“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
Michigan picks up a legacy commit, as the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant has pledged to the maize-and-blue. OH S Allen Gant becomes the 13th recruit in Michigan's class of 2012.
|3*, NR S||NR WR||NR WR||NR Ath|
As you can see, the recruiting sites are lukewarm-at-best on Gant. To my surprise, he isn't viewed universally as a safety, as I had assumed to be the case (and that's the position he'll likely play in college). His profile has fallen off considerably since the days when he was considered the best 2012 prospect in Ohio ($, info in header).
24/7 Sports is the odd site out on height, calling him 6-1 whereas everyone else agrees he's 6-2. Weights range from 198 to 210. A good overall estimate of size then, is about 6-2, 205.
His scout profile has Allen talk about his own game:
“I’m able to read the quarterback well and know what the offense is doing. I’m pretty quick and I hit hard. I’m a very hard-nosed player. I’d like to be better overall and get faster and quicker. I want to brake [sic] on passes better.”
He was the subject of a Sam Webb column in the Detroit News last summer, and his dad talked briefly about his game:
"He is almost 6-2, and weighs in the 205- to 210-pound range. He runs a 4.6, he's got a nose for the ball, he's physical, and he is smart. Having that type of football intelligence, it just makes his job that much easier because you want to react instead of think out on the football field. Plus he's coachable. His football intelligence and coachability are his two greatest assets along with his physical capabilities."
As a fairly huge high school safety, he'd better be wiling to bring the lumber with regularity. At that size, the natural questions about speed (and a potential move to linebacker) arise:
Allen Gant is another of this outstanding defensive back class that has questions as far as what kind of athlete he is. It is actually more than that. It is where he fits. He has the talent to play receiver but I have never believed he had the speed. The big question will be if he is fast enough to play safety and if not does he have the frame to grow into an outside linebacker?
Gant is known for being an intelligent player, so even if he lacks a little bit in 40-yard dash time, being in the right spot to make plays can make up for that. The MSR Ohio Blog talks his game, and it certainly sounds like the instincts are present:
Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline.
His coach had never played a freshman before Gant came along, so his early reputation as one of Ohio's top prospects was partially based on being an early bloomer.
With 4 linebackers and another linebacker-y tweener (Mario Ojemudia) already committed, I'm guessing that Michigan's coaches are confident enough in his speed to remain at safety. Now that he's committed as a safety, hopefully some of the recruiting sites will rank him at that position and we can get a more accurate picture of where he stands.
Allen had offers from a host of MAC schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (NTM), and Toledo, but he also had a few slightly bigger letters to his name: Boston College, Cincinnati, Stanford, and West Virginia. It's not a murderer's row, but there are definitely a few worthwhile offers in there. He was expecting an Illinois offer ($, info in header) back in February, and his Rivals profile indicates he received it.
Gant had interest - but no offer - from several big-name schools: Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC.
Scout brings the junior year stats:
Allen Gant finished his junior season with 56 tackles, three interceptions and two fumbles caused. He also had 20 receptions for one touchdown.
That was good enough for third-team All-State. He had a recurring hamstring injury through most of his sophomore year, which hampered his production in that season, but he led his team to a state title as a freshman.
FAKE 40 TIME
4.6 seems to be the consensus time, and while that's respectable for a strong safety (in fact quite good I think), guys Gant's size aren't generic 3-stars if they can run that fast. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
Gant junior video from ScoutingOhio:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He's unlikely to be a big star unless the recruiting sites are just plain wrong, but after a redshirt year, he definitely has the potential to contribute on special teams. and he could end up a starter by the time he's an upperclassman.
Especially with a coaching change underway, it's tough to know where Michigan's current secondary players will end up, what quality of player we have on the roster now (I'm going to assume better than they've looked the past 3 years), so it's tough to project too far into the future. Gant has the feel of a solid upperclassman starter who doesn't get a lot of national (or conference) recognition.
As a youngster, he seemed like a future 5-star thanks to an early maturation, but that has fallen off as other prospects his age have matured as well (think Marvin Robinson). However, Gant has been injured over portions of the last two years, so when healthy, hopefully he can regain that top form.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's felt like it for a while, but spots are going to start actually getting tight now. Pending the decision of Wayne Morgan on Thursday (all indications at this point are that Michigan leads), Michigan has two to three defensive backs in the class, the other being Terry Richardson. Brady Hoke and company would probably take a fourth, but the fifth guy is going to have to be somebody they think very highly of.
