"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
But first, we wrap the recruitment of Dee Hart:
Demetrius Hart Goes Blue
Still goin' "weeee!" The Orlando Sentinel covers Hart's commitment:
"They had everything that I wanted," Hart said "Academics, family and love"
"I had known a while ago," said Hart in regards to when he knew Michigan was the right school for him. "I had told the (Michigan) coaches that I was going to take it easy and weigh all my options, but I came through."
"I'm a versatile guy and they need that guy at running back who can break tackles and have speed around the edge and I think I can bring that to the table," he said.
ESPN's Corey Long talks to Hart about the commitment as well:
"The Michigan fans are such friendly people, they make you feel comfortable and calm," Hart added. "They want you to enjoy the Michigan experience and take it all in. And the coaches are the same way. They wanted us to be around the team and experience everything first hand."
For more details on Hart's abilities, check out Hello: Demetrius Hart. If he were a more NFL-sized back, he'd be a lock for 5-star status, and his lack of height won't be an issue in Michigan's system. Video of his commitment (at 3:25) along with some highlights from his game Friday:
Hart's teammate LB Darryl Monroe, a Washington State commit, plans to visit, and S Roderick Ryles plans to give Michigan a look, as does WR Chris Gallon. The ESPN article linked above points out that S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix probably isn't an option:
And there are some hoping that Hart's commitment to Michigan will have an affect on Clinton-Dix, but the running back says that his teammate is happy with his choice at Alabama and they will not pressure each other... "But we'll find out for sure in 2012, because that's when Michigan plays Alabama. I'm happy for HaHa and he's happy for me. It's all about finding the right fit for you."
Darn. And yes, that defense has 4+ D-1 prospects on it. There should be a mass visit by several Dr. Phillips guys (including Hart, 2012 QB Nick Patti, and the above listed guys) for either the Illinois or Wisconsin game.
Before getting into the upcoming weekend, let's see how a few of the visitors to last weekend's game enjoyed themselves:
VA WR Quinta Funderburke has narrowed his list to Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, and West Virginia, with the Hogs currently on top.
FL OL James Elliott enjoyed his Michigan visit ($, info in header) enough for the Wolverines to be in front for his services. He doesn't hold an offer yet, as Michigan's coaches are waiting on players like Chris Bryant and Anthony Zettel.
As for the upcoming week, Tom hath compiled the usual list of game visitors:
- DT Timmy Jernigan - 6'2", 275 lbs, 4 star, Lake City, Florida
- TE Drew Owens - 6'5", 225 lbs, 3 Star, Charlotte, North Carolina
- DB Dallas Crawford - 5'10", 185 lbs, 3 Star, Fort Myers, Florida
- WR Sammy Watkins - 6'1", 180 lbs, 4 Star, Fort Myers, Florida
- WR Hakeem Flowers - 6'2", 175 lbs, 3 Star, Greenville, South Carolina
- WR Quinta Funderburk - 6'5", 204 lbs, 3 Star, Chesapeake, Virginia
- WR AJ Jordan - 6'2", 165 lbs, 3 Star, Trotwood, Ohio
- DE Chris Wormley - 6'4", 255 lbs, Toledo, Ohio
- RB Will Mahone - 5'11", 205 lbs, Austintown, Ohio (He confirmed he will be there)
- DB Luc Haupt - 6'0", 180 lbs, Austintown, Ohio
- DB Chris Davis - 5'10", 183 lbs, Austintown, Ohio
- QB Demitrious Davis - 5'10", 183 lbs, Austintown, Ohio
The list is always changing, so be sure to click through for the latest update.
Last week's Sam Webb article in the Detroit News covered how Michigan's recruiting efforts could benefit from the national popularity of one Denard Xavier Robinson. Scout Southeast expert Chad Simmons on NC QB Marquise Williams:
I definitely don’t think his recruiting is done. After talking to him and his coaches when I was there for a couple of hours, he is still on that commitment list for North Carolina, but he is definitely reevaluating everything. He still does like North Carolina and they still are the team to beat for sure, but Michigan is up there.
Williams was yet another of Michigan's visitors for the Michigan State game, so we'll see how his recruitment turns out.
