Rivals thinks so highly of Drake Johnson that they still don't list him on Michigan's commit list.
Thursday Recruitin' Welcomes Drake Johnson
This week's Thursday Recruitin' welcomes Michigan's newest commit, has updates on Shaq Thompson and Stefon Diggs, and discusses the new release of the 2013 Top247. 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.
Before I start, a quick note: I've been getting a lot of questions on Twitter about which Penn State commits Michigan could poach given the current situation at State College. I feel, especially after the events of last night, that such issues are not appropriate to discuss at this time. If a player decommits and expresses interest in Michigan, I'll be happy to discuss such matters at that time. Until then, I think it's best to focus on what's most important in that situation, and that certainly isn't recruiting.
Hello, Drake Johnson
(Photo credit: Angela J. Cesere, AnnArbor.com)
Michigan picked up its 24th commit of the 2012 class in Ann Arbor Pioneer running back Drake Johnson, an under-the-radar recruit and track star who pledged on Tuesday morning as soon as he was offered. You can find my hello post here, and while it's critical of Johnson's game, I hope people realize that I'm pulling for Johnson to wildly exceed expectations (I'm a Pioneer grad, too)—this is really awesome to see for any local kid:
"When I was in little league, we used to be the Washtenaw Jr. Wolverines," Johnson said. "I always had really close ties to Michigan within my family and within the people I know. Michigan has always been the place I wanted to go, and now that the chance has come up it is almost magical."
Johnson's commitment should not affect Michigan's recruitment of Bri'onte Dunn, a sentiment echoed by Scout's Allen Trieu in this AnnArbor.com article:
Johnson is the first running back to verbally commit for 2012, so there still is room for another. Additionally, Johnson is a shiftier runner who excels in space and is terrific in the passing game. He could be used at slot receiver or in the kick return game, Trieu said.
Dunn, on the other hand, is more of a bruising type.
"Dunn is your classic pounder," Trieu said. "I think they’ll be used differently, so there’s room for both in the class. I don’t think they will butt heads in that regard, because they’re both very different."
Congrats to Drake for the offer and commitment, and I look forward to seeing him suit up in the Maize and Blue.
The other big news of the week for current commits came yesterday, as TomVH reported that Pharaoh Brown would come in at tight end instead of defensive end ($) after the coaches gave him the choice to play his preferred position. In the five games where I could find complete stats, Brown put up 614 yards and four TDs on just 25 catches this season while playing wide receiver for Brush, and at 6'6", 220 pounds, he could be a matchup nightmare on the offensive side of the ball. I still expect both Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams to come in at tight end as well, though Williams could be more of a sixth offensive lineman (and potentially move there full-time down the road) after playing tackle his entire senior year of high school.
Quickly: Cass Tech's Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone prepare to square off against Warren De La Salle and Shane Morris this weekend ($); Caleb Stacey was named to the 2012 International Bowl; after coming up just short the last two years, James Ross is on a mission to get a state title for Orchard Lake St. Mary's ($); and TomVH profiles Ben Braden ($).
Shaq Thompson's Visit Plans Up in the Air
I reported last week that I had talked to five-star CA S Shaq Thompson, and he told me he would be taking an official visit to Michigan, though he wouldn't confirm which week. There were rumors that he would visit for the Nebraska game, but—as Sam Webb predicted—it sounds like he'll be coming up for a non-game weekend in December so the coaches can get to know him better and gauge his true interest ($):
Thompson was slated to visit Michigan later this month when the Wolverines host Nebraska but those plans have now been altered.
“I’m just focusing on our team right now,” Thompson said. “We have the playoffs coming up and I don’t want to take any more visits until after the season is over. I’m still talking with Michigan and could visit in December but I don’t have a date set right now.
This is good news, and it seems to confirm that Thompson is really interested in the school, and not just a free trip to check out Ann Arbor. Landing him would obviously be a huge coup for the Wolverines, and getting him on campus would be a big step in the right direction—we'll see if he nails anything down in the near future.
The other five-star to recently pop back up on the radar is Olney (MD) Good Counsel WR Stefon Diggs. Sam Webb posted a two-part message board thread yesterday detailing why Michigan has a real shot at Diggs ($, info in header), who now holds the Wolverines in his top five. The Wolverines have a good connection in good friend and former teammate Blake Countess, who was doing some recruiting of his own over Twitter last week. We'll see where this goes, but it sounds like Michigan has a chance to pull in another blue-chip player at a position of great need.
[UPDATE: Sam Webb just posted his weekly recruiting article at the Detroit News, and it's on, yep, Stefon Diggs. Lots of good stuff in there, including the tidbit that Michigan and Cal are the two schools most likely to receive official visits, while his other three haven't been determined. There's also this:
Countess hasn't been shy in conveying that message to his former teammate. The freshman cornerback's advocacy has been instrumental in establishing Michigan as one of the favorites for Diggs' services.
"Blake is my close friend and his word is bond," said Diggs. "I take what he says (absolutely). He would never lead me in the wrong direction. When he says it, I take it to heart. I truly believe him. He speaks highly of Michigan. I respect Michigan a lot. They showed a spark in interest lately. I just look forward to opening the line of communication more and setting up a visit."
Yeah, it's okay to get a little excited about this one. More on this in the next week, but I figured that article was worth passing along now.]
