This fall, I'll be chronicling the season of Michigan commits as they hit the field on Friday nights (or Thursdays, or Saturday afternoons) in their high school games. The series includes stat breakdowns, game stories, and even some original video. Here's a primer for the offensive side of the ball - the prospects whose games I'm most likely to attend this fall. If you have any corrections, you can e-mail them to me at Tim@mgoblog.com, or post them in the comments of this post.
Harrison High School
Farmington Hills, MI
|Farmington Hills Harrison 2011|
|8-27||8PM||Detroit Cass Tech (@EMU)|
|9-23||7PM||@ Southfield Lathrup|
|10-6||7PM||@ Rochester Adams|
|10-14||7PM||OAA Crossover Game|
HS Position: Wide Receiver
Projects as: Tight End/H-Back
HS Position: Defensive Tackle
Projects as: Defensive End/Rush LB
Farmington Hills Harrison had plenty of success on the field last year, winning 14 straight game en route to an undefeated State Championship season in Michigan's second-largest division. Devin finished the season with about 33 catches for 800 yards, while Mario notched 127 tackles and 12 sacks from the DT(!!!) spot, also causing three fumbles.
Harrison looks to be strong yet again in 2011, with not only Funchess and Ojemudia back, but teammate Aaron Burbridge reeling in the receptions - I'll be keeping an eye on the #2 prospect in the state of Michigan, as he's a prospect for the Wolverines as well. Harrison does have to replace quarterback Tommy Vento (a preferred walk-on at Michigan State), but if they can find a signal-caller, the other pieces are in place for a deep run.
I should catch quite a few Harrison games, and their season-opener against Cass Tech is a must-see for Michigan fans, as Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson will be suiting up across the field. That game is August 27th at 8PM in Eastern Michigan's Rynearson Stadium.
Cass Technical School
|Detroit Cass Tech 2011|
|8-27||8PM||FH Harrison (@EMU)|
|9-2||3PM||@ Detroit Central|
|9-9||4PM||@ Det Southeastern|
|9-30||6PM||Crockett (@Det Osborn)|
HS Position: Fullback/Linebacker
Projects as: Middle Linebacker
HS Position: Slot Receiver/Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback
The Cass Tech Technicians (We're from Tech!) had enormous success last season for a city league team, falling in the State Semifinal game on a final-minute turnover to eventual champion Lake Orion. Tech sent four players to FBS teams following the season, including Michigan freshman CB Delonte Hollowell (Illinois, Toledo and W. Mich got the others). Royce rushed for 10 touchdowns, and added 90 tackles and five sacks on the other side of the ball, and Terry finished with 35 tackles and 12 interceptions, plus 12 receptions for 400ish(!) yards and five touchdowns.
Despite losing plenty of talent, Tech looks to reload with Terry and Royce as the leaders. Royce's fellow linebackers Ruben Lile and Laron Taylor both have multiple Big Ten offers, and DT Darryl Goldsmith is hearing from the MAC. There's talent in the 2013 class as well. The schedule sets up nicely, with the showcase game against Harrison leading into several Detroit teams whom Tech has dominated over the past couple years.
Aside from the season opener against Harrison, I should be able to make it to a couple more Tech games, many of which are conveniently scheduled during the day. The final two games are tentatively scheduled for Thursdays, which could mean more chances to check them out. [Ed-M: Bonus reason to go to a Tech game: their fan cheer is "Go Cass; Kick Ass!"]
Detroit Catholic Central
|Detroit Catholic Central 2011|
|8-26||7PM||@ Dearborn Fordson|
|9-2||7:30PM||@ Delphos (OH) St. John's|
|9-24||7PM||De La Salle (@Lake Shore)|
|10-15||7PM||Orchard Lake St. Mary's|
|10-22||4PM||Prep Bowl (@Ford Field)|
HS Position: Defensive End
Projects as: Defensive End/Tackle
Last year, the Shamrocks saw plenty of success, but lost in the State Quarterfinals to current Michigan freshman Brennen Beyer and his eventual runner-up Plymouth Wildcats. They closed out the season 9-3. Matt capped off a 66-tackle (28 for loss), campaign with All-Catholic Honors.
Catholic Central looks to rebound from a down year in 2010 (seriously, 9-3 is a down year) with a return to the state finals - they won the State Championship in 2009. Along with Godin, tight end Matt Doneth is a BCS prospect as a senior, and 2013 RB/DE Wyatt Shallman should be one of the top prospects in next year's in-state crop.
With Michigan's heavy recruiting of the Catholic League this year (James Ross attends Orchard Lake St. Mary's, and 2013 QB Commit Shane Morris goes to Warren De La Salle), I should be able to make it out to at least a couple of Godin's games.
St. Mary's Preparatory
Orchard Lake, MI
|Orchard Lake St. Mary's 2011|
|8-26||4:30PM||GR West Catholic|
|9-2||7PM||Toledo (OH) St. John's|
|9-16||7PM||UD Jesuit (@Ferndale)|
|9-23||7:30PM||Columbus (OH) DeSales|
|10-7||7PM||Warren De La Salle|
|10-15||7PM||@ Det Catholic Central|
|10-22||7PM||Prep Bowl (@Ford Field)|
HS Position: Fullback/Linebacker
Projects as: Linebacker
Last year, St. Mary's reached the State Championship game, but fell to rival East Grand Rapids (as the Eaglets so often do in various sports) on a goal line stand in the fourth quarter. The only other losses in the 11-3 campaign for St. Mary's came to another rival in Birmingham Brother Rice (once in the regular season, once in the Prep Bowl). James finished his junior season with 103 tackles, five sacks, five forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, and an interception last year.
