TOB just posted part 4. Lots of good stuff here. The Battle was really a Dantonio / RR story but clearly Hoke is looking to mine the homefront. Thanks to TOB for this...
Neither team has any commitments yet, but the list of prospects both schools have offered and are pursuing is impressive:
- LB James Ross, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
- WR Aaron Burbridge, Farmington Hills Harrison
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, Detroit Cass Tech
- CB Terry Richardson, Detroit Cass Tech
- DE Mario Ojemudia, Farmington Hills Harrison
In addition, Michigan has offered these prospects, but not MSU...:
- DT Dan O'Brien, Flint Powers
- TE Devin Funchess, Farmington Hills Harrison
- WR/TE Ron Thompson, Eastpointe East Detroit
...while MSU - but not UM - has offered the following:
- WR Dennis Norfleet, Detroit Martin Luther King
- OL Kelby Latta, Battle Creek Harper Creek
- DL Matt Godin, Novi Detroit Catholic Central
- DT Jabari Dean, Detroit Renaissance
- S Riley Bullough, Traverse City St. Francis
10 offers from MSU and 8 from UM - 13 prospects total - is a very, very large number so early in the process. It's a sure bet that both schools were certainly offer at least some of the kids the other side already has. And that's not even factoring in kids that neither have offered yet but are still evaluating and waiting to see in camp during the spring and summer.
Just got back from vacation and read ToB's final recruiting post The Battle of Michigan (excellent read ToB BTW - I have learned much from you and Sam Webb about the instate recruiting drama.)
This got me thinking about the battles this year and I have to say...though the recruiting is not done...I'm not happy with Jordan Walsh and Ray Hamilton. Both had seemingly big time pulls to UofM and went the Ferentz way. Walsh's pull was somewhat anecdotal in that his mother teared up in RR's office but his academic goals were set high as well...Hamilton's dad played with RR, is a close bud of Jack Miller and is in a position of need for the team going forward. Both these guys have nice film. These two hurt. Not to mention Jeff Heuerman lost to OSU - whose dad I remember well from Crisler arena.
Lots to discuss here - but specifically - my take is twofold - the need to win and the need to involve the TE more in the offense.
It's not just about RR's future...it's also about the program. I understand losing Chris Norman to the coaching change and that waterfalling into losing Lawrence Thomas (which was news to me but somewhat consoling.) All three of the above guys (Walsh-Hamilton-Heuerman) saw the program up close and decided to go elsewhere. It's been said before - recruits have short memories and Mich needs wins to keep the franchise relevant. Was there more to these decisions than this? Mich is a far better school than Iowa - yet Jordan said they had more to offer??? an OL said that??? Beluga was good but not Steve Hutchinson good.
There was some talk last year about involving the TEs more in the passing game. I'm thinking specifically of the running paly that called for the TE to pull and seal the opposite DE/LB that Brian discussed in detail last year. We need good TEs even when we don't throw them the ball. It's hard to pitch these TEs without giving them more of a role. I'm assuming that is what is up with Hamilton and Heuerman.
Any insight would be appreciated. Obviously tl;dr worthy material...but the angst is real. It would be nice to hear my concern is unwarranted (which is not exactly my take on ToB's piece...)
Here's to big and early wins.