I did not make this headline up
Anthony Standifer Goes Blue
When the ball is in the air, he goes up and gets it at its highest point. He also has very smooth hips for a kid who's 6'1" ...I also really like the way Standifer deals with blockers; they're nuisances to him and he finds crafty ways to get around people who are in his way... I have doubts that Standifer can be a truly elite corner because of his lack of high-end speed, but I think he has sufficient speed to be an impact corner in the Big Ten.
The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice:
All in all, with a couple years’ weight training and technical work, Standifer could become the sort of corner who, while not always locking down their man, won’t let up many big mistakes, and should position himself to make a play after the catch. While I like him better at corner, I wouldn’t object to placing him in a deep zone, provided he puts on some weight, ideally 10-20 pounds.
Mark Snyder of the Free Press talked to his coach:
"He's a kid who's over 6-1, may get to be 6-2 and is 6-3/6-4 in spikes," [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. "His physical makeup makes him also very athletic. He has long arms, good speed and a good vertical jump. He also has excellent instincts."
Verde also said that Anthony transformed from a great athlete int a great football player as a junior. For more, check out the Hello: Anthony Standifer post.
Scout's Allen Trieu has kind words for both Standifer and Gant (notably saying that Gant's athleticism is underrated by people who have only seen him on tape).
As the Buckeyes are the reigning overlord in the Midwest (at least from a recruiting standpoint), their struggles with following the rules are bound to have an effect on some of the other regional schools in terms of recruiting.
This week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News is a roundtable with Scout's Allen Trieu and Bill Greene. First, on OH OL Kyle Kalis:
Trieu: I think there is a good chance that he is going to at least take another look around. Obviously that doesn't mean he is going to decommit.
Greene: So if he thought about decommitting on Monday, and you were able to talk him off the edge on Tuesday, you've still got a long time between now and February 2012 when he can be signed. I would guess that you are going to have to revisit this issue again with Kyle Kalis.
Kalis talked to Tom about his commitment, and he's still a Buckeye, but considering a few other schools. Back to Webb. On OH RB Bri'onte Dunn:
Bill Greene: I think Michigan absolutely has a legitimate shot at Brionte Dunn. I think Penn State would be appealing to him too. I would not be surprised to him take official visits in the fall regardless of him reaffirming his commitment to Ohio State two days ago. I think there is still some uncertainty there.
and on OH DE Chris Wormley:
Allen Trieu: Even through all the things that he was saying, I always felt like Michigan was the leader for Chris. I think Michigan is the clear leader now and I think it would be an upset if he went anywhere but Michigan.
Bill Greene: I have had Wormley going to Michigan since the Ohio State camp last year. I still see Chris Wormley at Michigan and I've never wavered from that. We'll see.
There's much more in there, but you'll have to click through so I'm not stealing all of Sam's content. Next week's column will cover several more prospects with Michigan and Ohio State interest, including Dwayne Stanford, Kyle Dodson, and others.
Fox Toledo talked to Wormley, though he doesn't provide much insight into whether it changes his decision timeframe:
The Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo spoke to Wormley at the state track finals, and has a hunch that Michigan will land the talented Toledoan.
Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long thinks OH DE Se'Von Pittman was a Michigan lean even before Tressel got the axe.
Fox Sports Ohio covers the "risky time" for Buckeyes recruiting.
The Wayne Morgan Saga
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan had previously planned to make a final decision last Thursday, but his choice between Michigan and Rutgers is delayed. Since Michigan was the heavy favorite to land him, that's a bad thing, as it gives other schools a better chance to sway him.
From the sounds of things, Michigan's coaches wanted him as a corner, and the delay means that there will likely not be a spot for him when he decides (MA CB Armani Reeves dropped the Wolverines for similar reasons). Michigan's coaches are probably looking for a true free safety to close out the DB recruiting class.
