Despite the fact that Michigan is only waiting on a couple more guys, recruiting will probably still be a little hectic for the next 7 days. Bear with us, and I'll have details on Signing Day coverage later this week.
Recruiting Boards of Note:
Jibreel Black Goes Blue
As reported on this here e-blog Sunday, OH DE/DT Jibreel Black has committed to Michigan (after decommitting from Cincinnati, after decommitting from Indiana). Black is a 3.67-star player according to the average of the three main recruiting site, and he will probably end up playing the Brandon Graham position—strongside defensive end—at Michigan. Black's senior highlights:
For more on Black, including another highlight video, visit the Hello: Jibreel Black post. Also, brace yourself for 4-5 years of "Black and Blue" puns.
One of the items giving hope to Michigan fans in the recruitment of FL S Demar Dorsey was the rumor that Florida had threatened to pull his offer if he continued taking visits to other schools. He did indeed continue taking visits, including one to Michigan last week, and another to Florida State over the weekend, and has reportedly switched his commitment to the 'Noles.
With so little time left in the 2010 recruiting cycle (Signing Day is 1 week from today), I'll leave him on the board for now, and we'll see whether the Florida State commitment has indeed happened, and if Michigan's coaches can convince him to suit up as a Wolverine with his cousin, Denard Robinson (who does things like this).
As for TX RB Tony Drake, he's been out of the class for a couple weeks now, and he recently switched his commitment to Colorado State ($, info in header). It's a shame it didn't work out with Michigan, because he seems like a pretty good player. Best of luck to Tony in Fort Collins. I've officially removed him from the recruiting board.
The Ohio tandem of DT Terry Talbott and CB Terrence Talbott has come into question lately as Terry visited North Carolina last weekend. They are still expected to sign with Michigan in the class of 2010, as they want to attend the same school.
The Final Few
Aside from backup options (Is FL CB Tre Boston an option or Joe McKnight's little bro, LA CB Jonathan McKnight? Probably no on both) and maaaybe a surprise blue-chip, CA S Sean Parker and FL S/CB Rashad Knight are the last two men standing as realistic possibilities. Parker received an in-home visit from Rich Rodriguez Monday, after taking his final visit to Washington over the weekend. He's shut down his talking to the media and will announce on Signing Day (10 AM, ESPN).
Knight recently narrowed his list to Rutgers and Michigan ($, info in header). Speculation was that he committed to Rutgers yesterday, but MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Knight, who says that isn't the case. Optimism has waned since Knight's Michigan visit. Knight now seems like a tossup.
Note: more on current commits after Signing Day. There simply isn't enough space to cover all the info with time winding down).
The North-South Ohio All-Star Game has revealed its rosters, and there are a few guys of note:
Courtney Avery, DB, 5-10, 170, Lexington, Michigan
Antonio Kinard, LB, 6-3, 220, Young. Liberty, Michigan
Jake Ryan, LB, 6-3, 225, Clev. St. Ignatius, Michigan
Terrance Talbott, DB, 5-10, 175, Huber Hgts. Wayne, Michigan
Terry Talbott, DL, 6-4, 265, Huber Hgts. Wayne, Michigan
Carey Spear, K, 5-11, 175, Mayfield, Michigan
Wait, who is that last guy? Rivals lists Carey Spear as a 2-star kicker from Highland Heights, holding offers from Ball State, Miami (NTM) and Air Force. False alarm though, as he's accepted a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt over a preferred wakon offer from the Wolverines (H/T Big House Blog).
In other All-Star games, the Big 33 Ohio-Pennsylvania game has selected PA CB Commit Cullen Christian on the Pennsylvania side, and the Ohio roster hasn't been announced yet (either that, or I just can't find it anywhere).
Adam Rittenberg runs down Big Ten recruiting. Tom Lemming likes the athletes in Michigan's class. Michigan will bring in a number of preferred walkon candidates this weekend, to get them to join the Wolverines. PA DE Jordan Paskorz gets profiled by AnnArbor.com.
A little more on Lemming's opinion of Michigan's class. His top 100 is more Scout than Rivals in its optimism:
9. Devin Gardner
42. Marvin Robinson
50. (Hypothetically) Sean Parker
92. Cullen Christian
News from the future: a look to the 2011 class. We'll be jumping in with both feet as soon as the 2010 class signs. There should be another Michigan Junior Day coming up in February.
FL WR Chris Gallon has been hearing from Michigan. He is transferring to Dr. Phillips High School from Oviedo, and the Wolverines would like to add him as another piece in a package deal including RB Demetrius Hart and S Hasean Clinton-Dix. Michigan is the leader for Hart, and has offered Clinton-Dix, though Alabama and Florida State lead. Be forewarned though, as Nick Saban is on the trail in Orlando.
The Wolverines extended an offer to WV RB Allan Wasonga. The Wolverines are his second offer, joining the Ohio RAWRCATZ of the MAC. As you can see in the picture to the right, Wasonga appears to be a very serious fellow.
Michigan has offered TX OL Garrett Greenlea.
The Wolverines join Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Baylor, Texas Tech, Houston and Duke in offering the two time all-district pick.
Greenlea looks like he'll be a big-time prospect (Oklahoma is reportedly soon to offer), so he might be a tough pull. Michigan is definitely in the market for some offensive linemen in this class, so top recruits are obviously the goal.
