this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Update 9/30: Linked to articles on FL WR Jeremy Gallon, MD LB Jelani Jenkins (video), LA WR Rueben Randle, CA QB commit Tate Forcier, VA DE Will Hill, SC DE Chris Bonds, header on FL CB Mywan Jackson, FL LB Mike Marry (video), CA WR Shaquelle Evans, FL S Vladimir Emilien, Moved MI S Thomas Gordon to committed. Would move 2010 FL WR Ricardo Miller to committed if I had a 2010 board.
Added AZ OL Taylor Lewan.
Little scouting bits on MD DE Jason Ankrah and MD CB Travis Hawkins. SI/Takkle has put out a top 200; another article on Jenkins and Randle. A teammate of Pahokee commits Vincent Smith and Brandin Hawthorne was shot and killed this weekend; Michigan is recruiting another Pahokee kid but I think he's on the back burner.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
First, something horrible in the lives of Brandin Hawthorne, Vincent Smith, and Martavious Odoms:
PAHOKEE — High school football standout Norman Griffith was only the latest shooting victim in a region afflicted by steadily escalating gun violence, authorities said today.
Griffith, a senior and team captain, was shot in the head and killed about 1 a.m. Saturday as he was driving from a dance in Belle Glade at Southwest 12th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. His teammates, many of whom have had trouble sleeping, gathered this afternoon to mourn him at the Pahokee Parks and Recreation facility, where many of the boys played youth football with Griffith.
Griffith was going to play college football somewhere; the photo gallery accompanying the article is worth checking out.
And now for something completely different:
Two commits in the past couple days, one from Cass Tech safety Thomas Gordon. Gordon is a three-star sort but one with a good alibi: he never played safety, the position he projects to in college, until his senior year. Once he did he picked up quick MSU and Michigan offers. I'll get a "hello" post up on him in the near future.
The other, well…
2010 FL WR Ricardo Miller made it no secret he was going to commit to Michigan as soon as they offered, and Michigan offered last night so he committed. I'll get a hello post up on him, too, but the one sentence synopsis: Miller's an outside receiver who's likely to be a top-five player in Florida next year; he already had a Florida offer. Florida Football Magazine ranks him the #2 player in Florida's class of 2010.
OMG tiny shirtless:
Despite appearances, Miller is not I repeat not a slot receiver.
So Miller is in the fold and is likely to be a big recruit, and if you wander over to FL S Marvin Robinson's myspace page (as always, a warning: myspace pages make you want to claw your eyes out) he's renamed himself "bout to verbal commit to the University of Michigan." Robinson came up for summer camp as a rising sophomore last year and was impressive enough to pick up an offer there; he's been favoring Michigan since. Florida Football Magazine ranks him the #6 player in the state at this early juncture.
And then I spent like way too much time trying to figure out just who in the hell this gentleman is because he's changed his name to "Yep! Yep! If My Bro Goin Big Blue I Am To!!" and myspace is the world's least pleasant software. It turns out he's John Lewis, an unranked 2008 linebacker recruit from the same high school who now appears to be at a JUCO—I can think of no other reason a kid from Lake Region, Florida, would end up in Fort Dodge, Iowa—and has pictures of himself in a Michigan hat splattered all over his site. He did visit M last year with Robinson, but he came back excited about a potential offer from Eastern Michigan.
I don't know what's up with that, as I find it hard to believe he's got an offer what with his ranking and Michigan's historic aversion to JUCOs. Maybe a walk-on?
Defensive ends dropping.
Michigan could probably use a third defensive end in the 2009 class, but with Anthony Lalota and Craig Roh in the fold we're likely to see the great majority of the players on the board slip away. Candidate #1 is SC DE Chris Bonds:
As for his recruiting, Bonds has visited Notre Dame officially and is scheduled to visit Tennessee October 25th. With this down time due to the injury, Bonds said he might move up his other visits. He plans to set dates with Southern Cal and Alabama. Michigan has been on list of visits but he said he's not sure he'll schedule that one. Bonds said right now Notre Dame and Southern Cal are tied at the top of his list.
He's on the board for now in case he does schedule that visit.
Meanwhile, VA DE Will Hill seems to be leaning to Tennessee if you take circumstantial evidence into account. He camped there, visited for the Florida game, and is considering a return trip for Alabama. Possibility 1: he really likes Tennessee. Possibility two: he really hates Tennessee and enjoys watching them get blasted. Michigan remains under consideration:
Hill said he plans to take official visits to Michigan and South Carolina before he announces his decision. Unofficial trips to evaluate Virginia and Maryland are also likely possibilities.
Much has been written of late about the two five-star recruits Michigan is pursuing other than MI DT Will Campbell. Sam Webb had an extensive article on MD LB Jelani Jenkins, who's visited. His father lays out some of the decision parameters:
"Basically we have a matrix that we did on each school," Maurice Jenkins explained. "Part of that matrix is the strength of academics and academic facilities. In Michigan's case, they have an awesome facility there, so you can see they take the academics very seriously.
"One other criterion was that we wanted a team with national exposure that potentially plays in the (BCS) bowl games. Diversity is very important, as is a city that we feel is safe. We want an environment that is diverse where they have respect for different people.
