TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
Every so often it's nice to take a step back and look at the recruiting picture from more distance than "recruit X visits school Y. Here's a look at needs, commits, and remaining prospects at each position. Rodriguez has said he expects to sign a full class of 25. There are currently 19 commits and 22 spots available.
Conventional recruiting updates will return next week.
Current Commits: 2
MI QB Devin Gardner and SC QB Conelius Jones are waiting in the wings to become Michigan's next signal-caller. Gardner has talked about preparing to enroll early, but still isn't certain if he plans to do so. Jones could potentially move to another position if the Wolverines find another QB that they like in the class of 2010 or to make the depth chart more appealing for prospect in future classes. LA QB Munchie LeGeaux is still considering Michigan if there's need for another QB, but Michigan is basically done here.
Tentative Grade: A. Gardner is the top QB recruit in the country to Rivals and Jones is a good developmental prospect.
Current Commits: 2
TX RB Stephen Hopkins is the team's big back in the class of 2010. MI RB Austin White is more of a versatile all-purpose back. There has been some talk that Hopkins may find his future on the defensive side of the ball, as a linebacker. He plays the position in high school, and the Wolverines definitely have more need there than they do at running back. FL RB Eduardo Clements is still considering Michigan, although it seems he's decided on a non-Michigan school.
Tentative Grade: B. White and Hopkins were early offers and thus guys the staff wanted from the start; they're both hovering around the 3/4-star borderline. You'd like to see Michigan reel in a blue-chip at some point but they look pretty set for the next few years.
Current Commits: 2
LA Slot Drew Dileo will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Wes Welker over the course of his career as Designated White Slot Guy. TX RB Tony Drake is a combo RB/Slot. Michigan is already pretty full at this spot, since Martavious Odoms and Kelvin Grady are just sophomores, while Terrence Robinson and Jeremy Gallon are freshmen. With the increase in tight end usage, there is only room for one slot on the field most of the time. This might be a spot where the depth chart turns off and jumped ship.
Tentative Grade: C. Nether Drake nor Dileo had much in the way of offers when they committed and their recruiting rankings are towards the bottom of the class.
Current Commits: 4
Michigan is stocked—possibly excessively so—at wideout, especially considering the emergence of young players already on the roster, like sophomores Darryl Stonum and JR Hemingway. A couple of the current commits are likely to change positions, such as MI WR Jeremy Jackson moving to tight end, MI WR Ricardo Miller moving to tight end, or OH WR Jerald Robinson moving to defensive back. Only OH WR DJ Williamson, a straight-line burner, seems locked in at WR.
Miller and Jackson both plan to enroll early, and Robinson may do the same. Further evidence that moves are potentially on the way: Michigan is still offering outside wideouts, as they just sent an offer to CA WR Kenny Stills ($, info in header).
Tentative Grade: B+. Miller's sudden and mostly unexplained ratings drop is bothersome, but he had a lot of impressive early offers so it probably doesn't mean a whole lot. He should be good. Robinson was great at summer camp and the other two guys have the potential to contribute.
Current Commits: 0
I noted above that Ricardo Miller or Jeremy Jackson may be destined for this position, but Michigan is also looking for a true tight end. The play of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb has shown Michigan's coaches the value of having a playmaker at the position. The only tight end that seems to be a realistic possibility is OH TE Alex Smith, and even that is a longshot.
Tentative Grade: Inc.
Current Commits: 0
Mark Ortmann will leave Michigan following this season, leaving very few proven tackles on the roster. Though Patrick Omameh, Taylor Lewan, and Michael Schofield have tons of potential, there is a need for more players at the position, particularly talented ones. MN OL Seantrel Henderson is the only top prospect that the Wolverines are strongly involved with, though OH OL Skyler Schofner is lesser-regarded, and still a possibility. Even if Michigan can't land one of those guys (and odds are that they won't), there is the opportunity for some sleeper prospects to be picked up later in the recruiting process.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Not looking good at this point with few options other than Henderson, who is a tossup.
