Hello: Noah Furbush

Hello: Noah Furbush

Submitted by Ace on July 1st, 2013 at 10:18 AM


Won't be needing that lanyard anymore.

Michigan picked up their third commitment in three days when Kenton (OH) linebacker Noah Furbush made the call for the Wolverines this morning, according to multiple outlets. Furbush becomes the 14th commit in the 2014 class and the third at linebacker, joining Michael Ferns and Chase Winovich.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 Sports 247 Comp.
3*, #59 OLB NR OLB 4*, 80, #21 ILB 3*, 87, #53 OLB 3*, #43 OLB,
#565 Ovr.

Michigan has gone from zero MGoBlog Sleeper of the Year candidates to three in a matter of days, as Furbush is the last four-star inside linebacker on ESPN and gets middle-of-the-road three-star ratings from Scout and 247, with Rivals yet to evaluate him.

There is some disparity over his future college position: while ESPN pegs him as an inside linebacker, the other sites list him on the outside, with 247 even listing a secondary position of weakside defensive end. That probably has to do with his size — Furbush is listed by all four services at 6'4" and 230-240 pounds. Michigan is reportedly recruiting Furbush as an inside guy, which just happens to be the spot where he's ranked the highest.

SCOUTING

Furbush was an unknown quantity even to Ohio insiders as recently as last fall, until his junior tape started drawing attention. When Bucknuts compiled their initial 2014 top 50 list for the state of Ohio, Furbush landed at #22 thanks in large part to some impressive hits on his highlight reel ($):

"With Furbush, you like his explosion and the way he just destroys the ball carriers with his first four or five plays (on video). He really strikes people and strikes them pure. That’s harder to do than you think. He has that innate ability to destroy people when he hits them. He’s put on 40 pounds in the last year. I think he can be a pretty good defensive end.

“He has just come out of nowhere. I didn’t really see him during the season or even in the month or two after the season. We first saw (his video) in the last month or two.”

Furbush's physical play doesn't just come through on tape; Allen Trieu praised his strength when he went to Purdue's camp last month ($):

Noah Furbush, a linebacker for Kenton with several offers is a big kid who looks like he will only get bigger. He is strong and physical, throwing a few would be receivers to the ground off the line. We think with his size and growth potential, he may end up putting his hand down at the next level or potentially being a hybrid type guy.

That's two evaluations mentioning Furbush as a potential defensive end. With Michigan recruiting him as an inside linebacker, that could raise concerns about his coverage, but he performed well in that regard at a Toledo 7-on-7 camp last month, per Scout's Bill Greene ($):

A 2014 linebacker prospect out of Kenton, Ohio. Furbush was all over the field, showing speed and also leaping ability. His man-to-man coverage was excellent and he also got great depth in his drops. One to watch this year at one of Ohio's fine programs.

With the wide-open style of 7-on-7 football, being able to cover man-up as an oversized (for high school) linebacker is impressive. 247's Clint Brewster took a look at Furbush's tape and also came away impressed with his coverage, among other things ($):

He has excellent instincts and plays with a very high football I.Q. He doesn’t over pursue and does his job on each play. Furbush has outstanding pass rush technique and excels coming off the edge, getting after the quarterback. He shows excellent first-step-quickness. At 6-foot-4, and 230-pounds, Furbush runs well for his size and uses his long frame to his advantage, particularly well in the passing game, getting in between passing lanes and breaking up passes. He also uses his length to get off blocks very well. He does not stay blocked.

Aggressiveness and consistent, hard-hitting tackling are also mentioned as positives, which is in line with other evaluations. Brewster's notes the all-important pad level as an area for improvement, no surprise both because of Furbush's height and the fact that this has been said about every high school front seven prospect in the history of high school front seven prospects.

Furbush's high school coach thinks his athleticism helps set him apart from other prospects, per ESPN's Chantel Jennings ($):

He runs like a defensive back,” [Kenton coach Mike] Mauk said. “He moves and changes direction very well. He’s physical and very aggressive. He has a great nose for the football and a great burst, and he makes plays. I think his best years of football are still ahead of him.”

Oh, and you can check off the box:

“He’s a tremendous leader and a great person,” Mauk said. “It’s just a great fit.”

If that wasn't enough, Mauk also spoke about Furbush with Scout's Dave Berk back in May, praising his work ethic first and foremost ($):

Number one Noah is a tremendously hard worker and give his best to improve his strength, flexibility, speed and his conditioning,” said Mauk. “He’s always working to try and get better and I think that is what sets him apart.

“Sometimes, when you’re gifted with the abilities that he has, you look for days when he just goes through the motions. He never does and is always doing the very best that he can. I watch him go through training and I’m amazed at how strong he is and how hard he works to get better.

Mauk notes in that article that Furbush was a wide receiver(!) for his freshman and sophomore years before moving to outside linebacker last year; at that point, Furbush weighed "195 to 200" pounds. Putting on 40 pounds of muscle and learning a new position in the course of a year definitely backs up what Mauk says about Furbush above — his effort in the weight room won't be an issue.

What jumps out about Furbush is his potential to line up at multiple positions. His coverage ability and hard-hitting nature make him a fit at inside linebacker, where Michigan plans to use him. His large frame, aggressiveness, and pass-rushing skill could lead to a move to strongside linebacker or even defensive end, depending on how much he bulks up over the course of the next few years.

Furbush isn't the highest-ranked guy in the class (obviously) and I'd guess we'd hear more negatives about his game if he were more highly-scouted and played better high school competition — Kenton played in Ohio's fourth-largest division last year, though they're moving up to Division III this fall despite a male enrollment of just 285 students — but his versatility gives him a good chance of finding a home somewhere on the depth chart.

OFFERS

Furbush chose Michigan over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Mizzou, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and a handful of MAC offers. He also camped at Ohio State but did not pick up a Buckeye offer.

HIGH SCHOOL

As said above, Kenton has played in Ohio's Division IV, so Furbush hasn't faced top competition in his high school career. Kenton hasn't produced a four-star prospect in the Rivals era, but they have produced two Division I quarterbacks: brothers Ben (Wake Forest) and Maty (Mizzou) Mauk, sons of the head coach.

STATS

Furbush finished his junior year with 115 tackles and a forced fumble, per 247.

FAKE 40 TIME

None of the recruiting services list a real or fake 40 time.

VIDEO

Junior highlights from ScoutingOhio — it takes, well, not long to see why people mention hitting first when talking about Furbush:

Furbush also has a slightly longer reel that features almost the exact same set of plays and lacks the handy pre-snap arrow. He's not on Hudl, unfortunately, so there aren't extensive cut-ups that I can find; those would be nice, as we don't get to see much at all of Furbush in coverage above.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

He'll end up somewhere! That's my bold prediction.

