"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Every so often it's nice to take a step back and look at the recruiting picture from more distance than "recruit X visits school Y. Here's a look at needs, commits, and remaining prospects at each position. Rodriguez has said he expects to sign a full class of 25. There are currently 19 commits and 22 spots available.
Conventional recruiting updates will return next week.
Current Commits: 2
MI QB Devin Gardner and SC QB Conelius Jones are waiting in the wings to become Michigan's next signal-caller. Gardner has talked about preparing to enroll early, but still isn't certain if he plans to do so. Jones could potentially move to another position if the Wolverines find another QB that they like in the class of 2010 or to make the depth chart more appealing for prospect in future classes. LA QB Munchie LeGeaux is still considering Michigan if there's need for another QB, but Michigan is basically done here.
Tentative Grade: A. Gardner is the top QB recruit in the country to Rivals and Jones is a good developmental prospect.
Current Commits: 2
TX RB Stephen Hopkins is the team's big back in the class of 2010. MI RB Austin White is more of a versatile all-purpose back. There has been some talk that Hopkins may find his future on the defensive side of the ball, as a linebacker. He plays the position in high school, and the Wolverines definitely have more need there than they do at running back. FL RB Eduardo Clements is still considering Michigan, although it seems he's decided on a non-Michigan school.
Tentative Grade: B. White and Hopkins were early offers and thus guys the staff wanted from the start; they're both hovering around the 3/4-star borderline. You'd like to see Michigan reel in a blue-chip at some point but they look pretty set for the next few years.
Current Commits: 2
LA Slot Drew Dileo will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Wes Welker over the course of his career as Designated White Slot Guy. TX RB Tony Drake is a combo RB/Slot. Michigan is already pretty full at this spot, since Martavious Odoms and Kelvin Grady are just sophomores, while Terrence Robinson and Jeremy Gallon are freshmen. With the increase in tight end usage, there is only room for one slot on the field most of the time. This might be a spot where the depth chart turns off and jumped ship.
Tentative Grade: C. Nether Drake nor Dileo had much in the way of offers when they committed and their recruiting rankings are towards the bottom of the class.
Current Commits: 4
Michigan is stocked—possibly excessively so—at wideout, especially considering the emergence of young players already on the roster, like sophomores Darryl Stonum and JR Hemingway. A couple of the current commits are likely to change positions, such as MI WR Jeremy Jackson moving to tight end, MI WR Ricardo Miller moving to tight end, or OH WR Jerald Robinson moving to defensive back. Only OH WR DJ Williamson, a straight-line burner, seems locked in at WR.
Miller and Jackson both plan to enroll early, and Robinson may do the same. Further evidence that moves are potentially on the way: Michigan is still offering outside wideouts, as they just sent an offer to CA WR Kenny Stills ($, info in header).
Tentative Grade: B+. Miller's sudden and mostly unexplained ratings drop is bothersome, but he had a lot of impressive early offers so it probably doesn't mean a whole lot. He should be good. Robinson was great at summer camp and the other two guys have the potential to contribute.
Current Commits: 0
I noted above that Ricardo Miller or Jeremy Jackson may be destined for this position, but Michigan is also looking for a true tight end. The play of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb has shown Michigan's coaches the value of having a playmaker at the position. The only tight end that seems to be a realistic possibility is OH TE Alex Smith, and even that is a longshot.
Tentative Grade: Inc.
Current Commits: 0
Mark Ortmann will leave Michigan following this season, leaving very few proven tackles on the roster. Though Patrick Omameh, Taylor Lewan, and Michael Schofield have tons of potential, there is a need for more players at the position, particularly talented ones. MN OL Seantrel Henderson is the only top prospect that the Wolverines are strongly involved with, though OH OL Skyler Schofner is lesser-regarded, and still a possibility. Even if Michigan can't land one of those guys (and odds are that they won't), there is the opportunity for some sleeper prospects to be picked up later in the recruiting process.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Not looking good at this point with few options other than Henderson, who is a tossup.
