Tuesday Recruitin' Harasses In The Name Of America

Tuesday Recruitin' Harasses In The Name Of America

Submitted by Ace on August 21st, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the updated Rivals100 and Rivals250, the latest on Derrick Green and Leon McQuay III, Channing Stribling's first game of the season, and a creepily overzealous UGA fan.

Shane Morris Up, Everybody Else Down, Basically

The Rivals100 and Rivals250 were updated this week, and the big news is that Shane Morris has been bumped up to a five-star and the #17 overall player in the country. The rest of the changes weren't as positive for Michigan, however, as every other commit who was previously in the Rivals250 dropped save for David Dawson. Here's the whole list of commits:

  • QB Shane Morris up to #17 (previously #22)
  • DT Henry Poggi down to #58 (#52)
  • LB Mike McCray down to #81 (#55)
  • OL Patrick Kugler down to #88 (#73)
  • OL Kyle Bosch down to #92 (#77)
  • S Dymonte Thomas down to #102 (#95)
  • OL Chris Fox down to #112 (#57)
  • TE Jake Butt down to #132 (#118)
  • CB Jourdan Lewis down to #150 (#147)
  • OL David Dawson up to #165 (#171)
  • RB Wyatt Shallman down to #206 (#182)
  • CB Ross Douglas down to #232 (#222)
  • DE Taco Charlton debuts at #233
  • OL Logan Tuley-Tillman down to #241 (#235)
  • LB Ben Gedeon drops out of Rivals250 (#237)

Most of the drops were minor, a result of prospects making their way onto the list or moving up significantly as opposed to an actual drop in performance; this is the case for anyone who stayed within 15 or so spots of their last ranking. Mike McCray and Chris Fox had mixed reviews at The Opening and other camp appearances, which likely contributed to their respective falls.

As for prospects of interest, VA RB Derrick Green fell one spot to #13 overall, FL DB Leon McQuay III jumped to five stars and one place behind Morris overall, and WR Laquon Treadwell is the first four-star and top-ranked receiver at #23.

"Good Feeling" = Bad Sign?

VA RB Derrick Green visited Georgia and Auburn over the weekend; while Georgia isn't thought to be a contender, Auburn represents Michigan's stiffest competition, and rumors swirled after the visit that Green was strongly considering a commitment. Much like the last time that happened nothing came to fruition, though that doesn't mean the Tigers didn't make a big impression:

Green told Farrell($) after the visit, "I got the same feeling I got the first time I was there, a really good feeling," and mentioned that Auburn and Tennessee will get official visits; he's already set up an official to Michigan for the Michigan State game. Green doesn't claim a leader at the moment and it appears that his decision will largely ride on how his official visits go; he doesn't give off the impression that he's made a decision. That said, there's a good chance Auburn holds an edge at the moment.

In more encouraging news, newly-minted five-star FL DB Leon McQuay III told Tremendous that he plans to make it to a Michigan game this fall, likely against Michigan State. While the Wolverines are still outside of his top three, they were at or near the top of his list before taking Ross Douglas; if the coaches convince McQuay that he's still a top priority I believe they still have a good shot of landing him.

As for McQuay's teammate, WR Alvin Bailey, he's officially eliminated Michigan after excluding them from his top five. This shouldn't affect McQuay, as Bailey appears ticketed for Florida or UCF; neither of those teams are serious contenders for McQuay.

While Laquon Treadwell is still the leader in the clubhouse for Michigan's final receiver spot, it's too early to rule out AZ WR Devon Allen, who told Scout's Dave Berk that the Wolverines are in the running for an official visit ($):

“It’s not really final yet, other than I have an official set up with Arkansas. But I’m writing down a few games like Texas, UCLA, Notre Dame and Michigan, some of the games they’re playing when I hope to have a free weekend. I’m not 100 percent sure on my high school football schedule so I’m working on that.”

There's some stiff competition there, though given the list it looks likely that Allen leaves the Southwest. As always, Michigan has a shot if they can get him on campus.

Happy trails go out to VA DE Wyatt Teller, who chose Virginia Tech over Virginia last week. He mentioned Michigan among his leaders a few times but always appeared destined to stay in-state.

Channing Stribling Playing Well(-ing)


Stribling's interception, via his Instagram

When NC CB Channing Stribling committed to Michigan he was an unknown, unranked prospect who'd seemingly earned an offer on the basis of one strong camp performance. Many were concerned he didn't merit an offer over higher-ranked prospects like Delano Hill; if Stribling's first game of the season is any indication, those concerns will be dispelled quickly. ESPN's Kipp Adams led off his weekend impressions($) with the header "Wolverines pull off grand larceny":

He made several impressive plays Friday, opening the game by showing great leaping ability on an interception, making a shoestring catch on the sideline and sticking the wide receiver at the line of scrimmage. With offers going out to underclassmen across the nation without colleges ever seeing them in person, the story of Stribling earning his offer by impressing the Wolverines staff at camp is refreshing.

In this humble writer’s opinion, Brady Hoke and his staff should be wearing ski masks when discussing Stribling on signing day, as they have stolen a gem from the Tar Heel State.

Scout's Chad Simmons named Stribling his top performer of the weekend($), an impressive feat considering he played alongside four-star WR Uriah LeMay and matched up against Mallard Creek's four-star WR Marquez North:

On the first play of the game Stribling went up on a pass that was underthrown and picked it off. That set the tone for this big game and Stribling continued to play at a high level for four quarters.

His play will reflect on Scout when we update his ranking later this week. Look for this Michigan commitment to make a move in the position rankings and to add a star.

He has great length, he plays the ball well, and he has the body to really add significant weight. His best football is ahead of him.

Stribling is only a two-star on Scout at the moment so that bump doesn't get him into four-star territory, though with a few more games like that against top competition he could make a push for that distinction. Tremendous caught up with Stribling to talk about his performance and he largely credited what he learned from Michigan's camp:

Improvements: "One thing I learned at the Michigan camp that was huge for me last night was switching up my stance. I was able to watch the quarterback while covering the receiver last night because I kept myself square with the quarterback off the line of scrimmage. While I'm turning and running with my receiver and I can see where the quarterback is looking. It's something I had never really done before to be honest. It changes my entire outlook because it allows me to play the run a lot quicker as well and I made a couple big hits early".

You can see video of Stribling making a couple of catches, laying a big hit at the line, and, er, not being involved in a play at his Hudl page.

None of Michigan's other commits played official games last weekend, though OH CB Gareon Conley had a touchdown catch and a one-handed grab in Massillon's scrimmage against South.

Your Moment Of Zen

If I told you a college football fan called a recruit's cellphone to ask him about decommitment rumors, would you believe me if I also mentioned said fan is from the SEC? Of course you would.

Last Thursday, [Georgia commit Steven] Nelson was contacted by a person who wanted to know if he had indeed switched his commitment from UGA to Texas Tech. They talked for about 5-10 minutes.

“I get phone calls almost every day from college recruiters and reporters,” Nelson said. “He called me up, and I forgot what his name was. The way he was talking, I thought he was a reporter, so I stayed on the phone. He was just trying to convince me to stay with Georgia, told me how good of a player I was, and wished me a good year.”

A fan then took credit at Georgia's Rivals board, attempted to blackmail said Georgia site, then defended his actions by posting, "Why are you so conditioned to think you have to have a press pass to talk to an American citizen?"  There are no words, only exasperated Bunk gifs.

Slick Segue, Ahoy

Speaking of illegal recruiting contact, the invaluable John Infante of the Bylaw Blog details a potentially game-changing NCAA rule proposal that would allow non-coaches to scout and contact recruits, something that happens all the time anyway but behind the scenes. This would ultimately result in programs largely recruiting through designated directors of player personnel (think the college equivalent of an NFL GM) and recruiting coordinators while moving the burden of recruiting away from coaches, according to Infante:

The potential model of recruiting that develops is very clear. A general manager/director of player personnel will have a staff of recruiting coordinators who do much of the early grunt work in recruiting. They’ll watch film, gauge interest, rank prospects, and evaluate needs. The coaching staff will go see top targets in person, invite prospects on visits, and go see recruits at home or at school. The player personnel staff and the coaching staff will then meet to make decisions and send offers.

That would free coaches from much of the busy work of recruiting and let them focus on coaching their current teams. Player personnel will become the major track for aspiring coaches as well as a career path in its own right. Recruits may see more sophisticated and intense recruiting from a dedicated staff.

Infante mentions the possibility of staff limits to keep this from becoming a recruiting staff arms race; I think limits would have to be in place to prevent recruits from being completely inundated by calls/texts/etc. from an army of recruiting specialists. I actually like the proposal, however; it would likely give the up-and-coming Trooper Taylors a more fitting job description, make things easier on coaches and compliance offices, and lend more transparency to the recruiting process.

Friday Recruitin' Is Heir To The Ottoman Throne

Friday Recruitin' Is Heir To The Ottoman Throne

Submitted by Ace on August 17th, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Today's recruiting roundup features the initial 2014 Top247, the inspiring story of Dareian Watkins, Shane Morris's strange celebratory dance, and more.

