go go go
True story: I woke up to my phone vibrating on my desk and I immediately had no doubt that I was way late in getting to a "Hello" post. I didn't know for whom—though I had a good idea it was Wexford (PA) OL Patrick Kugler, who tweeted that Michigan "[felt] like home" after his visit yesterday—but I knew that Brady Hoke doesn't sleep and had no trouble punishing me for my slothfulness. This is where we're at with Michigan recruiting right now; I'm going to have to start patterning my sleep after a college football coach. This is totally okay as long as the 2013 class is wrapped up by the end of March.
On that note, Michigan now has its entire five-man offensive line class filled before the end of February. It is filled with four-stars. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
4* OT, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 92, #20 OT,
Four-stars across the board for Kugler, because what else did you expect? He even has an early four-star ranking from Scout, so it appears he's destined to end up on each of the four services's top-[blank] lists. Rivals is the most bullish for the moment, placing him as their #54 overall prospect, making him the team's third-best commit by their standards and the sixth in the Rivals100. Every site but Rivals lists Kugler at 6'4", 270 pounds—Rivals credits him with an extra inch and ten pounds—making him the ideal size to move inside, most likely to center.
Kugler's certainly got the bloodlines to be a dominant lineman. Scout's Bob Lichtenfels cited the Kugler family history when naming him the breakout 2013 prospect of the East last October ($):
We knew Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny offensive lineman Patrick Kugler was going to be good. His family lineage would suggest that his father Sean Kugler is the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his brother Robert Kugler is red shirting this season in his true freshman season at Purdue. The younger Kugler is better than we thought, he is dominant. I actually wouldn't hestitate to say he is the best lineman in Pennsylvania regardless of class.
Patrick did not let the resource of having an NFL offensive line coach for a father go to waste, working with his dad on technique and also being a ball boy, getting to absorb the atmosphere of an NFL training camp. Here's Kugler's self-evaluation ($):
'I just think my best thing is my physicality and run blocking definitely," he said. "I like being really physical and I'm working on my pass sets a lot. I'm working a lot on my strength and trying to get up there, get bigger and quicker."
Scout lists feet—not a surprise when working on footwork with an NFL coach—intensity, and nasty streak as Kugler's strengths, and his only listed weakness is size. While Kugler can't change being 6'4", this is actually a good thing for a center, and at 270 pounds he's got the frame to be college-ready by the time he sets foot on campus. Here is Scout's full evaluation:
Kugler is a technician and he is nasty. He finishes his blocks and always plays to the whistle. He has great feet and gets to the second level as well as anyone. Very dominant at the point of attack. he is equally adept at run blocking and pass protection. He is very cerebral and is rarely in bad position. Very good knee bend and deceptively athletic. Needs to fill out his frame more, but that will come with age and experience.
With his technical ability and feel for the game, Kugler sounds like the ideal center, though he's got the ability to play anywhere along the interior of the line and potentially even tackle—that likely won't be necessary given the recruiting haul this year and last.
So, in short, Michigan just pulled in a refined, technical lineman who knows the game, is equally skilled at pass- and run-blocking, and has the proverbial nasty streak. Oh, and his dad is the offensive line coach for the Steelers. I'd say "DO WANT," but we already got him.
Kulger had 25 offers when he pledged to Michigan, including Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Miami (FL), Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Washington, and West Virginia. [EDIT: Also Ohio State. Continue maniacal laughter.]
Offensive lineman, so no stats. He was recently named to the ESPNHS Underclass All-America team and pulled in all-state and all-conference honors as a junior. He was also first-team all-conference and all-state honorable mention as a sophomore.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 5.1-second 40 time, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five, as well as a 300-pound bench press and a 415 squat.
