"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
As always, the information is archived in one place on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
SPRING GAME WEEK!
The Spring Game has finally arrived, and this Saturday, the Wolverines will welcome a number of prospects to Michigan Stadium on unofficial visits. Tom's post has a constantly-updating list of kids he's confirmed with over the phone, and here's the cliff's notes version of who you can expect this weekend:
OH LB Percy Johnson
OH DB Greg Brown (commit)
MI DE Brennen Beyer
MI CB Delonte Hollowell (commit) [By the way, Hollowell has been invited to the Army All-American game]
MI OL Anthony Zettel
FL RB Demetrius Hart (Mom coming too.) [Fluff on Michigan's chances to land him.] [Pictured above].
FL S Dallas Crawford This is a big one for Michigan.
FL WR Sammy Watkins Also big. [Confirmation on the last two]
MD DT Vincent Croce - Yes, as of now.
TX RB Jarrell Oliver (same school as Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk)
NJ WR Damiere Byrd - Coming with Antoine Pozniak.
NJ LB Antoine Pozniak - He's coming with the "Top Prospects Family." Je'Ron Stokes dad is the founder of Top Prospects Family.
NJ ATH Miles Shuler
For the most recent update, and to see which prospects are "maybes" and "nos," and why that's the case, check out Tom's list.
For those who were worried about Rich Rodriguez picking up a commitment from OMG UNRATED MI WR Shawn Conway in (Jan/Feb), Rivals.com's Jamie Newberg should assuage those fears:
Conway, a wide receiver from Birmingham, Mich., looks like a big-time recruit and one of the better wideout prospects from the Midwest.
At 6-4 and 183 pounds, Conway has great size and decent speed. He's big and rangy and great in air, showing very good body control and concentration. Conway has a knack for catching the ball well, especially in traffic. He can get behind the secondary and is not afraid to go over the middle. Conway also has a long stride and deceptive speed, and he looks like a very good outside receiver. He's also productive; Conway caught 70-plus passes last season as a junior, and is a good punt return man.
Yes, Michigan fan, you should be excited to have this wide receiver.
So there. "One of the better wideout prospects from the midwest," as I understand it, means there are only a couple guys (DeAnthony Arnett and Davaris Daniels, along with maybe another guy or two) that Newberg thinks are better. Conway was also selected All-OAA in basketball, and is pictured at right dunking over some poor fool.
Scout updated their Scout 300 list last week, and The Other Brian hooks you up with the info on prospects of note:
23. Doran Grant, 5*
27. Sammy Watkins, 5*
57. DeAnthony Arnett, 4*
62. Michael Bennett, 4*
82. Brennen Beyer, 4*
120. Anthony Zettel, 4*
121. Justice Hayes, 4*
129. Damiere Byrd, 4*
155. Andre Yruretagoyena, 4*
168. A.J. Jordan, 4*
178. Vincent Croce, 4*
231. Cyrus Hobbi, 4*
233. Demetrius Hart, 4*
237. Antonio Poole, 4*
266. Cardale Jones, 3*
275. Ray Hamilton, 3*
276. Devin Smith, 3*
300. Jarrell Oliver, 3*
All three of Michigan's commits are now 3-stars to Scout (as noted in this week's Recruiting Class Rankings).
The Buckeye Leaves column on TheClevelandFan.com discusses the recruitment of OH QB Braxton Miller, but doesn't actually give a whole lot of information. Miller showed up to Ohio State practice last week wearing Buckeye gear, so it sounds like the status quo is maintained. VolNation breaks down his game. Having seen him play in person, I'd say it's a fairly accurate synopsis.
Crimson Confidential talks to OH LB Trey DePriest, who mentions that there's a possibility he and Miller might go to school together. Unless DePriest goes to OSU, that seems unlikely, but the article says Alabama might be an option as well.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story (pictured at right) received his Michigan offer a couple weeks ago, and he's come in for quite a bit of fluff lately.
As a Shark he flourished, capturing the attention of colleges with his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, scorching speed and raw talent. Story has the versatility to play quarterback or on defense, but he doesn't mind being recruited as an athlete; he believes he could make his greatest impact as a receiver.
His dad also seems very level-headed when it comes to recruiting, saying that Ja'Juan will be comfortable in any type of offense:
With offers from programs that feature a spread scheme, traditional offense and the triple-option of Georgia Tech, picking the correct scheme to fit a skill set can be challenging. For Rudy Story, it's about trust and the ability to fit in any scheme.