I See Your Raekwon And Raise You A Draequan


Swagger advantage: Suleiman, barely

Given that it's the August before their junior year, it's way too early for a 2014 Top247, but I'll be damned if there isn't one. Michigan commit Michael Ferns* lands at #98, a four-spot drop from his placement in 247's early top 100. Other prospects with Wolverine offers:

  • VA DE Da'Shawn Hand — #1 overall
  • NJ CB Jabrill Peppers — #3
  • LA OT Cameron Robinson — #4
  • LA RB Leonard Fournette — #5
  • TX S Edward Paris — #11
  • KS OT Braden Smith — #12
  • AL ATH Bo Scarbrough — #13
  • MD OT Damian Prince — #14
  • NC OT Bentley Spain — #18
  • CA TE Tyler Luatua — #19
  • OH LB Dante Booker — #20
  • DC CB Jalen Tabor — #21
  • MI DE Malik McDowell — #24
  • TX CB Nick Watkins — #30
  • FL OT Kc McDermott — #38
  • FL DT Khairi Clark — #43
  • FL OT Mason Cole — #44
  • TX OT Demetrius Knox — #47
  • TN ATH Jalen Hurd — #48
  • TN WR Josh Malone — #60
  • AT OT Casey Tucker (USC commit) — #63
  • MO OT Andy Bauer (Mizzou commit) — #68
  • IL OG Jamarco Jones — #82
  • AZ TE Mark Andrews — #85
  • MI WR Drake Harris (MSU commit) — #89
  • MO OT Roderick Johnson — #91
  • OH LB Michael Ferns — #98
  • SC DT Dexter Wideman — #103
  • TX S T'Kevian Rockwell — #115
  • NJ ATH Kiy Hester — #128
  • NC TE Jeb Blazevich — #164
  • IL CB Parrker Westphal — #165
  • TN OT Alex Bars — #168
  • DC CB D'Andre Payne — #171
  • SC TE Kevin Crosby — #181
  • MI CB Damon Webb — #192
  • IL TE Nic Weishar — #205
  • PA S Montae Nicholson — #212
  • MI OT Tommy Doles — #219
  • TX S Brandon Simmons — #226
  • OH DE Joe Henderson — #241
  • GA OT Orlando Brown Jr. — #242

By my count, Michigan has offered 27 of the top 100 prospects and 42 of the top 247. That's... a lot. In case it hasn't been made abundantly clear, the coaching staff is focusing on getting offers out to the top national prospects before focusing on evaluating and offering regional talent.

Of course, there are more important matters at hand. Namely, who are the Name of the Year (NOTY for short) candidates in the 2014 class? The class of 2013 had a very strong group, but I think it's surpassed by their younger counterparts. There is GA LB Raekwon McMillian for the Wu-Tang fans, though he may be one-upped by AL S Draequan Murphy. CA CB Adoree' Jackson tacks on not only the extra 'e', but a completely unnecessary apostrophe. LA WR Speedy Noil is an early leader for best nickname. LA WR Malachi Dupree easily beats out NC ATH Elijah Hood for best biblical moniker. The aforementioned T'Kevian Rockwell can't quite match FL LB D'ronzjiah Mathews(!) in the "let's come up with a name before my epidural wears off" category. I'm not sure what an Aggadoria Bowers is, but such a thing exists.

For my money, however, none of those can match the power of CA ATH Sulaiman Hameed, potential lost heir to the Ottoman Empire. If his nickname isn't "The Magnificent," I'll lose all faith in humanity.

----------------
*Great tidbit on Ferns: As pointed out in the comments of yesterday's FBO primer, he is not only Michigan's first recruit from Southeastern Ohio, but the only four-star prospect from the region in the Rivals era. This makes Michigan the only school to pull in a four-star recruit from each region in Ohio.

Now Lean Back, Lean Back, Lean Back, Lean Back

Part 2 of Shane Morris's Elite11 camp experience has been posted by MGoVideo. I would like to draw your attention to the 1:06 mark:

Fat Joe appreciates your support for the Terror Squad, but thinks you should dial it back a little.

Alvin Bailey: Still Probably Not Happening

Tuesday's update included a story on FL WR Alvin Bailey, who's looking to make his decision soon and has UCF as his stated leader. Things didn't look good for Michigan then, and they certainly don't now that he's picked up a Florida offer ($):

"Alvin was offered by Florida today and no he's not committing tonight and he's not going to commit tomorrow either," [Bailey's HS coach Sean] Callahan said. "He said he'd like to make his decision before September 1 and I expect he'll be a man of his word and get it done before then."

Callahan had said that Bailey was excited about the Florida offer but has a lot of thinking to do.

Any time such a vehement denial of an imminent commitment is required, it's usually a sign that one could very well happen. Even if Bailey still waits until September, it seems very unlikely that he'll leave the state, let alone go all the way up north.

2014 Updates

OH ATH Dareian Watkins is a 2014 Michigan target and a freshly-minted member of the Top247. He also has a remarkable backstory, featured in this must-read article from Allen Trieu:

The story begins painfully, but through years of struggle, persistence and faith, and with the help of good people, it is headed full speed towards a happy ending. Dareian was adopted at 11 years old by Heath and Cheryl Watkins. He calls it the second biggest day of his life. The biggest is the day he was taken from his biological mother.

“I was at school and I got called down to the office,” Dareian said. “Thinking I was in trouble, I took my time. I saw a lady walk out of the office towards me and I didn't know what was going on. They had told me to go straight home after school and say bye to my mom. I didn't think anything of it. I got there and my mom was crying and I hugged her, then they pulled me away and said we had to go.”

The whole thing, obviously, is well worth your time. Watkins is one of those recruits you'll root for regardless of where he ends up.

Michigan sent out an offer this week to three-star PA LB Brenon Thrift, according to 247's Clint Brewster ($). Thrift also has scholarship offers from West Virginia and Pittsburgh and says he'll look to visit sometime in the future.

IL DL Brian Allen, who has yet to earn an offer from the Wolverines, has Michigan in his top five with Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State, according to 247's Evan Flood.

Matt Pargoff continues his look at the 2014 class with a rundown of ten cornerback prospects to watch.

Future Blue Originals 2012: In-State Primer

Future Blue Originals 2012: In-State Primer

Submitted by Ace on August 15th, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Future Blue Originals return this fall—holy crap, return in less than two weeks—as I'll once again be driving around the Midwest to scout Michigan's commits and targets. I'll be enlisting the help of Heiko and Eric to improve the quality of the video and photos, which should also allow for more detailed scouting reports, and I'm hoping to cover even more games than last year.

Below you'll find the schedules for Michigan's in-state commits as well as one high-profile 2014 target. Unlike last year, when the Wolverines had a couple of Toledo-area commits, I'll probably focus entirely on these prospects unless something changes; luckily, there are plenty of intriguing games to check out. If you have any corrections—or, even better, plan on scouting one of these games yourself—please let me know in the comments or shoot me an email.

Cass Technical School

Detroit, MI

Detroit Cass Tech 2012
Date Time Opponent
8-25 7:30 PM Birm. Brother Rice (@Wayne State)
8-31 4 PM Detroit Northwestern
9-7 7 PM Detroit Renaissance
9-14 4 PM @ Detroit Cody
9-21 7 PM @ Orchard Lake St. Mary's
9-28 4 PM Detroit Ford
10-5 4 PM @ Detroit Mumford

David Dawson (2013 commit)
HS Position: Offensive tackle
Projects as: Offensive guard

Jourdan Lewis (2013 commit)
HS Position: Wide Receiver/Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback

Damon Webb (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Wide Receiver/Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback

Deon Drake (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Running Back/Outside Linebacker
Projects as: Outside Linebacker

Gary Hosey (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Running Back/Middle Linebacker
Projects as: Running Back

Last season Cass Tech, led by Michigan commits Royce Jenkins-Stone and Terry Richardson, rebounded from an ugly opening-week loss to Farmington Hills Harrison to capture the Division 1 state title over Detroit Catholic Central. Michigan's favorite pipeline school has the ability to repeat that success this season, boasting another pair of Wolverine commits—OL David Dawson and WR/CB Jourdan Lewis—and several other BCS-level prospects.

One of the up-and-coming prospects to already hit Michigan's radar is junior corner Damon Webb, who had a breakout summer on the camp circuit and appears to be the next in line in Cass Tech's four-star cornerback parade. Classmate Deon Drake has already attracted attention from several Big Ten schools at linebacker, and Michigan is recruiting fellow RB/LB Gary Hosey as a big running back. Sophomore quarterback Jayru Campbell already has offers from Alabama and Notre Dame and will look to add Michigan to the mix this fall.

I'll probably attend at least two Cass Tech games this fall, and I'll definitely be at their opener against last year's Division 2 champ, Birmingham Brother Rice. Given Cass Tech's near-guaranteed presence in the state playoffs, I might save my second or third trip for then, though the MHSAA is notoriously stingy about filming at those games.

Detroit Catholic Central

Novi, MI

Detroit Catholic Central 2012
Date Time Opponent
8-24 7 PM Detroit Cody
8-31 7 PM @ Toledo Whitmer
9-8 2 PM Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller
9-23 1 PM De La Salle
9-29 1 PM @ U-D Jesuit
10-6 7 PM Brother Rice (@Berkley, MI)
10-12 7PM @ Orchard Lake St. Mary's

Wyatt Shallman (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Running Back/Defensive End
Projects as: Running Back

The Shamrocks fell just short of the state title last season, and this year they'll have to replace the production and leadership of incoming Michigan freshman Matt Godin, who starred on both lines. They'll navigate one of the tougher schedules in the state, both in non-conference—Whitmer and Moeller are two powerhouse Ohio programs—and conference play.

Wyatt Shallman will be the main focus from my end, of course. Shallman performed admirably as a junior while struggling with a hamstring injury, so I'm very curious to see how much that affected him—especially running the football—now that he's healthy. Michigan is bringing him in as a running back, but I'll also get to see him at defensive end; he could wind up there in college if running back doesn't work out.

