The number of carries before Fournette is tackled: Threeee. Three carries.
...The world may never know.
The recruiting services are split on the #1 overall prospect in the 2014 class; Rivals and 247 give VA DE Da'Shawn Hand top honors, while LA RB Leonard Fournette earns that distinction on Scout and ESPN. Michigan is among the top contenders for Hand, of course, and Fournette is a lock to stay in the SEC, either at LSU or Alabama. Unless...
LSU and Alabama are the teams to beat for five-star New Orleans-St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette.
Except Fournette says it isn't so.
"That's not accurate," Fournette said Thursday, insisting he doesn't yet have any favorites among a list of offers so long he's stopped counting.
Well, then. The article by al.com's Mike Herndon names two other schools Fournette has visited—Florida State and Texas—as well as a certain program he's strongly considering for an official visit; yes, Michigan:
"You could say that (top prospects) pay attention to where other guys go," Fournette told Rivals.com. "I like Michigan. School-wise, they're more focused on grades than football. That's what I like about them. I think Jabrill made a good choice."
This is not happening. I refuse to believe this is happening. I will refuse to believe it even if Fournette makes it to campus, and will cease disbelief if—and only if—Fournette's name is signed in ink on a LOI faxed directly to Schembechler Hall in February. At that point, I'll still consider the whole thing a cruel hoax until Fournette actually suits up in a Michigan uniform.
[watches highlight tape again]
[counts plays before Fournette is tackled]
Apologies in advance for him committing to LSU and all of us feeling sad.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest round of underclassmen #JPTTA, updates on several top 2014 targets, and more.]
Last week saw 2015 OL Jon Runyan Jr. pick up his dream Michigan offer and say flat-out that a Wolverine commitment is a near-certainty. Runyan could commit at any time, and should be a Michigan lock even if he extends his decision timeline.
After camping at Michigan last week, 2016 IL OL Erik Swenson appears to be in the same boat, telling ESPN's Chantel Jennings that Michigan... well, they're in good standing ($):
“If I had to commit right now, it would definitely be Michigan,” Swenson said.
As a rising sophomore offensive tackle, Swenson knows he wants to wait another year before making a commitment anywhere, just because he’s so young. But at this point, for him, the Wolverines are out front.
Swenson had previously been accompanied on his visits to Ann Arbor by his father; this time, Erik and Swen (yes, Erik's father goes by Swen Swenson) were joined by Erik's mother, who gave the critical Mom Stamp of Approval. Swenson may very well wait a year to make his commitment; it'd be a shocker if he didn't end up at Michigan.
Michigan's other 2016 offer, GA TE/DE Issac Nauta, was also on campus last week, and prospects are also quite promising in regards to his recruitment, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
"I haven't set any lists or done anything like that. I have a lot of other places I want to check out," he said. "However, Michigan is the best visit I've been on so far. I have family here. I have connections with the coaching staff and getting to meet them and get the Michigan experience from them first hand was a great way to get things going with them."
At 6'5", 240 pounds as a rising sophomore, Nauta boasts a who's-who list of offers and has already visited or camped at Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, and Tennessee. He told Lorenz that he'll visit for either the Notre Dame or Ohio State game this fall. Nauta also has a strong Michigan connection for a Georgia prospect: his uncle, who was with him on the visit, played for Greg Mattison at Western Michigan, and Isaac himself grew up in the Great Lakes State.
If these offered underclassmen don't pledge to Michigan soon, an as-of-now unoffered one might beat them to the punch. 2015 GA OL Chuma Edoga is an early Top247 prospect who camped at Michigan last week; he told Steve Lorenz that he should find out about an offer this week, and if it comes his recruitment may not last long ($):
If the offer does come, Edoga has been consistent about where Michigan would stand.
"They would be my top school, by far," he said. "I'll be disappointed if they don't offer, and they might fall a bit if that doesn't happen yet, but I'll still be highly interested and will want an offer. I really enjoyed the trip here; everything was great."
At 6'4", 265, Edoga likely projects to the interior of the line. Unless the coaches saw something they didn't like at camp, I'd imagine the only reason he wouldn't receive an offer would be concerns about space in the 2015 class.
Under Brady Hoke, Michigan appears to be targeting prospects with positional flexibility; Alabama recruited Henry Poggi as a tight end, Wyatt Shallman is a tailback or a fullback or an H-back or maybe a strongside DE, Jourdan Lewis could play slot receiver, most defensive back recruits could play corner or safety, Jabrill Peppers could play anywhere and perhaps coach, etc.
