Michigan fans have seen what impact a tough season can have on a recruiting class, as the terrible 2008 squad led to attrition from last year's class, and made this year's crop more difficult to pull in. With the Wolverines facing similar struggles in 2009, some recruits may be out of reach, but a few key guys see the team improving:
"It doesn't change anything," said Millersville (Md.) Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman, who officially visited Ann Arbor in September. "They are a young team and they need people at certain positions to play and be successful like they have been (in the past)."
While the losing streak has probably put the likes of MN OL Seantrel Henderson out of reach, Furman is an important recruit, as Michigan's linebackers have... struggled this year. The article also mentions that CA LB Tony Jefferson will visit for the Ohio State game (rescheduled from last weekend), despite MIchigan's trying season. More on visits a little later.
One Game to Sway Them All
As mentioned above, the Ohio State game looks to be an important one for recruiting. Aside from providing an opportunity to show that this ship is headed in the right direction (plz plz win), it's the biggest visit weekend of the year. The list will probably change over the course of the next week, but it's shaping up to be a blockbuster, per Josh Helmholdt in the Freep:
SC QB Commit Conelius Jones's Shrine Bowl profile is now available, and he's listed as a wide receiver, who will be a defensive back at Michigan. Obviously, we won't have full confirmation of his future position until Signing Day.
In other quarterbacking news, MI QB Devin Gardner comes in for a solid round of fluff from Sam Webb in the Detroit News. He's still looking at possibly enrolling early.
"He had a great junior year and has simply built upon that," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He is considered one of the top handful of quarterbacks in the country and is firmly entrenched as a five-star prospect. As far as upside goes, I don't see many quarterbacks that have his potential."
Rivals recently named Gardner the best scrambler among 2010 QBs, and the second-strongest arm, behind Penn State Commit Robert Bolden. At this time, I am obligated to grumble that I think Bolden is overrated.
LA QB Munchie LeGeauxcommitted to Colorado. Once Michigan took Conelius Jones, the writing was probably on the wall that LeGeaux was no longer an option.
Though CA CB Josh Shaw was talking as recently as last week about taking an official visit to Michigan for the Ohio State game, that's no longer a possibility. He will decide early next week between 5 schools that aren't Michigan: Florida, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and LSU. I'ma be straight with you: one of those things is reallllly not like the others.
PA DT Shariff Floyd has been alternately not very interested in Michigan and not at all interested in Michigan, so the latest sign of no interest (he will fill his final official visit slot with North Carolina) isn't quite cause to remove him from the board. Michigan is totally not landing that kid, though.
VA LB Aramide Olaniyan was positively raving about Michigan following his unofficial visit in September, but now UCLA may have moved to the forefront. That does give him a reputation for falling in love with the most recent school he's visited, so don't read too much into it. Still, there's no mention of an official visit to Michigan in December, as there was immediately after his first trip.
Olaniyan said he plans to take two more visits in December and then make his decision.
"I have Duke set for (Dec. 4) and North Carolina (Dec. 11)," Olaniyan said. "I'll make my commitment right after those visits. If I get invited to an All-American game, I'll announce then in January but otherwise, I'll do it in mid-December after my last visit."
Yeah, so that probably means Michigan has really fallen off.
Putting a football in Devin Gardner's hands is like handing a master artist a paint brush and an empty canvas.
It's your standard "lots of words with no information"-type article, other than mentioning that Gardner intends to enroll early at Michigan. Devin's gone back-and-forth about whether he wants to come in for the winter semester, but it appears his on-again, off-again relationship with that plan is in the on-again phase.
Rich Rodriguez has mentioned that he doesn't want to see high schoolers miss out on their opportunity to play winter and spring sports in high school, but since Gardner is participating in the ESPNU/Under Armour All-American Bowl, a (terrible) MHSAA rule prevents him from playing sports afterward. He wouldn't be missing out on much other than the prom.
That's always subject to change. Back to Hopkins for a moment, though, as MGoReader Phil Sampson fills me in that the big game against Southlake Carroll should be available for listening on the internet at http://www.kkgmam.com/. The game takes place Friday at 7:30 CDT. Phil warns that if you tune in early, you'll be subjected to some bad music.
In the Army Now
MN OL Seantrel Henderson was officially selected to the Army All-American Bowl, which is probably the least shocking moment in human history. No mention of Michigan in the recruiting snippets, for what it's worth. That's a somewhat regular occurrence, though insider-y rumblings still say that he likes Michigan. For what it's worth, his friend MN Ath JD Pridecommitted to Minnesota, but says he won't pressure Seantrel to join him.
Michigan continues to lead for PA CB/S Cullen Christian, despite his shiny new offer from Ohio State. He plans to visit Ann Arbor for the November 21st contest against the Buckeyes, and decide a couple days after. That timeline looks good for Michigan. JC Shurburtt has more:
"I am going to decide Nov. 24 during a press conference at my high school," Christian said. "Right now, my top two schools are Michigan and West Virginia. Every school has a shot, though, and things could change when I take my official visits."
"They were just my favorite team growing up as a kid," Christian said. "They gave me my first offer. They recruit me the hardest, and I just love Michigan."
