"What (Michigan coaches) told me is that they're focusing on point guards right now, but if anything opens up, they'll definitely come back on and recruit me as hard as they were," said Towns
BECAUSE THREE LINEBACKERS SIMPLY ISN'T ENOUGH!!! MI LB James Ross has become Michigan's 8th commitment in the 2012 class, and the fourth linebacker. His announcement is happening live on WTKA as we speak (...er, I post?)
|4*, #2 MLB||250 Watchlist, NR LB||150 Watchlist, NR ILB||4*, 95, #2 ILB #84 Ovr|
The sites, they like this guy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say he's probably the consensus top recruit in Michigan's class right now - he and Royce Jenkins-Stone are typically listed right near each other in-state, but 24/7 Sports is much higher on Ross.
Scout and 24/7 say James is 6-1, but Rivals and ESPN say 6-0. Having seen the kid play in person several times, I would say 6-0 is more likely to be the accurate number. He's also listed between 209 (Rivals) and 217 (ESPN) pounds, with the middle votes cast at 215. Going with the majority, 215 seems to be the appropriate number.
Though none of the premium sites offer evaluations, Scout has a couple free articles talking about his game. The first:
Ross has been as dominant a PAL player the city has had in recent years. He is already pretty filled out for a kid as young as he is and his footwork in drills was quick and fluid.
That's prior to his sophomore year of high school. "As dominant as the city has seen in recent years" puts him on par with or more productive than recent #1s like William Campbell, Lawrence Thomas, and Will Gholston. The next breakdown puts him in the top five most-likely candidates to be the #1 recruit in Michigan's class of 2012:
He may not wow you with pads off like a Lawrence Thomas or Will Gholston, because he does not have the size of those guys, but you put the film on and Ross is arguably the best pure football player in the state. Toughness, big hits, excellent instincts and football smarts. He has all the intangible qualities you want in a middle backer.
That seems to be the book on James: not tall enough to be a true physical specimen, but he makes up for it with his football intelligence and willingness to lay the lumber. Sam Webb's weirdly-NCAA Tournament-themed recruiting column for the Detroit News listed Ross as a 1-seed:
He has all the top colleges looking at him and he is a guy that consistently, from game to game, plays the same way every single play. He fought through injuries in his junior season and demonstrated great toughness in the process. He's 6-1, 215, with good enough speed. His best attribute, though, is he is bona fide football player. This kid thinks the game as well as anyone.
Again with the football intelligence. For the record, Michigan has landed another "#1 seed" (Royce Jenkins-Stone) and a 2-seed (Devin Funchess).
This kid's offer list is something to get very excited about. We'll slowly build, starting with some of his less-notable BCS offers. Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, Pittsburgh, and Purdue are some of the middling programs that have offered this kid.
Then, there are the schools that have either had excellent success on the field or on the recruiting trail, specifically with linebackers: Arizona State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, and USC. The latter three all have legitimate claims to some sort of mythical "Linebacker U" distinction, and are keynote offers.
He also had interest but no offers from Alabama and LSU, which would have really sealed him as a top prospect.
Scout has numbers from his sophomore year (though they're listed with the wrong dates):
103 tackles, five sacks, five forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and an interception in his first year of high school football.
I haven't seen any more recent stats for him, but I'll be on the lookout.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the recruiting sites have listed a 40 time for James, so I get to give out my default five FAKEs out of five.
There's also a partial sophomore reel, completed in part 2. You can also catch some glimpses of him in last year's Friday Night Lights feature on Chris Rock. He's fullback/tight end/linebacker #6 in red.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So Michigan has all these linebackers in the past couple classes, and though James seems to be one of the 2012 guys who's most ready to play immediately, all the new depth might mean he doesn't have to. If the coaches want to get the kid on the field, special teams and mop-up duty are an option.
Following a couple years of duty as a special teams and depth player, James should be able to work his way into the lineup as a junior (possibly a redshirt junior), and even have a star turn or two. By the time he leaves Ann Arbor, he could be a multi-year all-conference player. He has NFL potential, as long as teams aren't scared away by his lack of height.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
OK, now they really have to be done accepting commitments from linebackers, right? The position is filled with two exceptional recruiting classes over the past two years. Although, especially given the haul in 2012, some of last year's guys may be due for position switches.
