Future Blue Originals 2012: Out-Of-State Primer

Future Blue Originals 2012: Out-Of-State Primer

Submitted by Ace on August 16th, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Previously: In-State Primer

Yesterday, I went over the schedules of Michigan's in-state commits, highlighting certain matchups for this fall's Future Blue Originals. Today's out-of-state primer is going to look a little different, mostly because I didn't want to embed 20-something tables into this post. Last year we got some great reader submissions of scouting reports, photos, and even video of Michigan commits for games I could not attend. We'd love to get even more of those this year, so I've compiled a couple of handy resources that should make this easy to organize.

Handy Map

View Future Blue Originals Commit/Target Map in a larger map

Say you live in—to take a completely random example—eastern Ohio, and you're wondering how you could help the blog. Well, wonder no more. The map above features the high school locations for each of Michigan's 23 senior commits, as well as Detroit Loyola (Malik McDowell) and St. Clairsville (Michael Ferns). If you live close to any of the above locations and think you could contribute a passable scouting report, mark it down on the...

Handy Master Schedule

...master schedule for each of Michigan's commits and select targets. It's a Google Doc that I've made editable by the public (please use this privilege wisely); as you can see, games I'll be attending are in bold, followed by my name. If you plan to attend a game and submit a report, photos, or video, mark it down in the same fashion. If you're willing, please also include your email; if you (understandably) don't want it on a public document, just shoot me an email, but please make sure to still mark the game you're attending so others know what's covered as well.

If you're one of those people who watches a lot of football but you aren't sure you've got the chops to do a detailed report, please contact me anyway; I'm happy to give a few pointers about what to watch for a particular position or prospect. If we get enough user-submitted reports, I'll either include them in each week's FBO post or compile them in a weekly feature.

Now, on to the primer itself, broken down by region.

Eastern Ohio/Western Pennsylvania

CB Ross Douglas (2013 Commit), Avon High School, Avon (OH): Avon is coming off a 13-2 season that ended at the hands of Mike McCray, Cam Burrows, and their Trotwood-Madison squad in the Division II state title game. Douglas plays running back as well as corner for the Eagles, so there will be plenty to scout if you check him out.

LB Ben Gedeon (2013 Commit), Hudson High School, Hudson (OH): Hudson finished 10-2 in 2011, bowing out in the second round of the OHSAA playoffs. Gedeon does a little bit of everything, playing tight end, H-back, wide receiver, kick returner, and even quarterback. He might be the recruit I most wish lived three hours closer to Ann Arbor.

CB Gareon Conley (2013 Commit), Washington High School, Massillon (OH): Perennial powerhouse Massillon Washington had a down year by their standards in 2011, going 7-3 and missing the state playoffs. Conley managed to record four interceptions and nine PBUs last year despite playing much of the season in a cast; there's a good chance he'll be making big plays if you decide to head to a game.

RB DeVeon Smith (2013 Commit), Howland High School, Warren (OH): Howland's perfect 9-0 regular season in 2011 was spoiled with a first-round exit from the Division II playoffs. Smith has combined for just under 4,000 rushing yards over the last two seasons; if you're looking for a prospect that's easy to scout and will have plenty of opportunities to show his stuff, it's probably Smith.

S Dymonte Thomas (2013 Commit), Marlington High School, Alliance (OH): Marlington posted an 8-2 record in 2011, which wasn't quite good enough to earn them a spot in the state playoffs. Thomas rushed for 875 yards and 13 TDs as a running back while tallying 102 tackles and an interception on defense. In fact, I'd say he's the best guy to scout over Smith, but safety play is a little tougher to evaluate than a running back.

LB Michael Ferns (2014 Commit), St. Clairsville High School, St. Clairsville (OH): St. Clairsville finished 10-2 last season, going down in the second round of the Division IV playoffs. Ferns tallied 136 tackles at linebacker and also was a very dangerous weapon at both running back and tight end.

OL Patrick Kugler (2013 Commit), North Allegheny High School, Wexford (PA): North Allegheny advanced all the way to the state semifinals before suffering their first loss of the season in 2011.

Columbus Area

TE Jake Butt (2013 Commit), Pickerington North High School, Pickerington (OH): Despite an 8-2 record, Pickerington North failed to make the playoffs last season. Butt starred at both tight end and defensive end, tallying 427 yards and seven TDs on offense and ten sacks on defense. I'm planning to watch North take on their cross-town rivals, who feature...

DE Taco Charlton (2013 Commit), Pickerington Central High School, Pickerington (OH): Central not only defeated North last season, they made it all the way to the Division I title game before falling to St. Ignatius. Charlton had 60 tackles and seven TFL as a situational player last year and should see his role expand this season.

WR Jaron Dukes (2013 Commit), Marion-Franklin High School, Columbus (OH): The Red Devils went 13-1 in 2011, losing only to Trotwood-Madison in the Division I state semifinals. Dukes contribted 36 catches for 673 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Marion-Franklin faces off against Pickerington Central on August 31st at 7:30 pm; I'll be in Dallas, so if someone could cover that game it would be a huge help.

Definitely Not The Columbus Area*

LB Mike McCray (2013 Commit), Trotwood-Madison High School, Trotwood (OH): Trotwood-Madison captured the Division II state title last season over Douglas's Avon squad to cap off a perfect 15-0 season. McCray had a big year statistically at linebacker—88 tackles, two forced fumbles, five interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns—and also contributed heavily at tight end. They open on August 26th with a televised game against Ft. Lauderdale University School.

*Apologies, Trotwood natives.

Illinois

OL Kyle Bosch (2013 Commit), St. Francis High School, Wheaton (IL): St. Francis went 8-3 last season, falling in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs. Bosch earned all-area and all-state honors and should do the same this season.

OL Logan Tuley-Tillman (2013 Commit), Manual High School, Peoria (IL): Manual struggled to a 3-6 record last season. Tuley-Tillman will once again start at left tackle; his development is one to watch closely given his raw talent.

LS Scott Sypniewski (2013 Commit), Marquette High School, Ottawa (IL): Marquette finished just 2-7 last fall. Scouting the long snapper is probably quite unnecessary, but if you'd like to, it's a free country.

Elsewhere

OL Chris Fox (2013 Commit), Ponderosa High School, Parker (CO): Ponderosa finished just 4-6 last season. Fox starred on both the offensive and defensive lines.

DT Maurice Hurst Jr. (2013 Commit), Xaverian Brothers High School, Westwood (MA): Xaverian Brothers went 6-5 in 2011. Hurst was a first-team all-state defensive tackle, and perhaps more impressively also toted the rock as a massive running back. Fat guy touchdowns, ahoy!

DT Henry Poggi (2013 Commit), Gilman School, Baltimore (MD): Gilman, coached by Poggi's father Biff, finished 10-1 in 2011 against an impressive schedule, with Henry posting ten sacks. This year Gilman opens against three powerhouse programs: Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (8/26), Our Lady of Good Counsel (8/31), and Don Bosco Prep (9/8). Any one of those games would be great to attend and scout.

CB Channing Stribling (2013 Commit), Butler High School, Matthews (NC): Butler capped off an 11-2 season with a run to the Class 4AA state quarterfinals in 2011. Stribling excelled on both sides of the ball, catching eight touchdowns as a receiver and intercepting six passes at corner. As one of Michigan's least-scouted prospects, I'd love to hear reports on him, as well.

If you're able to attend any games for the above players—or the in-state recruits, as well—update the Google doc and send me an email. I'll be in contact with those who express interest in scouting as the season approaches.

Friday Recruitin' Has A Chart

Friday Recruitin' Has A Chart

Submitted by Ace on July 13th, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses rankings updates from three recruiting services, a few more tidbits from The Opening, a potential surprise five-star visitor, and more.

Rankin'

In the wake of The Opening, three recruiting sites—Scout, 247, and ESPN—have updated their top lists. Instead of going over each update individually, I've jammed the results into a (chart?) chart below. The number in parentheses is the change from each site's last update; a positive means a rise and a negative means a drop, just to be clear. Notable stuff in bold.

