The spring game was a success from a recruiting perspective on a few different levels. The commitment from instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone was an important early get that most didn't expect so soon. Outside of the commitment here's a look at what some of the other visiting prospects had to say. As always you can find me and more updates on Twitter, and if you have any questions or tips please email me at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'6", 289 lbs
Diamond is a big-time prospect nationally and for a Michigan class that needs a hig- profile tackle or two. He has been to Ann Arbor plenty of times, but this time he brought someone new.
I've seen a lot of that stuff before, and they were just showing us around. My father was there for the first time and he said everything was great. He got a great impression from everything, and he thought the coaching staff was great. He actually said he would feel comfortable with me playing there so that felt good.
Since Diamond has taken numerous visits to Michigan's campus, and the fact that his teammate Chris Bryant signed with Michigan, these visits are more about comfort than discovery for him. But...
It did give me a chance to see how they coached and how they were showing the players what they need to do. I saw Coach Funk is doing a good job with those guys getting the fundamentals down. I've seen a lot of them now and it's about getting familiar with these schools. These visits, I have my parents go up to see where I might be going. I didn't really see anything new, it was just more of a confirmation of what I've been seeing.
While he didn't necessarily see anything new with the program, Jordan definitely got to be a part of a new experience.
When we got there we came out on the field and there was a bunch of fans telling me Jordan we need you. To have them recognize an offensive lineman and ask me for autographs was pretty cool. I was getting stopped on the street and people were asking me if I was Jordan Diamond. I was signing autographs for little kids, and to have that happen at a big school was cool. Being with the players is always great too; they're exactly the same on and off the field. The character and attitude they have is always the same.
Jordan isn't positive exactly when he wants to make his final decision, but he knows how he wants to get there.
I'm going to keep taking visits right now, then narrow it down to a top ten during the summer. After that I'll get it to a top five before the season starts and I'll take my official visits to those five. I know Michigan will definitely be in the top five. Michigan is looking solid right now.
Diamond has always wanted to take his visits and take his time with the process, so this is nothing new. These early visits have helped Michigan lay the ground work for later on in the process when the tough decisions come around.
6'7", 305 lbs.
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
Denman is a huge offensive lineman that has racked up around 21 offers from schools like Michigan, Boston College, Miami, MSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin to name a few. JJ took in Ann Arbor for the first time and came away impressed.
I spent the whole day Friday looking around the campus, and then Saturday we spent more time at the facilities and the spring game. I was the only one there on Friday so we got talk to all the coaches. We talked about how they're bringing back a pro style offense and that they need big linemen. Everything overall was good, I really liked the coaches. The coaches seem real down to earth and straight shooters. The Big House: I walked in there and it was just huge. They said they were going to put up scoreboards and that they might be adding more seats which is crazy.
The Big House is typically something prospects remember from their visits, but the MIchigan players were what stuck with Denman.
All the players are genuine guys. I talked to Denard Robinson and it was just like he was a normal guy. He saw me walk by and was just like "hey what's up man," it was like he didn't even do what he did on the field. I talked to Jake Long too and he was the exact same way. It's like Michigan doesn't produce cocky guys, they're all humbled and that was cool.
Although JJ has a pretty big offer list he already has a good idea of who makes up his top group.
I think I know the schools that I like, I'm going to go out to a couple more just to make sure. I definitely know I'm going to take an official visit to Michigan, and I'm going to try to make it back for the Notre Dame game because it will be their first night game. I'll probably take all five of my officials. The five schools right now are Michigan, Boston College, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Rutgers.
It sounds like this visit helped Michigan but it won't mean much until he starts taking official visits.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Ojemudia is an interesting instate prospect that has been up to Michigan with his teammate TE Devin Funchess a few times now. If you remember last time Mario said that he was surprised that he liked his Michigan visit so much. It seems like the spring game might have helped Michigan a little more.
It went really well, it was fun. I didn't really see anything different but I'm feeling really comfortable with all the coaches, and I really like Michigan now which is kind of weird since I grew up not liking them. I think these visits have sort of leveled everything out now.