OH Slot Tyler Williams, a high school quarterback, has been hearing from the Wolverines lately:
Williams has scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Kent State, Buffalo, Ohio and Akron. He has also received strong interest from the likes of Michigan and Louisville.
If he receives an offer, it won't come until much later in the process.
SC WR Hakeem Flowers named Michigan to his final five ($, info in header), along with LSU, Oregon, UCLA and Georgia Tech.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost (at right) was recently selected to the Army All-American Bowl, and gave a brief recruiting update:
"At this point Michigan, Auburn, LSU, (UNC) Chapel Hill and Cal are really starting to stick out a little bit. These colleges are really coming at me, showing me all they can, and I'm loving it. I'm just taking it all in," he said.
Frost hasn't yet taken any official visits, but he currently plans to be in Ann Arbor for the Wolverines' game with Wisconsin the weekend of November 20.
Should Frost pick the Wolverines at the game, expect him on campus in January, as he plans to enroll early.
GA S Avery Walls will take a few more visits instead of deciding within a couple weeks. Things are still looking good for Michigan, but other schools have plenty of time to persuade him.
Though he comes from a past class (2009), CA S Byron Moore, a USC transfer, may consider Michigan.
Check out Tom's weekly update for the latest on a couple more prospects, including 5-star safety Karlos Williams.
In last week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News, Scout Midwest recruiting expert Allen Trieu ran through a number of the top prospects in Michigan and Ohio for the 2012 class,
AL LB Reggie Ragland, a top prospect in next year's class, has early interest in the Wolverines. He's already been offered by Alabama and Auburn, so he'll certainly be no easy pull.
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.
Michigan is expected to host a few official visitors this weekend, as well as a number of prospects hitting campus unofficially. Tom has a comprehensive list in the diaries, but some of the potential 2011 guys include:
- FL RB Demetrius Hart (right). Webb fluff.
- MI OL/DE Anthony Zettel
- GA S Avery Walls
- LA CB Daren Kitchen
- MI OL Commit Jake Fisher
- MI CB Commit Delonte Hollowell
- MI DE Commit Brennen Beyer
Thins are always changing, so for the latest news (as well as a working list of 2012 prospects who plan to be in attendance), make sure to visit Tom's Diary.
On UMHoops, Dylan also runs down some of the basketball visitors for this weekend, including a familiar name in Glenn Robinson III.
OH WR Darius Patton has narrowed his choices to West Virginia and Cincinnati.
NY/VA LB Antoine Pozniak has committed to South Florida. After showing initial interest in Michigan (including a visit to Ann Arbor), he seemed to fall off the map.
As expected, 2012 OH RB Warren Ball has selected Ohio State. The teammate of Chris Rock has been a Buckeye lean all along.
Another unsurprising 2012 commitment, as FL WR Avery Johnson will join his brother Patrick at LSU.
Michigan and Auburn continue to lead for NC WR/LB Kris Frost ($, info in header).
Michigan makes the top 5 for OH LB Sean Duggan.
The Pittsburgh Tribune ranks a few linebacker prospects in the area, including #1 Branden Jackson:
A 6-foot-4, 225-pound senior, Jackson is ranked as the No. 9 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com. Jackson's speed makes him a nightmare for quarterbacks and running backs. His ability to sprint into the backfield or smoothly cover potential receivers causes havoc for opposing offenses. Jackson has scholarship offers from about a dozen Division I schools, including North Carolina, Pitt and Texas Tech.
and #3 Armstead Williams:
A 6-3, 200-pound senior, Williams has the quickness and arm reach to drag down ball-carriers and bat down passes. Williams has a folder full of scholarship offers, including Maryland, Michigan and N.C. State. The Gator standout made it known he hopes to receive an offer from the Gators of Florida.
At this point, Jackson seems like a more realistic prospect for this class than Williams, but there's plenty of time remaining before February.
FL LB Gionni Paul has narrowed his list of schools ($, info in header), but that smaller group includes Michigan, which he expects to visit ($, info in header). I've added him to the recruiting board.
