Chris Clark Is A Wolverine

Chris Clark Is A Wolverine

Submitted by Brandon Brown on June 20th, 2014 at 2:17 AM

Thursday afternoon Michigan picked up a commitment from big time tight end prospect Chris Clark. Clark's recruitment has been a bit unorthodox but after his visit on Thursday, he knew that Michigan was the place for him.

"It's been crazy. As you know I've always liked Michigan a lot. Ever since they offered me back in January I've always thought of them as a school I could end up at," Clark said. "I mean it's Michigan and they are a school I liked a lot growing up so that was always in the back of my mind. Just the visit today, after I actually had really good visits at Ohio State and Michigan State, I was just hoping to see what it could really be like at Michigan. Honestly, if the visit didn't go how it went today, I was probably going to end up at Michigan State. Today just went so well. My mom and dad loved the coaches, as did I. I've known that for a while obviously, my relationship with them has been great for a long time, but today couldn't have went any better."

Clark's orginal plan was to commit at The Opening in a couple of weeks, but he just thought that he could serve a better purpose if he was comitted before he arrived in Oregon.

"Orginally I thought it would be cool to commit while I was there but I called the guys at The Opening and asked them if it was alright if I didn't and they said, 'Of course, it's your decision'." Clark explained. "I just want to get a head start on being able to recruit kids and these three weeks from now until The Opening a lot can happen for some of these recruits. I want to be able to let people know once I get out there that I'm committed to Michigan. In the most modest of ways I consider myself a pretty high-profile recruit, so other recruits might see that I'm committed and think about the opportunity to play with me and the other commits in our class. It's already a pretty stacked class."

Knowing that he can bring more talent into his class, Clark plans on putting a plan in place with the help of the coaches so he can maximize his abilities as a recruiter.

"I'm going to talk with the coaches and they are going to give me some guys to go after," Clark said. "I'm definitely going to talk to Damien Harris and try to get in his ear a little bit. I know he was once committed to Michigan and he's still considering them. I'd like to look at some wide receivers, maybe Miles Boykin. I would say maybe Justin Hilliard, but I'm not sure he's leaning toward Michigan or not but I'll definitely try. I'm going to talk to Coach Nussmeier and he's going to give me some names of kids so that's the plan." 

Recruits as highly touted as Clark all have dreams of playing in the NFL, but he knows that it's not realistic to bank on that alone. Life after football, specifically life after Michigan football, was something that he couldn't pass up.

"The things in place at Michigan for football players are amazing," Clark said. "I mean football is going to end at some point for everyone, some sooner than others, and playing in the NFL is such a small chance. Even if you make it, the average career doesn't last very long, maybe three years. Most people are done playing football in their mid-20's and you have to have a plan for something else. A lot of people go to college just to play football and don't really have a plan for afterwards. At Michigan they do a great job of having you set up after college and networking. They help you branch out and meet important people who can help you get into a great job. I mean I hope I get a chance to play in the NFL, but if I don't I know that Michigan will have me ready for life after football. I mean the combination of football and academics at Michigan, you just can't go wrong."

Michigan obviously won Clark over on his final visit, but is it for real? Perhaps the biggest concern surrounding Clark and his recruitment is the fact that he already committed and decommitted once from North Carolina. He also seems to fall in love after each visit to the point where a commitment seems possible. His explanation of all that should put Michigan fans at ease.

"When you look at recruiting, decommitting happens all the time. I'm not necessarily saying that it's the right thing to do, but when someone commits, later on sometimes it just doesn't feel right." Clark expressed. "I know because I've been there, but that's in the past for me. I'm very happy that it worked out like this and I ended up at Michigan. I'm sure people are going to be like, 'Well how is he not just going to do that again?' Well, I know now that I found the school that is right for me. I have now visited all of the schools that I'm interested in. There isn't another school out there that I'm interested in that I haven't seen. Michigan is the best school out of all of the schools that I really liked, that I was considering. Michigan's the spot, I'm not changing my mind. When I committed to UNC I hadn't visited Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State. Now that I've seen them all, Michigan is the spot for me."

Now that Michigan IS the spot for Clark, he already seems to understand exactly what that means. 

"I'm ready to win some championships and get Michigan back to the top," he said. "Especially starting to beat Ohio State, that's going to be big. I want to make sure that in my four years I don't lose to Ohio State once."

Everything that Clark said, he said with passion. He spoke about all of the things Brady Hoke preaches about when he talks about Michigan. Clark seems to understand the big picture at Michigan on and off the field. He also went on to speak about how close the recruits in his class already are as well, which is important for a small class. He said that Alex Malzone had been working on him for a while. Clark mentioned how close he already is with Grant Newsome. He's also already spent time with Tyree Kinnell at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge. Clark also spoke highly of Darrin Kirkland Jr. There's a chemistry building among this class which speaks to the character of each commit and the closeness that will hold the group together. Clark is definitely a big pickup for the class and provides some momentum moving into the rest of the summer as fall approaches.

