spoiler alert: i linked this
This post has been updated.
— Ricky Fontaine (@JMarickWoods) March 28, 2016
Michigan picked up its second commit of the morning when Florence (AL) safety J'Marick Woods announced his pledge in both video and note form on Twitter moments ago, a couple hours after MA RB AJ Dillon also committed to the Wolverines. Woods is a lanky safety listed between 6'2" and 6'4" on the recruiting sites; he's a four-star to Scout and a high three-star elsewhere.
Woods is the eighth commit in the 2017 class and the first at safety. After his commitment, Michigan is eighth in the 2017 composite class rankings. He plans to enroll early.
4*, #22 S,
|3*, #31 S||
3*, 79, #25 S,
3*, 88, #30 S,
3*, #26 S,
While Scout initially looks like an outlier as the only service to give Woods four stars, a closer look reveals all four services have him in a similar range: between 22-31 in the safety position rankings and on the 3/4-star borderline.
Woods is a tall safety, listed between 6'2" (Rivals) and 6'4" (Scout) with ESPN and 247 splitting the difference; his weight is listed between 187 and 205 pounds. Based on recent photos, he looks to be on the higher end of that height listing. Get used to him being described as "rangy."
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
photo via 247
Groton (MA) Lawrence Academy running back AJ Dillon is the grandson of former Notre Dame All-American Tom Gatewood. He made multiple visits to South Bend throughout the recruiting process, including one for their Junior Day within a couple weeks of his planned decision. According to Steve Lorenz, even the Irish had an uphill battle heading into Dillon's most recent round of visits, and Michigan had work to do as well:
Going into his visit last week, I posted that it was going to be a good barometer visit for both Michigan and Dillon, as we had the Wolverines possibly running fourth on his list. Wisconsin was the favorite, he was a Notre Dame legacy prospect, and Florida State was his childhood favorite.
However, this visit turned into somewhat of a home-run for both parties, as Michigan was really impressed with Dillon and what he brought to the table from an on and off the field standpoint. The same could be said on the other side, as we were told that the strong visit to Ann Arbor caught Dillon and his camp off-guard. A good indicator of this is the quick commitment not only post-visit, but also when seeing Wisconsin and Notre Dame after he saw Michigan last week.
A few days after Dillon's ND visit, he made his way to Ann Arbor, and that was enough to convince him to blaze his own trail and attend Michigan:
"I got that feel of the atmosphere, the people, and everything was clicking," Dillon said. "It's just a place I could see myself in the next three to four years. I know I'll develop as a young man, as a student and a great football player at the University of Michigan."
Dillon is the seventh commit in the 2017 class—AL S J'Marick Woods has since become the eighth—and the second at running back, joining Georgia three-star Kurt Taylor.
|3*, #41 RB||4*, #16 RB||3*, NR RB||
4*, 91, #18 RB,
4*, #19 RB,
Dillon's rankings are split between solid four-star (Rivals, 247) and generic three-star (Scout, ESPN), which isn't unusual at this stage for a prospect from a state not known for producing a ton of football talent. Michigan fans have seen this before with Massachusetts prospects; Mo Hurst's rankings belied his ability that was apparent on tape, the same could be said for incoming freshman Sean McKeon, and after watching his film I'd say that's the case with Dillon.
There's far less discrepancy in the listings of his size. Dillon is listed at 6'0", 228 on the low end (Rivals) and 6'1", 235 on the high end (Scout); he's got the build of an every-down back and could even be a linebacker if Michigan so chooses—though they've told Dillon they want him as a RB.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
Before we start, folks who aren't going to be mentioned because they were on the sideline: Jehu Chesson, David Dawson, Ryan Glasgow, Mo Ways, Kingston Davis, Karan Higdon, Shelton Johnson.
Established guys we didn't see much of
I've seen a number of open practices by now and there's always a subclass of guys who aren't hurt but don't play much. Those guys are gentlemen who have established who they are and are too important to the team to expose them to extensive contact. They've made it, more or less. (These are never OL or DL.)
Most of the gentlemen who fell into this category are obvious: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Amara Darboh, Jourdan Lewis. There was one that indicates a supposedly contested position battle that might not be all that contested: De'Veon Smith saw very few live contact carries.
Tyrone Wheatley Jr Is A Tight End, And A Mutant
Some guys leap off the field the first time you see them in action, because… whoah. Devin Funchess did so at the first open practice these eyes ever laid eyes on, and that proved itself more or less correct over the course of his career. It was immediately apparent that Funchess was a rare combination of size and mobility.
Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is that plus 70 pounds. He's not Funchess. He's in fact the opposite of Funchess as far as blocky/catchy types go. But he has that same combination of size and mobility that makes you go "whoah" the first time you see him in action. I was typing out tweets about how his ability to relocate himself at his size was uncanny even before he did this:
— ap (@plurjuice) March 26, 2016
That's not a great angle; I had one. Devin Bush Jr had outstanding coverage underneath Wheatley, grabbing an arm and forcing the one-handed stab. Which Wheatley made, escaped/stiffarmed an understandably stumbling Bush, and then outran a bunch of LBs and safeties to the endzone. Even though large chunks of the crowd had left by that point it drew the largest cheer of the day, and deservedly.
That was not a one-off play. Wheatley had four or five other catches where he looked both unexpectedly mobile and a natural receiver. He also had an outstanding block in space against Chase Winovich that allowed John O'Korn to uncork a long post throw to Grant Perry for a touchdown.
There have been persistent rumors that Wheatley was destined for OL because of his size and some assertions to that effect in Rivals's Inside The Fort posts. This practice will definitively dispel those rumors. Wheatley isn't just a tight end, he is a potential gamebreaker. At 280.
[After THE JUMP: future mutants, QB battle, an extant run game, and some dude from Malaysia.]
News bullets and other items:
Reon Dawson and Jaron Dukes are medically retiring.
Freddy Canteen and Moe Ways recently had shoulder and foot surgery, respectively. Canteen’s status with the program is in the air; Ways should be back in 3-4 months.
Speight, O’Korn, and Morris are getting more snaps than the other QBs, but they’re all still making at least one “big mistake” every practice.
Devin Bush Jr. had his best practice of the spring on Saturday.
Harbaugh responded to Gene Smith’s comments because he felt a shot was fired across Michigan’s bow and, after waiting many hours, thought he needed to do the same. Just never, ever tell him that he likes to get in twitter wars because it’s a form of competition.
Harbaugh said it doesn’t matter to him what time of day games are played; a night game or lack thereof doesn’t faze him.
What did you see out there from your group today, and what were you looking for specifically here today?
“Uh, you know, good, competitive football fight. Getting better: in a lot of areas we are and in a lot of other areas not bad and other and all areas we need to keep improving, so…the guys are grindin’.”
Did your quarterback rotation go about how you wanted, and what did you see out of those guys?
“Uh…you know, there’s—like I told them, there’s, you know…we’re looking for a quarterback to move the team and not make the big mistake. They’re all in the mode of a big mistake a day, so we’re not—we’re just gonna keep plugging away and keep getting better, keep giving them things they can improve on, things they can take and use. Looking forward to the game setting. Maybe that’ll be another good test, but they’re getting a lot of tests right now. Strides are being made, but we’ve still got a long row to hoe.”
What does it do for your fans and for your team to come out here in this setting at Ford Field and open it up?
“I think it’s great in the way of sometimes spring practice can get monotonous. Some would even say boring. There’s no game that comes at the end of the week. It’s something different. Something to make it livelier, special—that’s what we get out of it. To have people in the stands, always felt that makes it better. Even the cameras, even the TV cameras—even if they didn’t have film in them, you know?”
They don’t anymore.
“Touché. So even if you had a camera that wasn’t actually recording anything guys would work hard. Guys would enjoy it more. People are watching, so that’s a good thing for us.”
With the quarterbacks, are you still repping them evenly or are you changing that up some?
“I’d say there’s Wilton [Speight], John [O’Korn], Shane [Morris] getting more. It’s not dead even anymore, no.”
Would it be Wilton, John, Shane in that order?
“I can’t even make an order right now. It’s to be determined still. It means a lot to all of them. You can tell in the way they play and just continuing to be able to play loose and play smart and continue to get repetitions. Continue to get looks and learn—that’s what they need to see right now. Looking forward to some game-like action. We’re going to make it game-like in the spring game. Everything’s going to be real tackle football live; the quarterbacks, everybody. There’ll be live bullets for them, so that’ll be a nice, good-size task for us. Looking forward to seeing how that plays out.”
