This week's Thursday Recruitin' discusses Jordan Payton's upcoming decision (again), big news coming from both Josh Garnett and Zach Banner, the next great Michigan nickname, several new 2013 offers, and BREAKING Mitch McGary news. Usual request: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Rounding Out the 2012 Class
With the addition of Jeremy Clark to the 2012 class (more on that later), Michigan now has 23 commitments and five spots to fill—probably with two receivers, and offensive lineman, a running back, and perhaps a defensive back. How will they round out the class? I guess this is a good place to start:
That's four-star CA wideout Jordan Payton, of course, who decided—after visiting Notre Dame for the USC game last weekend—to push back his planned announcement from Tuesday to some time in the next two weeks. After the visit to South Bend, Payton claims that Michigan and Notre Dame are "tied" for the lead in his recruitment ($, info in header) after he had maintained that Michigan was his clear leader heading into the weekend. While this could be cause for a meltdown, I wouldn't get too worried—Payton is taking the time to gather his thoughts after a big visit, and I still think Michigan is in great position to land him whenever he decides to make his choice. Notre Dame always come back right at the end, right?
In more encouraging news, Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett has set one official visit, and, well, you see where this is going [emphasis mine]...
"I'm going to Michigan on Nov. 19 when they play Nebraska," Garnett said. "I'm also going to visit Miami at some point also. I'm thinking pretty seriously about visiting Oklahoma too."
One school is showing Garnett more attention than the others.
"Cal is recruiting me the hardest by far," he said. "Coach (Tosh) Lupoi is the lead recruiter but all of their coaches are in contact with me. They are definitely showing me a lot of love."
Garnett is working down his list of 11 programs but said he has no favorites at this time among the group. Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Auburn and Notre Dame are a few other programs on the list.
While this by no means indicates that Michigan is his leader (one look at the quote about Cal should dispel that notion), Garnett coming to Ann Arbor is certainly a good sign, and anything can happen once a recruit gets on campus. [Morning edit: Of course, just before I go to sleep last night a new Garnett article pops up on Scout in which he says he "may" make it to Ann Arbor for the Nebraska game ($), so we'll have to wait and see if this one really happens. Encouraging news is slightly less encouraging, but still, I think, encouraging.]
Meanwhile, Garnett's fellow blue-chip Washingtonian lineman, Zach Banner, has been the center of attention this past week, and he named his top five schools ($, video embedded below) before heading to Notre Dame for an official visit:
For those who don't feel like clicking on the video, Michigan made his final five along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, and Washington. If you head over to Oklahoma's Rivals site, you'll see (at the moment I'm writing this, at least) a big fat headline proclaiming "Sooners On Top" linking to an article that claims Oklahoma leads for Banner ($, info in header), with extensive quotes from the recruit about how well his visit went. While I usually don't blockquote from premium articles, there's been genuine debate about how to interpret this quote, which comes off as a bit of a leading question from the interviewer but also seems to point to Oklahoma leading:
So is it fair to say that Oklahoma is currently the leader and Washington and USC will have to show him something that surpasses what he saw at Oklahoma?
"Yeah," he said plainly. "All five of them are going to be completely involved but I'm still taking my USC and (Washington) visits but if you were going to ask me who I'd bet on, Oklahoma has a good chance."
Interpret that how you will, but obviously Michigan is still in it, though they might have some ground to cover. Just as notable, IMO, is Banner saying he'll announce his decision date (note: not make his actual decision, just to be abundantly clear) this Saturday, at his Army All-American ceremony.
There are other options on the offensive line, as well. TomVH caught up with Jordan Diamond, and read his article ($) and check out the video interview (free) over at WolverineNation. Michigan is still among the schools Diamond is interested in, and he's been in contact with former Chicago Simeon teammate and current Wolverine Chris Bryant, but he says he has "no favorites" at this time and will not make a decision until signing day. After taking in the ND-USC game last weekend (along with every other top prospect on the planet, it seems), Diamond won't be making any other visits until after his season is over.
In related news, four-star OL and recent offeree Alex Kozan just picked up an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header). Michigan and OSU join a top group of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, LSU, Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Illinois, but Kozan is looking to pare that list of nine down to three or four in the near future.
Also, five-star OL/DE Arik Armstead has indeed opened up his recruitment, but 247's J.C. Shurburtt says this is likely a battle between Cal and USC, and with no mention of Michigan they're a fringe contender at best. Don't hold your breath for this one.
For more on wide receiver recruiting, updates on current commits, 2013 news, and MITCH MCGARY'S FINAL THREE AND IMPENDING DECISION (*cough*), hit the jump.
In this week's Thursday Recruitin', a high school coach manages to out-hyperbole Fred Jackson, Ondre Pipkins gets invited to the Army AA Bowl, a Scout, er, scout channels his inner Rod Allen, and two more 2012 commits plan to enroll early. 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.
With the coaching staff saying for a while now that the 2012 recruiting class would hit at least 26 members—and possibly, if not probably, go as high as 28—despite there currently being just 24 available spots, Michigan was going to need to find some players to enroll early. Safety Jarrod Wilson has been in that boat for a while, and now comes the news that two linebackers will arrive in Ann Arbor for the spring term as well ($, info in header)—Joe Bolden and Kaleb Ringer.
