"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
With the Thursday Recruitin' posts getting lengthy and signing day just over a week away, we decided—with the help of some reader requests—that it would be best to do two recruiting roundups per week. So, welcome to Tuesday Recruitin', which should serve to wrap up the happenings of the previous weekend and set the table for the upcoming week. Thursday Recruitin' will now be moved to Friday and focus on any upcoming visits while catching up with the events of the week. This new setup allows me to get more recruiting information to you each week and should cut down on the total link overload that was quickly becoming an unwanted staple of my recruiting roundups. Anyways, there is much to discuss, so let's get this party started.
Caleb Stacey Decommits; How Will M Round Out The Class?
Caleb Stacey announced on Saturday that he was changing his commitment from Michigan to Cincinnati, citing a desire to stay close to home during college:
"When it came down to it, Caleb just wanted to stay closer to home," said Oak Hills assistant coach Kyle Ralph. "He's a Cincinnati kid, and as it came down to it, he was more comfortable staying home in Cincinnati."
In fact, Stacey actually got in touch with the Cincinnati coaching staff himself, as they had respected his pledge to Michigan and backed off from recruiting him. Stacey's decommitment leaves the Wolverines with 23 commits (four along the O-line) in the class of 2012, leaving up to five spots available. While Michigan looks to have a good shot with higher-ranked offensive linemen Josh Garnett, Jordan Diamond, and Alex Kozan, Stacey's absence will be felt—he was the only current commit projected to play center, a position of great need for the Wolverines, and only Kozan looks like he could fill that void.
This week will be huge for offensive line recruiting, starting with Josh Garnett's announcement on Thursday afternoon. Garnett has officially narrowed his choices to a final two of Michigan and Stanford ($, info in header), as expected. Michigan did get the last word, as Brady Hoke made the final in-home visit to Garnett on Sunday. I expect Garnett to end up as a Wolverine, though that's admittedly based on zero inside knowledge of his recruitment.
Hoke also has the final in-home visit with Kozan, who will choose between Michigan, Iowa, and Auburn. Kozan told GoBlueWolverine that he will announce his choice "right after the Coach Hoke visit," which is scheduled for this Friday ($). He claims no leader at this time, and Hoke has the chance to make a very strong pitch—with Stacey out of the class, Kozan could be the most important recruit left on the board due to his ability to play center.
Jordan Diamond, meanwhile, will announce his decision on February 3rd—two days after signing day—between Michigan, Ohio State, Arkansas, Auburn, and Wisconsin. Michigan coaches have an in-home visit with him today, and he also maintains there's no leader in his recruitment.
Moving on to other position groups, two major targets formally decommitted this week: cornerback Armani Reeves from Penn State (same as Diamond link) and tight end Sam Grant from Boston College ($, info in header). Both could make their decisions as soon as this week. Reeves is now down to Michigan and Ohio State, and hosted Brady Hoke on Saturday before welcoming Urban Meyer—along with OSU assistants Everett Withers and Mike Vrabel—to his home last night. While some Buckeye insiders anticipated a commitment, none has come, and Greg Mattison will see Reeves tonight for his final in-home visit. This looks like a 50/50 tossup.
Grant, meanwhile, will likely choose between Michigan, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
A few happy trails: Yuri Wright found a home at Colorado despite recently being kicked out of Don Bosco Prep for his controversial tweets; Monty Madaris will decide on Wednesday, and he appears to be down to Cincinnati and Michigan State; four-star OL and soft Wisconsin commit Kyle Dodson plans to announce his choice on Saturday between the Badgers, Ohio State, Michigan State, USC and Auburn ($).
Receiver Commits: Anything But Divas
You have likely read the story of receiver commit Amara Darboh, who lost his parents to the civil war in Sierra Leone when he was just two years old before finding his way to Des Moines, where he found a family and eventually became a four-star football recruit. Chantel Jennings profiled Michigan's other receiver commit, Jehu Chesson, on WolverineNation today, and the article is well worth the cost of ESPN Insider. I'll do my best to block-quote as little as possible, and encourage you to read the whole thing, which details Chesson's charity work—along with his knack for juggling—as well as his path to the United States ($):
In 1993 Chesson was born in war-torn Liberia in the middle of its first civil war. The country had broken into factions, and by the time the war was over in 1996, nearly 200,000 Liberians had died. Chesson moved from Liberia to the Ivory Coast, and from the Ivory Coast to St. Louis when he was 5.
