Keep up the great posts Mr. Brown.
Running Back Runaround
Wrenches keep getting thrown into the system when it comes to Michigan’s 2014 running back recruiting. Until about two weeks ago it didn’t really look like Michigan had any realistic running back options in the 2014 class, then there appeared to be one, then he recommitted to Cal, and now there could be two and maybe a long-shot third.
On January 3rd Jeff Jones was offered after a stellar performance at the Under Armour game and it was quickly learned that the interest was mutual. He told me that it was a big deal to get the Michigan offer and he was excited to have it. Jones has been on campus before but wasn’t recruited very aggressively immediately following his brief visit to Ann Arbor. I’ve had limited conversation with Jones and he basically just told me that he has to finish all of his visits before he can make a final decision. The good news for Michigan is that he will take his final visit, to Ann Arbor, on January 31st, just five days before signing day. It’s believed that Jones is considering only Michigan, Florida, and the team he’s currently committed to, Minnesota, so with Michigan getting the last crack at him, there’s reason for optimism.
Just two weeks after Jones was offered another name was thrown into the hat when the coaches decided to offer Marlon Mack, coincidentally on the same day he decided to decommit from UCLA.
Jeff Hecklinski was at Mack's house and stayed for about an hour, with that visit culminating with an offer. Mack said that he was feeling Michigan quite a bit after meeting and talking with Coach Heck and news of his decommitment followed later that evening. He obviously has a lot to mull over and didn’t give me much about what he was going to do. He told me that Michigan definitely has a chance but right now he has no leader, no top group, and no timeline for when he’ll make his final decision.
Kalen Ballage is a name that Michigan recruitaholics are very aware of but fell by the wayside after he, somewhat surprisingly, committed to Arizona State on December 11th. I was able to confirm with Ballage today however that Michigan is indeed actively recruiting him again and that he has been in contact with Coach Funk.
Before Ballage committed to ASU he was always a bit tough to read and today was no different. I asked him if he was solid to Arizona State or if he was considering Michigan again and he cryptically said, “I’m not sure right now.” To me that means he’s at least entertaining the idea of reopening his commitment but right now there’s no real reason to think he’ll decommit or flip to Michigan or anyone else for that matter.
I feel confident in saying that Michigan will definitely add a running back to the 2014 class but right now it is very tough to predict who. Jones seems like option #1. He will officially visit Ann Arbor just five days before National Signing Day and that bodes well for the Wolverines but also leaves them little time to deal with surprises.
Mack is likely option #2 if Jones doesn’t pan out although Coach Heck being in his house and offering in person shows a high level of legitimate interest. Neither Jones or Mack was able to specifically tell me if their offers were committable, but with just 18 days until signing day one would assume that they both are. I never thought Michigan had a great chance with Ballage and I still don’t. He doesn’t appear to be solid to Arizona State but I just don’t think Michigan can suddenly become his leader and flip him within the next two weeks.
It’s been tough to get a good grasp on this situation. The vibes I’m getting suggest it’s about 60/40 in favor of Jeff Jones being Michigan's running back of this class, with Mack a possibility to join regardless of that decision, and the most likely to commit if Jones doesn't.
Thanks. The entire Ballage situation is odd. That is all.
Thanks Brandon - we need our recruitnik fixes over the weekends.
I'd be happy with both Jones and Mack.
If Mack and Jones want in do we take both?
I don't think we would take both at this time, but perhaps by the time NSD rolls around. It maybe depend on whether we can reel in Malik McDowell or not. Mack has some position flexibility, so he might fall in the "best player available" category.
Seems pretty obvious that we are loosing a running back this off season.
Say, tightening a running back? I don't follow.
Plus One if I could from my iPhone
Pretty sure he's named Fitz.
If Mack commits before the 31st, does Jones still visit? With limited spots left I can't see 2 RB. Then again what do I know?
There would be a good chance that he would be looked at for defense.
that Mack could commit before he visits.
Anyone who can informatively and accurately answer this, is appreciated...
All these recent new offers from near the time Nussmeier came aboard.... are they primarily due to him and the talent assessment of recruits he brought from Alabama?
This is very possible, as this is exactly what Dantonio would do with Tressel... they are buddies and he'd pick up OSU's second and third options, and Tressel would even direct them there to play with his brother.
They were looking to add a back before the Nuss hire and he recommitted to Cal, so they are opening up other options.
How is Michigan supposed to get Jones and Mack, and continue to recruit McDowell?
I get the sense that Mcdowell is all but gone. Just hoping he goes south and stays away from Michigan State at this point. With regards to the running back situation, I will be pissed if Mack commits and scares of Jones. Mack is a talent for sure, but Jones won me over in the UA game. I trust Coach Nuss, let's just hope that Funk's crew can give either one of these guys a hole to run through.
I trust the coaches know how to count to 85 better than we do.
Karan Higdon is a 2015 RB with some serious potential. He's been on me about Michigan lately :) Iowa...Tennessee...Kentucky. ...USF have all offered amongst others. Firmly on FSU...S. Carolina and Georgia ' s radar also. He is a dynamic back that would surely help us and he is a 4.0 student in honors courses. We play 8A football in Sarasota. Competition is no issue here...can't say the same for some of these other guys if being honest.
Pretty good to me!
Given that we got a 5 star RB in 2015 and the fav to get another 4 star, I wonder why the coaches do not focus on getting the best available Player regardless of position.
We want to be a running team. Look at how many running backs Alabama brings in. They are bringing in one this recruiting class, four last recruiting class, and two the yearr before. That is why they always have great running backs. I say bring both in if we can't get McDowell.
We should always try to bring in RBs even if we have a guy like Damien Harris in the next recruiting class. You never know if 5/4 stars will translate to college until they get there.
Are you certain that he isn't the best available player, regardless of position?
First one to commit results in offer withdrawal for the other two?
Maybe Nuss Already Knows what he can do with the tools Michigan has already, that we bumbled to use in 2013. Derrick Green is going to win the Heismann and both he and Smith will go into the draft at the end of next year, each having 1000yd seasons.
So then having a couple of RBs in the next class is key as the position would be seriously depleted.
8-) a guy can dream, right???
More seriously, if Michigan intends to be a running team I think its going to be a load of OL in each class and at least 2 RBs. Just on the idea there's going to be separation and a lead dog established so to speak...its really hard to bank on just one player unless we are in the mix for several top 10 players ala Peppers and Hand.
I don't think Bama has any gaps in their RB stable as far as skipping a class. I think they do more monkeying with scholarships than we do, but that's their gig.