the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
Thursday Recruitin' Puts Down 'Three and Out' Long Enough to Write This Post
This week's Thursday Recruitin' discusses Jordan Payton's upcoming decision (again), big news coming from both Josh Garnett and Zach Banner, the next great Michigan nickname, several new 2013 offers, and BREAKING Mitch McGary news. 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.
Rounding Out the 2012 Class
With the addition of Jeremy Clark to the 2012 class (more on that later), Michigan now has 23 commitments and five spots to fill—probably with two receivers, and offensive lineman, a running back, and perhaps a defensive back. How will they round out the class? I guess this is a good place to start:
That's four-star CA wideout Jordan Payton, of course, who decided—after visiting Notre Dame for the USC game last weekend—to push back his planned announcement from Tuesday to some time in the next two weeks. After the visit to South Bend, Payton claims that Michigan and Notre Dame are "tied" for the lead in his recruitment ($, info in header) after he had maintained that Michigan was his clear leader heading into the weekend. While this could be cause for a meltdown, I wouldn't get too worried—Payton is taking the time to gather his thoughts after a big visit, and I still think Michigan is in great position to land him whenever he decides to make his choice. Notre Dame always come back right at the end, right?
In more encouraging news, Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett has set one official visit, and, well, you see where this is going [emphasis mine]...
"I'm going to Michigan on Nov. 19 when they play Nebraska," Garnett said. "I'm also going to visit Miami at some point also. I'm thinking pretty seriously about visiting Oklahoma too."
One school is showing Garnett more attention than the others.
"Cal is recruiting me the hardest by far," he said. "Coach (Tosh) Lupoi is the lead recruiter but all of their coaches are in contact with me. They are definitely showing me a lot of love."
Garnett is working down his list of 11 programs but said he has no favorites at this time among the group. Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Auburn and Notre Dame are a few other programs on the list.
While this by no means indicates that Michigan is his leader (one look at the quote about Cal should dispel that notion), Garnett coming to Ann Arbor is certainly a good sign, and anything can happen once a recruit gets on campus. [Morning edit: Of course, just before I go to sleep last night a new Garnett article pops up on Scout in which he says he "may" make it to Ann Arbor for the Nebraska game ($), so we'll have to wait and see if this one really happens. Encouraging news is slightly less encouraging, but still, I think, encouraging.]
Meanwhile, Garnett's fellow blue-chip Washingtonian lineman, Zach Banner, has been the center of attention this past week, and he named his top five schools ($, video embedded below) before heading to Notre Dame for an official visit:
For those who don't feel like clicking on the video, Michigan made his final five along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, and Washington. If you head over to Oklahoma's Rivals site, you'll see (at the moment I'm writing this, at least) a big fat headline proclaiming "Sooners On Top" linking to an article that claims Oklahoma leads for Banner ($, info in header), with extensive quotes from the recruit about how well his visit went. While I usually don't blockquote from premium articles, there's been genuine debate about how to interpret this quote, which comes off as a bit of a leading question from the interviewer but also seems to point to Oklahoma leading:
So is it fair to say that Oklahoma is currently the leader and Washington and USC will have to show him something that surpasses what he saw at Oklahoma?
"Yeah," he said plainly. "All five of them are going to be completely involved but I'm still taking my USC and (Washington) visits but if you were going to ask me who I'd bet on, Oklahoma has a good chance."
Interpret that how you will, but obviously Michigan is still in it, though they might have some ground to cover. Just as notable, IMO, is Banner saying he'll announce his decision date (note: not make his actual decision, just to be abundantly clear) this Saturday, at his Army All-American ceremony.
There are other options on the offensive line, as well. TomVH caught up with Jordan Diamond, and read his article ($) and check out the video interview (free) over at WolverineNation. Michigan is still among the schools Diamond is interested in, and he's been in contact with former Chicago Simeon teammate and current Wolverine Chris Bryant, but he says he has "no favorites" at this time and will not make a decision until signing day. After taking in the ND-USC game last weekend (along with every other top prospect on the planet, it seems), Diamond won't be making any other visits until after his season is over.
In related news, four-star OL and recent offeree Alex Kozan just picked up an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header). Michigan and OSU join a top group of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, LSU, Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Illinois, but Kozan is looking to pare that list of nine down to three or four in the near future.
Also, five-star OL/DE Arik Armstead has indeed opened up his recruitment, but 247's J.C. Shurburtt says this is likely a battle between Cal and USC, and with no mention of Michigan they're a fringe contender at best. Don't hold your breath for this one.
For more on wide receiver recruiting, updates on current commits, 2013 news, and MITCH MCGARY'S FINAL THREE AND IMPENDING DECISION (*cough*), hit the jump.
Whether or not Payton commits, Michigan will need to land at least one more wide receiver, and Tim Sullivan breaks down the candidates—Amara Darboh, Monty Madaris, Darius Powe, and Jehu Chesson—over at the Free Press. Here's his evaluation of Madaris, who I think is the most likely receiver to end up at Michigan after Payton and Darboh:
Like Darboh and Payton, Madaris has good size at 6-2 and 200. He also has very good speed and the quickness to play the slot -- a skill set that is rare for prospects as tall as he. The questions on Madaris primarily revolve around his polish and his hands. If he can improve his concentration to make all the catches that he should, and improve his route running, he could be an underrated prospect at just three stars.
