Thursday Recruitin' Won't Go Interviewing Zach Banner's Mama
This week's Thursday Recruitin' will not be talking about Mitch McGary, because sometime after his 5 p.m. announcement today we'll know everything we need to know about his recruitment. It's a pretty quiet week this week, but as always, there's still a fair amount to discuss about football recruiting. 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.
Shaq Thompson Is Visiting, Bri'onte Dunn "Kind Of" Committed to OSU
So, hooray for actual original reporting, as I saw Tim Sullivan's message board post over at The Wolverine ($) saying that five-star CA safety Shaq Thompson's coach was pretty sure he would take an official visit to Michigan and shot Shaq a message on Twitter. He got back to me Tuesday night, and confirmed that he'll be taking an official to Ann Arbor, although I still haven't heard from him about which week he'll be coming up. Sam Webb said on WTKA yesterday that he thinks the coaching staff wants Thompson to come up for a non-game weekend to make sure he has genuine interest in Michigan. That would also give the staff more one-on-one time to get to know Thompson and sell him on the school.
This is big news, obviously, as Thompson would be the highest-rated recruit in the class at a position of need, but before you get too excited keep in mind that Michigan is still likely a longshot to land him at this point. Getting him on campus is a big step, but the Wolverines will be competing with Cal (the school he originally committed to), Oregon, Notre Dame, and Washington—and perhaps others, such as USC, as he hasn't decided where he'll be taking his final official—for his commitment.
In today's 'quote that will make everyone freak the hell out,' Bri'onte Dunn said this to Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts after visiting Ohio State for their game against Wisconsin ($):
When asked if he is still a solid Ohio State commitment, Dunn said, “Kind of. I’m still thinking about stuff. I want to check the other schools out.”
Dunn did say that he really enjoyed the visit to Columbus, but he's also planning to take an official visit to Ann Arbor, and he might take trips to Penn State and Miami as well. The door sounds like it is still very much open. Huzzah. (Ohio State fans, predictably, are taking this totally in stride and are certainly not bracing for a potential decommit by saying they don't want Dunn anyway. Nope, not at all. Nothing to see here.)
Consensus four-star cornerback Yuri Wright will be taking an official visit of his own for the Ohio State game—the first time he'll have visited Ann Arbor—and he told Steve Wiltfong that two schools are currently on top for him ($, info in header):
“I would say Rutgers and Michigan are two schools that would be pretty hard to say no to them,” Wright said following practice on Thursday evening.
I'm liking Michigan's chances if it comes down to a battle of official visits between Michigan and Rutgers, though you never know, and Wright is still considering several other schools. That said, the Wolverines look to be in good position with him right now.
Quickly: Jordan Diamond fluff; M is in four-star receiver Darius Powe's top four ($); free Scout film on receiver Monty Madaris; and happy trails to Texas athlete Jalin Overstreet, who got an offer to come in as a quarterback for the Longhorns (Michigan, and most others, were recruiting him as a safety) and he jumped on it.
Much, much more—including Zach Banner jokingly threatening a Seattle reporter (we hope)—after the jump.
Offensive Linemen Are Scary
Josh Garnett was presented with his Under Armour All-American jersey, and since that's an ESPN thing, they did a nice big writeup on him (and it's free!). No apologies for the Grudenism—this is a guy you want on your offensive line [emphasis mine]:
"I think people are surprised that I have such a nasty streak on the field," Garnett said. "I'm soft spoken off the field so they probably assume I'll be nice out there, maybe knock someone over and then help them up but that's not me.
"I always say this, when you're on the football field, for that two hours, you're legally allowed to beat the crap out of someone. Every play is the same, you can basically do whatever you want, within the rules, and there is no more satisfying feeling than when you look at the player across from you, and you can tell they don't want any more. Sometimes it happens as soon as the first quarter, other times in the second half but eventually, I feel like I'm going to wear you out and I love that about this game."