DCC's schedule provides some difficulties because several of their games—including marquee matchups against Moeller and Brother Rice—fall on Saturdays. A Sunday tilt against Shane Morris and De La Salle, however, beckons.

De La Salle Collegiate

Warren, MI

De La Salle 2012
Date Time Opponent
8-24 7 PM @ Ann Arbor Pioneer
9-1 3 PM @ Cleveland St. Ignatius
9-8 7 PM Dearborn Fordson (@Lake Shore)
9-15 7 PM Brother Rice (@South Lake)
9-23 1 PM @ Catholic Central
9-29 1 PM Niagara (WI)
10-6 7 PM Orchard Lake St. Mary's
10-12 7 PM @ U-D Jesuit

Shane Morris (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Quarterback
Projects as: Quarterback

Morris led De La Salle to a 9-3 record last season, with their final loss coming against Cass Tech in the state playoffs. Last year Morris was something of a one-man show for the Pilots; he'll get some help this year with the addition of wide receiver Jack Wangler—son of John—who's one of his favorite targets on the 7-on-7 circuit.

After attending just about every camp imaginable this summer, not to mention being heavily scouted for over a year, Morris is a relatively known commodity; as a result, he probably won't be my top priority when I'm picking games to scout. That said, his opening game is just down the road at Pioneer, a game I'll almost certainly check out. I'm also planning to see the Catholic Central game, giving me a couple chances to check up on Morris before the playoffs.

East English Village Prep

Detroit, MI

East English Village Prep 2012
Date Time Opponent
8-25 11 AM Oak Park (@Wayne State)
8-31 7 PM @ Detroit Martin Luther King
9-7 4 PM Detroit Douglass
9-14 4 PM @ Detroit Denby
9-21 4 PM @ Detroit Southeastern
9-28 7 PM Detroit Central
10-5 4 PM Detroit Pershing

Khalid Hill (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Tight End
Projects to: Tight End

Detroit Crockett and Detroit Finney have closed their doors and combined to form East English Village Prep—also known as "The Ville"—which plays its first season in the PSL this year. They'll feature Khalid Hill at tight end; given that Hill hasn't hit many camps and is one of the few commits not regarded as a solid four-star, I'll be curious to check him out in game action.

The Ville will play their first ever game at the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State, an event I'll be covering closely. They play a number of games on Friday afternoons, as well, so I'll probably head to one other game for a doubleheader. If you have a preference of oppoenents between Douglass, Central, and Pershing, let me know in the comments.

Chandler Park Academy

Harper Woods, MI

Chander Park Academy 2012
Date Time Opponent
8-24 7 PM @ New Philadelphia (OH)
8-31 7 PM @ Summit Academy
9-14 7 PM Old Redford Academy
9-21 7 PM Bradford Academy
9-28 7 PM Detroit University Prep
10-5 7 PM Detroit PEC Prep
10-13 7 PM @ Michigan Collegiate

Csont'e York (2013 Commit)
HS Position: Wide Receiver
Projects to: Wide Receiver

Csont'e York is one of the biggest mysteries of this 2013 class, in no small part because he plays in one of Michigan's smaller divisions at Chandler Park Academy. The Eagles finished 9-3 last year, losing to Detroit Crockett in the opening round of the state playoffs.

York is a player I'd like to see twice given the lack of available information about him; he'll likely be the second half of a doubleheader after I go to see Hill. It looks like September 14th will be the day to do that. A return for the October 5th tilt against PEC Prep may also be in the cards.

Loyola

Detroit, MI

Chander Park Academy 2012
Date Time Opponent
8-25 5 PM Old Redford Academy
8-31 6 PM Cranbrook Kingswood
9-8 1 PM @ Allen Park Cabrini
9-14 6 PM Riverview Richard
9-21 TBA Dearborn Divine Child
9-28 7 PM @ Bishop Foley (WI)
10-5 6 PM Our Lady of the Lakes (@U-D Jesuit)
10-19 4 PM @ DEPSA Early College

Malik McDowell (2014 Prospect)
HS Position: Defensive End
Projects to: Defensive End

McDowell may very well be the state's top 2014 prospect and Michigan is right in the thick of his recruitment. Loyola suffered just one loss last season, falling to Hudson in the second round of the state playoffs, though like Chandler Park they have the advantage of playing against somewhat less than top-flight competition.

I'll certainly aim to see McDowell at least once this fall; depending on the time of the Dearborn Divine Child game, that's likely the one I'll end up scouting.

Make sure to check back Friday when I post the out of state schedules, and once again please email me if you plan on attending any games and submitting photos/video/scouting reports for the blog.

Tuesday Recruitin' Rages Against (Wrong) Machine

Tuesday Recruitin' Rages Against (Wrong) Machine

Submitted by Ace on August 14th, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the Honey Badger; the latest on Alvin Bailey; scouting reports on Shane Morris, Dymonte Thomas, and Michael Ferns; and more.

Maybe He Just Has Glaucoma, Pawwwwwwl

You might find it unusual that a recruiting post starts off with a story about Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal from the LSU program, but Tony Barnhart's take on the matter is anything but usual. Mathieu reportedly failed multiple drug tests during his time in Baton Rouge, which of course means we should blame the recruiting process. Wait, what?

To some extent we're all guilty for the fall of Tyrann Mathieu.

 When we offer a 14-year old kid a scholarship, we're guilty.

 When we put four or five stars by a kid's name and hang on his every word until he signs on the dotted line, we're guilty.

 When we hold press conferences in high schools for kids to VERBALLY announce where they are going to school, we're guilty.

 When we hold press conferences on national signing day where kids play with hats, signs, dogs and the media turns out in full force and gives the process legitimacy, we're guilty.

 When college coaches tell teenage children anything and everything they (and their parents) want to hear in order to get them to sign because careers and millions of dollars hang in the balance, we're guilty.

 When the sense of entitlement created in high school is allowed to continue in college because winning (and making money) is all that matters, we're guilty.

 When we allow the primary (and sometimes only) goal of these kids to become holding up a jersey with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on a Thursday night in New York City, we're guilty.

 When we in the media go along with the process because we're trying to satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for college football, we're guilty.

I'm all for a good takedown of the current recruiting climate, but please, enlighten me as to how this has anything to do with Tyrann Mathieu. Yes, the "Honey Badger" persona took on a life of its own, but that happened once he was in college. In fact, if you bother to do so much research as clicking on Mathieu's old Scout and Rivals profiles, you'd learn that he wasn't even a consensus four-star. Oh, and he verbally committed in July of his senior year when Les Miles offered him after LSU's camp ($). No waiting until signing day, no press conference, no hats, and certainly no live animals (well, unless you count Les Miles).

If the attention went to Mathieu's head, it was probably the attention that came well after the recruiting process. Or, perhaps, it had nothing to do with attention at all:

We now know that whatever demons Tyrann Mathieu was fighting -- be they the trappings of fame or his difficult upbringing -- he simply could not overcome them. In short, Mathieu's biological father is in prison and his mother could not raise him. He was taken in by a grandfather who died in 1997. Then his aunt and uncle adopted him. The scars were always there.

That's from the same article. I don't think we need to spend too much time digging up reasons that a talented football star repeatedly—gasp!—smoked weed (in college, even!); we definitely don't need to use the fall of the Honey Badger to take on the state of recruiting. If you look hard enough, there are plenty of other stories that could accomplish that end.

But I Had So Many Kid 'n Play Jokes...

FL WR Alvin Bailey is moving closer to choosing a school, telling 247's Chris Nee that he'll probably decide a couple weeks into the season between Florida State, Georgia, UCF, and Michigan ($). Chances are looking, well, not so good:

The Tampa-area prospect once again confirmed that Central Florida is atop his list at this stage.

“They are,” Bailey said when asked if the Knights were his leader. “I feel like it has a great family atmosphere and it is a place I can make a great impact at.”

Bailey doesn't mention Michigan as a school he'll visit again before his decision, meaning it's almost assured that he and his magnificent flat-top will head elsewhere.

Set Phasers To "Effusive"

I've said this before, but I don't think people are properly excited about Dymonte Thomas, who would likely be a top 100 prospect at either running back or safety. According to Thomas's head coach, Ed Miley, he could see time at another position, as well ($) [emphasis mine]:

"We didn't do much with him in today's scrimmage, because we know what he can do, so don't let this fool you at all. He's way better than last year and it will show in the games, trust me," Miley continued. "Today was a day to see what our other guys can do. I spoke to (Michigan assistant coach) Greg Mattison the other day about Dymonte, and we talked about how much better he is this year. Michigan will probably use him as a kickoff returner too, and Mattison said he could help out on offense. Dymonte is on track to graduate early, but the decision hasn't been made about whether he will go to Michigan in January or not. A lot depends on how he feels about playing baseball as a senior, and if he still has thoughts about a pro baseball career. I think Dymonte knows it's all football for him, but we will see how that goes."

It will be interesting to see how Michigan ultimately decides to use Thomas; he might be too skilled and athletic to keep from playing on multiple sides of the ball.

Fellow early 2013 commit Shane Morris, meanwhile, should have no durability concerns if his QB guru, Donovan Dooley, is to be believed:

“Shane would go to his two practices,” Dooley said. “Then come to QBU, which shows his dedication and grind towards being the best in the country. He came to the Silverdome and went full throttle with me.”

He added, “He's a machine. Machines don't get tired.”

Shane Morris, Fall 2013, somewhere deep below Schembechler Hall: "I know MANBALL."

