FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
I'm beginning this draft on Thursday morning, and four-star IL OL Jamarco Jones is scheduled to choose between Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State at 2 pm. It doesn't seem like any insiders have a great feel for his destination, but the general consensus is that it's unlikely to be Michigan. This means a head-to-head loss against either MSU or OSU; you can decide for yourselves which one of those is the least undesirable scenario.
PRE-POST UPDATE: It's Ohio State, as most everyone predicted. This is certainly a tough loss for Michigan, though it's worse for MSU, which needs more depth—not to mention high-end talent—on the offensive line. If you still need to feel better (and you might before the end of this section), there's always being Not Illinois:
BREAKING: A top recruit in the state of Illinois commits to a school outside the state of Illinois
— TheChampaignRoom.com (@Champaign_Room) June 27, 2013
[insert Tim Beckman derp face here]
Meanwhile, the tide appears to have shifted dramatically in the recruitment of FL WR Artavis Scott, who said this after a return visit to Clemson last weekend, per Rivals ($)...
So, which school is recruiting him the hardest to ensure they get an official visit?
"Clemson. I'm building a great relationship with Coach [Tony] Elliott and Coach [Jeff] Scott. When I'm there I talk to Coach [Dabo] Swinney and guys like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. They tell me how it is and my bond is growing with Clemson," stated Scott.
...then promptly moved up his decision timeline:
— Brian Stumpf (@Stumpf_Brian) June 26, 2013
The Opening starts on Sunday, though Scott's announcement will likely come later in the event, which runs through next Wednesday. Regardless of when he makes the call, it's a bad sign that Scott suddenly decided to announce (1) on the heels of a Clemson visit and (2) before a planned trip to the BBQ at the Big House. For his part, though, Scott is at least keeping up the appearance of being undecided:
This is probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make
— DÂ_GRËÂT7 (@tayscott7) June 27, 2013
It should come down to Michigan and Clemson; the Tigers appear to have the edge.
Scott's five-star 2015 teammate, ATH George Campbell, told Scout's Amy Campbell that he still wants to visit for the BBQ with Scott and commit Mason Cole, but he's unsure it it'll happen—though it appears this depends more on Cole's plans than Scott's ($). Campbell also mentions plans for a return trip to Clemson, saying "it's basically family," so... crap. Projections have quickly shifted from Michigan potentially getting all three of the East Lake trio to just the one they have in hand.
To keep the good vibes going, Tim Sullivan caught up with CA CB Adoree' Jackson; recent buzz surrounding Jackson and Michigan has been quite positive, but this is a cold dose of reality ($):
"That's going to be the main factor," [Jackson] said of a school's track program. "That's the biggest. It's probably one of my biggest things right up there with education."
Michigan's standing in his recruitment may suffer from Jackson's intense focus on track. The Wolverines are currently without a track coach following the retirement of longtime coach Fred LaPlante, and U-M's program has not been on the national stage in quite some time - the last national title came in 1923.
Jackson still plans to spend part of the summer in his native state of Illinois, but told Tim that he's "not really worried about" taking the time to head up to Michigan's BBQ. The Wolverines are still slated to get an offical visit, per Scout's Greg Biggins($), but at this point they're a heavy underdog against the likes of USC, UCLA, Florida, and LSU.
So, not a good week for pipe dream class projections, then. Please don't shoot the messenger.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup. I swear there's good news in there.]
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
The recruiting services are split on the #1 overall prospect in the 2014 class; Rivals and 247 give VA DE Da'Shawn Hand top honors, while LA RB Leonard Fournette earns that distinction on Scout and ESPN. Michigan is among the top contenders for Hand, of course, and Fournette is a lock to stay in the SEC, either at LSU or Alabama. Unless...
LSU and Alabama are the teams to beat for five-star New Orleans-St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette.
Except Fournette says it isn't so.
"That's not accurate," Fournette said Thursday, insisting he doesn't yet have any favorites among a list of offers so long he's stopped counting.
Well, then. The article by al.com's Mike Herndon names two other schools Fournette has visited—Florida State and Texas—as well as a certain program he's strongly considering for an official visit; yes, Michigan:
"You could say that (top prospects) pay attention to where other guys go," Fournette told Rivals.com. "I like Michigan. School-wise, they're more focused on grades than football. That's what I like about them. I think Jabrill made a good choice."
