...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Name: Prentice McKinney
Ht/Wt/40: 6'3" / 180 lbs. / 4.49
Location: South Oak Cliff High School – Dallas, TX (2015)
Offers: Arizona State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Boise State, California, Colorado State, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, SMU, Tulsa
Rating: ★★★ .8563 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #631 NAT / #40 S (247 Composite)
For the Michigan coaches recruiting Texas is a difficult task. High school football in Texas is like a religion so suitors come from far and wide to pluck the rich talent. Also, most Texas prep stars don’t have to leave the state to play big time college football. Even with those hurdles Michigan has made a great early impression on Prentice McKinney.
McKinney was offered by the Wolverine staff on February 16th and he immediately expressed his affinity for what the University of Michigan is all about.
My coach told me to call Coach Funk and then he told me to Call Coach Mattison. I called him and we talked for a while and then he just told me that they were offering me a full scholarship to Michigan. It was great. I really like it because Michigan is big on academics and that’s what I’m all about. They also have a great football team so all around it’s just a big offer.
Prentice and I talked about how it can be tough for Michigan to get kids out of Texas and he had some thoughts about it.
I’m not exactly sure why that is. I know there are a lot of kids that don’t have the money to take unofficial visits to schools in states that far away. They never get to see what those schools are all about. The only way they can is to wait until your senior year but then you only have five visits.
While Michigan does face some big challenges in landing kids from Texas, Prentice is certain that Michigan will be in play for his final decision.
Yes sir, Michigan will definitely be in consideration. They have a high graduation rate, great history, good coaches, and of course they have a great football program. I don’t know a lot of other details yet because I haven’t been up there yet. I plan on visiting though if I can, but it will probably have to be this summer.
Recently 247Sports reported that Michigan had landed in the top group for Prentice and he expanded on that with me a little bit.
Yeah, Michigan is in my top five with Notre Dame, Boise State, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Notre Dame could be the school for me, I like Notre Dame but my recruiting process is not over. I don’t know if Notre Dame is really my leader. It’s a fight with Michigan. I can’t accurately compare them right now because I haven’t visited any of those schools. I’m just going by their history right now. The visits will be big for me, but if I had to pick today it would be between Michigan and Notre Dame.
Well there you have it. Prentice didn’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to where he stands right now. He spoke more naturally about Notre Dame and seemed to mention them more in conversation so I definitely think the Irish have a lead, but Michigan is right there as he said in his own words. His visits to South Bend and Ann Arbor will be huge in determining who might end up receiving his commitment. As of right now he doesn’t have a trip planned to either campus but both will probably happen during the summer.
0 - Passing interest or none
1 - Let's see if he visits before we talk
2 - Among large (8-15) group under consideration
3 - Contender in a top 3-7
4 - Tentative lead or solidly in a top 2-3
5 – Trending Blue
The Vibe this time isn’t an educated guess as much as it is a report on what Prentice said himself. I selected Notre Dame today for my Crystal Ball selection and don’t plan on changing it unless he is blown away during a visit to Ann Arbor, which isn’t impossible.
Name: Stephen Griffin
Ht/Wt/40: 6'3" / 187 lbs. / 4.5
Location: South Mecklenburg High School – Charlotte, NC (2015)
Offers: Clemson, Tennessee, Charlotte, Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Old Dominion, Wake Forest
Rating: ★★★ .8444 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #807 NAT (247 Composite)
Michigan has a couple of legacy offers on the table in the 2015 class, one that’s already reeled in a commitment from Jon Runyan Jr., and the other looks like a real possibility from Tryone Wheatley Jr. The coaching staff also looked outside of the Wolverine family tree and offered former Clemson Tiger running back, Steve Griffin’s (1982-'86) son, Stephen Griffin. The younger Griffin plays mostly on the defensive side of the ball as a ball-hawking, rangy safety, but does play wildcat quarterback occasionally and displays running skills like his dad.