Monday Recruitin' Prepares For Early Arrival

Monday Recruitin' Prepares For Early Arrival

Submitted by Ace on May 19th, 2014 at 2:26 PM


From Darrin Kirkland's junior highlights, which you should watch.

Four-star IN ILB Darrin Kirkland Jr. became Michigan's seventh 2015 commit, and second in the last week, when he made his pledge while visiting campus yesterday. You can find his Hello post here, and Brandon caught up with him for an interview posted this morning. A pleasant bit of news that didn't make either post appeared in a short piece in the Indy Star—Kirkland plans to enroll early:

"I feel good and my family is extremely proud," Kirkland said. "I can't wait to graduate and head over there in the winter time."

Kirkland plans to graduate in December and take part in Michigan's spring practice in 2015. Kirkland had 71 solo tackles, 40 assisted tackles and three sacks last season.

Even though there are plenty of inside linebackers on the roster in the classes ahead of him, making early PT something of a longshot, it never hurts to get a head start on navigating both the playbook and college life in general.

Trending Poorly

When we left off last week, Shaun Crawford had told the coaches of his plans to visit Notre Dame and Ohio State. Now we can add another school to that list:

Oy.

Possibly Related

Right on the heels of that Crawford news comes word that Michigan has offered another 2015 cornerback:

Ordway is a four-star and the #21-ranked cornerback in the class according to the 247 Composite, and his offer sheet—which includes Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, FSU, LSU, Notre Dame, OSU, Ole Miss, PSU, and Tennessee—is quite impressive.

Tennessee and Ole Miss are currently favored on the Crystal Ball. Given that list of interested parties, I'll believe Ordway has serious interest if, and only if, he makes it to campus.

Speaking of offers to highly sought prospects that probably won't come here, Michigan offered the nation's #10 WDE, Georgia prospect Arden Key, according to 247's Kipp Adams. Key's already named a powerhouse-laden top five:

Last week Key named a top 5, in order, of Oregon, Miami, LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

There's time for U-M to get involved, as Key plans to decide at the Army AA Bowl, but I'd put him in the same category as Ordway—until there's word of a visit, I wouldn't get too optimistic.

Rivals100 Updated

The 2015 Rivals100 got an update today, and it features a lone Michigan commit: Garrett Taylor, who took a slight dip from #41 to #48 overall, though he remains the #6 corner in their position rankings. A few of U-M's top targets were among the biggest movers, both good and bad:

  • FL RB Jacques Patrick jumped 26 spots to #18 overall and picked up a fifth star. He's now the second-ranked running back on the list, behind only Damien Harris (#4 overall). 
  • FL WR George Campbell lost his fifth star and tumbled 26 spots to #42 overall; Rivals cited continued concerns about his catching ability.
  • CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South moved up 40 spots to #35 overall after being "virtually unstoppable" at multiple camps this spring.
  • NC SDE Darien Roseboro, who recently named U-M to his top ten and may very well have the Wolverines out in front, moved down from #45 to #79. With Roseboro now weighing 283 pounds, Rivals pegs him as a tweener who may have to move inside.

Other prospects of interest include IL DT Terry Beckner Jr. (#32), OH OLB Justin Hilliard (#49), UT OLB Osa Masina (#58), MN DE Jashon Cornell (#76), and VA DE Clelin Ferrell (#77).

Etc.

Rivals named Tyree Kinnel as the #10 performer among defensive backs who participated in one of their camps, citing his ability to cover like a cornerback ($):

The 6-foot, 190-pound Kinnel is a safety prospect, but he was able to show off the coverage skills of a cornerback en route to winning MVP honors at RCS Columbus. Not surprising considering he is a safety, Kinnel was physical at the line of scrimmage and bumped wide receivers off their routes. He was also able to open his hips and run with them down the field. Kinnel is headed to Michigan, making a commitment to the Wolverines last summer.

IL DT Terry Beckner Jr. has been quiet on the recruiting trail—so far, the only visit he's made was to nearly Mizzou—but he told Tim Sullivan that he plans to visit a couple familiar schools ($):

"I'll go to camp June 1 at Ohio State," Beckner explained. I'm excited to get there.

"I haven't made it up to Michigan yet. I'm going to try to go there. Their coach was just at the school, I think coach Hecklinski. I really haven't had a chance to talk to him yet though."

We'll see here—the fact that the OSU date is set and the Michigan one isn't is of some concern.

Tip o' the cap to Rice for winning the recruiting game. Shut it down. We can all go home now.

Darrin Kirkland Jr. Is A Wolverine

Darrin Kirkland Jr. Is A Wolverine

Submitted by Brandon Brown on May 18th, 2014 at 8:06 PM

Darrin Kirkland 3

Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. told me on Thursday that there was no way he was going to commit while visiting Michigan this weekend. He said he wanted to stick to his decision date which was set for August. He also said that this weekend’s visit was just a small opportunity for his family to get a feel for what Michigan has to offer. Sunday morning he had one more thing to say and verbally pledged to the Wolverines.

