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 protected] or tweet @varsityblue.
Trimming Lists, Planning Visits
WI RB Melvin Gordon (pictured at right, via the Kenosha News) may take an official visit to Michigan. It had previously seemed like the Wolverines were out of the running for Melvin, and this could be a sign that they definitely want a big back in this class.
Michigan is in FL RB Devondrick Nealy's top five ($, info in header). He's similar to FL RB Demetrius Hart, so if all goes well with Dee, I wouldn't expect Nealy to end up in this class.
NJ Slot WR Miles Shuler-Foster has a top 7 that includes Michigan. He seems to be one of only two slots (along with FL Slot WR Prince Holloway) that Michigan is pursuing. It's not a position of need, but Shuler's speed would be hard to turn down.
NJ TE Jack Tabb (who recently visited Ann Arbor) is ready to cut his list of more than 20 offers. Six schools, including Michigan, are guaranteed to make that cut, making up a de facto top six.
Last week, PA DE Deion Barnes named a top 5 ($, info in header) including Michigan. There might be another positive development in that recruitment, as Pitt, also in his top 5, picked up commitments from three defensive ends last week.
OH LB Sean Duggan has a top five that includes Michigan (along with Wisconsin, Boston College, Duke, and Virginia).
NJ S Sheldon Royster will try to visit Michigan before his senior season starts ($, info in header).
LA CB Daren Kitchen, who has long favored Michigan, will take an official visit for the Connecticut game ($, info in header). If receives a commitable offer on that visit, he could drop for the Wolverines.
PA DE Desimon Green committed to Pitt.
MD OL Donovan Smith has narrowed to a top 12 that does not include Michigan.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett committed to Pitt.
TampaBay.com covered the commitment of Tony Posada last week:
Leaving the state was a major factor, Posada said, as was Michigan’s reputation of producing offensive linemen. Two weeks ago, Posada said his mind was “99 percent” made up.
“That day I walked outside and it felt like it was 100 degrees out and I told myself, ‘I want to go to the snow,’ ” Posada said. “And when you go to Michigan and they ask what did you play and you say offensive tackle, people say, ‘Man, you must be good to play tackle at Michigan.’ ”
It sounds like the staff is planning to play him at tackle, which means any more OL commits will probably come from guards.
Tom spoke with FL OL James Elliott following his Michigan visit, and Elliott had nothing but positive things to say:
JAMES: Man, that was the most amazing school I've ever seen in person... We actually stayed a little longer than expected just so we could see everything, and meet Coach Rodriguez. We didn't realize he was in Seattle, so we wanted to stay to meet him. We got to see practice and talk with him about the visit. It was just great.
He named Michigan his leader ($, info in header), so what's the next step for Elliott? He holds an offer, but not yet a committable (i.e. Rodriguez-issued) one. With a few good OL targets remaining on the board, Elliott may have to wait to see how things shake out before he receives one.
FL DT Tim Jernigan, who has Michigan in his top five, is also Facebook friends with a couple of Michigan's coaches.
Local Fluff on KY LB Lamar Dawson. He's a longshot for Michigan, but a good season on the field could turn a lot of top prospects' heads toward Ann Arbor.
FL WR/S Sammy Watkins and his teammate, CB/QB Dallas Crawford (pictured at right), are both very interested in Michigan still:
Watkins is still considering a long list of schools, but says he was very impressed during visits to Michigan and Clemson.
Crawford says he'll wait until the end of the season to make a decision, but lists Michigan, LSU, Miami, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and West Virginia as his leaders right now.
Watkins plans to announce a top 5 before his season, and then put recruiting on the back burner for a while. Crawford was willing to go on the record and say the Wolverines stand atop his list. Landing him would help Michigan with Watkins.
MI CB Valdez Showers will announce a decision next week. The Wolverines are in his top four ($, info in header), along with Michigan State, Northwestern, and Florida. Though Showers grew up a Michigan fan, I don't think they're the favorite to land him at this time.
For more on several prospects, including GA S Avery Walls, check out Tom's weekly recruiting update.
The Distant Future. The Year 2016(!)
A physically imposing offensive lineman from Illinois grew up loving Michigan:
Swenson’s dream school is Michigan, but he also has his priorities straight. “The first thing is to get a good education,” Swenson said. “I want to go to a good school and play football. I’d like to study engineering or business.”
The issue? Kid's not even in high school yet. Erik Swenson's recruitment is a long way off, but assuming we all survive Mayan apocalypse, he's one to keep an eye on in the future.
In slightly-less-distant news, 2012 OH S Allen Gant (at right) is the latest prospect profiled by Sam Webb in the Detroit News.
Said Allen, "Before I just didn't have a very good idea of what Rich Rod and his staff were about, but after (the visit) I feel a lot more comfortable with them. I know that they're interested in me. They're on my radar with all the other schools that were recruiting me."
Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant, but he grew up a fan of the Buckeyes.
Remember that you can check out the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board for the updates over time.
