a terrible blight on our fine country
Thursday Recruitin' Thinks It'll Go For A Walk
Not Dead ... Yet
The commitment of 2015 KY RB Damien Harris led many, including myself, to assume that Michigan's recruitment of 2014 LA RB Leonard Fournette — who'd just no-showed a planned visit for the BBQ — was D-E-D dead. Per 247's Kipp Adams, however, it appears there's still a faint pulse ($):
According to Fournette’s father, Leonard II, three of those four programs are slated to get coveted official visits from the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2014 247Composite.
“He plans to take officials to Alabama, USC, Michigan and Florida,” Fournette II said, adding that Miami (Fla.) is likely to receive the fifth one.
LSU was not listed as a school slated to get an official, but Fournette II did list them as an additional top school.
Unfortunately, Michigan isn't mentioned once in the rest of the article, which features plenty of talk about LSU, Alabama, and USC. There is one other revelation: the Fournettes are apparently the Gradys of the South, as Leonard III's younger brother — a thus-far unoffered 2015 running back — is named... Lanard. That doesn't get confusing, I'm sure.
As far as Fournette's recruitment goes, I'll believe Michigan has the slightest of chances when he's physically on campus, and even then the outlook is still probably grim. But, hey, Damien Harris...
PRETTY GOOD, GUYS
...is pretty good, guys. GBW had Allen Trieu talk about Harris's potential impact and lo, is there ever potential for impact ($):
“He was at the Best of the Midwest Combine two winters ago," Trieu said, "and he was already pretty physically put together, and ran a pretty good 40 there, and then when you find out that kid is only a freshman you’re like, wow. I was able to go back and pull up the film from his freshman year and after the first three plays on the film, I basically turned it off and said I know this guy is a big time guy -- a national guy. And I don’t get too many guys like that, to be honest.
"There’s not a ton of guys that I turn on the film and right away I know that this guy is going to be right up there with the best in the country but, for him to be that way at an early age, I knew that there was something special there.”
Trieu also mentions that Harris is a "really good receiver" in a camp setting, something that doesn't come through on film because why throw to the guy when you can hand the ball to him directly and probably score a touchdown, amirite?* Harris's high school coach echoed Trieu's praise and talked up his football IQ to TomVH ($):
Madison Southern High coach Jon Clark said Michigan is getting a big, multidimensional back in the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Harris.
"He's a lot bigger than people think. He's not a small speed back, either," Clark said. "He's an excellent receiver out of the backfield, he is a smart player and he understands defensive schemes."
Harris confirmed to Trieu in another article that, while he's been leaning heavily towards Michigan for a long time, the commitment of George Campbell accelerated his process; a childhood fan of the Wolverines, Harris gave a great quote about committing to his dream school ($):
"I don't even know what to expect. Growing up and loving a school and it being your dream and being able to achieve the dream and play at Michigan, it's mind blowing to think it's coming true. I'm going to be thinking about how blessed I am to be playing, not only for a great school, but with great teammates and great coaches and a great fan base. I hope to live up to the expectations they have, but I'm going to work hard and come in and play my game."
It's always great to see these kind of dreams fulfilled, and even better when they're the dreams of five-stars.
Speaking of insanely talented recent 2015 commits, a local news article on Campbell contains this tidbit about his academic plans:
"Everyone, not just the coaches but also the players, they all took me in as one," Campbell said on Monday. "Pretty much, it's like a big old family there. Not just that, but the academics. I plan on majoring in Sports Management, and they have a great program there. It's the best choice for me at the moment and for my future, too."
If this was the work of Professor Needs A Raise, he's now been upgraded to Professor Needs A Building Named After Him. You know, as soon as one of us remembers his real name — The Professor Needs A Building Named After Him, Er, Building doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
How rare is a commitment from a kid like Campbell? DGDestroys put together this chart over at Maize n Brew of the eventual destinations of Florida five-stars ranked among the top 15 players in their class (covering 2002-2013):
You'll note the complete lack of Big Ten schools, with Notre Dame representing the only program north of West Virginia to land a prospect matching the criteria. That prospect was Aaron Lynch, who transferred to USF after his freshman year. As long as Michigan holds onto Campbell — and he stays where he is in the rankings — then they're pulling off something that hasn't been done in the Rivals era.
Speaking of making recruiting history, The Wolverine's Michael Spath dug through the Rivals database($) and found that the last team to pull in the #1 players in their class at running back and receiver was USC in 2007 with Joe McKnight and (sigh) Ronald Johnson. Michigan has a chance to do that with Campbell and Harris; it would be the first time the Wolverines pulled off the feat since 1998, predating the modern recruiting services, with Justin Fargas and David Terrell.
