Monday Recruitin' Dons Shades

Monday Recruitin' Dons Shades

Submitted by Ace on December 30th, 2013 at 1:58 PM

NITRO EXPLOSION NEON HIGHLIGHT CHROMETACULAR

This week marks the start of high school All-American bowl practices, which are already under way and feature eight Michigan commits: Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Michael Ferns, Drake Harris, Bryan Mone, Jabrill Peppers, Wilton Speight, Jared Wangler (Under Armour, all on Team Nitro), and Mason Cole (Army, Team East). At the start of day two, we've already had some Michigan-on-Michigan crime:

And subsequent trash talk:

Peppers, recently named the USA Today Defensive Player of the Year, stood out as one of the top performers in yesterday's opening practice session, per Rivals' Rob Cassidy ($):

The No. 2 player in the Rivals100 Presented by Under-Armour had never participated in a national-level event until now, so there was some intrigue surrounding his arrival in Florida.

So far, so good. Peppers was one of the top performers on Day 1. He was a nightmare in coverage and was beaten only once during one-on-one reps. He showed the speed to stay with smaller wide receivers and the strength to press larger ones. Peppers was aggressive without gambling and stood out like the country's No. 2 player should.

And today he received some lofty praise from former NFL head coach and standout defensive back Herm Edwards, especially when considering the spectacular performance of current Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves in the same game last year:

There will be much more coverage of both All-American games in the next two roundups; the UA game—which may be difficult to watch without protective eyewear—kicks off on Thursday at 4 pm on ESPN, while the Army game is set for Saturday at 1 pm on NBC. Maize n Brew has an informative primer for both games, and MGoUser MJ14 posted a nice roundup of first-day practice reactions from the UA game.

As for more Peppers stuff, because there's always more Peppers stuff, check out Sam Webb's DetNews feature and his senior highlight reel if you haven't already.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest 2015 offer, updates on Malik McDowell, Cassius Peat, and Keisean Lucier-South, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Saw It Coming

Monday Recruitin' Saw It Coming

Submitted by Ace on September 30th, 2013 at 2:35 PM

The Peter Principle Has Its Limits...


...those limits include allowing 62 points to Arizona State, apparently. (Photo: USA Today)

USC fired Lane Kiffin upon his return to Los Angeles after the Trojans fell 62-41 at Arizona State, their seventh loss in the last 11 games. The method? Coooooold bloooooded.

The InsideUSC feed is a font of Kiffin schadenfreude; the players are just as happy as the admistrators to get rid of him, it appears. When you're done enjoying that, it's time to address the truly important question: how does Kiffin's firing affect Michigan's recruiting?

In all likelihood, not a great deal. Kiffin's firing at this juncture not only boosts USC's morale for the rest of the season—more importantly, it gives them a jump start on reeling in a big-name replacement, and the Trojans program carries enough cachet that the list of potential successors is quite distinguished. USC may experience a dip in recruiting efforts while they wait to find the right replacement; if they hire a coach worthy of the program—and I'm assuming they will—then they should be back to full speed for the 2015 class. Those in need of an example of how this works at powerhouse programs need only look at Michigan's recruiting efforts once Brady Hoke got to recruit for a full cycle.

There is, however, an opening in the 2014 class, as USC is one of the schools competing with Michigan for CA ATH John "JuJu" Smith—the childhood USC fan had already read the tea leaves, per 247:

John Smith
Similar to five-star Adoree’ Jackson, Smith is one of the most highly recruited uncommitted prospects out west and is a five-star prospect that could play either side of the football. Also similar to Jackson, Smith is a major USC priority and hails from a talent factory at Long Beach Poly.

I already knew it was coming. So it doesn’t change anything until they do something.

Smith seems to have cooled on USC since Kiffin's job security came under serious question; while the right hire could get the Trojans right back in the mix, there's a real chance that he heads out of state, with official visits already lined up to Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon. UCLA is also in the mix. Pulling blue-chip recruits out of California is never easy, but Michigan's done so before, and Smith is actually in contact with one such player who hails from the same high school, per The Wolverine's Andy Reid ($):

"Michigan hasn't offered a kid from Poly since Donovan Warren. I'm the one that's next. I've talked a bit to him, good kid. Just saying the name 'Donovan Warren' is like saying Michigan right off the bat at Poly."

That's a good sign, as is Michigan getting Smith's final official visit. With such fierce competition for his signature—look out for Oregon, as Smith cancelled an Ole Miss official to get them on his schedule—and five visits to go, his recruitment could go in just about any direction; that includes USC if they make the right hire at the right time.

[Hit THE JUMP for Wilton Speight's thoughts on Da'Shawn Hand, a wrapup of Michigan commit performances from last weekend, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' Waits For The Inevitable

Thursday Recruitin' Waits For The Inevitable

Submitted by Ace on August 15th, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Oh, Just Another Imminent Probable Commitment


Shaun Crawford (#17) makes a tackle (via Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

2015 four-star OH CB Shaun Crawford has long been on commitment watch, and now we know precisely when to watch for said commitment:

"I will be making my decision public on August 23rd," Crawford told Scout.com. Lakewood St. Edward has a scrimmage scheduled that day with Warren Harding, and the Crawford announcement is expected at 5 p.m.

While Crawford spoke positively of Miami (YTM) and Notre Dame after visiting those schools over the summer, he named Michigan as his leader following the BBQ at the Big House and hasn't taken any visits since. It would be quite a surprise if he didn't choose the Wolverines.

For more on Crawford, Maize n Brew's Anthony Mammel just happened to post a lengthy breakdown of his game this morning. Purely coincidence, I'm sure.

The Glenville Duo Speaks

Glenville prospects Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith were surprise visitors for last month's BBQ, but in the time since we haven't heard much from them about their respective recruitments. Scout's Bill Greene finally caught up with the pair to talk about their trips to Ohio State (for their Friday Night Lights event) and Michigan; here's Lattimore on the BBQ ($):

On Michigan: “It was my first time out there," he stated. "It was nice. I’m considering them, too. It was everything. It was just the coaches, everyone was laid back. It’s like a team up there. It was nice to see the chill side of the coaches and see how they really are outside of football. I liked it.”

