this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
If you think the headline contains a typo, try listening to better music.
George Campbell, Mayor Of Twitter
As Michigan fans tried to decrypt Wilton Speight's Twitter teaser, Saturday afternoon bled into Saturday evening with no word about a commitment. Would it be Shaun Crawford? Sterling Jenkins? Erik Swenson? Maybe even Malik McDowell? Any would've been great; the real answer, though, elicited a rapturous response.
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) July 27, 2013
— DG (@DGDestroys) July 27, 2013
holy pants. Hoke, you are the stockiest ninja.
— mgoblog (@mgoblog) July 28, 2013
George Campbell's commitment briefly turned the entire Michigan twittersphere into Robin and Brady Hoke into the proudest papa.
Mason Cole's Instagram also features ... are those tears, Coach?
It also attracted the attention of the CEO of Twitter, Michigan grad Dick Costolo.
— dick costolo (@dickc) July 29, 2013
Modified rule: Don't tweet at recruits — unless you're the CEO of Twitter. [Side note: This is a story. Get here already, football season. Also, Matt Hayes must be stopped, and this is one of a very short list of things Michigan and Ohio State fans can agree upon.]
Why is everyone so excited? Because if "500" was an Olympic sport, George Campbell would win the gold, silver, and bronze.
Also, have I mentioned he's 6'4" and runs a 4.36 40-yard dash?
There were 3 WR's in the 2013 NFL Combine w/ a 40 as fast/faster than George Campbell. They were 6', 5'8", and 5'9". Campbell is 6'4". Wow.
— CoachBrown TheMBlock (@CoachBrown3) July 28, 2013
Yes, Campbell still has work to do when it comes to his hands and route-running — this video from the Columbus NFTC highlights both the best and worst parts of Campbell's game right now — but with two more years of high school ball to play, his potential is terrifyingly vast. Scout's Jamie Newberg provided a detailed scouting report of Campbell after his commitment, and even the areas for improvement section features one of them good problems ($):
What may be of concern: Campbell catches the ball well but is not a natural pass catcher. Sometimes he fights it but he is getting better and better. Size is also an issue because you just can’t forecast just how big this cat is going to get. He has a giant frame and long arms so there is no telling what his size will be like in three or four years. Remember, he still has two high school seasons to play before he gets to Ann Arbor. Will his growth prompt a position change? If so, how will that impact his develop?
All of these are concerns but I see them as minor concerns because Campbell is such an outstanding athlete. Recruit him now and worry about it later.
Oh no he might be even more giant and still probably really fast.
Campbell's commitment does more than just give Michigan one of the top prospects in his entire class. It also looks like he'll be a major recruiting conduit in the tradition of Morris, Speight, Ferns, et al — Campbell reportedly struck up a close friendship with 2015 MI ATH Brian Cole, and he's already reaching out to other top prospects on Twitter. Others, including 2015 MN LB/DE Jashon Cornell, ESPN's #1 overall recruit in the class, took immediate notice after Campbell tweeted out his commitment announcement.
— Jashon Cornell (@Jay_Rock16) July 28, 2013
— Jashon Cornell (@Jay_Rock16) July 27, 2013
Oh, and some other guy passed along his congratulations.
— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) July 28, 2013
That guy is consensus top-100 2015 running back Damien Harris. He committed to Michigan while I was writing this post. Brian, mercifully, handled the Hello post. Commitments come in pairs, Brady Hoke poops magic, and Michigan now has their top targets at wide receiver and running back already in the fold for 2015.
Hello there, potential überclass:
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) July 29, 2013
Not a bad start to the week, you guys.
[Hit THE JUMP for much, much more on the BBQ, including reactions from Malik McDowell, Shaun Crawford, Sterling Jenkins, and Justin Hilliard, plus surprise appearances from a couple of Glenville's finest.]
Today's recruiting roundup welcomes Maurice Hurst Jr. and Henry Poggi, updates the recruitments of Leon McQuay III and his teammate Alvin Bailey, recaps the Champaign NFTC, and more.
