I GIVE UP ON HATING WISCONSIN
Left: Walsh. Right: Wormley by Upchurch
A few weeks ago I stumbled onto a 1997 article by Bill Walsh where he explained how he evaluates talent at each position. I then applied those evaluations to Michigan’s offensive personnel, because Borges is supposedly transitioning us to Walsh’s WCO. People requested a defensive version so here you go.
It’s probably not as useful because the closest NFL comparison to the Mattison ideal is the Greg Mattison Ravens. But then when you read about the history of Mattison’s 4-3 under defense, you find (49ers DC under Walsh) George Seifert’s ideas peppered all over. And there’s a reason for that:
Offensive evolution doesn’t matter so much when you’re talking about going back to the offense that dominated 1997. The 4-3 under defense—or whatever you call what Michigan does by shifting the line toward the nearest sideline—is more akin to a 3-4 than the 46 defense Walsh used to deploy against the run-heavy offenses of his day, or the Tampa 2 stuff that owned the period which that article was written.
Walsh’s defensive opinions are geared toward a 3-4, and that’s perfect for our purposes, since the 4-3 under is similar in personnel. When you see it you can see why:
So in we go again. I'm moving right now so I can't do it all in one again. Here's the interior DL and I'll cover linebackers and defensive backs in later weeks.
Dana Stubblefield / Rob Renes / Pipkins via Upchurch
Walsh Says: 6’2, 290. As discussed in the article when I made all the DL recruits into Wii avatars, the NT should have his mass low; a pyramid is more difficult to move than a cube. Like Mattison, Walsh puts the hands at the very top:
Quick, strong hands to grab and pull are critical. This is common with the great tackles. The hands, the arms, the upper body strength and then the quick feet to take advantage of a moving man, just getting him off balance.
The Walsh ideal doesn’t necessarily have to take on doubles. What he looks for is the strength to not get knocked backwards, and the ability to move laterally without giving ground. The best can burrow forward and push a guard into the pocket.
Note that Walsh is inadvertently describing a 4-3 DT more than a 3-4 NT—he’s not asking for a two-gapper who sucks up doubles but a one-gapper who can’t be budged. However the first step to beating spread teams is an NT who requires doubles, since the spread 'n shred's base dive play is most dangerous when an interior OL is releasing into the linebackers.
Walsh's Favorite Wolverine: Rob Renes. NFL scouts want everyone to be Wilfork, but active, stout, and sound come first.
What to look for in a Scouting Report: "Crab person" a la Mike Martin, i.e. he plays low and with great leverage. Strength—opponents can't move him. “Has excellent hands.” Athleticism: Walsh didn’t mention this but guys who are ranked basketball recruits as well seem to have a high success rate; that's obviously a mark of quickness/agility being important.
What you can learn on film: Nose tackle recruits are often so much bigger than the competition that they can terrify offenses without technique. You can learn more from the plays where he flows down the line of scrimmage then makes the play. Leverage. Hands maybe but this seems to be something most will learn in college. It's paywalled (and there's a lot that's 3-techy about him) but if you have a Rivals account go watch Ndamukong Suh's high school film and how he uses his arms to dominate guys off the ball.
What could signal bust potential: We’ve seen our share of planetary objects who get lots of hype because they’re 320-pound creatures who pop average teen OL like so many zits. This is an effort position that scales dramatically with the transition from high school to Big Ten. An athletic man-child has a massive ceiling but is as likely to follow the career path of Richard Ash as that of Johnathan Hankins.
How our guys compare: The expectation here is for Quinton Washington (above-right/Upchurch) to reprise his role at Nose with Ondre Pipkins figuring in as a rotation starter and making appearances at the 3-tech spot as well. Q came to Michigan as a spread-style offensive guard highly sought after by all the right people. His switch to the defensive line was initially a swap with Will Campbell, except Washington stuck with it. It was a painful year and change waiting for him to catch up, made worth it last year when he was a pleasant surprise at nose. Listed at 6'4-300 he's on the plus side of the size curve but not to the degree Campbell was (Suh as a senior was listed at the same size). Where this project is concerned, Hoke seems to have had success in every facet except his stated goal of making Quinton two inches shorter; I like to mention that one of my favorite DTs to watch is Kawaan Short, who was listed at 6'5 as a recruit and 6'3 as a draft prospect. That upper body strength that Walsh covets in his NTs is what made Washington stand out as a recruit and contributes to the success he's had across the line.
left: Q.Wash's UFR totals for 2012. right: Pipkins's. Clicking bigs them.
