the vibe over there and that's why I chose them as my first official visit, too. I want to check it out. I really love Michigan right now."
The two Pac-12 schools are definitely major players. Lucier-South absolutely loves the UCLA staff and Oregon has impressed him with the comparison they're making about him.
"I really like (UCLA) because of the coaching staff and the tradition there," Lucier-South said. "It's a winning program there now. I see them building a winning program there. They were my first big offer, too, and I really respect that and that's why I really like UCLA right now.
That looks pretty promising, even if you interpret it as Lucier-South saying Michigan was his favorite school to root for growing up, and not necessarily the favorite in his recruitment. Oregon is a team to watch here—they're looking at him as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he seems quite open to that possibility.
After visiting Michigan with teammate Mike Weber on Wednesday, four-star 2016 Cass Tech CB Lavert Hill told Steve Wiltfong "it feels so good" to be in Ann Arbor when he visits, and he's "looking forward to going to their games" in the fall ($). It'd be very surprising if the younger brother of current U-M safety Delano Hill doesn't end up at Michigan sooner or later.
Four-star 2016 IL LB TUF BORLAND told Scout's Eric Rutter that he's close to an offer:
“Actually at the end coach Mattison came up to me and said you’re really close to an offer,” said Borland. “That was exciting to hear. They said they’re really excited for having me up and they’re looking forward to the future and seeing us grow and get better and improve.”
TUF's lone offer right now is from Illinois, and he says he's "sure there will be another" visit to Ann Arbor in his future; I like Michigan's chances if/when that offer comes through.