Okay, that's probably insufficient. I like how Michigan's coaches are thinking of using Furbush; if he's good enough in coverage, having an inside linebacker who can come downhill and lay the wood is always a plus, and Furbush looks like he could wreak havoc blitzing up the middle when Greg Mattison dials it up. If that's the position group of choice, Furbush will compete for one of the MLB/WLB spots — with his size, probably MLB — along with Michael Ferns and Ben Gedeon once James Ross and Joe Bolden matriculate through the program. That affords Furbush a redshirt year and a season as a backup and special teams player before he competes for a starting spot.

Furbush could also end up at strongside linebacker or even weakside defensive end, depending both on his growth and how the roster looks in a couple of years.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

While Furbush is the third linebacker in the class — and could potentially help out with depth on the strong side — his commitment doesn't spell the end of Michigan recruiting that position group for 2014, according to Sam Webb. The Wolverines are still pursuing four-star CA OLB Dwight Williams, who's scheduled to take an official visit for the Notre Dame game, and borderline 3/4-star MO OLB Jimmie Swain, who recently named Michigan to his top four. Look for the coaches to make a hard push to land one of those two, and we could see some late offers go out for a strongside LB should neither commit.

EDIT: Almost forgot to include the news that led to this commit watch — Furbush's commitment means camp standout Drue Tranquill is unlikely to get an offer ($):

“I spoke with Michigan (Thursday) and they previously offered a kid at my position, and he might commit soon,” he stated.  “If he does commit then they’re not going to offer me.  If he doesn’t then they (will consider Tranquill). So if he does commit, Michigan will drop out there.”

Happy trails, likely to Cincinnati or Purdue unless Notre Dame comes through with an offer.

As for the rest of the class, Michigan is still looking for a third offensive lineman (preferably a tackle), a safety, and a couple more defensive linemen. Top priority prospects include VA WDE DaShawn Hand, MI DT/SDE Malik McDowell, PA S Montae Nicholson, IL CB/S Parrker Westphal, and CA CB Adoree' Jackson. The Wolverines could also look to take a running back, though landing one isn't vital after last year's haul and with Michigan looking good at that position the 2015 class.

Hello: Brandon Watson

Hello: Brandon Watson

Submitted by Ace on June 29th, 2013 at 4:19 PM

If you missed the news that's now been pushed down the front page, Michigan received commitments from Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy teammates Brandon Watson (CB) and Freddy Canteen (WR/SLOT) this morning; both players were offered at Michigan's camp two weeks ago.

Canteen's commitment post went up earlier this afternoon. Now it's time to take a look at Watson, who—like his teammate—currently has a large disparity between his camp performances and his recruiting rankings.

HIGH SCHOOL

I'm writing on a Saturday and these guys are from the same school so, yes, this is word-for-word what was in Canteen's Hello post.

I'm moving this section up to the top because it'll help explain everything below. I'll also be lazy (again) and blockquote what I posted in a previous recruiting roundup:

Both prospects attend Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy, which is essentially this sport's answer to hoops factory Oak Hill Academy—the academy itself is built entirely around the football program and attendees take their coursework through a larger online program. Their quarterback is David Sills, whom you may remember as the (then-)13-year-old who committed to USC, and now you exactly why USC offered such a player so early: his father, David Sills IV, is the founder of ECA. The program only played three games in 2012, as five opponents cancelled planned matchups, so what you see above—serious technique work (that's Canteen talking at the start of the video)—is what largely constituted their season, and now they're hitting the camp circuit very hard.

As ECA coach Dwayne Thomas explained to ESPN's Chantel Jennings after his players' commitments this morning, their under-the-radar status can be attributed to factors even beyond the lack of a real season last year:

So while the headquarters for Eastern Christian Academy is in Maryland, the two boys are actually from Delaware, which has been a reason why the two prospects haven’t had a ton of attention, according to their coach.

Being that we’re from Delaware, a lot of coaches don’t get a chance to see them in the spring because there is no spring football,” Thomas said. “So as they get out and get to camps, schools get a chance to see what their talent is.”

Camps have been the only real chance these players have had to get themselves noticed, what with the mostly-cancelled season and no spring ball.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 Sports 247 Comp.
NR CB 3*, #56 CB NR CB 2*, 79, #120 CB 3*, #116 CB

Watson is well off the four-star pace on Rivals (last four-star CB ranked #29) and is either unranked or, in 247's case, might as well be, on the other three services. His listed height ranges from 5'11" (Rivals, ESPN) to 6'1" (Scout) with 247 splitting the difference; his weight is between 180 and 190 pounds. Reports out of Michigan's camp unfortunately don't provide a ton of clarity here; Scout had him at 6'1", 190, while Rivals called him 5'11", 185 (in the same article that listed Canteen at a probably-exaggerated 6'3", FWIW).

SCOUTING

Watson first earned mention on the camp scene as a rising junior last summer, earning the #6 top performer spot from Rivals' Josh Helmholdt at an NLA 7-on-7 camp after making several big plays ($):

Auburn commit Jahmere Irvin-Sills was holding down the cornerback position opposite Watson on Sunday, and few teams were throwing Irvin-Sills' way. That gave the 6-foot, 175-pound Watson his opportunity to make a statement, and he did just that by recording several interceptions on the day, including two in one game. ECA eventually won Sunday's New Level Athletics National Championship game over Michigan Elite, and Watson's ability to make plays on his side of the field was a key factor in that win.

Then came this spring's PA SWAG 7-on-7 competition, where Watson more than held his own against four-star Penn State WR commit Chris Godwin, earning the #2 top performer spot (behind Godwin, interestingly) from 247's Tom Loy...

While most knew about Watson heading into the weekend, nobody expected the show that he put on. The 6-foot-0, 187-pounds cornerback rarely got beat and won the matchup against Godwin in the semi-finals. He displayed terrific ball skills, great speed and excellent footwork. Watson holds offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Temple and Rutgers with heavy interest coming from Syracuse and Maryland.

...and the top overall spot from Rivals, which gave quite a glowing review of his game ($):

Whenever the football was in the vicinity of Watson, it was either getting intercepted or it was going to be an incompletion. As Flash Training worked toward another 7 on 7 title, Watson was dominant in coverage. He consistently got a good punch at the line of scrimmage in man coverage, and when playing off he closed quickly on the football. As receivers attempted double moves, Watson ran with the opposition step for step, showing great change of direction. The most impressive part of Watson's day was successfully defending a number of jump balls in the end zone against taller receivers.

