"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
This week's Thursday Recruitin' discusses Jordan Payton's upcoming decision (again), big news coming from both Josh Garnett and Zach Banner, the next great Michigan nickname, several new 2013 offers, and BREAKING Mitch McGary news. Usual request: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Rounding Out the 2012 Class
With the addition of Jeremy Clark to the 2012 class (more on that later), Michigan now has 23 commitments and five spots to fill—probably with two receivers, and offensive lineman, a running back, and perhaps a defensive back. How will they round out the class? I guess this is a good place to start:
That's four-star CA wideout Jordan Payton, of course, who decided—after visiting Notre Dame for the USC game last weekend—to push back his planned announcement from Tuesday to some time in the next two weeks. After the visit to South Bend, Payton claims that Michigan and Notre Dame are "tied" for the lead in his recruitment ($, info in header) after he had maintained that Michigan was his clear leader heading into the weekend. While this could be cause for a meltdown, I wouldn't get too worried—Payton is taking the time to gather his thoughts after a big visit, and I still think Michigan is in great position to land him whenever he decides to make his choice. Notre Dame always come back right at the end, right?
In more encouraging news, Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett has set one official visit, and, well, you see where this is going [emphasis mine]...
"I'm going to Michigan on Nov. 19 when they play Nebraska," Garnett said. "I'm also going to visit Miami at some point also. I'm thinking pretty seriously about visiting Oklahoma too."
One school is showing Garnett more attention than the others.
"Cal is recruiting me the hardest by far," he said. "Coach (Tosh) Lupoi is the lead recruiter but all of their coaches are in contact with me. They are definitely showing me a lot of love."
Garnett is working down his list of 11 programs but said he has no favorites at this time among the group. Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Auburn and Notre Dame are a few other programs on the list.
While this by no means indicates that Michigan is his leader (one look at the quote about Cal should dispel that notion), Garnett coming to Ann Arbor is certainly a good sign, and anything can happen once a recruit gets on campus. [Morning edit: Of course, just before I go to sleep last night a new Garnett article pops up on Scout in which he says he "may" make it to Ann Arbor for the Nebraska game ($), so we'll have to wait and see if this one really happens. Encouraging news is slightly less encouraging, but still, I think, encouraging.]
Meanwhile, Garnett's fellow blue-chip Washingtonian lineman, Zach Banner, has been the center of attention this past week, and he named his top five schools ($, video embedded below) before heading to Notre Dame for an official visit:
For those who don't feel like clicking on the video, Michigan made his final five along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, and Washington. If you head over to Oklahoma's Rivals site, you'll see (at the moment I'm writing this, at least) a big fat headline proclaiming "Sooners On Top" linking to an article that claims Oklahoma leads for Banner ($, info in header), with extensive quotes from the recruit about how well his visit went. While I usually don't blockquote from premium articles, there's been genuine debate about how to interpret this quote, which comes off as a bit of a leading question from the interviewer but also seems to point to Oklahoma leading:
So is it fair to say that Oklahoma is currently the leader and Washington and USC will have to show him something that surpasses what he saw at Oklahoma?
"Yeah," he said plainly. "All five of them are going to be completely involved but I'm still taking my USC and (Washington) visits but if you were going to ask me who I'd bet on, Oklahoma has a good chance."
Interpret that how you will, but obviously Michigan is still in it, though they might have some ground to cover. Just as notable, IMO, is Banner saying he'll announce his decision date (note: not make his actual decision, just to be abundantly clear) this Saturday, at his Army All-American ceremony.
There are other options on the offensive line, as well. TomVH caught up with Jordan Diamond, and read his article ($) and check out the video interview (free) over at WolverineNation. Michigan is still among the schools Diamond is interested in, and he's been in contact with former Chicago Simeon teammate and current Wolverine Chris Bryant, but he says he has "no favorites" at this time and will not make a decision until signing day. After taking in the ND-USC game last weekend (along with every other top prospect on the planet, it seems), Diamond won't be making any other visits until after his season is over.
In related news, four-star OL and recent offeree Alex Kozan just picked up an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header). Michigan and OSU join a top group of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, LSU, Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Illinois, but Kozan is looking to pare that list of nine down to three or four in the near future.
Also, five-star OL/DE Arik Armstead has indeed opened up his recruitment, but 247's J.C. Shurburtt says this is likely a battle between Cal and USC, and with no mention of Michigan they're a fringe contender at best. Don't hold your breath for this one.
For more on wide receiver recruiting, updates on current commits, 2013 news, and MITCH MCGARY'S FINAL THREE AND IMPENDING DECISION (*cough*), hit the jump.
Or continues invading Ohio, as the case may be.
Jarrod Wilson and Kyle Kalis Go Blue
The 2012 trend of picking up prospects in pairs has returned with a vengeance, as Michigan earned commitments from two top Ohio prospects over the weekend.
OH S Jarrod Wilson kicked off the festivities on Friday, picking the Wolverines over Notre Dame and Penn State in a ceremony at his school. Touch the Banner on Jarrod:
He has the size, speed, tackling ability, and ballhawking instincts that Michigan teams have been lacking for the last several years. And, perhaps best of all, he's the elusive Michigan-recruited safety who actually looks like a safety and not a linebacker.
Wilson is the first safety Michigan’s recruited since Demar Dorsey that I’d be comfortable sticking in a Cover 1 situation. He doesn’t have elite top-end speed, but that’s more important for cornerbacks than safeties. His acceleration and instincts are more than enough to be a top-flight safety in the Big Ten.
For more on Jarrod, check out Hello: Jarrod Wilson. Despite Wilson's accolades and ability, the real headliner of the weekend (and probably even the 2012 class to date) was OH OL Kyle Kalis, who committed to Michigan in an unorthodox way on Sunday:
Kalis said he visited Michigan last weekend and called coach Brady Hoke from the "M" logo at the middle of the field at Michigan Stadium to inform him he was coming to Ann Arbor.