Interior Offensive Line
Current Commits: 1
OH OL Christian Pace is destined to be a center in the future, as he's a little short to be a true guard. Michigan would also like another guard in the class, though pickings are getting slim for top guys. FL OL Torrian Wilson was favoring Michigan for a long time... until he committed to Stanford. He's still a little bit open, though it looks like his Cardinal commitment may stick. Michigan will likely be looking for sleepers at this position as well.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Again, few options on the board now that Wilson has committed to Stanford.
Current Commits: 1
OH DT Terry Talbott is underrated by the recruiting services, and should be a very useful player for Michigan within a couple years. The Wolverines still need another player at the position, though, and unlike offensive line, there are a number of options. PA DT Shariff Floyd is one of the top players in the nation, and he's gone back and forth over whether Michigan will get a visit. MN DT Beau Allen recently received an offer from Michigan, and has interest. MI DT Johnathon Hankins is favoring other schools right now, but a Michigan offer could vault them right back into the race.
Tentative Grade: C. Talbott's a good pickup but Michigan is nowhere near picking up any blue-chip guys and needs some more depth.
Current Commits: 2
Michigan has bodies at the defensive end positions, but they're lacking true playmakers waiting to take over for Brandon Graham once he leaves. PA DEs Jordan Paskorz and Kenny Wilkins are more likely to be solid contributors than game-changers, so Michigan would like at least one more DE in the class. There have been rumblings that Paskorz could bulk up and move to defensive tackle, and that Wilkins will probably end up at Quick DE. Michigan doesn't have a lot of options here, as prospects are dropping to Penn State, and now FL DE Lynden Trail has committed to Florida. Michigan will either look for a sleeper with a lot of potential, or hopefully jump back into the recruitment of a top guy if they continue having a good season.
Tentative Grade: C+. Wilkins is a great athlete who can grow into the strongside DE spot; Paskorz isn't rated that high. Michigan's gotten beaten out by PSU for approximately 8 DE prospects.
Current Commits: 1
OH LB Antonio Kinard is Michigan's sole commit at this position, and he's not really a top guy. He's got potential, but the Wolverines need a lot more than that, considering the weakened state of the linebacker corps. Fortunately, there are lots of options, though CT LB Khairi Fortt is now off the table, as he committed to Penn State. VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has visited Michigan already this fall, where he enjoyed himself. He plans another trip to Ann Arbor this winter. MD LB Josh Furman is also a strong possibility here, and he plans to decide fairly soon. MD LB Troy Gloster was a possibility, but he recently committed to West Virginia. A good backup plan here is OH LB Jewone Snow, a Michigan legacy.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Will be good if they pick up Olaniyan and Furman.
Current Commits: 1
FL S Marvin Robinson was considered a top junior, and although he isn't as highly-ranked as a senior, he's still a good grab for the Wolverines. He intends to enroll early, but Michigan still needs at least 1 more player at this position. OH S Latwan Anderson seems to be looking elsewhere now (and deciding soon), but CA S Dietrich Riley is still looking at Michigan, as is CA S Sean Parker. Both are top prospects, and plan to visit Ann Arbor this fall. There are a couple prospect a little lower on the board, including AZ S Marquis Flowers.
Tentative Grade: Inc. If they keep Robinson and add another decent prospect it'll be a B.
Current Commits: 2
OH CBs Terrence Talbott and Courtney Avery are good gets, but Michigan needs one elite corner in this class (Don't believe me? Watch the team play this year). Fortunately, PA CB Cullen Christian has been heavily favoring Michigan since the beginning of time, and plans to announce a decision a couple days after he visits for the Ohio State game. There are also a couple more options back here, which would allow Christian to play safety if he goes blue. They are FL CBs Travis Williams, Rashad Knight, and Tony Grimes, as well as top CA CB Joshua Shaw. Grimes is also thought to be favoring Michigan; Knight has been quiet for a while but the last time someone pinged him he also said Michigan was his leader pending a potential Florida State offer which looks like it won't come.
