Thursday Recruitin' Is Suddenly Flush With Receivers, Just Not That One

Thursday Recruitin' Is Suddenly Flush With Receivers, Just Not That One Comment Count

Ace December 8th, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Usual request: please contact me via email or Twitter (or leave a comment) with any suggestions, tips, or links you think should show up in next week's recruiting roundup.

Dunn Visiting OSU First, Michigan Close to Wrapping Up Receiver Recruiting?

If you're a big recruiting follower, you likely already know this news, but Bri'onte Dunn is taking his first official visit this weekend ($, info in header), and disappointingly it's to Ohio State. He might visit Ann Arbor next weekend, but that isn't set in stone, and it appears that the tide has shifted back in the Buckeyes's favor in Dunn's recruitment. Brady Hoke and Fred Jackson have an in-home visit with Dunn scheduled for today, so by no means are the Wolverines out of it, but it looks like there's a good chance the blue-chip running back stays committed to Ohio State.

Meanwhile, things are moving very quickly on the receiver front after Amara Darboh committed last weekend. Michigan will take one more wideout in the class, and the leader in the clubhouse for that spot appears to be St. Louis (MO) Ladue Watkins standout Jehu Chesson, who has narrowed his list to Michigan, Iowa, and Northwestern and will announce his commitment on either December 21st or 22nd ($). The Wolverines appear to be the leader here, and a commitment from Chesson would make the rest of what I'm about to write rather irrelevant, but oh well.

Stefon Diggs, the Good Counsel five-star, is probably not happening—he made an official visit to Cal last weekend and will be at (sigh) Ohio State on an official this weekend, according to the Washington Post, which also had this quote:

“I was going to go to Michigan, but as of now, I’m not sure,” he said. “Maybe Auburn or Florida. I’ve got four left, so we’ll see how it goes.”

With the accelerated timeline of Chesson, it's time to give up the pipe dream of landing Diggs. Jordan Payton has narrowed his list to Michigan, Notre Dame, and Cal ($)—things have been quiet on that front from the Michigan end, and much like with Diggs, there may not be an opportunity for Payton to commit before Michigan is full at receiver. Cincinnati Moeller receiver Monty Madaris is planning an official visit to Michigan after Christmas break—he'll be taking visits to MSU and Cincinnati as well. Upland (CA) High receiver Kenny Lawler recently decommitted from Arizona State and has expressed interset in Michigan ($, info in header), but it's unclear if much will happen on that front. Darius Powe has Michigan in his top five ($). In all likelihood, Chesson is going to take the final receiver spot, and all of the above will be moot. If he surprises and commits elsewhere, however, Michigan still has a lot of strong options.

Yuri Wright Names Favorites, Old Names Popping Back Up on M's Radar

Well, hello there, top-ranked cornerback (from Rivals.com's Mike Farrell):

and are on top right now for star cb Yuri Wright. Will visit Buffs this weekend, maybe after that

Wright is working on setting up a visit, and from everything he's saying, Michigan has a great shot at landing a commitment once he makes it to campus, though they might have to wait a little bit ($):

Finally, when it comes to the official visit targets Wright discussed, there is Michigan.

“I love Michigan. I can honestly say that,” Wright said. “That’s a school I’ve loved my whole life. I just loved it my whole life. I was definitely happy with that. They came away with the victory.”

Wright was hoping to announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan 7, 2012, in San Antonio, but he is no longer planning it because of timing.

Not a bad quote, that. Even if Michigan can't ultimately land Wright, they may have another option at corner if they want one in Penn State commit Armani Reeves, who could be taking a visit this weekend (again, Farrell):

4-star LB Cam Williams could visit next weekend and 4-star DB Armani Reeves could visit next weekend verbals

Farrell also claims that Michigan has interest in Williams, which would be interesting and possibly disconcerting, since the Wolverines should be set at linebacker barring a decommit or academic issues among the 2012 commits.

Some quick hitters on O-line recruiting:

  • Jordan Diamond has set two official visits ($, info in header), one to Auburn and the other for this weekend at Ohio State (sigh). My hated for Urban Meyer is growing at a rapid pace.
  • Josh Garnett was "wowed" by his official visit to Michigan ($, info in header).
  • Michigan is once again recruiting soft Mizzou verbal Evan Boehm, the top-ranked center in the country ($, info in header). He'd be a great fit in this O-line class and has a Michigan connection in friend Ondre Pipkins.
  • Alex Kozan hosted several in-home visitors this week, including Michigan ($, info in header). He's still considering the Wolverines for an official visit. [EDIT: And by considering, I mean he's visiting this weekend ($). That's good news, obviously.]
  • Tom has a good overview of offensive line recruiting for both 2012 and 2013 over at WolverineNation ($).

One more name to keep an eye on is J.P. Holtz, a tight end from Pittsburgh who recently decommitted from Penn State. Michigan has been in contact and could become a big factor in his recruitment:

“Coach Mattison came and saw me last week,” Holtz said. “He told me that I would fit in perfectly in their offense as a tight-end and that they want me to come visit soon.”

The 6-foot-4, 240 pound Holtz has already visited Purdue and Pittsburgh, and says he would like to visit Michigan before he makes his final decision.

“Michigan’s coaching staff and their stadium really sticks out to me,” Holtz said. “It would be nice to play in the biggest stadium in the country every week.”

Holtz is also considering Purdue, Pitt, Arkansas, and Michigan State.

Happy trails to Good Counsel running back Wes Brown, teammate of Stefon Diggs, who cut Michigan from his list this week ($).

Comments

Hello: Amara Darboh

Hello: Amara Darboh Comment Count

Ace December 4th, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Michigan finally has a wide receiver in the class, as West Des Moines (IA) Dowling Catholic's Amara Darboh committed to the Wolverines today. He becomes the first of what should be two receivers in the 2012 class, and is Michigan's 24th commitment overall.

Amara Darboh (Photo credit: Public Paul & Media)

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #33 WR,
#206 Ovr
4*, #31 WR,
#208 Ovr
3*, 78,
#77 WR
4*, 93, #19 WR,
#191 Ovr

The four services essentially agree on Darboh's size, listing him at 6'2" and between 190 and 205 pounds—he's got solid size for a receiver. Scout, Rivals, and 24/7 are eerily close in their evaluation of his talents, all ranking him as a four-star and right around the #200 player in the country, though 24/7 has him well higher than Scout or Rivals in their positional rankings. ESPN is the outlier, and a significant one, rating him as a middling three-star and the #77 receiver in the nation, 44 spots below any other recruiting outlet. Boo, WWL. Boo.

We'll start with the most critical evaluation, from ESPN ($):

Darboh is a combination of strength and quickness as a big receiver with a sturdy build, long arms and nice height. He is part playmaker and part possession player and against this level of competition he can really stand out. He can be an imposing player off the line and shows some physicality when pressed at the line ... Not afraid to go over the middle and will make the tough catch in traffic. Shows good leaping ability and can catch the ball thrown over his head. Tracks the ball well, and does an excellent job of adjusting to the poorly thrown ball or ball thrown to his opposite shoulder on down field throws along the sideline. Can be a body catcher at times, but secures the ball consistently. Has some wiggle in the open field after the catch for a bigger player and displays some natural open field run skills ... We are somewhat concerned about Darboh's top end speed. He does not play as fast as his listed forty times would indicate nor does he possess sudden change-of-direction after the catch.

Sounds like a solid possession receiver without game-breaking athleticism. Also, a decent ability to make big plays despite not being a major deep threat. What say you, Tim Prister of IrishIllustrated ($)?

Excellent size and length help accentuate his deer-like athleticism with the football in the air. Shows nice balance maintaining his feet and running after catches for which he leaves the ground to make. Very fast - probably in the low-to-mid 4.4s - with an effortless running motion. Shows a consistent ability to run away from the crowd in pursuit.

So Prister says he has great speed, and meanwhile lists vision when running after the catch as an area for improvement. It doesn't even sound like ESPN and Prister are scouting the same player, let alone individual game. Can I get some sort of tiebreaker, Clint Brewster of 247Sports ($)?

Darboh shows exceptional speed as a bigger receiver and has another gear once he gets free from a defensive back. Quickness is another aspect that separates Darboh from his competition, as he consistently picks up big gains from short screens or pass patterns. Darboh shows excellent strength and athleticism by breaking tackles from smaller corners and staying up-right. Darboh has a natural feel for the game already by knowing where to sit in zone coverage and also working with his quarterback to find open space when he scrambles. One thing Darboh caught on to quickly was the importance of blocking at the position as he relentlessly blocks until the whistle.

Athleticism: Yes? Yes. Meanwhile, blocking comes up in multiple evaluations as being a strength, while Darboh's route-running and stance—he seems to stand a little high off the snap, leaving himself susceptible to getting jammed—are cited by multiple outlets as relative weaknesses.

Finally, here's his own high school coach on what Darboh brings to the team:

"He's a big, physical player," Dowling coach Tom Wilson said of his 6-2, 200-pounder. "I've seen him compared to Roddy White of the Falcons — a bigger guy that can run very well. He ran 4.42. He's a kid that's had an awful lot of big plays for us in his three years as a starter, and we don't have many three-year starters here. Amara is a special talent."

