Tuesday Recruitin'

Tuesday Recruitin'

Submitted by Tim on August 18th, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Note: In an effort to remove the enormous and uninviting block of text from the top of the recruiting posts, I've excised the recruiting board update from the post itself. It can still be seen on the actual board.

Moved OH DT Terry Talbott and OH CB Terrence Talbott to committed.

Elsewhere in Committed Prospects...

averyhoops.jpgOH CB Commit Courtney Avery is already known as a multi-talented player: On top of being a defensive back, he's also a startlingly accurate quarterback for his Lexington team. Add a new segment to the resume, as he's also a very accomplished hoopster.

Avery, who originally planned to play football and basketball for Stanford, will focus solely on football at Michigan. Did another national championship leave him second-guessing the decision?

"I'm going to miss basketball, but I'm comfortable with the decision I've made," he said. "This was just a chance to go out and play one final time.

"We started a dynasty together and we wanted to finish it together."

The AAU national championship was his team's third in a row.

Devin Gardner is now a 5-star, and the #4 overall QB on Scout (moves that I predicted would happen, though perhaps not this early). He also passes William Gholston as the #1 in-state prospect.

Cornelius Jones leads Spartanburg to a 13-0 scrimmage victory.

Slightly Longer Shots

AZ S Marquis Flowers "knows two visits he plans to take" ($). Considering the article is written by a staffer from The Wolverine, we can assume that one of those two visits is to Ann Arbor.

Michigan is likely done recruiting running backs unless they can land an elite prospect (i.e. Eduardo Clements), but should they need a backup plan, FL RB Cassius McDowell is probably a good bet. A good friend and former teammate of Denard Robinson, he's the new leader of Deerfield Beach. Also interesting is the fact that the Bucks ran a Wing-T offense last year, but will transition to a spread in 2009. Great timing, guys.

OH S Latwan Anderson has West Virginia, Michigan State, and Georgia atop his list right now, with the Mountaineers leading the way. Michigan seems to have slipped out of his recruitment, though he plans to take his visits before deciding.

CA RB Anthony Barr, who had up to this point had only been on the periphery of Michigan recruiting attention, has included the Wolverines in his final five, along with USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal. He's a big dude at 6-4 and 223 lbs, so perhaps the Wolverines like his upside at linebacker? He won't decide until his football season is completed.

MD LB Josh Furman will definitely take a visit to Ann Arbor, along with planned visits to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl, which The Google Machine says takes place on December 19th.

One of the last remaining players interested in Michigan from the DeMatha contingent is S Lorenzo Waters. He includes Michigan in his top four, along with Maryland (the favorite), Miami (That Miami), and Wake Forest.

Other People's Money (and Four-Stars)

OH TE Alex Smith has been "committed" to Cincinnati since February, but the solidity of that commitment has not been constant over time. At this time, he is in an off-again phase with the Bearcats, and the Wolverines have an opening:

As positive as that experience was, it did not propel the Wolverines over a familiar hurdle of theirs when it comes to recruiting tight ends -- scheme.

Despite the assurances offered, Smith remained skeptical about how prevalent a role the tight end will play in Michigan's new offense...

Michigan's best chance at dispelling what it contends is a common misconception about how it uses tight ends will come on the field this fall. Getting Smith back on campus so he can witness the increased productivity of the current tight end tandem of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb will be a major priority. Smith plans to oblige the request, but he plans to do the same for a few other programs as well.

"In no order I'm liking UNC (prior visit), Michigan (prior visit), Wisconsin (prior visit), Miami, LSU and Kentucky (prior visit)," he reported. "Two or three (will receive visits), for sure. I don't know how many I need to take because after going places, I know what they have to offer and there's no real need to go back. I still want to (make a commitment) pretty early (in the season).

So, it looks like Cincinnati is basically out. As long as Michigan uses the tight end effectively this fall, the Wolverines are probably at the top of Smith's list. Smith is also quoted as saying that Michigan is his mom's #1 choice. HOWEVA, Michigan isn't in Smith's top list in this Kurelic article

When asked to name his top choices Smith said, "Cincinnati, then Wisconsin, then North Carolina, and Kentucky is in there too."