Ondre Pipkins arrived looking pretty much exactly like an NFL nose tackle—6'3-340—and played pretty much exactly like a true freshman, as you can make out from the UFR chart above. That's technique (i.e. hands) talking—he got minuses for getting scooped and buried and eating doubles, and plus'ed for flashes of mobility.
Richard Ash has two years of eligibility left so you can't write him off yet but he came in a non-mobile planet and had to lose a lot of weight to uncover his playing body. The Walsh measureables are not favorable, at least not yet. The freshman pegged for NT (though either could play either) is probably Maurice Hurst, since he checks nearly every one of Bill's boxes, right down to a listed height-weight of 6'2-290. Mike Farrell on Hurst:
"He has a nice frame that can still add weight but what really stands out about him is his quickness off the ball and his light feet. Hurst beat most of his opponents with his first step and he was able to win the leverage game most of the time as well."
Watching his film you can see the hands (start at 0:48). The knocks are he needs to get lower (on film you immediately see that butt sticking out) and I don't see strength mentioned much. He played running back for his high school and wasn't so big that he could get by on size so Hurst probably appreciates technique. I would guess he needs some time to put on muscle before he can contribute.
[After the jump, moving down the line]
PREVIOUSLY: The Offense
Following up yesterday's breakdown of the 2013 recruits on offense, here's a look at Michigan's defensive class—click each player's name to see their original commitment post:
|Maurice Hurst Jr.||DT||MA||3||4||4||3|
And now, some superlatives:
BEST POSITION GROUP: Linebacker
This class is pretty evenly spread across the position groups—an argument could be made for pretty much any group on the field. In an effort to avoid giving all of the awards to Dymonte Thomas, I'll go with the linebackers here. After 2012's big haul, Michigan only needed a couple of linebackers in the class, and they filled their two spots with a pair of very solid prospects in Mike McCray and Ben Gedeon.
The lone linebacker spot the 2012 class didn't cover was on the strong side, and McCray's size (6'4", 230 lbs.) and athleticism make him an ideal fit there. Gedeon, meanwhile, is a stellar athlete—he also starred at running back for Hudson—who should be able to cover the field sideline-to-sideline from the weakside linebacker position.
Honorable Mention: Safety, Cornerback
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Strongside DE
There isn't one, and that's the only hole in this class on the defensive side of the ball. After Michigan brought in three SDE-types in 2012—Matt Godin, Tom Strobel, and Chris Wormley—there wasn't a major need, especially with in-state standout Malik McDowell firmly in their sights for the 2014 class.
MOST LIKELY TO START FROM DAY ONE: Dymonte Thomas
Defensive highlights start at the 4:22 mark.*
It's distinctly possible that no member of the 2013 class starts on defense next season, and that's a very good thing for Michigan. If one will, however, it's safety Dymonte Thomas, a dominant force in the state of Ohio at both running back and safety for the last three seasons. Michigan has to replace Jordan Kovacs, and if Jarrod Wilson isn't ready to step in at free safety, it's likely that Thomas Gordon will play there while Thomas slides in at strong safety.
Thomas may be the best pure athlete in the class—if he wanted, he could've easily been a four-star running back recruit—and he brings a very physical presence to the secondary. He should be an asset in run support off the bat and he has all the tools necessary to be solid in coverage, as well. Down the road, I think Thomas will be an all-conference—or even All-American—player, and it may be tough to keep him off the field this fall.
Honorable Mention: The only other play I see having a shot to start this year is Taco Charlton—he's an impressive player and the weakside DE spot is open to competition. That said, I don't see that happening unless Michigan gets hit by the injury bug.
*Also of note: those are junior highlights. His senior reel is well worth a look.
SUREST THING: Dymonte Thomas
See above. Frankly, I'm surprised Scout was the only service to rank him as a five-star.
Honorable Mention: Henry Poggi. Poggi may not be a superstar—he doesn't always explode off the ball on film—but he seems like a guy who should at least be a solid starter down the road.
