"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Just watching out for former targets and future competition.. Noah Spence (Ohio commit) and Ronald Darby (ND) are having a huge day at the UA All American game. The only thing that can make this sweet is if Garnett decides to commit to M during the game..
In other news, Wes Brown committed to Maryland..
Here in central PA, there's obviously no bigger name involved in college football recruiting than Noah Spence. Personally I've never seen a local kid catapault himself so far onto the top of all the myriad recruiting lists.
At any rate, the local paper ran a story about Noah's recruitment, quoting his father in the process. Among the notable tidbits:
- He is going to announce at the UnderArmour game, and no sooner
- He has built a strong rapport with Larry Johnson Sr, and thinks very highly of JoePa
- He is taking unofficial visits this weekend to North Carolina and NC State (I'm assuming this is mixed in with a family vacation or something)
- He has put together a short list of seven schools at this point
- And, sadly, there is no mention of UM at all in the article.
I've said it before, but I don't think this will happen for us, especially with all of the DE recruits we've already locked down. I'm hoping he'll at least save one of his official visits for us, perhaps for the ND game. I would love to see a change of heart, because he's the real deal, but I have a feeling he'll be lined up against us in a white helmet in the years to come.
With sixteen commitments now on board it could start to get interesting for Michigan recruiting. They arguably have anywhere between 21-25 spots total for this class, which means they have at most 9 more scholarships available. Here's a look at what could happen next and some notes from a few prospects.
6'6", 265 lbs.
Olson's name popped up later than the other linemen Michigan has been looking at. He has an offer and took in Ann Arbor this past week.
Our flight was delayed so we got in late Tuesday night. We pushed everything to Wednesday, but I have a buddy who's a freshman there so we went out to dinner with him on Tuesday. On Wednesday we met with Coach Mallory, went to the business center, the academic center and met with the academic advisor. They took us on a tour, went to the facilities, the Big House, and Al Glick field house. It was pretty unbelievable, they have the best facilities of any school that I've been to. It's a pretty special place. I got chills walking down the tunnel and seeing the Go Blue across it. The Big House was great.
As I reported last time academics will be a huge factor in Eric's decision. He's done his homework on each school and got to see what Michigan has to offer in person.
The Ross business school is a prestigious place. They talked about the rankings and the opportunities you have from there. I asked how difficult it is to be on the football team and in the business school. They said that Zoltan Mesko did it and he was near the top of his class. With summer classes you can get some of the core classes out of the way.
With the academic side layed out clearly he also got a chance to sit down and talk with his potential position coach.
We met with Coach Funk and talked about his experiences and where he's coached. My school runs basically the exact same offense they want to run, a two-back pound it play-action offense. Their depth chart is a strong point for their recruitment because it's pretty wide open. There's a chance to play early there. Coach Hoke told us that he wants to recruit high character kids and his main focus is to get them a degree.
Since this was Olson's last visit he now has some thinking to do, but he's not sure of when a decision will come.
I've dabbled with the idea of going out to Stanford's camp, but I'm not sure. These past couple days we've been talking about it. We'll make a decision to either commit somewhere or I might go out to Stanford. I don't know when it could happen, could be a week, tomorrow, a couple weeks. I'm honestly not sure yet.
I believe him when he says he's not sure. I think he has it narrowed down in his head, but probably doesn't have his decision yet. That's at least as of when we spoke. If he decides not to go out to Stanford I think that bodes well for Michigan's chances. I'll have more on the offensive line situation further down.
6'6", 275 lbs.
Bisnowaty was making his way through an unofficial visit tour and stopped in Ann Arbor to check out Michigan. The four star lineman's athletic director filled me in on how the visit went.
Adam told me that he really enjoyed the visit. He liked everything very much, and he said that he was impressed with the head coach. The facilities were out of sight, and I know we have nice facilities, but he said it was really great there. I think he's been interested in Michigan for awhile, how can you not be interested in Michigan. Academics are important for him, and our old head coach is friends with one of the new Michigan coaches. He's traveling out to Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Purdue.
These trips were for Adam to gain more comfortability with each program, and to potentially help him make his final decision.
He's hoping to get [a decision] taken care of before the season, but I think he's realizing that might not be possible. He's planning on taking some official visits, and I doubt he'd take all five. His options are pretty open I don't think he's sold on any one over the other.