[Hit THE JUMP for, oh hey, another 2015 prospect that looks like a stone-cold Michigan lock, more reactions from last weekend's BBQ, how OSU's latest commitment could affect the Wolverines, and more.]
The Constant Visitor
2015 Huber Heights (OH) Wayne CB Tyree Kinnel took four unofficial visits to Michigan this summer along with participating in their technique camp, and on Monday night the Wolverines came through with a coveted offer; per 247's Steve Lorenz, Kinnel plans to spend ALL OF THE WEEKENDS in Ann Arbor ($):
He was already planning on coming up for the Notre Dame game, but the coaches might be seeing a bit more of him this upcoming season on unofficials as well.
"I don't even know," Kinnel said, "you might see me up there every weekend."
Kinnel plans to decide after his junior season this fall; the insider consensus is that only an Ohio State offer could be enough to keep him from donning the Maize and Blue, and even then the Wolverines would have a very good chance of landing him. Kinnel is also showing serious interest in Arkansas — along with Kentucky, one of two SEC programs to offer him early — but he's not going around saying he'll be in Fayetteville every weekend.
Sam Webb caught up with Malik McDowell's mom, who's accompanied her son on multiple visits to Michigan, including the BBQ; her review of the campus experience is extremely positive and includes an indirect indictment of how other (unnamed) schools conduct their visits ($):
“Everyone is so nice and it’s like they remember your name. They make you feel right at home. They make you feel comfortable. It’s no pressure. You know how sometimes you can go somewhere and people can try to pressure you, or force you, or push you? ‘You need to make a decision.’ There’s no pressure, so I don’t have that feeling of ‘oh my God, I don’t want to go up there’ because I know they’re not going to be badgering me, or just on us. They let us relax and they come over and talk to you, but they just kind of talk to you in general… just like ‘how are you doing? How’s your family doing?’ (We) talk about their family. I have met all their families. It’s kind of like a normal get-together. You don’t feel like you’re really pressured.”
McDowell's father, who was also at the BBQ, mentioned his desire to see Malik at Michigan earlier in the week. The younger McDowell is still expected to take official visits — his mom mentions Alabama, Florida, and a trip out to California (presumably to USC) as potential officials. It's still very difficult to see any other school overtaking Michigan.
2015 UT LB Osa Masina hit up the BBQ as part of a Midwest swing that also included unofficial visits to Notre Dame and Wisconsin; he wouldn't name any favorites after the trips, but told Scout's Greg Biggins that Michigan left a very positive impression ($):
”The trip was great,” Masina said. “I loved all the coaches and I got to meet a lot of the upcoming recruiting class and talked with them a lot. Their stadium was incredible and it would be something else to get a sack in there and hear the crowd go crazy.
“I talked a lot with coach Hoke, Ferigno and Manning and they were all great with me. The players on the team and the incoming recruits all speak so highly of Michigan and I really loved it there. I don’t have any favorites right now but Michigan definitely left a great impression on me."
I don't normally do this, but I'd like to draw your attention to Masina's Twitter page, and namely his handle — yes, the Utah native goes by "OS_tertag" on Twitter, and this NBA junkie is duly impressed.
2015 PA OT Sterling Jenkins revealed a recruiting angle I didn't know existed, per GBW ($):
“It was interesting because they were talking about -- one of the big points that they brought up was the networking,” Jenkins said. “That the former CEO of Dominoes, that he is the athletic director -- and just in general, all the people that could help you further in your life past football.
“I thought that was pretty interesting. They said they challenge you on the field and off the field, and I think that’s something that I’m looking for. If you can do it in both ways, that’s something that’s really special.”
If Dave Brandon's business background is a critical component to Michigan's recruiting success, you'll find some very conflicted bloggers right around, oh, here.
2016 MD LB De'le Harding, teammate of 2014 commits Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson, told Lorenz flat-out that Michigan is his top school after taking in the BBQ — so long as they come through with an offer ($):
"I'd say they would be my top school," he said, obviously being contingent on an offer. "I had a lot of questions answered at the BBQ and the possibility of playing with Brandon and Freddy at the next level is something I'd strongly consider doing. I still have a lot of schools I'd like to see and hear from, however."
Considering Harding already boasts offers from USC and Tennessee, it'd be surprising if Michigan didn't extend one sooner or later.
Another 2016 prospect to keep an eye on is Eastpointe (MI) South Lake RB Martell Pettaway, whose father told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz that "everything went well" at the BBQ ($).
Glenville Impossibility: Actually Possible, Maybe?
