"There's a certain level of confidence and composure he brings to the court," said sophomore forward Aubrey Dawkins, who played the bulk of his minutes as a freshman while LeVert sat on the end of the bench in a sweat suit. "When you know you have a player like that on your team of that caliber, it's just like, we're in his hands and he can do a lot of things for this team. It's a comfort. It's nice."
"I just really wanted to see him in a game and I loved what I saw," Beilein said. "He was active. He's got a motor. He's got some things he's got to work on. He doesn't have the strength to (play) the way he'd like to in the Big Ten yet, but that's what we're going to work on in-between (games) without inhibiting his ability to play the next game."
In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien's decision is just hours away, but don't hold your breath, Bri'onte Dunn takes over the fourth quarter, and the Cass pipeline appears it will continue into 2013. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.—as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.
Danny O'Brien Announces Today
Hooray for timely news, even if every indication has O'Brien leaving the state. Just in case something crazy happens and he ends up blue (again, unlikely—if it does, I'll be torn between being happy for a new commitment and angry at myself for skipping the presser) here's a couple quotes from Tim Sullivan's Freeppiece on O'Brien's decision, which takes place at 2:30 this afternoon:
"O'Brien has always had an explosive first step,” said Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt. “Over the course of the spring, (he) added 25 pounds to his frame and, with the weight gain, came the needed strength.”
O'Brien plays all over the field for Powers, lining up at defensive tackle, defensive end and even running back. [Power coach Bob] Buckel, in his first year, considers it a blessing to have O’Brien.
“I’ve been a head coach 29 years, but this is my first year at Powers,” he said. “It’s nice to come into a program where you have a great player your first year. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he got the chance to play a little bit of offense in college.”
O'Brien will choose between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State. Check any O'Brien-related message board post and you'll get a pretty good idea of where he's very likely to end up.
In other news on (for now) uncommitted prospects, Tim also breaks down the top remaining 2012 targets on the board for the Wolverines. Jordan Payton and Amara Darboh, who have already visited campus, seem to have a leg up in terms of securing the open spot(s) for wide receivers in this class over Monty Madaris, who hasn't yet been to Ann Arbor, though he plans to do so later this season. The rest is stuff you probably already know, but if you want a good primer on the most likely names to fill in the class, it's a very solid breakdown.
Fox Sports Ohio televised Bri'onte Dunn's latest game, and Scout has the highlights available for free. Click through to see the video, and here's a summary from what turned out to be a remarkable fourth-quarter performance:
For much of the game, it seemed as if Dunn would get only a token carry or two and be used mostly as a decoy. Then the fourth quarter came, and GlenOak's strategy to use Dunn became clear. Call it "Jordanesque"; keep it close, then let the star take over.
Dunn had two carries for three yards heading into the fourth quarter. He had 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown in the final frame alone. That could almost be considered a night off for the workhorse running back who is likely to finish his career with over 1,000 carries.
Dunn had injured his hip the previous week, which explains his lack of carries early, but his performance in the final stanza propelled GlenOak from a 7-3 deficit to a 16-7 comeback victory.
Quickly, the paywalled stuff: Misleading Scout headline says Zach Banner has a timeline ($, info in header), when said timeline is that he'll announce his decision date for "either before or after the Army [All-American] Game]." His last three official visits will be to Notre Dame, USC, and Washington; he has already visited Michigan and Oklahoma. Five-star receiver Stefon Diggs has cut his list down to 11 ($, info in header), and Michigan is among them, though I wouldn't get excited unless he takes an official visit (obvious statement is obvious, I know). Good Counsel (MD) prospect Wes Brown has a top six ($, info in header), and it appears Michigan has another potential option at running back if they can't lure Dunn away from Ohio State. Wideout Jehu Chesson has a top five that now includes Northwestern ($, info in header), and yes, Michigan is in it for him as well.
Hit the jump for the rest of Thursday Recruitin', including updates on 2012 commits and videos of Jeremy Clark and Shane Morris, plus much more from the class of 2013.
Magnuson Is The Next Donkey-Hater and More on 2012 Commits
"I like Denard Robinson obviously, but my favorite player is probably Taylor Lewan. I think he's a real good player. I watch him a lot and try to pick up on what the offensive line is doing."
The tackle position along the offensive line remains a question mark, with only starters Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield set to return next year. Magnuson hopes to be in competition for one of the open positions.