Interior Offensive Line
Current Commits: 1
OH OL Christian Pace is destined to be a center in the future, as he's a little short to be a true guard. Michigan would also like another guard in the class, though pickings are getting slim for top guys. FL OL Torrian Wilson was favoring Michigan for a long time... until he committed to Stanford. He's still a little bit open, though it looks like his Cardinal commitment may stick. Michigan will likely be looking for sleepers at this position as well.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Again, few options on the board now that Wilson has committed to Stanford.
Current Commits: 1
OH DT Terry Talbott is underrated by the recruiting services, and should be a very useful player for Michigan within a couple years. The Wolverines still need another player at the position, though, and unlike offensive line, there are a number of options. PA DT Shariff Floyd is one of the top players in the nation, and he's gone back and forth over whether Michigan will get a visit. MN DT Beau Allen recently received an offer from Michigan, and has interest. MI DT Johnathon Hankins is favoring other schools right now, but a Michigan offer could vault them right back into the race.
Tentative Grade: C. Talbott's a good pickup but Michigan is nowhere near picking up any blue-chip guys and needs some more depth.
Current Commits: 2
Michigan has bodies at the defensive end positions, but they're lacking true playmakers waiting to take over for Brandon Graham once he leaves. PA DEs Jordan Paskorz and Kenny Wilkins are more likely to be solid contributors than game-changers, so Michigan would like at least one more DE in the class. There have been rumblings that Paskorz could bulk up and move to defensive tackle, and that Wilkins will probably end up at Quick DE. Michigan doesn't have a lot of options here, as prospects are dropping to Penn State, and now FL DE Lynden Trail has committed to Florida. Michigan will either look for a sleeper with a lot of potential, or hopefully jump back into the recruitment of a top guy if they continue having a good season.
Tentative Grade: C+. Wilkins is a great athlete who can grow into the strongside DE spot; Paskorz isn't rated that high. Michigan's gotten beaten out by PSU for approximately 8 DE prospects.
Current Commits: 1
OH LB Antonio Kinard is Michigan's sole commit at this position, and he's not really a top guy. He's got potential, but the Wolverines need a lot more than that, considering the weakened state of the linebacker corps. Fortunately, there are lots of options, though CT LB Khairi Fortt is now off the table, as he committed to Penn State. VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has visited Michigan already this fall, where he enjoyed himself. He plans another trip to Ann Arbor this winter. MD LB Josh Furman is also a strong possibility here, and he plans to decide fairly soon. MD LB Troy Gloster was a possibility, but he recently committed to West Virginia. A good backup plan here is OH LB Jewone Snow, a Michigan legacy.
Tentative Grade: Inc. Will be good if they pick up Olaniyan and Furman.
Current Commits: 1
FL S Marvin Robinson was considered a top junior, and although he isn't as highly-ranked as a senior, he's still a good grab for the Wolverines. He intends to enroll early, but Michigan still needs at least 1 more player at this position. OH S Latwan Anderson seems to be looking elsewhere now (and deciding soon), but CA S Dietrich Riley is still looking at Michigan, as is CA S Sean Parker. Both are top prospects, and plan to visit Ann Arbor this fall. There are a couple prospect a little lower on the board, including AZ S Marquis Flowers.
Tentative Grade: Inc. If they keep Robinson and add another decent prospect it'll be a B.
Current Commits: 2
OH CBs Terrence Talbott and Courtney Avery are good gets, but Michigan needs one elite corner in this class (Don't believe me? Watch the team play this year). Fortunately, PA CB Cullen Christian has been heavily favoring Michigan since the beginning of time, and plans to announce a decision a couple days after he visits for the Ohio State game. There are also a couple more options back here, which would allow Christian to play safety if he goes blue. They are FL CBs Travis Williams, Rashad Knight, and Tony Grimes, as well as top CA CB Joshua Shaw. Grimes is also thought to be favoring Michigan; Knight has been quiet for a while but the last time someone pinged him he also said Michigan was his leader pending a potential Florida State offer which looks like it won't come.
