will be michigan's highest pick in a while
Thursday Recruitin' Discovers New Mono Side Effect
Today's recruiting roundup features the latest on Derrick Green, Laquon Treadwell's potential fifth star, the new 2014 Scout 300 rankings, and more.
Momentum Changing For Green?
Tremendous caught up with VA RB Derrick Green, newly-minted Scout five-star and one of the top three targets remaining on Michigan's 2013 board, for a thorough rundown of his recruitment. Six schools—Michigan, Auburn, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Oregon, and Virginia Tech—are currently in the running for his services, though the general sense is that the Wolverines, Tigers, and Vols stand out from the pack at large. Green says he could make a decision at any time between now and signing day:
Decision: "It could be NSD; it could be tomorrow. It's going to be a feeling thing for me. Whenever it feels right, I'll make my decision then. I'm not really putting pressure on myself to decide at a certain date, so I'm just going with the flow".
As for where that flow will take Green, much remains uncertain. If he's swayed at all by success in the 2012 season and coach job security, however, Michigan could have a distinct edge provided they don't fall flat in the Big Ten, something also pointed out over at Tremendous. Auburn, thought to have the edge after multiple visits from Green, currently sits at 1-3, with their only victory on the year coming against Louisiana-Monroe; Gene Chizik has one of the hottest seats in the country and his job prospects don't look bright considering the tough SEC slate ahead. Tennessee's in better shape with a 3-2 record, but they're 0-2 in the SEC and face ranked teams in each of the next three weeks, with a home contest against Alabama sandwiched between trips to Mississippi State and South Carolina.
While a sub-par season from Auburn or Tennessee may not be enough to dissuade Green from making an SEC commitment—he doesn't mention team success as a prominent factor in his decision—the very first thing he mentions is his relationship with each team's respective coaching staffs; obviously, if the Tigers or Vols clean house that likely takes them out of the running. While that could open the door for Ole Miss or Oregon to jump to the forefront, it would also likely thrust Michigan into the driver's seat.
There's a long way to go, of course, and this is largely conjecture; the outside forces surrounding Green's recruitment, however, could easily favor Michigan so long as they take care of business in conference play.
[Hit THE JUMP for details on the 2014 Scout 300 and much more.]
You Can't Have One Without The Other (Two)
Oh, hell, might as well include updates on Laquon Treadwell and Leon McQuay III, right? While y'all may be sick of hearing about them, please direct me to any other prominent 2013 targets and I'll be happy to discuss someone else.
Recruiting analysts have raved about Treadwell's performance so far this season, and now Rivals' resident Illinois expert, "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran, is making the case for him to receive a fifth star in the Chicago Tribune [emphasis mine]:
I like that my employer doesn't throw around five-star rankings. In my humble opinion, Treadwell has earned it.
He might be the best receiver prospect I've seen in my 20-plus years of covering, ranking and evaluating the best football talent in this state.
I saw Treadwell in action last Saturday against Bloom. I already knew he was an exceptional talent with all the physical tools and traits you look for in a top-flight receiver. He has great speed and size, runs disciplined routes, can catch, has exceptional vision and outstanding body control.
But the little things Treadwell does really caught my eye.
To put the bolded claim into context, Illinois has produced two Rivals five-star wideouts in that time: former USC and current Northwestern WR Kyle Prater and 2002 Texas commit Marquise Johnson, who transferred to Texas Tech and never really panned out. You may also remember one Jason Avant, who starred at Chicago Carver and was the #13 receiver nationally in the class of 2002. While other states have turned out more talent at the position, it's still an impressive claim.
The news about McQuay doesn't directly involve McQuay, actually, but instead current USC DB commit Chris Hawkins. USC is currently at their NCAA-mandated scholarship limit of 18 for the 2013 class, but a few commits are at least looking around, including Hawkins. However, while Hawkins visited Washington last weekend, he came away from the trip saying he's "100 percent committed to USC," according to Rivals' Adam Gorney ($, info in header). That would be good news for Michigan, as a Hawkins decommit would open up a spot for McQuay, who currently favors the Trojans. Unfortunately, they're not out of the woods yet, as Hawkins is still planning trips to Notre Dame and Arizona State. His situation is one to keep an eye on.
Mono Side Effect: Loss Of Star
Mike Farrell's latest column discusses the possibility of USC QB commit Max Browne rising to the #1 overall ranking in the class along with the possibility that Shane Morris falls due to his lost senior season:
The lefty was awarded his fifth star following summer appearances at numerous camps as well as The Opening and Elite 11. However, after completing just over 50 percent of his passes as a junior, Morris started off this year 40-of-83 for 456 yards with three touchdowns and three picks. Then he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and could be out for the rest of the season, which makes it unclear if he'll be ready to play in the Under Armour All-American Game in January.
So, was the poor start due to mono or was it more of the up-and-down play from last season that held him back from his fifth star? Mono is unlikely to affect him long term when it comes to his college career, although it could delay his immediate impact depending on how long it takes to recover and gain back weight. His senior year playing sample will certainly lead to some detailed discussion.
While it's certainly unfortunate that such an illness could cause Morris to drop in the rankings, (1) it doesn't really matter, since he'll eventually bounce back to where he was pre-mono, fifth star or not, and (2) the truth is that a missed season does hurt his development, especially since he's unable to train, and that means it's unlikely he'll hold onto five-star status all the way through signing day.
Meanwhile, fellow 2013 commit Jourdan Lewis received his Army All-American jersey in a ceremony at Cass Tech last week. He'll be joined by future teammates Dymonte Thomas and Chris Fox representing the Wolverines in the game.
Scout released their initial top 300 for the class of 2014 and the list is littered with Michigan offers and targets, most notably #76 Michael Ferns—Michigan's lone commit—and top in-state prospects Malik McDowell (#15) and Damon Webb (#33). After seeing Webb several times both in camp settings and actual games, I very much agree with his lofty ranking, and I'm excited to see McDowell in action this weekend—he's been so dominant this season that he's rarely played even into the second quarter. Tremendous has a detailed breakdown of prominent Michigan targets on the list, and TTB has the usual rundown of every Wolverine offer to make the cut.
One such player, IL OT Jamarco Jones (#26 overall), tweeted yesterday that he'll visit Michigan for the Illinois game. He's one of the top offensive linemen on the board and getting him on campus this early is a nice start for the Wolverines.
The lone in-state offensive lineman with an offer, Grand Rapids Christian's Tommy Doles, is strongly considering the service academies, according to Josh Helmholdt ($):
Doles is projected as a high BCS prospect with offers already in from Michigan and Iowa State, but this is a kid with aspirations beyond college football and the service academies have struck a particular chord in the patriotic young man.
At 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, Doles should be able to pass the stringent height/weight requirements the military academies hold should he continue to pursue that option. Although he is a little undersized for the offensive line, Doles plays with good strength and is an aggressive blocker. His offense is pass-first, so we have seen a lot of him in pass sets. Doles could get his chest higher and does tend to get caught reaching, but he has great feet and is a very athletic offensive line prospect.
As a slightly undersized lineman, Doles fits the mold of a service academy player, as you saw when Michigan took on the cut-blocking attack of Air Force earlier this season.
Lastly, Tremendous breaks down Michigan's current and potential targets at quarterback for the 2014 class; an offer has yet to go out to a QB, but Michigan will need to take at least one in the class, preferably an elite prospect (obvious point is obvious).