Is Darboh really visiting OSU this weekend or should that read Notre Dame?
to play football, not to play trumpet
This week's Thursday Recruitin' talks new recruiting rankings, more on the recent developments with Stefon Diggs, more wide receiver recruiting in general, and 2013 recruits who could be narrowing their focus in the near future. Usual request: 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.
Scout released their new top 300 for the class of 2012, and for the most part it was extremely positive for Michigan recruits. MGoUser AAB detailed where players ended up in the new rankings, and I've copied that list here with one addition:
It's worth noting that Joe Bolden (pictured above) had one of the largest jumps on the list, going from #229 to #94, while A.J. Williams's leap into the top 300 also came with a shiny new fourth star and a new designation: offensive tackle. Kaleb Ringer dropped off the list and was reclassified as a three-star, which shouldn't come as a surprise after he missed much of his senior season with an MCL injury. With 13 commits in the Scout 300, and several top targets in play, there's not much to complain about here.
247Sports, meanwhile, released their top 64 seniors in the state of Michigan, and while MSU commit Aaron Burbridge heads the list—legitimately, in my opinion—the Wolverines dominate the rest of the top ten with James Ross (#2), Terry Richardson (#3), Royce Jenkins-Stone (#5), Matt Godin (#7), Devin Funchess (#8), Mario Ojemudia (#9), and Ben Braden (#10). The other non-Michigan commits are Cincinnati-bound RB Dennis Norfleet (#4) and Tennessee commit Danny O'Brien (#6). Drake Johnson comes in at #17, six spots ahead of Juwan Lewis, while preferred walk-on punter Kenny Allen slips in at #59.
Bolden comes in for a lot of praise this week, being named to the Under Armour All-America Game and also earning district Defensive Player of the Year honors:
"Joe has been a tremendous leader for our team," Colerain coach Tom Bolden said. "He goes 100 miles-per-hour in practice and 100 miles-per-hour in the games. Everything he brings from an emotional and physical standpoint has been great for our team."
Unlike Madaris, Bolden orally committed to Michigan in late April, a decision that his coach and uncle, Tom Bolden, thought was an easy fit.
"It came down to UC and Michigan," the coach said, "but Joe liked the direction that Coach (Brady) Hoke is taking their program. He's an athletic throwback; he plays with reckless abandon, but he has the athleticism to get sideline to sideline."
Aside from the history of the Michigan football program, Bolden was lured by the academic standards of the university, something that is important to the senior who carried a 3.9 GPA this season.
Receiver recruit Monty Madaris earned the Offensive Player of the Year award in the same district—the Cincinnati area—while commits A.J. Williams and Caleb Stacey both earned first-team all-district honors along the offensive line. There's been increased talk that Williams will move permanently to tackle, and while he's open to the move, the 6'6", 275-pound senior thinks he can still come in and contribute at tight end ($):
“After this year I will have to find myself working out making sure my route running is still fine and my hands are still ok. A lot of people don’t know that I can still catch it and a lot of people think that I should switch to tackle and think I’m going to switch to tackle when I get to college. I think I’m athletic enough and I still have the soft hands, so if I keep working on certain drills and everything I’ll be able to get to college and show them off.”
Williams went on to joke about how tackles make more money in the NFL while making the point that he'll do whatever is needed to help the team win, so it sounds like position won't be an issue for him when he gets to campus.
After Sam Webb dropped his article last Thursday profiling Stefon Diggs and his renewed—and strong—interest in Michigan, he's become the recruit du jour this week for local outlets. Tim Sullivan discusses his recruitment in his latest piece at the Free Press:
“His route running, ability to get off the ball with ease and his quickness in and out of his cuts are only surpassed by his hands and flair for the dramatic,” said Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell. “He is the definition of a playmaker.”
Michigan was initially slow to pursue Diggs, but lately the interest from the Wolverines’ end has picked up. He recently placed Michigan in his top five schools under consideration, and is planning to visit Ann Arbor in December.
To steal a line from our fearless leader, DO WANT. Tom also has an (insider) article on Diggs, who continues to say and do all the right things, including getting his mother up to speed on the process:
"I get on the computer and do research on all the schools," [Stefon's mother] Stephanie said. "With Blake (Countess) at Michigan it does make me feel a little more comfortable. He's a super kid and comes from a great family."
Like his mother, Diggs also has some questions that he would like answered by the Michigan coaching staff. He's not yet willing to share the questions but says once they're answered, he'll be more willing to talk.