Michigan's latest commitment, 2014 OH LB Michael Ferns, has also come in for the coaching praise treatment in recent days. The Wolverine's Andy Reid caught up with a rival high school coach ($):

"He's very athletic. He's a great kid from a great family, and he has played very well, and he did great against us a year ago. He can do a lot of things. He played some fullback, running back. Offensively, he has good hands, but defensively, I think, is his strong suite [sic], and I believe that's what he's been recruited for. He has good size, range, speed. He finds the ball. Some kids have all the measurable, but they can't find the ball - but he's always around it. He makes a lot of plays for them.["]

Recruiting guru Jim Stefani dug up combine numbers from last summer that put Ferns squarely on his radar for the top 2014 prospects ($):

Ferns first came to my attention in June 2011 when I was perusing the results of a combine that was held in western Pennsylvania. As I was going through the list of combine attendees and making notes of ones who could have future D-I potential, the figures for one particular freshman stood out - Ferns, who measured in at 6-2 ½, 218 with a 4.72 forty and 4.29 shuttle.

These numbers were not just impressive, but virtually off the charts when it came to a high school freshman.

Yes, please.

Etc.

According to 247's Clint Brewster, 2014 TN OL Alex Bars, younger brother of current Michigan freshman Blake Bars, will visit campus for the Air Force game ($).

Chantel Jennings reports from Cass Tech's intrasquad scrimmage that 2014 prospect Gary Hosey is being looked at as a running back, not a linebacker, by Michigan ($). Deon Drake is generally regarded as having the highest ceiling among Cass Tech's rising junior linebackers, so this may be Hosey's best chance of landing an offer.

Friday Recruitin' Is Itchy On The Trigger

Friday Recruitin' Is Itchy On The Trigger

Submitted by Ace on August 10th, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the Michael Ferns commitment, recruiting in Ohio, SEC sketchiness (surprise!), and more.

You Keep Toledo, We'll Just Take These Four-Stars, Thanks

The big news of the day is obviously the commitment of OH LB Michael Ferns, and the full Hello treatment went up this morning. If you were lurking on the board last night, you witnessed historic levels of excitement, at least if duplicate posts are any indicator:


(Screenshot via MGoUser a2_electricboogaloo)

Maybe it's best to sit the next couple plays out, kaykay. As for Professor X, well, no words do this justice.

Anyway, Sam Webb caught up to Ferns in the aftermath of his commitment, and the newest Wolverine explained his thought process in making an early decision:

“I think when I went back (to Ann Arbor) the second time for the barbecue, I felt good about making the decision,” Ferns admitted. “After that you just kind of look out for the academic stuff focusing on fixing my junior schedule up to graduate early my senior year.  After that I was ready to go.”

“Michigan just stuck out to me.  After that second visit up there it kind of really stuck out more.  I felt good the whole time I was there.  I felt great and I knew it was time to make the decision.”

Ferns is all set to enroll early, so he'll be on campus in... 16 months. Criminy.

Michigan's first 2014 commit doesn't just represent a four-star from Ohio, but a four-star from Ohio with an Ohio State offer. It's always great to see The Other Brian surface over at Genuinely Sarcastic, and he emerged last night to detail Brady Hoke's remarkable recruiting run:

Since June 10, 2011, basically 14 months, Brady Hoke has landed eight (8) players from the state of Ohio who held Ohio State offers:

  1. 2012 DE Tom Strobel
  2. 2012 OL Kyle Kalis
  3. 2012 DE Chris Wormley
  4. 2013 S Dymonte Thomas
  5. 2013 LB Mike McCray
  6. 2013 RB Deveon Smith
  7. 2013 LB Ben Gedeon
  8. 2014 LB Michael Ferns

In the previous TEN classes COMBINED, from 2002 to 2011,  Michigan landed seven (7) players from Ohio with OSU offers:

  1. 2003 LB/DE Shawn Crable
  2. 2003 S/LB Prescott Burgess
  3. 2004 DE/TE Mike Massey
  4. 2005 WR Mario Manningham
  5. 2006 OL Justin Boren
  6. 2008 TE Kevin Koger
  7. 2009 DB Justin Turner

Well, then. Buckeye fans can somewhat justifiably point to Tressel's firing to explain the 2012 class, but with Urban Meyer fully in place by the time the 2013 cycle started, that line of reasoning only goes so far. There's no question Hoke is doing a better job on the recruiting trail than RichRod could manage at Michigan, and he's also in the process of blowing Lloyd Carr's classes out of the water, largely because of his unprecedented success in Ohio.

In a nice coincidence, Rivals released an article today breaking down which states do the best job of holding onto their five-star talent. When it comes to Rivals five-stars, Michigan is #2 in the country—behind only the black hole that is Mississippi—at keeping them in-state for college, with only Ronald Johnson (USC) escaping among the seven five-stars since 2002. Will Gholston was the only in-state five-star to head to MSU, so the Wolverines have historically done a stellar job of locking up the best local talent. When the list expands to include all Rivals100 recruits, Michigan (as a state, so including MSU) is fifth in the country at retention rate, behind Alabama, Louisiana, California, and Mississippi.

By comparison, Ohio has produced more than twice as many five-stars—17 compared to Michigan's seven—but have only held on to nine of those players, all of whom ended up in a Buckeye uniform. Of the eight that left the state, two—Prescott Burgess and Kyle Kalis—landed in Ann Arbor. Of course, a state that produces more high-end talent will naturally have more competition for those players, so the results of this study aren't exactly a surprise.

Nope, Nothing To See Here

This all sounds very legitimate indeed:

The Darius Paige case has entered the wait-and-see phase.

Paige, a senior defensive tackle who has verbally committed to play football at the University of Alabama, transferred to Foley High School in Alabama on Tuesday amid allegations that Crimson Tide assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt recommended he go to Foley because they could “take care of him academically.”

Paige was ineligible for spring ball at Washington High School in Penascola, Florida, and unless this is all just a remarkable coincidence it appears Alabama's coaches have encouraged him to transfer to a high school that gives him a better chance of qualifying. Alabama, of course, has no comment. Odds of the NCAA looking into this: slim. Blergh.

All I Need Is One Throw

MGoVideo has helpfully compiled all the Shane Morris bits from ESPNU's coverage of the Elite11 finals, which so far has focused on the first day of camp. Watch to see Trent Dilfer make Morris wait for the single throw that will determine the entire course of the rest of his career, or something:

Seriously, these guys make, like, 30 throws all camp. The relative rankings significance of an Elite11 throw versus a throw in a regular high school game is astronomically high, which is probably kinda dumb.

In other commit news, Gareon Conley and his Massilon squad scrimmaged against fellow Ohio power St. Edward (home of Kyle Kalis), and Scout's Bill Greene came away impressed:

Gareon Conley (Michigan commit) had opportunities to make big plays offensively, and just missed connecting with Kempt on several long throws. Defensively, Conley had great success locking up multiple offer wide receiver Anthony Young. Conley will play cornerback for the Wolverines, and could be ready to play early.

One of the most interesting recruits to watch this fall will be Conley, whose spot at #61 overall in the ESPN150 is far higher than at any of the other recruiting services; if his other rankings start to fall in line with ESPN, it'll be a great sign.

Etc.

Not a whole lot of action on the recruiting trail this week, so this will be short and sweet.

The headline is more positive than the actual quote, but GBW reports that 2013 AZ WR Devon Allen is considering an official visit to Michigan ($). Allen was on campus the day before the BBQ and enjoyed his visit. While his father says they'd like to come up to Ann Arbor again in the fall, he also mentions the difficulty in arranging a flight that fits with Allen's schedule. We'll see where it goes from here.

2014 OH OL Jimmy Byrne told Tremendous's Mark that he has a top three of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, in no particular order. Byrne is #3, one spot behind Ferns, on OhioPreps's top 25 prospects in the state of Ohio.

Two 2014 recruits have expressed interest in visiting for a game this fall: four-star OH ATH Dareian Watkins, a high school QB who could play either WR or DB in college($), and IN WR Dominique Booth, who camped at Michigan in June ($). Both players are hoping to earn an offer.

I'm not exactly sure why this is news as opposed to a foregone conclusion from birth.

Tuesday Recruitin' Skips Prom

Tuesday Recruitin' Skips Prom

Submitted by Ace on August 7th, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses planned early enrollees for 2013, summer standouts on the camp circuit, the latest on Laquon Treadwell, and more.

Early Enrollees: Three, But No QB


Class of 2013 early enrollees Logan Tuley-Tillman and Kyle Bosch protect a blue-chip 2022 recruit

WolverineNation's Chantel Jennings is the latest to cover the accelerated timeline of recruiting, focusing on the increasing trend of early enrollees. Surprisingly, despite the obvious benefits of players hitting campus a semester early, Brady Hoke doesn't support the practice ($):

"I'm really not in favor of kids coming in January," Hoke said. "Now, three of them wanted to come and got it done and it was good for them, good for us. But to be honest with you, go to your senior prom. Play baseball if you play baseball."

I understand the sentiment from Hoke, who at least acknowledges that enrolling early has worked out well for 2012 recruits Joe Bolden, Kaleb Ringer, and Jarrod Wilson, but it may be outdated in today's climate of specialization even among high school athletes; far fewer top-flight athletes go the multi-sport route these days, and you're more likely to find high school football prospects spending extra time in the weight room than on the baseball diamond. Former Michigan running back Ricky Powers, who coached Wilson at Akron Buchtel, brings up another strong counterpoint to Hoke:

"For kids coming from the inner city, if they've done everything they need to do in high school, and they have the opportunity to go early then they should go," Powers said. "I've talked to him a couple times and he has had the opportunity to check school out and get a leg up on the other freshmen. There's no downside for him."

