Time to Buckle Up!!!
Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
Today's recruiting roundup covers the final 2013 Rivals250, a pair of new 2015 (yes, 2015) offers, a possible 2014 QB offer, and more.
The top running back in the country decides between Michigan, Auburn, and Tennessee on Saturday at 4 pm. Let the anticipation build:
HURRY UP, WEEKEND.
The final 2013 recruiting rankings haven't been kind to Michigan's class, and the last of the four services to roll out their final update—Rivals—is no exception. Eleven Wolverine commits are in the updated Rivals250, but none are ranked above #70 (Henry Poggi) and all but Jourdan Lewis fell in the rankings:
Derrick Green remains the top running back on the board and moved up to #8 overall, which hopefully will be relevant—he would be Michigan's highest-ranked commit on Rivals since Ryan Mallett in 2007.
It's clear that Shane Morris's uneven performance at the Under Armour Bowl—in both practice and the actual game—was a big hit to his recruiting stock, especially in the wake of a mono-shortened senior season. Only Scout has kept him as a five-star, while he's no longer the highest-ranked Michigan commit on the other three sites, which rank him #81, #81, and #127 overall.
I think the drop across the board for Morris is justified. I've seen him in person several times at this point and he definitely has five-star potential, but there were certain aspects of his game—accuracy and decision-making, most prominently—that needed improvement after his junior year. Morris was unable to show strides in that regard while missing most of his senior season, however, and when it came time to prove himself on the camp and All-American circuit he couldn't shake his inconsistency.
He's still got great potential—I've never seen a high school quarterback with that level of arm strength—and being a top-100 recruit doesn't make you chopped liver. It just didn't make sense for the recruiting sites to keep him above prospects who've been able to show off much more in their senior seasons.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on two new 2015 offers, Michigan's 2014 QB situation, and more.]
Before Tuesday, Michigan had offered just two 2015 prospects: KY RB Damien Harris and FL ATH George Campbell. That number doubled after the Wolverines tapped into the Cass Tech pipeline to offer RB Mike Weber and DE Joshua Alabi.
Weber, who also holds offers from Syracuse and Illinois, told The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan that he's a lifelong Michigan fan, but that doesn't mean he's going to commit any time soon ($):
"It kind of is like a dream come true," [Weber] said. "I would never think that Michigan was going to offer me when I was younger. They are right at the top for me.
"Now that it happened, I'm proud of myself but I'm going to just keep working. I'm going to wait until all of the other colleges offer me and we'll see what goes on from there."
Despite missing a chunk of time to start the season due to injury, Weber tallied over 1,700 total yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore; that includes a 20-carry, 186-yard performance in Cass Tech's state title game victory over Catholic Central.
Michigan was Alabi's first offer, and he talked about his reaction with Scout's Allen Trieu ($):
"It was great experience. It was my first offer, so any offer would have been good. It's a blessing to have one because a lot of people don't have that chance. I'm a sophomore being offered by Michigan, so it was a great experience and great feeling overall."
While Weber was limited in the Cass Tech games I scouted last fall, I did get a chance to check out Alabi. The first thing that stands out about him is his size—at 6'5", 245 pounds, he still looks skinny in full pads and should be able to pack on plenty of muscle before college. He moved between DE and DT for the Technicians last year, though he should play the former at the next level, and showed off impressive athleticism and the ability to hold his ground in the trenches.
Both Weber and Alabi stood out as sophomores on a team loaded with D-I talent, and it's good to see Michigan getting in on them early; both, especially Weber, could end up as national-level recruits.
This is probably not good news:
OL commit Denzel Ward has transferred to IMG Academy in Florida. Said he moved down yesterday.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 22, 2013
Ward visited Florida earlier this month and the coaches are allowing him to (briefly) look around without losing his spot in the 2014 class; his moving deep into Gator territory doesn't bode well for Michigan's chances of hanging onto an already tenuous commitment.
Of note: IMG Academy is also the new home of 2014 QB target Michael O'Connor, who moved there from Canada and reclassified from the 2015 class.
Michigan needs at least one quarterback in the 2014 class after taking nobody in 2012 and only Shane Morris in 2013; while they've identified several targets, no offers have gone out yet. That could change soon, however, as OK QB David Cornwell has seemingly emerged as the top target, per 247's Steve Lorenz:
Got a text from David tonight: "Talked with coach tonight asking what else I can do for an offer he said "you've done everything you need to, just need to talk it over with the coaches in the meeting next week."
He said he's expecting an offer within two weeks.
Cornwell is a four-star on Rivals and 247 (which ranks him as the #4 pro-style QB and #61 overall) and is on the ESPN150 Watch List.
