Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
This question comes from TK-421, one of the contributors at Wolverine Liberation Army. He asks:
I'm assuming the makeup of the next recruiting class has been altered, considering the losses of Dorsey, Emilien, and Rogers (and I'm probably forgetting some). My question is, is it possible to shift the demographics of a class (in this case back towards defense again) midseason? Aren't recruits already narrowing their lists down, and so defensive guys that MICH wasn't in the running for back in August are already looking elsewhere?
At this point in the process, the staff has still cast a wide enough net that the tone of the class could be completely different based on which ones they land. The only thing that would truly have to change is which guys get more attention (NCAA video game analogy: give 60 minute calls to the defensive guys, 10 minute quick calls to the guys you're de-emphasizing, for example).
Also, this staff is known for unearthing sleepers later in the process and flipping commits from other schools, so there are definitely other places to look for commits. Look at a guy like Ray Vinopal last year. The staff offered him in the process and landed him, and he immediately made a move on the depth chart (enough to get Vlad Emilien to reconsider Michigan?).
There's plenty of time left in the recruiting class, and last year's class showed that they're able to close strong on defense. Even if a couple of those guys didn't end up qualifying, hopefully that lesson is learned. Guys with "narrowed lists" are nothing to worry about.
Visits Past and Future
The UMass game brought in a few unofficial visitors, including a couple bigtime 2012 prospects. Tom let us know late last week that IL OL Chris Bryant and his teammate, 2012 OL Jordan Diamond would both be in the house. Bryant enjoyed himself, but isn't committing to anyone quite yet. Scout reports ($, info in header) that he enjoyed his visit enough to make the Wolverines his leader, but won't take many visits until after his high school season ($, info in header).
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel also attended the game, along with 2012 MI DT Danny O'Brien. More on O'Brien below.
From Tom's Weekly Update, FL CB Dallas Crawford and WR Sammy Watkins are both planning to make it to Ann Arbor for the Iowa game. Watkins is still looking for a couple more points on a standardized test before he's allowed to take officials.
OH LB Sean Duggan will set up an official visit to Michigan ($, info in header). FL RB Devondrick Nealy has set his visit for the MSU game.
The long, bizarre recruitment of FL RB Demetrius Hart takes another turn, as he visited Auburn last weekend, and left "very high on Tigers" ($, info in header). As Sam Webb revealed on WTKA, the article says he was close to a commitment, which spawned a freakout amongst Michigan fans.
I'll try to talk Michigan fans off the ledge a bit. Tom spoke to Hart's Mom:
"Demetrius said he liked it, and so did his uncle. His uncle said that overall though it was about a 7 out of 10." As far as what's next for Demetrius, he had always planned on taking a few more visits, and then making his decision since he'll be graduating early.
Keep in mind that Hart has always returned home from visits VERY high on the last place he saw (remember Alabama briefly becoming his favorite, then sinking to an afterthought shortly thereafter?), but after a bit of time to settle down, things have returned to normal. He has visits upcoming to Arkansas and Alabama, and if he manages to make it to Ann Arbor one more time before deciding, there's not too much to worry about.
Michigan and Auburn lead for NC WR/LB Kris Frost ($, info in header), but it sounds like the Tigers might have a slight lead.
MI DE/DT Damon Knox has a top three of Michigan, Michigan State, and Illinois. He won't make a decision until well after his senior season.
The Wolverines make the top 9 for LA DT Mickey Johnson, and are one of the four schools recruiting him the hardest. He'll make a decision after all of his official visits.
FL DT Timmy Jernigan will take a visit to Michigan this fall, but not for the MSU game, when he'll be visiting Florida. He won't commit until after all of those visits.
Michigan is "still in the hunt" for PA LB Branden Jackson ($, info in header).
FL S Karlos Williams is committed to Florida State, but still keeping his eye on Miami, Michigan, USC, and Ohio State. Tom shared a while back that Michigan might have a shot at receiving a visit from Williams, and as long as they continue winning this season, that's still the case.
Tom thinks LA CB Daren Kitchen is on the backburner, until some other (more coveted) prospects come off the board.
Speaking of those prospects, Michigan is in the top four for TX CB Charles Jackson. Though Jackson is a highly-coveted prospect, other news on him has been very slow lately.
Happy Trails, OH CB/WR Roger Williamson, who committed to Michigan State.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012.
With 2012 news picking up, I think I'll aim for a debut of a 2012 board within the first couple weeks after the end of the regular season. Expect it then. For the record, Scout has released their initial top-100 list for the 2012 class.
OH QB Maty Mauk was in the house for Michigan's game against UConn ($, info in header). I also saw him in Notre Dame Stadium a couple weeks ago, so he's already seen Michigan twice in this young season.
NC OL DJ Humphries (a teammate of 2011 QB target Marquise Williams) is "paying attention to Michigan" ($, info in header).
MI DT Danny O'Brien (at right) was the focus of last week's recruiting column by Sam Webb in the Detroit News. First on his game:
"Dan is very quick off the ball, he plays with a lot of intensity, and he has the agility to get around blockers," said Scout.com Midwest Regional Manager Allen Trieu. "He's about 6-2 and 280 right now, so he's not a big run stopping gap-plugger. I think you'd like to see him get to 300-lbs and get a little stronger in the process. "
O'Brien compares himself as a player to Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. "That's because of his intensity and his just going crazy," O'Brien said. "I love to hit. There ain't nothing like it. Any sport I play, I always play with intensity. I always go nuts. I think that is the way to do it. You just throw your body out there. That's the way to play football."
And on recruiting:
"Right now the schools that are high on my list are Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma," O'Brien reported. "I want to get down to see LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma...
"(My brother) and my dad would love to see me in a Michigan uniform, but they'll support me in whatever way I go," he said. "They will help me out with my decision and they'll understand it is for me. I'm going to take my time, look at all my options, and then make my decision. I want to commit after my senior season -- maybe a week or a month after that."
...and despite my extensive blockquoting, there's actually much, much more information in the article. Click through to check it out.
Don't expect Michigan State to go after MI CB Terry Richardson:
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said it is Richardson's lack of size that has recruiters from MSU backing off. "He's not big enough," Wilcher said. "Terry said they want their cornerbacks to rotate and play safety.
Michigan should be one of the leaders whenever they offer.