Hello: Desmond Morgan

Hello: Desmond Morgan

Submitted by Tim on December 13th, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Instate linebacker burst onto the scene near the end of October, receiving an official offer from the Wolverines. Just a couple months later, he's committed to wearing the winged helmet next fall. Tom has some commitment quotes from the kid.

INFORMATIVE PORTION

morganmug.jpg

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #43 MLB 3*, 5.5, NR ILB 3*, 78, #24 ILB

The three sites are unanimous in Morgan's 6-1, 225-pound size, and his mid-level ranking as an overall prospect. ESPN is the outlier, ranking him in the top 25 of inside linebackers, whereas he's outside the top 40 on the other two sites (Rivals stops ranking them at #45). For a breakdown of his game, let's start with ESPN's evaluation:

Morgan is a very tough run stopper; displays dominant playing strength at the point of attack. Has the size and athleticism for the inside linebacker position at the major level of competition... We like his hand use, showing the physical playing strength to take on and defeat blockers at the point; demonstrates the ability to play low and keep his feet free when moving laterally vs. the outside run.

So, excellent run-stopper, something that Michigan has lacked since David Harris left town (though, in fairness, Kenny Demens seems to be performing well in that role).

Flashes good underneath screen recognition ability however all area of coverage will need refinement; man coverage assignments must be carefully evaluated. This guy plays with the intensity and motor we look for when evaluating the ILB position... Morgan may need some time to polish coverage skills. If a red shirt year is not deemed necessary he could see early playing time on special teams.

morganrhino.jpg

A little weak in coverage, as you'd expect from most linebackers at the high school level. Tom interviewed him shortly after he received the Michigan offer, and Desmond divulged what the coaches like about his game:

They said they're looking for kids that knew how to hit, and that aren't afraid to get after it. They want guys that have a nose for the ball, and smart kids. I learn from my coaches, and I give 110% no matter what. Even if I'm doing something wrong, I'm going to go 100 MPH doing it.

That sounds like an "effort guy" - and the last part sounds so much like Jonas Mouton that it's not even funny.

One thing that's important to note - especially given that ESPN questions his physical ability to play in coverage at an elite level - is that he's a high school quarterback, in addition to his responsibilities on the other side of the ball. That may help his instincts and reads in pass coverage, helping cover for any physical limitations.

The Holland Sentinel says he's "fast enough to help the U-M defense now," though that should obviously be taken with a grain of salt. An opposing coach says he's "a great football player," but that's not terribly descriptive.

OFFERS

As mentioned above, Morgan's recruitment really took off a bit later in the fall, unsurprising for a guy whose primary job in high school is as a Tebow-style (or Chris Relf-style, if you require a more timely reference) Rhinoback. Only a host of MAC schools had offered him in the summer.

Northwestern and Michigan were his final two.

STATS

Scout's very brief blurb:

Recorded 120 tackles as a junior.

That earned him 1st-team All-Area and All-State Honorable Mention. I couldn't find exact senior-season stats on the internet. I'll scour the tubes once more, and hopefully have more detail for tomorrow's Friday Night Lights post.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals: 4.7. Scout: 4.65. Those are pretty darn good times for a middle linebacker, especially one that ESPN basically calls "slow." I'll give it three FAKES out of five.

VIDEO

Here's his junior year:

Lovin' the 4.0 GPA listed as a key stat. The first 3 games of his senior year. His full senior highlight starts out with "Put On" by Young Jeezy, which I'll admit is a guilty pleasure of mine.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Part of ESPN's breakdown says that he looks like a spectacular special teamer, as he loves to hit and has good athleticism. That ability may help Desmond get onto the field as a true freshman. However, with kenny Demens and Mike Jones seemingly solid at linebacker spots for the next couple years (assuming a full recovery from Jones's broken leg), Michigan will more likely try to redshirt him, then give him that redshirt freshman year on special teams before being thrown strongly into the mix.

He probably wouldn't become a full-time starter until redshirt junior or redshirt senior seasons, and with Kellen Jones also in the class, there's some flexibility as to where each of them will play. If you held a gun to my head, I'd say Jones is more able to play inside and outside, whereas Morgan is more of a true inside 'backer.