247Sports released their initial Top247 for the class of 2013—Shane Morris comes in as the No. 12 overall player and No. 2 quarterback, while Dymonte Thomas is 35th overall and the No. 3 safety. Not a bad early haul for Michigan, and it could get much better, as the list is littered with Michigan offers. Instead of replicating good work that's already been done, I'll direct you to Touch the Banner, where Magnus has done a fantastic job compiling a list of the players with offers and interest from the Wolverines who made the Top247.
Crete-Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, who made the Top247 himself, was named the Chicago-area player of the week last week, and comes in for high praise from his high school coach:
“He has the obvious size and athletic ability, but what makes him special is his competitive edge and toughness,” [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. “He is a blue-chip wide receiver that loves to hit.”
While Treadwell’s future is at wide receiver, Crete-Monee is taking advantage of his size and athleticism in other ways this season. Verde has also made him a defensive end. Like at wide receiver, Treadwell has been impact player on defense and had eight sacks this season.
“He is also often times unblockable as a defensive end due to his speed and surprising strength,” Verde said.
Treadwell had a hugely productive junior season, has been to campus multiple times, and is teammates with 2012 commit Anthony Standifer. He's one to keep an eye on as the focus begins to turn to the 2013 class.
Quickly: Tim looks ahead to the 2013 class for the Free Press; 247 launched their Michigan site last week, with articles on Shane Morris ($) and Toledo Central Catholic safety Jayme Thompson, who currently has Michigan in his top two along with West Virginia ($, info in header); TomVH reports that blue-chip CA linebacker Michael Hutchings has interest in the Wolverines ($, info in header); and Tim profiles Lemont (IL) OL Ethan Pocic, a recent offeree, at The Wolverine ($).
Yeah he is, he's just not ranked yet.
If Diggs hasn't set a visit date yet I'd be concerned about there being no room at the inn. With 4 spots to go to the max 28 there won't be any wiggle room for the "we'll make room" mantra. I assume 2 of our 4 spots will go to WR's. You're recruiting 5 with Madaris and Chesson as the wait and see's while Diggs, Payton and Darboh are the immediate focus. Payton could decide any day if he hasn't silently committed already((Pipkins "Welcome aboard" tweet to him). Sam Webb feels that Darboh would probably committ pretty quickly after his guardians visit campus which I believe is Nebraska game. So really those 2 could be committed before Nov is over. I would think there would be a sense of urgency to get Diggs on campus ASAP. The fact that there's a strong feeling we're in on him and he hasn't visited yet puzzles me a little givin the timetable with the other guys.
Any updates on him?
Nothing on Payton—still in a holding pattern right now. Might be a good thing. The longer this drags out after his Notre Dame visit (the one that caused him to push back his announcement), the less it should affect his decision, and Michigan was the clear leader until that point.
Webb has said on one of his radio recruiting roundup segments, that Payton's inner circle is not completely comfortable with the distance of either ND or Michigan and are strongly encouraging more visits, especially Cal.
Thanks, I'm a little behind on Webb's radio segments this week because of all the stuff going on. Sounds like Payton's recruitment could get dragged out for a while. At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if he takes this out at least to the Army AA Game.
Diggs is apparently going to visit in December.
I'd love to see Diggs come here, but as jerseyblue has stated, time is getting short to get him on campus.
I love the move of Pharoah Brown to TE. He sounds like he could be real receiving threat at that position - something we really haven't had for a while.
Drake Johnson just might be the kick returner we've needed for a while. Stonum has had some really good flashes at the position. But Johnson sounds like he has ideal characteristics for a great return guy - straight ahead speed, a little size, can take hits. We'll see when he gets here I guess.
It never hurts that it's the guy who's excelled and is starting as a freshman. You play who deserves it, but that's a nice perk.
And HT to Magnus, but how good is is their high school team? Diggs still this year (and whatever seniors that aren't interested in us), and next year-
38. Kendall Fuller - CB - Maryland (offered, attends same school as Blake Countess)
58. Dorian O'Daniel - RB - Maryland (attends same school as Blake Countess)
164. Kirk Garner - S - Maryland (attends same school as Blake Countess)
I'd love to see Diggs, Darboh, Dunn, and Diamond. The 4 D's to finish up
He fast becoming a Michigan Man and he's "Good Counsel" for the program's future.
Just posted this update in the article, but if you're just hanging in the comments, Webb's weekly DetNews article is on Diggs this week, and there's a ton of good stuff in there. Sounds like M has a great shot, and Countess is a heck of a recruiter to have in their corner.
Ace, I'll be attending Stefon's game tomorrow night. It'll be their first playoff game and it will be at Stefon's home stadium against St. John's, a team they already beat 28-14 earlier in the year. If you would like me to evaluate Stefon as a player and his skill set for your own work, I'd be more than willing to email my observations to you after the game.
That would be fantastic if you're gonna be there. Just shoot me an email (linked in my sig) when you get the chance. Thanks.
Thanks for the link, Ace.
No problem, Magnus. I was really glad to see someone had done a comprehensive breakdown of that list—you saved me a couple hours' worth of sleep last night, and with all the PSU stuff, I really needed it.
Knowing that these are 16-18 year old kids, I try to temper my excitement about recruiting updates (except the "Hello:" posts, of course). But with an already-stellar 2012 class and the big names that are still considering Michigan in the class, I am extremely excited about next year's freshman class. Great excite!
Why can't I shake the feeling that Shaq Thompson would be overkill at the safety position? I would much prefer Yuri Wright, Diggs, and two linemen.