"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."
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Desmond Morgan Goes Blue
Read the Hello: Desmond Morgan post for full details on the kid. He almost never smiles in pictures (at least ones on the internet), and more often looks ominous:
Fluff on Morgan's move to quarterback after only playing linebacker for his first three years. He's a well-rounded athlete, also playing hockey and lacrosse. The best part:
“Anything less than the playoffs would be very disappointing,” said Morgan, who has a 3.97 grade-point average. “There are a lot of great schools in the OK Red. I think the hard work in the offseason is going to pay off.”
Following the season, he was named to the All-Area First-Team defense, and captained it as Defensive Player of the Year:
“He knows where everybody is supposed to be. He makes the calls on defense and just his presence out there makes other guys around him better as well,” [West Ottawa Coach Jim] Caserta said. “… When you gameplan against us, you have to put at least a couple guys on him, and it makes the guys around him better.”
Opposing coaches were equally impressed:
“Desmond Morgan playing sideline to sideline, that kid can play at any college right now and I’ve admired that kid,” [Muskegon Coach Shane] Fairfield said after his team won 28-14. “That kid has inspired our defense, just watching him on film. He comes out here and runs like he’s Ironman. I’m glad our linebackers had a chance to play against him, because he made us grow up and realize how to play linebacker.”
Congratulations and welcome, Desmond.
Elsewhere in last weekend's visitors...
OH WR Darius Patton was "impressed" ($, info in header).
Though he visited last weekend, don't expect PA DT Rob Trudo to decommit from Syracuse ($, info in header).
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel is ready to start thinking about a decision ($, info in header). Expect him to make his choice in early January.
Tom's Weekly Update has full reactions from OH WR Darius Patton, IL OL Chris Bryant, and LA CB James Richardson.
Prince Holloway, Come on Down?
FL Slot WR Prince Holloway is receiving an in-home visit from OL Coach Greg Frey later this month (the contact period ends next Monday), at which time his commitment status will be clarified. To recap, Holloway has said he's ready to commit to Michigan, joining his cousin, FL CB Commit Dallas Crawford, in the class.
Howeva, with MI RB/Slot Justice Hayes already in the class, I'm not sure if Holloway holds a committable offer at this time. Though MI WR Shawn Conway won't be a Wolverine next fall, Holloway, at 5-9, isn't really the prototype to fill the outside receiver position. He also has yet to achieve a qualifying score, and though it's possible for him to keep working toward that, Michigan's staff is probably leery of the risks after cases like Adrian Witty, Demar Dorsey, and Davion Rogers.
Within a week, we should have a much better idea of where Holloway stands with this coaching staff. Sam says on WTKA that he would already be committed to Michigan is not for a bit of a "slow-play."
Coaching Carousel Reopens Doors
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett says he'll see who Pitt hires as a replacement before making any sudden decisions. If the new coach brings along a whole new, staff, it's more likely he'll decommit ($, info in header). However, he wants other coaches to know that he's available if they just wanna, you know, have a chat.
MI CB Valdez Showers remains committed to Florida for now. Now that the Gators have hired Will Muschamp, he'll likely come to a decision on his commitment soon.
FL DT Tim Jernigan eliminated Michigan and USC last week (HT: Dreisbach1817), but with Meyer resigning at Florida and the Wolverines playing in a bowl game just an hour away from his hometown of Lake City, Florida, might MIchigan have a chance to change his mind?
LA DT/OL Gregory Robinson commits to Auburn.
MD DT Darian Cooper has eliminated Michigan from consideration.
PA DE Myles Jackson committed to Rutgers.
OH LB Steven Daniels committed to Boston College.
GA S Avery Walls committed to Cal in the only painful recruiting loss in this week's update. Walls was actively recruiting for Michigan in the summer, but coaching uncertainty made it tough for him to pick the Wolverines, as he wants to enroll in January. (I'm not sure how it makes more sense to pick a school that went 5-7 and will be looking for a new coach soon, but whateva).
OH CB/Ath Tyler Williams committed to Akron.
MI RB Thomas Rawls is serious with his recruitment.
He’ll take an official visit to Central Michigan — the school that first expressed interest — next weekend. Then it’s off to the University of Michigan the following week, with a stop due in Toledo sometime in January. Cincinnati is in the process of setting up a date as well, said Rawls.
When he reaches a decision, he'll hold a low-key press conference at his school. And should he receive a qualifying test score, don't be surprised if that choice is Michigan. More local fluff.
OH QB Cardale Jones and his teammate, OH WR Shane Wynn, didn't make it to Ann Arbor for the Big Chill. Jones, at least, will try to reschedule for later this winter.
NJ TE/QB Tanner McEvoy has a final four ($, info in header). Spoiler alert: Michigan is in it.
Michigan has offered OH TE/Ath Frank Clark, and they're now a co-favorite for the Cleveland Glenville prospect ($, info in headers). Perhaps his recruitment will have an effect on his teammate Cardale Jones.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost still wants to start out at wide receiver at whichever school he chooses. His coach says he'll be excellent at either:
[Butler Coach Mike] Newsome said, "He's great on both sides of the ball. He thinks he's a better receiver than linebacker. I think he's a better linebacker than receiver, but the thing that makes him so much better a football player is he's just got 'it.' He's got the other factor to him that I can't coach into him, and that factor that takes his game to a whole 'nother level. He's just got an intensity level that helps him be better than folks he faces."
That intensity and his physical gifts - Frost has a 35-inch vertical leap and has been timed at slightly less than 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, for example - are what led more than 30 Division I colleges to offer him a scholarship.
Opposing coaches give the same level of praise:
South Mecklenburg coach James Martin said, "From a defensive standpoint, he completely understands the game. He understands formations. I've seen him make so many checks. He's one of the best linebackers I've seen since I've been coaching in Charlotte. On offense, when he gets out on the open with his hands and speed, he's a true threat."
Michigan can probably offer him much more opportunity at the wideout position, since Shawn Conway won't be in the class.