At Michigan, legacy offers usually carry a lot of weight, possibly more so than at other institutions. Clemson’s tradition isn’t on a Michigan-level, but they aren’t slouches. Griffin’s father played at Clemson just a season or two after the Tigers won a national title, which makes for good memories, but Stephen told me that just because his dad wore the orange and purple doesn’t mean he’s going to.
Clemson doesn’t have a better chance with me because of my dad. I’m going to go wherever I feel the most comfortable. My dad also wants me to go where the best fit for me is.
Griffin is another prospect recruited by Coach Manning, and the trend continued as he spoke about the newly minted cornerbacks coach.
My coach said I needed to call Coach Manning in his office. I got on the phone and Coach Manning and I talked for a little bit and that’s when they offered. I like him a lot. It’s really cool that he’s going to be one of the secondary coaches now too.
As you’d expect Griffin is well learned when it comes to Clemson history. As for the Wolverines, he admitted to not knowing much about the Maize and Blue.
Right now I don’t know too much about Michigan but I’m definitely interested. Overall I’m still open to all schools. I hope to take a visit to Michigan, maybe late this spring or during the summer. I don’t have any type of top order yet but after I finish the rest of the visits I have scheduled, I will.
My conversation with Stephen was short but he made a good first impression on me. He’s a humble kid who’s just taking the process slowly to ensure his decision is correct. He’s probably a bit underrated at this point and that may be the case throughout his recruitment but some pretty solid programs have taken notice of his length, athleticism, and versatility.
Griffin said he was “definitely interested” in Michigan and if he decides to visit Ann Arbor late this spring or during the summer like he said he might, the Wolverines might slide into a first cut for him.
Explanation: After speaking with recruits I try to convey a sense of how interested they are in Michigan, and now that I've been through a recruiting cycle I thought it time to debut a (-n extremely tentative, completely unscientific) metric for gauging that interest. Your thoughts/criticisms are welcome, but remember I'm not the guy whose job it is to be cute around here.* Here goes:
0 - Passing interest or none
1 - Let's see if he visits before we talk
2 - Among large (8-15) group under consideration
3 - Contender in a top 3-7
4 - Tentative lead or solidly in a top 2-3
5 - Trending blue.
Based on our limited communication I think there is some legitimate interest but I believe this relationship needs some TLC to blossom into anything serious.
* [That job belongs to Seth's & BiSB's and Center_Ice's respective inbound offspring--my job is to interview them when Class of 2032 offers are going out.]
Name: Garrett Taylor
Ht/Wt: 6'1" / 188 lbs.
Location: St. Christopher’s School – Richmond, VA
Offers: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Nebraska, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Rating: ★★★★ .9566 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #90 NAT/ #9 CB (247 Composite)
From the onset of our conversation it was easy to see that Garrett Taylor was very happy to have received a scholarship offer from Michigan.
I was really pretty surprised. Coach Manning told me a little while back that they had to look at who they took for corners in the 2014 class and that the 2015 class was going to be really small so that’s why things were taking so long. My coach texted me today and said that I needed to call Michigan so I called and Coach Manning said I was offered. I was really excited.
With that offer sheet and a top-100 ranking it's not that shocking. Michigan has routinely spent time recruiting the talent-rich DC-Maryland-Virginia area. Even though he’s in the heart of ACC country he holds Michigan in high regard.
I was born and raised in Virginia but I’d say that Michigan is definitely in the mix. They are a school since the beginning of this recruiting process that I’ve had my eyes on. I wanted them to offer and I was really interested in them. It has taken a little while but they finally did offer and they are still solid with me.
Michigan has a lot to offer in many arenas and Garrett was able to tell me what exactly it was about the Wolverines that grabbed his attention early on.
First with the football program it’s just one of the most historic programs there is. I mean if you ask anyone for a storied college football program they might give you a Notre Dame, maybe an Alabama, and they’ll give you Michigan too. Also what they can offer in terms of academics as well as football is huge. Academics are very important to me and my family so just the fact that they can offer both at a very high level is really important to me. Also when I first started talking to Coach Manning he was just a great guy, he was really down to Earth, really honest. You could tell he wasn’t trying to pull anything, he was just really straight up, so I really like that about him. Coach Hoke too, was just really genuine and just showed me that Michigan has a lot to offer.
