Sound Mind/Sound Body 2012: Interviews

Sound Mind/Sound Body 2012: Interviews Comment Count

Ace June 15th, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I may be on a plane, and technically on vacation, but that can't stop me from posting. Here's the second, and final, post on SMSB. I'll be back at the end of next week.

At Wednesday's Sound Mind/Sound Body camp in Southfield, I had the opportunity to catch up with 2013 commits Shane Morris, David Dawson, and Logan Tuley-Tillman. Subjects include their camp performances, the Michigan coaches, recruiting, and Terry Richardson's fitting reward for David Dawson after winning a rep in the one-on-ones.

SHANE MORRIS

ACE: You got a chance to get out there and throw a little bit. How'd you feel out there?

SHANE: It was good. Coming out here, doing some work with Coach Borges, having a good time, and I felt like I was doing pretty well, so I had a good day.

ACE: Coach Borges seemed to be watching you pretty closely. What's he telling you out there?

SHANE: Definitely. He's working on my footwork a little bit, making sure I get the ball out quicker, everything really. Everything that he's telling me I'll be taking home to work on, so I'm just having fun out there.

ACE: What are you trying to work on over the rest of the summer?

SHANE: I'm trying to work on being more consistent and also not throwing the ball hard all the time. I'm trying to work on polishing up everything because of the season, I've got to have a good season my senior season, we've got to make a run for the states, that's what we're trying to do.

ACE: I saw Jourdan Lewis out there taking some reps at wideout. I know the offensive coaches seem to like him out there. Do you like throwing to him?

SHANE: I love throwing to him. He's a receiver for our 7-on-7 team and he's my go-to guy if I need someone to throw it to. I saw the coaches are taking a look at him at receiver, so we'll see what happen with that. Coach Mattison, he's telling us to stay away from him...

ACE: Where do you want him?

SHANE: Wherever he helps the team.

ACE: Good answer. What's it like being out here and not only having the Michigan coaching staff here, but having guys from State, Ohio State... what's it like getting that level of instruction?

SHANE: Oh, I'm definitely taking a lot of instruction from the coaches, Michigan coaches, Michigan State coaches, Ohio coaches. It's an awesome experience for everyone out here and everyone's having a great time with it; it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get instruction from the best coaches in the nation. I'm just taking it in and having a good time with it, just soaking up the opportunity that I have.

ACE: With recruiting, who are you talking to these days, who are you trying to get to come to Michigan now?

SHANE: I'm been talking to Laquon [Treadwell], obviously, Derrick Green a little bit here and there,—I don't really know what's going on with him—Leon McQuay III, and that's about it right now.

ACE: Obviously you've got a bunch of commits here in the same place. How fun is it to continue forming your relationships with those guys?

SHANE: It's great. We're out here every weekend on this field practicing 7-on-7 with each other. We're having a great time building chemistry up. It's great being out here again and showing everyone a glimpse of the future.

DAVID DAWSON

ACE: Coming out here to the camp, how do you feel you did on the drills on the first day?

DAVID: I feel like I did great. I got a chance to work with Coach Funk. I lost, like, two reps against a speed-rusher and I got him back the next time I competed against him. I thought I did great.

ACE: The guy who beat you was woofing a little bit after that rep. Does that give you motivation when guys are talking like that after the play?

DAVID: Yeah, I hate guys that celebrate after the play like that. The guy was getting real loud; I hate that. If you make the play just go back to the huddle. When you celebrate it's just gonna make you lose the next rep.

ACE: Having the Michigan coaches here, having Coach Funk here watching you guys go through drills, what's he telling you about what to work on and what's it like having that level of instruction at a camp?

DAVID: I feels great to have all the coaches that are here, even the ones that aren't our position coaches. It just shows how much they want to see us work out and how much interest they have in us. Well, we committed, so I know they have a lot of interest but it's just a great feeling having them down there. Coach Funk, he said me and Logan did well. He did tell me, against a speed-rusher, not to kick so far out; that was the only bad criticism he had for me today, so I'm going to work on that and that's pretty much it.

ACE: You mentioned working next to Logan. What do you see in his game right now?

DAVID: He's a great player; big, strong, got good feet, aggressive. That sums him up right there.

ACE: What are you looking to improve in your game both for the rest of the camp and the rest of the summer?

DAVID: I don't think I'm doing the second part of the camp because I've got another big camp [the Rivals Five-Star Challenge] and I'm starting to get hurt, I messed up my quad already so I'm gonna leave that alone. For the rest of the summer I'm just gonna work on what my coaches are telling me to work on, and I do want to get a little better at run blocking, pass blocking, my whole game—picking up the blitz, reading linebackers, safeties. I just want to get better overall, that's pretty much it.

ACE: There's a lot of Cass Tech guys up here and a lot of Michigan commits up here. What's it like to get everybody up here? I know I saw Terry Richardson walking around earlier...

DAVID: Actually, it was Terry and Biggs [James Ross]. It feels great to have them up here. Cass Tech, I think we've got around 30, 40 guys up here, that feels great too. It just shows that we like to compete, come out and try to take over camps. I definitely like that Terry came out here because when I beat my man who was saying he was hungry, Terry actually gave me a rib for getting him, so I was happy he came out here.

LOGAN TULEY-TILLMAN

ACE: First of all, how do you feel you did in the drill portion?

LOGAN: Honestly, this is my first camp where I'm at 100%. I feel I showed pretty well. The defensive drill that we did, the one-on-ones with no pads on, I feel like we showed real good, me and my teammate out there [David Dawson].

ACE: You were working next to David a lot, obviously. How do you think he looks and what do you see in his game?

LOGAN: He's a hard-nosed road-grater that everybody needs; everybody in the country wants that [type of] guard. It's real nice to have him out here so we can line up against each other.

ACE: I know you were hurt earlier this summer and you've been working to cut weight recently. How are you feeling?

LOGAN: I'm actually down 13 pounds at about 312, so I feel great. I've been hooping, too, jumping a little bit higher, so that's always good.

ACE: And the shoulder is feeling good?

LOGAN: Yeah. I did a lot of good work with my trainer, a lot of stretches and stuff that really got me back.

ACE: You said you dropped almost 15 pounds. What do you think is your ideal playing weight right now?

LOGAN: I'm probably about 312, and I'll probably just stay at this or see whatever the summer does to me and end up at that. The reality is I'm going to grow about two more inches so I can probably add ten more pounds of pure muscle.

ACE: I saw you talking to Coach Funk a lot. What is he telling you about technique?

LOGAN: He was telling me how happy he was with the improvements I've been making and how it's really starting to come together for me. He said he's real proud and I'm going to be a great player for him, which is a real honor to hear from a coach of his stature.

ACE: Looking ahead to the rest of the camp and the rest of the summer, what are you trying to work on in your game?

LOGAN: The game this summer is just getting bigger, faster, and stronger, become a better O-lineman. I've got to pick [whether to do] The Opening or Team USA, I got invited to that, so I've got to decide.

ACE: Are you leaning one way or the other right now?

LOGAN: I honestly don't know.

ACE: Obviously there's a lot of other commits here and a couple of 2012 guys as well. What's it like getting everyone together in one place?

LOGAN: It's real fun to see everybody out here. There's a 2014 D-end here too from Loyola High School or something like that [Malik McDowell]. I was trying to start talking to him, but I'll get at him later and get in his ear.

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Friday Recruitin' Clones RVB

Friday Recruitin' Clones RVB Comment Count

Brian June 15th, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Hey, kids. Ace is off for the next week and I return to recruiting roundup duties.

Henry%20Poggi%20photo%208-26-11_feature[1]ryan-van-bergen-post-osu_thumb[1]

hair: check

Poggi: I don't care that it's not pronounced like that, I'll get nostalgic for slammers anyway

I never played pogs so I may be off on the lingo. Anyway.

Anyway… MD DT Henry Poggi jumped on a Michigan offer recently, sending the usual folks to scouts to tell us what we've won. Mike Farrell makes it sound like we've won Ryan Van Bergen 2.0($):

There's not an ounce of baby fat left on him, and he's got a frame to hold 285 pounds without losing a step. The player Gilman assistant Henry Russell once said played with a "ridiculous" motor never came off the field between tight end and defensive tackle, but he never slowed down, either, "a tribute to his character." …

"Henry is athletic and quick, but he's very technically sound, too. He does a really good job with his arms and gets off the snap, doesn't lose balance. If you try to cut him or go low in traffic, he's very good at keeping his feet."

RVB barely came off the field in his last three years and always—always—kept his feet. Poggi is a bit shorter and may be more of a quick-twitch guy; otherwise that's a tight comparison.

I hear your Opening has an… opening

Nike's high-falutin' big time big timer camp with the artsy name continues to issue invitations to Michigan recruits. IL OL Kyle Bosch is the eighth Michigan commit to get a trip to Oregon paid for, joining Logan Tuley-Tillman, Shane Morris, David Dawson, Jourdan Lewis, Mike McCray, Taco Charlton, and Jake Butt. Serious targets Laquon Treadwell, Leon McQuay III, and Joe Mathis (hey, top three at this instant) are also scheduled to attend. That is a lot of names I would normally bold if they weren't crammed together so tightly.

I'll be most interested in how McCray, Butt, and LTT show up. By this point we know what Morris and Dawson and Lewis and Charlton are (probably) going to do; the previous three haven't been making as much noise on the camp scene or, in LTT's case, are working their way back into healthy shape.

