Recruitin' Mailbag: On "The Policy" And Its Benefits

Recruitin' Mailbag: On "The Policy" And Its Benefits

Submitted by Ace on May 29th, 2014 at 2:23 PM


Dymonte Thomas (L) and Jourdan Lewis (R) both committed before receiving coveted offers.

It's been a long time since I did one of these, and after the Shaun Crawford decommitment the topic of discussion is Michigan's very simple policy: if a commit takes visits, the coaches will continue recruiting for that spot, and while they'll continue recruiting the prospect taking visits they'll no longer consider him a commit.

At this point, the policy itself is clear to the point that its particulars aren't up for debate. Its merits, on the other hand, have been questioned. Here's a great question that helps show why it works:

Two part question:

Have there been any Michigan signees that come to mind who benefited the most from the policy being in place?  A guy who was locked in early before he blew up regionally or nationally and it kept him in Michigan’s camp maybe?  Or a guy, maybe like Peppers, who by committing and not looking around was solely focused on his senior year and helping the recruiting effort.

And on the flip side can you think of a couple of specific names (not including Dawson and the guys who have decommitted this year) who were probably scared away by it and may otherwise have ended up in a Michigan class had it not been for the coach staffs visit rules?

Dana

Jabrill Peppers is a nice example to start with, as he considered taking visits a couple months before Signing Day, then reaffirmed his pledge after taking his official visit to Michigan and talking with both the coaches and his family. Who knows what would've happened if Brady Hoke had allowed him to remain committed and visit, say, Alabama? At best, it would've bothered a lot of the other commits. At worst, Peppers would've ended up in Crimson.

Two other current U-M defensive backs come to mind when answering the first part of the question. Dymonte Thomas committed nearly a year-and-a-half before signing his LOI; at the time, the Alliance, Ohio product didn't hold an Ohio State offer, which befuddled Buckeye recruitniks. Even though Thomas' cousin, Bri'onte Dunn, committed to OSU in the interim, when Urban Meyer extended an offer two months later Thomas laughed it off on Twitter. He'd committed, end of story, and he knew what a commitment to Michigan entailed—no trips to check out Columbus and see if he'd want to play with his cousin, something they'd discussed before their respective commitments.

There's also Jourdan Lewis, who eventually became an Army All-American but held this list of offers when he pledged during The Greatest Mid-February Weekend In The History Of Mid-February Weekends: Michigan and Toledo. That's it. Other schools tried to enter the fray, but Lewis remained firm in his pledge—again, in part because he knew the consequences if he started looking around. All he had to do was ask his teammate, David Dawson, the shining example of how the Damien Harris situation can still work out in Michigan's favor.

As for the flip side, there have been multiple prospects in recent years who very nearly committed to U-M while on visits, and in retrospect it's clear the policy helped avoid an eventual decommitment. Malik McDowell immediately comes to mind, as does Artavis Scott. If McDowell had committed, his journey to East Lansing—and I believe he'd have ended up there regardless—would've had even more twists and turns. Same goes for Scott, who took to Clemson's overtures so quickly it's difficult to imagine a Michigan pledge would've stuck.

The best example of the policy avoiding a major issue, however, is a prospect who did at one point commit to U-M: 2014 OT Denzel Ward. His recruitment requires bullet points:

  • Committed to Michigan in October 2012, a week after receiving the U-M offer, his best to date. By the first week of January, he'd also hold offers from Arizona State, Florida, and Ohio State.
  • Took an unofficial visit to Florida in January 2013 without informing the coaches; at this time, he also transferred high schools from the Chicago area to the IMG Academy in Florida, which also came as a surprise to Michigan's staff.
  • Shortly thereafter, Michigan told Ward he was no longer a commit, and due to the lack of communication with the coaches they didn't plan to pursue him again.
  • Ward named Florida as his leader in March. He picked up an Oklahoma offer around that time.
  • Despite an impressive offer sheet, Ward committed to Purdue in June.
  • Three days after an official visit to USF, Ward decommitted from Purdue in December.
  • Less than a week after taking his final official visit to Syracuse, Ward committed to the Orange and signed his LOI.

When Michigan recognized Ward was a serious flight risk, they broke things off, and eventually replaced him in the class with a higher-rated, UA All-American tackle in Juwann Bushell-Beatty. If I had to guess whether JBB lasts longer at Michigan or Ward at Syracuse... well, I bet you can guess my answer.