And Smith ($):

"It was my first time being at Michigan," he added. "It was actually better than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed myself. All the coaches were there. Coach [Brady] Hoke was a lot more active than I thought he would be. I got to establish a relationship with the coaches. They were down to earth. I feel I could fit in there."

Lattimore added that Michigan and Ohio State will both receive official visits from him this fall — notably, he didn't name any other teams in the running for officials — and presumably he'd be accompanied by Smith on those visits. Both prospects still hold Ohio State in very high regard, but Michigan is at least making a push. In Smith's case especially, the Wolverines appear to have a decent shot at landing a commitment; it's uncertain if OSU will have room in their sanction-limited class to take him.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Parrker Westphal and Kalen Ballage, updates on a couple top underclassmen recruits, a look at the new 2015 Scout 300, and more.]

Thursday Recruitin' BBQ Bonanza

Thursday Recruitin' BBQ Bonanza

Submitted by Ace on July 25th, 2013 at 1:39 PM


Fournette (via)

BBQ Rundown*

Michigan's annual BBQ at the Big House is on Sunday, and the Wolverines will also host visitors on Saturday — or, in LA RB Leonard Fournette's case, starting today. All of the major sites have published expected visitor lists, and in the grand tradition of attempting to pin down the plans of teenagers, there are slight discrepancies between them. Here's a rundown of the top targets who will be on campus this weekend and a general idea of where Michigan stands with each of them:

2014 Commits

Ian Bunting, Freddy Canteen, Mason Cole, Michael Ferns, Drake Harris, Lawrence Marshall, Wilton Speight, Brandon Watson, Maurice Ways, and Chase Winovich are all expected to be in attendance. Jabrill Peppers is trying to make it into town, as well — his presence would only help Michigan's efforts with the uncommitted recruits, and especially fellow blue-chip Fournette.

2014 Targets

Fournette is obviously the big fish here; the nation's top running back — and #1 overall prospect on the 247 Composite — arrives in Ann Arbor today and will stay all the way through Sunday's BBQ. If you regularly read this roundup, you've seen his highlight tape. A video released by ESPN this week shows more of his personal side, and none of it will make you want him at Michigan any less. The broken record on Fournette is that, despite his assertions of being wide open, he'll inevitably end up in the SEC, likely at LSU. GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz talked to Fournette's father, and NOPE NOPE NOPE I REFUSE TO GET MY HOPES UP ($):

As a father that knows his son’s game and how it might translate to the college level, he can see what the portrait might look like in the Maize & Blue.

For sure he would be a good fit for Michigan,” said Fournette’s father. “I know for sure he would be a great fit for Michigan. He’ll fit right in.”

...

“Me and my wife are real high on education, first of all,” Fournette’s father said. “And we have to feel like our child is going to be in good hands, from a family aspect, not just coaches, but a friend and a father figure on the field and off the field.”

Fournette will be accompanied by his parents on the trip; he'll undoubtedly get the full tour of both the academic and football side of things, and it'll be very interesting to see where Michigan stands after this weekend.

NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman is listed as attending in some places and not in others; assuming he shows, this will be Michigan's best chance to chip away at Ohio State's lead for the three-star boasting a very impressive offer sheet. [EDIT: Per 247, Hilliman won't be visiting for the BBQ. That ship appears to have sailed; it's Fournette or bust at running back, reportedly, with Kalen Ballage being recruited as an athlete-slash-backup plan.]

MI DL Malik McDowell is always tough to pin down when it comes to his recruitment plans; he's another potential visitor. While he's attempted to stay quiet about where things stand, he's let slip a couple times that the Wolverines are out in front, and the general opinion is that he'll stay in-state.

2015 Targets

Cass Tech DE Josh Alabi and RB Mike Weber will visit Ann Arbor together for the umpteenth time. Both are early four-stars with a high level of interest in the Wolverines.

FL WR George Campbell is the top-ranked 2015 recruit who'll be on campus, coming in at #7 in the 247 Composite. He'll have his high school teammate, Cole, giving him the full sales pitch. How he reacts to this latest trip to Ann Arbor should give a good indication of where the Wolverines stand now that fellow East Lake receiver Artavis Scott chose Clemson over Michigan.

OH CB Shaun Crawford has long held Michigan as his leader, with many even expecting that he'd commit during an earlier visit this offseason. Crawford will have his family in tow, and his mother makes it sound like he's the best possibility of a commitment this weekend, per TomVH ($):

"Michigan is definitely at the top of the list, because it's a wonderful school. It's been a favorite for a long time and he grew up a Michigan fan," Crawford's mother said. "I think this type of event will kind of answer any questions we all may have and bring it all together for him. It's definitely something that's worthwhile in the decision process."

In this early stage of the 247 Composite rankings (only 247 and ESPN have released 2015 rankings), Crawford is listed as the #92 overall player, #9 corner, and #4 prospect in Ohio. He'd be a very nice early pickup, obviously.

OH LB Justin Hilliard ranks one spot above Crawford in the Ohio state rankings. His recruitment could come down to a big Midwestern battle — his older brother plays for Iowa and he already holds offers from all the Big Ten powers and some national schools, as well.

At 6'8", 305 pounds, four-star PA OT Sterling Jenkins is exactly what Michigan is searching for in an offensive lineman — tackle is the biggest, and potentially only, need left on the offensive line. Michigan is among his top schools, and despite lots of national interest they could very well be in the lead.

Michigan has experienced recent success recruiting in Utah, landing Sione Houma in 2012 and Bryan Mone for the 2014 class. They'll try to replicate that with four-star UT LB Osa Masina, though the Wolverines could be facing an uphill battle against the in-state Utes, where Masina's older brother signed in 2013.

The above players are confirmed for this weekend by multiple outlets; other potential visitors include MI ATH Brian Cole, OH DT Hjalte Froholdt, and NY TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr. — Michigan is in very good shape with all three prospects.

