this may be of some local interest
Alltime updates can be found in the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
Your Breathless Seantrel Henderson Update Returns!
It's been a while since I've talked about the recruitment of MN OL Seantrel Henderson (Photo by the Pioneer Press) in Wednesday Recruitin', so this should be a pretty serious update, especially considering that he's one of the most-discussed recruits in recent memory. First, we head to ESPN and Steve Wiltfong:
"The choice will ultimately be up to Seantrel, but we're trying our best to make sure he gets the best experience," said Sean Henderson, Seantrel's father.
Not that I'm going to accuse any parental tampering here, but this quote is fairly ironic, considering Seantrel started the recruiting process saying "I'm not interested in Notre Dame." The instant his father took over the media correspondence, Notre Dame was suddenly among his favorites, and they're now receiving an official visit. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Also of note from the article:
Besides the schools he's taking official visits to [ed.: ND, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Florida] and Minnesota, the five-star Henderson is also considering Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin.
That's still a top-10 list, and there's a lot of time before Signing Day, when he plans to decide. All teams still have a somewhat-legit chance at landing the guy.
Local fluff on Seantrel. For what it's worth, he still plans to try both football and basketball at his school of choice. The emergence of Michigan's basketball program can only help the Wolverines in that regard.
Tim Brewster took to a helicopter to impress local recruits, including Henderson (photo from MNdaily.com). In an article on the same topic, his high school coach implies that there may be some (slight) academic concerns with Seantrel:
"He'll always take care of the football part of it," Scanlan said. "I just hope he gets his homework done and that he is getting everything taken care of when he comes back on Monday. That's the part that might be a concern. Because there are so many distractions; he's really focused on football. Let's just make sure that school takes care of itself, too."
Keep on eye on that, though it doesn't sound like he's in danger of not qualifying.
Seantrel is writing a weekly diary for the Pioneer Press, and I hope this is just an unfortunate coincidence in paragraph structure:
I heard this week from Ohio State, USC, Michigan and Oklahoma. It is tough sometimes to tell a school you aren't really interested...
Considering it's the Wolverines among a group of his top schools, I don't think that's intended to imply that he's uninterested in any of those programs.
Doug Lesmerises gives fluff from Seantrel's official visit, including a couple relevant quotes:
"Mostly I want to know about academics," Henderson says. "I want to learn about that if I'm going to be staying here for three years or whenever, and I want to know the people I'm surrounded by. I didn't know Ohio State was like, the biggest school. I didn't know they were so high on the academics and they give a lot of help to athletes."
Obligatory laughing at each part of the last sentence for entirely different reasons. For the record, Seantrel enjoyed his visit to Columbus, though there was nothing really said other than standard post-visit quotes (aside from his dad thinking Oklahoma is still in the Big 8, of course).
And, after that huge information dump, I'll editorialize for minute. Henderson (unlike many prospects) realizes that it's talent, and not school choice, that will get him to the NFL. Sure, he can pick up better coaching at some places than others, but if he's an NFL player, he's an NFL player, regardless of where he goes. Because of that understanding, the two biggest factors in his recruitment are expected to be education (check) and ability to win a championship while he's in school.
There's been a lot of murky insider-y talk about Michigan being one of Seantrel's favorite schools, but he's uncertain over whether he'd be able to win a championship in Ann Arbor. The fast start to the season really helps in that regard, especially beating one of his other contenders, in Notre Dame. If the Wolverines keep winning, they can really help themselves with a number of prospects, Henderson not least among them.
Your Quarterbacking Overlord Fears No Man
There has been some internet hand-wringing about what will happen to the commitment status of MI QB Devin Gardner with Tate Forcier having such a good stellar season. However, there's nothing to worry about. Devin thinks Tate looks very good, and he's not worried about competing against a possibly-entrenched starter. He'll compete to earn playing time, and if he doesn't get any of those minutes, he'll accept a redshirt.
Because it's Clear they're Needed...
...Michigan is still pursuing a number of linebackers. The main options:
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a soft commit to Duke for quite some time, and his visit to Michigan seemed to have softened it even further. Since his interest in the Blue Devils has been waning, he made it official, decommitting from Duke. That's a good sign for Michigan, especially considering how much he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor. He's taking another one sometime this winter, so if Michigan wants him, they appear to have as good a shot as any.
MD LB Josh Furman had long been planning to announce a decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl in December, but now it seems like a decision may be coming sooner ($, info in header). He was also in attendance for the Michigan-Notre Dame Game, which again is probably a good thing, considering it came shortly after heading to Ann Arbor.
MD LB Troy Gloster is a third realistic option, and he has had the Wolverines near the top of his list for quite some time now. Now it appears as though they're in a top 2 with West Virginia, and a decision might be coming before the end of his high school season ($, info in header). If such a decision does indeed happen, Michigan would at least know where it stands in it linebacker hunt.
If Michigan is unable to land any of those three linebackers, there are a couple prospects slightly lower on the recruiting board that they still have a chance at landing. One such player is OH LB Jewone Snow, son of Michigan great Garland Rivers (and nephew of Michigan State's Percy and Eric Snow). He'll observe the in-state battle on October 3rd, which may help him decide which team he likes more. Of course, one reason I'm personally enamored with Snow is his connection to 2011 OH DE Steve Miller, one of the top prospects in the Buckeye State.
In the Trenches
Though they'd fallen off his radar, the Wolverines have put themselves back on it for NC DE/DT Gabe King. Still, his coach has a lot of connections out west (his two favorites are Oregon and Cal), and he's now moving to Oregon, so don't expect MIchigan to seriously contend for him(King photo by Roy Philpott for the Detroit News).
MN DT Beau Allen was receptive when Michigan finally came after him, but it appears as though they may have been too late. He has a top four, with a couple schools trailing behind, and Michigan is nowhere to be found.
The 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board holds all the updates on prospects of interest.