This was going to be a full mailbag, but I got pretty wordy on this one, so I'll answer the rest of the questions in a separate post tomorrow.

Monday Recruitin' Doesn't Believe In Touchdowns

Monday Recruitin' Doesn't Believe In Touchdowns

Submitted by Ace on June 24th, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

The recruiting services are split on the #1 overall prospect in the 2014 class; Rivals and 247 give VA DE Da'Shawn Hand top honors, while LA RB Leonard Fournette earns that distinction on Scout and ESPN. Michigan is among the top contenders for Hand, of course, and Fournette is a lock to stay in the SEC, either at LSU or Alabama. Unless...

LSU and Alabama are the teams to beat for five-star New Orleans-St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette. 

Except Fournette says it isn't so.

"That's not accurate," Fournette said Thursday, insisting he doesn't yet have any favorites among a list of offers so long he's stopped counting.

Well, then. The article by al.com's Mike Herndon names two other schools Fournette has visited—Florida State and Texas—as well as a certain program he's strongly considering for an official visit; yes, Michigan:

"You could say that (top prospects) pay attention to where other guys go," Fournette told Rivals.com. "I like Michigan. School-wise, they're more focused on grades than football. That's what I like about them. I think Jabrill made a good choice."

This is not happening. I refuse to believe this is happening. I will refuse to believe it even if Fournette makes it to campus, and will cease disbelief if—and only if—Fournette's name is signed in ink on a LOI faxed directly to Schembechler Hall in February. At that point, I'll still consider the whole thing a cruel hoax until Fournette actually suits up in a Michigan uniform.

[watches highlight tape again]
[counts plays before Fournette is tackled]
[loses count]
[repeat]

Apologies in advance for him committing to LSU and all of us feeling sad.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest round of underclassmen #JPTTA, updates on several top 2014 targets, and more.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Goes The Extra Mile

Tuesday Recruitin' Goes The Extra Mile

Submitted by Ace on January 29th, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Today's recruiting roundup revels in the wake of Derrick Green's commitment and has the latest updates on Denzel Ward, Henry Poggi, and more.

Hello: Derrick Green

In case the rock you live under still isn't wi-fi capable, I have good news: Derrick Green, the nation's top-ranked running back, committed to Michigan on Saturday. He gets the full "Hello" treatment here, and below is local news coverage featuring video of his announcement:

Green's remarkable physical transformation—he entered high school at 268 pounds—is recounted in Sam Webb's latest DetNews article, which also gives a look into Green's recruitment. Green calls Fred Jackson "a father figure," and Brady Hoke managed to have a huge impact before ever meeting him in person [emphasis mine]:

With those bonds fortified there was one important connection left to be made — the one with Hoke. Even in his absence Michigan's head coach managed to begin that process with a gesture that resonates with his prized recruit to this day.

Said [Green's mother, Fran] Knight, "When we went (on the March 18 visit), he wasn't there. His dad had just passed, but I was amazed how even though he was going through the situation with his father passing, he still took the time out to call Derrick and let him know that he really wanted him there, he really wanted to be there, (and) he was looking forward to meeting him. That spoke volumes to me about the type of person he was."

If you'd like to see more scouting on Green, the DetNews also has blurbs from several Scout analysts.

In other current commit news, 247 named David Dawson and Patrick Kugler to their All-American first team for the class of 2013. Kyle Bosch and Henry Poggi earned second-team nods.

Speaking of Poggi, multiple outlets have confirmed that he did visit Alabama last weekend, and the Tide are actively recruiting him. While the exact nature of the visit is unclear—some say it was a visit to a friend on the team while others say that he took an official, and the Poggis are staying quiet—the general sense from insiders is that he'll still end up at Michigan in the end.

Ward: Dropped

After a move to Florida—one that reportedly came as a surprise to the coaches—a parting of the ways between Michigan and 2014 commit Denzel Ward seemed inevitable. Today, it came to pass:

According to Sam Webb, the split was Michigan's call, and it's unlikely that they will continue recruiting Ward. So it goes.

Michigan Leads For Doles

In-state 2014 OL Tommy Doles was on campus again last weekend, this time to check out the academic side of things, and per GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz the trip cemented Michigan at the top of his list ($):

“It helped a lot,” said Doles. “I can say Michigan is the frontrunner now. I wasn’t ready to make a commitment or anything – I think I still want to see what the options are. I think I’m just not quite ready to make a decision yet, but Michigan is a good option at this point."

