rundown of Michigan's riser
Update 8/26: Linked to articles on NV DE Keenan Graham, AR CB Darius Winston, IN OL Kyle Koehne, PA WR Todd Thomas (second), GA LB Devekeyan Lattimore, IN LB Jordan Barnes (blurb), NJ DE Will Hill, NC OL Travis Bond, SC DE Chris Bond.
Moved VA QB Kevin Newsome from committed.
Roundup article from ESPN with mention of MN WR Bryce McNeal, free board scouting report on the two Liberty kids, who smoked a poor opponent to open their season. More on Newsome and TX K commit Anthony Fera.
As always, some links from Varsity Blue.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
Default *#$& about quarterbacks, yes yes, but I made this prediction in June and I’m sticking with it:
IMO, a Newsome decommit will either be preceded or quickly followed by a Forcier commit.
Forcier’s coming in on Saturday for the Utah game.
Guys named Bond(s) from one of the Carolinas will feature heavily at a couple of spots Michigan has an obvious need. SC DE Chris Bonds plans on visiting and sounds like he has a top five:
Bonds said right now USC, Alabama and Southern Cal are tied for the top spot with him because he's visited each. "I still waiting to see Notre Dame and Michigan," he said before moving forward with his decision.
Tennessee is also on the table but obviously has a lot of catching up to do. Bonds is from the same school as junior Adam Patterson; the general opinion is that he’ll be a tough get but get them on campus and there’s a chance and etc etc etc.
Meanwhile, NC OL Travis Bond has one official visit set up and it’s to Michigan. He’s trying to set up some others. Some time ago a helpful reader sent this in:
I would probably slightly upgrade Travis Bond's interest in Michigan. Talked to a friend who knows his coach last night. Bond is visiting Michigan in October. He likes Michigan, South Carolina and UNC ahead of the others.
I think you listed Bond as being from VA, he is actually from Windsor, NC in Bertie County (sparsely populated place over on the Albemarle Sound). He's the second-best tackle in NC this year, behind Xavier Nixon.
There's nothing in Bertie County other than farms, marshland, a few thousand people and several billion mosquitos. But they turn out some good football talent.
South Carolina is not amongst the other teams Bond’s trying to set up visits with, but that could be a proximity issue. Often players will eschew visits to nearby schools since they can hop in a car and be there in two hours.
OH DE Cornelius “Tank” Carradine is a top-ten Ohio player at a position of crying need who claims offers from much of the Big Ten, but no one is talking about him. I just put him on the board because it wasn’t clear how much of a prospect he was or whether any of his offers were legit. FWIW:
Martin said Carradine has scholarship offers from colleges such as Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee and Miami University, but the player has remained quiet on his plans and wants to visit a few more schools.
"He's not even telling me," said Martin. "I think he has an idea - he's just not saying right now."
There are rumors of “personal issues,” which may be part of the holdup.
ESPN scouted some wide receivers, mentioning Michigan commit Bryce McNeal:
Normally Bryce McNeal (Minneapolis/Breck School) would be in the size/speed category for this piece, but he is so rail thin it negates his height. So he's in the speed category because he really does run extremely well, has a second gear and is very smooth. We are concerned about the level of competition he faces each week, but the Michigan commit will fit in very nicely in the spread and is faster than J.R. Hemingway and Darryl Stonum, two highly-regarded Michigan signees of the last two classes.
McNeal + Barwis == unstoppable lol.
Meanwhile, linebacker commit Jordan Barnes came in for some fluffery from the local paper. This has been in the whispers on premium boards for a bit:
“At the beginning of the year, he was a little underrated. But by the end of the year, a lot of the conference coaches knew who he was, and he got better and better as the season went on,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “His athleticism got better over the offseason. His dad took him to some speed and agility stuff in Florida. He did a combine down there, and at that point, things started happening for him on a national level. After that, he got a lot of notice.”
This is where the guarded optimism Barnes might acquire another star comes from. Also, like, whoops:
Jordan Barnes, a Detroit native, had always wanted to play football for Michigan. So he sent a highlight tape to the coaching staff.
But because of the change in coaching from Lloyd Carr to Rich Rodriguez, it got lost.
“I wanted to go to Michigan really badly, so I sent them another tape when things got settled down,” he said. “Then they got back to me in a week, and they told me to come up for a visit. After that, they said they would get back to me, and a couple days later, they offered.”
