well, yeah, he would be nice to have right now [Fuller]
The Big Ten boasts some elite defensive lines, and this week's opponent, Penn State, has a group that's up there with any of them. The fearsome line combined with defensive coordinator Bob Shoop's aggressive blitz schemes has produced the best pass rush in the country, and that was on full display two weeks ago against Northwestern, when they came away with six sacks (PSU was on a bye last week).
Despite being down their starting quarterback for most of the game, however, Northwestern managed to expose some flaws in the PSU defense, and they're flaws Michigan has the potential to exploit.
Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Penn State lost safety Jordan Lucas to an undiscosed injury early in the Northwestern game; all-conference-quality LB Nyeem Wartman-White has been out all season, which has really hurt PSU's LB play.
Base Set? 4-3 multiple. PSU should be in an under front for much of the game against Michigan's heavier sets; they'll also spend plenty of snaps in an over front and will often shade SLB Brandon Bell over the slot receiver in three-wide sets.
While Penn State's offense isn't faring well this year, the opposite is the case for the defense, which ranks 17th in Football Outsiders' S&P+ rankings—9th in rushing and 21st in passing, so they're balanced, as well. They looked the part against Rutgers, picking off Gary Nova five times, shutting down a Rutgers running attack that still boasted Paul James at the time, and ultimately holding the Scarlet Knights to a mere ten points.
Personnel: Unlike the offense, this is a very experienced group, with only one underclassman even cracking the starting lineup. DE Deion Barnes is, in fact, a returning starter (his circle is left unfilled in the diagram, but that's a mistake on our part), while both DTs saw extensive action and a couple spot starts in 2013 [click the diagram to embiggen]:
There's plenty of talent on this group, too, with three former top 250 recruits and a couple others who didn't miss that distinction by much.
Base Set? 4-3 under, though PSU doesn't bother to denote a strongside and weakside linebacker. OLBs Brandon Bell and Nyeem Wartman are pretty much interchangeable—both will line up as the nominal SLB and they can each play over a slot receiver—so they just stick to the left and right side, respectively. When PSU goes nickel, usually against 4 WR sets, strong safety (and former corner) Adrian Amos moves into the slot, with backup safety Malik Golden taking his place on the back line, like so:
For the most part, PSU keeps their base set on the field—they run enough zone coverage that it isn't a big issue for their outside linebackers to play over slot receivers.
Basketball got splattered by Purdue. Hello, reality. You suck. Michigan hadn't played terribly in a game anyone could see yet this year, but they did so yesterday, and those NCAA bubble dreams should be shelved. From the first Jajuan Johnson undefendable hook shot it was clear Purdue was on another level from Michigan's previous victims, especially on defense. Michigan had far too many possessions where the ball barely approached the three-point line until there were ten seconds on the shot clock. The resulting chuck-fest was reminiscent of Amaker's teams.
Michigan's comeback at the end of the first half was nice to see—Stu Douglass was so on fire he drove to the basket for an easy layup that wasn't blocked into the third row—but even as it was happening I was thinking "this can't last." Lo, it did not.
A side note: Purdue employed a strategy I've long thought is a low-cost way to lower your opponent's efficiency: a token press. Don't trap, don't get yourself out of position for easy buckets, just defend all 90 feet. Michigan crossed the half-court line four or five seconds later than they would have normally and often struggled to initiate the offense when the ballhandler picked up his dribble just past the line. On a half-dozen possessions Michigan had no semblance of an offense until half the shot clock was gone.
A kicker committed. I've searched for this a million times already so I know it's not out there but this, truly, is news that should be met with that bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail wherein the animated peasants give a desultory "hurrah." The tubes don't have this because if you type "holy grail peasants" you get this a billion times:
Which is fine and all but doesn't have much relevance to Michigan's kicker situation. He's Matt Goudis, Tim all typed him up and stuff, and he should be a massive upgrade for Michigan's national-worst field goal kicking.
I'm most encouraged by the bit of the ESPN profile that says he's a "refined ball striker"—yes, yes, that's what she said—with a "motion that's very repeatable"—ditto—since Michigan went with a guy who didn't have great technique but made a lot of high school field goals in Brendan Gibbons and that didn't so much work out. I don't really care if kickers can hit 50-yarders since in most situations you're better off going for it in that portion of the field; give me a Garrett Rivas any day of the week.