Taylor mentioned that he had been eyeing Michigan since the beginning of his recruitment so it was only natural to inquire about who else might be catching his eye.
There are a few schools that I’ve been interested in like Tennessee, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, and Miami. Those are some of the schools that are sticking out to me right now.
With so many offers, Garrett is going to have some tough decisions to make when it comes to narrowing down his list, but he already has a basic timeline and plan in place.
Right now my plan is to start narrowing down my list. I know I have a lot of schools on my list and it’s really hard to take a very serious look at all of the schools I might be interested in. When you have all of the coaches coming at you with the same sort of intensity it’s really tough. Right now I’m going to try and narrow my list down to about 10 to 15 schools, hopefully closer to 10 by the end of the spring so I can start to plan some visits out during the summer. After that I’ll narrow it down again so I can get official visits set up during my season, maybe one or two after the season. At that point if I know which school I want to go to I’ll probably commit early to mid-winter. If all else fails and I am having a hard time deciding I would probably just wait until National Signing Day, but hopefully I can get it done at the early part of winter.
I always ask recruits if there is anything unique or interesting about themselves they’d like me to include because a lot of these Q&A’s start to sound alike; most of them kindly decline. Garrett chose to finish our conversation by telling me about his passion for literature.
I really like English. I’m in an AP English class so I can earn an AP credit. It’s a really cool class. I’ve always liked reading so I guess that’s something a little different. It can be hard to balance academics and football, especially with the school I’m at, St. Christopher’s, but I feel like I do a pretty good job. I’ve been there since like 1st grade so it’s always been normal for me to balance school and athletics.
[Lloyd Carr nods in solemn approval.]
I fully expect Michigan to make the cut/multiple cuts with Garrett and believe that they’ll have a chance to land him for a while. He looks great on film, was a joy to talk to, and seems to have his priorities in order. Whether he picks Michigan or not I will be a fan of Garrett Taylor.
Even though the basketball game didn’t go the way Michigan fans would’ve liked, there were plenty of recruits on hand and the football coaches still used the opportunity to show the underclassmen around campus. That interaction led to two new offers going out on Sunday to 2016 offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg and 2017 offensive lineman Josh Myers.
Name: Liam Eichenberg
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6’5" / 275 lbs.
Location: St. Ignatius High School (2016) – Cleveland, OH
Offers: Michigan, Ohio State
St. Ignatius is a big time program in Ohio boasting multiple state championships and even a few national titles. Michigan’s most recent coup from St. Ignatius is Jake Ryan and while he’s easily the most notable alumnus, Michigan has recruited Wildcats since the late 1960s. The Wolverines offered Liam Eichenberg in hopes that he could become the next Wolverine from the storied high school.
Eichenberg spoke of his special moment, spanning three generations of his family.
I was taken into a separate room right before the basketball game with my dad, my grandpa, and Coach Hoke. Coach Hoke told me that he and his staff took a long time evaluation my film and really liked what I do. He told me that he really liked the program that I come from and how I’m dedicated to football and academics.
Liam now holds two offers, Ohio State and Michigan. As an Ohio recruit you always expect the Buckeyes to be a factor but Liam told me that he did not grow up a Buckeye fan and that he still doesn’t even have a team that he pulls for.
Liam spent most of his time with Coach Mattison as he toured campus and the facilities and he came away more than impressed.
The indoor practice facility was insane! I loved all of the coaches too. Michigan is just overall amazing. It felt a lot like St. Ignatius.
Name: Josh Myers
Position: Offensive Lineman (unspecified)
Ht/Wt: 6'5" / 275 lbs.
Location: Miamisburg High School (2017) – Miamisburg, OH
Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan
Josh Myers became the first 2017 recruit to receive a Michigan offer today while he was visiting Ann Arbor. As a freshman in high school Myers already holds five offers spanning the Big Ten, SEC, and MAC. Myers could barely contain his excitement when he spoke of his latest offer.