"I'm willing to say right now that Michigan sits well with me; I'm comfortable with Michigan," he said. "They would turn me into a better man, and once I get those questions answered, we'll go from there."
According to the article, Diggs will come out with a new top seven on November 29th, his birthday. It is very safe to assume that Michigan will be included. Also, if you missed this last night, two different MGoUsers gave extensive scouting reports on Diggs and teammate Wes Brown from their game last week, which you can find in this diary. Don't worry: neither disappointed.
Lakewood (CA) receiver Darius Powe tried to make it to Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game, but couldn't. Don't take that as a sign his interest has wavered, however:
"I'm still trying to set that visit up but I haven't yet," Powe said. "After my season I should be able to sit down and get that trip planned. I really want to get out there, I love the offense and the fact they are a big-time school. Michigan, Oregon State and Utah are recruiting me the hardest right now."
The Wolverines were out in Lakewood a few weeks ago to check on Powe he said. Cal was also recently by his school.
All of a sudden, it looks like the Wolverines have a lot of options at receiver. One of those is still Amara Darboh, whose recruitment may be wrapping up before the new year ($):
“The last thing he told me was, ‘Ya’ know what? We’re going to get this thing wrapped up here pretty soon,’ ” [Dowling High School coach Tom] Wilson said. “He said he wanted to have it done by Christmas.
“I think he wants it done. He was offered between his sophomore and junior year. I think he’s done a great job of doing his homework. He’s not a kid that has fallen in love with the recruiting process, like some do. I think he’s ready to move on and have a clear direction of where he’s going to end up.”
Wilson added Darboh “keeps thinks close to the vest” and isn’t naming leaders, but much more clarity should be gained in the coming weeks.
Darboh will be in town for the Ohio State game after visiting
Ohio State Notre Dame this weekend, and I believe much of the clarity we're looking for will be provided shortly after those visits. Not visiting for the Ohio State game: cornerback Yuri Wright, whose team has advanced deep into the playoffs—he's looking to reschedule for after his season ($, info in header). Cryptic quote ahoy?
“I’m not going to say a particular school stands out, but Michigan is one of the schools that I’ve loved all my life,” Wright said. “There’s not a favorite right now.”
Tom would be proud, sir. Keep 'em on their toes.
Quickly: RB Wes Brown is another recruit seriously reconsidering his interest in Penn State ($, info in header); you can give up the Arik Armstead pipe dream, as the five-star named a top seven that didn't include Michigan ($); Saline long snapper Taybor Pepper has been offered a preferred walk-on spot ($, info in header); Tom discusses the dropoff in Michigan running back recruiting since landing five-star (sigh) Carlos Brown in 2006 ($).
2013 four-star receiver Laquon Treadwell—teammate of Anthony Standifer—"might be attending this Michigan game this weekend," according to his Twitter account. Treadwell could be a candidate for an early commitment. He's been working on getting his mother to come with him to Ann Arbor, as she wasn't able to make it with him for the Notre Dame game and he'll need her stamp of approval before pledging to a school. According to Tim, Treadwell tried to make it to the Illinois game last week and now is looking to visit Michigan not just this weekend, but for Ohio State as well ($, info in header). If he's already coming up for multiple games in a row, it's a very good sign for the Wolverines, obviously.
Meanwhile, Toledo Central Catholic DB Jayme Thompson made it in for an unofficial visit this week, and said he had a "real nice visit," according to MGoUser and Facebook friend jessiegoblue. If Facebook is to be believed, Thompson's middle name or nickname (you can never tell with Facebook) is Norf. Norf!
Thompson gets the more formal treatment at Scout ($). He's expecting an offer to come in soon [UPDATE: He got one, according to 24/7]—likely at cornerback—and may already have narrowed things down to just two schools:
With an offer from Michigan potentially coming soon, Thompson will still try to wait things out with two school’s [sic] currently on his mind.
“I’m going to try to wait things out. It’s basically between two schools right now, Michigan and West Virginia. West Virginia is the second offer I’ve got and I really like the coaches there.”
I got to watch Thompson when Central Catholic took on Chris Wormley and Toledo Whitmer earlier this year, and he's a very fast, hard-hitting high school safety who I think would fit in anywhere in the secondary at the next level.
Gilman (MD) DT Henry Poggi looks to be one of the highest-rated recruits in the junior class, and Scout has a video interview with him in which he names a top five. It's paywalled, but you can see the teams tagged in the article: Michigan, Tennessee, Stanford, Alabama, and Auburn. It might be tough to keep Poggi from landing in the SEC, but the Wolverines have a very legitimate shot here.
