"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."
Today's recruiting roundup takes a look at Patrick Kugler's newly-released junior highlights, breaks down 2013 Ohio rankings, discusses visitors and new offers, and more.
Commits: Prepared For MANBALL
Patrick Kugler's junior highlights were uploaded to YouTube today, and as you can see above, Michigan's latest commit has no problem playing through the whistle. Offensive line highlights start at the 2:32 mark (though his D-line clips are well worth a watch) and largely consist of Kugler planting a defender into the turf, often several yards downfield. Speaking of Kugler, GBW chatted with him recently, and it turns out he didn't even need to meet Brady Hoke before being sold on Michigan (free article!):
Patrick Kugler committed to Michigan football program this past weekend without even talking to his future head coach Brady Hoke. That has since changed as the four-star offensive linemen finally caught up with the head man last night.
"He is really exactly how I pictured him," Kugler said to GoBlueWolverine about his phone conversation with Hoke. "He has very high energy. He is serious and very straight to the point. I like everything about him on the phone. I can't wait to go meet him actually."
You can't say enough about the recruiting job Hoke has done in a little over a year at the helm in Ann Arbor, but don't undersell what his assistants have accomplished; if Darrell Funk isn't on multiple end-of-year best recruiter lists, it'll be criminal. The fact that Michigan has its line class sealed up in February is largely his doing.
Bucknuts is counting down the top players in the state of Ohio, and Dymonte Thomas comes in at #4 while Jake Butt cracks makes the list at #10. (I typed "Butt cracks" without thinking and then started laughing my ass off. Yes, I'm 12 years old.) Here is ScoutingOhio's Mark Porter on Thomas ($):
“He is outstanding on both sides of the ball. He is a no-brainer at safety. He could play tailback because he is so explosive. On offense, he will deliver a blow. But I think Michigan really does see him as a defensive back.”
And Porter compares Butt to a guy who would live in Michigan's nightmares if not for Denard Robinson:
“Jake reminds me a bit of Kyle Rudolph, who went to Notre Dame out of Cincinnati Elder. He’s long. He’s fast. He just needs to get into a college weight room and get bigger and stronger. He has the potential to be a great college tight end.”
Scout, meanwhile, has released their top 50 for Ohio. Thomas is #2—behind only OSU commit Jalin Marshall (ahead of Rivals 5-star DB Cameron Burrows)—Butt is #10, Jaron Dukes is #20, and Taco Charlton is #29. Other recruits of interest include RB DeVeon Smith (#3), LB Ben Gedeon (#11), LB Mike McCray (#13), CB Gareon Conley (#16), CB Darian Hicks (#19), TE Jake Matuska (#22), and WR Kevin Gladney (#23).
Chantel Jennings profiled Wyatt Shallman today, and a big reason why the big athlete from Catholic Central committed to Michigan was because they gave him the chance to play tailback. Expect him to bring quite the physical attitude to the position ($):
"[My grandpa] always talked about how power football and power running, downhill, four yards a carry, that sort of thing, that has always been Michigan's M.O.," Shallman said. "That's really what Michigan football is about. That's really what football is about, smashing heads."
Shallman is training with Mike Barwis on top of his regular workouts with CC; heads will be smashed.
As far as I've seen, Michigan has just two visitors lined up for this weekend: Hudson (OH) LB Ben Gedeon (possible, not set in stone) and Indianapolis (IN) North Central OT/DT Darius Latham (both links $). Latham is an interesting prospect—he's adept on either side of the ball, though at this point the Wolverines would only take him at defensive tackle.
Gedeon, meanwhile, is one of the top linebackers in the Midwest, but there's going to be a serious crunch at the position. Michigan leads for Good Counsel LB Dorian O'Daniel, who's higher-ranked than Gedeon, and also for top-50 overall prospect E.J. Levenberry, and they could secure the commitment of Trotwood-Madison LB Mike McCray on March 8th when he announces. After last year's bumper crop, the only spot along the linebacking corps that really needs reinforcements is at SLB, where both Levenberry and McCray project. O'Daniel and Gedeon seem more like MIKE/WLB types; right now it looks like Michigan will only take two LBs, though it's possible that they grab a third if the numbers work out and a guy like Levenberry is looking to commit. All four are high-quality prospects, so this could become a first-come, first-served situation.