Possible explanation for Michigan’s early difficulties with the 2009 class right there.
You can take this scouting report on Michigan’s two commits at Liberty High from Some Guy On The Internet with as much of a grain of salt as you like, but it is further confirmation Isaiah Bell is probably an outside linebacker in college. All “Isiah” mentions are [sic]:
Isiah Bell almost killed somebody. He cut this guy off running down the sideline and knocked him headfirst into some foldout chairs and injured the guy. Bell is really big he reminds me of Prescott Burgess--which is why it seems he will play OLB for UM. Isiah played receiver and scored a TD on a quick pass out to him and he faked out the defender and scored. Isiah was the only safety and he played pretty deep in the middle of the field so he wasn't involved in too many tackles, but when they get to him he really hits hard.
Fitzgerald Touissant was awesome. He is really fast and could not be stopped in the open field. He took a checkdown pass in the flat and ended up cutting it all the way across the field for about a 50 yard score. He showed really good patience and vision especially on the stretch play which he runs very well. He is a very tough kid too it usually took multiple guys to bring him down. Bell and Touissant were back to return kicks but they squibbed it every time and I can't say that I blame them.
Overall they were both really impressive. Isiah Bell could be a big Ernest Shazor type safety but I suspect they will put him at linebacker because he could be a beast there with his size and speed and he is a big hitter.
Etc.: UCLA leads for NV DE Keenan Graham; he does say some positive things and if we get an official there’s a chance. IN OL Kyle Kohene is still waiting on offers from ND, M, and Florida. GA LB Devekeyan Lattimore seems to be favoring Oklahoma State. PA WR Todd Thomas’s rumored grade issues make the PPG.
This whole QB situation intrigues me. I think of Newsome as a "Black Tim Tebow" and I hope he can live up to that title. It seems to me that Forcier does not care about a QB situation and feels he can outshine who ever else hes going up against. I must admit but I do not know very much about Beaver but anyone who runs a 4.5 at 6'4" is not bad in my book. In an ideal world, would you rather have Newsome backed up by Forcier or Newsome backed up by Beaver? If Forcier does decide to come to Michigan, which wouldnt surprise me, would you think that they would try to convert one of three or would you expect one of them to decommit?
I don't think there's any way Michigan crams three quarterbacks into the class. If Forcier commits, someone's out the door. IMO, that would mean Newsome had decommitted first. But we can take a trip to Fantasy Fairyland, where Notre Dame has twenty straight national championships and Michigan State didn't blow a late lead against Michigan that one time, if you want. In Fantasy Fairyland, Forcier commits and the three recruits duke it out with Threet and Feagin for the starting job in 2009. Of those five players, only Forcier (shortish, smallish) and Threet (Lurch) don't project to another position. Feagin had DB/WR offers from LSU and Miami. Beaver has a WR offer from Texas. And when Newsome was going through his period of poor performance at camps, you could just feel the recruiting gurus begging for a move to linebacker.
In an ideal world Michigan would take all three and then have one transfer out in a couple years after getting beaten out, but that sounds distinctly sub-optimal for that recruit, and all of the guys looking at Michigan are extremely clear that they consider themselves quarterbacks. Beaver grew up a huge Texas fan and wanted to go there, just not as a wide reciever.
As to who I prefer between Forcier and Beaver: that's moot, IMO. Beaver's sticking and will be one of the QB recruits in this class. The choice, if there is one, is between Newsome and Forcier. I've made it clear that Newsome is my guy, no offense to Forcier and his ridiculous completion percentage.
Brian,Why is there so much concern/publicity over the lack of an experienced QB at Michigan. Just four years ago a second string QB named Chad Henne, who no one had even heard of, started for the Wolverines and went on to win the Big Ten.Aside from gameday experience (which cannot be practiced or replicated) Michigan has, at worst, a 5-star QB recruit and a 3-star "athlete" who happened to run and pass a lot in high school. To me this doesn't seem so bad.Besides, if you are overhauling and entire program like Rodriguez is, wouldn't you almost want "inexperience" at QB as opposed to deprogramming someone who would have to unlearn the old system?Does this make sense or am I just trying to see a silver lining?Thanks,LanceRichmond, VA
There was a huge difference between the quarterback situation in 2004 and the situation now. In 2004, Michigan had three top 100 players duking it out: a redshirt sophomore who was the #4 QB when he was recruited, a redshirt freshman who was the #5 QB, and a true freshman who was the #3 QB. Henne, in particular, could have gone to any school he wanted. Whoever comes out of that mess ahead has already beaten out some serious competition and is likely to be at least all right. Also, they were big tall strong pocket passers in a system for big tall strong pocket passers.
