Wednesday Recruitin' Sleeps in a Tent

Wednesday Recruitin' Sleeps in a Tent

Submitted by Tim on June 22nd, 2011 at 10:36 AM

That's the type of camp we're talking about, right?

Camps, Visits

It's summer camp season across the country, with the Sound Mind Sound Body taking place in Southfield last week (and affording IL OL Jordan Diamond an opportunity to stop in Ann Arbor ($, info in header)). The Incredible Hoke was amongst the speakers.

Michigan's camp started Sunday, and runs until this upcoming weekend. The Free Press runs down Michigan's ongoing summer camp, including tidbits that FL QB Tyler Cameron plans to attend (and hopefully earn an offer), and OH QB Austin Appleby is in the same position.

OH RB Alden Hill camped at Michigan ($, info in header). He's a teammate of 2013 OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas, and might be getting an offer soon.

MI TE Ron Thompson may visit Michigan this week. He and the coaches may get a chance to discuss whether there's still a place for him in the recruiting class.

MI DT Danny O'Brien performed well at camp ($, info in header), and has plans to return to Ann Arbor soon. He'll narrow his list to a top 5 in July, and plans to make a post-season decision.

Tom has a big list of camp visitors of interest.

Last Train out of Columbus

First, OH DE Tom Strobel committed to Michigan a week ago, then Kyle Dodson to Wisconsin, and finally Se'Von Pittman to Michigan State this week (after rumors he had tried to commit to Michigan's coaches a week ago). All three players were heavy Buckeye leans until Jim Tressel resigned.

bingo.gif

Did something happen at Ohio State? Because they're sure hemorrhaging commits (and presumed locks to commit) lately. The AP explores the positive effects for Michigan of Ohio State's little difficulty following the rules:

"When I filled out Strobel's evaluation card after talking to [Tom Strobel], I wrote down, '95 percent going to Ohio State,'" CBS College Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "I thought he was a lock and I thought the Top 10 recruits in Ohio would all end up going to Ohio State. But now, with Tressel gone and so much uncertainty hanging over the program, I'm not so sure."

"There's no doubt he's going after Ohio kids," Strobel said, "and I think he's going to be able to get a few."

The article mentions that Michigan is in very good position for OH DE Adolphus Washington, teammate of WR Dwayne Stanford. Even Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald is seeing openings with high-academic kids (he can't say names, but that's secret code for "Ifeadi Odenigbo").

Now, OH OL Kyle Kalis has officially decommitted from Ohio State, and (more interesting to us) is planning to visit Ann Arbor this weekend:

It's pretty much for the past few months I've become really good friends with Tom Strobel and he said I would love it up there, he fell in love with it. Tom was up there last weekend and he was talking about me with the coaches, they were joking around saying we could be roommates. I think Chris [Wormley] will be up there too [TomVH: I confirmed with Wormley that he is visiting this weekend]. I'm closer with Tom, but I am friends with Chris.

This would be a huge recruiting win if Michigan's coaches could lock him down, and it would allow them to be very selective about other linemen for the class. With Chris Wormley visiting as well, and inching toward a decision, the turmoil in Columbus might help swing him Blue sooner rather than later (fingers crossed).

The OZone's Tony Gerdeman says that he expects another 5-star Buckeye to decommit this week. OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn is the only player who fits that bill, and has expressed Michigan interest despite his OSU commitment. Duane Long is having a panic attack about the coaching situation's effect on recruiting.

Etc.

OH WR Dwayne Stanford planned to travel to Ann Arbor this weekend, but had to cancel the visit (though he's now trying to get up with his teammate, DE Adolphus Washington, in the next two weeks).

OH S Jarrod Wilson sat down with his coaches last week, and again on Monday. They're trying to decide whether Jarrod is ready to make his school choice between Michigan, Penn state, and Notre Dame. The next meeting takes place on Friday.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins sounds pretty high on Michigan as he tells Tom that he'll be back to Ann Arbor in late July. As he told Scout on Father's Day:

The process might end a little sooner than I expected. I can't wait to get up to Michigan to visit.

That certainly sounds promising.

MI CB LEVITICUS PAYNE(!!!) is still showing interest in Michigan. [Ed: With Standifer and Richardson in the class, the Payne train has likely... uh... sailed. Alas.]

Michigan is seeking at least a couple more offensive linemen in this class, an TN OL Blake Bars could be one of them. Tom talked to him about the process:

My top schools are probably Penn State, Florida, Vanderbilt, LSU, and Michigan. There are some other schools I would maybe want to consider, but that's my top group right now. We're focusing on visiting the top schools right now, and we really wanted to visit Michigan.

That was over the weekend, so no word on how it went, though if he's now closing in on a decision ($, info in header), hopefully well.

AZ OL Andrus Peat is one of the nation's top prospects, and he talked to Tom about his recent Ann Arbor visit:

I was really impressed with everything. I could definitely see myself playing there. I don't know when I'll make my decision, just whenever I feel right. I will probably take official visits and then decide after my senior season.

He plans to cut his list down to 5-8 schools now that he's visited some of his top options.

Michigan recently offered big GA WR Jason Croom, and Tom talked to his mother about the recruiting process:

From a parent stand point this is home, from an academic stand point it's great, and distance wouldn't matter because he would be surrounded by family. It's convenient. One of the [Michigan] coaches actually grew up in the same neighborhood as me and we didn't know it.

With family in metro Detroit, Croom is planning to visit Ann Arbor later this summer. HOWEVA, Croom claims that he'll only play in the SEC, so don't get your hopes up.

Friday Night Lights

In promoting the Big Day Prep Showdown (more about this event as Friday Night Lights approaches), MI CB Commit Terry Richardson talks about why he picked Michigan, and how he's preparing for his senior year.

They'll be opponents for this game, but teammates at the next level, and MI TE Commit Devin Funchess reps his future colors in the same video series:

He says he'll play both at the end of the line and split out in college, confirming the H-back hypotheses that people have raised on his position at Michigan. He played well at Eastern's 7-on-7:

He's long, lean, and runs good routes. We knew he could go up and get it, but what he did here that we hadn't seen as much, was display run after the catch ability. He caught a short out, turned upfield and out ran an entire defense on one touchdown. He'll have weight to add to become an effective tight end, but he's a matchup problem waiting to happen.

Definite tweener at this point. His teammate, MI WR Aaron Burbridge, doesn't give a whole lot of insight on the recruiting process, but does list Michigan first among his offers, for what it's worth. Burbridge impressed at EMU's 7-on-7:

In the championship game, we saw him catch five touchdowns in almost as many possessions, showing great explosiveness and outstanding ball skills. One of the scoring grabs was a wheel route he ran from the backfield and he was doubled on the play, but went up over two defenders to make the grab. He also had a great day at corner, intercepting several passes and breaking up many others. He is without a doubt, an elite talent.

Get those grades in order, my guy.

Also in the realm of the committed, but going one class into the past, the Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 Showdown happened over the weekend, and the Michigan East-West All-Star game takes place this weekend at Central Michigan. They'll get recapped in the final Friday Night Lights feature for 2011. Then I'll start looking forward to the 2012 class's senior year soon.

Happy Trails

NY QB Chad Kelly, who had yet to receive a Michigan offer, committed to Clemson.

NC OL DJ Humphries is down to 5 non-Michigan schools.

TX OL Trey Keenan committed to Texas Tech.

OH DE Se'Von Pittman committed to Michigan State. There was a rumor that he had tried to commit to Michigan a couple weeks back, but told by the coaches to work on his academics before they'd accept a commitment.

NJ S Brandon Napoleon, who had shown some interest in Michigan, but didn't have an offer, committed to West Virginia.

2013

elmerworkout.jpeg

Michigan's summer camp is a good opportunity for the coaches to get to know some underclassmen, and decide which to offer. One of those guys who recently received an offer was MI OL Steven Elmer, the subject of last week's Sam Webb recruiting column:

"While it is early, I see Elmer and Shane Morris battling it out for the top spot in the state for the class of 2013. Right now, because I've seen more of Morris and he has performed well at national settings, he has the edge. However, Elmer's athletic gifts definitely give him a shot to unseat the Warren DeLaSalle quarterback."

Trieu talked about the skills that make Elmer such a special prospect:

"Steve Elmer stands out on tape," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He has fantastic size at 6-6 and 297 pounds, and has the type of athleticism, knee bend, and general coordination colleges look for in a prospect. He gets off the ball well, plays with good pad level, and appears to be a strong kid already. I'd like to see him finish blocks stronger and maybe play a little meaner, but as far as physical tools go, he has the goods."

Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame seem to be the top competition early in the process. Elmer is open to making an early decision if he finds the right place for him, and Tom talked to his dad about their thoughts on Ann Arbor.

A good performance at Michigan's camp netted an offer for OH LB Ben Gedeon (#, info in header).

Michigan has offered GA CB Shaq Wiggins, and he told Tom that he'd like to visit again soon. Wiggins is planning to make an early decision.

MI RB Wyatt Shallman recently stopped in Ann Arbor for a quick camp visit (though he did not work out).

CO OL Chris Fox impressed at Michigan camp, and may receive an offer soon.