2016 Targets

If Crawford isn't the most likely to commit this weekend, then it's 2016 IL OL Erik Swenson, who's stated in no uncertain terms that a Michigan pledge is all but inevitable — he nearly pulled the trigger when he camped here last month.

Swenson is the only rising sophomore slated to attend who currently holds an offer, but that could change; MD LB De'le Harding is expected to join his older teammates, Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson, on this weekend's visit, and he's a player who should earn an offer sooner or later. OH QB Messiah DeWeaver, who's shown very strong interest in Michigan, will also be at the BBQ, though I'd be surprised if a 2016 quarterback pulled an offer this early.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on Parrker Westphal, JuJu Smith, Dravon Henry, and more.]

Recruitin' Mailbag: ECA Academics, Camp Vs. Game Film, Trusting The Coaches, And More

Recruitin' Mailbag: ECA Academics, Camp Vs. Game Film, Trusting The Coaches, And More

Submitted by Ace on July 2nd, 2013 at 1:16 PM


2013 Eastern Christian Academy prospect Kenny Bigelow has already enrolled at USC.

I initially planned on covering football and basketball as well as recruiting in this mailbag, but enough of you sent in questions (thanks!) that I had to go recruiting-only; I may do a separate mailbag to cover the rest later in the week. On to the questions...

For a number of reasons, I'm not worried about this. If you haven't read the SI article on Eastern Christian Academy, it's highly recommended, and should allay some of these concerns [emphasis mine]:

Strictly speaking, Eastern Christian is not even a school but rather a club, with members who attend an online private school called National Connections Academy. "There is a lot of confusion," says Steven Guttentag, president of Baltimore-based Connections Learning, which is the parent company of National Connections. "Eastern Christian is not a school. It's a football training program that provides a site. National Connections Academy is the school. They're our team." Connections Education counts more than 45,000 students among its accredited private and public schools. Its students include everyone from prodigies at New York City's prestigious Juilliard School of Music to Olympic hopefuls, but Eastern Christian represents the company's first foray into team sports.

...

[T]he reputation of National Connections, and the fast-growing digitalization of U.S. education, affords Eastern Christian a degree of insulation from skepticism. The growth of charter schools and homeschooling have pushed the number of students in grades K-12 taking online courses well into the hundreds of thousands. "What you're describing is definitely unusual," says Allen Ezell, a former FBI agent who spent 11 years investigating diploma mills. "But this sounds like a proctored setting, with adults watching over kids as they do their work and take their exams, and in today's world that's becoming normal."

The NCAA, according to the article, considers National Connections "an approved nontraditional course provider," so there should be no issue passing their academic requirements. ECA and its predecessor, Red Lion Christian Academy, have produced several D-I recruits in the last few years, and as far as I can tell there's been no issue with the NCAA or the recruits' respective schools. An incomplete list:

  • 2011 Red Lion DL Angelo Blackson is entering his junior year at Auburn, where he's expected to start for the second straight season.
  • 2012 Red Lion DL Eli Ankou was accepted by UCLA and redshirted last season.
  • 2013 ECA five-star DL Kenny Bigelow enrolled early at USC, so he's already passed admissions and gone through a semester of classes.
  • Fellow 2013 ECA prospects Khaliel Rodgers (USC) and Jahmere Irvin-Sills (Miss. St.) signed with BCS programs. Michigan's coaches reportedly contacted Rodgers after David Dawson's decommitment last year, but he was solid to USC and did not receive an offer.

Michigan admissions could be a different animal — though UCLA and USC are both fine schools — but here's where my final point comes in: Brady Hoke, quite simply, doesn't take academic risks. None of his recruits have failed to qualify and the line of communication between his staff and the admissions department is strong; let's just say the athletic department learned from the Demar Dorsey debacle.

While we're on the subject of Canteen and Watson...

Ace!  Love your writing, dude. 

Question on Recruiting. I trust the coaches, I love the coaches. They've earned the right to pick who they want. But do you think it's a little weird to go so hard after a few guys so off the radar at this point in the process (the past 3 days), or do you think the coaches truly see that much potential in these guys, and got some steals? I know - hard to know when a guy only plays 3 games a year, but curious for your take.

Josh

The longer I cover recruiting and, on occasion, happen to stumble into some insider-y info, the more I realize that the coaches do everything — everything — for a reason. In fact, you don't even need insider info to know this. Just look at how the wide receiver recruiting shook out over the last few weeks:

  • Artavis Scott visits Clemson for their camp, which runs from June 12th-14th.
  • Freddy Canteen picks up his offer at Michigan's camp on June 18th.
  • In an article released on June 24th, K.J. Williams tells 247 that his top three is Syracuse, Michigan, and Mizzou, in that order ($).
  • On June 26th, ESPN's Brian Stumpf reports that Scott has moved up his announcement and will decide at The Opening, which is going on this week. Clemson immediately becomes his presumed destination.
  • Freddy Canteen commits to Michigan on June 29th.

Even if we presume that Canteen is the third option among those prospects — and I'm not sure the coaches would put Williams above him, especially since they wanted a slot receiver — it's clear that the coaches saw the way things were trending with Scott and Williams and decided to make a move instead of waiting, which could've left them coming up empty on all three prospects.

Then we get into the fact that Canteen, along with Watson, had very good reasons for being under the radar, and earned their offers by performing for the coaches in person. The Wolverine's Michael Spath posted a great rundown of recruits who were offered at camp and committed to Michigan; there have been 23 such players since 2002 ($). Of those 23, just six ended up as four-star prospects, and given that fact Michigan has been quite successful in identifying overlooked talent:

Among the 23, 21 have already completed their eligibility, and of those, 10 started at least one season for the Wolverines. Multi-year starters include: LB David Harris (2002 class), [OL Jake] Long, [DL Will] Johnson, [OL Alex] Mitchell, P Zoltan Mesko (2005) and OL David Molk (2007).

Yes, the list of camp-offered commits includes such luminaries as David Harris, Jake Long, David Molk, and the Space Emperor (Of Space). NOT BAD.