[Hit THE JUMP for more]
Top 250 running back and consensus 4-star A.J. Dillon has committed to Michigan according to ESPN's Brendan Hall:
Lawrence Academy RB AJ Dillon has committed to Michigan, per head coach Paul Zukauskas
— Brendan C. Hall (@BHallESPN) March 28, 2016
Dillon is already 6'1/230 so there's speculation he may wind up at linebacker or fullback or something, but Michigan clearly recruited him as a De'Veon Smith-style bruiseback. Ty Wheatley was his main contact. There's also this from the profile Lorenz put up, along with an officially sanctioned reaction I've bolded:
“The coaches have told me they plan to use me as a running back,” he stated. “They think I’m an every down back there. When I told them I committed they were very excited. Coach Harbaugh let out an excited scream when I told them!”
So…go ahead and do that. More informative update later.
Dukes caught the only TD of last year's spring game against Dennis Norfleet
Jaron Dukes and Reon Dawson are 'medically retiring,' per Harbaugh. Mo Ways suffered a broken bone in his foot recently. Out a few months.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) March 26, 2016
Per harbaugh Freddy canteen had surgery on his shoulder. Waiting for results to see if he can continue with his career
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) March 26, 2016
The departures of Dukes and Dawson bring Michigan to or under 85 depending on the status of the as-yet-unsigned Dytarious Johnson; if Canteen does not make it back they'd be at 84 and able to issue a scholarship to Ryan Glasgow.
|WHERE||Homesure Lending Arena
March 26th, 2016
|THE LINE||Michigan +180
North Dakota -220
Yes, I found a college hockey line.
North Dakota is a version of Michigan that plays in a much better league. They are 31-6-4 on the year, 19-4-1 in NCHC play, and have generally bombed opponents. Their top line features three guys who are all at least +38. Brock Boeser, Drake Caggiula, and Nick Schmaltz are their version of CCM, and while they aren't quite as prolific offensively they probably would have been if they got to play Michigan's schedule. Boeser is their Connor. The prolific freshman had 26-28-54 this year.
Here's a slight difference: North Dakota is really good at defense. So they're a version of Michigan that doesn't make you want to stab stabby stab stab.
North Dakota split against Wisconsin, somehow, and swept MSU 3-1 and 4-1.
Boeser is also a first round pick of a Canadian NHL club
North Dakota is 7th in scoring at 3.6 goals per game. The aforementioned "CBS" line drives much of the play; there's a solid second line and then you get a number of guys who have lines like 6-4-10 and 9-6-15—scrappers. There's a huge dropoff in +/- after the first line. If Michigan had a line that could be described as a "checking" line this would be a clear situation in which they should be deployed, but Bryan Rust ain't walking through that door.
The scoring down the roster gets even a little shallower when you consider that a guy like Luke Johnson (10-10-20) has half of his goals on the power play and is even on the season. This is not a team that should overwhelm Michigan's bottom six.
Do not sleep on the North Dakota defensemen. The impression I gathered from yesterdays game is they are not wilting flowers who pick up second assists by accident. They are supremely confident on the puck, willing to take major chances in their own defensive zone to break forechecking pressure and maintain possession. And they achieve this a shocking percentage of the time. The ice tilted towards Northeastern's goal in large part because of the D corps's ability to handle the puck. They have five different D with at least 15 points and get a bunch of goals out of the defense corps. Junior Troy Stecher leads the way with 8-19-27. He's not Werenski, but all of their guys are big and skilled.
The CBS line is very capable of the tic-tac-toe goals we've seen Michigan score big chunks of the year. Preventing the kind of odd man rushes that Notre Dame deployed to score their first goal yesterday is a major key. Can Michigan accomplish that? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Again with the defensemen: North Dakota is #3 in scoring defense at just 1.85 goals per game. They split time between Matt Hrynkiw and Cam Johnson in goal, settling on Johnson midseason. That decision has paid off; Johnson's .934 save percentage is 7th nationally.
Part of that is North Dakota's ability to prevent quality scoring chances; part of the GAA is the fact that North Dakota is massively outshooting opponents. Their even-strength Corsi of 56% is fourth nationally. (Michigan's at 52%, FWIW.) Opponents are averaging just under 25 shots a game. North Dakota plays most of their games in the attacking end.
North Dakota's surprisingly meh on the power play, just 21st of 60 teams. Their penalty kill, however, is very good—6th and that's before you factor in their 8 short-handed goals. (Those are spread relatively evenly over the roster, FWIW.)
