Since commitments are coming in pairs, Wednesday Recruitin' will make the revolutionary change of also coming in pairs this week. Today: The most recent Wolverine commits, and a look at who might be next.
Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown Go Blue
The creepy tendency to pick up commitments in twos continues, as defensive ends from Michigan and Ohio committed back-to-back on Friday. First up was MI DE Mario Ojemudia. Local commitment article. GBMW on Mario:
Mario plays with great effort and intensity and is always moving and hustling. Mario has very good quickness and his feet are always moving. He shows good lateral movement with good burst and closing speed. What makes him special is a dynamite first step and an explosive get off.
Some plays he bursts off the line, gets great leverage, and makes a huge play for the FHH defense. During other plays, he relies completely on his speed and athleticism to beat the O-linemen. That’s fine in high school, it won’t translate to the bigger leagues. That being said, just like Royce Jenkins-Stone, I love Mario’s fiery, competitive spirit. He gets really excited when he blows a play up, and that intensity is clearly infectious.
While there’s a lot to love, there’s always room to grow, as well. There’s not a single play in his highlight video where he bullrushes the tackle, or uses his strength to get to the QB. Sometime he plays too high coming off the ball. When you’re 6’6, you can’t afford to give up leverage. His tackling technique needs a little work. All in all, I’m very excited to watch Brown’s future play out.
Brown is long and lean with good change-of-direction skills and the ability to explode into passers. He runs very well (my guess is he would be in the 4.6-4.7 range, since I haven't found any 40 times for him) and should be able to pressure the width of the pocket based solely on his speed.
Also a Sophomore
MI QB Shane Morris broke the seal on the class of 2013(!) last night, picking the Wolverines over - you guessed it - Michigan State. Check out Hello From the Future: Shane Morris for more details on his game.
He looks like a very mature passer. He doesn't panic in the pocket, he goes through his read progressions, etc. Obviously, only highlights are available, but the thing that sticks out to me most is the touch and accuracy he puts on the ball. When a ball need to gets to a receiver in a hurry, he rifles it in there. When he knows he can put some air under a throw, he lays it out there for the receiver to go get it. That's somewhat rare in a young passer, many of whom want to throw the ball 100 mph every time. In that respect, Morris might be even more advanced than freshman Chad Henne or sophomore Denard Robinson.
That's some seriously high praise. Welcome to the fold, young man.
MI DE/DT Matt Godin is the only prospect with a definite commitment planned: He will announce tomorrow at his school from a final list of Michigan (the childhood favorite and current chalk), Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The Flint Journal recently profiled Godin:
“This is what I wanted,” he said of the attention and tedious decision-making processes that accompany his recruitment. “It was my goal to be a top prospect. That’s why I worked hard in the weight room. It’s tough (handling the situation), but it’s what I wanted.”
Conventional wisdom has Godin picking Michigan, but we'll wait and see with everyone else.
MI CB Terry Richardson might be next to commit, as he's moving closer to a decision ($, info in header), and asource told Tom that an announcement could be coming next week, although this tweet was apparently a joke. Either way, Michigan would be in strong position with commitments from his friends Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross, whether he draws out his recruitment or not.
Michigan's picking up commitments from TE Devin Funchess and DE Mario Ojemudia could really help Michigan land their teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. Burbridge, one of the top wideouts in the midwest, has offers from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, but also has reported academic issues that may make it difficult for him to go directly to a 4-year university out of high school.
As for Burbridge's recruitment, he may be close to a decision, and the Wolverines are suddenly right in the thick of things, along with Michigan State, as Michigan "surges" up his list ($, info in header). Tom had the following to say (prior to Mario Pjemudia's commitment, no less):
I will also say that anyone that says Aaron Burbridge is an MSU lock doesn't know what they're talking about. I was told quite a bit this weekend about Mario and Aaron, and if Mario chooses Michigan [ed: Check!] then there's a chance Aaron would follow. He does have grade issues, but I don't think it's bad enough to where Michigan wouldn't take him and hope he makes it. I don't want to say too much, obviously, but there's a chance Michigan could steal those two from MSU.
I spoke with him today and he told me that his final two are Michigan and Michigan State. Those are the two schools he will be deciding between. He also said that he'll be scheduling a visit back up to Michigan in the next two weeks. He's more familiar with MSU because he's been there more, so he's trying to make up for that by visiting Michigan again.
Sounds like Michigan is right in the thick of things. Aaron also told Tom that he's working hard on his grades in order to qualify.
MI TE Ron Thompson seems forever teetering on the verge of a decision. Most expect that if the Wolverines still have room for another tight end, he'll be Blue.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
That sounded like he may have been close to a commitment, right? HOWEVA, he had to reschedule that visit, and Notre Dame, Illinois, and Cincy have suddenly offered (events unrelated). That's made him reconsider an early commitment, and he'll take his time.
Josh Helmholdt runs down some of this guys committing soon, including Godin and Thompson (and, uh, Ojemudia).
Rivals has finally released their initial set of rankings, and current Michigan commits ring in as follows:
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone. #87 Overall.
- MI LB James Ross. #143 Overall.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. #167 Overall.
The other guys who may be making decisions soon:
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. #134 Overall.
- MI CB Terry Richardson. #195 Overall.
