he grew a beard
Yes, we're officially calling this feature, formerly part of Tim's 'Friday Night Lights' coverage, the weekly 'Creeper Van Original' installment. Embrace it, I guess. This week, there was really only one choice for the featured game, and that was the mega-showdown between Farmington Hills Harrison and Detroit Cass Tech, which featured four Michigan commits in the class of 2012 and a host of other D-1 prospects. The contest itself was a bit of a letdown, as Harrison ran away with the victory, 43-7, but there were plenty of highlights from the Wolverine commits and a couple other prospects of interest:
General Game Impressions: Obviously, FHH was dominant from start to finish, and a lot of that had to do with the coaching. The Hawks were a well-oiled machine, moving the ball on the ground and through the air at will while holding the Technicians to just 155 yards of total offense. Cass Tech, on the other hand, looked disorganized on the sideline and out-of-sorts on the field; there were even a few plays where their defensive players were still scrambling to get in position while the ball was being snapped. Another potential issue here is that Harrison had senior or junior starters at all but two positions, giving them a decided experience advantage that showed through on the field, especially as the game got out of hand.
The player who showed the most promise, in my opinion (and much to the chagrin of the partisans on this blog, I'm sure), was Harrison wide receiver and Michigan State commit Aaron Burbridge. He caught three passes for 54 yards despite the lopsided score – FHH barely threw the ball at all in the second half – and displayed great route-running, nice hands, and very good athleticism for a player his size (6'2", 180 pounds). Terry Richardson and 2013 athlete Jourdan Lewis couldn't match up with him physically, and Burbridge was able to get to any spot on the field if he so pleased. If Burbridge sticks with the Spartans, and I have no reason to believe he won't, he should be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten – the only thing he lacks is elite speed, and his size and route-running more than make up for it.
Mario Ojemudia: The good news for Michigan fans is that if there was one player who impressed as much as Burbridge, it was defensive end Mario Ojemudia. According to Mike Rothstein's count, which looks right to me, Ojemudia tallied four tackles, three for a loss, 1/2 sack, six QB hurries, and a fumble recovery on a blocked punt. This was in essentially three quarters of work, and Ojemudia played practically every snap in that span, lining up at offensive tackle as well as defensive end. Cass Tech simply couldn't stop him on the pass rush, and he brought it on every play, showing an excellent motor and a great nose for the football.
Ojemudia stood up well to double-teams, flashed a nice swim move a couple times, and made sure to finish every play, including chasing down Cass's running back from behind on one occasion. To me, Ojemudia looks like a perfect fit for rush end, and he appears to have the frame to add some pounds without losing athleticism. I was very impressed with him on Saturday.
Devin Funchess: Funchess didn't get too many opportunities on offense, thanks to the blowout score and Burbridge clearly being the focal point of the Harrison offense, but when he got the chance he showed he could turn into a very good tight end at the next level. Funchess displayed great hands and concentration, making his first reception on a tipped pass, and he finished with three receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown by my count (I'm pretty sure the Detroit News recap omits his first catch). Unfortunately for those who missed the game, I was tweeting when Funchess recorded his touchdown catch, so you'll have to believe me when I say he ran a great route up the seam, plucked the ball out of the air, and showed nice speed getting into the end zone on the 31-yard scoring play. His other catch also came when he found a hole in the middle of the defense – from limited viewing, I like what I see in his route-running, hands, and athleticism.
Funchess also recorded an interception on a play where Ojemudia pressured the quarterback into a poor throw, which was very nice to see as a Michigan fan. On a side note, for those of you who think that Michigan should try to convert Funchess into a wide receiver, I don't see that happening – he already weighs around 215 pounds, and looks like he could easily add another 20-30 before he gets to Ann Arbor. If Saturday was any indication, he could see the field immediately at tight end for Michigan, especially with the lack of depth at the position for the Wolverines.
Royce Jenkins-Stone: My initial impression from watching the game was that RJS had a relatively quiet night, but looking at the tape he had a better performance than I initially thought. Jenkins-Stone finished with four tackles, according to Rothstein again, and FHH clearly made it a point to run away from him – this seemed to frustrate him, especially since he wasn't getting much help at all from the rest of the defense. There were a few plays where RJS allowed himself to get taken out of the play too easily, getting a little passive, but for the most part he was very aggressive in pursuit and always seemed to end the play around the ballcarrier, even if he was 25 yards downfield.
