Friday Recruitin' Cuts News Out Of Whole Cloth

Friday Recruitin' Cuts News Out Of Whole Cloth

Submitted by Ace on August 3rd, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Today's recruiting roundup is relatively light after a calm week following the BBQ, but there's still much to talk about, including Derrick Green, the E.J. Levenberry non-story, and some 2014 updates.

Wait, That Randy Edsall?

SBNation's Bud Elliott takes on the trend of early commitments and even earlier offers in college football recruiting, an issue I briefly addressed in yesterday's mailbag. He focuses on the practice of schools giving out hundreds of verbal offers—with various levels of commitability, if I'm allowed to completely make up words—since the NCAA pushed back the date when players can receive written offers (for the class of 2013, written offers couldn't go out until this Wednesday).

Elliott doesn't come up with much of a solution for the spate of early verbal offers—he suggests moving up the date when written offers are allowed to go out, even though he acknowledges that in the current structure written offers bear the same level of binding agreement as verbal offers: none. Personally, I think the NCAA is going to have to institute an early signing period like they have for basketball. The process is only speeding up, and an early signing period allows for a little more stability for both coaches and players, with the added benefit of saving committed players the hassle of dealing with other coaches trying to flip their commitment all the way through signing day.

Anyway, Elliott brought up the topic to several coaches at ACC Media Day, and leave it to the conference's running joke of a coach, Maryland's Randy Edsall, to... say something really insightful?

Edsall was also the only coach to discuss the new NCAA qualifying rules that will impact the class of 2015.

"It just doesn't make sense to me [to offer players early] because you have new rules that are going to go into effect where you've got to have a 2.3 [GPA] and a 1020 [SAT] in order to be eligible. We don't know until the end of that kid's junior year if he's even going to be on track to do that."

"The NCAA talks about education and APR? And all this stuff? And then they're allowing us to go and recruit kids and then thinking about making this the wild west where you can text a kid as much as you want? I mean, what are we doing? There's no wonder kids who are 12, 13, who think they're entitled. We're creating part of the problem. I just don't get it. Where is the leadership coming from in terms of allowing open season on all these kids who aren't mature enough to be able to handle all this recruiting?"

In a few years we're going to see schools scrambling to replace the academic casualty who's been committed to them for years, and while Randy Edsall probably won't be at Maryland at that point he'll still be very, very right.

Thanks, Auburn?

VA RB Derrick Green named his top six yesterday, with Michigan, Auburn, Oregon, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Virginia Tech comprising the list. Of those schools, Michigan and Auburn are the two regarded as favorites, and the recent decommitent of four-star RB Greg Bryant from Oklahoma could swing that race decidedly in Michigan's favor, according to 247's J.C. Shurburtt:

That leaves us with the question- where will Bryant land? Best guess at this point is Auburn. Reports indicated the Tigers and South Carolina were his top two choices with Georgia also in the mix. Auburn makes the most sense based on everything that is known at this time.

Bryant to AU leaves us with another question. How does that impact four-star running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) and where he will land? The Tigers will take one more back. They like both Bryant and Green, but it’s highly doubtful they take both and unless a new school makes a charge, they are getting Bryant. 



Shurburtt speculates that would be enough for the Wolverines to land Green. For what it's worth, Green told Mike Farrell that he has no current timeline, but would like to take some officials ($):

So now that Green is down to six, what's next?

"I am focusing on the season, we are in two-a-days now," he said. "I'd like to get this down to three schools sometime soon if I can, but I'm not sure of any timeframe right now. I'll obviously take some official visits as well but I'm not sure where and when yet."

Though Green's recruitment could very well stretch into the season, Michigan is in a very strong position to land him.

Mike Farrell: Troll King?

Remember E.J. Levenberry, the linebacker recruit who chose Florida State over Michigan all the way back in April? Since Michigan has claimed to be full at linebacker since even before Ben Gedeon committed, Wolverine fans haven't given him a second thought. That is, until Wednesday, when Mike Farrell posted a letter from Levenberry's father on The Wolverine's message board that strongly hinted at a decommitment and ended thusly ($);

Right now I have to say my son made the right decision in choosing Jimbo and FSU but that Michigan degree and Greg Mattison's relationship with my son are hard to resist.

Farrell "confirmed" with Levenberry's father that E.J. would take an official visit to Ann Arbor for the Michigan State game. Recruitment back on, start your engines, buckle up, and all that noise, right? Not so fast, my friend; Sam Webb caught wind of the news and swiftly shot down any misconceptions about Levenberry's recruitment:

In other words, the circumstances at Michigan didn't change one bit, and Levenberry's dad almost certainly didn't check with the coaches before floating the official visit idea out there. 20 minutes after Webb's tweet, Farrell backpedals:

"Just like that," eh? This is the problem with premium recruiting websites; if Farrell wanted to get the right story out there, he would've checked into Michigan's scholarship situation before posting that to a Michigan recruiting message board. HOWEVA, he knew that post would cause a stir and get a lot of clicks whether Michigan could take him or not. The result, of course, is that he posts, people freak out, and then Webb has to come along and insert some reality into the situation, but Rivals gets a nice spike in pageviews.

Even worse is that Farrell acknowledges he was probably played by Levenberry's father, who's likely trying to give FSU's coaching staff a wake-up call by talking up Michigan and Oklahoma:

SIGH.

2014 News

Sam Webb's latest at the DetNews is a profile on IL CB Parrker Westphal, who's now visited Michigan twice after attending the BBQ. In case you haven't followed along, Westphal's position coach in high school is none other than former Michigan CB Todd Howard. Guess where he expects Westphal to end up?

"For me, I always said that I wanted to coach and get somebody to go to Michigan," Howard admitted to Scout.com. "I want our kids to go where they can go, the best choice for them, and where they'll be able to max-out their potential. Of course, I'm biased toward Michigan. I pulled Parrker aside before he even enrolled in high school and I said, 'You're going to go to Michigan.' I looked at his dad and said that and they said, 'You think so?' I guess one Wolverine can always pick out another."

Westphal himself also discussed his recent visit and may have unwittingly given us some insight into why Michigan doesn't yet have a 2014 commit:

When the time came to talk recruiting, the conversation was brief and to the point.

"Coach (Jeff Hecklinski) was telling me he doesn't want me to commit now because it's too early," Parrker said. "He just wants me to take my time."

Westphal doesn't claim any leaders at this time, though Michigan stands out among the schools he's visited. He looks like a candidate for an early commitment and the Wolverines would likely be the choice if that's what he does.

Webb also talked to OH LB Michael Ferns after the BBQ, and Ferns offered some insight into his potential timeline ($):

I still plan on waiting until mid-junior year, or the end of my junior year to commit because I feel like that would be a great time. By then, I’ll have a good understanding of what I want, and I’ll have seen enough to make a decision.

When pressed for a leader, Ferns admitted that Michigan is his favorite, with the caveat that they'd had the advantage of a return trip that his other top schools—Notre Dame and Penn State—have not had yet.

Tremendous caught up with MD CB Troy Vincent Jr.—son of the former NFL cornerback—after his BBQ visit, and for some reason this is one of my favorite quotes from a recruit [emphasis mine]:

Help Michigan?: "I wouldn't say it helped Michigan. I look at it more as them successfully reinforcing what I already believed about them. The visit confirmed a lot of thoughts for me with them and allowed my parents to draw their own conclusions as well".

