"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
Left: The Perfect Spartan [Fuller]. Right: Drake Harris [Josh Hemholdt/Rivals]
Tomorrow is Signing Day. If you live in the state of Michigan, that means you'll be hearing from your nearest Spartan about their Top 25, better-than-Michigan's (on one of the four sites) class, and how they always get the best player in the state no matter how far the definition of that must be stretched to achieve it.
2012-'13: Return of the Normal
Left: Burbridge, Funchess and Ojemudia. Right: Shane Morris; yes we got him a better hat.
|Touted Recruits||Head to Head||Signee Rankings|
|2013||5||1||1||3||2||1,2,3,6,7,11,13, 17||4, 8, 14|
Michigan wins: James Ross, Ben Braden, Dennis Norfleet, Matt Godin, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Mario Ojemudia, Terry Richardson, Devin Funchess, Shane Morris (though extremely early), Wyatt Shallman, and David Dawson
MSU wins: Aaron Burbridge, Jon Reschke, Dennis Finley
Elsewhere: DT Danny O'Brien (Tennessee), OT Steve Elmer (ND)
MSU never got around to offering Jourdan Lewis before that legendary February commitment blitz. In both of these classes once Michigan was done with what they wanted there just wasn't much left.
MSU's solitary victory in 2012 was Burbridge, who tired of Michigan's wait-'n-see approach with his academic eligibility. Both of State's head-to-head 2013 wins were guys Michigan gave extremely cursory offers after they were already committed to MSU: legacy Jon Reschke, and OT Dennis Finley, a Cass Tech kid who was passed on earlier and then was offered during David Dawson's vision quest.
|Touted Recruits||Head to Head||Signee Rankings|
|2014||2||0 or 1||1 or 2||3||0 or 1||3,4,8,14||(1?),5,7,10,16,24,25|
This year the two mitten rivals had more than a few battles outside of the state. Montae Nicholson had lots of national offers and was a Michigan target until Michigan told him they were filled up at his position in August. Wisconsin DT Craig Evans, who flipped from the Badgers to the Spartans "not because of academics" yesterday, claimed a doubtable Michigan offer. On the flipside Michigan's entire LB class (Michael Ferns, Chase Winovich and Noah Furbush, plus our in-state legacy) and Juwaan Bushell-Beatty held unrequited offers to attend MSU.
But this isn't about that. It's about who owns the State of Michigan. And that is…
Head-to-Head Wins for MSU:
- If DL Malik McDowell chooses MSU (against his parents' wishes) they would have one.
Head-to-Head Wins for Michigan:
|Marshall on the sidelines during Seaholm's late playoff comeback. [Me!!!]|
- WR Drake Harris: Committed to MSU as 2-sport athlete, switched to Michigan when he decided on football.
- WDE Lawrence Marshall: Committed to OSU, then was thought an MSU lock, then switched to Michigan last spring. "The best players in Michigan go to Michigan" will go in bucket of all-time Sparty trolls. Other offers: Neb, Okla, Ole Miss. Bama and USC interest, but no offers.
- WLB Jared Wangler: A 2-star with offer from…LSU?--oh right, he's Johnny Wang's kid. Was first a Penn State commit over MSU (also Cincy and Yale), who flipped on the offer to dad's school.
Michigan Commit who Michigan State Didn't Offer:
- WR Mo Ways: MSU coaches visited, wanted him to camp again before extending their offer. ND coaches came that day too. He took an unofficial to M right after those meetings, got an offer, and pulled the trigger. Iowa, Rutgers were other offers, OSU, NWern were interested too.
Michigan State commits who Michigan didn't offer:
- ATH (WR/CB) Jalen Watts-Jackson: SMSB camp offer, previously just had EMU and CMU interest. My neighbor's kid plays with Jalen at OLSM, and apparently he was the kid throwing the ball around on my street all the time; I didn't pay attention because I had no idea he was a D-I recruit before it got too cold, so I have nothing to offer.
- LB Byron Bullough: Is a Bullough.
