Assume The Position: Quarterback
With a few targets coming off the board over the past couple weeks (most recently FL QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was never actually offered), we have a little more clarity on what the coaching staff will do with the quarterback position in this recruiting class. First things first: It's obvious that they want one. I don't think they'll be freaking out if they don't land a signal-caller, but they're aiming for one. This might mean a position switch for 2010 commit Conelius Jones earlier than fans expected.
First, let's take a look at offered prospects who remain on the board:
NC QB Marquise Williams (pictured at right)
6-3, 215, 4.7 [Video]
NR Rivals, 4* (#17 QB) Scout, 4* 79 (#13 QB) ESPN, #25 Overall (#5 QB) Tom Lemming.
Williams may be the best system fit for Michigan among the offered guys, and the Wolverines are in his top group, guaranteed an official visit. North Carolina seems to be the strongest competition at this point. He plans a Michigan official visit for the MSU game.
OH QB Cardale Jones
6-5, 220, 4.9 [Video]
NR Rivals, 3* (#31 QB) Scout, 3* 79 (#17 QB) ESPN.
The Buckeyes are done at QB for 2011. The Buckeyes may end up adding Glenville's Cardale Jones to this recruiting class, but if they do it won't be as a quarterback.
He has many options outside of Michigan (including the Spartans, and even Penn State), so no Buckeye offer doesn't necessarily push him toward Ann Arbor.
FL QB Jerrard Randall
6-2, 190, 4.5 [Video]
4* 5.8 Rivals, 3* (#19 QB) Scout, 4* 80 (#8 QB) ESPN.
Randall, a teammate of FL WR Curt Evans and S Jonathan Aiken, is one of the longer shots among the guys already holding offers, along with Hundley. The Chaminade-Madonna trio seems to be very hot-and-cold on Michigan - and they all appear to like Ohio State much more than the Wolverines. It seems, however, that Columbus is not longer an option for Randall.
AZ QB Brett Hundley
6-4, 210, 4.7 [Video]
4* 5.8 (#216 Overall) Rivals, 4* (#5 QB) Scout, 4* 81 (#5 QB) ESPN, #40 Overall (#4 QB) Sporting News.
I hadn't realized he's an Arizona legacy. He's more of an athletic pocket guy than a true dual-threat, but he can move. Michigan will have to fight with a number of top programs for his signature, especially West Coast teams.
...And then there are a few guys who aren't holding offers, but could be receiving one down the road, including FL QB Kevin Sousa, who's been openly hoping for one.
Last week, Sam Webb talked wide receiver recruiting in the Detroit News, and this week he follows that up with a look at three more prospects looking to fill that second outside spot in the Michigan recruiting class. We'll start with OH WR Devin Smith:
"Smith shows all the things you want from a young receiver projected to become a big-time player," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "It's the deep routes where Smith can really excel, as he's got the quickness to elude and accelerate with a burst to separate from a defender and release deep." ...
"Most of the college coaches have told me they like the way I come off the ball, the way I use my explosiveness and quickness," he told Scout.com. "My route running is pretty good. Most of all, the way I attack the football in the air (is really good). I make sure that thing is mine and only mine. I'll fight any defensive back for the football."
The former teammate of JT Turner plans to take all of his official visits before coming to a final decision. Moving along to FL WR Ja'Juan Story (at right):
"The first thing that jumps out at you about Story is the way he's built," said Scout.com Florida analyst Mike Bakas. "At 6-4 and close to 200 pounds already, he has the look of a major Division I receiver right now. He's a mismatch nightmare at this level because of his size. Unfortunately for him, his team doesn't throw the ball a whole lot, so he really hasn't been able to dominate games at this level like his talent level indicates. He's a playmaker, though, who has found other ways to make a difference. He's not a speed burner, but is plenty fast enough and has good enough ball skills to be a major BCS-caliber prospect."
Story wants to major in sports medicine, which should help Michigan out. Webb also had a Story update on GoBlueWolverine, and Michigan is "gaining ground" ($, info in header). Finally, SC WR Hakeem Flowers is also a candidate for that spot:
"Physically, Hakeem Flowers has all the tools to be a top-flight prospect," said Scout.com South Carolina analyst Kerry Fair. "College coaches will love his height and athleticism. Hakeem is also a track star and he shows that speed on the football field as well, especially considering his long stride and top end speed."
Flowers hopes to get to Ann Arbor over the summer.
...The Receivin' category segues nicely into Happy Trails, as one of the fine young gentlemen featured in last week's receiver update is now off the board.
MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has released a top six without Michigan, and says he will now consider only seven schools, including USC, Cal, Oklahoma, MSU, Tennessee, Iowa, and seventh-place Miami (Yes That Miami). Arnett told Tom that he likes Michigan, but thinks the only college spread that will get him to the NFL is found in Norman, Oklahoma. Percy Harvin and Arrelious Benn couldn't be reached for comment. For the whole scoop, check out DeAnthony Arnett Top 6.
OH QB Braxton Miller's commitment to Ohio State doesn't mean that OH LB Trey DePriest is necessarily bound for the Buckeyes as well. Still, he missed the last several UM recruiting events, and has narrowed his list to Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida.
A number of prospects come off the board because they committed to other schools:
- FL QB Teddy Bridgewater to Miami (as mentioned above).
- FL RB Mike Bellamy to Clemson.
- IN DT Joel Hale to Ohio State.
- MD DT Vincent Croce to Virginia.
- PA LB Ben Kline to Pitt.
Some of this stuff will help with paring down the list to 70 or so serious prospects.
Future Visits, Near And Far
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has scheduled his Michigan official visit ($, info in header), and according to The Wolverine Blog, that will be for the Michigan State game. Though Michigan has a number of factors working in its favor for his recruitment (including his closeness to Taylor Lewan, and the fact that he likes playing in the cold), it's not all sunshine and roses - Andre likes the Pac-10 the most.
OH OL Ryan Kelly plans to visit Michigan again this summer, according to a VolNation article.
Ryan has already been active with visits, and has several more planned for this summer. “Well I’m 20 minutes from Cincinnati so distance wise that one works out. I will visit Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State all within a month period. I’m also hoping to go to Michigan again as well. I’ve already visited Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Alabama.”
Michigan is the only school that he's already visited that is in for a repeat trip, which is a positive sign. The Under Armour All-American hopes to commit before his senior year, but is not set on that timeframe.
FL DT Tim Jernigan is still mentioning Michigan in his top group, and says he wants to visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
Rod Smith and Rich Rodriguez are his primary contacts in Ann Arbor.
Last week, we learned that GA CB Avery Walls plans to take an official visit to Michigan. A midseason commitment ($, info in header) would keep the Wolverines fresh in his mind at decision time.
IN RB Remound Wright has picked up a verbal Michigan offer, and plans a summer decision ($, info in header). There's an MGoBoard thread with a little more info on him, including the tidbit that his dad is a Michigan fan, from Indiana Wolverine.
ESPN.com's Steve Wiltfong embarks on an in-depth profile of MI RB Justice Hayes (pictured at right), comparing him to another Flint-area running back - reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram. His top list is surprising, given that he'd recently seemed to cool on Michigan:
Four years later, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Hayes is one of the most sought-after recruiting targets in the Midwest. Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee make up the four-star prospect's top four, with Michigan State and Northwestern still strongly in the mix.
I wonder whether the author of the article inadvertently switched the Spartans and Wolverines. However, since the Wolverines may be strongly back in the picture, let's take a look at his game:
"The way he starts and stops is phenomenal," said Delaney, who has been at Grand Blanc for 18 seasons. "He makes people miss with that side-to-side stuff, and he goes from stop to full speed very quickly. But probably the best thing is his hands out of the backfield. He catches the ball better than any kid I've ever had out of the backfield, and that includes Mark Ingram, who had great hands. Justice runs great routes out of the backfield, and hardly ever drops the ball."
I still think Hayes will only end up in Michigan's class if FL RB Demetrius Hart opts to go elsewhere.
CA WR Desman Carter is hearing from Michigan.
NJ Ath/WR Miles Shuler now holds a Florida offer. He is also the second-fastest high schooler in New Jersey history.
I added (unoffered) MI TE Nate Dreslinski, who impressed at Michigan's camp and seems to be interested in the Wolverines.
Michigan leads for MI OL Anthony Zettel ($, info in header), but his Penn State offer came through late last week, so that might shake up his leaderboard. He told ESPN he wants to visit the remainder of his top six schools that he hasn't yet seen. He won the State Championship in shotput over the weekend.
MI OL Jake Fisher is starting to gain some D-1 interest. He reportedly impressed at Michigan's Elite Camp, so keep an eye on him.
SC DT Phillip Dukes plans to visit Michigan. The Wolverines currently stand in about his #6 spot.
Though there are some positive signs for Michigan in the recruitment of NC LB Kris Frost, he's still visiting Auburn on what seems like a regular basis ($, info in header).
