...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
2013 OL commits Logan Tuley-Tillman (left) and David Dawson
Yesterday's Adidas Sound Mind/Sound Body camp at Southfield High School featured some of the Midwest's best talent, including five of Michigan's 2013 commits (actually, six, but Csont'e York showed up late and I didn't get a good look at him). It also provided a rare chance for players to get instructed by coaches from Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and several other schools; U-M, OSU, and MSU each sent their full staff, save Mark Dantonio, who had a speaking engagement.
This was my first camp experience, so I mostly focused on the Michigan commits; at these camps, there's so much going on that it's difficult to focus on more than a handful of players. Here are my impressions of the Wolverine commits as well as a couple other standouts:
I didn't spend a ton of time watching Morris in the passing drills, mostly because I was more focused on the receivers and defensive backs, but he was excellent as usual on Wednesday. Morris threw harder than anyone else there, displayed great accuracy, and could make all of the throws. He's also improved from what I saw of him last fall in terms of knowing when to change up speeds and when to just unleash.
As you can see above, Al Borges kept a very close eye on Morris. UAB head coach Garrick McGee was running quarterback drills, but Borges made it clear that he would be the one coaching Morris. As Brian pointed out in today's UV, the running theme of the camp was coaches in disbelief that this was all legal; it was, thanks to SMSB's status as a charitable event.
Dawson was easily the most impressive lineman present, both from a physical and technical standpoint. He looks like he's in the 280-290 pound range but doesn't appear to be carrying much bad weight at all. He shows an advanced understanding of technique for a high school player; Coach Funk was presiding over the offensive line drills, and when he needed to give an example of what he was looking for, he had Dawson give the demonstration. Dawson displayed very quick feet, shuffled well in pass protection while keeping a solid base, and showed a very strong initial punch.
In one-on-ones, Dawson excelled in a drill that gives a clear edge to the pass-rusher. He got great depth with his initial step and had three or four pancakes (not all of his reps are on my film above). When Dawson did get beat, it was usually when he let the defender get into his body instead of keeping the rusher at bay with his arm punch. The proverbial mean streak was also on full display. On one rep, Dawson got beat off the edge, and the defender went back to his side screaming "Let's go!" and "I'm hungry!"* Dawson didn't appreciate the woofing, asked for an immediate rematch, and buried the guy into the turf.
Dawson is expected to end up at guard in college and after seeing him yesterday I think that's the best place for him. While his strength allows him to dominate high school competition, he isn't the longest lineman out there, which makes it harder to keep edge-rushers at bay. As you can see above, when Dawson slid inside to take a rep at guard, he dispatched his man with ease.
Tuley-Tillman didn't quite perform at Dawson's level but still showed off the potential that earned him an offer in the first place. When I talked to Logan, he told me he weighs about 315 pounds, a 15-pound drop from where he was at the Columbus NFTC last month. He's still carrying bad weight, however, and is going to have to turn a significant amount of fat into muscle before he's ready to play at the next level.
I was initially down on Tuley-Tillman when watching the one-on-ones, but after watching the tape he did better than I thought. When he gets his hands on a guy it's tough to escape and he finishes his blocks with authority. He did struggle some against the speed rush; Funk pulled LTT aside during drills to work on getting better depth in his drop when pass blocking, and there's still work to be done there. When he got his footwork right, defenders had little chance of getting past him.
Despite the technique issues, Tuley-Tillman has great feet; when he's coached up, he should have every opportunity to play tackle at the Big Ten level. He's definitely got some conditioning work to do, though it sounds like he's on the right track. Multiple experts who saw Tuley-Tillman in Columbus, where he reportedly struggled significantly, said his performance yesterday was a vast improvement.
Lewis continues to look impressive on both sides of the ball. While I thought he looked better at corner when playing for Cass Tech last fall, there may be a battle royale between the offensive and defensive coaches over where he'll play at Michigan; the offensive coaches have made it clear that they covet Lewis as a wide receiver. They'll have to fight Greg Mattison for him, however, and that may be a losing battle.
Lewis is never going to wow you from a purely physical standpoint—he's 5'11" and pretty skinny—but his athleticism is just a notch below elite. He showed off great closing speed at cornerback, though he sometimes relies too much on his ability to recover; he's not quite at his 2012 teammate Terry Richardson's level when it comes to staying in a receiver's hip pocket. His ball skills, however, are exemplary; he tracks the ball in the air extremely well and knows exactly when to go for the catch. If a quarterback threw a 50-50 ball in his direction, whether on offense or defense, he came down with it or at least broke up the pass.
At receiver, Lewis put those ball skills to good use, coming up with a couple of spectacular catches including one diving effort against 2014 Cass Tech teammate Damon Webb (much more on him below). I still like Lewis's upside more at corner, where his size plays better, but he's convinced me that he could contribute on either side of the ball at the next level.
Hill looked very good in the reps I saw him taking, running crisp routes and catching almost everything thrown his way, including the pass pictured above. He nearly pulled in a ridiculous one-hander early in the morning session, but couldn't quite haul it on; otherwise, any pass in his direction resulted in a catch. Hill isn't the fastest tight end out there, nor the biggest, but he finds a way to get space from defenders and then shield them off with his body.