Kellen Jones Goes Blue
"We were in Coach Rodriguez' office, and my family was in there with me. I told Coach that I was committing, and my whole family broke into the Michigan fight song. My Dad, Uncle, me, everybody was singing the fight song. Coach Rodriguez laughed and said he had never seen that before. He was shocked."
He also told Tom about getting to see the Big House. For video evidence, you can see a Youtube video that a family member (I presume) uploaded. I'll warn you in advance that it's not particularly interesting:
Other outlets have covered Jones's commitment as well. Check out breakdowns from GBMWolverine:
He is an outstanding blitzer, shows excellent timing getting to the ball, and has a nice closing burst. Kellen will need to improve his scraping and coverage skills.
[T]he thing that jumps out at me about Jones is his playmaking ability and athleticism. He uses his speed and quickness to get into the backfield, and has a great nose for the football once he’s in position to make a play
Jones takes a bit of pressure off linebacker recruiting, though there are still a couple spots open in the class.
- MI RB Justice Hayes committed to Notre Dame. Though he's off the board, he might re-emerge as a prospect if something weird goes down with Demetrius Hart.
- Michigan seems unlikely to make the cut for FL RB Andrew Buie.
- FL Slot WR Tacoi Sumler committed to Oregon.
- Michigan has missed the cut to five schools in the recruitment of FL WR Curt "Spiffy" Evans.
- MI WR Jermal Hosley was never going to earn a Michigan offer. He's committed to Bowling Green.
- LA OL Jonah Austin has committed to Houston.
- MI LB Ed Davis has committed to Michigan State.
- PA S Mike Caputo will make a commitment within a few weeks, and he's only considering Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, and Ohio State.
Happy Trails from the future for FL S LaQuentin Smith? He's close to a decision, and Michigan gets no mention other than as one of his offers. I'll leave him on the board until we have a better idea how the Dr. Phillips recruits shake out. His teammate, fellow safety Roderick Ryles, has committed to Arkansas, but will visit other schools ($, info in header).
Rivals' Michael Langston caught up with FL RB Demetrius Hart at Gridiron Kings, and Dee talked about Michigan and Alabama, his decision timeframe, and what other Florida players he finds impressive:
That decision could come as early as the UConn game, and it's encouraging to hear how much he gushes about his friendship with current Wolverine Ricardo Miller. Brice's Recruiting has the highlights from Hart's performance at Gridiron Kings.
OH WR AJ Jordan has pushed back his timeframe for making a final decision ($, info in header). He's planning to announce a favorites list soon, and Michigan is likely to be on it.
Added FL WR Quinta Funderburk. He's a possibility for Michigan's second receiver spot in the class, and according to MGoRecruit, Michigan is in his final five, along with Arkansas, West Virginia, Penn State, and Florida.
FL Slot WR Prince Holloway wants to take an official to Michigan ($, info in header). He's the only true slot receiver Michigan has given an offer, to the best of my recollection.
NJ TE Jack Tabb was offered by Michigan last week, and promptly made a visit to Ann Arbor. Following the visit, Michigan moved into his top group ($, info in header). Tabb was under the radar until recently, as he didn't put up big stats his junior year.
Michigan: "I have been talking with Michigan about their offense. It's the kind of offense I would like to play in and I am used to playing in. I know things haven't been the best up there but they have been recruiting well and I think this team is ready. They are close and this will be their breakout year."
Prevailing wisdom had been that he'd pick the Wolverines, but South Florida has made a strong push lately. Keep an eye out next Wednesday to see if Hello: Tony Posada comes to fruition.
Kentucky-oriented fluff on IN OL Nick Martin, who recently visited campus ($, info in header). The offensive tackle plans to narrow his list within a couple weeks, and make a decision shortly thereafter.
Rivals says OH LB/DE Austin Traylor is a similar player to recently-departed Ed Davis, and briefly breaks down his game:
Traylor can play a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role in a 3-4 defense... With Traylor’s unique skills, Ohio’s defensive coordinator can switch formations without having to change personnel much
Traylor told Tom that's he'll narrow his list soon, and Tom thinks Michigan will make that list.
VA LBs Travis Hughes and Curtis Grant are both "considering" Michigan, but neither is likely to become a Wolverine any time soon. Grant did talk to Sam Webb about Michigan ($, info in header), so maybe he more interest than it seems.
Local fluff on FL S Wayne Lyons. Michigan is in his final 14, and he'll announce at the Army All-American game.
Lyons, who raised his GPA entering his senior year to a 5.0 by getting straight A's in every one of his classes except Biology (one of his classes at BCC), doesn't need anyone to put a positive spin on anything he does.
Sounds like he'll be a great asset on and off the field to whichever program he ultimately chooses.
GA S Avery Walls has transferred high schools to seek out a christian-oriented education. Michigan still has a great shot at landing him, but he's no longer playing for Wolverines in high school (as he had been at Union Grove, pictured to the right).
MI CB Valdez Showers has announced a top 6 of Florida, Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, Auburn, and Iowa, in no particular order. He plans to make a decision at the end of August.
