as always. Thanks Ace.
I did not make this headline up
Today's recruiting roundup attempts to catch on everything that's gone down in the Michigan recruiting world since last Tuesday, when certain other events precluded any coverage involving high school athletes.
As Michigan's basketball team made their run to the national title game, the football team hosted some big-time recruiting visitors over the past week. The biggest name on campus was five-star Paramus (NJ) Catholic CB Jabrill Peppers, the #2 overall player (behind Da'Shawn Hand) on the Rivals100 and a consensus top-ten recruit. Peppers told Rivals' Adam Friedman that the trip to Ann Arbor was his "best visit"($) and changed his expectations for any school he'll check out:
"Now I don't even know what to expect anymore," Peppers laughed. "Michigan just completely exceeded my expectations. I'm just going to have to see how Michigan and Ohio State pair up and it should be a great experience but Michigan was probably one of the best visits I've been on without a doubt. Everything felt right."
According to his interview with 247's Steve Wiltfong, Peppers plans to be back, too ($):
“All in all, it was a really, really great visit and they exceeded expectations. I definitely didn’t think it would be that mind-blowing. I’ll definitely have to take a trip back.”
Peppers was joined on his visit by Paramus Catholic teammate and four-star OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty*—after the pair checked out Ohio State following the Michigan trip, their high school coach gave the update on where both stand to Friedman ($) [emphasis mine]:
"I don't know about Jabrill," [Paramus Catholic head coach Chris Partridge] said. "He's still kind of evaluating everything, and he's got LSU and Stanford to look at. I know Juwan's top school is Michigan right now. He's pretty fired up about them. Ohio State didn't offer [Bushell-Beatty], so who knows. Jabrill is a pretty loyal guy, so I don't know if it left a sour taste in his mouth. I know Juwan loved Michigan and it's a great fit for him, too.
So Michigan is in the lead for Bushell-Beatty (whom they have offered, to be clear) and made a very strong impression on Peppers, at the very least. The only direct quote from Peppers on his Ohio State trip—the rest were handled by his coach—is from this Wiltfong article ($):
"I really think that the Coach (Kerry) Coombs is a great coach," Peppers said. "I love him and enjoy being around him. Obviously Urban Meyer is an incredible, smart, proven winner. They let me meet the athletic director and the president of the school and it's really cool to see how everyone is behind the Ohio State football team."
High praise, yes, but not the over-the-moon review that he gave Michigan. Of course, visit reactions often depend on the interviewer, the questions they ask, and what they choose to print—in this case, however, Wiltfong got two very different post-visit reactions from Peppers. Read into that what you will.
Four-star PA ATH K.J. Williams also checked out campus last week, and there's no need to read between the lines of his post-visit reaction:
Michigan is by far my top school now!! #BlewMyMind
— TheWorldsGreatest#2 (@KJWilliams2) April 8, 2013
Another young mind destroyed by Michigan's overwhelming recruiting tactics. They show no respect for these recruits, I say. /RCMB'd
Two familar names also made appearances in Ann Arbor. Detroit Country Day WR Maurice Ways was there for the second straight weekend and the coaches have him "very high on their radar," per an interview with Tim Sullivan ($). Ways doesn't have an offer but it seems like one will come sooner or later—if he gets one, Michigan should be in the driver's seat. Meanwhile, Southfield DE Lawrence Marshall (offer) told GBW's Josh Newkirk($) that "everything was good" as he checked out a spring practice, and he came away impressed with Frank Clark, who plays the same weakside DE spot that Michigan hopes Marshall will play for them.
[Hit THE JUMP for a rundown of Spring Game visitors, a new offer, the latest on Drake Harris, a couple happy trails, and more.]
Culled from multiple outlets, here's a list of the key uncommitted prospects that plan to take in Saturday's Spring Game (a large portion of the 2013 class will be there, as will 2014 commits Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, and Mason Cole):
Top in-state DE Malik McDowell is also a potential visitor, and 2015 in-state standout Brian Cole (offer) is expected to be there, as well [EDIT: There's a chance Cole will be in Chicago this weekend with the Max Ex 7-on-7 team—I'll confirm over the weekend if he made it]. This doesn't appear to be a weekend for a commitment watch, but Michigan can make progress with several of their top targets.