This year, Michigan has a four-star (not, unfortunately, a five-star) guy who was the #9 QB his recruiting year, a walk-on, and a three-star freshman who was mostly recruited as a defensive back or wide receiver. The one guy the recruiting services liked is a big tall strong pocket passer in a system for Pat White or Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick.
So, yeah: you're just looking for the silver lining.
I just got back from Moe Sport Shops and they have just recieved a shipment of new adidas jerseys--more #1, and now #10 and #4. Given that the athletic department decides which jersey numbers should be made, this looks like Brandon Minor will be given the first chance at running back this fall. In 2005, Nike made #3 jerseys (Grady), but they were still making #20, plus I think they started making them midway through the season after Hart was injured and Grady was carrying the ball regularly; given this it would seem that Minor will get the starter's job against Utah.
Kepp up the good work!
Just FYI, and another indicator this season is going to be a weird one: they're making jerseys for guys (#1) who don't exist.
Update 7/28: Added LA DT Dequinta Jones as a commit. Linked to articles on OH OL Marcus Hall, FL QB Eugene Smith, VA QB Kevin Newsome (another), notes on MN WR Bryce McNeal and Newsome, CA QB Tate Forcier, AR CB Darius Winston, SC DEs Chris Bonds and Sam Montgomery, NV DE Keenan Graham, TN CB Marsalis Teague, SC DE Chris Bonds, TX K Anthony Fera (Some links via VB).
Removed NC WR Jheranie Boyd (dropped us), TX OL Nick Ash (Nebraska).
Also: Jim Stefani's got some thoughts on Michigan's class to date.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
As per usual: quarterbacks. This hit the front page late last week, but it's worth repeating: VA QB Kevin Newsome said something other than "no comment" about his recruiting and it was reassuring:
"I'm committed to Michigan," Newsome said. "Me and Bryce McNeal were going around bragging how we're going to beat Randall Carroll, who's going to USC, Cierre Wood, who's going to Notre Dame. We were bragging about things like that."
Doubly reassuring was the wave of praise that followed Newsome's appearance. Newsome, of course, started the recruiting year in the top 20 players at both sites and has dropped steadily since. Josh Helmholdt's operative theory on why Newsome's performance dipped after the Army All American junior combine that got him rated a five-star player:
In January, at the U.S. Army combine in San Antonio, the 6-foot-3, 217-pound Newsome was sensational throwing the football. He showed off his strong arm and displayed exceptional accuracy while throwing a very catchable ball. The one question that lingered after his performance in San Antonio, however, was the length of his delivery.
Newsome worked on shorten his delivery about the same time he started running track for his high school this spring (Newsome won the 2008 Virginia Class AAA state title in the 110-meter hurdles for Western Branch with a time of 14.15 seconds). For a few weekends, he was able to get away from his track team to compete at two Elite 11 camp qualifiers, but the rust in his arm showed.
The adjustment period appears to be over. Rivals guy Jeremy Crabtree (same article):
"Kevin was dramatically improved from what we saw of him in our events this spring and summer," Crabtree noted. "He talked about being able to be more focused on football and not worried about track and he started working on a lot of the little things on his own.
"He just showed great work ethic and it was impressive to watch as you left the field on Sunday and he was still out there throwing balls at targets by himself. The kid wants to get better and already has gotten better. It's going to be interesting to see where he will be when he's able to get focused on football 24/7."
Meanwhile, CA QB Tate Forcier continues to narrow his focus, eliminating schools as they pick up quarterback commitments:
"I've got a solid six," Forcier said. "Right now it is Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Florida, Washington State and New Mexico."
(I've got ten bucks that says New Mexico is not the choice.) There's no leader, technically, but which school on the list has two QB commits and a seemingly impervious spot in his top five?
"That's possible, but I think I might take a few officials. It could get done within the first few weeks of the season, maybe even before," Forcier said. "I know one of my officials will definitely be Michigan. One's probably going to be a Florida one and probably Penn State."