OH LB Trey DePriest, an mgoblog favorite, talks with Sam Webb about his recruitment in the Detroit News:
"I can't lie, I've been a fan of Michigan growing up, but that doesn't mean that they are my school of choice at this time," DePriest told Scout.com. "I'm going into this with open eyes. I want to go where I can play early and go to a school that has a winning tradition. I like to win. I'm going to treat them just like all the rest of the schools. I have to go through the process with eyes wide open. I'm just looking at everything. Another school might have something that Michigan doesn't."
"The main thing is if they've got what I want academically," he explained. "One of my coaches told me something and I got to thinking about it. Knock on wood, if I got hurt would it be somewhere that I'd want to stay for four years?"
Michigan certainly passes all those tests: Play early? Check. Winning tradition? Check. Good academics? Check. As long as Michigan can turn it around on the field in 2010, they'll have a great shot at Trey. Just for the record (since these Detroit News articles disappear behind a paywall), here were DePriest's testing numbers from the Under Armor Combine:
DePriest lived up to that billing at the recent Under Armour All American combine in Orlando, Fla. He measured in at 6 foot 2 and 225 pounds, vertical jumped 32 inches and did 28 reps of 185 pounds. In one-on-one drills, his 4.55 speed in the 40 and outstanding quickness allowed him to cover the nimblest of backs like a blanket.
He has been offered a position in the 2011 Under Armour Game, which he has already accepted. Caution, though: He hit up Ohio State's Junior Day a couple weeks ago instead of the Wolverines'.
DePriest's buddy, OH QB Braxton Miller, is considered a mortal lock to Ohio State, but even if he wasn't, it doesn't sound like the Wolverines have a great shot at him. Eleven Warriors caught up with Miller at a basketball tournament in Columbus, and the dual-threat expressed interest in a few schools, not including the one in Ann Arbor:
Assuming the Talbott brothers stick in Michigan's 2010 class, they'll give the Wolverines a familiar face to Miller, their high school teammate, which at least gives them a chance to land him.
In more bad QB recruiting news for the Class of 2011, we're quarterback-centric. NC QB Christian LeMay (pictured at right) has narrowed to a top 10, and the Wolverines ain't in it:
Stacey LeMay said his son's list of 10 potential college choices are: Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Miami, Mississippi State, Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
Note: All are in the Southeast except for Oklahoma. I'll leave him on the board for now (though downgrade to a nefarious Eduardo) since Rich Rodriguez was in his school this week, and teammate LB Kris Frost loves Michigan. He plans to decide and enroll early, so we should know very quickly if MIchigan's chance is indeed 0%.
Though they had been long-considered near-locks to join Michigan's 2010 recruiting class, that is no longer the case for FL CB Tony Grimes and DE Clarence Murphy. Murphy committed to Maryland last week, and since then, Grimes has not sounded so positive on the Wolverines. Mgoblog's own TomVH talked to Grimes and says:
With Murphy choosing Maryland, everyone is kind of seeing the writing on the wall. I'm not sure what happened to change Grimes mind, but it seems like it is changing.
He's playing everything close to the vest right now, so he's not telling a lot. Like I said, I don't think it's good news, though.
Murphy talked to The Baltimore Sun about his commitment, and what his teammate is thinking:
“Me and my friend, Tony Grimes, were planning on going to school together,” Murphy said. “I think he stopped favoring Michigan a little bit. He went up there and got into some cold weather a little bit. … [So] he’s still weighing things out a little bit.
The Wolverines are still in a small group for Grimes, though Ole Miss is probably his new leader. To add insult to injury, Tony was just selected to participate in the USA v. the World All-Star Game. Jay Hopson's departure may have played a role here.
In other recruiting attrition, 2009/2010 FL CB Adrian Witty sounds like he will not be making it to Ann Arbor. Though some fans speculated that Michigan offered him only to help land Denard Robinson last year, the coaches seemed to really like Witty, and losing him is a hit. With Michigan's extensive DB recruiting in the class of 2010, hopefully the damage is limited.
The final piece that appears to be dropping out of Michigan's 2010 class is TX RB Tony Drake. The source is admittedly second-hand, but Michigan commits talk to the coaches about recruiting a hell of a lot more than you or I do. At this point its tough to consider Drake committed.
All of this changes the numbers for the class, taking it down to 23 commits (removing Grimes and Witty), with the potential to get up around 27 or 28. With Grimes and Murphy no longer penciled in, the Wolverines can find about 4 more prospects. Hopefully, Calvin Magee;s candidacy at USF won't affect any of Michigan's other commits.
The Other Side of the Fence
It's coaching change season around the country, which means that other schools' recruiting classes may be ripe for poaching. We first turn our attention to sunny Los Angeles, where Pete Carroll and a number of his assistant coaches are heading north to the NFL. One of the crown jewels of the Trojans' class, CA RB Dillon Baxter, will open his recruitment, and Michigan was the only other school to which he has already taken an official visit.
If the Michigan coaches can convince him to go Blue ("Baxter said Friday that Florida and Michigan had reached out"), it would be a huge recruiting coup, and a more than adequate replacement for Drake. MGoBlog's TomVH has talked to Baxter, who indicated he nearly switched his commitment to Michigan following his official visit. Carroll's departure is probably a positive for Michigan's recruitment of CA S Sean Parker as well.