It's worth noting that four-star WR/S (and early Michigan offer recipient) Montae Nicholson finished third on Rivals' list at the same event, while offered receiver K.J. Williams came in at #11 (four spots behind Canteen, incidentally).

Watson showed off his physical play in earning an offer at Michigan's technique camp; Kyle Bogenschutz's camp report makes him sound like the big, aggressive type of corner that the Wolverines have put a major emphasis on targeting ($):

Watson was by far the most physical corner at the camp Tuesday and brings physical tools to the table that most high school defensive backs just aren’t privy to. 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, it’s hard to believe Watson only had four offers to his name heading into Michigan’s camp, but with several pass break-ups made throughout the day, the Wolverines threw their name into the hat. Watson showed nice discipline against the wide receivers, timing his break in order to avoid a penalty and never being burned deep in press coverage, adding speed to his above average size.

There's no mention of Watson's hips, often an area of weakness in bigger corners; his ability to stick with receivers on deep routes leads one to believe he can turn and run with enough fluidity to allow his size and speed to take over. His high school coach, for what it's worth, cites hip flexibility as one of Watson's strengths:

“Freddy Canteen is, in my opinion, the best route-runner in the country. I think every camp that he goes to, people get a chance to find that out,” Thomas said. “And Brandon has this unique combination of speed, strength and hip flexibility that will allow him to be physical with the big receivers, and he’s agile enough to run and defend the smaller receivers as well.”

Without anything in the way of game film (or games, really) to go on, Watson's ability in run support is a mystery. The Wolverine's crew did mention his "thick build" at Michigan's camp, so he should be able to hold up physically on the edge; with his body type, it'd be ideal if he could play boundary corner, but he'll only be able to do so if his run defense is up to snuff.

With what little info we have to go on, it looks like Michigan has picked up another big, physical corner to add to the ever-growing pile of big, physical corners on the roster. If Watson truly has shutdown coverage ability, too, then he should be poised for a significant jump in the rankings.

OFFERS

Watson's other offers came from Boston College, UConn, Maryland, Rutgers, and Temple — the same list at Canteen's minus Hawaii and Tennessee.

Watson's high school coach mentioned a very intriguing potential offer to Sam Webb($) after his two pupils committed today, as well:

“In Brandon Watson you get this extremely extremely gifted athlete who can run and is physical. He can run with the quickest receivers and can be physical and bump it up with the big receivers.  He did well at the USC camp.  Coach (Clancy) Pendergast told me that he was going to offer Brandon this week. They were going to have a meeting sometime this week to evaluate the talent from the camp and they were going to offer him, but as we were riding back Brandon said, ‘I think I just like Michigan better.’"

If that's true—and there's little reason to believe his coach is making that up—then Watson's offer sheet was poised to expand significantly before his Michigan commitment.

STATS

I can't find stats on Watson; again, his team played three games last season, so this section wasn't going to be very telling anyway.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals lists a time of 4.5 seconds; that's high-end speed without a second decimal place or a cited source, so it gets four FAKEs out of five. Watson is said to have good speed but I haven't seen him called a burner.

VIDEO

I can't find high school highlights, a Brandon Watson Hudl page that belongs to this particular Brandon Watson (0-for-4 in that regard), or anything more than one clip of him running drills from a post-camp interview:

That video was posted just a few days ago, and at least confirms that Watson is very well-built for a high school corner. Otherwise... please play an actual season, ECA, and make sure to film it.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

I'm punting on any sort of prediction given the flimsier evidence than usual. Here's what the coaches told Watson when they gave him his offer, per 247's Steve Lorenz:

"The coaches told me to imagine myself coming out of the tunnel in a Michigan uniform," he said. "They told me to imagine me playing corner on one side and Jabrill Peppers playing on the other side. Being in the Big House was an overwhelming experience. I've seen it on TV, but being there in person was really great."

With Peppers probably destined for the boundary corner spot (after an apprenticeship at nickel, potentially), that would put Watson at field corner. Watson could also play that slot corner spot if he can hold up in run support and show some blitzing ability.

A few people have been spooked by the nature of ECA, especially from an academic perspective—though, rest assured, Hoke and Co. have done their due diligence in making sure these guys will pass muster with admissions. From the same Sam Webb article cited in the offers section comes this choice quote from ECA's coach:

“The first thing is Michigan is getting is two great kids,” he said proudly.  “They’re kids that you’re never going to read about in the paper in a negative way.  They’re kids that are not going to miss class.  Kids that are not going to be a disruption to any program.  Kids that are extremely positive and extremely focused on being the best that they could possibly be in every aspect of their life.  Kids that I would let date my daughter if she was of age.  So you’re getting high quality individuals with extremely extremely high work ethic.”

[checks off the "glowing character quote" box]

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Watson, unlike some of Michigan's other defensive back commits, seems like a pure cornerback prospect. That gives them two corners in the class assuming Peppers sticks there, so bringing in a player who could project to safety becomes the big priority for recruiting in the secondary. The pipe dream prospect here is five-star CA ATH JuJu Smith, who's scheduled to take an official visit for the Ohio State game. The more realistic options are four-star PA ATH Montae Nicholson and IL CB/S Parrker Westphal.

Other needs in the class going forward include one more offensive lineman (probably a tackle), a couple defensive linemen (you all know the main targets there), and another linebacker. Michigan could also look to take a running back, but unless an elite talent wants to commit they could just as easily use that scholarship elsewhere — there's not a big need to bring one in this year, especially with the Wolverines in very good shape for a couple top 2015 backs in Damien Harris and Mike Weber.

Hello: Freddy Canteen

Hello: Freddy Canteen

Submitted by Ace on June 29th, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Michigan offered Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy teammates Freddy Canteen (WR/SLOT) and Brandon Watson (CB) during their technique camp a couple weeks ago, and this morning the duo decided to accept, becoming the 12th and 13th commits in the 2014 class.

We'll start with Canteen, whose commitment—and, in retrospect, original offer—signals bad news for anyone holding out hope of Michigan landing Top-100 FL WR Artavis Scott, who announces this week at The Opening (likely for Clemson). While losing out on Scott would obviously be bad news, Canteen is not some cheap consolation prize — as you'll see below, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that he's poised for a leap up the rankings.

HIGH SCHOOL

I'm moving this section up to the top because it'll help explain everything below. I'll also be lazy and blockquote what I posted in a previous recruiting roundup:

Both prospects attend Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy, which is essentially this sport's answer to hoops factory Oak Hill Academy—the academy itself is built entirely around the football program and attendees take their coursework through a larger online program. Their quarterback is David Sills, whom you may remember as the (then-)13-year-old who committed to USC, and now you exactly why USC offered such a player so early: his father, David Sills IV, is the founder of ECA. The program only played three games in 2012, as five opponents cancelled planned matchups, so what you see above—serious technique work (that's Canteen talking at the start of the video)—is what largely constituted their season, and now they're hitting the camp circuit very hard.

