I'm a little baffled about Speight. He went into the game as a 3*, was named a captain and starting QB, had tons of praise from the scouts...and then his rankings tumble?
"of this underground parking garage in the earth's mantle"
Sam Webb's latest Detroit News feature covers the potential recruiting impact of Doug Nussmeier; according to Greg Biggins—who covered the West region for Scout before becoming their national analyst, and therefore is familiar with Nussmeier's recruiting efforts at Washington—he's a more active and willing recruiter than his predecessor:
“I'm a big fan of Doug Nussmeier as a coach, recruiter and person,” Scout.com National Recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said. “He's a high-energy, loud, fun-loving coach who has a magnetic personality. He relates very well to kids because of his youthful, outgoing personality. Just from a personality standpoint he's basically the opposite of Al Borges if you're looking for a comparison. He really loves to recruit.
As a lead recruiter, Nussmeier secured commitments from two four-star All-American QBs at Washington for the 2012 class, four-star All-American Cooper Bateman for Alabama in the 2013 class, four-star All-American David Cornwell for 2014, and the consensus #2 2015 quarterback, Ricky Town, who pledged to the Tide last August (and remains "very solid" in that commitment, for those hoping he'd follow Nussmeier to Michigan). That's quite a track record, and there's more; even if you don't want to credit him too much for landing 4.5-star Tuscaloosa native Bo Scarbrough, he certainly earns points for venturing up to Ohio to reel in four-star WR Derek Kief in the 2014 class.
With Michigan still searching for a quarterback in the 2015 class—and highly unlikely to receive a commitment from their two current offered prospects, five-star Josh Rosen and three-star David Sills—there's work to be done on that front by Nussmeier. Thankfully for Michigan, he's already developed a relationship with one of their top targets, three-star CA QB Kyle Kearns:
2015 QB Kyle Kearns who has been a #Michigan target says he has a very good relationship already with Nussmeier. Calls him a good friend.
— Brandon Brown (@CoachBrown3) January 9, 2014
We've also got a "sam webb knows all" tag on this blog for a reason; it's possible he gave away Michigan's next offer, as this is buried in the Nussmeier story:
Pending Nussmeier’s evaluation the Wolverines could decide to intensify their pursuit of already-offered prospects like Bellflower (Calif.) Don Bosco’s Josh Rosen (five-star, No. 2 QB nationally), Elkton (Md.) Christian Academy’s David Sills (three-star, USC commit), and Albuquerque (N.M.) Eldorado’s Zach Gentry (four-star, No. 23 QB nationally) -- or move on to other talented options like Birmingham Brother Rice triggerman Alex Malzone (four-star, No. 20 QB nationally).
None of the four recruiting services—including Scout, Webb's employer—lists Gentry as holding a U-M offer; thus far, his only listed offers are from Louisville, Tennessee, San Diege State, and the two New Mexico schools. That list should grow, however, as he's the 12th-ranked quarterback in the country according to to the 247 Composite and his film is impressive—he's a 6'6" pocket passer with impressive mobility and a strong, accurate arm when he's not throwing off his back foot (a big issue in his sophomore tape). If Michigan has offered (or plans to offer) Gentry, he looks quite worthy of it.
The reaction from current commits and targets in the wake of Nussmeier's hiring was overwhelmingly positive($); here's a pretty representative quote from four-star 2015 PA OT Sterling Jenkins:
"That's a great hire for Michigan. I can't wait to get the chance to meet him."
Meanwhile, Nussmeier is already reaching out to prospects he was recruiting at Alabama. On the recruiting front, there's no question he's an upgrade over Borges. The only current commit whose status may be of concern after Borges' firing is 2015 RB Damien Harris, whose high school coach was a grad assistant under Borges:
Damien Harris' mom said it was sad and a shock to hear about Borges, but right now they are letting it sink and aren't talking about it.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 8, 2014
There's been concern about Harris' commitment going back prior to the OC change; thus far, however, there's been no remotely definitive sign that the childhood Michigan fan is going to back out of his pledge. For now, it's a wait-and-see situation, and the Wolverines don't plan to wait long to talk to Harris: Nussmeier and Fred Jackson plan to stop by his school later this week, per Sam Webb.
[After THE JUMP, a Michigan commit saves a life (seriously), the latest on the 2014 running back situation, Brandon details five new underclassman offers, and more.]
