this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Today's recruiting roundup goes over spring game visitors, discusses E.J. Levenberry's timeline, and much more. Update will be a bit brief, since I have to finish my Notre Dame preview for HTTV (still time to donate --------->) and aw hamburgers I need to rewrite most of it.
Spring Game Visitors, More 2013 Stuff
E.J. Levenberry is one of this weekend's high-profile visitors.
There will be several current commits on campus for tomorrow's Spring Game—including Shane Morris, of course—and you can see the whole list of those guys over at Tremendous. I know most people are interseted in the uncommitted 2013 prospects who will be making the trip, and here's the list as it stands right now:
- Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas DE Joey Bosa, one of the top players left on the board, is coming off a reportedly solid visit to Ohio State.
- District Heights (MD) Bishop McNamara DT Darius Commissiong doesn't yet hold an offer, but with the need for depth at the nose the 6'2", 285-pounder could be in line for one in the near future.
- College Station (TX) A&M Consolidated DE Christian LaCouture is a former Texas A&M commit (surprise!) who could be a tough pull from SEC country—LSU is a major player—but Michigan has a chance to impress in his first trip to campus.
- Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton LB E.J. Levenberry, whose father recently revealed that he'll make his decision in mid-August ($, info in header). Levenberry recently spent a week at Florida State and is already on campus in Ann Arbor; Oklahoma is also in the mix, and this one could come down to the wire.
- Olney (MD) Good Counsel CB Kendall Fuller is the top corner in the country and a former teammate of current Michigan CB Blake Countess. If Michigan wants to pull an upset—Fuller has strong family ties to Virginia Tech—the connection with Countess will be key. Fuller recently named Michigan in his top six along with VT, Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, and Tennessee ($).
Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, who had to cancel his visit to Oklahoma due to HOLY CRAP TORNADO, is dropping hints—and flat-out telling Shane Morris—that he'll be at the spring game as well.
I'm working on getting in touch with Treadwell to confirm.While I was writing this post, Treadwell texted me to confirm. He'll be at the Big House tomorrow.
There will also be several 2014 prospects on campus, including Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell (more on him below) and the Cass Tech crew of LB Gary Hosey, DB Johnny Miggins, WR Damon Webb, and LB William White.
In other 2013 news, Ben Gedeon committed this week, and Allen Trieu has a free breakdown of his game over at Scout:
He's an athletic kid who has played all over the field. His ability to run with the ball in the open field and catch the ball on offense show what kind of athlete the Wolverines are getting. He's going to be able to run to the football and drop into coverage. His team made a nice playoff run last year, but he does not consistently play against top level competition, so he will have more of an adjustment at the college level. That said, he has all of the tools you look for and given the Wolverines' previous linebacker class, he is not a kid who is likely to be pressed into service right away.
Tremendous caught up with Gedeon for a post-commitment interview, where he reveals that he was not a silent commitment this last month, instead waiting to see how a visit to Stanford would go before making his final decision. Also, he says that Dymonte Thomas played a big role in selling Michigan to him. Speaking of Thomas, Ohio State just offered Cleveland Glenville safety Christopher Worley, which could be a sign that they're moving on from the hope of flipping Thomas, since they already have a safety commit in Jayme Thompson and their class is projected to be only around 18 recruits.
Future roommates Thomas and Morris aren't the only Wolverine commits doing a little recruiting of their own, as Kyle Bosch came up to Ann Arbor last weekend to check out the Adidas Invitational and chat up some fellow recruits. He gave Sam Webb an update about the status of Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac ($):
“I think (Isaac) loves (Michigan),” added Bosch. “I don’t know what he is waiting for to be honest. But I know he went out to USC. I heard he liked it. I still think he likes Michigan, and I think it is a great fit for him.”
Signs continue to be positive on the Isaac front, though there isn't much coming from his camp right now. It's still a waiting game.
There's one recent offer to report: Honolulu (HI) Moanalua DT Scott Pagano picked up offers from Michigan and Cal last week ($, info in header). He's a four-star to Scout and holds offers from most of the Pac-12, among several others.
Elsewhere, Black Shoe Diaries continues their look into enemy recruiting, interviewing Alex Gleitman of 11W.
