Wow, some great names in this last batch of offers:
Shai McKenzie, "JuJu" Smith, Otaro Alaka, Juwann Winfree, Saeed Blacknail
Today's recruiting roundup covers a spate of new offers, Wilton Speight, and several things that don't sound like "spate" at all.
Signing Day 2013 is over, as for the most part so is our discussion of it here—probably for the best, given that the dominant post-NSD story centered around what Reon Dawson may or may not have said about his childhood favorite school. Brian and I did an extensive breakdown of the class on this week's podcast (coming soon) if you haven't had your fill, and I'll update the recruiting class rankings today.
Meanwhile, Michigan got a jump on the 2014 class with the Signing Day commitment of VA QB Wilton Speight, who was profiled on his school's website—he described the injury that caused him to reclassify:
“It was an option-read,” Speight said of that fateful play late in Cougars’ opener, a 34-19 victory over Trinity Episcopal. “I got past the defensive end and linebackers. There was one man between me and the goal line. I tried to jump over him. As I was in the air, he caught my feet, which flipped me over. I tried to break the fall with my elbow, but (the impact) shot my shoulder up.
“I walked to the sideline hoping it was a stinger. (Athletic trainer) Shannon (Winston) moved it around. She felt crunches. I heard it crunch. My collarbone was broken in two places.
“Looking back, I probably didn’t have to make that play, but when you’re competitive, it’s hard to just step out of bounds.”
While Speight had complete confidence in his surgeon, Dr. “Moose” Herring, he knew that fulfilling his dreams was now dependent upon his own perseverance, strength of will, and self-discipline.
Speight's injury woes didn't end there, despite the best efforts of Dr. "Moose" Herring, who by virtue of name alone I would entrust with my life, let alone my collarbone. After dealing with a partial MCL tear in basketball season, Speight's collarbone took another hit during lacrosse season, and as a result he's now part cyborg:
“I had the ball and came around the cage,” he recalled. “When I shot, a defensive player brought his stick down on my (right) shoulder.
“He hit it hard enough that the part of the bone not covered by the plate broke off the metal.
“It was a clean break, thankfully. Dr. Herring was able to open it back up and put in a six-inch plate with eight screws that covers my whole collarbone.
“It will definitely prevent anything from breaking up there again.”
I, for one, welcome any and all cyborg athletes willing to aid Michigan's quest for
world domination a Big Ten championship.
Also of note: cyborg QBs apparently recruit a little, too.
[Hit THE JUMP for the 2014 Rivals100, a bevy of new offers, and my take on Lawrence Marshall committing to Ohio State.]
Ohio State continued their torrid start to the 2014 class by picking up Southfield (MI) DE Lawrence Marshall, a four-star who held a Michigan offer. This means that, a year before NSD 2014, the Buckeyes have snatched up two of the state of Michigan's top four prospects (Damon Webb being the other); Michigan thus far has none. Even Michigan State can claim a tenuous hold on Drake Harris, though now that his focus has turned to football it seems unlikely he'll stick there.
Anyway, losing Webb and Marshall to Ohio State has caused a bit of a panic, and for not unjust reasons; Michigan doesn't have the in-state talent of Ohio to be able to afford losing too many of the top-flight recruits from their backyard. At the same time, it's far too early for a full-blown freakout. While Webb seems firm in his commitment, Sam Webb is already floating rumors that Marshall may still check out Michigan and Michigan State as soon as this week($). Michigan is still one of the two favorites (along with Notre Dame) for the state's best prospect, Detroit Loyola DL Malik McDowell, and they'll also be a major player for Harris.
Keep in mind that Michigan raided Ohio for several of their best class of 2013 recruits, only to see Urban Meyer's class overtake the Wolverines in the rankings with recruits from around the country. The Wolverines are in the mix for several national names, including #1 overall player Da'Shawn Hand. Buckeye partisans declaring this battle won should take heed from Michigan fans who did the same last February—this one is far from over.
Now that the 2013 class is officially wrapped up, the coaches have sent out a huge wave of 2014 (and also some 2015) offers.
