"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."
Brian Cook (email@example.com)
to Ace, Heiko, Seth
Subject: Re: the draft in which whoever drafts denard wins
I've been enraged by the weird six-round BTN draft that makes no sense and want to do it for our site as a sort of All Big Ten preseason preview gimmick post.
Rules: Inverse snake. Everyone drafts a full team of 11 offensive/defensive players, two kickers, a FB/HB type (assuming 3 WR), and a nickelback. You can move people around within reason (OL, DL, LB) but those moves will be looked upon skeptically by your fellow drafters and viciously attacked when it comes to make a case for your teams. Once the three other players have drafted a position, the last to go must pick the last player at that position within two rounds*.
When we are done we put the thing to a user vote after making our case. Whoever has Denard wins.
*[to prevent QBs going 1st, 2nd, third, and dead last. Example: third tailback off the board is the second pick of the third round. Fourth player does not have to draft a tailback until the fifth round, but must do so.]
I used random.org to set the draft order, which is:
SETH, who will win since he will get Denard
ACE, who does not get Denard
HEIKO, who also does not get Denard
BRIAN, who also does not get Denard
Wait don't I get time to think...?
PICK: Denard Robinson, quarterback, MEEEEESHIGAN
CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, M)
CURRENT D: [players TBA]
BRIEF EXPLANATION: He can run. He can throw. And you can all eat crow. Not that this requires an explanation but I'll give one anyway: Robinson is a senior quarterback who might also be the Big Ten's best rusher. His passing game has suffered through growing pains of learning various offenses, which is to say the piper's bill has been paid and I get to reap the rewards of a more polished passer who understands many different concepts. The threat of him running opens up everything else, and now he has the experience to exploit everything else. He's a zero academic and personality risk, and the kind of guy you can build everything else upon.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: I'm gonna go giggle for awhile while you guys fight over Rex Burkhead or something.
PICK: Montee Ball, running back, Wisconsin
BRIEF EXPLANATION: For starters, Ball tied a record set by Barry Sanders (39 TDs in a season), which doesn't happen every day/year/decade. Everybody knows that Wisconsin is going to line up and hand the ball to, er, Ball, but he still managed to average 6.26 yards per carry last season. He's remarkably consistent: his 109 total yards against South Dakota represented his lowest total in the 2011 season. Also, has not lost a fumble in 617 career touches. If I can't have Denard (*shakes fist in Seth's general direction*), I'll take being able to hand it off to this guy 25 times a game.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Ha, good one.
Current O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU)
Current D: Offense.
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Braxton Miller should approach the production of 2010 Denard Robinson. OSU RB Jordan Hall will be iffy the first few games coming off a foot laceration, so Miller is going to have to account for a lot of the ground game because he is the team's other most effective rusher. He's also a quarterback (Dear Jim Bollman:
Surprise!). When he was actually allowed to throw during the most recent spring game, he went 24/31 for 258 yards. That's pretty good for having just a month to learn Urban Meyer's offense. With another fall camp's worth of practice and the luxury of a real defense, staying healthy will be Miller's only obstacle to having a monster season.
Yes I lifted this from 11W.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Shotty Zach Boren.
CURRENT O: Taylor Lewan (LT, M)
CURRENT D: John Simon (DE, OSU)
BRIEF EXPLANATION: With spread quarterbacks I actually want gone I'll go the Tony Gonzalez route and draft the guy with the most relative value left on the board. That's Lewan, the Big Ten's only elite pass protector this year. He also doubles as a donkey-mauling run blocker. He's deflecting NFL draft speculation before his junior year even happens, and he's an offensive lineman. Whoever I get at QB will have a clean blindside all day. And will suck. But whatever.
With the first pick of the second round, I'll grab John Simon, the muscle-bound OSU SDE who's the 2012 version of Mike Martin in terms of interior-ish defensive linemen who will not stay blocked. 17 TFLs a year ago and seven sacks, and he's poised to increase those numbers to the 20 TFL level as he moves from "LEO"—OSU's label for WDE—to the strongside position that's a better fit for him. He doesn't have NFL size but he does show up to work out at approximately the time I'm going to sleep.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Montee Ball is a product of the Wisconsin offensive line and is liable to have five unknown assailants tackle him for loss on any given play. GAMES ARE WON IN THE TRENCHES AAAAAAAAHHHHH.
