Monday Recruitin' From New Jersey To California

Monday Recruitin' From New Jersey To California

Submitted by Ace on December 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Oh, Right ... That

Photo via

There hasn't been a recruiting roundup since Jabrill Peppers tweeted his intention to take official visits after the season, catching not only Michigan fans off-guard, but also his fellow commits and even his own coach, Paramus Catholic's Chris Partridge—notably, the man who sets up all of Peppers' visits. After the tweet set fire to this corner of the internet, Peppers released a statement through Partrige:

I am still 100% committed to the University of Michigan and that is the place where I want to go to college.  With the rumors about Coach Hoke possibly not being there I need to make sure that I have options and have seen other places in case the University of Michigan decides to go in a different direction.  For the sake of my future I need to make sure I have other options.  No need to look into it any further! Go Blue and beat TDS

Peppers reiterated that he's not decommiting and just wants to use any potential visits as a "security blanket," to Scout (via Sam Webb's latest column in the Detroit News).

Michigan has already begun efforts to assuage Peppers' fears, certainly with an eye on keeping him from taking any visits, which would put Brady Hoke in quite the bind as he balances the massive need to keep Peppers in the fold with the possibility of angering other commits—and displaying what could easily be interpreted as hypocricy by Michigan targets and their coaches—by not enforcing his no-visit policy. Dave Brandon's statement in support of Hoke specifically mentioned Michigan's national recruiting "from New Jersey to California, from Michigan to Florida." I don't believe New Jersey is in there by accident; in fact, the whole statement seems to be as much a response to the Peppers situation as it is to any fan discontent.

There are a few things working in Michigan's favor. Peppers and his Paramus Catholic squad play in the state championship game this weekend; the following weekend he's set to take his official visit to Michigan. Peppers didn't talk to Hoke when he made his statement last week—Hoke had a few other things to worry about—but he'll definitely find out where things stand when he's in Ann Arbor; if the coaches (and Brandon) can convince him that the program is on stable ground, it's entirely possible that this whole thing blows over without him ever setting foot on another school's campus.

Even if Peppers still wants to explore other schools after his Michigan official, the timing is tough; an NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period goes into effect after next week's visit, so he wouldn't be able to visit any school until mid-January, just a couple weeks before Signing Day.

For his part, Peppers certainly seemed committed to Michigan during The Game on Saturday, tweeting out his support multiple times during the game and indicating afterward that he'd be taking part in it next season, and not as a Buckeye. While the fact that Peppers even needs reassurance that Hoke will still be at Michigan next year isn't a good sign regarding his recruitment or the program, I don't think there's a lot to worry about here unless Peppers actually goes on other visits—for now, only his trip to Ann Arbor is set to go.

[After THE JUMP, Michigan drops the 'grey shirt' distinction for Brady Pallante, visit reactions from The Game, and a roundup of the latest on Michigan's commits who are still alive in the playoffs.]

Ohio State Visitor List

Ohio State Visitor List

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 25th, 2013 at 8:26 PM

There are several lists circulating around out there so I decided to reach out to as many prospects as I could to confirm either that they will be in attendance or that they won’t be. Every name below I have personally confirmed their presence or absence. These lists are of course always quite fluid and even from places like Rivals or 247 there are constantly changes. I will post updates as the week progresses.


2014 Commits
WR-Freddy Canteen
LB-Jared Wangler
TE-Ian Bunting
WR-Moe Ways
WR-Drake Harris
OL-Mason Cole
LB-Chase Winovich
LB-Michael Ferns
QB-Wilton Speight
DB-Brandon Watson

2014 Targets
QB-Giovanni Rescigno
WR-Kendric Mallory
S-Jason Alessi

2015 Commits
DB-Tyree Kinnel

2015 Targets
QB-Jimmy Fitzgerald
QB-Alex Malzone
DT-Josh Alabi
LB-Justin Hilliard
LB-Darrin Kirkland Jr.
DB-Kei Beckham
LB-Reagan Williams
TE-CJ Conrad
OL-Sterling Jenkins
ATH-Brian Cole
S-Mykelti Williams

2016 Commits
OL-Erik Swenson

2016 Targets
ATH-Daelin Hayes
LB-Dele’ Harding
DT-Michael Onwenu
QB-Messiah DeWeaver
LB-Brendan Ferns


Monday Recruitin' Fails To Self-Destruct

Monday Recruitin' Fails To Self-Destruct

Submitted by Ace on November 25th, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Buckle Up

As reported on multiple outlets, including this one, Michigan is in line to get a commitment sometime this week. Brandon promised the prospect he wouldn't mention his position, class, or location (or name, obviously), so I'll say that he is a football player, and his pledge will come as welcome news. This post will self-destruct in 3... 2... 1...


