here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at email@example.com or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the F riday Night Lights series.
Dallas Crawford Goes Blue
As covered on Friday, FL CB Dallas Crawford is the newest member of the Michigan Class of 2011. Also when he's wearing a ridiculous hat, you can throw some 8-bit sunglasses on him and he looks like T-Pain (gif credit to chunkums). Local paper coverage of his commitment:
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound Crawford called Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez around 9:30 Friday morning to deliver the news. “He said he was happy, he was ecstatic,” Crawford said. “He said it made his day.”
You can see his full season stats in detail in yesterday's Friday Night Lights post.
MGoUser SWFlaBlue has a son at South Fort Myers, and gave a bit of info about Dallas:
This kid is a tremendous leader and high character student in addition to being a flat phenomenal athlete. He never takes plays off and rarely leaves the field. On defense, his burst and quickness to the ball is outstanding. He breaks on the ball really well and can absolutely bring the wood, too.
There's a bit more there, including an interesting comparison to his teammate Sammy Watkins.
Speaking of Watkins, might Crawford's commitment help convince Sammy to commit to the Wolverines? It certainly can't hurt, and he would be an enormous bonus to the commitment of a highly-rated (yet still underrated) defensive back. Watkins says academics will be the main factor, and considering Michigan is by far the best school in his top three (Clemson and MIami are the other two), coming to school with his teammate and friend could be what takes Rich Rodriguez and co. over the top.
Sammy plans to announce a commitment at the Army All-American Game in January.
Rivals updated their rankings, and Michigan recruits were affected like so:
- Dee Hart remains a 6.0 4-star, but he is now the top 4-star on that site. Rivals ranking guru Barry Every says Hart is "the best running back I saw this year..." then proceeds to put four RBs ahead of Demetrius. The dude is breaking records against the best competition in the country, so I'd say he's earned that fifth star, but whatever.
- Chris Rock, Greg Brown, and Tony Posada are predictable fallers, all dropping from 5.7, with Rock going to 5.6 and the others to 5.5.
- Everyone else remains static, including Jack Miller, who is criminally underrated at 5.5. Questions about what position he'll be playing at the next level may limit his rankings, but there's no way dude is less than a 4-star, either as a defensive end or offensive lineman.
A few Michigan targets also saw their rankings change, but I'll leave the breakdown to those who are committed.
With the last home game of the year comes the last in-season visit weekend (except for bowl(!) practices), and The Wolverines will yet again welcome just a few recruits to the Big House:
- NC TE Jack Tabb will take his official as long as it doesn't interfere with his high school playoff game. Since his high school season has ended, he'll be in town.
- Tom also says NC LB Kris Frost is likely to visit, but the remainder of visits will likely be unofficials.
- IL OL Chris Bryant and his junior teammate Jordan Diamond might be in the house.
For this week's full list, check out Tom's updated diary. After a week off for Thanksgiving and the game at Ohio State, Michigan's coaches will have two consecutive weekends with plenty of visitors. December 3:
- FL S Wayne Lyons announced his final three visits on Twitter, including to Michigan on 12/3.
- MD CB Blake Countess will be in Ann Arbor on the third.
Further into the future:
- CA WR Devin Lucien is talking with Michigan's coaches about a possible visit and offer ($, info in header).
NJ Slot Miles Shuler's on-again/off-again relationship with Michigan appears to be on-again, as he's trying to set up a December visit to Ann Arbor:
Shuler visited Northwestern in late October and is trying to schedule visits to Michigan and Rutgers sometime in December, [Long Branch HS Coach Dan] George said.
He's visiting Stanford for the weekend of the 3rd, so maybe a Big Chill visit is in the works.
- The Dr. Philips contingent won't visit until after their season.
As always with visits, this information is liable to change at any time.
Rivals' Mike Farrell answers a mailbag question about Michigan's defensive recruiting. He's high on most of the defensive class (except Chris Rock), and thinks Michigan can finish strong now that Rich Rodriguez's job is secure.
Different sources can't agree about whether NC QB Marquise Williams will consider decommitting from North Carolina. The latest says yes.
AZ OL Cyrus Hobbi has committed to play in the Under Armour All-American game.
IL DT Mason Fuller hopes his senior film will net an offer from Michigan.
NC S Mark Bridges is starting to hear from Michigan:
“Michigan is starting to be heavily interested. That’s a school I’m really waiting on as well. Michigan has talked a lot about coming up on a visit.”
It's likely the Wolverines' interest is due to Bridges's teammate, NC LB Kris Frost.
Though he visited Ann Arbor for the Illinois game, CA K Matt Goudis has no intention of decommitting from Boise State ($, info in header).
KY QB Zeke Pike has mostly shown interest in SEC programs, but Michigan's coaches will visit him in December.
ESPN fluff on Cass Tech juniors LB Royce Jenkins-Stone and CB Terry Richardson. Both are hearing from Michigan, and Jenkins-Stone claims an offer from the Wolverines, who lead for his services.
IL DT Tommy Schutt has added a Notre Dame offer to his list that includes Michigan and several other schools.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue.
Trimming Lists, Planning Visits
WI RB Melvin Gordon (pictured at right, via the Kenosha News) may take an official visit to Michigan. It had previously seemed like the Wolverines were out of the running for Melvin, and this could be a sign that they definitely want a big back in this class.
Michigan is in FL RB Devondrick Nealy's top five ($, info in header). He's similar to FL RB Demetrius Hart, so if all goes well with Dee, I wouldn't expect Nealy to end up in this class.
NJ Slot WR Miles Shuler-Foster has a top 7 that includes Michigan. He seems to be one of only two slots (along with FL Slot WR Prince Holloway) that Michigan is pursuing. It's not a position of need, but Shuler's speed would be hard to turn down.