Tentative Grade: A-, assuming they latch on to Christian and one other guy on the list, possibly two with the intent of moving someone to safety.
Current Commits: 1
WI P Will Hagerup is the man at punter after Zoltan leaves Ann Arbor on his spaceship. Hagerup is among the top punters in the nation, and was Michigan's #1 choice from the start.
Tentative Grade: A. Woo nation's top punter.
As always, you can see the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board for all the updates.
Next week's recruiting update will take a step back and look at remaining needs in the class, and the likelihood that they get filled.
Welcome Will Hagerup
As covered on Sunday, WI P Will Hagerup committed to Michigan during his official visit to Ann Arbor. Hagerup is the nation's #1 or #3 punter, depending on which service you trust. He'll fill the Space Emperor's role when Zoltan graduates following this year. For more information on, Check sunday's post.
In other puntin' news, AZ P Jordan Morgan (not that Jordan Morgan) was in the house for the Wolverines' victory over Indiana. With Michigan taking a commitment from Hagerup, however, Morgan is probably no longer on the radar except as a preferred walk-on.
Needs Moar DB Talent
CA CB Joshua Shaw has replaced an SEC team on his list with a Big Ten one ($, info in header). He's also scheduled a visit to aforementioned Big Ten school. Using our critical thinking skills, we can deduce that the Big Ten school is Michigan, which he had previously said was just on the outside of his top group.
Another big time corner has long been favoring the Wolverines, and things haven't changed for PA CB Cullen Christian. If Ohio State offers him, they'll move into his top 5, but the Michigan still holds the top spot. He'll likely visit for the Penn State game.
FL S Demar Dorsey is committed to Florida, but still considering Michigan. His pledge to the Gators is being "firmed up," so it's unclear whether there's enough of an opening to grab him.
Michigan was dropped a while back by SC CB John Fulton, but the Wolverines' good season has moved them back into his consciousness ($, info in header). Michigan is still on the hunt for elite DBs (if you've watched them play, you know why), and their pool of options is expanding.
Michigan is in strong position for VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who visited for the Notre Dame game. There have been lots of articles to that effect, with no actual new information, so this should be the last one unless there's an actual update.
CT LB Khairi Fortt is announcing a decision on Monday. All conventional wisdom points toward Penn State, but Michigan is on his list of finalists. Still, I'd be shocked if he picked the maize-and-blue.
...and now for some video on MD LB Josh Furman, a more realistic option for Michigan:
King's Travels and other Tales of Defensive Linemen
The odd saga of NC DE/DT Gabe King continued last week, when he moved from North Carolina to Oregon. He had been declared ineligible to play his senior season in the state of North Carolina, and will be able to play at South Eugene High School in Oregon. I guess this lends credence to the conventional wisdom floating around that he's a lock to end up on the West Coast, no?
As miniscule as Michigan's chances were before the move, they've shrunk even more now. Look for King to end up at Oregon or Cal, barring a complete shocker. Considering he's "walking distance" from UO, they're likely the favorite.
As discussed in last week's update, MN DT Beau Allen has been offered. Michigan will have to fight a number of programs if they are to land him, including Notre Dame ad Stanford.
In other defensive tackle news, PA DT Sharrif Floyd is still considering Michigan, although he doesn't have plans to take an official visit:
“Those aren’t my final five,” Floyd said. “I wouldn’t even call them my top five. They are just the five I scheduled for my official visits. I’m also looking at Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College and West Virginia.”
So Michigan is in a murky Top 9-ish situation for Floyd. The 5 officials he has planned are Florida (two weeks ago), USC (last weekend), Penn State, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The chances of landing him aren't great, but they're (slightly) better than zero.
