At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
This week's Thursday Recruitin' features Michigan at the top of Scout's team rankings, several uncommitted prospects planning visits, Kyle Kalis laughing off the threats of Buckeye trolls, and a whole lot on the class of 2013. Usual disclaimer: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Hoke's Magic Takes Michigan to the Top, More on Uncommitted Seniors
Scout is a believer in Brady Hoke and his first full recruiting class, naming Michigan's 2012 class as the nation's best in their latest team rankings. Click through to see national recruiting analyst Scott Kennedy analyze the class, but unfortunately not saying that Brady Hoke poops magic, despite that clearly being the case. He does have a very good point, however, in saying that Michigan—despite their tremendous early success on the recruiting trail—has yet to capitalize on their strong start to the 2011 season with a commit, though that is obviously expected to change.
Josh Garnett is featured as Scout's Performer of the Week, and in the accompanying video (which has been out for a couple weeks, but paywalled) he discusses his official visits. Garnett mentions Nebraska, Miami, and Michigan as the three schools he'll definitely take officials to, though he also mentions several West Coast schools—Washington, Oregon, Cal, USC, and UCLA—that he'll likely take trips to in an unofficial capacity:
The Seattle Times not only discusses Garnett, but also fellow Washingtonian Zach Banner and their respective timelines:
"Banner revealed this week he is probably going to decide in the next month or two but is only going to tell the coach of the school he is committing to and then wait to make the announcement at Lakes High probably right before the Army All-American Game (which is on Jan. 7). Garnett doesn't have an official timeline but he is definitely going to take his time and take his visits until he is going to make an announcement, so that's kind of why it's been so quiet."
It'll be interesting to see if Banner is able to keep his decision under wraps if he does in fact plan on telling a coach his commitment plans so long before his formal announcement.
For the rest of Thursday Recruitin', jump with me.
Summer recruiting has wound down with the arrival of fall camp, especially for teams with a commit list as close to full as Michigan's. There's still information to go around, but unofficial/official visits (starting with the Western Michigan game) should see the return of action.
IA WR Amara Darboh (pictured at right) will be visiting Ann Arbor for the Western Michigan game, after a strong visit a couple weeks ago.
CA WR Jordan Payton will be in attendance for the Notre Dame game.
IL OL Jordan Diamond is in no hurry to commit, so it's possible that Michigan's class fills up before he wants to commit. There's only one spot available along the offensive line, and WA OLs Josh Garnett and Zach Banner are planning early-season visits. Garnett is trying to arrange his Michigan visit for the Notre Dame game, the same as Banner.
For all the talk of those other linemen, don't forget about PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, who is still considering Michigan. He's the other primary option for that final OL spot in the 2012 crop.
Saginaw fluff on expatriate MO DT Commit Ondre Pipkins, who grew up in the area:
In the end, it was one of those Saginaw High connections that helped cement Ondre Pipkins’ commitment to Michigan. [Roy] Manning, the former Saginaw High star who played at Michigan before a three-year NFL career, is back in Ann Arbor as a first-year graduate assistant on Hoke’s staff.
Manning is friends with Ondre's dad Al, who still lives in Saginaw.
Pipkins's commitment left MI DT Danny O'Brien wondering where he stands with the Wolverines. He planned to call Michigan's coaches on Monday, but no word on how it went.
IL CB Anthony Standifer is solid in his commitment, in case you were worried about his status.
ESPN Rise has released their All-Midwest team, and though I'm more apt to ignore a squad with three(!!!) first-team QBs, it's kind to Michigan, so linky, here we go. Commits in bold; other targets in regular.
- OH RB (OSU Commit) Bri'onte Dunn
- OH WR Dwayne Stanford
- OH OL Commit Kyle Kalis
- IL OL Jordan Diamond
- OH DE Adolphus Washington
- MI LB Commit Royce Jenkins-Stone
- MI LB Commit James Ross
- OH S Bam Bradley
- MI CB Commit Terry Richardson
- IL CB Commit Anthony Standifer
- OH WR Monty Madaris
- MI DT Danny O'Brien
- MI DE Commit Mario Ojemudia
- OH DE/DT Commit Chris Wormley
- OH LB Commit Joe Bolden
- OH S Commit Jarrod Wilson
Happy Trails, MA CB Armani Reeves, who picked Penn State. That brings Michigan's DB hotboard back down to one uncommitted prospect, NJ CB Yuri Wright.
