... Well, really just that one.
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Hi, everyone! Did I miss anything?
Oh, lots of things, you say? Well...
Nailed it. Back to your regularly scheduled recruitin' roundup.
Brian passed along the unfortunate news last week that five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South says UCLA is currently the school standing out to him. I'm back to bring you good tidings: Michigan will have their opportunity to change that when KLS officially visits Ann Arbor for the night game against Penn State:
It looks like KLS is goin to Ann Arbor on October 11th
— Keisean South (@KLSouth16) May 3, 2014
In even better news, 247's Steve Lorenz reports that Lucier-South could make it to campus this summer, too:
As we reported earlier this week, it's not likely to be the five-star's only visit to Ann Arbor, as he's looking to take an unofficial visit sometime this summer.
Receiving an official visit is promising; having a California recruit foot the bill for a cross-country unofficial visit even more so. While there's plenty of competition, not to mention the inherent difficulty of reeling in a touted Cali prospect, Michigan has to like where they currently stand with their top weakside DE target.
[Hit THE JUMP for a camp evaluation of 2016 commit Erik Swenson, the outlook for a pair of top targets on the O-line, where Michigan stands as several 2015 targets narrow their lists, and more.]
Rivals held one of their camps in Chicago over the weekend, and Josh Helmholdt proclaimed 2016 OT commit Erik Swenson as the #5 offensive performer after he showed off his tantalizing potential ($):
Swenson came in with a target on his back as an early Michigan commitment and one of the biggest names in the state and he had a very good camp. He was physical, he used his arms effectively, moved his feet consistently and anchored well. He struggled a bit with outside pass rushes, but he won the majority of his reps, showed he has athleticism with his excellent size and flashed the potential that has him as one of the most coveted linemen in his class.
Recently offered 2015 IL WR/TE Miles Boykin earned the top spot, and he displayed enough speed and route-running ability that Helmholdt said you can "forget about" him playing tight end if he picks the right offense. Michigan could fit that bill; they're one of the schools recruiting him as a jumbo wide receiver, which is Boykin's stated positional preference.
Four-star NJ OT Grant Newsome told 247's Clint Brewster that Michigan and Penn State currently stand out among his many offers, and he laid out his tentative visit plans for the summer ($):
“I’m going to get to Penn State and Michigan at least once this summer,” said Newsome. “Try to head down to LSU and Alabama as well, maybe Arkansas.”
While the presence of those SEC schools could be cause for concern, I'm more focused on him hinting at multiple visits to his two leaders. The general consensus is this is a Michigan-PSU battle with the Wolverines possibly ahead by a slim margin.
While Newsome looks to be Michigan's best bet at landing a blue-chip offensive tackle, he's not their only hope. Rivals national reporter Adam Friedman caught up with four-star VA OT Matthew Burrell, who said that Michigan's recent offer is one of a few that caused him to hold off from narrowing his list of top schools ($):
"Every time I'm getting ready to announce my top schools another big offer comes in," said Burrell. "First it was Michigan, then Florida and now it's Texas A&M. Marshall also offered the other day also.
"I'll probably narrow down to 10 or 12," he said. "I have a top ten but there are these schools that I want to put in, pull out or rearrange them. When I get another big offer I have figure out what I'm going to do and it keeps pushing this further back. It's going to be so hard to say no to some of these schools."
Michigan may have entered the fray late, but Burrell still appears to be considering them strongly. Marshall... not so much.
The Wolverines made the latest cut for two of their top linebacker prospects. Four-star IN ILB Darrin Kirkland released a top ten, in alphabetical order, of Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.
Kirkland is slated to visit Ann Arbor on May 17th, and he's already been on campus multiple times, as recently as early April. Penn State and Tennessee appear to be the biggest threats in his recruitment; I just put in a Crystal Ball prediction for Michigan based on his past and scheduled visits.
Four-star UT OLB Osa Masina put the Wolverines in his top eight along with Arizona State, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah and Wisconsin. Michigan made a big move for him at last year's BBQ at the Big House and he's expected to visit for the same event in July, per Steve Lorenz ($).
Four-star CT TE Chris Clark, who named Michigan as his leader after a brief commitment to UNC, tweeted that he'll announce his decision at The Opening, the invite-only Nike camp that runs on the weekend of July 5th. Guarded optimism is the name of the game here. It's great that Clark thought so highly of the Wolverines following visits to Ann Arbor, Columbus, and South Bend. He's also the type of prospect who seems blown away by every subsequent trip, however, and with more visits planned—including a return to Notre Dame—it wouldn't surprise at all if the top of his leaderboard changes before his decision.