NJ TE Jack Tabb (who recently visited Ann Arbor) is ready to cut his list of more than 20 offers. Six schools, including Michigan, are guaranteed to make that cut, making up a de facto top six.
Last week, PA DE Deion Barnes named a top 5 ($, info in header) including Michigan. There might be another positive development in that recruitment, as Pitt, also in his top 5, picked up commitments from three defensive ends last week.
OH LB Sean Duggan has a top five that includes Michigan (along with Wisconsin, Boston College, Duke, and Virginia).
NJ S Sheldon Royster will try to visit Michigan before his senior season starts ($, info in header).
LA CB Daren Kitchen, who has long favored Michigan, will take an official visit for the Connecticut game ($, info in header). If receives a commitable offer on that visit, he could drop for the Wolverines.
PA DE Desimon Green committed to Pitt.
MD OL Donovan Smith has narrowed to a top 12 that does not include Michigan.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett committed to Pitt.
TampaBay.com covered the commitment of Tony Posada last week:
Leaving the state was a major factor, Posada said, as was Michigan’s reputation of producing offensive linemen. Two weeks ago, Posada said his mind was “99 percent” made up.
“That day I walked outside and it felt like it was 100 degrees out and I told myself, ‘I want to go to the snow,’ ” Posada said. “And when you go to Michigan and they ask what did you play and you say offensive tackle, people say, ‘Man, you must be good to play tackle at Michigan.’ ”
It sounds like the staff is planning to play him at tackle, which means any more OL commits will probably come from guards.
Tom spoke with FL OL James Elliott following his Michigan visit, and Elliott had nothing but positive things to say:
JAMES: Man, that was the most amazing school I've ever seen in person... We actually stayed a little longer than expected just so we could see everything, and meet Coach Rodriguez. We didn't realize he was in Seattle, so we wanted to stay to meet him. We got to see practice and talk with him about the visit. It was just great.
He named Michigan his leader ($, info in header), so what's the next step for Elliott? He holds an offer, but not yet a committable (i.e. Rodriguez-issued) one. With a few good OL targets remaining on the board, Elliott may have to wait to see how things shake out before he receives one.
FL DT Tim Jernigan, who has Michigan in his top five, is also Facebook friends with a couple of Michigan's coaches.
Local Fluff on KY LB Lamar Dawson. He's a longshot for Michigan, but a good season on the field could turn a lot of top prospects' heads toward Ann Arbor.
FL WR/S Sammy Watkins and his teammate, CB/QB Dallas Crawford (pictured at right), are both very interested in Michigan still:
Watkins is still considering a long list of schools, but says he was very impressed during visits to Michigan and Clemson.
Crawford says he'll wait until the end of the season to make a decision, but lists Michigan, LSU, Miami, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and West Virginia as his leaders right now.
Watkins plans to announce a top 5 before his season, and then put recruiting on the back burner for a while. Crawford was willing to go on the record and say the Wolverines stand atop his list. Landing him would help Michigan with Watkins.
MI CB Valdez Showers will announce a decision next week. The Wolverines are in his top four ($, info in header), along with Michigan State, Northwestern, and Florida. Though Showers grew up a Michigan fan, I don't think they're the favorite to land him at this time.
For more on several prospects, including GA S Avery Walls, check out Tom's weekly recruiting update.
The Distant Future. The Year 2016(!)
A physically imposing offensive lineman from Illinois grew up loving Michigan:
Swenson’s dream school is Michigan, but he also has his priorities straight. “The first thing is to get a good education,” Swenson said. “I want to go to a good school and play football. I’d like to study engineering or business.”
The issue? Kid's not even in high school yet. Erik Swenson's recruitment is a long way off, but assuming we all survive Mayan apocalypse, he's one to keep an eye on in the future.
In slightly-less-distant news, 2012 OH S Allen Gant (at right) is the latest prospect profiled by Sam Webb in the Detroit News.
Said Allen, "Before I just didn't have a very good idea of what Rich Rod and his staff were about, but after (the visit) I feel a lot more comfortable with them. I know that they're interested in me. They're on my radar with all the other schools that were recruiting me."
Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant, but he grew up a fan of the Buckeyes.
Assume The Position: Quarterback
With a few targets coming off the board over the past couple weeks (most recently FL QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was never actually offered), we have a little more clarity on what the coaching staff will do with the quarterback position in this recruiting class. First things first: It's obvious that they want one. I don't think they'll be freaking out if they don't land a signal-caller, but they're aiming for one. This might mean a position switch for 2010 commit Conelius Jones earlier than fans expected.
First, let's take a look at offered prospects who remain on the board:
NC QB Marquise Williams (pictured at right)
6-3, 215, 4.7 [Video]
NR Rivals, 4* (#17 QB) Scout, 4* 79 (#13 QB) ESPN, #25 Overall (#5 QB) Tom Lemming.
Williams may be the best system fit for Michigan among the offered guys, and the Wolverines are in his top group, guaranteed an official visit. North Carolina seems to be the strongest competition at this point. He plans a Michigan official visit for the MSU game.
OH QB Cardale Jones
6-5, 220, 4.9 [Video]
NR Rivals, 3* (#31 QB) Scout, 3* 79 (#17 QB) ESPN.
The Buckeyes are done at QB for 2011. The Buckeyes may end up adding Glenville's Cardale Jones to this recruiting class, but if they do it won't be as a quarterback.
He has many options outside of Michigan (including the Spartans, and even Penn State), so no Buckeye offer doesn't necessarily push him toward Ann Arbor.
FL QB Jerrard Randall
6-2, 190, 4.5 [Video]
4* 5.8 Rivals, 3* (#19 QB) Scout, 4* 80 (#8 QB) ESPN.