He seems like an instinctual player, even if his physical attributes aren't the greatest. That's the sort of guy that Iowa and Wisconsin regularly turn into All-conference performers, and I think that's also the ceiling for Desmond.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

What is... defensive... recruit?

Michigan is starting to fill in the defensive side of the ball a little bit. There's still a need for more bodies there (safeties and defensive tackles, please), but Morgan shores up a big area of need in linebacker.

I hesitate to predict too far into the future of this recruiting class, as several commits and interested prospects are likely to look elsewhere should Rich Rodriguez be dismissed as Michigan's head coach. That said, another offensive lineman, a wide receiver or two, possibly a quarterback, and a host of defensive linemen and safeties will fill out the class.

Wednesday Recruitin' Seeks Another RB

Wednesday Recruitin' Seeks Another RB

Submitted by Tim on December 1st, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.

Assume The Position(s): Offense

rawls.jpeg

MI RB Thomas Rawls was the subject of last week's Sam Webb recruiting column in The Detroit News. He was super-productive in his senior year:

Despite sitting out two games with a high ankle sprain Rawls rushed for 1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns. His year was highlighted by a 344-yard rushing effort against Saginaw Heritage in Week 4 and a 396-yard rushing effort against Bay City Central in Week 5.

Scout's Allen Trieu breaks down his game:

"He is one of the toughest runners I've seen. He's very compact -- a bowling ball kind of kid who can break tackles and has a good burst. While most people see him as just an inside battering ram, I think he proved to me over the summer and the course of this year that he has legit breakaway speed. He's also very underrated as a receiver out of the backfield."

As long as he can nail a qualifying score on his standardized tests, it's likely he'll land a Michigan offer - and soon ($, info in header). It sounds like the Wolverines are a heavy favorite to land him should that happen:

Even if new suitors do come calling, they clearly will have a steep hill to climb. "I'm going to wink my eye a couple of times about this, but let's just say I'm thinking about staying close to home (to play college football)," he said.

With Justice Hayes coming in as a slot receiver, the Wolverines still have a bit of room in the class for another true running back - the "big back" complement to slashing Dee Hart - and Rawls could be that guy.

Elsewhere in running backs, FL RB DeVondrick Nealy still favors Michigan ($, info in header). His skill set is more on the Hart/Hayes end of the spectrum, so I'd be surprised if Michigan's coaches accepted a commitment from him.

Also on offense, Michigan is looking for a tight end. NJ TE Jack Tabb has narrowed his list to 6 ($, info in header), and will take just a couple more visits before coming to a decision, hopefully by Christmas. If he doesn't commit to the Wolverines, recent offeree OH TE Darien Bryant might get increased heat.

The Wolverines are also seeking another offensive lineman, with IL OL Chris Bryant the most likely option. Bryant is on the verge of an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header), and will announce a commitment in early January. Can the  Buckeyes catch up to his current favorites?

Player Breakdowns

Rivals has started rolling out their Position Superlative rankings (they've done the offense, and have only done D-line thus far on the other side of the ball). Michigan commits and targets feature:

I'll recap once more if Michigan targets and/or commits are ranked in the defensive back 7.

Elsewhere in evaluations, Poole1Dan passed along a first-hand report on MI RB Commit Justice Hayes:

Hayes is not a Big Ten caliber running back, at least not from what I saw in the Milford game. But as a slot receiver, he's pretty good. He displayed excellent body control on the 21 yard TD catch and could be dangerous in a Steve Breaston way on bubble screens. He could motion into the backfield and be a poor mans Percy Harvin (something Michigan has yet to deploy with any of their slots in the RichRod era). With his agility and vision, he might be Michigan's answer at punt returner, which has been a disaster ever since Breaston graduated.

As always, take one-game scouting reports with a grain of salt, but as this seems to corroborate a lot of what we've heard about Justice so far, it's worth paying attention to.

