"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
This weekly update will have a few brief notes about a couple prospects, and mainly be about some of the visitors I've confirmed for the U Conn game. This is an initial list that will most definitely grow as the first game gets closer, and as I talk to more people.
6'5", 225 lbs.
Deion quiet with his recruitment, but has always listed Michigan in his list of schools he has interest in. He recently told me that his list is now down to five:
Michigan, Pitt, Penn State, Georgia, and South Carolina are my top five for now. I might wait until signing day to decide, or I might announce at one of the All Star games I was nominated for.
The main all star game he's talking about being nominated for is the Army game, which is a nice honor. He also told me the Michigan coaches want him to wait until the end of the season to take his official visit so they can make sure he's their main focus. Interesting strategy which could mean a few things. Either they really want to give him enough attention, or they don't want him to try to commit with Anthony Zettel still on the board and two defensive ends already committed. I'm not sure which is the case.
6'5", 265 lbs.
Knox is an instate kid that has a couple MAC offers under his belt. Grades and qualifying test scores have been the issue with Knox, but he's working towards rectifying that.
I retook the ACT, I got a lower score but a better score on the math part. I have all core classes my first trimester, and if I ace those classes then I'll be qualified.
So there's that. He told me he really likes Rich Rodriguez, and if he gets qualified Michigan has a good shot. His top three is Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois. His fate is in his hands.
I'll post these here for now. Since this is on the front page I'll create a diary later with more updates so you can follow along.
- Avery Walls - Safety out of Georgia has been to Michigan twice, and rumors are that Michigan leads.
- Daren Kitchen - Defensive back from Louisiana told me he 100% will be there for the U Conn game, and also said his written offer from Michigan is in the mail. I've heard that before, and don't really have any way of verifying, so we'll see. We will all find out together soon, I promise you that.
- Demetrius Hart – Obviously. He's bringing some friends:
- Nick Patti - 2012 QB, teammate of Demetrius Hart will be up with his Dad, and potentially with his trainer Tom Shaw. Shaw trains a ton of football players in Florida, including Florida State commit Karlos Williams. Nick told me that Shaw will play a big role in his decision, and he considers Tom to be an uncle. Getting him on campus could be a good thing for a few reasons.
- Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix(?) - He's not 100% coming yet. They're still figuring that out. Patti and Hart don't think Clinton-Dix would consider decommitting from Alabama, but a visit can't hurt.
- Jake Fisher - Michigan commit will be there.
- Delonte Hollowell - Michigan commit.
- Chris Bryant - The Illinois offensive lineman is a maybe, depending on his game schedule. He'd like to be there, but his team has a game in East St. Louis, so he doesn't think he'll be able to make it. I'm in contact with Chris quite a bit, and he has said he'll most likely wait a few games into the season to make his decision, but may get it over with before the season. If that happens Michigan is in good position. As per usual, they just need to win.
- Hunter and Cam Stanley - 2012 offensive linemen from Toledo, Ohio. They're twins! The 6-foot-4, 260-pound linemen are both very high on Michigan. They camped at Michigan's four-day camp, and jointly took home the offensive line MVP award (they do everything together!). Hunter actually ran his best 40 time at Michigan's camp with a 4.75. Michigan is in their top three along with Notre Dame and Northwestern. They both want to make their decision relatively early, and as you can tell by their list they think they fit best in a spread offense.
- Chris and Demitrious Davis – More twins! Seriously: both 2012 prospects, Chris (5'9", 185 lbs.) is a WR/DB and his brother Demitrious (5'10", 183 lbs.) is a QB/DB. I had a great conversation with Chris, and he wanted me to make sure I told the Michigan fans this next part. "My Dad loves Michigan. Our family hates Ohio State." Chris said his dad was standing next to him grinning ear to ear because he's such a Michigan fan. He also said his dad has always told him and his brother that they should go to Michigan. The twins(!) have an early top five of Michigan, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Miami. Michigan has a good chance here. Chris says his brother is quicker, but he's faster. You can watch for yourself if you'd like. Their film is actually pretty impressive sophomore film. Chris Davis and Demitrious Davis.