Anthony Zettel committed… to Penn State. Guh. If Zettel was going to wait until the 28th of December, what's one more week to see if Rodriguez is retained or booted and if the latter who his replacement would be? That's a major loss for the class and a guy who will rankle every time he does something for Penn State, and one that would have been averted with one more win somewhere along the way this year.
But not long after the UConn game, a posting on Twitter [ed: by that swimsuit model] said Forcier would transfer.
"That was like the fourth time I'd heard that," Forcier said. "I would have left if I was leaving. You just never know what can happen. It's God's plan. You don't know who's watching, and it's really what you make of it. So I stuck it out. It was actually after the UConn game that I just decided I'm going to stick here at least for this year.
"I think it took time for me. If I were to leave, I didn't realize what I would be leaving. One of the things I noticed, everyone who left would have had a shot to play if they would have stayed."
Forcier also says Michigan's system is "tailor-made" for Denard, that he "knows he can run" the offense but that "Denard is better in it, honestly." All of this sounds like a guy resigned to the idea he's a backup at Michigan if he stays, which is a mature way to approach things… and almost certainly provides strong motivation to depart after the year. He's certainly going to think about it:
"Anytime somebody says something to me about leaving, I say, 'I'm still here, aren't I?" Forcier said, pulling his jacket hard to make sure the Michigan logo is properly displayed. "You still see me with all this Michigan stuff on me. This is me. I'm already acclimated to everything here. The education is something you can't pass up.
"You never know what could happen. I just think it's really about what you make of it. When I get in (games), I try to do what I can do and make the most of it. I'm pretty much going to ride my own road. It's up to me."
I do have a credible-seeming email in the inbox about Montana getting a big time I-A QB transfer from a "west coast kid not on the west coast," FWIW, but even if that points to Forcier no names are in it. Since Forcier has a redshirt available it would seem to make more sense for him to transfer to another D-I school, anyway.
I hope he stays but you can't blame him for leaving. We'll always have triple overtime against Illinois.
I'm not going to rehash the usual defense of Rich Rodriguez's contractual whatnot—in brief it's "John Beilein, saint"—but here's an oh snap from MVictors in response to the assertion that "Fielding Yost didn’t sign contract extensions and then flirt with other schools to extort raises":
“No matter how long Yost’s contract was (one-year, two-year, five-year) in his first decade, it was always a source of relief in Ann Arbor every late-Nov/early-Dec when he announced he was for sure coming back. Occasionally, there were reports he was considering an offer from, say, Wisconsin — or from the East. One year he even boldly and publicly disputed the wording of his contract as to whether he’d be allowed to coach elsewhere if he opted out of coaching Michigan. Another year he threatened to retire, he was so discouraged. Yost worked it masterfully to his own advantage."
If you think the response to this column has been harsh check out the comments on any Gil Thorpe online, wherein a bunch of snarky hipsters snark at each other about how terrible Gil Thorpe is.
Jim Harbaugh was like "oh no he di'in't." The report about Harbaugh signing an extension and staying at Stanford from the Stanford AD—always questionable—was obliterated by one Jim Harbaugh:
Harbaugh has yet to sign with Stanford, and when asked about his supposedly pending contract extension he stated:
"I haven't even discussed it."
Perhaps more interesting, when asked to respond to remarks from the Stanford AD implying that Harbaugh will sign the contract, "Maybe he misspoke."
“He’s not banged up anymore,” receiver Roy Roundtree said. “He’s ready to go and he’s just getting the offense ready.”
Robinson didn’t divulge how much of an impact the injuries had on his performance, but he said while speaking at the team’s hotel that he was now “100 percent.”
Martavious Odoms became available for the Gator Bowl. Michigan's wide receiver depth gets a boost:
"Rodriguez says Odoms has been able to do everything in practice and should be good to go in the bowl game."
7-5 Iowa, fresh off a loss to Minnesota, beat Missouri. Good start for the Big Ten and a reason for the conference to be thankful the bowl matchups shook out the way they did—would Michigan have any chance to stay within two touchdowns of Blaine Gabbert and company with their secondary? Probably not.
The big story as far as 2011 goes was Marcus Coker bulldozing the Missouri defense for 200 yards and establishing himself the next obvious target for the wrath of Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God. If he's not struck down by providence, it looks like Iowa's got themselves a version of Beanie Wells the next few years.
