"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
THE IMPORTANT THING: What Time Do I Need To Take A Break From Watching Arrested Development on Sunday?
Jabrill Peppers announces his college decision on Sunday at 5:15 pm ET on ESPNU. Everything we've seen and heard for the last several weeks—Gerry Hamilton's contrarianism notwithstanding—points to a Michigan commitment. While Peppers is declining to take interviews until his announcement, his coach is making the media rounds and claims that his star athlete isn't quite sure of his decision yet:
Representatives from the University of Michigan visited Paramus Catholic last week and spent much of the day there, inquiring about the Garden State's top athlete. The Wolverines are thought to take a commanding lead for his services into the weekend, although the star athlete has yet to officially solidify which school he will be selecting, Sunday.
"He doesn't know, just yet," [Paramus Catholic coach Chris] Partridge told NJ.com. "He's still visiting schools this week."
Although Partridge was reluctant to release the list of schools Peppers will be taking a look at during the final days of his recruiting process, there has been speculation that he will make a stop at Rutgers some time this week.
I'm not saying Peppers' coach is just doing his best to add some suspense—and there's nothing wrong with that—but I'll just leave this quote here:
“I know and feel very confident in the decision I’m going to make,” said Peppers.
Okay, I'm saying Peppers' coach is just doing his best to add some suspense. That's my last word on Peppers until Sunday, when there will either be many more words or we'll be attempting to salvage the flaming wreckage of the MGoBoard.
That consistent focus that trio of favorites combined with his aforementioned decision timeline was fodder for speculation about a commitment being forthcoming. One recent report went a step beyond speculating and indicated that a decision next week was imminent, a claim that Winovich denies.
"I think the question (from the reporter) was 'is it possible that I could commit to a school after my Pitt visit?'," he recalled. "I think I said, 'yeah, anything is possible.' He said, 'could you let me know so I could put you on a commit watch?' So I said, 'yeah, anything is possible.'" (Laughter).
For the record, Winovich is still in deliberation mode with no definite decision date in sight.
I've said previously that I've heard optimism from both the Michigan and Ohio State sides regarding their chances with Winovich; the above may give a hint as to why. I claim no insider info here, but I switched my prediction for him from U-M to OSU yesterday, because it appears the Wolverines are picking up interest in other OLB prospects—something I doubt they would do if they were confident Winovich would take the final linebacker spot.
[Late-Breaking NOTE: Ohio State just added a commitment from linebacker Dante Booker, but according to 247's Steve Wiltfong the Buckeyes would still accept a commitment from Winovich($). Bad news for Michigan, good news for me not having to rewrite this entire section.]
After a period in which they'd fallen out of contact, Michigan and Crete (IL) Monee four-star LB Nyles Morgan have reconnected, and Morgan told GBW's Josh Newkirk that he's still interested in the Wolverines ($):
“Coach (Curt) Mallory came by,’ [Morgan] said. “I also talked with (defensive coordinator) Greg Mattison on the phone last week. He said he would be by this week.”
With the Wolverine coaching staff accelerating their efforts to connect with Morgan, he said he would like to build a better relationship with Mattison.
“I just want to have a good conversation with him,” he said. “I had previously good conversations with him before. At Michigan we had real good conversation. That was pretty nice, too. I just want to get to know him a little better and have him get to know me.”
Morgan mentioned the possibility of visiting either for July's BBQ at the Big House or a game this fall; he's not in any hurry to decide, so Michigan could still become a contender for his signature.
According to 247's Clint Brewster($), linebackers coach Roy Manning spent seven hours(!!) with Florida prospect Darrion Owens and claimed he is their "top target" at linebacker. Owens received an offer a month ago and—at 6'3", 225 pounds—has the frame to play on the strong side.
Four-star LA LB Kenny Young—who claims a very strong list of offers—hasn't been mentioned as a major possibility for the Wolverines, but he has them on a list of schools he'd like to see, per Rivals' Jason Howell ($):
What schools does he plan to check out?
"Like the Florida schools - Florida, Florida State, Miami," Young said. "Those three, I'll also try to visit Arkansas, Tennessee, Michigan… Arizona State."
Michigan still has a very real chance with Winovich; that said, it's clear that they're also exploring other options in case they need one.
[Hit THE JUMP for updates on four top 2014 targets—including one discussing a possible commitment—as well as news on Michigan's 2015 QB offeree and much more.]
Would You Like A Commitment Watch With Your Commitment Watch?