The Wolverines are allowed to backdate up to three early enrollees, essentially having them count as part of the 2011 class, which allows them to push up to the Big Ten limit of 28 recruits in a class. Bri'onte Dunn, if Michigan were to land him, is also a candidate to enroll early, but that now is more of a developmental bonus and less of a numbers necessity if the Wolverines can pluck him from Ohio State's grasp.
In other news on current commits, Tim Sullivan's latest contribution to the Freep profiles tight end commit A.J. Williams, who has played almost exclusively on the offensive line his last two seasons in high school but will still be a tight end for the Wolverines, one of the reasons that drew him to Ann Arbor:
Though he loves pancaking opposing defenders, he didn’t want to be exclusively a blocker in college. The opportunity to play tight end is another reason he chose Michigan.
“That’s also what made Michigan a great decision,” said Williams. “They actually wanted me for the tight end position, which I want to play.”
His 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame should help Williams be ready to contribute from the first day he steps on campus in August. Playing as a blocking tight end, he should be more ready to play than the average freshman. After not catching any passes for two years, however, he will have to make an adjustment when he gets to the next level, and get reacquainted with the nuances of going downfield to catch passes.
With the lack of depth and size at the tight end position for next year, Williams will have the opportunity to play right away. Though he may not be ready to be an oft-targeted receiver in the passing game, his blocking should be an asset right off the bat, especially when Michigan runs the ball.
Steve Junga of the Toledo Blade has a lengthy piece up on safety commit Allen Gant, whose work ethic has made him a three-sport star at Sylvania Southview and impressed his father Tony, a former Wolverine himself:
In the spring he will earn his fourth letter in track and field, where he is a rare blend -- a discus thrower and shot putter who also runs sprint relays.
"The drive really comes from Allen," Tony Gant said. "I had a certain type of drive, but what he does -- lifting weights and eating healthy and drinking a gallon of water a day -- I never did that.
"I was a 6-foot, 185-pound kid who never lifted a weight in my life until I got to Michigan. He's in the weight room six days a week on his own. He motivates himself."
"Allen's always had a good work ethic, even as a youngster," [his grandfather and former professional baseball player] Chet Trail said. "You never had to do too much to get him to practice. I wish I could take some credit for [his motivation], but Allen is a self-starter."
Gant already weighs in the 200-pound range and looks like he's ready to step on a college field immediately, though he'll likely get some time to develop as a depth player and on special teams before being called upon to contribute on the defense.
Quickly: Ondre Pipkins was one of four prospects recently named to the Army All-American Bowl, joining fellow commits Royce Jenkins-Stone, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson, and James Ross. Kenny Allen's commitment writeup at The Flint Journal. Your TomVH insider content of the week includes Drew Henson breaking down the offensive commits, Marcus Ray doing the same for the defense, and profiles of his top two committed prospects, RJS and Kyle Kalis.
For more, hit the jump.
'Friday Night Lights' is now 'Weekday Warriors', and every week I'll be updating you on the latest performances from Michigan commits as they play our their high school seasons. If you see anything missing or can find an article on a game, please feel free to contact me via Twitter or email.
TN OL Blake Bars
Montgomery Bell Academy dropped to 1-1 on the season with a blowout loss to Louisville (KY) Trinity. Since Bars is an offensive linemen, there are no stats to report.
This week: The Big Red hope to move back above .500 at home against Brentwood Academy on Friday.
OH LB Joe Bolden
Bolden's Colerain squad won a nationally-televised matchup with last year's Florida 2A state champion, Cocoa, by a score of 17-7, snapping Cocoa's 38-game winning streak. Bolden did a little bit of everything, tallying eight tackles, tipping a pass that led to an interception, and completing a 36-yard pass on a fake punt (yes, Bolden serves as Colerain's punter). The win extended Colarain's home winning streak to a remarkable 60 games. ESPN's highlights of the contest prominently feature the future Wolverine, though also unfortunately Pam Ward. I can't embed the video without an ad autoplaying (seriously, WTF, ESPN), so you'll have to hit the link to see the highlights.
This week: Colarain looks to continue their home dominance on Friday against Ryle at 7:30.
MI OL Ben Braden
In a matchup of western (Michigan) powers, Rockford fell in their opener at Lowell, 28-7. Despite the loss, Braden came in for praise from Lowell's coach, Noel Dean:
"I'm not sure we'll see a team anywhere near that big," he said. "Their front seven on defense is as big as I've ever seen. And their front seven on offense -- I've never seen a human being move as well as that Ben Braden at this level. I was standing on that field, and I didn't feel good about putting my kids in front of him. He's huge, and he's a really good player."
This week: Rockford looks to right the ship in their home opener against Holt on Thursday at 7.
OH DE Pharaoh Brown
Brush fell to Eastlake North 51-20 in their opening game of the season. Though the Brush defense didn't perform, Brown reported to me on Twitter that he recorded three sacks, four tackles, and caught three passes for 86 yards, despite the fact that, according to him, Eastlake North widened the splits in their line to keep him from getting to the quarterback and refused to run in his direction.
This week: Brush hits the road on Friday at 7 to face Madison.