FL S Roderick Ryles, a teammate of FL RB Commit Dee Hart, will not attend Arkansas, because they don't need safeties. Michigan may be interested, though they didn't offer Ryles prior to his commitment to the Razorbacks.
JC defensive back Anthony Baskin visited Michigan last week.
PA LB/FB Nicholas Klass may walk on at Michigan ($, info in header).
MD CB Blake Countess is close to a decision ($, info in header).
Local fluff on an offer to CA K Connor Loftus.
IL QB Robert Gregory was named First-Team All-State as an athlete.
Michigan is in the top five for MI RB Juwan Lewis.
MI CB Terry Richardson was named an Under Armour All-American.
Sam Webb's recruiting column last week covered a junior combine that took place over the weekend. Once the 2011 class is wrapped up, the Wolverines will start to show serious interest in some of these guys.
Remember, the Michigan Football Recruiting Board holds all the info you need.
Tournaments, Visits, Decisions. Oh My!
FL RB Dee Hart and his Dr. Phillips teammates participated in the Nike 7ON tournament last weekend, and though the team results weren't the best, Dee tore it up:
Hart was easily the best player on the field for Dr. Phillips and when the team seemed out of sorts to start the competition, he stepped up to make some key plays.
That's an extremely positive review, the type that Michigan fans are used to seeing by now. That, along with Dr. Phillips's fourth place finish, earned Hart a spot on the all-tournament team, and the Orlando Sentinel explains why:
"One play sums up Hart's style of play: He caught the ball for a short gain and put a swift move on a linebacker and then sprinted toward the middle of the field to gain some separation. When two defensive backs came to meet him he side-stepped them and they collided as he ran past for an even bigger gain. Hart is electric with the ball in his hands and he can catch coming out of the backfield.'
Craig Haubert points out that he's great at going up to get the ball, despite his smaller stature. Here's a bit of recruiting fluff on Hart and his teammate FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix. Hart is also cryptic in his recruiting interviews, though reporters still haven't realized that he just wants to be left alone. He'll be in Ann Arbor today with 2012 FL QB Nick Patti.
"It went well," said Walsh of his one-on-one time with Michigan's head coach. "We talked a lot about (different) stuff, and not always about football. He told me about the new additions to the Big House, the town, and everything. I like him. I guess you could say he's different from how he is portrayed. He's a really cool, laid-back person. He's always smiling, and the way he talks about things, you kind of just feel good talking to him."
Walsh, who grew up a Michigan fan, plans to make a pre-season decision. He is down to eight schools, including Michigan, conference mates Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern, and a pair each from the PAC-10 and SEC in the Los Angeles schools and the Tennessee schools.
LA CB Daren Kitchen has been openly lobbying for a Michigan offer, going so far as to say he'd commit to the Wolverines on the spot. According to Tom, he's not only been offered, but also upheld his pledge to accept. Rich Rodriguez recently returned from vacation, so we'll have to see if that offer becomes committable. If so, look for a Hello: Daren Kitchen post i the near future.
Happy Trails, NC QB Marquise Williams. After the commitment of FL QB Kevin Sousa, it was clear that Michigan's staff knew Williams was heading elsewhere, now it's just been made official—he'll be a Tar Heel.
Michigan is not mentioned in a Rivals article about PA DE Desimon Green, who "knows where he wants to go." He's still on the board, but close to a Happy Trails moment.
Adios, FL LB AJ Johnson. He's narrowed his list to three, and Michigan is nowhere to be found.
Paring It Down
LA DT Mickey Johnson is down to a final five schools:
“UCLA, Nebraska, Michigan, Tennessee, and LSU are my final 5 in that order. I’m going to take 4 official visits, I won’t take one to LSU since it’s so close. I may enter a 5th visit down the line but we’ll see. I’m up to over 40 total offers right now so it’s been tough to narrow them down.”
Here's Johnson in action during his junior season:
Johnson is probably Michigan's last best hope for a high profile nose tackle in this class, though he maintains that UCLA and Nebraska have a healthy lead on the other three schools.
PA DE Deion Barnes plans to narrow his list to four or five schools by the start of his high school season.
GA S Avery Walls has a top 11, which includes Michigan. He plans to visit Virginia and Oregon, the only schools on the list that he hasn't seen yet, before making his mid-season decision. Remember, he spoke glowingly of Ann Arbor when he came through last month.
He announced a cut down list of 14 Saturday night that included the Gamecocks, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Stanford, Vanderbilt, UCLA and South Florida.
Michigan hadn't seemed too involved in Lyons's recruitment, but we'll see if interest increases now that it's obviously mutual. From the same article, Michigan is in a top 9 for FL S/WR Sammy Watkins. Clemson and Miami are his top two.
Michigan is in the final eight for OH CB Doran Grant. Ohio State and Michigan State (where his dad played) are still the presumed favorites.
FL RB DeVondrick Nealy has a Michigan offer and the Wolverines are in his top five. He's likely a backup plan if Demetrius Hart doesn't end up in Ann Arbor.
OH WR AJ Jordan is up to 21 offers. He'll also make a return trip to Ann Arbor:
"I'm visiting Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Michigan this summer and hopefully I'll be able to make a decision before the start of the season.
He's been to Ann Arbor a couple times, so Michigan is likely near the top of his list. At this time, I think most people expect him to be Michigan's second outside wideout in this class. Here's his junior video, for those who are interested.
MI OL Anthony Zettel won't decide until after at least one official visit, to Iowa ($, info in header). Even just that header mentions that Michigan and Michigan State have a big lead on the field.
The Oakland Press's Scott Burnstein obviously turned on his BROTASTIC filter before writing this article about MI CB Valdez Showers:
Then summertime hit and with the increase in temperature, the Eagles very own, "REIGN MAN," caught red-hot fire and proceeded to BLOW UP like DA BOMB he is.
So, uh, yeah. Not really sure how I should react to that.
PA CB/S Dondi Kirby tore his ACL at Michigan's camp ($, info in header), and will miss his senior year of football.