BOOM OR BUST: Jourdan Lewis
I've seen cornerback Jourdan Lewis play in either a game or camp setting over a half-dozen times at this point, and he's an outstanding athlete who could conceivably contribute in the return game or even at receiver. When he played across from current Wolverine Terry Richardson as a junior, I thought Lewis was flat-out the better player—he's a little taller and is extremely good at making a play on the ball. After giving him a closer look this year, however, I noticed a couple holes in his game:
There are a couple major concerns I have with Lewis, however, that were on display on Friday night. He does rely on that recovery speed far too much in man coverage—if OLSM's quarterback had thrown that hitch on time, for example, I don't think Lewis would've been able to break up the pass. Then there's run support, where Lewis is very limited by his small frame; at his size, he has to be completely committed to throwing his weight around and tackling with proper technique, and I don't see that at this point. He tends to dive for an ankle-tackle and shies away from major contact—there's a stark contrast between him and Webb, who's both bigger and more willing to lay a hit.
Lewis has all the athleticism necessary to be a very good cover corner, but he's going to need to add some weight, embrace the physicality of the run game, and refine his coverage skills if he wants to be a major contributor at cornerback. If that doesn't work out, he could flip to offense and be a playmaker in the slot, so his versatility gives him a lesser chance of flaming out, but there's no guarantee he'd stick there, either. I think Lewis is a prospect with a high ceiling, but he's going to have to work to get there.
Honorable Mention: Maurice Hurst Jr.—the athletic big man could wreak havoc on the interior, but he's got to learn to play low.
MGOSCOUTED STAMP OF APPROVAL: Taco Charlton
When I drove down to Pickerington to see defensive end Taco Charlton's Central squad take on crosstown rival North (and fellow commit Jake Butt), I expected to see a raw pass-rushing specialist. Instead, I saw him play an instrumental role in keeping North running back Godwin Igwebuike (Northwestern commit) well below his usual numbers, sacrificing his personal stats to key on the run—and he still came up with 1.5 sacks:
Despite having a reputation as a pass-rush specialist, Charlton was instrumental in limiting Igwebuike on the ground, finishing with ten tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was largely tasked with keeping contain, and I don't recall a single instance where a running play got outside of him if it went to his side. While he sometimes allows offensive linemen to get their hands into his chest off the snap, he did a solid job of engaging and using his hands to shed blocks. He played a very disciplined game against the run, showed off a very high motor—especially impressive since he also moonlighted at tight end and on special teams—and always seemed to end up around the football.
As a pass-rusher, Charlton showed off more of a power game than what I've seen from him on camp film, getting his hands inside the blocker and bull-rushing to great effect. He still has that impressive speed around the edge and got pressure on a couple of speed-rushes, but for the most part he went right at his blocker—likely due to his contain responsibilities against the run.
Charlton has also really begun to fill out; Michigan lists him at 6'6", 249 pounds after he enrolled early, and he's got the frame to easily get up to the 270-pound range without losing his impressive quickness. I think he could factor into the weakside DE rotation as soon as this fall, and down the road he could be the edge-rushing threat that Michigan has lacked at DE for some time.
Honorable Mention: Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill. I've covered Lewis; Hill wasn't a guy I really focused on while watching Cass Tech since he was a long-time Iowa commit and there were so many D-I prospects on the field, but it wasn't hard to notice him anyway—he always seemed to find his way to the football and was a solid tackler once he got there.
SLEEPER: Channing Stribling
When cornerback Channing Stribling earned an offer—and subsequently committed—at Michigan's camp over some more highly-touted prospects (including eventual teammate Reon Dawson), he was a complete unknown despite coming from a football powerhouse at Matthews (NC) Butler. He was immediately pegged as an underrated sleeper, and after a senior season spent making big play after big play, it seemed like he was on the verge of making a huge leap in the recruiting rankings.
That never quite happened—Stribling ended up as a three-star across the board, so the sleeper label still fits. At 6'2", 170 pounds, he's very tall for a cornerback, and his playmaking skills were on display all year—in one game last fall, he had two receiving touchdowns, a defensive touchdown, and a kickoff return for a touchdown. If Stribling can fill out his frame and refine his coverage skills, he could be a very good corner; he's also extremely raw, and maintaining the quickness to cover college receivers at that height is no easy task.
