this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on Drake Harris and Da'Shawn Hand, the potential Tarpon Springs package deal of Cole-Scott-Campbell, an offer to the son of a Michigan legend, and more.
In Our Base, Possibly Stealin Ur Dudes Anyway
Devin Gardner, Drake Harris, and Shane Morris, via Harris' Instagram
Grand Rapids Christian WR Drake Harris may be a Michigan State commit, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that he's a commit only by the loosest possible definition of the term. Harris admitted as much to 247's Steve Lorenz($) after taking in yesterday's game while sitting between Devin Gardner and Shane Morris:
"My commitment to Michigan State is a soft verbal right now and say that Michigan is up at the top as well," Harris said. "I really like being there a lot."
Reports flew around Twitter last night that Harris was spotted singing "The Victors" after the game, with some suggesting that Michigan has even opened up a big lead in his recruitment. While that may be going too far at this stage, it's clear that the Wolverines have made up a lot of ground, and they'll have the chance to continue that soon—Harris will be at the Indiana game on Sunday for his third visit in a matter of weeks. If Michigan isn't already in command, that trip could put them there.
A couple 2015 prospects were also on campus last week. Cass Tech quarterback Jayru Campbell was at yesterday's game; he told Scout's Josh Newkirk that the visit went well, and while Michigan isn't likely to offer him any time soon* it sounds like they'll be a contender if that does happen ($):
“They just told me they weren’t in a rush to offer me,” he said. “They told me to make sure I come to camp this summer and will sit down and talk again. But they’re really not in a rush to offer me. I guess they’re waiting to see my development…I like Michigan, so it would definitely be a school that I would want an offer from. I think it would be pretty interesting to get a Michigan offer.”
Campbell is a long way from making a decision—he mentioned a desire to play the hat game at the Under Armour All-American Game, which recently sent him an invite—so there's plenty of time for the Wolverines to evaluate him.
2015 Westerville (OH) OL Rob Dowdy made a mid-week visit, which gave him a chance to get some one-on-one time with Coaches Hoke, Borges, and Funk. After the visit, he told The M Block that Michigan is his top school despite growing up an Ohio State fan, though that's likely because the Buckeyes have yet to show much interest.
*I don't think this is a sign that they're not very interested in Campbell—keep in mind how long it took for the coaches to offer a 2014 quarterback.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Artavis Scott and George Campbell, plus much more.]
Today's recruiting roundup recaps the Rivals Five-Star Challenge, discusses a pair of 2013 visits and Drake Harris's impending decision, goes over a slew of new 2014 offers, and more.
Five-Star Challenge Recap: New '13 OL Target?
Rivals hosted their first annual Five-Star Challenge last weekend as their answer to Nike's The Opening and four Michigan commits—David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis, Mike McCray, and Chris Fox—were in attendance alongside a bevy of the nation's top prospects. Dawson continued his outstanding camp season with an impressive performance, making Josh Helmholdt's "Surprise Standouts" list($) and earning the #4 spot on Helmholdt's rundown of the top offensive linemen ($):
4. OC David Dawson, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech: The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Michigan pledge is listed as an offensive guard and plays tackle for his team but says he could end up anywhere on the line for the Wolverines. When the coaches needed a center, Dawson stepped in without hesitation. Though pass protection on the interior is completely different than at tackle he made a seamless transition. He has a strong base and used his lower body strength to hold the big noseguards at bay. Dawson should prove to be invaluable in Ann Arbor because of his versatility and willingness to play wherever he is needed.
Cass Tech's other camp stalwart, Jourdan Lewis, did not disappoint either, excelling in the 7-on-7 portion. Mike Farrell ($):
10. DB Jourdan Lewis, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech: Lewis started off very well with one of the best interceptions you'll see when he showed off his closing speed and undercut a pass from Tyrone Swoopes, the only interception the Southwest quarterback threw. Lewis was solid throughout the day, flashed that speed and took on bigger receivers well at times. Despite his closing ability, he sometimes allowed too much of a cushion.
That last part is an issue that has shown itself in multiple settings, including the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp and during Cass Tech's season last year. On the positive side, Lewis continues to show exceptional ball skills.
According to Tim Sullivan, Fox performed well at several different positions along the line, while McCray displayed decent coverage skills against backs and tight ends but also measured in at just 6'1" ($). That's a lot smaller than expected for McCray and could be a point of concern if he ends up at strongside LB, as expected.
A new target may have emerged at the camp, as well, and the position he plays might surprise you. Tremendous caught up with 2013 MD OL Khaliel Rodgers, who revealed that David Dawson was selling him hard on Michigan at the camp. Rodgers now plans to visit for July's BBQ at the Big House and appears to have pushed back his decision date, which was originally set for this week. He also tweeted last night that having him and Dawson on the same O-line would be "epic" and "unreal". The scouting services are split on Rodgers, with Rivals listing him as their #1 guard and a top 100 overall prospect, ESPN giving him four stars, Scout putting him as a three-star but the #2 center, and 247 giving him a meh three-star rating.