Michigan offered three-star IL LB Kyron Watson on Tuesday, and while Watson probably won't be able to attend the Spring Game on short notice, he's a strong possibility to join the class when he gets a chance to check out Ann Arbor, per Wiltfong ($):
Where do the Wolverines stand with the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Watson?
“The top,” he said.
Could a good visit to the Wolverines campus result in a commitment?
“Yeah maybe,” Watson answered.
Michigan is Watson's most high-profile offer, though a look at his junior film suggests that may not be the case for long.
Top-100 CA LB Dwight Williams has Michigan as the only Midwest school in his top 15, and told 247's Steve Lorenz that the Wolverines have already earned one of his planned official visits—he's taken notice of other top prospects' strong impressions of the program ($):
Williams has never visited the Wolverines, but has taken notice at the reactions of some of the top recruits in the country such as Jabrill Peppers and Da'Shawn Hand.
"It's definitely something I notice," Williams said. "Anytime you see top guys like a school once they go out there, you definitely remember it. It doesn't make you want to go there, but it makes you want to go out there and see what it's all about."
Another linebacker, FL four-star Richard Yeargin III, pulled in an offer from Michigan this week, per Tim Sullivan ($). Yeargin has an impressive offer list that's still growing—Notre Dame followed suit two days after U-M—and plans on making a Signing Day decision.
IL CB Parrker Westphal told Wiltfong($) that he'll be back in Ann Arbor next weekend for an overnight visit—he's still a strong possibility to end up in the class.
You may have noticed the recent spate of linebacker offers. That probably has something to do with OH LB Kyle Berger's recent commitment to Ohio State—Berger's recruitment came down to a Michigan-OSU battle, and in the end he stuck with his childhood favorite.
Four-star DC CB D'Andre Payne, who'd placed Michigan among his top group of schools, pledged to Tennessee last week ($).
Now comes in a can for easy consumption.
On a related note—well played, Maize n Brew.
*The recruiting sites are split on whether Bushell-Beatty's first name is spelled with one 'n' or two. My original tag had two, so until there's a consensus I'm going with that—apologies if it turns out to be incorrect.
as always. Thanks Ace.
Thought this Jabrill Peppers tweet was worth posting:
@JabrillPeppers: Michigan is the #12 ranked university in the world & Stanford is #6. Difference is playing in front of 30,000 or 118,000.
... and now it looks like it's been deleted. <sigh>
I was going to post that, but when I went to check Peppers' feed the tweet was no longer there. Think it stirred up a little bit too much of a reaction, but I doubt the sentiment has changed.
Crap! He hates big crowds! Oh well, we didn't want him anyway.
Seems like a very underrated 3 star. His film is very impressive. I know most players can put together a collection of great clips, but Watson seems to be a very strong tackler almost all of the time. I've heard his junior year was his first year playing linebacker, so there is a lot of room for growth.
Agreed. Dude looked like he was shot out of a cannon when making hits. When he hits you, you know you've been hit. Reminded me somewhat of James Ross.
I wonder if he is really 6'2", he looked a lot smaller than that to me.
Anybody else find it strange that both the "athletic director and the president of the school" have time to meet with recruits? Do Brandon or Coleman ever do this?
Brandon has mentioned that he enjoys recruiting, but I doubt that MSC does anything outside of chance encounters.
the football coach at ohio can FIRE the University president and athletic director whenever they want. Remember how lucky Gee was that Tressel didn't fire him !
I was going to ask the same question. When you run one of the 10-15 highest regarded universities in the world, you tend to have more important things to worry about than landing a 17 year-old football recruit. Or for that matter, the football team. or for that matter, the athletic department.
Sure, you say, but the athletic department brings in a lot of money, right? Uh, yeah, but it's not all that important when you've got an $8 billion endowment. And revenue flowing in from all sorts of other sources that dwarfs the AD's.
Gordon Gee, yeah, I guess he has to earn his ridiculous salary somehow.
I believe Alex Legion mentioned meeting the Mayor of Lexington, the President of the school, the AD and also checked out the team plane while on his visit. He said something similar to "it's great that they all support the program" as well.