May I suggest OH S Jarrod Wilson, who visited last Tuesday, and named Michigan to his top 3 shortly thereafter? He plans to decide before the start of his senior season. His coach, former Wolverine great Ricky Powers, told Tom that Jarrod plans to enroll early.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins was the guest of honor for a live chat with Rivals last Thursday. Some highlights:
- Ondre plans to visit Ann Arbor at the end of the summer, or for a game. He'll narrow his list in June, and his final decision will probably come in early December. He plans to announce at a press conference, but will finish his high school year rather than enrolling early.
- He spent a lot of time talking about his favorite football player: former Wolverine Lamarr Woodley. He plans to wear #56 in college to honor the Steelers all-pro, and Woodley is one of the mentors helping him through the recruiting process.
- His other recruiting advisors are Tennessee-bound DeAnthony Arnett (and his brother Ralph), and former Spartan Clifton Ryan.
- There are a lot of things Michigan has going in their favor from the start with Pipkins. He still considers Saginaw his home, and grew up a fan of Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan Stadium is tied for his favorite in the NCAA (with Alabama), and he says Michigan has the best helmet in the game. His favorite sports movie is Jalen Rose's "The Fab Five" (another tie, this time with fellow 30-for-30 project "The U").
- He wants to major in Business Administration, and a good program there (check) will help a school in his eyes, along with good relationships with the coaches, and a shot at early playing time (check).
He also seems to be high on Michigan's coaching staff, and the way they're recruiting him. For example, his answer to two separate questions (the first about Hoke and staff):
They seem very family oriented. Very honest and up front.
Yes, family is very important.
He also answered some specific questions about Michigan's coaching staff:
Q: How does the fact that Michigan has 3 DL Coaches, along with former Ravens Defensive Coord. weigh into your feelings with Michigan?
It really does ... because it's going to be a defensive-type of team and defense wins championships.
Q: Hows Greg Mattison as a recruiter. Heard hes the best in the biz.
He's very good ... he just tells you straightforward what you need to hear .
That certainly goes well with his answer to a different question, asked earlier:
Q: Do you ever feel some coaches just tell you what you want to hear and are just worried about you as the football player and not you as a person?
Yeah, I definitely feel that way. The ones that tell you wht you need to hear are the coaches that have the best interests at heart for you.
And finally, he talked a bit about his game. He doesn't matter what scheme he plays in, and doesn't care if he's simply used to plug holes so the linebackers can make plays. He loves opening lanes for the linebackers and making the plays himself, as well. His mean streak and hand movement are his strengths, along with versatility, while he admits he needs to work on staying low and getting an initial punch.
Ondre thinks he's a hard enough worker both on and off the field to be in the running for five-star status. He hasn't been invited to any All-Star games yet, but he is working hard to earn the honor.
[Ed: Pipkins was also talking about wanting Woodley's number on the Twitter. You can have the whole outfit, kid!]
CA DT Aziz Shittu will probably make his open commitment to Stanford into an official decommitment sometime soon. The highly rated big man wants to take his time and experience what other schools have to offer before choosing where to spend the next 4+ years of his life. He told Tom:
If he does reopen his recruitment that would likely mean he would take summer visits. "I'm not sure yet where I want to visit, but I'm going to get out there. I'd like to make it out to Michigan," said Shittu. "I like [Michigan's] tradition and the style of play they want to do."
Michigan was in his top-5 at the time he committed to the Cardinal, and academics are a big priority.
I would guess Pipkins is priority #1 at DT for the Wolverines (with Shittu near the top of the list as well). As for likely pipe dreams, NY DT Jarron Jones is still planning to visit Ann Arbor, so anything is possible.
MA OL Eric Olson visited Michigan yesterday. The Massachusetts prospect is relatively unknown to the recruiting services, but will make a decision soon.
CA OL Erik Magnuson is visiting this weekend. Tom says this is a "very big" visit for Michigan, so if Erik likes what he sees, it could be a great weekend for the maize-and-blue.
