...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
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).
A pretty light week as most high school prospects are focusing on preparation for their senior season, rather than recruiting. Once official visits start rolling, it should get interesting again. All updates can be seen on the 2010 Recruiting Board.
Your Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update - Now with Co(r?)nelius Jones!
Fluff on MI QB Commit Devin Gardner. It's nothing you've never heard before, if you're more inclined to not click Free Press links.
Inkster has eight road games and three brutal trips to Ohio to play against Cleveland St. Edward, St. Ignatius and Steubenville High -- all powers.
With no home games and needing to win five games just to make the playoffs, Gardner's situation is different from any top-flight quarterback in the state.
I've yet to figure out why the Vikings have no home games. There's a pretty good photo gallery by the Free Press, as well. There was video floating around the interwebs of Gardner's performance at a scrimmage last week, but it appears to have been taken down.
Rivals AMP caught up with QB Commit Cornelius Jones. They're currently not allowing embedding of said video, but Jones says he's 100% solid with Michigan. He's open to switching positions once he gets to Ann Arbor, but will come in as a quarterback. Jones's high school season began on Friday, and you can see how it went in this week's Friday Night Lights feature.
By the way - there's still some confusion about whether Jones's first name is "Cornelius" or "Conelius" (no 'r'). Alas, I've been unable to definitively clear that issue up, so I'll continue with option A until it can be settled once and for all.
Officially Visitin' (Or Not)
Hopefully once the season gets underway, I'll be able to devote an entire section of each recruiting post to that week's docket of visitors. For now:
OH TE Alex Smith has started talking about his favorites, despite being "committed" to Cincinnati. I think at this time it's fair to say he's no longer a commit to the Bearcats, they just lead for him. Wisconsin and UNC are atop his list behind Cincy, with Kentucky shortly behind. Smith's only scheduled official visit thus far is to Wisconsin for the season opener, and a Michigan visit no longer sounds like a lock.
WI P Will Hagerup had named his official visit to Michigan for the Western game on September 5, those plans are changing. He'll now head to Ann Arbor for the Indiana game on September 26th. This will be his last official visit before deciding, which is a minor boost to Michigan's chances.
Michigan will get an official visit from VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, currently a Duke commit ($, info in header). He's taking all five visits, so the Wolverines may have a chance to pry him away with Duke if they really want him.
Though there was talk about who would be getting Sharrif Floyd's official visits in the last update, he intends to change his plans for those visits ($, info in header). Since Michigan was not under consideration in the previous list, any chage is good for the Wolverines. No word on whether they're in his newly-adjusted plans.
Scouting Reports? Scouting Reports
Rivals covered a couple scrimmages, and talks about a couple M prospects of note:
S- Latwan Anderson- Glenville- After turning in a great performance vs. Elyria Catholic from the safety spot, Anderson put on a show at wide receiver against Cardinal Mooney. He made a spectacular catch above his head along the sideline against Braylon Heard. He also made a circus one-handed catch out of bounds that drew loud applause from the crowd. At safety, he forced a fumble at the goal line on Braylon Heard.
WR- D.J. Williamson (Michigan commit)- Warren Harding- Speed will never be an issue with Williamson, he can really glide on the football field. He is still growing into a natural receiver, but should really benefit from having a solid passing quarterback take over at Harding, transfer Jordan Miller. Williamson also played some cornerback, and showed good ability to break on the football.
Williamson sounds like a potential sleeper; you can't teach speed. Ohio HS Sports.com also took a look at a few players, including WR Jerald Robinson:
Jerald Robinson, WR/DB , Canton South -- Michigan commit is always a big-play threat and also had 7 interceptions last year. His three-year QB has graduated and he'll face double and triple teams, but he'll still produce.
So, hooray for that, I guess. A lot more preview-type stuff on Michigan commits in Friday Night Lights.
OH S/WR Bobby Swigert has narrowed to a list of four suitors: M, Stanford, Nebraska, and BC.
If things go as planned, Cullen Christian may end up as the "Guy Everyone Took For Granted And Aren't Excited When He Commits" for the class of 2010. He's still saying good thing about Michigan, and will play multiple positions for Penn Hills this season:
"Michigan is No. 1, but I probably won't make my decision until sometime during the season. I don't know how close I am to pulling the trigger...
Teams didn't throw the ball to my side much last year. At safety, I can make plays."
He is taking official visits to UCLA, WVU, and Maryland in the first month of the football season. I would presume one more official visit, then hopefully a commitment to Michigan when he takes his final visit to Ann Arbor.
FL CB Tony Grimes has narrowed to a top 3 of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss. He does not plan to make a final decision until Signing Day.