Wednesday Recruitin' Adds Star Power

Wednesday Recruitin' Adds Star Power

Submitted by Tim on June 15th, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Tom Strobel and Erik Magnuson Go Blue

TomStrobel-dive.jpegErikMagnuson-nopads-cropped.jpg

The double-dip commitments return, as OH Tom Strobel and CA OL Erik Magnuson both committed to Michigan within an hour or so of each other last Friday. Strobel was the first to commit, and was quite the surprise indeed.

Touch The Banner on Tom:

Overall, Strobel seems like a high-floor/medium-ceiling type of player. As a strongside end, perhaps the most important quality is to be relentlessly active, and he does have that quality. However, he will get eaten alive if he doesn't play lower.

The Wolverine Blog:

Even though I’d be worried about him on the weakside, I love the idea of a strongside Strobel. I think he has many traits that make him ideal for the spot. For one, he mostly plays low with great leverage. He clearly has a very strong lower body, as he holds up well in run defense, rarely budging for the most persistent of tackles.

Sean O'Connell of UMGoBlog:

“Tom is one of my favorite DE’s in the 2012 class. He has an extremely high motor and never, ever gives up on a play. At 6’6” he has the size to potentially play at around 280 pounds or so. Strobel is a very solid tackler and has pretty good technique for a high school kid. He needs to work on his quickness and strength a little bit, but Strobel has the skills to be a special player.”

Strobel told ESPN's Jamie Newberg that Ohio State's pending NCAA sanctions had nothing to do with his decision to go blue. Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long says that this demonstrates Hoke is serious business. He thinks Strobel is a strongside end, and Chris Wormley (who he believes will become a Wolverine soon) is a 3-tech tackle. Local fluff on Wormley's multi-sport talents.

The second commit of the... hour... was CA OL Erik Magnuson. He was making quite a bit of noise about a potential commitment even before coming on the visit (and as I said in the commitment post, he told Tom beforehand that he was planning to commit when in Ann Arbor). Here's a local commitment article on Erik. Touch the Banner on his game:

Magnuson seems like a LT/RT tweener to me. He doesn't have the elite quickness that I'd like to see in a left tackle, but he doesn't have the mass (right now) or run blocking technique to be great at right tackle. I do think these issues are correctable, but his success depends upon how quickly he can shore up these weaknesses.

GBMW on Magnuson:

He bends his knees very well and maintains proper leverage. Erik keeps his feet moving and has good, low get off, all necessities for a power running game. The biggest thing we like about Erik, other than physical skill, is his attitude. He plays the game with a mean nasty edge. Erik does not just block opponents, he tries to destroy them.

And finally, The Wolverine Blog:

Were he to see immediate playing time, he would be exposed against speed rushers. His kick and drag is slow and choppy, and he has trouble getting a strong punch on quick enough pass rushers... Despite that gloomy start to the evaluation, I do like him as a road-paver. As I mentioned, he has long arms and good upper body strength, so when he uses his hands effectively, he’s a force to be reckoned with. More so than that, however, I love his nasty disposition on the field.

For more on both new Wolverines, check out the Hello: Tom Strobel and Hello: Erik Magnuson posts.

Visits

PA RB Greg Garmon was in Ann Arbor Monday. He told Rivals that he "really enjoyed the place."

UT FB Sione Houma was in town, and recapped his visit to Rivals ($, info in headers).

PA OL Adam Bisnowaty recaps his visit to GBW, and tells Rivals that Michigan is "stepping it up" ($, info in headers). His high school's athletic director told Tom that a pre-season decision is on tap for the big Pennsylvanian.

MA OL Eric Olson visited, and told Tom that he enjoyed it. Eric says a decision could come at any time, though he's considering a trip out to Stanford.

PA OL Chris Muller is looking to visit soon.

IL OL Jordan Diamond is in Ann Arbor today (he's traveling to Michigan for the Sound Mind, Sound Body Camp).

AZ OL Andrus Peat will visit Michigan this weekend.

UT DE Moana Ofahengaue (say that five times fast) might make a trip to Ann Arbor this summer ($, info in header).

AdolphusWashington-withball.jpeg

Part 2 of last week's Sam Webb article rounds out the Ohio prospects who may be more interested in the Wolverines, thanks to Jim Tressel's little issue reporting rules. The only remaining prospects of interest to Michigan are OH DE Adolphus Washington (pictured at right) and his teammate, WR Dwayne Stanford.

Dave Berk: I think we were hearing from Adolphus and those close to Adolphus even back at the Columbus Nike camp that Ohio State has really moved down that list... I really think Michigan may be the program to beat.

Allen Trieu: As for where Michigan and Michigan State stand, I really think Michigan has a good chance. They need to get those guys on campus. They have shown interest in coming up to visit, which obviously the first step. With Michigan State, I honestly don't hear Michigan State mentioned too much for those guys.

Their coach has a top-10 list for Washington, but from the horse's mouth, his top 5 is Alabama, Kentucky, Miami (YTM), Michigan, and Ohio State - with the Buckeyes trending downward, it seems. Washington and Stanford are looking to reschedule a canceled visit over Memorial Day, and it seems that will take place this weekend.

The remainder of the article either features prospects who aren't considering Michigan, or who have committed to Michigan (Tom Strobel, profiled above) or Wisconsin (OH OL Kyle Dodson) since publishing.

Etc.

IN QB Gunner Kiel has delayed his commitment, and internet scuttlebut alternately indicates that Michigan or Indiana [ed: !!!] is the school causing him to re-think things.

Local fluff on NC RB Keith Marshall, though there's no mention of Michigan:

Miller Safrit, a football recruiting analyst for ESPNU, said Marshall has shown a lot of savvy during his recruitment. "I think there are five or six schools who think they are in really good shape with him," Safrit said.

Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn, Clemson, and North Carolina seem to be those five or six top teams.

WA OL Zach Banner has narrowed his list to a number of high profile schools (Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Oregon, Florida State and Oregon join Michigan) and the local team, Washington.

There has been a report that OH DE Se'von Pittman recently tried to commit to Michigan, but the coaches told him to take care of some academic work first. Tom talked to his coach to clear some things up:

[Se'Von] wants to take a couple official visits. They're going to be game day officials because his intentions are to be a mid year graduate and enroll early. He's done a lot of homework, he's gone to camps, spring balls, evertyhing. He might be going up to Michigan's camp, we have a couple kids going up there, so he might come up too.

It's interesting that a kid with reported grade issues is considering early enrollment, but we'll have to see how this plays out. Ohio recruiting guru Bill Greene thinks the Buckeyes are back in the picture.

OH LB Commit Kaleb Ringer is striving to enroll early.

OH S Jarrod Wilson is planning to sit down with his coach this afternoon to determine if he's ready to make a decision, and if so, how he'll announce.

NJ S/CB Yuri Wright has Michigan in his top-5-ish substance. Though he's a top prospect, the Wolverines probably don't have room for many more DBs.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins has been offered by Florida ($, info in header). He had an interesting tweet following Michigan's Under The Lights Uniform unveiling:

michigans new Adidas jerseys are sweet hmm im starting to like the adidas flavor #thinking

And followed it up a couple days later with another interesting statement:

michigan has 17 commits hmm nice for the good ol' Maize and Blue #stacked

I imagine he's counting 2013's Shane Morris in that commit count, not dropping a big hint, though he's narrowing his list soon ($, info in header).

Happy Trails

MO WR Durron Neal committed to Oklahoma.

CA WR Malik Gilmore will attend Oregon State.

OH OL Kyle Dodson received his long-awaited Ohio State offer... but committed to Wisconsin instead. Michigan finished in second for the big Clevelander.

MO OL Evan Boehm committed to Missouri.

DC DT Eddie Goldman has narrowed his list to 15 schools ($, info in header). Based on the fact that Michigan has hardly been mentioned with him, it's safe to say the Wolverines aren't one of those 15.

MD DE Michael Moore committed to Virginia.

State of the Class

The majority of comments on recruiting posts of late have been of the variety "where are the remaining scholarships going to go?," so let's take a moment to look at the overall state of the class (as we periodically do).

Although the Depth Chart by Class shows 18 open spots, Brady Hoke told Angelique Chengelis last week that he expects to sign 23-25 prospects. That means expect 5-7 more spots to open up by spring. So, with 7-9 spots left, things seem a lot less cramped in the recruiting class, no? It still leaves people feeling dirty about possible future Saban-y-ness, though.

2013

Michigan leads for OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas. He plans to bring along his cousin, 2012 OH RB Bri'onte Dunn, next time he's in Ann Arbor. ($, info in header).

Keep an eye on OH DE Matt Miller, the younger brother of 2011 signee Jack Miller ($, info in header).

MI LB Jon Reschke will camp at Michigan.

Some Justification For The Recruiting Tizzy

Some Justification For The Recruiting Tizzy

Submitted by Brian on June 14th, 2011 at 1:21 PM

63014404brady-hoke-points-more

he wants you (probably not you unless you're 6'6")

Brady Hoke's swashbuckling recruiting start has put Michigan fans in a tizzy, yrs truly included. Whenever anyone's in a tizzy there's someone there to say "hey, wait a minute," and this is no exception: amongst the many threads that can be summed up with three punctuation marks—!!!—is a small cadre of very rational people who note a significant number of three stars and lack of top 100 types.

