Unverified Voracity Searches For Snakehole

Unverified Voracity Searches For Snakehole

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2017 at 3:29 PM

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Mark Emmert (left) and FBI investigator Burt Macklin

CHEESE IT! THE FEDS! The FBI probably has better things to do than this, but they're doing this anyway:

The worst-kept secret in college basketball is how coaches, sneaker executives, sports agents, travel-team coaches and financial advisers, often through under-the-table payments, steer top high school talent first to NCAA programs and later to apparel brands and professional representation once they enter the NBA.

Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York blew this shadowy world open in ways that have never before been seen, indicting 10 men, including active assistant basketball coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC, plus an executive for adidas, in a widespread case that is sure to rock college basketball to its core.

While only four schools are currently involved, the complaints will provide a treasure map for NCAA investigators as it tells stories of endless payouts and kickbacks in the recruitment of numerous top prospects over the past three years.

Apparently this is illegal because of... bribery and stuff? Because NCAA coaches get federal funding and therefore... unlicensed amphibious rodent... city limits? I don't know.

What I suspect is that everyone named in this investigation is going to flip immediately, because their careers are done either way and ain't nobody going to jail for Rick Pitino. This will spread, and the allegations are seismic for at least one school:

The NCAA has said it will never use the death penalty again, Pat Forde says do it anyway. We're about to find out how far they're willing to go in 2017. This brazenness will not stand:

Unless it does. But probably not!

Don't expect anything immediate, as the FBI has not interacted with the NCAA yet. The wheels of (sort of) justice grind slowly.

Is this actually good if you want players paid? In the short term, no. But the more naked the system is, the more clear it is that shoe companies run five-star basketball recruiting, the less tenable the NCAA's position is. Maybe this won't force the schools to offer their own money, but surely at some point the fact that a large majority of the top players are bought has to open the doors to above-the-table third party payments.

"But then boosters and shoe companies will own college basketball," hypothetical argument guy says before realizing that is the status quo.

It was not a dream. PFF All Big Ten teams from last week feature one John O'Korn:

So it wasn't just you. People not desperately invested in the hope John O'Korn provided during the last three quarters of that game also thought he was pretty dang good. Though not as good as Saquon Barkley, which got dang son.

Bush, Hurst, Winovich, and Hill all made the defensive team, FWIW.

Poor Damn DJ Durkin. Maryland QB Kasim Hill is out for the season, following on the heels of Piggy Pigrome getting knocked out in the Texas game. Caleb Henderson is still out with some sort of foot thing, so fourth-stringer Max Bortenschlager played most of the game against UCF, which was a terrible defeat. Incredibly, this is not the first time Durkin has had to turn to a fourth-stringer who sounds like a shot you'd order at Rick's*. Bortenschlager started the Nebraska game last year, a 28-7 loss.

Things were even worse in 2012—when Maryland lost five QBs, one to transfer and four to injury, eventually moving a freshmnan LB to the spot—and 2015, when four different guys played, one of whom subsequently became a linebacker.

This one sucks more than those because Durkin had just racked up a statement win at Texas and the Terrapins looked like they were on their way to... 8-4? Now they're going to be scratching out bowl eligibility. But at least they've got this going for them:

I say that in all sincerity.

*[I imagine? I never went, and when I tell people this 50% of them say I am very smart and 50% say I am very dumb. Anyway, a MAX BORTENSCHLAGER is 1/3rd Everclear, 1/3 Goldschlager, and 1/3 BORT, which is... Swedish port? Yeah.

I think I just invented the world's worst drink.]

Taking those bullets for us. Michigan had three head-to-head recruiting battles with Texas for 2016 kids that they lost: Jordan Elliott, Jean Delance, and Chris Daniels. With Daniels's just-announced departure, all three of those guys have left Austin in just over a year. Michigan filled in the DT slot with Mike Dwumfour, who's emerging into a rotation piece on a top-five defense in year two.

They filled the OT slot with... nobody. This was the class that saw Swenson forcibly decommitted and Devery Hamilton flip; Michigan added Stephen Spanellis, a guard, late.

Harbaugh joins the cause. Harbaugh on punting:

Speaking Tuesday on "Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh's Podcast," the Michigan football coach suggested the NCAA implement a rule similar to the NFL when it comes to punt returns.

"There's only two eligible players that are allowed to leave in the pro game before the ball is punted," Harbaugh said."In college, anybody can leave before the ball is punted. It's a player-safety (issue), to have 10 players converging on a punt returner. A defenseless player is not what we want in our game."

That change has long been advocated here, not for player safety issues but boring thing issues. NFL rules would create more returns and fewer fair catches.

Graham Glasgow, still Graham Glasgow. Ain't no party like a Glasgow party because everyone's standing next to the wall nursing a drink and making ham-fisted attempts at a flicker of human interaction before retreating into a shell of fear and self-loathing WOOOO:

The receivers have sworn to get him involved next time, but Glasgow knows deep in his heart that is a lie and no one will ask him to prom ever.

Baumgardner on Bush. He does many things:

When watching defenders, it's important not to get completely caught up in box score stats. A great example of this came three years ago, when Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa finished his final college season with modest sack totals, but constantly graded out as one of the most impact-making defenders in the country due to his presence on the field and what he was able to force.

Impact plays. For a player like Bush, this can mean many things. A sack, a pass break-up, a forced fumble, an interception, a quarterback pressure, an effort play that results in a zero rush or tackle for loss. Against Purdue on Saturday, I counted 13 impact plays for Michigan's inside linebacker.

Thirteen.

I'd like to see a few more stats get standardized, like QB hits and hurries, to better quantify those results.

