Update 5/12: Linked to video of MN OL Seantrel Henderson, articles on FL RB Darion Hall(video), PA LB Ken Wilkins, FL DE Corey Lemonier (second), MI DT Jonathan Hankins (second), MN OL Seantrel Henderson, CA RB Brennan Clay, FL RB Corvin Lamb, IA QB AJ Derby, NY DE Dominique Easley, FL LB Jeff Luc (second), FL DT Richard Ash, SC OL Eric Mack, MD LB Troy Gloster, PA DE Ken Wilkins, MD LB Lamarcus Coker, FL CB Lo Wood, FL CB Spencer Boyd, IA QB AJ Derby, IL WR Kyle Prater, OH OL Christian Pace. Moved PA DE Jordan Paskorz to committed. Commit article on Paskorz. Moved OH OL Christian Pace to committed.
Prune time: removed TX QB Jeremy Johnson(WVU), FL CB Merrill Noel (dropped M), PA DE Dakota Royer (dropped M), GA S Daunte Carr(dropped M), SC DE Corey Miller, SC DE Brandon Willis (dropped M, both of them), FL QB Christian Green (dropped M), SC RB Marcus Lattimore (dropped M), GA RB Mack Brown.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Wow. That is a ton of stuff. A lot of it is not particularly newsy, so what's below just focuses on items of direct interest.
A bloody week as a number of prospects cut their lists and dropped Michigan. In groups:
- Southern longshots to shrug at: SC DE Corey Miller, SC DE Brandon Willis, GA S Daunte Carr, GA RB Mack Brown.
- Minor disappointments: FL QB Christian Green, SC RB Marcus Lattimore, PA DE Dakota Royer
- Probably wasn't feelin' the love: TX QB Jeremy Johnson.
Johnson committed to West Virginia; he claimed a Michigan offer but with Gardner in the fold Michigan is probably going to be selective with their second QB in the class.
Lattimore released a top eight that lacked Michigan about a month after saying he'd visit officially, so there's the disappointment. Green, meanwhile, apparently wants to be a wideout in college, which considerably changes the attractiveness of Michigan to him. Royer's higher-rated than Michigan's current and prospective OLB/DE commits and is likely headed to Penn State.
The other thing worth mentioning is that I did yank FL CB Merrill Noel after he announced he would announce, but then he announced he wouldn't announce; I haven't added him back. If something happens that suggests he should be re-added, I will re-add.
The BBQ weekend came and went without any immediate commitments but OH OL Christian Pace dropped Monday and PA DE Ken Wilkins has scheduled a press conference for next Tuesday at noon. MGoBlog recruiting heuristic #3 is "a recruit announcing soon after a visit to a school is likely to pick that school," and the reports from the BBQ reinforce that:
"I liked it a lot," Wilkins said when asked about his trip to Michigan over the weekend. "The coaches brought out their families to show they have a family atmosphere there. I liked the enthusiasm of coach Rodriguez. You could see he is ready to turn the program around."
The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder has 27 scholarship offers including Michigan, Pitt, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.
"I'm going to decide (on a college) in the next week or so," Wilkins said. "Michigan and Pitt are my top two. They are dead even. I just have to see which school I like best."
Despite that public stance that Pitt is even, most observers are expecting he'll pick up a block M hat if he does the hat thing.
A few guys expected to show up didn't make it in, including MI DE Will Gholston, OH TE Dan Schneider (no offer, Pace's teammate), and OH DT Jibreel Black. Black says he was sick and will be up soon:
"I'll go up there on June 20," Black said on Sunday night. "And I'll try to make it to Michigan State, while I'm up there."
One surprising name was OH TE Alex Smith, a Cincinnati commitment. Visit = soft commitment; he'll be a guy to watch in the near future. Other big names of moderate intrigue include FL CB Tony Grimes, who made the long trip to participate and came away duly impressed, and IL WR Kyle Prater, who yes is an ACK WR but is also perhaps the best ACK WR available this year. I've bumped Grimes back up to yellow from red, and removed my mental red tint on Prater's existing yellow.
Prater, shockingly, is talking up Michigan considerably:
“I like Oklahoma,” Prater said. “I like Michigan, too. I went to the barbeque they had on Saturday (at the Big House). It was real nice. I liked the relationship the coaches had and the people around the coaches. I have a strong interest in USC, too. Tennessee is another one I like, and Miami."
Holy pants. That quote wasn't even provided to a Michigan site: it was something Bucknuts mainstay Bill Kurelic collected and posted on a Penn State site. Even with all the wide receivers in the fold, you have to take a guy like Prater; that would just about assure the move of OH WR Jerald Robinson to safety. It's not like that's going to happen any time soon, though: Prater intends to take all of his officials.
