according to ESPN. It's paywalled, so I have no idea whether there's substance to this notion or if it's just fluff, but they've already gotten their oral sexing of Meyer under way.
Tuesday Recruitin' Now Exists
With the Thursday Recruitin' posts getting lengthy and signing day just over a week away, we decided—with the help of some reader requests—that it would be best to do two recruiting roundups per week. So, welcome to Tuesday Recruitin', which should serve to wrap up the happenings of the previous weekend and set the table for the upcoming week. Thursday Recruitin' will now be moved to Friday and focus on any upcoming visits while catching up with the events of the week. This new setup allows me to get more recruiting information to you each week and should cut down on the total link overload that was quickly becoming an unwanted staple of my recruiting roundups. Anyways, there is much to discuss, so let's get this party started.
Caleb Stacey Decommits; How Will M Round Out The Class?
Caleb Stacey announced on Saturday that he was changing his commitment from Michigan to Cincinnati, citing a desire to stay close to home during college:
"When it came down to it, Caleb just wanted to stay closer to home," said Oak Hills assistant coach Kyle Ralph. "He's a Cincinnati kid, and as it came down to it, he was more comfortable staying home in Cincinnati."
In fact, Stacey actually got in touch with the Cincinnati coaching staff himself, as they had respected his pledge to Michigan and backed off from recruiting him. Stacey's decommitment leaves the Wolverines with 23 commits (four along the O-line) in the class of 2012, leaving up to five spots available. While Michigan looks to have a good shot with higher-ranked offensive linemen Josh Garnett, Jordan Diamond, and Alex Kozan, Stacey's absence will be felt—he was the only current commit projected to play center, a position of great need for the Wolverines, and only Kozan looks like he could fill that void.
This week will be huge for offensive line recruiting, starting with Josh Garnett's announcement on Thursday afternoon. Garnett has officially narrowed his choices to a final two of Michigan and Stanford ($, info in header), as expected. Michigan did get the last word, as Brady Hoke made the final in-home visit to Garnett on Sunday. I expect Garnett to end up as a Wolverine, though that's admittedly based on zero inside knowledge of his recruitment.
Hoke also has the final in-home visit with Kozan, who will choose between Michigan, Iowa, and Auburn. Kozan told GoBlueWolverine that he will announce his choice "right after the Coach Hoke visit," which is scheduled for this Friday ($). He claims no leader at this time, and Hoke has the chance to make a very strong pitch—with Stacey out of the class, Kozan could be the most important recruit left on the board due to his ability to play center.
Jordan Diamond, meanwhile, will announce his decision on February 3rd—two days after signing day—between Michigan, Ohio State, Arkansas, Auburn, and Wisconsin. Michigan coaches have an in-home visit with him today, and he also maintains there's no leader in his recruitment.
Moving on to other position groups, two major targets formally decommitted this week: cornerback Armani Reeves from Penn State (same as Diamond link) and tight end Sam Grant from Boston College ($, info in header). Both could make their decisions as soon as this week. Reeves is now down to Michigan and Ohio State, and hosted Brady Hoke on Saturday before welcoming Urban Meyer—along with OSU assistants Everett Withers and Mike Vrabel—to his home last night. While some Buckeye insiders anticipated a commitment, none has come, and Greg Mattison will see Reeves tonight for his final in-home visit. This looks like a 50/50 tossup.
Grant, meanwhile, will likely choose between Michigan, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
A few happy trails: Yuri Wright found a home at Colorado despite recently being kicked out of Don Bosco Prep for his controversial tweets; Monty Madaris will decide on Wednesday, and he appears to be down to Cincinnati and Michigan State; four-star OL and soft Wisconsin commit Kyle Dodson plans to announce his choice on Saturday between the Badgers, Ohio State, Michigan State, USC and Auburn ($).
Receiver Commits: Anything But Divas
You have likely read the story of receiver commit Amara Darboh, who lost his parents to the civil war in Sierra Leone when he was just two years old before finding his way to Des Moines, where he found a family and eventually became a four-star football recruit. Chantel Jennings profiled Michigan's other receiver commit, Jehu Chesson, on WolverineNation today, and the article is well worth the cost of ESPN Insider. I'll do my best to block-quote as little as possible, and encourage you to read the whole thing, which details Chesson's charity work—along with his knack for juggling—as well as his path to the United States ($):
In 1993 Chesson was born in war-torn Liberia in the middle of its first civil war. The country had broken into factions, and by the time the war was over in 1996, nearly 200,000 Liberians had died. Chesson moved from Liberia to the Ivory Coast, and from the Ivory Coast to St. Louis when he was 5.
