national champs baby
Thursday Recruitin' Aims High
Today's recruiting roundup covers the MSU visitor list, a potential 2014 commit, Michigan's gentle giant of a commit, and more.
Denzel Ward: Michigan's next commit?
Last weekend, Michigan offered 6'9" IL OT Denzel Ward, who visited for the Illinois game and came away gushing about the visit and talking about receiving his "dream offer" from the Wolverines. Ward spent the game with Logan Tuley-Tillman, who gave him his best recruiting pitch, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"Me and a 2014 tackle, Denzel Ward, we both were there," Tuley-Tillman explained. "We hung out like the whole day, and we'll come back next weekend together. We had a lot of fun, and everybody already thinks we're brothers. We're going to start going along with it, too. We had fun, we both had a good time.
"I was just showing him what it was, and how it really is a family atmosphere up there, and how he would already have someone that would be there for him to help him with anything."
The pitch appears to be working—Ward will be back on campus this weekend after spending the week tweeting all of the positive things about Michigan. He might have something up his sleeve, too:
— Logan Tuley-Tillman™ (@LoganTillman) October 17, 2012
An early commitment is a definite possibility here.
Ward won't be alone as a big-time visitor for the State game; Tremendous has the whole list, and it is lengthy. Michigan's two biggest 2013 targets, VA RB Derrick Green and IL WR Laquon Treadwell, will both be present, as will a pair of backup options at wide receiver in MI WR DaMario Jones and OH WR Elijah Bell—neither hold offers but could pick one up as we near signing day if Treadwell doesn't commit. Don't expect Green or Treadwell to make a decision this weekend, but a good visit could go a long way towards locking up a commitment in both cases, especially when it comes to Green.
Visiting 2014 prospects with Michigan offers are MI WR/DB Damon Webb, FL OL Mason Cole, PA S Montae Nicholson, PA TE Brenon Thrift, and OH ATH Marshon Lattimore. The first 2015 offer, KY RB Damien Harris—who projects to be one of the top handful of prospects in that class—will also be on campus; he camped at Michigan over the summer.
There's also a major basketball recruit slated to visit in improbably-named 2015 five-star WI C Diamond Stone. He already holds offers from UCLA and Wisconsin, among others, and is likely to pick one up on his visit [EDIT: As multiple commenters reminded me of, Beilein doesn't offer prospects until the summer after their sophomore year, so Stone won't be picking one up on this trip]. Fellow 2015 five-star IL PG Hyron Edwards might make the trip up for the game, as well.
This is obviously Michigan's biggest recruiting weekend of the season, and we could see several offers go out to 2014 prospects; we'll see if a commitment is in the cards.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on the Dawson replacement situation and more.]
A few more candidates to replace David Dawson—to go along with the prospects outlined on Monday—have emerged courtesy of Mike Farrell:
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) October 16, 2012
All three are four-star prospects (Johnson is a five-star on 247 and a four-star everywhere else) that fall into the top-250 range; Rodgers and Johnson are uncommitted—Johnson was a one-time Penn State commit—while Mahon is currently committed to the Nittany Lions. It might be tough to pull any of the three, but the coaches are clearly aiming high in their initial attempts to fill the void left by Dawson.
One player who won't be taking that spot is MD G Khaliel Rodgers, a USC commit who said Michigan had contacted him after Dawson's departure—Tremendous caught up with him and he said he isn't considering the Wolverines.
In other 2013 news, 247 analyst Gerry Hamilton did an in-depth film breakdown on Derrick Green ($):
POSITIVES THAT STANDOUT [sic]
1. Green has quick, reactive feet in the hole and in space. He is also a fast starter that is quicker than fast, which is ideal in a big back. He has feet in the hole and traffic very similar to Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, but without the strike up the band speed at the next level.
2. Green is also a hard runner that flashes good balance playing through contact. His ability to take a hit, and make a move while keeping his feet underneath him is impressive.
3. Green has shown pass catching ability, and has the look of a running back prospect that can play as a downhill inside back in an I-formation, an ACE back or even as a fullback/H-back.
Yes, please on the Ricky Williams comparison. Areas for improvement included Green's top-heavy body type and his lack of breakaway speed.
The Denver Post did a feature on 2013 commit Chris Fox and comes away surprised that a large man with a mean streak can be quite a personable fellow off the field:
Roughly 28 hours before kickoff last week, Chris Fox stood in the Ponderosa coaches' office trying to wiggle into a white jersey that was way too small.
He had lost his usual No. 73 and instead found No. 80 — meant to be worn by a wide receiver. Fox, the state's most sought-after offensive lineman, is 6-foot-6 and a shade below 300 pounds. He got the No. 80 shirt over his head, but when he pulled the jersey down, Fox looked like an brother trying on a younger sister's T-shirt.
"What are we going to do tomorrow night?" an assistant coach asked at that moment.
Fox looked down at his stomach, then to his arms.
"I'll just wear this," he said, smiling at the absurdity.
This is the same kid who has a mean streak his coaches love?
"He's pretty much a puppy dog off the field," said Mark Murphy, Ponderosa's offensive coordinator.
The whole piece is well worth your time.
GBW has free video and scouting of Khalid Hill's performance last weekend available. A novel idea, guys.
According to Rob Cassidy of Rivals, AZ WR Devon Allen is close to committing to UCLA ($). He hasn't been considering Michigan for a while at this point.