He also has plenty of incendiary things to say about Ohio State, much to the delight of any Michigan fan:
"I can't go there (Ohio State) and take penalties for something I never did," Kalis told ESPN.com on Monday. "Ohio State is a great program. I'm just not sure how long it will take them to recover. I want a solid, grounded coaching staff with a safe environment. Where there aren't such tough questions."
"He is the type of guy I want to play for," Kalis said. "(Hoke) has an incredible amount of passion. I believe the Michigan-Ohio border is now open."
Kyle comes out of his stance very well for such a big, young player. He's quick off the ball, and his footwork is impeccable. He rarely wastes any movement or gets his feet crossed up, and he keeps a wide base when blocking, which allows him to latch onto blocks and not let go.
All through his blocks, his feet are pumping at a mile-a-minute. He’s got good knee bend and gets out of his 3-point stance with a flat back, a crucial trait for maintaining good balance while blocking. He’s athletic for his 300-pound size, and is a great pull and trap lineman. Just like Erik Magnuson, I really like his nasty disposition on the football field, as well as his upper body strength that allows him to manipulate opponents in whichever way he’d like.
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine talks a little bit about what he needs to work on:
Kyle has average arm length and this could pose problems against super edge rushers. If his arms were three inches longer the drool factor would be off the charts for talent watchers. Watch Kyle’s film and his set up at the line tips off whether he is going to pass block, drive block, trap or pull. No big deal.
For more on Kalis's game, check out the Hello: Kyle Kalis post.
Assume the Position: Quarterback
OH QB Maty Mauk committed to Missouri last week, taking yet another of Michigan's options at the position off the table.
There are only three quarterbacks in the country that hold Michigan offers and are not committed to any school. One of them, FL QB Bennie Coney, has told Tom that Michigan is eliminated from consideration. IN QB Gunner Kiel has been pretty quiet lately, but the general vibe is that Michigan is just below the top couple schools, and Indiana (of all teams!) might lead for his services.
If the Wolverines can't land a top pro-style quarterback, they have three other options: 1) take a lesser-rated pocket passer, 2) pass on a 2012 QB, or 3) take a dual-threat guy, with the option of moving positions down the road.
The third QB currently holding an offer, NJ QB/S Devin Fuller, fits into the final category. He recently sat down for a live chat with Rivals (HT: Braylon Edwards (I'm going to go out on a limb and assume NTBE)). Relevant portions:
Comment From brad who are the schools coming at you the hardest?
Devin Fuller: Brad: I would say UCLA, Nebraska, Rutgers, Michigan, and Penn State too. All are pretty close but those are the ones that stick out.
Comment From nemesisx24 Any idea when you will get a chance to visit michigan?
Devin Fuller: Nemesis: Probably late July or early August.
Comment From Guest What about Michigan sticks out to you the most; to make you want to visit?
Devin Fuller: Guest: The Michigan way. The big stadium. You know, just the Michigan way of doing things.
Comment From Guest Have you been in contact with any of Michigan's 18 commits?
Devin Fuller: Guest: Actually, no ... I haven't been
He also seems pretty set on getting a chance at quarterback, though schools are recruiting him at a variety of positions (slot receiver and various DB slots). If Michigan strikes out on a top QB this year, perhaps he could start out at QB as a stopgap before Shane Morris arrives on campus?
Tom continued his interviews with the coaches of CA OL Commit Erik Magnuson with his high school offensive line coach:
By far he's the best I've coached. I was very fortunate to coach John and Dan Saleaumua, Danny played for the Chiefs in the NFL. Those guys were probably the closest to Erik. The Saleaumua brothers were brute force guys. Erik is a guy that can go in and compete, and once he gets out on the edge he's so athletic it allows us to do most things others can't.
Right now I think he is without a doubt the best pass blocking lineman. The guy can pass block anybody... He has great form and technique. He's going to get way better once he gets stronger. He trains like no one else. He could survive at Michigan right away. The one thing we work on here is just to get his frame extended a little more, getting his chest up a little more. His strength is pass block, he needs to work on his run block which will come with strength and learning [Darrell] Funk's system.
Long quote, but too much good information to cut anything out.
Michigan is recruiting PA LB Deaysean Rippy as a safety (the only school doing so). The Wolverines aren't mentioned much with him, and the robust DB/LB recruiting crop means there's no chance he ends up in the class.
Notre Dame and Tennessee lead Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State in the race for OH DE LaTroy Lewis (Mr. SEC has a very limited understanding of what the term "final" means). I'm guessing Michigan isn't very interested in any non-Wormley/Washington defensive ends at this point.
MD DE Ryan Watson is "in no rush" to come to a decision ($, info in header). Though if he wants to come to Michigan - the Wolverines are still on his list, and he plans to visit soon - he might run out of luck by taking his time.
MO WR Jehu Chesson will visit Michigan soon.
Michigan is one of five schools that have offered WA OL Zach Banner scholarships in both football and basketball.
PA OL Adam Bisnowaty wants to take his visits before making a college decision.
OH DE Adolphus Washington has Michigan, but not Ohio State, in his top 5.
Those concerned about losing the greyshirt commitment of KY S Jeremy Clark need not worry, as he's still solid to Michigan, despite picking up some offers ($, info in header).
Tom's Weekly Update includes tidbits from commits Mario Ojemudia and Erik Magnuson talking about their experiences at The Opening.