He doesn't have many memories from that early in his life, but he saw on TV when Liberia fought its second civil war and the unrest that has come from it.
He could be angry. He still has family in Africa. His grandmother is there.
But Chesson said the kids have taught him how to forgive. He laughs when he talks about two young kids at the camp who fight and punch one another, but 10 minutes later they're playing with each other again.
He said that even though some of those kids have very little, they have the capacity to forgive, which some adults -- who've been tarnished by money or pessimism -- can't do.
"The best and worst part of it all is that I can ponder a question about why some are born into greatness and others never get a chance," Chesson said. "I'll probably never get an answer. But I can give of myself, which is sort of like working toward an answer."
The level of maturity shown by Chesson—as well as Darboh—would put many 30-year-olds to shame, and I'm very excited to see him don the winged helmet and, more importantly, get the opportunity to earn a degree from Michigan.
The Detroit News is rolling out daily profiles of the recruits on their Blue Chip list, and so far they've covered Terry Richardson, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Matt Godin, and Devin Funchess. Most of it is fluff—Richardson discusses his spirituality, Ross—like Ben Braden—played hockey, RJS wants to be a chef, Godin wanted to play QB as a HS freshman, and Funchess plans to become a coach—but for those doubting Ross's size and ability to play inside, he has a message for you:
"I believe my size benefits me," he said. "I'm quick to the ball. When I was at the Army (All American) Game, I was able to get to the ball quickly. I'm able to get through the holes. I make the reads, and at the snap of the ball I can step into those holes. Can I get stronger? Sure I can. And I will."
Ross said the U-M coaches have no plans to move him to another position and that he is slated to play weak-side linebacker.
"I'll be the linebacker that checks the slot receiver or the running back out of the backfield," he said.
We'll see in the fall if Ross is really 6'1", 220 pounds, as the article claims, but even if he's a little smaller I think WLB is the best position for him.
Quick 2013 Hitters; New 2014 (!) Offer
A quick roundup of the news on current junior prospects:
- Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton linebacker E.J. Levenberry, who visited Michigan last weekend and holds an early offer, has the Wolverines in his top three with Florida and FSU ($, info in header).
- Top-ranked tight end Adam Breneman revealed a list of upcoming visits on his Twitter; he plans to take a trip to Ann Arbor in March, and he's also got visits set for Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, and Notre Dame. He's also looking at Miami and North Carolina for potential unofficials.
- In case you missed it, Michigan was one of several schools to recently offer Monaca (PA) Central Valley receiver Robert Foster, an early candidate for five-star status ($, info in header).
- Four-star Pickerington (OH) North TE/DE Jake Butt had the coaches drop by last week ($, info in header), and he says Michigan will be in the mix when it comes time to narrow down his list of schools.
- Cleveland (OH) Shaker Heights ATH De'Niro Laster told Greg Mattison he plans to take an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor the weekend after signing day ($, info in header).
- Somerville (NJ) Immaculata four-star DE Tashawn Bower expects a Michigan offer soon after talking with Coach Curt Mallory ($).
- Sam Webb's weekly DetNews piece is on Lemont (IL) OL Ethan Pocic, who recently earned top offensive lineman honors at the Core6 Showcase in Westmont, IL, which also featured top junior linemen like Logan Tuley-Tillman and Colin McGovern.
- Happy trails to Trotwood-Madison cornerback Cam Burrows, as one of the top players in Ohio pledged to Ohio State last week.
Finally, Michigan gave out its second verbal offer to a class of 2014 prospect. Woodbridge (VA) defensive end Da'Shawn Hand picked up his sixth offer as the Wolverines joined Boston College, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, N.C. State and Rutgers. Hand tallied 21 sacks as a sophomore and earned district Co-Defensive MVP honors. Michigan's other sophomore offeree is also a defensive lineman, Highland (UT) DT Bryan Mone, teammate of 2012 pledge Sione Houma.
I mean, the guy picked up four highly-rated recruits last week. Hate all you want (I certainly won't stop you) but it's tough to deny that he's doing a fantastic job on the recruiting trail.
to be fair, you knew what type of recruits he was going to get (high profile coach + major brand = obvs) and there class was like 3 players before he got there. (exaggerating, I know).