For the fourth week in a row, I don't have to think of a creative title for Wednesday Recruitin' as Michigan has once again picked up a commitment. This time, it's CA K Matt Goudis. Local commitment article. Matt was also named All-League as a senior. For more info on Goudis, check out the Hello: Matt Goudis post.
Happy Trails, Anthony Zettel
Though many Michigan fans (myself included) had long expected him to end up in the Wolverines' class of 2011, it was not to be as he selected Penn State last night.
Don't be so quick to criticize David Brandon and Rich Rodriguez's job security in this one, though. If Zettel's concerns were about Michigan's coaching situation, he probably wouldn't have picked one of the few schools in America with a cloudier coaching situation than Michigan's.
Assume The Position: Tight End
Michigan's coaches are set on landing a tight end in this class, and the options are dwindling.
NJ TE Jack Tabb will announce a final decision shortly after the New Year. He and his mom both enjoyed their visit to Ann Arbor, and Michigan seems to be one of the top couple choices. He is a Kevin Koger-like TE.
The Wolverines have offered TX TE Andrew Peterson, who's seeing college interest increase after releasing his impressive highlight reel:
Peterson looks massive on the highlight tape, and capable of both blocking and catching - with surprising elusiveness after the catch. He'd be perfect for the Martell Webb role or the Kevin Koger role in Michigan's offense.
OH TE Frank Clark will take all five officials before coming to a decision. His trip to Ann Arbor will be for the January 7th weekend.
Michigan has a couple other potential options at the position, such as NJ TE Tanner McEvoy, so we'll have to wait and see what unfolds with their top choices.
Tom's weekly update was a handy rundown of decision and visit timelines for some of Michigan's top remaining prospects.
FL OL James Elliott has made no secret of the fact that he loves Michigan, but he insist's that doesn't mean he's bound to commit to Michigan ($, info in header). Well, yeah, because committing to Michigan requires a commitable offer. Should IL OL Chris Bryant pick Michigan as expected, that means no offer for Elliott.
Michigan is still "in the mix" for MD DT Darian Cooper ($, info in header). Michigan's coaching situation will affect his final decision.
MI RB Thomas Rawls was the subject of last week's Sam Webb recruiting column in The Detroit News. He was super-productive in his senior year:
Despite sitting out two games with a high ankle sprain Rawls rushed for 1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns. His year was highlighted by a 344-yard rushing effort against Saginaw Heritage in Week 4 and a 396-yard rushing effort against Bay City Central in Week 5.
Scout's Allen Trieu breaks down his game:
"He is one of the toughest runners I've seen. He's very compact -- a bowling ball kind of kid who can break tackles and has a good burst. While most people see him as just an inside battering ram, I think he proved to me over the summer and the course of this year that he has legit breakaway speed. He's also very underrated as a receiver out of the backfield."
As long as he can nail a qualifying score on his standardized tests, it's likely he'll land a Michigan offer - and soon ($, info in header). It sounds like the Wolverines are a heavy favorite to land him should that happen:
Even if new suitors do come calling, they clearly will have a steep hill to climb. "I'm going to wink my eye a couple of times about this, but let's just say I'm thinking about staying close to home (to play college football)," he said.
With Justice Hayes coming in as a slot receiver, the Wolverines still have a bit of room in the class for another true running back - the "big back" complement to slashing Dee Hart - and Rawls could be that guy.
Elsewhere in running backs, FL RB DeVondrick Nealystill favors Michigan ($, info in header). His skill set is more on the Hart/Hayes end of the spectrum, so I'd be surprised if Michigan's coaches accepted a commitment from him.
Also on offense, Michigan is looking for a tight end. NJ TE Jack Tabb has narrowed his list to 6 ($, info in header), and will take just a couple more visits before coming to a decision, hopefully by Christmas. If he doesn't commit to the Wolverines, recent offeree OH TE Darien Bryant might get increased heat.
The Wolverines are also seeking another offensive lineman, with IL OL Chris Bryant the most likely option. Bryant is on the verge of an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header), and will announce a commitment in early January. Can the Buckeyes catch up to his current favorites?
