“He was on the other side of the court, screaming: ‘Good shot, Kev!’” Durant said, shaking his head in delight. “I’m thinking, this guy’s an All-American type of teammate right there.”
Today's recruiting roundup covers upcoming visitors, Gareon Conley's status, and more. Apologies for the lack of content from me this week—in the midst of an ill-timed move. Things will be back to normal next week.
McDowell Takes All Of The Visits?
2014 MI DE Malik McDowell is perhaps the top in-state recruit in the junior class, and both Michigan and Michigan State are in hot pursuit of the Detroit Loyola prospect. Tremendous reported on Tuesday that McDowell would visit Ann Arbor for this weekend's UMass game. Great news, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
Scout's Allen Trieu quickly refuted that report, saying he'd talked to multiple sources close to McDowell who said that he's actually be at Saturday night's Michigan State-Notre Dame matchup. Bad news, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
As it turns out, Ann Arbor and East Lansing are rather close, and not all college football games begin at the same time. Trieu cleared the air this morning, posting on the GBW's message board that McDowell will make it to both games this weekend ($). I'm guessing McDowell will have to leave the Big House a little early to get to EL in time for kickoff, but it's a very encouraging sign that he's willing to see Michigan play freakin' UMass at all, let alone go out of his way to check out the game.
McDowell isn't the only big-time 2014 recruit slated to visit this weekend, as Tremendous reports that 247Sports five-star FL RB Sony Michel will make the trip to Ann Arbor. Michel holds offers from a laundry list of national powers and will likely add one from Michigan when he's on campus. Again, anybody willing to visit for a game against UMass likely has serious interest, so this is big news. Michel missed last season with an injury, but played on varsity starting in 8th grade(!)—you can see his impressive freshman highlights above. There's also a short reel from his first game back from injury this season; let's just say he hasn't lost a step.
EDIT: Tim Sullivan gave me a heads up—as did several of you in the comments—that Michel's brother plays for UMass, which is the main reason he'll be at the game this weekend. Probably best to dial down expectations regarding his interest. Carry on.
The Michigan State game continues to shape up into the biggest recruiting event of the fall for the Wolverines. 247's Steve Wiltfong details the official visit plans of 2013 FL S Leon McQuay III—his visit for that weekend is set($), and he's also planning to check out Vanderbilt, USC, Oregon, and Florida State. USC is believed to have the edge for McQuay, but there are concerns that they won't have an available spot for him due to their NCAA-mandated scholarship crunch. Also visiting for MSU will be 2014 OH OL Nathaniel Devers, high school teammate of Gareon Conley, according to Scout's Bill Greene ($).
Conley Taking Visits?
2013 commit Gareon Conley caused a stir last week when he posted a couple tweets—which he later deleted—suggesting that he had committed to Michigan too soon and may be looking to take visits. Bill Greene made his way to Massillon Washington to further investigate and was told by both Conley and his head coach that he's still committed to Michigan ($). Not all appears to be settled, however, as Greene says that Conley's family believes he committed too quickly and is encouraging him to take visits—his mother lives on the West Coast and reportedly would like for him to check out some schools out there.
This shouldn't come as a huge surprise; Michigan represented the first major interest in Conley as a recruit and he committed almost immediately upon receiving an offer. Since that time, his stock has exploded, both as a cornerback and more recently at wide receiver. It's entirely understandable that he may be rethinking how he went about his recruitment.
I don't think there's cause for major concern until we get word from Conley directly that he'll take visits—remember, we've been through this before with guys like David Dawson and nothing came about from that situation. That said, Brady Hoke has been steadfast in his policy regarding commits taking visits—if they do, they're no longer a commit—and I don't expect him to soften that stance. It sounds like Conley still wants to end up at Michigan, but he'd like to see a few schools to make sure he didn't rush into a choice—it's entirely possible that a meeting with the coaches is all it takes to settle this issue, as it did with Dawson.
If Conley takes visits and is dropped from the class, McQuay becomes a higher priority—while he projects more as a safety than a corner, Michigan should still be set at CB with Jourdan Lewis, Ross Douglas, and Channing Stribling.
Tremendous introduces you to 2014 Detroit Country Day WR Moe Ways, who is 6'3", 185 pounds, and most importantly named Moe Ways. He's received interest from Michigan State and Northwestern and really wants to hear from the Wolverines. Also, Moe Ways. Moe Ways.
Potential high school transcript malfeasance regarding a former SEC commit? Well, I never.
Potential booster malfeasance regarding a former SEC recruit? I'm shocked at the very notion.
Today's recruiting roundup wraps up last weekend's high school football action and more.