This is not happening. I refuse to believe this is happening. I will refuse to believe it even if Fournette makes it to campus, and will cease disbelief if—and only if—Fournette's name is signed in ink on a LOI faxed directly to Schembechler Hall in February. At that point, I'll still consider the whole thing a cruel hoax until Fournette actually suits up in a Michigan uniform.
[watches highlight tape again]
[counts plays before Fournette is tackled]
Apologies in advance for him committing to LSU and all of us feeling sad.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest round of underclassmen #JPTTA, updates on several top 2014 targets, and more.]
(Don't Don't Don't) Don't Stop The Beat
Everybody, a-move your feet and feel united. Oh oh oh.
Michigan four-day technique camp concludes today, and while coverage is still trickling in, there are already offers to report for both the 2014 and 2015 classes.
Let's start with the 2014 class, which had offers go out to a pair of high school teammates in WR Freddy Canteen and CB Brandon Watson. Both prospects attend Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy, which is essentially this sport's answer to hoops factory Oak Hill Academy—the academy itself is built entirely around the football program and attendees take their coursework through a larger online program. Their quarterback is David Sills, whom you may remember as the (then-)13-year-old who committed to USC, and now you exactly why USC offered such a player so early: his father, David Sills IV, is the founder of ECA. The program only played three games in 2012, as five opponents cancelled planned matchups, so what you see above—serious technique work (that's Canteen talking at the start of the video)—is what largely constituted their season, and now they're hitting the camp circuit very hard.
It's of little surprise, then, that Canteen and Watson were flying a bit under the radar heading into camp. It's also of little surprise that Canteen is really, really good at running routes. Here's 247 on Canteen from earlier this spring [emphasis mine]:
11) WR Freddy Canteen – Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Sills and Canteen connected often during this weekend. The 6-foot-0, 175-pound receiver was very difficult to defend and his routes were some of the best out of the entire camp. Canteen did plenty of talking on both days, but he backed it up every time.
GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz on Canteen's performance on Day 3 of Michigan's camp ($):
Catching GoBlueWolverine’s eye in the morning 1-on-1’s and 7-on-7, Canteen is extremely quick and very difficult to slow down off the line. Still developing from a technique standpoint with his hands, something that can be said for all high school wide outs, Canteen took some coaching and implemented it right away in the top group for the afternoon 1-on-1’s, blowing by corners attempting to press, sprinting across the field on quick slants. Canteen is around 6-0 and has the frame to add some muscle but maintain that speed of his, undoubtedly earning his Michigan offer and one of the true highlights on day three at camp.
One of the top corners in the 2015 class said Canteen is the toughest receiver he's covered. Canteen's coach, meanwhile, went as far to say that he's "perhaps the best route-runner in the country," in an interview with Sam Webb ($).
The big question to arise from Canteen's offer, of course, is how this affects the current scholarship situation; while we previously thought Michigan would take one more receiver—Artavis Scott, hopefully—it appears that's not the case:
"Rutgers is still high with me," said Canteen, who was told the Wolverines would be taking two additional receivers in the class of 2014. "I don't know why people don't think that. You could still say Rutgers is my favorite school. There are a lot of mixed emotions when I really think about everything, but the top three are Rutgers, Michigan and Tennessee.
Watson's offer raises similar questions about defensive backfield recruiting—with Jabrill Peppers in the fold and Parrker Westphal a presumed commitment, space in the secondary appears tight, especially if Michigan is a serious player for CA DB Adoree' Jackson (and I believe they are). Westphal's recruitment has gone oddly quiet, so perhaps there's been some cooling off from one end or the other, which would explain why a longtime presumed lock has yet to pull the trigger—I'd compare it to the Tommy Doles situation, but Westphal's initial offer and fit with the team made a lot more sense in the first place.
Regardless, Watson has his offer, and he sounded quite excited about it when talking to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
"Michigan is definitely right up there," Watson noted. "It's Michigan. They have top of the line facilities and academics and an amazing football program. They pretty much offer everything you're looking for. I am still going to take my time before deciding, however. I'll be up at USC pretty soon and then want to visit a few schools that I am considering most. I hope to decide before my season starts. Michigan will definitely be a return visit."
Watson missed a golden chance for a "fergodsakes," but maybe he'll learn about that on visit number two. Canteen also expressed a desire to return to Ann Arbor before making a pre-season decision; if both players make it back to campus, it sounds like the Wolverines have a good shot at adding to their class. Even if they don't, it looks like the coaches are making inroads with a program that's churning out D-I prospects.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on 2015 offers, including a legacy who could pull the trigger imminently, and much more.]