The BBQ at the Big House recruiting event has returned, and Tom has a tentative list of attendees:
Commit OL Caleb Stacey
Commit LB Joe Bolden
Commit LB Kaleb Ringer
Commit LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
Commit DB Terry Richardson
Commit LB James Ross
Commit DE Matt Godin
Commit DB Allen Gant
Commit TE Devin Funchess
Commit DE Tom Strobel
Commit OL Ben Braden
DT Danny O'Brien
2013 RB Wyatt Shallman
WR Jehu Chesson: He told me he believes he will be there.
2013 OL Steven Elmer: His father told me they will be at the BBQ. As I reported on Twitter earlier, he and his father were on campus on Monday the 10th. It wasn't a football related visit, just more to walk around campus and see things.
Commit OL Kyle Kalis: Says he's not sure yet. I'd imagine he'd be there, but we'll see.
DT Ondre Pipkins: There's a chance, but he doesn't know yet
OL Jordan Diamond: They're not sure if they are yet, but there's a good chance they will be. His mom told me, "Any excuse to visit. We'd like to go."
It's still a couple weeks away, so stay tuned for updates to the list. The Kyle Kalis commitment has really gotten the attention of OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn. He's been insisting for the past several weeks that his commitment to Ohio State is solid, but the tide may be turning. He's a possible visitor for the BBQ, as well.
Happy Trails, PA DE Dakota Conwell. I didn't hear his name mentioned much with Michigan prior to his Pitt commitment.
MI OL Kyle Knapp didn't have much interest from the in-state schools, and has committed to Syracuse.
Happy Trails SC WR Jody Fuller, who committed to South Carolina.
Scout previews the in-state crop for next year's class. QB Commit Shane Morris is neck-and-neck with OL Steve Elmer, according to Allen Trieu:
The great thing about both guys is, they're great kids and student athletes as well who will represent the state of Michigan well. Left tackle and quarterback are typically two of the most sought after, important positions in football, and both of these guys have the goods.
Elmer was on campus earlier this week ($, info in header), so Michigan has at least a chance to lock up the top two in-state prospects for 2013.
Jeremy Clark and Blake Bars Go Blue
A twin-bill of commitments started on Friday, as KY S Jeremy Clark committed to a greyshirt offer. The Hello: Jeremy Clark post may have been a shade on the pessimistic side (at the time, Rivals's database was apparently broken, so I wasn't aware he had Illinois and Cincinnati offers, which makes him significantly more attractive as an offer candidate), and that definitely changes my guess that other, more-immediate, offers might change his decision to accept a greyshirt. Still, other reports aren't exactly glowing. Magnus on Touch the Banner:
There's a very good chance that his body has matured throughout the offseason, and if he's done some work on his own in the film room, he might have improved some of his weaknesses, too. But from what I see here, he's slow to read plays, slow to react at times, takes questionable pursuit angles, doesn't have the greatest of playmaking abilities, doesn't hit hard with consistency (although there are a couple nice blows), and doesn't wrap up when he tackles.
College coaches have had a chance to see him in camp since then, so it's likely he's improved a lot if they were willing to offer. As a greyshirt, Clark is currently considered a 2013 commit, but could move into the class of 2012 pending the decision of OH S Jarrod Wilson.
He is an outstanding run blocker, one who can physically dominate his opponent. He shows the quick feet and flexibility to be solid in pass protection. Notice on the film his short, choppy, but controlled steps that sometimes (sometimes not) have a low base and good balance.
He’s great at finishing blocks, working relentlessly to pile the poor sap lined up across from him into the ground, at least until the whistle blows. He has some of the niftiest footwork I’ve seen in a lineman Michigan’s recruited this year, outside of maybe Kyle Kalis. His feet are always in motion and allow him to move laterally, a great asset for any lineman at the next level.
For more on Bars, check out the Hello: Blake Bars post. I also managed to miss that Michigan picked up a preferred walk-on for the 2012 class in IL WR Bo Dever ($, info in header). If I can find enough info on him in the coming days, he may get the Hello post treatment.
He dedicated himself in the weight room this offseason, adding good weight and getting up to 319-lbs. Even at that size, he was moving well enough to be considered a left tackle prospect. He's strong, technique is improving and he's more athletic than previously thought.
It's a good sign that Brady Hoke's staff has an eye for identifying talent earlier than most.
CA OL Erik Magnuson talked to the local news about why he picked Michigan:
Pharaoh Brown is listed as a defensive end but #Michigan ought to consider him as a wide receiver...he is very smooth.
There's video, so check it out for yourself. He certainly has good hands (and an ability to get up for the ball), but his athleticism - exceptional for a defensive end - may not be quite what you'd expect out of a bigtime wide receiver. There's also the small fact that he hasn't played wideout in high school yet, playing mostly QB last year.
Bob Lichtenfels gave 2013 QB Commit Shane Morris some love at the IMG 87-on-7 in Florida:
Share [sic] Morris is a winner, love the kids moxie at IMG Madden 7on7. Michigan is getting a good one...
Morris and 2012 MI RB Dennis Norfleet were named co-MVPs and their team won the Championship. MGoUser JakeinVeniceFL worked the event as an official, and was also impressed. Scout called Morris "nearly unstoppable" over the final two days of the tournament.
Michigan is CBS/Maxpreps's #2 recruiting class at this point (they were #1 last night, but a kicker pickup boosted Texas ahead), and 24/7 Sports's #2 linebacker recruiting class (not including Ojemudia, considered a defensive end) behind Alabama. The linebackers also get some love from ESPN.
OH S Jarrod Wilson has set his decision date: Next Friday at 2:30 PM. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State are his final three schools, and many analysts think the Wolverines are the favorite to land him.
OH OL Kyle Kalis thinks OH DE Chris Wormley is going to commit to Michigan, and the two were on campus together last weekend. Wormley has been talking about moving toward a decision for a long time, so a visit to campus could have helped push things forward.