Just getting onto campus I had that gut feeling. I just felt it when I looked at the Block M on the stadium. I knew I could not say no to this place.

Kirkland Jr. said that the visit was all he’d hoped for in regards to his parents and that the family atmosphere was exactly what he was looking for.

This visit was all about spending time with the staff and their families. I wanted to do that for my parents and myself to see how we all worked together. First we sat down with Coach Hoke and his wife and just talked for a while. Then we went to lunch with Coach Mattison and his wife and Coach Mallory and his son. When we got back Coach Mattison showed me exactly how they would like to use me in the defense. All of that was just great for me and my family. It was just a great fit for us.

The family fit was obviously there, but what about the schematic fit? Kirkland Jr. is prototypically built for the MIKE linebacker position but Coach Mattison told him that he has some other plans for him early on in his career.

I will eventually be groomed into being the MIKE backer of the defense but he said early in my career I will have the opportunity to earn a spot playing WILL and in specific blitzing positions.

Once Darrin decided in his mind that he could see himself playing for Coach Mattison and living in Ann Arbor, he actually had to say the words. Commitments happen in a lot of different ways, but Kirkland Jr.’s is surely one of a kind.

(Laughs) I called Coach Hoke but he was in church so him and his wife ran out of church and I told him that I’m committing. His wife actually screamed out loud in church about it. (Laughs) It was pretty crazy!

Kirkland Jr. is now a Michigan recruit and they have had a recent history of becoming recruiters themselves. Darrin knows that he now has a job to do well before he ever arrives on campus.

My job is to help recruit the best class in 2015. That’s my mission. I’m trying to bring guys in to help win a National Championship. Coach Mattison really wants Keisean Lucier-South and Darian Roseboro to be in front of me. I talked to Keisean a little bit today but I’ll be checking in with a lot more guys soon. I’d really like Miles Boykin and Brian Cole on board too, personally. You always need weapons on offense!

With a recruiting mentality in place, Kirkland Jr. must also focus on performance and preparation.

I’ll be hitting hitting up the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Detroit this summer, as well as the NFTC camp in Columbus. Most of all I’ll be getting ready for my senior season. We are trying to go out on top.

As for the Columbus mention, some people have voiced concerns about whether interest from the Buckeyes would cause Kirkland Jr. to develop wandering eyes. He had a clear message for those worried about him.

I’m 100% committed to the University of Michigan. I’m a Michigan man and I am true to my word. That is the type of person I am. GO BLUE!

Darrin Kirkland Jr. To Visit Michigan, Again

Darrin Kirkland Jr. To Visit Michigan, Again

Submitted by Brandon Brown on May 15th, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Darrin Kirkland 2

Darrin Kirkland Jr. has been a frequent visitor to Ann Arbor and this weekend he’ll stop by again as he announced on Twitter.

Michigan is solidly in Kirkland’s top ten and an overnight stay in Ann Arbor this weekend could put the Wolverines near or at the top of that list. Darrin’s mom and dad will accompany him on the trip but will stay in Toledo with family while he bunks up with Mike McCray on campus. His plans for the visit sound promising and Michigan is in good shape with him regardless of the specifics.

“I just want to spend some quality time on campus with the players and have my family get a good personal feel for Michigan,” he said. “Michigan has done well recruiting me. My relationship with Coach Mattison is one of my best.”

Kirkland Jr. will spend just Saturday night in Ann Arbor and while all things are trending in a positive direction he told me that a commitment will not happen. He will stick to his timeline of an August decision date but another positive experience on campus definitely helps Michigan’s cause as these types of visits work wonders with recruits.

21 Targets for 2015

21 Targets for 2015

Submitted by Brandon Brown on April 16th, 2014 at 9:37 AM

At the request of several readers, the list below is of prospects that could actually become a part of the 2015 class. Obviously anyone with an offer could potentially wind up on this list if a visit were to be set up, or the coaches decided to put some serious pressure on. But that list gets unwieldy; who wants to watch 100 guys of whom three will probably end up in Michigan's class.

The prospects below are those who've already demonstrated legitimate interest, be it by setting up visits, releasing top lists, or clear statements expressing a high level of interest in Michigan. Each of them will score between a 3 and a 5 on “The Vibe." I expect no more than 4 or 5 of them will end up in the class, but 20% > 3%.

I asked most of them directly if they belonged on a list of recruits that were seriously considering Michigan. In some cases the responses were more forward than I expected and that tells me that Michigan is in serious contention with some of them.