This year, the Eaglets have to replace a Penn State-bound WR Allen Robinson, along with their starting quarterback Mike Koenigsknecht. The onus will fall on the run game and defense to bring the Eaglets back to the playoffs.
I should be able to make at least a couple OLSM games this fall, particularly when they take on other Michigan prospects.
Rockford High School
|9-16||7PM||Holland West Ottawa|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Tackle
The Rams are a traditional football power in the State of Michigan, so only reaching the semifinals last year (they bowed out to Brennen Beyer's Plymouth team) was a disappointment. The 11-3 seaosn also included road losses to Howell and Canton in the regular season. Braden is an offensive lineman, so his didn't accrue any stats.
Expect a disappointing 2010 season to fuel a deep run for Rockford this year, led by Braden up front. His other bookend, Parker Ehinger, is off to Cincinnati this year, so the Rams need another big lineman to step up in their run-heavy attack. There has been a lot of talk this summer about how Braden impressed on the camp circuit, so a strong senior year could help him move into four-star range to the recruiting services.
Rockford [shows hand, points at left side of palm] is positioned across the state from most of Michigan's other commits (and, you know, Michigan itself), so it'll be rare that I get to take in one of Braden's regular-season games. However, Rockford should make a deep run into the playoffs, and I'll hopefully get to catch a couple there.
De La Salle Collegiate
|De La Salle 2011|
|8-26||7PM||AA Pioner (@Lake Shore)|
|9-2||7PM||Carman-Ainsworth (@Lake Shore)|
|9-9||7PM||@ Dearborn Fordson|
|9-18||2:30PM||@ Brother Rice|
|9-24||7PM||Catholic Central (@Lake Shore)|
|9-30||7PM||Inkster (@Lake Shore)|
|10-7||7PM||@ Orchard Lake St. Mary's|
|10-14||7PM||UD Jesuit (@Lake Shore)|
|10-21||7PM||Prep Bowl (@ Ford Field)|
Shane Morris (2013)
HS Position: Quarterback
Projects as: Quarterback
De La Salle has not been a power in the Catholic League, but they put together a good 2010 season, reaching the State Quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual champion Farmington Hills Harrison. The other losses in a 9-3 season for the Pilots came to another pair of Michigan commits in Detroit Catholic Central's Matt Godin and Orchard Lake St Mary's linebacker James Ross. Morris completed 102 of 180 passes for 1,150 yards, to go along with 14 touchdowns and just 2 picks last season.
De La Salle should be about the same this year as they were last year, but with another year of experience for their star QB, they'll look to get over the next hump. With a very strong junior season, Shane can make an early argument for 5-star status in the 2013 class.
Since he won't be hitting campus for another couple years, I'm not prioritizing Morris's games as highly as the other prospects. I plan to be in attendance (when possible) for a couple contests against 2012 Michigan commits.
Any corrections to the schedules posted here are welcome. If you attend any commit's game, feel free to e-mail me notes, stats, photos, etc. to Tim@mgoblog.com.
Anthony Standifer Goes Blue
When the ball is in the air, he goes up and gets it at its highest point. He also has very smooth hips for a kid who's 6'1" ...I also really like the way Standifer deals with blockers; they're nuisances to him and he finds crafty ways to get around people who are in his way... I have doubts that Standifer can be a truly elite corner because of his lack of high-end speed, but I think he has sufficient speed to be an impact corner in the Big Ten.
The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice:
All in all, with a couple years’ weight training and technical work, Standifer could become the sort of corner who, while not always locking down their man, won’t let up many big mistakes, and should position himself to make a play after the catch. While I like him better at corner, I wouldn’t object to placing him in a deep zone, provided he puts on some weight, ideally 10-20 pounds.
Mark Snyder of the Free Press talked to his coach:
"He's a kid who's over 6-1, may get to be 6-2 and is 6-3/6-4 in spikes," [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. "His physical makeup makes him also very athletic. He has long arms, good speed and a good vertical jump. He also has excellent instincts."
Verde also said that Anthony transformed from a great athlete int a great football player as a junior. For more, check out the Hello: Anthony Standifer post.
Scout's Allen Trieu has kind words for both Standifer and Gant (notably saying that Gant's athleticism is underrated by people who have only seen him on tape).
As the Buckeyes are the reigning overlord in the Midwest (at least from a recruiting standpoint), their struggles with following the rules are bound to have an effect on some of the other regional schools in terms of recruiting.
This week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News is a roundtable with Scout's Allen Trieu and Bill Greene. First, on OH OL Kyle Kalis:
Trieu: I think there is a good chance that he is going to at least take another look around. Obviously that doesn't mean he is going to decommit.
Greene: So if he thought about decommitting on Monday, and you were able to talk him off the edge on Tuesday, you've still got a long time between now and February 2012 when he can be signed. I would guess that you are going to have to revisit this issue again with Kyle Kalis.
Kalis talked to Tom about his commitment, and he's still a Buckeye, but considering a few other schools. Back to Webb. On OH RB Bri'onte Dunn:
Bill Greene: I think Michigan absolutely has a legitimate shot at Brionte Dunn. I think Penn State would be appealing to him too. I would not be surprised to him take official visits in the fall regardless of him reaffirming his commitment to Ohio State two days ago. I think there is still some uncertainty there.
and on OH DE Chris Wormley:
Allen Trieu: Even through all the things that he was saying, I always felt like Michigan was the leader for Chris. I think Michigan is the clear leader now and I think it would be an upset if he went anywhere but Michigan.
Bill Greene: I have had Wormley going to Michigan since the Ohio State camp last year. I still see Chris Wormley at Michigan and I've never wavered from that. We'll see.