Finally, Tom discusses Michigan's targeting of power backs in the 2013 class ($). If Michigan can't land a big-time running back for 2012, getting a combo like Ty Isaac and Wyatt Shallman will likely be necessary, though that could happen even if the Wolverines pull in Bri'onte Dunn or Wes Brown.
Is Darboh really visiting OSU this weekend or should that read Notre Dame?
Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.
according to 24/7 jayme thompson got an offer
Thanks for the heads up—didn't notice that, since they only put it on his profile page.
lol i say that and scout and tvh say no
Getting more and more exited about Diggs possibly coming to Michigan
Ace, has the Burbridge ship fully sailed for UM?
I'm not sure if he's completely out of the question, but the focus is very much on Diggs, Payton, Darboh, Madaris, and Powe right now. Given M's chances at landing a pair from those recruits (very high), plus Burbridge's potential academic issues, I'd be surprised if we got back in the mix for him.
That said, if he has worked things out on the academic side, I'd want him more than any of the above players save Diggs. He was clearly one of the top players I got to see all year, and certainly the best receiver.
Here's the question. If Payton and Darbah commit first would they take a third WR in Diggs and tell Dunn and Wright "Sorry, one spot left. Whichever one of you picks first.?"
Or if Darbah and Payton commit first would they wait for Dunn and Wright's decisions before taking a third WR in Diggs even if he wants in?
Or do they tell one of Payton or Darbah to hold the phone if they want in right off the bat until they see whay Diggs, Wright and Dunn decide even though Payton and Darbah decide 1 -2 months before those guys do?
At this point, with A.J. Williams potentially filling the last OL spot without M having to get a new commit, I could see the Wolverines taking three receivers if they miss out on any more RBs, but I still find that scenario unlikely. I've said this before, but I think we're getting ahead of ourselves in assuming Payton and Darboh are near-locks and will commit in the near future—I'm especially wary of Payton, who's really stringing his recruitment out (and, yes, seems to enjoy the attention—I could see him pushing all the way back into January or beyond, though that's solely my opinion).
I will say this: If Diggs wants in, they'll give him a spot. At a position with that big of a need—and an immediate need for an impact player, not just a depth one—you don't turn down five-star talents like him.
As for which positions the coaches would prioritize, I can only guess, but with wideout being the only glaring need—a big-time running back would obviously be nice, but not essential this year—I think they'd take the commits as they decide and let the uncommitted prospects choose if it's time to make a move. They're not going to push anyone into a decision before they're ready, but they're also not going to hold up recruiting to wait on a prospect (except, possibly, in the case of Diggs, for the aforementioned reasons).
Thanks Ace. The only reason I stated the scenarios with Darbah and Payton committing is because Sam Webb thinkd Darbah commits shortly after his visit. As for Payton Sam said Payton tweeted the other day that's he's deciding soon. Only if he picks UM do my "what are we going to do" scenarios start to stress us out. If Payton says "nevermind, false alarm" again or picks another school then we can calmy kick back and wait for decsisions from Dunn, Diggs and Wright without the stress of knowing we might shut the door on one of them should they all want in.
After suffering through Michigan's putrid linebacker play in the past 4 seasons, it's great to see some improvement this year - especially among the younger players. And the prospect of having Bolden and his classmates coming in only makes things look bright at this position in the future.
My "dream 4" for the remaining spots would be Diggs, Darboh, Wright, and Dunn. But, if one of those guys doesn't come here, definitely a premier OL would be great.
"Joe has been a tremendous leader for our team," Colerain coach Tom Bolden said. "He goes 100 miles-per-hour in practice and 100 miles-per-hour in the games. Everything he brings from an emotional and physical standpoint has been great for our team"
Wonder if we'll see this kid delivering a decleating hit, a la Desmond Morgan, next year. He seems to have all the skills and intangibles to be at least a three-year starter.
I can see him being a three year starter, but it all depends on where he projects. If he plays MIKE then I can see him playing because Demens will be a senior when he gets on campus.
After Demens graduates in 2013, the battle for MIKE will be between Bolden, RJS, Ringer(?), Morgan(?) and Bell(??), I'm not sure if Ringer will play MIKE or WILL. I'm not sure if Morgan stays at WILL and might slide inside to get our best players on the field. Bell is the biggest mystery to me.