Rivals has started rolling out their Position Superlative rankings (they've done the offense, and have only done D-line thus far on the other side of the ball). Michigan commits and targets feature:
FL WR Sammy Watkins (who has committed to Clemson, but might consider Michigan if his teammate Dallas Crawford has any say in the matter) is the #1 Deep Threat and #2 Best After Catch (MI WR DeAnthony Arnett is #4 in that category) among wideouts.
Since OH OL Commit Jack Miller is rated as a DE, he's not eligible for Best Run Blocker among offensive linemen, but from what I've seen him do against some of the best competition in Ohio, he might belong there.
I'll recap once more if Michigan targets and/or commits are ranked in the defensive back 7.
Elsewhere in evaluations, Poole1Dan passed along a first-hand report on MI RB Commit Justice Hayes:
Hayes is not a Big Ten caliber running back, at least not from what I saw in the Milford game. But as a slot receiver, he's pretty good. He displayed excellent body control on the 21 yard TD catch and could be dangerous in a Steve Breaston way on bubble screens. He could motion into the backfield and be a poor mans Percy Harvin (something Michigan has yet to deploy with any of their slots in the RichRod era). With his agility and vision, he might be Michigan's answer at punt returner, which has been a disaster ever since Breaston graduated.
As always, take one-game scouting reports with a grain of salt, but as this seems to corroborate a lot of what we've heard about Justice so far, it's worth paying attention to.
Michigan will kick off its December official visit period with five official visitors this weekend. Commitments like Cass Tech cornerback Delonte Hollowell, Plymouth defensive end Brennen Beyer and Fremont (Ohio) Ross cornerback Greg Brown will be joined by uncommitted prospects Wayne Lyons of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard and Blake Countess of Owings Mills (Md.) Good Counsel.
Tom's weekly update touches on Lyons's visit. Helmholdt also mentions a host of prospects for the Big Chill:
Recruits who have already scheduled their official visits to coincide with the Big Chill include Chicago Simeon offensive lineman Chris Bryant; Cleveland Glenville teammates Cardale Jones and Shane Wynn; Holland West Ottawa linebacker Desmond Morgan; Winter Springs, Fla.; linebacker Ryan Petro, and West Branch Ogemaw Heights defensive end Anthony Zettel.
Tom will keep us updated on the latest as the weeks go on (including a January visit from top KY LB Lamar Dawson), so stay tuned.
Josh Helmholdt says that OH CB Greg Brown and FL RB Dee Hart are the only currently-committed recruits planning to enroll early. Brown tells him:
"I'm just focusing on finishing my high school education next month and in those following couple weeks, I will be enrolling at Michigan to play ball for the Wolverines," Brown said. "I just can't wait to get in the Big House in front of those 110,000 fans and play some football."
As mentioned in yesterday's Friday Night Lights post, Hart will be formally invited to the US Army All-American Bowl tomorrow, so I'll have full coverage of the announcement next week.
There are several other prospects considering Michigan who are looking into early enrollment, including NC WR/LB Kris Frost and GA S Avery Walls, both participants in the Army All-American Game, who plan to announce their commitments at that time.
Tom's Weekly Update has a few pictures of TX LB Commit Kellen Jones alongside some former Michigan greats.
Though Tom devoted his weekly update to the extensive visitors list from Dr. Phillips, those players are no longer planning to attend the Illinois game this weekend. It sounds like a scheduling issue - making it into Ann Arbor by noon when you play a game the night before is tough - but Michigan had better start putting some wins together if recruiting is to continue.
Speaking of those non-visitors this weekend, Michigan's top recruit FL RB Demetrius Hart - gulp - might be reconsidering his commitment. [Ed-M: I had to guess this is the link he meant. Tim?] Pls win, team.
Michigan's coaches were trying to get IL OL Chris Bryantinto town this weekend, but he's not sure if he'll be able to work out the scheduling with his game Friday night. Illinois is also on his list of favorites, so it could be a particularly interesting game if he makes it.
Though Michigan still leads, Michigan State is "closing the gap" in the recruitment of MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel. He has trimmed his list to Michigan, MSU, Penn State, Iowa, and USC, and will take his official visit to Ann Arbor for the Big Chill.
...And Here's The Kicker!
According to Sam Webb on the WTKA Recruiting Roundup this morning, CA K Matt Goudis will visit this weekend. He's currently a Boise State commit, unrated by Rivals and ESPN but the #5 kicker nationally to Scout.
