"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
*BREAKING* 6'6", 230-Pound Quarterback Has Strong Arm After All
Michigan quarterback commit Wilton Speight flew across the country to compete in the Elite 11 San Francisco regional camp last weekend. Despite a field featuring several of the top prospects in the country,—including #1 pro-style QB Keller Chryst and Oregon commit Morgan Mahalak—nobody at the camp earned an invite to the Elite 11 finals; Speight showed off a strong arm and high ceiling but struggled a bit with his mechanics, as you can see in the above video (he's the one with the Michigan shorts, natch). The Elite 11's resident coach, former NFL QB Trent Dilfer, gave his thoughts on Speight to 247's Barton Simmons:
One of the longest commutes to compete at the event came from Richmond, Va. native Wilton Speight. The Michigan commit was also one of the biggest prospects in attendance with regard to his physical stature and Dilfer noted that his size is both his strength and his weakness at this point.
Dilfer on Speight: “He had a nice day. He’s obviously a very physical kid, tall, strong. I think he’s got to get more organized. Everything’s just got to get more organized for him to be consistent. That’s typical for a lot of linear guys. There’s a lot of moving parts.”
Scout's crew of experts all had Speight outside the top five performers, but national analyst Greg Biggins—as well as Speight himself—still had a largely positive review of his play ($) [emphasis mine]:
The biggest quarterback in the camp was easily Richmond (Va.) Collegiate School’s Wilton Speight. The Michigan commit looks all of 6-6, 230 pounds and he had a solid camp. He was able to make all the throws showing off a strong arm and actually looked better than expected when he had to throw on the run.
Speight is a pure drop back quarterback who throws a tight ball and can get the ball down the field. He threw some of the best deep balls in the camp and makes it look easy and effortless.
“I was happy with my performance, I wasn’t overly thrilled with all my throws but overall, I thought I had a good day,” Speight said. “There’s always a couple of throws you want back but the beauty of this is there’s still 13 spots left for the final Elite 11. No one got the invite today so you just have to stay patient and let the process play itself out.”
As Speight said above, he'll still have a chance to earn his way into the finals later this spring; he won't be the only one from the SF regional with something to prove, as five-star Chryst reportedly (and by his own admission) struggled mightily.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest visit plans of five-star DT Andrew Brown, Michigan commits in the updated Rivals100 and Top247, and more.]
Today's recruiting roundup covers this weekend's visitors, the latest word from Da'Shawn Hand, Wheatley on Wheatley, and more.
Guess Who's Back?
The visitor list for this weekend isn't quite as star-studded as it was two weeks ago, but it still features a top tight end target and some marquee in-state prospects.
One such Michigander is WR Drake Harris, who'll be making his third visit to Ann Arbor in three weeks. Harris told Scout's Sam Webb this week that Devin Gardner receiving his medical redshirt "did help out" Michigan's chances, though he maintains that he's committed to Michigan State... for now ($) [emphasis mine]:
The Wolverines have clearly made up substantial ground in a very short period of time, and they’ll have an opportunity to further improve their position when Harris returns to Ann Arbor Sunday for his third visit in as many weeks. That said, Harris made it clear that anyone suggesting that Michigan has unseated Michigan State as the team to beat is off base. Many have questioned whether he still considers himself a Spartan commit, and hasn’t hesitated in offering them an answer.
“Yeah, right now I am,” he said regarding his commit status. “It’s a solid verbal. I said that I don’t have a list right now, but if I did have a list (Michigan) would be somewhere around the top.”
In my opinion, Harris will maintain that Michigan State leads as long as he's still considered a commit—frankly, I'm not sure he has much of a choice in that regard. The Spartans could very well be leading at this juncture, too. The trend of his recruitment, however, points towards an eventual decommitment, with Michigan in a very strong position to take over that top spot sooner or later.
