and... i like them? I think I like them.
Editor's note: Tom's back after a happy hiatus with a roundup on the defensive prospects. Items in blockquotes are direct quotes; items outside are impressions gleaned from Tom's conversations with the below recruits.
In light of the depth chart, defensive players are now the focus of recruiting. Michigan has 19 commits on board and will look to fill the rest of the open spots with defense. Here's an update from most of the recruits left on the board:
Bobby Swigert. He will be visiting for either the Penn State, or Ohio State game. He wants to make a decision relatively soon.
Cullen Christian. Cullen is visiting November 21st, and making his decision on November 24th.
“Michigan still leads.” –Cullen Christian
Michigan is in good position to land Christian, and always have been. A lot of the current commits have been contacting him, letting him know how much Michigan wants him.
Marquis Flowers. He’s focusing on his season, and will start evaluating schools once his season is over. He’s not sure if he’s going to visit Michigan. He said he will probably visit, but he’s not sure.
"Notre Dame is really the only visit I have set up right now. I'm going to make my decision either at the Army All American game, or at signing day. I'm just going to take my time with it." –Marquis Flowers
By the sound of how he was talking, he hasn’t put a lot of stock or time into his recruitment yet.
Rashad Knight. Knight is visiting for the Ohio State game, which is shaping up to be a huge game for recruit visits. He doesn’t have any leaders as of now. He has never been to Michigan before, and wants to wait to see the campus before naming any leaders, which is a good sign for M.
Aramide Olaniyan. He recently took a visit to UNC, and (surprise!) he liked it. Everything is still wide open with him. Until his parents get to see the campus of the schools he’s really interested in, he won’t make a decision.
Josh Furman. Josh just visited Virginia Tech. That scares me a little, and I can’t get a feel for what he’s going to do.
Tony Grimes. Grimes will be visiting with his teammate, Clarence Murphy, for the Ohio State game. They have said before that they both want to go to school together. Michigan is one of few schools that have offered both prospects.
"As of right now, Michigan leads for both myself and Clarence (Murphy)." –Tony Grimes
Grimes will be deciding on signing day, and I’m assuming so will Murphy, otherwise that would ruin the surprise.
John Fulton. He has interest in Michigan. We’re not in his top group, he’s an outside shot, but there’s still a shot. I spoke with him the other day, and didn’t sense that much interest, FWIW.
Dietrich Riley. Will take a visit after his season is done, he’s not sure if it will be official, or not.
"They pretty much call every week, so I definitely know that they're interested. I'm just waiting until everything slows down." –Dietrich Riley
He said he liked that they have shown so much interest. This will be a wait and see. He’s one of the better prospects out there, and is being recruited for both safety and running back.
Some names that might still pop up. Ricardo Allen, Dior Mathis, Sean Parker.
This should be a mondo update, since there wasn't a true recruiting post last week. Brace yourself, and if you need some context, check out the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
Get 'em Early
ESPN provides one of the fluffiest Devin Gardner articles humanly possible:
Putting a football in Devin Gardner's hands is like handing a master artist a paint brush and an empty canvas.
It's your standard "lots of words with no information"-type article, other than mentioning that Gardner intends to enroll early at Michigan. Devin's gone back-and-forth about whether he wants to come in for the winter semester, but it appears his on-again, off-again relationship with that plan is in the on-again phase.
Rich Rodriguez has mentioned that he doesn't want to see high schoolers miss out on their opportunity to play winter and spring sports in high school, but since Gardner is participating in the ESPNU/Under Armour All-American Bowl, a (terrible) MHSAA rule prevents him from playing sports afterward. He wouldn't be missing out on much other than the prom.
(Gardner photo by Tom Hauck for ESPN.com.)
