With the wheels seemingly falling off the Class of 2011, it's going to take one heck of a finish for the Wolverines to end with a respectable commitment list. For current targets, commits, etc., check out the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have recruiting tips or questions, tweet @varsityblue or e-mail [email protected].
With only two weekends before Signing Day left for official visits, each one carries a lot of importance for Michigan's new coaching staff. Here's this weekend's roster:
OH TE/LB Frank Clark (pictured at right). The Cleveland Glenville product was also a target under the former staff. Rivals got a reaction to the hiring of Greg Mattison ($, info in header), so it's safe to say the Wolverines want him on defense.
MI CB Raymon Taylor. He's an Indiana decommit who has already visited once this winter, for a bowl practice. Former teammate of Devin Gardner.
CA CB Stefan McClure. Offered by Michigan (see below). He is a friend of former Michigan DB Leon Hall, and was a target of San Diego State. He speaks highly of Hoke and it sounds like he may have even committed to the Aztecs if they had played in a more prestigious conference.
CA K Matt Wile. Michigan has offered Wile, and the Army All-American is a strong possibility - who Michigan saw in-home the other night. With Matt Goudis out of the class, Michigan is looking for replacements. Derrick Mitchell, currently a minor leaguer in the Philadelphia Phillies system, considered walking on, but it doesn't seem likely at this point.
As always, things are liable to change as the week progresses.
"I think it will have to be a really rare circumstance for Kellen to not be a Michigan Wolverine, but we have to be prepared.”
That article was published the day before Hoke was named, and after the naming of Greg Mattison as DC, Jones is excited about Michigan, canceling his upcoming visits to other schools.
MD CB Blake Countess seemed only a little iffy, but took an official visit to Penn State last weekend, and enjoyed himself enough to tweet about how it was better than expected, and "making this decision a lot harder." Michigan is in-home today, and Penn State tomorrow. By the end of the week, we should have a much better idea of Countess' ultimate plans.
MI OL decommit Jake Fisher visited Michigan State last weekend, and has Florida this weekend, and Oregon the weekend following that. If Brady Hoke wants to get him on campus before Signing Day, it will have to be on a midweek unofficial. Fisher has officially decommitted from Michigan, but the Wolverines are hopeful to re-secure him. According to his high school coach, he's still considering Michigan, but will take his remaining visits. Tom says it's not looking good for the Wolverines.
The next trio of former Michigan commits, on the other hand, are not going to come back to the maize-and-blue, as all have decided to take their talents to South Beach:
OH LB Antonio Kinard probably wasn't going to be accepted as a class of 2011 commit.
FL CB Dallas Crawford eliminated Michigan last week, and now he'll be a Cane.
IL OL Chris Bryant was waiting to hear from Brady Hoke, and took matters into his own hands over the weekend. On his way home from a visit to Pittsburgh (where former Michigan assistants...), he talked with Coach Hoke, and things went well:
My parents are both comfortable, and so am I. They asked their questions and said it was a great conversation overall. I feel comfortable with him too. He was a funny guy, he's a player's coach. He's someone that you would want to coach you... I had a good relationship with the coaches there before, but coaching is a business. It's just an adjustment and you need to go on with it. Michigan is Michigan, and they're not going to just bring anyone in. I still really like Michigan.
For the fourth week in a row, I don't have to think of a creative title for Wednesday Recruitin' as Michigan has once again picked up a commitment. This time, it's CA K Matt Goudis. Local commitment article. Matt was also named All-League as a senior. For more info on Goudis, check out the Hello: Matt Goudis post.
Happy Trails, Anthony Zettel
Though many Michigan fans (myself included) had long expected him to end up in the Wolverines' class of 2011, it was not to be as he selected Penn State last night.
Don't be so quick to criticize David Brandon and Rich Rodriguez's job security in this one, though. If Zettel's concerns were about Michigan's coaching situation, he probably wouldn't have picked one of the few schools in America with a cloudier coaching situation than Michigan's.
Assume The Position: Tight End
Michigan's coaches are set on landing a tight end in this class, and the options are dwindling.
NJ TE Jack Tabb will announce a final decision shortly after the New Year. He and his mom both enjoyed their visit to Ann Arbor, and Michigan seems to be one of the top couple choices. He is a Kevin Koger-like TE.
The Wolverines have offered TX TE Andrew Peterson, who's seeing college interest increase after releasing his impressive highlight reel:
Peterson looks massive on the highlight tape, and capable of both blocking and catching - with surprising elusiveness after the catch. He'd be perfect for the Martell Webb role or the Kevin Koger role in Michigan's offense.
OH TE Frank Clark will take all five officials before coming to a decision. His trip to Ann Arbor will be for the January 7th weekend.
