"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
BREAKING: ESPNU Host Doesn't Understand Concept Of "Freestyle"
In case you didn't put off your Sunday dinner plans while the Nebraska/Oregon softball game dragged on interminably, above is Jabrill Peppers' unsuspenseful-but-still-quite-worthwhile announcement of his college decision. Peppers decided on Michigan, of course, and you can find what I'm pretty sure is the longest "Hello" post in MGoHistory here if you spent your Memorial Day weekend doing things like "go outside and grill like a normal person."
The commitment post covers Peppers' considerable potential to make an on-field impact; he should also make a big splash as a recruiter now that he's in the fold, and told WolverineNation's Mike Rothstein that he's already got some key targets in mind:
"Oh yeah. Tell Da'Shawn Hand I'm coming," Peppers said. "They call me, 'Commish.' Commissioner Peppers. Malik McDowell. Da'Shawn Hand. You need those defensive linemen.
"A great defensive line makes a great DB and a great defensive secondary. Those guys are definitely on my radar. I'm coming strong. Emphasis on strong."
It may not stop there, though. The mere presence of the nation's best defensive back in Michigan's class should have other elite prospects giving the Wolverines a hard look—instead of shying away from competition, top prospects are looking to play with other top prospects these days—and Tim Sullivan lists a couple of very intriguing possibilities to fill the final defensive back spot should IL CB Parrker Westphalalso join the class ($):
If U-M reels in Westphal, there may be only one space remaining in the secondary. It could be either a safety or a cornerback, thanks to the versatility of both Peppers and Westphal, but would almost certainly go to an elite player. Prospects such as Gardena (Calif.) Serra five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson and Long Beach (Calif.) Poly safety John "Juju" Smith are likely options.
While the Wolverines aren't the favorite to land either Jackson or Smith, both plan to visit Ann Arbor during the recruiting process—Smith even set up an official for the Notre Dame game—and we've seen what this coaching staff can do while hosting a prospect on campus. The limited space in the class, number of interested top prospects, depth on the current roster, and positional flexibility of the current/recent recruits (i.e. 2013's defensive back haul) all give Michigan the ability to hone in on a few top targets; think last year's USC class minus the overhanging NCAA sanctions and Lane Kiffin factor.
Oh, and regarding one particular five-star...
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Da'Shawn Hand—is Michigan now his leader?—and more.]
Farrell's positing on the status of the nation's top recruit doesn't appear to be coming out of nowhere, as this past week was apparently Da'Shawn Hand Talks To The Media Week*, and the trend appears to be a positive one for Michigan. In an article published two days before that tweet, Farrell said he believed Virginia Tech led the field, while his colleague Adam Friedman had a slightly different view ($):
Friedman: Lawing is one of his favorite coaches and I know that he is why Florida is in the hunt right now. My feeling is that Michigan is the slight leader right now with VT in a very close second but that could all change when he gets a chance to visit Florida. We've all seen in the past how big a difference one visit can make and Florida has changed the minds of some big time players in the past with just one visit.
The Florida mentions are because the article was for Rivals' UF outlet; Hand's recruitment is still considered a probable two-horse race at this point.
What's clear is that Hand is tiring of the recruiting process, something he told Scout's Sam Webb is the reason he's now telling schools outside his top five (U-M, VT, Alabama, Florida, S. Carolina) that he's simply not interested in being recruited by them anymore ($):
“I don’t want to play no games or anything,” Hand explained. “I don’t want to hold nobody’s time up. If I’m not interested, I’m not going to come off like a jerk or anything, but I’m going to tell the straight up before they even give me the spiel or anything… just say, ‘look man, I ain’t interested.’”
Hand is already scheduled to visit Michigan officially for the Notre Dame game, and he's discussing the possibility of visiting for July's BBQ at the Big House—he should know for sure once the coaches decide on an exact date for the annual event. Right now, Virginia Tech insiders still feel that Hand will stay close to home—while acknowledging Michigan is a serious contender—and Michigan insiders have a largely positive outlook themselves. It doesn't sound like Hand's recruitment will stretch all the way to Signing Day, which is a positive for both the Wolverines and Hokies—it's doubtful that another school is going to enter the fray if he's looking to wrap things up.
