"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."
Update 7/21: Linked to articles on MS S Dennis Thames, FL LB Brandin Hawthorne, MD RB Tavon Austin, GA LB Devekeyan Lattimore, TX S Rex Burkhead, NJ DE Anthony LaLota, various pieces on SC DE Chris Bonds. And more fun Newsome stuff, plus rumor-mongering of a bogus variety.
Re-added SC RB David Sims.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting Board lives here.
Everybody thought IN OL Zach Martin was going to visit Michigan, then decide, but instead he committed to Notre Dame. This has been an unfortunately common occurrence over the last few years. Geniunely Sarcastic has the details; suffice it to say the scoreboard since 2006 is ND 9, Michigan 1. This overstates things since it doesn't include the likes of Dann O'Neill or Ricky Barnum, who are widely regarded to be players at least equal to the ten players fought over here, but it's a concern.
GS goes for the soothing balm of Dan Mozes, the two-star West Virginia center who became a four-year starter, All-American, and Rimington winner. I'm more circumspect. All-Americans and Rimington Award winners are picked by the media, who know f-all about offensive linemen, and when you've got a four year starter on a team that runs for 300 yards a game he's going to get fawned over whether he deserves it or not. See: Matt Lentz, All Big Ten 2005. Mozes went undrafted by the NFL and was cut in training camp by the Vikings. In all probability he was massively overhyped.
What does suit as balm: Weis' remarkable ability to turn a line not far off Michigan's last year in terms of recruiting hype and returning experience into the worst unit in the country and possibly the worst unit of the decade.
Other stuff: NJ DE Anthony LaLota is listing a number of schools that are all excellent academically, including Michigan. However, he's visited five of his leaders and has a trip planned to a sixth (Penn State) this weekend. Michigan not so much:
"I haven't had a chance to visit Michigan yet and I don't know too much about the new coaches," he said. "I'm really looking forward to getting to know them better. I think they'll do great and I really expect them to have a great season."
If he visits, then we might have a shot; for now we're just hanging on.
MS S Dennis Thames, nephew of Detroit Tiger Marcus Thames, had a lot of positive things to say about Michigan after his visit...
"It was like a dream come true," Thames said of his time at Michigan. "Everything I'm looking for in a college, Michigan had it. Education-wise, everything up there is professional. They know what they're doing. If football doesn't work, they make sure you get your education."
Based on what Thames witnessed in the weight room, he believes the Wolverines know what they're doing when it comes to training, as well.
"Mike Barwis -- that's an awesome dude," he said about Michigan's new strength and conditioning coordinator. "I'd say about 25 pro football players were there. He was helping them work out. It was awesome. He took me through some drills showing me how they do it up there."
... but he's backed off the assertion he made whilst in the Tigers locker room that Michigan leads:
As for his college choice, Thames said, "I will say Michigan is in my top three with Mississippi State and Auburn."
Mississippi State, bizarrely as ever, remains the biggest threat.
FL LB Brandin Hawthorne has five finalists and plans on " committing" August 30th; Michigan is regarded the favorite. Cause of scare quotes:
ESPN 150 Watch Lister Brandin Hawthorne will choose between South Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee and Louisville during an Aug. 30th game against Olive Branch (Miss.) to be televised on ESPN, affiliate Web site InsideTheU.com reports.
Hawthorne will then take official visits to all those schools except South Florida and will travel to Iowa State instead.
Last season, the 6-foot-1, 181-pounder racked up more than 80 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and nine sacks.
And by "commit" we mean "announces early leader." And by "five finalists" we mean "six finalists."
GA LB Devekeyan (or "Dede") Lattimore says Michigan is a slight leader:
"I love the tradition at Michigan and they have some good new coaches that are really going to be changing things up," he said. "I like coach Rich Rodriguez and it really impressed me that he was one of the few head coaches (and UCF) that offered me himself. That meant a lot."
Lattimore is a three star with one other big offer, that from Clemson.
And, finally, what would a recruiting post be without more discussion of VA QB Kevin Newsome's status? It would be shorter. Anyway, Josh Helmholdt put up an innocuous story on the Free Press site headlined something like "Michigan's quarterback issues are temporary" that one of the OMG HITS editors at the Free Press changed to "If Kevin Newsome bolts, Michigan has a contingency plan." This set off a completely predictable mini-sitewar between Scout and Rivals with Scout touting Sam Webb's recent conversation(?) with the Newsomes and claiming 1) Newsome was totally solid and 2) if Newsome did end up decommiting it was Helmholdt's fault for writing that article. Helmholdt, for his part, has been writing articles that can be retitled "If Kevin Newsome bolts..." and include references to Jason Forcier and Eugene Smith. Read between the lines.
My contribution: a man named "Crotch Bat." A reader sends along this thread from Something Awful's "Sports Argument Stadium" in which a VT fan/insider(?) says thusly:
What I'm hearing is that Kevin Newsome is all but gone from Michigan and that scenario will play out sooner rather than later. Look for VT and PSU to be in the thick of it for him.
Again, don't shoot the messenger but like I said, none of this stuff is going away and I hear new stuff more and more.