Etc.: Many UF felonies. Bright side: nobody will say "oh, Michigan beat Florida without all those players." OSU depth DT Malik Barrow tears ACL. Iowa wavin' at stuff. Five stages of Purdue loss. Grant Newsome got some unspecified good news from his doctor; hopefully he remains on path for a recovery. Trashin' on the NFL, sure I'll link that. Twice, even. Jim and Don, a love story. Wisconsin fans stunned at how nice BYU fans are.

Friday Evening Recruitin' Is Extant

Friday Evening Recruitin' Is Extant

Submitted by Brian on January 1st, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Odd time, but the UA game is tomorrow so let's set the stage.

Rashan Gary coming back

senior highlights, or a bear playing football?
(bonus: Kareem Walker runs at 2:30 and 5:40 that look pretty decent)

Excellent news here:

Michigan getting a return visit feels like a trip to confirm, with only one late official visit to a yet-to-be-determined team able to overturn what looks like a large Michigan lead. Sam Webb has a couple of long posts about Gary's status that continue to give off the impression that Gary is headed to Ann Arbor. Interestingly, the second discusses a prospect committed elsewhere who does not want his name out who will visit in January, might flip, and if he did flip would lock down Gary. Sam offers zero hints as to who this might be but it's a guy

  1. at the UA game
  2. committed elsewhere
  3. with a connection to Gary

There are two guys who seem like candidates: PA TE Naseir Upshur, an FSU commit who is tight with a lot of the NJ prospects flooding to Ann Arbor, and five-star TX OL Greg Little. Little, an Ole Miss commit, was briefly a source of Ole Miss optimism about Gary since those two have apparently struck up a friendship over the course of their recruitments. Little and Gary were at Ole Miss on the same weekend. Maybe this is a situation where these guys might be a package if they can find a school both guys like.

The previous paragraph is entirely speculation.

BTW, Gary is not likely to cede his status as the nation's top prospect.

Gary, meanwhile, has been utterly dominant so far at the event, drawing universal praise for an elite combination of strength, quickness and ability.

There just isn't another player like this one in the country.  He is elite and he is No. 1 in the country for many reasons.  He was constantly beating the one in front of him, he was in the backfield all day, and he was chasing plays down.

Rivals has him as a "stock up" guy despite the fact that his stock can't actually go up. Here's a bunch of reps between Gary and Little:

I like 'em both.

As far as Gary's decision goes, feelin' real good.

Delance decision primer

TX OL Jean Delance will announce tomorrow during the game. We have a ballz in for him based on a few things, but there is no certainty with his recruitment. Lorenz has a a ballz in for Michigan. Tim Sullivan thinks it's very close between Michigan and Texas with Michigan his tentative pick. He mentions something that was a reason we put in our pick:

Delance said he and his mother have to "duke it out" over where he goes. That his mother openly prefers him to stay at Texas, and that the phrasing implies he and Mom are on opposite sides of a disagreement (or boxing match, if he's being strictly literal, I guess)... that means he's favoring Michigan, right?

I mean, he told Josh Newkirk this about Texas:

“Texas is right down the street from my house,” he said. “(In my) home state, that’s what people want me to do. But I got to follow my own dreams, make my own destiny."

Sometimes quotes like that don't mean as much as it sounds like they do, but with Delance he's said things along those lines while being effusive about Harbaugh.

On the other hand, Scout guys are hearing Texas. The Texas 247 guy feels "just as strong about Texas as I did the day I put in a crystal ball for him." (As we'll see in a bit that might not be a bad thing.) Wiltfong and LSU guys at 247 were hearing Texas as well.

And Michigan did offer MD OL Stephen Spanellis, a Virginia commit. Normally that's a bad sign about the other guys on the hook but we've seen Michigan set up a few January visits for guys they may not have room for. Michigan is going into what will be a busy, tense Signing Day and they want to have backup options. A Spanellis offer does say one thing: Michigan has not gotten an official "yes" from Delance and desires to cover themselves if things go the wrong way.

So I don't know. I think it'll be M but if it goes the other way nobody will be too surprised.

[UPDATE: Steve just flipped his ballz back to Texas. Bleah.]

Brad Hawkins jittery? Probably not

Some conflicting information on NJ WR commit Brad Hawkins, who told Rivals he's thinking about visits to North Carolina and South Carolina and "wasn't sure if his recruiting process is over and done with."

Scout then reported he and NJ DE commit and teammate Ron Johnson could visit North Carolina despite being "100 percent with Michigan" per their coach. 247 had an article with similar sentiments:

"I'm 100-percent committed to Michigan," he stated. "I picked Michigan because it just felt like home. The people there are great people. The environment is a great environment. It's a college football town. There's nothing like it."

Maybe keep an eye on that but it appears that Hawkins is still a very good bet to end up in the class; can't say that about some other people who have scheduled visits. One thing that is clear: neither Hawkins or Johnson is set to enroll early. They were intending to but apparently are no longer.

FWIW, that 247 article confirms that Hawkins is coming in at WR. I'd speculated that either he or Mitchell might be slated for a switch to safety given reports that Michigan would take both CA WR Dylan Crawford and FL WR Pie Young should those prospects be amenable. That still might be the case—see Brian Cole and a zillion other position switches—but not right away.

FWIW, Hawkins is impressing at the Semper Fi game, with Brian Dohn reporting that he's "looked very good" and is amongst the best WRs at the game. Meanwhile Johnson was named the ALPHA DOG on day two:

Ron Johnson (Camden, N.J./Camden) was easily the most dominating player on the second day of practice.

The four-star Michigan commitment could not be blocked at the line of scrimmage, firing off the ball and using his raw strength to explode on contact. At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Johnson is lean, but on Thursday he showed the upper body strength is already there to throw blockers to the wayside. … Coaches were raving about his performance on Day two, and rightfully so.