Doles may take his time and check out some other options, but at this point it's tough to see him winding up anywhere but Michigan.

Per multiple sources, including 247's Clint Brewster($), Michigan offered 2014 five-star GA DE Lorenzo Carter. Carter holds one of the most impressive offer sheets in the country—pulling a five-star deep out of SEC country is a tall task, so until further notice don't get expectations too high for him.

The Best Kind Of Touchdowns

Are Fat Guy Touchdowns.

Thursday Recruitin' Takes A Tumble

Thursday Recruitin' Takes A Tumble

Submitted by Ace on January 10th, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers this weekend's official visitors, an impending 2013 decision, updated rankings from Scout and ESPN, and more.

Weekend Officials: Hunt, Dawson

Only two non-commits—CA OL Cameron Hunt and OH CB Reon Dawson—will take official visits to Ann Arbor this weekend, but Michigan is firmly in the mix for both. Hunt has developed a strong connection with commit Patrick Kugler, who moved his own official to this weekend and will surely be giving Hunt the full-court press for a commitment—though, for now, Hunt has subsequent officials planned for Cal and Oregon with Ohio State also a possible destination.

Dawson, an Illinois commit, would join Trotwood-Madison teammate Mike McCray as a Wolverine if he decides to switch his pledge. Neither Hunt nor Dawson has stated that Michigan holds an edge, but it's conceivable that one or both could be in the fold after this weekend.

IN OL Dan Samuelson visited Michigan last month, and Steve Wiltfong reports that the Nebraska commit will choose between the Wolverines and Huskers on Monday. At first glance, it's a race between Hunt and Samuelson for the final O-line spot, but Sam Webb said this week on his radio show that it's possible Michigan takes both for a total of seven linemen in the class.

One guy Michigan's won't get: Laquon Treadwell, who will choose next Thursday between Ole Miss (the prohibitive favorite), Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

Derrick Green, meanwhile, will not be taking a visit to Auburn this weekend, per Mike Farrell—that rumor made the rounds after originating on some Auburn message boards. Michigan is still in command in his recruitment.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Denzel Ward and Da'Shawn Hand, a look at the updated Scout and ESPN rankings, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Knows, Won't Tell

Monday Recruitin' Knows, Won't Tell

Submitted by Ace on January 7th, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's All-American games, high profile names emerging (or re-emerging) as targets, and a potentially wavering 2014 commit.

Spill The Beans, Green


Five-star linebacker Reuben Foster: visit on tap?

Michigan didn't land one of their remaining high-profile targets over the weekend when FL S Leon McQuay III committed to USC. They appear poised to get better news regarding VA RB Derrick Green, however—the nation's top running back has maintained Michigan as his leader in recent weeks and told Rivals($) after the Army All-American Game, "I know where I'm going." Green plans to announce sometime this month and it's safe to expect good news barring a sudden change of heart.

While USC snagged a Michigan target, it's possible the Wolverines return the favor after CA WR Sebastian LaRue decommitted from the Trojans; the four-star told 247's Clint Brewster that he plans to talk to Coach Ferrigno about a potential visit to Ann Arbor ($). LaRue currently has a visit to Notre Dame scheduled and is also looking at Miami, Arkansas, and Texas A&M.

The Wolverines may also have suddenly found themselves in the mix for the nation's top linebacker recruit, Alabama prospect Reuben Foster, after he connected with commit Henry Poggi at the Under Armour game. Poggi reportedly alerted Foster to Michigan's potential interest and convinced him to get in touch with the coaches, and Foster looks to be following through, per Sam Webb ($):

Once Foster and Michigan begin having more conversations, the 6'1, 240 pounder says it’s likely he'll get up to Ann Arbor for a visit at some point before signing day.

"I don't know but the odds are pretty darn good cause I'm cool with [Poggi's] dad that I just met this week --- very cool with him," said Foster.

With a month to go until signing day, it's very late in the game to enter into the recruitment of such a high-profile player, but the former Auburn commit seems to have genuine interest. It's early yet to harbor serious hopes of a commitment, but if a visit materializes it would obviously be fantastic news for Michigan.