Tom said not to expect a commitment from Kalis last weekend, so the lack of a pledge from the big man came as no surprise. He wants to visit Alabama and Miami (YTM) before making a decision. However, his decision could move up after a visit or two.
A source tells Bucknuts's Dave Biddle that Kalis and OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn will not end up at Ohio State:
These guys aren't just decommitting, they have written off going to OSU... Word going around at both St. Eds and GlenOak are that the Buckeyes have "no chance" at landing either of them.
He goes on to say that Dunn's decommitment is a long time coming, but Kalis not ending up in Columbus after his long, (excited, commit-y) commitment is a big change. As a counterpoint, Bill Greene now thinks Bri'onte Dunn will stick with Ohio State unless (until) the Buckeyes get hammered by the NCAA.
Local fluff of epic proportions on IN QB Gunner Kiel. A lot of it is of the "hey, person who doesn't follow recruiting, the recruiting industry sucks" variety (with plenty of one sentence paragraphs), but there are some useful pieces of information included:
"(The decision) will probably be some time this month. I don't know a date. Whenever I feel it in my gut, I'm probably going to make that decision. I'll let my teammates, family and friends know. By then, I'm sure it will get out."
There are mentions of Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Indiana, but no Michigan. It seems like the Wolverines' ship has probably sailed for Kiel, though Tom Lemming is far higher on the Wolverines' chances, putting them in a top 3 with Alabama and Oklahoma.
MaxPreps picks up on the "Greg Garmon beat cancer" story (a couple months late, it would seem). The PA RB has narrowed his list to Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina, Iowa, and Pitt, according to the article. He recently picked up an Ohio State offer, so we'll see if that affects his recruitment.
OH RB/FB Alden Hill received a Michigan offer. He talked to Tom about which position the coaches want him to play:
They want me as an all purpose back, a full back and running back. Someone they don't have to change personnel if they switch plays out of the two back system. I'm definitely good with that role, it's good for competition.
That sounds to me like their first thought is FB, but he can also play tailback. Landing a combo back like Hill would give the coaching staff much more flexibility about taking another ball-carrier in the class, but it sounds like Michigan isn't in great position with Hill.
WA OL Zach Banner has set up his official Michigan visit for the Notre Dame game.
IL OL Jordan Diamond will play in a new All-Star game, the US Marine Bowl.
AZ OL Andrus Peat will probably include Notre Dame and Nebraska in his final five, meaning Michigan is fighting it out with a few other schools for one of the remaining three spots.
WA OL Josh Garnett is down to 11 schools, including Michigan. The Wolverines join Notre Dame, OKlahoma, Auburn, and Nebraska as the non-Pac-12 schools on his list.
Michigan is in the top six for MI DT Danny O'Brien ($, info in header). It'll be interesting to see how Michigan's DL recruiting plays out over the rest of the summer, with only a couple spots left.
Free Rivals article on OH S Bam Bradley, who doesn't mention Michigan. With the Wolverines' current DB and LB hauls, it's tough to see Bam ending up in this class.
A lot of recruits with Michigan interest and/or offers that hadn't been mentioned much from a Michigan perspective lately made commitments to other schools:
- IN QB James Knapke committed to Bowling Green. He was unlikely to receive a Michigan offer.
- IL QB Wes Lunt committed to Oklahoma State.
- CA WR Raymond Ford committed to UCLA.
- CA TE Ian Taubler committed to UCLA.
- CA TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick committed to USC.
- IN OL Jake Meador committed to Ole Miss.
- TX OL John Michael McGee picked Oklahoma.
- PA OL Chris Muller committed to Rutgers.
- OH OL Tyler Orlosky (a teammate of Kyle Kalis) committed to West Virginia.
- MD LB/WR Deontay McManus committed to West Virginia.
- OH S De'Van Bogard committed to Ohio State.
In other Happy Trails news, MN OL Jonah Pirsig is deciding soon, and Michigan doesn't seem to be in the mix. With Michigan's recruiting class filling up fast, we should see a lot of recruits cutting the Wolverines from their lists in the near future.
Tom spoke with the father of MI OL Steven Elmer Jr. about his son's recruiting:
We have to have a great school first and foremost. He has a 4.3 GPA so we have to find him a good school, could be Ivy league, could be a place like Michigan. When he decides what he wants to study he'll look into that.
That certainly helps Michigan's case against presumed childhood favorite Michigan State (but not so much over Notre Dame, which has now offered him).
PA TE Adam Breneman, who holds a Michigan offer, is Notre Dame's #1 priority at the position in the 2013 class ($, info in header).
MI RB/DE Wyatt Shallman is "surrounded by Maize & Blue" ($, info in header).
Michigan leads for OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas, the subject of Sam Webb's latest Detroit News column. His coach on how he plays:
"I see him as a safety at the next level, but he could do about anything really. (During the spring) he ran a 4.57 electronic 40-yard dash at the Nike Combine in Pittsburgh, so that tells you about his speed. He is a very physical player and a leader on this team."
He also drops some hints that his cousin Bri'Onte Dunn (mentioned above) might be interested in Michigan if the Buckeyes are hit with a bowl ban.
OH LB Ben Gedeon is high on Michigan ($, info in header).
2012 Offer Board lives here.
Decisions on Deck?
IN QB Gunner Kiel has eliminated Notre Dame, and is down to a final four of Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, and Oklahoma. He is planning a June decision.
Not only is OH DE Chris Wormley excelling in field events (discus and shot put) this spring, he's dropping recruiting info to track reporters:
“Everything I do [in the three sports] helps all around,” said Wormley, whose top two colleges choices right now are Michigan first and Ohio State second, followed by Michigan State and Notre Dame. “It keeps me conditioned throughout the season. [Track] ties into everything.”