I'm not getting too hopeful on Grimes, as it appears a high school coach of his is posting on BuckeyePlanet occasionally. The ungrammatical upshot:
To be honest, in the beginning all he wanted was a offer from da U. I help convince him to open up to the possibility of leaving home and getting away. After an UGA visit he was in love them and really wanted an offer and to commit there. But now he's in a tough position he say. You already i talked up OSU for a couple of months so he was really trying to get noticed by them. Me and a couple of other coaches really pushed Hayes and Fricell (something like that) to come see him...and that was when he only had 1 offer from FAU. Im just glad the young man as options now. It's going to be hard turning down DA U for him.
That was posted pre-Michigan visit, so there's some chance the BBQ radically realigned his perceptions; until he comes out and says something to that effect, though, the expectation is he stays south.
MI DT Jonathan Hankins, an instate recruit at a position of need that's having a crappy year nationally, also turned up:
“Michigan has been my childhood favorite," said Jonathan to GoBlueWolverine. "I like them -- I mean it is Michigan and it helps that it is close to my home. They are in my top three.”
Hankins has offers from Oklahoma, Illinois, and Wisconsin already and plans to camp at Michigan, at which point you have to figure Michigan will extend an offer of their own unless some crazy awesome stuff goes down with PA DT Sharrif Floyd or something.
More on Paskorz
The Free Press did some reporting on new commit Jordan Paskorz—slow week I guess—and came up with some quotes from his coach:
DeMatteo was most impressed that Paskorz would often arrive at 6 a.m. for workouts.
"It's pretty tough for high school kids getting up that early," DeMatteo said. "He's the strongest kid I have had the opportunity to coach. On the field, he uses his strength very well and uses leverage to make him seem taller than 6-4."
Sure to burn the ears of Mountaineers fans is the revelation that Paskorz has a friend who played at West Virginia who "spoke very highly of Rodriguez." Also, the article claims an Illinois offer in addition to the trio of Pitt, Virginia, and Minnesota that had been previously reported.
MD LB Troy Gloster has a Michigan offer and M appears to be a contender:
“When I got the offer, I was very excited,” he told GoBlueWolverine. “I started thinking about all the tradition that Michigan has, and everything else. I’ve been offered by Boston College, West Virginia, Stanford, Iowa, Michigan State, Syracuse, Louisville, and North Carolina. When I got the offer from Michigan, I felt like it was my biggest offer so far.”
Gloster plans on visiting M, Stanford, and WVU over the summer, with a decision to follow soon after. Those three schools plus local Maryland, where his older brother plays, appear to comprise a tentative top four.
Michigan is probably going to take a third tailback in the class, and CA RB Brennan Clay is perhaps the most likely. After an early period where it seemed like Clay would stay on the West Coast at all costs, he's settled on a top three of Oregon, Oklahoma, and Michigan, with Tate Forcier proving a major attraction for Michigan:
"I think it will be huge," Johnson stated. "The thing with Brennan and Tate is that they know each other. They know what each other can do on the football field. Tate being at the school is a huge factor in (Brennan) wanting to (possibly) go to that school. Tate is a tremendous athlete and Brennan and Tate kind of fit (together) because they are playmakers. I figure that if Brennan goes to that school it would be a really good show just like how it was here at Scripps Ranch."
Clay's certainly got chemistry with Forcier. Check his junior-year numbers:
During his junior campaign the 6-foot, 191-pounder amassed an impressive 1,486 yards on 170 carries and 27 TDs on the ground. He added another 1,055 yards on 70 catches and six TDs through the air. Then for good measure he returned two kickoffs for TDs as well.
One team to watch out for, if they offer, is USC. Obviously. Clay's already set up officials to his top three; Michigan will get its shot September 19th.
Meanwhile, FL RB Corvin Lamb is still, I believe, waiting on an offer, but Michigan remains strong with him. Try to reconcile this:
Who is coming after Corvin the hardest right now?
"Probably Michigan, North Carolina, and Ole Miss."
"I have not talked to Michigan in a while. I will probably call them soon. Torrian Wilson, my teammate, received an offer from them. We have been talking about them a lot."
…and, well. Uh. We're good with the emails, I guess? Either way, it seems Lamb is willing to wait on Michigan, and Wilson is probably still leaning to the good guys.
Rivals AMP going on; not a lot of news here:
Henderson came in for a mention in Mike Farrell's latest rumor blast:
Sources say there are a few schools to watch out for with Henderson. The schools that get mentioned the most when digging around for information on Henderson are Minnesota and Michigan, followed by Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC.
Minnesota is then named the "team to beat," which I guess if Baylor can pirate away a Texas safety commit anything is possible. That's based on their recruitment of local quarterback JD Pride, who Henderson would like to go to school with.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of FL QB Jeffery Godfrey, FL CB Tony Grimes, OH OL Christian Pace, OH S Latwan Anderson, articles on FL WR OJ Ross, FL CB TC Robinson, FL OL Torrian Wilson, MI DE Will Gholston, DC LB Javarie Johnson.
