...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Welcome to the Fold, Carvin Johnson
Sure to be the subject of many "Calvin Johnson with a Korean accent" jokes over the next 4+ years, LA S Carvin Johnson became the 20th member of Michigan's 2010 recruiting class last night. The full googlestalk of the under-the-radar prospect can be seen in the Hello: Carvin Johnson post, but there's still a little more info out there to be had, namely an article from nola.com. Relevant bits quoted below:
Johnson said also spoke Tuesday night to both Wolverines running backs coach Fred Jackson, who had recruited him since Michigan extended its official offer during August two-a-day practices. Johnson said reached his decision in consultation with his mother Kim.
That's a slight inconsistency with other stories, which said he was offered in May. Continuing along:
"First of all," Roth said, "everybody who knows Carvin or who has been around him knows that he’s as good of a person as he is a football player. That’s a compliment to him and his momma. Football-wise, he’s a ballhawk. He’s always around the football making plays."
Johnson, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, with 4.7 speed in the 40, projects as a safety at Michigan. He is fully qualified academically with both the necessary core curriculum grade-point-average and test score, Roth said.
So, not only a (hopefully) good football player, but also a good student. Welcome, Carvin, may you be the first of many DB commits in November.
BONUS: A Lousiana high school coach emailed MGoBlog to suggest that just because Johnson is virtually unknown to the recruiting sites doesn't mean that he's not a player:
With regards to your posts on Carvin Johnson, I can tell you that you are wrong on your assessment.
As a veteran Louisiana high school football coach at several highly successful programs, I have had players go on and play all over the country and on to the pros. I have also had kids play for RRod at Tulane, Clemson and WVU. RRod knows the type of football we play here in LA and picks and chooses which schools he recruits. … RRod knows this state and which schools produce college-ready players.
Carvin Johnson is not even one of my players – but I have played against his Rummel team and know Jay Roth and his program well. Carvin Johnson can play. Here in LA, we do not send kids to camps to get hyped up. We know our kids can play. If a LA kid is going to combines, it is very much more than likely due to (a) his high school coach trying to get exposure for himself or (b) because his program isn’t any good, but he plays well. Trust me, this is how it is.
You are getting a solid player – big, physical, coached up, football smart.
Just my nickel’s worth of commentary because that kid can play. I saw him 1st hand from my own sideline earlier this season when his team eked out a victory against us. Carvin can play and Jay is a good coach.
So there you go: evidence that Johnson is a sleeper in a good way.
Reverse Manifest Destiny
Last week, mgoblog's own TomVH reported that CA S Tony Jefferson would visit MIchigan for the Purdue game. WTKA's Ira Weintraub e-mailed to let us know that the date has changed, and now Jefferson will be in town for the contest against the Buckeyes. Greg Biggins of ESPN confirms that he will now visit the weeekend of the 21st.
Also in town from the left coast will be CA WR Kenny Stills. He also says:
"I talk all the time with [CA RB] Brennan Clay, Tony Jefferson, [CA CB] Joshua Shaw, [CA DE] Ronald Powell, a few others," Stills said. "There's a good chance a lot of us could be at the same school next year and that would be great.
Stills, Shaw, and Jefferson, plz. I believe Josh Shaw will complete that trifecta by also visiting for the OSU game. He has said he wants to take a Michigan visit, and that would be the perfect time to get him on campus.
In which I emulate Sherlock Holmes to an unnecessary degree
Remember back when GA DT Michael Thornton said he might take an official visit to Michigan at some point? TomVH confirms, via Twitter, that this will indeed happen. Considering that he's the only Georgia DT that Michigan is still heavily recruiting, we can assume this Scout header is about him, no?:
Georgia LB to Visit Michigan
GBW's Eugene Hankerson talked to the player - who plans to visit with his DT-Teammate.
Using a little detective work, we discover that there are three prospects in the Rivals database who are linebackers from Stephenson High School: Jabari Johnson, Franchot West, and Tyrone Cornelius.
Johnson doesn't have a picture available on his Scout profile, so he's out (otherwise the header photo for the article would be his profile picture). That leaves West and Cornelius. Let us compare the photographic evidence:
Cornelius, Mystery Man, and West
The mgo-photo analysis provides indisputable evidence: It's Mr. Cornelius, with the official visit, in the Big House.
I got way too much enjoyment out of this. Cornelius had been thinking about a Michigan visit for a while, FWIW.
FL LB Christian Jones is apparently still considering Michigan ($, info in header). I've re-added him to the board, since it seems like a lot of recruits are trying to stay as far as possible away from Florida State. Still, even getting him on campus would be a minor recruiting coup.
Part of the reason VA LB Aramide Olaniyan's is on the open market is that Duke was supposed to suck this year, and they did nothing to change those predictions in week one, falling at home to 1-AA Richmond. However, the Blue Devils have since rebounded, and now control their destiny in the ACC Coastal. Olaniyan is back to considering the Blue Devils, although Michigan still remains near the top of his list.
