Today's recruiting roundup covers #Project135, reactions from last weekend's unofficial visitors, and much more.
2014 commit Michael Ferns unwittingly incited mass speculation last week when he teased a recruiting-related "big surprise" on Twitter that he dubbed "#Project135". Fans hoping for a new commit were disappointed, but what Ferns revealed on Friday was actually a pretty cool idea:
Kids pick the darndest fonts
Even before this, Ferns had been very active in recruiting his 2014 classmates—it's clear that Shane Morris and his tireless efforts to bring in commits for Team 134 have influenced the next wave.
"Michigan's staff was the first staff to be 100 percent honest with me throughout the whole process, and that meant a huge amount to me," Speight said. "There's lots of coaches from all over the country who will come in and say, 'You're our guy, you're our guy. Just wait, you're going to get an offer.' And then they go out and find someone who's better.
"Michigan, they didn't necessarily tell me I was their guy. They said, 'We're looking at two other guys too.' The thing is, I already knew that, because the quarterback recruits, we're a tight circle. We're all pretty close, and I knew who else they were looking at. And the fact they were up front with me about that meant a lot.
"It was just a perfect fit for me. It was a no-brainer."
It seems like every time Michigan pulls in a commit, one of the top two or three reasons they give for their choice is the level of honesty and openness they experience with the coaches. That's a very good thing, of course, especially in today's recruiting echo chamber—gone are the days when a coach could tell three players at the same position that they're all the school's number one priority and get away with it, not with the pervasiveness of recruiting news and recruits staying in close contact with each other.
[Hit THE JUMP for visit reactions from Parrker Westphal and Daniel Helm, the latest top schools for several recruits, and more.]
Still The Standard
While this upcoming weekend will have a longer list of visitors, Michigan hosted a couple 2014 prospects last weekend with strong interest in the program. The first, four-star IL CB Parrker Westphal, should be a very familiar name at this point—he told Steve Lorenz he's lost track of how many times he's been to Ann Arbor (four or five, he's not sure), and while he hasn't named a leader, Michigan still sets the standard ($):
"Yes, they are still the standard," Westphal said. "Today's visit was about me going down to talk with the coaching staff a bit more and to continue to develop that relationship. I got to talk to Coach Mallory and Coach Hecklinski a lot at the game and after the game I talked with Coach Mattison for more than 45 minutes. It was a great trip."
Westphal says he would like to make a decision before his senior season; despite him holding several other big-name offers, that would put Michigan firmly in the driver's seat.
Also on campus was Rivals250 IL TE Daniel Helm, who took a two-day visit and came away with Michigan as his early top school, per Steve Lorenz ($):
"I'm really kind of new to this whole recruiting process and am still learning as I go, but Michigan is the school I like the most right now," he said. "I have a lot of other schools showing interest in me and I want to see what else is out there."
Helm's first impression of the coaches was that he "really like[d] how they are straightforward about everything with you," so add another data point to the set. Westphal seems far closer to making a decision than Helm at this point, but Michigan certainly gave themselves a leg up with both prospects last weekend.
“I grew up a Michigan fan,” he said. “Michigan is always going to be in the mix.”
However, Peppers added his fondness for Michigan while growing up will not be a factor.
“It’s almost going to be the same thing (as college), if God lets me to go to the NFL,” Peppers said. “My favorite team is the Cowboys, but if I don’t play for the Cowboys, ok. It’s like I don’t have a favorite college team any more. I watch college football for the game speed, the talent they have out there.”
Peppers also said that he was leaning towards Stanford until picking up strong interest from Michigan and Ohio State; it may be an uphill climb for the Midwest schools, but they should be a factor in his recruitment until the end.
Michigan is making a move with an elite two-way prospect out of California, John "JuJu" Smith, a five-star to 247 and a four-star to Rivals. Smith, who can play both safety and wide receiver (Michigan is recruiting him for the former), wouldn't name the Wolverines as his leader, but did say this to Rivals's Adam Gorney ($):
Michigan is up there but Smith, who goes by JuJu, went short of calling the Wolverines or any other team his top school at this point.
"I love Michigan," Smith said.
"I want to major in the medical field and they have a good medical program for me and also I was talking to the coach and they said I could go both ways. I like that and I like the kids who have already committed in my class.
"The most important thing that caught my eye was that they play with a lot of defensive backs on the field throughout the whole game. I'd be able to get on the field."
Smith has offers from a large group of mostly West Coast schools, including USC—he was one of the top players regardless of class in the state last year.
247's Tom Loy reports that Michigan and Florida State are tied for the lead($) for OH TE Chance Sorrell, though as of yet he doesn't hold an offer from either school.
2015 blue chip KY RB Damien Harris still has Michigan and Ohio State as his leaders, per Allen Trieu ($).
Michigan extended a grayshirt offer to FL DT Brady Pallante, per Steve Lorenz ($). Pallante called the offer a "dream come true," and could be close to a commitment; a grayshirt offer means he wouldn't go on scholarship until after the 2014 season.
Sam Webb's latest piece in the Detroit News discusses the possibility of 2014 high school teammates Mason Cole and Artavis Scott, as well as their 2015 teammate George Campbell, being a package deal:
"(Mason and I) talked about it -- we're going to go to the same school," Scott said. "We know for a fact we're going to the same school."