For a list of which other Rivals250 prospects are still considering Michigan, check out Tom's Diary.
Come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of this week's recruiting post!
Also I lost money on Stately Victor. So I chose a bad weekend to take a semi-vacation. Every time I hopped on my phone to see what was going down, Michigan was picking up a DE commit or Ohio State was seeing its troubles expand or Michigan State fans were having entertaining meltdowns or the OHL draft was somehow giving Michigan commitments instead of stealing them. You think it's just a random weekend in May and surely the only thing you're going to miss is nothing. Not so much. But if that's going to happen every time I'm out of pocket I'll be in the Yukon until August even if we pick up some suspensions along the way.
It all started with dozens of cars over a decade. The Dispatch reports Ohio State is looking into their players' tendency to buy cars from one guy with the usual level of signed memorabilia in his office and at least one very interesting sale:
Public records show that in 2009, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with less than 20,000 miles was titled to then-sophomore linebacker Thaddeus Gibson. Documents show the purchase price as $0.
Unfortunately for people wishing to see OSU bombed into the stone age, the Dispatch found that "nearly half" of the cars are on record as being sold for less than the Blue Book value, which is a way of saying it seems like there's a reasonable distribution of prices when that price isn't no dollars. That's unless the cars in question are all blinged out yo—the Dispatch only knows make and model.
However, in addition to all these sales this Kniffin guy also loaned Terrelle Pryor the cars he was driving when he was pulled over three times in loaners. It's extremely implausible that the NCAA won't be able to put together another finding of improper benefits. It was also implausible that Pryor could get away with the car hijinks and he did.
Ohio State compliance is putting up a brave face, but privately the prospect of Kniffin and his 130k in IRS debt facing down the law for misreporting sale prices for these cars has to be foreboding. If there's a choice between jail and confirming documents that would expand the scope of OSU's trouble to include a lack of institutional control, skeezy guy in undisclosed state will no doubt take the latter.
Still need that smoking gun to turn up, unless OSU's crack compliance storm troopers investigating car purchases and letting that Gibson thing slide is it. Ohio recruiting guru and OSU partisan Duane Long:
What about Pryor? I mean, every dealership owner is totally cool with letting me test drive their personal automobile for days on end across state lines. Especially when I was in college. Apparently that’s when I was most trustworthy. That story is believable right?
Now we find out it’s not just star players, it’s a bunch of players AND their families. Good Lord.
Don’t fret Buckeyes because this stuff was already cleared by OSU compliance. Whew!!! I knew they were on top of this. Sure they missed years of players cashing in on items that we would cherish our entire lives but are trivial to the players in exchange for tattoos and cash. But buying cars, they were all over it. Color me relieved, except for one thing. I saw a post asking one simple question, If all of this was cleared already then why the INTERNAL investigation? Hasn’t there already been one? Hasn’t it already been cleared? So what if the Dispatch thinks it’s a big deal. The answer to the Dispatch article is “It’s already been cleared”. Case closed. Story over. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead we muttered under our breath like Latoya Jackson’s mousy voice “we cleared this” and then contradicted the value of that entire “clearing” by announcing our internal investigation. That is ridiculous. Doing this internal investigation is a big announcement to the world “Yeah we didn’t really clear anything and we would hope you guys wouldn’t notice”.
It beggars belief that 50 different Buckeyes all got a legitimate deal with one particular salesman who has provably given Terrelle Pryor rides no one else would get. Maurice Wells' mom bought a car in Columbus. She lives in Maryland. So did Pryor's mother and brother, who live in Pennsylvania. The NCAA should be able to ask anyone with eligibility to prove they're making the payments the notes claim they are with permanent ineligibility the alternative. There's clearly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest what went down was rife with illegal benefits. If they don't they're making a mockery of their enforcement process at a school that's already done a better job of that than USC.
The car thing brings options approaching nuclear into play. Basketball players are involved and violations uncovered could stretch back a decade to when Maurice Clarett and Marco Cooper told ESPN they were given loaner cars and sweetheart deals. If the NCAA uncovers an ineffectual see-no-evil car accounting system in the wake of that very public accusation, pairing that with Tatgate makes for the worst NCAA violation in a long, long time.
BONUS: Texas fans are running a strong second to Michigan when it comes to e-outrage about this stuff. Burnt Orange Nation campaigns for a show-cause—their third post on the subject—and Barking Carnival opens up both barrels as well. A sniff of Switzer is a red cape to Longhorns.
Other possibility: Malletts be Mallettin'. Ryan Mallett's father dropped a dual bombshell as he tried to explain why his kid transferred away from Michgian, saying that Lloyd Carr told Mallett to transfer and Rodriguez didn't pursue Mallett as hard as he should have. The latter quote:
“Ryan’s the one who called (Rich Rod),” Jim Mallett continued. “He said, “Can I talk about the offense?’ And then he told me, ‘Daddy, (Rodriguez) never looked me in the eye.’ He never visited with the family, he didn’t talk to us. I never met the man. But hey, it wasn’t a fit. Let’s move on.”
This set off another minor war between the Rodriguez and Carr factions vying to determine which of them was incrementally less of an asshat over the last three years. There is another possibility: this is just a self-serving remembrance from the sort of guy who promises "revenge" on Miami for not drafting his kid. For one, Rodriguez never looked Mallett in the eye because Mallett was in Arkansas, not Michigan—unusual behavior for a player planning on staying at Michigan. For two, Carr told Mallett to transfer plenty before he'd even retired. I believe Carr told Mallett to GTFO, but it wasn't because he was looking out for his player.