With the increased pace of recruiting, it's easy to forget that the current rankings will look wildly different come February; the recruiting services still haven't had a look at every available prospect, obviously, and there's still a good chunk of camp season, next fall's actual football season, and the postseason All-American games to go. Especially at this stage in the recruiting process, it's best to trust the coaches, at least until there's any shred of evidence that they're not good talent evaluators (and all of the available evidence points in the exact opposite direction).

It's not as simple as this with most prospects — the coaches do their best to use everything at their disposal to evaluate a recruit, and how much they weigh each factor is largely dependent on the specific recruit. Camp allows the coaches to not just judge a player's size, potential, and technical ability in person, it also gives them insight into how quickly a prospect picks up on their coaching — they can judge coachability and character in a way that they obviously can't do with a highlight tape.

The problem with camp, of course, is that it isn't actual football — they're running drills without pads, not lining up and playing 11-on-11. That's why game film is still quite valuable. With guys like Canteen and Watson, who simply don't have much film available, the coaches have to lean more heavily on how they did at camp, but for most prospects that's not the case. I wouldn't say camp trumps film, nor the opposite; this answer is a bit of a cop-out, but it goes on a case-by-case basis, as the available information differs — sometimes dramatically — from prospect to prospect.

Ace,

I know people pay probably too much attention to stars when it comes to recruits, but the recent conversation about what coaches saw in certain players bothered me because it was based on an inexact rating system.  If you think about a previous QB battle, mgoblog has this to say:

"Projection: Even if Robinson doesn't pan out Michigan won't be moving him for at least two years and doesn't have the quarterback depth to redshirt anyone this year, so at the very least you'll see him reprise the Feagin role from last year's Minnesota game except with a definite possibility he'll throw. Going forward it'll be a battle between his electric athleticism and Forcier's polish, with Forcier having the obvious early edge because of his spring enrollment."

And remember the recruiting hubaloo around Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver.  This got me thinking, of those who have pledged to Michigan in the past few years which player(s) do you think have far outperformed their ranking?

Thanks,

Chris

I'm not sure the example used here is the best one for the question, since both Forcier and Denard were highly-regarded prospects, but there are a few from Hoke's first couple classes. In the 2011 class, Frank Clark looks poised to outperform his three-star rating; he may have done so already simply by seeing the field and contributing early. 2012 signee Devin Funchess was a borderline 3/4-star recruit and he showed tantalizing potential as a freshman; when a freshman gets put on school record watch — in this case, Jim Mandich's career mark for receptions by a tight end — it's safe to say he's performing at a very high level. Ben Braden is another player from the 2012 class who could easily surpass his three-star expectations; Braden has a good chance to start at guard as a redshirt freshman and eventually make his way out to left tackle. Jehu Chesson, Willie Henry, and Mario Ojemudia are a few other candidates from that class to make a bigger splash than their recruiting rankings would indicate, potentially as soon as this fall.

So, with the three recent commits and the 2014 class already up to 14 guys, does this mean it's all quiet on the (mid)western front? I know this class was projected to be in the teens, maybe up to 20 guys, and I feel like we've gotten there quickly. Is Michigan kind of done for the time being on the recruiting scene or will there be another push right before the season?

I'm tempting fate by saying this, but I think the pace of recruiting for the 2014 class is going to slow down now that camp offers have gone out (and been accepted) and most of the remaining targets are high-profile players — those guys are more likely to utilize the full process, take their officials, and make a late decision knowing that programs will leave a spot open for them. Da'Shawn Hand, Adoree' Jackson, Malik McDowell, and JuJu Smith all fall under this category, and I'm surely forgetting a couple other targets either slated for late decisions or taking the process slowly. It's possible that Michigan picks up a couple more commits before the season starts, but for the rest of the summer I'd expect as much action (if not more) from the 2015 class.

How do you see the 2014 recruiting class finishing up based on what we know today? — AC1997

I'm operating under the assumption that Michigan makes it to 20 spots in the class, even though for now there aren't that many scholarships available. With 14 current commits, that leaves six open spots. I'd expect those to be filled by:

  • VA DE Da'Shawn Hand (not a lock by any means, though)
  • MI DL Malik McDowell
  • A safety, hopefully JuJu Smith (a longshot) or PA ATH Montae Nicholson (a much more realistic option).
  • An offensive tackle. There isn't an obvious candidate here with Jamarco Jones committing to Ohio State.
  • An outside linebacker. Of the players currently holding offers, three-star Jimmie Swain and four-star Dwight Williams are the most likely candidates. I'm skeptical of Michigan's chances with Williams (a presumed Florida lean), though, and Swain named Oregon and Stanford to his top five recently despite not holding an offer from either; if one of those two comes through, that could spell trouble for Michigan's chances. We could see a late offer go out here.
  • The best player available that doesn't match the above. That could be Jackson, though I highly doubt he ends up at Michigan, or perhaps a running back — CO three-star Kalen Ballage is the back they appear to have the best chance of landing with Jonathan Hilliman leaning towards Ohio State.

I did not overlook Parrker Westphal, though that's not based on any insider info. The longer his recruitment stretches out, the less I think he ends up at Michigan, especially since he seems like a better cornerback prospect than a safety and the Wolverines just took a pure corner in Brandon Watson.

Monday Recruitin' Doesn't Film In Shed

Monday Recruitin' Doesn't Film In Shed

Submitted by Ace on May 20th, 2013 at 2:26 PM

*BREAKING* 6'6", 230-Pound Quarterback Has Strong Arm After All

Michigan quarterback commit Wilton Speight flew across the country to compete in the Elite 11 San Francisco regional camp last weekend. Despite a field featuring several of the top prospects in the country,—including #1 pro-style QB Keller Chryst and Oregon commit Morgan Mahalak—nobody at the camp earned an invite to the Elite 11 finals; Speight showed off a strong arm and high ceiling but struggled a bit with his mechanics, as you can see in the above video (he's the one with the Michigan shorts, natch). The Elite 11's resident coach, former NFL QB Trent Dilfer, gave his thoughts on Speight to 247's Barton Simmons:

One of the longest commutes to compete at the event came from Richmond, Va. native Wilton Speight. The Michigan commit was also one of the biggest prospects in attendance with regard to his physical stature and Dilfer noted that his size is both his strength and his weakness at this point.

