HOEG. Richard Hoeg does small business law. Need to incorporate? Need some contracts? Need to talk about Star Control? Richard will do all three, and only charge you for the first two.
Anyway, Star Control. Star Control was a mindblowing video game because stuff happened in it and if you took too long you could lose the game as your allies fell to the great galactic menace. Losing is fun.
Having a bad contract and either getting sued or having to settle on unfavorable terms is not fun, and Richard Hoeg can help craft contracts for you that will avoid this eventuality. Police horses!
Tiller-era in more ways than one. This twitter bomb(!) from one of Purdue's recruiting yokels is frankly baffling:
Why pick a fight with a program that held you to 15 yards in the second half last year? Why get mad about Michigan getting recruits? You're at Purdue! With limited exceptions for legacies and locals the number of bonafide recruiting battles you're winning against Michigan—against, hell, most of the Big Ten, is zero. Also Purdue's leading receiver averaged 3.6 catches a game.
I feel like this guy bought a Big Dogs shirt for the first time and was overwhelmed by it while near his phone, and he'll return to a mild-mannered citizen tomorrow when he puts his Ron Jon back on. It happens. It's good, really. It's fun when Purdue has a bunch of ornery passing maniacs who talk shit and bend rules.
[After THE JUMP: a bunch of stuff! And porpoises!]
While the game itself didn't have the desired outcome, last weekend proved to be a good one for Michigan's recruiting efforts. Four big-time official visitors took in the game and the Wolverines look to have a great shot with at least three of them.
Top-100 CA ATH Lamar Jackson, who could be a corner or safety at Michigan, told 247's Steve Lorenz that the Wolverines now lead after his official ($):
"Yeah, I'd say Michigan leads," he said. "The Michigan experience kind of spoke for itself. The atmosphere at the game was incredible, the academics at Michigan are great and I learned a lot about the program, the players and the leadership of Coach Harbaugh was really impressive to me. I wasn't sure heading into the visit because it's a long ways away and I was not familiar with the weather, but the visit definitely changed my mind on things."
Michigan is clearly in great shape. This was Jackson's fourth official and he hasn't scheduled his fifth; while many considered USC the odds-on favorite, he has no plans to see them on an unofficial before announcing his decision at the Under Armour game.
Five-star GA TE Isaac Nauta is right up there with Rashan Gary as the top overall target on the board, and he told Scout's Chad Simmons he was "very surprised" by how much he liked Michigan ($):
"Coach Harbaugh told me and showed me that there is a both, a need for me, and a want for me at Michigan. We looked at film, we had a talk, and I saw a lot. at the end of the visit, I was just surprised more than anything else.
"I just did not expect it to be that way. My mind about Michigan has definitely been changed."
Lorenz chatted with us on MGoRadio yesterday and said the visit couldn't have gone much better; that said, he also thinks Nauta still ends up at Georgia, though Michigan has made this a tough decision. Nauta plans to announce at the Army All-American Game.
"I really like how it went," Crawford said. "I could see myself fitting in there. I feel like I could play there. I like the coaching staff and obviously the Michigan education is solid and the networking there is unreal. "They don't really have a slot player who could take the fly sweep. They were showing me all the footage about how they have to bring Jabrill (Peppers) on offense to do the bubble screen routes and stuff like that. They said if I was there they wouldn't need to do that."
After talking to a couple sources close to Crawford's recruitment, Lorenz put in a Crystal Ball pick for Michigan ($). One team to watch is Oregon; they haven't offered Crawford yet and could become a major factor if they do.
Finally, after taking officials to both Notre Dame and Michigan, top-100 CB David Long told Scout's Greg Biggins he isn't certain about his Stanford commitment:
"I think there's still some question if they want me more for receiver or corner," Long said. "Notre Dame and Michigan both are recruiting me 100% for corner but I think that's still in question a little with Stanford.
"I'm still committed but I'm also thinking about maybe opening things up a little to make sure I'm doing the right thing. It's such a huge decision and I want to make sure I'm 100% comfortable with it. You can't go wrong with Stanford and I know that but I just want to be totally sure about this."
Long said he "got a little better vibe and felt more comfortable at Michigan" compared to Notre Dame. He's still a Stanford commit and the other California schools will be in the mix as well.