…though he does list Michigan first when asked what schools he'd like to visit in the near future.

In the Trenches

After the commitment of OH DT Terry Talbott, the need at this position is likely for one more high-level DT.

FL DT Louis Nix, a longtime commit to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, has opened his recruitment. He will officially visit Notre Dame, and will also consider Michigan along with Florida and Florida State.

There is some confusion over the official visits of PA DT Sharrif Floyd. Michigan fans are up in arms that Bill Kurelic wrote an article with Ann Arbor not among his destinations. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet, though, as he sounds less than definite in those plans (emphasis mine):

"I'm going to take all five official visits," Floyd said on Tuesday evening. "I'll probably visit Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida, something like that."

So, less than certain. He's also said in the past that he definitely will not take an official to Penn State, so this can all get quite confusing. For now, I'd say Michigan fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Floyd. Additional fluff on Floyd, noting that he'll play offensive guard this year, along with maybe a bit of linebacker(!).

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, though a top-5 list a couple weeks ago did not include Michigan, FL OL Torrian Wilson has narrowed his list to three, with Miami, Stanford and Michigan remaining. The Wolverines had been his favorite earlier, but Miami has come on strong, and will probably be the team to beat. And let's check out some video from SoFlaFootball, for good measure:

Torrian Wilson from SoFLAfootball.com on Vimeo.

christianpacescrimmage.jpg

Season preview fluff on OH OL Commit Christian Pace:

Christian Pace, a 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle, was first team All-SWC last year and will attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship in 2010.

He also plays defensive tackle. For the record, that's by far the tallest I've seen him listed (most reports say 6-2ish, though he's listed at 6-3 on the recruiting sites). Avon Lake also scrimmaged against Midview over the weekend (Friday to be precise), and posted a photo gallery on their website. The only good Pace photo from the gallery can be seen at right.

Wrapping up the OL talk is the official visit docket of one Seantrel Henderson. The top OL in the country will take official visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Florida, and Notre Dame. Michigan is absent, as you can see. Not that I think the Wolverines will be added, but I take this list with a grain of salt since it comes from the mouth of his father, not Seantrel himself. It also includes Notre Dame, while Henderson the younger has been adamant for some time that he's not interested in the Irish. Either way, MIchigan is likely no longer a player.

Etc.

Michigan still leads (still!) for PA teammates Brandon Ifill and Cullen Christian, though Ifill says Maryland is even with the Wolverines. Byrnes wideout Nick Jones wants to make an Ann Arbor visit. Michigan seems to be out of it for OH S Kurtis Drummond. MI DE CJ Olaniyan seems to really like... Oklahoma State?

Removed FL LB Christian Jones. Michigan is outside of his top 6 ($).

2011 Notes

FL RB Demetrius Hart confirms that Michigan is his only verbal offer so far, and though he seems to favor Michigan, he no longer plans to make an early decision. He will, however, try to enroll early at the school he ultimately chooses.

To go along with likwid's awesome 2011 in-state watchlist, Ohio State recruiting analyst Duane Long has released his initial Top 20 for Ohio.

FL QB Teddy Bridgewater doesn't really like calling the signals. Does that mean a move back to wideout for college? If so, Michigan interest might not be worthwhile.

Michigan Recruits: Movin' And Shakin'

Michigan Recruits: Movin' And Shakin'

Submitted by Tim on August 5th, 2009 at 3:15 PM

On Monday MGoBlog took a look at current commits unlikely to move up.

Rivals and Scout rankings are useful but imperfect, and early rankings are more imperfect still. Though Michigan freshman Taylor Lewan ended up a 4-star prospect to both major recruiting site, he entered his senior season virtually unknown. By the time final rankings had come out he was a four star well within everyone's top 150. 

The following players look to be this year's Lewan and have some upward mobility this fall. Not all will move up, of course, but look for one or two of the below players to gain a fourth star, or, in Devin Gardner's case, a fifth.

