Mike Lantry, 1972
This is a follow-up to Tom's recent post on top prospects still listing Michigan.
A lot of people have asked about Michigan's hot start and it's effect on the 2011 class. Now the start has gotten the interest of many players as Tom mentioned, but the real dividends for this season will be paid in 2012.
Luckily for Michigan, the class of 2012 is extremely strong in-state. We've all heard about the Cass Tech boys of course, but there are a lot of quality players that are very interested in Michigan. Keep winning, and they'll come.
Here's a few names to watch out for...
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, Cass Tech, Detroit Michigan - 6"2 205 lbs.
Royce is a terrific player that lines up at linebacker and fullback for the Technicians. He's very aggressive, shows good instincts, and plenty of speed in coverage. He will definitely one of the top 5-10 players in the state next year, and has been at most of Michigan's home games. You guys want linebackers, well this is a good kid to get. Royce will be a national recruit.
LB James Ross, Orchard Lakes St. Mary's, MI - 6"2, 200 lbs.
I put Ross here with Stone because both of them are very good players. Ross will likely be a middle linebacker at the next level, and he and Stone complement each other very well. It helps that they're best friends too. Ross has camped at Michigan the past two years, and has been at many of the games with Stone and Terry Richardson. Ross will likely contend for the top player in the state next year, and he's already hearing from Alabama and a number of heavy hitters outside the state. If Michigan can keep winning though, they have a very good shot.
CB Terry Richardson, Cass Tech MI - 5"9, 160 lbs
Richardson is another Cass Tech player. He plays opposite of 2011 commit Delonte Hollowell, and between the two of them, they've really shut down most opponents this year. Terry is continuing the line of diminutive Cass Tech cornerbacks, but he's very talented and like his friends James Ross and RJS, is a national recruit and top 10 or so player in the state next year. He has already been offered by Alabama, LSU, and Iowa, so he will not be an automatic grab like many assume.
LB Nathan Ricketts, Holland HS, Holland MI - 6"2, 215 lbs
Ricketts is a kid who wasn't on a lot of team's radars until recent camp performances have raised eyebrows. He doesn't play on a fantastic team but really showed out at Michigan's camp (as well as MSU's), and if things don't work out with Ross or Stone, I think he has a shot to land a Michigan offer. Ricketts is a very heady player who's going to be good wherever he ends up.
DT Dan O'Brien, Flint Powers Catholic, Flint, MI - 6"3, 275 lbs
O'Brien has been a guy Michigan has been high on for some time. He named a top two of Michigan and Tennessee, and visited Michigan, being awarded with a verbal offer. Did I mention his hero is Mike Martin? O'Brien is an excellent player who will likely play nose guard in Michigan's scheme. He loves Michigan and I think if they can get him on another visit, they should be able to lock him up. As I said though, O'Brien is very talented and already receiving interest from Florida, LSU, and other big boys.
QB Bennie Coney, Plant City HS, Plant FL - 6"1, 205 lbs
Coney is a talented dual-threat quarterback from Florida, who has been offered by the Wolverines among nearly a dozen others. Coney is not quite like Denard Robinson speed-wise, but he's got very quick feet and can be mobile when he needs to. I think it will be a battle to pull him out of the south, but if the Wolverines push hard, they could definitely get Coney up for a visit.
OT Jordan Diamond, Simeon HS Chicago, IL - 6"7, 270 lbs
Diamond is the teammate of 2011 Guard and Michigan Target Chris Bryant. He's an absolute monster who will only get bigger. He plays tackle for his school but will probably be a guard in college. Imagine him and Chris Bryant at either guard spot, yikes! Diamond is very interested in Michigan, as he and Chris visited them earlier in the year. If Bryant does pull the trigger for the Wolverines, I expect that to help with Diamond as well.
S Allen Gant, Sylvania Southview, Sylvania OH - 6"2, 200 lbs
Wolverine fans will recognize the name, as Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant. He is not a legacy lock by any means, with offers already trickling in and heavy interest from in-state power Ohio State. Gant is a terrific athlete who could play safety or even one of the hybrid positions for the Wolverines. He has already unofficially visited and will likely return again; Michigan needs to work but they definitely have his interest.
Nick Patti is a 2012 quarterback prospect out of Dr. Phillips High in Orlando. He was just up in Ann Arbor with his teammate Demetrius Hart, and I caught up with him to see how it went. Take a look at his highlights first, and then the questions.
TOM: How did this visit come about? What made you decide to go up there?
NICK: I got a hold of Coach Smith, and they invited me up there to get the recruiting thing going. I decided to invite Demetrius up with me, since he's on their radar too. We just kind of made it a good thing, and made it a good trip.
TOM: You're only a junior to be, so I imagine you haven't seen to many campuses yet. What were you expecting to see in Ann Arbor, and what did you see?
NICK: You're expecting to see a lot of tradition, and you're expecting to see a lot of stuff that makes Michigan, Michigan. That's exactly what we saw. We saw everything that makes that program special, a lot of things that mean a lot to the program, and saw that it would be something cool to be a part of.