Randall, a teammate of FL WR Curt Evans and S Jonathan Aiken, is one of the longer shots among the guys already holding offers, along with Hundley. The Chaminade-Madonna trio seems to be very hot-and-cold on Michigan - and they all appear to like Ohio State much more than the Wolverines. It seems, however, that Columbus is not longer an option for Randall.
AZ QB Brett Hundley
6-4, 210, 4.7 [Video]
4* 5.8 (#216 Overall) Rivals, 4* (#5 QB) Scout, 4* 81 (#5 QB) ESPN, #40 Overall (#4 QB) Sporting News.
I hadn't realized he's an Arizona legacy. He's more of an athletic pocket guy than a true dual-threat, but he can move. Michigan will have to fight with a number of top programs for his signature, especially West Coast teams.
...And then there are a few guys who aren't holding offers, but could be receiving one down the road, including FL QB Kevin Sousa, who's been openly hoping for one.
Last week, Sam Webb talked wide receiver recruiting in the Detroit News, and this week he follows that up with a look at three more prospects looking to fill that second outside spot in the Michigan recruiting class. We'll start with OH WR Devin Smith:
"Smith shows all the things you want from a young receiver projected to become a big-time player," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "It's the deep routes where Smith can really excel, as he's got the quickness to elude and accelerate with a burst to separate from a defender and release deep." ...
"Most of the college coaches have told me they like the way I come off the ball, the way I use my explosiveness and quickness," he told Scout.com. "My route running is pretty good. Most of all, the way I attack the football in the air (is really good). I make sure that thing is mine and only mine. I'll fight any defensive back for the football."
The former teammate of JT Turner plans to take all of his official visits before coming to a final decision. Moving along to FL WR Ja'Juan Story (at right):
"The first thing that jumps out at you about Story is the way he's built," said Scout.com Florida analyst Mike Bakas. "At 6-4 and close to 200 pounds already, he has the look of a major Division I receiver right now. He's a mismatch nightmare at this level because of his size. Unfortunately for him, his team doesn't throw the ball a whole lot, so he really hasn't been able to dominate games at this level like his talent level indicates. He's a playmaker, though, who has found other ways to make a difference. He's not a speed burner, but is plenty fast enough and has good enough ball skills to be a major BCS-caliber prospect."
Story wants to major in sports medicine, which should help Michigan out. Webb also had a Story update on GoBlueWolverine, and Michigan is "gaining ground" ($, info in header). Finally, SC WR Hakeem Flowers is also a candidate for that spot:
"Physically, Hakeem Flowers has all the tools to be a top-flight prospect," said Scout.com South Carolina analyst Kerry Fair. "College coaches will love his height and athleticism. Hakeem is also a track star and he shows that speed on the football field as well, especially considering his long stride and top end speed."
Flowers hopes to get to Ann Arbor over the summer.
...The Receivin' category segues nicely into Happy Trails, as one of the fine young gentlemen featured in last week's receiver update is now off the board.
MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has released a top six without Michigan, and says he will now consider only seven schools, including USC, Cal, Oklahoma, MSU, Tennessee, Iowa, and seventh-place Miami (Yes That Miami). Arnett told Tom that he likes Michigan, but thinks the only college spread that will get him to the NFL is found in Norman, Oklahoma. Percy Harvin and Arrelious Benn couldn't be reached for comment. For the whole scoop, check out DeAnthony Arnett Top 6.
OH QB Braxton Miller's commitment to Ohio State doesn't mean that OH LB Trey DePriest is necessarily bound for the Buckeyes as well. Still, he missed the last several UM recruiting events, and has narrowed his list to Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida.
A number of prospects come off the board because they committed to other schools:
- FL QB Teddy Bridgewater to Miami (as mentioned above).
- FL RB Mike Bellamy to Clemson.
- IN DT Joel Hale to Ohio State.
- MD DT Vincent Croce to Virginia.
- PA LB Ben Kline to Pitt.
Some of this stuff will help with paring down the list to 70 or so serious prospects.
Future Visits, Near And Far
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has scheduled his Michigan official visit ($, info in header), and according to The Wolverine Blog, that will be for the Michigan State game. Though Michigan has a number of factors working in its favor for his recruitment (including his closeness to Taylor Lewan, and the fact that he likes playing in the cold), it's not all sunshine and roses - Andre likes the Pac-10 the most.
OH OL Ryan Kelly plans to visit Michigan again this summer, according to a VolNation article.
Ryan has already been active with visits, and has several more planned for this summer. “Well I’m 20 minutes from Cincinnati so distance wise that one works out. I will visit Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State all within a month period. I’m also hoping to go to Michigan again as well. I’ve already visited Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Alabama.”
Michigan is the only school that he's already visited that is in for a repeat trip, which is a positive sign. The Under Armour All-American hopes to commit before his senior year, but is not set on that timeframe.
FL DT Tim Jernigan is still mentioning Michigan in his top group, and says he wants to visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
Rod Smith and Rich Rodriguez are his primary contacts in Ann Arbor.
Last week, we learned that GA CB Avery Walls plans to take an official visit to Michigan. A midseason commitment ($, info in header) would keep the Wolverines fresh in his mind at decision time.
IN RB Remound Wright has picked up a verbal Michigan offer, and plans a summer decision ($, info in header). There's an MGoBoard thread with a little more info on him, including the tidbit that his dad is a Michigan fan, from Indiana Wolverine.
ESPN.com's Steve Wiltfong embarks on an in-depth profile of MI RB Justice Hayes (pictured at right), comparing him to another Flint-area running back - reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram. His top list is surprising, given that he'd recently seemed to cool on Michigan:
Four years later, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Hayes is one of the most sought-after recruiting targets in the Midwest. Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee make up the four-star prospect's top four, with Michigan State and Northwestern still strongly in the mix.