Full steam ahead for the Brady Hoke Hype Train.

Quickly: Another 2014 quarterback to watch is VA QB Caleb Henderson, who "wants to pursue Michigan" after visiting for the BBQ ($). Matt Pargoff assembles lists of ten 2014 receivers and ten 2014 running backs to watch. Recruiting message boards are really special places, you guys.

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Relevant For A Limited Time

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Relevant For A Limited Time

Submitted by Ace on April 24th, 2012 at 1:00 PM

This recruiting roundup will self-destruct in two hours...

Levenberry Annoucement

VA LB E.J. Levenberry makes his choice between Michigan and Florida State at 3 pm today. His family has done a good job of keeping the choice a secret; the only insider who seems willing to make a prediction is Rivals's Mike Farrell, who's unfortunately leaning towards FSU. We'll find out soon if he's right.

Ohio State Cleans Up, and What That Means for Michigan

It's rare to kick off the meat of the recruiting roundup with players who committed elsewhere, but Ohio State's big weekend could have major—and positive—ramifications for Michigan's class. In a move that surprised no one, FL DE Joey Bosa committed to the Buckeyes last weekend, along with PA LB Alex Anzalone (Michigan offer) and NC DE Lewis Neal (no M offer).

While it's never fun to see Ohio State pick up a five-star defensive end, the addition of Bosa (along with Neal) could give Michigan a boost in the race for MD DT Henry Poggi. OSU will take a relatively small class this year, probably in the neighborhood of 18 recruits, and they now sit at 13 commits, four of them defensive linemen; the odds that they take another are slim. That could turn the race for Poggi into a Michigan/Alabama affair, though he recently told Scout's Kristen Kenney that he has no timetable for his decision and hasn't yet narrowed down his favorites ($).

Might as well clear out the two other happy trails from this week: MA OL John Montelus committed to Notre Dame, while MD QB Shane Cockerille—who Michigan was recruiting as a defensive back—picked Maryland.

Running Backs: Two Options Still Out There, Plus a New 2014 Offer

One player being pursued by both Michigan and Ohio State is VA RB Derrick Green. Green is currently favoring Clemson, but a misleading quote popped up on the MGoBoard today—"Michigan will be hard to say no to"—that I wanted to clear up. That quote was taken from a Tweet that unfortunately wasn't linked (use links, people!), so I can't find it, but here's the actual full quote from a recent interview with 247's Clint Brewster [$, emphasis mine]:

“Even though I have named Clemson my top school I would still say I’m pretty open,” said Green. “I’m probably going to narrow my list down early or late summer after I make some more visits. “Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Clemson are going to be tough to say no to and things could always change, especially as I take more visits.”

So, yes, Michigan is still a factor, but that was more a quote about how Green will have a tough time turning away any schools from his top group. It does sound like Michigan is still in hot pursuit of Green, however.

Speaking of running backs, Sam Webb tweeted that Michigan dropped by the school of IL RB Ty Isaac yesterday. EdgyTim.com has a recent update on Isaac's recruitment in which he gives an idea of his current timeline ($):

"I just don't see myself going past September 1st but I also don't want to set any hard deadline for now. I also don't see me taking five official visits and I'll most likely just take one official visit to the school I decide on. When I know my school I'm going to be 100 percent committed and I just don't want to rush things. It could happen next week but if I don't feel 100 percent comfortable with my decision I'll wait and take as much time as I need."

I'd have to think that if Isaac doesn't take any more unofficial visits, Michigan would be the prohibitive favorite over USC and Notre Dame.

Michigan offered a 2014 running back this week, Jonathan Hilliman from St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey. Hilliman already holds offers from Boston College, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, Rutgers, and Penn State; you can check out Aquaman's post-offer interview with him here.

Quickly: Michigan is in the top eight ($, info in header) for PA ATH Chavas Rawlins, a quarterback being recruited by the Wolverines as a wide receiver. Michigan hasn't yet offered Rawlins. Free Rivals article on 2014 DE Da'Shawn Hand, potentially the #1 rising junior in the country, who already holds a Michigan offer.

Morris Bounces Back at NLA 7-on-7

Shane Morris and the MaxEx Detroit squad headed to Pittsburgh for the NLA 7-on-7 tournament, making it to the semifinals before being upset by the Michigan Elite Red team. 247's Barton Simmons ranked Morris as the #2 performer of the weekend, only behind IN LB Jaylon Smith:

Dealing with the elements of Saturday during pool play, Morris had his ups and downs like the rest of the quarterbacks at the event but when Sunday rolled around and the stakes were raised to “lose and you go home”, Morris picked his game up noticeably.

Granted, there were no rushers bearing down on him, but you’re not going to find a more calm and collected demeanor in the pocket than Morris. He has good touch, the ability to change speeds effectively and great confidence in his arm. Morris continued to look like one of the nation’s top arms on Sunday.

Simmons also had Jourdan Lewis as his #9 weekend performer, noting that he was one of the "best pure athletes" in the competition.

While only 247 has released team rankings among the four recruiting services (Michigan is #1), two other publications—MaxPreps and the Sporting News—came out with 2013 team rankings this week. Not surprisingly, Michigan tops the list on both. Here's the take at MaxPreps:

The owner of the nation's new No. 1 class, Michigan is seemingly unstoppable on the recruiting front. The Wolverines boast more depth, diversity and talent than any other class. The class features six Top 100 players among its 17 commits, the most in the country. Amazingly it stands to add even more to its riches, as Laquon Treadwell and Ty Isaac both could land in Ann Arbor while E.J. Levenberry and Kendall Fuller remain possibilities on the defensive side of the ball. McDowell will be a national recruit on the defensive line next year. Expect Michigan to target possible 2014 No. 1 Da'Shawn Hand as well, as the Wolverines have established a firm presence in the Northern Virginia area and could prove to be a factor.

The Sporting News has a similarly glowing assessment.

Quickly: Andy Staples analyzes the NFL mock draft based on recruiting rankings, reminding you that yes, they very much matter. Chantel Jennings on Michigan gunning for the top-ranked class in 2013 ($).

Friday Recruitin' Goes On Commit Watch

Friday Recruitin' Goes On Commit Watch

Submitted by Ace on April 20th, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses E.J. Levenberry's impending announcement, the status of Su'a Cravens, a big-time new 2014 offer, and much more.

Levenberry Announcement Set for Tuesday

VA LB E.J. Levenberry has long been one of the top targets on Michigan's board, with the coaching staff holding open a spot for him despite turning away several top-flight linebackers recently. Come Tuesday at 3 pm, we'll find out if he's using that spot, as Levenberry will make his choice between Michigan and Florida State. The tea leaves are difficult to read on this one. Rivals national analyst Mike Farrell has long maintained that the Seminoles held the lead, but after Levenberry's visit for the Spring Game weekend, he's backing off a bit from that stance. Scout's Kristen Kenney caught up this week with E.J.'s father ($), who says it's currently "dead even" between the two schools. The latest Michigan visit did make a big impact, however:

"Brady Hoke is building something special at Michigan. The coaching staff there is like regular people. It's a family place, and that stood out to us. Put it this way, we were at the spring game and 400 or more guys who used to play for the school came back to the game. That speaks volumes as to what that program means to people."

