Michigan recruiting sure is fun to follow the last few years.
Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on Jabrill Peppers, a new 2014 offer, visit reactions, and more.
NJ ATH Jabrill Peppers is a state champion, honor roll student, and five-star prospect, with every major program in the country in pursuit of his signature come Signing Day. Read ESPN's Jared Shanker's feature on Peppers and his childhood in East Orange, New Jersey, however, and you'll get an appreciation for just how much he had to overcome to reach that point. His older brother, Don Curtis, was murdered in 2010 at the age of 20. Jabrill could only talk to his father, imprisoned since 2007 for a weapons charge, by phone. Peppers told Shanker that the street life in East Orange nearly sucked him in, as well:
"Oh man, I've seen people get stabbed, shot, beat up," Peppers said. "Saw my boys steal cars then crash into a light pole, other things at night, seeing guys selling the illegal products."
But ask about specifics, some of the things he has taken part in, and he clams up. He answers quickly. That smile so many people love to talk about leaves his face. He wants to move on to the next question.
"Too much to name that I got away with because of my athleticism," Peppers said. "I don't want to say too much more on that, but too much that I'm ashamed with."
Peppers has moved on to star both on and off the field; a perennial honor student, he currently holds Stanford—with their rigorous academic standards even for athletes—as his leader. Michigan is currently in his top five, joined by LSU, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. Peppers says he is a long way from a decision; wherever he goes, he's a player who will be easy to root for.
[For the latest on Michigan's most recent offer, plus visit reactions and Drake Harris's newest visit plans, hit THE JUMP.]
Per multiple outlets, Michigan recently offered four-star Cincinnati (OH) Archbishop Moeller LB Sam Hubbard, a one-time Notre Dame lacrosse commit who opened up his recruitment after deciding to focus on football in college. According to 247's Steve Lorenz, Hubbard is already quite familiar with the tradition of Michigan athletics ($):
Michigan is recruiting Hubbard to play outside linebacker, a position that Hubbard could potentially thrive at considering he stands at a tall 6'6". He's also pretty familiar already with the Wolverines as his uncle, Garde Thompson, was a former basketball player for the program back in the mid-80s.
"I've always liked Michigan," Hubbard stated. "The Big House is an amazing place to be on Saturdays and the program is back to where they've always been. I know they're bringing in some big time recruits as well and have always been a great academic school as well. There's a lot to like about them and they're a school I was hoping to get an offer from."
Hubbard also told Lorenz that he has a visit to Ann Arbor tentatively set for April 6th. The Wolverines may be facing an uphill battle here, however—Hubbard also has offers from Stanford, Michigan State (which has landed several top Moeller prospects in recent years), and Ohio State, and he told The M Block that his home state school currently leads:
"[The Michigan offer is] big news and I'm very excited about it. I'm going to try and get on campus sometime in April. It's too early to tell who I really like with all of these offers coming in lately, but I would say Ohio State is my leader."
A decision could come before his senior season and perhaps as soon as this summer, so Hubbard's visit experience in Ann Arbor next month—should he make it to campus—will play a very large role in Michigan's chances of landing him.
As spring practices continue, Michigan has hosted a few visitors over the last week. One of them was four-star MO OL Roderick Johnson, who told Steve Lorenz the visit was positive from both an athletic and academic standpoint—and mentioned that one of Michigan's current linemen made a strong recruiting pitch ($) [emphasis mine]:
"At Michigan I didn't really feel any pressure and immediately felt comfortable around the guys," he said. "I didn't get nervous or tensed up at all; everybody was really friendly and sociable. I got to meet Taylor Lewan as well which was great because I know how great of an offensive lineman he is. He passed up the NFL to come back to Michigan, which says a lot about what kind of program it is."
Johnson is a long way off from a decision, but Lorenz says to expect Michigan to make his next cut when he decides to narrow things down.
Lima (OH) Central Catholic DB Darius West has visited Ann Arbor several times, but he hadn't had the chance to spend much one-on-one time with the coaches; that changed on Friday, as West told Sam Webb($) that he and Curt Mallory are "getting real tight" after West took in a practice and sat in on a defensive backs meeting. West hopes to earn a camp offer from the Wolverines this summer, and also shed some light on the current scholarship situation, via everyone's favorite recruiter:
“I talked to Denard Robinson and he was real cool,” the four-star prospect said. “He was telling me that the coaches weren’t going to try to (play games) with me. They’re going to be honest with me. They don’t have time to play around with recruits because in our class they only have 16 scholarships. That was good to hear from him.”
Expect that number to grow eventually, but for now the coaches are preparing to bring in a very small class.
