Friday Recruitin' Buckles Up

Friday Recruitin' Buckles Up

Submitted by Ace on July 6th, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the latest on Laquon Treadwell, Kendall Fuller, and Derrick Green, plus much more. Also included is an interview with 2014 running back Jonathan Hilliman.

Pursuit Of Quon: Successful?

The eyes of the recruiting world are on Oregon this weekend as Nike's mega-camp The Opening officially kicked off yesterday. Michigan sends a contingent of seven commits—Shane Morris, Kyle Bosch, Jake Butt, Taco Charlton, David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis, and Mike McCray—and other top targets are in attendance. None is getting more attention right now than IL WR Laquon Treadwell, however, after he tweeted yesterday morning that a decision could come imminently:

This is a stark departure from Treadwell's recent statements about taking his officials before making a decision, but a later tweet appeared to indicate that his mind is largely made up. Mike Farrell subsequently reported that a decision could come as soon as this weekend; even if Treadwell waits until he gets home, there's an overwhelming sense that this one is just about over.

By a stroke of luck, Sam Webb had the same flight to Oregon as Treadwell, and he posted a two-part video interview from the gate at Chicago O'Hare. Part one is free; Treadwell attributes his change of heart to simply waking up with that feeling in his gut and says that his mom has given him the go-ahead to commit if he so desires. In part two($), he reiterates that Michigan leads for his services; Oklahoma State is the other school mentioned as a favorite despite Treadwell not visiting Stillwater yet. He also discusses his friendship with Shane Morris, saying that Morris is practically his "best friend."

Treadwell does say that he still wants to see a couple of his favorites—likely Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, as he had a previous trip set up there that was cancelled due to a tornado—so one gets the sense that he's still trying to sort things out. While his decision timing is uncertain, there's little doubt as to the favorite for his services: Treadwell says Michigan "feels like home," while he's yet to even set foot on the campus of the one school (Ok. St.) that appears to have even a remote chance to unseat the Wolverines. Now Treadwell will spend the weekend with seven Michigan commits—including recruiter extraordinaire Morris—in his ear. You know what to do...

Fuller, Green Plan Visits

If Treadwell does commit, Michigan will be left with one scholarship slot (barring unexpected attrition) and several worthy candidates to fill it. Several of those candidates, including MD CB Kendall Fuller and VA RB Derrick Green, are currently at The Opening, where they'll surely get a visit and recruiting pitch from the Wolverine crew.

Mike Farrell tweeted yesterday that Clemson and Virginia Tech are "neck and neck" at the top for Fuller, with Michigan in his top three but trailing. Fuller has visits to both of his leaders set for later this month. While this doesn't bode well for Michigan's chances, Tim Sullivan reports that Fuller plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor ($, info in header). The Wolverines are playing catch-up here, so an opportunity to get Fuller on campus is one they must capitalize on.

Green, meanwhile, texted me a top 13 this week of Tennessee, Michigan, Oregon, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Alabama, Miami, Pitt, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. He also talked to ESPN's Damon Sayles about visiting Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House on July 29th($), saying he's looking forward to chatting with Brady Hoke in person since Hoke wasn't on campus for his first visit. Green has played things pretty close to the vest thus far but Michigan likely has ground to cover here, as well.

CA DT Eddie Vanderdoes trimmed his list to a final ten that does not include Michigan($), likely because the Wolverines are no longer in need of a defensive tackle.

247 updated their 2013 rankings. Tremendous has the full breakdown of risers and fallers; most moves were minor save for David Dawson (up to #157 from #196) and Patrick Kugler (up to #154 from #206).

Chris Fox "Fully Committed"

Despite recent rumors of a potential decommitment, Chris Fox told 247's Todd Worly($) that he's "fully committed to Michigan," and "nothing is going to change." Until further notice, there's nothing to see here.

Speaking of nothing to see here, David Dawson caused a stir yesterday when he tweeted that his Michigan teammates had "left [him]" while at The Opening, then saying he was chilling with a group of Florida commits. Dawson has recently discussed camping at Florida, so we now have a new panic about a possible decommitment. I'll only say this on the matter: STOP hanging onto every word a recruit says on Twitter. In fact, I'll reiterate that you should probably stop following recruits entirely, especially if you're the type to worry about stuff like Dawson's tweet. It's just not worth it. It's the job of people like myself, TomVH, Tim Sullivan, and Steve Lorenz to follow these recruits and pass along any information that's actually pertinent. If anything newsworthy arises out of the Dawson situation—and hanging out with Florida commits is beyond not newsworthy—we'll keep you posted.

2014 Updates

Sam Webb's latest piece at the Detroit News covers FL WR Corey Holmes, one of Michigan's early offerees. Holmes talks about getting "butterflies" and being speechless upon receiving the offer, while his father has high praise for Michigan and Brady Hoke:

"I was thoroughly impressed with everything Michigan had to offer, from A to Z," Mr. Holmes said. "From the academics, to the facilities, the coaching staff, and definitely Coach Hoke. I've always respected him, and thought, 'Hey, what a great coach.' But to meet him in person — I walked away with a big smile on my face because he's a motivator, a straight shooter, and that's all you can ask for. You want your kid to be in the hands of someone that's going to take care of them. The family atmosphere that they preach is legit. I got a chance to see some of the players, and some of the coaching staff — they were unbelievable. It was better than I expected."

The younger Holmes grew up as a Michigan fan, and while he says he's still open, the Wolverines are "a favorite." Holmes also provided a diary of his Michigan camp experience to Tremendous, and you have to like Michigan's chances after reading a quote like this:

I sat in Coach's office and didn't really know what to do or say. It was such an indescribable feeling. He sat down and talked to my father and I about himself, his love for Michigan and complimented me on my performance at the camp. It was then that he offered me a scholarship to play for Michigan. I really had no idea how to react. I had accomplished what I set out to do. After getting offered, I was given a full tour of campus, the amazing facilities and best of all, the Big House. It was a breathtaking experience, one that I’ll never forget. To think that a kid from South Florida made it all the way to Ann Arbor and received an offer to play football for the University of Michigan is just too much to think about. Truly a mission complete.

Both articles are well worth your time. Holmes appears to be an early favorite to end up as a member of Michigan's class of 2014.

Massilon (OH) Washington OL Nathaniel Devers has visited several schools over the summer and he tells Matt Pargoff that Michigan and Northwestern have emerged as his top two. He's yet to earn a Wolverine offer, but if he does he's another player to keep an eye on.

An Interview With Jonathan Hilliman

One of Michigan's first offers for the 2014 class went out to NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman, who also holds offers from Miami (YTM), Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, and Wisconsin, among others. Hilliman stands at 6'0", 201 pounds, and according to 247 he rushed for 426 yards and four touchdowns on just 58 carries as a sophomore in 2011. I caught up with Jonathan earlier this week to talk about his recruitment, visits, timeline, and more:

ACE: First of all, which schools are talking to you the most right now in your recruitment, and how many offers do you have right now?

JONATHAN: I'd say the schools that have been reaching out the most have been Michigan, Miami, PSU, Rutgers, and Ohio State. I have 11 offers so far.

ACE: Out of the schools you've been in contact with, do you have any early favorites or a top group?

JONATHAN: I can't really say that yet. I'd have to take some visits and meet coaches before I could narrow it down.

ACE: Discussing Michigan specifically, who have you been in contact with from the school? What are the coaches telling you about your potential role in the offense?

JONATHAN: I talk to a lot of the coaches, but we haven't discussed those aspects as of yet—probably [will] during my potential visit.

ACE: Do you have any visits set up yet? Which schools would you like to check out?

JONATHAN: I'm taking four visits this summer and I pretty want to see every school at this point.

ACE: When you visit schools, what factors are you looking for that will help you make your decision?