For many recruits, the allure of a final semester at high school just isn't there—prom or not—as college/football serves as an avenue to escape that very environment. Take Logan Tuley-Tillman, whose will to get himself and his family out of Peoria, IL, is well-documented; it's not a surprise that he plans to enroll early, and thankfully the coaches have no issue with that:

"I brought it up to the Michigan coaches, said I wanted to do it, and they said, 'Yeah, it would be a tremendous idea,' " Tuley-Tillman said. "They never pushed me either way, they just gave me the facts."

There may be a serious disparity between Hoke's words and his actions, which in this case would be a positive. He's obviously not discouraging players too much from getting a head start, as Tuley-Tillman, Kyle Bosch, and Taco Charlton are all slated to start classes in January.

One commit who won't get that jump-start is Shane Morris, since Warren De La Salle—a private school—requires more credits for graduation than public schools and won't let Morris use online classes to accelerate the process. Ideally, Morris would redshirt in 2013 regardless, so this shouldn't be a big deal.

While an early enrollment does provide an early leg up on the competition, look no further than the 2009 class to see that it's no guarantee of future success. Of Michigan's seven early enrollees in that class—Tate Forcier, Vincent Smith, Will Campbell, Brandin Hawthorne, Mike Jones, Anthony LaLota, and Vlad Emilien—four remain on the roster, and only Smith has had sustained success at the collegiate level.

Excuse To Post Fresh Prince Video: Check

Optional but highly recommended soundtrack; old-school Michigan hat sighting at 0:45

Fall two-a-days are getting under way, which means the summer camp season is officially over. The staff of Rivals is compiling position-by-position lists of the standouts from the camp circuit, and let's just start with the quarterbacks because Shane Morris, obviously:

Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris has a cannon of an arm and showed flashes of brilliance at The Opening, was very good on the field at the Elite 11 and had some great moments at Gridiron Kings. He was also one of the best on the field at the IMG 7-on-7 finals. His development is evident each time he hits the field.

While you probably expected to see Morris mentioned, one current commit who's flown under the radar a bit is Jake Butt, who made the tight end list on the strength of his performance at The Opening ($):

Jake Butt, Pickerington (Ohio) North Pickerington: While it will be tough for the highly rated Butt to move up in the rankings, he justified his already lofty status with a terrific summer. Up against the best players in the nation at The Opening, the Michigan commit more than held his own, drawing strong reviews from observers and fellow campers.

Given the depth chart at tight end, Butt may be under the most pressure to contribute early at Michigan, and his summer performance indicates he can do just that. Another player who could make his mark as a freshman, if he chooses the Wolverines, is Laquon Treadwell, who could be in line for a move up the rankings after an outstanding summer:

Laquon Treadwell, Crete-Monee (Ill.): The wide receiver rankings are likely to see as much shakeup as any position when they're updated later this month, and the potential for a new No. 1 exists. After a consistently impressive summer, Treadwell has put himself in the conversation for the top spot. The 6-foot-3, 197-pound receiver wowed scouts at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, The Opening, Gridiron Kings and the Illinois NIKE Camp.

Yes, before you ask, the next section is about...

Treadwell, Of Course

Laquon Treadwell has the nerve to visit other schools before making his final, life-changing college decision, and his latest trip was to Ole Miss, where high school teammate Anthony Standifer eventually landed after parting ways with Michigan. EVERYBODY PANIC:

"It was better than I was expecting," Treadwell said. "I didn't know what to really expect, to be honest. I'd never been to a SEC school before, but I loved it. I can see why Anthony Standifer signed with them now."

BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES:

"I'm coming back to Ole Miss for the Texas game. That's all I know for sure. I want to get over to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Auburn before too long. I just have to check my calender now that practice is starting. I'll probably just wait until the season starts and go see them play."

ABANDON SHIP:

Treadwell was thinking about giving an early commitment to Michigan at The Opening but those plans have been put on hold.

"They're still at the top of my list, but I've pretty much decided not to commit anywhere this summer. I want to take my official visits first and go from there."

OH WAIT THAT'S PRETTY POSITIVE NEVER MIND YOU CAN GET OUT OF THE LIFEBOAT NOW.

So yeah, Treadwell visited an SEC school and liked it, and plans on more visits, but even in the immediate aftermath of a very positive visit elsewhere Michigan is the clear-cut number one school. As I've said previously, I'll worry about Treadwell ending up elsewhere when he actually says that another school is on top.

Speaking of Treadwell, I contributed my thoughts on how Michigan should finish out the 2013 class for a roundtable posted at Tremendous. Check it out to see who several Michigan bloggers think should fill those final two spots.

2014 News

Michigan hosted a couple of visitors last weekend. WI OL Jaden Gault already holds offers from Michigan State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, and though he didn't pick up an offer from the Wolverines on his visit, he told Tremendous that the Wolverines "are up there" among his leaders. Gault is listed at 6'7", 285 pounds on 247, which, like, damn. He big.

IL WR/TE Nic Weishar swung by Ann Arbor and East Lansing over the weekend and told Scout's Beth Long he had a "really great experience" at both ($). The 6'5", 210-pound rising junior already holds a Michigan offer.

Four-star TN RB Jalen Hurd named a top five of Alabama, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Michigan. That list is in order, so the Wolverines have some ground to cover.

Quickly: Matt Pargoff continues his series of ten players to watch for each position by covering the quarterbacks and offensive linemen.

Tuesday Recruitin' Suits Up

Tuesday Recruitin' Suits Up

Submitted by Ace on July 31st, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the BBQ, the latest on Laquon Treadwell and Leon McQuay III, Shane Morris at the Gridiron Kings, 247's composite rankings, and more.

Skew It On The Bar-B


The commits plus Derrick Green (back row, fourth from the left) via Sam Webb

The BBQ at the Big House has come and gone without a commit, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a very successful recruiting weekend for the Wolverines. The big story was VA RB Derrick Green, as Michigan's commits put on the full-court press for a commitment—one several commits expect to happen sooner or later—and while Green decided against ending his recruitment, he told Matt Pargoff that the visit "definitely helped Michigan." Green did say that, despite what others have said, he wasn't close to committing on the visit, though he did tell Tremendous that Michigan will definitely be in his top five when he names his list this week. With the news that both Clemson and Ohio State are no longer recruiting Green, the Wolverines appear to be in the driver's seat. Green is no longer certain that he'll take all of his officials before committing, which could indicate a decision in the near future.

Though AZ WR Devon Allen couldn't stay for the BBQ, instead visiting on Saturday, he told 247's Todd Worly the trip "really opened my eyes" and increased his interest in Michigan ($). I think Allen is still a longshot to end up in the class, but he's a viable alternative should the unexpected happen with Laquon Treadwell.

While Green got most of the attention, he may not have been the recruit closest to pulling the trigger this weekend; 2014 OH LB Michael Ferns told 247's Steve Wiltfong that committing "crossed my mind" during the BBQ ($). At this point, Ferns is the clear favorite to kick off Michigan's 2014 class.

Another 2014 prospect who could make an early commitment is IL CB Parrker Westphal, who told Wiltfong that Michigan is "still the standard" in his recruitment following the BBQ ($).

2014 WI DE Conor Sheehy picked up an offer at the BBQ, according to 247's Clint Brewster ($). The 6'4", 260-pound rising junior also holds an offer from Wisconsin and says he has no timeline for a commitment.

After visiting with a group of Cass Tech teammates, CB Damon Webb gave Sam Webb($) a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and LSU. Webb holds offers from all four as well as Toledo, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Thus far the 2014 quarterback discussion has mostly centered around in-state prospect Chance Stewart and Ohio product DeShone Kizer, but there's a non-Midwest name on the radar: OK QB Coleman Key, who's now driven(!) to Ann Arbor twice and was told by the coaches he's the #1 target at the position, according to Tremendous. He's now got Michigan in his top three with Oklahoma and Texas and is waiting to get an offer from one of those schools.

2014 Grand Rapids Christian OL Tommy Doles says Michigan is the school he's "looking into the most," according to Tim Sullivan ($).

Michigan has also made an impression on Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake teammates OL Mason Cole and ATH Artavis Scott, who were both at the BBQ. Cole told Sam Webb that Michigan is "definitely" one of his top schools($), while Scott said "hell yes" when asked by Tremendous if the visit helped Michigan.

Treadwell Visits: Probably Happening

IL WR Laquon Treadwell's recruitment continues to show that having four dedicated recruiting services often means you get four slightly different—or even wildly disparate—quotes in the span of a couple days. Here he's quoted by Sam Webb in the Detroit News last Thursday [emphasis mine]:

For his part, Treadwell says he will visit Oklahoma State soon. Whether he will take trips after that remains to be seen.

"August," replied Treadwell when asked when he would make his way down to the Sooner State. (After that) I'll probably take officials, but I'm not sure."

The next day, Treadwell gave this statement to ESPN's Kipp Adams:

"I am going to take some officials to LSU, Auburn, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State," Treadwell said. "I should be ready to make my decision after I see a couple of schools."

247's Keith Neibuhr got this quote on Sunday:

Along with the Wolverines, Illinois, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State make up Treadwell's top five, he said.

"I haven't decided when I'll make my decision," Treadwell said. "I'll probably just have it randomly -- when I'm ready and comfortable. I really want to see those schools over again before I make a decision. I've been to Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State. I want to get to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State."

According to the 6-feet-3, 195-pound Treadwell, Auburn, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State probably will get official visits from him. Florida is another school he might check out, and soon.

