"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board lives here.
Brennen Beyer Goes Blue
And He's Leaping With Excitement About It! (Sorry).
Michigan's 2011 recruiting class now stands at four commitments after MI DE Brennen Beyer joined the fold Thursday afternoon. For much more on his commitment check out Hello: Brennen Beyer. Tom talked to Brennen Thursday after he committed, and gave a brief update in the comments of that post:
He said, "After seeing all the other schools, I knew that this was the right place. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to go."
He has been a lifelong Michigan fan and added an emphatic "Go Blue!' at the end.
Touch The Banner breaks down his game:
In many ways, Beyer reminds me of Craig Roh. Both are long, explosive, and relentless. Both are somewhat susceptible to taking the run game head on. Roh was a little more refined coming out of high school and, despite being a little bigger, has a little more athleticism... Beyer will likely redshirt in 2011 and have a real shot at contributing in 2013 after Roh graduates.
"A lot like Craig Roh" is the prevailing opinion on Beyer, so no surprise there.
Spring Game: The Aftermath
A number of important visitors were at the Spring Game over the weekend, including several top instate guys, as well as some out-of-state prospects. Perhaps none is more important than FL RB Demetrius Hart (pictured at right). Sam Webb profiled Hart in the Detroit News last week. On top of his football skills, he has all the intangibles as well:
"Hart's physical ability, speed and quickness, are easily identified, but after watching him for two days there is much more to this impressive athlete," said Scout.com recruiting analyst Bill Greene. "His leadership ability, infectious attitude, and desire to win far outshine his impressive physical gifts. Demetrius Hart is a winner, on and off the field. He will be an outstanding addition to whichever college he chooses."
Most of the article recaps the ongoing "Michigan leads - wait no they don't - I'm not considering them - wait yes I am" saga that's we've been following for several weeks, but also says that he'll be deciding over the summer:
"I am going to Auburn at the end of May, and then on June 5 to Alabama," Hart reported. "I do not have an overall favorite until I see what (his mother) thinks. I'll make my decision sometime this summer. I am going to look at academics and playing time."
The Michigan visit may have pushed that decision forward somewhat. Tom talked to his mother during the visit, and she spoke glowingly of the Michigan program:
TOM: Does this visit change anything with Demetrius, as far as his top schools?
MRS HART: I’ll say this, I would say that they received a whole lot of brownie points with this visit. And, we’ll be back soon. You have to go somewhere you feel loved and supported, and I know he would get that here.
TOM: Will he be deciding anytime soon?
MRS HART: It’s going to be soon. Within a month.
There's much more info in the post, so check it out. The fact that he's deciding shortly after a return visit to Michigan (likely for the "BBQ at the Big House" near the end of May) is a very, very good sign. Sam Webb said on WTKA the other day that he has a "strong gut feeling" on Hart, which typically indicates a silent commitment to the Wolverines.
In other Spring Game-related news, PA DE Deion Barnes was in attendance with the Top Prospects Family, and he received an offer ($, info in header) from the Michigan coaching staff on his "legendary" ($, info in header) visit. He spoke with ESPN last week prior to the visit, though the video's not that informative.
Top recruits FL WR Sammy Watkins (younger brother of Florida freshman CB Jaylen Watkins) and FL Ath/QB/S Dallas Crawford attended the spring game. Crawford "loved his Michigan visit" ($, info in header), They are expected to be big time recruits, and would be huge gets for the Wolverines.
One prospect I was interested in hearing from following the spring game was MI OL Anthony Zettel. He's been favoring Michigan ($, info in header) for quite some time now, but the visit wasn't enough to coax a commitment out of him.
IL OL Jordan Walsh was there ($, info in header).
Tom has a bunch of other news from the Spring Game visitors he's talked to, which includes the snippet that MD DT Vincent Croce now favors the Wolverines, along with UVA, as well as a tidbit on MI WR DeAnthony Arnett. Our Helmets Have Wings goes into further depth on Arnett:
Arnett still plans to take in the spring game at MSU this upcoming weekend, but he indicated he will create a top 7 this summer and then top 5 right before his senior season, and that he won’t decide until after his senior season is over.
