Five (!) 2012 commits have been selected to the 51 player watch list for the 2011 high school Butkus Award. This is great for not only these athletes, but also their current teammates, and for UM Football. Past winners include Manti Te'o, Jordan Hicks, and Tony Steward. Free rivals article, with complete list, is linked.
Best wishes for great senior seasons!
This article breaks down 11 prospects who were close on ESPN 150. Of these 11 are Funchess and Bolden. Interesting that Ross is rated higher, but Bolden is mentioned in this article.
It's been an eventful few days, and by the time most of you read this Michigan will have gotten its newest commitment. Outside of that commitment here's a look at a few other prospects and future happenings. As always you can find more updates on my Twitter page, and please feel free to email me with tips and questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'5", 260 lbs.
Matt Godin recently announced that he was ready to make his decision. He's yet to decide on how he will announce it, and is currently mulling over a few ideas.
I decided on my date because my family is all going to be home, and it's just the right time to do it. I feel, other than these three schools, there is nowhere else I would like more.
That date is May 12th, and the three schools are Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. I will let you know how Matt decides to announce his decision when he tells me.
6'4", 210 lbs.
Another instater that had been planning on making his announcement within the next weeks, Thompson sounds like he's now wavering on what to do.
I did [have the announcement scheduled] but I still don't think it will happen. I'm just not ready, it's too much. I think I'm far from a decision to be honest. There was a team that was looking good, but now there are others that have come aboard and I'm not sure if I'm ready.
Apparently there are some bigger name schools that are showing Thompson interest and they may have caught his attention. I, for some reason, didn't take this to mean that he really isn't going to announce on the 11th. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't. There may be a few questions that need to be answered with Michigan and their two TE commits.
5'11", 167 lbs.
I know it's a bit early to be talking about 2013 prospects, but Thomas already holds a Michigan offer and he was just on campus in Ann Arbor.
I went up there [Saturday] after the MSU spring game. I really, really like Michigan. I like how they do their schooling and they put school first and then sports. I was supposed to go up there awhile ago, but I couldn't because of baseball.
Besides the Michigan offer Thomas also holds verbal offers from Michigan State and West Virginia. This visit to Michigan gave him a chance to talk to the coaches and see the facilities up close.
The coaches were just really nice about everything. They walked me around different places, and they showed us the locker room and the lounge. They didn't really sell me on anything, they were just telling me about the program and what they have to offer.
Although Thomas admits to being an Ohio State fan, he says he will take a more business approach to his recruitment.
I am an Ohio State fan, but I'm going to look at what's best for me. I don't want to pick a school and then say I wish I would have gone to Ohio State. I also don't want to pick Ohio State and say man I wish I would have gone to a different school. I'm thinking about committing after my last game of my junior season, so we'll see what happens.
Thomas really likes Ohio State, but I take him at his word that he'll be unbiased in his approach. He's in contact with 2012 RB Bri'onte Dunn, FWIW.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden decided to commit in person in Ann Arbor because it was more respectful.
Ohio RB Bri'onte Dunn has not re-opened his commitment from Ohio State, but he will be visiting Michigan soon. He just got an in school visit from Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. I believe there is genuine interest there from the Dunns. They are interested to see the outcome of the NCAA investigation at OSU.
DT Ondre Pipkins will narrow his list in June, which will also be around when he's visiting Michigan. He told me that he will likely make his final decision later on, but there is a chance it could happen in the summer time. He said an earlier decision will depend on how his summer visits go.
Pennsylvania RB Greg Garmon is visiting Michigan in the next couple weeks. He wants to learn more about Michigan, who is in his top three with Penn State and North Carolina. The Tarheels currently lead.
New York QB Chad Kelly, nephew of Jim Kelly, will be visiting Michigan today [Monday]. He does not have an offer yet. Like the rest of the unoffered QBs, he might have to wait to see how everything plays out before he gets considered.
I normally don't post anything on a commitment, and don't want to take away from Tim's front page Hello post but I wanted to share what Michigan's newest commit Joe Bolden had to say about Michigan and why he committed.
TOM: There was a Cincinnati journalist that tweeted you were going to make your decision this weekend. I know you said you were undecided earlier, so what made you change your mind?
JOE: Yeah, he tweeted that and I got some phone calls and text messages about it. I told everybody that I wasn't sure. That was for me to keep it on the down low until me and my family had made the decision. I didn't want it to be a big deal, or anything to happen like what happened with Kaleb Ringer in the newspaper. I thought what that reporter did was wrong and I hope he realizes that. It's also just about being humble, too.
TOM: How did you tell the coaches?