Michigan is giving attention to OH CB Roger Williamson ($, info in header). I've added him to the board.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
As mentioned above, FL QB Nick Patti (right) is in town this weekend with his 2011 teammate, FL RB Dee Hart. Though he's a little guy, the Orlando Sentinel still points out that he's one heck of a QB:
"[H]e's going to make some school happy. He has a big arm, is smart and capable and was one of the better quarterbacks at the event."
Patti, just a junior, is heading into his first full season as the starting QB at Dr. Phillips. He recently won the Golden Gun award for accuracy, hitting all eight targets at the Las Vegas Elite 11 camp.
Offers, much less a commitment, for Patti are a long way off, but keep him in the back of your mind.
Michigan has picked up a couple players from Columbus St. Francis DeSales in the past couple years (Patrick Omameh in 2008, Chris Rock in 2011), so don't be surprised if they go after OH RB Warren Ball, who should be one of the Midwest's top running backs. Alas, they'll have to fight Ohio State if they want to land him.
SC WR Dorial Green, who holds a Michigan offer, will be a big-time recruit next year:
He helped lead the Hornets to a Class 5 basketball state championship. He also closed his sophomore year by winning two state titles, including the 100 meters, at the track and field championships.
Projections will have him as one of the most highly regarded national football recruits of the Class of 2012. The top programs in the country will be offering to Green, who is 6-foot-5.
The rest of the article is of the variety "his Rivals profile says he's interested in...," so take it with a grain of salt.
Assume The Position: Quarterback
With a few targets coming off the board over the past couple weeks (most recently FL QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was never actually offered), we have a little more clarity on what the coaching staff will do with the quarterback position in this recruiting class. First things first: It's obvious that they want one. I don't think they'll be freaking out if they don't land a signal-caller, but they're aiming for one. This might mean a position switch for 2010 commit Conelius Jones earlier than fans expected.
First, let's take a look at offered prospects who remain on the board:
NC QB Marquise Williams (pictured at right)
6-3, 215, 4.7 [Video]
NR Rivals, 4* (#17 QB) Scout, 4* 79 (#13 QB) ESPN, #25 Overall (#5 QB) Tom Lemming.
Williams may be the best system fit for Michigan among the offered guys, and the Wolverines are in his top group, guaranteed an official visit. North Carolina seems to be the strongest competition at this point. He plans a Michigan official visit for the MSU game.
OH QB Cardale Jones
6-5, 220, 4.9 [Video]
NR Rivals, 3* (#31 QB) Scout, 3* 79 (#17 QB) ESPN.
The Buckeyes are done at QB for 2011. The Buckeyes may end up adding Glenville's Cardale Jones to this recruiting class, but if they do it won't be as a quarterback.
He has many options outside of Michigan (including the Spartans, and even Penn State), so no Buckeye offer doesn't necessarily push him toward Ann Arbor.
FL QB Jerrard Randall
6-2, 190, 4.5 [Video]
4* 5.8 Rivals, 3* (#19 QB) Scout, 4* 80 (#8 QB) ESPN.
Randall, a teammate of FL WR Curt Evans and S Jonathan Aiken, is one of the longer shots among the guys already holding offers, along with Hundley. The Chaminade-Madonna trio seems to be very hot-and-cold on Michigan - and they all appear to like Ohio State much more than the Wolverines. It seems, however, that Columbus is not longer an option for Randall.
AZ QB Brett Hundley
6-4, 210, 4.7 [Video]
4* 5.8 (#216 Overall) Rivals, 4* (#5 QB) Scout, 4* 81 (#5 QB) ESPN, #40 Overall (#4 QB) Sporting News.
I hadn't realized he's an Arizona legacy. He's more of an athletic pocket guy than a true dual-threat, but he can move. Michigan will have to fight with a number of top programs for his signature, especially West Coast teams.
...And then there are a few guys who aren't holding offers, but could be receiving one down the road, including FL QB Kevin Sousa, who's been openly hoping for one.
Last week, Sam Webb talked wide receiver recruiting in the Detroit News, and this week he follows that up with a look at three more prospects looking to fill that second outside spot in the Michigan recruiting class. We'll start with OH WR Devin Smith:
"Smith shows all the things you want from a young receiver projected to become a big-time player," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "It's the deep routes where Smith can really excel, as he's got the quickness to elude and accelerate with a burst to separate from a defender and release deep." ...
"Most of the college coaches have told me they like the way I come off the ball, the way I use my explosiveness and quickness," he told Scout.com. "My route running is pretty good. Most of all, the way I attack the football in the air (is really good). I make sure that thing is mine and only mine. I'll fight any defensive back for the football."
The former teammate of JT Turner plans to take all of his official visits before coming to a final decision. Moving along to FL WR Ja'Juan Story (at right):
"The first thing that jumps out at you about Story is the way he's built," said Scout.com Florida analyst Mike Bakas. "At 6-4 and close to 200 pounds already, he has the look of a major Division I receiver right now. He's a mismatch nightmare at this level because of his size. Unfortunately for him, his team doesn't throw the ball a whole lot, so he really hasn't been able to dominate games at this level like his talent level indicates. He's a playmaker, though, who has found other ways to make a difference. He's not a speed burner, but is plenty fast enough and has good enough ball skills to be a major BCS-caliber prospect."
Story wants to major in sports medicine, which should help Michigan out. Webb also had a Story update on GoBlueWolverine, and Michigan is "gaining ground" ($, info in header). Finally, SC WR Hakeem Flowers is also a candidate for that spot:
"Physically, Hakeem Flowers has all the tools to be a top-flight prospect," said Scout.com South Carolina analyst Kerry Fair. "College coaches will love his height and athleticism. Hakeem is also a track star and he shows that speed on the football field as well, especially considering his long stride and top end speed."
Flowers hopes to get to Ann Arbor over the summer.
...The Receivin' category segues nicely into Happy Trails, as one of the fine young gentlemen featured in last week's receiver update is now off the board.
MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has released a top six without Michigan, and says he will now consider only seven schools, including USC, Cal, Oklahoma, MSU, Tennessee, Iowa, and seventh-place Miami (Yes That Miami). Arnett told Tom that he likes Michigan, but thinks the only college spread that will get him to the NFL is found in Norman, Oklahoma. Percy Harvin and Arrelious Benn couldn't be reached for comment. For the whole scoop, check out DeAnthony Arnett Top 6.
OH QB Braxton Miller's commitment to Ohio State doesn't mean that OH LB Trey DePriest is necessarily bound for the Buckeyes as well. Still, he missed the last several UM recruiting events, and has narrowed his list to Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida.
A number of prospects come off the board because they committed to other schools:
- FL QB Teddy Bridgewater to Miami (as mentioned above).
- FL RB Mike Bellamy to Clemson.
- IN DT Joel Hale to Ohio State.
- MD DT Vincent Croce to Virginia.
- PA LB Ben Kline to Pitt.
Some of this stuff will help with paring down the list to 70 or so serious prospects.
Future Visits, Near And Far
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has scheduled his Michigan official visit ($, info in header), and according to The Wolverine Blog, that will be for the Michigan State game. Though Michigan has a number of factors working in its favor for his recruitment (including his closeness to Taylor Lewan, and the fact that he likes playing in the cold), it's not all sunshine and roses - Andre likes the Pac-10 the most.
OH OL Ryan Kelly plans to visit Michigan again this summer, according to a VolNation article.
Ryan has already been active with visits, and has several more planned for this summer. “Well I’m 20 minutes from Cincinnati so distance wise that one works out. I will visit Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State all within a month period. I’m also hoping to go to Michigan again as well. I’ve already visited Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Alabama.”
Michigan is the only school that he's already visited that is in for a repeat trip, which is a positive sign. The Under Armour All-American hopes to commit before his senior year, but is not set on that timeframe.
FL DT Tim Jernigan is still mentioning Michigan in his top group, and says he wants to visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
Rod Smith and Rich Rodriguez are his primary contacts in Ann Arbor.
Last week, we learned that GA CB Avery Walls plans to take an official visit to Michigan. A midseason commitment ($, info in header) would keep the Wolverines fresh in his mind at decision time.
IN RB Remound Wright has picked up a verbal Michigan offer, and plans a summer decision ($, info in header). There's an MGoBoard thread with a little more info on him, including the tidbit that his dad is a Michigan fan, from Indiana Wolverine.
ESPN.com's Steve Wiltfong embarks on an in-depth profile of MI RB Justice Hayes (pictured at right), comparing him to another Flint-area running back - reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram. His top list is surprising, given that he'd recently seemed to cool on Michigan:
Four years later, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Hayes is one of the most sought-after recruiting targets in the Midwest. Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee make up the four-star prospect's top four, with Michigan State and Northwestern still strongly in the mix.
I wonder whether the author of the article inadvertently switched the Spartans and Wolverines. However, since the Wolverines may be strongly back in the picture, let's take a look at his game:
"The way he starts and stops is phenomenal," said Delaney, who has been at Grand Blanc for 18 seasons. "He makes people miss with that side-to-side stuff, and he goes from stop to full speed very quickly. But probably the best thing is his hands out of the backfield. He catches the ball better than any kid I've ever had out of the backfield, and that includes Mark Ingram, who had great hands. Justice runs great routes out of the backfield, and hardly ever drops the ball."
I still think Hayes will only end up in Michigan's class if FL RB Demetrius Hart opts to go elsewhere.
CA WR Desman Carter is hearing from Michigan.
NJ Ath/WR Miles Shuler now holds a Florida offer. He is also the second-fastest high schooler in New Jersey history.
I added (unoffered) MI TE Nate Dreslinski, who impressed at Michigan's camp and seems to be interested in the Wolverines.
Michigan leads for MI OL Anthony Zettel ($, info in header), but his Penn State offer came through late last week, so that might shake up his leaderboard. He told ESPN he wants to visit the remainder of his top six schools that he hasn't yet seen. He won the State Championship in shotput over the weekend.
MI OL Jake Fisher is starting to gain some D-1 interest. He reportedly impressed at Michigan's Elite Camp, so keep an eye on him.
SC DT Phillip Dukes plans to visit Michigan. The Wolverines currently stand in about his #6 spot.
Though there are some positive signs for Michigan in the recruitment of NC LB Kris Frost, he's still visiting Auburn on what seems like a regular basis ($, info in header).
MD S/WR Brandon Phelps has apparently been offered by Michigan, to go along with tenders from the likes of LSU, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway may have trouble being eligible to play high school ball this fall (NOOOOOOOOOOO nearby Friday Night Lights roadtrips jeopardized!), because of a residency issue. Due to a family issue, his high school coach at Seaholm has become his guardian. However, said coach lives outside the Seaholm district, in Clarkston. Conway, then, would have to play for Clarkston - except he would have to sit out the fall semester due to transferring schools. I'll have more on Conway coming soon.
Tom's new weekly recruiting update features AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, LA DT Mickey Johnson, MI LB Ed Davis, IN LB Nick Temple, and FL OL Tony Posada. Check it out to get the latest on those prospects.
OH RB William Mahone "came away extremely impressed" with Michigan ($, info in header) after hitting campus for the Wolverines' Elite Camp over the weekend.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board is your place for all-time updates. One important note before we get into individual prospects. Coach Rodriguez recently said the coaching staff will narrow its focus from about 150 offered prospects to "around 70" players. This may make me a little more comfortable removing guys that are less-discussed. The Michigan Elite Camp is this weekend, so that will provide a little clarity as well.
Chris Rock Goes Blue
Michigan gained a commitment from OH DE Chris Rock over the weekend (not the comedian). Unsurprisingly, the local papers in Columbus didn't pick up on the story, but Magnus breaks down his game on Touch the Banner:
To be honest, I'm not enamored with Rock. A large part of that is due to the fact that his highlight film is full of offensive linemen completely forgetting to block him. I find it difficult to get excited about a player who accrues a bunch of sacks while barreling unimpeded into the offensive backfield...