There's much more in there, but you'll have to click through so I'm not stealing all of Sam's content. Next week's column will cover several more prospects with Michigan and Ohio State interest, including Dwayne Stanford, Kyle Dodson, and others.
Fox Toledo talked to Wormley, though he doesn't provide much insight into whether it changes his decision timeframe:
The Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo spoke to Wormley at the state track finals, and has a hunch that Michigan will land the talented Toledoan.
Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long thinks OH DE Se'Von Pittman was a Michigan lean even before Tressel got the axe.
Fox Sports Ohio covers the "risky time" for Buckeyes recruiting.
The Wayne Morgan Saga
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan had previously planned to make a final decision last Thursday, but his choice between Michigan and Rutgers is delayed. Since Michigan was the heavy favorite to land him, that's a bad thing, as it gives other schools a better chance to sway him.
From the sounds of things, Michigan's coaches wanted him as a corner, and the delay means that there will likely not be a spot for him when he decides (MA CB Armani Reeves dropped the Wolverines for similar reasons). Michigan's coaches are probably looking for a true free safety to close out the DB recruiting class.
May I suggest OH S Jarrod Wilson, who visited last Tuesday, and named Michigan to his top 3 shortly thereafter? He plans to decide before the start of his senior season. His coach, former Wolverine great Ricky Powers, told Tom that Jarrod plans to enroll early.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins was the guest of honor for a live chat with Rivals last Thursday. Some highlights:
- Ondre plans to visit Ann Arbor at the end of the summer, or for a game. He'll narrow his list in June, and his final decision will probably come in early December. He plans to announce at a press conference, but will finish his high school year rather than enrolling early.
- He spent a lot of time talking about his favorite football player: former Wolverine Lamarr Woodley. He plans to wear #56 in college to honor the Steelers all-pro, and Woodley is one of the mentors helping him through the recruiting process.
- His other recruiting advisors are Tennessee-bound DeAnthony Arnett (and his brother Ralph), and former Spartan Clifton Ryan.
- There are a lot of things Michigan has going in their favor from the start with Pipkins. He still considers Saginaw his home, and grew up a fan of Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan Stadium is tied for his favorite in the NCAA (with Alabama), and he says Michigan has the best helmet in the game. His favorite sports movie is Jalen Rose's "The Fab Five" (another tie, this time with fellow 30-for-30 project "The U").
- He wants to major in Business Administration, and a good program there (check) will help a school in his eyes, along with good relationships with the coaches, and a shot at early playing time (check).
He also seems to be high on Michigan's coaching staff, and the way they're recruiting him. For example, his answer to two separate questions (the first about Hoke and staff):
They seem very family oriented. Very honest and up front.
Yes, family is very important.
He also answered some specific questions about Michigan's coaching staff:
Q: How does the fact that Michigan has 3 DL Coaches, along with former Ravens Defensive Coord. weigh into your feelings with Michigan?
It really does ... because it's going to be a defensive-type of team and defense wins championships.
Q: Hows Greg Mattison as a recruiter. Heard hes the best in the biz.
He's very good ... he just tells you straightforward what you need to hear .
That certainly goes well with his answer to a different question, asked earlier:
Q: Do you ever feel some coaches just tell you what you want to hear and are just worried about you as the football player and not you as a person?
Yeah, I definitely feel that way. The ones that tell you wht you need to hear are the coaches that have the best interests at heart for you.
And finally, he talked a bit about his game. He doesn't matter what scheme he plays in, and doesn't care if he's simply used to plug holes so the linebackers can make plays. He loves opening lanes for the linebackers and making the plays himself, as well. His mean streak and hand movement are his strengths, along with versatility, while he admits he needs to work on staying low and getting an initial punch.
Ondre thinks he's a hard enough worker both on and off the field to be in the running for five-star status. He hasn't been invited to any All-Star games yet, but he is working hard to earn the honor.
[Ed: Pipkins was also talking about wanting Woodley's number on the Twitter. You can have the whole outfit, kid!]
CA DT Aziz Shittu will probably make his open commitment to Stanford into an official decommitment sometime soon. The highly rated big man wants to take his time and experience what other schools have to offer before choosing where to spend the next 4+ years of his life. He told Tom:
If he does reopen his recruitment that would likely mean he would take summer visits. "I'm not sure yet where I want to visit, but I'm going to get out there. I'd like to make it out to Michigan," said Shittu. "I like [Michigan's] tradition and the style of play they want to do."
Michigan was in his top-5 at the time he committed to the Cardinal, and academics are a big priority.
I would guess Pipkins is priority #1 at DT for the Wolverines (with Shittu near the top of the list as well). As for likely pipe dreams, NY DT Jarron Jones is still planning to visit Ann Arbor, so anything is possible.
MA OL Eric Olson visited Michigan yesterday. The Massachusetts prospect is relatively unknown to the recruiting services, but will make a decision soon.
CA OL Erik Magnuson is visiting this weekend. Tom says this is a "very big" visit for Michigan, so if Erik likes what he sees, it could be a great weekend for the maize-and-blue.
IL OL Jordan Diamond will be in Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header).
If Michigan closed out OL recruiting with that trio, I think there would be very few complaints.
Another tackle, PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, is also visiting today.
OH TE Sam Grant committed to Boston College.
CA TE Taylor McNamara committed to Arizona.
GA DE/LB Jarontay Jones committed to Virginia Tech.
IN QB Gunner Kiel is deciding soon ($, info in header). It seems like Michigan has fallen off in his recruitment.
CO OL Paul Thurston may be deciding soon ($, info in header).
MD DE Ryan Watson will camp at Michigan this summer.