He doesn't have many memories from that early in his life, but he saw on TV when Liberia fought its second civil war and the unrest that has come from it.
He could be angry. He still has family in Africa. His grandmother is there.
But Chesson said the kids have taught him how to forgive. He laughs when he talks about two young kids at the camp who fight and punch one another, but 10 minutes later they're playing with each other again.
He said that even though some of those kids have very little, they have the capacity to forgive, which some adults -- who've been tarnished by money or pessimism -- can't do.
"The best and worst part of it all is that I can ponder a question about why some are born into greatness and others never get a chance," Chesson said. "I'll probably never get an answer. But I can give of myself, which is sort of like working toward an answer."
The level of maturity shown by Chesson—as well as Darboh—would put many 30-year-olds to shame, and I'm very excited to see him don the winged helmet and, more importantly, get the opportunity to earn a degree from Michigan.
The Detroit News is rolling out daily profiles of the recruits on their Blue Chip list, and so far they've covered Terry Richardson, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Matt Godin, and Devin Funchess. Most of it is fluff—Richardson discusses his spirituality, Ross—like Ben Braden—played hockey, RJS wants to be a chef, Godin wanted to play QB as a HS freshman, and Funchess plans to become a coach—but for those doubting Ross's size and ability to play inside, he has a message for you:
"I believe my size benefits me," he said. "I'm quick to the ball. When I was at the Army (All American) Game, I was able to get to the ball quickly. I'm able to get through the holes. I make the reads, and at the snap of the ball I can step into those holes. Can I get stronger? Sure I can. And I will."
Ross said the U-M coaches have no plans to move him to another position and that he is slated to play weak-side linebacker.
"I'll be the linebacker that checks the slot receiver or the running back out of the backfield," he said.
We'll see in the fall if Ross is really 6'1", 220 pounds, as the article claims, but even if he's a little smaller I think WLB is the best position for him.
Quick 2013 Hitters; New 2014 (!) Offer
A quick roundup of the news on current junior prospects:
- Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton linebacker E.J. Levenberry, who visited Michigan last weekend and holds an early offer, has the Wolverines in his top three with Florida and FSU ($, info in header).
- Top-ranked tight end Adam Breneman revealed a list of upcoming visits on his Twitter; he plans to take a trip to Ann Arbor in March, and he's also got visits set for Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, and Notre Dame. He's also looking at Miami and North Carolina for potential unofficials.
- In case you missed it, Michigan was one of several schools to recently offer Monaca (PA) Central Valley receiver Robert Foster, an early candidate for five-star status ($, info in header).
- Four-star Pickerington (OH) North TE/DE Jake Butt had the coaches drop by last week ($, info in header), and he says Michigan will be in the mix when it comes time to narrow down his list of schools.
- Cleveland (OH) Shaker Heights ATH De'Niro Laster told Greg Mattison he plans to take an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor the weekend after signing day ($, info in header).
- Somerville (NJ) Immaculata four-star DE Tashawn Bower expects a Michigan offer soon after talking with Coach Curt Mallory ($).
- Sam Webb's weekly DetNews piece is on Lemont (IL) OL Ethan Pocic, who recently earned top offensive lineman honors at the Core6 Showcase in Westmont, IL, which also featured top junior linemen like Logan Tuley-Tillman and Colin McGovern.
- Happy trails to Trotwood-Madison cornerback Cam Burrows, as one of the top players in Ohio pledged to Ohio State last week.
Finally, Michigan gave out its second verbal offer to a class of 2014 prospect. Woodbridge (VA) defensive end Da'Shawn Hand picked up his sixth offer as the Wolverines joined Boston College, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, N.C. State and Rutgers. Hand tallied 21 sacks as a sophomore and earned district Co-Defensive MVP honors. Michigan's other sophomore offeree is also a defensive lineman, Highland (UT) DT Bryan Mone, teammate of 2012 pledge Sione Houma.
Usual request: please contact me via email or Twitter (or leave a comment) with any suggestions, tips, or links you think should show up in the next recruiting roundup. I will be taking a vacation starting, oh, just after this gets posted, and I'll be doing my best to stay away from my computer over the holidays, but if something big breaks I should be able to address it. Since it's a recruiting dead period, it's unlikely that will be the case, but you never know.
