Monday Recruitin' Considers Other Options

Monday Recruitin' Considers Other Options

Submitted by Ace on October 6th, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Things Fall Apart


Is Darrin Kirkland the next to go?

Since last week's roundup, Darian Roseboro officially decommitted from Michigan, bringing the 2015 class down to just ten players. In distressing, but by no means surprising, news, that class is likely to get smaller before it gets any bigger, as several other commits are now looking around.

Four-star LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. took an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend, and he told TomVH that Michigan's coaching staff is now taking a different approach to commits taking visits ($):

In the past, the Michigan coaches have held a no-visit policy, but Kirkland had a different conversation when he told the staff of his intentions. 

"They said take the time that you need to make the best decision," he said. 

If the coaches hope to keep any semblance of a class together, I don't think they have a choice here. So, Kirkland visited Notre Dame with Hoke's approval, and in a rather painful twist took in the game with former M commit Shaun Crawford; Kirkland told Rivals' Josh Helmholdt he came away impressed with ND ($):

Saturday's visit to Notre Dame has given Kirkland plenty to think about as he enters the final four months of his recruitment.

"I'm just taking it one day at a time," Kirkland said. "I'm staying close with my family and hopefully we can make the best decision for me. At the end of the day I'll sign my letter of intent where I feel most comfortable at."

Kirkland remains committed to Michigan and is not sure what schools he could visit in the future, but he is keeping his options open.

I'd be surprised if M held on to Kirkland through a coaching change.

Of course, Kirkland isn't the only one looking around. 247's Steve Lorenz posted an overview of where the commits stand at the moment, and only four appear to be locks to stay committed ($):

  • Quarterback Alex Malzone, who's still been recruiting other prospects like Marcus Lewis and Auden Tate, per Sam Webb ($). Malzone is also working hard to try to keep the class together.
  • Offensive tackle Grant Newsome, who doubled down on his "I didn't not commit to the University of Brady Hoke" statement from last week by telling GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz he's "fully committed" to Michigan.
  • Offensive guard Jon Runyan Jr.—as a legacy commit, it'd be quite surprising if he even looked around.
  • Kicker Andrew David, who received a scholarship as a kicker at an early juncture, so he's also quite solid in all likelihood.

Everyone else—including RB Mike Weber, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown($)—is at least considering other options, and among that group of six only Tyree Kinnel seems like he's still leaning heavily towards remaining in the class. As TE commit Chris Clark told MLive last week, coaches from around the country know an opportunity when they see one:

"I think they see an opening," Clark said. "They smell the blood in the water."

Clark recently added a USC offer and is fielding heavy interest from Alabama and UNC, among many others. He also seems like a longshot to stay in the class for much longer.

Meanwhile, in the 2016 class, four-star QB Messiah deWeaver maintains he's still "100 percent to Michigan," per Helmholdt ($). I haven't seen word on M's other 2016 commit, four-star OT Erik Swenson, but his commitment seemed rock-solid; hopefully that doesn't change.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on this weekend's visitors, Keisean Lucier-South, Auden Tate, Thiyo Lukusa, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Awaits The Inevitable

Monday Recruitin' Awaits The Inevitable

Submitted by Ace on September 29th, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Commence Exodus


Happy trails.

Even before Saturday's debacle, Michigan's 11-member recruiting class of 2015 was beginning to fall apart. Four-star NC DE Darian Roseboro, who committed to M at the very end of August, took an official visit to NC State over the weekend, per Tim Sullivan ($):

Now, however, Roseboro is on an official visit across the state to Raleigh, and Michigan's grip on him may be slipping.

"How much he liked NC State, and if that was enough to beat Michigan, wasn't the same before his commitment," Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst Adam Friedman said. "This is clearly a reaction to the way Michigan's season is going and the reported instability of the coaching staff."

Rosoboro added an offer from Oklahoma today, and 247's Steve Lorenz reports that he's telling other coaching staffs he's no longer committed to Michigan ($).

In that same article, Lorenz mentions two other commits are looking around. The first is four-star TE Chris Clark, which comes as little surprise considering he'd already considered taking other official visits in recent weeks. The second is four-star CB Garrett Taylor, who says that he's "going to take my five official visits and see what happens," and won't even confirm whether or not Michigan will receive one of those visits.

A couple commits have reaffirmed their commitments, at least. The headline regarding S Tyree Kinnel on The Wolverines says it all—he "committed to a program." OT Grant Newsome kept it simple in talking to Rivals' Adam Friedman: "I committed to the University of Michigan, not the University of Brady Hoke."