I'm using the "Depth Chart by Class" and also Magnus' analysis from his blog to determine where these incomming guys might play.
While it seems that our chances at Dunn will largely depend on how heavily Ohio is penalized, those chances must improve a little when Dunn sees Fitz's numbers against Illinois and Purdue. Hoke/Borges have shown that they know how to use a feature RB, something that can't be said about Ohio's current staff (or future staff, if they end up getting Urban Meyer).
Yes. Absolutely, how have rb's done in meyer's offense? I think we have a good shot, but unless he is a silent commit. we should go after Wes or another position
Ohio State's top two backs are averaging 5.4 yards per carry each. And one of the reasons they haven't had even more success is that they have a freshman quarterback.
As the d-line has done such an awesome job recently I've been worrying more (I guess I just need something to worry about) that the freshmen won't be able to keep up the pace next year. Pipkins and the safeties in this class (is that Wilson?) will be key to keeping pace, in my opinion. I'd be interested to hear who you project to get significant time next year, if anyone.
Pipkins is going to get major time unless multiple guys who haven't played significant time at all—Richard Ash, Kenny Wilkins, Chris Rock, Quinton Washington—step up at DT, and even then Michigan doesn't really have a true nose tackle and Pipkins fits the bill. I think Matt Godin could have an early impact inside, as well, if that's where the coaches decide to put him.
Other than the DTs, I'm guessing a receiver or two will get major PT, and perhaps one of the offensive linemen. At least one of the outside linebackers—probably Bolden, potentially Ross, though I like him more as a MIKE—should be at minimum a depth player as well—I'm still not convinced Desmond Morgan is the long-term answer at WLB.
Of course, Funchess is a no-brainer considering the lack of depth at TE, and Pharaoh Brown will likely play there as well. I doubt A.J. Williams redshirts if they decide to use him as a tight end his freshman year—he'd be great as a situational blocking TE.
Not nearly as scary as I'd thought then, since hopefully the DTs, while not calling out their own stunts, should get up to speed pretty quickly. Awesome that all of the suddenly competent secondary (less Woolfork) will be back!
It is going to be interesting where all these incoming LB will end up playing. I'm not convinced about Morgan sticking at WLB his whole career either.
I'm really interest in how Poole is developing because he was one of my favorite recruits last year.
Great player, great potential, and wants to be a "better man". Sounds like a winner!
Anyone know if we have a shot at Wes Brown if he decommits?
Wes Brown isn't committed to anyone.
What is the recuit du jour?
It's the recruit of the day.
Mmmm, that sounds good, I'll have that.
Dumb and Sparty-er reference.
So I have to ask this. I like many others Im sure read the article on detnews about Demar Dorsey and him still being interested in Michigan. Any chance this coaching staff offers him even with his history being RR bagged?
Considering how much this regime has tried to separate themselves from Rodriguez, I really doubt it.
I'm still a little confused by the timing of the Drake Johnson offer. I like him, but why wouldn't we wait until we know what's going on with some of these other guys - or at least until Johnson received a big-time offer that forced us to move? Does anyone have a good explanation or theory for that?
My theory: The coaches want him in this class so they offered.
I know that sounds overly simplistic, but throw out the star rankings for a second. The coaches evaluate hundreds of players every year, so they have a very good handle on what they want. Drake Johnson is as close to campus as any recruit, and it's likely that the coaches have as good of a handle on his talents and abilities than any other recruit, commit or otherwise. Additionally, the coaches have a lot more insight than we do for how the rest of the class will shape up.
A lot of people have said how the Drake offer is perplexing, but it's pretty clear to me that the coaches felt he was worthy of one of the last 5 spots so they offered him. They knew he's commit on the spot, and if they weren't positive they wanted him in the class, they'd tell him to hold off. They didn't, which tells me the coaches think he's better than anyone else does, and I'm OK with that since they have a lot more to go on than anyone else does.
This happens with a couple kids almost every year. Last year, everyone was up in arms about why RR offered Desmond Morgan. His only other non-MAC offer was Northwestern, and him and his parents were both UM fans, so we knew we could offer him on signing day and he's probably decommit from anywhere else and go blue. RR didn't wait, he offered him about this time last year when we had other 4-star type guys on the board, and a lot of people were asking the same questions.
We've all seen that the recruiting rankings correlate with success pretty well. However, when the coaches get a chance to heavily scout a kid who the services don't love and they decide he's worthy of an offer, that's probably all we need to know. No doubt the coaches miss on kids too, but I trust Hoke, Mattison & Company's ability to identify talent pretty well.
