"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
This week's Thursday Recruitin' features Michigan at the top of Scout's team rankings, several uncommitted prospects planning visits, Kyle Kalis laughing off the threats of Buckeye trolls, and a whole lot on the class of 2013. Usual disclaimer: 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.
Hoke's Magic Takes Michigan to the Top, More on Uncommitted Seniors
Scout is a believer in Brady Hoke and his first full recruiting class, naming Michigan's 2012 class as the nation's best in their latest team rankings. Click through to see national recruiting analyst Scott Kennedy analyze the class, but unfortunately not saying that Brady Hoke poops magic, despite that clearly being the case. He does have a very good point, however, in saying that Michigan—despite their tremendous early success on the recruiting trail—has yet to capitalize on their strong start to the 2011 season with a commit, though that is obviously expected to change.
Josh Garnett is featured as Scout's Performer of the Week, and in the accompanying video (which has been out for a couple weeks, but paywalled) he discusses his official visits. Garnett mentions Nebraska, Miami, and Michigan as the three schools he'll definitely take officials to, though he also mentions several West Coast schools—Washington, Oregon, Cal, USC, and UCLA—that he'll likely take trips to in an unofficial capacity:
The Seattle Times not only discusses Garnett, but also fellow Washingtonian Zach Banner and their respective timelines:
"Banner revealed this week he is probably going to decide in the next month or two but is only going to tell the coach of the school he is committing to and then wait to make the announcement at Lakes High probably right before the Army All-American Game (which is on Jan. 7). Garnett doesn't have an official timeline but he is definitely going to take his time and take his visits until he is going to make an announcement, so that's kind of why it's been so quiet."
It'll be interesting to see if Banner is able to keep his decision under wraps if he does in fact plan on telling a coach his commitment plans so long before his formal announcement.
For the rest of Thursday Recruitin', jump with me.
In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien moves up his decision date, rumblings continue about the status of Bri'onte Dunn's OSU commitment, A.J. Williams is the subject of both an unfortunate headline and an awesome YouTube video, new 2013 offers go out, and much more. 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.
O'Brien Announcement Change and More on Uncommitted (to U-M, at least) Prospects
According to several sources, including Rivals's Josh Helmholdt, who was kind enough to actually deliver the news outside of a paywall, Flint Powers DT Danny O'Brien has moved up his decision date to October 6th. I should be in attendance for this one unless the Powers athletic director confuses me with that other guy who uses the name Ace, in which case he'd be well within his right to kick me to the curb on sight. Luckily, I actually have credentials and stuff.
24/7's Steve Wiltfong calls Canton Glen Oak running back Bri'onte Dunn "college ready" ($, info in header), and quotes his high school coach saying Fred Jackson compared Dunn to Tyrone Wheatley, which means he obviously left out the part where Jackson added, "except with laser vision, the speed of a Lamborghini, and the raw power of the fictitious love-child of Earl Campbell and Mike Alstott." While the article is paywalled, Wiltfong added a pair of responses on The Blue Board after a poster said Dunn was "all OSU as long as they don't get hammered by the NCAA" [emphasis mine]:
In this week's Thursday Recruitin', effusive praise of the Under the Lights experience abounds, Danny O'Brien nears a decision, the 2013 Scout 100 is released, and there's even some basketball recruiting news. 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.
If You Weren't In Ann Arbor, You Were Wrong
It's tough to find a recruit who was in attendance that would disagree with that sentiment. From the non-paywalled articles, here are quotes from Devin Funchess...
"That was a live game," he said. "I got down when Notre Dame scored the wide open touchdown, but Michigan did a lot with 30 seconds. It was a great game and a great comeback and I want to be a part of it next year."
“It was fantastic,” Gant said of the atmosphere. “Especially being in the biggest stadium in college football, there’s no greater feeling then that. Especially being the first night game at Michigan Stadium, it was fantastic. Listening to all the music going on between the plays… it made me want to go out there and play right away.”
...and Terry Richardson:
"This is why I committed," he said. "This is why I set my plans to Michigan. It's a great university. We have to come here and try to carry on the big time tradition."
The incredible game and atmosphere had an impact on the uncommitted visitors, as well. Gant sat next to WA OL Zach Banner and CA WR Jordan Payton, and he thinks the experience gave Michigan a big leg up in each of their recruitments [emphasis mine]:
“I actually sat right next to them. We built a pretty good relationship and it was a good experience being with them. I think that Zach and Jordan think this is a great atmosphere to be in and playing in front of 114,000 people is just an unbelievable experience. I feel like at the end of the day, Ann Arbor is where they want to be.”
