"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 more or less broke last night, but Jaleel Johnson officially committed to Iowa today. He was considering MIchigan earlier in the process, but was down to Iowa and Michigan State.
This is a big blow for Michigan State. As of a week ago, they were pretty confident that they had him in the bag. With Danny O'Brien focusing on Michigan and Tennessee and rumors that Norfleet is looking down South a bit, Michigan State is running out of big names on their board. It's possible that the only blue-chip recruit they end up with is Se'Von Pittman, but MSU fans can't feel too confident about that commitment given some of his comments.
Michigan has been on a roll with commitments so far with the 2012 class. What may be more impressive than the number of commitments is how they're getting kids to change their decision timelines. They've had a number of prospects that were thought to be waiting until after their season pull the trigger. That trend might continue in the near future. Here's a look at this week's happenings.
5'11", 185 lbs
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Reeves has had Michigan and Penn State at the top of his list for a little while now, but he's decided to bring his top two public.
Penn State and Michigan are the top two. I know I'll be back up to Michigan in June. I'm really not sure if my decision timeline will be moved up or not. It probably depends on how my visits go.
Armani has said he wants to wait to make his decision, but he's also aware of Michigan's situation with defensive back offers and Terry Richardson's commitment.
I hope I can take my time with all this, so we'll see what happens. The coaches told me they want two corners and two safeties, and since Terry [Richardson] committed so early that plan kind of shifted up. They want me for corner, and Penn State said that I could play on both sides of the ball and special teams, so we'll see.
Reeves said the Michigan coaches haven't brought up offense with him, but you'd think they would allow him to try any spot where he can help. He said he'll try to clear that up with the coaches when he visits in June.
6'2", 210 lbs.
Michigan recently offered Gant, and he told me he will be up to Ann Arbor in roughly two weeks. The Michigan offer came with much excitement from both Allen and his father, former Wolverine, Tony Gant. The elder Gant talked to me about how this affect's Allen's recruitment and how he feels about his son receiving an offer from his alma mater.
As a dad I was so elated, I always wanted Allen to follow in my footsteps. I think he'll make his decision in the next month or so, and right now he's leaning towards Michigan. That's a dream come true to have him potentially go to my alma mater. As a former player for Michigan, we have to do it right the first time. We can't bring in anyone we don't think is going to contribute to the team. It doesn't hurt that Allen is my son, but if he can't play football, he can't play football. That's not the case with Allen, he can play. I'm just elated all the way around.
Gant also shed some light on his son's national ranking, and what a program would be getting with his son.
They're going to get a student athlete who's full of character and leadership. You have to look at those qualities, he has to be smart, be a student athlete, and be a leader. From the football aspect he reminds me of [former Wolverine] Keith Bostic, as far as his aggressiveness. He loves to hit, he's a big safety. An analyst asked me why he's not nationally known, and it's because we knew it would probably come down to Michigan and Ohio State. We never went to any combines or camps, so his name wasn't really out there that much.
Tony also mentioned the fact that he and Allen both know where they stand with the Michigan coaches, and where everyone else is at in the process.
We have to be aware of how many kids they have committed and who they're recruiting, but we know exactly where we stand with the coaches. We know that Michigan really wants him. We were going to sit back and wait until February, but that was basically from me. I went through the recruiting process in high school and my dad was dying. I didn't get a chance to enjoy the process. Early on I wanted him to travel a little bit and meet some of the great coaches, but deep down we knew he would stay in the midwest. Plus with a program like Michigan, they have the right to be selective. They go after the best, sometimes you can't wait until the last minute to make that decision.
Mr. Gant said that they have been hearing from more and more schools now that the Michigan offer has come through. Purdue, Nebraska, and Michigan State all came down since Michigan offered. Like his father said, I would expect a decision shortly.
6'4", 230 lbs.