Joe Mathis knows how to plan a visit

Tim Sullivan catches up with CA DE Joe Mathis, who backs off his stated top three of Washington, Nebraska, and Michigan a little bit in favor of a broader top ten, declares he'll officially visit Hawaii—a team not in his top ten—and says Michigan sees the 6'3", 245 pound end as (surprise!) a Baltimore Raven($):

"When they've talked to me, they want me to play like a Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens," he said. "That's kind of the defensive player they'd want me to be at Michigan, a standup defensive end."

That would make him a WDE, which is plausible. He also mentions probable officials to Arizona State and Michigan. If those come off like that you might begin to feel cautiously good about landing Mathis—an official to sort of stated leader but not other sort of stated leaders would seem to bode well. Except this is one of those shapeshifting recruits, so… yeah. In an article just a day later($), Mathis says he'll visit Michigan and Washington officially but isn't sure about going back to Nebraska because he was there for four days and thus risks death by boredom if he ever returns*. In an article a day after that one($), Mathis says he is "definitely" visiting Michigan for the OSU game—which is in Columbus—and may go to LSU for their game against Alabama.

Next week: Mathis declares Miami his leader and that he is a peanut butterfly.

*[this may not be an exact quote]

2014 Caremeter: incrementing

The pool of 2014 players who are not random names to be googled if they become relevant at a future date incremented by one after the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp when Cass Tech CB/WR Damon Webb picked up a Michigan offer. He joins DE Malik McDowell as an in-state kid with an offer widely regarded to be a Michigan lean; add in Todd Howard protégé Parrker Westphal—still not a typo—and those are your contenders for first 2014 commit. Ace covered Webb's impressive performance at the SMSB camp yesterday…

Webb turned heads a couple weeks ago when he blanketed Laquon Treadwell at the IMG 7-on-7 and he built on that with an MVP-worthy performance yesterday. Despite being a year younger, Webb has more bulk on his 5'11" frame than his teammate Jourdan Lewis, and like Lewis he's an outstanding athlete.

Also like Lewis, Webb can play either wide receiver or cornerback at the next level, though his size suggests that corner is his optimal position. He was fantastic playing corner in the one-on-one drills, staying step-for-step with Lewis—though Jourdan managed to bring in a diving catch—and 2013 Notre Dame commit James Onwualu, who was torching the less-heralded prospects. Webb faced Onwualu three times, and aside from slipping on a hitch route, he came out on top.

…and someone asked Allen Trieu for a instate top ten($) on the Scout message board that featured Webb #3 behind McDowell and Grand Rapids dual-sport star Drake Harris, who will play wideout if he picks football for college. Those three players were a cut above a trailing group of nine including all three Cass linebackers and yet another Bullough from Traverse City who will be an early commit to Michigan State. This one's named Byron.

Webb looks like he'll extend Cass Tech's streak of sending a corner recruit to a BCS school to a remarkable six straight years. They're even growing them a little bigger these days.

As for where Webb might end up

“It would play a factor,” he explained. “I’d be comfortable there. I’d know that. And that’s a main factor - feeling comfortable.”

“I’m looking for comfortablity in a college and I would like my parents to come see me and play. That’s a big factor too. If I’m comfortable there, and then the education – if they have my major and what I plan to study.”

…Michigan's in decent shape.

As for McDowell, Matt Pargoff caught up with him. He's playing it cool these days:

“I went for the spring game … Michigan was real fun. All the coaches had their attention on me. I got to talk to all the coaches besides Brady Hoke. He was stuck talking to reporters.

“It was real fun. The crowd was real hyped. It wasn’t as big as a normal Big House game, but it was still fun.”

He says a decision won't come until he's in the midst of his senior year. I bet that timeline changes.

Elsewhere in 2014 recruits to maybe care about some, early five-star OL Damian Prince tells 247 he's "really interested($)" in Michigan and Tremendous catches up with FL OL Mason Cole, who claims offers from M, OSU, and Florida amongst others. Cole moved from Chicago when he was eight and still has a ton of family in the area; he's also planning a visit in early August. He'll be one to keep an eye on.

Other SMSB Takes

You've read Ace's take on things from the camp unless you're a bad person. Others are also saying things about activities. 247's Clint Brewster($) on Shane Morris's showing:

Morris dropped-jaws with his impeccable footwork and ultra-quick release. Morris is so smooth and sound in his mechanics and can effortlessly fire the ball down field with just a quick flick of his wrist. Morris has also bulked up to over 200 pounds of solid muscle. The future couldn’t look any brighter for Michigan with Morris under center.

I'll take it. The rest of the article continues in that vein about Michigan recruits, though, so you may want to take that with a grain of salt.

Maize and Blue News has takes on the relevant folks in attendance, and the evaluations are on the more credible end of things. Pargoff's take on LTT:

OL Logan Tuley-Tillman – Peoria (Ill.)

Tuley-Tillman noted that he has lost a fair amount of weight recently, but still has some pounds to drop. The latter part of that statement was evident, though the improved conditioning appeared to help his game. He wasn’t as impressive as Dawson, but had a solid showing overall. There were some good reps and some not so good ones.

The biggest area for improvement right now remains conditioning. He has the feet and the athleticism to play at the Big Ten level, but he still needs to drop some fat and replace it with muscle.

Webb, Dawson, York, and Morris also feature.

Josh Helmholdt also breaks down the OL and DL. David Dawson:

Dawson only attended the first day of the camp, but was the standout of the offensive line group as he has been at several of the recent camps he has attended in the last few months. Physically, Dawson is starting to develop his upper body, which was an area that was lacking earlier in his career. His strength, as a result, has also improved and he is unbeatable once he locks on to defenders. Dawson always brings a passion to compete and shows good leadership skills as well.

Malik McDowell, meanwhile, arrived at the camp looking "noticeably thicker" and is now a strapping 280 pounds. LTT "did a good job handling a very capable group of speed rushers and was much lighter on his feet than his last performance."

Allen Trieu's defensive recap says McDowell was possibly the best player there despite being a rising junior($) and has the usual level of praise for Jourdan Lewis:

Michigan commit Jourdan Lewis again locked up nearly everyone he went up against. He has great feet, change of direction and excellent ball skills. His long arms allow him to play a little bigger than his listed size too.

OfficerBarbrady[1]Dukes Kerfuffle

OH WR Jaron Dukes is committed to Michigan, and Michigan is committed to him. This is news because one of the Ohio State insiders ("Nevadabuck," if you follow things closely enough to have heard of random internet insiders with occasionally-accurate information and a massively inflated view of themselves) claimed that Michigan was dropping the kid. A flurry of worried phone calls later and there's the usual array of clearing-the-air-type articles($).

Nothing to see here, etc. Michigan loves them some oversized WRs with large catching radii, and Dukes is that in spades.

Etc.

CA WR Darren Carrington, a new offeree from Hoke's old stomping grounds in San Diego, is tentatively planning on camping($). 2014 IL LB Clifton Garrett plans a visit to Michigan($) for the BBQ. GRIII's younger brother, 2014 IN LB Gelen Robinson, will attend Michigan's camp($). Here's an article on… guh… a class of 2015 QB from Canada. Already 6'5", though. 2014 OH QB DeShone Kizer on a recent Illinois offer($): ""Being from Ohio, I really don't know a lot about Illinois yet." Ouch.

Two OL Michigan would normally be in on but for having all the OL already: Cass Tech OL Dennis Finley has just blown up, getting offers from Wisconsin, MSU, and OSU after his SMSB showing, and Eleven Warriors talks with OH OL Matt Miller, the younger brother of center heir apparent Jack Miller, after his appearance at OSU's camp.

Happy trails to OH WR Kevin Gladney, who committed to Nebraska. VA RB Derrick Green keeps Michigan "in the mix($)" but it sounds grim at the moment.

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Sound Mind/Sound Body 2012: Recap

Sound Mind/Sound Body 2012: Recap Comment Count

Ace June 14th, 2012 at 1:33 PM


2013 OL commits Logan Tuley-Tillman (left) and David Dawson

Yesterday's Adidas Sound Mind/Sound Body camp at Southfield High School featured some of the Midwest's best talent, including five of Michigan's 2013 commits (actually, six, but Csont'e York showed up late and I didn't get a good look at him). It also provided a rare chance for players to get instructed by coaches from Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and several other schools; U-M, OSU, and MSU each sent their full staff, save Mark Dantonio, who had a speaking engagement.

This was my first camp experience, so I mostly focused on the Michigan commits; at these camps, there's so much going on that it's difficult to focus on more than a handful of players. Here are my impressions of the Wolverine commits as well as a couple other standouts:

SHANE MORRIS

I didn't spend a ton of time watching Morris in the passing drills, mostly because I was more focused on the receivers and defensive backs, but he was excellent as usual on Wednesday. Morris threw harder than anyone else there, displayed great accuracy, and could make all of the throws. He's also improved from what I saw of him last fall in terms of knowing when to change up speeds and when to just unleash.

As you can see above, Al Borges kept a very close eye on Morris. UAB head coach Garrick McGee was running quarterback drills, but Borges made it clear that he would be the one coaching Morris. As Brian pointed out in today's UV, the running theme of the camp was coaches in disbelief that this was all legal; it was, thanks to SMSB's status as a charitable event.

DAVID DAWSON

Dawson was easily the most impressive lineman present, both from a physical and technical standpoint. He looks like he's in the 280-290 pound range but doesn't appear to be carrying much bad weight at all. He shows an advanced understanding of technique for a high school player; Coach Funk was presiding over the offensive line drills, and when he needed to give an example of what he was looking for, he had Dawson give the demonstration. Dawson displayed very quick feet, shuffled well in pass protection while keeping a solid base, and showed a very strong initial punch.

