21 Targets for 2015

21 Targets for 2015

Submitted by Brandon Brown on April 16th, 2014 at 9:37 AM

At the request of several readers, the list below is of prospects that could actually become a part of the 2015 class. Obviously anyone with an offer could potentially wind up on this list if a visit were to be set up, or the coaches decided to put some serious pressure on. But that list gets unwieldy; who wants to watch 100 guys of whom three will probably end up in Michigan's class.

The prospects below are those who've already demonstrated legitimate interest, be it by setting up visits, releasing top lists, or clear statements expressing a high level of interest in Michigan. Each of them will score between a 3 and a 5 on “The Vibe." I expect no more than 4 or 5 of them will end up in the class, but 20% > 3%.

I asked most of them directly if they belonged on a list of recruits that were seriously considering Michigan. In some cases the responses were more forward than I expected and that tells me that Michigan is in serious contention with some of them.

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Athlete (DB/WR)

Brian Cole – Heritage – Saginaw, MIBrian Cole

The battle for the top athlete in Michigan seems to be between Michigan and Michigan State. Cole has visited Michigan several times and has recently been visited by the coaching staff. Even though he’s an in-state recruit, he’ll be able to go anywhere he wants, and there's time yet for national programs to make their plays.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Defensive End

Jashon Cornell – Cretin Derham Hall – St. Paul, MN

Cornell will make his decision at the end of the summer on August 28 during his season opener. Cornell keeps to himself but a lot of people think thatJashon Cornell 2 Notre Dame may have an edge as many former athletes from his high school have wound up in South Bend. Cornell plans to take a west coast tour this summer to check out UCLA, USC, and Stanford. Michigan is in good shape but it’s going to be a battle for such a talent.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Keisean Lucier-South – Lutheran-Orange County – Orange, CAKeisean Lucier-South

KLS has not been shy about how much he likes Michigan but reeling in Cali-kids is always tough to do. He had good things to say about Michigan though. “Michigan is actually doing really good in recruiting me. They send me letters every day and I think I belong on their list of possible commitments.” KLS doesn’t have any Ann Arbor visit plans lined up yet and the logistics of being in California will prove difficult.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Clelin Ferrell – Benedictine – Richmond, VAClelin Ferrell

It’s being reported that Ferrell will be in Ann Arbor this weekend, which bodes well for his recruitment. Before I learned of his visit plans, I’m not sure I’d have put him on this list. Ferrell told me he is really looking forward to checking out Ann Arbor for the first time, but he’s not close to a commitment at this time.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Darian Roseboro – Lincolnton – Lincolnton, NCDarian Roseboro

Roseboro really likes what he knows about Michigan so far but said he can’t exactly rank them right now since he hasn’t visited yet. He plans to set up some visit arrangements soon and said that he definitely belongs on the “seriously interested” list.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Dre’Mont Jones – St. Ignatius – Cleveland, OH

Conidered an Ohio State lock, Jones recently told me that he is really feeling Michigan and that the Buckeyes aren’t a shoe-in after all. He admitted that OhioDre'Mont Jones State was his leader but the Michigan coaches are doing very well with him and aren’t out of it yet. Jones visited Ohio State this past week and many thought he’d commit while there. He did not which makes his comments about Michigan seem more genuine.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Joshua Alabi – Cass Technical – Detroit, MIJoshua Alabi

Alabi is another Cass Tech recruit so he’s always going to be a possibility. He told me that he is a realistic possibility for the class and even though he doesn’t have any immediate plans to visit soon, he’s trying to set them up with his parents.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Linebacker

Darrin Kirkland Jr. – Lawrence Central – Indianapolis, INDarrin Kirkland Jr.

Kirkland Jr. will announce his decision on May 30 and recently told me that Michigan will definitely make his Top 8. He also told me that he’d like to visit Michigan again before he makes his decision.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Asmar Bilal – Ben Davis – Indianapolis, INAsmar Bilal

Michigan offered Bilal and Kirkland both on the heels of a Josh Barajas surprise commitment to Penn State. Bilal loved his Michigan visit and says he’d like to return soon. He may also take an official visit to Ann Arbor before his commitment. Even though he doesn’t have any sort of order in his offer list, he did say that Michigan is “in his tops.”

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Justin Hilliard – St. Xavier – Cincinnati, OH

Hilliard is being pulled in a lot of different directions by some of the top programs in the country. 

Justin Hilliard

He has visited Michigan multiple times but the competition for his signature may be as stiff as any recruit on this list. He’s been rumored to be a Notre Dame lean, an Ohio State lean, and possibly an Alabama lean. Those three schools recruit as well as anyone in the country, but Michigan is putting in work as well.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Osa Masina – Brighton – Salt Lake City, UT

The state of Utah has sent a recruit to Michigan a couple of times in the pastOsa Masina few classes and that bodes well for the Wolverines as Masina has a connection with them. Osa says that he likes Michigan “A LOT” and while he has been to Michigan before, he doesn’t have any plans to return right now. He says they are definitely in the mix for him.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Joshua McMillon – Whitehaven – Memphis, TN

I didn’t think Michigan had much of a chance with McMillon but after he spent an entire weekend in Ann Arbor recently that’s clearly not the case.Joshua McMillon McMillon said that Michigan is definitely a contender for him and that he really enjoyed his visit. He’s in SEC country but Michigan has done well with him.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tyriq Thompson – Detroit Martin Luther King – Detroit, MI