MI TE Devin Funchess, DE Mario Ojemudia, LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and CB Terry Richardson
As you all know, these four faced off in the Big Day Showdown at Eastern Michigan, with Farmington Hills Harrison (Funchess and Ojemudia) blowing out Cass Tech (RJS and Terry Richardson) 43-7. Funchess recorded three receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown, as well as tallying an interception while playing safety. Ojemudia dominated at defensive end, finishing with four tackles, three for a loss, 1/2 sack, six QB hurries, and a fumble recovery on a blocked punt, while also playing offensive tackle for most of the game. Jenkins-Stone had four tackles and a forced fumble (in a bizarre twist, that came on offense after an interception) and also caught two passes and carried the ball five times for a total of seven yards. Richardson finished with a pass breakup – in the end zone against State commit Aaron Burbridge, no less – three kick returns for 70 yards, and one catch for 13 yards. The game was the subject of this week's Creeper Van Originals, and the highlights are below:
This week: Harrison plays at Southfield on Thursday at 7, while Cass Tech hopes to bounce back on Friday at 3 on the road at Detroit Central.
OH S Allen Gant
Gant played on both sides of the ball for Southview in their 23-21 season-opening victory over St. Francis de Sales. According to an intrepid MGoPoster who was taking down stats for de Sales, Gant played receiver and finished with one catch for five yards and took a jet sweep for seven yards – there are no defensive stats to be found, though apparently Gant did not record an interception, in case you were wondering.
This week: Southview travels to Toledo Rogers on Friday at 7.
MI DT Matt Godin
According to Andrew at Touch the Banner, Godin recorded two tackles in the first half before sitting out the second with an apparent concussion in Detroit Catholic Central's 42-0 trouncing of Dearborn Fortson.
This week: DCC heads to Ohio to take on Delphos St. John's on Friday at 7:30. Let's hope Godin's injury isn't too serious.
UT FB Sione Houma
This week: The 2-0 Rams have their home opener against Provo at 7 on Friday night.
OH OL Kyle Kalis
Lakewood St. Edward defeated Glenville 17-14 in their season opener, but did so without Kalis, who was sidelined with an injury:
Michigan recruit and offensive tackle Kyle Kalis was in street clothes on the St. Edward sideline with a dislocated kneecap. Finotti said he's "day to day." He could return as early as next week or in two to three weeks.
This week: St. Edward travels to Pittsburgh to take on Penn Hills on Friday. We'll see if Kalis is able to suit up.
CA OL Erik Magnuson
Magnuson did not play last week, as La Costa Canyon begins its season on Friday against Marina.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins
This week: On Friday at 7, Park Hill has its home opener against Ruskin.
OH LB Kaleb Ringer
Northmont dropped its opener to Hamilton, 28-14, as Ringer sat out the game with a broken hand suffered in the previous week's scrimmage. Ringer said on Twitter that the injury might require surgery, but he's hoping to get back on the field in a soft cast next week.
This week: Northmont plays at Princeton on Friday at 7:30.
MI LB James Ross
Orchard Lake St. Mary's dominated their first game against Grand Rapids West Catholic, finishing with a 35-0 shutout. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan (another name you might recognize) was at the game ($), and reported that Ross tallied three solo tackles (two for loss) and four assists.
This week: The Eaglets host Toledo (OH) St. John's Jesuit on Friday at 7.
OH OL Caleb Stacey
Oak Hills fell to La Salle in their opener, 42-21. No stats (obviously) or mention of Stacey in the game article.
This week: The Highlanders will try to pick up their first win of the year at Harrison on Friday at 7:30.
IL CB Anthony Standifer
Crete-Monee defeated Thornton Fractional South by a score of 32-8 in their opener. Standifer reported to me on Twitter that he finished with eight tackles, making sure to mention that Thornton didn't throw his way during the game.
This week: The Warriors head to Lincoln-Way West on Friday at 7:30.
OH DE Tom Strobel
Mentor defeated Euclid 49-21 in their first game of the season. No stats were readily available for Strobel, so this is the part where I remind you to contact me if you come across these kinds of things. Thanks.
This week: The Cardinals host Ursuline on Friday at 7.
OH TE A.J. Williams
Sycamore beat Withrow, 38-24, to open the season. Williams didn't record a catch, though his quarterback ran the ball 16 times for four touchdowns, so I'm guessing he didn't have many opportunities to do so.
This week: The Aviators, whose mascot is not a pair of cool sunglasses, bro, have their home opener against Springboro on Friday at 7:30.
OH S Jarrod Wilson
Buchtel's matchup with Ohio powerhouse Massillon Washington was featured in a Rivals AMP video, and Wilson was credited with 6 1/2 tackles, though his team ultimately fell by a score of 31-6. Highlights, including a couple nice tackles by the future Wolverine:
This week: The Griffins hope to notch their first win of the year on the road at Steubenville on Friday at 7.
OH DE Chris Wormley
Toledo Whitmer blew out Start, 42-6, and TomVH once again comes through with the stats – two tackles, one QB hurry, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for Wormley. The Whitmer defense held Start to just 108 yards of total offense.
This week: The Panthers host some of our neighbors to the north as London (Ontario) Lucas travels to Toledo for a Friday night game at 7. I'll be filming this one for next week's Creeper Van Original.