Sam Webb's latest at the DetNews is a profile of McDowell, who earns a glowing review from Trieu:
"Right now if I had to choose, he'd be the top kid in the state for the 2014 class," Trieu said. "He'll have to fend off some competition to hang onto that, but he's a special talent. He is a rare blend of size and athleticism. He moves with the quickness and fluidity of a smaller player. He also has great overall coordination and balance and he bends well — all of which allows him to play with good leverage. As a defender he has a great spin move and swim move, both of which he uses effectively. He needs to keep getting stronger and filling out, though, as he is still a lean 270. Although it's early, I believe he will be in contention for top player in the Midwest, as well."
McDowell isn't revealing much about his recruitment, save that he liked Michigan, MSU, and OSU growing up (I know, I know), and his coach seems to want him to take his time. There are rumblings that he's a potential commit, however, possibly as soon as this weekend, so we'll see if that holds true. Picking up the top rising junior in the state this early would obviously be huge.
A couple sophomores visited campus this past week. Mequon (WI) Homestead DT Brandon Hines called his visit "pretty incredible" but left without an offer ($, info in header); the coaches want to see him in a camp setting before they do anything else. Zeeland (MI) West TE Jordan Van Dort was on campus Monday, and also departed sans offer until further evaluation ($, info in header). At 6'5", 280 pounds, Van Dort won't be a tight end for long; he seems destined for the interior of the offensive line.
One of the emerging prospects at the Adidas Invitational has a familiar name: Warren (MI) De La Salle WR Jack Wangler, son of former Michigan quarterback John Wangler. Young Wangler will be catching passes from Shane Morris this fall after transferring from Royal Oak Shrine, and he'd like to keep that connection going in the future ($):
Wangler says his affinity for Michigan is actually so strong, that he would consider a walk-on offer from the Wolverines even if other schools offered full scholarships.
"My first choice would always be Michigan regardless. I'd rather walk on than take a scholarship anywhere else, but we'll see. Whatever suits me the best, I'm fine with."
Thus far, Wangler is mostly hearing from MAC schools, but his combine performance last weekend could earn him attention from bigger schools.
Quickly: Michigan is showing interest in two 2014 receivers from Canada. Orleans (ONT) St. Peter's Tyrone Pierre, who seems to be an early Oklahoma State lean after patterning his game after Justin Blackmon, and Montreal Buerling's Jaylan Grandison, who plans to camp at Michigan in the summer.
Today's recruiting roundup recaps Shane Morris's Elite11 regional camp appearance, talks Ty Isaac (what else is new?), and goes over past and future visits.
Shane's Bad Day > Your Bad Day
Shane Morris attended the Dallas Elite11 regional camp last weekend, getting tips from guys like Trent Dilfer and Tony Romo while hoping to lock up one of the coveted invitations to the Elite11 finals. Review of Morris were mixed but mostly positive, and this clearly wasn't good enough for Michigan's quarterback commit, who told ESPN he needs to work on "everything" (also, any idea why Morris is randomly wearing stunner shades for the second throw in this clip?):
While Morris was disappointed to not earn the finals invitation (more quotes in a free ESPN article here), he'll get another crack in Columbus on May 4th, and he still flashed the ability that has made him a potential five-star. Rivals.com's Brian Perroni listed Morris at #5 among his top performers, noting arm strength as his biggest positive ($):
The Michigan pledge made his presence known early by coming in decked out in Wolverine gear. There was a lot of anticipation as people wanted to see the nation's No. 16 overall prospect in person after he traveled a long way to compete. A lefty, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Morris had the best velocity on his ball of any quarterback in attendance and made some very good deep throws as well. His accuracy was a bit off at times but nothing too concerning.
Scout's Greg Powers had a similar take, saying Morris had some great throws and not-so-great throws but "definitely [had] his wow moments," in turning in a "very solid showing" ($). Morris was disappointed, yes, but he also has very high standards for himself. That's by no means a bad thing.
Morris didn't provide the only recruiting action of the weekend, as Michigan hosted several prospects for unofficial visits. The top 2013 target on campus was Washington (DC) Gonzaga CB Devin Butler, who's in the midst of a long string of Midwest visits but took the time to tell 247 that Michigan "seemed like a great place to be as a football player, as a student and a young man" ($). Several Cass Tech targets spanning three classes also made the trip. '13 DT Kenton Gibbs caught up with Will Campbell and also said that Michigan's coaches want to see him at their summer camp before extending an offer ($). '14 LB William White was impressed by what he saw from the linebackers in spring drills ($), while '14 RB/DB Johnny Miggins and '15 QB Jayru Campbell also enjoyed the visit ($). '14 WR Damon Webb was also on campus along with several other Cass Tech players.
