this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
[Ed: see what he did there?]
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Decision Time is Finally Here. Maybe.
GA S Avery Walls has been named to the Army All-American game. His coach had plenty of good things to say about him too:
"Avery came to this school and just instantly was a great leader who showed great character," Gess said. "As far as him as a player, he just shuts down a whole side of the field because coaches won't throw or run that way. He also raises his teammates' level of play. He's a great representative of Eagle's Landing Christian and what they stand for."
He'll make a decision next month, after a couple visits to Oregon and Cal. Michigan was in great shape after his visit to Ann Arbor, and hopefully the Ducks and Bears do nothing to change that. Walls is an early-enrollment candidate.
If FL RB Demetrius Hart doesn't make his decision next week, it wouldn't be the first time he's changed his mind about an announcement timeframe. However, this is the most public he's been about when he'll pick his school. Hart is taking an official visit to Alabama this weekend. Tom hinted that Hart may take another unofficial visit in his weekly update, and I bet that would be to Michigan should he choose the Wolverines. It's still looking good here.
Assume the Position: D-Line
Michigan is hunting for at least one defensive tackle, and probably another defensive end. Who are some of the candidates?
FL DT Tim Jernigan will not decide until after his senior season. He's also started planning out some of his visits:
He said he plans on attending at least one game involving each of the schools, including the UF-Alabama game Oct. 2 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the LSU-UF game in Gainesville on Oct. 9 and games at Michigan and USC.
That means no Michigan State game in Ann Arbor, leaving Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin weekends. If his coach is right:
The biggest factor the coach said would play into Jernigan’s decision is playing time.
With a college-ready frame and skill set, Howard said Jernigan is going to likely attend the school that can provide him a chance to play early.
That means Advantage: Michigan over all of his other contenders.
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel gave raving reviews of his visit to Michigan State:
"It was an amazing game to be at," Zettel said. "I think that Michigan State is starting to become a very good team. I was able to have some small talk with a lot of the recruits at the game."
OK, maybe that's more "I was in attendance" than anything hugely positive for the Spartans. Scout's Allen Trieu explains to the Lansing State Journal:
Michigan looks like it could be the team to beat for Zettel, but the Spartans are in contention.
"He's been a life-long Michigan fan, and you just want to be able to stay in the game with him," Trieu said. "The fact that he hasn't committed to Michigan yet is a big thing for Michigan State."
At this point , when "not committed to Michigan quite yet" is the best thing you can say about State's recruitment of the kid, the Wolverines are looking good.
GA DE Ray Drew, Walls's buddy, wants to visit Ann Arbor:
"I would also like to go to Michigan to see the Big House. Every football player knows about that place... There are a lot of schools I would like to see before I decide on signing day.”
He says he's close to having all of his visits set up, so we should know soon when he'll be in the house. Drew won't make a decision until Signing Day.
MI RB Thomas Rawls is smashing Mark Ingram's Flint-area rushing records. If he can get his grades up, he could be a good addition to Michigan's class. At 5'10", 215, he's a differenet sort of back than Hart.
NJ TE Jack Tabb is taking an official visit to Iowa City this weekend ($, info in header), even though the Hawkeyes already have three (!) tight ends in this class. Michigan is in the running for one of his other visits, and he took a trip to Ann Arbor earlier this summer.
IL OL Chris Bryant, a recent visitor to Ann Arbor, has the Wolverines in his top 3/4 with Arizona, Stanford, and Illinois. From the tone of the article, Michigan is still on top.
KY LB Lamar Dawson has M in his final 7.
Dee Hart isn't the only Orlando Dr. Phillips guy with Michigan interest. It is highly unlikely that FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix will strongly consider Michigan anymore, but his fellow safety Roderick Ryles is looking for an offer.
FL TE/DE Brandon Fulse has narrowed his list, and Michigan is no longer on it.
Happy Trails, FL DE Giorgio Newberry. He's committed to Florida State.
It appears as though VA CB Demetrious Nicholson is no longer planning to take a Michigan visit.
FL QB Bennie Coney is holding a Michigan offer. It will be interesting to see what types of QBs Michigan goes after this season.
Just to clarify, Plant City is not the same Plant that 2011 OL Commit Tony Posada attends.
OH RB William Mahone is interested in Michigan, and attended a summer camp in Ann Arbor this summer. The Buckeyes already have two RB commits in 2012, so they won't be the competition.
As expected, MI DT Danny O'Brien received his verbal offer from Michigan at the Bowling Green game.
ESPN's Chris Pool reports that IL DT Tommy Schutt also holds a verbal offer from the Wolverines.
Also in attendance last Saturday was OH S Allen Gant. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant (and nephew of Charles Woodson) plans to take his time making a decision.