Honorable Mention: Delano Hill
Image credit: Brendan Hall/ESPN.com
As anticipated, Westwood (MA) Xavarian Brothers DT Maurice Hurst Jr. has committed to Michigan while visiting campus today, according to a report by 247's Todd Worly ($). Hurst is the son of former New England Patriots cornerback Maurice Hurst and is also a cousin of former St. Louis Rams superstar tailback Marshall Faulk. He becomes Michigan's 19th commit in the class of 2013 and the first at defensive tackle, perhaps the biggest position of need remaining in the class.
4*, #23 DT,
|3*, #30 DT||3*, 77, #32 DT||4*, 90, #19 DT|
Hurst's rankings are split between Scout and 247, which see him as a four-star and around the #20 defensive tackle in the country, and Rivals and ESPN, which have him as a three-star and in the area of #30 at his position. All four sites list Hurst at 6'2", with his weight ranging from 275 (Scout/ESPN) to 290 (247). WolverineNation's Chantel Jennings wrote a recent feature on Hurst detailing his rise from a "pudgy" 5'9" freshman to a 6'2" BCS prospect and pegged his current weight at 290 pounds ($).
Hurst first started emerging on the scene around this time last year, impressing Rivals.com's Mike Farrell at the Northeast Five-Star Showdown ($):
Hurst is the son of the former New England Patriots cornerback of the same name and you can tell he has athletic genes. He has a nice frame that can still add weight but what really stands out about him is his quickness off the ball and his light feet. Hurst beat most of his opponents with his first step and he was able to win the leverage game most of the time as well. At times he can be too upright and present too much of a target. His footwork is excellent and he has natural balance, and he is very good at responding quickly to the initial punch of offensive linemen. He also showed a good motor.
Impressive athleticism is a common thread throughout Hurst's evaluations—as you'll see in his highlights, he's nimble enough to line up at running back in high school. ESPN's evaluation highlights his explosiveness while pointing out a few areas for improvement mostly pertaining to his technique ($):
You would like to see more consistency but displays a good first-step that can allow him to quickly get penetration. He is at his best when he can fire out and primarily be a penetrator that disrupts schemes. Flashes the ability to be tough when taking on blockers as he can quickly fire out low and gain leverage and with solid strength hold his ground. While he does possess a quick first-step he can at times almost as quickly pop up and play tall and needs to work to consistently keep his pads down. He does display some rigidness and while he can get penetration he displays adequate ability to quickly change direction. He gives good effort and stays after the play showing the ability to take proper angles in pursuit. Displays solid long speed. He will try and wrap-up as a tackler and displays strong hands for drag down types. As a pass rusher he is capable of getting a quick hard charge up-field to get pressure. Will flash the ability to try and work some moves to help work past, but needs to continue to develop in this area to help when he can't just quickly blow past blockers.
As is evident on his tape, Hurst is a very disruptive presence on the interior of the line, a guy who uses his leverage and quickness—a la Mike Martin—to work his way into the backfield with regularity. In November of last year, Scout's Bob Lichtenfels tabbed Hurst as the top prospect in the East region who hadn't yet earned recognition as a top 100 player, comparing him to another collegiate standout ($):
Westwood (Mass.) Xaverian defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr., I hate comparing players to kids we've seen in the past, but watching Hurst reminds me of watching Marvin Austin. Kids who are 6-2/275 are not supposed to be able to move the way he does. Not too mention when he isn't wreaking havoc in the other teams backfield he is playing in his own backfield. Not many kids that size can pull that off.
Hurst has an invite to the Army All-American Game, a potential sign that his rankings will be on the rise in the future. His combination of size and athleticism is sure to turn some heads.
Hurst chose Michigan over fellow finalist Virginia, and he also held offers from Michigan State (where he visited yesterday), Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Boston College, UConn, Duke, Maryland, Mizzou, N.C. State, Purdue, Rutgers, Temple, Vanderbilt, and others.
Hurst tallied 61 tackles, 13.5 TFL, nine sacks, and four forced fumbles as a junior en route to being named first-team all-state.
FAKE 40 TIME
247 lists Hurst with a 4.88, while his highlight tape credits him with a 4.92. Both seem pretty reasonable for a tackle noted for his athleticism; I'll give those a two FAKEs out of five.