Jake "Butts" In Early*
Tim Sullivan reports that tight end commit Jake Butt made arrangements with his high school and the Michigan coaching staff to graduate in December and enroll early ($). Kyle Bosch, Taco Charlton, Ross Douglas, and Logan Tuley-Tillman are also slated to arrive in Ann Arbor this winter, and Dymonte Thomas will likely join that number as well.
Given the lack of depth at tight end, this is great news for the Wolverines. Devin "The Funchess" Funchess emerged on Saturday as the future at the position, but he's more of an H-back ("U"-back in the Borges offense) or big wide receiver than a traditional tight end, while Butt has the versatility to play with his hand down or off the line. Butt has a good shot at earning a large role in the offense next year and this increases his shot of earning a starting job right away.
*Jesus, I'm sorry.
Backs On Backs On Backs
Michigan only has two running backs committed in the class of 2013, but you wouldn't know that based on last weekend's high school football games. Cornerback commit Ross Douglas rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to lead Avon to a 40-14 victory. Future Wolverine linebacker Ben Gedeon tallied 107 yards on 18 carries to help Hudson to a win of their own. Safety Dymonte Thomas spearheaded a Marlington comeback with 166 yards and two touchdowns—including the go-ahead score—on 19 carries. Then there was 285-pound nose tackle Maurice Hurst Jr., who pounded in a one-yard touchdown in a Xaverian Brothers blowout victory, set up by a 24-yard run in which he dragged two defenders to the brink of the goal line.
Actual running back DeVeon Smith toted the rock 26 times for 183 yards and the game-winning touchdown for Warren Howland despite a sore shoulder, but that's to be expected, right?
It's hard to believe, but some Michigan commits had the nerve to excel at non-RB positions over the weekend, as well. Two-way lineman Chris Fox, who is slated to play guard for Michigan, paved the way for a 34-14 Ponderosa victory and earned the admiration of a Highlands Ranch coach:
"Hey, Foxie," an opposing assistant coach yelled Saturday afternoon after the final play. "Great job. You kicked our butts."
Shane Morris, who received his Under Armour All-American Game jersey at a school pep rally last Thursday, completed 9-of-18 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown as De La Salle beat Dearborn Fordson, 40-19.
Wide receiver Jaron Dukes hauled in six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown to help Marion-Franklin to a 28-3 victory over Canal Winchester.
Perhaps the biggest star of the weekend, however, was Gilman DT Henry Poggi, who tallied 11 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks in a 13-6 triumph over national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep. The loss snapped a 46-game winning streak for the Ironmen.
While the Air Force game wasn't the huge visit weekend that Michigan State will be, there will still some major targets on campus. A large Cass Tech contingent made the short trip from Detroit, including 2014 CB Damon Webb, who told Tremendous that he could see himself ending up in Maize and Blue. 2014 Grand Rapids Christian OL Tommy Doles took in the game and told Allen Trieu($) that the B2 stealth bomber flyover was "incredible." 2013 in-state kicker J.J. McGrath was on hand as well and told Tremendous the visit really helped Michigan, though the deciding factor for him will likely be which school offers him a scholarship.
Things have been quiet on the Joe Mathis front, at least where Michigan is concerned, and it sounds like it could stay that way for the 2013 California four-star: he told Rivals analyst Adam Gorney that he plans to take official visits to Texas A&M, Washington, and Utah, and isn't sure where else he'll visit following a good trip to UCLA ($).
Happy trails to 2014 five-star AL RB Bo Scarbrough, who predictably made an early pledge to hometown squad Alabama.
Today's recruiting roundup is short and sweet, as Monday's edition got bumped back to Tuesday; read on for updates on weekend visitors and a compelling feature on Maurice Hurst Jr.
Maurice Hurst Jr. Feature
The Boston Globe's Bob Holmes profiled commit Maurice Hurst Jr. this week, focusing on his relationship with his father, former New England Patriots defensive back Maurice Hurst. The elder Hurst has never seen his son play football and is almost entirely out of the picture, though he did try to give Maurice Jr. some advice on his recruitment:
One effort by Hurst Sr. to get involved backfired earlier this year.
The last time Maurice saw his father was freshman year, when he and his mother traveled to New Orleans, Hurst Sr.’s hometown. Since then there has been no contact, until they spoke just prior to Maurice’s commitment to Michigan in June.
“My mom told me to give him a call to talk about schools. It was kind of uncomfortable because he kind of wanted me to go to LSU or Alabama. He didn’t really think Michigan was an ideal school so it kind of frustrated me a little bit.’’
Maurice never told his father he was going to Michigan.
“My mom may have, I’m not really sure.’’
