to play football, not to play trumpet
Out of Town Guests
Wow, this would be an awesome recruiting weekend if it weren't for a game in which Michigan is likely going to get taken to the woodshed (plz don't, guys). Looking at past recruiting updates, we have the following list:
- FL CB Tony Grimes
- FL DE Clarence Murphy
- CA LB Tony Jefferson (pictured at right, courtesy of the Detroit News).
- PA CB Cullen Christian
- FL RB Cassius McDowell
- FL S Rashad Knight (leaving for Ann Arbor at 6:45 AM Saturday)
- FL S Commit Marvin Robinson
- 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
- MI CB Dior Mathis
Jefferson came in for the Sam Webb treatment in the Detroit News last week:
"They said they are in need of a player like me," Jefferson said in April after he received his Michigan offer. "They said I could play early at whatever position they think I could play -- outside linebacker, safety, or even offense. They liked my (physicality). That's what Michigan recruits."
He's a 4-star to both sites. MGo-Recruiting Guru Tom Van Haaren adds that Jefferson will not be the only California prospect in attendance. CA WR Kenny Stills will be in town along with CA Ath (and USC Commit) Dillon Baxter. Tom talked to Baxter yesterday. CA RB Brennan Clay, an Oklahoma commit and high school teammate of Tate Forcier, might also make it in. Or not.
SoFlaFootball says FL DT Richard Ash will visit for the Ohio State game as well. Ash comes from the familiar Pahokee pipeline, so Michigan might have a good chance to land him.
Add to that TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum.
FL WR Kenny Shaw will be in the house as well. Remember, he's a former teammate of Ricardo Miller and current teammate of 2011 FL RB (and heavy Michigan lean) Demetrius Hart. Speaking of whom...
Expect a bunch of juniors as well, including Hart. Demetrius may be in the "good visit = commitment" category. 2011 OH S Ron Tanner will also be in attendance ($, info in header).
As previously discussed, GA teammates DT Michael Thornton and LB Tyrone Cornelius will take a fall visit. I wouldn't be surprised if it's for this game, though that's certainly not confirmed.
Added OH S Ray Vinopal, who has received a Michigan offer. Vinopal had been on the radar much, much earlier in the process, but it didn't seem like he'd ever receive an offer. With that offer in hand, expect a winter visit from him. Here's his highlight video, courtesy of ScoutingOhio:
I honestly don't intend to reinforce racial stereotypes, but just from the highlight film, he looks like a guy who is always in position because he plays smart, not because he has elite speed. Vinopal also looks to be a big hitter. Cardinal Mooney is a traditionally strong program, and it couldn't hurt Michigan to have an in there.
For those concerned about his low recruiting profile, it appears that Vinopal's strong senior year is drawing interest from Notre Dame, Pitt, and a number of other local BCS programs. If a couple of those inquiries are followed up with offers, it'll be clear he's a Lewan sort of late bloomer, not a reach.
Cullen Near the End
PA CB Cullen Christian, as noted above, is visiting Ann Arbor this weekend. He had also planned to visit Ohio State last weekend, but that apparently didn't happen. The Buckeyes were one of the prime challengers for his commitment, so not visiting the Buckeyes can only hurt them. He still plans to decide on November 24th, so as long as his Michigan visit doesn't go poorly, he could be the next addition to the 2010 recruiting class.
Christian has made several unofficial visits to Ann Arbor, most recently in June. He is comfortable with what the program has to offer, but wants to spend a few days around the players, coaches and students before rendering his decision.
"I want to get everyone's opinion about Michigan before I make a choice,” Christian said.
Definitely sounds like his mind is all but made up. Michigan has been eliminated from contention for his teammate, S/WR Brandon Ifill, so don't expect a package deal.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who had previously named Michigan near the top of his list, has committed to UCLA. He visited the Bruins a week ago, whereafter he named them his favorite. I'd accept a trade of Olaniyan for Jefferson (a UCLA commit), if it's possible. Olaniyan's off the board.