Upcoming Visits

Josh Helmholdt talks about the visit weekends coming up over the next two weeks, including a group of five this weekend:

Michigan will kick off its December official visit period with five official visitors this weekend. Commitments like Cass Tech cornerback Delonte Hollowell, Plymouth defensive end Brennen Beyer and Fremont (Ohio) Ross cornerback Greg Brown will be joined by uncommitted prospects Wayne Lyons of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard and Blake Countess of Owings Mills (Md.) Good Counsel.

Tom's weekly update touches on Lyons's visit. Helmholdt also mentions a host of prospects for the Big Chill:

Recruits who have already scheduled their official visits to coincide with the Big Chill include Chicago Simeon offensive lineman Chris Bryant; Cleveland Glenville teammates Cardale Jones and Shane Wynn; Holland West Ottawa linebacker Desmond Morgan; Winter Springs, Fla.; linebacker Ryan Petro, and West Branch Ogemaw Heights defensive end Anthony Zettel.

Tom will keep us updated on the latest as the weeks go on (including a January visit from top KY LB Lamar Dawson), so stay tuned.

Etc.

Josh Helmholdt says that OH CB Greg Brown and FL RB Dee Hart are the only currently-committed recruits planning to enroll early. Brown tells him:

"I'm just focusing on finishing my high school education next month and in those following couple weeks, I will be enrolling at Michigan to play ball for the Wolverines," Brown said. "I just can't wait to get in the Big House in front of those 110,000 fans and play some football."

As mentioned in yesterday's Friday Night Lights post, Hart will be formally invited to the US Army All-American Bowl tomorrow, so I'll have full coverage of the announcement next week.

There are several other prospects considering Michigan who are looking into early enrollment, including NC WR/LB Kris Frost and GA S Avery Walls, both participants in the Army All-American Game, who plan to announce their commitments at that time.

Tom's Weekly Update has a few pictures of TX LB Commit Kellen Jones alongside some former Michigan greats.

Happy Trails

We've been wondering is NC QB Marquise Williams would decommit from North Carolina, but if he does, it seems like Virginia Tech, not Michigan, will be his destination. He remains an unhappy-face on the recruiting board, but I won't remove him quite yet.

GA DE Ray Drew has narrowed to a final 6, not including Michigan.

OH LB Percy Johnson, an ex-pat from Michigan, has committed to Cincinnati.

2012

MD WR/S Deontay McManus has received a Michigan offer.

Wednesday Recruitin' Is Not Comin To Your Citaay

Wednesday Recruitin' Is Not Comin To Your Citaay

Submitted by Tim on November 3rd, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the F riday Night Lights series.

Visits Off, Visits On

hartgateway.jpg

Though Tom devoted his weekly update to the extensive visitors list from Dr. Phillips, those players are no longer planning to attend the Illinois game this weekend. It sounds like a scheduling issue - making it into Ann Arbor by noon when you play a game the night before is tough - but Michigan had better start putting some wins together if recruiting is to continue.

Speaking of those non-visitors this weekend, Michigan's top recruit FL RB Demetrius Hart - gulp - might be reconsidering his commitment. [Ed-M: I had to guess this is the link he meant. Tim?] Pls win, team.

OH QB Cardale Jones might visit Ann Arbor on December 10th ($, info in header).

Michigan's coaches were trying to get IL OL Chris Bryant into town this weekend, but he's not sure if he'll be able to work out the scheduling with his game Friday night. Illinois is also on his list of favorites, so it could be a particularly interesting game if he makes it.

AZ OL Cyrus Hobbi, who has been quiet regarding Michigan lately, is still trying to work on a Michigan visit.

Though Michigan still leads, Michigan State is "closing the gap" in the recruitment of MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel. He has trimmed his list to Michigan, MSU, Penn State, Iowa, and USC, and will take his official visit to Ann Arbor for the Big Chill.

...And Here's The Kicker!