Dilfer on Speight: “He had a nice day. He’s obviously a very physical kid, tall, strong. I think he’s got to get more organized. Everything’s just got to get more organized for him to be consistent. That’s typical for a lot of linear guys. There’s a lot of moving parts.”

Scout's crew of experts all had Speight outside the top five performers, but national analyst Greg Biggins—as well as Speight himself—still had a largely positive review of his play ($) [emphasis mine]:

The biggest quarterback in the camp was easily Richmond (Va.) Collegiate School’s Wilton Speight. The Michigan commit looks all of 6-6, 230 pounds and he had a solid camp. He was able to make all the throws showing off a strong arm and actually looked better than expected when he had to throw on the run.

Speight is a pure drop back quarterback who throws a tight ball and can get the ball down the field. He threw some of the best deep balls in the camp and makes it look easy and effortless.

I was happy with my performance, I wasn’t overly thrilled with all my throws but overall, I thought I had a good day,” Speight said. “There’s always a couple of throws you want back but the beauty of this is there’s still 13 spots left for the final Elite 11. No one got the invite today so you just have to stay patient and let the process play itself out.”

As Speight said above, he'll still have a chance to earn his way into the finals later this spring; he won't be the only one from the SF regional with something to prove, as five-star Chryst reportedly (and by his own admission) struggled mightily.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest visit plans of five-star DT Andrew Brown, Michigan commits in the updated Rivals100 and Top247, and more.]

Thursday Recruiting: What Day Is It Again Edition

Thursday Recruiting: What Day Is It Again Edition

Submitted by Brian on April 25th, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Basketball? Basketball

Michigan's extremely-critical 2014 class has a couple of guys who already sport offers but have not committed for reasons that are unclear to me. I mean srsly, you can play for Pilot Walter White in a fun system and go to the Final Four. Commit already you guys.

IN SF Vince Edwards, a guy with a median ranking around 60, says he's down to Michigan and Purdue and is looking for love. These things may not seem related, but they are.

"Just show me, you know?" Edwards said. "Just show me that you're interested. Just show me like you've been showing me."

Edwards on his finalists:

"I like both," Edwards said. "Honestly, I like Michigan because I really think their offense fits my style. Being a 6-7 wing who can shoot, that really fits in with Coach Beilein. He likes guys who can do that, so I think I can really fit in well with him and his offense and he thinks so, too.

"With Coach Painter, what I really like about Purdue is -- they're both actually great coaches -- but Coach Painter had to take some guys and develop them this year and you could tell by the way he coaches that he's a great coach. He can develop players really well."

Purdue's supposed to be in the tentative lead for some reason. I mean, what does Beilein have to do to prove he can develop guys?

image166017564.0_standard_352.0[1]

Maybe he has to have a who-dat postgrad point guard go off for 17 points in the national championship ga—oh yeah that actually happened and was not a crazy dream we all had collectively. In conclusion, Matt Painter smells faintly of gasoline and Vince Edwards has an obvious choice.

Michigan's after MS SG Devin Booker, of course, and while one suitor probably took itself off the table when Duke took a commitment from big-timer Grayson Allen at Booker's position, Kentucky has now offered. Goody. 

Touted 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman plans a visit, as does($) CA PG Sedrick Barefield. That class is the one in which Michigan's Final Four run should really open up possibilities. It helps with 2014, but the guys they're after are for the most part still the same guys they were after before.

Who's next, Malcolm Streamers lol zing

0[1]

I AM TALL ARE YOU TALL CHANTEL IT'S TOUGH TO TELL BECAUSE PEOPLE UP TO EIGHT FEET SHORTER THAN ME ARE STILL TALL SOMETIMES

Michigan picked up their tight end in Ian Bunting, a 3/4 star tweener at the moment who should rise this fall if he can stay on the field for a change. Bunting has the offer list of a clear top 100 guy (M, ND, OSU, OU, USC, etc.) and enormous skillet-sized hands on a 6'7" frame. There is the Hello post;  247 also posted some extra analysis($) after that went up:

Similar to Michigan’s Devin Funchess, Bunting should be a great weapon in the red-zone against smaller defenders. Bunting shows strong hands with the ability to extend and pluck the ball out of the air. … I really like Bunting’s burst in and out of his breaks for as tall and long as he is. The ceiling is very high for Bunting, especially being in a very tight end friendly system at Michigan.

I am hyped about Bunting, and I hear the coaches are too. He was the proverbial #1 TE on their board—and a lot of others.

Actually it's probably Mo Ways

Ways is on campus as you read this. It's hat-eatin' time if he doesn't commit today.

And then probably Kyron Watson

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Kyron Watson terrifies Alex Anzalone

IL LB Kyron Watson features in a freebie by Allen Trieu in which his coach flat-out states he's a visit away from a commitment:

"His top two, I think, honestly are Michigan of course and Kansas. Michigan because it’s Michigan. Kansas, it's because of Reggie Mitchell. He's great recruiter for our type of kids, which I’ll call inner-city kids. … I believe, and I can’t speak for Kyron, but as soon as he gets a visit to Michigan, I believe he'll walk away committed to them."

Pencil that in. The days when Charlie Weis could keep kids from Ann Arbor are long over. As for what kind of player Watson is, your keyword is "violent":

It only takes a play or two of Kyron Watson's highlight tape to understand what you're dealing with. The 6'1, 220-pound junior made 142 tackles last season, but it was the three or four at the start of his tape, violent de-cleaters, which immediately caught the eyes of college coaches. …

"He's always been an aggressive kid. Towards the end of year, he began to understand it and blew up in terms of physical contact and meeting them in the hole. He's a special kid. As he grew, the impact of hips became a little more damaging. He came in at like 160-165-pounds. He's 220 now. In two years, he gained basically 60 pounds."