Darn, I was really hoping that would get me out of writing the rest of this post. The above was the good news. Here's the bad, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($):

Michigan also recently offered Williams and he was considering a visit to Ann Arbor but he now says he is ready to shut things down.

"As far as right now, I'm done with recruiting. My top two are Notre Dame and Missouri and just want to decide between those two. I'm just trying to figure it out."

That's 2014 Berrien Springs (MI) DE Jhonny Williams, whom Michigan offered immediately after they missed out on Da'Shawn Hand. Williams took an official visit to Notre Dame last weekend, had a great time, and decided he'd either stick with his current commitment to Missouri or flip to the Irish. So it goes.

A potential backup option to the backup option is WI TE/DE Gaelin Elmore. Elmore is a Minnesota commit; 247's Steve Lorenz reported that Michigan's coaches got in contact with him last week ($). Brandon caught up with Elmore to get more details, and for now he doesn't sound like a realistic option:

I'm not sure exactly what the coaches are planning with Elmore but he was pretty clear with how he is currently feeling. "I'm not really interested in Michigan at this point. It'd just be interesting to see what they had to say."

I don't know if the coaches were caught completely off guard by Hand's commitment to Alabama; it sure looks like they're scrambling to find a suitable replacement in the class.

[Hit THE JUMP to see which pair of highly-ranked 2015 targets have Michigan among their top schools, updates from last weekend's high school football action, and where Wolverine commits and targets stand in the updated ESPN 300 for 2015.]

Monday Recruitin' Moves On

Monday Recruitin' Moves On

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Life After Hand

It goes on, believe it or not. Michigan responded to missing out on Da'Shawn Hand by immediately offering Berrian Springs (MI) DE Jhonny Williams, a Missouri commit since September, and judging by his comments to Brandon he's taking his new opportunity very seriously:

Williams wasn’t shy about being excited to hear from Michigan for the first time just recently when we first spoke. After receiving his offer, Jhonny texted me last night with a very respectful message as he sorts through his options.

"I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you."

He didn’t hide the fact that he’s juggling some thoughts now that Michigan has offered and I expect the Wolverines to get some consideration.

Williams is a three-star, #42 strongside DE, and #15 prospect in the state according to the 247 Composite; while the rankings are middling, interest in him has picked up of late, as Notre Dame offered him last week. He looks impressive, albeit against relatively low-level competition, in his senior highlights on Hudl.

Shooting Down ALL THE RUMORS

Lose out on a top prospect in the midst of a very ugly stretch for the football team and now even the most outwardly faithful commits have to deny rumors of jumping ship. Rivals posted clickbait so obviously clickbait that I refuse to link it in which they suggest that Jabrill Peppers could join Hand at Alabama despite acknowledging in the very same article that Peppers hasn't spoken with the Tide in months. It even features speculation by a certain national analyst with the quote "I have nothing to back that up."

Meanwhile, Scout's Brian Dohn actually talked to Jabrill Peppers—a novel concept—and Peppers shot down the notion that he's looking around at all ($):

“I’m going to try to go out there for the game against that down south team,” Peppers said. “Everybody is worried about all of the recruits because of the losses, but that is why it’s called rebuilding. We have a new coach (Brady Hoke). He’s bringing in the talent.

I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to make sure we bring Michigan back to the Michigan we knew before.

Not only is Peppers remaining a part of the class, he's planning to head to Ann Arbor for The Game. He's even giving quotes to the Daily about his future role on the team:

“I love (playing both ways),” Peppers said. “I love being able to have as many big-impact plays on the game as I possibly can. I definitely would love doing that, but first I want make sure that I’m fully committed and understand the defense and what coach Mattison is trying to do before they start moving me around to the offensive side of the ball.

“I’m all for it and want to do it and try to make as many plays as I possibly can.”

Decommitment pending, I'm sure.

As for Mason Cole and George Campbell, Sam Webb caught up with them after their regular season finale a week ago; they seem solid, as well ($):

Before departing the field both future Wolverines posed for photos that demonstrated their Maize & Blue pride in the form of Michigan caps and ‘M’ gestures with their hands.   Upon putting on his hat, Campbell offered up an emphatic ‘Go Blue!’  When asked if that meant his commitment is solid, he didn’t hesitate.