PICK: Taylor Martinez, quarterback, Nebraska.
CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QRB, Nebraska)
CURRENT D: Just you wait.
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Whoa whoa whoa WHOA. Did I just draft two quarterbacks? [Pause for effect] Yes I did. But that's not allowed! Yes it is. You said we could move offensive players around within reason, so I'm drafting Martinez as a running back. So what if he had fewer than 1,000 yards as a rusher last season? He's clearly masteredthe art of the halfback pass. 3,000 yards of total offense? Yes, please.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: BWAHAHAHA bet you didn't see that coming.
CURRENT O: James Vandenberg (QB, IA), Montee Ball (RB, UW)
CURRENT D: [Functional equivalent of 2009-10 GERG outfits]
BRIEF EXPLANATION: I planned on going defense with my second pick, but after Heiko's one-man run on quarterbacks I wasn't willing to risk getting stuck with, like, Caleb TerBush. So, the pick is Vandenberg, the B1G's winner by default in the "best pocket passer" category. Aside from Denard, Vandenberg is the conference's returning leader in total offense and passing efficiency, and he also takes care of the football, throwing just seven interceptions in 404 attempts last year. With Ball in the backfield to take care of all the running, that's all I need from a quarterback.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Heiko's next pick will be Matt McGloin, cornerback, Penn State.
Holy hell guys, way to leave me dudes I never planned on getting, thus forcing me to re-think my entire draft strategy for all of three minutes before doing what I meant to do anyway.
CURRENT O: Denard Robinson (QB, M)
CURRENT D: Kawann Short (DT, PU), Johnathan Hankins (DT, OSU)
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Running backs and running quarterbacks are flying off the board and I'm leaving the last Big Ten Heisman hopeful in order to make sure none of this so-called "rushing" goes down the middle of my defense. What I've won are the two most likely guys in the conference after John Simon to go in the NFL's first round to be my three-tech and nose tackle, respectively.
Kawaan Short is a Ndamukong Suh-like hell-raiser in the interior who sometimes lines up at end and is only limited by having to suck up doubles all the time. To that end I have given him Johnathan Hankins (damn Archie Collins to a special ring of hell), a true nose tackle who forced Ohio State's opponents to run outside all season. My defensive line is already up to 120 tackles, 27 TFLs, and 8.5 sacks (2011 stats), and I haven't even drafted the ends yet!!!
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Hey boss, I want you to know that I had nothing to do with this conspiracy to make you choose Nathan Scheelhaase as your 4th round pick (you made the rule!). Meanwhile Heiko has selected a QB controversy between two guys I wouldn't want, and Ace seems to be building something that has 4 tight ends.
CURRENT O: Montee Ball (RB, UW), James Vandenberg (QB, IA)
CURRENT D: Chris Borland (LB, UW)
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Well, I had planned on taking a defensive tackle here, but Seth appears determined to recreate Michigan's 2010 offense of Denard left, Denard right, Denard up the middle. Instead, I'll happily settle for Borland, who amassed 143 tackles—19 of them for a loss—from the middle linebacker position in 2011. If my team ends up being comprised mostly of Wisconsin players, I like my chances at winning this thing, if there is indeed any way of winning besides "draft Denard, win" (I'm guessing not).
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Seriously, Heiko, I hear Nathan Scheelhaase is a beast at defensive end.
CURRENT O: Braxton Miller (QB, OSU), Taylor Martinez (QRB, UNL), Kyle Prater(WR, NU)
CURRENT D: yawn.