This could be nothing, or it could be a sign—especially if we get word that the coaches are after Rodgers—that things aren't entirely settled along the line. I doubt Michigan would take a sixth lineman in the class, but with over 20 commits in June, it's almost certain that the class will experience a decommitment or two at some point before signing day. Rodgers looks like he can slide in at any spot on the interior of the line and he'd be a quality contingency plan should attrition occur.
Wilkins, Bailey Visiting This Week
Michigan will host two big-time 2013 recruits this week. TN RB Jordan Wilkins tweeted out plans to be on campus today and later confirmed the visit with TomVH ($). He also told Tom that his top four consists of Auburn, Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Tennessee, though Auburn is widely presumed to be his leader after he almost committed to the Tigers on a visit a couple of weeks ago. The Wolverines will need to make a big impression if they want to catch up.
FL WR Alvin Bailey is set to swing by Michigan and Notre Dame this week, and according to Scout's Tom Beaver his visit is set for Wednesday ($). Bailey is in the running for the last open receiver spot, and with the news this week that Laquon Treadwell wants to visit Auburn($), the race for that spot may be tighter than anticipated. Treadwell is still looking at a senior year decision, and if Bailey wants to come on board the coaches probably can't afford to wait on him.
The Wolverines made the cut on a couple of top lists, as well. MD CB Kendall Fuller revealed to Rivals($) that he now has a top three of Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Michigan. The Wolverines may have a tough time overcoming Fuller's close connections to VT and Clemson, but they've hung around a lot longer than expected with Fuller, so you never know. Meanwhile, VA DE Wyatt Teller now has a top five($) of Virginia, VT, Michigan, Clemson, and Oregon, and he told 247 he'd like to visit Michigan and Oregon before making a decision. He's looking to decide before his senior season, so things should move quickly on that front.
CA WR/CB John Ross has seen his stock blow up over the summer, and Michigan recently offered him at cornerback, according to Scout's Greg Biggins ($). With the Wolverines taking Channing Stribling at corner last week, I don't anticipate them taking another defensive back unless it's Fuller or Leon McQuay III, though that could change if Michigan misses on their wide receiver targets and the coaches decide to move Stribling to offense.
Harris Decision On Wednesday & More 2014 Updates
Sam Webb reported yesterday that 2014 Grand Rapids Christian two-sport star Drake Harris will decide between Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame on Wednesday. Harris earned a Michigan offer for football while camping in Ann Arbor last week, which makes the timing of his announcement interesting, though he also was at a Tom Izzo basketball camp last weekend. Most pundits have him pegged for State, which has been recruiting him hard for both football and hoops for a long time, and we'll find out soon enough if the common wisdom is correct. Harris projects as a wide receiver on the football field, where most scouts think he has the most potential, and he'd also be a very solid shooting guard prospect on the hardwood.
More evidence of the trend towards an accelerated timeline in recruiting comes from OH LB Michael Ferns, who announced not a top three, but a final three of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State. Ferns told Sam Webb that he wants to stay close to home and make a decision by the end of his junior year ($). The Wolverines appear to be in very good position here after a great visit to Ann Arbor for last week's camp.
Michigan sent out several offers recently, which I'll run down in bullet form:
- TX OLB Hoza Scott, who already holds offers from heavy hitters Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oregon, Texas, and USC, among others.
- TN OL/DL Alex Bars, younger brother of incoming freshman Blake Bars, was just offered according to TomVH ($).
- PA S Montae Nicholson earned an offer after camping at Michigan last week, according to 247's Clint Brewster ($).
- Drake Harris's high school teammate, OL Tommy Doles, picked up an offer on Friday, via Tim Sullivan ($).
- TX S Brandon Simmons pulled in offers from Michigan, LSU, and Ohio State last week, joining a list of over 20 schools ($).
- FL WR Corey Holmes added a Michigan offer after camping last week, and he told Brewster that the offer "gave [him] butterflies" before naming Michigan his top school ($). He's pondering a commitment prior to his senior year and is one to keep an eye on.
- OH LB/DE Joe Henderson also earned a post-camp offer ($). Not to be confused with this guy.
- Chantel Jennings reports that Michigan offered New Orleans RB Leonard Fournette, a massive prospect at 6'1", 232 pounds. Fournette's backstory, a heartbreaking account of surviving the streets of New Orleans in a pre- and post-Katrina world, is well worth your time.
Quickly: OH OL Nathaniel Devers is one tough kid. I'm sure you'll enjoy KY QB Drew Barker telling Eleven Warriors that he'd like to emulate the way Shane Morris has helped spearhead Michigan's recruiting efforts.
