he grew a beard
Another big update following the Junior Day over the weekend. All-time updates can be found on the Recruiting Board. Hopefully things will return to a normal pace next week.
Night Of Champions
Michigan's Night of Champions Junior Day last weekend brough in a ton of prospects, and most of them had only good things to say.
TX RB Jarrell Oliver had a "top notch" experience ($, info in header).
IN RB Remound Wright made it to town ($, info in header). His recruitment is starting to pick up pace with some new offers, but he still hasn't received one from Michigan.
IL OL Jordan Walsh was there and sounds like a pretty good prospect:
Walsh is arguably the best offensive line prospect in Illinois in what is turning out to be a very strong year for the position in the Land of Lincoln. Walsh, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, will have to be an inside guy at the next level and he's strong enough and athletic enough to play guard or center.
"Duke, Northwestern, Illinois, Arizona, Indiana, Purdue, Boston College, Michigan State and Iowa have all offered me a scholarship," Walsh said. "I can't even begin to name a leader right now or even a few schools that stick out. I'm open to everything and anything right now. I've visited a lot of schools mostly in the Big Ten."
Walsh, who has been compared to his former teammate, Notre Dame OL Chris Watt, wants to major in business or engineering, both very strong programs for Michigan. With Duke and Northwestern involved, he's likely a top student.
OH OL Matt Skura attended the Junior Day, and may make it back to Ann Arbor sometime this spring:
"I plan to go to Toledo and Michigan State spring practices," Skura said. "I plan to go to Michigan State's spring game April 24. I'll go to Ohio State's spring game for sure. I might go to Michigan's spring game."
He doesn't sound the most enthused about Ann Arbor, but that interview was conducted before his visit, so maybe he likes Michigan a little more now.
OH DT Kevin Williams enjoyed his visit for the Night of Champions ($, info in header), and has a new top two. It's no surprise then, that Michigan is one of the schools in his small group of favorites ($, info in header).
mgoblog's own TomVH talked to OH DE Chris Rock following his visit, which he seemed to enjoy:
Before my parents left, coach Rodriguez talked to us for a while. He was just talking about how good of a school Michigan is, and where they’re at with the football program. My parents were previously Ohio State fans, but they were very impressed with everything. They came away the same way I did, and really liked everything they saw.
He also filled Tom in on his schedule for the remainder of the spring:
I’m going to Notre Dame’s junior day next weekend, and I might go to some other spring practices. I haven’t really planned a lot out yet. I don’t have a time line, it’s just going to be when I feel it’s right. I haven’t come up with a top list, because I haven’t seen enough schools, but my interest in Michigan is very high. I really like what they have to offer.
Rock is friends (and teammates) with OL Brad Carrico, who is heavily favoring Notre Dame at this time. Rock top two is widely assumed to consist of the Wolverines and Irish.
OMG So Many Offensive Linemen
IL OL Patrick Flavin has been invited to Michigan's summer camp ($, info in header), at which time he'd be able to impress and earn an offer. He also says that Notre Dame is his slight favorite over UCLA, Illinois, Northwestern, and the Wolverines. His older brother is on the Notre Dame roster, and that's likely his dream school.
LA OL Trai Turner told TomVH that he has a Michigan offer, and his good friend Carvin Johnson will be a draw for him when it comes to the Wolverines.
OH OL Michael Bennett has received an offer from Michigan ($, info in header), and according to eFilmRoom, Ohio State, Alabama, Nebraska, and Notre Dame are also involved. He should be a pretty bigtime prospect based on that offer list aone. Video highlights from ScoutingOhio:
Michigan is in on an oddly high number of offensive linemen from Arizona this recruiting cycle. A few of Michigan's targets have come in for some fluff lately:
ESPN fluff on AZ OL Christian Westerman:
Westerman showed tremendous feet, balance, quickness and strength, probably due in part to his training in boxing and lots of basketball when he was young. Those skill sets have helped him be an important part of back-to-back state championship teams at Hamilton High School, and that has dozens of high-level programs salivating at the thought of him becoming part of their program.
There's a mention of his Michigan offer, but he doesn't give a top group (outside of "I like Lane Kiffin, Mack Brown, and Urban Meyer"-type stuff) or say whether he plans to visit Ann Arbor.