By all accounts, this will be a toss-up. We'll find out next week if Michigan can add another four-star linebacker to the fold.

Another blue-chip defender also set an announcement date this week, though Michigan's chances look less strong in this case. CA S Su'a Cravens posted on Twitter that he'll make his choice on June 6th, his mom's birthday (awww). After entire minutes of fretting that Cravens has yet to visit Michigan, the five-star safety also posted that he'll take unofficial visits before his decision; though he's declined to name the schools he'll visit, the Wolverines presumably would get a trip. Still, given that he's already got a date in mind, it's logical to think that he's also got a school in mind; the general consensus is that school is USC. Cravens recently told Scout's Brandon Huffman($) about interest in Alabama and intended trips to Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State, so those schools appear to comprise his final group along with the Trojans and UCLA. Unless he has a game-changing visit to Ann Arbor—not out of the question with this staff—I'd presume Cravens will stay in-state.

Xxplosive/West Coast... Er, Receiver

Sam Webb's latest DetNews profile is on CA WR Sebastian Larue, who's emerged as one of the team's top targets at wideout. Larue states in the article that he currently has no favorites, but would "definitely" like to visit Michigan; he also has family from Flint, which gives the Wolverines a nice in. Brandon Huffman also provides a scouting report:

"He very well could be the most explosive pass catcher in the region," said Scout.com West regional manager Brandon Huffman. "He's a true game-breaker at receiver and kick and punt returns, and is electric in the open field. He's the kind of athlete capable of catching a little 5-yard hitch, making five or six guys miss, and taking it to the house. He has strong hands and is not just a deep threat; he's a polished and smooth route runner who knows how to get open."

Yes, please.

Speaking of receivers, IL WR Laquon Treadwell spoke with Webb about his Spring Game visit ($), and while most presumed this was the case, it's always nice to get confirmation:

To date Treadwell hasn’t settled on a list of favorites nor has he determined which schools he plans to officially with possible exception.  Will Ann Arbor be one of his destinations?

“Yeah, I think so,” he replied.

Meanwhile, five-star MD CB Kendall Fuller told Scout's Kristen Kenney($) that Michigan "felt like a second home," in large part because of his relationship with former Good Counsel teammate Blake Countess. It's still an uphill battle for Fuller with his two older brothers having played at Virginia Tech, but it looks like the Wolverines have a realistic shot, which I wouldn't have said two weeks ago.

247's Steve Wiltfong tweeted that IL RB Ty Isaac will not visit any more schools this spring. I'd take that as a positive, since Isaac has visited Michigan multiple times and seems to be growing weary of the recruiting process. If he were to decide without taking any more visits, the Wolverines would be the prohibitive favorites.

In 2014 news, Michigan offered 6'2", 225-pound SC ATH K.C. Crosby, who already holds over 20 BCS offers and projects to be one of the top recruits in his class. Crosby projects to either linebacker or tight end, and 247's Clint Brewster reports that Michigan hasn't stated which position they're recruiting Crosby to play ($).

Shane Morris Feature and MOAR Four-Stars

ESPN released this Elite11 video feature on Shane Morris:

Yes, Shane can dunk (a football in this case, though he says he can dunk a basketball as well); we also get some good insight from the Elite11 coaches, who love Morris's arm strength but want to see him dial it back a bit on the shorter routes.

ESPN wasn't the only recruiting service to update their rankings recently, as both Scout and 247 did a little reshuffling of their top lists. The Scout 300 barely changed, as you can see on TTB, though three players—Jourdan Lewis, Gareon Conley, and Jaron Dukes—got bumped up to four stars.

247 made some changes to their Top247, and while most were relatively minor, five Ohio prospects entered the list. Three of those five are Michigan commits: Ben Gedeon (#171), DeVeon Smith (#230), and Conley (#236). Smith and Conley both seem to be rising in the eyes of scouts, especially Conley, who's picked up four-star ratings from the last three services to update (Scout, ESPN, and now 247, with Rivals being the lone holdout).

After those updates, 15 of Michigan's 17 commits now are four-star or higher on at least three of the four recruiting services. Khalid Hill is now the only commit you can justifiably categorize as a sleeper now that Dukes is a four-star on two sites.

Tuesday Recruitin' Does Snake-Oiling Wrong

Tuesday Recruitin' Does Snake-Oiling Wrong

Submitted by Ace on April 17th, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Today's recruiting roundup feels really, really awful for pushing chunkums's .gif off the top of the page, but the show must go on.

Special Teams Snake Oil

Michigan looks to bolster special teams depth with two walk-on long-snappers in the 2012 class, Taybor Pepper and Tyler Tokarsky, and... wait, what?

Yes, Mark Dantonio yoinked one of Michigan's walk-on long snappers by offering him a scholarship. I... um... okay.

You're My New Favorite! And You're My New Favorite! You're All Favorites!

CA DE Joe Mathis took a trip to Ann Arbor for the Adidas Invitational two weekends ago and left naming Michigan as his leader. Everybody got excited, especially since Mathis is the cousin of five-star CA S Su'a Cravens, but there was reason to exhibit caution. Brian's foreboding words of warning go here:

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.

Well, Mathis swung by Nebraska last weekend and—surprise!—left with a new favorite school ($, info in header). Given that the video embedded in that article features Mathis resplendent in Husker gear, you get zero guesses as to which school that may be. Until the ink is dry on Mathis's LOI, it's best to take his words with a rather gargantuan grain of salt.

Another DE getting a lot of attention this week is Florida four-star Joey Bosa, who followed up a great visit to Ohio State by checking out Michigan's spring game. Bosa tweeted out that he didn't want to leave Columbus, then set off a bit of a firestorm by saying he was headed to see "that place up north," a tweet he later deleted. According to Scout's Bill Greene ($), Bosa now lists Michigan in his top six with Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Florida, and Wisconsin, though Bosa also says his Buckeye visit "gave me a feeling like no other school I've been to." Bosa's now set to visit Ohio State again for their spring game, and here's another of his tweets that he later deleted:

Yeah, color me skeptical that Michigan is really in this one. Don't be surprised if Bosa is a Buckeye by this time next week.

Talking About Recruits Who Might End Up At Michigan

What about the guys who could actually end up blue, you ask? There were several on campus for Saturday's festivities, including VA LB E.J. Levenberry. GBW's Andre Barthwell has a two-part article on Levenberry's visit ($)—quote in the title: "I loved it!"—and it sounds like that mid-August decision timeline is a bit flexible:

“We are just taking our time," said E.J., "and seeing the schools that me and my family want to see ... and then a decision will be make [sic]."

And Mr. Levenberry [Ed: E.J.'s father] adds:

“As far as a decision we are just going to make sure he looks at every school so that we as a family can help him make the most informed decision that he can."

This still appears to be a race between Michigan and Florida State, and this time around E.J. brought his mother, the next step in the Levenberry process of vetting potential schools.

A prospect who appears closer to making a decision is TX DE Christian LaCouture, who narrowed his list to Michigan, LSU, and Nebraska after his visit, according to Tim Sullivan ($, info in header). LaCouture plans on taking another trip to both Ann Arbor and Lincoln and making his decision before his senior season; that's a great sign for the Wolverines in the immediate aftermath of a visit.