According to Sam Webb on the WTKA Recruiting Roundup this morning, CA K Matt Goudis will visit this weekend. He's currently a Boise State commit, unrated by Rivals and ESPN but the #5 kicker nationally to Scout.

grochowski.jpeg

A tipster in Florida tells us that FL K Dan Grochowski is hearing from Michigan:

Michigan asked for film on FG from the ground (not a tee) and they provided that including a 60 yarder that was good (from a kicking camp). "Michigan is recruiting the right way", according to the brother, Michigan is not making promises or talking shit to Dan they are talking to coaches and have indicated that if the film looks good and Dan is interested an offer might be coming. One negative for Michigan is that they do not have a kicking coach. He also indicated that Dan DVR's EVERY MI game and watches the game during the week with his entire family.

A local fluff article fills in some details on Grochowski's abilities.

Since he's not coming to Michigan either way, allow me to link an article about MI K Kyle Brindza and be sad.

Other Updates

Rivals runs down a list of East Coast prospects, including a few of interest to Michigan. NC QB Marquise Williams:

Sources say that Virginia Tech has a slight lead over Michigan and North Carolina, with LSU trying to make a push and N.C. State hoping he takes his official in mid-November. As time passes, it seems less likely that Williams will stick with the Heels.

...and moving on to NC WR/LB Kris Frost:

If Michigan finishes strong, Frost is likely to end up in Ann Arbor. However, his other favorite is Auburn and it could end up playing for a national title... Frost will take an official to Ann Arbor in November and also take an official to Auburn.

Finally, VA LB Curtis Grant hasn't officially eliminated Michigan, and Rivals reports they're still in the mix, so it's notable that he's been selected to the Army All-American Bowl.

MI RB Thomas Rawls has been named the MVP of his league. That's unsurprising, as he's been smashing local records left and right.

Michigan and West Virginia still lead for FL Slot WR Prince Holloway, but he has added Florida and USF to his list ($, info in header). Those schools have the advantage of location over his top schools.

FL DT Tim Jernigan clarifies Florida's standing on his list to Ed Aschoff:

Thursday, Jernigan maintained that Florida is still a school outside of his favorite list, but hasn’t completely taken the Gators off his radar.

“Could things change? Of course, yes, it can change,” Jernigan told reporters following Columbia’s 25-11 loss to Jacksonville Ed White. “I still have three months and I still keep in contact with some of the coaches down there. It’s not like I blew them completely away, but I have my favorite four.”

With his high school season reaching an early end, Jernigan's decision timeframe has accelerated. Playing time will be his main consideration, which means Michigan should be ridiculously difficult to top. For the record, his coach says he "really enjoyed" his time in Ann Arbor, and the decision will come "down to the wire."

desmondmorgan.jpg

Tom spoke with recent offeree MI LB Desmond Morgan about his recruitment. The moneyshot:

TOM: Since you're a Michigan fan a lot of people think that it would make sense to commit right away, and get it over with. Is that how you feel it will play out?

DESMOND: No, before the recruiting process started my dad and I said that we were going to take our time with everything, and just let it play out. We still want to stick to that game plan, and just see how it goes. .. We want to go up to Michigan, probably after my season, and meet with the coaches, see the facilities, and everything that Michigan has to offer. I want to make sure I feel comfortable with everything, and not just make a rash decision.

Although he isn't saying Michigan leads, it certainly sounds like that's the case. Depending on how things play out over the rest of the season, there's a good chance he ends up in maize and blue. Local fluff on the offer. Desmond led his team to an upset of Grand Haven in round 1 of the state playoffs.

Josh Helmholdt updates the recruitment of FL CB Dallas Crawford and his teammate WR Sammy Watkins in the Free Press.

Both players says they will be making their college selections independent of one another, but they are close friends who have taken several trips together. If one commits before the other, that school will likely become to team to beat for the remaining half of the pair.

That quote is particularly encouraging, given that Crawford has named Michigan his leader. The pair is planning a winter trip to Ann Arbor, their third visit this year.

Michigan still leads for LA CB Daren Kitchen, he tells Sam Webb ($, info in header). The possibility for an instant commitment from Kitchen may be why the staff is confident in waiting to offer him.

Happy Trails, OH LB Sean Duggan, who committed to Boston College.