In other potential early-enrolling athletes, I brought this up in yesterday's Friday Night Lights post, but TX RB Stephen Hopkins also plans to enroll early. That brings the unofficial list to the following:
- MI QB Devin Gardner
- TX RB Stephen Hopkins
- MI WR Ricardo Miller
- OH WR Jerald Robinson
- OH OL Christian Pace
- FL S Marvin Robinson
That's always subject to change. Back to Hopkins for a moment, though, as MGoReader Phil Sampson fills me in that the big game against Southlake Carroll should be available for listening on the internet at http://www.kkgmam.com/. The game takes place Friday at 7:30 CDT. Phil warns that if you tune in early, you'll be subjected to some bad music.
In the Army Now
MN OL Seantrel Henderson was officially selected to the Army All-American Bowl, which is probably the least shocking moment in human history. No mention of Michigan in the recruiting snippets, for what it's worth. That's a somewhat regular occurrence, though insider-y rumblings still say that he likes Michigan. For what it's worth, his friend MN Ath JD Pride committed to Minnesota, but says he won't pressure Seantrel to join him.
Elsewhere in Official Army Selections, WI P Commit Will Hagerup got the treatment on Thursday. Rivals AMP was there:
For the record, Hagerup mentions that he'll arrive in Ann Arbor over the summer, which is a good sign that he has no intention of enrolling early.
SO MUCH STUFF ABOUT VISITS
AZ S Marquis Flowers plans to visit Michigan "later this month." That will be for the Penn State game, obviously. More on Penn State visits in next week's recruiting update, of course.
CA S Sean Parker visited Cal for the USC game, and the only other visit he's sure about is Michigan. He's planning to wait out a decision, so if Michigan has a good season, there's definitely a chance to land him. Rivals insists that he has not committed to USC ($, info in header). "Hey, that thing that nobody believes? It's not true!"
Michigan continues to lead for PA CB/S Cullen Christian, despite his shiny new offer from Ohio State. He plans to visit Ann Arbor for the November 21st contest against the Buckeyes, and decide a couple days after. That timeline looks good for Michigan. JC Shurburtt has more:
"I am going to decide Nov. 24 during a press conference at my high school," Christian said. "Right now, my top two schools are Michigan and West Virginia. Every school has a shot, though, and things could change when I take my official visits."
"They were just my favorite team growing up as a kid," Christian said. "They gave me my first offer. They recruit me the hardest, and I just love Michigan."
Again, sounds like the Wolverines are entrenched as his leader. As for his teammate, PA S Brandon Ifill, things don't look nearly as rosy from a Michigan perspective. He favors Maryland and Pitt ($, info in header), and Rutgers is recruiting him the hardest. It's fair to say that Michigan would prefer to only get Christian out of this duo.
Most analysts assume that FL LB Christian Jones is a lock to Florida State, since he's a legacy and his brother plays there. Despite Michigan falling off his radar lately, the Wolverines are still in the mix for an official visit ($, info in header). ESPN confirms that Michigan is one of the contenders for an official visit. I'll believe it when I see it, since he's been completely forgotten about by Michigan fans.
FL CB Tony Grimes (who still favors Michigan, Ole Miss, and Wisconsin) will be taking his Michigan visit for the Ohio State game at the end of November. That's shaping up to be a blockbuster recruiting weekend, with CA RB/LB Anthony Barr visiting as well.
Michigan is "still alive" with GA DT Mike Thornton ($, info in header), and he's considering the Wolverines for one of his official visits ($, info in header). Sam Webb elaborates in the Detroit News:
Those skills caught the attention of Michigan assistant Jay Hopson last summer. The Wolverines' Peach State recruiter wasted little time making very clear the magnitude of his program's interest.
"He told me they were looking for a great defensive tackle and they found that in me," Thornton recalled. "They needed to see my academic work and they offered a day later, actually." ...
"I talked to coach Hopson last week," Thornton said. "I haven't watched them play yet, but I've been hearing good things about them. I'm still going to get up there (on a visit). I just don't know when yet. "
Talk about defensive tackles and whatnot.