Marshall Impresses At Midwest Elite 7-on-7
With Michigan's need for a strongside linebacker in the class and the numerous available options along the defensive line, weakside end commit Lawrence Marshall has been suggested as a player who could possibly fill that role in a pinch. While he'll hit campus as a defensive lineman, an impromptu camp appearance last weekend makes him sound like a viable linebacker candidate, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):
Michigan commitment Lawrence Marshall was hanging out in the stands throughout Saturday’s action but decided to strap on his Maize & Blue gloves Sunday morning to compete for his HYPE team, hoping to walk away with a crown. Marshall was playing out of position, rotating in and out at linebacker, playing one-on-one coverage against tight ends -- and he did so very well.It’s clear Marshall’s future is on the defensive line in Ann Arbor but for him to go out and showcase the ability to stay with tight ends, have good awareness and ball skills in pass defense, and overall agility to stick with his man, is very impressive and emphasizes his skillset as an athlete. HYPE ended up falling in the championship game to AWP, a very talented team from Indiana.
Even if Marshall never ends up playing linebacker—and, to be clear, I think he fits best at weakside end—the fact that he possesses the athleticism to play in space is a good sign for his development and makes him a real threat to make plays when Mattison dials up a zone blitz.
Marshall, by the way, lands at #10 in the newly-released Rivals in-state rankings; other Michigan commits on the list include Drake Harris (#3) and Moe Ways (#8), with uncommitted Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell at the top.
Sam Webb: What has Darrion said to you about his interest in Michigan in particular?
Derek Chipoletti: “I think Michigan was a definite…what’s the best word? There was a lot more reaction with the Michigan offer than some of the others, so I know Michigan is definitely up there with his interest level. I know they’re doing a great job of recruiting him; I think he likes them a lot. We’ll see how that ends up.”
Sam Webb: Can you give me an idea of some of the other schools that you believe might be up there right now?
Derek Chipoletti: “I would say, top five, in no specific order, and again, just from my talking with him... I would say Michigan, Louisville, Miami, West Virginia, and Boston College.”
Another linebacker to watch is Illinois prospect Nile Sykes, who's making the transition from defensive end and could earn an offer at Michigan's camp, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($).
The father of FL WR Corey Holmes—who's expressed strong interest in the Wolverines in the past, so much so that early on he was a presumed lock—told Sam Webb that his son will be at the BBQ at the Big House unless "something changes" on Michigan's end ($). Holmes could fill that final wide receiver spot if the coaches indeed want to take him. Another potential fit there is PA ATH Malik Hooker, who recently pulled in a Michigan offer—among several others—and could play on either side of the ball at the next level, per Scout's Brian Dohn ($).
Five-star CA QB Josh Rosen is Michigan's clear-cut top target among 2015 quarterbacks, having earned their only offer at that position in the class thus far; should that not work out, the Wolverines could look nearby for their next target, as the Coach Ferrigno worked out CA QB Kyle Kearns, 247's #26 overall prospect for 2015, and got film of him throwing, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($).
Michigan made the top 13 for 2014 NJ ATH Juwann Winfree, per Brian Dohn ($).
----------------- *As well as Memorial Day Weekend, The Festival Of Peppers, and No Touching! (The Pause Button On My Netflix Account) Awareness Week.
Anyone know where there's a list of confirmed and/or probable prospects/commits for the BBQ at the Big House? It's been pretty fruitful in the past; even if no commits come from it this year, the kids get to a chance to really see the family atmosphere that Michigan and this staff is all about.
From what I gather based on still photos and whatnot, the usual fare at the Big House BBQ involves steaks, burgers, sausages, etc., cooked outdoors on a grill, whereas the type of "barbeque" that southerners get all possessive about is the slow-cooked brisket or pulled pork slathered in high-fructose corn syrup.
There really ought to be separate words for the two things.