Given that he's being recruited for a very specific, not-always-used position—H-back—he's got a more limited ceiling than most of the commits; at around 6'2", he doesn't have the size to play much on the line. That said, if he can run routes and catch like he did yesterday, he could be a solid piece to the offensive puzzle.
DAMON WEBB (2014)
Webb turned heads a couple weeks ago when he blanketed Laquon Treadwell at the IMG 7-on-7 and he built on that with an MVP-worthy performance yesterday. Despite being a year younger, Webb has more bulk on his 5'11" frame than his teammate Jourdan Lewis, and like Lewis he's an outstanding athlete.
Also like Lewis, Webb can play either wide receiver or cornerback at the next level, though his size suggests that corner is his optimal position. He was fantastic playing corner in the one-on-one drills, staying step-for-step with Lewis—though Jourdan managed to bring in a diving catch—and 2013 Notre Dame commit James Onwualu, who was torching the less-heralded prospects. Webb faced Onwualu three times, and aside from slipping on a hitch route, he came out on top. Webb doesn't rely as much on recovery speed as Lewis, instead playing a more physical style; he's not at all afraid to come up and jam the receiver, and he flips his hips well when transitioning from his backpedal.
Allen Trieu reported this afternoon that Webb earned a Michigan offer, which comes as little surprise after he performed so well in front of the entire staff. While they're targeting him as an athlete for now, I'm guessing he'll be the next in a long line of Cass Tech corners to play at the BCS level. The Wolverines appear to be his clear leader at the moment and there's a chance his recruitment wraps up early. He'll be in Ann Arbor next week for Michigan's camp.
*"I'm hungry" guy was one of the highlights of the camp, as he repeatedly—and loudly—proclaimed his hunger after just about every rep. When Hoke spoke to the campers after the morning session, he singled the kid out for his enthusiasm, then had this exchange:
Hoke: "Did you have lunch yet?"
I'm Hungry Kid: "Yes, sir."
Hoke: "Well, I guess you're not hungry anymore."
- 2014 MI DE Malik McDowell wasn't listed on the roster—he wasn't alone in that regard—and only took a couple reps in the morning, so I didn't get a chance to evaluate him. I did head over to where the linemen were gathered in the afternoon, however, and I can say he certainly passes the eye test. That is one huge rising junior.
- Two other 2014 kids who caught my eye were Cass Tech linebackers William White and Gary Hosey, who both stood out physically among the linebackers. White appeared to have an inch or two on Hosey, but both looked solidly built with the frame to add more bulk. I was busy watching the linemen while they were going through drills, however, so I'll have to catch them play another time.
- A friend who was helping instuct the linebackers at the camp raved about Michigan State linebacker commit Jon Reschke. I thought Reschke was a no-brainer four-star when I saw him play against Farmington Hills Harrison in the playoffs last year; State got a good one there.
- Urban Meyer, from the morning presser: "The problem with intercollegiate athletics is that it's almost anti-student-athlete." All the coaches talked about how great it was to be able to instruct recruits at an event outside the usual team camps. There was also discussion about finding ways for recruits to be able to take visits to campus without the cost becoming prohibitive; there definitely seems to be support for summer official visits if the NCAA decides to look in that direction.
- Yes, Brady Hoke uttered the words "Ohio" and "State" in succession during an impromptu on-field Q&A session with reporters. Yes, there was a subsequent race between the Michigan beat reporters to tweet that bit of news. I believe the winner was AnnArbor.com's Nick Baumgartner.
- Terry Richardson, James Ross, and Oregon CB (and former Cass Tech Technician) Dior Mathis all were present. Richardson was walking around eating ribs while the Michigan coaches teased him about getting his weight up.
- After watching them in a camp setting, it's very easy to see why Michigan's coaching staff has so much success both on the field and in recruiting. I kept forgetting to film the OL/DL one-on-ones because I was so intent on listening to Coach Funk give technique pointers to individual guys after their reps; I learned more about blocking technique in five minutes of standing near him than I have in the rest of my life put together. They're all great with the players, as well; you could tell the kids were hanging on every word of instruction.
- Former Michigan lineman and current EMU OL coach Kurt Anderson, who was running drills with Funk: "You're protecting your family, your food, your quarterback." [via Mike Rothstein]
Pictured coaches, in order of appearance, are UAB HC Garrick McGee, OSU HC Urban Meyer, MSU DC Pat Narduzzi, EMU HC Ron English, Hoke, Mattison, EMU's Mike Hart, Syracuse's Tyrone Wheatley, and Michigan's Darrell Funk and Jeff Hecklinski.
Jayru Campbell's hair did not disappoint:
Neither did Shane Morris's afternoon attire:
That's all for now. Interviews with Morris, Dawson, and Tuley-Tillman coming later this afternoon.
Today's recruiting roundup previews this week's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, reminds you why you shouldn't pay attention to every recruit's tweet, updates Kendall Fuller's recruitment, and more.