The team. The team:
Also the team.
Stonum suspension redux. Darryl Stonum has been suspended "indefinitely" for his second DUI, which is better than the rumor I got in my inbox that he had gotten the heave-ho but seemingly not much better. Stonum had a breakout 2010 and could have done so again as a focal point when Michigan went under center; now he could be out for anywhere from a couple games to the year. Michigan could hypothetically redshirt him, FWIW.
I wish I had something to offer about how serious the on-field repercussions would be but it sounds like that's up to Stonum's actions over the next few months. A second DUI is a serious offense.
We're going to need a bigger ark. Michigan picked up a pair of WDE commits over the weekend from Ohio's Pharaoh Brown and Michigan's Mario Ojemudia, bringing their 2012 class to ten guys all from Michigan and Ohio, all offensive linemen or front-seven defensive players. This would be Brady Hoke self-parody if every guy in the class didn't sport the offer list of a guy at least on the 3-4 star borderline, but they all do so it's just good stuff. Michigan has 17 slots right now and can push that to 19 by not offering a couple of guys fifth years; with a reasonable amount of attrition they'll be looking at a class of 22 or more.
They seem to lead for Matt Godin, Chris Wormley, Terry Richardson, Anthony Standifer, and Jordan Diamond. They'll probably grab two DTs from the Pipkins/O'Brien/Day/Johnson group, which brings them to around 17. The five remaining scholarships go to:
- Mystery QB
- Mystery RB, Preferably Blue Chip, Thx
- Hypothetically Qualified Aaron Burbridge or Mystery Outside WR
- Mystery OT Probably From California
- Mystery OT
If they end up whiffing on any of the guys counted in the class it will probably be Wormley, at which point Michigan will put the full court press on the touted SDEs who veritably litter Ohio this year and, given the way things seem to be going, get one.
Michigan's problems, such as they are: getting the second WR it seems they need, finding a true safety, and smushing MI TE Ron Thompson in. If they bloat this class up to 25 they can add Thompson, another safety, and another WR without squeezing out that fifth OL.
That's asking for six kids to leave the team before February. I can glance at the Depth Chart By Class and easily pick off six guys whose absence wouldn't be felt but that's somewhere between rude and skeezy. While Michigan won't put themselves in a situation where they sign a bunch of guys and then say "medical scholarships for everyone," the best interests of the program are now aligned with certain guys leaving it. That's uncomfortable.
Tell me something I don't know. Rivals initial top 100 is a bit light on Midwesterners and, as usual, over-represented by the Texas/California/Florida triumvirate. I'm working on a larger post about this but:
- From 2000-2006 Texas, Florida, and California supplied 35% of NFL draft picks. From 2007-2010 they supplied 34%.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 48 players from those three states.
- The Midwest (MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, PA) supplied 17% of NFL draft picks.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 15 players from those states.
I haven't looked at enough data to see what the issue is but my bet is consistent overrating of Big Three players at a the near-uniform expense of everyone else. Some of this is inevitable unless you expect the Rivals guys to figure out which half a Montanan is going to get drafted every year, but if you suck out the odd NFL player from the ignored Great Plains and New England states you should be overrating the rest fairly uniformly. That hasn't happened so far this year.
Caveat: it's possible that the good players in the big states get scouted sooner, leaving the rest of the nation to catch up. That would mean the final Rivals 100 would be less Big Three biased. I'm not sure yet, which is why there's a post in the works.
Etc.: Brandon Burlon's departure is official. Michigan's solar car hits the NYT. They're going to paint the imaginary no-charge circle on the floor. Beilein thinks that helps but I'm not sure since their defense is built around charges, not blocked shots. Hockey's endzone nets are stupid.
There's been some chatter about Terry Richardson's upcoming announcement being a twitter prank from Royce Jenkins-Stone but 247's Steve Wiltfong reports that Cass Tech coach Tom Wilcher says Richardson will "probably make his decision this week." With Ross and Jenkins-Stone in the boat, Michigan is the presumed favorite.
The 2012 Recruiting Board lives here in its current primitive state. Updates coming soon.
The Harrison Three
Farmington Hills Harrison's trio of WR Aaron Burbridge, DE Mario Ojemudia, and TE Devin Funchess got some press in last week's Detroit News recruiting column by Sam Webb. First, the skill breakdowns by Harrison's coach. On Burbridge (pictured at right):
"He has tremendous explosion and acceleration," stated Herrington. "He is one of those kids that has two gears. He can go out for a pass and it looks like it is overthrown, then suddenly he explodes on the ball. He is a very tough kid, a good blocker, and has great hands. He still has a ways to go in learning all his routes, but he can catch the ball just off his shoe tops, or he can go up and get it if it is way over his head like he did in the state finals."
"As far as his game, he has got to get some size. He's about 215-218. If he gets up to college and he gets up to 245, he'll just be amazing. He could be a hybrid. We've never played him (standing) up, but he's fast and he could play an outside linebacker. I think he is better down, but he's always wanted to play up as a linebacker, so we'll see."