Washington and his teammate WR Dwayne Stanford have been a hot topic lately. They have both expressed interest in Michigan, and while I still think Ohio State will be hard to beat Adolphus recently released his top five schools.
My top five is Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Kentucky, and Miami. Michigan is recruiting me really hard and I know they want to play young talent so that's why they're in there. Me and Dwayne are supposed to [visit Ann Arbor] this weekend.
That's the weekend of the 27th. A few months ago I would have thought Michigan wasn't really in the running, and even up until recently I wasn't sure how much of a chance they would have. I think there is some serious interest in Michigan from both prospects. Both plan on waiting to announce their decision at an All American game so there's plenty of time for Michigan to catch up.
Where does Michigan stand?
It's unknown for sure how many scholarships will be available come February, but the consensus is that there will probably be somewhere around 22. With that being said, Michigan is in great shape with:
As Armani Reeves said above, the Michigan coaches might take 2 corners and 2 safeties. They have Terry Richardson already on board, so that's one corner. Reeves said the coaches want him for cornerback. Wayne Morgan has Michigan as his outright leader, and can play either safety or cornerback. Allen Gant is a safety, and as I noted above could pull the trigger soon. The same goes for Anthony Standifer position wise, but he could decide to wait a little while before making his decision. I still think Michigan leads for Standifer though. Michigan leads for three of the four, and is in the top two for Reeves. Barring anything weird happening you will probably see 2-3 of these prospects in Michigan's class.
Ben Braden and Caleb Stacey are the two commitments on the offensive line so far. Michigan would like to take 5-6 for this class, and some have said that TE commit AJ Williams could move over to tackle if the coaches wanted him to. That's a luxury. They have positioned themselves well with kids like Jordan Diamond and Erik Magnuson, who happen to be the 209th and 34th overall prospects in the country to Rivals. Both are also four stars on other sites. Magnuson will take an official to Michigan and I have a feeling there's a very good chance he picks the Wolverines.
They also still have a chance with Zach Banner, since he has said he will take an official visit to Michigan. Colorado OL Paul Thurston recently visited Michigan and came away very impressed. There's a good chance that Michigan will make his final cut as well. Banner is the 31st overall prospect and Thurston is ranked 137th. Without even mentioning a few other prospects Michigan has a great shot with like Shane Callahan [191st overall] and Trey Keenan, Michigan has a shot with the number 31, 34, 137, and 209th overall prospects in the country all on the offensive line. That would quite the haul.
Commitments from Mario Ojemudia [hybrid DE/LB], Pharaoh Brown, and Matt Godin have given Michigan a solid start with the defensive line. They would probably like to add two tackles and another strong side defensive end to go with Matt Godin.
The name that seams to pop up the most for that position is Chris Wormley. Michigan is the leader for Chris, and he recently told me he thinks he's getting close to a decision. As mentioned above Adolphus Washington has Michigan in his top five, and it looks like they will get a strong look. Outside of those two Michigan fans are to be very excited about Missouri DT Ondre Pipkins, who's originally from Saginaw. I believe that Michigan has a very good chance with Pipkins, who is also thinking about moving his decision date up. He just won the DL MVP at the stacked Columbus Nike camp.
Instate DT Danny O'Brien was being recruited this weekend by the Michigan commitments at the Nike camp in Columbus. His recruitment has been interesting, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with him. Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson and indiana DT Sheldon Day are very much in the conversation, although I believe interest from Day could be slightly slipping. Ohio DE Tom Strobel was in Ann Arbor this past weekend, so he should probably be on this list as well. I'm in the process of getting a hold of Strobel to discuss the visit as we speak.
DT Jarron Jones is "committed" to Penn State for now, but says he will visit Michigan. His commitment is very soft at this point, and he's interested in checking out what Michigan has to offer. These are the likely candidates, as of now, to take up the spots for the rest of Michigan's defensive line class. As always I'll give you the "Anything can happen, so don't take this as 100%" warning. There are a few other prospects, like Georgia DE Jordan Jenkins who say they will visit that might move up. Until they visit though we'll keep this list as it is. Although Illinois DE/DT Faith Ekakitie was recently offered I'm not sure on how much interest is there yet from Faith. He'll have to get to know the program and coaches a little more before anything serious.