Johnson and Hawkins have sort of been forgotten men since their commitments but they're both four star guys.

The last New Jersicorn

Hey, so NJ S Jordan Fuller has had a recruitment even more mysterious than that of TX DE Levi Onwuzurike. He has talked to virtually nobody. He's offered no lists. The only indicator that he's considering anyone is that he took an official to Notre Dame. Dohn reports that Fuller has now set visits to OSU on January 15th and Michigan on the 22nd, with a couple schools trying to get a visit the following week. That appears to be a top three of M, OSU, and ND.

Bredeson impressing

WI OL commit Ben Bredeson has also caught the eye. There have been mixed reports since apparently he drew a lot of duty against Gary, which isn't going to go well for anyone in a drill. Bredeson apparently slowed Gary down a bit, which is good enough to claim the "most successful vs Grendel" award.

Scout's Bill Greene was impressed:

He had a good day Monday, and most people would agree he was one of the top linemen on Team Highlight. Bredeson is huge, but he was far more athletic than he looks on film, with better footwork. He was aggressive, and it was apparent he came to play football, not be on vacation.

Bredeson told folks he would start out at left guard when he arrived at Michigan. I'm pretty sure we already knew he was slated to be an interior OL, but there's oddly specific confirmation all the same.

Keep recruitin' that chicken

EJ Holland, the Texas guy who refused to believe that TX DT Jordan Elliott was favoring Michigan—which other people believed due to things like "Elliott saying it to every recruiting reporter he talked to"—will not let his recruitment die:

According to a couple of sources, Elliott is committed to Michigan but could still sign elsewhere in February. Texas will have a good shot if Jeffrey McCulloch and Dontavious Jackson side with the Longhorns. All three communicate frequently.

Hold your panic gifs. Lorenz talked to Elliott's mom and she shot that down emphatically. Meanwhile her twitter feed is a pile of Michigan stuff. Elliott himself also continually tweets Michigan stuff and seems peeved whenever someone suggests he's not solid

Why this dude will not let the Elliott stuff die is unknown, but he thinks Delance goes to Texas, so that's good news.

2017 things

It's going to be that time soon. I still don't care about 2018 and refuse to until next fall, but 2017 is closing in on being the current class. So:

  • 2017 MI CB Ambry Thomas is "very interested" and feels "comfortable" in Ann Arbor. Early favorite there was MSU, we'll see how that holds up.
  • 2017 MI WR KJ Hamler, AKA "Speedy Eaglet," says Harbaugh is an "electric, electric coach." MSU gets a cursory mention.
  • Michigan still leads for five star NY OL Isaiah Wilson, with Ole Miss and OSU the other two schools drawing mention. Lorenz cautions that Wilson's recruitment is likely to be a "bumpy ride."
  • 2017 GA WR commit Jeremiah Holloman is impressing at a camp: "Holloman is a legit 6-foot-3, and, while he's lean, he's got a really well developed frame. He does a tremendous job of using his height to his advantage, and he was a troublesome matchup for many of the top rated defensive backs during practice." Twitter has a catch for those interested.
  • Holloman's teammate and 2017 GA RB commit Kurt Taylor was fielding serious Florida interest before he pulled the trigger.

Etc.

FL LB Joel Dublanko is still on the radar. He's coming in on the 15th despite not having an offer and seems to be a guy who would be a late offer if Michigan has room on Signing Day. Ditto LA DE Malcolm Roach, a Texas commit who told Holland that he would set a visit to Michigan in January. FL TE Jacob Mathis has an official set to Ole Miss right before Signing Day; M is involved there still. Sullivan doesn't think it's happening. FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young remains high on Michigan and plans on committing on Signing Day.

BYU QB Taysom Hill was offered a grad transfer opportunity at Virginia, which is no surprise after Bronco Mendenhall took that job.

Tuesday Recruitin' Preps For All Star Games

Tuesday Recruitin' Preps For All Star Games

Submitted by Brian on December 29th, 2015 at 1:08 PM

#Michigan commits Devin Bush and Ben Bredeson.

A photo posted by Tim Sullivan (@sullivti) on

Hey, these are relevant again

Rashan Gary falling on things

The UA and Army All-Star games immediately follow the New Year's Day bowl binge, and thanks to Harbaugh's roll-with-it recruiting Michigan has a lot of commits and targets involved. MGoUser "Tate"—who does not have a Forcier avatar for some reason—helpfully collects the various attendees and announcements coming over the next week:

Under Armour All American Game - Saturday Jan 2, 2016 @ noon (ESPN2)

  • Kareem Walker, RB
  • Ben Bredeson, OL
  • Devin Bush, LB
  • Rashan Gary, DL
  • Jean DeLance, OL - Announcing
  • Terrance Davis, OL - Announcing
  • Dontavious Jackson, LB
  • Jacob Mathis, TE

Semper Fidelis All American Bowl - Sunday Jan 3 @ 9 pm (FS1)

East

  • Brad Hawkins, WR
  • Ron Johnson, DE
  • Khaleke Hudson, ATH

Army All American Game - Saturday Jan 9 @ 1 pm (NBC)

East

  • Jordan Fuller, DB
  • Mecole Hardman, ATH
  • Isaac Nauta, TE - Announcing

West

  • Jordan Elliott, DL
  • Michael Onwenu, OL
  • Brandon Peters, QB
  • Donnie Corley, WR
  • Dylan Crawford, WR - Announcing
  • Lavert Hill, DB
  • David Long, DB

That's about a third of Michigan's current class plus the bulk of the gentlemen still on the board. IIRC, last year Michigan had just Brian Cole in the two main games (Semper Fi is notably behind the others in attention and prominence). This year it's a bit different. Prepare for all the vines and twitter videos of DL/OL drills:

Eh, I'd take him.