Jenkins-Stone's best defensive play of the game actually came on offense when, lined up at fullback, he forced a fumble by a Harrison defender after Cass Tech's QB threw an interception on a screen pass, though FHH managed to recover the loose ball. I thought RJS showed good instincts, especially against the run, but unfortunately his team was up against a juggernaut and the front four couldn't get any pressure or stop holes from opening up. It certainly wasn't a great performance from RJS, but I still really like his combination of size, athleticism, and instincts – he should be good once he has a solid (and Mattison-coached) defense around him. He was also the clear leader of the defense, receiving all the play-calls from the sidelines and rallying his teammates, whether that meant being the first to congratulate one for a good play or giving one an earful if they'd blown an assignment – I liked what I saw there.
Terry Richardson: T-Rich had a relatively quiet night defensively, though he did have one great pass breakup on a slightly-underthrown jump ball to Burbridge in the end zone – he timed his jump perfectly and knocked the ball away from a much larger player, which is encouraging since Richardson will be giving up some size to pretty much anyone he's going to line up against in college. Burbridge got the better of him on at least one catch when he lined up in the slot and Richardson completely whiffed trying to play bump-and-run (on the film, that's the first play in Richardson's section).
Those were the only two plays where I got a clear view of Richardson playing corner – I had to focus on three different players when Harrison had the ball, and T-Rich was the toughest to keep track of – so I won't pass much judgment in terms of his abilities based on a pair of plays in one game. He also played offense and returned kicks, recording one first-down reception and returning three kickoffs for 70 yards, and he definitely showed promise as a returner – he's got very good speed and accelerates quickly once he gets the ball, and he proved quite elusive even with a full head of steam. Richardson is going to need to bulk up at the next level, but his athleticism is elite.
Jourdan Lewis (2013 athlete): Lewis, Cass Tech's other corner/wideout/returner, was their best player on the field on Saturday, in my opinion. The junior is listed by Rivals at 5'11", 170, and his size allows him to be much more physical – he had a couple big hits on both receivers and ballcarriers and was generally solid in his tackling, and he certainly wasn't afraid to step up and hit somebody. Lewis is not quite as fast or quick as Richardson, but he still has very good speed and agility and was able to show that off in all three phases of the game. Lewis had the best play of the night for Cass Tech's defense, coming up with a diving interception on their own goal line. He already has an offer from Toledo, and I expect he'll get offers from much more prominent programs – including Michigan – in the near future. He has the look of a BCS-level athlete and I like his potential as a bigger cornerback who can make plays against the pass or the run.
Jayru Campbell (2015 quarterback): Yes, that's 2015, as in this kid is a freshman. Cass Tech's senior starting quarterback was injured in the second half, forcing Campbell into duty, and he displayed a cannon arm, decent accuracy, and very good scrambling ability. He's already about 6'3", 170 pounds as a freshman, and on one scramble he shook off two tackles (including a huge hit from Funchess) and left three FHH defenders – including Ojemudia – down on the field, though luckily none were major injuries and Ojemudia later said on Twitter that all three guys cramped up (I believe him, since it was a warm night and several players had similar issues, though it was quite interesting timing). This caused the entire Cass Tech side of the field to go bananas, and was by far their biggest highlight of the game even though the play only went for a few yards.
Campbell showed great pocket presence for a freshman and led Cass Tech to their only touchdown of the night, slinging a 26-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. His mechanics need work, but again, we're talking about a high school freshman here. He's one to watch (far) down the road, but it appears he'll see a lot of action this year as the word is Cass Tech's starter will be out for the season with a knee injury – it certainly didn't look good at first glance.
Photo Gallery: A huge thanks to Eric (aka Chewer D on the MGoBoard) for making the drive up from Toledo and taking a whole bunch of pictures, as well as providing the video camera I used from the press box. Highlights include a montage of the Funchess touchdown and some great close-up shots of the commits, including RJS, who was sporting a Michigan skull cap under his helmet. Awesome.
Other MGoScouting: If you haven't yet, definitely check out NStank's report from the Glen Oak/Firestone game in Canton, which featured OSU commit Bri'onte Dunn. Dunn finished with 130 yards on 27 carries – more on that game in tomorrow's roundup, which is now called 'Weekday Warriors'. Kellen Winslow Jr. approves.
If you have any suggestions to help improve future Creeper Van Originals, please leave them in the comments or email me.
The van travels to Toledo Rogers to catch safety and U-M commit Allen Gant of Sylvania Southview HS. Change of plans, heading to see Gant in two weeks; next week I'll be at Toledo Whitmer to see Chris Wormley and the Panthers face off against A.B. Lucas Secondary School.
Since this week in Michigan recruiting revolves around the BBQ at the Big House, Wednesday Recruitin' will follow suit. Since I don't want to shortchange new commit Sione Houma (or the visit of IA WR Amara Darboh), expect full coverage in next week's update.
Since there's unlikely to be a lot of action surrounding these guys (duh, they're already committed), a simple list will suffice:
- MI TE Devin Funchess. He plans to bring along his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge (see below).