BRIEF EXPLANATION: I'm at lab, so I don't have a whole lot of time to carefully mull over a decision, but I do know one thing: the B1G doesn't have receivers this season. While Prater is a completely unproven commodity, he is likely to immediately become the most dominant receiver in the conference. Given Northwestern's pass-happy spread (perhaps a little less pass-happy with the departure of Dan Persa), Prater's immediate debut at the No. 1 spot on the depth chart, and his 5-star ranking (which, according to the Mathlete, matters for receivers), what's not to like? Sometimes you have to invest in potential, and this penny stock is about to go Apple on all y'all.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: Wisconsin's run defense was crap last year. Also, more than half of Borland's 143 tackles were assisted. They call him a "throwback" because pudgy 5'11 linebackers were last effective circa the Reagan administration. But I hear he's a beast at fullback, which is what you drafted him to be, right?
CURRENT O: Nathan Scheelhaase (QB, Ill), Taylor Lewan (LT, M)
CURRENT D: DE John Simon (DE, OSU), Denicos Allen (LB, MSU)
BRIEF EXPLANATION: Ace, what is going on, man? You could have had your QB on the way back since I'm the only one without one and not forced me to take... ugh... Nathan Scheelhaase in round 4/5. We could have merrily played chicken for round after round. Anyway: I am not that broken up about taking Scheelhaase since he's got good legs and completed 62% of his passes last year and is a third-year starter and... aw, damn my rules DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL.
Obligatory QB out of the way, I'm taking the actual best pass rusher on Michigan State's defense, LB/missile Denicos Allen. Unlike Borland, my 5'11" LB is fast as hell and has the eyepopping stats to prove it: 11 sacks, 18.5 TFLs, multiple frustrating forays directly past the center of the Michigan offensive line. This guy is Larry Foote again, and he was just a sophomore last year.
OPTIONAL SNARK ABOUT PICKS MADE EARLIER: I have no snark because I'm shaking my ragefist at Heiko for taking Kyle Prater, who was going to be my secret weapon six rounds from now. And Ace, for forcing me to take Scheelhaase this early, and Seth for getting Denard. I am a defeated man. GAMES ARE WON IN THE TRENCHES AND AT WLB AAAAAAAAAH.
To be continued whenever Heiko figures out where he's going to put Rob Henry, Kain Colter, and Devin Gardner, Brian stops screaming "NO THROW IT FORWARD" at Scheelhaase, Ace gets the slightest grasp on game theory, and Seth decides his entire team will be fat guys from Ice Hockey.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of OH OL Christian Pace, OH S Kurtis Drummond and OH RB Andre Givens, articles on IL WR Kyle Prater, FL OL Torrian Wilson (second), MN OL Seantrel Henderson, MI LB Daniel Easterly, OH OL commit Christian Pace, DE RB Jamaal Jackson, FL CB Tony Grimes, MI DE Will Gholston, MD RB Zach Zwinak, TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, GA CB Darius Robinson (more, yet more), CA RB Dietrich Riley (second), SC S Bashaud Breeland, FL QB Jeffrey Godfrey, TN QB Barry Brunetti, OH WR commit DJ Williamson, MI LB Daniel Easterly (second), OH TE Alex Smith, OH LB commit Antonio Kinard, MI QB Devin Gardner, MI RB Austin White.
Added OH CB Terry Talbott, FL LB Justin Wilson, OH OL Travis Jackson, OH OL Matt Rotheram.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. This is late and thus even bulkier than normal; there's just a lot more information floating out there these days and it's getting tough to track all this on the regular. In any case…
To the right: OH WR commit DJ (or "Deaver" or "D'Aver"; maybe I'll just call him Deathbacker, too) Williamson winning the Ohio state championship in the 100 M, as a junior. (It was a 10.90 into a headwind.) He's fast. Let's hope he can play football.
More kids Michigan had chucked offers at but had little shot at go off the board; you can observe them above if you care. Only one guy that had come in for any mention around these parts makes an exit, but it's a disappointing and surprising one: the pendulum that is CA RB Brennan Clay committed to Oklahoma over the weekend.
Which WTF? When last we left Clay he had scheduled officials in the fall and was telling Tom this:
TOM: What’s all this I’ve been hearing about you and Michigan?