Four-star TN OT Alex Bars, younger brother of current Wolverine OL Blake Bars, plans to visit Ann Arbor for April's spring game, per 247's Clint Brewster ($). Bars is getting major national interest but has already checked out Michigan several times; between the early offer and his brother being in the program, the Wolverines appear to have a decided edge in his recruitment.
Sam Webb's latest at the Detroit News is on MI WR Drake Harris, who remains a Michigan State commit but is considering other schools after deciding to play football over basketball. His father put the reasoning for that choice in blunt terms [emphasis mine]:
"He loves basketball, but the kid's not stupid," said Harris' father, Michael. "He knows there are not a lot of kids like him in football with his size, his speed, and all that. And he just knows that it's going to be extremely hard for him to do both in college. We kind of figured that out after watching the national title game and watching how by the time you get back on the basketball court, you (will have) missed nine, 10 games. He understands that if he puts all his effort into football, he knows he can do some great things."
Michigan had three coaches at Harris's basketball game last Friday, and they'll be a factor in his recruitment the rest of the way. It won't be easy to land him, however, with Ohio State and Alabama also making a strong push to lure him away from East Lansing.
Time to Buckle Up!!!
that link should be its very own topic on the forums on the side, since it isn't related to the topic as a whole, but it is brilliant and worth a read. I wonder how many people will miss that link. That was awesome!
If I'm Hoke, I love this. No one thinks you're as good as they once did. You're not as good as Fillintheblank or not good enough for Fillintheblank. Circle the wagons, you are disrespected.
There is absolutely no reason Green shouldn't pick Michigan; it is the perfect pick for him. Something tells me though that it is too perfect and he's going to have us scratching our heads in a WTF moment come decision time. I hope I am wrong, but I'm not feeling the love.
Green coming to Michigan is nearly the perfect situation for him: we need RBs, will have a run-heavy, MANBALL mentality, and he would be running behind what will eventually be a great o-line.
We are not in the South, however, and it sounds like his mom favors that geography. Oh, and also, shit happens when 18 year olds make decisions.
Green should be committing to Michigan, now let's see what actually transpires Saturday. I, for one, remain hopeful...
I know that Morris' demotion to 4-stars doesn't go along with this possibility, but what if Morris just lights up at Fall Camp in both decision making and accuracy. Coaches would be forced to start him over Gardner, then what? Would Gardner be ok as a backup to a freshman? Switch back to receiver again?
That's simply not going to happen. I think Morris has a ton of potential but he needs time to develop. Gardner proved himself to be very capable against Big Ten defenses last year despite practicing largely at wide receiver; there's no way the coaches are going to want to start a true freshman over a proven commodity.
The only way I see him starting next year is if Gardner gets hurt, and if that happens it's going to be trouble. That's not a knock on Morris; it's just extremely difficult to step right in as a freshman—enrolling just a couple weeks before the season starts, no less—and be anything but overwhelmed.
Ace, ok, let's assume that Morris is overwhelmed in 2013. Let me quote a post (I think it was by Brian) from last year saying that it would be nice to assume Gardner will be Vince Young, but there are learning plateus and other things that get in the way... With a year under his belt and plenty of practice for Morris, QB controversy in 2014?
More of a chance for that than anything happening with Morris next year, but I still think it's extremely—extremely—unlikely. When was the last time you heard about a successful quarterback in his third year as a starter being displaced by a redshirt freshman?
I really hope we can spend an offseason debating who replaces Gardner in 2015. RS So. Morris or RS Freshmen 2014 commit. If we are looking to plug in Morris as a RS Freshman or Sophmore it probably means we have gone through another subpar football season.
There's so much recruiting hype these days that people get anxious to see the Next Big Thing, forgetting that the Current Big Thing (in this case, Gardner) was once in the exact same position and almost always is the preferable option.
Morris is a damn highschool kid. One year later, he'll be redshirt freshman. Does honestly think he'll have a chance to beat out a 6th year player who has athleticism Morris will never possess. You're all foolish.
Don't forget Morris looked terrible this year (in limited playing). He's essentially a kid with a very powerful arm who needs years of practice, at least 2. There is no and will not be a qb controversy until 2015 when Gardner is gone.
Unless something changes, Michigan doesn't and won't have any "6th year" players.
I definitely agree that Gardner is the best option. But to be fair, I feel inclined to mention that Henne strolled in and took the starting nod, albeit with some injury help.