As ECA coach Dwayne Thomas explained to ESPN's Chantel Jennings after his players' commitments this morning, their under-the-radar status can be attributed to factors even beyond the lack of a real season last year:

So while the headquarters for Eastern Christian Academy is in Maryland, the two boys are actually from Delaware, which has been a reason why the two prospects haven’t had a ton of attention, according to their coach.

Being that we’re from Delaware, a lot of coaches don’t get a chance to see them in the spring because there is no spring football,” Thomas said. “So as they get out and get to camps, schools get a chance to see what their talent is.”

Camps have been the only real chance these players have had to get themselves noticed, what with the mostly-cancelled season and no spring ball.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 Sports 247 Comp.
3*, #80 WR 4*, #43 WR NR WR 3*, 86, #103 WR 3*, #69 WR,
#552 Ovr

The rankings for Canteen are all over the place for now. Rivals has him just within four-star range (the #48 WR, PSU commit Chris Godwin, is the last four-star at the position). Scout and 247 have him well outside of four-star range, while ESPN hasn't got around to ranking him yet.

There's also disparity regarding Canteen's height: Rivals lists him at 6'3", while the other three services peg him at 6'0" or 6'1", with all four listing him around 170-175 pounds. Reports out of Michigan's camp suggest Rivals may be giving him a couple extra inches — onlookers posited that he's in the 6'0" range.

SCOUTING

What do you do when your team doesn't really play a season? If you're ECA, apparently work on technique. A lot. The captivating video of ECA players going through footwork drills has made the rounds in this space; here's a sampling (Canteen is the guy going through on his own):

Once you've broken out of your trance, you may go "wow, that guy has really quick feet," and you would be right. It's near-impossible to come across an evaluation of Canteen that doesn't mention his excellent route-running. Here's Adam Friedman on Canteen's performance at an April Rivals camp in New Jersey ($):

There may not have been a better route-runner on the field than Canteen. If he gets a clean release from the line, the defensive backs were rarely able to catch up and make a play on the ball. One of the things that stood out about Canteen was his explosiveness out of his breaks. One multiple occasions, Canteen fooled the defensive back with a hitch-and-go route and ending up with a wide open touchdown catch. Two things Canteen can work on are breaking press coverage and getting stronger so that he doesn't get bumped off his route.

247's Tom Loy from a Pennsylvania 7-on-7 tourney, also in April of this year ($):

Sills and Canteen connected often during this weekend. The 6-foot-0, 175-pound receiver was very difficult to defend and his routes were some of the best out of the entire camp. Canteen did plenty of talking on both days, but he backed it up every time.

Unnamed Rivals evaluator from the same tournament ($):

Canteen got the job done on both sides of the ball during the tournament. During the first day, he was one of the defensive leaders as his Flash Training squad did not allow a score. On Day 2 during the playoffs, Canteen excelled in finding openings across the middle and his impressive route running was highlighted by a few double moves that led to easy scores.

Canteen's high school coach:

Freddy Canteen is, in my opinion, the best route runner in the country. I think every camp that he goes to, people get a chance to find that out,” Thomas said.

I think you get the picture. Canteen's slight frame means he has trouble getting off the line against more physical corners—adding strength, as with all recruits, is a big priority—but if he gets into his route cleanly, it's very difficult to stick to him in the open field.

While his route-running gets most of the attention, Canteen reportedly has a good pair of hands, too. Scout's Brian Dohn praised his catching at the NLA 7-on-7 tourney in April ($)...

Canteen is smooth and quick, and he got out of breaks quickly. ECA is usually a well-drilled 7-on-7 squad, so the ball is shared a lot. But when Canteen was given a chance, he got open and made several nice catches, including a beautiful one in the corner of the end zone in which he was pushed and still got his foot down and secured the catch. If ECA’s season didn’t end in the first month last year, Canteen would easily be a double-digit offer player.

...and again at last month's IMG 7-on-7 regional ($):

Canteen, who said Rutgers is his leader, may have been hurt more than anyone by ECA’s season being suspended last year after three games because he would likely be sitting on a ton of offers. Canteen is smooth, and comes out of breaks well. He also showed good hands once again.

Note that Dohn is very much among those saying Canteen should have a higher recruiting profile — that may signal a future jump in his ranking on Scout.

As for Canteen's speed, Rutgers' Rivals outlet was very impressed with that facet of his game after the aforementioned New Jersey camp ($):

Freddy Canteen - Eastern Christian Academy (Md.)
Canteen may be a little slight of build but he makes up for it in speed. He can cover a lot of ground in a hurry and had no trouble getting separation on deep routes. Canteen is a definite home run threat, who proved he could go deep on the best defensive backs at the camp.

Canteen also showed he takes well to coaching at Michigan's camp, according to GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):

Still developing from a technique standpoint with his hands, something that can be said for all high school wide outs, Canteen took some coaching and implemented it right away in the top group for the afternoon 1-on-1’s, blowing by corners attempting to press, sprinting across the field on quick slants. Canteen is around 6-0 and has the frame to add some muscle but maintain that speed of his, undoubtedly earning his Michigan offer and one of the true highlights on day three at camp.

Finally, 247's Clint Brewster evaluated some of Canteen's film and came away with a couple areas for improvement ($):

Canteen has excellent footwork at the line of scrimmage and can get past bump-and-run coverage. He has very good body control and does a nice job of adjusting to the ball when it’s in the air. Canteen isn’t afraid to go over the middle on square-ins or drag patterns. After the catch, Canteen shows he can make defenders miss and get positive yards. Canteen shows great effort to block in the run game, but it is not a strongpoint for him. Canteen has good short area quickness but not great overall speed.

It's not a surprise to see Canteen's blocking isn't at a high level given his frame; the comment about his speed is in direct conflict with other reports, worth noting considering the lack of exposure and extensive game film. Given that Brewster's evaluation is based on a short video clip, while the others are in-person reports, in my (admittedly biased) mind the reports that he has impressive speed carry more weight.

At worst, Michigan appears to have a very solid slot candidate — with his route-running acumen, Canteen is an ideal type of receiver to have operating in the middle of the field. If he's a home run threat on top of that, he could be very productive. Strength, obviously, is something he'll have to work on.

