"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Previously: Introducing Shaq Wiggins
Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek CB Shaq Wiggins is a member of both the ESPNU 150 Watch List and the Early 247 for the class of 2013. He has been high on Michigan throughout the early stages of the recruiting process after an outstanding performance at last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Southfield put him on the radar of several Midwest schools. Wiggins holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Tennesee, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Ball State, Ohio, and Toledo, and he was in Michigan Stadium a couple weeks ago to take in the Ohio State game. I caught up with Shaq over the weekend to get the latest on his status:
ACE: How's everything going in terms of your recruitment? How many offers are you sitting on right now?
SHAQ: Still sitting on eight. A couple schools came to see me, and for the most part they want me to come to their junior days and stuff like that. I'm going to sit down and pick out some of the schools that I'm going to consider and go to their junior days.
ACE: Are there any schools that are standing out for you right now?
SHAQ: I would probably say Tennessee right now.
ACE: You had the chance to come up and visit Ann Arbor for the Ohio State game. What were your impressions of Michigan coming out of that?
SHAQ: Well, right off the bat, I mean the crowd—114,000 fans—that was pretty amazing, I never saw that before. I know Ohio State and Michigan are good rivals. They executed well against Ohio State, the play was great, the environment was great—it just makes you think more and more about being a Michigan Wolverine.
ACE: Did you get the chance to talk to the coaches while you were up on your visit? What have they had to say about your recruitment?
SHAQ: I talked to Coach Montgomery most of the time, and I talked to Coach Mallory for a little bit. They were telling me to keep focusing—this was while the season was going on—keep focusing on my style of play and just playing hard for my team and they would come to see me in the next two weeks when they come and recruit the South.
ACE: What's the status of your Michigan offer? Depending on where you look, it says you may have one or you may not.
SHAQ: Yeah, I don't know why—someone talked to me the other day [and said that] on ESPN the check was off my Michigan offer or something like that. I know I have a Michigan offer, so I don't know what the rumors are or anything like that, but I can't worry about that.
ACE: Did visiting Michigan change how you look at the school and how they fit in with the teams you're looking at right now?
SHAQ: Yeah, it definitely gives a little spark in my eye. Just looking at the freshman, Blake Countess, playing early, and the depth chart looks pretty good. So, I mean, Michigan I would say is a priority.
ACE: Looking at your season, you guys went through the regular season undefeated and got into the third round of the playoffs. How'd you feel about your team's performance this year and your performance individually?
SHAQ: My team's performance, I thought it was as good as it could get. In the last game we didn't play as well as we should have, but as a team throughout the whole season, the season was great. We played an undefeated regular season and won the regional championship, so some of the goals we set we accomplished them, and obviously the goal we set to win the state championship didn't go as planned. All we can do is come in harder next year. My season individually, you know, I never thought I would have nine interceptions in one season. I guess from all the hard work in the summertime, that's what I got.
ACE: Nine picks is obviously a very impressive number. How'd you feel you improved over the season, and what are you still working on for the next level?
SHAQ: I try and get better at every aspect of the game, especially at cornerback, I try to work at everything. But the most important thing that I want to work on is my size, a lot of people talk about my size—not that I really take offense to that, it's true, I have to get bigger, stronger for the next level in order to contribute to my team. I would probably say that's one of the main focuses of my game. Once I get a little stronger and bigger I think my game will be kind of complete and good and I'm just hoping to get better.
ACE: Now that your season is over, what are you looking at in terms of possible junior days and summer visits?
SHAQ: Yeah—hopefully Michigan again. I know I'm taking a trip to Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and maybe one more school.
ACE: Do you have any idea in terms of a timeline about when you'd like to wrap up your recruitment?
SHAQ: I'm hoping summertime of 2012, going into my senior season, but I'm not trying to rush anything. I would like to get my recruitment over with by summer so I can just focus straight on my season.
Shaq Wiggins - http://mgoblog.com/diaries/introducing-shaq-wiggins
While many of you are opposed to following players on Twitter, Shaq Wiggins, a top 2013 recruit seems to be suggesting Michigan is a favorite with the following tweet:
Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek cornerback Shaquille (Shaq) Wiggins is a quickly-rising prospect in the class of 2013, earning ESPNU 150 Watch List and Future Top247 honors. He has a high interest in Michigan, and even had a visit planned for the Notre Dame game that unfortunately fell through, though as you'll see, that had no impact on his desire to come to Ann Arbor.