Hello: Jehu Chesson
Oh, hey, new commit! Jehu Chesson became the 24th member of the class of 2012 yesterday, and you can find much, much more on him at his commitment post. Chesson's senior highlight reel also came out yesterday, unfortunately after I did the "Hello" post, and I think you'll be impressed (though you might want to turn your sound down/off):
Check the 2:27 mark if you want to see him go into full-on beast mode. Welcome to the fold, Jehu.
Chesson's commitment probably closes out Michigan's receiver recruiting for this class, but just in case it doesn't, here's the latest on recruiting at the position. Jordan Payton has Cal on top of his list ($), which now includes Arizona State and UCLA along with Michigan and Notre Dame, and signs point to him staying out west. He will make his decision at the Army All-American Game on January 7th, and he's currently trying to figure out if Notre Dame is too far away from home ($, info in header)—I think it's safe to assume Michigan is in the same category. With a recruiting dead period for the holidays and an early January decision, I'd be very surprised if he didn't end up at Cal.
As for Monty Madaris, he's narrowed his list to Michigan, MSU, Cincinnati, and Kentucky—he plans taking an official visit to Ann Arbor the weekend of January 13th, but it's unsure if that will be affected at all by Chesson's commitment. We'll have to wait and see there.
While the immediate need at receiver looks to be filled, offensive line is still a priority for the coaching staff, and Michigan is still right in the thick of things for Josh Garnett. Garnett has narrowed his list to three schools—Michigan, Notre Dame, and Stanford—and says they are all tied at the top for him ($, info in header). It sounds like Michigan has some extra incentive to perform well in the Sugar Bowl:
All three programs are set to face off in bowl games this season. Notre Dame will face Florida State in the Champs Sports bowl on Dec. 29, Stanford faces Oklahoma State in the Fiesta bowl on Jan. 2, and of course Michigan plays in the Sugar Bowl live on ESPN against Virginia Tech at 8:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 3. Now that the hectic visits of the regular season have come to an end, Garnett will use the bowl games to further evaluate the product on the field at each school.
"After all the bowl games I'd have a little more perspective," he said. "I'm going to be able to watch them on TV now, and see how they fare against great opponents. So I can definitely watch all the schools and watch the O-line play, because I really couldn't do that during the regular season."
Garnett is also a very serious student, and he's looking towards medical school down the road, as you can read about in this column by Chantel Jennings ($).
Meanwhile, Jordan Diamond has established a top five of Ohio State, Auburn, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Michigan ($, info in header)—he claims no leader at this time, though he had a glowing review of his recent official visit to Auburn ($, info in header). Michigan will have another chance to make an impression when Diamond takes his official visit the weekend of January 27th, making the Wolverines his last visit before he makes a decision.
Alex Kozan is still narrowing things down, but says he is approaching a decision, though he doesn't have a specific timetable ($). While Michigan appears to have a decent shot at landing one of the three aforementioned O-line recruits, they're also still contacting other prospects, including four-star Las Vegas Desert Pines OL Jeremiah Poutasi, whom the coaches stopped by and talked to last week ($). He says he'd consider a visit, so we'll see if things pick up on that front soon. Michigan is also still in the running for a visit from current Wisconsin commit Kyle Dodson, who's also looking at Ohio State, Auburn, USC, and MSU ($).
Sam Webb discussed the recruitment of cornerback Armani Reeves in last week's DetNews feature, and the four-star Penn State commit gave him an update on where things stand:
"I just want to see what Penn State's going to do as far as bringing in a new coach and what his plans are and what he's going to do before I set anything official up," Reeves said. "(Penn State) has expressed that they're going to hire a coach towards Christmas. That's the dead period, so it gives me a lot of time to think about everything — where they're heading and what direction they're going. "If they hire a coach before Christmas, that really gives me a good indication if I need to take the visits or if I'm going to stay committed.
"If I do take any visits, it'll definitely be Michigan and Notre Dame, those will probably be the only two schools."
We'll have to wait to see what happens with Reeves, but there's also top-ranked corner Yuri Wright, who will be taking his official to Michigan on January 13th after placing them as co-leaders along with Colorado. I expect the Wolverines to be able to land at least one of those two prospects—they're in strong position for both, and if Reeves decommits from PSU it looks like Michigan would be in the driver's seat there.