BRENNAN: There’s been a lot lately. I really like them a lot right now.
That turned into this:
"I kind of misled him earlier in the week," Clay said. "I wanted to make it a full on surprise but I told him I was narrowing decisions down. I think he thought it was going to be a top three, top five kind of deal.
"When I told him I was committing I think he said four or five times how excited he was. I'm pretty sure he has a great feeling going through his spine still."
What about my spine, eh? Doesn't anyone ever think of my spine? Anyway, that was almost immediately followed by Tate Forcier telling his facebook legions to ping Clay on behalf of M, which I'm betting is some sort of NCAA violation.
So… I'm leaving him on the board for now, just because this has the air of something that might be less than permanent, and Clay seems like one of those guys who changes his mind frequently. But even so Michigan's chances went from like 40% to like 2%. Lame!
This seemed inevitable as soon as OH TE Alex Smith took a BBQ visit and started talking about taking stadium tours across the country, and now it is official:
Lakota West High junior TE Alex Smith said this morning, June 9, that he will reopen his recruiting process.
One Cincinnati fan has a This Week In Schadenfreude-worthy response to all that:
Let me remind everybody that this is the same guy who said that he wanted to start a trend of hometown talent staying home and attending UC. And then he goes and commit treason, yea I said it TREASON, it's that serious when Rich Rod the SNAKE has been snaking our recruits from us since BK has gotten hear, the snake got one of our recruits to decommit from us last year right before signing, and then this.
Smith evidently has some interest, but it'll be a while before it's clear how much. A camp visit would be a very good sign.
War on the floor
Camps and combines continue apace, with the Champaign Nike camp of particular interest, as it featured a wide array of targets and commits. Michigan kids were "the story" of the camp according to Bill Kurelic. Amongst them was QB commit Devin Gardner. Various reports on his performance follow. Kurelic:
Gardner started a bit slow, but by the end of the camp was throwing very well. He showed a strong arm throwing the out pattern.
University of Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) is a carbon copy of Bolden in terms of build. He is a tall and intimidating signal-caller who delivers the football to the right spot as the receiver is making his break. He needs to polish his technical skills but is quick and athletic with a strong arm.
This camp also served as the Elite 11 tryout for everyone who showed; Gardner didn't win the MVP, which went to three-star Illinois commit Chandler Whitmer, but if he's even in the ballpark with pro-style guys—and it sounds like he's getting there—when it comes to sitting in the pocket throwing outs that is major win when you put him in a situation where he can kidney-punch linebackers en route to the endzone. Gardner was an Elite 11 ballboy last year; hopefully he gets an invite this year, if only for the instruction.
MI RB Austin White was the RB MVP:
RB, Austin White, 6-0, 189, Livonia (Mich.) Stevenson
White is one of the more versatile 'backs seen on the 2009 NFTC tour to this point. Blessed with a solid 6-foot frame that should be able to easily carry 210-220 pounds in college, White is also light of foot and very smooth with the football in his hands. Is also one of the top pass-catching and route-running backs in the country
Kurelic on White:
White was the top running back at the camp. He flashed his excellent speed, has a powerful looking frame and can catch the ball.
IL WR Kyle Prater also remains very, very good:
He is on the brink of being one of the top skilled athletes in the country. Prater is smooth and fluid in his routes and absolutely towers over the secondary -- standing 6-5. Prater can separate from defensive backs with his quickness and speed. He snags the football out of the air with his long arms and big, soft hands. It was no surprise that Prater made several acrobatic, reach-back receptions during the camp.
Prater named USC, Oklahoma, and Illinois as a top three recently but Gardner's apparently working on him and in other spots he claims no leaders from his group of ten. MI DE Will Gholston also came in for the usual amount of praise. Perhaps more interesting is this bit from Rivals on a guy who stood up to him:
But after the one-on-ones started, the attention quickly turned to the guy who was dominating Gholston in those battles – offensive lineman Connor Kruse of Lowell (Mich.) High.
