the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
Thursday Recruitin' Goes Out At The One
Today's recruiting roundup covers Michael Ferns' touching gesture for a teammate, Derrick Green's latest visit plans, updates on a few key 2014 targets, and more.
Michael Ferns, Extremely Decent Human Being
Grab your Zyrtec and tissues, because pollen levels are about to get unusually high. This Facebook post, along with the above picture, made the rounds earlier this week regarding 2014 Michigan commit Michael Ferns:
"Teammates. In one of the most unselfish acts I can ever recall in high school sports, last Friday in St. Clairsville's game at Edison High School, No. 10 Michael Ferns took off on a 52 yard run and intentionally ran out of bounds at the 1 yard line. Logan Thompson, No. 17, took it from there...Thompson, who had lost his father, Paul on Wednesday of last week, was then handed the ball and ran through a giant hole to score in his father's memory. This pic was shot after Logan's TD run behind the St. C. bench. Please excuse the lack of complete clarity, but I think I might have been a little shaky... Thanks, Michael and Logan for sharing the moment and for teaching what it means to be a Teammate!~ God's Speed, Paul Thompson!~"
Sports, man; they can really bring out the best in people. Tremendous caught up with Ferns to get a few more details, and you really get an impression of just what kind of quality young man the Wolverines have committed to their 2014 class [emphasis mine]:
"It was a pretty tough week. Everything happened so unexpectedly and after we found out what happened, we knew we had to do what we could as a team to try to ease the pain; at least for a moment. We weren't really sure the opportunity was actually going to arise, but I pretty much made it my mission to get us into position to do it. Late in the game, I took a 23-iso up the middle and broke it. I immediately angled towards the sidelines and went out of bounds at the 1. Logan was on the sidelines and I don't think he knew what was going on. Coach called him to go in. I played fullback on the play and helped lead him into the endzone. After we got back onto the sidelines, I gave him a hug and told him I was proud of him. That's what I like about my team: we will do anything for each other. As a group, we'll help out anyone else on the team in any way we can".
The next time someone tells you sports contribute nothing to society, feel free to pass along that story (also, feel free to disassociate with that person entirely, because they sound like a total drag).
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Gareon Conley, Derrick Green, a potential backup plan at wide receiver, and a few 2014 prospects.]
Conley Thing: Still A Thing
Michigan appeared to dodge a bullet last weekend when commit Gareon Conley cancelled a planned visit to Cincinnati. According to 247's Justin Hopkins, however, they're not out of the woods yet ($):
Conley is on the fence about whether to take one visit to the West and visit Oregon. The Ducks are stopping by today and if an offer is made, it could happen.
"Michigan is the only place I've been to," Conley said. "Oregon is really only the main team I'm looking at other than Michigan. I'm committed to Michigan right now and that hasn't changed."
Last weekend Conley was close to visiting Cincinnati but after speaking to the staff, decided not to go.
"I was going to go but I spoke with the staff at Michigan and they said they would pull my scholarship if I did," he said. "I really want to visit Oregon but they haven't offered yet. If they do offer that will give me a lot to think about. I really want to check them out, they have been my favorite school for a long time, but it would obviously end things with Michigan."
Before I do anything else, it's worth noting this whole issue may be moot; according to Tom Beaver, Oregon did not offer Conley during their in-school visit ($). One could still come, of course, and the Ducks may be waiting for Conley to commit to a visit, but for now there isn't an offer on the table.
It's clear that Conley is having second thoughts about his decision, understandable since Michigan was his first major offer and he jumped on it before checking out all of his options. It's also obvious that he understands the repercussions of taking visits—he won't have a scholarship to Michigan anymore—and that's giving him pause; it's a very tough spot to be in for a high school recruit.
I'll reiterate what I've said time and again: while this is a situation to monitor, there's no reason to panic, tell Conley to GTFO, or have any other drastic reaction until Conley actually takes the visit (and, as a general rule, please don't tell recruits to GTFO regardless of the circumstances). With a large class of commits who mostly chose Michigan before playing a down of their senior seasons, it's inevitable that some commits will think about taking a look around; this is a huge life decision and one that we all should respect.
Sometimes it turns out like Pharaoh Brown, with a mutual parting of the ways; sometimes it turns out like David Dawson, with a chat with the coaching staff reassuring a commitment. Let the situation play out and know that Conley is only trying to ensure that he makes the correct decision for his future; the last thing anyone wants is a player halfheartedly sticking with a commitment, as that almost always ends with a transfer down the road.
Green, Neon Green
VA RB Derrick Green has set up two more official visits in addition to the Michigan-MSU game on October 20th and his September official to Tennessee, according to Scout's Michael Clark ($):
“Michigan vs. Michigan State (at Michigan on October 20), Oregon vs. Stanford (at Oregon on November 17), and Auburn vs. Georgia (at Auburn on November 10) – that’s it so far,” said Derrick Green in a text message to FOX Sports Next.
Given the sub-par seasons—and difficult SEC slates ahead—for both Auburn and Tennessee, it's possible Oregon emerges as the biggest threat to Michigan's attempt to land the five-star running back. With a good visit for the State game, however, I think Michigan has a very good chance to emerge as the team to beat; insider chatter suggests they may already be in that position, in fact.
IL WR Laquon Treadwell is still the team's top target at wide receiver—and you can read a great free feature on him and his influence on his younger brother over at WolverineNation—but Michigan will have an apparent backup plan on campus this weekend. Westland (MI) John Glenn WR Da'Mario Jones is currently a soft Central Michigan commit, and he's already been on campus for the BBQ at the Big House—he's wearing #5 in this picture of the Michigan commits and Derrick Green—and the UMass game, and Tim Sullivan reports that he'll be in Ann Arbor once again to take in the Illinois game ($).
Jones is 6'2", 185 pounds, and has the speed to be a dangerous threat out of the slot. Tim mentions that he plays in a very run-heavy attack at John Glenn, which could be a reason why he hasn't picked up an offer yet; he's clearly on the radar, however, and if Michigan came through with a scholarship I'd be surprised if he didn't accept. He's already got the Denard celebratory kneel down pat.
2014 Updates, Etc.
Tremendous has your comprehensive list of Illinois visitors, including a long list of 2013 commits, Ferns, 2014 IL OL Jamarco Jones, and 2014 DE/LB Gelen Robinson, younger brother of Michigan basketball freshman Glenn Robinson III.
According to 247's Clint Brewster($), Michigan is currently "the one school standing out right now" for 2014 MI OL offeree Tommy Doles. Doles will be at the Illinois game this weekend.
2014 OH OL Nathaniel Devers, high school teammate of Gareon Conley, has Michigan in his top three with Alabama and Northwestern, per ESPN's Brad Bournival ($). Devers may be on campus this weekend, as well.
2014 PA S Montae Nicholson is taking his recruitment slow, but will be on campus for the Michigan State game, according to an interview with Sam Webb ($).
Tim Sullivan gives a rundown of Cass Tech's multitude of underclassman prospects over at the Freep.
The NCAA has banned "Instagram recruiting"—the practice of staging or altering a photo and sending it to a prospect for recruiting purposes—per Lost Lettermen. This was apparently a thing. I... I quit.