There is a "silent commit" right now on the defensive side of the ball. He's not sure when he wants to make it public yet, so when he gives the OK I will let you know.
DT Ondre Pipkins was named the D Line MVP at the Nike camp in Columbus. Here's some pictures of him, as well as Michigan commits Terry Richardson, Shane Morris, Mario Ojemudia, and James Ross at the event. Pictures are from ESPN Rise Flickr account. Someone asked me recently if Pipkins had made his top group public. He said it was supposed to be private, but an analyst ran with it so it's out there. Michigan is in very good shape with Pipkins, his visit in June will be pretty big.
OL Jordan Diamond told me that he will probably be making his decision sooner than expected. He wants to try to visit all the schools he's already been to one more time, then decide.
This weekend ended up being a huge deal for Michigan recruiting. Not only did they secure commitments from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia, but they got instate receiver Aaron Burbridge and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn to visit as well. Here's a look at what Dunn thought of his trip, what may be happening in the near future, and thoughts from a few other prospects.
6'2", 215 lbs.
While Dunn is still committed to Ohio State he has been public about his desire to visit Michigan for some time. The Michigan coaches impressed him when they offered him, and there has been some sort of interest ever since. The recent happenings with Ohio State and the NCAA have gotten the Dunn's attention, and they have said they will continue to monitor what happens in Columbus. I spoke with both Bri'onte and his father after the trip to Ann Arbor. Here's what his father had to say first.
[The visit] went pretty good. They showed us around, we went through the stadium, and basically went around the whole campus. We got a good welcome in there. The head coach, Brady Hoke, wasn't there but we were talking to the rest of the coaches.
They told him he fits in their offense and that they want a back his size. They need a running back. We went up here because he wanted to go to a few places to get the experience. It's just been all Ohio State, so he wanted to look around a little bit. You always have to have a backup plan, too. It was a good trip, though, and his cousin [2013 DB] Dymonte Thomas schooled him on it after he went up there. They've talked about going to school together too.
Both Bri'onte and his father didn't really want to let out too much about the visit or where he stands on either side. Here's the limited amount that Bri'onte was willing to say.
It was better than I expected. They showed us around a lot and explained all the schooling stuff to us. They were good people, they seem like I could build a relationship with them. I'm just looking around right now, I'm still committed to Ohio State.
Like I said, Bri'onte didn't want to put too much out there yet. He wasn't comfortable answering a few of my tougher questions about his situation. I think a lot of this will depend on what happens with the NCAA investigation. I also think that this is just the start of a courtship, and I wouldn't expect anything to happen anytime soon. Either way, it's a positive for Michigan to get him on campus and put a face to a name with the coaches.
6'1", 178 lbs
Standifer had been told he was close to a Michigan offer a few weeks back. One of the Michigan coaches was out to see him in person this week, and Anthony was given an offer based on his performance. Things could start moving pretty rapidly for him now that the offer is official.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
He says he has very strong interest, but isn't sure when he wants to make his final decision.
I haven't been down there yet to see much, but I love the stadium and just the football atmosphere there. They told me that I'm a Michigan corner and that they want size, and to get down there ASAP.
I'm not saying it will for sure happen, but I believe there is a chance that Anthony could pull the trigger on his visit. He seemed excited but unsure of what he wanted to do. If the trip goes well don't be surprised if he makes the call on the spot. Before you ask, this wouldn't have any affect on the recruitment of any other defensive backs, including Terry Richardson.
6'3", 195 lbs.
Gilmore is a prospect that has been a little on the quiet side lately. He holds a Michigan offer as well as Arizona State, Duke, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Despite living in California Gilmore says he has serious interest in Michigan.