The M Block also has a visit reaction from Clarkson DB Tim Cason, who's hoping for his first BCS offer—if Michigan were to come through with one, likely after seeing him in a camp setting, he could be quick to commit.
247Sports updated their 2014 Top247, and while two of Michigan's commits fell, one made an impressive debut. Bryan Mone had been previously unranked on 247, but he's now on the list at #51 overall, making him the #6 DT in the class; as scouts take notice, he's making a push towards consensus top-100 status.
Mason Cole dropped from #44 to #103, while Michael Ferns fell from #98 to #174. Both have been on the recruiting radar for a while, so it's not a huge surprise to see them fall some as the services unearth more prospects like Mone. Before commencing ANGER, please note that both players are still regarded as high four-star players. For the full rundown of Michigan recruits on the new Top247, check out Touch The Banner.
Per 247's Steve Wiltfong, MI WR Drake Harris will visit Michigan for the Spring Game on April 14th ($). While Harris hasn't claimed a leader since opening up his recruitment, that will be the fourth time he'll be on campus since late February—every indication points to the Wolverines holding an edge, though they'll still have to fight off several top-flight programs to land the top-100 receiver.
Michigan made the top 15 for four-star PA RB Shai McKenzie.
Steve Wiltfong had a free, detailed rundown of the top performers from Sunday's Adidas Showcase at Grand Valley State, which featured several Michigan targets, including the Cass Tech crew and Southfield DE Lawrence Marshall.
Michigan recruiting sure is fun to follow the last few years.
Agreed. Not to get into a Rich Rodriguez-hating argument, but it seems like Michigan is recruiting higher level, NFL-caliber players than they were during his tenure. I got into recruiting heavily just before Rodriguez was hired (for the 2006 and 2007 classes), and it just seemed like he was going after a bunch of under-the-radar, 5'8" receivers/corners. Getting the D.J. Williamsons and Martavious Odomses of the world is great when they pan out - and I did love Odoms - but it seemed to be very hit-and-miss. It's nice to see guys with national acclaim pursuing and being pursued by Michigan at a seemingly higher rate than in the 2009-2011 classes.
I strongly agree with this. I wonder if he over-relyed on his formula for success at WVU when he got here. He never seemed to be after the highest rated players aside from skill positions. When that was coupled with the loss of relationships with in-state players & HS coaches, its great to see Hoke & co. do what they're doing now.
I'll give the O/U at 30 min for a Section 1 rebuttal
Was it over-reliance on his system or did negative recruiting play a factor? Seems like after Rodriguez took over, he and others who supported him spent a lot of time rebuking the notion that the Spread Read style offense required skill so radically different from what the NFL wanted, lots of blue chip talent seemed to be scared away.
but Oregon and now OSU have/ are getting highly recruted guys. It could just be timing in that with RG3 and Wilson having NFL success, the spread is now for guys who want to play pro ball.
Yeah but let's wait until that translates to spread type OL making the jump to the NFL in large numbers before we say that the spread is translating well in the NFL.
I am soooo interested in what happens with Chip Kelly. The effect on college FB could be profound. Also, I am an Eagles fan.
Of course that plays a point. Only a fool would doubt that there was huge amounts of negative recruiting during RichRod's entire tenure. I just got frustrated seeing very good linemen and defenders passed over by the coaching staff (especially when some were in the U-M backyard) to get, as Magnus was referring to, undersized speed ninjas. Speed takes you far, but only when the trenches have been taken care of.
PS we certainly don't need to rehash the QB situation while during RR era so I will leave this to a discussion of OL & D front 7 vs. speed/skill guys
(Edit-this is a response to Ferris)
That he could get his 3*'s and beat your 5*'s. But why we never really seemed to be trying to go for running his system, but with great overall talent, was what perplexed me. I didn't expect us to recruit like Michigan of old or USC. I expected us to recruit like Florida, to show what you can do in that system with top flight talent. But for whatever reason, it never came to be. I mean, even other than at QB we weren't really getting top flight skill position talent. Great running backs and receivers will go play for other spread teams (though admittedly different versions of the spread), but we seem to get a lot of good players, but none that ended up being great players.
Bullshit. You DID bash him.
His "ego" and "hubris" gave us Denard. His "system" also gave us Lewan.
I think Rodriguez will be successful, but the bottom line is, Brady Hoke knows Michigan, has full support from every aspect of the program and fan base, and has a much better recruiting system / staff.
I agree for the most part, but RR did, in fact, go after high-end talent, he just didn't land it very often. If I recall correctly, had he stayed at Michigan, we were set to land Dee Hart, Sammy Watkins, and Kris Frost for 2011....all 5 star players. Have we ever landed three 5 stars on rivals in one class?