JONATHAN: The support staff for student athletes, the coaching staff, the campus itself, and the recruits at the school.

ACE: I know it's very early in the process, but do you have any idea of when you'd like to narrow down your options or make a final decision?

JONATHAN: The end of my senior season.

ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player, and what are you working on to improve for your junior year and beyond?

JONATHAN: I'd say the speed and power I have for my size. I have good vision and I can elude tacklers. One improvement I would have to make is my explosiveness and flexibility.

ACE: Coming from St. Peter's Prep, I'm sure you've had the chance to talk with other D-I level recruits [they had three FBS signees last year]. What advice have you received for how to handle your recruitment?

JONATHAN: Stay humble, be personable, take all your visits, speak clearly, and give off a good impression to potential coaches.

An Interview With Darius West

An Interview With Darius West

Submitted by Ace on July 5th, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Lima (OH) Central Catholic DB Darius West has hit the camp circuit hard over the summer with standout performances at Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Despite growing up as an Ohio State fan, West has since found room for Michigan alongside the Buckeyes in his top two. I caught up with Darius earlier this week to talk about his recruitment, camp performances, preferred position, and more:

ACE: How's everything going with your recruitment and which schools are in contact with you right now?

DARIUS: Everything is going real good. I've got Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Louisville, West Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, a lot of MAC schools, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky.

ACE: Out of those schools, which ones have extended you an offer so far?

DARIUS: Illinois, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Akron, and Toledo.

ACE: Do you have any favorites?

DARIUS: My two favorites are Michigan and Ohio State.

ACE: You've been to Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State camps recently. How did those go for you and what was your impression of each of the three schools?

DARIUS: The camps went really good. The Michigan State camp, I got there late, so I was only able to do one session with them. At Ohio State, the coaches were really nice, they worked me real hard, and the camp was organized with a lot of competition out there. Michigan, I really enjoyed the environment, the facilities, and the coaches taught me a lot. The Michigan State camp, I wasn't getting too much out of that camp because I got there late.

ACE: Talking about Michigan a little bit more, which coaches were you working with at the camp and what did they have to say to you both about their recruitment of you and what they thought about your game?

DARIUS: I had the cornerbacks coach and the safeties coach [Ed.-Ace: I'm assuming he's referring to Curt Mallory and a grad assistant, since Mallory coaches the whole secondary], and then I talked to the defensive coordinator [Greg Mattison] after the camp. The defensive coordinator, he told me everything, he said, "just give us a little chance, I know you're from Ohio, but keep it in mind and you'll like it if you ever come in to visit here." He was saying they're going to be all over me in the recruiting process and basically they said they would like to have me. They're recruiting me as a cornerback, so... I don't know.

ACE: Do you have a preference in terms of position? Would you rather play safety versus corner or the other way around?

DARIUS: Yeah, I want to play safety, but if they want me to play corner I'll do that too.

ACE: Do you think that would factor into a decision at all?

DARIUS: Nah, not really.

ACE: You mentioned the defensive coordinator saying you're from Ohio and asking you to give Michigan a chance. Did you grow up as an Ohio State fan and will that be a factor at all?

DARIUS: Yeah, I grew up as an Ohio State fan, but not at all [will it be a factor].

ACE: Talking about your game a little bit, what would you say are your biggest strengths on the football field and what are you trying to work on to improve both in the summer at these camps and for next season?

DARIUS: My strength is my strength, how strong I am, and my explosiveness. What I really need to work on is my hip movement because my hips are a little stiff; that's what Ohio State told me. They told me if I can get that down I can be a good player. I mean, my hips aren't bad, but they aren't where they should be to play the position I want to play.

ACE: Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, do you have any other plans in terms of camps you're attending or any visits you'd like to take, both through the summer and into the fall?

DARIUS: I would like to go back to Michigan and take a tour, because I didn't get to take the tour there, so I'd like to go there. I'm going up to Cincinnati soon. I've got one more camp in Dallas for the Underclassmen Showcase, the All-Star Camp; I'm going July 7th through the 9th.

ACE: What are the biggest factors that you're going to be looking at when you start visiting these schools and ultimately making a decision?

DARIUS: The coaching staff, that's my first impression right there. Then the facilities, the atmosphere that I'm going to be around, the players I'm going to be around, when would I get a chance to play, things like that.

Tuesday Recruitin' Goes H.A.M.

Tuesday Recruitin' Goes H.A.M.

Submitted by Ace on July 3rd, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses Maximum Exposure's performance in the IMG 7-on-7 nationals, the latest on Laquon Treadwell, upcoming 2014 visits, and more.

Morris, MaxEx Fall Short Of Recapturing 7-on-7 Title

Detroit-based Maximum Exposure took the trip to Bradenton, Florida, to defend their title in the IMG 7-on-7 National Championships over the weekend, with commits Shane Morris, Khalid Hill, and Csont'e York in tow. The event drew a star-studded field, and not just among high school recruits—Cam Newton coached a team from Georgia, appearing in a T-shirt that read "CAM GOES H.A.M."* MaxEx struggled in pool play but returned to form during the knockout stage, making it to the finals before losing for a second time to Team Tampa, which featured Michigan targets Alvin Bailey and Leon McQuay III, as well as the nation's top cornerback, Vernon Hargreaves III (in Tampa, top recruits come in IIIs, apparently).

Scout's Scott Kennedy lauded Morris's performance in the tournament—calling him "the prototypical gunslinger"—and provided video highlights of the future Michigan quarterback ($):

Elsewhere, 247's Steve Wiltfong ranked Morris as the event's third-best performer, trailing only Hargreaves and Notre Dame commit Jaylon Smith:

The nation’s No. 2 pro-style signal-caller and No. 22 prospect overall got off to a slow start, but when tournament play began, Morris quickly heated up. The velocity and touch was there for the future Michigan Wolverine, as the 6-foot-3, 201-pound Morris fit the football in several tight windows. He spread the ball around to his top targets, fellow Michigan commits Csont’e York and Khalid Hill, along with Teo Redding and Jack Wangler. Morris hit several big plays downfield, and other than a couple of tough throws against a swarming Team Tampa squad, he was close to perfect on the tournament’s second day.

SBNation's Bud Elliott had Morris atop his list of standout quarterbacks, noting his ability to throw on the run.

York and Hill missed out on any mentions from the recruiting sites, but that doesn't mean they didn't perform; as you can see in the above video, York (#17) and Hill (#20) were Morris's favorite targets. I managed to tune in to a live stream of the event for the final, and while MaxEx's offense had difficulty moving the ball against a star-studded Tampa secondary, Hill presented a serious matchup problem for defensive backs unaccustomed to handling a player with his combination of size and athleticism. Hill runs crisp routes and has soft hands, so while he doesn't wow you with his frame or speed, he finds a way to get open and has developed a great rapport with his future college quarterback.

While Jourdan Lewis wasn't able to make the trip, 2014 Cass Tech teammate Damon Webb played cornerback for MaxEx, though he understandably struggled to defend 6'4", 230-pound Miami (YTM) tight end commit Travis Johnson. On the Tampa side, both Bailey and McQuay impressed; Bailey showed off his top-flight speed and McQuay had the play of the day with a leaping interception (pictured above) on a Morris overthrow.

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*Not a shock from a guy who recently self-applied the nickname "Ace Boogie," then referred to himself in the third person using said self-applied nickname during a radio interview.

Must-Read Of The Week

ESPN's Christopher Parish details the story of commit David Dawson, whose father was stuck and killed while working as an MDOT employee just days before David participated in the Columbus NFTC:

Nobody would have blamed the Cass Tech (Detroit) junior and Michigan commit for skipping the camp. But Dawson went anyway, the pain from the funeral still fresh in his mind.

"It played a big role in Columbus," Dawson said. "That was all I was thinking about. I knew I had to get that Opening invite."