Move Along, Nothing To See Here
I underestimated you, MGoBoard. When I saw this tweet (later deleted by Logan Tuley-Tillman) come across my feed last night, I fully expected at least one thread bracing for the worst:
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) June 12, 2012
After half an hour of semi-rampant decommitment speculation, Logan broke the big news:
— Logan Tuley-Tillman (@LoganTillman) June 12, 2012
Let this serve as your regular reminder that breathlessly hanging onto every word in a recruit's twitter feed is a terrible way to live.
In more relevant news on current commits, I'll be attending the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Southfield on Wednesday and Thursday, which features a lengthy list of Michigan commits and targets. Shane Morris, Khalid Hill, David Dawson, Csont'e York, and Jourdan Lewis are the commits expected to attend, as is uncommitted CA DE Joe Mathis. There will also be the usual Cass Tech contingent as well as top 2014 in-state DE target Malik McDowell. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to write up this week, as I'm taking a vacation starting Friday morning and the camp runs all day, but I'll be updating on Twitter frequently.
Rivals released their 2013 rankings for the state of Michigan, and the Wolverines unsurprisingly dominate, taking four of the top five spots. Morris tops the list, followed by Notre Dame commit Steve Elmer, Lewis, Dawson, and Wyatt Shallman. York comes in at #8, one spot behind MSU commit Jon Reschke, and Hill sits at #23. Hill's placement strikes me as unusually low, especially since he comes in three spots behind a fellow tight end from Howell whose only offers are from Air Force, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan.
Kendall Fuller Update, Lists, and Visits
Fox Sports/Scout reporter Kristen Kenney caught up with five-star MD CB Kendall Fuller to get the latest on his recruitment in the following video, which strangely is stuck behind a paywall despite having embedding enabled:
Fuller mentions Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Michigan as the four schools making the strongest push for him. He's got current or former teammates at all four: Stefon Diggs at Maryland, his older brothers at VT, Dorian O'Daniel at Clemson, and Blake Countess at Michigan. According to Fuller, a decision could come before the season if he's 100% sure of the school he'd like to attend. Fuller's fellow Good Counsel defensive back, Kirk Garner, also has the Wolverines in his top six.
Tremendous dropped off an intriguing tidbit in their notes column as FL CB Leon McQuay III says he's trying to set up a visit to Ann Arbor with teammate WR Alvin Bailey for some time in the next couple weeks. Getting Bailey on campus would be big, and in my opinion the prospect of McQuay making multiple visits in a matter of weeks is even bigger. Click through on the link to see Bailey's outstanding high-top fade in action.
Several prospects are narrowing down their lists as the season approaches. CA ATH Darren Carrington, one of Michigan's most recent offers, told 247's Clint Brewster that the Wolverines "in the top couple schools" that he's considering ($). Carrington appears to be waiting on some potential big-time offers, but also says that he'll try to camp at Michigan and plans to use one of his officials to see Ann Arbor. CA ATH Elijah Qualls, who Michigan is recruiting as a DT, has the Wolverines in his top seven ($). VA DE Wyatt Teller has his eye on four schools($): Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, and Notre Dame, though the two in-state schools appear to have a distinct edge.
Quickly: CA WR Sebastian Larue earned a USC offer this week, and he tells Rivals's Adam Gorney that he's spending the next few days pondering an early commitment ($). If he drops this weekend, it won't be to Michigan. GBW initially reported this week that Michigan offered OH ATH Caleb Day, but that report has been refuted by Rivals and later retracted by GBW. Happy trails to OH WR Kevin Gladney, who committed to Nebraska.
Brief 2014 Updates
...are very brief this week.
Tremendous gets a visit reaction from IN LB Brandon Lee, who checked out campus on Friday and enjoyed the trip.
Five-star AL ATH Bo Scarbrough will visit Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header). Scarbrough is being recruited by all of the major powers, and while it's a tall task to get a recruit from Tuscaloosa, getting him on campus is a good start.
Four-star IL LB Clifton Garrett, who trains with Core 6 alongside LTT and Laquon Treadwell (among others), will attend July's BBQ at the Big House ($).
2013 commit Kyle Bosch has a younger brother in the class of 2015 who just picked up his first offer($) from Illinois. His name? Brennan Bosch. That won't get confusing at all for the Tigers fans among us.
A week or so ago, Ohio State sent a recruiting letter to "Peroia, IL" that eventually reached the home of Michigan OT commit Logan Tuley-Tillman after the post office got done laughing at it. Tillman, perhaps following the example of Devin Gardner, burned the thing and put a picture of it on the internet.
Now that twitter has migrated off of college campus and Pitchfork enthusiasts, this ended badly. LTT fielded a number of misspelled death threats, Kyle Bosch sort of responded in kind, and the son of a federal judge put out a bounty on Tillman's knees that he eventually turned into a donation to the university of Michigan after he realized he was the dumbest guy in this entire scenario, and that this took some doing.
In an effort to prevent something like this from happening again, we've scoured Tuley-Tillman's social media accounts for other incidents in which he's burned something and posted a picture of the internet. By exposing these now, we hope to get any and all kerfuffles related to them out of the way before the young man arrives on campus.
These photos are absolutely not doctored, but if it turns out they were it was Heiko who created the images.