Roddy White, you say? Why yes, I'd like one of those.

OFFERS

Darboh had a lengthy offer list, with finalists Notre Dame, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin joined by Iowa State, Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Vanderbilt. Rivals also shows interest but no offer from Oregon and USC. Not bad for a player who missed a large portion of his senior season with a shoulder injury.

STATS

Despite playing in only seven games this season, Darboh amassed 48 catches for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a junior, he had 49 receptions for 646 yards and 6 TDs, and in his sophomore year he posted 25 for 371 and a TD.

FAKE 40 TIME

Darboh ran a hand-timed 4.42 40 at an Iowa State camp last summer. There are some questions about Darboh's top-end speed, and you usually need to mentally add on a couple tenths of a second for any hand-timed run, so I'll give this one three FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Junior year highlights:

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Darboh is going to get a shot at immediate playing time thanks to Michigan's severe lack of depth at receiver. Junior Hemingway and Martavious Odoms graduate after this season, leaving a solid starting trio of Darryl Stonum—assuming his return after an indefinite suspension due to off-field issues—Roy Roundtree, and Jeremy Gallon. Beyond those three, there isn't a proven wideout on the roster: remaining receivers Jeremy Jackson, Drew Dileo, and Jerald Robinson have a combined 17 career receptions (this is assuming that Terrence Robinson doesn't get a fifth year, but even if he does, he hasn't been a factor as a WR).

Could Darboh come in and play right away? Absolutely, given his great natural size and athleticism, but it's also possible that there's just enough depth on the squad for him to take his time and develop during a redshirt year—it's going to be a question of whether or not Darboh is a clear upgrade from any of the backup options. After 2012, regardless of his role as a true freshman, Darboh should compete for a starting spot, and he's got a chance to be a multi-year starter with all-conference upside.

No matter what, Darboh should be a great person to have on the team. The original Des Moines Register story is now stuck behind an archive paywall, but here's a sample of what Darboh went through just to survive a turbulent childhood and make it to America, via The Survivors Club:

The civil unrest that erupted in the Republic of Sierra Leone in 1991 initiated the near eleven year war that swept through the country, threatening the lives of residents. In the capital, Freetown, Amara Darboh was just 2-years-old when his father and mother, Solimon and Kadita, were killed during a surge of violence. His father was a member in the military and after his parents’ deaths, he had few options.

Left in the care of surviving family members, their only choice was to flee. Amara spent the next several years living in Gambia and Senegal as a refugee. Life looked bleak for little Amara who had lost his parents and was unable to return home because of the ongoing civil war. Where was he to go if not back home?

The first seven years of his life were spent surviving life and death situations, education seemed impossible, and the hope for a better future was non-existent.

But when Amara was 7-years-old, an unexpected and seemingly impossible event happened. “It was a refugee program. We randomly got picked to come to Des Moines,” he told the Des Moines Register.

Darboh ended up in the care of Dan and Mary Schaefer, whose son Max introduced him to the sport of football. You're strongly encouraged to read the whole article—Darboh is clearly mature beyond his years, and he should be a great presence in the locker room regardless of on-field impact.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan is now down to four remaining open spots in the 2012 class, and besides a definite need for one more receiver—with Jehu Chesson being the most likely to end up in the class at this point—things are up in the air. Offensive linemen like Josh Garnett, Zach Banner, and Jordan Diamond all have Michigan very much in the mix, and it looks probable that the Wolverines will add one last lineman. Cornerback Yuri Wright has listed Michigan in his top group for a long time, but still needs to make it onto campus. The coaching staff may look to add a tight end to replace Pharaoh Brown, with Taylor McNamara and J.P. Holtz both getting in-home visits in recent days. And of course, there's running back Bri'onte Dunn, who the Wolverines are still trying to wrest from the grasp of Ohio State.

If you asked me right now to predict the final four spots, in order of confidence, I'd say Chesson, Dunn, Wright, and Diamond, but past Dunn there's not a prospect on the board where Michigan looks to have better than a 50-50 shot. That's not to say Michigan won't finish out the class strong—I'd expect they fill it with at least three four-star players when all is said and done—just that it's difficult to project who will jump on those final few open spots at this moment.

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Beat Ohio... Now What?

Thursday Recruitin' Beat Ohio... Now What? Comment Count

Ace December 1st, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Argh, I'm getting this up as quickly as possible after forgetting to save and having half the post eaten the first time around. Apparently I need a not-so-friendly reminder to use the save button more often. Duly noted.

Bri'onte Dunn Update: Fred Jackson Deployed

Bri'onte Dunn thoroughly enjoyed his Michigan visit last weekend ($, info in header), telling this to Sam Webb:

“It was a good atmosphere,” Dunn said regarding the Saturday afternoon spectacle at the Big House.  “That was first time going to an Ohio State - Michigan game at Michigan, and it was a good experience.  I think it was more intense (than last week's game versus Nebraska). It was a more important game, the game was close, and it was more fun.  The coaches were very happy about winning and they were talking about how they wanted me to come down there.  They were all hugging me and just very happy about me coming down two weeks in row.”

With Dunn being on Michigan's sideline as they faced the arch-rival school he's currently committed to, Dunn's stated disdain for playing in the spread, and Ohio State hiring noted spread guru Urban Meyer as their head coach, this is a done deal, right? Not so fast, my friend ($):

"Coach (Urban) Meyer called me tonight, and it was great speaking with him," Dunn stated. "I was told he was going to call me tonight, but it was still pretty awesome hearing him call. We talked for a while, and he also talked to my dad, and it went great."

"Coach Meyer said he's going to stop by my school and see me soon," he added. "I had a few questions I wanted to ask him, but I got kind of nervous and I never asked them. I will definitely look forward to talking to him face to face."

The big question that must be asked: How is Dunn going to fit into the offense when Urban Meyer has never produced a 1,000-yard rusher as a head coach, despite (contrary to his claims) having a couple Dunn-sized backs at Florida and Utah? That one could be tough to answer—at least honestly—for Meyer if he hopes to keep Dunn in the fold at OSU. Meanwhile, Michigan sent in Fred Jackson for an in-home visit, and while the conversation focused on academics ($, info in header), I'm sure Dunn was reminded he'd be like Tom Harmon but faster, with more Heismans, and a better post-playing acting career if he came to Ann Arbor. Dunn has confirmed that he'll be an early enrollee, so his decision will be coming in the relatively near future.

Another player who will be deciding soon is wideout Amara Darboh, who also had a real good time at the Ohio State game and has set a concrete timetable for his annoucement ($):

Sam Webb: As far as your recruitment goes, your coach did an interview last week and said a decision could come from you this week.  Is that accurate for you?

Amara Darboh: “Yeah, I think I need to talk to my guardian and people that are close to me and stuff, but yeah. I’m at that point where I think it could come soon. I think it’s going to be no later than before Christmas. I just want to get it done with and go into (shoulder) surgery knowing where I’m going to go.”

Darboh could take one last visit to Florida, but he's unsure if he'll do so—either way, the decision will come by Christmas and quite possibly sooner than that. Another wideout with a similar timetable is Jehu Chesson, who has Michigan in his top three and will announce by Christmas, according to TomVH ($). Chesson struck up a friendship with Darboh, and the two could even be a package deal ($, info in header), which would be a great sign for the Wolverines.

Also impressed with his visit, and for good reason, was Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett, pictured at right with Jake Long and 2012 commit Erik Magnuson. Tim Sullivan has a feature on Garnett in the Free Press, and the signs look good for Michigan:

Over the weekend, Garnett visited Ann Arbor to take in the experience at Michigan for the first time. While in town, he met up with his friend, Calrsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon offensive lineman Erik Magnuson, who is already committed to Michigan. Thanks in part to Magnuson’s presence, Garnett enjoyed the visit, and has moved Michigan into the top group of schools on his list.

“Thank you to Michigan football for showing me a great time,” he said on his Twitter account Sunday. “I love it in Michigan can't wait to be back! Go Blue!”

The Wolverines are now in his top two along with Stanford ($). There's still a long way to go with Garnett's recruitment, as he'll be taking official visits to Notre Dame and Miami in December and January before making his final decision (he could visit Oklahoma, as well). Also in that free update: Michigan will make an in-home visit with Zach Banner tomorrow, and the Wolverines are in his top five with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, and Washington.

Garnett and Banner aren't the only options for the final O-line spot in the class, as Michigan improved their standing with Chicago Simeon OL Jordan Diamond over the weekend ($, info in header):

“I loved it,” Diamond said regarding his time in Ann Arbor Saturday.  “I Ioved everything about it.  I loved the atmosphere, the fans, the crowd…it was absolutely crazy today!  I really enjoyed myself.  The game was crazy.  I absolutely loved it.  It was a different experience from the UMASS game I went to earlier in my career.  It moved (the Wolverines) up, definitely.  Definitely it did.”

How far up? We'll have to wait to find out, as Diamond plans on trimming his list down to 5-10 schools within the next couple of weeks—he's stated throughout the process that he's taking things slow, and that's exactly what he's doing. The Wolverines will almost certainly be a factor until the end, however.