Ohio State landed a commitment from PA ATH Malik Hooker this week, and while Michigan was recruiting Hooker at receiver the Buckeyes are taking him as a safety. This is an important detail in light of OSU's current scholarship situation and remaining needs. Land-Grant Holy Land lists the top targets left on the board:
Hooker's commitment further leaves many recruitniks checking their Google Docs because of the present NCAA sanctions induced numbers crunch. There was some sentiment that Raekwon McMillan, Curtis Samuel, Marshon Lattimore, Damian Prince/Chad Mavety, and then either Erick Smith, Mike Gesicki, or a newer offeree like Braxton Berrios would finish out the rest of what's likely to be a class capped around 20 or 21 total. Perhaps this suggests future attrition could still be in the cards, or that the Buckeyes' staff is willing to throw caution to the wind to secure the best talent on their board to position themselves for long term, sustained success, even in light of their forced recruiting limitations.
Bucknuts's Bill Kurelic flat-out says that four-star Glenville safety Erick Smith's expected spot in the class is no longer a sure thing by any means ($):
And finally, Hooker's commitment certainly puts Erick Smith's spot in the class in some question. Hooker is definitely headed to Ohio State as a safety. Getting Smith in still is not impossible, but the numbers squeeze becomes even tighter.
With Hooker in I could see Smith still getting in if the OSU staff decides not to add another receiver type prospect other than Curtis Samuel, or if they decide to take just one more offensive lineman.
Smith and his five-star athlete teammate, Marshon Lattimore, have been very quiet in the wake of their visit for the BBQ, but Steve Wiltfong suggests that Michigan made a move in 247's free Big Ten roundup:
Ohio State hosted five-star cornerback Marshon Lattimore and four-star safety Erick Smith for Friday Night Lights and remain the favorite to land the Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville duo, however it looks like Michigan made a strong case for both at the Barbecue at the Big House on Sunday.
Smith and Lattimore have talked in the past about being a package deal. I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.
2015 four-star DT Hjalte Froholdt must go back to Denmark for a year after his visa expired — he'd played last season at Warren (OH) Harding and earned offers this summer from Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, with those three schools thought to be in serious contention for his services. He'll still be playing football this year, just not against high school kids, per ESPN's Jared Shanker ($):
Froholdt, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound lineman, spent his sophomore season at Warren (Ohio) G. Harding, but he is now back in his native Denmark after his visa expired this summer. He will move to Copenhagen in the fall and play football for the Søllerød Gold Diggers, a senior league team with players ranging from ages 20-40.
Froholdt plans to return to the States for his senior season. His junior film, at the very least, should be quite interesting. Also, either "Gold Digger" has a very different meaning in Denmark or I'm very curious to see Søllerød's mascot. I've heard Kevin Federline needs work.
In the wake of Damien Harris's commitment, 2015 Cass Tech RB Mike Weber named Tennessee as his leader, per Scout's Patrick MacCoon ($). If Michigan can't make up ground on Weber, they may turn their attention more fully to four-star FL RB Jacques Patrick, who's been in contact with Harris and Campbell on Twitter and seems to have legitimate interest in Michigan.
MSU reportedly hired the director of Sound Mind Sound Body and the Maximum Exposure 7-on-7 team, Curtis Blackwell, to be their recruiting coordinator. I'm not sure where this leaves SMSB, but it certainly gives State a personnel guy with extensive knowledge of prospects and connections with coaches throughout the state of Michigan — from my viewpoint, he's a very good hire.
ESPN updated their 2014 top 300 (no major changes for Michigan commits) and team rankings, with Michigan falling two spots to #6, though three of the five teams they're behind have 23 commits or more.
Iowa is in serious danger of losing in-state four-star OL commit Ross Pierschbacher to Alabama or Stanford, per 247's Trevor Hewett ($). Pierschbacher has remained a "soft" commit to the Hawkeyes while visiting Tuscaloosa and Palo Alto, and now says he want to "make a decision pretty soon," which doesn't bode well for the school to which he's currently committed.
This takes some serious guts. Kudos to Jordan Hoeim for coming to terms with the fact that he doesn't enjoy playing football and opening up his spot at Oregon for someone who does; I wish him the best of luck in whatever he decides to do, and I hope Duck fans do the same.
*Somewhere in the Great Unknown, Bo Schembechler nods vehemently.
I guess that's essentially what a 49er is, huh?
Perhaps a 69er
It's all about synergy with DB and recruiting.
I feel hap-eeeeee...
I feel hap-eeeeee...
Did no one show Jordan Hoeim the new facilities? They've got this like, whole row of ducks in all different colors and stuff. It's crazy, man.
FWIW, that is my recollection as well. Walker was #1 and Terrell #2 with Fargus #1 (or #2 to UCLA's Foster on one list) while Henson was the #2 or #3 QB.
“I am going to commit to the school that makes me feel at home, where I felt the coaches kept it real with me and a program that treats me like a regular person and not just an athlete,” Fournette said.
Had no idea Leonard Fournette is Leonard Fournette III. I hope he has a kid he names Leonard. Leonard Fournette Four has a nice ring to it.
