I GIVE UP ON HATING WISCONSIN
Today's recruiting roundup is short on length but long on top-two overall prospects with heavy interest in Michigan. That works for me. If you're looking for more on the Drake Harris commitment, click here for the Hello post.
Heavy Leanin' (No Purple Stuff, Though)
Many thanks to the board for posting the latest on five-star NJ CB Jabrill Peppers, as I can no longer stand to follow Mike Farrell's Twitter interactions with his "haters" in order to see the occasional nugget of Michigan-related info. Sometimes, though, you pan through the gravel and come up with this:
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) April 15, 2013
This would be good news no matter what, but the timing in this case is particularly promising: in the last two weeks, Peppers has visited Michigan, Ohio State, and LSU. Stanford is still a major player in Peppers' recruitment, and right now it looks like this will come down to whether his summer visit to the Cardinal lives up to his time in Ann Arbor. 247 just unveiled a (very impressive) overhaul to their database*—player pages now include updated expert predictions on where a player will commit, and all six of the 247 experts familiar with Peppers' recruitment have him pegged for Ann Arbor.
Farrell's info on #1 overall recruit VA DL Da'Shawn Hand seems a little less concrete, but nevertheless is good news for the Wolverines:
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) April 15, 2013
Virginia Tech has long been the presumed leader for Hand—they're his home-state school and he has a very strong relationship with Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster. 247's experts, FWIW, are split 75-25 between VT and U-M as Hand's eventual destination. In my non-insider opinion, I think Michigan has a very good chance to close that gap; Hand is very familiar with VT but is still learning about Michigan, and he'll be back in Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game and perhaps once more before making a decision. Being in the mix for other five-star prospects certainly doesn't hurt, either.
Because the above certainly won't cause enough over-excitedness, 247's experts are 7-for-7 in picking MI DE Malik McDowell to Michigan. Please remember that it's still early. You still have permission to feel very, very good about Brady Hoke's recruiting prowess, though.
[Hit THE JUMP for Spring Game visit reactions and more.]
Today's recruiting roundup discusses a shift in the 2013 team rankings, Dymonte Thomas's 7-on-7 performance, the latest on Jordan Wilkins and Kendall Fuller, and more.
Consensus No More
Last week's recruiting mailbag addressed the possibility that USC could pass Michigan for the top spot in the team recruiting rankings; this week that came to pass on Rivals—and 247, which already had Alabama ahead of the Wolverines—following Jalen Ramsey's commitment to the Trojans. Because this stuff matters, man, Rivals lays out the scenario in which Michigan can reclaim the first position; if the Wolverines land a top-75 overall commit (to take a completely random example, Laquon Treadwell), they'll pass USC barring any other movement in the rankings or future commitments, and since it's July that totally won't... oh, wait. This is really stupid.
Of much greater use is Tim Sullivan's breakdown of the Wolverine commits who could rise in the rankings: Shane Morris, Jourdan Lewis, Patrick Kugler, Csont'e York, and Gareon Conley are all mentioned as potential risers for various reasons spanning from proximity to the next ratings level (Morris, Lewis, and Kugler), camp performances (Lewis, again), and sleeper status (York and Conley).
If you're basing your recruiting service preference on their ranking of Michigan, both ESPN and Scout still have the Wolverines on top, though in ESPN's case that's likely due to their lack of continual updates. Viva Scout, I guess.
The Forgotten Five-Star
Oh yeah, that guy.
Whether it's due to his early commitment or relatively quiet summer on the camp circuit, Dymonte Thomas seems to be the forgotten marquee player in Michigan's 2013 class. Last weekend, however, he appeared in the NFL High School Player Development 7-on-7 tournament, and Steve Wiltfong reports that he lived up to his blue-chip billing:
Playing safety for the Browns was Michigan commit Dymonte Thomas, who was as good as advertised. A good looking prospect on the hoof, the nation's No. 7 safety glides around the secondary, eating up turf to make deflections on throws to the other side of the field. On one particular play Thomas ran right, only to change direction when he saw the play was going the other way to get a pass breakup on a throw to the left side of the field.
Khalid Hill also participated with the Detroit Lions team and was mentioned as one of 2014 MN QB Ricardo Johnson's favorite targets. I'm getting the distinct impression, based on this summer's events, that Michigan could compete for the NCAA 7-on-7 title if that ever becomes a thing, which I guess means we have a contingency plan if concussions destroy the game of football as we know it (always looking on the bright side, I am).