Rivals also brings a bit of fluff on Michigan targets Cyrus Hobbi and Andre Yruretagoyena.
The Sun Devils verbally offered Hobbi in May of his sophomore year but then nothing happened for months until Washington and Michigan got involved in the last few weeks. Since then, all the other schools popped and Hobbi is happy with his position heading into the spring and summer camp schedule.
Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Oregon State and UCLA are some others involved with Yruretagoyena, who has family in the Pacific Northwest and has lots of interest in Oregon.
“I don’t really think of it too much,” Yruretagoyena said. “I want to get ready for next season, get bigger and make sure my team is doing work just as much as I am. It’s really good to know I won’t have to pay for college if my grades are good enough to qualify for the school.
Not terribly informative, but Michigan is on both their minds.
And Those Other Positions
The Great Demetrius Hart Internet Meltdown of 2010 can continue, now that FL RB Hart has told ThaRinger.com that he has already made up his mind, with a final three of Alabama, Auburn, and Florida. Howeva, he told TomVH that he will be visiting Ann Arbor for the spring game (April 17th, 1PM). It seems as though Michigan is still right at the top of his list, but his mom has concerns about Rich Rodriguez's job security.
Rivals briefly chats with NJ Ath Miles Shuler, who recently received a Michigan offer. National interest in the athlete is growing, especially after he impressed at a recent BadgerSport combine. He's talking with Florida, Ohio State, and Penn State, but doesn't mention any favorites. He did say he's "excited" about the recruiting process, so I wonder whether that might result in a drawn out recruitment.
Ohio State commit OH DE Steve Miller plans to look around a bit ($, info in header), and is not solidly committed to the Buckeyes. Obviously, it would be very nice if Michigan's coaches could get him on campus and try to sway him to the good guys. However, he's already missed a few good Junior Day opportunities, and they'll have to act quickly and forcefully if they want a chance.
A couple updates on some South Carolina prospects: DE JaDaveon Clowney, who holds a Michigan offer (along with Florida, Alabama, USC, and basically everyone else) still has no favorites. DE Gerald Dixon has apparently been offered by the Wolverines, as has OL Brandon Shell. Shell's offers come mostly from the Southeast, and it seems like he'll probably stay around there.
Though IL DT Mason Fuller impressed at the Michigan Football Showcase, this fluff piece has no Michigan mention.
"He's very athletic for his size. He's an athletic, strong kid," Griffin said. "He has a knack of just understanding what's going on down there. It's not about making every play but just doing the job that he has to do, so he does a good job of that. But he also has some pretty good pass rush skills as a defensive lineman, and we're thinking about playing him at a little defensive end this year as well."
Fuller also has put Urban Prep on the map for college coaches. The standout defensive tackle already has earned recruiting interest from Illinois, Kansas, Notre Dame, Stanford and South Carolina, and Griffin expects more programs to become involved soon.
Fuller may find interest in Michigan later down the road.
NC LB Kris Frost, who has previously named Michigan his favorite, is holding to that position, according to TomVH.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012
MI LB James Ross comes in for the now-standard Detroit News profile by Sam Webb. A few money quotes:
In his first year of high school football after starring for the Detroit Police Athletic League's Westside Cubs, Ross emerged as a standout performer for George Porritt's St. Mary's Eaglets. The 6-foot, 210-pounder had 103 tackles, five sacks, five forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and an interception while keying the defense for a team that went all the way to the state title game.
(Webb diplomatically leaves "after underachieving horribly all year" from that last sentence). Michigan has already offered, and though Ross didn't grow up a fan of the Wolverines, they've made quite an impression on him:
"It was real exciting," Ross Jr. said [of his Michigan visit]. "They took me through a tour of the facility. I was seeing all stuff the linebackers had accomplished -- all the special awards trophies. It seemed like every linebacker that went through there got something."
Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State seem to be the early competition for his services.
MD DT Kevin McReynolds has been selected to next year's UnderArmour game. OH Hoopster Markus Crider has been offered by John Beilein. He's a high school teammate of OH QB Braxton Miller (and schoolmate of the Talbott brothers). PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett is considering early enrollment at his school of choice ($, info in header). Per TomVH, Michigan has offered FL CB/Ath Nick Waisome. According to Michigan Sports Zone, NJ Slot/Ath Bill Belton has a Michigan offer on the table. MI RB Justice Hayes will take his time ($, info in header) trimming to a top 8.OH WR Shaq Washington shared his thoughts on the Michigan Football Showcase a couple weekends ago in his Cleveland Plain Dealer blog.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board lives here.