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Athlete (DB/WR)

Brian Cole – Heritage – Saginaw, MIBrian Cole

The battle for the top athlete in Michigan seems to be between Michigan and Michigan State. Cole has visited Michigan several times and has recently been visited by the coaching staff. Even though he’s an in-state recruit, he’ll be able to go anywhere he wants, and there's time yet for national programs to make their plays.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Defensive End

Jashon Cornell – Cretin Derham Hall – St. Paul, MN

Cornell will make his decision at the end of the summer on August 28 during his season opener. Cornell keeps to himself but a lot of people think thatJashon Cornell 2 Notre Dame may have an edge as many former athletes from his high school have wound up in South Bend. Cornell plans to take a west coast tour this summer to check out UCLA, USC, and Stanford. Michigan is in good shape but it’s going to be a battle for such a talent.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Keisean Lucier-South – Lutheran-Orange County – Orange, CAKeisean Lucier-South

KLS has not been shy about how much he likes Michigan but reeling in Cali-kids is always tough to do. He had good things to say about Michigan though. “Michigan is actually doing really good in recruiting me. They send me letters every day and I think I belong on their list of possible commitments.” KLS doesn’t have any Ann Arbor visit plans lined up yet and the logistics of being in California will prove difficult.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Clelin Ferrell – Benedictine – Richmond, VAClelin Ferrell

It’s being reported that Ferrell will be in Ann Arbor this weekend, which bodes well for his recruitment. Before I learned of his visit plans, I’m not sure I’d have put him on this list. Ferrell told me he is really looking forward to checking out Ann Arbor for the first time, but he’s not close to a commitment at this time.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Darian Roseboro – Lincolnton – Lincolnton, NCDarian Roseboro

Roseboro really likes what he knows about Michigan so far but said he can’t exactly rank them right now since he hasn’t visited yet. He plans to set up some visit arrangements soon and said that he definitely belongs on the “seriously interested” list.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Dre’Mont Jones – St. Ignatius – Cleveland, OH

Conidered an Ohio State lock, Jones recently told me that he is really feeling Michigan and that the Buckeyes aren’t a shoe-in after all. He admitted that OhioDre'Mont Jones State was his leader but the Michigan coaches are doing very well with him and aren’t out of it yet. Jones visited Ohio State this past week and many thought he’d commit while there. He did not which makes his comments about Michigan seem more genuine.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Joshua Alabi – Cass Technical – Detroit, MIJoshua Alabi

Alabi is another Cass Tech recruit so he’s always going to be a possibility. He told me that he is a realistic possibility for the class and even though he doesn’t have any immediate plans to visit soon, he’s trying to set them up with his parents.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Linebacker

Darrin Kirkland Jr. – Lawrence Central – Indianapolis, INDarrin Kirkland Jr.

Kirkland Jr. will announce his decision on May 30 and recently told me that Michigan will definitely make his Top 8. He also told me that he’d like to visit Michigan again before he makes his decision.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Asmar Bilal – Ben Davis – Indianapolis, INAsmar Bilal

Michigan offered Bilal and Kirkland both on the heels of a Josh Barajas surprise commitment to Penn State. Bilal loved his Michigan visit and says he’d like to return soon. He may also take an official visit to Ann Arbor before his commitment. Even though he doesn’t have any sort of order in his offer list, he did say that Michigan is “in his tops.”

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Justin Hilliard – St. Xavier – Cincinnati, OH

Hilliard is being pulled in a lot of different directions by some of the top programs in the country. 

Justin Hilliard

He has visited Michigan multiple times but the competition for his signature may be as stiff as any recruit on this list. He’s been rumored to be a Notre Dame lean, an Ohio State lean, and possibly an Alabama lean. Those three schools recruit as well as anyone in the country, but Michigan is putting in work as well.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Osa Masina – Brighton – Salt Lake City, UT

The state of Utah has sent a recruit to Michigan a couple of times in the pastOsa Masina few classes and that bodes well for the Wolverines as Masina has a connection with them. Osa says that he likes Michigan “A LOT” and while he has been to Michigan before, he doesn’t have any plans to return right now. He says they are definitely in the mix for him.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Joshua McMillon – Whitehaven – Memphis, TN

I didn’t think Michigan had much of a chance with McMillon but after he spent an entire weekend in Ann Arbor recently that’s clearly not the case.Joshua McMillon McMillon said that Michigan is definitely a contender for him and that he really enjoyed his visit. He’s in SEC country but Michigan has done well with him.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tyriq Thompson – Detroit Martin Luther King – Detroit, MI

A lot of people assume Michigan is the eventual spot for Thompson as he’s a legacy (father is mid-'90s safety Clarence) offer and an in-state kid with a still-growing offer list. Tyriq himself isn’t so quick to say that. “I can’t really say if Michigan has a good chance with me or not Tyriq Thompsonsince it’s going to be a while before I’m close to a decision. I’m just taking things slowly from here on out.” With the class projecting to contain about 12-15 members, Thompson may miss out on an opportunity to commit if he’s even considering that.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Offensive Tackle