There's also a local news article that talks about Garnett's official visit schedule. He's slated to visit Ann Arbor for the Nebraska game, and plans on visiting Oklahoma and Miami after that, but that schedule is subject to change if his high school team advances deep into the playoffs. He's also considering Stanford—where he's already been accepted by admissions, though that doesn't say anything except that he wants to keep the Cardinal as an option (and he's a bright kid)—and his hometown Washington squad.
A couple of writers from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer decided to travel to South Bend for the huge (by recruiting standards) game between ND and USC, and while there wasn't much relevant to Michigan in their post-trip, er, post, we do get this incredible quote from Zach Banner:
We sat behind parents like Zach Banner’s mother, an extremely nice young lady, and I was in the midst of extolling the many virtues of her son (whom Dick and I had interviewed for a profile on our site) when he stood halfway up and in a mock-glare (at least I pray that it was a mock glare), said, “Don’t you go interviewing my Mama”.
I've seen Banner up close on the field after the Notre Dame game, and let's just say I would likely need a change of drawers if the above happened to me.
Devin Funchess's Very Specific Favorite Gatorate Flavor and More Criticial News
As you probably are aware, Michigan has a couple pairs of current high school teammates committed for the 2012 class, including Farmington Hills Harrison's Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia. WolverineNation's Chantel Jennings caught up with the duo as they prepared for their state playoff run ($). She also had the long-time teammates play "the teammate game," to see which of the two knew the other better—or at least knew which hyper-specific flavor of Gatorade the other preferred. Funchess lost me as soon as he said a flavor that wasn't just a color.
Funchess and Ojemudia were also profiled in a local news article, which gives us an update on Ojemudia's current weight and where he could end up playing at Michigan:
Ojemudia said that right now, he weighs about 220 pounds, but would like to be at 230 pounds by the time he enrolls at Michigan and eventually get up to 260 pounds over his college career. Still, the Wolverines’ starting defensive line for their game against Purdue on Oct. 29 averaged 289 pounds. While some say Ojemudia’s speed negates his relative size disadvantage, recruiting analysts have speculated that he may change positions while at Michigan, perhaps moving to linebacker.
“I’ll play whatever they want me to,” Ojemudia said.
Michigan has a wealth of both defensive ends and linebackers in this class, so I think Ojemudia will slot in wherever he fits best. If Jake Ryan can play with his hand down in this defense, however, I'm guessing the pass-rushing demon will stick at weakside DE, especially since he should be able to take a redshirt year and add some pounds while waiting for a starting spot to open up.
Speaking of good friends who have played football together since grade school and are going to Michigan next year, the Freep's Kenneth Williams profiles Cass Tech's Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson. The linebacker and the cornerback, unsurprisingly, have slightly different mindsets when they hit the football field:
"I like to play the receiver's position because I get to make the big plays and run the touchdowns in," Richardson said. "But playing corner helps me to know what the receiver should be looking out for. So either way, I just love the game."
Jenkins-Stone prefers to hit -- hard.
"I get to do the hitting as opposed to being the running back a.k.a. a moving target. But since I play both well. I don't mind doing whatever is needed to win."
The two Technicians will suit up for the U.S. Under-19 National Team in the third annual International Bowl, and will be joined by current commits Devin Funchess and James Ross, as well as Michigan target Jordan Payton.
Shane Morris Loves Glee, But We'll Forgive Him
ESPN caught up with Shane Morris for a get-to-know-you post, and yes, he says Glee is his favorite TV show, but he also says much more relevant stuff as well:
ESPNHS: You’ve come a long way since then. What have you done to continue to improve?
Morris: In the offseason and during the winter I work out five times a week. I lift weights three days a week and the other days I’m doing core exercises. I throw three or four times a week. I’m working hard every day trying to get better. I’m just trying to reach my goals.
ESPNHS: So what do you need to improve on?
