"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Programming note: for the rest of the offseason, Recruitin' will shift to Thursdays, since it makes the schedule work out a bit better. We'll re-evaluate the scheduling in the build-up to the season.
All-time updates can be found on the Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
Jack Miller And Kevin Sousa Go Blue
Local fluff on Jack Miller's Michigan commitment, from the Toledo Blade. Jack plans to redshirt in his first year on campus, though he aims to make the travel squad. His commitment came on what would have been his father's 42nd birthday on Tuesday. More video on him, this coming from the Michigan Football Showcase.
The Orlando Sentinel covers the commitment of Kevin Sousa. Kevin says he's not concerned about playing early in his career, and will get time on the field once he earns it. If quarterback doesn't work out in Ann Arbor, he's willing to switch positions. I doubt that situation will arise. Scout also talks to Sousa in a free article. Here's Kevin's performance in the Lake Nona spring game:
That's even more impressive than his junior highlight. If he can put up the numbers this fall, Sousa is might end up as a four-star prospect to the recruiting sites. He's already impressed them in camps, now just needs to carry it over to the field. Now that he and his team have both moved past their respective first years playing football, that seems like to occur. He's attened a zillion Elite 11 camps this summer and is getting talked about as a potential selection there, too. Film breakdown from Touch The Banner.
Some of this will be a bit of housekeeping, eliminating guys that aren't really on Michigan's radar anymore, or guys who committed elsewhere that I haven't removed yet.
- MI QB Jake Thompson. He won't ever get an offer. Maybe Michigan's golf coaches should look at him, though.
- SC WR Charone Peake. Clemson commit.
- FL WR Ja'Juan Story committed to Florida.
- FL RB/Slot Javares McRoy. Switched from a soft Texas Tech pledge to a firm Gators commit.
- FL RB Chevelle Buie committed to Rutgers.
- MD OL Cyrus Kouandjio has not been mentioning Michigan.
- FL OL Trey Pettis. I hadn't realized that I failed to remove him from the board. He's a Florida State commit.
- AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena. Committed to Oregon.
- OH OL Matt Skura committed to Duke.
- IN OL Kiaro Holts committed to North Carolina.
- DC DT Kevin McReynolds has a top 12 without Michigan.
- VA DE/DT Corey Marshall committed to Virginia Tech.
- OH DE Bryan Baird committed to Ball State a ways back.
- FL S Alex Dixon. No mention of Michigan lately (or at all, really).
- SC S Pat Martin. Top/final four ($, info in header) doesn't include Michigan.
- MD S Brandon Phelps committed to Virginia.
- OH S Eilar Hardy committed to Notre Dame.
- OH CB Charles Perdue. Not in either database, and there's only been one story about him that I've seen.
TE Ray Hamilton committed to Iowa, and OH S Ron Tanner is expected to commit to Ohio State tomorrow, but I'll leave them both on the board for now. I'll go into more detail on Hamilton in next week's recruiting update. With Michigan's class starting to take shape, I'll be just a bit more willing to remove guys that aren't getting a ton of attention.
NC LB/WR Kris Frost made it to Ann Arbor last week, after many other planned trips fell through. Tom interviewed him, so I'll get to the big story first:
With Auburn, it's pretty close. Michigan is a school that I love a whole lot, and I always have. Auburn has put a lot of work in to recruiting me. Both of those schools seem closely related in how the visits went, and they're almost identical.
Those two sound like a very very solid top two, and he'll get a chance to visit the Wolverines several more times, to catch them up with the Tigers:
We're all planning on coming back another time before the season starts, this summer... With Michigan, we didn't really get the chance to get up to as much, so we're really trying to make up for that. I'm definitely going to try to make it up to two games during the season, too.
Now that we have that out of the way, let take a look at how he actually enjoyed the visit itself:
My family and I went out and looked at everything, it was great... [My parents] were worried I would get lost in the excitement. My mom and dad talked about that, and they said everything was great and more. They saw it wasn't too crowded, and that the attention on the football players is great... They really feel like learning is a top priority there, and it's not all about football to them. Obviously we all want to win football games, but there's more than that... Michigan really came off as a great place to live.