Grant Newsome – The Lawrenceville School – Trenton, NJ

Michigan recently missed out on Jake Fruhmorgen and Sterling Jenkins has completelyGrant Newsome ruled them out as a possibility. That leaves Grant Newsome as the lone highly rated OT with serious Michigan interest. Newsome told me that he definitely belongs on Michigan’s list of highly interested prospects. “I’m only visiting the schools that I’m really interested in.” Newsome will visit Michigan this upcoming weekend, but he won’t make a decision until the summer.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Running Back

Damien Harris – Madison Southern – Berea, KY

I’m not sure much needs to be said here. Once a commit, now a highly covetedDamien Harris decommit. Harris is being vigorously pursued by Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, he still remains a top priority for the Michigan coaches. He and his mother both really like Michigan still but it will be a battle between the good guys, Ohio State, and Kentucky.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Jacques Patrick – Timber Creek – Orlando, FL

Patrick is one of the more sought after running backs in the class and while he is aJacque Patrick Florida recruit, he has roots in Michigan, making his interest in the Wolverines not seem so out of place. Patrick told me that he plans to visit this summer and is thinking about taking one of his five official visits to Ann Arbor this fall. He just barely makes this list as I think he ultimately stays in the sunshine state.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Mike Weber – Cass Technical – Detroit, MI

Once thought of as a written-off prospect, the hiring of Doug Nussmeier (and Damien Harris's decommit) rekindled the flames between Michigan and Weber. The stout running back has Mike Webervisited Michigan multiple times and has posted several Michigan-centric images on Twitter and Instagram. Michigan State and Ohio State are also heavily involved so when he commits it’ll either be cause for celebration or worry.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tight End

Chris Clark – Avon Old Farms – Avon, CTChris Clark

The recruitment of Chris Clark has been a roller coaster as he surprisingly committed to North Carolina about a month ago, and not so surprisingly decommitted just about a week ago. He plans to take several visits including Michigan this weekend. Clark has always spoken highly about the Wolverines and I think his visit to Ann Arbor this weekend could put Michigan squarely in the mix.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Hale Hentges – Helias – Jefferson City, MOHale Hentges 2

I asked Hentges straight up if Michigan was a school that actually had a chance with him and he said, “Yes I think so. I’m very interested in Michigan.” Hentges would like to commit before his senior season starts but says he doesn’t have a leader yet. He also says he’d like to visit Michigan again before he makes a decision.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – Canisius – Buffalo, NY

Everyone seems to think Wheatley Jr. is a Michigan lock anTyrone Wheatley Jr. 2d while he may wind up a Wolverine, TJ isn’t ready to call Michigan his leader. “Everyone still has a chance. My recruitment is very open.” Wheatley Jr. may be slow-playing his true intentions, or he may actually be interested in writing his own story that doesn’t involve following in his dad’s footsteps.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Wide Receiver

Juval Mollette – Randleman – Randleman, NC

Personally, I don’t think Michigan has a great chance with Mollette, but he did recentlyJuval Mollette include the Wolverines as part of his top 5. He hasn’t planned any sort of visit yet but Michigan is putting in the necessary effort to stay in his mind. “Yeah I think I should be on Michigan’s short list. I keep a good relationship with Coach Manning and them up there. They have a chance.” I’ve heard Clemson is an early favorite for Mollette and a recent visit to Death Valley proves his high level of interest.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

Monday Recruitin' Dons Wizard Hat

Monday Recruitin' Dons Wizard Hat

Submitted by Ace on April 7th, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Three New Offers

After seeing coveted four-star 2015 IN LB Josh Barajas make a surprise commitment to Penn State a couple weeks ago, Michigan didn't wait long to offer two more four-star Hoosier State linebackers: Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Asmar Bilal. Brandon has the full rundown on both of those offers, as well as a third that went out over the weekend to 2016 WI OT Ben Bredeson, who's expected to be one of the top-ranked linemen in his class.

While the recruitments of Bilal and (especially) Bredeson should take a while to play out, Kirkland plans to announce his decision on May 30th, and his top group is murky; Penn State and Tennessee appear to stand out along with Michigan among schools that have offered him, and his 247 predictions are all over the place. Kirkland told Brandon he may make another trip to Ann Arbor before his decision. If he does, I like Michigan's chances of landing him; if not, it's quite possible James Franklin continues to tear up the recruiting scene.

[Hit THE JUMP for visitor reactions from the spring game, updates on Sterling Jenkins and Kyonta Stallworth, and more.]

A Trio Of New Offers

A Trio Of New Offers

Submitted by Brandon Brown on April 7th, 2014 at 9:53 AM

The coaching staff was very busy this weekend with all of the spring game festivities, a list of tasks that included handing out three new offers. Asmar Bilal and Darrin Kirkland Jr. are both “heat-seeking missile-type” linebackers from Indiana. They both received offers on the heels of a Josh Barajas commitment to Penn State. The coaches also delivered an offer to 2016 prospect Ben Bredeson, a big-time offensive lineman from the land of cheese.