His best other offers are Missouri, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, and MSU; he does have a believer in ESPN.

And eventually Parrker Westphal

Sullivan catches up with the guy I invariably call a Todd Howard protégé in a lengthy article that confirms a lot of what we already know about him: ie, that he'll probably commit sooner or later. He's got an interesting top five($) forming:

"I told the Michigan coaches that whatever list that I cut down, whether it's a top five or top three, they'll be in it," he said. I'll make that cut probably the summer. I'm hoping earlier, but we'll see. No [other schools have a spot on that list] so far, but Northwestern and Vanderbilt, they're ranked pretty high because academically and athletically they're pretty good. They'll probably be in it.

Always good to see a guy with Vandy and Northwestern as serious options consider M, as those kind of kids are low-attrition sorts that often pick M even when ND, OSU, and Florida are options, as they are for Westphal.

Westphal wants to make a decision before his high school season, which means anyone trying to catch Michigan will have to do so without the opportunity for an official visit.

Also: Westphal talked a lot about how Michigan wants to blitz him, so he may be destined for the nickelback/safety spot that Dymonte Thomas is currently slotted in.

And then those Paramus guys

ESPN's Jared Shanker catches up with both. NJ OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty had previously declared Michigan his leader and basically confirms that:

The Wolverines are in a strong position for the top 10 tackle nationally following the two-day visit earlier this month, which he took with five-star teammate Jabrill Peppers.

“It just felt like a lot of what I was looking for,” the four-star said. “Everything felt like a family. The player felt like real guys; the coaches felt like real guys.”

He maintains a top three of M, Boston College, and Florida, and says he has offers from all plus FSU, Miami, and Tennessee. He says he'll probably pull the trigger in the next couple months.

As for NJ CB Jabrill Peppers, this is a tantalizing headline($) for a guy who just declared Michigan his leader:

Peppers should know future school soon

The money quote:

“Definitely after I visit Stanford I should have it pretty clear where I want to go,” Peppers said.

The five-star cornerback is coming off April trips to LSU, Michigan and Ohio State, and while Peppers did not tip his hand, people close to the dynamic two-way athlete say Michigan has a sizeable lead of those three. He has listed Stanford as his No. 1 for several months and will visit Palo Alto before officially dropping them from the top of his list.

HOWEVA, Peppers isn't going to commit after the Stanford visit, at least not publicly. He plans to take a couple of officials after his high school season, at which point he may as well just announce at an All-Star game. Hopefully that'll be one of those anticlimactic ones.

The Periphery

Touted DC CB Jalen Tabor visited yesterday as part of a team-wide swing through the Midwest. AZ OL Casey Tucker decommits from USC($), may poke around Michigan, doubt we see much come of this. PA S Montae Nicholson has many offers($), refreshingly seems to not give two hoots about deciding between them. Michigan is mentioned in a quasi-top eight.

2015 Stuff

IL DE Terry Beckner, Watson's HS teammate, was one of the best performers($) at the St. Louis Rivals camp:

2. DE TERRY BECKNER JR., EAST ST. LOUIS, ILL. (2015)

Despite Hendrix's dominating performance on Sunday, his was not a walkaway MVP win because Beckner nearly matched his interconference foe in level of domination. Beckner is an imposing 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds and shows an advanced technical grasp of his position for a sophomore. He plays with great pad level and has exceptionally fast hands. Most impressive was his two-rep win over four-star offensive guard D.J. Foster, who has been nearly unbeatable in past camps.

Tim Sullivan reports($) that Beckner has an "unofficial offer" that will firm up when the kid gets on campus. His coach:

"Terry will be, at some point, this is my early prediction, a top ten player next year. For his age and size, the skill set he has, he’s a very dominant player and will only get better. He gave what they consider a top 100 player, Dewayne Hendrix, a run for his money as being the best guy there at the camp on Sunday. The sky’s the limit. He will even play a little offense this year. Terry, I believe, will be the first five-star at East St. Louis in this era."

Beckner has the local offers: Illinois, Kansas, Mizzou, Purdue, Nebraska.

Touted Mason Cole teammate and FL WR George Campbell shrinks to 6'3" in this article—a lot of places list him at 6'5"—in which he talks about the broken hand keeping him out of action and says he's talking to Michigan, Auburn, and A&M. He also went to the Vandy and Florida spring games.

Etc.

QB commit Wilton Speight picks up a Miami offer.

Monday Recruitin': Just Pull The Trigger Already Edition

Monday Recruitin': Just Pull The Trigger Already Edition

Submitted by Brian on April 22nd, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Tick tock, Maurice Ways

bilde[1]MI WR Maurice Ways did get his offer over the weekend. He did not commit, possibly so that he could follow through on a promise to go up to Michigan State's spring game. Ways said a Michigan commitment was a "huge possibility($). Huge!

But Ways did not commit. Why:

“I’ve got a scholarship so it’s a good chance. But my parents were very excited, growing up a Michigan fan, being in the state of Michigan, playing for Michigan football it just seems like the right thing to do.

“But once again I do want to wait my options and not rush into anything and make sure it’s the right fit for me and my family as a football player and as a young man.”

Ways is setting up another Ann Arbor trip. When that occurs I will eat my hat if he doesn't commit. #justpullthetriggeralready

Visitors and such

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Westphal is #21

IL CB Parrker Westphal was the headliner. Afterwards he told 247 that "Michigan was still the standard($)" and that he considered committing but decided to hold off until he goes on another couple visits in May. This was his sixth trip to Ann Arbor. If not for Ways, Westphal would be your leading candidate for next commitment. #jptta

BONUS: Westphal came in for a full-on (free) profile from 247. I lol'd:

“When my friends were out partying, I’d be at home studying, doing situps and pushups and go for a run at night,” Westphal said. “I’d try and do what Herschel Walker did. Those 3,500 situps, 1,500 pushups, that dude was a freak. I think he lied about that. That’s hard. You need time to do that.”