CA WR Kenny Stills is still nominally considering Michigan. I wouldn't get your hopes up, though he may be taking an official visit. OH DE Derrick Bryant once favored Michigan, but now it appears as though he doesn't want to play in the Big Ten ($, info in header). He currently favors UCLA, Oregon, Kentucky, and North Carolina. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has named 8 schools on top of his recruitment, and Michigan isn't among them. He's bumped down to a Nefarious Eduardo, and is soon to be removed. Removed FL CB Eric Mitchell, who committed to Ole Miss.
Added FL CB Eric Mitchell($).
Editorial Opinion: Sort of a light week outside of the Elite 11. There was a Rivals revamp, I guess.
About the departed:
- IL WR Kyle Prater took a visit in the spring and mentioned Michigan high up immediately afterwards but once that faded it became clear he wasn't feeling it. Cramming him into this class would have been difficult in any case.
- FL LB Jeff Luc was a major longshot.
- MD OL Robbie Havenstein mentioned M like once and then went radio silent; I'm not sure how much mutual interest there was in the first place.
- FL CB Nickell Robey said he'd visit, but will not. Minor ding there but CB still looks strong.
- CA LB Tony Jefferson's sudden commit to UCLA robs Michigan of a touted prospect at an area of need; even if they weren't in the driver's seat a 20-ish percent chance of landing him is better than none.
And then there's TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, who tried to commit to Michigan earlier and was told by the coaches that Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz had taken his spot. He was offered the chance to come in as a middle linebacker and turned it down, went to Florida State's camp as an outside linebacker, got offered, and committed. Swing and a miss by the coaching staff here; if Onwukaife pans out it's going to be painful.
Here's a direct example of Michigan's eagerness to accept commitments probably costing them a better class. I mean no offense to Antonio Kinard or Jordan Paskorz, but if I had to pick one guy from the three just based on offers, recruiting buzz, and whatnot, it would be Onwukaife. I know, I know: Rodriguez forges two-stars into firey death machines and so forth and so on. It'll be interesting to see how Kinard, Paskorz, and Onwukaife end up panning out.
Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update
No, it's not this week that sees the recruiting roundup go without mention of Devin Gardner, but I've got a good reason: Gardner just participated in the Elite 11 camp, where he won awards for Best Feet—no doy—and Best In The Classroom. From there it gets schizophrenic. Gardner did not finish in the top five in the "Overall MVP" voting, but did cause Rivals analysts Greg Biggins and Barry Every to swoon:
Rivals.com national analyst Barry Every ranked Gardner as the top overall quarterback at the camp based on long-term potential and the ability to win football games.
“I don’t think there’s any question, after having seen him for four days, how hard he competes and how hard he wants to be the best,” Every said.
Every and Biggins agreed Gardner compares favorably at the same stage of his career to players like Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Juice Williams and Dennis Dixon, all Elite 11 alumni.
Yow. That's a huge disagreement between the camp counselor voting—current college QBs—and the scouting professionals. I'm naturally inclined to take the word of the professionals. According to Every, Gardner is a lock to shoot into the top 100 when Rivals revamps its rankings again. (Odd that Rivals would re-do their rankings before the most important quarterback camp of the year, no?)
Every's other favorite QB there, by the way, was PSU commit and OLSM QB Robert Bolden; MSU commit Joe Boisture finished last. MSU's resident Guy Who Knows Guy Involved With Elite 11 was not pleased with what he heard from his guy.
Other opinions also exist, though they're necessarily less star-struck. Scout's Scott Kennedy:
"Gardner is a superior athlete who is handcuffed a bit by a passing camp that doesn't showcase his playmaking ability with his legs. However, as one might expect, Gardner was solid in the bootleg drills, and while struggling hitting the deep-out to live receivers, Gardner picked up his game in the target practice segment, showing off better accuracy than many of his Elite 11 teammates."
ESPN's evaluation intertwines Bolden and Gardner:
Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./Saint Mary's) and Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) could almost be considered identical. They are the same in height, weight, frame, athleticism, arm strength, dual-threat capabilities -- you name it and they are probably alike in it. It is hard to tell the two apart. Bolden surprised a bit with how compact, quick and capable he was of getting rid of the ball. At times, the ball jumps off his hand with tremendous zip and power. Gardner is mechanically more like Vince Young with a bit of a three-quarter release, but he has the same "pop" out of his arm as Bolden. As the week wears on, these two will likely see a big jump in overall, consistent accuracy. Bolden, a Penn State commit, and Gardner, a Michigan commit, are terrific fits for their respective programs from a scheme standpoint.