Name: Darrin Kirkland Jr.Darrin Kirkland Jr.
Position: Inside Linebacker
Ht/Wt: 6'2" / 225 lbs.
Location: Lawrence Central – Indianapolis, IN (2015)
Offers: Akron, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin
Rating: ★★★★ .9191 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #201 NAT / #6 ILB  (247 Composite)
FILM

Darrin Kirkland Jr. has unofficially visited Michigan multiple times and this weekend, while not on campus, he finally received an offer. On film Kirkland Jr. is a magnet to the football and gets to it in a hurry. He plays with high energy and athleticism as well as good fundamentals.

With the frequency that Kirkland has visited Michigan it’s clear he is fond of the Wolverines and he confirmed that to me.

Michigan is just a great school with great tradition. I’m going to be announcing my top 8 schools in the next couple of weeks and I think Michigan will definitely make that cut.

Once his top group is announce we won’t have to wait long to find out who his top school overall is.

I’m thinking about taking another unofficial visit to Michigan soon before I make my decision on May 30th.

When/if Kirkland Jr. takes another visit to Michigan I will catch up with him again to gauge where his interest level is as he nears a decision.

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THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

Kirkland wouldn’t come right out and say who his leader was but it very well could be Michigan. Without being able to nail that down for sure I’d say Michigan is solidly in a top 2-3. If he does take another trip to Ann Arbor between now and May 30 it would seem that Michigan has as good a chance as anyone to land him.

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Name: Asmar BilalAsmar Bilal
Position: Inside Linebacker
Ht/Wt: 6'3" / 205 lbs.
Location: Ben Davis – Indianapolis, IN (2015)
Offers: Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, NC State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
Rating: ★★★★ .9121 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #224 NAT / #7 ILB  (247 Composite)
FILM

Asmar Bilal visited Ann Arbor back in February and while he wasn’t on hand this weekend for the spring events he was still offered by the coaching staff. I asked him to recall his thoughts from his February visit now that he has an offer and could realistically consider Michigan. Bilal was very excited to receive the offer and Michigan seems to be in good shape with him right now.

I just remember how the stadium was so huge. Michigan has a great coaching staff too. I like how they really expressed how getting a degree at a place like Michigan is really significant. They talked about how it can set you up for life after college just in case I don’t play football beyond college.

The coaching staff has consistently been able to connect with recruits on a level beyond the football field. That sentiment was obviously true with Bilal as well, but he wasn’t ready to call Michigan a leader for him just yet.

I can’t exactly say Michigan is my leader. There’s a lot of great schools that have offered me. I’m going to take them all into consideration to see what best fits me. Michigan is in my top group but I haven’t really sorted them yet. For now I’ll just say that they’re up near the top.

Bilal said that he wasn’t planning on releasing any sort of top group anytime soon, but the fact that he says Michigan is at “the top” leads me to believe they’ll be a factor throughout. Bilal told me that he’d like to visit Michigan again whenever he can arrange it and also would like to take an official sometime during the fall.

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THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

Bilal does have a lot of solid offers but I do believe Michigan will be firmly in the mix for him. Notre Dame recruits Indianapolis well and his crystal ball currently predicts him to wind up in South Bend. A return unofficial visit along with an official visit during the season would be big for Michigan.

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Name: Ben BredesonBen Bredeson
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6'5" / 275 lbs.
Location: Arrowhead – Hartland, WI (2016)
Offers: Iowa State, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Rating: N/A
Ranking: N/A
FILM

The coaching staff doled out just the 16th offer for the 2016 class over the weekend, offering Ben Bredeson during his first visit to Ann Arbor. Bredeson, a Wisconsin native, has already reeled in an offer from the offensive linemen factory that is The University of Wisconsin.

I actually talked to Ben on Wednesday and he said he wasn’t really sure if Michigan was that interested in him or not. Clearly they are.

I talked to Coach Singletary and he told me that they wanted to get me out there as quickly as possible and I had this weekend free so I decided to head to Ann Arbor for the Spring Game. I’m not really sure if an offer is coming. I’d be happy if one did because Michigan is such a great school. I’m not necessarily expecting one though.

Obviously an offer did come and Bredeson was very happy about it.

Well I was really hoping it would happen. I talked to Coach Hoke in his offic for a while and he offered me while we were in there. It wasn’t a big dramatic thing. He was just very relaxed about it and told me that I had an offer to play at Michigan.

Being a Wisconsin native, it seems that the Badgers might be hard to beat out, which may be true, but Bredeson seems to have a genuine liking for Michigan as well.

I’m somewhat of  Badger fan, I mean yeah I grew up watching them my whole life. I’ve always had a great respect for Michigan though. I’ve always like them too so I have a very high interest level in them. I don’t have a leader right now but Michigan is definitely up there. The visit was cool and the stadium was unbelievable. I also like the way that the coaches were just so personable with everyone.