CA CB Joshua Shaw, who I removed in the last update, picked Florida yesterday.
Permanently removed TX DT Jay Guy, who has switched his soft Cal commitment to a hard Nebraska one.
Spurned commit Holmes Onwukaife may be back in the picture for the Wolverines. Michigan and VT are the leaders for MD LB Josh Furman ($, info in header). MI QB Commit Devin Gardner isn't wavering, which is good because he does things like this. 2011 DL Donte Phillips was "wowed" by his Michigan visit a couple weeks ago ($, info in header). OH TE Alex Smith has parted ways with Cincinnati. He'll make a final decision within a couple weeks.
Just Win, Babby?
Michigan fans have seen what impact a tough season can have on a recruiting class, as the terrible 2008 squad led to attrition from last year's class, and made this year's crop more difficult to pull in. With the Wolverines facing similar struggles in 2009, some recruits may be out of reach, but a few key guys see the team improving:
"It doesn't change anything," said Millersville (Md.) Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman, who officially visited Ann Arbor in September. "They are a young team and they need people at certain positions to play and be successful like they have been (in the past)."
While the losing streak has probably put the likes of MN OL Seantrel Henderson out of reach, Furman is an important recruit, as Michigan's linebackers have... struggled this year. The article also mentions that CA LB Tony Jefferson will visit for the Ohio State game (rescheduled from last weekend), despite MIchigan's trying season. More on visits a little later.
One Game to Sway Them All
As mentioned above, the Ohio State game looks to be an important one for recruiting. Aside from providing an opportunity to show that this ship is headed in the right direction (plz plz win), it's the biggest visit weekend of the year. The list will probably change over the course of the next week, but it's shaping up to be a blockbuster, per Josh Helmholdt in the Freep:
- FL CB Tony Grimes
- FL DE Clarence Murphy
- CA LB Tony Jefferson (as mentioned above)
- PA CB Cullen Christian
- FL RB Cassius McDowell
- FL S Rashad Knight
- FL S Commit Marvin Robinson
- 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
- MI CB Dior Mathis
Aside from that article, GA LB Tyrone Cornelius has talked about visiting Michigan (as mentioned last week), but no word on whether it will be for the OSU game or post-season. CA WR Kenny Stills is in a similar situation. There are also a number of indications that some 2011 prospects will be in attendance, including FL RB Demetrius Hart, a possible commit if he really likes what he sees.
SC QB Commit Conelius Jones's Shrine Bowl profile is now available, and he's listed as a wide receiver, who will be a defensive back at Michigan. Obviously, we won't have full confirmation of his future position until Signing Day.
In other quarterbacking news, MI QB Devin Gardner comes in for a solid round of fluff from Sam Webb in the Detroit News. He's still looking at possibly enrolling early.
"He had a great junior year and has simply built upon that," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He is considered one of the top handful of quarterbacks in the country and is firmly entrenched as a five-star prospect. As far as upside goes, I don't see many quarterbacks that have his potential."
Rivals recently named Gardner the best scrambler among 2010 QBs, and the second-strongest arm, behind Penn State Commit Robert Bolden. At this time, I am obligated to grumble that I think Bolden is overrated.
LA QB Munchie LeGeaux committed to Colorado. Once Michigan took Conelius Jones, the writing was probably on the wall that LeGeaux was no longer an option.
Though CA CB Josh Shaw was talking as recently as last week about taking an official visit to Michigan for the Ohio State game, that's no longer a possibility. He will decide early next week between 5 schools that aren't Michigan: Florida, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and LSU. I'ma be straight with you: one of those things is reallllly not like the others.
PA DT Shariff Floyd has been alternately not very interested in Michigan and not at all interested in Michigan, so the latest sign of no interest (he will fill his final official visit slot with North Carolina) isn't quite cause to remove him from the board. Michigan is totally not landing that kid, though.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan was positively raving about Michigan following his unofficial visit in September, but now UCLA may have moved to the forefront. That does give him a reputation for falling in love with the most recent school he's visited, so don't read too much into it. Still, there's no mention of an official visit to Michigan in December, as there was immediately after his first trip.