After the coaching staff picks up a couple defensive linemen, another good offensive lineman or two, and a quarterback, they should have the luxury of being very picky about who they pursue, and only going hard after the top guys.
The 2012 Recruiting Board lives here in its current primitive state. Updates coming soon.
The Harrison Three
Farmington Hills Harrison's trio of WR Aaron Burbridge, DE Mario Ojemudia, and TE Devin Funchess got some press in last week's Detroit News recruiting column by Sam Webb. First, the skill breakdowns by Harrison's coach. On Burbridge (pictured at right):
"He has tremendous explosion and acceleration," stated Herrington. "He is one of those kids that has two gears. He can go out for a pass and it looks like it is overthrown, then suddenly he explodes on the ball. He is a very tough kid, a good blocker, and has great hands. He still has a ways to go in learning all his routes, but he can catch the ball just off his shoe tops, or he can go up and get it if it is way over his head like he did in the state finals."
"As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him (standing) up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
"He is going to be a great prospect when he puts on weight. He can be a tight end, an H-back, a split end. He has big hands. I'm not sure what he's going to run the 40 in, but I think he could be around 4.6 or 4.7."
And the recruiting news:
The Spartans have a strong connection with Harrison thanks to decades of mining some of the school's most notable talent. They've placed Burbridge and Ojemudia high on their list of priorities, and the feeling is definitely mutual... The Wolverines' chances with Funchess seem more promising, but he stops short of naming them his favorite.
There is much more in the article, including quotes from the players, so be sure to check it out. In another article, Ojemudia didn't hesitate to name Michigan State his leader. He said Michigan has a lot of work to do if they want to catch up with the Spartans.
All Aboard the Offer Train!
NJ QB/Ath Devin Fuller was offered by Michigan last week ($, info in header). He's more Denard Robinson than Chad Henne, so it's possible the staff is looking at him on defense - though he told Tom he'll get a shot at QB.
He's included on the board, but I didn't mention him in last week's update: PA RB Greg Garmon received a Michigan offer last week ($, info in header).
WI RB Vonte Jackson has picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He had teammates sign with Wisconsin and Michigan State last year.
NC TE/OL Mark Harrell holds a Michigan offer. He plans to visit Michigan soon, and claims to be wide open.
CO TE Evan Baylis was offered by Michigan.
PA OL JJ Denman picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He's a 2-way player in high school, but colleges are only talking to him about offensive line. Notre Dame leads ($, info in header) for Denman.
Though he's an Ohio State commit, OH OL Kyle Kalis picked up a Michigan offer last week. He told Tom he's firm with the Buckeyes, but is willing to visit Ann Arbor with his teammates (TE Sam Grant, OL Tyler Orlosky, and DT Greg Kuhar) should the opportunity arise.
NC OL Brock Stadnik has received a Michigan offer.
Michigan has added an offer ($, info in header) for SC DT Martin Aiken.
NY DT Jarron Jones has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
MD DT Ryan Watson picked up a Michigan offer ($). He's a former teammate of 2011 CB Commit Blake Countess.
TX DE Devonte Fields has picked up a Michigan offer.
MA LB Camren Williams has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga talked to Tom about receiving a Michigan offer, and whether he'll make a trip to Ann Arbor this weekend. Tshimanga plans to be an early enrollee.
TX LB Peter Jinkens wasn't expecting a Texas offer, so he was open to plenty of schools. HOWEVA, a Texas offer ended Jinkens's recruitment.
Elsewhere in potential package deals, Irish Sports Daily employs a record number of one-sentence paragraphs to cover the recruitment of MI LBs James Ross, Royce Jenkins Stone, and Laron Taylor, and CB Terry Richardson:
“When we were little, we wanted to play together, but we know how difficult that may be,” said Ross. “If it works out, it does and that would be great, but we probably won’t make our decisions based off what somebody else does.”
It's possible that OH QB Maty Mauk will commit to Notre Dame - as soon as he can get on campus.
CA WR Bryce Treggs holds a Michigan offer, but he doesn't mention the Wolverines and seems to be close to a decision. Cal and Notre Dame are the leaders.
