it's a major award
Out of Town Guests
Wow, this would be an awesome recruiting weekend if it weren't for a game in which Michigan is likely going to get taken to the woodshed (plz don't, guys). Looking at past recruiting updates, we have the following list:
- FL CB Tony Grimes
- FL DE Clarence Murphy
- CA LB Tony Jefferson (pictured at right, courtesy of the Detroit News).
- PA CB Cullen Christian
- FL RB Cassius McDowell
- FL S Rashad Knight (leaving for Ann Arbor at 6:45 AM Saturday)
- FL S Commit Marvin Robinson
- 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
- MI CB Dior Mathis
Jefferson came in for the Sam Webb treatment in the Detroit News last week:
"They said they are in need of a player like me," Jefferson said in April after he received his Michigan offer. "They said I could play early at whatever position they think I could play -- outside linebacker, safety, or even offense. They liked my (physicality). That's what Michigan recruits."
He's a 4-star to both sites. MGo-Recruiting Guru Tom Van Haaren adds that Jefferson will not be the only California prospect in attendance. CA WR Kenny Stills will be in town along with CA Ath (and USC Commit) Dillon Baxter. Tom talked to Baxter yesterday. CA RB Brennan Clay, an Oklahoma commit and high school teammate of Tate Forcier, might also make it in. Or not.
SoFlaFootball says FL DT Richard Ash will visit for the Ohio State game as well. Ash comes from the familiar Pahokee pipeline, so Michigan might have a good chance to land him.
Add to that TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum.
FL WR Kenny Shaw will be in the house as well. Remember, he's a former teammate of Ricardo Miller and current teammate of 2011 FL RB (and heavy Michigan lean) Demetrius Hart. Speaking of whom...
Expect a bunch of juniors as well, including Hart. Demetrius may be in the "good visit = commitment" category. 2011 OH S Ron Tanner will also be in attendance ($, info in header).
As previously discussed, GA teammates DT Michael Thornton and LB Tyrone Cornelius will take a fall visit. I wouldn't be surprised if it's for this game, though that's certainly not confirmed.
Added OH S Ray Vinopal, who has received a Michigan offer. Vinopal had been on the radar much, much earlier in the process, but it didn't seem like he'd ever receive an offer. With that offer in hand, expect a winter visit from him. Here's his highlight video, courtesy of ScoutingOhio:
I honestly don't intend to reinforce racial stereotypes, but just from the highlight film, he looks like a guy who is always in position because he plays smart, not because he has elite speed. Vinopal also looks to be a big hitter. Cardinal Mooney is a traditionally strong program, and it couldn't hurt Michigan to have an in there.
For those concerned about his low recruiting profile, it appears that Vinopal's strong senior year is drawing interest from Notre Dame, Pitt, and a number of other local BCS programs. If a couple of those inquiries are followed up with offers, it'll be clear he's a Lewan sort of late bloomer, not a reach.
Cullen Near the End
PA CB Cullen Christian, as noted above, is visiting Ann Arbor this weekend. He had also planned to visit Ohio State last weekend, but that apparently didn't happen. The Buckeyes were one of the prime challengers for his commitment, so not visiting the Buckeyes can only hurt them. He still plans to decide on November 24th, so as long as his Michigan visit doesn't go poorly, he could be the next addition to the 2010 recruiting class.
Christian has made several unofficial visits to Ann Arbor, most recently in June. He is comfortable with what the program has to offer, but wants to spend a few days around the players, coaches and students before rendering his decision.
"I want to get everyone's opinion about Michigan before I make a choice,” Christian said.
Definitely sounds like his mind is all but made up. Michigan has been eliminated from contention for his teammate, S/WR Brandon Ifill, so don't expect a package deal.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who had previously named Michigan near the top of his list, has committed to UCLA. He visited the Bruins a week ago, whereafter he named them his favorite. I'd accept a trade of Olaniyan for Jefferson (a UCLA commit), if it's possible. Olaniyan's off the board.
CA CB Joshua Shaw, who I removed in the last update, picked Florida yesterday.