Michigan's 2013 Class, Now With 100% More Beef
Michigan added two four-star defensive tackles in three days, gaining commitments from Westwood (MA) Xavarian Brothers's Maurice Hurst Jr. on Saturday and Baltimore (MD) Gilman's Henry Poggi yesterday morning. You can check out their commitment posts here (Hurst) and here (Poggi). Much more has come out on each player since their respective commitments, so consider this a Hello addendum.
First, let's clarify positions. Hurst told GBW($) that he'll play both nose tackle and three-tech, but his main focus is the former, which makes sense with the addition of Poggi. Sam Webb revealed the staff's plans for Poggi:
Said Poggi, “I’ll start off as a 5-technique and then work into that three technique position. 5-techniques are around 280, then hopefully I’ll put some more weight on sophomore, junior, and senior year and be a 3-technique. Whatever plays out.”
The Daily's Zach Helfand
“Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think long term that’s realistic if he wants to play beyond college and be very good,” Shurburtt said. “If he were a 3-4 defensive end we were talking about, I think he’d be in business. But I think 4-3, that’s a stretch.”
Playing at tackle, though, Shurburtt sees an elite prospect.
“There’s defensive tackles across the country that either have a lot of heart or a lot of talent. Henry’s got both,” Shurburtt said. “[He is] the complete package of what you look for in a defensive tackle.
“He’s definitely an inside guy. That’s what gives him plus athleticism.”
I'd agree that Poggi's best chance at being elite is at tackle, where his athleticism stands out more, but as we learned with Ryan Van Bergen (and now with Jibreel Black), the differences between playing the five-tech DE and three-tech DT in Michigan's 4-3 under aren't vast. ESPN's Craig Haubert agrees that Poggi's best spot is on the interior and offers this scouting report ($):
He flashes a good get-off, but needs to be more consistent. He is tough taking on blockers and defending the run as he can play low and be active with his hands as well recognize and react well to blocking schemes. As a pass rusher he comes up field hard and though he needs to continue to further develop as a pass rusher he can make blockers work to try and stop him. He also plays with a motor and is a good physical tackler.
Scout's Brian Dohn takes a look at Hurst, noting he needs to do a better job of getting off blocks with his hands before coming to this conclusion ($):
Hurst’s greatest asset is athleticism. He plays fast, especially within the first few snaps of the ball, but he will have to show he can survive against the offensive linemen of the Big Ten. It will take him a year or two to get into the rotation at Michigan, but his athletic upside of the fact his father played in the NFL gives Hurst a tremendous starting base.
The message of caution is don’t expect too much too soon from Hurst despite his ranking as a four-star. The big payoff should be on the back end.
As long as the Wolverines are afforded the luxury of showing patience with Hurst and Poggi—and given the 2012 D-line haul, that should be the case—there's a good chance for both to develop into big contributors. Regardless of their on-field accomplishments, both appear to have their heads in the right place off the field. From Helfand's piece on Poggi:
“People say I’m making a four-year commitment, but I’m really making a 40-year commitment,” Poggi said. “The kind of degree I wanted to get was a degree that carries a lot of weight.”
And here's Hurst's head coach talking to Matt Pargoff:
“Mo’s a great kid,” said Stevenson . “He maximizes his abilities in the classroom and he also steps outside the box and contributes with some community service work. He’s been in some of our outreach programs. He’s spent time at homes for abused women. He spent some time going up to places where they feed the poor. He’s spent some time at a place where we go to provide company to the elderly. He’s a great kid who thinks outside of himself … His willingness to become part of those activities speaks volumes about him as a person.”
McQuay's Top III
FL CB Leon McQuay III has rapidly gone from longshot pipe dream to viable option since his May visit to Ann Arbor, and that won't change any time soon after he announced a top three of Vanderbilt, Michigan, and USC, according to 247's Barton Simmons. McQuay plans to make his choice on November 21st, so there's still a lot of time for changes, but this is huge news for Michigan.