Very positive overall, I'd say. With at least three more visits before the end of the season, the Wolverines will have a serious chance to build up a lead for Frost's services. He also plans to visit some of his other suitors, as well. For the full update, check out Tom's interview.
GA S Avery Walls took a two-part visit to Ann Arbor last week - sandwiched around a quick trip to East Lansing - and came away impressed with the Michigan program. Sam Webb dropped the details in last week's Detroit News column.
"We discussed what the program was going through with a new AD coming to the school (in addition to) some of the stuff about him staying (at Michigan). It came out really positive. He really informed us on things that are going on because the news perception is different than what is actually going on... They have limited spots, but they said I was one of their top people so they said that they are going to keep my spot open for me."
He was also impressed with the facilities and - of course - Mike Barwis. Though his mother is an Ohio State alumna, it sounds like Michigan has a great shot. He plans to commit by the fifth game of his high school season. How does the kid describe his game?
"When coaches see me they say, 'He is not one of those big 6-2 safeties -- he is 5-11, 190, but he loves to hit,'" Walls said. "I grew up playing hockey, so I love contact. But I'm also fast. I ran a 10.65 100 meter, and we had the state champion 4x100 team than ran 42.39. So I can play corner or safety. At corner I like to get up on guy and get in their heads and be physical with them. At safety I like to come in from 10 yards out, punish the ball carrier."
Sounds like the Wolverines have an excellent shot, and I'd be willing to wager that they made his recent cut ($, info in header). In other news out of Georgia, GA DE Ray Drew is giving the Wolverines a hard look ($, info in header). I would imagine that the UM recruit he has a friendship with is Walls. Drew is a major longshot, though if Michigan has a good season, they'll stand a chance, as he doesn't plan to decide until signing day.
Added OH TE Frank Clark, who impressed at Michigan's summer camp ($, info in header). The Wolverines are definitely looking for a tight end in this class, so he might get an offer if they don't feel particularly good about their chances with anyone else. FL OL Tony Posada visited last week, and now has Michigan back atop his list ($, info in header). OH OL Ray Ball "has a good time" at Michigan ($, info in header). IL DE James Adeyanju visited Ann Arbor once more last week. KY LB Lamar Dawson took a three-day visit to Michigan last week ($, info in header).
Local fluff on NJ TE/DE Taques Franklin, who will officially visit Michigan.
AZ OL Cyrus Hobbi will visit Michigan in the next couple weeks ($, info in header).
IN OL Nick Martin should be visiting sometime in the future ($, info in header). He holds a Michigan offer.
TX LB Kellen Jones has set a timeframe for a decision ($, info in header). He was recently impressed by a visit to Arkansas, though The Recruiting Guy is notorious for making every kid seem like a lock for the Hogs, so take his article with a grain of salt. Jones also headlines Tom's weekly update, including visit and timeframe ideas:
Kellen originally wanted to commit before the season, but the offers started to come in, more and more, so we decided that it would be in the middle of the season. He's going to try to make it up to Michigan, but we're not sure when.
For more on Jones, as well as PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett, GA S Avery Walls, FL OL Tony Posada, and FL QB Kevin Sousa, check out Tom's update. Tom also published a full interview with Jones, who many presume to be a Michigan lean. When an interview starts with
I grew up a Michigan fan through my dad, and he grew up a Michigan fan, so yeah. He was a big fan when Jim Harbaugh was playing quarterback for Michigan. He loves the maize and blue, and he passed that on to me. I know The Victors song, and everything.
and ends with
Ok, make sure to tell the Michigan fans that my Dad and I say, Hail to the Victors!
Now that Sousa is officially Blue, I've added his teammate, FL RB Jarius Pace, to the recruiting board. Pace is a transfer to Lake Nona, and has to sit out the first two games of the year. His presence on the field will hopefully open things up for Sousa, allowing him to have a big year.
LA CB Daren Kitchen has been effusive about Michigan in the past, and he's still waiting on them to offer ($, info in header). Conventional wisdom says that it wouldn't take him very long to accept that offer.