The fact that it's uber-recruiter Lane Kiffin taking over may bolster the Trojans' recruiting. Despite showing no ability to be a head coach, Kiffin is a proven winner in February.
To the best of my knowledge Michigan wasn't really a serious player for any of Tennessee's current commits other than GA LB Mike Taylor. He will decommit from Tennessee, though it's assumed he will commit to Florida, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that is a "false statement." It would still be an upset for him to land anywhere other than Gainesville.
One other player may be affected by the Kiffin departure: FL OL Torrian Wilson. Wilson visited Michigan in the summer and maintained the Wolverines as his leader before a surprise Stanford commit. He decommitted in search of a school closer to home and announced a top three of South Florida, Tennessee, and Michigan. Michigan is the farthest from Miami but is currently the only school of those three with, you know, a head coach. That would seemingly bode well, but watch out for Louisville. Charlie Strong has been hitting Miami Northwest hard and already has two of Wilson's teammates committed. Wilson's next list will be interesting.
Also in coaching change news, Michigan State RB coach Dan Enos is heading north to become the head coach at Central Michigan. Since the Spartans have a heavy in-state bent on their recruiting class, there may be a chance Michigan can step in for a couple guys, no? The following recruits have Enos listed as their primary recruiter on Rivals:
- MI QB Joe Boisture
- MI DE Taylor Calero
- MI LB/DE William Gholston
- MI CB Mylan Hicks
- MI RB Nick Hill
- MI RB Jeremy Langford
- MI WR/Ath Tony Lippett
Of those prospects, only Gholston and Hicks likely interest Michigan, and Gholston ain't happening for. Hicks was also recruited by Harlon Barnett, State's secondary coach, so I doubt he is likely to wriggle loose. It appears as though MSU's recruiting class is safe (unless Gholston, as rumored, has legitimate interest in Alabama). For the future, however, recruiting Detroit may suffer slightly for the Spartans, as Enos was their main man in Detroit. That's good news for the Wolverines.
In non-coaching change poaching, GA QB/Ath Blake Sims has decommitted from Alabama after being unclear where he figured into the Tide's future plans. He's considering a small group of other schools including Michigan and West Virginia, though Tennessee and Georgia probably lead.
“I am not sure if I would have played receiver or where at Alabama, but I am just looking for a place I know they spread the ball out and where I will be used the best,” Sims said.
It's important to him to have a chance on offense rather than in the secondary, and if the coaching staff can give him a shot at QB, he may end up in blue.
With Grimes seemingly out of the picture, Michigan will probably turn up the heat on FL S/CB Rashad Knight. TomVH thinks Michigan no longer leads, but he is officially visiting this weekend, giving the Wolverines a chance to close the gap, and possibly even seal Knight for the Maize-and-Blue.
As mentioned last week, OH DT Jibreel Black is expected to take a January visit to Ann Arbor. I believe Michigan's only other big recruiting weekend will be January 30th, the weekend before Signing Day.
SC WR Hakeem Flowers "Will Look to Get Away," and also holds a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He should be among the top wideouts nationally.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell gave GoBlueWolverine an interview during the US Army Combine, and considering the headline says "his thoughts on committing to U-M," it sounds like there's not only a good chance he'll become a Wolverine, but also do it soon ($, info in header). I've upgraded him to a Blue Smiley on the recruiting board.
Boards of note:
Lots of changes on the defensive tackle recruiting front in the past couple days.
First things first, MI DT Johnathon Hankins picked Ohio State yesterday over the Wolverines. Allow me to editorialize for a moment here: This blog has a tag called "basketball recruiting is dirty like dirt in a dirt sandwich," but if half of the rumors about the Southeastern coaching staff's handling of Hankins's recruitment are true, we may need to expand that tag to football as well. Genuinely Sarcastic provides some angry detail.
FL DT Todd Chandler seems to be looking primarily at Louisville as an option outside of USF (where he is committed). Michigan might become a stronger option if his teammate, FL OL Torrian Wilson, visits Ann Arbor, but this one appears to be on the back-burner for now. Chandler's top schools have gone from the likes of Miami, Michigan, and Florida to Memphis, Louisville, and FIU, so he may have some issues—grades?—that are causing bigger schools to back off.
Wilson, by the way, is down to USF, Michigan, and Tennessee. Michigan could really use another offensive lineman in the class.
Cincinnati high school sports reporter Mike Dyer reports that Michigan visited OH DT/DE Jibreel Black both in-home and in-school on Monday. Black, who has been committed to Cincinnati, but is reconsidering after the Brian Kelly departure, will also visit Michigan sometime this month, probably the weekend of the 22nd. According to Dyer's full article, the Wolverines have replaced Louisville on his list.
Michigan has a couple defensive ends and a couple three-tech defensive tackles so all they need is a nose; if they pick up Black it's because they really like him.
More on his actual game performance in a delayed Friday Night Lights post next week, but MI QB Devin Gardner participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Saturday. He impressed in practice:
"(Devin Gardner) really impressed me a lot," [Scout Florida expert Geoff] Vogt added. "He was bigger than I expected him to be. His arm was everything that people made it out to be. He was accurate... He clearly, in my opinion, is the top quarterback on that team... He'd be the No. 1 quarterback in Florida straight out this year and that's really saying something. I think he has a really bright future at Michigan."