"He is going to be a great prospect when he puts on weight. He can be a tight end, an H-back, a split end. He has big hands. I'm not sure what he's going to run the 40 in, but I think he could be around 4.6 or 4.7."
And the recruiting news:
The Spartans have a strong connection with Harrison thanks to decades of mining some of the school's most notable talent. They've placed Burbridge and Ojemudia high on their list of priorities, and the feeling is definitely mutual... The Wolverines' chances with Funchess seem more promising, but he stops short of naming them his favorite.
There is much more in the article, including quotes from the players, so be sure to check it out. In another article, Ojemudia didn't hesitate to name Michigan State his leader. He said Michigan has a lot of work to do if they want to catch up with the Spartans.
All Aboard the Offer Train!
NJ QB/Ath Devin Fuller was offered by Michigan last week ($, info in header). He's more Denard Robinson than Chad Henne, so it's possible the staff is looking at him on defense - though he told Tom he'll get a shot at QB.
He's included on the board, but I didn't mention him in last week's update: PA RB Greg Garmon received a Michigan offer last week ($, info in header).
WI RB Vonte Jackson has picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He had teammates sign with Wisconsin and Michigan State last year.
NC TE/OL Mark Harrell holds a Michigan offer. He plans to visit Michigan soon, and claims to be wide open.
CO TE Evan Baylis was offered by Michigan.
PA OL JJ Denman picked up a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He's a 2-way player in high school, but colleges are only talking to him about offensive line. Notre Dame leads ($, info in header) for Denman.
Though he's an Ohio State commit, OH OL Kyle Kalis picked up a Michigan offer last week. He told Tom he's firm with the Buckeyes, but is willing to visit Ann Arbor with his teammates (TE Sam Grant, OL Tyler Orlosky, and DT Greg Kuhar) should the opportunity arise.
NC OL Brock Stadnik has received a Michigan offer.
Michigan has added an offer ($, info in header) for SC DT Martin Aiken.
NY DT Jarron Jones has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
MD DT Ryan Watson picked up a Michigan offer ($). He's a former teammate of 2011 CB Commit Blake Countess.
TX DE Devonte Fields has picked up a Michigan offer.
MA LB Camren Williams has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
TX LB Jeremiah Tshimanga talked to Tom about receiving a Michigan offer, and whether he'll make a trip to Ann Arbor this weekend. Tshimanga plans to be an early enrollee.
TX LB Peter Jinkens wasn't expecting a Texas offer, so he was open to plenty of schools. HOWEVA, a Texas offer ended Jinkens's recruitment.
Elsewhere in potential package deals, Irish Sports Daily employs a record number of one-sentence paragraphs to cover the recruitment of MI LBs James Ross, Royce Jenkins Stone, and Laron Taylor, and CB Terry Richardson:
“When we were little, we wanted to play together, but we know how difficult that may be,” said Ross. “If it works out, it does and that would be great, but we probably won’t make our decisions based off what somebody else does.”
It's possible that OH QB Maty Mauk will commit to Notre Dame - as soon as he can get on campus.
CA WR Bryce Treggs holds a Michigan offer, but he doesn't mention the Wolverines and seems to be close to a decision. Cal and Notre Dame are the leaders.
According to Rivals, CA TE Taylor McNamara was close to committing to Ohio State early in the process, but now plans to wait before making a decision. Miami (YTM) and USC are also near the top for him.
IN TE Pierre Aka wants to major in nuclear engineering and has a top 4 of Stanford, Michigan, Northwestern, and Penn State. Though he doesn't hold any offers, he's in contact with Michigan's staff.
IL OL Dan Voltz has made his first cut, and the lucky schools are Auburn, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Northwestern. He seems to be really high on Notre Dame following a visit to South Bend. Voltz's junior highlight:
OH OL Taylor Decker received his Michigan offer a while back, and will visit Ann Arbor soon ($, info in header). He also received an offer from Notre Dame, his favorite ($, info in header). Now that the Irish are an option, they may be hard to beat.
FL OL John Theus is leaning toward mostly SEC and ACC schools.
Michigan is in the hunt for WA OL Zach Banner. His coach:
"Michigan is back in with Hoke, going back to the big road graders," Miller said. "Getting the offer from Michigan last week was really exciting for Zach."
The 6-9 behemoth is one of the country's top linemen.
UMGoBlog's Sean O'Connell talked with OH OL Kyle Dodson, who says he grew up a Buckeye fan, but that he's "very interested" in Michigan.
It's not exactly news, but MLive's Kyle Warber expands on Tennesee's lead for MI DT Danny O'Brien:
"I love everything about Tennessee," O'Brien said. "The playing time they have to offer is outstanding. I think they are also on the rise in the SEC and in the nation. If I went to another top school I would probably have to sit for a year. Also, the atmosphere of an SEC team is awesome. I have been to the Big House and everything, and it's great, but it didn't compare to the atmosphere of an SEC game."
His recruiter under the previous staff was Flint-area expert Fred Jackson, and he also had a relationship with Chris Singletary. Both are still around, and O'Brien's family has its share of Michigan fans, so the Wolverines have a chance to swing him. For what it's worth, Rivals says Michigan "may be gaining steam" ($, info in header).