One of them did some research:

I looked at Rivals data for every year since 2002, when they first started rating. I looked at the total number of 4 and 5 star recruits each year, and then calculated that as a percentage of the overall class. As we know, 4 and 5 star recruits are what fans think of as "elite" recruits, and if you look at elite recruits as a percentage of the overall class, you can get a rough idea of the "quality" of that year's class.

There are major caveats with this approach, starting with a huge one; this year's class isn't finished being rated, since none of have even played a game as a senior in H.S. Also, the class isn't, like, complete. Finally, the usual caveats of recruiting ratings apply as well. But since fans are typically using ratings to proclaim their happiness with recruiting, it seems fair to at least look at the early ones, just as we do around here in Tim's "Hello' posts. So here goes:

YEAR- #4/5* of # in class (%)

2002- 11 of 21 (52%)

2003- 13 of 17 (77%!)

2004- 13 of 22 (59%)

2005- 10 of 23 (44%)

2006- 11 of 19 (58%)

2007- 7 of 20 (35%)

2008- 17 of 24 (71%)

2009- 14 of 22 (64%)

2010- 6 of 27 (23%)

2011- 6 of 20 (30%)

2012 to date- 7 of 16 (45%)

So of the 11 years that Rivals has recruiting rated, there have been 4 of those years that, by looking at 4 and 5 star percentage of class, this year's class so far has beaten. And of course 6 that had a higher percentage of the class rated as elite by Rivals. Again, I don't draw any conclusions here because of the above caveats, but I do find it interesting. What do you think?

I think the above guy does have a point. Michigan is not suddenly recruiting on par with USC at its apex. That's fine. We are a beaten down fanbase that reached for the spread stars and melted its bowl streak and self respect. A return to, say, the #6 program in the country—its record during the Carr era—would be a welcome change. Michigan's recruiting from the early part of the survey contributed to that and a return to it is a good thing.

But just glancing at the number of four stars sells Michigan a little short. Here's why:

Rivals Is Relatively Down On The Class

247 and Scout are higher on Michigan's commits. The original poster returned to make this point when asked by commenters: 56% of Michigan's commits have four stars on Scout, which puts it above six of the previous ten classes.

Big Classes Are Tougher To Fill

Michigan is apparently headed to 26 this year, a number that should strike fear into every 5'8" guy on the roster other than Vincent Smith*. There's a set number of highly touted guys interested in you no matter how big your class is, so getting to 16 so early with seven four stars (or nine or whatever) should mean Michigan can hold out for bigger fish and come to rest with an impressive, large class.

*[This does make me uncomfortable: they have about 19 spots now and while a standard attrition rate gets them close-ish to that number, outright planning on sending guys out is approaching Saban territory. I hope there are completely legitimate reasons the guys who leave do so but that's getting into "but he really wanted to go to South Alabama!" territory. We'll see.]

Not All Three Stars Are Created Equal

Rivals actually breaks down players into eight tiers: a five star gets 6.1, four stars 6.0, 5.9, or 5.8, three stars 5.7, 5.6, or 5.5, and two stars 5.4. Michigan's committed three stars all get a 5.7 from Rivals save Mario Ojemudia, who gets a 5.6. They've all got good offers from program established at a BCS level:

  • Ben Braden: Wisconsin (and Michigan State)
  • Devin Funchess: Nebraska (and Michigan State)
  • Matt Godin: Wisconsin (and Michigan State)
  • Kaleb Ringer: Iowa
  • Anthony Standifer: Notre Dame
  • AJ Williams: Arkansas (and Michigan State)
  • Ojemudia: Iowa, Stanford (and Michigan State)
  • Allen Gant: Stanford

Only Caleb Stacey (best other offer: BC or Illinois) doesn't have an offer from a program that's done pretty well for itself over the last five or so years.

While none of those offer lists says "you have obviously ranked this prospect wrong (or he's fibbing about who wanted him)" there's a big difference between a 5.7 three star Nebraska was after who is a four star to the other sites and the three stars in Michigan's 2006 class. Only Quintin Patilla got a 5.7. Patilla and Obi Ezeh were snatched away from the MAC; Quintin Woods had an Iowa offer but didn't qualify, something that no current commit seems to be on watch for—certainly no three star. John Ferrara (Penn State) and Perry Dorrestein (Nebraska) each had one other good-ish BCS offer but didn't get that 5.7 and Nebraska then was Callahan Nebraska. Greg Banks shows an Oklahoma(!) offer on his profile but I'm not buying that; he was nondescript 5.6.

Similarly, of Michigan's 11 three-star-or-worse commits in 2005 only two (La Terryal Savoy and Mister Simpson) got a 5.7.

This is where some light Carr tsking has to go: Michigan's strike rate in the late Carr era was dismal. Exactly one three star* from 2006 or 2005 can claim to be anything other than a desperation starter: Mark Ortmann. In just 2005 Ohio State dug up Brian Hartline, Malcolm Jenkins, James Laurinaitis, Anderson Russell, Donald Washington and Brian Robiskie. That's six guys currently in the NFL rated three stars or lower by Rivals. We can talk all the crap we want about Terrelle Pryor but the current Buckeye dominance wasn't just built on loaner cars and birthday parties. They annihilated Michigan when it came to unplucked gems.

Similarly, Rich Rodriguez's classes were laced with academic washouts, insta-transfers, and guys with offer sheets nowhere near the solid lists Michigan's current commits have.

While we've got little evidence Hoke can manage the same trick OSU did the chances he comes up as empty the Carr regime did towards the end are slim, and the chances he suffers as much attrition as Rodriguez are zero.

*[Other than Zoltan Mesko, who is a punter. He got three stars but for recruiting sites giving a kicker three stars is the equivalent of giving anyone else five.]

Michigan State: Goo

This has already been established. Brady Hoke has turned Michigan State recruiting into a national endeavor. Good luck with that, kids.

Notre Dame Is Not Invincible

Recruiting against Notre Dame became virtually impossible for Michigan after Charlie Weis (of all people!) ascended to the top job in South Bend. Throw a rock at Notre Dame's highly touted, highly disappointing offensive line and you have about an 85% chance of hitting a guy who Michigan had offered and pursued heavily. (Don't worry: in response he will only mewl pitifully and see his draft stock plummet.) When Michael Schofield committed to Rich Rodriguez, this was a tremendous outlier.

Notre Dame always did well against Michigan since they had an edge with upstanding gentlemen from Catholic schools and upstanding gentlemen from elsewhere were a dogfight, but in the late Carr/Rodriguez era that went from a slant to an avalanche.

Hoke hadn't fought with Notre Dame much early but four of the last five commits—Erik Magnuson, Tom Strobel, Anthony Standifer, and Terry Richardson—had offers from Notre Dame. Richardson is Cass Tech and his buds are commits and etc etc, but

  • Standifer is from Chicago, where Notre Dame has been kicking Michigan's head in for decades,
  • Magnuson is from the West Coast, where Michigan recruiting had evaporated under Rodriguez and Notre Dame does pretty well, and
  • Strobel is from the Cleveland area, which is historically one of the least-friendly places for Michigan recruiting. (Information per Misopogon, his past diary, and his upcoming Hail To The Victors article.)

That's a burst of success against the Irish unlike any Michigan has seen in a long time.

Ohio State: Self-Immolated

This is impossible to judge in a vacuum; recruiting against the Buckeyes is going to be a lot easier for the foreseeable future. Does Tom Strobel swing to Michigan if Jim Tressel forwards that email to compliance? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not. However, even if Ohio recruiting's skids are considerably greased the next few years Hoke has an opportunity to become an equal(-ish) force in the state comparable to the Bo/Mo/early Lloyd era when recruiting an Ohio player was like going up against Notre Dame: yeah, there's a subset of that population you're basically Sisyphus with but you are going to win a sizeable chunk of those battles.

Shane Morris

Shane Morris. In a similar vein, the things people are hearing about Wormley, Pipkins, Diamond, and even the buzz on Adolphus Washington.

Evaluating A Proper Level Of Giddiness

I do think the research guy above has a point. While Rivals is the most pessimistic data point at the moment, Michigan killing the Midwest without pulling in any of the truly big time recruits from Ohio, Illinois, or Pennsylvania (yet, anyway) is a  baseline for Michigan's success if it's going back to a This Is Michigan strategy. Hopefully over the next eight months we'll see them pare back to an elite corps of guys they're after and close out with VHTs. If they don't it's going to look like a pretty good Carr class. If they do it's going to crack the top five and set the stage for a major realignment of power in the region.

Hello: Erik Magnuson

Hello: Erik Magnuson

Submitted by Tim on June 10th, 2011 at 5:12 PM

They started close to home, but the Wolverines have started to venture out of Michigan and Ohio with commitments from Illinois (DB Anthony Standifer) and now the West Coast in CA OL Erik Magnuson. As Erik told to Tom a couple weeks ago:

"I just feel comfortable with the coaches, and I know them so well. I feel the program is going in the right direction. I know some of the 2012 commits and I think they're all good players. They're bringing in a good offense, and I want to get out of California. I just feel like Michigan is the right place for me."