Miami DT commit Louis Nix is wavering, and is considering Michigan for an official visit. The Wolverines are in a second group behind the Hurricanes and Notre Dame, but if he does manage to make it to campus, Coach Rod and Co. have a chance.
The interior of the line apparently isn't the only place Michigan is still looking for help. They looked to the school of CB target Tony Grimes, and offered his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy ($, info in header). Surprise, surprise, that's rocketed the Wolverines near the top of his list ($, info in header). His other offers come from schools like Wisconsin, Maryland, and Florida International, so Michigan could put themselves in pretty good position.
For the future
The 2011 news has been slow in the past couple weeks, but FL RB Demetrius Hart is a kid who many expect to eventually pick Michigan. He went off in his high school game on Friday. The evidence of said performance begins about a minute into this poorly produced video. [Editor's note: OH SNAP.]
NY Ath Quentin Gause is hearing from Michigan, and it may not be a coincidence that the Wolverines are the first school he mentions. A commitment is a long way off, but Gause may be leaning Blue at this early stage. He plans to take a set of unofficial visits when his high school season ends.
Michigan appears to be fading for OH TE Alex Smith. "Spartans winning with recruits," unfortunately for them not on field. I believe I forgot to mention this last week, but I removed CJ Olaniyan, who has committed to Penn State, as well as the similarly-committed NY DE Dominique Easley. Josh Helmholdt says most recruiting visitors will come to the Penn State or Ohio State games. I missed this a while back, but OH WR commit DJ Williamson had ankle surgery at the beginning of the month ($, info in header).
The 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board holds all the updates on prospects of interest.
Tom Lemming's top prospects list is generally pretty kind to M:
#1 Combo-passer Devin Gardner
#23 Tailback-slotback Austin White
#25 Tailback-slotback Tony Drake
#6 Big back Stephen Hopkins
#13 Wide receiver Ricardo Miller
#19 Wide receiver Jeremy Jackson
#20 Offensive guard Christian Pace
#24 Inside linebacker Antonio Kinard
#4 Safety Marvin Robinson
There are a bunch of other targets included on the list, obviously. While we're talking rankings, Rivals recently updated theirs, and say hello to the #1 QB in all the land:
That of course means I'm contractually obligated to point out the rockin' MGoBlog HD highlights of Gardner.
Cullen Christian's reported visit plans seem to change by the day, but for now, he's planning to visit only Michigan and UCLA, along with maaaybe a third school to be named later. He still intends to make a decision during his senior season. (Christian photo by Bob Donaldson of the Post-Gazette). His teammate, Brandon Ifill, will visit in September (likely along with Cullen), and says that the two prospects are no longer tied to the idea of going to the same school. How about a little pre-season fluff on their team, as well.
The Particularly Revealing Scout Header is becoming a staple of recruiting posts lately, and who am I to change that?
Maryland safety Josh Furman will be taking his first official visit on Sept. 12 to Michigan. “Michigan is showing a lot of interest,” Furman said. “I’m very curious to see what the campus is like and I can’t wait to see a game at the Big House. I also really like (wide receiver) coach Tony Dews. He’s a great guy and I just get a good feeling about him.” Although Furman still denies a leader...
The rest of the article is behind paywall, but jesus is that one informative header. So: Furman likes Michigan, and add him to the list for next weekend's visitors. Fluff on him, mostly concerned with his ability to run the ball.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has set up four of his official visits, one of which will be to Ann Arbor. His others will be to North Carolina, Duke, and UCLA. For his fifth and final visit, he's considering Stanford, Wake, and Vanderbilt (quite the student, no?). No word yet on which game he'll be attending.
Michigan is in the final 5 for CT LB Khairi Fortt, along with Penn State, Georgia, USC, and North Carolina. The article implies without explicitly stating that those will be the schools he officially visits, as well.
MI DE CJ Olaniyan talked with Rivals AMP:
Nothing earth-shattering. He wants to make a commitment by the middle of his season, and the two visits he's thought about so far are Notre Dame and Penn State. As far as Michigan goes, he likes the academics, and has been on campus for three unofficial visits.
