I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Tom Strobel and Erik Magnuson Go Blue
The double-dip commitments return, as OH Tom Strobel and CA OL Erik Magnuson both committed to Michigan within an hour or so of each other last Friday. Strobel was the first to commit, and was quite the surprise indeed.
Touch The Banner on Tom:
Overall, Strobel seems like a high-floor/medium-ceiling type of player. As a strongside end, perhaps the most important quality is to be relentlessly active, and he does have that quality. However, he will get eaten alive if he doesn't play lower.
Even though I’d be worried about him on the weakside, I love the idea of a strongside Strobel. I think he has many traits that make him ideal for the spot. For one, he mostly plays low with great leverage. He clearly has a very strong lower body, as he holds up well in run defense, rarely budging for the most persistent of tackles.
“Tom is one of my favorite DE’s in the 2012 class. He has an extremely high motor and never, ever gives up on a play. At 6’6” he has the size to potentially play at around 280 pounds or so. Strobel is a very solid tackler and has pretty good technique for a high school kid. He needs to work on his quickness and strength a little bit, but Strobel has the skills to be a special player.”
Strobel told ESPN's Jamie Newberg that Ohio State's pending NCAA sanctions had nothing to do with his decision to go blue. Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long says that this demonstrates Hoke is serious business. He thinks Strobel is a strongside end, and Chris Wormley (who he believes will become a Wolverine soon) is a 3-tech tackle. Local fluff on Wormley's multi-sport talents.
The second commit of the... hour... was CA OL Erik Magnuson. He was making quite a bit of noise about a potential commitment even before coming on the visit (and as I said in the commitment post, he told Tom beforehand that he was planning to commit when in Ann Arbor). Here's a local commitment article on Erik. Touch the Banner on his game:
Magnuson seems like a LT/RT tweener to me. He doesn't have the elite quickness that I'd like to see in a left tackle, but he doesn't have the mass (right now) or run blocking technique to be great at right tackle. I do think these issues are correctable, but his success depends upon how quickly he can shore up these weaknesses.
GBMW on Magnuson:
He bends his knees very well and maintains proper leverage. Erik keeps his feet moving and has good, low get off, all necessities for a power running game. The biggest thing we like about Erik, other than physical skill, is his attitude. He plays the game with a mean nasty edge. Erik does not just block opponents, he tries to destroy them.
And finally, The Wolverine Blog:
Were he to see immediate playing time, he would be exposed against speed rushers. His kick and drag is slow and choppy, and he has trouble getting a strong punch on quick enough pass rushers... Despite that gloomy start to the evaluation, I do like him as a road-paver. As I mentioned, he has long arms and good upper body strength, so when he uses his hands effectively, he’s a force to be reckoned with. More so than that, however, I love his nasty disposition on the field.
PA OL Adam Bisnowaty recaps his visit to GBW, and tells Rivals that Michigan is "stepping it up" ($, info in headers). His high school's athletic director told Tom that a pre-season decision is on tap for the big Pennsylvanian.
MA OL Eric Olson visited, and told Tom that he enjoyed it. Eric says a decision could come at any time, though he's considering a trip out to Stanford.
PA OL Chris Muller is looking to visit soon.
IL OL Jordan Diamond is in Ann Arbor today (he's traveling to Michigan for the Sound Mind, Sound Body Camp).
AZ OL Andrus Peat will visit Michigan this weekend.
UT DE Moana Ofahengaue (say that five times fast) might make a trip to Ann Arbor this summer ($, info in header).
Part 2 of last week's Sam Webb article rounds out the Ohio prospects who may be more interested in the Wolverines, thanks to Jim Tressel's little issue reporting rules. The only remaining prospects of interest to Michigan are OH DE Adolphus Washington (pictured at right) and his teammate, WR Dwayne Stanford.
Dave Berk: I think we were hearing from Adolphus and those close to Adolphus even back at the Columbus Nike camp that Ohio State has really moved down that list... I really think Michigan may be the program to beat.
Allen Trieu: As for where Michigan and Michigan State stand, I really think Michigan has a good chance. They need to get those guys on campus. They have shown interest in coming up to visit, which obviously the first step. With Michigan State, I honestly don't hear Michigan State mentioned too much for those guys.
Their coach has a top-10 list for Washington, but from the horse's mouth, his top 5 is Alabama, Kentucky, Miami (YTM), Michigan, and Ohio State - with the Buckeyes trending downward, it seems. Washington and Stanford are looking to reschedule a canceled visit over Memorial Day, and it seems that will take place this weekend.
The remainder of the article either features prospects who aren't considering Michigan, or who have committed to Michigan (Tom Strobel, profiled above) or Wisconsin (OH OL Kyle Dodson) since publishing.
IN QB Gunner Kiel has delayed his commitment, and internet scuttlebut alternately indicates that Michigan or Indiana [ed: !!!] is the school causing him to re-think things.
Local fluff on NC RB Keith Marshall, though there's no mention of Michigan:
Miller Safrit, a football recruiting analyst for ESPNU, said Marshall has shown a lot of savvy during his recruitment. "I think there are five or six schools who think they are in really good shape with him," Safrit said.
Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn, Clemson, and North Carolina seem to be those five or six top teams.
WA OL Zach Banner has narrowed his list to a number of high profile schools (Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Oregon, Florida State and Oregon join Michigan) and the local team, Washington.