Hey kids. This is a wiki page, but it's kind of tough to modify if you don't know HTML very well. If you're adding or moving a player, go into the source and C&P two rows (ie, everything between the <tr> and </tr>) you would like to move or copy elsewhere. Don't worry if you screw it up, we can fix it. Images for new commits should be 85 pixels wide.
|Sad Josh||The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; most will eventually fade off the list and go to Duke or Michigan State or something.|
|Nefarious Eduardo||Player is a longshot. Either they've declared someone else a leader publicly or popular opinion holds that they're likely to go to another school.|
|Data||Either no opinion or Michigan is one of a fairly even group of chasing schools. Players in this category maintain no leader or change their leader frequently. The default category for players that we don't know much about yet.|
|Happy Teeth||Players who have Michigan in a small leading group or have Michigan as a tenuous favorite. Should be regarded as a good shot, not a slam dunk.|
|Mr. Blue||Player is either a verbal or is expected to be one sooner or later. Players with this designation are 65%+ to be Michigan commits.|
Additional note: (EE) next to a Michigan commit indicates the player intends to enroll early.
STATUS: Got 'em. Michigan is done at QB.
|Hello post. Speight won an offer derby amongst various highly touted QB prospects and immediately committed. Instrumental recruiter; works with QB coach in CA biweekly. Projected YMRMFSPA: John Navarre.|
NEEDS: 0-1. With Smith and Green in the last class and Mikey Weber and Damien Harris strong candidates to end up in the next one, Michigan could skip the spot entirely this year. May as well swing for the fences though.
STATUS: Ask again later. A few offers are out, but no one has Michigan in a small leading group.
|Kalen Ballage||CO||4||No||M, UNL, Oregon, Boise, ASU, CU|
|Athlete-type prospect has versatility to also play LB or WR. Mentioned Michigan as one of the schools after him hardest in early May. Oregon will be a threat if they offer.|
|Jonathan Hilliman||NJ||3||No||OSU, M, Bama, RU, Vandy, Miami|
|Claims offers from entire planet and had ordered top ten as of two months ago featuring the great old rivals at the top. Now down to six. Carlos Hyde-type back.|
|Joe Mixon||CA||5||No||open, but USC|
|Super-touted CA back could go anywhere but will probably end up at USC. Planning a midwest swing later this summer, though.|
|Leonard Fournette||LA||5||No||open, but LSU.|
|File under pipe dream, but has been chatting with Jabrill Peppers and other #team135 kids on twitter. EDIT: As of 6/7, Rivals reports Fournette wants an official visit to Michigan.|
|Shai McKenzie||PA||4||No||15 schools, but VT|
|Has M in a wide open top 15 he plans on halving in the near future, but says he feels like "he may not be a major priority($)" what with Green around.|
STATUS: Michigan acquired two lanky outside receivers in Mo Ways and Drake Harris. Now they're hunting either a slot or another big ol' guy.
|Drake Harris||MI||4.5||Yes||OSU, MSU, Bama, UF, FSU|
|Hello post. MSU decommit saw the light as soon as his freakish football potential ended plans to play basketball. Has the frame, speed, and body control to be a lethal deep threat. PYMRMFSPA: Braylon.|
|Mo Ways||MI||3.25||Yes||Iowa, RU|
|Hello post. Long leaper has top end speed and hands issues. A 6'4" Junior Hemingway. Inexperienced, so should improve. PYMRMFSPA: Marquise Walker.|
|KJ Williams||PA||4||Yes||M, Syracuse|
|Named Michigan his leader after a spring visit, but still has not pulled the trigger. Getting a you-snooze-you-lose vibe on this one. Update: Committed to Syracuse, off board.|
|Teammate of OL commit Mason Cole backed off package deal plans when Cole pulled the trigger; still has M interest. Plans to attend the BBQ later this summer. More of a slot guy, so fits well with the commits. Feeling pretty good you guys. Update: committed to Clemson, off board.|
|Will be tough to pry Brown out of the west but does plan a Midwest swing this summer. High-academic kid interested in NW and Vandy, so up M's alley.|
|Grew up childhood M fan but seems to have moved on to other schools. Has visited ND and OU but not M since camping last summer. Update: Committed to ND, off board.|
EVEN FRINGIER: LA WR Malachi Dupre, AZ WR Mark Andrews.