What's the common thread between McQuay's top three schools? It's not so much the football—I mean, Vanderbilt—as it is what these schools can offer in the classroom, per TomVH ($, info in header):
Michigan, USC and Vanderbilt made the cut, and it's due largely to their music departments.
"Leon and his coach came up with the list. He's chasing the music thing and those three schools have the best music programs," said his father, Leon Jr. "If that's something that he's chasing then I can only be happy for him."
The younger McQuay is looking to pursue a major related to audio engineering/production, so Michigan's state-of-the-art studio could provide a huge leg up, though the music departments at Vandy and USC are also top notch. The program with the advantage here, surprisingly, may actually be the Commodores; McQuay initially expressed some trepidation about going to school up north, and USC has a very good chance of being full at defensive back by the time he announces.
McQuay's high school teammate, FL WR Alvin Bailey, recently narrowed his list to a top 15, but there's a sense that the Wolverines could be in a strong position for him as well given the good vibes coming from McQuay. Tremendous caught up with Bailey, who said he'll be up to Ann Arbor within the next couple of weeks, and he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a commitment if all went well on the trip. We'll see about that, but at the very least it's a big step to get him on campus.
Wilkins to Auburn?
Another top skill position target is TN RB Jordan Wilkins, who has stated his intention to visit Ann Arbor this upcoming Saturday. That may be up in the air, however, after Wilkins nearly committed to Auburn during a visit yesterday($, info in header)—it appears the only thing that kept Wilkins from making the pledge was the absence of his mother from the trip. Now his recruitment could wrap up imminently:
He plans to bring his mother to Auburn's campus in the next week or two. A decision could come soon after.
"I might take one more visit to Michigan on Saturday, but I might shut it down after that and make my decision," he said. "I want to get my mom to Auburn pretty soon, maybe next week...as soon as possible.
"Auburn is definitely at the top right now."
Even if he makes it to Ann Arbor, it doesn't look good for the Wolverines. VA RB Derrick Green is the other big priority at running back, and if they miss on him Michigan may very well be content with DeVeon Smith and Wyatt Shallman, especially if they can reel in a couple of receivers (say, Laquon Treadwell and a slot-type like Bailey).
Speaking of IL WR Laquon Treadwell, Michigan's top receiver target took home position MVP honors at last weekend's NFTC in Champaign, also earning top performer honors from 247's Barton Simmons:
1. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Crete-Monee – No wide receiver present on Sunday caught the ball with the kind of effortless ease as Treadwell. He inhales the football, making the routine catch look the way it should and adding plenty of spectacular catches to his resume as well.
Treadwell – who possess very good top-end speed and smooth route-running ability – showed the ability to lay-out for footballs on vertical routes and high-point footballs in jump-ball scenarios. In a year in which there aren’t a lot of no-doubt type receiver prospects, it’s hard to imagine many receivers better than him.
Treadwell competed against a potential future teammate in Michigan commit Jourdan Lewis, who came in at #5 on Josh Helmholdt's list of top skill performers ($):
Lewis is an interesting dichotomy. Off the field, he is so unassuming, almost aw-shucksto the point that people may not even recognize him. On the field, he plays with a tremendous amount of confidence. His performance Sunday was very reminiscent of past performances from earlier this spring in that Lewis was always making plays on the football. He did drop a couple interceptions - rare for a prospect who is also an outstanding wide receiver - but made a couple as well. Sometimes Lewis gets too confident about his recovery speed and will take chances early in a receiver's route, but few receivers have shown the ability to burn him.
That level of instinctual play and athleticism from Lewis is something that really stood out watching him at Cass Tech last year, so it's no surprise to see him turning heads in a camp setting where he can really display those coverage skills.