"The strength and conditioning program is real important to us, too, because that is the thing that keeps him on the football field. They have a real strong strength and conditioning coach up there (at Michigan)."
Some eeee Barwis follows, and the general impression given by the article is that Michigan is guaranteed to be in Jenkins top five and could be even better positioned from that. On WTKA Webb didn't go so far as he did with some of the other kids who have committed over the past few weeks, but he kind of sounded like he thought Michigan would be the choice if today was signing day. And how's that for a convoluted sentence? Attempt two: Michigan is in good, not great shape. If we're going by article sources alone, LSU and Penn State appear to be in decent shape as well.
LA WR Rueben Randle is the other five star listing Michigan pretty high, though most are expecting him to stay in-state:
“I want to see what it is like up there,” Randle told TigerBait.com, a site that covers LSU football. “That is pretty much the only one that I have set right now. I don't know the date yet, but I would like to make a trip up to Ann Arbor."
Randle plays for Bastrop, the home of DT commit DeQuinta Jones, and has an existing relationship with LB coach Jay Hopson.
The Times-Picayune had an extensive profile of Randle recently that mostly deals with how sweet he is as a wide receiver. Recruiting isn't touched on much until the end, but a quote from the man himself:
"I'm going to try to go where I can play (quickly) and where I'm most comfortable," Randle said. "There's really nothing more important to me than that, other than academics. Academics are important."
And then his coach:
I think he knows where he wants to go," Bradshaw said. "Or he's at least got a feel for it if he doesn't already know. He's too intelligent not to know. He's got it narrowed down."
"If he wants to go to a school that can win a national championship and where he can get a good edcuation, that should whittle the list down considerably. There's only a handful of schools that can do that, in my opinion."
That quote plus the "I only have an official to Michigan" quote above… promising? Maybe? I'm still betting on LSU.
Header on FL CB Mywan Jackson:
UNC Now Leading for Jackson
Jackson's got a Michigan visit scheduled for later and seems like the type of kid who is BLOWN AWAY by wherever his last visit was to, so he's not necessarily a goner.
Ohio State is the one doing the flippity floppin' on FL S Vladimir Emilien:
"Coach Fickell and I had a long talk on the phone and we agreed to get together again next week to talk a little further about this situation. I was glad to hear from them again, because I've always liked Ohio State, but the fact is that they went about two months without contacting me at all. I had removed them from my list, but now I've got to put them back up there again."
OSU was Emilien's heavy leader before they picked up six defensive backs and kinda-sorta-dropped him; I don't know if they're guarding against a decommit or just wanted to screw with Michigan's chances or what.
Emilien will be up for the Michigan State game on October 24th; he plans a Wisconsin visit two weeks earlier and may take a Stanford trip in November. He plans on committing November 23rd, his birthday. Assuming that Ohio State doesn't have room for him—and I really doubt they do—this looks good for M.
Also in that article is a mention of TX K commit Anthony Fera taking a trip to Penn State. No one thinks this is serious, FWIW.
Going to be ready.
This ESPN article on the battle over homeschooled kids playing for public schools starts off unpromisingly for M fans:
"I'll tell my teacher, 'I have a game today,'" Forcier said. "He'll say, 'That's fine; you don't have to come.' And I'll go to my football school and watch film all day."
In the middle it improves, though:
"He wasn't getting the special attention he needed," said Forcier, who added that Tate's SAT score now is nearly good enough for him to attend Stanford.
And it finishes with a flourish:
There is an added benefit for the player who might one day run coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. Because he can set his own schedule, he is able to attend extra workouts with Marv Marinovich, a trainer for the Sports Lab in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
"Most kids don't do more than two or three workouts a week because they're so busy," Forcier said. "I'm doing five or six. On the train [to the workout], I'm doing homework. On the way back, homework. We broke it down pretty well."
Forcier said that when father and son first discussed the possibility of such a schedule, his father had one reaction about the benefits: "Now, we're going to build your ass up until you look like Tebow."
Forcier will probably be at least as ready as Chad Henne was as a freshman, and with his accuracy will press Threet from day one.
Etc.: This article on CA WR Shaquelle Evans speculating about an ND lead is probably misleading; the article referenced is just a standard "Recruit X is BLOWN AWAY" by visit that contains no directly informative quotes from Evans. Michigan remains on the visit list and remains a longshot. FL LB Mike Marry has M in his top seven.
Are there any recruits that can catch and return a kickoff? Starting from inside our own 20 on KO's is getting old real fast!
BTW, now we know why someone as fast as Trent is on the defensive side of the ball.
Is this the man whose loins brought us uber-hyped and uber-disappointing USC QB Todd Marinovich? I seem to remember Marinovich's dad was somehow involved in sports (aside from gluing a helmet and pads onto his child at age 2).
Same Marinovich. Of course, he is not the father of young Mr. Tate Forcier, rather he is Tate's coach.
it continuously blows my mind that we are in the running for rueben randle since rivals had him on their nfl 2017 all-pro team. i guess i just thought he would go straight from high school to the pro-bowl.
also, if we land randle then we will have so many awesome receivers in 2 years. stonum + mcneal + miller + randle. just throw hail marys every play