CA DT Aziz Shittu talked to Rivals last week about his Michigan offer:
The more offers Shittu receives the more he’s thinking about delaying his decision but he still could end it if the right situation suits him. “If Michigan ends up being in my top five or my top seven, whatever I make when I make it, if I can’t get out there on an unofficial visit then I’ll definitely take an official visit to see what’s up there,” Shittu said.
He had been considering an early commitment to Stanford, so waiting on a decision is a good thing for the Wolverines. The Cardinal are his favorite ($, info in header).
OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo attended junior days at Notre Dame and Ohio State over the weekend. He picked up an offer from Notre Dame while he was in South Bend.
OH DE Tom Strobel was also in Columbus, and picked up an Ohio State offer of his own. His quotes seem fairly gushing:
"It was an amazing experience and Coach Tressel is such a great person. It was so nice to sit down with him and just talk. Not even about football, but about my family and Mentor and school and everything. It was a really good day. This has all been very humbling. I am fortunate to be in this position and to get the kind of attention I have received."
He claims that the Buckeyes do not lead, but it certainly sounds like they have an edge. He plans to decide before his senior season.
OH DE Adolphus Washington plans to announce a decision at the Under Armour All-American game.
GA DE Jordan Watkins has been blowing up lately, with offers from the likes of LSU, Florida, and Georgia, but he's still looking forward to hearing from Michigan. He's going to try to make a visit sometime, and says the Wolverines were "definitely a front runner" at the beginning of his recruiting process.
FL S Deon Bush wants to take a Michigan visit ($, info in header).
We're onto the 2012 class, eh? How many scholarships does Michigan have to give? What's the breakdown on commits at different positions? Who are likely options at some of those positions? All that and more inside Wednesday Recruitin'!
The Numbers and Positions
Take a gander at the Depth Chart by Class, and you'll see there are 83 scholarship players on the 2011 football roster (including Jordan Kovacs as a scholarship player). That means there are two open slots for the 2012 class.
In addition, Michigan will have 15 scholarship players see their eligibility expire following the 2011 season - Shaw, Hemingway, Stonum, Odoms, Grady, Koger, Huyge, Molk, Martin, Van Bergen, Watson, Herron, Fitzgerald, Woolfolk and Williams. Whether or not Mike Williams sticks around for his fifth year doesn't affect the 2012 class because he's gone after this season either way.
Altogether, that means our operating number for the 2012 class starts at 17, before there's any roster attrition. Assuming a couple players ultimately leave the team for any reason (unrenewed fifth years, early NFL entry, etc.), we'll peg the starting number at 19.
Without going into too much (boring) detail, Michigan needs by position are approximately as follows:
- QB: 1
- RB: 1
- WR: 2
- Slot: 0
- TE: 1-2
- OT: 2
- OG: 1-2
- OC: 0
- DT: 2
- DE: 2
- LB: 2
- S: 2
- CB: 1
If you want the nitty-gritty, you can peruse the Depth Chart by Class. In next week's recruiting update, I'll run down all the prospects Michigan has offered once more, and hopefully a recruiting board will be operational by then. After that, recruiting updates should be back to normal.
Michigan decided to go on an offer blitz shortly after last week's recruiting update went up (great timing, guys!). Among the newly-offered prospects are:
Cass Tech teammates LB Royce Jenkins-Stone and CB Terry Richardson received offers ($, info in headers) from Michigan's staff on Wednesday. Richardson is turning into a serious bigtime prospect. Already holding an offer from Bama, USC entered the mix last week. Jenkins-Stone is planning to make an early commitment (HT: Mgomember LarryHarrison), and is getting bigtime offers of his own.
Unsatisfied with offering only one set of teammates on Wednesday, the Wolverines went up the road to Farmington Hills, giving offers to Harrison WR Aaron Burbridge, TE Devin Funchess, and DE Mario Ojemudia ($, info in header). FHH has been a Michigan State feeder lately, so it remains to be seen if Brady Hoke and Co. can steal any of these prospects away from the Spartans. 24/7 Sports fluff on the Harrison guys, and Burbridge tells them he's "always been a State fan."
OH QB Maty Mauk received a Michigan offer. He told Tom that he plans to make it up to Ann Arbor within the next couple weeks. As the younger brother of former Cincinnati QB Ben Mauk, most assume Notre Dame's Brian Kelly should be able to land him.
Michigan has offered NC RB Keith Marshall, who is likely to be among the top prospects in the nation. His highlight reel is a sight to behold:
CA TE Taylor McNamara has received an offer.
IL OL Dan Voltz was offered by the Wolverines and plans to make an early decision ($, info in header).
The Wolverines have offered CA OL Kyle Murphy, according to a local paper.
AZ OL Andrus Peat (younger brother of 2011 Nebraska signee Todd Peat) received a Michigan offer this week. He should be one of the nation's top offensive linemen in this class.
IL DT Tommy Schutt has a Michigan offer ($, info in header).
OH DE Se'Von Pittman received an offer from Michigan last week, along with the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State.
“He is wide open,” [McKinley coach Ron] Johnson said. “There are a lot of different things he’s interested in. He’s going to go through the whole process and really get to meet guys. There are a lot of new staffs involved; guys he’ll want to meet and get to know. I just hope they go where they want to be, and where they’re going to have a chance for a good career.”
