this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Mgoblue again has a fluff feature entitled "Get to Know the 2012 Freshmen." (LINK: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/080612aab.html.)
Highlighted today are Freshmen Jeremy Clark, Blake Bars, and Drake Johnson. Like last year, I assume they will continue this feature on a regular basis. There are snippets of personal interest attached to each of them, and a link to bio info.
On a completely different note, ESPN has up an article on Urban Meyer and a shift in his values, supposedly now balancing home and work (better than when at Florida.) (LINK: http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8239451/ohio-state-coach-urban-meyer-new-commitment-balancing-work-family-life.) Personally, this article hits home, because I too often have not spent enough time with my wife and children. A good reminder for moms and dads to keep priorities in place.
After a week of whiffing on recruits and looking over our current OL depth and incoming recruits, the void at C is looking more and more like a huge issue. We should be fine this year with Khoury and Miller, but after that, we will be seriously hurting for depth at this very crucial position. Losing guys like Pace to injury and Stacey to a decommitment could really hurt down the road. My question here is, do any of our current OL commits have a chance of being a possibility for the C position down the road? It is pretty clear that Kalis is set to be a LG for 3-4 years and Braden is looking like a T, as would Diamond if he were to commit. I know Magnuson played all 5 positions at the Army game, but I didn't really see a breakdown of how well he played them, especially center. Also, is Blake Bars definitely a RT or G down the line, or at 6'5" could he possibly be a fill in for center as well? Since his commitment, I haven't heard much about him. Any thoughts or insight on Bars or Magnuson playing C?
The article is free, so you can actually read all about how awesome the 2012 OL class is (and that's without potential future commits like Jordan Diamond), but I'll post it here anyway:
The Wolverines have five commitments on the line led by top national tackles Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) and Erik Magnuson (Encinitas, Calif./La Costa Canyon).
Kalis has a 247 Rating of 96 and is the No. 40 prospect in the country and No. 7 offensive tackle in a truly special class of tackle prospects.
Magnuson, 6-foot-6, 275-pounds, checks in at No. 63 with a 96 rating. He is the No. 10 ranked tackle in the class.
Joining the impressive duo are tackles Ben Braden (Rockford, Mi.), Blake Bars (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell Academy) and Caleb Stacey (Cincinnati, Ohio/Sycamore). Braden is on the verge of four-star status checking in with a 247 Rating of 89.
The tight end group of Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams also comes in for an honorable mention.
It was a busy weekend for Michigan with both Chris Wormley and Kyle Kalis making it in to visit. With roughly ten spots left (Ed: Now 9!), remaining recruits are watching every move, and Michigan's coaches must be strategic in their actions. Here's a look at what's been happening and what could happen next. As always you can follow me on Twitter here, and if you have any tips or questions email me at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
Chris Fox (2013)
6'6", 297 lbs.
Fox was a standout performer at Michigan's camp this past week. The Michigan coaches liked the 2013 prospect so much that they offered him once he left.
I talked to Coach Hoke and Coach Funk and they offered me. I got a Colorado offer a few weeks ago, too. The [Michigan coaches] told me that I fit what they're trying to accomplish, and that I look like a Michigan guy.
Fox traveled all the way from Colorado to Michigan just to camp, the trip ended up being well worth the distance. Not only did he get his offer but he also started the foundation for a relationship with Coach Funk.
I'm definitely comfortable with Coach Funk and all the coaches there now. Coach Funk was out in Colorado and stopped by our school and I actually have some family that lives up in Michigan. I love Michigan, they have great football and it would be awesome to go there. Both my parents were born and raised in Michigan too. My family is kind of split in half with Michigan and Michigan State fans. Right now I've only heard from Michigan, MSU hasn't really contacted me.
The camp gave Fox a good look at how the Michigan coaches interact with players and a good feel for the campus.
I'd definitely like to get out [to Michigan] for a game this season. It would be great to get out there. I liked everything, the campus was incredible and the Big House is incredible. I don't have a list yet, I'm just going through the process with open eyes looking for my best fit. As of right now Michigan and Colorado are my top two because they've offered.
Now that he's been on campus and gained a level of comfort with the staff, he feels great about what Michigan has to offer and where he is in the process.
It just feels good to know that I have options this early and it feels good to know that I could go there. I'd like to make my decision before my senior year so that's probably what I'll do, sometime next summer.
