so much for that
Today's recruiting roundup covers MSU visit reactions, a friendly bet between a future Wolverine and a future Buckeye, how not to deal with the Dawson decommitment, and more.
Visit Reactions: Positive (Surprise!)
The overall ugliness of the Michigan-MSU game wasn't enough to dampen the excitement of visitors to the Big House, even when you put aside Denzel Ward's pre-game commitment. In fact, Ward could be joined sooner or later on the 2014 offensive line by four-star FL lineman Mason Cole, who said this to 247's Todd Worly ($, info in header):
“I liked everything about it,” Cole said. “Just the atmosphere and everything. It just feels like home. Just the coaching staff and Ann Arbor.”
When asked where Michigan stands, Cole stated that they're "really high" on his list—impressive considering an offer list that includes USC, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, and Notre Dame.
GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz caught up with Cass Tech junior CB Damon Webb, who normally plays things close to the vest but had high praise for the visit ($):
“This time when I was up at Michigan it was different,” Webb told GoBlueWolverine. “The crowd was more live. Other Michigan games it wasn’t really this big, but I was really impressed by this visit.”
“It helped a lot,” added Webb.
Top 2013 target VA RB Derrick Green:
Derrick Green responded one word on how visit is going so far at #Michigan -- "great"
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) October 21, 2012
I have to think—given the poor seasons of Auburn and Tennessee—that Michigan is in the driver's seat for Green at this point.
While IL WR Laquon Treadwell was unable to make the trip—I'm a broken record on this subject, so react as you will (sorry, mods)—the Wolverines did host a pair of 2013 prospects currently committed elsewhere. Westland John Glenn WR Da'Mario Jones (CMU commit) was in the Big House for the second straight week, telling Tim Sullivan($) that "it was probably one of the hypest games that I've been to." Scout's Simone Scott posted on The Victors Board($) that Pickerington (OH) North RB Godwin Igwebuike—Northwestern commit and HS teammate of Jake Butt—was also in attendance, though it sounds like he just took the opportunity to catch a game with his friend and teammate. Both Jones and Igwebuike could be backup options should the Wolverines miss out on Treadwell and Green.
Michigan even made waves in the 2015 class, especially with their first offered prospect, KY RB Damien Harris. Harris has spent the season putting up video game numbers after camping in Ann Arbor over the summer; he came away from the visit in awe of the stadium atmosphere, according to TomVH ($):
“I’d say that Michigan was already on top, but it just moved them up even more for me because that’s definitely the type of atmosphere I’d like to play in,” he said. “That makes me want to go there even more. To know that the fans are that into the game, it definitely moved them up.”
Harris added that he couldn't "put it into words how amazing it really was," so yeah, that went well. He's a potential five-star who's already getting serious national attention, and it's safe to say the Wolverines are leading the way right now. It's worth noting that his mother accompanied him on the visit, as well.
The Cass Tech pipeline could continue, meanwhile, in the form of sophomore DE Joshua Alabi, who told 247's Todd Worly that he wants to stay close to home ($):
“Everyone around you is family, so if I could go there, I would,” Alabi said. “I’ve been to Michigan already, and if I could stay home, I would. I don’t want to leave home if I don’t have to. I’d just stay in Michigan.”
Alabi is an impressive young prospect who already stands at 6'5", 245 lbs.; while he doesn't have an offer yet, he's a candidate down the road, and it sounds like Michigan would be in a very good position to land him.
For more visit reaction, Tremendous has you covered.
[Mike McCray throws down the gauntlet against Cam Burrows, a roundup of last weekend's high school action, and more after THE JUMP.]
According to WolverineNation's Chantel Jennings($), Michigan has picked up their second commitment of the 2014 class in IL OL Denzel Ward, a 6'9" tackle who started playing organized football this year. Informative update coming either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how this game goes.
Semi-informative update ahoy:
|NR OT||NR OT||NR OT||NR OT|
As noted above, Ward didn't start playing organized football until this season, so there's very little in the way of scouting on him. Rivals and ESPN have yet to release full rankings for the 2014 class, and Ward isn't listed yet by Scout or 247; again, that doesn't mean much a handful of games into his football career. All but Scout (6'8") list Ward at 6'9", with his listed weight ranging from 285-295 pounds, so he's a rather gargantuan human being.
The only quotes we have at this juncture about Ward's football ability are from his head coach, via Jennings ($):
"He's dominant," Hales Franciscan coach Randall Townsel said. "The game is very fast when you start playing football. The first time you take the varsity field, the game is moving fast -- and it still is for him -- but for him to go in, understand his role and be as dominant as he has been is pretty incredible."