  Scout 247 ESPN
Shane Morris 29 (-1) 19 (+2) 26 (+6)
Patrick Kugler 30 (+1) 158 (-4) 116 (-4)
Dymonte Thomas 35 (—) 52 (-1) 94 (+4)
Kyle Bosch 48 (+1) 75 (-23) 126 (-6)
Deveon Smith 60 (-7) 222 (+4) NR
Chris Fox 134 (+5) 100 (-27) 112 (-4)
Henry Poggi 136 (-1) 107 (-2) 259 (-9)
Jake Butt 137 (+15) NR 171 (+61)
Ben Gedeon 155 (-2) 177 (-2) 278 (-8)
Jourdan Lewis 168 (+5) NR 92 (—)
David Dawson 179 (-1) 138 (+19) 89 (—)
Logan Tuley-Tillman 194 (-4) 95 (-6) 102 (-8)
Maurice Hurst Jr. 215 (-2) NR NR
Mike McCray 216 (-2) 178 (-2) 108 (-4)
Gareon Conley 233 (-1) 229 (-7) 63 (+1)
Taco Charlton 269 (NR) 90 (—) 120 (-6)
Wyatt Shallman 268 (-5) NR NR
Jaron Dukes 296 (-1) NR 222 (-6)

Starting from the top, Shane Morris may have only moved up two spots on 247, but that was enough to earn him a fifth star:

Michigan quarterback commit Shane Morris displayed consistency and his trademark big left arm at The Opening. Morris was a top two quarterback at the event for its entirety and continues to be one of the most important recruits in the history of Wolverines football considering his leadership in helping the nation’s current No. 2 overall class come together. Morris was on the verge of five-star status for most of this cycle and his showing last week put him over the top.

Morris also rose six spots on ESPN, but the Worldwide Leader has only handed out seven five-stars in the class thus far, decidedly fewer than any other service.

Kyle Bosch rather surprisingly dropped 23 places on 247; he gave it a go at The Opening on day one before leaving the camp due to an illness, which may have affected his ranking (whether fairly or unfairly is up to you). Less surprising was Chris Fox's 27-spot plunge on 247, as he's had an up-and-down camp season.

The biggest beneficiary of an outstanding performance at The Opening was Jake Butt, who ascended 15 spots on Scout and a whopping 61 on ESPN. Strangely, 247 still doesn't have him ranked in their Top 247, which stands out as they normally seem to have big swings in rankings (see: Bosch, Fox, Dawson) after camps. Butt and Jourdan Lewis both have very legitimate cases for entering 247's list, yet neither makes an appearance.

David Dawson saw his stock rise on 247 to the tune of 19 spots as he continues to impress with every camp appearance. Fellow lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman saw slight drops across the board, however, as his camp showings have revealed a need to get in better shape and improve technically.

The subject of much debate since The Opening, Taco Charlton went from an unranked three-star to a four-star and the #269 overall player on Scout. 247 and ESPN think very highly of him, even with a slight ding in the rankings from ESPN, but we'll see where he ends up on Rivals after Mike Farrell's disappointing review.

If someone could please come to a consensus on the relative abilities of Deveon Smith, it would be much appreciated.

Closing The Opening

I'm as sick of coverage of The Opening as I'm sure you are, but a few more nuggets of info have trickled out since Tuesday's roundup. IL WR Laquon Treadwell earned mention on Scout in both their top ten offensive performers and their five offensive surprises ($):

While Treadwell came into the weekend ranked #9 at his position and 4-stars overall, his performance still caught us by surprise. Almost all of the top ranked receivers in the country were at The Opening and few played as well as Treadwell. He showed a great ability to go up and get the ball, easily pulling it down over defenders. Treadwell was also consistent and found success in every drill and game throughout the weekend. 

On the other side of the ball, commit Jourdan Lewis make the cut for the top ten defensive performers:

Lewis was one of the top cornerbacks at The Opening in 2012. He broke on the ball very well, he locked up his man much of the time, and he showed the ability to open up his hips and run with the wide receivers. He had some picks and those were nice, but his coverage stood out the most.

Lastly, 247's Barton Simmons tabbed a surprise performer who could end up on your radar soon:

Delano Hill, DB- I’ve seen Delano Hill on a couple of different occasions and he’s always been a steady performer, always one of the better safeties in attendance. With his performance this weekend, he was once again one of the best safeties in attendance but among a much stronger field. Not only does Hill have great size but he really popped for us early in the weekend when he added one of the fastest 40-yard dash times of the event with a 4.42. Iowa is getting a star.

Hill is currently committed to Iowa, but he goes to uber-pipeline Cass Tech. If Michigan misses out on their blue-chip targets at defensive back, Hill could merit a late offer to fill the last spot in the class.

Priest Willis: An Option?

Tremendous dropped a very interesting tidbit in their recruiting notes yesterday, revealing that five-star CA CB Priest Willis could be more of an option than previously thought (previous thought was "not an option at all") [emphasis mine]:

I was able to talk with Priest the other day, who recently named a top 16. He said he was going to cut it to 8 pretty soon. My assumption was Michigan would not make this second cut, but I was wrong. Priest gave me the following schools (again, huge grain of salt, as I was shocked Michigan was in his group): USC, LSU, Arizona State, UCLA, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan. He also said he wants to set up an official visit to Michigan because of its distance from his hometown of Tempe, Arizona. Priest told me this even after he acknowledged that he hadn't heard from the Michigan coaches in a while.

We'll see if there's still interest from the coaches, though I'd have to believe they'd be happy to host a five-star defensive back. If Willis still maintains interest even though he's not hearing much from the school, that sounds like a pretty good sign; that said, I'm still considering him a longshot until further developments.

Also in the above post is clarification from MD WR Paul Harris, who says his purported cut to USC and Tennessee was misreported. Harris maintains a top five of USC, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, according to the Washington Post. Odds of landing him still appear slim due to the presence of Treadwell.

Quickly: AZ WR Devon Allen named Michigan to his top 15 ($). Happy trails to CA DT Eddie Vanderdoes, who committed to USC.

2014 Updates

Sam Webb's latest DetNews offering profiles Cass Tech CB Damon Webb, the breakout star of the summer circuit. Damon claims that Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State stand out among his offers, and though he won't name a leader at this time he does mention the Wolverines as a childhood favorite while also noting the presence of so many Technicians as a positive. Allen Trieu gives a very positive scouting report and an idea of where Webb stands among players in the state:

"In-state, it's him, (Grand Rapids Christian's) Drake Harris and (Detroit Loyola's) Malik McDowell as the top three right now. With it being as early as it is, I could see that ending up in any order, or new guys moving in. What I've learned is early rankings and hype don't always hold until signing day. McDowell is considered the top dog right now, but that can change.

With Webb now focused more on cornerback—he also plays wide receiver—we could see him continue to rise as he learns the position.

FL OL Mason Cole will be at July 29's BBQ at the Big House with wide receiver teammate Artavis Scott, according to Tim Sullivan ($).

IN WR Austin Roberts also plans to be at the BBQ, via 247's Clint Brewster ($).

Tremendous enlists the help of a couple of the 11W recruiting guys to put together an early Midwest hot list for the class of 2014. This is a great starting point if you're looking to get familiar with the prospects who will be targets of the top Big Ten programs, including Michigan.

Friday Recruitin' Buckles Up

Friday Recruitin' Buckles Up

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

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

Pursuit Of Quon: Successful?

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

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

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

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

Fuller, Green Plan Visits

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Fox "Fully Committed"

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

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

2014 Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Interview With Jonathan Hilliman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JONATHAN: The end of my senior season.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Epic And Unreal

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Epic And Unreal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wilkins, Bailey Visiting This Week

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

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

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

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

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

Harris Decision On Wednesday & More 2014 Updates

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday Recruitin' Enjoys Smores

Tuesday Recruitin' Enjoys Smores

Submitted by Brian on June 19th, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Camping: Happening

Michigan's camp is going on right now. It's happening as you read this. There are photos. You have to believe me.

image

2015 ONT/TN QB Michael O'Connor w Gardner, Borges via Maize and Blue News

Things are… well, probably not happening very much since Michigan's already got 21 commitments. Touch the Banner put together a list of the various attendees if you want to know who's scheduled to be there. A couple of the more interesting 2013 names:

Darren Carrington - WR - San Diego (CA) Horizon: Carrington is a 6'2", 187 lb. quarterback and wide receiver.  He's the son of former San Diego Chargers safety Darren Carrington, who played in their Super Bowl loss to the San Francisco 49ers.  He received an offer from Michigan last week, so his main reason for camping would seem to be for seeing the campus and meeting the coaching staff. (Highlights here.)

Caleb Day - ATH - Hilliard (OH) Darby: [Day] is a 6'0", 188 lb. athlete who could play lots of positions in college, including running back, wide receiver, cornerback, or safety.  Michigan hasn't offered yet, but he really seems to be hoping for one from the Wolverines. He does, however, have offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio State, and several others.  Day looks a little too stiff to play cornerback at a big-time program, but I could see him fitting in at any of those other positions.  Michigan has bigger fish to fry at running back (Jordan Wilkins, Derrick Green) and wide receiver (LaQuon Treadwell), and they're pretty set at safety.  However, Day could be a backup option at any of those positions and reminds me of a slightly less skilled Dymonte Thomas.