MI DT Danny O'Brien grew up an Ohio State fan, mostly to rib his older brother:
"I've always loved Ohio State," O'Brien said. "I was a Michigan fan when I was really young. Me and Pat had a little rivalry. He'd go for Michigan and I went to Ohio State. We'd always talk trash to each other during games. Pat and I could never like the same teams."
That doesn't seem like the most deep-seated fandom in the world, and Michigan is reportedly among his early favorites. He's already holding a Tennessee offer, so he's likely to be a big-time prospect down the road.
Remember, the Michigan Football Recruiting Board holds all the info you need.
Tournaments, Visits, Decisions. Oh My!
FL RB Dee Hart and his Dr. Phillips teammates participated in the Nike 7ON tournament last weekend, and though the team results weren't the best, Dee tore it up:
Hart was easily the best player on the field for Dr. Phillips and when the team seemed out of sorts to start the competition, he stepped up to make some key plays.
That's an extremely positive review, the type that Michigan fans are used to seeing by now. That, along with Dr. Phillips's fourth place finish, earned Hart a spot on the all-tournament team, and the Orlando Sentinel explains why:
"One play sums up Hart's style of play: He caught the ball for a short gain and put a swift move on a linebacker and then sprinted toward the middle of the field to gain some separation. When two defensive backs came to meet him he side-stepped them and they collided as he ran past for an even bigger gain. Hart is electric with the ball in his hands and he can catch coming out of the backfield.'
Craig Haubert points out that he's great at going up to get the ball, despite his smaller stature. Here's a bit of recruiting fluff on Hart and his teammate FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix. Hart is also cryptic in his recruiting interviews, though reporters still haven't realized that he just wants to be left alone. He'll be in Ann Arbor today with 2012 FL QB Nick Patti.
"It went well," said Walsh of his one-on-one time with Michigan's head coach. "We talked a lot about (different) stuff, and not always about football. He told me about the new additions to the Big House, the town, and everything. I like him. I guess you could say he's different from how he is portrayed. He's a really cool, laid-back person. He's always smiling, and the way he talks about things, you kind of just feel good talking to him."
Walsh, who grew up a Michigan fan, plans to make a pre-season decision. He is down to eight schools, including Michigan, conference mates Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern, and a pair each from the PAC-10 and SEC in the Los Angeles schools and the Tennessee schools.
LA CB Daren Kitchen has been openly lobbying for a Michigan offer, going so far as to say he'd commit to the Wolverines on the spot. According to Tom, he's not only been offered, but also upheld his pledge to accept. Rich Rodriguez recently returned from vacation, so we'll have to see if that offer becomes committable. If so, look for a Hello: Daren Kitchen post i the near future.
Happy Trails, NC QB Marquise Williams. After the commitment of FL QB Kevin Sousa, it was clear that Michigan's staff knew Williams was heading elsewhere, now it's just been made official—he'll be a Tar Heel.
Michigan is not mentioned in a Rivals article about PA DE Desimon Green, who "knows where he wants to go." He's still on the board, but close to a Happy Trails moment.
Adios, FL LB AJ Johnson. He's narrowed his list to three, and Michigan is nowhere to be found.
Paring It Down
LA DT Mickey Johnson is down to a final five schools:
“UCLA, Nebraska, Michigan, Tennessee, and LSU are my final 5 in that order. I’m going to take 4 official visits, I won’t take one to LSU since it’s so close. I may enter a 5th visit down the line but we’ll see. I’m up to over 40 total offers right now so it’s been tough to narrow them down.”
Here's Johnson in action during his junior season:
Johnson is probably Michigan's last best hope for a high profile nose tackle in this class, though he maintains that UCLA and Nebraska have a healthy lead on the other three schools.
PA DE Deion Barnes plans to narrow his list to four or five schools by the start of his high school season.
GA S Avery Walls has a top 11, which includes Michigan. He plans to visit Virginia and Oregon, the only schools on the list that he hasn't seen yet, before making his mid-season decision. Remember, he spoke glowingly of Ann Arbor when he came through last month.
He announced a cut down list of 14 Saturday night that included the Gamecocks, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Stanford, Vanderbilt, UCLA and South Florida.
Michigan hadn't seemed too involved in Lyons's recruitment, but we'll see if interest increases now that it's obviously mutual. From the same article, Michigan is in a top 9 for FL S/WR Sammy Watkins. Clemson and Miami are his top two.
Michigan is in the final eight for OH CB Doran Grant. Ohio State and Michigan State (where his dad played) are still the presumed favorites.
FL RB DeVondrick Nealy has a Michigan offer and the Wolverines are in his top five. He's likely a backup plan if Demetrius Hart doesn't end up in Ann Arbor.
OH WR AJ Jordan is up to 21 offers. He'll also make a return trip to Ann Arbor:
"I'm visiting Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Michigan this summer and hopefully I'll be able to make a decision before the start of the season.
He's been to Ann Arbor a couple times, so Michigan is likely near the top of his list. At this time, I think most people expect him to be Michigan's second outside wideout in this class. Here's his junior video, for those who are interested.