Tom Lemming's top prospects list is generally pretty kind to M:
#1 Combo-passer Devin Gardner
#23 Tailback-slotback Austin White
#25 Tailback-slotback Tony Drake
#6 Big back Stephen Hopkins
#13 Wide receiver Ricardo Miller
#19 Wide receiver Jeremy Jackson
#20 Offensive guard Christian Pace
#24 Inside linebacker Antonio Kinard
#4 Safety Marvin Robinson
There are a bunch of other targets included on the list, obviously. While we're talking rankings, Rivals recently updated theirs, and say hello to the #1 QB in all the land:
That of course means I'm contractually obligated to point out the rockin' MGoBlog HD highlights of Gardner.
Cullen Christian's reported visit plans seem to change by the day, but for now, he's planning to visit only Michigan and UCLA, along with maaaybe a third school to be named later. He still intends to make a decision during his senior season. (Christian photo by Bob Donaldson of the Post-Gazette). His teammate, Brandon Ifill, will visit in September (likely along with Cullen), and says that the two prospects are no longer tied to the idea of going to the same school. How about a little pre-season fluff on their team, as well.
The Particularly Revealing Scout Header is becoming a staple of recruiting posts lately, and who am I to change that?
Maryland safety Josh Furman will be taking his first official visit on Sept. 12 to Michigan. “Michigan is showing a lot of interest,” Furman said. “I’m very curious to see what the campus is like and I can’t wait to see a game at the Big House. I also really like (wide receiver) coach Tony Dews. He’s a great guy and I just get a good feeling about him.” Although Furman still denies a leader...
The rest of the article is behind paywall, but jesus is that one informative header. So: Furman likes Michigan, and add him to the list for next weekend's visitors. Fluff on him, mostly concerned with his ability to run the ball.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has set up four of his official visits, one of which will be to Ann Arbor. His others will be to North Carolina, Duke, and UCLA. For his fifth and final visit, he's considering Stanford, Wake, and Vanderbilt (quite the student, no?). No word yet on which game he'll be attending.
Michigan is in the final 5 for CT LB Khairi Fortt, along with Penn State, Georgia, USC, and North Carolina. The article implies without explicitly stating that those will be the schools he officially visits, as well.
MI DE CJ Olaniyan talked with Rivals AMP:
Nothing earth-shattering. He wants to make a commitment by the middle of his season, and the two visits he's thought about so far are Notre Dame and Penn State. As far as Michigan goes, he likes the academics, and has been on campus for three unofficial visits.
He Who Has Amazing Name
Though Michigan's QB recruiting is probably all wrapped up, LA QB Munchie Legaux still likes the Wolverines. M has made his final three along with Baylor, Oregon, and Tulane (they must not be able to count very well in Louisiana, I guess), and seems to be still giving him some pretty good attention. The rest of the article is pretty M focused, so I suggest checking it out. Munchie himself says he might not be fast enough to play receiver, so bringing him in for a position switch is probably not what Michigan is going for. I would presume he's being given the attention in case of another decommitocalypse, a la last year. In addition, he looks like Vince Young with dreads. (Legaux photo by Susan Poag of the Times-Picayune).
Michigan is still nominally in the running for CA RB/LB Anthony Barr, but when your finalists are 3 schools from your home state, your dad's alma mater, and Michigan, Michigan is probably the odd man out here. If he doesn't end up signing with the Irish, it will probably be with one of the Cali schools.
Michigan is still in the top group for FL RB Eduardo Clements, though Georgia is on top of the heap for now.
Michigan is not in the top 4 for MI DT Johnathon Hankins. I think that ship may have sailed when he was too... hefty... to earn an offer in camp. He'll likely be removed soon.
Bill Kurelic thinks Michigan will end up with Dior Mathis, and Seantrel Henderson and Sharrif Floyd will go to Minnesota(!) and Florida, respectively.
There was also an article on Tony Grimes from the Miami Herald but you now must register (for free) to view it. Hey, great way to get me to not link to your paper, guys. Same with an article linked up on MGoBoard: Torrian Wilson got hurt last week, but it doesn't appear to be too serious.
Removed MD RB Marcus Coker, who will be a Hawkeye.
Removed FL DE Corey Lemonier, who is no longer considering M.
Note: In an effort to remove the enormous and uninviting block of text from the top of the recruiting posts, I've excised the recruiting board update from the post itself. It can still be seen on the actual board.
Elsewhere in Committed Prospects...
OH CB Commit Courtney Avery is already known as a multi-talented player: On top of being a defensive back, he's also a startlingly accurate quarterback for his Lexington team. Add a new segment to the resume, as he's also a very accomplished hoopster.
Avery, who originally planned to play football and basketball for Stanford, will focus solely on football at Michigan. Did another national championship leave him second-guessing the decision?
"I'm going to miss basketball, but I'm comfortable with the decision I've made," he said. "This was just a chance to go out and play one final time.
"We started a dynasty together and we wanted to finish it together."
The AAU national championship was his team's third in a row.
Devin Gardner is now a 5-star, and the #4 overall QB on Scout (moves that I predicted would happen, though perhaps not this early). He also passes William Gholston as the #1 in-state prospect.
Cornelius Jones leads Spartanburg to a 13-0 scrimmage victory.
Slightly Longer Shots
AZ S Marquis Flowers "knows two visits he plans to take" ($). Considering the article is written by a staffer from The Wolverine, we can assume that one of those two visits is to Ann Arbor.
Michigan is likely done recruiting running backs unless they can land an elite prospect (i.e. Eduardo Clements), but should they need a backup plan, FL RB Cassius McDowell is probably a good bet. A good friend and former teammate of Denard Robinson, he's the new leader of Deerfield Beach. Also interesting is the fact that the Bucks ran a Wing-T offense last year, but will transition to a spread in 2009. Great timing, guys.