Three-star RB T.J. Simmons doesn't hold a Michigan offer yet, though he has quite the impressive list given his current ranking. After a visit from Fred Jackson, he put Michigan in his top five anyway, and told GBW's Josh Newkirk that an official visit is in the cards ($):
With the Maize & Blue now in his top-five, Simmons says he would “definitely” like to make an official visit to Ann Arbor, Mich.
Currently, Simmons says his top-five in no particular order is Florida, UCLA, Clemson, Ohio State and Michigan. He has been on campus visits to Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and UCF. He said he plans on taking visits to Ohio State, Kentucky and UCLA this summer.
Simmons said Michigan is planning to visit him again in a couple weeks, and he's hoping an offer comes at that time. While it's always tough to pull recruits out of Florida, entering a prospect's top five despite being the only school included that hasn't offered is a sign of serious interest.
Word on the Twitters is that Michigan offered two 2016 prospects over the weekend. Four-star FL SDE Jordan Woods picked one up, per his high school associate head coach. He already holds offers from Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Miami (YTM), UNC, and Virginia, among several others.
Michigan also offered highly sought Washington DC OG Richard Merritt, whose offer sheet includes the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Florida, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, and Virginia Tech, as well as interest from Oregon and Penn State—two schools that he's tweeted he hopes to land offers from. Speaking of tweets, Merritt seemed excited about the U-M offer:
MICHIGAN OFFERED TODAY
— Richard Merritt (@_58thegreat) May 2, 2014
Merritt is not Delonte Hollowell or The Key Play, so an ALL-CAPS pronouncement can be taken as a good sign.
James Franklin is kinda brilliant despite appearing to be a hyperactive lunatic, and I'd expect a whole lot of top programs are going to copy this blueprint:
New Penn State [coach] James Franklin and his entire staff will work as guest coaches for Trent Miles Football Camp at Georgia State on June 10.
The radical arrangement appears to be a win-win for both programs: Penn State gets to personally evaluate high school players who would never travel to its camps in Pennsylvania, while Georgia State will get exposure to more high-profile recruits than normal.
As Georgia State's coach explains in the article, this is an ingenious workaround of NCAA rules; while a school can't host a camp outside of their state*, coaches can work at another school's camp. It's not at all uncommon for small-school coaches to help out at camps of FBS schools, but this appears to be unprecedented, not to mention mutually beneficial.
Scout's Allen Trieu posted a free article on Cass Tech's loaded (as usual) secondary in which Technician defensive coordinator Jermain Crowell—no, not the former Lion—says that rising junior Lavert Hill, younger brother of Michigan safety Delano Hill, is "going to be the best guy I've ever coached." That's mighty high praise considering the talent Cass Tech has produced in the secondary over the last several years and the early returns on Jourdan Lewis.
If you missed it yesterday, Brandon posted an update on Michigan's latest 2015 offer, WA OT Shane Lemieux.
*With a 50-mile radius exemption for programs near a state border.
...to officially be "not very good."
have there been any updates on Justin Hilliard lately?
I love it when high school juniors refer to themselves in the third person. Yay.
Maybe the answer is as simple as an 8 win season followed by a 7 win season but the previous two classes seemed to start out much faster than this one. Are there reasons for that other than struggles on the field -- such as the geographic distribution of players we are pursuing? Or have the coaches given out more offers earlier in past classes? The players we have for 2015 look solid and I imagine that our class isn't small compared to other schools, but my recollection that last year and the year before our classes were about 2x the size.
No doubt we have gotten off to a "slow start" this year versus the two previous years.
I would like to say that that is by design, but I don't believe that. We are not getting the instant commits we were getting last year and the year before. We are not even getting the early strong leans we were getting before.
Yes, I think this is related to the ppor performance on the field and the resultant uncertainty around the program and coaching staff it creates for recruits. We really need to right the ship with a sound performance on the field this year.
They had all that recruiting momentum last summer, then picked a bad time to look like the worst-coached team in America. I can't blame recruits for being skeptical. Hoke needs results on the field.
is interesting given their pursuit of Weber and Harris. He could be an insurance policy.
The link in the article to his offer list is for Richard Merritt. Here is the correct link:
EDIT: Just saw the new thread on Mike Weber. Now it's pretty clear why more RB offers are going out.
Thanks for making your return; my emo level on recruiting has diminished.