He Who Has Amazing Name
Though Michigan's QB recruiting is probably all wrapped up, LA QB Munchie Legaux still likes the Wolverines. M has made his final three along with Baylor, Oregon, and Tulane (they must not be able to count very well in Louisiana, I guess), and seems to be still giving him some pretty good attention. The rest of the article is pretty M focused, so I suggest checking it out. Munchie himself says he might not be fast enough to play receiver, so bringing him in for a position switch is probably not what Michigan is going for. I would presume he's being given the attention in case of another decommitocalypse, a la last year. In addition, he looks like Vince Young with dreads. (Legaux photo by Susan Poag of the Times-Picayune).
Michigan is still nominally in the running for CA RB/LB Anthony Barr, but when your finalists are 3 schools from your home state, your dad's alma mater, and Michigan, Michigan is probably the odd man out here. If he doesn't end up signing with the Irish, it will probably be with one of the Cali schools.
Michigan is still in the top group for FL RB Eduardo Clements, though Georgia is on top of the heap for now.
Michigan is not in the top 4 for MI DT Johnathon Hankins. I think that ship may have sailed when he was too... hefty... to earn an offer in camp. He'll likely be removed soon.
Bill Kurelic thinks Michigan will end up with Dior Mathis, and Seantrel Henderson and Sharrif Floyd will go to Minnesota(!) and Florida, respectively.
There was also an article on Tony Grimes from the Miami Herald but you now must register (for free) to view it. Hey, great way to get me to not link to your paper, guys. Same with an article linked up on MGoBoard: Torrian Wilson got hurt last week, but it doesn't appear to be too serious.
Removed MD RB Marcus Coker, who will be a Hawkeye.
Removed FL DE Corey Lemonier, who is no longer considering M.
Update 8/11: Linked to video on PA DT Sharrif Floyd, articles on CT LB Khairi Fortt (#2, #3), MI CB Dior Mathis, CA CB Joshua Shaw (#2, #3, #4), FL CB Tony Grimes, CA S Dietrich Riley, WI P Will Hagerup, PA CB Cullen Christian, MI WR Commit Jeremy Jackson, TX RB Commit Stephen Hopkins, MD LB Josh Furman. FL RB Eduardo Clements.
Local content on commits Devin Gardner and Austin White, along with 2011 WR DeAnthony Arnett.
Josh Helmholdt discusses recent visitors Talbott(s) and Ifill. Moved Terrence Talbott to offered.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting Board lives here. Slow week.
On top of taking home MVP honors at the Top Gun camp, CT LB Khairi Fortt has pared his list to a top 6, and Michigan is in, along with Penn State (the presumed leader), Georgia (the stated leader), USC, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Fortt has only planned officials to Penn State and Georgia, and plans to finish his recruitment by the end of September. He does however, say Michigan will be receiving an official visit ($, info in header). He plans to enroll early at his college destination.
Also, need some tips for recruiting him? Have I got the article for you! Fortt prefers laid back coaches and meeting his position coach in person, but not coaches who bother him on Facebook. As noted above, Michigan must have taken good enough notes to get him to commit to an official visit. No public word on the date yet.
All Your Good-Not-Great Running Back Are Belong to Us
FL RB Eduardo Clements has long had Michigan in a top group along with the Miami Hurricanes and Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia may be sliding out of favor with a commitment from GA RB Kendrun Malcome, but Miami was perceived to be the favorite… until now?
Eduardo Clements, a Rivals250 running back from Miami, named Michigan as his leader after a visit to Miami.
Typically, a visit to School X, then naming a leader immediately thereafter means school X is going to be the on top for a recruit. It’s highly encouraging that Clements visited a school that many thought he was favoring and then proclaimed Michigan as his leader. As Ace points out, there’s a still a long way until Clements makes a decision, but it’s better to be in the driver’s seat than anywhere else.