There has been a report that OH DE Se'von Pittman recently tried to commit to Michigan, but the coaches told him to take care of some academic work first. Tom talked to his coach to clear some things up:
[Se'Von] wants to take a couple official visits. They're going to be game day officials because his intentions are to be a mid year graduate and enroll early. He's done a lot of homework, he's gone to camps, spring balls, evertyhing. He might be going up to Michigan's camp, we have a couple kids going up there, so he might come up too.
It's interesting that a kid with reported grade issues is considering early enrollment, but we'll have to see how this plays out. Ohio recruiting guru Bill Greene thinks the Buckeyes are back in the picture.
OH LB Commit Kaleb Ringer is striving to enroll early.
OH S Jarrod Wilson is planning to sit down with his coach this afternoon to determine if he's ready to make a decision, and if so, how he'll announce.
NJ S/CB Yuri Wright has Michigan in his top-5-ish substance. Though he's a top prospect, the Wolverines probably don't have room for many more DBs.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins has been offered by Florida ($, info in header). He had an interesting tweet following Michigan's Under The Lights Uniform unveiling:
michigans new Adidas jerseys are sweet hmm im starting to like the adidas flavor #thinking
And followed it up a couple days later with another interesting statement:
michigan has 17 commits hmm nice for the good ol' Maize and Blue #stacked
I imagine he's counting 2013's Shane Morris in that commit count, not dropping a big hint, though he's narrowing his list soon ($, info in header).
MO WR Durron Neal committed to Oklahoma.
CA WR Malik Gilmore will attend Oregon State.
OH OL Kyle Dodson received his long-awaited Ohio State offer... but committed to Wisconsin instead. Michigan finished in second for the big Clevelander.
MO OL Evan Boehm committed to Missouri.
DC DT Eddie Goldman has narrowed his list to 15 schools ($, info in header). Based on the fact that Michigan has hardly been mentioned with him, it's safe to say the Wolverines aren't one of those 15.
MD DE Michael Moore committed to Virginia.
State of the Class
The majority of comments on recruiting posts of late have been of the variety "where are the remaining scholarships going to go?," so let's take a moment to look at the overall state of the class (as we periodically do).
Although the Depth Chart by Class shows 18 open spots, Brady Hoke told Angelique Chengelis last week that he expects to sign 23-25 prospects. That means expect 5-7 more spots to open up by spring. So, with 7-9 spots left, things seem a lot less cramped in the recruiting class, no? It still leaves people feeling dirty about possible future Saban-y-ness, though.
Michigan leads for OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas. He plans to bring along his cousin, 2012 OH RB Bri'onte Dunn, next time he's in Ann Arbor. ($, info in header).
Keep an eye on OH DE Matt Miller, the younger brother of 2011 signee Jack Miller ($, info in header).
MI LB Jon Reschke will camp at Michigan.
Anthony Standifer Goes Blue
When the ball is in the air, he goes up and gets it at its highest point. He also has very smooth hips for a kid who's 6'1" ...I also really like the way Standifer deals with blockers; they're nuisances to him and he finds crafty ways to get around people who are in his way... I have doubts that Standifer can be a truly elite corner because of his lack of high-end speed, but I think he has sufficient speed to be an impact corner in the Big Ten.
The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice:
All in all, with a couple years’ weight training and technical work, Standifer could become the sort of corner who, while not always locking down their man, won’t let up many big mistakes, and should position himself to make a play after the catch. While I like him better at corner, I wouldn’t object to placing him in a deep zone, provided he puts on some weight, ideally 10-20 pounds.
Mark Snyder of the Free Press talked to his coach:
"He's a kid who's over 6-1, may get to be 6-2 and is 6-3/6-4 in spikes," [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. "His physical makeup makes him also very athletic. He has long arms, good speed and a good vertical jump. He also has excellent instincts."
Verde also said that Anthony transformed from a great athlete int a great football player as a junior. For more, check out the Hello: Anthony Standifer post.
Scout's Allen Trieu has kind words for both Standifer and Gant (notably saying that Gant's athleticism is underrated by people who have only seen him on tape).
As the Buckeyes are the reigning overlord in the Midwest (at least from a recruiting standpoint), their struggles with following the rules are bound to have an effect on some of the other regional schools in terms of recruiting.
This week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News is a roundtable with Scout's Allen Trieu and Bill Greene. First, on OH OL Kyle Kalis:
Trieu: I think there is a good chance that he is going to at least take another look around. Obviously that doesn't mean he is going to decommit.
Greene: So if he thought about decommitting on Monday, and you were able to talk him off the edge on Tuesday, you've still got a long time between now and February 2012 when he can be signed. I would guess that you are going to have to revisit this issue again with Kyle Kalis.
Kalis talked to Tom about his commitment, and he's still a Buckeye, but considering a few other schools. Back to Webb. On OH RB Bri'onte Dunn:
Bill Greene: I think Michigan absolutely has a legitimate shot at Brionte Dunn. I think Penn State would be appealing to him too. I would not be surprised to him take official visits in the fall regardless of him reaffirming his commitment to Ohio State two days ago. I think there is still some uncertainty there.
and on OH DE Chris Wormley:
Allen Trieu: Even through all the things that he was saying, I always felt like Michigan was the leader for Chris. I think Michigan is the clear leader now and I think it would be an upset if he went anywhere but Michigan.
Bill Greene: I have had Wormley going to Michigan since the Ohio State camp last year. I still see Chris Wormley at Michigan and I've never wavered from that. We'll see.