- OH OL Caleb Stacey
- OH OL Kyle Kalis. He's solid in his Michigan commitment.
- MI OL Ben Braden
- MI DE Matt Godin
- OH DE Tom Strobel
MI DE/LB Mario Ojemudia. Speaking of Mario, he looked impressive at the Rivals Elite Big Man Camp, as highlights just appeared on Youtube:
I'm not sure how many (if any) of the guys he was facing are D-1 or BCS prospects - though I'm guessing not many - but he dominated most every rep shown. Ojemudia is a watchlist member for the Butkus Award.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. He's a on the watchlist for the high school Butkus Award, along with...
- OH LB Kaleb Ringer, and also...
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and...
- MI LB James Ross. Five Michigan commits means a whole 10% of the watchlist is headed to Ann Arbor.
- OH S Allen Gant
- MI CB Terry Richardson. We should know after this visit if Michigan's coaches are OK with him taking trips to other schools.
- IL CB Anthony Standifer. Attending, and bringing his 2013 teammate LaQuon Treadwell.
2013 MI QB Shane Morris. Shane, as you may have heard (or even seen) impressed at the Gridiron Kings 7on7 tournament in Florida last weekend. He came in for some fluff from ESPN.
"I have a strong arm," Morris said. "I have an accurate arm as well. I can move in the pocket although I am more of a pro-style quarterback that can run a little bit, too. I bring leadership to Michigan and I want to be the best we can be and bring championships to Michigan."
Morris is also active on the recruiting front. He is working social media and other outlets hard. "I am already working my tail off for [the] 2012 class," Morris said. "I am trying to get the top players in [the] nation to help us win championships. I am hitting up kids every day on Facebook, linemen all across [the] nation. I am looking for the best players and people to come to Michigan."
I'm sure video will surface soon enough, as the event itself appeared on ESPNU.
As you may note, that's the majority of Michigan's 2012 commits (plus a bonus from the 2013 class). The only committed players not confirmed to make it are:
- UT FB Sione Houma
- OH TE AJ Williams. "Not sure" if he's coming.
- TN OL Blake Bars
- CA OL Erik Magnuson
- OH DE Pharaoh Brown
- OH S Jarrod Wilson
- 2012/13 KY S Jeremy Clark. He will try to make it up.
A couple of those guys are maybes who haven't firmly committed one way or the other yet. The rest likely have football two-a-days, other commitments, or no transportation.
That brings us to the category where there may be a bit of action: uncommitted rising seniors.
- OH DE Chris Wormley. He's been maintaining Michigan as his leader and inching toward a decision lately. Might he finally be ready to make a move?
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. Tom confirmed with commit Devin Funchess that Burbridge is joining him at the event.
- IN DT Sheldon Day. According to Sam Webb this morning, he'll be in attendance.
- MI DT Danny O'Brien
- MO DT Ondre Pipkins
- MO WR Jehu Chesson
- OH WR Monty Madaris
- OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn
There are also a maybe in this group:
- IL OL Jordan Diamond. He's one of the candidates for the final OL spot.
Aside from Wormley, defensive tackle seems to be the most likely position to pick up a new commit, though there's no indication yet that Pipkins or O'Brien is quite ready.
OH DE Adolphus Washington and WR Dwayne Stanford will be playing AAU hoops in Florida, and unable to make it. Last week, their coach told Tom that they probably won't be able to take any more visits until the season rolls around.
You can bet your ass that MI QB Shane Morris wants to convince a healthy group of juniors to join his class (along with 2012 greyshirt Jeremy Clark). A few prospects of interest:
- MI OL Steven Elmer. Morris's main competition for tops in state next year.
MI RB/DL Wyatt Shallman. He was the subject of Sam Webb's most recent recruiting column in the Detroit News, and it sounds like Michigan is in strong position:
"My parents are both crazy Michigan fans," Shallman reported. "It is like a dream come true for them. My mom cried (when Brady Hoke extended a scholarship offer back in May). She's loved Michigan for so long. My mom is crazy fanatical. She loves Bo (Schembechler). She loves everything about Michigan. On our outdoor fridge she has an 'Oh, how I hate Ohio State' sign. My dad went to one of the first Michigan camps back with Bo. His whole claim to fame at the camp was he ran a good route and made a one-handed catch. Bo came up to him and said, 'Good catch son!'"
He also has existing relationships with a couple Michigan commits in Shane Morris and Matt Godin:
"They are both (recruiting for Michigan) little bit, but not too hard because they are getting ready for the season, too."
I wouldn't expect a commitment at the BBQ, as it's explicitly stated that Wyatt's parents want to ensure that he gets a chance to see what other colleges have to offer. On the other hand, if the visit blows him away, who knows? He seems to be taking an open approach to a decision.
