Come on Ace. I expect better. I kid sorta, he's just from my high school so I kind of think its cool.
— Justin Hilliard (@1Justinhilliard) September 8, 2013
I deign to use Dave Brandon's favorite phrase in any non-sarcastic context; when you've got Beyoncé on the big board introducing the halftime show, Eminem up in the booth, and a record-setting crowd rocking the Big House in a rivalry win, however, it's appropriate, especially when talking about how UTL II came off to a large contingent of high school recruits.
From L to R: Mason Cole, Matthew Burrell, Damien Harris, Tim Settle, Da'Shawn Hand, Wilton Speight, Drake Harris, George Campbell (photo courtesy of reader Canzior)
According to his mentor, five-star WDE Da'Shawn Hand came away very impressed on his official visit, per Scout's Sam Webb ($):
“It went very well,” said Hand’s mentor and former coach John Harris. “The boys got to hang out with (Wilton) Speight after the game. The atmosphere at the game was electric also.”
"The boys" also included 2015 five-star DT Tim Settle and 2015 four-star OL Matthew Burrell. Despite their high ratings, neither holds an offer; if one comes for Burrell, it sounds like Michigan will be at or near the top of his list, per Steve Lorenz ($):
"This was by far the best visit I've been on," Burrell said. "The people, the coaches. It was just a well-rounded visit. I felt like I was on top of the world I was having so much fun and I wasn't even a commitment."
Based on Coach Funk telling Burrell that he "hope[s] that [Burrell] will be a Wolverine," I'm guessing an offer will come sooner or later; Burrell and PA four-star OT Sterling Jenkins are two quality options for what is, for now, Michigan last O-line spot in the '15 class. Thanks to friend of the blog Canzior for sending along several photos from the Virginia crew's trip, including this fantastic shot of Burrell on the field with John Beilein:
Canzior mentioned that a parent of one of the prospects went so far as to say that Ohio State "didn't even compare" to Michigan.
In a late surprise, four recruits from Glenville—2014 ATH Marshon Lattimore, 2014 S Erick Smith, and 2015 WRs Milan Golden and Trevon Story—made the trip to Ann Arbor; their assistant coach, Robert Andrews, told 247's Steve Wiltfong that all four came away very impressed ($):
“Those guys they were blown away by Michigan. Michigan has treated them special. Our kids come from the inner city and a lot of times they lack the little things in life, and people making a big deal about the little things for them, and Michigan makes everything they do big and important.”
Ohio State still has to be considered the favorite to land Lattimore and Smith, though it's unclear if they'll have room to take the latter; if they don't and Michigan does, the Wolverines are in very good position for him.
2014 five-star DL Malik McDowell ended up staying the night after the game—obviously, a positive sign—and his father told Wiltfong that the visit went very well ($):
“I know [staying the night] was a big plus for him,” Greg McDowell, Malik’s father told 247Sports early Sunday afternoon.
“I just got off the phone with him. He said it was crazy in the Big House. It was roaring. He enjoyed the game and everything.”
Michigan top target in the 2015 class, five-star WDE Jashon Cornell, gave quite a lofty comparison when discussing the atmosphere, per TomVH ($):
“We all thought it was crazy that they had Beyonce on the big screen and Eminem and all the famous people. It was like the Super Bowl,” he said. “All the recruits thought it was special, too, because that’s the last time they will play each other there.”
Cornell won't name any leaders but said that the Wolverines "stand up there" to Wiltfong ($). He'll be back in Ann Arbor in November for The Game.
2015 four-star OH LB Justin Hilliard was impressed with the festivities, as you can see at the top of the post, and told Scout's Dave Berk that Michigan is among a group of schools standing out to him early ($):
“Right now programs like Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Ole Miss and some others are sticking out,” said Hilliard. “It’s getting a little overwhelming, but not too much. So I’ll probably be narrowing my list down after my season.
Iowa is also a major factor in his recruitment; his brother, C.J., is committed to their 2014 class.
2015 four-star Cass Tech RB Mike Weber came away from the game with a rediscovered love for Michigan, per Scout's Josh Newkirk ($):
“When I was little I loved Michigan,” Weber said. “Then I still loved Michigan. But when the other guy (Damien Harris) committed, I kind of put my head down towards it. But after I went there last night – it’s back to where it had been when I first even thought about Michigan.
“I know what college is the best fit for me, there is people there. I know I will have to beat them out. I’m not scared of competition.”
If Michigan has room for him, Weber seems like a good possibility to end up in the class.
Per Steve Lorenz, 2016 IL OT Erik Swenson—one of the top prospects in the class and a heavy Michigan lean—had an "insane" time at the game and will be back for the Ohio State game ($). He has no other visits lined up. JPTTA.