- .....AND TWINS!! (I had to)
- Kaleb Ringer - 2012 linebacker from Clayton, Ohio. His uncle is Javon Ringer, former MSU star running back. He told me his family affiliations won't play into anything, and he's actually a Michigan fan (FWIW). He currently holds verbal offers from Cincinnati and Iowa, which is a good sign of his talent level. He and his teammate Jeremy Campbell (DL) will be there. Campbell is listed at 5'11-6'0, weighing in at around 250-pounds. Ringer says that Campbell can squat 750 pounds, which seems like a lot to me. [Ed: me too.]
- Royce Jenkins-Stone - 2012 Cass Tech linebacker will be there. He loves Michigan.
- Chase Deback - 2012 instate offensive lineman from Charlotte, Michigan. Says he's a fan of Michigan State, but will put his fandom to the side for his recruitment. He wants to go wherever he feels is the best place for him. Being a fan of MSU growing up won't play into it. It's often hard for 16-17 year olds to distinguish the difference, though.
- Nathan Ricketts - 2012 instate linebacker. Shameless plug here. Ricketts is a 6-foot-2 linebacker with some good speed from Holland, Michigan.
5'11", 185 lbs.
Johnathan is one of the Chaminade prospects that Michigan is after. WR Spiffy Evans is the other; Michigan was also recruiting QB Jerrard Randall before he committed elsewhere. Aiken and Evans were going to try to make it up to Michigan this summer, but that's not going to be happening. Good news is that Johnathan knows he will be taking an official visit to Michigan. I asked him if he was 100% positive he will be using an official on Michigan, he had this to say.
We just haven't had time to plan anything to get to Michigan for the summer. The official is 200% happening. Michigan is definitely in my top five. Spiffy (Evans) and I are trying to plan it so we can come together.
If you notice he said that Michigan is in his top five. That's a non formed top five as of now.
Michigan, UCLA, Rutgers, and West Virginia are my top four right now. That will probably change, though, it's just how I feel right now.
Michigan is in the current top four, and will most likely fall somewhere in his final top five. His mind isn't anywhere near being made up, so we will have to wait. His early enthusiasm for Michigan is a good sign.
6'3", 275 lbs.
Darian just came back from a visit to Virginia Tech, where he competed in their camp. It doesn't sound like they impressed him, since his tentative top eight below does not include the Hokies. Cooper has played his recruitment very close to the vest, and doesn't like to share a lot about what he's thinking. But I have to try and asked him where he was at right now, if there would be any movement in the near future. He responded with this:
I'm starting to narrow down my list, I think it's about that time. I've made some mental cuts, but nothing definite. This isn't certain yet, but I'm thinking my cut down list is UCLA, Penn State, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, NC State, and Georgia Tech. These were the schools that got on board earliest with me, too.
He stressed that this isn't a final list, just the schools that are sticking out to him right now. The conversation took an interesting turn when he told me that he would be coming out to Michigan sometime in the winter:
I'm coming up to Michigan in the winter to hang out with Delonte Hollowell. We met his family at the Big House BBQ, and the Hollowell family invited me back for the winter to stay with them.
That's a definite plus. The family friendship type bonds are meaningful, helping kids get a better feel for the environment and the school itself. A lot of times with kids that are considering schools away from home it helps their family know they'll be safe if they've made bonds with other families like this. No one knows which way Darian is leaning, but I'm willing to bet Michigan makes his top five eventually.
6'5", 330 lbs.
Bryant was recently offered by Michigan, which was a big deal to him. Chris is teammates with big (literally and metaphorically) 2012 offensive line prospect Jordan Diamond. They've talked about going to school together, and they're both very high on Michigan. Bryant:
I'm really excited about Michigan. I haven't narrowed down my list yet, but I will soon. Michigan is definitely in my top group, though.
Stanford could potentially be an obstacle for Michigan, as he recently took a trip to Palo Alto and really enjoyed himself. The Wolverines seem to have an edge so far, though, as Bryant has been a frequent visitor and has openly campaigned for a block M offer. The last time Bryant was at Michigan his parents didn't get to come with him, so they thought they would fix that:
I'm coming up to Michigan again in the next week or two. My parents never got to see anything, so they're coming up with me. We just want to get to know the coaches a little better, and get a better feel for them.
I talked a little with Jordan Diamond about Chris, and Jordan told me that they're both really liking Michigan right now. If Chris chooses Michigan, it will have a real impact on Jordan's decision.
- OL Jake Fisher committed yesterday. He told me a few days prior to his announcement that he couldn't tell me who he chose, but that he "really likes blue gatorade."