I wonder whether the author of the article inadvertently switched the Spartans and Wolverines. However, since the Wolverines may be strongly back in the picture, let's take a look at his game:
"The way he starts and stops is phenomenal," said Delaney, who has been at Grand Blanc for 18 seasons. "He makes people miss with that side-to-side stuff, and he goes from stop to full speed very quickly. But probably the best thing is his hands out of the backfield. He catches the ball better than any kid I've ever had out of the backfield, and that includes Mark Ingram, who had great hands. Justice runs great routes out of the backfield, and hardly ever drops the ball."
I still think Hayes will only end up in Michigan's class if FL RB Demetrius Hart opts to go elsewhere.
CA WR Desman Carter is hearing from Michigan.
NJ Ath/WR Miles Shuler now holds a Florida offer. He is also the second-fastest high schooler in New Jersey history.
I added (unoffered) MI TE Nate Dreslinski, who impressed at Michigan's camp and seems to be interested in the Wolverines.
Michigan leads for MI OL Anthony Zettel ($, info in header), but his Penn State offer came through late last week, so that might shake up his leaderboard. He told ESPN he wants to visit the remainder of his top six schools that he hasn't yet seen. He won the State Championship in shotput over the weekend.
MI OL Jake Fisher is starting to gain some D-1 interest. He reportedly impressed at Michigan's Elite Camp, so keep an eye on him.
SC DT Phillip Dukes plans to visit Michigan. The Wolverines currently stand in about his #6 spot.
Though there are some positive signs for Michigan in the recruitment of NC LB Kris Frost, he's still visiting Auburn on what seems like a regular basis ($, info in header).
MD S/WR Brandon Phelps has apparently been offered by Michigan, to go along with tenders from the likes of LSU, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway may have trouble being eligible to play high school ball this fall (NOOOOOOOOOOO nearby Friday Night Lights roadtrips jeopardized!), because of a residency issue. Due to a family issue, his high school coach at Seaholm has become his guardian. However, said coach lives outside the Seaholm district, in Clarkston. Conway, then, would have to play for Clarkston - except he would have to sit out the fall semester due to transferring schools. I'll have more on Conway coming soon.
Tom's new weekly recruiting update features AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, LA DT Mickey Johnson, MI LB Ed Davis, IN LB Nick Temple, and FL OL Tony Posada. Check it out to get the latest on those prospects.
OH RB William Mahone "came away extremely impressed" with Michigan ($, info in header) after hitting campus for the Wolverines' Elite Camp over the weekend.
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board holds the answers to life's mysteries.
The annual BBQ at the Big House event came and went with little in the way of commitments, though the Wolverines reportedly improved their position with a number of prospects.
MD DT Darian Cooper (pictured at right) said:
"Everything went really well, we got to see the new renovations and the field and everything. We also had a quick tour of the academic facilities, and the food was really good. I really liked the bbq chicken, so that was nice"
Although he's not ready to name a leader yet, Michigan definitely did themselves a favor with this event.
PA LB Branden Jackson also talked to Tom:
The campus was really nice. I knew it would be, but it was really nice. Once I got around some of the players, too, I knew I wouldn't be left out. Everyone was just real nice, and made you feel comfortable. They weren't hyping anything, they were just being real about what they go through.
MI OL Anthony Zettel may have been edged closer to making a decision for the Wolverines ($, info in header).
VA DE Corey Marshall had his "eyes opened" ($, info in header) at the event.
The visit help Michigan "move up" OH WR AJ Jordan's list, to their current "high" position ($, info in headers). Jordan is a former teammate of Roy Roundtree, Michael Shaw, and Brandon Moore, which should help the Wolverines.
In case you missed it, FL RB Demetrius Hart didn't manage to attend. He'll visit Alabama and Auburn again before coming to Michigan (likely for an official visit). He recently impressed at a Nike Camp in Alabama:
Demetrius Hart impressed as well and showed why he's among the most heavily recruited backs in the region. Hart seemed to tire toward the end of the camp (temperature was in the mid-90s) but no one was more impressive early on. Hart is short but not small and is very well put together. He's an explosive back who can stop and start on a dime and showed great hands out of the backfield.
The article goes on to mention that Michigan is still his favorite.
With the BBQ out of the way, the next big event from a recruiting perspective is Michigan's summer elite camp, where borderline prospects will have the chance to earn offers, and some offered players will check out Ann Arbor on unofficial visits.
NC LB Kris Frost couldn't make it to the BBQ, but he'll attend Michigan's summer camp in July ($, info in header).
VA LB Antoine Pozniak hopes to earn a Michigan offer this summer. From the wording of the article, he may come to summer camp in an attempt to earn that offer.
MI CB/RB Raymon Taylor will definitely be camping at Michigan this summer.
The Chaminade-Madonna trio is going to try to make it to Michigan this summer, according to FL WR Curt Evans:
"I plan on visiting a lot of schools in the summer," he said. "I know we're going to Ohio State for sure, and coach said we're going to try and make it to Michigan and Notre Dame. I know we're going to go back to Florida and also see Florida State. By myself, I want to see Stanford, Vanderbilt and South Florida."
That would be a positive development in the recruitments of QB Jerrard Randall and S Jonathan Aiken, as well.
Michigan has offered a pair of OH TEs in Austin Traylor and Nick Vannett. According to Linebacker-U, Penn State also zipped an offer to Vannett just a couple days earlier. He had narrowed his recruitment to 11 schools early last week, but the new offers might change that:
On Monday, Vannett cut his list from 25 down to 11 schools. But by the end of the day, Penn State and North Carolina State sent offers his way. With the Nittany Lions on board, things seemed to change for Vannett. He told Scout.com's Bill Greene:
"Without a doubt, Penn State makes my favorite list"
Hopefully, that willingness to add the Nittany Lions to that favorite list means he's also open to doing the same for the Wolverines.