Welcome to the fold, young man. For what it's worth, part of that "knowing the coaches so well" stems from their time at San Diego State. Hoke's Aztecs were Magnuson's first offer.

mugnuson.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #16 OT,
#97 Ovr
4*, 5.9, #8 OL
#34 Ovr
4*, #24 OT 4*, 95, #13 OT,
#10 Cali, #85 Ovr

As usual, we will start with the premium sites' takes on his height. This will be quick however, as every single site lists his weight at 275, and only ESPN breaks the lockstep at 6-6, by calling him 6-5. So let it be blogged: Erik Magnusen is 6-6 / 275.

The sites get a little more varied on him as a player, though not by much. Scout and 24/7 Sports think about the same of him, putting him near the back of their top-100 lists, and in the teens among offensive tackles (ESPN is even more pessimistic, keeping him out of their 150 and as the #24 tackle). Rivals is significantly more impressed, unofficially calling him the 8th-best offensive lineman and the #34 prospect at any position in the country.

The line on Magnuson is that he's been impressing everyone who's seen him this spring ($, info in header), and there are a few firsthand reports to back that up. JC Shurburtt:

I saw him at the Stanford NFTC- I liked him. He's big, athletic and seems to have a mean streak (no pads, mind you).

Shurburtt went into a bit more detail in a story on 24/7 Sports:

Magnuson has an excellent frame, good feet and plays with a nasty streak. He was dominant in one-on-ones and looked good athletically moving around in position drills. Combine what he showed Sunday with what he shows on film and there’s a good chance that Magnuson could move up our rankings when they are updated again.

That certainly makes it sound like he's going to be closer to Rivals's positioning than Scout's next time 24/7 updates the rankings. Adam Gorney of Rivals calls him one of the most physical guys he's seen in person:

On the offensive side I think Erik Magnuson is pretty tough. He just embraces the physical side of being an offensive tackle and he's not afraid to compete in a really tough way.

magnusonaction.jpg

He was named MVP of the Asante Trenchmen Academy ($, info in header), and Rivals provides some highlights from that event. Note the quick footwork out of such a big dude. Picture at right from that event, via Scout.

He's a pretty good pass blocker, but has said himself that he'd like to improve on his drive-blocking. It's natural for high schoolers to be good at one or the other, so once he gets into a college weight program and adds some strength, his run blocking should improve. More from Magnuson himself, via Scout ($):

"I work harder than anyone else. I have good footwork from playing basketball and I'm real aggressive and physical with my opponents. I am further along as a pass blocker than I am in blocking in the run game, though. Opposing coaches have said they notice my athleticism and speed despite being my size."

He made similar comments to Tom earlier this spring. Irish Sports Daily caught up with his head coach:

“Erik's a very athletic and aggressive player,” said Sovacool. “He's a really big kid too and he hits all the benchmarks that you're looking for in a football player, especially at offensive tackle. He's all of 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, but the difference between him and other kids his size is that he can run. He's also a guy that isn't afraid of the weight room and has a little bit of an edge to him, which I think recruiters like as well.”

That size listing is a serious outlier, but the coach is likely just overstating weight, and Erik might be a little shorter than his listed 6-6. He's been named to the US Army All-American Bowl, and he's mentioned enrolling early (he's a very good student, and was all-academic in his league as a junior).

He's a big true tackle who can play on either side of the line. There's no mention of his long arms - typically considered necessary for left tackles at the next level - but based on pictures and video alone, it doesn't seem anything is amiss. As somebody who's most comfortable as a pass blocker in high school, starting at left tackle is likely.

He's not the physical freak of a Jake Long is (but is anybody? [Ed-M: Lewan, so far]), but he has the attributes needed to succeed at the next level.

OFFERS

As a West Coast product, Erik's offers were a Pac-12 who's who: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. Only Arizona State and USC didn't extend him the scholarship opportunity (though in a video interview he states that USC is the only offer he lacks).

He's not just a regional prospect -- Cincinnati, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, and Oklahoma offered.

STATS

magnusonblockin.jpg

Offensive linemen don't have any stats. However, he's performed well enough each of the past two seasons to earn All-League recognition, per his Scout profile. He's also earned all-Academic honors (as mentioned above), which is nice both because having intelligent dudes is never a bad thing, and because OL is one of the more brain-intensive positions on the field.

FAKE 40 TIME

None of the premium sites list a 40 time for Erik. In the Rivals video linked above, you can see that he's not quite as fast or quick as the offensive lineman he's "racing" in the ladder/running drills, but speed isn't necessarily his game, either. I'm assuming that, as a relatively slender OT prospect, the 4.9-5.1 range is most likely. This gets five FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

His impressive Youtube highlight:

As he pointed out himself, he's not the strongest run blocker at the point of attack, but that will improve as he adds mass. What he does show is good agility in pass blocking, as a pulling lead blocker, and in getting downfield blocks. He also has a basketball highlight reel.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

So, this guy is a serious player, right? Although offensive linemen almost always redshirt, Michigan's depth at offensive tackle is pretty light for 2012, and Magnuson has mentioned potentially enrolling early. That could mean (depending on who else ends up in Michigan's recruiting class) that he's immediately the most likely OL candidate since Mr. Plow to make the 2-deep as a freshman.

In that season, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield will be redshirt juniors, and as long as they stay healthy (and depending on what depth develops among backup tackles), Erik will hopefully still be afforded the chance to redshirt. Either way, in his second year on campus he should get a bit of playing time as a backup as he prepares for the following season.

In 2014 Lewan and Schofield will have shuffled off the collegiate coil - hopefully as Picks 1 and 2 in the NFL draft - and Magnuson will be one of the players with a chance at a starting spot. He'll either lock down one of the tackle positions, or get heavy time as a backup. By the time he's a senior or redshirt junior, I think Magnuson is a lock to be a starter. He has all-Big Ten potential, and if he lives up to it, 2nd or 3rd-team All-American honors are a possibility as a redshirt senior.

The recruiting sites certainly think highly enough of Erik to place him in that spectrum (24/7 Sports is going to move him up in their next re-rank, and Rivals has already anointed him as a top-40 prospect in the nation).

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

This is a huge weight off Michigan fans' shoulders. A true left tackle is finally on board. That said, weak tackle recruiting classes over the previous two years (Tony Posada and Chris Bryant of the 2011 class seem more like guard or right tackle prospects, and center Christian Pace was the only lineman in 2010's crop) means that Michigan is in dire need of at least one more tackle. That would preferably be one that could play on either end of the line, such as IL OT Jordan DIamond. Another highly-rated interior guy would be nice as well, but is not nearly as necessary.

Away from the offensive line, defensive tackle is now the only remaining priority. At least one highly-rated wideout is important, and a quarterback and running back would be nice. Other than that, remaining scholarships (assuming there are some) can be spent on prospects that the coaching staff really likes, regardless of position.

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Anthony Standifer

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Anthony Standifer

Submitted by Tim on June 8th, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Anthony Standifer Goes Blue

IL CB Anthony Standifer became Michigan's 14th(!) class of 2012 commit last week. Commitment post from CBS. Touch the Banner on Standifer's game:

When the ball is in the air, he goes up and gets it at its highest point. He also has very smooth hips for a kid who's 6'1" ...I also really like the way Standifer deals with blockers; they're nuisances to him and he finds crafty ways to get around people who are in his way... I have doubts that Standifer can be a truly elite corner because of his lack of high-end speed, but I think he has sufficient speed to be an impact corner in the Big Ten.

The Wolverine Blog's Jack Slice:

All in all, with a couple years’ weight training and technical work, Standifer could become the sort of corner who, while not always locking down their man, won’t let up many big mistakes, and should position himself to make a play after the catch. While I like him better at corner, I wouldn’t object to placing him in a deep zone, provided he puts on some weight, ideally 10-20 pounds.

Mark Snyder of the Free Press talked to his coach:

"He's a kid who's over 6-1, may get to be 6-2 and is 6-3/6-4 in spikes," [Crete-Monee coach Jerry] Verde said. "His physical makeup makes him also very athletic. He has long arms, good speed and a good vertical jump. He also has excellent instincts."

Verde also said that Anthony transformed from a great athlete int a great football player as a junior. For more, check out the Hello: Anthony Standifer post.

Since it happened on a Tuesday, I didn't get to throw in Allen Gant's local commitment article into last week's recruiting update. He also talked to Sam the morning of his commitment.

Scout's Allen Trieu has kind words for both Standifer and Gant (notably saying that Gant's athleticism is underrated by people who have only seen him on tape).

Columbustown

As the Buckeyes are the reigning overlord in the Midwest (at least from a recruiting standpoint), their struggles with following the rules are bound to have an effect on some of the other regional schools in terms of recruiting.

This week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News is a roundtable with Scout's Allen Trieu and Bill Greene. First, on OH OL Kyle Kalis:

Trieu: I think there is a good chance that he is going to at least take another look around. Obviously that doesn't mean he is going to decommit.

