Some corners of the Michigan internet are up in arms about OH CB Commit Greg Browntaking an official visit to Syracuse over the weekend. In the aftermath, Scout has classified him as a soft commit, and nobody's quite sure whether he'll end up in Michigan's class when all is said and done.
Brown was an early offer (as in pre-junior year) who hasn't developed like experts were expecting. The reports from his games this year seem to indicate he's a decent offensive player, but all of his speed is straight-line, and he looks more like a high-end MAC recruit than a Big Ten guy.
I'm certainly not rooting for him to decommit from the class, but there's a chance that, should the decommitment come, it's a mutual decision from Greg and the coaches. With higher-level DBs (such as Dallas Crawford) now interested in the Wolverines, it's understandable.
“I haven’t really sat down and thought through my visit,” Traylor said Sunday, “but it’s a good program, a good school and I like what I saw on my visit.”
as did NC TE Drew Owens:
"They set a pretty high bar for the other schools to compete with," Owens said. "My interest is still about the same. I just know a lot more about the program, a lot more about the staff, and a lot of questions I had were answered. I feel more comfortable about the school now."
In addition, there were a few unofficial visitors in the house, including a top Florida duo in South Fort Meyers teammates WR Sammy Watkins and CB Dallas Crawford ($, info in header). Following the visit, the Wolverines now lead for Crawford ($, info in header). Tom's weekly update had more on Crawford, and his possible effects on Watkins.
There were a few 2012 prospects as well, and they're discussed below. The next big recruiting weekend for Michigan should be Wisconsin, though there's a chance that some recruits come in for the Illinois contest in a few weeks, and FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix's on-and-off consideration of Michigan may be on-again at that time.
Michigan and West Virginia lead Cincinnati for FL slot Prince Holloway ($, info in header), and he plans to pick between those three schools.
IL OL Chris Bryant has "the possibility of a commitment coming soon" ($, info in header). He's previously said he doesn't plan to decide until after his senior season, but keep an eye on Bryant. Michigan, Stanford, and Illinois are his top three, with Arizona just outside that group.
PA DE Deion Barnes will officially visit Michigan, but won't start taking visits until after his senior season ($, info in header).
Michigan still leads for LA CB Daren Kitchen ($, info in header). Kitchen and the rest of Vanderbilt Catholic's team returned to the field a couple weeks back after the untimely deaths of a pair of their teammates.
MI CB Raymon Taylor is committed to Indiana, but that won't stop him from visiting other schools ($, info in header). No word on if the local product will check out Ann Arbor.
Happy Trails, Ye Wisconsin-Bound
OH RB Trayion Durham committed to Wisconsin.
OH WR AJ Jordan is deciding tonight . It's been a Michigan-Wisconsin race for quite some time, and it sounds like one the Badgers will win. He cancelled a visit to Ann Arbor for the Iowa game.
OH OL Ray Ball committed to Wisconsin.
Tom has film on 2012 OH QB Dimitrious Davis, a dual-threat with a number of teammates who could get a Michigan look in the class.
"They had everything that I wanted," Hart said "Academics, family and love"
"I had known a while ago," said Hart in regards to when he knew Michigan was the right school for him. "I had told the (Michigan) coaches that I was going to take it easy and weigh all my options, but I came through."
"I'm a versatile guy and they need that guy at running back who can break tackles and have speed around the edge and I think I can bring that to the table," he said.
"The Michigan fans are such friendly people, they make you feel comfortable and calm," Hart added. "They want you to enjoy the Michigan experience and take it all in. And the coaches are the same way. They wanted us to be around the team and experience everything first hand."
For more details on Hart's abilities, check out Hello: Demetrius Hart. If he were a more NFL-sized back, he'd be a lock for 5-star status, and his lack of height won't be an issue in Michigan's system. Video of his commitment (at 3:25) along with some highlights from his game Friday:
Hart's teammate LB Darryl Monroe, a Washington State commit, plans to visit, and S Roderick Ryles plans to give Michigan a look, as does WR Chris Gallon. The ESPN article linked above points out that S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix probably isn't an option:
And there are some hoping that Hart's commitment to Michigan will have an affect on Clinton-Dix, but the running back says that his teammate is happy with his choice at Alabama and they will not pressure each other... "But we'll find out for sure in 2012, because that's when Michigan plays Alabama. I'm happy for HaHa and he's happy for me. It's all about finding the right fit for you."
Darn. And yes, that defense has 4+ D-1 prospects on it. There should be a mass visit by several Dr. Phillips guys (including Hart, 2012 QB Nick Patti, and the above listed guys) for either the Illinois or Wisconsin game.
Before getting into the upcoming weekend, let's see how a few of the visitors to last weekend's game enjoyed themselves:
VA WR Quinta Funderburke has narrowed his list to Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, and West Virginia, with the Hogs currently on top.
FL OL James Elliottenjoyed his Michigan visit ($, info in header) enough for the Wolverines to be in front for his services. He doesn't hold an offer yet, as Michigan's coaches are waiting on players like Chris Bryant and Anthony Zettel.
Last week's Sam Webb article in the Detroit News covered how Michigan's recruiting efforts could benefit from the national popularity of one Denard Xavier Robinson. Scout Southeast expert Chad Simmons on NC QB Marquise Williams:
I definitely don’t think his recruiting is done. After talking to him and his coaches when I was there for a couple of hours, he is still on that commitment list for North Carolina, but he is definitely reevaluating everything. He still does like North Carolina and they still are the team to beat for sure, but Michigan is up there.