Michigan is "in the mix" for MD DE Michael Moore ($, info in header).
Michigan has entered the top 5 for NJ S Elijah Shumate.
CBS's pre-season high school top-25 includes Farmington Hills Harrison (home of Michigan commits Mario Ojemudia and Devin Funchess), as well as several other schools with Michigan targets. Speaking of Ojemudia, he's been selected to join his future teammate Royce Jenkins-Stone in the 2012 Army All-American Game. Congrats, Mario!
Fellow commit OH LB Kaleb Ringer will move to outside linebacker this season to prepare to play that position at the next level.
The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp takes place next week.
IL WR Laquon Treadwell had a good visit to Ann Arbor last week. His teammate, Anthony Standifer, so enjoyed the visit that he committed to Michigan's 2012 class.
PA TE Adam Breneman will visit Michigan ($, info in header).
MI DT Kenton Gibbs is hearing from Michigan. He's a Cass Tech product, so Michigan should have a shot at him if they decide to pursue.
Michigan has offered CA LB Michael Hutchings ($, info in header). He's a product of Concord De La Salle (alma mater of Matt Gutierrez, Amani Toomer, and a few other former Wolverines).
Terry Richardson Goes Blue
Hoke's in-state recruiting buzzsaw continues to... uh... buzz as MI CB Terry Richardson committed to the maize-and-blue live on WTKA Thursday morning. The Wolverines now have commitments from 6 of Sam Webb's top 12 in-state recruits (3 of the remaining 6 are unoffered, one of them took too long and watched his position group possibly fill up, and Michigan is in good position with the other two). Touch the Banner on Terry:
One of my reservations with Cissoko was that, despite all of his technique and physical skills, he only had 3 interceptions in his junior and seasons combined. In some ways, Richardson is the polar opposite - lacking some technique but making big plays. However, the hip swivel is there for him to turn and run with receivers in an instant.
The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice chimes in:
Richardson has a low, smooth backpedal. More impressive, however, are his hips. Coming out of breaks and cuts, his hips can flip and mirror the best of receivers. Coupled with his hips, he has incredible closing speed. He’s been able to succeed at the HS level without elite jamming ability because he can play 5-6 yards off the WR and close the distance before the ball gets in the receiver’s hands.
It confirms the consensus we've heard about most Cass Tech CBs over the years: tiny, fast, and needing a bit of technique work. Terry only did limited work at last weekend's Ohio State Nike Camp (about which more in a moment), but managed to lock down receivers despite a sore hamstring - and even did a little recruiting.
For more on Terry, check out the Hello: Terry Richardson post.
Others in the World of Commits
Allen Trieu broke on Twitter over the weekend that the Wolverines have commitment #13, but the prospect wants to keep his maize-and-blue pledge silent for now. The Hello post should be ready when he decides to go public.
In other news about possible commits, NY CB/S Wayne Morgan has set a commitment date: June 1 (next Thursday). Michigan seems to be strong for the 4-star defensive back.
MI QB Commit Shane Morris (pictured with future teammates Terry Richardson, Mario Ojemudia, and James Ross via the ESPN Rise photo gallery [ed: and wearing Devin Gardner's hat]) went into the Elite 11 camp in Columbus last weekend looking to make a claim for top prospect in the nation for next year, and at least staked a claim as the second-best QB there. Number one was the nation's top 2012 signal-caller, Gunner Kiel. Scout's experts named him the strongest arm at the competition, as well. Tom Luginbill was impressed:
2013 QB Shane Morris is an impressive lefty with a quick stroke... Loved him. Looked great.... On par with most, if not all of [the 2012 guys]. Looked really good. Smooth, quick stroke.
He put a few more thoughts into convenient paragraph form:
Morris was one of the more impressive prospects in attendance regardless of class and the left-hander really made some impressive throws with accuracy and confidence. He has good height and is going to continue to add inches and bulk to his late-bloomer's frame. What stood out about Morris was the velocity and power and the manner in which he delivered the ball. Many lefties can really have a long, drawn out delivery that is more ¾ or sidearm, but not Morris. He had a quick stroke, was very accurate and threw as well on the run to both sides as any prospect on Friday.
"I’m supposed to pick up some big offers next month from schools around the country but I’m not worried about that, Michigan is where I want to go to school.”
Click through for a bit of talk about his game. Ross and Ojemudia also performed well at the camp:
Others that impressed along the defensive line were Michigan commit Mario Ojemudia, who should be a very good outside linebacker at the next level... The linebacker group was also deep and the aforementioned Ross was one of the top players in space.
Ojemudia also talked about his future position with MLive's Kyle Warber:
Often referred to as the "joker position," it is a position that has been perfected by players like Brian Orakpo at Texas and Von Miller at Texas A&M, but no matter what you call it, it's a big reason why Ojemudia is excited to be a Wolverine... "It was just a comfortable atmosphere at Michigan, and I like that I will be playing both defensive end and outside linebacker."
So there's that.
Long Blockquote Portion
24/7 Sports published a long profile on AZ OL Andrus Peat:
“Andrus is like a baby cub right now,” Joseph said. “There is so much to him. He has so much potential and growth. He’s going to grow one or two more inches. You look at him. He’s never gotten out a razor. I’ve been doing this a long time. If you come in with a full beard, you are probably done growing. He’s not done growing. He’s going to be 6-8, 6-9 and 320 or so.”
As the son of a former NFL lineman (and brother of 2011 Nebraska signee Todd Peat Jr.), he also has a leg up on the technical aspects of play. He plans to take his time in making a decision, and early playing time will be a big factor.
MSR Ohio blog takes a look at recent offeree OH S Allen Gant:
Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline...