PA DT Shariff Floyd probably won't visit North Carolina with one of his officials, and Michigan is one of the options to fill that slot, along with Ohio State. I would predict that Michigan gets that visit for the Ohio State game if the Wolverines continue their winning ways, and he hasn't decided on a school by that time. He remains a longshot.
MN DT Beau Allen is down to five finalists, all of whom will receive official visits. He's already been to Wisconsin, and he's still setting up trips to Notre Dame, Stanford, Minnesota, and Michigan.
It looks like Michigan is on the outside looking in for FL OT Tyler Moore. He planned to announce a decision "very soon," and made it in favor of Nebraska. Brian, his dad, points out that a verbal commitment might not be a final decision, so he might not drop completely off the radar when he commits to one of those schools.
Sam Webb's "Dandy Dozen" - the top twelve instate recruits in the 2011 class in no particular order - are presented for your perusal, with relevant recruiting comments from the article following each recruit.
DeAnthony Arnett, WR, Saginaw, 6-0, 170, 4.51 - Offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan and Tennessee already have come through for the talented youngster. Aside from taking a few visits to some of aforementioned schools, Arnett has made recruiting a back-burner issue.
Arnett is widely considered to be a Michigan lean, though he doesn't have any public favorites. When I talked to him in August, he said he was going to take his time with the recruiting process.
Justice Hayes, RB, Grand Blanc, 5-11, 185, 4.5 - Allen Trieu: "He grew up a Michigan State fan, but Northwestern is recruiting him hard and his teammate Tony Jones is committed there. Then you have Michigan, who fits his style of play and he has had good visits to. He is wide open right now."
Talky. Hayes recently spoke to Rivals' MichiganPreps, where he gave a similar picture of his recruitment, adding that he has one offer, from Iowa. It also included video:
...and back to the Webb article:
Delonte Hollowell, CB, Detroit Cass Tech, 5-9, 165, 4.5 - "Central Michigan and Michigan offered me," added Hollowell. "Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State -- a lot of schools have been sending mail. I'm going to try to go to an Iowa game and maybe an Illinois and Michigan State game. Michigan State has sent mail and I talked to the defensive backs coach, Coach (Harlan) Barnett."
Don't be too frightened by that last comment. Michigan is the leader for Hollowell, though "because I don't have any other offers except for Central Michigan" doesn't imply that the Wolverines have an iron grip.
Lawrence Thomas, LB, Detroit Renaissance, 6-4, 237, 4.65 - Trieu: "Michigan State is the team to beat, but I get the feeling a lot of schools from all over are about to turn up the heat on him."
Michigan recently extended an offer to Thomas ($, info in header), but are definitely playing from behind.
Willie Beavers, OT, Southfield Lathrup, 6-5, 327, 5.1
Bryan Bell, OT, Walled Lake Central, 6-5, 290, 5.0
Ashton Gaines, WR, Detroit Crockett, 5-11, 170, 4.6
Jamal Hosley, WR, Highland Park, 5-9, 160, 4.4
Taiwan Jones, LB/WR, Anchor Bay, 6-4, 200, 4.7
Willie Snead, WR, Muskegon Heights, 6-0, 180, 4.5
Dwight Trammer, LB, Inkster, 6-1, 225, 4.7
Anthony Zettel, OG, West Branch Ogemaw Heights, 6-3, 255, 4.9
I believe Bell grew up a Michigan fan, though the early word is that he hasn't heard a whole lot from the Wolverines. Willie Snead plays quarterback in high school, but projects as a WR/DB. Trammer is a teammate of Devin Gardner, and likes Michigan (Michigan might like him, too: I overheard Wolverines QB coach Rod Smith asking what number he was at a recent Inkster game). Anthony Zettel is considered a mortal lock to the maize and blue if they see him worthy of an offer.
Now that I've given you most of the interesting information from the article, I feel obligated to encourage you to check it out. Seriously, it's really good stuff.