OH S Latwan Anderson has West Virginia, Michigan State, and Georgia atop his list right now, with the Mountaineers leading the way. Michigan seems to have slipped out of his recruitment, though he plans to take his visits before deciding.
CA RB Anthony Barr, who had up to this point had only been on the periphery of Michigan recruiting attention, has included the Wolverines in his final five, along with USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal. He's a big dude at 6-4 and 223 lbs, so perhaps the Wolverines like his upside at linebacker? He won't decide until his football season is completed.
MD LB Josh Furman will definitely take a visit to Ann Arbor, along with planned visits to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl, which The Google Machine says takes place on December 19th.
One of the last remaining players interested in Michigan from the DeMatha contingent is S Lorenzo Waters. He includes Michigan in his top four, along with Maryland (the favorite), Miami (That Miami), and Wake Forest.
Other People's Money (and Four-Stars)
OH TE Alex Smith has been "committed" to Cincinnati since February, but the solidity of that commitment has not been constant over time. At this time, he is in an off-again phase with the Bearcats, and the Wolverines have an opening:
As positive as that experience was, it did not propel the Wolverines over a familiar hurdle of theirs when it comes to recruiting tight ends -- scheme.
Despite the assurances offered, Smith remained skeptical about how prevalent a role the tight end will play in Michigan's new offense...
Michigan's best chance at dispelling what it contends is a common misconception about how it uses tight ends will come on the field this fall. Getting Smith back on campus so he can witness the increased productivity of the current tight end tandem of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb will be a major priority. Smith plans to oblige the request, but he plans to do the same for a few other programs as well.
"In no order I'm liking UNC (prior visit), Michigan (prior visit), Wisconsin (prior visit), Miami, LSU and Kentucky (prior visit)," he reported. "Two or three (will receive visits), for sure. I don't know how many I need to take because after going places, I know what they have to offer and there's no real need to go back. I still want to (make a commitment) pretty early (in the season).
So, it looks like Cincinnati is basically out. As long as Michigan uses the tight end effectively this fall, the Wolverines are probably at the top of Smith's list. Smith is also quoted as saying that Michigan is his mom's #1 choice. HOWEVA, Michigan isn't in Smith's top list in this Kurelic article…
When asked to name his top choices Smith said, "Cincinnati, then Wisconsin, then North Carolina, and Kentucky is in there too."
…though he does list Michigan first when asked what schools he'd like to visit in the near future.
In the Trenches
After the commitment of OH DT Terry Talbott, the need at this position is likely for one more high-level DT.
FL DT Louis Nix, a longtime commit to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, has opened his recruitment. He will officially visit Notre Dame, and will also consider Michigan along with Florida and Florida State.
There is some confusion over the official visits of PA DT Sharrif Floyd. Michigan fans are up in arms that Bill Kurelic wrote an article with Ann Arbor not among his destinations. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet, though, as he sounds less than definite in those plans (emphasis mine):
"I'm going to take all five official visits," Floyd said on Tuesday evening. "I'll probably visit Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida, something like that."
So, less than certain. He's also said in the past that he definitely will not take an official to Penn State, so this can all get quite confusing. For now, I'd say Michigan fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Floyd. Additional fluff on Floyd, noting that he'll play offensive guard this year, along with maybe a bit of linebacker(!).
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, though a top-5 list a couple weeks ago did not include Michigan, FL OL Torrian Wilson has narrowed his list to three, with Miami, Stanford and Michigan remaining. The Wolverines had been his favorite earlier, but Miami has come on strong, and will probably be the team to beat. And let's check out some video from SoFlaFootball, for good measure:
Season preview fluff on OH OL Commit Christian Pace:
Christian Pace, a 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle, was first team All-SWC last year and will attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship in 2010.
He also plays defensive tackle. For the record, that's by far the tallest I've seen him listed (most reports say 6-2ish, though he's listed at 6-3 on the recruiting sites). Avon Lake also scrimmaged against Midview over the weekend (Friday to be precise), and posted a photo gallery on their website. The only good Pace photo from the gallery can be seen at right.
Wrapping up the OL talk is the official visit docket of one Seantrel Henderson. The top OL in the country will take official visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Florida, and Notre Dame. Michigan is absent, as you can see. Not that I think the Wolverines will be added, but I take this list with a grain of salt since it comes from the mouth of his father, not Seantrel himself. It also includes Notre Dame, while Henderson the younger has been adamant for some time that he's not interested in the Irish. Either way, MIchigan is likely no longer a player.
Michigan still leads (still!) for PA teammates Brandon Ifill and Cullen Christian, though Ifill says Maryland is even with the Wolverines. Byrnes wideout Nick Jones wants to make an Ann Arbor visit. Michigan seems to be out of it for OH S Kurtis Drummond. MI DE CJ Olaniyan seems to really like... Oklahoma State?
Removed FL LB Christian Jones. Michigan is outside of his top 6 ($).
FL RB Demetrius Hart confirms that Michigan is his only verbal offer so far, and though he seems to favor Michigan, he no longer plans to make an early decision. He will, however, try to enroll early at the school he ultimately chooses.
FL QB Teddy Bridgewater doesn't really like calling the signals. Does that mean a move back to wideout for college? If so, Michigan interest might not be worthwhile.
Update 7/14: Linked to articles on FL CB Tony Grimes, LA WR Drew Dileo, FL WR Ricardo Miller, PA CB Cullen Christian (and PA S Brandon Ifill), OH OL Christian Pace, MI RB commit Austin White, CT LB Khairi Fortt, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, IA QB AJ Derby (HT: BHGP), MN OL Seantrel Henderson (second), OH LB Jewone Snow. Moved MI RB Austin White to committed.
Removed FL CB Spencer Boyd (ND), SC CB Detrick Bonner (VT), SC OL Eric Mack (SoCar), MD LB Troy Gloster, UT DT Ricky Hemuili, NJ RB Tony Jones, OH RB Erick Howard, MI WR Baquer Sayed. Also removed the three QBs in the "unoffered prospects" category. Moved CA RB Dietrich Riley to S, FL RB Nickell Robey to CB, PA RB Zach Zwinak to LB.