Removed LA S Ronnie Vinson (dropped M).
Here's another top 150, this from Athlete Vault. It has Jeremy Jackson(!). SoFlaFootball offers a Pahokee overview. Praise for Rod Smith. Speculation on MN OL Seantrel Henderson. Some links from Varsity Blue. OMG Lemming!
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
LA S Ronnie Vinson is down to a top five that doesn't include M and has gotten the axe; he was a longshot in any case.
Some defensive tackles—hurrah—a corner, a fullback vaguely committed to Washington, and—ack—a wide receiver? Sort of. Though Swigert is currently listed as a wideout, Michigan is recruiting him as a safety and he'll get moved over soon. I don't know much about any of the new guys, but here's a little on Swigert:
"I was pumped up when it [the M offer] came," Swigert said. "It surprised me. Hopefully it will lead to some more big offers."
Swigert has over a dozen offers including Colorado, Cincinnati, Pitt, Indiana and a host of MAC schools. He has no plans to select a college anytime soon.
There's also video at Scouting Ohio.
FL WR OJ Ross is claiming a Michigan offer and has M in his top three:
"Florida's interested in me," proclaimed Ross, "but they haven't offered. I have offers from Texas Tech, Arkansas and Ole Miss this spring. My top three are Arkansas, Michigan and FIU. I like Arkansas, Michigan and Florida International. I've talked to the coach from Arkansas before, he's real cool. I like coach (Rod) Smith at Michigan. FIU is the local school. Close to home and a chance to play. If Florida offers I'm very interested in them."
Ross has since picked up a Texas Tech offer and booted FIU; he plans on camping at Florida and Georgia, too. I don't think this one is going anywhere and an offer from a big school in the south will knock M out of contention.
Various Floridians Rumored To Be Ticketed Elsewhere
None of these rise to the level of a "happy trails" reference, with or without a board removal, but the whispers on several prospects have them leaning towards schools that are Not Michigan:
- GridironStuds says FL CB Tony Grimes, who recently picked up a wide array of offers, is looking to decide soon, probably for Miami.
- MGoBlog's own Tom VanHaaren reports that the vibe on FL CB Lo Wood points to Notre Dame. A decision is likely soon; without another visit from Wood it doesn't look likely to go M's way. The sudden flip from M to ND is annoying—mutter mutter Corwin Brown—but Michigan remains in strong position for Cullen Christian, Dior Mathis, and Rashad Knight and shouldn't suffer too much if Wood makes a 40-year mistake.
- FL DT Richard Ash is rumored to be leaning to Florida according to SoFlaFootball.
That SoFlaFootball article also mentions a couple other Pahokee prospects with Michigan offers:
Merrill Noel 2010 CB 5′8″ 160: While Noel is being recruited as a cornerback, look for him to be used a lot inside the box this fall for Pahokee. Noel has great speed and is a physical defender. Noel has a host of offers, the latest being Michigan, but the school to keep a close eye on is Wake Forest.
Zach Allen 2010 LB/DE/TE 6′2″ 180: Allen lines up as a defensive end during the 11-on-11 portion of the practice, where he was fairly active. Allen is lean right now, but in the future should be able to add the weight needed to play at a high level. The Alphonso Smith affect seems to be flowing through Pahokee, as Wake Forest is a school to watch for Allen.
Things You Might Already Know
Let's reiterate the bold print on a couple TomVH prospect interviews from the last week. PA LB/DE Ken Wilkins has Michigan on top of his list and is looking to decide soon:
TOM: Where does Michigan factor into all this, are they near the top, or at the top?
KEN: If I had to name a leader I would say it is Michigan. Once I go up there, if I like it I’ll pull the trigger and commit. I’m talking to my uncle about it, and I think I’ll be up there in about two weeks. I think I fit what they’re trying to do right now, and the coaches that I do know are all great. Everything about Michigan is great, and I could definitely see myself there.
And the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay is swinging back towards Michigan:
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.
Clay also had nice things to say about QB coach Rod Smith in an ESPN piece:
"I would say that coach Smith is one of the best recruiters in the country," running back Brennan Clay (San Diego/Scripps Ranch) said. "I look at him more as a mentor and a friend. He's one of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met. He doesn't just recruit you because of your talent, but because of what you are made of, what's in your heart as a true person."
Lead for Large Men
Michigan is maintaining its lead for FL OL Torrian Wilson:
"They're still No. 1," Wilson said. "It's a football city and everyone in the city loves Michigan and comes out to support Big Blue."