Junior Day & other Tales of Visits Future
Michigan's previous Junior Day this winter was fruitful, netting the commitment of MI CB Delonte Hollowell (pictured at right). The Wolverines will have their second such event this weekend, inviting a number of juniors to campus to take in the cripplefight between the Michigan and Penn State basketball teams.
OH WR AJ Jordan (from the Trotwood-Madison pipeline) will be there.
OH DT Kevin Williams will (probably) be there, and it sounds like he might be a slight M lean.
MI OL Anthony Zettel was planning to be there, though Tom has downgraded him to a maybe.
Tom posted a diary about some of the kids who have told him they will (or won't, for some) be around:
- OH TE Ray Hamilton - His father played at WVU with Rodriguez. ThaRinger.com recently spoke with Hamilton. Michigan is mentioned only briefly.
- MI DE Brennen Beyer - Is he on commitment watch?
- MD DT Vincent Croce - Coming in from Maryland shows a lot of interest.
- OH LB Percy Johnson - Recently moved to Ohio from Madison Heights. We haven't offered yet, and most schools are waiting on his ACT scores. He told Tom "I'm a loyalist, and that's the Big House, so you know." Highlight video.
- MI RB/WR Valdez Showers.
- OH DE Robert Mincey - Told Tom that Michigan is his leader. He doesn't have an offer yet, though.
- OH LB Trey Depriest - It's now looking like he probably won't make it.
- FL RB Demetrius Hart, S HaSean Clinton-Dix, and S/LB LaQuentin Smith - They've been trying to make it in for a while. Will they finally get to Ann Arbor?
- MI WR DeAnthony Arnett - Might miss it for basketball.
- MI CB Ryan Griffin - He said he thinks he'll be there, but is checking his schedule to make sure.
- OH TE Jamare Mills - He was invited, but he told Tom he can't make it. He did tell Tom that Michigan is one of his favorites right now.
Josh Helmholdt gives a couple other maybes in the Free Press: OH CB Doran Grant and (big surprise if he makes it in) MI LB Lawrence Thomas. Sam Webb talked to Grant for a Detroit News article. Michigan's chance sounds low, due to family connections to MSU, OSU, and Notre Dame. Thomas did take a visit this week, FWIW.
Moving on to the "Other Tales of Visits Future" portion, there's a promising sign for the Wolverines' recruitment of AZ OL Christian Westerman:
On April 27, the Westermans are planning to attend Michigan's spring game. There they will likely catch up with former Scottsdale Chaparral linemen Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan.
I assume that article should say "On April 17," because that's the, you know, actual date of the spring game. Westerman is one of 36 offensive linemen on the 2011 Rivals250 to Watch, and the #2 tackle and a 5-star to Scout.
VA LB Curtis Grant plans to visit Ann Arbor ($, info in header) at some point.
According to UMGoBlog Michigan sent an offer to OH QB Cardale Jones. Of Glenville, so… yeah. Michigan might actually have a shot here if Jones is set on quarterback and Ohio State is set on Braxton Miller, but it's Glenville.
Michigan has offered TX RB Jarrell Oliver, a former teammate of Wolverines Troy Woolfolk, Darryl Stonum, and Troy Woolfolk at Dulles High School. That school is also the home of S Sheroid Evans, one of the top safeties in the class of 2011. Evans attended Texas's junior day over the weekend, where he committed. I'll leave him on the board until we hear a little bit more about Michigan's intentions with Oliver, and whether it will be possible to shake him loose from the 'Horns.
The Wolverines have offered GA ATH Quan Bray (pictured at right), though they'll have to fight with a who's-who of top programs if they want to secure his commitment. He plans to take a bunch of visits before deciding:
Wiggins doesn't want to speculate on which school might be Bray's favorite at this point in the recruiting process. It is, as he hinted at, still early. Bray, he said, will take some visits and attend some camps, but it won't be anytime soon. Basketball and track are occupying much of his free time now.