HEY 2014 RECRUITS THIS IS GREAT AND ALL BUT I'D LOVE TO RELAX A LITTLE THIS SUMMER IF THAT'S OKAY WITH YOU GUYS aww hell I give up ($):
Smack dab in the middle of spring football practice at Liberty, [coach John] Truby and [four-star PA WR K.J.] Williams aren’t spending too much time mulling over a potential college commitment. Coach and star did manage to spend a few minutes discussing his recent phone conversations with coach Ferrigno and the Wolverines, conversations indicating a decision might not be far off for Williams.
“They just went over what the next steps are in the cycle as K.J. does give a verbal and things that will be expected of him,” said Truby. “From what I hear, K.J. said it went pretty good.”
“With K.J., you’re just trying to give him some tips, what to look for -- I know he does like Michigan, he had a great time up on his visit. But as far as is he close or is he not close -- I’m not quite sure. Honestly, he could give his verbal tomorrow and it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Michigan's biggest competition for Williams, at the moment, appears to be Syracuse. That's a head-to-head battle the Wolverines are going to win more times than not.
Four-star NJ DE/TE Garrett Dickerson has had Michigan in his final five for the last month, but subsequent commitments at both of his potential positions had some questioning if he was still an option; per Sam Webb, Dickerson is still interested and the Wolverines are now recruiting him as a defensive end ($). He's been to Ann Arbor once before and is looking to make a return visit either this summer or during the season; right now, he claims no favorites.
Four-star PA S Montae Nicholson is still taking the recruting process at a deliberate pace, but that hasn't stopped Michigan from being in frequent contact, per Sam Webb ($). Nicholson's coach, for one, appears to be in Michigan's corner:
“Coach Funk has been wonderful,” Nicholson’s coach, Don Smith said. ["]Coach Funk has been really really wonderful. He has shown tremendous interest in (Montae) consistently. Let me just say this… his first official visit is supposed to be to the Notre Dame/Michigan game, so that ought to tell you something right there.”
Per TomVH, Michigan coaches stopped by to visit four-star IL OL Jamarco Jones this week. With Alex Bars off the board to Notre Dame, Jones is one of the team's top targets to fill the third, and likely final, offensive line spot in the class.
2015 QB Target: Acquired
Michigan's coaches have made it clear that they plan to take one quarterback in each recruiting cycle, and for the 2014 class they took plenty of time before settling on a top target: Wilton Speight didn't receive his offer until this February and pounced on it almost immediately.
The 2015 class appears to be different, as the Wolverines offered CA QB Josh Rosen on Tuesday, per multiple outlets. Rosen told Steve Lorenz that Michigan's willingness to jump in early adds some weight to their offer ($):
"My coach told me earlier this afternoon that Michigan was going to offer, but that he wanted me to keep it quiet until I actually got it," Rosen said. "It's awesome in the sense that more and more big traditional programs are looking at me. Michigan even more because their process is usually very slow with quarterbacks so that's an honor in itself."
“Rosen, a strong-armed righty with more than a handful of verbal offers can make every throw required on the next level.Herips the ball down the field to the sidelines and up the seams with equal accuracy and possesses plus arm power. Rosen, who stands tall in the pocket, does a very good job of making accurate throws with balance and natural weight transfer that hits wide receivers in stride and provides the chance to maximize run after the catch yards. He also features a quick arm, but not necessarily as compact of a action as some others. While he isn't a dual-threat prospect, and shouldn't considered that, he is a pro-style signal caller with the ability to move with body quickness in the pocket, buy time and deliver the ball to second and third reads. As physically gifted as Rosen is, in terms of his arm strength and size combo, he is also sharp with the ability to understand scheme and process. He's more than just a strong right arm." -Gerry Hamilton, National Scouting Director, 247Sports
The highlights above lend plenty of credence to that scouting report; aside from some minor mechanical issues (his delivery is a touch long, but we're talking about a high school sophomore here), the worst thing you can say about Rosen's film is that his receivers are largely incapable of catching his perfectly on-target lasers. Yes, DO WANT.
Being from California, Rosen said he may have a tough time visiting Michigan this summer, but interest in the school is definitely there; he'll wait to get his offers, play his junior season, and start the recruiting process in earnest after that.
If the Wolverines need a more local backup plan, it appears they've got a couple. IL QB Jack Beneventi doesn't have an offer but still holds the Wolverines in very high regard, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):
While Michigan is currently not on Beneventi’s offer list, the Wolverines’ have shown some interest, as they were in his school recently to talk with his head coach.