Wilson recently released a top five that didn't even have Miami, the presumed leader until Michigan stepped in, on it, and did have Stanford, which indicates how serious Wilson is about academics and, like, places that are far away. When Wilson visited I mentioned that post-visit leads often fade and that hopes should remain holstered for a couple weeks; now it's a couple weeks later and Wilson's still saying the right things. Unholster thine hopes here.
That article also has a quote on MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the #1 recruit in the country…
It was a late March visit to Michigan, though, that Henderson said he, “loved… more than any other college I've been to so far.”
…but that's recycled from Henderson's earlier trip and shouldn't be added to the moderately-sized pile of positive information we have on him. FWIW, BuckeyePlanet silverback unionfutura says point-blank that Michigan leads for Henderson, though he's right when he says that's like leading the first lap of a marathon.
DC LB Javarie Johnson appears to have a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, and Miami. (The latter has yet to offer). So we know he loves the letter M. Thanks to this Webb article in the News, we also know Johnson has a background similar to that of PA DT Sharrif Floyd—tough. Johnson's coach:
"He lives in a tough neighborhood. Like a lot of kids, he is the first one in his family to go to college. He is going to move out of a neighborhood where most of the kids in the area have babies, do drugs, and drop out of school. He loves football so much that he's going to do everything that he needs to do to play."
Johnson visited Michigan earlier and reports back thusly:
"(The visit) went great," Johnson said, referring to his time in Ann Arbor. "Everything went great with the coaches and everybody. I met Coach Rodriguez and Coach Dews (receivers coach Tony Dews). They're good people. They offered me right before I left. The thing that stood out there was definitely the stadium. That's bigger than NFL stadiums."
If you want to read between the lines—and we do!—Johnson's quotes on Michigan State contain the word "good," not great, and there was that Dunbar assistant who mistook enthusiasm for a commitment. I have the vague impression Michigan is in pretty good shape here, but Johnson plans a June visit to Miami. That's is a long way to go without an offer, and indicates serious interest on his part. He plans on deciding over the summer, so that trip—or the lack of one—looks likely to be the determining factor.
Sidenote: odd that Illinois isn't a factor here, given their DC dominance of late.
OMG LEMMING OMG LEMMING
This blog's longstanding opinion on Tom Lemming is that he was just one guy—which made his rankings considerably flakier than lists compiled by many educated opinions—with had a huge slant towards prospects he liked for their geography, personality, or desire to go to Notre Dame. As such, it's usually ignored his rankings. No more, though! WOO LEMMING:
"It's a very good year [for the state of Michigan]. I'll probably have two players from Michigan in my top 10. (Quarterback) Devin Gardner (Inkster) is the real thing. He has an NFL body. William Gholston (Detroit Southeastern) has long arms, quick feet and a good burst. It's a good year for defensive ends and he's right there with the best of them."
Yes, the implication is top ten nationally.
But seriously folks: though I'd much rather the situation was reversed and Gardner was top ten on Rivals and (relatively) dissed by Lemming, I'll take any exuberant praise for a commit.
Elsewhere in prospect rankings of indeterminate value, Athlete Vault put out a top 150 a couple months ago I just ran across. Relevant persons (ie: players M is heavily involved with; there are a ton of targets on the list):
2. Seantrel Henderson
43. Will Gholston
50. Marvin Robinson
58. Ricardo Miller
78. Devin Gardner
104. Jeremy Jackson(!)
113. Dior Mathis
118. Torrian Wilson
FWIW. Jackson so high actually reduces my faith in the list given how negative the other sites are.
Etc.: Video of FL QB Jeffery Godfrey, who once claimed M as leader but now seems more likely to stay in-state; MI RB Austin White picks up an LSU offer; Rivals AMP on OH S Latwan Anderson, but no news; AMP on OH OL Christian Pace, who claims no favorites; fluff on Gholston.
Update 5/2: Linked to articles on FL WR DeJoshua Johnson(second), FL RB Roy Finch, SC RB Marcus Lattimore (second, third), FL S Daunte Carr(second), OH DE Jibreel Black, LA S Ronnie Vinson, MD LB Troy Gloster($), FL QB Christian Green, FL CB Travis Williams, FL WR Chris Dunkley, MD LB Josh Furman (and PA QB Malik Stokes). Video of PA DE Dakota Royer, MI QB Devin Gardner, MN OL Seantrel Henderson, IA QB AJ Derby, TX LB Corey Nelson. Moved LA WR Drew Dileo to committed.
Removed MD WR Adrian Coxson(PSU), FL WR DeJoshua Johnson.
Added PA WR Andrew Carswell, FL CB Rashad Knight, GA CB Jonathan Mincy, PA LB Jordan Paskorz, MD S Lorenzo Waters, NJ RB Tony Jones, UT DT Ricky Heimuli($), MD S Michael Coley, MD S Lorenzo Waters.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
MD WR Adrian Coxson committed to Penn State, which is obviously not a big deal since he is an outside WR and Michigan has four of those in the class already.