"I think my biggest obstacle to contributing next year is myself," Magnuson said. "I am underweight right now and need to put on the good weight required of a Big Ten lineman. I also know it will be a huge challenge to learn their concepts and schemes but I will work as hard as I can to do that."
Now that Lewan is fully focused on keeping his donkey-hating within the legal bounds of the game of football, I'm in full support of this.
Grayshirt commit Jeremy Clark (who's really more of a 2013 commit, but I needed something to go here) has had an outstanding senior season thus far, and The Wolverine dug up a highlight reel from the first half of the year:
If the Wolverines, as expected, can hold onto Clark despite only being able to extend a grayshirt offer, it will be a coup for Brady Hoke and his staff.
The Cass Corridor Leads to Ann Arbor and Other 2013 Notes
247Sports's Steve Wiltfong details the next trio of Cass Tech prospects, juniors Jourdan Lewis (CB), Kenton Gibbs (DT), and Dennis Finley (OL), all of whom have been hearing from Michigan. While Lewis mostly talks about Michigan State, Gibbs has more to say about the Wolverines:
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Gibbs had a team-high 16 sacks last season as a sophomore, and he already has six this fall.
“I’m hearing a lot from Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, a lot of the Big Ten,” Gibbs listed.
Michigan is the program he’s most familiar with. Gibbs camped during the summer and has attended several games at the Big House.
“Every time I visit, it’s a real good experience and (defensive line) Coach (Jerry) Montgomery always drops something into my head about why I should go to Michigan.”
Lewis and Gibbs are both planning visits to Ann Arbor for later this season, Gibbs specifically for the Ohio State game, and Finley is trying to make it to campus as well.
ESPN's Jared Shanker profiles ESPN150 Watch List linebacker Mike McCray II, son of the former Ohio State linebacker, and there's a chance the junior could create an interesting in-home situation:
Growing up, the younger McCray looked at that photo of his dad rumbling toward the end zone in front of more than 85,000 die-hards and dreamt of one day playing for the Buckeyes, maybe making the game-winning tackle against Michigan.
Turns out, he could be making the game-winning tackle for Michigan in 2013.
On Sept. 10, Michigan held its first-ever night game in the Big House. McCray was on hand for it and had a little present for his dad afterward.
"He got out of the car with a Michigan hat on," said the elder McCray, who jokingly admitted that probably was the first time anything maize and blue graced his Trotwood home. "I said, 'What are you doing with that hat on?'"
The elder McCray, for his part, says he'll support his son wherever he decides to attend college. McCray II is teammates at Trotwood-Madison with fellow Watch List member Cam Burrows, a big-time defensive back, and both Michigan and Ohio State are expected to hotly pursue both prospects.
Sam Webb's latest at the Detroit News looks at potential recruits for Michigan State in an interview with Allen Trieu, but with the Wolverines and Spartans battling for key 2013 in-state prospects (the war is pretty much over for 2012; we won, in case you're wondering), here are Trieu's thoughts on Jon Reschke and Riley Norman:
Sam Webb: Are there any junior prospects that the Spartans are looking particularly good with early?
Allen Trieu: There are two in-state guys in the class of 2013. The first is Jon Reschke from Birmingham Brother Rice. They offered him over the summer after he put up some real impressive testing numbers at their camp. I know he is not making a decision any time soon, but I think if signing day were tomorrow he would be a Spartan. He has taken a couple of visits up there, he seems to have a good relationship with the coaches, and his dad is a former Spartan. The other junior prospect they are doing well with is Cadillac offensive tackle Riley Norman. He is a big kid at 6-7, 320 pounds. He is another kid that had a good camp with them. Both of his parents are Michigan State alums. The kid is a big Spartan fan. In fact, I'm surprised that he is not committed already to be honest. I think that one may not take long. It may be one that happens as soon as his season is over.
Bah, humbug. I wouldn't give up on Reschke just yet, not with this much time left to go (he was in Michigan Stadium for the Minnesota beatdown, which couldn't have hurt the Wolverines's chances), but Norman will be a tough pull if the Wolverines are interested.
In stuff that actually appeared on this here site, I interviewed five-star running back Thomas Tyner and Ohio athlete De'Niro Laster this week; I talked to Pickerington (OH) North DE Jake Butt last night, and should have that interview up this evening.