"You will suffer humiliation when the team from my area defeats the team from your area." -- The Onion
“True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise — the other, loyalty.”
These are great tabs, but obviously are no longer that useful, as we're not adding any more recruits to the 2013 class. Simply having the same format, but updated with 2014 recruits would be awesome, and would provide a simple mechanism to see who is out there and where we are in recruiting them.
Thanks in advance for considering this!
“Top to bottom Michigan is about excellence, greatness. You have my pledge I will carry forward the excellence of Michigan football." Jim Harbaugh, December 30, 2014
The longer McDowell and Westphal go with out a verbal the more I think the possibility they may not end up in this class. We've heard for a long time now that Michigan was pretty much a lock or at least a strong leader for Westphal. Although, I think he did set a decision date for before his senior season?
I think it's great we're up there for Hand but I personally feel right now it would be 50/50 or 60/40 if we can get him away from Virginia or the south.
Besides Jamarco Jones, who are other OL that we may have a decent shot at landing? I think I've read that the coaches would like one more lineman in the class.
Every recruit is different. Some seem to like to take their time, some seem to like to get in early, some wait around and jump when it looks as if the spot is about to be lost. McDowell has lots of options, and knows he won't lose his spot at Michigan. If he enjoys the chase, let him enjoy it. Although recruits seem to be signing up earlier than in the past, we are still very, very early in the recruiting cycle. It is over 8 months until NSD.
Agreed on McDowell. We only have one DL committed (and he's not the same position as McDowell) and outside of Hand he's the most highly rated DL we're after. I don't see why he'd need to be in a hurry.
Westphal, OTOH, might be feeling the heat a little sooner.
but McDowell's need (or lack thereof) to hurry wasn't really the guys point. It was that the longer they remain uncommitted the more leary he becomes. With recent past experience being what it is, I am in the same boat as well. It was pretty much the same with Diamond and treadwell (among others) where we were the presumed favorite for a long time only to get ditched down the road.
I guess what I wonder is if you have taken visits, done research and given consideration to where you want to go to university and after that process have a school that stands out to you...why not commit? Perhaps they are waiting to see who else might offer them, but that doesn't make me feel any more confidnet about them picking us (which again, I believe is what the guys point was...the longer they go uncommitted the worse he feels about our chances).
I'm surprised we aren't hearing more about or from Malik McDowell. I know he doesn't talk to the media as much as most of these kids but does he have a timeline right now or anything? Also I'm waiting for Magnus to write up a scouting report on Malik so I can hear his opinion on the kid.
If you know he doesn't talk to the media much, why are you surprised we haven't heard as much from him? Some kids just don't give as much info, and the guys with a presumed leader get asked less often as well. I'd say no news is good news with him. If he was visiting elsewhere or getting attention from other coaches, we'd probably know about it.
Can somebody explain why everyone feels so confident about Mcdowell? It doesn't seem like he talks to the media much if at all, yet everyone sort of assumes he's going to end up being part of the class.
I like your commentary a lot LA2, keep up the good work brother!!!
This class has special written all over it, just think about the level of play of our beloved Wolverines in 2014 and beyond when you take into consideration the previous 3 classes will be well seasoned and primed for some stellar performances.
A lot of people think that a player can't possibly favor us if he rarely mentions us, but to dispute us as his leader, you need not only look at how often he mentions us, but how often he mentions (or visits) other schools. With most recruits, you need to go on what they do more than what they say, and McDowell, though not a slam dunk, has focused more time on us than anyone else. And his comments, sparse as they are, have been more positive toward M than the competition as well.
Yes, I would like some Juju Smith please. It was just last season that I was complaining about the distinct lack of Frobozz Tamoshanter's on these teams lately. Now with Wilton Speight, Ondre Pipkins, C'sonte York, Mo Ways, and Jabrill Peppers among others, I feel much better about this situation.
I had to laugh at the hosts today acting like they were bothered by Peppers' little rap. Me personally, I was more annoyed by their spending 20 minutes worrying about Notre Dame's quarterback situation.