Kugler does not have a highlight tape available, surprisingly. I'll update this if I come across one.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Kugler is the center that Michigan has been looking for, and while he'll likely take a redshirt year to bulk up, he could compete with Jack Miller for the starting job as a redshirt freshman. [EDIT: Though with the lack of depth, he may be forced into duty as a backup as a true freshman.] Even if Miller holds off Kugler until he graduates, Kugler will likely be a two-year starter anchoring the middle of the Wolverine line; no 2012 lineman projects to center and there's literally no depth after Miller. Kugler is much higher-ranked than your average center by the recruiting services, so I'm guessing he'll be in the running for postseason accolades by the time he's an upperclassman, though that's just a guess since I clearly don't have any film to base that on.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The Wolverines are now done taking offensive linemen, having pulled in two projected tackles (Logan Tuley-Tillman and Chris Fox), two guards (Kyle Bosch and David Dawson), and Kugler, the center. They're also up to 13 total commitments for the class of 2013, and while I sound like a broken record, I'll once again state that this class should have around 20-22 players, though some recruiting analysts suggest Michigan could take up to 24. That would take a fair amount of attrition, so we'll have to see about that.
With the remaining spots, Michigan appears intent on taking two receivers (one big outside playmaker and a versatile slot, probably), another tight end, a nose tackle, a linebacker, and another corner, at the very least. That would put the Wolverines at 19 commits, and they could use their remaining scholarships on the best players available.
BONUS RIVAL SCHADENFREUDE. From the Notre Dame board IrishEnvy in their Patrick Kugler thread:
Today, 11:20 AM #20 (permalink) Raining On Your Parade
Committed to UM today.
Last edited by phork; Today at 11:23 AM..
That is all.
Today's recruiting roundup checks out Shane Morris's new highlight tape, goes over the laundry list of top prospects who took notice of last weekend's commitment extravaganza, and details Michigan's new offers and expected visitors.
What, No Punting Highlights?
Shane Morris unleashed his junior tape yesterday, and the first full minute features him... running. And hurdling a guy. I'm seriously, you guys:
Oh, there's also your standard fare of cannon-launched deep balls and precision touch passes, but SHANE MORRIS HURDLED A GUY AND HE'S TOTALLY DENARD 2.0. Also, he punts, though disappointingly that wasn't in the video:
Don’t underestimate Morris’ potential in the punting game. While a left-handed thrower, he kicks right-footed. According to De La Salle’s special teams coach, Morris averaged a shade under 40 yards a punt last season and had a 58 yarder in one game. Morris played soccer for seven years.
Next week we'll learn that Morris throws a 90-mph slider with either arm, turned down Red Berenson's overtures to be Shawn Hunwick's successor, and is the only person to defeat The World's Most Interesting Man in a game of jai-alai.
Morris, as you're well aware, is also pretty good at this whole recruiting thing—that Hoke guy isn't bad himself, I hear—and top prospects have taken notice of Michigan's dynamite start to the 2013 class. Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac is one of those prospects, though he's also trying to take his time with his decision ($, info in header):
“It’s hard not to notice (Michigan’s recruiting success), but I kind of told myself ‘don’t let that be a deciding factor,” said Isaac. “I know there are a few places that I really want to see. I know that being somewhere with a good class is a big deal, and to me it’s very important, but I didn’t really want to make a rash decision just because everyone else was doing it.”
Isaac will visit Ann Arbor on March 10th between trips to Notre Dame and USC, who appear to be the other schools in contention for the Midwest's top back, though he's yet to narrow down his list ($, info in header). One factor very much playing in Michigan's favor is their depth chart, something Isaac is keeping a close eye on, as he wants the opportunity to play early. Another top Illinois prospect, Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, is also keeping a low profile, but he's willing to say that the Wolverines are among his leaders ($, info in header):
While he claims to have no top list, Treadwell will admit Michigan is one of his leaders. After this past weekend, when Michigan picked up eight commitments, there might not be much time before he will have to make a decision, something that Treadwell says won't deter him from his timeline.
"That won't change anything for me," he said. "It's not my time yet."
One player who has flat-out stated Michigan is on top is four-star linebacker E.J. Levenberry in a free ESPN article linked by Brian yesterday. The Wolverines are also in good shape with four-star linebackers Dorian O'Daniel and Mike McCray; with Michigan likely to take just one or two at the position they should be able to get a very high-quality haul there.