“Yes,” he responded. “I am not listening to the calls (from other schools).”

Another "Go Blue", this time in tandem with Cole, hammered that point home.

Various tweets from other commits over the past couple weeks have driven this point home—the 2014 class is remaining firm in their commitments, at least for the time being, and there's nothing but pure speculation to suggest otherwise.

[Hit THE JUMP for a roundup of commit performances from last weekend.]

Michigan Offers Vic Enwere And Jhonny Williams

Michigan Offers Vic Enwere And Jhonny Williams

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 15th, 2013 at 6:35 AM

Contrary to popular perception recruiting is not over. The Michigan coaches have offered 2014 prospects RB Vic Enwere and DE Jhonny Williams.

Vic Enwere

Vic Enwere

Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 6'1"/215 lbs.
Location: Fort Bend Austin High School – Missouri City, TX
Class: 2014
Offers: Committed to California, Arkansas State, Colorado, Duke, Houston, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, LA Lafayette, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Texas, Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Texas State, Tulsa, Utah, Virginia, Wake Forest

Enwere is a big back with a pretty large, but not powerhouse-studded, offer list. He does hold an offer from the Spartans and they seem to do pretty well at uncovering lowly-rated, highly productive running backs.

Enwere is currently committed to Cal but it’s a soft commitment at best. He spoke with the Michigan coaches on Thursday about how he’d fit in to the offensive scheme and also about setting up a possible visit in the near future. Enwere told me that receiving an offer from Michigan was a big deal and that he was honored. In talking to him it was pretty clear that the Michigan offer has thrown a wrench into his thought process. I asked him what the Michigan offer meant to his commitment to Cal and he said, “I’m really not sure. I am definitely considering Michigan now that they are a real option.” As a Texas kid, committed to Cal he cited Michigan’s storied history as the first thing that attracted him to the Maize and Blue. He also said that a flip from Cal to Michigan is possible, but he just has to really evaluate all of his options now that the Wolverines are in the picture.

Jhonathon Williams

Jhonny Williams

Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6'6"/230 lbs.
Location: Berrien Springs High School – Berrien Springs, MI
Class: 2014
Offers: Committed to Missouri, Ball State, Bowling Green, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Toledo

The Michigan coaches wasted no time extending an offer to Williams once Da’Shawn Hand committed to Alabama. Williams is an in-state product with some non-power conference offers plus Notre Dame and the program he’s currently committed to, Missouri. On film Williams is quite impressive but Berrien Springs doesn’t exactly play top competition.  Regardless of who he plays against though, you can see his athleticism and his size is impressive as well.

Williams wasn’t shy about being excited to hear from Michigan for the first time just recently when we first spoke. After receiving his offer, Jhonny texted me last night with a very respectful message as he sorts through his options.

I’m not ready to comment on the recent events. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I gather them. I need time. Thank you.

He didn’t hide the fact that he’s juggling some thoughts now that Michigan has offered and I expect the Wolverines to get some consideration. Missouri has done very well this season and should continue to improve with some promising young talent on the roster, but Jhonny’s latest offer must carry some weight to stir up his mind that way. He’s been committed to Mizzou since late September so it will be interesting to see what he says in the coming weeks.

Hand To Alabama

Hand To Alabama

Submitted by Ace on November 14th, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Da'Shawn Hand chose Alabama over Michigan and Florida in an excruciatingly long televised announcement on NBCSN, citing the opportunity to major in civil enginering and the chance to win a national championship.

I've got nothing else. This month can't end soon enough. Please be civil in the comments, especially since it's pretty darn difficult to blame Hand given, you know, the state of things.

Monday Recruitin' Commits To Everybody

Monday Recruitin' Commits To Everybody

Submitted by Ace on November 11th, 2013 at 3:21 PM


Five-star DE Da'Shawn Hand announces his college decision between Michigan, Alabama, and Florida on Thursday at noon—today, Rivals revealed that the announcement will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network and streamed on Rivals.

It's not worth delving too deeply into speculation when we'll know Hand's decision so soon; it appears that his decision will come down to Michigan or Alabama—while the Wolverines haven't exactly been tearing things up, his visit to Florida came just in time to see Will Muschamp's seat go from "hot" to "scalding". Remember Notre Dame? Hopefully he does, too.