According to Rivals, CA TE Taylor McNamara was close to committing to Ohio State early in the process, but now plans to wait before making a decision. Miami (YTM) and USC are also near the top for him.
IN TE Pierre Aka wants to major in nuclear engineering and has a top 4 of Stanford, Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State. Though he doesn't hold any offers, he's in contact with Michigan's staff.
IL OL Dan Voltz has made his first cut, and the lucky schools are Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Northwestern. He seems to be really high on Notre Dame following a visit to South Bend. Voltz's junior highlight:
OH OL Taylor Decker received his Michigan offer a while back, and will visit Ann Arbor soon ($, info in header). He also received an offer from Notre Dame, his favorite ($, info in header). Now that the Irish are an option, they may be hard to beat.
FL OL John Theus is leaning toward mostly SEC and ACC schools.
Michigan is in the hunt for WA OL Zach Banner. His coach:
"Michigan is back in with Hoke, going back to the big road graders," Miller said. "Getting the offer from Michigan last week was really exciting for Zach."
The 6-9 behemoth is one of the country's top linemen.
UMGoBlog's Sean O'Connell talked with OH OL Kyle Dodson, who says he grew up a Buckeye fan, but that he's "very interested" in Michigan.
It's not exactly news, but MLive's Kyle Warber expands on Tennesee's lead for MI DT Danny O'Brien:
"I love everything about Tennessee," O'Brien said. "The playing time they have to offer is outstanding. I think they are also on the rise in the SEC and in the nation. If I went to another top school I would probably have to sit for a year. Also, the atmosphere of an SEC team is awesome. I have been to the Big House and everything, and it's great, but it didn't compare to the atmosphere of an SEC game."
His recruiter under the previous staff was Flint-area expert Fred Jackson, and he also had a relationship with Chris Singletary. Both are still around, and O'Brien's family has its share of Michigan fans, so the Wolverines have a chance to swing him. For what it's worth, Rivals says Michigan "may be gaining steam" ($, info in header).
CA DT Aziz Shittu talked to Rivals last week about his Michigan offer:
The more offers Shittu receives the more he’s thinking about delaying his decision but he still could end it if the right situation suits him. “If Michigan ends up being in my top five or my top seven, whatever I make when I make it, if I can’t get out there on an unofficial visit then I’ll definitely take an official visit to see what’s up there,” Shittu said.
He had been considering an early commitment to Stanford, so waiting on a decision is a good thing for the Wolverines. The Cardinal are his favorite ($, info in header).
OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo attended junior days at Notre Dame and Ohio State over the weekend. He picked up an offer from Notre Dame while he was in South Bend.
OH DE Tom Strobel was also in Columbus, and picked up an Ohio State offer of his own. His quotes seem fairly gushing:
"It was an amazing experience and Coach Tressel is such a great person. It was so nice to sit down with him and just talk. Not even about football, but about my family and Mentor and school and everything. It was a really good day. This has all been very humbling. I am fortunate to be in this position and to get the kind of attention I have received."
He claims that the Buckeyes do not lead, but it certainly sounds like they have an edge. He plans to decide before his senior season.
OH DE Adolphus Washington plans to announce a decision at the Under Armour All-American game.
GA DE Jordan Watkins has been blowing up lately, with offers from the likes of LSU, Florida, and Georgia, but he's still looking forward to hearing from Michigan. He's going to try to make a visit sometime, and says the Wolverines were "definitely a front runner" at the beginning of his recruiting process.
FL S Deon Bush wants to take a Michigan visit ($, info in header).
The title says it. Without further ado, the 2012 Michigan Football Recruiting Board v1.0.
It's a little light on features right now, and is hardly more advanced than umhero's offer board (a hearty tip o' the hat to umhero because I definitely used his list to fill in a few gaps in my own), but I plan to add more in the near future. Individual players will have pages of their own with more information, links to posts that mention them, video, and much more.
I'll start rolling out the 2.0 features ASAP. It's a wiki, so users with more than 500 points can edit it.
MORE New Offers
The coaching staff is offering kids left and right, so between the time I publish this and the time it hits your eyeballs, things are subject to change. Bear with me.