Greene: So if he thought about decommitting on Monday, and you were able to talk him off the edge on Tuesday, you've still got a long time between now and February 2012 when he can be signed. I would guess that you are going to have to revisit this issue again with Kyle Kalis.

Kalis talked to Tom about his commitment, and he's still a Buckeye, but considering a few other schools. Back to Webb. On OH RB Bri'onte Dunn:

Bill Greene: I think Michigan absolutely has a legitimate shot at Brionte Dunn. I think Penn State would be appealing to him too. I would not be surprised to him take official visits in the fall regardless of him reaffirming his commitment to Ohio State two days ago. I think there is still some uncertainty there.

and on OH DE Chris Wormley:

Allen Trieu: Even through all the things that he was saying, I always felt like Michigan was the leader for Chris. I think Michigan is the clear leader now and I think it would be an upset if he went anywhere but Michigan.

Bill Greene: I have had Wormley going to Michigan since the Ohio State camp last year. I still see Chris Wormley at Michigan and I've never wavered from that. We'll see.

There's much more in there, but you'll have to click through so I'm not stealing all of Sam's content. Next week's column will cover several more prospects with Michigan and Ohio State interest, including Dwayne Stanford, Kyle Dodson, and others.

Fox Toledo talked to Wormley, though he doesn't provide much insight into whether it changes his decision timeframe:

The Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo spoke to Wormley at the state track finals, and has a hunch that Michigan will land the talented Toledoan.

Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long thinks OH DE Se'Von Pittman was a Michigan lean even before Tressel got the axe.

Fox Sports Ohio covers the "risky time" for Buckeyes recruiting.

The Wayne Morgan Saga

NY CB/S Wayne Morgan had previously planned to make a final decision last Thursday, but his choice between Michigan and Rutgers is delayed. Since Michigan was the heavy favorite to land him, that's a bad thing, as it gives other schools a better chance to sway him.

From the sounds of things, Michigan's coaches wanted him as a corner, and the delay means that there will likely not be a spot for him when he decides (MA CB Armani Reeves dropped the Wolverines for similar reasons). Michigan's coaches are probably looking for a true free safety to close out the DB recruiting class.

May I suggest OH S Jarrod Wilson, who visited last Tuesday, and named Michigan to his top 3 shortly thereafter? He plans to decide before the start of his senior season. His coach, former Wolverine great Ricky Powers, told Tom that Jarrod plans to enroll early.

Defensive Tacklin'

MO DT Ondre Pipkins was the guest of honor for a live chat with Rivals last Thursday. Some highlights:

  • Ondre plans to visit Ann Arbor at the end of the summer, or for a game. He'll narrow his list in June, and his final decision will probably come in early December. He plans to announce at a press conference, but will finish his high school year rather than enrolling early.
  • He spent a lot of time talking about his favorite football player: former Wolverine Lamarr Woodley. He plans to wear #56 in college to honor the Steelers all-pro, and Woodley is one of the mentors helping him through the recruiting process.
  • His other recruiting advisors are Tennessee-bound DeAnthony Arnett (and his brother Ralph), and former Spartan Clifton Ryan.
  • There are a lot of things Michigan has going in their favor from the start with Pipkins. He still considers Saginaw his home, and grew up a fan of Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan Stadium is tied for his favorite in the NCAA (with Alabama), and he says Michigan has the best helmet in the game. His favorite sports movie is Jalen Rose's "The Fab Five" (another tie, this time with fellow 30-for-30 project "The U").
  • He wants to major in Business Administration, and a good program there (check) will help a school in his eyes, along with good relationships with the coaches, and a shot at early playing time (check).

He also seems to be high on Michigan's coaching staff, and the way they're recruiting him. For example, his answer to two separate questions (the first about Hoke and staff):

They seem very family oriented. Very honest and up front.

Yes, family is very important.

He also answered some specific questions about Michigan's coaching staff:

Q: How does the fact that Michigan has 3 DL Coaches, along with former Ravens Defensive Coord. weigh into your feelings with Michigan?

It really does ... because it's going to be a defensive-type of team and defense wins championships.

Q: Hows Greg Mattison as a recruiter. Heard hes the best in the biz.

He's very good ... he just tells you straightforward what you need to hear .

That certainly goes well with his answer to a different question, asked earlier:

Q: Do you ever feel some coaches just tell you what you want to hear and are just worried about you as the football player and not you as a person?

Yeah, I definitely feel that way. The ones that tell you wht you need to hear are the coaches that have the best interests at heart for you.

And finally, he talked a bit about his game. He doesn't matter what scheme he plays in, and doesn't care if he's simply used to plug holes so the linebackers can make plays. He loves opening lanes for the linebackers and making the plays himself, as well. His mean streak and hand movement are his strengths, along with versatility, while he admits he needs to work on staying low and getting an initial punch.

Ondre thinks he's a hard enough worker both on and off the field to be in the running for five-star status. He hasn't been invited to any All-Star games yet, but he is working hard to earn the honor.

[Ed: Pipkins was also talking about wanting Woodley's number on the Twitter. You can have the whole outfit, kid!]

CA DT Aziz Shittu will probably make his open commitment to Stanford into an official decommitment sometime soon. The highly rated big man wants to take his time and experience what other schools have to offer before choosing where to spend the next 4+ years of his life. He told Tom:

If he does reopen his recruitment that would likely mean he would take summer visits. "I'm not sure yet where I want to visit, but I'm going to get out there. I'd like to make it out to Michigan," said Shittu. "I like [Michigan's] tradition and the style of play they want to do."

Michigan was in his top-5 at the time he committed to the Cardinal, and academics are a big priority.

I would guess Pipkins is priority #1 at DT for the Wolverines (with Shittu near the top of the list as well). As for likely pipe dreams, NY DT Jarron Jones is still planning to visit Ann Arbor, so anything is possible.

O-Line Visitors

MA OL Eric Olson visited Michigan yesterday. The Massachusetts prospect is relatively unknown to the recruiting services, but will make a decision soon.

CA OL Erik Magnuson is visiting this weekend. Tom says this is a "very big" visit for Michigan, so if Erik likes what he sees, it could be a great weekend for the maize-and-blue.

IL OL Jordan Diamond will be in Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header).

If Michigan closed out OL recruiting with that trio, I think there would be very few complaints.

Another tackle, PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, is also visiting today.

Happy Trails

OH TE Sam Grant committed to Boston College.

CA TE Taylor McNamara committed to Arizona.

GA DE/LB Jarontay Jones committed to Virginia Tech.

Etc.

IN QB Gunner Kiel is deciding soon ($, info in header). It seems like Michigan has fallen off in his recruitment.

OH QB Austin Appleby has been selected to the Elite 11 finals. Elite 11 fluff on Appleby.

CO OL Paul Thurston may be deciding soon ($, info in header).

Michigan has offered MO WR Jehu Chesson. He was more familiar with Rich Rodriguez's Michigan staff, but is getting to know Brady Hoke's assistants. He'll narrow his list by the end of the summer.

MD DE Ryan Watson will camp at Michigan this summer.

Michigan is "in the mix" for MD DE Michael Moore ($, info in header).

Michigan has entered the top 5 for NJ S Elijah Shumate.

CBS's pre-season high school top-25 includes Farmington Hills Harrison (home of Michigan commits Mario Ojemudia and Devin Funchess), as well as several other schools with Michigan targets. Speaking of Ojemudia, he's been selected to join his future teammate Royce Jenkins-Stone in the 2012 Army All-American Game. Congrats, Mario!

Fellow commit OH LB Kaleb Ringer will move to outside linebacker this season to prepare to play that position at the next level.

The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp takes place next week.

2013

IL WR Laquon Treadwell had a good visit to Ann Arbor last week. His teammate, Anthony Standifer, so enjoyed the visit that he committed to Michigan's 2012 class.

PA TE Adam Breneman will visit Michigan ($, info in header).

MI DT Kenton Gibbs is hearing from Michigan. He's a Cass Tech product, so Michigan should have a shot at him if they decide to pursue.

Michigan has offered CA LB Michael Hutchings ($, info in header). He's a product of Concord De La Salle (alma mater of Matt Gutierrez, Amani Toomer, and a few other former Wolverines).

Hello: Anthony Standifer

Hello: Anthony Standifer

Submitted by Tim on June 1st, 2011 at 7:36 PM

On a visit to campus today, IL CB/S Anthony Standifer has committed to Michigan. The Wolverines were his first big offer, and though he picked more up afterwards, he decided that Ann Arbor is the place for him.

standifer.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
3*, #26 CB NR DB NR CB 3*, 87, NR CB

Anthony is a bit under-the-radar at this point, but he's a tall corner with excellent ball skills. Scout, Rivals, and 24/7 Sports all say he's 6-1, while ESPN puts him down at 6-0. He's also a skinny dude, with the consensus weight just under 180 pounds. That sounds like a guy who can either play corner or put on some weight and project to free safety if needed.

On top of the size, the recruiting services also make it obvious that he's a generic 3-star prospect. If he can truly play corner, expect those rankings to go up, because he has excellent size for the position.

Tom talked to Anthony about his game:

I have good size, I'm fast for my size, good at finding the ball, I have good enough hands to be a receiver if I wanted to be, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.