TN RB Jordan Wilkins is mentioned above and is tentatively scheduled to be in this weekend, something we know thanks to David Dawson badgering Wilkins on the twitter. He looks like Michigan's best shot at a blue chip-ish tailback with Ty Isaac out of the picture and Derrick Green looking like a serious longshot. That's not a good shot since the kid nearly committed to Auburn last week, mind you.

As of today the top sleeper name appears to be NC CB/S Channing Stribling, who is a gerund fan and wisp of a man from Butler High School, the alma mater of rather good Michigan safety Jamar Adams. Webb on him($):

How this kid is such a relatively obscure prospect while playing for  such a powerhouse program is a mystery.  Standing 6-2 and maybe 165-pounds, this Tar Heel State product is extremely fluid (despite his length), and possesses quickness that belies his size. Though not a blazer, he has good football speed.  Furthermore, he has really good leaping ability and ball skills.  Some schools might be scared away by his slender frame and lack of elite top end speed. Others, meanwhile, might see pure potential… a youngster that could become more explosive once he adds more muscle to his slender frame.

Might be one to watch as it seems Michigan is looking for one more guy in the secondary.

In less positive news, Cass Tech DT (and Illinois commit) Kenton Gibbs hasn't made it in and probably won't thanks to an injury. That makes it unlikely he ends up getting the offer he wants. Maize and Blue News notes that John Runyan Jr, a 2015 kid, was in attendance.

Camp continues all week.

Large Men

Hey, look, it's OH LB commits Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray.

601673738[1]

For whatever reason, this photo reminded me of Gerry Dinardo showing up to Michigan practice in 2008 or 2009 or whatever and saying something vaguely like "usually when you go to Michigan you know it, but if you took away the helmets you would think I had recruited this team." I don't think that's going to be the case in 2014.

2014 Caremeter Update

The caremeter might kick into overdrive—or at least drive—this week what with camp. These days camp is for rising juniors, and Michigan's got a bucketload of them coming in. The vast majority of the kids listed on the TTB post are 2014 players. The spot to watch is probably linebacker, what with all three Cass guys, IL LB Clifton Garrett and IN LB Gelen Robinson fighting for what looks like a limited number of spots. Michigan will graduate only Cam Gordon and Mike Jones next year, and that's only if both of those guys get fifth years.

The headliner Sunday($) was actually 2015 kid Michael O'Connor, that 6'5" Canadian QB who's transferring to a toity private school in Tennessee to up his level of competition. He's still waiting on an offer from Michigan but already has an MSU offer and made the usual positive but non-committal noises($) after his camp experience yesterday. 

Meanwhile in non-camp activities, 2014 OH LB Michael Ferns took a visit over the weekend and seemed BLOWN AWAY(!, also $) by the experience. TomVH caught up with him to get a telling quote:

"I heard Ann Arbor is a great place, and getting up there, being in town, everything was great," he said. "I don't want to say too much, but (the visit) was a 10. I was shocked by the whole deal. It was really good."

And here's the de rigueur locker-room-and-gloves shot:

Michael Ferns 2[1]

Sam Webb relates that Ferns went home($) afterwards instead of visiting Michigan State as planned, because obviously. He's planning to get out to Notre Dame, then shut it down for a while; with Penn State and Ohio State previously thought to be front-runners this is going to be a knock-down, drag-out Midwest power fight.

Michigan's also offered 2014 IL OL Jamarco Jones.

Even More Things About SMSB

Josh Helmholdt has a list of under-the-radar prospects he caught at the camp with a mention of MI WR Jack Wangler (yes, that Wangler):

WR Jack Wangler, Royal Oak (Mich.) Shrine Catholic: Wangler has put a lot of work in this off-season with his Maximum Exposure teams, going head-to-head against some of the top defensive backs in the country. Wangler is always going to be a possession receiver; but his speed is coming along, and he has been timed as low as the 4.5 range for the 40-yard dash. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Wangler is a physical receiver and a technician when it comes to route-running.

Wangler previously stated a preference to walk-on at Michigan over scholarship offers "anywhere else." Helmhold also offered some takes on guys who show up at every camp:

CB Jourdan Lewis, Detroit Cass Tech: Some of the best one-on-one matchups during the event involved Lewis - on both sides of the football. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Lewis is going to Michigan to play cornerback, but he is also a BCS-caliber wide receiver prospect. Lewis is so quick with his cuts that he creates instant separation from defensive backs, and he also has great hands. Both attributes also serve him well at the cornerback position.

QB Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris led a solid group of quarterback prospects at the event but clearly stood out as the top player at his position. The Rivals100 prospect is really in control of his game right now, and his passes are coming out of his hand beautifully with velocity and accuracy. He was told by Michigan quarterbacks coach Al Borges, who was working the event, to throttle it back some on day one, but overall Morris varied his speeds well during the event.

Nice Company

The Five Star Challenge, Rivals's tastefully-named rival to the Opening, will also feature a number of Michigan commits and targets. So many that Michigan is named one of five teams to watch for this thing along with Auburn, Alabama, USC, and Texas. As the header says: nice company.

Details of Michigan commits and targets:

Michigan currently has the top recruiting class in the Rivals.com team rankings so it is no surprise that it has several commits in action at the Five-Star Challenge. Three future Wolverines -- linebacker Mike McCray, athlete Jourdan Lewis and offensive lineman David Dawson -- will be on the North squad, while offensive tackle Chris Fox will suit up for the West. Lewis is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the Midwest and will prove his versatility by playing cornerback. Dawson has also seen his stock take off this spring, picking up a ton of offers even after committing. McCray is ranked as the No. 55 overall player in the country and will attempt to prove he belongs in the discussion with Reuben Foster, Jaylon Smith and Matthew Thomas as five-star linebackers. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, defensive end Malik McDowell and defensive end Da'Shawn Hand are also big Michigan targets.

If McDowell Is going to establish himself a five-star sort he'll have to keep pace with the Hands of the world, and this is probably the only opportunity he'll have this year. Also of interest will be how McCray and Fox do. Fox hasn't hit the camps much and Rivals is considerably higher on McCray than others. Rivals even has a video featuring a Fox matchup with yes-that's-really-his-name Auburn DL commit Dee Liner:

I know. I can't believe that's his name either.

1256416[1]Wanted: This Guy's Hair

FL WR Alvin Bailey, a four-star slot type who would be a change of pace from Michigan's coming horde of long-limbed 6'3" guys, popped up on Michigan's radar around the time his teammate Leon McQuay III named his odd top three featuring Michigan, USC, and Vanderbilt. Bailey hasn't gone on any visits yet but he wants to get things over with within a month, so he's visiting a bunch of places. His goal($):

"I am planning to go to Michigan, West Virginia, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, and that is about it," Bailey said. "I will probably start taking those trips in the next couple weeks."
After taking those trips, the Rivals250 prospect is hoping he will be ready to select his future home.
"I want to make a decision after I visit those schools," Bailey said. "I want to decide around the end of July probably."

That constitutes a tentative top six for Bailey. If McQuay was already in the boat there'd be reason for optimism here; without it that's a heavily Southern list. It's going to be hard to get him above the Mason-Dixon line.

Happy Trails?

Tremendous says a reliable source relates that CA WR Sebastian Larue is close to a decision and has a top three of Michigan, Oklahoma, and USC. He hasn't visited, so that's unlikely to go Michigan's way if it does come. 

Etc.: 2015 Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell has insanely early offers($) from Notre Dame and Alabama now. 2014 MI QB Chance Stewart gets a Wisconsin offer($). Iowa offers Cass Tech LB Deon Drake($).  McDowell isn't going to camp at OSU($). Michigan makes Eddie Vanderdoes's top 15. Woo? Nebraska offers and lands a longsnapper. It's longsnapper madness.

Friday Recruitin' Gets Bored, Watches Highlights, Fisks

Friday Recruitin' Gets Bored, Watches Highlights, Fisks

Submitted by Ace on April 27th, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Today's recruiting roundup takes a look at full junior film for four 2013 commits, addresses an interesting theory on offensive line recruiting, and details a couple of recent offers.

Butt Taco D-Train MANBALL*

It's been a slow week for recruiting news, so luckily ScoutingOhio's Mark Porter unleashed full-length junior highlight videos for four Michigan commits. Here they are, with some brief analysis; first up is TE Jake Butt:

Once you get past the first half of the video, which is comprised of defensive highlights, you get to see some impressive play from Butt at tight end. He catches the ball away from his body, displays sure hands, and does a really nice job of turning back to the quarterback and giving him a target on just about every route. These are just highlights, but he also looks solid as a blocker. Butt doesn't have off-the-charts athleticism and he could be a little sharper on his route-running; he still looks like a player who could come in and have a quick impact if he can add the necessary size and strength before he hits campus.