Well said, and I agree with almost everything here. My surprise is with the timing, not the offer. I'm happy that he'll be part of the class.
If Johnson is the #1 guy on their board irrespective of position (or very close to it), then the timing makes perfect sense. Let's say that they really like him, though, but still wouldn't choose him over some of the mega-recruits like Stefon Diggs and Shaq Thompson. If that's the case, why offer now and risk coming one seat short for a super-desirable recruit? While Johnson is sitting on only the EMU offer, there's no real risk that he'll sign elsewhere (without still jumping at a Michigan offer).
I can think of a few possible explanations:
(1) Johnson really was close to being the #1 overall guy on their board. If true, damn, I'm excited to see this kid in a Michigan uniform.
(2) The staff doesn't think that we have a realistic shot with many of the names being tossed around. If they think there are seats in the class to spare, the offer makes sense. (The same logic would hold if they expect a decommitment or two.)
(3) The staff, maybe for legitimate reasons, wants to be particularly friendly to local high schools or someone tied to Johnson.
(4) They moved too quickly.
(5) They like the kid and just wanted to get it over with even if it might not really be in the best interests of the team (if, say, Shaq Thompson calls on signing day).
Again, I like Johnson and am excited for him to be part of the team. The timing just seems interesting/unusual.
My guess is a combo of 1 and 2. He might not be the number one, but if he's the number five and there are five spots left, then you go for it. Or he might be number seven, and the coaches know that two guys above him aren't going to happen.
Since I highly doubt the coaches would offer a guy they only kinda want when there are only five spots left, some combination of your first two points must apply.
my theory, is Hoke wants to make this team bigger, stronger, tougher, and faster. Drake Johnson whether or not at RB, could be at Kick Returner. Drake is one fast mofo. He is .8 seconds of breaking the record in hurdles. So if he is 6- 1 200 lbs at that speed, with one seam he's gone.
Inside info has Michigan as the strong frontrunner....
Do we have a list of Early Enrollees anywhere?
Bolden, Ringer, and Wilson are the guys planning on enrolling early.
Bolden, Ringer and Wilson, for now.
Bolden is not 94 in the scout top 300. He is 94 in the scout top 300 MID WEST. A pretty big difference I think. I like his potential but lets not go crazy here.
My Bad he is 95 in the top 300. So yes go crazyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Nice job Ace. I love our chances with Diggs, Darboh and Wright (even with him not visiting until after the Ohio game). With Dunn likely not an EE anymore, I wonder if our chances are more slim. But either way I would love for Dunn or Brown to be in this class as well.
I may be going crazy, but Diggs reminds me of AC in his highlights.
I have read some of what Diggs has said about the process of choosing a school, and watched a couple interviews. He speaks with intelligence and sounds as the header reads, well spoken. I would really like to see him in a winged helmet for his play on the field, but it seems like he also has that it factor. He appears to be a Michigan Man in the making.
of how Diggs presents himself in interviews.
"Norf" refers to the North Side of Toledo, and the "gang" thereof. However, it's not really a gang, it's just a bunch of Catholic school kids.
I'm in the "Norf"! hahah we all had it as our middle name way back and he kept it. Wecoolamirite?
P.S. Ace :( you spelled my name wrong
I don't think Yuri will go to Michigan. I honestly think he ends up at Rutgers or something since Darius Hamilton might go there. My friends told me that the Bosco kids either stay together or they all split up, and Rutgers has really been recruiting top talent in NJ hard.
way it looks now we will have a TOP 5 CLASS easily according to scout. It's going to be hard for one of are freshman LBS to play next year because we already have so much DEPTH there. We haven't even seen Poole yet. With Jake Ryan and Desmond Morgan stepping up big time this year and Kenny Demens coming back alone with Cameron Gordon and Mike Jones, it's going to be very tough. Also all of these guys will have another off season and spring ball and fall camp to get better. We will get a top ten RB this year according to scout when you look at Dunn or Wes Brown. I think Diggs is a lock! If this happens SHOELACE will have a playmaker on the outside with BIG-TIME speed.GO BLUE BEAT OHIO!!!
I'm not sure if this needs to be said, but I was EXTREMELY impressed by the way Diggs handled himself in that interview. Very calm, controlled, and confident for a high school kid. There are big things in his future, no matter where he ends up.