KY S Jeremy Clark
North Hopkins went on the road to defeat Graves County, 42-13, and Clark had quite the game, finishing with 12 tackles, an interception, and capping off the scoring with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown, according to TomVH. It's great to see Clark do so well, but this is the point where I start to get nervous that a big-time program might offer him more than a grayshirt and he could jump ship.
This week: The Maroons look to improve to 2-1 when they host North Hardin on Friday at 8.
MI QB Shane Morris
Morris and his Warren De La Salle squad dominated my alma mater, Ann Arbor Pioneer, 43-28. Morris completed 12 of 15 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, and Fox 2 has a brief highlight clip from the game:
This week: De La Salle plays Carmen-Ainsworth at Lake Shore on Friday at 7.
Player roundtable notes from Big Ten Media Days coming as soon as I can type them up. Hopefully 3500 words is enough to tide you over.
This fall, I'll be chronicling the season of Michigan commits as they hit the field on Friday nights (or Thursdays, or Saturday afternoons) in their high school games. The series includes stat breakdowns, game stories, and even some original video. Here's a primer for the out-of-state commits. If you have any corrections, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected], or post them in the comments of this post.
Montgomery Bell Academy
|Montgomery Bell 2011|
|8-26||8PM||@ Louisville Trinity|
|9-16||7PM||Battle Ground Academy|
|9-30||TBA||@ Father Ryan|
|10-28||TBA||@ Pope John Paul II|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Tackle/Guard
Last year, Montgomery Bell Academy went 9-3, losing in the second round of the Tennessee High School State Playoffs. Since Blake is an offensive lineman, he didn't have any stats of note on the year.
This season, MBA plays many of the same opponents that they did last year, including Ensworth, who beat them in the playoffs (avenging an earlier loss). Blake is one of the key players on his team, and with a solid season, could see his rankings improve on the recruiting sites. Since he was a first-time starter last year, it's likely he'll show plenty of improvement now that he's gotten his feet wet.
Colerain High School
|10-7||7:30PM||@ Lakota West|
|10-28||7:30PM||@ Oak Hills|
HS Position: Linebacker
Projects as: Strongside Linebacker
Colerain is one of the traditional powers in Ohio High School football, and their 11-1 season last year is another example of that success. However, they lost in the second round of the State Playoffs to rival St. Xavier, ending not only their undefeated streak, but also their season. Bolden notched 90 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions in the campaign.
Look for the Cardinals to reload for yet another successful campaign, though five players went on to Division-1 colleges after graduation. They also have a tough schedule, starting with an inter-state game against Cocoa (FL), and including a game against fellow Michigan commit Caleb Stacey's Oak Hills squad.
I might get a chance to catch a game of Bolden's, but if not, you'll be able to watch the season opener on ESPN2, so be sure to tune in.
Brush High School
|8-26||7PM||@ Eastlake North|
|10-28||7PM||@ Garfield Heights|
HS Position: Quarterback/Defensive End
Projects as: Defensive End/Wide Receiver
Brush struggled to a 4-6 record last year, with Brown one of the few bright spots at both defensive end and quarterback. He made 49 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and two forced fumbles at defensive end. His quarterback stats are not available.
Brush is looking to rebound in 2011 with a stronger season, and the five close losses last year indicate that they may not be far from a breakthrough of sorts. Brown might switch from quarterback to wideout this year (as some 7-on-7 highlights might indicate), but will continue terrorizing QBs off the edge.
As an underexposed recruit, Brown is somebody that could see his rankings on the recruiting sites rise if he has a dominant senior year. His physical tools are impressive, and putting them to good use could see him rise to 4-star status on all the recruiting sites. It's unlikely that I'll catch any of his games in person this fall. I'm also not positive if the schedule listed by MaxPreps is accurate, as that double-dip against Twinsburg seems a little fishy.
Southview High School
|9-2||7PM||@ Toledo Rogers|
|9-9||7PM||@ Toledo Start|
|9-16||7PM||Napoleon (@ Northview)|
|9-30||8PM||Perrysburg (@ Northview)|
|10-7||7PM||@ Bowling Green|
|10-14||7PM||Whitehouse Anthony Wayne|
HS Position: Safety/Wide Receiver
Projects as: Strong Safety
Like Colerain, Southview completed an undefeated regular season - blowing out many opponents along the way - but was tripped up early in the playoffs, falling in the first round to Twinsburg (alma mater of Zoltan, All Hail Zoltan). Allen finished his junior year with 56 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles on defense, while also recording 20 receptions on the other side of the ball.
This year, Southview will look to take last year's performance to the next level, advancing into the Ohio Playoffs. Allen should be an important part of the defense and the offense if he can stay healthy (he's had hamstring issues in the past).
Since the Sylvania/Toledo area is not a long haul, I might be able to catch a couple of Gant's games in person this fall. With a healthy, successful season, he has a very good chance to move up in the rankings.
Salt Lake City, UT
Highland High School
|8-19||7PM||@ Salt Lake West|
|8-26||7PM||@ Cedar City|
|10-14||7PM||@ Salt Lake East|
HS Position: A-Back
Projects as: Fullback
Highland had a pretty successful 2010 campaign, finishing the year with a 10-4 record and running through the playoffs to a State Championship. Houma played a big role in that championship, rushing for 1200 yards and 9 touchdowns as the dive back in a flexbone offense.