Allen now stands just over 6'1 and weighs 205 pounds. Recently, bench pressed 275 pounds - 8 times. Impressive for a young man who plays three sports and still lives in the weight room.
Now that he's been offered, Michigan has a good chance to land the legacy prospect, but that might change if the Buckeyes offer:
"It'd (a Buckeye offer) be really special, but just like any other school, any offer from them is an honor. I want to make a contribution right away. Coming to Southview, playing my first year, I kind of want to do something like that when I go to college," Gant said.
He plans to narrow his list of schools - which currently includes the likes of West Virginia, Boston College, and Cincinnati - and possibly even offer a commitment within the month. His dad told Tom that Michigan is the current favorite.
Local fluff on MI DT Danny O'Brien's nomination to the Army All-American game:
O’Brien doesn’t need to make the team to get the national attention. He’s already got it. O’Brien has received scholarship offers to 11 schools and is interested in many others that aren’t on that list. He’s already visited Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State. He said he plans on visiting Alabama and Tennessee as well as going to Michigan and Michigan State again this summer.
O'Brien also said he pays plenty of attention to the recruiting sites - a good thing for Michigan, as he's familiar with the Wolverines' monster class.
Though he's a Penn State commit, NY DT Jarron Jones has made it no secret that Notre Dame and Michigan are strongly in the mix. He's the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:
"To be honest with you, Jarron kind of made that decision without discussing it with me and his father," said Jones' mother, Lakiescha Titus-Jones... "what we tried to make him do is not to commit and (instead) just list his top five, six, or seven. He just wanted to let Penn State know it was No. 1.
Jarron Jones is a firm believer in the Rich Rodriguez School of Early Commitments. He will visit North Carolina this weekend, then head out to Ann Arbor and South Bend the following week. If he values academics half as much as his mother - never a guarantee in recruiting - the Wolverines and Irish (and Tar Heels) should have a decent shot at unseating Penn State. Local video fluff:
"That makes me the 11th-best loser." Awesome.
The overall DL group was one of the best we've seen this year, but Pipkins was still a standout. He's a mammoth nose guard prospect who has great strength and a quick get-off. He plays with a mean streak and can blow by a guard or bull rush him straight back into the QB.
One of their analysts called him "Warren Sapp's little brother," definitely high praise. He still plans to visit Michigan later this summer, but wants to slow down the pace of his recruiting.
What About Rob?
(Is that reference too dated? Share your thoughts below!) (Also, yes, I made this its own category just to use that reference)
I've been a proponent of a certain philosophy in quarterback recruiting for the 2012 class: With Shane Morris holding it down for 2013, either swing for the fences with Gunner Kiel, or take a guy who can play multiple positions down the road. One such prospect is IL QB Rob Gregory, who has impressed Tom Lemming:
“Of all the players, the kid who has the most potential is Robert Gregory,” Lemming said. “The kid’s got a good arm; he’s just not polished yet. If he goes to the right program, he’s going to be a star.”
He's an athletic guy who could play receiver or defense down the road if he doesn't win the QB competition, and as a former teammate of 2011 OL Commit Chris Bryant (and current teammate of top OL Jordan Diamond), he could help the coaching staff solidify another pipeline.
Yeah, my decision will come sooner but I'm still evaluating schools. It will probably be the first game of our season.
Until he says "school X has officially passed Michigan" (long-established as his tentative leader), I'm not going to worry too much about him picking somebody else. Should the Wolverines expect a bigtime commitment in the last week of August? The Chicago Tribune thinks a decision could come even earlier.
Michigan has offered TN WR Drae Bowles ($, info in header).
Tom speaks with OH RB Alden Hill, who is hoping for an offer at Michigan's summer camp. He's a teammate of 2013 RB/DB Dymonte Thomas.
Michigan has offered TX CB Will Hines.
MI TE Ron Thompson was close to a decision earlier this spring, but will now take his time ($, info in header). No word on whether Michigan's coaches have room in the projected class to take a third tight end.
GA DE Jordan Jenkins plans to visit Ann Arbor this summer. He's going to take all of his official visits and make a decision in January of February.
A recent visit from OH DE Tom Strobel piqued his interest in UM's academics ($, info in header).
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan will visit Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game ($, info in header).
Keep and eye on OH S De'Van Bogard, who feels, like, a connection, man, with Greg Mattison ($, info in header).
OH DE Adolphus Washington and his teammate, WR Dwayne Stanford, will visit Ann Arbor this weekend. Though it seems unlikely Michigan can pull both players, Stanford seemed high on Michigan in last week's update, and the Wolverines are in Washington's top group along with Ohio state, Alabama, Miami (YTM), and... Kentucky? Tom got the latest from Adolphus, when he listed Michigan in his top 5.
CO QB Cyler Miles will make a decision soon ($, info in header), and Michigan is not on his final list of five schools. From the same article, NY QB Chad Kelly is down to a final seven that doesn't include the Wolverines. He was going to have to camp to earn an offer.
Happy Trails, CA TE Taylor McNamara. He's down to 8 (non-Michigan) schools. Something tells me the coaching staff is not stressing over TE prospects at this point.
Happy Trails, PA OL JJ Denman. The touted Pennsylvanian picked Penn State.
Happy Trails, NC OL Mark Harrell. He committed to Notre Dame.
GA CB Geno Smith has a top 5 that does not include Michigan.
A couple of near-Happy Trails experiences, as CA OL Kyle Murphy will probably stay out West for college, despite planning to visit Michigan, and NJ S Brandon Napoleon wants to stay on the East Coast for college.
Since commitments are coming in pairs, Wednesday Recruitin' will make the revolutionary change of also coming in pairs this week. Today: The most recent Wolverine commits, and a look at who might be next.
Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown Go Blue
The creepy tendency to pick up commitments in twos continues, as defensive ends from Michigan and Ohio committed back-to-back on Friday. First up was MI DE Mario Ojemudia. Local commitment article. GBMW on Mario:
Mario plays with great effort and intensity and is always moving and hustling. Mario has very good quickness and his feet are always moving. He shows good lateral movement with good burst and closing speed. What makes him special is a dynamite first step and an explosive get off.
Some plays he bursts off the line, gets great leverage, and makes a huge play for the FHH defense. During other plays, he relies completely on his speed and athleticism to beat the O-linemen. That’s fine in high school, it won’t translate to the bigger leagues. That being said, just like Royce Jenkins-Stone, I love Mario’s fiery, competitive spirit. He gets really excited when he blows a play up, and that intensity is clearly infectious.
While there’s a lot to love, there’s always room to grow, as well. There’s not a single play in his highlight video where he bullrushes the tackle, or uses his strength to get to the QB. Sometime he plays too high coming off the ball. When you’re 6’6, you can’t afford to give up leverage. His tackling technique needs a little work. All in all, I’m very excited to watch Brown’s future play out.
Brown is long and lean with good change-of-direction skills and the ability to explode into passers. He runs very well (my guess is he would be in the 4.6-4.7 range, since I haven't found any 40 times for him) and should be able to pressure the width of the pocket based solely on his speed.
Also a Sophomore
MI QB Shane Morris broke the seal on the class of 2013(!) last night, picking the Wolverines over - you guessed it - Michigan State. Check out Hello From the Future: Shane Morris for more details on his game.
He looks like a very mature passer. He doesn't panic in the pocket, he goes through his read progressions, etc. Obviously, only highlights are available, but the thing that sticks out to me most is the touch and accuracy he puts on the ball. When a ball need to gets to a receiver in a hurry, he rifles it in there. When he knows he can put some air under a throw, he lays it out there for the receiver to go get it. That's somewhat rare in a young passer, many of whom want to throw the ball 100 mph every time. In that respect, Morris might be even more advanced than freshman Chad Henne or sophomore Denard Robinson.
That's some seriously high praise. Welcome to the fold, young man.
MI DE/DT Matt Godin is the only prospect with a definite commitment planned: He will announce tomorrow at his school from a final list of Michigan (the childhood favorite and current chalk), Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The Flint Journal recently profiled Godin:
“This is what I wanted,” he said of the attention and tedious decision-making processes that accompany his recruitment. “It was my goal to be a top prospect. That’s why I worked hard in the weight room. It’s tough (handling the situation), but it’s what I wanted.”
Conventional wisdom has Godin picking Michigan, but we'll wait and see with everyone else.
MI CB Terry Richardson might be next to commit, as he's moving closer to a decision ($, info in header), and asource told Tom that an announcement could be coming next week, although this tweet was apparently a joke. Either way, Michigan would be in strong position with commitments from his friends Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross, whether he draws out his recruitment or not.
Michigan's picking up commitments from TE Devin Funchess and DE Mario Ojemudia could really help Michigan land their teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. Burbridge, one of the top wideouts in the midwest, has offers from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, but also has reported academic issues that may make it difficult for him to go directly to a 4-year university out of high school.
As for Burbridge's recruitment, he may be close to a decision, and the Wolverines are suddenly right in the thick of things, along with Michigan State, as Michigan "surges" up his list ($, info in header). Tom had the following to say (prior to Mario Pjemudia's commitment, no less):
I will also say that anyone that says Aaron Burbridge is an MSU lock doesn't know what they're talking about. I was told quite a bit this weekend about Mario and Aaron, and if Mario chooses Michigan [ed: Check!] then there's a chance Aaron would follow. He does have grade issues, but I don't think it's bad enough to where Michigan wouldn't take him and hope he makes it. I don't want to say too much, obviously, but there's a chance Michigan could steal those two from MSU.
I spoke with him today and he told me that his final two are Michigan and Michigan State. Those are the two schools he will be deciding between. He also said that he'll be scheduling a visit back up to Michigan in the next two weeks. He's more familiar with MSU because he's been there more, so he's trying to make up for that by visiting Michigan again.
Sounds like Michigan is right in the thick of things. Aaron also told Tom that he's working hard on his grades in order to qualify.
MI TE Ron Thompson seems forever teetering on the verge of a decision. Most expect that if the Wolverines still have room for another tight end, he'll be Blue.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
That sounded like he may have been close to a commitment, right? HOWEVA, he had to reschedule that visit, and Notre Dame, Illinois, and Cincy have suddenly offered (events unrelated). That's made him reconsider an early commitment, and he'll take his time.
Josh Helmholdt runs down some of this guys committing soon, including Godin and Thompson (and, uh, Ojemudia).
Rivals has finally released their initial set of rankings, and current Michigan commits ring in as follows:
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone. #87 Overall.
- MI LB James Ross. #143 Overall.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. #167 Overall.
The other guys who may be making decisions soon:
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. #134 Overall.
- MI CB Terry Richardson. #195 Overall.
For a list of which other Rivals250 prospects are still considering Michigan, check out Tom's Diary.
Come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of this week's recruiting post!
MI DE Mario Ojemudia, a teammate of current commit TE Devin Funchess, has joined Michigan's recruiting class with a verbal pledge.
|4*, #17 DT(!)||NR DE||NR WDE||3*, 89, NR WDE|
So, all three sites agree that Ojemudia is a defensive lineman (including Scout, which calls him a tackle(!)), but, uh, they don't list him with defensive lineman dimensions. Scout, which you may recall lists him at defensive tackle, says Mario is 6-2 and 220 pounds, and ESPN is in the same neighborhood, just four pounds lighter. Rivals and 24/7 Sports both say that Mario is 215 pounds, but Rivals is the most optimistic on his height, listing him at 6-3, while 24/7 Sports credits him at merely 6-1.