JOE: I'm actually on my way back from Ann Arbor right now, we went up there with my siblings and my grandparents. Family was important to me and that's part of why I chose Ann Arbor. I wanted to do it in person because it shows more respect when you say it in person and look someone in the eyes to tell them you're coming to their school.
TOM: When did you really know it was Michigan? Or a better question, you said God gave you some signs that Michigan was the place. What were some of the signs?
JOE: After my second visit up to Michigan with my mom and dad. We had just gotten home about 10:30 at night, and my dad has a twitter account. Someone had tweeted right when he checked it that everything this guy says is gold, and it was about Coach Mattison. That was just one, but it was just odd the timing of everything and what we just saw.
TOM: I know that you're mature for your age, so I'm assuming that Michigan is the only school you'll be looking at? No wavering.
JOE: I'm very solid on it. I wouldn't have made the decision if I wasn't. There were a lot of factors that played into it, and there were some factors on why I did it so early. I thought why wait if it's the right school, with the right people, and I don't see any better opportunity to play college football and get an education.
TOM: Caleb Stacey was trying to convince you to come to Michigan, are you going to reciprocate and try to recruit anyone yourself?
JOE: I'm obviously going to encourage the guys Michigan has offered to choose Michigan because I want the best for my recruiting class and Michigan. At the end of the day it's going to come down to their decision. I'm not in their shoes, they need to do what's best for their family.
The spring game was a success from a recruiting perspective on a few different levels. The commitment from instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone was an important early get that most didn't expect so soon. Outside of the commitment here's a look at what some of the other visiting prospects had to say. As always you can find me and more updates on Twitter, and if you have any questions or tips please email me at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'6", 289 lbs
Diamond is a big-time prospect nationally and for a Michigan class that needs a hig- profile tackle or two. He has been to Ann Arbor plenty of times, but this time he brought someone new.
I've seen a lot of that stuff before, and they were just showing us around. My father was there for the first time and he said everything was great. He got a great impression from everything, and he thought the coaching staff was great. He actually said he would feel comfortable with me playing there so that felt good.
Since Diamond has taken numerous visits to Michigan's campus, and the fact that his teammate Chris Bryant signed with Michigan, these visits are more about comfort than discovery for him. But...
It did give me a chance to see how they coached and how they were showing the players what they need to do. I saw Coach Funk is doing a good job with those guys getting the fundamentals down. I've seen a lot of them now and it's about getting familiar with these schools. These visits, I have my parents go up to see where I might be going. I didn't really see anything new, it was just more of a confirmation of what I've been seeing.
While he didn't necessarily see anything new with the program, Jordan definitely got to be a part of a new experience.
When we got there we came out on the field and there was a bunch of fans telling me Jordan we need you. To have them recognize an offensive lineman and ask me for autographs was pretty cool. I was getting stopped on the street and people were asking me if I was Jordan Diamond. I was signing autographs for little kids, and to have that happen at a big school was cool. Being with the players is always great too; they're exactly the same on and off the field. The character and attitude they have is always the same.
Jordan isn't positive exactly when he wants to make his final decision, but he knows how he wants to get there.
I'm going to keep taking visits right now, then narrow it down to a top ten during the summer. After that I'll get it to a top five before the season starts and I'll take my official visits to those five. I know Michigan will definitely be in the top five. Michigan is looking solid right now.
Diamond has always wanted to take his visits and take his time with the process, so this is nothing new. These early visits have helped Michigan lay the ground work for later on in the process when the tough decisions come around.
6'7", 305 lbs.
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
Denman is a huge offensive lineman that has racked up around 21 offers from schools like Michigan, Boston College, Miami, MSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin to name a few. JJ took in Ann Arbor for the first time and came away impressed.
I spent the whole day Friday looking around the campus, and then Saturday we spent more time at the facilities and the spring game. I was the only one there on Friday so we got talk to all the coaches. We talked about how they're bringing back a pro style offense and that they need big linemen. Everything overall was good, I really liked the coaches. The coaches seem real down to earth and straight shooters. The Big House: I walked in there and it was just huge. They said they were going to put up scoreboards and that they might be adding more seats which is crazy.
The Big House is typically something prospects remember from their visits, but the MIchigan players were what stuck with Denman.
All the players are genuine guys. I talked to Denard Robinson and it was just like he was a normal guy. He saw me walk by and was just like "hey what's up man," it was like he didn't even do what he did on the field. I talked to Jake Long too and he was the exact same way. It's like Michigan doesn't produce cocky guys, they're all humbled and that was cool.
Although JJ has a pretty big offer list he already has a good idea of who makes up his top group.
I think I know the schools that I like, I'm going to go out to a couple more just to make sure. I definitely know I'm going to take an official visit to Michigan, and I'm going to try to make it back for the Notre Dame game because it will be their first night game. I'll probably take all five of my officials. The five schools right now are Michigan, Boston College, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Rutgers.