As the reigning State Champs, Highland should expect to have another successful season this fall, despite the loss of a pair of 3-star players to the Pac-12 (Desmond Collins to Oregon State, Nate Fakahafua to Utah). Sione should continue to play a big role in the offense, especially since one of his backfield mates has moved on as well.
Since he plays a position where there are rarely any prospects rated higher than three stars, it's unlikely to see Sione rise that much in the rankings. Compounding that is the fact that he's slightly undersized for his eventual college position, and he'll have to turn in a very impressive campaign in 2011 to see his rankings rise (though he may be able to pass a fullback or two).
Since he's two timezones away, I think it goes without saying that I won't see any games in person this fall (though any readers in the SLC area who want to e-mail game reports, photos, video, etc. are more than welcome to).
St. Edward High School
|St. Edward 2011|
|9-2||TBA||@ Pittsburgh Penn Hills|
|9-10||7:30PM||Youngstown Cardinal Mooney|
|9-24||7PM||Tampa (FL) Jefferson|
|9-30||7PM||@ Youngstown Ursuline|
|10-8||7PM||Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep|
|10-15||7PM||@ Cincinnati St. Xavier|
|10-29||7PM||Cleveland St. Ignatius|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Guard/Tackle
2010 was a good year for one of the tradition powers in Ohio High School Football, as Lakewood St. Edward went 15-0 en route to a State Championship. That was quite the rebound from an extremely disappointing 4-6 campaign in 2009, especially since they played plenty of top competition. Since Kyle is an offensive lineman, he didn't have any stats of note.
This year should be interesting for St. Edward, as they lost 5 players to Division-1 ball (and another to FCS school Penn, which I guess technically counts as D-1). However, this year's senior class might be even better, with Kalis joined by a quartet of 3-star commits on the roster. The run-heavy scheme certainly should see success behind Kalis and fellow BCS-bound lineman Tyler Orlosky, who is committed to West Virginia. They have a hell of a schedule, with opponents from four different states.
Cleveland is one of the less-convenient potential stops for the Great FNL Tour of 2011, but I'm hoping to make it to at least one of Kalis's games. I'm not willing to make any promises though.
La Costa Canyon High School
|La Costa Canyon 2011|
|9-16||7PM||@ San Clemente|
|10-21||7PM||Rancho Buena Vista|
|11-4||7PM||@ El Camino|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Tackle
La Costa Canyon had a decent season last year, finishing 8-4 and losing to Oceanside in the CIF Playoff Second Round. Since Erik is an offensive lineman, he didn't have any stats of note.
La Costa Canyon is looking to build on last year's success, and have another successful season, taking it to the next level. They did lose a defensive end to Kansas State, which one must assume will weaken their defense.
California is a little too far for an FNL road trip (forgive me), but if any San Diego-area readers want to help keep tabs, my e-mail inbox is open. Erik is already a very highly-regarded prospect, so unless he has a simply dominant senior year, displaying that he has NFL potential as a true left tackle, it's hard to see him moving up the rankings much.
Northmont High School
|9-2||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Princeton|
|9-10||7PM||@ Cincinnati Moeller|
HS Position: Linebacker
Projects as: Weakside/Middle Linebacker
Northmont missed the State Playoffs last year after a trying season that included four blowout losses (to six wins). Despite team struggles, Kaleb performed pretty well, notching 35 solo tackles and 50 assisted tackles, while playing running back in goal line situations.
No recruited players graduated from Northmont, so this season has a chance to show some improvement. With Kaleb the key component in the defense, Northmont will look to build toward the State Playoffs in 2011.
Kaleb has a range of rankings on the recruiting services, with only Scout deeming him worthy of a fourth star. If he can turn in a physically dominant senior year, there's a good chance for him to rise in the rankings. His height will limit him a bit, but there's no reason he can't scrape into the 4-star range.
I'm hoping to make it to maaaaybe one of Kaleb's games this season, but with so many commits close to home, I may not be able to see him live. Also, there appears to be an error in the schedule posted on Maxpreps, as it shows two consecutive games against Fairmont.
Oak Hills High School
|Oak Hills 2011|
|8-27||TBA||@ Cincinnati La Salle|
|9-23||7:30PM||@ Lakota West|
|10-7||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Sycamore|
HS Position: Offensive Guard/Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Center
Oak Hills had a rough season last year, going 4-6 and missing out on the State Playoffs. Losses to Stacey's future teammates AJ Williams (Sycamore) and Joe Bolden (Colerain) were included. Since Caleb is an offensive lineman, he didn't register any meaningful stats last season.
This season, the slate looks pretty tough again for Oak Hills, but they'll certainly strive to improve upon last year's record. Once again, they close the season against Joe Bolden's Colerain squad.
Caleb is at an interesting point from a rankings perspective. He's a 3-star across all three sites, which unanimously rank him among the guards. HOWEVA, he's slated to be a center in college, and is expected to play that position for his high school team this year to help get acclimated. That means that not only are the recruiting sites going to be scouting him this fall, but they'll be doing it at a new position. Lots of moving parts means lots of opportunity to move in the rankings. Rivals and ESPN only rank two centers in the 4-star range, Scout ranks three (two of whom are committed to Oklahoma), and 24/7 Sports only bothers to rank one center at all.