As you can see Mario is likely to be emblazoned with the "undersized" label throughout his career should he end up at defensive end. I assume that will indeed be his position, because seriously? Five linebackers?
He talks about his own game on his Scout profile:
“I have great speed. I’m very aggressive and I play hard and fast. I want to work on shedding blockers. I’m trying to get bigger and stronger too.”
That "great speed" should be his main asset, as it so often is among undersized linemen. Of course, it also raises a question of "if you're fast and little, why aren't you a linebacker?"
FHH Coach John Herrington on Mario's selection to the Free Press Dream Team:
"He is relentless on defense. He doesn't stay blocked, and he gets to the football. He has great potential. He will be a great college player someday."
Herrington and a couple of Mario's well-known teammates talk about his game in the Detroit News:
The 6-3, 215-pounder is undersized in the trenches, but his power and quickness mitigates that disadvantage. So, too, does his relentless aggression. "Mario is unstoppable," said Burbridge. "You never seen him blocked. Mario is a beast." Funchess agreed: "(Ojemudia) is just an animal. He just gets the job done."
"Mario just has a motor that is unbelievable," Herrington said. "Now, he is very quiet. We're hoping that he develops as a team leader, but he is so quiet that he really has not done that yet. As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him [standing] up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
Allen Trieu also discussed his game:
"Mario Ojemudia is quick off the ball, aggressive, and disruptive. The main knock on him is that he's about 215 pounds and has been playing out of position as a tackle. I think he will be fine at end, though, because he's so athletic.
No mention of the height being a liability at the next level.
Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Stanford and Syracuse were the non-Michigan schools in pursuit of Mario. Not exactly a murderer's row, but Iowa has consistently turned middling recruits into NFL Draft picks, and Stanford is riding a wave of success without recent precedent.
Mario's junior numbers:
Ojemudia made 127 tackles on the season from his defensive end spot, including 12 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Ojemudia was a driving force behind Harrison winning their 13th championship in 2010. He was also one of only three underclassmen to be named to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team.
Those are some serious numbers, especially from the defensive tackle position, and on a team that has talent to share the tackles.
Other members of the defensive Dream Team are headed to Michigan (Brennen Beyer and Delonte Hollowell), Oregon (Jake Fisher), Florida (CB Valdez Showers), and Michigan State (Lawrence Thomas and Taiwan Jones), so to be one of two underclassmen on the team (along with fellow future Wolverine James Ross) is a big honor.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals both say 4.65. That's quite precise, and considering both sites say the exact same number down to the hundredth of a second, it seems much more believable. However for a guy who's going to play defensive end in college, and is not a 4- or 5-star prospect, it seems a little fake. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Take a look at a picture of Mario. At any position on the field, he'd be due for a redshirt year. He's like the reverse Brandon Graham (way too big as a high school linebacker, whereas Mario is way too small as a high school defensive tackle) Thanks to a few solid Michigan recruiting classes along the defensive line, he'll definitely have that luxury.
Following the redshirt, another year of mostly bench time to continue adding mass and learning the offense is probably advisable. By his redshirt sophomore season, he should start to work into a bigger role in the rotation, and pick up some time on special teams.
As an upperclassman, he should be able to challenge for a starting spot, becoming one of the key players by the time he graduates. His height might limit him in the NFL Draft, unless teams see him as a 3-4 OLB.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has needs along the defensive line, but with a commitment from Matt Godin possible in the near future, spots could start filling up quickly, particularly at defensive end. The Wolverines can hold out for a top strongside end (Chris Wormley pls), and focus on defensive tackles.
Going forward the Wolverines also need more offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a wide receiver. Speaking of wideouts, Michigan has thus far completed two-thirds of the Harrison hat trick, with top in-state WR Aaron Burbridge the lone missing piece. Burbridge doesn't yet have an offer, reportedly because of grades.
Once Michigan starts filling in the needs listed above, they can truly narrow focus to only the top-top prospects, and try to reel in one hell of a recruiting class.
Joe Bolden and James Ross Go Blue
Tom broke the news of Bolden's commitment last week, then caught up with Joe for a quick interview:
I wanted to [commit] in person because it shows more respect when you say it in person and look someone in the eyes to tell them you're coming to their school...
I'm very solid on it. I wouldn't have made the decision if I wasn't. There were a lot of factors that played into it, and there were some factors on why I did it so early. I thought why wait if it's the right school, with the right people, and I don't see any better opportunity to play college football and get an education.
While he's not exactly a quick-twitch athlete, he has above average coverage skills because of his instincts and awareness. Bolden also seems to have a top-quality motor with the willingness to chug back into plays that others would give up on. He flies to the football, makes solid contact, and wraps up ballcarriers.
Jack Slice on The Wolverine Blog:
His hips aren’t stiff and he can drop into coverage well, he’s got good coverage awareness. He reads the QB’s eyes at all times. Bolden probably plays smarter than either of the other two LBs we have committed.
There's essentially nothing to dislike about Ross as a prospect. Even though he's not lightning fast in a straight line, he's a true "quick twitch" athlete. Watching his feet and hips move, he has the agility of a safety. But the most impressive thing about Ross is how quickly he diagnoses plays. I'm not sure that I've seen a high school player - and certainly not a Michigan recruit - make quicker decisions and find the ball faster than Ross does.
As for past commits, MI TE Devin Funchess got a writeup in the Oakland Observer.