Michigan has a couple other potential options at the position, such as NJ TE Tanner McEvoy, so we'll have to wait and see what unfolds with their top choices.
Tom's weekly update was a handy rundown of decision and visit timelines for some of Michigan's top remaining prospects.
FL OL James Elliott has made no secret of the fact that he loves Michigan, but he insist's that doesn't mean he's bound to commit to Michigan ($, info in header). Well, yeah, because committing to Michigan requires a commitable offer. Should IL OL Chris Bryant pick Michigan as expected, that means no offer for Elliott.
Michigan is still "in the mix" for MD DT Darian Cooper ($, info in header). Michigan's coaching situation will affect his final decision.
With a few targets coming off the board over the past couple weeks (most recently FL QB Teddy Bridgewater, who was never actually offered), we have a little more clarity on what the coaching staff will do with the quarterback position in this recruiting class. First things first: It's obvious that they want one. I don't think they'll be freaking out if they don't land a signal-caller, but they're aiming for one. This might mean a position switch for 2010 commit Conelius Jones earlier than fans expected.
First, let's take a look at offered prospects who remain on the board:
NR Rivals, 4* (#17 QB) Scout, 4* 79 (#13 QB) ESPN, #25 Overall (#5 QB) Tom Lemming.
Williams may be the best system fit for Michigan among the offered guys, and the Wolverines are in his top group, guaranteed an official visit. North Carolina seems to be the strongest competition at this point. He plans a Michigan official visit for the MSU game.
Randall, a teammate of FL WR Curt Evans and S Jonathan Aiken, is one of the longer shots among the guys already holding offers, along with Hundley. The Chaminade-Madonna trio seems to be very hot-and-cold on Michigan - and they all appear to like Ohio State much more than the Wolverines. It seems, however, that Columbus is not longer an option for Randall.
I hadn't realized he's an Arizona legacy. He's more of an athletic pocket guy than a true dual-threat, but he can move. Michigan will have to fight with a number of top programs for his signature, especially West Coast teams.
...And then there are a few guys who aren't holding offers, but could be receiving one down the road, including FL QB Kevin Sousa, who's been openly hoping for one.
Last week, Sam Webb talked wide receiver recruiting in the Detroit News, and this week he follows that up with a look at three more prospects looking to fill that second outside spot in the Michigan recruiting class. We'll start with OH WR Devin Smith:
"Smith shows all the things you want from a young receiver projected to become a big-time player," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "It's the deep routes where Smith can really excel, as he's got the quickness to elude and accelerate with a burst to separate from a defender and release deep." ...
"Most of the college coaches have told me they like the way I come off the ball, the way I use my explosiveness and quickness," he told Scout.com. "My route running is pretty good. Most of all, the way I attack the football in the air (is really good). I make sure that thing is mine and only mine. I'll fight any defensive back for the football."
The former teammate of JT Turner plans to take all of his official visits before coming to a final decision. Moving along to FL WR Ja'Juan Story (at right):
"The first thing that jumps out at you about Story is the way he's built," said Scout.com Florida analyst Mike Bakas. "At 6-4 and close to 200 pounds already, he has the look of a major Division I receiver right now. He's a mismatch nightmare at this level because of his size. Unfortunately for him, his team doesn't throw the ball a whole lot, so he really hasn't been able to dominate games at this level like his talent level indicates. He's a playmaker, though, who has found other ways to make a difference. He's not a speed burner, but is plenty fast enough and has good enough ball skills to be a major BCS-caliber prospect."
Story wants to major in sports medicine, which should help Michigan out. Webb also had a Story update on GoBlueWolverine, and Michigan is "gaining ground" ($, info in header). Finally, SC WR Hakeem Flowers is also a candidate for that spot:
"Physically, Hakeem Flowers has all the tools to be a top-flight prospect," said Scout.com South Carolina analyst Kerry Fair. "College coaches will love his height and athleticism. Hakeem is also a track star and he shows that speed on the football field as well, especially considering his long stride and top end speed."
Flowers hopes to get to Ann Arbor over the summer.
...The Receivin' category segues nicely into Happy Trails, as one of the fine young gentlemen featured in last week's receiver update is now off the board.
MI WR DeAnthony Arnett has released a top six without Michigan, and says he will now consider only seven schools, including USC, Cal, Oklahoma, MSU, Tennessee, Iowa, and seventh-place Miami (Yes That Miami). Arnett told Tom that he likes Michigan, but thinks the only college spread that will get him to the NFL is found in Norman, Oklahoma. Percy Harvin and Arrelious Benn couldn't be reached for comment. For the whole scoop, check out DeAnthony Arnett Top 6.