This is inevitable when there's this much turmoil surrounding a program: the recruits are looking around, and even if Brady Hoke keeps his job, he's either going to have to make some serious compromises about how he handles commits taking visits to other schools or risk losing a large portion of this class.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on Tyrone Wheatley Jr., Daelin Hayes, and more.]

Future Blue Originals: Brother Rice vs. De La Salle

Future Blue Originals: Brother Rice vs. De La Salle

Submitted by Ace on September 23rd, 2014 at 3:52 PM


Alex Malzone (#12) to Grant Perry (foreground) is arguably the top passing combination in the state. [Ace Anbender/MGoBlog]

Dave and I once again found ourselves at Wayne State last weekend, this time for a Catholic League rivalry tilt between Birmingham Brother Rice and Warren De La Salle. After a slow start against an aggressive Pilots defense, Brother Rice pulled out a dramatic 28-21 victory after a 31-yard pass from Michigan commit Alex Malzone to Michael Roney set up the game-winning one-yard TD run by Bobby Dixon III in the waning minutes. The win kept the defending state champion Warriors undefeated this season (5-0).

Brother Rice ran just 15 offensive plays in the first half, as De La Salle's defense put Malzone under heavy fire and their offense ate up nearly a quarter's worth of time. The Warriors finally put it together offensively on their last drive of the first half, which Malzone capped off with the first of his three touchdown passes on the evening, an absolute dart to slot receiver John Garry on a six-yard slant that he fit into a small window.

From that point forward, Malzone took over, spearheading three second-half scoring drives with plenty of help from his top target, senior receiver Grant Perry. Malzone finished 14-of-20 for 203 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, with Perry catching seven of those passes for 103 yards. Michigan preferred walk-on commit Jack Dunaway led the Brother Rice defensive effort with seven tackles (by my unofficial count) with three TFLs.

[Hit THE JUMP for exclusive video highlights and scouting on Malzone, Dunaway, Perry, and a trio of De La Salle standouts.]

Monday Recruitin' Kicks Ball Far

Monday Recruitin' Kicks Ball Far

Submitted by Ace on September 22nd, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Commit Updates: Look, Ma. No Tee.

2015 Michigan commit Andrew David connected on a 58-yard field goal over the weekend, breaking the school record for Ohio powerhouse Massillon Washington in doing so. I'm told that's quite a long way for a high schooler to kick a football accurately, let alone from off the ground instead of a tee. I'm sure there won't be any jokes about trying to sneak this kid onto the team this week. Nope. None at all.

Steve Lorenz has your free wrapup of the rest of Michigan's commits in action over the weekend. Some highlights:

  • Alex Malzone finished 13-for-20 for 201 yards and three TDs in a dramatic 28-21 Brother Rice win over Warren De La Salle (Shane Morris' former school). Dave and I were at Wayne State for the game, and I'll have a full breakdown of the tape tomorrow.
  • Chris Clark finally began his senior season and did so in style with 14 catches for 165 yards and a TD. Highlights from the game are on his Hudl page.
  • Darian Roseboro had seven tackles as a defensive lineman. Oh, and 186 yards and four TDs as a jumbo running back. Sadly, no highlights of this yet.

After dispatching De La Salle on Friday, Malzone attended Saturday's game along with fellow commits Brian Cole, Jon Runyan Jr., and Mike Weber, and according to TomVH he's "confident" that group—and the other commits—will stick with Michigan. At least one anonymous uncommitted target, on the other hand, is reevaluating his stance on the Wolverines after Saturday's debacle ($):

One prospect who has been hearing from Michigan said the season has impacted how he feels about the Wolverines. He has had second thoughts about his interest, not just because of the wins and losses, but because of what he has seen on the field. 

Of note: Tom mentioned specifically that 2015 five-star WDE Keisean Lucier-South and 2016 four-star OT Ben Bredeson haven't changed their opinion of U-M, though KLS attached a disconcerting "yet" to his statement.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on a pair of 2015 targets, Brian Cole's early enrollment plans, yet another school interested in flipping Chris Clark, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Makes Empty, Creepy Promises

Thursday Recruitin' Makes Empty, Creepy Promises

Submitted by Ace on September 18th, 2014 at 1:09 PM

KLS Update: Another Contender Emerges

Michigan and UCLA have long been the top contenders for five-star CA WDE/OLB Keisean Lucier-South. After Lucier-South's first official visit, however, there appears to be more competition, per Rivals' Adam Gorney ($):

"From that visit, I was really surprised with Oklahoma and I really like them," Lucier-South said. "I just love how they work the team. I love the program. The players said the coaches are all for the players and they care about the players first and it's just like a big family.

"The whole town cares about the football team. I really like that. Oklahoma is doing great right now. I'm not going to say who my leader is but they're improving and they're doing a great job."