Williams was yet another of Michigan's visitors for the Michigan State game, so we'll see how his recruitment turns out.
Williams has scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Kent State, Buffalo, Ohio and Akron. He has also received strong interest from the likes of Michigan and Louisville.
If he receives an offer, it won't come until much later in the process.
SC WR Hakeem Flowers named Michigan to his final five ($, info in header), along with LSU, Oregon, UCLA and Georgia Tech.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost (at right) was recently selected to the Army All-American Bowl, and gave a brief recruiting update:
"At this point Michigan, Auburn, LSU, (UNC) Chapel Hill and Cal are really starting to stick out a little bit. These colleges are really coming at me, showing me all they can, and I'm loving it. I'm just taking it all in," he said.
Frost hasn't yet taken any official visits, but he currently plans to be in Ann Arbor for the Wolverines' game with Wisconsin the weekend of November 20.
Should Frost pick the Wolverines at the game, expect him on campus in January, as he plans to enroll early.
GA S Avery Walls will take a few more visits instead of deciding within a couple weeks. Things are still looking good for Michigan, but other schools have plenty of time to persuade him.
The past couple weeks have been heavy with updates on official visitors, but with MIchigan taking on a couple lesser opponents i the next two weeks, important visits are likely on hold until the Michigan State game. Stay tuned later for a visitor's list for that game.
NC QB Marquise Williams (at right) is committed to North Carolina, but that won't stop him from officially visiting Michigan ($, info in header). No word on how serious the interest is, or whther Michigan is even in a position where they can use a second scholarship on a quarterback.
FL RB Demetrius Hart (whom you may have heard of) still favors Michigan over Auburn and Alabama, but has added Arkansas to his list as well. He's officially visiting the Tigers this weekend, but is expected to pick Michigan sometime soon. He will enroll early at his school of choice, so a decision will be coming soon.
NJ TE Jack Tabb will take his time finishing up the recruiting process. Michigan, North Carolina, and the Florida schools seem to be out front for him at this point.
According to WTKA, MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel skipped out on an official visit to Iowa... to watch Michigan play on TV. That sounds pretty positive for the Wolverines' chances of landing him. He intends to visit both Michigan and MIchigan State on Saturday. He now plans to wait until the end of the season to make a decision.
Auburn, Cal, FSU, Michigan, North Carolina and Southern Cal are all supposed to get visits. So there are plenty of takers out there.
Michigan's strong season may be helping convince him that Ann Arbor is a place he can come to win championships.
FL S Ha'sean Clinton-Dix (pictured at right) is about "85 percent" committed to Alabama. Despite softening up his commitment status, MIchigan is not one of his top schools. Florida, Florida State, and USC are his top non-Alabama suitors.
"I'm committed to FSU, but I'm still watching FSU, Miami, USC, Michigan, and Ohio State," he said. Karlos had previously stated that he may take some of his official visits, if the schools he's monitoring are having good seasons, and if he has the time.
Though he sounds likely to stick with FSU, the Wolverines' chnces will improve dramatically if he takes a visit to Ann Arbor.
LA CB Daren Kitchen is thinking about visiting for the Michigan State game ($, info in header). Though he doesn't hold an offer from the Wolverines yet, Michigan and Texas A&M are his top two.
The Distant Future. The Year 2012
Local fluff on FL OL Abraham "Nacho" Garcia, including a list of top schools:
"I'm looking at LSU, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and UM. I've visited a lot of colleges. For right now, those are the top [ones]. So until I see other colleges that's how it's going to stay for a while."
He's' previously said SU leads for him, but there's plenty of time to sway him.
MIchigan is among the suitors for IL DT Vincent Valentine. He'll take his time making a decision (which means there's a looooooong way to go in his recruitment).
OH DE Chris Wormleyvisited Michigan for the UConn game ($, info in header), as did MI LB James Ross ($, info in header).
Tom's weekly update had a quick rundown of how some prospects enjoyed the game. Most Michigan fans were expecting a commitment from FL RB Demetrius Hart (at right), so not landing him is a bit of a disappointment. Tom says Michigan still leads, and a commitment at the MSU or Iowa game is still a possibility. On Hart's teammate, FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix:
Speaking with a few people about him makes me feel like he's pretty solid with Alabama. That's not to say that it would be impossible to sway him, it would just take quite a bit to do that. If Demetrius makes another trip up to Michigan and Ha'Sean were to come with him, there would be reason for excitement. I've been told that there may be some teammates (possibly former as well) trying to persuade him to go north.
Swinging Clinton-Dix would be huge for the Wolverines, and I'm willing to bet his former teammate talking up Michigan is one Ricardo Miller. Fluff on him. The Orlando Sentinel covers the visits of Hart, Clinton-Dix, and 2012 QB Nick Patti. No news other than "it was a little unseasonably cold." Patti has an early top 4 of Michigan, Oregon, North Carolina, and Florida State.
Click through to Tom's update to see reactions from OH WR AJ Jordan and MI OL/DE Anthony Zettel (who Rivals say was "impressed with U-M win" ($, info in header)), along with a few 2012 guys.
Flint Northern running back Thomas Rawls, Crockett linebacker Bilaal Collins and Lake Orion running back Marques Stevenson also attended the game.
The class of 2012 was also well represented. Notable prospects in attendance included Crockett quarterback Brian Blackburn and running back Marcellous McElrath; Catholic Central lineman Matthew Godin; Flint Powers defensive tackle Danny O’Brien; King running back Dennis Norfleet; Kenton, Ohio, quarterback Maty Mauk; Orchard Lake St. Mary’s linebacker James Ross; Cass Tech teammates Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins Stone, and Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer defensive end Chris Wormley.