Even from the premium articles, it's easy to get a sense of how well the visits went for, well, everyone. [Note: All of these should come with a ($), but it seemed ridiculous to insert that after every single link for the rest of this section.] Banner was "blown away," by the Big House, telling 24/7 that Michigan "definitely moved up my board." Danny O'Brien (more on him later) called the experience "electric." Jordan Payton deemed the trip "amazing," and said Michigan is his leader—he might even move up his announcement, though he won't reveal a date yet. Erik Magnuson quipped "there's nothing like it." Caleb Stacey? Simply speechless.
Of course, the Wolverines didn't play host to just the seniors. 2013 DB Shaquille Wiggins tweeted after the game, "I can't wait to go to Michigan I jus want those new uniforms.." The Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek standout, who holds a U-M offer, named a new leader this week ($). I'll give you zero guesses, because duh.
The visit set the bar ($) for Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton, who also earned an offer from the coaches this week and now has the Wolverines among his leaders. For Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OT Kyle Bosch, the trip exceeded his expectations ($). Toledo (OH) St. John's DE Matt Miller, younger brother of Michigan offensive lineman Jack, appears to have enjoyed himself as well:
All that, and I've yet to mention that Dymonte Thomas, one of the top juniors in Ohio and a blue-chip recruit at both running back and safety, committed on the spot Saturday. This "night game" concept just might catch on, guys.
Danny O'Brien Sets a Date and More 2012 News
Flint Powers defensive tackle Danny O'Brien will make his much-anticipated announcement during his school's homecoming rally on October 7th, choosing between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State ($, info in header). As Scout's Sam Webb notes on his new Twitter page, that announcement comes before planned official visits to Tennessee and Michigan State, the two schools that seem to have the best shot at him outside of Michigan. Having a "Hello" post prepared by the first week in October seems like it would be a good idea.
Our good friend TomVH reports that wideout Amara Darboh will take an official visit to Michigan on either November 19th or 26th, coinciding with the Nebraska and Ohio State games, respectively ($, info in header). Darboh initially planned on visiting for the Western Michigan game, but wasn't able to make it in that weekend—I wouldn't read much into that, especially with the rescheduled visit, and I think Michigan is in good position with Darboh.
Don Bosco Prep (NJ) defensive back Yuri Wright has one official visit set ($, info in header), and since this is a Michigan site, you can probably guess where that visit is going to be. He hasn't decided on a date yet, but it looks like he'll be in Ann Arbor within the next month. He has a final six of Michigan, Rutgers, Georgia, Notre Dame, Cal, and Michigan State.
The Wolverines may be in line for a surprise visit from five-star Sacramento (CA) Grant safety Shaq Thompson ($, info in header). Thompson has the ability to play multiple positions, has fantastic size (6'2", 210), and is the type of prospect you don't really say no to, so it will be very interesting to see what happens if Michigan gets him on campus—I doubt the coaches would turn him away because of a numbers crunch.
Quickly: Michael Rothstein profiles Greg Mattison and his recruiting prowess at WolverineNation. Also at WN, TomVH counts down Michigan's top ten most important commits in the class, with Caleb Stacey the No. 10 most important commit ($), Devin Funchess No. 9 ($), and Terry Richardson No. 8 (free). MLive's Kyle Warber caught up with Mario Ojemudia for an interview last week. Good Cousel (MD) five-star receiver Stefon Diggs will trim his list down to eight on October 1st, and is looking at Auburn, Miami, Florida, and possibly Clemson for official visits—he'll be a tough pull, and Michigan needs to find a way to get him on campus if they want a shot. Fullback commit Sione Houma's ankle injury, suffered during his game last week, is not serious, and he should be back on the field within two weeks.
Dymonte Thomas Commits, 2013 Scout 100 Released
As mentioned above, Alliance (OH) Marlington S/RB Dymonte Thomas committed to Michigan after the Notre Dame game. You can find much more in my "Hello" post, but here's some delicious bitterness from the Duane Long Report's Jerry Beeson [emphasis mine]:
Friday night I had the opportunity to get a first hand look at the Marlington Dukes and star junior Dymonte Thomas as they traveled to Mahoning county to take on Poland. I was hoping to witness a future Buckeye, but after watching Michigan's come from behind win over the Irish of Notre Dame, word has come down that Thomas has verbally committed to Michigan. Key word being verbal, but I'll leave that at that.
Um, Jerry? All commitments are "verbal" until signing day. That's how this whole thing works. Deal with it. Making that statement even more ridiculous is the fact that, a few weeks ago, DUANE LONG wrote on the very same site that Ohio State wasn't showing enough interest in Thomas, and he was a "baffling non-offer." That same article also proclaims Michigan's newest commit both the best running back and the best safety in Ohio's class of '13, which is nice. Thomas will play safety when he takes the field for the Wolverines.