I guess it's a legit question but why are people so eager to create a QB controversy all of the time? It's almost certain that Gardner starts and plays most of the snaps in 2013 barring injury. Assuming he gets to come back, he would be the heavy favorite to start in 2014. Yes, anything is possible but why create this speculation when it's nothing but a very remote possibility at this stage? You could say the same about any QB in America. What if a hot shot QB outperforms Johnny Manziel in the fall - does A&M bench him? Hmmm....
My guess for a more likely 2014 controversy: Gardner dosn't come back and it is Morris vs. true freshman wunder-recruit vs. Bellomy (maybe). Don't forget it is possible that Devin makes great progress in the off-season, has an outstanding year, takes advantage of an easier schedule, lights things up and decides to jump to the NFL. What would perhaps make this unlikely is how strong of a class that next year's NFL QB class will (potentially) be. THAT is your more likely 2014 QB controversy scenario.
Yeah........., true freshman over a RS Jr. who played well when given the reins and already tenuous QB depth that couldn't handle a Gardner transfer. I'm not exactly losing sleep over this possibility.
Even if Morris decision making and knowledge of Michigan's offense somehow made it to the level of Gardners during spring camp (which is no way, no how going to happen) he still would not start because he in no way had the running ability and escapability of Gardner. He would have to exceed gardners throwing/decision making to even have a chance to start.
Simply put, just pray Gardner does not get hurt this year or we do not make a bowl game.
Morris won't even be there for spring camp, he'll only have the summer and fall camps. Not gonna happen.
I'm sure I am in the extreme minority but I just don't see Shane Morris ever starting a game in a Michigan uniform barring injury. The kid has bust potential written all over him. Typical tools guy, who doesn't think the game like "elite" players do. Production in high school was suspect to say the least even before his bout with mono. I know he lacked the talent around him that other quarterbacks are blessed with but he is also not playing against a lot of talent either. The catholic league is strong league for Michigan standards but not in terms of quality high school football. I surely hope I'm wrong. I really do.
High school quarterback production is HIGHLY overrated. It largely depends on the surrounding talent (offensive line, receivers, etc.). If you're a pocket quarterback like he is, you can't make things happen on your own.
I strongly disagree with your assessment. I don't think he'll be an instant superstar or even an early starter, but he should be pretty good down the road, especially given the stellar offensive line Michigan is building. If Michigan can get at least one outstanding receiver, the passing offense could be explosive.
You're entitled to your opinion, but your reasons for it are poor.
Did you ever watch him play? He rarely was able to stand in the pocket very long, his receivers had a hard time getting open, and when they did they sometimes dropped good balls.
Now, most people will admit Morris has things he needs to work on. His accuracy needs work, and he needs to learn to put better touch on his throws. That said, you can learn those things. What you can't learn is height, athleticism (which he has) and elite arm strength. It's entirely possible he ends up a bust, but it's more likely that he zeros in that accuracy and turns out to be a good to great college QB.
While he likely isn't an immediate star, people have suddenly forgotten his accuracy and rhythm in 7-on-7 tournaments. Give him a steady group of guys and a system that's comfortable, he was ultra productive (national champs).
It will take him a couple of years to settle down, not press every throw, and manage the O. Pro style QBs take time. He'll probably learn more watching than playing early.
If we have 1-2 elite WR, his capacity to play early increases but I don't see those guys yet ...
What if the world is hit by a giant asteroid?
Morris isn't going to beat out Gardner.
Morris isn't going to beat out Gardner.
...this year OR next year.
Is this Shane. Good one, you got us Morris!
What's next? A mule kicking for the Lions?
Wait. Don't answer that.
Wonderful. There is a link within a link (yes like Inception) that takes you to the video. I wish they carried it through the netural zone. Would of scored fa sho.
I think it would be safe to say that Morris will redshirt anyways just for the fact that hes gonna need experience and to work on his weaknesses. Gardner is a leader ready for us.
Based on how Bellomy played, I wouldn't be surprised if Morris gets garbage time snaps, at the least. You have to have another QB ready to lead your team, and Bellomy's status as that guy is questionable.
They will undoubtedly give Bellomy a chance to play before they burn Morris's redshirt, however, if Hoke knows he is going to let Morris see the field at all he will burn it early. At ball state he played a couple DL right out of the gate who certainly did not need to play just because depth was thin. He also gave players the option of essentially burning their own redshirt if they were planning on graduating in four years.
There seems to be something of a disconnect, as alot of these guys performed very well in the various All-Star games. I think part of the problem is that so many committed so early that hype has had alot to do with people passing them. Not to mention that many of the key recruits are going to look alot better once they add weight and have been in the system for a while. I think that this class has a mix of guys who just need to get into the program. Butt, Stribling, and Kugler are they guys who I believe will come the closest to getting playing time-- and I don't know that it will be particularly close. Of course, Green could very well start or split time, but out side of that I doubt wee see alot of these guys play regularly for two years.
