Geez - that's a 16 year old. , th Erik Swenson
- Offensive Tackle
- Downers Grove, IL (Downers Grove South)
- Ht: 6-7 | Wt: 285
The second interation of Under The Lights should be Michigan's biggest recruiting weekend of the fall. 247's Steve Lorenz was kind enough to give me permission to post his list of visitors($); this doesn't cover every visitor who'll be on campus this weekend (there are many), just the ones I've deemed most important to point out. To make this easier, I'm breaking it up into categories.
Unfortunately, Michael Ferns and Jabrill Peppers can't make it, so Michigan won't have two of their primary commits/recruiters; Wilton Speight will be there, however, as will George "The Mayor" Campbell, Damien Harris, and a host of other Wolverine pledges from both the 2014 and 2015 classes.
2014 Uncommitted Prospects
Just two players fall into this category, and they happen to be the two prospects sitting atop Michigan's board for 2014: Southfield DL Malik McDowell and VA WDE Da'Shawn Hand. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan caught up with Hand's mentor and former position coach, John Harris, to discuss what the nation's top defensive end will look for on his visit ($):
"[Saturday,] he'll look at how the coaches react if Notre Dame gets an early touchdown. Do they get down on guys or are they encouraging? He'll look at the scheme, but he's already been through that. If you can justify how you can use him in it, he won't say, 'I don't like that front.' Everything is about how he fits into it."
Tell Hand the story of Brendan Gibbons's confidence-fueled rise from beaten-down shank artist to brunette-envisioning record-setter and I think he'll be encouraged by the coaching staff's level of, er, encouragement. Hand himself also spoke with Adam Friedman of Rivals about what he wants to see this weekend ($):
"I just want to go up there and have fun," said the 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive end. "The first time I was up there it was mainly an academic visit because I met with one of the professors. This is more of a visit to see if I can live there for four or five years. I know that it's not going to be like this weekend every day but at the same time I want to see how it is on game day."
As for McDowell, he told Sam Webb that he won't take any official visits during the season in order to focus on his own football season ($). That means he'll try to cram in five officials between the end of his season (likely November with playoffs included) and whenever he makes his decision; this is just my speculation—I don't see that happening. Regardless, Michigan is still in a very good position for McDowell.
2015 Uncommitted Prospects
Da'Shawn Hand is bringing a pair of very talented friends with him to Michigan: five-star DT Tim Settle and four-star OT Matthew Burrell Jr. will accompany Hand on the trip. While neither of those players currently hold offers, I'd expect both will have them after the weekend; the coaches like to wait until prospects show serious interest before putting offers out there and a visit certainly qualifies. Both Settle and Burrell are top prospects at positions of need who'll be the subject of heated recruiting battles; it's good that Michigan is getting early looks from each of them.
Four-star Saginaw athlete Brian Cole looked to be a strong Michigan lean early; since Michigan State hired Curtis Blackwell, his 7-on-7 coach, the tides have shifted in favor of the Spartans—at least, that's the perception after Cole has been a steady presence in East Lansing. He's visited Michigan several times, as well, and a positive experience this weekend could move the needle once again. Cole is the one 2015 in-state prospect that I think Michigan would do well to haul in; it'd be a real loss if he ended up at State.
A few other notable in-state prospects are scheduled to attend: the Cass Tech duo of RB Mike Weber and DL Joshua Alabi plan to be there along with a few of their 2016 teammtes (CB Lavert Hill, brother of freshman S Delano Hill, as well as linemen Ostell Martin and Michael Onwenu). Detroit King LB Tyriq Thompson, son of former Michigan safety Clarence Thompson, is likely to attend as well.
MN DE Jashon Cornell is the #1 overall 2015 prospect on ESPN and a composite five-star; his visit is particularly interesting given that he comes from a school, Cretin-Derham Hall, that is traditionally a Notre Dame pipeline. Though he boasts offers from across the country, Cornell appears to be looking to stay in the Midwest—he's also got unofficials lined up to Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and—yes—Notre Dame. He took notice when George Campbell committed and The Mayor will surely look to convince Cornell that they should team up in college.
Four-star linebacker Justin Hilliard is a consensus top-three player in Ohio; he's got an extensive list of planned unofficials that includes a return trip to Ann Arbor for The Game. It wouldn't be surprising if his recruitment came down to Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Iowa, where his brother C.J. is 2014 running back commit (lord help him—no, AIRBHG, a different lord ohhhhhh no what have I done).
A couple more potential visitors are AZ ATH Cassius Peat, a 3.5-star OLB/DE-type and the brother of Stanford lineman Andrus, and NY TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr., son of... well, you can probably guess. Peat has an early Michigan State offer and enjoyed a summer visit to Ann Arbor; Wheatley already has a Michigan offer and looks like a strong candidate to end up in the class at some point.