A tipster in Florida tells us that FL K Dan Grochowski is hearing from Michigan:
Michigan asked for film on FG from the ground (not a tee) and they provided that including a 60 yarder that was good (from a kicking camp). "Michigan is recruiting the right way", according to the brother, Michigan is not making promises or talking shit to Dan they are talking to coaches and have indicated that if the film looks good and Dan is interested an offer might be coming. One negative for Michigan is that they do not have a kicking coach. He also indicated that Dan DVR's EVERY MI game and watches the game during the week with his entire family.
Since he's not coming to Michigan either way, allow me to link an article about MI K Kyle Brindza and be sad.
Rivals runs down a list of East Coast prospects, including a few of interest to Michigan. NC QB Marquise Williams:
Sources say that Virginia Tech has a slight lead over Michigan and North Carolina, with LSU trying to make a push and N.C. State hoping he takes his official in mid-November. As time passes, it seems less likely that Williams will stick with the Heels.
...and moving on to NC WR/LB Kris Frost:
If Michigan finishes strong, Frost is likely to end up in Ann Arbor. However, his other favorite is Auburn and it could end up playing for a national title... Frost will take an official to Ann Arbor in November and also take an official to Auburn.
Finally, VA LB Curtis Grant hasn't officially eliminated Michigan, and Rivals reports they're still in the mix, so it's notable that he's been selected to the Army All-American Bowl.
MI RB Thomas Rawls has been named the MVP of his league. That's unsurprising, as he's been smashing local records left and right.
Michigan and West Virginia still lead for FL Slot WR Prince Holloway, but he has added Florida and USF to his list ($, info in header). Those schools have the advantage of location over his top schools.
Thursday, Jernigan maintained that Florida is still a school outside of his favorite list, but hasn’t completely taken the Gators off his radar.
“Could things change? Of course, yes, it can change,” Jernigan told reporters following Columbia’s 25-11 loss to Jacksonville Ed White. “I still have three months and I still keep in contact with some of the coaches down there. It’s not like I blew them completely away, but I have my favorite four.”
With his high school season reaching an early end, Jernigan's decision timeframe has accelerated. Playing time will be his main consideration, which means Michigan should be ridiculously difficult to top. For the record, his coach says he "really enjoyed" his time in Ann Arbor, and the decision will come "down to the wire."
TOM: Since you're a Michigan fan a lot of people think that it would make sense to commit right away, and get it over with. Is that how you feel it will play out?
DESMOND: No, before the recruiting process started my dad and I said that we were going to take our time with everything, and just let it play out. We still want to stick to that game plan, and just see how it goes. .. We want to go up to Michigan, probably after my season, and meet with the coaches, see the facilities, and everything that Michigan has to offer. I want to make sure I feel comfortable with everything, and not just make a rash decision.
Although he isn't saying Michigan leads, it certainly sounds like that's the case. Depending on how things play out over the rest of the season, there's a good chance he ends up in maize and blue. Local fluff on the offer. Desmond led his team to an upset of Grand Haven in round 1 of the state playoffs.
Josh Helmholdt updates the recruitment of FL CB Dallas Crawford and his teammate WR Sammy Watkins in the Free Press.
Both players says they will be making their college selections independent of one another, but they are close friends who have taken several trips together. If one commits before the other, that school will likely become to team to beat for the remaining half of the pair.
That quote is particularly encouraging, given that Crawford has named Michigan his leader. The pair is planning a winter trip to Ann Arbor, their third visit this year.
Michigan still leads for LA CB Daren Kitchen, he tells Sam Webb ($, info in header). The possibility for an instant commitment from Kitchen may be why the staff is confident in waiting to offer him.
Local fluff on Austintown (OH) Fitch High School, which hosts a trio of Michigan targets in RB William Mahone, QB Demitrious Davis, and WR/DB Chris Davis. Tom also talked about Mahone in his weekly update.
This season, Gregory has led Simeon to a 9-0 record by throwing 23 touchdown passes and rushing for 17 scores.
Among the schools showing interest in Gregory are Notre Dame, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State and Arizona. For now Gregory prefers to focus on his junior football season rather than recruiting, but he did say he likes Oregon, Michigan and Ohio State.
Should Michigan land Bryant, they'll have a leg up on both Gregory and 2012 OL Jordan Diamond.