Of course, being the clear #1 QB on the team got him by far the fewest snaps out of the 3 QBs, with Nick Montana and Phillip Sims getting more (the order was determined randomly, FWIW). That Webb article also says that Michigan is pursuing Tennessee commit LB Michael Taylor. I've added him to the board. Taylor remains a soft commit to the Vols.
FL CB Tony Grimes participated in last weekend's Offense-Defense Bowl, and MGoReader J. Lichty reports that opposing offenses mostly stayed away from him. He played both corner and safety. MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Grimes last week, and he reiterated what we've been hearing for some time on both Grimes and his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy:
TOM: Are you and Clarence still planning on going to the same school?
TONY: As far as this point, yes that's the plan.
TOM: Is Michigan still on top for you?
The two still both favor Michigan, and plan to announce on Signing Day. Tony also said that he didn't know there was a dead period between college coaches and recruits, and was wondering why Michigan wasn't contacting him as much. Sounds like other schools haven't quite been following the rules. THE NCAA WILL BE ALL OVER THIS!
This upcoming weekend is a little more notable for Michigan fans: Commits WI P Will Hagerup and PA CB Cullen Christian will play in the US Army All-American Bowl, and CA S Sean Parker who is down to Michigan, Cal, and USC, will also participate.
The semester started today, so we should finally have a good idea of which 2010 Michigan commits were able to get in for the winter semester and spring practice.
MI QB Devin Gardner is still trying to enroll early, but Inkster's semester ends really late and there are some issues with getting him accelerated. Michigan should know by the end of the week whether he will or not. Stephen Hopkins, Jerald Robinson, Ricardo Miller, Christian Pace, Jeremy Jackson, and Austin White are all enrolling, though as of Wednesday morning Robinson and Miller did not have UMich directory entries. Marvin Robinson is also making an effort to enroll early:
Robinson, who took 3 classes over the summer in an attempt to graduate in December, said the holdup stems with 2 classes he took last semester.
"Most likely things are going to work out where I can go up there tomorrow," Robinson said.
Even if things don't, Robinson said he's firm in his commitment and will sign with Michigan in February.
I don't recall if the Athletic Department announced early-enrolling prospects last year until after Signing Day, but hopefully we'll have the final data by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, FL CB Adrian Witty was also supposed to be a midseason enroller after not qualifying for fall but is not in the Michigan directory. It's looking grimmer for Witty by the day; from the sounds of it he is qualified in the eyes of the NCAA; Michigan's admissions are the holdup. The most likely issue is a radically improved test score that got flagged.
Persistent rumors that TX RB/WR Tony Drake is so far from qualifying that he shouldn't even be considered part of the class any more get stronger by the day.
Maxpreps published its Junior All-American teams, with few prospect of interest for Michigan fans, outside of a couple pipe dreams. SoFlaFootball has also published its first 2011 top 75.
FL RB Demetrius Hart may not be the Michigan lock that we thought:
The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder has had the Wolverines out in front for some time and continues to do so, though he jokingly said that cold temperatures in the Orlando area recently may have him thinking a little.
So, yeah: That's not as negative as the headline "Florida Prospect Considers Local Programs" would make it seem. It would still be an upset for him to not land in Ann Arbor.
Michigan has offered a trio of prospects from Gardena Serra High School in California. WR George Farmer appears to be the headliner, holding offers from a who's-who of bigtime schools, including Florida and Oklahoma. DE Jason Gibson and S Marquise Lee have also received Michigan offers, along with scholarships from the likes of Miami (Yes That Miami), Oregon, and Washington.
Michigan commits Tony Drake and Austin White come in at #8 and #10, respectively on Sports Illustrated's top running backs of 2010.
Josh Furman and Richard Ash Go Blue
The audio is poor, but there is commitment video for MD LB Commit Josh Furman:
FL DT Richard Ash actually preceded Furman in commitment. He was snagged from West Virginia, since Rodriguez thought he needed more ways to make the citizens of his home state hate him.
For (much) more on Ash, check out Hello: Richard Ash.
The Wolverines are done on every offensive position except maybe offensive line, unless they can convince an elite recruit to commit (for example FL WR Kenny Shaw, who has Michigan in his final group of 4). In that case, they'd probably dive into the sketchy world of pulling scholarship offers. At this time, it doesn't appear that would happen, unless a couple guys don't look like they'll qualify.
So who's still available on the offensive line? FL OL Torrian Wilson held Michigan as a heavy favorite early in his recruitment, then abruptly committed to Stanford. Now, he's decommitted from the Cardinal and has a top 3 of Michigan, Tennessee, and USF. I would imagine he'll visit in January if he's serious about the Wolverines.
In other news on offense, MI QB Commit Devin Gardner may be able to enroll early at Michigan, after all ($, info in header). That would allow him to compete in spring and be more ready to play this fall, potentially avoiding a redshirt. There's still a lot that can be said about potential redshirts, the personnel at the QB position, etc., but we'll wait to see whether Gardner enrolls early and, if so, what happens in the spring between him, Tate, and Denard before we speculate on who is and isn't switching positions or taking a redshirt year.