Tentative Grade: A-, assuming they latch on to Christian and one other guy on the list, possibly two with the intent of moving someone to safety.
Current Commits: 1
WI P Will Hagerup is the man at punter after Zoltan leaves Ann Arbor on his spaceship. Hagerup is among the top punters in the nation, and was Michigan's #1 choice from the start.
Tentative Grade: A. Woo nation's top punter.
Alltime updates can be found in the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.
Your Breathless Seantrel Henderson Update Returns!
It's been a while since I've talked about the recruitment of MN OL Seantrel Henderson (Photo by the Pioneer Press) in Wednesday Recruitin', so this should be a pretty serious update, especially considering that he's one of the most-discussed recruits in recent memory. First, we head to ESPN and Steve Wiltfong:
"The choice will ultimately be up to Seantrel, but we're trying our best to make sure he gets the best experience," said Sean Henderson, Seantrel's father.
Not that I'm going to accuse any parental tampering here, but this quote is fairly ironic, considering Seantrel started the recruiting process saying "I'm not interested in Notre Dame." The instant his father took over the media correspondence, Notre Dame was suddenly among his favorites, and they're now receiving an official visit. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. Also of note from the article:
Besides the schools he's taking official visits to [ed.: ND, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Florida] and Minnesota, the five-star Henderson is also considering Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin.
That's still a top-10 list, and there's a lot of time before Signing Day, when he plans to decide. All teams still have a somewhat-legit chance at landing the guy.
Local fluff on Seantrel. For what it's worth, he still plans to try both football and basketball at his school of choice. The emergence of Michigan's basketball program can only help the Wolverines in that regard.
Tim Brewster took to a helicopter to impress local recruits, including Henderson (photo from MNdaily.com). In an article on the same topic, his high school coach implies that there may be some (slight) academic concerns with Seantrel:
"He'll always take care of the football part of it," Scanlan said. "I just hope he gets his homework done and that he is getting everything taken care of when he comes back on Monday. That's the part that might be a concern. Because there are so many distractions; he's really focused on football. Let's just make sure that school takes care of itself, too."
Keep on eye on that, though it doesn't sound like he's in danger of not qualifying.
Seantrel is writing a weekly diary for the Pioneer Press, and I hope this is just an unfortunate coincidence in paragraph structure:
I heard this week from Ohio State, USC, Michigan and Oklahoma. It is tough sometimes to tell a school you aren't really interested...
Considering it's the Wolverines among a group of his top schools, I don't think that's intended to imply that he's uninterested in any of those programs.
Doug Lesmerises gives fluff from Seantrel's official visit, including a couple relevant quotes:
"Mostly I want to know about academics," Henderson says. "I want to learn about that if I'm going to be staying here for three years or whenever, and I want to know the people I'm surrounded by. I didn't know Ohio State was like, the biggest school. I didn't know they were so high on the academics and they give a lot of help to athletes."
Obligatory laughing at each part of the last sentence for entirely different reasons. For the record, Seantrel enjoyed his visit to Columbus, though there was nothing really said other than standard post-visit quotes (aside from his dad thinking Oklahoma is still in the Big 8, of course).
And, after that huge information dump, I'll editorialize for minute. Henderson (unlike many prospects) realizes that it's talent, and not school choice, that will get him to the NFL. Sure, he can pick up better coaching at some places than others, but if he's an NFL player, he's an NFL player, regardless of where he goes. Because of that understanding, the two biggest factors in his recruitment are expected to be education (check) and ability to win a championship while he's in school.
There's been a lot of murky insider-y talk about Michigan being one of Seantrel's favorite schools, but he's uncertain over whether he'd be able to win a championship in Ann Arbor. The fast start to the season really helps in that regard, especially beating one of his other contenders, in Notre Dame. If the Wolverines keep winning, they can really help themselves with a number of prospects, Henderson not least among them.