His athletic director, Mike O'Brien, had nothing bad to say about Adam and thought that any program would be lucky to have a kid like him. He'll probably know more about where he stands with each school once he's done taking his visits.
6'6' 275 lbs.
As you know by now Erik has committed. He told me it would be happening around two weeks ago, he just wanted to take this visit to see everything in person. Now that he is committed he will be putting on his recruiting hat.
It wasn't anything that I expected at Michigan, it was crazy. It was such a cool place and everyone was so nice. I want to get the best players to commit there now so I've been talking to OL Isaac [Seumalo, 4 Star], DT Aziz Shittu, and OL Jordan Diamond. The coaches didn't know much about Isaac because he's from a small school, but they know of him now. If they offer him, we want to play together, so I think he'd be really interested.
Erik was on campus for the jersey reveal, but as I said on Twitter he was NOT allowed to attend the event.
They didn't want to take any chances with any NCAA stuff so I couldn't be in there. I did see some pictures of them and they look good. I'm going to try to come out there for the Notre Dame game with my family and then I'll probably take an official visit by myself for another game.
Magnuson was a huge pick up in himself, but it sounds like he could be a good recruiter for Michigan as well.
6'5", 245 lbs.
I spoke with Pittman's head coach this past week, and since then there have been some rumors flying around. I'll discuss some of what I was told this week here and a little bit further down. First, here's what his coach had to say.
There's four schools that have never really wavered in his top group, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and MSU are the four and the southern schools are in there because they've won National Championships and all that. When it comes down to it though I think that distance might be an issue for him. Brady and Greg have done a great job with him in recruiting. He plans on getting up there sometime at the end of the summer.
The Ohio State mess is not the only factor playing into why Pittman feels strongly about the Wolverines.
I've known Greg [Mattison] and Brady [Hoke} for awhile and think the world of them. Brady at Ball State, we spent a lot of time together. I've worked several camps with Greg at Notre Dame and MIchigan. He's a first class guy.
As far as how his recruitment is going to play out, his coach had this to say.
[Se'Von] wants to take a couple official visits. They're going to be game day officials because his intentions are to be a mid-year graduate and enroll early. He's done a lot of homework, he's gone to camps, spring balls, evertyhing. He might be going up to Michigan's camp, we have a couple kids going up there, so he might come up too.
I was told by someone that I trust, and that is very close to the situation, that Michigan a few weeks ago thought they were very close to landing PIttman. Since then I was told that they have slowed things down with him. I don't want to get into too much or speculate but we'll see how it plays out as he gets closer to his graduation, and if he does indeed graduate early. It's not over with him by any means.
Offensive and Defensive Line:
That's a good segue to now talk about where Michigan is at with both offensive and defensive line recruiting.
First the offensive line. With Magnuson committing that gives them a true left tackle and Ben Braden and Caleb Stacey on the interior. Michigan is still in great shape with Illinois OL Jordan Diamond. If you missed it I spoke with his mother about where they're at this past week. He and his family will be visiting Ann Arbor this week for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp, and will also pop in to see the coaches.
Eric Olson and Adam Brisnowaty are fresh off visits as I just talked about. Colorado OL Paul Thurston should be deciding within the next few months and has Michigan in his final group. Someone that hasn't been talked about much is Tennessee OL Blake Bars (6'5", 275 lbs, 4 star), who is originally from Michigan and is still an option. The coaches could potentially offer Magnuson's friend Isaac Seumalo, who happens to be ranked 175th overall in the nation per Rivals.
There is still some drama with the offensive line, however. Ohio State commit Kyle Kalis told me this past week that he is still committed to Ohio State but is listening to other schools. Michigan is one of those schools he's listening to and he could potentially visit. The possible kicker here is that Kalis and recent Michigan commit Tom Strobel are friends. I asked Kalis if Strobel's commitment would have any effect on him and he said, "I'm not sure, maybe." That might sound like nothing, but to me it sounds like Strobel has an opportunity to get in his friend's ear. This could be something to watch as Kalis has said the sanctions on OSU and their potential head coach would matter in his final decision.
You will likely see the final offensive line commits come from this group. What the combination is, I'm not sure yet.