247 Sports updated their Top247, and for the most part the new rankings were kind to the Wolverines, though Jake Butt took a rather perpelxing tumble. Touch the Banner provided a summary of the movement:
- Shane Morris dropped from #12 to #14
- Dymonte Thomas dropped from #35 to #40
- Chris Fox dropped from #39 to #47
- Kyle Bosch jumped from #55 to #42
- Jake Butt dropped from #70 to outside the top 247
- Taco Charlton jumped from #115 to #99
- Wyatt Shallman dropped from #149 to #187
- Jourdan Lewis dropped from #218 to outside the top 247
- David Dawson jumped from outside the top 247 to #195
My only guess as to why Butt would drop so far is that 24/7 initially evaluated him as a DE, and when he committed to a school as a TE they adjusted accordingly; I still don't know why he fell all the way out, as most first-hand accounts have him as a better offensive prospect than defensive. C'est la vie. Click that TTB link to see where all of Michigan's targets landed in the new list, which provides further confirmation that the Wolverines are offering the cream of the crop this year.
New Offers, Scheduled Visits, Visit Reactions, Etc.
Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focuses on one of the many high-profile offensive linemen to come out of Illinois in 2013, New Lenox Lincoln-Way West's Colin McGovern, who could vie for that last offensive line spot in the class:
"I spoke with Coach Funk over the weekend and (Wednesday), and he let me know there is one spot left (for an offensive lineman)," McGovern reported. "I'm just glad that I'm going to be visiting really soon there so I can sort of get a look at things and maybe compare it to schools that I've visited in the past. But I'm not looking to commit right now. I'm going to let it play out and whatever happens, happens. If they stay available that'd be nice because that's an extra choice for me. I know Michigan is a great school and a powerhouse football team, but I'm not going to rush into a decision that I might regret."
McGovern will visit on March 10th, and he's also got visits scheduled for Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and possibly Washington over the next couple months. He's not in a rush to make his decision, but he also doesn't have a set timetable; when he feels like he's ready to make a choice, he'll go ahead and do just that. He doesn't claim any favorites right now, though he says Michigan would be near the top of his list if he had one (he doesn't).
The top-ranked lineman in Illinois, Ethan Pocic, was the only Saturday visitor to not commit last week, but that doesn't mean he wasn't impressed with Michigan. Pocic released a top ten and the Wolverines are included ($, info in header). As of right now, he hasn't set up any other visits. Michigan also impressed a pair of Monday visitors in TE Jacob Matuska, who talked to Tremendous—it looks like the Wolverines will take a third TE in the class—and DT Donovan Munger, who still doesn't have a Wolverine offer ($).
Your semi-weekly list of new offers:
- Four-star Reading (MA) Wyomissing Area OLB Alex Anzalone, who told 247 he's planning March visits to both Michigan and Notre Dame ($, info in header).
- Bastrop (TX) three-star CB Antwuan Davis received his offer from Coach Funk last week ($, info in header). He hasn't set up visits but mentioned Michigan among the schools he'd like to check out.
- Upland (CA) DE/OLB Joe Mathis grabbed an offer last week and is looking at taking one of his official visits to Ann Arbor ($, info in header).
- 2014 Bishop (MD) McNamara OT/DT Damian Prince received offers from Michigan, Florida State, Iowa, and North Carolina last week, bringing his total to 11 already ($, info in header).
- 2014 Grand Rapids Christian ATH Drake Harris is primarily a basketball recruit—he's been in heavy contact with John Beilein—but he also says he's received an offer to play football for the Wolverines ($, info in header). He's the rare player who could be a legit scholarship player at two sports.
- 2014 Washington (DC) Friendship Academy CB Jalen Tabor was offered on Sunday ($, info in header). He already holds offers from schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech, and he's looking to visit Ann Arbor this summer.
As you can see, the coaching staff has been able to turn some of their focus to the sophomore class—identifying 2014's top targets—with half of the junior class already wrapped up.
