"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
Missouri receiver Jehu Chesson took in Ann Arbor with his family for the BBQ this past weekend. It was his first time up with the new coaching staff and he came away very impressed. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say about the trip.
TOM: I know you sent me a text after the BBQ that said the visit was great, but what made it so great?
JEHU: I got there and we actually got there Saturday night. We went to the barbecue on Sunday and I just liked how I got to meet the coaches and talk to Coach Heck about football. We didn't talk too much but at the end we found some privacy and talked recruiting.
TOM: You went with your family this time, who all went with you?
JEHU: My mom and dad took me and my brother. My dad had been there before, but they seemed to like it. My mom really likes the campus and my brother likes the Big House.
TOM: What kind of stuff was Coach Hecklinski talking to you and your family about?
JEHU: We didn't talk too much football. It was a public event so we talked about recruiting a little bit. We mostly talked about that and he was straight up with me and said that if two wide receivers commit then the receiver position is done. I feel like they're letting me know in advance what's going on with recruiting, which I like. I'm going to stay on my own track because I want to make sure I see all the schools I'm interested in. Coach Heck[linski] was just saying though that there's two spots so if one guy commits he's going to let me know. That speaks volumes with them.
TOM: Just to be clear they're going to let you know if someone else commits but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll jump and make a decision right?
JEHU: Right. They're going to let me know, and I can figure out what to do from there but I'd like to take my visits and everything.
TOM: With Michigan it seems like you have a good amount of interest, is that the case?
JEHU: Yeah, they have something going there but you don't really know until you see them play. They're one of the schools that I'm going to watch closely. Coach Hoke seems very family oriented, and I liked how the coaches brought their families to the barbecue to introduce them.
TOM: After this visit do you feel a higher comfort level with the coaches and maybe even the program?
JEHU: Yeah the coaches signed contracts for a certain amount of years, but I feel stability shouldn't be a problem there. Looking at what Hoke did at San Diego State they will definitely turn things around.
TOM: Was there anything that really stuck out to you about this visit?
JEHU: We watched a highlight film; it was a neat film they put together. It was basically about them rising back up, it got some guys fired up. That was what really stuck out, and also that it was family oriented.
TOM: Now that you have this visit done with what's next?
JEHU: I'm going to meet with my counselors and talk to them about what schools I want to narrow it down to. I should have a top list before summer ends.
You know by now that Chris Wormley has committed to Michigan and become the 21st commitment for the 2012 class. While he was the only commitment at the BBQ the event was a hit. Here's a look at reactions from some of the visiting prospects. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and email me any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'2", 295 lbs.
O'Brien has been listing Michigan as one of his favorites for some time now. This visit gave him a chance to get more personal with the coaches and other commits.
This visit definitely helped Michigan; I had a great visit. I got even more comfortable with the coaches and I'm good friends with a lot of the commitments so that was fun. I saw the locker room this time too, I never saw that before.
Now that he has taken this visit he will have to try to cut down his list even more and soon make a decision.
I'm going to think about my comfort level this week and where I'm at with everything. I have a top six of Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Michigan State, and Iowa right now. I'm going to cut that down to three and then take official visits to those schools. I know Michigan said they're only taking one defensive tackle, but if they want to take two I will still consider them if someone commits before me.
Danny has mentioned to me before that he knows the coaches have said they'll only take one, but he thinks there's a good chance they could take two.
6'6", 297 lbs.
Steve Elmer and his father have been on Michigan's campus a few times this year, and this time he got to bring his mother and brother along as well. I caught up with Steve Elmer Sr. to talk about their trip.
This visit was a little different because more of my family was there. My wife, Steven, and my middle son were all there. We got to spend more time with the coaches and their families. We actually got a picture with all the 2013 kids; Shane Morris, Wyatt Shallman, and Jonny Reschke. They all got a chance to talk.
While the Elmers didn't necessarily see anything that they haven't before they got to see things from a different angle this time.