“They came and talked my coach,” Beneventi said. “They told him they would be recruiting me hard and keeping in touch. I’m excited about that, it’s Michigan, you know. It’s a huge school. My favorite quarterback is Tom Brady. He went there. I am very interested in Michigan. I also know they are going back to the pro-style now.”
Beneventi is an early four-star (#195 overall) on 247 and already holds a Notre Dame offer, so he looks like a quality option if Rosen—who'll be recruited by everyone—decides to go elsewhere. He's not the only 2015 Illinois quarterback who's got his eyes on Michigan, either; Newkirk also caught up with David Edwards, who... well it sounds like he'd be open to being a Wolverine, that's for sure ($):
“Michigan has always been my favorite school,” Edwards exclaimed. “I love the tradition there. My dad played at Indiana and was a big, big Michigan fan (growing up). He ended up going to Indiana. So, love, love Michigan. Love the Blue.”
Edwards said both coach Curt Mallory and coach Jeff Hecklinski have been by his school to talk to his head coach.
“They just want me to visit at the end of July for the BBQ at the Big House,” Edwards said. “Coach Mallory actually, his father recruited my dad and he recruited my cousin to go to Illinois, and now he is recruiting me to go to Michigan. I think it’s awesome. I feel like I am destined to go to Michigan.”
Edwards doesn't hold any offers yet, but claims "considerable" interest from Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, Stanford, and Florida State; he's tentatively planning to attend Michigan's camp in June. If an offer comes... well, you can read, presumably.
Big Day For Swen Swenson And Swen's Son And No This Isn't Confusing In The Slightest
I'm still very much on board with it being way too early to talk about 2016 recruits, but exceptions must be made. In this case, Michigan offered rising sophomore lineman Erik Swenson of Downers Grove, Illinois, and it's safe to say he's an early Wolverine lean, per TomVH ($):
As Swenson’s father, Swen, discussed the offer over the phone, a neighbor in a Michigan jersey yelled Go Blue. Swenson returned the favor and proudly exclaimed that his son received an offer from the Wolverines.
“We’re ecstatic. This is a huge day for all of us,” Swenson said. “If you’re an elite left tackle it’s kind of hard not to look at Michigan. You have Jake Long, who needs no introduction, and now you have Taylor Lewan.”
“I think he will really make his choice until after his senior year of football,” said Swen Swenson. “It could change, but I don’t think so. I think he is going to look at all his options and learn about the different academic programs at all the schools. I got to be honest, Michigan is such an awesome academic school and Erik is either interested in becoming a coach or sports management, I know with the Ross school there and Steve Ross being the owner of the Dolphins. And I know with current and former NFL guys that come in and learn business and things like that—it is very exciting for Erik.”
But his father did admit Michigan is pretty high on his sons current school list.
“Well if I had to pick Erik’s top-five schools. It would be Michigan No.1 without a doubt. Notre Dame probably No. 2. Northwestern No. 3., and I would say Ohio State No.4. and maybe Stanford at (No. 5).”
Michigan is the second school to offer Swenson, following Illinois. Oh, and Erik is a 6'6", 280-pound high school sophomore, so presumably many more are to come unless other schools see the above quotes and give in to the seemingly inevitable.
Wilton Speight discussed his Elite11 performance (with highlights), being a part of the #1-ranked class—on ESPN, at least—and his goals for next season:
This week's must-read is Chantel Jennings' feature on tight end commit Ian Bunting—it's unfortunately paywalled, but I had to include this line ($):
But there was one last thing about Michigan that seemed kind of perfect for Ian, and that was his grandmother’s connection there [U-M graduate].
She had been ill for quite a while by the time Ian was in the thick of his recruitment, and when Ian visited her he generally did most of the talking during the conversation. But his grandmother always managed to ask if Michigan had offered yet.
“No,” he always had to tell her.
They had interest, but they had yet to offer the scholarship.
Just three days after she passed away, the call and offer came from Michigan.
“I think she might have had a chat with Bo Schembechler up in heaven,” Bunting joked.
If you have Insider, the whole article is well worth your time.
New 2015 offers went out to TX OLB Anthony Wheeler, FL DB Kevin Toliver (LSU commit), and FL ATH Jeffrey Holland, per multiple outlets. All three made the aforementioned Top247, with Toliver and Holland—high school teammates at Jacksonville Trinity Christian—both in the top 40.