MD S/WR Brandon Phelps has apparently been offered by Michigan, to go along with tenders from the likes of LSU, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway may have trouble being eligible to play high school ball this fall (NOOOOOOOOOOO nearby Friday Night Lights roadtrips jeopardized!), because of a residency issue. Due to a family issue, his high school coach at Seaholm has become his guardian. However, said coach lives outside the Seaholm district, in Clarkston. Conway, then, would have to play for Clarkston - except he would have to sit out the fall semester due to transferring schools. I'll have more on Conway coming soon.
Tom's new weekly recruiting update features AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, LA DT Mickey Johnson, MI LB Ed Davis, IN LB Nick Temple, and FL OL Tony Posada. Check it out to get the latest on those prospects.
OH RB William Mahone "came away extremely impressed" with Michigan ($, info in header) after hitting campus for the Wolverines' Elite Camp over the weekend.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board is your place for all-time updates. One important note before we get into individual prospects. Coach Rodriguez recently said the coaching staff will narrow its focus from about 150 offered prospects to "around 70" players. This may make me a little more comfortable removing guys that are less-discussed. The Michigan Elite Camp is this weekend, so that will provide a little clarity as well.
Chris Rock Goes Blue
Michigan gained a commitment from OH DE Chris Rock over the weekend (not the comedian). Unsurprisingly, the local papers in Columbus didn't pick up on the story, but Magnus breaks down his game on Touch the Banner:
To be honest, I'm not enamored with Rock. A large part of that is due to the fact that his highlight film is full of offensive linemen completely forgetting to block him. I find it difficult to get excited about a player who accrues a bunch of sacks while barreling unimpeded into the offensive backfield...
My biggest issue with Rock is that he stands straight up on the snap. He's able to push around weaker players when playing so high, but if he tried to push around a 310 lb. Big Ten tackle like that, Rock would get tossed around like a rag doll. He doesn't use his hands well to shed blocks, and he also finds himself losing contain a little too frequently. He has decent speed for a 250-pounder, so he can make up for his poor fundamentals at times. But some of his habits are less than ideal.
For more on Rock, read the Hello: Chris Rock post.
We transition from good news right into stuff not so positive, as a few prospects are coming off the board:
- AR QB Kiehl Frazier. He officially narrowed his list to Arkansas and Auburn last week, and then Black Righty Tebow committed to Auburn.
- OH QB Braxton Miller. He will choose between OSU (the likely destination), Florida, Notre Dame, and Alabama tomorrow.
- SC OL Brandon Shell. He's named a final 5 consisting entirely of Southern schools.
- FL CB Nick Waisome. He named a top 7 without Michigan in it.
Assume The Position: Wide Receiver
I did one of these a few weeks ago (for tight end), and with the amount of information available this week, it's time to take a closer look at the wide receiver position.
Michigan currently has one wide receiver commit, in Shawn Conway out of Birmingham Seaholm High School. Conway is a big outside leaper with great hands, in the mold of Braylon Edwards (though likely not as good, he probably won't have a case of the dropsies on easy balls, either). With the numbers of offers and visits taking place, it's clear that the Wolverines want one more outside guy, and maybe a slot receiver if they can find an elite one.
Fortunately for us, Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News focused on on the wideout position last week, and ran down a few of the Wolverines' top targets. I don't intend to steal Sam's thunder by blockquoting too much of his article, but since the News evilly (and idiotically - good luck finding people to pay for it) puts its articles behind a paywall after a week, I'll be a little more liberal. Please click through to make up for it.
Sammy Watkins (at right):
"Sammy Watkins is the total package as a WR prospect," said Scout.com Florida analyst Geoff Vogt. "He can flat run, has incredibly light feet which allows him to make players miss in the open field, and a body to be that prototype 6-3, 215-pounder down the road.
"I have watched him snare balls thrown as bullets down the middle of the field and he will just leisurely catch them with one hand. He has elite hands. He runs very clean routes and understands how to get separation.
"While I view him as a WR prospect, Sammy could easily be a big-time safety if he chose to go that route."
Michigan, Miami (YTM), and Florida are his top 3. DeAnthony Arnett:
The second-rated prospect in the state dominated opponents in seven-on-seven competitions throughout the winter and spring thanks to his precise route-running and impressive quickness.
"It seems like every camp DeAnthony goes to, he kills it," said Scout.com Midwest analyst Allen Trieu. "He continued to impress with his route-running, hands, and ball skills at the Michigan Football Showcase. He made the play of the tournament when he went up between two defenders and made an outstanding catch to win a game. Arnett continues to move up in our eyes and has proven to be one of the very best in country."