"I think any school that Ja'Juan goes to, they will use him properly," he said. "Coaches are wise, and they will definitely get the best out of his talent. I'll be happy no matter what type of offense they run. If he went to an offense like Georgia Tech, they would use him and he would get one-on-one opportunities and be a blocker. If he went to a spread team like Texas Tech or somewhere, that would be good for him, too."
He'll take his time making a decision, trying to visit every school that offers. The potential for playing time will be a factor in his recruitment, though not the deciding one, as he says he just wants the opportunity to compete for a spot on the field.
FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix says a package deal with FL RB Demetrius Hart is "pretty much sealed." He says there's no way Hart could convince him to go anywhere other than Alabama (where, I should point out, neither of them is committed at this point). Clinton-Dix also drops the following quote:
Is there not a chance Hart might fall for the Wolverines and then try and persuade Clinton-Dix to switch, too?
"No way!" Clinton-Dix said emphatically. "No way!"
So why is the 5-foot-8, 185-pound running back, who, like Clinton-Dix, is an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, visiting Michigan? Basically, just because he can.
"He's just pretty much having fun with the recruiting process," Clinton-Dix said. "I know where his heart is."
Funny, considering all conventional wisdom says Hart's heart (ugh) is in Ann Arbor, but his brain is telling him to wait to commit until after he can make sure Rich Rodriguez won't get fired - the exact opposite. I wouldn't get too worried about Clinton-Dix's talk until after Hart's visit. South Carolina now leads for their teammate, FL LB LaQuentin Smith.
Michigan has offered FL LB Keith Lewis, bringing his total into the double digits.
Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News this week covers MI CB/RB Valdez Showers, who is hoping for a Michigan offer down the road:
"Michigan was out front a little bit (in getting in on Showers' recruitment) because we went up to their camp last year and he did well," said [Madison Heights Madison assistant coach Chanterius] Brock. "He ran a 4.4 up there and did some good things in the drills. They liked him. At the corner, everybody is coveting his size. He has a great size/speed combination, so that's really big."
The Wolverines haven't extended a scholarship yet, but that could change in a matter of weeks. "They want to get me up to their (one-day) camp this summer so they can see me in person and everything," Showers explained. "Hopefully I'll be able to make it there. If nothing else pops up, I'll be there."
Michigan State has already offered along with a host of MAC schools and others, and Showers doesn't want to talk about where the Wolverines stand on his leaderboard, since they haven't. Extending one would probably put them at or near the top of his list.
Michigan has offered FL RB Mike Blakely ($, info in header). MI OL Bryan Bell will try to earn an offer at the Michigan Elite camp. Recent Michigan visitor PA LB Ben Kline hopes to make a commitment during the summer ($, info in header). OH S Ron Tanner is "still high on Michigan." MD Ath Darius Jennings is pausing his visits ($, info in header). LA OL Jonah Austin is "High on Michigan" ($, info in header, question to which the answer is always "yes"), but his teammate LA S Renaldo Thomas may pick LSU soon ($, info in header).
For all-time updates on recruits, check out the Michigan Football Recruiting Board. The technology has been working up lately, so you may need to re-login to get all the latest info.
In The Trenches
Covering the offensive and defensive lines.
The [Florida State] Seminoles, along with Florida, Miami, LSU, Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida International, Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Marshall, among others, have offered.
The most interesting part of the article to me was the following:
Athletic defensive end Giorgio Newberry (Fort Pierce, Fla./Central) doesn't mind that some believe his best position in college could be on the offensive line, while others say it is in the interior of the defensive line.
He says that many schools are telling him that he can play whichever position he prefers, and I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan one of those schools. They have a need for defensive linemen and offensive tackles, so he could hit campus and figure out where he fits in the best.
He was the defensive line MVP at the weekend's Miami Nike combine, but doesn't plan to take any more visits over the summer at this time.
NM OL Matt Hegarty plans to decide before his senior season ($, info in header). The 6-5, 265lb offensive tackle prospect planned to make it to Michigan last week, but didn't manage to get to Ann Arbor.
LA OL Trai Turner doesn't mention Michigan in this Rivals fluff. He sounds like a backup option for LSU and Aabama, but doesn't mention any other schools. He's spoken positively of the Wolverines in the past, and holds a verbal offer from the Wolverines.
AZ OL Christian Westerman will be narrowing his list of 25+ suitors sometime in the next month ($, info in header). Don't forget, he has mentioned in the past that he'd like to see Michigan's Spring Game.
A bit of fluff from The Gainesville Sun about IN DT Joel Hale, who was offered last week:
While the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hale is listed as a defensive tackle, he said that he’s also being recruited as an offensive lineman by some schools, though he prefers defense. Florida is currently recruiting him as a defensive lineman.