Pretty epic fat guy touchdown at the :25 mark.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Hurst is reportedly being recruited as a three-tech DT, though he has the size to potentially play the nose down the road if needed—that may depend on who else Michigan adds to the class. If he ends up at three-tech, Hurst should get a redshirt year since Michigan brought in Willie Henry, Matt Godin, and potentially Chris Wormley at the position in the 2012 class. After that redshirt year, he'll be in position for fight for time against those three and a senior Kenny Wilkins; given that he's got a higher recruiting profile than all the '12 recruits save Wormley, he's got a good shot at contributing as a redshirt freshman.
If, say, Michigan brings in MD DT Henry Poggi as a three-tech and slides Hurst over to the nose, he'd be right in the mix to back up Ondre Pipkins from the moment he arrives on campus.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Hurst fills a huge need along the defensive line, but the coaches will likely bring in another defensive tackle, with the top target being Poggi. TX DT Hardreck Walker, who just got bumped up to four stars on Rivals, is another possibility.
The remaining needs are another wide receiver—that spot is currently being held for IL WR Laquon Treadwell—as well as potential depth at strongside DE and in the defensive backfield. For the most part, Michigan can continue to target the best players available. The pace of recruiting should slow considerably with the Wolverines already having filled 19 spots in what should be a 23-24 player class.
Today's recruiting roundup recaps last weekend's visits, attempts to figure out the plans of Su'a Cravens, talks new 2014 offers, and more.
Hey Kid, Come Be Charles Woodson
FL CB/S Leon McQuay III was a relatively surprising visitor last weekend, as Michigan hasn't been mentioned much as a player in his recruitment. That may have changed over the course of his trip to Ann Arbor, however, as the four-star defensive back told GBW's Sam Webb that the Wolverines "definitely jumped up," likely into his top five schools ($). Vanderbilt, USC, Florida, Notre Dame, and Stanford are all in the mix as well. McQuay's visit also revealed the potential recruiting impact of Michigan's "Legends" jerseys:
[Leon McQuay Jr., the recruit's father:] "The one thing that hits me is him possibly wearing Charles Woodson’s jersey. I didn’t know that coming in and the way that they do that with the jersey’s and with the players, that’s major, man, when you can decide what kid is going to have the chance to try to fill those shoes.”
When asked about the idea of wearing Charles Woodson’s #2 jersey, McQuay III was at a loss for words, but managed to eek out a few.
“Definitely the love that the coaching staff showed and the campus is amazing and the Big House is amazing, it’s crazy,” said McQuay III.
While McQuay plays safety in high school, Michigan is recruiting him as a cornerback, which is his preferred college position ($). He will graduate from high school in December and enroll early at his school of choice, though there's no concrete timetable for a decision.
Another big-time defensive back considering the Wolverines is CA S Su'a Cravens, who's been the subject of some confusion this week. HuskerOnline reported earlier this week that Cravens was down to three schools($)—Michigan, Nebraska, and USC—and would visit Michigan and Nebraska later this month, but Cravens took to Twitter to refute that report. Cravens's father told Scout's Brandon Huffman yesterday that UCLA, USC, Ohio State, and Michigan are Su'a's actual leaders($), and Rivals's Adam Gorney tweeted today that Cravens will visit Michigan and Ohio State this week, and he may visit Nebraska after if he's so inclined. He'll also visit USC and UCLA once more before deciding on June 6th. The sense is still that Cravens will end up with the Trojans, but we'll see where things stand after his Midwest trip.
While pulling in McQuay or Cravens would be a coup, the Wolverines appear to have a much better shot at MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr., who has now named a top two of Michigan and Virginia ($, info in header). Hurst has set his visit to Ann Arbor for June 2nd, and he plans to decide after his trip—the signs are very positive here. Still, the Wolverines aren't taking any chances at DT, offering TX prospect Hardreck Walker over the weekend, according to Tremendous. Walker stands at 6'2", 280 lbs., and is a four-star on Scout and a three-star to Rivals and 247.