FL RB Demetrius Hart is going to be a top prospect in the Sunshine State next year, probably ringing in around 4 stars. He's also considered a Michigan lock, though I have no idea why:
"Of course, they are my top team," Hart said. "I don't think I will commit now, but I will commit later to Michigan."
Nope, I haven't the slightest clue. Hart took in a Michigan game last year, and has set a visit for this season as well. I'd bet one of my kidneys that it's for either the Penn State or the Ohio State game, both of which are shaping up to be blockbuster recruiting events. Win plz. Hart is also a candidate for Orlando Sentinel Offensive Player of the Year, probably because he does stuff like this.
Yeah, it's totally time for a 2011 recruiting board. Look for it next week.
As mentioned in last week's recruiting update, Michigan offered CA WR Kenny Stills. "Offered" DE RB Jamaal Jackson will decide after his senior season. CA CB Joshua Shaw will no longer visit Michigan. The Wolverines are pushing for a visit from SC CB John Fulton.
Note: In an effort to remove the enormous and uninviting block of text from the top of the recruiting posts, I've excised the recruiting board update from the post itself. It can still be seen on the actual board.
Elsewhere in Committed Prospects...
OH CB Commit Courtney Avery is already known as a multi-talented player: On top of being a defensive back, he's also a startlingly accurate quarterback for his Lexington team. Add a new segment to the resume, as he's also a very accomplished hoopster.
Avery, who originally planned to play football and basketball for Stanford, will focus solely on football at Michigan. Did another national championship leave him second-guessing the decision?
"I'm going to miss basketball, but I'm comfortable with the decision I've made," he said. "This was just a chance to go out and play one final time.
"We started a dynasty together and we wanted to finish it together."
The AAU national championship was his team's third in a row.
Devin Gardner is now a 5-star, and the #4 overall QB on Scout (moves that I predicted would happen, though perhaps not this early). He also passes William Gholston as the #1 in-state prospect.
Cornelius Jones leads Spartanburg to a 13-0 scrimmage victory.
Slightly Longer Shots
AZ S Marquis Flowers "knows two visits he plans to take" ($). Considering the article is written by a staffer from The Wolverine, we can assume that one of those two visits is to Ann Arbor.
Michigan is likely done recruiting running backs unless they can land an elite prospect (i.e. Eduardo Clements), but should they need a backup plan, FL RB Cassius McDowell is probably a good bet. A good friend and former teammate of Denard Robinson, he's the new leader of Deerfield Beach. Also interesting is the fact that the Bucks ran a Wing-T offense last year, but will transition to a spread in 2009. Great timing, guys.
OH S Latwan Anderson has West Virginia, Michigan State, and Georgia atop his list right now, with the Mountaineers leading the way. Michigan seems to have slipped out of his recruitment, though he plans to take his visits before deciding.
CA RB Anthony Barr, who had up to this point had only been on the periphery of Michigan recruiting attention, has included the Wolverines in his final five, along with USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal. He's a big dude at 6-4 and 223 lbs, so perhaps the Wolverines like his upside at linebacker? He won't decide until his football season is completed.
MD LB Josh Furman will definitely take a visit to Ann Arbor, along with planned visits to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl, which The Google Machine says takes place on December 19th.
One of the last remaining players interested in Michigan from the DeMatha contingent is S Lorenzo Waters. He includes Michigan in his top four, along with Maryland (the favorite), Miami (That Miami), and Wake Forest.
Other People's Money (and Four-Stars)
OH TE Alex Smith has been "committed" to Cincinnati since February, but the solidity of that commitment has not been constant over time. At this time, he is in an off-again phase with the Bearcats, and the Wolverines have an opening:
As positive as that experience was, it did not propel the Wolverines over a familiar hurdle of theirs when it comes to recruiting tight ends -- scheme.
Despite the assurances offered, Smith remained skeptical about how prevalent a role the tight end will play in Michigan's new offense...