Quickly: Urban Meyer's hiring isn't exactly good news for Michigan despite Dunn's spread hatred, as Yuri Wright said "heck yeah" when asked if he was now interested in the Buckeyes (free article); Stefon Diggs has narrowed his list to eight schools—Michigan, Cal, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, Auburn, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, who was a late replacement for Maryland on the list; another wideout to keep an eye on ($, info in header) is Upland (CA) four-star Kenny Lawler, who just decommitted from Arizona State; according to TomVH, Michigan is back to hotly pursuing TE Taylor McNamara ($), who's being recruited hard by fellow Californian Magnuson right now and is also friends with Garnett.

Pee-Wee Loves His Visit and Kalis Gets His Fifth Star

Ondre "Pee-Wee" Pipkins is the subject of a free article by Sam Webb, and you are strongly encouraged to read the whole thing:

“Aww man, that right there was like witnessing history,” Pipkins exclaimed.  “Michigan hadn’t beaten them in seven years.  I was just sitting back watching like, ‘wow, they actually did it!’  Everybody had a different outlook on Brady Hoke, saying he wasn’t going to win over eight games. Some said he wouldn’t even win eight games.  He proved a lot of people wrong.  I feel like he had the same team that Rich Rodriguez had and he basically took those kids and taught them how to play football instead of just telling them to play.  He actually broke it down and was teaching them.  That’s what (the players) were telling me on my visit.  ‘We actually learned how to play football.’  I was sitting in the stands and I was just happy for them.  They’d been working hard all season.”

Okay, mild gut-punch for the remaining Rodriguez zealots out there, but man, that kid is excited to be a Wolverine. Pipkins also walked into Greg Mattison's office wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt—to which the former Ravens DC responded, "Get out of here!"—and spent time with Shane Morris recruiting Jordan Diamond. Fan favorite in the making? I think so.

Meanwhile, Rivals has released their new Rivals100 and Rivals250—Touch the Banner has you covered on all the changes (100, 250) for Michigan commits and targets—but the big news is that Kyle Kalis moved up and got his coveted fifth star:

"In 10 years of covering recruiting, Kalis is one of the most college-ready offensive linemen I have seen. Physically he appears able to step on a college field right now, and his technique is advanced beyond his years," said Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Josh Helmholdt. "The other thing that sets Kalis apart is that he is a very versatile lineman. He can play right or left tackle but also bump down to guard if his college team needs him there."

National recruiting analyst Mike Farrell added that Kalis looked great in pass protection in his game against Don Bosco Prep, which helped him earn that fifth star as that opens up the opportunity for him to play pretty much anywhere on the line. In non-surprising news, considering the reaction to his commitment switch from Ohio Sate to Michigan, Kalis reitereated that he will not be going back to the Buckeyes now that Urban Meyer is their coach ($, info in header).

Quickly: Scout on Erik Magnuson and his recruiting efforts with Garnett and McNamara ($), and Tom runs down more visit reactions from The Game ($).

Holy [Bleep], Ty Isaac

DO WANT [emphasis mine]:

Following a record-setting game in which he displayed why he is – if not the best college prospect in Illinois – on a very short list of premier players in the state, Isaac could do nothing more than politely summon some soft-spoken words to reporters looking for him to put one of the most surreal games in state history in perspective. But that’s what happens when you rush for a state-title game record 515 yards and six touchdowns, yet still lose 70-45 to nemesis Lombard Montini, which was exactly what Isaac did Saturday in the Class 5A championship.

That effort came on just 26 carries, for a solid 19.8 yards per carry, and Isaac's TD runs covered 71, 63, 56, 66, 2 and 69 yards. His defense should probably apologize profusely, as I'm not quite sure how it's possible to lose when your running back RUNS FOR 515 YARDS AND SIX TOUCHDOWNS. Isaac hasn't gotten too deep into the recruiting process yet, but is "high on Michigan" ($, info in header) according to 247Sports, who also have a free feature on the junior from Joliet (IL) Catholic:

Some of the schools that have offered have made an impression on both of Isaac’s parents.

“Notre Dame and Michigan,” Tyrone said. “Not to say they’re at the top of Ty’s list, but I’d have to say those two, and I can see Ty has a high-level of interest in those schools. I ask him and he says Dad, I don’t know yet. I just want him to be as informed as he can. Most of the schools in the Midwest we’ve seen and we’re going to see a lot more places.”

“We have met phenomenal people,” Karen said. “I can’t say there is anyone we met we haven’t liked. People say recruiting is so much fun, and it’s fun, but it can also be overwhelming. I loved the Michigan staff. I love the Notre Dame staff. We had a great visit with the people from Wisconsin. Coach (DeAndre) Smith at Illinois is a great guy. Lester Erb from Iowa is very nice.”

Read the rest and try to figure out how this guy isn't a five-star across the board yet. I can't.

Quickly: WR Laquon Treadwell enjoyed his visit and may be closer to a decision ($, info in header); ditto DB Shaq Wiggins ($, info in header); paywalled articles on 2013 recruits who visited (and of course, liked their visits): Brother Rice LB Jon Reshke, Owensboro (KY) Apollo OL Hunter Bivin, Youngstown (OH) Cardinal Mooney S Marcus McWilson, Dayton (OH) Huber Heights Wayne OL Lovell Peterson, and Hudson (OH) LB Ben Gedeon, who could be making an early decision this summer.

Comments

Weekday Warriors 2011: 11-29

Weekday Warriors 2011: 11-29 Comment Count

Ace November 29th, 2011 at 10:38 AM

This week, three future Wolverines take home state titles, Erik Magnuson's squad advances to the semifinals, and the season ends in disappointment for Matt Godin and Chris Wormley.

Still Playing

MI DT Matt Godin

Godin contributed four tackles, but Catholic Central lost a shocker to Cass Tech in the Division 1 state finals, 49-13. The Shamrocks finished the season with a 12-2 record.

MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone

Jenkins-Stone had a monster game for Cass Tech, rushing for 65 yards and a 32-yard TD run on nine carries, hauling in a three-yard TD pass, and leading the Technician defense with seven tackles while adding another TD on a 36-yard interception return. You can see highlights and Jenkins-Stone's post-game comments in the above video. He also had this to say to the Free Press:

"I told everybody on defense to keep it up because they're a second-half team," Jenkins-Stone said. "We had to keep the pressure on them and not let up. Everybody stepped up and kept the pressure on. I got my interception and I was happy about it. The hard work and determination will get you far."

Cass Tech finishes the season at 11-3 and took home the school's first-ever state football championship.

CA OL Erik Magnuson

Magnuson had two sacks on the defensive line as La Costa Canyon defeated Westview—featuring 2012 TE recruit Taylor McNamara, who had a 75-yard TD catch—13-6 in a Division 2 quarterfinal matchup.

This week: The Mavericks play Oceanside on Thursday night in the semifinals.

MI CB Terry Richardson

Richardson tallied two tackles and hauled in a 36-yard TD pass—one of five thrown by Cass Tech freshman QB Jayru Campbell, tying a state title game record—as the Technician defense held Catholic Central to just 226 yards of total offense.

MI LB James Ross

After finishing as runner-ups the past two seasons, Orchard Lake St. Mary's finally took home a state title of their own, crushing Mount Pleasant 45-7 in the Division 3 championship game. Ross was his usual productive self, making ten tackles and scoring on a 32-yard touchdown run, and he was suitably proud of finally reaching the ultimate goal in high school football:

Ross, one of the state's top players, is committed to Michigan and as happy as Ross was that U-M finally beat Ohio State on Saturday, the joy he felt a few hours after U-M's important victory had everything to do with his team winning a state title.

"It's a great feeling," Ross said about U-M's victory. "But honestly, I'm not a Wolverine yet. This (state championship) is a great accomplishment. It's a great feeling to have that state championship."

To the Free Press, he added:

"It's better than I thought it would feel," Ross said. "I never thought it would feel like this: something that's as amazing as this and something we've been working for four months now. It's a great accomplishment -- one of the best accomplishments of my life."

OH DE Chris Wormley:

Whitmer's dreams on an undefeated season were dashed in the state semifinals, as St. Ignatius eked out a 17-6 victory thanks to five Panther turnovers, which were just enough to overcome the Whitmer defense holding St. Ignatius to a mere 135 yards of total offense. Wormley had three tackles and a sack in the losing effort, and here's Mason's weekly report on the game:

Whitmer's defense played their best game of the season, giving up just 135 yards (!) in a Division 1 state semifinal against a program that has won 10 state championships since 1988. That's pretty damn good. The offense - outside of a 90-yard touchdown run - really struggled to get going and turned the ball over five times, which is, of course, a recipe for disaster.

Chris had, officially, three assisted tackles and a sack in his final HS football game. He was really impressive all year despite being the focal point of everyone else's offense. He's a great, intelligent kid who's going to be a real credit to the Michigan family. He does have some things to work on - he does tend to play a little high, I think, and he needs to work on "finishing" tackles - but I see absolutely no reason why he can't be a star at Michigan. He's been a real pleasure to watch these last couple of years, and I'm thrilled that he'll be making the transition from maize and blue to Maize and Blue next fall.

