"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."
Florida offensive lineman James Elliott (6'4", 305/Pensacola) is on his way back from an unofficial visit up to Ann Arbor this weekend. He went up to Michigan expecting to see a great place, and possibly a little help in making his decision. It sounds like he got more than what his expectations were set at.
TOM: How did the visit go?
JAMES: Man, that was the most amazing school I've ever seen in person.
TOM: It went that well?
JAMES: We actually stayed a little longer than expected just so we could see everything, and meet Coach Rodriguez. We didn't realize he was in Seattle, so we wanted to stay to meet him. We got to see practice and talk with him about the visit. It was just great.
TOM: What specifically has you so amazed?
JAMES: One thing that did it for me was the players. Every time I met one, they would tell me about themselves, and where they were from. They found out I was from Florida, and they all went crazy. I met some kids from Pahokee, which is a school we played in the playoffs. It was cool to see how all the players were so nice like that.
TOM: What about Coach Frey? I know your current coach is friends with him, how was it being with him?
JAMES: I got to see him, that was great. I also got to be around the offensive linemen which was really cool. Instead of taking breaks, sometimes they would just stay and talk to me instead, which was crazy.
TOM: The players and the coaches seemed to win you over, was there anything about the campus that stood out?
JAMES: They just started a new thing with a chaplin, and he said things are really changing around there. That was unbelievable to me. My mom and I are very spiritual people, so that was great to see. They have a Christian athletic group there, and they give you time to do bible work, and that's really important to me. Also, the stadium.....man. That place is unreal. They just put in the new turf, and it looks great. It was unbelievable being in that place. Everything about the stadium was awesome.
TOM: You already have an offer from Michigan, so what's next?
JAMES: Well, Coach Frey Coach Smith have approved my offer, so now I have to wait for Coach Rodriguez to approve it. Once he does that, we'll go from there.
Possibly more good news from an offensive lineman out of Florida, James Elliott (6'4", 299 lbs.) is visiting Michigan this Friday until Sunday. I caught up with him to talk about the upcoming visit:
TOM: What made this visit come about? Why now?
JAMES: I kept in touch with Coach Smith for awhile now. We kept talking about how they have a couple linemen committed, and it's closing down pretty fast. Michigan's in my top three with Louisville, and USF, so I wanted to get up there and check everything out.
TOM: Who's coming with you on this trip?
JAMES: I'm going up with my mom and sister. We're going to come back for an official visit, too. On the official visit we're going to try to bring my offensive line coach, because he played football with Coach Frey at FSU. We'll take the official visit whenever my bye week is; I just can't remember when that is right now.
TOM: That's right, I forgot about that. Has your coach been helping you with the process?
JAMES: Yeah, definitely. He's going to be very influential in my decision. He's a great coach, and he always tells me how good a guy Coach Frey is, and so I want to see that for myself. Seeing a practice will help me see more on one visit. It will help me figure out a lot more in a shorter period of time, too.
TOM: You said you keep in touch with the coaches. Have they told you where they want you to play on the line?
JAMES: Some schools are saying guard, because I'm about 6-foot-4, 6-foot-4 and a half. Michigan said that I could play right tackle for them, because of my footwork. I have a good punch off the line, and they said my height isn't a big deal.
TOM: After this visit, what does your timeline look like, and what are you going to do from here?
JAMES: Well, I'm not sure yet. I could decide at the beginning of the season, or I could wait until signing day. I just talked to Penn State, and I sent them my film. They said if they like my film they're going to offer me. There's about eight or nine other schools that said I'm next on their list, after they see some more film of me after my first game. It's going to depend on how a few things play out.
Side Note: He wasn't aware that Tony Posada had committed today. He is however very aware that Michigan only has a few limited spots left on the line. I'm under the impression that this visit will be the deciding factor with Michigan. He either figures it out now, or he will wait and see if there's a spot open later.
6'4, 285 lbs.
Elliott has started to see his recruitment take off. With around 14 offers so far, he is hoping for and expecting a few more offers to roll in. James was offered by Michigan this past Tuesday, and was very excited that the Wolverines have chosen him for a scholarship offer. He told me that Michigan is in his top five even if he gets those offers that he's hoping for.
He will most likely have to use an official visit to come see Ann Arbor since it's an expensive trip from Florida. Elliott has a very close relationship with his offensive line coach, and it just so happens that Elliott's line coach played at FSU with Michigan offensive line coach Greg Frey. They have that instant connection and trust that's needed during recruiting, so we'll see how this plays out. Distance won't be a factor for Elliot.
5'10, 165 lbs.
Cape Coral, Florida
Holloway is an interesting prospect who only holds a few offers from Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Western Kentucky. Although the local schools haven't offered they've had their eye on Holloway, and at least one of them should jump into the mix soon.
Holloway told me that Michigan is in his top two with West Virginia. He said that even if one of the local schools does offer, Michigan will still be up there in the top group. Just because they're a local school doesn't mean he would pick them. He's looking for the right fit, and the right school for him. Holloway doesn't know the exact date yet but he will be visiting Michigan sometime either this month, or next.
One complicating factor for Holloway and Michigan is that, like his former teammate Spencer Boyd, Holloway has a child. Boyd recently transferred from Notre Dame to be closer to his family. You have to think that would have an effect on Prince, too.
A look at Prince's spring game this year:
6'3, 210 lbs.
Matthews, North Carolina
Kris Frost will be in Ann Arbor this coming weekend for camp with his family. This is a huge visit for Michigan, as it will be the first time his family will be seeing Michigan. Frost recently took an impromptu visit to Auburn and enjoyed himself. He's been to Auburn quite a few times now, and the proximity to his home is a plus in the eyes of his mom and dad.
Michigan needs to roll out the red carpet for his family. If Michigan can impress them, then it would be safe to say that Michigan will be the clear front-runner. I sent Kris a text the other day, and said, "You're still coming up to Michigan for camp right?" His reply was, "THAAATTTT'SSS RIIIIIIGGGHHTT!!!!!!!!" So… he's a little excited.
[Editor's note: Camp will be critical in Frost's recruitment. The frequent visits to Auburn have Tiger fans feeling optimistic; Michigan's main chance to sway him back will be this weekend.]
6'4, 215 lbs.
Ed was offered by Michigan this past weekend. I spoke with him afterwards, and he said he's going to get together with his family and talk about what's next. "What's next" could be an quick commitment. I'm expecting that Ed's commitment will come sooner rather than later, once he has all of his questions answered. He said he will be ready to make his decision once he feels right about a school.
Michigan is in good shape here.
- There was an article brought to my attention in which Andre Yruretagoyena (I don't even need to look that up anymore) said he didn't think it was fair that USC's new coaches were being punished for what the old staff did. The sanctions against USC are coming from 2004, and you have to remember, Andre was only 10 or 11 years old at that time. He didn't know that Lane Kiffin was part of that staff. He does now, and he doesn't feel as strongly about it. Yruretagoyena said he "want[s] to say it doesn't affect me, but it does."
- MD ATH Brandon Phelps has a Michigan offer, plans a visit, and lists Michigan in a list of five schools that are recruiting him hard.
- OH LB Sean Duggan's visit to Michigan was "awesome" and Michigan is now solidly in his top three.