My biggest issue with Rock is that he stands straight up on the snap. He's able to push around weaker players when playing so high, but if he tried to push around a 310 lb. Big Ten tackle like that, Rock would get tossed around like a rag doll. He doesn't use his hands well to shed blocks, and he also finds himself losing contain a little too frequently. He has decent speed for a 250-pounder, so he can make up for his poor fundamentals at times. But some of his habits are less than ideal.
For more on Rock, read the Hello: Chris Rock post.
We transition from good news right into stuff not so positive, as a few prospects are coming off the board:
- AR QB Kiehl Frazier. He officially narrowed his list to Arkansas and Auburn last week, and then Black Righty Tebow committed to Auburn.
- OH QB Braxton Miller. He will choose between OSU (the likely destination), Florida, Notre Dame, and Alabama tomorrow.
- SC OL Brandon Shell. He's named a final 5 consisting entirely of Southern schools.
- FL CB Nick Waisome. He named a top 7 without Michigan in it.
Assume The Position: Wide Receiver
I did one of these a few weeks ago (for tight end), and with the amount of information available this week, it's time to take a closer look at the wide receiver position.
Michigan currently has one wide receiver commit, in Shawn Conway out of Birmingham Seaholm High School. Conway is a big outside leaper with great hands, in the mold of Braylon Edwards (though likely not as good, he probably won't have a case of the dropsies on easy balls, either). With the numbers of offers and visits taking place, it's clear that the Wolverines want one more outside guy, and maybe a slot receiver if they can find an elite one.
Fortunately for us, Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News focused on on the wideout position last week, and ran down a few of the Wolverines' top targets. I don't intend to steal Sam's thunder by blockquoting too much of his article, but since the News evilly (and idiotically - good luck finding people to pay for it) puts its articles behind a paywall after a week, I'll be a little more liberal. Please click through to make up for it.
Sammy Watkins (at right):
"Sammy Watkins is the total package as a WR prospect," said Scout.com Florida analyst Geoff Vogt. "He can flat run, has incredibly light feet which allows him to make players miss in the open field, and a body to be that prototype 6-3, 215-pounder down the road.
"I have watched him snare balls thrown as bullets down the middle of the field and he will just leisurely catch them with one hand. He has elite hands. He runs very clean routes and understands how to get separation.
"While I view him as a WR prospect, Sammy could easily be a big-time safety if he chose to go that route."
Michigan, Miami (YTM), and Florida are his top 3. DeAnthony Arnett:
The second-rated prospect in the state dominated opponents in seven-on-seven competitions throughout the winter and spring thanks to his precise route-running and impressive quickness.
"It seems like every camp DeAnthony goes to, he kills it," said Scout.com Midwest analyst Allen Trieu. "He continued to impress with his route-running, hands, and ball skills at the Michigan Football Showcase. He made the play of the tournament when he went up between two defenders and made an outstanding catch to win a game. Arnett continues to move up in our eyes and has proven to be one of the very best in country."
If Michigan has a good season, the Wolverines will probably get back into the mix for Arnett. Theyr'e currently on the outside looking in. AJ Jordan:
"One of the top players in Ohio in his class," his Scout.com profile reads. "Also ranked one of the top 4 hurdlers in the nation. A smooth route runner with a great burst, he can make plays anywhere on the field and makes defenses game-plan against him."
On the recruiting roundup, Sam said Michigan is "definitely in the driver's seat" for Jordan. He'll decide earlier than the other two guys. Those are the three hottest prospects from a Michigan perspective, but there are a few more on the radar should all of these fall through. Michigan also has its eye on a few sot receivers, including NJ ATH Miles Shuler - though Northwestern leads ($, info in header - and MD ATH Darius Jennings.
Scout has had their 2011 prospects rankings out for a while, but the other two sites are slowly-but-surely releasing theirs. Both ESPN and Rivals now have the top recruits ranked, with neither site having any Michigan commits in their top group, but a number of Michigan targets. Some of those are longshots - FL DT Timmy Jernigan, who lists Michigan in his top 6, would still surprise everyone if he left the state of Florida - but many are realistic options. Magnus has a breakdown of Rivals's list. Top 100 lists were also released by the Sporting News and Tom Lemming.
Recruiting Quick Hits
You may remember that NC QB Marquise Williams recently named Michigan among his top three schools, before trimming his list to a final five. He's now made his decision timeline public, as he plans to commit to a school in October ($, info in header). He'll visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan State game on October 9th, so the Wolverines will be fresh in his mind when he makes a decision. I'll go into a little more depth on the QB recruiting situation next week.
Yay Demetrius and all that.
According to Cincinnati recruiting guru Mike Dyer, OH TE Benson Browne plans to visit Michigan this summer. My educated guess will be that he's coming in for camp to try for an offer. He currently holds them from West Virginia, Kansas, Louisville, Minnesota, Miami (Not That Miami) and Central Michigan.
Despite recently receiving a Michigan offer, OH TE Nick Vannett does not have UM in his top group. He's going to start taking trips soon, and wants to have a decision made by July.
FL OL Tony Posada will visit Michigan this summer ($, info in header). He also spoke to ESPN last week (video), mentioning Michigan first, and in his "big ones" category. He claims to be open at this time.
Though their class is starting to fill up, the Buckeyes will hold a spot open for IN DT/OL Joel Hale ($, info in header). It's unclear if Michigan is a player in his recruitment.
MGoBoard's very own Magnus breaks down the game of MD DT Vincent Croce on Touch The Banner:
Strengths: Listed at 5.17 but seemingly plays faster. Ability to chase some players from sideline to sideline. Relentless pass rusher. Very aggressive tackler. Strong upper body. Uses hands well to deliver good initial shock and shed blockers. Good initial surge off the line. Relatively lean frame
Weaknesses: Not a natural knee bender. Stands too high. May get overpowered by strong run-blocking guards. Played significant time at linebacker, which may stunt growth as defensive lineman.