Not only did Dawson land the invite to The Opening, he also earned offensive lineman MVP honors, and he'll be one of the headliners for the Elite Lineman Challenge at the event in Beaverton, Ore., from July 5-8.

You're strongly encouraged to click through for the whole article, which also discusses Dawson's competitive nature and his move from Houston back to Detroit.

All Of The Treadwell Coverage

IL WR Laquon Treadwell remains Michigan's top target at wide receiver, even as he continues to consider several other schools (how dare he!) and maintains that he'll take official visits (the nerve!). Before getting into the current landscape of his recruitment, let's remind ourselves why he's the top receiver on the board with Treadwell's newly-released junior highlights:

Yes, please. Treadwell traveled all the way to California for the B2G Elite Camp over the weekend, and ESPN's Erik McKinney saved his highest praise for the Illinois product ($):

In a high-scoring affair that was eventually secured for the offense with a leaping touchdown grab from wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee), both sides had players step up and contribute.

But it began and ended with Treadwell, who hauled in three touchdown passes and was awarded the offensive MVP of camp. The nation's No. 38 player and No. 4 wide receiver had two long catch-and-run touchdowns, then made his mark on the final drive with a tough catch in traffic along the sideline to set up the final score.

Rivals's Adam Gorney caught up with Treadwell at the event and got him to name a leader ($). You get zero guesses because the MGoBoard isn't on fire. (Okay, it's Michigan. There.) He also told 247's Barton Simmons that he intends to take official visits($) to USC, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. With a list of that caliber, Treadwell's recruitment is far from over, but the Wolverines remain in the driver's seat. With no obvious candidate for an upcoming commitment, he should have time to mull over his options before making a decision.

TN RB Jordan Wilkins narrowed his list to a final five of Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Michigan, Ole Miss, and Auburn, according to Scout's Yancy Porter ($). It doesn't appear that Michigan has much of a shot, however, as even after Wilkins's visit to Ann Arbor he lists Auburn and Vandy as his leaders.

Multiple outlets have reported that Michigan offered TX DE Gaius Vaenuku, but I've confirmed with a source in the know that he does NOT currently hold an offer.

Happy trails go out this week to CA ATH Elijah Qualls and CA WR Demorea Stringfellow,—both part of Washington's impressive eight commits in one day—SC DT Michael Hill (Ohio State), CA LB Michael Hutchings (USC), and MD WR/LB Zach Bradshaw (Penn State). Also committing this week was OH OL/DL Matt Miller, younger brother of Michigan center Jack Miller, who will head to Wisconsin; a Michigan offer wasn't in the cards. Meanwhile, PA LB Alex Anzalone will decide this week($) between Florida, Notre Dame, and Penn State.

Quick 2014 Updates

Scout's Allen Trieu released free articles on the top camp risers in the Midwest in both the 2013 and 2014 classes. Unsurprisingly, Damon Webb features prominently among the rising juniors:

Always considered more of a wide receiver, Webb has proven to be a big time cornerback over the summer and that has lead to several big time offers. With his size, ball skills and recent performances, locking down a few touted receivers, Webb earned offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and West Virginia. He's still a BCS level receiver, but he's one of the very best corners in the 2014 class.

Also listed are several targets, including MI OL Tommy Doles (offer), OH WR Thaddeus Snodgrass, IL DL Enoch Smith Jr., and WI DE Conor Sheehy. 2013 commit Channing Stribling is listed with the top senior sleepers.

Michigan will get a summer visit from four-star NC OT Bentley Spain, possibly for this month's BBQ at the Big House ($).

Tremendous caught up with FL ATH Artavis Scott—a member of Team Tampa—who said he'll be in Ann Arbor for the BBQ with four-star lineman teammate Mason Cole.

Four-star KY QB Drew Barker also plans to be in attendance at the BBQ, according to 247 ($).

Friday Recruitin' Gives Sparty A Shiny Bronze Medal

Friday Recruitin' Gives Sparty A Shiny Bronze Medal

Submitted by Ace on June 29th, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses visits from Alvin Bailey and Jordan Wilkins, the top lists of #1 overall prospect Da'Shawn Hand and other 2014 standouts, and more. Also included is an interview with Michigan's first 2014 offered prospect, UT DT Bryan Mone.

Future Touchdown Dance: The Funky Charleston

Pictured on the right is FL WR Alvin Bailey (photo via his Twitter) from his visit to Michigan on Wednesday. If Bailey and his Seffner Armwood teammate Leon McQuay III both end up as Wolverines, let me present the motion to nickname the duo "Kid 'n Play," both due to Bailey's spectacular high-top fade and the fact that it could spur Special K to play some decent music for once.

Anyway, Bailey was on campus this week, and the four-star receiver came away impressed, according to an interview with TomVH ($, info in header):

"It helped them a lot. I was already up on Michigan, but this definitely helped," he said. "I knew some things about them, but being able to see it in person it meant a lot."

Bailey is in the midst of a slew of trips that has also seen him visit Georgia, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Clemson, with Florida State, Georgia, and Auburn also on the docket for July. The Wolverines and Irish could be at a serious disadvantage, however, as Bailey said this to GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz ($):

One issue that plays against Midwest schools such as Notre Dame (which he visited on this trip as well, right before U-M) and Michigan, however, is the issue of distance from home—something Bailey admits is a factor for him.

“It’s big,” said Bailey. “I’m not going to lie, it’s real big. That’s something that I would probably have to sacrifice, so it’s big.”

Sounds like distance is a big factor, which would not bode well for Michigan's chances. Bailey also mentioned that the Wolverines will only take two more players—not a surprise, considering the current number crunch—and his decision could come either before or after his senior season.

While Bailey got the full tour, TN RB Jordan Wilkins stopped by on Tuesday for a quick three-hour visit, and there's very little in the way of visit reaction from him thus far. 247's Clint Brewster did post on their message board that Wilkins's father, who wasn't on the trip, said the visit went "very well" for Jordan ($). There's discussion of a potential visit later in the summer, which would greatly improve Michigan's chances of getting Wilkins, but for now it's safe to assume that Auburn is still the prohibitive favorite.

In 2013 commit news, Jourdan Lewis was invited to the Army All-American Bowl, joining fellow commits Chris Fox and Mike McCray should he choose to participate (roster here). Michigan also has six commits—Shane Morris, Gareon Conley, David Dawson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, McCray (he'll have to choose just one, obviously), and Patrick Kugler—currently slated to participate in the Under Armour All-American Game.

First Journey Joke Earns a Banhammer

Sam Webb's latest DetNews profile is on 2014 OH LB Michael Ferns, who recently narrowed his list to a final three of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State. While making such a cut this early is unusual, Ferns's father reveals that there's a very good reason his son has eliminated many of the schools pursuing him, including the home-state squad:

"It's not that he doesn't like the coaches, facilities, etc. (at Ohio State)," Mr. Ferns explained. "It's just that he grew up in a town of 3,500, so it's difficult to feel comfortable in a (large) city. It has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that he feels more comfortable in college town settings. Ideally, if Ohio State would work for him, it would be great for me from a geography and local hype standpoint. But if you don't feel comfortable living in a city, you simply don't. It's no different than the kid in the south having no interest in moving north. It's what they know."

He's just a small-town boy, you see, born and raised in [bans self]. The elder Ferns—no word on if Webb stood between the two during the interview, unfortunately—also had very high praise for their recent trip to Michigan and Jerry Montgomery as a recruiter—"He's as strong a recruiter as we've dealt with." As for future visits, Ferns plans to check out a game at all three of his final schools during the fall.