A lot of people assume Michigan is the eventual spot for Thompson as he’s a legacy (father is mid-'90s safety Clarence) offer and an in-state kid with a still-growing offer list. Tyriq himself isn’t so quick to say that. “I can’t really say if Michigan has a good chance with me or not Tyriq Thompsonsince it’s going to be a while before I’m close to a decision. I’m just taking things slowly from here on out.” With the class projecting to contain about 12-15 members, Thompson may miss out on an opportunity to commit if he’s even considering that.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Offensive Tackle

Grant Newsome – The Lawrenceville School – Trenton, NJ

Michigan recently missed out on Jake Fruhmorgen and Sterling Jenkins has completelyGrant Newsome ruled them out as a possibility. That leaves Grant Newsome as the lone highly rated OT with serious Michigan interest. Newsome told me that he definitely belongs on Michigan’s list of highly interested prospects. “I’m only visiting the schools that I’m really interested in.” Newsome will visit Michigan this upcoming weekend, but he won’t make a decision until the summer.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Running Back

Damien Harris – Madison Southern – Berea, KY

I’m not sure much needs to be said here. Once a commit, now a highly covetedDamien Harris decommit. Harris is being vigorously pursued by Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, he still remains a top priority for the Michigan coaches. He and his mother both really like Michigan still but it will be a battle between the good guys, Ohio State, and Kentucky.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Jacques Patrick – Timber Creek – Orlando, FL

Patrick is one of the more sought after running backs in the class and while he is aJacque Patrick Florida recruit, he has roots in Michigan, making his interest in the Wolverines not seem so out of place. Patrick told me that he plans to visit this summer and is thinking about taking one of his five official visits to Ann Arbor this fall. He just barely makes this list as I think he ultimately stays in the sunshine state.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Mike Weber – Cass Technical – Detroit, MI

Once thought of as a written-off prospect, the hiring of Doug Nussmeier (and Damien Harris's decommit) rekindled the flames between Michigan and Weber. The stout running back has Mike Webervisited Michigan multiple times and has posted several Michigan-centric images on Twitter and Instagram. Michigan State and Ohio State are also heavily involved so when he commits it’ll either be cause for celebration or worry.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tight End

Chris Clark – Avon Old Farms – Avon, CTChris Clark

The recruitment of Chris Clark has been a roller coaster as he surprisingly committed to North Carolina about a month ago, and not so surprisingly decommitted just about a week ago. He plans to take several visits including Michigan this weekend. Clark has always spoken highly about the Wolverines and I think his visit to Ann Arbor this weekend could put Michigan squarely in the mix.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Hale Hentges – Helias – Jefferson City, MOHale Hentges 2

I asked Hentges straight up if Michigan was a school that actually had a chance with him and he said, “Yes I think so. I’m very interested in Michigan.” Hentges would like to commit before his senior season starts but says he doesn’t have a leader yet. He also says he’d like to visit Michigan again before he makes a decision.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – Canisius – Buffalo, NY

Everyone seems to think Wheatley Jr. is a Michigan lock anTyrone Wheatley Jr. 2d while he may wind up a Wolverine, TJ isn’t ready to call Michigan his leader. “Everyone still has a chance. My recruitment is very open.” Wheatley Jr. may be slow-playing his true intentions, or he may actually be interested in writing his own story that doesn’t involve following in his dad’s footsteps.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

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Wide Receiver

Juval Mollette – Randleman – Randleman, NC

Personally, I don’t think Michigan has a great chance with Mollette, but he did recentlyJuval Mollette include the Wolverines as part of his top 5. He hasn’t planned any sort of visit yet but Michigan is putting in the necessary effort to stay in his mind. “Yeah I think I should be on Michigan’s short list. I keep a good relationship with Coach Manning and them up there. They have a chance.” I’ve heard Clemson is an early favorite for Mollette and a recent visit to Death Valley proves his high level of interest.

THE VIBE

5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none

Michigan State Visitor List

Michigan State Visitor List

Submitted by Brandon Brown on February 21st, 2014 at 11:50 PM

This weekend’s basketball game has huge implications in the B1G standings and something like above would be marvelous. Taking advantage of the expectedly electred atmosphere in Crisler Arena, the coaches scheduled a junior day for the big game. A few younger prospects will also be on hand for the biggest recruiting event of the year thus far. I heard back from about 50 prospects and each one will be listed and labeled with information as I dig it up.

GOING

2015 Commits

CB Shaun Crawford
K Andrew David
S Tyree Kinnel

2015 Targets

ATH Brian Cole
CB Ray Buford Jr.
DE Dre’Mont Jones (maybe, basketball schedule may interfere)
LB Tyriq Thompson
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
LB Troy Henderson
LB Asmar Bilal
RB Damien Harris
RB Mike Weber
TE Austin Ervin
TE David Edwards
TE/OL Harrison Moon

2016 Targets

ATH Daelin Hayes
OL Thiyo Lukusa (commit watch)
RB Kentrail Moran
WR Desmond Fitzpatrick

NOT GOING

2015 Commits

OL Jon Runyan Jr. (will visit March 8 & 9)