There's much more in there, but you'll have to click through so I'm not stealing all of Sam's content. Next week's column will cover several more prospects with Michigan and Ohio State interest, including Dwayne Stanford, Kyle Dodson, and others.
Fox Toledo talked to Wormley, though he doesn't provide much insight into whether it changes his decision timeframe:
The Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo spoke to Wormley at the state track finals, and has a hunch that Michigan will land the talented Toledoan.
Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long thinks OH DE Se'Von Pittman was a Michigan lean even before Tressel got the axe.
Fox Sports Ohio covers the "risky time" for Buckeyes recruiting.
The Wayne Morgan Saga
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan had previously planned to make a final decision last Thursday, but his choice between Michigan and Rutgers is delayed. Since Michigan was the heavy favorite to land him, that's a bad thing, as it gives other schools a better chance to sway him.
From the sounds of things, Michigan's coaches wanted him as a corner, and the delay means that there will likely not be a spot for him when he decides (MA CB Armani Reeves dropped the Wolverines for similar reasons). Michigan's coaches are probably looking for a true free safety to close out the DB recruiting class.
May I suggest OH S Jarrod Wilson, who visited last Tuesday, and named Michigan to his top 3 shortly thereafter? He plans to decide before the start of his senior season. His coach, former Wolverine great Ricky Powers, told Tom that Jarrod plans to enroll early.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins was the guest of honor for a live chat with Rivals last Thursday. Some highlights:
- Ondre plans to visit Ann Arbor at the end of the summer, or for a game. He'll narrow his list in June, and his final decision will probably come in early December. He plans to announce at a press conference, but will finish his high school year rather than enrolling early.
- He spent a lot of time talking about his favorite football player: former Wolverine Lamarr Woodley. He plans to wear #56 in college to honor the Steelers all-pro, and Woodley is one of the mentors helping him through the recruiting process.
- His other recruiting advisors are Tennessee-bound DeAnthony Arnett (and his brother Ralph), and former Spartan Clifton Ryan.
- There are a lot of things Michigan has going in their favor from the start with Pipkins. He still considers Saginaw his home, and grew up a fan of Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan Stadium is tied for his favorite in the NCAA (with Alabama), and he says Michigan has the best helmet in the game. His favorite sports movie is Jalen Rose's "The Fab Five" (another tie, this time with fellow 30-for-30 project "The U").
- He wants to major in Business Administration, and a good program there (check) will help a school in his eyes, along with good relationships with the coaches, and a shot at early playing time (check).
He also seems to be high on Michigan's coaching staff, and the way they're recruiting him. For example, his answer to two separate questions (the first about Hoke and staff):
They seem very family oriented. Very honest and up front.
Yes, family is very important.
He also answered some specific questions about Michigan's coaching staff:
Q: How does the fact that Michigan has 3 DL Coaches, along with former Ravens Defensive Coord. weigh into your feelings with Michigan?
It really does ... because it's going to be a defensive-type of team and defense wins championships.
Q: Hows Greg Mattison as a recruiter. Heard hes the best in the biz.
He's very good ... he just tells you straightforward what you need to hear .
That certainly goes well with his answer to a different question, asked earlier:
Q: Do you ever feel some coaches just tell you what you want to hear and are just worried about you as the football player and not you as a person?
Yeah, I definitely feel that way. The ones that tell you wht you need to hear are the coaches that have the best interests at heart for you.
And finally, he talked a bit about his game. He doesn't matter what scheme he plays in, and doesn't care if he's simply used to plug holes so the linebackers can make plays. He loves opening lanes for the linebackers and making the plays himself, as well. His mean streak and hand movement are his strengths, along with versatility, while he admits he needs to work on staying low and getting an initial punch.
Ondre thinks he's a hard enough worker both on and off the field to be in the running for five-star status. He hasn't been invited to any All-Star games yet, but he is working hard to earn the honor.
[Ed: Pipkins was also talking about wanting Woodley's number on the Twitter. You can have the whole outfit, kid!]
CA DT Aziz Shittu will probably make his open commitment to Stanford into an official decommitment sometime soon. The highly rated big man wants to take his time and experience what other schools have to offer before choosing where to spend the next 4+ years of his life. He told Tom:
If he does reopen his recruitment that would likely mean he would take summer visits. "I'm not sure yet where I want to visit, but I'm going to get out there. I'd like to make it out to Michigan," said Shittu. "I like [Michigan's] tradition and the style of play they want to do."
Michigan was in his top-5 at the time he committed to the Cardinal, and academics are a big priority.
I would guess Pipkins is priority #1 at DT for the Wolverines (with Shittu near the top of the list as well). As for likely pipe dreams, NY DT Jarron Jones is still planning to visit Ann Arbor, so anything is possible.
MA OL Eric Olson visited Michigan yesterday. The Massachusetts prospect is relatively unknown to the recruiting services, but will make a decision soon.
CA OL Erik Magnuson is visiting this weekend. Tom says this is a "very big" visit for Michigan, so if Erik likes what he sees, it could be a great weekend for the maize-and-blue.
IL OL Jordan Diamond will be in Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header).
If Michigan closed out OL recruiting with that trio, I think there would be very few complaints.
Another tackle, PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, is also visiting today.
OH TE Sam Grant committed to Boston College.
CA TE Taylor McNamara committed to Arizona.
GA DE/LB Jarontay Jones committed to Virginia Tech.
IN QB Gunner Kiel is deciding soon ($, info in header). It seems like Michigan has fallen off in his recruitment.