The other big position of need in this class is still wide receiver, and Michigan isn't banking on a commitment from Laquon Treadwell, or, at least, not putting all of their eggs in that basket. MD WR Paul Harris will visit Ann Arbor this summer, and has Michigan in his top four($) along with USC, Tennessee, and Penn State. Tim Sullivan reports that IN WR Mike Rogers will camp at Michigan this summer in the hopes of earning an offer ($). AZ WR Devon Allen has long maintained that he'll see Michigan as part of a Midwest trip, and while Allen states that the Wolverines are still among his favorites, due to his extremely busy track schedule those plans are up in the air ($).
Quickly: VA DE Wyatt Teller now includes Michigan in his top three with Virginia and Virginia Tech, according to Tremendous. TN RB Jordan Wilkins is looking to narrow his list and tweets that the Wolverines are "up there" with Auburn, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. IN DE Elijah Daniel names a top 15 that does not include Michigan ($). Happy trails to VA DE Jonathan Allen, who committed to Alabama yesterday.
While McQuay was the only 2013 visitor last weekend, Michigan also hosted a few sophomore prospects, including four-star in-state QB Chance Stewart. Stewart and OH QB Deshone Kizer appear to be the top two targets at quarterback for the 2014 class, and the coaches want to get a better look at each player before deciding who to offer. Stewart sat down with Al Borges on his visit, according to Tremendous, and Borges reiterated that Michigan would like to see Stewart in a camp setting before extending an offer.
Tremendous also caught up with OH OL Nathaniel Devers, who visited on Saturday and said "Michigan might be my school," though he'll have to earn an offer first—the coaches are still waiting on film. Devers comes from the powerhouse Massilon Washington program, which is the home of 2013 commit Gareon Conley (as well as the former school of ex-Wolverine Justin Turner). OH LB Dante Booker was also on campus over the weekend, and his father told GBW($) that Booker "enjoyed the visit," though he also offered the not-so-lofty praise "he is not ruling them out at this time."
Michigan offered three early Top247 prospects recently. TN WR Josh Malone also holds offers from Tennessee, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and others, and has interest from Alabama—he got his offer from Mark Smith last week ($). CB Nick Watkins plans to check out Ann Arbor this summer while visiting family in Detroit($)—he added Michigan to an impressive early offer list that includes Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas A&M. MO OL Roderick Johnson recently picked up his first offers($) from Michigan, Iowa, and Missouri—at 6'7", 310 lbs., he's got prototypical tackle size as a sophomore in high school.
Today's recruiting roundup discusses a trio of weekend visitors, new offers for both 2013 and 2014, updated rankings for Scout and 247, and more.
Come On Down, Maurice Hurst Jr.?
[Warning: Turn down your speakers, cubicleites.]
MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr. has recently emerged in a big way on Michigan's radar, culminating this week with an offer to the four-star lineman. Tremendous caught up with Hurst the day he got the offer, and with Hurst planning a visit to Ann Arbor soon, his recruitment could wrap up in a hurry:
I talked with Maurice for a split second tonight, who said he plans on visiting in a couple weeks. I also talked to a current commitment and they informed me that Maurice plans to commit to Michigan when he makes that visit. There is a strong possibility that he will be the next member of this class. He's definitely a name Michigan fans need to get familiar with.
Hurst also told Tremendous that he's being recruited as a three-tech—before you ask, I don't think Michigan would stop recruiting Henry Poggi if he committed—and should visit in two weeks or so. Hurst also chose an interesting, and potentially telling, topic for his next school project:
I'm doing a video design project on the Michigan Ohio State rivalry posting a link on twitter when done .. Trying my best!!!!!#hopingforanA+
— Maurice R. Hurst (@MRH_11) May 15, 2012
A humble suggestion for some years to explore, Maurice: 1950, 1969, 1986, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2011.
Hurst won't be the only four-star 2013 defender hitting campus soon, as FL DB Leon McQuay III has been confirmed as a visitor this weekend by both The Wolverine and GBW ($, info in picture). McQuay is a top-100 player who can line up at either cornerback or safety, and it appears Michigan is recruiting him as a big (6'2", 186) corner. Joining McQuay on campus this weekend are 2014 OH LB Dante Booker, a recent offeree and one of the top rising junior LBs, and MI QB Chance Stewart, who just earned his first offer from Western Michigan yesterday.
