"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Walkons? Walkons.The always-awesome Jim Stefani has sleuthed out a number of preferred walkons for Michigan's class of 2009, and he has anointed New York Offensive lineman Tom Lindley the catch of the bunch. Lindley may have been deserving of a full ride elsewhere:
“Though he would have merited a ride somewhere else, lineman Tom Lindley of William Floyd will attend Michigan as a preferred walk-on next fall and try to earn a scholarship down the road.”
but will join Michigan's football team with the benefit of academic scholarship money, and will try to play for a scholarship in the future. Lindley was unranked by Rivals and Scout, while ESPN named him the nation's #131 offensive guard prospect and gave him a grade of 74.
Rodriguez, a former walkon himself (as I'm sure most Michigan fans are already well aware) has long championed having a robust walkon program at Michigan (again, most Michigan fans already know this). Lindley and AA Pioneer's Nader Furrha are the notable walkons for 2009, and the program will undoubtedly continue to grow in the future. As I've said before on Varsity Blue, I would love it if Michigan's program became renowned like that of Nebraska pre-Callahan, and prospect were turning down offers from the likes of Michigan State to try their hand in Ann Arbor.
Because mock press conferences haven't gotten old yet, I say! Presented without further comment:
Numbers. An unnecessarily high amount of fan attention and angst seems to go into which numbers the incoming freshman will sport in the fall. In MGoBlue's Wolverine Welcome series, the already-enrolled freshmen give a little insight as to (a phrase which here means "reveal") which numbers they'll sport come September.
Will Campbell - #73.
Vladimir Emilien - #5.
Tate Forcier - #5.
Mike Jones (obligatory "WHO?") - #27.
Brandin Hawthorne - #7.
Anthony Lalota - #90.
Vincent Smith - Hasn't been Wolverine Welcomed yet. Informative update when the information is available.
Basket-ed Ball. The Wolverines travel to Evanston on Sunday to take on Northwestern. The Wildcats may be a bit vulnerable, as they chocked away their tournament dreams, for all reasonable scenarios, with their EPIC FAIL against Illinois last night. They led by 14 in the second half, and by 6 with under a minute to go(!) before falling to the Illini. A Michigan win would go a long way towards ramping up toward a tournament push.
SMQ on M. Rivals' Dr. Saturday takes on the Michigan issue. Synopsis: Expect better next year, but certainly not a Flowers for Algernon-like leap.
The author's work can usually be found on his site, Varsity Blue.
Since our fearless leader typically gives recruiting updates each Monday, I'll carry the torch in his absence. My site, Varsity Blue, is a little more recruiting-oriented, and already has updates on many of these guys.
Michigan will probably take 2, at least one of whom is a star.
Devin Gardner comes from Inkster Michigan. He will probably be a 5-star prospect, and is one of the Wolverines' top recruiting targets.
Malik Stokes is a dual-threat QB from Philadelphia Northeast High School. If the name and school sound familiar, it's because his older borther, Je'Ron, signed with Michigan last week.
Michigan will probably take 2 or 3 running backs.
Austin White from Livonia Stevenson will be among the top prospects in the state, but he comes from a Green-and-White family.
Brennan Clay hails from California, and is a high school teammate of Tate Forcier. He is a speedy prospect, but might lok to stay on the west coast.
Nick Hill from Chelsea grew up a Michigan fan, and most people predict he will commit if offered.
Michigan might take 1 tight end, 3ish wideouts, and a couple slots.
Ricardo Miller was Michigan's first commit in the 2010 class. The Florida WR is expected to be a 5-star prospect.
Jeremy Jackson is the son of Michigan's RB coach Fred Jackson, and was Michigan's second 2010 commit.
Jerald Robinson is expected to commit today, and would be Michigan's third in the class. He has potential to move positions down the line.
De'Joshua Johnson from Pahokee is a good slot candidate. He is electric with the ball in his hands, and the Blue Devils may slot him in at QB this year.
Chris Dunkleyalso comes from Florida, and he is yet another diminutive potential slotman.
