Thursday Recruitin' Is Amazing
Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on Michigan top remaining 2013 targets, the 2014 Rivals250 Watch List, and more, including finally finding a good reason to post an Archer video.
McQuay: Leaning To Michigan?
Sam Webb caught up with FL S Leon McQuay III and his father in the wake of his official visit to Michigan, and the returns are quite good ($):
"I think that was the most impressive on my end,” McQuay III's father added. “His mom has been on two trips with us, and them having his schedule already pretty much planned out was real big with her. No other schools have done that. That’s something that I noticed too.”
The overall experience proved so positive that the younger McQuay was sorry to see it come to an end.
“I definitely could have stayed a little longer,” he admitted.
Neither father nor son are naming leaders at this point, but a couple factors are working in Michigan's favor. Not only did McQuay get a first-hand look at his preferred major by spending his visit with Jack Kennedy and Joe Reynolds, but he may not be able to make it out to USC before he makes his decision on January 4th—his trip to Los Angeles is set for December 7th, but there's a good chance he'll have to cancel if his team makes the state semifinals, and they've been state finalists each of the last three years.
McQuay still has a trip set to Florida State for later this month and he's been to Vanderbilt several times; at this point, those two schools may in fact be Michigan's biggest competition.
This wouldn't be a recruiting roundup without another bit on IL WR Laquon Treadwell, so here's Mike Farrell from his latest Mind of Mike column ($):
Treadwell is also interesting because he changes schools of interest like he changes underwear. The latest info has Notre Dame and Florida rising and Michigan falling. I still think the Wolverines are a serious player here and part of me thinks Treadwell is playing everyone, but we shall see.
Farrell also says he gets the feeling VA RB Derrick Green wants to play his college ball in the South; the problem is that his current southern favorites, Auburn and Tennessee, likely won't have the same coaching staffs next year. Word came down earlier this week that UT's Derek Dooley is on his way out, and now CBSSports is reporting that Auburn's president is preparing to fire Gene Chizik.
The tumult in the SEC may have a direct effect on more than just Green; MD WR Paul Harris had Michigan among his finalists before choosing Tennessee, but he's keeping a close eye on the Dooley situation, according to Rivals's Adam Friedman ($):
"If he definitely gets fired then I'm going to think about de-committing," he said. "I have such a good relationship with Coach (Derek Dooley) and that's one of the big reasons I committed there. If he (Derek Dooley) gets fired and Coach (Darin) Hinshaw gets fired then I'm definitely going to think about other schools.
"It would have to be one of my top schools," said Harris. "I've heard from Michigan, Maryland, USC, Miami, Penn State and Ohio State. They've still been talking to me asking if Coach (Derek) Dooley gets fired is there a chance I'd commit to them. I talked to Coach (Tee) Martin from USC a few weeks ago."
Harris plans to enroll early, so the decision would have to be made in the next month; the four-star prospect could be a nice fallback plan should the Wolverines miss out on Treadwell.
[Hit THE JUMP for the 2014 Rivals250 Watch List and more.]
Excuse To Post Archer Video? Check
Rivals released their Rivals250 Watch List for the class of 2014; while they didn't rank the recruits 1-250, they did hand out star ratings—not just four or five star, but the more nuanced 5.8 (#132-250 nationally) through 6.1 (five-star) ratings. Michigan commit Michael Ferns earns four stars and a 5.9 rating, placing him somewhere in the #55-131 range overall. Tremendous has the full breakdown of interested prospects and where they fell in the rankings; as they did in the 2013 class, Michigan has focused their early recruiting efforts on the top national prospects before turning their attention to mining the Midwest for under-the-radar talent.
UT DT Bryan Mone picked up a four-star rating from Rivals, and Tim Sullivan caught up with him for an interview at The Wolverine after his visit last weekend—he was rumored to be close to committing, but ultimately did not. That doesn't mean the visit didn't go well, however; one could even say it was amazing ($):
"It was amazing. First thing when I got there, I saw a lot of trees," [Mone] said with a chuckle. "I talked to Coach Hoke, Coach Montgomery, mostly all of the coaches before the game and after. It was just amazing, the fans are amazing, the community is amazing, the state by itself is amazing."
We're reaching the point where recruits start hauling in the postseason honors. We'll start with Mike McCray, who won the Ohio Division II Defensive Player of the Year award. Khalid Hill, meanwhile, earned a spot on Team USA for February's International Bowl in Texas. Ben Gedeon rewrote a large portion of Hudson's school record book:
Senior Ben Gedeon came into the season needing 91 tackles to become the all-time leading tackler (records are based on availability of statistics). While the final numbers aren't in, Gough had Gedeon with more than 100 tackles.
"We have a lot of guys on offense who also are playing defense," Gough said. "The fact that they are setting records and playing defense blows me away. Ben has been amazing. He plays the whole game."
Gedeon's assault on the record books began in the 2012 season opener when he came in tied for the top spot all-time with 194 points.
He leaves with top career numbers in points (278), touchdowns accounted for (48, including two passing scores), touchdowns scored (46), rushing touchdowns (37), rushing yards (3052), rushing attempts (501) and 100-yard games (15).
Gedeon also became the second Explorer to rush for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons (Scott Williams, 1974-75) and has a record 4,290 yards from scrimmage.
TomVH has a couple very interesting articles on past Michigan recruiting that are unfortunately paywalled. In the first, he details how Michigan nearly passed over Steve Everitt thanks to a scholarship crunch ($):
"He said he promised Miami that he would visit, and I told him that we might be full by the time he gets back," recalled Bobby Morrison, then Michigan's recruiting coordinator. "He called back after the visit and said he wanted to come to Michigan and I told him we didn't have a scholarship available."
There's also a lengthier piece with Morrison($), who details his strategy as Michigan's recruiting coordinator from 1995-2002 (he was on staff starting in 1987, hired by Bo):
The staff also sent out recruiting questionnaires to every high school in the country. Whether it was a major program in Ohio or the smallest school in Idaho, it got a questionnaire every year from Michigan.
"We would do that for PR purposes. The year that a school in Montana happens to have a player ... that's not the first they've heard from Michigan," Morrison said. "It was a card that each coach puts down any prospect that he might have on his team. Our coach who was assigned that area would look through his cards that came back, and if there was a kid on there we needed to look at we would check him out."
The whole thing is well worth a read if you've got Insider, which you can normally get for pretty cheap if you poke around for deals on ESPN The Magazine.