Quickly: CA DE Joe Mathis maintains his three leaders($): Nebraska, Michigan, and Washington. CA WR Demorea Stringfellow is certain of two official visits($): Washington and Ohio State. Happy trails to five-star IN LB Jaylon Smith, who committed to Notre Dame, and NC WR Uriah LeMay, who pledged to Georgia.
Michigan offered FL OL K.C. McDermott this week, according to Scout's Mike Bakas ($). McDermott is a big tackle prospect at 6'6", 275 pounds, and he already holds offers from Florida, Miami (YTM), Ohio State, Wisconsin, and others. His father says he's looking to visit Ann Arbor and several other Midwest schools in July.
McDermott won't be the only summer visitor among rising junior tackles, as TX OL Demetrius Knox will visit both Michigan and Ohio State in June. Also visiting in June will be GA S Nick Glass, an early Georgia commit.
The Wolverines hosted a couple of visitors over the past few days. OH OL Jimmy Byrne didn't come away with an offer, but told Tremendous that the visit was a "10" on a 1-10 scale. IA OL Ross Pierschbacher also left without an offer, but told 247 that Michigan would "definitely be in consideration" if they came through with one ($).
Finally, Scout's Allen Trieu has a free primer on the Midwest players to watch in the class of 2015—yes, kids finishing up their freshman year of high school—if you're so inclined.
Today's recruiting roundup discusses a trio of weekend visitors, new offers for both 2013 and 2014, updated rankings for Scout and 247, and more.
Come On Down, Maurice Hurst Jr.?
[Warning: Turn down your speakers, cubicleites.]
MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr. has recently emerged in a big way on Michigan's radar, culminating this week with an offer to the four-star lineman. Tremendous caught up with Hurst the day he got the offer, and with Hurst planning a visit to Ann Arbor soon, his recruitment could wrap up in a hurry:
I talked with Maurice for a split second tonight, who said he plans on visiting in a couple weeks. I also talked to a current commitment and they informed me that Maurice plans to commit to Michigan when he makes that visit. There is a strong possibility that he will be the next member of this class. He's definitely a name Michigan fans need to get familiar with.
Hurst also told Tremendous that he's being recruited as a three-tech—before you ask, I don't think Michigan would stop recruiting Henry Poggi if he committed—and should visit in two weeks or so. Hurst also chose an interesting, and potentially telling, topic for his next school project:
I'm doing a video design project on the Michigan Ohio State rivalry posting a link on twitter when done .. Trying my best!!!!!#hopingforanA+
— Maurice R. Hurst (@MRH_11) May 15, 2012
A humble suggestion for some years to explore, Maurice: 1950, 1969, 1986, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2011.
Hurst won't be the only four-star 2013 defender hitting campus soon, as FL DB Leon McQuay III has been confirmed as a visitor this weekend by both The Wolverine and GBW ($, info in picture). McQuay is a top-100 player who can line up at either cornerback or safety, and it appears Michigan is recruiting him as a big (6'2", 186) corner. Joining McQuay on campus this weekend are 2014 OH LB Dante Booker, a recent offeree and one of the top rising junior LBs, and MI QB Chance Stewart, who just earned his first offer from Western Michigan yesterday.
The Wolverines appear pretty serious about tracking down a third corner for the class; on top of McQuay's upcoming visit, Michigan sent out a new offer to four-star TX CB Maurice Smith, who used to play with Troy Woolfolk and tells 247's Clint Brewster that his interest in Michigan is "an eight or nine" out of ten ($). At 6'0", 185 pounds, Smith also fits the mold as a bigger cornerback.
A quick update on the running back situation: Jeff Hecklinski stopped by to see TN RB Jordan Wilkins on Monday ($, info in header). Wilkins is looking to swing by Michigan, Ohio State, and Cincinnati in June or July. VA RB Derrick Green, meanwhile, is still strongly considering Michigan, according to GBW's Andre Barthwell ($, info in header). Wilkins and Green are the top two targets at running back who are still on the board right now.