CA QB Jake Rodrigues received a Washington offer last week, and within a half hour, Michigan had followed suit ($).
OH RB Bri'onte Dunn is currently an Ohio State commit, but that didn't stop Michigan from offering him last week. The Buckeyes already have another back (Warren Ball) committed in the class, and the Wolverines' coaching staff may try to sell him on being "the guy" in this class.
OK RB Donovan Roberts picked up a Michigan offer earlier this week. Michigan and Indiana are his only offers, but he has plenty of interest from Big 12 schools as well. His film is impressive:
CA WR Jordan Payton is a USC commit, but Michigan still sent him an offer. Brandon Huffman says he's solid to the Trojans.
GA WR Jaquay Williams has offers from both Michigan and Ohio State ($, info in header).
NC WR Jody Fuller picked up a Michigan offer last week.
The Wolverines sent an offer to NJ WR Leonte Carroo.
Add OH OL Tyler Orlosky to the list of offered prospects ($, info in header).
Decker is the fourth five-star tackle in this class. The sooner he becomes a football player first, the sooner he will become the football player that he can be. I have him as a five-star but that has everything to do with his physical tools. He still has some work to do to catch up with Kalis, Dodson and McGowan as football players.
"Dodson" refers to OH OL Kyle Dodson, who received a Michigan offer of his own.
CA OL Arik Armstead has a Michigan offer, but he's' a USC commit.
The Wolverines offered a pair of defensive tackles yesterday in CA DT Aziz Shittu and MO DT Ondre Pipkins. Pipkins used to live in the Saginaw area, so he's familiar with the stats of Michigan.
Michigan has offered GA DE Jordan Jenkins.
Brian covered a bit of the drama around MI DE Matt Godin last week. TomVH Godin update ...and by the end of the week, he received his offer ($, info in header). Godin was on campus yesterday, and enjoyed it.
TX DE Mario Edwards has picked up a Michigan offer.
TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga reports a Michigan offer (HT: umhero).
Michigan offered TX LB Peter Jinkens over the weekend.
OH S Jarrod Wilson was offered by Michigan. He's a true free safety, which you may note is an area of weakness on Michigan's roster. He visited Ann Arbor with his teammate, WR Corey Smith, over the weekend ($, info in header). Tom talked to Smith, who will talk to Michigan's coaches about whether he's a better fit on offense or defense before they extend him an offer. Both players plan to wait until the Under Armour game to announce.
NJ CB/S Yuri Wright reports a Michigan offer.
Bush, a rangy safety, measured in at close to 6-foot-1 and 180-pounds and ran a blazing 40 yard dash of 4.44 seconds. He moved quickly and fluidly through the three-cone drill for a taller athlete, bending and getting low out of his cuts. His vertical was a very respectable 34 inches, he hammered out 17 reps on the bench and showed good lower-body explosion with a 10-foot-5 broad jump.
He's got a number of top offers, so expect a fight for this kid.
I missed this in last week's update, but Nike held a SPARQ combine in Cleveland a couple weekends back, and a couple Michigan targets impressed:
Ohio DE Ifeadi Odenigbo finished 5th overall with a Sparq score of 109.02. This was Ifeadi's first combine, and he placed fifth overall out of hundreds and hundreds of kids...
Ifeadi's teammate, OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 300 lbs) was the first offensive lineman to ever score over 100 on the Sparq scale. Ifeadi told me that Benny was injured for most of his season, which is why there aren't more schools after him, but he's a sleeper. Benny also happens to like Michigan, and has them in his top five...
RB Marc Cargle from Pontiac held the top overall score with 111.3. Cargle was hurt for most of his season, which is why there hasn't been much hype around him.
Midwest Showcase fluff on MI TE Ron Thompson.
MI OL DaRon Brown was on campus this weekend.
Recent offeree Matt Godin is friends with MI DT Danny O'Brien, and they rode home from the midwest combine together (although Novi and Flint aren't remotely close to each other if Ann Arbor is the point of departure). Danny still holds Tennessee as his favorite, but says he's interested in playing with Godin in college.