Mario has also been to Michigan State three or four times now, but hasn't been in a while. Having processed the trips he's taken, he thinks the visits have helped him narrow down his list to a group of three.
I've somewhat narrowed it down. I like Michigan, Stanford, and MSU, but that could all be subject to change if I get another offer from a school I like. Two schools that I really like are Penn State and Ohio State.
All of these trips he's taking are helping him get to his final decision, which he says he wants to have done before his season starts.
2013 QB Shane Morris was also on hand for the spring game. He seemed to enjoy the fan attention he got as well.
It went really well, I had a lot of fun. I signed my first autograph on a #12 Michigan jersey. That was crazy. I've pretty much seen the whole school three times now so I just want to get to know the coaches better and get more comfortable at the school.
Michigan commit OL Caleb Stacey had his decision validated while he was on campus for the first time as a commitment.
It went great, I had two kids around the age of ten ask for my autograph. It made me feel like I was at home with great people, great atmosphere, great fans, and just all around great place. I was trying to recruit [JJ Denman] and Sheldon Day while I was up there.
** QB Zeke Pike is announcing his decision on Wednesday. He told me that he's down to Auburn, Michigan, and Purdue. He said you shouldn't look too much into the rumors about him being committed to Auburn. I have a strange feeling about this one.
New York DB Wayne Morgan's coach tells me that Michigan has moved up on his list.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden took in Ann Arbor with his parents, and may be nearing a decision.
I hinted on Twitter that there was going to be a silent commit yesterday. The prospect told me it was ok to tell people his intentions, but to obviously keep his name quiet. The plan was to commit to the coaches, take two more visits then come forward with the announcement at his school. He told the coaches Sunday night and they told him that he should take the other two visits first then commit to them. It wasn't a rejection, but more so not acknowledging a commitment from a kid that wants to take visits. The announcement should happen in 3 or 4 weeks.
If you missed it here's last week's Weekly Update with TE Pierre Aka, DE Noah Spence, and WR Amara Darboh.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden (6'2", 225 lbs) was in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago with his dad and his uncle, who also happens to be his coach. He decided to take another trip back up, but this time with his mom and dad. Here's his highlight film and his thoughts on the visit.
TOM: You were just in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, so what prompted this visit?
JOE: I didn't see as much as I wanted to last time. This time we got to drive through campus, see the classrooms, and we just got to see a lot more than last time. We go the grand tour of everything. I didn't get to see a dorm because there weren't any vacant, but I got to see the building that I would be living in.
TOM: I know you went up with your dad and uncle last time, who went with you this time?
JOE: Just my mom and dad.
TOM: What did they think of the visit. Your dad has seen campus before, but this was the first time for mom. How did she like it?
JOE: She really liked it. She really liked Coach Hoke, and Mrs. Hoke and Mrs. Mattison were actually up there so she got to talk to them for awhile too. To me she seemed pretty impressed.
TOM: Did they have questions for the coaches that they, as parents, wanted answered? I know moms can be protective sometimes.
JOE: Not really any more questions, they pretty much answered everything before I asked them. Coach Hoke without my parents even asking answered everything. We sat down for about 45 minutes and just talked about me living up there. He talked about her being a mom and obviously she's protective. He told her that if I were to choose Michigan that I'd be safe and taken care of.
TOM: So where are you at right now with the process? I know you told me last time that you think you're getting close, but what does that mean?
JOE: Right now I have it narrowed down to a couple schools that I'm very serious about, but I want to keep those quiet so I don't give anyone the wrong impression. I'm getting as much information on them as I can, and talking to as many good resources as I can.
TOM: How will you know when you're ready to decide?
JOE: I still haven't gotten the chance to sit down with my mother, father, and uncle and weigh out the pro's and con's of everything. My uncle wasn't at school today, but we'll probably sit down in the next couple days. I really don't have a timeline, it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in February. I'm not sure yet.
TOM: When you say weigh everything out, what are you thinking about with regards to each school?
JOE: Academics has always been a big part of my life. My parents have stressed school work comes before the game of football, so that's number one. If I fit into the program, if I like the coaches, and if the university has tradition, a good winning tradition.