Arnett was pleased with Michigan's passing game during the spring game, and since he grew up a fan of Michigan and Oklahoma, a strong season for the Wolverines could help net a commit from him. Highlights from his performance at the Michigan Football Showcase are now available on Youtube:
News Of The Not-So-Happy Variety
Not all news is good news this week, as Michigan went from one of the favorites for OH DT Kevin Williams, to slipping, to outside his top 3 by the time he committed to Nebraska following his visit to their spring game. He was one of Michigan's top targets, and it hurts to lose a guy that had Michigan at the top only a month ago. However, there are other defensive tackles in the sea, and the staff will shift focus to the likes of Vincent Croce, Kevin McReynolds, and others.
AZ OL Christian Westerman committed to Texas a little while ago, but I forgot to remove him from the recruiting board. He's off now.
TN Ath/QB Jabriel Washington has committed to Alabama. Despite his Michigan offer, he always favored SEC schools, so it's no surprise.
Demetrius Hart's teammate, FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, committed to Alabama. If Hart does indeed commit to Michigan, might he be able to sway his teammate? It sounds like Clinton-Dix is 100% Crimson, unfortunately.
FL RB Mike Blakely has been offered ($, info in header). Michigan is "still in the mix" for SC WR Hakeem Flowers ($, info in header). FL TE Jeff Heuerman will visit today. AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena "likes the cold" ($, info in header), which can only help Michigan. Michigan leads for FL OL Tony Posada, and he plans to visit ($, info in header). LA OL Trai Turner will decide over the summer ($, info in header). Stanford leads for Michigan offeree CA DE Charles Burks ($, info in header). NC LB Kris Frost would prefer to play WR ($, info in header). Michigan appears to be in third for OH CB Doran Grant ($, info in header). Eleven Warriors talks to him as well.
Charles Burks is a defensive end from Huntington Beach, California. Burks will be making the haul from CA to Ann Arbor this weekend for Michigan's Junior Day and Night of Champions. He currently holds an offer from Stanford, but hopes that Michigan extends one his way this weekend. Here's his highlight video, and what he had to say about Michigan.
TOM: Can we read anything into this visit? It’s pretty far to come all the way from California to Michigan.
CHARLES: I’ve always been an Ohio State fan, but I’ve always liked Michigan a lot, too. My dad is a big Michigan fan. They have the most wins out of any college, which is awesome. I’m definitely interested because of all the history and all the tradition. I’m interested because of all that, but I actually want to meet the coaches and see the campus. I want to get a feel for everything, and see how it is up close. Distance doesn’t matter to me, either, at all. I want to go where I can make an impact, and enjoy playing football. I just want to go to a school that can get me a good degree.
TOM: What coach is recruiting you? What have you guys talked about so far?
CHARLES: I’ve just gotten a lot of letters, and all of them have said Coach Rodriguez. The one about the junior day came from him, too.
TOM: Where does your interest in Michigan come from, besides your Dad?
CHARLES: It comes from my dad, but also everything that Michigan has to offer football wise. Michigan will always be one of those schools that will always have a great program. They’re consistently good. The past couple seasons don’t bother me, because I know they’re on the upside. They’re rebuilding, and they’re going to be good before you know it.
TOM: What other schools have offered you, and who’s been in contact with you so far?
CHARLES: Schools that have been in contact with me are ASU, Michigan of course, Kansas, Oregon State, and my first offer was from Stanford two weeks ago.
TOM: Are you going to any camps this summer? What other visits do you hope to make?
CHARLES: I’m going to all the major combines; the Under Armor, Rivals, and Scout. I’ll be at pretty much all of the bigger ones. As far as camps; I’ve considered Oregon State and Kansas. I might go to a couple, but I might go to the USC because they’re local.
TOM: Do you have a top list yet?
CHARLES: I’m kind of trying to feel everything out. As of right now, Stanford, Michigan, and Ohio State are the top three. If I had a top five, it would be UCLA, and Oregon State, too.
TOM: You said you were an Ohio State fan growing up. If they offer, is that it for you? Are you going to jump at it, or is it not like that?
CHARLES: My interest in MIchigan is higher right now, because I haven’t heard from Ohio State. I’m a fan of them, but I won’t just jump at an offer. I’m going to take my time, and see where I feel most comfortable. Just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean that’s the best fit for me. I went to Ohio State last year for a wrestling camp, so I want to see how Michigan is, and how I feel there. Who knows, maybe after this visit Michigan will be my leader, we’ll see.
TOM: You play defensive end right now. Do you play any other positions?