MI OL Anthony Zettel won't decide until after at least one official visit, to Iowa ($, info in header). Even just that header mentions that Michigan and Michigan State have a big lead on the field.
The Oakland Press's Scott Burnstein obviously turned on his BROTASTIC filter before writing this article about MI CB Valdez Showers:
Then summertime hit and with the increase in temperature, the Eagles very own, "REIGN MAN," caught red-hot fire and proceeded to BLOW UP like DA BOMB he is.
So, uh, yeah. Not really sure how I should react to that.
PA CB/S Dondi Kirby tore his ACL at Michigan's camp ($, info in header), and will miss his senior year of football.
Michigan is giving attention to OH CB Roger Williamson ($, info in header). I've added him to the board.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
As mentioned above, FL QB Nick Patti (right) is in town this weekend with his 2011 teammate, FL RB Dee Hart. Though he's a little guy, the Orlando Sentinel still points out that he's one heck of a QB:
"[H]e's going to make some school happy. He has a big arm, is smart and capable and was one of the better quarterbacks at the event."
Patti, just a junior, is heading into his first full season as the starting QB at Dr. Phillips. He recently won the Golden Gun award for accuracy, hitting all eight targets at the Las Vegas Elite 11 camp.
Offers, much less a commitment, for Patti are a long way off, but keep him in the back of your mind.
Michigan has picked up a couple players from Columbus St. Francis DeSales in the past couple years (Patrick Omameh in 2008, Chris Rock in 2011), so don't be surprised if they go after OH RB Warren Ball, who should be one of the Midwest's top running backs. Alas, they'll have to fight Ohio State if they want to land him.
SC WR Dorial Green, who holds a Michigan offer, will be a big-time recruit next year:
He helped lead the Hornets to a Class 5 basketball state championship. He also closed his sophomore year by winning two state titles, including the 100 meters, at the track and field championships.
Projections will have him as one of the most highly regarded national football recruits of the Class of 2012. The top programs in the country will be offering to Green, who is 6-foot-5.
The rest of the article is of the variety "his Rivals profile says he's interested in...," so take it with a grain of salt.
All-time updates live on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
At about the 0:55 mark, that's FL WR Sammy Watkins gettin' his crush on (good pad level, that). If football and school don't work out, there's a future in stunt acting, no doubt.
Camps And Visits
The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body Camp took place at Wayne State over the weekend, drawing many of the midwest's best prospects. Sam Webb previewed the event in his Detroit News column last week:
Thanks to additional help from sponsors like Powerhouse Gym, the U.S. Army, and Scout.com, Sound Mind-Sound Body has reached farther beyond Michigan's border than ever before. As a result, before the first whistle is blown at this year's camp, it will have already surpassed last year's mark of hosting 55 prospects that eventually earned scholarship offers.
"Seventy kids already have Division I scholarship offers," said Blackwell. "We have kids coming from as far as Arizona and Minnesota. It is astounding. I'm just in awe really. This is more of a regional event now."
Prospects of interest for Michigan fans were many, and included OH OL Aundrey Walker, IL OL Chris Bryant, MI WR Commit Shawn Conway, MI WR DeAnthony Arnett, MI CB Valdez Showers, and MI CB Commit Delonte Hollowell. The Class of 2012 was represented as well, with MI LB James Ross (pictured above), MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and IL OL Jordan Diamond leading the way.
Michigan's summer camp also started over the weekend (and ended yesterday). Tom ran down some of the participants, and is updating that Diary as he gets new information. Check back for the latest updates, and to know who you should keep on commitment watch.
OH OL Ray Ball was in town for camp, though he didn't work out. He raved about the visit to Tom:
"I know the top schools I have on my list are Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA, but this definitely puts Michigan in a better spot than before. "
In a class that will end up with many offensive linemen, that's a positive sign.
MI OL Jake Fisher did work out, on the other hand, and left Ann Arbor with an offer in hand ($, info in header).
NC LB/S Kris Frost was (is?) in town, and Michigan and Auburn lead LSU, Cal, and Clemson. for him.
Moving on to non-camp visit news, PA DT Delvon Simmons will be visiting Michigan eventually.
IL DE James Adeyanju visited Ann Arbor last week, and may be making a return visit soon ($, info in header).
Safety prospect Avery Walls had a great visit to Ann Arbor last week, even his mother (an OSU grad) was impressed. Michigan really rolled out the red carpet, with virtually all the coaches greeting Walls in Schembechler Hall, and it paid off. He also visited MSU whilst he was up here, but UM probably has the better chance.
Walls would be a huge grab for Rodriguez and co., but don't expect a decision any time soon.
Michigan makes the top 5 for FL S LaQuentin Smith, who is visiting with his teammate, FL RB Demetrius Hart, for the Iowa game:
"I would say that right now my top five is Arkansas, South Carolina, South Florida, Ole Miss and Michigan," Smith said. "And I still have love for Colorado State because they were the first to offer me."
Smith also hinted in the article that both Smith and Hart are considering a Michigan commitment during the visit. Hart also came in for some spring fluff:
Top RB - Dee Hart, Dr. Phillips. Hart was wiped out after playing two ways for almost 15 games over the weekend as the Panthers had to fight their way back through the losers' bracket. He rarely showed that fatigued on the field, however, and he was DP's go-to-guy, as usual, helping them reach the championship game.