Isaac Watch, Future Visits, Etc.
Ty Isaac has returned from his trip to USC, the school that poses perhaps the biggest threat to Michigan in his recruitment, so it's time to read far too much into some post-trip quotes. They are... meh ($):
"There were really no set expectations, it was just a good visit," Isaac said. "It was nothing that I wasn't expecting. I got to see things and talk to coaches."
"I got to see things," is my new favorite non-answer from a recruit. It certainly doesn't sound like Isaac, who was accompanied by his father, was blown away by the trip. He says he's now going to "chill for awhile" before making any kind of decision about his future, and he's not tipping his hand, though he said his top schools "know who they are."
Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep WR Devon Allen is one of the top receivers on the board for Michigan, and his recent athletic exploits reveal a major reason why that is the case: Allen just broke a 32-year-old Arizona state record in the 110-meter hurdles, running a 13.62 to edge out the old mark by .07 seconds. He was also just three-hundreths of a second from breaking the 300-meter hurdles state record, as well. Allen starts his spring break next week, and he plans on taking a trip to the Midwest, where Michigan is one of several schools in the running for a visit ($).
One player taking a visit this weekend is Solon (OH) CB Darian Hicks, who already holds 11 offers but is hoping to add Michigan to the list when he comes to campus on Friday ($). Brookfield (WI) Central DE Chikwe Obasih will swing by Ann Arbor between April 12th and 14th—he'll also visit MSU and Illinois during those days, and hasn't set the order yet ($).
Two players have stated their intention to take one of their official visits to Ann Arbor. Petaluma (CA) Casa Grande ATH Elijah Qualls—at 6'5", 265 lbs., likely a DT/SDE recruit for Michigan—is one, having built a strong relationship with coach Dan Ferrigno ($). The other is Dadeville (AL) DT Rod Crayton, whose coach says Michigan "might be recruiting Rod the hardest out of anyone" ($). Crayton plans to take a second unofficial visit for a game this fall, then use an official visit after his season.
Happy trails to two offensive linemen, Colin McGovern and Hunter Bivin, who both committed to Notre Dame over the weekend. Both held Michigan offers but were told, like all uncommitted OL, that the Wolverines are full along the O-line.
Quickly: Taco Charlton's Pickerington Central squad defeated Chris Wormley and Toledo Whitmer, 45-40, in the Ohio Division I basketball state title game. Chantel Jennings gives a progress report on the 2013 class, including quotes from current commits on what the coaches like about them ($).
Things are relatively quiet on the recruiting front at the moment, but here's an update on weekend visitors, players planning to attend the spring game, and more.
Weekend Visitors, Webb on Webb, Spring Game, Etc.
The list is short this week, with Washington (DC) Gonzaga CB Devin Butler the only uncommitted 2013 prospect slated to be on campus ($). Butler currently has Penn State as his leader, but the Wolverines are among a group of nine schools also in contention for his services.
Other visitors this weekend include 2013 commits Jake Butt and Jaron Dukes, and once again Cass Tech will be well represented—2014 WR Damon Webb, 2014 RB/DB Johnny Miggins, and 2015 QB Jayru Campbell will make the short trip to Ann Arbor.
Meanwhile, top receiver target Laquon Treadwell told Chantel Jennings that he'll visit for a spring practice in the first week of April ($, info in header). That will be Treadwell's fifth visit to Ann Arbor, but he still maintains that he won't make a decision until after his senior season.
The big visit weekend, however, will be when Michigan takes the field for the spring game on April 14th. One top-flight prospect who will be on campus is Erial (NJ) Timber Creek DT Greg Webb, who was the subject of Sam Webb's latest DetNews feature. Greg Webb's father earns major bonus points for saying Mike Martin and Iowa's Mike Daniels are two of his favorite D-linemen, because "they're undersized and they're badgers." The elder Webb also shed some light on the mindset of recruits who are witnessing a rather unprecedented rush to commit early:
"Michigan already (received verbal commitments from) 16 kids," Mr. Webb stated. "They're almost finished with their class. If you look at schools like Ohio State, they don't have as many scholarships (to offer). They're probably going to only take two or three D-tackles. You have to look at the numbers. If the schools you want to go to already have 16 or 17 commits, or they're only taking three more (players at your position), I don't think you can wait until signing day. A lot of the schools that he likes are a lot of the higher-profile schools. They're all going to fill up quick, so really I think we're going to have to look how things are going the next two or three months and see (if its best to make an early decision)."