Projection: Could be a solid rotation player as early as second year in program
His weaknesses are mostly technique-based, which could be worked on with college coaching. I also think playing DT only part-time may have led to some of that, and playing LB in high school actually means he has more upside than is shown on film.
GA DT Gabe Wright might officially visit Michigan:
“I’ll probably take all of my unofficial visits to schools that I can drive to and my officials to schools far away,” he says. “I will probably take official visits to schools like Miami, Michigan and maybe USC or UCLA. Also, I might visit Oregon State. It will be late before I make my decision.”
Taking an official would be a good sign for Michigan's chances to land him.
PA LB/DE Desimon Green will officially visit Michigan State, Texas Tech and Pitt, along with a couple other schools to be named later. He gave a slightly different top schools list to Tom, and is expecting a Michigan offer later this week.
TX LB Kellen Jones has picked up a Michigan offer, and called it "a dream come true" ($, info in header). THat sounds very promising should the Wolverines press him for a commitment.
Tom talked to OH LB Sean Duggan, who has Michigan in his top 5. However, it sounds like Notre Dame is a heavy favorite as long as they don't wait too long to offer. The Spartans offered him a couple days ago.
GA CB Avery Walls plans to visit Michigan at some point ($, info in header).
Tom also has (positive) updates on VA LB Corey Marshall, FL DE Giorgio Newberry, and NC LB Kris Frost, among others. Check out his post for the full info.
Michigan Sports Zone talked with NJ CB/RB Solomon Simpkins, and he mentioned that he has early interest in Michigan.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board holds the answers to life's mysteries.
The annual BBQ at the Big House event came and went with little in the way of commitments, though the Wolverines reportedly improved their position with a number of prospects.
MD DT Darian Cooper (pictured at right) said:
"Everything went really well, we got to see the new renovations and the field and everything. We also had a quick tour of the academic facilities, and the food was really good. I really liked the bbq chicken, so that was nice"
Although he's not ready to name a leader yet, Michigan definitely did themselves a favor with this event.
PA LB Branden Jackson also talked to Tom:
The campus was really nice. I knew it would be, but it was really nice. Once I got around some of the players, too, I knew I wouldn't be left out. Everyone was just real nice, and made you feel comfortable. They weren't hyping anything, they were just being real about what they go through.
MI OL Anthony Zettel may have been edged closer to making a decision for the Wolverines ($, info in header).
VA DE Corey Marshall had his "eyes opened" ($, info in header) at the event.
The visit help Michigan "move up" OH WR AJ Jordan's list, to their current "high" position ($, info in headers). Jordan is a former teammate of Roy Roundtree, Michael Shaw, and Brandon Moore, which should help the Wolverines.
In case you missed it, FL RB Demetrius Hart didn't manage to attend. He'll visit Alabama and Auburn again before coming to Michigan (likely for an official visit). He recently impressed at a Nike Camp in Alabama:
Demetrius Hart impressed as well and showed why he's among the most heavily recruited backs in the region. Hart seemed to tire toward the end of the camp (temperature was in the mid-90s) but no one was more impressive early on. Hart is short but not small and is very well put together. He's an explosive back who can stop and start on a dime and showed great hands out of the backfield.
The article goes on to mention that Michigan is still his favorite.
With the BBQ out of the way, the next big event from a recruiting perspective is Michigan's summer elite camp, where borderline prospects will have the chance to earn offers, and some offered players will check out Ann Arbor on unofficial visits.
NC LB Kris Frost couldn't make it to the BBQ, but he'll attend Michigan's summer camp in July ($, info in header).
VA LB Antoine Pozniak hopes to earn a Michigan offer this summer. From the wording of the article, he may come to summer camp in an attempt to earn that offer.
MI CB/RB Raymon Taylor will definitely be camping at Michigan this summer.
The Chaminade-Madonna trio is going to try to make it to Michigan this summer, according to FL WR Curt Evans:
"I plan on visiting a lot of schools in the summer," he said. "I know we're going to Ohio State for sure, and coach said we're going to try and make it to Michigan and Notre Dame. I know we're going to go back to Florida and also see Florida State. By myself, I want to see Stanford, Vanderbilt and South Florida."
That would be a positive development in the recruitments of QB Jerrard Randall and S Jonathan Aiken, as well.
Michigan has offered a pair of OH TEs in Austin Traylor and Nick Vannett. According to Linebacker-U, Penn State also zipped an offer to Vannett just a couple days earlier. He had narrowed his recruitment to 11 schools early last week, but the new offers might change that:
On Monday, Vannett cut his list from 25 down to 11 schools. But by the end of the day, Penn State and North Carolina State sent offers his way. With the Nittany Lions on board, things seemed to change for Vannett. He told Scout.com's Bill Greene:
"Without a doubt, Penn State makes my favorite list"
Hopefully, that willingness to add the Nittany Lions to that favorite list means he's also open to doing the same for the Wolverines.
Since the end of the football season, Kelly’s visited Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Alabama.
“He’s just extremely, extremely athletic,” West coach Larry Cox said. “He’s really good on his feet. That’s what impresses Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee. Their coaches are extremely impressed with how quick he is and how light on his feet he is.”
With the Buckeyes filling up on offensive linemen, it might be easier than usual for the Wolverines to pluck a top guy out of Ohio, but there will be other top competition as well, as Alabama recently offered.
Last week, PA DE Desimon Green was "close" to a Michigan offer, and it appears as though he's received it.
Happy Trails, Present Or Future
Happy trails, GA TE Jay Rome.
Removed NY LB Quentin Gause (Rutgers commit).
The next few guys aren't off the board just yet, but probably will be soon.
AR QB Kiehl Frazier will make a decision soon. Michigan has not approached the top of his list, so there's just about 0% chance he picks the Wolverines.
A couple tweets from Cincinnati Enquirer recruiting guru indicate that OH QB Braxton Miller is close to a decision:
Nothing's definite yet, but it sounds like his mind is made up anyway. Since we haven't heard differently, it's safe to assume that decision would be for Ohio State.
MI RB Justice Hayes has Northwestern on top, and one of his former leaders is sinking ($, info in header). Some Detroit newspaper of no repute indicates that it's probably Michigan.