CHARLES: I play tight end, as well. I’m starting to work out at outside linebacker, too. I’m 6’1 and I weigh 230, and my 40 time is 4.6 or 4.7. Last time I ran it, I ran a 4.6.
TOM: What sets you apart from the competition? What are you going to be working on?
CHARLES: I had 14 sacks in 10 games, which is one sack shy of our school record, so I almost broke that. I broke my fibula, though, so I only played 10 games. I’m real quick off the edge. I’m going to try to work on the fundamentals a lot, too. I don’t want to get caught up with tackles, too much. I’m also going to try to adjust to my new position of linebacker.
TOM: What are you looking for out of this visit? What’s an ideal visit look like for you?
CHARLES: Just meeting the coaching staff, feeling comfortable, meeting the players, and feeling comfortable with them. I want to see how the coaching staff runs the program. Ideally, I’d love to get an offer from Michigan.
The 2011 Recruiting Board lives here.
Shawn Conway Goes Blue
Setting off an mgofirestorm of sorts, MI WR Shawn Conway committed to the Wolverines at Junior Day on Saturday. Conway is the third commitment in the 2011 class.
According to Scout, his junior stats were 79 receptions for 800 yards and 10 TDs, 500 yards in kick/punt returns, and two interception returns. His stats are not, as reported incorrectly here earlier, 11 receptions for a couple hundred yards or so (makes sense, as there are 12 receptions for exactly 300 yards in his highlight video):
Since the commitment (and resulting uproar), news has come out that Conway was drawing interest from schools like Florida prior to his commitment, sure to please Michigan fans. Local commit article.
FL RB Andrew Buie should be one of the top running backs nationally, and the Wolverines have offered, along with the likes of Ole Miss, and North Carolina, while Florida ha shown some interest. He sounds like a great fit for Michigan's offense:
"Andrew is more shifty. He is better in space and more versatile..."
Scott believes that a versatile player like Buie is of high value, given the versatile nature of offensive schemes in college football.
"With the way the game is going as far as the spread offenses go, it's good for a player not to get locked into only being able to do just one thing," he said. "It's good to not just say he's a single-back guy or a spread-type guy. You need to be able to do it all."
Buie, who attends the same high school as 2010 Michigan target and Rutgers signee Rashad Knight, was named 1st-team All-State in Florida's Class 1A at running back.
Michigan has offered OH WR Devin Smith. He hails from Massillon Washington High School, the alma mater of Shawn Crable and Justin Turner. According to Cincinnati.com (which confirms the offer), the 6-2, 175-pounder runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, and also holds offers from the likes of Cincinnati and West Virginia. Michigan and Michigan State are Smith's current top two.
Michigan offered IN OL Tony Springmann a while back, but I forgot to mention it. The Rivals story entitled "Rodriguez offers junior offensive lineman" redirects to Springmann's profile. He took a junior day visit and is a decent possibility.
Though we already knew about the offer to his teammate, WR Dondi Kirby, it looks as though PA LB Armstead Williams from Monroeville Gateway has also received an offer from the Wolverines. Both are participating in the ESPN Rise Nike football combine at Pitt.
Michigan has offered VA LB Curtis Grant, and he plans to visit Ann Arbor during the recruiting process ($, info in header). Tom posted junior highlights of Grant and his teammate Brendan Riddick on mgoboard.
Per the Twitter of TomVH, FL DB Dallas Crawford has received a Michigan offer.
OH QB Cardale Jones (pictured at right) plans to head up to Michigan for the next junior day, which I believe is the Night of Champions on March 13th ($, info in header). He hails from Cleveland Glenville, so it will be tough for the Wolverines to land him, but if Ohio State is focused on Braxton Miller there's a chance. Tom also reported on Twitter that Jones has his own website, though it's a little bare right now. It will be interesting to see if some content goes up on it over the course of his recruitment.
NC QB Marquise Williams "like[s] coach Rich Rodriguez" and intends to visit Michigan at some point in the recruiting process ($, info in header).
“Michigan is very well known, not in the past couple years but the program itself and how dominant they are. I think Coach Rodriguez is doing a good job on getting them back to where they need to be. It was definitely a special offer."
Rodriguez played at West Virginia with Hamilton's father, and was one of the prospects tat was getting the most attention from the coaches (to my eye at least) at Junior Day, which he enjoyed ($, info in header). Hamilton will take his time making a decision.