There's a slight chance I'll see a game or two of Stacey's this fall, but again, there are plenty of other prospects much closer, so I make no promises.
Crete-Monee High School
|8-26||7:30PM||Thornton Fractional South|
|9-2||7:30PM||@ Lincoln-Way West|
|10-7||6PM||@ Rich Central|
|10-22||12PM||@ Rich East|
HS Position: Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback/Safety
Crete-Monee had a decent season last year, finishing with an 8-4 record and a loss to Danville in the third round of the State Playoffs. Anthony was a big part of that success, adding 44 tackles to his 9 interceptions and a forced fumble.
This year, Crete-Monee should be even stronger, with no players from last year's class even present in Rivals's database, much less committed to Division-1 schools. Anthony should be one of the squad's leaders, along with junior teammate WR LaQuon Treadwell, helping take their team to the next level.
Anthony has plenty of potential to move up in the rankings with a good season. He's been pegged as sort of a corner/safety combo by some recruiting sites, so showing that he has the necessary skills to be a high-level corner in college could boost his rankings. With excellent corner size, displaying his abilities on the field is all he needs.
I won't be wishy-washy about whether or not I'm going to see any of his games, as I plan to make exactly one: The night before the Michigan game at Northwestern, Crete-Monee takes on Rich Central. Convenient!
Mentor High School
HS Position: Defensive End
Projects as: Strongside Defensive End
Mentor had an OK season last year, finishing 7-4 with a first-round playoff loss to Lakewood St. Edward (and Strobel's good friend Kyle Kalis) - bookending the season with losses to St. Ed. Strobel had 37 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and a sack for Mentor, and added a pair of fumble recoveries.
This year, the schedule looks just a bit lighter, so Mentor should put together a strong season. Strobel is the headliner of his team, and should be a team leader en route to a successful season.
Despite that, I don't think it's likely that Tom moves around much in the rankings, unless he puts together a monster year statistically (he was held back a bit last year by a trachea injury). A solid 4-star ranking is nothing to be ashamed of, and it seems likely Tom sticks in that range.
I'm not planning to make it to any of Mentor's games this year, but it's always possible that plans change.
Sycamore High School
|8-27||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Withrow|
|9-30||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Princeton|
HS Position: Tight End/Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Tight End
Sycamore had a mediocre season last year, finishing 6-4 on the season and missing out on the State playoffs. The season included a win over Caleb Stacey's Oak Hills but a loss to Joe Bolden's Colerain. AJ didn't rack up many numbers, instead serving primarily as a blocker.
Sycamore graduated a couple BCS-bound players, so it wouldn't be a surprise if their team took a sight step back this year. However, the schedule is a bit lighter with no Colerain, so perhaps they can put together a strong season.
AJ is in a weird position as far as rankings go. He's a huge tight end, but it doesn't sound like there is any plan to have him play tackle. Despite that, he rarely catches any passes. Unless he moves to offensive line (and is ranked there by the recruiting services) or Sycamore's offensive scheme changes to get him the ball a bit more frequently, I doubt AJ is going to move in the rankings.
I have no current plans to make it to a Sycamore game this year.
John R. Buchtel High School
|8-25||7:30PM||@ Massillon Washington|
|9-16||7PM||@ Akron Garfield|
|10-8||12PM||@ Akron North|
|10-21||7PM||@ St. Vincent-St. Mary|
HS Position: Safety/Wide Receiver
Projects as: Safety
Buchtel had a pretty good season last year, falling in the State Finals to Bishop Watterson. The 11-4 final record also included losses to a trio of Catholic Schools. Jarrod was a huge part of his team's success, reeling in 12 interceptions and returning 5 of them for touchdowns. He also had a 98-yard fumble return for touchdown. He recorded about 50 tackles on the year.
This year, Buchtel loses the services of wideout Corey Smith, who would be a senior, but is ineligible to play high school sports (he's participated in four previous years). One of Wilson's compatriots in the defensive backfield, Chevin Meadows, has moved on to Kent State. Despite that, Jarrod is one of the catalysts for his team's success, so there shouldn't be too much dropoff for the Griffins - though they have a brutal start to the year.
Jarrod has put up massive stats in previous years, so it's not a lack of production that is holding him back in the rankings. Because of that, I think it's unlikely he moves much, even if he has another huge year.
I'm not currently planning to attend any Buchtel games this season, but Akron readers are welcome to e-mail me.
Any corrections to the schedules posted here are welcome. If you attend any commit's game, feel free to e-mail me notes, stats, photos, etc. to [email protected].
The 2012 offer board lives here.
Kaleb Ringer and Royce Jenkins-Stone Go Blue
Michigan commitments come in pairs this year, as two offensive linemen committed within a day of each other several weeks ago, and Michigan picked up a Friday-Saturday linebacker combo this week.
OH LB Kaleb Ringer was the first, dropping on Friday. Commitment video from the local ABC affiliate. Dayton Daily News reporter who ran with the commitment early runs a non-apology apology on the DDN website. I'll take the word of the kid who's upset about it over the reporter trying to cover his own ass.