Here's the full visitor list for this weekend, culled from multiple sources, including WolverineNation ($) (2014 prospects unless otherwise noted):
- MI OL Tommy Doles — Doles is likely the only prospect who could be thinking about a commitment this weekend, though that's been the case for a while now and he's yet to pull the trigger.
- MI CB Jalen Embry — Embry is a cornerback prospect out of Detroit King who currently holds a handful of MAC offers. He's making the trip with high school teammate...
- MI LB Carl Fuller — Fuller is one of the better linebacker prospects in the state, though his chances of getting an offer are hurt by what should be a very small Michigan class at the position.
- 2015 OH S Tyree Kinnel — Kinnel, a rising junior from Dayton (OH) Wayne, doesn't hold any offers but has early interest from both the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
- MI DE Malik McDowell — The top player in the state will be in Ann Arbor for the second time in three weeks, but he's still a long way off from a decision.
- IL TE Nic Weishar — The four-star tight end also took an unofficial to Ann Arbor last August, but Michigan may have some ground to cover to catch Notre Dame.
2015 Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell is also a potential visitor, though he's yet to confirm.
[Hit THE JUMP for Da'Shawn Hand's thoughts on his upcoming visit and more.]
Today's recruiting roundup discusses a pair of new 2014 offers, Leon McQuay III's finalized official visit date, and more.
2014 Recruiting Ramps Up
The 2014 recruiting cycle in still in the early stages, but the process is quickly ramping up over the course of the bye week as Michigan's coaching staff finally has (some) free time to review film and visit schools. Two new offers have already gone out this week to a pair of five-star recruits, VA DB Quin Blanding (#6 overall on the 2014 Top247) and VA DT Andrew Brown (#2).
At 6'2", 200 pounds, Blanding has the size and athleticism to play either corner or safety at the collegiate level, though he probably fits best as a safety. He's already garnered offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, FSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia, among several others.
Brown—already listed at 6'4", 282 pounds—has a similarly outstanding offer list featuring Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, FSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. The arrow is probably not necessary in his sophomore highlight tape, because he's the one MURDERING SMALL CHILDREN:
Michigan should pursue Brown heavily assuming he isn't imprisoned for any of the above.
Perhaps the top in-state priority for the Wolverines is Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell, who received a visit from Brady Hoke on Monday. While NCAA rules prevented Hoke from speaking directly with McDowell, he still managed to make a "huge impression" on both the junior lineman and his coach, according to 247's Steve Wiltfong ($). He did this, of course, by being Brady Hoke [emphasis mine]:
“Spent about an hour or so,” Loyola head coach John Callahan said. “Real good visit. Very impressive. I’ll tell you why. I was extremely impressed with how he, we talked a little about their loss (to Notre Dame on Saturday), and he said his only concern was his quarterback was feeling bad and responsible and he felt really bad for the kid. Really genuine. No excuses or no nothing. He was just worried about his kids. That’s the kind of coach you want taking care of your kids. I was real impressed with his demeanor and he said they had to get better.”
If Hoke ever gets tired of this coaching thing, he's got a surefire fallback career as the world's greatest babysitter.
Curt Mallory, meanwhile, is making the rounds on the Atlantic coast, visiting Baltimore Gilman($)—home of 2013 commit Henry Poggi and 2014 CB offer Troy Vincent Jr.—and 2014 Washington D.C. four-star CB Jalen Tabor, who lumped the Wolverines in with Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida as the schools going after him the hardest.
This is also a time for new prospects to hit the radar, including 2014 Orchard Lake St. Mary's DB Jalen Watts-Jackson, who was outstanding at both cornerback and wide receiver in last Friday's victory over Cass Tech. TomVH scored an interview with the junior prospect, who said that he's hearing from Michigan, MSU, and Purdue, and wants to hear more from the Wolverines—his top school and childhood favorite ($).
[The rest of the recruiting roundup, including the lastest on McQuay/Green/Treadwell, after THE JUMP.]