"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."
This past weekend had a few visitors to take in the first spring practice. Moving forward, this coming weekend will be even bigger as Michigan is expecting double digit visitors. Here's a look at how those visits went and who's planning on making it in next weekend. As always you can follow me on Twitter for more updates @TomVH, and email me with any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'6", 220 lbs.
This was Brown's first time up to Ann Arbor so this was a big visit for him to get to know the coaches and environment.
We got up there and went straight to the academic center, we watched practice, and then we got to see the facilities and the Big House. I watched some film and talked about how I would fit in to the defense.
Outside of the facilities, meeting the coaches is usually the biggest part of a first visit and that was the case for Pharaoh.
Coach Mattison was talking about the Ravens and the scheme. He said I would be a rush defensive end, or I could be rushing and dropping back some too. Coach Hoke talked more about academics and the overview of the whole thing. He and my uncle were talking about college life and how to help people transition. I think they're pretty good guys, I feel comfortable with all of them now seeing them in person.
It's still early in the process but this visit did a lot to help Michigan with their recruitment of Brown.
I think I could fit in perfectly with what they were telling me, it was good. I'll probably make my decision in the middle of my season and I might take a few official visits. This visit moved them up on my list though; my interest level went up tremendously. They are at the top of my list for now.
Pharaoh might make it back up to Michigan for the spring game or a game during the season. His top list may end up changing, but this helped move Michigan forward with Brown.
6'6", 315 lbs.
[ed: epic shirt.]
This was also the first time seeing the Michigan facilities up close for Kyle Dodson. Michigan has been making up ground with Kyle for some time, and he was excited to make this trip.
I saw the football facilities and the Big House. We talked with basically all the coaches, and we really got a feel for the place and the surroundings. Coach Funk talked to me about how I would fit in and that they only really have one left tackle right now. They were saying there's a good chance I could play early depending on my work ethic.
Dodson also got a chance to talk to Coach Hoke, but the Big House was what stuck out most to the big lineman.
Coach Hoke is a really nice guy. He talked to me about the tradition and about all the players he coached. But the Big House was the most impressive. I walked in there and it was just amazing. I stood on the M and was thinking I could definitely see myself playing there. When I walked out onto the field I had some hype music that I was singing in my head and it felt good, it was magical.
A lot of what Kyle is looking for comes with comfortability and feeling like he fits in.
This visit really made me know that all those coaches are there for my well being, and they're definitely going to be on my side through my time there. I know for a fact that they all care for me. I kind of want to decide before my season so it won't be a distraction. I'll probably come out with my top list soon, but Michigan is definitely in heavy consideration. They definitely moved up in my mind.
Dodson also said that he will only consider schools that have offered him, and doesn't want to wait for schools to come through past a certain point. Michigan is in really good position with Kyle and he's an outstanding prospect for Michigan's needs.
6'2", 215 lbs
This wasn't the first trip for Royce Jenkins-Stone, but it was an important one. He came up with his friends LB James Ross and DB Terry Richardson. All three were hoping to see more from the new coaches and saw just that.
This visit helped me see how they coach and how the environment changes. I talked to some of the players and asked them what these coaches were like. They said that there's not much yelling and they really treat you like their sons. They help you with your personal stuff more than just football. I think I feel comfortable with them, and I know my mom likes it a lot. She thinks it's a great place for me.
Royce has seen his offer list blow up and has become a national recruit. He plans on taking his time with everything, but this visit definitely helped Michigan.
Yeah, this visit helped Michigan a lot. I didn't think it was that family centered up there. Everyone felt like they were at home, and I know for a fact that none of those coaches are leaving. If I go there none of them are leaving for the three or four years I'm there. I know Terry [Richardson] and James [Ross] felt the same way. I don't know where they're at with everything, but I know they liked it.
Those three recruits, Jenkins-Stone, Ross, and Richardson have seemed to become an area of focus for these coaches and they expressed that on this visit.
Coach Mattison went over film with us and what positions we would be playing. He said they see Biggs [James Ross] as a WILL and they see me at MIKE. They said we're the dream team, me, Terry, and James, and that they really want us.
Like I said Royce has offers from almost everywhere and he plans on checking those schools out. He'll most likely use official visits for the schools that aren't within driving distance and unofficials for the closer schools. He plans on coming out with a top ten before the season, a top five mid season, and then a top three before he decides towards the end of the season. He was also nominated for the US Army All American game, so he may decide then if he gets chosen.