Assuming the commitments of FL CB Tony Grimes and FL DE Clarence Murphy, and the strong possibility of a commitment from CA S Sean Parker, Michigan has to be very judicious with their scholarships, with only 1 or 2 to give out. The most likely candidates for those last couple spots would be a true nose tackle (OH DT Commit Terry Talbott and FL DT Commit Richard Ash are more 3-tech types), maybe a true pass-rusher at DE, an inside linebacker, or maybe even another defensive back.
GA DT Michael Thornton is still considering Michigan, and he's going on most of his official visits in January, with one of them possibly to Ann Arbor. Michigan is still behind for him, and would have to catch up to land Thornton.
TX LB/DE Holmes Onwukaife was at one time committed-ish to Michigan, before the Wolverines let him know they wanted him for a position that he didn't want to play. A fast-rising rumor last week said that he was reconsidering his Florida State commitment and would look at Michigan, but MGoBlog's own Tom Van Haaren reports that ain't true. Onwukaife will stick to his FSU commitment.
FL LB Darrin Kitchens will visit Michigan in January. The Wolverines are joined by the Florida Gators in his recent offer, so he's a prospect on the rise. He plans to commit to a school before making any visits, so unless the coaching staff really likes him, he probably won't ever come up to Ann Arbor.
- FL RB Corvin Lamb, a longshot to land at Michigan at this point anyway, has committed to Louisville.
- PA DT Sharrif Floyd can finally be completely removed from the board, as he's narrowed his choices to a group of 5 that doesn't include Michigan.
- MN DT Beau Allen has committed to Wisconsin. He is a 3-technique interior lineman, so Michigan didn't have a strong need for him anymore.
- MS DE Wayne Dorsey, a JuCo who Michigan was only kinda-sorta involed with, signed with Ole Miss.
- CA WR Kenny Stills and CA LB Tony Jefferson, picked Oklahoma, as expected.
- FL CB Travis Williams, who tried to commit to Michigan in the summer but was turned away, has committed to MIami (Not That Miami).
- CA S Dietrich Riley will not consider Michigan among his finalists.
- AZ S Marquis Flowers does not have Michigan in his final group.
- Cullen Christian's teammate and pal PA S Brandon Ifill committed to Pitt.
The Hopson Ripples
Michigan linebacker coach Jay Hopson will move on to Memphis, where he'll be the defensive coordinator. According to Rivals, he was the primary recruiter for the Talbott brothers and TX RB Tony Drake. It doesn't seem like those commitments are in jeopardy, since DT Terry Talbott solidified his Michigan commitment after visiting for the Ohio State game.
As far as Drake goes, there have been no rumblings of a decommitment, but there has been a bit of talk that he still hasn't qualified through the NCAA Clearinghouse. At this point, he's more of a risk to end up not playing college football at all in 2010 than at a different school.
Torrian Wilson (mentioned above) was receiving in-home visits from Hopson, so it's unclear whether the departure will affect Michigan's chances of landing the lineman. Tony Grimes and Clarence Murphy also had Hopson as their primary recruiter, so it's unclear if their commitments are still a mere formality. I'll have to do more digging to see which other uncommitted 2010 prospects Hopson was recruiting.
On to the Next One
With the 2010 class all but wrapped up, let's shift focus to 2011.
MI RB Justice Hayes likes Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern, according to Sam Webb in the Detroit Free Press. He enjoyed Michigan's camp last summer:
"I stayed (at the Michigan camp) for three days," he said. "They told me to stay for one day, but I wanted to see what their dorms were like. It was very nice. Throughout those three days I was able to bond with Coach Rodriguez, Coach Jackson, and all the coaches. They were tough on me. Even though it was a camp, they were still tough on me like I was one of their players (laughing). I liked that. It was a fun experience."
But sees that Michigan State has so many disciplinary issues that he'd be able to climb the depth chart quickly (seriously!):
"Michigan State has been losing players like flies in the discipline areas, so that's opening spots on the depth chart," said Hayes.
RENEGADE PROGRAM, BRAH! Hayes prefers to play in a pro-style offense, because it would get him the ball more. He's apparently unaware that not all spreads are the same, and MIchigan's goal is to run it as much as possible.
ESPN's Gerry Hamilton reports that OH LB Trey DePriest will be a big target, not only for Michigan and Ohio State, but perhaps across the entire country:
On the recruiting front, Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have stepped up with offers. This past season, he made unofficial visits to Cincinnati, Ohio State and Michigan.
DePriest was impressed with the crowd at Michigan Stadium for the Ohio State-Michigan game.
"It was live up there," he said.
He also says that he wants to go somewhere that he can play early. With Michigan's depth chart at linebacker, he could probably freakin' start as a true freshman.
The same article confirms that Michigan will indeed pursue TX S Sheroid Evans (pictured at right). Evans should be a top player in the state of Texas, but he hails from the same school as current Wolverines Brandon Herron, Troy Woolfolk, and Darryl Stonum, giving Michigan a connection. He is a blazer who is still developing position-specific skills, but would be a hell of a grab for the Wolverines.
Another safety Michigan is going after is OH S Ron Tanner, but things don't sound promising from the start:
"Growing up I was a big-time fan of the Bucks, but after experiencing the (Michigan-Western Michigan) game, I really like Michigan," Tanner said during the fall. "I like how you can see everything when you're on the field. At the Horseshoe, the fans are sitting up real high. In the Big House it was like the fans may be a little closer. It doesn't seem like people all the way up into the sky."