The timing here is bad. The above article indicates that Forcier, like Newsome, plans a January enrollment at the school of his choice; this space had previously asserted that Forcier's apparent willingness to wait provided Michigan an excellent backup plan in the event of a Newsome decommit. If he's enrolling early that's off the table.
Would Michigan even take a commit from Forcier at this point? They're clearly still recruiting him. Whether that's as a precaution or as a potential third quarterback in the class is murky. I've made my position clear: no offense to Forcier, but Newsome is a linebacker-sized honor roll student, class president, and state hurdles champion who's had little if any quality coaching thus far and is transferring to a prep school, then enrolling early. He has massive upside and is working feverishly to make that upside come to fruition. He's okay with Shavodrick Beaver coming in with him, which will give Michigan at least four viable options next fall.
If I'm choosing between Newsome and Forcier with the slight possibility Newsome doesn't decommit, give me Newsome. Michigan shouldn't risk his commitment.
Oh, and: FL QB Eugene Smith had us in his top five recently, though he's backed off of the idea of a top five altogether now. Whee!
As for MN WR Bryce McNeal, The Top Gun camp giveth security and the Top Gun camp taketh it away:
McNeal says he's still "100 percent committed" to the Wolverines, but he plans to keep a close eye on how first-year coach Rich Rodriguez runs his version of the spread offense. McNeal also said he plans to take his official visits just to be sure.
"I can't wait (to see Michigan's offense)," McNeal said. "It's going to be a big deal for me. I'm 100 percent on my commitment and everything, but I'm still going to take my officials to make sure I'm certain. If they come out and just pound that ball, I'm going to have to think about some things."
Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Louisville are hypothetically on the docket. McNeal also showed well at the Top Gun camp, landing in Crabtree's top 11 players at the camp:
McNeal spent most of the camp on the sideline with a tweaked hamstring, but when he was out there Saturday and Sunday, he showed more than enough to explain why he's ranked among the nation's elite receivers. A tall and athletic prospect, McNeal - a Michigan commitment - had some of the softest hands in the camp. He also ran crisp routes. He was having a heck of a camp before the injury, and Michigan fans should be excited about his progress.
Sounds like his ranking is secure.
Kickers are about to or have actually gotten offers, depending on who you listen to. The Old Coach put out a story indicating TX K Anthony Fera had picked up a Michigan offer; there's also this kid in Florida named Brendan Gibbons. Sounds like Michigan is going to offer both and take the first one to commit, which should yield a kicker by mid-August.
Michigan is set this year with Kicking Competency Lopata returning for a final year, but after his departure they'll have only an assortment of walkons and recruited kicker Bryan Wright. Michigan's willingness to offer a scholarship kicker when he's got two years of eligibility left should tell you all you need to know about their opinion of his performance to date. Assuming Michigan picks up either Fera or Gibbons and the new guy ends up starting, Wright's unlikely to get a fifth year.
Defensive ends. With Lousiana defensive linemen DeQuinta Jones hitting the LSU camp at 305 and seemingly establishing himself a defensive tackle, Michigan needs them, and how.
It looks like you can scratch off NV DE Keenan Graham, who the LA Times reports will take an official to UCLA and that "Virginia Tech could end up being one of the only other schools that Graham visits" before he commits. SC DE Sam Montgomery is "expected to stay in state" according to ESPN, but Michigan will get an official.
More happily, SC DE Chris Bonds will set an official visit to Michigan; his other trips will be to Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, and Tennessee. He's a big fish.
AR CB Darius Winston decommitted from Arkansas a few weeks ago and named Michigan his leader. Unfortunately, he's backed off that assertion:
"I have been just quiet about everything," Winston said. "I just don't really have a top school right now. I'm just open and focusing on my season."
Despite his decommit from the Razorbacks, Winston attended the most recent Arkansas camp; he also plans stops at Ole Miss and LSU. Michigan should still get an official.
I'm not too excited about anyone from Glenville listing Michigan, but this on OH OL Marcus Hall might be worth mentioning:
For some time, Ohio State, Illinois and USC were atop Hall's list. That has changed. "Illinois, Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan, those four are all pretty even at top right now."
Ohio State was the prohibitive favorite, but with 24 commitments and a few guys in a holding pattern the Buckeyes may run out of slots; Hall may also look at the depth chart and decide to go somewhere he won't be stuck behind a couple five stars.