OH QB Braxton Miller's commitment to Ohio State doesn't mean that OH LB Trey DePriest is necessarily bound for the Buckeyes as well. Still, he missed the last several UM recruiting events, and has narrowed his list to Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida.
A number of prospects come off the board because they committed to other schools:
FL QB Teddy Bridgewater to Miami (as mentioned above).
Some of this stuff will help with paring down the list to 70 or so serious prospects.
Future Visits, Near And Far
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has scheduled his Michigan official visit ($, info in header), and according to The Wolverine Blog, that will be for the Michigan State game. Though Michigan has a number of factors working in its favor for his recruitment (including his closeness to Taylor Lewan, and the fact that he likes playing in the cold), it's not all sunshine and roses - Andre likes the Pac-10 the most.
OH OL Ryan Kelly plans to visit Michigan again this summer, according to a VolNation article.
Ryan has already been active with visits, and has several more planned for this summer. “Well I’m 20 minutes from Cincinnati so distance wise that one works out. I will visit Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State all within a month period. I’m also hoping to go to Michigan again as well. I’ve already visited Purdue, Indiana, Louisville, Cincinnati, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Alabama.”
Michigan is the only school that he's already visited that is in for a repeat trip, which is a positive sign. The Under Armour All-American hopes to commit before his senior year, but is not set on that timeframe.
FL DT Tim Jernigan is still mentioning Michigan in his top group, and says he wants to visit Ann Arbor sometime this summer.
ESPN.com's Steve Wiltfong embarks on an in-depth profile of MI RB Justice Hayes (pictured at right), comparing him to another Flint-area running back - reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram. His top list is surprising, given that he'd recently seemed to cool on Michigan:
Four years later, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Hayes is one of the most sought-after recruiting targets in the Midwest. Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee make up the four-star prospect's top four, with Michigan State and Northwestern still strongly in the mix.
I wonder whether the author of the article inadvertently switched the Spartans and Wolverines. However, since the Wolverines may be strongly back in the picture, let's take a look at his game:
"The way he starts and stops is phenomenal," said Delaney, who has been at Grand Blanc for 18 seasons. "He makes people miss with that side-to-side stuff, and he goes from stop to full speed very quickly. But probably the best thing is his hands out of the backfield. He catches the ball better than any kid I've ever had out of the backfield, and that includes Mark Ingram, who had great hands. Justice runs great routes out of the backfield, and hardly ever drops the ball."
I still think Hayes will only end up in Michigan's class if FL RB Demetrius Hart opts to go elsewhere.
I added (unoffered) MI TE Nate Dreslinski, who impressed at Michigan's camp and seems to be interested in the Wolverines.
Michigan leads for MI OL Anthony Zettel ($, info in header), but his Penn State offer came through late last week, so that might shake up his leaderboard. He told ESPN he wants to visit the remainder of his top six schools that he hasn't yet seen. He won the State Championship in shotput over the weekend.
MI OL Jake Fisher is starting to gain some D-1 interest. He reportedly impressed at Michigan's Elite Camp, so keep an eye on him.
Though there are some positive signs for Michigan in the recruitment of NC LB Kris Frost, he's still visiting Auburn on what seems like a regular basis ($, info in header).
MD S/WR Brandon Phelps has apparently been offered by Michigan, to go along with tenders from the likes of LSU, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway may have trouble being eligible to play high school ball this fall (NOOOOOOOOOOO nearby Friday Night Lights roadtrips jeopardized!), because of a residency issue. Due to a family issue, his high school coach at Seaholm has become his guardian. However, said coach lives outside the Seaholm district, in Clarkston. Conway, then, would have to play for Clarkston - except he would have to sit out the fall semester due to transferring schools. I'll have more on Conway coming soon.
Tom's new weekly recruiting update features AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena, LA DT Mickey Johnson, MI LB Ed Davis, IN LB Nick Temple, and FL OL Tony Posada. Check it out to get the latest on those prospects.
OH RB William Mahone "came away extremely impressed" with Michigan ($, info in header) after hitting campus for the Wolverines' Elite Camp over the weekend.
Though they had been long-considered near-locks to join Michigan's 2010 recruiting class, that is no longer the case for FL CB Tony Grimes and DE Clarence Murphy. Murphy committed to Maryland last week, and since then, Grimes has not sounded so positive on the Wolverines. Mgoblog's own TomVH talked to Grimes and says:
With Murphy choosing Maryland, everyone is kind of seeing the writing on the wall. I'm not sure what happened to change Grimes mind, but it seems like it is changing.
He's playing everything close to the vest right now, so he's not telling a lot. Like I said, I don't think it's good news, though.