Up next was MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, who dropped for the Wolverines on Saturday following his visit to the Michigan spring game. The consensus is that he's a great athlete, but fundamentally raw - like many prospects coming out of Detroit's public schools.
So Long, Zeke Pike?
KY QB Zeke Pike is set to announce his college decision at 2:45 today, and although he was very high on Michigan a couple weeks ago, the consensus across the internet seems to be that he'll pick Auburn.
Michigan has plenty of irons in the QB fire - including a potential offeree in OH QB Austin Appleby in the past few days - so missing out on Pike will be a shame, but not a crushing loss (and if they don't land an elite QB in 2012, there's always in-state phenom Shane Morris for next year).
NY DT Jarron Jones is a soft commit to Penn State.
MD CB Ronald Darby, one of the top athletes in this class, has committed to Notre Dame.
A Little Closer...
MI TE/Ath Ron Thompson (looking disturbingly similar to a svelte Will Campbell at right) has transferred from East Detroit High School to to Southfield High School for his senior season. Most think that Thompson will become a Michigan commit in the near future, which could help the Wolverines land his new teammate, MI CB LEVITICUS PAYNE.
A late March junior day visit to Michigan almost ended Thompson’s recruitment. He grew up following the Wolverines and has visited their campus several times in recent months. He toyed with the idea of committing to Michigan over the last couple weeks, but has decided to hold off and continue weighing his options.
Ron still sounds pretty high on Michigan, but his timeline for a decision has been extended.
CO TE Evan Baylis will be making a decision soon. Although he visited Michigan, Tom thinks he probably won't select the Wolverines. So long as Brady Hoke and co. don't fall out of favor with Thompson, this wouldn't be a huge loss.
OH LB Joe Bolden visited last week, and let Tom know how it went. The upshot:
My uncle [also his high school coach] wasn't at school today, but we'll probably sit down in the next couple days. I really don't have a timeline, it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in February. I'm not sure yet.
Michigan is in strong position but with two new linebacker commits, who knows what will happen.
FL S Deon Bush will narrow his list soon.
Michigan is still in the top 5 for FL QB Bennie Coney. Florida State, Notre Dame, and Cincinnati "are not concerned about" his past transgressions, possibly the least-flattering way to phrase that point (to all parties) and are his top three.
PA RB Greg Garmon is tougher than you. He beat cancer:
"You know, with surgeries and chemo(therapy) and radiation treatments, it was hard," Garmon said. "The doctors told me we had to play it by ear. It was crazy. Me being the football maniac that I am, even with stuff still in my chest I'd sneak off and play football. My mom didn't know until I got caught."
It's a pretty cool story, so I encourage you to click through.
IL OL Jordan Diamond had a solid visit to Ann Arbor ($, info in header). Scout's header implies that Michigan is atop his list. He told Tom that he plans to take all 5 official visits during the season before coming to a final decision. His teammate, QB Robert Gregory, might not be as much a Michigan target with the switch to a new offense, but he can throw it, too. He could be a late offer if other QBs fall by the wayside.
OH OL Kyle Dodson was the subject of Sam Webb's Detroit News recruiting column last week. The four-star tackle talked to Webb about his game:
"I'm real, real aggressive and competitive. You will see me out there going crazy. I think (opponents) should be scared because I'm very aggressive. I'm angry. If you just look at me wrong on the field, I'm going to scream at you and you're going to get scared."
From a football perspective, Scout's Allen Trieu talks specifics:
"Dodson stands out because of his ability to move, pull and get into the second level at his size," said Allen Trieu, Scout.com's Midwest regional manager. "He's very naturally strong and I like how he finishes his blocks. He's very raw, but he does play at a school that spreads it out, so he has experience in pass protection as well as the running game. His upside is tremendous."
Dodson says distance from home won't be a factor in his decision, and he'll visit both Michigan and Michigan State once more in the coming months. He plans to decide on a school before his senior season of high school.
PA OL Chris Muller holds a Michigan offer, and has interest from a number of other schools, including LSU and Ohio State.
CA OL Max Tuerk will visit Michigan this summer. He has no timeframe to narrow his college choices, but is leaning toward attending school outside of California.
OH DE Chris Wormley is Bucknuts' #1 prospect in the state.
PA DE Noah Spence skipped Penn State's spring game because it rained on Saturday:
Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt's Noah Spence, one of the top-rated defensive ends in the country, was scheduled to make the trip with teammate Brock Dean but decided to stay at home because of the rain, BlueWhite Illustrated reported on its website. Spence has already made several unofficial visits to Penn State and is believed to have the Nittany Lions near if not at the top of his list of prospective colleges. He is the only pure defensive end the Lions are recruiting in this class.
He still hasn't had a chance to visit Ann Arbor.
The first edition of 2012 Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings are here.
Though the news has been out since Tuesday thanks to an overzealous Dayton Daily News reporter, OH LB Kaleb Ringer made it official tonight (or will very soon): he wants to be a Wolverine.
4*, #8 MLB
When I first wrote this post a few weeks ago, all four premium sites had Ringer listed at 6-1. Now Rivals and ESPN have downgraded him to 6-0, which is probably the more accurate number. I'll give him a shade under 6-1. Scout and 24/7 Sports (the two who list him at the taller height) say he's 225 pounds, whereas Rivals and ESPN are right around 220.