A huge thanks to Mason for contributing these all season—if you're looking to hear more of his work, he'll be calling Whitmer basketball games (Wormley plays center, and the team is a state title contender) for WRSCSports.com.

After the jump, see the season records of the players whose teams have been eliminated, as well as a link to their season stats, compiled by Touch the Banner.

Comments

Friday Beat Ohio Recruitin' Beat Ohio Beat Ohio

Friday Beat Ohio Recruitin' Beat Ohio Beat Ohio Comment Count

Ace November 25th, 2011 at 11:55 AM

This week on Thursday Friday Recruitin' I resist the urge to type "Beat Ohio" over and over again (and fail), good news rolls in on the Bri'onte Dunn front, Pharaoh Brown clarifies his stance on Michigan, and Billy Price looks to form a blue-chip D-line. Usual request: 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.

Bri'onte Dunn Chooses the Correct Sideline, Beat Ohio

Last week, blue-chip running back and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn visited Michigan to witness the Wolverines thrash Nebraska while being heavily recruited by commits like Shane Morris and his cousin Dymonte Thomas—witness the photo on the right as proof. That was a good sign in and of itself, and then Dunn came through with a major announcement trifecta—he'll be back to visit Michigan again for the Ohio State game, he once again plans on graduating early, and he plans to take an official visit to Michigan after the season with (soon to be fellow?) commit and Buckeye defector Kyle Kalis. Couple this with the almost-certain assumption that Urban Meyer will be the next Ohio State coach, and we've got a situation here:

I don't know if [Dunn] realizes how symbolic [this weekend's visit] is. To me it's very symbolic when you're visiting a rival school when they're playing the school you're committed to and you're sitting on the rival sideline. To me, that is huge. It's very symbolic. This is trending Michigan's way.

The current news is that Urban Meyer will be possibly the next head coach at Ohio State — and I think he will be — I think that also pushes Brionte Dunn a little towards Michigan because when he was a younger player, Florida tried to recruit him under Urban Meyer. (Dunn) wanted no part of the Urban Meyer offense. So while Meyer to Ohio State will really affect Ohio State positively in most recruiting cases, in this case, I think it's not positive at all.

Like I said, if you put it together in your head, you'd say Michigan's sitting in pretty good shape here with Brionte Dunn. You never know, but it sure seems to be trending their way.

That's Scout analyst Bill Greene from Sam Webb's latest DetNews piece, an info-packed Q&A in which Greene and Allen Trieu pretty much do everything except proclaim the Wolverines as an outright leader for Dunn, but it's nearly impossible not to read between the lines on this one. I mean, he's going to be on Michigan's sideline when they play Ohio State. I'm not sure I need to say much more.

Meanwhile, Michigan could get a boost in their offensive line recruiting thanks to two five-stars (depending on the service you're using) taking in visits this weekend, as Chicago Simeon's Jordan Diamond announced via Twitter last night that he was en route to Ann Arbor, and Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett will be at the game as well ($, info in header). Diamond's visit comes as a surprise—he's been pretty quiet lately and some assumed he had fallen off Michigan's radar or taken greater interest in other schools, but it appears he's just taking things slow, and an impromptu appearance in Ann Arbor is a good sign that Michigan is still very much in the mix for him. You could say the same about Garnett, though it still appears like it will be difficult to pry him from the West Coast—Stanford has made a strong push of late, and he's already been admitted there.

If you were hoping for a quick end to Oaks Christian (CA) WR Jordan Payton's recruitment, despite him pushing back his announcement well beyond his original date, well, don't hold your breath ($):

A one time, and early commit, to USC, Payton is now in no rush to make a choice.

“Honestly, I won’t commit this time until I feel right about a school,” said Payton. “It could be at any time and it could be a while. It’s whenever I talk about it with my family and we just feel like it’s ready. I’m going to take the Cal visit, though, so I won’t be deciding before then.”

A U.S. Army All-American, Payton said he isn’t sure if he’ll have a decision by the time he makes it to San Antonio, but he doesn’t plan to announce then.

It's tough to blame Payton for taking his time after already committing to USC and then re-evaluating—he wants to make sure he makes the right decision and sticks to it this time around. After Michigan appeared to be the clear leader recently, however, that may change the longer he plays out his recruitment if it didn't already after his Notre Dame visit. We'll just have to wait and see.

Quickly: Abandon hope, ye who covet Shaq Thompson—he has scrapped a planned December official to Michigan in favor of one to Utah, and it's pretty clear he'll be staying out west (Cal looks to be the favorite, as they've been the constant in an ever-changing list of leaders); the Wolverines are firmly in Wes Brown's top five, and he has high praise for the coaching staff and a good connection with Blake Countess, but weather may factor into his decision, which probably wouldn't bode well for M; Stefon Diggs is featured as the Recruit of the Week on Rivals, though Michigan is strangely not mentioned (by Mike Farrell, not Diggs) when discussing the several potential landing spots for the five-star wideout; could Michigan be looking at a JuCo (and Wolverine legacy) in quarterback Turner Baty? ($, info in header); happy trails to Adolphus Washington (Ohio State and Dwayne Stanford (Oregon)—neither showed much interest in Michigan lately, but Washington will not be fun to play against in upcoming years.

Pharaoh Brown Clarifies, Beat Ohio

TE/DE Pharaoh Brown is no longer considered a commit after taking an official visit to Oregon—breaking this staff's policy for commits in the process—and he took to Twitter to clarify what happened:

For everybody who wants to know I never de-committed from michigan. They said they don't consider me a commit b/c my OV that's their policy
 
Yes I am changing my position and will be weighing all my options

This has been discussed ad nauseam on the board this week, but I'd be surprised if Brown ends up back in this class—Michigan is still after several big-name recruits, and four-star TE Taylor McNamara is considering taking an official visit next month, plus Brown would have to mend some fences with the coaches before regaining their trust. If he makes it back in the fold, great, and if not, best of luck to him wherever he ends up.

GBW released a series of free articles of Michigan commits reacting to last week's win. Here's Mario Ojemudia, who's a big fan of the defensive changes and also has his own gut feeling about Dunn:

The question on every mind of a person who follows Michigan recruiting, is what will happen with Bri’onte Dunn, and Ojemudia has his own thoughts on the five star running back.

“I didn’t even get to talk to him yesterday, but I have before a few times. I think he really likes it here, and I think he wants to come here but there are just a few things he’s got to work out.”

Ojemudia will be back in Ann Arbor this weekend. Joe Bolden also did a little recruiting of Dunn, and he confirmed he'll be enrolling early and discussed his plans for when he hits campus:

“I’m going to use every opportunity I can to get on the field. I’m a guy who hates standing on the sideline. For instance this year, I hated seeing my offense on the field because I wanted to be on the field and I feel that I can help the team. I think getting up there early will help me with school and getting me positioned and orientated with everything going on there and how to balance school and football as well as getting the playbook. I don’t want to miss a beat with spring practice.”

Allen Gant, who like Ojemudia will take a return visit for The Game, talked to Greg Mattison and Curt Mallory about how he'll be used as a Wolverine:

“Before the game I talked to the coaches and they talk to the recruits and I talked to Coach Mattison and Coach Mallory. Coach Mattison has said that he’s excited about me playing that strong safety and see’s [sic] me being a blitzing safety and Coach Mallory is really excited about getting me up there. Overall we’ve just kind of been talking about my football season and their football season.”

Considering Gant was playing a lot of linebacker when I saw him this season, blitzing strong safety seems to fit his game well.

After tallying 85 tackles (24 TFLs) and 13 sacks so far this season, Chris Wormley was named the Toledo Blade's player of the year, and they wrote up a long feature on the defensive end commit, which included some high praise from opposing coaches:

Greg Dempsey, Central Catholic: "Chris obviously has great natural ability and he's a great player. His motor is relentless, he's great against the run, he's great at the point of attack, he's great chasing down the run, and he's obviously a great pass rusher. He's one of the biggest guys we've ever had to deal with, and he makes the guys along the line better because he's so good. He's just a game changer.

"This kid's ready to step in and play [at Michigan] right now. He's probably the most college-ready guy we've gone against."

It's interesting that two of the three coaches cited Wormley's motor as a strong positive, as that has been an area of concern among recruiting analysts.

Quickly: Kyle Kalis is one of 16 finalists for the 2012 U.S. Army Player of the Year, alongside such big names as Dorial Green-Beckham, Diggs, Gunner Kiel, Thompson, and Washington; Chantel Jennings writes that Kalis is firm in his Michigan commitment, and wouldn't be swayed by an Urban Meyer hire in Columbus ($, info in header); Eric Magnuson was named to the Army All-American Bowl, and while USC and other school have been making a run at him, he's steadfast in his pledge to the Wolverines, saying "I'm committed to Michigan and that's where I'm going."

Jalin Marshall to Visit, Beat Ohio

2013 Middletown (OH) five-star QB/ATH Jalin Marshall will visit Ann Arbor this weekend ($, info in header), though he's already visited Ohio State on multiple occasions and it's apparent that the Buckeyes will be the team to beat. He could fill a big need at receiver if he decides not to try his hand at QB in college, and he appears open to other positions—making a strong impression on Saturday might be Michigan's best chance of earning a real shot at landing him.