With the 2012 class mostly complete, it's no surprise that focus shifts more heavily to rising juniors.
MI OL Cameron Dillard may receive a Michigan offer after sending coaches early-season junior film.
MI OL Steven Elmer has set up a few visits this fall, including two to Notre Dame (and one to Michigan for the Notre Dame contest). It seems like the Irish are going to be one of the strongest contenders for his services.
Tom talked with MD DT/DE Henry Poggi following a visit to Ann Arbor last week:
I've taken a few visits down south and decided to go to Ann Arbor before camp starts for us... I would say Michigan is up there, I really like the people down there and the education they have.
I would rather not prolong my commitment. I don't know the exact date, but I'd like to take a couple official visits. If I know before I can take visits then I would just commit, I don't really have to take the officials.
Poggi's offer list already includes the likes of Alabama and Ohio State, so building a favorable impression of Michigan early is a strong start with one of 2013's top prospects.
Keep an eye on IL DE Devante Lee ($, info in header). He's a teammate of IL OL Jordan Diamond (and former teammate of Wolverine freshman Chris Bryant).
Michigan is "turning up the heat" on MI DE/LB Luke MacLean.
Sam Webb's Detroit News column this week focuses on OH LB Ben Gedeon, primarily explaining why he's called "the freak":
"I was just always a little bit bigger than everybody, so my family called me that."
That's... not as interesting as I was expecting. Gedeon does a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball in high school, and Allen Trieu talks about his physical skills:
"He was excellent when we saw him in camp settings and his film verified what we had seen in shorts and T-shirts," Scout.com midwest regional manager Allen Trieu said. "He is a well built kid at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and moves very well at that size."
Gedeon says Michigan is currently atop his list, but he plans to evaluate all of his options before making a decision. He attended the BBQ at the Big House, where he connected with Michigan commits like James Ross and Kyle Kalis. He tells Tom that Michigan was his first offer - a big deal - and he'll try to visit campus for the Notre Dame game this fall.
GA CB Shaquille Wiggins is trying to visit Michigan for an early-season game.
Ondre Pipkins Goes Blue
Michigan gained a big (literally and figuratively) commitment in MO DT Ondre Pipkins on Monday. The Wolverine Blog takes a look at Big Pee-Wee's game:
He needs to develop consistency in his technique, to the point where he maintains quality leverage and hand use after the initial contact... Should he get these little technical kinks sorted out, he looks very much like a future NFL prospect to me.
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine chimes in:
Combines outstanding size and power with surprising quickness. Ondre is super strong at the point of attack. He gets off the ball well and is almost impossible to single block. Unlike many big guys, he shows a good motor and overall athletic ability.
The first thing I see that I like about Pipkins is his stance. He puts a lot of weight on his front hand and sticks his butt slightly up in the air. With his weight distributed that way, he has no choice but to fire off low and fast. Beyond that first step, he continues to stay low, moves his feet well, and uses a variety of moves to rush the passer.
“When he wants to be Ondre has the potential to be a top 5 defensive tackle prospect in the 2012 class. Pipkins is very explosive, strong and has very quick feet for a kid that is 320ish pounds.
With three defensive line coaches on Michigan's staff, hopefully his technique can be coached up. For more on Pipkins, check out the Hello: Ondre Pipkins post.
Though Darryl Stonum is redshirting the 2011 season, I asked Brady Hoke if his presence will reduce the 2012 scholarships available from 26, and the coach said there is no change to the available number.
With 22 current commits and 26 spots in the class, that means there is room for four more commits. With 22 spots currently available, that means attrition of four more players going into next year will open up those spots. [Ed: With two or three redshirt juniors looking like marginal contributors at best, Michigan should easily make it without hijinks. They could get a 27th or 28th scholarship.]
NJ QB/S Devin Fuller has a final 11 without Michigan in the mix. I imagine that ends the possibility of landing a signal-caller in the 2012 class, especially with such a small number of available scholarships.