Gary seems likely to maintain his status as the top recruit in the country, so the guy I'm most interested to see evaluated on an All-Star stage is NJ RB commit Kareem Walker. Walker highlight tapes have been few and far between. He is not a slam dunk like Leonard Fournette. Michigan has had terrible luck with five-star-ish tailback recruits—Justin Fargas, Kevin Grady, Derrick Green, and Ty Isaac is the list, and it is not great, Bob. Rivals took his fifth star away

Walker recently lost his fifth star and has gone from a decisive, one-cut brute at running back to a bit of an indecisive runner who questions his instincts and dances a bit too much. Ball security is also an issue so he will need to have a fumble free week and catch the ball effectively as well.

…and I can see why even if the more likely explanation is "we were wrong" instead of "Walker got a lot worse." This will be a week that can confirm or dis-confirm Walker's move down on some sites and relatively low ranking on others. 247 has him as a guy to watch:

RB, Kareem Walker (247Sports No. 118/247Sports Composite No. 39) – We've taken some heat in the past for having Walker ranked low, particularly from the Ohio State fan base when he was committed there. While we still like Walker, we still don't see him as a rare back but more of an effective college starter. A strong Under Armour week could change our mind.

I'd take "effective college starter" given Michigan's luck with five-star types previously.

So about those decisions

Michigan's two remaining OL targets will be announcing within minutes of each other. MD OL Terrance Davis has seen a Maryland surge on his Crystal Ball with most of the heavy hitters flipping their prediction from M to the Terps. These flips do not appear to be guesses, as Steve Wiltfong reports that Davis has already told the coaches at the various schools.

Wiltfong also reports that as Davis continued to hold out, Michigan began to view him as a luxury. If anyone on that staff has followed Michigan recruiting prior to the last couple years they probably got that Laquon Treadwell vibe—you lead too long for a guy without a commit and you're just a placeholder until he figures out where he actually wants to go.

There will be some blah blah about Durkin but like whatever man. Sometimes recruits want to stay home.

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Delance and Keanu Reeves saved the future with music

Speaking of recruits who may or may not want to stay home, TX OL Jean Delance has been the staff's main priority for a fifth OL for months now because they view him as a tackle, and they want a tackle. Intel on Delance is all over the board. First, he brings good tidings:

Michigan: "Coach (Jim) Harbaugh. They treat me like family. They already have that No. 1 class. They have that set up. It's what they are going to need. There are still three or four four-star guys on the board that they are going to get that I know of. So I mean I just trust it's going to be a No. 1 class and they are going to be back on top next year (and be a) playoff team."

That article contains quotes from Delance on LSU and Texas that seem less enthralled, which continues a theme that caused us to ballz Delance to Michigan last week.

But that's an educated guess on a guy who could end up at any of his three finalists without it being a shock. The 247 Texas guy still maintains that mom wants him at home, and another quote from that article in which Delance says he's going to "duke it out" with his family seems to confirm that… while also confirming that Delance isn't eager to sign up for RichRod Year 3: Texas Edition. Wiltfong and the LSU 247 just batted a bunch of contradictory and alarming information around that I was going to summarize but since Lorenz just ballz'd Delance to Michigan let's ignore all that and concentrate on the good vibes.

To sum up: we think Michigan is the pick there but a late swerve is definitely possible.

The news is much more certain with CA WR Dylan Crawford. Reports from Oregon folks that the Ducks had run out of room for him have continued, with all the relevant parties flipping their ballz back to Michigan. There's been zero noise about schools other than Oregon and Michigan for months now, and it looks like Crawford's hat dance will be purely for show.

Finally, GA TE Isaac Nauta is the longest shot, with zero optimism coming from anywhere and Georgia people feelin' real nice.

I learned to spell this so let's make it count

TX DE Levi Onwuzurike cancelled plans to visit Arizona State and is down to Michigan, Baylor, and Washington. He remains mysterious:

He has seen all three other schools; Michigan, Washington, and Baylor, and had also indicated he might be making an announcement on January 20th, but this could come literally any day.

"All three schools have good academics", Onwuzurike said, "Distance is[n't] any factor -- and my parents have said it's up to me."

Onwuzurike has given nobody any indication as to where he's leaning at any point in the process. Lorenz says that Baylor is trailing, so Michigan appears to be top two.

Also in DEs

Alabama offered AZ DE Connor Murphy on Christmas Eve, because of course Alabama offers people on Christmas Eve. His January visit list is big time:

Murphy has already visited Oregon and has three official visits set up in January. He says, "I am going to USC on January 15th, then to Michigan the next weekend and then Alabama the weekend after that."

Murphy has a Harbaugh connection since his brother went to Stanford, and does not appear to be leaning anywhere in particular. Michigan probably does not have room for him of Onwuzurike drops; Murphy's schedule will allow Michigan to know if he's a major priority without an offputting "hey… maybe you want to wait."

Another commit who's not hearing much from the staff

MD CB commit Sir Patrick Scott told Rivals that he hasn't been in constant, or even intermittent, contact with Michigan's staff:

“Unfortunately I haven’t heard from the staff about the new coach,” Scott said. “I know nothing about him so I guess I’ll have to do my own research on his résumé to see how good everyone says he is.”

Uh. Scott says he isn't visiting anywhere and isn't planning on a decommit. Nonetheless the lack of an official visit and the lack of contact mean we should keep an eye on Scott's status as Signing Day approaches. There are a number of academic hoops you have to jump through to get approved for an official. A prospect who doesn't take any officials may not check all those boxes. Scott has not taken any officials.