AZ TE Mark Andrews visited OSU, told Eleven Warriors some noncommital things about Ohio State, visited Michigan, about which I can find nothing, visited ND, and told 247 some nice things about ND($). With Michigan seemingly days away from its second commitment from a 6'4" wide receiver, Andrews's positional preference probably means this is the last we'll hear about his recruitment:

“I don’t want to be the guy that sits on the line and blocks. I want to be the guys making plays with the ball in his hands,” the No. 62 overall prospect in the line said. “But with how Notre Dame uses the tight end it fits my skill set well. I love Notre Dame’s offense and how they utilize the position.”

Michigan has filled his spot if he's averse to playing TE. Also I can't turn up anything from the Michigan sites on him. Bad sign.

IL TE Ian Bunting was a little more open about his thought process:

"I liked it a lot.  They have great people and just a really cool culture there."  Bunting wasn't ready to name a leader yet but he did say he was going to sit down and narrow his list in the next couple of days.  He wasn't sure if his list was going to be a top 2, 3, or even 5, but he did say Michigan would be on that list regardless of the length.

The M Block's vibe is that Michigan is still behind… someone. The conventional wisdom is that would be Notre Dame. He told Allen Trieu much the same($), saying Michigan was "near the top" and he'd have a shortlist soon. 247 got some more detail($):

"I got to sit down with the coaches and we watched a lot of film," he said. "We didn't just watch film from Michigan games, but also San Diego State games as well. They wanted to show me first hand the transition they are making from where they were when Denard was their quarterback to where they eventually want to get to in using their tight ends. I've played receiver my entire career, but know I will be a tight end at the next level and am ready to work hard and show that I can play on the blocks as well."

Turning Bunting's head is a little more important because of part of this next section.

A guy Michigan does lead for

Rivals's Josh Helmholdt interviewed MO LB Kyron Watson at the St. Louis camp that occurred over the weekend, and Watson flat-out said Michigan was his leader($):

Helmholdt: Is there a team you're really excited about right now?

Watson: Yeah, it's Michigan right now. [coy smile]

Evaluations are all over the place on Watson. He's 100th on ESPN, a 3/4 star borderline guy on Rivals, and a generic three star at the other two places. TCU, Missouri, and Illinois are the main competitors.

IL TE Daniel Helm was at that same event and impressed Helmholdt:

"I think he has the ability to play at an elite level," Helmholdt said. "He is a receiving tight end and won the MVP of the Rivals Underclassman Challenge last year, so we will see what happens."

Helmholdt said that, along with his physical makeup, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound player has a personality that draws others to him.

"First of all, he is a super-nice kid who is shy in the way that even he is impressed that we think he is a four-star player," Helmholdt said. "He is respectful and humble.

"As far as being a prospect, I think he has a lot of upside. Right now he has coat-hangar shoulders, and I could see him easily getting up to 240 or 250 pounds."

Also he is refreshingly honest about his F5-pounding abilities in re: his ranking:

"(I look) more than I should," Helm joked. "That is all I'm going to say."

Helm said he knew he was the No. 201 player in the country, as well as the No. 6 tight end. He added that he wasn't checking the rankings as a motivational tool but a measuring stick.

In an interview similar to the Watson one($) he mentioned that Florida had not actually offered him yet despite their presence in his top four. If that decision does come soon they would not be a factor, leaving just Tennessee and Ole Miss as competition.

Unfortunately, Rivals's Dallas Jackson came away from that camp thinking Tennessee was his leader:

If I had to make just one prediction from @RivalsCamp St. Louis it would be #Rivals250 TE Daniel Helm to #Vols. Kid was gushing about #UT.

If I had to make one prediction about YOUR FACE it is that is is WRONG sorry sorry be professional… be professional.

We'll see if that's just a one-off thing or not. If you're looking at Helm's unease at waiting and possibly passing up a spot as a good thing for Michigan, Tennessee already has a TE this year and took two last year; Ole Miss took three last year. Options are limited at all of his top schools.

Wouldn't it be nice

ESPN has a feature breaking down the recruitments of their top ten players. Michigan is involved with four: CA CB Adoree' Jackson, VA DE Da'Shawn Hand, VA DT Andrew Brown, and NJ CB Jabrill Peppers. It won't surprise you to find out that ESPN says Michigan leads for Peppers, but they buck the conventional wisdom($) with one Mr. Hand:

Who's in the driver's seat: Michigan

Other candidates: Alabama, Florida and South Carolina

Dark horse: Virginia Tech

Most recent visit: Hand recently took a visit to South Carolina.

What they said: On Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison: "He's always energetic. That dude is insane. I don't know how old he is, but at heart that dude is 21," he said. "We get there and he is listening to Rihanna and Drake, he was dancing and singing. The players said he's really like that, too. That dude is wild."

TomVH says Mattison is Michigan's "secret weapon." If Michigan does manage to snatch Hand away from VT there will be Bud Foster Forever Alone ragecomics.

Virginia is leading for Brown, and Jackson—an Illinois transplant who's only been in California for one year—is completely wide open. HOWEVA, Michigan was mentioned as a team "rising" for Brown at 247 and he told Scout that he plans an M/OSU trip($) "in the near future," presumably after he makes a southern swing through Alabama, Florida, FSU, and Not That USC.

Also in Hand positive vibes, Steve Lorenz says Hand's dad is on board($) with M and that they're even with VT.

Everything's coming up Milhouse

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NJ DE/TE Garrett Dickerson has a top five($), and it's an interesting one: Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford, and Northwestern. His brother already plays for the Wildcats, if you're playing the One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other game. On Michigan:

Michigan:
“I visited there last year and had a great time, and really enjoyed that atmosphere and the coaches are great. The facilities are great as well.”

Dickerson hasn't been back since that November visit. He also saw OSU around then. He just went to Stanford and Northwestern, and hasn't been to Tuscaloosa at all yet. The nerd schools have to be the favorites, then, until Dickerson finds his way to others in his top five. He had to shoot down some rumors that he committed to Stanford, FWIW.