In one-on-ones, Dawson excelled in a drill that gives a clear edge to the pass-rusher. He got great depth with his initial step and had three or four pancakes (not all of his reps are on my film above). When Dawson did get beat, it was usually when he let the defender get into his body instead of keeping the rusher at bay with his arm punch. The proverbial mean streak was also on full display. On one rep, Dawson got beat off the edge, and the defender went back to his side screaming "Let's go!" and "I'm hungry!"* Dawson didn't appreciate the woofing, asked for an immediate rematch, and buried the guy into the turf.

Dawson is expected to end up at guard in college and after seeing him yesterday I think that's the best place for him. While his strength allows him to dominate high school competition, he isn't the longest lineman out there, which makes it harder to keep edge-rushers at bay. As you can see above, when Dawson slid inside to take a rep at guard, he dispatched his man with ease.

LOGAN TULEY-TILLMAN

Tuley-Tillman didn't quite perform at Dawson's level but still showed off the potential that earned him an offer in the first place. When I talked to Logan, he told me he weighs about 315 pounds, a 15-pound drop from where he was at the Columbus NFTC last month. He's still carrying bad weight, however, and is going to have to turn a significant amount of fat into muscle before he's ready to play at the next level.

I was initially down on Tuley-Tillman when watching the one-on-ones, but after watching the tape he did better than I thought. When he gets his hands on a guy it's tough to escape and he finishes his blocks with authority. He did struggle some against the speed rush; Funk pulled LTT aside during drills to work on getting better depth in his drop when pass blocking, and there's still work to be done there. When he got his footwork right, defenders had little chance of getting past him.

Despite the technique issues, Tuley-Tillman has great feet; when he's coached up, he should have every opportunity to play tackle at the Big Ten level. He's definitely got some conditioning work to do, though it sounds like he's on the right track. Multiple experts who saw Tuley-Tillman in Columbus, where he reportedly struggled significantly, said his performance yesterday was a vast improvement.

JOURDAN LEWIS

Lewis continues to look impressive on both sides of the ball. While I thought he looked better at corner when playing for Cass Tech last fall, there may be a battle royale between the offensive and defensive coaches over where he'll play at Michigan; the offensive coaches have made it clear that they covet Lewis as a wide receiver. They'll have to fight Greg Mattison for him, however, and that may be a losing battle.

Lewis is never going to wow you from a purely physical standpoint—he's 5'11" and pretty skinny—but his athleticism is just a notch below elite. He showed off great closing speed at cornerback, though he sometimes relies too much on his ability to recover; he's not quite at his 2012 teammate Terry Richardson's level when it comes to staying in a receiver's hip pocket. His ball skills, however, are exemplary; he tracks the ball in the air extremely well and knows exactly when to go for the catch. If a quarterback threw a 50-50 ball in his direction, whether on offense or defense, he came down with it or at least broke up the pass.

At receiver, Lewis put those ball skills to good use, coming up with a couple of spectacular catches including one diving effort against 2014 Cass Tech teammate Damon Webb (much more on him below). I still like Lewis's upside more at corner, where his size plays better, but he's convinced me that he could contribute on either side of the ball at the next level.

KHALID HILL

Hill looked very good in the reps I saw him taking, running crisp routes and catching almost everything thrown his way, including the pass pictured above. He nearly pulled in a ridiculous one-hander early in the morning session, but couldn't quite haul it on; otherwise, any pass in his direction resulted in a catch. Hill isn't the fastest tight end out there, nor the biggest, but he finds a way to get space from defenders and then shield them off with his body.

Given that he's being recruited for a very specific, not-always-used position—H-back—he's got a more limited ceiling than most of the commits; at around 6'2", he doesn't have the size to play much on the line. That said, if he can run routes and catch like he did yesterday, he could be a solid piece to the offensive puzzle.

DAMON WEBB (2014)

Webb turned heads a couple weeks ago when he blanketed Laquon Treadwell at the IMG 7-on-7 and he built on that with an MVP-worthy performance yesterday. Despite being a year younger, Webb has more bulk on his 5'11" frame than his teammate Jourdan Lewis, and like Lewis he's an outstanding athlete.

Also like Lewis, Webb can play either wide receiver or cornerback at the next level, though his size suggests that corner is his optimal position. He was fantastic playing corner in the one-on-one drills, staying step-for-step with Lewis—though Jourdan managed to bring in a diving catch—and 2013 Notre Dame commit James Onwualu, who was torching the less-heralded prospects. Webb faced Onwualu three times, and aside from slipping on a hitch route, he came out on top. Webb doesn't rely as much on recovery speed as Lewis, instead playing a more physical style; he's not at all afraid to come up and jam the receiver, and he flips his hips well when transitioning from his backpedal.

Allen Trieu reported this afternoon that Webb earned a Michigan offer, which comes as little surprise after he performed so well in front of the entire staff. While they're targeting him as an athlete for now, I'm guessing he'll be the next in a long line of Cass Tech corners to play at the BCS level. The Wolverines appear to be his clear leader at the moment and there's a chance his recruitment wraps up early. He'll be in Ann Arbor next week for Michigan's camp.

------------------------
*"I'm hungry" guy was one of the highlights of the camp, as he repeatedly—and loudly—proclaimed his hunger after just about every rep. When Hoke spoke to the campers after the morning session, he singled the kid out for his enthusiasm, then had this exchange:

Hoke: "Did you have lunch yet?"
I'm Hungry Kid: "Yes, sir."
Hoke: "Well, I guess you're not hungry anymore."
------------------------

NOTES

  • 2014 MI DE Malik McDowell wasn't listed on the roster—he wasn't alone in that regard—and only took a couple reps in the morning, so I didn't get a chance to evaluate him. I did head over to where the linemen were gathered in the afternoon, however, and I can say he certainly passes the eye test. That is one huge rising junior.
  • Two other 2014 kids who caught my eye were Cass Tech linebackers William White and Gary Hosey, who both stood out physically among the linebackers. White appeared to have an inch or two on Hosey, but both looked solidly built with the frame to add more bulk. I was busy watching the linemen while they were going through drills, however, so I'll have to catch them play another time.
  • A friend who was helping instuct the linebackers at the camp raved about Michigan State linebacker commit Jon Reschke. I thought Reschke was a no-brainer four-star when I saw him play against Farmington Hills Harrison in the playoffs last year; State got a good one there.
  • Urban Meyer, from the morning presser: "The problem with intercollegiate athletics is that it's almost anti-student-athlete." All the coaches talked about how great it was to be able to instruct recruits at an event outside the usual team camps. There was also discussion about finding ways for recruits to be able to take visits to campus without the cost becoming prohibitive; there definitely seems to be support for summer official visits if the NCAA decides to look in that direction.
  • Yes, Brady Hoke uttered the words "Ohio" and "State" in succession during an impromptu on-field Q&A session with reporters. Yes, there was a subsequent race between the Michigan beat reporters to tweet that bit of news. I believe the winner was AnnArbor.com's Nick Baumgartner.
  • Terry Richardson, James Ross, and Oregon CB (and former Cass Tech Technician) Dior Mathis all were present. Richardson was walking around eating ribs while the Michigan coaches teased him about getting his weight up.
  • After watching them in a camp setting, it's very easy to see why Michigan's coaching staff has so much success both on the field and in recruiting. I kept forgetting to film the OL/DL one-on-ones because I was so intent on listening to Coach Funk give technique pointers to individual guys after their reps; I learned more about blocking technique in five minutes of standing near him than I have in the rest of my life put together. They're all great with the players, as well; you could tell the kids were hanging on every word of instruction.
  • Former Michigan lineman and current EMU OL coach Kurt Anderson, who was running drills with Funk: "You're protecting your family, your food, your quarterback." [via Mike Rothstein]

PHOTO GALLERY

Pictured coaches, in order of appearance, are UAB HC Garrick McGee, OSU HC Urban Meyer, MSU DC Pat Narduzzi, EMU HC Ron English, Hoke, Mattison, EMU's Mike Hart, Syracuse's Tyrone Wheatley, and Michigan's Darrell Funk and Jeff Hecklinski.

Jayru Campbell's hair did not disappoint:

Neither did Shane Morris's afternoon attire:

That's all for now. Interviews with Morris, Dawson, and Tuley-Tillman coming later this afternoon.

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Tuesday Recruitin' Throws Up The 'M'

Tuesday Recruitin' Throws Up The 'M' Comment Count

Ace May 8th, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the Elite 11 and NFTC camps in Columbus, Ty Isaac officially narrowing his field to three, new offers for 2013 and 2014, and more.

Commits Excel in Columbus


Shane Morris, equally adept at deep bombs and photobombs (via)

It was a busy weekend for Michigan commits, as Columbus hosted an Elite 11 regional on Friday followed by a Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday. Shane Morris bounced back from a lackluster performance in April's Dallas Elite 11 regional, taking home MVP honors in the Columbus edition and earning himself a spot in July's Elite 11 finals, which take place in Los Angeles. Morris beat out a field that included Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire, Ohio State commit Jalin Marshall (who will likely play receiver in college), Northwestern commit Matt Alviti, and Purdue commit Danny Etling. Here's 247's Barton Simmons on Morris's performance:

1. Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle – Good luck trying to pin a fear of competing on Shane Morris. Despite his lofty ranking and his early commitment to Michigan, Morris is at seemingly every event he can get to, eager to prove himself. On Friday he did just. He can put loads of velocity on the ball without digging deep, he showed great accuracy throughout the day and he has a smooth and natural composure in the pocket. Morris’ performance earned him an invite to the Elite 11 finals this summer.

Every Scout analyst on hand ranked Morris as the top performer, and they singled him out as "most accurate" as well. Rivals's Josh Helmholdt gave his take in the Freep:

“Over the past couple weeks Morris has been preparing to show he has more than just the big arm, and he proved that on Friday,” said Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Josh Helmholdt. “The opposite of overthrowing is trying to aim the ball, but Morris showed improved accuracy and spun the ball better while varying his speeds and trajectory.”