It was apparent that he wasn't headed to Michigan for a while, but now we know where FL RB Eduardo Clements will play his college ball: Miami (YTM).
FL CB Ricardo Allen committed to Purdue.
2011 OH DE Steve Miller has committed to Ohio State, which is sad, but not unexpected. I at least thought he'd give Michigan an unofficial visit or two.
Speaking of 2011, it's been a while since we've had an update on junior prospects. Athlete Vault has released an initial top 100 and relevant prospects at this time are:
#2 FL DT Timmy Jernigan (Michigan offer, but probably a Florida lock)
#3 AZ OT Christian Westerman (Michigan offer)
#10 GA TE Jay Rome (Michigan offer)
#12 MI LB Lawrence Thomas (Michigan offer, favors MSU)
#15 OH QB Braxton Miller (Michigan offer, favors OSU)
#27 FL S Hasean Clinton-Dix (Michigan interest, Dr. Phillips)
#35 FL WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin (Michigan interest)
#50 NC QB Christian LeMay (Michigan offer and camper, probably a lock to Florida)
#52 OH LB Trey DePriest (Michigan offer)
#54 DE Jalen Grimble (Michigan offer, added to the board)
#84 TX S Sheroid Evans (Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk HS)
#91 OH DE Chris Rock (Michigan interest)
#100 FL RB Demetrius Hart (Michigan lock)
Several other guys on the list will probably be of interest by the time 2011 recruiting truly ramps up.
For his part, Sheroid Evans would like to run track and major in engineering in college. Somebody get this kid on the phone with Troy Woolfolk and Patrick Omameh, stat.
Lawrence Thomas, on the other hand, is the subject of a ridiculously-misleading ESPN headline: "Mich. LB favors another Big Ten school" is a phrase which here means "Penn State is a school he is considering." The article itself even explicitly says he has no favorites.
SoFlaFootball also has its top 50 for 2011.
People close to MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment are "beginning to think" he'll probably end up at Southern Cal. Uh, no, they've pretty much thought that all along. Notre Dame homers, on the other hand, think it's a 2-horse race between them and Ohio State. MI RB Jeremy Langford visited Michigan recently ($, info in header), I'd be surprised if an offer comes through. Michigan is pursuing post-grad VA DE David Mackall, currently a Maryland commit ($, info in header). I've added him to the board. SC CB John Fulton is selected to the Shrine Bowl. PA CB Cullen Christian no longer a lock? Say it ain't so! Is FL WR Kenny Shaw still interested in Michigan? A possible official visit would seem to imply so.
All recruiting updates can be found on the Recruiting Board.
Michigan had long been considered at or near the top of FL OL Torrian Wilson's list, but Wilson has committed to Stanford. I wouldn't be surprised if he still took some visits, so he'll stay on the recruiting board for a little while longer.
Likely-similar results from the decision of FL RB Eduardo Clements. He's made up his mind, but for some reason (probably to annoy me) won't announce it until Signing Day. Michigan was his favorite as recently as a month ago, but I would guess he's picked somebody else.
The Distant Future. The Year 2011.
September 1st is the first day juniors can receive offers. A number of 2011 guys have gotten them thus far, and as I've noted, one of them has already committed to Michigan. Check out the commitment post on Greg Brown here.
Moving along to other juniors who have received offers, there a number that can be confirmed via free sources. The positions on some of these guys may not be definite quite yet, because jesus they're 16 years old.
FL RB Demetrius Hart was being kept in the dark on his offers, so he can focus on his football season. I can virtually gurantee you he got a Michigan offer, and he's considered a heavy Michigan lean. Hart is a top prospect, and is visiting this weekend (see below). I'm sure the coaches would be ecstatic if he made a commitment. Central Florida Varsity Prospects has video on Hart.
When I talked to MI WR DeAnthony Arnett in August, he had 3 unofficial offers. Offer Day came and went, and now he has 3 official offers ($, info in header). I'm willing to bet they're the same three - Michigan, MSU, and Eastern Michigan.
FL OL Tyler Moore received his Michigan offer. His dad played for Nebraska, so he's considered a virtual lock to join the Huskers down the road. Despite the M offer, they're not in his early top 4, and he plans to decide this fall.
AZ OL Christian Westerman has an official offer from the Wolverines. His dad also cryptically mentions that Christian likes snow. Might that be a hint that Michigan is near the top of his list? Maybe I'm reading into things a little too much.
MI OL Anthony Zettel has not yet received a MIchigan offer, but should he get one, he would probably end up wearing the maize and blue. He attended the Western Michigan game, and I believe is expected to be in town again this weekend.
