it again Ace.
No bigger recruiting tool than the Big House...
In this week's Thursday Recruitin', effusive praise of the Under the Lights experience abounds, Danny O'Brien nears a decision, the 2013 Scout 100 is released, and there's even some basketball recruiting news. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
It's tough to find a recruit who was in attendance that would disagree with that sentiment. From the non-paywalled articles, here are quotes from Devin Funchess...
"That was a live game," he said. "I got down when Notre Dame scored the wide open touchdown, but Michigan did a lot with 30 seconds. It was a great game and a great comeback and I want to be a part of it next year."
“It was fantastic,” Gant said of the atmosphere. “Especially being in the biggest stadium in college football, there’s no greater feeling then that. Especially being the first night game at Michigan Stadium, it was fantastic. Listening to all the music going on between the plays… it made me want to go out there and play right away.”
...and Terry Richardson:
"This is why I committed," he said. "This is why I set my plans to Michigan. It's a great university. We have to come here and try to carry on the big time tradition."
The incredible game and atmosphere had an impact on the uncommitted visitors, as well. Gant sat next to WA OL Zach Banner and CA WR Jordan Payton, and he thinks the experience gave Michigan a big leg up in each of their recruitments [emphasis mine]:
“I actually sat right next to them. We built a pretty good relationship and it was a good experience being with them. I think that Zach and Jordan think this is a great atmosphere to be in and playing in front of 114,000 people is just an unbelievable experience. I feel like at the end of the day, Ann Arbor is where they want to be.”
Even from the premium articles, it's easy to get a sense of how well the visits went for, well, everyone. [Note: All of these should come with a ($), but it seemed ridiculous to insert that after every single link for the rest of this section.] Banner was "blown away," by the Big House, telling 24/7 that Michigan "definitely moved up my board." Danny O'Brien (more on him later) called the experience "electric." Jordan Payton deemed the trip "amazing," and said Michigan is his leader—he might even move up his announcement, though he won't reveal a date yet. Erik Magnuson quipped "there's nothing like it." Caleb Stacey? Simply speechless.
Of course, the Wolverines didn't play host to just the seniors. 2013 DB Shaquille Wiggins tweeted after the game, "I can't wait to go to Michigan I jus want those new uniforms.." The Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek standout, who holds a U-M offer, named a new leader this week ($). I'll give you zero guesses, because duh.
The visit set the bar ($) for Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton, who also earned an offer from the coaches this week and now has the Wolverines among his leaders. For Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OT Kyle Bosch, the trip exceeded his expectations ($). Toledo (OH) St. John's DE Matt Miller, younger brother of Michigan offensive lineman Jack, appears to have enjoyed himself as well:
All that, and I've yet to mention that Dymonte Thomas, one of the top juniors in Ohio and a blue-chip recruit at both running back and safety, committed on the spot Saturday. This "night game" concept just might catch on, guys.
Flint Powers defensive tackle Danny O'Brien will make his much-anticipated announcement during his school's homecoming rally on October 7th, choosing between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State ($, info in header). As Scout's Sam Webb notes on his new Twitter page, that announcement comes before planned official visits to Tennessee and Michigan State, the two schools that seem to have the best shot at him outside of Michigan. Having a "Hello" post prepared by the first week in October seems like it would be a good idea.
Our good friend TomVH reports that wideout Amara Darboh will take an official visit to Michigan on either November 19th or 26th, coinciding with the Nebraska and Ohio State games, respectively ($, info in header). Darboh initially planned on visiting for the Western Michigan game, but wasn't able to make it in that weekend—I wouldn't read much into that, especially with the rescheduled visit, and I think Michigan is in good position with Darboh.
Don Bosco Prep (NJ) defensive back Yuri Wright has one official visit set ($, info in header), and since this is a Michigan site, you can probably guess where that visit is going to be. He hasn't decided on a date yet, but it looks like he'll be in Ann Arbor within the next month. He has a final six of Michigan, Rutgers, Georgia, Notre Dame, Cal, and Michigan State.
The Wolverines may be in line for a surprise visit from five-star Sacramento (CA) Grant safety Shaq Thompson ($, info in header). Thompson has the ability to play multiple positions, has fantastic size (6'2", 210), and is the type of prospect you don't really say no to, so it will be very interesting to see what happens if Michigan gets him on campus—I doubt the coaches would turn him away because of a numbers crunch.