- MI LB Jon Reschke
- IL WR LaQuon Treadwell. Tagging along with his teammate, 2012 CB Commit Anthony Standifer.
I would be stunned if any commitment-like substanced happened from any of these guys but Shallman, and even that would be unexpected.
That's the type of camp we're talking about, right?
It's summer camp season across the country, with the Sound Mind Sound Body taking place in Southfield last week (and affording IL OL Jordan Diamond an opportunity to stop in Ann Arbor ($, info in header)). The Incredible Hoke was amongst the speakers.
Michigan's camp started Sunday, and runs until this upcoming weekend. The Free Press runs down Michigan's ongoing summer camp, including tidbits that FL QB Tyler Cameron plans to attend (and hopefully earn an offer), and OH QB Austin Appleby is in the same position.
MI TE Ron Thompson may visit Michigan this week. He and the coaches may get a chance to discuss whether there's still a place for him in the recruiting class.
Tom has a big list of camp visitors of interest.
Last Train out of Columbus
First, OH DE Tom Strobel committed to Michigan a week ago, then Kyle Dodson to Wisconsin, and finally Se'Von Pittman to Michigan State this week (after rumors he had tried to commit to Michigan's coaches a week ago). All three players were heavy Buckeye leans until Jim Tressel resigned.
Did something happen at Ohio State? Because they're sure hemorrhaging commits (and presumed locks to commit) lately. The AP explores the positive effects for Michigan of Ohio State's little difficulty following the rules:
"When I filled out Strobel's evaluation card after talking to [Tom Strobel], I wrote down, '95 percent going to Ohio State,'" CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "I thought he was a lock and I thought the Top 10 recruits in Ohio would all end up going to Ohio State. But now, with Tressel gone and so much uncertainty hanging over the program, I'm not so sure."
"There's no doubt he's going after Ohio kids," Strobel said, "and I think he's going to be able to get a few."
The article mentions that Michigan is in very good position for OH DE Adolphus Washington, teammate of WR Dwayne Stanford. Even Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald is seeing openings with high-academic kids (he can't say names, but that's secret code for "Ifeadi Odenigbo").
It's pretty much for the past few months I've become really good friends with Tom Strobel and he said I would love it up there, he fell in love with it. Tom was up there last weekend and he was talking about me with the coaches, they were joking around saying we could be roommates. I think Chris [Wormley] will be up there too [TomVH: I confirmed with Wormley that he is visiting this weekend]. I'm closer with Tom, but I am friends with Chris.
This would be a huge recruiting win if Michigan's coaches could lock him down, and it would allow them to be very selective about other linemen for the class. With Chris Wormley visiting as well, and inching toward a decision, the turmoil in Columbus might help swing him Blue sooner rather than later (fingers crossed).
The OZone's Tony Gerdeman says that he expects another 5-star Buckeye to decommit this week. OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn is the only player who fits that bill, and has expressed Michigan interest despite his OSU commitment. Duane Long is having a panic attack about the coaching situation's effect on recruiting.
OH S Jarrod Wilson sat down with his coaches last week, and again on Monday. They're trying to decide whether Jarrod is ready to make his school choice between Michigan, Penn state, and Notre Dame. The next meeting takes place on Friday.
The process might end a little sooner than I expected. I can't wait to get up to Michigan to visit.
That certainly sounds promising.
MI CB LEVITICUS PAYNE(!!!) is still showing interest in Michigan. [Ed: With Standifer and Richardson in the class, the Payne train has likely... uh... sailed. Alas.]
Michigan is seeking at least a couple more offensive linemen in this class, an TN OL Blake Bars could be one of them. Tom talked to him about the process:
My top schools are probably Penn State, Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU, and Michigan. There are some other schools I would maybe want to consider, but that's my top group right now. We're focusing on visiting the top schools right now, and we really wanted to visit Michigan.
That was over the weekend, so no word on how it went, though if he's now closing in on a decision ($, info in header), hopefully well.
AZ OL Andrus Peat is one of the nation's top prospects, and he talked to Tom about his recent Ann Arbor visit:
I was really impressed with everything. I could definitely see myself playing there. I don't know when I'll make my decision, just whenever I feel right. I will probably take official visits and then decide after my senior season.
He plans to cut his list down to 5-8 schools now that he's visited some of his top options.
Michigan recently offered big GA WR Jason Croom, and Tom talked to his mother about the recruiting process:
From a parent stand point this is home, from an academic stand point it's great, and distance wouldn't matter because he would be surrounded by family. It's convenient. One of the [Michigan] coaches actually grew up in the same neighborhood as me and we didn't know it.
