This is a follow-up to Tom's recent post on top prospects still listing Michigan.
A lot of people have asked about Michigan's hot start and it's effect on the 2011 class. Now the start has gotten the interest of many players as Tom mentioned, but the real dividends for this season will be paid in 2012.
Luckily for Michigan, the class of 2012 is extremely strong in-state. We've all heard about the Cass Tech boys of course, but there are a lot of quality players that are very interested in Michigan. Keep winning, and they'll come.
Here's a few names to watch out for...
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, Cass Tech, Detroit Michigan - 6"2 205 lbs.
Royce is a terrific player that lines up at linebacker and fullback for the Technicians. He's very aggressive, shows good instincts, and plenty of speed in coverage. He will definitely one of the top 5-10 players in the state next year, and has been at most of Michigan's home games. You guys want linebackers, well this is a good kid to get. Royce will be a national recruit.
LB James Ross, Orchard Lakes St. Mary's, MI - 6"2, 200 lbs.
I put Ross here with Stone because both of them are very good players. Ross will likely be a middle linebacker at the next level, and he and Stone complement each other very well. It helps that they're best friends too. Ross has camped at Michigan the past two years, and has been at many of the games with Stone and Terry Richardson. Ross will likely contend for the top player in the state next year, and he's already hearing from Alabama and a number of heavy hitters outside the state. If Michigan can keep winning though, they have a very good shot.
CB Terry Richardson, Cass Tech MI - 5"9, 160 lbs
Richardson is another Cass Tech player. He plays opposite of 2011 commit Delonte Hollowell, and between the two of them, they've really shut down most opponents this year. Terry is continuing the line of diminutive Cass Tech cornerbacks, but he's very talented and like his friends James Ross and RJS, is a national recruit and top 10 or so player in the state next year. He has already been offered by Alabama, LSU, and Iowa, so he will not be an automatic grab like many assume.
LB Nathan Ricketts, Holland HS, Holland MI - 6"2, 215 lbs
Ricketts is a kid who wasn't on a lot of team's radars until recent camp performances have raised eyebrows. He doesn't play on a fantastic team but really showed out at Michigan's camp (as well as MSU's), and if things don't work out with Ross or Stone, I think he has a shot to land a Michigan offer. Ricketts is a very heady player who's going to be good wherever he ends up.
DT Dan O'Brien, Flint Powers Catholic, Flint, MI - 6"3, 275 lbs
O'Brien has been a guy Michigan has been high on for some time. He named a top two of Michigan and Tennessee, and visited Michigan, being awarded with a verbal offer. Did I mention his hero is Mike Martin? O'Brien is an excellent player who will likely play nose guard in Michigan's scheme. He loves Michigan and I think if they can get him on another visit, they should be able to lock him up. As I said though, O'Brien is very talented and already receiving interest from Florida, LSU, and other big boys.
QB Bennie Coney, Plant City HS, Plant FL - 6"1, 205 lbs
Coney is a talented dual-threat quarterback from Florida, who has been offered by the Wolverines among nearly a dozen others. Coney is not quite like Denard Robinson speed-wise, but he's got very quick feet and can be mobile when he needs to. I think it will be a battle to pull him out of the south, but if the Wolverines push hard, they could definitely get Coney up for a visit.
OT Jordan Diamond, Simeon HS Chicago, IL - 6"7, 270 lbs
Diamond is the teammate of 2011 Guard and Michigan Target Chris Bryant. He's an absolute monster who will only get bigger. He plays tackle for his school but will probably be a guard in college. Imagine him and Chris Bryant at either guard spot, yikes! Diamond is very interested in Michigan, as he and Chris visited them earlier in the year. If Bryant does pull the trigger for the Wolverines, I expect that to help with Diamond as well.
S Allen Gant, Sylvania Southview, Sylvania OH - 6"2, 200 lbs
Wolverine fans will recognize the name, as Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant. He is not a legacy lock by any means, with offers already trickling in and heavy interest from in-state power Ohio State. Gant is a terrific athlete who could play safety or even one of the hybrid positions for the Wolverines. He has already unofficially visited and will likely return again; Michigan needs to work but they definitely have his interest.
Michigan loses to Michigan State . . . duh.
Cincinnati Reds swept out of playoffs.
Fantasy football team drops to 0-5.
Let's beat Iowa. Please.
I would like to focus on the future of Michigan's defense without blaming anyone (i.e. Carr, RichRod, Shafer, GERG, Bill Martin, etc.) for why it's so bad this year. I would simply like to look forward and ask:
Is Rich Rodriguez (with or without Greg Robinson) capable of fielding a competent defense next year? By competent, I mean lower than 60th in the nation in total defense).
I've been a big supporter of RR and have spent countless hours defending him to relatives and friends that don't want to hear any of it. I keep telling them to wait and be patient. Today, one of these friends asked if I thought the defense would be even decent next year. I didn't have an answer.
Any thoughts? Will Woolfolk make enough of a difference? Is there an underclassman likely to make a big improvement next year? To fill in for Mouton? Are there any OMG shirtless defensive recruits seriously considering UM? I'd like to offer comforting news to the doubters, but it's hard to do when it seems like the D could actually be worse next year.
I'm sure you've all heard the "coach-speak" regarding the 24-hour rule: enjoy (or in our case, sulk) for 24 hours and then start preparing for the next opponent. Nothing can change what happened yeterday, we can only control what happens next.
Next is a good (not great) Iowa team.
4-1 on the season with their only loss being on the road at Arizona (who lost last night to Orgeon State.)
- 1271 pass yds/861 rush yards
- 46.7% 3rd down conversion
They are know, of course, for their defense which is currently ranked at or near the top in points and yards yielded.
I was as nervous for the State game as I was when I was playing. I can only imagine how the players felt. You find out a lot about yourself after a loss like yesterday. I'm quite confident the team gets focused, settles down, works their asses off, and comes into the game this Saturday with a nice big chip on their shoulder.
After watching our defense struggle yet again this season I couldn't help but think about a good (not great) big 10 defensive player who in high school had great grades, bloodlines and wanted to play for Michigan and yet couldn't get a scholarship offer for reasons i have never understood..
I live in Northern Ohio and in 2005 a very good friend of mine's son set an Ohio high school record scoring five touchdowns in a playoff game. He also played some cornerback when needed. As a season ticket holder who did a small amount of recruiting for Michigan in the early 90's I started bringing the boy up to games and alerted my contacts to take a look at him. In 2005 he was invited to several camps (Michigan included) and began to get scholarship offers. By 2006 he had received offers from every MAC and Big East program as well as lower tier Pac 10 and ACC schools but nothing from Michigan. After the 2006 season he was invited back to Michigan's camp when they were trying out QBs and he basically shut down every wideout they placed in front of him but still no offer. His dad, an ex-Louiseville Cardinal DB made it known that they were growing tired of the recruitment process and would commit early in 2007. Michigan was #1 on their list but they weren't going to wait his entire senior year to see if an offer would be forthcoming. I again contacted the football department and told them what I knew about the kid - good grades, good family and outstanding athlete - basically everything Michigan wanted in a player and yet nothing. No offer, no communication - nothing. So when Northwestern offered early in his senior year they accepted and shut down all recruiting. After that I called and asked why no offer - all I was told was "he's 5"10 and we want taller corners" and that was the end of it.
Today Jordan Mabin is a starting DB for Northwestern. If you remember, he was played especially well against us (motivated maybe?) and I cant help but wonder how we would look if we had bothered to offer a tremendous athlete with good grades who happened to be "only" 5'10.