The needs going forward are still at defensive tackle and on the offensive line, particularly at tackle. A quarterback and a wideout are also needed, and a good running back would be nice, thank you very much.
Terry Richardson Goes Blue
Hoke's in-state recruiting buzzsaw continues to... uh... buzz as MI CB Terry Richardson committed to the maize-and-blue live on WTKA Thursday morning. The Wolverines now have commitments from 6 of Sam Webb's top 12 in-state recruits (3 of the remaining 6 are unoffered, one of them took too long and watched his position group possibly fill up, and Michigan is in good position with the other two). Touch the Banner on Terry:
One of my reservations with Cissoko was that, despite all of his technique and physical skills, he only had 3 interceptions in his junior and seasons combined. In some ways, Richardson is the polar opposite - lacking some technique but making big plays. However, the hip swivel is there for him to turn and run with receivers in an instant.
The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice chimes in:
Richardson has a low, smooth backpedal. More impressive, however, are his hips. Coming out of breaks and cuts, his hips can flip and mirror the best of receivers. Coupled with his hips, he has incredible closing speed. He’s been able to succeed at the HS level without elite jamming ability because he can play 5-6 yards off the WR and close the distance before the ball gets in the receiver’s hands.
It confirms the consensus we've heard about most Cass Tech CBs over the years: tiny, fast, and needing a bit of technique work. Terry only did limited work at last weekend's Ohio State Nike Camp (about which more in a moment), but managed to lock down receivers despite a sore hamstring - and even did a little recruiting.
For more on Terry, check out the Hello: Terry Richardson post.
Others in the World of Commits
Allen Trieu broke on Twitter over the weekend that the Wolverines have commitment #13, but the prospect wants to keep his maize-and-blue pledge silent for now. The Hello post should be ready when he decides to go public.
In other news about possible commits, NY CB/S Wayne Morgan has set a commitment date: June 1 (next Thursday). Michigan seems to be strong for the 4-star defensive back.
MI QB Commit Shane Morris (pictured with future teammates Terry Richardson, Mario Ojemudia, and James Ross via the ESPN Rise photo gallery [ed: and wearing Devin Gardner's hat]) went into the Elite 11 camp in Columbus last weekend looking to make a claim for top prospect in the nation for next year, and at least staked a claim as the second-best QB there. Number one was the nation's top 2012 signal-caller, Gunner Kiel. Scout's experts named him the strongest arm at the competition, as well. Tom Luginbill was impressed:
2013 QB Shane Morris is an impressive lefty with a quick stroke... Loved him. Looked great.... On par with most, if not all of [the 2012 guys]. Looked really good. Smooth, quick stroke.
He put a few more thoughts into convenient paragraph form:
Morris was one of the more impressive prospects in attendance regardless of class and the left-hander really made some impressive throws with accuracy and confidence. He has good height and is going to continue to add inches and bulk to his late-bloomer's frame. What stood out about Morris was the velocity and power and the manner in which he delivered the ball. Many lefties can really have a long, drawn out delivery that is more ¾ or sidearm, but not Morris. He had a quick stroke, was very accurate and threw as well on the run to both sides as any prospect on Friday.
"I’m supposed to pick up some big offers next month from schools around the country but I’m not worried about that, Michigan is where I want to go to school.”
Click through for a bit of talk about his game. Ross and Ojemudia also performed well at the camp:
Others that impressed along the defensive line were Michigan commit Mario Ojemudia, who should be a very good outside linebacker at the next level... The linebacker group was also deep and the aforementioned Ross was one of the top players in space.
Ojemudia also talked about his future position with MLive's Kyle Warber:
Often referred to as the "joker position," it is a position that has been perfected by players like Brian Orakpo at Texas and Von Miller at Texas A&M, but no matter what you call it, it's a big reason why Ojemudia is excited to be a Wolverine... "It was just a comfortable atmosphere at Michigan, and I like that I will be playing both defensive end and outside linebacker."