Quickly: Michael Rothstein profiles Greg Mattison and his recruiting prowess at WolverineNation. Also at WN, TomVH counts down Michigan's top ten most important commits in the class, with Caleb Stacey the No. 10 most important commit ($), Devin Funchess No. 9 ($), and Terry Richardson No. 8 (free). MLive's Kyle Warber caught up with Mario Ojemudia for an interview last week. Good Cousel (MD) five-star receiver Stefon Diggs will trim his list down to eight on October 1st, and is looking at Auburn, Miami, Florida, and possibly Clemson for official visits—he'll be a tough pull, and Michigan needs to find a way to get him on campus if they want a shot. Fullback commit Sione Houma's ankle injury, suffered during his game last week, is not serious, and he should be back on the field within two weeks.
As mentioned above, Alliance (OH) Marlington S/RB Dymonte Thomas committed to Michigan after the Notre Dame game. You can find much more in my "Hello" post, but here's some delicious bitterness from the Duane Long Report's Jerry Beeson [emphasis mine]:
Friday night I had the opportunity to get a first hand look at the Marlington Dukes and star junior Dymonte Thomas as they traveled to Mahoning county to take on Poland. I was hoping to witness a future Buckeye, but after watching Michigan's come from behind win over the Irish of Notre Dame, word has come down that Thomas has verbally committed to Michigan. Key word being verbal, but I'll leave that at that.
Um, Jerry? All commitments are "verbal" until signing day. That's how this whole thing works. Deal with it. Making that statement even more ridiculous is the fact that, a few weeks ago, DUANE LONG wrote on the very same site that Ohio State wasn't showing enough interest in Thomas, and he was a "baffling non-offer." That same article also proclaims Michigan's newest commit both the best running back and the best safety in Ohio's class of '13, which is nice. Thomas will play safety when he takes the field for the Wolverines.
Speaking of Thomas, he earned a four-star rating in the newly-released Scout 100, which gives players star ratings but no rankings yet—the full list is simply ordered by stars and then position. Thomas is among the top seven safeties in the country, while fellow commit Shane Morris is one of just 12 players (and two quarterbacks) to earn a five-star rating. Here's a list of Michigan targets who made the list (all are four-stars except Jalin Marshall and Michael Hutchings; positions are what's listed on Scout, not necessarily what they'd play at Michigan):
Michigan has at least some interest from a full 25% of next year's Scout 100, and with the 2013 class shaping up to be much smaller (probably 18-20 players, depending on attrition) than 2012, the Wolverines will be able to pick and choose from among the nation's elite.
Quickly: Tom has a feature article on Steve Elmer ($), and while the article is paywalled, you can see his video interview with Elmer for free here. To quote the great Keith Jackson, if Elmer keeps eating his cornbread, he'll be man-sized some day. According to the 24/7 message boards, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin are in a lead group for Elmer over Michigan State.
Yes, basketball. Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focused on five-star 2012 big man Mitch McGary, and extensively quotes his AAU coach, who is definitely a fan of John Beilein:
"The post player is intimately and intricately involved in John Beilein's system," [AAU coach Wayne] Brumm explained. "I don't know anybody who runs a better offensive system for a post player than Michigan. So I have to say, why not (Michigan as a possible destination)? Everybody else is (analyzing McGary's recruitment) like they're a friggin fan. We're trying to pick a school that is in Mitch's best interest."
Brumm added: "John Beilein can flat-out coach. The people I talk to and the coaches I talk to, I'll flat-out tell you — they are scared of John Beilein. They are worried about the day he starts getting the talent that they've got (at their schools). He's been at a bunch of places that he couldn't recruit high-major talent. Now he's at Michigan and it looks like he is making some headway there. When he starts with an even slate in terms of talent, look out! Look what he did last year. Look what he did with Darius Morris, Timmy Hardaway, and look what he has done with Jordan Morgan. My goodness, isn't anybody paying attention?"
[raises hand] The article also quotes a Scout national hoops recruiting analyst who says that Michigan "is certainly right there, if not at the top, very close to it," in terms of McGary's recruitment. McGary himself has a blog on ESPN Rise, and he recapped his recent visits to Michigan, North Carolina, and Duke:
I would say that the part that stood out most about the visit was the fans and just how much love they showed me. I really wasn’t expecting all of that. People talk about the Cameron Crazies at Duke, but that’s how it was at Michigan too. Those fans showed me the most love of the three visits.
Fans chanted "Mitch Mc-Ga-ry" during the Western Michigan game, and that caught the big man's attention. In the blog, he also debunks rumors he committed to both UNC and Duke while also saying that he'd like to check out Kentucky, Maryland, and Florida, but he's "not sure" he'll make it to those schools. The Wolverines have turned into a serious player—perhaps even the favorite?—in a recruitment that felt like a pipe dream not very long ago.