FL DE/LB James Wilder should be one of the top prospects in Florida. He received a Michigan offer on September 1st, along with offers from the likes of Florida, West Virginia, and Miami (Yes That Miami). Rivals video:
OH DE Chris Rock also received his Michigan offer in the mail already. He admits only knowing about Ohio State, since he's grown up in Columbus. However, he is a former high school teammate of Wolverine Patrick Omameh (well, same high school - Omameh was a senior in Rock's freshman year).
OH LB Trey DePriest has a verbal offer from Michigan, and I'm sure he's gotten the written edition in the mail since that article was published nearly a week ago. He's a top prospect in Ohio, and grew up liking the Wolverines. He plans to take his time in making a commitment. GBMW scouted DePriest last week.
No word on an offer, but OH S Ron Tanner visited Michigan last week ($, info in header), and apparently really liked what he saw.
See below for a little more detail, but OH CB Doran Grant has received an official offer ($, info in header).
A 2011 recruiting board will be debuting sometime soon.
The Free Press has an article on visitors to last week's Western Michigan game (link is no-followed). Other than Dior Mathis, there were mostly current commits and junior prospects in attendance. Photo at right (courtesy of Josh Helmholdt in the Free Press) is 2011 OH CB Doran Grant. MGoBlog's own TomVH caught up with some of Michigan's commitments, and they gave him their reactions to the season-opening win.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a longtime Duke commitment, but he's been soft in that commitment basically the whole time. He still plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor, as well (also of note from that article, FL CB Tony Grimes is down to M, Wisconsin, and Ole Miss). Two visits this fall/winter, one on his own dime? Sounds like the kid really likes Michigan, and might be a serious possibility for OMG SNAKE OILZ~!~!~! It's not like Duke is living up to their promise of being a team on the rise. Olaniyan comes in for some fluff from his high school coach as well:
“I've got two Division I line prospects and a center who's nastier than they are and he's just killing them. At one point, he just blew by two blockers and crushed the quarterback. He's the fastest kid you're ever going to block – literally.”
He plays DE for his high school, but is more of an LB at the next level.
MD RB Josh Furman will be in the house ($, info in header) when Michigan squares off against the Irish.
While we're talking visitors, I may as well mention that this weekend is huge for the hoops team as well. Dylan covers the particulars over at UMHoops.
Maxpreps fluff on a number of Michigan targets. He may get more pub in Recruitin' posts than anyone outside of Devin Gardner and Seantrel Henderson, but how about some more on PA CB Cullen Christian? Game report from his team's season-opening loss, including video highlights of a pretty nice one-handed pick by Cullen. He'll visit UCLA soon. This is more FNL-y, but The Wolverine Blog has video from Jeremy Jackson's game last weekend.
The 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board holds all the updates on prospects of interest.
Tom Lemming's top prospects list is generally pretty kind to M:
#1 Combo-passer Devin Gardner
#23 Tailback-slotback Austin White
#25 Tailback-slotback Tony Drake
#6 Big back Stephen Hopkins
#13 Wide receiver Ricardo Miller
#19 Wide receiver Jeremy Jackson
#20 Offensive guard Christian Pace
#24 Inside linebacker Antonio Kinard
#4 Safety Marvin Robinson
There are a bunch of other targets included on the list, obviously. While we're talking rankings, Rivals recently updated theirs, and say hello to the #1 QB in all the land:
That of course means I'm contractually obligated to point out the rockin' MGoBlog HD highlights of Gardner.
Cullen Christian's reported visit plans seem to change by the day, but for now, he's planning to visit only Michigan and UCLA, along with maaaybe a third school to be named later. He still intends to make a decision during his senior season. (Christian photo by Bob Donaldson of the Post-Gazette). His teammate, Brandon Ifill, will visit in September (likely along with Cullen), and says that the two prospects are no longer tied to the idea of going to the same school. How about a little pre-season fluff on their team, as well.
The Particularly Revealing Scout Header is becoming a staple of recruiting posts lately, and who am I to change that?
Maryland safety Josh Furman will be taking his first official visit on Sept. 12 to Michigan. “Michigan is showing a lot of interest,” Furman said. “I’m very curious to see what the campus is like and I can’t wait to see a game at the Big House. I also really like (wide receiver) coach Tony Dews. He’s a great guy and I just get a good feeling about him.” Although Furman still denies a leader...
The rest of the article is behind paywall, but jesus is that one informative header. So: Furman likes Michigan, and add him to the list for next weekend's visitors. Fluff on him, mostly concerned with his ability to run the ball.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has set up four of his official visits, one of which will be to Ann Arbor. His others will be to North Carolina, Duke, and UCLA. For his fifth and final visit, he's considering Stanford, Wake, and Vanderbilt (quite the student, no?). No word yet on which game he'll be attending.