Fox is a name that seems to be popping up all over the place now, so I wouldn't be surprised if he got some big time attention soon. Early offers for offensive lineman are usually good signs of talent level and Fox should be right up near the top.
6'4", 255 lbs.
Wormley made a visit up to Ann Arbor this weekend. He's been relatively quiet lately and generally doesn't like talking to the media. I did catch up with him via text to see how his visit went, and where he's going from here. He briefly said the following.
It went very well. Yes I definitely came closer to a decision. My family and girlfriend [went on the visit], and I loved every part of it, but joking around with the coaches was the best part.
I asked if he knew when he would like to make his announcement or decision and he said he will make it when it feels it's right. I can't imagine that it would be much longer though. This visit seems to have been a positive for Michigan moving him in the right direction, so we'll see when it happens.
LaQuon Treadwell (2013)
6'3", 190 lbs.
Treadwell is the younger teammate of 2012 Michigan commit Anthony Standifer. LaQuon accompanied Standifer on his visit to Ann Arbor and immediately saw what his teammate liked so much about Michigan.
Going in I expected it to be great and that's what it was. I think it was overall a great experience, the buildings, the field, and the coaches were great. The field and the academic center where you do all your class work were probably the best parts.
Since he's new to the process he feels that he benefited from Standifer's presence on the visit.
Anthony was asking most of the questions so I was picking off of him and just going off of what he was saying. I'll probably do what Anthony did and decide in the summer too. He talks to me about Michigan a lot and him being committed there helps them with me.
Their coach does not let them visit other schools or decommit once they have committed to a school, so he wants to make sure he gets it right. Treadwell has also been hearing from Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, and Vanderbilt.
16 17 commitments already in this class it seems likely that Michigan will have most of their spots filled by the time the season hits. Here's who's left and where they are in the process.
Offensive line (1-2):
- Nashville OL Blake Bars: Committed on Sunday.
- Ohio OL Kyle Kalis: Just took a visit to Michigan. He isn't saying much to reporters right now, but I did speak to him today. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes his decision very soon. There are a lot of rumors out there, but like I said he's not saying much in public so be careful what you believe.
- Illinois OL Jordan Diamond: Michigan is still in great position, as they always have been. Jordan's mother says that she's not sure when his decision will come but she wouldn't be surprised if he waited until after the season. He's gone back and forth so we'll just have to wait and see his final decision.
- Pennsylvania OL Adam Bisnowaty: His athletic director told me that ideally Adam would like to take a few official visits then decide. Adam has also been quiet (a theme here) but I should have something from him soon. He seems to be a forgotten name, but the Michigan coaches do really like him.
- Arizona OL Andrus Peat: I also reported how Peat's visit to Michigan went a week ago. Don't get too excited about Peat yet, I still think he ends up elsewhere but stranger things have happened.
- Washington OL Joshua Garnett: Recently put Michigan in his top eleven and told me back in May that he would like to take an official visit to Michigan, which he still maintains. I should have more on him this week, but spots remaining could end up being an issue here depending on timelines and decisions of his peers.
- Washington OL Zach Banner: The same can be said for Banner as with Garnett. Timing and space might hinder this, but we'll see how it plays out.
Defensive Line (2-3):
- Missouri DT Ondre Pipkins: He told me last week that he will be making a visit to Michigan in July or August, we'll see which one it ends up being. He also might choose to move up his decision, which is interesting.
- Michigan DT Danny O'Brien: Performed well at Michigan's camp this past weekend and told me the coaches were impressed. He also told me the Michigan coaches expressed that they want one interior lineman, which seems to be between Pipkins, O'Brien, and kind of Sheldon Day. I do think there is still a chance they could take both. O'Brien would ideally like to take a couple official visits, but is also watching what Pipkins does in his recruitment.
- Ohio DE Adolphus Washington: He and teammate Dwayne Stanford are still trying to reschedule their trip to Ann Arbor. Stanford told me they are waiting because of the Fourth of July holiday. I don't think we'll know how interested they really are until they visit. They both were very fond of Ohio State so it could be interesting how it plays out.
- Ohio DE Chris Wormley: As mentioned above Michigan is in good shape with Chris and he's going to announce when he feels he's ready.
- Ohio S Jarrod Wilson: I posted a few days ago that Wilson will be announcing in July 8th at 2:30pm EST per his coach's email and press release.