There's a short list of weekend visitors after last weekend's junior day atmosphere (though it wasn't an official junior day): four-star OL Patrick Kugler, who holds an offer; Barrington (IL) OL Jack Keeler ($, not offered); Logan Tuley-Tillman (yes, again); and 2014 QB Chandler Kincade, who's an early Pitt commit.
Several other players are planning future trips to Ann Arbor. Pittsburgh (PA) TE Scott Orndoff, Wisconsin's lone commit in the class of 2013, told Tremendous that he'll take a visit to Michigan after being offered recently—further evidence that the Wolverines want a third TE in the class. PA OT Mike McGlinchey is looking to take a spring trip to check out the Wolverines ($, info in header). Erial (NJ) Timber Creek teammates DT Greg Webb and DE Dajuan Drennon might be a package deal, according to Webb, and plan on visiting Ann Arbor in the future ($, info in header).
A quick note: Despite a recent MaxPreps article saying Michigan had renewed interest in Midland OT Steven Elmer, Sam Webb has confirmed with Elmer's father that he's not interested and is solidly committed to Notre Dame. End of discussion.
Quickly: SBNation editors pick their favorite tales from the recruiting trail, and it's a hilarious read (I must agree with Andrew Sharp—Willie Williams is tough to top). MnB's Zach Travis answers questions about recruiting and the renewed fervor of the Michigan-Ohio State battles for SBNation's main recruiting page. Chantel Jennings goes over the remaining needs in the class ($). TomVH focuses in on the top remaining targets along the offensive line ($).
In case you missed the announcement on Tuesday, recruiting roundup posts are now a twice-a-week affair. Today, Josh Garnett's commitment to Stanford is discussed, as are updates on the status of the remaining 2012 targets and new offers to members of the class of 2013.
Garnett to Stanford (Sad Trombone)
As I'm sure you are well aware of if you're the type to be reading this post, blue-chip OL Josh Garnett chose Stanford over Michigan last night. Beyond losing out on a potential All-American guard, this isn't a huge blow to Michigan's recruiting class—the team is still in good shape with Jordan Diamond and Alex Kozan, for starters—but it's disappointing nonetheless. I asked the Twitter world last night if any Stanford bloggers would like a detailed commitment post, and the general response was, "LOL Stanford football bloggers?" which, like, good point.
How will Garnett's decision impact Michigan? Well, the Wolverines can still fill a spot along the interior of the line if Kozan goes blue when he announces on Sunday ($, info in header). Kozan has narrowed his choices to Michigan, Iowa, and Auburn—I've said this before, but Kozan might actually be the most important recruit left on the board, as he's the only lineman among M's commits and targets who projects to center, where the Wolverines have major depth issues. Kozan hasn't given any indication about holding a favorite, so we'll just have to wait and see who he chooses.
Jordan Diamond, meanwhile, will announce on February 3rd, and the big tackle has reportedly cut down his choices to three schools, one of which is Auburn ($), but he won't reveal the other two at the moment. It appears that Ohio State is out of the picture, and a Brian-approved insider posted on the MGoBoard yesterday that Diamond is really down to Michigan and Arkansas. His recruitment has taken so many twists and turns that I won't bother to throw out a guess.
One other O-lineman has entered the picture in Rutgers commit Chris Muller, a four-star tackle who holds a Wolverine offer. According to Rivals national analyst Mike Farrell, Muller was contacted by Michigan—along with several other schools—yesterday in the wake of the breaking news that Rutgers coach Greg Schiano had taken the head coaching job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We'll see if Muller's reported interest culminates in a visit.