Now that Scout is asking the customary headline-question-where-the-answer-is-always-yes about whether Wormley will decide soon ($, info in header), it could mean another commitment isn't far off for the maize-and-blue. He told Tom that he'll focus on recruiting once track ends. Magnus talks about Wormley's surprisingly low Rival ranking on Maize n Brew:
It looks like he put on some weight, and it doesn't necessarily look like pure muscle. Secondly, it looks like he's either favoring some part of his body or he just lacks aggression... I'm saying it looks like something is wrong. Additionally, he doesn't get off the ball as quickly in his junior film, and it looks like he lost a notch in the speed department.
Early offers from Michigan and Ohio State speak to his potential, but he's going to have to capture his sophomore-year fitness (he certainly doesn't look fat in the track photo above) and form to improve his standing to the recruiting services.
MI CB Terry Richardson has been on-again, off-again about making a decision at some point this week. If such a decision does come to pass, it will be tomorrow morning at 11:45 in the Cass Tech weight room, but as of right now, it seems like the conference will be delayed again - but he'll announce on social media sites at 8AM tomorrow.
Fill 'er Up
With the 2012 class about half-full (per the expectations come Signing Day, at least), it's time to look at what needs remain for the next crop of Wolverines and which positions must be filled:
- QB: 0-1. The commitment of 2013's Shane Morris allows the coaching staff to be very selective about a QB in this class. They can either swing for the fences with Gunner Kiel, or go for a multi-position guy.
- RB: 1-2. Brady Hoke clearly wants one running back in this class (though it seems they're content to pursue mostly elite prospects) and probably a fullback as well.
- WR: 1. With Darryl Stonum, Junior Hemingway, and Martavious Odoms moving on after this year, at least one wideout is necessary for roster balance. Another would be a luxury.
- TE: 0-1. Early on, it seemed like Michigan would take another tight end despite already having two committed. Now, that isn't looking like the case (sorry, Ron Thompson).
- OL: 2-3. At least one true left tackle is a big need, and another right tackle would give Ben Braden the opportunity to play on the interior.
- DT: 2. With a couple light years in defensive tackle recruiting, a pair of them are needed in this class.
- DE: 1-2. Chris Wormley is the obvious choice here, but the coaching staff might accept another commitment if it's an elite guy.
- S: 1-2. Depending on where Raymon Taylor and Tamani Carter end up from last year's class, this may not be as dire a need as it seems.
- CB: 1-2. With a big crop of DBs in 2011, they can be selective about who they take.
As always in recruiting, this is subject to change at a moment's notice. You'll note that the coaching staff will have to be selective at some of those positions, though they'll figure out a way to take any elite prospects.
New Offers (And Potential New Offers)
Michigan is showing interest in ID QB Tanner Mangum. He's currently committed to BYU.
UT FB/RB Sione Houma has picked up a Michigan offer.
Benson said Michigan and Washington have both recruited Houma with the intention of moving him to fullback, but other schools, such as UCLA, are interested in him as a tailback.
Michigan has offered a bunch of fullback-types.
Michigan has offered IL DE/DT Faith Ekakitie.
FL S Allen Gant - the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant - has received his Michigan offer. He's going to visit Ann Arbor within the next couple weeks.
Happy Trails from the future, OH RB/DB William Mahone? There's "an almost 100% chance" he'll eventually pick Penn state, per one expert.
Happy Trails, TX FB/LB Dominic Ramacher. He committed to Oklahoma State.
Happy Trails, OH WR Corey Smith. The teammate of OH S Jarrod Wilson, he will attend Tennessee after a stint at junior college.
Happy Trails, FL LB Raphael Kirby. He picked Miami. Something tells me the coaching staff isn't sweating when linebackers come off the board.
Nominees for the US Army All-American Bowl are out (pdf link), and include a number of Michigan commits (Jenkins-Stone, Ringer, Ojemudia, Bolden), and too many targets to list. The 440 nominess will be whittled down to 90ish selections.
OH TE Commit AJ Williams is keeping in touch with OH DE Adolphus Washington and OH WR Dwayne Stanford about picking Michigan:
Michigan is looking to capitalize on a few "ins" of its own. The first is Stanford's boyhood affinity for the Maize and Blue. The second is Stanford and Washington's relationship with recent Michigan commitment, Cincinnati Sycamore tight end A.J. Williams.
"(Williams) called me all excited and said he committed to Michigan and told me that me and Aldophus need to get with the program and head on up to Ann Arbor with him and they wouldn't be able to stop us," Stanford recalled. "I'm loving Michigan right now. I have nothing but positive energy and thoughts on my mind about them. Coach (Mark) Smith and A.J. stay on me too. Especially with him committing there, that really helps me. We're just going to see how everything plays out.
The Wolverines definitely need a wideout, and Washington is the type of athlete it would be really hard to turn down, but the Cincy products are both planning to wait until January to announce decisions. We'll see how much room is left in Michigan's class (and what the needs are) when the time comes. Stanford is visiting Michigan soon ($, info in header).
PA RB Greg Garmon has narrowed to a top 5 of Michigan, UNC, Iowa, Illinois, and West Virginia. He does say that some of the schools in that top 5 could change.
Michigan and two mystery schools make up the top three for CA OL Erik Magnuson. He will take an official visit to Ann Arbor in the fall.
CO OL Paul Thurston visited Michigan a couple weeks ago, and it helped Michigan stay near the top of his list.
TX OL Trey Keenan has family in Michigan, and he says the Wolverines are likely to make the cut when he trims his list. He wants to make a final decision before the start of his senior season.