With family in metro Detroit, Croom is planning to visit Ann Arbor later this summer. HOWEVA, Croom claims that he'll only play in the SEC, so don't get your hopes up.
Friday Night Lights
In promoting the Big Day Prep Showdown (more about this event as Friday Night Lights approaches), MI CB Commit Terry Richardson talks about why he picked Michigan, and how he's preparing for his senior year.
They'll be opponents for this game, but teammates at the next level, and MI TE Commit Devin Funchess reps his future colors in the same video series:
He says he'll play both at the end of the line and split out in college, confirming the H-back hypotheses that people have raised on his position at Michigan. He played well at Eastern's 7-on-7:
He's long, lean, and runs good routes. We knew he could go up and get it, but what he did here that we hadn't seen as much, was display run after the catch ability. He caught a short out, turned upfield and out ran an entire defense on one touchdown. He'll have weight to add to become an effective tight end, but he's a matchup problem waiting to happen.
Definite tweener at this point. His teammate, MI WR Aaron Burbridge, doesn't give a whole lot of insight on the recruiting process, but does list Michigan first among his offers, for what it's worth. Burbridge impressed at EMU's 7-on-7:
In the championship game, we saw him catch five touchdowns in almost as many possessions, showing great explosiveness and outstanding ball skills. One of the scoring grabs was a wheel route he ran from the backfield and he was doubled on the play, but went up over two defenders to make the grab. He also had a great day at corner, intercepting several passes and breaking up many others. He is without a doubt, an elite talent.
Get those grades in order, my guy.
Also in the realm of the committed, but going one class into the past, the Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 Showdown happened over the weekend, and the Michigan East-West All-Star game takes place this weekend at Central Michigan. They'll get recapped in the final Friday Night Lights feature for 2011. Then I'll start looking forward to the 2012 class's senior year soon.
NY QB Chad Kelly, who had yet to receive a Michigan offer, committed to Clemson.
NC OL DJ Humphries is down to 5 non-Michigan schools.
TX OL Trey Keenan committed to Texas Tech.
OH DE Se'Von Pittman committed to Michigan State. There was a rumor that he had tried to commit to Michigan a couple weeks back, but told by the coaches to work on his academics before they'd accept a commitment.
NJ S Brandon Napoleon, who had shown some interest in Michigan, but didn't have an offer, committed to West Virginia.
Michigan's summer camp is a good opportunity for the coaches to get to know some underclassmen, and decide which to offer. One of those guys who recently received an offer was MI OL Steven Elmer, the subject of last week's Sam Webb recruiting column:
"While it is early, I see Elmer and Shane Morris battling it out for the top spot in the state for the class of 2013. Right now, because I've seen more of Morris and he has performed well at national settings, he has the edge. However, Elmer's athletic gifts definitely give him a shot to unseat the Warren DeLaSalle quarterback."
Trieu talked about the skills that make Elmer such a special prospect:
"Steve Elmer stands out on tape," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He has fantastic size at 6-6 and 297 pounds, and has the type of athleticism, knee bend, and general coordination colleges look for in a prospect. He gets off the ball well, plays with good pad level, and appears to be a strong kid already. I'd like to see him finish blocks stronger and maybe play a little meaner, but as far as physical tools go, he has the goods."
Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame seem to be the top competition early in the process. Elmer is open to making an early decision if he finds the right place for him, and Tom talked to his dad about their thoughts on Ann Arbor.
A good performance at Michigan's camp netted an offer for OH LB Ben Gedeon (#, info in header).
MI RB Wyatt Shallman recently stopped in Ann Arbor for a quick camp visit (though he did not work out).
CO OL Chris Fox impressed at Michigan camp, and may receive an offer soon.
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!
The 2012 Recruiting Board lives here in its current primitive state. Updates coming soon.
The Harrison Three
Farmington Hills Harrison's trio of WR Aaron Burbridge, DE Mario Ojemudia, and TE Devin Funchess got some press in last week's Detroit News recruiting column by Sam Webb. First, the skill breakdowns by Harrison's coach. On Burbridge (pictured at right):
"He has tremendous explosion and acceleration," stated Herrington. "He is one of those kids that has two gears. He can go out for a pass and it looks like it is overthrown, then suddenly he explodes on the ball. He is a very tough kid, a good blocker, and has great hands. He still has a ways to go in learning all his routes, but he can catch the ball just off his shoe tops, or he can go up and get it if it is way over his head like he did in the state finals."
"As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him (standing) up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
"He is going to be a great prospect when he puts on weight. He can be a tight end, an H-back, a split end. He has big hands. I'm not sure what he's going to run the 40 in, but I think he could be around 4.6 or 4.7."