One of those places is Michigan. The Wolverines hired Brady Hoke to replace Rich Rodriguez. Hoke is from Ohio and seems to be making a renewed commitment to battling the Buckeyes in their backyard
Despite what his coach says, Pittman (pictured) is widely considered to be a heavy lean to the Buckeyes, and would be an excellent pull for Brady Hoke and Co.
WI LB Vince Biegel, who Tom says was offered Wednesday. Scout says he has three standouts ($, info in header), and considering the article was written by Sam Webb, smart money says Michigan is one of them. Biegel is a Mormon, but he says BYU doesn't have an advantage in his recruitment - although his father played there.
Michigan's new coaching staff is still interested in FL QB Bennie Coney. As mentioned in the fall, he didn't play football this season due to a disciplinary issue, but is still on good terms with his head coach.
Michigan State has offered and leads for OH RB William Mahone ($, info in header).
CA WR Bryce Treggs is hoping for a Michigan offer.
FL OL Cody Waldrop is hoping for a Michigan offer.
Michigan was "a childhood favorite" for IN DT Sheldon Day ($, info in header).
Tom gets an update from the coach of PA DE Noah Spence, who is one of the top prospects in the Keystone State:
"We'll try to get [Noah's highlight film] out in the next couple days, we'll email it to every program in the country probably next week," said Head Coach Jeff Weachter. "Michigan hasn't gotten it yet, but I'd imagine they will offer once they do, everyone else has."
Spence's father is researching every school in-depth, so Michigan's hire of Greg Mattison is certain to help the Wolverines. Mattison is also acquaintances with Spence's head coach.
Michigan's interest in OH DE Tom Strobel has "intensified" ($, info in header). He holds a Michigan offer.
OR DE Alex Balducci sent Michigan his film, and may get an offer soon.
Though he hasn't been offered yet, NJ S/LB DJ Singleton is expecting one from the Wolverines soon. Miami and Rutgers have already sent offers.
IN Ath David Perkins is interested in hearing from Michigan.
Tom's Weekly Update has a metric ton of information, and with limited space, I'm just going to link it and say read the whole thing. If you need more prodding, there's an update on LEVITICUS PAYNE within.
IL OL Jordan Diamond is the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:
"I'm most definitely still a fan of Michigan. No doubt about it -- Michigan is Michigan. I still enjoy watching those guys play. I'm in the process of getting some old film from Michigan. I'm really excited... We talk about (going to the same school) all the time," Diamond said of he and [2011 MIchigan Commit Chris] Bryant.
Scout's Alen Trieu says he's a borderline 5-star entering his junior season. Diamond would be a great and for Brady Hoke's staff. He's certainly no lock, but a visit this weekend could be a great start to building a lead. Despite being on-campus, he will not participate in the Best of the Midwest...
Speaking of which, it's not a University-sponsored event, but the Al Glick Fieldhouse will again serve as the venue for the Best of the Midwest Showcase this Sunday (last year it was called the Michigan Football Showcase). Allen Trieu breaks down the linemen who will participate. In similar news, New Level Athletics will be hosting a 7-on-7 Tournament in Ann Arbor again this summer. SI.com's Andy Staples explores how such tournaments are changing football recruiting in that article.
Both of the above-linked events provide an opportunity for prospects to experience Michigan's campus, even if the coaches can't use them as recruiting visits.
AZ QB Connor Brewer left the board last week, as he committed to Texas, and now another prospect - this one already holding an offer - is off the table. FL RB Matt Jones committed to Florida.
Rivals releases their initial 250 to Watch, and Touch the Banner breaks down which guys might have Michigan interest. Maxpreps's Top 10 includes a couple Michigan targets. 2011 Commit Frank Clark wants to reopen a Michigan pipeline to Cleveland Glenville ($, info in header). Ohio State recruiting guru Duane Long says "Hoke ain't no Joke." Dr. Saturday breaks down 2011 recruiting geographically. Fox Sports's Dave Dye runs down the 2011 class. SBNation Pittsburgh has a semi-novel idea with a Penn State offer matrix, so I ask you: would anyone be interested if I repeated that for Michigan?
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. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Justice Hayes Goes Blue
In something of a shocker MI RB Justice Hayes, who recently decommitted from Notre Dame, picked the Wolverines Monday night. Check out the commitment post for more on him.
VolNation broke down his game back in May, and some of the slot-relevant portions follow:
For the spread offense, however, Hayes is the ideal fit. He is a young man who can attack with authority the lanes that are created in a spread offense, can attack creases, get to the perimeter, catch the football, and make big plays with the ball in his hands...
Often times, players with Hayes’ agility and quickness spend too much time juking and not enough time actually gaining yards. This is not a problem for Hayes who is very decisive in his movements...
Hayes has wide receiver skills in many regards. He has very smooth hands and catches the ball with authority. Hayes does a fine job catching the football away from his body and quickly plucking the ball out of the air smoothly... His speed and agility would create serious mismatches for linebackers and safeties even at the next level.
They have much more on him, so be sure to click through. The Flint Journal covers Hayes's commitment, and Hayes says he's a Wolverine as long as Fred Jackson is on Michigan's staff. [ed: so... forever.]