Michigan's star quarterback recruit wasn't the only commit to earn MVP honors over the weekend, however, as David Dawson (OL MVP) and Mike McCray (LB MVP) took home hardware from the NFTC. In fact, Michigan and Ohio State pledges dominated Saturday's event—of the seven players to earn invites to The Opening in Oregon, all were either future Wolverines (Dawson, McCray, Morris, and Taco Charlton) or Buckeyes (Marshall, Cam Burrows, and Billy Price).

Dawson in particular drew rave reviews, earning top weekend performer honors from 247's Simmons...

1. David Dawson, OL, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech – There were Michigan commits out in droves on Saturday, all wearing their Wolverine gear and waving the flag in Ohio State country but none represented quite as well as David Dawson.

A player with good length, Dawson showed good athleticism as an edge protector in one-on-ones but really separated himself with his finisher’s mentality. Dawson really fought to win his reps in one-on-ones and many of those reps he won with authority.

...and Rivals's Helmholdt ($):

Dawson capped off his MVP performance on Saturday by stoning defensive line MVP Billy Price in the final offensive line/defensive line one-on-one. Dawson has been dominant throughout the off-season, but this may have been his best performance to date. He was moving his feet better than in events past, and he channeled his mean streak well, even if he went past the whistle on a few plays. Dawson ended up with more pancakes than any other lineman we saw in the one-on-ones and physically manhandled the majority of defenders he faced.

Dawson also made Scout's Bob Lichtenfels's top ten list($) along with Morris. You can see footage of Dawson, Logan Tuley-Tillman, and Charlton from the one-on-one blocking drills below, courtesy of Rivals:

Dawson's mean streak is on full display, as is Charlton's speed, though he also gets stuffed on one rep when the speed rush doesn't work out. You may notice that Tuley-Tillman looks a little ponderous and out of shape—he's been battling a shoulder injury that's hampered his conditioning and essentially forced him to block with one arm, so don't get too concerned.

Helmholdt listed Charlton as his #5 lineman at the NFTC, saying "offensive linemen could not handle Charlton's speed, but he also surprised them with his strength, even knocking Kyle Meadows backward on one rep." Meanwhile, Tim Sullivan provides evaluations for Mike McCray ($)...

McCray's ability to cover running backs out of the backfield had previously been considered a question mark, but it's one that he answered emphatically on Saturday. He was able to go stride-for-stride with all but the quickest tailbacks there, and showed the ability to not only blanket a receiver, but make plays on the ball as well. In edge-rush drills, he showed the ability to overpower running backs and tight ends, but also a quickness to go around them that's uncommon in a player his size.

...and Khalid Hill:

Hill impressed again on Saturday, with more athleticism than he's given credit for at times, precise routes, and as always, very good hands. He developed a nice chemistry with some of the quarterbacks in attendance, and although tight ends didn't get the ball much, he made the most of the opportunities presented to him.

Overall, it was quite a weekend for the Wolverine contingent in Columbus; Morris may have locked down five-star status, while Dawson and Charlton look poised to move up when the recruiting services update their rankings.

Speaking of which, Scout unveiled their initial 2013 team rankings, and it comes as no surprise that Michigan holds down the top spot, the first time that a school other than Texas has ranked #1 in Scout's initial release. Ohio State is at #4, Notre Dame #5, Penn State #12, Nebraska #17, and Michigan State rounds out the list at #20.

Isaac Down to Three, More 2013 News

Josh Helmholdt caught up with IL RB Ty Isaac after his latest trip to USC, and while this has been presumed for a long time, Isaac has trimmed his list to three schools ($):

"Right now, it's Michigan, USC and Notre Dame," Isaac said. "Among that group some are ahead of others, but I think it's down to them. Hopefully I can get this thing knocked out soon.

"If all goes well and nothing else comes up, hopefully I can get this done before my season starts, whether that be soon or in August. If not, I've got until February 2nd. I don't see it going that long, but if circumstances warrant that then so be it."

In good news for Michigan fans, Isaac also mentioned that a pre-decision trip to Ann Arbor "could take place in the near future." Considering his statements above, it's logical to think that the Wolverines are still in a very strong position to land his commitment, with Notre Dame probably on the outside looking in right now.

CA S Su'a Cravens will announce his decision on June 6th, his mother's birthday, and according to Scout's Lindsay Thiry he's narrowed his choices to five schools ($): USC, UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Rivals's Adam Gorney reports, however, that while Cravens will take a trip to the Midwest before his decision, he will visit just two of those Big Ten schools, though he won't say which one is out of the running ($). Regardless, USC will be the team to beat, and I have a tough time seeing him go elsewhere.

The Wolverines continue to send out wide receiver offers, with the latest going to FL WR Alvin Bailey, the high school teammate of five-star safety Leon McQuay III. Bailey tells 247 that he's feeling the time crunch of the recruiting process, and while he hopes to visit Michigan he might not get the chance ($). He seems like a player who will stay in-state, though a four-star at a position of need—not to mention a teammate of an elite prospect—is certainly worth an offer.

Quickly: MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr. will take visits to Michigan and MSU in the near future, then make his decision before the start of his senior season ($). Happy trails to TX DE Christian Lacouture, who surprised many by committing to Nebraska on Saturday.

M Leading for McDowell? Plus More 2014 Offers

2014 MI DE Malik McDowell continues to rack up the offers, with his latest coming from Notre Dame, and he also impressed at the NFTC over the weekend. The Detroit Loyola product recently named a top five of Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, and Ohio State, but one school might stick out above the rest ($):

The recruiting process is just getting started for Detroit (Mich.) Loyola class of 2014 defensive end Malik McDowell, with Notre Dame becoming the latest school to offer this past Friday, but Michigan may have already established itself as the school to beat.

“You could say that,” McDowell said after participating in the Ohio Nike Football Training Camp Regional at Ohio Dominican University on Saturday.

I've been hearing the same myself, though McDowell still wants to take visits—especially to the SEC programs—before coming to any sort of decision.

Michigan continues to send out offers to elite rising juniors. TX S Edward Paris, the #10 overall prospect in 247's early rankings, picked up an offer over the weekend ($). He'll be tough to pull out of the South, but says he would like to come up for a game in the fall. DC CB D'Andre Payne already has Virginia as his leader, but Michigan—amongst several other schools—threw their hat into the ring last week ($). Finally, Tremendous reports AZ WR Dionte Sykes picked up a Michigan offer a couple of weeks ago, and he'd like to take an unofficial visit over the summer.

Comments

Friday Recruitin' is Creeped Out

Friday Recruitin' is Creeped Out Comment Count

Ace May 4th, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Today's recruiting roundup addresses some disturbing Twitter-related news, the recruitments of Ty Isaac and Henry Poggi, a pair of new 2013 offers, and a way-too-early top 25 for the class of 2014.

On Twitter and Recruits

Prepare to be creeped out:

Ohio State has learned that a convicted sex offender from Kentucky has made contact with Buckeyes student-athletes both in-person and through social media websites.

The Lantern obtained a Friday email that was sent from OSU athletic director for compliance Doug Archie informing Buckeye student-athletes that the university is aware of photographs OSU players have taken with Charles Eric Waugh, 31, a man listed on Kentucky’s sex offender registry, Archie said in the email.

"The University has become aware that an individual who is listed on Kentucky's sex offender registry has recently been seen in pictures with our student-athletes," Archie said in the mail, which was preceded by a warning text to student athletes.

Land-Grant Holyland has further details, including screencaps of Waugh tweeting inspirational quotes to Ohio State players and recruits and a photograph of him with 2013 recruits Alex Anzalone, Joey Bosa, and Mike Heuerman (above). Waugh is a registered sex offender—and currently on probation—because he was convicted in 2007 of "five counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by minors." As Land-Grant Holyland points out, Waugh could be in deep trouble, as the terms of his probation explicitly prohibit him from using any social media platform that allows access to minors, which is obviously the case with Twitter.

What strikes me most about the whole ordeal, however, is that several people—including a pair of current Buckeye players—came to Waugh's defense when he was called out by LGH on Twitter for sending quotes to underage kids and "pandering for [retweets]." This happened prior to the revelation that he was a sex offender, but I still find it deeply worrisome. One of the most prevalent arguments I see when people defend interacting with high school recruits through social media is that many of the recruits enjoy those interactions, so they're justified. I can't agree with that logic—there's a reason most high school kids can't vote, and it has to do with gaining a proper understanding of the world around them.

I'm not saying people shouldn't ever follow recruits; given the nature of my job, that would be hypocritical. I honestly don't see why people want to do so—the amount of relevant news gained is dwarfed in comparison to the sheer volume of high school drama, tweets with far too much information, and life musings of high schoolers—but that's your prerogative. When the line is crossed to interacting with recruits, however, it becomes a problem; even if you can't see an issue with chatting with a high school kid you don't know, there is the fact that NCAA violations are being committed at an alarming rate. I've had people ask me to tweet at recruits and encourage them to go to Michigan, which not only violates NCAA rules and the principles of journalistic integrity, but is also asking me to insert myself into a life decision for which I have no business giving input.

I realize that I'm speaking to a small fraction of the blog's readership, and also that there are a large number of fans who won't see this. But things will change soon—this isn't the first or last time that recruits will unwittingly interact with a sex offender, to put it bluntly—and I can't foresee fans having such unfettered access to recruits remaining the norm. Get ahead of the curve, remember that you're dealing with high school kids, and understand that it isn't your job to tell these young men what they should do with their lives. Brady Hoke will handle recruiting just fine without you.

