Buckle up Brionte.
This week on
Thursday Friday Recruitin' I resist the urge to type "Beat Ohio" over and over again (and fail), good news rolls in on the Bri'onte Dunn front, Pharaoh Brown clarifies his stance on Michigan, and Billy Price looks to form a blue-chip D-line. Usual request: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Last week, blue-chip running back and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn visited Michigan to witness the Wolverines thrash Nebraska while being heavily recruited by commits like Shane Morris and his cousin Dymonte Thomas—witness the photo on the right as proof. That was a good sign in and of itself, and then Dunn came through with a major announcement trifecta—he'll be back to visit Michigan again for the Ohio State game, he once again plans on graduating early, and he plans to take an official visit to Michigan after the season with (soon to be fellow?) commit and Buckeye defector Kyle Kalis. Couple this with the almost-certain assumption that Urban Meyer will be the next Ohio State coach, and we've got a situation here:
I don't know if [Dunn] realizes how symbolic [this weekend's visit] is. To me it's very symbolic when you're visiting a rival school when they're playing the school you're committed to and you're sitting on the rival sideline. To me, that is huge. It's very symbolic. This is trending Michigan's way.
The current news is that Urban Meyer will be possibly the next head coach at Ohio State — and I think he will be — I think that also pushes Brionte Dunn a little towards Michigan because when he was a younger player, Florida tried to recruit him under Urban Meyer. (Dunn) wanted no part of the Urban Meyer offense. So while Meyer to Ohio State will really affect Ohio State positively in most recruiting cases, in this case, I think it's not positive at all.
Like I said, if you put it together in your head, you'd say Michigan's sitting in pretty good shape here with Brionte Dunn. You never know, but it sure seems to be trending their way.
That's Scout analyst Bill Greene from Sam Webb's latest DetNews piece, an info-packed Q&A in which Greene and Allen Trieu pretty much do everything except proclaim the Wolverines as an outright leader for Dunn, but it's nearly impossible not to read between the lines on this one. I mean, he's going to be on Michigan's sideline when they play Ohio State. I'm not sure I need to say much more.
Meanwhile, Michigan could get a boost in their offensive line recruiting thanks to two five-stars (depending on the service you're using) taking in visits this weekend, as Chicago Simeon's Jordan Diamond announced via Twitter last night that he was en route to Ann Arbor, and Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett will be at the game as well ($, info in header). Diamond's visit comes as a surprise—he's been pretty quiet lately and some assumed he had fallen off Michigan's radar or taken greater interest in other schools, but it appears he's just taking things slow, and an impromptu appearance in Ann Arbor is a good sign that Michigan is still very much in the mix for him. You could say the same about Garnett, though it still appears like it will be difficult to pry him from the West Coast—Stanford has made a strong push of late, and he's already been admitted there.
If you were hoping for a quick end to Oaks Christian (CA) WR Jordan Payton's recruitment, despite him pushing back his announcement well beyond his original date, well, don't hold your breath ($):
A one time, and early commit, to USC, Payton is now in no rush to make a choice.
“Honestly, I won’t commit this time until I feel right about a school,” said Payton. “It could be at any time and it could be a while. It’s whenever I talk about it with my family and we just feel like it’s ready. I’m going to take the Cal visit, though, so I won’t be deciding before then.”
A U.S. Army All-American, Payton said he isn’t sure if he’ll have a decision by the time he makes it to San Antonio, but he doesn’t plan to announce then.
It's tough to blame Payton for taking his time after already committing to USC and then re-evaluating—he wants to make sure he makes the right decision and sticks to it this time around. After Michigan appeared to be the clear leader recently, however, that may change the longer he plays out his recruitment if it didn't already after his Notre Dame visit. We'll just have to wait and see.
Quickly: Abandon hope, ye who covet Shaq Thompson—he has scrapped a planned December official to Michigan in favor of one to Utah, and it's pretty clear he'll be staying out west (Cal looks to be the favorite, as they've been the constant in an ever-changing list of leaders); the Wolverines are firmly in Wes Brown's top five, and he has high praise for the coaching staff and a good connection with Blake Countess, but weather may factor into his decision, which probably wouldn't bode well for M; Stefon Diggs is featured as the Recruit of the Week on Rivals, though Michigan is strangely not mentioned (by Mike Farrell, not Diggs) when discussing the several potential landing spots for the five-star wideout; could Michigan be looking at a JuCo (and Wolverine legacy) in quarterback Turner Baty? ($, info in header); happy trails to Adolphus Washington (Ohio State and Dwayne Stanford (Oregon)—neither showed much interest in Michigan lately, but Washington will not be fun to play against in upcoming years.