So there's that.
Long Blockquote Portion
24/7 Sports published a long profile on AZ OL Andrus Peat:
“Andrus is like a baby cub right now,” Joseph said. “There is so much to him. He has so much potential and growth. He’s going to grow one or two more inches. You look at him. He’s never gotten out a razor. I’ve been doing this a long time. If you come in with a full beard, you are probably done growing. He’s not done growing. He’s going to be 6-8, 6-9 and 320 or so.”
As the son of a former NFL lineman (and brother of 2011 Nebraska signee Todd Peat Jr.), he also has a leg up on the technical aspects of play. He plans to take his time in making a decision, and early playing time will be a big factor.
MSR Ohio blog takes a look at recent offeree OH S Allen Gant:
Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline...
Allen now stands just over 6'1 and weighs 205 pounds. Recently, bench pressed 275 pounds - 8 times. Impressive for a young man who plays three sports and still lives in the weight room.
Now that he's been offered, Michigan has a good chance to land the legacy prospect, but that might change if the Buckeyes offer:
"It'd (a Buckeye offer) be really special, but just like any other school, any offer from them is an honor. I want to make a contribution right away. Coming to Southview, playing my first year, I kind of want to do something like that when I go to college," Gant said.
He plans to narrow his list of schools - which currently includes the likes of West Virginia, Boston College, and Cincinnati - and possibly even offer a commitment within the month. His dad told Tom that Michigan is the current favorite.
Local fluff on MI DT Danny O'Brien's nomination to the Army All-American game:
O’Brien doesn’t need to make the team to get the national attention. He’s already got it. O’Brien has received scholarship offers to 11 schools and is interested in many others that aren’t on that list. He’s already visited Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State. He said he plans on visiting Alabama and Tennessee as well as going to Michigan and Michigan State again this summer.
O'Brien also said he pays plenty of attention to the recruiting sites - a good thing for Michigan, as he's familiar with the Wolverines' monster class.
Though he's a Penn State commit, NY DT Jarron Jones has made it no secret that Notre Dame and Michigan are strongly in the mix. He's the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:
"To be honest with you, Jarron kind of made that decision without discussing it with me and his father," said Jones' mother, Lakiescha Titus-Jones... "what we tried to make him do is not to commit and (instead) just list his top five, six, or seven. He just wanted to let Penn State know it was No. 1.
Jarron Jones is a firm believer in the Rich Rodriguez School of Early Commitments. He will visit North Carolina this weekend, then head out to Ann Arbor and South Bend the following week. If he values academics half as much as his mother - never a guarantee in recruiting - the Wolverines and Irish (and Tar Heels) should have a decent shot at unseating Penn State. Local video fluff:
"That makes me the 11th-best loser." Awesome.
The overall DL group was one of the best we've seen this year, but Pipkins was still a standout. He's a mammoth nose guard prospect who has great strength and a quick get-off. He plays with a mean streak and can blow by a guard or bull rush him straight back into the QB.
One of their analysts called him "Warren Sapp's little brother," definitely high praise. He still plans to visit Michigan later this summer, but wants to slow down the pace of his recruiting.
What About Rob?
(Is that reference too dated? Share your thoughts below!) (Also, yes, I made this its own category just to use that reference)
I've been a proponent of a certain philosophy in quarterback recruiting for the 2012 class: With Shane Morris holding it down for 2013, either swing for the fences with Gunner Kiel, or take a guy who can play multiple positions down the road. One such prospect is IL QB Rob Gregory, who has impressed Tom Lemming:
“Of all the players, the kid who has the most potential is Robert Gregory,” Lemming said. “The kid’s got a good arm; he’s just not polished yet. If he goes to the right program, he’s going to be a star.”
He's an athletic guy who could play receiver or defense down the road if he doesn't win the QB competition, and as a former teammate of 2011 OL Commit Chris Bryant (and current teammate of top OL Jordan Diamond), he could help the coaching staff solidify another pipeline.
Yeah, my decision will come sooner but I'm still evaluating schools. It will probably be the first game of our season.
Until he says "school X has officially passed Michigan" (long-established as his tentative leader), I'm not going to worry too much about him picking somebody else. Should the Wolverines expect a bigtime commitment in the last week of August? The Chicago Tribune thinks a decision could come even earlier.