That brings us to RB recruiting, where Michigan already has commitments from Stephen Hopkins, Austin White, and Tony Drake (if he’s not a slot receiver). With lots of needs on defense, can they justify taking a 3rd/4th RB? With a top recruit like Clements, you take the kids and figure out to work out the numbers later, I guess.
I Shot the Sharrif
Yes, Tuesday Recruitin' now features HORRIBLE PUN HEADERS! [Editor's Note: You have to take the bad with the good. Sorry.] Anyway, Rivals AMP talks to PA DT Sharrif Floyd:
Contrary to last week's update, he says he will not officially visit Penn State. HOWEVA, that doesn't imply a lack of interest in PSU, just that they're close enough to not waste one of his five slots. Michigan and Ohio State are two schools he definitely wants to see, at least unofficially. The Wolverines still have a puncher's chance in this one. In this interview it even sounds like he has particular interest in Michigan, which is a major upgrade from last week's pessimism.
Whither the Secondary?
At one point, Michigan was the favorite for MI CB Dior Mathis, but now he's got two other schools on top:
That headline is terrible, because it directly contradicts the body of the article, but Mathis does favor those two schools. He rounds out his top four with Michigan and Miami of Florida, and even says "I know I can go to Michigan anytime I want." Mathis's decision timeframe is flexible, as he wants to fit in as many official visits as possible before schools start filling all their spots.
Recent board addition CA CB Joshua Shaw is hearing plenty from Michigan about a potential official visit this fall. He currently has visits planned to Ohio State and Notre Dame for their games against USC, in addition to a midwest swing last weekend (though maybe that was just to Columbus?). He has now named Ohio State his leader ($, info obvious from header).
FL CB Tony Grimes has mentioned Michigan as a favorite in the past, and now he has set up an official visit to Ann Arbor, though he doesn’t mention a date. Also of (relatively minor) note, he says two of his teammates are interested in Michigan. Keep the names Clarence Murphy and Caleb Vincent in mind, though they won’t be added to the board until we see that Michigan is returning their interest.
At safety, California prospect Dietrich Riley has Michigan in his top group, and it sounds like the Wolverines may be in line for an official visit. Though the article is premium, context clues (written by an author from The Wolverine) indicate there's a pretty good chance Riley plans to visit Ann Arbor.
MI P Mike Sadler, who had been not-so-secretly campaigning for a Michigan offer, never received one, and committed to State last Monday. So why did Michigan, in need of a punter for 2010, never give Sadler that honor? It's because of this guy:
Presented above in excessively large fashion is WI P Will Hagerup, who has plenty of other offers, but is assumed to favor Michigan and Ohio State:
“Michigan is definitely one of the schools I am looking really hard at,” Hagerup said. “(Rodriguez) said that with the combination of academics and what the football team is going to accomplish in the next few years, it’s going to be a good place for me.”
Hagerup plans to decide in September, and if his choice is not Michigan, Rich Rodriguez may hit panic mode for a 2010 punter. For now, Hagerup is the #1 and only priority, but Sadler or another option could come back into the picture.
Michigan maintains its lead for PA CB Cullen Christian ($, info in header). MI WR commit Jeremy Jackson is changing HS positions. BUT TO WHAT, JEREMY? [Editor's note: just about has to be TE, no?] (HT: mgoboard member hailtothevictors08). TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins may be the best player in the north DFW area. Josh Furman's official visit will be for the ND game. Talbotts and Brandon Ifill enjoy respective visits, Talbott the CB has now been offered.
Update 7/14: Linked to articles on FL CB Tony Grimes, LA WR Drew Dileo, FL WR Ricardo Miller, PA CB Cullen Christian (and PA S Brandon Ifill), OH OL Christian Pace, MI RB commit Austin White, CT LB Khairi Fortt, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, IA QB AJ Derby (HT: BHGP), MN OL Seantrel Henderson (second), OH LB Jewone Snow. Moved MI RB Austin White to committed.