Now, since some Michigan State supporters seem to insist on trumpeting their in-state recruiting dominance over the Wolverines:
|Top Michigan Recruits|
On top of that, a couple more in-state prospects (Anthony Zettel and Thomas Rawls) openly favor Michigan... consider the myth busted.
FL LB Ryan Petro has burst onto the Michigan recruitnik scene, and his Michigan visit for the Wisconsin game exceeded his expectations ($, info in header). He tells the Orlando Sentinel he'll be back in a couple weeks:
Petro might be even more impressed with his next trip to the "Big House," Dec. 10th weekend, when he'll be on hand during his first official visit for the highly publicized Michigan State-Michigan hockey game that is being touted as the "Big Chill at the Big House."
Don't be surprised if he's offered at that time.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost told Tom that he enjoyed the visit, and he'll take trips to LSU and Cal before coming to a decision, which he'll announce at the Army All-American Game. He plans to enroll early at the school he chooses.
Tom has smaller reactions from Frost and Petro.
The Orlando Sentinel discusses the wavering commitment of FL QB Kevin Sousa:
Lake Nona quarterback Kevin Sousa is still committed to Michigan. As his assistant coach Anthony Paradiso says, "Michigan will be hard for anyone to beat," in the recruiting game. But there are still some things Sousa wants to sort out.
At Michigan, he knows there are several quarterbacks ahead of him on the roster and he might labor in the wings for a few years before seeing the playing field. Somewhere else, however, Sousa might be able to step in and compete for the starting job right away.
Paradiso alternates between saying things like "we're committed to Michigan" and "once we finally choose a school..." so the commitment is soft. NC QB Marquise Williams is doing the same song-and-dance with North Carolina, and impending NCAA doom may be the only thing that shakes him from his commitment there.
OH CB Greg Brown took an official visit to Syracuse and was downgraded to a soft commit by the recruiting services, but he's still firm to Michigan ($, info in header). In fact, he plans to enroll early, along with Dee Hart.
FL WR Sammy Watkins was officially invited to the US Army All American game last week, but uh, he also committed to Clemson. Will Michigan commit Dallas Crawford try to sway his teammate in the months before Signing Day? Only time will tell.
TX LB Anthony Wallace committed to Oregon. He hadn't been strongly considering Michigan, but was still on the Recruiting Board.
NC TE Drew Owens has narrowed his list to NC State and South Carolina.
A couple Michigan prospects, including FL RB Commit Demetrius Hart, are semi-finalists for the Army All-American Player of the Year. FL S Ha-Sean Clinton-Dix, GA DE Ray Drew, KY LB Lamar Dawson, and VA LB Curtis Grant are longshots for the Wolverines to land.
I'd hesitated to mention a hazing incident at Dr. Phillips High school earlier this year, since there were no mentions of Michigan targets, but unfortunately, that is no longer the case. FL WR Chris Gallon is among the accused, and criminal charges may be on the way.
Michigan has offered CA WR Devin Lucien, a new name on the radar for Wolverine recruiting fans. Highlights:
He plans to visit, so expect more on Lucien in future updates.
IL OL Chris Bryant is seeing his recruitment "wind down." He'll make a decision after visits to Arizona and Michigan (the 3rd and 10th), as well as Illinois and maybe Memphis. He tells the Chicago Tribune he'll probably only visit the first three.
GA DE Ray Drew is still considering a Michigan visit, though Notre Dame or UCLA might receive his final official instead.
TomVH talks about defensive recruits still in play for Michigan.
OH DE Chris Wormley is the Defensive Player of the Year in his district.
PA LB Deaysean Rippy has received a Michigan offer.
Cass Tech CB Terry Richardson is the focus of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News.:
"Nick Saban called me into his office and offered me. He gave me the rundown and everything — told me he's going to offer me and they like me. Afterwards, my coach called Les Miles and told him the deal with Alabama. (Miles) said, 'The next time you bring him, I want to offer him in my office.' He said everything was taken care of and I'd have an offer..."
Michigan and Michigan State have shown interest, but neither has extended a verbal offer. That has done nothing to lessen his interest in either program.
"Those are my in-state schools," he said. "You've always got to show that mad love for those two schools. Those are schools that you grew up watching. There is always some type of love there..."
Another factor, albeit a minor one, could be the decisions of two of his good friends. Cass Tech linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone and Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker James "Biggs" Ross are highly regarded prospects in their own right.
There's much, much more in the article, so be sure to check it out.
Recruiting guru Duane Long runs down some of the top Ohio sleepers, including some potential Michigan targets.
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. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
This question comes from TK-421, one of the contributors at Wolverine Liberation Army. He asks:
I'm assuming the makeup of the next recruiting class has been altered, considering the losses of Dorsey, Emilien, and Rogers (and I'm probably forgetting some). My question is, is it possible to shift the demographics of a class (in this case back towards defense again) midseason? Aren't recruits already narrowing their lists down, and so defensive guys that MICH wasn't in the running for back in August are already looking elsewhere?
At this point in the process, the staff has still cast a wide enough net that the tone of the class could be completely different based on which ones they land. The only thing that would truly have to change is which guys get more attention (NCAA video game analogy: give 60 minute calls to the defensive guys, 10 minute quick calls to the guys you're de-emphasizing, for example).