Michigan has offered TN WR Drae Bowles ($, info in header).
Tom speaks with OH RB Alden Hill, who is hoping for an offer at Michigan's summer camp. He's a teammate of 2013 RB/DB Dymonte Thomas.
Michigan has offered TX CB Will Hines.
MI TE Ron Thompson was close to a decision earlier this spring, but will now take his time ($, info in header). No word on whether Michigan's coaches have room in the projected class to take a third tight end.
GA DE Jordan Jenkins plans to visit Ann Arbor this summer. He's going to take all of his official visits and make a decision in January of February.
A recent visit from OH DE Tom Strobel piqued his interest in UM's academics ($, info in header).
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan will visit Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game ($, info in header).
Keep and eye on OH S De'Van Bogard, who feels, like, a connection, man, with Greg Mattison ($, info in header).
OH DE Adolphus Washington and his teammate, WR Dwayne Stanford, will visit Ann Arbor this weekend. Though it seems unlikely Michigan can pull both players, Stanford seemed high on Michigan in last week's update, and the Wolverines are in Washington's top group along with Ohio state, Alabama, Miami (YTM), and... Kentucky? Tom got the latest from Adolphus, when he listed Michigan in his top 5.
CO QB Cyler Miles will make a decision soon ($, info in header), and Michigan is not on his final list of five schools. From the same article, NY QB Chad Kelly is down to a final seven that doesn't include the Wolverines. He was going to have to camp to earn an offer.
Happy Trails, CA TE Taylor McNamara. He's down to 8 (non-Michigan) schools. Something tells me the coaching staff is not stressing over TE prospects at this point.
Happy Trails, PA OL JJ Denman. The touted Pennsylvanian picked Penn State.
Happy Trails, NC OL Mark Harrell. He committed to Notre Dame.
GA CB Geno Smith has a top 5 that does not include Michigan.
A couple of near-Happy Trails experiences, as CA OL Kyle Murphy will probably stay out West for college, despite planning to visit Michigan, and NJ S Brandon Napoleon wants to stay on the East Coast for college.
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.
The mgouniverse is growing restless with a lack of commits in Michigan's class of 2012, so before digging deeper, let's see how some comparable schools stack up.
|National Powers||Big Ten|
|Miami (YTM)||6||Penn State||0|
* Iowa's commit is Mike Orloff,
Within the B1G, Michigan isn't behind the curve at all. Only a few schools have commits, and among them only Ohio State and Nebraska have the same recruiting profile as the Wolverines. Nationally, they're a bit behind, but that seems to happen every year.
They haven't even had a single junior day yet - and started way behind the curve, as an all-new staff - so it's a little early to be worrying too much about a small class. At this time last year, there were only 2 commits (Greg Brown and Delonte Hollowell) that ultimately signed with Michigan, the second of whom committed after a junior day.
On With the Show
Michigan is looking at KY RB Ronjae Morris "pretty hard." Tennessee and UCLA are his top two, and he doesn't yet have a Michigan offer.
Beware with a Bleacher Report link, but CA WR Malik Gilmore appears to have Notre Dame and Michigan atop his list.
Michigan is recruiting ($, info in header) OH OL Caleb Stacey.
NC TE/OL Mark Harrell called his Notre Dame offer "a dream come true" ($, info in header). Early in the process, it seems like every kid is really high on the Irish.
Tom talked to NC OL Brock Stadnik about his recruiting process:
"I was really excited about the Michigan offer because Michigan is pretty huge, and I really liked Jake Long growing up," he said. "As far as visits go, it's tough to get up there right now with school and everything, so I'm not sure when I'll make it up... Michigan is a big offer too because it came from that far away this early. It's exciting to hear my name reaching places like that, and being talked about by those coaches."
Brock has a twin brother, Clayton Stadnik, who is not as highly-coveted a prospect. The two will consider going to school together, but they plan to make individual decisions. Brock will form a top 5 during the summer.
A tidbit on FL OL Avery Young: his brother plays for the Lions, which means he has some family close to Ann Arbor. Still doesn't mention Michigan in the article, of course.