"I feel like there is a pretty good chance we'll wind up in the same place," Cole concurred. "We talk about it a lot. I know what schools I like and he doesn't like, and which schools he likes that I don't like."
If their plan to be a package deal actually comes to fruition, the winning program would instantly become a major factor in Campbell's recruitment.
"I talk to them all of the time because all three of us have a close bond," Campbell said. "We're always talking to each other about everything. With those two at the same place I think that'd be a (school) that I'd need to get out to (take a look at)."
Michigan has offers out to all three players and is in a very strong position with Cole, who will be on campus this weekend; the idea of the Tarpon Springs (FL) trio being a package deal is probably a welcome one to the coaches.
This is not an exclusive phenomenon to football players, So many kids are pre-med, engineering, etc. when they first set foot on campus. Then the weed-out begins. At my small liberal arts college, we had nearly 30% of our whole freshman class pre-med. I'd say maybe 2-5% went to med school.
... there are 1000's of first years who are "pre-med". Everybody comes in with that idea, and only very few make it through the end. Some can't cut it, but most realize their long term interest is simply elsewhere. I would imagine these kids are not dissimilar. They're smart, and have aspirations. Some will commit to it, others will find things they are more passionate about.
Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else.
"This is a program in transition, this is a program that's going back to hard-nosed, big-boy football," Brandon said. "We're in the process of putting the pieces in place to afford us to do that consistently and effectively.
All Humphries did at Michigan, one of the premier universities -- public or private -- in the nation, was march through a course schedule that appears to have been designed by a sadist.It included such guts as engineering thermodynamics and electro biophysics.With a 3.67 grade-point, he was named Outstanding Student in the engineering school.“Very humbling,” says Humphries.“I’ve encountered some very bright people.”In one remarkable streak of academic prowess, stretching from the spring of 1981 through the summer of ’82, he took 15 courses for 45 hours of credit.Result: eight A pluses, six A’s , one B plus.Indeed, during one blitz, Humphries received nothing by A’s and A pluses for three semesters.Finally, when he stumbled to a B in network analysis, a course having nothing whatsoever to do with ABC or DBS, football coach Bo Schembechler called Humphries in and said, “Congratulations on being human.”Humphries didn’t smile.
"It ain't golf or nothing like that, this is football."
No idea why they'd have that for Westphal—if he's got a leader, it's definitely Michigan. Often profiles on recruiting sites have outdated information, since nobody can maintain a database that keeps up with every change in every prospect's recruitment (247 is the only site that really even tries). I wouldn't ever put too much stock in the list of schools on a player's Rivals/Scout/ESPN profile.
There is no pre-med major, but the programs that m offers undergrads are exceptional. Between the chem/bio majors, the research opportunities and the life science facilities that M has, undergrads interested in med school have more offered to them at Michigan than at most other schools.
If you do the right track in kinesiology, you can also set yourself up for medical school very well. Plus a lot of athletes do kinesiology so there will be some overlap where you are taking classes with friends and teammates. I imagine there are excellent connections between the football team and the health system where guys can get recommendations from some very influential people in medicine.
Except for the other thing. That hurts the most. But the lack of respect hurts the second most.
Can confirm. Living former Kines/current med student right here. And yeah, during your first couple years you do have a lot of classes with other athletes. Definitely a fun/unique way to do pre-med. More interesting to me than doing the bio/chem pre-med route.
I love the fact that Cole and Scott have already been on campus twice and are coming again with Campbell. All 3 sound like great potential Wolverines. This would be a great time for the elusive package deal to actually become a reality.
"You owe it to every man, woman, and child in the State of Michigan to beat the Buckeyes and silence their fans! Now go out there and make it happen!"
"Michigan's staff was the first staff to be 100 percent honest with me throughout the whole process, and that meant a huge amount to me," Speight said.
I'm glad he likes Michigan but this makes me sad. Honesty and integrity among college coaches weren't merely unusual to this kid, but UNIQUE? That says less about Hoke and more about just how often high schoolers are blatantly lied to by adults. Not some of the coaches or most of the coaches, but ALL of them except Hoke's crew?? And if this stops it won't be because the world has become a better place, but simply because modern communications made it such that coaches can't get away with it anymore.
I mean, I'm not naive anymore, but back when I was in high school I was a very angry, sour kid. It's not a time I remember fondly, but crap like this makes me think maybe my frustration at the world was justified.
It could be that he has a lot of info on M, but not enough info on the other options. If I'm looking for a job, I could know absolutely everything about one of my choices, but if I don't know much about the others, it's hard to really say how the first one compares.
There are over 11 months until Signing Day. Westphal hasn't had the chance to visit any other school more than once outside of two in-state schools (Northwestern and Illinois). He also has offers from all over the country and a good chance at picking up many more.
I'd hold off on calling him indecisive. He's one of the few guys who's even given a decision timeline.
there was an interview with Westphal where he stated that the UM coaches told him to take his time and not commit yet. He might just be taking their advice and going through the process more completely. It's pretty clear he likes Michigan and has maintained that they are the "standard" since that interview.