"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
This past weekend was Michigan's junior day and by all accounts was a success. There were a ton of prospects in to watch practice and take part in a few tours. Here's a look at how a few of those recruits felt about the trip.
6'4", 255 lbs.
Wormley is one of the top ranked prospects in Ohio for 2012 and is also one of the main targets for the Michigan staff. He's been on campus before, but this was his first chance to see the new coaches in action.
My mom and dad were up there with me. We watched practice first, went to lunch, and then they took us on a tour of the locker room and everything. I noticed in practice that the coaches are real patient and there's not a lot of yelling. It definitely helped me get a better understanding of how they coach and how they work. This visit definitely helped Michigan.
Chris also got a chance to get some one on one time with Coach Montgomery and Mattison.
We were just talking about general stuff, just chit chat. They talked about the defense and that I would most likely be playing what they call the rusher position on the outside.
While Chris has been on campus before, this visit gave him a little bit of a better understanding for the program in general. He talked about the academics and when he wants to make his decision.
I think what stood out to me the most was how seriously they take the academics up there. The academics are first and football's second; I like that. My parents were having some good conversations too, so it was good. I either want to make my decision before the season starts or after. It will be too big of a distraction during the season. If I'm not 100% comfortable then I'll do it after the season.
Michigan has been high on Wormley's list for some time and the new coaching staff has made a definite impression on him and his family. It's a race now between Michigan and Ohio State for Wormley.
6'0", 220 lbs.
Ringer decided to make another trip up to Ann Arbor, and he has also decided on a date to make his final announcement.
I'll be making my announcement on April 15th at 6:00 [EST]. But yeah I was up there for a photo shoot with Tom Lemming and then I stayed for practice. When I got there Coach Hoke came up to me and hugged me. It was cool, but I didn't stay for the junior day. I just wanted to make sure I spoke with the staff before I left.
I then asked Kaleb if this visit let him see anything new or different from what he had already seen from the coaches and the University.
No, they have been real with me from day one. I was mostly checking out the linebackers to see how they play. They really stress physicality and I like that.
While he didn't necessarily see anything new while watching practice there was an aspect that he saw that stood out to him.
I saw a family on the football field, not just a team. You couldn't tell who the stars were on the team, everyone blended. I think they have accepted Coach Hoke's vision and bought into it, and so have I.
Ringer currently has offers from Michigan, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, and Toledo. Like he said, he will be making his announcement on April 15th. It's an announcement to tune in to.
6'3", 220 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Mario made it up to Ann Arbor with his teammate TE Devin Funchess. They both took in practice as well.
We went to practice and talked to Coach Jackson and saw all the coaches. I had a long talk with Coach Hoke, too. He basically talked about what Michigan has to offer and the tradition there. I liked the visit more than I thought I would. I liked it more because of the coaches, they're just really easy to talk and get a long with. I didn't expect all that. We were all just talking about life a lot, especially with Coach Jackson.
The visit seemed to make an impression on Mario, and practice gave him a better view of how the Michigan coaches operate.
They said I would be a hybrid type. I could put my hand in the dirt or drop back into coverage. Watching practice I liked how it was ran. Everyone was hustling and it was 100%. I was basically trying to watch the ends and outside linebackers. After that Coach Singletary took me around by myself and gave me a tour. He was just telling me how Michigan is different.
Ojemudia is hoping to make his final decision before the season starts. He's going to wait until the summer to narrow down his list. He also told me that this visit definitely helped Michigan in his mind.
5'11", 188 lbs.
Brooklyn, New York
Morgan is a prospect who hasn't been talked about too much yet. He already has offers from Alabama, Boston College, UConn, Maryland, Miami, Penn State, and now Michigan.
I sat down with Coach Hoke and he asked me if I think I have a scholarship from Michigan. I said no, and he said well you do.
Rutgers has a slight edge right now because of familiarity and how much he knows about their program. This visit was big for Michigan in that regard, and it gave him a better feel for what Michigan has to offer.
We went around the stadium, the weight room, and the academic center. Coach Mattison was showing me coverages that they run. I saw a lot and all my questions were answered. I basically wanted to know about academics and how I would stand in a school like that. The visit got me closer to the coaches, so that helped.
Besides the coaches, the Big House was an exciting part of the visit for Wayne.