Four-star defensive tackle Billy Price, another visitor for The Game, was profiled by Sam Webb, and the Wolverines appear to have a great shot at pulling in the 6'4", 295-pound junior. He's camped with Ondre Pipkins, saying that the 2012 commit is "everything that you're supposed to be on the D-line," and he can see himself forming a dynamite line with the players from Michigan's current class:

The Michigan coaching staff has already begun trying to capitalize on that admiration [for Pipkins] by painting for Price a picture of a defensive front that features him and Pipkins as the anchors in the middle.

"They actually are going to move me down to a three technique playing next to Ondre Pipkins," Price explained. "Kick out Chris Wormley and Tom Strobel at the ends and just tell them to go get guys. I would love to play next Ondre."

Michigan State will also factor in to his recruitment, as will powerhouses from around the country, and Price doesn't plan on making a decision until after his senior season, but the Wolverines look to be in a strong position right now.

Quickly: Wheaton (IL) St. Francis four-star OL Kyle Bosch was very impressed after visiting for the Nebraska game ($, info in header); Peoria (IL) Manuel OL Logan Luley-Tillman also visited for Nebraska and is a player to watch in the junior class ($, info in header); Grand Blanc DE Luke MacLean also was in Ann Arbor last weekend, and was duly impressed by the defensive effort ($, info in header); and Michigan legacy Brandon Bean is a junior receiver from Southfield who could also end up with an offer—he also was here last week, and has strong interest in both in-state schools ($, info in header). He'll be here this weekend as well.

Beat Ohio.

Comments

Weekday Warriors 2011: 11-22

Weekday Warriors 2011: 11-22 Comment Count

Ace November 22nd, 2011 at 9:59 AM

This week, I finally sort the players by who is still actually, you know, playing; Michigan commits will square off against each other in the MHSAA Division 1 title game; and both James Ross and Chris Wormley get a shot at state titles of their own.

Still Playing

MI OL Ben Braden

Rockford was able to jump out to a 17-7 lead against Catholic Central in the state semifinals, but weren't able to hold on to a three-point lead in overtime—not sudden death in the MHSAA—and the Rams fell 24-20.

This week: Rockford finished the season with an 11-2 record.

MI DT Matt Godin

Godin didn't know his stats when I texted him, but he said he "played OK" and was "just happy we got the W and are on our way to get a ring next weekend." He did tally a critical fourth-down stop in the second half to help the Shamrocks beat Rockford in a 24-20 overtime thriller.

This week: The Shamrocks face Cass Tech—featuring Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson—in the Division 1 state title game at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Ford Field. You can see the game live on FSD+ (channel 901 on Comcast) in the Detroit area.

MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone

Cass Tech toughed out another close victory with Jenkins-Stone (pictured at right) providing the scoring, as he rushed for 122 yards on 22 carries and a one-yard TD in the second quarter to lead the Technicians to a 6-3 win over Utica Eisenhower in the state semifinals:

After gaining 38 yards on 14 carries over the first three quarters, Jenkins-Stone ran for 84 yards on eight carries in the fourth period.

"This time I put the team on my back," he said. "I kept telling Coach to run that G-sweep and I got you -- I'll get you that first down."

The Cass line did open some holes for Jenkins-Stone, but so many yards were the result of his determination.

"I thought that back -- he gave everything -- he gave second effort,"  [Eisenhower coach Bob] Lantzy said. "He's going to be a great college player."

This week: The Technicians play Catholic Central for the state title on Saturday. With the game at nearby Ford Field, Jenkins-Stone and his teammates will eschew the normal bus ride, saying, "It ain't that long of a walk, we'll make it. It feels better to walk it."

CA OL Erik Magnuson

La Costa Canyon had a first-round bye in the state playoffs.

This week: The Mavericks play Westview on Friday night.

MI CB Terry Richardson

Richardson had three catches for 22 yards in Cass Tech's victory while also playing a big role in shutting down the Eisenhower offense:

Eisenhower (11-2) has as diverse an offense as you could want, but Cass (10-3) allowed just two first downs until the final series of the first half and no second-half first downs until Ike's final series of the game.

"Their quarterback had a very nice arm," Cass cornerback Terry Richardson said. "Basically we tried to show him a whole lot of different looks, that way he couldn't tell the coverage and that helped us out a whole lot."

This week: The Technicians face off against Utica Eisenhower at Troy Athens HS on Saturday at 1.

MI LB James Ross

Ross got banged up and had to leave the game at one point, but contributed a 33-yard reception and helped the St. Mary's defense hold Harper Creek to their lowest point total of the season in a 14-10 semifinal victory.

This week: The Eaglets take on Mt. Pleasant at Ford Field in the Division 3 state title game on Saturday at 7:30. That game will also be televised live on FSD+.

OH DE Tom Strobel

No stats are available for Strobel from Mentor's 23-17 state quarterfinal loss to St. Ignatius, who knocked off Kyle Kalis's St. Edward squad the week prior. Not a fan, guys.

This week: The Cardinals finish the season with an 11-2 record.

Chris Wormley (#47 in blue) helps corral Wadsworth running back Jack Snowball. (Photo credit: Dave Zapotosky/Toledo Blade)

OH DE Chris Wormley:

Whitmer continued their undefeated season with a resounding 37-0 regional final victory over Wadsworth. Wormley was part of a defense that held spectacularly-named Wadsworth RB Jack Snowball, who entered the game with 2,504 yards rushing in 2011, to a season-low 90 yards on 30 carries:

“That was our main focus,” All-Ohio Whitmer defensive end Chris Wormley said of stopping Wadsworth’s star. “Snowball is their entire offense. He had over 2,500 yards rushing coming into the game, and we held him to less than 100. Everyone contributed. We’re ready for next Saturday. We can’t wait to play.”

[UPDATE: Mason checks in with his weekly update:

This wasn't the sort of team that Chris will put up gaudy numbers against. Obviously, all they do is run with Snowball, and most of the time, they ran away from Chris. I had Chris for six tackles, two TFL, and a sack. A solid performance, and one that was more than good enough to beat a completely one-dimensional team.

A word about Snowball: I like him. Runs really hard and has good size. Didn't have a great night, and isn't really fast (his 40 time is 4.56 as recorded as an OSU camp), but he's got to get a look from someone. Right now he has 0 interest of any kind from any DI or IAA school, which is a real shame. He should get a second look from somebody - probably in the MAC, C-USA or maybe even an Indiana-type school in a big conference - and could be a huge college success. I'll be pulling for him.

For those that want to celebrate what I imagine will be a highly-satisfying win over Ohio on Saturday with the delight of hearing a future Wolverine qualify for a state championship game, we'll have it on WRSCsports.com. Pregame at 6:15, kickoff at 7:00. Just sayin'.

Thanks, as always, to Mason for the first-hand report.]

This week: Whitmer faces St. Ignatius, the Wolverine commit-killers, in the state semifinals on Saturday at 7.

After the jump, see the season records of the players whose teams have been eliminated, as well as a link to their season stats, compiled by Touch the Banner.

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Gets Snooty, Uses the Term 'Du Jour'

Thursday Recruitin' Gets Snooty, Uses the Term 'Du Jour' Comment Count

Ace November 17th, 2011 at 10:10 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' talks new recruiting rankings, more on the recent developments with Stefon Diggs, more wide receiver recruiting in general, and 2013 recruits who could be narrowing their focus in the near future. Usual request: 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.

New Scout 300 and 24/7 Rankings Released

Scout released their new top 300 for the class of 2012, and for the most part it was extremely positive for Michigan recruits. MGoUser AAB detailed where players ended up in the new rankings, and I've copied that list here with one addition:

Stefon Diggs-13
Brionte Dunn-26
Kyle Kalis-32
Josh Garnett-37
Jordan Diamond-44
Tom Strobel-73
Yuri Wright-75
James Ross-76
Jordan Payton-91
[Joe Bolden-94]
Ondre Pipkins-101
Royce Jenkins-Stone-114
Erik Magnuson-132
Mario Ojemudia-152
Chris Wormley-161
Terry Richardson-188
Amara Darboh-206
Jarrod Wilson-217
Devin Funchess-224
AJ Williams-236

It's worth noting that Joe Bolden (pictured above) had one of the largest jumps on the list, going from #229 to #94, while A.J. Williams's leap into the top 300 also came with a shiny new fourth star and a new designation: offensive tackle. Kaleb Ringer dropped off the list and was reclassified as a three-star, which shouldn't come as a surprise after he missed much of his senior season with an MCL injury. With 13 commits in the Scout 300, and several top targets in play, there's not much to complain about here.

247Sports, meanwhile, released their top 64 seniors in the state of Michigan, and while MSU commit Aaron Burbridge heads the list—legitimately, in my opinion—the Wolverines dominate the rest of the top ten with James Ross (#2), Terry Richardson (#3), Royce Jenkins-Stone (#5), Matt Godin (#7), Devin Funchess (#8), Mario Ojemudia (#9), and Ben Braden (#10). The other non-Michigan commits are Cincinnati-bound RB Dennis Norfleet (#4) and Tennessee commit Danny O'Brien (#6). Drake Johnson comes in at #17, six spots ahead of Juwan Lewis, while preferred walk-on punter Kenny Allen slips in at #59.