2013 Options: Waning
While Michigan should have little trouble filling the last two spots in the 2013 class, the list of obvious candidates for those spots continues to shrink. TN RB Jordan Wilkins will announce his decision tomorrow morning, and according to Wilkins himself that choice will come down to Auburn (the favorite), Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. That leaves VA RB Derrick Green—who is slated to visit for the BBQ at the Big House—as Michigan's lone running back target.
Five-star MD CB Kendall Fuller has kept Michigan in his top three for a while now, but an interview with Mike Farrell indicated that they're on the outside looking in ($):
"If I am ready to announce in August then I would say it's a two-team race between Virginia Tech and Clemson," he said. "That's kind of where it is now, I wanted to visit Virginia Tech and Clemson back-to-back to compare them and see if I got a feeling one way or the other. If I decide to wait and decide at the U.S. Army All American Bowl then I will take official visits and Michigan will be one of them. Right now I don't know."
Don't hold your breath for that visit.
We can officially say "happy trails" to MD WR Paul Harris, who rather surprisingly chose Tennessee over USC($), the school long considered to be his favorite. Treadwell remains the clear leader to fill that last wide receiver spot, though Michigan did recently send out an offer($) to three-star NJ ATH Kyle LaPorte, who says he'd like to visit Ann Arbor in August. Unless things move very quickly on that front, however, it's still all about Treadwell.
For what it's worth, Cass Tech DT and Illinois commit Kenton Gibbs says he's still interested in Michigan($) and may attend the BBQ. If he's going to earn an offer, I'd expect he gets it much closer to signing day, as the staff looked at him during Michigan's camp and didn't extend one then; he'll have to step up his performance during his senior season.
Indecisive Joe Mathis Quote Of The Week
We haven't checked in with CA DE Joe Mathis in a while. Mathis, of course, was a one-time Washington commit who's named USC, Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington (again) as his leader at various points in time. Has he shed his fickle ways? It doesn't appear so [emphasis mine]:
When InsideTheU.com last checked in with Upland (Calif.) defensive end Joe Mathis, he was pretty sure that he wanted out of California.
Now that Mathis (6-4, 250) has had a little more time to think things over, he has softened his stance on that issue.
“It changed but then again it didn’t, I’m like fifty-fifty on that,” Mathis said. “I want to get out of state but USC, UCLA, or Cal could still be the best place for me. I’m not trying to shut myself off from those schools.”
Michigan, FWIW, is not mentioned in the article. We will now return to your regularly scheduled ignoring of pretty much everything he says until signing day.
Despite most of the coaches taking a vacation—how dare they, right?—Michigan hosted OH WR Derek Kief for a visit over the weekend. Tremendous has his reaction, as well as notes from a radio interview pertaining to the visit; Kief's expectations were low due to a childhood love for Ohio State, but he said Michigan "had everything I was looking for."
Several top 2014 prospects will make their way to campus in the coming weeks, including mammoth GA OT Orlando Brown Jr., who will visit this weekend after rescheduling from last week ($). Four-star FL OL K.C. McDermott will hit Ann Arbor on the 27th during a Midwest swing($), while MD CB Troy Vincent Jr. [LINK, $] and IL OL Jamarco Jones [LINK, $] plan to attend the BBQ.
Today's recruiting roundup takes a look at who is—and just as importantly, who isn't—going to be on campus this weekend. Also discusses: new offers in both the '13 and '14 classes, expected future visitors, and a couple of TEs coming off the board.
All week, there have been strong indications from wide-ranging sources that this weekend would bring in at least one commit for the Wolverines, and the picture is beginning to clear up a bit. First, let's go over the weekend visitors:
- Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac—offered, top RB on the board.
- Massillon (OH) Washington CB Gareon Conley—offered, Michigan leads, and though he denies being ready to commit, rumors are still flying ($, info in header).
- Damascus (MD) WR Zach Bradshaw—offered.
- New Lenox (IL) Lincoln-Way West OL Colin McGovern—offered, but aware Michigan is full at O-line. Is visiting anyway, because this is Michigan, fergodsakes.
- Washington (DC) Gonzaga CB Devin Butler—offered, told GBW he "wouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger early," if he's comfortable with a particular school ($). [EDIT: Butler is visiting later this month, not this weekend. My bad, y'all.]
- Cincinnati (OH) LaSalle CB Jaleel Hytchye—not offered, though that reportedly will be discussed when he's on campus; if he gets one, he says Michigan will shoot to the top of his list ($).
- Novi (MI) Detroit Catholic Central DE Dylan Roney (2014)—sophomore teammate of Matt Godin and Wyatt Shallman. Will be interesting to see if he gets an offer this early in the process.