Michigan is chasing the Buckeyes for Tanner, but they have a chance to catch up before Ohio State offers.
On Monday MGoBlog took a look at current commits unlikely to move up.
Rivals and Scout rankings are useful but imperfect, and early rankings are more imperfect still. Though Michigan freshman Taylor Lewan ended up a 4-star prospect to both major recruiting site, he entered his senior season virtually unknown. By the time final rankings had come out he was a four star well within everyone's top 150.
The following players look to be this year's Lewan and have some upward mobility this fall. Not all will move up, of course, but look for one or two of the below players to gain a fourth star, or, in Devin Gardner's case, a fifth.
MI QB Devin Gardner
|Ranking||DT QB #2||QB #6|
Why Here? Devin has been compared to Terrelle Pryor and Vince Young, so it stands to reason that he is highly-ranked. He took his team to the state championship game (in which the Vikings lost to East Grand Rapids), and put together a solid junior campaign both on the ground and through the air.
All of the recruiting sites like Devin, but none of them love him yet. Barry Brunetti is listed ahead of him among dual-threats on Rivals, and Gardner is still chasing that elusive 5th star on Scout.
Prediction: This isn't much of a prediction. Multiple Rivals analysts have stated flat-out that Gardner will be their #1 dual threat QB and comfortably in the top 100 when they take the Elite 11 into consideration. He has shown off his athleticism—and willingness to compete—by attending various camps and combines in the summer before his senior season despite his early commitment to Michigan. He has shown potential greatness at QB, WR, and even defensive back(!); his versatility is not in question. He killed it at the Elite 11.
Unless he completely tanks this season, anything other than 5 stars will be a disappointment for Devin.
SC QB Cornelius Jones
|Ranking||DT QB #24||QB NR|
Why Here? Cornelius Jones's junior season didn't go well. He got exposure during it, playing highly-ranked teams within the state of South Carolina in every game, but his team wasn't good. The competition (like Byrnes, the home of Marcus Lattimore, Brandon Willis, et al, who Spartanburg played twice) was. Jones ended up throwing just 1 touchdown to 12 interceptions.
Michigan extended an informal offer last April and followed through with an official offer in January. He was among the first QBs that the Michigan coaching staff extended an offer to, so they think highly of him despite the inexperience. There's something there.
Prediction: Jones' polish-to-talent ratio is very low, and his learning curve may be quick. A player doesn't have offers in the summer before his junior season if he's not talented (especially when he didn't even play as a sophomore). He's done much better in summer 7-on-7 camps, leading Spartanburg to a tournament final against Byrnes amongst a crowded field of quality programs.
Even if he can't prove his worth as a QB, the recruiting services might rank him as an athlete. If he can have a decent enough year in his senior season, he could end up a fringe 4-star guy. At the very least he should pick up a third star from Scout and get bumped up a bit in the positional rankings.
One heartening item: his high school coaching staff will have a year under their belt coaching as well. Last year was their first in Spartanburg.
TX RB/Slot Tony Drake
|Ranking||APB #16||RB NR|
Why Here? Drake is the sort of guy who can excel in the Rich Rodriguez offense, but isn't likely to be considered for a high ranking by the recruiting sites. He's a speedy little bastard who performs despite his diminutive stature, and probably wouldn't last long in the NFL.
Drake was productive as a receiver as a sophomore, but was relegated to a backup running back last year.
Prediction: He is at one of the right programs to have success at: Skyline routinely pumps out a talent, and is one of the most visible high school teams in the nation. The stage is set for Tony Drake to take a big leap forward.
Now he just has to perform. Being named second team all-district at WR as a sophomore proves he might have the skill to get it done. I was pretty dubious on Drake's ability to move up, but there is an the opportunity in front of him.
OH WR Jerald Robinson
|Ranking||WR #43||WR #68|
Why Here? Robinson hasn't gotten it done on the field yet. A bad QB situation may have played a role in that. He is also a multi-position player that nobody knows exactly where to place. Originally, most Michigan fans thought he would play safety. After an impressive camp performance, however, nobody knows quite where he will play. At the moment, it seems like he'll stay at wideout.
If the quarterback situation at Canton South doesn't get better, Robinson won't have a opportunity to produce. However, if it improves, he can move up with a much better year.
Prediction Sam Webb was really high on Robinson as the best wideout at Michigan's camp, which was also attended by the likes of Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson. That alone indicates that Robinson is an talent deserving of 4-star status.
With impressive performances this summer—and hopefully a better season as a senior—Robinson will have a shot at getting a fourth star on Scout, too.
OH WR DJ Williamson
|Ranking||WR NR||WR #106|
Why Here? DJ Williamson is unknown. Though he has a highlight film on Scouting Ohio, the recruiting services either don't know much about him or didn't deem him worthy of even a 3-star ranking until recently. Williamson committed early and has not attended any camps, so his exposure is very low. Scout and Rivals both have him at three stars (finally), but he is way, way down on each of their wideout lists.
There is upside here: Williamson has decent size at 6-1 showed elite speed by winning the 100m dash in meet after meet on his way to the Ohio state title.
Prediction: If Warren finds a quarterback to get the ball to him, Williamson's size and speed alone should boost him up to a high 3-star. Four stars is doubtful for a guy who hasn't put in the time at combines and camps.