I also heard from a source on 2012 PA OL Tyler Alt:
Ty had a blast at the Mich game. Got chills walking out of the tunnel and the recpetion by the Mich fans was unbleiveable.
Good to see younger guys enjoying Michigan. If Rich Rod and Co. can put it together on the field this season, the 2012 class could be a special one.
I won't put him back on the board just yet, but NC QB Marquise Williams says he'll decommit from the Tar Heels if the NCAA puts them on probation. If that comes to fruition, there's a chance he'd consider the Wolverines again, especially since he's still planning an official visit to Ann Arbor.
Recruiting fluff on PA DE Deion Barnes. He'll make his selection at the Army Game (if invited), or at the end of his senior season. He also talks a bit about his game:
Once he gets to a college campus and in an enhanced weight lifting program, Barnes figures to fill out and become even stronger. For now, his quickness and instincts have proven him to be a natural at rushing the quarterback.
"My instincts and my experience, I would say those are my strengths," he said. "And I like to think of myself as probably one of the smartest guys on the field."
Michigan's efforts at both offensive line and defensive end will become much more clear when we figure out how the recruitments of Zettel and Bryant shake out.
Michigan- "Again they have great academics at Michigan. Football is big in Ann Arbor, which is great. The coaches there are great, and the tradition is huge."
All of his schools are academic powerhouses, so he's looking as much for a good education as he is for good football.
FL S LaQuentin Smith, (a teammate and friend of the Dr. Phillips guys), has added Michigan to his list of favorites. He plans to visit Michigan before making a final decision at the end of this month. His highlights:
Since next week's Thursday Recruitin' is the last one(!) before actual football(!), I'll devote a good portion of it to a visitor list for the UConn game. Of course, there's no harm in looking ahead, right?
FL RB Demetrius Hart (at right) is expected to make it in for UConn (along with either the Michigan State or Iowa game). Will he be able to convince his buddy, Alabama Commit S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix to join him? (Sounds like it).
GA S Avery Walls has named four of the schools that he'll officially visit. Michigan, Tennessee, Cal, and Oregon are the lucky few, and he's trying to schedule a fifth. The Michigan visit is next week.
LA CB Daren Kitchenwill make his official visit for the UConn game ($, info in header). He's on commitment watch if a written offer comes through.
Tom has compiled a more comprehensive list, including a number of unofficial visitors from the classes of 2011 and 2012.
Non-UConn related, NJ S Sheldon Royster might try to visit Michigan before the end of the month ($, info in header). Seeing as how the month ends in five days, he'd have to get that over with very soon.
In less certain visit news, a couple guys are "maybes" on making it to Ann Arbor this fall.
OH OL Aundrey Walker has named three official visit destinations: Michigan State, Ohio State, and USC. The Spartans and Trojans seem to be the two teams giving Ohio State the biggest challenge. Michigan is a longshot for him at this point. [Ed: Glenville guy so obvs.]
“Nothing is really set in stone, but there’s really a couple I really plan on taking which is Rutgers and UCLA,” said Aiken. “Once I get my schedule from my coach, I can probably go ahead and set them two in stone, because those are two I really plan on taking. There are a couple others, I might go to Michigan.”
It doesn't sound like he's high on the Wolverines, and he's planning to make a commitment in the early fall. If he does come to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines might secure his commitment, but otherwise don't hold your breath (H/T On the Banks).
CA CB/Ath DeAnthony Thomas, a USC commit, has talked about visiting other schools, including Michigan. However, it's not the Wolverines (or even the Trojans) that he's favoring:
Thomas who is nicknamed the "Black Mamba" is the top CB in the country. He was considered a lock to USC but now lists Washington and UCLA as his favorites.
We'll have to wait and see if Rich Rodriguez offers Thomas.
Pruning Lists, Taking Tests, Graduating Early
NJ QB/TE Tanner McEvoy is narrowing his list to ten schools. Once he gives his turndowns to the coaches of teams that aren't making the cut, he'll make the list public. I would be surprised if Michigan makes the cut (H/T On the Banks).
MI RB Thomas Rawls, is trying to up his ACT score, and takes it again in September. He speaks with Fred Jackson regularly, and it sounds ike Michigan will offer once he gets qualified.
His film is impressive, and he could be the big back complement in this class if everything works out academically. Rawls is in a similar situation to MI DT Damon Knox, whose impressive film could net him an offer with improvement in the classroom.
"Signing day was my goal, but with everyone committing so early and everything it is hard to say (that a choice will be held off that long). Once I set my top schools and they start filling up, I'm going to have to go ahead and decide out of my top schools which one I'm going to...
"(The Michigan coaches) were telling me that I'm definitely one of the top guys on their recruiting list," he said. "If it ever came down to the point where they were just running out of spots or had one spot left, they said that they would definitely get in contact with me and let me know.
If Michigan pushes for a commitment at some point, they're likely to get one.
MD DT Darian Cooper has narrowed his list to seven schools, including Michigan. He won't plan any official visits until he is down to five schools.
NC Ath Kris Frost tells Tom that he plans to graduate early from high school. If he commits to Michigan, look for a January enrollment.
FL DE/DT/OT Giorgio Newberry is planning official visits to LSU, Tennessee, Notre Dame, and Clemson. He doesn't mention Michigan in the article, and another one says he's down to a final list without the Wolverines, so happy trails it is.
SC DE Gerald Dixon has trimmed his list to South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn, and Wake Forest.