CJ Fiedorowicz is the #1 TE in the country, an he reports a 40-yard dash time under 4.6 seconds, despite being 6-7.
Michigan loses a couple offensive linemen after 2009, and will likely take 2 or 3 in 2010.
Seantrel Henderson is the #1 overal recruit in the nation, and the Minneapolis product may not be a particularly realiztic target for Michigan.
Robert Crisp, on the other hand, isn't far behind Henderson, and he is mentioning Michigan as a school of interest early in the process.
Jose Jose has a spectacular name and good quickness, which is at a premium in Michigan's scheme. However, he hails from Miami, and grew up a fan of the Hurricanes.
Christopher Devezin comes from Cass Tech, but it isn't clear if he has potential to be a Michigan recruit.
After missing on a couple of guys in 2009, DT is again a need in 2010. 2 or 3 might be necessary.
Jay Guy from Texas has a Michigan offer already, and like the Wolverines. He should be a highly-regarded prospect, and there will be plenty of competition for him.
Richard Ash, Doral Willis, and Anotnio Ford are all from Pahokee, and Michigan might change up the pipeline a bit and take a lineman from the school this year.
Michigan loses an impact player in Brandon Graham, but they have enough talent in the pipeline that they only need 1 or 2 ends.
William Gholston is a near-lock for 5-star status, and will battle Gardner for #1 prospect in the state. Michigan is on him early, battling State (the leader?) and Ohio State (which turned his cousin, Vernon, into an NFL first-rounder).
Derrick Bryant from Columbus Brookhaven has Michigan interest, and he's talked about wanting to make an early decision.
Darryl Baldwin from Solon Ohio is another prospect that Michigan has taken an early interest in - extending an offer.
Michigan doesn't lose any LBs off the 2009 roster, but they need impact players at the position. Maybe 1 or 2.
Austin Gray from Warren Fitzgerald is reporting a Michigan offer early in the process, and will be among the top LBs in the state.
Jewone Snow hails from Canton McKinley, and knows Jerald Robinson. He is also the son of Michigan great Garland Rivers.
VJ Fehoko from Hawaii is expected to be one of the nation's top linebackers. He is reporting early Michigan interest.
Daniel Easterly is a bit of an enigma. The Cass Tech product is athletic enough to play corner at 6-6, so if he can fill out his frame well, he could have tons of upside.
Michigan only loses Stevie Brown off the 2009 roster, and probably wants an impact player or two.
Marvin Robinson was once considered a Michigan lock, but now is looking to take his time with his recruitment. He is a probable 5-star guy.
Michigan will probably take a couple guys who have potential to make an impact.
Lorenza Wood from Orlando has had Michigan near the top of his list for some time. He is also expected to make an early decision, so the Wolverines are hoping he chooses them.
Dior Mathis out of Cass Tech is the mighty mite of the bunch. He is reminiscent of Boubacar Cissoko (though perhaps even smaller), but could end up as a slot on the other side of the ball. He grew up a Miami of Florida fan.
Cullen Christian from Penn Hills, PA has talked early about Michigan being one of his favorites. He would be a taller complement to a corner group.
Michigan was expecting a commitment today, but not in football. Mike Jones doesn't care, as the three-star Florida safety dropped to Michigan today($). Informative update coming.
Informative Update: As previously mentioned, I would have preferred it if Jones was named "Frobozz Tamoshanter," as then he would not share a name with a popular rapper and a million other people. But I'm dealing.
Jones is a high three-star to Rivals. ESPN says "he should work for Craftsman" because he has the tools to play safety or outside linebacker, then spends the bulk of their scouting report talking about his blitzing:
Exceptional edge blitzer that has great timing and quickness; speed rushes by the offensive tackle before he can get set. Offensive backs can't or won't block him when blitzing off the edge; really creates havoc in the backfield. Does a great job of using his hands to shed blockers in order to get to the ball carrier. Likes to hit and really delivers when tackling but needs to be more consistent at bringing his legs.