Hurst Jr. said in the article that he was looking for a school that balanced great academics with a shot at the NFL instead of just looking for a football school, so his final choice was not a surprise. The whole piece is well worth a read, and I'm sure Michigan coaches are excited to hear that Hurst's fabled 75-yard touchdown run last season came on a "power right" playcall.
Weekend Visitors Update
By his standards, it's been a while since IL WR Laquon Treadwell visited Ann Arbor. That will change this weekend, however, as he's set up an unofficial visit for the Air Force game:
— Laquon Treadwell (@SuccessfulQuon) September 4, 2012
According to Josh Helmholdt, Treadwell also has an unofficial visit set up for Ole Miss the next weekend when they host Alabama ($). It's great for Michigan to get Treadwell back on campus, but I wouldn't expect a commitment; he's been steadfast in his insistence that he take visits before making a decision.
Also visiting this weekend is 2014 OH TE/DE Chance Sorrell, according to Tremendous. Michigan is joined by Wisconsin and Tennessee in Sorrell's top group, though none of the three have offered as of yet. TN OL Alex Bars, younger brother of Michigan freshman Blake Bars, also plans to attend the Air Force game, via Tim Sullivan ($). A handful of commits will be there as well, though not ace recruiter Shane Morris, who has a game against Cincinnati Moeller on Saturday afternoon.
Tremendous's Gobluegr gives us a name to watch as Michigan rounds out the 2013 class: Ann Arbor Pioneer cornerback Dewan Olive-Abinojar, who was very impressive when the Pioneers played Warren De La Salle (Shane Morris) in the season opener. Curt Mallory reached out to Olive-Abinojar after that game and told him he could potentially earn a scholarship, though I suspect he's a backup plan if the Wolverines miss out on higher-rated targets. Olive-Abinojar plans to attend the Michigan State game and says it's likely he'd commit if Michigan offered.
Happy trails to 2014 WI DE Conor Sheehy, who decided to stay in-state and commit to Wisconsin. The Badgers are off to a nice start in their 2014 class with four prospects—including MI QB Chance Stewart—already in the fold.
Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's high school action, bids farewell to a couple wide receiver targets, and looks forward to a big visit weekend for... basketball?
Get That Man A Square-Toed Shoe
Michigan commits Jaron Dukes (Marion-Franklin) and Taco Charlton (Pickerington Central) faced off against each other this past weekend; Central came away with a 45-24 victory, and MGoUser Dubs was there to take in the action. If you're looking to submit a scouting report for Future Blue Originals, this is how it's done:
DE/LB Taco Charlton, 2013: Despite Marion-Frankin running away from Taco (about 80% of the time), he managed to rack up 8 tackles, and a tackle for loss (zero sacks). It was about 50/50 as to whether he had his hand down as a DE, or whether he was lined up as an OLB. Pickerington Central did show multiple fronts, ranging from a 3-3-5(!), 3-4, and a 4-3 (with Taco as DE). He even saw around 5 snaps on offense, and caught a nice PA-pass for a 15 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter. He did leave early in the 4th quarter after an apparent shoulder injury (possibly a stinger). But after being checked with a trainer, Taco was out there after a couple of plays, only to be banned to the sideline for the rest of the game after the game was well in hand. Pickerington Central won 45-24.
As far as the "eyeball test," I must admit I was a little disappointed at Taco's lack of aggression. There were moments when a sure passing down approached, and I expected to see that pass-rushing prowess we all read about in 7 on 7's this summer, but I did not see it. The tackle guarding him was very large (some may say "fat," but I don't want to personally attack a kid), and VERY slow, so I was expecting Taco to beat him off the line, lower his shoulder, and destroy the QB. Instead, he relied more on his inside spin more than anything. I will suspect that perhaps, it was because the QB was a very good athlete, Taco was in charge of contain more than anything. Marion-Franklin sent a back to chip Taco's outside pass-rush, as well, which also would limit his opportunities. However, I feel there were times where Taco could have taken over the game but did not. I do not know if it is a motor issue, or the coaches playing him conservatively against a dual threat QB.
WR Jaron Dukes, 2013: It was very difficult for Dukes to get involved, mostly because the Marion-Franklin QB relied more on his feet than anything. The throws the QB did make were hitches, outs, slants, and screens of all sorts. That being said, Dukes still managed to haul in 5 passes (out of 8 targets) for about 42 yards. He was targeted for a TD jump-ball thrown to him early in the 1st quarter, in which he had a height advantage of at least 6 inches over the opposing defender, however, the ball was vastly under-thrown, and was broken up. Dukes also dropped a possible TD pass (at least a very large gain) during the hurry-up in the waning seconds of the 2nd. Dukes also handled the kickoff duties, which, if Michigan is looking for some sort of "Tom Dempsey style" kicker/WR hybrid, they got their man.