IL OL Jordan Diamond didn't participate in the Best of the Midwest Combine this weekend, but he still traveled to Ann Arbor with 2011 Commit Chris Bryant and 2012 IL QB Robert Gregory. Diamond enjoyed his visit, but isn't any closer to making a decision.
Following a train of thought from above... Ohio State has offered Odenigbo. On his game from the article:
What makes Odenigbo so intriguing is his mixture of size, strength and speed. He was the Elks’ best sprinter last spring, excelling on the 400- to 1,600-meter relays. He also ran away with Centerville’s preseason conditioning test last fall, a combination of strength, agility and speed.
The offer is a bit unexpected, as most thought OSU wouldn't have the spare scholarship to extend him an offer. They become his heavy favorite blah blah blah. This is especially disappointing because now Sam Webb's recruiting column last week is likely for naught:
The Buckeyes extended a scholarship offer Wednesday -- a development that many pundits believe is an ominous sign for all of the other programs giving chase.
Since he's not a Buckeye yet, how about a little talk on his game:
"He has great physical tools," Centerville coach Ron Ullery told Scout.com. "He has a great frame. He's going to grow and have good weight on him. What he has is speed -- speed off the edge and change of direction -- and it's explosive speed. ...he was the only guy I saw on film all year chase down (five-star Ohio State quarterback signee) Braxton Miller, and he did it two, three, maybe four times."
"He's a kid with a very high ceiling," said Allen Trieu, Scout.com's Midwest regional manager. "He's a smart, coachable kid who can project into a lot of systems. In the Midwest he's one of the top prospects. I like the film more and more each time I go through it. His lack of size is holding him back some, but I think he's a high four-star type prospect."
On the bright side, this means Chris Wormley probably won't get a committable offer from the Buckeyes, and is pushed toward Michigan.
ESPN talks about recent Michigan offeree Keith Marshall.
"Keith is without a doubt one of best backs in the country," said Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore. "There are not too many better. What separates him from everyone else is his work ethic on the field, in the classroom, and during the offseason. He always wants that edge. Keith has this internal drive and wants to be the best. Keith is just a great competitor that makes others better around him."
Also, mark this down for a FAKE 40 time in case the kid ends up going Blue:
While Marshall was timed at 4.25 in the 40 at UNC's camp, he also runs with power, balance and vision
Michigan offered last week, and AZ OL Andrus Peat admits it's a big deal for him:
The Michigan offer is big, Peat said, mainly because of the program’s tradition and its success of producing offensive linemen over the years. The Wolverines will definitely be considered as his recruitment continues. “It’s definitely a big offer with how much they’ve won over the years and they definitely put out a lot of good offensive linemen so it’s one I’m looking at,” Peat said.
Tom talked to Peat, and says Michigan will have to work hard to land him.
KY QB Zeke Pike spoke with head coach Brady Hoke when he received his Michigan offer:
“I actually talked to the head coach (Brady Hoke) at Michigan and he offered me over the phone. I like how he’s gonna be going back to the traditional Michigan offense.”
Pike wants to decide before his senior season ($, info in header). He plans to make his first round of cuts after some school visits following his basketball season. Pike is good friends with 2011 Michigan commit Chris Barnett (HT: ChrisPerryCarry).
The schools will have, like Michigan does, a good combination of football and academics. It has to be a school that I feel comfortable being at because I will be spending the next four to five years of my life there. Lastly, there has to be a stable coaching staff, that will play a part in it.
Saying "the schools that make my cut will be like Michigan" is certainly a good sign that the Wolverines are in the hunt.
Tom talked to the head coach of CA OL Kyle Murphy, who Michigan offered last week.
He's interested in academics, that's one of the reasons why Michigan appeals to him. He wants to play at the highest level he can, and the Big Ten and Michigan are right up there," said Patton. "The Big Ten is very prestigious, and he wants to go to a place that respects football and a good education. His family is very academically oriented, and they've said they'll move out of state for Kyle"
Sounds like academics are getting more than lip service, which helps Michigan.