2015 Targets

CB Garrett Taylor (will visit for a spring practice)
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
DE Darian Roseboro
DE Jake Pickard (will visit during the summer)
DE Josh Alabi
DE Jashon Cornell (visiting Ole Miss this weekend, no plans to visit at this time)
LB Josh Barajas (visited for Wisconsin game, may visit again for spring practice)
LB Jerome Baker (will visit for a spring practice)
LB Jake Cooper (has frequent contact with staff, no plans to visit at this time)
LB Justin Hilliard (would like to visit for a spring practice)
OL Drew Richmond (has no plans to visit at this time)
OL Sterling Jenkins (will visit for a spring practice)
OL Gabe Megginson (high interest, would like a Michigan offer)
OL Grant Newsome (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Nick Johns (will visit during his spring break)
QB Brandon Wimbush (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Ryan Willis (focusing more on schools that have offered, waiting on more interest)
QB Alex Malzone (will visit for a spring practice)
QB Riley Neal (not much contact since hiring of Nussmeier)
QB Jon Wassink (very interested, not much contact since hiring of Nussmeier)
RB Andrew Dowell (would like to visit for a spring practice)
S Omari Stringer (would like to visit for a spring practice)
TE Chris Clark (will visit March 22)
TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. (will visit for a spring practice)
TE Austin Dorris (will visit March 1)
TE CJ Conrad (will visit for a spring practice)
TE Cole Chewins (has no plans to visit at this time)
WR David Dowell (would like to visit for a spring practice)

Thursday Recruitin' Wears A Blogger Costume

Thursday Recruitin' Wears A Blogger Costume

Submitted by Ace on October 31st, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Beards Require No Context Or Reason

Tim did this because he's still a blogger at heart, obviously.

Consider that George Campbell's treat, accompanied by this nifty trick:

Da'Shawn And The Battle Of Academic Departments

As more details emerge from Da'Shawn Hand's official visit to Alabama, it's clear that (1) the Tide are very much in the running, and (2) Professor Needs A Raise has a Southern counterpart, per Rivals's Adam Friedman ($):

"The engineering dean is the man!" Hand exclaimed. "He is that guy! I met with the business professor too and he was good. The academic support is amazing. They have individual tutors and that's good to help you manage your time."

In talking with TomVH, Hand revealed this his decision may in fact come down to his choice of major ($):

Hand says that if he wants to go into sports management it will be Michigan, and if he wants to go into engineering it will be Alabama. Florida offers both, so he will be spending time with professors in both fields on that trip to see if that has any impact on his decision.

The 6-foot-4, 262-pound defensive end says for right now he’s just focused on Florida, though, and will head out to Gainesville on November 9.

One of the Michigan coaches may want to alert him to this.

In other pursuits of 2014 blue-chip prospects, Oregon has become a major player for CA ATH JuJu Smith after he visited Eugene in place of a planned trip to Ole Miss; he told Rivals's Adam Gorney($) that the Ducks are "another top team to beat." Smith already had very positive official visit experiences at Notre Dame and Ohio State, has USC and UCLA under consideration, and has two officials left: Alabama (vs. LSU) and Michigan (vs. OSU). With that much competition, it's tough to peg Michigan as anything but a longshot, even with whatever edge they might get from receiving Smith's final official.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on the 2014 running back situation—there seems to be a situation—plus Freddy Canteen makin' moves, evaluations of a couple M commits, and more.]

Friday Recruitin' Hates Flying, Too

Friday Recruitin' Hates Flying, Too

Submitted by Ace on September 6th, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Notre Dame Visit Primer

The second interation of Under The Lights should be Michigan's biggest recruiting weekend of the fall. 247's Steve Lorenz was kind enough to give me permission to post his list of visitors($); this doesn't cover every visitor who'll be on campus this weekend (there are many), just the ones I've deemed most important to point out. To make this easier, I'm breaking it up into categories.

Commits

Unfortunately, Michael Ferns and Jabrill Peppers can't make it, so Michigan won't have two of their primary commits/recruiters; Wilton Speight will be there, however, as will George "The Mayor" Campbell, Damien Harris, and a host of other Wolverine pledges from both the 2014 and 2015 classes.

2014 Uncommitted Prospects

Just two players fall into this category, and they happen to be the two prospects sitting atop Michigan's board for 2014: Southfield DL Malik McDowell and VA WDE Da'Shawn Hand. The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan caught up with Hand's mentor and former position coach, John Harris, to discuss what the nation's top defensive end will look for on his visit ($):

"[Saturday,] he'll look at how the coaches react if Notre Dame gets an early touchdown. Do they get down on guys or are they encouraging? He'll look at the scheme, but he's already been through that. If you can justify how you can use him in it, he won't say, 'I don't like that front.' Everything is about how he fits into it."

Tell Hand the story of Brendan Gibbons's confidence-fueled rise from beaten-down shank artist to brunette-envisioning record-setter and I think he'll be encouraged by the coaching staff's level of, er, encouragement. Hand himself also spoke with Adam Friedman of Rivals about what he wants to see this weekend ($):

"I just want to go up there and have fun," said the 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive end. "The first time I was up there it was mainly an academic visit because I met with one of the professors. This is more of a visit to see if I can live there for four or five years. I know that it's not going to be like this weekend every day but at the same time I want to see how it is on game day."

As for McDowell, he told Sam Webb that he won't take any official visits during the season in order to focus on his own football season ($). That means he'll try to cram in five officials between the end of his season (likely November with playoffs included) and whenever he makes his decision; this is just my speculation—I don't see that happening. Regardless, Michigan is still in a very good position for McDowell.

2015 Uncommitted Prospects

Da'Shawn Hand is bringing a pair of very talented friends with him to Michigan: five-star DT Tim Settle and four-star OT Matthew Burrell Jr. will accompany Hand on the trip. While neither of those players currently hold offers, I'd expect both will have them after the weekend; the coaches like to wait until prospects show serious interest before putting offers out there and a visit certainly qualifies. Both Settle and Burrell are top prospects at positions of need who'll be the subject of heated recruiting battles; it's good that Michigan is getting early looks from each of them.

