"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
There are a ton of visitors this weekend so there will probably be a matching amount of info. Since OL Ben Braden and LB Joe Bolden were the two visitors on Thursday I'm going to do a mini update on them here. Here's a look at how their trips went.
6'2", 225 lbs
Bolden has a decent offer list so far with the likes of Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Stanford, and Tennessee to name a few. He took in Ann Arbor for the first time with his dad, uncle, and cousin.
We got there around noonish and we met with Coach Smith, Coach Mattison, and Coach Hoke. Coach Mattison told me more than likely I'd be playing the MIKE linebacker spot. It's definitely a privelage to sit down with him and watch film. Coach Hoke basically stated the goals as a football coach, as a team, and as an individual. We just talked casually for awhile.
As usual the coaches were down to earth and the Big House was shockingly big.
The coaches were really easy to talk to, I feel like I get along with them really well. My dad is my AD and my uncle is my coach and they knew the coaches from when they were at Ball State. They really like those coaches, and they've known each other for awhile. We all got to go to the Big House too, and that sent chills down my back thinking about the history that's been in that stadium.
This visit was a positive for Michigan, but Bolden isn't making his decision any time soon.
I was definitely impressed by this visit. Michigan is definitely up there on the list overall. I haven't narrowed anything down yet, I just know that Michigan is up there.
Bolden may visit North Carolina this weekend, and plans on trying to make it back up to Michigan sometime soon.
6'6", 285 lbs
As you probably know Braden committed on his visit Thursday. He and his coach had planned this visit for awhile and Ben decided that he was comfortable enough to make his decision. I spoke with his head coach, Ralph Munger, about the visit.
He and his father made a trip to Wisconsin, the family made a trip to MSU, and also Michigan. He's been traveled and checked out a lot of places. Ben shared with me and his parents that he appreciated all the time with the coaches, but he just feels real comfortable with Michigan. He was going to go to MSU also, but in the last couple weeks he was just really excited about Michigan. After today I could see why, he really feels comfortable there. He connected, he looked at the educational opportunities, the football opportunities, and he felt that was the place he could call home.
From a coaching perspective, it's important that a high school coach is comfortable sending his players to that respective school they choose. Luckily for Michigan, Coach Munger has a long time relationship with Brady Hoke.
I've known Brady for a lot of years, he's been very good to me. I've learned a lot from Brady. I've known him on a very personal level and what you see is what you get with Brady. All the years that I've known him and he's still the same guy that he was ten years ago. He's definitely a player's coach, a coach's coach. I can't say enough good things about Brady. He has a certain magnetism with attracting good people. He's very demanding of his players, yet his players are always willing to give everything they've got. He assured me all the coaches will treat the players like sons, and there's a lot of teaching going on there. The line coach that Ben will be working with, he's a family guy, and a very good teacher too.
The recruiting process is very much about relationships and it seems like all the past work that Brady Hoke has put in will soon start to pay off for him.
This weekend is one of the first big visit weekends for the Michigan coaches. I've confirmed a number of big prospects so far, and as usual this list will continue to change as we get closer to the weekend.
- Visiting Today - Ohio OL Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs): No offer yet, but hoping to get one soon. ***Michigan offered Caleb on his visit.
- Ohio OL Kyle Dodson (6'6", 315 lbs): Michigan has made a lot of ground up with Dodson. He's very interested in Michigan.
- Mass LB Camren Williams (6'2", 215 lbs): Making his decision in June so this visit will be big for Michigan.
- Mass ATH Armani Reeves (5'11", 185 lbs): Teammate of Camren Williams, very excited about the visit.
- Michigan LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs): This is good for Michigan to get Royce back on campus. He's seen his recruitment take off offer-wise and Michigan needs to solidify their position.
- Michigan LB James Ross (6'0", 210 lbs): Same deal with Royce, this is great for Michigan to get James back up on campus.
- Michigan DB Terry Richardson (5'9", 160 lbs): Michigan has a lot of work to do with Terry so any type of visit is a good one.
- Michigan OL/DL Kelby Latta (6'4", 295 lbs): Michigan's new coaches have sparked some serious interest from Latta. Before the hire he was very high on Wisconsin, but the new coaches are giving Michigan a chance.
- Ohio DE Pharaoh Brown (6'6", 260 lbs): It will be good to get Brown on campus this early. There's limited spots in Ohio State's class for defensive ends and Brown could end up being a key prospect down the road.
- Michigan OL Ben Braden (6'7", 285 lbs): I reported earlier in the week that Braden had made a trip up to Michigan this past Sunday, and he was offered on that trip. Braden may be coming up this weekend, or it could be next weekend as well.
- Illinois DT Vontrell Williams (6'2", 265 lbs): No offer yet, but hoping to get one.
- Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs): Williams has tried to schedule a visit for the past two weekends, but it looks like the 26th will end up the date he'll make it in.
There was a visitor on Sunday that hasn't been mentioned yet. I was told and have confirmed that Rockford OL Ben Braden (6'7", 295 lbs) was in Ann Arbor this past Sunday with his family.
The Michigan coaches extended Ben an offer and he was excited to receive it. I should have more from him later on, but he could be one to watch. He apparently also has offers from Wisconsin, MSU, and Syracuse.
Another name to keep an eye on is Illinois LB Antonio Morrison (6'3", 220 lbs). Morrison has offers from CMU, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and WMU among others but is starting to gain more interest.