MI LB James Ross was offered by Ohio State. Though OLSM has been friendly to the Buckeyes in recent years, I've heard they think Taurian Washington hasn't been treated right in Columbus, so keep an eye on that situation. Ross and his dad both came away impressed with Michigan after an unofficial visit over the weekend. Ross played hockey growing up, which he credits with his growth as a player:
“I actually think hockey is what separates me from most linebackers,” Ross said. “I think it helped me with that first quick step and getting to the ball as fast as you can, because hockey, once you see it you have to go. There is no delayed step into it. That’s definitely something that separates me.”
He says Ohio State and Michigan are certain to make his first cut, so it's safe to say those are an early top 2. He visited Michigan this weekend ($, info in header).
FL QB Bennie Coney grew up loving Florida State, but is keeping his options open ($, info in headers). CA TE Taylor McNamara built a relationship with Michigan's staff when they were at San Diego State, and that could help the Wolverines in his recruitment. MI WR Aaron Burbridge has been offered by Ohio State and Notre Dame. OH DT Jaleel Johnson will be at Michigan's Junior Day, and is looking for a Wolverine offer at that time. GA DE Jordan Watkins wants to hear from Michigan. Michigan is interested in OH RB William Mahone as a defensive player. NY CB Wayne Morgan is in contact with Michigan. It's a great year for talent in Michigan.
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.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
The past couple weeks have been heavy with updates on official visitors, but with MIchigan taking on a couple lesser opponents i the next two weeks, important visits are likely on hold until the Michigan State game. Stay tuned later for a visitor's list for that game.
NC QB Marquise Williams (at right) is committed to North Carolina, but that won't stop him from officially visiting Michigan ($, info in header). No word on how serious the interest is, or whther Michigan is even in a position where they can use a second scholarship on a quarterback.
FL RB Demetrius Hart (whom you may have heard of) still favors Michigan over Auburn and Alabama, but has added Arkansas to his list as well. He's officially visiting the Tigers this weekend, but is expected to pick Michigan sometime soon. He will enroll early at his school of choice, so a decision will be coming soon.
NJ TE Jack Tabb will take his time finishing up the recruiting process. Michigan, North Carolina, and the Florida schools seem to be out front for him at this point.
According to WTKA, MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel skipped out on an official visit to Iowa... to watch Michigan play on TV. That sounds pretty positive for the Wolverines' chances of landing him. He intends to visit both Michigan and MIchigan State on Saturday. He now plans to wait until the end of the season to make a decision.
MGoBlog's own TomVH runs down a list of recruits who may be swayed toward Michigan with the strong start to the football season. Anthony Zettel and IL OL Chris Bryant are just a couple of the prospects who have taken notice of the Denarding. Click through to the Diary to see who else is being convinced. Tom's weekly update contains more information on several prospects.
TN OL Antonio Richardson might try to visit Michigan at some point this year.
Recruiting fluff on MI DT Eric Crume. With Michigan's need for DTs, they probably aren't interested in him if they haven't offered by now.
IL DE James Adeyanju has narrowed his list to five schools ($, info in header), and Michigan isn't among them.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution runs down the recruitment of NC LB/WR Kris Frost:
Auburn, Cal, FSU, Michigan, North Carolina and Southern Cal are all supposed to get visits. So there are plenty of takers out there.
Michigan's strong season may be helping convince him that Ann Arbor is a place he can come to win championships.
FL S Ha'sean Clinton-Dix (pictured at right) is about "85 percent" committed to Alabama. Despite softening up his commitment status, MIchigan is not one of his top schools. Florida, Florida State, and USC are his top non-Alabama suitors.
FL CB/S Jonathan Aiken currently favors Rutgers and Illinois.
Despite his commitment to Florida State, FL S Karlos Williams is still interested in a few schools, including MIchigan:
"I'm committed to FSU, but I'm still watching FSU, Miami, USC, Michigan, and Ohio State," he said. Karlos had previously stated that he may take some of his official visits, if the schools he's monitoring are having good seasons, and if he has the time.
Though he sounds likely to stick with FSU, the Wolverines' chnces will improve dramatically if he takes a visit to Ann Arbor.
LA CB Daren Kitchen is thinking about visiting for the Michigan State game ($, info in header). Though he doesn't hold an offer from the Wolverines yet, Michigan and Texas A&M are his top two.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012
Local fluff on FL OL Abraham "Nacho" Garcia, including a list of top schools:
"I'm looking at LSU, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and UM. I've visited a lot of colleges. For right now, those are the top [ones]. So until I see other colleges that's how it's going to stay for a while."