[Michigan] is definitely a school I'm interested in. I mean we don't really hear that much about them out here, so to learn more about the program and school would be great. I know they have a rich tradition and good academics, it's a huge program. They have been down for awhile, but the new head coach that they have I'm sure is going to turn it around.
Gilmore wasn't positive but he had thought that Brady Hoke offered him previously while at San Diego State. While GIlmore does like Michigan, it's still early in the process for him.
I'm still taking everything in right now. I want to get out and take my visits and then I will start to narrow down the schools. I've been hearing from Cal, UCLA, and Northwestern lately, so we'll see. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I will be seriously considering Michigan in all this.
Gilmore holds a Michigan offer, but since he wants to take his time, I'm not sure how it will play out for him.
The commitment of Mario Ojemudia has increased Michigan's chances with his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. If they put the full court press on Burbridge they have a chance at landing him.
Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing this Thursday the 12th. He's down to Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. His announcement will be public, so you'll know.
A lot of people were asking if the commitment from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia would have any affect on Chris Wormley or Matt Godin, and the answer is no. Brown and Ojemudia are weakside ends, and Michigan is recruiting Godin and Wormley for the strong side. They will take all four if they fall that way.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson was offered this week. I believe Michigan has a good chance with Johnson.
Arizona ATH DJ Foster was offered this week. He has interest in Michigan, but they will need to get him on campus before any serious interest could happen. Oregon is the likely early leader.
[Ed: Chatter on twitter is that MI CB Terry Richardson may be announcing soon; hopefully "Roll Tide Nation" is just a tweak directed at Ross and RJS. Also, the Rivals 100 is out. RJS is the only state of Michigan player in the top 100 at #87.]
Michigan offered Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson yesterday and I caught up with him to talk about the offer. Jaleel has been open about wanting a Michigan offer for some time, so he was excited when it came through.
The [Michigan] coaches were in school yesterday during school hours. They didn't watch practice, but they verbally offered me and told me that they want me to come out for a visit. I'll be making that visit sometime in the near future, over the summer. I do like Michigan, but I would like to get a feel for the school by going up and checking it out.
I asked him where he was at in his recruitment and what he knew about Michigan so far.
I'm pretty far into my recruitment, I have 11 offers now. I plan on narrowing down my list sometime during my season and then making my decision in the winter. I know that Michigan has the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, which is a team that I like. I also believe they have won the most Big Ten Championships. The rest will be about getting to know the coaches.
I think Michigan has a good shot with Jaleel, like he said he needs to see campus first and get to know all the coaches. Here's a look at his film if you haven't seen it already. Jaleel's other offers include Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, MSU, and Wisconsin.
Here is the list of visitors I have confirmed for the Spring Game so far. If someone isn't on this list it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't coming, I might not have confirmed it yet.
Commit Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs): Caleb has been vocal about trying to recruit for Michigan and has done so with Joe Bolden. It will be good to get him on campus in front of other prospects.
2013 Michigan QB Shane Morris (6'3", 189 lbs): Has a Michigan offer, will probably be the top quarterback in the state next year.
Instate TE Devin Funchess (6'5", 205 lbs): Another trip up for Funchess and he might come with his teammates Mario Ojemudia and Aaron Burbridge.
Illinois DT Vontrell Williams (6'2", 263 lbs): Loved his first visit to Ann Arbor, still hoping for an offer.
Instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs): Will most likely be joined by Terry Richardson, just waiting for confirmation.
Instate TE Ron Thompson (6'4", 210 lbs): Has decided not to make his announcement this week. He just changed schools so he's going to hold off. Michigan is still in good shape.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond (6'7", 289 lbs): I haven't confirmed if he's coming with his teammate QB Robert Gregory, but it would make sense.
Instate LB James Ross (6'0", 209 lbs): His dad said they should be there.