Meanwhile, NJ DE Ron Johnson on Don Brown:

Johnson got the chance to briefly chat with him for the first time recently and is eager to begin playing under him.

”Yes, I did,” said Johnson. “He messaged me on Twitter right before the holiday introducing himself and talking to me about the future. He just said he couldn’t wait till I get there, so we can get to work. I believer he is a great hire.”

It would not surprise if Scott ended up decommitting.

Jones on Signing Day

FL LB Jonathan Jones tells the ND Rivals site that he will announce on Signing Day. He may commit privately before then. That silent commit will be meaningful since he's waiting for Signing Day to do a thing at his school but might want to reserve a spot before ND or M fills up.

Gary check-in

Vibes with NJ DE Rashan Gary remain steady. Rivals is a little salty at "other media outlets" for playing up schools like Ole Miss and Ohio State:

Despite his camp not coming out and saying it and team reporters at other media outlets writing stories slanted toward their audiences, Michigan is far and away the leader for Gary. At points earlier in his recruitment Clemson, Georgia, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss challenged Michigan for the top spot on Gary's list but his relationships with the recruiting class, staff and players in Ann Arbor will be too much for any team to overcome.

If Ole Miss is running #2 Michigan is in a very good spot—Gary's mom had a run-in with a rentacop on that visit, which ended early. Meanwhile, there was a brief surge in Ohio State noise after OSU hired Greg Schiano as their DC. That didn't seem to last:

He has one visit left and is considering Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Florida, or FSU for it.

Etc.

Scout ranks MD OL Devery Hamilton the #9 OT in the country. Delance is fifth. Happy trails to CA S Lamar Jackson, who named a top four without Michigan. M led for a minute after his official visit but apparently they dropped him shortly after. TX LB Dontavious Jackson tells Mike Farrell that his top three is ITT Tech, Everest, and University of Phoenix. Crushing blow to Davenport's recruiting there.

2017 five star Donovan People-Jones says Michigan "proved itself" last season and will be a contender going forward. FL LB commit Devin Bush is very confident on FL WR Pie Young.

Monday Recruitin' Opens Presents Early

Monday Recruitin' Opens Presents Early

Submitted by Brian on December 14th, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Hello. I'm writing these for a bit since recruiting and basketball are going to be most of what goes on for the next month, and by splitting it up we can do a better job at both.

Early Christmas presents, or coal

CAkgNnWUcAA7vUi[1]

A couple of recruits high on Michigan's radar are announcing this week. On the 16th, FL LB Devin Bush announces. He says he's already decided, but that didn't prevent Michigan and FSU from dropping in on him with in-home visits last week. Michigan has been supremely confident in Bush's recruitment for a long time, but the departure of DJ Durkin did throw a wrench into things:

"For us it was bittersweet. It was like, ‘dang! We didn’t get a chance to work underneath him,” if he (Bush Jr.) choose (Michigan).  But my son hasn’t chosen a school yet.  So we’re just happy for D.J. and we’ve had to sit back and see what else unfolds.”

That quote has an air of someone trying to put the cat back in the bag. Uncertainty at DC—every single one of Bush's finalists save FSU has seen their DC depart—has Michigan people a bit more doubtful. Meanwhile Josh Newberg, an FSU mod who is a person to pay attention to, just ballz'd Bush to FSU.

Michigan still thinks they're getting the guy, but significant doubts are cropping up. Allen Trieu has an article in the News quoting Webb heavily that offers the lay of the land.

NJ RB Kareem Walker announces on the 17th. Walker announced that date after an in-home with Harbaugh, and before his official visit to Arizona State this weekend. FSU and Auburn are regarded as the only real competition. The the 247 FSU mods are not at all optimistic($), the main Auburn guy ballz'd Walker to Michigan, and Wiltfong isn't wavering.

That is looking good, but it doesn't seem like it's the 100% lock it felt like a month ago. New Jersey-based recruiting guy Todderick Hunt feels like it'll be Florida State, FWIW, but I'm not sure how seriously to take that when he's commenting on his own article thusly:

Obviously Michigan is the overwhelming favorite and he could very well end up there, but the recent sequence of events has me thinking FSU.

Okay then.

Official visit weekend: commits

Michigan brought in a bunch of commitments: IN RB Chris Evans, NJ DE Ron Johnson, NJ WR Brad Hawkins, IN QB Brandon Peters, FL CB Antwaine Richardson, and TX DT Jordan Elliott. Commit visits are usually no-news events and these were no exception. The most newsworthy thing about any of those guys is that Richardson is no longer enrolling early.

Two of the visits should move a couple commitments from 98% to 99%. Evans had a slight waver as he announced visits to both in-state schools, but none of the three major sites have a report that indicates he actually went to either. Meanwhile Elliott returning with his mom two weeks after he came up for the Ohio State game should further solidify that commitment.

Elliott seems somewhat annoyed he has to keep telling people that Michigan is final answer. This is mostly because Texas folks keep saying there's a chance; in response Elliott's twitter feed is nonstop Michigan boosterism. He is not giving the appearance of a guy who is going to flip again.

Nate Johnson adds self to above list

635708708027949443-1411790809002-NAS-INDEPENDENCE-BLACKMAN0927-03

[Shelley Mays/The Tennessean]

Michigan also had a handful of uncommitted prospects. TN WR Nate Johnson dropped for M about the instant he arrived. Ace's Hello post covers him in detail, including a couple of excellent explanations for why 247 is high on him while others aren't:

Then the season came and Johnson validated his camp performances and was just unstoppable. It was a crime that he didn't win Mr. Football. He played with a quarterback that he had been with for years and their offense was crazy good (undefeated with very few close contests) but Johnson made it tick. He's one of the best route-runners in the country, has great hands, fantastic body control and he has a much bigger catch radius than his 5-11 size would suggest. He's also added good weight and strength as he's progressed in high school. At this point, he reminds me some of Christian Kirk down at Texas A&M in terms of body type.