Well I got there and as soon as I walked in the door I talked to Coach Funk and then Coach Hoke came by and we talked for probably 45 minutes. The coaches and me and my parents were all just talking and Coach Hoke casually told me that they were offering me a scholarship! I was shocked honestly, I wasn’t expecting it all. It made tears come to my eyes.
As usual the coaches have made a phenomenal first impression on a recruit. Josh couldn’t stop iterating the family feel and genuineness that the coaches possess.
The best way for me to describe it was just a real home type of feeling. The coaches preached about how academics come first and about how they are not just there to make us a better football player, but better people too. Also the facilities were incredible.
With Myers being an Ohio kid as well you almost have to assume that he grew up loving the Buckeyes, but I found out that that wasn’t necessarily the case.
I didn’t grow up a Buckeye fan, but the recruiting process has changed my view of colleges. It’s hard to really dislike certain schools especially once you get to meet the coaches and see what great people they are.
The lone commitment of the 2016 class, Erik Swenson, spent some time with both new offerees and he feels pretty good about both.
I didn’t talk to Liam as much but he is quiet and seems like a good kid. He definitely enjoyed today, but I think he wants to visit a lot of other schools so.
Swenson was able to get a much better feel from Josh as they sat next to each other for the entire basketball game.
Josh is very intelligent and very friendly. I think with Josh it’s going to come down to Michigan and Kentucky. His dad and his brother both played at Kentucky so they’ll be in it. I really think he’s going more with Michigan though. His dad REALLY liked his visit today.
Once again the coaches have killed the first impression portion of recruiting these two young men. Michigan as a school, the facilities, and the history of the program all sell themselves, but these coaches take it to another level when it comes to creating a welcoming environment. It genuinely sounds like Michigan will be in it with both of these early offered linemen.
Position: Linebacker/Defensive End
Ht/Wt/40: 6'5" / 227 lbs. / 4.69
Location: Benedictine College Preparatory – Richmond, VA
Offers: Boston College, Charlotte, Clemson, East Carolina, Iowa, James Madison, Marshall, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
Ranking: ★★★★ .9640 (247 Composite)
Virginia continues to be a fertile recruiting ground and the Michigan coaches have tried to take full advantage of that with varying levels of success. The latest talent to receive an offer from Michigan out of The Old Dominion State is 2015 DE/LB Clelin Ferrell. With his frame Ferrell could play a few different positions at the next level (likely SAM or WDE). Ferrell told me about how he talked to Coach Manning and how the offer materialized.
Well my coach wanted me to give Coach Manning a call today so I did. He explained the situation to me and offered me. For now he said the offer could be for defensive end or linebacker depending on how I develop. Man, Coach Manning is a great dude who keeps it real. He knows how to relate because of how young he is.
Every time I talk to a recruit about Coach Manning they gush about how relatable he is and how comfortable he makes them feel. Clelin went on to give some details about what he and Coach Manning spoke about.
I learned a lot from Coach Manning about Michigan beyond just the tradition and the importance of rivalries. He just tried to teach me about this whole process and how to make it easier on myself. He also talked to me just about life in general. He was real cool to talk to.
Clelin also spoke highly of Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison as well.
I met Coach Hoke and he was a really nice guy too. He knows a lot about my position so I liked that. I haven’t been able to meet Coach Mattison yet but we definitely know who each other is.
Once I learned of the offer to Ferrell I tweeted about it and a few followers noticed his LSU background. People probably put too much emphasis on stuff like that, but I asked him about it anyway.
They aren’t my team or anything and I wouldn’t like commit if they offered. LSU is just the school I watched a lot growing up. Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery are my favorite d-line tandem to ever play college.
Ferrell told me that he will definitely visit Michigan sometime in June but he has not set a date yet. He also says that he hopes Michigan stays aggressive while recruiting him in order to stay in the mix until the end of his recruitment. As for how his recruitment will end, he had a refreshing take on how he’ll make a decision.