Editorial Opinion: Mildly busy week highlighted by the commitment of MI RB Austin White, which gives Michigan the top instate QB, RB, and WR in this class. On to the show…
I took the opportunity presented by Austin White's commitment to rearrange the RB board. Anyone with a defensive position got shoved to that side of the ball on the assumption that's where Michigan will recruit them in the future and a couple marginal guys got sliced.
- FL CB Spencer Boyd finally committed to ND, surprising no one.
- A couple of South Carolina guys committed elsewhere.
- MD Troy Gloster is down to West Virginia and Stanford, which is one screwy list if you ask me.
- M did not make UT DT Ricky Heimuli's top ten.
Michigan was a real longshot in Heimuli's recruitment, but not even making a top ten list is harsh. Gloster's a mid-three star linebacker, so none of this is particularly damaging. On to that damage, though…
MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment has undergone an unfortunate twist in the last couple weeks. Last week he tentatively announced four officials, none of which were to Michigan, and said Florida State—still not Michigan—might be the fifth. This week:
Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson told ESPN affiliate Web site GatorCountry.com, "Florida, USC and Ohio State... its going to be one of those three. They play for championships and they put a lot of people in the NFL."
Wha? Okay, it's not final…
"It's not that I've closed the door on anyone. I'm still open but I've got some things that are important to me. It's going to be a tough choice but I'm going to make the right one whatever that is."
…but that's a huge shift from Henderson's previous statements and the widely held epinion that Michigan was a player on his short list and possibly even a tentative leader. Also there is this from MaxPreps:
In fact, one source close to the situation expects it to ultimately come down to OSU and USC, with Minnesota likely having already been ruled out.
Adding confusion to confusion, epinion merchants on M premium sites still say Michigan's a factor. So… yeah. Not dead yet in the same way Henderson wasn't in the bag earlier in the year, but chances haven't exactly gone up over the past couple weeks.
Oh, Right, That
I promised some more Christian Pace scuttlebutt in last week's Tuesday Recruitin' and then forgot all about it. Allow me to make amends. A reader sends this along:
A friend of mine is close to the Avon Lake football program. He's a former MAC football player, his kid is on the team, and he helps out with their off season conditioning program. He is not a cheerleader who is normally wowed by kids, but he confirmed to me last weekend that Pace is the real deal. He mentioned that Florida State was absolutely smitten with him. The FSU coaches actually told Pace that he is better than one or two of their starters today and would start for FSU in the 2009 season (as a 17 year old). That's obviously an over-the-top statement, but FSU clearly saw him as a guy who would play immediately and wanted him badly. I wonder if Rod is expecting Pace to at least be in the two-deep for the 2010 season, and thus encouraging the early enrollment. Otherwise, enrolling early just to be redshirted the next season seems like a form of self-torture. Especially for a recruit who had good coaching/training in HS and is relatively polished.
This jives with what the recruiting-mad Florida State fans at Tomahawk Nation told me: Rick Trickett was crazy about Pace, downright loony, and was really disappointed Michigan got him. Given the close association between Trickett and Rodriguez, that bodes well for his future.
What The… No. I Must Resist.
LA WR commit Drew Dileo comes in for the big fluff in his local paper, and you get one-count-it-one guess as to which current NFL player gets dragged up for comparison. Correct:
“He (Jackson) told us Drew reminds them of Wes Welker,” Simoneaux said.
The rest of the article has fascinating insight into Dileo's recruitment, including this remarkably self-aware statement:
“I know my profile isn’t as great as a lot of other kids’ around the country,” he said. “I know (Michigan) reached out there a little bit to get me. It’s not about proving anybody wrong. I just don’t want people up there to feel like I wasted a scholarship.”
Yipes. Hope he wasn't referring to this space, which attempted to be kind but was blunt in its assessment of Dileo's recruiting profile and the class composition when he joined up ("not terribly enthused"). Here will be a true test of Rodriguez's ability to unearth productive who-dats. They found the guy, they pursued him heavily…
“Of all the coaches that came through,” Parkview assistant David Simoneaux said, “Michigan was the most aggressive. They said they just had to have him.”
…and they got him. I hope it works out.
Unexpected In The Other Direction
Josh Helmholdt follows up on CA LB Tony Jefferson, who told ESPN last week Michigan would be on his list of official visits and USC was out. The article doesn't actually have any quotes, so let's just highlight this:
One reason Michigan likely has made a quick rise on Jefferson’s list is because of his desire to receive a highly respected degree. Jefferson committed to Stanford very early in his junior year, citing the Cardinal’s academic prestige. He eventually reneged on that commitment, but still is looking for a strong academic situation.
So there you go. Jefferson maintains no leaders.
Then there's this (now nearly week-old) article on FL CB Tony Grimes. Money quote:
"Michigan is going to be tough to beat," he said. "It's a great program. The networking is on point at Michigan and the alumni system is amazing. The coaching staff is building something great over there."
Schwing. Grimes isn't highly rated on Rivals but is Scout's #5 corner and the offers agree with Scout: Miami, Alabama, Georgia, and plenty others. Grimes visited earlier in the year and has scheduled a return trip for the Notre Dame game; that's the first official he's set.
And, yes, I am contractually obligated to highlight this quote:
"I was with Vladimir (Emilien)," Grimes said of his time in Ann Arbor. "That's my boy. He told me one difference (at Michigan) is once you get there, you are not just a piece of meat, you are a part of the family. That's something I can believe because he didn't play none of his senior year after he tore his ACL, but they didn't just cut him off. They kept his offer and he committed there. "
At this point I'd love nothing more than to never hear the world "family" in connection with Michigan football, good or bad.