At the top of that list is five-star CA CB Adoree' Jackson, who despite playing across the country had a strong familiarity with the Michigan program, per Steve Lorenz ($):
"Michigan has been putting defensive backs into the pros for a while now," Jackson said. "I know that's where Charles Woodson went to school too and if you're producing players like Charles Woodson, you're doing something right. I definitely knew of Michigan growing up and playing in the Midwest isn't a problem for me at all and location isn't really a factor in my recruitment. I have a lot of family in the area and I wouldn't mind being back by them."
Jackson should be a visitor at some point down the road and appears to have genuine interest in Michigan; he'd certainly soften the blow of losing Webb.
Other offers to go out include: PA RB Shai McKenzie (LINK - $), CA DB John "JuJu" Smith (LINK - $), TX LB Otaro Alaka (LINK - $), NJ WR Juwann Winfree (LINK - free), NJ WR Saeed Blacknail (LINK - $), and CO RB/SLOT Christian McCaffrey (LINK - $), the son of former Denver Broncos WR Ed McCaffrey. Among those, Michigan got named among the top group for several—including Smith, Winfree, Alaka, and Blacknail—but the true test of interest comes when it's time to schedule visits.
Michigan also offered elite 2015 FL RB Jacques Patrick, who already has offers from several of the country's top programs, per 247's Clint Brewster ($). Patrick says he'll take a visit to Michigan with his older cousin, Detroit MLK assistant coach Terel Patrick.
Rivals came out with their initial 2014 Rivals100, and Michigan commit Michael Ferns lands at #84 on the list. Other names of note:
That is by no means a complete list of the guys holding Michigan offers or interest. Wilton Speight did not make the cut—we'll see if he's in the Rivals250 when that is released.
Also worth a look is Touch The Banner's breakdown of the top in-state prospects for the 2014 class.
Wow, some great names in this last batch of offers:
Shai McKenzie, "JuJu" Smith, Otaro Alaka, Juwann Winfree, Saeed Blacknail
Not to mention Dr. Moose. Idk if the staff needs a doc, but if so, look no further
First names are cool but it's all about what's on the back of the jersey. Which is why I'm all for Dymonte legally reversing his name. Tom Dymonte.
Man, I loved them in the 90s...
JuJu is my favorite so far.
Obviously the coaches saw enough to offer him and this may seem like sour apples now that he's committed elsewhere, but I was actually hoping that Marshall might not end up at Michigan. He looks like a poor man's Taco Charlton to me. Look at his highlight tape, he never beats blocks. He's not as athletic or quick as Charlton and I don't know if he'll provide much more than some second string depth with the players they've been bringing in.
And its been a while since I lived in the area, but in my day Southfield was a good team, but their level of competition in that league wasn't the strongest. I mean, heck I went to Andover and we were not very good at all. Seaholm was meh, Troy was a little better....but honestly, he's a big-ish fish in a small pond...again, unless things have changed.
But let's not poo-poo Marshall yet, I think he'll still be in play by next signing day.
I think Marshall's film looks like an exact replica of Mario Ojemudia's. Ojemudia was unblocked frequently, for whatever reason, and so is Marshall. It's hard to get a great feel for how they handle a lot of things with film like that. Charlton plays a different position and is a different body type, so I don't see the similarity there.
my cousin who plays at aliquippa high school in pa said hoke was at his school and offered their rb/db travon Henry the same day hoke visited an offered shai
Yeah, Dravon Henry was offered, too. I think Michigan wants him as a safety.
yes dravon auto correct but my cousin who mind you is only 15 also claims shai isn't very good at all, he said they played them twice and held him to -3 an 48 yards.
on MI/OH kids? Hoke has professed the area as priority #1 but its hard to foresee 8+ kids from the area.
We've offered 13 according to TTB and lead with only a few - Ferns, Doles and maybe McDowell. Harris and Berger are maybe 50/50.
Is the top tier talent thin this year in the area or did the staff shift their strategy to more national?
Michigan is thin. Most of the early offers seem to be outside the Midwest. That means this could be a very tough recruiting year.