Quickly: Tight end Sam Grant—a current Boston College commit and HS teammate of Kyle Kalis—is looking to end his recruitment as soon as possible ($, info in header)—he's taken official to Michigan, Arkansas, and BC, and just landed an Oklahoma offer; Michigan is showing interest in four-star ATH David Perkins as a running back, but they still have to make a push to get him to schedule an official visit—he's got all five planned, but late January visits to LSU and Tennessee are tentative at this point ($); Bri'onte Dunn will, in fact, enroll early at Ohio State ($, info in header), so if you haven't taken the many signs that his recruitment is over to heart, well, it's over. Best of luck to Bri'onte.
Michigan Commits Make All-America Lists
- Kyle Kalis made the first team on SI; he's also a finalist for the Anthony Munoz Offensive Lineman of the Year award, which will be handed out during the Army Bowl dinner on January 6th.
- Devin Funchess is the second-team tight end for SI, while his teammate Mario Ojemudia earns honorable mention on the D-line.
- Chris Wormley and Royce Jenkins-Stone also earn honorable mention by SI.
- Speaking of RJS, he's a first-team linebacker to ESPN after recording 145 tackles and five sacks this season.
- Terry Richardson earns ESPN second-team AA honors at corner, incidentally alongside Yuri Wright.
Congratulations to all of the commits above.
Chantel Jennings caught up with linebacker commit Joe Bolden to talk about enrolling early ($, info in header):
For his final winter break, Bolden is focused on spending time with friends and family, what he calls "the important stuff." But he's still remembering the long-term goal while he's packing for college and getting ready to move in, and that outweighs the negatives of leaving high school early.
"It's weird thinking that I may not have a winter break again," Bolden said. "But if we're playing in bowl games and hopefully national championship games, then I have no problem with it at all."
Bolden is quickly compiling a lengthy dossier of awesome quotes; file the last bit under that category.
After many commits took recent official visits, there's a slew of paywalled articles out there documenting their excitement to get to Ann Arbor. Kyle Kalis tells 247Sports his favorite NFL player is none other than Steve Hutchinson. Sam Webb interviewed Tom Strobel, who told his coaches to let Urban Meyer know "to not even bother. I've made my choice," which is all kinds of fantastic. Erik Magnuson, whose first offer was from San Diego State back when Hoke was their coach, tells Chantel Jennings he's "always wanted to play for Coach Hoke."
I wish I could just blockquote the entire article, but just go now and read Sam Webb's latest on 2013 Peoria (IL) Manual OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, who shows maturity well beyond his years as he works to give himself and his family a better future:
"Coming up in this city I had a lot of friends that were on the right track and had opportunities like me, but got killed or wound up in jail," said Tuley-Tillman. "For me, (failure) is not an option. Not working hard is just not an option. I will do whatever it takes to send myself to the next level. Every time I'm at home and I see my niece, I just look in her eyes and I just know that she depends on me to do something for her — (something) to better (our) future. I want success as bad as I want to breathe. It's not something that won't happen for me. It's something that will happen because I'm doing all the things in order to get there."
He's not kidding around when it comes to doing whatever it takes—Logan talks about scraping together the money for a train ticket so he can go work out in Chicago at Core6 Athletes on the weekends and spending extra time after school with a tutor to make sure he's prepared for college academically. There's recruiting news in there too—Michigan is still on top for Tuley-Tillman, despite a recent push from Notre Dame, and he's thinking of making a decision on March 20th, his 17th birthday—but I can't recommend enough reading the whole article to get a sense for the type of quality young man Michigan is recruiting.
Last weekend the Pontiac Silverdome hosted the Maximum Exposure camp, and a couple of recognizable names stood out. Shane Morris ran a 4.7 hand-timed 40 and was reportedly outstanding throwing the football, but the big standout was Berkley Edwards—younger brother of Braylon and currently a Chelsea Bulldog—who ran a camp-best 4.35 40-yard dash ($). If Michigan is interested in Edwards—likely as a receiver—he'll be listening. Both Morris and Edwards also were standouts at the Sound Mind Sound Body combine, and there's a free 247 article detailing their exploits.
Quickly: Tim has a rundown on many of the recent offerees over at the Free Press; Michigan offered top safety prospect Su'a Cravens ($, info in header), Ashburn (VA) Stone Bridge DE Jonathan Allen ($), and Yuri Wright's Don Bosco teammate, DE Alquadin Muhammad ($, info in header).