More of the Same
PA CB Cullen Christian favors… yep:
When asked to name his leader, Christian said, "I like Michigan best. I feel I have the biggest bond with their coaches. I feel like it's a family there. Michigan is a great school."
Plz commit ASAP plz. Christian may bring along teammate and PA S Brandon Ifill, who's recently declared a top two of M and Maryland and will visit August 31st. Picking up Christian and Grimes would be a stellar 1-2 punch at corner.
Adios, Guy Whose Name I Just Figured Out
I had CT LB Khairi Fortt's name wrong on the board all this time, which is probably why he's got Michigan at or near the bottom of his top six:
"Penn State and North Carolina would be two visits," Fortt said. "But I have to go back over things. We visited 15 or 16 schools. I have to go back through my notes and pictures. I visited Penn State and North Carolina recently, so those schools are (fresh) in my mind."
Fortt does not see himself taking all five official visits.
"I might make three visits," he said.
Fortt tentatively plans an unofficial to Michigan in the next month, but M is clearly behind at least two schools and is just barely hanging on.
Etc.: I've been ignoring a lot of stuff on FL LB Jeff Luc because he's hardly mentioned Michigan and is expected to stay in state, but Sam Webb's been saying on the radio that he expects Luc will take an official. He also confirms that Khairi Fortt is not likely to end up at M. OH LB Jewone Snow doesn't seem like he'll get an offer. IA QB AJ Derby is still open. Commitment fluff on MI RB Austin White. Some MI WR Jeremy Jackson youtube interviews. Bo Schemblogger catches up with MI WR Ricardo Miller for a quick interview.
Update 7/14: Linked to articles on OH DT Terry Talbott, PA OL Robbie Havenstein, CA S Sean Parker, OH OL Skyler Schofner, OH S Latwan Anderson, FL RB Corvin Lamb, SC QB Cornelius Jones, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, PA DT Sharrif Floyd, MN OL Seantrel Henderson (and PA S Brandon Ifill), CT LB Khari Fortt.
Video of SC QB commit Cornelius Jones.
Added FL RB Brandon Gainer.
Removed FL DE Delvin Jones, OH OL Andrew Donnal (Iowa), OH OL Travis Jackson (MSU), TX LB Corey Nelson (A&M).
Some links from Bleed Scarlet.
Jones was a tremendous longshot from day one and Jackson camped at Michigan but failed to get an offer. BFDs—sarcastic BFDs—both.
OH OL Andrew Donnal, on the other hand, is a highly-regarded kid and should have been one of Michigan's priorities at tackle this fall; he's now off the board. And TX LB Corey Nelson had Michigan as his leader for about ten minutes in March, but Michigan quickly fell off the radar. Linebacker options are thinning.
Imminent, Impending, Etc.
I talk to Coach Rod Smith and Jackson the most. I really like that I’ve built a good relationship with all the coaches, not just my position coaches. It’s good to get to know all of them, and see that they all have the same goals. That’s kind of what has them [Michigan] as my favorite.
White's currently sporting blue on the recruiting board. The LSU visit did not come off and State's opinion of their chance became clear when they offered Nick Hill. Everyone expects he will put on a block M hat tomorrow.
The Spartan spin machine will get engaged now; I can't wait to hear what Valenti and the rest of the short bus crowd come up with to explain State losing a guy who's got two brothers on the MSU team and was the preferred choice of both instate schools.
Done, or no?
With TX RBs Stephen Hopkins and Tony Drake in the bag—though a lot of people are saying Drake will end up a slot receiver woo don't we need some more receivers—and the likely addition of White, Michigan is close to done at tailback. There are still a couple guys out there that Michigan would just about have to make room for, though.
One, FL RB Eduardo Clements, camped at Michigan, claims an even top three of Miami, Georgia, and Michigan, and has seen Georgia take two high-rated tailback commits in recent weeks. Even so, most observers think Michigan remains a longshot. An official visit is on tap if his recruitment goes that long.
The other is a new, surprising name: FL RB Brandon Gainer. He's got a top two that includes M:
… Gainer is a true running back prospect and ranked as the No. 12 player at the position nationally by Rivals.com. Michigan has made a big jump on his list in the last few months and now joins Florida State atop his list. He plans to take an official visit to Michigan this fall and decide soon after where he will attend school.
Gainer's name had hardly come up before that announcement, so I don't know much about him yet. He's a member of the Rivals 250.
White's commitment will likely end the recruitment of everyone else, including two more Florida tailbacks: Corvin Lamb now says LSU leads($) and Cassius McDowell always seemed like a plan B option.
Your Verging-On-Creepy Gardner Update
Have I gone a week without mentioning enormous, fleet-footed, charming, handsome MI QB Devin Gardner? No? Well, this won't be the week either. Gardner's made the Elite "11"* passing camp:
Devin Gardner (Committed to Michigan)
Gardner is raw and mechanically unorthodox, but he's extremely productive and talented. Plus he possesses a great work ethic-- he wants to be good. Gardner is big, athletic and the perfect fit for the spread with upside to develop and refine his passing skills.
The usual, right? At the very least Gardner's invite provides another venue via which to scout and compare Michigan's prize against the rest of the country's top recruits, including fellow instate quarterbacks Robert Bolden and Joe Boisture. If Gardner comes out of the camp on par with the rest of those guys that's a major win since the remainder of the invitees aren't 6'5" gazelles. (Except maybe for 'Bama commit Phillip Sims (Not That Phil Simms).)
That Other Guy
Michigan does have another quarterback committed: South Carolina's Cornelius Jones. Jones has been a mystery man thus far in his recruitment, ignored by the in-state schools and devoid of video or rankings on the recruiting sites. That void of information has begun to be filled. Unfortunately, I can't embed AthleteVault's highlight video, but it does exist and you can check it out. All you can tell is he's got the usual athleticism.