"Michigan raided Ohio for several of their best class of 2013 recruits, only to see Urban Meyer's class overtake the Wolverines in the rankings with recruits from around the country"
OSU's in-state class was better than Michigan's. Yes, Michigan did snag Thomas early and Gedeon was a legit battle in Michigan's favor, but otherwise Smith and McCray are replaceable kids that OSU isn't fretting over. Meanwhile, they got 4 of the 5 elite kids (Marsall, Lisle, Burrows, Price) and flipped Conley who was a bit of a sleeper when Michigan recruited him but ended up looking elite too.
Michigan had a very good (top 10) class, which we don't need to spin to be better than it is. This is far from a raid - it's Michigan getting a couple kids that OSU wanted badly. OSU is giving it to Michigan at least as much as Michigan is taking it to OSU.
OSU bested Michigan not just nationally but locally in 2013. Lets hope that's not the case in 2014. And more importantly - let's hope its not the case on the actual field of play.
What Ace said was basically what happened, though. Michigan had a better class for most of the recruiting cycle - partly by going into Ohio and taking some good players - and then Meyer came back to "take the lead" by getting guys like Trey Johnson, Mike Mitchell, and Dontre Wilson down the stretch.
Michigan never had a better class, they had an earlier class. It was only better if you take the rankings at face value and ignore opportunity cost entirely. Even Ace agrees his rankings are of limited relvance as they are only meaningful as a "snapshot in time". You can play the "if signing day was today game in September but it's meaningless." There are no pop quizzes, just the final exam.
It was obvious that OSU was going to get more recruits by signing day so Michigan was never in an advantageous position. That's one of my big problems with the recruiting rankings, as published. Even with qualifiers attached, they imply that one school leads another when that's often not the case. They measure timing, and in this case - timing isn't important.
Not sure who it was "obvious" too. Even most Ohio boards early on were conceding that Ohio's 2013 class might never catch up to Michigan's because of their limited scholarship numbers... which turned out to not be so limited.
Simply from the view of the rankings, they added higher stars over the last few months of the process.
OSU's last 7 were 2 5 stars, 4 4 stars and 1 3 star. Ours were 1 5 star, 3 4 stars and 3 3 stars. [I cut at 7 but it would get worse for us with #8 a low 3 star and #9 our 2 star snapper.]
Heck, their class needed a good NSD to get a 5* and two 4* while our day was uneventful. I prefer our steady approach to Urban's frenetic rush at the end.
Well, yeah, it was obvious they were going to more recruits, but the quality of those recruits was the question. It wasn't "obvious" the entire time that the class was going to finish out with guys like Dontre Wilson, Trey Johnson, etc. It also wasn't obvious early on that Mike Mitchell - who was a bit of a sleeper prior to last summer - would blow up like he did. Johnson was choosing between OSU and other schools (Auburn, IIRC), Dontre Wilson was committed to Oregon at one time, etc. The class didn't end perfectly for Ohio State (they missed on a couple guys like James Quick, etc.), but it was a darn good finish.
but the average OSU recruit was (almost) always higher than the average M recruit so if things kept pace they would land ahead. In other words, OSU had more uncertainty, but if you projected their class out, it looked superior all along. That uncertainty shouldn't be ignored but putting it ahead of all other factors seems dubious.
OSU finished well, but they also started well. Signing kids late or early doesn't really matter in the end.
Their class is a classic example of why a mid-way recruiting evaluation should be focused on something other than class size. The end methodology for class rankings should be very different than the progress reports.
And he was only on the job for a month. Meyer has 2 NC's, an instate advantage, and a decade of Ohio dominance over Michigan.
I don't really see how it was a surprise that Ohio jumped us.
Who said it was a surprise? You're jumping to conclusions with things I never said.
OSU did better regionally and nationally than UM in 2013. It's ok b/c UM still got their's and more importantly did very well in the trenches; but we shouldn't spin it like UM's haul was more than it was. UM's 2013 haul has to be the norm going forward to just keep up with OSU and elite SEC.
To Magnus' point UM did have the recuriting "lead" early but that was largely due to having a larger class virtually the entire recruiting season. The avg avg I believe had UM consistently behind the OSU, elite SEC, and ND.
But it's a long way off till signing day. If he isn't healthy in '13 it will be worth looking around, because he's a pretty big target at 6'6...but no sense worrying, yet.