Also, this staff is known for unearthing sleepers later in the process and flipping commits from other schools, so there are definitely other places to look for commits. Look at a guy like Ray Vinopal last year. The staff offered him in the process and landed him, and he immediately made a move on the depth chart (enough to get Vlad Emilien to reconsider Michigan?).
There's plenty of time left in the recruiting class, and last year's class showed that they're able to close strong on defense. Even if a couple of those guys didn't end up qualifying, hopefully that lesson is learned. Guys with "narrowed lists" are nothing to worry about.
Visits Past and Future
The UMass game brought in a few unofficial visitors, including a couple bigtime 2012 prospects. Tom let us know late last week that IL OL Chris Bryant and his teammate, 2012 OL Jordan Diamond would both be in the house. Bryant enjoyed himself, but isn't committing to anyone quite yet. Scout reports ($, info in header) that he enjoyed his visit enough to make the Wolverines his leader, but won't take many visits until after his high school season ($, info in header).
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel also attended the game, along with 2012 MI DT Danny O'Brien. More on O'Brien below.
From Tom's Weekly Update, FL CB Dallas Crawford and WR Sammy Watkins are both planning to make it to Ann Arbor for the Iowa game. Watkins is still looking for a couple more points on a standardized test before he's allowed to take officials.
The long, bizarre recruitment of FL RB Demetrius Hart takes another turn, as he visited Auburn last weekend, and left "very high on Tigers" ($, info in header). As Sam Webb revealed on WTKA, the article says he was close to a commitment, which spawned a freakout amongst Michigan fans.
I'll try to talk Michigan fans off the ledge a bit. Tom spoke to Hart's Mom:
"Demetrius said he liked it, and so did his uncle. His uncle said that overall though it was about a 7 out of 10." As far as what's next for Demetrius, he had always planned on taking a few more visits, and then making his decision since he'll be graduating early.
Keep in mind that Hart has always returned home from visits VERY high on the last place he saw (remember Alabama briefly becoming his favorite, then sinking to an afterthought shortly thereafter?), but after a bit of time to settle down, things have returned to normal. He has visits upcoming to Arkansas and Alabama, and if he manages to make it to Ann Arbor one more time before deciding, there's not too much to worry about.
Michigan and Auburn lead for NC WR/LB Kris Frost ($, info in header), but it sounds like the Tigers might have a slight lead.
MI DE/DT Damon Knox has a top three of Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois. He won't make a decision until well after his senior season.
The Wolverines make the top 9 for LA DT Mickey Johnson, and are one of the four schools recruiting him the hardest. He'll make a decision after all of his official visits.
FL DT Timmy Jernigan will take a visit to Michigan this fall, but not for the MSU game, when he'll be visiting Florida. He won't commit until after all of those visits.
Michigan is "still in the hunt" for PA LB Branden Jackson ($, info in header).
FL S Karlos Williams is committed to Florida State, but still keeping his eye on Miami, Michigan, USC, and Ohio State. Tom shared a while back that Michigan might have a shot at receiving a visit from Williams, and as long as they continue winning this season, that's still the case.
Tom thinks LA CB Daren Kitchen is on the backburner, until some other (more coveted) prospects come off the board.
Speaking of those prospects, Michigan is in the top four for TX CB Charles Jackson. Though Jackson is a highly-coveted prospect, other news on him has been very slow lately.
Happy Trails, OH CB/WR Roger Williamson, who committed to Michigan State.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
With 2012 news picking up, I think I'll aim for a debut of a 2012 board within the first couple weeks after the end of the regular season. Expect it then. For the record, Scout has released their initial top-100 list for the 2012 class.
OH QB Maty Mauk was in the house for Michigan's game against UConn ($, info in header). I also saw him in Notre Dame Stadium a couple weeks ago, so he's already seen Michigan twice in this young season.
NC OL DJ Humphries (a teammate of 2011 QB target Marquise Williams) is "paying attention to Michigan" ($, info in header).
MI DT Danny O'Brien (at right) was the focus of last week's recruiting column by Sam Webb in the Detroit News. First on his game:
"Dan is very quick off the ball, he plays with a lot of intensity, and he has the agility to get around blockers," said Scout.com Midwest Regional Manager Allen Trieu. "He's about 6-2 and 280 right now, so he's not a big run stopping gap-plugger. I think you'd like to see him get to 300-lbs and get a little stronger in the process. "
O'Brien compares himself as a player to Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. "That's because of his intensity and his just going crazy," O'Brien said. "I love to hit. There ain't nothing like it. Any sport I play, I always play with intensity. I always go nuts. I think that is the way to do it. You just throw your body out there. That's the way to play football."
And on recruiting:
"Right now the schools that are high on my list are Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma," O'Brien reported. "I want to get down to see LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma...
"(My brother) and my dad would love to see me in a Michigan uniform, but they'll support me in whatever way I go," he said. "They will help me out with my decision and they'll understand it is for me. I'm going to take my time, look at all my options, and then make my decision. I want to commit after my senior season -- maybe a week or a month after that."
...and despite my extensive blockquoting, there's actually much, much more information in the article. Click through to check it out.
Don't expect Michigan State to go after MI CB Terry Richardson:
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said it is Richardson's lack of size that has recruiters from MSU backing off. "He's not big enough," Wilcher said. "Terry said they want their cornerbacks to rotate and play safety.
Michigan should be one of the leaders whenever they offer.