Assume The Position: Quarterback
With a few targets coming off the board over the past couple weeks (most recently FL QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was never actually offered), we have a little more clarity on what the coaching staff will do with the quarterback position in this recruiting class. First things first: It's obvious that they want one. I don't think they'll be freaking out if they don't land a signal-caller, but they're aiming for one. This might mean a position switch for 2010 commit Conelius Jones earlier than fans expected.
First, let's take a look at offered prospects who remain on the board:
NC QB Marquise Williams (pictured at right)
6-3, 215, 4.7 [Video]
NR Rivals, 4* (#17 QB) Scout, 4* 79 (#13 QB) ESPN, #25 Overall (#5 QB) Tom Lemming.
Williams may be the best system fit for Michigan among the offered guys, and the Wolverines are in his top group, guaranteed an official visit. North Carolina seems to be the strongest competition at this point. He plans a Michigan official visit for the MSU game.
OH QB Cardale Jones
6-5, 220, 4.9 [Video]
NR Rivals, 3* (#31 QB) Scout, 3* 79 (#17 QB) ESPN.
The Buckeyes are done at QB for 2011. The Buckeyes may end up adding Glenville's Cardale Jones to this recruiting class, but if they do it won't be as a quarterback.
He has many options outside of Michigan (including the Spartans, and even Penn State), so no Buckeye offer doesn't necessarily push him toward Ann Arbor.
FL QB Jerrard Randall
6-2, 190, 4.5 [Video]
4* 5.8 Rivals, 3* (#19 QB) Scout, 4* 80 (#8 QB) ESPN.
Randall, a teammate of FL WR Curt Evans and S Jonathan Aiken, is one of the longer shots among the guys already holding offers, along with Hundley. The Chaminade-Madonna trio seems to be very hot-and-cold on Michigan - and they all appear to like Ohio State much more than the Wolverines. It seems, however, that Columbus is not longer an option for Randall.
AZ QB Brett Hundley
6-4, 210, 4.7 [Video]
4* 5.8 (#216 Overall) Rivals, 4* (#5 QB) Scout, 4* 81 (#5 QB) ESPN, #40 Overall (#4 QB) Sporting News.
I hadn't realized he's an Arizona legacy. He's more of an athletic pocket guy than a true dual-threat, but he can move. Michigan will have to fight with a number of top programs for his signature, especially West Coast teams.
...And then there are a few guys who aren't holding offers, but could be receiving one down the road, including FL QB Kevin Sousa, who's been openly hoping for one.
Last week, Sam Webb talked wide receiver recruiting in the Detroit News, and this week he follows that up with a look at three more prospects looking to fill that second outside spot in the Michigan recruiting class. We'll start with OH WR Devin Smith:
"Smith shows all the things you want from a young receiver projected to become a big-time player," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "It's the deep routes where Smith can really excel, as he's got the quickness to elude and accelerate with a burst to separate from a defender and release deep." ...
"Most of the college coaches have told me they like the way I come off the ball, the way I use my explosiveness and quickness," he told Scout.com. "My route running is pretty good. Most of all, the way I attack the football in the air (is really good). I make sure that thing is mine and only mine. I'll fight any defensive back for the football."
The former teammate of JT Turner plans to take all of his official visits before coming to a final decision. Moving along to FL WR Ja'Juan Story (at right):
"The first thing that jumps out at you about Story is the way he's built," said Scout.com Florida analyst Mike Bakas. "At 6-4 and close to 200 pounds already, he has the look of a major Division I receiver right now. He's a mismatch nightmare at this level because of his size. Unfortunately for him, his team doesn't throw the ball a whole lot, so he really hasn't been able to dominate games at this level like his talent level indicates. He's a playmaker, though, who has found other ways to make a difference. He's not a speed burner, but is plenty fast enough and has good enough ball skills to be a major BCS-caliber prospect."
Story wants to major in sports medicine, which should help Michigan out. Webb also had a Story update on GoBlueWolverine, and Michigan is "gaining ground" ($, info in header). Finally, SC WR Hakeem Flowers is also a candidate for that spot:
"Physically, Hakeem Flowers has all the tools to be a top-flight prospect," said Scout.com South Carolina analyst Kerry Fair. "College coaches will love his height and athleticism. Hakeem is also a track star and he shows that speed on the football field as well, especially considering his long stride and top end speed."
Flowers hopes to get to Ann Arbor over the summer.
...The Receivin' category segues nicely into Happy Trails, as one of the fine young gentlemen featured in last week's receiver update is now off the board.
MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has released a top six without Michigan, and says he will now consider only seven schools, including USC, Cal, Oklahoma, MSU, Tennessee, Iowa, and seventh-place Miami (Yes That Miami). Arnett told Tom that he likes Michigan, but thinks the only college spread that will get him to the NFL is found in Norman, Oklahoma. Percy Harvin and Arrelious Benn couldn't be reached for comment. For the whole scoop, check out DeAnthony Arnett Top 6.