Speaking of Thomas, he earned a four-star rating in the newly-released Scout 100, which gives players star ratings but no rankings yet—the full list is simply ordered by stars and then position. Thomas is among the top seven safeties in the country, while fellow commit Shane Morris is one of just 12 players (and two quarterbacks) to earn a five-star rating. Here's a list of Michigan targets who made the list (all are four-stars except Jalin Marshall and Michael Hutchings; positions are what's listed on Scout, not necessarily what they'd play at Michigan):
- Middletown (OH) RB Jalin Marshall
- Concord (CA) De La Salle OLB Michael Hutchings
- Sammamish (WA) Skyline QB Max Browne
- Wayne (NJ) Hills QB Kevin Olsen
- Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac
- Destrehan (LA) WR Rickey Jefferson
- Camp Hill (PA) Cedar Cliff TE Adam Breneman
- Midland (MI) OT Steven Elmer
- Dallas (TX) Lake Highlands OT Kent Perkins
- Huber Heights (OH) Wayne OT Lovell Peterson
- Lemont (IL) Township OT Ethan Pocic
- Lake City (FL) Columbia OT Laremy Tunsil
- Parker (CO) Ponderosa OG Christopher Fox
- Avon (IN) DE Elijah Daniel
- Detroit Catholic Central DE Wyatt Shallman (offered by U-M as a tailback)
- Hudson (OH) OLB Ben Gedeon
- Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton OLB E.J. Levenberry
- Bloomfield (MI) Brother Rice OLB Jon Reschke
- Fort Wayne (IN) Biship Luers OLB Jaylon Smith
- Matthews (NC) Butler MLB Peter Kalambayi
- Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central MLB Tim Kimbrough
- Murrieta (CA) Vista S Su'a Cravens
- Trotwood (OH) Madison CB Cameron Burrows
Michigan has at least some interest from a full 25% of next year's Scout 100, and with the 2013 class shaping up to be much smaller (probably 18-20 players, depending on attrition) than 2012, the Wolverines will be able to pick and choose from among the nation's elite.
Quickly: Tom has a feature article on Steve Elmer ($), and while the article is paywalled, you can see his video interview with Elmer for free here. To quote the great Keith Jackson, if Elmer keeps eating his cornbread, he'll be man-sized some day. According to the 24/7 message boards, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin are in a lead group for Elmer over Michigan State.
Yes, basketball. Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focused on five-star 2012 big man Mitch McGary, and extensively quotes his AAU coach, who is definitely a fan of John Beilein:
"The post player is intimately and intricately involved in John Beilein's system," [AAU coach Wayne] Brumm explained. "I don't know anybody who runs a better offensive system for a post player than Michigan. So I have to say, why not (Michigan as a possible destination)? Everybody else is (analyzing McGary's recruitment) like they're a friggin fan. We're trying to pick a school that is in Mitch's best interest."
Brumm added: "John Beilein can flat-out coach. The people I talk to and the coaches I talk to, I'll flat-out tell you — they are scared of John Beilein. They are worried about the day he starts getting the talent that they've got (at their schools). He's been at a bunch of places that he couldn't recruit high-major talent. Now he's at Michigan and it looks like he is making some headway there. When he starts with an even slate in terms of talent, look out! Look what he did last year. Look what he did with Darius Morris, Timmy Hardaway, and look what he has done with Jordan Morgan. My goodness, isn't anybody paying attention?"
[raises hand] The article also quotes a Scout national hoops recruiting analyst who says that Michigan "is certainly right there, if not at the top, very close to it," in terms of McGary's recruitment. McGary himself has a blog on ESPN Rise, and he recapped his recent visits to Michigan, North Carolina, and Duke:
I would say that the part that stood out most about the visit was the fans and just how much love they showed me. I really wasn’t expecting all of that. People talk about the Cameron Crazies at Duke, but that’s how it was at Michigan too. Those fans showed me the most love of the three visits.
Fans chanted "Mitch Mc-Ga-ry" during the Western Michigan game, and that caught the big man's attention. In the blog, he also debunks rumors he committed to both UNC and Duke while also saying that he'd like to check out Kentucky, Maryland, and Florida, but he's "not sure" he'll make it to those schools. The Wolverines have turned into a serious player—perhaps even the favorite?—in a recruitment that felt like a pipe dream not very long ago.