Let's try this again: Michigan's rampant power play is #1 nationally at 32%, having scored on an amazing 17 of 29 opportunities over their last
six seven games. Notre Dame, of course, did not take one single penalty during Friday's game. If Michigan wants to get chippy early, that might not be the worst idea.
A FEELING OTHER THAN TERROR?
Nope. North Dakota was extremely impressive in a 6-2 dismantling of previously red-hot Northeastern yesterday. That Northeastern team just swept Notre Dame, who Michigan struggled against for two solid periods before getting a grip on the game in the third. That line above is 2:1 in favor of North Dakota, and that feels about right.
The nature of the Northeastern win allowed the Fightin' Blanks to rotate four lines for most of the game. Meanwhile Michigan had to ditch the fourth line and heavily double-shift CCM; they also played a (mercifully brief) overtime period. UND will be fresher. That could be a pivotal difference.
This game is likely to go one of two ways: a repeat of the Northeastern game yesterday as Michigan finds out that playing a 19-4-1 NCHC team is not like playing Penn State, at all, or a relatively even battle where Michigan's speed and skill is enough to disrupt the puck-moving skills of the North Dakota defensemen. Or they could play both of those in one game, as they did yesterday.
The former is either a sad blowout or a rear-guard action like the one led by Tiny Jesus in 2011. The latter is likely to come down to which top line can put together more mindblowing goals, and whether Michigan's defense corps gives away a goal or two by doing something awful.
Either way North Dakota is an obvious favorite. But, hey, plinko is in our favor this time, especially if there are a bunch of penalties.
On the roundtable this week:
- Wha happen this year
- What's gotta happen next year for things to get better.
- Mostly Mo-related, the latter.
- Hooray for receiving apologies instead of sending them.
- Hockey tournament preview.
THE USUAL LINKS
|WHERE||Homesure Lending Arena
March 25th, 2016
|THE LINE||Michigan –1.5|
Yes, I found a college hockey line.
Notre Dame is 19-10-7 on the year, 15-5-2 in Hockey East. They enter the tournament on quite a skid, having lost five of their last six games. Those games were against Providence, BU, and Northeastern—all participants in this year's tourney—so at least their losses have been against good teams and not, say, Ohio State, but that's not the ideal way to enter win-or-go-home time.
ND's offense curled up and died during this period. Just one of their last six games has featured more than two goals, that a 6-4 loss to Northeastern that knocked them out of the HE tournament. Their single win was a 1-0 shutout of BU.
ND has the statistical profile of a team that is responsible but less than overwhelming. Leading scorer Anders Bjork has 11-22-33—less than a PPG. Leading goal scorer Thomas DiPauli has 13. They're deep, though, with six double-digit scorers. They're slightly getting outshot on the year. They haven't given up a shorthanded goal this year; they've only scored one.
This is a team short on high-end talent but one that goes three lines deep in reasonably prolific dudes.
Notre Dame split against Minnesota, BU, and Penn State this season. Michigan was 3-2 against the Gophers, split against BU, and nuked Penn State into orbit.
DiPauli has 13 goals on the year
Despite recent struggles the Irish have still scored a healthy number of goals this season, albeit often against the lower reaches of Hockey East. Those lower reaches were not much different than the Big Ten's: Maine and UMass are below even MSU in RPI; UConn is just above the Spartans; Merrimack, Vermont and UNH barely edge out Wisconsin.
ND has bombed the aforementioned schools and nonconference opponent WMU, who is in the same RPI range and faced ND three times this year. In those 15 games ND scored 67 goals, 4.5 per outing. In their other 21 they managed just 46, 2.1 per. That is a stark difference. ND really struggles to score against good teams.
Now, you are probably thinking "does Michigan qualify as good in this department?" and I'm like… uh.
Maybe? The Ohio State series is a blip in what is otherwise a long stretch of games against decent to good teams that did not make me want to boil myself alive after the opposition hit double digits in odd man rushes. Since a 4-4 tie against Wisconsin, Michigan has played
- that series against OSU, guh
- a 5-2 win over Ferris State, which is in the tourney at RPI #30 thanks to a WCHA tourney win
- six games against Penn State and Minnesota, bubble teams, in which they gave up an average of 2 goals per game. PSU and Minnesota are 6th and 13th in scoring nationally.
I'm not saying they've turned the corner. I'm not saying they haven't, especially since some of those goals came in sloppy third periods with Michigan up a zillion.