Last week, it seemed like Gunner Kiel was a longshot for Michigan, so I only spent a little bit of time discussing him, but he's since visited Ann Arbor, so an ESPN profile suddenly becomes much more interesting.
"I still need to be more vocal and be the person that people can rely on. I try to be upbeat about everything -- workouts, conditioning, studying the playbook... I'm a great competitor, I hate to lose," Kiel said. "I'm going to work as hard as possible and try to make the other players on the team better every single day. Hopefully I can be the consummate teammate."
Making said article even more interesting is that the author included Michigan among his four favorites:
Michigan: "They have a new coaching staff and they are bringing a new offense on the table that's going to feature the passing game a lot. It's going to be a good system and they will be successful."
Meanwhioe, here are some Tyler O'Connor Highlights:
($) Maybe got offered.
OH QB Austin Appleby talks about coming back from a knee injury last fall:
Appleby searched every nook and cranny he could for rehab edges. He found a a device called an ARPwave. It is similar to electro-stimulus muscle training, only amped up. It can be painful. Dwight Freeney used it to recover from an ankle injury during Super Bowl week and play in the game in 2010.
“It is the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Appleby said. “But I am so much stronger because of it. They would stick it to my quads and hamstrings, jack it up, and I would have to hold squats and lunges. The first month or so, I couldn’t make it up my stairs.”
His recruitment is blowing up, and many analysts say it will get even bigger once he proves he's healthy.
Happy Trails to WA QB Jeff Lindquist, who committed to Washington.
A couple more prospects are expected to make decisions soon. MI DE/DT Matt Godin will announce on May 12th (that's next Thursday) and MI TE Ron Thompson has been planning to announce soon, but may push that back:
I'm just not ready, it's too much. I think I'm far from a decision to be honest. There was a team that was looking good, but now there are others that have come aboard and I'm not sure if I'm ready.
Godin is choosing between Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Tom says that Thompson may still announce on the 11th, but it's no longer a certainty. "There was a team that was looking good" definitely seems like it should be followed by "and then they got two tight ends committed."
MI DE Mario Ojemudia (a teammate of Michigan commit TE Devin Funchess) has been making noises on twitter about making a commitment this month, so keep an eye out for him. [ed: As mentioned on the sidebar yesterday, rumblings out of Harrison suggest Ojemudia will end up at M. The main competition conceding is about as good of a sign as you can get.]
“I am still committed to Ohio State,” said Dunn, who rushed for 2,030 yards last season and scored 22 touchdowns. “I have been visiting other schools. I was basically trying to tell (the writer for the recruiting site) I’m still committed to Ohio State, but I’m going to visit other schools to keep my options open if anything happens to Ohio State. Who knows what’s going to happen.”
Dunn's father repeated that position to Tom, though they are considering a visit to Ann Arbor. "I am committed to School X but still taking visits," as former Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez would tell you, is secret code for "I am not committed to anybody, but School X is my strong leader." Since the chances of anything happening to Ohio State are 100%, keep an eye on Bri'onte.
Tom spoke with MO DT Ondre Pipkins about when he'll be making a decision:
Yeah, I'll narrow it down to a top five in June sometime... and I'll probably make my decision after my season. I don't mind waiting that long, it doesn't get annoying if you can manage it and prioritize things the right way.
Michigan appears to be in strong position.
Tom spoke with OH DE Adolphus Washington,
We're open to everybody. We like Ohio State because we grew up fans of Ohio State, but we're giving everyone a chance. Michigan is recruiting me very hard. A lot of people say that I'm an Ohio State lean, but Michigan is still recruiting me hard and I like that. That says a lot about them that they're still coming after me like that. Their program was down last year but I think they're an up and coming program and they'll be back.
His high school Athletic Director played for Michigan's linebackers coach, Mark Smith, at Indiana, a potentially helpful connection. He also described his game:
I'm 6-foot-4, 258-pounds right now. I think my strengths are rushing the quarterback and being the first to the quarterback. I think I need to learn how to use my hands more, to use my hands better. That's something that I work on.
The Wolverines could certainly use an elite edge rusher.
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan told 24/7 Sports that he's most interested in Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn, though they must have omitted the part where he said "and least interested in winning football games" (glass houses and all that, but whateva). Michigan dropped in on him last week.
Michigan is "still in the mix" for AZ OL Andrus Peat.
Lifelong Buckeyes fan Tom Strobel is "warming up to Michigan" ($, info in header).
OH OL Kyle Dodson is "still high on Michigan" ($, info in header).
Michigan has boosted its position ($, info in header) with OH WR Dwayne Stanford.
PA OL Tyler Alt was the O-Line MVP at the Penn State Nike Camp. Michigan coaches want him to camp in order to earn an offer.
Michigan is in a top-5-ish substance for MD DT Ryan Watson. He's a teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess.
Alabama offers MI DT Danny O'Brien.
According to Sam Webb, OH S Bam Bradley favors Pitt and MSU.
Michigan has offered MO WR Durron Neal.
Michigan has offered AZ CB/WR DJ Foster.
Happy Trails, CA DT Aziz Shittu. He committed to Stanford, which is no surprise.
Happy Trails, OH OL Benny McGowan. The teammate of DE Ifeadi Odenigbo committed to Michigan State.
Michigan is showing interest in Detroit Catholic Central lineman Wyatt Shallman (a teammate of Matt Godin).
OH RB Dymonte Thomas visited Ann Arbor on his way home from Michigan State's spring game. He's openly an Ohio State fan, but says he'll give every program a chance.
Recruiting guru Jim Stefani runs down some prospects of interest to Michigan in the 2013 and 2014(!) classes.