BB; do you get the feeling that the M staff has sort of missed the boat on RB recruiting for 2014, or is it just a function of class size and available schollies? Are these recruits (the Enwere's and Mack's and that type) the sort that M would have been recruiting at the outset or are they just filling out the class?
2014 Names To Watch: Marlon Mack
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 6'0" / 190 lbs.
Location: Booker High School (2014) – Sarasota, FL
Offers: Ball State, Florida Atlatntic, Florida Intl, Indiana, Iowa State, Marshall, Middle Tenn St, Northern Illinois, Ohio, South Florida, UCLA
Ranking: ★★★ .8365 (247 Composite)
The coaches have made it quite clear that they’d like to take a running back in the 2014 class. Unfortunately every running back they’ve offered is already committed elsewhere. That didn’t stop the coaches from offering Vic Enwere, who ultimately re-committed to California, and Jeff Jones who remains committed to the Golden Gophers but is definitely flirting with other schools, including Michigan. The most recent name to pop up on the RB radar is current UCLA commit Marlon Mack. I posted a forum about him the day Enwere reaffirmed his commitment, but things have advanced even further since then.
With the dead period ending on Tuesday the coaches are wasting no time to strengthen their relationship with Mack. I talked with him Tuesday evening and he informed me that Coach Jeff Hecklinski will be visiting him Thursday. Mack was honest in saying that he really doesn’t know if an offer will come his way or not and he also wasn’t really sure what to expect from Coach Heck’s visit.
Mack has rather impressive film but it was discussed by several commenters on the forum that he might not play the best of competition. He plays at a “big-ish” school in Florida for a team that enjoys moderate success, evidenced by a 7-4 overall record and a 2nd round exit from the Florida state playoffs. Running back is a position where competition level obviously makes a difference in how a player looks on film, but you can’t teach big and fast.
My guess would be that Coach Heck is heading to Florida to get a feel for Marlon and hopefully shoot him straight on what their plans are at the running back position for 2014. It seems pretty easy to figure out that Jeff Jones is the top target right now, but if he decides to honor his pledge to the Golden Gophers or flips to somewhere else, Mack will probably receive an offer. Even though his commitment to UCLA seems to be chinchilla-fur soft at this point, I don’t think an offer from Michigan automatically means a flip is imminent. Coach Heck making that trip to Sarasota does show that the interest is legitimate though. I will attempt to catch up with Marlon after his visit with Coach Heck on Thursday.
My guess is that they had reserved spots for Hand and McDowell and when Hand turned them down, they suddely had a scholarship open and decided to fill it with a RB instead of a non-Hand DL. I'm not sure why they weren't keeping in closer contact with RBs and informing them of the above situation so that they're not essentially cold-calling RBs now. On the other hand, if there's a position where UM can afford to take a sleeper or a project it's RB, what with Green and Smith only Freshmen, Hayes and Johnson and Rawls around, and Shallman coming off a RS.
With the exception of Jones, guys like Enwere and Mack are second- or third-tier prospects. So these are not the same caliber of players that Michigan would have been recruiting at the outset. They were recruiting guys like Jalen Hurd, Leonard Fournette, Elijah Hood, and Joe Mixon at the beginning.
that you have the most favorable opinion about Jones of those that are left. Are you optimistic that M gets him?
I like Jones better than Enwere and Mack, yes.
I'm kind of 50/50 on whether Jones flips or not. Maybe 51/49 in favor of Michigan.
That's absolutely true, but that's the case with every position every year. The guys you offer early are always the top guys at the position, and you start moving down your list as guys pick other schools. About half of every recruiting class consists of second (or more) choice guys, because you don't get most of your first choices (because they are everyone else's first choices too).
You also get into situations where the need for a certain position changes over the course of the recruiting cycle. 6 months ago it seemed the coaches didn't feel RB was a need, and only offered the elite guys. Now that position is more of a priority and the coaches are trying to sign the best guy they can.
it was rumored the other day that he might be getting attention (a 3rd time?).
I think he may be my first pick of the 3 if Michigan had its choice.
Re: Mack's level of competition. They don't play any of the really big boys in the Tampa-St Pete/Sarasota area (Sarasota RIverview, H.B. Plant, Seffner Armwood, East Lake, etc.) but the level of competition Booker does play should be about as good as any high school football played in MIchigan. It's not like he's playing 8-man football in Kansas.
They've put out a couple 2- and 3-star recruits in recent years, including sending CB Ezra Robinson to Michigan State.
I'm not sure it's as strong as any HS ball in Michigan. One of the quickest ways to determine level of competition is the size of the D-Line; in those highlights, there are very few DTs at 240 lbs. or higher.
That said, I see why the coaches like Mack, especially with Nuss on board. He appears to be a good one-cut runner with good speed and enough shiftiness to get to and through the hole even in traffic.
Even if the interest is serious I can think of one big reason why our WR coach is traveling to Florida and it's not Marlon Mack. Hopefully, he's bringing Nuss with him because that could be a game changer for Campbell.
Heck is also our recruiting coordinator so it makes sense for him to check out a new possible offeree.
FWIW, Sam Webb has spoken at length a couple of times about Campbell, saying that his decommitment was not so much a reaction to our crappy season as it was to family influences, specifically his uncle. Apparently there is quite a bit of family pressure for George to stay much closer to home than Michigan is. For that reason, Webb essentially said that the Campbell ship has sailed for good, even after Nussmeier's hiring. Campbell is still saying that Michigan is in the mix, but Sam more or less discounts that.
Webb isn't perfect in his prognostications/guesses, but when he's wrong he's erred on the optimistic side of things. I can't remember the last time he was pessimistic about a major recruit who then ended up choosing Michigan.
But as he also says all the time, you never really know when it comes to recruiting.
So this is proof there are people younger than 65 who live in Sarasota. Who knew.
Well, there have to be people to run the pharmacies and nursing homes...
It was the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and all of the kids of the circus performers who still live there and other locals put on an annual circus performance that is pretty damn impressive for adolescents and teenagers.
Hey Coach B!!! I really don't think this guy will be coming to Michigan if Michigan does get a RB in 2014 it will be Jones from Minnesota. Personally, I'd rather have Jones anyway.
I'm impressed that you waited more than 5 months to make this your first post.
Good things come to those that wait.....I was a loyal follower of the "The M Block" but, another writer just left for Maize and Brew. So I've always enjoyed Coach Brown's work and I figured time to start commenting over here and following Coach B and the MGoBlog.
Good to see you Wally! I saw that Eric was headed to MnB. The M Block may almost be extinct. :(
Is competition level as great of an indicator as we seem to think it is? The only two names off of the top of my head who played inferior competition in high school are Mike Hart and Deveon Smith. Mike Hart was fine, as we all know, and Deveon seems to be keeping pace with our all world recruit Derrick Green who played competition that's as good as it gets apparently. Is there a history of guys like this not panning out at a higher rate? Or is the intuitive reasoning just kind of taken at face value?
...it just makes a guy more of an unknown. A guy who dominates the competition in, say, Dade County, FL is showing you that he can get the better of guys who will be playing D-1 football. A guy who dominates in the middle of Iowa is not, so one has to be less certain about him.