As far as the eyeball test goes, Dukes did not seem to show a lot of explosiveness, either off the line or to create separation against the defenders (it was kind of a soggy/muggy night, so the field may have been less-than-pristine). There were many times in which the QB was scrambling and, rather than hit that extra gear, he seemed to simply jog. Perhaps he is not used to getting much "love," as most of the passing offense derived from the slot receivers (which if true, why not put Dukes in slot?). I will say this, he did look strong after the catch, breaking a few arm tackles and showing of a pretty solid stiff-arm.
Overall, I felt that these two looked the part of a D-1 prospect. However, it is hard to tell their true potential based on their supporting cast: obviously you'll run away from Taco because his supporting DE looked half his size. And it's hard to get any love as an outside receiver when your QB cannot make the throws. So, I had to remind myself: these kids are prospects. And with that, I have great faith in the Michigan coaches that they can mold these kids into serviceable players or, hopefully, even stars.
A huge thanks to Dubs for sending this in, as well as bringing up the possibility of a Michigan wide receiver also handling kicks "Tom Dempsey style."
[Hit THE JUMP for the full recruiting roundup, including info on what could be a huge visit weekend for the basketball program.]
Today's recruiting roundup covers Cass Tech's Hell Week, the latest on the Technician juniors, Maurice Hurst's surprising versatility, and more.
All Cass Tech Everything
Dick's Sporting Goods was on hand during Cass Tech's "Hell Week" to chronicle their preparation for the season. Part one is above and you can find the rest of the videos at their YouTube page. Jourdan Lewis features briefly in episode one. Head coach Thomas Wilcher does not seem like the type you'd want to cross, to say the least.
The star of Cass Tech's opening week victory, junior corner Damon Webb, currently has a top four of LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State (no order), according to ESPN's Jared Shanker ($). Webb will check out the Michigan State-Boise State matchup this weekend and plans to head to games at each of his top schools; expect him to visit the Big House multiple times this year.
Matt Pargoff continues to compile highlights from last weekend's action, and junior LB William White's tape is well worth a watch. White is #6 in, er, white, though you won't have to look hard find him—he's the heat-seeking missile:
White got a little too focused on laying big hits in the middle there, trying to lay guys out with his shoulder instead of wrapping up, but that's an easy fix. If he can learn to play more controlled, Big Ten offers await. According to Tim Sullivan, White is already hearing from Michigan State and Ohio State ($)
Pargoff also has highlights of junior LB/RB Deon Drake from Saturday; he did most of his work on offense and was a load to bring down, even for MSU commit Jon Reschke.
[Hit THE JUMP for Maurice Hurst Jr. doing things no 300-pound man should be able to do.]
Today's recruiting roundup is football. Football!
After going to five games in two days over the weekend, I can officially declare it to be football season, not that I'm in a position to declare such things. But seriously: football is here, and a bunch of future Wolverines are playing it. This is not quite as exciting as current Wolverines taking the field on Saturday, but it's exciting nonetheless.
I'll have much, more more coming tomorrow, but Shane Morris opened his senior season in the shadow of the Big House at Ann Arbor Pioneer. After struggling early, throwing a pick on his first pass and starting just 2-for-9, he bounced back to finish 14-for-26 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, numbers that could've been better if not for several drops. He'll have to work on starting as strong as he finishes; he still looks like a five-star prospect. My brother and roommate each saw Morris for the first time on Friday, and all it took was one effortless launch of the football in warmups to convince them both that the hype is warranted. Morris makes throwing a football 60 yards look as easy and routine as brushing your teeth.
Cass Tech's tilt with Brother Rice—when not interrupted by shooting scares, again more on which tomorrow—was a classic battle that went down to the wire. The Technicians pulled out a 25-18 victory thanks to two Damon Webb touchdown catches—one on an end-around pass by Jourdan Lewis(!)—and a late 74-yard touchdown run by junior Gary Hosey. Lewis had an uneven performance at corner but had a big punt return on the only time Brother Rice didn't actively avoid him. David Dawson gave his usual stellar effort at left tackle, paving the way for big rushing efforts from Hosey and Deon Drake.
In the other game I saw this weekend featuring a Michigan commit, Khalid Hill caught three passes for 83 yards and a touchdown—coming on an impressive 65-yard catch-and-run—but it wasn't quite enough to lead East Lake Village over Oak Park. Hill looked impressive in the passing game but left a lot to be desired as a run blocker.
[After the jump, more football(!)]