The Panthers were runners-up in the USF 7-on-7 Tournament.
- IN RB Remound Wright. He held a (non-committable, I think) Michigan offer, but has committed to Stanford.
- TX RB Jarrell Oliver. He committed to Utah, where he'll be in the Utes' first recruiting class as a BCS program. Michigan seemed to cool on Oliver due to interest in other RBs (and teammate, TX S Sheroid Evans, coming off the board to Texas).
- IL WR DaVaris Daniels. He was going to choose between Miami and Notre Dame yesterday, but has pushed back the announcement. Michigan still appears to be out of the picture.
- OH WR Devin Smith. He received his Ohio State offer last week and, as expected, joined the Buckeyes' class of 2011.
- OH TE Nick Vannett, though he holds a Michigan offer, is not considering the Wolverines at this time. Conventional wisdom has him picking the Buckeyes.
- VA DE Corey Marshall. He committed to Virginia Tech.
- Future happy trails to TX CB Charles Jackson, who is deciding soon ($, info in header). He holds a Michigan offer, but hasn't really mentioned the Wolverines since receiving it.
- MI CB/Ath Raymon Taylor committed to Indiana. I, for one, will be shocked if he's still a four-star by the end of the process. The local BCS programs have had tons of opportunities to see him play, and neither considered him worthy.
Still With The Quarterbackin'
Michigan might not be dead for NC QB Marquise Williams, as he claims to not have made a decision yet, but VT or North Carolina (where he took a recent unofficial) is the presumptive choice. With his decision coming this week, we're approaching a "Happy Trails" moment for him.
That means FL QB Kevin Sousa (right) may finally be getting close to that coveted Michigan offer:
I called coach (Rod) Smith today, and they are going to recruit me. He is meeting with coach Rodriguez tomorrow as to a possible offer. He said that the guys they were recruiting are no longer interested in Michigan, and they have opened it up again as far as looking for a QB.
Should he receive that Michigan offer, don't forget he's said it would be hard to turn down in the past. He did tell Tom that he would visit Ann Arbor before making a decision for the Wolverines, but he may have that opportunity soon. He's roadtripping with his coach to several midwest schools, and if a Michigan offer is imminent, that schedule could probably be adjusted for a stop in Ann Arbor.
I've made it no secret that I think Sousa would be a great pickup for the QB in this class. If you want a little more on him, he has a variety of highlight videos available, including one from his spring game back in May:
Michigan, Pitt, and Florida are the leaders for NJ TE/DE Taques Franklin.
“My top schools that I’m looking at right now are Florida, Cincinnati, Michigan, Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Those are the top ones I’m looking at. I know a little bit about each one of them. From talking to college scouts I like what those (schools) have had to say. They’ve been telling me how good their school is for sports and education.
He may visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
Michigan, USC, and Oregon had been a pseudo-top 3 for AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, but the sanctions against the Trojans may have affected that. He talked to Tom:
I asked him what his reaction was, and he said, "I want to say it doesn't affect me, but it does. It's two years, which would end after my first year, so I would be there for it. I don't know if there's anything more, but if the NCAA finds more, then who knows what else they'll do. You never know with the NCAA."
Yruretagoyena recently released a top 7, including all three of those schools, along with Arizona, Arkansas, Oregon State, and Washington. It may be notable (and discouraging) that Michigan is one of only two non-PAC10 schools on the list.
FL OL James Elliott has received a Michigan offer.
PA OL Paul Gaughan has also received the Michigan offer ($, info in header) that he's been waiting for.
LA DT Mickey Johnson tells Tom that UCLA and Nebraska lead Michigan, Tennessee, and LSU for his services.
Coach Rodriguez is a cool guy. They're going through some things right now, but I believe that they're going to get through it. Coach Fred (Jackson) is good friends with my dad now, too. They've developed a good friendship through this recruiting process, so that's pretty cool. Plus, they play in the Big House. I've seen pictures of the stadium, and campus online, and I just can't wait to see all that.
If (when?) Michigan gets him on campus, it could be a huge boon to Michigan's chances to land him.
Shortly after Michigan offered, they were the heavy favorite for MI LB Ed Davis. However, the Wolverines have fallen off slightly, thanks to some new offers and negative recruiting.
Added SC LB Dexter Staley, who includes Michigan in his top 5.
Michigan is showing renewed interest in OH LB Antonio Poole ($, info in header).
Tom talked to MI CB Valdez Showers, who recently received a Florida offer. Michigan is in his top group, and his friendship with MI WR Commit Shawn Conway could help the Wolverines recruit him.
2012 Note: Michigan is "courting" OH RB Warren Ball ($, info in header).
The 2011 Recruiting Board lives here.
Assume The Position: Tight End
It's been an eventful week for Michigan tight end recruiting with a couple recruits going off the board and a couple new offers going out. It's unclear how important a tight end will be to this recruiting class, but it seems like the coaching staff wants one.