DE Taco Charlton:

Charlton mostly played as a situational pass-rusher last fall, so his highlights aren't as lengthy as the others. That said, the outstanding athleticism that makes him such an intriguing prospect is on full display, as he's often able to just blow by opposing blockers without facing much resistance. There are issues with technique, especially when it comes to shedding blocks; those should improve with proper coaching, a summer on the camp circuit, and starter's experience in the fall. Given Michigan's depth at defensive end, Charlton likely won't have to play right away, but he looks like he could make a big impact down the road, at the very least in the same role he played last year.

S Dymonte Thomas:

Before you start calling for Thomas to play running back, check out the next tape (and also remember that Michigan is seriously in the mix for Ty Isaac). We don't get to see Thomas playing much safety in the above clip—he spends a lot of his time in the box—but we do get to see his sideline-to-sideline speed, quick diagnosis against the run, and ability to come up and lay a lick. I don't see a whole lot not to like here, though I'll be interested to see if he plays more deep half as a senior and we get some more film of him in coverage; there's not a lot to go on above.

RB DeVeon Smith:

Hello, MANBALL. Smith may not have breakaway speed, but he displays everything else you'd like to see when running the football: great initial burst, good vision through the hole, legs that don't stop moving upon contact, and the power to punish defenders for attempts to arm-tackle. The one caveat to this video is that Smith didn't play the highest level of competition last year; he comes from the same league at Fitzgerald Toussaint, however, and that worked out just fine. We don't get to see him block much, and passes are limited to swings and screens, but there's little doubt that Smith should have an impact carrying the football.

Former All-Pro offensive lineman Kyle Turley evaluated four of Michigan's five offensive line commits in a free article at 247Sports; he's apparently over his OUTRAGE from Brady Hoke leaving San Diego State (his alma mater) to coach at Michigan, because the reviews are quite positive. Unfortunately for us, they're also pretty much identical for each of the four players (Logan Tuley-Tillman, Chris Fox, Kyle Bosch, and Patrick Kugler). In short:

Strengths—Mean streak, size
Can Work On—Pad level, footwork

Part of this is because leverage and technique can always be improved upon, especially in making the transition to the college game. Also, Michigan has assembled an impressive collection of big linemen who finish blocks with authority. There is a little more insight in the full article, including the fact that Bosch appears to be the most college-ready of the four.

-----------------------
*That's gotta provide an SEO boost, right?

Pro-Sized Offensive Linemen: Good

I was pleased to see that SBNation recently unveiled Land-Grant Holy Land, a new Ohio State blog spearheaded by 11W and EDSBS contributor Luke Zimmerman. This recruiting-related article for the site by DJ Byrnes, however, should probably be addressed. I won't give "Brady Hoke's Blind Spot" the full FJM-style fisking, but here's the setup after a brief discussion of how good former OSU OL Alex Boone looked as a high school prospect [emphasis mine]:

Two years later, I watched Alex Boone get eviscerated by Urban Meyer's Florida Gators. Play after play, there was another rabid jackal clad in orange and blue, running down a previously elusive Troy Smith. There was no mercy and no quarter given. There was no pity. It was just unrelenting pressure, and Alex Boone succumbed to it.

The next year, Alex Boone got eaten alive by LSU's defensive line in a game where I'm surprised Todd Boeckman wasn't killed. Again, it was a straight up mauling for which Boone and his compatriots had little defense. The Buckeyes didn't get beat like a drum against LSU as they did against Florida, but it was another poor showing for the offensive line. (SEC coaches understand: a deep, versatile defensive line will give bigger, slower offensive lines nightmares over the course of a game.)

So, this is why I laugh at Michigan and their recruitment of Boone-like clones to stock their offensive line. It's also why I get super giddy when I compare those efforts against Urban's.

Yes, this is an argument against recruiting pro-sized offensive linemen, and the crux of the argument is based on the failings of Alex Boone. There are many flaws to this, but the most notable is that Alex Boone didn't fall short of expectations at Ohio State because he was 6'8", 310+ pounds. He fell short because, through most of his college career, he was a raging alcoholic, at one point admitting to drinking up to 40 beers a night during the weekend. That will slow down just about anybody.

Byrnes then notes the rather massive human beings Michigan is bringing in for both the 2012 and 2013 classes, as well as the extremely high level of talent the Buckeyes are assembling along the defensive line. I have no argument here—there should be some epic trench clashes in the future of this rivalry. I think Michigan has a good chance of coming out on top in those clashes, however, because this simply isn't true:

Brady Hoke will be good for Michigan. He may even beat Ohio State once or twice during his tenure, but he doesn't seem to realize that college football has shifted away from massive, clattering offensive lines. By the time he does, it might already be too late.

First, it's worth noting that massive =/= unathletic. Taylor Lewan is 6'8", but he's also got remarkably quick feet. Anyone who watched 6'9", 345-pound tackle Jonathan Ogden play as a pro remembers him for somehow resembling the world's most devastating ballerina. As for the college football world moving away from large offensive lines, here are your spring depth charts for the two teams to play for the 2011 national title:

1) If college football is moving away from behemoth offensive lines, we forgot to inform the SEC, which has somehow managed to make do.
2) *Looks at Alabama's depth chart, shudders*

So, in short, you probably shouldn't worry about Michigan reeling in large classes of man-sized linemen being a bad thing. This argument could probably have been accomplished with one word—Wisconsin—but it's a slow week.

Okay, one last thing. Urban Meyer was hired on November 28th, 2011. After that date, the Buckeyes added three offensive linemen to their 2012 class: Taylor Decker (6'8", 315), Joey O'Connor (6'4", 295), and Kyle Dodson (6'6", 315). Yep, Meyer isn't stupid, either.

[So, um, MnB's Zach Travis did this too, and his take is worth a read as well. I swear I wrote this yesterday. So it goes.]

New Offers, Ojemudia Enrolls Early, Etc.

Michigan isn't slowing down on the hunt for wide receivers, as Tim Sullivan reports that their latest 2013 offer was extended to three-star MD WR Paul Harris ($, info in header). Harris stands at 6'3", 185 lbs., and he plans to attend Michigan's one-day camp on June 21st. The Wolverines are a mortal lock to add two more receivers to the class, and I wouldn't be surprised if they take three given the lack of proven depth and the scholarship no longer being held for E.J. Levenberry.

Tremendous got the scoop that the Wolverines also threw their hat in the ring for one of the top defensive prospects of 2014, NJ CB Jabrill Peppers. Peppers already holds offers from Florida, LSU, Miami (FL), Notre Dame, Rutgers, and South Carolina, and that list will likely include a laundry-list of national powers before all is said and done. Peppers told Aquaman that he grew up watching Michigan—favorite players: Mike Hart and Mario Manningham—and has interest in a visit, either in the summer or fall.

11W's Alex Gleitman spoke to four-star MA DL Maurice Hurst Jr. after a recent visit to Columbus, and Hurst stated that he'll visit Michigan and Michigan State in the near future, and then he'll be "done with visits." He'd like to make his decision in the next month and a half, and currently lists Ohio State, Michigan, and Virginia as the schools sticking out to him. Buckeye coaches apparently told him that they'll take another defensive tackle; we'll see if the loaded D-line class there affects his decision, especially if things go well on his trip to Ann Arbor.

The Wolverine's Andy Reid reports that 2012 DE Mario Ojemudia will enroll for spring term on Monday, giving the man with the laser death-stare a leg up on strength and conditioning, not to mention a head start in the classroom. Ojemudia needs to add a fair amount of weight before he'll be able to line up with his hand in the dirt, so this is welcome news.

You can probably rule out Michigan for a couple of California prospects. CA RB Justin Davis has "pretty much" narrowed down to a final three of USC, Cal, and Washington, and he expects to make his decision soon ($, info in header). With the Wolverines focused in on Ty Isaac and Derrick Green, that doesn't come as much of a surprise. If Michigan was back in the market for linebackers after losing out on Levenberry—very unlikely, considering the prospects they've turned away—they seems out of the race for CA LB Michael Hutchings, who's aiming for a summer decision and is only mentioning Pac-12 schools as possible visit destinations ($).

Quickly: Free Rivals article on CA WR Demorea Stringfellow, who Mike Farrell describes as a "tough matchup for cornerbacks" because of his size (6'2", 185) and ability to go up and get the football.