I would argue there's less involved in being the mayor of Lexington than in being the president of the University of Michigan.
Rinky Dink presidents like Gordon Gee have nothing else to do but meet with football and basketball recruits - oh, I almost forgot - and say stupid things to the media.
Can only influence your opinion of a school negatively. ohio, please continue to deploy that secret weapon of yours.
Meet D.B. that would be a plus, former player, showing the future he would have with the Michigan family.
Time to get back to obsessing about football recruiting now that we can stop obsessing about the NCAA's.
But I haven't been as excited about any recruits as these top ranked D-linemen in awhile. It won't be the end of the world if one or both go elsewhere, but man, if we could get big time impact players on there, it's always seemed like the one thing different between us and the schools winning national championships. We've recruited some excellent linemen already...pepper in some NFL star type guys.... (no pun intended).
And I'm guessing if he's opening back up his recruitment to MSU Drake Harris doesn't read message board posts very much. I mean every fanbase has guys who go nuts when a guy decides not to go to their school....but I saw some of the comments AFTER he said he was still considering MSU and some guys were still brutal on how they didn't want him after he "jilted" them. I mean, most fanbases flipflop back to flowers and puppies...not Sparty, they're still pissed.
Then I wondered if he actually does follow message boards and twitter etc and that is the reason he is saying it. What I mean by that is perhaps he is the type of person who doesn't like to upset people or let them down. Those types often aren't comfortable with confrontation either and perhaps he simply came out and said he is now considering them again is because he wants them to lay off him a bit...I'm not saying this is the reason, but i could see a kid his age just saying this so those crazy MSU fans back off him a bit.
Over on 247 some posters mentioned that Watson and Adoree Jackson are really good friemds. Jackson is another DB who is a top 10 guy in the country and has a Michigan offer.
I'd be interested to know how an Illinois kid and a California kid are good friends, but at the same time good friend can mean a lot of things ranging from he saved me from a runaway train once and I devoted the rest of my life to protecting him to we met a few times at a camp and got along well. Doesn't always mean much is what I'm getting at. I would love to get one of those California kids we're in on though.
Maybe he meant Williams and not Watson, since he's from CA too.
EDIT: I just checked and they go to the same high school. I'm sure that's what he meant.
Nope, it's Watson. They tweet at each other a lot and talk about pushing each other as athletes, compteting, etc.. One of them might be from somewhere other than their current state.
Adoree' Jackson grew up in Illinois.
These kids sometimes meet at camps and what-not. IIRC, Derrick Green (Virginia) developed a pretty close relationship with David Dawson (Michigan) after meeting at a camp.
Jackson is originally from Illinois.
Now we know what is keeping the US Postal Service afloat. 500 letters a week is a lot of mail for one kid.
As always, great update. Thanks Ace.
Gotta say I dont trust the Drake Harris situation... smells fishy....
what's not to trust about a michigander who supports michigan football and michigan state basketball?
According to themblock.com, Hoke called Berger "Alex?"
This is such a stupid rumor. Is it possible Hoke called a recruit the wrong name on accident? Sure, but I had coaches who knew me well who did that from time to time. And even if he did, I'm sure that's not why he picked OSU.
my HS coaches got it 100% right was when they used numbers, and I'd bet that's true in a lot of places.
The thing is, Hoke has 100 or so players to keep straight, 25-30 of which turnover every year with only a handful of those he coaches directly on the regular, and another 100+ recruits to keep straight. This doesn't include all of the other people he works with and in his personal life. He probably gets a name wrong every now and then, just like every other coach ever.
Just saying that guys with 1/100th of that responsibility got things wrong all the time. Hoke probably messes up, just like everybody else, including people responsible for thirty names to Hoke's few hundred.
I agree, that is not a big deal. I had an uncle, who reminds me of Coach Hoke. He would say "you there, what's your name", all the time to me and I was his favorite nephew.
He would get more people's names wrong than right. He is old school.
He looked like an Alex. Name change is in order, son...
I'm sure he was able to show him what it's all about, and everybody makes mistakes. He chose Ohio, his childhood favorite. Its not like he went there to work for 4 years in the weight room, in the community, just so he can play against the man that called him the wrong name...