IL OL Jordan Diamond will be in Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header).
If Michigan closed out OL recruiting with that trio, I think there would be very few complaints.
Another tackle, PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, is also visiting today.
OH TE Sam Grant committed to Boston College.
CA TE Taylor McNamara committed to Arizona.
GA DE/LB Jarontay Jones committed to Virginia Tech.
IN QB Gunner Kiel is deciding soon ($, info in header). It seems like Michigan has fallen off in his recruitment.
CO OL Paul Thurston may be deciding soon ($, info in header).
MD DE Ryan Watson will camp at Michigan this summer.
Michigan is "in the mix" for MD DE Michael Moore ($, info in header).
Michigan has entered the top 5 for NJ S Elijah Shumate.
CBS's pre-season high school top-25 includes Farmington Hills Harrison (home of Michigan commits Mario Ojemudia and Devin Funchess), as well as several other schools with Michigan targets. Speaking of Ojemudia, he's been selected to join his future teammate Royce Jenkins-Stone in the 2012 Army All-American Game. Congrats, Mario!
Fellow commit OH LB Kaleb Ringer will move to outside linebacker this season to prepare to play that position at the next level.
The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp takes place next week.
IL WR Laquon Treadwell had a good visit to Ann Arbor last week. His teammate, Anthony Standifer, so enjoyed the visit that he committed to Michigan's 2012 class.
PA TE Adam Breneman will visit Michigan ($, info in header).
MI DT Kenton Gibbs is hearing from Michigan. He's a Cass Tech product, so Michigan should have a shot at him if they decide to pursue.
Michigan has offered CA LB Michael Hutchings ($, info in header). He's a product of Concord De La Salle (alma mater of Matt Gutierrez, Amani Toomer, and a few other former Wolverines).
I wrote a long intro for this post about how Michigan finally had a week without any commits, and Allen Gant just had to go spoil it. No complaints here, of course.
Allen Gant Goes Blue
OH S Allen Gant became the 13th member of Michigan's 2012 class with his public announcement on WTKA yesterday morning. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant was the top 2012 player in Ohio as a freshman, but his profile has fallen off in the past couple years, thanks in part to injuries.
Yikes. Maybe Touch the Banner can provide a little bit more optimism?:
Eh, not really. For what it's worth, I've seen conflicting reports of injury over the past two years (with the sophomore hamstring issue confirmed), and a couple message boarders have stumped for his athleticism. For more on Allen, check out the Hello: Allen Gant post.
There's one blindingly obvious option here, and that's because he has a commitment date already scheduled: NY CB/S Wayne Morgan will pick between Rutgers and Michigan tomorrow. He had originally planned to make his choice today.
There have also been some rumblings about CA OL Erik Magnuson. He recently named Michigan his favorite ($, info in header), and is visiting next weekend. If everything goes well, the trip to Ann Arbor could be just the first of many.
IL CB Anthony Standifer is visiting today, and although Michigan is at or near the top of his list, I don't think we should be expecting a commitment.
Rivals Michigan and Ohio State often pursue many of the same prospects, so it's no surprise that the ongoing Armageddon situation down in Columbus has some effect on Michigan's recruiting. The Sporting News caught up with IL OL Jordan Diamond:
"From a personal standpoint, Coach Tress was a great guy, we had a good conversation every time we talked. It’s hard to say if I will change my thoughts about OSU because the opportunity is still there to play early in my position, but seeing a good guy like Tress leave is hard for any recruit to handle.”
It sounds like this will damage OSU - but not too much - in his recruitment. SN also talked to OH DE Tom Strobel:
“What? No way. Well, regardless, Ohio State is still a great school. And I still believe Coach Tressel was a great coach and a great person. It was unfortunate that all this happened. My respect for him hasn’t changed. I still have a lot.”
Tom caught up with Strobel following his visit to Ann Arbor last week (of course, this was before the news came out):
It remains to be seen what will happen with Ohio State's spot on that list (they were considered the heavy leader previously). More from Strobel in the local paper.