CO OL Paul Thurston may be deciding soon ($, info in header).
MD DE Ryan Watson will camp at Michigan this summer.
Michigan is "in the mix" for MD DE Michael Moore ($, info in header).
Michigan has entered the top 5 for NJ S Elijah Shumate.
CBS's pre-season high school top-25 includes Farmington Hills Harrison (home of Michigan commits Mario Ojemudia and Devin Funchess), as well as several other schools with Michigan targets. Speaking of Ojemudia, he's been selected to join his future teammate Royce Jenkins-Stone in the 2012 Army All-American Game. Congrats, Mario!
Fellow commit OH LB Kaleb Ringer will move to outside linebacker this season to prepare to play that position at the next level.
The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp takes place next week.
IL WR Laquon Treadwell had a good visit to Ann Arbor last week. His teammate, Anthony Standifer, so enjoyed the visit that he committed to Michigan's 2012 class.
PA TE Adam Breneman will visit Michigan ($, info in header).
MI DT Kenton Gibbs is hearing from Michigan. He's a Cass Tech product, so Michigan should have a shot at him if they decide to pursue.
Michigan has offered CA LB Michael Hutchings ($, info in header). He's a product of Concord De La Salle (alma mater of Matt Gutierrez, Amani Toomer, and a few other former Wolverines).
2012 Offer Board lives here.
Decisions on Deck?
IN QB Gunner Kiel has eliminated Notre Dame, and is down to a final four of Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, and Oklahoma. He is planning a June decision.
Not only is OH DE Chris Wormley excelling in field events (discus and shot put) this spring, he's dropping recruiting info to track reporters:
“Everything I do [in the three sports] helps all around,” said Wormley, whose top two colleges choices right now are Michigan first and Ohio State second, followed by Michigan State and Notre Dame. “It keeps me conditioned throughout the season. [Track] ties into everything.”
Now that Scout is asking the customary headline-question-where-the-answer-is-always-yes about whether Wormley will decide soon ($, info in header), it could mean another commitment isn't far off for the maize-and-blue. He told Tom that he'll focus on recruiting once track ends. Magnus talks about Wormley's surprisingly low Rival ranking on Maize n Brew:
It looks like he put on some weight, and it doesn't necessarily look like pure muscle. Secondly, it looks like he's either favoring some part of his body or he just lacks aggression... I'm saying it looks like something is wrong. Additionally, he doesn't get off the ball as quickly in his junior film, and it looks like he lost a notch in the speed department.
Early offers from Michigan and Ohio State speak to his potential, but he's going to have to capture his sophomore-year fitness (he certainly doesn't look fat in the track photo above) and form to improve his standing to the recruiting services.
MI CB Terry Richardson has been on-again, off-again about making a decision at some point this week. If such a decision does come to pass, it will be tomorrow morning at 11:45 in the Cass Tech weight room, but as of right now, it seems like the conference will be delayed again - but he'll announce on social media sites at 8AM tomorrow.
Fill 'er Up
With the 2012 class about half-full (per the expectations come Signing Day, at least), it's time to look at what needs remain for the next crop of Wolverines and which positions must be filled:
- QB: 0-1. The commitment of 2013's Shane Morris allows the coaching staff to be very selective about a QB in this class. They can either swing for the fences with Gunner Kiel, or go for a multi-position guy.
- RB: 1-2. Brady Hoke clearly wants one running back in this class (though it seems they're content to pursue mostly elite prospects) and probably a fullback as well.
- WR: 1. With Darryl Stonum, Junior Hemingway, and Martavious Odoms moving on after this year, at least one wideout is necessary for roster balance. Another would be a luxury.
- TE: 0-1. Early on, it seemed like Michigan would take another tight end despite already having two committed. Now, that isn't looking like the case (sorry, Ron Thompson).
- OL: 2-3. At least one true left tackle is a big need, and another right tackle would give Ben Braden the opportunity to play on the interior.
- DT: 2. With a couple light years in defensive tackle recruiting, a pair of them are needed in this class.
- DE: 1-2. Chris Wormley is the obvious choice here, but the coaching staff might accept another commitment if it's an elite guy.
- S: 1-2. Depending on where Raymon Taylor and Tamani Carter end up from last year's class, this may not be as dire a need as it seems.
- CB: 1-2. With a big crop of DBs in 2011, they can be selective about who they take.
As always in recruiting, this is subject to change at a moment's notice. You'll note that the coaching staff will have to be selective at some of those positions, though they'll figure out a way to take any elite prospects.
New Offers (And Potential New Offers)
Michigan is showing interest in ID QB Tanner Mangum. He's currently committed to BYU.
UT FB/RB Sione Houma has picked up a Michigan offer.
Benson said Michigan and Washington have both recruited Houma with the intention of moving him to fullback, but other schools, such as UCLA, are interested in him as a tailback.
Michigan has offered a bunch of fullback-types.
Michigan has offered IL DE/DT Faith Ekakitie.
FL S Allen Gant - the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant - has received his Michigan offer. He's going to visit Ann Arbor within the next couple weeks.
Happy Trails from the future, OH RB/DB William Mahone? There's "an almost 100% chance" he'll eventually pick Penn state, per one expert.
Happy Trails, TX FB/LB Dominic Ramacher. He committed to Oklahoma State.
Happy Trails, OH WR Corey Smith. The teammate of OH S Jarrod Wilson, he will attend Tennessee after a stint at junior college.