"Good enough hands to play receiver" is a huge asset for a defensive back as long as all the other skills are present as well. A Rivals article starts out by stating that Standifer's hips are good, despite the fact that tall corners usually have trouble ($, info in header):

Tall cornerbacks are a rarity in college football because, in general, the taller a player, the less "swivel" they have in their hips. Crete (Ill.) Monee's Anthony Standifer is one of those rare athletes over 6-feet who plays the cornerback position, and Michigan is starting to show interest.

He impressed Scout's Allen Trieu at the Core6 combine last month ($):

A long, athletic 6'1 cornerback, he has picked up offer after offer of late. This was my first time seeing him in person, and it's easy to see why he has those offers. In addition to his size, he has legitimate speed and athleticism. He's not a 4.3 guy, but he can run with just about anyone, and his ball skills are top notch. He has some technical work to do still, but his anticipation and awareness is good. He did a good job of recognizing and jumping routes.

To me, that reads like "maybe not the best athlete, but certainly good enough." At his height, having good anticipation and ball skills are just as important as speed, and as long as he's able to run with most wideouts, that speed shouldn't be a liability at all. Considering most of his offers have come following in-person evaluations by college coaching staffs, I wouldn't be too worried.

It's clear that Brady Hoke and staff want at least one taller corner in this class, and Anthony has the ability to play there. He's also big enough to be a potential safety down the road, so versatility is definitely in his favor, as far as getting on the field down the road.

OFFERS

As mentioned above, Michigan was the first big offer for Standifer (he had previously held Northern Illinois and Western Michigan). However, after Michigan stepped up, several schools - depending on your definition of bigtime - entered the fray. Boise State, Cincinnati, Iowa, Kansas, and Notre Dame are some of the schools that have recently played in BCS bowls that consider Anthony worthy of an offer.

He has a few other lesser offers, including some mid-level BCS teams and MAC-type schools, and definitely has the profile of a riser with some of the recent entrants. Michigan State, Miami (YTM), and Oregon were some of the schools showing interest that hadn't yet offered.

STATS

Via 24/7 Sports:

Standifer had 44 tackles, nine interceptions and one forced fumble as a junior.

Yay. Nine interceptions in a high school season speaks to his ball-hawking ability, especially since a lot of high school teams are very wary of throwing when they know the other team has good DB talent.

FAKE 40 TIME

None of the premium sites have listed 40 times. Default five FAKEs out of five. Allen Trieu said above he's "not a 4.3 guy," which duh, because almost nobody is.

VIDEO

Standifer's Junior Highlight:

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Michigan has picked up tons of DBs in the classes of 2011 and 2012, and it's super-tough to project a player at that position when the guys a year ahead of him have yet to even hit campus, much less play in a game.

If you held a gun to my head and made me choose, I would say that Michigan's newfound DB depth(!) will allow him to redshirt, and in that year, it'll be much easier to determine if he'll grow into a free safety or remain the size of a corner. My assumption is that safety is in his future, but it all depends on way too many factors to know right now.

He seems like the type who will never be a huge star, but could be a solid starter during the course of his career, and as long as he develops as expected, could be a late round NFL-type.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

This commitment REALLY starts the slowdown process on defensive backs for the 2012 class. Standifer is the third DB, and with the possible addition of Morgan tomorrow (pending a discussion with his family, apparently) and a big DB class last year, OL, DT, and WR remain the primary needs, with QB and RB also needed.

Hello: Allen Gant

Hello: Allen Gant

Submitted by Tim on May 31st, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Michigan picks up a legacy commit, as the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant has pledged to the maize-and-blue. OH S Allen Gant becomes the 13th recruit in Michigan's class of 2012.

gantmug.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
3*, NR S NR WR NR WR NR Ath

As you can see, the recruiting sites are lukewarm-at-best on Gant. To my surprise, he isn't viewed universally as a safety, as I had assumed to be the case (and that's the position he'll likely play in college). His profile has fallen off considerably since the days when he was considered the best 2012 prospect in Ohio ($, info in header).

24/7 Sports is the odd site out on height, calling him 6-1 whereas everyone else agrees he's 6-2. Weights range from 198 to 210. A good overall estimate of size then, is about 6-2, 205.

His scout profile has Allen talk about his own game:

“I’m able to read the quarterback well and know what the offense is doing. I’m pretty quick and I hit hard. I’m a very hard-nosed player. I’d like to be better overall and get faster and quicker. I want to brake [sic] on passes better.”

He was the subject of a Sam Webb column in the Detroit News last summer, and his dad talked briefly about his game:

"He is almost 6-2, and weighs in the 205- to 210-pound range. He runs a 4.6, he's got a nose for the ball, he's physical, and he is smart. Having that type of football intelligence, it just makes his job that much easier because you want to react instead of think out on the football field. Plus he's coachable. His football intelligence and coachability are his two greatest assets along with his physical capabilities."

As a fairly huge high school safety, he'd better be wiling to bring the lumber with regularity. At that size, the natural questions about speed (and a potential move to linebacker) arise:

Allen Gant is another of this outstanding defensive back class that has questions as far as what kind of athlete he is. It is actually more than that. It is where he fits. He has the talent to play receiver but I have never believed he had the speed. The big question will be if he is fast enough to play safety and if not does he have the frame to grow into an outside linebacker?

Gant is known for being an intelligent player, so even if he lacks a little bit in 40-yard dash time, being in the right spot to make plays can make up for that. The MSR Ohio Blog talks his game, and it certainly sounds like the instincts are present:

Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline.

His coach had never played a freshman before Gant came along, so his early reputation as one of Ohio's top prospects was partially based on being an early bloomer.

With 4 linebackers and another linebacker-y tweener (Mario Ojemudia) already committed, I'm guessing that Michigan's coaches are confident enough in his speed to remain at safety. Now that he's committed as a safety, hopefully some of the recruiting sites will rank him at that position and we can get a more accurate picture of where he stands.

He's a good enough athlete to be an all-area selection for basketball as a sophomore, and he was part of a sub-45 second 4x100 relay team the same spring.

OFFERS

gantaction.jpeg

Allen had offers from a host of MAC schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (NTM), and Toledo, but he also had a few slightly bigger letters to his name: Boston College, Cincinnati, Stanford, and West Virginia. It's not a murderer's row, but there are definitely a few worthwhile offers in there. He was expecting an Illinois offer ($, info in header) back in February, and his Rivals profile indicates he received it.

Gant had interest - but no offer - from several big-name schools: Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC.

STATS

Scout brings the junior year stats:

Allen Gant finished his junior season with 56 tackles, three interceptions and two fumbles caused. He also had 20 receptions for one touchdown.

That was good enough for third-team All-State. He had a recurring hamstring injury through most of his sophomore year, which hampered his production in that season, but he led his team to a state title as a freshman.

FAKE 40 TIME

4.6 seems to be the consensus time, and while that's respectable for a strong safety (in fact quite good I think), guys Gant's size aren't generic 3-stars if they can run that fast. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Gant junior video from ScoutingOhio:

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

He's unlikely to be a big star unless the recruiting sites are just plain wrong, but after a redshirt year, he definitely has the potential to contribute on special teams. and he could end up a starter by the time he's an upperclassman.

Especially with a coaching change underway, it's tough to know where Michigan's current secondary players will end up, what quality of player we have on the roster now (I'm going to assume better than they've looked the past 3 years), so it's tough to project too far into the future. Gant has the feel of a solid upperclassman starter who doesn't get a lot of national (or conference) recognition.

As a youngster, he seemed like a future 5-star thanks to an early maturation, but that has fallen off as other prospects his age have matured as well (think Marvin Robinson). However, Gant has been injured over portions of the last two years, so when healthy, hopefully he can regain that top form.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

It's felt like it for a while, but spots are going to start actually getting tight now. Pending the decision of Wayne Morgan on Thursday (all indications at this point are that Michigan leads), Michigan has two to three defensive backs in the class, the other being Terry Richardson. Brady Hoke and company would probably take a fourth, but the fifth guy is going to have to be somebody they think very highly of.

The needs going forward are still at defensive tackle and on the offensive line, particularly at tackle. A quarterback and a wideout are also needed, and a good running back would be nice, thank you very much.

Hello: Terry Richardson

Hello: Terry Richardson

Submitted by Tim on May 19th, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Though it seemed for a long time like Michigan would not acheeve dream of landing the top in-state trio of LBs Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross and CB Terry Richardson, fear not: Richardson sealed the deal today, completing the triumvirate.

richardson-60.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*
#10 CB
4*, 5.8
NR CB, #195 Ovr
NR CB, 150 Watchlist 4*, 97,
#3 CB, #31 Ovr

There is a machine hidden somewhere deep in Detroit that pumps out 5-9, 160-pound cornerbacks, and sends them to Cass Technical High School. Terry Richardson is the latest model, following Boubacar Cissoko, Dior Mathis, and Delonte Hollowell.