Four-star Saginaw athlete Brian Cole looked to be a strong Michigan lean early; since Michigan State hired Curtis Blackwell, his 7-on-7 coach, the tides have shifted in favor of the Spartans—at least, that's the perception after Cole has been a steady presence in East Lansing. He's visited Michigan several times, as well, and a positive experience this weekend could move the needle once again. Cole is the one 2015 in-state prospect that I think Michigan would do well to haul in; it'd be a real loss if he ended up at State.

A few other notable in-state prospects are scheduled to attend: the Cass Tech duo of RB Mike Weber and DL Joshua Alabi plan to be there along with a few of their 2016 teammtes (CB Lavert Hill, brother of freshman S Delano Hill, as well as linemen Ostell Martin and Michael Onwenu). Detroit King LB Tyriq Thompson, son of former Michigan safety Clarence Thompson, is likely to attend as well.

MN DE Jashon Cornell is the #1 overall 2015 prospect on ESPN and a composite five-star; his visit is particularly interesting given that he comes from a school, Cretin-Derham Hall, that is traditionally a Notre Dame pipeline. Though he boasts offers from across the country, Cornell appears to be looking to stay in the Midwest—he's also got unofficials lined up to Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and—yes—Notre Dame. He took notice when George Campbell committed and The Mayor will surely look to convince Cornell that they should team up in college.

Four-star linebacker Justin Hilliard is a consensus top-three player in Ohio; he's got an extensive list of planned unofficials that includes a return trip to Ann Arbor for The Game. It wouldn't be surprising if his recruitment came down to Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Iowa, where his brother C.J. is 2014 running back commit (lord help him—no, AIRBHG, a different lord ohhhhhh no what have I done).

A couple more potential visitors are AZ ATH Cassius Peat, a 3.5-star OLB/DE-type and the brother of Stanford lineman Andrus, and NY TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr., son of... well, you can probably guess. Peat has an early Michigan State offer and enjoyed a summer visit to Ann Arbor; Wheatley already has a Michigan offer and looks like a strong candidate to end up in the class at some point.

LA four-star DT TD Moton is also a potential visitor, though there's a hurdle to clear here:

Stay strong, Mr. Moton.

2016 Uncommitted Prospects

The one to watch here is IL OT Erik Swenson, whose tone regarding Michigan has been downright rapturous after his previous visits; he may want to take his time with a decision, but sooner or later he's almost guaranteed to end up committing. That will be very good news, since he's one of the top overall prospects in the 2016 class.

Other notable sophomores include Traverse City OL Thiyo Lukusa, who already has a Michigan State offer, and Farmington WR Desmond Fitzpatrick, who has three offers himself (Indiana, Ohio, and Toledo) and has been a consistent presence on campus

Overview

There isn't an obvious candidate to commit this weekend with the possible exception of Swenson—interestingly, one of the youngest prospects who'll be in attendance. The two 2014 targets have long maintained that their recruitments will stretch well past this weekend. The 2015 visitors for the most part are either players who should have very competitive recruitments (Settle, Burrell, Cornell) or guys Michigan hasn't offered or may not have room to take—Wheatley is an intriguing exception to this rule.

Of course, this was much the same case the last time these two teams played at the Big House, and then Dymonte Thomas shocked Ohio State fans by pledging to the good guys (and, yes, sticking to that commitment) after getting swept up in the excitment of Robinson-to-Roundtree. In what should be another incredible atmosphere on Saturday, who knows what surprises this weekend holds in store?

I should note that 247's Steve Wiltfong has a very informative free overview of what's turning into a big visit weekend across the Big Ten.

[Hit THE JUMP for a couple of Michigan commits getting rankings bumps, highlights of Jashon Cornell in action, the decline of head-to-head recruiting battles between Michigan and Notre Dame, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Shook The College Football

Monday Recruitin' Shook The College Football

Submitted by Ace on September 2nd, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Oh, Cool, We Get To Root For The Blue Guys Again

It's a very odd experience to have Cass Tech playing a marquee game and not have several Michigan commits/targets to root for wearing green and white, but that was the case on Friday night when the Technicians—featuring OSU commit Damon Webb and MSU commit Jayru Campbell—took on a Southfield squad starring Michigan pledge Lawrence Marshall and top Wolverine target Malik McDowell. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend due to a family matter (all is well, don't worry), but there was plenty of coverage to round up from Cass Tech's 18-14 victory.

Maize & Blue News has cut-ups of McDowell (#67 in white), who finished with five TFLs in a very impressive performance in his first game for Southfield—an especially good sign given the greatly increased level of competition compared to what he faced in his first three years of high school:

M&BN also posted clips of Marshall (#12 in white), who finished with eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, per Steve Lorenz:

This was Marshall's first game after tragically losing both his father (complications from diabetes) and grandfather (heart attack) within the last two months; TomVH has the full story of Marshall using football as his refuge while going through such a difficult time. Despite those trying circumstances, Marshall had a very impressive game; here's Lorenz on his performance ($):

Marshall was another player who impressed consistently. He still has difficulty disengaging blocks at points, but was very impressive physically and did not look even the slightest bit slower after putting on about 30 pounds since this time last season. He never quits on a play, and made a couple backside pursuit tackles that may have prevented Cass Tech touchdowns. He looked great.

McDowell, meanwhile, earned the nod as top defensive performer of the entire Prep Kickoff Classic from Rivals's Josh Helmholdt ($):

McDowell was named by Rivals.com as one of 10 class of 2014 players who needed to step it up in his senior season, and in the first game he did just that. Detroit Cass Tech fields one of the biggest offensive lines Southfield will see all season and it sent double teams at the 6-foot-7, 290-pound defensive lineman all night long, but it didn't matter. McDowell lived in the Cass Tech backfield, registering five tackles for loss. He was making plays sideline to sideline, showing a great motor.