PA OL JJ Denman has a top 5 that includes USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, and Boston College.
Stanford leads for CA DT Aziz Shittu ($, info in header).
OH DE Tom Strobel was the focus of last week's recruiting column for the Detroit News by Sam Webb. Scout's Ohio analyst Bill Greene breaks down his game:
"He is a true 6-6, with long arms, and probably weighs 240 pounds. He could probably carry another 30-35 pounds easily on that frame. I think he has the chance to maybe be great someday. I think he's a guy who is kind of growing into his body right now."
...and Strobel talks about himself:
"I've got a really good work ethic," Strobel stated. "I'm always hustling to the ball no matter what. Even if it seems the play is already made, I'm always going to be there right behind the tackle or I'll be making the tackle. I'm always hustling to the ball. I think that's the biggest thing you'll notice -- hustle."
As for recruiting news, Strobel insists that his recent Ohio State offer does not mean an immediate end to his recruitment, though it is a big deal. Michigan and Michigan State will be contenders for his services, and he's academically-focused, which will help the Wolverines. Click through for the whole scoop.
Tom talked to OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo about where he stands in the recruiting process. Stanford, Ohio State, Northwestern, and Notre Dame make up his current top 4, but he's going to take some visits in june - including to Ann Arbor and East Lansing - before coming up with a firm list of favorites.
Michigan is among the schools showing the most interest in CA LB Scott Starr. He currently holds offers from Colorado and the Arizona schools.
You may recall that OH LB Kaleb Ringer was on Michigan's campus last week. He left town with an offer, and is now having 2-part Michigan dreams ($, info in header). Unless those dreams involve Brady Hoke dressed as the Stay-Puft marshmallow man, that seems like a good thing. Sam rhetorically asks "is Michigan now the team to beat?" in the header, and I think it's safe to answer "yes." This seems like a situation to keep an eye on.
The presence of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is a big boost to Michigan's chances with FL S Deon Bush ($, info in header).
MI CB LEVITICUS PAYNE is "working to improve." He is starting to get interest from BCS-conference schools, but doesn't mention Michigan.
Tom talked to Good Counsel (MD) assistant coach Kevin McFadden about a number of prospects from 2011 Commit Blake Countess's team, including:
The Michigan coaches have targeted and offered DB Stefon Diggs, RB Wes Brown, DE Ryan Watson, and OL Mike Madaras so far from Good Counsel.
...but net yet a couple more:
"We have a couple other kids Michigan should offer, we have DL Rod Chungong (6'3", 240 lbs), 2013 DB Kendall Fuller (6'0", 175 lbs), and 2013 DB Kirk Garner (5'10", 165 lbs) that will get some looks from Michigan," he said.
I'm not ready to worry about 2013 guys quiiiite yet. McFadden says Countess has been talking up the maize-and-blue to his friends, and that they're serious players:
"These kids are NFL kids, they're good. They're right up there with some of the best kids we've had. They've seen the kids before them, and the appropriate measures they've had to put in place with academics, perseverance, and they've seen the outcome with those other guys."
It's no novelty to see a high school coach say "omg best players I've ever had," so take it with a grain of salt - though Diggs is considered a likely 5-star. GC's head coach talked with Gazette.net about Diggs in particular:
"He's just such a natural talent, not only the speed but the way he understands things; he's just very, very, very smart, football-wise," Milloy said. "Some kids, you have to rep them up, but he just understands what we're trying to do quickly.
In other possible packages, MA LB Camren Williams and CB Armani Reeves have a teammate in QB AJ Doyle who could become a target down the line. Reeves plans to visit Ann Arbor in the next few weeks, and Tom mhad an interview with Williams, wherein he discusses his favorites, visits, and decision timeline.
MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone has picked up an offer from Miami YTM ($, info in header). A rivals header ($ article) certainly makes it sound like Michigan is slipping as he gets more national interest. He was originally the highest on Michigan of the trio that also includes LB James Ross and CB Terry Richardson, so we'll have to see what transpires.
Though no official junior day has been set, a number of prospects have made or will make their way through ann Arbor early in March. As for recent visits, TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga didn't make it to A2 this past weekend, but MI DT/DE Matt Godin did. Going forward, a tentative visit list for this weekend:
- IL OL Dan Voltz (possibly not until the following week). His decision isn't far off.