I wasn't going to take FL WR DeJoshua Johnson (of Pahokee!) off the board just yet since this report comes from a source I'm unfamiliar with…
Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft.
…but I pretty much believe these guys since a recruit getting down to a top three is a crazy thing to lie about and the conventional wisdom on Johnson matches up with those final three schools. (Also, Johnson might want to check on what Oklahoma State runs before making any rash decisions.) Then came this article and this interview that confirmed, so he's gone.
Also destined to leave the board at some point in the future is PA DE Dakota Royer. He's made a number of visits to schools across the Midwest but hasn't stopped by Michigan. In this Rivals AMP video it's clear that Penn State is a considerable favorite:
Unless Royer makes it to campus in the near future—there are no plans to do so at the moment—he'll probably drop Michigan whenever he comes out with a shortlist.
Um, no seriously
MI QB commit Devin Gardner put in an appearance at a camp and, uh, had an interesting go of it:
But Gardner didn’t come looking to impress with his quarterback skills. Instead the super athlete stressed he was looking to impress everyone with his ability as a wide receiver and overall player.
Gardner would take a few snaps as a quarterback but he also took part in all the testing and had one of the top forty times by posting a 4.57 electronic timed forty. Gardner didn’t disappoint anyone and took home overall combine MVP honors.
Uh, I guess it's good Gardner's such a kickin' athlete he can crush a combine at any number of different positions, but no thanks on the position switch. Though that 4.57 isn't in the realm of Florida's FAKE (FAKE! FAKE!) 40 board, these things take place under highly variable conditions. An electronic 4.57 in a 6'4" beast QB is plenty fast. All you need to know about his athleticism is this: showed up at a combine, screwed around at a variety of positions, got overall combine MVP. The end.
Throwing motion? What throwing motion?
Elsewhere in combines, both PA CB Cullen Christian and PA CB Brandon Ifill had good days at the Penn State combine:
Defensive back Cullen Christian (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills) may not get as much publicity as his teammate, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ifill, but it was Christian who came away from the camp with honors. Ifill did a nice job Saturday and showed why he has scholarship offers from multiple BCS schools. But Christian was even better and was named the camp's defensive back MVP.
I was under the impression Christian was a solid four star sort, but a couple reports like this indicate he was trending towards anonymous three star and is now moving up into the four-star range.
Dual freak linebackers
MD LB Josh Furman did this:
Josh Furman (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) may have had the single best outing out of any prospect on this year's Under Armour combine tour. He posted a wind-aided 4.39 40-yard dash, a 42 inch vertical jump, a 4.12 short shuttle and a modest broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. His 16 reps of 185 pounds were also very impressive and a bit surprising given his longer, rangier frame (6-foot-2, 192 pounds).
Daaaang. You can commence the feeding frenzy. A teams are about to make it rain offers. Furman maintains not even the hint of a leader and has been backed off from green to yellow as the initial excitement of the Michigan offer fades and Furman realizes he can go just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, DC LB Javarie Johnson, he of the erroneous post-visit commitment report, also appears to be a guy who's using the combine circuit to shoot his stock through the roof:
…on the hoof, there might not have been a better-looking prospect. Johnson is tall (almost 6-foot-4) with a frame that looks like it was carved out of clay for an outside linebacker. He is long and lean but is also layered with chiseled muscle and looks far thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at.
ESPN says Johnson "could be the next big star to come out of Dunbar." Too bad that commit report was erroneous.
PA QB Malik Stokes—the younger brother of incoming WR Je'Ron Stokes—also gets a mention:
During seven-on-seven, offenses were run out of the spread, allowing quarterbacks to display their passing skills in the short-to-intermediate range. Stokes did not disappoint. He started off a bit rusty -- showing inconsistent accuracy -- but warmed up quickly, hitting receivers in stride and making sound decisions. His touch was very good.
He's switching high schools so he can throw a bit more. Pitt's offered and Stokes claims interest from a number of BCS programs, so a Michigan offer isn't out of the question down the road. Buuut:
He completed a few downfield throws but we do not see pocket-passing arm strength or the requisite size for the next level.
Another Scout report says he could be a really really good… CUSA or MAC QB. Stokes is going to need a big senior year to get a Michigan offer.
Long fluffy-style article on MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn't have a lot of news—he plans on deciding on or near Signing Day—but does have this tantalizing quote:
"The only way for Seantrel to lose that No. 1 spot is if he decides to not play football," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals based in Athens, Ga. "We haven't seen anybody better to make a change. He's definitely a five-star player who will make a major impact in college."
Michigan figures to be in the top five when that time comes.
Excitement about TX LB Corey Nelson, the teammate of TX RB commit Tony Drake who named Michigan his leader a couple weeks ago, should deflate:
"I don't really have a top five but A&M is my top school right now." However, Nelson does plan to make official visits.