Practice was good, it showed me how they coached. But it was great to be in the Big House. I've never been inside something like that, it just blows your mind to be in the Big House.
Morgan will take more visits and try to gain more comfortability with some of the other programs that have offered. He could end up being a key recruit because of his versatility. He could potentially try out at the corner or safety spot at the next level.
Michigan TE Ron Thompson (6'4", 210 lbs) might be announcing his decision this week. Michigan is in good position with Thompson.
If you missed it, here are the reactions from Michigan's first commitment Ben Braden, and another visitor in LB Joe Bolden.
Instate DE Matt Godin decided to head over to Michigan's practice after the Tom Lemming photo shoot as well. He told me that Michigan keeps moving up every time he goes there. He's still not sure when he wants to decide, but I have a feeling he's getting closer. He's likely to take a few more visits though.
Massachusetts LB Camren Williams committed to Penn State while on his visit. His teammate ATH Armani Reeves was also on the visit with him, but won't be making his decision until December. Michigan still has a chance with Reeves despite his teammate committing to PSU.
MA LB/ATH Camren Williams has committed to PSU, per Scout.
Sucks he not only chooses someone else, but a conference foe. Hopefully this doesn't hurt our chances with Armani Reeves.
Massachusetts LB Camren Williams (6'2", 215 lbs) is on his way home from a visit to Ann Arbor this weekend. He took in the visit with his teammate ATH Armani Reeves and his father who happens to be a Michigan fan. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say about the trip.
TOM: I know you got to Ann Arbor on Friday, so can you take me through what you guys got to see the first day?
CAMREN: First we got right in to the academic meetings, and it was probably one of the best academic meetings I've ever been to. They covered everything, they have internships for the players they can help you with, and they're also starting to give all athletes iPads instead of books which is pretty cool.
TOM: After the academic side did you get a chance to meet with the coaches?
CAMREN: Yeah, we met with my position coach Mark Smith, Coach Hoke, and Coach Mattison. Coach Mattison said he thinks that I would probably grow into a SAM. They kind of run a 5-2 look, so he said I might be able to play WILL too. Coach Hoke talked about where he wants to bring the program. He wants the old Michigan back, and he wants to bring in the type of players that they used to bring in. He wants the excitement from the fans back and he basically just wants Michigan to be back where it was.
TOM: What did you do after meeting with the coaches?
CAMREN: We got a tour of the facilities and the whole campus. The Big House was huge, obviously. It was amazing though, you could tell the fans are right on top of you and it's one of the loudest and the biggest stadiums.
TOM: You did all of that on Friday, so what did you guys do today [Saturday]?
CAMREN: We checked out the opening practice. It was cool, there was a lot of media and alumni there. You could tell they were excited to see how Coach Hoke was going to handle everything. Even though it was the first practice you could tell they were trying to get the tempo high. The defense had to pick up the ball and take it into the endzone every time like they were picking up a fumble.
TOM: You went on this visit with your teammate Armani and your dad, what did they think of the trip?
CAMREN: My dad was amazed. That was the school that has been in my ear since I was born, and I've always worn those colors. He was amazed with everything. Armani, Michigan is one of the few places that you can see the history of the school. You can't really compare a lot of things at Michigan to other places. Like the locker room was incredible, and it was cool to be able to share that with my best friend. He said he definitely wants to see the school again and get back up for another visit. He's going to make his decision in December, but they're definitely up there for him.
TOM: Armani's not deciding until December, but you're deciding in June so what did this visit do for Michigan and how would you rank it from 1-10?
CAMREN: This visit was probably a 10. The visit was huge, it's definitely up there in my favorite schools. I want to make my decision in June, so I definitely want to get back up here for another visit. I really like Coach Hoke, Coach Smith, and Coach Mattison a lot. It's going to be a great place and I'm really interested in looking into Michigan more.
TOM: Wow, was there anything that stuck out to you to make the trip ranked that high?
CAMREN: It was really the little things that added up to one big positive. A lot of the little things that Michigan has and not a lot of other places do are what made me like it. The access some of the players have to certain things, the attention they get, and Coach Mattison being one of the highest paid defensive coordinators in college football is big. He coached all those great players with the Ravens and now he's at Michigan. All of that just made it great.
TOM: So what's next since you're going to be making your decision relatively soon?