- WI LB Vince Biegel.
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone. This visit isn't definite. As mentioned above, Michigan may have some work to do with RJS.
- OH S Allen Gant will make it to town before the weekend. He's looking for his Michigan offer. Video on Gant:
It looks like every weekend in March will have at least a few visitors, including March 19th:
- OH TE AJ Williams, for whom Michigan is "in the mix." ($, info in header).
- OH DE Pharoah Brown.
The further out we project, the less definite visits become, so stay tuned for the latest updates. Among others planning spring visits are IN TE Pierre Aka, in addition to KY QB Zeke Pike and MI TE/WR Ron Thompson.
CA CB Tee Shepard has committed to Notre Dame. The Army All-American holds a Michigan offer.
CA S Shaquille Thompson committed to Cal ($, info in header).
WEEE OFFER PARADE!
CA OL Erik Magnuson has a Michigan offer. He was also a target of Hoke's staff at SDSU.
He's mentioned in an above section, but MD OL Mike Madaras has received a Michigan offer.
NY DT Jarron Jones has picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
GA DT Jonathan Taylor has a Michigan offer.
GA DE Jarontay Jones has a "home state" that is not in the South ($, info in header). Since the interview is with GBW, dollars to donuts said home state is Michigan. Jones is a recent Michigan offeree. Not content to offer only one Stone Mountain product, the Wolverines sent them to DT Jafar Mann and LB Raphael Kirby as well.
MD DE Brent Wilkerson was offered by Michigan a couple weeks back (of course the article became available for free moments after I published the next Wednesday Recruitin').
“It’s definitely a big offer, I’m really happy that they are willing to offer me a scholarship. I’m very interested. I called their defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. I spoke to the recruiter in my area too, I’m very interested in them and they are after me pretty hard. I plan to get down there to see the place and get to know the coaches.”
His other favorites include LSU, Miami (YTM), and the better half of the Big East. He wants to visit Michigan sometime this summer.
Michigan has offered PA DE Noah Spence. Spence is a likely 5-star, so it was a head-scratcher that he wasn't holding a Michigan offer (until now).
OH DE LaTroy Lewis has received a Michigan offer, and has moved Michigan up his list accordingly ($, info in header).
TX LB Dalton Santos has added a Michigan offer.
CA OL Jordan Simmons is mentored by a former Wolverine ($, info in header), which could help Michigan's chances. GA WR Jaquay Williams also has a Michigan connection ($, info in header). MD CB Kenny Crawley "wants to stay local" ($, info in header). MI WR Tyree Monroe is hearing from Michigan a bit. Rutgers leads for NJ LB Jazzmar Clax. IL DT Vincent Valentine is "building ties" with Michigan's staff ($, info in header). Michigan is not in the top 5 for NJ WR Leonte Carroo.
[Ed: see what he did there?]
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Decision Time is Finally Here. Maybe.
GA S Avery Walls has been named to the Army All-American game. His coach had plenty of good things to say about him too:
"Avery came to this school and just instantly was a great leader who showed great character," Gess said. "As far as him as a player, he just shuts down a whole side of the field because coaches won't throw or run that way. He also raises his teammates' level of play. He's a great representative of Eagle's Landing Christian and what they stand for."
He'll make a decision next month, after a couple visits to Oregon and Cal. Michigan was in great shape after his visit to Ann Arbor, and hopefully the Ducks and Bears do nothing to change that. Walls is an early-enrollment candidate.
If FL RB Demetrius Hart doesn't make his decision next week, it wouldn't be the first time he's changed his mind about an announcement timeframe. However, this is the most public he's been about when he'll pick his school. Hart is taking an official visit to Alabama this weekend. Tom hinted that Hart may take another unofficial visit in his weekly update, and I bet that would be to Michigan should he choose the Wolverines. It's still looking good here.
Assume the Position: D-Line
Michigan is hunting for at least one defensive tackle, and probably another defensive end. Who are some of the candidates?