OH DE Se'Von Pittman talks recruiting, including his interest in Michigan:
"I've taken a few visits around to some different campuses," Pittman said. "I've checked out Michigan and Michigan State and Notre Dame." ...He could be an outside linebacker in some scenarios or a defensive end or maybe something more. Notre Dame wants him to be a quarterback-hunting outside linebacker and Michigan wants him to be whatever he wants.
The Wolverines are loading up on defensive ends and linebackers, and Se'Von is going to take his time deciding. That could mean there won't be room for him in the 2012 class by the time he makes a decision.
Though he's a Penn State soft commit, NY DT Jarron Jones is "anxious to learn" on his trip to Ann Arbor next month ($, info in header). Based on a local article, it really sounds like he doesn't consider himself committed to the Nittany Lions at all:
"It's really about where I feel comfortable. Where do I fit in, where are they going to have me? Some coaches want me at offensive, some at defensive end, some at linebacker."
Something tells me a 6-7, 300 pound guy is unlikely to play linebacker in college. He's been nominated for the Army all-American game.
MI OL/DT DaRon Brown will camp at Michigan this summer to try to earn an offer. IL CB Anthony Standifer is continuing to blow up, with new offers from the likes of Purdue and Iowa, Northwestern, and others.
MI QB Commit Shane Morris will participate in an Elite 11 tryout in Columbus this weekend. 2012 prospects Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike will also be in attendance. The Free Press covers Morris's commitment.
MI RB Wyatt Shallman tells Tom what the coaching staff thinks of his ability as a running back.
Joe Bolden and James Ross Go Blue
Tom broke the news of Bolden's commitment last week, then caught up with Joe for a quick interview:
I wanted to [commit] in person because it shows more respect when you say it in person and look someone in the eyes to tell them you're coming to their school...
I'm very solid on it. I wouldn't have made the decision if I wasn't. There were a lot of factors that played into it, and there were some factors on why I did it so early. I thought why wait if it's the right school, with the right people, and I don't see any better opportunity to play college football and get an education.
While he's not exactly a quick-twitch athlete, he has above average coverage skills because of his instincts and awareness. Bolden also seems to have a top-quality motor with the willingness to chug back into plays that others would give up on. He flies to the football, makes solid contact, and wraps up ballcarriers.
Jack Slice on The Wolverine Blog:
His hips aren’t stiff and he can drop into coverage well, he’s got good coverage awareness. He reads the QB’s eyes at all times. Bolden probably plays smarter than either of the other two LBs we have committed.
There's essentially nothing to dislike about Ross as a prospect. Even though he's not lightning fast in a straight line, he's a true "quick twitch" athlete. Watching his feet and hips move, he has the agility of a safety. But the most impressive thing about Ross is how quickly he diagnoses plays. I'm not sure that I've seen a high school player - and certainly not a Michigan recruit - make quicker decisions and find the ball faster than Ross does.
As for past commits, MI TE Devin Funchess got a writeup in the Oakland Observer.
Last week, it seemed like Gunner Kiel was a longshot for Michigan, so I only spent a little bit of time discussing him, but he's since visited Ann Arbor, so an ESPN profile suddenly becomes much more interesting.
"I still need to be more vocal and be the person that people can rely on. I try to be upbeat about everything -- workouts, conditioning, studying the playbook... I'm a great competitor, I hate to lose," Kiel said. "I'm going to work as hard as possible and try to make the other players on the team better every single day. Hopefully I can be the consummate teammate."
Making said article even more interesting is that the author included Michigan among his four favorites:
Michigan: "They have a new coaching staff and they are bringing a new offense on the table that's going to feature the passing game a lot. It's going to be a good system and they will be successful."
Meanwhioe, here are some Tyler O'Connor Highlights:
($) Maybe got offered.
OH QB Austin Appleby talks about coming back from a knee injury last fall:
Appleby searched every nook and cranny he could for rehab edges. He found a a device called an ARPwave. It is similar to electro-stimulus muscle training, only amped up. It can be painful. Dwight Freeney used it to recover from an ankle injury during Super Bowl week and play in the game in 2010.
“It is the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Appleby said. “But I am so much stronger because of it. They would stick it to my quads and hamstrings, jack it up, and I would have to hold squats and lunges. The first month or so, I couldn’t make it up my stairs.”
His recruitment is blowing up, and many analysts say it will get even bigger once he proves he's healthy.
Happy Trails to WA QB Jeff Lindquist, who committed to Washington.
A couple more prospects are expected to make decisions soon. MI DE/DT Matt Godin will announce on May 12th (that's next Thursday) and MI TE Ron Thompson has been planning to announce soon, but may push that back:
I'm just not ready, it's too much. I think I'm far from a decision to be honest. There was a team that was looking good, but now there are others that have come aboard and I'm not sure if I'm ready.
Godin is choosing between Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Tom says that Thompson may still announce on the 11th, but it's no longer a certainty. "There was a team that was looking good" definitely seems like it should be followed by "and then they got two tight ends committed."
MI DE Mario Ojemudia (a teammate of Michigan commit TE Devin Funchess) has been making noises on twitter about making a commitment this month, so keep an eye out for him. [ed: As mentioned on the sidebar yesterday, rumblings out of Harrison suggest Ojemudia will end up at M. The main competition conceding is about as good of a sign as you can get.]
“I am still committed to Ohio State,” said Dunn, who rushed for 2,030 yards last season and scored 22 touchdowns. “I have been visiting other schools. I was basically trying to tell (the writer for the recruiting site) I’m still committed to Ohio State, but I’m going to visit other schools to keep my options open if anything happens to Ohio State. Who knows what’s going to happen.”
Dunn's father repeated that position to Tom, though they are considering a visit to Ann Arbor. "I am committed to School X but still taking visits," as former Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez would tell you, is secret code for "I am not committed to anybody, but School X is my strong leader." Since the chances of anything happening to Ohio State are 100%, keep an eye on Bri'onte.