MI CB Valdez Showers committed to Florida yesterday. Michigan State and Michigan were the runners-up, though he said he always wanted to get out of the state.
I like Wisconsin, Michigan and UM too,” Garcia said. “I’ve read up on the Big 10 and I have friends that are going there. I have friends that are going to a bunch of schools."
With LSU, Florida, and Ohio State also on the radar, it sounds like he has bigtime early interest. He wants to be the top recruit in the class of 2012, thanks to his run blocking skills:
"Abe is the kind of guy that can be the cornerstone of your team," Harriot said. "He's a strong force, he's the anchor of our line. We know we can go to his side whenever we need a first down or a touchdown."
Don't forget, The 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board is your headquarters for recruiting updates.
Your Weekly Breathless Dee Hart Update
The Gridiron Kings event in Florida last weekend brought out a ton of big-name talent, including top Michigan target FL RB Demetrius Hart (with an enormous HT to MGoShoe, who was all over this topic). ESPN's Jamie Newberg:
Hart, a small and compact running back who is ultraquick and explosive, was impressive in each game for the Southeast. He made a ton of big plays and some great catches.
"It was a couple of great days," Hart said. "I think the key was that we, as a team, bonded early. I was just happy I got to contribute the way I did."
Running back Dee Hart (Dr. Phillips) excels catching the ball out of the backfield and has some shake to him with the ball in his hands. I can see him being very versatile running back lining up both in the backfield and in the slot at the next level.
"I would say Michigan is 75 percent," Hart said. Leaving the possibility that he might commit to Alabama at 25 percent. "I like the area at Michigan," Hart said. "You know I'm from Florida, so I've never really had all four seasons and I like that. I like the fans. They have a great fan base up there. They also have great programs up there, like their business program and that's what I want to go into is business management."
A decision on his visit for the UConn or Iowa/Michigan State is possible. Dee was recently interviewed by local news. The most important quote:
"Football means the most. Girls gonna come and go, but football, that's something forever. Football; hands down."
So I guess that's what Rich Rodriguez means when he says he wants guys who "love football." Dee also gives a shoutout to FL QB commit Kevin Sousa in the interview.
Other Camp and Combine News
A bunch of other targets, some of them surprising, were also in attendance. FL S Karlos Williamsmay visit Michigan, potentially with Hart (and Clinton-Dix?!), which would be a major coup for the Wolverines. FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix still maintains that he is solid to Bama:
"Still 100 percent. I'm committed to that," he said. "I respect the fact they still recruit me and I give them my full attention when they call. You never know what can happen and I might need something back on."
Though Clinton-Dix says he's solid, you never know what can happen if you get these kids on campus. MI WR DeAnthony Arnett, who has dropped Michigan, also impressed at Gridirion Kings.
In other camp/combine/competition news, Florida's annual Friday Night Lights summer camp happened over the weekend as well. FL QB Commit Kevin Sousa showed up to compete, and the Gainesville Sun's Edward Aschoff says he looked good:
Victors_Valiant and Scout.com's Chad Simmons also liked Sousa's performance. VV noted that his footwork was good, and Simmons said he threw some good passes.
Visits and Decisions
MI RB Justice Hayes announces tomorrow at 11am, as I told you in last week's Recruitin' post. Michigan and Notre Dame are the top contenders, but I think he'll pick the Irish.
IL OL Chris Bryant had a positive visit to Ann Arbor over the weekend, as he told Tom. Tom predicts that a commitment may be coming soon, so keep an eye out for Hello: Christ Bryant. IN OL Nick Martin was on campus at the same time, though no commitment is expected.
They're one of my top four but I haven't made my final decision on them yet. Right now, until about two weeks from now, it's going to be an open game, an open game for anyone.
He claims to be open-ish, but his preference for Michigan shines through.
In upcoming visit news, TX LB Kellen Jones should be hitting campus this weekend. He's a top Michigan linebacker target, and a lifelong fan. If the visit goes well, there's a chance he'll commit to the maize-and-blue. Either way, he'll make a commitment before September.
[Watkins's coach Grant Redhead] expects Watkins to take his official visits from the group of Clemson, Miami, Florida, LSU, Alabama and Michigan. "I know he loved Michigan when he went up there. I’m thinking mid season he’ll commit. He’ll probably take at least three officials to his favorites. If not mid-season, then after the season."
An official visit before his decision would be a very good thing, especially if the Wolverines can get his teammate, FL CB Dallas Crawford, in town at the same time.
"Yes sir, because I'm talking to a couple players that are being recruited by Michigan, like Avery Walls. I've had a chance to befriend him. We've been talking about them and he's been talking about how Michigan is a place I need to check out, and maybe set up an official with him so we can get up there at the same time. We're good friends now and we talk on the phone. He's trying to recruit me there I guess (laughing)."
That's elite GA DE Ray Drew. It sounds like Avery Walls is likely to end up in this class as long as the year goes according to plan, and he'll do everything in his power to get some other top prospects to commit. Drew said he'll be receptive to Walls's overtures should he commit to Michigan (H/T touchdown chad henne).
I forgot to mention this last week, but according to ESPN, CA CB/RB DeAnthony Thomas, a USC commit, plans to visit Michigan and Ohio State. Tom confirmed that he'll take on official if Rich Rodriguez offers, and once you get a kid on campus etc etc.
Dorial Green-Beckham isn't the only wide receiver Michigan's looking at in Missouri. MO WR Jehu Chesson is also "high on Michigan" ($, info in header).