Tate Forcier's Homework
LTT on decision: "I felt that a six-foot wheeling gunslinger was what the CFL had been lacking after Doug Flutie's retirement."
OSU fans' response:
AL: "Them's so squiggly it makes my brains hurt."
RON: "You aten't got but one brain, Al."
OSU: "You have just received a bachelor's degree in logic."
Negative outcome: Lack of Devin Gardner redshirt.
Jim Bollman's Playbook
LTT on decision: "It's a complicated story involving subspace dimensions, but the short version is it threatened to suck the entire universe into an alternate physics where anything that leaves the ground explodes in a shower of viscera. This was revealed by Tate's answer to question 5.5, which I unfortunately had to burn to save the CFL."
OSU fans' reactions: Weeping joy.
Negative outcome: Happy OSU fans.
A Garbage Dump Full Of Tires
LTT on the decision: "The Big Ten needed a twelfth team."
OSU fans' response: Appointed Jerry Kill to coach it.
Negative outcome: Existence of Minnesota football.
East Lansing Couches
LTT on the decision: "All part of a diabolical plot to make MSU students look not very smart."
OSU fans' response: "We are aware MSU students are not very smart."
Negative outcome: Waste of time that could have been spent reading Chaucer.
LTT on the decision: "You have no idea how much I hate elves."
OSU fans' response: They cower under the great no-seeing Eye when a white-clad Hoke arrives from the East on the fifth day. [Memo to self: get Heiko to photoshop a see-no-Evil Tressel Sauron.]
Negative outcome: Huge rock lands on Antonio Bass.
LTT on the decision: "I'd imagine this one is self-explanatory."
OSU fans' response: Slow-motion NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, declaration that "Rocket Man" is the best song ever.
Negative outcome: 404 file not found
Random Bush In The Middle Of The Desert
LTT on the decision: "A man has to practice. Surely there will be no consequences arising from this."
OSU fans' response: "Can you give us an illustrated version of this thing?"
Negative outcome: Have you ever read the book of Joshua? Things got dark.
LTT on the decision: "PEROIA FOREVER WOOOOO SUCKIT CHICAGO."
OSU fans' reaction: "He never had the stones to play for Meyer. I don't see him burning down New York. Burning the city of Chicago to a cinder is the coward's way out."
Negative outcome: Millions of dollars in property damage, deaths, you know, that kind of stuff.
Today's recruiting roundup discusses (sigh) the Tuley-Tillman fallout, updated Rivals250, Derrick Green, and a group of new 2014 offers.
The aftermath of the Logan Tuley-Tillman letter-burning continues to get ugly. These are things 17-year-olds should simply never have to deal with:
"I got threats coming at me from everywhere -- death threats," [Tuley-Tillman] said by phone Tuesday. "I got somebody telling me he wants me to burn in hell. I got somebody talking about the Holocaust.
"Why, 'cause I burned your team's envelope? Stuff like that I don’t understand. I’m only 17. It takes a lot of emotion for someone to do that, just over an affiliation to a school.
"But you know what? God bless 'em. I'm moving on."
That's as reasonable a reaction as you could ever expect from anyone, let alone a high school student who's still amazed that their personal Twitter posting could ever possibly go viral. My 17-year-old self would've reacted much differently; namely, how Kyle Bosch reacted:
Before I comment on the tweet, here's Bosch's clarification of the above, via Tremendous:
On the comment: "I'm just trying to defend my teammate and my friend. Logan is like a brother to me and when somebody threatens his life and his family's life, I am going to come to his defense. The gun comment has been taken out of context. I'm only saying that if you're going to threaten my friend and brother that you better bring a gun because if you're truly threatening his life, you'll have to take mine too. I should have realized that it may have been misinterpreted, but it's hard not to be angry when he and his mother have gone through so much".
Bosch's explanation is admirable, in that slightly misguided and naïve high school way of showing true loyalty; his friend came under siege, and he responded in kind. I largely agree with what Adam Jacobi has to say on the whole matter, with one point of contention:
That's what this all comes down to in the long run—idiots. Most college football fans aren't idiots. Most Ohio State fans aren't idiots. Idiots have a way of dominating the conversation, though—particularly online—and as such it's always important to keep one thing in mind before you express yourself online: "How would an idiot respond to this?"
By dealing in death threats, intimidation and casual classlessness, Tuley-Tillman, Bosch and however many Ohio State fans were involved all brought themselves down to the levels of idiots.
What Tuley-Tillman did was not idiotic, it was juvenile, and at the age of 17 he has every excuse to be a little juvenile; his action in and of itself did no harm. The response, of course, was idiotic. Bosch's reaction was less excusable than Tuley-Tillman's initial action, but again, we're talking about kids in high school here; his intentions were good—defending a teammate whose life had been threatened—but the consequences weren't properly considered.
Should Tuley-Tillman and Bosch be more careful about what they post online, considering their new-found status as minor celebrities? Absolutely. But missteps by high school students are very understandable. It's what is being directed at these guys from fans that is truly idiotic. This isn't so much a problem with recruits these days—remember, Devin Gardner did the exact same thing as LTT, but in the pre-Twitter era faced little-to-no backlash—but the level of access fans have to recruits and their misguided* impression that social media affords fans an open forum for hatred without consequence.