|Ian Bunting||IL||3.5||Yes||ND, OSU, USC, OU, VT, Neb, UW, UO|
|Hello post. Enormous, lanky pass catcher with skillet-sized hands has buckets of potential. Injury shortened both his junior and sophomore years, leading to wide split in rankings. Going to need a lot of weight to block anyone, but lookit dem hands. PYMRMFSPA: Tacopants is real!|
STATUS: One tackle and one guard are in. Michigan would like another tackle, it seems. Vague possibility they go to four if they have room in January and there's a guy they like; at this rate those spots will be filled by bionic defensive backs.
|Juwann Bushell-Beatty||NJ||3.5||Yes||UF, FSU, Miami, Rutgers, MSU|
|Hello post. Big split in rankings, significant dispute as to size amongst sites. Raw; just one year of varsity. Developmental prospect. Peppers teammate. PYMRFSPA: Logan Tuley-Tillman, down to the hyphen.|
|Mason Cole||FL||4||Yes||Bama, OSU, USC, UF, FSU, UW, Stan|
|Hello post. Versatile, athletic guard prospect with Tarzan hair and proverbial mean streak. Needs to add a lot of weight. Teammate of Artavis Scott and 2015 star George Campbell. PYMRMFSPA: Kyle Bosch.|
|Jamarco Jones||IL||4||Yes||OSU, M, MSU, ND|
|Announcing June 27th, visiting everyone in his final four beforehand. OSU the e-leader, but Jones maintains everyone is even. Core 6 guy. A little short for tackle but long arms make up for it. Update: committed to Ohio State, off board.|
|#2 prospect in Minnesota has some midlevel B10 offers; headed to SMSB in an effort to impress the Michigan schools.|
|Michael Grimm||PA||3.5||No||No||Pitt leads|
|Yes, That Grimm. Son of former Hog currently favors Pitt but big offers could shake up his recruitment. Planning on taking his recruitment into January, so may be looking for bigger offers. Update: Committed to Pitt, off board.|
|Alex Bookser||PA||4||No||No||top eight featuring OSU, Pitt|
|Michigan didn't make the kid's top eight announced in late May but hasn't offered.|
|Tackle prospect at 6'7". Plans a visit. High academic kid will look at Stanford extensively.|
|Also 6'7", swung through Michigan early this year. Has not even come close to defining a top list; planning a SE set of trips over the summer. Epinion has Johnson to FSU.|
|Braden Smith||OK||4||Yes||open, but A&M and ND|
|Visited M; won't narrow until September. With others leading Michigan has to get an official to have a chance.|
EVEN FRINGIER: MD OT Damian Prince is a five-star-ish guy with M outside his top five. He plans a Signing Day announcement, though, so there's time to make up ground.
Not A Good Look
At this point, anyone reading this post is pretty familiar with Da'Shawn Hand, the nation's top overall prospect. Michigan and Virginia Tech are presumed to lead the other three schools in his top five—Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina—while LSU and USC are on the outside looking in. Even further on the outside is Ohio State, where Hand reportedly had a poor visit experience the first time around, and despite a decent trip there last weekend—he swung by while in town for the Columbus NFTC—the Buckeyes won't be a factor in his recruitment going forward.
If you believe Eleven Warriors [ed-S: ...''s recruiting guy Jeremy Birmingham, not Ramzy] , this is because the Ohio State coaches suddenly decided they weren't very interested in the top player in the country—for reasons, you see—and here begins the fisking:
For some reason, my contention that Ohio State would not be aggressively attempting to get back into the Hand sweepstakes set off an internet wildfire with people.
This contention is reasonable; it's become clear that Ohio State is a longshot at best to get Hand, and the coaching staff could better spend their time targeting prospects with more interest in the Buckeyes. This would be a good place to stop, but...
As I have said a few times, it's a simple matter of personality. Ohio State wants people who are going to go 1000 miles per hour, every day, on and off the field. They want people who fight for each other, for their university and for their own improvement. They want people who are challenging themselves to improve every day and do so without the need to proclaim their own greatness for people to see, read, or hear. They want competitors and they want fighters.