O'Daniel wasn't the only player to name Michigan as his leader this week, as he was joined by Massillon (OH) Washington CB Gareon Conley, a four-star prospect ($, info in header). Conley plans to visit Ann Arbor on March 10th, and he wants to make his decision before his senior season; we'll see if things move quickly on that front, as he'd be the big (6'1", 170 lbs.) corner Michigan wants.
Quickly running through other players who named Michigan among their top x lists: Dadeville (AL) DT Rod Crayton now has the Wolverines in his top five with Tennessee, Mississippi State, Penn State, and LSU ($, info in header). Ashburn (VA) Stone Bridge DE Jonathan Allen named a top six of Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida and NC State ($, info in header). Five-star S/RB/LB Su'a Cravens hasn't narrowed down his list, but says that "USC, UCLA, Michigan and Washington are recruiting me the hardest right now," though he maintains that every school recruiting him is equal at the moment ($, info in header).
New Offers, Future Potential Visitors, and Happy Trails
A couple new offers surfaced for the Wolverines in the last few days. New Orleans (LA) Edna Carr TE Standish Dobard now lists a Michigan offer; he's a three-star recruit to 247, but is being pursued by most of the heavy hitters in the SEC. The Wolverines also recently offered Pendleton (SC) four-star DT Michael Hill, who's considering a summer visit to Ann Arbor ($, info in header).
Several players are planning future visits to Ann Arbor. Here's the most recent list:
Pittsburgh (PA) Seton-La Salle TE Scott Orndoff just decommitted from Wisconsin and will be on campus March 17th ($). He says if he likes the visit, Michigan will shoot to the top of his list.
Tampa (FL) Wharton five-star CB Vernon Hargreaves III might be a tough pull from the state of Florida, but he's considering a summer visit ($, info in header).
247's #37 overall player, Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas DE Joey Bosa, is in regular contact with Greg Mattison and will likely visit Michigan and Ohio State in an upcoming weekend ($).
Perhaps the top priority among DT recruits, Baltimore (MD) Gilman's Henry Poggi, has already visited Michigan twice but wants to see Ann Arbor again ($, info in header).
There are a couple happy trails to report. Camp Hill (PA) Cedar Cliff's Adam Breneman, the top-ranked TE in the country, will announce his decision on March 9th at 7 pm. He has not visited Michigan, so you can rule the Wolverines out; this will likely be a choice between Ohio State and childhood favorite Penn State, and I expect he'll end up with the Nittany Lions. Meanwhile, Centerville (OH) OT Evan Lisle, who held a Michigan offer prior to the O-line spots filling up, committed to Ohio State after receiving his Buckeye offer last week.
Part of me thinks that the kids don't have the best senior year because they've already committed to a school. Unless that school is Alabama or LSU, they won't necessarily have their scholarship revoked (unless they decide to really really suck). They come to campus with an attitude and then the coaches just let them be. So in answer to your question, I'd blame Mack Brown's complacency.
From what I have seen from our coaches so far, they're going to make you work. So I'm not as worried about that.
Absurd. They are elite athletes that wouldn't be at the level they're at if coasting was any where in their DNA.
Being the best in their incoming class.
Uping their rating.
Preparing for a possible shot at the NFL.
Proving naysayers wrong.
Oh, and how about just loving football & wanting to be the best player they can be.
I know not all schools make this kind of character a priority, but seriously, coasting is probably much more the exception than the rule for most D1 scholarship athletes.
Usually a recruits ranking falls simply because other (often less hyped) players have great senior years and get bumped up. Whatever skills/attributes Hoke & Co. seen in these juniors will most likely still be there when they get on campus.
Well by coast I mean they don't show their true potential. For instance, the defense and special teams players before this past season for Michigan. They were clearly very very talented players. But they weren't able to take it to the level needed at a collegiate level. (Granted Texas never showed that level of ineptitude on any side of the ball.) That's why I said it was more a Mack Brown thing, because his coaching staff needs to kick the kids in high motion.