Happy Trails, FL LB Raphael Kirby. He picked Miami. Something tells me the coaching staff isn't sweating when linebackers come off the board.
Nominees for the US Army All-American Bowl are out (pdf link), and include a number of Michigan commits (Jenkins-Stone, Ringer, Ojemudia, Bolden), and too many targets to list. The 440 nominess will be whittled down to 90ish selections.
OH TE Commit AJ Williams is keeping in touch with OH DE Adolphus Washington and OH WR Dwayne Stanford about picking Michigan:
Michigan is looking to capitalize on a few "ins" of its own. The first is Stanford's boyhood affinity for the Maize and Blue. The second is Stanford and Washington's relationship with recent Michigan commitment, Cincinnati Sycamore tight end A.J. Williams.
"(Williams) called me all excited and said he committed to Michigan and told me that me and Aldophus need to get with the program and head on up to Ann Arbor with him and they wouldn't be able to stop us," Stanford recalled. "I'm loving Michigan right now. I have nothing but positive energy and thoughts on my mind about them. Coach (Mark) Smith and A.J. stay on me too. Especially with him committing there, that really helps me. We're just going to see how everything plays out.
The Wolverines definitely need a wideout, and Washington is the type of athlete it would be really hard to turn down, but the Cincy products are both planning to wait until January to announce decisions. We'll see how much room is left in Michigan's class (and what the needs are) when the time comes. Stanford is visiting Michigan soon ($, info in header).
PA RB Greg Garmon has narrowed to a top 5 of Michigan, UNC, Iowa, Illinois, and West Virginia. He does say that some of the schools in that top 5 could change.
Michigan and two mystery schools make up the top three for CA OL Erik Magnuson. He will take an official visit to Ann Arbor in the fall.
CO OL Paul Thurston visited Michigan a couple weeks ago, and it helped Michigan stay near the top of his list.
TX OL Trey Keenan has family in Michigan, and he says the Wolverines are likely to make the cut when he trims his list. He wants to make a final decision before the start of his senior season.
OH DE Se'Von Pittman talks recruiting, including his interest in Michigan:
"I've taken a few visits around to some different campuses," Pittman said. "I've checked out Michigan and Michigan State and Notre Dame." ...He could be an outside linebacker in some scenarios or a defensive end or maybe something more. Notre Dame wants him to be a quarterback-hunting outside linebacker and Michigan wants him to be whatever he wants.
The Wolverines are loading up on defensive ends and linebackers, and Se'Von is going to take his time deciding. That could mean there won't be room for him in the 2012 class by the time he makes a decision.
Though he's a Penn State soft commit, NY DT Jarron Jones is "anxious to learn" on his trip to Ann Arbor next month ($, info in header). Based on a local article, it really sounds like he doesn't consider himself committed to the Nittany Lions at all:
"It's really about where I feel comfortable. Where do I fit in, where are they going to have me? Some coaches want me at offensive, some at defensive end, some at linebacker."
Something tells me a 6-7, 300 pound guy is unlikely to play linebacker in college. He's been nominated for the Army all-American game.
MI OL/DT DaRon Brown will camp at Michigan this summer to try to earn an offer. IL CB Anthony Standifer is continuing to blow up, with new offers from the likes of Purdue and Iowa, Northwestern, and others.
MI QB Commit Shane Morris will participate in an Elite 11 tryout in Columbus this weekend. 2012 prospects Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike will also be in attendance. The Free Press covers Morris's commitment.
MI RB Wyatt Shallman tells Tom what the coaching staff thinks of his ability as a running back.
Since commitments are coming in pairs, Wednesday Recruitin' will make the revolutionary change of also coming in pairs this week. Today: The most recent Wolverine commits, and a look at who might be next.
Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown Go Blue
The creepy tendency to pick up commitments in twos continues, as defensive ends from Michigan and Ohio committed back-to-back on Friday. First up was MI DE Mario Ojemudia. Local commitment article. GBMW on Mario:
Mario plays with great effort and intensity and is always moving and hustling. Mario has very good quickness and his feet are always moving. He shows good lateral movement with good burst and closing speed. What makes him special is a dynamite first step and an explosive get off.
Some plays he bursts off the line, gets great leverage, and makes a huge play for the FHH defense. During other plays, he relies completely on his speed and athleticism to beat the O-linemen. That’s fine in high school, it won’t translate to the bigger leagues. That being said, just like Royce Jenkins-Stone, I love Mario’s fiery, competitive spirit. He gets really excited when he blows a play up, and that intensity is clearly infectious.
While there’s a lot to love, there’s always room to grow, as well. There’s not a single play in his highlight video where he bullrushes the tackle, or uses his strength to get to the QB. Sometime he plays too high coming off the ball. When you’re 6’6, you can’t afford to give up leverage. His tackling technique needs a little work. All in all, I’m very excited to watch Brown’s future play out.
Brown is long and lean with good change-of-direction skills and the ability to explode into passers. He runs very well (my guess is he would be in the 4.6-4.7 range, since I haven't found any 40 times for him) and should be able to pressure the width of the pocket based solely on his speed.
Also a Sophomore
MI QB Shane Morris broke the seal on the class of 2013(!) last night, picking the Wolverines over - you guessed it - Michigan State. Check out Hello From the Future: Shane Morris for more details on his game.