IL OL Chris Bryant is waiting to see how some of his favorites start the 2010 season before making a decision ($, info in header). As Tom told us a couple weeks ago, that likely means that a strong start from the Wolverines leads to a commitment from Bryant.
OH TE Frank Clark has a few favorites in mind. California and UNC lead Michigan, UCLA, Eastern Michigan, and Toledo. Michigan is definitely looking for a TE in this class, so we'll see how hard they push for Clark.
Local fluff on FL DT Timmy Jernigan. Michigan is still in his top group of schools, and he'll eventually visit Ann Arbor:
He's down to five schools — Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Michigan and LSU. And two others schools — Miami and Georgia — are getting a little interest. Jernigan said he plans to take five official visits this fall in order to get a feel for schools during game days because wants to be able to interact with players in their natural environment.
He won't be making a decision anytime soon though:
Jernigan said he doesn't plan to make a decision until after his senior season and if not on National Signing Day, then very close to it. He claims to not have a leader, but admits that since eighth or ninth grade, Florida and FSU have jumped out "head first" for him.
We're all familiar with how well Michigan's coaching staff does with prospects (and especially parents) when they come on campus, so they should get a chance to sway Jernigan.
This also applies to 2011, but Josh Helmholdt's recruiting column is more applicable to next year's recruiting class. Some schools are confused about the idiotic new NCAA rule that prohibits 2012 prospects from getting official offers until next fall.
MI WR Efe Scott-Emuakpor visited Michigan this summer, but it sounds like the East Lansing native is more focused on his hometown Spartans.
Sylvania Southview isn't just the home of OH S Allen Gant, but he has a couple teammates who are generating D-1 interest as well.
Tom Lemming's Second Season blog for the Chicago Sun-Times runs down some of Illinois's top junior prospects.
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.
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.
With camps and unofficial visits in full swing, news is coming in fast and furious. Check out the all-time updates on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
KY LB Lamar Dawson (at right) plans to visit Michigan this summer, he told ThaRinger.com:
Dawson has a few visits scheduled this summer and will also showcase his skills on the national stage in July. “I’m just going to visit a couple places. I’m gonna go to Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois and I might go to Arkansas. I got invited to this Gridiron Kings by ESPN. That’s in July, it’s a 7-on-7 camp.”
Michigan is currently outside his top four, which consists of Kentucky, USC, Louisville, and Florida. However, the Wolverines have a chance to make up ground when he hits campus. Box of M.E.S.S. also talked to Dawson, and he's not down on Michigan for the subpar record the past couple years:
Michigan was overall 5-7-0 and 1-7-0 in their conference, could last years record affect your decision or will you give them an opportunity no matter what?
Dawson: I’m going to give them a chance because they have the most wins in NCAA history so they know how to win all they need is the right players to do it.
Vaught's Views also provides some recruiting fluff on Dawson, mostly related to Kentucky's attempts to keep him in-state.
VA LB Curtis Grant plans to visit Michigan in August. He also gives Tom a brief rundown of his game:
"I'm going to try to work on everything as a player. One of my strengths is being able to read and attack. I also think I need to be the leader on the field. I call the plays, and keep the team motivated, so that's important. I really see myself as that kind of player at the next level, too. I like being the leader," he told me.
He's a highly-regarded prospect, and a visit is a good sign.
OH LB Sean Duggan visited Ann Arbor recently, and he came away enthused, as he tells Tom. Michigan is now in his top 3.
Michigan makes the top 5 of VA LB/DE Corey Marshall, but Tennessee and Virginia Tech seem to have the edge.
PA LB Armstead Williams holds a Michigan offer and plans to visit at the end of this month.
There Shall Be Only One (Quarterback)
It seems as though this is starting to become a weekly feature, at least until Michigan lands their quarterback in the class of 2011. With only one spot available at the position, and very few offers out, it's worth keeping an eye on.
A couple shakeups in the past week then, as we bid Happy Trails to FL QB Jerrard Randall, who has committed to Oregon. No word on whether teammates and fellow Michigan offerees FL S Jonathan Aiken and FL WR Curt Evans are likely to follow.
I was going to write a long segment about how Randall's commitment could have a positive effect on Michigan's recruitment of AZ QB Brett Hundley—who had been favoring the Ducks—but he eliminated Michigan yesterday.
