I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
I recently watched the senior year highlight films of some of the incoming recruits. There were a number that exceeded my expectations relative to what I'd seen in their junior year highlight films and following the board comments for a year.
I was very impressed with the ability of both Funchess (reminds me of Shannon Sharpe) and Chesson's ability to make people miss after the catch, and Chesson looked fast on the field to go along with his track exploits.
I know I shouldn't be surprised by Kyle Kalis' ability, but I can't imagine an OL looking more college ready than Kyle Kalis. I expect he'll be the first non-center lineman off the bench in the fall.
I was also positively impressed by Mario Ojemudia. I expected him to look awesome but lacking in size. He looked awesome, but didn't look small to me. Given Beyer and Clark, he likely still redshirts, but I expect him to be a star down the road.
I was very impressed by Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone. They look like awesome athletes who will grow into dominant players down the line.
A heads-up to anyone who is in the Ann Arbor area and wants to check out a lot of 2012 commits at once:
Farmington Hills Harrison takes on Cass Tech tonight at 8pm at Eastern Michigan University's Rynearson Stadium. Notable players include:
Farmington Hills Harrison: Mario Ojemudia (UM), Devin Funchess (UM), Aaron Burbridge (MSU, consensus 4*)
Cass Tech: Royce Jenkins-Stone (UM), Terry Richardson (UM), Laron Taylor (Iowa, 2* rivals, 3* scout, 3* 247sports), Ruben Lile (uncommitted, consensus 3*)
It should be a good game, as Cass Tech was unbeaten until it lost to Lake Orion last year in the Division 1 semifinals, while Harrison is the defending Division 2 state champion following a 14-0 season.
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!
The Kyle Kalis commitment was a huge deal for Michigan. With 19 commitments on board there's no reason to think they won't be sitting at 20-22 by the time the season starts. They're on a roll and that momentum should continue soon. Here's a look at what happened this week and what's happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and send me any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'3", 220 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Mario was one of the five commitments in Oregon for the Nike event The Opening. He, along with the other attendees, got to work with some top NFL talent while there.
I didn't run the forty as good as I thought I could. We got to work with Ndamukong Suh though. He had a lot of stuff to tell us about technique. We were doing ball get offs and one on ones. I think I did pretty good.
He also got a chance to meet some of the other Michigan commitments and do a little recruiting.
I already knew Terry and James [Ross] but I met with Erik Magnuson and Anthony Standifer. We did some recruiting. We were recruiting Sheldon Day, Danny O'Brien, and anyone that we thought Michigan wanted. I didn't talk to Zach Banner, but I heard he was saying Michigan was in his top group.
As for what he was saying to try to recruit prospects to Michigan.
We were joking around mostly, but we were saying come to Michigan. Look what we're building, look where we're taking the program and all these commits we have.
This event seemed to be a positive all around for everyone involved. All the prospects have been raving about the experience.
6'6", 280 lbs.
Magnuson was also in Oregon, but was working on the opposite side of the ball as Mario. He also got a chance to work with some NFL talent.
We got to work with Russell Okung, the offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks. It was cool because he's in the league but he's young enough to joke around with us. He's out there helping me and he wasn't acting too big. He was out there telling me what to do better. He talked to me about my hand placement with my punch on pass rushing. He said he liked my footwork and aggression too.
Erik was also in on the recruiting pitch with the other commitments.
It was cool to hang out with the other commitments, it was good to put a face to the name. We were all doing some recruiting. Josh Garnett is really liking Michigan a lot, and Zach Banner this is my second week in a row being with him. I'm still trying to get Isaac Seumalo.
I asked Erik the same question as Mario, what is he telling recruits as to why they should choose Michigan.
I just ask them if they want to win a National Championship. Someone said that Michigan has the number one or number two recruiting class. Look at what Coach Hoke did at San Diego State. Give me one good reason why he won't do that at Michigan. I know Coach Hoke more than anyone else and there's no reason to think he won't win at Michigan.
The other recruits were listening to the pitch, and as you already know Josh Garnett and Zach Banner are both planning official visits to Michigan.
6'2", 295 lbs.
The theme with The Opening continues as O'Brien was also at the event. As Mario mentioned the commitments were trying to convince Danny to jump on board. He spoke very highly of the event.
It was sick, they over did it with everything. They had everything for us, three barbers on hand to cut our hair, and we got to play NCAA Football 2012 which was sweet. Ndamukong Suh worked with the defensive line the whole time. During one on ones he'd pull you aside and critique you. He said that my pad level on pass rush needs to get lower and he was showing me different stances and moves.
He was obviously around the Michigan commitments and took in what they were saying.
I hung out with Terry [Richardson] and James [Ross] a lot. We hung out with them and Ron Thompson and Anthony Standifer too. They were just saying comments here and there, and talking about how many spots are left.
As for what's next for Danny, he plans on taking some more visits in the near future.