The major questions surrounding McDowell after three years at Detroit Loyola centered on his motor and whether he could dominate against high-level competition; the early returns on both fronts are obviously quite good. His ability to play both inside and outside on the line could be very valuable if he ends up at Michigan given Greg Mattison's proclivity for moving players around depending on the situation.

Cass Tech's major standout was 2015 RB Mike Weber, who scored two touchdowns and had another brought back due to a penalty. While it's unclear if Michigan will have room for him in their class with Damien Harris already on board, Weber told Scout's Josh Newkirk that he's still got U-M under consideration ($):

While Michigan already has a running back Damien Harris committed in its 2015 class, Weber said he’s still looking at U-M as an option and he isn’t afraid of a little competition in Ann Arbor.

“I’ll go compete anywhere,” Weber said. “If I want to go there and it’s a good fit for me, I don’t care how many running backs go there -- I’m going to try to beat them all out.”

Weber visited for the Central Michigan game and enjoyed seeing several of his former high school teammates on the field, per Steve Lorenz ($). Michigan, Michigan State, and Tennessee are the three schools currently standing out for him; there's a large overlap between his top schools and those of 2015 teammate Joshua Alabi, who told Scout's Mike Wilson that he and Weber share a top two ($):

Me and Mike, we liked Tennessee,” he said. “That’s our number one, but our number two is both Michigan State, so it’s kind of like even. … We were planning on going to Tennessee’s first night game, so whenever that is.”

Alabi's quotes about the rest of his top five—Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin—indicate that the Wolverines are still under consideration, and may in fact have a good shot if they seriously pursue him:

Michigan: Michigan, that’s a home school. Who wouldn’t want to play for Michigan? If I wind up there, it would be a blessing.”

Michigan State: “With Jayru Campbell, he just committed there so I wouldn’t mind going there with me, Mike and Jayru. We were planning on all going to one school, so that could work out.”

Reading into quotes from high schoolers is a dangerous exercise, but that sure looks to me like Alabi is hoping for a spot to open up. At this point (even with an offer out) I think the coaches are in wait-and-see mode, and Alabi reportedly didn't impress with his play on Friday.

[Hit THE JUMP for the full roundup of Michigan commits in action, including Damien Harris posting mind-blowing numbers, a look at the Rivals250 Watch List for 2015, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Is Open To (Almost) Everyone

Monday Recruitin' Is Open To (Almost) Everyone

Submitted by Ace on July 22nd, 2013 at 3:20 PM

I'm back from parts unknown—okay, Phoenix—with definitive proof that TomVH, not myself, is the recruiting analyst with the vacation-commitment curse (or gift, depending on your perspective). It's been mostly quiet on the recruiting front for the past week, save for Michigan finally pinning down a big-time visit.

Roll Out The Red Blue Carpet

Obligatory.

LA RB Leonard Fournette would like some extra barbeque with his barbeque, please:

New Orleans (LA) St. Augustine 2014 running back Leonard Fournette has been talking about visiting Michigan for some time now.

On Sunday, Wolverine247 insider Steve Lorenz confirmed that Fournette, the Nations top running back, will visit Michigan for an extended visit next week.

This year's BBQ at the Big House is a two-day event slated for Saturday/Sunday; Fournette will arrive in Ann Arbor on Thursday and spend the weekend — accompanied by both of his parents, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($). Fournette and his family remain adamant that the nation's top back doesn't have any leaders despite everyone expecting the Louisiana native to stay in the Southeast. Michigan is still a longshot and I will continue saying that until there's very concrete evidence to the contrary; Fournette staying for a long weekend with his parents, however, certainly indicates serious interest.

Fournette won't be the only 2014 running back in attendance at the BBQ; Michigan has long been among the top schools for New Jersey three-star Jonathan Hilliman, whose offer sheet far outstrips his current rankings — he'll be in town this weekend, but the Wolverines have ground to cover, per Rivals's Adam Friedman ($):

Hilliman's top five schools were, in no order, Ohio State, Alabama, Rutgers, Michigan and Vanderbilt but he already knows of one school that will make it to the next round.

"I'm going to cut down to three," he said. "Ohio State is still the leader. We're keeping in contact and it's easy for me to see how interested they are. I know Ohio State is going to make the cut and most likely Rutgers will also but I want to see how the visit goes. I'm not sure of which school will be that third one.

The BBQ gives Michigan a good chance to be that third school; Ohio State is obviously the team to beat. I'll have the full rundown on BBQ visitors on Thursday, once I've had a chance to settle back in and more recruits confirm whether or not they'll attend.

[Hit THE JUMP for news on early enrollees, the latest on Adoree' Jackson, and updates on several underclassmen, including Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and the two choice eliminations from his recruitment.]

Monday Recruitin' Camps, Camps Again

Monday Recruitin' Camps, Camps Again

Submitted by Brian on June 17th, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Campapalooza

The annual Sound Mind, Sound Body camp was over the weekend, and the thing is getting too huge to contain. Since SMSB is a non-profit, coaches can attend by donating their time. That's a rare opportunity—a unique one, as far as I know—and thus both coaches and prospects descend on it in droves. This year there were 800-some kids, including delegations from California, Minnesota, etc. It's big.

State and Michigan sent their entire staffs, Glenville brought 50 kids and scrimmaged Cass Tech in 7-on-7 afterwards, Ohio State deigned to send Vrabel and that lunatic from Cincinnati who can't seem to recruit anyone from Cincinnati, etc. It has blown up.

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I would like to see Drue Tranquill's bandana collection.