Local fluff on MI OL Kelby Latta, who already holds offers from Michigan State and Wisconsin.
MI CB Terry Richardson has received offers from Alabama and LSU ($, info in header). The hometown Wolverines have yet to offer the Cass Tech prospect, because he didn't make it to Michigan's summer camp. Once the coaches get the chance to evaluate some junior film, don't be surprised if he get an offer.
And He's Leaping With Excitement About It! (Sorry).
Michigan's 2011 recruiting class now stands at four commitments after MI DE Brennen Beyer joined the fold Thursday afternoon. For much more on his commitment check out Hello: Brennen Beyer. Tom talked to Brennen Thursday after he committed, and gave a brief update in the comments of that post:
He said, "After seeing all the other schools, I knew that this was the right place. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to go."
He has been a lifelong Michigan fan and added an emphatic "Go Blue!' at the end.
In many ways, Beyer reminds me of Craig Roh. Both are long, explosive, and relentless. Both are somewhat susceptible to taking the run game head on. Roh was a little more refined coming out of high school and, despite being a little bigger, has a little more athleticism... Beyer will likely redshirt in 2011 and have a real shot at contributing in 2013 after Roh graduates.
"A lot like Craig Roh" is the prevailing opinion on Beyer, so no surprise there.
Spring Game: The Aftermath
A number of important visitors were at the Spring Game over the weekend, including several top instate guys, as well as some out-of-state prospects. Perhaps none is more important than FL RB Demetrius Hart (pictured at right). Sam Webb profiled Hart in the Detroit News last week. On top of his football skills, he has all the intangibles as well:
"Hart's physical ability, speed and quickness, are easily identified, but after watching him for two days there is much more to this impressive athlete," said Scout.com recruiting analyst Bill Greene. "His leadership ability, infectious attitude, and desire to win far outshine his impressive physical gifts. Demetrius Hart is a winner, on and off the field. He will be an outstanding addition to whichever college he chooses."
Most of the article recaps the ongoing "Michigan leads - wait no they don't - I'm not considering them - wait yes I am" saga that's we've been following for several weeks, but also says that he'll be deciding over the summer:
"I am going to Auburn at the end of May, and then on June 5 to Alabama," Hart reported. "I do not have an overall favorite until I see what (his mother) thinks. I'll make my decision sometime this summer. I am going to look at academics and playing time."
The Michigan visit may have pushed that decision forward somewhat. Tom talked to his mother during the visit, and she spoke glowingly of the Michigan program:
TOM: Does this visit change anything with Demetrius, as far as his top schools?
MRS HART: I’ll say this, I would say that they received a whole lot of brownie points with this visit. And, we’ll be back soon. You have to go somewhere you feel loved and supported, and I know he would get that here.
TOM: Will he be deciding anytime soon?
MRS HART: It’s going to be soon. Within a month.
There's much more info in the post, so check it out. The fact that he's deciding shortly after a return visit to Michigan (likely for the "BBQ at the Big House" near the end of May) is a very, very good sign. Sam Webb said on WTKA the other day that he has a "strong gut feeling" on Hart, which typically indicates a silent commitment to the Wolverines.
In other Spring Game-related news, PA DE Deion Barnes was in attendance with the Top Prospects Family, and he received an offer ($, info in header) from the Michigan coaching staff on his "legendary" ($, info in header) visit. He spoke with ESPN last week prior to the visit, though the video's not that informative.
Top recruits FL WR Sammy Watkins (younger brother of Florida freshman CB Jaylen Watkins) and FL Ath/QB/S Dallas Crawfordattended the spring game. Crawford "loved his Michigan visit" ($, info in header), They are expected to be big time recruits, and would be huge gets for the Wolverines.
One prospect I was interested in hearing from following the spring game was MI OL Anthony Zettel. He's been favoring Michigan ($, info in header) for quite some time now, but the visit wasn't enough to coax a commitment out of him.
Tom has a bunch of other news from the Spring Game visitors he's talked to, which includes the snippet that MD DT Vincent Croce now favors the Wolverines, along with UVA, as well as a tidbit on MI WR DeAnthony Arnett. Our Helmets Have Wings goes into further depth on Arnett:
Arnett still plans to take in the spring game at MSU this upcoming weekend, but he indicated he will create a top 7 this summer and then top 5 right before his senior season, and that he won’t decide until after his senior season is over.
Arnett was pleased with Michigan's passing game during the spring game, and since he grew up a fan of Michigan and Oklahoma, a strong season for the Wolverines could help net a commit from him. Highlights from his performance at the Michigan Football Showcase are now available on Youtube:
News Of The Not-So-Happy Variety
Not all news is good news this week, as Michigan went from one of the favorites for OH DT Kevin Williams, to slipping, to outside his top 3 by the time he committed to Nebraska following his visit to their spring game. He was one of Michigan's top targets, and it hurts to lose a guy that had Michigan at the top only a month ago. However, there are other defensive tackles in the sea, and the staff will shift focus to the likes of Vincent Croce, Kevin McReynolds, and others.
AZ OL Christian Westermancommitted to Texas a little while ago, but I forgot to remove him from the recruiting board. He's off now.
TN Ath/QB Jabriel Washington has committed to Alabama. Despite his Michigan offer, he always favored SEC schools, so it's no surprise.
Demetrius Hart's teammate, FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, committed to Alabama. If Hart does indeed commit to Michigan, might he be able to sway his teammate? It sounds like Clinton-Dix is 100% Crimson, unfortunately.