An obvious life lesson, perhaps, but one we should all keep in mind—especially if you don't live in close proximity to 2016 OL commit Erik Swenson, who encountered such a situation last week and acted heroically, per Steve Lorenz (via Erik's father, Swen Swenson) ($):
"So proud of my son and wife tonight. Son driving home late (working on his winter driving skills) and came across a guy laying right in the road just south of downtown Downers. Passed out drunk as a skunk, around 65 or so and practically frozen with his arms, etc. buried in the snow. Not sure how no one else saw him or didn't run over him. At any rate, they got him up and to his home. Told them that he had just had heart surgery not too long ago. Had pissed himself frozen and fingers were already turning white. Hope you sleep it off buddy and realize that your angels were looking out for you tonight."
That's a slightly more intense winter driving practice session than I ever had growing up.
Michigan offered five underclassmen prospects within the last week or so:
Brandon caught up with all five new offerees in a post this week, so I won't expand too much here. Fitzpatrick's offer has been a long time coming, and fellow New Jersey native Jabrill Peppers has already begun recruiting him.
Mollette declined to name any leaders to Brandon, and while he did the same with GBW's Andre Barthwell, he went in depth on five schools in their interview—Michigan, Ohio State, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Clemson ($).
Lukusa was initially thought to be a major Michigan lean until the 2013 season played out, and as of last week insiders believed Michigan State had a real chance to land his commitment before the Wolverines even entered the fray; as it stands right now, this should be a heated in-state battle.
2014 three-star TX RB Vic Enwere is officially off the board after reaffirming his commitment to Cal on Saturday. The writing was on the wall here when Michigan showed increased interest in other backs recently, including...
2014 four-star MN RB Jeff Jones, a soft Minnesota commit who excelled in the Under Armour All-American Game, after which Michigan came through with an offer. Jones has now given the Wolverines his final official visit, scheduled for the weekend January 31st. This looks to be a pretty even two-team race between Michigan and Minnesota; Jones took an official to Florida but they weren't thought to be serious contenders even before they picked up four-star back Brandon Powell last week, while Michigan State—the other would-be contender—already has two backs in the class and likely don't have room for Jones.
I believe Michigan has good reason to be confident in landing Jones—Michigan/Minnesota recruiting battles tend to favor the former and Jones' eye has wandered for a while now—but if they don't, it appears they've got a backup option in mind: Nussmeier and Chris Singletary reached out to three-star FL RB Marlon Mack, a UCLA commit, on Saturday. In talking with Brandon, Mack didn't sound like he's very firm in his commitment, so a late offer could be enough to flip him should Michigan miss out on Jones.
ESPN released their final rankings for the 2014 class today. Jeff Jones and Wilton Speight were two of the big movers, albeit in different directions: Jones climbed 44 spots to #137 overall (#12 RB) while Speight tumbled 124 spots to #257 overall (#13 QB) based largely on their respective performances in the Under Armour practices and game. The rest of Michigan's commits and one significant target:
As you can see, Michigan commits took minor falls across the board with the exception of Peppers (staying put) and Speight/Bunting (dropping far). Speight's drop is reminiscent of Shane Morris' last year after a similarly uneven UA-week performance; Bunting's fall concerns me less since I believe he'll be utilized more like Devin Funchess—GIANT receiver—than a full-blown tight end, which is how the recruiting services are evaluating him.
Lawrence Marshall stood out in the Offense-Defense Bowl, and the hard work he's put in since his senior season ended had much to do with that, per The Wolverine's Michael Spath ($):
"After the last game of our season, I was 225 pounds and I'm 240 now so I've gained a lot of weight and I'm trying to play with that weight," he said. "In the game last weekend, I think I did well with it. I adjusted to being bigger.
"I didn't miss a step. Everything that I had before, I still had, but then my punches got stronger. I could feel myself beating the offensive linemen with better moves, with more power. And I think I actually got faster too because I added some explosion at the snap."
Michigan returns all of their weakside defensive ends, so Marshall has a tough path to early playing time; with the strides he's made since the beginning of his senior season, however, he's doing everything he can to make that a possibility.