Tom Lemming talks about the Tressel resignation's effect on recruiting.
OH RB Bri'onte Dunn is still committed to Ohio State "for now" ($, info in header). His dad told Tom that they've yet to discuss re-opening his recruitment, but several weeks back, there was mention of Dunn going back on the market if something catastrophic (I think this qualifies) were to happen to Ohio State - a bowl ban is 99% certain to come down, and that's a "big deal" to Bri'onte. Considering how different the news is than what's coming directly from the source, it seems like Dunn's high school coach is pushing him to remain a Buckeye.
Big Section for Big Dudes
So, MO DT Ondre Pipkins, you've just won the Defensive Line MVP at the Columbus Nike Camp, what are you going to do next?
"I'm going to
Disneyland pick up a ton of offers!" Ohio State and Oklahoma are among the recent entries to the Ondre Pipkins sweepstakes, though until further notice, I'd assume the Wolverines and Spartans have as good a shot as anybody.
Allen Trieu gives his take on Pipkins from the camp in a free Scout article:
We knew he was good, but I don't think anyone expected the big man to be as dominant as he was. At 6'4, 322-lbs, he showed power, quickness, and all the makings of a big time defensive tackle. As I said before, he can play for anyone in the country and his offer list is starting to match that. We had limited film on him before, so he was ranked conservatively, but I think a big jump is possible for him.
5-star is probably out of the question for now, but it's sounding like he'll come damn close next time Scout updates their rankings. ESPN named him t their all-camp team, along with Michigan commits Shane Morris ('13), James Ross, and Terry Richardson, along with a few Wolverine targets.
Going from big (6-2, 320) to bigger (6-9, 300), WA OL Zach Banner was the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News. The kid insists he wants to be a 2-sport athlete, but more useful for our purpose is the recruiting info he drops on Sam:
"I guarantee that I will be taking an official visit to Michigan," he said emphatically. "I have already scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame and that is going to be Oct. 22, and that is going to be their first night game in 25 years (against USC). I am also going to take an official to Michigan. I want to come to a rivalry game where it is primetime football."
He plans to narrow his list of 30+ schools to a more manageable Top 10 over the summer, and it definitely sounds like both Michigan and Notre Dame are locks to be included.
Banner isn't the only Evergreen State blocker getting Michigan interest, as WA OL Joshua Garnett is also hearing from the maize-and-blue:
JOSHUA: Michigan has a great football tradition and is also one of the top academic schools in the nation.
TOM: Are you interested enough that you think you'll take a visit to Michigan?
JOSHUA: Yes definitely. It will most likely be an official visit... I have always wanted to play in that Michigan - Ohio State game. I think that is a big reason why I like Michigan. That game is probably the biggest in college football, and the rivalry is unexplainable.
Despite considerably less hype, Garnett is actually more highly rated than Banner.
AZ OL Andrus Peat has cut his list to 13 schools, and Michigan makes the grade. Nebraska, USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, Arkansas, Texas, Auburn, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, Miami (YTM), and Alabama are the other lucky suitors.
Tom's Weekly Update is heavy on offensive linemen.
Michigan might be close to offering OH DT Alex Pace. He's a product of Glenville High School.
Michigan was in-school with Stanford commit CA DT Aziz Shittu last week. Despite his Cardinal pledge, he may take an official visit to Ann Arbor.
Happy Trails, CA QB Jake Rodrigues. He committed to Oregon.
CO OL Shane Callahan committed to Auburn.
Happy trails, FL OL John Theus, who trimmed his list to 6 (non-Michigan) schools.
Happy Trails, CA OL Max Tuerk has committed to USC.
CA LB Scott Starr also committed to USC. The Trojans have already filled 9 of their NCAA-mandated 15 slots in this class. I bet you infinity dollars that Lane Kiffin goes well over 15 and the NCAA does nothing about it.