Tom grabbed a bunch of video at a practice in Chandler, Arizona, including some footage of QB Brett Hundley, who received a Michigan offer last week.
FL QB Kevin Sousa, like Demetrius Hart, was at the recent Alabama Nike camp:
Kevin Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) has been a frequent visitor to the Nike camps and the camp at Alabama was his third of the year... Sousa has great size and a huge arm but is still very raw. He continues to get better with each event and his confidence is growing. Sousa can make every throw and just needs to continue to improve his mechanics, tightening his release and understanding coverages and where to go with the football.
Shurburtt elaborates a little bit on his blog:
His arm strength and size has never been in question, but he’s improved his footwork and accuracy a great deal in a few short months. He’s also a high-character prospect that takes coaching well and has worked hard to step his game up.
On Saturday, he was very accurate and had even more zip on the ball that he normally does.
Raw, but plenty of upside. The "high-character" thing is new, but definitely a positive.
NJ RB Savon Huggins, who holds a Michigan offer, plans to narrow his list in July:
“I’ll have the top 10 by July, and I’ll cut mine down to a top five in the middle of the season,” Huggins said. “I will keep cutting down schools and stuff and then I plan to pick on signing day."
He says Rutgers is the only school guaranteed to make that cut, which means they're the likely favorite.
I actually removed FL WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin from the recruiting board recently, because there hadn't been much chatter of Michigan interest, but it sounds like the Wolverines are still after him:
“Florida has been down, everybody from Texas Tech to Rutgers, Oregon came down, Michigan, you know it’s just been going crazy in recruiting,” explained Benjamin. “A lot of offers and stuff like that coming in, just everybody been coming through. There will be like five recruiters at a one time coming through.”
Michigan is still lagging far behind in the race for his services, but it's good to see they're still pursuing this top prospect.
On the field Yruretagoyena has a mean streak to him and he finishes blocks really well. He's also surprisingly quick for a man his size so like many of the successful Duck offensive linemen in the past, he could play on either side of the line before his time is through in college. He's got very long arms and has been described as a mauler in the run game.
Athletic, big, versatile... sounds like the prototypical Michigan guard, though the author seems to consider him a tackle.
PA DE Deion Barnes comes in for a round of fluff from the York Daily Record:
And some time in the next eight months Barnes must make the crucial decision of attending college. Penn State, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Pitt and South Carolina are some of his favorites.
He's had to overcome some definite adversity in his life, but has made the right decisions:
"I've seen good football players, good athletes, turn into drug dealers and get put in jail," he said. "But I have a father who pushes me. If I do something wrong in school (my parents) get on me.
Regardless of where he ends up, it's good to see he's staying on the straight-and-narrow.
A couple quick hits from Phil Kornblut's latest recruiting column:
DE Deon Lee (6-4, 210) of Defuniak Springs, Fla., continues to favor USC ahead of Louisville, Texas Tech and Michigan... He might visit Alabama, Michigan and South Florida this summer.
TE Jerrell Adams (6-5, 220) of Scotts Branch has seen his offer list grow to include Clemson, USC, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Wake Forest. Adams said his top four are USC, Clemson, Illinois and Alabama with the Gamecocks still out front.
Adams is a new name here, but we were aware of Lee, who sounds like the more realistic grab.
KY LB Lamar Dawson will take his time making a decision, so don't expect a final choice from him until after his senior season. He also talks about his Michigan offer:
The Michigan offer surprised him. “It is a huge name in college football. They are still one of the top programs nationally and it’s really nice to be recruited by them,” Dawson said.
Seems like Michigan is a trophy offer, and not one he's that interested in pursuing further.
OH S Eilar Hardy is the subject of Sam Webb's latest Detroit News article, but he doesn't so much as mention Michigan, so there's nothing to see here. IL OL Patrick Flavin is hoping for a Michigan offer. NJ Ath/WR Miles Shuler claims to be wide open, but Oklahoma could be a significant factor, according to JC Shurburtt. Recent offeree OH OL Ray Ball favors... Indiana? ($, info in header).
As always, the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board can be found here.
As he did for junior days earlier this year, Tom has built up a roster of those attending (and not):
- MI OL Anthony Zettel
- OH DE Chris Rock
- MD DT Darian Cooper
- OH OL Ray Ball
- VA LB Corey Marshall
- OH WR AJ Jordan
- MI DE Commit Brennen Beyer
For comments on these guys, a list of those who aren't making it, and all the latest updates, check out Tom's diary. A couple other sources also have updates:
NC LB/WR Kris Frost (pictured above ) says he's trying to make it to the BBQ at the Big House this weekend, but is unsure, due to travel costs. Frost was the subject of this week's Sam Webb profile in the Detroit News. Michigan is trying to stay out front:
"Well, I've always wanted to go to Michigan," admitted Frost. "I've always wanted to attend that school. When I went up to Michigan (for the program's annual summer football camp) I was really excited. It was everything that I really thought it would be."
"I think Michigan is the team to beat because he's liked Michigan his whole life," added [Butler coach Mike] Newsome. "When I told him that they had offered him he almost jumped up and hit his head on the ceiling. He is really excited about Michigan."
Of course, it's not all sunshine and lollipops:
"Unfortunately for them, there's the problem that they are going through with their program right now. I think it is something that Kris is looking at right now and is using that to look at some other schools. "
As long as Michigan has a good season and the coaching staff staves off any threat of losing their jobs, Michigan should remain the team to beat (as we shared last week). For the record, he now says that, while he'd prefer to play wide receiver in college, he's open to playing linebacker.
PA CB Dondi Kirby plans to be there.
Unfortunately, FL RB Demetrius Hart will probably not be making the trip. FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix says his teammate will ultimately pick Alabama. HC-D has been saying things like this for a while, so take it with a grain of salt until Hart himself goes on the record.
New Offers, Present And Future
"No one's in the lead right now. Everything is wide open for me. I'm going to start taking trips in June, or July. After that I'll start all my officials, when I'm allowed to." When asked if Michigan will receive one of those visits, he said, "I'm definitely going to talk to my dad about that one."