Michigan is in the final 5 for CT LB Khairi Fortt, along with Penn State, Georgia, USC, and North Carolina. The article implies without explicitly stating that those will be the schools he officially visits, as well.
MI DE CJ Olaniyan talked with Rivals AMP:
Nothing earth-shattering. He wants to make a commitment by the middle of his season, and the two visits he's thought about so far are Notre Dame and Penn State. As far as Michigan goes, he likes the academics, and has been on campus for three unofficial visits.
He Who Has Amazing Name
Though Michigan's QB recruiting is probably all wrapped up, LA QB Munchie Legaux still likes the Wolverines. M has made his final three along with Baylor, Oregon, and Tulane (they must not be able to count very well in Louisiana, I guess), and seems to be still giving him some pretty good attention. The rest of the article is pretty M focused, so I suggest checking it out. Munchie himself says he might not be fast enough to play receiver, so bringing him in for a position switch is probably not what Michigan is going for. I would presume he's being given the attention in case of another decommitocalypse, a la last year. In addition, he looks like Vince Young with dreads. (Legaux photo by Susan Poag of the Times-Picayune).
Michigan is still nominally in the running for CA RB/LB Anthony Barr, but when your finalists are 3 schools from your home state, your dad's alma mater, and Michigan, Michigan is probably the odd man out here. If he doesn't end up signing with the Irish, it will probably be with one of the Cali schools.
Michigan is still in the top group for FL RB Eduardo Clements, though Georgia is on top of the heap for now.
Michigan is not in the top 4 for MI DT Johnathon Hankins. I think that ship may have sailed when he was too... hefty... to earn an offer in camp. He'll likely be removed soon.
Bill Kurelic thinks Michigan will end up with Dior Mathis, and Seantrel Henderson and Sharrif Floyd will go to Minnesota(!) and Florida, respectively.
There was also an article on Tony Grimes from the Miami Herald but you now must register (for free) to view it. Hey, great way to get me to not link to your paper, guys. Same with an article linked up on MGoBoard: Torrian Wilson got hurt last week, but it doesn't appear to be too serious.
Removed MD RB Marcus Coker, who will be a Hawkeye.
Removed FL DE Corey Lemonier, who is no longer considering M.
Update 8/11: Linked to video on PA DT Sharrif Floyd, articles on CT LB Khairi Fortt (#2, #3), MI CB Dior Mathis, CA CB Joshua Shaw (#2, #3, #4), FL CB Tony Grimes, CA S Dietrich Riley, WI P Will Hagerup, PA CB Cullen Christian, MI WR Commit Jeremy Jackson, TX RB Commit Stephen Hopkins, MD LB Josh Furman. FL RB Eduardo Clements.
Local content on commits Devin Gardner and Austin White, along with 2011 WR DeAnthony Arnett.
Josh Helmholdt discusses recent visitors Talbott(s) and Ifill. Moved Terrence Talbott to offered.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting Board lives here. Slow week.
On top of taking home MVP honors at the Top Gun camp, CT LB Khairi Fortt has pared his list to a top 6, and Michigan is in, along with Penn State (the presumed leader), Georgia (the stated leader), USC, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Fortt has only planned officials to Penn State and Georgia, and plans to finish his recruitment by the end of September. He does however, say Michigan will be receiving an official visit ($, info in header). He plans to enroll early at his college destination.
Also, need some tips for recruiting him? Have I got the article for you! Fortt prefers laid back coaches and meeting his position coach in person, but not coaches who bother him on Facebook. As noted above, Michigan must have taken good enough notes to get him to commit to an official visit. No public word on the date yet.
All Your Good-Not-Great Running Back Are Belong to Us
FL RB Eduardo Clements has long had Michigan in a top group along with the Miami Hurricanes and Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia may be sliding out of favor with a commitment from GA RB Kendrun Malcome, but Miami was perceived to be the favorite… until now?
Eduardo Clements, a Rivals250 running back from Miami, named Michigan as his leader after a visit to Miami.
Typically, a visit to School X, then naming a leader immediately thereafter means school X is going to be the on top for a recruit. It’s highly encouraging that Clements visited a school that many thought he was favoring and then proclaimed Michigan as his leader. As Ace points out, there’s a still a long way until Clements makes a decision, but it’s better to be in the driver’s seat than anywhere else.
That brings us to RB recruiting, where Michigan already has commitments from Stephen Hopkins, Austin White, and Tony Drake (if he’s not a slot receiver). With lots of needs on defense, can they justify taking a 3rd/4th RB? With a top recruit like Clements, you take the kids and figure out to work out the numbers later, I guess.