As for defensive line recruiting, this gets a little more confusing. With Strobel's commitment Michigan now has DE Pharaoh Brown, DE/DT Matt Godin, DE/LB Mario Ojemudia, and the aforementioned Tom Strobel. The good thing about these commitments is that a lot of them are versatile and can be moved to different spots if necessary.
Michigan will likely take three more defensive line commitments. That sounds like a lot, but the prospects they're in on are the kind that you have to take. DE Chris Wormley has said openly that Michigan is his leader and I wouldn't expect him to wait much longer before deciding. Outside of Wormley you have DE Se'Von Pittman, DE Adolphus Washington, DT Ondre Pipkins [who should be visiting soon], and DT Aziz Shittu. I'm only going to include these names for now, because these are the kids I think MIchigan has the best shot at landing in the current time.
With what I mentioned about Pittman above I am wondering if that will alter anyone else's decision timeline. For example Adolphus Washington plans on announcing his decision at the Under Armour All American game, whereas Pittman plans on graduating early which means he needs to decide sooner than Washington. Wormley will likely announce before the season, and if he picks Michigan that's one less spot available between Washington and Pittman. If the coaches wait for Washington then it probably means they will not get Pittman.
Pennsylvania RB Greg Garmon told me via text that he will be visiting Michigan on Monday. I'll have more from him soon, or after the visit.
Cali DT Aziz Shittu was mentioned above in the defensive line recruiting, because I think Michigan has a legitimate shot with him. Shittu has a top eleven right now that includes Michigan, Cal, Notre Dame, Auburn, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Florida, Washington, Arizona, and Nebraska. "I might make it out [to Michigan] for the Notre Dame game, those jerseys were dope," Shittu told me. Dope is good. He will probably wait to see how teams perform during the season before making any decisions. Ondre Pipkins has wavered on when he will make his decision, so Ondre's decision could potentially alter where Shittu ends up if he were to pick Michigan.
Pennsylvania DE Noah Spence is still interested in Michigan as well. His father told me this past week that they are just laying low for right now and letting Noah enjoy some time off. He just took the SAT on Saturday. Not a lot is going on right now, but the Michigan coaches did take a visit to his school during the evaluation period.
2013 WR LaQuon Treadwell is teammates with current commit DB Anthony Standifer. Treadwell is hoping for a Michigan offer, and there's a chance he would commit right away if he received the offer. The Michigan coaches plan on watching his film and going from there. Just something to keep an eye on. I'll have more from him later on.
Ohio RB Bri'Onte Dunn has been talked about a lot lately. I've previously reported that he and his father are waiting to find out what happens with the OSU sanctions, and they will definitely have an effect on his commitment. His father told me this past week that they plan on making it out to Penn State as the next stop, and there's also a chance that they will be at the Michigan-Notre Dame night game during the season.
Utah FB Sione Houma did not commit during his visit to Michigan this weekend. He doesn't say much, but he told me that his parents went with him on the trip, and that he could potentially see himself going to Michigan. He will probably wait everything out, and I think distance might factor in here.
To stick with the fullback theme, I mentioned on the board this past week that Michigan currently leads for Texas FB EJ Fatu. He doesn't talk much either, but he sounds pretty excited about Michigan. We'll see if he makes it up soon for a visit.
I've gotten a lot of questions about quarterbacks lately. Maty Mauk took a visit to Ann Arbor this past week and Indiana QB Gunner Kiel postpponed his announcement that was supposed to take place on Sunday [the 12th]. From what I was told I wouldn't get too excited about Kiel, but I'm not sure that anyone really knows what's going on. His family keeps everything very close and doesn't leak too much. Both quarterbacks will likely decide soon and Michigan is still in the mix for both of them. If they miss on both then I would expect Austin Appleby to become a real option. He plans on camping and if the coaches like what they see, he could get an offer. I preface all of that with the fact that I don't know what is going to happen with Mauk or Kiel---both keep everything quiet.
2013 instate OL Steve Elmer was offered by Wisconsin. He now holds offers from Wisconsin and Mississippi State. I spoke to his dad a few weeks ago, I just haven't posted the interview yet. That will go up this week.
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.