Since the end of the football season, Kelly’s visited Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Alabama.
“He’s just extremely, extremely athletic,” West coach Larry Cox said. “He’s really good on his feet. That’s what impresses Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee. Their coaches are extremely impressed with how quick he is and how light on his feet he is.”
With the Buckeyes filling up on offensive linemen, it might be easier than usual for the Wolverines to pluck a top guy out of Ohio, but there will be other top competition as well, as Alabama recently offered.
Last week, PA DE Desimon Green was "close" to a Michigan offer, and it appears as though he's received it.
Happy Trails, Present Or Future
Happy trails, GA TE Jay Rome.
Removed NY LB Quentin Gause (Rutgers commit).
The next few guys aren't off the board just yet, but probably will be soon.
AR QB Kiehl Frazier will make a decision soon. Michigan has not approached the top of his list, so there's just about 0% chance he picks the Wolverines.
A couple tweets from Cincinnati Enquirer recruiting guru indicate that OH QB Braxton Miller is close to a decision:
Nothing's definite yet, but it sounds like his mind is made up anyway. Since we haven't heard differently, it's safe to assume that decision would be for Ohio State.
MI RB Justice Hayes has Northwestern on top, and one of his former leaders is sinking ($, info in header). Some Detroit newspaper of no repute indicates that it's probably Michigan.
Tom grabbed a bunch of video at a practice in Chandler, Arizona, including some footage of QB Brett Hundley, who received a Michigan offer last week.
FL QB Kevin Sousa, like Demetrius Hart, was at the recent Alabama Nike camp:
Kevin Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) has been a frequent visitor to the Nike camps and the camp at Alabama was his third of the year... Sousa has great size and a huge arm but is still very raw. He continues to get better with each event and his confidence is growing. Sousa can make every throw and just needs to continue to improve his mechanics, tightening his release and understanding coverages and where to go with the football.
Shurburtt elaborates a little bit on his blog:
His arm strength and size has never been in question, but he’s improved his footwork and accuracy a great deal in a few short months. He’s also a high-character prospect that takes coaching well and has worked hard to step his game up.
On Saturday, he was very accurate and had even more zip on the ball that he normally does.
Raw, but plenty of upside. The "high-character" thing is new, but definitely a positive.
NJ RB Savon Huggins, who holds a Michigan offer, plans to narrow his list in July:
“I’ll have the top 10 by July, and I’ll cut mine down to a top five in the middle of the season,” Huggins said. “I will keep cutting down schools and stuff and then I plan to pick on signing day."
He says Rutgers is the only school guaranteed to make that cut, which means they're the likely favorite.
I actually removed FL WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin from the recruiting board recently, because there hadn't been much chatter of Michigan interest, but it sounds like the Wolverines are still after him:
“Florida has been down, everybody from Texas Tech to Rutgers, Oregon came down, Michigan, you know it’s just been going crazy in recruiting,” explained Benjamin. “A lot of offers and stuff like that coming in, just everybody been coming through. There will be like five recruiters at a one time coming through.”
Michigan is still lagging far behind in the race for his services, but it's good to see they're still pursuing this top prospect.
On the field Yruretagoyena has a mean streak to him and he finishes blocks really well. He's also surprisingly quick for a man his size so like many of the successful Duck offensive linemen in the past, he could play on either side of the line before his time is through in college. He's got very long arms and has been described as a mauler in the run game.
Athletic, big, versatile... sounds like the prototypical Michigan guard, though the author seems to consider him a tackle.
PA DE Deion Barnes comes in for a round of fluff from the York Daily Record:
And some time in the next eight months Barnes must make the crucial decision of attending college. Penn State, Georgia, Michigan, Maryland, Pitt and South Carolina are some of his favorites.
He's had to overcome some definite adversity in his life, but has made the right decisions:
"I've seen good football players, good athletes, turn into drug dealers and get put in jail," he said. "But I have a father who pushes me. If I do something wrong in school (my parents) get on me.
Regardless of where he ends up, it's good to see he's staying on the straight-and-narrow.
A couple quick hits from Phil Kornblut's latest recruiting column:
DE Deon Lee (6-4, 210) of Defuniak Springs, Fla., continues to favor USC ahead of Louisville, Texas Tech and Michigan... He might visit Alabama, Michigan and South Florida this summer.
TE Jerrell Adams (6-5, 220) of Scotts Branch has seen his offer list grow to include Clemson, USC, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Wake Forest. Adams said his top four are USC, Clemson, Illinois and Alabama with the Gamecocks still out front.
Adams is a new name here, but we were aware of Lee, who sounds like the more realistic grab.
KY LB Lamar Dawson will take his time making a decision, so don't expect a final choice from him until after his senior season. He also talks about his Michigan offer:
The Michigan offer surprised him. “It is a huge name in college football. They are still one of the top programs nationally and it’s really nice to be recruited by them,” Dawson said.
Seems like Michigan is a trophy offer, and not one he's that interested in pursuing further.
OH S Eilar Hardy is the subject of Sam Webb's latest Detroit News article, but he doesn't so much as mention Michigan, so there's nothing to see here. IL OL Patrick Flavin is hoping for a Michigan offer. NJ Ath/WR Miles Shuler claims to be wide open, but Oklahoma could be a significant factor, according to JC Shurburtt. Recent offeree OH OL Ray Ball favors... Indiana? ($, info in header).
The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board lives here. Remember, you may need to log in and/or refresh a few times for the latest updates because the technology has been pretty mischievous lately.
Giving Offers Out Like Candy
The spring evaluation period started a couple weeks ago, and that's seen Michigan's coaching staff hand out a number of new scholarship offers lately.