For everybody who wants to know I never de-committed from michigan. They said they don't consider me a commit b/c my OV that's their policyYes I am changing my position and will be weighing all my options
This has been discussed ad nauseam on the board this week, but I'd be surprised if Brown ends up back in this class—Michigan is still after several big-name recruits, and four-star TE Taylor McNamara is considering taking an official visit next month, plus Brown would have to mend some fences with the coaches before regaining their trust. If he makes it back in the fold, great, and if not, best of luck to him wherever he ends up.
GBW released a series of free articles of Michigan commits reacting to last week's win. Here's Mario Ojemudia, who's a big fan of the defensive changes and also has his own gut feeling about Dunn:
The question on every mind of a person who follows Michigan recruiting, is what will happen with Bri’onte Dunn, and Ojemudia has his own thoughts on the five star running back.
“I didn’t even get to talk to him yesterday, but I have before a few times. I think he really likes it here, and I think he wants to come here but there are just a few things he’s got to work out.”
Ojemudia will be back in Ann Arbor this weekend. Joe Bolden also did a little recruiting of Dunn, and he confirmed he'll be enrolling early and discussed his plans for when he hits campus:
“I’m going to use every opportunity I can to get on the field. I’m a guy who hates standing on the sideline. For instance this year, I hated seeing my offense on the field because I wanted to be on the field and I feel that I can help the team. I think getting up there early will help me with school and getting me positioned and orientated with everything going on there and how to balance school and football as well as getting the playbook. I don’t want to miss a beat with spring practice.”
Allen Gant, who like Ojemudia will take a return visit for The Game, talked to Greg Mattison and Curt Mallory about how he'll be used as a Wolverine:
“Before the game I talked to the coaches and they talk to the recruits and I talked to Coach Mattison and Coach Mallory. Coach Mattison has said that he’s excited about me playing that strong safety and see’s [sic] me being a blitzing safety and Coach Mallory is really excited about getting me up there. Overall we’ve just kind of been talking about my football season and their football season.”
Considering Gant was playing a lot of linebacker when I saw him this season, blitzing strong safety seems to fit his game well.
After tallying 85 tackles (24 TFLs) and 13 sacks so far this season, Chris Wormley was named the Toledo Blade's player of the year, and they wrote up a long feature on the defensive end commit, which included some high praise from opposing coaches:
Greg Dempsey, Central Catholic: "Chris obviously has great natural ability and he's a great player. His motor is relentless, he's great against the run, he's great at the point of attack, he's great chasing down the run, and he's obviously a great pass rusher. He's one of the biggest guys we've ever had to deal with, and he makes the guys along the line better because he's so good. He's just a game changer.
"This kid's ready to step in and play [at Michigan] right now. He's probably the most college-ready guy we've gone against."
It's interesting that two of the three coaches cited Wormley's motor as a strong positive, as that has been an area of concern among recruiting analysts.
Quickly: Kyle Kalis is one of 16 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Army Player of the Year, alongside such big names as Dorial Green-Beckham, Diggs, Gunner Kiel, Thompson, and Washington; Chantel Jennings writes that Kalis is firm in his Michigan commitment, and wouldn't be swayed by an Urban Meyer hire in Columbus ($, info in header); Eric Magnuson was named to the Army All-American Bowl, and while USC and other school have been making a run at him, he's steadfast in his pledge to the Wolverines, saying "I'm committed to Michigan and that's where I'm going."
2013 Middletown (OH) five-star QB/ATH Jalin Marshall will visit Ann Arbor this weekend ($, info in header), though he's already visited Ohio State on multiple occasions and it's apparent that the Buckeyes will be the team to beat. He could fill a big need at receiver if he decides not to try his hand at QB in college, and he appears open to other positions—making a strong impression on Saturday might be Michigan's best chance of earning a real shot at landing him.
Four-star defensive tackle Billy Price, another visitor for The Game, was profiled by Sam Webb, and the Wolverines appear to have a great shot at pulling in the 6'4", 295-pound junior. He's camped with Ondre Pipkins, saying that the 2012 commit is "everything that you're supposed to be on the D-line," and he can see himself forming a dynamite line with the players from Michigan's current class:
The Michigan coaching staff has already begun trying to capitalize on that admiration [for Pipkins] by painting for Price a picture of a defensive front that features him and Pipkins as the anchors in the middle.
"They actually are going to move me down to a three technique playing next to Ondre Pipkins," Price explained. "Kick out Chris Wormley and Tom Strobel at the ends and just tell them to go get guys. I would love to play next Ondre."
Michigan State will also factor in to his recruitment, as will powerhouses from around the country, and Price doesn't plan on making a decision until after his senior season, but the Wolverines look to be in a strong position right now.
Quickly: Wheaton (IL) St. Francis four-star OL Kyle Bosch was very impressed after visiting for the Nebraska game ($, info in header); Peoria (IL) Manuel OL Logan Luley-Tillman also visited for Nebraska and is a player to watch in the junior class ($, info in header); Grand Blanc DE Luke MacLean also was in Ann Arbor last weekend, and was duly impressed by the defensive effort ($, info in header); and Michigan legacy Brandon Bean is a junior receiver from Southfield who could also end up with an offer—he also was here last week, and has strong interest in both in-state schools ($, info in header). He'll be here this weekend as well.