DGDestroys put together cut-ups of the Michigan commits in the UA game—Speight, Peppers, Mone, and JBB (and, well, the Ferns video is interesting)—as well as the video of Jones embedded earlier in this post. Peppers, Mone, and Jones all acquitted themselves well. Speight's performance was greatly impacted by poor pass protection—some of that, unfortunately, due to Bushell-Beatty having a rough day in that regard—and his intended receiver falling on his final throw, resulting in an interception. Ferns has solid towel-waving form (if you're very confused by that video, he sat out the game with a shoulder injury).
MI DT Malik McDowell continued to hide his hand at the Army AA Game, telling GBW's Josh Newkirk that Michigan and MSU are "pretty even with each other," but refusing to say if they were his two leaders ($). McDowell has taken official visits to Alabama and Florida, with scheduled officials set to Florida State, LSU, and Ohio State each of the next three weekends before a planned Signing Day announcement.
Despite recent coaching shakeups at two of his top three schools, 2015 PA OT Sterling Jenkins told Sam Webb that Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State remain at the top among his lengthy list of offers ($).
2015 four-star FL RB Jacques Patrick included Michigan in his newly-released top ten. Patrick holds a Wolverine offer and tentatively plans to make a decision in late September or early October, though official visits could take precedence. Michigan likely has ground to make up against Florida and Florida State if they want to land him.
2015 four-star CA WR/CB Stanley Norman already holds offers from much of the Pac-12, including USC and UCLA, but told GBW's Josh Newkirk at the Army combine that Michigan is an offer he covets after visiting Ann Arbor last summer following the Sound Mind Sound Body camp ($):
“I have kept talking to Michigan after that,” Norman said. “The unofficial was amazing. It’s the Big House. Just being at Michigan was a great experience for me. Michigan is consideration where I go to college. I feel like after that, we talked and build a bond toward each other. Now, I am just waiting to see if I get an offer from Michigan.
“I am supposed to go to the Sound Mind, Sound Body again this year. So if I go out there, I am for sure going for an unofficial again.”
Norman, nationally ranked at both cornerback and receiver, told Newkirk that one of the biggest factors in his recruitment is the freedom to get some snaps on offense while primarily focusing on playing cornerback. First, we'll see if Michigan comes through with an offer, and then we'll find out if they'll acquiesce that request.
I'm a little baffled about Speight. He went into the game as a 3*, was named a captain and starting QB, had tons of praise from the scouts...and then his rankings tumble?
Yep, kind of silly. However, he is a long time commit. Outside of the top 10-15 guys, usually uncommitted prospects will be rising up the rankings this time of year. Especially if they were in the UA All-American game.
Jabrill wasn't going to drop, but the trend in that list? Only McDowell made a jump.
I believe that ESPN had Speight ranked considerably higher than the other 3 services this entire cycle. He may still be higher on ESPN than elsewhere.
So are they basing the huge fall for Speight on his SIX pass attempts in an all-star game? The fact that he played well enough in practice to start and be named a captain doesn't count for anything? I agree that he didn't do enough to jump significantly, but fall that far? I don't see it. His WR falls down instead of possibly making a good TD catch and things change totally on perception? Seems odd.
This is what people don't seem to understand about these UA guys. The evaluations aren't just off the Under Armour game. They practice for three full days, and then have a fourth walk-through day. I don't know about Rivals, Scout, 247, but ESPN's scouts are out there for all of the practices covering the event. So they see A LOT of these guys, and then also spend time talking to the position coaches about them.
So its, not some fluky evaluation off the game. Speight dropped because he didn't look as good as they originally thought through a week of practices and then the game. Same as Morris. Both guys weren't that impressive during practice. And being named captain has less to do with talent than it does being a leader.
Source: I was there for every practice for Morris and Speight.
That's Espn for you. Had he been an Alabama recruit, he would have moved up.
Well...I think he was overrated by them in the first place. I really think that Speight might be a guy who was offered a chance to play in the game based largely on his commitment to Michigan. If he were still uncommitted or committed to Pitt or Virginia or something, I'm not sure if he would have been given the opportunity. By all accounts, he's a very good leader and a personable fellow. But when it comes to the playing of football, he might still be ranked a little high at #257.
You (and likely most of the board) are a better talent evaluator than I, but this one doesn't make sense. If they ranked him in position X, repeatedly comment on his massive improvement, name him a captain, name him the starting QB...then that means he should be ranked higher (given all that improvement) than initially placed. It'll be interesting to see what the other sites end up saying.