Olaniyan said he plans to take two more visits in December and then make his decision.
"I have Duke set for (Dec. 4) and North Carolina (Dec. 11)," Olaniyan said. "I'll make my commitment right after those visits. If I get invited to an All-American game, I'll announce then in January but otherwise, I'll do it in mid-December after my last visit."
Yeah, so that probably means Michigan has really fallen off.
OH S/WR Bobby Swigert has selected Boston College.
Michigan's chance at TX DT Jatashun Beachum is "big" ($, info in header). Michigan offered MN DE Tobi Okuyemi... but he immediately committed to Nebraska. GA DT Mike Thornton has the Wolverines "in his thoughts" ($, info in header).
Welcome to the Fold, Carvin Johnson
Sure to be the subject of many "Calvin Johnson with a Korean accent" jokes over the next 4+ years, LA S Carvin Johnson became the 20th member of Michigan's 2010 recruiting class last night. The full googlestalk of the under-the-radar prospect can be seen in the Hello: Carvin Johnson post, but there's still a little more info out there to be had, namely an article from nola.com. Relevant bits quoted below:
Johnson said also spoke Tuesday night to both Wolverines running backs coach Fred Jackson, who had recruited him since Michigan extended its official offer during August two-a-day practices. Johnson said reached his decision in consultation with his mother Kim.
That's a slight inconsistency with other stories, which said he was offered in May. Continuing along:
"First of all," Roth said, "everybody who knows Carvin or who has been around him knows that he’s as good of a person as he is a football player. That’s a compliment to him and his momma. Football-wise, he’s a ballhawk. He’s always around the football making plays."
Johnson, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, with 4.7 speed in the 40, projects as a safety at Michigan. He is fully qualified academically with both the necessary core curriculum grade-point-average and test score, Roth said.
So, not only a (hopefully) good football player, but also a good student. Welcome, Carvin, may you be the first of many DB commits in November.
BONUS: A Lousiana high school coach emailed MGoBlog to suggest that just because Johnson is virtually unknown to the recruiting sites doesn't mean that he's not a player:
With regards to your posts on Carvin Johnson, I can tell you that you are wrong on your assessment.
As a veteran Louisiana high school football coach at several highly successful programs, I have had players go on and play all over the country and on to the pros. I have also had kids play for RRod at Tulane, Clemson and WVU. RRod knows the type of football we play here in LA and picks and chooses which schools he recruits. … RRod knows this state and which schools produce college-ready players.
Carvin Johnson is not even one of my players – but I have played against his Rummel team and know Jay Roth and his program well. Carvin Johnson can play. Here in LA, we do not send kids to camps to get hyped up. We know our kids can play. If a LA kid is going to combines, it is very much more than likely due to (a) his high school coach trying to get exposure for himself or (b) because his program isn’t any good, but he plays well. Trust me, this is how it is.
You are getting a solid player – big, physical, coached up, football smart.
Just my nickel’s worth of commentary because that kid can play. I saw him 1st hand from my own sideline earlier this season when his team eked out a victory against us. Carvin can play and Jay is a good coach.
So there you go: evidence that Johnson is a sleeper in a good way.
Reverse Manifest Destiny
Last week, mgoblog's own TomVH reported that CA S Tony Jefferson would visit MIchigan for the Purdue game. WTKA's Ira Weintraub e-mailed to let us know that the date has changed, and now Jefferson will be in town for the contest against the Buckeyes. Greg Biggins of ESPN confirms that he will now visit the weeekend of the 21st.
Also in town from the left coast will be CA WR Kenny Stills. He also says:
"I talk all the time with [CA RB] Brennan Clay, Tony Jefferson, [CA CB] Joshua Shaw, [CA DE] Ronald Powell, a few others," Stills said. "There's a good chance a lot of us could be at the same school next year and that would be great.