That's a free post with plenty more at the link. With the flood of impressive late offers (Penn State, Miami, Tennessee and Michigan just last week) maybe other sites take another look. Scout hasn't even ranked the guy, which is kind of boggling since he had over a thousand receiving yards in both of his last two years in high school and was committed to a Power 5 school for months.

While numbers are getting tight now, Sam Webb says Michigan might take another wideout. It won't be FL WR Eddie McDoom(!), who committed to Oregon on an official this weekend. We are of course all devastated to lose such a name but if it can't be Michigan, Oregon seems appropriate for a fast guy named MCDOOM. Oregon's up to 25 commitments but has just two WRs and still has room for CA WR Dylan Crawford. They're in on a couple other WRs; if one of those guys drops then it might be time to talk about Crawford getting pushed over to M.

Delance on campus

Things are looking up for TX OT Jean Delance, who has been a major priority for Harbaugh and company for months now. Delance was popularly thought to be favoring Texas, but now the buzz is that it's a Michigan-LSU battle. Steve Wiltfong reports that he's close to putting in a crystal ballz($) for Michigan… and that he's close to putting a ballz for LSU. Dangit, Wiltfong.

Let's read too much into a tweet with a colloquial phrase in it, shall we?

Michigan lock.

Delance told an LSU site that he was planning to be committed by January, so it's one of those three teams, period, and with Texas on route to RichRodding Charlie Strong it looks like Texas is suddenly playing from behind.

Read between the linebackers

The considerable, if indirect, debate between the various recruiting sites as to how hard Michigan is recruiting CA LB Caleb Kelly has been resolved by Kelly himself:

As for his recruitment, Kelly said he has not talked with Michigan since his visit, which he thought was strange so he hoped to get in communication with them soon. Oklahoma remains a serious contender and he said the Sooners have not stopped their aggressive approach to recruiting him.

Kelly seems to like Michigan more than Michigan likes him. I would not expect Kelly to end up at Michigan unless there is a 180 by the coaching staff.

Meanwhile, vibes are still mostly good with FL LB Jonathan Jones. He took his official visit this weekend as well, and while this is not a great quote when you think you're leading for a guy

Jones was accompanied on the trip by his mother and she came away equally impressed.

“She said my decision just probably got a bit harder,” said Jones.  “It's a great school and she said there are great people. If I went there she would feel very comfortable.”

…later he said he "most definitely" thought about committing on his trip and even the Notre Dame side of this thinks Michigan is the likely choice. He's got a visit to Duke next weekend, and plans on a Signing Day announcement.

Bush and Jones are Michigan's clear top targets. They must be supremely confident in both to all but invite a David Reese decommit and go forward with few or no obvious other options save TX LB Dontavious Jackson on their board.

Cornerbacks moving things around

CA CB David Long, a Stanford commit most people don't think will end up at Stanford, did not make a planned visit to Washington this weekend. UCLA and Michigan have "a little more of his attention" according to Rivals' Adam Gorney. Meanwhile the 247 mods at Washington were recently all but guaranteeing Long flipping to the Huskies. 'Crootin'.

Long told Scout that Michigan hiring Lance Anderson away from Stanford would "give them the upper hand," but that he doesn't think Anderson would take the DC job if offered.

Meanwhile, MI CB LaVert Hill's recruitment has also gone full 'crootin' after months during which he was reputed to be the most locky lock on Michigan's board despite a nominal commitment to Penn State. So:

  • Hill likes DJ Durkin and his departure shook up Hill's recruitment extensively. Webb reports that Greg Jackson will be key, and that his brother will vouch for the guy all day.
  • Despite the uncertainty, Hill took his official visit this weekend. This marks the 750th time Hill has been in Ann Arbor this year, for which he receives a tiny pewter tree from the mayor's office.
  • He's now planning to take all five visits, with UCLA and USC on the docket. He has already been to Tennessee and Michigan; MSU is other team scheduled to get a visit.
  • Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley are now planning to announce on the same day. Corley was set to announce on the 18th but now that's off the table. That's probably good for M since they're believed to trail a couple schools in his recruitment. Corley claiming there is "a significant chance" he and Hill are a package maybe not so much.

After the visit Wiltfong did re-iterate he still expects Hill to end up at Michigan, but he had backed off on his certainty that would happen. Rivals is reporting that Maryland is trying to get in, which isn't a huge surprise.

Prepare another 2017 Hello post, Ace, and then another maybe

Michigan picks up a commitment from 2017 GA WR Jeremiah Holloman, a teammate of 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor. Tim Sullivan catches up with him:

The 6-3, 190-pounder is a three-star unranked within the state or at his position, but has plenty of physical potential. He won the Georgia 6A state title in triple jump this spring with an effort of 47 feet, 5.5 inches. He also placed sixth in both the long jump (22-0.25) and high jump (6-4). …

"Basically on the outside, I'm a big, dynamic player," he said. "I'm speedy with the routes, nice precision with my routes. I can cause a whole bunch of threats from short routes to going deep or jumping over corners. I'm just a threat on the field."

Ace will elaborate with a forthcoming Hello post. Meanwhile Michigan has offered a third 2017 player at Covington: GA LB Jaquan Henderson, a UCLA commit. He was also offered by Michigan's staff and in the aftermath of Holloman joining up Chad Simmons, Brice Marich, and Steve Lorenz all indicated a flip was somewhere between a real possibility and imminent.