Also getting the profile treatment this week was IL CB Parrker Westphal, whose father spoke at length with TomVH. According to Mr. Westphal, Michigan has set the standard by which his son will measure his other suitors ($):

"I think what better school to base a standard from. Michigan is a big school with a big program, really good academics and facilities," he said. "If he would have gone to Nebraska first, though, that's a big school with modern facilities. That might have been the standard."

It doesn't mean that U-M is Parrker's favorite, but it is up there.

Westphal's father mentioned that Parrker would like to finish up his recruitment "sooner rather than later," but there's no rush as they make sure to examine each school carefully.

OH DB Darius West was one of the standouts at Michigan's camp, and although he didn't pick up an offer, he's got serious interest and reciprocated by putting the Wolverines in his top two with childhood favorite Ohio State, according to Matt Pargoff. You'll also enjoy this quote that he gave to Sam Webb ($):

Sam Webb: Talk to me about Michigan State.  How did that camp go for you?

Darius West: “I mean, if I had to rank Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan camp, Michigan State would be third.“

West told Pargoff he'd like to decide by the end of his junior year, so he's one to keep a close eye on if Michigan comes through with an offer. He told Webb he's being recruited at both corner and safety at the moment.

247's J.C. Shurburtt caught up with the nation's #1 overall prospect for 2014, VA DT Da'Shawn Hand, and got an early top seven from him: Virginia Tech, Ohio State, UNC, Clemson, USC, Alabama and Michigan. VT seems to have the early edge—he's visited campus twice and mentions Bud Foster as his favorite recruiter—but he's yet to visit most of the schools on his list, including Michigan.

Happy trails to MI WR Drake Harris, who committed to Michigan State on Wednesday over Michigan and Notre Dame.

Quickly: Clint Brewster reports that Michigan offered CA TE Tyler Luatua, who's pegged as the top tight end in the class in 247's early rankings. Correction from Tuesday's post: TX LB Hoza Scott doesn't yet have an offer, according to Tim Sullivan, but he probably has to visit campus first, which may not happen soon due to the distance factor ($). MI CB Damon Webb continues to see his stock rise, recently picking up offers from Ohio State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Catching Up With Bryan Mone

I had the chance to chat with UT DT Bryan Mone, a high school teammate of incoming freshman Sione Houma who picked up Michigan's first 2014 offer way back in December. This is the first time Mone has given an interview, and he updated me on the status of his recruitment, his current size and preferred position, and a potential visit next week:

ACE: First of all, how's everything going with your recruitment? Which schools are in contact with you right now?

BRYAN: So far, so good. It's just really a blessing sir. But the schools that I'm in contact with are Utah, BYU, and Utah State.

ACE: Which schools have offered you so far?

BRYAN: All of the three [as well as Michigan].

ACE: I know Michigan gave you their first 2014 offer. Have you been in contact with Michigan at all since then?

BRYAN: Yeah, well kind of. I keep in contact with the D-line coach. I might just go out to Michigan with my dad next week.

ACE: Do you talk to Sione Houma at all now that he's enrolled? What has he told you about Michigan?

BRYAN: Yes I do, I was just talking to him. He told me that it's really good out there and that some of the football players don't know what a Tongan is [laughs] and he was just saying it's a great program and all.

ACE: You mentioned possibly visiting Michigan. Are there any other schools you'd like to check out over the summer?

BRYAN: No sir, just Michigan.

ACE: I know it's early, but do you have any favorites at this point?

BRYAN: All my favorite schools are the ones that offered me and Colorado all because my other cousin told me about Colorado.

ACE: What's your height and weight right now, and what would you like to play at next season?

BRYAN: 6'4" height, 300 weight [Ed-Ace: Up from a listed 6'3", 255 last year]. I'm going to play D-tackle and offensive guard.

ACE: What would you say are your biggest strengths on the field, and what are you trying to improve for next year and the next level?

BRYAN: My biggest strengths are mainly [being able to play] on the line on both sides of the ball. I am trying to improve on my speed and strength for next year and the next level.

ACE: When looking at schools, what do you think will be the biggest factors in your decision? Do you know when you'd like to make a choice?

BRYAN: First of all my education and how I would fit in the program and the community and the brotherhood of the football team. I don't know [when I'd like to make a decision] ... like you said sir I'm still young.

An Interview With Tommy Doles

An Interview With Tommy Doles

Submitted by Ace on June 28th, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Yesterday's big recruiting news was the commitment of Drake Harris to Michigan State, but Harris isn't the only Grand Rapids Christian prospect drawing attention in the 2014 class. Offensive lineman Tommy Doles participated in Michigan's camp and subsequently earned his first scholarship offer from the Wolverines last week. Doles stands at 6'5", 240 pounds—up from his sophomore playing weight of 220 lbs.—and he's been a presence on the summer camp circuit, also spending time at Michigan State and Notre Dame. I caught up with Doles today to discuss his recruitment, Michigan's camp, and getting his first offer:

ACE: Which schools are currently in contact with you right now?

TOMMY: Notre Dame, MSU, Michigan, and Central Michigan have talked to me the most along with a few other schools who I have met.

ACE: You've attended camps at ND, MSU, and U-M, right? What has the camp experience been like for you at each school?

TOMMY: That is correct. Each camp was a good experience and all had great instruction and great coaching. My team's offensive line also attended the CMU big man camp which was a good experience for our O-Line.

ACE: Talking about Michigan specifically, how did that camp go for you, and what was your impression of the coaching staff? Did you get to work with Coach Funk at all?

TOMMY: That camp went well. The linemen got to practice in the Big House, which was just awesome, and all of the coaches there really knew what they were doing. I did get to work with Coach Funk a fair amount and think that he is a great coach.

ACE: What was your reaction to getting the Michigan offer, and what does it mean to you that they were the first school to offer you?

TOMMY: It means a lot. Michigan is a great school and I was very excited that they were interested in me.

ACE: I know it's very early, but do you have any schools that you would consider favorites right now?

TOMMY: Not at this time. I am going to take my time, see what my options are and try to find the right fit for me.

ACE: When you look for the right fit, what factors are you looking for in a school?

TOMMY: Academics will be a large part. Once I have an idea of what I would like to do I will want to look at the programs the school has to offer.

ACE: Do you have any other camps or visits planned for the rest of the summer?

TOMMY: No, nothing planned. At this point I am more focused on my team and our goals for the season.

ACE: What would you say is your biggest strength on the field, and what are you working to improve over the summer and during your junior year?

TOMMY: I would say athleticism is an advantage of mine on the field and I want to work on my technique on the field as I move on. [Ed-Ace: I'd have to agree with Tommy on his self-assessment. He's got very impressive agility for a lineman, as evidenced in his highlights above. He could definitely work on getting his hands into position quicker to make that initial punch in pass protection.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Epic And Unreal

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Epic And Unreal

Submitted by Ace on June 26th, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Today's recruiting roundup recaps the Rivals Five-Star Challenge, discusses a pair of 2013 visits and Drake Harris's impending decision, goes over a slew of new 2014 offers, and more.

Five-Star Challenge Recap: New '13 OL Target?

Rivals hosted their first annual Five-Star Challenge last weekend as their answer to Nike's The Opening and four Michigan commits—David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis, Mike McCray, and Chris Fox—were in attendance alongside a bevy of the nation's top prospects. Dawson continued his outstanding camp season with an impressive performance, making Josh Helmholdt's "Surprise Standouts" list($) and earning the #4 spot on Helmholdt's rundown of the top offensive linemen ($):

4. OC David Dawson, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech: The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Michigan pledge is listed as an offensive guard and plays tackle for his team but says he could end up anywhere on the line for the Wolverines. When the coaches needed a center, Dawson stepped in without hesitation. Though pass protection on the interior is completely different than at tackle he made a seamless transition. He has a strong base and used his lower body strength to hold the big noseguards at bay. Dawson should prove to be invaluable in Ann Arbor because of his versatility and willingness to play wherever he is needed.