Tuesday Recruitin' Ends Vision Quest

Tuesday Recruitin' Ends Vision Quest

Submitted by Ace on February 28th, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Today's recruiting roundup takes a look at two potential commits (yes, it never ends, and this is good), gets more insight on Patrick Kugler, and finally puts the whole Alex Kozan thing to rest. Finally.

And The Coyote Said, "War Eagle"

homervisionquest

Alex Kozan has eaten the Merciless Peppers of Quetzaltenango, spoken with his coyote spiritual guide, and emerged from his vision quest with newfound clarity about his soulmate college destination: Kozan will be an Auburn Tiger. There's no word on whether he mulled over his decision in a lighthouse, but I'm going to presume this as fact until proven otherwise.

Also, amen to this: “It’s been a crazy ride,” Kozan said, “but I’m real glad it’s over.”

We can officially close the book on the class of 2012. We can also discuss guys who will actually play center for Michigan, as more evaluations of new commit Patrick Kugler have come out since his commitment post. Here's Allen Trieu on Kugler's junior film, which is unfortunately stuck behind a Scout paywall ($):

The kid has great feet and gets into the second level very well. He's a technician and a smart player, which you would expect from his dad being an NFL coach. Now, you take all of those strengths and project him to center, and Michigan fans should be excited. He's bigger and more athletic than most center prospects. You essentially have a kid that could easily play tackle or guard for most schools at center. That is also a position where smarts and knowledge of the game come into play and this kid certainly has it. His upside was good to begin with, but as a center, it's excellent.

Excellent, indeed. I'd always rather have a recruit who plays tackle in high school—where high school teams usually stick their best linemen—then learns center in the offseason than a guy who's limited in where he projects. Take a good, but slightly undersized, high school tackle and their ceiling immediately raises when shifted to center if they've got the technique and versatility, which shouldn't be a problem with Kugler. Here's his high school head coach on just that ($):

“I think his ability to play low is one of his strengths,” [North Allegheny coach Art] Walker said of Kugler. "He’s a great run blocker, and we like to consider him a finisher. He’s also a strong pass blocker as well. He runs well, he pulls well, and he has great feet and hands. He’s still maturing physically, and he’s having his best offseason to date. He can play any position you ask him to, wherever the team needs him most.”

I really like the addition of Kugler to the class. Michigan is set along the offensive line unless a guy like Ethan Pocic wants to join the party.

Quickly: Jared Shanker on Jake Butt and his ties to Ohio State and Notre Dame. Tremendous interviews Chris Fox, who's hopefully given up on his dirtbiking hobby. Chantel Jennings on Khalid Hill and #Team134 ($).

Must Not Make Played-Out "That Ish [Mc]Cray" Joke

The #44 prospect in the Rivals100, Trotwood (OH) Madison linebacker Mike McCray, will announce his decision on March 8th between Michigan, Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He has one more visit scheduled: to Michigan, on March 6th. That's a pretty positive sign, and the general feeling is that McCray will end up blue—Rivals.com's Mike Farrell has said as much in multiple twitter posts.

McCray is one of three blue-chip linebackers who Michigan appears to lead for, with E.J. Levenberry and Dorian O'Daniel being the other two. McCray seems like a MLB, while Levenberry and O'Daniel both project to the outside. It's possible Michigan takes all three if they want to commit; it'll come down to a numbers game, but that would be one heck of a linebacker haul. If the Wolverines are saving spots for the best players available, it'll be hard to turn down any of those guys.

Steve Wiltfong posted on the Wolverine247 board today that Michigan "may be the team to beat" for Columbus (OH) Bishop Hartley TE Jacob Matuska after a great visit last Monday ($). This one could be a Michigan/Notre Dame battle, and there's reason for optimism—other than general "Hoke poops magic" optimism—for the Wolverines; a post on BuckeyePlanet says Michigan is very much in the mix despite Matuska being a presumed ND lock ($).

Ty Isaac's Coach Goes Full Fred Jackson and More

TomVH caught up with Ty Isaac's head coach to talk about the Midwest's best running back, and BOOM GALE SAYERS'D ($, info in header):

"Anytime he touches the ball, everybody is on edge, because it could be a Gayle Sayers moment. Every time Sayers touched the ball, he could go, and Ty has that ability," [Joliet Catholic coach Dan] Sharp said. "[Isaac would fit] in any kind of pro-style offense. He's the type of back who can get tough yards, durable, and he's not fun to tackle for safeties and corners."

Sharp also said Isaac reminds him physically of Marcus Allen, NFL Hall of Fame member and Heisman Trophy winner. In relevant, non-hyperbolic news, Isaac has no timetable for a decision and will visit Ann Arbor on March 10th.

Michigan has shown up on several players's top [blank] lists recently. Dadeville (AL) DT Rod Crayton visited on Sunday of that mid-February weekend, and while he didn't catch the virulent strand of commitment fever, he now has Michigan in his top three with LSU and Mississippi State ($, info in header). Another player with U-M in his top three is Rancho Cucamonga (CA) CB Chris Hawkins, along with Stanford and Notre Dame ($, info in header); Hawkins said he grew up idolizing Charles Woodson, so he's obviously got good taste.

While Michigan hasn't yet offered, South Jordan (UT) Bingham DT Lowell Lotulelei likes the Wolverines, Oregon, Utah, and Washington ($). Concord (CA) De La Salle LB Michael Hutchings—yes, another blue-chip LB—hasn't narrowed his list yet, but says the Wolverines will "easily" make the cut when he trims his list to 8 or 10 in April ($, info in header).

And now, your semi-weekly bulleted list, this time of players who have expressed interest in taking visits to Ann Arbor:

Finally, there's one happy trails to report. One of the Trinity trio, CB Ryan White, committed to hometown Louisville yesterday over Illinois. Teammate DE Jason Hatcher also seems to be favoring the Cardinals early; we'll see how that affects WR James Quick.

Tuesday Recruitin' LOLs at Own Job

Tuesday Recruitin' LOLs at Own Job

Submitted by Ace on February 21st, 2012 at 2:28 PM

So... that happened. Let's just start right in, shall we?

My Totally Normal, Uneventful, Relaxing Weekend

I was tipped off about the impending Kyle Bosch commitment on Friday evening, so I pre-wrote the "Hello" post, called it a night, and felt like I was ahead of the game.

At 3:20 pm on Saturday, I got this message from Heiko: "LOL your job." I would get the same message again 24 hours later. Over the course of 48 hours, I ended up writing eight commitment posts: Kyle Bosch, Wyatt Shallman, Jourdan Lewis, David Dawson, Chris Fox, Taco Charlton, Jake Butt, and Logan Tuley-Tillman. I no longer have the words to describe what went down—though the progressively more slap-happy tone of my posts as the weekend wore on serves this purpose well—so luckily other people wrote stuff, too.

Maize n Brew's Zach Travis discussed the implications of the weekend haul and compared it to Texas's ritual Junior Day bonanza:

That is eight four-star recruits all considered to be in the top-200 to Rivals.com, two linemen with a realistic chance of moving up to five-star range, and one of the best single day hauls outside of Texas's annual Junior Day Commitment Extravaganza.

Michigan, to my knowledge, has never had a six-commit day or an eight-commit weekend—at least in the documented internet recruiting era*—and Texas came up with exactly zero commits on their Junior Day this year. We need a new benchmark, though I think "That Weekend in February of 2012" is now it. Rivals.com's Mike Farrell utilizes the same comparison, mostly because there isn't anything else to equate this to:

"I've never seen anything like this—it's Texas territory," Farrell said in comparing U-M to the Longhorns, notorious for cleaning up early. "This is something new. It's pretty remarkable. I think they got the right guys on campus and that they really know the kids they are recruiting. They've got a good feel for kids who might be ready to pop - that said, they still did a good job to actually get them to jump on board.

"Got the right guys on campus" is probably in reference to Hoke, Mattison, et al, but it could just as easily refer to Shane Morris, whose role as a recruiter is clearly having a huge affect. Morris was the subject of an Angelique Chengelis profile today centering around his efforts as a pitchman:

The affable, congenial Morris has taken hold of the social media and works Twitter and Facebook, sending messages to potential future Wolverines. He makes calls, sends texts and emails, helping to secure commitments from the best high school players with whom he'll be teammates at Michigan.

"Oh, definitely. Hope so," Morris said enthusiastically when asked if he has impacted the Wolverines' recruiting. "I'm definitely recruiting all the time. We want to win national championships at Michigan and we're going to need the best players in the nation to do that."