After an outstanding performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this past summer, he earned a scholarship offer from the Wolverines ($, info in header) to go along with offers from Ohio State, Cincinnati, Ball State, Ohio, and Toledo. Wiggins has already taken visits to Auburn and Florida this season, and also has interest from Clemson, Georgia, Illinois, and Mississippi State, among others. I caught up to Wiggins on the phone after his practice today to talk about his recruitment:
ACE: First of all, you've got an offer from Michigan. Are they an early favorite in your recruitment, and what other teams are recruiting you right now?
SHAQ: There's a lot of schools, including Indiana, Miami, LSU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Tennessee, Oklahoma - there's a few I could name.
ACE: Do you have an early favorites list? Where does Michigan stand with those schools?
SHAQ: Once my other offers stop coming in, I'll probably end up making a top ten or a favorites list then. But yeah, Michigan is one of my favorite teams.
ACE: I know you tried to come up for the Notre Dame game and that didn't end up working out, but have you had a chance to watch the Wolverines at all this season?
SHAQ: Yes, I watched the Notre Dame game, and I liked the way they played defense. I'm 100% sure I'm coming to the game, I think it's November 26th, when they play Ohio State. [Ed-Ace: He nailed the date off the top of his head after a football practice. Impressive.]
ACE: Who have you been in contact with on the coaching staff at Michigan?
SHAQ: Coach Mallory.
ACE: Have you been talking to any of the recruits who are currently committed?
SHAQ: Yeah, I talk to T-Rich [Terry Richardson] now and then. He congratulated me on making the ESPN Watch List, the top 150 watch list. That's about the only Michigan recruit I've talked to.
ACE: Focusing on your high school season, your team is 3-0 right now. What are your stats so far, and what are your goals for this season?
SHAQ: Well I'm trying to get at least eight [more interceptions] so I can get 13 picks. Right now I have five picks this season after the third game.
ACE: I know it's early on in the process, but do you have any idea about a timeline for your recruitment?
SHAQ: I would probably want to commit to a school during my senior [season] so I can get the recruiting process over with.
ACE: For people who may not be familiar with your game, how would you describe how you play on the field?
SHAQ: I would say I'm quick, with good man coverage, and I'm very physical at the line.
ACE: Are there any areas where you're looking to improve right now to get ready for the next level?
SHAQ: Yes. My overall cornerback coverage and just my overall technique, staying with the receiver and turning my hips.
It was an important weekend for offensive line recruiting with a total of six linemen on campus: Jordan Diamond, Andrus Peat, Chris Muller, Blake Bars, Trey Keenan, and Steven Elmer. New offers were also extended and camp has begun. Here's a look at some of the recent happenings and what a few recruits had to say about Michigan.
6'5", 270 lbs.
Michigan was always high on Keenan's list since his family is originally from Michigan. A summer visit had always been in the works for him and he finally got to take in Ann Arbor this past weekend.
All the places I've been to are southern schools and I've never really been to a place like Michigan. It's flattering to be here and see all the tradition and history in the buildings. They have national championships and all americans so it's pretty cool to be here.
This visit gave Keenan a better look at what Michigan really has to offer, and it also gave him a chance to meet face to face with the coaches.
We got to talk to everybody, Coach Hoke, the Athletic Director, Coach Funk. We took a tour of everything and you could definitely tell that the whole thing was a well thought out process. Every place has nice stuff and nice facilities but Michigan has so much tradition. I really felt welcomed, too, and I felt wanted and needed.
Feeling like he was wanted was something that really stuck out to Trey while he was on campus.
They only have something like eight scholarship linemen. We've been to places that have said they need linemen, but with Michigan it was major here. There's a chance to play early here and that is something really cool at a place like Michigan. I also really liked the strength coach and how he put everything. He talked about everything and how they individualize certain aspects.
So what's next for Keenan?
We're going to the morning session of camp tomorrow [Monday]. I'm going to work out with Coach Funk to get a feel for him and how he interacts with his players. We do have a short list right now and Michigan is on that short list. I don't want to say how many are on it yet. We're going to take the next week then talk about everything with my coaches and family. All my planned summer visits are done with so we'll figure out what's going to happen next. This visit did nothing but up Michigan's status though.
Like he said he plans on meeting with his coaches and family within the next week to discuss what's next. If I had to guess it would seem like he's getting close to a decision, and it seems like Michigan could be in good shape.
6'3", 325 lbs.
Kansas City, Missouri
Pipkins recently released his top seven of Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Florida. It's no secret that Ondre has ties to Michigan, especially with his father still living there. He has planned on taking a summer visit to Michigan all along and it looks like he has an idea of when it will take place.