Bjork spearheads ND's defense from center
Notre Dame is the #14 D in goals allowed, and while this is almost identical to where they stand in goals scored it's a much more consistent strength. Until that 6-4 loss to Northeastern in their most recent outing ND hadn't given up five since October (against PSU). They almost never scored shutouts and almost never gave up more than three goals (just five times all season and twice since November). ND can make it rough sledding against anyone.
Often that rough sledding means giving up 3 goals against tourney-level competition. Goals allowed this season against top 20 RPI opponents: 6, 3, 0, 3, 3, 3, 4, 2, 1, 3, 4, 2, 2, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 5, 4. You get the idea. They're not impregnable, or even particularly good at shutting down good teams.
Bjork, an Andrew Copp type, is by far ND's best forward defensively—consider that he is +27 with just 33 points and that the next-best F on the team is +15—and ND will seek to match him against the CCM line. Michigan has last change, which could be a factor.
Goalie Cal Petersen, drafted in the fifth round by the Sabres, is a major strength with a .928 save percentage.
Surprise: Notre Dame will want to stay out of the box. Michigan's rampant power play is #1 nationally at 32%, having scored on an amazing 17 of 29 opportunities over their last six games. Notre Dame's penalty kill is 20th at 84%—decent but nothing spectacular. They have just one short handed goal to their name this year.
Michigan will also want to stay out of the box, because their penalty kill is 45th and ND has a solid PP unit of its own, 10th nationally. The two teams are about even in penalty minutes.
A FEELING OTHER THAN TERROR?
I think this is a reasonably good matchup, though. RPI and KRACH both agree that this is a 7-vs-12 game. Those metrics don't take goal margin into account; ND has made a lot of hay against a slate of HE opponents that are more or less equivalent to Wisconsin and MSU. So has Michigan, of course, but the gap between performances against good teams is not nearly as large. Also Michigan is outscoring the opposition by 1.9 goals per game; ND is at .8. Michigan just bombed teams slightly worse than the ones ND lost to repeatedly. ND's defense doesn't look capable of shutting CCM down; they haven't shut down many good teams this year. Michigan is and should be favored.
Unfortunately for Michigan, their bell curve is so wide that being favored might not mean a whole bunch. Jeff Jackson is a very good coach and Michigan can struggle when the opposition has a high-energy forecheck going, as OSU did in that series.
If the defensive improvement over the past month holds, Michigan should get a couple of ridiculous goals from CCM and ND will struggle to get past two or three. These days I call two goals a "Michigan shutout" since that's enough to win. If Jackson gets in Michigan's grill with his coaching chops something like OSU could go down, albeit tighter since ND is not much of an offensive team against reasonable opposition.
I think it's a W, but hockey plinko.
Donovan Peoples-Jones remains ridiculous
The assembled Cass Tech students took this entirely in stride.
Cass Tech 2017 WR Donovan Peoples-Jones with the dunk and his QB Rodney Hall with the assist, taking the video pic.twitter.com/v2xFGIwMDJ
— The D Zone (@TheD_Zone) March 24, 2016
Or possibly lost their minds, as one does.
A tentative and incomplete list of Spring Visitors
There will be a ton. A bunch of in-state guys not listed will be there, but they often decide late. There will probably be another half-dozen regional guys who make it in who either aren't talking or haven't been unearthed by recruiting sites yet.
- NJ DT Corey Bolds.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton Bolds and Singleton are both at Paramus. Looks like it will come down to M or Clemson for both. The duo pushed back their visit from random spring practice to the game itself. Don't expect Singleton to drop; his dad told Sam Webb that they have a suite of visits set up ranging from Cal to PSU to Auburn. He also said having Partridge around was "huge" and "huge" and "HUGE."
- NJ DT Fred Hansard. Hansard's visit is a bit of a surprise since he set a decision date and usually that means your mind is made up. Nobody thought it was made up in favor of Michigan; a two-day visit will give them a chance to change his mind.
- AL WR Nico Collins.
- NM RB O'Maury Samuels. Michigan is the first major offer for Samuels. More on him in a bit.
- FL LB Jordan Anthony will be there.
- FL OL Robert Hainsey.
- FL OL Cesar Ruiz. All three of the FL guys are from IMG. Ruiz revised his visit schedule, trimming a bunch of teams but leaving M and FSU and maybe Maryland as prime contenders.