Joe Eberhardt of UMHoops caught up with 2013 commit Glenn Robinson III for an interview, and they discussed Robinson's AAU teammate... Mitch McGary:
This summer, I was recruiting [McGary] hard and I know Michigan is in his top 5. I know he had a great time on his visit to Michigan. He’s my best friend and we are really like brothers. I want him to do what is best for him, but I’ll try to do what I can do to recruit him to Michigan. I really don’t know know where he is going to end up, but I hope he comes to Michigan. I know he’s still taking visits and making a decision, but I don’t think it will be too much longer before he decides.
According to UMHoops, Michigan now has a new target in the 2013 class in rising Texas big man Dominic Woodson, who now claims a Wolverine offer:
New England recruiting expert Adam Finkelstein describes Woodson as “a poor man’s Dejuan Blair, a power player and space eater inside the lane who bullies his opponents on both ends of the floor.” Most importantly, Woodson lists an offer from Michigan as well as Oklahoma, Michigan State and Baylor with interest from Louisville, Florida, UConn and Texas. An offer would likely have to be made official by a visit to campus but the Michigan interest appears sincere with Beilein and Bacari attending open gym.
He sounds like a contingency plan if Beilein and Co. can't land McGary, especially given the limited number of available scholarships in the next couple classes.
Finally, Dylan posts his own recruiting class rankings for 2013, and the Wolverines currently sit atop the list, though it's still very early in the process (half the conference, including Michigan State, has yet to land a commit).
it again Ace.
No bigger recruiting tool than the Big House...
I should say this more often, but I really appreciate all the feedback (both positive and negative, but mostly positive) that I've been getting from the MGoCommunity. It's made this transition a whole lot easier, and also helps me do my job better. The words of support are always appreciated, even if I don't get a chance to directly respond to all of them.
With all due respect to the outstanding 2012 class, this write-up makes me almost more excited about the 2013 class! Pulling the top recruit from Ohio, the top recruit from Michigan, and being in the serious running for several other national recruits? That is amazing!
Listening to all the music going on between the plays…
Opponents of the RAWK might stick this quote in the back of their mind. I assume he's not talking about the band. We want the gameday experience to be perfect for ourselves, the old crusty paying fans, but we should also want it to be perfect for the recruits when they come in as well. I'd trade a bit of my distaste in the music for a a bit more excitement for a potential recruit.
I never minded any additional music as long as it didn't marginalize the marching band. Can anybody say it has?
If playing PopEvil as the team assembles in the tunnel and starts to run on the field doesn't marginalize the band, I don't know what does.
If you're sure that that even happened to begin with (many posters disputed the timing of things, including a marching band member), I'd be surprised if it has or will happen again.
I'm with you on that - Of course I want the experience to be the best it can be from my standpoint but I always remind myself that a lot of the focus should be on the kids, the players and students. The thing that makes college sports exponentially better than professional is that a lot of focus is placed on the students and less on the paying public (who the pro sports obviously focus on).
Likewise with the uniforms. I'm still galled about it, but it seems the recruits really responded to them. Which also galls me... But I was raised in Ann Arbor by Michigan grads. To someone who didn't have TRADITION beaten into his head since birth, it could understandably be exciting to see flashier jerseys and more RAWK. (And be honest - Denard makes everything look good. Put him out there in pink and recruits would be excited.)
One thing I didn't anticipate about the uniforms, which I'm not crazy about on their own, is that they did look really, really awesome when players were all together, as in the pregame huddle.
...play the damn music! I love MMB as much as anyone, but if the tunes mean better dudes, I'm all for it!
To add to the Danny O'Brien intrigue didn't Sam Webb say that Zach Banner would announce in the first week of October as well?
You got a link, Jerseyblue? I haven't seen/heard that (not much of a radio guy, so sometimes I miss Webb's WTKA stuff if it doesn't make it onto Scout or the message boards), but it would certainly bode well for Michigan if that was the case.
I thought he said it on the recruiting roundup from two days ago. I can't get it to play at work or else I would have confirmed it. I replay the podcast at night at home. It was a long roundup, about 22 minutes and it was in the first 5 or 6 minutes. It's probably still up on the site though I can't access from here.
EDIT: My bad Ace. Just listened to it again. He was stilltalking about O'Brien. It was before the segway to Banner.
Ace, great write up, but you should note that Matt Miller is from Toledo St. John's, not P-Burg
Thanks - Rivals has it wrong, I guess. I knew his brother went to Toledo St. John's, but wasn't sure if they had moved or something.