(As for Facebook, by the way: don't. Just don't. Please don't make me list the reasons why you shouldn't "friend" recruits.)

Isaac Visiting USC, More 2013 News

IL RB Ty Isaac will take his second trip to USC this weekend, and according to Sam Webb he'll be accompanied by his mother ($). While I still think Michigan has the edge in his recruitment—his mother indicated that another visit to Ann Arbor is likely—this does signal that USC is a legitimate contender, perhaps moreso than Notre Dame. Isaac does ask that people not read too much into the trip, however:

“At this point (people) are going to find out (about the visit) anyway,” he said.  “They’re going to have writers out there that hear that I’m out there, and they’re going to write about it.  I can’t control that.  I knew I had it set up for about two weeks and I kind of didn’t want to say right when I knew because you know how some of these guys on the internet are.  They go crazy… like two visits means a commitment.  But it’s tough… you have to get out and see these places.  Just because it’s far away doesn’t mean it should be a one visit type deal. I’ve been a lot of places multiple times, so we’re just checking it out again.”

Please don't let Isaac doing his due diligence cause panic(!) in the comments. Also, as he has said in the past, Isaac plans to make his decision before the fall.

Rivals caught up with MD DT Henry Poggi after his visit to Alabama, and he played things close to the vest, abstaining from naming any leaders ($). He's working on setting his first visit to Penn State, however, and also is considering trips to Texas A&M and Cal. Given that he's taken three trips each to Michigan and Alabama, I wouldn't expect those schools to become a threat unless he takes return visits.

According to TomVH, Michigan sent out offers to two new prospects ($) this week in Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School of Nova South teammates WR Jordan Cunningham and DT Maquedius Bain. Cunningham is strangely listed at either 6'1" or 6'3" and makes the top 150 on both Rivals and ESPN, though he garners three-star ratings from Scout and 247. MAQUEDIUS BAIN (yes, he gets the all-caps treatment) is currently a Florida State commit, but he could possibly open up his recruitment; he's in the top 100 on both Scout and ESPN, but also has three stars on two sites.

Neither offer should come as a surprise considering Michigan's needs, especially with how things are trending at wide receiver. While things look good for Laquon Treadwell, there's still along way to go before he decides. Meanwhile, TX WR Eldridge Massington just committed to USC this afternoon ($, info in header). Fellow TX WR Marcell Ateman committed to Oklahoma State on Wednesday. NC WR Uriah LeMay cut his list down to ten ($), and it doesn't include the Wolverines. With two more receivers a near-necessity for rounding out the class, don't be surprised if Michigan goes hard after some new names on the recruiting trail.

Quickly: Sam Webb's DetNews feature this week is on CA ATH Elijah Qualls, who's trimmed down his current list to Washington, Oregon State, Arizona, Nebraska, California, Michigan, Iowa State and UCLA, though USC, Oklahoma, and Oregon could just into the mix if they offer. He's considering using an official visit to check out Ann Arbor. Michigan added a quarterback for the 2012 class, picking up Detroit Jesuit's Brian Cleary as a preferred walk-on.

Camps! Plus 2014 Updates

It's a big weekend for Michigan commits, as Columbus will host an Elite11 regional today then the Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday. Shane Morris will try to earn a spot in the Elite11 finals after failing to do so at the Dallas regional last month, though he'll face stiff competition from Stanford commit Ryan Burns (ESPN's #17 overall recruit) and others.

The NFTC will play host to commits Jourdan Lewis, Taco Charlton, Khalid Hill, David Dawson, and Mike McCray, who will attempt to raise their stock with strong camp performances. Scout's Allen Trieu has an extensive free preview; uncommitted recruits of note include Cass Tech DT Kenton Gibbs (no M offer), IN DT Darius Latham (offer), and a host of 2014 prospects, including MI WR Damon Webb, OH WR Thaddeus Snodgrass, MI LB Deon Drake, MI LB Gary Hosey, MI LB William White, and MI RB Lorenzo Collins. I know TomVH and Chantel Jennings will be there, as will the guys from Tremendous, so there will be no shortage of coverage on the event next week.

247 released a (very) early top 25 for the class of 2014, and several players holding Michigan offers made the list, including top overall prospect VA DT Da'Shawn Hand. Other offerees: NJ CB Jabrill Peppers (#3), MD OT Damian Prince (#13), NC OT Bentley Spain (#17), DC CB Jalen Tabor (#20), and MI DE Malik McDowell (#23). [EDIT: Tim Sullivan just posted over on The Fort (and said I could pass this along) that Peppers doesn't yet hold a Michigan offer, despite statements Peppers has made to the contrary. His coach confirms that Peppers doesn't have an offer at the moment.]

Peppers named a top six this week that includes Michigan, and he revealed to 247 that he grew up as a fan of the Wolverines ($). Joining the Wolverines are Stanford, USC, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, and Ohio State; Peppers said that Michigan will "definitely" be in his top five when he has one, and he's working on setting up an unofficial visit. Getting in early on Peppers would make for a fantastic start to the 2014 class.

Quickly: Kyle Turley and J.C. Shurburtt break down Logan Tuley Tillman's junior film—there's not much insight beyond what Turley wrote up last week, but it's interesting to see him go through tape. David Dawson is still getting visited by other schools, with Florida making a particularly strong push, though he remains committed and won't take visits elsewhere—he's well aware of Hoke's policy. Trieu breaks down the emerging 2014 prospects in the Midwest, including recently-offered Parrker Westphal.

Comments

Tuesday Recruiting Gets Chills, Camps, Runs Fast

Tuesday Recruiting Gets Chills, Camps, Runs Fast Comment Count

Brian April 10th, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Joe Mathis In Play

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comes with your choice of hairstyles. gotta catch 'em all!

CA DE Joe Mathis (not that Joe Mathis) has long been presumed a USC lean, but after his on-again-off-again unofficial to Michigan actually came off on Friday he's talking very highly about the Wolverines. He went so far as to name Michigan his leader:

With a day to sleep on it, Joe Mathis tells me Michigan is his leader following yesterday's visit. Currently hanging out Khalid Hill and David Dawson.

 Sam Webb [note all tweets have been translated from the twitterese as per usual]:

Joe Mathis said he got chills walking down the tunnel at Michigan Stadium yesterday. Mathis also said Michigan will be in his top 5 and he guaranteed an official visit to Ann Arbor in the fall.

Michigan OL commit David Dawson said he can't wait to get at Mathis on the field today, but will really recruit him off of it.

Mathis himself:

"It was beautiful. I really enjoyed myself since it was so nice," said Mathis. "I went down the tunnel (at the Big House) and got chills. It was crazy."

Though recruits typically are high on a school following a visit, there was no denying Mathis' enthusiasm for the program after getting to see it up close and personal. He did not commit over the weekend but certainly came close and had no trouble figuring out where the Wolverines fit into his list of top schools.

"I was going to (commit) but I said that would be selfish because I didn't see other schools," he said. "Michigan is number one on my list. I don't have a top five, it's Michigan and that's it. I did have a top five with USC but I was like, that's selfish of me because I didn't see other schools. Coming out here, my mom was saying it was going to be too cold out here but this is me. I love the coaches and this is me out here."

Mathis added that the visit was much better than recent unofficial trips to USC and UCLA as well.

DG Destroys has a little more detail on the board. There's also a Tremendous post with Mathis saying similarly encouraging things.

Usual disclaimers about a long way to go apply. Mathis might be one of those kids who gets excited about everybody—he's already committed to and decommitted from($) Washington. Mathis is likely to back off in a couple weeks when USC/whoever guys get ahold of him and maintain neutrality into the fall. He's already told GBW($) that he doesn't have a top five yet but that when he names one Michigan will be on it, which is a bit less thrilling.

If Mathis continues to state Michigan as his leader over the next month, that is legit and it's time to get excited. He would be an excellent pickup as an SDE/three-tech—Mattison told him he'd be Michigan's Terrell Suggs—and could help corral five star safety/athlete Su'a Cravens, his cousin. Mathis and Cravens have already announced they will take a joint official visit to Michigan this fall.

 

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Shane Morris and Jourdan Lewis via TomVH.

Lewis, Dawson Stock: Rising

Ann Arbor's Concordia College hosted the Adidas Invitational (formerly known as Best of the Midwest, FWIW) over the weekend. Every recruiting service was there, as were a ton of Michigan commits and targets: Shane Morris, David Dawson, Joe Mathis, Malik McDowell, Kyle Bosch (just observing), and a bunch of rising juniors trying to get pub for 2014.

Aside from the Mathis stuff, the most notable developments over the weekened were strong performances from MI OL commit David Dawson and MI CB commit Jourdan Lewis. Dawson impressed with his weight—he's down to a svelte 280—and strength:

Michigan Top247 commit David Dawson dominates Joe Mathis in tire tug a war. Strong legs. Powerful. Dawson proved it was no fluke dominating Mathis again.

Mathis got the better of Dawson in a 1 v 1 later, FWIW. Since he's ticketed for guard I'll take that tradeoff. BONUS DAWSON-MATHIS TUG OF WAR TANTALIZING TIDBIT:

Joe Mathis and David Dawson just did a tug of war that Dawson won. One of the kids here said "you're gonna be on the same team anyway"

That's from Allen Trieu.

Lewis was even more impressive on both sides of the ball, blanketing a couple of high level receivers—ND commit James Onwualu and Big Ten-bound Kevin Gladney most prominently—at cornerback while impressing at receiver himself. Bryan Fischer:

Detroit (Mich.) cornerback Jourdan Lewis was Morris' favorite target as the versatile athlete played running back, wide receiver and defensive back in an impressive showing. He showed enough to be one of the top offensive and defensive players after several nifty catches on both sides of the ball, including a very nice snag along the sidelines with a defender draped all over him while running a route.