Five-star MD CB Kendall Fuller was also on campus for the spring game, and he tells 247's Clint Brewster that he thinks he'll take an official visit back to Ann Arbor in the fall ($). Virginia Tech is still the presumed—though not stated, at least by Fuller—leader, but an official would give Michigan a puncher's chance, especially with former Good Counsel teammate Blake Countess in their corner. Fuller plans to make his decision by the Army All-American game.

Also enjoying the trip was 2014 MI DE Malik McDowell, whose father told Sam Webb that Greg Mattison impressed both him and his son by saying Malik could be the next Terrell Suggs ($). That's high praise indeed, but Mattison coached Suggs, and McDowell has the potential to be one of the nation's top prospects.

Quickly: CA ATH Elijah Qualls names Michigan to his top eight ($, info in header). Four-star CA DE Kylie Fitts has USC and UCLA on top of his list, but wants to earn offers from Michigan and Oregon. [Edit: Never mind. Fitts committed to USC over the weekend.] Happy trails to MD LB Dorian O'Daniel (Clemson) and VA S Tim Harris (Virginia). Chantel Jennings on the strong bonds being formed between the members of Michigan's 2013 class ($).

Friday Recruitin' Foresees Morris-to-Wangler

Friday Recruitin' Foresees Morris-to-Wangler

Submitted by Ace on April 13th, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Today's recruiting roundup goes over spring game visitors, discusses E.J. Levenberry's timeline, and much more. Update will be a bit brief, since I have to finish my Notre Dame preview for HTTV (still time to donate --------->) and aw hamburgers I need to rewrite most of it.

Spring Game Visitors, More 2013 Stuff


E.J. Levenberry is one of this weekend's high-profile visitors.

There will be several current commits on campus for tomorrow's Spring Game—including Shane Morris, of course—and you can see the whole list of those guys over at Tremendous. I know most people are interseted in the uncommitted 2013 prospects who will be making the trip, and here's the list as it stands right now:

  • Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas DE Joey Bosa, one of the top players left on the board, is coming off a reportedly solid visit to Ohio State.
  • District Heights (MD) Bishop McNamara DT Darius Commissiong doesn't yet hold an offer, but with the need for depth at the nose the 6'2", 285-pounder could be in line for one in the near future.
  • College Station (TX) A&M Consolidated DE Christian LaCouture is a former Texas A&M commit (surprise!) who could be a tough pull from SEC country—LSU is a major player—but Michigan has a chance to impress in his first trip to campus.
  • Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton LB E.J. Levenberry, whose father recently revealed that he'll make his decision in mid-August ($, info in header). Levenberry recently spent a week at Florida State and is already on campus in Ann Arbor; Oklahoma is also in the mix, and this one could come down to the wire.
  • Olney (MD) Good Counsel CB Kendall Fuller is the top corner in the country and a former teammate of current Michigan CB Blake Countess. If Michigan wants to pull an upset—Fuller has strong family ties to Virginia Tech—the connection with Countess will be key. Fuller recently named Michigan in his top six along with VT, Alabama, Clemson, Maryland, and Tennessee ($).
  • Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, who had to cancel his visit to Oklahoma due to HOLY CRAP TORNADO, is dropping hints—and flat-out telling Shane Morris—that he'll be at the spring game as well. I'm working on getting in touch with Treadwell to confirm. While I was writing this post, Treadwell texted me to confirm. He'll be at the Big House tomorrow.

There will also be several 2014 prospects on campus, including Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell (more on him below) and the Cass Tech crew of LB Gary Hosey, DB Johnny Miggins, WR Damon Webb, and LB William White.

In other 2013 news, Ben Gedeon committed this week, and Allen Trieu has a free breakdown of his game over at Scout:

He's an athletic kid who has played all over the field. His ability to run with the ball in the open field and catch the ball on offense show what kind of athlete the Wolverines are getting. He's going to be able to run to the football and drop into coverage. His team made a nice playoff run last year, but he does not consistently play against top level competition, so he will have more of an adjustment at the college level. That said, he has all of the tools you look for and given the Wolverines' previous linebacker class, he is not a kid who is likely to be pressed into service right away.

Tremendous caught up with Gedeon for a post-commitment interview, where he reveals that he was not a silent commitment this last month, instead waiting to see how a visit to Stanford would go before making his final decision. Also, he says that Dymonte Thomas played a big role in selling Michigan to him. Speaking of Thomas, Ohio State just offered Cleveland Glenville safety Christopher Worley, which could be a sign that they're moving on from the hope of flipping Thomas, since they already have a safety commit in Jayme Thompson and their class is projected to be only around 18 recruits.

Future roommates Thomas and Morris aren't the only Wolverine commits doing a little recruiting of their own, as Kyle Bosch came up to Ann Arbor last weekend to check out the Adidas Invitational and chat up some fellow recruits. He gave Sam Webb an update about the status of Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac ($):

“I think (Isaac) loves (Michigan),” added Bosch.  “I don’t know what he is waiting for to be honest. But I know he went out to USC. I heard he liked it. I still think he likes Michigan, and I think it is a great fit for him.”

Signs continue to be positive on the Isaac front, though there isn't much coming from his camp right now. It's still a waiting game.

There's one recent offer to report: Honolulu (HI) Moanalua DT Scott Pagano picked up offers from Michigan and Cal last week ($, info in header). He's a four-star to Scout and holds offers from most of the Pac-12, among several others.

Elsewhere, Black Shoe Diaries continues their look into enemy recruiting, interviewing Alex Gleitman of 11W.

2014 News

Sam Webb's latest at the DetNews is a profile of McDowell, who earns a glowing review from Trieu:

"Right now if I had to choose, he'd be the top kid in the state for the 2014 class," Trieu said. "He'll have to fend off some competition to hang onto that, but he's a special talent. He is a rare blend of size and athleticism. He moves with the quickness and fluidity of a smaller player. He also has great overall coordination and balance and he bends well — all of which allows him to play with good leverage. As a defender he has a great spin move and swim move, both of which he uses effectively. He needs to keep getting stronger and filling out, though, as he is still a lean 270. Although it's early, I believe he will be in contention for top player in the Midwest, as well."

McDowell isn't revealing much about his recruitment, save that he liked Michigan, MSU, and OSU growing up (I know, I know), and his coach seems to want him to take his time. There are rumblings that he's a potential commit, however, possibly as soon as this weekend, so we'll see if that holds true. Picking up the top rising junior in the state this early would obviously be huge.

A couple sophomores visited campus this past week. Mequon (WI) Homestead DT Brandon Hines called his visit "pretty incredible" but left without an offer ($, info in header); the coaches want to see him in a camp setting before they do anything else. Zeeland (MI) West TE Jordan Van Dort was on campus Monday, and also departed sans offer until further evaluation ($, info in header). At 6'5", 280 pounds, Van Dort won't be a tight end for long; he seems destined for the interior of the offensive line.

One of the emerging prospects at the Adidas Invitational has a familiar name: Warren (MI) De La Salle WR Jack Wangler, son of former Michigan quarterback John Wangler. Young Wangler will be catching passes from Shane Morris this fall after transferring from Royal Oak Shrine, and he'd like to keep that connection going in the future ($):

Wangler says his affinity for Michigan is actually so strong, that he would consider a walk-on offer from the Wolverines even if other schools offered full scholarships.