LA four-star DT TD Moton is also a potential visitor, though there's a hurdle to clear here:
— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) September 5, 2013
Stay strong, Mr. Moton.
2016 Uncommitted Prospects
The one to watch here is IL OT Erik Swenson, whose tone regarding Michigan has been downright rapturous after his previous visits; he may want to take his time with a decision, but sooner or later he's almost guaranteed to end up committing. That will be very good news, since he's one of the top overall prospects in the 2016 class.
Other notable sophomores include Traverse City OL Thiyo Lukusa, who already has a Michigan State offer, and Farmington WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, who has three offers himself (Indiana, Ohio, and Toledo) and has been a consistent presence on campus
There isn't an obvious candidate to commit this weekend with the possible exception of Swenson—interestingly, one of the youngest prospects who'll be in attendance. The two 2014 targets have long maintained that their recruitments will stretch well past this weekend. The 2015 visitors for the most part are either players who should have very competitive recruitments (Settle, Burrell, Cornell) or guys Michigan hasn't offered or may not have room to take—Wheatley is an intriguing exception to this rule.
Of course, this was much the same case the last time these two teams played at the Big House, and then Dymonte Thomas shocked Ohio State fans by pledging to the good guys (and, yes, sticking to that commitment) after getting swept up in the excitment of Robinson-to-Roundtree. In what should be another incredible atmosphere on Saturday, who knows what surprises this weekend holds in store?
I should note that 247's Steve Wiltfong has a very informative free overview of what's turning into a big visit weekend across the Big Ten.
[Hit THE JUMP for a couple of Michigan commits getting rankings bumps, highlights of Jashon Cornell in action, the decline of head-to-head recruiting battles between Michigan and Notre Dame, and more.]
Opening-week highlights of Jashon Cornell show exactly why he's so highly-regarded; he gets into the backfield so fast that, at one point, the camera can't even keep up with him (HT: TomVH):
If you're wondering why Michigan is waiting to offer any other 2015 WDEs, there's your reason.
ESPN features not one, but two articles on Michigan and Notre Dame not only parting ways on the football field, but in recruiting, as well, with the Irish taking more of a national approach—with an emphasis on the Southeast, competing against their new ACC brethren of sorts—and the Wolverines focusing on locking down top Midwest prospects. TomVH notes that only three of 11 class of 2014 prospect to hold offers from both schools really came down to a Michigan-ND head-to-head battle (Alex Bars, Ian Bunting, and Mason Cole), and Michael Ferns gave a potential reason for that shift:
"I think part of it for Midwest kids is being in the Big Ten conference. With Notre Dame everything is up in the air," [Ferns] said. "I look forward to playing Ohio State every year, and I think that's a big aspect to recruiting kids in this area."
Ferns might be on to something since most of the battles that have taken place were in the Southeast or in ACC territory.
Adam Rittenberg takes a similar angle, noting the hometowns of many of ND's current stars are in ACC/SEC country while Michigan's big names from Hoke's first class were mostly Midwestern kids; in the end, however, the coaches involved still expect to go up against each other:
Hecklinski has encountered Notre Dame about as much as he expected to since arriving at Michigan and notes that when elite prospects emerge in the Midwest, "pretty much it's going to come down to Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio [State]." Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, a former Notre Dame assistant, said of the Irish: "I feel their presence."
Looking at Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard, for example, makes me think the idea that these schools are drifting away from each other in terms of recruiting base is more a temporary trend than a long-term movement; there's little question, however, that Michigan and Ohio State are battling for far more of the current top Midwest prospects than Notre Dame is pursuing, at least for now.
Also at ESPN, Tom Luginbill discusses why he doesn't think 2014 DT commit Bryan Mone is quite worthy of five-star status; namely, that he's more of a two-gap space eater and less of a backfield penetrator. While I don't know if I'd call Mone a five-star prospect, I'm not sure I agree with Luginbill's reasoning; watch Mone's highlights (I know, I know, they're just the highlights) and tell me he isn't a guy who can get into the backfield with some regularity.
Michigan pair of commits from Eastern Christian Academy get bumps on 247; CB Brandon Watson went from two to three stars, earning a grade of 86 (mid-to-high three-star), while WR Freddy Canteen got a minor boost from an 86 to an 87 (still a three-star; 90 would make him a four-star).