Nelson appears to be one of those guys like Sam Montgomery who has a new leader every day, so Michigan's not out of it. The thing to watch for now is potential visit plans.
Okay, so there's this article about FL S commit Marvin Robinson title "Michigan commit considering Canes"($); commence swine-flu-level unnecessary panic. Unfortunately, after the events of last year we can't just laugh it off, but all the insiders remain extremely confident. I'm choosing to spend my time running around screaming "AAAAAAAARRRGH AAAAAARGH DEATH" worrying about Michigan's safety situation this fall. Will inform if my fear increases beyond miniscule here.
Etc.: CA RB Brennan Clay picks up an Oklahoma offer. Freep thing on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has one thing of note, this quote from his coach: "He can turn punts into long gains." Webb article on FL QB Christian Green for some reason; he's almost definitely ticketed for FSU. Michigan is in LA S Ronnie Vinson's top six.
Added NJ OL Jake Kaufman, FL RB Roy Finch.
Editorial Opinion: A much more manageable set of items this week. The big news was Michigan picking up a commit from Dallas Skyline RB Tony Drake, which was covered earlier. With three senior RBs and transfers from McGuffie and Horn, Michigan will be in the market for probably three tailbacks this year. Drake is a smallish zone slasher; expect one angry moose type and a wildcard to round out the class.
He will battle the evil Mingovians
Okay, words: Legaux is a dual-threat QB who's obviously from Louisiana; he's a member of the Rivals 250 and completed nearly 70% of his passes last year. Michigan is his first big offer and that article comes from Sam Webb. So, yeah, heuristics and all that: Michigan leads for a quarterback named Munchie Legaux.
Let's do this.
MN OL Seantrel Henderson is currently the nation's #1 recruit to both Scout and Rivals. He's a mountain in a helmet, and last week he visited Michigan. The trip went well:
Cretin-Derham Hall's 6-8, 300-pound junior offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson was especially impressed with an unofficial visit to Michigan the other day.
And this appears to be the barest outline of a leader for Henderson, albeit an undeclared one:
GH: Which schools do you like right now?
SH: I like all schools, I don’t have a top three or four — Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame and Minnesota — those are some of the ones I like.
GH: Do you plan on taking all of your five official visits this fall?
GH: Do you have schools that you definitely want to go see?
SH: Michigan, for sure.
Schwing! There's a long way to go with Henderson—when you're the #1 recruit you can wait until signing day, or, like, a month after.
A couple things that may affect Henderson's choice are the fate of his friend JD Pride, who Henderson would like to go to school with, and the ability to play basketball in college. Pride, a dual threat QB, has a Minnesota offer and visited Michigan with Henderson.
A foot in the door
It's supposed to be a poor crop of defensive tackles this year, so this is welcome news:
An absolute beast is Johnathan Hankins out of Southeastern High School in Detroit, Michigan. He’s over 6-3 and 300, he dominates sort of like an ornery bear, a big one. Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State are after him, Florida’s offered.
A Florida offer for Hankins would be strange. IIRC Michigan is waiting on summer camp before deciding whether or not to issue an offer, and they've had plenty of opportunity to interact with Hankins. But the above-linked is part of Gator Country, the ESPN-affiliated Florida recruiting site, and is therefore likely to be accurate.
Despite the increased competition a Florida offer brings, I'd regard the above as extremely good news. Hankins has been rumored to be a Michigan fan and lean for a few months now, and if he's got the talent to reel in a Florida offer he's likely to pick one up from Michigan. Bonus: Hankins is a high school teammate of MI DE Will Gholston. Getting a commitment from him couldn't hurt in Gholston's recruitment.
Before: cute. Now: eh, not so cute.
An extensive Sam Webb article in the News on TX LB Caleb Lavey features this picture from the Lavey family archives:
Awww. Amazingly, Lavey comes up well short of the most adorable legacy-recruit-as-kid photo. Here's current Northwestern defensive back David Arnold, the son of former Wolverine Dave Arnold, a long time ago:
Those of you who managed to keep your brains from exploding should know that Lavey is now a 6'4" middle linebacker who racked up 200 tackles last year and has offers from Oklahoma, Penn State, Notre Dame, and others. He is no longer cute. This is good for his prospects.
Lavey hasn't come out and named a leader, but the unofficial visit and his dad's background have Michigan in good shape:
"I really like Coach Rodriguez," said Caleb. "He left me no doubt in my mind that he will be able to turn Michigan around. He's a great coach and a great guy. Me and my dad sat down and talked with him. We talked about the program and what his plans are. He has a great vision for Michigan and he'll be the coach that turns it around and turns it back into the national championship Michigan that it always has been."
Another trait that stood out was the vigor with which the players practiced. "It was just unbelievable how hyped up they were and how they were just getting after each other," Caleb reported. "It was great."