He's done a great job...but to a point this was expected...
Basically, you nailed it. It's by Shanker, and he gives a summary of each team's 2012 recruiting status. Lo and behold, he goes all sycophant on Ohio and Meyer.
As one of those readers behind the request, thank you. You guys continue to impress.
No problem. I'm always taking account of reader's opinions, even if I don't get the chance to respond directly to each one. I like this new format a lot better than trying to cram a week's worth of news into one post, especially when we're this close to signing day. Thanks to everyone who came up with suggestions.
Should be noted that Michigan offered Jake Butt as a TE.
Thank you thank you, I'll be here all day recycling old jokes. Please leave some change in the hat!
We'll really have to cross our fingers this week and next, as we really need to sign 2 more offensive linemen. Let's hope the coaches are successful in their visits.
four-star OL and soft Wisconsin commit Kyle Dodson plans to announce his choice on Saturday between the Badgers, Ohio State, Michigan State, USC and Auburn ($).
One of these is not like the others.
Hey now watch it. Michigan State is an Intergalactic Power now
Dont you know who the greatest punter of all galactic history is?
state of Utah, one recruit at a time.
and his three wives
...is a very good question.
and based on his twitter - seems like him and Mags are best friends - this is good. Fine by me - give me Garnett and Kozan (I think he'll be blue too) and we'll have one helluva O-line for the next 4 years. Getting excited - this next week could be huge!
Regarding the OSU expectation that Reeves was commiting to them with Cam Williams (parroted by 11w's recruiting writer and many other sites), It doesn't seem like there was much to that beyond blind homerism. Certainly there were a lot of reasons for Ohio fans to feel confident with Meyer's recruiting abilities and Williams in the fold, but all signs pointed to this being a 50/50 battle that would go right down to the wire and it doesn't look like that's changed.
That quote of Chesson's is impressive and insightful, and incredibly mature for a teenager. It will be a pleasure rooting for him and Darboh during the next few years, looking forward to seeing both of them succeed on and off the field.
I'm going to make a wild-ass guess of ... May 14th, 2012.
( with quality recruits) as each passing day goes by with no new commits. I hope that it is just my paranoia. But, I am still pretty happy with this class even if it doesn't grow.
You obviously aren't following recruiting. 3 of our targets are announcing shortly.
Ace, of the few kids committed for 2013, do you know if any of them are looking to be early enrollees?
We are all (well) accustomed to seeing recruits talk about things like "academics" and "playing time" when asked for what they want in a school and program. But this SI study (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/andy_staples/01/20/recruiting/), as well as an FSU economics study of BCS schools also cited there, found that distance away from home is far and away the most important factor in determining college choice. Not in what they say to the reporters, but rather how they end up voting with their feet, as it were. And further, the schools that do well close to home (in this case the number identified is 50%-plus of one's recruits) almost uniformly do much better on the field.
Thus it would be interesting to see how Michigan is doing / has done in state and within 200 miles of campus, percentage-wise of total recruits, the factor identified. I think, spitballing of course, that we would see the years in which we dominated Michigan were the precursors to years in which we were most successful on the field--perhaps obvious given the above, but more obvious to those of us who lived through those seasons.
All the more reason to applaud this class as it shapes into final form--given that we are of course, again dominating Michigan--but also, as C------s is 191 miles from A2, if we can continue to take food from their plate, so much the better.
Ace, I definitely agree with the recommendation on the Chesson article. A great read that makes me wish it was fall again so I could see these guys in the winged helmet representing Michigan. Players like Chesson and Darboh will represent Michigan well.
How is Michigans culinary program? One of the best I presume. RJS will not be let down.
It's right up there with our plumbing department.
I had no idea that Chesson is Liberian. If there's an award for Receiving Corps Most Screwed Over by Charles Taylor, I'm pretty sure that we've got it locked up for the next four years.
Day-um, they sound like they'd be a great locker room presence. Tough to complain about an assignment or a boo-boo when you're in a room with two guys who survived civil war.
Agree 100% about "more importantly, get the opportunity to earn a degree from Michigan". Michigan's been called a pro factory, but even here the vast majority don't play a down in the NFL. Michigan is a school name that actually means something on the academic side, so either way this is a good opportunity for kids who deserve it.