VA QB Marquise Williams has accelerated his decision timetable ($, info in header). Since he won't get the chance to visit Michigan before that commitment, it looks like the Wolverines may be on the outside looking in.
So where are we now? OH QB Cardale Jones is the only quarterback prospect still out there who is holding an offer. This makes it much more likely that FL QB Kevin Sousa (seen at right) eventually lands that coveted letter from Rich Rodriguez. In fact, I suspect the coaching staff may be holding off because they think he'd immediately jump on it, leaving them out of luck with the prospects they like a little more. He continues to rack up mid-level offers, and Colorado State is the latest. His skill set sounds very good for Michigan's system. Though he's a project, Michigan has time to let him develop behind Forcier, Robinson, and Gardner.
Additional Happy Trails-ing.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story, who had previously seemed pretty enthusiastic about Michigan, has eliminated the Wolverines in his most recent cut.
SC WR Charone Peake committed to Clemson.
Happy Trails to NJ OL Shane Mertz, who committed to Northwestern.
Happy Trails, WI DT Donte Phillips. Committed to Indiana. He was squarely in the "sad josh" category, so his coming off the board is not a big negative.
Happy Trails, FL S Jabari Gorman. He has narrowed his list to a final three: Alabama, Miami, and Ohio State ($, info in header).
OH WR Devin Smith recently picked up an Ohio State offer, so we could be bidding him adieu soon. For now, he remains on the board.
New Offers, Enthusiastic Recruits
OH DE/DT/OL Jack Miller visited Michigan a couple days ago, and managed to head out of Ann Arbor with an offer in hand ($, info in header). Michigan likes him on offensive line, which is where I'd had him projected on the recruiting board. His offer list is actually much more impressive than you'd expect, given his rankings:
Miller estimates his scholarship offer total to stand at between 20 and 25. His list includes Michigan State, Boston College, Illinois, Northwestern, Pitt, North Carolina, West Virginia, Stanford, Louisville and Syracuse.
Big East and ACC aren't exactly SEC, Big... uh... 10 or Pac... 11, but significantly more impressive than MAC. Jamie Mac of Just Cover turned me on to Miller a while back, including some Toledo INSIDERZ information:
I am sure you are on top of things, but the Toledo grapevine is buzzing that Jake Miller, a OT/DE recruit from Toledo St John's will be getting a Michigan offer pretty much any day now. He'll probably get an OSU offer shortly thereafter.
I have no idea if he's leaning in any direction, but he [has said] that a Michigan offer would be a game changer for him in the recruiting process.
Should we be on commitment watch? Tom also interviewed Miller:
JACK: [I]t's safe to say that Michigan and Boston College are my top two... I have the offers I want, so it's time to decide. I'm really going to thin it out this week, and I'll hopefully have the decision made by the end of the week.
Commitment watch indeed. Miller should either be a Wolverine or an Eagle by the end of the week. There's also more in Tom's post about his connection to another Wolverine target from Ohio.
In other "Recently Offered and Michigan Probably Holds a Healthy Lead" news, MI LB Ed Davis heard the good news from Rich Rodriguez over the weekend ($, info in header), and he has Michigan atop his list. He may not commit immediately, but conventional wisdom has him joining the Maize and Blue. He was one of the more impressive prospects at the Michigan Football Showcase.
[Ed: Davis attends Detroit Southeastern, a school that Michigan has had extreme difficulty recruiting of late. With the departure of Archie Collins to be a Michigan State video coordinator, Southeastern looks like it will be friendlier in the future.]
Michigan has offered IN OL Nick Martin ($, info in header).
Chris Rock (Still) Goes Blue
The Columbus media has finally gotten around to covering OH DE Chris Rock's commitment to Michigan:
"Chris is excited," Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins said. "He ended up with 20-plus BCS offers and he just felt very comfortable with Michigan. We have a player there and our football community is pretty tight-knit, so I think Patrick helped recruit him there."
Wiggins also talked briefly about what Chris brings to the team:
Rock has impressed as a defensive end and a tight end in his time at DeSales but may bulk up to the point where he could see time on the interior of the D-line at the collegiate level.