Since we're offering 2015 Technicians, can I haz Jayru Campbell offer yet? Wondering about 2014 qb offers, too. We have some 70+ offers out to 2014 kids, and none of them are to qb's yet. Hope they aren't planning on waiting too much longer.
As the Cornwell thing suggests, I think you'll see at least one 2014 QB offer go out soon. If you're only going to take one or two QBs, you have to minimize the chance that you get a guy who's a bust—I think the coaches are doing the right thing by taking as much time as they need to evalutate the available prospects. Remember, there's still a year before signing day, and unlike the 2013 class there's no obvious blue-chip in-state prospect.
Along those lines, I wouldn't expect Jayru Campbell to get an offer in the imminent future. He's still got a ways to go as a QB, especially with his accuracy; Michigan is looking for strong pocket passers, so he's got to prove he can stand in the pocket and hit his targets. With more than two years before Campbell can sign, they've got a lot of time to evaluate him before they need to make a choice about an offer.
Of course the coaches are in touch with many more 2014 kids than they've offered. I suppose to land a top qb prospect it's much easier to tell them "you're our guy" when they're the only offer, or one of them. Might be tougher for a kid to belive if we have a dozen or so others on deck.
I agree 100% with the "getting the right guy" point. Plus, I don't think any of the QBs with serious interest from Michigan have committed elsewhere, so it's not like the options are dwindling, and many top-tier programs seem to be on Michigan's schedule. Other programs have to offer seemingly elite prospects early to get any edge they can. We don't, and I'll only start worrying if guys start committing elsewhere.
Who are the 2014 QBs who could potentially receive an offer by summer?
In short...who the f*** should I be paying attention to?
Sidenote, Ace, you should host a chat or a Q&A every now and again.
Cornwell and Caleb Henderson (out of Virginia) are the two main ones. Michael O'Connor could be in the mix as well—Michigan was recruiting him as a 2015 prospect before he reclassified.
All the buzz around Cornwell makes me think he'll be the first one to get an offer and then the coaches will go from there if he doesn't commit.
There are three 2014 QBs on Michigan's radar that you did not mention: Travis Smith, Andrew Ford and Cody Callaway. All of them look very capable on tape - any inside info as to where they stand with the staff.
I don't think any of those three are high-level prospects. Travis Smith does not have the arm strength to play at Michigan, and the other guys aren't particularly stellar, either. They could find success in college, but not in Ann Arbor (IMO).
What do you know about Travis Smith from Ithaca, MI?
According to his 247 profile, Al Borges visited him on 1/16.
He's supposedly one of the few guys Michigan is evaluating for an offer, but I don't think he'll get one unless some other guys fall through first. If Bellomy doesn't have the arm strength to get it done, then Smith won't be up our alley, either. He looks like a kid that could go to CMU and maybe light it up.
What about Tyler Wiegers from Detroit Country Day and Adam Bertke from Marion? Do they fall in the same category as recruits who can light it up in the MAC?
I haven't watched Bertke's film (heard the name but that's about it). However, I do think Wiegers could be a Big Ten-caliber player. I like what I've seen of him.
Kids can reclassify? Any reason why this guy did that? I vaguely recall some kids intentionally get held back so they will be the biggest ones on the teams etc..., but why would a kid rush ahead?
That last post just sparked a bunch of questions. Anyone can answer - no one can answer.
1. Who's the best player in this class (now)? Who will be the best player in 5 years?
2. Are there any new names to add to the board?
3. Can you rank the WRs (in your opinion) of our current commits?
4. What QBs are we seriously looking at?
5. How many QBs will we take?
6. Do we lead for Malik McDowell?
7. Who are the top 5 players in the state?
8. Cass Tech seems to have even MORE prospects than normal - which ones are we interested in?
9. What QBs are we seriously looking at?
10. Is anyone close to committing?
1. Dymonte Thomas now. Shane Morris in five years.
2. Not as of now.
3. Da'Mario Jones, Csont'e York, Jaron Dukes.
4. David Cornwell, Caleb Henderson, Travis Smith, Andrew Ford.
7. Drake Harris, Malik McDowell, Damon Webb, Deon Drake, Lawrence Marshall (in no order)
8. Damon Webb
9. Jayru Campbell, Kevin Dillman
10. I don't think so.
What do you think about Lawrence Marshall? Was it you that wasn't that high on him when news came out that we offered him?