Ohio State soft commit Bri'Onte Dunn seems to be the main option at this position (unless the staff thinks they can try to get in with another super like NC RB Keith Marshall). As the situation unfolds, we'll see if Dunn is a realistic possibility, and if the coaches focus on other runners if he's off the table.
Does Darryl Stonum's return change WR recruiting plans? As mentioned above, it probably takes the two-wideout minimum to a two-wideout preference (though Michael Spath of The Wolverine seems to disagree ($, info in header)), as Darryl will be around for one more season in 2012.
CA WR Jordan Payton has Michigan and Cal as his top two (audio), with the Wolverines alone at the top ($, info in header). He says he's "going through the process," but don't be surprised to see a visit early in the fall. Payton's junior highlight reel:
IA WR Amara Darboh is setting up an official visit to Michigan ($, info in header). [Ed: The new scuttlebutt is that Michigan leads and that official may end his recruitment.]
I mentioned last week that MD WR Stefon Diggs is back on the table, including Michigan in his top 15.
OH WR Dwayne Stanford is high on LSU ($, info in header). His relationship with Michigan has been hot-and-cold.
Happy Trails, NJ WR Leontae Caroo, who chose Rutgers. This is probably more notable for its effect on his teammate, NJ CB Yuri Wright, who is back in play for Michigan (more on that in a moment).
CA OL Commit Erik Magnuson received a USC offer last week, but maintains a solid commitment to the Wolverines ($, info in header).
IL OL Jordan Diamond stopped by Michigan as his team toured Eastern Michigan, visiting former teammate Chris Bryant.
WA OL Joshua Garnett will visit Michigan for the Notre Dame game. Garnett's friend Zach Banner is one of the few other realistic prospects for Michigan remaining on the board, as well.
Sounds like CA OL Kyle Murphy is no longer considering Michigan, focusing on West Coast schools along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Florida.
Michigan's off-again, off-again recruitment of IL DT Tommy Schutt took a bizarre turn last week when he was spurned by Notre Dame, and immediately tried to schedule a visit to Michigan - and was denied. Brian already covered the approximate timeline, and the way it shook out sure makes a whole lot more sense with Ondre Pipkins' commitment.
What Big Pee-Wee's commitment might draw into question is the Wolverines' recruitment of MI DT Danny O'Brien (right). Conventional wisdom has held that the coaches are taking only one DT, so does that mean O'Brien is off the board, or that the staff will make an exception for him?
Elsewhere on the defensive line, there may be a spot available for an elite prospect, particularly one who, for example, is teammates with an elite wideout.
With MI CB Commit Terry Richardson going back-and-forth on taking visits, Michigan's sudden re-focus on defensive backs could be a search for replacements (should he decide to go elsewhere) or simply more players along the back line. So who are some of those players?
I would say Michigan is in my top two, I've always liked Michigan. I haven't really cut my list down yet, but they're in the top somewhere. Just the tradition that's at Michigan, the winningest program, the coaches, and the whole experience of going to school there. Coach Mallory has been telling me it's just about getting a chance to come to Michigan and getting better when I get there, and hopefully make it to the league.
Wright grew up wanting to go to Michigan, so a good visit could start winding down the recruiting process.
MA CB Armani Reeves is also back on the board, but he's announcing this Friday at 10AM, and as Brian says, with no in-person contact since he and Michigan have been back on each others' boards, it's unlikely he picks the Wolverines.
With the 2012 class damn-near wrapped up, we're starting to get a slightly better idea of what the 2013 class will look like. Your departing seniors following the 2012 season:
- Denard Robinson
- Michael Cox
- Vincent Smith
- Darryl Stonum
- Je'Ron Stokes
- Roy Roundtree
- Terrance Robinson
- Brandon Moore
- Patrick Omameh
- Ricky Barnum
- Elliott Mealer
- Rocko Khoury
- William Campbell
- Craig Roh
- Kenny Demens
- JT Floyd
- Brandin Hawthorne
- Jordan Kovacs
That's 18 spots, but there's also a chance that some of those guys who have redshirted in the past might not get offered fifth years for the 2012 season, either on account of ineffectiveness or lingering injuries. Those slots would likely be filled in 2012 recruiting. With a couple possibilities for early entry and/or transfer, 18 is a good starting point, with a likelihood of swelling to about 20 spots. How might those spots be filled?:
- QB: 1-2 (Shane Morris)
- RB: 1-2 (Depends on filling 2012 class)
- WR: 1-2 (Depends on filling 2012 class)
- TE: 0-1
- OT: 2
- OG: 1
- DT: 2
- DE: 1
- LB: 2
- S: 2
- CB: 1-2
- Other: 1-2
With that brief primer out of the way, on to the information:
Michigan made a good first impression with IL RB Ty Isaac ($, info in header).