- RB Demetrius Hart is taking his official visit for the UConn game on September 4th.
- 2012 QB Nick Patti, teammate of Demetrius Hart, will also be at the UConn game. Patti enjoyed his recent visit, and Michigan has a good shot here. If he can grow a couple inches, he'll start getting recruited far and wide.
- OL Cyrus Hobbi really enjoyed his visit to Michigan.
- The next big visit for Michigan will be on July 29th when Texas LB Kellen Jones and his father come up. Kellen is a pure middle linebacker that Michigan has a great shot at since his father passed on his fandom to his son, which is fortunate given how linebacker is a position of need. He's athletic enough to line up outside or in, but projects to the middle at the next level.
- OL Tony Posada from Tampa, Florida will be announcing his decision soon. If Florida doesn't offer, then Michigan is in the driver seat. If Florida does offer then he'll probably stay home.
Nick Patti is a 2012 quarterback prospect out of Dr. Phillips High in Orlando. He was just up in Ann Arbor with his teammate Demetrius Hart, and I caught up with him to see how it went. Take a look at his highlights first, and then the questions.
TOM: How did this visit come about? What made you decide to go up there?
NICK: I got a hold of Coach Smith, and they invited me up there to get the recruiting thing going. I decided to invite Demetrius up with me, since he's on their radar too. We just kind of made it a good thing, and made it a good trip.
TOM: You're only a junior to be, so I imagine you haven't seen to many campuses yet. What were you expecting to see in Ann Arbor, and what did you see?
NICK: You're expecting to see a lot of tradition, and you're expecting to see a lot of stuff that makes Michigan, Michigan. That's exactly what we saw. We saw everything that makes that program special, a lot of things that mean a lot to the program, and saw that it would be something cool to be a part of.
TOM: Run me through the two days that you had there. What all did you get to see?
NICK: The first day we headed right over to Schembechler Hall, and we got to see the weight room, locker room, the practice facilities, and then the Big House. The Big House is really something special. That was all on the first day, so we did a lot. The second day we kind of took our time, and slept in a little. We headed back to Schembechler Hall and met with Coach Smith. He talked offense with us, and what they try to do offensively. We talked for about two to three hours with him about football, and then he took us around for a bit. We got a lot done in a short period of time.
TOM: A lot of people come away impressed with the coaches when they meet them, what was your impression?
NICK: You meet the coaches, and you meet Rich Rodriguez, and when ever you meet a head coach you're meeting an important person. But, he's so down to earth. You can talk to him about anything. With Coach Smith it was all about business, but you still feel really comfortable. It's really easy to be around all of them.
TOM: Your dad was up there with you, did he feel the same way?
NICK: Yeah, my dad liked it. He was very impressed with the facilities, and how new everything was. He's basically on the same page as I am.
TOM: When you were talking to Coach Smith about the offense, how was he saying you fit in? Did he try to compare you to anyone?
NICK: With my size I'm sometimes compared to Tate (Forcier). He compared me to Tate, Denard, and Devin all mixed into one at some points. It really just all comes down to intangibles, and who can make the decisions. They have a set characteristics and intangibles that they want their quarterbacks to have.
TOM: You said with your size, how tall are you right now?
NICK: I'm 5-foot-11, and I weigh 185-pounds.
TOM: You're young, but how do you see your recruitment playing out? How do you want to dictate the way your recruitment goes?
NICK: I've heard from a lot of schools early, and I'm going to take some visits and see what I'm going to see. I don't want to drag it out all. I don't want to say I'm going to end it as soon as possible, but I definitely don't want to drag it out.
TOM: So if you think you'll decide relatively quickly, do you have some schools that stick out right now?
NICK: Michigan is definitely a school that sticks out. Oregon, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Florida State are all schools that stick out right now. I'll probably have a better idea as things get more serious.
TOM: On a non football note. Were you close with Ricardo Miller when he was at Dr. Phillips?
NICK: Yeah, I was pretty close with Ricardo when he was here, and we still have a good friendship. We're real close, so it was good to see him, and have him up there.
TOM: What's next from here? Are you going to try to make it back up to Michigan any time soon?
NICK: Coach Smith wants me to get up there as much as possible. We're planning on going up September 4th, for the first game against U Conn. I think that's our plan right now, and we'll try to get up there again as soon as possible.