"I'm dying to get up there with (Florida commits) Vernon [Hargreaves] and Tre [Bell]," Treadwell said. "The coaches are wanting to get me up there, so they can offer me a scholarship and I can see everything."

When might that visit happen?

"Whenever I can when I'm down here," he said. "Maybe this weekend."

So, as he's maintained throughout his recruitment, Treadwell is going to take some visits. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State appear to be lined up for August, while LSU and Florida are two schools that only recently showed major interest—he's mentioned each as a potential visit destination, but he's done this before when new schools pop up on the radar without anything coming to fruition. I still think this one's just a matter of time.

Webb's article above also discusses the situation with FL DB Leon McQuay III, who moved Michigan out of his top three after the commitment of Ross Douglas:

"He didn't drop (Michigan)," clarified McQuay's father, Leon McQuay Jr. "They wanted to move on the Penn State commit and they informed us on Tuesday. It came down all of a sudden. But Leon is not ready to commit. It's a business and I understand that. I had a conversation with his head coach, and between the two of us and the conversations he had with the coaching staff at Michigan, he kind of thought that it was best that if there is no (definite) scholarship available, why would they be in his top three?"

Florida State has taken Michigan's spot alongside USC and Vanderbilt, though there's still mutual interest. Yesterday news popped up that McQuay would make his announcement today, but that isn't happening. That's probably for the best, as given the above the Wolverines would probably be on the outside looking in if McQuay made a decision now.

A few happy trails to report this week: FL CB Vernon Hargreaves III committed to Florida, MD CB Kendall Fuller pledged to join his brothers at Virginia Tech, and KY DE Jason Hatcher adds to the ridiculous recruiting haul at USC.

BREAKING: RECRUITING SERVICE ACKNOWLEDGES EXISTENCE OF OTHER RECRUITING SERVICES

Well, it's about damn time this happened, even if 247 won't mention their competitors by name:

In an effort to communicate a more accurate evaluation of prospects and recruiting classes for fans, 247Sports is pleased to launch the 247Composite rating/ranking system for college football and basketball recruiting.

The 247Composite Rating is a proprietary algorithm that compiles prospect "rankings" and "ratings" listed in the public domain by the major media recruiting services. It converts average industry ranks and ratings into a linear composite index capping at 1.0000, which indicates a consensus No. 1 prospect across all services.

247 is now basing their team rankings on the composite formula, which weighs Rivals's, Scout's, and ESPN's rankings equally with their own. MGoUser Turd Ferguson has helpfully compiled the composite overall rankings of Michigan's commits and targets of interest:

Here's where the Michigan recruits landed in 247's calculation of the four-site average:

16. Shane Morris
55. Dymonte Thomas
62. Kyle Bosch
74. Patrick Kugler
82. Chris Fox
114. Henry Poggi
116. Mike McCray
122. David Dawson
133. Logan Tuley-Tillman
137. Taco Charlton
146. Jourdan Lewis
153. Jake Butt
191. Ben Gedeon
203. DeVeon Smith
215. Gareon Conley
242. Wyatt Shallman
301. Maurice Hurst, Jr.
311. Jaron Dukes
355. Ross Douglas
541. Csont'e York
641. Khalid Hill

Also of note:

40. Leon McQuay
41. Laquon Treadwell
60. Derrick Green

I don't see Channing Stribling or Scott Sypniewski in the top 1250.

Unfortunately, this is a really good idea that appears to be marred by some seriously flawed methodology, as noted in the comments of the above board post:

Ross Douglas is ranked the Composite #355 overall prospect (#28 CB) while Darian Hicks is ranked the Composite #256 overall prospect (#24 CB).  Rivals, Scout, ESPN, & 247Sports all have Ross Douglas ranked above Hicks in their indvidual rankings so it is unclear how Douglas is lower in the Composite.

The rankings are using the top n lists from each site and averaging a player's overall ranking in those lists, but if a player isn't ranked on the top list by a particular service, it's omitted entirely from the average. Thus, you get this:

They only used inputted the data from each services top prospects lists(Rivals 250, ESPN 300, Scout 300) into their system. Because Hicks is not ranked in any those lists, he maintains only his 247Sports ranking (which turns out to be his highest). Douglas is ranked by a lot of those lists and that actually ends up bringing his ranking down because it is below his 247Sports ranking.

Hopefully there will be a formula tweak in the near future; otherwise, this is great for comparing recruits who made it onto all four lists, and totally worthless otherwise.

Morris, Treadwell, Bailey At Gridiron Kings

Michigan's top non-coach recruiter wasn't present at the BBQ, as Shane Morris instead was in Florida competing in the Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 tournament, where he piloted his Midwest squad to the finals before falling to a stacked Southeast team. Morris impressed on day one, according to Josh Helmholdt ($)...

In general, the quarterbacks did not have a banner day on Saturday. Morris was the best when he was on and made some spectacular throws downfield. He also had times when he had trouble going through his progressions and getting the football where it needed to be on time. Overall, though, Morris was solid and helped his team put a lot of points on the board despite its 1-2 record in pool play. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound passer let the fastball rip on a number of occasions, but also varied his speed and was spotting his passes well most of the day.

...but failed to make the top performers lists after day two, when he threw a couple of picks to Leon McQuay III in the finals. He did, however, display a strong rapport with Laquon Treadwell, again via Helmholdt ($):

Warren (Mich.) De La Salle quarterback Shane Morris is committed to Michigan and Crete-Monee (Ill.) wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has the Wolverines as his favorite. It remains to be seen if the two will hook up in college, but they connected more than any other wide receiver-quarterback duo over the course of the two days.

When it came time to name a top performer for Sunday, Rivals's Chris Nee went with another Michigan target, FL WR Alvin Bailey:

Bailey didn't win offensive MVP honors, which went instead to his quarterback, Brice Ramsey. But Bailey nonetheless had an outstanding day in the Gridiron Kings Championship. He showed the ability to stretch the field and get a step on vertical routes against defensive backs while also displaying great work in the middle of the field and underneath. He had numerous big receptions and regularly found the end zone.

Treadwell also earned mention as the #6 overall Sunday performer.

Quick 2014 Updates

Michigan has handed out scholarship offers to the top national prospects at running back in the 2014 class, but hadn't given one to a Midwest back until this week, when they offered Marion (OH) Harding RB L.J. Scott, according to Tremendous. Scott is a big back at 6'0", 215 pounds, and also holds an early offer from Kent State.

Two blue-chip 2014 prospects say they'll be in Ann Arbor for a game this fall. Behemoth GA OT Orlando Brown Jr. had to cancel a visit set for earlier this month, but says he's "definitely going to go up" to Ann Arbor ($). TX CB Edward Paris, the #10 overall prospect in the early Top247, wants to check out the Alabama game($), though since that's a neutral-site game he would not be an official visitor.

 

Wednesday Recruitin' Is Set On Nightmare Fuel

Wednesday Recruitin' Is Set On Nightmare Fuel

Submitted by Ace on July 25th, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses newest 2013 commit Ross Douglas, Shane Morris's Elite 11 finals performance, BBQ at the Big House visitors, and more.

Prep Kickoff Classic Presser Wrap

The Detroit Sports Commission Prep Kickoff Classic—formerly known as the Big Day Prep Showdown—will be held this year at Wayne State on August 24-25, and features a headlining matchup between Division 1 state champ Cass Tech and Division 2 champs Birmingham Brother Rice. Yesterday, the Detroit Sports Commission held a luncheon promoting the event, so I made the drive up to Detroit with the promise of an opportunity to interview some of Cass Tech's top players.

Unfortunately, every team but Cass Tech sent a contingent of players, and I left the event empty-handed. Well, save for this photo of Southgate Anderson's terrifying mascot:

Don't all thank me at once, now.

Hello: Ross Douglas

As ryebreadboy noted in the comments of yesterday's Hello post, recruits have a knack for making my job a little difficult, so of course OH CB Ross Douglas committed yesterday while I was in Detroit. There's this guy named Brian who does a decent job of blogging himself, however, so the site didn't miss a beat. Douglas's commitment has spurred the usual slew of scouting reports, including one from Scout's Bill Greene that compares him to the same player Brian did, Courtney Avery. More from Greene ($):

Douglas is a pure speed athlete, first and foremost. He can run and jump with the best of Ohio's top defensive backs ... He has a lot of upside as a cornerback, because he has a lot to learn about playing the position. The skill set is more than adequate, and all he lacks is game experience at the position, but he will get another year's worth this season.

The usual concerns about height crop up, as well. The fact that Douglas has done so well at corner despite his inexperience at the position is a good indicator of his natural athletic ability.

ESPN's Billy Tucker also provides a report; this excerpt comes from above the paywall fold:

Not the biggest perimeter defender but he can cover with very good footwork, transitional skills and above average speed. Does a good job in both man and zone schemes. While not the biggest or fastest, Douglas closes with good burst, is instinctive, technically sound and well-rounded.

Matt Pargoff caught up with Douglas's high school coach, who had nothing but good things to say about his character:

“No one works harder than Ross when it comes to football,” said Elder. “In all my years of coaching high school football, I’ve probably never had a kid that works as hard at it as he does. I’ve watched him grow from the freshman that started at corner for us to the senior that he is now, and it’s been a lot of fun to coach him and watch him develop.

“He’s a high character kid. He comes from a great family. I just talked to Coach [Brady] Hoke on the phone probably about an hour ago and the one thing I told him was, I can promise you – obviously they know he’s a great football player or they wouldn’t recruit him – but I said he’s a great kid who will never embarrass your program. That’s something that I’m proud of as a coach. He’s a good kid. He treats people with respect. He’s a good student. He’s going to do things the right way and work hard.["]

A welcome addition to the program, to be sure.

