"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Recruiting Summary: Receivers
MARIO MANNINGHAM - WR - Harding(OH)
Height: 6'0" Weight: 174
Lemming: #15 WR
Rivals: ****, #45 overall, #6 WR, #4 OH
Scout.com: ****, #53 overall, #6 WR
Projected Role: Lightning in a bottle
Manningham singlehandedly annihilated rival Glenvillle and five-star OSU commit Jamario O'Neal, scoring four touchdowns on seven catches for 255 yards and a 50 yard pick-six. He's a threat to take it the distance on every touch.
Getting touches for Manningham was the problem for Harding. Manningham only totaled 30 catches for 588 yards as a junior and 42 catches for 665 yards for a run-oriented Harding offense. But it seemed that whenever they did manage to get the ball into Super Mario's hands, it was a long touchdown... 3 over 50 yards against Glenville including a 94 yard bomb, a 73 yard strike in the state championship game as a junior. Manningham is a deep threat. A very deep threat.
Manningham has had problems with fumbling and has occasionally dropped balls at bad times. His high school career was marked by inconsistency. All you have to do is look at Mario's numbers as a senior: 255 yards against Glenville and 410 the rest of the season. He'll have some work to do to adapt to a sophisticated passing offense, but his highlight reel offers a taste of Manningham's spectacular promise. It's worth noting that despite his pedestrian statisics, the already-committed Manningham made a rare rise up guru boards from the edge of the top 100 to the top 50.
ANTONIO BASS - ATH - Jackson (MI)
Height: 6'1" Weight: 200
Lemming: #66 overall, #3 S
Rivals: ****, #42 overall, #5 ATH, #2 MI
Scout.com: ****, #60 overall, #5 QB
Projected Role: Braylon crossed with Breaston
Bass is one of those freakish athletes that end up as QB of their high school team simply because it would be retarded to not put the ball in his hands every play. That was almost disastrous for UM, as Bass, a lifelong UM fan surrounded by UM fans, almost chose Michigan State because they offered him at QB. Michigan was very specific that he was being offered as a WR.
It's fairly obvious why: Bass rushed for 1,246 yards this season and only completed about a third of his passes, which is acceptable for quarterbacks in NCAA 2005 but not the real world. When he's running, he's ridiculous. Bass ran for 15 touchdowns as a senior, seven longer than 50 yards. Throwing it... well, Bass would need a lot of work to be anything other than a Tommie Frazier-at-Nebraska option QB. An awful lot.
What does Michigan have in Bass? Uh, well... they've also got an awful lot of work, but they've done it before with Steve Breaston. Bass is not a WR. He's never run a route, he's never caught a pass. He'll likely follow the same path as Stevie Wonder, redshirting his freshman year to learn the position and then breaking out his second year. If he can catch and run routes, he'll be a great one. He's an Edwards-level athlete with boom-or-bust potential.
LATERRYAL SAVOY - WR - Mamou(LA)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 195
Rivals: ***, #27 WR, #9 LA
Scout.com: *** , #33 WR
Projected Role: Avant 2.0
Savoy's most notable stat last year came on the defensive side of the ball, where he notched 13 interceptions playing safety. He was actually the Louisiana class 2-A defensive MVP with those interceptions (and two blocked punts). He's slated for WR at Michigan, where he was also all-state with 1,355 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns for Mamou.
Savoy doesn't have the explosive athletic ability that catches recruiting gurus' eyes, but he is a big, strong reciever with excellent hands and body control. Savoy will likely be a possession reciever like Jason Avant or Marquise Walker. He won't be the explosive game breaker type like Braylon, but, hey, if Michigan had thrown to Jason Avant on fourth and three vs. OSU he would have caught it.
Historically this is the kind of player that Michigan is adept at finding and recruiting early, the intangibles kid. Kids like Tom Brady or Mike Hart or Avant don't blow you off the track or out of the gym but are esssential components of winning teams because they're smart, hard-working, and dedicated. I expect Savoy will find himself on the field in a major role at some point.
CARSON BUTLER - TE - Renaissance(MI)
Height: 6'6" Weight: 235
Rivals: **, #12 MI
Scout.com: **, NR
Projected Role: Freak athlete to mold
Butler is this year's most Braylon-esque recruit. He's a virtual unknown to the national recruiting gurus, none of whom saw fit to rate him. Butler's transfer from Lansing Waverly forced him to sit out his junior year and he focused extensively on basketball, playing on Renassaince's Hairston (grrr) & Crawford (double grrr) state championship team.
As a senior he turned in a half-dynamite, half-uninterested season on both sides of the ball, accumulating 44 tackles and seven sacks as a defensive end and 29 receptions for 689 yards and eight touchdowns as a wide reciever. Firsthand reports of his play often contained criticisms about his motor and level of interest in the game around him.
Butler is an outrageous athlete who hasn't begun to scratch the surface of his football potential. He has the raw ability to become a Kellen Winslow or Antonio Gates, or he could never see the field. It's up to him. A definite redshirt here.
MGOBLOG Editorial Stance
A. Michigan got two top-100 recievers a year after getting two top-100 recievers (Arrington and Dutch) and a guy on the edge of the top-100 (Trent), plus a couple of beneath the radar guys who look like potential contributors. The only question about Michigan's recievers over the next few years will be "how do we get all these guys plus Mike Hart, Kevin Grady, and Max Martin on the field?"
Bass and Manningham are both playmakers who were the focal points of their high school teams. Manningham absolutely destroyed five-star OSU commit Jamario O'Neal and anyone else who had the misfortune of attempting to (triple) cover him, and Bass tore up schools all year only to see Jackson's weak defense yield almost 30 points a game. Michigan will be absolutely set at WR for the next few years. They'll be able to put out four or even five top-100 gamebreakers at the same time. Henne should be rubbing his hands together and cackling evilly.
Savoy didn't wow the gurus like MM or Bass, but he does come from a small school in Louisiana. LSU was rumored to be interested in Savoy, but since they got commitments from two five-star WRs last year they've been laying off of them this year. He has better size and strength than the other two and will fill a different role in the offense. Or potentially on defense... it has to be said that there are an awful lot of WRs from the past two years and not enough defensive backs. If it looks like Bass or Savoy get buried on the depth chart for some reason, either one could take a shot at safety or even linebacker.
Butler is the kind of sleeper I like: an athletic freak who's underrated because of lack of experience and on-field performance. He has the proverbial "upside" in spades. He'll be the most athletic tight end on the roster from day one but he will require a lot of work if he's ever going to see the field. The reports of his less than stellar work ethic are disturbing, but the Michigan coaches are taking a flyer that they can pound some sense into the young man. With Mike Massey looking good a year in front of Butler, he's a smart risk to take. Even if he doesn't work out at TE, he can probably find a role at DE.
There isn't a whole lot in the disappointments category. Selwyn Lymon is a big time recruit that got away, but prying him away from Purdue would have been a surprise. He may torture the Big Ten for a while. Luckily Michigan won't face him for the next two years, as Purdue is off the schedule.
Two game breakers, an Avant-type, and a Braylon-at-TE sleeper? Yes please.
Up Next: Uh, looks like we'll be waiting a while for the defensive recruiting to be completed. I'll do the DL and LBs after Slocum announces a decision on January 19th, assuming McKinney also announces by then. I haven't completely given up on Nic Harris yet, so the DBs (and I'll put Mesko in there too) will have to wait unti his decision is public, which isn't slated to happen until Feb. 2, Signing Day.