Well, here's a look at the other quarterbacks above Speight in the ESPN 300:
DeShaun Watson (missed AA game)
Kyle Allen (Army game)
Brandon Harris (better than Speight in the UA game)
Sean White (MVP of Team Highlight in the UA game)
Keller Chryst (missed AA game)
David Cornwell (missed AA game)
Jacob Park (Army game)
Justice Hansen (missed AA game)
Brad Kaaya (one of top performers in Semper Fi game)
Michael O'Connor (better than Speight in UA game)
Jerrod Heard (Army game, played pretty darn well)
Clayton Thorson (MVP of Semper Fi game)
Mason Rudolph (voted Most Accurate in Shrine Game)
Treon Harris (played mostly DB in Army game)
Caleb Henderson (Army game)
JJ Cosentino (Semper Fi game)
Tyler Harris (no AA game selection)
You've got a lot of guys who were injured or otherwise couldn't play in the All-American games, and you have a lot of guys who performed well in their respective games. You also have some quarterbacks who were in the Army game or Semper Fi game who might have started ahead of Speight or been named captain if they were there.
Just because he was captain and starter of his team in the Under Armour game doesn't mean he deserves to be ranked highly in ESPN's rankings. Maybe his team in the Under Armour game just had crappy quarterbacks, and he was the best of them. I'm not saying that's true, but there's no reason for ESPN to drop him in the rankings unless they just think he's not as good as they originally believed.
The other QBs on Speight's team were pretty bad. Rafe Peavey (Ark.) and Morgan Mahalak (Ore.) didn't look good all week at practice. Peavey got chewed out a lot by the coaches for being consistently late with his throws.
So he was the starter by default.
Sean White is the real deal though. Don't really see him fitting in at Auburn though. Wouldn't be surprised to see him flip before signing day.
holy cow, what a cannon that kid has. Saw a couple throws on a roll out, moving to his left and on a line. Wow.
Yeah, he's #2 on my list for QB in 2015.
If our new OC can't sway Rosen, I really, really hope he lands Kearns.
ESPN, Rivals, Scout...they can all suck it. Kearns is one helluva QB, 3 stars or not. There's a reason Michigan and Alabama are both recruiting him.
Dude, these QBs have only finished three years of football. There's plenty of time for the scouting services to get a good look at them. And for the record, ESPN has Kearns as the no. 9 pocket passer and #195 overall recruit for 2015.
And considering what a ridiculous year 2015 is for QBs, that's pretty good.
#1 and 2 look like FBS prospects as well.
I wonder what level recruits they are.
#2 is a 4-star kid for 2015 named Isaiah Langley who has offers from several schools. I'm not sure about #1.
Any Michigan commit is #1 with me!
Do the coahes wait on offering some kids because of academics and concern about getting through admissions?
I can't see talent being the reason Fitzpatrick wasn't offered sooner, but would make sense if the coaches were doing their homework to make sure he can get into school.
There can be a couple factors that go into a late-ish offer, and academics/admissions can certainly be one of them. There are a few others that I think are more likely in Fitzpatrick's case and more common in general with this staff:
I'm not sure which category (or categories) Fitzpatrick fell under, but I'm glad he's got that offer now—he's a really impressive prospect.
I would add that, at Michigan, they have to do an academic evaluation as well. Sometimes they're waiting to see how a kid does with his grades, and that may have been the case with MF.
Could have to do with limited schollies too. 3-deep for 2015 season:
CB - Countess (Sr), Lewis (Jr), Douglas (So)
CB - Peppers (So), Stribling (Jr), Richardson (Sr), Watson (Fr)
That's pretty deep....of course, some of these guys may move to safety.
Minkah's grade are probably pretty decent. He has an offer from Stanford, plus if his grades were that bad he would miss time with football (practice possibly/games).
I wasn't implying poor grades with Fitzpatrick. It was more of a general question of the staff's approach overall.
Didn't realize he had an Stanford offer. Based on that offer I'm sure academics are not an issue.
Ace, I asked this in the thread Brandon started the other day, but any potential for the lineman from Southfield to get a late offer?
I would try to spell his name, but I can't remember it well and I am on my phone.
EDIT: I don't think there's much of a chance that Michigan will offer. We appear not to be looking for offensive linemen at this time, and I think he would be a ways down the list.
Thanks Magnus. As I pointed out in the other thread, he has some very good offers for a guy going to WMU. I just didn't know if maybe he wanted to stay close to home, which would be why he picked the only close school to offer him so far.