Here is the list of visitors I have confirmed for the Spring Game so far. If someone isn't on this list it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't coming, I might not have confirmed it yet.
Commit Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs): Caleb has been vocal about trying to recruit for Michigan and has done so with Joe Bolden. It will be good to get him on campus in front of other prospects.
2013 Michigan QB Shane Morris (6'3", 189 lbs): Has a Michigan offer, will probably be the top quarterback in the state next year.
Instate TE Devin Funchess (6'5", 205 lbs): Another trip up for Funchess and he might come with his teammates Mario Ojemudia and Aaron Burbridge.
Illinois DT Vontrell Williams (6'2", 263 lbs): Loved his first visit to Ann Arbor, still hoping for an offer.
Instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs): Will most likely be joined by Terry Richardson, just waiting for confirmation.
Instate TE Ron Thompson (6'4", 210 lbs): Has decided not to make his announcement this week. He just changed schools so he's going to hold off. Michigan is still in good shape.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond (6'7", 289 lbs): I haven't confirmed if he's coming with his teammate QB Robert Gregory, but it would make sense.
Instate LB James Ross (6'0", 209 lbs): His dad said they should be there.
Indana TE Pierre Aka (6'4", 250 lbs): Although Pierre just took a visit this past Saturday he told me he's most likely going to be at the spring game as well.
Pennsylvania OL JJ Denman (6'7", 305 lbs): Might make the trip.
Indiana DT Sheldon Day (6'2", 270 lbs): Was deciding where to go this weekend and chose Michigan.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson (6'2", 277 lbs): Might come with Jordan Diamond
Instate OL/DL Kelby Latta (6'4", 295 lbs): Not sure if he'll make it yet.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley (6'4", 255 lbs): He said he'll come if the weather is good. He's been to campus enough that it's probably not a big deal.
Instate LB Tyler Goble (6'0", 232 lbs): Went to a practice last week and the coaches told him they want him to camp this summer. Former teammates with Brennen Beyer.
New Jersey DB DJ Singleton (6'3", 200 lbs): Said he's not sure if he'll be able to make it yet.
Ohio OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 290 lbs): Not sure if he'll make it up.
Ohio RB/DB Will Mahone (5'11", 205 lbs): Michigan's recruiting him for defensive back and until they offer I don't think he'll show much attention.
Illinois DT Vincent Valentine (6'3", 300 lbs): Not coming.
Ohio DB Allen Gant (6'1", 182 lbs): He'll be back up for camp in the summer.
Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs): Not coming, but not a big deal. Michigan is in good shape with AJ.
Instate DE Matt Godin (6'5", 260 lbs): He's going to Penn State this weekend.
Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer (6'0", 219 lbs): Making his decision the day before, Friday the 15th at 6pm EST.
Pennsylvania LB Deaysean Rippy (6'2", 198 lbs): Told me some things came up and he's unable to make it.
Indiana ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs): At Notre Dame.
The spring game is almost upon us, which means that the recruiting process is about to be in full effect. With two commitments under their belt the Michigan coaching staff could see that number jump very soon. Here's a look at this past weekend's visitor, a few updates on other recruits, and what the future holds.
6'4", 250 lbs.
Aka does not currently have an offer from Michigan, but has been trying to get on campus for some time. He was supposed to make the trip up last weekend with teammate WR/QB Aloyis Gray but the plans fell through. He made the day trip up on Saturday with his coach and was well worth the wait.
It was amazing. When we first got there we took the tour, met with the academic advisor, talked to the recruiting coordinator, then my position coach and Coach Hoke. That was the best part talking to the coaches. I actually built a relationship with them, which I haven't been able to do really with other schools.
Pierre would like to go into nuclear engineering so schools like Michigan and Stanford stand out to him. While he wasn't offered on this trip he did get a chance to talk to the coaches about what he needs to do to earn a scholarship to Michigan.
They said they could offer at anytime, but they definitely will offer if I do good at the one day camp this summer. They all like me, but they just want to see me catch the ball. They said that they only send handwritten letters to certain guys and I'm on that list, they just want to see me in person.