I don't know if I'm as concerned about a guy who has already had a spate of not-insignificant injuries for a QB...or how much of a pain that metal plate in his shoulder will be at the security checkpoint for the airplane to the Rose Bowl...LOL
You guys have never seen RoboCop.
will ever touch our QB with the #1 OL recruiting class at UM!
Seriously, no worries especially as our coaches presumably knew rhe whole medical history before offering. If he breaks a different bone (especially a foot or hand bone) then I'll worry about his skeletal fragility.
Personally, I think they should grab a second QB regardless. Myimpression is that Cornwell would totally be down.
i think this kid needs to drink more milk.
Recruiting is only half the battle. In the grand scheme of things is there really that much difference between classes ranked 3-5 positions apart (ie. #2 vs #5, #3 vs #8)? Unless you're pulling in a haul of 30+ kids who are mainly 3 stars and racking up points due to the quantity of kids you signed, probably not a ton of difference.
The other battle is developing players. At least so far, I'd say Hoke and company are doing a pretty good job on both of these battles when it comes to defense. They seem to be bringing in highly rated recruits and getting them to play at high levels early in their careers. Offensively, they seem to be doing a good job recruiting (with the possible exception of wr). However, I think it's a bit to early to pass judgement on their ability to develope players on the offensive side of the ball. If the offensive coaches can develope the players as well as the defensive coaches can, I think UM will be just fine.
>>is there really that much difference between classes ranked 3-5 positions apart???
I'm suprised someone here hasn't done an analysis of class rank vs. final poll rankings. Or perhaps they have and I am unaware.
We make too much out of minor differences, especially when the rankings don't properly take into account needs and class size. Two classes with 20 four-stars equivalently ranked should be equal, even if one of the teams added 7 other 3-stars into the mix.
When you're parsing the difference between the #3 class and the #6 class, the margin of error overrides the difference.
That said -- head-to-head battles for recruits have clearly gone in OSU's favor. They're getting more of the guys that both schools want. That tells me that Michigan is failing to close the talent gap against OSU.
Recruiting is certainly just a piece of the puzzle, but it's quantifiable. If we start talking about coaching ability and strategy we get into subjective gray area where we all think whatever we want.
As for "They seem to be bringing in highly rated recruits and getting them to play at high levels early in their careers" this is very much in question. The '11 class hasn't produced much in the way of players yet and it's way too early to say that about the '12 class. There's a bunch of guys who have shown promise as backups on defense, but the ability to translate recruits into high-caliber production is still an open question. Offense especially - we've seen next to nothing from these coach's recruits. Yes it's early, but so far, Hoke has won mostly with Rodriguez recruits.
A top 10 class is nothing to complain about, and the future looks promising overall -- but if you're focused on the OSU matchup, Michigan isn't doing anything that indicates they're closing the gap....yet.
OSU always has and probably always will beat us more often than not on head to head guys simply because a strong majority of those will be guys from Ohio. That is not new nor is it a problem (I also think its less lopsided than you purport it to be). This is made up for by us getting guys who weren't considering OSU, like Kyle Bosch or Chris Fox.
I don't care how many of our recruits picked us over them, I care a out how many good recruits we get. It makes no difference to me whether we beat out OSU or VT or someone else for him.
If Michigan wins on the elite in-state players, grabs a few from Ohio, and gets a handful of guys around the country (I may be mistaken but I think Michigan historically has had more 'pull' nationally than OSU, due to academics) there is no reason Michigan can't beat Ohio head-to-head. If Hoke is as good at recruiting as most on here want him to be, that's a battle that can and should be won against OSU and ND. It's happened before and it can happen again.
I think 'how many good recruits we get' doesn't matter at all. The scholarship limits are there and are (more or less) the same for every team. It's about quality, not quantity.
I'm next expecing Michigan to win in Ohio, but they need to make up for it SOMEWHERE else. Frankly, the where doesn't matter to me - if Michigan doesn't match OSU in recruiting they're unlikely to win most games on the field.
No, Bosch and Fox don't "make up" for Ohio getting an edge in in-state recruiting, because (as Tim implied) OSU did very well 'nationally'. i.e., they got elite guys who didn't consider Michigan too. They did better locally and they did better nationally.