Rivals hates us. I like Scouts rankings better last year.
Out of those three the only one who is vaguely plausible is Hart. Frost always said that he wanted Auburn while it was his parents who wanted Michigan and Watkins was always a long shot(kind of like Treadwell). I think even Hart was iffy as I think he was gone to Bama once Saban turned on the jets, I doubt RR would have held onto him no matter what happened job-wise.
Hart was committed, but the other two guys were in the "maybe" category. And while he did go after some 5-star talent, he didn't go after the same quality of players as Hoke has. Hoke sends out a lot of offers to high-level kids and then cherry picks some under-the-radar types (like Stribling, Jeremy Clark, etc.), but he doesn't reach as much as Rodriguez. Rodriguez took commitments from guys like Teric Jones, Antonio Kinard, DJ Williamson, etc. long, long before he should have. Those are guys that you add in December or January, not ones you take 12 months before National Signing Day.
Wasn't it before Rich was fired? In fact, before the bowl game? I remember repeated meltdowns here. I thought he had committed then decommited, the re-committed, then picked Bama. He was all over the place, and hardly a lock it seemed, even if Rich had stayed.
Hart was not a particularly solid commitment. And he was always a "I'm only committing there because of Rodriguez" type of guy.
how did Lawrence Marshall look at receiver? Did he do it for fun or is that the position he plays on offense for his team?
But just curious about the process...when was the last 247 ranking? And what did any of these players do in MARCH to drop 80 spots in the rankings, or jump up 200 spots(+)?
If it's simply "we didn't know about these other guys, so they get thrown in, and move down someone else" are we really supposed to take them seriously when they are still finding top 50 recruits? Or has it just taken them 3 months to break down the season film?
When it went from some guys trying to make money off it to an industry, it started feeling more and more self-perpetuating.
I imagine it takes a long time to watch film, highlights, etc. I don't even have the time to watch highlights on just our commits. Well I do... but you get the point.
To watch it 8 hours a day.
Every service does this so I wouldn't worry about it. And as the timeline for recruiting moves up, it will happen more and more. Ferns was a guy with early offers from top programs, so he was initially super high. As other guys starts to get similar offers, they start to get evaluated too. Some of these guys grow a bunch over an offseason or aren't heard from much because they were overshadowed by older D1 kids on their team.
Basically, where a guy is ranked at this point means something, but not a ton.
What goes on in March? They want to change rankings this fall when they're doing stuff like playing football, sure. This is just a money grab and discredits their worth.
So are you getting your money's worth more if they update less? They are admitting that it's fluid and they're updating as they do more work.
It would be a money grab if they moved guys for the sake of moving them, and I don't believe that's happening. They are getting updated heights/weights on guys, watching them play their other sports, reviewing additional film on them, talking to their coaches, and watching their offers come in. That's all info that goes into a ranking. So just because they haven't played official high school football doesn't mean there isn't new info that they are taking into account.
And like someone said above - there are thousands of prospects to scout, and every guy at 247 can't watch everyone's film in detail in a month. It takes many months, and some recruits are coming out with new film to review. This all while they are doing interviews, writing articles, attending camps and getting started on 2015 and 2016 recruits. It's not all that easy.
Right now they have Michael Ferns rated almost the same as Deon Drake. And yeah, everything there is about selling subscriptions.
is back in AA as well, I really missed that during Rich Rod's tenure, I just don'tthink he was used to recruiting the top flight guys at WV, there he had to find the under the radar guys to even compete at the level they did.
But I feel he brought that thinking to U-M and he didn't need to, he needed to act like he belonged in the room with the big boys, it was a learning experience for him I would think, one in which might bode well for him in AZ, we shall see.
Bo Scarborough is visiting soon per TomVH
True? Is he still a Bama commit?
Yes, he's still committed.
Not at all.
I know we went through this with the Harbaugh / Stanford / Athletes receiving an education discussion, but Ace alludes to Stanford's "...rigorous academic standards even for athletes"
Don't all schools have the same standards in order to qualify? Does this mean a 5-star recruit would have less trouble attending Berkeley, Virginia, or Michigan as opposed to Stanford.
I would appreciate anyone's insight.
I believe Stanford does hold their athletes to admittance standards much closer to the general student body then other schools. The last few years there has always been talk around Novemeber and December about Stanford having to wait to accept commitments from guys until all their test scores and transcripts get updated to make sure they qualify.
Michigan certainely has higher standards then many, but I think Stanford places a lot more emphasis on it for incoming freshman.