Meanwhile, his local paper has been giving Jones some attention of late. His Spartanburg team flew to the final of a local 7-on-7 tournament thanks in large part to his play:
“Cornelius made some phenomenal throws,” [Spartanburg HC Freddie] Brown said. “Defensively, Coach (Mark) Razzano made some good calls in tight situations, and the kids made some big plays with games on the line.”
Along the way Spartanburg downed big programs like Olive Branch (Miss.), Hoover (Ala.), and Independence (NC). In the final, Spartanburg fell to a loaded Byrnes team that features like three top-100 recruits, including Marcus Lattimore.
And a little earlier the same paper took a look at Jones' redemption story:
“I just was surrounded by a bunch of negative things. I was getting in trouble,” Jones said. “I never saw myself being around any of this (now).”
Jones was out of the public school system for 18 months as a result of his troubles.
At some point he woke up, decided he didn't like the direction things were going in, and hooked up with Spartanburg's new head coach—the previous coach had banned him from the team. From there, it was one highlight video and Michigan had an offer for him. He'll be a kid to root for once he arrives, and he will: despite his time in the wilderness Jones has a 3.7 GPA.
Michigan's in a good spot with PA S Brandon Ifill, who's yet to visit Michigan's campus but still says this about his leaders:
When asked if he has a favorite school, Ifill said, "It's probably between Michigan and Maryland. I've been to Maryland twice. I feel comfortable with the coaching staff. Michigan has been recruiting me the longest. Coach (Rich) Rodriguez has been recruiting me since he was at West Virginia."
Ifill's scheduled an unofficial at the end of the month, at which point we'll have a better grasp on how much mutual interest there is between the parties. Ifill is the teammate of PA CB Cullen Christian, who maintained a loud and proud Michigan lead for months now, and the pair could extend Rodriguez's streak of locking down teammates to a third year.
That article has some less salutary news, too…
MN OL Seantrel Henderson's dad says his son has a slate of officials he's planning. They don't include Michigan:
"I know his five official visits. He will definitely visit Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC and Florida. Florida State is one that could change. He might decide to visit somewhere else besides Florida State. He could visit both the Florida schools or he might just take one to Florida." …
When asked about the four definite official visits, Seantrel said, "That might change, but right now that's it. Florida State might be the fifth one."
Urgh. One way to look at the schedule: he's going to places he hasn't gone to before and can't afford to get to on his own time. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Minnesota did get mentions amongst the "six to eight" schools Henderson is still considering, and Henderson has already been to all three of those. As we're about to see with a kid in California, sometimes the lack of an official isn't all that telling about who leads.
That's more boosterism for the local school, though, and if that visit schedule isn't modified to include Michigan I doubt Henderson ends up at M.
*(taking a page from the Big 10, the Elite 11 actually invites 12 quarterbacks but chooses the name that sounds cooler.)
West Coast Folk
A couple of highly-touted Californians have announced plans to take officials to Michigans. CA S Sean Parker sort of has a top two:
"I'm going to Notre Dame (Sept. 4)," Parker said. "I'm also setting a visit to Michigan, but I haven't locked in the date yet. After that, I'm pretty open and really don't know who will get my last three visits but I do plan to take all five."
Aaaand CA LB Tony Jefferson sort of has a top seven:
"I have my first two visits lined up right now," Jefferson said. "I'm going to Florida (Sept. 18) and Oklahoma (Nov. 13). My last three visits will be to Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State and I'll do unofficial visits to USC and UCLA.
Jefferson claims everyone wants him as a safety so I might have to move him in the near future; he claims early playing time is extremely important and that's why big early leader USC has dropped back to the field.
Parker, who's stated he would like to get out of the state several times, is a considerably more likely option. Either would be a strong addition to the class.
Punting With Birds In
MI P Mike Sadler has picked up a State offer and now bears an impressive list:
Last week, Michigan State offered punter Mike Sadler (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern). With the offer, the Spartans joined the likes of Alabama, LSU, Purdue, Northwestern and the Air Force Academy, all schools which had already offered him a scholarship.
Meanwhile, Michigan appears to be chasing WI P Will Hagerup above all others. Sadler grew up a Michigan fan and had some quotes earlier in the year that suggested an offer would be highly likely to end up in a commit, but if Michigan keeps holding off there's always the chance he gets ticked off and heads elsewhere. Apparently Sadler had a rough outing in front of Michigan's coaches but with specialists, especially punters, I'd trust a half-dozen other teams' evaluations over one or two afternoons.
I hope Michigan tells Hagerup they'll give him a brief window in which to commit before they offer Sadler; I'd rather take the almost-as-meaty bird that would really like to leap into your hand than the Wisconsonian in the bush. Eh… you know what I mean.
OH DT Terry Talbott had been reported as a Michigan offeree earlier, but apparently that's not quite the case:
“I know Wisconsin has offered me, Purdue and Illinois, a couple more Big Ten schools, UCLA, Kentucky, Arkansas, and North Carolina State too. Michigan hasn’t really offered me yet. I’m just trying to see when I can get a chance to come up there. We’re having trouble with our cars, but I want to come up and visit.”
Talbott has a (slightly) younger brother who's a cornerback; naturally they'd like to go to the same school. As per usual, a visit will tell.
Etc.: CT LB Khari Fortt remains a considerable longshot but this article claims he's got a visit to Michigan planned and where there's a visit there's a (vague, probably not worth mentioning) chance. PA DT Sharrif Floyd has Michigan in his top six but Penn State sounds like the leader. OH S Latwan Anderson still favors WVU. OH OL Skyler Schofner hasn't heard from M "in a while"; may not be a priority.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of OH OL Christian Pace, OH S Kurtis Drummond and OH RB Andre Givens, articles on IL WR Kyle Prater, FL OL Torrian Wilson (second), MN OL Seantrel Henderson, MI LB Daniel Easterly, OH OL commit Christian Pace, DE RB Jamaal Jackson, FL CB Tony Grimes, MI DE Will Gholston, MD RB Zach Zwinak, TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, GA CB Darius Robinson (more, yet more), CA RB Dietrich Riley (second), SC S Bashaud Breeland, FL QB Jeffrey Godfrey, TN QB Barry Brunetti, OH WR commit DJ Williamson, MI LB Daniel Easterly (second), OH TE Alex Smith, OH LB commit Antonio Kinard, MI QB Devin Gardner, MI RB Austin White.