In other news out of Michigan's Junior Day last weekend, OH DT Kevin Williams told Tom that Michigan still leads, despite Spartanmag.com reports to the contrary. Williams's coach thinks he's kind of good:
"Being a former college coach and NFL coach, I knew he was going to blow up when I put his film out there and started making the calls," Marrow said. "My belief is that Kevin Williams is not just the top D-tackle in the Midwest, he is one of the top D-tackles in the country. I'm talking top five."
That's from Sam Webb in the News and contains many more quotes like that.
CA DE Charles Burks plans to visit Ann Arbor this spring.
Burks was among the top pass-rushers in the state last year. He had 52 tackles and 14 sacks during the regular season but broke his leg in the Chargers' first-round game and had to sit out the rest of the playoffs.
He doesn't have any offers yet, but the Night of Champions might be a good opportunity for him to land one from Michigan. Despite growing up a Buckeye fan, Michigan is one of his favorite schools.
OH CB/WR Cheatem Norrils was in attendance for Michigan's Junior Day (Scout freebie). His only scholarship offer to this point is from Toledo, but he is very interested in Michigan. If the Wolverines decide they want him, his relationship with Kevin Koger could help land him.
Other 2011 Recruiting
Sam Webb talks to TX RB Jarrell Oliver (who holds a Michigan offer), about whether the Wolverines are at the top of his list ($, info in header). The question about whether UM is the team to beat is the type that is always answered with some version of "yes."
TomVH reports that MI FB/LB Joey Kerridge enjoyed Michigan's junior day, and may get news of an offer sometime this week. The link has a highlight video embed, as well.
Though GA OL David Andrews received a Michigan offer last week ($, info in header), he has already committed to Georgia.
Landing Demar Dorsey in the class of 2010 has gotten Michigan's foot in the door at Boyd Anderson High School, which boasts a hell of a lot of Division-1 talent each year, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Aside from LB Kent Turene from the class of 2011, there are a few guys in this class that might get onto the radar later, and even more underclassmen.
Removed FL S Karlos Williams, who has committed to Florida State. This was probably a long time coming, as he was always a Florida State lean, and his brother is a 'Nole.
Fluff on FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and FL CB Nick Waisome.
OH CB Doran Grant should be one of the top prospects in the state of Ohio for the 2011 class, and Sam Webb profiled him in the Detroit News last week. He has a lot of connections to Michigan State, but that won't prevent him from considering the Wolverines:
"(Last week) I talked to (Rich Rodriguez) and he said he was really excited now that he got the 2010 class signed," Grant recalled. Now he was going to start on 2011 and he said I was one of the main targets. I'm going to go up there for junior day, talk to him in the office, sit down and learn more about the school, and just check out the facilities and maybe some players."
I'm not sure if Grant made it in for Junior Day, but it sounds like, at the very least, he'll give the Wolverines a fair shake.
Michigan fans were hoping for commitments from MI OL Anthony Zettel and/or MI DE Brennen Beyer at Junior Day, but that didn't happen. Both probably going to take another couple visits (such as Zettel's upcoming Notre Dame trip) before making decisions, but the Wolverines still seem to lead for both. According to Tom, Beyer wants to return to Ann Arbor later this week, which is certainly a good sign.
2010 Walkon Update
MI OL Kristian Mateus, from Forest Hills Central (alma mater of yours truly) will be a preferred walkon this fall, according to the Grand Rapids Press, which apparently has copy editors who approve ledes like this:
Kristian Mateus, a standout football player at Forest Hills Central, has joined the list of University of Michigan football recruits even if his name isn’t on a list just yet.
FAIL. Anyway, Mateus is huge (6-8, 285), and cites the opportunity presented by Michigan's walkon program in particular, as Rodriguez was a walkon himself and likes to see them emerge as contributors.
[Editor's note: the Press might not have copy editors anymore and by criticizing like so we are doomed to make a similarly dumb mistake in the near future.]
The Distant Future. The Year 2012
2012 MI LB James Ross from Orchard Lake Saint Mary's has received a Michigan offer ($, info in header) to go along with his scholarship from Michigan State. Coach Schuman from the National Underclassmen Combine Blog says Ross took home a numbers of honors from the combine this year:
James was the Top LB of the Class of 2012 and was U100 MVP at LB and Top Prospect Camp LB MVP. Expect 20 plus offers from James when all said and done.
More on the 2012 class as news comes out, but I won't cover it in any depth until the 2011 class is closer to completion.