The Spring Game has finally arrived, and this Saturday, the Wolverines will welcome a number of prospects to Michigan Stadium on unofficial visits. Tom's post has a constantly-updating list of kids he's confirmed with over the phone, and here's the cliff's notes version of who you can expect this weekend:
OH LB Percy Johnson
OH DB Greg Brown (commit)
MI DE Brennen Beyer
MI CB Delonte Hollowell (commit) [By the way, Hollowell has been invited to the Army All-American game]
MI OL Anthony Zettel
FL RB Demetrius Hart (Mom coming too.) [Fluff on Michigan's chances to land him.] [Pictured above].
FL S Dallas Crawford This is a big one for Michigan.
FL WR Sammy Watkins Also big. [Confirmation on the last two]
MD DT Vincent Croce - Yes, as of now.
TX RB Jarrell Oliver (same school as Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk)
NJ WR Damiere Byrd - Coming with Antoine Pozniak.
NJ LB Antoine Pozniak - He's coming with the "Top Prospects Family." Je'Ron Stokes dad is the founder of Top Prospects Family.
NJ ATH Miles Shuler
For the most recent update, and to see which prospects are "maybes" and "nos," and why that's the case, check out Tom's list.
For those who were worried about Rich Rodriguez picking up a commitment from OMG UNRATED MI WR Shawn Conway in (Jan/Feb), Rivals.com's Jamie Newberg should assuage those fears:
Conway, a wide receiver from Birmingham, Mich., looks like a big-time recruit and one of the better wideout prospects from the Midwest.
At 6-4 and 183 pounds, Conway has great size and decent speed. He's big and rangy and great in air, showing very good body control and concentration. Conway has a knack for catching the ball well, especially in traffic. He can get behind the secondary and is not afraid to go over the middle. Conway also has a long stride and deceptive speed, and he looks like a very good outside receiver. He's also productive; Conway caught 70-plus passes last season as a junior, and is a good punt return man.
Yes, Michigan fan, you should be excited to have this wide receiver.
So there. "One of the better wideout prospects from the midwest," as I understand it, means there are only a couple guys (DeAnthony Arnett and Davaris Daniels, along with maybe another guy or two) that Newberg thinks are better. Conway was also selected All-OAA in basketball, and is pictured at right dunking over some poor fool.
The Buckeye Leaves column on TheClevelandFan.com discusses the recruitment of OH QB Braxton Miller, but doesn't actually give a whole lot of information. Miller showed up to Ohio State practice last week wearing Buckeye gear, so it sounds like the status quo is maintained. VolNation breaks down his game. Having seen him play in person, I'd say it's a fairly accurate synopsis.
Crimson Confidential talks to OH LB Trey DePriest, who mentions that there's a possibility he and Miller might go to school together. Unless DePriest goes to OSU, that seems unlikely, but the article says Alabama might be an option as well.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story (pictured at right) received his Michigan offer a couple weeks ago, and he's come in for quite a bit of fluff lately.
As a Shark he flourished, capturing the attention of colleges with his 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, scorching speed and raw talent. Story has the versatility to play quarterback or on defense, but he doesn't mind being recruited as an athlete; he believes he could make his greatest impact as a receiver.
With offers from programs that feature a spread scheme, traditional offense and the triple-option of Georgia Tech, picking the correct scheme to fit a skill set can be challenging. For Rudy Story, it's about trust and the ability to fit in any scheme.
"I think any school that Ja'Juan goes to, they will use him properly," he said. "Coaches are wise, and they will definitely get the best out of his talent. I'll be happy no matter what type of offense they run. If he went to an offense like Georgia Tech, they would use him and he would get one-on-one opportunities and be a blocker. If he went to a spread team like Texas Tech or somewhere, that would be good for him, too."
He'll take his time making a decision, trying to visit every school that offers. The potential for playing time will be a factor in his recruitment, though not the deciding one, as he says he just wants the opportunity to compete for a spot on the field.
FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix says a package deal with FL RB Demetrius Hart is "pretty much sealed." He says there's no way Hart could convince him to go anywhere other than Alabama (where, I should point out, neither of them is committed at this point). Clinton-Dix also drops the following quote:
Is there not a chance Hart might fall for the Wolverines and then try and persuade Clinton-Dix to switch, too?
"No way!" Clinton-Dix said emphatically. "No way!"
So why is the 5-foot-8, 185-pound running back, who, like Clinton-Dix, is an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, visiting Michigan? Basically, just because he can.
"He's just pretty much having fun with the recruiting process," Clinton-Dix said. "I know where his heart is."
Funny, considering all conventional wisdom says Hart's heart (ugh) is in Ann Arbor, but his brain is telling him to wait to commit until after he can make sure Rich Rodriguez won't get fired - the exact opposite. I wouldn't get too worried about Clinton-Dix's talk until after Hart's visit. South Carolina now leads for their teammate, FL LB LaQuentin Smith.
Sam Webb's weekly column in the Detroit News this week covers MI CB/RB Valdez Showers, who is hoping for a Michigan offer down the road:
"Michigan was out front a little bit (in getting in on Showers' recruitment) because we went up to their camp last year and he did well," said [Madison Heights Madison assistant coach Chanterius] Brock. "He ran a 4.4 up there and did some good things in the drills. They liked him. At the corner, everybody is coveting his size. He has a great size/speed combination, so that's really big."
The Wolverines haven't extended a scholarship yet, but that could change in a matter of weeks. "They want to get me up to their (one-day) camp this summer so they can see me in person and everything," Showers explained. "Hopefully I'll be able to make it there. If nothing else pops up, I'll be there."