Cass Tech's other camp stalwart, Jourdan Lewis, did not disappoint either, excelling in the 7-on-7 portion. Mike Farrell ($):

10. DB Jourdan Lewis, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech: Lewis started off very well with one of the best interceptions you'll see when he showed off his closing speed and undercut a pass from Tyrone Swoopes, the only interception the Southwest quarterback threw. Lewis was solid throughout the day, flashed that speed and took on bigger receivers well at times. Despite his closing ability, he sometimes allowed too much of a cushion.

That last part is an issue that has shown itself in multiple settings, including the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp and during Cass Tech's season last year. On the positive side, Lewis continues to show exceptional ball skills.

According to Tim Sullivan, Fox performed well at several different positions along the line, while McCray displayed decent coverage skills against backs and tight ends but also measured in at just 6'1" ($). That's a lot smaller than expected for McCray and could be a point of concern if he ends up at strongside LB, as expected.

A new target may have emerged at the camp, as well, and the position he plays might surprise you. Tremendous caught up with 2013 MD OL Khaliel Rodgers, who revealed that David Dawson was selling him hard on Michigan at the camp. Rodgers now plans to visit for July's BBQ at the Big House and appears to have pushed back his decision date, which was originally set for this week. He also tweeted last night that having him and Dawson on the same O-line would be "epic" and "unreal". The scouting services are split on Rodgers, with Rivals listing him as their #1 guard and a top 100 overall prospect, ESPN giving him four stars, Scout putting him as a three-star but the #2 center, and 247 giving him a meh three-star rating.

This could be nothing, or it could be a sign—especially if we get word that the coaches are after Rodgers—that things aren't entirely settled along the line. I doubt Michigan would take a sixth lineman in the class, but with over 20 commits in June, it's almost certain that the class will experience a decommitment or two at some point before signing day. Rodgers looks like he can slide in at any spot on the interior of the line and he'd be a quality contingency plan should attrition occur.

Wilkins, Bailey Visiting This Week

Michigan will host two big-time 2013 recruits this week. TN RB Jordan Wilkins tweeted out plans to be on campus today and later confirmed the visit with TomVH ($). He also told Tom that his top four consists of Auburn, Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Tennessee, though Auburn is widely presumed to be his leader after he almost committed to the Tigers on a visit a couple of weeks ago. The Wolverines will need to make a big impression if they want to catch up.

FL WR Alvin Bailey is set to swing by Michigan and Notre Dame this week, and according to Scout's Tom Beaver his visit is set for Wednesday ($). Bailey is in the running for the last open receiver spot, and with the news this week that Laquon Treadwell wants to visit Auburn($), the race for that spot may be tighter than anticipated. Treadwell is still looking at a senior year decision, and if Bailey wants to come on board the coaches probably can't afford to wait on him.

The Wolverines made the cut on a couple of top lists, as well. MD CB Kendall Fuller revealed to Rivals($) that he now has a top three of Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Michigan. The Wolverines may have a tough time overcoming Fuller's close connections to VT and Clemson, but they've hung around a lot longer than expected with Fuller, so you never know. Meanwhile, VA DE Wyatt Teller now has a top five($) of Virginia, VT, Michigan, Clemson, and Oregon, and he told 247 he'd like to visit Michigan and Oregon before making a decision. He's looking to decide before his senior season, so things should move quickly on that front.

CA WR/CB John Ross has seen his stock blow up over the summer, and Michigan recently offered him at cornerback, according to Scout's Greg Biggins ($). With the Wolverines taking Channing Stribling at corner last week, I don't anticipate them taking another defensive back unless it's Fuller or Leon McQuay III, though that could change if Michigan misses on their wide receiver targets and the coaches decide to move Stribling to offense.

Happy trails to CA WR Sebastian LaRue, who jumped on an offer from USC, and CA ATH Darren Carrington, who committed to Oregon.

Harris Decision On Wednesday & More 2014 Updates

Sam Webb reported yesterday that 2014 Grand Rapids Christian two-sport star Drake Harris will decide between Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame on Wednesday. Harris earned a Michigan offer for football while camping in Ann Arbor last week, which makes the timing of his announcement interesting, though he also was at a Tom Izzo basketball camp last weekend. Most pundits have him pegged for State, which has been recruiting him hard for both football and hoops for a long time, and we'll find out soon enough if the common wisdom is correct. Harris projects as a wide receiver on the football field, where most scouts think he has the most potential, and he'd also be a very solid shooting guard prospect on the hardwood.

More evidence of the trend towards an accelerated timeline in recruiting comes from OH LB Michael Ferns, who announced not a top three, but a final three of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State. Ferns told Sam Webb that he wants to stay close to home and make a decision by the end of his junior year ($). The Wolverines appear to be in very good position here after a great visit to Ann Arbor for last week's camp.

Michigan sent out several offers recently, which I'll run down in bullet form:

  • TX OLB Hoza Scott, who already holds offers from heavy hitters Alabama, Florida, LSU, Oregon, Texas, and USC, among others.
  • TN OL/DL Alex Bars, younger brother of incoming freshman Blake Bars, was just offered according to TomVH ($).
  • PA S Montae Nicholson earned an offer after camping at Michigan last week, according to 247's Clint Brewster ($).
  • Drake Harris's high school teammate, OL Tommy Doles, picked up an offer on Friday, via Tim Sullivan ($).
  • TX S Brandon Simmons pulled in offers from Michigan, LSU, and Ohio State last week, joining a list of over 20 schools ($).
  • FL WR Corey Holmes added a Michigan offer after camping last week, and he told Brewster that the offer "gave [him] butterflies" before naming Michigan his top school ($). He's pondering a commitment prior to his senior year and is one to keep an eye on.
  • OH LB/DE Joe Henderson also earned a post-camp offer ($). Not to be confused with this guy.
  • Chantel Jennings reports that Michigan offered New Orleans RB Leonard Fournette, a massive prospect at 6'1", 232 pounds. Fournette's backstory, a heartbreaking account of surviving the streets of New Orleans in a pre- and post-Katrina world, is well worth your time.

Quickly: OH OL Nathaniel Devers is one tough kid. I'm sure you'll enjoy KY QB Drew Barker telling Eleven Warriors that he'd like to emulate the way Shane Morris has helped spearhead Michigan's recruiting efforts.

An Interview With Chance Stewart

An Interview With Chance Stewart

Submitted by Ace on June 25th, 2012 at 12:54 PM

As Michigan runs out of available spots in the 2013 class, the focus is quickly shifting to the rising juniors of the class of 2014. One of the top in-state 2014 targets is Sturgis (MI) quarterback Chance Stewart, who camped at Michigan last week in hopes of earning an offer; Stewart appears to be battling Toledo (OH) Central Catholic's Deshone Kizer for the available QB scholarship in the class. I caught up to Stewart this morning to get his thoughts on the camp, the state of his recruitment, and how a Michigan offer would affect his status:

ACE: First of all, which teams are currently recruiting you?

CHANCE: Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Penn State, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan.

ACE: Out of those teams, who's extended an offer, and do any teams currently stand out for you as potential leaders?

CHANCE: Wisconsin and Western have offered me. I'd probably say Michigan (even though I haven't gotten that offer yet) and Wisconsin are on top.

ACE: I know you camped at Michigan last week. What was that experience like for you and how do you think you performed?

CHANCE: [It was a] great experience—always fun working with Coach Borges. I thought I threw the ball very well in the afternoon session.

ACE: What have the coaches told you about what you need to do to earn a Michigan offer?

CHANCE: Coach Borges just told me I needed to have an impressive camp and when I left he said we'd be in contact.

ACE: I know it's still early, but what factors are you looking for when evaluating a potential school?