If Michigan has a good season, the Wolverines will probably get back into the mix for Arnett. Theyr'e currently on the outside looking in. AJ Jordan:
"One of the top players in Ohio in his class," his Scout.com profile reads. "Also ranked one of the top 4 hurdlers in the nation. A smooth route runner with a great burst, he can make plays anywhere on the field and makes defenses game-plan against him."
On the recruiting roundup, Sam said Michigan is "definitely in the driver's seat" for Jordan. He'll decide earlier than the other two guys. Those are the three hottest prospects from a Michigan perspective, but there are a few more on the radar should all of these fall through. Michigan also has its eye on a few sot receivers, including NJ ATH Miles Shuler - though Northwestern leads ($, info in header - and MD ATH Darius Jennings.
Scout has had their 2011 prospects rankings out for a while, but the other two sites are slowly-but-surely releasing theirs. Both ESPN and Rivals now have the top recruits ranked, with neither site having any Michigan commits in their top group, but a number of Michigan targets. Some of those are longshots - FL DT Timmy Jernigan, who lists Michigan in his top 6, would still surprise everyone if he left the state of Florida - but many are realistic options. Magnus has a breakdown of Rivals's list. Top 100 lists were also released by the Sporting News and Tom Lemming.
Recruiting Quick Hits
You may remember that NC QB Marquise Williams recently named Michigan among his top three schools, before trimming his list to a final five. He's now made his decision timeline public, as he plans to commit to a school in October ($, info in header). He'll visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan State game on October 9th, so the Wolverines will be fresh in his mind when he makes a decision. I'll go into a little more depth on the QB recruiting situation next week.
Yay Demetrius and all that.
According to Cincinnati recruiting guru Mike Dyer, OH TE Benson Browne plans to visit Michigan this summer. My educated guess will be that he's coming in for camp to try for an offer. He currently holds them from West Virginia, Kansas, Louisville, Minnesota, Miami (Not That Miami) and Central Michigan.
Despite recently receiving a Michigan offer, OH TE Nick Vannett does not have UM in his top group. He's going to start taking trips soon, and wants to have a decision made by July.
FL OL Tony Posada will visit Michigan this summer ($, info in header). He also spoke to ESPN last week (video), mentioning Michigan first, and in his "big ones" category. He claims to be open at this time.
Though their class is starting to fill up, the Buckeyes will hold a spot open for IN DT/OL Joel Hale ($, info in header). It's unclear if Michigan is a player in his recruitment.
MGoBoard's very own Magnus breaks down the game of MD DT Vincent Croce on Touch The Banner:
Strengths: Listed at 5.17 but seemingly plays faster. Ability to chase some players from sideline to sideline. Relentless pass rusher. Very aggressive tackler. Strong upper body. Uses hands well to deliver good initial shock and shed blockers. Good initial surge off the line. Relatively lean frame
Weaknesses: Not a natural knee bender. Stands too high. May get overpowered by strong run-blocking guards. Played significant time at linebacker, which may stunt growth as defensive lineman.
Projection: Could be a solid rotation player as early as second year in program
His weaknesses are mostly technique-based, which could be worked on with college coaching. I also think playing DT only part-time may have led to some of that, and playing LB in high school actually means he has more upside than is shown on film.
GA DT Gabe Wright might officially visit Michigan:
“I’ll probably take all of my unofficial visits to schools that I can drive to and my officials to schools far away,” he says. “I will probably take official visits to schools like Miami, Michigan and maybe USC or UCLA. Also, I might visit Oregon State. It will be late before I make my decision.”
Taking an official would be a good sign for Michigan's chances to land him.
PA LB/DE Desimon Green will officially visit Michigan State, Texas Tech and Pitt, along with a couple other schools to be named later. He gave a slightly different top schools list to Tom, and is expecting a Michigan offer later this week.
TX LB Kellen Jones has picked up a Michigan offer, and called it "a dream come true" ($, info in header). THat sounds very promising should the Wolverines press him for a commitment.
Tom talked to OH LB Sean Duggan, who has Michigan in his top 5. However, it sounds like Notre Dame is a heavy favorite as long as they don't wait too long to offer. The Spartans offered him a couple days ago.
GA CB Avery Walls plans to visit Michigan at some point ($, info in header).
Tom also has (positive) updates on VA LB Corey Marshall, FL DE Giorgio Newberry, and NC LB Kris Frost, among others. Check out his post for the full info.
Michigan Sports Zone talked with NJ CB/RB Solomon Simpkins, and he mentioned that he has early interest in Michigan.