He may not wow you with the eye test, but put on the film and he's all over the field making plays. He's very solidly built, has a nose for the football and has legitimate sideline to sideline speed. He's also physical and can take on blocks. I have to see more of him in coverage, but he's a kid who could end up leading a team in tackles for several years in college.
They list his strengths as hitting ability, block shedding, and speed, while calling size an "area for improvement," which... dude probably ain't growin' a whole lot more. For the record, UMGoBlog's analysts actually say that his speed is only OK.
Per a local fluff article, he certainly has the attitude for a linebacker:
Ringer often does get a backfield call on goal-line situations, but otherwise creates havoc as a speedy, hard-hitting linebacker... “It’s the only sport that you can beat up somebody and not get in trouble for it,” he said. “I really appreciate that.”
In the same article, the Talbott brothers' former head coach talks about Ringer's abilities:
Wayne coach Jay Minton is sold on Ringer. Minton helped groom former Wayne and OSU standout linebacker Marcus Freeman and sees Ringer as having a similar impact. “If there’s a better (linebacker) in the state, I want to see him,” Minton said. “Whenever they can run out of Ringers is fine by me. There’s a lot of them. It’s got to be really neat for that family to see the success that they’re all having. Kaleb could be one of the best of the bunch.”
"As good as an NFL Draft pick" is pretty high praise (though note those words were the author's, not Minton's).
Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long:
Kaleb Ringer, 6-2, 225, Clayton Northmont. I become more impressed with Ringer as time goes along. I have always been concerned about his size. He was about this same size when he first popped up on the radar screen so I was concerned about him outgrowing the position. We have seen it happen with other top linebacker prospects, most recently with Glenvilles Andre Sturdivant. Ringer is even more athletic than Sturdivant and has that same nose for the ball and for making big plays.
He lists Ringer as the #1 linebacker in the state of Ohio. From another breakdown:
I thought he would outgrow linebacker. He has not done that. Ringer is a classic Mike linebacker. Hashmark to hashmark it is hard to not pick Ringer. He is physical and a physical specimen. He is going to carry another 20 lbs on that frame... I have seen his complete highlight film. Not one play of Ringer in space.
Playing in space (and speed in general) are the main questions on Ringer coming out of high school. I won't accuse Long of changing his tune once it became clear that Ringer would become a Wolverine, but he had this to say earlier in the week:
I think he is slightly overrated because the way the game is played linebackers must be able to cover and I have not seen it out of him but if you want a middle linebacker to run from tackle to tackle and stuff the run then this is an awfully good football player. He committed to Michigan without an offer from the Buckeyes. I did not see a Buckeye linebacker in Ringer but this is definitely an upgrade in talent for Michigan.
Judge for yourself, though it seems to me to be a radical change in a short span.
As a Southwest Ohio guy, it's no surprise to see a Cincinnati offer for Kaleb. Syracuse and West Virginia had also offered, along with a host of MAC schools. In the Big Ten, Illinois and Iowa were his other offers.
Notably absent from that offer list are Ohio State and Michigan State. The Buckeyes told him that his lack of an offer had nothing to do with his ability, which might raise a flag. The Spartans (where is older nephew Javon starred a few years back) may have had similar reasons for not offering.
Posted 35 solo tackles and 50 assists
He was also an occasional running back (primarily on the goal line) and punched in a couple touchdowns on the season.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout, Rivals, and ESPN are all sorely lacking in 40 times. That means I get to accuse them of being very FAKE indeed, dishing out five out of five. Between his freshman and sophomore years in high school, he ran a 4.85 at a camp, which does not sound FAKE at all (his 4.13 shuttle time was a much more respectable number).
His sophomore highlights are on Youtube, along with an abbreviated junior highlight reel:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Ringer is a classic middle linebacker, and a perfect example of one difference between the current coaching staff and Rich Rodriguez's staff. He's a big, stocky, smashmouth-type football player, and doesn't have elite speed or the flexibility to project to several different positions. YMRMFSPA some like Jarrett Irons.
With Michigan's linebacker haul in the class of 2010, Kaleb should have the opportunity to redshirt as a freshman. However, starter Kenny Demens will graduate following the 2012 season, and Kaleb will get every opportunity to win the starting position himself. I would assume he doesn't earn that starting position (Desmond Morgan and Kellen Jones will have a year of experience on him), but he'll be a member of the rotation, earning situational playing time and getting plenty of experience in blowouts.
With two years of separation from at least one of the linebackers in the class of 2011 (I assume one or both will see the field instead of redshirting), he should be a solid starter as an upperclassman. He seems to me like the type of guy who can rack up all-conference honors without drawing a ton of interest from the NFL.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
As noted above, Michigan took several linebackers in last year's class. That means they don't need many in 2012, and getting a commitment from a high-profile guy like Ringer means they can focus only on the guys they really want, such as James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and Joe Bolden. Crazy though it may seem, there's a chance that Michigan will have to say no to one of those guys.
Ringer is the first of many defensive players to commit to the class, joining a pair of offensive linemen. Michigan's main needs for the rest of the class are an elite quarterback, and millions of players on both sides of the line. A couple tight ends and a wide receiver are probably in the cards as well.