It sounds like this visit helped Michigan but it won't mean much until he starts taking official visits.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Ojemudia is an interesting instate prospect that has been up to Michigan with his teammate TE Devin Funchess a few times now. If you remember last time Mario said that he was surprised that he liked his Michigan visit so much. It seems like the spring game might have helped Michigan a little more.
It went really well, it was fun. I didn't really see anything different but I'm feeling really comfortable with all the coaches, and I really like Michigan now which is kind of weird since I grew up not liking them. I think these visits have sort of leveled everything out now.
Mario has also been to Michigan State three or four times now, but hasn't been in a while. Having processed the trips he's taken, he thinks the visits have helped him narrow down his list to a group of three.
I've somewhat narrowed it down. I like Michigan, Stanford, and MSU, but that could all be subject to change if I get another offer from a school I like. Two schools that I really like are Penn State and Ohio State.
All of these trips he's taking are helping him get to his final decision, which he says he wants to have done before his season starts.
2013 QB Shane Morris was also on hand for the spring game. He seemed to enjoy the fan attention he got as well.
It went really well, I had a lot of fun. I signed my first autograph on a #12 Michigan jersey. That was crazy. I've pretty much seen the whole school three times now so I just want to get to know the coaches better and get more comfortable at the school.
Michigan commit OL Caleb Stacey had his decision validated while he was on campus for the first time as a commitment.
It went great, I had two kids around the age of ten ask for my autograph. It made me feel like I was at home with great people, great atmosphere, great fans, and just all around great place. I was trying to recruit [JJ Denman] and Sheldon Day while I was up there.
** QB Zeke Pike is announcing his decision on Wednesday. He told me that he's down to Auburn, Michigan, and Purdue. He said you shouldn't look too much into the rumors about him being committed to Auburn. I have a strange feeling about this one.
New York DB Wayne Morgan's coach tells me that Michigan has moved up on his list.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden took in Ann Arbor with his parents, and may be nearing a decision.
I hinted on Twitter that there was going to be a silent commit yesterday. The prospect told me it was ok to tell people his intentions, but to obviously keep his name quiet. The plan was to commit to the coaches, take two more visits then come forward with the announcement at his school. He told the coaches Sunday night and they told him that he should take the other two visits first then commit to them. It wasn't a rejection, but more so not acknowledging a commitment from a kid that wants to take visits. The announcement should happen in 3 or 4 weeks.
If you missed it here's last week's Weekly Update with TE Pierre Aka, DE Noah Spence, and WR Amara Darboh.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden (6'2", 225 lbs) was in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago with his dad and his uncle, who also happens to be his coach. He decided to take another trip back up, but this time with his mom and dad. Here's his highlight film and his thoughts on the visit.
TOM: You were just in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, so what prompted this visit?
JOE: I didn't see as much as I wanted to last time. This time we got to drive through campus, see the classrooms, and we just got to see a lot more than last time. We go the grand tour of everything. I didn't get to see a dorm because there weren't any vacant, but I got to see the building that I would be living in.
TOM: I know you went up with your dad and uncle last time, who went with you this time?
JOE: Just my mom and dad.
TOM: What did they think of the visit. Your dad has seen campus before, but this was the first time for mom. How did she like it?
JOE: She really liked it. She really liked Coach Hoke, and Mrs. Hoke and Mrs. Mattison were actually up there so she got to talk to them for awhile too. To me she seemed pretty impressed.
TOM: Did they have questions for the coaches that they, as parents, wanted answered? I know moms can be protective sometimes.
JOE: Not really any more questions, they pretty much answered everything before I asked them. Coach Hoke without my parents even asking answered everything. We sat down for about 45 minutes and just talked about me living up there. He talked about her being a mom and obviously she's protective. He told her that if I were to choose Michigan that I'd be safe and taken care of.
TOM: So where are you at right now with the process? I know you told me last time that you think you're getting close, but what does that mean?
JOE: Right now I have it narrowed down to a couple schools that I'm very serious about, but I want to keep those quiet so I don't give anyone the wrong impression. I'm getting as much information on them as I can, and talking to as many good resources as I can.
TOM: How will you know when you're ready to decide?
JOE: I still haven't gotten the chance to sit down with my mother, father, and uncle and weigh out the pro's and con's of everything. My uncle wasn't at school today, but we'll probably sit down in the next couple days. I really don't have a timeline, it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in February. I'm not sure yet.
TOM: When you say weigh everything out, what are you thinking about with regards to each school?
JOE: Academics has always been a big part of my life. My parents have stressed school work comes before the game of football, so that's number one. If I fit into the program, if I like the coaches, and if the university has tradition, a good winning tradition.