When Onwualu managed to beat Lewis deep it was enough of a rarity to draw comment. That's a good weekend. Multiple observers named Lewis one of the top two performers at the camp along with IN LB Jaylon Smith, who Michigan is unfortunately going to have to face at either OSU or ND. Josh Helmholdt didn't do so explicitly but in Rivals' (free) recap of the Invitational it's again Smith and Lewis getting top billing.

Lewis seems in line for a bump to consensus-four-star territory. Dawson should maintain his current rankings, but it seems like recruiting sites are now looking at him as a guard. That will hamper moves further upward.

Malik McDowell Eager To Commit To… Someone

Everyone's after 2014 MI DE Malik McDowell early and for good reason: he is a 6'6", 260-275 pound monster with Michigan and Ohio State offers already and his plan is to make a decision during his junior year. Get to it or miss out. Here's McDowell talking to ESPN's Chantel Jennings:

I'm surprised they can get Jennings in the same frame with that guy.

Anyway, the key passage in that video comes after Jennings asks McDowell why he'd like to get the decision out of the way so early:

MCDOWELL: It's really my dad, he said that he can't commit until my junior year.

JENNINGS: If it was up to you, you'd commit earlier?

MCDOWELL: Yeah, to a school that I would really like to go to.

JENNINGS: Any idea what that school would be?

MCDOWELL: Um… no.

Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more. McDowell grew up a Michigan fan and an early decision usually goes in favor of the team he's most comfortable with. AFAIK he's only taken unofficials to Michigan so far. He does plan on taking in spring games at Michigan and Michigan State.

Miscellaneous Invitation Bits

MI QB Shane Morris showed up and was Shane Morris:

The 6-3, 190-pound lefty ... bounced back from an up-and-down performance at the Dallas Elite 11 tryout in a big way. His arm strength is well-known, but his accuracy was picture-perfect the entire afternoon, and he showed more ability to put touch on passes than he has at times in the past. Although it seems unlikely, Morris might have raised his stock even higher than it already was.

The accuracy issues that Morris dealt with at the Dallas Elite 11 camp did not recur.

The top 2013 sleeper($) to come out of the camp was OH LB Jerome Lane, a 6'3", 217 pound kid out of Akron who seems destined for outside linebacker in college. He clocked an impressive 4.47 and caught everyone's eye. He's planning to hit up a bunch of school camps over the summer and see what happens. If things fall through with EJ Levenberry (about whom more below) he could be a guy to keep an eye on.

Meanwhile, Dawson said he thought IL OL commit Logan Tuley-Tillman was a "done deal" to transfer to Cass Tech but Cass HC Thomas Wilcher threw cold water on that by saying he is "not optimistic." Cass is a magnet school but they can only recruit within the Detroit school system, so if Tuley-Tillman moves closer to Ann Arbor the Technicians won't be an option.

In news about uncommitted guys, Shane Morris said his "top recruiting priority" is IL RB Ty Isaac and "he thinks things are going well."

Morris and Dawson finished 1-2 on Helmholdt's list of top offensive performers($) at Adidas. 2015 Cass QB Jayru Campbell was 8th, "one of the most consistently accurate" passers on the day and better than 2014 Chance Stewart, 10th. Lewis is second on his defensive list with Mathis 4th, McDowell 5th, and Cass DT Kenton Gibbs 7th. Smith took top honors and a sleeper CB out of Fort Wayne named Tyvel Jemison was the interloper at third. Gibbs seems to be making a move($):

This was the best single performance we have seen from Gibbs in more than a half dozen times seeing him. The 6-3, 285-pound defensive tackle was quick and powerful in the one-on-ones and played with more discipline than we had seen from him in the past. He found it easy going in the one-on-ones, handing offensive lineman after offensive lineman defeats. Gibbs has always had the potential, and he now appears closer to realizing it.

He'll be the number one guy to watch for an offer at Michigan's summer camp.

And an important update on a 2015 recruit from TomVH($):

QB Jay'ru Campbell's hair is feathered and lethal.

Devon Allen: Fast

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Zoom! Note that he is finishing in front of a dude with dreadlocks.

AZ WR Devon Allen is a name that keeps popping up, and for good reason:

Devon Allen of Brophy College Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) is Superman.

What else can you call the junior who dazzled the standing room only crowd at the 45th Arcadia Invitational after he won a total of five gold medals — four in a four-hour span Saturday night?

All he did was set state records in winning the 110-meter high hurdles in 13.52 seconds and the 300-meter intermediates in 36.39, capture the 200 dash by the slimmest of margins at 21.10 — all this after warming up by running a leg on the Broncos' 4x100 relay team that clocked a glittering 41.15.

Those hurdles numbers are second nationally this year. The last guy to win three events at the Arcadia Invitational—described by ESPN as "the country's biggest in-season high school track meet"—was Xavier Carter, who you may remember as a five-star LSU recruit who ditched football to run track professionally. Devon Allen is fast.

Michigan has an offer out to him as a receiver. If he commits prepare for the perpetual, not-very-accurate Ed McCaffery comparisons.

Not In The Barn Yet

Michigan fans have been expecting a commit from EJ Levenberry for a while now, with his visit to this weekend's spring game the expected point in time. Get out your Lee Corso head because not so fast, my friend($):

Virginia linebacker E.J. Levenberry Jr. spent a week in Tallahassee to learn more about Florida State.

Even if that was a spring break diversion, I don't think I've ever heard of a week-long visit. In that article Levenberry says his time down there "helped FSU a lot" and that they're now tied with Michigan at the top of his leaderboard. That actually seems good since the full-court press with FSU couldn't vault them into the lead.

Levenberry's still coming up this weekend and has no set decision date. According to the article, it "may happen in the summer." If Levenberry escapes Ann Arbor without making a commitment it's time to consider him a guy who Michigan may get instead of will get.

Insider Bits

Ohio State is backing off PA WR Robert Foster, one of the top ten kids in the country, for off-field reasons. This should clear up why Michigan didn't so much as bat its eyes at a five star at a position of need inside the footprint. OSU insider types are also not very confident about their chances with MD DT Henry Poggi, which would leave Michigan alone atop his leaderboard if accurate.

Happy Trails

NJ DT Greg Webb commits to Penn State, another good get for BOB and another step away from the Ten Year War II meme—PSU is just about keeping pace with Michigan and OSU so far. That one hurts Michigan because he seemed like their best shot at a highly-rated NT. At least he went to PSU instead of OSU. Kenton Gibbs is happy with that development. He'll camp in an effort to get that NT scholarship.

2014 MO OL Andy Bauer is Michigan's first miss in that recruiting class. He's off the board to Missouri. I suspect Michigan will survive.

OH WR Kevin Gladney was calling Michigan a slight leader a month or so ago but omitted all mention of Michigan($) in a recent a interview with Trieu. He does mention visits to Nebraska and MSU plus interest in OSU despite a lack of interest. Writing is on the wall there.

Michigan was never after MI OL Cameron Dillard but since he just committed to Florida now seems like a good time to note that there must be a dearth of linemen in the South for Michigan to be going up against Alabama so often for their OL and for Florida(!) to offer MI OL/DL Poet Thomas before anyone other than EMU and pick up Dillard… who didn't even have an MSU offer. Instead MSU grabbed a guy from Texas. Very strange.

Dillard is the first Michigan player to leave the state for an SEC power without even token resistance from the in-state schools… ever? It might be ever. Certainly since I've been following recruiting.

Finally, DC CB Devin Butler committed to ND over PSU and M. I'm not sure Michigan has room (or need) for a third corner in the class anyway.

Etc.

Michigan offers HI DT Scott Pagano, who wants to decide by August 10th. That's a hell of an unofficial visit schedule if true.

OH WDE commit Taco Charlton, Mathis, and CA WR Demorea Stringfellow feature in a highlight package of NTFC camps to date. Stringfellow was named the top performer on offense at the LA Nike camp.

Ed-Ace: Michigan handed out two other offers recently. OH CB Ross Douglas, a Penn State commit who previously visited Ann Arbor without an offer, now has one in hand. With Butler and Tre Bell committing elsewhere, it's possible the Douglas offer is a sign that the coaches still want a third corner in the class if there's room. The coaches also offered 2014 NC OL Bentley Spain, joining North Carolina, N.C. State, and South Carolina.

Tom Lemming also released his initial 2013 top 100, and Magnus has the full breakdown over at TTB.

Comments

Chatting With David Dawson, Wolverine

Chatting With David Dawson, Wolverine Comment Count

Ace March 5th, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Cass Tech OL David Dawson is one in a long line of Technicians who have pledged to become Wolverines, including his junior teammate Jourdan Lewis. He's also one of five four-star offensive linemen in Michigan's 2013 class, with the versatility to play anywhere along the line. I got the chance to catch up with David yesterday to discuss his commitment, the Cass Tech pipeline, where he'll play as a freshman, and more:

ACE: What made you decide you wanted to commit?

DAVID: I committed because I had been up there three or four times before I had been offered. My mom liked the academics and I felt at home. That was about it. The coaches were down-to-earth, it wasn't like they were trying to be fake or anything. It helped that our cornerback [Jourdan "J.D." Lewis] committed, so that was good.

ACE: Having you and Jourdan commit seemingly within minutes of each other, how did that go down, and how did it play a factor in your decision?

DAVID: We were joking about it earlier that day, saying "do you want to commit?" Stuff like that. They pulled me into an office with Coach Hoke and I sat down and talked with him for about 5-10 minutes. He offered me and I told I want to commit, and then he hops up yelling and everything, Coach Jackson came in. We called [Jourdan's] name, and about a minute later they were screaming out the back, walking in smiling, saying he committed too. That was just a great day.