CHANCE: Right now pretty much I'm just looking at the basics—coaching staff, facilities, campus. I haven't really made a list of things I really like and don't.

ACE: Do you have an idea of when you'd like to make a decision?

CHANCE: Sometime in my junior year—not sure when though exactly.

ACE: Do you have any camps or visits planned for the rest of the summer? Any plans to visit Michigan again soon?

CHANCE: Three more camps: Western and Eastern Michigan, and Penn State. And as for Michigan visits, I plan on going to a game this fall.

ACE: How would a Michigan offer affect your recruitment? What would it mean to you and would it potentially affect your timetable?

CHANCE: If Michigan were to offer I feel like Wisconsin and Michigan still would be on the top. As far as changing my timetable, yes that could be a possibility.

ACE: What do you think is your biggest strength as a quarterback and what are you looking to improve during the summer and your junior year?

CHANCE: Accuracy is the main thing I want to improve on, and my biggest strength is leadership! Quarterback is a position where when everything is going wrong in a game, you have to be there to let your teammates know you got their back and we can do this! So I feel like that's my biggest strength.

Sound Mind/Sound Body 2012: Recap

Sound Mind/Sound Body 2012: Recap

Submitted by Ace on June 14th, 2012 at 1:33 PM


2013 OL commits Logan Tuley-Tillman (left) and David Dawson

Yesterday's Adidas Sound Mind/Sound Body camp at Southfield High School featured some of the Midwest's best talent, including five of Michigan's 2013 commits (actually, six, but Csont'e York showed up late and I didn't get a good look at him). It also provided a rare chance for players to get instructed by coaches from Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and several other schools; U-M, OSU, and MSU each sent their full staff, save Mark Dantonio, who had a speaking engagement.

This was my first camp experience, so I mostly focused on the Michigan commits; at these camps, there's so much going on that it's difficult to focus on more than a handful of players. Here are my impressions of the Wolverine commits as well as a couple other standouts:

SHANE MORRIS

I didn't spend a ton of time watching Morris in the passing drills, mostly because I was more focused on the receivers and defensive backs, but he was excellent as usual on Wednesday. Morris threw harder than anyone else there, displayed great accuracy, and could make all of the throws. He's also improved from what I saw of him last fall in terms of knowing when to change up speeds and when to just unleash.

As you can see above, Al Borges kept a very close eye on Morris. UAB head coach Garrick McGee was running quarterback drills, but Borges made it clear that he would be the one coaching Morris. As Brian pointed out in today's UV, the running theme of the camp was coaches in disbelief that this was all legal; it was, thanks to SMSB's status as a charitable event.

DAVID DAWSON

Dawson was easily the most impressive lineman present, both from a physical and technical standpoint. He looks like he's in the 280-290 pound range but doesn't appear to be carrying much bad weight at all. He shows an advanced understanding of technique for a high school player; Coach Funk was presiding over the offensive line drills, and when he needed to give an example of what he was looking for, he had Dawson give the demonstration. Dawson displayed very quick feet, shuffled well in pass protection while keeping a solid base, and showed a very strong initial punch.

In one-on-ones, Dawson excelled in a drill that gives a clear edge to the pass-rusher. He got great depth with his initial step and had three or four pancakes (not all of his reps are on my film above). When Dawson did get beat, it was usually when he let the defender get into his body instead of keeping the rusher at bay with his arm punch. The proverbial mean streak was also on full display. On one rep, Dawson got beat off the edge, and the defender went back to his side screaming "Let's go!" and "I'm hungry!"* Dawson didn't appreciate the woofing, asked for an immediate rematch, and buried the guy into the turf.

Dawson is expected to end up at guard in college and after seeing him yesterday I think that's the best place for him. While his strength allows him to dominate high school competition, he isn't the longest lineman out there, which makes it harder to keep edge-rushers at bay. As you can see above, when Dawson slid inside to take a rep at guard, he dispatched his man with ease.

LOGAN TULEY-TILLMAN

Tuley-Tillman didn't quite perform at Dawson's level but still showed off the potential that earned him an offer in the first place. When I talked to Logan, he told me he weighs about 315 pounds, a 15-pound drop from where he was at the Columbus NFTC last month. He's still carrying bad weight, however, and is going to have to turn a significant amount of fat into muscle before he's ready to play at the next level.

I was initially down on Tuley-Tillman when watching the one-on-ones, but after watching the tape he did better than I thought. When he gets his hands on a guy it's tough to escape and he finishes his blocks with authority. He did struggle some against the speed rush; Funk pulled LTT aside during drills to work on getting better depth in his drop when pass blocking, and there's still work to be done there. When he got his footwork right, defenders had little chance of getting past him.

Despite the technique issues, Tuley-Tillman has great feet; when he's coached up, he should have every opportunity to play tackle at the Big Ten level. He's definitely got some conditioning work to do, though it sounds like he's on the right track. Multiple experts who saw Tuley-Tillman in Columbus, where he reportedly struggled significantly, said his performance yesterday was a vast improvement.

JOURDAN LEWIS

Lewis continues to look impressive on both sides of the ball. While I thought he looked better at corner when playing for Cass Tech last fall, there may be a battle royale between the offensive and defensive coaches over where he'll play at Michigan; the offensive coaches have made it clear that they covet Lewis as a wide receiver. They'll have to fight Greg Mattison for him, however, and that may be a losing battle.

Lewis is never going to wow you from a purely physical standpoint—he's 5'11" and pretty skinny—but his athleticism is just a notch below elite. He showed off great closing speed at cornerback, though he sometimes relies too much on his ability to recover; he's not quite at his 2012 teammate Terry Richardson's level when it comes to staying in a receiver's hip pocket. His ball skills, however, are exemplary; he tracks the ball in the air extremely well and knows exactly when to go for the catch. If a quarterback threw a 50-50 ball in his direction, whether on offense or defense, he came down with it or at least broke up the pass.

At receiver, Lewis put those ball skills to good use, coming up with a couple of spectacular catches including one diving effort against 2014 Cass Tech teammate Damon Webb (much more on him below). I still like Lewis's upside more at corner, where his size plays better, but he's convinced me that he could contribute on either side of the ball at the next level.

KHALID HILL

Hill looked very good in the reps I saw him taking, running crisp routes and catching almost everything thrown his way, including the pass pictured above. He nearly pulled in a ridiculous one-hander early in the morning session, but couldn't quite haul it on; otherwise, any pass in his direction resulted in a catch. Hill isn't the fastest tight end out there, nor the biggest, but he finds a way to get space from defenders and then shield them off with his body.

Given that he's being recruited for a very specific, not-always-used position—H-back—he's got a more limited ceiling than most of the commits; at around 6'2", he doesn't have the size to play much on the line. That said, if he can run routes and catch like he did yesterday, he could be a solid piece to the offensive puzzle.

DAMON WEBB (2014)

Webb turned heads a couple weeks ago when he blanketed Laquon Treadwell at the IMG 7-on-7 and he built on that with an MVP-worthy performance yesterday. Despite being a year younger, Webb has more bulk on his 5'11" frame than his teammate Jourdan Lewis, and like Lewis he's an outstanding athlete.

Also like Lewis, Webb can play either wide receiver or cornerback at the next level, though his size suggests that corner is his optimal position. He was fantastic playing corner in the one-on-one drills, staying step-for-step with Lewis—though Jourdan managed to bring in a diving catch—and 2013 Notre Dame commit James Onwualu, who was torching the less-heralded prospects. Webb faced Onwualu three times, and aside from slipping on a hitch route, he came out on top. Webb doesn't rely as much on recovery speed as Lewis, instead playing a more physical style; he's not at all afraid to come up and jam the receiver, and he flips his hips well when transitioning from his backpedal.

