Friday Recruitin' Flings Arms From Body To Demonstrate Athletic Prowess

Friday Recruitin' Flings Arms From Body To Demonstrate Athletic Prowess

Submitted by Brian on May 18th, 2018 at 12:15 PM

Next commit is fairly obvious

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GA CB DJ Turner has fielded a number of Michigan crystal balls in recent days, and since he's also set a commit date of June 25th those have extra oomph. Turner is a 3.5 star sort who has some big name schools after him—he recently visited ND and scheduled a trip to Florida this weekend.  He was more of a 4 star sort until recently, when a 247 composite update dropped him from #280 to #435.

If Turner does end up committing—and it's not entirely clear if there's serious competition—that would probably signal the end of CB recruiting. Michigan flipped FL CB Te'Cory Couch from Tennessee a few weeks back and took five defensive backs last year.

Potential committed risers

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Two commits have put in impressive camp performances and may be in for a rankings rise. MI OL Karsen Barnhart drew mention as a top performer at two recent regional shoe-sponsored camps. Wiltfong at the local Opening regional:

…won the majority of his reps in 1-on-1s, a wide body that moved well, could match power with power and also had the quickness to take on outside pass rushers.

And Trieu in Chicago for a UA camp:

…yet another good performance here. He can bend and move his feet. He is still learning technical aspects of pass pro but right now his competitiveness and athleticism allows him to win.

Per Webb, Barnhart plays in a wing-T in high school so the technical aspects of pass protection are not exactly emphasized. Barnhart reports that Michigan sees him as a tackle and, early, as a bonus TE a la Spanellis last year. Video here for 24/7 subscribers.

Only 24/7 reported from either of these camps so don't expect big rankings fireworks across the now three sites that rate folks. I'd imagine he moves into the four star range there; he's currently just outside it at #381.

Since he is a quarterback and will be at the Opening, NV QB Cade McNamara has a better shot at significant moves up *cough* industry-wide. Brandon Huffman had him the top offensive player at the Vegas Opening regional:

 …was ripping the ball through windy conditions early on in the camp and threw with a lot of poise and confidence throughout. He was accurate, threw with touch and showed off the quickest release in the camp. McNamara was the lone signal caller invited to the Elite 11 Finals next month in Southern California.

Rivals did not attend the camp but Adam Ghabour caught up with McNamara afterward:  

“I feel like my release is so different, and something that no one else has,” McNamara said. “I don’t really know if there was something special [about my performance]. I just went out and did what had to be done. I felt like I was very accurate. I had a lot of zip on my ball, and I was able to control my ball really well when it came to one on ones, and I put the ball in the right place.”

McNamara is already a composite four star in the top 300 so he'll have more resistance in front of him if he wants to move up; the Opening will be a good oportunity to do so.

Defensive ends solid?

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Michigan got two high-profile early commitments from defensive ends, one of which people had written off as KY DE Stephen Herron supposedly made googly eyes with Stanford. If that was the case at one time it is apparently no longer so, per Josh Newkirk:

“It’s pretty strong,” he said of his Michigan commitment. “A lot of schools like Stanford push pretty hard. My best friend went to Purdue, they push pretty hard. … But other than that, I try to stay really committed to my commitment. I got a year left. But I’m not looking right now.”

Herron says he has no intentions on visiting other programs either.

“It’s not planned,” he said.

"Commit is committed" is usually not that newsworthy, but this is a bit different. A majority of Herron's crystal balls, including ours, are still Stanford flip picks, and OH DE Gabe Newburg's commit was widely interpreted as something Herron-related. Apparently not?

Meanwhile, GA DE Chris Hinton has not given anyone a reason to think he's wavering in his commitment but Georgia's Rivals site checked in anyway. Verdict: waste of time.

Athough Hinton has been firmly committed for a long time, it hasn't stopped the pursuit of several schools.

"I have not visited anywhere else since I committed. I’m pretty solid on that," Hinton said on his Michigan commitment. "Georgia for sure. Stanford and Clemson. That is really the big three still coming at me hard."

At the end of the article Hinton does admit that if "something crazy" happened he'd look around, as one does when someone asks you a bunch of questions and won't stop until he gets something approximating a "correct" answer.

Still in search of DEs though

Even with Herron apparently solid to give Michigan a three-DE class there are some more guys being heavily pursued.

NJ DE Aeneas DiCosmo has Michigan in his top five and is coming up on a decision. Since that top five is Stanford, M, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and… uh… Clemson, it's clear that academics are meaningful for DiCosmo, and that often means fist-shaking in Stanford's direction.

That may be the case here too, as Brian Dohn asserts that this weekend's trip to The Very Inaccurately Named Farm is "huge" because several people have told me it is "a dream offer." DiCosmo has visits to ND and Michigan set up for mid-June, with Michigan batting cleanup. It kind of sounds like Michigan would do well to just get to that visit without a Stanford commit happening. A bunch of crystal balls for Stanford have already come in.

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KS DE Marcus Hicks has Michigan in his top two with Oklahoma…

After taking … trips Hicks will be ready to trim his list of suitors down to a more manageable five. For now, though, he can only name two that will definitely make the cut.

Said Hicks, “I think Oklahoma and Michigan would be in there.”