I Shot the Sharrif
Yes, Tuesday Recruitin' now features HORRIBLE PUN HEADERS! [Editor's Note: You have to take the bad with the good. Sorry.] Anyway, Rivals AMP talks to PA DT Sharrif Floyd:
Contrary to last week's update, he says he will not officially visit Penn State. HOWEVA, that doesn't imply a lack of interest in PSU, just that they're close enough to not waste one of his five slots. Michigan and Ohio State are two schools he definitely wants to see, at least unofficially. The Wolverines still have a puncher's chance in this one. In this interview it even sounds like he has particular interest in Michigan, which is a major upgrade from last week's pessimism.
Whither the Secondary?
At one point, Michigan was the favorite for MI CB Dior Mathis, but now he's got two other schools on top:
That headline is terrible, because it directly contradicts the body of the article, but Mathis does favor those two schools. He rounds out his top four with Michigan and Miami of Florida, and even says "I know I can go to Michigan anytime I want." Mathis's decision timeframe is flexible, as he wants to fit in as many official visits as possible before schools start filling all their spots.
Recent board addition CA CB Joshua Shaw is hearing plenty from Michigan about a potential official visit this fall. He currently has visits planned to Ohio State and Notre Dame for their games against USC, in addition to a midwest swing last weekend (though maybe that was just to Columbus?). He has now named Ohio State his leader ($, info obvious from header).
FL CB Tony Grimes has mentioned Michigan as a favorite in the past, and now he has set up an official visit to Ann Arbor, though he doesn’t mention a date. Also of (relatively minor) note, he says two of his teammates are interested in Michigan. Keep the names Clarence Murphy and Caleb Vincent in mind, though they won’t be added to the board until we see that Michigan is returning their interest.
At safety, California prospect Dietrich Riley has Michigan in his top group, and it sounds like the Wolverines may be in line for an official visit. Though the article is premium, context clues (written by an author from The Wolverine) indicate there's a pretty good chance Riley plans to visit Ann Arbor.
MI P Mike Sadler, who had been not-so-secretly campaigning for a Michigan offer, never received one, and committed to State last Monday. So why did Michigan, in need of a punter for 2010, never give Sadler that honor? It's because of this guy:
Presented above in excessively large fashion is WI P Will Hagerup, who has plenty of other offers, but is assumed to favor Michigan and Ohio State:
“Michigan is definitely one of the schools I am looking really hard at,” Hagerup said. “(Rodriguez) said that with the combination of academics and what the football team is going to accomplish in the next few years, it’s going to be a good place for me.”
Hagerup plans to decide in September, and if his choice is not Michigan, Rich Rodriguez may hit panic mode for a 2010 punter. For now, Hagerup is the #1 and only priority, but Sadler or another option could come back into the picture.
Michigan maintains its lead for PA CB Cullen Christian ($, info in header). MI WR commit Jeremy Jackson is changing HS positions. BUT TO WHAT, JEREMY? [Editor's note: just about has to be TE, no?] (HT: mgoboard member hailtothevictors08). TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins may be the best player in the north DFW area. Josh Furman's official visit will be for the ND game. Talbotts and Brandon Ifill enjoy respective visits, Talbott the CB has now been offered.
Update 7/14: Linked to articles on OH DT Terry Talbott, PA OL Robbie Havenstein, CA S Sean Parker, OH OL Skyler Schofner, OH S Latwan Anderson, FL RB Corvin Lamb, SC QB Cornelius Jones, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, PA DT Sharrif Floyd, MN OL Seantrel Henderson (and PA S Brandon Ifill), CT LB Khari Fortt.
Video of SC QB commit Cornelius Jones.
Added FL RB Brandon Gainer.
Removed FL DE Delvin Jones, OH OL Andrew Donnal (Iowa), OH OL Travis Jackson (MSU), TX LB Corey Nelson (A&M).
Some links from Bleed Scarlet.
Jones was a tremendous longshot from day one and Jackson camped at Michigan but failed to get an offer. BFDs—sarcastic BFDs—both.
OH OL Andrew Donnal, on the other hand, is a highly-regarded kid and should have been one of Michigan's priorities at tackle this fall; he's now off the board. And TX LB Corey Nelson had Michigan as his leader for about ten minutes in March, but Michigan quickly fell off the radar. Linebacker options are thinning.
Imminent, Impending, Etc.
I talk to Coach Rod Smith and Jackson the most. I really like that I’ve built a good relationship with all the coaches, not just my position coaches. It’s good to get to know all of them, and see that they all have the same goals. That’s kind of what has them [Michigan] as my favorite.
White's currently sporting blue on the recruiting board. The LSU visit did not come off and State's opinion of their chance became clear when they offered Nick Hill. Everyone expects he will put on a block M hat tomorrow.
The Spartan spin machine will get engaged now; I can't wait to hear what Valenti and the rest of the short bus crowd come up with to explain State losing a guy who's got two brothers on the MSU team and was the preferred choice of both instate schools.
Done, or no?