Not much was known about Kruse heading into the camp – he wasn't even in the Rivals.com recruiting database until just recently – but after handling Gholston in one-on-ones and looking solid in drill work, he's a name to remember.
"I have one offer from Western Michigan," said Kruse, who is 6-4 and 280 pounds. "I'm hoping a camp like this will help get me on the map even more. I wanted to test myself against the best, and [Gholston] was supposed to be the best. I think I handled him quite well. You saw he didn't want anything to do with me when it was time again. He backed away from me."
Oh snap. Might be a guy to watch if he comes to Michigan's camp.
More on a couple other attendees in another section.
Here's a complaint I thought we'd never get around to this recruiting cycle: what's with Michigan not offering a couple of instate prospects? MI DT Jonathan Hankins plays a spot Michigan has few other prospects at, had an Oklahoma offer, and now sports another tres shiny letter:
Detroit Southeastern defensive tackle Johnathon Hankins added an offer from Ohio State recently.
Ohio State now leads, pending some sort of Michigan response. That almost has to come at Michigan's summer camp, doesn't it? Hankins grew up a Michigan fan and a couple of premium insider sorts claim he's highly likely to drop when (if?) he gets that camp offer.
Hankins also showed at that Nike camp:
Hankins is a true power-rusher who is difficult to stalemate. He has a great motor but needs to expand his repertoire of pass-rush techniques.
Apparently the major holdup on Michigan's part is that Hankins is carrying a lot of cheeseburgers around and Michigan would like to see him in better shape before they offer, which is beginning to happen.
Meanwhile, Cass Tech S/LB/maybe DE Daniel Easterly has his own set of swank offers:
Easterly said he landed a scholarship offer from UCLA right before leaving for Illinois, which was offer No. 18. Easterly anticipates offer No. 19 coming soon from Cincinnati. Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Syracuse, Alabama and Kentucky are among the other schools to offer Easterly.
Michigan has yet to join them, possibly because they're not quite sure what you do with a 6'5" 200 pound guy in their new Greg Robinson defense. Right now he's a safety, but many are projecting a move:
Daniel Easterly (Detroit/Cass Tech) played safety during his junior season, and feels that is where he will likely play in college. However, the 6-foot-5 and 200-pound Easterly said some recruiters have mentioned a move to outside linebacker if he gets big enough in the next couple of years. For that to happen, Easterly has a way to go. In shirts and shorts, it was easy to see how lean Easterly is. He is nowhere close to linebacker size at this point.
So. There's all that. Right now Illinois is the tentative favorite:
"I don't have a favorite yet, but I'm starting to look more to Illinois," Easterly said. "I like everything about Illinois. I like the coaching staff and the players. I like how they play. I like how their secondary plays. The coaches have told me I would play safety, or if I get big enough, Will (weak side) linebacker."
Michigan's new 4-3 under protects the WLB and loves LB/safety hybrids so that's where Easterly could fit. He believes an offer will come:
"I plan to go to Michigan and Ohio State's (football) camps," Easterly said. "Dior [Mathis] and I are going to both. Michigan wants me to come to camp, and then they are going to offer."
One to watch as well, mmm. [/yoda]
Hey: This Is Useful
This may be the most interesting and useful recruit evaluation I've seen. It's Rivals AMP on the commitment of OH OL Christian Pace:
"It seems like every play he's putting someone into the ground," says the Rivals guy, and there is plenty more effusive praise for his latest film; the implication is that he's likely to move into the four-star range but for his smallish frame. This limits his pro potential, which Rivals does consider in their rankings.* The overall impression is that despite his limitations, Pace will get a rankings boost in their next re-rank.
One of Rivals' small complaints—Pace's time to field—should be mitigated by his plan to enroll early. More about Pace's ability to turn you into a tulip:
"He enjoys physical play and is a real versatile big, strong kid," Dlugosz said. "He has exceptionally quick feet. … "He finishes his blocks," Dlugosz said. "If he locks on you, he's going to put you into the ground."
I was already enthused about Pace's commitment, and this stuff only heightens it.