Do I owe Pat Riley $$ now? If so, "THEN LET'S GET READY TO RUMMMMMMBBBBLLLLEEE!"
Fill in the blank: Logging on MgoBlog to find a "Hello: Marshon Lattimore & Erick Smith" post waiting for you would be ___________
Just another Thursday around here, really.
"You know how sometimes you can go somewhere and people can try to pressure you, or force you, or push you? ‘You need to make a decision.’ "
URBAN MEYER SELLS TIMESHARES!
You could take the Spartan approach, which apparently goes something like, "Oh, you're committing to [INSERT SCHOOL NAME HERE]? Well, if you have any friends who play football who might be interested in playing football here in East Lansing, tell them about us. We're on the Twitter, now. Have you heard of this Twitter?"
Don't you mean Beast Lansing?
"The Gold Diggers has won the Danish championship, Mermaid Bowl, twice, in 2009 and 2010, both times against Triangle Razorbacks from Vejle. Gold Diggers had their first Mermaid Bowl-experience in 2008 where they lost to Razorback. Gold Diggers has been playing in Nationalligaen since 2008."
I was going to mark this redundant but I have to come to grips with the fact not everyone follows Danish football like I do..... If anyone wants to hit the Mermaid Bowl with me this year, just let me know.
Mermaid Bowl? All this time I thought the Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl was the funniest name ever for a bowl game.
Dave Brandon really was a good CEO at Domino's.One of the top Bain Capital partners (BC used to own Domino's) told me he though Brandon was the best CEO of any of Bain Capital's many, many portfolio companies. That is quite the compliment. His business credentials are real.
For a long time, Parrker Westphal (100% 247 Crystal Ball) and Montae Nicholson (93% 247 Crystal Ball) have been considered Michigan leans.
There is also JuJu Smith and Adoree Jackson lurking around although definite longshots, especially Jackson.
IF, and a big IF, Lattimore and Smith are the rumored DBs that may or may not be committing this week.....would you rather have those two and close out our DB recruiting (and keep them out of OSU hands)?
Or would you rather have Westphal and Nicholson (and/or keep open the remote possibility of one of the West Coast blue chippers)?
Again, I'm assuming landing Lattimore and Smith would close out DB recruiting.
I'm torn. I like Westphal and Nicholson but stealing two Glenville kids, especially a 5 star one is enticing.
Lattimore looks better than Westphal, Smith and Nicholson look about the same. Biggest difference is taking kids from Glenville that urban wanted. Gotta keep that fence down
Adoree and Juju are long shots, so in this case I'd take the bird in the hand. And Lattimore and Smith are better than Westphal and Nicholson, so I'd take them in that comparison just on talent.
According to ESPN, though not necessarily TomVH, "Michigan really only has about three spots left and it hopes to snag a few more top guys[.]"
I presume we are keeping spots open for McDowell and Hand. So if we only have three spots left, then we might only have room for one DB, not two--not to mention the Fournette issue.
If Lattimore & Smith genuinely are a package deal, then I think it would make sense for the coaches to tell them to wait. If you take two DBs now, then that means (i) we only have room for McDowell OR Hand, and (ii) we have to give up on Fournette altogether.
"The Professor Who Needs A Building Named After Him Building," 75% of the professors on campus would think it's about them and be happier.
And yes, I am a faculty member at a university. And yes, I would.
Damn, pulling out the K-Fed burn. That's low-hanging fruit but still awesome.
2016 MD LB De'le Harding, teammate of 2014 commits Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson, told Lorenz flat-out that Michigan is his top school after taking in the BBQ
I mean, it's 2016, but isn't De'le almost a sure bet for a 5* ranking? I thought we were just hoping he'd be interested in Michigan, but to flat out name Michigan his leader? That seems like huge news (or as big as news can be pertaining to the opinions of 15 year olds)
I was thinking the same thing. It seemed like in the writeup they were just like yeah its cool and all but he likes us. I thought this was the guy whose coach said he was one of the best players he had ever coached or something along those lines and we dont seemed that pumped at all
Brady Hoke needs to do whatever it takes to recruit Raekwon
ND also signed Sam Young in '06, ranked #11 in his class.
I think I remember hearing Westphal was coached by Todd Howard. I don't know about the rest of you all, but I was happy watching that bowl game against Tennessee way back when. Yes I know we got killed, but all my friends and I were ecstatic that we were watching Howard's last game. I don't need anyone who was coached by him.
Not sure whether to down-vote this comment or take it out back and shoot it.
Dogging a former player is bad enough, but then trashing his coaching without providing any explaination for a lack of faith in his abilities to teach young athletes is beyond the pale. Even if Howard doesn't read this board, showing a modicum of respect is the expected standard.
but can't find any picture of the Mermaid Bowl trophy...must look something like this...