Let's start with the probable good news before the probable bad news. Top-100 NJ WR Ahmir Mitchelltweeted yesterday that he'll announce his decision between Michigan and Ohio State on Thursday evening. Unless there's a major shift in his recruitment between now and then, Mitchell should end up with the good guys.
Four-star PA TE Naseir Upshurset his announcement for September 1st, and while Michigan is a finalist, all signs point to Florida State being the choice.
FOOTBALL IS HERE
VICIOUS VIC VIRAMONTES WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME YOU, PUNY HIGH SCHOOL LINEBACKER, TO THE 2015 SEASON:
This was only a scrimmage, but ask #46 whether it felt like it counted.
Note: The slew of commitments pushed this back, but I'm still taking questions via email or Twitter (use the hashtag #mgomailbag) for a recruiting mailbag that—any further recruiting developments pending—should go up tomorrow.
A4 To Your Door/No Sleepers No More
Just another totally normal Harbaugh picture. [Fuller]
Michigan hosted their "Aerial Assault" quarterback camp over the weekend. It featured such football activities as fielding ground balls and dodgeball; reportedly, the quarterbacks also threw an actual football around a little bit. Because Jim Harbaugh was involved, they kept score for the top campers, and M commit Brandon Peters came out on top, per TMI's Brice Marich:
The headliner of the camp was Avon, Indiana junior quarterback and Wolverine commit in Brandon Peters. The 6-4, 209-pound gun slinger showed off his strong arm and his footwork in several drills. He was in the top overall group and performed very well even in dodgeball. He clearly soaked in tutelage from signal callers like Jay Cutler and ultimately earned the crown as the camp’s top performer.
2017 four-star NY QB Jack Coan, the only rising junior offeree in attendance, found the camp as strange and informative as one would expect, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
"The camp itself was one of the most unique experiences I've ever had since I started playing football," Coan said. "I didn't go into the camp expecting to play baseball or dodgeball or anything like that, but it worked and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had from a camp standpoint. I learned a lot from a lot of great current and former players and coaches. It was really great to work with someone like Jay Cutler and a coach like Coach Harbaugh who has seen the position from every different angle."
Coan also took a campus tour while in Ann Arbor. Michigan seems to be in pretty good shape for him.
2018 Paramus (NJ) Catholic QB Allan Walters also worked with the top group. He showed enough to earn an offer, and he was still having a hard time expressing his excitement when 247's Steve Wiltfong caught up with him:
"I'm so excited I can't express it," Walters said. "I don't know a better offer for a quarterback. Harbaugh and Michigan that's unbelievable. I'm in shock and so excited."
Walters also has early offers from Rutgers and Temple. The ever-strengthening connection between Michigan and Paramus Catholic should help here.
Michigan is set to host a solid group of targets this weekend. Before getting to the full list, let's check in with three-star NJ OT Will Fries, who wrapped up a two-day visit yesterday and gave his reaction to 247's Clint Brewster ($):
"It was amazing I had great time," Fries told Wolverine247.
Is Michigan in Fries' top group now following the visit?
"Yes, they are."
The list of weekend visitors comes courtesy of reports from The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan($) and 247's Steve Lorenz($), unless otherwise noted. While there isn't a full-blown "buckle up" situation heading into the weekend, it's worth keeping an eye on a couple of these prospects:
Five-star WI OT Ben Bredeson will be on campus all weekend, and this is a hugely important visit for Michigan, as this is likely his last trip to Ann Arbor before he makes a decision in early June. The Wolverines are in a top four along with Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Ohio State; the Badgers appear to be M's chief competition.
Four-star Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareemtold TomVH he'll take a weekend visit. Kareem has been a steady presence on campus since Jim Harbaugh arrived, but Michigan has plenty of competition from the likes of Alabama, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.
Four-star IN WR Austin Mack will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday, a visit sandwiched between trips to Notre Dame and Ohio State this weekend, per 247's Bill Kurelic ($). Mack is expected to end up with the Buckeyes when he announces his decision on June 7th.
Three-star ATH Kiante Enis and four-star all-purpose back Chris Evans will both make the trip from Indiana. Enis, a running back who could play a number of positions, already holds an offer. Evans doesn't, but he's expected to add one this weekend, and if he does there are rumblings of a potential commitment—his Crystal Ball immediately added several Michigan predictions after the visit was announced.