And the recruiting news:
The Spartans have a strong connection with Harrison thanks to decades of mining some of the school's most notable talent. They've placed Burbridge and Ojemudia high on their list of priorities, and the feeling is definitely mutual... The Wolverines' chances with Funchess seem more promising, but he stops short of naming them his favorite.
There is much more in the article, including quotes from the players, so be sure to check it out. In another article, Ojemudia didn't hesitate to name Michigan State his leader. He said Michigan has a lot of work to do if they want to catch up with the Spartans.
All Aboard the Offer Train!
NJ QB/Ath Devin Fuller was offered by Michigan last week ($, info in header). He's more Denard Robinson than Chad Henne, so it's possible the staff is looking at him on defense - though he told Tom he'll get a shot at QB.
He's included on the board, but I didn't mention him in last week's update: PA RB Greg Garmon received a Michigan offer last week ($, info in header).
WI RB Vonte Jackson has picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He had teammates sign with Wisconsin and Michigan State last year.
NC TE/OL Mark Harrell holds a Michigan offer. He plans to visit Michigan soon, and claims to be wide open.
CO TE Evan Baylis was offered by Michigan.
PA OL JJ Denman picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He's a 2-way player in high school, but colleges are only talking to him about offensive line. Notre Dame leads ($, info in header) for Denman.
Though he's an Ohio State commit, OH OL Kyle Kalis picked up a Michigan offer last week. He told Tom he's firm with the Buckeyes, but is willing to visit Ann Arbor with his teammates (TE Sam Grant, OL Tyler Orlosky, and DT Greg Kuhar) should the opportunity arise.
NC OL Brock Stadnik has received a Michigan offer.
Michigan has added an offer ($, info in header) for SC DT Martin Aiken.
NY DT Jarron Jones has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
MD DT Ryan Watson picked up a Michigan offer ($). He's a former teammate of 2011 CB Commit Blake Countess.
TX DE Devonte Fields has picked up a Michigan offer.
MA LB Camren Williams has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga talked to Tom about receiving a Michigan offer, and whether he'll make a trip to Ann Arbor this weekend. Tshimanga plans to be an early enrollee.
TX LB Peter Jinkens wasn't expecting a Texas offer, so he was open to plenty of schools. HOWEVA, a Texas offer ended Jinkens's recruitment.
Elsewhere in potential package deals, Irish Sports Daily employs a record number of one-sentence paragraphs to cover the recruitment of MI LBs James Ross, Royce Jenkins Stone, and Laron Taylor, and CB Terry Richardson:
“When we were little, we wanted to play together, but we know how difficult that may be,” said Ross. “If it works out, it does and that would be great, but we probably won’t make our decisions based off what somebody else does.”
It's possible that OH QB Maty Mauk will commit to Notre Dame - as soon as he can get on campus.
CA WR Bryce Treggs holds a Michigan offer, but he doesn't mention the Wolverines and seems to be close to a decision. Cal and Notre Dame are the leaders.
According to Rivals, CA TE Taylor McNamara was close to committing to Ohio State early in the process, but now plans to wait before making a decision. Miami (YTM) and USC are also near the top for him.
IN TE Pierre Aka wants to major in nuclear engineering and has a top 4 of Stanford, Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State. Though he doesn't hold any offers, he's in contact with Michigan's staff.
IL OL Dan Voltz has made his first cut, and the lucky schools are Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Northwestern. He seems to be really high on Notre Dame following a visit to South Bend. Voltz's junior highlight:
OH OL Taylor Decker received his Michigan offer a while back, and will visit Ann Arbor soon ($, info in header). He also received an offer from Notre Dame, his favorite ($, info in header). Now that the Irish are an option, they may be hard to beat.
FL OL John Theus is leaning toward mostly SEC and ACC schools.
Michigan is in the hunt for WA OL Zach Banner. His coach:
"Michigan is back in with Hoke, going back to the big road graders," Miller said. "Getting the offer from Michigan last week was really exciting for Zach."
The 6-9 behemoth is one of the country's top linemen.
UMGoBlog's Sean O'Connell talked with OH OL Kyle Dodson, who says he grew up a Buckeye fan, but that he's "very interested" in Michigan.
It's not exactly news, but MLive's Kyle Warber expands on Tennesee's lead for MI DT Danny O'Brien:
"I love everything about Tennessee," O'Brien said. "The playing time they have to offer is outstanding. I think they are also on the rise in the SEC and in the nation. If I went to another top school I would probably have to sit for a year. Also, the atmosphere of an SEC team is awesome. I have been to the Big House and everything, and it's great, but it didn't compare to the atmosphere of an SEC game."
His recruiter under the previous staff was Flint-area expert Fred Jackson, and he also had a relationship with Chris Singletary. Both are still around, and O'Brien's family has its share of Michigan fans, so the Wolverines have a chance to swing him. For what it's worth, Rivals says Michigan "may be gaining steam" ($, info in header).