They rate him a 77, which is the ESPN equivalent of a high three star. Scout is a little bit less enthusiastic than the other sites, giving him three stars and ranking him the #47 safety -- the last four star is #23.
All that is less than inspiring, but there are a couple good reasons he's down the list. An injury knocked him out five games into Edgewater's season (and by that time he'd collected 56 tackles, 8 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles) and he's not going to any of the camps on offer by recruiting sites. A couple months ago he basically resolved he'd be going to Michigan or Notre Dame, removing the need to hunt for more offers.
Speaking of: There's some confusion about whether or not Jones actually had a Notre Dame offer or not. He reported one earlier in the year, then reported he didn't have one after M/ND unofficials. But maybe that changed?
Edgewater safety Mike Jones committed to Michigan on Thursday, the day of his 18th birthday. Jones said he chose between Notre Dame and Michigan.
The safety said Michigan started recruiting him "from day one," and when the the Wolverines hired former West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia coaches began recruiting him. He said he had offers from Auburn, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Kentucky, South Florida, and UCF.
The other big offer on that list is Auburn; other than that pretty eh, so a Notre Dame offer would be of note. The only thing I can find on it is a guy named "RichmondIrish" on MSNBC saying that he "got an update" to the effect that "jones didn't get offered by ND, but said they are very close to doing so." There's some further chatter to the same effect. Those guys were probably lifting information from ND premium boards and their impressions are probably accurate. FWIW.
(Sidenote: Let's hope these guys are right: "roh [AZ DE Craig Roh] is going to be tough to pull from Michigan. he said they are his top school as of now." FWIW, Sam Webb was also very positive about Michigan's chances for Roh on WTKA a few days ago.)
One other note of interest: Jones intends to enroll early.
Editorial Opinion: Jones is probably destined for OLB and I'll move him there on the recruiting board. Yes, another three star from the South without offers from instate schools and I admit to being a little concerned by the prevalence of these guys, but that's another post. One happy note: given the injury it's possible he's underrated.
Top 100 California point guard Darius Morris, long presumed to be the lockiest of Michigan locks, finally made it official today. No googlestalking coming from these parts, as UMHoops already has it on lockdown:
I have seen a lot of people comparing Darius Morris' commitment to Daniel Horton's at the start of Tommy Amaker's tenure. Daniel Horton was a better talent than Darius Morris; Horton was a McDonalds All-American and a 5-star on most recruiting services. I think it would be very hard to craft an argument that Darius is a better player at this time than Daniel was in high school.
Much more over there; check it out.
Updated with information and stuff!
A defensive end has signed up. His name is awesome: Dequinta Jones. It is so awesome that a google search for just his first name pops up stuff about him. (When you are a blogger prone to google-stalking these things become disproportionately important; I vaguely hope Mike Jones changes his name to "Frobozz Tamoshanter" before he commits to Michigan, if indeed he does so.)
Update: Okay, this one's pretty weird. Jones hasn't visited Michigan and the last time he touched base with a recruiting site he claimed that Alabama and Cal led with a decision pending on Signing Day. He wasn't even on the recruiting board. Then out of the blue he picks Michigan. He is from Louisiana, the national epicenter of wacky recruitments. All these things indicate a potentially shaky situation. But, like... what the hell. He's committed. On with the show.
Jones is a three-star to everyone. Tiger Rag's "Midsummer Top 40" published just a few weeks ago weirdly claims no offers and interestingly claims he'll end up inside:
27. DeQuinta Jones DT (6'2,265, 4.8) Bastrop HS - Jones is explosive off of the line of scrimmage and is a quarterback's nightmare. Jones moves along the defensive line for his high school team fulfilling different positions, but with some added weight he will likely be more of an inside guy at the next level. Jones is currently flying under the radar as he awaits his first offer, but like many other talented prospects offers should appear flowingly throughout his senior season. During the spring, Jones took in visits at LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
"Dandy Don" has him a bit higher at #19, saying he is a "little under-sized but has great speed and outstanding work habits." He appears to have fallen in the estimation of the gurus after starting out a member of the Rivals 250; clearly that's no longer the case. He's actually moved steadily down, falling from #187 in the first Rivals 250 to #218 above to entirely out and just a three-star. I know I've said this a few times already this year, but he might have some upward mobility left with his late-ish flurry of offers and Michigan commit. 50-50 he ends up a four star and back in at the tail end of the Rivals 250.