Three-star Paramus (NJ) Catholic WR Donald Stewart already has Michigan at the top of his list heading into his first campus visit. Lorenz reports that while a commitment isn't expected to occur this weekend, one could come shortly thereafter.
Three-star MN ATH JD Spielman is still getting his football recruitment off the ground after committing to Ohio State to play lacrosse. He's expected to choose football at the next level, and Michigan was one of his first offers for the gridiron.
2017 four-star QB Dylan McCaffrey and 2017 in-state DE Corey Malone-Hatcher will be in Ann Arbor, as well. Malone-Hatcher is visiting this weekend since he has a conflict preventing him from attending next Tuesday's in-state Junior Day, when the other seven in-state rising juniors offered by Michigan will all be on campus.
2016 commits Brandon Peters and Matt Falcon will assuredly have their recruiting hats on. Peters, especially, could help convince his fellow Hoosier State prospects to join up.
There's a notable omission: Four-star IN DE Auston Robertson previously planned to visit with Austin Mack, but his mother told 247's Steve Wiltfong that he'll be at Notre Dame on Saturday ($). Robertson is considered a Michigan State lean, and with his decision coming up on June 7th, Michigan's chances are slim at best without getting a final chance to impress him.
I've mentioned this in a UV or two, but it warrants mention here due to Developments: Michigan is suddenly hot in the recruitment of VCU decommit Kenny Williams, a 2015 combo guard who is back on the market after Shaka Smart took the Texas job. Williams picked up a slew of Michigan Crystal Ball picks from insiders unconnected to M—usually a good sign if they're pros, as a few are—and then Beilein started tracking him in earnest.
The Chesterfield, Virginia native confirmed to UMHoops.com that John Beilein plans to meet with the shooting guard now that he has been granted his release from the Rams.
“The plan is for him to come down this weekend,” Williams said in a text message to UM Hoops.
Other contenders include Georgetown, UNC, and Virginia. The kid is evidently very interested in Michigan, and Sam Webb reports that Beilein really likes him… and that Williams is not a contingency plan($). That stroke gets his attention.
Where does the scholarship come from? With wings and shooting guards cramming into the NBA draft and Caris LeVert slipping towards the tail end of the first round, it does not look like it'll be the NBA's doing. LeVert:
“I still have a ways before I can start running and jumping,” LeVert said. “Going out there tomorrow would probably be a stretch. … But I don’t have to do that. The combine isn’t tomorrow. I still have a couple more weeks to go. Hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll feel a little bit better.”
Additionally, LeVert admitted Wednesday night that if the second evaluation reveals he would likely be a second-round pick, he would most likely come back to school.
“I don’t think it really makes sense to go early and be drafted in the second round,” he said.
That is a nice change from Harris/Morris/Robinson, and if plugged in people feel that Caris is not a first-rounder after his injury and the pile of early entries the needle points to him staying on scholarship. So it seems likely at this point that if Williams does commit, Hatch will transition to a medical scholarship.
What about Jaylen Brown? If Williams wants to commit it looks like Michigan will check back with Brown just in case he wants to drop, and in the highly likely scenario he doesn't they'll take the bird in the hand.
Where does playing time come from? I can't answer that one. Even without Williams next year's roster is jam-packed.
On campus right now
Offered MI K/P Quinn Nordin is in Ann Arbor as you read this. Nordin may be the top kicker in the country. Though you hear that about every kicker Michigan recruits, Nordin has 20 offers—an absolute ton for a specialists. Nordin's announced that he plans on attending MSU's spring game on the 25th so a commit is probably not in the offing, but Brandon Peters was supposed to hold off on his Michigan commitment and that didn't happen.
Michigan could have an edge since Nordin is affiliated with Kornblue kicking, and Brandon Kornblue is a Michigan alum. Since Michigan's offer, a pile of predictions have come in for M, including Ace's.
True story: when we were in college doing dumb college things one of them was voting with forks. One of the house rules was "one man, one fork" and people would express approval by exclaiming "forks up!"
This is again relevant to my life because occasionally I read articles about Arizona State recruiting pitches. This one was made to VA WR JJ Givens:
"I know for sure I'm going to Arizona State and Michigan this summer. The whole forks up mantra at Arizona State excites me, It's a program I grew up watching. With Michigan, I just love everything about them. They just got Harbaugh as their coach, they have NFL experience now. I look up to Jabrill Peppers and I work out with Derrick Green here a lot in Virginia."