Johnson has over 26 offers now, and said that he might have to use an official visit if he wants to see Michigan in person. "If my dad isn't home, then I would probably use an official. If he's home, then I think we'd be able to make the drive," Mickey told me.
Johnson is a very, very strong tackle, with a state-record 450-lb bench press, and a 700-lb(!) mark on the squat rack. Tom's diary has both weight-lifting and football highlights.
OH LB Sean Duggan has received a Michigan offer. Tom speculates that he might make it to campus for the BBQ at the Big House, and shares his junior year highlight video:
Duggan has good size (6-4, 215), and MIchigan is in need of linebackers, so it could be a good fit.
The Wolverines have also offered a more highly-regarded linebacker, FL LB AJ Johnson. His offer list looks like a who's-who of bigtime programs, including most of the SEC and the USC Trojans. He has decommitted from Tennessee. It might be tough for the Wolverines to lure him north.
Michigan apparently has an offer out to FL LB Jermaine McKinney. He's not in the Rivals database, so Michigan is in on him early. His high school, Seffner Armwood, is the home of 2012 RB Matt Jones, who isexpected to be a top prospect.
Michigan has offered PA WR/LB Armstead Williams.
OH WR Darius Patton has received a Michigan offer, which he found "exciting ($, info in header).
Strengths: Great acceleration. Good mirroring instincts. High energy player. Seems to be one of team's emotional leaders. Solid tackler despite small stature. Squares up and wraps up ballcarrier. Great special teams player, Fearless in kick coverage. Has knack for blocking kicks and punts. Good running skills once ball is in his hands. Ability to change directions quickly. Excellent blitzer off the edge
Weaknesses: Does not run legs on contact. Leaves feet too often when making contact. Can be too aggressive at times without breaking down to tackle, leaving him open to missing tackles. Lacks ideal height. Good but not great speed, despite superb acceleration. Average ball skills when ball is in the air.
You can watch him block a bunch of kicks and get his blitz on here. His older brother plays for Central Florida, and the Knights have offered Jonathan.
This Is How You Eat A Rib
The ongoing saga of FL RB Dee Hart may just keep on going after the BBQ at the Big House, as Hart tells the Orlando Sentinel:
"I was thinking May 22, but that might not work out … so we'll just see where it goes. I'm not in any rush anyway. I'm graduating early, but I'm really not in a rush."
Is it just keeping the suspense up, or is there a chance he doesn't commit on the visit? I guess we'll find out in a couple weeks. Great graphic design by the Sentinel, by the way.
From Old Virginia speculates that it's likely VA DE Corey Marshall will visit for the Barbecue at the Big House, and could even be on commitment watch. Michigan and Virginia Tech lead a group of four. Marshall's in Rivals' initial 250 to watch and would give Michigan an excellent pair of bookends with the previous commitment of MI DE Brennen Beyer.
Michigan Sports Zone catches up with PA CB Dondi Kirby, who says he will visit for the BBQ at the Big House.
One thing that is for sure is Dondi is set on waiting until signing day to announce his decision. However, if signing day were to be in the next month there are some schools that stand out.
"Well definitely Michigan, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio State, Illinois and Iowa."
Dondi further narrowed his list down to three schools which are Michigan, Maryland and Ohio State and not in any particular order.
PennLive.com talks about not only Kirby, but a couple of his teammates at Gateway High School, a former Michigan stomping ground.
The Combine Circuit
OH QB Cardale Jones is the subject of this week's Detroit News profile by Sam Webb. First, what he's like on the field:
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Jones turned a lot of heads last season, using his rifle arm to account for more than 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air. Meanwhile, he used his 4.55 40 speed to accumulate more than 500 yards and six touchdowns on the ground...
"I know I got a lot better over the past year, and I need to continue to get better. I want to work on my speed and I need to keep working on learning the game through film study. I need to get the ball out quicker and that will come through maturity and playing the position more. I think my accuracy during the offseason has gotten way better. I can remember this time last year, and the throws that I'm making now I couldn't make until the end of last season."
Since we've been following Jones for a while now, that info should come as no surprise, but it's nice to be able to put actual numbers to it. A now, for the recruiting information:
Jones hopes to make his way back to East Lansing in the summer months. The same goes for others on his offer list like West Virginia and Iowa. At the moment the only scheduled visit after this week's trip to Ohio State is to Michigan's "Barbecue at the Big House" on May 22. He insists that doesn't indicate the preferred status of either the Buckeyes or Wolverines -- only that he is focused on more pressing matters at moment.
He loves Ohio State, but it's unlikely that the Buckeyes offer - at least not before they lock down OH QB Braxton Miller. [Ed: I think that conventional wisdom may be shifting. There are a lot of rumors Jones may pick up an OSU offer soon.] That leaves the door open for various schools, including Michigan, to win him over. Jones also got some love from ESPN following the Elite 11 combine:
With Miller out of the line-up, Jones got an opportunity to showcase his raw, but very impressive physical tools. He looks like a taller version of another quality QB in this class Marquise Williams (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek). Jones has a big arm, great size and a lot of physical tools to mold. He too must adjust to playing from under center and developing consistent footwork so that his accuracy can become more consistent. But there is no question he is capable of making all the throws.
Obviously if he attends Michigan, that whole "under center" thing becomes less of an issue.
FL QB Kevin Sousa continues to impress every scout he comes across:
Once again Kevin Sousa (Lake Nona, Fla./Lake Nona) shows up to an Elite 11 regional camp and each time he gets better. In fact, this was by far his best outing and he is starting to really iron out some kinks in his delivery and become more smooth and fluid as a passer. Athletically he is ultra impressive, but there were times on Friday when he got his feet, timing and delivery to sync up and for that moment, was the best guy in the camp.