We had a different perspective on everything. We took a normal tour that they would give to incoming freshman, maybe a little abbreviated. We went to all the athletic stuff, and I don't know if it was a coincidence but we sat with the Dean of Admissions and a couple academic people. We spent some time with Shari Acho, too. My wife didn't meet her last time so it was good she got to meet her.
This visit also gave them a better chance to catch some one on one time with Brady Hoke.
We got to spend more time with the coaches, which is important because we're looking for a comfort level. When we were at camp Brady Hoke was very busy and this time there were only around twenty kids there. There was about four or five occasions that we got some time to talk with the head coach. We met his wife too, and she is legitimately a genuinely nice person. They played some highlights, some things about Michigan, and then Brady Hoke spoke and got us all pumped up. The message was pretty much to restore the pride, that he's bringing Michigan back.
Elmer has already received a few early offers and will see plenty more roll in. While I don't think they want to drag his recruitment out the family wants to find the place that Steven feels is right for him, however long that takes.
6'3", 325 lbs.
Kansas City, Missouri
Ondre Pipkins' visit was one of the more anticipated by the fans. Ondre had told me prior to his visit that there was a chance that he could announce at the event. Obviously that didn't happen, but it doesn't mean it still won't. As you can imagine he was busy today, so when we spoke he kept it short and sweet. I asked him what the visit told him about Michigan and if he would be visiting again soon.
Michigan men take care of Michigan men. That means that they take care of you beyond football. And yeah, I'll visit again.
The important part about saying he'll visit again is that he's still in the state of Michigan for some time. So there is a chance that he will be visiting again while he's on this current stay in the state. We'll see what happens.
6'2", 210 lbs.
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Reschke is a 2013 prospect fresh off of a Michigan State offer. He took in Ann Arbor today for basically the first time today as a recruit.
This was basically my first time there. The Big House was unbelievable. We were just saying how crazy this place is packed. We took a tour of everything, and I love the campus up there. It was great.
Jonny believes that this visit will help him not only get to know MIchigan better but also get closer to an offer from the Wolverines.
I talked to Coach Smith one on one. All the coaches really like me. Coach Smith told me he's going to take a look at some tape and that I should call Coach Jackson soon. If he doesn't answer then I should call Coach Smith. He didn't say that I was getting an offer, but he was kind of implying it, so I think it's close. After camp they had a dead week and then they put on this BBQ, so they need to regroup and start recruiting again.
The visit really helped with my comfort level though, and it was really cool to see all the kids together. Coach Hoke's speech was pretty awesome and then they played a video, too. I just want to play football right now after that.
As I mentioned Reschke has an offer from Michigan State, and that hit home with him mainly because of where his father went to school.
My dad played at MSU in 1979. It doesn't matter though; he's going to let me make my own choice. He wants me to play somewhere that I'll have an opportunity to play. I'm not going to wait until after my senior year, I want to get it done with. It will probably be around this time next year, I just want to check out all the places that want me during the spring. I'll also probably be back to Michigan for the Notre Dame game.
I believe at this point it's probably a Michigan vs MSU scenario right now for Reschke. We'll see how his recruitment plays out.
6'3", 202 lbs.
Isaac is a 2013 running back prospect that made it in for the BBQ this weekend. This was his first time on campus and he seemed to come away very impressed.
I've been talking to Coach Hecklinski and he told me to come out to the school. We went on a tour, met all the coaches, and I really liked it a lot. We talked to the coaches and most of them knew who I was. I was just happy I could get on campus and get a feel for everything. It was my first time there so I didn't know what to expect. I enjoyed it, I went up there not knowing much about Michigan but it really surprised me. I'm excited to go back and check it out again to get there for a game. This was different, I didn't know what to expect so it was good for me, I really liked it.
Isaac has now been out to Michigan, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin. He says he will try to make it out to all the schools that offer and maybe a few more as well.