Is there a solution for this? Right now, not really: the current state of unregulation makes it difficult for much to be done beyond exposing the idiots. It might not be a bad idea for the coaching staff to step in, talk with the commits about proper social media protocol, and ensure that enough is being done from that end that these situations can be avoided as much as possible.
* Though, admittedly, that impression would be far more misguided if people were actually charged for the laws they break via social media. I'd love to see some of these internet tough guys dragged to court for the threats they make to people who would snap them in half if they ever met in real life.
Rivals250 Released, Bosch Feature, Etc.
After releasing an updated top 100 on Tuesday, Rivals has continued updating their rankings, and now we have current commit movement for the top 250:
- Shane Morris drops from #16 to #22 (still a four-star)
- Mike McCray drops from #44 to #55
- Chris Fox drops from #46 to #57
- Patrick Kugler drops from #54 to #73
- Kyle Bosch drops from #60 to #77
- Dymonte Thomas drops from #77 to #95
- Jake Butt drops from #96 to #118
- Jourdan Lewis jumps from #167 to #147
- David Dawson jumps from #199 to #171
- Wyatt Shallman drops from #160 to #182
- Logan Tuley-Tillman drops from #109 to #235
- Ben Gedeon drops from #226 to #237
Obviously, the big change here is Tuley-Tillman falling over 100 spots, though this isn't a huge surprise considering his recent camp struggles, which can be at least partially explained by a nagging shoulder injury. Otherwise, the movement is pretty minor. For what it's worth, Morris features as one of the recruits on the cusp of five stars.
Conveniently heading off any complaints—Rivals hates us now, Pawwwwwl—Rivals also released their initial team rankings. Michigan is a strong #1, posting 2,301 points, which would've been good for the #5 class in the country in 2012 at the end of the recruiting cycle. The Wolverines are nearly 300 points clear of second-ranked Texas. Other notables include Ohio State (#7), Notre Dame (#9), Penn State (#16), Nebraska (#20), Illinois (#21), Michigan State (#24), Iowa (#31), and Wisconsin (#33).
Interesting side-note: CBSSports's Brian Fischer points out that this year's class has far more consensus about the top players among the various recruiting services than any other in recent memory. As sites like YouTube, Hudl, ScoutingOhio, and others continue to make creating and sharing film a simple proposition, I think rankings will trend in this direction; the more common information, the greater the consensus.
Bleacher Report released a video feature on Kyle Bosch in which he breaks down why he committed to Michigan, his favorite play to run, and his dream prom date:
Brendan Gibbons applauds the selection of two brunettes, but how does this affect the status of Kate Upton, matron saint of Michigan commits?
Derrick Green: Two More Visits?
VA RB Derrick Green, the newly-anointed Rivals #1 running back, remains in close contact with Michigan. According to his interview with Tremendous, Green plans to make not just one, but two trips to Ann Arbor before wrapping up his recruitment:
"I'll definitely be taking an official to Michigan. No question. I'll be up there this summer as well to talk with Coach Hoke since I haven't gotten to talk with him personally yet and then I want to make it out for a game as well".
Sam Webb reportedly had good things to say about Michigan's chances with Green on his radio show yesterday, and this is another very positive sign.
Things could move quickly at defensive tackle for the Wolverines, starting with MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr.'s visit this weekend, one that could quite possibly produce a commitment (remember to practice proper vehicle safety, recruitniks). MD DT Henry Poggi has long been thought to have a summer commitment timetable, and the same appears to be the case for recently-offered TX DT Hardreck Walker, who told GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz that he'll announce before his senior season ($, info in header). Walker is trying to set up a summer visit, though nothing is set in stone, and he has Michigan in his top six schools; we'll see if there's a spot left to take when he's ready to decide, though we'll have to see if he visits before getting hopes up for a commitment.
Quickly: MI K/P J.J. McGrath will camp in the hopes of earning a scholarship offer ($), though it's highly unlikely that Michigan will use a spot on a specialist in this class. TTB scouts AZ WR Devon Allen. Happy trails to IL OL Ethan Pocic, who committed to LSU.
Sam Webb's latest at the Detroit News covers TX CB Nick Watkins, the son of former Detroit Lions defensive back Bobby Watkins. At 6'1", 180 pounds, Watkins has great size for a cornerback, and his coach has high praise for his skill and athleticism:
"The thing about it is you have a corner that is 6-foot-plus that has speed, has great hips, and great ball skills," Bishop Dunne coach Michael Johnson told Scout.com. "I mean, the kid's got arms down to his ankles almost. He's smooth. He's the type of player that makes it look effortless. Him being great off the field in the classroom just makes him that much more marketable. He's the total package."
Watkins tells Webb that he's currently favoring Alabama, Michigan, Arkansas, and Ohio State, with Texas also in the mix, but he's still "keeping it wide open" and won't be making an early commitment.
Michigan sent out a few new sophomore offers recently:
- Four-star TN RB Jalen Hurd added Michigan($) to an offer list that already includes Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State, and Nebraska. He tells 247's Clint Brewster that he's "definitely going to see Michigan," though nothing is set up yet, and that 'Bama, UT, and OSU are the three schools standing out to him right now.