If memory serves, the Miller family lives in Perrysburg (toledo suburb), but yes attends St. Johns which is in Toledo. Likely the confusion.
The potential Shaq Thompson visit is quite the surprise. But, he's probably just taking some visits for the experience. I'd be shocked if we were able to reel him in somehow - even if we could find a scholly for him.
I LOVE reading the comments from McGary's AAU coach. It sounds like he's got his favorite school to recommend to MM. Having McGary would catapult Michigan's program to a whole other level. If nothing else, it will accelerate our return to the top of college hoops.
I think our 2013 class will probably end up with a higher average player rating than 2012.
Re: Thompson-I'd agree if he'd come for the ND game with Payton like it was speculated he might.
But in the article, the week he's looking to possibly visit is for SDSU. Maybe I'm being too optimistic but a 5* kid doesn't travel across the country to see a team play SDSU if he isn't at least slightly interested.
I don't think we have much of a chance at landing him but I wouldn't rule it out if he does visit that weekend.
This week's post was kind of a gimmie as you obviously weren't at a loss for information, but this was a really great read and we appreciate all your work. This is exactly what I needed for thursday morning to get me through the work week and on to more Michigan Football....and them lions baby. Couple thoughts racing through my head:
2012: Wishful thinking - Let's assume we can take 5 more recruits, Danny O'Brien, Zach Banner, Jordan Payton, Amara Dabroh and we snakedog Shaw Thompson at the last second. Jaw dropping.
2013: I want Wyatt and Elmer bad. If you add Elmer to this line we are building with the 2012 class, wow. And if you pair a speed back with Wyatt, dangerous.
Dymonte Thomas The best rb in Ohio, but wants to play defense at Michigan... stop me if you have heard this introduction before.
Oh yeah and the Shane Morris kid is okay too. Look for this class to be an exciting one lead by Shane, chalked full of skill position players.
I think next year we should take some good wideouts in the class.
However, I don't see to many WR's offered in this list. Ace, any clue who the early suspects might be?
Dallas Jesuit's Jake Oliver (already a four-star on 24/7) and Crete-Monee's Laquon Treadwell (teammate of Anthony Standifer, putting up huge numbers this year) are both guys I expect Michigan will go after hard. There's also a couple Ohio guys in Shelton Gibson and Rob Wheelwright that could get a look as well. I'm sure there are more names out there, but those are the ones that stick out so far.
It sounds to me like Treadwell will commit the instant he gets an offer. He might wait and take a visit or something first, but assuming he gets an early-ish offer, he should be an early commit.
With his size, athleticism and aggression (he's also a stud DE) I hope he gets that offer.
Panic fires put out!
Also, just to be clear, that wasn't a list of players Michigan has offered (it's still really early, and U-M hasn't sent out offers to a lot of players who will almost certainly merit one), but guys who are at least on the radar at this moment. Sorry if that was confusing.
"if you weren't in Ann Arbor you were wrong"
Get the fuck off my court is now my second favorite quote this year.
"your (sic) wrong."
all the kids are grammatically incorrect on twitter, it's the cool thing to do!
i'm not sure if morris (I think it was morris that posted it) was grammatically incorrect. at first i thought he was too, but what if he meant it in a "my bad" or "your bad" sense? so insteard of "my wrong", it is "your wrong" for not being in ann arbor? yeah, i'm probably stretching it, but since he is a UM verbal, i'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Man, if Mattison can snag an elite safety like Thompson, I can only dream of the defensive schemes he could run.
An important note about Woodson is that he has a clear connection to Michigan through his AAU team, which is Ray Jackson's Rising Stars team in Round Rock, Texas. See the Rising Stars Academic Athletic Program facebook page for more details on this program, which Jackson cofounded in 2005.
"Pom-poms and RAWK and crowd noise. Is it just me or was the stadium not actually very loud when it would help out the most? The pom-poms encouraged people to use their hands shaking pom-poms instead of making noise and while the piped-in music was indeed loud, when it cut out the people in the stadium making noise were largely going "OH oh oh oh oh, OH oh oh oh oh" instead of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA." The latter is louder.
Putting aside the insults to the Great Tradition they represent, is the noise level created by the frippery mostly cosmetic? It has seemed much louder in Michigan Stadium—I was frustrated as I was screaming myself hoarse on the last drive while people around me shook their little plastic thingies. Plastic thingy shaking is not that intimidating, people.