Oh and Givens seems to really like the idea of Michigan. Michigan has offered, though these days they're emphatically on board the "offer everyone and let God sort 'em out" train, so it's hard to tell how high he is on their board.
I was there and it was nice
Eifler showing off his bowling score, the highest ever recorded
“I would most likely the WILL or MIKE position, just because their SAM is more like a two point end that rushes the passer mostly.”
So keep that in mind.
As far as Eifler's trip, it went well, getting the "blown away" headline designation. Eifler's chosen visits imply Michigan's academics are a real factor: other than M he took in Duke, Vandy, Northwestern, and Louisville. Those first three are the kind of visits you only take as a five-star if you are serious about the education thing. Eifler($):
“Most of the schools that I visited were academic schools. That’s just what I want,” said Eifler. “I want to a school to have football and academics. Michigan showed me the academic side, but also with the power football behind it that some of the other schools just didn’t have. It was good to see what it is like to be part of that.”
USC has not offered and he seems a bit miffed about that; Oregon doesn't seem like a huge factor right now… he seems very much in play. Washington has the only two predictions for him on the Crystal Ball.
Crawford still talking M
CA WR Dylan Crawford now seems like a longer shot since the "KJ Costello brings half of California with him" plan was derailed by accursed Stanford, but Michigan remains a school of major interest:
"I want to get to Oregon for sure," Crawford said. "I'm still waiting on that offer. I would also like to visit Michigan again, either unofficially or officially. Right now, I'm wide open and don't even have a top 10 yet but the plan is to narrow things down in the summer and then commit at the end of the summer."
Crawford was being interviewed about his recent trip to… yes, Stanford. And don't expect his commitment-type substance to be final:
"After I commit, I still want to take 3-4 official visits, just for the experience. I would love to visit Alabama and LSU, maybe Michigan like I said."
"First of all, he's as fast as anyone around," Conley said sternly. "On the track he's setting records in the indoor 200m races and when you see him out there and he's 50 or 60 pounds heavier than the these other kids that he's running against and he's beating or tying them it's just really impressive. He is definitely a great talent. …
"What I like about Matt is that he can do a lot of things," Conley said. "Whenever we'd have a hard time blocking for him we were able to throw the ball to him because he catches it so well. He's incredible at catching the ball out of the backfield. His skill set at catching the ball is one of the best I've ever seen. We plan on using him a lot and want to put a lot of pressure on defenses. He can be really dangerous at Michigan depending on how they develop up front."
That skill will be an asset at Michigan, as Harbaugh loves those five-wide sets with base personnel. That kind of flexibility will be attractive when it comes to playing time. (And is going to be really interesting when it comes to Ty Isaac this year.)
The distant future, the year 2000
I have a policy of studiously ignoring all sophomore-and-younger offers unless given a specific reason to pay attention. This from Cass Tech 2017 safety Jaylen Kelly-Powellcounts:
"I grew up in a Michigan household," Kelly-Powell began. "My Dad is a diehard Michigan fan. He named me after his favorite Michigan basketball player, Jalen Rose. I love Michigan also."
He'll be a guy to keep an eye on. Current 180th in 247's insanely early rankings for that year.
That is Nik Stauskas splayed upon the counter in his popcorn-covered home. Urban Dictionary doesn't know what "popcorning" is (top result: "One of the ways a guinea pig shows his/her excitement/affection") and neither do I. Apparently it has something to do with the fact that Stauskas doesn't drive?
I feel like everything about Stauskas's NBA career has gone through the same filter that created "Sauce Castillo."
A brief essay on Sauce Castillo. It was a tweet at first, with a picture to verify. It took off as these things do, and then the Kings stepped in wholeheartedly. They had a friggin' Sauce Castillo night.
This is probably a good idea for the Kings. They are on top of what is happening on The Social Media and provide some intrigue for an early April game played by a team currently 38 games back of the Warriors. (But seven ahead of the Lakers!) They sold some merch, I imagine. A brief survey of the Kings organization shows a marketing savvy that's a bit of a shock for someone focused on colleges that are doing it right if they aren't shooting themselves in the foot monthly. The Kings are the future, when people at the top of organizations actually understand the internet and act accordingly.
