"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Florida DB Dallas Crawford told me today that he will most likely take his official visit sometime in September. Don't be surprised if it spills over into October for one of the bigger games.
He also said that Michigan is in his top three with Wake Forest and Miami.
We're switching it up for this week's Update. I thought I would give you guys a chance to ask some questions, and I could try to shed some light on your inquiries. Feel free to add your thoughts, or info in the comments.
Where does Michigan stand with Sammy Watkins and Kris Frost? I saw that Frost has a visit date set up with Michigan, and I know Watkins came in the spring. What are our chances of landing both of these guys?
You're right about Frost, he will be taking an official visit for the MSU game. If money and timing work out, he might be up for a couple games this season. He's down to Auburn and Michigan at this point.
Early on I would have said that Michigan was comfortably in the lead. Auburn, however, has caught up and this will be get close. I'm still thinking Michigan leads, and it would probably take quite a bit for him not to choose us. As it is with a lot of the uncommitted prospects Michigan is after, we just need to win.
As far as Watkins, I've said this a couple times but there's a rumor that Sammy has grade issues. I haven't 100% confirmed that, so take it FWIW. (EDIT: I have talked to someone close to Watkins, and they say that he thinks his grades are good enough, but he needs to pass the SAT. He just re-took the SAT, and thinks he passed, so he'll know soon.) If he's fully qualified then we have a good chance. From talking to his teammate Dallas Crawford (who we have a really good chance with) it sounds like they might be favoring different schools. If the grades rumor is true then I'm sure the coaches still have a bitter taste in their mouth with Florida recruits that have grade issues.
I was wondering how likely it would be that Michigan pulls off a recruiting miracle and actually gets some of the top prospects to switch commitments, or commit in general. I.E. - Trey DePriest, HaSean Clinton-Dix, DeAnthony Thomas, Ray Drew, or anyone else in the top 100 nationally.
This is a tough question to answer, because all of this will depend on how the team produces on the field. To get this out of the way though: forget about DePriest, it's not happening. As far as Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, I think he's pretty set in his ways about Alabama. He does have a few teammates in his ear about Michigan, now that '12 QB Nick Patti has been up for a visit and seen it for himself. He would be pretty hard to pull away from Alabama, so it's not likely. Again, the theme here is win and there's a chance.
I spoke with DeAnthony Thomas about his interest in Michigan. If he schedules an official visit then there would be reason to hope. The only way Michigan has a chance with him is if he takes an official visit. There's obviously a need for highly ranked defensive backs like Thomas, so playing time would be an easy sell. I would put him in the "don't count on it" file.
Ray Drew is an interesting scenario. Drew is good friends with DB Avery Walls, who is very high on Michigan. Walls has been apparently recruiting Drew to come to Michigan with him. Friends recruiting friends is one of the best recruiting tools a school can have.
I interviewed Drew back in June and he told me he was wide open. But he also told me that it's going to be hard for any school to pull him out of Georgia because his mom wants him to stay close to home. He's open to go out of state, but he's a momma's boy.
Knowing that Demar Dorsey didn't get admitted, and some didn't qualify, how good was the 2010 class in retrospect?
This is all going to be opinion, since none of them have played a down of football yet. Dorsey is obviously the nonqualifier that was needed the most. While Jones could have played multiple positions he wasn't expected to contribute early, and neither was Kinard. Dorsey could have been a starting corner.
Looking at the rest of the class, judging by the talk around practice it seems as though they've filled a lot of holes with the 2010 class. Jibreel Black, who's playing defensive end, has been getting a lot of praise. He was already 253 pounds coming in, so it was an easier transition for him. We have our starting punter in Will Hagerup in this class. Marvin Robinson, Cullen Christian, Carvin Johnson, Drew Dileo, and Stephen Hopkins could potentially all see the field this year. If we have 7 out of the 24 recruits that signed seeing playing time, I think that's a good indicator of their work ethic, talent level, and fit.
Some of the recruits will just take more time to develop, and adjust to the next level. Not seeing significant early playing time isn't necessarily an indicator of their talent level. Christian Pace, for example, will redshirt and study the ways of David Molk at center. Some recruiting analysts said that Pace's height was the only thing that kept him from being one of the best offensive linemen in that class, and there's a lot of excitement around his future at center once Molk leaves.
The three star debate has been beaten to death everywhere on the internet, so I'm not going to go there. Could they have done better in certain areas? Sure. Do I think they did a good job, given the circumstances (3-9, 5-7)? Definitely.
Does the departure of JT Turner possibly help our chances with any top flight DB's in this year's class? (Doran Grant, Dallas Crawford, etc)? Do they see an even better opportunity for immediate playing time?