Pennsylvania linebacker Noah Spence (6'4", 245 lbs) is lucky enough to come from an excellent family and to have his father help him through his recruitment. Having someone like his father take on most of the work has helped allow Spence to enjoy the process. "Noah is still getting offers on a weekly basis, almost daily," his father said. "He feels it's best to keep an open mind and talk with all the folks. Hopefully we'll see some spring practices, but he's just kind of feeling his way through now."
With offers from almost everywhere it's going to be difficult to narrow down his list without actually seeing the campus in person. The Spence family is looking forward to seeing some new places, and they have a plan for how to attack them for the spring. "In terms of visits this spring I think he was talking about going to places that are reasonably close," said his father. "Penn State for one of the practices, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and possibly Virginia. Basically places that are within a five to six hour drive."
School and athletics take up much of Noah's time, which is why they don't want to travel too far until school lets out. Once the summer hits they plan on expanding out to places like Michigan and Notre Dame. "I'm pretty good friends with a very good guy, Jesse Rawls, who used to wrestle [at Michigan]. He's been talking up Michigan, and he said Ann Arbor is only about seven hours away," he said. "I know it has the biggest stadium and it seems like a beautiful campus. We definitely want to get out to Michigan."
The elder Spence understands that the new Michigan staff hasn't had much time to settle in, and is impressed that it hasn't stopped them from recruiting his son. "The coaches sound very enthusiastic. It's much appreciated and I know that Noah wants to find out more about Michigan. They have picked up the pace with recruiting Noah, and it was good to see because we're very fond of Michigan," said Mr. Spence. "It was a nice balance of athletics and academics. You can't really go wrong athletically at Michigan and the academics speak for itself."
Based on the communication between the coaches and Noah they see him at the outside linebacker spot, and as a key piece of their system. "He's been called a natural pass rusher by a few coaches. He's fond of pursuing the ball, and Michigan wants a fast explosive defense that gets after the quarterback," he said. The aggressive style of defense seems to fit what Noah is used to, and Greg Mattison's past defensive styles have shown the Spence's what to expect. "The Ravens and Florida are both aggressive defenses. That has an impact on us and it seems to align with Noah very well," said Mr. Spence.
Players at Spence's high school, Bishop McDevitt, aren't allowed to graduate early so the plan is to take his time with his recruitment and find the best fit. "I think Noah wants to get all the information he can, get a feel for the coaches, and visit campuses," he said. "I don't see [a decision] coming in the near future, maybe if something blows his mind and he says this is it. From what I gather though, he wants to take his time with it."
It was made clear by Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon that he wanted the football team to be defensively focused. The new coaches have already exemplified that with how they finished up the 2011 class, and now with the offers that are being sent out for 2012.
One of the bigger name prospects on defense for 2012 will be Noah Spence (6'4", 245 lbs), a defensive end from Bishop McDevitt High School in Pennsylvania. Spence already has over 18 offers from the likes of Florida, Notre Dame, Penn State, and USC. These verbal offers have been extended before the McDevitt coaching staff was even able to send out his highlight tape. "We're having a little trouble with our system, but we'll try to get the hard copy DVD out in the next couple days, we'll email it to every program in the country probably next week," said Head Coach Jeff Weachter. "Michigan hasn't gotten it yet, but I'd imagine they will offer once they do, everyone else has. He's almost 6-foot-4 now, he runs a legitimate 4.5 forty, and his first two steps off the ball are the fastest I've ever seen from a high school kid."
The process has just started for Noah, but it's already become hectic for him and his family. They are already in the process of researching each school to find out more about what they have to offer. "He's wide open right now. He and his family are right now researching schools football wise, and academically. They're going to try to get out to everyone that offers in the spring and summer, then try to narrow it down in the summer," Coach Weachter said. "He comes from a great family, he's very respectful, he has a 3.6 GPA, and he does things the right way." With 18 offers now, and a high GPA it's safe to say there will be plenty of schools for Spence to choose from.
Coach Weachter said it was still too early to tell which schools have the upper hand, but again Michigan's hire of Greg Mattison may end up helping them. "(Noah's) dad has done a lot of research. I haven't talked to him about Greg (Mattison) yet, but I'm sure his dad knows. I know Greg from Notre Dame and when he was at Florida. He's definitely someone I trust. First, he's a good person and he does a great job recruiting. We enjoyed him when he came here to McDevitt," said Coach Weachter. While Michigan will have to battle it out with other top programs, it helps to have that first foot in the door.