The Wolverines appear pretty serious about tracking down a third corner for the class; on top of McQuay's upcoming visit, Michigan sent out a new offer to four-star TX CB Maurice Smith, who used to play with Troy Woolfolk and tells 247's Clint Brewster that his interest in Michigan is "an eight or nine" out of ten ($). At 6'0", 185 pounds, Smith also fits the mold as a bigger cornerback.
A quick update on the running back situation: Jeff Hecklinski stopped by to see TN RB Jordan Wilkins on Monday ($, info in header). Wilkins is looking to swing by Michigan, Ohio State, and Cincinnati in June or July. VA RB Derrick Green, meanwhile, is still strongly considering Michigan, according to GBW's Andre Barthwell ($, info in header). Wilkins and Green are the top two targets at running back who are still on the board right now.
Updated Scout Rankings: Dawson, Lewis On The Rise
Scout updated their top 300 this week, and while there was mostly limited movement, a couple commits saw big changes in their rankings. MI CB Jourdan Lewis jumped from #251 to #173 while his Cass Tech teammate, OL David Dawson, made a similar leap from #274 to #178. Lewis and Dawson have both been outstanding on the camp circuit recently and were due for an upgrade. On the flip side, IL OL Logan Tuley-Tillman fell from #153 to #190 and MI RB Wyatt Shallman dropped to #263 from #179. Tuley-Tillman has been injured recently while Shallman's stock may be dropping due to his college position (scouts seems to like his potential at DE more than at RB), so those drops aren't unexpected. TTB has the full list of changes for Michigan commits.
Sitting at #75 in the new Scout rankings is a familar face, IL WR Laquon Treadwell, who was profiled by Sam Webb in yesterday's Detroit News. Treadwell reiterates his accelerated timeline while his high school coach mentions that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the two schools in best position to give the Wolverines a run due to their use of the spread offense and Treadwell's family ties to OSU (his uncle, Ricky Young, was an All-American for the Cowboys). If Treadwell's criteria for a school stays the same, however, Michigan could be tough to beat:
Said Treadwell, to Scout.com: "I am looking for a school that has a great quarterback, a nice coaching staff, a place where I am comfortable, and a place where I like the players."
Check, check, check, and check.
NJ DE Tashawn Bower hasn't been in the news much lately, but that's not because of any lack of interest on Michigan's part, as 247's Todd Worley reports that Curt Mallory has been in contact with him via Facebook "almost on a daily basis," according to Bower ($). Bower will visit Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House in July. After visiting a long list of schools over the summer, Bower will narrow his list down around the start of football season, and there's a good chance Michigan makes his top group.
Quickly: Michigan has told WR Devon Allen that he could play football and run track if he commits ($). Dan Ferrigno stopped by to visit CA WR Demeora Stringfellow this week ($, info in header). HI DT Scott Pagano has a top four($) of LSU, Baylor, Clemson, and Nebraska. CA DT Eddie Vanderdoes plans to take official visits($) to Oregon, Penn State, and Nebraska—no mention yet of which schools are in the running for his other two OVs, should he plan to take them. VA DE Jonathan Allen has a top two($) of Alabama and Florida.
New 2014 Offers, Rankings
It didn't take long for 247 to expand their early 2014 top 25 to a full-fledged top 100, and Michigan offerees already pepper the list. By my count, the Wolverines have already offered 13 members on the list—Touch the Banner has a rundown of some of the notables. [For my own entertainment, NOTY-watch: #14 Raekwon McMillian (shockingly from Georgia, not Staten Island), #26 Demarcus Christmas, #35 Budda Baker, #45 Adoree' Jackson, #54 Jamoral Graham, #56 Jamadre Cobb, #77 Malachi Dupree(!)]
A few more offers went out this week, including one to five-star LA OL Cameron Robinson, a 6'5", 320-pound tackle who already holds offers from Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Mississippi State. Like all of Michigan's recent O-line recruits, he's got a mean streak:
“They saw on film someone that carries his weight well and is very flexible,” [Robinson's high school coach, John] Carr said. “He finishes. When he gets a hold of you, he’s going to ride you and finish. He’s not just a big teddy bear. That’s his mentality – he’s a nasty offensive line throwback.”
One of these days, a coach will describe one of his offensive linemen as a big teddy bear, and it will be adorable until nobody recruits said lineman.