ESPN, however, is not particularly impressed, providing a 77. His evaluation is littered with words like "adequate"; in summary:
Has the ability to develop into a solid college defender that can at worst could be a good swing guy.
They, too, bring up the defensive tackle thing.
Unfortunately, that's about all on Jones: he's a DE/DT prospect that is sitting on the 3/4 borderline. Given Michigan's needs, a good pickup but not a thrilling one.
And now, a word. Earlier this year there was a mailbag in which a reader asked which of the premium sites was the better one to subscribe to. At the time I hadn't had much direct experience with Scout, but I related the general opinions of a trusted group of internet friends. I've now added some direct experience to my portfolio of Scout knowledge.
Sometime yesterday both sites came out and said "we can't confirm this yet, but we're getting indications that Dequinta Jones has committed to Michigan." Rivals got Jones on the phone and got these direct quotes from him:
"I talked to Coach (Jay) Hopson and he asked me if I was ready to be a Wolverine and I said 'Yes sir,'" Jones told Rivals.com national analyst Barton Simmons Monday afternoon. "Coach Rodriguez was in his office and heard the celebration down the hall and came out to see what it was all about and found out I committed."
Point for Rivals if you care which recruiting site posted information about a commitment nanoseconds before the other. No one who's sane should, but this is internet recruiting we're talking about here.
Scout did not take this well. They've got a story up with quotes from Jones' parents saying that Jones hasn't committed anywhere and that he was "on the farm." Okay, fine, whatever, different information. But Tom Beaver has posted this in at least three separate places:
Let's hope this didn't get messed up by the gun-jumping.
This garners responses like this:
TOS ["The other site" -ed] at their best. Way to do the due diligence Sam/Tom. That's why I come here for the real news.
To recap: Rivals has a direct quote from a kid saying he has committed to Michigan and that Jay Hopson and Rich Rodriguez know. They run a story reporting this. Tom Beaver laces his premium message board with innuendo about "gun-jumping" and lets his message board minions leap to the desired conclusion. Given the situation outlined above -- weird, no-visit Louisiana commit out of nowhere -- there's at least a small chance this commitment doesn't make it to February, at which point Beaver will tut-tut those jerks at Rivals who had the audacity to run a direct quote.
Lord knows I've had issues with a couple of the more sanctimonious Rivals writers, but Beaver routinely pulls stunts like this whenever he's beaten to a story. It's dishonest and drives me crazy. If you're looking to sign up for one site or the other, keep it in mind.
And by "we" I mean "I", except I wouldn't say "I're on Newsome watch."
Hey, you: want to fret about a kid who won't play for Michigan for more than a year? Sure you do. VA QB commitment -- sorta -- Kevin Newsome has a choice this weekend. Virginia Tech is having its final summer camp. They'd like Newsome to show up:
But the big question is whether Kevin Newsome will attend the camp.
The former Western Branch star, headed to Hargrave Military Academy for his senior season, has committed to Michigan. But his former coach, Lew Johnston, said recently that Tech coaches are still hotly pursuing Newsome and were hoping he'd come to this weekend's camp.
Kevin Newsome Sr. said this week that his younger son, 2010 defensive end Keevon, plans to make the camp. He said didn't know about Kevin.
"Didn't know about Kevin" is about as reassuring as the "no comment" provided earlier. You're probably a slightly normal person and won't be on your computer Sunday night trying to figure out if Newsome actually showed up at this accursed thing; Monday Recruitin' will inform as appropriate.
Also: Josh Helmholdt's suddenly prolific column at the Free Press notes that IN OL Zach Martin an VA DE Will Hill will be in this weekend. Both have offers; Martin is a four-star OT with offers from Notre Dame and most of the Big Ten; Hill is a three-star strongside defensive end.