At this point Michigan is mostly on the lookout for 2015 kids, but there are a few wobbly spots in the class still, like safety, and one of the breakout players was IN S Drue Tranquill, a 6'2" LB/S who had MAC offers before the camp. He's now got a couple of low-level Big Ten offers (Indiana, Minnesota) and will be a guy to watch if he camps at Michigan, which he plans on doing. Sam Webb on Tranquill($):

No player’s stock rose more than Tranquill’s on day one.  The 6-2, 208-pounder came out of nowhere to emerge as a viable football prospect in recent months after initially fancying himself more of a baseball prospect.  Tranqill pairs 4.49 speed with impressive lateral quickness. There were only a few occasions where receivers got the best of him on the day (one just happened to be Maurice Ways on a crossing route)… but even when he was beaten he was only inches from making a play. 

He told Josh Helmholdt that both the Michigan and Ohio State coaches were hot after him. Helmholdt, meanwhile, named him the top guy there, period:

Many teams are trying to fit the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Tranquill in at linebacker, but he showed he can definitely play safety with outstanding footwork, fluidity, speed and instincts in coverage.

An offer will likely depend on if Michigan thinks he can play safety… or maybe nickel. A couple of schools from the Ohio State defensive tree (like, say, Ohio State) are recruiting him for "star" linebacker, which is their fancypants equivalent. Since Michigan's camp is going on right now, we won't have to wait long to see.

MI WR commit Mo Ways came out, which is an unusual thing:

Ways has not been real active on the camp scene this offseason, but the SMSB Camp gave us another chance to evaluate the relatively new-to-the-game wide receiver and his progression is coming along nicely. The top defensive backs at the camp wanted to take on the Michigan commit, and he handled them with relative ease, getting open and making easy catches.

Ways is up to around 200 pounds($) and says Michigan would like him to report at 215. Steve Wiltfong also noticed Ways($):

Michigan receiver commit Maurice Ways looks ready to suit up for the Wolverines in this year’s season opener. Standing in at 6-foot-4, 197-pounds, the Detroit (Mich.) Country Day standout was a late edition to the camp, and was physical nightmare for cornerbacks trying to check him.

Meanwhile, Ways is making projections about the third WR spot in the class:

“If I could say myself, it would be Artavis Scott,” Ways said. “… If everything goes well then Tay Scott will be the third receiver.”

Other interesting names:

  • 2016 ON(!) CB Patrice Rene, who Webb says is already a graceful 6'2". Rene is a lifelong Michigan fan and will camp.
  • 2015 CA CB Stanley Norman, who obviously came all the way from California and was mentioned as a talent by multiple services. He's got a UCLA offer already, and took an unofficial to M($) after he got done winning the CB MVP at SMSB. Norman is more in the Countess mold than that of Peppers, but he might have some growth in him yet as a rising junior.
  • 2015 TE/DE Ty Wheatley Jr. appears to be establishing himself more on the offensive side of the ball($), but his dad thinks he's still better off at DE. At 6'6", 240, I'd take him either place.

SMSB also provided some kids the opportunity to take unofficials to Michigan, including touted 2015 MN DE Jashon Cornell:

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A man with taste in numbers.

ND signee James Onwualu does not approve.

Afterward, Cornell sounded pumped up about Michigan($), calling Michigan's facilities "one of the best things I've ever seen." Notre Dame is an early favorite for anyone from Cretin-Derham Hall, so we'll see if Cornell wants to break the mold.

Jamarcoquest

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IL OL Jamarco Jones made his planned visits over the weekend, and will decide in a little under two weeks. His OSU visit is going on right now.

Jones remains as inscrutable as ever, but I feel a little bit better after he told Scout's Beth Long that he wasn't sweating two-deeps despite being highly encouraged to do so:

Depth doesn't matter too much, 'cause wherever I go I'm going to compete for a spot regardless. Coaches talk about that a lot but I don't pay too much attention to that. Nothing is guaranteed.

I think we can agree that Michigan is not the school bringing up depth charts. On the other hand, Jones's MSU visit coincided with a one-day camp at Michigan State and this is quite a quote fight($). On M:

"What stood out was how genuine the coaches are and how much they care about you as a person."

On MSU:

"I really felt like I was part of their family and team already. It was fun just seeing all the players I could potentially be playing with next year and how we all are similar and have the same goals."

I dunno. It's hard to believe that Jones will pick Michigan State if only because the last out-of-state guy to pick State over Michigan was during the Time of Troubles, when there were a few.

McDowell retracts his leader admission

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Last week, MI DT Malik McDowell fessed up that he liked Michigan, probably. This week, he says that ain't true($):

Another hot rumor coming out of McDowell’s appearance in Chicago last weekend revolves around his college recruitment. Holding offers from the likes of Alabama,LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, among others, it was reported that McDowell named the Wolverines his favorite.

When asked about it Thursday, McDowell smiled, quietly saying, “no (that’s not true)"

Mmm quote that is 3/4ths in brackets. Meanwhile that "rumor" was a direct quote, one that came after erratic but consistent declarations that Michigan was maybe sort of out front. Weird recruitment. McDowell seems to want to commit to Michigan but someone in his camp is trying to get him to string it out as long as possible without indicating so much as a leader.

McDowell kind of implies he'd like to go to Michigan

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it's eastern

This week, MI DT Malik McDowell attended the SMSB camp and seemed mostly interested($) in the local Big Two:

“Michigan and Ohio State, those are the two that I talked to that I was going to talk to when I got here,” McDowell said.

And in particular one of the Big Two:

McDowell has visited the Wolverines campus several times in the past and looks forward to getting back to Ann Arbor this summer.