Happy trails

TX DE Jeffery McCullough didn't include Michigan in his top five. He was always a longshot. As mentioned, FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) committed to Oregon.

Etc.

Michigan will poke around Montana State transfer QB Conor Prukop, but most expect him to end up plugging Oregon's odd and ongoing hole at QB. Mattison and Partridge stop in on NJ DE Rashan Gary. NJ WR Donald Stewart has been trending away from M for a while but he had an in-home recently and may be back on the radar. TX RB Rakeem Boyd, an A&M commit, may visit in January.

Michigan had an in-home with AZ DE Connor Murphy, who plans a visit in January. He still seems very open.

Thursday Recruitin' Rides The Carousel

Thursday Recruitin' Rides The Carousel

Submitted by Ace on December 3rd, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Durkin Leaves, Partridge Stays


Recruits care more about the man in the middle. [Fuller]

While Michigan lost a strong recruiter when DJ Durkin accepted the head job at Maryland, it doesn't appear his departure is going to have a significant impact on the program's recruiting, at least in the short term. The latest Wolverine pledge, Jordan Elliott*, summed up the general feeling among the commits:

The reaction from uncommitted targets depends on the prospect; for the most part, their ties are more to the program—Jim Harbaugh's program—or their primary recruiter. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan posted reactions from several prospects that included four-star TX DE Levi Onwuzurike saying that it wouldn't affect him as long as Greg Mattison stayed on staff ($). Five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly said it affects his recruitment, but he's been considered a long-shot at best for a while now. This is worth watching, though:

Los Angeles Loyola 2016 cornerback David Long Jr.

"That would be huge [to lose him], but if [Stanford defensive coordinator Lance] Anderson replaces him it would work perfectly, but that's in a perfect world."

Despite being a Stanford commit, Long seemed more likely to end up at Michigan. We'll see what comes of his imminent in-home visit; hopefully that clears up any concern.

Meanwhile, 247's Steve Wiltfong reported today that director of player personnel Chris Partridge will not follow Durkin to Maryland, which was rumored to be a strong possibility—Sam Webb added Partridge is in line for an "increased role" with the program. While Michigan's recruiting in New Jersey has reached the point where Partridge isn't essential to their ability to land that state's top talent—more NJ recruits mention Jabrill Peppers than Partridge these days—it's still a a significant plus to have his connections there.

*So I can save myself an extra paragraph, Elliott isn't going anywhere.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Monday Recruitin' Shuts It Down

Monday Recruitin' Shuts It Down

Submitted by Ace on November 30th, 2015 at 4:00 PM

More On Jordan Elliott's Commitment

Sam Webb caught up with four-star TX DT Jordan Elliott in the wake of his commitment to Michigan; the former Baylor and Houston pledge assured Webb that Ann Arbor is his final destination ($):

That’s yet another reason why he insists his commitment to Michigan is firm. So firm that he answered the question what other schools he’d be visiting before it was done being asked.

“None at all,” he said. “I’m done. No more.”

And how will he respond when other schools persist in recruiting him?

“I won’t respond,” said Elliott.

Elliott mentioned that the coaches plan to play him "all over the line," but initially he'll get the most snaps at defensive end. He's enrolling for the spring semester in April, which means he won't make it in time for spring practice but he'll get a jump start on academics and conditioning.

For more on Elliott, read his commitment post here.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Monday Recruitin' Snaps Cake, Eats It Too

Monday Recruitin' Snaps Cake, Eats It Too

Submitted by Ace on November 23rd, 2015 at 3:52 PM

I Will Now Surgically Attach Myself To My Laptop

247's Steve Lorenz has published an early list of visitors for The Game. It's free, extensive, and includes the following big names, among many others:

  • Five-star GA ATH Mecole Hardman, a Peppers-type who's expected to stay in SEC country but is giving M a serious look.
  • Four-star TX ILB Dontavious Jackson and his teammate, three-star S Chris Brown, will take their long-awaited official visits.
  • Four-star MD OG Terrance Davis, who maintains Michigan as his leader heading into his official visits, per 247's Luke Stampini ($).
  • Detroit King teammates LaVert Hill and Donnie Corley could be back on campus for unofficial visits, as could Hill's fellow tenuous PSU commit, Quinn Nordin.
  • Four-star FL DT Keyshon Camp is showing a lot of interest despite his USC commit; after taking an official in September, he'll pay his way back for an unofficial.
  • Three-star FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young has had Michigan at or near the top of his impressive offer list for a while. He'll be in on an official.
  • In addition to hosting a huge number of current commits, M will host six top-150 recruits each from the 2017 and 2018 classes.

Michigan also will have a second USC flip candidate on campus in three-star WR Velus Jones Jr., who added an offer a couple weeks ago and will be in on an official visit.

One big name who initially planned to make the trip is four-star TX OT Jean Delance, who had to reschedule his official visit because his team advanced in the playoffs. In a sign that his interest is legit, he told 247's Ryan Bartow that as a result he's pushing back his announcement date ($):

Delance had hoped to announce a verbal commit January 2 at the Under Armour All-American Game.

That's now up in the air.

"No I will not commit," Delance said. "I will visit these schools before I (am) committing if possible."