With TX RBs Stephen Hopkins and Tony Drake in the bag—though a lot of people are saying Drake will end up a slot receiver woo don't we need some more receivers—and the likely addition of White, Michigan is close to done at tailback. There are still a couple guys out there that Michigan would just about have to make room for, though.
One, FL RB Eduardo Clements, camped at Michigan, claims an even top three of Miami, Georgia, and Michigan, and has seen Georgia take two high-rated tailback commits in recent weeks. Even so, most observers think Michigan remains a longshot. An official visit is on tap if his recruitment goes that long.
The other is a new, surprising name: FL RB Brandon Gainer. He's got a top two that includes M:
… Gainer is a true running back prospect and ranked as the No. 12 player at the position nationally by Rivals.com. Michigan has made a big jump on his list in the last few months and now joins Florida State atop his list. He plans to take an official visit to Michigan this fall and decide soon after where he will attend school.
Gainer's name had hardly come up before that announcement, so I don't know much about him yet. He's a member of the Rivals 250.
White's commitment will likely end the recruitment of everyone else, including two more Florida tailbacks: Corvin Lamb now says LSU leads($) and Cassius McDowell always seemed like a plan B option.
Your Verging-On-Creepy Gardner Update
Have I gone a week without mentioning enormous, fleet-footed, charming, handsome MI QB Devin Gardner? No? Well, this won't be the week either. Gardner's made the Elite "11"* passing camp:
Devin Gardner (Committed to Michigan)
Gardner is raw and mechanically unorthodox, but he's extremely productive and talented. Plus he possesses a great work ethic-- he wants to be good. Gardner is big, athletic and the perfect fit for the spread with upside to develop and refine his passing skills.
The usual, right? At the very least Gardner's invite provides another venue via which to scout and compare Michigan's prize against the rest of the country's top recruits, including fellow instate quarterbacks Robert Bolden and Joe Boisture. If Gardner comes out of the camp on par with the rest of those guys that's a major win since the remainder of the invitees aren't 6'5" gazelles. (Except maybe for 'Bama commit Phillip Sims (Not That Phil Simms).)
That Other Guy
Michigan does have another quarterback committed: South Carolina's Cornelius Jones. Jones has been a mystery man thus far in his recruitment, ignored by the in-state schools and devoid of video or rankings on the recruiting sites. That void of information has begun to be filled. Unfortunately, I can't embed AthleteVault's highlight video, but it does exist and you can check it out. All you can tell is he's got the usual athleticism.
Meanwhile, his local paper has been giving Jones some attention of late. His Spartanburg team flew to the final of a local 7-on-7 tournament thanks in large part to his play:
“Cornelius made some phenomenal throws,” [Spartanburg HC Freddie] Brown said. “Defensively, Coach (Mark) Razzano made some good calls in tight situations, and the kids made some big plays with games on the line.”
Along the way Spartanburg downed big programs like Olive Branch (Miss.), Hoover (Ala.), and Independence (NC). In the final, Spartanburg fell to a loaded Byrnes team that features like three top-100 recruits, including Marcus Lattimore.
And a little earlier the same paper took a look at Jones' redemption story:
“I just was surrounded by a bunch of negative things. I was getting in trouble,” Jones said. “I never saw myself being around any of this (now).”
Jones was out of the public school system for 18 months as a result of his troubles.
At some point he woke up, decided he didn't like the direction things were going in, and hooked up with Spartanburg's new head coach—the previous coach had banned him from the team. From there, it was one highlight video and Michigan had an offer for him. He'll be a kid to root for once he arrives, and he will: despite his time in the wilderness Jones has a 3.7 GPA.
Michigan's in a good spot with PA S Brandon Ifill, who's yet to visit Michigan's campus but still says this about his leaders:
When asked if he has a favorite school, Ifill said, "It's probably between Michigan and Maryland. I've been to Maryland twice. I feel comfortable with the coaching staff. Michigan has been recruiting me the longest. Coach (Rich) Rodriguez has been recruiting me since he was at West Virginia."
Ifill's scheduled an unofficial at the end of the month, at which point we'll have a better grasp on how much mutual interest there is between the parties. Ifill is the teammate of PA CB Cullen Christian, who maintained a loud and proud Michigan lead for months now, and the pair could extend Rodriguez's streak of locking down teammates to a third year.
That article has some less salutary news, too…
MN OL Seantrel Henderson's dad says his son has a slate of officials he's planning. They don't include Michigan:
"I know his five official visits. He will definitely visit Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC and Florida. Florida State is one that could change. He might decide to visit somewhere else besides Florida State. He could visit both the Florida schools or he might just take one to Florida." …
When asked about the four definite official visits, Seantrel said, "That might change, but right now that's it. Florida State might be the fifth one."
Urgh. One way to look at the schedule: he's going to places he hasn't gone to before and can't afford to get to on his own time. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Minnesota did get mentions amongst the "six to eight" schools Henderson is still considering, and Henderson has already been to all three of those. As we're about to see with a kid in California, sometimes the lack of an official isn't all that telling about who leads.