Aaand JC Shurburtt:
Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich./Inkster) has also surprised many. His hustle, leadership and athleticism add up to a tremendous maturity that will help him compete early for playing time in Ann Arbor. He was a notch behind Bolden throwing it, but still has a strong arm and excellent size.
All told, a highly positive camp for Gardner and Michigan.
Rivals did rejigger its rankings. Plenty of folks moved around but only a few items seem worth mentioning:
- PA DE Ken Wilkins got a fourth star.
- OH OL Christian Pace did not, which is somewhat surprising given Mike Farrell's almost rapturous praise for his film. I don't care; I think he's perfect for Michigan, and so does Rick Trickett.
- MI RB Austin White dropped a decimal point and is now actually behind MSU commit Nick Hill, which makes no the sense given that Hill's BCS offers were Stanford and State and White was clearly preferred by both instate schools, Wisconsin, Illinois, and LSU. But whatever.
- PA CB Cullen Christian flew up from a three star to the #60 player.
- Various stragglers at the mysterious end of Michigan's class all got their requisite three stars.
Grimes, We Talk To You
Rivals AMP with FL CB Tony Grimes:
Elsewhere in secondary prospects, OH S Bobby Swigert has a Michigan offer, has visited, and says Michigan is in his top group:
“Michigan was amazing. I was impressed with everything I saw, like the facilities and the new indoor building … it was just amazing. Coach Rodriguez is one of the coolest coaches I’ve met. And the academic advisor (Shari Acho) explained everything really well.”
With such a glowing recollection, it’s no wonder the Wolverines are in such a strong standing with Swigert, even though he hasn’t officially narrowed down his list.
“If I was to narrow down my list, Michigan would be in there. They are definitely one of the top contenders.”
On the other hand, OH S Kurtis Drummond now has Michigan State in the lead ahead of Michigan. OH S Latwan Anderson has bumped around his list a ton, with the latest update omitting Michigan. We'll see if that sticks; some recent scuttlebutt says Michigan is still in the running but needs a real visit to stay there.
You are large, but hopefully not too large
With defensive tackles thin on the ground—or too fat and on the ground—Michigan needs to make OH DT Terry Talbott a priority. So hurrah: Tom VanHaaren reports that Talbott will come up for a visit tomorrow. He also snags a quote from his coach:
"As for Terry, his strength is his ability to use his explosiveness to get off the ball and change direction. He is very strong upper body and his core is strong. He, like a lot of High School players need to better define his technique. He has good technique now, but to play at the next level and be successful his technique must be great. He uses his hands well now, but needs to always work on using them better." - Jay Minton
Terry's brother Terrance, a cornerback, is also coming in.
Punters are punting in code
WI P Will Hagerup is apparently the #1 guy on Michigan's board—he's the only guy out there with an offer—and a decision is coming soon. Two schools are seemingly in prime position:
Hagerup mentioned that a commitment could come in the near future, "I will decide within another month for sure."
Before he announces, Hagerup would like the further investigate Ohio State and Michigan, "I'm going to visit Ohio State and Michigan for sure within a couple weeks. I'm going to see practices at both places and take another tour at each school."
If it comes down to playing time, Michigan should win. Hagerup would be able to start at Michigan immediately with Zoltan the Inconceivable scheduled to transubstantiate into pure energy after the season. At Ohio State, AJ Trapasso has just graduated. Redshirt junior John Thoma is atop the depth chart; scholarship incoming freshman Ben Buchanan, Rivals' #3 kicker last year, is listed second.
User Mscharbo15 talked with TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins recently and put up a quick summary on the message board:
- He's graduating in December and will be enrolling early.
- His HS has OSU colors and he "wears them with shame."
- He's excited about the possibility of a home-and-home with Oklahoma State, since the 2010 game would be his first as a Wolverine and the 2011 contest would be the closest thing to a homecoming for him (he's from Texas).
- Although being the one power back in the 2010 class, he claims to be getting faster and quicker (can't hurt).
- Had he waited another month to commit, he likely would have received offers from Oklahoma (!!!), Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Sparty and Arkansas.
- He's heard from somebody in the know that if he has a good senior season he'll vault up to a 4-star.
Ooh: early entrant tidbit. That brings Michigan up to six commits with tentative plans to enroll early (Miller, J. Robinson, M. Robinson, Pace, and Gardner are the others).
Caveat: Though I can't confirm the poster isn't having us on, he signed up 28 weeks ago. Unless he was planning an incredibly long-term hoax in which the payoff is "you suckers thought I talked to a running back commit and posted innocuous things about it MOOOHAHA!" it's legit. The troll probability here approaches zero.