Stills, Shaw, and Jefferson, plz. I believe Josh Shaw will complete that trifecta by also visiting for the OSU game. He has said he wants to take a Michigan visit, and that would be the perfect time to get him on campus.
In which I emulate Sherlock Holmes to an unnecessary degree
Remember back when GA DT Michael Thornton said he might take an official visit to Michigan at some point? TomVH confirms, via Twitter, that this will indeed happen. Considering that he's the only Georgia DT that Michigan is still heavily recruiting, we can assume this Scout header is about him, no?:
Georgia LB to Visit Michigan
GBW's Eugene Hankerson talked to the player - who plans to visit with his DT-Teammate.
Using a little detective work, we discover that there are three prospects in the Rivals database who are linebackers from Stephenson High School: Jabari Johnson, Franchot West, and Tyrone Cornelius.
Johnson doesn't have a picture available on his Scout profile, so he's out (otherwise the header photo for the article would be his profile picture). That leaves West and Cornelius. Let us compare the photographic evidence:
Cornelius, Mystery Man, and West
The mgo-photo analysis provides indisputable evidence: It's Mr. Cornelius, with the official visit, in the Big House.
I got way too much enjoyment out of this. Cornelius had been thinking about a Michigan visit for a while, FWIW.
FL LB Christian Jones is apparently still considering Michigan ($, info in header). I've re-added him to the board, since it seems like a lot of recruits are trying to stay as far as possible away from Florida State. Still, even getting him on campus would be a minor recruiting coup.
Part of the reason VA LB Aramide Olaniyan's is on the open market is that Duke was supposed to suck this year, and they did nothing to change those predictions in week one, falling at home to 1-AA Richmond. However, the Blue Devils have since rebounded, and now control their destiny in the ACC Coastal. Olaniyan is back to considering the Blue Devils, although Michigan still remains near the top of his list.
It was apparent that he wasn't headed to Michigan for a while, but now we know where FL RB Eduardo Clements will play his college ball: Miami (YTM).
FL CB Ricardo Allen committed to Purdue.
2011 OH DE Steve Miller has committed to Ohio State, which is sad, but not unexpected. I at least thought he'd give Michigan an unofficial visit or two.
Speaking of 2011, it's been a while since we've had an update on junior prospects. Athlete Vault has released an initial top 100 and relevant prospects at this time are:
#2 FL DT Timmy Jernigan (Michigan offer, but probably a Florida lock)
#3 AZ OT Christian Westerman (Michigan offer)
#10 GA TE Jay Rome (Michigan offer)
#12 MI LB Lawrence Thomas (Michigan offer, favors MSU)
#15 OH QB Braxton Miller (Michigan offer, favors OSU)
#27 FL S Hasean Clinton-Dix (Michigan interest, Dr. Phillips)
#35 FL WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin (Michigan interest)
#50 NC QB Christian LeMay (Michigan offer and camper, probably a lock to Florida)
#52 OH LB Trey DePriest (Michigan offer)
#54 DE Jalen Grimble (Michigan offer, added to the board)
#84 TX S Sheroid Evans (Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk HS)
#91 OH DE Chris Rock (Michigan interest)
#100 FL RB Demetrius Hart (Michigan lock)
Several other guys on the list will probably be of interest by the time 2011 recruiting truly ramps up.
For his part, Sheroid Evans would like to run track and major in engineering in college. Somebody get this kid on the phone with Troy Woolfolk and Patrick Omameh, stat.
Lawrence Thomas, on the other hand, is the subject of a ridiculously-misleading ESPN headline: "Mich. LB favors another Big Ten school" is a phrase which here means "Penn State is a school he is considering." The article itself even explicitly says he has no favorites.
SoFlaFootball also has its top 50 for 2011.