Tim Sullivan saw LB Joshua Ross, younger brother of James, in action at the Prep Kickoff Classic; he sees a lot of similarities between the brothers, though unsurprisingly the freshman at OLSM still has plenty of room to improve ($):
All told, Ross looks very similar to his older brother James, though he is an earlier stage of his development than we first evaluated the elder Ross. Like James, he stands on the tips of his toes at the beginning of each play and attacks downhill. However, to reach James's level of production, Joshua will have to learn to get into the backfield instead of getting caught in the blockers so frequently. He has the frame to get much larger than James, so he should be able to reach a physical prowess that the older brother never can. Though he's very young, Ross already looks like an excellent prospect.
The younger Ross is already at 6'2", 190 pounds as a freshman; he's obviously a 2017 (yikes) kid to keep an eye on.
The M Block chats with 2015 four-star DE Keisean Lucier-South, who still would have Michigan #1 on his list if they offered, and 2016 in-state WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, who's hoping to land an offer soon.
Four-star 2014 LB Nyles Morgan announced a top six on Sunday. On Tuesday, he re-opened his recruitment to all team pursuing him heavily, saying it was "too early to start narrowing down schools," to Rivals's Josh Helmholdt ($). Hooray, recruitin'.
He's got the measurables to fit into a 77 jersey, that's for sure.
I'm not a coach, but a top-notch two-gap DL seems very valuable to me. I'll take Vince Wilfork or Sam Adams any day. They don't make exciting plays, but neither does a left tackle (Lewan one-armed blocks aside).
Can we please, PLEASE, stop the frankly offensive "Brendan Gibbons - brunettes" joke or even reference? It's distasteful at best.
You must be a Ginger kind of guy arent you? (seriously wonders how the joke is offensive)
I think it's the rape allegations combined with a slightly chauvinistic joke that doesn't sit well with him (at least that's my guess, because I'm a little sick of the brunette jokes too).
How is that chauvinistic? Gibbons was just thinking of something to take his mind off the pressure of the moment. I fail to see how thinking of brunette girls is in any way sexist or demeaning to women.
at 47, I'm either too new or too old, but I can't rack this old brain to consider how in God's name that's offensive.
he's talking about the rape Gibbons allegedly committed several years ago.
and he's not alone in being bothered by it.
If this alleged assault never factually happened, and nobody every wrote about it, would you still be offended by the whole "think about Brunettes" thing?
I was a little uneasy with the joke, but never enough to say anything about it, because it's a relatively anonymous sports blog and people make jokes that I don't like. But when I recently heard about the rape allegations, it became a little too chauvinistic and objectifying of women for my taste. Also, it's been a joke for almost 20 months now, and it probably should be running its course anyway. Things can get overplayed, regardless of your initial feelings about the humor.
It's not a joke about women. It's a reference to how Hoke told a stressed out kid who was, frankly, failing as a kicker to just relax and think about something else, like girls. It is hardly a news flash that college guys often think about the opposite sex. That is not sexist it is reality. And it worked. Gibbons is a solid kicker. It is supportive coaching, thus the reference.
The allegations you refer to were withdrawn. Unless you were there, you have no idea what happened. So all posts like yours do is label as a rapist a guy who, as far as you know, is innocent. To me , that is far more offensive than the Hoke story.
The young woman's decision not to press charges doens't mean the accusation was withdrawn, i.e., that she recanted...I don't think it does anyone a disservice to stop using the brunette girls line, though I do understand that it was Hoke - not Gibbons - who used it and that your description of his use of it is correct...I make both of these points to say that people have reason to be uneasy - I am uneasy - and to say that losing the brunette girls line is nothing to worry about.
It is not alright to label someone a criminal just because he didn't prove himself innocent or, in this car have the chance to.
I haven't seen anyone say that anyone is guilty of anything. I didn't. One can be uneasy or bothered in an uncertain situation. Those are the words that people have used.
You haven't made that statement. But there are a number of people on the blog who insist on commenting about allegations from years ago every time someone mentions Gibbons or Lewan. At this point it's a concerted effort to tarnish their reputations. That's what I'm talking about - they are being viewed as if they were guilty because they haven't proven their innocence on charges that were never brought.
How is it objectifying women to say that I like them and the thought of them makes me happy? He said nothing about getting down with them, said nothing about raping them, didn't even say they were naked. Women think about Channing Tatum all the time. It doesn't bother me. Lighten up. It was a totally innocuous joke.
Some people disagree with you and it appears that many agree. The point of disagreement lies in personal beliefs that differ from person to person.
It's sexist for someone to express liking girls(?)...that's all I can come up with.
and the rapturous lewan love is equally disturbing in light of his role in the whole sordid affair. but i'm not sure what to say about it, though i think it wouldn't be a terrible thing if coverage of both players were less celebratory until they publicly acknowledge the allegations and apologize for whatever happened.
to the allegations? This I had not heard. I had not ever thought the "think of brunettes" idea as sexist--it IS okay to think about sex, as most feminists (hell, everyone but the Pope) would agree. But if we're in the realm of verified ugly here, I too would hope the endlessly-repeated inanities could be dialed back.