Michigan State has already offered along with a host of MAC schools and others, and Showers doesn't want to talk about where the Wolverines stand on his leaderboard, since they haven't. Extending one would probably put them at or near the top of his list.
As always, the running log of updates can be found on the Michigan Football Recruiting Board. The technology is acting wonky, so make sure you log in on that page to see the most recent version.
AR QB Kiehl Frazier (pictured at right) has an outstanding website on which he claims a Michigan offer. He also reports offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Notre Dame, West Virginia, and Texas Tech, to go along with interest from Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Ohio State. Basically what I'm trying to say is this guy will be a heavily, heavily recruited guy. The site also features a highlight video, in which he looks like a Black Righty Tebow. Michigan is often one of the schools he mentions first among his scholarship offers:
"I have 22 offers," Frazier said. "They are coming from everywhere. LSU, Arkansas, Florida, UCLA, Michigan, Nebraska -- there are just too many to try and name.
He says he wants to play in a pro-style offense to prepare him for the next level, but is open to playing in a spread.
A likely-irrelevant note on FL TE Nick O'Leary. The kid's also a star lacrosse player in high school (and it should come as no surprise that I like this). Of course, it's highly unlikely Michigan lands him for a number of reasons. He has options like Ohio State (where his grandfather, Jack Nicklaus, might have played golf or something) for football and national powers like Maryland and Cornell for lacrosse.
AZ OL Andre Yruretagoyena has received an offer to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, further evidence (on top of his recent USC offer) that his recruitment is blowing up. His former teammates Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan both played in the game two years ago.
"If you watch his highlight tape, he is nasty on the field," Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle said. "He dominates. He can run. He's fast and he's nasty."
Michigan has the advantage of a couple former Firebirds on the roster (and for Craig Roh, excelling as a freshman starter).
"I leave [Monday] for Wisconsin," Williams said. "I'll be there until Wednesday. I'll watch spring practice. I'm thinking about visiting Illinois later this week. I'll either do that or visit Michigan State on Thursday or Friday."
Williams also plans to attend Nebraska's spring game on April 17. "I'll be there for three days," Williams said. "And I might show up at Michigan one more time."
If he takes the bonus visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan would be considered the team to beat. Otherwise, it's a Nebraska-Michigan battle.
MI DE Brennen Beyer has long been considered something of a Michigan lean, and Sam Webb gives him double coverage on GBW, talking to his coach:
“He has got a motor that does not quit. He just keeps on coming at you. He has got great arm length. He’s really worked on his explosiveness in the weight room with power cleans and the parallel squat and all the stuff we do in the weight room. Probably his greatest thing is his quickness and his motor.”
...and The Detroit News, where Allen Trieu of Scout.com says he'll be a top-100 prospect in the 2011 class, and Beyer himself says:
"I still like Michigan a lot," Beyer said. "But I'm really looking hard at Michigan and Notre Dame right now."
"I guess just when I feel like I've been to the college I want to go to, and I'm 100 percent sure that it is the right place, I'll commit."
Beyer plans to return to Ann Arbor for Michigan's spring game on April 17th. His remaining visit schedule has yet to be determined.
Despite overtures from Notre Dame, I think Michigan is still considered the favorite. His spring game visit could be a potential commitment time for Beyer.
VA LB Curtis Grant, who holds a Michigan offer, will trim his list to 10 by the beginning of the season, but won't announce his final decision until Signing Day.
NC LB Kris Frost has declared Michigan has favorite, and said he'd visit for Michigan's spring game, but the latter is no longer the case. He told Tom that he waited too long to buy plane tickets, and can't afford to make it to Ann Arbor on April 17th. He'll instead attend Auburn's spring game, but only as a backup plan. He recently took a "fantastic" visit to the Plains ($, info in header), so the more times he visits, the less he looks like Michigan leads.
According to Top Prospect Sports (née Michigan Sports Zone), NY LB Antoine Pozniakwill visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan Spring Game. He recently visited LSU, but did not come away with an offer from Les Miles. He was originally a class of 2010 prospect, but will enroll at The Hun School in New Jersey (or Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina, if you ask Rivals) for a postgrad year.
OH DB Charles Perdue (from Youngstown Liberty High School, alma mater of Isaiah Bell, Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Antonio Kinard) plans to make it in for the Michigan spring game. I hadn't heard of Perdue until this news, so I'd be surprised if he's offer-worthy.
I'll spend a lot of time in next week's update covering Spring Game visitors, but for now, you can check out Tom's constantly-updating diary, running down some of the kids who plan to be in town.
The main priority for me in looking at a school is the stability of the program. I realize anything can happen, but I really want to go to a program where there won't be a coaching change.
This sentiment is almost certainly aimed at Michigan and Rich Rodriguez. Negative recruiting and a general air of Freepiness around Ann Arbor has given several recruits reason to think that Coach Rod will not be around after the 2010 season.
We all know FL RB Demetrius Hart has heard a lot of this, which has put his recruitment into something of a whirlwind, and MI RB Justice Hayes has told WTKA's Sam Webb that he would have committed to Michigan (audio) by now had the Wolverines had success on the field the past two years, and there was no need to worry about Rich Rodriguez's job security.
Speaking of Hart, he and his teammate, FL S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, recently visited Alabama. Though Clinton-Dix has said it will be nearly impossible for anyone to top Alabama on his list, neither prospect committed to the Tide - yet ($, info in header). Clinton-Dix could decide "at any time."
But before everyone starts getting their hopes up, there is still at least one more thing to consider.