With Michigan likely taking just two more defensive linemen—and also being in strong position with DT Henry Poggi—there could certainly be extra pressure on Webb to commit early if he wants a spot in the class.
Webb won't be the only elite D-lineman on campus for the spring game, either, as four-star SDE Joey Bosa will also be in attendance ($). Bosa currently has Michigan in his top six, but the competition—Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Ohio State—is stiff. Two other recruits who will be in that weekend are Cleveland Glenville S Christopher Worley (confusing, I know), who's currently holding offers from Arkansas, Bowling Green, and West Virginia ($), and 2014 Mequon (WI) Homestead DT Brandon Hines, who'll visit Ann Arbor on the 13th before checking out Iowa ($).
Quickly: Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge WR Rob Wheelwright holds an offer, has Michigan in his top group, and is setting up a visit with coach Jerry Montgomery ($). Santa Monica (CA) WR Sebastian LaRue has "high interest" in the Wolverines and plans on taking a spring or summer visit ($). Grand Blanc (MI) DE Daniel Davis has been hearing from Michigan recently and plans to visit next week ($). TomVH on Michigan targeting several bigger cornerbacks in the 2013 class ($).
Today's recruiting roundup looks at Michigan's remaining scholarships and how they might be used, checks out visit reactions from last weekend, and more.
The Remaining Spots
After DeVeon Smith committed over the weekend, Michigan now has 16 commits in a class projected to hit 23-24 players. Yes, it is still March, and the Wolverines have 2/3 of their class wrapped up. Recent events have added some clarity to the positions Michigan is targeting with the remaining 7-8 spots, so I thought I'd go over the potential options, position-by-position.
Quarterback (1 commit/0 spots remaining): Shane Morris. Period. Yes, there are concerns about depth at QB, but with the number crunch in the class taking a second signal-caller appears highly unlikely.
Running Back (2/1): Michigan has Wyatt Shallman and DeVeon Smith in the fold, but they aren't done. The coaches told Richmond (VA) Hermitage RB Derrick Green that they would take a third back in the class during Green's visit last weekend ($)—a visit that went quite well, by the way—and they've said the same to Cordova (TN) four-star Jordan Wilkins ($, info in header). Ty Isaac is the top target here, and we'll see what his timetable looks like after he returns from his USC trip this weekend.
Wide Receiver (1/2): Jaron Dukes is a big receiver with big-play ability, and the Wolverines will add two more to his position group. There's a strong focus on bringing in another big outside guy—Laquon Treadwell (right) fits that mold—and it wouldn't surprise to see the coaches target a smaller, faster player like Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep's Devon Allen to play the slot. Gone are the days of the 5'9" slot ninjas, but the 6'1" track star Allen could signal what the current staff wants in a slot receiver. A laundry-list of other receivers have interest in Michigan, including Marquez North, Darrell Daniels, Eldridge Massington, Sebastian Larue, Marcell Ateman, Zach Bradshaw, Damore'ea Stringfellow, Kevin Gladney, and Uriah LeMay. Four-star prospects Robert Foster and James Quick look like longshots for now.
Tight End (2/0?): When Michigan continued to offer scholarships to TEs after gaining commitments from Khalid Hill and Jake Butt, it looked like a third TE would definitely be a part of the class. Now that Scott Orndoff has committed to Pitt, however, only one uncommitted tight end remains holding a Michigan offer, New Orleans prospect Standish Dobard. It seems unlikely that Dobard will leave SEC country. With the Wolverines not rushing to hand out any more offers at the position coupled with the news that they'll take a third running back, it looks like they might be content with two TEs.
Offensive Line (5/0): The coaches have informed all offensive linemen holding an offer—yes, this includes Ethan Pocic—that they're full along the offensive line. Barring a decommitment, I don't think that will change.
Defensive Tackle (0/1-2): Michigan must take at least one nose tackle in the class, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to bring in a second depending on how the other position groups shake out. The Wolverines are in a strong position with Henry Poggi—more on him later—and got Dadeville (AL) DT Rod Crayton up for a visit, and they're also pursuing high-profile prospects like Montravious Adams, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Greg Webb, among others.