Michigan's best chance at dispelling what it contends is a common misconception about how it uses tight ends will come on the field this fall. Getting Smith back on campus so he can witness the increased productivity of the current tight end tandem of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb will be a major priority. Smith plans to oblige the request, but he plans to do the same for a few other programs as well.
"In no order I'm liking UNC (prior visit), Michigan (prior visit), Wisconsin (prior visit), Miami, LSU and Kentucky (prior visit)," he reported. "Two or three (will receive visits), for sure. I don't know how many I need to take because after going places, I know what they have to offer and there's no real need to go back. I still want to (make a commitment) pretty early (in the season).
So, it looks like Cincinnati is basically out. As long as Michigan uses the tight end effectively this fall, the Wolverines are probably at the top of Smith's list. Smith is also quoted as saying that Michigan is his mom's #1 choice. HOWEVA, Michigan isn't in Smith's top list in this Kurelic article…
When asked to name his top choices Smith said, "Cincinnati, then Wisconsin, then North Carolina, and Kentucky is in there too."
…though he does list Michigan first when asked what schools he'd like to visit in the near future.
In the Trenches
After the commitment of OH DT Terry Talbott, the need at this position is likely for one more high-level DT.
FL DT Louis Nix, a longtime commit to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, has opened his recruitment. He will officially visit Notre Dame, and will also consider Michigan along with Florida and Florida State.
There is some confusion over the official visits of PA DT Sharrif Floyd. Michigan fans are up in arms that Bill Kurelic wrote an article with Ann Arbor not among his destinations. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet, though, as he sounds less than definite in those plans (emphasis mine):
"I'm going to take all five official visits," Floyd said on Tuesday evening. "I'll probably visit Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida, something like that."
So, less than certain. He's also said in the past that he definitely will not take an official to Penn State, so this can all get quite confusing. For now, I'd say Michigan fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Floyd. Additional fluff on Floyd, noting that he'll play offensive guard this year, along with maybe a bit of linebacker(!).
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, though a top-5 list a couple weeks ago did not include Michigan, FL OL Torrian Wilson has narrowed his list to three, with Miami, Stanford and Michigan remaining. The Wolverines had been his favorite earlier, but Miami has come on strong, and will probably be the team to beat. And let's check out some video from SoFlaFootball, for good measure:
Season preview fluff on OH OL Commit Christian Pace:
Christian Pace, a 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle, was first team All-SWC last year and will attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship in 2010.
He also plays defensive tackle. For the record, that's by far the tallest I've seen him listed (most reports say 6-2ish, though he's listed at 6-3 on the recruiting sites). Avon Lake also scrimmaged against Midview over the weekend (Friday to be precise), and posted a photo gallery on their website. The only good Pace photo from the gallery can be seen at right.
Wrapping up the OL talk is the official visit docket of one Seantrel Henderson. The top OL in the country will take official visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Florida, and Notre Dame. Michigan is absent, as you can see. Not that I think the Wolverines will be added, but I take this list with a grain of salt since it comes from the mouth of his father, not Seantrel himself. It also includes Notre Dame, while Henderson the younger has been adamant for some time that he's not interested in the Irish. Either way, MIchigan is likely no longer a player.
Michigan still leads (still!) for PA teammates Brandon Ifill and Cullen Christian, though Ifill says Maryland is even with the Wolverines. Byrnes wideout Nick Jones wants to make an Ann Arbor visit. Michigan seems to be out of it for OH S Kurtis Drummond. MI DE CJ Olaniyan seems to really like... Oklahoma State?
Removed FL LB Christian Jones. Michigan is outside of his top 6 ($).
FL RB Demetrius Hart confirms that Michigan is his only verbal offer so far, and though he seems to favor Michigan, he no longer plans to make an early decision. He will, however, try to enroll early at the school he ultimately chooses.
FL QB Teddy Bridgewater doesn't really like calling the signals. Does that mean a move back to wideout for college? If so, Michigan interest might not be worthwhile.