Stribling The Stripling
Channing Stribling via MNBN
The most notable development from Michigan's summer camp was of course the offer to and commitment from NC CB Channing Stribling. The Hello post was pretty light on scouting content because there wasn't any before Michigan's camp kicked off. Let me try to fill in a couple of holes. First, Maize and Blue News has a bit on Stribling's post-offer activities:
In more than 10 years of attending the Michigan summer camp, Channing Stribling pulled something today that we don't remember seeing before. A rarity at the very least. In the past, the rule of thumb was that if a player earned a scholarship offer at the camp, they were done. Whether they committed or not, it was sort of a “mission accomplished” type of event and the player would either head home or stick around to watch without competing. Not so with Stribling.
The young defensive back pledged to the Wolverines this morning, then went out and kept working to improve his game. He continued to attentively go through drills and was even running full speed demonstrating the wide receiver position for other campers, where many are often inclined to take it easy. In the sweltering 90 degree temperatures he had to endure, it speaks well of the work ethic of the Wolverines’ latest commitment.
247 got some quotes from his coach($):
“One of things that made him attracted to them is his size. I think he might grow another inch. Long arms. He controls his body very well. You see a lot of kids in high school that size, they have a tough time managing where everything is going, but Channing does a great job with body control.”
He is declared the "epitome of an athlete." Coincidentally, that is the working title of Charlie Weis's soon-to-be-published memoirs.
GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz has an excellent article on how Stribling went from random guy in a gray helmet to Michigan's latest commitment($):
“I think the first day after we did drills and we did Air Force ball [ed: must be a drill] and I started doing little moves,” he explained to GoBlueWolverine, “and they asked me what my name was—and I told them I was Channing Stribling, and they started looking at me more the next few days." …
“It was the next day, that next night after Air Force ball, that they asked me to go meet the defensive coordinator. And I met him and he said he’s going to look at me the next few days,” said Stribling.
Unfortunately paywalled, but if you've got the subscription check it out.
Stribling's commitment may have yoinked a scholarship offer from 2013 OH CB Aregeros Turner, who impressed($) but did not leave camp with an offer. Despite having offers from Washington, Tennessee, and Illinois he still told 247 Michigan was "probably like my top school or at least top two right now." In the event of a DB decommit (not likely) or an open slot he may be a guy to keep an eye on.
2014 Caremeter: further incremented
In non-Stribling news, Michigan offered a handful of 2014 kids. Most prominent amongst them is MI WR Drake Harris, a dual-sport star with a Michigan State offer in basketball but possibly a higher ceiling in football. Sam Webb's News article this week is on Harris:
"(Brady) Hoke sat down with us and was reiterating again how much he liked Drake," said Harris' father, Mike. "It was nice. He definitely made Drake feel like they really want him. It was fun for him. We had a good time down there. Hoke is straight up and real, and I like guys like that. He let me know what he thought and I like that. It was definitely a great feel."
He's still figuring out what he wants to do in college.
Other 2014 offerees included FL WR Corey Holmes (first offer) , OH LB Joe Henderson (first offer), PA S Montae Nicholson (PSU, Pitt), and DC CB D'Andre Payne (Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, OSU, VT).
Cass Tech CB Damon Webb would have been amongst them if Michigan hadn't fired one off a week earlier after seeing him at the SMSB camp. He impressed again. Pargoff:
Rising junior Damon Webb of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech continued to live up to the hype, showing up for the afternoon session and performing exceptionally well. He breaks and closes so quickly and attacks the ball in the air that there were times it appeared quarterbacks had mistaken him for their primary target. As we noted after the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp, he is easily a top-100 prospect for 2014.
The rest of these guys are just names at this juncture. We can try to fix that. Webb on Nicholson:
This ball-hawking safety had to be the leader in interceptions during his time on campus Tuesday. He showed great range and made quarterbacks pay for any passes they hung in the air.
At 6-3 and 200 pounds, Nicholson is big enough to play strong safety, but his exceptional leaping ability and ball skills make him tailor-made to roam the field at free. The surprising thing about this talented youngster is his camp performance was below his own standards.
That begs the question — if he earns a Michigan scholarship on one of his "off days," how good is he when he's on?
For his part, Holmes tweeted out a "mission accomplished" after landing his offer. He then told 247 Michigan had the "early edge($)" with him:
“The offer just kind of gave me butterflies because I have always been a big Michigan fan,” said Holmes. “It was my goal to earn an offer there and I’m really glad I could accomplish it. Michigan is definitely my top school right now.”
He wants to get his commitment out of the way before his senior season, which still gives him a full year to come to a decision. Pargoff:
Corey Holmes continued to display excellent speed, quickness and athleticism as he did yesterday, but his performance late in the morning session was marred by dropped passes. He definitely has all of the athletic ability needed to earn a scholarship offer from the Wolverines, but he needs to become more consistent with his hands.