The situation seems to be similar with IL OL Chris Bryant, according to a particularly revealing Scout header. The Wolverines are in his top six, and he talks about how cool it would be to be able to play for Michigan. Should Michigan offer, they stand an excellent chance to land him. He was impressive at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp, as well as the Michigan Football Showcase earlier this spring, so an offer isn't out of the question.
In a free Scout article, OH OL Ryan Kelly places Michigan in his top five. He hadn't heard from Michigan for a while, but they've re-emerged on his radar. No decision is imminent.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
OH S Allen Gant, son of former Wolverine Tony Gant and a cousin of a guy you may have heard of called "Charles Woodson," recently visited Ann Arbor, and enjoyed what he saw ($, info in header). FoxToledo.com followed up on his recruitment:
Gant grew up an Ohio State fan, but his family is split down the middle between Ohio State and Michigan. One of those family members, cousin Charles Woodson of NFL fame, won the Heisman Trophy with the Wolverines.
Overall, Gant lists no favorites. He lists education and opportunity as his main priorities, hoping to make an impact sooner rather than later. However, his decision will come at just the opposite: later rather than sooner. Gant hopes to take time to evaluate all of his options before making a decision on the next step in what he hopes will be a bright future.
Michigan should have a good shot as long as they can perform on the field this year.
IL OL/DT Dan Voltz is interested in hearing from Michigan.
Michigan has verbally offered FL WR Avery Johnson. He favors a host of Southern schools, unsurprisingly, but there is plenty of time for Michigan to catch his attention. He's a big outside wideout, and Michigan will probably be looking to take only one in next year's class, depending on how 2011 shakes out. He is the younger brother of onetime Michigan target (and current LSU safety) Patrick Johnson.
With camps and unofficial visits in full swing, news is coming in fast and furious. Check out the all-time updates on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
KY LB Lamar Dawson (at right) plans to visit Michigan this summer, he told ThaRinger.com:
Dawson has a few visits scheduled this summer and will also showcase his skills on the national stage in July. “I’m just going to visit a couple places. I’m gonna go to Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois and I might go to Arkansas. I got invited to this Gridiron Kings by ESPN. That’s in July, it’s a 7-on-7 camp.”
Michigan is currently outside his top four, which consists of Kentucky, USC, Louisville, and Florida. However, the Wolverines have a chance to make up ground when he hits campus. Box of M.E.S.S. also talked to Dawson, and he's not down on Michigan for the subpar record the past couple years:
Michigan was overall 5-7-0 and 1-7-0 in their conference, could last years record affect your decision or will you give them an opportunity no matter what?
Dawson: I’m going to give them a chance because they have the most wins in NCAA history so they know how to win all they need is the right players to do it.
Vaught's Views also provides some recruiting fluff on Dawson, mostly related to Kentucky's attempts to keep him in-state.
VA LB Curtis Grant plans to visit Michigan in August. He also gives Tom a brief rundown of his game:
"I'm going to try to work on everything as a player. One of my strengths is being able to read and attack. I also think I need to be the leader on the field. I call the plays, and keep the team motivated, so that's important. I really see myself as that kind of player at the next level, too. I like being the leader," he told me.
He's a highly-regarded prospect, and a visit is a good sign.
OH LB Sean Duggan visited Ann Arbor recently, and he came away enthused, as he tells Tom. Michigan is now in his top 3.
Michigan makes the top 5 of VA LB/DE Corey Marshall, but Tennessee and Virginia Tech seem to have the edge.
PA LB Armstead Williams holds a Michigan offer and plans to visit at the end of this month.
There Shall Be Only One (Quarterback)
It seems as though this is starting to become a weekly feature, at least until Michigan lands their quarterback in the class of 2011. With only one spot available at the position, and very few offers out, it's worth keeping an eye on.
A couple shakeups in the past week then, as we bid Happy Trails to FL QB Jerrard Randall, who has committed to Oregon. No word on whether teammates and fellow Michigan offerees FL S Jonathan Aiken and FL WR Curt Evans are likely to follow.
I was going to write a long segment about how Randall's commitment could have a positive effect on Michigan's recruitment of AZ QB Brett Hundley—who had been favoring the Ducks—but he eliminated Michigan yesterday.