Etc.: ESPN evaluates SC QB commit Cornelius Jones and OH WR commit DJ Williamson, giving them three-star-ish ratings. Williamson sounds like the outside burner who will be stupidly wide open when safeties freak out about Gardner. OH DE Marcus Rush was supposed to visit Michigan Thursday but this apparently did not come off; I think this will be where M and Rush part ways. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has two officials, neither of which are M.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of FL QB Jeffery Godfrey, FL CB Tony Grimes, OH OL Christian Pace, OH S Latwan Anderson, articles on FL WR OJ Ross, FL CB TC Robinson, FL OL Torrian Wilson, MI DE Will Gholston, DC LB Javarie Johnson.
Removed LA S Ronnie Vinson (dropped M).
Here's another top 150, this from Athlete Vault. It has Jeremy Jackson(!). SoFlaFootball offers a Pahokee overview. Praise for Rod Smith. Speculation on MN OL Seantrel Henderson. Some links from Varsity Blue. OMG Lemming!
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
LA S Ronnie Vinson is down to a top five that doesn't include M and has gotten the axe; he was a longshot in any case.
Some defensive tackles—hurrah—a corner, a fullback vaguely committed to Washington, and—ack—a wide receiver? Sort of. Though Swigert is currently listed as a wideout, Michigan is recruiting him as a safety and he'll get moved over soon. I don't know much about any of the new guys, but here's a little on Swigert:
"I was pumped up when it [the M offer] came," Swigert said. "It surprised me. Hopefully it will lead to some more big offers."
Swigert has over a dozen offers including Colorado, Cincinnati, Pitt, Indiana and a host of MAC schools. He has no plans to select a college anytime soon.
There's also video at Scouting Ohio.
FL WR OJ Ross is claiming a Michigan offer and has M in his top three:
"Florida's interested in me," proclaimed Ross, "but they haven't offered. I have offers from Texas Tech, Arkansas and Ole Miss this spring. My top three are Arkansas, Michigan and FIU. I like Arkansas, Michigan and Florida International. I've talked to the coach from Arkansas before, he's real cool. I like coach (Rod) Smith at Michigan. FIU is the local school. Close to home and a chance to play. If Florida offers I'm very interested in them."
Ross has since picked up a Texas Tech offer and booted FIU; he plans on camping at Florida and Georgia, too. I don't think this one is going anywhere and an offer from a big school in the south will knock M out of contention.
Various Floridians Rumored To Be Ticketed Elsewhere
None of these rise to the level of a "happy trails" reference, with or without a board removal, but the whispers on several prospects have them leaning towards schools that are Not Michigan:
- GridironStuds says FL CB Tony Grimes, who recently picked up a wide array of offers, is looking to decide soon, probably for Miami.
- MGoBlog's own Tom VanHaaren reports that the vibe on FL CB Lo Wood points to Notre Dame. A decision is likely soon; without another visit from Wood it doesn't look likely to go M's way. The sudden flip from M to ND is annoying—mutter mutter Corwin Brown—but Michigan remains in strong position for Cullen Christian, Dior Mathis, and Rashad Knight and shouldn't suffer too much if Wood makes a 40-year mistake.
- FL DT Richard Ash is rumored to be leaning to Florida according to SoFlaFootball.
That SoFlaFootball article also mentions a couple other Pahokee prospects with Michigan offers:
Merrill Noel 2010 CB 5′8″ 160: While Noel is being recruited as a cornerback, look for him to be used a lot inside the box this fall for Pahokee. Noel has great speed and is a physical defender. Noel has a host of offers, the latest being Michigan, but the school to keep a close eye on is Wake Forest.
Zach Allen 2010 LB/DE/TE 6′2″ 180: Allen lines up as a defensive end during the 11-on-11 portion of the practice, where he was fairly active. Allen is lean right now, but in the future should be able to add the weight needed to play at a high level. The Alphonso Smith affect seems to be flowing through Pahokee, as Wake Forest is a school to watch for Allen.
Things You Might Already Know
Let's reiterate the bold print on a couple TomVH prospect interviews from the last week. PA LB/DE Ken Wilkins has Michigan on top of his list and is looking to decide soon:
TOM: Where does Michigan factor into all this, are they near the top, or at the top?
KEN: If I had to name a leader I would say it is Michigan. Once I go up there, if I like it I’ll pull the trigger and commit. I’m talking to my uncle about it, and I think I’ll be up there in about two weeks. I think I fit what they’re trying to do right now, and the coaches that I do know are all great. Everything about Michigan is great, and I could definitely see myself there.