People close to MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment are "beginning to think" he'll probably end up at Southern Cal. Uh, no, they've pretty much thought that all along. Notre Dame homers, on the other hand, think it's a 2-horse race between them and Ohio State. MI RB Jeremy Langford visited Michigan recently ($, info in header), I'd be surprised if an offer comes through. Michigan is pursuing post-grad VA DE David Mackall, currently a Maryland commit ($, info in header). I've added him to the board. SC CB John Fulton is selected to the Shrine Bowl. PA CB Cullen Christian no longer a lock? Say it ain't so! Is FL WR Kenny Shaw still interested in Michigan? A possible official visit would seem to imply so.
As always, you can see all the updates on the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
The Penn State game had been built up (at least in my mind) as a pretty big visit weekend, but it's cooled off a bit, and the November 21st weekend, when the Wolverines play Some Team from South of Here, should be the blockbuster weekend now. Still, there are a couple noticeable visitors for this Saturday.
OH TE Alex Smith, a longtime Cincinnati commit who has been considering Michigan for a while, will make his long-awaited trip to Ann Arbor this weekend. His school, Lakota West, also has a number of other D-1 prospects, including OH LB Alex Smith, but none of them are considering Michigan.
PA DT Sharrif Floyd's on-again, off-again visit to Ann Arbor this weekend appears to be off-again. He won't take any more visits until his high school season is completed. Er... since then, he's said that Ohio State will be his destination this week, and any report of Michigan interest is "just a rumor." That sounds... discouraging. Floyd is also excited to prove himself at the Army AA Bowl.
MN OL Seantrel Henderson is in a similar situation, with his Michigan visit for this weekend shrouded in mystery.
CA S Dietrich Riley enjoyed his Notre Dame visit (as did his buddy, CA CB Josh Shaw), and a Michigan visit doesn't seem to be set in stone, as it was earlier in the process. Also, local Riley fluff. Dietrich Riley picture by Keith Birmingham for the Pasadena Star-News.
GA DT Michael Thornton may take an official visit at a later date.
SC CB John Fulton will apparently visit Michigan November 28th, the week after the season ends. Something tells me that's not accurate, since there's no need to do it that soon after the season, especially with the basketball team out of town. I'd guess that visit is actually for the OSU game a week prior.
Still Seeking Linebackers
Josh Helmholdt shares in the Free Press that a couple new linebackers have entered Michigan's radar. FL LBs Jeremiah George and Greg Hickman have been hearing from the Wolverines, and both are supposedly true MLB types. Also from the article, the Wolverines are taking a look at MI LB Michael Kinville from Detroit Catholic Central, the alma mater of Mike Martin. All three of those gentlemen will be added to the board.
Meanwhile, OH LB Jewone Snow visits Morgantown, no Michigan mention (grumble grumble).
Though he maintains an official top 5 of Michigan, West Virginia, UCLA, Ohio State, and Pitt, ESPN certainly gives the vibe that the Wolverines and the Mountaineers are the only two teams remaining for PA CB Cullen Christian. He has plenty of nice things to say about Michigan:
On the flip side, Rodriguez and Christian maintain regular contact, Christian said. "I talk to him all the time. He tells me they really want me. I'm No. 1 on their board. He tells me I'll fit right in. He tells me that all the time -- trying to get it stuck in my head."
Christian has been talking with people close to the Michigan program about exactly what it's like to play for Rodriguez, in Ann Arbor. "He seems like a cool dude to me," Christian said. "He was real laid back."
But from what Christian has been told by those who are already in the program at UM, Rodriguez's laid back vibe from the recruiting trail can change. "What everybody's telling me, he's real intense when you get up there. The intense one up there is [strength and conditioning coach] Mike Barwis. He's intense all the time," said Christian.
He says some nice things about West Virginia as well, but nothing as positive as the Michigan portion. He still plan a visit for the OSU game and a decision immediately thereafter.
As for Christian's teammate, PA S/WR Brandon Ifill, the list has been narrowed to Pitt and Maryland. Michigan isn't going to get Ifill, and the Penn Hills duo will probably go to different schools. I've removed Ifill from the recruiting board, although his final decision won't come for a couple months.