- NT David Beedle: MAC offers, committed on offer after SMSB camp.
- LB Deon Drake: Cass Tech kid Michigan passed on. Knee issues last summer.
- OL Nick Padla: Illinois, MAC offers. M never showed interest.
- TE Matt Sokol: Illinois and Wisconsin sent offers, Michigan never got involved.
Guys who went somewhere else:
CB Damon Webb: Urban getting the top-rated Cass Tech kid would be like Michigan doing the same from Glenville.
- OL Tommy Doles: Academic-minded, early on looked like a Michigan lock; seems like there was a mutual parting last spring. MSU was interested, but never in it.
- If Malik chooses OSU or FSU he goes here.
- DE Jhonathan Williams: MSU was involved as a two-sport before he committed to Mizzou. ND flipped him in late November. Michigan had an offer in after losing Hand.
2015: The Year of Hover Cars and Mr. Fusion
Is next year! Great heavy this is scott.
Power laces: alright!
So far MSU has commitments from OT/DT Kyonta Stallworth, CB Tyson Smith, and Jayru Campbell if he can right himself, but none of those were really Michigan targets. Campbell's Cass Tech teammates RB Michael Weber and OT Joshua Alabi both seem to be MSU leans at this point; again, Michigan hasn't been as involved. The big battle will be over Brian Cole, one of the country's top cornerbacks, and Michigan State seems to be in good position there right now. The other in-stater being fought over is SAM-like object Tyriq Thompson. I reiterate my completely non-professional preference that they offer Brother Rice QB Alex Malzone now.
Maybe four of these guys will wear that number at Michigan, but go ahead and update your NCAA dynasty anway
With the regular season in the books and almost three weeks until the bowl game the upcoming weekend has turned into a commit party, with almost every committed 2014 prospect planning to be in attendance. There are a couple that can’t make it and with good reason but the coaches are expecting almost every future member of Team 135 on campus.
DT Brady Pallante
DB Jabrill Peppers
OL Juwan Bushell-Beatty
DB Brandon Watson
WR Freddy Canteen
WR Drake Harris
LB Chase Winovich
OL Mason Cole
DE Lawrence Marshall
QB Wilton Speight
TE Ian Bunting
LB Jared Wangler
WR Moe Ways
LB Noah Furbush (was told by other recruits he will be there)
RB Vic Enwere (Currently committed to Cal, was recently visited by Fred Jackson, wants to wait until signing day to make final decision)
LB Michael Ferns – Ferns used his official visit for the Ohio State game and won’t be able to make the trip this weekend. His parents are busy with basketball season for his younger siblings and Michael is very busy finishing up his coursework as he prepares for early enrollment.
DT Bryan Mone – In about a month Mone will also enroll early and has decided that the lengthy trip from Utah isn’t necessary since he’ll be in Ann Arbor on a more permanent basis very soon.
The closeness and camaraderie that this class has developed since Ferns first committed over a year ago has always been apparent from the joke-tweeting back and forth between them and the Project 135 campaign created by Ferns and his family. All of the recruits seemed very excited to be getting together this weekend and the visit should help to solidify that bond as signing day nears.
If anything changes or any other names surface I will update as needed.
ppToilet’s post-game version of Monumental’s wallpaper
It’s been nearly a week and I’m not sure I’m back on a normal sleep schedule yet. I had to shake down Ace for our review copy of NCAA 14 back, change Devin’s number to 98, then go Michael Vick on computer defenses for hours because I wasn’t quite ready to stop watching that happen. This apparently is happened to bronxblue as well…aw hamburgers Brian already quoted that part. Here then’s a totally different stanza from this masterpiece:
Worst: QB Vision Cone still in experimental mode
[Funchess and Butt] are young and should improve as the season comes along (especially Butt, who appeared to drop and/or run out of position for a couple of balls), but Gardner’s passing cone seems a bit skewed toward Dileo and Gallon and that could very well catch up to him as teams adjust or, knock on wood, one of them gets hurt. For as much as I love the idea of this team’s leading receivers both being eligible for the Pomeroy Award, that would feel like a massive waste of talent at other positions on the field and, frankly, counter-productive to this team’s maturation this year and beyond.