Added OH CB Terry Talbott, FL LB Justin Wilson, OH OL Travis Jackson, OH OL Matt Rotheram.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. This is late and thus even bulkier than normal; there's just a lot more information floating out there these days and it's getting tough to track all this on the regular. In any case…
To the right: OH WR commit DJ (or "Deaver" or "D'Aver"; maybe I'll just call him Deathbacker, too) Williamson winning the Ohio state championship in the 100 M, as a junior. (It was a 10.90 into a headwind.) He's fast. Let's hope he can play football.
More kids Michigan had chucked offers at but had little shot at go off the board; you can observe them above if you care. Only one guy that had come in for any mention around these parts makes an exit, but it's a disappointing and surprising one: the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay committed to Oklahoma over the weekend.
Which WTF? When last we left Clay he had scheduled officials in the fall and was telling Tom this:
TOM: What’s all this I’ve been hearing about you and Michigan?
BRENNAN: There’s been a lot lately. I really like them a lot right now.
That turned into this:
"I kind of misled him earlier in the week," Clay said. "I wanted to make it a full on surprise but I told him I was narrowing decisions down. I think he thought it was going to be a top three, top five kind of deal.
"When I told him I was committing I think he said four or five times how excited he was. I'm pretty sure he has a great feeling going through his spine still."
What about my spine, eh? Doesn't anyone ever think of my spine? Anyway, that was almost immediately followed by Tate Forcier telling his facebook legions to ping Clay on behalf of M, which I'm betting is some sort of NCAA violation.
So… I'm leaving him on the board for now, just because this has the air of something that might be less than permanent, and Clay seems like one of those guys who changes his mind frequently. But even so Michigan's chances went from like 40% to like 2%. Lame!
This seemed inevitable as soon as OH TE Alex Smith took a BBQ visit and started talking about taking stadium tours across the country, and now it is official:
Lakota West High junior TE Alex Smith said this morning, June 9, that he will reopen his recruiting process.
One Cincinnati fan has a This Week In Schadenfreude-worthy response to all that:
Let me remind everybody that this is the same guy who said that he wanted to start a trend of hometown talent staying home and attending UC. And then he goes and commit treason, yea I said it TREASON, it's that serious when Rich Rod the SNAKE has been snaking our recruits from us since BK has gotten hear, the snake got one of our recruits to decommit from us last year right before signing, and then this.
Smith evidently has some interest, but it'll be a while before it's clear how much. A camp visit would be a very good sign.
War on the floor
Camps and combines continue apace, with the Champaign Nike camp of particular interest, as it featured a wide array of targets and commits. Michigan kids were "the story" of the camp according to Bill Kurelic. Amongst them was QB commit Devin Gardner. Various reports on his performance follow. Kurelic:
Gardner started a bit slow, but by the end of the camp was throwing very well. He showed a strong arm throwing the out pattern.
University of Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) is a carbon copy of Bolden in terms of build. He is a tall and intimidating signal-caller who delivers the football to the right spot as the receiver is making his break. He needs to polish his technical skills but is quick and athletic with a strong arm.
This camp also served as the Elite 11 tryout for everyone who showed; Gardner didn't win the MVP, which went to three-star Illinois commit Chandler Whitmer, but if he's even in the ballpark with pro-style guys—and it sounds like he's getting there—when it comes to sitting in the pocket throwing outs that is major win when you put him in a situation where he can kidney-punch linebackers en route to the endzone. Gardner was an Elite 11 ballboy last year; hopefully he gets an invite this year, if only for the instruction.
MI RB Austin White was the RB MVP:
RB, Austin White, 6-0, 189, Livonia (Mich.) Stevenson
White is one of the more versatile 'backs seen on the 2009 NFTC tour to this point. Blessed with a solid 6-foot frame that should be able to easily carry 210-220 pounds in college, White is also light of foot and very smooth with the football in his hands. Is also one of the top pass-catching and route-running backs in the country
Kurelic on White:
White was the top running back at the camp. He flashed his excellent speed, has a powerful looking frame and can catch the ball.
IL WR Kyle Prater also remains very, very good:
He is on the brink of being one of the top skilled athletes in the country. Prater is smooth and fluid in his routes and absolutely towers over the secondary -- standing 6-5. Prater can separate from defensive backs with his quickness and speed. He snags the football out of the air with his long arms and big, soft hands. It was no surprise that Prater made several acrobatic, reach-back receptions during the camp.
Prater named USC, Oklahoma, and Illinois as a top three recently but Gardner's apparently working on him and in other spots he claims no leaders from his group of ten. MI DE Will Gholston also came in for the usual amount of praise. Perhaps more interesting is this bit from Rivals on a guy who stood up to him:
But after the one-on-ones started, the attention quickly turned to the guy who was dominating Gholston in those battles – offensive lineman Connor Kruse of Lowell (Mich.) High.
Not much was known about Kruse heading into the camp – he wasn't even in the Rivals.com recruiting database until just recently – but after handling Gholston in one-on-ones and looking solid in drill work, he's a name to remember.
"I have one offer from Western Michigan," said Kruse, who is 6-4 and 280 pounds. "I'm hoping a camp like this will help get me on the map even more. I wanted to test myself against the best, and [Gholston] was supposed to be the best. I think I handled him quite well. You saw he didn't want anything to do with me when it was time again. He backed away from me."
Oh snap. Might be a guy to watch if he comes to Michigan's camp.
More on a couple other attendees in another section.