Permanently removed TX DT Jay Guy, who has switched his soft Cal commitment to a hard Nebraska one.
Spurned commit Holmes Onwukaife may be back in the picture for the Wolverines. Michigan and VT are the leaders for MD LB Josh Furman ($, info in header). MI QB Commit Devin Gardner isn't wavering, which is good because he does things like this. 2011 DL Donte Phillips was "wowed" by his Michigan visit a couple weeks ago ($, info in header). OH TE Alex Smith has parted ways with Cincinnati. He'll make a final decision within a couple weeks.
Just Win, Babby?
Michigan fans have seen what impact a tough season can have on a recruiting class, as the terrible 2008 squad led to attrition from last year's class, and made this year's crop more difficult to pull in. With the Wolverines facing similar struggles in 2009, some recruits may be out of reach, but a few key guys see the team improving:
"It doesn't change anything," said Millersville (Md.) Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman, who officially visited Ann Arbor in September. "They are a young team and they need people at certain positions to play and be successful like they have been (in the past)."
While the losing streak has probably put the likes of MN OL Seantrel Henderson out of reach, Furman is an important recruit, as Michigan's linebackers have... struggled this year. The article also mentions that CA LB Tony Jefferson will visit for the Ohio State game (rescheduled from last weekend), despite MIchigan's trying season. More on visits a little later.
One Game to Sway Them All
As mentioned above, the Ohio State game looks to be an important one for recruiting. Aside from providing an opportunity to show that this ship is headed in the right direction (plz plz win), it's the biggest visit weekend of the year. The list will probably change over the course of the next week, but it's shaping up to be a blockbuster, per Josh Helmholdt in the Freep:
- FL CB Tony Grimes
- FL DE Clarence Murphy
- CA LB Tony Jefferson (as mentioned above)
- PA CB Cullen Christian
- FL RB Cassius McDowell
- FL S Rashad Knight
- FL S Commit Marvin Robinson
- 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
- MI CB Dior Mathis
Aside from that article, GA LB Tyrone Cornelius has talked about visiting Michigan (as mentioned last week), but no word on whether it will be for the OSU game or post-season. CA WR Kenny Stills is in a similar situation. There are also a number of indications that some 2011 prospects will be in attendance, including FL RB Demetrius Hart, a possible commit if he really likes what he sees.
SC QB Commit Conelius Jones's Shrine Bowl profile is now available, and he's listed as a wide receiver, who will be a defensive back at Michigan. Obviously, we won't have full confirmation of his future position until Signing Day.
In other quarterbacking news, MI QB Devin Gardner comes in for a solid round of fluff from Sam Webb in the Detroit News. He's still looking at possibly enrolling early.
"He had a great junior year and has simply built upon that," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He is considered one of the top handful of quarterbacks in the country and is firmly entrenched as a five-star prospect. As far as upside goes, I don't see many quarterbacks that have his potential."
Rivals recently named Gardner the best scrambler among 2010 QBs, and the second-strongest arm, behind Penn State Commit Robert Bolden. At this time, I am obligated to grumble that I think Bolden is overrated.
LA QB Munchie LeGeaux committed to Colorado. Once Michigan took Conelius Jones, the writing was probably on the wall that LeGeaux was no longer an option.
Though CA CB Josh Shaw was talking as recently as last week about taking an official visit to Michigan for the Ohio State game, that's no longer a possibility. He will decide early next week between 5 schools that aren't Michigan: Florida, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and LSU. I'ma be straight with you: one of those things is reallllly not like the others.
PA DT Shariff Floyd has been alternately not very interested in Michigan and not at all interested in Michigan, so the latest sign of no interest (he will fill his final official visit slot with North Carolina) isn't quite cause to remove him from the board. Michigan is totally not landing that kid, though.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan was positively raving about Michigan following his unofficial visit in September, but now UCLA may have moved to the forefront. That does give him a reputation for falling in love with the most recent school he's visited, so don't read too much into it. Still, there's no mention of an official visit to Michigan in December, as there was immediately after his first trip.
Olaniyan said he plans to take two more visits in December and then make his decision.