"I think he's a versatile enough kid that he can do a lot of things," Wiggins explained. "That's one of the reasons he's so good. I think the question will be how much bigger he'll get. That'll be up to the guys at the next level." ...
"He's big and he's very athletic for his size," Wiggins said of the 6-foot-5 Rock. "That's the biggest thing. I think he's a fast learner, too. He plays fundamentally sound and he's coachable."
If Rock is healthy this season, he could rocket up the rankings.
The recruitment of FL RB Demetrius Hart takes another turn, as he now plans to wait until January to make a commitment.
A couple different sources evaluate FL WR Curt "Spiffy" Evans. First, the Miami Herald:
From the first time he handled the ball at the youth football level at Northeast Hollywood, there was little doubt that this was going to be a future standout on the gridiron.
Speed, athletic ability and a knack of reading defenses has provided this quality football player an opportunity to get noticed.
After starting his career at Hollywood South Broward, his decision to attend Chaminade-Madonna has worked out as college coaches have had the chance to watch him catch balls and lead the team on offense, and now as he heads toward his final year, look for him to play defensive back and fill a void at running back.
...and newly-formed Minnesota blog I'm In Love With A Fringe Bowl Team:
Curt can make cuts on a dime and showcases outstanding body control to not only make difficult catches in traffic, diving and stretching for poorly thrown balls, but he also makes lethal jump cuts that make him a nightmare to bring down in the open field...
In route running, Evans closes the gap on the zone defender quickly and makes a fast, fluid break to get open. Gets up the seam in a hurry and makes the tough over-the-shoulder catch look easy.
As noted above, his teammate Jerrard Randall committed to Oregon, so the package deal is off the table. He won't be at Michigan's camp, but hopes to visit at some point this summer.
MI WR Jermal Hosley, a prospect at the slot position has received his first offer, from Ball State (free on Scout). He's hoping to re-schedule a camp visit to Michigan.
IL OL Rafe Kiely attended Michigan's Elite Camp, and followed it up with an impressive performance at a Chicago Under Armour Combine:
"I thought I did extremely well at Michigan and that carried over today," said Kiely, who carries a 4.2 GPA. "There's a lot of competition out there for scholarships and I'm looking to prove myself worthy this summer by attending the camps and combines."
"I really liked Rafe Kiely," [Under Armour O-line Coach Mike] Barry said. "He's got what it takes to be a solid guard at the D-I level. Rafe moves well, he competes his tail off and he's extremely coachable."
He hasn't been offered yet, but keep an eye out for him.
IL DE James Adeyanju holds a Michigan offer, but he currently favors Illinois, Arizona, Boston College, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett finally got the Penn State offer he was waiting for, but that doesn't mean he's going to commit to the Nittany Lions any time soon:
There won't a be rush to make a decision. Jarrett plans on taking his allotment of five official visits and going from there.
"I've been hearing a lot of people who are very protective, a lot of guidance, saying commit before the season," Jarrett said. "I do want to take my officials though out of the top five that I have by then and honestly I'm just going to pray on it. Hopefully whatever happens happens and I get my answer."
I get the strong vibe that whatever happens will indeed happen, so Jarrett will get his wish.
Tom interviewed MD ATH Brandon Phelps:
TOM: You said most schools are recruiting you for defense. Which schools are recruiting you the hardest right now?
BRANDON: Probably UCLA, Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, and Penn State...
TOM: Where does Michigan fit into that? Are they getting a visit?
BRANDON: Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to try to get up there; they're on my list. Growing up I really liked Braylon Edwards, and I watched them on TV, so I've been following ever since. My coach said the Big House is unbelievable, because he's been there for a game. He told me that whenever I visit, he's coming with me.
Michigan is looking at Phelps as a safety or slot receiver.
For updates on NC LB Kris Frost (camping this weekend), FL OL James Elliott, and FL Slot Prince Holloway, check out Tom's Monday update. If you want a full list of visitors to this weekend's camp, Tom has that covered as well.
One 2012 note: keep an eye on MI OL Kevin Darcy. The teammate of Wolverine freshman Austin White impressed at a Chicago combine.