CAMREN: I'm really down to Michigan, Maryland, Penn State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest. This was the first visit and then I'm going to Penn State next week, North Carolina on the 9th, and then Wake Forest that same weekend. I also know that I'm going to be back up to Michigan for another visit too.
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.
This past weekend saw a few visitors on campus including LB Vince Biegel, DT Sheldon Day, and TE Devin Funchess. Visit reactions were minimal as they usually are this early in the process. This was the start of many, many visit weekends for Michigan though, so here's a look at some reactions, future visits, and other notes.
6'3", 210 lbs.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
Biegel and his father got a chance to take in Ann Arbor for the first time this weekend and it made a impression on the two.
We got there Friday, got to see the facilities and meet Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison. It was a good visit. We went over schemes with Coach Mattison, and he was showing us Ravens film. He showed me where I would fit in and where he thought I could play at linebacker.
Vince has a top three of Wisconsin, Michigan, and BYU. This visit helped Michigan's case... to a certain extent.
Wisconsin is probably still ahead of Michigan, but I will say that Michigan is definitely in my top three. I really liked Michigan and one thing that stood out was Coach Hoke. He's just a really good guy and a down to earth guy. I'm not really a big facility guy either but I was pretty impressed with Michigan's facilities.
He and his father both said they enjoyed the visit and had fun catching up with Coach Mattison, who recruited the elder Biegel out of high school as well. Vince's plan now is to visit BYU and take in a few spring practices. He said he will likely make it to a Michigan practice and then make his decision. I do think it will be hard to take over Wisconsin's spot at the top.
6'1", 182 lbs
The Michigan legacy was on campus on Thursday hoping to get an offer, but unfortunately came away empty handed. Gant wasn't offered but the coaches did tell him how they feel.
We basically talked about coming back up there for a junior day, so I'll be back up there on [March] 26th. I'm most likely going to their camp too. They were just telling me that they're really interested and that they see me playing at safety for them.
Gant took in the visit with his father, Tony, who played under Bo Schembechler in 1982.
[My dad] enjoyed himself and he thinks Michigan will be back the way it used to be. We got to talk to Coach Mallory, Mattison, and Hoke about everything. I feel a lot more comfortable now that I got to sit down and talk with all of them.
The Wolverines are making ground with Gant but still want to see him perform in person before extending the offer. He'll likely have to wait until his camp performance to hear anything new.
6'3", 290 lbs
Lee's Summit, Missouri
Boehm received an offer from Michigan this past week, which was followed shortly by offers from Auburn and Stanford. The offensive lineman-slash-wrestler was excited about all the new attention.
I just won a state wrestling championship and I was offered by Michigan, Auburn, and Stanford on Sunday so things are going well. I definitely want to get up to Ann Arbor for a visit, I've heard it's beautiful. I just need to talk to my dad about when we can take it.
Boehm's dad also happens to be his football coach which is probably the cause of some of Evan's success. No timeline or top list has been set yet and Boehm plans on taking some time to make his decision.
March 19th Visitors:
Here's the names that I have confirmed so far that will be in Ann Arbor this coming weekend.
Ohio OL Kyle Dodson (6'6", 315 lbs): Michigan is making up lots of ground with Dodson. He says that the history and the coaches have him excited.
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.
Ohio DE Pharaoh Brown (6'6", 220 lbs): It will be good to get Brown on campus this early. He could end up being a key prospect down the road.
Maybe Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs): Williams was trying to make it in this past weekend but couldn't. He's now trying to reschedule for the 19th, but doesn't have anything set in stone yet.
- Illinois OL Dan Voltz will be making his final decision tomorrow [Tuesday]. Since he didn't end up visiting, I'm sure you can draw your own conclusion from there.
As we're getting closer to spring ball we will start to see more visits being scheduled and more lists being narrowed down. Michigan is firing up visits. Here's a look at some of those trips that have been scheduled and what a few recruits have to say about the Wolverines. As always, you can follow me on twitter for more updates, and feel free to email me at TomVH@MGoBlog.com with any tips or questions.
5'11", 185 lbs.
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
The Massachusetts athlete and teammate of LB Camren Williams has a Michigan offer and plans on taking a visit this month.