Anyone who is on Twitter is likely aware of Morris's dogged recruiting efforts, and Taco Charlton took to the social media platform last night to relay his story of how he came to commit:

I'll give Farrell the last word from an article hyping up the upcoming recruiting battles between Michigan and Ohio State, who all of a sudden find themselves playing catch-up despite having a five-star and three four-stars in the fold (the rest of the B1G—four total commits, period):

"Urban Meyer's the Axl Rose of recruiting," Farrell said. "He's the rock star. Brady Hoke is not out there like that. He's not the same type of guy. He's an old-school, shoot-it-straight guy. But he's obviously getting the job done at an equal level. With these two, recruiting will be fun because they're unlike each other. That's going to make things very interesting. They each have different approaches to things. It's going to be a great battle.''

Let's hope Florida was Meyer's Appetite for Destruction, and we'll now spend a decade waiting for Chinese Democracy before realizing we don't care anymore. Alright, there's no way that's how things will turn out, but one can hope.

-----------------
*The six listed by Rivals for one day in 2003 did not actually happen that way; I think they were just catching up and didn't specify the exact dates. Seth, who probably summed up my weekend better than anyone, has the correct listing.

Hoke Never Sleeps, 'Cause Sleep is the Cousin of Death

The fallout from this weekend spills over into a second section because it deserves as much. Steve Wiltfong caught up with both Kyle Bosch and David Dawson in the aftermath of their commitments to get their thoughts on why they committed, and both are well worth a read. Here's Bosch, who had this gem [emphasis mine]:

At the beginning of the day, I started to hint that I was going to commit. I told Coach Borges maybe next month I could see myself commit. Then the director of player personnel Coach Singletary came over to me and I said maybe next week. I then went in the bathroom and talked to my mom on the phone and we talked about it, Michigan State and Stanford. It came down to academics. I have a ton of respect for Michigan State and Stanford. I think they’re both outstanding schools, but it came down to academics. Michigan is the right place for me.

Those of you still smarting from Josh Garnett's decision to go to Stanford will find that especially cathartic. The only thing that could make that quote better would be if Jim Harbaugh was still coaching the Cardinal.

I guess I got the order wrong when putting up Dawson's and Lewis's commitment posts, because it sounds like the offensive lineman beat his teammate by a matter of seconds:

I talked to my mom about if Michigan offered me, would I commit on the spot. She was okay with it. She liked it for the academics, and the academics came before the football.

We were talking to Coach Hoke and he offered me. I looked at my mom and then looked at him and I told him I’d like to commit. He asked me if I was serious, and he jumped up and started yelling. He shook my hand and gave my mom a hug, gave me a hug. Everyone was screaming and it didn’t make it any better when J (Jourdan Lewis) walked in and said he was committing too. It was a great feeling yesterday.

Given Hoke's propensity for screaming and hugging when a recruit commits in person, I'm kindly requesting that the next player who plans on doing this records the whole thing on their smartphone. I imagine it's a sight to behold. Speaking of Hoke, he apparently doesn't sleep, because by the time Jake Butt committed on Sunday, he was in Florida schmoozing with some bigwig donors:

Before offering his pledge the Pickerington North star decided to travel home and mull things over just a little bit more, but that he was close to making his choice was likely evident to all. Even so, that didn’t stop his future coaches from reacting to the news like they had received the surprise of the year.

“I actually told Coach Hoke, Coach Borges, and Coach Ferrigno and they were all really excited," Butt stated.  “Coach Hoke was down in Florida talking to some boosters for the university, and he just let out a big scream when he heard it. (Laughter) They all said I made their night and they can’t be happier for me. This is really great.”

I wonder if Hoke had any voice left by the time Tuley-Tillman committed. Given that he can barely talk after games, I have to imagine the weekend was hell on his larynx.

Ethan Pocic—one of just two weekend visitors to not commit, along with Rod Crayton—reportedly enjoyed his visit and said Michigan "went up in [his] view." ($, info in header). There was a false Twitter report out there that he had named a top three that didn't include Michigan, but Pocic soundly denied doing so.

That wasn't all on the weekend, by the way. Michigan also managed to pick up a couple of preferred walk-on for 2012, both long-snappers. Saline's Taybor Pepper—the #7 long-snapper in the 2012 class on Chris Sailer Kicking—actually jumped the gun and committed on Thursday. Fenton's Tyler Tokarsky announced his commitment via Twitter yesterday. Both links contain video and more info on a couple of guys who will hopefully remain anonymous barring a Jareth Glanda moment.

Offers, More Offers, Visits, Lists, Etc.

Prepare for a massive bulleted list, as Michigan has sent out a ton of offers in the last week. These are in no particular order, just how my tabs happened to show up:

  • Dadeville (AL) DT Rod Crayton was offered a scholarship while on his Sunday visit to Ann Arbor ($). Crayton was very impressed by the fact that he would have three D-line coaches at Michigan.
  • Auburn (CA) Placer DT Eddie Vanderdoes ($, info in header), the #21 overall recruit in the country according to Rivals.
  • Petaluma (CA) Casa Grande ATH Elijah Qualls, who told aquaman he's being offered as a DE.
  • Wyomissing (PA) Area LB Alex Anzalone, a four-star on Rivals who also has offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and West Virginia.
  • Everett (MA) OL John Montelus, the #214 prospect on Rivals—I had a chance to catch up with him last week and he mentioned a desire to visit Michigan.
  • Moreno Valley (CA) Rancho Verde WR Damore'ea Stringfellow, the #107 player on Rivals, recently grabbed offers from Michigan, Arizona State, Nebraska, UCLA, and Washington State.
  • Santa Monica's Sebastian LaRue is another California wideout to grab an offer ($, info in header). He's the #141 overall player in the Rivals250.
  • Rancho Cucamonga (CA) DB Chris Hawkins told TomVH that a Wolverine offer was one he and his father were waiting on ($). Hawkins is the #159 prospect according to Rivals.
  • Washington DC Gonzaga ATH Devin Butler is a three-star on 24/7, and he told Clint Brewster he plans on visiting in the spring ($).
  • Dallas (TX) Kimball DT Justin Manning, the #89 player on Rivals, also picked up an offer ($, info in header).
  • Massillon (OH) Washington CB Gareon Conley is another in a long line of D-I prospects from one of Ohio's most storied high school programs. He told Scout that he grew up as a Michigan fan and was very excited by the offer ($).
  • A third Rivals250 WR from California, Oakley Freedom's Darrell Daniels, now has offers from Michigan, Colorado, UCLA, and Oregon State after a strong showing at the U.S. Army combine ($).
  • Tempe (AZ) Marcos De Niza CB Priest Willis is the #84 overall prospect on Rivals, and Michigan's offer gave him 16 total ($, info in header).
  • Los Angeles (CA) Loyola CB Cameron Walker is a four-star and the #214 prospect to 24/7, but Michigan became one of his first two offers along with, coincidentally, San Diego State ($).
  • Three-star Randolph (NJ) guard Brendan Mahon added offers from Michigan and Temple last week ($, info in header).
  • Belton (TX) TE Durham Smythe—who I posted an interview with this morning—got his Michigan offer last week, though it might be difficult to pull him from Texas.
  • Upland (CA) DE Joe Mathis, the #93 prospect on Rivals, got his Michigan offer last week.
  • The Wolverines also offered 2014 DT Andy Bauer, a big-time recruit from St. Louis (IL) De Smet who visited two weeks ago.

As you can see, the Wolverines are heavily targeting the top talent in California, a likely product of Brady Hoke's connections there from his time at San Diego State. That offer list is also littered with prospects from the Rivals250, as Michigan is able to focus on blue-chip players with a small class that's now already halfway full. We'll see how judicious they are with their offers moving forward; three players—Donovan Munger, De'Niro Laster, and Ross Douglas—visited on Monday and did not get offers extended. Tight end Jacob Matuska, who does hold an offer, also was on campus yesterday.

Several players have expressed interest in visiting lately, and a couple of them are quite noteworthy. Five-star CA S/LB Su'a Cravens told Scout that Michigan will get one of his five official visits, in large part due to his relationship with Hoke dating back to his days with the Aztecs ($, info in header). Two blue-chip prospects from Good Counsel in Maryland will visit for the April 14th spring game in five-star corner Kendall Fuller and four-star linebacker Dorian O'Daniel. Four-star WR Robert Foster has confirmed that he'll visit Michigan State next weekend, and it's a possibility that he'll swing by Ann Arbor as well. Richmond (VA) Hermitage RB Derrick Green, the #64 prospect on Rivals, will visit Ann Arbor this weekend ($, info in header).