And that's a little sad. A few years ago Sauce Castillo would have been a mark of something… probably that you read Bethlehem Shoals and are the kind of NBA obsessive who needs to find similarly-minded groups of proto-marxist revolutionary cells. Now Sauce Castillo is joyously accepted by the organization at large and thus destroyed.
Man I feel like an old man in Portland complaining that Sleater-Kinney's latest album ruins their entire career right now. But it is kind of a thing: there is a lot of value in defining yourself as a separate, weirder in-group in a mass of fans. MLS and the ever-shifting power struggle between various USMNT supporter's groups do a good job of this; the rest of American sports doesn't.
That will have to come from elsewhere in the Kingsfuture when every mildly diverting tweet is swiftly assimilated by the entertainment Borg.
LeVert update. Holding pattern for Michigan but one in which the arrows continue to point the right way. Chad Ford's advocating a return:
He should return. His draft stock was trending down before he was injured. Not sure he'd be a first rounder if he declared. He'd need excellent workouts.
Among underclassmen at LeVert's positions -- shooting guard and small forward -- to declare early are Kentucky's Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison, Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kansas' Kelly Oubre, Wisconsin's Sam Dekker, Florida's Michael Frazier II, Eastern Washington's Tyler Harvery, Georgia State's R.J. Hunter, Houston's Jherrod Stiggers, Florida State's Aaron Thomas, North Carolina's J.P. Tokoto and UNLV's Rashad Vaughn.
Other wings expected to declare for the draft include Duke's Justise Winslow and Arizona's Stanley Johnson. Mario Hezonja, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Croatia, is also a projected lottery pick.
Right now, he says he's focused on three-star receiver Dez Fitzpatrick and four-star defensive lineman Khalid Kareem.
His pitch to them both is pretty simple.
"The best players in the state play for Michigan," Falcon says. "I'm trying to recruit names in the state and trying to get them to join the family."
I mean, continue to do that. Just expect MSUThaBest2009 to be on your case as you do so.
Hello: Samuelssons. I don't have to tell you this is a hockey recruiting bullet, do I? You just saw "Samuelssons" and assumed we were talking about some Swedes, be they from Sweden or relocated.
Well done, reader: Michigan hockey has secured commitments from depressingly young hockey players once again. This time they are the sons of former NHL defenseman Kjell Samuelsson. The older one, Matthias, is a defenseman. Over The Boards scouts:
RE: Samuelsson, Big 00 D at 6'2 190, strong lower body, imposes will with leverage. Has a hard shot and piles up SOG. Soft hands in own end.
He is… uh… 14 and his dad is 6'7" so I would expect him to be very large indeed by the time he reaches campus. Luke Samuelsson, his brother, also committed as a 2018 forward. I haven't been able to find anything on him yet, as you might expect in this age range.
Meanwhile in draft hijinks. Not much in the way of intrigue in this year's OHL draft; Michigan's commitments that far out are generally already signed up with the NTDP. There weren't any unpleasant surprises this year. Michael Pastujov, the younger brother of NTDP-er Nick Pastujov, was drafted by Saginaw in the fourth round on a flier. Michael was projected as a top pick—possibly the top pick—in the draft and slid significantly because of concerns over his commitment. Saginaw is not noted as a team that snipes random Americans.
Toronto-based forward Quinn Hughes, also projected as a top ten pick, slid to the third round. Hughes has dual citizenship and is already committed to the NTDP; his father also works in an NHL front office so they're well aware of the pros and cons of each route. Josh Norris went in the sixth round to Niagara.
How does the seemingly imminent retirement of Red Berenson play into these recruitments? I don't know. Michigan has to be telling these kids that it's unlikely Red is around in 2018, so the far-future ones seem somehow more secure than those who might be making decisions in a year or two. I expect there's some attrition when the change is made; how much is hard to tell.
Newest commit Matt Falcon has a ton of upside. [Nasternak]
Michigan's 2016 class went from two to six commits in less than a week, capped by four-star Southfield RB Matt Falcon's pledge last night. Tyrone Wheatley is proving to be a very impactful recruiter, as expected; he was the primary recruiter for Falcon, Kingston Davis, and David Reese. Falcon, who played youth football with the Washtenaw Wolverines, told Scout's Allen Trieu he's "been a Wolverine my whole life," and discussed Wheatley's role in his decision ($):
You mentioned Coach Wheatley, he's going to be your position coach. What made you feel like he was the right one to guide you for the next few years?