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THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

It’s really early for Bredeson and his offer total is low, but that’s not going to last long. He has a spectacular build already and could easily get to a healthy 315-320 at the next level. Being from Wisconsin it’s hard to see the Badgers not landing him but once his offer list swells anything becomes possible. Michigan is in on him early and by default is part of a top 4, but I think Michigan could stay in that “moderately interested” zone for a while until he takes some more visits and really starts focusing in on his recruitment. At that point it will depend on how aggressively Michigan pursues him and where his interests lie as he starts to form opinions on different schools.

Junior Day Visit Reactions

Junior Day Visit Reactions

Submitted by Brandon Brown on February 23rd, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Nuss and Harris

Damien Harris and Nussmeier, BFFForeverever!!!! [MFRHQ Facebook Group]

I plan to add to the few prospects that I didn’t hear back from yet, but I wanted to post the information that I did gather. Still waiting for responses from some of them; those will be added as they come in this evening.

2015 Commits

CB Shaun Crawford - It was great! We toured campus, ate together, and watched the game!

K Andrew David – It was awesome! I’ve never been to a basketball game there before but it was a crazy atmosphere! I couldn’t have picked a better first game though. I got to catch up with some of the other guys which was nice too. I talked with Jake Ryan and Dymonte Thomas who are close friends of mine. I was with Shaun Crawford and Tyree Kinnel most of the time. I was next to Thiyo Lukusa for a while during the game and he was enjoying it to say the least. (laughs) I talked to a couple of the 2016 guys. They seemed really enthusiastic with everything.

S Tyree Kinnel – It was great!

2015 Targets

ATH Brian Cole

LB Tyriq Thompson – It was nice, I had a good time. I got a chance to meet the entire staff for the first time. It was a laid back visit. I just sat back and enjoyed the game. Of course I like Michigan but I don't have a leader right now. I'll probably visit again when spring practices start. After that I want to focus on my senior season and my team before I even think about making a decision. No commitment plans or anything like that will happen until my senior season is over.

LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. – It was a great day and a great overall experience. I really hope they pull the trigger soon! The coaches and I did talk about an offer a little bit. They said that they would call me later this week. I could see myself as a Wolverine and if they offer I will strongly consider them.

LB Troy Henderson – It was amazing! From talking to the coaches, the game, meeting the other recruits, and seeing the facilities. I could definitely see myself rocking the Maize and Blue!

LB Asmar Bilal – It was good. Great tradition, winners, with nice facilities! The stadium was huge! Yeah, it was nice overall. The coaches didn’t mention an offer they just said they were going to keep in tough and that they brought me there for a reason. I could possibly see myself playing there.

RB Damien Harris

TE Austin Ervin – It was really good. I was able to see the practice field, walked onto the game field, interacted a lot with the coaches, and of course the basketball game was fun. Talking with the coaches was real casual. Coach Ferrigno wants me to come to camp this summer to see my blocking skills. He already likes how I can spread out, my athleticism, my hands, my ball skills, but he wants to see me block on the line.

TE David Edwards – It was great! It really stuck out to me that the coaches are extremely committed to making sure that you're set for life after football. Their athletic advisors set up a program and they have this huge networking. There was a lot of emphasis on education.

TE/OL Harrison Moon – Loved it! I had a great first visit! We didn’t talk about an offer but hopefully one will come through. I got to meet the coaches, see the facilities and the academic areas, eat, watch the basketball game and toured The Big House. The Big House was crazy! It was the coolest stadium I’ve ever seen. It’s a special place. If Michigan decides to offer me I’d still keep my options open because it’s early, but they are definitely a place of interest. I would really like to go back up there and just keep building the relationships. I think we will try to get back up there this spring or over the summer.

2016 Targets

ATH Daelin Hayes – The visit was great. (Daelin said he is waiting until tomorrow for other comments.)

OL Thiyo Lukusa – It was sweet, super fun! I decided to put my commitment on hold for now. I just have to be 100% sure. The visit and the activities were 1st class as always. I’m still all Michigan right now but I just want to enjoy my recruitment.
 
WR Desmond Fitzpatrick (via his father, Greg) –
It was a great visit! We took a tour that included the academic center, The Big House, the weight room, and we also met the entire staff. After all of that we attended the basketball game. We also spent time with the new offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier and spent a ton of 1-on-1 time with Coach Heck. An offer wasn’t specifically mentioned, but I feel as though Desmond is on the right track based on the growing relationship and the evaluation of his film. We never talk about potential offers. He knows that if he continues to get bigger and stronger, the offers will come. The coaches were shocked when they saw how much he’s grown since they last saw him. He measured in at 6’2” and 184 lbs. He’s working hard hitting the weights, running track, and playing 7 on 7. That’s the regimen for the next few months. We develop this work ethic now and it becomes second nature later.

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*Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Weber, Ray Buford Jr., and Kentrail Moran didn’t end up making the trip.