"I have Duke set for (Dec. 4) and North Carolina (Dec. 11)," Olaniyan said. "I'll make my commitment right after those visits. If I get invited to an All-American game, I'll announce then in January but otherwise, I'll do it in mid-December after my last visit."
Yeah, so that probably means Michigan has really fallen off.
OH S/WR Bobby Swigert has selected Boston College.
Michigan's chance at TX DT Jatashun Beachum is "big" ($, info in header). Michigan offered MN DE Tobi Okuyemi... but he immediately committed to Nebraska. GA DT Mike Thornton has the Wolverines "in his thoughts" ($, info in header).
Welcome to the Fold, Carvin Johnson
Sure to be the subject of many "Calvin Johnson with a Korean accent" jokes over the next 4+ years, LA S Carvin Johnson became the 20th member of Michigan's 2010 recruiting class last night. The full googlestalk of the under-the-radar prospect can be seen in the Hello: Carvin Johnson post, but there's still a little more info out there to be had, namely an article from nola.com. Relevant bits quoted below:
Johnson said also spoke Tuesday night to both Wolverines running backs coach Fred Jackson, who had recruited him since Michigan extended its official offer during August two-a-day practices. Johnson said reached his decision in consultation with his mother Kim.
That's a slight inconsistency with other stories, which said he was offered in May. Continuing along:
"First of all," Roth said, "everybody who knows Carvin or who has been around him knows that he’s as good of a person as he is a football player. That’s a compliment to him and his momma. Football-wise, he’s a ballhawk. He’s always around the football making plays."
Johnson, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, with 4.7 speed in the 40, projects as a safety at Michigan. He is fully qualified academically with both the necessary core curriculum grade-point-average and test score, Roth said.
So, not only a (hopefully) good football player, but also a good student. Welcome, Carvin, may you be the first of many DB commits in November.
BONUS: A Lousiana high school coach emailed MGoBlog to suggest that just because Johnson is virtually unknown to the recruiting sites doesn't mean that he's not a player:
With regards to your posts on Carvin Johnson, I can tell you that you are wrong on your assessment.
As a veteran Louisiana high school football coach at several highly successful programs, I have had players go on and play all over the country and on to the pros. I have also had kids play for RRod at Tulane, Clemson and WVU. RRod knows the type of football we play here in LA and picks and chooses which schools he recruits. … RRod knows this state and which schools produce college-ready players.
Carvin Johnson is not even one of my players – but I have played against his Rummel team and know Jay Roth and his program well. Carvin Johnson can play. Here in LA, we do not send kids to camps to get hyped up. We know our kids can play. If a LA kid is going to combines, it is very much more than likely due to (a) his high school coach trying to get exposure for himself or (b) because his program isn’t any good, but he plays well. Trust me, this is how it is.
You are getting a solid player – big, physical, coached up, football smart.
Just my nickel’s worth of commentary because that kid can play. I saw him 1st hand from my own sideline earlier this season when his team eked out a victory against us. Carvin can play and Jay is a good coach.
So there you go: evidence that Johnson is a sleeper in a good way.
Reverse Manifest Destiny
Last week, mgoblog's own TomVH reported that CA S Tony Jefferson would visit MIchigan for the Purdue game. WTKA's Ira Weintraub e-mailed to let us know that the date has changed, and now Jefferson will be in town for the contest against the Buckeyes. Greg Biggins of ESPN confirms that he will now visit the weeekend of the 21st.
Also in town from the left coast will be CA WR Kenny Stills. He also says:
"I talk all the time with [CA RB] Brennan Clay, Tony Jefferson, [CA CB] Joshua Shaw, [CA DE] Ronald Powell, a few others," Stills said. "There's a good chance a lot of us could be at the same school next year and that would be great.
Stills, Shaw, and Jefferson, plz. I believe Josh Shaw will complete that trifecta by also visiting for the OSU game. He has said he wants to take a Michigan visit, and that would be the perfect time to get him on campus.