Bolden comes in for a lot of praise this week, being named to the Under Armour All-America Game and also earning district Defensive Player of the Year honors:

"Joe has been a tremendous leader for our team," Colerain coach Tom Bolden said. "He goes 100 miles-per-hour in practice and 100 miles-per-hour in the games. Everything he brings from an emotional and physical standpoint has been great for our team."

Unlike Madaris, Bolden orally committed to Michigan in late April, a decision that his coach and uncle, Tom Bolden, thought was an easy fit.

"It came down to UC and Michigan," the coach said, "but Joe liked the direction that Coach (Brady) Hoke is taking their program. He's an athletic throwback; he plays with reckless abandon, but he has the athleticism to get sideline to sideline."

Aside from the history of the Michigan football program, Bolden was lured by the academic standards of the university, something that is important to the senior who carried a 3.9 GPA this season.

Receiver recruit Monty Madaris earned the Offensive Player of the Year award in the same district—the Cincinnati area—while commits A.J. Williams and Caleb Stacey both earned first-team all-district honors along the offensive line. There's been increased talk that Williams will move permanently to tackle, and while he's open to the move, the 6'6", 275-pound senior thinks he can still come in and contribute at tight end ($):

“After this year I will have to find myself working out making sure my route running is still fine and my hands are still ok. A lot of people don’t know that I can still catch it and a lot of people think that I should switch to tackle and think I’m going to switch to tackle when I get to college. I think I’m athletic enough and I still have the soft hands, so if I keep working on certain drills and everything I’ll be able to get to college and show them off.”

Williams went on to joke about how tackles make more money in the NFL while making the point that he'll do whatever is needed to help the team win, so it sounds like position won't be an issue for him when he gets to campus.

Quickly: Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson get the teammate game treatment from ESPN's Chantel Jennings; TomVH profiles Allen Gant ($) and his video interview is available for free.

Just to Be Clear, Stefon Diggs is an Option

After Sam Webb dropped his article last Thursday profiling Stefon Diggs and his renewed—and strong—interest in Michigan, he's become the recruit du jour this week for local outlets. Tim Sullivan discusses his recruitment in his latest piece at the Free Press:

“His route running, ability to get off the ball with ease and his quickness in and out of his cuts are only surpassed by his hands and flair for the dramatic,” said Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell. “He is the definition of a playmaker.”

Michigan was initially slow to pursue Diggs, but lately the interest from the Wolverines’ end has picked up. He recently placed Michigan in his top five schools under consideration, and is planning to visit Ann Arbor in December.

To steal a line from our fearless leader, DO WANT. Tom also has an (insider) article on Diggs, who continues to say and do all the right things, including getting his mother up to speed on the process:

"I get on the computer and do research on all the schools," [Stefon's mother] Stephanie said. "With Blake (Countess) at Michigan it does make me feel a little more comfortable. He's a super kid and comes from a great family."

Like his mother, Diggs also has some questions that he would like answered by the Michigan coaching staff. He's not yet willing to share the questions but says once they're answered, he'll be more willing to talk.

"I'm willing to say right now that Michigan sits well with me; I'm comfortable with Michigan," he said. "They would turn me into a better man, and once I get those questions answered, we'll go from there."

According to the article, Diggs will come out with a new top seven on November 29th, his birthday. It is very safe to assume that Michigan will be included. Also, if you missed this last night, two different MGoUsers gave extensive scouting reports on Diggs and teammate Wes Brown from their game last week, which you can find in this diary. Don't worry: neither disappointed.

Lakewood (CA) receiver Darius Powe tried to make it to Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game, but couldn't. Don't take that as a sign his interest has wavered, however:

"I'm still trying to set that visit up but I haven't yet," Powe said. "After my season I should be able to sit down and get that trip planned. I really want to get out there, I love the offense and the fact they are a big-time school. Michigan, Oregon State and Utah are recruiting me the hardest right now."

The Wolverines were out in Lakewood a few weeks ago to check on Powe he said. Cal was also recently by his school.

All of a sudden, it looks like the Wolverines have a lot of options at receiver. One of those is still Amara Darboh, whose recruitment may be wrapping up before the new year ($):

“The last thing he told me was, ‘Ya’ know what? We’re going to get this thing wrapped up here pretty soon,’ ” [Dowling High School coach Tom] Wilson said. “He said he wanted to have it done by Christmas.

“I think he wants it done. He was offered between his sophomore and junior year. I think he’s done a great job of doing his homework. He’s not a kid that has fallen in love with the recruiting process, like some do. I think he’s ready to move on and have a clear direction of where he’s going to end up.”

Wilson added Darboh “keeps thinks close to the vest” and isn’t naming leaders, but much more clarity should be gained in the coming weeks.

Darboh will be in town for the Ohio State game after visiting Ohio State Notre Dame this weekend, and I believe much of the clarity we're looking for will be provided shortly after those visits. Not visiting for the Ohio State game: cornerback Yuri Wright, whose team has advanced deep into the playoffs—he's looking to reschedule for after his season ($, info in header). Cryptic quote ahoy?

“I’m not going to say a particular school stands out, but Michigan is one of the schools that I’ve loved all my life,” Wright said. “There’s not a favorite right now.”

Tom would be proud, sir. Keep 'em on their toes.

Quickly: RB Wes Brown is another recruit seriously reconsidering his interest in Penn State ($, info in header); you can give up the Arik Armstead pipe dream, as the five-star named a top seven that didn't include Michigan ($); Saline long snapper Taybor Pepper has been offered a preferred walk-on spot ($, info in header); Tom discusses the dropoff in Michigan running back recruiting since landing five-star (sigh) Carlos Brown in 2006 ($).

2013 Updates

2013 four-star receiver Laquon Treadwell—teammate of Anthony Standifer—"might be attending this Michigan game this weekend," according to his Twitter account. Treadwell could be a candidate for an early commitment. He's been working on getting his mother to come with him to Ann Arbor, as she wasn't able to make it with him for the Notre Dame game and he'll need her stamp of approval before pledging to a school. According to Tim, Treadwell tried to make it to the Illinois game last week and now is looking to visit Michigan not just this weekend, but for Ohio State as well ($, info in header). If he's already coming up for multiple games in a row, it's a very good sign for the Wolverines, obviously.

Meanwhile, Toledo Central Catholic DB Jayme Thompson made it in for an unofficial visit this week, and said he had a "real nice visit," according to MGoUser and Facebook friend jessiegoblue. If Facebook is to be believed, Thompson's middle name or nickname (you can never tell with Facebook) is Norf. Norf!

Thompson gets the more formal treatment at Scout ($). He's expecting an offer to come in soon [UPDATE: He got one, according to 24/7]—likely at cornerback—and may already have narrowed things down to just two schools:

With an offer from Michigan potentially coming soon, Thompson will still try to wait things out with two school’s [sic] currently on his mind.

“I’m going to try to wait things out. It’s basically between two schools right now, Michigan and West Virginia. West Virginia is the second offer I’ve got and I really like the coaches there.”

I got to watch Thompson when Central Catholic took on Chris Wormley and Toledo Whitmer earlier this year, and he's a very fast, hard-hitting high school safety who I think would fit in anywhere in the secondary at the next level.

Gilman (MD) DT Henry Poggi looks to be one of the highest-rated recruits in the junior class, and Scout has a video interview with him in which he names a top five. It's paywalled, but you can see the teams tagged in the article: Michigan, Tennessee, Stanford, Alabama, and Auburn. It might be tough to keep Poggi from landing in the SEC, but the Wolverines have a very legitimate shot here.

Finally, Tom discusses Michigan's targeting of power backs in the 2013 class ($). If Michigan can't land a big-time running back for 2012, getting a combo like Ty Isaac and Wyatt Shallman will likely be necessary, though that could happen even if the Wolverines pull in Bri'onte Dunn or Wes Brown.

Comments

Weekday Warriors 2011: 11-15

Weekday Warriors 2011: 11-15 Comment Count

Ace November 15th, 2011 at 10:29 AM

This week on Weekday Warriors, the ranks of the surviving Wolverine commits thin out considerably during playoff action. Just a note—I will be attempting to compile season stats in one big post after all the players have finished their seasons. If you have any info that would help in putting together such a post, please shoot me an email.

2012 Commits

TN OL Blake Bars

Montgomery Bell fell to Baylor, 20-10, in a state quarterfinal matchup.

This week: The Big Red finish the season with a 6-6 record.

OH LB Joe Bolden

No stats were available for Bolden as Colerain lost to St. Xavier for the second time this season, 28-15, in the regional semifinals.

This week: The Cardinals finish the season at 10-2, with both losses coming to St. X.

MI OL Ben Braden

Rockford amassed 338 yards on the ground en route to a 30-28 victory over Grand Blanc for the regional title.

This week: Rockford plays against Matt Godin and Detroit Catholic Central in the state semifinals on Saturday at 1.

OH DE Pharaoh Brown

Brush finished the season with a 4-6 record.