Your Quarterbacking Overlord Fears No Man
There has been some internet hand-wringing about what will happen to the commitment status of MI QB Devin Gardner with Tate Forcier having such a good stellar season. However, there's nothing to worry about. Devin thinks Tate looks very good, and he's not worried about competing against a possibly-entrenched starter. He'll compete to earn playing time, and if he doesn't get any of those minutes, he'll accept a redshirt.
Because it's Clear they're Needed...
...Michigan is still pursuing a number of linebackers. The main options:
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan has been a soft commit to Duke for quite some time, and his visit to Michigan seemed to have softened it even further. Since his interest in the Blue Devils has been waning, he made it official, decommitting from Duke. That's a good sign for Michigan, especially considering how much he enjoyed his time in Ann Arbor. He's taking another one sometime this winter, so if Michigan wants him, they appear to have as good a shot as any.
MD LB Josh Furman had long been planning to announce a decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl in December, but now it seems like a decision may be coming sooner ($, info in header). He was also in attendance for the Michigan-Notre Dame Game, which again is probably a good thing, considering it came shortly after heading to Ann Arbor.
MD LB Troy Gloster is a third realistic option, and he has had the Wolverines near the top of his list for quite some time now. Now it appears as though they're in a top 2 with West Virginia, and a decision might be coming before the end of his high school season ($, info in header). If such a decision does indeed happen, Michigan would at least know where it stands in it linebacker hunt.
If Michigan is unable to land any of those three linebackers, there are a couple prospects slightly lower on the recruiting board that they still have a chance at landing. One such player is OH LB Jewone Snow, son of Michigan great Garland Rivers (and nephew of Michigan State's Percy and Eric Snow). He'll observe the in-state battle on October 3rd, which may help him decide which team he likes more. Of course, one reason I'm personally enamored with Snow is his connection to 2011 OH DE Steve Miller, one of the top prospects in the Buckeye State.
In the Trenches
Though they'd fallen off his radar, the Wolverines have put themselves back on it for NC DE/DT Gabe King. Still, his coach has a lot of connections out west (his two favorites are Oregon and Cal), and he's now moving to Oregon, so don't expect MIchigan to seriously contend for him(King photo by Roy Philpott for the Detroit News).
MN DT Beau Allen was receptive when Michigan finally came after him, but it appears as though they may have been too late. He has a top four, with a couple schools trailing behind, and Michigan is nowhere to be found.
Update 5/12: Linked to video of MN OL Seantrel Henderson, articles on FL RB Darion Hall(video), PA LB Ken Wilkins, FL DE Corey Lemonier (second), MI DT Jonathan Hankins (second), MN OL Seantrel Henderson, CA RB Brennan Clay, FL RB Corvin Lamb, IA QB AJ Derby, NY DE Dominique Easley, FL LB Jeff Luc (second), FL DT Richard Ash, SC OL Eric Mack, MD LB Troy Gloster, PA DE Ken Wilkins, MD LB Lamarcus Coker, FL CB Lo Wood, FL CB Spencer Boyd, IA QB AJ Derby, IL WR Kyle Prater, OH OL Christian Pace. Moved PA DE Jordan Paskorz to committed. Commit article on Paskorz. Moved OH OL Christian Pace to committed.
Prune time: removed TX QB Jeremy Johnson(WVU), FL CB Merrill Noel (dropped M), PA DE Dakota Royer (dropped M), GA S Daunte Carr(dropped M), SC DE Corey Miller, SC DE Brandon Willis (dropped M, both of them), FL QB Christian Green (dropped M), SC RB Marcus Lattimore (dropped M), GA RB Mack Brown.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Wow. That is a ton of stuff. A lot of it is not particularly newsy, so what's below just focuses on items of direct interest.
A bloody week as a number of prospects cut their lists and dropped Michigan. In groups:
- Southern longshots to shrug at: SC DE Corey Miller, SC DE Brandon Willis, GA S Daunte Carr, GA RB Mack Brown.