OH QB Braxton Miller's commitment to Ohio State doesn't mean that OH LB Trey DePriest is necessarily bound for the Buckeyes as well. Still, he missed the last several UM recruiting events, and has narrowed his list to Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida.
A number of prospects come off the board because they committed to other schools:
- FL QB Teddy Bridgewater to Miami (as mentioned above).
- FL RB Mike Bellamy to Clemson.
- IN DT Joel Hale to Ohio State.
- MD DT Vincent Croce to Virginia.
- PA LB Ben Kline to Pitt.
Some of this stuff will help with paring down the list to 70 or so serious prospects.
Future Visits, Near And Far
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has scheduled his Michigan official visit ($, info in header), and according to The Wolverine Blog, that will be for the Michigan State game. Though Michigan has a number of factors working in its favor for his recruitment (including his closeness to Taylor Lewan, and the fact that he likes playing in the cold), it's not all sunshine and roses - Andre likes the Pac-10 the most.
OH OL Ryan Kelly plans to visit Michigan again this summer, according to a VolNation article.
Ryan has already been active with visits, and has several more planned for this summer. “Well I’m 20 minutes from Cincinnati so distance wise that one works out. I will visit Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State all within a month period. I’m also hoping to go to Michigan again as well. I’ve already visited Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Alabama.”
Michigan is the only school that he's already visited that is in for a repeat trip, which is a positive sign. The Under Armour All-American hopes to commit before his senior year, but is not set on that timeframe.
FL DT Tim Jernigan is still mentioning Michigan in his top group, and says he wants to visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
Rod Smith and Rich Rodriguez are his primary contacts in Ann Arbor.
Last week, we learned that GA CB Avery Walls plans to take an official visit to Michigan. A midseason commitment ($, info in header) would keep the Wolverines fresh in his mind at decision time.
IN RB Remound Wright has picked up a verbal Michigan offer, and plans a summer decision ($, info in header). There's an MGoBoard thread with a little more info on him, including the tidbit that his dad is a Michigan fan, from Indiana Wolverine.
ESPN.com's Steve Wiltfong embarks on an in-depth profile of MI RB Justice Hayes (pictured at right), comparing him to another Flint-area running back - reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram. His top list is surprising, given that he'd recently seemed to cool on Michigan:
Four years later, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Hayes is one of the most sought-after recruiting targets in the Midwest. Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee make up the four-star prospect's top four, with Michigan State and Northwestern still strongly in the mix.
I wonder whether the author of the article inadvertently switched the Spartans and Wolverines. However, since the Wolverines may be strongly back in the picture, let's take a look at his game:
"The way he starts and stops is phenomenal," said Delaney, who has been at Grand Blanc for 18 seasons. "He makes people miss with that side-to-side stuff, and he goes from stop to full speed very quickly. But probably the best thing is his hands out of the backfield. He catches the ball better than any kid I've ever had out of the backfield, and that includes Mark Ingram, who had great hands. Justice runs great routes out of the backfield, and hardly ever drops the ball."
I still think Hayes will only end up in Michigan's class if FL RB Demetrius Hart opts to go elsewhere.
CA WR Desman Carter is hearing from Michigan.
NJ Ath/WR Miles Shuler now holds a Florida offer. He is also the second-fastest high schooler in New Jersey history.
I added (unoffered) MI TE Nate Dreslinski, who impressed at Michigan's camp and seems to be interested in the Wolverines.
Michigan leads for MI OL Anthony Zettel ($, info in header), but his Penn State offer came through late last week, so that might shake up his leaderboard. He told ESPN he wants to visit the remainder of his top six schools that he hasn't yet seen. He won the State Championship in shotput over the weekend.
MI OL Jake Fisher is starting to gain some D-1 interest. He reportedly impressed at Michigan's Elite Camp, so keep an eye on him.
SC DT Phillip Dukes plans to visit Michigan. The Wolverines currently stand in about his #6 spot.
Though there are some positive signs for Michigan in the recruitment of NC LB Kris Frost, he's still visiting Auburn on what seems like a regular basis ($, info in header).
MD S/WR Brandon Phelps has apparently been offered by Michigan, to go along with tenders from the likes of LSU, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway may have trouble being eligible to play high school ball this fall (NOOOOOOOOOOO nearby Friday Night Lights roadtrips jeopardized!), because of a residency issue. Due to a family issue, his high school coach at Seaholm has become his guardian. However, said coach lives outside the Seaholm district, in Clarkston. Conway, then, would have to play for Clarkston - except he would have to sit out the fall semester due to transferring schools. I'll have more on Conway coming soon.
Tom's new weekly recruiting update features AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, LA DT Mickey Johnson, MI LB Ed Davis, IN LB Nick Temple, and FL OL Tony Posada. Check it out to get the latest on those prospects.
OH RB William Mahone "came away extremely impressed" with Michigan ($, info in header) after hitting campus for the Wolverines' Elite Camp over the weekend.