And then there's the guy two rows in front of you who's shaking the thing constantly so you can't see the game. In the South they have a protocol about these things: raise that thing above your shoulder during a play and you're not getting that arm back. Here we get them every five years or so and there's always someone who thinks row 14 is the last one". ""
I guess if you post enough things on the internet, you're bound to say something stupid eventually.
I can't find the link now, but I seem to remember hearing that the luxury boxes reflect noise onto the field more than onto the bowl. In other words, the kids on the sidelines probably hear more noise than the fans in the stands.
Besides, Brian wasn't saying it was quiet, just that it could have been louder if people weren't distracted by trinkets. This is a well-known phenomenon - see key shaking on 3rd down.
I have a friend that lives in Ann Arbor, she said she's never before heard so much noise from her front porch during a game. She said when they scored, it shook her house! Seems like the noise is better this year to her.
Wouldn't it be incredibly awkward to announce for UofM and then head to Tenn a few days later? Isn't taking visits immediatly after a commitment kind of a goofy thing to do? I certainly don't know that O'Brien does or doesn't favor Michigan but his timing just seems screwy to me.
At the very least. assuming a UM commit and then taking visits where he, inevitably, comes away "impressed" at a vist that "gave him something to think about", etc., everyone will start to wonder...
I think if O'Brien committed, he would be in the same situation as the other 2012 commits (like Terry Richardson) - if you're truly committed, no visits. Right now I'd be very surprised if Michigan didn't land O'Brien, so I think he's keeping those visits scheduled right now for the sake of suspense (or he doesn't know Hoke's policy yet), and those would likely be cancelled if he goes blue on Oct. 7.
Personally, I think the fact that he will make his announcement before scheduled visits to his other two favorites is a very good sign.
The first rule of HELLO posts is (you can write them but) you don't talk about HELLO posts.
(Kidding, [mostly]...and while your appreciation of our appreciation is, uh, appreciated...you are really making sure the blog is not missing a beat).
I assume if he commits to us, he cancels those visits. But if he committed to one of them, he'd still go on that visit but not the other one. The fact that there are two still scheduled seems like a better sign than if it were only the Tennessee visit.
I would assume the coaches will allow him to commit or take visits, but not both. If he commits to us, I would expect him to cancel those visits.
If he does indeed cancel the visits after committing, I think that it all makes sense.
If he doesn't...I'll wonder what's up.
It'll be interesting to see the coaching staff's approach to the 2013 class. They have seemed pretty willing to offer kids they really like, but you could make an argument for being stingy with those offers until more tape from their junior seasons becomes available. (I obviously love the Morris & Thomas commitments, though.)
I might be in the minority here, but I don't really want Shallman if he's going to play running back. Michigan needs a big-time tailback, not a short yardage guy. If he were going to be paired with a big-play guy in the backfield, then I'd be okay with it. But if we only take one RB next year, it can't be Shallman.
(Getting Bri'onte Dunn might alleviate that need if we can pull it off.)
Big backs can be "big-play" guys (e.g., Gerhardt, Okoye). Anyway, Michigan just recruited 2 RBs in the '11 class and already has a combo-back in the '12 class, plus they'll surely recruit even more backs between the '13 and '14 classes.
Take your point that the roster should have a big-play/3rd-down type back beyond the move-the-chains type, but not wanting Shallman is a whole different matter. Besides, there's always a chance he moves position. You don't turn down an athlete like that.
I'm just saying that if Michigan DOESN'T get Bri'onte Dunn (or a comparable back) in 2012 and DOESN'T recruit a true tailback outside of Shallman for 2013, that's setting us up for a very slow, likely ineffective backfield.
I don't want the coaches to stop pursuing Shallman. I just want a complementary back, too.
I don't see why Shallman needs to be dubbed a short yardage back. He could easily be a John Clay or Ron Dayne type running back, getting the ball on all downs. How nice is it to get 6-7 yards on first down? It really opens things up. If he breaks it from our 20 he probably won't take it to the house but he has the speed to go 30-40 yards. More importantly, when he gets first contact at 5 yards, he'll get another 2-5 yards out of it, almost every time.
There aren't very many successful 255 lb. tailbacks in the world. We can point out all the exceptions there have been and I could say that Danny O'Brien might be the next Craig Heyward, but we all know that Shallman's chances of being a premier tailback are slim.
I believe the reason there aren't many successful 255lb running backs is because there aren't many guys who weigh 255lbs who are athletic enough to play RB. However, Shallman is athletic enough, by all reports. He's not going to juke many DBs, but he won't get arm tackled either.
I agree that he doesn't appear to have quick enough feet to be a RB, but doesn't he have the ideal height and bulk for a TE? Seems like he'd be good as a FB too.