But I think there's enough smoke that it's sketchy to pretend like no fire was ever suspected, even if it turned out to be based on misunderstandings and/or fabrications (which I'm not saying is the case).
So they should apologize for something that may not have have happened?
Because if you have any evidence that a "sordid affair" actually did occur, you should probably be talking to the police rather than commenting on it on a posting board.
That's plenty of evidence that something worth at least taking into consideration happened in my book. Or do you think it's SOP for Michigan players to be so confused as to what their teammates have done that they mistakenly go to the police on a fairly regular basis?
And I thought this thread discussion was going to be about recruiting.
Can you PLEASE stop the frankly bizaare "Brendan Gibbons - brunettes is distasteful" post or even reference? It's ridiculous at best.
If so, Damien Harris plays right in the heart of bourbon country...
It's also worth noting that Cretin-Derham Hall lost that game to Roseville last Friday. Big news up here in Minnesota, as Roseville hadn't beaten CDH since about 2005.
Now whenever I see you post I think about Brendan Gibbons and brunette girls.
Is there any place better than Ann Arbor in the early fall?
JPTTA, Mr. Hand.
"Do they get down on guys or are they encouraging? "
I think they should also point to when Hagerup made that gif-able muffed punt vs Ohio. The first thing Hoke said was "it's ok".
wasn't that against Va Tech? at any rate, agreed. i hopped on here to make that exact same comment. the dude on here who is traveling in Hand's camp should show a replay of that to Hand (and also show a replay of tomato-face and tommy rees from 2 years ago as a contrast) if that is truly a concern.
It was vs. OSU.
It was definitely Ohio 2011. That was the moment where I was 100% sold on Hoke. I like the guy from the start, but after the RR saga I wasn't ready to fall in love again so to speak. When Hagerup screwed up what could have been a game changer and Hoke just walked up and talked to him in his same calm demeanor and used it as a teaching moment, I knew we had the right guy for the job.
Fine but i prefer the Bo who would chew him out, yet win Big Ten titles. Hole has the chance to be a players coach and win the the Big Ten. Lets see if he succeeds
I came away realizing that one of the big reasons MIchigan won that game from 17 points down (IMO) was Brady Hoke's continuous calm demeanor no matter how crappy things were going. No meltdowns. No purple face. No tantrums. No yelling at players or assistants. I think that's a huge advantage for MIchigan in close games. Players feed off that confidence and sense of control. In the Hoke vs. Kelly matchup, I like our chances tomorrow.
Nope, it was in the 2nd half of the 2011 OSU game.
...doesn't sound like a guy who fits The Pattern ;)
DO NOT WANTON!
I know you said FNL would be folded into this section but it seems to have gotten lost. Many of us love to hear how our commits and key recruits are doing in High School, so here's a suggestion. Keep FNL within the Recruit'n reports but give it a separate byline. Shining a spotlight on it will keep its focus and might lead to a bit more coverage...
I'd love to see the coaches find room for an offer to him. He sounds like a danged good player and certainly really likes Michigan. Maybe they're putting in all their chips on the Cornell sweepstakes, I don't know.
Someone a recruiting thread has managed to veer off onto a huge tangent again. I feel like these posts some how turn into the most controversial ones here, which is extremely odd considering the posts are pretty reporting based and not very offensive.
I doubt Settle gets offered there seems to be some grade issues.
expect a couple commits!!!
I committed tonight. I'm still waiting for an offer, but my commitment is there when they offer. If they win it only solidifies my commitment. If they lose, I'll consider myself a soft verbal. Talk amongst yourselves concerning my commitment status.
You guys are killing me with all these gibbons comments. If it was a legit story i think there would be charges filed.. <<<<Legal action a side, if there was enough evidence to suport these claims do you thihink Hoke would let him play? Ask fitz or t gordon but wait our kickers are to important to susspend.. wait nope ask hagerup... just to name a few. Especially after what happened at penn state i highly doubt anyone with in michigans upper echelon would be trying to hide this. OPEN your eyes, why are you still talking about this? it blows my mind how these ppl buy into this story, its like your a 13 yr old gossip whore just waiting for someone to say something bad and off you go.. running around telling everyone you can think of spreading this garbage. Incase some of you didnt know, i will enlighten you--- NOT EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET IS TRUE. I repeat NOT EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET IS TRUE. FInd some background info before you go off spreading biasly written bullshit. That story was written and posted to every blog and recruiting site you can think of.. with one purpose> to trash gibbons(sounds to me like sparty could be behind the story) and make michigan look bad. Anyone bbuying into this story you are doubting the integrity of Hoke.