Ward was a constant surprise to Townsel. After his first practice, Ward stayed after to run a mile by himself. As practices progressed, so did he. At his first game, he drove a player 20 yards down field into a fence because he was a little too excited and wasn't sure when he was allowed to stop, when his quarterback assuredly would be safe.
For a first-time player, regardless of size, to garner serious BCS attention is a testament to Ward's potential, and it's apparent that he's picking the game up in a hurry. Given that he'd been a serious AAU basketball player—a teammate of top-ranked 2013 recruit Jabari Parker, in fact—it's safe to say that he possesses the athleticism necessary to develop into a viable tackle prospect.
Ward's only other offer was from Purdue at the time of his commitment, but Rivals also lists interest from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, and Wisconsin. According to 247, Ward camped at Purdue, Ohio State, and Wisconsin over the summer, earning his Boilermaker offer during his camp appearance.
FAKE 40 TIME
Ward doesn't have a highlight tape available yet. When he does, it will make an appearance in the next recruiting roundup.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Given the complete dearth of scouting and film available on Ward, I'm only comfortable putting forth that he will likely develop into a left tackle prospect; given his size, this isn't exactly going out on a limb.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Ward joins linebacker Michael Ferns among Michigan's 2014 commits; Michigan's coaches have made it clear that they'd like to take at least four—and preferably five or six—offensive linemen in each recruiting class, so expect Ward to be joined by at least one more tackle prospect and a couple other linemen.
Today's recruiting roundup covers the MSU visitor list, a potential 2014 commit, Michigan's gentle giant of a commit, and more.
Denzel Ward: Michigan's next commit?
Last weekend, Michigan offered 6'9" IL OT Denzel Ward, who visited for the Illinois game and came away gushing about the visit and talking about receiving his "dream offer" from the Wolverines. Ward spent the game with Logan Tuley-Tillman, who gave him his best recruiting pitch, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"Me and a 2014 tackle, Denzel Ward, we both were there," Tuley-Tillman explained. "We hung out like the whole day, and we'll come back next weekend together. We had a lot of fun, and everybody already thinks we're brothers. We're going to start going along with it, too. We had fun, we both had a good time.
"I was just showing him what it was, and how it really is a family atmosphere up there, and how he would already have someone that would be there for him to help him with anything."
The pitch appears to be working—Ward will be back on campus this weekend after spending the week tweeting all of the positive things about Michigan. He might have something up his sleeve, too:
— Logan Tuley-Tillman™ (@LoganTillman) October 17, 2012
An early commitment is a definite possibility here.
Ward won't be alone as a big-time visitor for the State game; Tremendous has the whole list, and it is lengthy. Michigan's two biggest 2013 targets, VA RB Derrick Green and IL WR Laquon Treadwell, will both be present, as will a pair of backup options at wide receiver in MI WR DaMario Jones and OH WR Elijah Bell—neither hold offers but could pick one up as we near signing day if Treadwell doesn't commit. Don't expect Green or Treadwell to make a decision this weekend, but a good visit could go a long way towards locking up a commitment in both cases, especially when it comes to Green.
Visiting 2014 prospects with Michigan offers are MI WR/DB Damon Webb, FL OL Mason Cole, PA S Montae Nicholson, PA TE Brenon Thrift, and OH ATH Marshon Lattimore. The first 2015 offer, KY RB Damien Harris—who projects to be one of the top handful of prospects in that class—will also be on campus; he camped at Michigan over the summer.
There's also a major basketball recruit slated to visit in improbably-named 2015 five-star WI C Diamond Stone. He already holds offers from UCLA and Wisconsin, among others, and is likely to pick one up on his visit [EDIT: As multiple commenters reminded me of, Beilein doesn't offer prospects until the summer after their sophomore year, so Stone won't be picking one up on this trip]. Fellow 2015 five-star IL PG Hyron Edwards might make the trip up for the game, as well.
This is obviously Michigan's biggest recruiting weekend of the season, and we could see several offers go out to 2014 prospects; we'll see if a commitment is in the cards.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on the Dawson replacement situation and more.]
Today's recruiting roundup discusses the Dawson decommitment and potential replacements, the updated 2013 Top247, the return of Shane Morris, a potential early 2014 commit, and more.
Point Of No Return
Ethan Pocic: Potential Dawson replacement?
Despite an summer flirtation with Florida, David Dawson seemingly decommitted out of the blue yesterday. He was quick to name a new leader in the Gators, however, and InsideTheGators.com suggests that this may have actually been a long time coming ($) [emphasis mine]:
Word of the two-sides parting ways first started gaining momentum back in the summer, when during The Opening Dawson openly spoke of decommitting from Michigan, telling several of his fellow Wolverines commitments of his plan.
