"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
We're switching it up for this week's Update. I thought I would give you guys a chance to ask some questions, and I could try to shed some light on your inquiries. Feel free to add your thoughts, or info in the comments.
Where does Michigan stand with Sammy Watkins and Kris Frost? I saw that Frost has a visit date set up with Michigan, and I know Watkins came in the spring. What are our chances of landing both of these guys?
You're right about Frost, he will be taking an official visit for the MSU game. If money and timing work out, he might be up for a couple games this season. He's down to Auburn and Michigan at this point.
Early on I would have said that Michigan was comfortably in the lead. Auburn, however, has caught up and this will be get close. I'm still thinking Michigan leads, and it would probably take quite a bit for him not to choose us. As it is with a lot of the uncommitted prospects Michigan is after, we just need to win.
As far as Watkins, I've said this a couple times but there's a rumor that Sammy has grade issues. I haven't 100% confirmed that, so take it FWIW. (EDIT: I have talked to someone close to Watkins, and they say that he thinks his grades are good enough, but he needs to pass the SAT. He just re-took the SAT, and thinks he passed, so he'll know soon.) If he's fully qualified then we have a good chance. From talking to his teammate Dallas Crawford (who we have a really good chance with) it sounds like they might be favoring different schools. If the grades rumor is true then I'm sure the coaches still have a bitter taste in their mouth with Florida recruits that have grade issues.
I was wondering how likely it would be that Michigan pulls off a recruiting miracle and actually gets some of the top prospects to switch commitments, or commit in general. I.E. - Trey DePriest, HaSean Clinton-Dix, DeAnthony Thomas, Ray Drew, or anyone else in the top 100 nationally.
This is a tough question to answer, because all of this will depend on how the team produces on the field. To get this out of the way though: forget about DePriest, it's not happening. As far as Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, I think he's pretty set in his ways about Alabama. He does have a few teammates in his ear about Michigan, now that '12 QB Nick Patti has been up for a visit and seen it for himself. He would be pretty hard to pull away from Alabama, so it's not likely. Again, the theme here is win and there's a chance.
I spoke with DeAnthony Thomas about his interest in Michigan. If he schedules an official visit then there would be reason to hope. The only way Michigan has a chance with him is if he takes an official visit. There's obviously a need for highly ranked defensive backs like Thomas, so playing time would be an easy sell. I would put him in the "don't count on it" file.
Ray Drew is an interesting scenario. Drew is good friends with DB Avery Walls, who is very high on Michigan. Walls has been apparently recruiting Drew to come to Michigan with him. Friends recruiting friends is one of the best recruiting tools a school can have.
I interviewed Drew back in June and he told me he was wide open. But he also told me that it's going to be hard for any school to pull him out of Georgia because his mom wants him to stay close to home. He's open to go out of state, but he's a momma's boy.
Knowing that Demar Dorsey didn't get admitted, and some didn't qualify, how good was the 2010 class in retrospect?
This is all going to be opinion, since none of them have played a down of football yet. Dorsey is obviously the nonqualifier that was needed the most. While Jones could have played multiple positions he wasn't expected to contribute early, and neither was Kinard. Dorsey could have been a starting corner.
Looking at the rest of the class, judging by the talk around practice it seems as though they've filled a lot of holes with the 2010 class. Jibreel Black, who's playing defensive end, has been getting a lot of praise. He was already 253 pounds coming in, so it was an easier transition for him. We have our starting punter in Will Hagerup in this class. Marvin Robinson, Cullen Christian, Carvin Johnson, Drew Dileo, and Stephen Hopkins could potentially all see the field this year. If we have 7 out of the 24 recruits that signed seeing playing time, I think that's a good indicator of their work ethic, talent level, and fit.
Some of the recruits will just take more time to develop, and adjust to the next level. Not seeing significant early playing time isn't necessarily an indicator of their talent level. Christian Pace, for example, will redshirt and study the ways of David Molk at center. Some recruiting analysts said that Pace's height was the only thing that kept him from being one of the best offensive linemen in that class, and there's a lot of excitement around his future at center once Molk leaves.