In which I emulate Sherlock Holmes to an unnecessary degree
Remember back when GA DT Michael Thornton said he might take an official visit to Michigan at some point? TomVH confirms, via Twitter, that this will indeed happen. Considering that he's the only Georgia DT that Michigan is still heavily recruiting, we can assume this Scout header is about him, no?:
Georgia LB to Visit Michigan
GBW's Eugene Hankerson talked to the player - who plans to visit with his DT-Teammate.
Using a little detective work, we discover that there are three prospects in the Rivals database who are linebackers from Stephenson High School: Jabari Johnson, Franchot West, and Tyrone Cornelius.
Johnson doesn't have a picture available on his Scout profile, so he's out (otherwise the header photo for the article would be his profile picture). That leaves West and Cornelius. Let us compare the photographic evidence:
Cornelius, Mystery Man, and West
The mgo-photo analysis provides indisputable evidence: It's Mr. Cornelius, with the official visit, in the Big House.
I got way too much enjoyment out of this. Cornelius had been thinking about a Michigan visit for a while, FWIW.
FL LB Christian Jones is apparently still considering Michigan ($, info in header). I've re-added him to the board, since it seems like a lot of recruits are trying to stay as far as possible away from Florida State. Still, even getting him on campus would be a minor recruiting coup.
Part of the reason VA LB Aramide Olaniyan's is on the open market is that Duke was supposed to suck this year, and they did nothing to change those predictions in week one, falling at home to 1-AA Richmond. However, the Blue Devils have since rebounded, and now control their destiny in the ACC Coastal. Olaniyan is back to considering the Blue Devils, although Michigan still remains near the top of his list.
It was apparent that he wasn't headed to Michigan for a while, but now we know where FL RB Eduardo Clements will play his college ball: Miami (YTM).
FL CB Ricardo Allen committed to Purdue.
2011 OH DE Steve Miller has committed to Ohio State, which is sad, but not unexpected. I at least thought he'd give Michigan an unofficial visit or two.
Speaking of 2011, it's been a while since we've had an update on junior prospects. Athlete Vault has released an initial top 100 and relevant prospects at this time are:
#2 FL DT Timmy Jernigan (Michigan offer, but probably a Florida lock)
#3 AZ OT Christian Westerman (Michigan offer)
#10 GA TE Jay Rome (Michigan offer)
#12 MI LB Lawrence Thomas (Michigan offer, favors MSU)
#15 OH QB Braxton Miller (Michigan offer, favors OSU)
#27 FL S Hasean Clinton-Dix (Michigan interest, Dr. Phillips)
#35 FL WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin (Michigan interest)
#50 NC QB Christian LeMay (Michigan offer and camper, probably a lock to Florida)
#52 OH LB Trey DePriest (Michigan offer)
#54 DE Jalen Grimble (Michigan offer, added to the board)
#84 TX S Sheroid Evans (Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk HS)
#91 OH DE Chris Rock (Michigan interest)
#100 FL RB Demetrius Hart (Michigan lock)
Several other guys on the list will probably be of interest by the time 2011 recruiting truly ramps up.
For his part, Sheroid Evans would like to run track and major in engineering in college. Somebody get this kid on the phone with Troy Woolfolk and Patrick Omameh, stat.
Lawrence Thomas, on the other hand, is the subject of a ridiculously-misleading ESPN headline: "Mich. LB favors another Big Ten school" is a phrase which here means "Penn State is a school he is considering." The article itself even explicitly says he has no favorites.
SoFlaFootball also has its top 50 for 2011.
People close to MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment are "beginning to think" he'll probably end up at Southern Cal. Uh, no, they've pretty much thought that all along. Notre Dame homers, on the other hand, think it's a 2-horse race between them and Ohio State. MI RB Jeremy Langford visited Michigan recently ($, info in header), I'd be surprised if an offer comes through. Michigan is pursuing post-grad VA DE David Mackall, currently a Maryland commit ($, info in header). I've added him to the board. SC CB John Fulton is selected to the Shrine Bowl. PA CB Cullen Christian no longer a lock? Say it ain't so! Is FL WR Kenny Shaw still interested in Michigan? A possible official visit would seem to imply so.