They already saw an opportunity for immediate playing time, but I'm not sure that most of them even know who JT Turner is, let alone that he's not on the team anymore. However, Michigan's lack of depth in the secondary is known by recruits. Turner's departure only increases that. When they find out Turner transferred then it will make Michigan more appealing for the kids that were already genuinely interested in Michigan.
I say genuinely interested because there's a lot of prospects that list Michigan, but we probably don't have a good shot with. Doran Grant and Kyshoen Jarrett are two of those recruits. There are rumors about Ohio State landing Doran Grant. He talks about us in interviews, and lists us in his top group, but I would be unbelievably surprised if he picks us. If I was guessing, I would pick Ohio State or Miami. He doesn't have an offer from Miami yet, but if he shows more interest in them, he might get it. Jarrett is rumored to be down to Penn State and Pittsburgh, since he's a Pennsylvania kid.
So who's left, and who do I think we have a shot with? Here's a list of the recruits that you should pay attention to.
- Dallas Crawford (Florida/5'10", 185 lbs, 3 Star) - Crawford actually reminds me of a more athletic Courtney Avery. He's a smart kid, and he plays quarterback in high school right now. He recently told me that, "Michigan has a very, very, very, realistic chance," of landing him.
- Avery Walls (Georgia/5'11", 184 lbs, 4 Star) - Walls has always spoken highly of Michigan, and more importantly so has his mom. I think Michigan might actually lead with Avery, and will likely get an official from him as well. He's looking to make a decision relatively early, so we'll find out soon.
- Valdez Showers (Michigan/5'11", 181, 3 Star) - Showers is an instate kid, and has Michigan in his top six along with Auburn, Iowa, Florida, Northwestern, and MSU. This is a tough one, because he was really excited about his Florida offer. I've had some off the record talks with other recruits about Showers that left me more confused than before. He's likely to make his decision soon, I'm just not sure where his minds at. He's a Michigan fan, but a few things could get in the way.
Besides these names it's slim pickings. Daren Kitchen from Louisiana had tried to commit, but was told to wait. They want at least one more defensive back in this class, and now with the departure of Turner, potentially two. Telling Kitchen to wait means they're higher on other prospects and think they have a good enough shot to take a chance.
The recurring theme with all of this is that Michigan needs to win. If they win, the recruiting landscape will take on a whole different look. Florida State commit Karlos Williams, the number two defensive back on Rivals, has said he has interest in Michigan. He told me personally that if Michigan is having a good season, he and some friends from Florida will try to make it up for the Iowa game. Obviously more names will come out of the woodwork once the coaches review more prospects and have a better grasp for where they're at with these current recruits. They just need to win, and the commits will come.
What are some 2012 kids that we're in on early?
These aren't all of them, but it's a good start:
- LB James Ross - Instate kid, loves Michigan. We need to win (have you heard that before?)
- OL Jordan Diamond - Teammates with 2011 Illinois OL Chris Bryant, who could ver well end up at Michigan. Bryant will announce his decision a few games into the season, and his decision will likely effect Jordan's as well.
- DT Danny O'Brien - O'Brien goes to Flint Powers and has Michigan and Tennessee in his top two. Michigan needs to land him.
- QB Bennie Coney - Has a verbal offer from Michigan. Coney is a 6'2, 205 lb quarterback from Florida. He'll be announcing his top 5 soon, but told me that Michigan will be in his top 5. He wants to get out of Florida and explore; he doesn't want to stay in Florida his whole life. He thinks that Notre Dame, Florida State, Purdue, Texas Tech, and Michigan will comprise his top 5, but it's not official.
- RB Coy Brown - Brown is from Indiana and told me that his top three (in order) is Indiana, Michigan, then MSU and Notre Dame are tied for third. He'll be visiting Michigan for the Iowa game, and has already camped at Michigan. He's a bigger back at 6'0", 205 lbs.
- DT Tommy Schutt - The teammate of one time Michigan recruit, current Iowa commit OL Jordan Walsh. Tommy spoke highly of Michigan when we talked recently, and said that Jordan's decision to go to Iowa shouldn't have a big effect on him.
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Royce is a Cass Tech product, and loves Michigan. We all know how those stories end.
- DE Chris Wormley - Wormley is a big Michigan fan, but has been upset about the lack of contact from the Michigan coaches. He understands the rules behind it, but is still upset for some reason. Ohio State may be taking the lead, which means that they're probably also not following the rules (assumption).
2012 will be a good year for talent in the state of Michigan, and hopefully our record for the 2010 season will give reason for some excitement.
5'9", 155 lbs.
Cape Coral, Florida
Prince is an athlete fit for Rich Rodriguez' system, and could fill a spot as a slot in the offense very nicely. Holloway is from Florida, but says he has no problem with distance. As for what schools stand out to him right now, he had this to say:
There's still some other schools I'm looking at, but West Virginia and Michigan are the top two schools right now. I'll most likely take an official visit to Michigan, I'm just not sure when.
