Update 7/15: Linked to articles on NJ S Brandon Smith, MN WR Mike Floyd, OH OL Zebrie Sanders, TX CB Adrian Bushell, PA H-back Christian Wilson, LA CB Robby Green, AL OL Antoine McClain. Removed AZ DT Lawrence Guy (dropped us), MI QB Brendan Kay (Cinci), OK QB Nathan Stanley (M done at QB), WV OL Josh Jenkins (no indication of mutual interest), OH S Dan McCarthy (OSU or ND).
Downgraded Deontae Pannell, Adrian Bushell from green to red. Downgraded Kevin Koger from green to yellow. Upgraded Nick Perry, Christian Wilson to blue. Noted some Hale/Saddler speculation from Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels. Re-added VA WR Deion Walker.
Editorial Opinion: Koger still hasn't decided; I remain kind of pessimistic but Ohio State fans are less confident as this drags out a bit longer. Bottom line: don't know and don't know that anyone else does. Another thing to watch this week is the July 20 visit of IN OL/DT Garrett Goebel, which will be his last. After it he'll decide between OSU and Michigan. The conventional wisdom is that Michigan is playing catchup.
You can probably scratch Zebrie Sanders off any weird lists you might be maintaining:
"I pretty much have a decision made of where I want to go, maybe 67 percent sure," Sanders said. "I want to take my visits to be sure. I will probably call the school in the middle of the season and tell them where I am going and then announce it after the season."
It's a three-horse race but in addition to the three, he might take a couple of other visits.
"I am definitely narrowing it down," he said about the logjam of schools. "UCLA has been showing me a lot of interest and is going to offer me soon. I love UCLA, I love Georgia, and I love Florida. Those are the top three, I like Michigan and Clemson as well."
Given the way Sanders has talked about Georgia in recent weeks -- his mom is an alum -- I expect he'll commit there eventually. When you are 67 percent sure and have three schools you love and you "might" visit Michigan, a school you've already been to like seven times, you are not going to end up at Michigan. I'll leave him on the board, but try to envision a really nefarious Eduardo when your eye lingers over his name. Also from newly independent Gator Country, late of the Scout network, is this on MN WR Michael Floyd:
"I have a current top four," Floyd said. "They'd be Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Ohio State." ... Michigan- "Their wide receivers coach is real cool. I know a lot of guys that are on campus and they're great people."
Probably academic. The internet has long considered Floyd a Notre Dame lock, and if Fred Smith commits as expected Michigan will probably be done at wide receiver unless Jonathan Baldwin decides to come aboard. (Do I say this every week? I think I might.)
Also also from Gator Country: Florida leads for TX CB Adrian Bushell.
On to good news of varying strength. NJ S Brandon Smith, a Rivals100 guy, has maintained a Michigan lead from the start of the recruiting process:
"I've always liked Michigan," he said. "I grew up watching them and they have great coaches. I have a great relationship with their linebacker coach (Steve Szabo). He texts me a lot and my mom likes him too. He's really down-to-earth and easy to talk to. He's a person first and a coach second and I like that about him."
Smith says the Wolverines are recruiting him to play defense. "They have a great defense and they want me at safety (Scout.com ranks him No. 11)," he said. "I think I'd fit in well with their defensive schemes."
That article claims Michigan leads "slightly" over Rutgers and solidly over a few other contenders. I've left him green but thought about blue, for those wishing to parse finely. (Side note: Szabo has been hitting NJ hard this year. We lead for Smith, are in good shape with JB Fitzgerald, and have a commitment from Marcus Witherspoon. Also note his one-year reclamation job on the befuddled Michigan linebacking corps. Great hire by Lloyd; wish he was younger; if he turns Chris Graham into a player I might consider a small shrine.)
Also, the lead I speculated we had for PA HB Christian Wilson when his mother hopped on a Michigan message board looking for answers has been confirmed in print by a neutral source:
LB Christian Wilson (6-3 235) of McKees Rock, PA hopes to make a decision before his season. He has narrowed down his list from more than 45 offers to a little more than a handful. His current top five are Clemson, Michigan, Rutgers, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, and all are considering him for both sides of the ball. He can also play tight end, H-back or running back. He said Michigan is his current favorite ahead of Clemson and Rutgers. "Clemson wants me more for defense," he said. "The way they use their tight end is not the way I want to be used," if he played on the offensive side.
Given that and his mom's comments, I've bumped Wilson to blue.
Finally, I still think LA CB Robby Green is a longshot but the most recent available article on him is pretty positive:
Green hasn't visited Michigan, Tennessee or Florida yet, but says he'd love to take visits to each, especially Michigan. "They produce some of the best cornerbacks in the country and always send guys to the NFL," he said. "They have a cool staff too and I'm hearing a lot from them. They compare me to Ty Law and Charles Woodson and that means a lot to me."
It appears likely we'll make his top five and get an official. I've moved him to a somewhat skeptical yellow.
Finally, Hale/Saddler package deal speculation rages on. (Rages, I say!) Scout.com guru Bob Lichtenfels:
Saddler likes UVA, but I can't see Hale there. That leads me to believe that its U-M and WVU. Both were very intrigued by what WVU has to offer, but right now If I had to pick one I would say U-M. I think Terry Smith feels its the best fit for both players if they have to be a package deal. Rich Rod and Tony Gibson will not go down with out a fight, so for me its way too early to say this is a done deal.
Saddler continues telling everyone on the planet that he and Hale are Siamese recruits; Hale keeps getting buzzed by Ohio State reporters and saying things along the lines of "well, not necessarily." I remain a bit skeptical since package deals rarely come off, but the radical reshaping of Hale's list -- something he has confirmed -- and Saddler's stridency keep the skepticism down. I am a bit worried about WVU, which has an attractive offense for Saddler's skills and could probably promise Hale a starting position effective yesterd
Full board here.