We could talk everything besides football. We would talk on the phone for a long time. He's known about me since 8th grade and he's been there for me. He's been loyal, and I trust him and wanted to come play for him.
You have some guys that you know, in-state guys, guys from your conference that are considering Michigan. Are you going to be a recruiter now?
Yeah, I'm trying to get everybody down to Michigan. Michigan is where it's at, so I'll talk to all of them and see where their minds are at.
With the recent wave of commits, Michigan moved up 25 spots to #20 overall on the 247 Composite team rankings. The Wolverines should be set at running back with Davis and Falcon, and Sam Webb mentioned on The Victors Board($) that's the case—unless four-star NC RB Robert Washington wants to join the class. Washington is set to announce his decision on April 25th, and prior to Falcon's commitment he told GBW's Josh Newkirk that Michigan was very much in the mix ($):
"They really want me, I'm their guy," Washington said. "Coach Wheatley is saying he would 'love' to coach me. He's been wanting to coach for me a long time. And Coach Harbaugh said I'm a 'special' player for him. So that was their message to me.
"My next step after I talked with Coach Harbaugh was he told me to put [Michigan] in my top-six. Michigan is a big school for me. I have always favored Michigan. So it's a big school for me, it's a no brainer to put Michigan in my top six."
The rest of Washington's top six is Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Syracuse, and TCU. We'll see if Falcon's decision impacts Washington's thoughts on Michigan; if it doesn't, the backfield could get quite crowded.
In other commitment-related news, four-star IN QB Brandon Peters will enroll early at Michigan, per 247's Steve Wiltfong.
Southfield (MI) RB Matt Falcon committed to Michigan tonight. Falcon had named Tennessee as his leader as recently as a couple weeks ago, but he's visited campus several times since Jim Harbaugh was hired, and with Kingston Davis committing over the weekend time was of the essence if he wanted to secure a spot in the class. Falcon is Michigan's sixth commitment of the 2016 class.
Michigan may not be done with commitments in the near future, either. Scout's Allen Trieu put us on commit watch this afternoon, and he posted on The Victors Board that he wasn't referring to Falcon.
4*, #8 RB,
4*, #13 RB
3*, NR RB
4*, 90, #10 RB,
4*, #13 RB,
Every recruiting outlet save ESPN—which hasn't updated Falcon's evaluation since the summer before his junior season—considers Falcon a solid four-star; Rivals has him just a hair outside their top 250, as their #12 RB is #220 overall. Scout is especially bullish on him.
At 6'1", and listed between 200-215 pounds, Falcon has nice size for a high school back and the frame to add plenty of weight.
Falcon turned heads on the camp circuit in 2013 before suffering a torn ACL prior to his sophomore season. It didn't take him long to reestablish himself as a top prospect, as he stood out to Scout's Allen Trieu at Ohio State's camp last June ($):
Southfield High's Matt Falcon is an extremely impressive prospect. He has good size and excellent shiftiness and burst for a kid of that size. He also caught the ball very naturally out of the backfield. The question on him was the health of his knee which was injured last year but he looked to be 100% at camp and he has a chance to be a very highly recruited national prospect.
Falcon's Southfield squad hosted a four-team scrimmage with Ann Arbor Skyline, Cass Tech, and East English Village prior to the 2014 season; with several Division I prospects on the field, Falcon had the best performance, per The Wolverine's Brandon Brown ($):
Falcon was the star of the day among all four squads. The No. 21 running back in the country and No. 7 player in the state of Michigan is entering his junior season after missing his entire sophomore campaign with a torn ACL. He appears to be in top form and didn't show any signs of physical ailment from the injury. Falcon showed great speed, terrific balance, and power behind his pads on every run. He scampered for a touchdown of more than 40 yards against Cass Tech's No. 1's twice. He also punched in a short touchdown run later in the day.
I caught Southfield's matchup with Orchard Lake St. Mary's at the season-opening Prep Kickoff Classic; while Falcon was limited by his team's overmatched blockers and a balky ankle, his physical talent was evident:
After missing all of his sophomore year with a knee injury, Falcon didn't get many opportunities to show off his ability, due to both the failings of his offensive line and a dinged-up ankle that held him out of a large chunk of the game. He finished with five yards on five carries—and that could've been worse considering the blocking—while doing most of his damage on swing passes, catching four for 29 yards.