OSU had the better class. Not by miles, but it's pretty much unanimous that they got more talent than Michigan. Its not a death sentance or a gap that can't be closed but Michigan has to fight an uphill battle to defeat Ohio State now.
That's pretty pessimistic for a guy who was just saying there's not a tangible difference between recruiting classes a few ranking spots apart.
Although I do appreciate that you're not just another Michigan homer here to spin through your maize colored glasses (like myself).
and that is finding kids who have character, who will stick with the program even if they are frustrated by a lack of playing time the first couple of years, who won't flunk out, get kicked out, arrested, embarrass you etc., and will be contributors in some fashion by the time they are juniors even if they aren't stars. No one knows how the character issue will turn out for any of these schools right now. When TP opted to play for ohio, they seemed to win that recruiting battle; when they won football games with him at QB, ditto; by the time he left school, I think most of us were glad he went to ohio because his overall legacy was (in my opinion at least) a negative. It seems to me that Hoke recruits for character, and over the long haul I am happy with getting good players with good character so long as the class has a reasonable talent level.
but OSU fans are gonna say the same thing about their kids. That's a very subjective thing.
Hankins was viewed as a risk for OSU but he turned into an impact player. Jake Ryan was considered a risk and has been amazing for UofM. There's lots of anectodatay examples out there for any argument,
which is why the quantifiable stuff provides a nice objective view.
I hate this "we recruit character" argument. You have no idea what type of kids these players will be and most of the recruits had offers from both OSU and Michigan. It just sounds like the MSU "we don't need higher ranked recruits because we develop them better" argument.
Michigan fans think their recruits have higher character, while OSU fans think a lot of Michigan recruits are dicks. Either way, it's silly.
i would be fine with michigan's first ever 3 person recruiting class so long as the last recruit is Saeed Blacknail. get Blacknail and i don't need anything else.
So many people freak out around here it's incredible. OSU out recruited us by a negligible amount last year, not enough to worry about. They've now picked up Webb and Marshall, but we'll pick up comparable guys to replace them. Ohio is filled with good prospects like always and we'll snag a couple of them like always.
Neither team has room for a ton of guys and I expect both classes to be filled with high quality recruits.
Being so logical. Freak out is so..freakish.
Not sure if you've noticed, but UM has been getting its butt-kicked by OSU since the early 00s. As someone who came of age during the 90s, that doesn't sit well with me. I'd like to have a reason to think that's going to change, and I think most Michigan fans feel the same way.
Now, for all the talk about Hoke's recruiting ability, it would be nice to see Michingan chipping away at that recent gap, but there's just not any evidence for it happening. I don't think the statement above reflects a freak-out -- a top 10 class is good new, no matter what -- But, OSU's class was still better and I do think it's cause for concern when 2 of the top 4 in-state recruits in 2014 go to the bad guys. 2014 is off to a rough start, with Ferns being offset by Webb and Marshall, Ward decommiting. Long way till signing day, obviously, but OSU is ahead just out of the gates.
No one recruit makes or breaks things but Michigan needs to get more of their Plan A blue chip prospects (like Conley) and fewer Plan B backups (like Dawson.) I don't think Michigan is necessarily going to be able to pick up a kid like Webb and even if they do, the talent in the secondary that OSU has brought in recently is clearly superior to M's.
Michigan's not chipping away at the gap? By beating OSU in 2011? By flipping Kalis from OSU? By getting several guys with OSU offers when Rodriguez really struggled in that area?
If that's not "chipping away" at the gap, I don't know what it is. You're not advocating for "chipping away" at it. You're expressing disappointment that Michigan hasn't CLOSED the gap entirely.
Don't get me wrong - I want that to happen, too. But let's be honest about what you're saying.
Michigan won in 2011 but lost in '12. They got Kalis but lost Webb.
If the point of reference is the Rodriguez era, then yeah. But that's not what I conisder to be the baseline for Michigan. To me, the baseline is being even with Ohio State. 58-45-6.
For Michigan to have closed the gap entirely we'll need a decade of dominance like they had.
To close the gap with OSU Michigan has to do better than them in something. That's not happening yet - on the field or in recruiting.
By beating UM in recruiting, OSU is maintained the gap they've established. One win and one recruit don't change that.