MI LB Lawrence Thomas is considered a heavy MSU lean, but Michigan was his childhood favorite:
"Michigan meant a lot to me when I was growing up," Thomas said. "When I was young I saw them in all the bowls, so they were one of those dream schools."
They may be able to work that angle to good results. Thomas has also gotten bigtime, scoring offers from the like of Florida, Oklahoma, and Penn State. He won't make a decision until his senior season, which is still a year away.
In other "2011 Instate recruits blowin' up" news, MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has garnered offers from Oregon and LSU, with Oklahoma likely on the way. Also from that article, MI WR Kenny Knight is apparently getting Michigan interest. I've been looking for information on the kid for a looooong time, and this is officially the first recruiting news I've seen on him.
While we're on the topic, the 2011 Recruiting Board should debut a little bit later this week. Stay tuned.
EDIT:OR RIGHT NOW. 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan is still "in touch" with Clemson. Local recruiting fluff on OH OL Skyler Schofner, who sounds like he's not considering the Wolverines anymore. Might MI WR commit Ricardo Miller visit UCLA with FL WR Kenny Shaw? I'd be surprised.
As always, you can see the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board for all the updates.
Next week's recruiting update will take a step back and look at remaining needs in the class, and the likelihood that they get filled.
Welcome Will Hagerup
As covered on Sunday, WI P Will Hagerup committed to Michigan during his official visit to Ann Arbor. Hagerup is the nation's #1 or #3 punter, depending on which service you trust. He'll fill the Space Emperor's role when Zoltan graduates following this year. For more information on, Check sunday's post.
In other puntin' news, AZ P Jordan Morgan (not that Jordan Morgan) was in the house for the Wolverines' victory over Indiana. With Michigan taking a commitment from Hagerup, however, Morgan is probably no longer on the radar except as a preferred walk-on.
Needs Moar DB Talent
CA CB Joshua Shaw has replaced an SEC team on his list with a Big Ten one ($, info in header). He's also scheduled a visit to aforementioned Big Ten school. Using our critical thinking skills, we can deduce that the Big Ten school is Michigan, which he had previously said was just on the outside of his top group.
Another big time corner has long been favoring the Wolverines, and things haven't changed for PA CB Cullen Christian. If Ohio State offers him, they'll move into his top 5, but the Michigan still holds the top spot. He'll likely visit for the Penn State game.
FL S Demar Dorsey is committed to Florida, but still considering Michigan. His pledge to the Gators is being "firmed up," so it's unclear whether there's enough of an opening to grab him.
Michigan was dropped a while back by SC CB John Fulton, but the Wolverines' good season has moved them back into his consciousness ($, info in header). Michigan is still on the hunt for elite DBs (if you've watched them play, you know why), and their pool of options is expanding.
Michigan is in strong position for VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who visited for the Notre Dame game. There have been lots of articles to that effect, with no actual new information, so this should be the last one unless there's an actual update.
CT LB Khairi Fortt is announcing a decision on Monday. All conventional wisdom points toward Penn State, but Michigan is on his list of finalists. Still, I'd be shocked if he picked the maize-and-blue.
...and now for some video on MD LB Josh Furman, a more realistic option for Michigan:
King's Travels and other Tales of Defensive Linemen
The odd saga of NC DE/DT Gabe King continued last week, when he moved from North Carolina to Oregon. He had been declared ineligible to play his senior season in the state of North Carolina, and will be able to play at South Eugene High School in Oregon. I guess this lends credence to the conventional wisdom floating around that he's a lock to end up on the West Coast, no?
As miniscule as Michigan's chances were before the move, they've shrunk even more now. Look for King to end up at Oregon or Cal, barring a complete shocker. Considering he's "walking distance" from UO, they're likely the favorite.
As discussed in last week's update, MN DT Beau Allen has been offered. Michigan will have to fight a number of programs if they are to land him, including Notre Dame ad Stanford.