The three star debate has been beaten to death everywhere on the internet, so I'm not going to go there. Could they have done better in certain areas? Sure. Do I think they did a good job, given the circumstances (3-9, 5-7)? Definitely.
Does the departure of JT Turner possibly help our chances with any top flight DB's in this year's class? (Doran Grant, Dallas Crawford, etc)? Do they see an even better opportunity for immediate playing time?
They already saw an opportunity for immediate playing time, but I'm not sure that most of them even know who JT Turner is, let alone that he's not on the team anymore. However, Michigan's lack of depth in the secondary is known by recruits. Turner's departure only increases that. When they find out Turner transferred then it will make Michigan more appealing for the kids that were already genuinely interested in Michigan.
I say genuinely interested because there's a lot of prospects that list Michigan, but we probably don't have a good shot with. Doran Grant and Kyshoen Jarrett are two of those recruits. There are rumors about Ohio State landing Doran Grant. He talks about us in interviews, and lists us in his top group, but I would be unbelievably surprised if he picks us. If I was guessing, I would pick Ohio State or Miami. He doesn't have an offer from Miami yet, but if he shows more interest in them, he might get it. Jarrett is rumored to be down to Penn State and Pittsburgh, since he's a Pennsylvania kid.
So who's left, and who do I think we have a shot with? Here's a list of the recruits that you should pay attention to.
- Dallas Crawford (Florida/5'10", 185 lbs, 3 Star) - Crawford actually reminds me of a more athletic Courtney Avery. He's a smart kid, and he plays quarterback in high school right now. He recently told me that, "Michigan has a very, very, very, realistic chance," of landing him.
- Avery Walls (Georgia/5'11", 184 lbs, 4 Star) - Walls has always spoken highly of Michigan, and more importantly so has his mom. I think Michigan might actually lead with Avery, and will likely get an official from him as well. He's looking to make a decision relatively early, so we'll find out soon.
- Valdez Showers (Michigan/5'11", 181, 3 Star) - Showers is an instate kid, and has Michigan in his top six along with Auburn, Iowa, Florida, Northwestern, and MSU. This is a tough one, because he was really excited about his Florida offer. I've had some off the record talks with other recruits about Showers that left me more confused than before. He's likely to make his decision soon, I'm just not sure where his minds at. He's a Michigan fan, but a few things could get in the way.
Besides these names it's slim pickings. Daren Kitchen from Louisiana had tried to commit, but was told to wait. They want at least one more defensive back in this class, and now with the departure of Turner, potentially two. Telling Kitchen to wait means they're higher on other prospects and think they have a good enough shot to take a chance.
The recurring theme with all of this is that Michigan needs to win. If they win, the recruiting landscape will take on a whole different look. Florida State commit Karlos Williams, the number two defensive back on Rivals, has said he has interest in Michigan. He told me personally that if Michigan is having a good season, he and some friends from Florida will try to make it up for the Iowa game. Obviously more names will come out of the woodwork once the coaches review more prospects and have a better grasp for where they're at with these current recruits. They just need to win, and the commits will come.
What are some 2012 kids that we're in on early?
These aren't all of them, but it's a good start:
- LB James Ross - Instate kid, loves Michigan. We need to win (have you heard that before?)
- OL Jordan Diamond - Teammates with 2011 Illinois OL Chris Bryant, who could ver well end up at Michigan. Bryant will announce his decision a few games into the season, and his decision will likely effect Jordan's as well.
- DT Danny O'Brien - O'Brien goes to Flint Powers and has Michigan and Tennessee in his top two. Michigan needs to land him.
- QB Bennie Coney - Has a verbal offer from Michigan. Coney is a 6'2, 205 lb quarterback from Florida. He'll be announcing his top 5 soon, but told me that Michigan will be in his top 5. He wants to get out of Florida and explore; he doesn't want to stay in Florida his whole life. He thinks that Notre Dame, Florida State, Purdue, Texas Tech, and Michigan will comprise his top 5, but it's not official.
- RB Coy Brown - Brown is from Indiana and told me that his top three (in order) is Indiana, Michigan, then MSU and Notre Dame are tied for third. He'll be visiting Michigan for the Iowa game, and has already camped at Michigan. He's a bigger back at 6'0", 205 lbs.