I'm going to come out with a top six here pretty soon, Michigan is definitely in there. The plan is still to take some official visits then decide. I'm going down south from the 17th of July to the 23rd. I'm going to Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. If Godin is going to the BBQ [at Michigan on the 31st], then I'll be there too [Tom ED: Godin is going as you'll see below].
Danny is well aware of the defensive tackle situation and knows that Michigan wants Ondre Pipkins as well. We'll see how that situation plays out, but I still think there's a decent chance the coaches would take two defensive tackles if those two were Pipkins and O'Brien.
BBQ at the Big House
The BBQ at the Big House is still happening this year. It's taking place on July 31st. Still a lot of time until it happens but I've confirmed some names that will be there so far, and a few that are undecided.
Commit OL Caleb Stacey
Commit LB Joe Bolden
Commit LB Kaleb Ringer
Commit LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
Commit DB Terry Richardson
Commit LB James Ross
Commit DE Matt Godin
Commit DB Allen Gant
Commit TE Devin Funchess
Commit DE Tom Strobel
Commit OL Ben Braden
DT Danny O'Brien
2013 RB Wyatt Shallman
WR Jehu Chesson: He told me he believes he will be there.
2013 OL Steven Elmer: His father told me they will be at the BBQ. As I reported on Twitter earlier, he and his father were on campus on Monday the 10th. It wasn't a football related visit, just more to walk around campus and see things.
OL Kyle Kalis: Says he's not sure yet. I'd imagine he'd be there, but we'll see.
DT Ondre Pipkins: There's a chance, but he doesn't know yet
OL Jordan Diamond: They're not sure if they are yet, but there's a good chance they will be. His mom told me, "Any excuse to visit. We'd like to go."
RB Bri'onte Dunn: He was invited, but his father told me he doesn't know if they'll be going yet. It might help if new commitment Kyle Kalis is on hand as well. We'll see if he makes it up.
Speaking of Bri'onte Dunn. I also tweeted this, but for you non-tweeters, if Ohio State's self imposed sanctions stick with the NCAA then I'm not expecting him to leave Ohio State. However, if they get a two year bowl ban then I think that's too much for him and there's a good chance he would leave. Just something to keep an eye on. The OSU compliance meeting is in August, so we won't know what the official word is until then.
The offensive line situation now that Kyle Kalis is committed has stayed the same so far. The plan for now is to take one more lineman, as long as it is one of the elite prospects on their board. That's the plan for now, it could always change but it looks like that's what will stick.
The commitment of safety Jarrod Wilson was a win for the Michigan coaching staff. Greyshirt commitment Jeremy Clark told me that he is still 100% with Michigan despite the Wilson commitment. This sounds right since the coaches laid out the scenario to him pretty clear.
MaxPreps has moved Michigan ahead of Texas with the number one recruiting class in the country with the addition of Kalis and Wilson.
If you missed this, you can see some pretty cool videos from The Opening event.
As linked by TomVH's twitter, there are lots of good 1 on 1 drill videos that you can check out featuring many Michigan commits and prospects.
There's a run blocking 1 on 1, pass rush 1 on 1, RB vs LB, and WR vs DB.
The Michigan interest is mainly in the linemen drills, as we had no commits in the WR or RB video, and no targets with the exception of Dwayne Stanford.
In the linemen drills, however, Mario is small but impressive. He blows by Zach Banner at one point, who is about double his size. Aziz Shittu, Danny O'Brien, and Sheldon Day are other DL that were impressive in the drills. Joshua Garnett, Banner, and Erik Magnuson are the main targets on OL.
Just some fun videos to check out of some of the best high school players in the country
Somethings to consider in the discussions of moving Mario to OLB.
First - For his high school career he has played with his hand on the ground as a defensive tackle or a defensive end. According to the "Hello" post he is a monster coming off the line:
The 6-3, 215-pounder is undersized in the trenches, but his power and quickness mitigates that disadvantage. So, too, does his relentless aggression. "Mario is unstoppable," said Burbridge. "You never seen him blocked. Mario is a beast." Funchess agreed: "(Ojemudia) is just an animal. He just gets the job done."
Ojemudia made 127 tackles on the season from his defensive end spot, including 12 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Ojemudia was a driving force behind Harrison winning their 13th championship in 2010. He was also one of only three underclassmen to be named to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team.
Second - He is only a Junior in high school at 6'2 and 220 lbs. He may add inches and weight over the next year and arrive on campus at 6'3 or 6'4 and 230 or 240. Compare his size and stats as a junior to two Michigan greats when they were high school seniors:
While I realize that it's unfair to expect Mario to measure up to these all-time greats, I thought it was reasonable to remind the many posters who claim he won't play DE that a lot of growing can happen between age 17 and 20. Since we all hope he has that much time to mature he could be 6'3 265 by then and a pass rushing monster.
Isn't it nice to dream about the potential of this 2012 class?