Updated Scout Rankings: Dawson, Lewis On The Rise
Scout updated their top 300 this week, and while there was mostly limited movement, a couple commits saw big changes in their rankings. MI CB Jourdan Lewis jumped from #251 to #173 while his Cass Tech teammate, OL David Dawson, made a similar leap from #274 to #178. Lewis and Dawson have both been outstanding on the camp circuit recently and were due for an upgrade. On the flip side, IL OL Logan Tuley-Tillman fell from #153 to #190 and MI RB Wyatt Shallman dropped to #263 from #179. Tuley-Tillman has been injured recently while Shallman's stock may be dropping due to his college position (scouts seems to like his potential at DE more than at RB), so those drops aren't unexpected. TTB has the full list of changes for Michigan commits.
Sitting at #75 in the new Scout rankings is a familar face, IL WR Laquon Treadwell, who was profiled by Sam Webb in yesterday's Detroit News. Treadwell reiterates his accelerated timeline while his high school coach mentions that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the two schools in best position to give the Wolverines a run due to their use of the spread offense and Treadwell's family ties to OSU (his uncle, Ricky Young, was an All-American for the Cowboys). If Treadwell's criteria for a school stays the same, however, Michigan could be tough to beat:
Said Treadwell, to Scout.com: "I am looking for a school that has a great quarterback, a nice coaching staff, a place where I am comfortable, and a place where I like the players."
Check, check, check, and check.
NJ DE Tashawn Bower hasn't been in the news much lately, but that's not because of any lack of interest on Michigan's part, as 247's Todd Worley reports that Curt Mallory has been in contact with him via Facebook "almost on a daily basis," according to Bower ($). Bower will visit Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House in July. After visiting a long list of schools over the summer, Bower will narrow his list down around the start of football season, and there's a good chance Michigan makes his top group.
Quickly: Michigan has told WR Devon Allen that he could play football and run track if he commits ($). Dan Ferrigno stopped by to visit CA WR Demeora Stringfellow this week ($, info in header). HI DT Scott Pagano has a top four($) of LSU, Baylor, Clemson, and Nebraska. CA DT Eddie Vanderdoes plans to take official visits($) to Oregon, Penn State, and Nebraska—no mention yet of which schools are in the running for his other two OVs, should he plan to take them. VA DE Jonathan Allen has a top two($) of Alabama and Florida.
New 2014 Offers, Rankings
It didn't take long for 247 to expand their early 2014 top 25 to a full-fledged top 100, and Michigan offerees already pepper the list. By my count, the Wolverines have already offered 13 members on the list—Touch the Banner has a rundown of some of the notables. [For my own entertainment, NOTY-watch: #14 Raekwon McMillian (shockingly from Georgia, not Staten Island), #26 Demarcus Christmas, #35 Budda Baker, #45 Adoree' Jackson, #54 Jamoral Graham, #56 Jamadre Cobb, #77 Malachi Dupree(!)]
A few more offers went out this week, including one to five-star LA OL Cameron Robinson, a 6'5", 320-pound tackle who already holds offers from Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Mississippi State. Like all of Michigan's recent O-line recruits, he's got a mean streak:
“They saw on film someone that carries his weight well and is very flexible,” [Robinson's high school coach, John] Carr said. “He finishes. When he gets a hold of you, he’s going to ride you and finish. He’s not just a big teddy bear. That’s his mentality – he’s a nasty offensive line throwback.”
One of these days, a coach will describe one of his offensive linemen as a big teddy bear, and it will be adorable until nobody recruits said lineman.
Quickly: Michigan also sent out an offer to TN WR Josh Malone, who also has offers from Ohio State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. Malone is ranked as the #42 overall player and #3 wide receiver by 247. Also offered($): four-star TX OL Demetrius Knox, who has early offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and UCLA. According to an interview with Sam Webb, Michigan is in the top five for 2014 NY OT/DE Jay Hayes, though they'll have to catch up to his early leader, Notre Dame ($).