To me every school has a uniqueness about it. The way Michigan went about everything and the feel of everything was different. I'll definitely try to get up to games for the schools that have offered. I can't really give you a timeline for everything though, I'm not too sure when I want to make my decision. And to be honest I don't really have a list yet, that's the truth. Everyone wants the big schools, but I want whatever fits me the best, that's where I want to be. I just don't know yet.
It seems like Michigan has done themselves a favor after this visit with Isaac. They haven't offered him yet, but it seems likely that he will eventually receive one from Michigan.
This post is starting to get pretty long so I'm going to save a couple posts for this week. I'll have 2013 RB Wyatt Shallman's thoughts, WR Jehu Chesson, and RB Bri'onte Dunn. Bri'onte's father told me that this visit also helped Michigan with his son, I'll have more from them later in the week. I still think Michigan has a chance with him, I just believe he'll take his time with everything.
WR Amara Darboh told me that he's going to talk to his coach about his last MIchigan visit and his choices overall after camp. His camp ends Wednesday and he'll likely have a short list out soon after. He said that Michigan is up there on the list, but he still wants to have his guardians see what he saw at Michigan, and all the other schools he's seen as well.
I wanted to mention WR Monty Madaris. I had made a comment that because he wasn't visiting for the BBQ Michigan's chances to land a receiver will be pushed back, and that I thought Michigan was in good shape with him and Darboh. I said that not to imply that Madaris was 100% going to commit to Michigan, but that he had mentioned to me it wasn't out of the question. I didn't mean to say that Michigan was the leader and that they were definitely getting him. When I said that Michigan was in good shape I simply meant that they are in the top group for now. I receieved an email from a confused reader and figured I would share with everyone.
Four star wide receiver Amara Darboh (6'2", 190 lbs, 4 Star) took in Ann Arbor the past few days with his basketball coach. The Iowa prospect wanted to get a better feel for what Ann Arbor had to offer, and also try to gain a level of comfort with the Michigan coaching staff. He's on his way back from his visit now and updated me on how the visit went. I couldn't find much film online, so here's a nice play from him and what he had to say about the trip.
TOM: So tell me how the trip was overall, was it better than you expected?
AMARA: Yeah. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a great visit. I had a great time. We got to meet all the coaches and got a chance to sit down with the AD. Just being in the Big House and the feeling in Ann Arbor, it was great.
TOM: I know you got there Monday and left today [Wednesday], but when did the visit actually start? Did you and your coach see anything on Monday?
AMARA: Yeah, we got there Monday and went over to the Big House. We looked at the new scoreboards and everything. We got a chance to talk to Coach Mallory for a little bit, too. Tuesday we watched some players finish their workout, met some more coaches, and met some players in the locker room. After that we talked to Coach Hoke and I got to hang out with some of the players like Roy Roundtree and [Devin] Gardner.
TOM: You told me your basketball coach is a Michigan fan, too. Was he having fun on the trip?
AMARA: My coach was having a blast. He just kept thanking me for having him come with me, but I kept thanking him. We were in the Big House together and we just kept on saying how small we felt. We were on the field just looking at everything.
TOM: I know you said before the trip that you would probably have some questions once you got up there. Did the coaches answer any of your questions and what were they mainly talking to you about?
AMARA: Yeah, the coaches were telling me how I would fit in to the offense they were bringing in. They answered all my questions really with what they told me. They told me how the offense works and how everything is run there.
TOM: Now that you've gotten a chance to sit down and meet the coaches do you feel comfortable with them?
AMARA: I feel a lot better with them. They all seem like really nice guys and they have a great staff there. This visit helped Michigan a lot, and it also helped with my comfort level, so yeah.
TOM: Since you say it helped Michigan do you think this will help speed along the process at all? Last time you said you would probably take a few official visits and then decide, is that still the case?
AMARA: I think this is going to help speed up the process a little. I still want to take official visits, but there's certain schools now that I know that I fit in with, so it helped that part.