Despite the lack of commitments, it's tough to say that last weekend was anything but a roaring success from a football and recruiting standpoint.
[Hit THE JUMP for a roundup of Michigan's commits in high school football action from last weekend.]
After rushing for 352 yards and five touchdowns a week ago, you'd think 2015 commit Damien Harris would maybe take it easy for a game. Nope. Battling through a bruised collarbone, he rushed for 315 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries to lead Madison Southern to a 34-27 win over Madison Central, their first in four tries against their cross-county rival. He's set the bar very, very high for himself:
Harris was kept in check, relatively speaking, in the first half. He ran 13 times for 102 yards, including a 55-yard TD, and Madison Central was able to forge a 17-13 lead.
Harris then rushed for 137 yards in the third quarter, so I guess that really was holding him in check. He now has 802 yards and 13 touchdowns in three games this season.
Lawrence Marshall and Malik McDowell wreaked havoc in Southfield's 32-7 victory over Farmington; it was Marshall, not the higher-ranked McDowell, who earned some seriously lofty praise from the opposing coach after the game:
Marshall recorded a safety just before halftime.
“He is the finest player I’ve ever seen,” Farmington coach John Bechtel said. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years, and I’ve never faced a player like him before.”
Paramus Catholic opened their season with a titanic matchup against perennial power Gilman (MD), the school that produced Henry Poggi (and is coached by Poggi's father, Biff). Thanks to some offensive fireworks from Jabrill Peppers and an astounding defensive performance, the game didn't quite live up to its billing as PC won 28-0:
Behind tremendous performances from both its offensive and defensive lines, the reigning Non-Public, Group 4 champion, No. 2 in The Star-Ledger Top 20, racked up 517 yards of offense while holding its opponent to just 23 in a bruising triumph yesterday in Paramus.
Goodness. The stat-line for Peppers:
— Paramus Catholic (@PCFB_LIVE) September 8, 2013
You can see highlights and an interview with Peppers at the link above.
Chase Winovich celebrates a fumble recovery (Photo: Sidney Davis | Tribune Review)
Other commit performances from the weekend:
Come on Ace. I expect better. I kid sorta, he's just from my high school so I kind of think its cool.
Any idea why here hasn't been an offer to Settle yet? Seems like there must be some interest on his part if he came to campus, and given his recruiting profile, it's a little surprising. Also, any news of reaction from him for this weekend?
Besides the obvious answer of "it's going to be a really small class and UM already has 5 commits", they could be checking out his grades, etc. I doubt it's due to talent.
The word is a grade issue.
and DeShawn Hand, too.
EPIIIIIC BEEEEILEEEIN POIIIIINT!!!!!!!!
Best pic of the night IMO
That pic MUST become a part of our basketball coverage. Much like the crazy subs.
So when Damien Harris and Drake Harris play together two years from now will Drake Harris' jersey read Dr. Harris?
When Michael and Martellus Bennet played for Texas A&M, their jerseys read, "Mi. Bennet" and, "Ma. Bennet."
I think Da. Harris and Dr. Harris is even better.
But actually, I fail to comprehend why players put Jr. or III on their jersey. Tim Hardaway, is your father on the current Michigan basketball roster? No? Then you're Hardaway. Same for you James Ross III.
M. Weber's comments are pretty direct. I wonder if he end's up in the 2015 bunch.
Also, Hand is the only one not wearing Michigan gear in that top photo!!!!
I'm always surprised that so many of these kids pick up gear for each school they visit. You've got a whole lot of t-shirts and sweatshirts to give away when you choose your school then.
I'm sure the way the coaching staff handled Gardner's pick-six was a point of consideration.
In a weird way I was hoping for it. OK, not THAT (that was shockingly bad), but some adversity that would show the kids how Michigan does things. I knew how many recruits were watching and told myself, "I want a win but I hope they don't cruise." Sure enough Gardner (he's human) makes a mistake, and it was a whopper. Now, I thought, NOW the recruits are watching Hoke very closely.
Hat tip to Kelly for showing a very convenient contrast, berating his players over mistakes big and small.
WHY IS HAND THE ONLY ONE NOT WEARING MICHIGAN ATTIRE?!
he might have camo on - showing he's ready to go to battle with his future UM teammates!!!
Ohio. Must be it. Spoke to Urban.
Dude is stylin'.
I'm still really confused on Michigan pulling the plug on the Montae Nicholson recruitment. UM is apparently still recruiting safeties but not Nicholson. Does anyone have information on what precipitated that move?