KLS's primary recruiter at Oklahoma is Jerry Montgomery, whom you may remember as the former Michigan D-line coach. While that would add a cruel twist if KLS ends up in Norman, U-M still gets their opportunity to impress on their own official visit when the five-star comes to Ann Arbor for the Penn State game.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on Thiyo Lukusa's upcoming decision, new 2016 OL offers, a potential late in-state offer, and Wake Forest taking the photoshop recruiting game to creepy new lows.]

Future Blue Originals: Marcus Lewis

Future Blue Originals: Marcus Lewis

Submitted by Ace on September 16th, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Gonzaga (DC) senior Marcus Lewis is the #10 athlete on the 247 Composite, and this week he reaffirmed that Michigan leads Oregon and Miami in his recruitment. Given that news, this seemed like the right week to take a look at the tape of Gonzaga's 31-14 victory over Centreville, a nationally televised battle between the two top-ranked teams in the region, according to the Washington Post.

Lewis, who's being recruited as a cornerback by Michigan, didn't get many opportunities to show his ability in coverage, but he was a major factor in run support before exiting the game in the third quarter due to cramps, an issue that plagued both teams in the second half. In fact, Lewis—who plays both ways for Gonzaga—was originally intended to be the primary receiver on what turned out to be the game-sealing score:

As Reggie Corbin gingerly jogged back onto the field late in Gonzaga’s 31-14 win, he felt the same shooting pain in his legs that had sent Eagles teammate Marcus Lewis to the sideline, resulting in Corbin lining up in the flats instead of at his usual post in the backfield. Drawing back on the intense conditioning he and the Eagles had endured under first-year Coach Randy Trivers, Corbin mustered one more burst of speed, racing to the left before pulling in a pass that he took 48 yards to the end zone.

...

All week, we had run that play for Marcus, but he was out with an injury, so the coaches told me to go run,” Corbin said. “At that point I was just numb to the situation and all the pain and focused on winning. I just ran the wheel route, made the catch and pushed down the field.”

Corbin, a three-star running back committed to Illinois, finished with 211 yards of offense and looked outstanding until he, too, succumbed to the heat and humidity.

[Hit THE JUMP for video highlights of Lewis and a quick breakdown of his game.]

Monday Recruitin' Lives The Dream

Monday Recruitin' Lives The Dream

Submitted by Ace on September 15th, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Bring Me All The Defensive Backs

It's the week for highly touted senior cornerbacks to discuss Michigan, apparently.

247's Ryan Bartow reports four-star DC CB Marcus Lewis still has the Wolverines in the lead, followed by Miami (YTM) and Oregon ($). Lewis will take official visits to all three of those schools in December or January, and he's still considering a handful of programs for his final two officials.

Five-star CA CB Iman Marshall confirmed his list of five official visit recipients (in no particular order): Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State, LSU, and Oklahoma. Remember that isn't the same as a top five; Marshall is seriously considering UCLA and USC, as well, but doesn't need to use up official visits to see those nearby campuses.

The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with four-star Virginia Tech commit Mook Reynolds, who's been in close contact with Roy Manning and will officially visit Ann Arbor for the Penn State game ($):

"They are a tremendous school that produces big time corners," [Reynolds] explained. "It's just a legacy of Michigan football, the program. A lot of historic things have happened within that program. I wouldn't want to pass up a chance to be a part of that."

...

"I plan to come up and take an official visit the night we play Penn State," Reynolds outlined. "That's the only time that I really know that I'll be in Michigan. That's the only official visit I'll take that I know of."

In addition to VT, Ole Miss is also under consideration. Reynolds told Brown that if he decides to change his commitment, "it'll be a surprise" that comes on Signing Day. I'm sure the Hokie coaches are happy to hear that.

While this is messing with the system, I'll also include Gerry Hamilton's tweet regarding four-star 2015 OT William Sweet:

#nice

[Hit THE JUMP for a look at new preferred walk-on commit Jack Dunaway, news on a potential early enrollee, NIGEL WARRIOR, hoops recruiting updates, and more.]

Future Blue Originals: Brian Cole

Future Blue Originals: Brian Cole

Submitted by Ace on September 10th, 2014 at 1:33 PM


Dave Nasternak/MGoBlog

Dave really came through as the MGoRightHandMan last week, driving out to Saginaw to film Brian Cole's Heritage squad take on Flint Powers Catholic while I was at home, under the weather. Speaking of weather, Dave sat through a 50-minute lightning delay before the game kicked off, then watched as Powers dominated Heritage and shut down Cole's offensive production on their way to a 32-2 blowout win.

My bad on that one, Dave.