It's not rare at all--ask any football coach about it. That doesn't mean these guys will at all, but you think a bit too highly of elite ahtletes if you think they all have super strong intenal motivation--many do, some don't
"Before I could pull the trigger, I was hit by lightning, and bitten by a cobra."
I like how two sub par years at TX now has people doubting the way they recruit. As if the past two years overshadow the previous 10 straight years if 10+ wins, multiple BCS games and wins, conference championships, a national title and possible a second if McCoy doesn't get hurt the first series. I'll take the the TX model of recruiting anyday. TX problems have more to do with a QB really busting, coaching complacency, and a very young team. I think TX will be very good again soon as their team ages, plus the addition of new coaching blood.
The recuiting game has changed my friend. With the change of the date that written offers can be handed out a couple of years ago, these verbal offers have been going out like candy. If you don't offer a lot of kids by March at the lates, you are considered late, and with the rest of the kids you almost have to offer the ones now that you may want to recruit in September not to be left behind. A lot of programs are filling spots earlier and earlier every year. We aren't the only ones.
Considering the fact that Hecklinski was Assistant HC at SDSU, seems like Hoke might be planting his own little coaching tree. I agree though, don't want to see them go. At least, not until after the first few National Championships.
Unless there's major attrition, there's no way they take all four. I'd be surprised if they take three considering it looks like the coaches are pushing hard for a third TE. They'd have to consider a LB for one of the "best player available" spots, which could happen considering it sounds like they're done at five offensive linemen.
1 TE (not necessarily a need, but the coaches are clearly going for another one)
1 DT (at least)
1 SDE (maybe, but I think there's a need for two more DL—SDE if Wormley/Godin move to DE, DT if not)
That's seven spots, leaving just three for linebackers. I don't think it makes sense to take Levenberry or McCray and shift them down to WDE—Michigan already has Taco Charlton in the class. Plus, there's a pretty big need for depth at SLB. It makes more sense to take both those guys and keep them there, then take the first to commit of Gedeon/O'Daniel for WILL.
I really want all four though, as our LB depth won't be all that great by the time these kids hit campus, is all. I understand that it's a numbers crunch, but I'd have a hard time turning any of these guys away, that's all. But like I said, nice breakdown, I appreciate it - thanks Ace. I don't get another TE lol.
I tend to agree with you. I was actually typing this and I was going to say "I ESPECIALLY wouldn't want to miss out on (insert blue chip LB)." But I couldn't bring myself to write any one of our four prospects... I NEED THEM AAALLLLLLL!!!! I would rather miss out on the third WR or TE. Especially if Treadwell doesn't commit.
He's not doing a presser, just calling the coaches either Wednesday or Thursday. Still visiting Michigan, and I think the Wolverines are still the prohibitive favorite. This isn't bad news at all—just a change in the way he's announcing.
I wonder what the coaching staff tells a guy like O'Daniel, who is a stud and high on Michigan, but who might not have a spot by the time he visits. If I was him and I followed recruiting I would not wait til the spring game to visit. At the rate Hoke is going, I feel like he could play Urban's game of only recruiting the top 100 and do just fine.
Also, hypothetically, if Su'a were to commit to us (cue Su'a Cravens is NOT coming posts), how would we get he and Dymonte on the field at the same time? They would both need to be, if not in year one that at least for multiple years. I ask because we're obviously still recruiting him and his comments about visiting have done nothing to reduce our chances with him.
"Michigan Defense" is dominating everything, in every aspect of life. That's a rough definition.
Cravens could be a safety, RB, or LB. They'd find room for him. As for how he'd fit in with Thomas, it's possible Thomas could play FS (though I think he projects better as a SS) and Cravens would be the SS. Thomas is athletic enough to play deep, and you just don't keep two players that talented off the field.
First thing's first, though—get Cravens on campus. Then we can go from there.
Ace, I saw that you mentioned Darian Hicks (CB, Solon, Ohio) as a "recruit of interest." Where does he fit into Michigan's plans and reasonable expectations?
I am curious because he plays for our local high school team. I also saw him (or another Solon kid - noticed the letter jacket) in the group of visiting recruits milling about outside the Stadium after the Ohio game last November.