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and I'll be back to run down film on Virginia Tech before the new year. Thanks for all your support as I continue to settle in to the new job. It's been an incredible four months, and I have a great appreciation for the job, my co-workers, and the readers—I'm having a blast, and I hope you all enjoy my contributions to this great site.
I wrote a long intro for this post about how Michigan finally had a week without any commits, and Allen Gant just had to go spoil it. No complaints here, of course.
Allen Gant Goes Blue
OH S Allen Gant became the 13th member of Michigan's 2012 class with his public announcement on WTKA yesterday morning. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant was the top 2012 player in Ohio as a freshman, but his profile has fallen off in the past couple years, thanks in part to injuries.
Yikes. Maybe Touch the Banner can provide a little bit more optimism?:
Eh, not really. For what it's worth, I've seen conflicting reports of injury over the past two years (with the sophomore hamstring issue confirmed), and a couple message boarders have stumped for his athleticism. For more on Allen, check out the Hello: Allen Gant post.
There's one blindingly obvious option here, and that's because he has a commitment date already scheduled: NY CB/S Wayne Morgan will pick between Rutgers and Michigan tomorrow. He had originally planned to make his choice today.
There have also been some rumblings about CA OL Erik Magnuson. He recently named Michigan his favorite ($, 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.
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.
You win. Behold the power of the Michigan internets, as it collectively raised nearly six grand for refugees last week:
1. Michigan 46 5843.83
2. Auburn 45 3,870.21
3. Alabama 14 1991.66
4. UGA 20 1915.21
5. Texas 5 1625.73
Michigan nearly tripled everyone except Auburn. Ohio State chipped in 232.67, Michigan State 126.81, Penn State 48.14. Yes, the Nittany Lions were beat out by Georgetown, Case Western, and NYU on a college football blog—it's the Zack Mills era again. As your reward Orson will produce fawning Michigan content, but thanks to the parsimony of the rest of the league we came up only halfway to the 50k tattoo level. Orson has a special message for everyone, as well:
Dear MGoBlog commentariat.
I would like to thank you, the Michigan fanbase, alums, and assorted daywalking saints of the Great Mitten State, for both your generosity and enthusiasm in taking part in the EDSBS Charity Drive and for helping us raise $25,000 for the cause of refugee resettlement. We at EDSBS are fond of harumphing in the direction of your Michigan Man-ness in the name of gentle mockery, but this one is from the heart to Michigan Men and Women who make the concept so much more than a hollow saying. HARUMPH! from the bottom of our gin-soaked heart, MGoBlog.
We love you, and we thank you. Now that we're all awkwardly emotional, um [XKCD CARTOON OR MUPPETS GO HERE. ]
Orson asked what I'd like to see as he temporarily re-skins EDSBS and I was like "Tim Biakabutuka but we should ask the internet," so throw your ideas for anything below this post.
This Week In "I Forgot About This Draft." I threw a bunch of links in a post with the intent of getting to them later and totally forgot about them, thus robbing you of my opinion on Brady Hoke's contract*, some memories of Vada Murray, one with an embarrassing URL, and Chad Ford saying "a number of NBA scouts($)" believe Darius Morris needs to return to school. Also this, the most Michigan sign ever:
The Michigan Difference is saving refugees while making wikipedia jokes.
*[Why is Hoke's buyout double Rodriguez's? What's the benefit of locking yourself in like that when your man would "walk to Ann Arbor"? Like… in the unlikely event Hoke wins three games the next three years wouldn't you want to move on to the next guy?]
Yes, sir, anything you want me to convert to sir. Buried towards the end of a lengthy profile of 6'6", 330 pound weightlifting champ and OL walk-on Gary Yerden is this biographical tidbit:
Yerden is a Jehovah's Witness….
…one who gets results, no doubt.
Sundry basketball recruiting bits. UMHoops hit up last weekend's Pitt AAU tournament and came back with scouting reports and seven minutes of Glen Robinson III video. (Nick Stauskas was supposed to attend but got sick, leaving Robinson the featured attraction.) The scouting video reveals many, many dunks but not a whole lot of play in a structured halfcourt offense—such is the nature of AAU.
It's apparent that Robinson will instantly be Michigan's best athlete when he arrives. Dude can get up. His shooting is more of a question. He's got a nice-looking stroke but started that tournament with some bricks worthy of Brent Petway. He did warm up late.