Allen Trieu reported this afternoon that Webb earned a Michigan offer, which comes as little surprise after he performed so well in front of the entire staff. While they're targeting him as an athlete for now, I'm guessing he'll be the next in a long line of Cass Tech corners to play at the BCS level. The Wolverines appear to be his clear leader at the moment and there's a chance his recruitment wraps up early. He'll be in Ann Arbor next week for Michigan's camp.

------------------------
*"I'm hungry" guy was one of the highlights of the camp, as he repeatedly—and loudly—proclaimed his hunger after just about every rep. When Hoke spoke to the campers after the morning session, he singled the kid out for his enthusiasm, then had this exchange:

Hoke: "Did you have lunch yet?"
I'm Hungry Kid: "Yes, sir."
Hoke: "Well, I guess you're not hungry anymore."
------------------------

NOTES

  • 2014 MI DE Malik McDowell wasn't listed on the roster—he wasn't alone in that regard—and only took a couple reps in the morning, so I didn't get a chance to evaluate him. I did head over to where the linemen were gathered in the afternoon, however, and I can say he certainly passes the eye test. That is one huge rising junior.
  • Two other 2014 kids who caught my eye were Cass Tech linebackers William White and Gary Hosey, who both stood out physically among the linebackers. White appeared to have an inch or two on Hosey, but both looked solidly built with the frame to add more bulk. I was busy watching the linemen while they were going through drills, however, so I'll have to catch them play another time.
  • A friend who was helping instuct the linebackers at the camp raved about Michigan State linebacker commit Jon Reschke. I thought Reschke was a no-brainer four-star when I saw him play against Farmington Hills Harrison in the playoffs last year; State got a good one there.
  • Urban Meyer, from the morning presser: "The problem with intercollegiate athletics is that it's almost anti-student-athlete." All the coaches talked about how great it was to be able to instruct recruits at an event outside the usual team camps. There was also discussion about finding ways for recruits to be able to take visits to campus without the cost becoming prohibitive; there definitely seems to be support for summer official visits if the NCAA decides to look in that direction.
  • Yes, Brady Hoke uttered the words "Ohio" and "State" in succession during an impromptu on-field Q&A session with reporters. Yes, there was a subsequent race between the Michigan beat reporters to tweet that bit of news. I believe the winner was AnnArbor.com's Nick Baumgartner.
  • Terry Richardson, James Ross, and Oregon CB (and former Cass Tech Technician) Dior Mathis all were present. Richardson was walking around eating ribs while the Michigan coaches teased him about getting his weight up.
  • After watching them in a camp setting, it's very easy to see why Michigan's coaching staff has so much success both on the field and in recruiting. I kept forgetting to film the OL/DL one-on-ones because I was so intent on listening to Coach Funk give technique pointers to individual guys after their reps; I learned more about blocking technique in five minutes of standing near him than I have in the rest of my life put together. They're all great with the players, as well; you could tell the kids were hanging on every word of instruction.
  • Former Michigan lineman and current EMU OL coach Kurt Anderson, who was running drills with Funk: "You're protecting your family, your food, your quarterback." [via Mike Rothstein]

PHOTO GALLERY

Pictured coaches, in order of appearance, are UAB HC Garrick McGee, OSU HC Urban Meyer, MSU DC Pat Narduzzi, EMU HC Ron English, Hoke, Mattison, EMU's Mike Hart, Syracuse's Tyrone Wheatley, and Michigan's Darrell Funk and Jeff Hecklinski.

Jayru Campbell's hair did not disappoint:

Neither did Shane Morris's afternoon attire:

That's all for now. Interviews with Morris, Dawson, and Tuley-Tillman coming later this afternoon.

Tuesday Recruitin' Sounds The False Alarm

Tuesday Recruitin' Sounds The False Alarm

Submitted by Ace on June 12th, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Today's recruiting roundup previews this week's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, reminds you why you shouldn't pay attention to every recruit's tweet, updates Kendall Fuller's recruitment, and more.

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

I underestimated you, MGoBoard. When I saw this tweet (later deleted by Logan Tuley-Tillman) come across my feed last night, I fully expected at least one thread bracing for the worst:

After half an hour of semi-rampant decommitment speculation, Logan broke the big news:

Let this serve as your regular reminder that breathlessly hanging onto every word in a recruit's twitter feed is a terrible way to live.

In more relevant news on current commits, I'll be attending the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Southfield on Wednesday and Thursday, which features a lengthy list of Michigan commits and targets. Shane Morris, Khalid Hill, David Dawson, Csont'e York, and Jourdan Lewis are the commits expected to attend, as is uncommitted CA DE Joe Mathis. There will also be the usual Cass Tech contingent as well as top 2014 in-state DE target Malik McDowell. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to write up this week, as I'm taking a vacation starting Friday morning and the camp runs all day, but I'll be updating on Twitter frequently.

Rivals released their 2013 rankings for the state of Michigan, and the Wolverines unsurprisingly dominate, taking four of the top five spots. Morris tops the list, followed by Notre Dame commit Steve Elmer, Lewis, Dawson, and Wyatt Shallman. York comes in at #8, one spot behind MSU commit Jon Reschke, and Hill sits at #23. Hill's placement strikes me as unusually low, especially since he comes in three spots behind a fellow tight end from Howell whose only offers are from Air Force, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan.

Kendall Fuller Update, Lists, and Visits

Fox Sports/Scout reporter Kristen Kenney caught up with five-star MD CB Kendall Fuller to get the latest on his recruitment in the following video, which strangely is stuck behind a paywall despite having embedding enabled:

Fuller mentions Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Michigan as the four schools making the strongest push for him. He's got current or former teammates at all four: Stefon Diggs at Maryland, his older brothers at VT, Dorian O'Daniel at Clemson, and Blake Countess at Michigan. According to Fuller, a decision could come before the season if he's 100% sure of the school he'd like to attend. Fuller's fellow Good Counsel defensive back, Kirk Garner, also has the Wolverines in his top six.

Tremendous dropped off an intriguing tidbit in their notes column as FL CB Leon McQuay III says he's trying to set up a visit to Ann Arbor with teammate WR Alvin Bailey for some time in the next couple weeks. Getting Bailey on campus would be big, and in my opinion the prospect of McQuay making multiple visits in a matter of weeks is even bigger. Click through on the link to see Bailey's outstanding high-top fade in action.

Several prospects are narrowing down their lists as the season approaches. CA ATH Darren Carrington, one of Michigan's most recent offers, told 247's Clint Brewster that the Wolverines "in the top couple schools" that he's considering ($). Carrington appears to be waiting on some potential big-time offers, but also says that he'll try to camp at Michigan and plans to use one of his officials to see Ann Arbor. CA ATH Elijah Qualls, who Michigan is recruiting as a DT, has the Wolverines in his top seven ($). VA DE Wyatt Teller has his eye on four schools($): Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan, and Notre Dame, though the two in-state schools appear to have a distinct edge.

Quickly: CA WR Sebastian Larue earned a USC offer this week, and he tells Rivals's Adam Gorney that he's spending the next few days pondering an early commitment ($). If he drops this weekend, it won't be to Michigan. GBW initially reported this week that Michigan offered OH ATH Caleb Day, but that report has been refuted by Rivals and later retracted by GBW. Happy trails to OH WR Kevin Gladney, who committed to Nebraska.

Brief 2014 Updates

...are very brief this week.

Tremendous gets a visit reaction from IN LB Brandon Lee, who checked out campus on Friday and enjoyed the trip.

Five-star AL ATH Bo Scarbrough will visit Ann Arbor later this month ($, info in header). Scarbrough is being recruited by all of the major powers, and while it's a tall task to get a recruit from Tuscaloosa, getting him on campus is a good start.

Four-star IL LB Clifton Garrett, who trains with Core 6 alongside LTT and Laquon Treadwell (among others), will attend July's BBQ at the Big House ($).