Scott impresses, says recruiting is a foreign thing

FL WR Artavis Scott may not like talking to reporters about what he's thinking

One of the most impressive athletes out on the field at IMG Academy was Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder caught upwards of five touchdowns passes on Saturday, showing his ability to run nearly every type route.

"I don't know. I really don't worry about all that stuff right now. I really don't have any standings on any team," said Scott.

His mom likes Florida "but, I don't know, it's whatever I want."

Semi-weekly Damien Harris tweet

2015 KY RB Damien Harris's latest foray into indicating to everyone he would like to go to Michigan:

Me and my bro @GeorgeCampbell0 need to take a trip to Ann Arbor together soon! #136

Campbell, the massively-touted 2015 teammate of commit Mason Cole and target Artavis Scott, retweeted it. Let's all have a tizzy.

Also:

Just got off the phone with Coach Borges. Had a productive conversation! Go Blue!

The suspense is not killing me here. #jptta

Etc.: Michigan offers FL LB Darrion Owens($). Reminder: Tim Sullivan of Rivals confirms that offer to TX RB Vic Enwere I was a little suspicious of was a reporter getting M and MSU mixed up.

2015 stuff: Add the name "Tim Settle" to your radar; the VA DT has local offers and is claiming interest from all three Big Ten heavyweights. MI OL Kyonta Stallworth has offers from… uh, UCLA and Florida($)? Wow? M offers($) IL LB Terry Beckner Jr. M makes top ten($) for CO RB Christian McCaffrey (yes that McCaffrey).

Tuesday Recruitin' Unveils Surprise

Tuesday Recruitin' Unveils Surprise

Submitted by Ace on February 19th, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers #Project135, reactions from last weekend's unofficial visitors, and much more.

#Project135

2014 commit Michael Ferns unwittingly incited mass speculation last week when he teased a recruiting-related "big surprise" on Twitter that he dubbed "#Project135". Fans hoping for a new commit were disappointed, but what Ferns revealed on Friday was actually a pretty cool idea:


Kids pick the darndest fonts

Even before this, Ferns had been very active in recruiting his 2014 classmates—it's clear that Shane Morris and his tireless efforts to bring in commits for Team 134 have influenced the next wave.

One of Michigan's other 2014 commits, Wilton Speight, got the profile treatment from MLive's Kyle Meinke; in the piece, Speight talks about flying 2,000 miles to train, and also why he felt comfortable with Michigan's coaching staff:

"Michigan's staff was the first staff to be 100 percent honest with me throughout the whole process, and that meant a huge amount to me," Speight said. "There's lots of coaches from all over the country who will come in and say, 'You're our guy, you're our guy. Just wait, you're going to get an offer.' And then they go out and find someone who's better.

"Michigan, they didn't necessarily tell me I was their guy. They said, 'We're looking at two other guys too.' The thing is, I already knew that, because the quarterback recruits, we're a tight circle. We're all pretty close, and I knew who else they were looking at. And the fact they were up front with me about that meant a lot.

"It was just a perfect fit for me. It was a no-brainer."

It seems like every time Michigan pulls in a commit, one of the top two or three reasons they give for their choice is the level of honesty and openness they experience with the coaches. That's a very good thing, of course, especially in today's recruiting echo chamber—gone are the days when a coach could tell three players at the same position that they're all the school's number one priority and get away with it, not with the pervasiveness of recruiting news and recruits staying in close contact with each other.

[Hit THE JUMP for visit reactions from Parrker Westphal and Daniel Helm, the latest top schools for several recruits, and more.]

Monday Recruitin' Pulls A Jordan

Monday Recruitin' Pulls A Jordan

Submitted by Ace on November 12th, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers recruit reactions from the Northwestern game, the latest on Laquon Treadwell and Derrick Green, last weekend's high school football results, and more.

Permission To Unbuckle (For Now, At Least)


Upchurch

Michigan picked a good weekend for a dramatic victory, as several recruits were on hand to see the comeback against Northwestern. That included 2013 FL S Leon McQuay III, who was on his official visit; while McQuay's father told 247's Josh Newberg it was "a good trip," Michigan's top defensive target is staying mum on potential leaders ($):

While Michigan remains in the thick of it for McQuay III, he's not tipping his hand to his parents.

"We haven't spoke," McQuay II said. "He hasn't spoke about the visit to me or his mom...You know how it is"

The elder McQuay did say his son got a long look at the music school and was up until 2 am with the "two guys that play music on the team"—presumably Jack Kennedy and Joe Reynolds, aka JDK & Rey. Michigan appears to be right in the mix for McQuay, with USC and Florida State likely posing their biggest threat.

Tremendous reveals that the commitment watch this weekend was for 2014 UT DT Bryan Mone, who discussed the possibility of pledging on his visit but ultimately did not make the call. He did, however, tell Sam Webb that Michigan "feels like home" and is his current leader over Colorado and Utah ($). Mone had previously named both the Buffaloes and Utes as his favorite, so take this news with a grain of salt, but the Wolverines are in very good shape with the first prospect they offered in the class.

There's also a visit reaction at Tremendous from 2014 IL CB Parrker Westphal, who continues to refer to Michigan as "the standard" in his recruitment. Scout, meanwhile, had the Wesphal family in the WTKA studio for an interview, and his older brother Brandon—a junior linebacker at Illinois State—talked about helping Parrker get ahead of the curve (free article):

“It was probably eighth grade midgets and just seeing him running around on the field, his intensity and enthusiasm with everything,” said Brandon. “When I got to college I was teaching him stuff that I was learning so when he was in the eighth grade freshman year he was already like three years ahead of everybody else.”

“Ever since eighth grade it has just been a blast being able to watch him play and just do some things that I wouldn’t have thought he’d be able to do at that age, or any kid.”

Other recruits to keep an eye on from the weekend are four-star OH ATH Dareian Watkins, who said he was "sold on the program" during the Northwestern game, and MI TE Kyle Rachwal, who feels like he's "part of the family" and will be making his fifth(!) visit for a Michigan game next weekend. Neither prospect has an offer yet; if one comes for either, it appears likely they'll be in the class.

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