As for the class of 2011, Max Preps has put out their final top 100. It features Burke and Brundidge in their usual slots between 60 and 80 (in this edition Brundidge is 62, Burke 80—the usual, one most Michigan fans with an opinion believe is backwards), and then here's a surprise:
100 Max Bielfeldt, PF/C Notre Dame (Peoria, IL) 6-9/230
That would make Bielfeldt about as big of a prospect as Matt Vogrich, who showed up 100th on Scout's list because he was "the best shooter in the country" but didn't make any other. The Maxpreps list says it is a "composite" based both on high school production and college potential, the former of which helped the ultra-productive Bielfeldt.
So… I'll take a Vogrich-level 6'9" PF. Michigan didn't have a ton of irons in the fire for 2012 anyway and if Morris jets before he's a senior they'll still have an open scholarship for SIM BHULLAR(!).
Notre Dame series not so permanent. Remember when Michigan and Notre Dame agreed to play for 30 straight years? Not so much. We know they're taking a break in 2018 and 2019 and now David Brandon is creating the future in a way that might not include the Irish:
"I have to have seven home games a year. If you think about a nine-game Big Ten schedule, there will be one year I have four home games and one year I have five. In the year that I have four, I have to play every one of my non-conference games at home, so I can't be in a world where I have four Big Ten home games and I'm supposed to play Notre Dame (in South Bend). I can't live in that world. Those are the kinds of issues I have to deal with."
Let's ignore David Brandon speaking like he's the Queen of England for a second: a nine game conference schedule means the ND/OSU/Nebraska home-home-home thing might come to a head. It's possible that Michigan gets their way and won't have to change their ND schedule—the conference has a motivation to protect a rivalry game TV apparently loves because for insane reasons they get 11/12ths of the revenue—but if they do it's doubtful the series continues unless ND is willing to have UM and USC be home or away at the same time. They might since they tend to have another marquee opponent regularly and the Michigan game is important for their TV contract (which they don't have to share).
Ramgod shamgod. Add "mascot" to the list of things associated with OH OL Kyle Dodson that are epic:
I feel molested just looking at that thing. It's a Tom of Finland Thundercat, and it wants to sexy wrestle me.
Etc.: Kenpom adds coaching resumes. Now I don't have to thumb through each page to confirm last year's Michigan D was the best Beilein has fielded in a BCS conference. Zach Travis's spring game post is bullish on caveats before getting into opinions. Forward Thinking on Kaleb Ringer.
Keep track of Michigan's offers on the 2012 Michigan Recruiting Board, which will see some format updates as soon as Michigan starts getting commits.
Weekend Practice Visits
Spring practice kicked off last weekend, and Tom had a full list of weekend visitors coming into the practice.
It is hard to envision Dodson needing a redshirt year once he enrolls at his school of choice. You just don’t see very many prospects with his size/quickness/strength ratio. He has areas where he needs improvement like any other high school junior. However, he’s already at a point where we foresee him competing for playing time as soon as he hits campus.
Ohio State recruiting guru says a qualifying test score is all that stands between Dodson and an Ohio State offer, so making in-roads before that offer comes is a Big Deal for the Wolverines. In Tom's interview, Kyle said he's not going to wait around for schools to offer him.
MI OL/DT Kelby Latta was on campus over the weekend ($, info in header).
IL DT Vontrell Williams told Tom that he's always been a Michigan fan, and that the Wolverines are in his top 3, even though he doesn't hold an offer. He'll be back in town for the spring game.
OH DE Pharoah Brown liked the pace of Michigan's practice ($, info in header), and the visit moved Michigan up in his recruitment. He told Tom he'll decide after just a couple official visits in the fall.
Royce Jenkins-Stone was on campus over the weekend. Sam Webb thinks Michigan is the favorite for Royce, and says that Michigan was a hit with Royce's family. Royce is continuing to rack up bigtime offers, and told Tom about his decision timeline.
He plans on coming out with a top ten before the season, a top five mid season, and then a top three before he decides towards the end of the season. He was also nominated for the US Army All American game, so he may decide then if he gets chosen.
So, although Michigan fans were hoping he might break the seal on the 2012 class, it doesn't look likely.