VA QB Marquise Williams has accelerated his decision timetable ($, info in header). Since he won't get the chance to visit Michigan before that commitment, it looks like the Wolverines may be on the outside looking in.
So where are we now? OH QB Cardale Jones is the only quarterback prospect still out there who is holding an offer. This makes it much more likely that FL QB Kevin Sousa (seen at right) eventually lands that coveted letter from Rich Rodriguez. In fact, I suspect the coaching staff may be holding off because they think he'd immediately jump on it, leaving them out of luck with the prospects they like a little more. He continues to rack up mid-level offers, and Colorado State is the latest. His skill set sounds very good for Michigan's system. Though he's a project, Michigan has time to let him develop behind Forcier, Robinson, and Gardner.
Additional Happy Trails-ing.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story, who had previously seemed pretty enthusiastic about Michigan, has eliminated the Wolverines in his most recent cut.
SC WR Charone Peake committed to Clemson.
Happy Trails to NJ OL Shane Mertz, who committed to Northwestern.
Happy Trails, WI DT Donte Phillips. Committed to Indiana. He was squarely in the "sad josh" category, so his coming off the board is not a big negative.
Happy Trails, FL S Jabari Gorman. He has narrowed his list to a final three: Alabama, Miami, and Ohio State ($, info in header).
OH WR Devin Smith recently picked up an Ohio State offer, so we could be bidding him adieu soon. For now, he remains on the board.
New Offers, Enthusiastic Recruits
OH DE/DT/OL Jack Miller visited Michigan a couple days ago, and managed to head out of Ann Arbor with an offer in hand ($, info in header). Michigan likes him on offensive line, which is where I'd had him projected on the recruiting board. His offer list is actually much more impressive than you'd expect, given his rankings:
Miller estimates his scholarship offer total to stand at between 20 and 25. His list includes Michigan State, Boston College, Illinois, Northwestern, Pitt, North Carolina, West Virginia, Stanford, Louisville and Syracuse.
Big East and ACC aren't exactly SEC, Big... uh... 10 or Pac... 11, but significantly more impressive than MAC. Jamie Mac of Just Cover turned me on to Miller a while back, including some Toledo INSIDERZ information:
I am sure you are on top of things, but the Toledo grapevine is buzzing that Jake Miller, a OT/DE recruit from Toledo St John's will be getting a Michigan offer pretty much any day now. He'll probably get an OSU offer shortly thereafter.
I have no idea if he's leaning in any direction, but he [has said] that a Michigan offer would be a game changer for him in the recruiting process.
Should we be on commitment watch? Tom also interviewed Miller:
JACK: [I]t's safe to say that Michigan and Boston College are my top two... I have the offers I want, so it's time to decide. I'm really going to thin it out this week, and I'll hopefully have the decision made by the end of the week.
Commitment watch indeed. Miller should either be a Wolverine or an Eagle by the end of the week. There's also more in Tom's post about his connection to another Wolverine target from Ohio.
In other "Recently Offered and Michigan Probably Holds a Healthy Lead" news, MI LB Ed Davis heard the good news from Rich Rodriguez over the weekend ($, info in header), and he has Michigan atop his list. He may not commit immediately, but conventional wisdom has him joining the Maize and Blue. He was one of the more impressive prospects at the Michigan Football Showcase.
[Ed: Davis attends Detroit Southeastern, a school that Michigan has had extreme difficulty recruiting of late. With the departure of Archie Collins to be a Michigan State video coordinator, Southeastern looks like it will be friendlier in the future.]
Michigan has offered IN OL Nick Martin ($, info in header).
Chris Rock (Still) Goes Blue
The Columbus media has finally gotten around to covering OH DE Chris Rock's commitment to Michigan:
"Chris is excited," Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins said. "He ended up with 20-plus BCS offers and he just felt very comfortable with Michigan. We have a player there and our football community is pretty tight-knit, so I think Patrick helped recruit him there."
Wiggins also talked briefly about what Chris brings to the team:
Rock has impressed as a defensive end and a tight end in his time at DeSales but may bulk up to the point where he could see time on the interior of the D-line at the collegiate level.