Richardson was a 2-seed in Sam Webb's March Madness recruiting column for the Detroit News. Allen Trieu on Terry's game:

The question with him is the size. He stands 5-9, 162 pounds, but he is an excellent football player with great instincts and excellent ball skills. His extensive offer list is proof that many of the top programs in the country have seen enough to say, 'We can overlook the lack of size.'

For the record, Michigan has commitments from 1-seeds James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone, 2-seed Devin Funchess, and 3-seeds Matt Godin and Mario Ojemudia, and is in good position with a couple other prospects. Michigan State has commitments from... none of the top 16. The report on Richardson is almost the exact same as the three DBs before him: excellent skills, except he's really short (he was a combine-verified 5-8 in 2009, but that's 3 years before he enters college, too). Trieu says he has the best ball skills of the Cass Tech lineage. Sam also profiled him in the fall:

"He's a natural at corner," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He has tremendous instincts to go along with the quickness and hips to turn and run with receivers. He also has great ball skills. His main weakness is size. I'd like to see him add weight this offseason but his tackling this season has been solid despite that."

Terry's been putting on weight, as he claims he was only 130 pounds(!) as a sophomore:

"I believe last year I was around 130, and right now I am at 165," Richardson reported. "I feel way stronger. My press coverage is looking a lot better. That is something that I just cannot wait to work on this summer during camp season — being more physical in press coverage."

Moving along, Terry talks about himself on his Scout profile:

“I’m a big play guy. When we need a big play, I’ll come through and make it happen. I’m also smart and I can read routes and know what the offense is doing. I’m also always very composed and don’t get rattled. I want to be more explosive and get in and out of my breaks faster. I’m working on being more physically fit and getting stronger.”

Playing intelligently and building strength are HUGE needs for short DBs. Terry is a certified short guy. The only question about Terry is whether he can do those other things well enough to counter sub-optimal height.

It's relevant because all Cass Tech DBs are the same, so check out Brian's Delonte Hollowell profile for the general vibe on Terry, as well. Aside from the differences noted above, Terry is also a liiiittle bit taller than Delonte, and listed quite a bit faster.

OFFERS

terryaction.jpg

Allen gave a little love to his offer list above, and here is a small sampling of schools who aren't too worried about Terry's height to offer: Alabama, Iowa, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, and USC. All of those schools have put guys into the league at the position in the past couple years.

Other offers include Arizona State, Cincinnati, Indiana, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Toledo, and UCLA. This is not some under-the-radar prospect. He had interest from Florida, Miami, Oregon, and Tennessee, and if those schools had extended offers, this would be as exciting a prospect as there is in this class.

STATS

The Scout profile provideth:

Terry Richardson finished his junior season with 35 tackles and 12 interceptions on defense. Offensively, he caught 12 receptions for around 400 yards and five touchdowns.

Richardson had four interceptions, 16 breakups and 20 tackles as a sophomore.

Not bad. Cass Tech ran a spread offense of sorts (though Royce Jenkins-Stone got his share of carries at fullback), and Terry got a few receptions on that side of the ball. Defensively, the Technicians don't play a lot of teams that throw the ball much, and I wouldn't be surprised if those stats are a little... exaggerated.

FAKE 40 TIME

Scout says 4.5, but none of the other sites have listed 40 times. Considering his Scout profile also lists a combine-verified 4.64 (actually not bad with laser timing), I'll have to give two FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Youtube highlights:

You can also catch a couple glimpses of #9 in last year's Cass Tech FNL feature, where he impressed me a bit more than 2011 Michigan commit Delonte Hollowell.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Terry seems like a great corner, but on the other hand, Michigan has plenty of talent in the pipeline. Courtney Avery will be but a junior in 2012, and Blake Countess's class (also including Greg Brown, Tamani Carter, and Raymon Taylor) will just be sophomores or redshirt freshmen. Considering Terry is just a skinny little guy, a redshirt year is probably in order.

Following such a redshirt year, special teams time as a redshirt freshman is the expectation, before the graduation of Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott opens up a starting spot, for which he'll compete alongside whichever younger guy doesn't take the Woolfolk/Floyd starting spot in 2012.

I would guess Terry has a good chance at that spot, assuming natural development, or he at least gets a chance in nickel packages (though it seems Mattison's current plan is to play a bigger safety type in the nickel). By the time he's an upperclassman, Terry should be getting plenty of time in the rotation, and be a possible all-conference type in his final two years.

Though his size may limit him in the NFL Draft down the road (assuming he's not done growing - don't forget he won't even be in college for another 18 months), he still has enough other skills to be selected after the first round.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

I am shaking in my shoes trying to figure out what other defensive back is going to commit within the next couple days, because I sure don't have the "comes in pairs" post ready to go for another guy (although Shane Morris and Matt Godin started to break up the position-by-position lockstep).

You know the story by now - DT, RB, OL, and WR are the remaining needs. A QB would be very nice, but is no longer imperative, and the remaining slots can go to the best prospects, regardless of position

Wednesday Recruitin' At Half-Tank

Wednesday Recruitin' At Half-Tank

Submitted by Tim on May 18th, 2011 at 11:19 AM

2012 Offer Board lives here.

Decisions on Deck?

IN QB Gunner Kiel has eliminated Notre Dame, and is down to a final four of Michigan, Missouri, Alabama, and Oklahoma. He is planning a June decision.

chris-wormley-whitmer-discus.jpg

Not only is OH DE Chris Wormley excelling in field events (discus and shot put) this spring, he's dropping recruiting info to track reporters:

“Everything I do [in the three sports] helps all around,” said Wormley, whose top two colleges choices right now are Michigan first and Ohio State second, followed by Michigan State and Notre Dame. “It keeps me conditioned throughout the season. [Track] ties into everything.”

Now that Scout is asking the customary headline-question-where-the-answer-is-always-yes about whether Wormley will decide soon ($, info in header), it could mean another commitment isn't far off for the maize-and-blue. He told Tom that he'll focus on recruiting once track ends. Magnus talks about Wormley's surprisingly low Rival ranking on Maize n Brew:

It looks like he put on some weight, and it doesn't necessarily look like pure muscle. Secondly, it looks like he's either favoring some part of his body or he just lacks aggression... I'm saying it looks like something is wrong. Additionally, he doesn't get off the ball as quickly in his junior film, and it looks like he lost a notch in the speed department.

Early offers from Michigan and Ohio State speak to his potential, but he's going to have to capture his sophomore-year fitness (he certainly doesn't look fat in the track photo above) and form to improve his standing to the recruiting services.

MI CB Terry Richardson has been on-again, off-again about making a decision at some point this week. If such a decision does come to pass, it will be tomorrow morning at 11:45 in the Cass Tech weight room, but as of right now, it seems like the conference will be delayed again - but he'll announce on social media sites at 8AM tomorrow.

Fill 'er Up

With the 2012 class about half-full (per the expectations come Signing Day, at least), it's time to look at what needs remain for the next crop of Wolverines and which positions must be filled:

  • QB: 0-1. The commitment of 2013's Shane Morris allows the coaching staff to be very selective about a QB in this class. They can either swing for the fences with Gunner Kiel, or go for a multi-position guy.
  • RB: 1-2. Brady Hoke clearly wants one running back in this class (though it seems they're content to pursue mostly elite prospects) and probably a fullback as well.
  • WR: 1. With Darryl Stonum, Junior Hemingway, and Martavious Odoms moving on after this year, at least one wideout is necessary for roster balance. Another would be a luxury.
  • TE: 0-1. Early on, it seemed like Michigan would take another tight end despite already having two committed. Now, that isn't looking like the case (sorry, Ron Thompson).
  • OL: 2-3. At least one true left tackle is a big need, and another right tackle would give Ben Braden the opportunity to play on the interior.
  • DT: 2. With a couple light years in defensive tackle recruiting, a pair of them are needed in this class.
  • DE: 1-2. Chris Wormley is the obvious choice here, but the coaching staff might accept another commitment if it's an elite guy.
  • S: 1-2. Depending on where Raymon Taylor and Tamani Carter end up from last year's class, this may not be as dire a need as it seems.
  • CB: 1-2. With a big crop of DBs in 2011, they can be selective about who they take.

As always in recruiting, this is subject to change at a moment's notice. You'll note that the coaching staff will have to be selective at some of those positions, though they'll figure out a way to take any elite prospects.

New Offers (And Potential New Offers)

Michigan is showing interest in ID QB Tanner Mangum. He's currently committed to BYU.

UT FB/RB Sione Houma has picked up a Michigan offer.

Benson said Michigan and Washington have both recruited Houma with the intention of moving him to fullback, but other schools, such as UCLA, are interested in him as a tailback.

Michigan has offered a bunch of fullback-types.

Michigan has offered IL DE/DT Faith Ekakitie.

FL S Allen Gant - the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant - has received his Michigan offer. He's going to visit Ann Arbor within the next couple weeks.

If Michigan offers TX CB Will Hines, they'll have a spot in his top 5. That offer could come through as early as today.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails from the future, OH RB/DB William Mahone? There's "an almost 100% chance" he'll eventually pick Penn state, per one expert.

Happy Trails, TX FB/LB Dominic Ramacher. He committed to Oklahoma State.

Happy Trails, OH WR Corey Smith. The teammate of OH S Jarrod Wilson, he will attend Tennessee after a stint at junior college.