He looks like a very mature passer. He doesn't panic in the pocket, he goes through his read progressions, etc. Obviously, only highlights are available, but the thing that sticks out to me most is the touch and accuracy he puts on the ball. When a ball need to gets to a receiver in a hurry, he rifles it in there. When he knows he can put some air under a throw, he lays it out there for the receiver to go get it. That's somewhat rare in a young passer, many of whom want to throw the ball 100 mph every time. In that respect, Morris might be even more advanced than freshman Chad Henne or sophomore Denard Robinson.
That's some seriously high praise. Welcome to the fold, young man.
MI DE/DT Matt Godin is the only prospect with a definite commitment planned: He will announce tomorrow at his school from a final list of Michigan (the childhood favorite and current chalk), Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The Flint Journal recently profiled Godin:
“This is what I wanted,” he said of the attention and tedious decision-making processes that accompany his recruitment. “It was my goal to be a top prospect. That’s why I worked hard in the weight room. It’s tough (handling the situation), but it’s what I wanted.”
Conventional wisdom has Godin picking Michigan, but we'll wait and see with everyone else.
MI CB Terry Richardson might be next to commit, as he's moving closer to a decision ($, info in header), and asource told Tom that an announcement could be coming next week, although this tweet was apparently a joke. Either way, Michigan would be in strong position with commitments from his friends Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross, whether he draws out his recruitment or not.
Michigan's picking up commitments from TE Devin Funchess and DE Mario Ojemudia could really help Michigan land their teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. Burbridge, one of the top wideouts in the midwest, has offers from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, but also has reported academic issues that may make it difficult for him to go directly to a 4-year university out of high school.
As for Burbridge's recruitment, he may be close to a decision, and the Wolverines are suddenly right in the thick of things, along with Michigan State, as Michigan "surges" up his list ($, info in header). Tom had the following to say (prior to Mario Pjemudia's commitment, no less):
I will also say that anyone that says Aaron Burbridge is an MSU lock doesn't know what they're talking about. I was told quite a bit this weekend about Mario and Aaron, and if Mario chooses Michigan [ed: Check!] then there's a chance Aaron would follow. He does have grade issues, but I don't think it's bad enough to where Michigan wouldn't take him and hope he makes it. I don't want to say too much, obviously, but there's a chance Michigan could steal those two from MSU.
I spoke with him today and he told me that his final two are Michigan and Michigan State. Those are the two schools he will be deciding between. He also said that he'll be scheduling a visit back up to Michigan in the next two weeks. He's more familiar with MSU because he's been there more, so he's trying to make up for that by visiting Michigan again.
Sounds like Michigan is right in the thick of things. Aaron also told Tom that he's working hard on his grades in order to qualify.
MI TE Ron Thompson seems forever teetering on the verge of a decision. Most expect that if the Wolverines still have room for another tight end, he'll be Blue.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
That sounded like he may have been close to a commitment, right? HOWEVA, he had to reschedule that visit, and Notre Dame, Illinois, and Cincy have suddenly offered (events unrelated). That's made him reconsider an early commitment, and he'll take his time.
Josh Helmholdt runs down some of this guys committing soon, including Godin and Thompson (and, uh, Ojemudia).
Rivals has finally released their initial set of rankings, and current Michigan commits ring in as follows:
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone. #87 Overall.
- MI LB James Ross. #143 Overall.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. #167 Overall.
The other guys who may be making decisions soon:
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. #134 Overall.
- MI CB Terry Richardson. #195 Overall.
For a list of which other Rivals250 prospects are still considering Michigan, check out Tom's Diary.
Come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of this week's recruiting post!
Though there's still plenty of time to recruit for the 2012 class, Michigan's coaches are continuing their in-state recruiting dominance into the future. 2013 MI QB Shane Morris has become Michigan's first commit in the sophomore(!) class, he told Tom tonight.
First, the size. The sites (except ESPN, which - big shocker - doesn't have any 2013 prospects in their database) agree he's 6-3, and though 24/7 Sports estimates his weight at 190, Rivals and ESPN are within a pound of each other at 183 and 182, respectively. So, 6-3, 183 it is.
The HALOLs you see above are not due to the presence - or lack - of any particular talent, but rather because the recruiting sites are about a year (almost exactly in Rivals' case) from ranking 2013 prospects. We'll start the evaluations in chronological order, starting with a Detroit National Underclassmen Combine following Morris's freshman year:
Morris, 6'1.5 174, won the 9th grade MVP. He had a 28 inch vertical, 8'7 broad jump, ran a 4.60 shuttle...
QB Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) was in a class of his own. The 6-1, 174-pounder has a sensational arm, great vision, moves his feet well and carries himself like a pro. Talent wise, he is far beyond his age group and already has top-notch abilities.
Prepseer took a 1-game sample size and made it big:
Morris wasn’t the stud quarterback that I expected. It was the first time I’ve seen him. He has a decent arm and he runs the offense well–particularly for a sophomore. I don’t think he’s the Div. 1 lock that many fans are proclaiming. He’s not even the best in the CHSL Central. But, he’s only a sophomore and he will get better.
Though Prepseer is a hilariously biased Michigan State slappy, that report was long before Morris committed, so there's no bias present.
Fortunately, the kid's already been featured in a Sam Webb column. First, Scout's Allen Trieu:
"Shane, for a young kid, has a really great arm," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "I saw him as a freshman and that ball came out of his hand with great spin and velocity then... There's still a ways to go, but he has a lot of talent. He'll be a kid that gets attention from all over, not just the schools within a close proximity."