2012

Local fluff on Austintown (OH) Fitch High School, which hosts a trio of Michigan targets in RB William Mahone, QB Demitrious Davis, and WR/DB Chris Davis. Tom also talked about Mahone in his weekly update.

Chicago Simeon is loaded with prospects this year, including a talented signal caller in 2012's Robert Gregory:

This season, Gregory has led Simeon to a 9-0 record by throwing 23 touchdown passes and rushing for 17 scores.

Among the schools showing interest in Gregory are Notre Dame, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State and Arizona. For now Gregory prefers to focus on his junior football season rather than recruiting, but he did say he likes Oregon, Michigan and Ohio State.

Should Michigan land Bryant, they'll have a leg up on both Gregory and 2012 OL Jordan Diamond.

PA OL Tyler Alt was on hand to see Michigan fall at Penn State ($, info in header). Alt's dad e-mails us to inform that Tyler has been invited to the US Army Junior Combine.

IL DT Tommy Schutt holds a Michigan offer.

Wednesday Recruitin' Fills the Class

Wednesday Recruitin' Fills the Class

Submitted by Tim on October 27th, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the F riday Night Lights series.

This week, Wednesday Recruitin' goes overview. This isn't a comprehensive list of prospects that are considering Michigan, but a look at several of the more likely guys to end up in the Wolverines' class. Tom published a Best Guess list last weekend, as well.

QB

kevinsousa.JPG

UMGoBlog has an interesting interview with FL QB Commit Kevin Sousa (at right), in which he says he's not hearing from Michigan as much as he'd like:

He'll visit Middle Tennessee State this weekend [10/24]. He will also visit Louisville and Wake Forest later in the season and hopes to get two more officials planned soon.

The reason?

"My commitment to Michigan is the same as their commitment to me. I want to be their guy but I was also told that they are going after another quarterback. "

That quarterback is obviously NC QB Marquise Williams, who visited for the Michigan State game (and is up for the National Player of the Year award). Williams is committed to North Carolina, but one must assume he's not particularly excited about suffering through 3-4 years of severe NCAA sanctions, so that commitment is soft.

Whichever guy Michigan ends up with, it's likely there will only be one quarterback in this class when all is said and done.

RB/Slot

FL RB Demetrius Hart is committed, but Michigan is still pursuing a couple guys who could play running back or slot receiver.

FL RB/Slot DeVondrick Nealy is more of a combo guy than fellow Floridian Prince Holloway, but both have the Wolverines high on their lists, and are candidates to fill the spot.

NJ Slot Miles Shuler is still considering Michigan, and was recently named to the Army All-American game.

WR/TE

With OH WR AJ Jordan coming off the board to Wisconsin and VA WR Quinta Funderburke headed to Arkansas, there are dwindling options at outside wide receiver in this class. It appears the Wolverines want another wideout only if it's a top guy, but definitely want to take a tight end.

chrisgallon.jpg

FL WR Chris Gallon (at right) has started picking up interest from some of college football's big boys, including the Wolverines:

"I'm considering all schools that have offered right now [Colorado State, Memphis, FAU, BGSU]," said Gallon, who visited Florida Atlantic last season. "My cousin (DeAndre Williams) plays at FAU and he likes it a lot and we both pretty much like the same thing."

Michigan, Nebraska, USF, Miami and Iowa State have also shown an increased interest in Gallon, who leads the Panthers with 317 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns on 15 catches.

Gallon is yet another member of the Dr. Phillips group, and if Michigan continues to pick up interest, Dee Hart could help secure his commitment. Gallon is a tall wideout, listed between 6-4 and 6-5, and he could end up as a tight end if he lands with Michigan.

Fluff on FL WR Sammy Watkins, including the tidbit that Michigan sent coaches to watch his game on Friday (teammate Dallas Crawford is mentioned below).

There are a few more tight end prospects considering Michigan, such as recent visitor Drew Owens, but it seems like the Wolverines will have to wait to see how it all shakes out.

OL

The Wolverines are stockpiling linemen in this class, with Jack Miller, Tony Posada, and Jake Fisher already committed, and a couple more realistic prospects out there. Only one or two more will probably land in this class.