OFFERS

Michigan was Canteen's most prestigious offer; he also held offers from UConn, Hawaii, Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, and Tennessee. The Vols, like the Wolverines, offered Canteen after seeing him camp at their school, so Michigan's coaches weren't the only high-profile staff impressed by his talent in person.

STATS

According to his Scout profile, Canteen caught six passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in ECA's three games last fall.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals lists a 4.43-second 40 time, which is elite-level speed if that's an electronic time. I can't find the source of that time on Google; while it sounds like Canteen is quite fast indeed, that time gets three FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

As you can imagine, there isn't much video out there on Canteen. Here's an interview with a few clips from a NUC camp back in 2011:

And I can't resist posting the entrancing footwork video again:

There are also a couple short cut-ups from 2011 on Canteen's Hudl page. Here's hoping ECA plays a full season this fall so he can put together a real highlight video.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Canteen is going to have a real chance to see the field early. When he gets to campus, only 2013 signee Da'Mario Jones is projected to be on the roster at slot receiver, and those two should battle it out to replace Drew Dileo in 2014.

It's impossible to make any sort of prediction about Canteen's potential impact without relying entirely on camp reports and the like, so I won't bother. If he's the speedy technician he's made out to be above, however, then I think the Wolverines got a major steal here.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

As I said in the intro, Canteen's commitment is another sign that Michigan won't be landing Artavis Scott this week; given Scott's accelerated timeline after visiting Clemson, this was assumed anyway. The Wolverines could be done at receiver, especially with four-star K.J. Williams leaning towards Syracuse, or they may add one more if the numbers allow.

Needs in the class going forward include one more offensive lineman (probably a tackle), a couple defensive linemen (you all know the main targets there), another linebacker, and safety.

Hello: Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson

Hello: Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson

Submitted by BiSB on June 29th, 2013 at 12:19 PM

CanteenWatson

(via Rivals)

Per multiple sources, commitments once again come in pairs. Michigan has picked up pledges from Eastern Christian Academy (Elkton, MD) teammates WR Freddy Canteen and CB Brandon Watson.

Informative post coming once Ace finds electricity. Someone get that man a kite and a key.

Thursday Recruitin' Comes Back To Earth

Thursday Recruitin' Comes Back To Earth

Submitted by Ace on June 27th, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Reality Check

I'm beginning this draft on Thursday morning, and four-star IL OL Jamarco Jones is scheduled to choose between Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State at 2 pm. It doesn't seem like any insiders have a great feel for his destination, but the general consensus is that it's unlikely to be Michigan. This means a head-to-head loss against either MSU or OSU; you can decide for yourselves which one of those is the least undesirable scenario.

PRE-POST UPDATE: It's Ohio State, as most everyone predicted. This is certainly a tough loss for Michigan, though it's worse for MSU, which needs more depth—not to mention high-end talent—on the offensive line. If you still need to feel better (and you might before the end of this section), there's always being Not Illinois:

[insert Tim Beckman derp face here]

Meanwhile, the tide appears to have shifted dramatically in the recruitment of FL WR Artavis Scott, who said this after a return visit to Clemson last weekend, per Rivals ($)...

So, which school is recruiting him the hardest to ensure they get an official visit?

"Clemson. I'm building a great relationship with Coach [Tony] Elliott and Coach [Jeff] Scott. When I'm there I talk to Coach [Dabo] Swinney and guys like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. They tell me how it is and my bond is growing with Clemson," stated Scott.

...then promptly moved up his decision timeline:

The Opening starts on Sunday, though Scott's announcement will likely come later in the event, which runs through next Wednesday. Regardless of when he makes the call, it's a bad sign that Scott suddenly decided to announce (1) on the heels of a Clemson visit and (2) before a planned trip to the BBQ at the Big House. For his part, though, Scott is at least keeping up the appearance of being undecided:

It should come down to Michigan and Clemson; the Tigers appear to have the edge.

Scott's five-star 2015 teammate, ATH George Campbell, told Scout's Amy Campbell that he still wants to visit for the BBQ with Scott and commit Mason Cole, but he's unsure it it'll happen—though it appears this depends more on Cole's plans than Scott's ($). Campbell also mentions plans for a return trip to Clemson, saying "it's basically family," so... crap. Projections have quickly shifted from Michigan potentially getting all three of the East Lake trio to just the one they have in hand.

To keep the good vibes going, Tim Sullivan caught up with CA CB Adoree' Jackson; recent buzz surrounding Jackson and Michigan has been quite positive, but this is a cold dose of reality ($):

"That's going to be the main factor," [Jackson] said of a school's track program. "That's the biggest. It's probably one of my biggest things right up there with education."

...

Michigan's standing in his recruitment may suffer from Jackson's intense focus on track. The Wolverines are currently without a track coach following the retirement of longtime coach Fred LaPlante, and U-M's program has not been on the national stage in quite some time - the last national title came in 1923.

Jackson still plans to spend part of the summer in his native state of Illinois, but told Tim that he's "not really worried about" taking the time to head up to Michigan's BBQ. The Wolverines are still slated to get an offical visit, per Scout's Greg Biggins($), but at this point they're a heavy underdog against the likes of USC, UCLA, Florida, and LSU.

So, not a good week for pipe dream class projections, then. Please don't shoot the messenger.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup. I swear there's good news in there.]

Monday Recruitin' Doesn't Believe In Touchdowns

Monday Recruitin' Doesn't Believe In Touchdowns

Submitted by Ace on June 24th, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

The recruiting services are split on the #1 overall prospect in the 2014 class; Rivals and 247 give VA DE Da'Shawn Hand top honors, while LA RB Leonard Fournette earns that distinction on Scout and ESPN. Michigan is among the top contenders for Hand, of course, and Fournette is a lock to stay in the SEC, either at LSU or Alabama. Unless...

LSU and Alabama are the teams to beat for five-star New Orleans-St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette. 

Except Fournette says it isn't so.

"That's not accurate," Fournette said Thursday, insisting he doesn't yet have any favorites among a list of offers so long he's stopped counting.

Well, then. The article by al.com's Mike Herndon names two other schools Fournette has visited—Florida State and Texas—as well as a certain program he's strongly considering for an official visit; yes, Michigan:

"You could say that (top prospects) pay attention to where other guys go," Fournette told Rivals.com. "I like Michigan. School-wise, they're more focused on grades than football. That's what I like about them. I think Jabrill made a good choice."

This is not happening. I refuse to believe this is happening. I will refuse to believe it even if Fournette makes it to campus, and will cease disbelief if—and only if—Fournette's name is signed in ink on a LOI faxed directly to Schembechler Hall in February. At that point, I'll still consider the whole thing a cruel hoax until Fournette actually suits up in a Michigan uniform.