Joe Eberhardt of UMHoops caught up with 2013 commit Glenn Robinson III for an interview, and they discussed Robinson's AAU teammate... Mitch McGary:
This summer, I was recruiting [McGary] hard and I know Michigan is in his top 5. I know he had a great time on his visit to Michigan. He’s my best friend and we are really like brothers. I want him to do what is best for him, but I’ll try to do what I can do to recruit him to Michigan. I really don’t know know where he is going to end up, but I hope he comes to Michigan. I know he’s still taking visits and making a decision, but I don’t think it will be too much longer before he decides.
According to UMHoops, Michigan now has a new target in the 2013 class in rising Texas big man Dominic Woodson, who now claims a Wolverine offer:
New England recruiting expert Adam Finkelstein describes Woodson as “a poor man’s Dejuan Blair, a power player and space eater inside the lane who bullies his opponents on both ends of the floor.” Most importantly, Woodson lists an offer from Michigan as well as Oklahoma, Michigan State and Baylor with interest from Louisville, Florida, UConn and Texas. An offer would likely have to be made official by a visit to campus but the Michigan interest appears sincere with Beilein and Bacari attending open gym.
He sounds like a contingency plan if Beilein and Co. can't land McGary, especially given the limited number of available scholarships in the next couple classes.
Finally, Dylan posts his own recruiting class rankings for 2013, and the Wolverines currently sit atop the list, though it's still very early in the process (half the conference, including Michigan State, has yet to land a commit).
Ondre Pipkins Goes Blue
Michigan gained a big (literally and figuratively) commitment in MO DT Ondre Pipkins on Monday. The Wolverine Blog takes a look at Big Pee-Wee's game:
He needs to develop consistency in his technique, to the point where he maintains quality leverage and hand use after the initial contact... Should he get these little technical kinks sorted out, he looks very much like a future NFL prospect to me.
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine chimes in:
Combines outstanding size and power with surprising quickness. Ondre is super strong at the point of attack. He gets off the ball well and is almost impossible to single block. Unlike many big guys, he shows a good motor and overall athletic ability.
The first thing I see that I like about Pipkins is his stance. He puts a lot of weight on his front hand and sticks his butt slightly up in the air. With his weight distributed that way, he has no choice but to fire off low and fast. Beyond that first step, he continues to stay low, moves his feet well, and uses a variety of moves to rush the passer.
“When he wants to be Ondre has the potential to be a top 5 defensive tackle prospect in the 2012 class. Pipkins is very explosive, strong and has very quick feet for a kid that is 320ish pounds.
With three defensive line coaches on Michigan's staff, hopefully his technique can be coached up. For more on Pipkins, check out the Hello: Ondre Pipkins post.
Though Darryl Stonum is redshirting the 2011 season, I asked Brady Hoke if his presence will reduce the 2012 scholarships available from 26, and the coach said there is no change to the available number.
With 22 current commits and 26 spots in the class, that means there is room for four more commits. With 22 spots currently available, that means attrition of four more players going into next year will open up those spots. [Ed: With two or three redshirt juniors looking like marginal contributors at best, Michigan should easily make it without hijinks. They could get a 27th or 28th scholarship.]
NJ QB/S Devin Fuller has a final 11 without Michigan in the mix. I imagine that ends the possibility of landing a signal-caller in the 2012 class, especially with such a small number of available scholarships.
Ohio State soft commit Bri'Onte Dunn seems to be the main option at this position (unless the staff thinks they can try to get in with another super like NC RB Keith Marshall). As the situation unfolds, we'll see if Dunn is a realistic possibility, and if the coaches focus on other runners if he's off the table.
Does Darryl Stonum's return change WR recruiting plans? As mentioned above, it probably takes the two-wideout minimum to a two-wideout preference (though Michael Spath of The Wolverine seems to disagree ($, info in header)), as Darryl will be around for one more season in 2012.
CA WR Jordan Payton has Michigan and Cal as his top two (audio), with the Wolverines alone at the top ($, info in header). He says he's "going through the process," but don't be surprised to see a visit early in the fall. Payton's junior highlight reel:
IA WR Amara Darboh is setting up an official visit to Michigan ($, info in header). [Ed: The new scuttlebutt is that Michigan leads and that official may end his recruitment.]
I mentioned last week that MD WR Stefon Diggs is back on the table, including Michigan in his top 15.
OH WR Dwayne Stanford is high on LSU ($, info in header). His relationship with Michigan has been hot-and-cold.
Happy Trails, NJ WR Leontae Caroo, who chose Rutgers. This is probably more notable for its effect on his teammate, NJ CB Yuri Wright, who is back in play for Michigan (more on that in a moment).
CA OL Commit Erik Magnuson received a USC offer last week, but maintains a solid commitment to the Wolverines ($, info in header).