Armani Reeves Update; Sam Grant Non-Update
Sam Webb caught up with Armani Reeves's godfather, Brent Williams (father of best friend and Ohio State commit Camren Williams), for a two-part interview last night. In part one ($) Williams discussed the in-home visits of Brady Hoke, Curt Mallory, and Greg Mattison—they went well—and debunked the rumor that Urban Meyer showed up late for OSU's in-home visit. He also soundly denies that Reeves and Camren Williams are a package deal, which is obviously good news for Michigan. Part two ($) has the most relevant info, as Sam asked Williams about a a possible decision date for Reeves:
Brent Williams: “Well, I’m not saying that there’s a date. I would say he’s going to have some time… a lot of time… this weekend to think it through. He has a pretty good game on Friday. After that I think he’ll have Saturday and Sunday to kind of think things through. We’ll sit down over the weekend and kind of talk about the pros and cons of both situations and go from there. We’re not doing a hat; we’re not doing a press conference. Call the coach, and tell him you’re coming… then call the other coach, and tell him you’re not. It’s pretty simple. At this point the whole mystery behind pulling hats and whatever tricks you got… we’re just not really focused on that. We’re just trying to find the right school that is going to help him going forward.”
It sounds like we're unlikely to hear about a decision until Sunday at the earliest and the process could possibly stretch into next week. Every indication is that Reeves is still undecided.
As for Michigan's other prominent target, tight end Sam Grant, he was visited at home by Brady Hoke last night, but there hasn't been any word about a possible commitment. The consensus is that Michigan leads, however, and we could hear his final decision at any time—Grant has talked about wrapping up his recruitment quickly since December, but new offers threw a wrench into those plans. Now that he's got everything laid out in front of him, I don't think we'll have to wait too long for an announcement.
Chris Wormley's Interesting Choice in Pre-Game Music
Tremendous caught up with Chris Wormley this week to talk about his recruitment as well as his pre-game ritual. The latter line of questioning is where things got interesting:
Tremendous: So before you get on the field, who are you listening to in order to get you amped up?
Chris: Usually Lil' Wayne, Drake or Adele.
Tremendous: One of those is not like the other.
Chris (laughs): I like listening to Adele. She calms me down. People laugh when I say that I listen to her.
Tremendous: How does it pump you up though? It's Adele!
Chris: With Adele, I just like listening to her because she sounds good. It doesn't really pump me up or calm me down.
Tremendous: I like Lady Gaga, Chris. It's alright.
Chris: Eh, she's a little weird for me.
Tremendous: Thanks dude.
I don't mind Adele, so I can't hate. Lady Gaga, well, I'll just leave that one alone. I'll also save you the rant about how current popular hip hop is a steaming pile of hot garbage. ANYWAYS, Tremendous also interviewed Mario Ojemudia, who's already starting the trash talk about the Michigan-MSU rivalry:
Tremendous: I asked Devin [Funchess] the same thing: What's it going to be like to play against [MSU commit and high school teammate] Aaron [Burbridge] for four years?
Mario: It would have been nice to play together, but I always figured we'd end up at different schools. It's going to be fun beating him for four years though.
Well played, Mario.
Quickly: The Detroit News profiled Ben Braden in their ongoing Blue Chip series, but it's a rehashing of the "hey, this big guy played hockey in high school" story that's already been beaten into the ground months before he's even on campus.
247Sports released their Class of 2013 All-American team, and it's littered with Michigan targets. The Wolverines have offered or shown strong interest in RB Ty Isaac, WR James Quick, WR MarQuez North, TE Adam Breneman, OL Laremy Tunsil, OL Steven Elmer (ND commit), OL Ethan Pocic, OL Jake Raulerson, DE Jonathan Allen, LB Su'a Cravens, LB E.J. Levenberry, and ATH Jalin Marshall.
Running through news on the current juniors, there are a couple of new offers to report: Wexford (PA) North Allegheny OL Patrick Kugler ($, info in header), a four-star to 24/7, and Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep WR Devon Allen ($, info in header). Michigan is offering a ton of receivers in the junior class—it's clear that getting a couple big-time playmakers at the position is a huge priority.
Quickly: Michigan also appears close to offering four-star Washington D.C. lineman Derwin Gray ($, info in header); Avon (OH) cornerback Ross Douglas will take an unofficial visit on February 3rd ($, info in header)—he believes he's close to an offer, as well; Cleveland (OH) Shaker Heights DE/DT/OT Donovan Munger is in regular contact with Greg Mattison, and he would favor Michigan and Ohio State if he was offered ($); Magnus scouts Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OL Kyle Bosch, one of Michigan's top targets along the offensive line.