Tom spoke with MO DT Ondre Pipkins about when he'll be making a decision:
Yeah, I'll narrow it down to a top five in June sometime... and I'll probably make my decision after my season. I don't mind waiting that long, it doesn't get annoying if you can manage it and prioritize things the right way.
Michigan appears to be in strong position.
Tom spoke with OH DE Adolphus Washington,
We're open to everybody. We like Ohio State because we grew up fans of Ohio State, but we're giving everyone a chance. Michigan is recruiting me very hard. A lot of people say that I'm an Ohio State lean, but Michigan is still recruiting me hard and I like that. That says a lot about them that they're still coming after me like that. Their program was down last year but I think they're an up and coming program and they'll be back.
His high school Athletic Director played for Michigan's linebackers coach, Mark Smith, at Indiana, a potentially helpful connection. He also described his game:
I'm 6-foot-4, 258-pounds right now. I think my strengths are rushing the quarterback and being the first to the quarterback. I think I need to learn how to use my hands more, to use my hands better. That's something that I work on.
The Wolverines could certainly use an elite edge rusher.
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan told 24/7 Sports that he's most interested in Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn, though they must have omitted the part where he said "and least interested in winning football games" (glass houses and all that, but whateva). Michigan dropped in on him last week.
Michigan is "still in the mix" for AZ OL Andrus Peat.
Lifelong Buckeyes fan Tom Strobel is "warming up to Michigan" ($, info in header).
OH OL Kyle Dodson is "still high on Michigan" ($, info in header).
Michigan has boosted its position ($, info in header) with OH WR Dwayne Stanford.
PA OL Tyler Alt was the O-Line MVP at the Penn State Nike Camp. Michigan coaches want him to camp in order to earn an offer.
Michigan is in a top-5-ish substance for MD DT Ryan Watson. He's a teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess.
Alabama offers MI DT Danny O'Brien.
According to Sam Webb, OH S Bam Bradley favors Pitt and MSU.
Michigan has offered MO WR Durron Neal.
Michigan has offered AZ CB/WR DJ Foster.
Happy Trails, CA DT Aziz Shittu. He committed to Stanford, which is no surprise.
Happy Trails, OH OL Benny McGowan. The teammate of DE Ifeadi Odenigbo committed to Michigan State.
Michigan is showing interest in Detroit Catholic Central lineman Wyatt Shallman (a teammate of Matt Godin).
OH RB Dymonte Thomas visited Ann Arbor on his way home from Michigan State's spring game. He's openly an Ohio State fan, but says he'll give every program a chance.
Recruiting guru Jim Stefani runs down some prospects of interest to Michigan in the 2013 and 2014(!) classes.
The 2011 class is over, so it's time to look ahead to next year. But first...
As you may recall, Michigan signed 19 talented high schoolers last Wednesday, including a signing Day surprise(ish) in TX TE Chris Barnett. Yes, I mostly just wanted an excuse to use this picture again.
Of course, OH S Greg Brown was already enrolled in Ann Arbor, and didn't need to fax his LOI.
As for the other prospects who were still on the table:
- MI OL Jake Fisher signed with Oregon. The former commit switched to the Ducks.
- MD DT Darian Cooper signed with Iowa. He had been favoring the Hawkeyes for some time, and a late push by Michigan (courtesy of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison) couldn't sway him to be blue.
- CO LB Leilon Wilingham signed with UCF. He committed to Texas A&M without ever visiting, and then had reported silent commitments to Colorado and Michigan before switching to the Knights on Signing Day. He's a loss for Michigan's class, but sounds like a kid who can't make up his mind, either.
- For those who can't stop asking about FL WR Prince Holloway despite repeated claims he wouldn't come to Michigan, he signed a letter of intent to a Junior College in Kansas.
On to the Next One
Since I've been actively neglecting the 2012 class in favor of in-depth coverage of 2011 for the past couple weeks, updates from rising seniors should be hectic throughout the month of February. Things should settle down by the end of the month, and look for a recruiting board (with revamped format) by that time.
First, let's look at a list of 2012 recruits with offers:
Michigan offered FL QB Bennie Coney in the fall, and they're currently in his top 6. As I said at the time, he has character question marks, so we'll see if his offer from the Wolverines holds up with the new staff.
KY QB Zeke Pike has a Michigan offer ($). He's one of the top QBs in the country, a mobile pro-style guy.
Michigan - along with the rest of the country - has extended an offer to MO WR Dorial Green-Beckham. He has a good shot at being the #1 overall recruit in the 2012 class, so he's a definite longshot.
OH WR Dwayne Stanford holds a Michigan offer ($), along with Ohio State and a number of other top programs.
MD WR Stefon Diggs - a teammate of 2011 CB signee Blake Countess - has an impressive highlight reel:
He was named MVP of the Army Combine, and has already been invited to next year's Army All-American game. He told Rivals that he wants to hear from Michigan, and though the Wolverines took a while to offer, he sees himself as a "Charles Woodson type" at the next level, which certainly doesn't hurt Michigan in his mind.
Michigan has offered ($, info in header) OH TE Sam Grant. He's a big tight end who could be a devastating blocker at the next level.
FL TE Sean Price also has a Michigan offer.
OL Jordan Diamond - one of 2011 signee Chris Bryant's good friends - may be a package deal with his teammate, QB Robert Gregory (more about him below). Diamond already holds an Ohio State offer, and will be on Michigan's campus next weekend. I don't have confirmation yet, but it's sounding like that may be the Wolverines' first junior day. Diamond will decide early(ish) in the process ($, info in header).