Caution: Bleacher Report article do not click! Michigan is not in the final 5 for GA CB Geno Smith.
I'm pretty wary of the source, but OH S Jarrod Wilson is reportedly high on Michigan State, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Illinois. Gant's commitment could be a factor there, as well.
TN OL Blake Bars picked up a Michigan offer ($).
PA TE Adam Breneman has picked up a Michigan offer ($).
MD TE/DE Henry Poggi is showing a Michigan offer. His older brother attends Iowa, where he was one of the players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.
Michigan is "turning up the heat" on IL RB Ty Isaac ($, info in header).
Duane Long releases an early 2013 top 25 for the state of Ohio.
Joe Bolden and James Ross Go Blue
Tom broke the news of Bolden's commitment last week, then caught up with Joe for a quick interview:
I wanted to [commit] in person because it shows more respect when you say it in person and look someone in the eyes to tell them you're coming to their school...
I'm very solid on it. I wouldn't have made the decision if I wasn't. There were a lot of factors that played into it, and there were some factors on why I did it so early. I thought why wait if it's the right school, with the right people, and I don't see any better opportunity to play college football and get an education.
While he's not exactly a quick-twitch athlete, he has above average coverage skills because of his instincts and awareness. Bolden also seems to have a top-quality motor with the willingness to chug back into plays that others would give up on. He flies to the football, makes solid contact, and wraps up ballcarriers.
Jack Slice on The Wolverine Blog:
His hips aren’t stiff and he can drop into coverage well, he’s got good coverage awareness. He reads the QB’s eyes at all times. Bolden probably plays smarter than either of the other two LBs we have committed.
There's essentially nothing to dislike about Ross as a prospect. Even though he's not lightning fast in a straight line, he's a true "quick twitch" athlete. Watching his feet and hips move, he has the agility of a safety. But the most impressive thing about Ross is how quickly he diagnoses plays. I'm not sure that I've seen a high school player - and certainly not a Michigan recruit - make quicker decisions and find the ball faster than Ross does.
As for past commits, MI TE Devin Funchess got a writeup in the Oakland Observer.
Last week, it seemed like Gunner Kiel was a longshot for Michigan, so I only spent a little bit of time discussing him, but he's since visited Ann Arbor, so an ESPN profile suddenly becomes much more interesting.
"I still need to be more vocal and be the person that people can rely on. I try to be upbeat about everything -- workouts, conditioning, studying the playbook... I'm a great competitor, I hate to lose," Kiel said. "I'm going to work as hard as possible and try to make the other players on the team better every single day. Hopefully I can be the consummate teammate."
Making said article even more interesting is that the author included Michigan among his four favorites:
Michigan: "They have a new coaching staff and they are bringing a new offense on the table that's going to feature the passing game a lot. It's going to be a good system and they will be successful."
Meanwhioe, here are some Tyler O'Connor Highlights:
($) Maybe got offered.
OH QB Austin Appleby talks about coming back from a knee injury last fall:
Appleby searched every nook and cranny he could for rehab edges. He found a a device called an ARPwave. It is similar to electro-stimulus muscle training, only amped up. It can be painful. Dwight Freeney used it to recover from an ankle injury during Super Bowl week and play in the game in 2010.
“It is the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Appleby said. “But I am so much stronger because of it. They would stick it to my quads and hamstrings, jack it up, and I would have to hold squats and lunges. The first month or so, I couldn’t make it up my stairs.”
His recruitment is blowing up, and many analysts say it will get even bigger once he proves he's healthy.
Happy Trails to WA QB Jeff Lindquist, who committed to Washington.
A couple more prospects are expected to make decisions soon. MI DE/DT Matt Godin will announce on May 12th (that's next Thursday) and MI TE Ron Thompson has been planning to announce soon, but may push that back:
I'm just not ready, it's too much. I think I'm far from a decision to be honest. There was a team that was looking good, but now there are others that have come aboard and I'm not sure if I'm ready.