|Brian is like 6’2” so H2V must be a big guy.|
I disagree with both bronx and ST3 (in his weekly inside the box score) that the running game was effective at taking pressure off the passing. Brian already UFR’d what I saw: one big Gardner run that made the stats nice, and Fitz doing subtle things to screw with ND’s linebackers when they had him dead to rights. The particular brilliance of Gardner and Borges and Gallon and Dileo and Toussaint in this game was they managed to put up 41 points without the running game being something the defense had to cheat to. Borges picked his spots well because there wasn’t much to be had, Gallon hauled in catches while wearing cornerbacks who could be aggressive because there was help behind them, and Dileo threw his defender on his TD by doing a high-speed luau in the end zone.
More in ND postgame: HAIL 2 VICTORS did the Sports Power Weekends thing and wrote up his glowing review—Jared’s a client and I sat with him at the game so obvious bias here but, yeah, there’s a reason he’s our guy. Jamie Mac went through the recent history of favorites in this series. Brhino went through his favorite memories of the definitely-not-a-rivalry (why is Ismail in there?!?).
[Diarist of the Week and Best of the Board after the jump]
This week George CaFLAPPAJMAAA WOOOO PEROBEEE FLABBBADABBA ROOSKIE ROUNDTABLE CROOTIN LINEUP:
- BRIALNAWLFJKLASDFJ KL;ASDJFKL;JA
- ACOERFJALKFUASD0[F IADSKFJKLASDFJ
- SETHLKFADJF KLASDJFKLASDJFKLJA
- BLUE IN SUASDFKL; UASDKLFUio'fuasdklfua
- HEIOFUD FJKLASDFJKLASDFJKLASDFJKLASDF
And the questioEEEEEEEBAAAAAAHAHAHAVAHAHAHAHAHA:
With the commitment of George Campbell HOLY GOLDEN KSDJFKLAJSDKLF AJKLDFJ?/FJAKLSDJF QUAMARAN A HIJUCKAJLUA SHEE SHEE FUM DAMIEN HARRIS KICKLUK RAINBOWS PEPPERS FARGARARPRID EVER OR FUPOAUERLKJASDF;KL AOF;JADFU EXAMPLES NOT MORRIS?
Brian: Well... yeah. While it's crazy that I can put together most of a projected class for 2015 already--
RB: Damien Harris, Mikey Weber.
WR: George Campbell, Brian Cole.
TE: Ty Wheatley Jr.
OL: John Runyan Jr., Sterling Jenkins
DL: Brady Pallante, ?!?
LB: Justin Hilliard, Tyriq Thompson
DB: Tyree Kinnel, Shawn Crawford
K: Andrew David
That's 15, and while I bet Michigan gets up to 18 or so, half of the class is either committed or lockalicious (Kinnel, Wheatley, Weber, Crawford, probably Jenkins) 18 months from Signing Day
--but Michigan isn't even that far ahead of the game in the 2015 class. Texas (surprise!) already has 8 commits; Michigan is only fifth in the 247 rankings despite having the top WR in the class and a RB somewhere between top 100 and Mike Hart But Fast. Recruiting is accelerating to the point where it looks like hockey.
As far as having it stick, how many decommits does Michigan suffer? Like one per class. So George Campbell just went from like 20% Wolverine to 95%. I'll take it.
Since I've demolished the question above, maybe a new one: how is Brady Hoke doing this?
Mathlete: Based on such a level-headed, well punctuated questions such as that, I am sure you are looking for a technically correct answer. The correct answer is of course not. No team in the history of football has ever had commitments from players of this caliber this early. Hoke is clearly so far ahead in the recruiting game he will probably be resting his starters for the 2015 class with half the time left.