FL DT Tim Jernigan will not decide until after his senior season. He's also started planning out some of his visits:
He said he plans on attending at least one game involving each of the schools, including the UF-Alabama game Oct. 2 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the LSU-UF game in Gainesville on Oct. 9 and games at Michigan and USC.
That means no Michigan State game in Ann Arbor, leaving Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin weekends. If his coach is right:
The biggest factor the coach said would play into Jernigan’s decision is playing time.
With a college-ready frame and skill set, Howard said Jernigan is going to likely attend the school that can provide him a chance to play early.
That means Advantage: Michigan over all of his other contenders.
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel gave raving reviews of his visit to Michigan State:
"It was an amazing game to be at," Zettel said. "I think that Michigan State is starting to become a very good team. I was able to have some small talk with a lot of the recruits at the game."
OK, maybe that's more "I was in attendance" than anything hugely positive for the Spartans. Scout's Allen Trieu explains to the Lansing State Journal:
Michigan looks like it could be the team to beat for Zettel, but the Spartans are in contention.
"He's been a life-long Michigan fan, and you just want to be able to stay in the game with him," Trieu said. "The fact that he hasn't committed to Michigan yet is a big thing for Michigan State."
At this point , when "not committed to Michigan quite yet" is the best thing you can say about State's recruitment of the kid, the Wolverines are looking good.
GA DE Ray Drew, Walls's buddy, wants to visit Ann Arbor:
"I would also like to go to Michigan to see the Big House. Every football player knows about that place... There are a lot of schools I would like to see before I decide on signing day.”
He says he's close to having all of his visits set up, so we should know soon when he'll be in the house. Drew won't make a decision until Signing Day.
MI RB Thomas Rawls is smashing Mark Ingram's Flint-area rushing records. If he can get his grades up, he could be a good addition to Michigan's class. At 5'10", 215, he's a differenet sort of back than Hart.
NJ TE Jack Tabb is taking an official visit to Iowa City this weekend ($, info in header), even though the Hawkeyes already have three (!) tight ends in this class. Michigan is in the running for one of his other visits, and he took a trip to Ann Arbor earlier this summer.
IL OL Chris Bryant, a recent visitor to Ann Arbor, has the Wolverines in his top 3/4 with Arizona, Stanford, and Illinois. From the tone of the article, Michigan is still on top.
KY LB Lamar Dawson has M in his final 7.
Dee Hart isn't the only Orlando Dr. Phillips guy with Michigan interest. It is highly unlikely that FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix will strongly consider Michigan anymore, but his fellow safety Roderick Ryles is looking for an offer.
FL TE/DE Brandon Fulse has narrowed his list, and Michigan is no longer on it.
Happy Trails, FL DE Giorgio Newberry. He's committed to Florida State.
It appears as though VA CB Demetrious Nicholson is no longer planning to take a Michigan visit.
FL QB Bennie Coney is holding a Michigan offer. It will be interesting to see what types of QBs Michigan goes after this season.
Just to clarify, Plant City is not the same Plant that 2011 OL Commit Tony Posada attends.
OH RB William Mahone is interested in Michigan, and attended a summer camp in Ann Arbor this summer. The Buckeyes already have two RB commits in 2012, so they won't be the competition.
As expected, MI DT Danny O'Brien received his verbal offer from Michigan at the Bowling Green game.
ESPN's Chris Pool reports that IL DT Tommy Schutt also holds a verbal offer from the Wolverines.
Also in attendance last Saturday was OH S Allen Gant. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant (and nephew of Charles Woodson) plans to take his time making a decision.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at email@example.com or tweet @varsityblue.
Trimming Lists, Planning Visits
WI RB Melvin Gordon (pictured at right, via the Kenosha News) may take an official visit to Michigan. It had previously seemed like the Wolverines were out of the running for Melvin, and this could be a sign that they definitely want a big back in this class.
Michigan is in FL RB Devondrick Nealy's top five ($, info in header). He's similar to FL RB Demetrius Hart, so if all goes well with Dee, I wouldn't expect Nealy to end up in this class.
NJ Slot WR Miles Shuler-Foster has a top 7 that includes Michigan. He seems to be one of only two slots (along with FL Slot WR Prince Holloway) that Michigan is pursuing. It's not a position of need, but Shuler's speed would be hard to turn down.