He's' previously said SU leads for him, but there's plenty of time to sway him.
MIchigan is among the suitors for IL DT Vincent Valentine. He'll take his time making a decision (which means there's a looooooong way to go in his recruitment).
All-time updates live on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
At about the 0:55 mark, that's FL WR Sammy Watkins gettin' his crush on (good pad level, that). If football and school don't work out, there's a future in stunt acting, no doubt.
Camps And Visits
The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body Camp took place at Wayne State over the weekend, drawing many of the midwest's best prospects. Sam Webb previewed the event in his Detroit News column last week:
Thanks to additional help from sponsors like Powerhouse Gym, the U.S. Army, and Scout.com, Sound Mind-Sound Body has reached farther beyond Michigan's border than ever before. As a result, before the first whistle is blown at this year's camp, it will have already surpassed last year's mark of hosting 55 prospects that eventually earned scholarship offers.
"Seventy kids already have Division I scholarship offers," said Blackwell. "We have kids coming from as far as Arizona and Minnesota. It is astounding. I'm just in awe really. This is more of a regional event now."
Prospects of interest for Michigan fans were many, and included OH OL Aundrey Walker, IL OL Chris Bryant, MI WR Commit Shawn Conway, MI WR DeAnthony Arnett, MI CB Valdez Showers, and MI CB Commit Delonte Hollowell. The Class of 2012 was represented as well, with MI LB James Ross (pictured above), MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and IL OL Jordan Diamond leading the way.
Michigan's summer camp also started over the weekend (and ended yesterday). Tom ran down some of the participants, and is updating that Diary as he gets new information. Check back for the latest updates, and to know who you should keep on commitment watch.
OH OL Ray Ball was in town for camp, though he didn't work out. He raved about the visit to Tom:
"I know the top schools I have on my list are Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA, but this definitely puts Michigan in a better spot than before. "
In a class that will end up with many offensive linemen, that's a positive sign.
MI OL Jake Fisher did work out, on the other hand, and left Ann Arbor with an offer in hand ($, info in header).
NC LB/S Kris Frost was (is?) in town, and Michigan and Auburn lead LSU, Cal, and Clemson. for him.
Moving on to non-camp visit news, PA DT Delvon Simmons will be visiting Michigan eventually.
IL DE James Adeyanju visited Ann Arbor last week, and may be making a return visit soon ($, info in header).
Safety prospect Avery Walls had a great visit to Ann Arbor last week, even his mother (an OSU grad) was impressed. Michigan really rolled out the red carpet, with virtually all the coaches greeting Walls in Schembechler Hall, and it paid off. He also visited MSU whilst he was up here, but UM probably has the better chance.
Walls would be a huge grab for Rodriguez and co., but don't expect a decision any time soon.
Michigan makes the top 5 for FL S LaQuentin Smith, who is visiting with his teammate, FL RB Demetrius Hart, for the Iowa game:
"I would say that right now my top five is Arkansas, South Carolina, South Florida, Ole Miss and Michigan," Smith said. "And I still have love for Colorado State because they were the first to offer me."
Smith also hinted in the article that both Smith and Hart are considering a Michigan commitment during the visit. Hart also came in for some spring fluff:
Top RB - Dee Hart, Dr. Phillips. Hart was wiped out after playing two ways for almost 15 games over the weekend as the Panthers had to fight their way back through the losers' bracket. He rarely showed that fatigued on the field, however, and he was DP's go-to-guy, as usual, helping them reach the championship game.
The Panthers were runners-up in the USF 7-on-7 Tournament.
- IN RB Remound Wright. He held a (non-committable, I think) Michigan offer, but has committed to Stanford.
- TX RB Jarrell Oliver. He committed to Utah, where he'll be in the Utes' first recruiting class as a BCS program. Michigan seemed to cool on Oliver due to interest in other RBs (and teammate, TX S Sheroid Evans, coming off the board to Texas).