Once the news broke that the NCAA didn't find any new infractions with the Ohio State case naturally everyone turned their thoughts to recruiting. How would this affect any prospects that are considering Ohio State, and more relavent to Michigan how would it affect Kyle Kalis?
There has been some scuttlebutt among Ohio State fans that Kalis would eventually switch back to the Buckeyes despite the fact that a good amount of their fans trashed him on the internet for making the switch in the first place.
Kalis has been saying all along that he is solid to Michigan and won't re think his decision no matter what happens with the sanctions at Ohio State. Today he had this to say about the situation:
Despite all the speculation about the limited sanctions that Ohio State will receive, I've grown to love Michigan too much to ever consider going back. I'm excited to get up there next season and to start what I know is going to be a new chapter in Michigan history, and with the amazing class that my head coach Brady Hoke is putting together.
Pretty strong words for a soon to be high school senior. When I brought the topic up he laughed and said none of it was true. There's always speculation that happens with recruiting, and I never say never but this should reassure Michigan fans on where Kalis stands on his recruitment.
Kalis has also been recruiting for Michigan, and has already started to build friendships with his future fellow classmates.
This weekend will be a big event for Michigan with the BBQ, but there will be a big time visitor before the cook out as well. With limited spots left prospects could start to make decisions depending on what their peers decide to do themselves, so every spot left is on watch. Here's a look at what happened this week and what's happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and email me with any tips at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh is a four star receiver that has shown interest in Michigan for quite some time, bnut has been unable to make it up to Ann Arbor. That's about to change, as he has finally set up a visit to take in the campus and environment.
I'm going up to Michigan tomorrow [Monday the 25th]. Me and my basketball coach are going. He's a Michigan fan and he was able to give me a ride, so he wanted to go. We're taking off here at 8am on Monday, staying all day Monday, all day Tuesday, and then we might be back for a little bit on Wednesday too.
This is a big visit for both parties since Michigan is currently looking for wide receivers and Darboh hasn't been able to meet most of the coaching staff.
I have met Coach Mallory, but I haven't been up there yet. I'm excited, I don't have any questions right now but I'm sure once I get there I'll have some. I'm just excited to see everything. I've heard a lot of good things from my coaches. I've talked to the Michigan coaches over the phone, but I want to meet them and hopefully meet some of the players too.
As far as where his recruitment stands Darboh says he will likely narrow his list down by the time his season starts.
I thought I'd have a top list already but I'm not going to have it until my season starts. Hopefully when my season starts I'll have it narrowed down to a top five and then just go from there. If I take an official visit somewhere and I feel comfortable and it feels right then I'll just commit there. Right now everything changes every now and then because I haven't seen everywhere yet. I don't want to name a list until I finalize it, but I think Michigan has a good chance to be in the top five. I'll know more about them after my visit.
Amara also holds offers from Florida, Iowa, Iowa State, MSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin among others.
6'7", 320 lbs.
Braden has been committed to Michigan since March, though it seems much longer with all the other commitments Michigan has reeled in since. At the time, little was known about him, but since then Braden made quite a bit of noise at Michigan's camp with his size and performance.
I went up against a lot of good defensive linemen. Towards the end of the camp we were given the option to switch to defense, so I tried that out too. I did get to meet some of the other prospects and we were all kind of getting to know each other more than anything. Right now my height is 6-foot-7 and my weight is 320-pounds. I'm not really focused on a certain weight, just getting stronger and faster and better. That helped this year at the camp, but I still have some things I'm trying to improve on.
Ben is starting to realize that his last year of high school football is upon him, but is just trying to focus on one step at a time.
It's all starting to set in with all the seniors, but I'm just trying to worry about the season. With Michigan my family and I are going to try to get up for a few games. I do want to get up to the night game against Notre Dame.
There have been fans that are concerned with what the final product will look like for Michigan on the field in 2011. They've been wondering how that translates to the recruits, and what their perspective is on how well Michigan does this coming season.