FL TE Jeff Heuerman received a Michigan offer last week on an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor, and he came away impressed with the school and Rich Rodriguez ($, info in header). Though he's a Michigan legacy (his father, Paul, played basketball for Michigan in the 80s), he committed to Ohio State on a visit to their campus shortly after.
MA TE Brian Miller also comes off the board, as he committed to Boston College.
The only remaining prospect who already had a Michigan offer and had shown serious interest in the Wolverines is OH TE Ray Hamilton (pictured at right), a junior day visitor that we haven't heard from in a while. With Heuerman and Miller off the board, he might be the #1 choice at the position.
According to recruiting guru Jim Stefani, NJ TE/DE Taques Franklin has received a Michigan offer. Rutgers also offered, and Jim notes that he is a 6-5, 220lb high school running back, which I didn't believe until I checked it out. That's a serious load to tackle.
Michigan has offered NJ QB/Ath Tanner McEvoy ($, info in header). He's a 6-5 white guy with a 4.7-second 40-yard dash time: not exactly your prototypical Rich Rodriguez quarterback. Rivals lists him as an athlete, so it's possible they could be looking at him for another position. The measurables say "Tight End" to me, so I stuck him in this section.
Other New Offers
He's been on the radar for a long time, and Michigan has finally offered WI RB Melvin Gordon.
The trio of schools join Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington State, Indiana, Michigan State and Cincinnati in extending scholarship offers to the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder...
Gordon is either a four- or five-star prospect (out of five stars) on most recruiting Web sites.
I hadn't realized he was that highly-regarded, and, uh, neither have the recruiting sites. Scout currently has him at three stars (#67 RB in the country), and the other two sites have him off their respective watchlists.
OH WR AJ Jordan, from the school that produced Roundtree, Shaw, and Moore, has a Michigan offer headed his way, according to Tom. He's a good-sized speedster, with a 14.3-second time in the 110m hurdles this track season. He's also expressed strong interest in a Michigan offer. Here's his highlight video:
Unfortunately, this new offer might have something to do with the fact that MI WR DeAnthony Arnett is now favoring Michigan State. It will be interesting to see how recruiting at the position plays out, since Arnett seems to be the #1 target (and still interested in Michigan, as long as they get the ball to the wideouts and win).
Also receiving an offer was FL DE Aaron Lynch. Lynch has offers from the likes of Alabama and Ohio State, according to Rivals, so he's probably a bigtime prospect.
Visits Past, Visits Future
A couple more wraps from the Spring Game visit weekend a little while back. First up, Sam Webb talks to FL WR Sammy Watkins (pictured at right) and FL Ath/CB Dallas Crawford in the Detroit News. Both seemed to enjoy the visit:
"They definitely moved up," said Crawford, the No. 29 cornerback in the country according to Scout.com. "When it comes to academics, there is none better than Michigan. They did not sell me a dream. They just said if you want to play, you have to come in and work. That's all I'm asking for is a chance. It was way better than I expected. I expected it to be a little plain up north, but it was pretty fun."
"I like (Michigan) a lot," added Watkins, Scout.com's No. 3 wideout. "I knew two or three (Michigan players) that we kicked it with at the dorms. They were pretty cool. And the team looked pretty good (during the spring game). They impressed me. The offensive lineman blocked well and they had all day to throw. They're young still, so it looks pretty good out there. "
Both are top prospects, with a great deal of success on the high school level:
Crawford was the Broxson Award winner as the Daily News' Player of the Year last year, and Watkins was the Offensive Player of the Year.
Watkins is higher rated prospect than Crawford, but both have a number of top offers. They are considering a return visit to Ann Arbor this fall. They are interested (but not committed) to attending the same school.
PA DE Deion Barnes, who was offered at the Spring Game, talked to Michigan Sports Zone about the visit.
He may not have a clear leader but there are some variables that are playing into Michigan’s favor, “The tradition, the support they give and all the past players who have gone into the draft and have been successful” are all some factors that are helping Michigan’s case according to Barnes.
Barnes will take his time with recruiting, and is more worried right now about improving his own game. If Michigan's season goes well, the Wolverines will have a good chance with him.
The next big visit weekend doesn't come until the BBQ at the Big House in May. We'll build up a more complete list as the date approaches, but there are a few tentative confirmations.
Of course, FL RB Demetrius Hart will return to Michigan for the event. Those who have been playing close attention know that there's a chance he'll commit at that time.
NC LB/WR Kris Frost, who wanted to go to the Spring Game but couldn't get plane tickets, will try to make up for missing that visit by attending the BBQ at the Big House.
The recent Nike Football Training Camp hosted a number of the South's best prospects last weekend, including brief reports on some fringe Michigan targets, like including FL CB Nick Waisome, FL S Wayne Lyons, and others. More prominent Michigan targets are also included, starting with a not-so-positive report on FL WR Ja'Juan Story:
Ja'Juan Story (Brooksville, Fla./Nature Coast Tech) may have built up the most hype out of any receiver in attendance, but he was inconsistent in his play and reps. During drills it was hard not to come away impressed with his long frame and great speed. He displayed his impressive wingspan and great hands, including making some nice grabs away from his frame. However, he was not the jump-ball mismatch we were expecting to see during one-on-ones and looked a bit rigid out of his breaks at times.