Michigan has offered PA Ath Mike Caputo. He's a high school wideout.
The Wolverines have offered OH OL Ray Ball ($, info in header).
Michigan has offered PA DT Delvon Simmons, and the Wolverines currently reside in his top three:
“It would probably be North Carolina, West Virginia and Michigan. They’re all pretty even at this point,” he said.
“I haven’t talked to North Carolina a lot. I’ve maybe talked to them twice. I like how they’ve been open with me. They sound good right now but I’ve got to go up there and get to know them some more before I say too much.
“Michigan is the same thing pretty much. I like their coach—the recruiting coach for around my area. I met him in person and he seems like a real nice dude.”
Michigan looks to be in good shape for his recruitment.
The 5-foot-9.5, 173-pound uber athletic defensive back prospect entered the evaluation period with offers from Arkansas and Houston (his first offer), but has since added written offers from California, Michigan and Baylor along with a verbal offer from Missouri.
Last week, May 5, coaches from Texas (Will Muschamp) and Oklahoma (Willie Martinez) stopped by the 5A school to watch the corner with a 40 1/2-inch vertical leap.
Oklahoma and Texas interest means he's probably a top prospect, but also that he'll be a tough pull for Michigan.
Michigan is interested, but no offer, in PA DE Shawn Oakman.
Happy Trails, Trai Turner. Just a few days after saying he'd take his time and look at a few schools, LA OL Trai Turner committed to Louisiana State ($, info in header). His teammate, LA S Renaldo Thomas did or will do the same. No word yet on the third St. Augustine prospect, LA OL Jonah Austin. Austin does not hold an offer from the Tigers.
Happy trails as well to OH OL/DT Michael Bennett. With a final two of Ohio State and Northwestern, he picked the Buckeyes over the weekend.
We found out last week that Michigan was in the top three for NC QB Marquise Williams, and now he's trimmed his list to consider only five schools ($, info in header). Michigan, Notre Dame, and North Carolina are in that final group.
AR QB Kiehl Frazier is still wide open, but it seems as though Arkansas, Auburn, and Notre Dame comprise an unofficial top 3.
"I'm really wide open until I take some visits to see schools," Frazier told Sporting News. "After spring ball, I'm going to go some places and take it in."
A trip to Notre Dame could also mean dropping in on Ann Arbor, so stay tuned.
“I think Michigan will be in the mix without a doubt because those guys have done a great job,” [Chaparral coach Charlie] Ragle said. “Tony (Dews) and those guys that come out here - Tony mainly recruits this area but Coach (Greg) Frey came out - they do a good job, but like I said, the players sell your program.”
Ragle said the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Yruretagoyena is in regular contact with both Lewan and Roh, and that Michigan likely will be in Yruretagoyena’s final five when he cuts his list in the coming month.
So, Oregon probably leads, but Michigan has a chance to get back into it.
FL TE Brandon Fulse is hearing from Rod Smith a lot ($, info in header).
Michigan is a co-leader for MI LB Dwight Trammer. Though the Wolverines haven't offered, Rod Smith got a couple chances to scout Trammer last fall (pictured at right doing just that), as he's a former Inkster teammate of current Wolverines QB Devin Gardner.
According to some Detroit newspaper of no repute, MD DT Vincent Croce has a top three of Michigan, Michigan State, and Virginia.
OH CB Doran Grant says "haha j/k" about his top 6 list also serving as a final 6 ($, info in header).
SoFlaFootball visits Chaminade-Madonne High School in Florida, and breaks down a couple guys we've been talking about recently in S Jonathan Aiken, WR Curt Evans, and QB Jerrard Randall.
The issue that Randall continues to struggle with is the fact he can be erratic with his accuracy, which became apparent during the 7-on-7 portion of the practice.
Evans played a little of everything on the day starting at cornerback, getting some carries as a running back, before finally moving out to wide receiver.
Aiken has good bulk on him and is a good athlete. He did not look to be fluid enough in coverage to move to a corner spot like many have debated; safety is probably his best option.
Aiken posts on BuckeyePlanet, and it seems as though he's favoring Ohio State despite the lack of an offer.
NJ OL Shane Mertz wants to hear from Michigan. Mertz is 6-8, 280lbs, and has great grades. I bet coaches would love to have him in camp to see what he can do.
As for academics, I am interested in mechanical engineering as a major so a school with a strong engineering program is very important. I’m looking into becoming an aerospace engineer. That’s what I want to do. Maybe some day work for NASA.
I am looking for a program that has high quality football facilities and state of the art training. I don’t have anything specific in mind but I’d like to be at a place that has great training facilities.
Samrt kid, would be a good addition.
Schools I would like to hear from are Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Penn State. Definitely Michigan though. My dads mom is actually from Michigan. So my dad has always been a die hard Michigan football fan. It would be a great achievement for me if I could get an offer from them.
He's very interested, hopefully Michigan gives him a look.
Michigan's offer for FL RB Andrew Buie was actually on the other side of the ball:
“Auburn offered me as an athlete and Michigan offered me to play defensive back,” Buie said. “I want to play running back but I’m open to a couple of other positions.”
Doesn't sound like he's interested, and the Wolverines may fade from his recruitment.
Greg Frey and Tony Dews recently stopped into Fort Meyers to visit FL WR Sammy Watkins and his teammate, CB/Ath Dallas Crawford.
Michigan leads for LA CB Daren Kitchen ($, info in header), and he says it would be "hard to turn down" an offer from the Wolverines.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
Michigan is already in good position with a number of 2012 prospects. We already knew about MI LB James Ross, but his youth football teammate, MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, now at a school called "Cass Tech" (you may have heard of it) considers Michigan among his top schools ($, info in header).
The Wolverines also lead for OH DE Chris Wormley ($, info in header). Wormley should be a top-5 player in Ohio next year.
Keep an eye on another OH DE, LaTroy Lewis, who has a connection to Michigan ($, info in header).