Actually pinning downing commitment dates can be a bit of a challenge and tracking where a commitment is ranked at the time is essentially impossible as the 2015 class has been ranked far faster in the cycle than any other before them. With that in mind, the best I could find in terms of high final rankings committing to a school before the start of September of the players' high school junior year where 2005 Ohio State and 2013 Georgia. In 2005 Tressel got commitments from the eventual top two players in Ohio that early. Five star tackle Alex Boone committed on the 1st of August and high four star cornerback Jamario O'Neal had been committed for six months by the time his junior year kicked off. For this year's Georgia class they had two four stars, safety Tray Matthews and quarterback Brice Ramsey commit in the summer of 2011.
[More drooling, some pretty good justification for drooling, and we make Brian play "Wizard or Rapper", after the jump]
Every week we obsess about something. Is it just to drive ourselves crazy? Is it because you like roundtables and we're ready to promise anything to a 5-star reader? Are you sick of this rhetorical paragraph? Fine. Brian's out this week so here's the e-pinion board:
|Sad Seth||The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; will finally get to touch the banner at the Bar Mitzvah at the Big House.|
|Nefarious Acewardo||Player is a longshot. Popular opinion holds that they're likely to be too busy writing 10 Hello posts all at once.|
|Mathlete||Players in this category maintain exquisite data.|
|Happy Heiko||Players whom Borges has in a small group as a tenuous favorite.|
|Mr. Blue in South Bend||Player is either a verbal or his Twitter account betrays a solid Michigan lean.|
And the question:
Right up until Signing Day 2012 certain bloggers were perturbed that Dennis Norfleet hadn't been offered despite being Steve Breaston wrapped up a little ball of hometown wonder that dances in end zones before kickoffs. Are there any guys in the 2014 class that you're eyeing and kinda wish these coaches would go after?
Seth: Answer my mailbag questions Ace!
Heiko: Dominique Booth? He's that four-star receiver from Indiana whose name we saw a lot on recruiting updates not too long ago. It seemed like there was significant interest between him and Michigan, but then he sort of fell off the map. Apparently Hoke and co. never came through with an offer. Now he's predicted to go to Tennessee. So ... what gives? I get that he's not the 6-3 minimum that Borges demands of his receivers -- at 6-0, he's basically a midget -- but he'd be kind of perfect for slot, no? He looks pretty fast on film, and he's really good at catching bubble screens ... Oh wait. That's why we didn't offer. Never mind.
BiSB: It's hard to be too geared up over any unoffered/untargeted prospects given the current target list. The coaches are making serious runs at a dozen or so guys, almost all of whom are somewhere between elite and EEEEEEEEEE. That said, one guy I'd like see the coaches give a hard look (especially if they miss on Dwight WIlliams) is Drue Tranquill out of Fort Wayne. I know he's the trendy name right now, but he seems like a guy who could provide some quality depth at SAM or strong safety. He also has the potential to be a special teams demon. Plus, if Michigan doesn't grab him, you just know he'll end up at Michigan State or Purdue or Iowa and he'll be a thorn in Michigan's side for what seems like seven years.
I'd also like to see Michigan expand their search for a pure OT prospect and offer a guy like Alex Bookser or Andrew Mike. But again, I'm not second-guessing the coaches right now. Not when they're in the position they're in with Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell and Juju Smith and Adoree Jackson and... /breathes into a paper bag.
Ace: Through no fault of his own, Wilton Speight will be compared throughout his career to David Cornwell and Michael O'Connor, the two quarterbacks he earned an offer over in February after the coaches evaluated each prospect — Speight sealed his offer after a personal throwing session for Jeff Hecklinski. If the current rankings hold, his career will be pointed to by one side or the other as a critical data point in the "coaches vs. recruiting rankings" argument; Speight is currently the #22 pro-style QB (#370 overall) in the 247 Composite, while Cornwell (#4 PQB) and O'Connor (#13 PQB) are ranked significantly higher. (Speight has one major outlier, ESPN, which ranks him as the #5 PQB — he's no higher than #21 elsewhere. By the all-important Rank Our Guys The Highest measure, ESPN is your recruiting service of choice this year.)