"April 12, Michigan," Hart replied to what his next plans are. So he'll add another chapter with a trip to Ann Arbor, where he already has a good friend and former Dr. Phillips teammate Ricardo Miller on the Wolverines' roster...
Hart actually was very very close to committing to the Wolverines at the end of this past season, but then decided to hold off while he started to take unofficial campus visits. Each school he has seen has had an impact on his considerations. He's been to Florida, Florida State, USF and of course Auburn and Alabama.
If that visit date is accurate, it would mean a week-long visit to Ann Arbor, since the 12th is Monday, and the Spring Game isn't until Saturday (1PM, Michigan Stadium).
After a couple hectic weeks, this update is a more manageable. For all your recruiting needs, Don't forget about the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. It should be up to date, but if it's not, let me know. The technology has been acting wacky lately.
Demetrius Hart: The Saga Continues
The ongoing saga of FL RB Demetrius Hart (top right)continues, but this week's update brings an interesting quote from his teammate, FL S Hasean Clinton-Dix (bottom right):
"[I]f we feel like it's comfortable for both of us then that's what we're going to do," Clinton-Dix said of he and Hart attending the same school. "Like say we wanted to go to Florida. If he felt comfortable and I felt comfortable and that's where we want to be, then that's what we're going to do. But if I feel comfortable at Michigan and he feels comfortable at Illinois or somewhere, then we're just going to split up and keep in contact."
It's widely believed that Hart is the prospect with higher interest in Michigan (they're back in his top 3, for the record), so for Clinton-Dix to mention that the Wolverines have a chance to end up high on his list re-opens the possibility of a package deal for the pair, as long as Hart's spring game visit goes well. Of course, mentioning Michigan as a possibility is far different from saying they're one of his top schools: Clinton-Dix still maintains Alabama as his favorite.
I'm of the opinion that the spring game visit is not quite as important as how Michigan performs on the field this season. If they win, Michigan's shot is great. Otherwise, not so much. Hart is rumbling about a commit in the near future but also says he will take all five official visits, so that would be one of those soft commits.
PA DE Deion Barnesplans to visit Ann Arbor for the Michigan Spring Game (April 17th, 1PM). Barnes attends Philadelphia Northeast High School, the alma mater of Michigan sophomore WR Je'Ron Stokes. Barnes is also firneds with Stokes' little brother, PA QB Malik Stokes.
FL WR Ja'Juan Story should be a bigtime prospect (as early offers from schools like Florida State and North Carolina imply), and both the Wolverines and Buckeyes have joined the fray.
The Buckeyes offered him a scholarship Tuesday and the Wolverines followed with an offer Thursday, Nature Coast assistant Robert Kazmier said. Story also received an offer from Georgia Tech last week.
"He's hot commodity," Kazmier said.
Michigan will probably take just one more outside receiver in this class with Shawn Conway already committed. MI WR DeAnthony Arnett is the elephant in the room, so to speak. It'll be interesting to see how the coaching staff manages all these offers to receivers.
mgoblog's own TomVH talked to FL QB Kevin Sousa, who's been hearing more from Michigan lately. His coach says that he's a perfect fit for a spread-option offense, and thinks that Michigan is Kevin's leader right now. If Michigan offers, there's a good chance he'd end up in Blue.
TX LB Anthony Wallace should be one of the top linebacker prospects in the nation, and he plans to make a visit to Michigan over the summer ($, info in header). He's a high school teammate of erstwhile Michigan commit Tony Drake, who ended up signing with (and qualifying at) Colorado State.
The Big Uglies
It should be very clear that Michigan's coaching staff understands that they have a pretty dire need for some offensive linemen, given the fact that I've had to devote a segment of the recruiting update to that position group in each of the past few weeks. No insult intended by the heading, by the way, I'm sure some of them are very handsome gentlemen.
Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu added: "He's very athletic. He has great foot speed and agility for a bigger kid. Plus he's tough as nails. He's a guy that plays the game 100 percent, full bore all the time. If there's anything he needs to do, it's adding some weight. He's about 260 and you'd like to see that number go up while also keeping his speed.
"I think he's a high level college prospect on both sides of the ball, but I like him a little more on offense. I think he's a top five player in the state."
Next on the recruiting agenda for Zettel is learning as much about as many of his suitors as possible in the coming months. His decision timeline calls for him to make a choice prior his senior season. That means it could be late summer before he selects a school.
He originally planned a quicker decision because he didn't want Michigan's class to fill up (which, hint freakin' hint), but the Wolverines have told him they'll be able to save a spot in the 2011 class whenever he's ready to decide. I imagine he'll still get a commitment over with (to Michigan or another school) before his senior season. He visited for Notre Dame's Junior Day over the weekend, but did not receive an offer.
MI OL Bryan Bellhas a top two of Michigan and Michigan State. He grew up a Wolverines fan, but doesn't yet hold an offer from the maize and blue. He plans to visit Ann Arbor for multiple spring practice sessions.
"I want to be able to have a back-up plan if football doesn’t work out for me so education will always be key for me. I also want to go somewhere that I know I can get along well with the coaching staff and mix in well. The overall enviornment of the program will be key for me."
He also made similar comments to VolNation. Michigan is among his offers, but he hasn't stated whether Ann Arbor will be a stop on his summer tour. He has also been invited to participate in the Army All-American game, and will have to choose between that and the Under Armour game.
NM OL Matt Hegartyreceived a Michigan offer last week ($, info in header), and he was slated to visit Ann Arbor over the weekend, in conjunction with his junior day visit to Notre Dame. He didn't manage to make it, but may try for a return trip.