A more likely candidate for one of the final few spots is CA OL Cameron Hunt, who spent time with Michigan's contingent of commitments at the UA game. Hunt will take his official to Michigan next weekend, followed by visits to Oregon and Cal, and he told Sam Webb that those three schools comprise his leading trio ($).

[After THE JUMP, video and evaluations of Michigan's All-Americans, the latest on Denzel Ward, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Pushes The Pile

Thursday Recruitin' Pushes The Pile

Submitted by Ace on December 6th, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Today's recruiting roundup covers new offers in both the '13 and '14 classes, the updated Rivals rankings, and more.

Found: Goal Line Back, Destroyer Of Worlds

If you like to watch enormous people destroy things, you'll very much enjoy Maurice Hurst Jr.'s senior highlight tape:

About the only thing that's missing is him beating a block in a fashion other than bull rush. When your bull rush works like this, though, there's not much reason to switch things up at the high school level:


When you're done marveling at MASS DESTRUCTION, check out the "block" by the fullback

Also, if Hurst is never used as a goal-line back at Michigan, I'll be a very sad panda.

247 released senior highlights of Jake Butt this week, as well—he did impressive work on offense this season, lining up both as a traditional tight end and split out wide.

[Hit THE JUMP for a roundup of Michigan's latest offers, the updated 2013 Rivals rankings, and more.]

Tuesday Recruitin' Blocks Through Whistle, Fence

Tuesday Recruitin' Blocks Through Whistle, Fence

Submitted by Ace on November 20th, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Todays' recruiting roundup covers Laquon Treadwell's top five, new highlight tapes for Denzel Ward and Taco Charlton, new 2013 and 2014 offers, and more.

Reschke Offered, Treadwell's Top Five

Michigan's coaching staff raised some eyebrows over the weekend after finally offering 2013 Birmingham Brother Rice linebacker and MSU commit Jon Reschke, a Spartan legacy who hasn't shown much interest in the Wolverines. Since Michigan had previously turned away linebacker recruits like Alex Anzalone and E.J. Levenberry, saying they were full at the position, the offer caused concern that a current commit was looking around. That doesn't appear to be the case, according to Tremendous, with rumors that Mike McCray was considering Ohio State debunked.

So, why the offer? For one, Brother Rice is a very strong in-state program, and Reschke was reportedly none too pleased with the lack of an offer (or serious interest) from Michigan. More importantly, however, Reschke is a heck of a player—I thought he was deserving of an offer last year, and he's stepped up his game even more this season—and with the fluid nature of recruiting, it's entirely possible that the scholarship situation at linebacker has changed. While I'd be surprised if Reschke flipped from MSU, he's close friends with Shane Morris, and he'd be a worthy addition to the class.

Matters aren't looking up on the Laquon Treadwell front, unfortunately, as he named an ordered top five to Scout's Beth Long after Crete-Monee's state semifinal victory last weekend ($). That top five, in order: Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Michigan State. Treadwell hasn't even visited the two Oklahoma schools yet, though officials are planned to both, but he has been to Oxford; barring a late turnaround—and in recruiting, that's not exactly unusual—this won't end well.

As for a backup plan, scratch MD WR Paul Harris off the list, as he reaffirmed his commitment to Tennessee despite the news of Derek Dooley's ouster, per Rivals's Adam Friedman ($). While Harris leaves some room to look around, it doesn't sound like he'll consider Michigan. Michigan did host a committed 2013 prospect last weekend in Trotwood-Madison CB Reon Dawson, an Illinois commit, according to 247's Clint Brewster. The three-star could be another option if/when Gareon Conley starts taking visits.

Michigan also handed out a 2014 offer last weekend, to FL WR Artavis Scott, high school teammate of offered OL Mason Cole, per multiple outlets. Scott is a four-star on all three sites that have released early rankings and is also on the ESPN150 Watch List, so he's universally regarded as a top prospect. The Wolverines have established themselves as one of Cole's early leaders, which should help them with Scott; both visited for the Michigan State game.

[For the rest of the recruiting roundup, including Denzel Ward's junior highlights, hit THE JUMP.]

Thursday Recruitin' Shall Not Pass

Thursday Recruitin' Shall Not Pass

Submitted by Ace on October 25th, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the latest on—you guessed it—Laquon Treadwell and Derrick Green, more coach quotes on Denzel Ward, 2014 updates, and more.

Two-For-Two?