NJ TE Jack Tabb (who recently visited Ann Arbor) is ready to cut his list of more than 20 offers. Six schools, including Michigan, are guaranteed to make that cut, making up a de facto top six.
Last week, PA DE Deion Barnes named a top 5 ($, info in header) including Michigan. There might be another positive development in that recruitment, as Pitt, also in his top 5, picked up commitments from three defensive ends last week.
OH LB Sean Duggan has a top five that includes Michigan (along with Wisconsin, Boston College, Duke, and Virginia).
NJ S Sheldon Royster will try to visit Michigan before his senior season starts ($, info in header).
LA CB Daren Kitchen, who has long favored Michigan, will take an official visit for the Connecticut game ($, info in header). If receives a commitable offer on that visit, he could drop for the Wolverines.
PA DE Desimon Green committed to Pitt.
MD OL Donovan Smith has narrowed to a top 12 that does not include Michigan.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett committed to Pitt.
TampaBay.com covered the commitment of Tony Posada last week:
Leaving the state was a major factor, Posada said, as was Michigan’s reputation of producing offensive linemen. Two weeks ago, Posada said his mind was “99 percent” made up.
“That day I walked outside and it felt like it was 100 degrees out and I told myself, ‘I want to go to the snow,’ ” Posada said. “And when you go to Michigan and they ask what did you play and you say offensive tackle, people say, ‘Man, you must be good to play tackle at Michigan.’ ”
It sounds like the staff is planning to play him at tackle, which means any more OL commits will probably come from guards.
Tom spoke with FL OL James Elliott following his Michigan visit, and Elliott had nothing but positive things to say:
JAMES: Man, that was the most amazing school I've ever seen in person... We actually stayed a little longer than expected just so we could see everything, and meet Coach Rodriguez. We didn't realize he was in Seattle, so we wanted to stay to meet him. We got to see practice and talk with him about the visit. It was just great.
He named Michigan his leader ($, info in header), so what's the next step for Elliott? He holds an offer, but not yet a committable (i.e. Rodriguez-issued) one. With a few good OL targets remaining on the board, Elliott may have to wait to see how things shake out before he receives one.
FL DT Tim Jernigan, who has Michigan in his top five, is also Facebook friends with a couple of Michigan's coaches.
Local Fluff on KY LB Lamar Dawson. He's a longshot for Michigan, but a good season on the field could turn a lot of top prospects' heads toward Ann Arbor.
FL WR/S Sammy Watkins and his teammate, CB/QB Dallas Crawford (pictured at right), are both very interested in Michigan still:
Watkins is still considering a long list of schools, but says he was very impressed during visits to Michigan and Clemson.
Crawford says he'll wait until the end of the season to make a decision, but lists Michigan, LSU, Miami, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and West Virginia as his leaders right now.
Watkins plans to announce a top 5 before his season, and then put recruiting on the back burner for a while. Crawford was willing to go on the record and say the Wolverines stand atop his list. Landing him would help Michigan with Watkins.
MI CB Valdez Showers will announce a decision next week. The Wolverines are in his top four ($, info in header), along with Michigan State, Northwestern, and Florida. Though Showers grew up a Michigan fan, I don't think they're the favorite to land him at this time.
For more on several prospects, including GA S Avery Walls, check out Tom's weekly recruiting update.
The Distant Future. The Year 2016(!)
A physically imposing offensive lineman from Illinois grew up loving Michigan:
Swenson’s dream school is Michigan, but he also has his priorities straight. “The first thing is to get a good education,” Swenson said. “I want to go to a good school and play football. I’d like to study engineering or business.”
The issue? Kid's not even in high school yet. Erik Swenson's recruitment is a long way off, but assuming we all survive Mayan apocalypse, he's one to keep an eye on in the future.
In slightly-less-distant news, 2012 OH S Allen Gant (at right) is the latest prospect profiled by Sam Webb in the Detroit News.
Said Allen, "Before I just didn't have a very good idea of what Rich Rod and his staff were about, but after (the visit) I feel a lot more comfortable with them. I know that they're interested in me. They're on my radar with all the other schools that were recruiting me."
Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant, but he grew up a fan of the Buckeyes.