PA OL Tyler Altwas on hand to see Michigan fall at Penn State ($, info in header). Alt's dad e-mails us to inform that Tyler has been invited to the US Army Junior Combine.
This week, Wednesday Recruitin' goes overview. This isn't a comprehensive list of prospects that are considering Michigan, but a look at several of the more likely guys to end up in the Wolverines' class. Tom published a Best Guess list last weekend, as well.
UMGoBlog has an interesting interview with FL QB Commit Kevin Sousa (at right), in which he says he's not hearing from Michigan as much as he'd like:
He'll visit Middle Tennessee State this weekend [10/24]. He will also visit Louisville and Wake Forest later in the season and hopes to get two more officials planned soon.
"My commitment to Michigan is the same as their commitment to me. I want to be their guy but I was also told that they are going after another quarterback. "
That quarterback is obviously NC QB Marquise Williams, who visited for the Michigan State game (and is up for the National Player of the Year award). Williams is committed to North Carolina, but one must assume he's not particularly excited about suffering through 3-4 years of severe NCAA sanctions, so that commitment is soft.
Whichever guy Michigan ends up with, it's likely there will only be one quarterback in this class when all is said and done.
FL RB Demetrius Hart is committed, but Michigan is still pursuing a couple guys who could play running back or slot receiver.
FL RB/Slot DeVondrick Nealy is more of a combo guy than fellow Floridian Prince Holloway, but both havethe Wolverines high on their lists, and are candidates to fill the spot.
NJ Slot Miles Shuler is still considering Michigan, and was recently named to the Army All-American game.
With OH WR AJ Jordan coming off the board to Wisconsin and VA WR Quinta Funderburke headed to Arkansas, there are dwindling options at outside wide receiver in this class. It appears the Wolverines want another wideout only if it's a top guy, but definitely want to take a tight end.
"I'm considering all schools that have offered right now [Colorado State, Memphis, FAU, BGSU]," said Gallon, who visited Florida Atlantic last season. "My cousin (DeAndre Williams) plays at FAU and he likes it a lot and we both pretty much like the same thing."
Michigan, Nebraska, USF, Miami and Iowa State have also shown an increased interest in Gallon, who leads the Panthers with 317 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns on 15 catches.
Gallon is yet another member of the Dr. Phillips group, and if Michigan continues to pick up interest, Dee Hart could help secure his commitment. Gallon is a tall wideout, listed between 6-4 and 6-5, and he could end up as a tight end if he lands with Michigan.
There are a few more tight end prospects considering Michigan, such as recent visitor Drew Owens, but it seems like the Wolverines will have to wait to see how it all shakes out.
The Wolverines are stockpiling linemen in this class, with Jack Miller, Tony Posada, and Jake Fisher already committed, and a couple more realistic prospects out there. Only one or two more will probably land in this class.
Michigan may be in dire need of a defensive tackle or two in the class, and they're going hard after a few guys.
FL DT Tim Jernigan, who visited a couple weeks ago, has dropped Florida - who many presumed to be his favorite - from his tops schools list, and now has a top four of Michigan, LSU, Florida State, and Alabama.
Though the Wolverines already have OH DE Chris Rock and MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer committed, they're going after other defensive ends (which could mean Rock ends up at defensive tackle).
Freep fluff on MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel, whom Josh Helmholdt calls "arguably the top prospect on left on [sic] their board." He keeps pushing back his decision timeframe:
He expects to start taking official visits once his senior season is complete and decide following those trips. Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa and USC appear the most likely at this time to receive official visits.
It seems as though the Wolverines still lead, and as long as they're able to win a few more games this year, things look pretty good for Zettel.
Serious fluff on GA DE Ray Drew. He's a much more likely option if his buddy, GA S Avery Walls, picks the Wolverines.
Michigan is looking for at least one true safety in this class, and maybe more.
GA S Avery Walls and FL S Wayne Lyons are two prime candidates to fill that spot, with Walls receiving a recent visit from Greg Robinson.
FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix and Karlos Williams are both committed to elsewhere, but will consider Michigan (unlikely though it may be that they actually switch commitments).
Local fluff on LA CB Daren Kitchen and his buddy Jermaine Johnson, a Memphis commit. The article says that schools are waiting to evaluate Kitchen against better competition, which is an accurate assessment, methinks.