Michigan is looking at Sousa, but he doesn't have an offer. Both he and his coach, however, think he'd be a great fit at Michigan, and are hoping Rich Rodriguez extends one soon. At this point he's the most likely candidate to be Michigan's lone QB recruit of 2011
MI WR DeAnthony Arnett was the wideout MVP at the Columbus Nike Combine. He's currently favoring Michigan State, Notre Dame, and USC, but a good season by the Wolverines would put him right back near the top for him. He actually showed up to Ohio State wearing Michigan gear, but Bill Kurelic (who has an erratic track record for such things), says Michigan is out of the running (Tom says don't worry about it just yet). Arnett has been nominated for the Army All-American Bowl. His recruitment is going to be a long and winding one.
Bill Kurelic also drops a bit of info about some other Michigan targets:
As good as Daniels was, Lamar Dawson (Danville, Ky./Boyle County) might have been even better. Dawson measured in at 6-2 and 232 pounds but looked even bigger. He certainly played big. Dawson took on blockers well, was able to track down running backs on the perimeter and made plays in coverage en route to the linebackers MVP award.
As noted above, Dawson recently received a Michigan offer. Also, on commit MI CB Delonte Hollowell:
Hollowell (Detroit/Cass Tech), as previously noted, was among a talented group of defensive backs. He made one of the best plays of the day with a spectacular one-handed interception on a long pass play.
Man, if only there was vide... oh. Video:
Lookin' good, son.
FL WR Sammy Watkins will be trimming his list to ten schools soon, and only Florida, Miami (Yes That Miami), and Michigan are locks to make it. That trio likely makes up a tentative top three. Watkins also excels on the track.
Michigan and USC are the co-leaders for AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, according to Duck Sports Authority's Tony Di Francisco. Should Oregon offer, they'll be in the mix.
Keep an eye on FL OL Errin Joe, who attends the same high school as current Wolverine Ricky Barnum. He's noted as a fast-rising prospect, and a certain Detroit newspaper of no repute says he's gotten an offer from the Wolverines.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
NJ LB/S Vin Ascolese (pictured at right) visited Michigan for the Spring Game, and came away impressed:
"Michigan was great. I had a lot of fun with all the other kids and had a great experience checking out all the facilities." Vin said about his his trip to Ann Arbor."
Vin may be unsure about the next time he is going to take a trip back to Ann Arbor but he insists Michigan is defiantly in the mix for his recruitment saying, "UM ranks top 5 in my list."
Don't get too excited, however, because he also took a liking to Penn State:
Vin summed up the impression that was left by saying, "PSU is easily in my top 3." "I am going up there again to camp and am looking forward to it!"
As Michigan Sports Zone notes, there's still a lot of time before this kid's recruitment is over, and the Wolverines will have a chance to work their way to the top.
NJ LB Jazzmar Clax also tell Michigan Sports Zone that he's hearing from Michigan.
IL OL/DL Jordan Diamond recently impressed at a National Underclassmen Combine in Chicago. He was also impressive at the Michigan Football Showcase, and is a guy to keep an eye on for the future.
Michigan is soon to offer AZ CB/Slot DJ Foster, and is also showing interest in his teammate, LB Brock Haman. They play on the same team as 2011 AZ OL Cyrus Hobbi.
Tom continues his position recruiting roundups with a look at the defensive line. Scout's Allen Trieu discusses Michigan's recruiting class with Dave Birkett of AnnArbor.com. He's higher on Beyer and Conway than the DBs. Michigan drops in on Black Righty Tebow, AR QB Kiehl Frazier. OH DT Michael Bennett has eliminated Michigan. LA OL Trai Turner is still liking Michigan. Florida has offered OH LB Trey DePriest. PA LB Quinton Alston's mom runs a blogspot page about the recruiting process, for those who are interested in the nitty-gritty.
As always, the running log of updates can be found on the Michigan Football Recruiting Board. The technology is acting wonky, so make sure you log in on that page to see the most recent version.
AR QB Kiehl Frazier (pictured at right) has an outstanding website on which he claims a Michigan offer. He also reports offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Texas Tech, to go along with interest from Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Ohio State. Basically what I'm trying to say is this guy will be a heavily, heavily recruited guy. The site also features a highlight video, in which he looks like a Black Righty Tebow. Michigan is often one of the schools he mentions first among his scholarship offers:
"I have 22 offers," Frazier said. "They are coming from everywhere. LSU, Arkansas, Florida, UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska -- there are just too many to try and name.
He says he wants to play in a pro-style offense to prepare him for the next level, but is open to playing in a spread.
A likely-irrelevant note on FL TE Nick O'Leary. The kid's also a star lacrosse player in high school (and it should come as no surprise that I like this). Of course, it's highly unlikely Michigan lands him for a number of reasons. He has options like Ohio State (where his grandfather, Jack Nicklaus, might have played golf or something) for football and national powers like Maryland and Cornell for lacrosse.
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has received an offer to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, further evidence (on top of his recent USC offer) that his recruitment is blowing up. His former teammates Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan both played in the game two years ago.
"If you watch his highlight tape, he is nasty on the field," Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle said. "He dominates. He can run. He's fast and he's nasty."
Michigan has the advantage of a couple former Firebirds on the roster (and for Craig Roh, excelling as a freshman starter).
OH DT Kevin Williams will make his college decision in the first week of May.
"I leave [Monday] for Wisconsin," Williams said. "I'll be there until Wednesday. I'll watch spring practice. I'm thinking about visiting Illinois later this week. I'll either do that or visit Michigan State on Thursday or Friday."
Williams also plans to attend Nebraska's spring game on April 17. "I'll be there for three days," Williams said. "And I might show up at Michigan one more time."
If he takes the bonus visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan would be considered the team to beat. Otherwise, it's a Nebraska-Michigan battle.