I have 12 offers right now, so I'm kind of taking everything in. Michigan is definitely a school I want to see, I think we're going there either March 26th or the 19th. Coach Mallory is the one recruiting me, and they're telling me I could play cornerback. It doesn't matter to me, wherever I can play the fastest.
Reeves is currently playing basketball for his high school, so he hasn't focused too much on the process. He does know what his timeline will look like.
My final decision will probably be no later than December or January, I'm not going to drag it out. I'll visit all the schools that have offered first, then narrow it down. I'm really looking for a school with good academics, good coaching staff, and what the campus around it is like.
So far Armani has been to Rutgers, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Maryland. Reeves will be visiting Michigan with his teammate Camren Williams, who is also being recruited by Michigan.
Me and Camren are just enjoying the process together. We've been friends since 4th grade so he's like my brother. We don't base everything on going to school together, it's just a blessing to go through it together. Hopefully we can pick the same school.
This upcoming trip to Ann Arbor should make things more clear for the pair. Williams is looking to make his decision in June, so the visit will be crucial for him.
6'2", 277 lbs.
Johnson does not have an offer from Michigan yet, but they have been in constant communication. He has definite interest.
I do think they'll offer me soon, and I know I want to get up there for a visit. I just have to put some dates in order and check my schedule to see when I have off. I think it will be during spring, since I have that time off, either way I will visit [Michigan]. I don't have a top list yet, but they're definitely a school that sticks out to me.
Defensive tackle is going to be a major focus for Michigan. Despite the fact that Johnson doesn't have an offer from Michigan yet, I believe that he could eventually get one. As other DT prospects make their decisions Michigan will have to look to kids like Johnson to try to shore up that hole on the depth chart.
These visit dates seem to be changing every day, so I will update them as I confirm what they are. Some of the recruits weren't positive on the dates, which tells me it might change. Here's a list of visitors that I have confirmed so far in the next coming weeks.
Michigan DT Matt Godin (6'5", 260 lbs) was in Ann Arbor this past weekend for the Michigan vs. MSU basketball game.
Illinois OL Dan Voltz (6'5", 289 lbs) visiting Michigan this weekend. He'll be making his final decision in the next couple months, so this is a big visit. I think Michigan is a little behind right now.
Wisconsin LB Vince Biegel (6'3", 210 lbs) also visiting Ann Arbor this weekend. This date could change, but as of yesterday it was still the right day. Vince has Michigan in his top three with BYU, and Wisconsin. The coaching changes at Wisconsin made him take a step back, so he'll visit Michigan and BYU next, then likely make his decision.
Michigan LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs) said he thinks he'll be up to Ann Arbor on March 12th, but it sounded like it wasn't set in stone. This one might change.
Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs) has a trip planned for March 19th.
Ohio DE Pharaoh Brown (6'6", 220 lbs) also coming up on March 19th.
As mentioned, Mass LB Camren Williams (6'2", 215 lbs) wasn't sure of the exact date, but it's either March 19th or the 25th. I'll confirm with him in the future.
Mass ATH Armani Reeves (5'11", 185 lbs) teammate of Camren Williams, and will be visiting the same time as Williams.
New York DB Wayne Morgan (5'11", 188 lbs) will be visiting on March 25th. Morgan plays quarterback, corner, and free safety for his high school team now. Very versatile, very good athlete.
Indiana TE/DE Pierre Aka (6'4", 250 lbs) is planning a trip on the 25th as well. He thinks Michigan may offer on the visit. If Michigan offered they could hear his decision shortly after.
This is who I've confirmed so far. I'll be spending time this week trying to confirm more, so this list is going to go up from here.
- Mass LB Camren Williams says Michigan is in his top five, and grew up a Michigan fan. Visiting this month.
- The Good Counsel prospects have interest in Michigan, and vice versa.
- Ohio DE Ifeadi Odenigbo will visit Michigan in June, and says that Michigan is not in his top five yet. A visit may change that, but I believe Ohio State and Stanford are the teams to beat.
- Texas LB Jeremiah Tshimanga didn't make it up to Ann Arbor this weekend, but is hoping to make it up soon.
- Kentucky QB Zeke Pike (6'5", 220 lbs) told me that he plans on visiting Michigan sometime this spring. He doesn't have an exact date yet, but he will make it up. Remember that 2011 Michigan signee TE Chris Barnett is friends with Pike, and has been trying to convince him to pick the Wolverines.