2013 commit Kyle Bosch has a younger brother in the class of 2015 who just picked up his first offer($) from Illinois. His name? Brennan Bosch. That won't get confusing at all for the Tigers fans among us.

Friday Recruitin' Snaps Footballs, Fingers

Friday Recruitin' Snaps Footballs, Fingers

Submitted by Ace on June 8th, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the commitment of Scott Sypniewski, the new ESPN rankings, the status of Jordan Wilkins, and much more.

Hello: Scott Sypniewski

Edited but probably NSFW, because Lil Jon

As you know by now, Michigan offered and accepted a commitment from Ottawa (IL) long snapper Scott Sypniewski on Wednesday, sparking a rather mixed reaction followed by a reaction to the reaction, if you follow. Like Brian*, you can put me down for "thoroughly perplexed," especially given the timing of the offer—even if there's a potentially pressing need for a long snapper, wouldn't that be determined in the fall (especially given the presence of 2012 preferred walk-on Tyler Tokarsky) as opposed to June?

That said, Sypniewski at least represents one of the top players nationwide at the position, which has seen an increase in scholarship offers recently according to this Rivals article from May:

At least 25 of the 121 non-academies in the FBS ranks have long snappers who were awarded scholarships directly out of high school or junior college. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell estimates that represents about a 20 percent increase over the last five or six years.

So, at least Michigan isn't alone; the article claims that students of long-snapping guru Chris Rubio earned scholarships to LSU, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Arizona State, and Michigan State (that would be one-time Michigan walk-on pledge Taybor Pepper) last year.

While I'm still not sure it was the wisest move to take a specialist at this juncture, there's one argument against taking Sypniewski that I'll address here: the cries that taking him precluded Michigan from bringing on Laquon Treadwell, Derrick Green or Jordan Wilkins, Kendall Fuller or Leon McQuay, and Joe Mathis. Like, four of those guys.

While Michigan is in great shape for Treadwell, he's the only player among that group that I'd say has a better than 33% chance of becoming a Wolverine, and that figure might be generous for most of those guys. Green keeps popping up in articles that don't mention Michigan($), Wilkins appears to be a strong Auburn lean (more on him later), Fuller has strong ties to Virginia Tech and Clemson, McQuay is a top-flight Florida recruit, and Mathis changes his favorite every time he visits a new school. Not trying to sound overly negative here, just trying to be realistic: getting any two of those players would be fantastic. There's no way in hell Michigan was getting four no matter how the numbers worked out.

In other current commit news, ESPN updated their top 150, introduced the ESPN300, and released their team rankings for the class of 2013. Unsurprisingly, Michigan tops the team rankings; the full list is here, but paywalled, while TomVH's analysis of the team rankings is free, which totally makes sense. Other Big Ten+ teams in the top 25: Ohio State (7), Notre Dame (10), Penn State (14), and Michigan State (22).

As for changes to the individual player rankings, TTB has the full breakdown, as usual. The big movers were Jourdan Lewis, who rose 15 spots and into the top 100, Mike McCray, who fell 29 spots, and Patrick Kugler, who jumped from #123 to #112. In all, Michigan has 15 players in the ESPN300, including 11 in the ESPN150. Shane Morris is the top-ranked commit at #32, which represented a five-spot rise for him.

Also releasing rankings was OhioPreps.com, the Rivals outlet focused on, um, Ohio. Michigan's Ohio commitments stand out among their position rankings for the class of 2013:

  • DeVeon Smith is the #1 running back
  • Jaron Dukes is the #3 wide receiver
  • Jake Butt is the #1 tight end
  • Taco Charlton is the #1 defensive end
  • Mike McCray and Ben Gedeon are the #1 and #2 linebackers, respectively
  • Gareon Conley is the #3 cornerback
  • Dymonte Thomas is the #1 safety

Call me crazy, but I think the Wolverines are having a good deal of success in Ohio this year. Next thing you know, jerseys will be selling like hotcakes down there.

Quickly: Haven't had your fill of special teams highlight tapes? Good! Here's 2012 walk-on K/P Kenny Allen drilling a bunch of field goals. Jake Butt is invited to The Opening. Shane Morris earns an invite to ESPN's Champion Gridiron Kings event. Matt Pargoff, like Seth on Wednesday, ranks Michigan's top recruiting classes of the last 20 years.

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*MGoHiveMind! Conspiracy! Dey took our jobz!

Change Of Plans For Wilkins

So, yeah, about TN RB Jordan Wilkins—the four-star back was initially slated to visit Ann Arbor on Saturday, but he'll have to reschedule after realizing that he has to take the ACT that day ($). Wilkins maintains that he wants to see all of his final four schools—Auburn, Michigan, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee—before making a commitment, but this still doesn't bode well. Sam Webb profiled Wilkins in the Detroit News, and Wilkins reiterated that he very nearly committed to Auburn on Monday. Message board rumors also have Wilkins maybe not liking Michigan's depth chart so much, which means this is ominous:

So what are major factors?

"Early playing time and coaches," said Wilkins. "I know I want to play with guys I get along with — that I can come and talk to about anything. I like coaches that I can talk to about anything because my high school coaches right now are like my second parents. I've always been close with my coaches, so that's another big thing.["]

Wilkins would like to have his decision made before his football season starts. My guess is that decision won't be Michigan.

The Wolverines somewhat surprisingly showed up on PA WR Robert Foster's top seven yesterday, joining Alabama, Pitt, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, and USC. According to Foster's assistant coach, via an article by 247's Steve Wiltfong($), he's planning to visit Michigan and MSU this month. Foster also plans to take all of his official visits before deciding, so even if there's mutual interest here, it may be tough for Foster to find a spot in the class. One receiver who may move a little faster is MD WR Paul Harris, who will visit on June 19, according to Tremendous. He's one to keep an eye on.

Tim Sullivan reports that TX DT Hardreck Walker plans to make a decision by the end of the summer, but will continue taking visits, and he plans on taking an official to Michigan ($, info in header). We'll see how this one plays out, since the Wolverines are no longer really in need of a DT unless they decide that Henry Poggi fits best at strongside DE. Even then, shoehorning another defensive lineman in the class could prove difficult.

Quickly: Steve Wiltfong reports that Michigan offered CA ATH Darren Carrington, but there isn't an article to go with the tweet, so for now that's all the info we've got regarding any potential interest or visits. Michigan made the top five for AZ CB Cole Luke along with Notre Dame, Texas, Nebraska, and Cal. Happy trails to Su'a Cravens, who shocked the world by committing to USC. Cravens says he still plans to visit Michigan and his other finalists, but I wouldn't hold out hope for a switch. Don't do this, people.

Quick 2014 Updates

Not as much action as recent weeks on the 2014 front, but IL CB Parrker Westphal did visit campus on Tuesday and came away mighty impressed. He told Tremendous that Michigan is now the school by which he'll measure all of his other visits and he plans on being in Ann Arbor again for the BBQ at the Big House. Westphal is coached by former Michigan CB Todd Howard, who will likely accompany Westphal on his next trip.

Michigan is in line to get a very big visit, and visitor, in GA OL Orlando Brown, son of the late NFL lineman of the same name. Brown told 247's Clint Brewster that he'll visit Michigan on July 14th ($). Brown, who stands at 6'9"(!!), 360 pounds(!!!), projects to be one of the top tackles in the 2014 class.

The Wolverines will also get summer visits from a pair of quarterbacks. IN QB Brent Lyles will camp at Michigan on June 20th($), while OH QB DeShone Kizer plans to check out Ann Arbor again on either the 17th or 21st of this month ($). Kizer is one of two 2014 quarterbacks, along with MI QB Chance Stewart, getting a strong look at an early offer, while Lyles is hoping to break into that group.