- The other prospects Michigan is recruiting like Bri'onte Dunn, Ron Thompson, Aaron Burbridge, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Alden Hill, EJ Fatu, and Sione Houma are still somewhat in limbo. Dunn, for example is still committed to Ohio State according to his father. His father told me Bri'onte would be at Ohio State's camp this past week and it looks like that happened. I still believe they're waiting to see what the sanctions are before making a move.
PA running back Greg Garmon told me that he received an offer from Ohio State this weekend. I was told that he worked out at camp as a defensive back and may have been offered as an athlete. It's interesting to say the least that he received an offer from them. He also told me that Michigan is still in it for him and that he, "Loves them."
New Jersey ATH Devin Fuller told me that he's not sure of the exact date but he would still like to make it out to Michigan this summer.
TomVH EDIT: This was a weird night. I sent a text to Blake Bars about 3 hours ago and asked if he had committed yet, he said not yet. I then got an email saying that he did commit about 30 minutes ago.
I then got a call from Blake saying that he has committed and he did it with all his family around. He said he decided to do it tonight because he asked his family why he hasn't committed to Michigan, so he just made up his mind and did it. They're all excited and he'll be bringing his mom up either next week or the week after that.
Here are some of the quotes I posted on Twitter:
Ten minutes ago I committed to Michigan. My family is cheering here, and we're pumped. I was just sitting here and I asked my family why did I not commit to them yet. So I called up Coach Smith and told him. I then called up Coach Hoke and told him. It's been a really exciting night."
Nasvhille offensive lineman Blake Bars (6'5", 275 lbs, 4 star) took in Ann Arbor with his father this past weekend. Bars has been a fast rising commodity within the past few months, which he attributes to a late release to his highlight film. I spoke with Blake tonight to talk about his visit to Michigan and when he'll be making his college choice. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say.
TOM: Now that you've taken your trip to Michigan where are you at overall?
BLAKE: I just talked to Coach Smith tonight, and that went really well. We talked about me potentially going [to Michigan] as a player and he told me I was a priority for them. He was really real with me and he wasn't giving me any BS. He told me to talk everything over with my family and to let him know when I'm ready.
TOM: With the Michigan visit do you feel more comfortable now talking to the coaches, like Coach Smith?
BLAKE: Definitely feel more comfortable that I went up there. We stayed up at Michigan on campus for six hours. I really got to know Coach Smith and Funk really well. I can really understand their philosophies. At the end of our visit all the coaches gathered in Coach Mattison's office and they were drilling me with questions about random easy going stuff. It was a fun and easy conversation, and that was something that really stuck out to me. How personable they were was really cool.
TOM: What was it like to see the facilities and the Big House?
BLAKE: It was awesome to be in the Big House without the fans there. We stood on the 50 yard line, and I can imagine when it's filled with the fans it's amazing. It was really exciting just standing there.
TOM: Did you get a chance to meet any of the current players?
BLAKE: We did see a few players there. The starting left tackle and starting right guard. They basically said hello and welcomed us. That was pretty special.
TOM: You told me that your dad went up there with you and that he's from Michigan originally. What was his reaction?
BLAKE: Yeah, he grew up in Farmington Hills and his reaction was very positive. Although he went to Notre Dame, I think we shared some mutual agreement on liking Michigan. He told me my decision is up to me and we both got some positive feedback from Michigan.
TOM: I know you said last time that your aunt was recruiting you to Michigan with baked goods. Was she trying again while you were up there?
BLAKE: Yeah, we went up to my grandma's house and she lives in Trenton, but she introduced us to everyone with hey my grandson is going to check out Michigan. Then we went over to my uncle's house and he told me I have some good options but at Michigan I would have him to come watch my games. They're really supportive though, and I also have family by Penn State and in Nashville naturally.
TOM: Earlier you had said Coach Smith told you to take your time, does that mean you're close to deciding?
BLAKE: Yeah, I'm going to make my decision within the next week. We're going to sit down and evaluate each school on a different number of levels. Talk about how I would fit in, the level of football, and what it would do for me after football. We'll just go from there and then say where I want to go. We might be taking one more visit this weekend to either Boston College or Florida, but that's if my mom can find a good flight. After that we'll be done with visits.
TOM: You said evaluate each school, who are you evaluating? How many schools are left?
BLAKE: I'm really evaluating a top five of Michigan, Penn State, Florida, LSU, and Vanderbilt. We'll just lay out all those schools and what they have to offer.