Quickly: Michigan also sent out an offer to TN WR Josh Malone, who also has offers from Ohio State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. Malone is ranked as the #42 overall player and #3 wide receiver by 247. Also offered($): four-star TX OL Demetrius Knox, who has early offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and UCLA. According to an interview with Sam Webb, Michigan is in the top five for 2014 NY OT/DE Jay Hayes, though they'll have to catch up to his early leader, Notre Dame ($).
Today's recruiting roundup updates the status of Laquon Treadwell and Ty Isaac, discusses a couple upcoming visits, and more.
Treadwell Not Visiting This Weekend, Moves Up Timetable
Any disappointment Michigan fans felt when IL WR Laquon Treadwell changed his plans to visit this weekend should be dispelled with the news that he's "anxious to make a decision" according to an interview with Sam Webb ($, info in header). Treadwell had previously planned on taking all five official visits and making a commitment after his football season, but now there's no concrete timeline and "a decision is going to come faster now." Given Treadwell's repeated visits to Ann Arbor (he's still planning on taking another one soon), frequent contact with current commits, and Michigan's status as his presumed leader, this is a great sign, especially since Treadwell says that the coaches are holding the last open receiver spot for him—this isn't a chance spurred by pressure to commit from Michigan's end.
Webb also caught up with IL RB Ty Isaac's mom after the family took a trip to USC last weekend, and while Ty hasn't stated this outright, his mother thinks he's down to Michigan and USC ($). Insider chatter surrounding Isaac makes it sound like this could be an extremely close battle. Commence unwarranted freakout despite #1 class.
MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr. is still planning to visit Michigan and Michigan State soon, but his previous plans to make a commitment in the near future may be out the window due to the number of schools showing interest ($, info in header). Hurst isn't the only four-star DT making plans to see Ann Arbor, as IL DT Josh Augusta plans to either take an unofficial this summer or an official in the fall ($, info in header).
Quickly: Kyle Bosch is set to enroll early ($), which is always good news. Coach Dan Ferrigno stopped in to see CA WR Sebastian LaRue last weekend ($, info in header). MI DT Kenton Gibbs committed to Illinois. Gibbs is a Cass Tech product who many presumed would eventually garner an offer, but thus far one hasn't materialized. VA DE Wyatt Teller named a top two of Virginia and Virginia Tech ($), with Michigan on the outside looking in.
Michigan Offers Five-Star Who Will Never Come But It's Fun to Dream, Right?
At first glance, seeing Michigan offer a 2014 five-star prospect and immediately shooting into his top three would be cause for celebration. Unfortunately, said five-star is AL ATH Bo Scarbrough, who happens to hail from Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide. Yes, Alabama is also in his top three ($). If Michigan can pull Scarbrough, being recruited as a receiver, from the heart of 'Bama country, I'll be pleasantly shocked.
Sam Webb's latest DetNews offering profiles two-sport MI ATH Drake Harris, who at 6'3", 175 pounds with exceptional athleticism could play wide receiver or shooting guard (or both) at the high-major level. Harris vehemently denies the rumors that Michigan State is an early leader, saying that all interested schools—including Michigan, which has extended a football offer—are on even ground at this point. Scout football analyst Allen Trieu and basketball analyst Brian Snow both agree that his ceiling is higher in football. Here's Trieu's evaluation on Harris on the gridiron:
"Drake has a very high ceiling in football," said Allen Trieu, Scout.com midwest regional football recruiting manager. "He has the height and the frame to go along great athleticism and ball skills. Plus, when I saw him in person he was faster than I expected him to be. He's certainly a high level BCS prospect. His athleticism serves him well in both sports, but if you look at it from the perspective of supply and demand, there are more 6-3 guards out there than 6-3 wide receivers who can jump out of the gym.
Harris compares his style of play to Larry Fitzgerald, and yes I would like some of that. We'll see if this becomes a battle between the two in-state programs.
Quickly: DC CB Jalen Tabor has an early top three($) of Alabama, Tennessee, and Maryland. OH WR Thaddeus Snodgrass plans to camp at Michigan this summer ($). Look, it's Brian's favorite recruit. If you haven't had enough of me yet, I appeared on the Michigan Man Podcast to talk 2013 and 2014 recruiting.