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No Bad Plays
As recruits turn their focus to the first couple weeks of their high school season, the recruiting news firehose has slowed to a trickle for the moment. Thankfully, scouting of Michigan prospects is in full swing.
There are a lot of things that Roseboro does well, that's been documented, but sometimes it's difficult for casual followers to find weaknesses. When highlights are viewed they are just that - highlights. Snider insists that a lot of times what you see is what you get with Roseboro.
"I think it's really tough to identify weaknesses with him," Snider admitted. "He's pretty tough to block. I think that as a sophomore he might've taken a play off now and then, but last year he didn't really do that. He was much more aggressive and tough."
Roseboro's highlights are, well, highlights, so if he's bringing that on a snap-to-snap basis, that's great to hear.
Reports continue trickling in from last weekend's games. Josh Newkirk spoke with LB commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. after he recorded 17 tackles, four TFLs, a fumble recovery, and an interception in his team's opener to discuss the improvements in his game this year ($):
At 6-foot-2, 226-pounds, Kirkland says he worked on his strength mostly this off-season and it showed in his game on Saturday.
“I feel like my strength could be one of the key assets of my game,” Kirkland said. “Being able to shed blockers. That’s one of the biggest things I needed to conquer. As well as my quickness and my speed. Just not to be blocked by lineman, because some are very athletic. It’s helped me a lot. I have been covering sideline to sideline, and it’s really helped me in coverage as well.”
That extra work certainly appeared to pay off in week one. Kirkland also mentioned that he's struck up a friendship with five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South; both will be on campus for the Penn State game.
[Hit THE JUMP for Where In The World Is Tim Sullivan, the latest on Chris Clark, several 2016 prospect updates, and more.]
Hello: Darian Roseboro
You'd be excused if you missed four-star NC DL Darian Roseboro's commitment post as Friday's content avalanche swept posts off the front page at an alarming rate; if you're among that number, click here for the full post. Scout's Michael Clark caught up with Roseboro's coach in the wake of the commitment:
According to the Lincolnton coach, Roseboro’s relationship with [Roy] Manning played pivotal role in his commitment.
”I feel like coach Manning really connected with Darian,” Cloninger said. “Darian felt very comfortable with him. And I know Darian and his family went up there a few times, and they all felt very comfortable and enjoyed the coaching staff. If anything, coach Manning was the connector for Michigan and that was a big part of it.”
Manning has been Michigan's best recruiter on the road, and on this staff that's quite the accomplishment.
While U-M isn't going to compete for a team recruiting "title" due to the small size of the class, they're now second in star average behind only Alabama on the 247 Composite. Only two of the 11 commits aren't composite four-stars, and one of those is a kicker; the 2015 class may not have a lot of quantity, but it sure has quality.
Weekday Warriors: Week One
I'll have a lot more on a one Michigan commit and several current and potential targets in the grand return of Future Blue Originals, as I was at Wayne State—along with our helpful right-hand man Dave, who handled camera duties—to take in Southfield/OLSM and Cass Tech/Oak Park. Scouting and video will be up on those games tomorrow.
247's Steve Lorenz posted a comprehensive, free roundup of Michigan's commit stats from last week, which makes my life a whole lot easier. The standout is Brian Cole, who you can see doing hilarious things to Saginaw Arthur Hill in the above video. Cole carried the ball 11 times for 91 yards and a long touchdown after fielding a low snap at punter (yes, he punts), caught three passes for 71 yards and a TD, and brought back an interception to the house to account for all three TDs in a 24-6 Heritage victory.
Mike Weber rushed for 142 yards and three TDs on 22 carries for Cass Tech, breaking a 70-yarder up the gut with impressive burst to open the scoring for the Technicians. Again, much more on his performance coming tomorrow.
Alex Malzone connected on 20 of 34 passes for 363 yards and four TDs in Brother Rice's season opener against... Brother Rice (Chicago). The top defensive standouts among U-M commits were Darrin Kirkland Jr., who had 17 tackles, four TFLs, a fumble recovery, and a pick, and Roseboro, who added 100 yards rushing and two TDs to his ten-tackle effort on the other side of the ball (highlights here). Hit the link above for the rest of the commit stats.
[Hit THE JUMP for a hopefully irrelevant update on Chris Clark, a quick overview of last weekend's visitors, and more.]
Roseboro Announcement: Tomorrow At 2:30
Four-star NC DL Darian Roseboro will announce his college choice tomorrow at 2:30pm ET on ESPN.com—our old friend TomVH will host the proceedings. While NC State has received some buzz, mostly from Rivals' Mike Farrell, in the last week or so, Michigan recruiting insiders are still confident Roseboro will pick U-M; Sam Webb's usually prescient gut favors the Wolverines, and I've heard from multiple sources familiar with Roseboro's recruitment that Michigan is the choice unless something changes at the last minute.
While it's not out of the question that something does in fact change—there are rumblings that Roseboro's had second thoughts about attending school that far from his Carolina home—the fear that he'd pick NC State, the almost-certain choice should it not be U-M, has decreased since Roseboro didn't make a planned visit to them last weekend.
As for what Michigan would get if Roseboro commits tomorrow, I've compiled the single-game cut-ups from his Hudl page into full junior season highlights in the video above. Apologies for some of the editing; the clips on his page weren't in high quality and had different aspect ratios depending on the game, so I did the best I could. He's #45 on the team wearing either black and yellow, all yellow, or LSU-esque white and yellow uniforms; he's also the huge guy hitting people with authority.
[Hit THE JUMP for a preview of next week's Future Blue Originals, unfortunate injury news regarding Garrett Taylor, updates on a few Michigan targets, and more.]
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.]