- MI OL/DL Phillip Paea. Paea's been on campus three times since his M offer. Spring will be #4.
- maybe CA DL Popo Aumavae. Said he was trying to work it out.
- maybe OH TE Trey Pugh. Pugh was up a couple weeks ago and said he may return.
- NJ DE Dorian Hardy. Michigan was Hardy's first offer.
- NJ DE Jayson Ademilola.
- NJ LB Justin Ademilola. Yes, twin brothers.
- OH DE Leonard Taylor. Taylor visited with new LB commit Antwuan Johnson a couple weeks ago; a return visit indicates serious interest.
- FL TE Judge Culpepper. Big ol' dude already who is a name priority so we can scream "I AM THE LAW" when he scores. Florida legacy.
Nico Collins impresses
AL WR Nico Collins is one of those kids who has a bunch of southern schools and then Michigan on his list. Normally those recruitments end up with the player staying in the SEC, but people say Michigan has a real shot with Collins thanks to his dad. Here's hoping pops wins the day here, since Collins brings something Funchess-esque to the table. ESPN scouted him at the local Opening regional:
He has tremendous height and nice length. He has big, strong hands and a wide catch radius and was consistent catching the ball. He was not the fastest target in attendance, but did display good ability to drive off the line quickly and among the biggest targets there he did flash ability to use his size.
Collins will be up for the Spring Game; Alabama is the favorite but Michigan will have an opportunity to overturn that. Right now Collins is planning to take his recruitment through official visits.
A running back or two emerge
Michigan's running back board to date:
- some other dudes
- lol idk
MA RB AJ Dillon is one of those dudes. He completed an unofficial on Tuesday and—surprise—enjoyed it.
"Toured campus, got a feel for Ann Arbor and was really impressed by the school after seeing the academic studies," Dillon said. "Seems like a great town. And the facilities were amazing."
In the aftermath 247 OSU analyst Alex Gleitman entered a crystal ball for Michigan. Lorenz says he's "as in tune" as anyone is with Dillon's recruitment. That ballz was quickly followed by a mighty one from Steve Wiltfong, who says the visit was a "game changer." Dillon has already been to Notre Dame and Wisconsin, the schools previously thought to lead. Those CB flips seem pretty meaningful.
If Michigan does land Dillon they're getting a heck of an athlete:
At last summer's New Jersey/New York Nike Football The Opening Region, Dillon posted the top Nike Football Rating of the day with a score of 114.12, Dillon measured in at 6-foot-1, 229-pounds and ran a 4.64 electronically time 40-yard dash, a 4.39 shuttle, a 38 ½-0 power ball toss and 36-6 inch vertical.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, who is ridiculous, turned in an electronic 4.45 at about 40 pounds lighter than Dillon—for a 230 pound guy dude can move. Heck, 4.64 is the same time Dylan Crawford ran at the Opening, which placed him eighth overall. If Dillon played better competition he might be a major, major recruit. Instead he's at the tail end of most top X lists.
Meanwhile, NM RB O'Maury Samuels is suddenly on the radar after crushing a Dallas Nike camp:
Samuels, who came into the event with just an offer from New Mexico State, was the talk of the event when it was done, beating out a number of Texas natives for RB MVP honors and more importantly, became the first player from the state of New Mexico to ever be selected to The Opening Finals.
He ran an electronic 4.45 just like Peoples-Jones and regrets that since his hamstring was a little wonky. Michigan fired out his first major offer right after that camp and he will be up for the spring game. Samuels is shaped more like Fitz Toussaint than an angry horse, so he and Dillon might not overlap much in terms of skillset.
Samuels has induced the first Ludicrous Statement About Running Back from Tyrone Wheatley:
"Coach Wheatley (compared me to) a young ‘AP’ (Adrian Peterson),” said Samuels.
Samuels is listed at 5'10", 188, which means two of him stacked on top of each other would equal one Adrian Peterson, who emerged from his father's head fully formed with switches in both hands. Must be something Fred stashed in the beverage fridge.
Finally, TX RB Eno Benjamin is still very serious about Iowa:
“They were both nice,” he said of his visits to Iowa and Michigan. “It’s hard to compare the two, but I think Iowa had the edge there.”
Benjamin cites the fact that Iowa is operating with two- and three-star running backs and he could have a bigger impact. I don't think he's heard about AIRBHG yet. Four star running backs who head to Iowa City are signing up for Final Destination: Cornfield. Benjamin's already visited a bunch of places; at this point you have to take the Iowa lead seriously.