Cole eked out 31 yards on eight carries—as you'll see on film, that's probably the best he could do—didn't record a reception (ditto), and lost a late fumble. He did his damage on defense and special teams, with seven tackles, a pass breakup, a few nice punts (yes, he punts), and a spectacular block of an extra point when he jumped through the Powers line into the backfield. He recorded Heritage's only points of the night when he flew up from his free safety spot to haul down a ballcarrier in the end zone for a safety.

Even before I get to the scouting section, I'll say this: I'm not concerned about Cole's lack of offensive impact in this game. His team looked overmatched on tape, both in terms of players and coaching. Heritage made it clear when Cole was going to run the ball—he either motioned into obvious end-arounds that didn't seem to have a counter or just lined up at running back instead of his normal wideout spot. When he went out for a pass, his QB either didn't have the time or the arm strength to get the ball there. Much of that shows up on the film.

[Hit THE JUMP for extensive video highlights and the scouting report.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Steps Out Of A Large Shadow

Tuesday Recruitin' Steps Out Of A Large Shadow

Submitted by Ace on September 9th, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Jon Daniel Runyan

I missed this last week, but it's a must-read; MaxPreps' Joseph Santoliquito wrote an excellent feature on Jon Daniel Runyan (you may know him as Jon Runyan Jr.) becoming his own man on and off the field:

"Playing football is something I liked, but something that I didn't really love until the last few years I'd say," Jon Daniel admitted. "I've had a lot of people tell me that I'm not my father. That's motivated me. I know who I am. Growing up, I did want to play football because my dad played. It's nothing my parents pushed me to do. It's something I wanted to do. I think it's why I put more pressure on myself than my parents do. I want to be the best. The goal one day is to play in the NFL. To do that, my father always tells me, you have to put everything into it."   

Football is not all Jon Daniel plunges added effort into. He maintains a 3.0 GPA at Prep, one of the most academically demanding schools in the Philadelphia area. He's done it through hard work, diligence and with dyslexia, which his father also has. 

In his formative years, Jon Daniel had comprehension challenges; auditory processing challenges. In grade school, teachers wanted to place limits on him, telling the Runyans that Jon Daniel couldn't handle a high academic environment. 

Jon and Loretta ended that. 

You're highly encouraged to read the whole thing.

As for commit updates from last weekend, Brandon Brown has you covered with a free roundup at The Wolverine. Standouts included Alex Malzone, who completed 7/9 passes for 119 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT in a blowout win that was called at halftime due to lightning, and Mike Weber, who had a rather efficient 90 yards and a score on just two carries in a comfortable win for Cass Tech.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and several top 2016 prospects.]

Thursday Recruitin' Checks The Odometer

Thursday Recruitin' Checks The Odometer

Submitted by Ace on September 4th, 2014 at 2:00 PM

No Bad Plays

malzone-roseboroAs recruits turn their focus to the first couple weeks of their high school season, the recruiting news firehose has slowed to a trickle for the moment. Thankfully, scouting of Michigan prospects is in full swing.

The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with the head coach of one of the conference opponents of Darian Roseboro (right, with Alex Malzone) to get a view of his game from the other sideline ($):

There are a lot of things that Roseboro does well, that's been documented, but sometimes it's difficult for casual followers to find weaknesses. When highlights are viewed they are just that - highlights. Snider insists that a lot of times what you see is what you get with Roseboro.

"I think it's really tough to identify weaknesses with him," Snider admitted. "He's pretty tough to block. I think that as a sophomore he might've taken a play off now and then, but last year he didn't really do that. He was much more aggressive and tough.

Roseboro's highlights are, well, highlights, so if he's bringing that on a snap-to-snap basis, that's great to hear.

Reports continue trickling in from last weekend's games. Josh Newkirk spoke with LB commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. after he recorded 17 tackles, four TFLs, a fumble recovery, and an interception in his team's opener to discuss the improvements in his game this year ($):

At 6-foot-2, 226-pounds, Kirkland says he worked on his strength mostly this off-season and it showed in his game on Saturday.

I feel like my strength could be one of the key assets of my game,” Kirkland said. “Being able to shed blockers. That’s one of the biggest things I needed to conquer. As well as my quickness and my speed. Just not to be blocked by lineman, because some are very athletic. It’s helped me a lot. I have been covering sideline to sideline, and it’s really helped me in coverage as well.”

That extra work certainly appeared to pay off in week one. Kirkland also mentioned that he's struck up a friendship with five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South; both will be on campus for the Penn State game.

[Hit THE JUMP for Where In The World Is Tim Sullivan, the latest on Chris Clark, several 2016 prospect updates, and more.]