MI DE Brennen Beyer has long been considered something of a Michigan lean, and Sam Webb gives him double coverage on GBW, talking to his coach:
“He has got a motor that does not quit. He just keeps on coming at you. He has got great arm length. He’s really worked on his explosiveness in the weight room with power cleans and the parallel squat and all the stuff we do in the weight room. Probably his greatest thing is his quickness and his motor.”
...and The Detroit News, where Allen Trieu of Scout.com says he'll be a top-100 prospect in the 2011 class, and Beyer himself says:
"I still like Michigan a lot," Beyer said. "But I'm really looking hard at Michigan and Notre Dame right now."
"I guess just when I feel like I've been to the college I want to go to, and I'm 100 percent sure that it is the right place, I'll commit."
Beyer plans to return to Ann Arbor for Michigan's spring game on April 17th. His remaining visit schedule has yet to be determined.
Despite overtures from Notre Dame, I think Michigan is still considered the favorite. His spring game visit could be a potential commitment time for Beyer.
VA LB Curtis Grant, who holds a Michigan offer, will trim his list to 10 by the beginning of the season, but won't announce his final decision until Signing Day.
NC LB Kris Frost has declared Michigan has favorite, and said he'd visit for Michigan's spring game, but the latter is no longer the case. He told Tom that he waited too long to buy plane tickets, and can't afford to make it to Ann Arbor on April 17th. He'll instead attend Auburn's spring game, but only as a backup plan. He recently took a "fantastic" visit to the Plains ($, info in header), so the more times he visits, the less he looks like Michigan leads.
Message board posts are always a potentially-risky source for recruiting info, but someone purporting to be a family member of NJ Ath/Slot Miles Shuler says he'll be visiting Ann Arbor for the spring game. He is also a very fast dude.
According to Top Prospect Sports (née Michigan Sports Zone), NY LB Antoine Pozniak will visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan Spring Game. He recently visited LSU, but did not come away with an offer from Les Miles. He was originally a class of 2010 prospect, but will enroll at The Hun School in New Jersey (or Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina, if you ask Rivals) for a postgrad year.
OH DB Charles Perdue (from Youngstown Liberty High School, alma mater of Isaiah Bell, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Antonio Kinard) plans to make it in for the Michigan spring game. I hadn't heard of Perdue until this news, so I'd be surprised if he's offer-worthy.
I'll spend a lot of time in next week's update covering Spring Game visitors, but for now, you can check out Tom's constantly-updating diary, running down some of the kids who plan to be in town.
FL DE Anthony Chickillo has a Michigan offer, and hopes to take a visit to Ann Arbor (along with "as many schools as I can" before he makes a decision.
MI LB Terrell Porter apparently excelled at the BadgerSports 7-on-7 at Glick Fieldhouse a few weeks ago ($, info in header, video in article), and now he plans to take an unofficial visit to Michigan ($, info in header).
Job Security And Recruiting
FL RB Andrew Buie (pictured at right) talked to the Jacksonville Times-Union about what he's looking for in a school, and the answer should sound familiar to Michigan fans by this point:
The main priority for me in looking at a school is the stability of the program. I realize anything can happen, but I really want to go to a program where there won't be a coaching change.
This sentiment is almost certainly aimed at Michigan and Rich Rodriguez. Negative recruiting and a general air of Freepiness around Ann Arbor has given several recruits reason to think that Coach Rod will not be around after the 2010 season.
We all know FL RB Demetrius Hart has heard a lot of this, which has put his recruitment into something of a whirlwind, and MI RB Justice Hayes has told WTKA's Sam Webb that he would have committed to Michigan (audio) by now had the Wolverines had success on the field the past two years, and there was no need to worry about Rich Rodriguez's job security.
So what is there to do? Despite lacking success the past couple years on the field, Michigan has been able to pull in well-regarded recruiting hauls. Winning on the field this season will show that MIchigan is a place that recruits can come if they want to compete for Big Ten and national titles, and remove any doubt that Rich Rodriguez's job is safe, since apparently Dave Brandon saying, "Rich Rodriguez is the coach of the University of Michigan football team. He's our coach, he's my coach, he should be everybody's coach" (audio) is not enough to prove that.
Speaking of Hart, he and his teammate, FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, recently visited Alabama. Though Clinton-Dix has said it will be nearly impossible for anyone to top Alabama on his list, neither prospect committed to the Tide - yet ($, info in header). Clinton-Dix could decide "at any time."
But before everyone starts getting their hopes up, there is still at least one more thing to consider.
"April 12, Michigan," Hart replied to what his next plans are. So he'll add another chapter with a trip to Ann Arbor, where he already has a good friend and former Dr. Phillips teammate Ricardo Miller on the Wolverines' roster...
Hart actually was very very close to committing to the Wolverines at the end of this past season, but then decided to hold off while he started to take unofficial campus visits. Each school he has seen has had an impact on his considerations. He's been to Florida, Florida State, USF and of course Auburn and Alabama.
If that visit date is accurate, it would mean a week-long visit to Ann Arbor, since the 12th is Monday, and the Spring Game isn't until Saturday (1PM, Michigan Stadium).
Bill Kurelic runs down the top 5 prospects in the state of Michigan (Thomas-Arnett-Hayes-Beyer-Miller), and continues to spread the (false) notion that MI RB Onaje Miller had a Michigan offer at the time of his MSU commitment. SC DE Deon Lee is "hearing from" Michigan, as is SC LB Myles Jackson. FL OL Zach DeBell, who holds a Michigan offer, will decide during his senior season. Fluff on PA DE Shawn Oakman. PA LB Ben Kline wants to decide before (or early in) his senior season. Elite Scouting Services runs down the top 100 in Florida. Happy Trails to AZ OL Christian Westerman, who committed to Texas.