[watches highlight tape again]
[counts plays before Fournette is tackled]
[loses count]
[repeat]

Apologies in advance for him committing to LSU and all of us feeling sad.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest round of underclassmen #JPTTA, updates on several top 2014 targets, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Moves Feet

Thursday Recruitin' Moves Feet

Submitted by Ace on June 20th, 2013 at 2:13 PM

(Don't Don't Don't) Don't Stop The Beat

Everybody, a-move your feet and feel united. Oh oh oh.

Michigan four-day technique camp concludes today, and while coverage is still trickling in, there are already offers to report for both the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Let's start with the 2014 class, which had offers go out to a pair of high school teammates in WR Freddy Canteen and CB Brandon Watson. Both prospects attend Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy, which is essentially this sport's answer to hoops factory Oak Hill Academy—the academy itself is built entirely around the football program and attendees take their coursework through a larger online program. Their quarterback is David Sills, whom you may remember as the (then-)13-year-old who committed to USC, and now you exactly why USC offered such a player so early: his father, David Sills IV, is the founder of ECA. The program only played three games in 2012, as five opponents cancelled planned matchups, so what you see above—serious technique work (that's Canteen talking at the start of the video)—is what largely constituted their season, and now they're hitting the camp circuit very hard.

It's of little surprise, then, that Canteen and Watson were flying a bit under the radar heading into camp. It's also of little surprise that Canteen is really, really good at running routes. Here's 247 on Canteen from earlier this spring [emphasis mine]:

11) WR Freddy Canteen – Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian 
Sills and Canteen connected often during this weekend. The 6-foot-0, 175-pound receiver was very difficult to defend and his routes were some of the best out of the entire camp. Canteen did plenty of talking on both days, but he backed it up every time.

GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz on Canteen's performance on Day 3 of Michigan's camp ($):

Catching GoBlueWolverine’s eye in the morning 1-on-1’s and 7-on-7, Canteen is extremely quick and very difficult to slow down off the line. Still developing from a technique standpoint with his hands, something that can be said for all high school wide outs, Canteen took some coaching and implemented it right away in the top group for the afternoon 1-on-1’s, blowing by corners attempting to press, sprinting across the field on quick slants. Canteen is around 6-0 and has the frame to add some muscle but maintain that speed of his, undoubtedly earning his Michigan offer and one of the true highlights on day three at camp.

One of the top corners in the 2015 class said Canteen is the toughest receiver he's covered. Canteen's coach, meanwhile, went as far to say that he's "perhaps the best route-runner in the country," in an interview with Sam Webb ($).

The big question to arise from Canteen's offer, of course, is how this affects the current scholarship situation; while we previously thought Michigan would take one more receiver—Artavis Scott, hopefully—it appears that's not the case:

"Rutgers is still high with me," said Canteen, who was told the Wolverines would be taking two additional receivers in the class of 2014. "I don't know why people don't think that. You could still say Rutgers is my favorite school. There are a lot of mixed emotions when I really think about everything, but the top three are Rutgers, Michigan and Tennessee.

Watson's offer raises similar questions about defensive backfield recruiting—with Jabrill Peppers in the fold and Parrker Westphal a presumed commitment, space in the secondary appears tight, especially if Michigan is a serious player for CA DB Adoree' Jackson (and I believe they are). Westphal's recruitment has gone oddly quiet, so perhaps there's been some cooling off from one end or the other, which would explain why a longtime presumed lock has yet to pull the trigger—I'd compare it to the Tommy Doles situation, but Westphal's initial offer and fit with the team made a lot more sense in the first place.

Regardless, Watson has his offer, and he sounded quite excited about it when talking to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):

"Michigan is definitely right up there," Watson noted. "It's Michigan. They have top of the line facilities and academics and an amazing football program. They pretty much offer everything you're looking for. I am still going to take my time before deciding, however. I'll be up at USC pretty soon and then want to visit a few schools that I am considering most. I hope to decide before my season starts. Michigan will definitely be a return visit."

Watson missed a golden chance for a "fergodsakes," but maybe he'll learn about that on visit number two. Canteen also expressed a desire to return to Ann Arbor before making a pre-season decision; if both players make it back to campus, it sounds like the Wolverines have a good shot at adding to their class. Even if they don't, it looks like the coaches are making inroads with a program that's churning out D-I prospects.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on 2015 offers, including a legacy who could pull the trigger imminently, and much more.]

The Big Ol' Board: 2014, Offense

The Big Ol' Board: 2014, Offense

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Hey kids. This is a wiki page, but it's kind of tough to modify if you don't know HTML very well. If you're adding or moving a player, go into the source and C&P two rows (ie, everything between the <tr> and </tr>) you would like to move or copy elsewhere. Don't worry if you screw it up, we can fix it. Images for new commits should be 85 pixels wide.

 

Legend:

Icon Name Meaning
Sad Josh The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; most will eventually fade off the list and go to Duke or Michigan State or something.
Nefarious Eduardo Player is a longshot. Either they've declared someone else a leader publicly or popular opinion holds that they're likely to go to another school.
Data Either no opinion or Michigan is one of a fairly even group of chasing schools. Players in this category maintain no leader or change their leader frequently. The default category for players that we don't know much about yet.
Happy Teeth Players who have Michigan in a small leading group or have Michigan as a tenuous favorite. Should be regarded as a good shot, not a slam dunk.
Mr. Blue Player is either a verbal or is expected to be one sooner or later. Players with this designation are 65%+ to be Michigan commits.

Additional note: (EE) next to a Michigan commit indicates the player intends to enroll early.

QUARTERBACK

NEEDS: 1.

STATUS: Got 'em. Michigan is done at QB.

COMMITTED

  Player State Stars Visit Offer Suitors
Wilton Speight[1] Wilton Speight VA 3 Yes 7440356258_775c2effe8_o[1] nyet
Hello post. Speight won an offer derby amongst various highly touted QB prospects and immediately committed. Instrumental recruiter; works with QB coach in CA biweekly. Projected YMRMFSPA: John Navarre.

RUNNING BACK

NEEDS: 0-1. With Smith and Green in the last class and Mikey Weber and Damien Harris strong candidates to end up in the next one, Michigan could skip the spot entirely this year. May as well swing for the fences though.

STATUS: Ask again later. A few offers are out, but no one has Michigan in a small leading group.

COMMITTED

nyet

PRIME TARGETS

Player State Stars Visit Offer List Feeling
Kalen Ballage CO 4 No 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] M, UNL, Oregon, Boise, ASU, CU 7440356400_3406e1cf92_o[1]
Athlete-type prospect has versatility to also play LB or WR. Mentioned Michigan as one of the schools after him hardest in early May. Oregon will be a threat if they offer.
Jonathan Hilliman NJ 3 No 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] OSU, M, Bama, RU, Vandy, Miami 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1]
Claims offers from entire planet and had ordered top ten as of two months ago featuring the great old rivals at the top. Now down to six. Carlos Hyde-type back.