Defensive End (1/0): With Taco Charlton set to come in as a weakside DE, Michigan is in a position to stay pat after the bumper crop of DEs in the 2012 class. They could go after a strongside end, especially if Chris Wormley or Matt Godin moves inside to DT this fall, and they are after some talented prospects—Tashawn Bower seems to be showing the most interest (Michigan is in his top 10 [$]) and the Wolverines are also pursuing top recruits Joey Bosa, Alquadin Muhammad, Jonathan Allen, and others. They can afford to be picky here.
Linebacker (1/1*): The Wolverines have Mike McCray in the fold and it's pretty much assumed at this point that Ben Gedeon will join him in the class, given that the coaches have told prospects like Dorian O'Daniel, Alex Anzalone, and Shane Jones that they're full at linebacker. The asterisk represents E.J. Levenberry, who has Michigan as his leader over Florida State and has a spot apparently reserved for him in the class.
Cornerback (2/0): Jourdan Lewis and Gareon Conley should more than suffice for this year's class unless a five-star talent like Kendall Fuller (unlikely, considering his ties to Virginia Tech and Michigan turning away teammate O'Daniel) or Vernon Hargreaves III (also unlikely with his father coaching at USF and the Florida schools pushing hard for him) wants to come on board. Then again, the Wolverines still seem to be pursuing corners like Tre Bell, Devin Butler, Cole Luke, and Cameron Walker, so there's a chance they take one more.
Safety (1/0): Dymonte Thomas fills any pressing need for a safety, so much like at cornerback and defensive end, the Wolverines can be comfortable staying put while going after blue-chip talents. Or should I say, talent: five-star Su'a Cravens is the only uncommitted safety to currently hold a Michigan offer, and he plans to use one of his official visits to check out Ann Arbor.
Kicker/Punter (0/0): There's no need to take a specialist in this year's class.
If Michigan takes two linebackers (including Levenberry) and two defensive tackles along with a running back and two wideouts, the team has 23 scholarships accounted for with potentially one spot to use for a best player available (or, quite possibly, a third corner). If you want to drop a DT and project the Wolverines grab a strongside DE instead, be my guest—I think we'll see two more D-linemen in the class, and a nose tackle is a must, but that other spot could go to either.
As you can see, it's already time for the Wolverines to hone in on their top targets and be fairly selective with their remaining spots. The main question going forward isn't how Michigan will use their remaining scholarships, but how many they'll have to work with.
New Preferred Walk-On, Visit Reactions, Etc.
The Wolverines now have three preferred walk-ons in the 2012 class coming from Fenton High School, as tight end Quinton Mandle joined teammates Kenny Allen (punter) and Tyler Tokarsky (long snapper) in pledging to go to Michigan on Sunday. Mandle is 6'5", 220 pounds, and had 53 receptions for 700 yards last year, both school records. His addition bolsters depth at a position sorely in need of it.
Rivals released their 2013 position ranks and an initial group of three-stars, which included previously-unranked commits DeVeon Smith and Jaron Dukes. Shane Morris has the highest position ranking, coming in second among pro-style QBs. Also of note: Michigan has five of the top 23 offensive tackles (four in the top 13), though obviously the five linemen won't all play tackle at the collegiate level.
Henry Poggi was on campus last weekend amidst rumors of an imminent commitment, and while that didn't come to fruition, he still had a great trip. Here's his dad/coach Biff discussing Henry's third visit to Ann Arbor ($):
“It was a great visit,” Biff Poggi, Henry’s father and coach told 247Sports. “Just a great visit. It was really, everyone loved it. My wife really loved it. My son loves Michigan. Loves the coaches there, Coach (Greg) Mattison, Coach (Jerry) Montgomery, Coach (Brady) Hoke. We got a chance to spend a lot of time with them. My wife is getting comfortable with the academic piece which is good, and it was a very, very good trip.”
Poggi plans to head down to Texas and Texas A&M and possibly swing out to the West Coast, but his recruitment shouldn't last much longer; his father says they plan to have it "wrapped up by the end of April."
Quickly: 2013 Cass Tech DT Kenton Gibbs said "it was most definitely a good time," after his trip to Ann Arbor last weekend ($). He's still looking for a Wolverine offer. Four of Gibbs's sophomore teammates—LB Gary Hosey, LB William White, WR Damon Webb, and DB Johnny Miggins—were also on campus, and Tremendous has visit reactions from all four. Also visiting was 2014 OL/DT Brian Allen, who already has offers from Iowa and Michigan State ($, info in header). 2013 Los Angeles (CA) Loyola CB Cameron Walker will visit from April 12-14, which includes the spring game ($).