- IL WR Nic Weishar has picked up offers from a good chunk of the Big Ten recently, and Michigan joined the fray on Wednesday ($). Weishar also holds offers from Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern, and others.
- SC DT Dexter Wideman has a fitting name considering his 6'4", 275-pound stature. He also now has a Wolverine offer($) to go along with ones from Clemson and South Carolina.
Quickly: Cleveland St. Ignatius OT Jimmy Byrne will visit campus on Sunday. Four-star GA S Nick Glass has set up a visit for June 25th ($). FL WR Austin Roberts will visit in July ($). AL ATH Bo Scarbrough has Michigan in his top four($) along with Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
Today's recruiting roundup examines new rankings from Rivals and 247, recaps the IMG 7-on-7 tournament, checks in on Laquon Treadwell and Su'a Cravens, and there's something about a letter that almost certainly won't draw any attention.
So Much For "Return To Sender"
2013 OL commit Logan Tuley-Tillman caused, shall we say, a bit of a stir on Saturday with a simple tweet reading "#goblue #beatohio". Oh, and there was a picture attached:
Well, that's one way to say you'd appreciate no further correspondence from your future school's rival. While I'm sure this has ruffled feathers on both sides of the rivalry, I must say I thought this was hilarious, a harmless statement from a high school kid having some fun and
fueling the fire stoking the flames turning up the heat non-fire-related cliche about The Game. Looking closer, there's a couple of details in the photo worth pointing out:
- The letter is unopened. It doesn't look like there was any middle step between "receive letter" and "light letter on fire".
- The luminaries at the Ohio State athletic department believe Tuley-Tillman lives in "Peroia," Illinois. So close, guys.
In other news, both Rivals and 247 updated their 2013 rankings. The Rivals100 was released this morning; here's the movement of current commits:
- Shane Morris drops from #16 to #22 (still a four-star)
- Mike McCray drops from #44 to #55
- Chris Fox drops from #46 to #57
- Patrick Kugler drops from #54 to #73
- Kyle Bosch drops from #60 to #77
- Dymonte Thomas drops from #77 to #95
- Jake Butt (previously #96) drops out of top 100
Notable targets include VA RB Derrick Green, who shot up to #12 overall and earned a fifth star, FL DB Leon McQuay III (#33), IL WR Laquon Treadwell (#39), MD DT Henry Poggi (#52), and CA DE Joe Mathis (#71).
While the drops across the board don't look great, it's important to remember that several prospects have been evaluated (or re-evaluated with more film or new info from camps) since the initial rankings dropped in February—early standouts aren't so much losing stock as they are being passed by those who have gained exposure in recent months.
Here's the movement in the updated Top247:
- Shane Morris drops from #18 to #22 (first four-star)
- Dymonte Thomas drops from #41 to #45
- Kyle Bosch drops from #42 to #46
- Chris Fox drops from #53 to #60
- Logan Tuley-Tillman drops from #82 to #85
- Taco Charlton drops from #86 to #90
- Ben Gedeon jumps from #255 to #171
- Mike McCray drops from #173 to #176
- David Dawson jumps from #199 to #196
- Patrick Kugler drops from #192 to #206
- DeVeon Smith debuts on the list at #231
- Gareon Conley debuts on the list at #234
Again, mostly minor drops here, with the notable exception of Ben Gedeon. Any disappointment should be severely mitigated by the fact that Michigan has 12 recruits on the list.
You Down With IMG? Yeah, You Know Me
Auburn Hills hosted last weekend's Michigan Elite/IMG 7-on-7 Regional qualifier, which featured Laquon Treadwell's Core 6 squad facing off against Shane Morris & Co.'s Maximum Exposure. Neither team took the title, though thanks to their IMG national title last year MaxEx gets an automatic invite to this year's national tournament, but several commits and targets were standouts. Treadwell earned top performer honors from 247's Steve Wiltfong:
A smooth route runner, Treadwell is a physical player that does a superb job of catching the ball away from his body and making catches with the cornerback draped on his back. Whether he was going over the middle, leaping over a defender, or catching the ball back shoulder, Treadwell was good for a few wow moments a game. He also has some yards after the catch ability. Defensively, he played safety and came through with several plays on the football.
Morris was #4 on the list due to a performance described as "methodical, accurate, and easy like a Sunday morning," an assessment that is Lionel Richie-approved. Jourdan Lewis, playing for MaxEx, was the #9 performer. Maize & Blue News, a new recruiting/news site started by Matt Pargoff (formerly of The Wolverine) has highlights of Morris (above) and Lewis (here).
The event provided the opportunity for everyone to talk to Treadwell about his recruitment, and he provided similar, if slightly differing, statements for the recruiting sites. He presented a chopped-down list to Pargoff:
“I’ll probably decide during my high school season,” he stated. “I’m still looking at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Illinois. That’s actually narrowed down a lot. There were a lot of schools on me. I just didn’t know what to do, so I just had to think about which ones I really wanted to go to … But I want to take some official visits.”
That list got a little bit smaller when Treadwell talked to Tim Sullivan ($):
Michigan isn't the only school still in play, but the list of serious contenders for Treadwell's services appears to be dwindling.
"Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Illinois," he said. "That's about it that I can think about off the top."
When he talked to 247's Steve Wiltfong, the list dwindled to four ($):
Treadwell says he remains in touch with about 10 college programs, and has four schools he’d currently have a tough time saying no to in Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
“I’m looking at those four schools pretty hard,” Treadwell said.
Finally, Treadwell found a very roundabout way to name a leader, giving TomVH a top three of Michigan and... TBD ($):
He recently went on the record to say just where the Wolverines rank for him.
"In the top three," said Treadwell, who was in Michigan with his travel team for an IMG 7-on-7 qualifier. "That's the first offer. I love that school."
While he says some favorites have started to emerge, he isn't sure who else is on that list, so it's the Wolverines by themselves for now
Treadwell added that he plans to visit Oklahoma State on June 8th, and there's a chance he sees Oklahoma on that trip as well. He has no other visits planned. He also told GBW($) that he plans to take "probably, two officials" and said of Michigan, simply, "I love that school." Draw whatever conclusions you will from that.
The other big news of the week comes from CA S Su'a Cravens, a longshot for Michigan who is now an even longer shot, according to the Omaha World-Herald:
Five-star safety Su'a Cravens had been scheduled to unofficially visit Michigan and Nebraska next week in preparation for his June 6 decision date. NU, UM and USC were the three presumed favorites.
But the Vista Murrieta (Calif.) two-way star reportedly canceled both trips. Su'a Cravens father, Kevin confirmed the cancellation Sunday night.
“It's accurate,” he said.
According to Kevin Cravens, Su'a has final exams to take, and while the family initially thought he'd be able to make up these exams at a different date, the school, Kevin said, won't allow it. So no visit.
Despite the cancellation, Cravens will still announce his decision on June 6th. If he leaves the state of California, I'll eat two lemons.
Quickly: Michigan makes the top seven($) for AZ CB Cole Luke and the top six($) for Good Counsel S Kirk Garner. CA ATH Elijah Qualls tells GBW's Andre Barthwell that he plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor ($). LSU leads($) for HI DT Scott Pagano. Magnus scouts VA RB Derrick Green at a 7-on-7 tournament. Tremendous gets a visit reaction from 2014 WR Jaylan Grandison.
Today's recruiting roundup discusses the Elite 11 and NFTC camps in Columbus, Ty Isaac officially narrowing his field to three, new offers for 2013 and 2014, and more.
Commits Excel in Columbus
Shane Morris, equally adept at deep bombs and photobombs (via)
It was a busy weekend for Michigan commits, as Columbus hosted an Elite 11 regional on Friday followed by a Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday. Shane Morris bounced back from a lackluster performance in April's Dallas Elite 11 regional, taking home MVP honors in the Columbus edition and earning himself a spot in July's Elite 11 finals, which take place in Los Angeles. Morris beat out a field that included Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire, Ohio State commit Jalin Marshall (who will likely play receiver in college), Northwestern commit Matt Alviti, and Purdue commit Danny Etling. Here's 247's Barton Simmons on Morris's performance:
1. Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle – Good luck trying to pin a fear of competing on Shane Morris. Despite his lofty ranking and his early commitment to Michigan, Morris is at seemingly every event he can get to, eager to prove himself. On Friday he did just. He can put loads of velocity on the ball without digging deep, he showed great accuracy throughout the day and he has a smooth and natural composure in the pocket. Morris’ performance earned him an invite to the Elite 11 finals this summer.
“Over the past couple weeks Morris has been preparing to show he has more than just the big arm, and he proved that on Friday,” said Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Josh Helmholdt. “The opposite of overthrowing is trying to aim the ball, but Morris showed improved accuracy and spun the ball better while varying his speeds and trajectory.”
Michigan's star quarterback recruit wasn't the only commit to earn MVP honors over the weekend, however, as David Dawson (OL MVP) and Mike McCray (LB MVP) took home hardware from the NFTC. In fact, Michigan and Ohio State pledges dominated Saturday's event—of the seven players to earn invites to The Opening in Oregon, all were either future Wolverines (Dawson, McCray, Morris, and Taco Charlton) or Buckeyes (Marshall, Cam Burrows, and Billy Price).
Dawson in particular drew rave reviews, earning top weekend performer honors from 247's Simmons...
1. David Dawson, OL, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech – There were Michigan commits out in droves on Saturday, all wearing their Wolverine gear and waving the flag in Ohio State country but none represented quite as well as David Dawson.
A player with good length, Dawson showed good athleticism as an edge protector in one-on-ones but really separated himself with his finisher’s mentality. Dawson really fought to win his reps in one-on-ones and many of those reps he won with authority.
...and Rivals's Helmholdt ($):
Dawson capped off his MVP performance on Saturday by stoning defensive line MVP Billy Price in the final offensive line/defensive line one-on-one. Dawson has been dominant throughout the off-season, but this may have been his best performance to date. He was moving his feet better than in events past, and he channeled his mean streak well, even if he went past the whistle on a few plays. Dawson ended up with more pancakes than any other lineman we saw in the one-on-ones and physically manhandled the majority of defenders he faced.