If Michigan can get him onto campus for a visit or, better yet, for summer camp, they'll have a chance to land Quan.
Michigan has offered a trio of outside wide receivers lately: PA WR Dondi Kirby is holding a Michigan offer. He has also been offered by Maryland, and I've added him to the board. OH WR Devin Smith, from Massillon Washington High School (Shawn Crable, Justin Turner) has received a Michigan offer. CA WR George Farmer, one of the nation's top wideout prospects, has been offered by Michigan.
Michigan has tendered an offer to SC OL Brandon Shell, joining an impressive group that includes USC (Yes That USC), Florida, and Alabama. Shell's the nephew of Art Shell, and it sounds like he will be a bigtime prospect.
Michigan offered ($, info in header) TX OL Kourtlandt Akins. He also plays on defense, but it's not yet known which position the Wolverines want him to play. Akins is a lifelong Michigan fan and is a guy to keep an eye on moreso than your average Texas offeree.
FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix is holding a Michigan offer, along with scholarships from the likes of Florida and Alabama. The Tide is the presumed favorite, but if Michigan manages to land a commitment from Hart, Clinton-Dix is likely to take a closer look. As noted above, Clinton-Dix may be in attendance this weekend. The Orlando Sentinel profiled him.
Recruiting Grab Bag
The Wolverines have been showing interest in FL QB Kevin Sousa. He's a good student, and is thinking about becoming an engineering major at the school of his choice. Local fluff on Sousa, who I've added to the recruiting board.
Michigan dropped in on FL LB Kent Turene just before Signing Day, and it sounds like the interest is strong on both sides, as he told mgoblog's own TomVH:
[Former teammate Demar Dorsey] was telling me that if they offer I should go up there, and play with him. We’ll see. He was telling me about the stadium, the facilities, and the coaches. He really likes the coaches. I’ve thought about it, I think I’d like to go to Michigan. I would like to play with Demar. I had a great time playing with him, and he’s a great teammate. So, yeah that helps.
The Wolverines haven't offered yet, but it sounds like there's a good chance he could end up in blue if they push for a commitment from him.
MD OL Donovan Smith has been hearing from Michigan, though the Wolverines have yet to offer. He plans to take his time making a final college decision.
Local fluff on MI RB Justice Hayes. He'll be one of the top prospects in the state. Keep in mind, however, that he grew up a Spartans fan, and he's being mentored through the recruiting process by Alabama RB Mark Ingram.
Rankings, Rankings, Rankings
As I mentioned in Sunday's Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings, Rivals, Scout, and ESPN all have watch lists or top recruit lists of some sort available. There are too many Michigan prospects to run down all of their rankings, but take a loo if you're interested. Current Michigan commits are CBs Delonte Hollwell (Top 250 Rivals, 3* Scout, 150 Watchlist ESPN) and Greg Brown (Not ranked Rivals or Scout, 150 Watchlist ESPN).
Duane Long broke down the game of a couple linebackers of interest for Michigan fans:
Trey DePriest: I remember thinking that this is not a kid who is going to make up for losing [2010 LB Jordan] Hicks. I still rate Hicks the better player but the film I have seen from DePriest's junior year shows me a player that at least belongs in the conversation. I see a player who is just as good at blitzing as Hicks, and that is saying something. Some linebackers just have the timing down. I see a player who reads the game so well and he has become a really strong tackler. I give Hicks the edge now. At the rate DePriest is improving that might change.
What a beast Lawrence Thomas is. He is huge but very lean at 6-4 and 230. He has a reported 4.6 forty... His game speed is most important and there is no question about that. His read and react, are top drawer. He has the ability that I call "ghost", which is the uncanny ability that some linebackers have to keep themselves clean of blockers. So often blockers are not getting a hand on him. He has only a couple of negatives. He has too many arm tackles and too much drag down tackling... The other negative is the size. He is a really big kid and might grow into a DE.
He ranks them even with each other, and GA LB James Vaughters, who does not have Michigan interest to the best of my knowledge.
The Orlando Sentinel has its early top 100 list for the state of Florida. A number of possible Michigan targets are included.
At the Army Combine, MI CB Commit Delonte Hollowell and MI RB Justice Hayes were named to the All-combine team.