That hasn't stopped Story from earning and accepting an offer to the Under Armour All-American Game. And now for a more-glowing report on FL QB Kevin Sousa (pictured at right):
Kevin Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) also stood out in what was an impressive group of QBs at the camp. His underneath passes had good zip and the ball really came off his hand with some good RPMs at times. He fit several passes into tight spots and had nice rotation on his intermediate-to-deep throws. Sousa has raw arm strength and his mechanics can be shaky at times, but we like his upside when projecting for the college level.
Sousa also comes in for some fluff from the Orlando Sentinel.
Sousa found out Tuesday that he has been selected as one of the Top 100 QBs who are invited to take part in the Dreammaker Tour Finale, slated for Memorial Day weekend at Santa Barbara, Calif. The Top 7 QBs from this event will be selected to move on to the Super 7 Steve Clarkson retreat in Hawaii on the island of Maui.
Dream big, kid. For all we hear about his football prowess, there's precious little said about his recruiting. He plans to attend a Junior Day at Ohio State this week, and recently visited Florida.
Tom published an excellent diary on offensive line recruiting yesterday. I'll break it down in a bit more detail in the next Wednesday Recruitin', but for now, a couple notes on the position:
Though Ohio State already has commitments from four offensive linemen, they still want at least one more, and are considered the leader for OH OL Aundrey Walker. Though Walker attends known OSU pipeline Cleveland Glenville, he attended a Junior Day at Michigan earlier this year, and is teammates with OH QB Cardale Jones, who the Buckeyes aren't showing any love.
LA OL Trai Turner is open to playing either offensive line or defensive tackle. Michigan has needs at both, so that should help with his recruitment. He also wants to make an early decision sometime this summer ($, info in header). Though he's spoken positively about Michigan in the past (the Wolverines were among his first offers), getting him on campus for a camp or visit is important. His offer list keeps expanding ($, info in header), so there's also a chance he delays a choice.
AZ OL Cyrus Hobbi, who holds a Michigan offer, "likes the South," which could be a bad sign for Michigan's chances to land him. Texas A&M is his latest offer.
Tom reports that Troy Polamalu's cousin, PA S Maika Polamalu, is interested in Michigan, and will camp this summer. FL OL Max Lang wants to stay close to home ($, info in header), not a good sign for Michigan. UMGoBlog's Jon Jennings looks at Michigan's Florida recruiting for the 2011 class.
As always, the information is archived in one place on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.
SPRING GAME WEEK!
The Spring Game has finally arrived, and this Saturday, the Wolverines will welcome a number of prospects to Michigan Stadium on unofficial visits. Tom's post has a constantly-updating list of kids he's confirmed with over the phone, and here's the cliff's notes version of who you can expect this weekend:
OH LB Percy Johnson
OH DB Greg Brown (commit)
MI DE Brennen Beyer
MI CB Delonte Hollowell (commit) [By the way, Hollowell has been invited to the Army All-American game]
MI OL Anthony Zettel
FL RB Demetrius Hart (Mom coming too.) [Fluff on Michigan's chances to land him.] [Pictured above].
FL S Dallas Crawford This is a big one for Michigan.
FL WR Sammy Watkins Also big. [Confirmation on the last two]
MD DT Vincent Croce - Yes, as of now.
TX RB Jarrell Oliver (same school as Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk)
NJ WR Damiere Byrd - Coming with Antoine Pozniak.
NJ LB Antoine Pozniak - He's coming with the "Top Prospects Family." Je'Ron Stokes dad is the founder of Top Prospects Family.
NJ ATH Miles Shuler
For the most recent update, and to see which prospects are "maybes" and "nos," and why that's the case, check out Tom's list.
For those who were worried about Rich Rodriguez picking up a commitment from OMG UNRATED MI WR Shawn Conway in (Jan/Feb), Rivals.com's Jamie Newberg should assuage those fears:
Conway, a wide receiver from Birmingham, Mich., looks like a big-time recruit and one of the better wideout prospects from the Midwest.
At 6-4 and 183 pounds, Conway has great size and decent speed. He's big and rangy and great in air, showing very good body control and concentration. Conway has a knack for catching the ball well, especially in traffic. He can get behind the secondary and is not afraid to go over the middle. Conway also has a long stride and deceptive speed, and he looks like a very good outside receiver. He's also productive; Conway caught 70-plus passes last season as a junior, and is a good punt return man.
Yes, Michigan fan, you should be excited to have this wide receiver.
So there. "One of the better wideout prospects from the midwest," as I understand it, means there are only a couple guys (DeAnthony Arnett and Davaris Daniels, along with maybe another guy or two) that Newberg thinks are better. Conway was also selected All-OAA in basketball, and is pictured at right dunking over some poor fool.