MI QB Devin Gardner

devin-gardner
  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating **** **** 150*
Ranking DT QB #2 QB #6  

Why Here? Devin has been compared to Terrelle Pryor and Vince Young, so it stands to reason that he is highly-ranked. He took his team to the state championship game (in which the Vikings lost to East Grand Rapids), and put together a solid junior campaign both on the ground and through the air.

All of the recruiting sites like Devin, but none of them love him yet. Barry Brunetti is listed ahead of him among dual-threats on Rivals, and Gardner is still chasing that elusive 5th star on Scout.

Prediction: This isn't much of a prediction. Multiple Rivals analysts have stated flat-out that Gardner will be their #1 dual threat QB and comfortably in the top 100 when they take the Elite 11 into consideration. He has shown off his athleticism—and willingness to compete—by attending various camps and combines in the summer before his senior season despite his early commitment to Michigan. He has shown potential greatness at QB, WR, and even defensive back(!); his versatility is not in question. He killed it at the Elite 11.

Unless he completely tanks this season, anything other than 5 stars will be a disappointment for Devin.

SC QB Cornelius Jones

  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating *** ** 77
Ranking DT QB #24 QB NR  

Why Here? Cornelius Jones's junior season didn't go well. He got exposure during it, playing highly-ranked teams within the state of South Carolina in every game, but his team wasn't good. The competition (like Byrnes, the home of Marcus Lattimore, Brandon Willis, et al, who Spartanburg played twice) was. Jones ended up throwing just 1 touchdown to 12 interceptions.

Michigan extended an informal offer last April and followed through with an official offer in January. He was among the first QBs that the Michigan coaching staff extended an offer to, so they think highly of him despite the inexperience. There's something there.

Prediction: Jones' polish-to-talent ratio is very low, and his learning curve may be quick. A player doesn't have offers in the summer before his junior season if he's not talented (especially when he didn't even play as a sophomore). He's done much better in summer 7-on-7 camps, leading Spartanburg to a tournament final against Byrnes amongst a crowded field of quality programs.

Even if he can't prove his worth as a QB, the recruiting services might rank him as an athlete. If he can have a decent enough year in his senior season, he could end up a fringe 4-star guy. At the very least he should pick up a third star from Scout and get bumped up a bit in the positional rankings.

One heartening item: his high school coaching staff will have a year under their belt coaching as well. Last year was their first in Spartanburg.

TX RB/Slot Tony Drake

Tony Drake
  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating *** ** 77
Ranking APB #16 RB NR  

Why Here? Drake is the sort of guy who can excel in the Rich Rodriguez offense, but isn't likely to be considered for a high ranking by the recruiting sites. He's a speedy little bastard who performs despite his diminutive stature, and probably wouldn't last long in the NFL.

Drake was productive as a receiver as a sophomore, but was relegated to a backup running back last year.

Prediction: He is at one of the right programs to have success at: Skyline routinely pumps out a talent, and is one of the most visible high school teams in the nation. The stage is set for Tony Drake to take a big leap forward.

Now he just has to perform. Being named second team all-district at WR as a sophomore proves he might have the skill to get it done. I was pretty dubious on Drake's ability to move up, but there is an the opportunity in front of him.

OH WR Jerald Robinson

  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating **** *** 77
Ranking WR #43 WR #68  

Why Here? Robinson hasn't gotten it done on the field yet. A bad QB situation may have played a role in that. He is also a multi-position player that nobody knows exactly where to place. Originally, most Michigan fans thought he would play safety. After an impressive camp performance, however, nobody knows quite where he will play. At the moment, it seems like he'll stay at wideout.

If the quarterback situation at Canton South doesn't get better, Robinson won't have a opportunity to produce. However, if it improves, he can move up with a much better year.

Prediction Sam Webb was really high on Robinson as the best wideout at Michigan's camp, which was also attended by the likes of Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson. That alone indicates that Robinson is an talent deserving of 4-star status.

With impressive performances this summer—and hopefully a better season as a senior—Robinson will have a shot at getting a fourth star on Scout, too.

OH WR DJ Williamson

  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating *** *** 77
Ranking WR NR WR #106  

Why Here? DJ Williamson is unknown. Though he has a highlight film on Scouting Ohio, the recruiting services either don't know much about him or didn't deem him worthy of even a 3-star ranking until recently. Williamson committed early and has not attended any camps, so his exposure is very low. Scout and Rivals both have him at three stars (finally), but he is way, way down on each of their wideout lists.