And the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay is swinging back towards Michigan:
TOM: What’s all this I’ve been hearing about you and Michigan?
BRENNAN: There’s been a lot lately. I really like them a lot right now.
Clay also had nice things to say about QB coach Rod Smith in an ESPN piece:
"I would say that coach Smith is one of the best recruiters in the country," running back Brennan Clay (San Diego/Scripps Ranch) said. "I look at him more as a mentor and a friend. He's one of the most down-to-earth people I've ever met. He doesn't just recruit you because of your talent, but because of what you are made of, what's in your heart as a true person."
Lead for Large Men
Michigan is maintaining its lead for FL OL Torrian Wilson:
"They're still No. 1," Wilson said. "It's a football city and everyone in the city loves Michigan and comes out to support Big Blue."
Wilson recently released a top five that didn't even have Miami, the presumed leader until Michigan stepped in, on it, and did have Stanford, which indicates how serious Wilson is about academics and, like, places that are far away. When Wilson visited I mentioned that post-visit leads often fade and that hopes should remain holstered for a couple weeks; now it's a couple weeks later and Wilson's still saying the right things. Unholster thine hopes here.
That article also has a quote on MN OL Seantrel Henderson, the #1 recruit in the country…
It was a late March visit to Michigan, though, that Henderson said he, “loved… more than any other college I've been to so far.”
…but that's recycled from Henderson's earlier trip and shouldn't be added to the moderately-sized pile of positive information we have on him. FWIW, BuckeyePlanet silverback unionfutura says point-blank that Michigan leads for Henderson, though he's right when he says that's like leading the first lap of a marathon.
DC LB Javarie Johnson appears to have a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, and Miami. (The latter has yet to offer). So we know he loves the letter M. Thanks to this Webb article in the News, we also know Johnson has a background similar to that of PA DT Sharrif Floyd—tough. Johnson's coach:
"He lives in a tough neighborhood. Like a lot of kids, he is the first one in his family to go to college. He is going to move out of a neighborhood where most of the kids in the area have babies, do drugs, and drop out of school. He loves football so much that he's going to do everything that he needs to do to play."
Johnson visited Michigan earlier and reports back thusly:
"(The visit) went great," Johnson said, referring to his time in Ann Arbor. "Everything went great with the coaches and everybody. I met Coach Rodriguez and Coach Dews (receivers coach Tony Dews). They're good people. They offered me right before I left. The thing that stood out there was definitely the stadium. That's bigger than NFL stadiums."
If you want to read between the lines—and we do!—Johnson's quotes on Michigan State contain the word "good," not great, and there was that Dunbar assistant who mistook enthusiasm for a commitment. I have the vague impression Michigan is in pretty good shape here, but Johnson plans a June visit to Miami. That's is a long way to go without an offer, and indicates serious interest on his part. He plans on deciding over the summer, so that trip—or the lack of one—looks likely to be the determining factor.
Sidenote: odd that Illinois isn't a factor here, given their DC dominance of late.
OMG LEMMING OMG LEMMING
This blog's longstanding opinion on Tom Lemming is that he was just one guy—which made his rankings considerably flakier than lists compiled by many educated opinions—with had a huge slant towards prospects he liked for their geography, personality, or desire to go to Notre Dame. As such, it's usually ignored his rankings. No more, though! WOO LEMMING:
"It's a very good year [for the state of Michigan]. I'll probably have two players from Michigan in my top 10. (Quarterback) Devin Gardner (Inkster) is the real thing. He has an NFL body. William Gholston (Detroit Southeastern) has long arms, quick feet and a good burst. It's a good year for defensive ends and he's right there with the best of them."
Yes, the implication is top ten nationally.
But seriously folks: though I'd much rather the situation was reversed and Gardner was top ten on Rivals and (relatively) dissed by Lemming, I'll take any exuberant praise for a commit.
Elsewhere in prospect rankings of indeterminate value, Athlete Vault put out a top 150 a couple months ago I just ran across. Relevant persons (ie: players M is heavily involved with; there are a ton of targets on the list):
2. Seantrel Henderson
43. Will Gholston
50. Marvin Robinson
58. Ricardo Miller
78. Devin Gardner
104. Jeremy Jackson(!)
113. Dior Mathis
118. Torrian Wilson
FWIW. Jackson so high actually reduces my faith in the list given how negative the other sites are.
Etc.: Video of FL QB Jeffery Godfrey, who once claimed M as leader but now seems more likely to stay in-state; MI RB Austin White picks up an LSU offer; Rivals AMP on OH S Latwan Anderson, but no news; AMP on OH OL Christian Pace, who claims no favorites; fluff on Gholston.