2015 Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier OLB Justin Hilliard—who holds early offers from the likes of Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Penn State—wants to camp at Michigan and Notre Dame this summer, per Scout's Dave Berk ($).
I assume Chase Winovich has plenty of confidence in his ability to beat out the competition or he wouldn't be very good. But in his position, you would want to ask yourself if it made sense to be the fourth LB in a class, unless the school in question was clearly your top choice. If he is unsure of where he wants to play, I would think the fact Booker has now pledged to ohio would cause Chase to think long and hard about whether he wants to be part of such a big LB class.
I hope I'm wrong... but Winovich's words when he visited recently, lend credence to Ace's prediction... it just sounded like hes OSU, by his choice of words and cadence... this one feels this way, and has since day 1.
Also, I've heard Michigan is very high on Kevin Dillman
Not that they're in much of a pickle (hehehaha I made a funny), but it was speculated that Dillman might have been Michigan's first offer at QB. I could see him getting offered down the road.
Dillman is currently the #12 rated player in 2015, #3 pro-style QB in the nation and the #3 rated pro-style QB in California. This just in: California has good pro-style QBs (they also have #4 and #6, and the #6 dual, but dual is more Texas's thing, what with having the #1, #3, and #4).
Is Don Bosco the patron saint of high school football or something?
Just as Christian came up to the Cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, fell from off his back, and began to tumble down the hill, and so it continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre. There it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Seems like people see something else in Darrion Owens. RIvals has him the #49 Safety (meh) but claims offers from Michigan, OSU, and a smattering of other mid level BCS offers. Maybe everyones thinking he can walk down to LB and dominate
And getting Montae Nicholson would be excellent (aside from him being good at football) because he goes to Gateway (PA) which has produce two 5 star and five 4 star guys in the rivals era so getting a foot in the door there is good
Again, recruiting is going stupid well. Most everyone on that last that loves them some maize and blue is a top X list type guy
He's actually still a freshman at 6'7" 280lbs. I saw this kid and his dad, Swen at Michigan's youth football camp in 2011. Erik was fricking enormous for a kid just coming out of 7th grade. I've coached and been around middle school football for years. He's the biggest kid I've ever seen at that age.
Then theirs Swen the Great. He goes about 6'7" 350 lbs with a head the size of a pumpkin. Just a massive human.
I really can't wait to see what Erik looks like in 12th grade. It'll be scary
With what looks like an impending KJ Williams commitment and active recruitment by the coaches, do you think we still have any shot at Artavis Scott? I know you have him projected to Florida but I think he would be the perfect compliment in the slot to guys like Drake Harris and Moe Ways. Kind of like Avant was to Braylon and Breaston. Are the coaches still pushing for him, haven't heard much lately.
It's like winning the lottery.....everytime you realize you weren't born in Ohio.
I think you're underestimating the Syracuse horse in the KJ Williams race. First off, his cousin is an already committed quarterback. Also, he "hails" from the same high school as current 'Cuse WR Jarrod West and they have a pretty good relationship.
To me when your best offers come down to Michigan and Syracuse it's a no-brainer, but those outside factors could play a roll. Personally I wouldn't be very disappointed if we didn't get him, Scott is a more dynamic players and fills a need, I would put all my eggs in his basket even if he's more of a long shot.
It's like winning the lottery.....everytime you realize you weren't born in Ohio.
With Dickerson in the fold being recruited as a DE, is there waning confidence in the other DE candidates Hand, McDowell? Yes, the same argument was made pre-Marshall commit, and yes Hand and McDowell are take-em-if-you-can-get-em recruits but would the coaches take 4 DEs?
You're looking at 4 players that can play up 4 different positions. McDowell can play SDE or 3-tech (think he's best at SDE for now), Hand can play WDE or SDE, Marshall is pretty much a WDE, but may be able to play SAM if needed, and Dickerson I believe is a WDE. So you are looking at at least 3 different positions from those 4 guys. Plus it's unlikely Michigan gets them all.
But my point is that athletes can often play more than just the position for which they were recruited, and often times play it very well. Fans need to slot every player into one position or another, but when you recruit good athletes, you can sort out their position later. Many of them change after a year or two anyway.
I'm surprised that the coaches are recruiting Garrett Dickerson at DE, I know that they only wanted one TE in this class, but it seems like they are in on more than enough elite DE talent and with Lawerence Marshall already committed.
The coaches have done a great job with this class, and I have to think since Peppers interest has been the catalyst for interest from other top players that his commitment would be a catalyst for further commitments and a strong finish.