IL WR LaQuon Treadwell (teammate of 2012 CB Commit Anthony Standifer) tells Tom that Michigan is on top, but he's a long way off from a decision.
Tom has a video interview with AZ WR/TE Jake Roh, the younger brother of current Wolverine DE Craig. Jake says he hasn't heard much from Michigan yet.
IL OL Kyle Bosch visited Michigan over the weekend, and came away impressed:
We met with Coach Funk, talked to him for about half an hour. After that they took us around the campus, showed us the facilities, the locker room, and the stadium. I feel really good about Michigan, I really liked it. I didn't know much about them going into it, but I was really impressed.
He plans to narrow his list of schools after his junior season, so it sounds like he has a slightly accelerated decision timeframe.
OH S Dymonte Thomas will be one of Michigan's top targets in the 2013 crop, and the cousin of 2012 RB Bri'Onte Dunn enjoyed himself at the BBQ at the Big House, but will take his time:
I just want to wait for my colleges to offer and take some visits to all the schools though. I'll probably be up for the Notre Dame game and the Michigan-Ohio State game too. I really like Michigan, I think they're at the top. Michigan State isn't very far behind, I like their coaching staff too.
He's said in the past he plans to commit this February to whichever school Dunn signs with.
I wrote a long intro for this post about how Michigan finally had a week without any commits, and Allen Gant just had to go spoil it. No complaints here, of course.
Allen Gant Goes Blue
OH S Allen Gant became the 13th member of Michigan's 2012 class with his public announcement on WTKA yesterday morning. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant was the top 2012 player in Ohio as a freshman, but his profile has fallen off in the past couple years, thanks in part to injuries.
Yikes. Maybe Touch the Banner can provide a little bit more optimism?:
Eh, not really. For what it's worth, I've seen conflicting reports of injury over the past two years (with the sophomore hamstring issue confirmed), and a couple message boarders have stumped for his athleticism. For more on Allen, check out the Hello: Allen Gant post.
There's one blindingly obvious option here, and that's because he has a commitment date already scheduled: NY CB/S Wayne Morgan will pick between Rutgers and Michigan tomorrow. He had originally planned to make his choice today.
There have also been some rumblings about CA OL Erik Magnuson. He recently named Michigan his favorite ($, info in header), and is visiting next weekend. If everything goes well, the trip to Ann Arbor could be just the first of many.
IL CB Anthony Standifer is visiting today, and although Michigan is at or near the top of his list, I don't think we should be expecting a commitment.
Rivals Michigan and Ohio State often pursue many of the same prospects, so it's no surprise that the ongoing Armageddon situation down in Columbus has some effect on Michigan's recruiting. The Sporting News caught up with IL OL Jordan Diamond:
"From a personal standpoint, Coach Tress was a great guy, we had a good conversation every time we talked. It’s hard to say if I will change my thoughts about OSU because the opportunity is still there to play early in my position, but seeing a good guy like Tress leave is hard for any recruit to handle.”
It sounds like this will damage OSU - but not too much - in his recruitment. SN also talked to OH DE Tom Strobel:
“What? No way. Well, regardless, Ohio State is still a great school. And I still believe Coach Tressel was a great coach and a great person. It was unfortunate that all this happened. My respect for him hasn’t changed. I still have a lot.”
Tom caught up with Strobel following his visit to Ann Arbor last week (of course, this was before the news came out):
It remains to be seen what will happen with Ohio State's spot on that list (they were considered the heavy leader previously). More from Strobel in the local paper.
Tom Lemming talks about the Tressel resignation's effect on recruiting.