Top Offers include: Florida, Nebraska, Iowa, Virginia, Arkansas and now Oklahoma. He is a verbal to WMU right now.
I think my buddy Hodor said it right when it comes to Harris - if Michigan is your childhood favorite / dream offer and then you get all butthurt about Borges getting fired... something's off. I think it's a convenient excuse for "they sucked in 2013 and I'm not sure I want to go there anymore". I've been a Michigan football fan for longer than Harris has been alive, and let me tell you - I didn't shed a tear over losing Borges.
The issue here is that Borges was/is friends with DH's coach, and they had become buddies. When you have a personal connection with someone and they get fired, it's hard to look at things objectively.
I think Harris will come around after a visit with Nuss and Fred.
Regarding Damien Harris' concerns about PT or the offense...
2008 (Fresno State) - 2 800-yard rushers + 600 yards from true soph Ryan Mathews
2009 (UW) - 1100+ yards from Chris Polk in a rebuild
2010 (UW) - 1415 yards from Polk (which was at that point in time, 2nd best in Husky history) along with 400+ from Jesse Callier
2011 (UW) - 1488 from Polk (beats previous years mark) and 12 TDs. Polk also has 33 Rec for 300+ yards and 4 TDs.
2012 (Bama) - 3171 (!!) yards rushing. 1300+ from Lacy, 1100+ from Yeldon.
2013 (Bama) - 1200+ yards for Yeldon. 694 and 382 for the top backups.
Damien Harris will get a chance to run the fucking ball.
or has "concerns" about playing time. I think it's more about how Borges was his recruiter and he found out that guy is not going to be on the coaching staff. It's a relationship thing. Kind of like if you had a teacher who you really liked who convinced you to take a class, and just before you sign up for that class, you find out the teacher's been fired.
Come on... what's his real name?
Also, big fan of Jeff Jones and hope we are able to land him.
I do not know if I am being overly negative but it seems that our football recruits tend to fall in ranking along the way. This has happened in each of Hoke's past 3 classes. This is in direct contrast to John Beilein's basketball recruits who tend to move up in ranking with time. Could it be that while our coaches are good recruiters, their talent evaluation is lacking or is this simply a case of bad luck? Thus far, I have yet to see any of Hoke's recruit which projects to be an NFL first round pick.
If you looked at almost every other team's commits, you'd see the same thing. Guys who commit early are on the sites' radars early, and get ranked. Every subsequent re-rank after that, you get guys who have come on to the scene late who are then put on the top-whatever list. Every time a new guy gets put on the list, everyone below him needs to get dropped a spot. So if you're the 150th player in the country in September, and by January there are 6 new guys who have shown top-150 talent, you will get dropped 6 spots. That doesn't mean you got worse.
This isn't always the case with Hoke recruits - David Dawson was a continuous mover last year and Pipkins was the same the year before. Pipkins was a 3-star when the rankings first came out and finished as a 5-star. Joe Bolden was also a guy who shot up the lists late. On the other side of that, McGary was a guy who was originally #2 in the country who finished as a high 4-star.
Fact is, when you're ranked high initially, there is a lot more room to fall than to climb, so that's what usually happens. Take at the arrows on the Composite247 - most of them are red. Some guys made big jumps, and because of that, the rest made small declines. Unless you're Jabrill Peppers, in which case you start and end high.
Its kind of hard to project as a first round pick when you haven't seen the field. Remember that his first true recruiting class just finished its sophomore/redshirt freshman season. Its only natural that his recruits haven't been high on Kiper or McShay's draft board. Also, I'm not even sure if they have made boards for next year yet.
Watching those hightlights, he looks alright. Definitely ranked about right. I really like his size and quickness combination. He's as big or bigger than a lot of the guys trying to tackle him. He didn't look like he possessed great speed but he didn't get the chance to show it in the highlights. Obviously he's a good reciever out of the backfield. I think he needs to work on his vision and decision making though. On the second play in the reel (I think it was an inside zone play too) he had a chance to gain at least five more yards if he had cut to his left instead of meeting the linebacker head-on. That can be fixed though, so not a big worry. He's definitely not afraid to lay a guy out either, which is awesome. Some great power shown in those highlights.
I have to say, I really like this kid. He's got some potential.
I think our biggest need is 2015 QB and solidifying Damien Harris.