Godin is choosing between Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Tom says that Thompson may still announce on the 11th, but it's no longer a certainty. "There was a team that was looking good" definitely seems like it should be followed by "and then they got two tight ends committed."
MI DE Mario Ojemudia (a teammate of Michigan commit TE Devin Funchess) has been making noises on twitter about making a commitment this month, so keep an eye out for him. [ed: As mentioned on the sidebar yesterday, rumblings out of Harrison suggest Ojemudia will end up at M. The main competition conceding is about as good of a sign as you can get.]
“I am still committed to Ohio State,” said Dunn, who rushed for 2,030 yards last season and scored 22 touchdowns. “I have been visiting other schools. I was basically trying to tell (the writer for the recruiting site) I’m still committed to Ohio State, but I’m going to visit other schools to keep my options open if anything happens to Ohio State. Who knows what’s going to happen.”
Dunn's father repeated that position to Tom, though they are considering a visit to Ann Arbor. "I am committed to School X but still taking visits," as former Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez would tell you, is secret code for "I am not committed to anybody, but School X is my strong leader." Since the chances of anything happening to Ohio State are 100%, keep an eye on Bri'onte.
Tom spoke with MO DT Ondre Pipkins about when he'll be making a decision:
Yeah, I'll narrow it down to a top five in June sometime... and I'll probably make my decision after my season. I don't mind waiting that long, it doesn't get annoying if you can manage it and prioritize things the right way.
Michigan appears to be in strong position.
Tom spoke with OH DE Adolphus Washington,
We're open to everybody. We like Ohio State because we grew up fans of Ohio State, but we're giving everyone a chance. Michigan is recruiting me very hard. A lot of people say that I'm an Ohio State lean, but Michigan is still recruiting me hard and I like that. That says a lot about them that they're still coming after me like that. Their program was down last year but I think they're an up and coming program and they'll be back.
His high school Athletic Director played for Michigan's linebackers coach, Mark Smith, at Indiana, a potentially helpful connection. He also described his game:
I'm 6-foot-4, 258-pounds right now. I think my strengths are rushing the quarterback and being the first to the quarterback. I think I need to learn how to use my hands more, to use my hands better. That's something that I work on.
The Wolverines could certainly use an elite edge rusher.
NY CB/S Wayne Morgan told 24/7 Sports that he's most interested in Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn, though they must have omitted the part where he said "and least interested in winning football games" (glass houses and all that, but whateva). Michigan dropped in on him last week.
Michigan is "still in the mix" for AZ OL Andrus Peat.
Lifelong Buckeyes fan Tom Strobel is "warming up to Michigan" ($, info in header).
OH OL Kyle Dodson is "still high on Michigan" ($, info in header).
Michigan has boosted its position ($, info in header) with OH WR Dwayne Stanford.
PA OL Tyler Alt was the O-Line MVP at the Penn State Nike Camp. Michigan coaches want him to camp in order to earn an offer.
Michigan is in a top-5-ish substance for MD DT Ryan Watson. He's a teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess.
Alabama offers MI DT Danny O'Brien.
According to Sam Webb, OH S Bam Bradley favors Pitt and MSU.
Michigan has offered MO WR Durron Neal.
Michigan has offered AZ CB/WR DJ Foster.
Happy Trails, CA DT Aziz Shittu. He committed to Stanford, which is no surprise.
Happy Trails, OH OL Benny McGowan. The teammate of DE Ifeadi Odenigbo committed to Michigan State.
Michigan is showing interest in Detroit Catholic Central lineman Wyatt Shallman (a teammate of Matt Godin).
OH RB Dymonte Thomas visited Ann Arbor on his way home from Michigan State's spring game. He's openly an Ohio State fan, but says he'll give every program a chance.
Recruiting guru Jim Stefani runs down some prospects of interest to Michigan in the 2013 and 2014(!) classes.