TOM: Run me through the two days that you had there. What all did you get to see?
NICK: The first day we headed right over to Schembechler Hall, and we got to see the weight room, locker room, the practice facilities, and then the Big House. The Big House is really something special. That was all on the first day, so we did a lot. The second day we kind of took our time, and slept in a little. We headed back to Schembechler Hall and met with Coach Smith. He talked offense with us, and what they try to do offensively. We talked for about two to three hours with him about football, and then he took us around for a bit. We got a lot done in a short period of time.
TOM: A lot of people come away impressed with the coaches when they meet them, what was your impression?
NICK: You meet the coaches, and you meet Rich Rodriguez, and when ever you meet a head coach you're meeting an important person. But, he's so down to earth. You can talk to him about anything. With Coach Smith it was all about business, but you still feel really comfortable. It's really easy to be around all of them.
TOM: Your dad was up there with you, did he feel the same way?
NICK: Yeah, my dad liked it. He was very impressed with the facilities, and how new everything was. He's basically on the same page as I am.
TOM: When you were talking to Coach Smith about the offense, how was he saying you fit in? Did he try to compare you to anyone?
NICK: With my size I'm sometimes compared to Tate (Forcier). He compared me to Tate, Denard, and Devin all mixed into one at some points. It really just all comes down to intangibles, and who can make the decisions. They have a set characteristics and intangibles that they want their quarterbacks to have.
TOM: You said with your size, how tall are you right now?
NICK: I'm 5-foot-11, and I weigh 185-pounds.
TOM: You're young, but how do you see your recruitment playing out? How do you want to dictate the way your recruitment goes?
NICK: I've heard from a lot of schools early, and I'm going to take some visits and see what I'm going to see. I don't want to drag it out all. I don't want to say I'm going to end it as soon as possible, but I definitely don't want to drag it out.
TOM: So if you think you'll decide relatively quickly, do you have some schools that stick out right now?
NICK: Michigan is definitely a school that sticks out. Oregon, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Florida State are all schools that stick out right now. I'll probably have a better idea as things get more serious.
TOM: On a non football note. Were you close with Ricardo Miller when he was at Dr. Phillips?
NICK: Yeah, I was pretty close with Ricardo when he was here, and we still have a good friendship. We're real close, so it was good to see him, and have him up there.
TOM: What's next from here? Are you going to try to make it back up to Michigan any time soon?
NICK: Coach Smith wants me to get up there as much as possible. We're planning on going up September 4th, for the first game against U Conn. I think that's our plan right now, and we'll try to get up there again as soon as possible.
Ohio sophomore Myles Hilliard has already started to garner attention from college coaches. Recently hired head coach, Sean Williams, has been around the block, and says Hilliard is one of the best he's coached. "Myles is a walking warrior. He's already 6-foot-6, and 240-pounds. He wears an 18 1/2 size shoe; his parents haven't been able to buy him shoes at the store for the past two years," Williams said.
Hilliard has been playing both left tackle and defensive tackle for Bedford, but Coach Williams says he's best suited for the left tackle spot at the next level. "With his long arms, his quick feet, and the punch he has, he'll be best for the offensive side. He's versatile enough for both, but we're only going to play him in situations on defense. I don't want him to be a jack of al trades, and a master of none. If he can master that tackle spot, he'll be more valuable to a college program," said Williams.
When comparing Myles to other players, Williams gave a comparison to a former Bedford player, recently drafted to the NFL. "Rodger Saffold played at Bedford, and then Indiana, and I think Myles has a chance to be better than Rodger. Myles has longer arms, and he's a little bit faster than Rodger. I was shocked at how well he can move at his size."
Since I can't find any film on Myles, here's film of Rodger Saffold, for Indiana, going against Brandon Graham:
Some of the schools and coaches already showing interest in Hilliard have been Toledo, Wisconsin, and former Michigan player Tyrone Wheatley, from Syracuse. "When Coach Wheatley came down, he was in awe of what Myles could do. He was shocked," Williams told me. One of the teams that sticks out to Myles at this point, happens to be Michigan.
Coach Williams actually at one point said Myles reminds him, up to this point, of former Wolverine Pierre Woods. "He is actually hoping that Pierre will be at one of the camps he's going to. He really wants to meet him," said Williams. "Myles loves Rich Rodriguez, and loves the style of offense they play, even back to West Virginia. Michigan is a school that he talks about a lot. At the National Underclassmen Combine, Myles was talking to some of the high school coaches that were from Michigan about the University of Michigan."
Hilliard will be in Toledo on June 5th, to attend their big man camp, and both he and Coach Williams will try to get up to Michigan's summer camp, as well.
Extra - Here's a video of Myles talking to a local station about a concussion he suffered recently.
Enough Already OSU!!! They already got one of the best DE in the country from Toledo Whitmer in their 2011 class. Now they are going after his teammate DE Chris Wormley (6'6 250) for their 2012 recruiting class.
He grew up a Wolverine but RR needs to get on this kid fast because everyone else in the country will be on him soon enough!!