Here's a complaint I thought we'd never get around to this recruiting cycle: what's with Michigan not offering a couple of instate prospects? MI DT Jonathan Hankins plays a spot Michigan has few other prospects at, had an Oklahoma offer, and now sports another tres shiny letter:
Detroit Southeastern defensive tackle Johnathon Hankins added an offer from Ohio State recently.
Ohio State now leads, pending some sort of Michigan response. That almost has to come at Michigan's summer camp, doesn't it? Hankins grew up a Michigan fan and a couple of premium insider sorts claim he's highly likely to drop when (if?) he gets that camp offer.
Hankins also showed at that Nike camp:
Hankins is a true power-rusher who is difficult to stalemate. He has a great motor but needs to expand his repertoire of pass-rush techniques.
Apparently the major holdup on Michigan's part is that Hankins is carrying a lot of cheeseburgers around and Michigan would like to see him in better shape before they offer, which is beginning to happen.
Meanwhile, Cass Tech S/LB/maybe DE Daniel Easterly has his own set of swank offers:
Easterly said he landed a scholarship offer from UCLA right before leaving for Illinois, which was offer No. 18. Easterly anticipates offer No. 19 coming soon from Cincinnati. Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Syracuse, Alabama and Kentucky are among the other schools to offer Easterly.
Michigan has yet to join them, possibly because they're not quite sure what you do with a 6'5" 200 pound guy in their new Greg Robinson defense. Right now he's a safety, but many are projecting a move:
Daniel Easterly (Detroit/Cass Tech) played safety during his junior season, and feels that is where he will likely play in college. However, the 6-foot-5 and 200-pound Easterly said some recruiters have mentioned a move to outside linebacker if he gets big enough in the next couple of years. For that to happen, Easterly has a way to go. In shirts and shorts, it was easy to see how lean Easterly is. He is nowhere close to linebacker size at this point.
So. There's all that. Right now Illinois is the tentative favorite:
"I don't have a favorite yet, but I'm starting to look more to Illinois," Easterly said. "I like everything about Illinois. I like the coaching staff and the players. I like how they play. I like how their secondary plays. The coaches have told me I would play safety, or if I get big enough, Will (weak side) linebacker."
Michigan's new 4-3 under protects the WLB and loves LB/safety hybrids so that's where Easterly could fit. He believes an offer will come:
"I plan to go to Michigan and Ohio State's (football) camps," Easterly said. "Dior [Mathis] and I are going to both. Michigan wants me to come to camp, and then they are going to offer."
One to watch as well, mmm. [/yoda]
Hey: This Is Useful
This may be the most interesting and useful recruit evaluation I've seen. It's Rivals AMP on the commitment of OH OL Christian Pace:
"It seems like every play he's putting someone into the ground," says the Rivals guy, and there is plenty more effusive praise for his latest film; the implication is that he's likely to move into the four-star range but for his smallish frame. This limits his pro potential, which Rivals does consider in their rankings.* The overall impression is that despite his limitations, Pace will get a rankings boost in their next re-rank.
One of Rivals' small complaints—Pace's time to field—should be mitigated by his plan to enroll early. More about Pace's ability to turn you into a tulip:
"He enjoys physical play and is a real versatile big, strong kid," Dlugosz said. "He has exceptionally quick feet. … "He finishes his blocks," Dlugosz said. "If he locks on you, he's going to put you into the ground."
I was already enthused about Pace's commitment, and this stuff only heightens it.
*(This, by the way, is something I find totally reasonable. It's a potential sanity check and an excellent metric to use. It does mean that certain systems, like the spread 'n' shred, will find their overall rankings depressed a bit because they prioritize different things than your typical NFL team.)
That Thing No One Believes: Not True!
CA RB/S Dietrich Riley did not commit to Tennessee, not that anyone thought that he had. Guy hasn't even been to UT. Nevertheless, The Smokey Chomp clears this up and offers a tantalizing nublet of information:
Riley, who claims 15 offers but not a top school, says Michigan is recruiting the hardest.
What schools does Riley plan to visit this summer? “Tennessee, so I can meet the new staff and build a relationship with them. Also Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida if they offer, Oklahoma, Alabama, and I plan to attend the USC Rising Stars camp."
Riley's been dynamite at camps…
"He was incredible," Campbell said. "We've seen some great backs this year, guys like Marcus Lattimore, Roy Finch and all the guys at the USC camp but Riley is the best kid I've seen. He's a beast with size, speed and moves and he plays with an edge to him."
…but in protesting his willingness to head out of state he sort of confirms the likelihood he'll stay in state:
"I know right now a lot of people think I'm mainly looking at just USC and UCLA but I'm open to some out of state schools too. I'm going to go through the recruiting process and take my time before I make my decision."
I hold out some moderate hope here; the visit will tell all.
Mr. Henderson has a tentative list:
"Right now it is not official, but I like Minnesota, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida and LSU. There are some other schools, but that would be my top choices right now."
And he would like you to know, pro-style folk, that he will not be swayed by that pitch:
"I want to know the teams' depth chart and who they have coming in. I want to know if they are going to have a nice quarterback and who else they have on the offensive line. Then just being comfortable around the team and on campus, and finding a school where I can be at for the next four years, or maybe even five. I can play in any offense, and distance from home doesn't really matter."
Etc.: GA CB Darius Robinson is almost definitely headed to Miami; Clemson leads for SC S Bashaud Breeland, another guy high on my list of "recruits who could be from Dune"; FL OL Torrian Wilson drops Tennessee from his top five… in favor of FIU. lolz. DE RB Jamaal Jackson picks up three offers… from I-AA schools. I doubt his offer is "commitable," as they say.
Uh… Kurelic headlines an article "Bucks, Lions to battle for [PA RB/LB Zach] Zwinak" and ends it with "Zwinak does not plan to select a college in the near future and says he has no favorites."
This guy thinks Tennessee will offer and get TN QB Barry Brunetti, who's basically Tajh Boyd. Way to go, Kiffin!