MI WR/TE Jeremy Jackson
|Ranking||WR NR||WR #78|
Why Here? The son of a coach, Jackson got early offers from the likes of Florida and Texas before ending his recruitment early. He is a polished player as a coach's son. He had good, but not exceptional stats as a junior.
Players who have received lots of coaching in their careers but aren't dominant in high school, usually don't have the physical talents to be elite players. And with Huron moving to a veer option offense, Jackson may not have a lot of opportunity to prove that he deserves to be ranked among the top players in the nation.
Prediction You may be taken aback at first by the fact that Jackson is listed as a WR/TE. Sam Webb has been saying on the WTKA recruiting roundup for quite some time now that Jeremy is still growing, and currently looks more like a tight end than a wide receiver. With Michigan's new focus on athletic tight ends, they might encourage a further move in that direction. Jackson may have more upside there, and if the recruiting sites make this change in position, he could move up to a 4-star prospect.
[Editor's note: I would have slotted Jackson in the other group; he's polished and slow-ish, two things that don't often result in big senior-year moves. Also: high school to run a veer. To be fair, Tim's basing his assessment on Jackson as a tight end.]
OH DE/LB Antonio Kinard
|Ranking||LB NR||DE #55|
Why Here? Kinard is the third in the trifecta of tweeners Michigan has committed on defense (the other two, Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz, were listed as “Stuck in Neutral”). He doesn't stand out on film more than most prospects, which leads to his 3-star ranking. And with two classmates a year older heading to Michigan, he probably got at his fair share of scouting.
But Kinard is athletic, as evidenced by his huge TD run in the game that I scouted with VB last year, and Duane Long also thinks he's got serious athletic ability.
Prediction: Kinard wasn't highly productive on a defense last year that featured current Michigan freshman Isaiah Bell roaming the secondary. You'd think that an imposing safety like Bell would give Kinard more opportunities to make plays, but he didn't. He has the athleticism, though, the potential for big time production is there.
Unlike Paskorz and Wilkins, I think Kinard is likely to stay at LB. Still, I think he'll be a low-4 or higher 3-star prospect. A big move is unlikely for a tweener.
OH CB Courtney Avery
|Ranking||DB NR||CB #23|
Why Here? Avery, a star for Lexington High School for the last three years, is not underexposed. The problem is that he has starred as a diminutive quarterback. Avery only started playing on defense just this past year, but couldn't go full time since he was busy tearing up opposing defenses on the other side of the ball. Now that he knows where he’ll play in college, that might change.
If Avery was a couple inches taller. He could be a Troy Smith clone (not that Smith was a giant) and use his pinpoint accuracy and athleticism to direct Michigan's spread offense. Alas, he's not, so unless he's used for the occasional trick play on offense, he'll be a corner for GERG's defense.
Prediction Avery has some of the best upside in Michigan's entire recruiting class so far. Local observer Duane Long thinks Michigan got "a steal." Avery is just one year into his new position, potentially still growing, and was deemed good enough by Michigan's coaches to receive an offer at camp after a week of personal observation. If he can take enough time off from blazing through opposing defenses, he should be able to move up in the rankings. Avery's a quintessential late mover.
The week-to-week minutiae of recruiting can sometimes obscure the larger picture.From time to time this here blog likes to provide a 1,000 foot view so people can have context going forward. Details below are designed to be sparse.
Michigan is about halfway to a full recruiting class, and will probably sign somewhere between 22 and 25. The details:
- Eleven players see their eligibility expire.
- Michigan entered the year with three unused slots.
- Transfers from Wermers, Threet, and Clemons minus the transfer-type action of Kelvin Grady brings Michigan up to 16 slots.
- There are two players on the team—David Cone and Bryan Wright—highly unlikely to get a fifth year.
- Dann O'Neill's departure is not yet official but is highly likely.
So without further attrition Michigan has about 19 slots—depending on the statuses of Sheridan, Morales, and the younger Grady—to provide, but there will be further attrition. There always is.
Needs: Almost as severe as they were last year. Michigan has two realistic scholarship options and would like at least two this year with possibly a third guy who will "get a shot" before getting moved to somewhere else.
Commitments: MI QB Devin Gardner (right), Michigan's top target and a guy who's around the Scout top 50 and Lemming top 10, has hopped aboard.
Realistic Future Options: There's not much green left on the recruiting board here: just SC QB Cornelius Jones, LA QB Munchie Legaux, and FL QB Stephen Morris. Morris doesn't have an offer, and Legaux has gone from declaring Michigan a provisional leader to only mentioning M intermittently—that smilin' green guy is probably outdated. So you've got Jones, which I guess would be okay.
Level of PANIC: 1/5. Gardner was clearly the #1 priority of the coaching staff and is in the boat; the lack of attractive second options is a minor concern.
Needs: They took three last year but lose three this offseason and had two transfers. In 2010 they'll have a junior Mike Shaw and four underclassmen (Smith, Toussaint, Jones, and Cox). That's is pretty light for a team that would like to run the ball lots, especially since Jones might be pirated away by the receiving corps and Toussaint remains a question-mark to qualify.
Realistic Future Options: Tate Forcier is still exhorting Michigan fans to keep hope for the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay alive—he committed to Oklahoma over the weekend—but even if he's still in play he's declared Oklahoma a strong leader and will be difficult to pry away.