"My first choice would always be Michigan regardless. I'd rather walk on than take a scholarship anywhere else, but we'll see. Whatever suits me the best, I'm fine with."

Thus far, Wangler is mostly hearing from MAC schools, but his combine performance last weekend could earn him attention from bigger schools.

Quickly: Michigan is showing interest in two 2014 receivers from Canada. Orleans (ONT) St. Peter's Tyrone Pierre, who seems to be an early Oklahoma State lean after patterning his game after Justin Blackmon, and Montreal Buerling's Jaylan Grandison, who plans to camp at Michigan in the summer.

Tuesday Recruiting Gets Chills, Camps, Runs Fast

Tuesday Recruiting Gets Chills, Camps, Runs Fast

Submitted by Brian on April 10th, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Joe Mathis In Play

7_459209[1]mathis_display_image_display_image[1]

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.

 

Ap4wOWlCIAALwko[1]

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

espnhs_devon_allen_arcadia_576x324[1]

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.

Friday Recruitin' Is Full At Linebacker

Friday Recruitin' Is Full At Linebacker

Submitted by Ace on March 16th, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Today's recruiting roundup is short and sweet, because I feel like, well, another 's' word.

Weekend Visitors and O'Daniel/Fuller Update

A refreshing concept: a recruiting site releasing a free list of the weekend's unofficial visitors. Tip o' the cap, Wolverine247. Six 2013 prospects will be in Ann Arbor, and a couple could be nearing decisions:

  • Warren (OH) Howland RB DeVeon Smith, who told Sam Webb that while classes filling up isn't going to factor into his decision, the promise of getting a shot to see the field as a freshman would potentially put Michigan over the top.
  • Pittsburgh (PA) Seton LaSalle TE Scott Orndoff, a Wisconsin decommit who mentioned earlier this week that he's very aware of Michigan's rapidly-dwindling scholarship situation and that could affect his timeline.
  • Richmond (VA) Hermitage RB Derrick Green, the four-star running back who's been lost in the shuffle in discussions about Smith and Ty Isaac. Green has maintained that a decision won't come from him until signing day, however, which makes it unlikely at this juncture that he'd be a part of the class.
  • Baltimore (MD) Gilman DT Henry Poggi, who will be making his third trip to campus. Poggi recently shot down rumors that he was planning to commit this weekend, but he's one of the top targets on the board for Michigan.
  • Detroit Cass Tech S Delano Hill and DT Kenton Gibbs, the only unoffered '13 prospects on campus this weekend. Hill coming to campus in the hopes that Michigan will reciprocate his high interest. He currently holds offers from Illinois, Iowa, and Syracuse. Gibbs, who also has an Illinois offer, also has high praise for the Wolverines but no offer as of yet ($).

Four 2014 prospects from Cass Tech will also visit this weekend, including their entire linebacker corps of William White, Gary Hosey, and Deon Drake. Cass Tech WR Damon Webb and '14 Hinsdale (IL) Central OL Brian Allen round out the visitor list.

The big news so far this week, however, came down yesterday, when linebacker Dorian O'Daniel tweeted that his planned spring game visit to Michigan was cancelled. Subsequent tweets indicated that O'Daniel had been told Michigan is full at linebacker, and this was confirmed by Mike Farrell of Rivals ($). All indications point to the Wolverines landing Ben Gedeon sooner or later, and saving an extra spot in the class for E.J. Levenberry. Farrell also noted that O'Daniel's Good Counsel teammate, five-star corner Kendall Fuller, plans on visiting Ann Arbor for the spring game at least for now, but that situation could easily change ($).

Running Backs, Future Visitors, Etc.

Webb's DetNews feature on DeVeon Smith also included quotes from his older brother Lance, a former Warren Howland standout himself before playing college ball at Wisconsin and Memphis:

"When I was in high school I believe I was 5-10, 190 pounds, and I was running about a 4.5," Lance recalled. "I worked hard in the weight room. I was doing 225 pounds probably about 20 times in high school. I could have been physical if I wanted to, but that's not the style I attacked with. What's different about me and Deveon is I've never ever, including the college level, seen a person run so hard. He doesn't have the moves I had, but I didn't have the power he has."

Michigan fans are obviously keeping a close eye on DeVeon to see what happens with Ty Isaac. Webb talked to Isaac this week to dispel some rumors surrounding his recruitment [emphasis mine] ($):

“I tell people all of the time that I don’t care (about how many backs my suitors recruit),” the five-star runner insisted.  “If that was the case I might as well be going [to] play somewhere that’s really small, that’s not bringing in a lot of players. If I’m afraid to compete with someone in my class, how am I going to compete with someone older or younger than me?”

“Competition makes you better. If you don’t have someone behind you pushing you to be better, you might get sloppy.  If I’m the only back in the class, yeah that’s cool with me… but if I’m not, it’s not a turnoff and I’m not scared of it. I would expect people to be disappointed in me if I was talking like that. As a coach if I heard somebody say that, I’d understand.  But at the same time, to me that sounds like you’re scared of competition.”

It's worth noting that Isaac has split time in the backfield with D-I tailbacks as both a sophomore and junior, so he's very much used to competition. This statement would suggest that Michigan could take both Smith and Isaac if they wanted to commit, though a source tells me the plan is for Michigan to take just two running backs, and that's including Wyatt Shallman. Isaac, as he has maintained, will fly out to USC next Thursday for a weekend visit.

A quick happy trails to WR James Onwualu, who followed in the path of former Cretin-Derham star and family friend Michael Floyd by committing to Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Quickly: Washington (DC) Gonzaga CB Devin Butler will visit March 24th ($, info in header). NJ DE Dajuan Drennon is setting up a visit for the spring game ($, info in header). Tremendous catches up with MA WR Zach Bradshaw after last weekend's visit, and Bradshaw reveals that the coaches are looking to take three WRs in this class. Michigan made an early impression on '14 QB Chandler Kincade after he visited a few weeks ago ($, info in header). The Wolverines are one of several big-name schools currently showing interest in Plainfield (IL) South LB Clifton Garrett, one of the top sophomores in the region ($, info in header). TomVH goes over the top wideout targets in the '13 class ($). LOLMSU.

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Flush With Linebackers

Tuesday Recruitin' Is Flush With Linebackers

Submitted by Ace on March 6th, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Today's recruiting roundup eagerly awaits Mike McCray's decision (and Ben Gedeon's, too?), looks at the other linebackers strongly considering Michigan, and goes over a recent offer plus several interested visitors.

Good Problems: Linebacker Edition

We've been over this before, but Michigan has more linebackers strongly interested in the school than they know what to do with; filling the 2-3 (likely 3) spots at LB could very well come down to who commits the fastest.

If that's the case, Trotwood-Madison (OH) SLB Mike McCray (right) will probably be the first to drop; he could commit as soon as today, and likely no later than tomorrow. McCray told Tremendous that he actually has already made his decision, and his only other move will be to inform the coaches of his choice—there will be no hat game or press conference. He narrowed down his decision to Michigan, Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Carolina and Illinois; while the Vols appeared to be in a strong position for him quite recently, the latest message board scuttlebutt—even among Tennessee partisans—has him pledging to Michigan.