ALL HOPE IS LOST wait what oh my condolences

Mike Farrell's latest Mind of Mike article contains a couple very relevant bits to Michigan, so long as you can get past the opening where he seemingly takes credit for Da'Shawn Hand being 2014's #1 overall recruit:

Around last April, I tweeted that Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand was my hands-down choice for the No. 1 player in the country for the class of 2014. Since then, numerous recruiting sites have tabbed Hand as their No. 1 guy, while our first 2014 five-stars will be released next month.

I'd like to go ahead and take credit for Glenn Robinson III being very good at basketball because I'm the only one who's said that, right? Right. You owe me one, GRIII. Anyway, the word from Farrell is good on Derrick Green...

Green has listed the Ducks as one of his finalists and liked his trip to the state when he was at The Opening, but Oregon has always been a long shot in my opinion, even for an official visit.

It's unclear if Oregon will back off as part of getting [five-star RB Thomas] Tyner back in the fold or not, but it shouldn't matter -- Green isn't going there. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- Green appears to be the perfect fit as a Big Ten running back and with his other two favorites, Auburn and Tennessee, having coaches on very hot seats, Michigan has to be the final destination, right? It makes sense, but as we know, sometimes recruiting makes no sense.

...and Laquon Treadwell, who as it turns out had a very valid reason for not taking his official visit last weekend:

The only thing more impressive that wide receiver LaQuon Treadwell's ability on the field (and he has been playing like a five-star this season) is his consistency when it comes to not taking visits. Treadwell has now set up visits with Missouri, Ole Miss, Michigan and Oklahoma this month alone and won't make any of them.

The passing of his uncle this past weekend kept him from a big visit weekend in Ann Arbor, but I still think the Wolverines are his future home until he actually takes one of the two trips he wants to take to OU and Oklahoma State.

Hey, that sounds like good news! [EDIT: The recruiting angle, obviously, not the uncle part. Condolences to the Treadwell family for their loss.] Let's take this as further evidence to wait until the facts are in before jumping to wild conclusions after every bit of recruiting news, please.

Illinois recruiting guru Edgy Tim has more on Treadwell's future plans in the Chicago Tribune:

He most likely will make all five of his allotted official visits (Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss) after his high school season ends.

Treadwell's recruitment is far from over, obviously. He's running out of time to find a school that can make the same impression that Michigan has over six visits (plus a presumed official), however, and I'd be surprised if Michigan State is a serious contender.

[Hit THE JUMP for the world's largest high school offensive line, a 2014 recruit naming Michigan as his favorite, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Ain't Scared

Monday Recruitin' Ain't Scared

Submitted by Ace on October 22nd, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers MSU visit reactions, a friendly bet between a future Wolverine and a future Buckeye, how not to deal with the Dawson decommitment, and more.

Visit Reactions: Positive (Surprise!)

The overall ugliness of the Michigan-MSU game wasn't enough to dampen the excitement of visitors to the Big House, even when you put aside Denzel Ward's pre-game commitment. In fact, Ward could be joined sooner or later on the 2014 offensive line by four-star FL lineman Mason Cole, who said this to 247's Todd Worly ($, info in header):

“I liked everything about it,” Cole said. “Just the atmosphere and everything. It just feels like home. Just the coaching staff and Ann Arbor.”

When asked where Michigan stands, Cole stated that they're "really high" on his list—impressive considering an offer list that includes USC, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, and Notre Dame.

GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz caught up with Cass Tech junior CB Damon Webb, who normally plays things close to the vest but had high praise for the visit ($):

“This time when I was up at Michigan it was different,” Webb told GoBlueWolverine. “The crowd was more live. Other Michigan games it wasn’t really this big, but I was really impressed by this visit.”

...

“It helped a lot,” added Webb.

Top 2013 target VA RB Derrick Green:

I have to think—given the poor seasons of Auburn and Tennessee—that Michigan is in the driver's seat for Green at this point.

While IL WR Laquon Treadwell was unable to make the trip—I'm a broken record on this subject, so react as you will (sorry, mods)—the Wolverines did host a pair of 2013 prospects currently committed elsewhere. Westland John Glenn WR Da'Mario Jones (CMU commit) was in the Big House for the second straight week, telling Tim Sullivan($) that "it was probably one of the hypest games that I've been to." Scout's Simone Scott posted on The Victors Board($) that Pickerington (OH) North RB Godwin Igwebuike—Northwestern commit and HS teammate of Jake Butt—was also in attendance, though it sounds like he just took the opportunity to catch a game with his friend and teammate. Both Jones and Igwebuike could be backup options should the Wolverines miss out on Treadwell and Green.