“Me and my friend, Tony Grimes, were planning on going to school together,” Murphy said. “I think he stopped favoring Michigan a little bit. He went up there and got into some cold weather a little bit. … [So] he’s still weighing things out a little bit.
The Wolverines are still in a small group for Grimes, though Ole Miss is probably his new leader. To add insult to injury, Tony was just selected to participate in the USA v. the World All-Star Game. Jay Hopson's departure may have played a role here.
In other recruiting attrition, 2009/2010 FL CB Adrian Witty sounds like he will not be making it to Ann Arbor. Though some fans speculated that Michigan offered him only to help land Denard Robinson last year, the coaches seemed to really like Witty, and losing him is a hit. With Michigan's extensive DB recruiting in the class of 2010, hopefully the damage is limited.
The final piece that appears to be dropping out of Michigan's 2010 class is TX RB Tony Drake. The source is admittedly second-hand, but Michigan commits talk to the coaches about recruiting a hell of a lot more than you or I do. At this point its tough to consider Drake committed.
All of this changes the numbers for the class, taking it down to 23 commits (removing Grimes and Witty), with the potential to get up around 27 or 28. With Grimes and Murphy no longer penciled in, the Wolverines can find about 4 more prospects. Hopefully, Calvin Magee;s candidacy at USF won't affect any of Michigan's other commits.
The Other Side of the Fence
It's coaching change season around the country, which means that other schools' recruiting classes may be ripe for poaching. We first turn our attention to sunny Los Angeles, where Pete Carroll and a number of his assistant coaches are heading north to the NFL. One of the crown jewels of the Trojans' class, CA RB Dillon Baxter, will open his recruitment, and Michigan was the only other school to which he has already taken an official visit.
The fact that it's uber-recruiter Lane Kiffin taking over may bolster the Trojans' recruiting. Despite showing no ability to be a head coach, Kiffin is a proven winner in February.
To the best of my knowledge Michigan wasn't really a serious player for any of Tennessee's current commits other than GA LB Mike Taylor. He will decommit from Tennessee, though it's assumed he will commit to Florida, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that is a "false statement." It would still be an upset for him to land anywhere other than Gainesville.
One other player may be affected by the Kiffin departure: FL OL Torrian Wilson. Wilson visited Michigan in the summer and maintained the Wolverines as his leader before a surprise Stanford commit. He decommitted in search of a school closer to home and announced a top three of South Florida, Tennessee, and Michigan. Michigan is the farthest from Miami but is currently the only school of those three with, you know, a head coach. That would seemingly bode well, but watch out for Louisville. Charlie Strong has been hitting Miami Northwest hard and already has two of Wilson's teammates committed. Wilson's next list will be interesting.
Also in coaching change news, Michigan State RB coach Dan Enos is heading north to become the head coach at Central Michigan. Since the Spartans have a heavy in-state bent on their recruiting class, there may be a chance Michigan can step in for a couple guys, no? The following recruits have Enos listed as their primary recruiter on Rivals:
MI QB Joe Boisture
MI DE Taylor Calero
MI LB/DE William Gholston
MI CB Mylan Hicks
MI RB Nick Hill
MI RB Jeremy Langford
MI WR/Ath Tony Lippett
Of those prospects, only Gholston and Hicks likely interest Michigan, and Gholston ain't happening for. Hicks was also recruited by Harlon Barnett, State's secondary coach, so I doubt he is likely to wriggle loose. It appears as though MSU's recruiting class is safe (unless Gholston, as rumored, has legitimate interest in Alabama). For the future, however, recruiting Detroit may suffer slightly for the Spartans, as Enos was their main man in Detroit. That's good news for the Wolverines.
“I am not sure if I would have played receiver or where at Alabama, but I am just looking for a place I know they spread the ball out and where I will be used the best,” Sims said.
It's important to him to have a chance on offense rather than in the secondary, and if the coaching staff can give him a shot at QB, he may end up in blue.
With Grimes seemingly out of the picture, Michigan will probably turn up the heat on FL S/CB Rashad Knight. TomVH thinks Michigan no longer leads, but he is officially visiting this weekend, giving the Wolverines a chance to close the gap, and possibly even seal Knight for the Maize-and-Blue.
As mentioned last week, OH DT Jibreel Black is expected to take a January visit to Ann Arbor. I believe Michigan's only other big recruiting weekend will be January 30th, the weekend before Signing Day.
SC WR Hakeem Flowers "Will Look to Get Away," and also holds a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He should be among the top wideouts nationally.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell gave GoBlueWolverine an interview during the US Army Combine, and considering the headline says "his thoughts on committing to U-M," it sounds like there's not only a good chance he'll become a Wolverine, but also do it soon ($, info in header). I've upgraded him to a Blue Smiley on the recruiting board.