There is upside here: Williamson has decent size at 6-1 showed elite speed by winning the 100m dash in meet after meet on his way to the Ohio state title.

Prediction: If Warren finds a quarterback to get the ball to him, Williamson's size and speed alone should boost him up to a high 3-star. Four stars is doubtful for a guy who hasn't put in the time at combines and camps.

MI WR/TE Jeremy Jackson

FBH HUR V SAL 4 OF 8 EG
  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating *** *** 150*
Ranking WR NR WR #78  

Why Here? The son of a coach, Jackson got early offers from the likes of Florida and Texas before ending his recruitment early. He is a polished player as a coach's son. He had good, but not exceptional stats as a junior.

Players who have received lots of coaching in their careers but aren't dominant in high school, usually don't have the physical talents to be elite players. And with Huron moving to a veer option offense, Jackson may not have a lot of opportunity to prove that he deserves to be ranked among the top players in the nation.

Prediction You may be taken aback at first by the fact that Jackson is listed as a WR/TE. Sam Webb has been saying on the WTKA recruiting roundup for quite some time now that Jeremy is still growing, and currently looks more like a tight end than a wide receiver. With Michigan's new focus on athletic tight ends, they might encourage a further move in that direction. Jackson may have more upside there, and if the recruiting sites make this change in position, he could move up to a 4-star prospect.

[Editor's note: I would have slotted Jackson in the other group; he's polished and slow-ish, two things that don't often result in big senior-year moves. Also: high school to run a veer. To be fair, Tim's basing his assessment on Jackson as a tight end.]

OH DE/LB Antonio Kinard

  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating *** *** 77
Ranking LB NR DE #55  

Why Here? Kinard is the third in the trifecta of tweeners Michigan has committed on defense (the other two, Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz, were listed as “Stuck in Neutral”). He doesn't stand out on film more than most prospects, which leads to his 3-star ranking. And with two classmates a year older heading to Michigan, he probably got at his fair share of scouting.

But Kinard is athletic, as evidenced by his huge TD run in the game that I scouted with VB last year, and Duane Long also thinks he's got serious athletic ability.

Prediction: Kinard wasn't highly productive on a defense last year that featured current Michigan freshman Isaiah Bell roaming the secondary. You'd think that an imposing safety like Bell would give Kinard more opportunities to make plays, but he didn't. He has the athleticism, though, the potential for big time production is there.

Unlike Paskorz and Wilkins, I think Kinard is likely to stay at LB. Still, I think he'll be a low-4 or higher 3-star prospect. A big move is unlikely for a tweener.

OH CB Courtney Avery

courtney-avery-2
  Rivals Scout ESPN
Rating *** *** 73
Ranking DB NR CB #23  

Why Here? Avery, a star for Lexington High School for the last three years, is not underexposed. The problem is that he has starred as a diminutive quarterback. Avery only started playing on defense just this past year, but couldn't go full time since he was busy tearing up opposing defenses on the other side of the ball. Now that he knows where he’ll play in college, that might change.

If Avery was a couple inches taller. He could be a Troy Smith clone (not that Smith was a giant) and use his pinpoint accuracy and athleticism to direct Michigan's spread offense. Alas, he's not, so unless he's used for the occasional trick play on offense, he'll be a corner for GERG's defense.

Prediction  Avery has some of the best upside in Michigan's entire recruiting class so far. Local observer Duane Long thinks Michigan got "a steal." Avery is just one year into his new position, potentially still growing, and was deemed good enough by Michigan's coaches to receive an offer at camp after a week of personal observation. If he can take enough time off from blazing through opposing defenses, he should be able to move up in the rankings. Avery's a quintessential late mover.

Hello: Courtney Avery

Hello: Courtney Avery

Submitted by Brian on June 20th, 2009 at 7:02 PM

courtney-averyOH CB Courtney Avery, who had been committed to Stanford, picked up an offer after camping extensively at Michigan. And he's now committed($). Informative update coming.