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 is your place for all-time updates. One important note before we get into individual prospects. Coach Rodriguez recently said the coaching staff will narrow its focus from about 150 offered prospects to "around 70" players. This may make me a little more comfortable removing guys that are less-discussed. The Michigan Elite Camp is this weekend, so that will provide a little clarity as well.
Chris Rock Goes Blue
Michigan gained a commitment from OH DE Chris Rock over the weekend (not the comedian). Unsurprisingly, the local papers in Columbus didn't pick up on the story, but Magnus breaks down his game on Touch the Banner:
To be honest, I'm not enamored with Rock. A large part of that is due to the fact that his highlight film is full of offensive linemen completely forgetting to block him. I find it difficult to get excited about a player who accrues a bunch of sacks while barreling unimpeded into the offensive backfield...
My biggest issue with Rock is that he stands straight up on the snap. He's able to push around weaker players when playing so high, but if he tried to push around a 310 lb. Big Ten tackle like that, Rock would get tossed around like a rag doll. He doesn't use his hands well to shed blocks, and he also finds himself losing contain a little too frequently. He has decent speed for a 250-pounder, so he can make up for his poor fundamentals at times. But some of his habits are less than ideal.
For more on Rock, read the Hello: Chris Rock post.
We transition from good news right into stuff not so positive, as a few prospects are coming off the board:
- AR QB Kiehl Frazier. He officially narrowed his list to Arkansas and Auburn last week, and then Black Righty Tebow committed to Auburn.
- OH QB Braxton Miller. He will choose between OSU (the likely destination), Florida, Notre Dame, and Alabama tomorrow.
- SC OL Brandon Shell. He's named a final 5 consisting entirely of Southern schools.
- FL CB Nick Waisome. He named a top 7 without Michigan in it.
Assume The Position: Wide Receiver
I did one of these a few weeks ago (for tight end), and with the amount of information available this week, it's time to take a closer look at the wide receiver position.
Michigan currently has one wide receiver commit, in Shawn Conway out of Birmingham Seaholm High School. Conway is a big outside leaper with great hands, in the mold of Braylon Edwards (though likely not as good, he probably won't have a case of the dropsies on easy balls, either). With the numbers of offers and visits taking place, it's clear that the Wolverines want one more outside guy, and maybe a slot receiver if they can find an elite one.
Fortunately for us, Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News focused on on the wideout position last week, and ran down a few of the Wolverines' top targets. I don't intend to steal Sam's thunder by blockquoting too much of his article, but since the News evilly (and idiotically - good luck finding people to pay for it) puts its articles behind a paywall after a week, I'll be a little more liberal. Please click through to make up for it.
Sammy Watkins (at right):
"Sammy Watkins is the total package as a WR prospect," said Scout.com Florida analyst Geoff Vogt. "He can flat run, has incredibly light feet which allows him to make players miss in the open field, and a body to be that prototype 6-3, 215-pounder down the road.
"I have watched him snare balls thrown as bullets down the middle of the field and he will just leisurely catch them with one hand. He has elite hands. He runs very clean routes and understands how to get separation.
"While I view him as a WR prospect, Sammy could easily be a big-time safety if he chose to go that route."
Michigan, Miami (YTM), and Florida are his top 3. DeAnthony Arnett:
The second-rated prospect in the state dominated opponents in seven-on-seven competitions throughout the winter and spring thanks to his precise route-running and impressive quickness.
"It seems like every camp DeAnthony goes to, he kills it," said Scout.com Midwest analyst Allen Trieu. "He continued to impress with his route-running, hands, and ball skills at the Michigan Football Showcase. He made the play of the tournament when he went up between two defenders and made an outstanding catch to win a game. Arnett continues to move up in our eyes and has proven to be one of the very best in country."
If Michigan has a good season, the Wolverines will probably get back into the mix for Arnett. Theyr'e currently on the outside looking in. AJ Jordan:
"One of the top players in Ohio in his class," his Scout.com profile reads. "Also ranked one of the top 4 hurdlers in the nation. A smooth route runner with a great burst, he can make plays anywhere on the field and makes defenses game-plan against him."