In other defensive tackle news, PA DT Sharrif Floyd is still considering Michigan, although he doesn't have plans to take an official visit:
“Those aren’t my final five,” Floyd said. “I wouldn’t even call them my top five. They are just the five I scheduled for my official visits. I’m also looking at Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College and West Virginia.”
So Michigan is in a murky Top 9-ish situation for Floyd. The 5 officials he has planned are Florida (two weeks ago), USC (last weekend), Penn State, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The chances of landing him aren't great, but they're (slightly) better than zero.
Miami DT commit Louis Nix is wavering, and is considering Michigan for an official visit. The Wolverines are in a second group behind the Hurricanes and Notre Dame, but if he does manage to make it to campus, Coach Rod and Co. have a chance.
The interior of the line apparently isn't the only place Michigan is still looking for help. They looked to the school of CB target Tony Grimes, and offered his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy ($, info in header). Surprise, surprise, that's rocketed the Wolverines near the top of his list ($, info in header). His other offers come from schools like Wisconsin, Maryland, and Florida International, so Michigan could put themselves in pretty good position.
For the future
The 2011 news has been slow in the past couple weeks, but FL RB Demetrius Hart is a kid who many expect to eventually pick Michigan. He went off in his high school game on Friday. The evidence of said performance begins about a minute into this poorly produced video. [Editor's note: OH SNAP.]
NY Ath Quentin Gause is hearing from Michigan, and it may not be a coincidence that the Wolverines are the first school he mentions. A commitment is a long way off, but Gause may be leaning Blue at this early stage. He plans to take a set of unofficial visits when his high school season ends.
Michigan appears to be fading for OH TE Alex Smith. "Spartans winning with recruits," unfortunately for them not on field. I believe I forgot to mention this last week, but I removed CJ Olaniyan, who has committed to Penn State, as well as the similarly-committed NY DE Dominique Easley. Josh Helmholdt says most recruiting visitors will come to the Penn State or Ohio State games. I missed this a while back, but OH WR commit DJ Williamson had ankle surgery at the beginning of the month ($, info in header).
Alltime updates can be found in the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
Your Breathless Seantrel Henderson Update Returns!
It's been a while since I've talked about the recruitment of MN OL Seantrel Henderson (Photo by the Pioneer Press) in Wednesday Recruitin', so this should be a pretty serious update, especially considering that he's one of the most-discussed recruits in recent memory. First, we head to ESPN and Steve Wiltfong:
"The choice will ultimately be up to Seantrel, but we're trying our best to make sure he gets the best experience," said Sean Henderson, Seantrel's father.
Not that I'm going to accuse any parental tampering here, but this quote is fairly ironic, considering Seantrel started the recruiting process saying "I'm not interested in Notre Dame." The instant his father took over the media correspondence, Notre Dame was suddenly among his favorites, and they're now receiving an official visit. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Also of note from the article:
Besides the schools he's taking official visits to [ed.: ND, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Florida] and Minnesota, the five-star Henderson is also considering Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin.
That's still a top-10 list, and there's a lot of time before Signing Day, when he plans to decide. All teams still have a somewhat-legit chance at landing the guy.
Local fluff on Seantrel. For what it's worth, he still plans to try both football and basketball at his school of choice. The emergence of Michigan's basketball program can only help the Wolverines in that regard.
Tim Brewster took to a helicopter to impress local recruits, including Henderson (photo from MNdaily.com). In an article on the same topic, his high school coach implies that there may be some (slight) academic concerns with Seantrel:
"He'll always take care of the football part of it," Scanlan said. "I just hope he gets his homework done and that he is getting everything taken care of when he comes back on Monday. That's the part that might be a concern. Because there are so many distractions; he's really focused on football. Let's just make sure that school takes care of itself, too."
Keep on eye on that, though it doesn't sound like he's in danger of not qualifying.