“They still haven’t slowed down any recruiting,” McDowell said. “They’re recruiting me just as hard as they did in the beginning.”

The 6-foot-7, 290-pound McDowell added that he’s noticed Michigan’s No. 3 ranked recruiting class led by Jabrill Peppers and Drake Harris.

“That’s real nice,” McDowell said. “Would be a nice little team there.”

McDowell has not been to OSU yet but tentatively has a July visit scheduled. After discussing the local big two, McDowell quickly added that he'd like "to explore all [his] options" by visiting Florida, FSU, and USC.

Linebacker top fives: in them

Two of the three linebackers listed in the last recruiting roundup have released top fives. MO LB Jimmie Swain's consists of Michigan, MSU, Oregon, Stanford, and TCU; FL LB Darrion Owens is down to($) Michigan, Ohio State, Auburn, Georgia, and Miami.

24/7's Gerry Hamilton says Georgia "is thought to be in a very good position" after Owens camped in Athens. Need to get Owens on campus to do anything about that.

Swain is a guy Michigan is in totally random spot for. His only visit so far was to TCU. He'll take officials, it seems. So State's out, but everyone else is in play.

Your moment of zen

Tranquill on his Minnesota offer($):

“I’ve done my research and they’re a good engineering school and one of the best public universities in the country,” Tranquill said. “The Mall Of America is there. The coaches were throwing that at my mom."

This has been your moment of zen.

Etc.

Happy trails to MD OL Damian Prince, who says it was tough to leave Michigan out of his top ten($) but dang-diddly-did it anyway.

Not quite a happy trails to AZ WR Jalen Brown, but yeah pretty much:

It was different at Michigan," Brown said. "They didn't show that they needed me too much. It was more about me being a valuable player. They seem pretty set at receiver. With Michigan State, they kind of showed that they needed me there. It was more being honest with how they see me and what they are trying to do. They have really good people there, and they were trying to show that to me."

Michigan is definitely taking a third wideout in this class, so for the coaches to tell a top prospect like Brown that they're "set at receiver" implies a great deal of confidence in someone.

UT DT commit Bryan Mone is trying to graduate early, which would make him early enrollee #5 along with Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, Mason Cole, and Drake Harris.

2015 Cass Tech DT Joshua Alabi tells Josh Helmholdt($) that he is "definitely" most comfortable with Michigan State's coaches. He does have M and OSU offers; we'll see if that lasts.

FL RB Jacques Patrick is almost certainly not going to end up at M for reasons of Mikey Weber, Damien Harris, and strong interest in Patrick from the home state schools, but if you want details on his recruitment he talked to Eleven Warriors in two parts.

There is another: Delano Hill's younger brother LaVert Hill is a 2016 Cass DB who showed well($) at SMSB.

Monday Recruitin' Finds New Use For T-Shirt Cannon

Monday Recruitin' Finds New Use For T-Shirt Cannon

Submitted by Ace on March 11th, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers weekend visitor reactions and more.

Sunday's Silver Lining


Via Drake Harris

The third Michigan visit in three weeks for MI WR Drake Harris culminated in a tour of Michigan Stadium after The Basketball Game That Shall Not Be Named. Harris was accompanied in Ann Arbor for the first time by his mother and grandfather, as well, and he told WolverineNation's Chantel Jennings that his comfort level at Michigan is growing ($):

“I just enjoyed it,” Harris said. “Just hanging out with the coaches, they’re showing a lot of interest in me and showing me how much they want me to be a part of the team.”

The Watch List wide receiver said that with each visit, he, too, feels more and more comfortable around the coaches, specifically wide receivers coach Jeff Hecklinski. Harris has had the opportunity to meet Hecklinski’s wife and children, who he describes as “sweet.”

Harris is still a Michigan State commit by name, though it's worth noting that the Spartans also played a home game yesterday—for the third straight week, Harris was in Ann Arbor. His high school teammate, lineman Tommy Doles, also made the trip from Grand Rapids, and in the same article from Jennings he shed some light on the offensive line situation:

“There are, I think, two spots left for offensive linemen,” Doles said. “If one closes up, I’ll have to make some decisions and think about that. I’m aware of the situation, and I’ll be thinking about that.”

Doles told 247's Steve Lorenz that he may be back on campus next weekend, and said he'd "like to get things over sometime this spring," when asked about a timeline ($). Doles recently took a trip to Northwestern, but if he sticks to a spring decision it's hard to see him landing anywhere but Michigan.

[Hit THE JUMP for more visit reactions and the new 2014 Scout 300.]

Friday Recruitin' Hears Hoke To CFL

Friday Recruitin' Hears Hoke To CFL

Submitted by Ace on February 22nd, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers a huge visit weekend, new offers, and more.