Bonus: Rivals has a free article on sleeper prospects that is largely devoted to Michigan's recruitment of Channing Stribling.

Elite 11 Or 25 Or Whatever

Depending on where you look, Shane Morris was either the best quarterback at the Elite 11 (Scout), in the top four (Rivals), or outside of the top 11 (the Elite 11 staff). You can judge for yourself, as Fox Sports/Scout provides video of all of Morris's throws from the camp. His performance was a little uneven, especially when throwing deep, but then you watch the throw at 2:25 and swoon:

Scout's Scott Kennedy cites Morris's big arm in naming him the top QB at the camp, though he also has the same concerns you likely do after watching the above video:

The biggest arm at the camp, Morris shook off a rough outing on his first day to steadily improve each week. Morris is capable of making throws that only a few in this class can hope to match. Needs to develop better field vision and consistency.

Rivals has a slightly more in-depth evaluation ($):

4. Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris is at the top because of his high ceiling. He has great size, a cannon of an arm and he has started to show the ability to put more touch on his ball. His long ball didn't sail like it has in the past and no one can sling it where it needs to be faster. The interesting thing about Morris is that while he's learning to drop the ball into spots rather than zip it all the time and learning to throw across his body more, he becomes more impressive. He's no longer just a kid with a hose for an arm, he's becoming a complete quarterback.

Morris has consistently improved his ability to change speeds since last fall if you believe his camp evaluations (and I'm not sure why you wouldn't).

If you're curious, South Florida commit Asiantii Woulard took home camp MVP honors; other standouts included Penn State commit Christian Hackenberg, USC commit Max Browne, and Miami (YTM) commit Kevin Olsen.

BBQ Visitors and 2013 News

I've been asked several times for a list of this weekend's BBQ at the Big House visitors, and thankfully Tremendous has done the legwork for me. The list of 2013 uncommitted recruits is small, just VA RB Derrick Green (AZ WR Devon Allen visits the day before the BBQ). One notable name not on the list is IL WR Laquon Treadwell, but fear not: he'll be at the Gridiron Kings camp with, you guessed it, Shane Morris. A slew of 2014 prospects will attend, including offered recruits like MI CB Damon Webb, IL CB Parrker Westphal, and OH LB Michael Ferns. Ferns, especially, could be one to keep an eye on, as he's already named a top three of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State with plans for an early decision; given the situation in Happy Valley, this could already be a two-horse race.

FL WR Alvin Bailey narrowed his list to a group of eight: UCF, Georgia, Florida State, Texas A&M, Auburn, South Carolina, Michigan, and Notre Dame. He gave more detail to Rivals's Chris Nee, saying that among those schools, UCF, Georgia, South Carolina, and Michigan stand out ($). Word is Bailey even has favorites among that top group, South Carolina and UCF, and given Michigan's scholarship situation and the difficulty pulling a prospect from the South, I'd still bank on Treadwell as the most likely WR to end up in the fold.

As mentioned above, Derrick Green will be in Ann Arbor this weekend. He recently took a trip to Auburn, however, and came way saying he "got that feeling," about the school, as did his mother ($). I've never been particularly optimistic about Michigan's chances of landing Green, and that stance hasn't changed.

CA DE Joe Mathis, for whatever it's worth, tells 247's Todd Worly that Michigan remains in his top three with Nebraska and Washington, with all three schools even for now ($).

Happy trails to HI DT Scott Pagano, who committed to Clemson yesterday.

Friday Recruitin' Has Its Own Luginbill Watch Joke

Friday Recruitin' Has Its Own Luginbill Watch Joke

Submitted by Ace on July 20th, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses early returns on Shane Morris at the Elite 11 finals, 7-on-7 highlights of Khalid Hill and Csont'e York, and a few happy trails in both the '13 and '14 classes. Also included is an interview with 2014 TX CB Nick Watkins.

Arm Cannon: Engaged

Embedded again, both for informative purposes and so I can make a "Tom Luginbill got his watch from a Happy Meal" joke.

The Elite 11 finals are under way in California, and naturally they feature Shane Morris throwing a football a very long distance:

Morris also won the Golden Gun Accuracy Challenge yesterday, so those rapidly-moving projectiles are hitting home. His performance on Day 1 impressed Rivals's Mike Farrell:

Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris clearly has the biggest arm at the event and loves to show it off. But this is even more encouraging: He is improving his touch and the ball didn't sail on him nearly as frequently as it has in past showcases. His long ball wobbled a bit, but it wasn't too concerning. Morris' ceiling is very, very high.

And his Day 2 performance even moreso, as he landed atop Farrell's list of standouts ($):

1. Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle - Morris earned the gold jersey for the afternoon after winning the accuracy contest in the morning and he continued his fine play in 7-on-7 situations. While all of the quarterbacks have been encouraged to check down quickly, Morris keeps his eyes downfield more than others, has a cannon arm and fit the ball into some tight windows. He still clearly prefers to throw to his left so he needs to work on field vision, but he has shown the most overall tools through two days.

The lefty's tendency to focus on only half of the field appears to be the area he must work on the most, as it also cropped up in Scout's rundown of the second day's top performers ($):

4. Shane Morris - There shouldn't be much question of who has the strongest arm any more. Including the college players acting as counselors, the strongest arm at the Elite 11 Finals belongs to Morris. When push comes to shove, Morris has a laser-like focus on the left side of the field. That's a habit he'll need to outgrow.

That arm, though; counselors at the event include Georgia's Aaron Murray and Clemson's Tajh Boyd, and if Scout is to be believed Morris already has more arm strength than those two.

With the event still ongoing, I'll have more on Morris's Elite 11 performance in Tuesday's roundup. Other early standouts include Miami commit Kevin Olsen, USC commit Max Browne, and Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire.

Khalid Hill And Csont'e York 7-on-7 Highlights

GBW's Josh Newkirk recently uploaded Maximum Exposure player highlights from the IMG 7-on-7 National Championships, giving us a close look at tight end commit Khalid Hill...

...as well as wide receiver commit Csont'e York:

Hill's more extensive highlight reel suggests that he was a more frequent target of Morris at the event, and you can see why: he does a nice job working underneath the coverage as well as finding space up the seam. York gives defenders trouble with his length, but the brief clip doesn't tell us a whole lot more about him as you can't see him run most of the routes.

Speaking of MaxEx, 247's Steve Wiltfong recapped their summer performances thus far, including blurbs on Morris, York, Hill, Jourdan Lewis, Damon Webb, and Malik McDowell.

Happy Trails

Not much news on the 2013 recruiting front this week, but we do have a few happy trails, unfortunately.

It should come as no surprise that TN RB Jordan Wilkins pledged to Auburn after previously eliminating the Wolverines from contention. VA RB Derrick Green is now the lone remaining running back target in the class.

There had been some talk of five-star FL CB Vernon Hargreaves III putting Michigan back into the mix in his recruitment, but he tweeted yesterday that he won't be able to visit Ann Arbor; he's releasing a top five momentarily, and the Wolverines won't be on it.

HI DT Scott Pagano named a top four of LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Clemson, and will name his choice on August 10th ($). He hasn't visited Michigan and I don't believe the coaches are taking another defensive tackle regardless.

2014 Updates

OH LB Michael Ferns has already narrowed his list down to a final three of Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame. ESPN's Jared Shanker reveals he's also ahead of the game when it comes to academics:

Ferns will return to the Red Devils basketball team after taking his sophomore year off. His head coach at St. Clairsville, Brett McLean, said Ferns will be in the running for valedictorian in 2014, and to top it off the imposing, hard-hitting linebacker is preparing to go pre-med when he gets to college.

"As soon as I got into high school science and math stuck out for me," Ferns said. "From a social aspect, I feel like I could make (football and pre-med) work. Every college at this level is going to have a great education. I'm focusing on going to school but also the opportunities I'll have after my four years and what it takes to finish up pre-med."

[ed-S: Med School rankings by USN&WR, just sayin': Michigan-10th; Penn State-unranked, at least worse than 110th; Notre Dame-doesn't have one]

Matt Pargoff recently caught up with Ferns, who says he's looking to make a decision by the end of his junior year, and he plans on graduating early. Ferns made trips with his whole family to Notre Dame and Penn State, but on his prior visit to Ann Arbor was accompanied only by his father; he plans to rectify that situation for next weekend's BBQ at the Big House.

Those hoping Cass Tech CB Damon Webb would make an early decision to Michigan might want to temper those expectations after Webb camped at LSU and came away with an offer ($). Webb's father told Allen Trieu that a decision won't come until "probably this time next year," and they'll make a return trip to Baton Rouge before then. He's also quoted by Steve Wiltfong($) as saying that "LSU is right up there with Michigan." Webb is looking like a top-100 player who will garner attention from a who's-who list of national powers, which gives me the feeling his recruitment is far from over, even though Michigan holds home-field advantage.

Here's a fun example of why I don't often post links here when recruits say they want to visit a school but don't set a date. Two days ago, 247's Todd Worly posted an article on FL ATH Javon Harrison containing this quote($):

“I’ll try to visit [Michigan],” Harrison said. “I’ll try to go this fall during the week, and I probably could make it for a game. Probably both.”

On the same day as the article was posted, Harrison announced his commitment to Virginia Tech. It's always a good idea to take any quote like the above with a grain of salt when it's given to a reporter from a team-specific site.