GURU RATINGS & CHATTER

Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #23 CB NR 73, no position rating

Well, then. This is a huge disparity.

Avery's not too far away from a fourth star on Scout—four stars go to the top #18 CBs—and since the lists generally expand as evaluators get more data, he could move up. For comparison's sake, one-time Michigan lean Lo Wood is Scout's #41 corner.

On the other hand, Avery's not even rated by Rivals and ESPN loathes him; a 73 is basically "welcome to the MAC, kid". I'm not sure what they're getting at with their review:

Avery is an exceptional athlete that his only limited by his physical size. He is light weight but has very good speed and excellent quickness. … Has good hips and can turn and change direction without any loss of balance or control. Shows the ability to play man to man coverage as a corner and can run stride for stride with the wideout on the takeoff route. Closes quickly on the receiver when playing zone coverage.

He's not huge or anything, but even as listed at 5'9", 165 that's not unheard of for a cornerback. There have been message board natterings suggesting he's now 5'11", but… uh… no. They measured him not three months ago and declared him 5'9".

One possible source of the disagreement: Avery is a high school quarterback. He's actually been Lexington's starter since he was a freshman. Check it:

A starter at quarterback since his freshman year, Avery completed 73 percent of his passes during the regular season (122-for-166) for 2,095 yards, 21 touchdowns and one interception and was the Ohio Cardinal Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Dang. Too bad you're 5'9", kid. You might have been the teeniest starting QB ever:

"Courtney has been in the limelight for a long time -- he was our starting quarterback as a 14-year-old freshman --and to earn a scholarship offer from a program like Michigan, it's a great honor," Payne said. "Michigan had a transition year last year, but it is still a top 10 program nationally. They only recruit the cream of the crop."

Avery's also been Lexington's starter at point guard for about that long and was going to walk-on to the Cardinal basketball team. Anyway, all this means the majority of his focus in high school has been on quarterbacking, as we'll see when we get to his paltry defensive stats. Schools recruiting him are making projections. Michigan, having gotten an extended look at camp, is in a better position than anyone else to make that projection.

And at least some close observers of Ohio football think this isn't a MAC player at all. Duane Long, asked to comment on Michigan's offer to Avery by an Ohio State fan wondering about he and Swigert:

I think it is a great offer. I think Avery is a borderline Buckeye caliber recruit.

His coach:

"He had a phenomenal workout at Michigan, which is exactly what we expected of him," Payne said. "He was the top defensive back there and he performed as such."

(Swigert is a "reach" for both schools according to him, FWIW.)

OFFERS

Avery's recruitment came to a halt in late March, when he committed to Stanford. His other offers then were of the MAC variety, but Jeremy Crabtree said he was "on track to land several Big Ten offers this spring," which was obviously true. Since the commitment he picked up offers from Vanderbilt and Louisville, FWIW.

Ohio State was looking at him, too.

STATS

As mentioned, not much at corner:

He made 19 tackles and recovered a fumble from his cornerback spot and was a first team All-Ohioan.

That honor despite the lack of stats is good, right?

FAKE 40 TIME

Avery was timed at a 4.55 at the Scout Combine he attended, where he was in contention for MVP honors.

VIDEO

There's also Scouting Ohio video for you.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Yes, another three star and the attendant grumbling therein. You have to give the coaches some extra leeway with this one, though, as it is a camp offer based off a lot more than some game film. And given the strong position they're in with a couple of highly-regarded corners it's not like this is a flier.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan still needs cornerbacks, and in some quantity. Highly-rated PA CB Cullen Christian has maintained Michigan as his heavy leader for months now and should drop at some point over the next few months, and then there's Dior Mathis, Rashad Knight, and Travis Williams. I expect two, maybe three, additional corners.

SIDE NOTE

Dude:

"Michigan has great tradition. It's one of the best programs in the country and, academically, it ranks among the best in the country," said Avery, who carries a 3.7 grade point average and plans to study medicine. "Stanford has the best academics in the country and the football program is on the rise."

In addition to Stanford and Michigan, Avery plans to take official visits to Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Louisville. He won't rush his decision.

…this guy meant all the academics stuff everyone says.