Cornwell, who committed to Alabama last month, seemed especially keen on a Michigan offer; thus far his rankings, offer sheet*, and camp performances — Cornwell made the Elite 11 finals; Speight didn't after an up-and-down showing in regionals — indicate that he's the better prospect. I also think Cornwell's junior highlight tape is more impressive than Speight's, but I'm just a guy — Al Borges and Jeff Hecklinski are far more qualified to make that evaluation, obviously. I think Speight is a very good prospect and a good bet to start down the line; I'll also be very curious to see how Cornwell does at Alabama, and same goes for O'Connor at Penn State. I know this doesn't really answer the question — Michigan obviously isn't going to go after Cornwell or O'Connor at this point — but I think the coaches have done very well at filling needs and no other names immediately sprung to mind.
I do agree with BiSB that landing a quality OT would be very nice (this is a pretty obvious statement). As for Booth and Tranquill, I think Michigan has better fits for their system with Canteen (a taller slot at 6'3" but still very quick, and I think he'll rise in the rankings) and their current linebacker commits. I could see the coaches extending a late offer to Tranquill, whose film I like, if they miss out on Dwight Williams and Jimmie Swain; I'm okay with the coaches waiting on those two before using a spot on Tranquill when they're currently at a premium.
*An admittedly unfair comparison, as Cornwell earned most of his offers, including Alabama, after Michigan offered Speight — who had interest from several schools, including Alabama, at the time of his commitment. It's quite possible that Speight's offer sheet would be at least as good as O'Connor's if he'd stayed uncommitted.
Ace: Also, it's worth reiterating BiSB's point that recruiting is going so well these days that we're really picking nits here. No coaching staff is going to be perfect when it comes to whom they offer and bring in, and it doesn't really work that way anyway; gaining early commitments — yes, even from lesser-regarded prospects — allows the coaches to focus their late recruiting efforts on the Da'Shawn Hands and Malik McDowells of the world, and it's not like the coaches have much say about when certain prospects decide to make a commitment. Top-100 tackle Ethan Pocic is a great example from last year; he was a strong candidate to commit but wanted to take his time, Michigan filled up on the O-line early, and when an extra spot opened up Pocic had already committed to LSU. Michigan did a solid job of filling that sixth spot with Dan Samuelsen but certainly would've preferred Pocic, in a perfect world. So it goes.
Seth: I like Samuelsen, but then I'm also an unabashed lover of Nebraska's offense, which by the way won the sweepstakes for Zack Darlington, the next dual-threat Apopka quarterback. No, I'm not going there. I would go for Illinois quarterback Clayton Thorson. That's Northwestern's guy in this class. He's 6'4"/197 so he's way more Gardner than Denard. The entire Big Ten except for Michigan and Ohio State was after him. Speight is great, but I think it was a mistake to not recruit a quarterback in 2012 and would like another bullet in the chamber in case it turns 2015 and something's happened to Shane.
BiSB: I think armchair recruiters are more forgiving of the "process" misses like Pocic. Knowing how many spots will be available, and how many recruits they will need at each spot, is obviously pretty complex. Fans are much less forgiving of perceived "evaluation misses," even if the people doing the criticizing are working off of much less information than the coaching staff. If Cornwell turns out to be better than Speight, people will blame Borges, even though there's no reason to believe Michigan WOULD have landed Cornwell (also, people will overlook how good Speight has been for this class. See: Peppers, Jabrill). If Artavis Scott turns out to be better than Freddy Canteen, people will blame Hoke, even though Scott probably wasn't even a realistic possibility when they landed Canteen.
But back to the topic at hand, if this class shapes up the way we're hoping, I can't see any late offers (or lack thereof) that could cause anyone to bat an eye. Unless it's Speedy Noil. Yep, that's the new goal. GET SPEEDY NOIL.
Mathlete: It's pretty hard to argue with how this class has filled up and what's left on the board. Is it too late to offer Braylon's brother?