I'll be up there in late July or the beginning of August. I just can't wait to see the Big House, somewhere that I can possibly live out my dreams.
I know that Pipkins has wavered on when he would like to make his final decision, but it seems like there's a chance that it could be sooner than originally planned.
6'6", 297 lbs.
Elmer was on campus today with his father and was extended an offer from the Michigan coaches. He's a 2013 offensive line prospect that now holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Mississippi State. It's safe to say he'll be one of the better prospects in the country come next year. His father told me a little about how the visit went today.
It was great, we took an unofficial visit before camp today. We got to meet with the coaches, Coach Hoke, Borges, Funk, and the fact that it was the busiest day for them and they got us in there says a lot. I told Steven that this will probably be as good as or better than anything he's ever seen so far, and we were very impressed.
Academics will be a big factor in Steven's recruitment and Michigan always seems to impress in that department with Shari Acho.
The academics was the best part of the trip. Shari gave the part that I wanted to hear the most and it was fantastic. She explained that when you go to the University of Michigan you are part of a select group of people and you don't really understand that until you hear it in person. She was trying to talk fast and squeeze it all in but I told her we can see everything else any time. If I could go back and talk more about the academics with her I would.
This is all happening very early, especially for an offensive lineman, so the family is still taking everything in.
Steven did really well at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. We really like the message that camp sends so we went out there for that and he did really well. There's obviously been a good amount of interest from what he did there and people have been watching the videos all over the place, too. My wife is actually going with him out to Notre Dame later this week. She hasn't seen Notre Dame. She needs to see that stuff too, and the academic pitch from places like Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
The family plans on sitting back and watching everything play out. They plan on trying to get out to a few games during the season as well. I spoke more with the elder Elmer and will post more on Steven later in the week.
5'7", 151 lbs.
Wiggins was another 2013 prospect who had an outstanding performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. Following the event he was notified that he had received an offer from Michigan. He also reports holding offers from Cincinnati and Ohio State. He told me that he was very surprised to see Michigan jump in the mix.
My coach in Atlanta always talks about Ohio and Michigan players are real ballers. So I wanted to come up north and show my southern skills. I wasn't trying to impress anybody, just go out there and play. I really wasn't expecting the offers at all. I never really heard anything from them so I guess when they watched me in the one on one drills they liked me.
An early offer is definitely a good indicator of how interested they are. Wiggins also talked about his process and who he grew up watching.
My dream school was Florida State, but after Cincinnati offered me I had a long conversation with their staff. They made me really comfortable. I like how FSU uses their cornerbacks, and I know that Michigan is known for great talent at corner. Guys like Charles Woodson, I can't remember some of the other names but they're good for cornerbacks. From how I feel now I'll probably wait until after my junior year or during my junior year. I think I'll make my decision pretty early so I get my recruitment over with.
Wiggins told me that he plans on making it back up to Michigan very soon. I have a feeling that Michigan has made a very good impression on him and he wants to explore that further. There's a good chance Michigan is one of his top schools.
Arizona OL Andrus Peat discussed his visit to Michigan. I think this trip helped Michigan tremendously with Peat. He didn't know much about the city or university so this gave him a good look at what they have to offer.
2012 Georgia WR Jason Croom recently received a Michigan offer. His mother happened to be in Michigan and stopped by campus this past weekend. Jason will make it back up to Ann Arbor in August.
Here's a list of some of the visitors expected in for camp this week.
2013 Ohio DB Cameron Burrows could be hearing from Michigan soon. He hails from Trotwood Madison which is the home of Roy Roundtree, Mike Shaw, and Brandon Moore. He is friends with Roy and talks to him on occasion. Keep an eye on his name.
I reported last week that Ohio DB Jarrod Wilson will be meeting with his coaches again on Monday [the 20th] to discuss what's next for him. He's very quiet so they aren't sure if he plans on making a decision or waiting things out.
Ohio QB Maty Mauk told me via text that his decision should come in the next few weeks. He's been keeping everything close to the vest so I'm not sure where he's leaning, or who he's deciding between.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond stopped by Michigan before he made it over to the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. He also made it back over to Ann Arbor Sunday morning for one more trip.
Massachusetts OL Eric Olson told me that his decision will likely come before the 4th of July. I think Michigan has a good chance, but he keeps everything quiet so we'll see what happens.
Nike and ESPN are hosting an event called The Opening that takes place in Oregon on July 5th to the 9th. It is invitation only and you'll notice some familiar names on the list. Anthony Standifer told me that he will likely be going, as will Ron Thompson and Danny O'Brien.