"I think he's a versatile enough kid that he can do a lot of things," Wiggins explained. "That's one of the reasons he's so good. I think the question will be how much bigger he'll get. That'll be up to the guys at the next level." ...
"He's big and he's very athletic for his size," Wiggins said of the 6-foot-5 Rock. "That's the biggest thing. I think he's a fast learner, too. He plays fundamentally sound and he's coachable."
If Rock is healthy this season, he could rocket up the rankings.
The recruitment of FL RB Demetrius Hart takes another turn, as he now plans to wait until January to make a commitment.
A couple different sources evaluate FL WR Curt "Spiffy" Evans. First, the Miami Herald:
From the first time he handled the ball at the youth football level at Northeast Hollywood, there was little doubt that this was going to be a future standout on the gridiron.
Speed, athletic ability and a knack of reading defenses has provided this quality football player an opportunity to get noticed.
After starting his career at Hollywood South Broward, his decision to attend Chaminade-Madonna has worked out as college coaches have had the chance to watch him catch balls and lead the team on offense, and now as he heads toward his final year, look for him to play defensive back and fill a void at running back.
...and newly-formed Minnesota blog I'm In Love With A Fringe Bowl Team:
Curt can make cuts on a dime and showcases outstanding body control to not only make difficult catches in traffic, diving and stretching for poorly thrown balls, but he also makes lethal jump cuts that make him a nightmare to bring down in the open field...
In route running, Evans closes the gap on the zone defender quickly and makes a fast, fluid break to get open. Gets up the seam in a hurry and makes the tough over-the-shoulder catch look easy.
As noted above, his teammate Jerrard Randall committed to Oregon, so the package deal is off the table. He won't be at Michigan's camp, but hopes to visit at some point this summer.
MI WR Jermal Hosley, a prospect at the slot position has received his first offer, from Ball State (free on Scout). He's hoping to re-schedule a camp visit to Michigan.
IL OL Rafe Kiely attended Michigan's Elite Camp, and followed it up with an impressive performance at a Chicago Under Armour Combine:
"I thought I did extremely well at Michigan and that carried over today," said Kiely, who carries a 4.2 GPA. "There's a lot of competition out there for scholarships and I'm looking to prove myself worthy this summer by attending the camps and combines."
"I really liked Rafe Kiely," [Under Armour O-line Coach Mike] Barry said. "He's got what it takes to be a solid guard at the D-I level. Rafe moves well, he competes his tail off and he's extremely coachable."
He hasn't been offered yet, but keep an eye out for him.
IL DE James Adeyanju holds a Michigan offer, but he currently favors Illinois, Arizona, Boston College, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett finally got the Penn State offer he was waiting for, but that doesn't mean he's going to commit to the Nittany Lions any time soon:
There won't a be rush to make a decision. Jarrett plans on taking his allotment of five official visits and going from there.
"I've been hearing a lot of people who are very protective, a lot of guidance, saying commit before the season," Jarrett said. "I do want to take my officials though out of the top five that I have by then and honestly I'm just going to pray on it. Hopefully whatever happens happens and I get my answer."
I get the strong vibe that whatever happens will indeed happen, so Jarrett will get his wish.
Tom interviewed MD ATH Brandon Phelps:
TOM: You said most schools are recruiting you for defense. Which schools are recruiting you the hardest right now?
BRANDON: Probably UCLA, Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, and Penn State...
TOM: Where does Michigan fit into that? Are they getting a visit?
BRANDON: Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to try to get up there; they're on my list. Growing up I really liked Braylon Edwards, and I watched them on TV, so I've been following ever since. My coach said the Big House is unbelievable, because he's been there for a game. He told me that whenever I visit, he's coming with me.
Michigan is looking at Phelps as a safety or slot receiver.
For updates on NC LB Kris Frost (camping this weekend), FL OL James Elliott, and FL Slot Prince Holloway, check out Tom's Monday update. If you want a full list of visitors to this weekend's camp, Tom has that covered as well.
One 2012 note: keep an eye on MI OL Kevin Darcy. The teammate of Wolverine freshman Austin White impressed at a Chicago combine.