I haven't had the opportunity to see Madaris in person, but he's certainly a solid prospect if Payton ends up in South Bend or Darboh decides to go elsewhere. Finally, TomVH notes that Michigan is still very much in the mix for Chesson ($, info in header), with coach Jeff Hecklinski visiting his school during the bye week. He's considering an official visit for either the Nebraska or Ohio State game.
To round out news on uncommitted seniors, top-ranked quarterback Gunner Kiel did open up his recruitment, and it appears Michigan is still pursuing him, though Notre Dame seems to be the favorite here.
Jeremy Clark "Ungreyshirts" and More on Current Commits
In case you missed the news, this happened, which is why Michigan is now up to 23 commits for the 2012 class:
Cornerback Jeremy Clark, who committed to Michigan over the summer as a greyshirt, will now join the team next fall as part of the 2012-13 recruiting class.
Clark had been slated to become a Wolverine starting with the 2013-14 class.
“They sent their coach down to watch practice last week and they were so impressed with him and our team,” Weaver said. “They wanted to get him on campus right away.”
For the record, Clark is being recruited as a safety. TomVH tweeted out updated season stats for him, and you can see why the coaches probably liked his film so much: Clark has (unofficially) 53 tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 return TD's, and 5 defensive TD's this season. I'm glad Michigan decided it was worth the scholarship for this class to make sure Clark—who was getting interest from other BCS schools—made it in as part of this class.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kalis was this week's Recruit of the Week on RivalsHigh, and while there's nothing particularly groundbreaking in this video, it's always fun to watch Kalis crush people while experts discuss how he's pretty much already an NFL lineman:
Kalis isn't the only recruit being lauded this week, as both Royce Jenkins-Stone and Mario Ojemidia were named as finalists for the 2011 High School Butkus Award, honoring the nation's best linebacker. Only 15 players from around the country made the final cut, so it's pretty remarkable that Michigan landed two commits on that list—congratulations are in order for RJS and Mario.
Sam Webb has a more extensive (and free) article on Kaleb Ringer's decision to sit out the rest of the season than the quotes I got from him and posted on the message board, so here's the key quote in case you missed it:
Unfortunately the injury bug hit him again before his fifth contest, this time in the form of a sprained MCL. His absence from the lineup over the last few weeks fueled a recent rumor that he had been kicked off of his team. He put that erroneous chatter to rest this morning after completing the ACT.
“I’m not kicked off the team,” Ringer said matter-of-factly. “I sat out of one game (a few weeks ago) and then went to the doctor and got an MRI. I found out I had a sprained knee. Basically the doctor, the coaches, and my family all just decided that I was going to sit out the rest of the season because at the time it happened we were 2-5. We weren’t competing for a conference championship, we weren’t competing for a trip to the playoffs, and we only had three games left."
“There’s been a lot rumors going around because I’m missing games, but I’m on the sideline. We lost last night so now we’re 3-6. We’ve got one more game, and I’ll be on the sideline.”
The D-Train Heads for Ann Arbor and 2013 Offers Go Out
MLive's Kyle Warber has a feature on 2013 commit Dymonte Thomas, who has a pretty great nickname (though the formula should be familiar to Michigan fans):
Thomas is a very compact 5-foot-11, 167 pounds, but plays bigger, garnering the nickname "D-Train" from his teammates. However, there is a good chance the "D-Train" will be even larger by his senior year -- he notes that both his father and uncle are 6-foot-3, and he has room to grow. Thomas hopes with a little more size, he can contribute at other positions for Michigan.
"If I got a bit taller I would love to play linebacker," Thomas admitted. "I like playing back there because they make the most tackles, and I love making tackles."
Marlington head coach Ed Miley also thinks Thomas could play multiple positions by the time he gets to college.
"The thing about Dymonte is that he has two more seasons of high school left," Miley told Scout.com. "If he keeps on going the way he has so far, he could end up as both the leading rusher and tackler in Stark County history. Dymonte does great in the classroom and is very popular with his teammates. I see him as a safety at the next level, but he could do about anything really. He is a very physical player and a leader on this team."
Also, the prospect of Thomas growing a couple inches should be very frightening to future opponents.
Michigan sent out several new offers this week. Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OL Kyle Bosch ($, info in header), Lemont (IL) OL Ethan Pocic, Youngstown (OH) Fitch OL/DE Billy Price, and Hylton (MD) linebacker E.J. Levenberry all received scholarship offers this past week, and all are players who seem ticketed for at least four-star status. The coaching staff put in some major work during the bye week on the recruiting trail, and a lot of it was directed towards making deeper connections with rising juniors.
Quickly: Steve Wiltfong profiles Laquon Treadwell—who recently picked up a Notre Dame offer—in a free article for 247, TomVH profiles Grand Blanc DE Luke MacLean ($), and Tom also gives an update on Murrietta (CA) safety Su'a Cravens, who has been hearing from Michigan lately ($, info in header)—wouldn't be surprised to see an offer coming soon for Cravens, who has already been offered by Stanford, USC, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame, among several other schools.
Breaking: Mitch McGary Names Final Three, Will Decide Next Week
McGary updated his ESPN recruiting blog this morning with some very big news [emphasis mine]:
I’m planning to make my commitment next week sometime too.
I can honestly say that right now I don’t know where I’m going so anything you read that says I do isn’t true. I already talked to my man Jason Jordan from ESPNHS and let him know that I want to do another blog before I make my announcement just to get all of my thoughts out and clear my mind so I can make the best decision possible.
At this point, I’m focusing on Florida, Duke and Michigan.
Um, buckle up (yes, I have been waiting to say that for the last, oh, two months). This one could get interesting.