Josh Helmholdt talks early offers in the Free Press, and concludes that the (idiotic) change in NCAA rules hasn't slowed that process down.
Michigan has only offered a couple quarterbacks in the class of 2012, but it seems that one of them, FL QB Bennie Coney, can't seem tokeep himself out of trouble. With the negative PR swirling around Ann Arbor, I doubt Rich Rodriguez would be able to take a chance on this kid.
I talked about OH QB/Ath Demitrious Davis last week, and his teammate William Mahone is looking at Michigan as well ($, info in header).
Fluff on IL OL Dan Voltz. With a commitment coming at the end of his junior season, the lack of a Michigan mention probably means the Wolverines don't stand much of a chance.
"It is Michigan and Ohio State at the top," stated Wormley matter-of-factly. "I don't really have them one-two right now, but they are definitely at the top."
At this early stage in his recruitment Wormley remains wide open to overtures from any schools. However, it is abundantly clear the Wolverines and Buckeyes have a few built-in advantages that will make them major players in his recruitment until the very end.
As you may recall, Wormley received his Michigan offer at the Iowa game a week ago, and conventional wisdom - even among Buckeye fans - has him eventually landing with the Wolverines.
I'll try to keep the overload on this topic to a minimum, but FL RB Dee Hart makes his decision this Friday at noon between Michigan and Alabama. In last week's Sam Webb article in the Detroit News:
Chad Simmons: "I like Michigan's chances here."
Geoff Vogt: "I definitely see Dee Hart going to Michigan. I think it is where he has always been most comfortable.
Hart's teammate HaSean Clinton-Dix is changing his tune about Michigan being too cold, by the way. Still think he's a longshot, and he's claiming to be solid to Bama. Michigan is showing interest in a couple more DP guys as well, in WR Chris Gallon and S Roderick Ryles.
Keep an eye on mgoblog Friday around noon for a Demetrius Hart update.
Another big game at home, another group of official and unofficial visitors. This list, according to Tom:
Devondrick Nealy - (5'10", 175 lbs/ Slot Receiver/ Jefferson County, FL/ 3 Star)
Marquise Williams - (6'3", 210 lbs/ Quarterback/ Mallard Creek, NC/ 3 Star)
Jack Miller - Michigan commit
Kellen Jones - Michigan commit
Jake Fisher - Michigan commit
James Elliott - (6'4", 305 lbs/ Offensive Line/ Pensacola, FL/ 3 Star) He'll be back in December as well. He's waiting for a committable offer. If he gets it, expect him to commit.
Sam Webb has been dropping hints on the WTKA recruiting roundup that a bigtime prospect committed to another school is planning an official visit to Ann Arbor, and most believe Florida State commit FL S Karlos Williamswill take a visit to Ann Arbor.
For those extremely worried about the recruitment of OH DE Chris Wormley, Fox Toledo's Hardcore Recruiting Minute covers the pride of Whitmer High School.
For those unable to watch, the important section goes like this:
Chen: "But he definitely has his eyes on the team he's loved growing up: The Maize and Blue."
Wormley: "You know, they're becoming a good program now and the stuff they're doing - they're definitely still in my top. So we'll see where everthing goes... You know, it excites me that they're coming up and becoming the Michigan team that they've always been, and, you know, it's just a good thing for them."
Wormley is now holding an Ohio State offer, so he's no shoo-in to land in Michigan's class. He won't decide until during or after his senior season.
OH S Allen Gantwas in the house for Michigan's victory over Bowling Green ($, info in header).
"Avery came to this school and just instantly was a great leader who showed great character," Gess said. "As far as him as a player, he just shuts down a whole side of the field because coaches won't throw or run that way. He also raises his teammates' level of play. He's a great representative of Eagle's Landing Christian and what they stand for."
He'll make a decision next month, after a couple visits to Oregon and Cal. Michigan was in great shape after his visit to Ann Arbor, and hopefully the Ducks and Bears do nothing to change that. Walls is an early-enrollment candidate.
He said he plans on attending at least one game involving each of the schools, including the UF-Alabama game Oct. 2 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the LSU-UF game in Gainesville on Oct. 9 and games at Michigan and USC.
That means no Michigan State game in Ann Arbor, leaving Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin weekends. If his coach is right:
The biggest factor the coach said would play into Jernigan’s decision is playing time.