It still kills me a little that Arnold never got an offer; hopefully this one works out better.
Video of people and things
Rivals' move to Yahoo's video distribution system has been a godsend. Things are tagged and organized, they work cross-browser, and the free stuff is available for embedding. The old stuff was finicky—never worked in firefox for me—and way less functional. Yahoo FTW.
Anyway, embeds. This is FL RB Corvin Lamb, a teeny tiny jet engine from Miami Northwest:
Top five is a good place to be at that point; if there's a visit it'll get serious.
And while we're on video, please enjoy the most pointless content in the history of recruiting. It's highlight video of PA CB Cullen Christian's combine performance. Christian extends his arm! Is a certain height! Jumps! Continues jumping! Etc. The best part is that 1) this was evidently televised by Fox Sports, and 2) whoever did the televising thought his name was "Christian Cullen."
Etc.: M in SC RB Marcus Lattimore's top ten; MI QB Robert Bolden says he doesn't want to go "where they are recruiting two or three quarterbacks and have a bunch of guys already." The coming Gardner commit is probably the death knell for M's chances with Bolden.
You may have noticed the absence of this feature the last two weeks. Brace for impact:
Update 3/17: Linked to video of MI LB Daniel Easterly, articles on GA WR Tai-ler Jones, FL WR Kenny Shaw, OH WR DJ Williamson, GA QB Blake Sims, VA LB Aramide Olayanian, FL S Marvin Robinson, OH DE Darryl Baldwin, OH LB Jordan Hicks, OH RB Spencer Ware, SC QB Cornelius Jones, MI DE Will Gholston, MI DE CJ Olaniyan, OH OL Matt James, GA QB Blake Sims, FL WR Kenny Shaw, FL CB Spencer Boyd, MI CB Dior Mathis, MI RB Austin White, FL QB Christian Green, MI DE Will Gholston, FL LB Jeff Luc.
Added PA DE Dakota Royer, SC DE Brandon Willis, OH DE Marcus Rush(offer), OH LB Jewone Snow, MI OT Jarhuar Jackson, LA WR Drew Dileo, FL OL Brent Benedict, MI DE Tremondae Branch, SC DE Corey Miller. SC S Bashaud Breeland, FL RB Nickell Robey, MN OL Seantrel Henderson.
Didn't remove VA LB Aramide Olaniyan. He committed to Duke but still plans visits, which I am now considering "says Duke leads."
Moved OH OL Skyler Schofner to offered($, IIH). Also moved OH OL Andrew Donnal to offered. Downgraded FL WR Kenny Shaw to yellow; FSU leads for now. Moved MI QB Devin Gardner, OH LB Antonio Kinard, and OH WR DJ Williamson to committed, committed, and committed. Linked to Rivals camp recap with mentions of MD LB Josh Furman and MD RB Zach Zwinak. Jim S content galore. Scout top 100.
As always, some links from Varsity Blue.
Editorial Opinion: Jeepers. So, yeah, that's a ton of stuff. I'm going to ignore anything that's just "Recruit X has offers from team Y" and focus on things of more immediate relevancy.
Three folks have joined the fold: OH LB Antonio Kinard, OH WR DJ Williamson, and MI QB Devin Gardner. Kinard got a somewhat useless "Hello" post last week; profiles of Williamson and Gardner are pending.
Kinard and Gardner are the first recruits at their positions and don't require a lot of explanation: Michigan liked them, offered, and got commitments. Hurrah.
The pursuit and acquisition of Williamson, whose first and only offer is from Michigan, makes a lot more sense in the wake of Toney Clemons' departure, but that's still four receivers in this class, all of whom are 6'2"+ guys who aren't likely to end up in the slot. Even if Michigan uses a lot of receivers that seems like a larger than ideal haul.
There's a tendency for fans to overrate their team's early commits, but even accounting for that the results of the initial Rivals and Scout lists are disappointing. And strange.
Ricardo Miller, who Michigan fans expected to be a sure top 100 player and a potential top 50 guy, didn't make either top 100 list, ending up in the 100-200 range on both sites. Much-hyped Devin Gardner didn't make the Rivals 100 and checks in at just 77 on the Scout list. Marvin Robinson, who Michigan fans have been hearing about for two solid years as a rock-hard five-star lock, ended up #99 on Rivals and #182 on Scout.
Meanwhile, OH WR Jerald Robinson comes in at 149 on Scout, ahead of Miller. Robinson's offer list reads "Michigan" and ceases there; Miller has offers from Alabama, Florida, LSU, and so forth and so on forever and ever amen. "Strange" doesn't quite cover it.
There weren't any pleasant surprises outside of Robinson: Jackson, Williamson, and Kinard don't rank at the moment. Unless they go to a lot of combines—unlikely since they've committed—or have blowup senior years they're likely to be three-star sorts in February. Jackson, who's supposed to have Texas, LSU, and Florida offers, might have upward mobility.