*(This, by the way, is something I find totally reasonable. It's a potential sanity check and an excellent metric to use. It does mean that certain systems, like the spread 'n' shred, will find their overall rankings depressed a bit because they prioritize different things than your typical NFL team.)
That Thing No One Believes: Not True!
CA RB/S Dietrich Riley did not commit to Tennessee, not that anyone thought that he had. Guy hasn't even been to UT. Nevertheless, The Smokey Chomp clears this up and offers a tantalizing nublet of information:
Riley, who claims 15 offers but not a top school, says Michigan is recruiting the hardest.
What schools does Riley plan to visit this summer? “Tennessee, so I can meet the new staff and build a relationship with them. Also Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida if they offer, Oklahoma, Alabama, and I plan to attend the USC Rising Stars camp."
Riley's been dynamite at camps…
"He was incredible," Campbell said. "We've seen some great backs this year, guys like Marcus Lattimore, Roy Finch and all the guys at the USC camp but Riley is the best kid I've seen. He's a beast with size, speed and moves and he plays with an edge to him."
…but in protesting his willingness to head out of state he sort of confirms the likelihood he'll stay in state:
"I know right now a lot of people think I'm mainly looking at just USC and UCLA but I'm open to some out of state schools too. I'm going to go through the recruiting process and take my time before I make my decision."
I hold out some moderate hope here; the visit will tell all.
Mr. Henderson has a tentative list:
"Right now it is not official, but I like Minnesota, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida and LSU. There are some other schools, but that would be my top choices right now."
And he would like you to know, pro-style folk, that he will not be swayed by that pitch:
"I want to know the teams' depth chart and who they have coming in. I want to know if they are going to have a nice quarterback and who else they have on the offensive line. Then just being comfortable around the team and on campus, and finding a school where I can be at for the next four years, or maybe even five. I can play in any offense, and distance from home doesn't really matter."
Etc.: GA CB Darius Robinson is almost definitely headed to Miami; Clemson leads for SC S Bashaud Breeland, another guy high on my list of "recruits who could be from Dune"; FL OL Torrian Wilson drops Tennessee from his top five… in favor of FIU. lolz. DE RB Jamaal Jackson picks up three offers… from I-AA schools. I doubt his offer is "commitable," as they say.
Uh… Kurelic headlines an article "Bucks, Lions to battle for [PA RB/LB Zach] Zwinak" and ends it with "Zwinak does not plan to select a college in the near future and says he has no favorites."
This guy thinks Tennessee will offer and get TN QB Barry Brunetti, who's basically Tajh Boyd. Way to go, Kiffin!
Update 5/12: Linked to video of MN OL Seantrel Henderson, articles on FL RB Darion Hall(video), PA LB Ken Wilkins, FL DE Corey Lemonier (second), MI DT Jonathan Hankins (second), MN OL Seantrel Henderson, CA RB Brennan Clay, FL RB Corvin Lamb, IA QB AJ Derby, NY DE Dominique Easley, FL LB Jeff Luc (second), FL DT Richard Ash, SC OL Eric Mack, MD LB Troy Gloster, PA DE Ken Wilkins, MD LB Lamarcus Coker, FL CB Lo Wood, FL CB Spencer Boyd, IA QB AJ Derby, IL WR Kyle Prater, OH OL Christian Pace. Moved PA DE Jordan Paskorz to committed. Commit article on Paskorz. Moved OH OL Christian Pace to committed.
Prune time: removed TX QB Jeremy Johnson(WVU), FL CB Merrill Noel (dropped M), PA DE Dakota Royer (dropped M), GA S Daunte Carr(dropped M), SC DE Corey Miller, SC DE Brandon Willis (dropped M, both of them), FL QB Christian Green (dropped M), SC RB Marcus Lattimore (dropped M), GA RB Mack Brown.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Wow. That is a ton of stuff. A lot of it is not particularly newsy, so what's below just focuses on items of direct interest.