That's more boosterism for the local school, though, and if that visit schedule isn't modified to include Michigan I doubt Henderson ends up at M.
*(taking a page from the Big 10, the Elite 11 actually invites 12 quarterbacks but chooses the name that sounds cooler.)
West Coast Folk
A couple of highly-touted Californians have announced plans to take officials to Michigans. CA S Sean Parker sort of has a top two:
"I'm going to Notre Dame (Sept. 4)," Parker said. "I'm also setting a visit to Michigan, but I haven't locked in the date yet. After that, I'm pretty open and really don't know who will get my last three visits but I do plan to take all five."
Aaaand CA LB Tony Jefferson sort of has a top seven:
"I have my first two visits lined up right now," Jefferson said. "I'm going to Florida (Sept. 18) and Oklahoma (Nov. 13). My last three visits will be to Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State and I'll do unofficial visits to USC and UCLA.
Jefferson claims everyone wants him as a safety so I might have to move him in the near future; he claims early playing time is extremely important and that's why big early leader USC has dropped back to the field.
Parker, who's stated he would like to get out of the state several times, is a considerably more likely option. Either would be a strong addition to the class.
Punting With Birds In
MI P Mike Sadler has picked up a State offer and now bears an impressive list:
Last week, Michigan State offered punter Mike Sadler (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern). With the offer, the Spartans joined the likes of Alabama, LSU, Purdue, Northwestern and the Air Force Academy, all schools which had already offered him a scholarship.
Meanwhile, Michigan appears to be chasing WI P Will Hagerup above all others. Sadler grew up a Michigan fan and had some quotes earlier in the year that suggested an offer would be highly likely to end up in a commit, but if Michigan keeps holding off there's always the chance he gets ticked off and heads elsewhere. Apparently Sadler had a rough outing in front of Michigan's coaches but with specialists, especially punters, I'd trust a half-dozen other teams' evaluations over one or two afternoons.
I hope Michigan tells Hagerup they'll give him a brief window in which to commit before they offer Sadler; I'd rather take the almost-as-meaty bird that would really like to leap into your hand than the Wisconsonian in the bush. Eh… you know what I mean.
OH DT Terry Talbott had been reported as a Michigan offeree earlier, but apparently that's not quite the case:
“I know Wisconsin has offered me, Purdue and Illinois, a couple more Big Ten schools, UCLA, Kentucky, Arkansas, and North Carolina State too. Michigan hasn’t really offered me yet. I’m just trying to see when I can get a chance to come up there. We’re having trouble with our cars, but I want to come up and visit.”
Talbott has a (slightly) younger brother who's a cornerback; naturally they'd like to go to the same school. As per usual, a visit will tell.
Etc.: CT LB Khari Fortt remains a considerable longshot but this article claims he's got a visit to Michigan planned and where there's a visit there's a (vague, probably not worth mentioning) chance. PA DT Sharrif Floyd has Michigan in his top six but Penn State sounds like the leader. OH S Latwan Anderson still favors WVU. OH OL Skyler Schofner hasn't heard from M "in a while"; may not be a priority.
Articles on CT LB Khari Fortt, OH CB commit Courtney Avery (second), OH DT Jibreel Black, PA QB Malik Stokes, CA RB Dietrich Riley, LA WR commit Drew Dileo, FL RB Eduardo Clements, OH RB Andre Givens, GA DE Henry Anderson, NY DE Dominique Easley.
Removed DC LB Javarie Johnson(Miami), FL CB Lo Wood (ND), FL RB Roy Finch (OK), OH LB Jordan Hicks (dropped M), OH DE Jibreel Black (IU!?), MI RB Nick Hill (MSU), FL WR OJ Ross (M outside of top 5), MD S Lamarcus Coker (dropped M), FL WR Chris Dunkley (dropped M).
Added GA DT Mike Thornton, FL WR Quinton Dunbar.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Not a whole lot of movement this week except in one direction: off the board.
An interesting week in departures. FL WR OJ Ross listed a top five without Michigan in it; though I'd usually wait for a couple more articles that were more explicit, I'm being ruthless on the WR board given all the commits. He's gone. OH LB Jordan Hicks not including Michigan amongst his final six was no surprise, and FL CB Lo Wood's commitment to ND had been expected for a while. Michigan will pick up corners rated higher than Wood, whose early hype gave way to eh ratings and a lack of in-state interest. So yeah no surprises there. Four removals are of note, though:
FL RB Roy Finch committed to Oklahoma. If Michigan wasn't going to get Finch, and there wasn't any interest expressed there, that's the best spot for him to go as it might cause some wobble in the commitment of CA RB and former Forcier teammate Brennan Clay. Possibly-dubious rumors that Clay's commitment is not rock solid persist.