Joining Harrison in the happy trails category are AZ OT Casey Tucker, who pledged to USC this week, and SC LB K.C. Crosby, who will choose on Sunday between a final five that doesn't include Michigan ($).

An Interview With Nick Watkins

TX CB Nick Watkins has already garnered offers from Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. He's also ranked as the #36 overall prospect in the class of 2014 by 247. At 6'0", 180 pounds, he has frame to be an elite cornerback, and with those early offers it's easy to see him maintaining his blue-chip status through the recruiting process. I had the chance to briefly chat with Nick earlier this week, and here's the transcript of our interview:

ACE: First of all, which schools have been in contact with you the most so far, and how many offers are you up to?

NICK: I am up to I think 13, and all of the schools have been in contact with my coaches about me.

ACE: Do you have any favorites or a top list right now?

NICK: Nah, not really, all of them are at the top right now.

ACE: What do you know about Michigan, and what was your reaction to getting an offer from them?

NICK: I know that they're a winning program, with great tradition. My reaction was surprised because they hadn't sent me any mail or been in contact with my coaches until the last week of spring football.

ACE: Now that they've offered have you been in touch with the coaches more? If so, which coach or coaches do you talk to?

NICK: Yes, I have been. I talk to Coach Mallory and Coach Funk.

ACE: What schools have you visited so far, and do you have plans to take any visits during the rest of the summer?

NICK: I only visited Texas. And nah, not right now.

ACE: I know it's a long way away, but what factors will determine where you want to go to school?

NICK: The education [is] first. So a good business major! Also, where I can compete and get on the field early, a good school atmosphere and a good coaching staff!

ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say is your biggest strength and what do you want to improve before you get to the next level?

NICK: My biggest strength would be my length. I have great hips for a tall corner, and I can make plays! I want to improve my strength right now.

Friday Recruitin' Has A Chart

Friday Recruitin' Has A Chart

Submitted by Ace on July 13th, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses rankings updates from three recruiting services, a few more tidbits from The Opening, a potential surprise five-star visitor, and more.

Rankin'

In the wake of The Opening, three recruiting sites—Scout, 247, and ESPN—have updated their top lists. Instead of going over each update individually, I've jammed the results into a (chart?) chart below. The number in parentheses is the change from each site's last update; a positive means a rise and a negative means a drop, just to be clear. Notable stuff in bold.

  Scout 247 ESPN
Shane Morris 29 (-1) 19 (+2) 26 (+6)
Patrick Kugler 30 (+1) 158 (-4) 116 (-4)
Dymonte Thomas 35 (—) 52 (-1) 94 (+4)
Kyle Bosch 48 (+1) 75 (-23) 126 (-6)
Deveon Smith 60 (-7) 222 (+4) NR
Chris Fox 134 (+5) 100 (-27) 112 (-4)
Henry Poggi 136 (-1) 107 (-2) 259 (-9)
Jake Butt 137 (+15) NR 171 (+61)
Ben Gedeon 155 (-2) 177 (-2) 278 (-8)
Jourdan Lewis 168 (+5) NR 92 (—)
David Dawson 179 (-1) 138 (+19) 89 (—)
Logan Tuley-Tillman 194 (-4) 95 (-6) 102 (-8)
Maurice Hurst Jr. 215 (-2) NR NR
Mike McCray 216 (-2) 178 (-2) 108 (-4)
Gareon Conley 233 (-1) 229 (-7) 63 (+1)
Taco Charlton 269 (NR) 90 (—) 120 (-6)
Wyatt Shallman 268 (-5) NR NR
Jaron Dukes 296 (-1) NR 222 (-6)

Starting from the top, Shane Morris may have only moved up two spots on 247, but that was enough to earn him a fifth star:

Michigan quarterback commit Shane Morris displayed consistency and his trademark big left arm at The Opening. Morris was a top two quarterback at the event for its entirety and continues to be one of the most important recruits in the history of Wolverines football considering his leadership in helping the nation’s current No. 2 overall class come together. Morris was on the verge of five-star status for most of this cycle and his showing last week put him over the top.

Morris also rose six spots on ESPN, but the Worldwide Leader has only handed out seven five-stars in the class thus far, decidedly fewer than any other service.

Kyle Bosch rather surprisingly dropped 23 places on 247; he gave it a go at The Opening on day one before leaving the camp due to an illness, which may have affected his ranking (whether fairly or unfairly is up to you). Less surprising was Chris Fox's 27-spot plunge on 247, as he's had an up-and-down camp season.

The biggest beneficiary of an outstanding performance at The Opening was Jake Butt, who ascended 15 spots on Scout and a whopping 61 on ESPN. Strangely, 247 still doesn't have him ranked in their Top 247, which stands out as they normally seem to have big swings in rankings (see: Bosch, Fox, Dawson) after camps. Butt and Jourdan Lewis both have very legitimate cases for entering 247's list, yet neither makes an appearance.

David Dawson saw his stock rise on 247 to the tune of 19 spots as he continues to impress with every camp appearance. Fellow lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman saw slight drops across the board, however, as his camp showings have revealed a need to get in better shape and improve technically.

The subject of much debate since The Opening, Taco Charlton went from an unranked three-star to a four-star and the #269 overall player on Scout. 247 and ESPN think very highly of him, even with a slight ding in the rankings from ESPN, but we'll see where he ends up on Rivals after Mike Farrell's disappointing review.

If someone could please come to a consensus on the relative abilities of Deveon Smith, it would be much appreciated.

Closing The Opening

I'm as sick of coverage of The Opening as I'm sure you are, but a few more nuggets of info have trickled out since Tuesday's roundup. IL WR Laquon Treadwell earned mention on Scout in both their top ten offensive performers and their five offensive surprises ($):

While Treadwell came into the weekend ranked #9 at his position and 4-stars overall, his performance still caught us by surprise. Almost all of the top ranked receivers in the country were at The Opening and few played as well as Treadwell. He showed a great ability to go up and get the ball, easily pulling it down over defenders. Treadwell was also consistent and found success in every drill and game throughout the weekend. 

On the other side of the ball, commit Jourdan Lewis make the cut for the top ten defensive performers:

Lewis was one of the top cornerbacks at The Opening in 2012. He broke on the ball very well, he locked up his man much of the time, and he showed the ability to open up his hips and run with the wide receivers. He had some picks and those were nice, but his coverage stood out the most.

Lastly, 247's Barton Simmons tabbed a surprise performer who could end up on your radar soon:

Delano Hill, DB- I’ve seen Delano Hill on a couple of different occasions and he’s always been a steady performer, always one of the better safeties in attendance. With his performance this weekend, he was once again one of the best safeties in attendance but among a much stronger field. Not only does Hill have great size but he really popped for us early in the weekend when he added one of the fastest 40-yard dash times of the event with a 4.42. Iowa is getting a star.

Hill is currently committed to Iowa, but he goes to uber-pipeline Cass Tech. If Michigan misses out on their blue-chip targets at defensive back, Hill could merit a late offer to fill the last spot in the class.

Priest Willis: An Option?

Tremendous dropped a very interesting tidbit in their recruiting notes yesterday, revealing that five-star CA CB Priest Willis could be more of an option than previously thought (previous thought was "not an option at all") [emphasis mine]:

I was able to talk with Priest the other day, who recently named a top 16. He said he was going to cut it to 8 pretty soon. My assumption was Michigan would not make this second cut, but I was wrong. Priest gave me the following schools (again, huge grain of salt, as I was shocked Michigan was in his group): USC, LSU, Arizona State, UCLA, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Michigan. He also said he wants to set up an official visit to Michigan because of its distance from his hometown of Tempe, Arizona. Priest told me this even after he acknowledged that he hadn't heard from the Michigan coaches in a while.

We'll see if there's still interest from the coaches, though I'd have to believe they'd be happy to host a five-star defensive back. If Willis still maintains interest even though he's not hearing much from the school, that sounds like a pretty good sign; that said, I'm still considering him a longshot until further developments.

Also in the above post is clarification from MD WR Paul Harris, who says his purported cut to USC and Tennessee was misreported. Harris maintains a top five of USC, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, according to the Washington Post. Odds of landing him still appear slim due to the presence of Treadwell.

Quickly: AZ WR Devon Allen named Michigan to his top 15 ($). Happy trails to CA DT Eddie Vanderdoes, who committed to USC.

2014 Updates

Sam Webb's latest DetNews offering profiles Cass Tech CB Damon Webb, the breakout star of the summer circuit. Damon claims that Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State stand out among his offers, and though he won't name a leader at this time he does mention the Wolverines as a childhood favorite while also noting the presence of so many Technicians as a positive. Allen Trieu gives a very positive scouting report and an idea of where Webb stands among players in the state:

"In-state, it's him, (Grand Rapids Christian's) Drake Harris and (Detroit Loyola's) Malik McDowell as the top three right now. With it being as early as it is, I could see that ending up in any order, or new guys moving in. What I've learned is early rankings and hype don't always hold until signing day. McDowell is considered the top dog right now, but that can change.

With Webb now focused more on cornerback—he also plays wide receiver—we could see him continue to rise as he learns the position.

FL OL Mason Cole will be at July 29's BBQ at the Big House with wide receiver teammate Artavis Scott, according to Tim Sullivan ($).

IN WR Austin Roberts also plans to be at the BBQ, via 247's Clint Brewster ($).

Tremendous enlists the help of a couple of the 11W recruiting guys to put together an early Midwest hot list for the class of 2014. This is a great starting point if you're looking to get familiar with the prospects who will be targets of the top Big Ten programs, including Michigan.