IL OL Chris Bryant has scheduled his Michigan official visit ($, info in header) for December 10th.

DT

Michigan may be in dire need of a defensive tackle or two in the class, and they're going hard after a few guys.

FL DT Tim Jernigan, who visited a couple weeks ago, has dropped Florida - who many presumed to be his favorite - from his tops schools list, and now has a top four of Michigan, LSU, Florida State, and Alabama.

The Wolverines are getting renewed interest from DC DT Kevin McReynolds.

DE

Though the Wolverines already have OH DE Chris Rock and MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer committed, they're going after other defensive ends (which could mean Rock ends up at defensive tackle).

Freep fluff on MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel, whom Josh Helmholdt calls "arguably the top prospect on left on [sic] their board." He keeps pushing back his decision timeframe:

He expects to start taking official visits once his senior season is complete and decide following those trips. Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa and USC appear the most likely at this time to receive official visits.

It seems as though the Wolverines still lead, and as long as they're able to win a few more games this year, things look pretty good for Zettel.

Serious fluff on GA DE Ray Drew. He's a much more likely option if his buddy, GA S Avery Walls, picks the Wolverines.

PA DE Deion Barnes will visit after the season, and won't decide before January.

LB

TX LB Kellen Jones and OH/VA LB Antonio Kinard are both in Michigan's class already, but the Wolverines are still in need of some LB talent.

NC LB/WR Kris Frost has a top four of Auburn, Michigan, Florida, UCLA, and Cal

OH LB Sean Duggan has Michigan in his final four, but has put the recruiting process on hold until after his season.

Both premium sites ($, info in headers) mention that an in-state linebacker was recently offer, and that happens to be MI LB Desmond Morgan:

He also has a mid-season highlight reel that can only be watched on Youtube. Morgan is currently a 3-star prospect with offers from a few MAC schools and Boston College.

VA LB Travis Hughes has eliminated Michigan.

S

Michigan is looking for at least one true safety in this class, and maybe more.

GA S Avery Walls and FL S Wayne Lyons are two prime candidates to fill that spot, with Walls receiving a recent visit from Greg Robinson.

FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix and Karlos Williams are both committed to elsewhere, but will consider Michigan (unlikely though it may be that they actually switch commitments).

CB

Local fluff on LA CB Daren Kitchen and his buddy Jermaine Johnson, a Memphis commit. The article says that schools are waiting to evaluate Kitchen against better competition, which is an accurate assessment, methinks.

Michigan is no longer on the list for VA CB Demetrious Nicholson.

2012

Josh Helmholdt talks early offers in the Free Press, and concludes that the (idiotic) change in NCAA rules hasn't slowed that process down.

Michigan has only offered a couple quarterbacks in the class of 2012, but it seems that one of them, FL QB Bennie Coney, can't seem to keep himself out of trouble. With the negative PR swirling around Ann Arbor, I doubt Rich Rodriguez would be able to take a chance on this kid.

I talked about OH QB/Ath Demitrious Davis last week, and his teammate William Mahone is looking at Michigan as well ($, info in header).

Fluff on IL OL Dan Voltz. With a commitment coming at the end of his junior season, the lack of a Michigan mention probably means the Wolverines don't stand much of a chance.

PA OL Tyler Alt will visit Penn State for the Michigan game this weekend. He's already been to Ann Arbor this fall, and is very interested in the Wolverines.

wormleyvisit.jpeg

OH DE Chris Wormley (at right) is the subject of last week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:

"It is Michigan and Ohio State at the top," stated Wormley matter-of-factly. "I don't really have them one-two right now, but they are definitely at the top."

At this early stage in his recruitment Wormley remains wide open to overtures from any schools. However, it is abundantly clear the Wolverines and Buckeyes have a few built-in advantages that will make them major players in his recruitment until the very end.

As you may recall, Wormley received his Michigan offer at the Iowa game a week ago, and conventional wisdom - even among Buckeye fans - has him eventually landing with the Wolverines.