We're still in the phase of recruiting season when the board expands wildly with only the occasional early commitment helping reign it in, so there are many more guys entering your world than leaving. A couple departures, or guys who aren't quite departures yet but are 95% likely to be in the near future:
- VA LB Aramide Olayanian committed to… wait for it… Duke(!). He says he's solid but plans visits. If we have a better season than Duke he might reconsider or something. I've left him on the board because I'm irritated about deleting kids and then re-adding them once they open it back up; I don't think this one will matter.
- GA WR Tai-ler Jones doesn't have Michigan on his list of seven schools recently released. Given that, his dad's ND ties, and Michigan's jam-packed WR recruiting class, he's off the board.
- OH DE Darryl Baldwin is so under the spell of Tressel that he lists OSU first and Michigan State second, which is one "Notre Dame" away from being the world's most Michigan-unfriendly list. He is technically still listing M, so he remains on the board.
- OH OL Matt James has a top three of Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Cincinnati, which is another strong take on a Michigan-unfriendly list. .
- FL WR Kenny Shaw, Ricardo Miller's teammate at Orlando Dr. Phillips, had proclaimed Michigan his leader a few times, then said FSU was coming on, then said FSU and Michigan were his top two, and now says FSU leads($). Even though Michigan has a lot of receivers committed, that's a bit of a blow. Shaw's a talent with offers from the in-state Big Three and would play in the slot, a spot Michigan hasn't filled despite the receiver glut.
- FL QB Christian Green is sounding like an FSU lock despite the fact he'll play WR there.
Michigan is still looking for quarterbacks, as they can't decommit at the last second unless they've already signed up. GA QB Blake Sims, teammate of less-enthused WR Tai-ler Jones, has a top group of Michigan, Georgia, and West Virginia with the latter school trailing significantly. At one point he was favoring Michigan.
This is a place where Sims will be looking at a QB offer from M versus a sort-of-QB-sort-of-ATH offer from Georgia, which will help offset the negative geography we've got going on.
I'm not sure how verified Jim Stefani's statement about MI CB Dior Mathis is, but let's hope its "lots":
He has an early Michigan offer and Michigan has made a push to emerge as the prohibitive favorite over former leader Miami and several others.
Miami was the heavy leader until late in Mathis' junior year, when the Cass Tech thing took hold and he started looking more heavily at Michigan. This, then, certainly implies that Michigan is in strong position:
"Right now I know that I'm going to take [officials] to Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Ohio State, and I don't know the other one yet. It's going to be Miami or USC."Mathis was originally considered a heavy Miami lean, but he's not ready to decide just yet, "I'm high on Miami still but I don't want to just be on one school, I want to get to know everybody," Mathis said.
Mathis has already visited Miami, but unofficially, and actions seem to speak louder than words here. The 'Canes appear to be fading.
Elsewhere in Detroit, supposed Spartan lock Will Gholston may be more open than previously believed:
Gholston’s preference is to play linebacker at the college level and he feels the way Michigan would utilize him is similar to the position he played as a junior for Southeastern. That opportunity, along with the recent unofficial visits to Ann Arbor, has bolstered Gholston’s perception of the Wolverines.
"It's evolved a lot from where it was at first,” Gholston said. “I was looking, but I wasn't feeling them as much as I am feeling them now.”
Josh Helmholdt does declare Michigan State the "team to beat".
Despite that North Carolina chatter, Michigan remains the team to beat for FL S Marvin Robinson, though the lead is "slight." Quoth Robinson:
“I love the atmosphere at Michigan,” he said. “Also I have a good relationship with the coaches already. They’ve been recruiting me for a while and I’ve gotten to know them well.”
He says he’s being recruited by (quarterback) coach Rod Smith. “He’s a great guy,” Robinson said. “We’ve talked a lot about life and the little things too. He’s a good coach and I like how hard they are working to be on top again."
New Persons Of Note
A quick summary of where most of dozen-plus new additions to the board stand: "I have a Michigan offer and remain open." Persons about which we can get even slightly more specific:
- MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the nation's consensus #1 recruit, took a visit and deposited this tantalizing quote on Helmholdt: “Michigan was great. I loved it more than any other college I’ve been to so far.”
Other colleges on Henderson's visit list include Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Michigan State, so Ohio State and Notre Dame and so forth and so on still lurk. Still, Henderson is now a possibility and hits the board.
- OH DE Marcus Rush picked up a Michigan offer, visited for Junior Day, and has declared Michigan his leader.
- MD LB Josh Furman's been impressive at various combines and picked up a Michigan offer a couple weeks ago. He's got a Dhani Jones vibe going:
So there's that. Watch out for him at the next Decemberists show you end up at.