Dawson also made Scout's Bob Lichtenfels's top ten list($) along with Morris. You can see footage of Dawson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, and Charlton from the one-on-one blocking drills below, courtesy of Rivals:
Dawson's mean streak is on full display, as is Charlton's speed, though he also gets stuffed on one rep when the speed rush doesn't work out. You may notice that Tuley-Tillman looks a little ponderous and out of shape—he's been battling a shoulder injury that's hampered his conditioning and essentially forced him to block with one arm, so don't get too concerned.
Helmholdt listed Charlton as his #5 lineman at the NFTC, saying "offensive linemen could not handle Charlton's speed, but he also surprised them with his strength, even knocking Kyle Meadows backward on one rep." Meanwhile, Tim Sullivan provides evaluations for Mike McCray ($)...
McCray's ability to cover running backs out of the backfield had previously been considered a question mark, but it's one that he answered emphatically on Saturday. He was able to go stride-for-stride with all but the quickest tailbacks there, and showed the ability to not only blanket a receiver, but make plays on the ball as well. In edge-rush drills, he showed the ability to overpower running backs and tight ends, but also a quickness to go around them that's uncommon in a player his size.
...and Khalid Hill:
Hill impressed again on Saturday, with more athleticism than he's given credit for at times, precise routes, and as always, very good hands. He developed a nice chemistry with some of the quarterbacks in attendance, and although tight ends didn't get the ball much, he made the most of the opportunities presented to him.
Overall, it was quite a weekend for the Wolverine contingent in Columbus; Morris may have locked down five-star status, while Dawson and Charlton look poised to move up when the recruiting services update their rankings.
Speaking of which, Scout unveiled their initial 2013 team rankings, and it comes as no surprise that Michigan holds down the top spot, the first time that a school other than Texas has ranked #1 in Scout's initial release. Ohio State is at #4, Notre Dame #5, Penn State #12, Nebraska #17, and Michigan State rounds out the list at #20.
Isaac Down to Three, More 2013 News
Josh Helmholdt caught up with IL RB Ty Isaac after his latest trip to USC, and while this has been presumed for a long time, Isaac has trimmed his list to three schools ($):
"Right now, it's Michigan, USC and Notre Dame," Isaac said. "Among that group some are ahead of others, but I think it's down to them. Hopefully I can get this thing knocked out soon.
"If all goes well and nothing else comes up, hopefully I can get this done before my season starts, whether that be soon or in August. If not, I've got until February 2nd. I don't see it going that long, but if circumstances warrant that then so be it."
In good news for Michigan fans, Isaac also mentioned that a pre-decision trip to Ann Arbor "could take place in the near future." Considering his statements above, it's logical to think that the Wolverines are still in a very strong position to land his commitment, with Notre Dame probably on the outside looking in right now.
CA S Su'a Cravens will announce his decision on June 6th, his mother's birthday, and according to Scout's Lindsay Thiry he's narrowed his choices to five schools ($): USC, UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Rivals's Adam Gorney reports, however, that while Cravens will take a trip to the Midwest before his decision, he will visit just two of those Big Ten schools, though he won't say which one is out of the running ($). Regardless, USC will be the team to beat, and I have a tough time seeing him go elsewhere.
The Wolverines continue to send out wide receiver offers, with the latest going to FL WR Alvin Bailey, the high school teammate of five-star safety Leon McQuay III. Bailey tells 247 that he's feeling the time crunch of the recruiting process, and while he hopes to visit Michigan he might not get the chance ($). He seems like a player who will stay in-state, though a four-star at a position of need—not to mention a teammate of an elite prospect—is certainly worth an offer.
Quickly: MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr. will take visits to Michigan and MSU in the near future, then make his decision before the start of his senior season ($). Happy trails to TX DE Christian Lacouture, who surprised many by committing to Nebraska on Saturday.
M Leading for McDowell? Plus More 2014 Offers
2014 MI DE Malik McDowell continues to rack up the offers, with his latest coming from Notre Dame, and he also impressed at the NFTC over the weekend. The Detroit Loyola product recently named a top five of Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, and Ohio State, but one school might stick out above the rest ($):
The recruiting process is just getting started for Detroit (Mich.) Loyola class of 2014 defensive end Malik McDowell, with Notre Dame becoming the latest school to offer this past Friday, but Michigan may have already established itself as the school to beat.
“You could say that,” McDowell said after participating in the Ohio Nike Football Training Camp Regional at Ohio Dominican University on Saturday.
I've been hearing the same myself, though McDowell still wants to take visits—especially to the SEC programs—before coming to any sort of decision.
Michigan continues to send out offers to elite rising juniors. TX S Edward Paris, the #10 overall prospect in 247's early rankings, picked up an offer over the weekend ($). He'll be tough to pull out of the South, but says he would like to come up for a game in the fall. DC CB D'Andre Payne already has Virginia as his leader, but Michigan—amongst several other schools—threw their hat into the ring last week ($). Finally, Tremendous reports AZ WR Dionte Sykes picked up a Michigan offer a couple of weeks ago, and he'd like to take an unofficial visit over the summer.