MA LB Camren Williams spoke with Tom about how his Michigan visit went:
This visit was probably a 10. The visit was huge, it's definitely up there in my favorite schools. I want to make my decision in June, so I definitely want to get back up here for another visit. I really like Coach Hoke, Coach Smith, and Coach Mattison a lot. It's going to be a great place and I'm really interested in looking into Michigan more.
Williams is down to Michigan, Maryland, Penn State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest. He plans to take at least four more visits, including another to Michigan, before deciding. The Wolverines also made an impression on and excited his teammate, CB Armani Reeves ($, info in headers).
MI CB Terry Richardson likes the new staff following his visit($, info in header).
General visitor reactions to last weekend, and most seemed to love the energy.
IN DT Sheldon Day visited a couple weeks back, and gave that trip to Ann Arbor "high marks" ($, info in header).
MN OL Jonah Pirsig will visit this week.
On yesterday's recruiting roundup, Sam Webb said OH DE Chris Wormley will be in attendance this weekend, probably with his mom.
Aside from those guys, Tom has an enormous list of prospects who will be in town:
- IN WR Aloyis Gray
- IN TE Pierre Aka
- MI TE Devin Funchess
- OH TE AJ Williams
- MI TE Matt Doneth
- IN OL Sid Anvoots
- MI OL Chase DeBack
- IN OL DeAndre Herron
- MI OL DaRon Brown
- MI DE Mario Ojemudia
- OH DE Alex Pace
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
- OH LB DeAndre Rollins
- OH S Allen Gant
- NY CB Wayne Morgan
- OH CB De'van Bogard
All those guys, plus some additional "maybes." Check out Tom's post for the full list. As for future weeks, CO TE Evan Baylis will visit Michigan on his spring break, and OH QB Austin Appleby will visit next weekend.
Not only is OH QB Maty Mauk (at right) closing in on national passing records (currently held by his brother, former Cincinnati QB Ben), but he's also closing in - slowly but surely - on a college choice:
Colleges have certainly paid attention. He has offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. Those also happen to be his favorite schools at this time. "I would like to make a decision before my senior season so I have it down to those schools," Mauk said. "I have been to see all of them but Illinois and I plan on seeing this in the next month or two. I want to be in a spread offense with the coaches and people that I want to be around. I also want to get a good education."
Uh, maybe nobody told him Michigan doesn't plan to run a spread anymore? He seems to like Michigan, but his family's relationship with Brian Kelly may be hard to overcome.
I told you to beware a Bleacher Report link when I shared the info originally, so it's no surprise that CA WR Malik Gilmore does not in fact have Michigan and Notre Dame atop his list. Cal leads Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon, UCLA, and Arkansas. He does plan to use all 5 officials before deciding.
Tom broke the news last week that MI OL Ben Braden had received a Michigan offer, and it sounds like the big instate OT will not wait long to make a decision ($, info in header). Might we finally see the first Hello post of the year? Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Syracuse are the other finalists.
CA OL Erik Magnusson spoke with Tom about his recruitment... and it sounds good:
My list of top five changes about every week with new offers coming and what not, but Michigan is always in it. Right now it's Oregon, USC, Michigan, Miami, and Oklahoma.
"School X is always in my ever-changing favorites list" is usually code for "School X is my favorite, or close to it." Erik plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor.
MD DE Brent Wilkerson has an interesting "best experience" of the recruiting process so far:
For me, it was talking to Michigan and getting that offer. They're a great academic school and they have a tremendous football tradition. I talked to the defensive line coach and the defensive coordinator, who coached with the Ravens. That was pretty awesome to talk to those guys.
Maybe that bodes well for Michigan's chances with Wilkerson and his teammate, DE Michael Moore.
OH OL Anthony Stanko has committed to Penn State. He was on the radar, but unlikely to get a Michigan offer.
TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga committed to Oklahoma State.
Rivals has released their first set of 5-star prospects. Among those with Michigan offers are PA DE Noah Spence, MD DT Eddie Goldman, FL OL John Theus, MD WR Stefon Diggs, MO WR Dorial Green-Beckham, NC OL DJ Humphries.
Keep an eye on MI LB Lester Liston, from the same high school as Justice Hayes ($, info in header). MI DT Dakota Perry likes Michigan but isn't hearing from the Wolverines. IL DE Mikhail Dubose is hearing from Michigan. GA DE Jordan Watkins is hoping for a Michigan offer.