That leaves MI RB Austin White as Michigan's top remaining target, surprisingly. White has two brothers at State but the vibe on him has been strongly Michigan for the last month or two. While White's not the universal blue-chip Clay is he does have an LSU offer and a couple of four-star rankings.
There are also a dozen other kids with offers out there, with the top names to watch FL RB Cassius McDowell, a teammate of Michigan's Deerfield Beach duo on both the football team and the Florida state championship 4x100m, and CA RB Dietrich Riley, a hotly-pursued athlete who could play on either side of the ball.
Level of PANIC: 2/5. If Rodriguez gets a pass anywhere for recruiting random guys it's running backs, but Michigan's persistent inability to land a blue-chip guy despite Rodriguez's pedigree is slightly annoying. White's sort of close to that level, though, and if they bring him in that's a solid class.
Needs: Whatever they were they've been met.
Commitments: Michigan picked up early-early commits from FL WR Ricardo Miller and MI WR Jeremy Jackson, then followed that up with Ohioans Jerald Robinson and DJ Williamson, and the entire state of North Dakota.
Miller is a four-star to everyone but the other guys are in the generic three-star range, with Robinson the closest to four-star status. Jackson did claim offers from Texas and Florida, FWIW, and Williamson just won the state championship in the 100 meter dash.
Realistic Future Options: Unsurprisingly, there aren't many. IL WR Kyle Prater showed at the BBQ and a recent combine event that Gardner also attended; the two have hit it off and Prater's had some recent positive mentions of M. He's also declared a top three of USC, Oklahoma, and Illinois, though, so keep your hopes in check.
Other than that the only guy reporting an offer who seems interested is PA WR Andrew Carswell, who may or may not be able to commit if he so desires.
Level of PANIC: 2/5. I'd rather Michigan had picked up some higher-rated kids with better offers. IIRC, neither Robinson or Williamson had any other offers period, let alone something comparable to the Michigan offer, and neither is getting the sort of guru accolades that might offset that. Williamson is something of a mystery man, though: Rivals just got his film.
Needs: I have no idea, really. Is Teric Jones a slot receiver? What about Tony Drake? Is Kelvin Grady a realistic option? Will Jeremy Gallon qualify? Does Je'Ron Stokes end up playing inside? If the answers are all "yes," then the need here is minimal. If they're all "no," the need here is considerable.
Commitments: LA WR Drew Dileo committed to Michigan over an array of schools that are really good at school a few weeks ago.
Realistic Future Options: Again, it's not a surprise that there aren't a whole lot of options on the board here. FL WR OJ Ross has an offer and has been very impressive this spring at a variety of combines and his high school's spring game; he's about the only guy on the radar here.
Level of PANIC: 3/5. Dileo seems like one of those guys you wait on. Just my e-pinion.
Needs: Rodriguez never used tight ends at West Virginia unless it was Owen Schmitt lining up somewhere funny, but has apparently cottoned onto the idea at Michigan once he talked with good friend Bob Stoops and got a view of Kevin Koger's talents, so they're recruiting a few guys.
Realistic Future Options: Cincinnati commitment Alex Smith took a visit for the BBQ and now features in articles where he talks about a variety of trips he'll take. That commit is soft, then. He's the only guy on the board.
Level of PANIC: 0/5. If they find a guy they like here, fine. If they don't, fine.
Needs: Suddenly a little more needy with the departures of Kurt Wermers and (again, very probably) Dann O'Neill. Michigan is now recruiting to a class of four redshirt freshmen backed by a class of three true freshmen and should be taking another three or four players.
Commitments: OH interior lineman Christian Pace committed about a week ago.
Realistic Future Options: There is, of course, MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the nation's top recruit and a guy Michigan is in a tentative top two for along with Minnesota. He's not going to decide until February, though, so any lead here is tenuous. Much more likely to hew to his recent proclamations of a Michigan lead is FL OL Torrian Wilson, who's still got Michigan on top and would like to decide within a month.
Besides those two Michigan is in on a couple of Ohioans, Skyler Schofner and Andrew Donnall, plus some other guys. They'll probably have to find another half-dozen guys to offer to get up to four.
Level of PANIC: 1/5. Though the recruiting board has dwindled a bit, offensive line is a spot at which you get a lot of late-developing talents and the recruiting ratings aren't that accurate anyway. Pace is a good pickup to start.
Yeah, Michigan has expended a lot of scholarship slots on guys you'd like to see them wait on as Plan B type recruits to be reeled in after you are told to talk to the hand by big-time guys. By the end of the year only Gardner, Miller, and maybe one other committed player (Pace or Robinson, probably) are likely to pick up four stars, which is well below average.
The counter-argument to this basically goes "Pat White and Steve Slaton," and I hear you, but even Rodriguez's first full class at Michigan—which was loaded with four-star recruits—puts the lie to the idea it's not preferable to lock down guys who many people think will be good players instead of just you. At the halfway point it's looking like this will be class that ranks lower than normal.
That's not too alarming. Teams that have ugly years just about always experience a significant dropoff the year after, and Michigan is going through its own version. This is more likely to be a result of 3-9 than anything else, and 3-9 isn't an event that will repeat, knock on wood.