Unfortunately, it can't all be sunshine and lollipops, as some players either named top groups that exluded Michigan or committed elsewhere. Five-star FL OT Laremy Tunsil named a top two of Florida and Georgia ($, info in header). Four-star VA DE Jonathan Allen named Alabama as his favorite after receiving an offer ($, info in header). Four-star VA safety Tim Harris named a top two of Virginia and Virginia Tech, though he expressed interest in visiting both Michigan and Ohio State ($, info in header). Louisville (KY) Trinity CB Ryan White named a top two of Louisville and Illinois, and his teammate, DE Jason Hatcher, has also expressed strong interest in the Cardinals.

We wish happy trails to four recruits: Dallas (TX) Jesuit WR Jake Oliver committed to Texas, while his teammate, OL J.J. Gustafson, committed to Texas A&M. Vorhees (NJ) Eastern CB Eli Woodard pledged to the Buckeyes. While he didn't hold an offer, Birmingham Brother Rice LB Johnny Reshke will likely be one the top 2013 prospects in the state, and he committed to MSU last week.

Quickly: Sam Webb profiles RB Deveon Smith—whose recruitment will likely come down to Michigan and Ohio State, and says it's "50-50" between the schools regarding his favorite right now—in his most recent DetNews column. Wiltfong recaps the Best of the Midwest combine, which featured five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith—the event's MVP—as well as linebacker Tim Kimbrough, defensive end Elijah Daniel, and several potential Michigan targets. Allen Trieu scouts last week's Elite Big Man Camp in Wixom—ND commit Steven Elmer, Cass Tech junior DT Kenton Gibbs, and 2014 Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell are mentioned as standouts ($).

Hello: Chris Fox

Hello: Chris Fox

Submitted by Ace on February 19th, 2012 at 1:15 PM

ALL OF THE PAIRS. ALL OF THE FOUR-STARS. ALL OF THE HELLO POSTS.

Sorry, the meth hasn't quite worn off yet. In the aftermath of Michigan's program-defining victory over Ohio State last night, the Wolverines picked up their fifth and sixth commitments of the day in Parker (CO) Ponderosa OT Chris Fox and Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton. Fox becomes the third offensive lineman to commit in the 2013 class; all did so yesterday, and all are four-star prospects. The explosion of commitments helped Fox come to his decision even though he wasn't on campus this weekend, according to Sam Webb:

“Honestly, it’s been Michigan pretty much the whole way,” said Fox. “I’m excited. Coach Funk was definitely excited.  I just called my grandma (who lives in Michigan) and she’s super excited about it too.”

That Fox joined the class this evening came as a bit of surprise since he wasn’t a part of the commitment frenzy on campus today.  But just because he wasn’t on the ground in Ann Arbor doesn’t mean he didn’t take notice.

“I saw that and I was just like, ‘dang, and I’ve known that’s where I wanted to go.’  I thought, ‘why not do it?’ “

Yes, Fox be like dang. Rest easy, Shane Morris; you're going to have more time in the pocket than you know what to do with.

chrisfox

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, NR OG 4* OT,
# 46 Ovr
4* OT, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 95, #8 OT,
#48 Ovr

Fox is a consensus four-star and a top-50 player to the two sites that have actually released extensive lists; he made the ESPN top-100 list as well and is one of a handful of players to get a rating from Scout. The general consensus is that he's one of the top linemen—and players—in the country. The four sites are split between him being 6'5" or 6'6", and all but Scout (285) agree that he weighs in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. Scout is the only site to list him as a guard, but Fox has the versatility to play either guard or tackle at the collegiate level.

Fox actually didn't play offensive line until the summer before his junior year, having been a standout defensive tackle for Ponderosa in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Right away, however, scouts took notice of his massive potential, as you can see from this Rivals article dating back to the summer he started playing offense ($):

...he's an athlete for a big man his age and his size--moves well, flexible, is a big time knee bender, and he is a mauler - loves contact - not afraid to mix it up but athletic enough to shut down Stephen Gibson when he tried some moves and speed rushes at CU's camp. Fox plays with a level of violence and passion you don't see very often in high school offensive linemen. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

Fox is one of those guys who just overwhelms defenders with his sheer size and power. His technique is very raw right now but that's to be expected since he never played offensive line until this summer. But that will improve, and watching him at the CU camp and at a Ponderosa practice he clearly learns quickly and is one of those kids who can pick something up the first time he tries it. Even with raw technique it is still clear that he uses his hands very well, and seems to have already become very good at one of the harder things to master as an offensive lineman - timing the initial punch with the hands.

The player William Gartner compares to Fox in the article? Jake Long. This is not done lightly, as Gartner worked with Long at a Michigan camp before Long's senior year of high school. When violence becomes beauty, Long is an apt comparison. By September of his junior year, Fox's game tape was already circulating among scouts, and he continued to impress ($):

Some are already calling Fox the top prospect in the state of Colorado for the 2013 class and while that might be a bit presumptuous, there is definitely a good chance he'll be among the best players just because of his dominance and versatility. Fox played on the defensive line during his freshman and sophomore seasons and now moved over to offense for his junior year and simply dominates with his power, drive and toughness.

Fox has since solidified himself as the top player in Colorado, and his effort and strength have been repeatedly praised. He also reportedly is still growing and has the room to pack on a lot of good weight, as you'll see in Tom Lemming's evaluation:

Has the length, long arms, and quick feet the college scouts love to see in a LT. Needs to get stronger in the lower body but has the frame to weigh 320 in college. Shows the grit and determination needed to play the LT position at the next level. Shows all the tools for future stardom.

It sounds like Fox should mature into a bona-fide tackle prospect, and I'm guessing Michigan sees much the same, as they've already taken two players—Kyle Bosch and David Dawson—who project best to the interior of the line. Fox's high school coach can't find a bad thing to say about him after his first year as an offensive lineman ($):

Ponderosa High School coach Randy Huff can't say enough good things about the star of his team, Christopher Fox.

"The thing that most people have told me that stands out the most is how physical he is," Huff said. "He really is trying to destroy people when he hits them. He's not just a big body. He's a real football player for sure."

So Michigan just picked up a big (and still growing), versatile mauler in the mold of Jake Long, and he's only been playing on offense for a year-and-a-half. Yup, I'm totally okay with this pickup.

OFFERS

Fox chose Michigan over offers from Colorado, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State, Mizzou, Ohio State, and Purdue. Chew on that, bitter rivals.

STATS

No stats for O-linemen.

FAKE 40 TIME

24/7 lists a 5.50 40 time, which I'll give a two FAKEs out of five since he's an enormous offensive lineman.

VIDEO

There's no junior highlights of Fox available yet, so most of the available film is of him playing defense, though you get a couple snaps of him blocking in the following highlight reel:

You can get a good sense of his athleticism, strength, and general enjoyment of contact from that video. He's certainly not afraid to hit people. Hard.

[UPDATE: Thanks to user jbibiza for pointing out that Fox's junior offensive highlights are posted for free on Rivals.]

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Without any junior film available, I can't say with much specificity where I think Fox will end up, but given the above evaluations I expect he'll land at tackle. If Fox really is still growing at 6'6", 300 pounds, he seems like a perfect fit for either tackle spot, especially if Michigan is bringing in both Bosch and Dawson at guard.

Fox's potential is probably the most exciting thing about him; again, the guy didn't start playing on the offensive line until last summer and he's already a top-50 prospect in his class regardless of position. While there will likely be some kinks to work out with his technique, he appears to be a very quick study, and his ceiling is extremely high.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Just like that, Michigan goes from three commits and zero offensive lineman in the 2013 class to nine and three, respectively. As stated above, I think Bosch and Dawson are destined for guard while Fox projects to tackle, and I'd have to think with players like Ethan Pocic and Logan Tuley-Tillman still out there that the Wolverines will try to fit another tackle prospect into the class. The big question is whether or not they'll take five offensive linemen and grab a pure center, though they haven't offered one yet; it's possible they see Bosch or Dawson (more likely Dawson, IMO) filling that role, but somebody in this class needs to come in at center and stay there.

As for the rest of the class, Michigan has now filled nearly half of the 20-22 spots expected to be available by the end of the recruiting cycle. February isn't over. Just, um, wow.

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Jeremy Clark and Blake Bars

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Jeremy Clark and Blake Bars

Submitted by Tim on June 29th, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Jeremy Clark and Blake Bars Go Blue

A twin-bill of commitments started on Friday, as KY S Jeremy Clark committed to a greyshirt offer. The Hello: Jeremy Clark post may have been a shade on the pessimistic side (at the time, Rivals's database was apparently broken, so I wasn't aware he had Illinois and Cincinnati offers, which makes him significantly more attractive as an offer candidate), and that definitely changes my guess that other, more-immediate, offers might change his decision to accept a greyshirt. Still, other reports aren't exactly glowing. Magnus on Touch the Banner:

There's a very good chance that his body has matured throughout the offseason, and if he's done some work on his own in the film room, he might have improved some of his weaknesses, too. But from what I see here, he's slow to read plays, slow to react at times, takes questionable pursuit angles, doesn't have the greatest of playmaking abilities, doesn't hit hard with consistency (although there are a couple nice blows), and doesn't wrap up when he tackles.