...then there's this load of crap, as if the above doesn't fit what every football coach in America is trying to find in a recruit. Which leads us to the really stupid thing:
As far as Da'Shawn Hand? I've never said he was not a competitor, just that things with Ohio State and Hand did not see eye-to-eye from the start of his visit in November because he was not being treated any differently than any of the other recruits on hand, 90-minutes before kick-off of the biggest game of the year. The Buckeyes could not give Hand the attention they would have liked to, and the day was a bit too hectic for him to get "comfortable" at Ohio State.
This is a remarkably shitty thing to write about a high school kid without anything approaching first-hand evidence. The "I've never said..." hedging is just that, hedging, because discussing OSU's supposed lack of interest in reconnecting with Hand after everything in the previous paragraph is either a case of really unfortunate juxtaposition or the type of insinuation that unfairly impugns the character of a 17-year-old — one who, by all other accounts, is a kid of extremely high character.
The timing—when it's become blindingly obvious that Hand doesn't want to go to Ohio State—makes this come off as some seriously sour grapes. I'm sorry, Buckeye faithful, that Hand's reaction to being asked about Ohio State in the above video was this:
But, no, I'm not actually sorry. A high-profile player isn't interested in your school and may very well end up at a rival school. These things happen. Responding to this by suggesting that a player doesn't work hard enough, or is afraid to compete against the best, or isn't motivated enough to improve ... even if the implication is merely by context, that's a bad look. Nearly as bad as the one Hand gave when asked about Ohio State.
I think Eleven Warriors does a fantastic job, and that includes their recruiting coverage, but seeing this—and the wild speculation that it inevitably led to in such a forum—was disappointing. Perhaps, next time, just say that the kid isn't interested and move on.
[Hit THE JUMP for camp highlights of Ian Bunting, the latest on the Malik McDowell transfer rumors, and more.]
Michael Ferns, Da'Shawn Hand, and Ian Bunting at last weekend's Columbus NFTC (via)
[Reads Between Lines] [Tries To Hold It Together] [Fails]
So... this quote [emphasis mine]:
"Bud Foster is my favorite coach, but I haven't talked with him in a while," [Da'Shawn] Hand said.
"But my favorite coaching staff is Michigan," Hand said. "With Michigan, what you see if what you get. It's professional. With some, you feel like when you get to college it might, change, but with Michigan, everyone says they're straight.
According to the author of the article, SBNation's Bud Elliott, Michigan and Virginia Tech are "running neck and neck" for the lead in Hand's recruitment. Hand refuses to acknowledge even that much—he's says he enjoys the suspense—and he does have an unofficial visit set up to Alabama in July and is looking at trips to Florida, LSU, and USC, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($). That said, his only planned official visit thus far is to Michigan, for the Notre Dame Game (a trip he recently locked in), and of the previously listed schools only Alabama appears to be a serious threat to his presumed top two.
One school we know for sure won't be pushing for his commitment is Ohio State, despite a campus visit last weekend that went better than his first trip to Columbus:
With the NFTC on the Ohio State campus, Hand took the opportunity and made an unofficial visit to the Buckeyes, along with friend Tim Settle, one of the top players in the class of 2015.
'It was straight, we talked," Hand said. "But I was with Tim, and he's a beast, and it was kind of his visit. Everyone knows that my first visit wasn't all that, but this visit was better. Still, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up."
Meanwhile, Hand revealed in an interview with Bruce Feldman that he's being recruited by at least one insane person:
Q: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you since you've been named the nation's No. 1 recruit?
Hand: Well, I ain't gonna say any names, but one coach told me that since I'm the No. 1 player, I'm gonna get to meet Michael Jackson. I said, "Isn't he already dead?" The coach goes, "Well, all right, you can meet Tito." I was like, all right. OK, I'm done.
It was crazy, but it is what it is.
all hypothetical internet dollars entire real-life savings account on Les Miles]
In the SBNation article, Hand said he's unsure of his timeline for a commitment. Regardless of when that comes, he told Feldman the announcement will be low-key:
I don't want to be like everybody else and be all flashy and do this and play around with people. For my commitment day, I just want to have it at my school. I'm not going to have three hats. I'm going to have one hat. I'm gonna call the coaches the night before. Tell them what school I'm going to and that's it.
At this point, it's looking more and more likely that hat will have a block 'M' on it. Which, uh, would be pretty nice.
[Hit THE JUMP for more on newest commit Chase Winovich, the latest on Artavis Scott and Adoree' Jackson, a Michigan commit earning an invite to The Opening, and more.]