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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What about the last years of the Carr era, when Ohio State was pretty dominant over Michigan?
What you're saying is that Michigan hasn't closed the gap that opened up a decade ago, but over the past two years (the Hoke era), the wins are 50/50. Wins on the field are really the only thing that matter - not recruiting - so if you want to be even with Ohio State, Michigan is.
I just don't see how you can say Michigan hasn't "closed the gap." Things are better than they were under Rodriguez. They're better than they were during Carr's last several years. As such, they've "closed the gap" to get back to the '90's, when Carr was dominant over Cooper.
"The results of past games don't affect future results, but recruits do."
So why do you care that Meyer is 1-0 against Hoke?
How is Michigan supposed to close the gap when there's only been one season to compare the two? You've said that Meyer is 1-0 against Michigan and 1-0 in recruiting classes.
So . . . Michigan has failed to close the gap on the field since late November, and Michigan hasn't signed a better recruiting class than OSU since . . . February 6, 2013. That's basically what you're saying. If you want Michigan to close the recruiting gap over the span of five days and somehow beat Ohio State on the field while it's not even football season, then I'm not sure what to tell you. I mean, I can't really argue with you if that's what you're saying, but it's an odd thing to say.
It's kind of like saying you're disappointed that Jim Harbaugh hasn't closed the gap between the 49ers and the Ravens since the Super Bowl.
And what I'm saying is that you're choosing a completely arbitrary span of time to say "Michigan isn't closing the gap." I mean, two years is somewhat arbitrary, too, but no less arbitrary than one year.
Basically, the only way you could think Michigan is closing the gap is if Michigan won a game between Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer, and there's only been one chance to do so. So...yeah...you're totally right that Meyer has the upper hand right now, but there's only been one chance. That's like being down after one inning and saying "I'm frustrated we haven't come back from this 2-0 deficit" before you've even had a chance to bat in the second inning.
Magnus is a hundred percent correct in this argument. Beating Ohio ten years in a row is definitely not closing the gap, it's building and extending a gap. Both programs are totally different than they were during that losing streak. The past is the past and they've been spanking us as a school recently, but Hoke is 1-1, and 0-1 against Meyer with mostly RR players that were not at all suited to his style. At least Meyer inherited something very similar to what he wanted. The pessimism of some fans is unbearable. You don't have to be a homer but the walls are not crumbling because they got two recruits. Holy hell.
"As such, they've "closed the gap" to get back to the '90's, when Carr was dominant over Cooper. "
Because we beat them once a year ago when they were 6-6 and we were "close" in the last two recruiting classes things are now back to the way they were in the 90's?
Ummm...if you're talking about a decade of dominance and finally getting a win in the series (along with some recruiting victories, which were rare in Ohio during the Rodriguez years), then yeah, that's "closing the gap." By definition, it certainly is.
Nobody's saying that Michigan has regained the dominance they had over Cooper in the '90's. Don't put words in my mouth.
You're really not getting it.
You want Michigan to "close the gap." The gap included oodles of losses during Carr's last several years and through Rodriguez's years. It also included some poor recruiting by Rordriguez there at the end of his tenure.
In comes Brady Hoke, who just reeled in a consensus top-10 class and who is 1-1 against Ohio State.
The gap has begun to close. Period. That's all I'm saying, and it's a fact, but you're refusing to acknowledge it.
There's really nothing more to say, so I'm not going to bother pursuing this further.
Despite all the neg ratings I am siding more with Mat. I realize this is a fan board so its going to be maize colored but OSU has been dominant versus UM in football the past decade. Closing the gap is a nuance - these should be two equal programs on equal footing. Over any 10 year period the teams should be 6-4/4-6 versus each other, maybe 7-3/3-7 with a bad break. We've had some 1-9 streaks here. That sucks. It sucks hard.
OSU has been in a NCS game. UM has not. The closest was that fateful 06 game when Bo died and the 2 fought it out til the last minute. That was the last time the 2 were "equal" but even before then Tressel had his way with Carr. It has not been a good era for UM football even before RR. Hoke said it right when he said 8-5 is a crap season. It should be.
If OSU was not on probation the nightmare scenario of a ND OSU championship game would have happened. And OSU would have been in 2 NCS game in the past 10-12 years.
Top end kids nowadays look at recent history, playing time, coach reputation, NFL success, and not 80 years ago not to mention 20 years ago. (Cmon Green saw an immediate opportunity to play here along with a heck of a line developing but all 3 schools he considered he'd be a starter from day 1 most likely) Ohio has a steller record the past decade excluding 1 year - year in and year out. They went 12 and friggin 0 last year even if it was with hocus pocus like beating Indiana by a whisker. They have a coach considered top 3 in the nation on reputation no matter what you think of him. Many would place only Saban above him. He has star power whatever people here want to deny; kids like that. So they have momentum and all this talk of closing a gap because of one win means nothing. When its 6-8 years down the road and the teams are 4-4 or 4-3 versus each other the gap will be closed. Until then we should shut up, put our boots on the ground and keep grinding UNTIL we smack them in the mouth as often as they have done to us. It need not be like the Cooper era - but it needs to get back to equality.
As for these classes the debate is friggin silly - a #3 class versus a #8 class means diddly. You have a mix of a few 5 stars, a majority of 4 stars, and an occassional 3 star on both squads. Flipping this one kid or these two doesnt mean diddly. If Michigan puts together a few 11-2 and 12-1 seasons in the next 5 years they will be in the same breath as OSU. Most kids who are now 16 know Michigan as an average 5-7, 7-5, 8-5 type team from their teen years with a "great tradition". And a lot less NFL players of late as well.
Hoke has done his job recruiting these past 2 classes - Carr regularly recruited in the 5-15 slot and had solid teams with 2 and 3 losses. I am concerned with nothing from FL, TX, or CA as we used to get a good portion of kids from those spots but it is what it is. Hard to go into those states with your shiny 8-5 record and pull kids out that Nike (Oregon) or the SEE EEE CCEEE is recruiting. A lot of the out of state recruits of late seem to have family in the Midwest or some family connection so they are not pulling kids with zero connection from distant lands outside the Midwest (in MOST cases) like they used to. That's a problem IMO. But that goes back to current pedigree of the program which is down. This year they will be forced to as the talent was rich this past year in the Midwest, so lets see what he does this year nationally as MI/OH is weaker.
Waving your cocks at each other talking about 3-5 slots in a recruiting ranking is silly. All big 3 powers in the Midwest seem to be back now in the recruiting rankings and it is up to the coaches to develop those kids and create breaks in the close games in head to head competition (even if ND is now scared to play us!) In 5 years either MI will be a stagnant 3-4 annual loss team or it will ascend to be on par with OSU. Everything else is just details.
Urban recognizes UM as his biggest threat for recruits and B1G dominance. Urban openly stated the need for OSU to compete in MI for kids - that's not because MI is a hotbed of talent.
Frankly, I don't think Tressel was overly threatened by UM the last 6 years or so in recruiting or Nov games. Thankfully that's clearly not the case anymore.
Now we better win a fair share of The Games . . .