Scout updated their Scout 300 list last week, and The Other Brian hooks you up with the info on prospects of note:
23. Doran Grant, 5*
27. Sammy Watkins, 5*
57. DeAnthony Arnett, 4*
62. Michael Bennett, 4*
82. Brennen Beyer, 4*
120. Anthony Zettel, 4*
121. Justice Hayes, 4*
129. Damiere Byrd, 4*
155. Andre Yruretagoyena, 4*
168. A.J. Jordan, 4*
178. Vincent Croce, 4*
231. Cyrus Hobbi, 4*
233. Demetrius Hart, 4*
237. Antonio Poole, 4*
266. Cardale Jones, 3*
275. Ray Hamilton, 3*
276. Devin Smith, 3*
300. Jarrell Oliver, 3*
All three of Michigan's commits are now 3-stars to Scout (as noted in this week's Recruiting Class Rankings).
The Buckeye Leaves column on TheClevelandFan.com discusses the recruitment of OH QB Braxton Miller, but doesn't actually give a whole lot of information. Miller showed up to Ohio State practice last week wearing Buckeye gear, so it sounds like the status quo is maintained. VolNation breaks down his game. Having seen him play in person, I'd say it's a fairly accurate synopsis.
Crimson Confidential talks to OH LB Trey DePriest, who mentions that there's a possibility he and Miller might go to school together. Unless DePriest goes to OSU, that seems unlikely, but the article says Alabama might be an option as well.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story (pictured at right) received his Michigan offer a couple weeks ago, and he's come in for quite a bit of fluff lately.
As a Shark he flourished, capturing the attention of colleges with his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, scorching speed and raw talent. Story has the versatility to play quarterback or on defense, but he doesn't mind being recruited as an athlete; he believes he could make his greatest impact as a receiver.
His dad also seems very level-headed when it comes to recruiting, saying that Ja'Juan will be comfortable in any type of offense:
With offers from programs that feature a spread scheme, traditional offense and the triple-option of Georgia Tech, picking the correct scheme to fit a skill set can be challenging. For Rudy Story, it's about trust and the ability to fit in any scheme.
"I think any school that Ja'Juan goes to, they will use him properly," he said. "Coaches are wise, and they will definitely get the best out of his talent. I'll be happy no matter what type of offense they run. If he went to an offense like Georgia Tech, they would use him and he would get one-on-one opportunities and be a blocker. If he went to a spread team like Texas Tech or somewhere, that would be good for him, too."
He'll take his time making a decision, trying to visit every school that offers. The potential for playing time will be a factor in his recruitment, though not the deciding one, as he says he just wants the opportunity to compete for a spot on the field.
FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix says a package deal with FL RB Demetrius Hart is "pretty much sealed." He says there's no way Hart could convince him to go anywhere other than Alabama (where, I should point out, neither of them is committed at this point). Clinton-Dix also drops the following quote:
Is there not a chance Hart might fall for the Wolverines and then try and persuade Clinton-Dix to switch, too?
"No way!" Clinton-Dix said emphatically. "No way!"
So why is the 5-foot-8, 185-pound running back, who, like Clinton-Dix, is an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, visiting Michigan? Basically, just because he can.
"He's just pretty much having fun with the recruiting process," Clinton-Dix said. "I know where his heart is."
Funny, considering all conventional wisdom says Hart's heart (ugh) is in Ann Arbor, but his brain is telling him to wait to commit until after he can make sure Rich Rodriguez won't get fired - the exact opposite. I wouldn't get too worried about Clinton-Dix's talk until after Hart's visit. South Carolina now leads for their teammate, FL LB LaQuentin Smith.
Michigan has offered FL LB Keith Lewis, bringing his total into the double digits.
Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News this week covers MI CB/RB Valdez Showers, who is hoping for a Michigan offer down the road:
"Michigan was out front a little bit (in getting in on Showers' recruitment) because we went up to their camp last year and he did well," said [Madison Heights Madison assistant coach Chanterius] Brock. "He ran a 4.4 up there and did some good things in the drills. They liked him. At the corner, everybody is coveting his size. He has a great size/speed combination, so that's really big."
The Wolverines haven't extended a scholarship yet, but that could change in a matter of weeks. "They want to get me up to their (one-day) camp this summer so they can see me in person and everything," Showers explained. "Hopefully I'll be able to make it there. If nothing else pops up, I'll be there."
Michigan State has already offered along with a host of MAC schools and others, and Showers doesn't want to talk about where the Wolverines stand on his leaderboard, since they haven't. Extending one would probably put them at or near the top of his list.
Michigan has offered FL RB Mike Blakely ($, info in header). MI OL Bryan Bell will try to earn an offer at the Michigan Elite camp. Recent Michigan visitor PA LB Ben Kline hopes to make a commitment during the summer ($, info in header). OH S Ron Tanner is "still high on Michigan." MD Ath Darius Jennings is pausing his visits ($, info in header). LA OL Jonah Austin is "High on Michigan" ($, info in header, question to which the answer is always "yes"), but his teammate LA S Renaldo Thomas may pick LSU soon ($, info in header).