Even though Falcon had no room to run, I thought he looked quite impressive, with nice speed and agility for a 6'1", 215-pound back. On those swing passes, he planted hard and got upfield in a hurry, and once he got a head of steam it wasn't easy to bring him down. He managed to get out of the backfield on one run (1:01 mark in the video), making a couple very nice cuts to make two men miss, then powering forward for some decent YAC. The next two plays on the reel are very representative of the blocking he got on Friday; on the second, he still manages to elude two free hitters in the backfield, then impressively bowl over another before the cavalry arrived. Whether on runs or receptions, Falcon finished with power; he refused to go down at first contact and made sure he fell forward.
That ankle would cause Falcon to miss part of his junior season, though I think worries about his injury history are overblown; he hasn't suffered multiple knee injuries or anything like that. Rivals moved him up to a four-star following the season:
Falcon missed part of the season with injury, but in the games he did play, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound back showed unusual speed and agility for a running back his size. Falcon can be a 20-25-carry back in college and wear down a defense between the tackles, but he also is quick to the edge and can be an asset in the passing game. We'll see if injuries continue to be an issue, but from a talent standpoint, he is one of the best backs in the Midwest. -- Helmholdt
In February, 247's Clint Brewster broke down his junior film ($):
Falcon is a bigger/stronger running back that can put his foot in the ground and get north. He an explosive back that can run through defendersandhas good downfield speed once he gets going. He can cover ground as a long stride type of running back. He's got a high ceiling because of his size mixed with his speed. Falcon's got raw strength to pick up the tough yards. He's a downhill runner. Falcon displays an excellent stiff arm and the ability to get past defenders. He's got a strong plant foot to burst through creases. Tough to bring down once he's got a head of steam. Falcon is a running back that can play all three downs and block or catch passes out of the backfield.
If Falcon gets through his senior season healthy, he's a good bet to move up in the rankings; trepidation about his injury history seems to be the main thing holding him back. Otherwise, he's got a great size/speed combo with plenty of power and versatility.
The injuries haven't scared off top programs. Falcon named a top five of Michigan, Tennessee (his leader as recently as late March), Oregon, Arkansas, and Arizona State recently, and he also held offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and West Virginia, among others.
Southfield hadn't been a major talent producer during the Rivals era (2002-) until it's recent run of Big Ten signees, including Michigan DE Lawrence Marshall, MSU DT Malik McDowell, and Minnesota athletes Dior Johnson and Ray Buford, all of whom came from the 2014 or 2015 classes.
According to his Rivals profile, Falcon rushed for 1109 yards and seven TDs in just six games during his junior season.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the four sites lists a 40 time.
There are no sophomore highlights for what should be obvious reasons.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Since it's been all of two days since I wrote up the running back situation, I can safely copy-and-paste this from Kingston Davis' commitment post, with a couple minor alterations:
Michigan doesn't have any senior running backs on the roster, so unless [Falcon] proves he's better than much more experienced players, he should take a redshirt in 2016, even though he's got college-ready size. After that, he'll compete with Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon, and [Kingston Davis] for carries.
Falcon's ability to make an impact in the passing game could get him on the field earlier, either as the every-down back or in a situational role. There's some serious thunder-and-lightning-with-a-side-of-thunder potential with Davis and Falcon in the same class, and each has an obvious situational role if they're getting the lion's share of the carries—short-yardage back (Davis) and third-down back (Falcon). I really like this pickup; Falcon's injury concerns are mitigated by the presence of another back in the class, and if he fulfills his physical potential he's going to be really good.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan should be set at running back with two in the class plus a potential fullback in Farmington FB/ILB David Reese. There are now six total members of the 2016 class, which we have projected to 14, a number that will surely rise before the end of the cycle. Michigan still has needs to fill pretty much everywhere except the offensive backfield.
Falcon's commitment also adds to the optimism Michigan can clean up on the in-state recruiting trail. Reese is already in the fold, and the Wolverines are right in the mix for Farmington WR Des Fitzpatrick, Farmington Hills Harrison DE Khalid Kareem, Detroit King WR Donnie Corley, Plymouth OT Michael Jordan, and Cass Tech OG/DT Michael Onwenu; all but Fitzpatrick, who's just off the pace, are considered composite four-star prospects.