Seantrel is writing a weekly diary for the Pioneer Press, and I hope this is just an unfortunate coincidence in paragraph structure:
I heard this week from Ohio State, USC, Michigan and Oklahoma. It is tough sometimes to tell a school you aren't really interested...
Considering it's the Wolverines among a group of his top schools, I don't think that's intended to imply that he's uninterested in any of those programs.
Doug Lesmerises gives fluff from Seantrel's official visit, including a couple relevant quotes:
"Mostly I want to know about academics," Henderson says. "I want to learn about that if I'm going to be staying here for three years or whenever, and I want to know the people I'm surrounded by. I didn't know Ohio State was like, the biggest school. I didn't know they were so high on the academics and they give a lot of help to athletes."
Obligatory laughing at each part of the last sentence for entirely different reasons. For the record, Seantrel enjoyed his visit to Columbus, though there was nothing really said other than standard post-visit quotes (aside from his dad thinking Oklahoma is still in the Big 8, of course).
And, after that huge information dump, I'll editorialize for minute. Henderson (unlike many prospects) realizes that it's talent, and not school choice, that will get him to the NFL. Sure, he can pick up better coaching at some places than others, but if he's an NFL player, he's an NFL player, regardless of where he goes. Because of that understanding, the two biggest factors in his recruitment are expected to be education (check) and ability to win a championship while he's in school.
There's been a lot of murky insider-y talk about Michigan being one of Seantrel's favorite schools, but he's uncertain over whether he'd be able to win a championship in Ann Arbor. The fast start to the season really helps in that regard, especially beating one of his other contenders, in Notre Dame. If the Wolverines keep winning, they can really help themselves with a number of prospects, Henderson not least among them.
Your Quarterbacking Overlord Fears No Man
There has been some internet hand-wringing about what will happen to the commitment status of MI QB Devin Gardner with Tate Forcier having such a good stellar season. However, there's nothing to worry about. Devin thinks Tate looks very good, and he's not worried about competing against a possibly-entrenched starter. He'll compete to earn playing time, and if he doesn't get any of those minutes, he'll accept a redshirt.
Because it's Clear they're Needed...
...Michigan is still pursuing a number of linebackers. The main options:
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a soft commit to Duke for quite some time, and his visit to Michigan seemed to have softened it even further. Since his interest in the Blue Devils has been waning, he made it official, decommitting from Duke. That's a good sign for Michigan, especially considering how much he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor. He's taking another one sometime this winter, so if Michigan wants him, they appear to have as good a shot as any.
MD LB Josh Furman had long been planning to announce a decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl in December, but now it seems like a decision may be coming sooner ($, info in header). He was also in attendance for the Michigan-Notre Dame Game, which again is probably a good thing, considering it came shortly after heading to Ann Arbor.
MD LB Troy Gloster is a third realistic option, and he has had the Wolverines near the top of his list for quite some time now. Now it appears as though they're in a top 2 with West Virginia, and a decision might be coming before the end of his high school season ($, info in header). If such a decision does indeed happen, Michigan would at least know where it stands in it linebacker hunt.
If Michigan is unable to land any of those three linebackers, there are a couple prospects slightly lower on the recruiting board that they still have a chance at landing. One such player is OH LB Jewone Snow, son of Michigan great Garland Rivers (and nephew of Michigan State's Percy and Eric Snow). He'll observe the in-state battle on October 3rd, which may help him decide which team he likes more. Of course, one reason I'm personally enamored with Snow is his connection to 2011 OH DE Steve Miller, one of the top prospects in the Buckeye State.
In the Trenches
Though they'd fallen off his radar, the Wolverines have put themselves back on it for NC DE/DT Gabe King. Still, his coach has a lot of connections out west (his two favorites are Oregon and Cal), and he's now moving to Oregon, so don't expect MIchigan to seriously contend for him(King photo by Roy Philpott for the Detroit News).
MN DT Beau Allen was receptive when Michigan finally came after him, but it appears as though they may have been too late. He has a top four, with a couple schools trailing behind, and Michigan is nowhere to be found.