With a college-ready frame and skill set, Howard said Jernigan is going to likely attend the school that can provide him a chance to play early.
That means Advantage: Michigan over all of his other contenders.
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel gave raving reviews of his visit to Michigan State:
"It was an amazing game to be at," Zettel said. "I think that Michigan State is starting to become a very good team. I was able to have some small talk with a lot of the recruits at the game."
OK, maybe that's more "I was in attendance" than anything hugely positive for the Spartans. Scout's Allen Trieu explains to the Lansing State Journal:
Michigan looks like it could be the team to beat for Zettel, but the Spartans are in contention.
"He's been a life-long Michigan fan, and you just want to be able to stay in the game with him," Trieu said. "The fact that he hasn't committed to Michigan yet is a big thing for Michigan State."
At this point , when "not committed to Michigan quite yet" is the best thing you can say about State's recruitment of the kid, the Wolverines are looking good.
NJ TE Jack Tabb is taking an official visit to Iowa City this weekend ($, info in header), even though the Hawkeyes already have three (!) tight ends in this class. Michigan is in the running for one of his other visits, and he took a trip to Ann Arbor earlier this summer.
IL OL Chris Bryant, a recent visitor to Ann Arbor, has the Wolverines in his top 3/4 with Arizona, Stanford, and Illinois. From the tone of the article, Michigan is still on top.
Dee Hart isn't the only Orlando Dr. Phillips guy with Michigan interest. It is highly unlikely that FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix will strongly consider Michigan anymore, but his fellow safety Roderick Ryles is looking for an offer.
The past couple weeks have been heavy with updates on official visitors, but with MIchigan taking on a couple lesser opponents i the next two weeks, important visits are likely on hold until the Michigan State game. Stay tuned later for a visitor's list for that game.
NC QB Marquise Williams (at right) is committed to North Carolina, but that won't stop him from officially visiting Michigan ($, info in header). No word on how serious the interest is, or whther Michigan is even in a position where they can use a second scholarship on a quarterback.
FL RB Demetrius Hart (whom you may have heard of) still favors Michigan over Auburn and Alabama, but has added Arkansas to his list as well. He's officially visiting the Tigers this weekend, but is expected to pick Michigan sometime soon. He will enroll early at his school of choice, so a decision will be coming soon.
NJ TE Jack Tabb will take his time finishing up the recruiting process. Michigan, North Carolina, and the Florida schools seem to be out front for him at this point.
According to WTKA, MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel skipped out on an official visit to Iowa... to watch Michigan play on TV. That sounds pretty positive for the Wolverines' chances of landing him. He intends to visit both Michigan and MIchigan State on Saturday. He now plans to wait until the end of the season to make a decision.
Auburn, Cal, FSU, Michigan, North Carolina and Southern Cal are all supposed to get visits. So there are plenty of takers out there.
Michigan's strong season may be helping convince him that Ann Arbor is a place he can come to win championships.
FL S Ha'sean Clinton-Dix (pictured at right) is about "85 percent" committed to Alabama. Despite softening up his commitment status, MIchigan is not one of his top schools. Florida, Florida State, and USC are his top non-Alabama suitors.
"I'm committed to FSU, but I'm still watching FSU, Miami, USC, Michigan, and Ohio State," he said. Karlos had previously stated that he may take some of his official visits, if the schools he's monitoring are having good seasons, and if he has the time.
Though he sounds likely to stick with FSU, the Wolverines' chnces will improve dramatically if he takes a visit to Ann Arbor.
LA CB Daren Kitchen is thinking about visiting for the Michigan State game ($, info in header). Though he doesn't hold an offer from the Wolverines yet, Michigan and Texas A&M are his top two.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012
Local fluff on FL OL Abraham "Nacho" Garcia, including a list of top schools:
"I'm looking at LSU, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and UM. I've visited a lot of colleges. For right now, those are the top [ones]. So until I see other colleges that's how it's going to stay for a while."
He's' previously said SU leads for him, but there's plenty of time to sway him.
MIchigan is among the suitors for IL DT Vincent Valentine. He'll take his time making a decision (which means there's a looooooong way to go in his recruitment).
OH DE Chris Wormleyvisited Michigan for the UConn game ($, info in header), as did MI LB James Ross ($, info in header).