Reasons to give this more credence than you would to your average random internet rumor? Well, there is the claim of deep insider info and the generalized respect shown this guy, who's been posting at SA since 2003. The emailer comments:
I tend to believe him because in the few years I've been reading that forum, he has always been there and is consistently a knowledgeable, intelligent poster.
A reason to disregard: even if he's got the info he claims it's coming from the VT side of things and may be biased or just incorrect. Also: "Crotch Bat." Also also: there was another Rivals even this weekend that was attended by both Bryce McNeal and Newsome; McNeal, at least, didn't detect any floppiness. As always, I throw up my hands and say "hell if I know."
Etc.: TX S Rex Burkhead doesn't mention Michigan here; longshot.
Update 7/14: Linked to articles on MS S Dennis Thames (we lead), FL S Mike Jones (we probably lead), OK CB David Gordon (fighting for third), VA OL Morgan Moses, VA DE Will Hill, IN OL Zach Martin, IN OL Kyle Koehne, (latter two from Big House Blog). Linked to recruiting podcast from Sam Webb on VA QB Kevin Newsome.
Added NC OL Travis Bond.
Removed FL CB Brandon McGee (dropped us), TN WR Marlon Brown (dropped us, but what an article title), OK CB David Gordon.
Editorial Opinion: Board lives here.
VA QB commit Kevin Newsome did not visit Virginia Tech this weekend; Michigan fans can officially lower their personal decommitment DEFCONs as they feel is appropriate. Mine is at 4: slightly bothered. I missed this before Friday's post on the Newsome situation, but GBW's Sam Webb took the rumors to task on WTKA. Here's a paraphrase of part of it:
You have a family that feels beat down by the process and the media in the process. Every year, you have many recruits that don't make it a common practice to take calls from the media or the recruiting services on a continuous basis. The Newsomes are one of them.
They choose not to speak up on a subject that in their minds is already resolved. He said he is going to Michigan. Haven't said he is not going to Michigan. Why do we have to respond every time something comes up? That's been their take.
I don't quite buy it -- the best way to silence speculation about a potential decommit is to say "he is going to Michigan," not "no comment:" -- but Webb, who is very good at getting in with recruits and their families, was ahead of the Virginia papers that are fueling the speculation. Later in the segment he declared that Kevin Newsome would not be going to the VT camp, period. This turned out to be correct.
Newsome is still a bit wobbly, but if he hasn't decommited by the time he ends up at Hargrave chances are he won't do so at all.
Meanwhile, IN OL Zach Martin's scheduled visit to Michigan did not come off. Instead, Martin went to... uh... Notre Dame. That's obviously not ideal, but Martin has rescheduled the Michigan visit for two weeks hence and will decide in the immediate aftermath of it. Optimism still reigns; it's a little dimmed.
Meanwhiel, another IN OL, Kyle Kohene , is considering four schools and will probably decide in the next month and a half:
The 6-6, 285-pound Koehne has narrowed his choices to Boston College, Florida, Michigan and Michigan State.
"It's been a little more intense than I thought it would be," said Koehne, rated as a three-star recruit by rivals.com. "I've enjoyed it, but I'd like to have it done before the season."
Safeties and such. MS S Dennis Thames' visit to Michigan went pretty well:
"They sounded like nice coaches, good coaches to be around," Dennis said while seated in front of his uncle's locker, dressed in Tigers baseball pants and hat before batting practice. "Michigan would be my No. 1 right now. They've come at me the most and recruited me."
Good news -- Thames is a four-star and Rival's #218 prospect at the moment -- but let's see what happens after he's been back home for a bit. Michigan leading after the visit was necessary but not sufficient; "Michigan would be my #1" is also not the strongest statement. Optimism here is tentative.
Allen Wallace has an article up on Edgewater (former home of Greg Mathews) FL S Mike Jones :
Jones recently visited both Michigan and Notre Dame and admits he's always been a fan of the Wolverines. "I love Michigan," he said. "They have like 110,000 fans come to their games. It's a big tradition school and I like that.
"I also like coach Rich Rodriguez and like the new faster-pace offense he's gonna run," Jones said. "I think it'll be good for them."
Jones is being recruited by Wolverines quarterbacks coach Rod Smith . "He's always writing me letters and really wants me to go to Michigan," he said. "He says that I'd be a perfect fit for them and that they need guys like me."
There's a similar amount of praise for Notre Dame, previously announced as co-leader with Michigan. Notre Dame hasn't offered, though. His other major offers are from Auburn and USF.
Etc.: VA OL Morgan Moses is a long way from narrowing things down but Michigan appears to be on the periphery. We were dropped by TN WR Marlon Brown, which is no surprise; I just want to point out Allen Wallace's awesome article title: "THE ULTIMATE DECISION FACTOR." Marlon Brown's recruitment is like a Japanese game show; I hope he ends it by declaring he will attend the school whose head coach endures a series of physical challenges the best. The finale: honey is smeared on each participant's chest. A box is placed on the honey, and rat is placed in the box. Rocks are attached to their bodies via rubber bands. Then little Dutch children are hired to grab the rocks and run away from the participants until the rock flies out of their hands and physics takes over. (Yes, I have actually seen this transpire, and it was every bit as wonderful as you imagine.)