And his high school coach:
[De La Salle Coach Paul] Verska added: "He makes great decisions with the football, he has a very strong arm, and he is learning and getting better every day. As long as he continues to do that I think great things will keep happening for him."
Sound Mind, Sound Body Foundation's program director weighs in, primarily on how experienced he is for such a young guy:
"He has really been exposed to a lot more than your average 10th grader has," said program director and founder Curtis Blackwell. "He plays in one of the toughest leagues in the state in the Catholic League and he has a great coaching staff at DeLaSalle. At the same time he comes from a very strong family background where his mom is very influential and his dad is a middle school coach that coached him in football. He has had a great foundation. Then since the ninth grade he has been working out and a part of all of our programming here in the inner-city."
So what has Shane gotten out of the SMSB camps?
"I felt like it helped me out tremendously," he said. "It helped me out with my confidence. I feel I am a leader and so I'm going to lead everyone. That's what you're supposed to do as a quarterback, supposed to be the main leader on the field, and that's what I feel like I'm doing with this team."
At the Badgersport 7-on-7 in Pittsburgh, he was named "Best Young Arm:"
Not only was Morris an effective passer over the weekend, but he exudes the confidence and leadership you look for out of the quarterback position.
He also impressed Scout's Scott Kennedy in New Jersey ($):
"[I]t was obvious he had a big arm to go with his frame. He has good mechanics as well, and I was doubly surprised to find out that the biggest kid on the field was only a member of the Class of 2013."
"He reminded me a little of how it was with Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike at these events last year... Gunner and Zeke are going to be Top 5 quarterbacks this year, and while I’m not ready to say Morris is going to be there next year, he certainly has all of the tools to be."
Morris grew up a Michigan fan and modeled his game after Tom Brady (I'm sure most Michigan fans approve). It's so early that it's tough to know a whole lot about him, but "arm strength," "size," and "potential" are clearly going to be in his corner. Also, he's a lefty, so I'm fully in support (before all you evil righties wipe us out).
Michigan offered Shane on March 28th. He also held offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Toledo. If that sounds light on the offers, keep in mind this kid can't sign with a school for almost two years. Waiting to commit would have seen plenty of top schools with pro-style offenses jump into the fray. He had interest but no offers from Stanford and Tennessee.
If you're into Mark Dantonio schadenfreude (and you really should be), there's a story on Rivals's Michigan State affiliate about how Shane is at the top of MSU's list for 2013 ($, info in header).
Rivals provides sophomore numbers in convenient table form:
Passing Year PA PC Yds TD Int 2010 (So.) 180 102 1,150 14 5
Scout says 1139 yards. That's good-not-great, but... dude's a sophomore, and almost certainly a first-year starter. It would be a 130.44 passer efficiency by the NCAA calculation.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the premium site providing the time, and it's a good one for a pocket passer: 4.63. They also credit him with a 4.6 shuttle time. For a kid who's not expected to be much of a runner in college, that seems a little FAKE, to the tune of three out of five.
There are also 7-on-7 highlights.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Shane Morris is going to be a really good football player. However, he's got plenty of time to develop into his potential.
When he's a freshman, Denard Robinson will be a senior, and Devin Gardner will be a junior (or redshirt sophomore). Russell Bellomy will be a sophomore (or redshirt junior). With three QBs with at least a year in the system before Morris, he's got a chance to take a redshirt year. Following that redshirt year, Devin Gardner will likely take over for Denard as the starter. Following Devin's graduation (he could even leave school after his redshirt junior year and still graduate), there will be a hot competition between Bellomy and Morris for the job, and I predict Morris will win it.
Let's try this again. When he's a freshman, Devin Gardner will be a senior or redshirt junior. Russell Bellomy will be a junior or redshirt sophomore. With two capable QBs on the roster (and likely another a year ahead in the class of 2012 - see below), Morris will redshirt, then either compete with Bellomy and 2012 Prospect X to take over for a Gardner that leaves early for the NFL, or gets another year of seasoning to do the same with Gardner's swan song in maize-and-blue.
He has NFL size, he has an NFL arm, and he'll be playing in an NFL offense. I think there's no question that Morris is the next in a long line (briefly interrupted) of successful pocket slingers at Michigan. All-American honors are not out of the question, and an NFL future is likely.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
More than what it means for the 2013 class (about which we currently know very little), is what Morris's commitment means for the 2012 class. He probably committed to Michigan with the knowledge that the coaching staff will not pursue a highly-rated passer for next February.
The coaching staff could take a lesser-rated guy, but it almost makes sense - with a numbers crunch already looming in May the year before Signing Day - to not take one at all, opening a slot for other positions. Shane told Tom that the coaches are thinking otherwise, but his commitment certainly opens that door down the road.
Keep track of Michigan's offers on the 2012 Offer Board.
In the World of Poorly-Kept Secrets...
OH LB Kaleb Ringer has made it pretty darn obvious for a couple weeks now that he plans to commit to Michigan on Friday. HOWEVA, reporter from the Dayton Daily News, that does not mean it's OK to publicly out the kid against his wishes. Epic douche move, bro.
Hello: Kaleb Ringer post will be ready to go at 6 PM Friday, when Kaleb announces his decision at a local restaurant.
In other potential commitment news, it seems like MI TE/Ath Ron Thompson's on-again, off-again announcement this week is off again as he hunts for more offers. Things change almost daily, so keep an eye on this one.