Hudson (OH) MIKE/WILL Ben Gedeon may not be far behind after visiting Ann Arbor last weekend. Sam Webb caught up with Gedeon after his visit, and it's clear the junior is well aware of the scholarship situation at linebacker ($):

“I’m not sure if they want (where things currently stand with linebacker recruiting numbers) out there.”

“I won’t be making a decision tonight, but (the numbers crunch) definitely will be taken into account and could speed (my making a decision) up.”

Gedeon won't name a leader, but it isn't too difficult to read between the lines in this situation.

One linebacker who Michigan will have to wait for—and likely will, given his talent—is Woodbridge (MD) C.D. Hylton's E.J. Levenberry, who confirmed yesterday that the Wolverines are his leader, holding an edge over Florida State. Steve Wiltfong talked to Levenberry last night and got the latest on his timetable ($):

“I’m 100 percent sure I won’t announce until the Army Bowl.”

Alabama and Florida round out the 6-foot-3, 227-pound Levenberry’s top four.

Levenberry plans to visit Michigan for the Wolverines spring game on April 14. He will also try and get to Alabama and Florida State for spring practices.

E.J.'s father told Wiltfong that the coaches have made it clear to him that there will be a scholarship available to the potential five-star prospect; if the Wolverines lock up two linebackers in the near future, they'll likely reserve that last spot for Levenberry.

Oh, but there's more. Four-star Olney (MD) Good Counsel LB Dorian O'Daniel has Michigan in his top group with Clemson and Tennessee, and he'll be visiting Ann Arbor—along with five-star CB teammate Kendall Fuller ($)—for the spring game on April 14th ($). Four-star Matthews (NC) Butler LB Peter Kalambayi, meanwhile, has already visited Michigan once and now has the Wolverines near the top of his list with plans to check out the school again in the near future ($). In the race to grab the two spots not reserved for Levenberry, however, these two blue-chip recruits just might be too late. We'll know much more after this week.

New Offer, Planned Visits, Etc.

There's one recent offer I don't think I've noted here yet, and that went out to Charlotte (NC) Zebulon B. Vance LB Larenz Bryant. Just to be clear, (1) yes, another linebacker, and (2) the school's name is "Zebulon B. Vance," not the player's. Bryant is a four-star and the #86 overall recruit to 247, and he holds most of his offers from SEC and ACC schools.

Massilon (OH) Washington CB Gareon Conley told Sam Webb that Michigan is his leader, and he's scheduled to visit this weekend ($, info in header). Conley is a big—6'1"—corner who's currently rated as a three-star recruit on 247. Another weekend visitor will be College Station (TX) A&M Consolidated OL Christian Lacouture, who just decommitted from Texas A&M, though he still has a lot of interest in the hometown Aggies ($, info in header). He won't be the only offensive lineman in Ann Arbor, as New Lenox (IL) Lincoln Way West four-star Colin McGovern will also be on campus, despite knowing that Michigan doesn't currently have a spot for him ($).

A pair of cornerbacks are also planning future visits. Solon (OH) four-star Darian Hicks will be in Ann Arbor on March 27th, and he says that the Wolverines would vault to the top of his list if he receives an offer ($). Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter's Prep CB Tre Bell, who does hold an offer, is looking to set up a summer visit ($).

Three more prospects want to take visits but haven't set dates yet: Baltimore (MD) Gilman DT Henry Poggi, who's already been to Ann Arbor twice but wants to visit again either this month or next ($); Matthews (NC) Butler WR Uriah LeMay—high school teammate of Peter Kalambayi—has Michigan among the schools he'd like to see this summer ($); and Peoria (IL) High School DE Josh Augusta, who's recently talked to the Wolverines about a potential offer ($).

One player who did visit recently is Crete (IL) Monee LB Nyles Morgan, a class of 2014 teammate of Laquon Treadwell, who told 247 he'd "have to seriously consider [Michigan] when [he] start[s] considering colleges."

Quickly: Happy trails to blue-chip running back Keith Ford, who committed to Oklahoma over the weekend. The Sooners offered Ty Isaac last week (we'll see how the Ford commitment affects his interest), and SoonerScoop has a free article on Michigan's top running back target. MnB's Zach Travis looks at recent offensive line recruiting and tries to project future two-deeps. Black Shoe Diaries's Cari Greene puts together an early team rankings list for the Big Ten; Michigan, as you'd expect, is well out in front for now. I'll start the Big Ten Recruiting Rankings back up when Scout releases their top 300, which should be coming soon.

Unverified Voracity Grows Evil Beard

Unverified Voracity Grows Evil Beard

Submitted by Brian on March 5th, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Basketball

The only reasonable explanation. Michigan State lost the outright title, still won a share, and collectively reacted like this…

430091_10150596605110098_647375097_9329089_840662538_n[1]

…the likely explanation is that they were more focused on denying Michigan than their own team. That game meant very little in the grand scheme of things to MSU. It mattered to OSU and Michigan.

No, it wasn't hard to root for Ohio State yesterday. I didn't even notice.

Irrational optimism getting less irrational. Michigan has two five-star sorts in its upcoming recruiting class and the guy I'm most excited about may be the other dude. That is 6'6" shooting guard/potential Burke backup Nik Stauskas, who just outdueled Nerlens Noel, a 6'10" center who recently reclassified to 2012 and instantly became a top five player after doing so, for tournament MVP at the NEPSAC championships. He is not just a shooter($):

Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark’s)
2012, SF, 6-6, 205
College: Michigan

Stauskas finished with 19 points but his impact on the game far exceeded that total, as he not only scored the ball in different ways but also facilitated for others in both pick and roll as well as drive-and-kick action. While the complete versatility of Stauskas’ offensive repertoire was on full display, the most impressive part of his performance was that innate star quality that allowed him to make big play after big play at the most pivotal moments of the game.

The main thing keeping him from being another five-star type recruit is his athleticism. That shouldn't prevent him from being a shot generator at the college level—he'll enter with far more skill than Stu Douglass had, for one. I mean, look at his evil beard:

BAF05SCHRDP11_thumb[1]

IF that does not fill you with confidence, nothing will.

Stauskas also drew raves from NERR. Meanwhile, Mitch McGary's Brewster team suffered an upset while Glenn Robinson III helped his team win their first sectional title since '97. All that and more at UMHoops.

Football

images[2]161841[1]rn_ejlevenberry_ms_200[1]

McCray/Gedeon/Levenberry: Linebacker is the new offensive line

A brief comment on the linebacker crunch. My trapper keeper with Michigan's projected recruiting class surrounded by hearts has at least two slots for linebackers, but if the third guy is going to be O'Daniel/Levenberry/Gedeon it probably has three. Sam Webb first thought this was not the case, but recently reversed course.

It should be clear why after a quick glance at the depth chart by class. With announced positional rearrangements taking Beyer and Paskorz away from the SAM spot, that is now the sparsest position on the depth chart. Insert First World Problems GIF here. Michigan has three more years of Jake Ryan, two of Cam Gordon, and nothing else. Even if you figure one of the 2012 recruits is destined to move down—something the coaches denied on Signing Day—that would seem to make a third linebacker a reasonable acquisition.