Big February Visit Weekend Is An Annual Thing, Apparently


Mason Cole

It's that time of the year again, when Michigan rounds up a large group of highly-touted recruits, shows off their program with the coaches and current commits in full-on recruiting mode, and renders me unable to leave my laptop for the weekend. Those hoping for a repeat of last year's eight-man commitapalooza should temper their expectations, but there's nothing wrong with getting excited about the talent that will be on campus ($). Here's a rundown of this weekend's visitors (all are 2014 prospects unless otherwise noted):

  • OH LB Michael Ferns and VA QB Wilton Speight — Two of Michigan's three commits—and the two that have been most active in recruiting other prospects—will be on campus doing their best Shane Morris impressions. Both have been mentioned by other prospects as doing an impressive job of selling Michigan.
  • OH LB Kyle Berger — Berger hails from the same Cleveland St. Ignatius program that produced Jake Ryan, and it could come down to a Michigan/OSU battle for the four-star linebacker.
  • FL OL Mason Cole — If a player is going to commit this weekend, it's probably Cole, a four-star guard who's already made multiple trips up from Florida. Getting Cole would be big in its own right, and it would also give Michigan the inside track at his high school teammates, four-star WR Artavis Scott and 2015 blue-chip ATH George Campbell—both have offers, and Campbell will accompany Cole on this weekend's visit.
  • MI WR Drake Harris — This will be the first visit for Harris since his commitment to Michigan State; he's since opened up his recruitment after deciding he'll focus exclusively on football at the next level, though he still remains a soft Spartan verbal. Wilton Speight told Sam Webb he's been talking with Harris on a daily basis and convinced him to spend two days on campus this weekend. While Harris doesn't seem close to making a final decision, a productive visit could move him closer to making a change in his commitment.
  • NC RB Elijah Hood — The four-star back had Michigan tied for fifth in his recruitment as of last week, but he's since updated that list and now has the Wolverines in fourth, per ESPN's Kipp Adams ($). This weekend will be key if Michigan hopes to make up ground on Notre Dame, Hood's leader, especially since he plans to make a decision before his senior season.
  • MI DE Lawrence Marshall — Marshall briefly committed to Ohio State a couple weeks ago before opening up his recruitment after visits to Michigan State and Michigan forced him to reconsider. I'd expect the Southfield four-star end will take a little longer before making another pledge.
  • MI DE Malik McDowell — While McDowell has been a familiar face around Ann Arbor, he's yet to spend a lot of time with the coaches—that should change this weekend, obviously. McDowell has been mum about his leaderboard, but it's believed that Michigan and Notre Dame hold an edge over Ohio State and Michigan State, and this will be a chance for the Wolverines to separate themselves from the pack.
  • 2015 FL ATH George Campbell — As said above, Campbell is teammates at Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake with Mason Cole and Artavis Scott, and he appears ticketed for five-star status when the 2015 rankings eventually come out. This will be his first visit to Ann Arbor.
  • 2015 MI ATH Brian Cole — Cole projects to be one of the top athletes in Michigan's rising junior class and could end up at receiver or defensive back at the next level. The 6'2" product of Saginaw Heritage already holds offers from both Michigan and MSU. This will be his first visit to Ann Arbor.
  • 2015 OH CB Shaun Crawford — Crawford doesn't yet hold a Michigan offer, but that didn't stop him from pegging the Wolverines as his favorites in an interview with Scout's Bill Greene ($). He already holds offers from Illinois and Tennessee and ran an electronic 4.52 40-yard dash at a Nike SPARQ combine last week, so don't be surprised if Michigan comes through with an offer sooner or later.

The only player on this list that can be reasonably expected to commit this weekend is Mason Cole, and that's by no means a guarantee. As we've seen in the past, however, strange things can happen when this many prospects get on campus at the same time.

[Hit THE JUMP for the early leading candidate for dumbest rumor of the 2014 cycle, a couple of new offers, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Isn't Stupid

Thursday Recruitin' Isn't Stupid

Submitted by Ace on January 24th, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the final 2013 Rivals250, a pair of new 2015 (yes, 2015) offers, a possible 2014 QB offer, and more.

Derrick Green Day Countdown

The top running back in the country decides between Michigan, Auburn, and Tennessee on Saturday at 4 pm. Let the anticipation build:

HURRY UP, WEEKEND.

Final 2013 Rivals250: Trending Down

The final 2013 recruiting rankings haven't been kind to Michigan's class, and the last of the four services to roll out their final update—Rivals—is no exception. Eleven Wolverine commits are in the updated Rivals250, but none are ranked above #70 (Henry Poggi) and all but Jourdan Lewis fell in the rankings:

  • Henry Poggi dropped from #68 to #70
  • Shane Morris dropped from #27 to #81
  • Patrick Kugler dropped from #79 to #82
  • Kyle Bosch dropped from #99 to #104
  • Dymonte Thomas dropped from #107 to #109
  • Mike McCray dropped from #88 to #115
  • Jourdan Lewis rose from #147 to #131
  • Chris Fox dropped from #123 to #142
  • Jake Butt dropped from #141 to #144
  • Taco Charlton dropped from #231 to #237
  • Ross Douglas dropped from #238 to #241
  • Logan Tuley-Tillman dropped off the list from #245

Derrick Green remains the top running back on the board and moved up to #8 overall, which hopefully will be relevant—he would be Michigan's highest-ranked commit on Rivals since Ryan Mallett in 2007.

It's clear that Shane Morris's uneven performance at the Under Armour Bowl—in both practice and the actual game—was a big hit to his recruiting stock, especially in the wake of a mono-shortened senior season. Only Scout has kept him as a five-star, while he's no longer the highest-ranked Michigan commit on the other three sites, which rank him #81, #81, and #127 overall.

I think the drop across the board for Morris is justified. I've seen him in person several times at this point and he definitely has five-star potential, but there were certain aspects of his game—accuracy and decision-making, most prominently—that needed improvement after his junior year. Morris was unable to show strides in that regard while missing most of his senior season, however, and when it came time to prove himself on the camp and All-American circuit he couldn't shake his inconsistency.

He's still got great potential—I've never seen a high school quarterback with that level of arm strength—and being a top-100 recruit doesn't make you chopped liver. It just didn't make sense for the recruiting sites to keep him above prospects who've been able to show off much more in their senior seasons.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on two new 2015 offers, Michigan's 2014 QB situation, and more.]