March 24-26th Visitors
These are the names that I have confirmed so far. This list will change as the date gets closer and I confirm more people.
- Kentucky QB Zeke Pike (6'5", 220 lbs): Pike told me he's visiting Michigan this week and will probably be up on Thursday. It's not set in stone yet.
- OL Sid Anvoots (6'4", 285 lbs) Indiana: Visiting this weekend
- OL Chase Deback (6'8", 308 lbs) Michigan: Hoping for an offer from Michigan.
- LB Joe Bolden (6'2", 225 lbs) Ohio: Recently offered by Michigan
- OL Jonah Pirsig (6'9", 300 lbs) Minnesota: Also has a Michigan offer
- TE Pierre Aka (6'4", 250 lbs) Indiana: If Michigan offers he might make his decision on the spot. He's very high on Michigan.
- WR Aloyis Gray (6'3", 165 lbs) Indiana: Teammates with Pierre Aka, he's hoping to get an offer.
- OL DeAndre Herron (6'6", 300 lbs) Indiana: Has offers from Louisville and Toledo, will probably have more soon.
- OL Daron Brown (6'5", 312 lbs) Michigan: Has been up to Michigan before, and is hoping for an offer.
- DB Wayne Morgan (5'11", 188 lbs) New York: Rutgers leads because he's familiar with their program. This visit could be big for Michigan.
- DB Allen Gant (6'1", 182 lbs) Ohio: Recently took a trip up to Ann Arbor and plans on camping this summer.
- DE Mario Ojemudia (6'3", 215 lbs) Michigan: Plans on taking his time with his recruitment, has a Michigan offer.
- TE Devin Funchess (6'5", 205 lbs) MIchigan: Teammates with Ojemudia.
- TE Ron Thompson (6'4", 210 lbs) MIchigan: Very high on Michigan, plans on waiting a little while longer to make his decision.
- TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs) Ohio: He'll be up either Tuesday or Friday, he isn't sure of the date yet.
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs) Michigan: Said he wants to get back up to see them practice in pads.
- DE Alex Pace (6'2", 255 lbs) Glenville
- MAYBE DT Greg Kuhar (6'3", 265 lbs) Ohio: Talking to his parents about making the trip.
- MAYBE ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs) Indiana: Not 100% sure if he's coming, but he's leaning towards it.
- MAYBE LB Vin Ascolese (6'2", 205 lbs) New Jersey: Not sure if he'll make it.
- MAYBE RB Auctavius Bennett (5'7", 180 lbs) Maryland
- MAYBE WR Monty Madaris (6'2", 175 lbs) Ohio: Not sure of his ride situation, but is trying to make it up.
Massachusetts LB Camren Williams and Armani Reeves both took in Michigan this weekend. Williams had excellent things to say about the trip.
Ohio OL Caleb Stacey was offered while visiting Michigan. Stacey thoroughly enjoyed the visit, and it probably vaulted Michigan to the top. We'll see if he decides to make a decision soon.
Reviewing our list of prospects for 2012, I became curious about Greg Kuhar. He is really the only prospect among the 100+ without any other top offers. He has an offer from Toledo and an offer from us.
That says to me that he is a player that Michigan sees something special in. So I decided to review and here's what I found:
When Kuhar was offered TomVH posted that he was a wrestler. Not only is he a wrestler, but he is ranked number 1 in Ohio for the heavy weight division and number 7 nationally (BTW - 4 of the 6 players ahead of him are seniors). He was second at the 2009 Cadet Nationals in freestyle, fourth in the state tournament at 285 pounds as a sophomore with a 35-9 record, and he is the 2010 Junior Nationals Freestyle National Champion for the 285lb weight class. He is wrestling this weekend in the state championship and he and his team are favored.
In football, he's a two-way player on both oline and dline. His team improved from 4-6 in 09-10 to go 15-0 in 10-11 and finish ranked 1st in the state and 2nd in the country. He is really good friends with Kyle Kalis, an Ohio State commit and Michigan offeree, and they have talked about playing together.
According to TomVH, Greg is a slight OSU fan while his Dad is a big Michigan fan. When I think of a wrestler at DT, I can't help but think of MIke Martin. I'm intrigued by his potential. Assuming he pursues football instead of college wrestling I think we have a good chance that he will wear the maize and blue.