KY S Jeremy Clark

No stats to report for Clark as North Hopkins lost to Franklin-Simpson, 20-17, in the second round of the state playoffs.

This week: The Maroons finish the season with a 9-3 record.

MI TE Devin Funchess

Harrison finished the season with a 10-1 record.

OH S Allen Gant

Southview finished the season with a 9-2 record.

MI DT Matt Godin

Godin recorded 10 tackles as Detroit Cathlic Central knocked off Drake Johnson and Pioneer, 21-0, to advance to the state semifinals. The Shamrock defense—which was missing Wyatt Shallman due to injury—bottled up Johnson and never allowed the Pioneers to advance past the 50-yard line.

“We took their heart when we bottled up Drake,” Shamrocks’ all-state defensive lineman Matt Godin said. “You could see it in their eyes. They didn’t know what to do when their No. 1 option was taken away. By the second quarter, they were reeling big time.”

This week: The Shamrocks face Ben Braden and Rockford in Saturday's 1 p.m. state semifinal at Battle Creek Central HS.

UT FB Sione Houma

Highland finished the season with a 7-4 record.

DPP_0052

Royce Jenkins-Stone (#10 in white) stares down Shane Morris before the snap.

MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone

Jenkins-Stone recorded six tackles and ran the ball 22 times for 67 yards and the game-winning touchdown as Cass Tech shut down Shane Morris and Warren De La Salle, 6-0, to move on to the state semis. You can find much more on the game in this week's Future Blue Originals.

This week: The Technicians face off against Utica Eisenhower at Troy Athens HS on Saturday at 1.

MI RB Drake Johnson

Johnson was limited to just 48 yards on 16 carries in Pioneer's 21-0 loss to Catholic Central, leaving him just 86 yards short of eclipsing the single-season state rushing record.

This week: The Pioneers finish the season with a 9-3 record.

OH OL Kyle Kalis

St. Edward fell to St. Ignatius, 20-17, on a last-second field goal in the second round of the playoffs.

This week: The Eagles end the season with an 8-4 record.

CA OL Erik Magnuson

La Costa Canyon knocked off bitter rival Torrey Pines, 28-7, in their regular-season finale to earn a bye in the first round of the state playoffs.

This week: The Mavericks have a bye while they await their second-round playoff matchup.

MI DE Mario Ojemudia

Harrison finished the season at 10-1.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins

Park Hill finished the season with a 5-5 record.

DPP_0059

Terry Richardson locks down his man against De La Salle.

MI CB Terry Richardson

Richardson had two receptions for 46 yards and played extremely well at corner as Cass Tech squeaked by De La Salle, 6-0, in a classic defensive battle.

This week: The Technicians face off against Utica Eisenhower at Troy Athens HS on Saturday at 1.

OH LB Kaleb Ringer

Ringer sat out the end of the season due to a strained MCL suffered early on in the year.

MI LB James Ross

Ross recorded an 11-yard touchdown reception, his only catch of the day, as Orchard Lake St. Mary's defeated Linden, 49-7, to reach the Division 3 state semifinals.

This week: The Eaglets face Battle Creek Harper Creek at Withington Stadium in Jackson on Saturday at 1.

OH OL Caleb Stacey

Oak Hills finished the season at 4-6.

IL CB Anthony Standifer

Crete-Monee finished the season with a 10-1 record.

OH DE Tom Strobel

Strobel contributed at least one big tackle for loss as Mentor won a wild one against rival Solon, 42-40, to win the regional title:

Solon appeared poised to push that lead out even further after Justin Kresevic intercepted a pass and returned it to the Mentor 22. However, a big defensive stop — keyed by a tackle for loss by senior defensive end Tom Strobel — kept the Comets from adding to the lead, and it was game on for Trubisky and company from there on for the rest of the first half.

This week: The Cardinals face St. Ignatius on Saturday at 7.

OH TE A.J. Williams

The Aviators finished the season with an 8-3 record.

OH S Jarrod Wilson

Buchtel finished their season with a 6-4 record.

OH DE Chris Wormley:

Whitmer remained undefeated as they held Canton McKinley to just 159 yards of offense in a 37-6 playoff rout. Here's Wormley on the victory:

"We prepared all week with the defensive schemes, and I guess we're pretty good," Wormley. "The main thing was getting pressure, sending people off the edge and blitzing. I think that really helped.

"We just stayed focused and mentally tough. It's great feeling to be in the regional final again. We'll be back at it on Monday and hopefully it'll be the same outcome."

[UPDATE: Here's Whitmer play-by-play man Mason Lowry with his weekly first-hand report:

This was the best I've ever seen Chris play. Simply outstanding. Always in the backfield, always causing havoc. Got to the quarterback a ton and brought him down several times at or just behind the line of scrimmage. Not sure just how many sacks/QB pressures he may have had, but I know that I called his name more than I have in any other game this year. This was a really impressive performance from Chris and the entire defense. He looked every bit like a major Division 1 recruit, and certainly played like someone who could make a big impact in Maize and Blue.

Now, the Whitmer D will go from facing an athletic spread offense to a more methodical, running-oriented team. Wadsworth's running back, the wonderfully-named Jack Snowball, has over 2500 yards (!) for the season to this point and can easily carry the ball 40+ times per game. This is a completely different test from what McKinley presented, but one that I ultimately think Whitmer will overcome, but at this point in the season, who knows?

Thanks, as always, to Mason for the update.]

This week: Whitmer faces Wadsworth on Saturday at 7 in their regional final.

2013 Commits

MI QB Shane Morris

Morris completed just 4-of-17 passes for 28 yards and two interceptions against a strong Cass Tech defense as De La Salle fell 6-0 in the final minutes.

This week: The Pilots finish the season with a 9-3 record.

OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas

Marlington finished the season at 8-2.

Comments

Future Blue Originals: Cass Tech vs. Warren De La Salle

Future Blue Originals: Cass Tech vs. Warren De La Salle Comment Count

Ace November 14th, 2011 at 1:45 PM

IMG_0016

Last Friday saw one of the most exciting and dramatic games of the season at Lake Shore High School, where Cass Tech knocked off host Warren De La Salle in a 6-0 thriller, with Michigan commit Royce Jenkins-Stone running in the game-winning touchdown with just 1:38 remaining. The defensive slugfest featured three Michigan commits—Jenkins-Stone, his teammate Terry Richardson, and Warren De La Salle's Shane Morris—and several D-I prospects, including class of 2013 Cass Tech corner Jourdan Lewis, who turned in an outstanding performance. Here are some highlights, courtesy of StateChampsTV:

Scouting

Royce Jenkins-Stone (Cass Tech LB/FB #10, 2012 commit): RJS recorded six tackles at linebacker, where he was consistently active and a major factor in the Technician defense holding De La Salle's rushing attack to just 108 yards on 26 carries. Despite Cass Tech's outstanding all-around defensive effort, which kept the Pilot offense off the field for much of the game, Jenkins-Stone managed to get in on more plays than I'd seen from him in either of the previous two times I watched him play this season. When he gets to the ballcarrier, he arrives with ill intentions, and delivered a couple of very nice hits.

On this day, however, Jenkins-Stone would be most lauded for his offensive performance, as he carried the ball 22 times for 67 hard-fought yards, and Cass Tech repeatedly fed him the ball on a final drive that took 10:53 off the clock and ended with a three-yard TD run for RJS. While the rushing numbers aren't particularly impressive, they were earned in a fashion befitting of a linebacker—pretty much all of Jenkins-Stone's runs came on fullback dives into the line, and he showed a lot of toughness and durability in repeatedly slamming into the line, taking a couple big hits but shaking them off and continuing to go full-bore on both sides of the ball. RJS is still a bit raw as a prospect—James Ross has more of a play-to-play impact from what I've seen, though Ross also plays less on offense—but his heart and motor should not come into question.

Terry Richardson (Cass Tech CB/WR #9, 2012 commit): Richardson's coverage was a big reason why Shane Morris could never find a rhythm, as he was consistently right in the pocket of the receiver he was tasked with covering. Cass Tech trusted Richardson and fellow corner Jourdan Lewis to play man-up for much of the game, and both were up for the challenge. Though Richardson had been battling a leg injury since the regular season finale, and spent much of warmups on his own testing out the leg, he looked just fine once the game started, exhibiting the speed and hip swivel that make him a four-star corner prospect despite his small stature. He was also strong in run support, tallying four tackles, including a textbook wrap-up in space on a play that got to the outside quickly—he was alone on an island, but managed to drive through the ballcarrier and keep him from gaining any extra yards.

Richardson also added two catches for 46 yards, including a huge 23-yard reception on Cass Tech's game-winning drive. There are going to be questions about his size until he steps onto the field as a Wolverine and proves his height (I'd say 5'8" after standing right next to him for a post-game interview) won't be an issue, but his athleticism and coverage skills are elite for a high school player.

Jourdan Lewis (Cass Tech CB/WR #1, 2013 recruit): Lewis was the best player on the field on Friday, recording three pass breakups and a critical interception (included in the video highlights above), where he read where Morris was going beautifully and made a great play on the ball. Lewis has a couple inches on Richardson, and while he's still quite skinny, he's able to play a more physical game while still exhibiting good speed and agility.

