Every week we obsess about something. Is it just to drive ourselves crazy? Is it because you like roundtables and we're ready to promise anything to a 5-star reader? Are you sick of this rhetorical paragraph? Fine. Brian's out this week so here's the e-pinion board:
||The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; will finally get to touch the banner at the Bar Mitzvah at the Big House.
||Player is a longshot. Popular opinion holds that they're likely to be too busy writing 10 Hello posts all at once.
||Players in this category maintain exquisite data.
||Players whom Borges has in a small group as a tenuous favorite.
||Mr. Blue in South Bend
||Player is either a verbal or his Twitter account betrays a solid Michigan lean.
And the question:
Right up until Signing Day 2012 certain bloggers were perturbed that Dennis Norfleet hadn't been offered despite being Steve Breaston wrapped up a little ball of hometown wonder that dances in end zones before kickoffs. Are there any guys in the 2014 class that you're eyeing and kinda wish these coaches would go after?
Seth: Answer my mailbag questions Ace!
Heiko: Dominique Booth? He's that four-star receiver from Indiana whose name we saw a lot on recruiting updates not too long ago. It seemed like there was significant interest between him and Michigan, but then he sort of fell off the map. Apparently Hoke and co. never came through with an offer. Now he's predicted to go to Tennessee. So ... what gives? I get that he's not the 6-3 minimum that Borges demands of his receivers -- at 6-0, he's basically a midget -- but he'd be kind of perfect for slot, no? He looks pretty fast on film, and he's really good at catching bubble screens ... Oh wait. That's why we didn't offer. Never mind.
BiSB: It's hard to be too geared up over any unoffered/untargeted prospects given the current target list. The coaches are making serious runs at a dozen or so guys, almost all of whom are somewhere between elite and EEEEEEEEEE. That said, one guy I'd like see the coaches give a hard look (especially if they miss on Dwight WIlliams) is Drue Tranquill out of Fort Wayne. I know he's the trendy name right now, but he seems like a guy who could provide some quality depth at SAM or strong safety. He also has the potential to be a special teams demon. Plus, if Michigan doesn't grab him, you just know he'll end up at Michigan State or Purdue or Iowa and he'll be a thorn in Michigan's side for what seems like seven years.
I'd also like to see Michigan expand their search for a pure OT prospect and offer a guy like Alex Bookser or Andrew Mike. But again, I'm not second-guessing the coaches right now. Not when they're in the position they're in with Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell and Juju Smith and Adoree Jackson and... /breathes into a paper bag.
Ace: Through no fault of his own, Wilton Speight will be compared throughout his career to David Cornwell and Michael O'Connor, the two quarterbacks he earned an offer over in February after the coaches evaluated each prospect — Speight sealed his offer after a personal throwing session for Jeff Hecklinski. If the current rankings hold, his career will be pointed to by one side or the other as a critical data point in the "coaches vs. recruiting rankings" argument; Speight is currently the #22 pro-style QB (#370 overall) in the 247 Composite, while Cornwell (#4 PQB) and O'Connor (#13 PQB) are ranked significantly higher. (Speight has one major outlier, ESPN, which ranks him as the #5 PQB — he's no higher than #21 elsewhere. By the all-important Rank Our Guys The Highest measure, ESPN is your recruiting service of choice this year.)
Cornwell, who committed to Alabama last month, seemed especially keen on a Michigan offer; thus far his rankings, offer sheet*, and camp performances — Cornwell made the Elite 11 finals; Speight didn't after an up-and-down showing in regionals — indicate that he's the better prospect. I also think Cornwell's junior highlight tape is more impressive than Speight's, but I'm just a guy — Al Borges and Jeff Hecklinski are far more qualified to make that evaluation, obviously. I think Speight is a very good prospect and a good bet to start down the line; I'll also be very curious to see how Cornwell does at Alabama, and same goes for O'Connor at Penn State. I know this doesn't really answer the question — Michigan obviously isn't going to go after Cornwell or O'Connor at this point — but I think the coaches have done very well at filling needs and no other names immediately sprung to mind.
I do agree with BiSB that landing a quality OT would be very nice (this is a pretty obvious statement). As for Booth and Tranquill, I think Michigan has better fits for their system with Canteen (a taller slot at 6'3" but still very quick, and I think he'll rise in the rankings) and their current linebacker commits. I could see the coaches extending a late offer to Tranquill, whose film I like, if they miss out on Dwight Williams and Jimmie Swain; I'm okay with the coaches waiting on those two before using a spot on Tranquill when they're currently at a premium.
*An admittedly unfair comparison, as Cornwell earned most of his offers, including Alabama, after Michigan offered Speight — who had interest from several schools, including Alabama, at the time of his commitment. It's quite possible that Speight's offer sheet would be at least as good as O'Connor's if he'd stayed uncommitted.
Ace: Also, it's worth reiterating BiSB's point that recruiting is going so well these days that we're really picking nits here. No coaching staff is going to be perfect when it comes to whom they offer and bring in, and it doesn't really work that way anyway; gaining early commitments — yes, even from lesser-regarded prospects — allows the coaches to focus their late recruiting efforts on the Da'Shawn Hands and Malik McDowells of the world, and it's not like the coaches have much say about when certain prospects decide to make a commitment. Top-100 tackle Ethan Pocic is a great example from last year; he was a strong candidate to commit but wanted to take his time, Michigan filled up on the O-line early, and when an extra spot opened up Pocic had already committed to LSU. Michigan did a solid job of filling that sixth spot with Dan Samuelsen but certainly would've preferred Pocic, in a perfect world. So it goes.
Seth: I like Samuelsen, but then I'm also an unabashed lover of Nebraska's offense, which by the way won the sweepstakes for Zack Darlington, the next dual-threat Apopka quarterback. No, I'm not going there. I would go for Illinois quarterback Clayton Thorson. That's Northwestern's guy in this class. He's 6'4"/197 so he's way more Gardner than Denard. The entire Big Ten except for Michigan and Ohio State was after him. Speight is great, but I think it was a mistake to not recruit a quarterback in 2012 and would like another bullet in the chamber in case it turns 2015 and something's happened to Shane.
BiSB: I think armchair recruiters are more forgiving of the "process" misses like Pocic. Knowing how many spots will be available, and how many recruits they will need at each spot, is obviously pretty complex. Fans are much less forgiving of perceived "evaluation misses," even if the people doing the criticizing are working off of much less information than the coaching staff. If Cornwell turns out to be better than Speight, people will blame Borges, even though there's no reason to believe Michigan WOULD have landed Cornwell (also, people will overlook how good Speight has been for this class. See: Peppers, Jabrill). If Artavis Scott turns out to be better than Freddy Canteen, people will blame Hoke, even though Scott probably wasn't even a realistic possibility when they landed Canteen.
But back to the topic at hand, if this class shapes up the way we're hoping, I can't see any late offers (or lack thereof) that could cause anyone to bat an eye. Unless it's Speedy Noil. Yep, that's the new goal. GET SPEEDY NOIL.
Mathlete: It's pretty hard to argue with how this class has filled up and what's left on the board. Is it too late to offer Braylon's brother?