On the recruiting roundup, Sam said Michigan is "definitely in the driver's seat" for Jordan. He'll decide earlier than the other two guys. Those are the three hottest prospects from a Michigan perspective, but there are a few more on the radar should all of these fall through. Michigan also has its eye on a few sot receivers, including NJ ATH Miles Shuler - though Northwestern leads ($, info in header - and MD ATH Darius Jennings.
Scout has had their 2011 prospects rankings out for a while, but the other two sites are slowly-but-surely releasing theirs. Both ESPN and Rivals now have the top recruits ranked, with neither site having any Michigan commits in their top group, but a number of Michigan targets. Some of those are longshots - FL DT Timmy Jernigan, who lists Michigan in his top 6, would still surprise everyone if he left the state of Florida - but many are realistic options. Magnus has a breakdown of Rivals's list. Top 100 lists were also released by the Sporting News and Tom Lemming.
Recruiting Quick Hits
You may remember that NC QB Marquise Williams recently named Michigan among his top three schools, before trimming his list to a final five. He's now made his decision timeline public, as he plans to commit to a school in October ($, info in header). He'll visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan State game on October 9th, so the Wolverines will be fresh in his mind when he makes a decision. I'll go into a little more depth on the QB recruiting situation next week.
Yay Demetrius and all that.
According to Cincinnati recruiting guru Mike Dyer, OH TE Benson Browne plans to visit Michigan this summer. My educated guess will be that he's coming in for camp to try for an offer. He currently holds them from West Virginia, Kansas, Louisville, Minnesota, Miami (Not That Miami) and Central Michigan.
Despite recently receiving a Michigan offer, OH TE Nick Vannett does not have UM in his top group. He's going to start taking trips soon, and wants to have a decision made by July.
FL OL Tony Posada will visit Michigan this summer ($, info in header). He also spoke to ESPN last week (video), mentioning Michigan first, and in his "big ones" category. He claims to be open at this time.
Though their class is starting to fill up, the Buckeyes will hold a spot open for IN DT/OL Joel Hale ($, info in header). It's unclear if Michigan is a player in his recruitment.
MGoBoard's very own Magnus breaks down the game of MD DT Vincent Croce on Touch The Banner:
Strengths: Listed at 5.17 but seemingly plays faster. Ability to chase some players from sideline to sideline. Relentless pass rusher. Very aggressive tackler. Strong upper body. Uses hands well to deliver good initial shock and shed blockers. Good initial surge off the line. Relatively lean frame
Weaknesses: Not a natural knee bender. Stands too high. May get overpowered by strong run-blocking guards. Played significant time at linebacker, which may stunt growth as defensive lineman.
Projection: Could be a solid rotation player as early as second year in program
His weaknesses are mostly technique-based, which could be worked on with college coaching. I also think playing DT only part-time may have led to some of that, and playing LB in high school actually means he has more upside than is shown on film.
GA DT Gabe Wright might officially visit Michigan:
“I’ll probably take all of my unofficial visits to schools that I can drive to and my officials to schools far away,” he says. “I will probably take official visits to schools like Miami, Michigan and maybe USC or UCLA. Also, I might visit Oregon State. It will be late before I make my decision.”
Taking an official would be a good sign for Michigan's chances to land him.
PA LB/DE Desimon Green will officially visit Michigan State, Texas Tech and Pitt, along with a couple other schools to be named later. He gave a slightly different top schools list to Tom, and is expecting a Michigan offer later this week.
TX LB Kellen Jones has picked up a Michigan offer, and called it "a dream come true" ($, info in header). THat sounds very promising should the Wolverines press him for a commitment.
Tom talked to OH LB Sean Duggan, who has Michigan in his top 5. However, it sounds like Notre Dame is a heavy favorite as long as they don't wait too long to offer. The Spartans offered him a couple days ago.
GA CB Avery Walls plans to visit Michigan at some point ($, info in header).
Tom also has (positive) updates on VA LB Corey Marshall, FL DE Giorgio Newberry, and NC LB Kris Frost, among others. Check out his post for the full info.
Michigan Sports Zone talked with NJ CB/RB Solomon Simpkins, and he mentioned that he has early interest in Michigan.