However, after speaking with the UM coaching staff, Dawson decided to stand pat.
Then a month ago, a person close to the situation told Inside the Gators that Dawson was on the verge of making a change, and it would happen in a matter of days, before then saying that it would happen during the week leading up to the Florida-LSU game.
Chatter on Florida message boards suggests that Dawson reached out to Florida multiple times attempting to set up a visit, including before the LSU game, and it may in fact have been a Gator coach who clued in the Michigan staff to what was going on. It that's indeed the case, this quote from Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher should not come as a surprise at all ($):
“They are done,” said Wilcher regarding whether the Wolverines will continue courting his star lineman. “That ship has sailed… sunk.. whatever you want to call it.”
Regardless of how things went down, I'd encourage everyone to wish Dawson well and move on. Sour grapes are not a good look when we're talking about the decisions of high school kids.
Michigan is certainly moving on, as The M Block reports that the Wolverines have already reached out to LSU commit Ethan Pocic, who was very high on Michigan before the available spots on the line filled up. Pocic maintains that he's firmly committed to the Tigers and will take his only official visit there; that's to be expected at this juncture, of course, so we'll see how things develop. While Dawson was slated to play guard and Pocic is a pure tackle prospect, Michigan could easily shift Chris Fox down to guard and maintain a full five-man line class with every position covered—Logan Tuley-Tillman and Pocic at tackle, Fox and Kyle Bosch at guard, and Patrick Kugler at center.
Tremendous throws in their two cents about potential replacements for Dawson, including Pocic, Notre Dame commit Colin McGovern, MSU commit Dennis Finley (yet to be offered, but one could come), and UCLA commit Scott Quessenberry, a high school teammate of freshman Erik Magnuson. They also dispel the notion that Dawson's departure could affect the recruitment of VA RB Derrick Green; the pair had struck up a friendship over the summer, but Green told Tremendous that the decommitment will "not at all" affect his status with the Wolverines.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of today's recruiting nuggets.]
Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's high school action, the latest on Leon McQuay III, the 2014 ESPN 300 Watch List, and more.
Butt Turns Tables, Defeats Taco
Remember the picture of former Michigan safety Carvin Johnson as the saddest of sad pandas after losing the state title game? Taco Charlton also hates losing, and after his Pickerington Central squad fell 37-0 to Pickerington North—the first time in six tries that North defeated their crosstown rivals—he's the next in line for Agony of Defeat Photo of the Year:
Much like Johnson in that state title game, Charlton was phenomenal in a losing effort, recording ten tackles and 1.5 sacks while playing on offense, defense, and special teams for the Tigers. In the end, though, it was fellow Michigan commit Jake Butt, who finished with nine catches for 92 yards and a TD as well as a crucial fourth-down sack, celebrating a rivalry win on Central's home turf. I'll have much more on this game, including more photos and video highlights, in tomorrow's Future Blue Originals.
Speaking of outstanding two-way efforts, Dymonte Thomas led Marlington to a 34-14 victory with 249 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries and also recorded an interception—all after suffering an ankle injury that forced him out of the first offensive series. Thomas also threw an eight-yard touchdown pass. You can see highlights from the game at the 4:30 mark of this video.
Channing Stribling continued to show why he's regarded as a fast-rising prospect, returning an interception 25 yards for a touchdown for Matthews Butler. According to TomVH, Stribling now has five interceptions in six games on the season as well as a kickoff return for a TD and a receiving TD.
We haven't heard much from Wyatt Shallman, who's been battling injuries, thus far this season, but he had a breakout performance on Friday. Playing defensive tackle, Shallman finished with six tackles, four hurries, a sack, and an interception (returned for 20 yards), via TomVH.
DeVeon Smith rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns on only 12 carries in a 37-14 victory for Warren Howland. Several other commits found paydirt over the weekend, including Mike McCray (77 yard TD catch along with five solo tackles), Gareon Conley (TD catches of 58 and three yards), Ross Douglas (13-yard TD run), Ben Gedeon (71 rush yards and two TDs), and JaRon Dukes, whose 10-yard TD reception provided the winning points in a 7-6 victory.
In other commit news, David Dawson announced on Twitter that he's been invited to represent Team USA in the International Bowl. Also, Magnus has an interesting discussion about Wyatt Shallman's college position over at TTB; I agree with him that Shallman stands out much more on offense, and I believe he'll stick at running back.
[The latest on McQuay's visit plans and more after THE JUMP.]