MI RB Nick Hill committed to Michigan State. Hill camped at Michigan and did not get an offer, at which point State swooped in for the rebound. More on Hill in the section on tailbacks.
OH DT/DE Jibreel Black committed to… Indiana? WTF? That one hurts. Black had sliced his list to Cinci, Kentucky, Indiana, State, and M, and unless there's an ulterior motive on a list like that, that usually presages a commitment to M. Black was a three-and-a-half star sort who would have been an excellent fit as the three-tech DT in Michigan's new defense; instead he's signed up to get his head caved in for four years. There's no accounting for taste.
Black's ulterior motive, by the way: his older brother currently plays for IU.
DC LB Javarie Johnson committed to Miami. That also hurts. Johnson showed well at camps and had high upside; he reacted so positively to his Michigan unofficial that one of his coaches told a Scout guy that he had committed. Instead he's off to Miami, depriving Michigan's recruiting board of a badly needed athletic strongside linebacker type.
Eeee eeee eeee
Yet more recruitin' video on MI QB Devin Gardner, seen here throwing some passes at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp. More impressive are the clips of Gardner playing receiver; he looks like Braylon crossed with a bull.
You know how Ohio State got a fade touchdown in their bowl game last year by having Boeckman chuck it to Pryor? Yeah, I think we should teach Devin Gardner the fade route. Here's what I'd say if I was Tony Dews: "go over there and run to the corner of the endzone. Then be 6'5" and capable of leaping over most of Andorra."
So Nick Hill goes off the board to State, and we're one step closer to completing the odd reversal from early expectations. MI RB Austin White committing to Michigan would be the final step. He remains a Michigan lean:
… U-M’s best chance is with White, who has been a slight Michigan lean since the spring.
Since it's White who's got the higher recruiting rankings and better offers I'm fine with that; also White's camp performance was considerably better than Hill's.
The other big fish Michigan is in the mix for is FL RB Eduardo Clements, who camped and now has a solid top three of Georgia, Michigan, and Miami. Clements on M:
“The whole coaching staff is a great group of guys. The things Coach Rich (Rodriguez) is trying to do with the offense this year, and the guys from Miami (area) who are there now look like they will play early. I just liked the whole campus and the whole atmosphere.”
That's not a final list above, however, and Clements currently plans on taking all his officials. Michigan will get a return visit. Since Clements was thought to be favoring Georgia before his camp swing, that's a win.
Meanwhile, OH RB Andre Givens is concentrating on the Big East($); his Michigan offer may not come with a lot of recruiting behind it as Michigan focuses on White and Clements.
That article cited above with an Austin White lean also has less salutary news on a couple of instate prospects:
[Dior] Mathis has recently expressed a strong affinity for Oregon, while [CJ] Olaniyan appears to be favoring Michigan State and Penn State.
FWIW. That would be a major change on Mathis; Olaniyan is supposed to be pretty wide open still; he's only moved to Michigan in the last few years and doesn't have any particular affinity for the local programs.
From the South But Not Married To It
Ah, so this is why Michigan's got a half-decent shot at GA DE Henry Anderson:
Both of Anderson's parents graduated from Wisconsin and he plans to head to Madison in the near future for an unofficial visit and then narrow his list further. Anderson is looking for the best school for him on an off the field. He plans to major in either business or political science and then head to law school once his playing days are over.
Michigan is in a leading group of eight.
Shirtlessness is contagious
We have our first OMG shirtless punter ever:
That's WI P Will Hagerup, who has a Michigan offer and appears to be the top punter in the country according to issued offers. He took a visit to campus recently, perhaps attempting to gather information on the program so he can decide whether he wants to commit before Michigan offers MI P Mike Sadler and other folks. I bet something shakes out soon here.
Ah so, hello, eventually
Here's a new cornerback on the radar who favors Michigan and will probably commit soon:
[Greg] Brown’s first scholarship offer came from Central Michigan. While he was camping in the state of Michigan, Brown came away with two new scholarship offers.
“Michigan State and Michigan, they both offered after camp,” Brown said. “Michigan is my favorite. I’m probably going to decide pretty soon.”
Hey, cool. Small catch: Brown is a member of the class of 2011. IE: a rising junior. So, yeah. Not of immediate help. But a couple Big Ten offers by the summer of your junior year presages a nice ranking when it comes time for that, and Brown is from Fremont Ross, the home of a slightly good cornerback named Woodson.
Etc.: Fluff on NY DE Dominique Easley; don't get your hopes up there. CT LB Khari Fortt speculated to Penn State. FL WR Quinton Dunbar plans an official visit, FWIW. Highly likely to stay in-state. Fluffs one and two on OH CB commit Courtney Avery. This article on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has the worst tile ever. CA RB/S Dietrich Riley smoked the USC Rising Stars camp.