ACE: What else set Michigan apart from the other schools you were looking at?

DAVID: Like I said, it would be academics. Everyone always says not everyone goes to the league, so the academic part was a big part. Then the possibility of working with a lot of the high-caliber guys that we're bringing in right now who are going to be there when I get there, that also played a big part in my decision.

ACE: You mentioned coming in with those high-caliber guys in your class. It seems like you guys have really made a pretty strong connection, obviously being there for that huge visit weekend and then over social media. What's it like to be part of a class that's already so tight-knit—and also so talented—this early?

DAVID: It feels great. We were on that Recruiting Nation show, and I saw that a couple of weeks ago. I like that we target the offensive line a lot, we pulled in five four-stars, that's always great. There's Shane [Morris], a good quarterback, and we've got a couple guys from the city who are going up there, plus a couple guys from Ohio. It just feels great to be a part of this class.

ACE: Michigan already has five offensive linemen, including yourself, committed in the class. What have the coaches told you about where they see you playing at the next level, and where do you think you fit in best along the offensive line?

DAVID: Coach Hoke was saying that I could play right tackle or they looked at me at guard, but he says when I get there they'll put me at right tackle and see how it works out there because he likes my athleticism and my feet. I guess when I get there we'll see.

ACE: Coming from Cass Tech, that's obviously a pretty huge Michigan pipeline. Are you excited to be back at Cass and rejoining your old teammates this year?

DAVID: Definitely. It'll be good playing another year with these guys, before going off to college I'll be playing with J.D. and [Kenton] Gibbs and everybody, then going off to college I'll be back up there with Delonte [Hollowell], Terry [Richardson], and Royce [Jenkins-Stone].

ACE: You mentioned a few of your former teammates that are now at Michigan. Did you talk to those guys at all when you were making your decision? Did they help you at all coming to your choice?

DAVID: Yeah. It was great; they didn't pressure me, but they said if that's where you want to go, there's no point in waiting and stuff like that. Royce and I talked a couple times before I made my commitment. I told him I wanted to commit and he didn't believe me, so when I did he was just like, "congrats," and he still didn't believe me until I saw him up there at school.

ACE: You guys have a pretty high standard up there at Cass Tech after coming off a state championship last year. What's the expectation this year for the team and for you personally?

DAVID: For myself, personally, just to finish a strong year, possibly get into one of the All-American bowls. From a team standpoint, we should just focus on our first game in Brother Rice on August 25th, then we can take it week-by-week, but ultimately we'll be playing at Ford Field in Week 14.

ACE: After spending the last year down in Texas, what was it like having that experience for a year and what's different about high school football down there versus back up in Michigan?

DAVID: Being down there, they work more on your football IQ. We had class down there, we'd watch film all the time, we watched film of us practicing—they'd film practice and we'd go and watch film of what we did that day. The coaches taught technique every day and then you'd play against high-caliber athletes week-in and week-out. It's somewhat different than Michigan. We have high-caliber athletes up here but there's a lot down there. That's what I think separates Texas and Michigan.

ACE: Heading into this year, you're already going to be playing—there's already Khalid Hill from Detroit Crockett committed. What's it like not only having a Michigan commit on your own team, but competing against future teammates as opponents before you head off to college?

DAVID: I played against Khalid my sophomore year, when we played them for the district championship, I think. I got to block him when I was there at that time. Senior year I just can't wait for us to line up until the end, then we'll line up and shake hands because we can't wait to go to college. But right now we're focused on another state championship for Cass, so anybody that's in the way has just gotta deal with it.

ACE: Going back to your recruitment and talking about the coaches real quick, what set Michigan's coaching staff apart from the other coaches you were dealing with?

DAVID: Like I said before, when I go up there, it's not like they're putting on a show. You see what you get. That's how they act. I felt comfortable because Coach Funk, that's going to be my position coach for the next four to five years, so that played a big part in it. Then Coach Hoke, he's just a down-to-earth guy, he's very cool, and I just felt like I was at home up there at Michigan. Everything played out.

ACE: When you come to Michigan, what do you bring to the table? What do you think are your biggest strengths as a player and what are you working on before you get to the next level?

DAVID: I bring my aggressiveness, footwork, strength, and my run blocking skills to the table. I just need to work more on pass blocking. Also footwork, you can never work enough on footwork, so that's something I'll want to improve before I get there. I'm very coachable; Coach Funk will tell me something once and I'll do it. They also tell me I have a good mean streak. I just like to play football.

ACE: Sum up in a few words what stood out about Michigan, what your choice ultimately came down to.

DAVID: I felt at home up there. The coaches are down-to-earth, the academics, and they're bringing in the high-caliber athletes that they're bringing in. That played a big part in my decision.

Comments

Tuesday Recruitin' LOLs at Own Job

Tuesday Recruitin' LOLs at Own Job Comment Count

Ace 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 ($).

Comments

Hello: David Dawson

Hello: David Dawson Comment Count

Ace February 18th, 2012 at 4:27 PM

I now know how it feels to be Annyong Bluth.

Welcome to the fourth(!!!) commitment post of the day, for Cass Tech OL David Dawson. He joins Kyle Bosch, Wyatt Shallman, and teammate Jourdan Lewis in pledging to the Wolverines today in what's clearly a massive conspiracy to force me to work for an entire Saturday/give me carpal tunnel syndrome/turn my keyboard into a smoldering hunk of plastic and aluminum. There might be another commitment coming, as well. If that's the case, you'll have to excuse me for putting off the post until tomorrow. I've heard there's a basketball game tonight.

Anyways, on to Dawson.

dawson

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
NR OT 4* OT,
#199 Ovr
NR OG 4*, 90, #28 OT

Another four-star! There's some disagreement about whether Dawson is a tackle or a guard—I think he'll end up playing inside at Michigan—but his recruitment has blown up in recent weeks and it appears the ratings will follow suit. Dawson is listed at anywhere between 6'2" (ESPN, a low outlier) and 6'5", with the general consensus that he's around 6'4", 305 pounds.

Dawson really started getting noticed on the camp circuit last summer. He spent his first two seasons of high school ball at Cass Tech before moving to Houston for his junior year. Though he's back at Cass Tech for his senior season, the year in Texas explains why he pops up on this Rivals list of the top underclassmen in the Southwest ($):

Dawson is actually a well-known prospect in another region of the country as he moved to Texas from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech late in the summer. The big junior is a road-grading offensive lineman that is very solid in the running game and could end up possibly moving inside at the next level. He put on a show at several camps and combines over the spring and summer and, being the fertile recruiting area of Houston, should see his stock take off after a few more games this season.

While it took a little longer than Brian Perroni expected for Dawson's recruiting stock to soar, you'll see in his offer list that this indeed happened eventually. Allen Trieu caught Dawson as the Best of the Midwest event last February, naming him the Underclassman MVP ($):

Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson had a great season and has had a good start to the off-season at the camps and events he has been to. At 6-4, 290, I think he's a future guard still, but he can play inside or outside and has good technique and strength. He was one of the better linemen fundamentally, which was impressive for a young guy.

That's a pretty solid consensus that Dawson projects best to guard, and this is echoed in other reports, as well; that certainly makes sense given his height. Josh Helmholdt evaluated Dawson at last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, placing him in a class with five-star Notre Dame commit Steven Elmer ($):

While Elmer is the early favorite to be the top offensive line target in the state of Michigan, Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson is likely to push him for that honor. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder has outstanding technique for a young lineman, and his strength belies his years. He was nearly unbeatable in one-on-ones and promises to be one of the state of Michigan's top talents in the 2013 class.

Technique and strength repeatedly come up when Dawson is discussed; it sounds like he's a pretty polished offensive lineman for his age and he has the physicality to make good use of those technical skills.

More recently, Dawson was named first-team all-combine at the U.S. Army Bowl, being mentioned along with Brendan Mayhon and Dorian Miller for being "immovable objects on the line [who] also moved their feet well for being so massive."

OFFERS

Dawson's offer list ballooned in the last couple of weeks. Before committing to Michigan, he held offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, EMU, Florida State, Indiana, Mizzou, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, and West Virginia. He also had interest from Colorado, Houston, Iowa, LSU, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

STATS

No stats for offensive linemen.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals lists a 40 time of 5.4 seconds, which, um, doesn't sound fake at all. One FAKE out of five, in the hopes that he's actually a bit faster. Considering he's lauded for moving his feet well in his most recent camp appearance, I'd like to think so.

VIDEO

Junior highlights:

There's also sophomore highlights and camp film from the Best of the Midwest combine on the YouTubes.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Dawson should slide in at guard along with Kyle Bosch in this class, giving Michigan a pair of top-notch interior linemen. Given Dawson's frame, I think it's also a possibility that the Wolverines think of him as a possibility at center, a huge need for this class. Either way, Michigan could use the depth on the line as soon as the 2013 season, and Dawson provides a high-quality option moving forward along the interior of the line. I'm sure I'll have more on him in the fall, as I'll doubtlessly be taking in at least one—if not more—Cass Tech games this season.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Two offensive linemen down, both likely interior players, means Michigan can go after a couple of high-quality tackles—say, Ethan Pocic and Logan Tuley-Tillman, to throw a couple names out there. We'll see if Michigan thinks they can move Dawson to center or if they decide to pick up another prospect who's actually listed at that position; thus far, the Wolverines haven't offered one, but there's no way they can go through this recruiting cycle without taking a player who can fill that need.