Ohio State commit OL Kyle Kalis (6'5", 300 lbs) from St. Edward High School in Ohio was offered by Michigan yesterday. This is the second Ohio State commit (RB Bri'onte Dunn) to receive a Michigan offer. However, this one might be different.
Michigan is also recruiting his St. Edward teammates TE Sam Grant, DT Greg Kuhar, and OL Tyler Orlosky who all have offers. Here's what Kyle had to say about the offer and the future.
I was offered by Michigan yesterday. I'm pretty much set on Ohio State, but my mind is still open at this point. I talked to Coach Funk yesterday and he said they would have offered me when I was 15 if they were the coaches here. He said they really want me, they really need me, and how excited they are to get to know me. They want me to come up to see Michigan and get the blue carpet treatment.
Kalis said he's pretty much set on Ohio State, but as the conversation went on he told me more about would could potentially transpire in the future, especially with his teammates.
I might go up there with either Sam [Grant] or [Greg] Kuhar sometime. I think they like Michigan, and I know that [Tyler] Orlosky is definitely the most interested. Me and Orlosky are very close and we've always talked about playing together at the next level somewhere, so time will tell. I know Orlosky is a Michigan fan and excited to get up there to see what they're all about. I think I'll definitely give [Michigan] a chance to recruit me and I'll see where my teammates go.
Michigan has some work cut out for them if they'd like to land more than one St. Edward prospect. It sounds like Tyler Orlosky could be a big help with Michigan landing a few of his teammates, and they all happen to be at positions of need. I wouldn't get too excited about this yet, since Ohio State is very good at keeping kids committed, but it's definitely interesting to hear. We'll see what happens.
There's going to be quite a bit of info in this weekly update because we're back to square one. Offers are being passed out, new names are starting to surface, junior days and combines are happening, and everyone's meeting everyone else. Rather than me listing all the offers that are out right now, I'll just point you to Magnus over at Touch the Banner and his offer board.
This weekend is what was the "Michigan Showcase" camp and is now "Best of the Midwest." Either way it's in Ann Arbor and will host some of the top kids in the Midwest--like the name suggests. Coaches can't attend the camp but Michigan will take the opportunity to show a few kids around before or after.
6'2", 205 lbs.
Plant City, Florida
Coney was offered by the previous staff, and had an 'incident' that lead to his dismissal from his high school team. Despite those facts Coney says he has heard from the new Michigan staff and the incident is nothing to worry about.
The (Michigan) coach said he looked at my film over 40 times, and he liked what he saw. He said they would love for me to get up there and see the program, and that I pass the eye test. I'm up to 210-pounds now. I got into a small altercation with one of my teammates, and the seniors said they didn't want me on the team so they kicked me off for last year. I'll be back on the team this year though.
I have to take what these kids say as their word, and this is what Bennie is reporting. He says that Michigan is in his current top five along with FSU, Notre Dame, Auburn, and LSU.
We'll see if they pursue him heavily; there are plenty of quarterbacks in the Midwest and California.
6'3", 265 lbs.
Kuhar is a big defensive tackle who also happens to be a wrestling champion. Michigan was Greg's first Big Ten offer, which was exciting for him and his family.
Any Big Ten school is amazing, playing in that atmosphere would be awesome. My parents were really excited, my dad loves Michigan. Being from Ohio I like Ohio State, but I'm really just a fan of college football in general. I always watch Big Ten football and root for them.
Kuhar currently holds offers from Michigan and Toledo, but that list will probably expand soon. Whenever Michigan decides to set a date for junior days, look for most of the midwest kids, including Greg, to make it up to Ann Arbor.
6'3", 210 lbs.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
I reported that Biegel received a Michigan offer last week and has the Wolverines in his top three with Wisconsin and BYU. Wisconsin is his leader for now, but there's room for that to change.
I was thinking about committing after my junior season, this past season but I decided not to. Wisconsin took five linebackers and lost the coach that was recruiting me, so I want to take it slow and look around now.
I want to look at other schools, and it's funny Coach Matty [Mattison] actually recruited my dad out of high school. Coach told me he didn't want this to be like what happened with my dad [who went to BYU]. Coach is pretty well known in this area, and he's a funny guy.
I don't think I have to keep repeating how many good things I've heard about Greg Mattison anymore. It's just a given that everyone loves him, and somehow has been recruited by him.