Removed FL CB Spencer Boyd (ND), SC CB Detrick Bonner (VT), SC OL Eric Mack (SoCar), MD LB Troy Gloster, UT DT Ricky Hemuili, NJ RB Tony Jones, OH RB Erick Howard, MI WR Baquer Sayed. Also removed the three QBs in the "unoffered prospects" category. Moved CA RB Dietrich Riley to S, FL RB Nickell Robey to CB, PA RB Zach Zwinak to LB.
Editorial Opinion: Mildly busy week highlighted by the commitment of MI RB Austin White, which gives Michigan the top instate QB, RB, and WR in this class. On to the show…
I took the opportunity presented by Austin White's commitment to rearrange the RB board. Anyone with a defensive position got shoved to that side of the ball on the assumption that's where Michigan will recruit them in the future and a couple marginal guys got sliced.
- FL CB Spencer Boyd finally committed to ND, surprising no one.
- A couple of South Carolina guys committed elsewhere.
- MD Troy Gloster is down to West Virginia and Stanford, which is one screwy list if you ask me.
- M did not make UT DT Ricky Heimuli's top ten.
Michigan was a real longshot in Heimuli's recruitment, but not even making a top ten list is harsh. Gloster's a mid-three star linebacker, so none of this is particularly damaging. On to that damage, though…
MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment has undergone an unfortunate twist in the last couple weeks. Last week he tentatively announced four officials, none of which were to Michigan, and said Florida State—still not Michigan—might be the fifth. This week:
Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson told ESPN affiliate Web site GatorCountry.com, "Florida, USC and Ohio State... its going to be one of those three. They play for championships and they put a lot of people in the NFL."
Wha? Okay, it's not final…
"It's not that I've closed the door on anyone. I'm still open but I've got some things that are important to me. It's going to be a tough choice but I'm going to make the right one whatever that is."
…but that's a huge shift from Henderson's previous statements and the widely held epinion that Michigan was a player on his short list and possibly even a tentative leader. Also there is this from MaxPreps:
In fact, one source close to the situation expects it to ultimately come down to OSU and USC, with Minnesota likely having already been ruled out.
Adding confusion to confusion, epinion merchants on M premium sites still say Michigan's a factor. So… yeah. Not dead yet in the same way Henderson wasn't in the bag earlier in the year, but chances haven't exactly gone up over the past couple weeks.
Oh, Right, That
I promised some more Christian Pace scuttlebutt in last week's Tuesday Recruitin' and then forgot all about it. Allow me to make amends. A reader sends this along:
A friend of mine is close to the Avon Lake football program. He's a former MAC football player, his kid is on the team, and he helps out with their off season conditioning program. He is not a cheerleader who is normally wowed by kids, but he confirmed to me last weekend that Pace is the real deal. He mentioned that Florida State was absolutely smitten with him. The FSU coaches actually told Pace that he is better than one or two of their starters today and would start for FSU in the 2009 season (as a 17 year old). That's obviously an over-the-top statement, but FSU clearly saw him as a guy who would play immediately and wanted him badly. I wonder if Rod is expecting Pace to at least be in the two-deep for the 2010 season, and thus encouraging the early enrollment. Otherwise, enrolling early just to be redshirted the next season seems like a form of self-torture. Especially for a recruit who had good coaching/training in HS and is relatively polished.
This jives with what the recruiting-mad Florida State fans at Tomahawk Nation told me: Rick Trickett was crazy about Pace, downright loony, and was really disappointed Michigan got him. Given the close association between Trickett and Rodriguez, that bodes well for his future.
What The… No. I Must Resist.
LA WR commit Drew Dileo comes in for the big fluff in his local paper, and you get one-count-it-one guess as to which current NFL player gets dragged up for comparison. Correct:
“He (Jackson) told us Drew reminds them of Wes Welker,” Simoneaux said.