Happy Trails, FL LB Raphael Kirby. He picked Miami. Something tells me the coaching staff isn't sweating when linebackers come off the board.

Etc.

Nominees for the US Army All-American Bowl are out (pdf link), and include a number of Michigan commits (Jenkins-Stone, Ringer, Ojemudia, Bolden), and too many targets to list. The 440 nominess will be whittled down to 90ish selections.

The Sporting News ranks Michigan's 2012 class as 6th/7th nationally at this point in the offseason. The Lansing State Journal takes note of Michigan's fast recruiting start.

OH TE Commit AJ Williams is keeping in touch with OH DE Adolphus Washington and OH WR Dwayne Stanford about picking Michigan:washingtonstanford.jpeg

Michigan is looking to capitalize on a few "ins" of its own. The first is Stanford's boyhood affinity for the Maize and Blue. The second is Stanford and Washington's relationship with recent Michigan commitment, Cincinnati Sycamore tight end A.J. Williams.

"(Williams) called me all excited and said he committed to Michigan and told me that me and Aldophus need to get with the program and head on up to Ann Arbor with him and they wouldn't be able to stop us," Stanford recalled. "I'm loving Michigan right now. I have nothing but positive energy and thoughts on my mind about them. Coach (Mark) Smith and A.J. stay on me too. Especially with him committing there, that really helps me. We're just going to see how everything plays out.

The Wolverines definitely need a wideout, and Washington is the type of athlete it would be really hard to turn down, but the Cincy products are both planning to wait until January to announce decisions. We'll see how much room is left in Michigan's class (and what the needs are) when the time comes. Stanford is visiting Michigan soon ($, info in header).

PA RB Greg Garmon has narrowed to a top 5 of Michigan, UNC, Iowa, Illinois, and West Virginia. He does say that some of the schools in that top 5 could change.

Michigan and two mystery schools make up the top three for CA OL Erik Magnuson. He will take an official visit to Ann Arbor in the fall.

CO OL Paul Thurston visited Michigan a couple weeks ago, and it helped Michigan stay near the top of his list.

TX OL Trey Keenan has family in Michigan, and he says the Wolverines are likely to make the cut when he trims his list. He wants to make a final decision before the start of his senior season.

OH DE Se'Von Pittman talks recruiting, including his interest in Michigan:

"I've taken a few visits around to some different campuses," Pittman said. "I've checked out Michigan and Michigan State and Notre Dame." ...He could be an outside linebacker in some scenarios or a defensive end or maybe something more. Notre Dame wants him to be a quarterback-hunting outside linebacker and Michigan wants him to be whatever he wants.

The Wolverines are loading up on defensive ends and linebackers, and Se'Von is going to take his time deciding. That could mean there won't be room for him in the 2012 class by the time he makes a decision.

Though he's a Penn State soft commit, NY DT Jarron Jones is "anxious to learn" on his trip to Ann Arbor next month ($, info in header). Based on a local article, it really sounds like he doesn't consider himself committed to the Nittany Lions at all:

"It's really about where I feel comfortable. Where do I fit in, where are they going to have me? Some coaches want me at offensive, some at defensive end, some at linebacker."

Something tells me a 6-7, 300 pound guy is unlikely to play linebacker in college. He's been nominated for the Army all-American game.

MI OL/DT DaRon Brown will camp at Michigan this summer to try to earn an offer. IL CB Anthony Standifer is continuing to blow up, with new offers from the likes of Purdue and Iowa, Northwestern, and others.

2013

MI QB Commit Shane Morris will participate in an Elite 11 tryout in Columbus this weekend. 2012 prospects Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike will also be in attendance. The Free Press covers Morris's commitment.

MI RB Wyatt Shallman tells Tom what the coaching staff thinks of his ability as a running back.

Hello: Matt Godin

Hello: Matt Godin

Submitted by Tim on May 12th, 2011 at 9:10 AM

On a visit to Ann Arbor for the Michigan spring game a couple weeks ago, MI DE/DT Matt Godin offered his commitment to Brady Hoke. He is the 11th commitment of Michigan's 2012 class. He told Tom the reasons behind that commitment:

Why he chose Michigan: "Because they are in my blood. I used to cry over games and I'm never going to get a better opportunity to come in early and contribute."

godin-2.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
3*, #39 DE NR DT NR DT 4*, 92, #12 SDE #239 Ovr

So the four premium sites disagree on his position, and unfortunately the two that have rated him agree on where he'll play. That means we have a pretty good idea of where he stands among defensive ends, but as a DT, he's still a mystery. With that in mind, we move on to the measurements: the sites have a consensus at 6-5 (Scout is an outlier, per usual), and somewhere between 253 (combine verified by Rivals) and 265 pounds.

As for the evaluations, Scout asks him about his game:

“I’m quick off the ball and I use my hands well. I get great separation too. I move pretty well and have very good vision. I want to improve my technique and tackle better. I’m also trying to get stronger and more physical.”

Those are pretty standard "I am good at some things, but want to get better at other things"-type comments. Every high school player needs to improve strength, so that's no surprise. His movement skills seem to be his strong point, and Forward Thinking agrees:

Godin is a big man with a bigger motor. The first thing that strikes you is his excellent athleticism for his size. It's rare to see a big man move around like he can. He isn't the most explosive player off the ball, but once he gets out of his stance it doesn't take him long to get into the backfield.

Explosiveness and strength will be his weaknesses at this point. Allen Trieu (HT: Forward Thinking):

On the defensive line, Detroit Catholic Central's Matthew Godin has great size, and is athletic for his frame, he just needs continued technical work and he needs to get stronger. I like his frame, his motor, work ethic and he has agile feet for a big man.

The weaknesses are common to most high school prospects, so as long as he can live up to his potential in a college weight program, they probably won't be a huge deal. He was recently profiled by the Flint Journal:

Coach Tom Mack said Godin exemplifies what a hard-nosed player is all about. “In practice, he demonstrates his abilities very well — playing the game of football, that’s the No. 1 criteria. You have to be able to mix it up,” said Mack. “That’s a quality of a great football player. He does a great job of focusing in on what his assignment is. He exhibits a lot of mental toughness in the game. I think his mental toughness is a key element. “I think he directs himself very well as far as getting the job done.”

Yayz.

OFFERS

Though Wisconsin is the "USC Quarterback" or "Ohio State Safety" of offers for linemen, that's primarily a distinction for the other side of the ball. Still, I'll trust Wisconsin's coaches when it comes to evaluating the big guys. Michigan State joined the Badgers as Godin's other Big Ten offer.

Outside of the Big Ten, Matt had offers from the ACC (Boston College, Duke), the Big East (Cincinnati, Syracuse), and lower-profile teams from the Big 12 and SEC (Missouri and Vanderbilt, respectively). From the ranks of the non-BCS leagues, Buffalo was his only listed offer. If he hadn't made such an early decision, there's no doubt his offer list would have swelled to something a bit more impressive.

STATS

Scout has junior numbers:

As a junior, Matt Godin earned All-Catholic League honors after recording 66 tackles, 28 for loss, two sacks and one batted pass.

He's a defensive end in high school, so the low sack numbers are a little troublesome, but there's such a wide range of high school offenses it's tough to cast any blame. Obviously he's able to get into the backfield, as his 28 TFLs demonstrate.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals is the only premium site with a listed 40 time, at 5.03 seconds. His Youtube highlight (embedded below) says 4.98. That's not bad at all for a 260-pound guy who's in between defensive end and defensive tackle. Only two FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Youtube highlights:

There's also a sophomore highlight reel, along with a couple other partial videos.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Godin is the sort of kid who is unlikely to make an impact early in his career, before blowing up (or at least becoming a very solid role player) in his final years on campus. As a high school player who notably lacks strength, a year in a college weight program can work wonders. For that reason, I think he's a lock to redshirt as a true freshman, as long as Michigan has enough strongside defensive ends ready to play in 2012.

In his first two years actually on the field, he'll get limited playing time, mostly in blowouts. However, as a junior, he'll work his way into the starting lineup, and perform effectively in the position. As a 5th-year senior, a second-team All-Big Ten honor is possible. Depending on how he develops, he could earn even more impressive honors.

Though I project him as a strongside defensive end here, there's always a chance that college-level strength and conditioning see him put on more muscle mass, and become a 3-tech defensive tackle. As an underdeveloped high schooler, the range of possibilities for his career is wide-spanning. He could be a career role-player, or a future star. I'll trust Greg Mattison's scouting talent on this one, and split the difference.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

It seems likely that Godin will at least start his career as a defensive end. If he puts on more weight, he could (finally) be Michigan's first defensive tackle in the class, but all reports have him at least starting his career at defensive end. So, that makes him the third defensive end in the class, and Michigan is probably only looking to take one more - another strongside guy, and even that one only if he's elite (Chris Wormley pls).

Going forward, Michigan's biggest needs are an elite running back, a good wideout, an interior defensive lineman or two, and a couple more on the offensive line - preferably tackles. They could also use a quarterback, but with Shane Morris's commitment to next year's class, they have the luxury of holding out for a top guy.