Michigan has an offer out to WA OL Zach Banner, who has already committed to participate in next year's Army All-American Bowl. He's one of the top prospects in the nation, and is probably a longshot for the Wolverines.
Scout's Allen Trieu says it'll probably boil down to Michigan or Tennessee for MI DT Danny O'Brien - whom he thinks is the top prospect in the state at this point. Tennessee has the slight edge at this point.
IL DT Vincent Valentine, who holds a Michigan offer, was recently profiled by STLToday.com.
Jim Stefani gets back on his blogging game, and shared that Michigan has offered OH DT Greg Kuhar.
DC DT Eddie Goldman, one of the nation's top defensive linemen, holds a Michigan offer, but is probably a longshot.
Ohio State-centric recruiting experts are already conceding OH DE Chris Wormley to the Wolverines. His reasoning gets a little muddled, but if Ohio State will give up Wormley in order to land Adolphus Washington and Greg McMullen, more power to them.
Yes, I want Wormley. No, I am not going to lose any sleep over his decision to go to Michigan should be choose to do so. Great kid and I wish him all the best should that be where he chooses to spend the next four or five years of his life.
Wormley is going to be a solid 4-star or borderline 5-star guy, so Michigan's recruiting class should get a great early boost should he decide for the Wolverines.
Looks like the Wolverines are pounding the pavement on defensive ends from Ohio. OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo recently received a Michigan offer. Ohio State fans don't think he'll receive a Buckeye offer, and they're terrified about the prospect of facing him in coming years. Michigan has offered OH DE Tom Strobel. Another Michigan offer is out, to OH DE Pharoah(!) Brown.
MI LB James Ross wants to play in next year's Under Armour All-American Game with his friend, MI CB Terry Richardson, who's already been invited. Ross is intrigued ($, info in header) by the hiring of Greg Mattison.
There may be a couple more offers out there, but this is (almost) all of them that I'm aware of. A couple guys are already committed to other schools - such as FL WR Avery Johnson to LSU - so I haven't included them.
Before expressing worry about "Hey, this kid loves Michigan and we're slipping because we haven't offered him yet," keep in mind that the Michigan staff wants to evaluate prospects on film before extending an official offer. Some of them may even be close to committing if they held a Michigan offer, and the coaches want to know for sure whether it's a prospect that they really want before the kid potentially joins the Class of 2012. Offers should be coming soon for a lot of these guys, so it's not a huge delay, especially for a new coaching staff. Here are some of the guys for whom that possibly applies:
- MI CB Terry Richardson's favorites list reads like 2010's final top ten list - plus Michigan. Michigan State has offered ($, info in header). TheRinger scouts his game, and he'll be on campus for tonight's basketball game.
- Richardson's teammates, LBs Royce Jenkins-Stone and Laron Taylor, both came home from Iowa with Hawkeye offers ($, info in header). Scout's Allen Trieu says that Michigan's hefty lead for Jenkins-Stone is diminishing as more teams offer, including Michigan State. Terry (and possibly Royce) is expecting to talk to Greg Mattison today, which could mean a Wolverine offer is on the way.
- MI DE Matthew Godin attended several Michigan home games and the Big Chill ($, info in header). If Michigan wants him badly enough, it sounds like they should be able to wrap him up early. Michigan State has offered him, but Michigan may be waiting to evaluate him before offering.
- Michigan is among the favorites for OH RB William Mahone (they'd probably be the favorite if the former coaching staff was still in town), and he impressed at the Under Armour combine ($, info in header).
IL QB Robert Gregory has Michigan near the top of his list. However, they weren't in his top five in mid-January, as Iowa, Notre Dame, Oregon, Miami (YTM), and Northwestern got the honor. Gregory has dual-threat ability, but is looking to play in an offense that's primarily pro-style. Michigan's newfound pro-style offense with room for a dual-threat (hello: Denard Robinson) is a huge benefit there, as is their pursuit of Jordan Diamond.
OH WR Monty Madaris has the Wolverines near the top of his list.
Michigan's coaches have been in to visit CO OL Shane Callahan. Probably convenient as they were heading out to check on 2011 LB Leilon Willingham, though Leilon ended up siging with UCF.
IL DT Tommy Schutt already has a decision timeline in mind ($, info in header). As he's just a junior, "before his senior season" is a good bet.
OH DE teammates LaTroy Lewis and Greg McMullen from Akron Hoban are hearing from Michigan. Lewis's father briefly attended Michigan, but it seems as though Ohio State leads for him.
Michigan has "shown interest" in OH LB Mason Monheim.
NJ LB Elijah Shumate doesn't mention the Wolverines to Palmetto Sports's Eric Guimaraes, and his top five is South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Rutgers, and LSU.
WI LB Vince Biegel plans to visit Michigan.
TheRinger.com profiles OH S Bam Bradley (pictured at right):
A safety with that size and instincts, a sound tackler who is comfortable in both the run and pass is going to be a big time recruit. Should be a prospect that can come in and player earlier than later. The weaknesses we see are nothing that can’t be corrected with solid coaching and a willing learner, which Bradley is.
Bradley's from Trotwood-Madison, one of Michigan's favorite schools of late.
Happy Trails (already!) to AZ QB Connor Brewer. One of the top pro-style QBs in the country committed to Texas.
Offensive and Defensive hotlists from MGoUser JC3, and Tom has a huge list of prospects to keep an eye on in his Weekly Update. We'll look at it in more detail next week, when we're not crunched for space. Scout's Allen Trieu has a preliminary list of top in-state prospects. Some top prospects from Lakewood (OH) St. Edward. Michigan has already offered a couple of them, and OL Kyle Kalis is already committed to Ohio State. On today's Recruiting Roundup, Sam mentioned that Brady Hoke has dropped by the schools of a few top juniors, including Wormley and Diamond.