Even if that's the case now, if O'Daniel and Levenberry hew to their current plans and take their decisions to Signing Day there's a pretty good chance room opens up for one of them. The current assumption on this site is 22, but that assumes Michigan only loses two players to attrition*.

That's an extremely conservative estimate. If Michigan gets up to 24, they can take…

  • Another RB
  • Two more WRs
  • A third TE
  • Another CB
  • Two DL

…and still have a couple spare scholarships. You may have spotted the assumption here: Michigan will only take one three-tech/SDE type in this class. I think that's reasonable after taking four (Wormley, Godin, Strobel, Henry) last year, especially with two 2011 recruits coming off redshirts and the possibility/likelihood that Wyatt Shallman ends up weighing 280 by his sophomore year.

When all is said and done the bet here is Michigan has a couple scholarships to play with in January and SLB is an excellent candidate to use one of those spares even if Michigan already has a couple linebackers committed. It sounds like McCray and Gedeon are about to drop; if Levenberry changes his mind and attempts to commit on his Spring Game visit he's not getting turned down.

BONUS HYPOTHETICAL EXTRA SCHOLARSHIP DISTRIBUTION DESIRE: Cornerback. Michigan… uh… has fewer blue chip guys there than anywhere else in the last two classes.

/runs around laughing maniacally
//falls in trough
/continues laughing maniacally

celebrate-sparty-no[1]

We do it better than Todd Graham.

*[Two more players are assumed to not be getting fifth years.]

A rule to live by. Orson just tossed this off and I'm thinking of embroidering it on a sampler or something:

Never have anything to do with a recruit who wants to sign after Signing Day.

This may be sour grapes.

June building stuff. The Washington Post highlights Cato June, new head coach at Anacostia High School in DC. He's filling his staff out with a familiar name:

June quickly turned to [retired HC Willie] Stewart, asking him to help coach the Indians next fall. He also named his close friend and Michigan roommate Walter Cross, the 1997 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year from Oxon Hill, as his offensive coordinator — the same position Cross held at Potomac (Md.) this fall.

Apparently anyone in DC can transfer without a reason, so if June gets things off the ground Anacostia could be a fertile ground for recruiting—not that Brady Hoke needs another one.

Hockey

Bye-week hockey events. Michigan pulled the worst possible opponent in the second round thanks to Northern Michigan going down in flames against Bowling Green and all other higher seeds holding. They go against Notre Dame, who gave them a very tough weekend about a month ago. The Irish are 19th in the Pairwise and entering a do-or-die weekend for tourney hopes.

The key for Michigan will be watching Notre Dame's goalies play as poorly as they have in all games not against Michigan. Steven Summerhays put up a .945 in the M-ND series; for the year he's at .908.

Pairwise. Michigan's off weekend saw them move up thanks to a one-point weekend from Minnesota-Duluth that cost them the regular-season WCHA title and put their one-seed in flux. Michigan still doesn't win that comparison—I told you it would be tough—and still wont even if they sweep next weekend despite UMD drawing 12-22-2 Minnesota State. Michigan can win the comparison by sweeping ND and doing better than UMD at the conferences' respective finals… as long as UMD doesn't lose this weekend.

Weird system: you are rooting for UMD to win this weekend and get annihilated at the Final Five.

BONUS CCHA BIDS ODDITY: remember that period in the season when seven CCHA teams were destined for the tournament? That's been whittled down to four as of today. Five of the first six teams out of the tourney are CCHA teams. Western, Lake Superior, and ND can still play themselves in.

It's March, so it's time for huge Daily profiles. Luke Glendening is first up:

It was late April 2008, and the Michigan hockey assistant coach had just extended a one-year tryout offer to Luke Glendening, a forward recruit from The Hotchkiss School, a prep institution in Lakeville, Conn.

“You’re on a one-year tryout,” Powers told Glendening. “If you’re good in practice, you’ll stay.”

Powers left him with one last word of warning.

“If you have somewhere else to go, you should probably do it.”

We're living in the golden age of angles, I'm telling you.

A fantastic idea. Mike Spath proposes a new format for the NCAA tournament:

To start, the NCAA should collaborate with the NHL to form six permanent sites, rotating among the six for the four yearly locations: Boston, New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, Denver and Toronto. The Frozen Four would also rotate among those six cities instead of taking us to Tampa Bay or Washington D.C.

That would be excellent. You might want to add a Philadelphia or Pittsburgh but that's fine. No more Green Bay, St. Louis, Tampa, etc. Take the money the NHL is giving you and use it to lower ticket prices so you get a local crowd—part of the horrendous attendance in Fort Wayne was the $90 session passes—and try to fill those buildings as much as you can. If you want to "grow the sport" you can promise a local regional/FF to areas considering the addition of hockey programs.

In response to this idea, the NCAA announced the next six Frozen Fours would take place in New Zealand.

Miscellaneous

Retconned history. The New York Times has a look at how the Big East fell apart featuring this tactical error back in the day:

Tranghese tried to tell the Big East’s university presidents and athletic directors as much as early as 1989 when he was Gavitt’s assistant. Gavitt thought the conference needed to bring Penn State into the fold. Penn State was an independent at the time, looking for the security of a conference.

The membership voted no, with St. John’s, Villanova and Georgetown leading the resistance. At the end of the meeting, Gavitt asked Tranghese what he thought about the decision. “I said, ‘We will all rue the day about this decision,’ ” Tranghese said. “I understood how big football was. I didn’t understand how big it was going to become.

“At that point, the Big East had so much success in the ’80s, everybody sort of forgot about it.  But I felt looking back on the history of the Big East, that was probably the biggest mistake we made.”

The conference has been regularly pillaged since and will be a nationwide amalgam of mid-major football schools minus flagship Syracuse as a result. I wonder if the Big Ten would still be ten teams today if the Big East hadn't screwed it all up in the late 80s.

Etc.: Wojo on Sunday's events. I bet a dollar Burke and Cody Zeller end up splitting the freshman of the year award. From Old Virginia takes a look at where lacrosse is headed, speculating that Michigan will eventually end up in a "Western" conference with OSU, PSU, Detroit, Air Force, and Denver. BSD recaps the PSU-M game from their perspective. Michigan engineers elect Bender to school board.

Friday Recruitin' Hurdles a Guy

Friday Recruitin' Hurdles a Guy

Submitted by Ace on February 24th, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Today's recruiting roundup checks out Shane Morris's new highlight tape, goes over the laundry list of top prospects who took notice of last weekend's commitment extravaganza, and details Michigan's new offers and expected visitors.

What, No Punting Highlights?

Shane Morris unleashed his junior tape yesterday, and the first full minute features him... running. And hurdling a guy. I'm seriously, you guys:

Oh, there's also your standard fare of cannon-launched deep balls and precision touch passes, but SHANE MORRIS HURDLED A GUY AND HE'S TOTALLY DENARD 2.0. Also, he punts, though disappointingly that wasn't in the video:

Don’t underestimate Morris’ potential in the punting game. While a left-handed thrower, he kicks right-footed. According to De La Salle’s special teams coach, Morris averaged a shade under 40 yards a punt last season and had a 58 yarder in one game. Morris played soccer for seven years.