A bloody week as a number of prospects cut their lists and dropped Michigan. In groups:
- Southern longshots to shrug at: SC DE Corey Miller, SC DE Brandon Willis, GA S Daunte Carr, GA RB Mack Brown.
- Minor disappointments: FL QB Christian Green, SC RB Marcus Lattimore, PA DE Dakota Royer
- Probably wasn't feelin' the love: TX QB Jeremy Johnson.
Johnson committed to West Virginia; he claimed a Michigan offer but with Gardner in the fold Michigan is probably going to be selective with their second QB in the class.
Lattimore released a top eight that lacked Michigan about a month after saying he'd visit officially, so there's the disappointment. Green, meanwhile, apparently wants to be a wideout in college, which considerably changes the attractiveness of Michigan to him. Royer's higher-rated than Michigan's current and prospective OLB/DE commits and is likely headed to Penn State.
The other thing worth mentioning is that I did yank FL CB Merrill Noel after he announced he would announce, but then he announced he wouldn't announce; I haven't added him back. If something happens that suggests he should be re-added, I will re-add.
The BBQ weekend came and went without any immediate commitments but OH OL Christian Pace dropped Monday and PA DE Ken Wilkins has scheduled a press conference for next Tuesday at noon. MGoBlog recruiting heuristic #3 is "a recruit announcing soon after a visit to a school is likely to pick that school," and the reports from the BBQ reinforce that:
"I liked it a lot," Wilkins said when asked about his trip to Michigan over the weekend. "The coaches brought out their families to show they have a family atmosphere there. I liked the enthusiasm of coach Rodriguez. You could see he is ready to turn the program around."
The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder has 27 scholarship offers including Michigan, Pitt, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.
"I'm going to decide (on a college) in the next week or so," Wilkins said. "Michigan and Pitt are my top two. They are dead even. I just have to see which school I like best."
Despite that public stance that Pitt is even, most observers are expecting he'll pick up a block M hat if he does the hat thing.
A few guys expected to show up didn't make it in, including MI DE Will Gholston, OH TE Dan Schneider (no offer, Pace's teammate), and OH DT Jibreel Black. Black says he was sick and will be up soon:
"I'll go up there on June 20," Black said on Sunday night. "And I'll try to make it to Michigan State, while I'm up there."
One surprising name was OH TE Alex Smith, a Cincinnati commitment. Visit = soft commitment; he'll be a guy to watch in the near future. Other big names of moderate intrigue include FL CB Tony Grimes, who made the long trip to participate and came away duly impressed, and IL WR Kyle Prater, who yes is an ACK WR but is also perhaps the best ACK WR available this year. I've bumped Grimes back up to yellow from red, and removed my mental red tint on Prater's existing yellow.
Prater, shockingly, is talking up Michigan considerably:
“I like Oklahoma,” Prater said. “I like Michigan, too. I went to the barbeque they had on Saturday (at the Big House). It was real nice. I liked the relationship the coaches had and the people around the coaches. I have a strong interest in USC, too. Tennessee is another one I like, and Miami."
Holy pants. That quote wasn't even provided to a Michigan site: it was something Bucknuts mainstay Bill Kurelic collected and posted on a Penn State site. Even with all the wide receivers in the fold, you have to take a guy like Prater; that would just about assure the move of OH WR Jerald Robinson to safety. It's not like that's going to happen any time soon, though: Prater intends to take all of his officials.
I'm not getting too hopeful on Grimes, as it appears a high school coach of his is posting on BuckeyePlanet occasionally. The ungrammatical upshot:
To be honest, in the beginning all he wanted was a offer from da U. I help convince him to open up to the possibility of leaving home and getting away. After an UGA visit he was in love them and really wanted an offer and to commit there. But now he's in a tough position he say. You already i talked up OSU for a couple of months so he was really trying to get noticed by them. Me and a couple of other coaches really pushed Hayes and Fricell (something like that) to come see him...and that was when he only had 1 offer from FAU. Im just glad the young man as options now. It's going to be hard turning down DA U for him.
That was posted pre-Michigan visit, so there's some chance the BBQ radically realigned his perceptions; until he comes out and says something to that effect, though, the expectation is he stays south.