Again, sounds like the Wolverines are entrenched as his leader. As for his teammate, PA S Brandon Ifill, things don't look nearly as rosy from a Michigan perspective. He favors Maryland and Pitt ($, info in header), and Rutgers is recruiting him the hardest. It's fair to say that Michigan would prefer to only get Christian out of this duo.
Most analysts assume that FL LB Christian Jones is a lock to Florida State, since he's a legacy and his brother plays there. Despite Michigan falling off his radar lately, the Wolverines are still in the mix for an official visit ($, info in header). ESPN confirms that Michigan is one of the contenders for an official visit. I'll believe it when I see it, since he's been completely forgotten about by Michigan fans.
Michigan is "still alive" with GA DT Mike Thornton ($, info in header), and he's considering the Wolverines for one of his official visits ($, info in header). Sam Webb elaborates in the Detroit News:
Those skills caught the attention of Michigan assistant Jay Hopson last summer. The Wolverines' Peach State recruiter wasted little time making very clear the magnitude of his program's interest.
"He told me they were looking for a great defensive tackle and they found that in me," Thornton recalled. "They needed to see my academic work and they offered a day later, actually." ...
"I talked to coach Hopson last week," Thornton said. "I haven't watched them play yet, but I've been hearing good things about them. I'm still going to get up there (on a visit). I just don't know when yet. "
Talk about defensive tackles and whatnot.
PA DT Shariff Floyd probably won't visit North Carolina with one of his officials, and Michigan is one of the options to fill that slot, along with Ohio State. I would predict that Michigan gets that visit for the Ohio State game if the Wolverines continue their winning ways, and he hasn't decided on a school by that time. He remains a longshot.
MN DT Beau Allen is down to five finalists, all of whom will receive official visits. He's already been to Wisconsin, and he's still setting up trips to Notre Dame, Stanford, Minnesota, and Michigan.
It looks like Michigan is on the outside looking in for FL OT Tyler Moore. He planned to announce a decision "very soon," and made it in favor of Nebraska. Brian, his dad, points out that a verbal commitment might not be a final decision, so he might not drop completely off the radar when he commits to one of those schools.
Sam Webb's "Dandy Dozen" - the top twelve instate recruits in the 2011 class in no particular order - are presented for your perusal, with relevant recruiting comments from the article following each recruit.
DeAnthony Arnett, WR, Saginaw, 6-0, 170, 4.51 - Offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan and Tennessee already have come through for the talented youngster. Aside from taking a few visits to some of aforementioned schools, Arnett has made recruiting a back-burner issue.
Justice Hayes, RB, Grand Blanc, 5-11, 185, 4.5 - Allen Trieu: "He grew up a Michigan State fan, but Northwestern is recruiting him hard and his teammate Tony Jones is committed there. Then you have Michigan, who fits his style of play and he has had good visits to. He is wide open right now."
Talky. Hayes recently spoke to Rivals' MichiganPreps, where he gave a similar picture of his recruitment, adding that he has one offer, from Iowa. It also included video:
...and back to the Webb article:
Delonte Hollowell, CB, Detroit Cass Tech, 5-9, 165, 4.5 - "Central Michigan and Michigan offered me," added Hollowell. "Iowa, Illinois, Michigan State -- a lot of schools have been sending mail. I'm going to try to go to an Iowa game and maybe an Illinois and Michigan State game. Michigan State has sent mail and I talked to the defensive backs coach, Coach (Harlan) Barnett."
Don't be too frightened by that last comment. Michigan is the leader for Hollowell, though "because I don't have any other offers except for Central Michigan" doesn't imply that the Wolverines have an iron grip.
Lawrence Thomas, LB, Detroit Renaissance, 6-4, 237, 4.65 - Trieu: "Michigan State is the team to beat, but I get the feeling a lot of schools from all over are about to turn up the heat on him."
Bryan Bell, OT, Walled Lake Central, 6-5, 290, 5.0
Ashton Gaines, WR, Detroit Crockett, 5-11, 170, 4.6
Jamal Hosley, WR, Highland Park, 5-9, 160, 4.4
Taiwan Jones, LB/WR, Anchor Bay, 6-4, 200, 4.7
Willie Snead, WR, Muskegon Heights, 6-0, 180, 4.5
Dwight Trammer, LB, Inkster, 6-1, 225, 4.7
Anthony Zettel, OG, West Branch Ogemaw Heights, 6-3, 255, 4.9
I believe Bell grew up a Michigan fan, though the early word is that he hasn't heard a whole lot from the Wolverines. Willie Snead plays quarterback in high school, but projects as a WR/DB. Trammer is a teammate of Devin Gardner, and likes Michigan (Michigan might like him, too: I overheard Wolverines QB coach Rod Smith asking what number he was at a recent Inkster game). Anthony Zettel is considered a mortal lock to the maize and blue if they see him worthy of an offer.
Now that I've given you most of the interesting information from the article, I feel obligated to encourage you to check it out. Seriously, it's really good stuff.
FL RB Demetrius Hart is going to be a top prospect in the Sunshine State next year, probably ringing in around 4 stars. He's also considered a Michigan lock, though I have no idea why:
"Of course, they are my top team," Hart said. "I don't think I will commit now, but I will commit later to Michigan."