College coaches have had a chance to see him in camp since then, so it's likely he's improved a lot if they were willing to offer. As a greyshirt, Clark is currently considered a 2013 commit, but could move into the class of 2012 pending the decision of OH S Jarrod Wilson.

TN OL Blake Bars became the second commit of the weekend, picking the Wolverines on Sunday night (Free Press commitment article, CBS Sports commitment article). GBMW on Blake's game:

He is an outstanding run blocker, one who can physically dominate his opponent. He shows the quick feet and flexibility to be solid in pass protection. Notice on the film his short, choppy, but controlled steps that sometimes (sometimes not) have a low base and good balance.

The Wolverine Blog:

He’s great at finishing blocks, working relentlessly to pile the poor sap lined up across from him into the ground, at least until the whistle blows. He has some of the niftiest footwork I’ve seen in a lineman Michigan’s recruited this year, outside of maybe Kyle Kalis. His feet are always in motion and allow him to move laterally, a great asset for any lineman at the next level.

For more on Bars, check out the Hello: Blake Bars post. I also managed to miss that Michigan picked up a preferred walk-on for the 2012 class in IL WR Bo Dever ($, info in header). If I can find enough info on him in the coming days, he may get the Hello post treatment.

Other Commits

Local fluff on MI OL commit Ben Braden and several of his high school teammates/coaches attenting Michigan's camp. Allen Trieu pegged him as a riser in the state of Michigan:

He dedicated himself in the weight room this offseason, adding good weight and getting up to 319-lbs. Even at that size, he was moving well enough to be considered a left tackle prospect. He's strong, technique is improving and he's more athletic than previously thought.

It's a good sign that Brady Hoke's staff has an eye for identifying talent earlier than most.

CA OL Erik Magnuson talked to the local news about why he picked Michigan:

OH DE Pharaoh Brown participated in a 7-on- of his own, where he impressed. Most interesting was a comment from Ohio Varsity:

Pharaoh Brown is listed as a defensive end but #Michigan ought to consider him as a wide receiver...he is very smooth.

There's video, so check it out for yourself. He certainly has good hands (and an ability to get up for the ball), but his athleticism - exceptional for a defensive end - may not be quite what you'd expect out of a bigtime wide receiver. There's also the small fact that he hasn't played wideout in high school yet, playing mostly QB last year.

Bob Lichtenfels gave 2013 QB Commit Shane Morris some love at the IMG 87-on-7 in Florida:

Share [sic] Morris is a winner, love the kids moxie at IMG Madden 7on7. Michigan is getting a good one...

Morris and 2012 MI RB Dennis Norfleet were named co-MVPs and their team won the Championship. MGoUser JakeinVeniceFL worked the event as an official, and was also impressed. Scout called Morris "nearly unstoppable" over the final two days of the tournament.

Michigan is CBS/Maxpreps's #2 recruiting class at this point (they were #1 last night, but a kicker pickup boosted Texas ahead), and 24/7 Sports's #2 linebacker recruiting class (not including Ojemudia, considered a defensive end) behind Alabama. The linebackers also get some love from ESPN.

Coming Soon?

OH S Jarrod Wilson has set his decision date: Next Friday at 2:30 PM. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State are his final three schools, and many analysts think the Wolverines are the favorite to land him.

OH OL Kyle Kalis thinks OH DE Chris Wormley is going to commit to Michigan, and the two were on campus together last weekend. Wormley has been talking about moving toward a decision for a long time, so a visit to campus could have helped push things forward.

Tom said not to expect a commitment from Kalis last weekend, so the lack of a pledge from the big man came as no surprise. He wants to visit Alabama and Miami (YTM) before making a decision. However, his decision could move up after a visit or two.

A source tells Bucknuts's Dave Biddle that Kalis and OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn will not end up at Ohio State:

These guys aren't just decommitting, they have written off going to OSU... Word going around at both St. Eds and GlenOak are that the Buckeyes have "no chance" at landing either of them.

He goes on to say that Dunn's decommitment is a long time coming, but Kalis not ending up in Columbus after his long, (excited, commit-y) commitment is a big change. As a counterpoint, Bill Greene now thinks Bri'onte Dunn will stick with Ohio State unless (until) the Buckeyes get hammered by the NCAA.

Etc.

Local fluff of epic proportions on IN QB Gunner Kiel. A lot of it is of the "hey, person who doesn't follow recruiting, the recruiting industry sucks" variety (with plenty of one sentence paragraphs), but there are some useful pieces of information included:

"(The decision) will probably be some time this month. I don't know a date. Whenever I feel it in my gut, I'm probably going to make that decision. I'll let my teammates, family and friends know. By then, I'm sure it will get out."

There are mentions of Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Indiana, but no Michigan. It seems like the Wolverines' ship has probably sailed for Kiel, though Tom Lemming is far higher on the Wolverines' chances, putting them in a top 3 with Alabama and Oklahoma.

MaxPreps picks up on the "Greg Garmon beat cancer" story (a couple months late, it would seem). The PA RB has narrowed his list to Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina, Iowa, and Pitt, according to the article. He recently picked up an Ohio State offer, so we'll see if that affects his recruitment.

OH RB/FB Alden Hill received a Michigan offer. He talked to Tom about which position the coaches want him to play:

They want me as an all purpose back, a full back and running back. Someone they don't have to change personnel if they switch plays out of the two back system. I'm definitely good with that role, it's good for competition.

That sounds to me like their first thought is FB, but he can also play tailback. Landing a combo back like Hill would give the coaching staff much more flexibility about taking another ball-carrier in the class, but it sounds like Michigan isn't in great position with Hill.

WA OL Zach Banner has set up his official Michigan visit for the Notre Dame game.

IL OL Jordan Diamond will play in a new All-Star game, the US Marine Bowl.

AZ OL Andrus Peat will probably include Notre Dame and Nebraska in his final five, meaning Michigan is fighting it out with a few other schools for one of the remaining three spots.

WA OL Josh Garnett is down to 11 schools, including Michigan. The Wolverines join Notre Dame, OKlahoma, Auburn, and Nebraska as the non-Pac-12 schools on his list.

Michigan is in the top six for MI DT Danny O'Brien ($, info in header). It'll be interesting to see how Michigan's DL recruiting plays out over the rest of the summer, with only a couple spots left.

PA DE Noah Spence will play in the Under Armour All-American Game. He'll take his time with a decision, but PSU seems to be atop his list.

Free Rivals article on OH S Bam Bradley, who doesn't mention Michigan. With the Wolverines' current DB and LB hauls, it's tough to see Bam ending up in this class.

Happy Trails

A lot of recruits with Michigan interest and/or offers that hadn't been mentioned much from a Michigan perspective lately made commitments to other schools:

In other Happy Trails news, MN OL Jonah Pirsig is deciding soon, and Michigan doesn't seem to be in the mix. With Michigan's recruiting class filling up fast, we should see a lot of recruits cutting the Wolverines from their lists in the near future.

2013

CO OL Chris Fox received an offer from Michigan. His highlight film.

Tom spoke with the father of MI OL Steven Elmer Jr. about his son's recruiting:

We have to have a great school first and foremost. He has a 4.3 GPA so we have to find him a good school, could be Ivy league, could be a place like Michigan. When he decides what he wants to study he'll look into that.

That certainly helps Michigan's case against presumed childhood favorite Michigan State (but not so much over Notre Dame, which has now offered him).

PA TE Adam Breneman, who holds a Michigan offer, is Notre Dame's #1 priority at the position in the 2013 class ($, info in header).

MI RB/DE Wyatt Shallman is "surrounded by Maize & Blue" ($, info in header).

Michigan leads for OH RB/S Dymonte Thomas, the subject of Sam Webb's latest Detroit News column. His coach on how he plays:

"I see him as a safety at the next level, but he could do about anything really. (During the spring) he ran a 4.57 electronic 40-yard dash at the Nike Combine in Pittsburgh, so that tells you about his speed. He is a very physical player and a leader on this team."

He also drops some hints that his cousin Bri'Onte Dunn (mentioned above) might be interested in Michigan if the Buckeyes are hit with a bowl ban.

OH LB Ben Gedeon is high on Michigan ($, info in header).