Oh, and regarding Hand NOT wearing UM gear...I think it is definitely time to ZOMG! PANIC!1!
I am confused as well - are they still recruting Smith (and Smith)?
Thanks to Canzior/Canzier for the great pictures!
we only have 2 more spots open. The reason we are still recuirted smith is because we want to stick it to ohio and he is suppose to make his choice very late in the process. We might have some spots open by then.
It's also possible they just think both Smith kids are better than Nicholson.
That photo of Beilein is banner material for NCAA tournament time.
EDIT: This is a response to the Weber comment below not the Beilein comment.
Yes me too. The kid apparently had an awesome game a week ago versus McDowell and Marshall's Southfield - a lot of reports said he was the best player for their team and that includes Webb. As for Nicholson, unfort he is now looking seriously at Spartans as well along with Northwestern. On the positive side he was up there for that USF game and that must of stunk... but still, I know we are running out of room but they either must think they are going to pull one of these 2 other safeties or something we'll never know suddenly came up.
These are the kind of kids I dread passing on.
These are the kind of kids I dread passing on.
but Durrell has the kind of dreads I dread passing on.
The "Friday Night Lights" section was excellent.
JPTTA stand for?
Just pull the trigger already.
Are there any national records that we should be watching with Harris? When a guy is putting up 300+ yards and 3+ TDs every week, that can be too far off record paces, no?
a bunch of future B1G champs to me!
I'm getting sick of Brandon's stuff.
We should just sit all the kids down in a lecture hall and have someone teach the recruits about Michigan traditions like when to do the wave.
I literally LOL'd at this
WOW'd at this.
Broad question - when these recruits come up for this sort of event who pays for the football tickets? Is it on them? Is the school allowed to let them in "free" (i.e. pay for them?) Or how does that work. Secondly, is it different if its an official visit versus an unofficial - i.e. if its official the school would pay but unofficial the kids must pay? I ask this simply because I am curious and also I know a lot of these top end players come from tough background so flying or driving to Michigan, paying $85 (?) a pop for a ticket for 2-4 people, getting a hotel room for the night etc would be very tough (read: nearly impossible) for some folks. Thanks in advance for whoever knows.
The school is only allowed to provide housing and tickets on official visits. On unofficials, nothing.
Do you mean tickets to Ann Arbor or tickets to the game? The recruits get field passes which I think the school can issue to anyone at no cost so I doubt they ever have to pay to go to the game.
This is not true. They can receive up to 3 tickets. Here is a statement straight from MGOBLUE.com.
During an unofficial visit, the University of Michigan may not pay any expense or provide any entertainment except a maximum of three complimentary admissions (issued only through a pass list) to a home athletics event in which a Michigan team practices or competes. These complimentary admissions are for the issued on an individual-game basis. Additional tickets may not be reserved for purchase by the prospect and must be purchased only in the same manner as any other member of the general public. In addition, only seating in the general seating area may be provided. The University of Michigan may not provide special seating for the prospect or the prospect's parents [or legal guardian(s)] or spouse in the facility's press box, special seating boxes) or bench area.
Or does Damien Harris look a lot like Derrick Walton?
"Nah, that's probably racist."
can't come quick enough for us Michigan fans!!! Did Hand give a silent commit?
I am a bit worried of how small the 2015 OL class is going to be. 2? maybe 3? We are loaded with 2012-2013 OL guys but the 2014 class is small, which is fine as 2014 kids have a lot of depth right in front of them and hence prospects for playing time diminish but if there are only 2? 3? kids in 2015 that gives you a two year haul of only 4-5 kids at the OL. And with injuries, lack of development etc out of 5 you might get 2 front line players out of those 5 ... and a backup type. So you then have a 2 year gap between the 2012-2013 class and what I presume to be another big haul (4-5 kids) in 2016. Am I being paranoid about this? Would prefer after a class of 2 OL to follow that up with 4 the next so you at least average 3 OL a class.... (I realize 2015 is a small class overall but trench depth is important)
I expect the 2015 class will grow and we will end up with more than 2 OL recruits. It's just so early at this point that the coaches don't want to get ahead of themselves.
Agreed. It also depends on what happens in terms of attrition with the OL compared to other position groups. I agree it will probably be 3 though.
i thought we weren't recruiting safety anymore and there was just room for Hand and McDowell. We told Monte Nicholson not to plan his visit but we let Erick Smith come. Little unclear on the situation.
Did East Lake lose a good quarterback to graduation or something before this season? 9 completed passes with Scott and Campbell on your team??? No coach could be that foolish to throw so little to those guys, so they must have one armed Taylor Martinez playing QB for them.