- IL WR DaVaris Daniels. He was going to choose between Miami and Notre Dame yesterday, but has pushed back the announcement. Michigan still appears to be out of the picture.
- OH WR Devin Smith. He received his Ohio State offer last week and, as expected, joined the Buckeyes' class of 2011.
- OH TE Nick Vannett, though he holds a Michigan offer, is not considering the Wolverines at this time. Conventional wisdom has him picking the Buckeyes.
- VA DE Corey Marshall. He committed to Virginia Tech.
- Future happy trails to TX CB Charles Jackson, who is deciding soon ($, info in header). He holds a Michigan offer, but hasn't really mentioned the Wolverines since receiving it.
- MI CB/Ath Raymon Taylor committed to Indiana. I, for one, will be shocked if he's still a four-star by the end of the process. The local BCS programs have had tons of opportunities to see him play, and neither considered him worthy.
Still With The Quarterbackin'
Michigan might not be dead for NC QB Marquise Williams, as he claims to not have made a decision yet, but VT or North Carolina (where he took a recent unofficial) is the presumptive choice. With his decision coming this week, we're approaching a "Happy Trails" moment for him.
That means FL QB Kevin Sousa (right) may finally be getting close to that coveted Michigan offer:
I called coach (Rod) Smith today, and they are going to recruit me. He is meeting with coach Rodriguez tomorrow as to a possible offer. He said that the guys they were recruiting are no longer interested in Michigan, and they have opened it up again as far as looking for a QB.
Should he receive that Michigan offer, don't forget he's said it would be hard to turn down in the past. He did tell Tom that he would visit Ann Arbor before making a decision for the Wolverines, but he may have that opportunity soon. He's roadtripping with his coach to several midwest schools, and if a Michigan offer is imminent, that schedule could probably be adjusted for a stop in Ann Arbor.
I've made it no secret that I think Sousa would be a great pickup for the QB in this class. If you want a little more on him, he has a variety of highlight videos available, including one from his spring game back in May:
Michigan, Pitt, and Florida are the leaders for NJ TE/DE Taques Franklin.
“My top schools that I’m looking at right now are Florida, Cincinnati, Michigan, Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Those are the top ones I’m looking at. I know a little bit about each one of them. From talking to college scouts I like what those (schools) have had to say. They’ve been telling me how good their school is for sports and education.
He may visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
Michigan, USC, and Oregon had been a pseudo-top 3 for AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, but the sanctions against the Trojans may have affected that. He talked to Tom:
I asked him what his reaction was, and he said, "I want to say it doesn't affect me, but it does. It's two years, which would end after my first year, so I would be there for it. I don't know if there's anything more, but if the NCAA finds more, then who knows what else they'll do. You never know with the NCAA."
Yruretagoyena recently released a top 7, including all three of those schools, along with Arizona, Arkansas, Oregon State, and Washington. It may be notable (and discouraging) that Michigan is one of only two non-PAC10 schools on the list.
FL OL James Elliott has received a Michigan offer.
PA OL Paul Gaughan has also received the Michigan offer ($, info in header) that he's been waiting for.
LA DT Mickey Johnson tells Tom that UCLA and Nebraska lead Michigan, Tennessee, and LSU for his services.
Coach Rodriguez is a cool guy. They're going through some things right now, but I believe that they're going to get through it. Coach Fred (Jackson) is good friends with my dad now, too. They've developed a good friendship through this recruiting process, so that's pretty cool. Plus, they play in the Big House. I've seen pictures of the stadium, and campus online, and I just can't wait to see all that.
If (when?) Michigan gets him on campus, it could be a huge boon to Michigan's chances to land him.
Shortly after Michigan offered, they were the heavy favorite for MI LB Ed Davis. However, the Wolverines have fallen off slightly, thanks to some new offers and negative recruiting.
Added SC LB Dexter Staley, who includes Michigan in his top 5.
Michigan is showing renewed interest in OH LB Antonio Poole ($, info in header).
Tom talked to MI CB Valdez Showers, who recently received a Florida offer. Michigan is in his top group, and his friendship with MI WR Commit Shawn Conway could help the Wolverines recruit him.
2012 Note: Michigan is "courting" OH RB Warren Ball ($, info in header).