Indana TE Pierre Aka (6'4", 250 lbs): Although Pierre just took a visit this past Saturday he told me he's most likely going to be at the spring game as well.
Pennsylvania OL JJ Denman (6'7", 305 lbs): Might make the trip.
Indiana DT Sheldon Day (6'2", 270 lbs): Was deciding where to go this weekend and chose Michigan.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson (6'2", 277 lbs): Might come with Jordan Diamond
Instate OL/DL Kelby Latta (6'4", 295 lbs): Not sure if he'll make it yet.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley (6'4", 255 lbs): He said he'll come if the weather is good. He's been to campus enough that it's probably not a big deal.
Instate LB Tyler Goble (6'0", 232 lbs): Went to a practice last week and the coaches told him they want him to camp this summer. Former teammates with Brennen Beyer.
New Jersey DB DJ Singleton (6'3", 200 lbs): Said he's not sure if he'll be able to make it yet.
Ohio OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 290 lbs): Not sure if he'll make it up.
Ohio RB/DB Will Mahone (5'11", 205 lbs): Michigan's recruiting him for defensive back and until they offer I don't think he'll show much attention.
Illinois DT Vincent Valentine (6'3", 300 lbs): Not coming.
Ohio DB Allen Gant (6'1", 182 lbs): He'll be back up for camp in the summer.
Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs): Not coming, but not a big deal. Michigan is in good shape with AJ.
Instate DE Matt Godin (6'5", 260 lbs): He's going to Penn State this weekend.
Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer (6'0", 219 lbs): Making his decision the day before, Friday the 15th at 6pm EST.
Pennsylvania LB Deaysean Rippy (6'2", 198 lbs): Told me some things came up and he's unable to make it.
Indiana ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs): At Notre Dame.
The spring game is almost upon us, which means that the recruiting process is about to be in full effect. With two commitments under their belt the Michigan coaching staff could see that number jump very soon. Here's a look at this past weekend's visitor, a few updates on other recruits, and what the future holds.
6'4", 250 lbs.
Aka does not currently have an offer from Michigan, but has been trying to get on campus for some time. He was supposed to make the trip up last weekend with teammate WR/QB Aloyis Gray but the plans fell through. He made the day trip up on Saturday with his coach and was well worth the wait.
It was amazing. When we first got there we took the tour, met with the academic advisor, talked to the recruiting coordinator, then my position coach and Coach Hoke. That was the best part talking to the coaches. I actually built a relationship with them, which I haven't been able to do really with other schools.
Pierre would like to go into nuclear engineering so schools like Michigan and Stanford stand out to him. While he wasn't offered on this trip he did get a chance to talk to the coaches about what he needs to do to earn a scholarship to Michigan.
They said they could offer at anytime, but they definitely will offer if I do good at the one day camp this summer. They all like me, but they just want to see me catch the ball. They said that they only send handwritten letters to certain guys and I'm on that list, they just want to see me in person.
His coach felt the visit was a success and also told Pierre that he thinks Michigan is a good place for a tight end. Aka currently has offers from Arkansas State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, Toledo, and WMU. His team essentially only uses their tight ends for blocking, so there's no film of him running routes or catching the ball. If he does well at summer camps he could see his offer list grow.
6'4", 245 lbs.
Spence has racked up offers from almost everywhere and is five star in Rivals' early evaluation. I have done updates with Spence's father and his coach, so now it was time to hear from Noah himself on where he's at in the process.
I'm definitely going to take all my visits, I'm just taking it step by step right now. I'm wide open and just looking at everybody. When I go to narrow it down it will be through a lot of prayer, seeing what my parents like, and if I feel like I fit in with their system and if they have a family atmosphere.
As you can imagine narrowing down a list the size of Spence's can be intimidating and confusing. He has already started to take trips and is looking to the future to see where he can take in next.