Quickly: Two more ($) articles from Tom, one on DCC athlete Wyatt Shallman, the other on a trio of prospects—Desmond King and twins Khalid and Khalil Hill (boy, I'm sure that never gets confusing)—from Detroit Crockett. The Hill twins are much like the Wolverines's Talbott brothers; Khalid is a 6'2", 230-pound DE, while Khalil is a 5'11", 155-pound corner. Finally, Sam Webb details Michigan's recruitment of CA ATH Su'a Cravens ($), there is "mutual interest" between the Wolverines and blue-chip linebacker Michael Hutchings ($, info in header), and Michigan is in contact with Demetrius Sims, Ann Arbor Huron safety/wide receiver and brother of Spartan tight end Dion Sims.
I ran into a Brother Rice coach--the freshman HC--at the bank and asked about Reschke. The coaches are impressed with Hoke and his staff (they've known Fred Jackson a long time) but that's all I could get out of him. When I asked "did he enjoy it?" for the Minn game, I think he heard "do you enjoy it [coaching]?" and answered that question.
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1) Given that we're at 22 recruits and can probably handle a full 28 spots combined with the relatively low number of prospects left on the board (2 WR, 1 OL, 1 DB) do you expect that Clark would get included in this class rather than greyshirt?
2) Do you think the coaches blew it with O'Brien like Rodriguez did with Hankins by slow playing him until they saw what they had elsewhere? It seems like we need him as much as almost any recruit given our thin DT depth chart.
3) Are there any sleeper DT's that Michigan might be after if the announcement today goes as feared?
1) I still think Michigan is committed to having Clark as a greyshirt—there are enough prospects left on the board that they'd be wise to keep those spots open as long as Clark is willing to pay his way for a year, which he has indicated multiple times he's fine with doing.
2) At this stage, I trust the coaches in their assessment of O'Brien. Michigan already landed a quality nose tackle in Ondre Pipkins (a better prospect than O'Brien, IMO), Matt Godin is already at around 270 pounds, and both Chris Wormley and Tom Strobel have the frame to add some weight and move inside (especially Wormley). I'm not too worried about the depth on the D-line in this class.
3) Again, I'd reiterate that this appears to be an active choice on the part of the coaching staff to not pursue O'Brien. I believe they think they're set on the defensive line, so I don't expect to see the Wolverines taking another D-lineman unless a blue-chip prospect—like an Aziz Shittu, though I doubt that will happen—wants to come on board and there's room. As far as I'm aware, there aren't any sleeper prospects out there that the coaches are pursuing. At this stage, with this class, and with these limited spots remaining, the coaches can really hone in on the top players left out there.
Tom Harmon's last game: In a 40-0 victory over OSU, he scored scoring three rushing tds, two passing tds, 4 extra points, 3 interceptions and punted 3 times. He was given an standing ovation by the OSU crowd.
Thanks for responding to my question. On the "offer board" there are some other names listed besides Shittu, but I haven't seen them come up as "happy trails" in your updates at all. Any chance of them getting more attention? Or like you said, is our DL recruiting done?
While I agree that Pipkins is probably a better prospect, I hate to lose a BCS-level player at a critical position who is in-state and likes Michigan. We saw how this played out with Hankins and now he's a multi-year starter at OSU. Having an in-state guy like O'Brien helps for a variety of reasons, depending on how you feel about the long-term potential of Godin/Wormley/Strobel.
Those names on the board were mostly from the early deluge of offers at the beginning of the recruiting cycle—I'm not sure how many of the uncommitted players left at DE and DT even have committable offers at this point. As I said, I really think that Michigan is done recruiting defensive linemen right now. If they'd wanted another one, they'd have taken O'Brien, but they're clearly comfortable with the combination of what they have in the 2012 class and the players already on the roster (maybe, just maybe, this is another positive sign in the development of Will Campbell or, since Campbell will be a senior next year, a guy like Quinton Washington or Richard Ash).
As for losing in-state players, you can't get everyone, and I'd rather the coaching staff take the guys they need/like instead of trying to corner the market on in-state prospects even if there are better options for rounding out the class. Yes, you'd like to keep top Michigan talent at Michigan, but if O'Brien is going to Tennessee, it doesn't hurt the Wolverines like losing Hankins to OSU (that one, unlike the O'Brien decision, is something I won't ever understand).
Clark looks like a good safety prospect, but I couldn't help but think he didn't look as fast on the field as the 4.48 speed listed in the opening of his video. Regardless it will be nice having him in center field for Michigan.
"Oh They Came to Bury Michigan, But Michigan Wasn't Dead" - Bob Ufer