MI DT Jonathan Hankins, an instate recruit at a position of need that's having a crappy year nationally, also turned up:
“Michigan has been my childhood favorite," said Jonathan to GoBlueWolverine. "I like them -- I mean it is Michigan and it helps that it is close to my home. They are in my top three.”
Hankins has offers from Oklahoma, Illinois, and Wisconsin already and plans to camp at Michigan, at which point you have to figure Michigan will extend an offer of their own unless some crazy awesome stuff goes down with PA DT Sharrif Floyd or something.
More on Paskorz
The Free Press did some reporting on new commit Jordan Paskorz—slow week I guess—and came up with some quotes from his coach:
DeMatteo was most impressed that Paskorz would often arrive at 6 a.m. for workouts.
"It's pretty tough for high school kids getting up that early," DeMatteo said. "He's the strongest kid I have had the opportunity to coach. On the field, he uses his strength very well and uses leverage to make him seem taller than 6-4."
Sure to burn the ears of Mountaineers fans is the revelation that Paskorz has a friend who played at West Virginia who "spoke very highly of Rodriguez." Also, the article claims an Illinois offer in addition to the trio of Pitt, Virginia, and Minnesota that had been previously reported.
MD LB Troy Gloster has a Michigan offer and M appears to be a contender:
“When I got the offer, I was very excited,” he told GoBlueWolverine. “I started thinking about all the tradition that Michigan has, and everything else. I’ve been offered by Boston College, West Virginia, Stanford, Iowa, Michigan State, Syracuse, Louisville, and North Carolina. When I got the offer from Michigan, I felt like it was my biggest offer so far.”
Gloster plans on visiting M, Stanford, and WVU over the summer, with a decision to follow soon after. Those three schools plus local Maryland, where his older brother plays, appear to comprise a tentative top four.
Michigan is probably going to take a third tailback in the class, and CA RB Brennan Clay is perhaps the most likely. After an early period where it seemed like Clay would stay on the West Coast at all costs, he's settled on a top three of Oregon, Oklahoma, and Michigan, with Tate Forcier proving a major attraction for Michigan:
"I think it will be huge," Johnson stated. "The thing with Brennan and Tate is that they know each other. They know what each other can do on the football field. Tate being at the school is a huge factor in (Brennan) wanting to (possibly) go to that school. Tate is a tremendous athlete and Brennan and Tate kind of fit (together) because they are playmakers. I figure that if Brennan goes to that school it would be a really good show just like how it was here at Scripps Ranch."
Clay's certainly got chemistry with Forcier. Check his junior-year numbers:
During his junior campaign the 6-foot, 191-pounder amassed an impressive 1,486 yards on 170 carries and 27 TDs on the ground. He added another 1,055 yards on 70 catches and six TDs through the air. Then for good measure he returned two kickoffs for TDs as well.
One team to watch out for, if they offer, is USC. Obviously. Clay's already set up officials to his top three; Michigan will get its shot September 19th.
Meanwhile, FL RB Corvin Lamb is still, I believe, waiting on an offer, but Michigan remains strong with him. Try to reconcile this:
Who is coming after Corvin the hardest right now?
"Probably Michigan, North Carolina, and Ole Miss."
"I have not talked to Michigan in a while. I will probably call them soon. Torrian Wilson, my teammate, received an offer from them. We have been talking about them a lot."
…and, well. Uh. We're good with the emails, I guess? Either way, it seems Lamb is willing to wait on Michigan, and Wilson is probably still leaning to the good guys.
Rivals AMP going on; not a lot of news here:
Henderson came in for a mention in Mike Farrell's latest rumor blast:
Sources say there are a few schools to watch out for with Henderson. The schools that get mentioned the most when digging around for information on Henderson are Minnesota and Michigan, followed by Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC.
Minnesota is then named the "team to beat," which I guess if Baylor can pirate away a Texas safety commit anything is possible. That's based on their recruitment of local quarterback JD Pride, who Henderson would like to go to school with.