“I can fit into that defensive tackle position fairly well — maybe the strong side end,” he said.
At 290 pounds, he would make a huge strongside end - though maybe that would work perfectly for Michigan's 3-man front. I've moved him from OL to DT on the recruiting board. The article confirms his Michigan offer, but he says he's thinking about heading south now that he's seeing interest from some SEC schools.
OH DT Kevin Williams will visit Nebraska for their annual spring game. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Nebraska's scrimmage takes place on the same day as Michigan's spring game, so Williams will not be able to attend (assuming he does indeed travel to Lincoln).
Williams said he started putting the Huskers on his radar in the middle of last season. People kept telling him about this defensive lineman from Nebraska. You have to watch this guy, his high school coach told him. “So I watched him,” Williams said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, Ndamukong Suh.’ And I’ve kind of been trying to pattern myself after him ever since.”
He’s also interested in schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Stanford. No clear favorite yet. But the defensive tackle feels a strong connection with Nebraska’s coaching staff.
Michigan and Nebraska are regarded to be Williams's top two, and he's planning an early decision, so he could make a commitment shortly after his trip to Lincoln.
Quarterbacks And Quarterback-like Substances
"It raised my interest level in them and I can see myself there," Jones said after the visit. “It really was a good vibe, especially with their quarterback situation right now. I watched film and watched their whole practice, and they run the same offense we run here at Glenville, so it would be an easy transition."
Michigan hasn't signed a player from Glenville since Pierre Woods in 2001, partially due to a strained relationship between Ted Ginn Sr. and Lloyd Carr (and on the flipside, a verrrry close relationship with Jim Tressel). With the Buckeyes recruiting the quarterback position with a "Braxton Miller or bust" mentality, Jones is unlikely to grab an offer from the Scarlet and Gray, and could ultimately choose the Wolverines.
The Baltimore Sun brings some recruiting fluff on MD Ath/QB Darius Jennings:
The 24 schools that have offered Jennings are “Oregon, Stanford, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State..."
Notable only because Michigan is in the first couple schools he lists. As far as what position schools are recruiting him for:
"Some schools see me as a slot receiver, some as an all-purpose back, some as a corner, some are giving me the opportunity to try offense and defense -- whichever I prefer,” Jennings said... "All the schools I've talked to are recruiting me as a return man, and since we somewhat run the Wildcat in high school, a lot of schools are talking about me doing that as well."
Michigan is likely looking at him as a slot guy and return man. He plans to take the recruiting process slowly, taking several visits this summer in addition to all five of his officials in the fall. He doesn't currently have a list of top schools, but Iowa signed his teammate (and the son of Gilman's coach) Jim Poggi in the 2010 recruiting class.
Last Line Of Defense
Linebackers and DBs.
PA LB Ben Kline visited over the weekend ($, info in header). It wasn't his first visit, and he plans to make it back to Ann Arbor as well.
Longtime Michigan lean NC LB Kris Frost now has North Carolina near the top with the Wolverines ($, info in header). Frost is visiting Ann Arbor sometime this spring or summer, so Michigan should be able to re-widen the gap then.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett, who holds a Michigan offer, comes in for a round of fluff from the York Daily Record, primarily that he takes care of his older brother Daishawn, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
ESPN profiled OH CB Doran Grant (pictured at right), who has Michigan among his 30+ offers:
His decision likely will come down to MSU or Ohio State. The ESPNU 150 Watch List recruit says the two schools are even in his book...
Grant shied away from naming a top five but listed eight schools that he likes the most at this stage.
"These are not in order, but Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and USC," he said.
Grant is an Under Armour All-American Game selection, but it looks like Michigan State and Ohio State are the only schools with a great chance to land him. He will make a decision in January or earlier:
"As of right now, that is when I'm going to make my decision: at the Under Armour [All-American] game or right before," he said. "That is the plan right now."
However, Grant could decide to pull the trigger earlier than that. He intends to give very close looks to Michigan State and Ohio State this spring on unofficial visits.
Grant recently spoke with Michigan's coaches, so maybe there's a chance for Michigan to make a run.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway was "dominant" in the BadgerSports 7-on-7 in Ann Arbor last weekend ($, info in header). FL TE Jeff Heuerman, a Michigan legacy, should be receiving his Michigan offer soon. MD DT Vincent Croce was unable to make a planned visit to Ann Arbor earlier this winter, but he will make up for it by attending the Wolverines' spring game on April 17th ($, info in header). FL DE/TE Brandon Fulse is interested in visiting Michigan sometime ($, info in header). IN OL Kody Woods will visit Michigan over the summer. SC DE Gerald Dixon has a Michigan offer.