The rest of the article has fascinating insight into Dileo's recruitment, including this remarkably self-aware statement:
“I know my profile isn’t as great as a lot of other kids’ around the country,” he said. “I know (Michigan) reached out there a little bit to get me. It’s not about proving anybody wrong. I just don’t want people up there to feel like I wasted a scholarship.”
Yipes. Hope he wasn't referring to this space, which attempted to be kind but was blunt in its assessment of Dileo's recruiting profile and the class composition when he joined up ("not terribly enthused"). Here will be a true test of Rodriguez's ability to unearth productive who-dats. They found the guy, they pursued him heavily…
“Of all the coaches that came through,” Parkview assistant David Simoneaux said, “Michigan was the most aggressive. They said they just had to have him.”
…and they got him. I hope it works out.
Unexpected In The Other Direction
Josh Helmholdt follows up on CA LB Tony Jefferson, who told ESPN last week Michigan would be on his list of official visits and USC was out. The article doesn't actually have any quotes, so let's just highlight this:
One reason Michigan likely has made a quick rise on Jefferson’s list is because of his desire to receive a highly respected degree. Jefferson committed to Stanford very early in his junior year, citing the Cardinal’s academic prestige. He eventually reneged on that commitment, but still is looking for a strong academic situation.
So there you go. Jefferson maintains no leaders.
Then there's this (now nearly week-old) article on FL CB Tony Grimes. Money quote:
"Michigan is going to be tough to beat," he said. "It's a great program. The networking is on point at Michigan and the alumni system is amazing. The coaching staff is building something great over there."
Schwing. Grimes isn't highly rated on Rivals but is Scout's #5 corner and the offers agree with Scout: Miami, Alabama, Georgia, and plenty others. Grimes visited earlier in the year and has scheduled a return trip for the Notre Dame game; that's the first official he's set.
And, yes, I am contractually obligated to highlight this quote:
"I was with Vladimir (Emilien)," Grimes said of his time in Ann Arbor. "That's my boy. He told me one difference (at Michigan) is once you get there, you are not just a piece of meat, you are a part of the family. That's something I can believe because he didn't play none of his senior year after he tore his ACL, but they didn't just cut him off. They kept his offer and he committed there. "
At this point I'd love nothing more than to never hear the world "family" in connection with Michigan football, good or bad.
More of the Same
PA CB Cullen Christian favors… yep:
When asked to name his leader, Christian said, "I like Michigan best. I feel I have the biggest bond with their coaches. I feel like it's a family there. Michigan is a great school."
Plz commit ASAP plz. Christian may bring along teammate and PA S Brandon Ifill, who's recently declared a top two of M and Maryland and will visit August 31st. Picking up Christian and Grimes would be a stellar 1-2 punch at corner.
Adios, Guy Whose Name I Just Figured Out
I had CT LB Khairi Fortt's name wrong on the board all this time, which is probably why he's got Michigan at or near the bottom of his top six:
"Penn State and North Carolina would be two visits," Fortt said. "But I have to go back over things. We visited 15 or 16 schools. I have to go back through my notes and pictures. I visited Penn State and North Carolina recently, so those schools are (fresh) in my mind."
Fortt does not see himself taking all five official visits.
"I might make three visits," he said.
Fortt tentatively plans an unofficial to Michigan in the next month, but M is clearly behind at least two schools and is just barely hanging on.
Etc.: I've been ignoring a lot of stuff on FL LB Jeff Luc because he's hardly mentioned Michigan and is expected to stay in state, but Sam Webb's been saying on the radio that he expects Luc will take an official. He also confirms that Khairi Fortt is not likely to end up at M. OH LB Jewone Snow doesn't seem like he'll get an offer. IA QB AJ Derby is still open. Commitment fluff on MI RB Austin White. Some MI WR Jeremy Jackson youtube interviews. Bo Schemblogger catches up with MI WR Ricardo Miller for a quick interview.