- Minor disappointments: FL QB Christian Green, SC RB Marcus Lattimore, PA DE Dakota Royer
- Probably wasn't feelin' the love: TX QB Jeremy Johnson.
Johnson committed to West Virginia; he claimed a Michigan offer but with Gardner in the fold Michigan is probably going to be selective with their second QB in the class.
Lattimore released a top eight that lacked Michigan about a month after saying he'd visit officially, so there's the disappointment. Green, meanwhile, apparently wants to be a wideout in college, which considerably changes the attractiveness of Michigan to him. Royer's higher-rated than Michigan's current and prospective OLB/DE commits and is likely headed to Penn State.
The other thing worth mentioning is that I did yank FL CB Merrill Noel after he announced he would announce, but then he announced he wouldn't announce; I haven't added him back. If something happens that suggests he should be re-added, I will re-add.
The BBQ weekend came and went without any immediate commitments but OH OL Christian Pace dropped Monday and PA DE Ken Wilkins has scheduled a press conference for next Tuesday at noon. MGoBlog recruiting heuristic #3 is "a recruit announcing soon after a visit to a school is likely to pick that school," and the reports from the BBQ reinforce that:
"I liked it a lot," Wilkins said when asked about his trip to Michigan over the weekend. "The coaches brought out their families to show they have a family atmosphere there. I liked the enthusiasm of coach Rodriguez. You could see he is ready to turn the program around."
The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder has 27 scholarship offers including Michigan, Pitt, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.
"I'm going to decide (on a college) in the next week or so," Wilkins said. "Michigan and Pitt are my top two. They are dead even. I just have to see which school I like best."
Despite that public stance that Pitt is even, most observers are expecting he'll pick up a block M hat if he does the hat thing.
A few guys expected to show up didn't make it in, including MI DE Will Gholston, OH TE Dan Schneider (no offer, Pace's teammate), and OH DT Jibreel Black. Black says he was sick and will be up soon:
"I'll go up there on June 20," Black said on Sunday night. "And I'll try to make it to Michigan State, while I'm up there."
One surprising name was OH TE Alex Smith, a Cincinnati commitment. Visit = soft commitment; he'll be a guy to watch in the near future. Other big names of moderate intrigue include FL CB Tony Grimes, who made the long trip to participate and came away duly impressed, and IL WR Kyle Prater, who yes is an ACK WR but is also perhaps the best ACK WR available this year. I've bumped Grimes back up to yellow from red, and removed my mental red tint on Prater's existing yellow.
Prater, shockingly, is talking up Michigan considerably:
“I like Oklahoma,” Prater said. “I like Michigan, too. I went to the barbeque they had on Saturday (at the Big House). It was real nice. I liked the relationship the coaches had and the people around the coaches. I have a strong interest in USC, too. Tennessee is another one I like, and Miami."
Holy pants. That quote wasn't even provided to a Michigan site: it was something Bucknuts mainstay Bill Kurelic collected and posted on a Penn State site. Even with all the wide receivers in the fold, you have to take a guy like Prater; that would just about assure the move of OH WR Jerald Robinson to safety. It's not like that's going to happen any time soon, though: Prater intends to take all of his officials.
I'm not getting too hopeful on Grimes, as it appears a high school coach of his is posting on BuckeyePlanet occasionally. The ungrammatical upshot:
To be honest, in the beginning all he wanted was a offer from da U. I help convince him to open up to the possibility of leaving home and getting away. After an UGA visit he was in love them and really wanted an offer and to commit there. But now he's in a tough position he say. You already i talked up OSU for a couple of months so he was really trying to get noticed by them. Me and a couple of other coaches really pushed Hayes and Fricell (something like that) to come see him...and that was when he only had 1 offer from FAU. Im just glad the young man as options now. It's going to be hard turning down DA U for him.
That was posted pre-Michigan visit, so there's some chance the BBQ radically realigned his perceptions; until he comes out and says something to that effect, though, the expectation is he stays south.