CA DT Aziz Shittu talked to Rivals last week about his Michigan offer:
The more offers Shittu receives the more he’s thinking about delaying his decision but he still could end it if the right situation suits him. “If Michigan ends up being in my top five or my top seven, whatever I make when I make it, if I can’t get out there on an unofficial visit then I’ll definitely take an official visit to see what’s up there,” Shittu said.
He had been considering an early commitment to Stanford, so waiting on a decision is a good thing for the Wolverines. The Cardinal are his favorite ($, info in header).
OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo attended junior days at Notre Dame and Ohio State over the weekend. He picked up an offer from Notre Dame while he was in South Bend.
OH DE Tom Strobel was also in Columbus, and picked up an Ohio State offer of his own. His quotes seem fairly gushing:
"It was an amazing experience and Coach Tressel is such a great person. It was so nice to sit down with him and just talk. Not even about football, but about my family and Mentor and school and everything. It was a really good day. This has all been very humbling. I am fortunate to be in this position and to get the kind of attention I have received."
He claims that the Buckeyes do not lead, but it certainly sounds like they have an edge. He plans to decide before his senior season.
OH DE Adolphus Washington plans to announce a decision at the Under Armour All-American game.
GA DE Jordan Watkins has been blowing up lately, with offers from the likes of LSU, Florida, and Georgia, but he's still looking forward to hearing from Michigan. He's going to try to make a visit sometime, and says the Wolverines were "definitely a front runner" at the beginning of his recruiting process.
FL S Deon Bush wants to take a Michigan visit ($, info in header).
We're onto the 2012 class, eh? How many scholarships does Michigan have to give? What's the breakdown on commits at different positions? Who are likely options at some of those positions? All that and more inside Wednesday Recruitin'!
The Numbers and Positions
Take a gander at the Depth Chart by Class, and you'll see there are 83 scholarship players on the 2011 football roster (including Jordan Kovacs as a scholarship player). That means there are two open slots for the 2012 class.
In addition, Michigan will have 15 scholarship players see their eligibility expire following the 2011 season - Shaw, Hemingway, Stonum, Odoms, Grady, Koger, Huyge, Molk, Martin, Van Bergen, Watson, Herron, Fitzgerald, Woolfolk and Williams. Whether or not Mike Williams sticks around for his fifth year doesn't affect the 2012 class because he's gone after this season either way.
Altogether, that means our operating number for the 2012 class starts at 17, before there's any roster attrition. Assuming a couple players ultimately leave the team for any reason (unrenewed fifth years, early NFL entry, etc.), we'll peg the starting number at 19.
Without going into too much (boring) detail, Michigan needs by position are approximately as follows:
- QB: 1
- RB: 1
- WR: 2
- Slot: 0
- TE: 1-2
- OT: 2
- OG: 1-2
- OC: 0
- DT: 2
- DE: 2
- LB: 2
- S: 2
- CB: 1
If you want the nitty-gritty, you can peruse the Depth Chart by Class. In next week's recruiting update, I'll run down all the prospects Michigan has offered once more, and hopefully a recruiting board will be operational by then. After that, recruiting updates should be back to normal.
Michigan decided to go on an offer blitz shortly after last week's recruiting update went up (great timing, guys!). Among the newly-offered prospects are:
Cass Tech teammates LB Royce Jenkins-Stone and CB Terry Richardson received offers ($, info in headers) from Michigan's staff on Wednesday. Richardson is turning into a serious bigtime prospect. Already holding an offer from Bama, USC entered the mix last week. Jenkins-Stone is planning to make an early commitment (HT: Mgomember LarryHarrison), and is getting bigtime offers of his own.
Unsatisfied with offering only one set of teammates on Wednesday, the Wolverines went up the road to Farmington Hills, giving offers to Harrison WR Aaron Burbridge, TE Devin Funchess, and DE Mario Ojemudia ($, info in header). FHH has been a Michigan State feeder lately, so it remains to be seen if Brady Hoke and Co. can steal any of these prospects away from the Spartans. 24/7 Sports fluff on the Harrison guys, and Burbridge tells them he's "always been a State fan."
OH QB Maty Mauk received a Michigan offer. He told Tom that he plans to make it up to Ann Arbor within the next couple weeks. As the younger brother of former Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk, most assume Notre Dame's Brian Kelly should be able to land him.
Michigan has offered NC RB Keith Marshall, who is likely to be among the top prospects in the nation. His highlight reel is a sight to behold:
CA TE Taylor McNamara has received an offer.
IL OL Dan Voltz was offered by the Wolverines and plans to make an early decision ($, info in header).
The Wolverines have offered CA OL Kyle Murphy, according to a local paper.