Buckle up Brionte.
Diamond has said, for what seems like forever now, that he is a) going to take his time, b) very interested in Michigan, c) determined to take his visits and d) going to put some real consideration into all this.
Last winter, the recruiting insiders were hyping him as a heavy Michigan lean, but his direct quotes were always far more neutral. The disconnect reminded me of the Ronald Johnson situation. So Diamond starts taking visits and, predictably, has good things to say about all the schools he visits. So does his Mom. Meanwhile Michigan gets 5 OL commitments and over-zealous fans decide that the coaches have "cooled" on Diamond. The echo-chamber goes into full effect and discussions about Diamond become of the 'if we don't get Banner' nature. Suddenly he's a Plan B. Now that Banner is (once again) considered a long-shot (which, frankly, rational-minded fans knew he was all along) Diamond is 'surprisingly' 'back'. Don't believe the narrative.
Did anything significant change for Diamond, or our coaches, over the last year? There have been commitments and visits, sure, and more information has been acquired, yes, but the status is essentially the same: The coaches want Diamond and Diamond is interested. The recruiting process will continue, as it has, until Diamond is ready or there is no room for OL in the class. Neither event has happened. In short: status unchanged.
The situation has been over-dramatized by the media (especially the recruiting analysts) to feed their business. Impatient and insatiable recruiting followers buy in, disregarding direct quotes and, far too often, common sense.
Sometimes, the changes and drama are legitimate. Jordan Payton had had a real-deal change of heart (or two) and made numerous quotes that reflected his change(s). The drama around Dunn seems legitimate as well, but mostly because a UM-OSU flop will make headlines every time. But sometimes, the recruiting sites manufacture drama because it's in their economic interest to do so.
Summary: beat Ohio and they will come. Beat Ohio.
Beat Ohio. Get your popcorn ready.
I'd be surprised if he wasn't back in the class. Brown seems open to coming back. I think if the coaches want him they'll talk him into coming back. The fact they didn't kick him to the curb entirely after the Oregon visit indicates, IMO, that they value him as a prospect.
I think McNamara is a long shot and I think the need for TE is significant. I think the coaches will get back to recruiting him and re-affirm things either after OSU or the bowl game.
Besides our class being loaded at DE, I stumbled across this quote from Adolphus Washington:
"I know all these schools athletically can offer me the same thing. The academic support at Ohio State, there is no way you can fail. Even if you're giving minimal effort there is no way you can fail."
It's possible I'm wildly misinterpreting this, or that he's just a high school kid who isn't aware of what he's saying. But if this quote is what it seems, he doesn't really seem like he would get the most out of a Michigan education, anyway.
After the Pharaoh Brown issue, people were joking about not being able to keep our highly rated tight ends and were referring about Chris Bryant.
I'm not sure where I was during this time, but what happened with him? I know he's not on the roster, I just never thought about it before and don't remember what the situation was
You're thing about
Bryant is an OG still on the roster
Barnett a week or two into camp, no one really knows why
So what would the plan be for getting a JC guy? someone somewhat developed to be a backup for a few years? unless (I know dead horse) something is seriously being thought about Denard next year or atleast leaving the depth chart in a position that they can think about it.
I'm loving Joe Bolden! The kid is always saying the right things and seems extremely determined.
Ok, I'll be the turd in the punch bowl. Reading the rival-sideline Dunn story, am I the only person worried about a repeat of the Elmer visit?
EDIT: Beat Ohio
It's always a possibility, but I'm not too worried about it. It sounds like he is serious about considering Michigan, and for anyone using a college visit to stage a classless act, it really only reflects on the student athlete, and not in a positive way.
Talent is important but give me someone who wants to put on the winged helmet above all other helmets. I don't know what offers Kovaks had and I know he has talent. Like Novak he also has heart which should never be undervalued. Having the passion for the Maize and Blue can help make some tremendous plays on the field for Michigan.
My point: Similar to Pharaoh, I wish Dunn a lot of luck and hope they do well wherever they go (except whenever, if ever, they play us). If they are truly passionate about Michigan in addition to advancing their careers then great. If they aren't all in most of the time then I am glad if they don't decide to come here. I am glad they are thinking carefully about this decision as it is one of the largest in their lives to date.
Good luck to you too Diamond and I hope you end up here also, like Pharaoh and Dunn, but I am glad you are thinking a lot about this decision and making the right choice for you and your families like Hoke and the other coaches are doing for theirs.
BEAT OHIO. As much as I love early commitments (that stick) there's nothing wrong with a kid taking his time with one of the most important decisions of his life. BEAT OHIO.