When I’m ready to choose, I’ll choose. I’m not going to hold out just to be on TV for signing day.
I really enjoyed talking with Clelin; he seemed very mature and composed. His film is very impressive as well. He is a raw, athletic talent at this point and with a college weight lifting program and position-specific coaches, he could become a freak of a pass-rusher. He’s lanky and explosive and moves like a Jason Taylor-type rush end. Michigan appears to be in good shape for him and if that visit happens in June the Wolverines could remain high on his list throughout.
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0" / 185 lbs. / 4.41
Location: McKinney North High School – McKinney, TX
Offers: Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Colorado State, Michigan, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, TCU, Texas Tech, Tulsa
Ranking: ★★★★ .9092 (247 Composite)
The Michigan coaches have ventured into Big 12 country and offered RB Ronald Jones II out of the Lone Star State. On film this may be one of my favorite recruits to be offered in the 2015 class. This kid is flat out electric with the ball in his hands and knows how to churn out yards despite not being the biggest back Michigan has targeted. The second I saw his highlight I thought Jamaal Charles 2.0, who coincidentally also hailed from Texas. The coaches will have to work very hard to pull Jones out of Texas but to me he would be worth the effort.
With the drama-free events of Signing Day for the Michigan coaches taken care of before lunch, the staff decided to extend an offer to Jones once the 2014 letters had rolled in. Jones explained how he learned of his offer and where Michigan ranks among his other offers.
My coach told me that he got the call from Coach Funk and then just told me you’ve been offered by Michigan. It felt good you know, Go Blue! They are definitely up there for me with the rich tradition and history they have. I definitely like them. They didn’t sign a running back today so that may make for a good opportunity for me.
The state of Texas is a factory for D1 football players and even though Michigan recruits Texas pretty heavily, the only Texan currently on the roster is Russell Bellomy. With Jones being born in Georgia and raised in Texas since he was a toddler, I asked him about how he perceives the Michigan program.
I’d call my interest right now medium or steady. I’m trying to learn a lot more about the program, I know about Denard Robinson and how he was on the cover of NCAA. I remember Mike Hart, Mario Manningham, Chad Henne, and that team. I know they got a lot of history. I know about Desmond Howard being on ESPN on Saturday’s. I actually know a lot about Michigan but it is far away and it might be an issue getting up there for like a junior day or a visit or something like that.
The lid wasn’t even on the 2014 class yet and already coaches, especially Michigan’s, were able to really focus on the 2015 class, so I asked Ronald about how he plans to approach the now current 2015 recruiting cycle.
I want to make a decision pretty early I guess. Right now I’m just focusing on getting stronger. I’m just trying to enjoy the process. I’ve already taken a junior day visit to Baylor, I’ve been to Oklahoma, and I plan on going to TCU for a camp too. Honestly I would really like to check out Michigan. I’m going to talk to my mom and try to set something up either during spring break or over the summer when I actually have the time, but yeah I really want to try and make it up there.
I try to stay neutral when it comes to expressing my interest in players due to the nature of what I do, but this kid is a big YES PLEASE. His film is beyond impressive and talking to him was no different. He was a well-spoken, humble-sounding, yes-sir type of young man. His knowledge of Michigan also caught my attention because that’s not something that recruits can usually spout off the top of their heads.
Michigan recruits aggressively in Texas, but Texans can be hard to nab because they have so many solid options within their home state and in surrounding areas. Jones, as you’d expect, grew up liking the Longhorns, has been to multiple games in Austin, and was receiving a lot of attention from UT before Mack Brown was replaced by Charlie Strong. Jones said he hopes to starting hearing from the new staff and thinks an offer could be possible.
If Jones puts enough effort into checking out Ann Arbor I’d give Michigan an outside shot at landing him, but as of right now I think he’s going to be nearly impossible to lure away from the likes of a sexy Baylor, a refreshed Texas, the now-big-time Texas A&M Aggies, a confident Bama-beater in Oklahoma, as well as hot programs like Clemson and Oklahoma State.