I've taken trips to Maryland and Tennessee, and I'll be up to Penn State for the Blue and White game. I'll probably do local schools for now like Rutgers too. Once I have more time I'll go to the further away schools.
Michigan is one of the schools he and his family are interested in seeing over the summer. Spence says that's most likely when he'll make the trip to Ann Arbor.
I've always liked Michigan since I was younger, it definitely interests me. I like them a lot, the coaching staff seems real down to earth. We talk about everything, grades, football, and how everything's going. Not everything is football with them.
Noah and his family are very close, and his father has been helping him along with the process. So it isn't a surprise that Spence wants to make sure his family is comfortable with his final choice as well.
The school has to include my parents, because they're a big part of my life. It has to be all there too football wise and school wise. I think I want to major in kinesiology, but you're going to get a good education at any D1 school really. I'm not really looking for a specific type of defense, I think I can play defensive end or linebacker. The only way to find out if I fit is to go out to practice and look at the schools.
Spence plans on making his final announcement at the Army All American game which will give his suitors plenty of time to show them what they're about. Whoever lands him is not only getting a quality prospect but a quality kid.
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh hasn't been talked about too much but has offers from Florida, Iowa, Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, and Notre Dame among others. While he has some big time schools coming after him he says he's still in the researching stage of the process.
I'm trying to find time to go to the schools to learn more about them and see where I fit in. I don't have an exact date of when I want to decide yet. The spring and summer is when all the visits will start. I just want to go to the ones that are closer for now, then later on in the summer go out to the further ones.
The receiver position hasn't been discussed as much as the defensive side of recruiting, but Michigan is losing some big time talent after this season. Coach Mallory has been recruiting Darboh to try to fill those holes.
They said they like my character and they like that I'm a playmaker. I know Michigan has a great football program and I'm trying to learn more about them. I think I'm going up there after my Notre Dame visit. Coach Mallory talks to me about a little bit of everything though. He's friends with my head coach, Coach Wilson so they know each other well.
Amara is a competitive receiver and says he does whatever it takes to win. He doesn't currently have a top group yet, but hopes to have one sometime in the summer.
When I make my decision it's going to be about the connection with the coaches and the offensive system. I'm also thinking about studying business, so somewhere that would help me with my degree. I just want an offense that I have a chance to make plays in, that throws the ball enough to make plays.
Darboh has been out to Iowa and Iowa State since they're basically in his backyard. He plans on going out to Notre Dame for their spring game and planning other trips after that.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden is visiting Michigan on Tuesday [April 12th] with his parents. He was recently up to see Ann Arbor with his coach, who's his uncle, and his dad. He told me recently that he thinks he's closing in on a decision, and that Michigan commit Caleb Stacey has been recruiting him to choose the Wolverines. I'm not sure if Tuesday will be the day he pulls the trigger, but it might help move him towards his decision.
This is a very preliminary list and will absolutely grow as I confirm more names. As usual I will post a permanent list in the diary section during the week.
Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer (6'0", 219 lbs): Making his decision the day before, on Friday the 15th at 6 pm EST. If you haven't figured out what's happening you haven't been paying attention.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond (6'7", 289 lbs)
2013 Michigan QB Shane Morris (6'3", 183 lbs)
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson (6'2", 277 lbs): He might be coming up with Jordan Diamond
New Jersey DB DJ Singleton (6'3", 200 lbs): Not sure if he'll be able to make it yet.
Indiana ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs): Still hoping for an offer, might go to a different spring game.
Michigan LB Tyler Goble (6'0", 232 lbs): Baseball schedule might get in the way. He was recently out to a MIchigan practice and the coaches told him they want him at their camp. He's a former teammate of 2011 commit Brennen Beyer.
Michigan DB Terry Richardson (5'9", 160 lbs): If Terry comes it might be safe to assume that James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone will be there, I just haven't confirmed yet.
Like I said I will have more this week as I confirm some names. Stay tuned for that.