Michigan State Visitor List

Michigan State Visitor List

Submitted by Brandon Brown on February 21st, 2014 at 11:50 PM

This weekend’s basketball game has huge implications in the B1G standings and something like above would be marvelous. Taking advantage of the expectedly electred atmosphere in Crisler Arena, the coaches scheduled a junior day for the big game. A few younger prospects will also be on hand for the biggest recruiting event of the year thus far. I heard back from about 50 prospects and each one will be listed and labeled with information as I dig it up.

GOING

2015 Commits

CB Shaun Crawford
K Andrew David
S Tyree Kinnel

2015 Targets

ATH Brian Cole
CB Ray Buford Jr.
DE Dre’Mont Jones (maybe, basketball schedule may interfere)
LB Tyriq Thompson
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
LB Troy Henderson
LB Asmar Bilal
RB Damien Harris
RB Mike Weber
TE Austin Ervin
TE David Edwards
TE/OL Harrison Moon

2016 Targets

ATH Daelin Hayes
OL Thiyo Lukusa (commit watch)
RB Kentrail Moran
WR Desmond Fitzpatrick

NOT GOING

2015 Commits

OL Jon Runyan Jr. (will visit March 8 & 9)

2015 Targets

CB Garrett Taylor (will visit for a spring practice)
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
DE Darian Roseboro
DE Jake Pickard (will visit during the summer)
DE Josh Alabi
DE Jashon Cornell (visiting Ole Miss this weekend, no plans to visit at this time)
LB Josh Barajas (visited for Wisconsin game, may visit again for spring practice)
LB Jerome Baker (will visit for a spring practice)
LB Jake Cooper (has frequent contact with staff, no plans to visit at this time)
LB Justin Hilliard (would like to visit for a spring practice)
OL Drew Richmond (has no plans to visit at this time)
OL Sterling Jenkins (will visit for a spring practice)
OL Gabe Megginson (high interest, would like a Michigan offer)
OL Grant Newsome (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Nick Johns (will visit during his spring break)
QB Brandon Wimbush (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Ryan Willis (focusing more on schools that have offered, waiting on more interest)
QB Alex Malzone (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Riley Neal (not much contact since hiring of Nussmeier)
QB Jon Wassink (very interested, not much contact since hiring of Nussmeier)
RB Andrew Dowell (would like to visit for a spring practice)
S Omari Stringer (would like to visit for a spring practice)
TE Chris Clark (will visit March 22)
TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (will visit for a spring practice)
TE Austin Dorris (will visit March 1)
TE CJ Conrad (will visit for a spring practice)
TE Cole Chewins (has no plans to visit at this time)
WR David Dowell (would like to visit for a spring practice)

2015 Prospect Updates

2015 Prospect Updates

Submitted by Brandon Brown on January 27th, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Dramatization. The real song our coaches sing on road trips is ram-a-lamma-ding-dong. Insiders believe Nussmeier could be the tenor the staff has been lacking.

The Michigan coaches have been traveling all over the country checking in on commits, offerees, and targets in recent weeks. I have been reaching out to recruits for the past couple of days to see who has been visited or who still might be. I’m sure this list isn’t all-encompassing but I was able to get in touch with a lot of prospects from the 2015 class. I mean A LOT of prospects:

Athletes and Defensive Backs

ATH David Dowell & RB Andrew Dowell – Lakewood, OH/St. Edward – Teammates of Shaun Crawford, the Dowell brothers were visited by Coach Mattison in the early part of the week and he told them he’d like them to come up for a visit, but it’s not planned yet.

ATH Osa Masina – Salt Lake City, UT/Brighton – Masina wasn’t visited this time around but Coach Hoke and Coach Ferrigno did visit him back in mid-December. There aren’t a ton of reasons to stop in Utah so visits to Salt Lake City will probably be few and far between.

ATH Jerome Baker – Cleveland, OH/Benedictine – Baker holds a Michigan offer and was visited by Coach Mattison on Tuesday and says that he is feeling Michigan a lot.

cole
Cole could wind up the top-ranked player in the state. [Sam Webb]

ATH Brian Cole – Saginaw, MI – Heritage – Cole was visited by Coach Hoke earlier in the week.

CB Kei Beckham – Trotwood, OH/Trotwood-Madison – Coach Smith stopped by Trotwood-Madison on Friday but Beckham missed him due to his class schedule. TMHS is a frequent stop for the coaching staff so Beckham is confident he’ll see them again.

CB Marcus Lewis – Washington, DC/Gonzaga – One of four prospects to chat with Coach Mallory from Gonzaga. Lewis really liked Coach Mallory and plans to stay in close touch with him moving forward.

CB Iman Marshall – Long Beach, CA/Poly – Marshall’s father told me that a Michigan coach stopped in to see his son on Monday of last week, he was unsure of who it was but I’d guess Ferrigno.

[After the jump: look at the tags above. There's a lot.]