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 ($, info in header) after hitting campus for the Wolverines' Elite Camp over the weekend.
Note: In an effort to remove the enormous and uninviting block of text from the top of the recruiting posts, I've excised the recruiting board update from the post itself. It can still be seen on the actual board.
Elsewhere in Committed Prospects...
OH CB Commit Courtney Avery is already known as a multi-talented player: On top of being a defensive back, he's also a startlingly accurate quarterback for his Lexington team. Add a new segment to the resume, as he's also a very accomplished hoopster.
Avery, who originally planned to play football and basketball for Stanford, will focus solely on football at Michigan. Did another national championship leave him second-guessing the decision?
"I'm going to miss basketball, but I'm comfortable with the decision I've made," he said. "This was just a chance to go out and play one final time.
"We started a dynasty together and we wanted to finish it together."
The AAU national championship was his team's third in a row.
Devin Gardner is now a 5-star, and the #4 overall QB on Scout (moves that I predicted would happen, though perhaps not this early). He also passes William Gholston as the #1 in-state prospect.
Cornelius Jones leads Spartanburg to a 13-0 scrimmage victory.
Slightly Longer Shots
AZ S Marquis Flowers "knows two visits he plans to take" ($). Considering the article is written by a staffer from The Wolverine, we can assume that one of those two visits is to Ann Arbor.
Michigan is likely done recruiting running backs unless they can land an elite prospect (i.e. Eduardo Clements), but should they need a backup plan, FL RB Cassius McDowell is probably a good bet. A good friend and former teammate of Denard Robinson, he's the new leader of Deerfield Beach. Also interesting is the fact that the Bucks ran a Wing-T offense last year, but will transition to a spread in 2009. Great timing, guys.
OH S Latwan Anderson has West Virginia, Michigan State, and Georgia atop his list right now, with the Mountaineers leading the way. Michigan seems to have slipped out of his recruitment, though he plans to take his visits before deciding.
CA RB Anthony Barr, who had up to this point had only been on the periphery of Michigan recruiting attention, has included the Wolverines in his final five, along with USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal. He's a big dude at 6-4 and 223 lbs, so perhaps the Wolverines like his upside at linebacker? He won't decide until his football season is completed.
MD LB Josh Furman will definitely take a visit to Ann Arbor, along with planned visits to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl, which The Google Machine says takes place on December 19th.
One of the last remaining players interested in Michigan from the DeMatha contingent is S Lorenzo Waters. He includes Michigan in his top four, along with Maryland (the favorite), Miami (That Miami), and Wake Forest.
Other People's Money (and Four-Stars)
OH TE Alex Smith has been "committed" to Cincinnati since February, but the solidity of that commitment has not been constant over time. At this time, he is in an off-again phase with the Bearcats, and the Wolverines have an opening:
As positive as that experience was, it did not propel the Wolverines over a familiar hurdle of theirs when it comes to recruiting tight ends -- scheme.
Despite the assurances offered, Smith remained skeptical about how prevalent a role the tight end will play in Michigan's new offense...
Michigan's best chance at dispelling what it contends is a common misconception about how it uses tight ends will come on the field this fall. Getting Smith back on campus so he can witness the increased productivity of the current tight end tandem of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb will be a major priority. Smith plans to oblige the request, but he plans to do the same for a few other programs as well.
"In no order I'm liking UNC (prior visit), Michigan (prior visit), Wisconsin (prior visit), Miami, LSU and Kentucky (prior visit)," he reported. "Two or three (will receive visits), for sure. I don't know how many I need to take because after going places, I know what they have to offer and there's no real need to go back. I still want to (make a commitment) pretty early (in the season).
So, it looks like Cincinnati is basically out. As long as Michigan uses the tight end effectively this fall, the Wolverines are probably at the top of Smith's list. Smith is also quoted as saying that Michigan is his mom's #1 choice. HOWEVA, Michigan isn't in Smith's top list in this Kurelic article…
When asked to name his top choices Smith said, "Cincinnati, then Wisconsin, then North Carolina, and Kentucky is in there too."
…though he does list Michigan first when asked what schools he'd like to visit in the near future.
In the Trenches
After the commitment of OH DT Terry Talbott, the need at this position is likely for one more high-level DT.
FL DT Louis Nix, a longtime commit to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, has opened his recruitment. He will officially visit Notre Dame, and will also consider Michigan along with Florida and Florida State.
There is some confusion over the official visits of PA DT Sharrif Floyd. Michigan fans are up in arms that Bill Kurelic wrote an article with Ann Arbor not among his destinations. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet, though, as he sounds less than definite in those plans (emphasis mine):
"I'm going to take all five official visits," Floyd said on Tuesday evening. "I'll probably visit Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida, something like that."
So, less than certain. He's also said in the past that he definitely will not take an official to Penn State, so this can all get quite confusing. For now, I'd say Michigan fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Floyd. Additional fluff on Floyd, noting that he'll play offensive guard this year, along with maybe a bit of linebacker(!).
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, though a top-5 list a couple weeks ago did not include Michigan, FL OL Torrian Wilson has narrowed his list to three, with Miami, Stanford and Michigan remaining. The Wolverines had been his favorite earlier, but Miami has come on strong, and will probably be the team to beat. And let's check out some video from SoFlaFootball, for good measure:
Season preview fluff on OH OL Commit Christian Pace:
Christian Pace, a 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle, was first team All-SWC last year and will attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship in 2010.
He also plays defensive tackle. For the record, that's by far the tallest I've seen him listed (most reports say 6-2ish, though he's listed at 6-3 on the recruiting sites). Avon Lake also scrimmaged against Midview over the weekend (Friday to be precise), and posted a photo gallery on their website. The only good Pace photo from the gallery can be seen at right.
Wrapping up the OL talk is the official visit docket of one Seantrel Henderson. The top OL in the country will take official visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Florida, and Notre Dame. Michigan is absent, as you can see. Not that I think the Wolverines will be added, but I take this list with a grain of salt since it comes from the mouth of his father, not Seantrel himself. It also includes Notre Dame, while Henderson the younger has been adamant for some time that he's not interested in the Irish. Either way, MIchigan is likely no longer a player.
Michigan still leads (still!) for PA teammates Brandon Ifill and Cullen Christian, though Ifill says Maryland is even with the Wolverines. Byrnes wideout Nick Jones wants to make an Ann Arbor visit. Michigan seems to be out of it for OH S Kurtis Drummond. MI DE CJ Olaniyan seems to really like... Oklahoma State?
Removed FL LB Christian Jones. Michigan is outside of his top 6 ($).
FL RB Demetrius Hart confirms that Michigan is his only verbal offer so far, and though he seems to favor Michigan, he no longer plans to make an early decision. He will, however, try to enroll early at the school he ultimately chooses.
FL QB Teddy Bridgewater doesn't really like calling the signals. Does that mean a move back to wideout for college? If so, Michigan interest might not be worthwhile.