Today's recruiting roundup is short on length but long on top-two overall prospects with heavy interest in Michigan. That works for me. If you're looking for more on the Drake Harris commitment, click here for the Hello post.
Heavy Leanin' (No Purple Stuff, Though)
Many thanks to the board for posting the latest on five-star NJ CB Jabrill Peppers, as I can no longer stand to follow Mike Farrell's Twitter interactions with his "haters" in order to see the occasional nugget of Michigan-related info. Sometimes, though, you pan through the gravel and come up with this:
Heard from great source that 5 star DB Jabrill Peppers is now heavy lean to #Michigan and that #OhioState and #LSU have dropped on list.
This would be good news no matter what, but the timing in this case is particularly promising: in the last two weeks, Peppers has visited Michigan, Ohio State, and LSU. Stanford is still a major player in Peppers' recruitment, and right now it looks like this will come down to whether his summer visit to the Cardinal lives up to his time in Ann Arbor. 247 just unveiled a (very impressive) overhaul to their database*—player pages now include updated expert predictions on where a player will commit, and all six of the 247 experts familiar with Peppers' recruitment have him pegged for Ann Arbor.
Farrell's info on #1 overall recruit VA DL Da'Shawn Hand seems a little less concrete, but nevertheless is good news for the Wolverines:
Virginia Tech has long been the presumed leader for Hand—they're his home-state school and he has a very strong relationship with Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster. 247's experts, FWIW, are split 75-25 between VT and U-M as Hand's eventual destination. In my non-insider opinion, I think Michigan has a very good chance to close that gap; Hand is very familiar with VT but is still learning about Michigan, and he'll be back in Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game and perhaps once more before making a decision. Being in the mix for other five-star prospects certainly doesn't hurt, either.
Because the above certainly won't cause enough over-excitedness, 247's experts are 7-for-7 in picking MI DE Malik McDowell to Michigan. Please remember that it's still early. You still have permission to feel very, very good about Brady Hoke's recruiting prowess, though.
[Hit THE JUMP for Spring Game visit reactions and more.]
Spring Game Visit Reactions, Etc.
FL WR Artavis Scott has backed off from prior assertions that he and current commit Mason Cole (Scott's high school teammate) would be a package deal, but that hasn't stopped him from being a presence on Michigan's campus. He told 247's Steve Lorenz that this was his "best visit" to Michigan and his comfort level in Ann Arbor is growing ($):
"I've always felt comfortable at Michigan, but it's beginning to grow," he said. "It really helped to be at the game, see them throw the ball and then talk about my role. I'm a different receiver than what they've been recruiting, so I could fill a unique role in the offense."
The "different receiver" line is almost certainly a reference to Drake Harris' commitment; I don't think Harris joining the class will affect Scott's opinion of Michigan, as he's right—they'd fit different roles in the offense, with Harris as an outside deep threat and Scott more of a slot-type playmaker. I still think it's going to be tough to land Scott, who's also got offers from the three top Florida schools, but Michigan has a puncher's chance.
Four-star IL TE Daniel Helm took in the Spring Game a day after visiting Ohio State, and he told 247's Steve Wiltfong that he considered making a commitment over the weekend ($):
The Wolverines were possibly close to landing a four-star tight end as well in Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood Top247 standout Daniel Helm.
“I thought about it,” Helm said. “I’m just not ready to make a decision."
Ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s No. 6 tight end and No. 232 prospect overall, this was Helm’s second visit to the Michigan campus and the Wolverines have set the bar moving forward. Tennessee and Ole Miss round out Helm’s top three.
“I’m not 100 percent of my timetable,” Helm said. “Michigan is only taking one tight end and Tennessee is only taking two tight ends and they already have one, so there are some options that are closing and that’s weighing on my timetable.”
With one spot to fill and offers out to several top tight ends—including Tyler Luatua, Nic Weishar, and Ian Bunting, all of whom are strongly considering Michigan—time may be running short to join the class at that position. Nabbing Helm, who's getting interest from several SEC schools along with most of the Big Ten, would be another strong early pickup—he told Scout that his choice will likely come down to Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, and Ole Miss.