FRINGE TARGETS

Player State Stars Visit Offer List Feeling
Joe Mixon CA 5 No 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] open, but USC 7440356200_cde79eb6b6_o[1]
Super-touted CA back could go anywhere but will probably end up at USC. Planning a midwest swing later this summer, though.
Leonard Fournette LA 5 No 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] open, but LSU. 7440356400_3406e1cf92_o[1]
File under pipe dream, but has been chatting with Jabrill Peppers and other #team135 kids on twitter.  EDIT: As of 6/7, Rivals reports Fournette wants an official visit to Michigan.
Shai McKenzie PA 4 No 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] 15 schools, but VT 7440356200_cde79eb6b6_o[1]
Has M in a wide open top 15 he plans on halving in the near future, but says he feels like "he may not be a major priority($)" what with Green around.

WIDE RECEIVER

NEEDS: 3-4.

STATUS: Michigan acquired two lanky outside receivers in Mo Ways and Drake Harris. Now they're hunting either a slot or another big ol' guy.

COMMITTED

  Player State Stars Visit Offer Suitors
drake_harris.0_standard_352.0[1] Drake Harris MI 4.5 Yes 7440356258_775c2effe8_o[1] OSU, MSU, Bama, UF, FSU 
Hello post. MSU decommit saw the light as soon as his freakish football potential ended plans to play basketball. Has the frame, speed, and body control to be a lethal deep threat. PYMRMFSPA: Braylon.
dfc400b8aded11e2aeda22000a1f973b_7[1] Mo Ways MI 3.25 Yes 7440356258_775c2effe8_o[1] Iowa, RU
Hello post. Long leaper has top end speed and hands issues. A 6'4" Junior Hemingway. Inexperienced, so should improve. PYMRMFSPA: Marquise Walker.

PRIME TARGETS

Player State Stars Visit Offer List Feeling
KJ Williams PA 4 Yes 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] M, Syracuse 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1]
Named Michigan his leader after a spring visit, but still has not pulled the trigger. Getting a you-snooze-you-lose vibe on this one.  Update:  Committed to Syracuse, off board.
Artavis Scott FL 4 Yes 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] Clemson 7440356200_cde79eb6b6_o[1]
Teammate of OL commit Mason Cole backed off package deal plans when Cole pulled the trigger; still has M interest. Plans to attend the BBQ later this summer. More of a slot guy, so fits well with the commits. Feeling pretty good you guys. Update:  committed to Clemson, off board.

FRINGE TARGETS

Player State Stars Visit Offer List Feeling
Jalen Brown AZ 4.5 Yes 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] open 7440356400_3406e1cf92_o[1]
Will be tough to pry Brown out of the west but does plan a Midwest swing this summer. High-academic kid interested in NW and Vandy, so up M's alley.
Corey Holmes FL 4 No 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] open 7440356200_cde79eb6b6_o[1]
Grew up childhood M fan but seems to have moved on to other schools. Has visited ND and OU but not M since camping last summer.  Update:  Committed to ND, off board.

EVEN FRINGIER: LA WR Malachi Dupre, AZ WR Mark Andrews.

TIGHT END

NEEDS: 1.

STATUS: Check.

COMMITTED

  Player State Stars Visit Offer Suitors
4_841808[1] Ian Bunting IL 3.5 Yes 7440356258_775c2effe8_o[1] ND, OSU, USC, OU, VT, Neb, UW, UO
Hello post. Enormous, lanky pass catcher with skillet-sized hands has buckets of potential. Injury shortened both his junior and sophomore years, leading to wide split in rankings. Going to need a lot of weight to block anyone, but lookit dem hands. PYMRMFSPA: Tacopants is real!

OFFENSIVE LINE

NEEDS: 3.

STATUS: One tackle and one guard are in. Michigan would like another tackle, it seems. Vague possibility they go to four if they have room in January and there's a guy they like; at this rate those spots will be filled by bionic defensive backs.

COMMITTED

  Player State Stars Visit Offer Suitors
145jpg-1548cedb6a4dea00[1] Juwann Bushell-Beatty NJ 3.5 Yes 7440356258_775c2effe8_o[1] UF, FSU, Miami, Rutgers, MSU
Hello post. Big split in rankings, significant dispute as to size amongst sites. Raw; just one year of varsity. Developmental prospect. Peppers teammate. PYMRFSPA: Logan Tuley-Tillman, down to the hyphen.
NP_362476_DAMA_ELfootball_4 Mason Cole FL 4 Yes 7440356258_775c2effe8_o[1] Bama, OSU, USC, UF, FSU, UW, Stan
Hello post. Versatile, athletic guard prospect with Tarzan hair and proverbial mean streak. Needs to add a lot of weight. Teammate of Artavis Scott and 2015 star George Campbell. PYMRMFSPA: Kyle Bosch.

PRIME TARGETS

Player State Stars Visit Offer List Feeling
Jamarco Jones IL 4 Yes 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] OSU, M, MSU, ND 7440356200_cde79eb6b6_o[1]
Announcing June 27th, visiting everyone in his final four beforehand. OSU the e-leader, but Jones maintains everyone is even. Core 6 guy. A little short for tackle but long arms make up for it. Update: committed to Ohio State, off board.

FRINGE TARGETS

Player State Stars Visit Offer List Feeling
Frank Ragnow MN 3 No No open 7440356338_fa7b116df5_o[1]
#2 prospect in Minnesota has some midlevel B10 offers; headed to SMSB in an effort to impress the Michigan schools.
Michael Grimm PA 3.5 No No Pitt leads 7440356338_fa7b116df5_o[1]
Yes, That Grimm. Son of former Hog currently favors Pitt but big offers could shake up his recruitment. Planning on taking his recruitment into January, so may be looking for bigger offers.  Update:  Committed to Pitt, off board.
Alex Bookser PA 4 No No top eight featuring OSU, Pitt 7440356338_fa7b116df5_o[1]
Michigan didn't make the kid's top eight announced in late May but hasn't offered.
Andrew Mike AZ 3.5 No No open 7440356400_3406e1cf92_o[1]
Tackle prospect at 6'7". Plans a visit. High academic kid will look at Stanford extensively.
Roderick Johnson MO 4 Yes 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] open 7440356400_3406e1cf92_o[1]
Also 6'7", swung through Michigan early this year. Has not even come close to defining a top list; planning a SE set of trips over the summer. Epinion has Johnson to FSU.
Braden Smith OK 4 Yes 7440356446_b7c8098a32_o[1] open, but A&M and ND 7440356200_cde79eb6b6_o[1]
Visited M; won't narrow until September. With others leading Michigan has to get an official to have a chance.

