"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Recruiting Board Updated
Update 12/12: Linked to Mike Morgan article where he names three leaders, none of whom are Michigan. Removed LB Toryan Smith(ND), moved LB/FB Obi Ezeh to commited. Added NY TE Andrew Quarless (highlights and bumpin' rap at AndrewQuarless.com; profile indicates he is visiting this weekend). Noted that WR commit Greg Mathews moved into the Rivals 100 at #91 after their last update... no, I haven't updated everyone else's rankings. Cone also got a bonus star.
Yes, removed OMG SHIRTLESS TIM TEBOW(UF).
Editorial Opinion: As expected, Ezeh committed on his visit. He's being brought in as an "athlete," which will translate to either fullback or linebacker according to Ezeh himself:
"He said they could use me as an athletic fullback to give the ball to or I could get involved in the passing game at tight end, or defensively, they might want me at linebacker," Ezeh said. "One of the main reasons I wanted to go there was that I did not have to play the first year, then when I do get on the field, I will be fully prepared. I know they will put me in a position to succeed."
So he's redshirting. Another reason he wanted to come to Michigan: his other Big Ten offer was Indiana. Ezeh's a sleeper, but Michigan has a good track record when it comes to cherry-picking in-state guys they like and getting them to contribute.
Greg Mathews' rise into the Rivals 100 is totally unexpected. Scout--the more promiscuous of the two services--still has him at three stars, but apparently the jumpy and the lots of catchy impressed Rivals enough to throw him in at #91 despite his reported 40 times of either 4.72 or (gasp) 4.9. Given the general tendency to understate 40 times, especially for wide recievers and double especially for players from Florida, converting those listed times to reality implied that his mobility is somewhere between Gabe Watson and the Indian subcontinent (plate tectonics joke what!). Apparently he can move just fine.
Rivals also threw out a freebie with a bunch of vague-but-interesting information. Points of interest:
[Re: QBs] The Wolverines have also gotten a serious early jump on one of the nation's top juniors.
That would be Texas' Ryan Mallet, from all indications, who attended the entirety of Michigan's summer camp. Mallet will probably reach OMG SHIRTLESS status next year; he's 6'6" and has your proverbial cannon where his arm should go.
Merillville (Ind.) defensive tackle Dexter Larimore, though, is very high on OSU, and just received an in-home visit from OSU head coach Jim Tressel and his staff. ... OSU was rumored to have gotten a leg up before Carr's visit, but the Wolverines seem to have made up some ground. Whether it will be enough is yet to be determined.
Doesn't take very much reading between the lines here: OSU's probably going to get him.
The Wolverines are looking much better for others in the class of 2006, including Denver (Colo.) Montbello defensive end Greg Banks (see Josh Helmholdt's story on him here: Banks nearing a decision). Euclid (Ohio) outside linebacker Thaddeus Gibson enjoyed a recent visit to Tennessee, but Michigan could be tough to beat for Rivals.com's No. 8 outside 'backer, too.
As discussed earlier, Banks' coach is talking like Michigan is the place. Gibson would be an interesting recruit, since Michigan has either 3 or 4 linebackers committed (depending on whether Obi Ezeh is a FB or a LB), though none seem to be SAM types. Caveat: BuckeyePlanet is overflowing with polite speculation that Gibson is unlikely to qualify, and they're usually right.
...there are at least some analysts who believe U-M leads for Richmond (Va.) Varina fullback Brandon Minor (read his latest story here: Minor visits Michigan and Venice (Calif.) safety Jonas Mouton (Rivals.com's No. 43 overall prospect), though there have been conflicting reports on him.
More fullbacks! Minor's listed at the #1 FB in the country, but with Ezeh on board and Andre Criswell's last-minute addition to the 2005 class it would seem that we're either switching to a wing-T or recruting Minor as a tailback.