He goes to St. Thomas Aquinas, a school Michigan has recruited frequently over the last decade or so. They've had little success when it comes to actually securing Aquinas kids but that's usually because they've gone to Notre Dame instead. It's a school that sends a lot of guys North, is what I'm saying.
Payne says some nice things about Mallory($) and vaguely positive things about Michigan but it seems like he's a long way from figuring things out. He says he'll be in for a visit to see what the game atmosphere is like. Henderson is a 6'4", 220 pound guy as a rising junior so he would be a SAM at M.
Meanwhile, 2014 IN WR Dominque Booth did not get his camp offer but feels one is coming($) after a couple of games in his junior season.
Quarterbacks : wolves :: scholarship : t-bone steak equidistant from them
Michigan has not thrown out any offers at quarterback yet but after getting a look at MI QB Chance Stewart and OH QB DeShone Kizer one or both is probably going to get the call soon. Tremendous caught up with Stewart after the camp:
Chance was at Michigan all day Tuesday after earning an offer from Wisconsin last Sunday. Chance felt like he performed really well at Michigan, and even "threw better than I did at Wisconsin".
He was able to talk a little with the Michigan coaches about a potential offer and they told him "they had to evaluate a couple other guys at their camp, and after camp they will figure it out". he went on to say "they said we would be in contact by the end of the week".
Michigan and Wisconsin would be Stewart's top two if Michigan does pull the trigger, and given what Stewart told 247($)…
“I really hope I can pick up that offer because Michigan is a special place to me. They have the best of the best in everything and I feel like Coach Borges and I really communicated well and he helped me become a better player at camp.”
…I don't think Wisconsin would have much of a chance, especially since he says he wants to make a decision as soon as possible.
TomVH and Chantel Jennings make it sound like it's edge Stewart($) in an article on offensive top performers:
2014 Chance Stewart -- Looks the part of a top quarterback. He had a few struggles but took well to coaching and made some nice throws. He's a Michigan kid who's familiar with the program.
2014 DeShone Kizer -- Had a shaky start but brought it back together towards the end of the day on Wednesday. He got his technique down and threw well in the final one-on-ones.
The timeline Kizer was given($) also suggests the staff might prefer the instate kid:
“(Borges) explained to me that he didn’t want to offer an 2014 quarterbacks before camp, and he doesn’t feel he has ‘that guy’ yet,” Kizer said. “He wants to see a couple of games at the beginning of the season and see if I improve from camp before he makes any moves.”
Either way, if Michigan picks up a four-star-ish guy after Shane Morris that's moving towards the Gutierrez-Henne-Richard embarrassment of riches (that was just enough to get Michigan one starting QB—lottery tickets, man).
A window of Derrick Green hope
You know what they say about getting a kid on campus and Seeing What Happens($).
“I want to get out there again to speak with the head coach,” Green said. “I’m definitely going to get back there. I want to go up there and see what (Brady Hoke) has to say – what he likes about me, why they want me, and just to get a feel for who I might be playing for one day.”
That visit won't happen until the fall, though, at which point Michigan may be ultrasounding athletic-looking pregnant ladies.
The Distant Future, The Year 2000
Michigan pulled the trigger on what I believe is their first 2015(!) offer when they slyly implied but did not promise 2015 KY RB Damien Harris that he would get an offer in August of his senior year… which is still two years away for the rising sophomore. Obviously this dude is a manchild. Webb:
At 5-11 and 195 pounds, he is powerfully built, but still very fluid; he does yoga to maintain that fluidity. In drills and 7-on-7 action he showed great burst and caught the football very well. One really can't fully appreciate how talented and physical Harris is without the pads on. One look at his film and those things become abundantly clear. Michigan clearly thought so. So too did Fresno State, Ohio, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee.
Damien Harris of Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern was easy to spot among the running back group. Standing in at around 5-10, 200 pounds, the young rising sophomore already has the build of an upperclassman. He showed off plenty of speed and skill to go with that. While it seems incredibly early to offer a 2015 prospects, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Wolverines pulled the trigger to do just that. He really was that impressive.
I think Webb or Trieu mentioned that Harris was a Michigan fan who geeked out when Mike Hart was one of his position coaches at the camp. I'm guessing we'll see an article from one of the premium sites that can confirm or dis-confirm this in the near future.
Next week's event
That would be the visit($) of FL WR Alvin Bailey, Leon McQuay III teammate and four-star slot receiver. FSU is a considerable favorite; maybe Hoke can shake that assumption.
Recently offered CA WR Darren Carrington commits to Oregon.
Etc.: Michigan does not offer a kicker. 2014 five-star Jabrill Peppers says M will make his top ten($). Damon Webb says he's been a Michigan fan his whole life($) and commiting early is a "possibility" but he doesn't think it will happen.