Devin Bush Sr. goes to work
Just visit Michigan 〽️ pic.twitter.com/1mmYWQyNiI
— February 4 (@Eyecandy_WILDer) March 23, 2016
A bunch of guys from Miami were on campus all of a sudden yesterday:
Four-star linebacker DeAndre Wilder, who has an offer from the Wolverines already, is one of the notable names. Joining him will be freshman running back Nayquan Wright, a phenom who already holds offers from Alabama, Miami, Florida State, LSU and Notre Dame.
Wilder said he and Bush "go back." Lorenz believes he'll return for an official visit, which was M's primary goal.
Also in attendance was FL CB Naytron Culpepper. Sounds like they're taking a bunch of guys with various talent levels around, as one of the stops on their tour is EMU. MSU and ND are also on the docket.
Fast and furious they are as Michigan tries to import kids before spring practice ends. Cass OL Jordan Reid, who has an offer, was at Michigan for the third time in a month yesterday and may end up at that Ford Field practice. (I'm guessing one of the primary motivators for opening the practice is for its utility as a recruiting tool.) Ditto Cass S Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who is entering Lavert Hill territory as far as omnipresence in Ann Arbor goes.
Instate OL/DL Phil Paea, as mentioned, was also in. 6'8" MI DL/OL Robert Hudson, a new name, stopped by as well. Hudson is obviously far too tall to play DT, where Scout ranks him, but hasn't even tried out at OT yet. Probably a guy to watch through his senior season and a potential late riser.
I forgot to mention OH CB Amir Riep, who visited a week or so ago. Riep is from Colerain, Joe Bolden's alma mater. Bolden's dad is the coach there but OSU's DB coach was hired away from Colerain so there are connections on both sides. Riep said nice things about the visit but…
“It was really important for me to get up there to be honest,” he said. “Growing up in Ohio and watching Ohio State, I would have never really thought much about Michigan. It was so much different than what I had pictured in my head. It amazed me how nice everything was up there.”
…sounds like OSU is still the favorite. ND and LSU are also in the picture.
AL S J'Marick Woods was planning to come up for the Spring Game but bumped that visit to right now.
Grudging 2018 section
Legacy MI DE Aidan Hutchinson picks up his first offer from LSU. Les (and Cam Cameron) do throw out random Michigan offers from time to time, especially when they know the family, but rarely do those end up with serious pursuit; guessing that's the case here.
This one is weird. Per Brice Marich, NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson says he will return to Michigan for the A4 QB camp "for sure." Michigan was very attentive on his recent unofficial:
“I talked to the whole offensive staff individually, toured through the football facility and campus, sat down with numerous people dealing with the school part of my visit, and went to the Big House.”
Harbaugh included—he talked to the head man for an hour. Probably about laser tag and fire tweets.
Okay. So that all sounds good.Here's Thompson-Robinson talking to Bucknuts:
"…at Ohio State every coached welcomed me. Only one or two offensive coaches and coach (Jim) Harbaugh welcomed me at Michigan. I kind of prefer Ohio State. It seems like more of a fit, especially the offense.”
WTF? This is why I try not to pay too much attention to 2018 at this juncture.
OH RB Jaelen Gill includes Michigan in a top five that looks like a top two:
"I love Ohio State," Gill said. "They are definitely in my top five for sure, along with UCLA, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Michigan. Ohio State and Michigan are very similar in a lot of ways. They are just two great schools and programs."
USC and UCLA are up next so he's not close to having a final list; could maybe probably come down to a classic M/OSU battle.
Michigan won't be getting the top QB in the country in consecutive years, it appears, as 2018 GA QB Trevor Lawrence seems lukewarm on a Michigan offer… possibly because M forgot they offered him months ago. Lawrence is ticketed for some SEC school.
Did I mention that OH LB commit Antwuan Johnson's dad is a Michigan fan? I might have. Either way should help that commit stick. Meanwhile, Johnson's teammate and OH DE Leonard Taylor sounds like a guy who Michigan might even lead for:
"When I was up at Michigan it felt like home, and I love the way Coach (Jim) Harbaugh is running things up there," he added. "They have a great academic program, and I really liked the city of Ann Arbor."
I wouldn't be shocked if he dropped at or just after the spring game. Think that's < 50%, but it could happen.