His coach felt the visit was a success and also told Pierre that he thinks Michigan is a good place for a tight end. Aka currently has offers from Arkansas State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, Toledo, and WMU. His team essentially only uses their tight ends for blocking, so there's no film of him running routes or catching the ball. If he does well at summer camps he could see his offer list grow.
6'4", 245 lbs.
Spence has racked up offers from almost everywhere and is five star in Rivals' early evaluation. I have done updates with Spence's father and his coach, so now it was time to hear from Noah himself on where he's at in the process.
I'm definitely going to take all my visits, I'm just taking it step by step right now. I'm wide open and just looking at everybody. When I go to narrow it down it will be through a lot of prayer, seeing what my parents like, and if I feel like I fit in with their system and if they have a family atmosphere.
As you can imagine narrowing down a list the size of Spence's can be intimidating and confusing. He has already started to take trips and is looking to the future to see where he can take in next.
I've taken trips to Maryland and Tennessee, and I'll be up to Penn State for the Blue and White game. I'll probably do local schools for now like Rutgers too. Once I have more time I'll go to the further away schools.
Michigan is one of the schools he and his family are interested in seeing over the summer. Spence says that's most likely when he'll make the trip to Ann Arbor.
I've always liked Michigan since I was younger, it definitely interests me. I like them a lot, the coaching staff seems real down to earth. We talk about everything, grades, football, and how everything's going. Not everything is football with them.
Noah and his family are very close, and his father has been helping him along with the process. So it isn't a surprise that Spence wants to make sure his family is comfortable with his final choice as well.
The school has to include my parents, because they're a big part of my life. It has to be all there too football wise and school wise. I think I want to major in kinesiology, but you're going to get a good education at any D1 school really. I'm not really looking for a specific type of defense, I think I can play defensive end or linebacker. The only way to find out if I fit is to go out to practice and look at the schools.
Spence plans on making his final announcement at the Army All American game which will give his suitors plenty of time to show them what they're about. Whoever lands him is not only getting a quality prospect but a quality kid.
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh hasn't been talked about too much but has offers from Florida, Iowa, Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, and Notre Dame among others. While he has some big time schools coming after him he says he's still in the researching stage of the process.
I'm trying to find time to go to the schools to learn more about them and see where I fit in. I don't have an exact date of when I want to decide yet. The spring and summer is when all the visits will start. I just want to go to the ones that are closer for now, then later on in the summer go out to the further ones.
The receiver position hasn't been discussed as much as the defensive side of recruiting, but Michigan is losing some big time talent after this season. Coach Mallory has been recruiting Darboh to try to fill those holes.
They said they like my character and they like that I'm a playmaker. I know Michigan has a great football program and I'm trying to learn more about them. I think I'm going up there after my Notre Dame visit. Coach Mallory talks to me about a little bit of everything though. He's friends with my head coach, Coach Wilson so they know each other well.
Amara is a competitive receiver and says he does whatever it takes to win. He doesn't currently have a top group yet, but hopes to have one sometime in the summer.
When I make my decision it's going to be about the connection with the coaches and the offensive system. I'm also thinking about studying business, so somewhere that would help me with my degree. I just want an offense that I have a chance to make plays in, that throws the ball enough to make plays.
Darboh has been out to Iowa and Iowa State since they're basically in his backyard. He plans on going out to Notre Dame for their spring game and planning other trips after that.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden is visiting Michigan on Tuesday [April 12th] with his parents. He was recently up to see Ann Arbor with his coach, who's his uncle, and his dad. He told me recently that he thinks he's closing in on a decision, and that Michigan commit Caleb Stacey has been recruiting him to choose the Wolverines. I'm not sure if Tuesday will be the day he pulls the trigger, but it might help move him towards his decision.
This is a very preliminary list and will absolutely grow as I confirm more names. As usual I will post a permanent list in the diary section during the week.
Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer (6'0", 219 lbs): Making his decision the day before, on Friday the 15th at 6 pm EST. If you haven't figured out what's happening you haven't been paying attention.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond (6'7", 289 lbs)
2013 Michigan QB Shane Morris (6'3", 183 lbs)
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson (6'2", 277 lbs): He might be coming up with Jordan Diamond
New Jersey DB DJ Singleton (6'3", 200 lbs): Not sure if he'll be able to make it yet.
Indiana ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs): Still hoping for an offer, might go to a different spring game.
Michigan LB Tyler Goble (6'0", 232 lbs): Baseball schedule might get in the way. He was recently out to a MIchigan practice and the coaches told him they want him at their camp. He's a former teammate of 2011 commit Brennen Beyer.
Michigan DB Terry Richardson (5'9", 160 lbs): If Terry comes it might be safe to assume that James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone will be there, I just haven't confirmed yet.
Like I said I will have more this week as I confirm some names. Stay tuned for that.
Chris Barnett was a big pickup for Michigan in the 2011 class, but Brady Hoke would like to add more depth at the tight end position this year. Evan Baylis (6'5", 225 lbs) is one of the prospects the Wolverines are going after for 2012. The Colorado native talked about his visit to Michigan this past week and how he feels about the Wolverines in general. Here's a look at his film and his thoughts.
TOM: Tell me where you're at right now with the process. What trips have you taken so far?
EVAN: I took some trips over spring break. I went out to Michigan last week [March 28th & 29th], Oregon, and also Stanford. I was thinking about revisiting some places, but I have lacrosse right now so I'm just trying to figure out some time.
TOM: When you were at Michigan what all did you do and see?
EVAN: I was there for two days and got some good time with the coaches. We missed practice, but we got to see everything else. We met with all the coaches, saw campus, and talked to the academic advisors. The next day we went on some more tours and more personal meetings with the coaches. I got to talk to Coach Ferrigno about how they'd use me in the offense. We also talked to one of the professors in the engineering department.
TOM: Is engineering what you want to go into?
EVAN: I'm not quite sure yet. I think I either want to go into engineering or business; I'm kind of up in the air about that.
TOM: So it sounds like academics are really a priority for you then?
EVAN: Yeah, academics is really important because I want to make sure that I'm all set after football. I want to have a good degree and everything.
TOM: Backing up to the coaches meetings, when you talked to Coach Hoke what was he talking to you guys about?
EVAN: Coach Hoke was more general about the program and what do as a football team. He was telling me how they felt about me and that Michigan would be a great place for tight ends. They're coming in with a winning mentality, which I like.
TOM: After you talked to the coaches you said you got a tour, did that include the Big House?
EVAN: Yeah, we saw the locker room, the weight room, and the Big House. That was my first time in the Big House and it was shocking. On a good day we have maybe 2 or 3 thousand people, so it was shocking. It's nothing compared to what we see.
TOM: A lot of the schools that you have offers from and that you've mentioned are closer to the west coast. What made you initially interested in Michigan?
EVAN: I have relatives in Michigan, and my grandparents used to live out there. I've been out to Michigan a lot, and I like how they're switching to a pro style offense. I really liked talking to the coaches too, I think I got along with them really well.
TOM: For anyone that doesn't know a lot about you, how would you describe yourself as a tight end?
EVAN: I'm kind of intense, and I really like to get after it. I play hard for pretty much the entire game. I think I have good footwork and good speed. I like getting passed to a lot, but I also like blocking a lot too.
TOM: And where are you at right now with the process? Do you have a top group yet?
EVAN: I'm kind of narrowing down my schools right now. I'm not too far into it yet, but I want to make my final decision by the beginning of the summer. I haven't been everywhere that I'm considering so I don't really have a ranking right now. I have a general idea, but I'm trying to figure out which schools would work best.
TOM: To go back to the west coast thing. Is distance going to factor into this for you?
EVAN: Being far away from home doesn't have too big of an impact for me. I have relatives in Michigan, which would make it feel somewhat like home. That wouldn't be a problem.
TOM: When do you want to make your final decision then?
EVAN: I want to make it by the beginning of the summer and just get it out of the way.