That's quite an interesting group, especially at cornerback, and the intrigue deepens with Isaac when paired with the knowledge that (1) Shane Morris will be on campus, undoubtedly putting on the full-court press, and (2) Warren (OH) Howland RB DeVeon Smith is visiting on March 17th, and there have been multiple indications that he's strongly considering a commitment. We'll see if that latter bit of news affects Isaac's timetable—there is no timetable—and if Smith commits, whether the coaches would be comfortable potentially taking both players. With Wyatt Shallman's ability to play DE, I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
Perhaps bigger news than the list of who's on the visitor list is who's not on the visitor list. The coaches seem very confident that Ben Gedeon will be blue in the near future, as they turned away four-star linebackers Alex Anzalone and Shane Jones, both of whom were planning weekend visits before being told the position group is full. Gedeon visited last weekend and is mulling over his decision. He may not be mulling for much longer. (Note, to head off the inevitable question: I don't believe this changes the situation with E.J. Levenberry at all. The coaches have maintained they'll take two linebackers and reserve an extra spot for him as one of the top overall prospects on the board.)
One player deciding this weekend who probably won't be choosing Michigan is Rancho Cucamonga (CA) CB Chris Hawkins, who hasn't visited Ann Arbor and will decide on Saturday between the Wolverines, Stanford (the prohibitive favorite), Cal, UCLA, Oklahoma and Notre Dame ($).
Offers, Future Visits, Etc.
Michigan put out a few offers recently, including one to the massive son of a former NFL offensive lineman:
- Mesquite (TX) West Mesquite four-star WR Eldridge Massington received offers from Michigan and Notre Dame this past week ($, info in header). He had planned on making a spring decision, but he now wants to visit Ann Arbor and is pushing back his timetable to accomodate that. Interest is high.
- 2014 Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell added the Wolverines to his offer list—now at two, along with Syracuse. McDowell is already 6'5", 260 pounds as a sophomore and came away with top honors from the recent Elite Big Man Camp.
- 2014 Suwanee (GA) Peachtree Ridge OL Orlando "Zeus" Brown, son of the late NFL offensive lineman Orlando Brown, picked up a Michigan offer on Tuesday. He is, in a word, titanic: Rivals's Keith Neibuhr said he's 6'10", 360 lbs., while Scout weighed in with the utterly conservative figures of 6'7", 340. Brown already holds nine offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, and USC.
Sam Webb's latest at the Detroit News is on Murrieta (CA) Vista Murrieta five-star LB/S/RB Su'a Cravens, who reiterated that he will take one of his official visits to Michigan. He also gave an idea about his current timetable:
"I'm going to take my time," he continued. "I don't know if I'm going to do the hat thing like most guys do in those February games, but I know I'm going to commit my senior year. I'm not going to commit too early so I don't have second thoughts about where I want to go. I'm a man of my word, so once I commit somewhere I'm going to stick to it. Before I do, I'm going to be sure of it, so it'll probably be my senior year."
Distance, he says, will not be a factor, which is obviously good news for Michigan fans. Cravens's cousin, Upland (CA) four-star DE Joe Mathis, told Tremendous that he'll also take an official to Ann Arbor, and he'll take it at the same time as Cravens. Talented family, that.
Other players interested in visiting: Vienna (GA) Dooly County five-star DT Montravius Adams, one of the top overall prospects in the country ($, info in header). Akron (OH) Firestone WR Kevin Gladney, who's looking to visit in April and told ESPN that Michigan holds a slight edge in his recruitment ($, info in header). Richmond (VA) Hermitage RB Derrick Green wants to visit Ann Arbor on the 18th of this month ($); we'll see if those plans change depending on what happens with Isaac and Smith, since Green is planning a signing day decision. Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas DE Joey Bosa, one of the top DEs in the country, told 11W's Alex Gleitman that he's looking to visit Michigan this spring.
Happy trails to a pair of tight ends in Jacob Matuska, who committed to Notre Dame as a DE, and Durham Smythe, who pledged to his home-state Texas Longhorns. Top-ranked TE Adam Brenemen makes his decision tonight and seems almost certain to head to Penn State, so you can mentally remove him from the board, as well. Assuming (safely) that Breneman goes elsewhere, Michigan has just two offers out to uncommitted TEs in New Orleans (LA) Edna Carr's Standish Dobard and Pittsburgh (PA) Seton La Salle's Scott Orndoff. Dobard seems like a long-shot to pull out of SEC country, but Orndoff has expressed strong interest.
Quickly: TTB runs down the new Scout 300 for 2013. Chantel Jennings goes over Michigan's D-line options ($). The DetNews tracks down an "NCAA expert" to tell us what we already knew: the Roundtree/Demens/McCray Twitter thing is a non-issue—I honestly only linked because of the picture.