Brown is a three-star with a ton of potential—his late father had a long NFL career, and the younger Brown is already listed at 6'7"+ and 345 pounds.
*I tend to stay out of conversations about which recruiting service one should subscribe to, as it largely depends on personal preference—for instance, GBW has Sam Webb but also Scout's astonishingly terrible interface. If you're looking for one place that integrates every services' rankings and has a ton of great free resources, however, 247 is way ahead of the field in that regard. The new database has more than enough material for a recruiting junkie to lose a day or two just poking around.
I love the new 247 update. They definitely seem to be the most innovative and user friendly of all the sites, and I think they also update their rankings the most too, which can be a good or bad thing depending on whether you like consistency or constant updates to player x's rank compared to others. I don't pay for any of the sites, but I have to agree with Ace on the technological superiority of 247. If Sam and/or TomVH was lured over there, I don't think any other Michigan site would be able to compare.
In regards to Hand: how much of his decision would be influenced on his future destination's on field success? I know some weigh that more than others...just curious where he would fit on that spectrum, and whether it's worth keeping an eye on VaTech's win/loss record this season.
Unless one of the programs in contention has a particularly great (or terrible) season, I doubt 2013 wins and losses are going to make a huge difference in Hand's recruitment. He seems very serious about the academic side of things and how well he connects with the coaches—Bud Foster is the reason VT is on top, and Greg Mattison is developing a similarly-strong relationship with Hand—and I think those will be much bigger factors than how each team does this fall. These guys are looking at the next 4-5 years, not where the team is the year before they get on campus.
Farrell is very self-righteous and gets into childish arguments over Twitter. He's not bad as a "journalist" and seemingly does a good job of evaluating talent, since Rivals is the best at it. But he should probably run his mouth a little less.
I agree that 247 really seems to be doing a great job as well. I have ESPN Insider because I think Tom is on his game and clearly a great guy, but I don't think I would ever pay for Rivals or Scout and I'm seriously considering it for 247.
Rivals may have the best rankings, but in terms of subscribing, it's hard to see what value they add that other sites can't cover. 247 does a good job facilitating discussion, and they're not afraid to say where they think a school is actually at with a prospect, which is ultimately what people want.
I've basically counted him out since it seemed not only the freshmen but a bevy of walk-ons were ahead of Paskorz from start to finish. Jocz and Esterline seemed ahead of Jordan this spring, and both are younger than him
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Yes there are two TEs in the offense they are building:
U: This isn't technically an "end" but a kind of back who lines up on a wing. It's the "move" tight end who needs to be good at several types of fullbackian run blocks and can also catch a pass out of the backfield. Khalid Hill was brought in for this. Aaron Shea is the best example. He's a matchup problem because he can block a nickel back into the turf but a linebacker would have some trouble trying to keep up with him, and he can make that harder on matchups with pre-snap motioning.
Y: Traditional tight end. And he is an end--he lines up at the LOS and can't motion. If the U trends toward fullback, the Y trends toward receiver and/or tackles. He is going to block an end at the point of attack and is preferably able to both do that we'll and also be too tall and rangy receiver like to be covered by a linebacker. Funchess and Williams and Butt are all this--Williams being on the tackle side of things.
Both have to be able to pass block and combo block with a tackle.
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Artavis Scott would be a perfect fit for him and us. We'll only have one other slot type in Damario Jones and we're in an excellent position for George Campbell. I can see it happening for those, and a few other reasons.
I think that's just more out of necessity. If they could, they might put Gallon in the slot where he could use that change of direction in the open field even more. We're just lucky Gallon is physical enough, and has that jumping ability to make him play taller than he is, so he can succeed has an outside receiver.
Cole and Scott were on my flight back to Tampa from Detroit on Sunday night. Cole and (presumably) his dad were decked out in head to toe Michigan gear. Scott, not so much. Looks like we might still have a ways to go.