All in all, Michigan now has seven spots filled in a class that should go up to 20-22 players. Six of those players are four-star prospects to at least two recruiting sites, with four of those players committing today. To say the least, this has been a remarkable day—and it might not be over—and a great start in general for Michigan's 2013 class.

Comments

Tuesday Recruitin' is Cheesin'

Tuesday Recruitin' is Cheesin' Comment Count

Ace February 7th, 2012 at 3:12 PM

This edition of the recruiting roundup welcomes a new 2013 commit, takes a look at 2012 preferred walk-on Dan Gibbs, and discusses a bevy of new junior offers. As always, you're encouraged to email me or hit me up on the twitters with any recruiting tips or news you'd like to see in the next roundup.

Hello: Dan Gibbs

Michigan may not have landed Jordan Diamond or, at least for now, Alex Kozan, but they did manage to pick up a 6'7", 305-pound offensive lineman this week. Birmingham Seaholm's Dan Gibbs accepted a preferred walk-on spot over offers from Ball State, Eastern Michigan, and several Ivy League schools. Gibbs is a Michigan lifer and is ranked as a three-star by Scout (#97 OT) and 24/7 (#121 OT) and a two-star by Rivals (NR) and ESPN (#109 OG). He has the versatility to play either guard or tackle at the next level, and it's always nice to pull in a walk-on who had D1 scholarship offers. You can see his senior highlight tape above, and here is ESPN's evaluation ($):

Gibbs is a tough inline blocker who can maul defenders when run blocking; also flashes the explosion and playing strength to knock defenders off the ball when single blocking. Has great size with good athleticism for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition. It appears his frame is very capable on handling additional body mass. We like this guys toughness; comes off the ball aggressive and hard but a little too high at times; must work to lower his pad level on initial contact. Appears to bave some lower body stiffness however we are impressed with his ability to get out of his stance when asked to pull and trap, locating defenders on the move while demonstrating good balance and agility; plays on his feet well in space. Although this prospect is more of a mauler than one who consistently knocks defenders off the line of scrimmage we are impressed with his ability to get movement when single blocking; is a nasty tough finisher who is capable of putting defenders on their backs. If he is to successfully reach for leverage and consistently get a hat on active 1st and 2nd level defenders we see the need to improve initial quickness, first step and pad level. His long arms should be an asset in pass protection; is not heavy legged playing in the center/guard box, flashing the ability to bend and slide his feet. We do feel he plays too tall and must improve his overall balance and base when pass blocking. All areas of hand use will need refinement although we see flashes of strong initial punch and extension.

Gibbs is a developmental prospect, to be sure. His size and physicality should be a great asset on the practice field, however, and he's got the potential to become an in-game contributor down the road.

In more from the class of 2012, four Michigan signees—Devin Funchess, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Terry Richardson, and James Ross—suited up for Team USA in the International Bowl. Although they fell to the World Team, 35-29, the future Wolverines impressed, especially Funchess, who hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass ($):

"I think Devin Funchess is going to be a star. When they put weight on him, he is a long 6-5 guy, but he's just a boy. They'll put 40 pounds of muscle on him. He has great hands, runs great. He had a great attitude. He's going to be a great player - not just a good player, a great player."

...

"He looks like a wide out. He runs great. For a tight end, he has tremendous speed," [Team USA coach Steve] Specht said. "The thing that really impressed me about Devin is how much bigger he's going to get. I said something to him when we were in Austin. I said, 'In a few years, when you get that weight on you, you're going to be special.'

Funchess appears to be in line to take a redshirt year as he works on adding that bulk. After that, he could turn into a very dangerous receiver from that TE/H-back hybrid spot. For highlights of each Michigan commit in the International Bowl, check out MGoVideo—a big thanks to Josh (aka MaizeNBlueJ) for putting those together.

Speaking of Funchess, his senior highlight tape is now available on YouTube. Also releasing senior film is DL Matt Godin; he does a very impressive job of getting skinny and shedding blocks to work his way into the backfield:

Quickly: Greg Mattison was named the Big Ten Recruiter of the Year by Scout and also earned top-25 status nationally on Rivals. 24/7 released their Big Ten superlatives—Ondre Pipkins is one of three players tabbed for immediate impact and the Wolverines have more players (10) on the All-Big Ten team than any other school (Ohio State has seven, Wisconsin two, while Minnesota, MSU, and Nebraska each have one). AnnArbor.com's Kyle Meinke discusses the importance of tight ends in recruiting with Al Borges and Darrell Funk. Stephen J. Nesbitt writes a feature in the Daily on Pipkins and Willie Henry. TTB Andrew interviews Amara Darboh.

Welcome: Khalid Hill

Recruits come in pairs, right? Michigan not only landed Gibbs yesterday, but they got a jump-start on tight end recruiting for 2013 when they pulled in Detroit Crockett's Khalid Hill. You can read the full "Hello" post here. Hill—who committed on the spot after getting his offer on an unofficial visit yesterday—is another life-long Michigan fan, offering up this fantastic quote to Allen Trieu in the aftermath of his commitment ($):

"I feel great," he said. "There's a smile on my face. I'm cheesin'."

I'll give Khalid the benefit of the doubt and assume that's not a South Park reference. Hill also told 24/7 that, upon receiving a verbal offer from Brady Hoke in his office, he immediately accepted and gave the coach a "big hug." He also carries a 4.0 GPA and plans to major in Engineering; this is definitely a commitment worth celebrating. Hill's high school coach shed some light on his future role in a free Scout article:

"He's a great pass catcher. He has the blocking ability of a lineman, the athletic ability of a skill guy, and the hands of a wide receiver, so he's a match-up nightmare. What he brought to the table for us this year was, he created mismatches down seams of the field."

He'll do the same for the Wolverines, but also fill a couple of other roles as well.

"It's a tight end/H-Back kind of deal. He's a utility guy, who will be motioning from fullback, get work done in the slot. They'll move him around a lot. They sat him down and told him how they're going to use him. They said he'd do a lot of what Kevin Koger did last year."

That hybrid role makes sense for Hill, a solid athlete who's a little short for the traditional tight end role at 6'2".

Another 2013 tight end, Pickerington (OH) North's Jake Butt—an early four-star to 24/7 who holds a scholarship offer from the Wolverines—has Michigan as his top school ($):

"Michigan is definitely my leading school right now, by far… it’s not even close,” he reported.  “Their coaches are showing me a lot of attention.  I have been up to the campus twice and loved it there, and seemed to grow a great relationship with coach (Jerry) Montgomery who is my recruiting coordinator.  I already had five (Michigan) coaches come down to school to see me, so that is big. They are telling me I am their leading tight end on the board."

Butt doesn't have a concrete decision date in mind, but he's looking to wrap things up before the start of next football season. If he does, it looks like Michigan will be tough to beat.

Meanwhile, Logan Tuley-Tillman was at Yost on Saturday and plans to return to Ann Arbor this weekend—his fifth visit, and he's hoping to bring his mother along with him—but there's a minor change atop his leaderboard. While the Wolverines were at one point alone at number one, they're now joined by Alabama after Tuley-Tillman visited Tuscaloosa for their Junior Day ($).

Quickly: Cass Tech CB Jourdan Lewis is excited by his recent Michigan offer, but has not yet settled on a timeline while he's playing through basketball season ($). Magnus has a thorough preview of 2013 in-state recruiting over at TTB. He also takes a look at the early scholarship numbers and breaks down Michigan's needs by position. Chantel Jennings does the same—plus identifies some key early targets—over at WolverineNation ($).

Offerpalooza 2013

Just when I think I'm going to be able to sum up Michigan's list of offers in something other than bullet form, they seemingly extend scholarships to half of the free world. Here's what I pulled together since the last recruiting update:

  • Tampa (FL) Wharton CB Vernon Hargreaves III now has a Michigan offer listed. He's a five-star prospect to 24/7 and their #7 overall player in the class; all the major in-state schools have also offered and his father coaches at USF, so he'll be a very difficult pull out of the Sunshine State.
  • Dayton (OH) Trotwood-Madison LB Mike McCray earned offers from Michigan and Oklahoma within the past week ($). The Top247 and ESPNU 150 prospect says those two schools plus Illinois, Tennessee, and Purdue stand out early in the process, but expect Ohio State to become a major factor if (more likely when) they offer.
  • Michigan offered four-star Vorhees (NJ) Eastern CB Eli Woodard, though he's favoring Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Rutgers early ($).
  • Centerville (OH) OL Evan Lisle becomes the latest standout Midwest lineman to earn an offer ($).
  • I forgot to include him last week, but CB Ryan White became the third Louisville (KY) Trinity prospect to receive a Wolverine offer, joining teammates James Quick (WR) and Jason Hatcher (DE). White told Scout that he plans on visiting Ann Arbor at some point ($).
  • The Wolverines offered another wide receiver in Cretin-Derham Hall (MN) standout James Onwualu ($), who plans on visiting within the next couple of weeks.
  • Philadelphia (PA) William Penn OT Mike McGlinchey received a Michigan offer last week ($). He's a four-star prospect to 24/7 early in the process.
  • Cincinnati Moeller LB Shane Jones now boasts offers from Michigan and his hometown Bearcats.
  • Rivals.com's Adam Gorney reports that Michigan also offered Stockton (CA) Lincoln RB Justin Davis.

There are a couple of happy trails to report as well. Toledo Central Catholic DB Jayme Thompson chose West Virginia over Michigan and Notre Dame last week; it's unclear whether or not he had a commitable offer, though I don't believe he did. He's a player to keep an eye on should the Wolverines decide to continue pursuing him. Finally, while Michigan hadn't extended an offer, they had displayed some interest in Flint Carman Ainsworth RB Gerald Holmes, who chose Michigan State on Sunday.

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