Next week we'll learn that Morris throws a 90-mph slider with either arm, turned down Red Berenson's overtures to be Shawn Hunwick's successor, and is the only person to defeat The World's Most Interesting Man in a game of jai-alai.

Morris, as you're well aware, is also pretty good at this whole recruiting thing—that Hoke guy isn't bad himself, I hear—and top prospects have taken notice of Michigan's dynamite start to the 2013 class. Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac is one of those prospects, though he's also trying to take his time with his decision ($, info in header):

“It’s hard not to notice (Michigan’s recruiting success), but I kind of told myself ‘don’t let that be a deciding factor,” said Isaac.  “I know there are a few places that I really want to see. I know that being somewhere with a good class is a big deal, and to me it’s very important, but I didn’t really want to make a rash decision just because everyone else was doing it.”

Isaac will visit Ann Arbor on March 10th between trips to Notre Dame and USC, who appear to be the other schools in contention for the Midwest's top back, though he's yet to narrow down his list ($, info in header). One factor very much playing in Michigan's favor is their depth chart, something Isaac is keeping a close eye on, as he wants the opportunity to play early. Another top Illinois prospect, Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, is also keeping a low profile, but he's willing to say that the Wolverines are among his leaders ($, info in header):

While he claims to have no top list, Treadwell will admit Michigan is one of his leaders. After this past weekend, when Michigan picked up eight commitments, there might not be much time before he will have to make a decision, something that Treadwell says won't deter him from his timeline.

"That won't change anything for me," he said. "It's not my time yet."

One player who has flat-out stated Michigan is on top is four-star linebacker E.J. Levenberry in a free ESPN article linked by Brian yesterday. The Wolverines are also in good shape with four-star linebackers Dorian O'Daniel and Mike McCray; with Michigan likely to take just one or two at the position they should be able to get a very high-quality haul there.

247 Sports updated their Top247, and for the most part the new rankings were kind to the Wolverines, though Jake Butt took a rather perpelxing tumble. Touch the Banner provided a summary of the movement:

- Shane Morris dropped from #12 to #14
- Dymonte Thomas dropped from #35 to #40
- Chris Fox dropped from #39 to #47
- Kyle Bosch jumped from #55 to #42
- Jake Butt dropped from #70 to outside the top 247
- Taco Charlton jumped from #115 to #99
- Wyatt Shallman dropped from #149 to #187
- Jourdan Lewis dropped from #218 to outside the top 247
- David Dawson jumped from outside the top 247 to #195

My only guess as to why Butt would drop so far is that 24/7 initially evaluated him as a DE, and when he committed to a school as a TE they adjusted accordingly; I still don't know why he fell all the way out, as most first-hand accounts have him as a better offensive prospect than defensive. C'est la vie. Click that TTB link to see where all of Michigan's targets landed in the new list, which provides further confirmation that the Wolverines are offering the cream of the crop this year.

New Offers, Scheduled Visits, Visit Reactions, Etc.

Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focuses on one of the many high-profile offensive linemen to come out of Illinois in 2013, New Lenox Lincoln-Way West's Colin McGovern, who could vie for that last offensive line spot in the class:

"I spoke with Coach Funk over the weekend and (Wednesday), and he let me know there is one spot left (for an offensive lineman)," McGovern reported. "I'm just glad that I'm going to be visiting really soon there so I can sort of get a look at things and maybe compare it to schools that I've visited in the past. But I'm not looking to commit right now. I'm going to let it play out and whatever happens, happens. If they stay available that'd be nice because that's an extra choice for me. I know Michigan is a great school and a powerhouse football team, but I'm not going to rush into a decision that I might regret."

McGovern will visit on March 10th, and he's also got visits scheduled for Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and possibly Washington over the next couple months. He's not in a rush to make his decision, but he also doesn't have a set timetable; when he feels like he's ready to make a choice, he'll go ahead and do just that. He doesn't claim any favorites right now, though he says Michigan would be near the top of his list if he had one (he doesn't).

The top-ranked lineman in Illinois, Ethan Pocic, was the only Saturday visitor to not commit last week, but that doesn't mean he wasn't impressed with Michigan. Pocic released a top ten and the Wolverines are included ($, info in header). As of right now, he hasn't set up any other visits. Michigan also impressed a pair of Monday visitors in TE Jacob Matuska, who talked to Tremendous—it looks like the Wolverines will take a third TE in the class—and DT Donovan Munger, who still doesn't have a Wolverine offer ($).

Your semi-weekly list of new offers:

  • Four-star Reading (MA) Wyomissing Area OLB Alex Anzalone, who told 247 he's planning March visits to both Michigan and Notre Dame ($, info in header).
  • Bastrop (TX) three-star CB Antwuan Davis received his offer from Coach Funk last week ($, info in header). He hasn't set up visits but mentioned Michigan among the schools he'd like to check out.
  • Upland (CA) DE/OLB Joe Mathis grabbed an offer last week and is looking at taking one of his official visits to Ann Arbor ($, info in header).
  • 2014 Bishop (MD) McNamara OT/DT Damian Prince received offers from Michigan, Florida State, Iowa, and North Carolina last week, bringing his total to 11 already ($, info in header).
  • 2014 Grand Rapids Christian ATH Drake Harris is primarily a basketball recruit—he's been in heavy contact with John Beilein—but he also says he's received an offer to play football for the Wolverines ($, info in header). He's the rare player who could be a legit scholarship player at two sports.
  • 2014 Washington (DC) Friendship Academy CB Jalen Tabor was offered on Sunday ($, info in header). He already holds offers from schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech, and he's looking to visit Ann Arbor this summer.

As you can see, the coaching staff has been able to turn some of their focus to the sophomore class—identifying 2014's top targets—with half of the junior class already wrapped up.

There's a short list of weekend visitors after last weekend's junior day atmosphere (though it wasn't an official junior day): four-star OL Patrick Kugler, who holds an offer; Barrington (IL) OL Jack Keeler ($, not offered); Logan Tuley-Tillman (yes, again); and 2014 QB Chandler Kincade, who's an early Pitt commit.

Several other players are planning future trips to Ann Arbor. Pittsburgh (PA) TE Scott Orndoff, Wisconsin's lone commit in the class of 2013, told Tremendous that he'll take a visit to Michigan after being offered recently—further evidence that the Wolverines want a third TE in the class. PA OT Mike McGlinchey is looking to take a spring trip to check out the Wolverines ($, info in header). Erial (NJ) Timber Creek teammates DT Greg Webb and DE Dajuan Drennon might be a package deal, according to Webb, and plan on visiting Ann Arbor in the future ($, info in header).

A quick note: Despite a recent MaxPreps article saying Michigan had renewed interest in Midland OT Steven Elmer, Sam Webb has confirmed with Elmer's father that he's not interested and is solidly committed to Notre Dame. End of discussion.

Quickly: SBNation editors pick their favorite tales from the recruiting trail, and it's a hilarious read (I must agree with Andrew Sharp—Willie Williams is tough to top). MnB's Zach Travis answers questions about recruiting and the renewed fervor of the Michigan-Ohio State battles for SBNation's main recruiting page. Chantel Jennings goes over the remaining needs in the class ($). TomVH focuses in on the top remaining targets along the offensive line ($).