Michigan even made waves in the 2015 class, especially with their first offered prospect, KY RB Damien Harris. Harris has spent the season putting up video game numbers after camping in Ann Arbor over the summer; he came away from the visit in awe of the stadium atmosphere, according to TomVH ($):

“I’d say that Michigan was already on top, but it just moved them up even more for me because that’s definitely the type of atmosphere I’d like to play in,” he said. “That makes me want to go there even more. To know that the fans are that into the game, it definitely moved them up.”

Harris added that he couldn't "put it into words how amazing it really was," so yeah, that went well. He's a potential five-star who's already getting serious national attention, and it's safe to say the Wolverines are leading the way right now. It's worth noting that his mother accompanied him on the visit, as well.

The Cass Tech pipeline could continue, meanwhile, in the form of sophomore DE Joshua Alabi, who told 247's Todd Worly that he wants to stay close to home ($):

“Everyone around you is family, so if I could go there, I would,” Alabi said. “I’ve been to Michigan already, and if I could stay home, I would. I don’t want to leave home if I don’t have to. I’d just stay in Michigan.”

Alabi is an impressive young prospect who already stands at 6'5", 245 lbs.; while he doesn't have an offer yet, he's a candidate down the road, and it sounds like Michigan would be in a very good position to land him.

For more visit reaction, Tremendous has you covered.

[Mike McCray throws down the gauntlet against Cam Burrows, a roundup of last weekend's high school action, and more after THE JUMP.]

Hello From The Future: Denzel Ward

Hello From The Future: Denzel Ward

Submitted by Ace on October 21st, 2012 at 5:32 PM

According to WolverineNation's Chantel Jennings($), Michigan has picked up their second commitment of the 2014 class in IL OL Denzel Ward, a 6'9" tackle who started playing organized football this year. Informative update coming either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how this game goes.

Semi-informative update ahoy:

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
NR OT NR OT NR OT NR OT

As noted above, Ward didn't start playing organized football until this season, so there's very little in the way of scouting on him. Rivals and ESPN have yet to release full rankings for the 2014 class, and Ward isn't listed yet by Scout or 247; again, that doesn't mean much a handful of games into his football career. All but Scout (6'8") list Ward at 6'9", with his listed weight ranging from 285-295 pounds, so he's a rather gargantuan human being.

The only quotes we have at this juncture about Ward's football ability are from his head coach, via Jennings ($):

"He's dominant," Hales Franciscan coach Randall Townsel said. "The game is very fast when you start playing football. The first time you take the varsity field, the game is moving fast -- and it still is for him -- but for him to go in, understand his role and be as dominant as he has been is pretty incredible."

...

Ward was a constant surprise to Townsel. After his first practice, Ward stayed after to run a mile by himself. As practices progressed, so did he. At his first game, he drove a player 20 yards down field into a fence because he was a little too excited and wasn't sure when he was allowed to stop, when his quarterback assuredly would be safe.

For a first-time player, regardless of size, to garner serious BCS attention is a testament to Ward's potential, and it's apparent that he's picking the game up in a hurry. Given that he'd been a serious AAU basketball player—a teammate of top-ranked 2013 recruit Jabari Parker, in fact—it's safe to say that he possesses the athleticism necessary to develop into a viable tackle prospect.

OFFERS

Ward's only other offer was from Purdue at the time of his commitment, but Rivals also lists interest from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, USC, and Wisconsin. According to 247, Ward camped at Purdue, Ohio State, and Wisconsin over the summer, earning his Boilermaker offer during his camp appearance.

STATS

None, obviously.

FAKE 40 TIME

None listed.

VIDEO

Ward doesn't have a highlight tape available yet. When he does, it will make an appearance in the next recruiting roundup.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Given the complete dearth of scouting and film available on Ward, I'm only comfortable putting forth that he will likely develop into a left tackle prospect; given his size, this isn't exactly going out on a limb.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Ward joins linebacker Michael Ferns among Michigan's 2014 commits; Michigan's coaches have made it clear that they'd like to take at least four—and preferably five or six—offensive linemen in each recruiting class, so expect Ward to be joined by at least one more tackle prospect and a couple other linemen.