Just from meeting the coaching staff I'm very comfortable with their methods and how they teach technique. The biggest thing that I really love and a huge key to why I committed is the family atmosphere. With Brady Hoke and all the coaches I think this season is going to be great, it's going to be huge. I know that they're going to do great. With recruiting I think it's cool that we have a lot of good athletes that are committing to my class. I know we're all excited to interact and build friendships too.
Braden's size and performance at Michigan's camp, in my mind, don't match up with how he's rated on the recruiting sites. As Tim speculated in last week's Friday Night Lights primer, he should have a shot to move up.
6'2", 186 lbs.
Powe is a four-star receiver that has recently come to the attention of Michigan fans. He has shown interest in Michigan, and says the Wolverines are among his top group.
I'm trying to visit Michigan. I've been talking to Coach Heck about when I should come out there. [In order] Oregon State, Michigan, UCLA, Miami, and Cal are on top right now. I'm trying to wait everything out to see all my choices and narrow everything down.
Powe's teammate and fellow wide receiver Malik Gilmore is currently committed to Oregon State, but also had interest in Michigan at one point. It will be interesting to see how Powe's recruitment plays out. He says that he's a fearless playmaker that isn't scared to go across the middle of the field to make a play.
I posted today that 2011 OL Graham Glasgow switched his preferred walk on commitment from Ohio State to Michigan in mid June. He's a 6'7", 295 lb tackle that has been showing some potential so far. Another walk on OL that seems to be holding his own is Gary Yerden from from Parchment, Michigan. Others have pointed out on the board that Yerden was formerly a weight lifter and broke the dead lift record in high school.
If you somehow missed the visitor list for the Big House BBQ this weekend you can find it here. This should be a big deal for Michigan; there are a few uncommitted prospects at the event and there might be potential for a few things to keep an eye on. We'll see.
2013 QB Shane Morris, 2012 DB Terry Richardson, and TE Ron Thompson are all at the Gridiron Kings event in Florida this week. If you've missed coverage of it you have not been on the internet because it's everywhere. Just in case, here's a link to an article. In that article Tom Luginbill says that if Shane Morris were in the 2012 class he would a top five or six guy in the country.
This will be the home of the BBQ visitor list. The event takes place on July 31st and looks like it's invite only. I'm still working on confirming visitors so I should have more names added as I get them. Be sure to continue to check back frequently.
Here's who I've confirmed so far:
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Commit
DB Terry Richardson - Commit
LB James Ross - Commit
DE Matt Godin - Commit
DB Allen Gant - Commit
TE Devin Funchess - Commit
DE/LB Mario Ojemudia - Commit
DE Tom Strobel - Commit
OL Kyle Kalis - Commit, said he will for sure be there. He's going up with his head coach Finotti, because his coach wants to sit down with Mattison to talk defense.
OL Ben Braden - Commit
2013 QB Shane Morris - Commit
DT Danny O'Brien (6'2", 293 lbs, 4 Star)
WR Jehu Chesson (6'3", 182 lbs, 3 Star)
2013 OL Steven Elmer
2013 RB Wyatt Shallman
2013 LB Jonny Reschke
RB Bri'onte Dunn (6'2", 215 lbs, 4 Star) - His father told me yesterday that Bri'onte will likely be going up with his cousin Dymonte Thomas. Bri'onte's Dad might not make it up though.
DE Chris Wormley - Said via text he is coming to the event.
DT Ondre Pipkins (6'3", 325 lbs, 4 Star)
DB Anthony Standifer - commit
2013 WR Laquon Treadwell
2013 DB Dymonte Thomas
TE AJ Williams - Commit
2013 RB Ty Isaac
OL Jordan Diamond (6'6", 290 lbs, 4 Star)
DB Jeremy Clark - Commit, said he's going to try to make it up.
OL Caleb Stacey - Commit
WR Monty Madaris (6'2", 190 lbs, 3 Star)
LB Kaleb Ringer - Commit
LB Joe Bolden - Commit