EVEN FRINGIER: MD OT Damian Prince is a five-star-ish guy with M outside his top five. He plans a Signing Day announcement, though, so there's time to make up ground.

Thursday Recruitin' Makes A Face

Thursday Recruitin' Makes A Face

Submitted by Ace on June 6th, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Not A Good Look

At this point, anyone reading this post is pretty familiar with Da'Shawn Hand, the nation's top overall prospect. Michigan and Virginia Tech are presumed to lead the other three schools in his top five—Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina—while LSU and USC are on the outside looking in. Even further on the outside is Ohio State, where Hand reportedly had a poor visit experience the first time around, and despite a decent trip there last weekend—he swung by while in town for the Columbus NFTC—the Buckeyes won't be a factor in his recruitment going forward.

If you believe Eleven Warriors [ed-S: ...''s recruiting guy Jeremy Birmingham, not Ramzy] , this is because the Ohio State coaches suddenly decided they weren't very interested in the top player in the country—for reasons, you see—and here begins the fisking:

For some reason, my contention that Ohio State would not be aggressively attempting to get back into the Hand sweepstakes set off an internet wildfire with people.

This contention is reasonable; it's become clear that Ohio State is a longshot at best to get Hand, and the coaching staff could better spend their time targeting prospects with more interest in the Buckeyes. This would be a good place to stop, but...

As I have said a few times, it's a simple matter of personality. Ohio State wants people who are going to go 1000 miles per hour, every day, on and off the field. They want people who fight for each other, for their university and for their own improvement. They want people who are challenging themselves to improve every day and do so without the need to proclaim their own greatness for people to see, read, or hear. They want competitors and they want fighters.

...then there's this load of crap, as if the above doesn't fit what every football coach in America is trying to find in a recruit. Which leads us to the really stupid thing:

As far as Da'Shawn Hand? I've never said he was not a competitor, just that things with Ohio State and Hand did not see eye-to-eye from the start of his visit in November because he was not being treated any differently than any of the other recruits on hand, 90-minutes before kick-off of the biggest game of the year. The Buckeyes could not give Hand the attention they would have liked to, and the day was a bit too hectic for him to get "comfortable" at Ohio State.

This is a remarkably shitty thing to write about a high school kid without anything approaching first-hand evidence. The "I've never said..." hedging is just that, hedging, because discussing OSU's supposed lack of interest in reconnecting with Hand after everything in the previous paragraph is either a case of really unfortunate juxtaposition or the type of insinuation that unfairly impugns the character of a 17-year-old — one who, by all other accounts, is a kid of extremely high character.

The timing—when it's become blindingly obvious that Hand doesn't want to go to Ohio State—makes this come off as some seriously sour grapes. I'm sorry, Buckeye faithful, that Hand's reaction to being asked about Ohio State in the above video was this:

But, no, I'm not actually sorry. A high-profile player isn't interested in your school and may very well end up at a rival school. These things happen. Responding to this by suggesting that a player doesn't work hard enough, or is afraid to compete against the best, or isn't motivated enough to improve ... even if the implication is merely by context, that's a bad look. Nearly as bad as the one Hand gave when asked about Ohio State.

I think Eleven Warriors does a fantastic job, and that includes their recruiting coverage, but seeing this—and the wild speculation that it inevitably led to in such a forum—was disappointing. Perhaps, next time, just say that the kid isn't interested and move on.

[Hit THE JUMP for camp highlights of Ian Bunting, the latest on the Malik McDowell transfer rumors, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Meets A Dead Guy

Monday Recruitin' Meets A Dead Guy

Submitted by Ace on June 3rd, 2013 at 2:02 PM


Michael Ferns, Da'Shawn Hand, and Ian Bunting at last weekend's Columbus NFTC (via)

[Reads Between Lines] [Tries To Hold It Together] [Fails]

So... this quote [emphasis mine]:

"Bud Foster is my favorite coach, but I haven't talked with him in a while," [Da'Shawn] Hand said.

"But my favorite coaching staff is Michigan," Hand said. "With Michigan, what you see if what you get. It's professional. With some, you feel like when you get to college it might, change, but with Michigan, everyone says they're straight.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

According to the author of the article, SBNation's Bud Elliott, Michigan and Virginia Tech are "running neck and neck" for the lead in Hand's recruitment. Hand refuses to acknowledge even that much—he's says he enjoys the suspense—and he does have an unofficial visit set up to Alabama in July and is looking at trips to Florida, LSU, and USC, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($). That said, his only planned official visit thus far is to Michigan, for the Notre Dame Game (a trip he recently locked in), and of the previously listed schools only Alabama appears to be a serious threat to his presumed top two.

One school we know for sure won't be pushing for his commitment is Ohio State, despite a campus visit last weekend that went better than his first trip to Columbus:

With the NFTC on the Ohio State campus, Hand took the opportunity and made an unofficial visit to the Buckeyes, along with friend Tim Settle, one of the top players in the class of 2015.

'It was straight, we talked," Hand said. "But I was with Tim, and he's a beast, and it was kind of his visit. Everyone knows that my first visit wasn't all that, but this visit was better. Still, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up."

Meanwhile, Hand revealed in an interview with Bruce Feldman that he's being recruited by at least one insane person:

Q: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you since you've been named the nation's No. 1 recruit?

Hand: Well, I ain't gonna say any names, but one coach told me that since I'm the No. 1 player, I'm gonna get to meet Michael Jackson. I said, "Isn't he already dead?" The coach goes, "Well, all right, you can meet Tito." I was like, all right. OK, I'm done.

It was crazy, but it is what it is.

[Bets all hypothetical internet dollars entire real-life savings account on Les Miles]

In the SBNation article, Hand said he's unsure of his timeline for a commitment. Regardless of when that comes, he told Feldman the announcement will be low-key:

I don't want to be like everybody else and be all flashy and do this and play around with people. For my commitment day, I just want to have it at my school. I'm not going to have three hats. I'm going to have one hat. I'm gonna call the coaches the night before. Tell them what school I'm going to and that's it.

At this point, it's looking more and more likely that hat will have a block 'M' on it. Which, uh, would be pretty nice.

[Hit THE JUMP for more on newest commit Chase Winovich, the latest on Artavis Scott and Adoree' Jackson, a Michigan commit earning an invite to The Opening, and more.]