This might put Michigan in a tight spot if another lineman wants to commit before Delance is ready to make a decision, but that's one of those good problems.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Wednesday Recruitin' Pays Its Way Back

Wednesday Recruitin' Pays Its Way Back

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Gary Return A Distinct Possibility

It's been a good week on the Rashan Gary news front. Jennifer Coney, mother of the five-star defensive lineman, gave an extended interview to 247Sports that contains a couple significant developments. First off, they're leaning towards a return visit to Ann Arbor:

"It would definitely be in January right before Signing Day," she said. "We are leaning that way. I want him to go there one more time before he decides. His sister, my husband, all of us will be there."

A visit from Gary would be his fourth to Michigan's campus as a recruit. He's already been on his official visit for the game against BYU and was on campus twice during the off-season.

Paying their way to take the whole family to campus right before Signing Day when Gary's already seen it three times is hard to take as anything but a great sign. So, too, is this quote from Coney about Gary's official visit to Auburn, the program considered the top contender for him aside from Michigan:

"They showed us a video, the day in the life of a football player," Coney told the SEC Recruiting Buzz podcast. "At the end, I was so unimpressed, they said, 'Are you okay?' I said, 'This is not what I came down here for.' "

While Coney added that Auburn then had her meet with multiple academic advisors, which she found far more impressive than the presentation, but that still stands in stark contrast to her quotes about Michigan's academic presentation—and both Coney and Gary have maintained academics will be a significant factor when the time comes to make a decision.

Michigan also looks to be in great shape with one of the top overall prospects in the 2017 class. Five-star NY OT Isaiah Wilson has Michigan in his top eight with plans to narrow his list to four soon and make a decision this summer; given that timeline, the visit plans he gave Rivals' Adam Friedman are very encouraging ($):

"I haven't begun planning a lot of things yet," he said. "I know that I might go to the Penn State game against Michigan. It depends on the cars and who is driving. In February I plan on visiting Michigan for the basketball game against Michigan State. I know that's going to be crazy. In the spring I will take some visits but nothing is set in stone yet. I don't have a schedule or dates."

It's important to note that neither Penn State nor Michigan State are in his top eight.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Friday Recruitin' Hits The Road

Friday Recruitin' Hits The Road

Submitted by Ace on October 23rd, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Bye Week Visits: Nauta, Gary Square Off


Coming to your citayyyyyyy

It's the bye week. Life is mercifully boring, unless you're on Michigan's coaching staff, in which case you're probably on a plane.

The coaches will stop by schools and check out games of several top targets today and tomorrow. The headliner is tonight, when five-star DT Rashan Gary and Paramus Catholic take on five-star TE Isaac Nauta and IMG Academy at 7pm (televised on ESPN2 if you're curious); Jim Harbaugh will be there, per TomVH ($):

Harbaugh is expected to be in attendance at IMG’s game on Friday as it takes on Parramus Catholic, a team that features the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Rashan Gary.

"It’s awesome that he’s coming to the game,” Nauta said, “especially because I was just up there and he’s making the effort to come down here. He could have gone to a lot of places but he chose to come down here so that’s huge.”

That's a nice two-for-one, and it's not the only stop Harbaugh will make on the recruiting trail this weekend; 247's Steve Lorenz reports($) he'll also head to Houston on Saturday to see four-star ILB Dontavious Jackson and three-star S Chris Brown. John Baxter is heading out to California to see four-star CB David Long and, in all likelihood, four-star ATH Lamar Jackson. Jay Harbaugh is going to Tampa to check out three-star TE Jacob Mathis. Tim Drevno is on his way to Texas to watch four-star OT Jean Delance.

Several other top targets will receive visits, as well. There's also a new name on the list of bye week targets: four-star 2017 CO OT Jake Moretti, an Ohio State commit who 247's Bill Kurelic reports got a visit from Jedd Fisch ($):

Being a class of 2017 prospect and being an offensive lineman out in Colorado, Moretti’s name doesn’t often come up right now. But Wolverine assistant Jedd Fisch, with Michigan having a bye this weekend, stopped at Moretti’s school this week.

And Fisch isn’t the only coach interested in flipping Moretti.

“Schools keep coming after me,” Moretti said. “(But) I’m good with Ohio State. I’m 100%. I love Ohio State. Ohio State is a special place.”

Michigan's had some success recruiting in Colorado and could add to that if Carlo Kemp chooses the Wolverines over Notre Dame. We'll see if anything develops with Moretti.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Monday Recruitin' Would Dominate Freeze Tag

Monday Recruitin' Would Dominate Freeze Tag

Submitted by Ace on September 7th, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Speedy Eaglet Update

Yup, still want.

Commits Taking Visits

Three-star AL RB Kingston Davis has taken a couple visits since his Michigan commitment and plans to take at least one more, but his dad told Sam Webb his pledge is still solid, and there's vehicular-related evidence to back that up ($):

“We visited LSU and we visited Florida and he liked both spots,” Davis’ father Leroy said.  “Florida he liked more than he liked LSU I guess you could say.  His top three is Michigan Florida and LSU.  I think Louisville was #5 from what I remember. I think Nebraska was one of those schools.  So he wants to visit Nebraska.  He wants to visit Michigan, of course.  He is excited about Michigan’s game that is going to be played next Thursday.  We’re all going to be sitting down watching attentively to see what Coach Harbaugh and company are doing.  But he is still solid about where he wants to go to school.  He is bugging me now about a four-wheel drive vehicle.  Do you need a four-wheel drive in Michigan? (Laughter)

In case that doesn't assuage your fears, he added he "can't think of anything" when asked what it would take for his son to change his commitment before launching into a list of reasons why the whole family likes Michigan.

In other commit visit news that shouldn't be too concerning, four-star IN ATH Chris Evans plans to take an unofficial to Indiana, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($). Evans says he's "still all Michigan." The day the Hoosiers flip a commit Michigan wants to keep will be the same day they have a good offense and a good defense simultanously.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]