- DT Tommy Schutt - The teammate of one time Michigan recruit, current Iowa commit OL Jordan Walsh. Tommy spoke highly of Michigan when we talked recently, and said that Jordan's decision to go to Iowa shouldn't have a big effect on him.
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Royce is a Cass Tech product, and loves Michigan. We all know how those stories end.
- DE Chris Wormley - Wormley is a big Michigan fan, but has been upset about the lack of contact from the Michigan coaches. He understands the rules behind it, but is still upset for some reason. Ohio State may be taking the lead, which means that they're probably also not following the rules (assumption).
2012 will be a good year for talent in the state of Michigan, and hopefully our record for the 2010 season will give reason for some excitement.
Valdez Showers is a versatile athlete out of Madison Heights, Michigan, mainly being recruited as a defensive back. Sitting in Michigan's backyard, Valdez has an offer from the Wolverines and just picked up a somewhat surprising offer from Florida. Auburn, Michigan State, and others have offered.
First his junior highlight film:
There's film on him from a 7 on 7 tournament, as well. Here's what Showers had to say.
TOM: Word on the street is that you received an offer from Florida recently?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went down there on the 16th to visit the school. I camped the next day, and I could tell that the coaches were impressed. When I got home, I talked to one of the coaches, and he offered me a scholarship. They just said that overall I'm a great player, and I would fit well at cornerback for them.
TOM: Is that what most schools are recruiting you for? Cornerback?
VALDEZ: Yeah, that's what pretty much everyone sees me at.
TOM: That's a pretty big offer; how many total do you have now?
VALDEZ: I have a total of around 16 now. I don't have a top list yet, though. I'm going to sit down this week, and see if I can narrow it down.
TOM: There has to be some schools that stick out to you, though, right?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I mean, Florida sticks out because they have great football, and academics. Michigan sticks out, they'll probably be in the top group, too. I have a good connection with the coaches at Michigan, and they're well rounded, too.
TOM: When you say you want to narrow your list down, how are you going to decide who makes the cut? You have some nice offers from Auburn, Cinci, Michigan, and Florida, what's the criteria?
VALDEZ: I'm looking for great academics, great football, and a good coaching staff, of course. I really want to find the school that's the right fit for me, though. So, I'm not sure when I'll decide. I just want to take my time with it, and put it in God's hands.
TOM: With some offers out of state, and across the country, how will distance factor in?
VALDEZ: Distance won't be a factor. I'll just go where ever is best for me. My mom was excited when I got the Florida offer, and she's said that she'll come watch me play where ever I go, so that doesn't matter.
TOM: Were you able to make it back up for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this weekend?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went, but my flight got delayed from Florida. I came late to the second day, so I couldn't do a whole lot. I got to talk to a couple coaches from Michigan, and they were telling me to come back up and visit sometime soon. I'm going to try to get back up there pretty soon. I'm not sure when, though.
TOM: Since you're from Michigan, are you friends with any of the other Michigan recruits? Do they try to recruit you?
VALDEZ: I'm friends with Shawn Conway. We met through the 7 on 7's, and became cool through that. He doesn't really try to recruit me, he just tells me to pick the best school for me.
TOM: Describe yourself as an athlete to someone who has never watched film on you.
VALDEZ: I'm a leader on the field, a hard worker, explosive, fast, and I just make plays. I ran the 40 at the Florida camp, and I was timed at a 4.48, and a 4.5. I have a hamstring injury, too, so I know I can run faster than that.
I didn't see it mentioned elsewhere, but Rivals' position rankings look like they've been completed. Greg Brown is the #34 cornerback and a 3-star. That seems about right to me.
4-stars: Beyer, Hollowell
3-stars: Rock, Brown, Conway
For what it's worth, Valdez Showers is the #30 cornerback and a 3-star on their list. For people who put a lot of stock in Rivals rankings, maybe we should start pushing harder for guys like Showers and Raymon Taylor (a 4-star, #246 overall, and the #29 athlete).
Michigan has offered Madison Heights, MI athlete Valdez Showers. He could be a wide receiver, corner, or free safety.