Morris: Everything. I’m trying to improve on everything. I’ll never be perfect. Right now I’m working on my footwork and on being more patient in the pocket. And then just getting more of the mental aspect down, reading defenses, stepping up in the pocket and making my throws.
This type of attitude and preparation is obviously important, especially if Devin Gardner doesn't land his medical redshirt—if Shane Morris sees the field early, he'll be as prepared as any young quarterback could be. Also, his favorite athlete is Tom Brady, which is the correct answer in his case.
Michigan offered Wheaton (IL) St. Francis junior OL Kyle Bosch recently, and Tim has an article on him in the Freep:
“Kyle is one of the most intense, explosive football players I’ve ever coached,” [St. Francis coach Greg] Purnell said. “He has a great motor, high intensity level and he loves contact. A lot of times you don’t find that in a big man his age.”
Bosch is a strong run blocker and should get better as he develops more strength. Like most young linemen, he is not yet strong in pass protection, but he has the physical tools that will allows him to excel with more experience. Bosch’s technique is advanced for a player who is just halfway through his junior year of high school.
Arizona, Iowa, and Stanford are among Bosch's other early offers, and he should get a lot of attention nationally before his recruitment is over. He'd be a huge get if the Wolverines managed to land him.
Tim also runs down a few of the key junior visitors from last week's Purdue game, including hyped Maryland DT Henry Poggi:
Poggi is one of the country’s most-offered prospects early in the process. He’s already received offers from the likes of Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Stanford, and an early visit to Michigan’s campus shows he’s serious about the Wolverines. Poggi’s 6-3, 250-pound frame could eventually translate to any number of positions, but most peg him as a defensive tackle.
Having him on campus already is a great sign for Michigan, as Poggi should be one of the premier prospect in the country at a position that could still use recuits in a big way.
Sam Webb's weekly Detroit News article focused on 2014 Grand Rapids Christian two-sport standout Drake Harris, who is looking closely at both Michigan and Michigan State. The Spartans are really going after the 6'4", 170-pound guard (talking basketball, here) hard, and it appears he's a hoops prospect first and a football prospect second, but if he chooses the latter the skill set is very much there:
Harris proved to be an unstoppable force on Grand Rapids Christian's junior varsity football team last season, scoring nearly 30 touchdowns. His gaudy performances inflated the expectations placed on his much-anticipated varsity football debut this fall. But as was the case when he stepped on the hardwood for the first time, Harris hasn't disappointed. During the regular season, the explosive wideout amassed 1,022 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions. Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu was on hand for Harris' biggest game thus far — a nine-reception, 254-yard, two-TD showing versus Muskegon Reeths-Puffer in Week 4.
"He had 160 first-half receiving yards, showing great ball skills, speed and athleticism," said Trieu. "He went high, showing his leaping ability, to snare one pass over the top of a defender and simply ran past the defense on an 89-yard touchdown. It was not great competition that he was going against, but his package of physical skills is very intriguing, and he's certainly a high-level football prospect, as well."
That from a kid who chose not to play varsity football his freshman year in order to focus on basketball. Harris grew up a big fan of MSU, especially their hoops program, but he isn't ruling out Michigan at this (very) early stage. He's been on campus several times and attended one of John Beilein's camps, and Beilein has also been out to see one of Harris's games.
Quick 2013 hitters: Flint Carmen-Ainsworth RB Gerald Holmes made Michigan his first visit ($, info in header)—he's an intriguing prospect who got a lot of attention as a sophomore but was hurt for much of this season; Parker (CO) Ponderosa OL Chris Fox will likely make an early decision ($, info in header), and Michigan and Colorado (his only two scholarship offers) are in good position to land the four-star prospect; Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac was impressed with Michigan's running game against Purdue ($, info in header); TomVH on 2013 secondary recruiting ($); Chantel Jennings profiles Cass Tech corner Jourdan Lewis ($); Tom reports that Springboro (OH) OL Sean Welsh and Cleveland Central Catholic DB Jayme Thompson enjoyed their visits to Michigan last weekend ($).