Wisconsin still has a slight edge right now, but what happened with the linebackers and the coaches I think really affected Vince. Both his dad and uncle played for the Cougars, but I'm not sure if that will be enough to get him out of the Midwest. You can watch his junior film here.
6'4", 210 lbs.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Ron Thompson also received an offer last week, and it was a big one for the instate junior. Thompson is a big fan of Michigan, and was hoping to hear from them. Thompson's coach Avante Mitchell filled me in on what happened and what's next.
Ron talked to Coach Jackson, and he was very matter of fact with Ron. He said, "We've seen your film, and you're the type of ball player we want at Michigan. You have the right ball skills, agility, and you're the type of player we want to be a Michigan man." Ron was very professional on the phone, but you could tell he wanted to jump out of his skin. He's a big Michigan fan.
Besides being a fan of Michigan, Ron has a few other connections to Ann Arbor.
We actually coached Devin Gardner for a long time, I've been coaching him since he was little. Ron had the chance to meet Devin last year at a 7 on 7, so that was a big deal for him. Ron's a good kid, he deserves this attention, he busts his butt every day. We told him to enjoy the moment, go through the process and once he's to the point where he knows then go ahead and make it.
Thompson will also try to make it up to Ann Arbor for a visit soon. I'm not sure how long he plans on letting his recruitment play out, but it's safe to say that Michigan is in good position for Thompson.
PA LB Deaysean Rippy (6'2", 200 lbs): Rippy should be one of the top linebackers in the country, and had this to say about his recruitment so far.
I'm still open to everybody. I was offered by Michigan when Coach Rod was there, but the new staff has been in contact. I'll try to make it up there for a visit, maybe for a practice.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins (6'3", 325 lbs): Pipkins is originally from Saginaw/Rochester and only recently moved to Missouri. He said he's hoping to hear from Michigan.
I was actually both a Michigan and MSU fan. I know Lamarr Woodley, Charles Rogers and Jason Richardson so I can't really choose one side. Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, MSU, Iowa, Oregon, and Auburn would be awesome for me.
MI DB Leviticus Payne (5'9", 175 lbs): Payne has been hearing from Michigan. One of his coaches told me that Michigan is close to offering. Here's more from our conversation:
Leviticus is an excellent student athlete, a really nice kid to have around. He's been a consistent worker in the classroom and athletically. He's the hardest working kid we've been around. I know a lot of places want him for defense, but I think he has good enough ball skills for offense too.
- California TE Taylor McNamara was offered last week. He filled me in on where he's at here.
- Ohio DE Ifeadi Odenigbo placed fifth overall in the Cleveland Nike combine. There were also a few other notable recruits at the same event, which we talked about on the board. Ifeadi is supposed to meet with the Ohio State coaches sometime soon, but maintains they are not his dream school. Stanford, Ohio State, and Michigan seem to be near the top.
- Ohio OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 290 lbs.) is a name to keep an eye on. He was the first ever offensive lineman to score over 100 at a Nike combine. He also happens to be a Michigan fan, and will be reaching out to the Michigan coaches. His top five so far is Michigan, Northwestern, Cincy, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green.
- Maryland WR Stefon Diggs, a teammate of current Wolverine Blake Countess, is another name to watch. His coach tells me to keep an eye on DE Roderick Chungong, RB Wes Brown, DE Ryan Watson, and OL Mike Madaras in the 2012 class from Our Lady of Good Counsel as well.
- Another teammate of a current recruit to watch is DB/RB Brandon Watkins (5'10", 195 lbs), who plays with Leviticus Payne. Watkins missed five games last year due to injury, but his coach thinks he's a gamer.
- Glenville DB De'Van Bogard (5'11", 172 lbs) could be close to receiving a Michigan offer. Unfortunately he's probably about to get an offer from Ohio State too. He's an OSU lean.
- Ohio QB Maty Mauk was offered by Michigan last week, and told me about his feelings towards the Wolverines here.
- Pennsylvania DE Noah Spence will be one of the most sought after defensive line recruits for 2012. His coach told me how Michigan will factor in to his recruitment.
- Missouri LB Michael Scherer (6'4", 229 lbs) plans on coming to Michigan for an unofficial visit in March after a 7 on 7 tournament.
- Ohio QB Tyler O'Connor (6'3", 202 lbs) has been hearing from Michigan, and could see an offer soon.