Could one such player be FL WR Artavis Scott? Michigan's camp offer to MD WR Freddy Canteen raised some eyebrows among those, myself included, assuming the Wolverines would take just one more receiver; if Canteen—or K.J. Williams—commits, where does that leave Scott? Based on his performance in the IMG 7-on-7 championships, perhaps at cornerback, per ESPN's Derek Tyson ($):
4. Artavis Scott
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake | WR/DB | 5-11, 171
Scott made plays all over the field as a receiver and as a cornerback. Scott is well known for being one of the best receivers in the country, but he showcased his ability to play cornerback on the next level. He rarely had a ball thrown his way and when it was, he was always in position. Scott said after the event that several colleges are recruiting him as a cornerback.
I'd be surprised if any school recruiting Scott didn't at least try him on offense, because...
Scott played both ways for Team Tampa and was the top vertical threat for Chase Litton. When the Rivals100 prospect is focused, he is almost unstoppable in one-on-one situations. He has superb lateral quickness and yards-after-the catch ability. The explosive wideout scored multiple touchdowns to pace the offense.
...well, you read the above, presumably. If space becomes tight in the class, though, and the Wolverines miss on defensive backs Parrker Westphal and Adoree' Jackson, it's possible Scott could fill a need on defense or at least provide depth there should one arise.
Speaking of receivers, PA WR K.J. Williams still has Michigan and Syracuse as his top two, according to Scout's Brian Dohn ($). Depending on how the numbers shake out, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wolverines end up with four receivers (and, barring The Fournette Impossibility, no running backs) in the class.
Five-star CA ATH JuJu Smith has three official visits set up, per Scout's Brandon Huffman ($):
Smith is considering a handful of schools.
"Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Ole Miss, UCLA and Notre Dame are the main ones," said Smith. "Washington also has been picking up their interest."
The five-star said he'll take all five official visits, with three already set up.
"I'm going to Alabama for the LSU game, Notre Dame for the USC game and Michigan for the Ohio State game," said Smith. "I'll probably take unofficial visits to USC and UCLA."
Smith could play safety or wide receiver at the next level. Again, positional flexibility.
PA S Montae Nicholson has been very quiet about his recruitment but tells Steve Lorenz that "it would be a shame" if his track season prevented him from visiting for the BBQ ($). He's hoping to narrow his choices down to five by the end of the summer—I'd expect Michigan to make that cut. Nicholson also said he prefers to play safety but he's performed quite well at receiver on the camp circuit; again, positional flexibility.
MO LB Jimmie Swain named Michigan to his top five, joined by Michigan State, Oregon, Stanford, and TCU (in no order), per Scout's Randy Withers ($). One of Michigan's remaining linebacker targets went off the board this week with FL LB Darrion Owens pledging to Miami (YTM), so Swain should get plenty of attention from the coaches. Other linebacker targets include top-100 California prospect Dwight Williams and Ohio three-star Noah Furbush.
If you'd like more on Michigan's latest offers, The M Block has a double interview with Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson. Both have expressed interest in a return trip and have Michigan among their top schools.
To 2014 OL Denzel Ward, former Michigan commit who unexpectedly moved to Florida, was dropped by the Wolverines, and now has made his pledge to... Purdue, naturally. The Boilermakers were the first school to offer Ward and he nearly committed there before his initial Wolverine pledge; with much better football programs comprising the rest of his top group, it's fair to wonder if other schools backed off because of his flighty behavior.
Jabrill Peppers named H.S. Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year by NewJersey.com. The M Block talks to 2015 Trotwood-Madison CB Kei Beckham. Florida may find it difficult to pull in future Illinois-based prospects.
The number of carries before Fournette is tackled: Threeee. Three carries.
...The world may never know.
Oh man, I love that commercial
He managed to squeeze 3 of them in there...
Don't get me wrong, I love the looks of those guys. It's pretty unlikely, though, they'll be better than Bowls / Hoard / Bunch, regardless their star ratings.
If they could be as good as those guys...
Was wicked fast. Not sure who this "Bowls" character is you speak of.
the SEC and OSU can have all the rest. Deal.
Zach Sandwisch was at Michigan's camp this year. I will pronounce his name as sandwich, regardless of the correct pronunciation
Take that kid to Zingerman's.
That is indeed the correct pronunciation. I coached his older brother in baseball. That, or I neglected to learn the correct way to say it because any way you cut it, "sandwich" sounds better.
By my count, in the entire clip, there were two plays that didn't end up a TD. Scary fast and a bruiser.
Fournette, Hand, Peppers, Smith, Jackson, McDowell, Harris. At the end of this class, we will have 7 5* players. If we believe in this enough, it will become destiny, right?