MI DT Jonathan Hankins, an instate recruit at a position of need that's having a crappy year nationally, also turned up:
“Michigan has been my childhood favorite," said Jonathan to GoBlueWolverine. "I like them -- I mean it is Michigan and it helps that it is close to my home. They are in my top three.”
Hankins has offers from Oklahoma, Illinois, and Wisconsin already and plans to camp at Michigan, at which point you have to figure Michigan will extend an offer of their own unless some crazy awesome stuff goes down with PA DT Sharrif Floyd or something.
More on Paskorz
The Free Press did some reporting on new commit Jordan Paskorz—slow week I guess—and came up with some quotes from his coach:
DeMatteo was most impressed that Paskorz would often arrive at 6 a.m. for workouts.
"It's pretty tough for high school kids getting up that early," DeMatteo said. "He's the strongest kid I have had the opportunity to coach. On the field, he uses his strength very well and uses leverage to make him seem taller than 6-4."
Sure to burn the ears of Mountaineers fans is the revelation that Paskorz has a friend who played at West Virginia who "spoke very highly of Rodriguez." Also, the article claims an Illinois offer in addition to the trio of Pitt, Virginia, and Minnesota that had been previously reported.
MD LB Troy Gloster has a Michigan offer and M appears to be a contender:
“When I got the offer, I was very excited,” he told GoBlueWolverine. “I started thinking about all the tradition that Michigan has, and everything else. I’ve been offered by Boston College, West Virginia, Stanford, Iowa, Michigan State, Syracuse, Louisville, and North Carolina. When I got the offer from Michigan, I felt like it was my biggest offer so far.”
Gloster plans on visiting M, Stanford, and WVU over the summer, with a decision to follow soon after. Those three schools plus local Maryland, where his older brother plays, appear to comprise a tentative top four.
Michigan is probably going to take a third tailback in the class, and CA RB Brennan Clay is perhaps the most likely. After an early period where it seemed like Clay would stay on the West Coast at all costs, he's settled on a top three of Oregon, Oklahoma, and Michigan, with Tate Forcier proving a major attraction for Michigan:
"I think it will be huge," Johnson stated. "The thing with Brennan and Tate is that they know each other. They know what each other can do on the football field. Tate being at the school is a huge factor in (Brennan) wanting to (possibly) go to that school. Tate is a tremendous athlete and Brennan and Tate kind of fit (together) because they are playmakers. I figure that if Brennan goes to that school it would be a really good show just like how it was here at Scripps Ranch."
Clay's certainly got chemistry with Forcier. Check his junior-year numbers:
During his junior campaign the 6-foot, 191-pounder amassed an impressive 1,486 yards on 170 carries and 27 TDs on the ground. He added another 1,055 yards on 70 catches and six TDs through the air. Then for good measure he returned two kickoffs for TDs as well.
One team to watch out for, if they offer, is USC. Obviously. Clay's already set up officials to his top three; Michigan will get its shot September 19th.
Meanwhile, FL RB Corvin Lamb is still, I believe, waiting on an offer, but Michigan remains strong with him. Try to reconcile this:
Who is coming after Corvin the hardest right now?
"Probably Michigan, North Carolina, and Ole Miss."
"I have not talked to Michigan in a while. I will probably call them soon. Torrian Wilson, my teammate, received an offer from them. We have been talking about them a lot."
…and, well. Uh. We're good with the emails, I guess? Either way, it seems Lamb is willing to wait on Michigan, and Wilson is probably still leaning to the good guys.
Rivals AMP going on; not a lot of news here:
Henderson came in for a mention in Mike Farrell's latest rumor blast:
Sources say there are a few schools to watch out for with Henderson. The schools that get mentioned the most when digging around for information on Henderson are Minnesota and Michigan, followed by Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC.
Minnesota is then named the "team to beat," which I guess if Baylor can pirate away a Texas safety commit anything is possible. That's based on their recruitment of local quarterback JD Pride, who Henderson would like to go to school with.