OH RB Bri'onte Dunn is still committed to Ohio State "for now" ($, info in header). His dad told Tom that they've yet to discuss re-opening his recruitment, but several weeks back, there was mention of Dunn going back on the market if something catastrophic (I think this qualifies) were to happen to Ohio State - a bowl ban is 99% certain to come down, and that's a "big deal" to Bri'onte. Considering how different the news is than what's coming directly from the source, it seems like Dunn's high school coach is pushing him to remain a Buckeye.
Big Section for Big Dudes
So, MO DT Ondre Pipkins, you've just won the Defensive Line MVP at the Columbus Nike Camp, what are you going to do next?
"I'm going to
Disneyland pick up a ton of offers!" Ohio State and Oklahoma are among the recent entries to the Ondre Pipkins sweepstakes, though until further notice, I'd assume the Wolverines and Spartans have as good a shot as anybody.
Allen Trieu gives his take on Pipkins from the camp in a free Scout article:
We knew he was good, but I don't think anyone expected the big man to be as dominant as he was. At 6'4, 322-lbs, he showed power, quickness, and all the makings of a big time defensive tackle. As I said before, he can play for anyone in the country and his offer list is starting to match that. We had limited film on him before, so he was ranked conservatively, but I think a big jump is possible for him.
5-star is probably out of the question for now, but it's sounding like he'll come damn close next time Scout updates their rankings. ESPN named him t their all-camp team, along with Michigan commits Shane Morris ('13), James Ross, and Terry Richardson, along with a few Wolverine targets.
Going from big (6-2, 320) to bigger (6-9, 300), WA OL Zach Banner was the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News. The kid insists he wants to be a 2-sport athlete, but more useful for our purpose is the recruiting info he drops on Sam:
"I guarantee that I will be taking an official visit to Michigan," he said emphatically. "I have already scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame and that is going to be Oct. 22, and that is going to be their first night game in 25 years (against USC). I am also going to take an official to Michigan. I want to come to a rivalry game where it is primetime football."
He plans to narrow his list of 30+ schools to a more manageable Top 10 over the summer, and it definitely sounds like both Michigan and Notre Dame are locks to be included.
Banner isn't the only Evergreen State blocker getting Michigan interest, as WA OL Joshua Garnett is also hearing from the maize-and-blue:
JOSHUA: Michigan has a great football tradition and is also one of the top academic schools in the nation.
TOM: Are you interested enough that you think you'll take a visit to Michigan?
JOSHUA: Yes definitely. It will most likely be an official visit... I have always wanted to play in that Michigan - Ohio State game. I think that is a big reason why I like Michigan. That game is probably the biggest in college football, and the rivalry is unexplainable.
Despite considerably less hype, Garnett is actually more highly rated than Banner.
AZ OL Andrus Peat has cut his list to 13 schools, and Michigan makes the grade. Nebraska, USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, Arkansas, Texas, Auburn, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, Miami (YTM), and Alabama are the other lucky suitors.
Tom's Weekly Update is heavy on offensive linemen.
Michigan might be close to offering OH DT Alex Pace. He's a product of Glenville High School.
Michigan was in-school with Stanford commit CA DT Aziz Shittu last week. Despite his Cardinal pledge, he may take an official visit to Ann Arbor.
Happy Trails, CA QB Jake Rodrigues. He committed to Oregon.
CO OL Shane Callahan committed to Auburn.
Happy trails, FL OL John Theus, who trimmed his list to 6 (non-Michigan) schools.
Happy Trails, CA OL Max Tuerk has committed to USC.
CA LB Scott Starr also committed to USC. The Trojans have already filled 9 of their NCAA-mandated 15 slots in this class. I bet you infinity dollars that Lane Kiffin goes well over 15 and the NCAA does nothing about it.
Caution: Bleacher Report article do not click! Michigan is not in the final 5 for GA CB Geno Smith.
I'm pretty wary of the source, but OH S Jarrod Wilson is reportedly high on Michigan State, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Illinois. Gant's commitment could be a factor there, as well.
TN OL Blake Bars picked up a Michigan offer ($).
PA TE Adam Breneman has picked up a Michigan offer ($).
MD TE/DE Henry Poggi is showing a Michigan offer. His older brother attends Iowa, where he was one of the players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.
Michigan is "turning up the heat" on IL RB Ty Isaac ($, info in header).
Duane Long releases an early 2013 top 25 for the state of Ohio.