AZ OL Andrus Peat (younger brother of 2011 Nebraska signee Todd Peat) received a Michigan offer this week. He should be one of the nation's top offensive linemen in this class.
IL DT Tommy Schutt has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
OH DE Se'Von Pittman received an offer from Michigan last week, along with the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State.
“He is wide open,” [McKinley coach Ron] Johnson said. “There are a lot of different things he’s interested in. He’s going to go through the whole process and really get to meet guys. There are a lot of new staffs involved; guys he’ll want to meet and get to know. I just hope they go where they want to be, and where they’re going to have a chance for a good career.”
One of those places is Michigan. The Wolverines hired Brady Hoke to replace Rich Rodriguez. Hoke is from Ohio and seems to be making a renewed commitment to battling the Buckeyes in their backyard
Despite what his coach says, Pittman (pictured) is widely considered to be a heavy lean to the Buckeyes, and would be an excellent pull for Brady Hoke and Co.
WI LB Vince Biegel, who Tom says was offered Wednesday. Scout says he has three standouts ($, info in header), and considering the article was written by Sam Webb, smart money says Michigan is one of them. Biegel is a Mormon, but he says BYU doesn't have an advantage in his recruitment - although his father played there.
Michigan's new coaching staff is still interested in FL QB Bennie Coney. As mentioned in the fall, he didn't play football this season due to a disciplinary issue, but is still on good terms with his head coach.
Michigan State has offered and leads for OH RB William Mahone ($, info in header).
CA WR Bryce Treggs is hoping for a Michigan offer.
FL OL Cody Waldrop is hoping for a Michigan offer.
Michigan was "a childhood favorite" for IN DT Sheldon Day ($, info in header).
Tom gets an update from the coach of PA DE Noah Spence, who is one of the top prospects in the Keystone State:
"We'll try to get [Noah's highlight film] out in the next couple days, we'll email it to every program in the country probably next week," said Head Coach Jeff Weachter. "Michigan hasn't gotten it yet, but I'd imagine they will offer once they do, everyone else has."
Spence's father is researching every school in-depth, so Michigan's hire of Greg Mattison is certain to help the Wolverines. Mattison is also acquaintances with Spence's head coach.
Michigan's interest in OH DE Tom Strobel has "intensified" ($, info in header). He holds a Michigan offer.
OR DE Alex Balducci sent Michigan his film, and may get an offer soon.
Though he hasn't been offered yet, NJ S/LB DJ Singleton is expecting one from the Wolverines soon. Miami and Rutgers have already sent offers.
IN Ath David Perkins is interested in hearing from Michigan.
Tom's Weekly Update has a metric ton of information, and with limited space, I'm just going to link it and say read the whole thing. If you need more prodding, there's an update on LEVITICUS PAYNE within.
IL OL Jordan Diamond is the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:
"I'm most definitely still a fan of Michigan. No doubt about it -- Michigan is Michigan. I still enjoy watching those guys play. I'm in the process of getting some old film from Michigan. I'm really excited... We talk about (going to the same school) all the time," Diamond said of he and [2011 MIchigan Commit Chris] Bryant.
Scout's Alen Trieu says he's a borderline 5-star entering his junior season. Diamond would be a great and for Brady Hoke's staff. He's certainly no lock, but a visit this weekend could be a great start to building a lead. Despite being on-campus, he will not participate in the Best of the Midwest...
Speaking of which, it's not a University-sponsored event, but the Al Glick Fieldhouse will again serve as the venue for the Best of the Midwest Showcase this Sunday (last year it was called the Michigan Football Showcase). Allen Trieu breaks down the linemen who will participate. In similar news, New Level Athletics will be hosting a 7-on-7 Tournament in Ann Arbor again this summer. SI.com's Andy Staples explores how such tournaments are changing football recruiting in that article.
Both of the above-linked events provide an opportunity for prospects to experience Michigan's campus, even if the coaches can't use them as recruiting visits.
AZ QB Connor Brewer left the board last week, as he committed to Texas, and now another prospect - this one already holding an offer - is off the table. FL RB Matt Jones committed to Florida.
Rivals releases their initial 250 to Watch, and Touch the Banner breaks down which guys might have Michigan interest. Maxpreps's Top 10 includes a couple Michigan targets. 2011 Commit Frank Clark wants to reopen a Michigan pipeline to Cleveland Glenville ($, info in header). Ohio State recruiting guru Duane Long says "Hoke ain't no Joke." Dr. Saturday breaks down 2011 recruiting geographically. Fox Sports's Dave Dye runs down the 2011 class. SBNation Pittsburgh has a semi-novel idea with a Penn State offer matrix, so I ask you: would anyone be interested if I repeated that for Michigan?