With Richardson doing such a great job blanketing receivers on the opposite side of the field, Morris often tried to throw at Lewis, but the junior was ready—he did a great job of staying right with the receiver, waiting until the ball was there, then reaching around and knocking it away without committing a penalty—his pass breakups all felt like a carbon copy of the previous one. Lewis is the next in line in the Cass cornerback pipeline, and he looked worthy to take up the mantle previously held by Richardson, Dior Mathis, and Boubacar Cissoko, though he has a little bit of height on each of his predecessors.

Shane Morris (De La Salle QB #12, 2013 commit): This was not Morris's finest performance, and he completed just 4-of-17 passes for 28 yards and a pair of interceptions while also losing a fumble on a QB keeper. I know I'm going to sound like a homer when I say this, but I don't think the stats are truly representative of his effort, at least when it comes to completion percentage—De La Salle's receivers could not get an inch of separation all night, and Morris was constantly trying to fit the ball into a tiny window. I also counted three drops by DLS receivers, which didn't help matters. Late in the game, Morris started forcing the issue, and that's when the picks came in—the interception to Lewis was Morris trying to get a big play downfield that just wasn't there—but with Cass Tech shutting down the De La Salle run game, Morris was left in a very tough position.

That's not to say he played well. De La Salle had Morris throw on a few designed rollouts early, but even on normal drop-back throws he didn't seem comfortable in the pocket, and on one play he shuffled smack into pressure while throwing and had his pass fall harmlessly incomplete. He still had a couple passes that reminded you why he's a five-star talent, and I think a lot of his issues came from facing two D-I corners with a pedestrian group of receivers, but it seemed like he let his frustrations get the best of him as the game wore on and it was clear things weren't going well. This is the time to remind yourself that Shane is still just a junior, and one who can throw the ball 80 yards in the air. This was a tough game against a very good Cass Tech defense, and in this case the bevy of D-I talent bested the up-and-coming quarterback.

After the jump, check out a photo gallery from the game plus interviews with both Jenkins-Stone and Richardson.

Comments

Thursday Recruitin' Welcomes Drake Johnson

Thursday Recruitin' Welcomes Drake Johnson Comment Count

Ace November 10th, 2011 at 10:47 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' welcomes Michigan's newest commit, has updates on Shaq Thompson and Stefon Diggs, and discusses the new release of the 2013 Top247. Usual request: 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.

Before I start, a quick note: I've been getting a lot of questions on Twitter about which Penn State commits Michigan could poach given the current situation at State College. I feel, especially after the events of last night, that such issues are not appropriate to discuss at this time. If a player decommits and expresses interest in Michigan, I'll be happy to discuss such matters at that time. Until then, I think it's best to focus on what's most important in that situation, and that certainly isn't recruiting.

Hello, Drake Johnson

(Photo credit: Angela J. Cesere, AnnArbor.com)

Michigan picked up its 24th commit of the 2012 class in Ann Arbor Pioneer running back Drake Johnson, an under-the-radar recruit and track star who pledged on Tuesday morning as soon as he was offered. You can find my hello post here, and while it's critical of Johnson's game, I hope people realize that I'm pulling for Johnson to wildly exceed expectations (I'm a Pioneer grad, too)—this is really awesome to see for any local kid:

"When I was in little league, we used to be the Washtenaw Jr. Wolverines," Johnson said. "I always had really close ties to Michigan within my family and within the people I know. Michigan has always been the place I wanted to go, and now that the chance has come up it is almost magical."

Johnson's commitment should not affect Michigan's recruitment of Bri'onte Dunn, a sentiment echoed by Scout's Allen Trieu in this AnnArbor.com article:

Johnson is the first running back to verbally commit for 2012, so there still is room for another. Additionally, Johnson is a shiftier runner who excels in space and is terrific in the passing game. He could be used at slot receiver or in the kick return game, Trieu said.

Dunn, on the other hand, is more of a bruising type.

"Dunn is your classic pounder," Trieu said. "I think they’ll be used differently, so there’s room for both in the class. I don’t think they will butt heads in that regard, because they’re both very different."

Congrats to Drake for the offer and commitment, and I look forward to seeing him suit up in the Maize and Blue.

The other big news of the week for current commits came yesterday, as TomVH reported that Pharaoh Brown would come in at tight end instead of defensive end ($) after the coaches gave him the choice to play his preferred position. In the five games where I could find complete stats, Brown put up 614 yards and four TDs on just 25 catches this season while playing wide receiver for Brush, and at 6'6", 220 pounds, he could be a matchup nightmare on the offensive side of the ball. I still expect both Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams to come in at tight end as well, though Williams could be more of a sixth offensive lineman (and potentially move there full-time down the road) after playing tackle his entire senior year of high school.

Quickly: Cass Tech's Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone prepare to square off against Warren De La Salle and Shane Morris this weekend ($); Caleb Stacey was named to the 2012 International Bowl; after coming up just short the last two years, James Ross is on a mission to get a state title for Orchard Lake St. Mary's ($); and TomVH profiles Ben Braden ($).

Shaq Thompson's Visit Plans Up in the Air

I reported last week that I had talked to five-star CA S Shaq Thompson, and he told me he would be taking an official visit to Michigan, though he wouldn't confirm which week. There were rumors that he would visit for the Nebraska game, but—as Sam Webb predicted—it sounds like he'll be coming up for a non-game weekend in December so the coaches can get to know him better and gauge his true interest ($):

Thompson was slated to visit Michigan later this month when the Wolverines host Nebraska but those plans have now been altered.

“I’m just focusing on our team right now,” Thompson said. “We have the playoffs coming up and I don’t want to take any more visits until after the season is over. I’m still talking with Michigan and could visit in December but I don’t have a date set right now.

This is good news, and it seems to confirm that Thompson is really interested in the school, and not just a free trip to check out Ann Arbor. Landing him would obviously be a huge coup for the Wolverines, and getting him on campus would be a big step in the right direction—we'll see if he nails anything down in the near future.

The other five-star to recently pop back up on the radar is Olney (MD) Good Counsel WR Stefon Diggs. Sam Webb posted a two-part message board thread yesterday detailing why Michigan has a real shot at Diggs ($, info in header), who now holds the Wolverines in his top five. The Wolverines have a good connection in good friend and former teammate Blake Countess, who was doing some recruiting of his own over Twitter last week. We'll see where this goes, but it sounds like Michigan has a chance to pull in another blue-chip player at a position of great need.

[UPDATE: Sam Webb just posted his weekly recruiting article at the Detroit News, and it's on, yep, Stefon Diggs. Lots of good stuff in there, including the tidbit that Michigan and Cal are the two schools most likely to receive official visits, while his other three haven't been determined. There's also this:

Countess hasn't been shy in conveying that message to his former teammate. The freshman cornerback's advocacy has been instrumental in establishing Michigan as one of the favorites for Diggs' services.

"Blake is my close friend and his word is bond," said Diggs. "I take what he says (absolutely). He would never lead me in the wrong direction. When he says it, I take it to heart. I truly believe him. He speaks highly of Michigan. I respect Michigan a lot. They showed a spark in interest lately. I just look forward to opening the line of communication more and setting up a visit."

Yeah, it's okay to get a little excited about this one. More on this in the next week, but I figured that article was worth passing along now.]

Quickly: MO WR Jehu Chesson set an official to Michigan for the Ohio State game ($, info in header); and happy trails to Southfield TE Ron Thompson, who committed to Syracuse this week.

2013 News

247Sports released their initial Top247 for the class of 2013—Shane Morris comes in as the No. 12 overall player and No. 2 quarterback, while Dymonte Thomas is 35th overall and the No. 3 safety. Not a bad early haul for Michigan, and it could get much better, as the list is littered with Michigan offers. Instead of replicating good work that's already been done, I'll direct you to Touch the Banner, where Magnus has done a fantastic job compiling a list of the players with offers and interest from the Wolverines who made the Top247.

Crete-Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, who made the Top247 himself, was named the Chicago-area player of the week last week, and comes in for high praise from his high school coach:

“He has the obvious size and athletic ability, but what makes him special is his competitive edge and toughness,” [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. “He is a blue-chip wide receiver that loves to hit.”

...

While Treadwell’s future is at wide receiver, Crete-Monee is taking advantage of his size and athleticism in other ways this season. Verde has also made him a defensive end. Like at wide receiver, Treadwell has been impact player on defense and had eight sacks this season.

“He is also often times unblockable as a defensive end due to his speed and surprising strength,” Verde said.

Treadwell had a hugely productive junior season, has been to campus multiple times, and is teammates with 2012 commit Anthony Standifer. He's one to keep an eye on as the focus begins to turn to the 2013 class.

Quickly: Tim looks ahead to the 2013 class for the Free Press; 247 launched their Michigan site last week, with articles on Shane Morris ($) and Toledo Central Catholic safety Jayme Thompson, who currently has Michigan in his top two along with West Virginia ($, info in header); TomVH reports that blue-chip CA linebacker Michael Hutchings has interest in the Wolverines ($, info in header); and Tim profiles Lemont (IL) OL Ethan Pocic, a recent offeree, at The Wolverine ($).

Comments