EDIT - Since 2002, Michigan has had 9 5* guys in total, according to 247 Aggregate. That is over the 12 year period from 2002-2013. Food for thought.
I don't think I would call it a "shocker" if someone who isn't even old enough to drive yet changes his mind about where he wants to go to college
Context, man, context. Not all 15 year olds are the exact same. I would have cut off my own leg to play football at Michigan when I was in HS. Which wouldn't have helped me to play football at Michigan, but I would have done it anyway.
As David Terrell.
Just saw JC Brooks perform this Wilco cover live. Amazing. Offtopic. Please carry on.
Fournette is one of the best HS RBs I've seen in awhile. No matter where he goes he'll be fun to watch.
Hand must be pretty awesome if Rivals and 247 think he's better than Fournette.
Fred Jackson's evaluation of Fournette.
Like Bo Jackson, but more athletic
Like Jim Brown, but more powerful
Like Barry Sanders, but more elusive
The poor guy's head may explode.
"Like Leonard Fournette, only more indescribable..."
Again, JPTTA = Just Pull The Trigger Already? I'm just guessing but that's all I can deduce
Ding Ding Ding!
Is Michigan focusing on guys with positional flexibility or is that just a byproduct of the level of recruits that have committed? If the team gets top 100 type players doesn't that almost assure positional flexibility?
Body type and skill set go into it a fair bit. No offensive threat can play defense if he can't tackle or plays out of position; no defensive force can play offense if he can't catch or block. Tall and fast can often make a good receiver but you need to be shifty to play defense. On the other hand, you wouldn't pass on Tacopants just to recruit a shifty receiver for the positional flexibility.
Positional flexibility is a nice-to-have, but something you don't want to scout at the expense of essential positional tools. I think Hoke is aware of that, making this pattern either a happy coincidence or a luxury they can afford due to otherwordly recruiting success. Not to mention, it's not like the whole team is comprised of two-way players, so there's some excitement-driven bias at work here. Jabrill is a freak who could probably play half a dozen positions, but if we never need him on offense I won't complain.
allow that big, fast Fournette kid to play in a Pop Warner league.
I was disappointed to learn that Erik Magnuson was not the son of Magnús Ver Magnússon, nor is Dan Samuelson the son of Magnus Samuelsson. But I could get over it if we get the son of someone named Swen Swenson on the team.
I want to thank the people that put Fournette's highlight reel together, for I would never have known he scored touchdowns if it weren't for the graphics noting such.
Sometimes, "Touchdown" would appear prematurely, ruining the suspense.
I want to thank the person that wrote the post above. Without it, I would never have known that the OP before him didn't realize that the word Touchdown was detrimental to the highlights.
Neither do Anthony Avant, Rory Roundtree, or Deitan Daubach.
Nik Linstrom just called..says you left out Dennis Northfleet.
Wow, that kid is fast. I would absolutely love it if the kid chose Michigan... but I'm with Ace and don't think we'll see him leave Louisiana for Ann Arbor. Let's hope I'm wrong!
A 1 out of 5 Fred Jackson's
While I am sure the coaches would never turn down the talents of a guy like Fournette, I doubt they are going to devote a lot of time and energy trying to get someone who is such a longshot. Mostly because we have the top running back from the previous class and seem to be a lock for one of the top rbs in the next.
Still, why follow recruiting if you don't dream about getting all da 5 starz. To my untrained eye, Fournette looks quite a bit better than any high school running back since I started following recruiting (about 5 years ago probably).
One of the advantages of getting a decent amount of recruits committed early is it can allow the coaches to spend their time and energy on the remaining recruits to complete the class (as well as start working on future classes). There's probably only about 10 spots (give or take one or two) remaining in this class. I'd think the coaches have a short list of recruits (20 to 30??) that they are communicating with to fill out the class.
Check out the RBs they have had the last 5 years. Ingram(can't believe he was #189), Richardson#6, Lacy#116, Yeldon#12, Hart#19. I would love to have that here. Take one out to replace him with someone equally good. I flipped a coin and used Rivals for the rankings.
Louisiana sure likes their purple pants.
The French influence still lingers.
But the French who left France formed some of the toughest, coolest, best eating, best drinking cultures there are. I give you the Canadien voyaguers, the Acadians in Maine, and (of course) the Cajuns in La (mostly, I'm told, by way of Maine).
But in NOLA, don't underestimate the Spanish and West Indian influences as well.
At about the 3:40 mark, Fournette goes all Earl Campbell on a bunch of defenders. Then, in the very next highlight, he goes all Devin Hester on special teams.
Is that you?
Ugh. I hate it when people use the word "lock."