I'll quickly address that the Alabama Scout board has a rumor that Hand is down to Alabama and Florida, and that rumor has been shot down by at least one credible source. You'll probably hear a lot of stuff like this before Thursday, and given how little Hand has been willing to reveal throughout the recruiting process, it'll all be educated guesses at best, total BS at worst.

If you want a more complete breakdown, 247 has a free primer detailing the positives/negatives for each school.

McDowell Speaks

A free 247 article on Malik McDowell's Army All-American jersey presentation features more quotes from McDowell than we've seen in a while:

“I never could say (Michigan) was on top but they’re one of my favorite schools,” McDowell said. “Ohio State has always been one of my favorite schools. Michigan State has been impressing me ever since I got my offer from them.”

The Wolverines were one of the first schools to extend a scholarship to McDowell and the relationship continues to grow.

“That was like my second offer,” McDowell said. “It was a big deal. We keep in touch a lot. I like Coach (Greg) Mattison and I’m real cool with Coach (Brady) Hoke. I just really like their whole coaching staff.”

McDowell visited Ohio State for the Penn State game, received a visit from Mark Dantonio last week, and was reportedly in attendance at the Nebraska game on Saturday. He's still discussing setting up an official visit to Florida on Thanksgiving (to watch them get crushed by Florida State, in all likelihood) and mentions Alabama, LSU, and Oregon as other potential official visit destinations.

[Hit THE JUMP for a must-read piece on Detroit recruits from TomVH, new offers in the 2015 and 2016 classes, Jabrill Peppers highlights, and a roundup of last weekend's commit stats.]

Nebraska Visitor List

Nebraska Visitor List

Submitted by Brandon Brown on November 9th, 2013 at 1:15 PM


Thanks to multiple sources including Tim Sullivan, 247, and multiple Twitter accounts of recruits themselves, the visitor list for today’s game has been assembled and is pretty respectable. I was able to touch base with some of the players leading up to today’s game.


Grand Rapids (MI) Christian WR Drake Harris – Harris has been hampered by a hamstring injury throughout his senior season and he told me it’s been horrible having to just watch his team. He’s enjoyed watching his team succeed but obviously would rather be on the field. He will be in attendance for the Nebraska game and will be wearing his recruiting hat.

Kenton (OH) LB Noah Furbush – Furbush is a very keep-to-himself kind of kid. He is one of the few recruits I have never had any contact with. He doesn’t do much as far as interviews go and also isn’t much for social media. He just does work on the field, which is actually sort of refreshing.

Warren (MI) De La Salle LB Jared Wangler – Wangler is obviously very familiar with Ann Arbor and The Big House, but a game against Nebraska is a nice draw. He’ll be in attendance with his high school teammate, quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, and his father, John.

Southfield (MI) DE Lawrence Marshall – Marshall’s season was unexpectedly cut short by an upset loss to Seaholm in the first round of the playoffs, so Lawrence can now turn all of his football attention to becoming a Wolverine. That will include checking out his future team taking on the Huskers today.

2014 Recruits

Southfield (MI) DL Malik McDowell – Like Marshall, McDowell unexpectedly has extra free time now to focus on his recruitment. He has taken some surprise visits, like one to Ohio State a couple of weeks ago, and also to East Lansing. He’ll be in Ann Arbor today, a place he’s visited most frequently, to check out Michigan’s defensive line play.

Warren (MI) De La Salle WR Brent Morris – Brent, the younger brother of current Michigan quarterback Shane Morris, will be at the game today to hopefully see big bro’s squad get a win. The younger Morris doesn’t hold any offers yet, and probably won’t receive one from Michigan, but with no offers to weigh, a preferred walk-on is a possibility for him.

Warren (MI) De La Salle QB Giovanni Rescigno – There seems to be a De La Salle theme among this visitors list and Rescigno is another Pilot that will be in attendance. Rescigno currently has no offers.

Kenton (OH) QB Grant Sherman – Sherman is the high school teammate of current Michigan commit Noah Furbush and while he currently has no offers he comes from a polished program that produced the Mauk brothers.

2015 Recruits

Jackson (MI) Lumen Christi RB Khari Willis – Willis will be taking his first visit to Ann Arbor today a week after a record breaking performance of 303 rushing yards with 5 touchdowns. Willis has a few offers from Division II schools but that will more than likely change over the next year.

Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. – I spoke with Kirkland Jr. and he sounded very excited to check out a game at The Big House. Coach Smith checked out Kirkland in action a few weeks ago and Kirkland can’t wait to meet the rest of the coaching staff today. He really wants to tour campus and check out Michigan Stadium as much as he’s allowed to. He really hopes an offer comes at some point even if it’s not today.

Grand Blanc (MI) DB Trevon Avery – The younger brother of Courtney Avery will be in attendance today, nothing new for him as he visits regularly. He doesn’t hold any offers right now but has good size and athleticism. He’s merely a name to watch at this point.

Brownsburg (IN) OL Evan Mallory – I introduced Mallory as a name to watch back during my M Block days and he is a pretty big Michigan fan. He told me he wants to try and talk with the coaches and watch Michigan win. He feels pretty good about his relationship with the coaches so far and wants a Michigan offer above all others.

Northville (MI) OL David Moorman – I’ve spoken with Moorman before, but wasn’t able to contact him before his visit today. The last time we spoke he talked about how strong his relationship was with Coach Funk and that an offer from Michigan would be beyond special. When I asked him if a commitment would follow he level-headedly answered, “Let’s just see if they offer first.”, with a laugh.

Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice QB Alex Malzone – Malzone’s name continues to pop up among 2015 signal callers and will visit today and for the Ohio State game at the end of the month. He’s in regular contact with Coach Borges and is looking more and more like a possibility for an offer at some point.

2016 Recruits

Clinton Township (MI) Chippewa Valley DB Stefan Claiborne

Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s LB Daelin Hayes

Saline (MI) QB Joshua Jackson (son of RB coach Fred Jackson)

2017 Recruits

St. Joseph (MI) DE Corey Malone-Hatcher

Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s LB Joshua Ross (brother of current LB James Ross)

Thursday Recruitin' Is Sophomoric

Thursday Recruitin' Is Sophomoric

Submitted by Ace on November 7th, 2013 at 12:25 PM


This GIS went much better than expected.

This feature on Wilton Speight has perhaps the least informative headline ever; that's okay, though, because it comes from The Goochland Gazette, and [keels over laughing].

Okay, pull yourself together, post rapturous blockquote:

Standing in a huddle on the sideline with his teammates just before kickoff, he towers over his running backs and offensive line by a good five inches. He gestures confidently, like a conductor fully in charge of an orchestra, wholly in tune with and in charge of his surroundings.

The next thing that strikes your attention is that beautiful spiral. Tight and wind-resistance, he hums the pigskin all over the yard, from sideline-to-sideline, completing every route in the playbook - hitches, curls, posts, outs, you name it — with uniform ease. Comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger are a given, not only because of his 6’6, 230 pound frame, but also due to his surprisingly nimble feet and his innate ability to prolong plays and spin productive downs out of would-be sacks.


Goodbye, JuJu

CA ATH JuJu Smith was always considered a longshot to end up at Michigan, even though he'd previously scheduled an official visit for the Ohio State game. After very positive visits to Notre Dame, Ohio State, and new contender Oregon, Smith dropped the Wolverines from his list, citing their less-than-stellar performance:

Before PANIC sets in, please note that this is relatively unusual; yes, of course winning helps recruiting, but normally a team's win/loss record affects the next class more than the current one (in this case, Michigan isn't doing itself any favors for 2015). If you click through to Tom's tweet, you'll note that he responds to someone stating that Da'Shawn Hand may feel the same way with a straightforward "No, I don't think that." Along those same lines...

Now, does Michigan's demoralizing loss to State potentially affect 2015 in-state recruits like Mike Weber, Josh Alabi, and Brian Cole? Absolutely. To Michigan kids who've now seen MSU take five of the last six games, the Spartans are now the state's top football program—and the most stable one. That doesn't mean they won't consider U-M—the flip side to this is a recruit sees plenty of opportunity to help bring a traditionally strong program back to the top—but at the same time, it obviously doesn't help.

Hand's Final Visit

Da'Shawn Hand's final official visit comes on Saturday when he watches 4-4 Florida take on Vanderbilt; while the Gators were once considered a potential dark horse, a season even uglier than Michigan's has robbed them of any momentum, especially with coach Will Muschamp squarely on the hot seat (while a team's record doesn't have a huge effect on most recruits, the coach recruiting them potentially not having a job next year usually does). Rivals's Mike Farrell, who's the recruiting reporter in closest regular contact with Hand, says in his latest column that he thinks Michigan holds a slight edge over Alabama ($). It's hard to see Florida jumping into the mix with Hand's announcement coming a week from today.