I don't think he'll have a good grasp for where he wants to go until he takes his visits. I think West Virginia might have a slight edge right now, but like I said the visits will change a lot of what he's thinking. He would be a nice addition to the offense and return game. [Ed: If Michigan has room. Slot is not a big priority in this class.]
6'4", 247 lbs.
West Branch, Michigan
As everyone knows Anthony is one of Michigan's top priorities for this class. At first it seemed as if it would be a quick and painless courtship, and now it's likely to drag out to the end of the season. Zettel just came back from a visit to Penn State, and had a great time. As far as how his season will pan out, he said this:
I probably won't take officials to Michigan or MSU, because I've been there so many times already. I will most likely take official visits to Penn State and Iowa, though. I'll be at a couple Michigan games during the season, just not officials.
I understand his logic behind not taking official visits to either in state school, but I think it gives Penn State and Iowa a slight advantage, at least relative to where they were before. On an official visit the recruits get to spend the night and hang out with the players, go out at night, and really experience what it's like to be up there. He may have already done that at Michigan, but coming to a game doesn't give that same experience. I am still on the optimistic side though, and I think Michigan is still in prime position. He won't be making his decision any time soon:
My parents and I think it's best to wait until after the season to make a decision.
If Michigan wins, we're golden. If not, it will be a dogfight, or a lot of questions will need to be answered.
5'10", 185 lbs.
Fort Meyers, Florida
Crawford was up at Michigan for the spring game with wide receiver Sammy Watkins, his teammate. It was their first time up to Michigan, and it left a lasting impression for a few reasons:
When we went up for the spring game, it exceeded my expectations. I've heard about the great tradition at Michigan, but being up there and seeing it is a great thing. The campus, everything is great. I had the best hamburger I've ever had at the Brown Jug.
Good food on campus is a plus for Dallas. With the season approaching, it's almost time to start thinking about who's going to make the cut, and what schools are left.
My list right now is LSU, Michigan, Wake Forest, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Miami. I think I'll take all of my official visits. One of those schools I'll have to drop, so I'll drop it down first. I think Michigan has a very, very, very realistic chance with me.
The weather has been mentioned with Dallas, as it sometimes is with Florida kids, and possibly going to the same school as his teammate Sammy.
Weather doesn't really matter to me. It was 30 degrees at the spring game at Michigan, and that would probably be around the coldest game I would play in. Eventually you'd have to play someone up north, so that's no big deal. With Sammy, if it happens it happens. I don't know if it will, we gotta do what's best for us.
It should be noted that Dallas holds a 3.52 GPA, and said he's qualified with the clearinghouse. I haven't confirmed this, but there are rumors that Watkins may have grade issues that could prevent him from choosing certain schools.
Coach Frey has made a great impression on Dallas, and has developed a nice relationship as well. Crawford's high school coach is a Michigan fan, and believes that the Michigan coaches would treat him well, too. He appears to be a reason that the coaches have put LA CB Daren Kitchen on the back burner for now—Michigan is in great position with Crawford.
Dallas is probably going to wait to make his decision, but said it will also most likely be before signing day.
- Tommy Schutt - Tommy is a big defensive tackle (6'3", 300 lbs.) from Glenbard West in Illinois. If you feel like that school sounds familiar it's because that's the same school of 2011 OL recruit Jordan Walsh. Not only are they teammates, but they're good friends, too. Michigan will be one of the top schools that Tommy looks at, and his coach had some good news for the future:
My coach told me that Michigan will be offering me on September first. I know Jordan is very interested in Michigan, and if he went there it would have an effect on my decision.
September 1st is the first day that 2012 recruits can get written offers. A name to keep an eye on for sure, as he already has verbal offers from Illinois and Iowa.
- Vin Ascolese - Vin is an outside linebacker (6'2", 196 lbs.) from New Jersey. Ascolese was an attendee at the spring game this year, and has also taken visits to Penn State, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. Everything is still fresh in his mind, and he said the spring game was very energetic. The Michigan coaches say they like his size and athleticism, and are going to keep in contact with him. You can take a look at his sophomore highlights here.
- As I mentioned the other day, DE/LB Austin Traylor out of Ohio narrowed his list down this weekend. The list consists of (in no order) Michigan, Minnesota, MSU, Cincinnati, Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Kentucky. A pretty broad narrowed down list, if you ask me. We'll see if Michigan decides to show him enough interest, they may wait to see how some other prospects pan out first.
- Don't expect OL Chris Bryant to make his decision in the near future. He loves Michigan, but told me he will be waiting to make his decision at least a few games into the season. He wants to see how everyone's season starts off before deciding.