Thursday Recruitin' Explores The South

Thursday Recruitin' Explores The South

Submitted by Ace on September 26th, 2013 at 1:46 PM

McDowell Lines Up Officials

Malik McDowell (#67) relaxes before playing Farmington (Bryan Fuller)

Southfield top-50 DL Malik McDowell has been quiet throughout the recruiting process to the point that I'm not entirely sure this is breaking news; regardless, Josh Helmholdt posted McDowell's official visit plans in his Around The Midwest column, and this is the time I've seen five schools lined up for visits ($):

While the Wolverines and fellow in-state Big Ten program Michigan State are strong contenders for McDowell's signature, the nation's No. 40-ranked prospect will take all of his official visits out of state. All will take place after his senior season. The five schools he has tabbed for those official visits are Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State.

Michigan and MSU won't get officials because McDowell has seen each school multiple times and can easily make his way to games if he wishes. The Wolverines are in the driver's seat of McDowell's recruitment and I don't think the official visit schedule changes that; while that's a who's-who list of top programs, depending on how far Southfield goes in the playoffs, McDowell's season could extend into November, limiting his options for visiting on actual game days—the visits that tend to have the biggest effect on a recruitment. McDowell is so familiar with the Michigan program at this point that it's hard to see him winding up elsewhere.

Cole: "They're All Even"

2015 Saginaw Heritage ATH Brian Cole's recruitment has already taken a couple twists and turns—first Michigan looked to be in command, then MSU, and now the Wolverines again as Saginaw natives haven't appreciated MSU's (lack of) usage of De'Anthony Arnett—and for now, Cole says there isn't a leader at all, per Sam Webb ($):

“(I like) Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Alabama, Wisconsin, Indiana, and a couple more schools,” Cole said.  “They’re all even. They’re all about the same. They all treat me nice. I’m not committing anywhere yet.”

I'd expect this still comes down to an in-state battle—one that'll be hotly contested—though some schools on there (OSU, Alabama) cause more concern than others (Indiana? Word?). Michigan is recruiting Cole as a receiver, though he could also play defensive back at the next level.

[Hit THE JUMP for evaluations of Da'Shawn Hand, Lawrence Marshall, Jared Wangler, Erik Swenson, and Kyle Kearns, plus updates on a couple underclassmen.]

Thursday Recruitin' Is A Man

Thursday Recruitin' Is A Man

Submitted by Ace on August 22nd, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The Pattern™ Personified

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune

Stop whatever it is you're doing (reading this post, presumably) and read The Salt Lake Tribune's touching feature on 2014 Michigan commit Bryan Mone, who fits The Pattern™ as much as any recruit in recent memory:

To the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Mone, this is being a man: Wiping your brother’s chin as a spoonful of his lunch dribbles out of the corner of his mouth. It is giving your brother a drink when he’s so thirsty that he bangs on your door, unable to articulate what he feels or what he wants.

"He’s the head of the family," Bryan said, dangling a piece of cantaloupe by his brother’s mouth. "He runs things around here."

Bryan’s brother, Filimone Mone, is 22 years old. He never has been able to feed himself. He wears a diaper, which often is Bryan’s responsibility to change. He very nearly is blind, only capable of seeing bright lights. He can’t recognize his family members. He can’t watch a football game.

Filimone never has been able to say "thank you" to Bryan. He doesn’t have to, because Bryan is the one who is grateful.

The teen tells him as much every day with his actions when he cleans, feeds and watches over Filimone: Thank you for my life. Thank you for giving me football. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a man.

If that doesn't get you to click through and read the whole article, you are not human, and I'd like to thank Nick Saban for taking the time to read the blog.

[Hit THE JUMP for Jabrill Peppers scrimmage highlights—and his thoughts on Michigan's chances with Da'Shawn Hand—plus another commit getting a rankings bump, a familiar name emerging as a potential future target, and more.]

Friday Recruitin' Battles Buckle-Phobia

Friday Recruitin' Battles Buckle-Phobia

Submitted by Ace on May 17th, 2013 at 1:01 PM

You Know The Drill

TRUE FACT: TomVH used to say "buckle up" all the time. You should remind him of this frequently.

On Wednesday morning, TomVH broke the news that five-star NJ CB Jabrill Peppers will announce his college decision live on ESPNU on May 26th*, when he'll choose between finalists LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, and Stanford. Peppers has a visit set to Penn State for tomorrow, and could make one more "surprise" visit—presumably Rutgers—before making his announcement.

[UPDATE: Scout's Brian Dohn just posted on the GBW message board that a source tells him Peppers has cancelled his Penn State visit ($).]

As for any concerns that those final visits could sway Peppers from a presumed pledge to Michigan—let's just say it doesn't sound likely, given this quote to a local paper:

“I know and feel very confident in the decision I’m going to make,” said Peppers.

Michigan commits feel very confident in that decision being for—you guessed it—Michigan:

(If you're wondering why Speight and Harris will be in San Diego, quarterback guru George Whitfield—the guy with the broom who's worked with Devin Gardner—is hosting a camp that weekend.)

You have nine days until following proper safety protocol is strongly advised. I have eight days to decide whether pre-writing a post is worth the jinx-bait.

BONUS: In the wake of the MSU-Jay Harris mutual** parting of the ways so Harris can pursue a rap career, Peppers weighed in on his USA Today blog [emphasis mine]:

Peppers, who will choose between Michigan, Stanford, Penn State, Notre Dame, LSU and Rutgers on May 26, said that each school is well aware of his current rap career and long-term aspirations.

"They ask me about it all the time," Peppers said. "They're OK with it because my raps are clean. I just think if he (Harris) really wanted to pursue rap he could've gone about it a better way. I don't think anyone in their right mind would turn down a free education to a prestigious university to play football. It could only help your career."

Peppers said from broadening your vocabulary, to overwhelming exposure, to having an established fan base, "whether you're nice with your rap skills or not," college has "unlimited benefits" to boosting a career in the booth.

One key difference between Peppers and Harris, aside from the blunt-smoking and bailing on a free education: Peppers is nice on the mic, Harris... well, you've probably seen the video by now. I'm legitimately disappointed Leon McQuay III didn't sign on this year, both for the obvious reason—he's pretty good at football—and so he and Peppers could potentially form the elite defensive back version of JDK & Rey.

BONUS BONUS: Speaking of good defensive back recruits, IL CB Parrker Westphal could be approaching a commitment, per TomVH ($):

After his visit to Arizona State [this weekend] Westphal says he might take a trip to Tennessee, but nothing is set in stone. From there he will only focus on those schools on his list and continue to visit and evaluate what those programs have to offer. Westphal still says he is in no hurry to make a decision, but would like to get it done sooner than later.

“I want to make it before the season,” he said. “Games don’t start until August, but practice is in a few weeks so we’ll see when it happens.”

Michigan is "still the school he uses to compare other visits," and Westphal noted that his recent Florida visit went well... with the caveat that Michigan offers better academics. If he sticks to a summer decision timeline, it's hard to see him ending up elsewhere.

*Now a banner day for fans of Michigan football and Arrested Development. Peppers' announcement will hopefully ensure that I don't attempt to watch the entire fourth season in one sitting. (I probably will anyway.)
**Since Harris had signed a LOI, it's my understanding that State could not legally revoke his scholarship without consent, though the looming prospect of getting through admissions means Harris still didn't have much of a choice, in all likelihood.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on the linebacker situation, new offers, Michigan visiting the son of rap royalty, and more.]