Visits galore, as is expected with the spring game:
- MI TE Ron Thompson
- MI TE Devin Funchess
- IN TE Pierre Aka
- OH OL Commit Caleb Stacey
- IL OL Jordan Diamond
- IL DT Vontrell Williams
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
- MI LB James Ross
There are also several "maybe"s out there, including OH DE Chris Wormley and OH OL Benny McGowan. Tom will update that post as he gets more confirmations are removals, so keep checking it out.
PA OL JJ Denman is visiting soon ($, info in header). He's a "maybe" for the spring game.
MGoHero TomVH was busy over the past week or so, interviewing a number of top prospects or their coaches.
A brief interview with IA WR Amara Darboh, who has been a little under-the-radar despite offers from Florida and Notre Dame.
Tom spoke with CO TE Evan Baylis, who recently visited Ann Arbor.
I was there for two days and got some good time with the coaches. We missed practice, but we got to see everything else. We met with all the coaches, saw campus, and talked to the academic advisors. The next day we went on some more tours and more personal meetings with the coaches.
Evan talked about his game:
I'm kind of intense, and I really like to get after it. I play hard for pretty much the entire game. I think I have good footwork and good speed. I like getting passed to a lot, but I also like blocking a lot too.
He says he'd like to make a decision by the end of the summer.
Here's what the head coach of WA OL Zach Banner had to say:
"He's a very good student, I see him as a business man or sports reporter. He's very charismatic, he's the student body president and he could be the President of the United States someday, he's that type of kid."
We'll hold off on discussion of how awesome it would be to have a president nearing 7 feet tall to get into the substance:
"I think he's really interested in Michigan, they'll definitely factor in. I think he's interested in them because his style of play as an offensive tackle is similar to some of the tackles that Michigan has had before. He's familiar with their history and tradition... I've encouraged him to look around, and I'd be surprised, I'd be real surprised, if he didn't take one of his official visits out to Michigan."
He plans to narrow to a top 8 by August, and announce a decision at the Army Game or on Signing Day.
PA DE Noah Spence told Tom he'll visit this summer.
I've always liked Michigan since I was younger, it definitely interests me. I like them a lot, the coaching staff seems real down to earth. We talk about everything, grades, football, and how everything's going. Not everything is football with them.
He wants to major in Kinesiology, so Michigan's excellent programs in that Division will be a plus.
Michigan is tied at the top with Rutgers for NY CB Wayne Morgan.
OH LB Joe Bolden is a Michigan lean, according to what he told ESPN:
"I'm probably a Michigan lean right now, I really like everything Michigan has to offer," Bolden said. "I like the coaches, and the academics are tremendous there. Coach Mattison is installing a new defense; it's a lot of the stuff that he did with Florida and the Baltimore Ravens. It's a good fit for me as a [middle] linebacker. Coach looked at me and said I had a pretty good chance of playing my freshman year if I worked my butt off."
He visited for practice yesterday (photo by yours truly on the practice field). He told Tom that Michigan commit Caleb Stacey is in his ear about the Wolverines.
"The first thing that stood out to me about Simmons was his skinny ankles,'' said Tom Luginbill, ESPN.com's national director of scouting. "He is nimble-footed and very athletic, given his size. But he is not a tackle, strictly a guard. For a 300-pounder, he moves around nicely and showed a bit of a competitive streak as well.''
"Jordan is physically gifted. He's the total package," Crespi coach Jon Mack said. "I'm just glad he's on our side and we don't have to play against him on a weekly basis. He's a tremendous drive blocker, gets off the ball great in pass protection, he can do it all.
He'll cut to a top 10 in September.
IL DT Vontrell Williams will visit this weekend for the spring game ($, info in header). Don't be surprised if the Wolverines are that "second Big Ten offer" he's nearing.
NC RB Keith Marshall has cut his list to a top 12, and Michigan has made the cut.
Michigan – Great Tradition and good school
(He's not kidding about "great school" - he apparently holds a 4.25 GPA). Also on the list are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Stanford, and USC. Having a good season would be a big help in landing this kid, though Georgia sounds like a heavy favorite.
The offer train has slowed to a reasonable pace, but that didn't stop GA CB Geno Smith from receiving one on Monday. Alabama leads now (with Tennessee hot on their heels), but he won't even cut to a top 10 for a couple months.
The recruiting world jumped all over KY QB Zeke Pike after he was ejected from a 7-on-7 Tournament over the weekend, but Tom talked to him for some clarification. It doesn't sounds like as big a deal as it was made out to be.
NJ QB Brandon Napoleon will visit Michigan soon ($, info in header). OH RB Alden Hill will visit Michigan ($, info in header). Michigan is recruiting MI DE Mario Ojemudia the hardest ($, info in header). FL S Deon Bush will decide at the Army game ($, info in header). MI CB Terry Richardson will have a top 7 in July ($, info in header).
I'll keep 2013 updates brief until the 2012 class is a little more filled-out, but MI QB Shane Morris was the subject of Sam Webb's recruiting column in last week's Detroit News:
"Shane, for a young kid, has a really great arm," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "I saw him as a freshman and that ball came out of his hand with great spin and velocity then. He's started since that first season, so now he has the experience too... He'll be a kid that gets attention from all over, not just the schools within a close proximity."
With national interest bound to come in, it's good for Michigan to get on him early. He plans to commit before his senior season (which, I should note, is like 16 months away).
Elsewhere in 2013 news, keep an eye on Craig Roh's little brother, a standout WR/TE Jake Roh.