IL OL Jordan Diamond stopped by Michigan as his team toured Eastern Michigan, visiting former teammate Chris Bryant.
WA OL Joshua Garnett will visit Michigan for the Notre Dame game. Garnett's friend Zach Banner is one of the few other realistic prospects for Michigan remaining on the board, as well.
Sounds like CA OL Kyle Murphy is no longer considering Michigan, focusing on West Coast schools along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Florida.
Michigan's off-again, off-again recruitment of IL DT Tommy Schutt took a bizarre turn last week when he was spurned by Notre Dame, and immediately tried to schedule a visit to Michigan - and was denied. Brian already covered the approximate timeline, and the way it shook out sure makes a whole lot more sense with Ondre Pipkins' commitment.
What Big Pee-Wee's commitment might draw into question is the Wolverines' recruitment of MI DT Danny O'Brien (right). Conventional wisdom has held that the coaches are taking only one DT, so does that mean O'Brien is off the board, or that the staff will make an exception for him?
Elsewhere on the defensive line, there may be a spot available for an elite prospect, particularly one who, for example, is teammates with an elite wideout.
With MI CB Commit Terry Richardson going back-and-forth on taking visits, Michigan's sudden re-focus on defensive backs could be a search for replacements (should he decide to go elsewhere) or simply more players along the back line. So who are some of those players?
I would say Michigan is in my top two, I've always liked Michigan. I haven't really cut my list down yet, but they're in the top somewhere. Just the tradition that's at Michigan, the winningest program, the coaches, and the whole experience of going to school there. Coach Mallory has been telling me it's just about getting a chance to come to Michigan and getting better when I get there, and hopefully make it to the league.
Wright grew up wanting to go to Michigan, so a good visit could start winding down the recruiting process.
MA CB Armani Reeves is also back on the board, but he's announcing this Friday at 10AM, and as Brian says, with no in-person contact since he and Michigan have been back on each others' boards, it's unlikely he picks the Wolverines.
With the 2012 class damn-near wrapped up, we're starting to get a slightly better idea of what the 2013 class will look like. Your departing seniors following the 2012 season:
- Denard Robinson
- Michael Cox
- Vincent Smith
- Darryl Stonum
- Je'Ron Stokes
- Roy Roundtree
- Terrance Robinson
- Brandon Moore
- Patrick Omameh
- Ricky Barnum
- Elliott Mealer
- Rocko Khoury
- William Campbell
- Craig Roh
- Kenny Demens
- JT Floyd
- Brandin Hawthorne
- Jordan Kovacs
That's 18 spots, but there's also a chance that some of those guys who have redshirted in the past might not get offered fifth years for the 2012 season, either on account of ineffectiveness or lingering injuries. Those slots would likely be filled in 2012 recruiting. With a couple possibilities for early entry and/or transfer, 18 is a good starting point, with a likelihood of swelling to about 20 spots. How might those spots be filled?:
- QB: 1-2 (Shane Morris)
- RB: 1-2 (Depends on filling 2012 class)
- WR: 1-2 (Depends on filling 2012 class)
- TE: 0-1
- OT: 2
- OG: 1
- DT: 2
- DE: 1
- LB: 2
- S: 2
- CB: 1-2
- Other: 1-2
With that brief primer out of the way, on to the information:
Michigan made a good first impression with IL RB Ty Isaac ($, info in header).
IL WR LaQuon Treadwell (teammate of 2012 CB Commit Anthony Standifer) tells Tom that Michigan is on top, but he's a long way off from a decision.
Tom has a video interview with AZ WR/TE Jake Roh, the younger brother of current Wolverine DE Craig. Jake says he hasn't heard much from Michigan yet.
IL OL Kyle Bosch visited Michigan over the weekend, and came away impressed:
We met with Coach Funk, talked to him for about half an hour. After that they took us around the campus, showed us the facilities, the locker room, and the stadium. I feel really good about Michigan, I really liked it. I didn't know much about them going into it, but I was really impressed.
He plans to narrow his list of schools after his junior season, so it sounds like he has a slightly accelerated decision timeframe.
OH S Dymonte Thomas will be one of Michigan's top targets in the 2013 crop, and the cousin of 2012 RB Bri'Onte Dunn enjoyed himself at the BBQ at the Big House, but will take his time:
I just want to wait for my colleges to offer and take some visits to all the schools though. I'll probably be up for the Notre Dame game and the Michigan-Ohio State game too. I really like Michigan, I think they're at the top. Michigan State isn't very far behind, I like their coaching staff too.
He's said in the past he plans to commit this February to whichever school Dunn signs with.