The M Block's Eric Rutter pens a lengthy, quote-filled feature on 2014 commit Chase Winovich, covering his season, playing both ways this year, his friendship with fellow Pennsylvanian Sterling Jenkins (both plan to visit for the OSU game), and his feelings on Hand and Malik McDowell:

Chase then went on to share his thoughts on how Michigan will close the 2014 class, focusing specifically on defensive line prospects Malik McDowell and DaShawn Hand.  "I have a gut feeling that Malik McDowell will go to Michigan.  I'm not to sold on [DaShawn] Hand yet, but people seem pretty, pretty, really, really confident that they know their stuff and say he's headed to Michigan.  So I'm going to trust them and say, yeah, I hope he's going to Michigan.  But like I said, I definitely have that gut feeling on Malik McDowell."  This would put the finishing touches on a strong class that ranks among the best in the country for 2014.

Winovich is apparently taking his recruiting guru cues from Sam Webb.

If you've got a 247 subscription, Clint Brewster looks at five candidates to be Michigan's next 2015 commit ($).

247 released their Crystal Ball rankings; I'm currently ranked #40 (out of 194, so... I'll take it!) for 2014 and, thanks to Michigan's early efforts, am all the way up at #16 for the class of 2015.

Monday Recruitin' Has The Heart Of A Tree

Monday Recruitin' Has The Heart Of A Tree

Submitted by Ace on November 4th, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Keeping His Hand To Himself

This week's edition of "First and 17" features Da'Shawn Hand's coach telling Mike Farrell, "I don't know if he knows for sure for sure. I feel like he really likes Michigan. He's gonna go feel the flavor of the SEC because of everything everyone's talked about, but... you know, I don't even know. I think he knows. I don't even know if pops knows yet ... At this point, none of where he picks will surprise me, because they're all great schools." (2:25 mark.) He also tells Roy Manning, who stopped by Woodbridge during the bye week, that he thinks Hand is leaning towards Michigan—but also that he likes Alabama, and this is before Hand's official to Tuscaloosa. (7:25 mark.)

Later, Hand discusses why he likes to keep his thoughts to himself (9:44 mark): "When I take one visit, everyone thinks I'm committing to the college ... I just don't like showing people my full hand, because then everyone can pick out your every move. Everyone tries to get in my head, but that'll never happen."

So... your guess is as good as mine. We'll know in ten days when he makes his announcement.

Michigan Still In Mix For Glenville Duo

Rivals's Josh Helmholdt caught up with highly-touted 2014 Glenville teammates Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith to discuss their respective recruitments. Like Hand, both are playing it coy when it comes to naming a leader, even though Ohio State is the presumed destination for both (especially Lattimore; fitting Smith into the class could get difficult for OSU). Both have four official visits left to schedule—Alabama is already on the docket for each—and Michigan is in the running for both. Here's Lattimore ($):

"I am going to take all of my officials. I have to plan them with Marcelys Jones and Erick Smith," Lattimore said. "Ohio State, probably USC, I might try to get out to Oregon, probably Michigan and Louisville. I was always interested in all those schools, and will give them equal opportunity."

And Smith ($):

Alabama assistant coach Bobby Williams was at Glenville on Friday and Smith is looking at rescheduling that trip for sometime in December. He has a group of a half dozen schools who are in the mix for his remaining four official visits.

"I am not for sure, but I know Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State and Georgia Tech too - those are all up there," Smith said. "You could say those are the schools I am really looking at right now."

With Lattimore and Smith planning their trips together, it's fair to guess that OSU, Michigan, and Louisville (along with Bama) have an edge—those schools are mentioned by both prospects. It's tough to see Michigan beating out Alabama and Ohio State given how the season is playing out and the fact that neither are sure they'll take another trip to Ann Arbor.

Meanwhile, four-star MI DL Malik McDowell has scheduled his official visit to Florida and tells that he's in frequent contact with head coach Will Muschamp. He's another prospect who's very difficult to read; the very frequent trips to Ann Arbor—and playing on the same line with commit Lawrence Marshall—suggest Michigan holds an edge, but it's clear that he's serious about looking around.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Sheriron Jones, a must-read feature on a current commit, and a roundup of last weekend's high school action as playoff season gets under way.]