…and 13 OU predictions on the crystal ball. Michigan's best bet is that this is one of those recruitments. The Oklahoma 24/7 site:

They do feel confident in Hicks, but they are getting frustrated that he has not pulled the trigger and they are recruiting other DE and DT.

Hicks told Sam Webb that he would be taking his recruitment into the fall, so could be one of those things where the school is all like "you gonna commit" and the recruit is like "in a bit" and the school is like "we will now court these other large angry people" and the recruit is like "I take offense!" and then everything falls apart not like this has happened to Michigan ever.

Another point in Michigan's favor as they try to make up the gap: Hicks is taking the ol' road game unofficial as Michigan plays ND in the opener.

Etc.

CA LB Tristan Sinclair is a guy to keep on the radar as a potential VIPER(!); no offer yet.

Thursday Recruitin' Goes To The Source

Thursday Recruitin' Goes To The Source

Submitted by Ace on August 17th, 2017 at 2:29 PM

Chris Hinton Slides Into Your DMs

ESPN released their initial Junior 300 for the 2019 class, and they're a major outlier for Michigan's top commit, five-star defensive lineman Chris Hinton. They rank Hinton, who's no lower than 14th overall and 2nd among SDEs on the other three sites, at 97th overall and 9th among DTs, with the rationale that they believe he's a better prospect on the offensive line:

Highly touted Hinton should switch to offense
Defensive tackle Christopher Hinton is the son of a former All-Pro offensive linemen. The younger Hinton should follow in his father's footsteps and switch to OL. The four-star Michigan commit is a stout run-defender, but defensively he would be more of role player and run stopper. As an OL, he possesses good flexibility, feet and a frame that can support more size and on that side of the ball, by contrast he can be an excellent, "full-time" player.

Many prospects would ignore this perceived slight or lash out at the site in question. Hinton chose a different tack and went straight to the source to see how he could improve:

That's certainly not how High School Me would've handled things.

Meanwhile, Michigan still did well in ESPN's rankings. The rest of the commits:

  • OH OG Nolan Rumler: #3 OG, #48 overall
  • KY DE Stephen Herron: #11 DE, #82 overall
  • IMG ILB Charles Thomas: #3 ILB, #250 overall

Two players in the top three at their position and two more in the top 100 overall. Not too shabby for a four-person class.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Reheats Star Debate

Thursday Recruitin' Reheats Star Debate

Submitted by Ace on August 3rd, 2017 at 2:08 PM

There's enough to cover from the BBQ that I'm splitting this edition of the roundup into two parts. Today I'll cover the five recent commits; tomorrow I'll go over the rest.

If you missed them, the five recent Hello posts: Luke Schoonmaker, Nolan Rumler, Stephen Herron, Cameron McGrone, Sammy Faustin.

Sammy Faustin and When Stars Really Matter

Let's start this roundup with the most recent of Michigan's slew of commits, three-star FL S/CB Sammy Faustin. It was quite clear from the comments that many around here didn't see much past this...

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #75 CB,
#876 Ovr
3* CB NR CB 3*, 86, #74 CB,
#730 Ovr
3*, #78 CB,
#870 Ovr

...before passing judgment on Faustin and questioning why the coaches would take such a low-rated player this long before signing day. One of the main arguments against Faustin is one we've made many times here: star rankings really do matter.

They do. There's a mountain of evidence to back up that assertion. Context is key, however. The recruiting rankings that matter are the final rankings, once the recruiting services have as much data as they can gather. Nobody is going back to look at rankings at the time of a player's commitment. 

Faustin hasn't even played his senior season. We already have a couple recent examples of who-dat defensive back commits taken by this staff developing into (or being recognized as) solid prospects by the time signing day rolled around. Josh Metellus was either a two-star or unranked on all four services when he committed in the 2016 class; three sites subsequently gave him the Michigan bump to three stars, while ESPN got fresh eyes on him and rated him a four-star prospect with an evaluation to match. Metellus saw the field as a true freshman, impressed, and should start this year. More recently, Benjamin St-Juste was a literal unknown when he committed—initial camp reports got his name wrong—then starred at The Opening and cracked the 247 top 100.


Faustin is skeptical of your armchair scouting.

"Trust the coaches" can be a lazy deflection. Between Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown, though, it's hard to question these guys when they identify a player they want early. At the very least, we should let the process play out a little further. Sometimes it only takes a day; read Scout's post-commitment writeup on Faustin and tell me where you think he should be ranked:

Faustin, who passes the eye test with prototypical size in the secondary, is a versatile defender who does a great job of reading and reacting from his cornerback position. Once dissecting the play, Faustin turns heads with the ability to burst out of his back pedal by pushing off his back foot, flashing impressive acceleration in the process. This is a kid who also shows decent technique for a cornerback of his stature.

Faustin is one who does not shy away from physicality either. Once finding his lane to the ball carrier, Faustin closes on the ball in a hurry while also playing under control. There are times when he loses track of his tackling technique, but for the most part, Faustin is a sound tackler in space who strikes with good pad level. He is not the most explosive kid and can work on his flexibility, but does not have much of a problem flipping his hips and readjusting. Faustin is a defender who provides that pop at the point of attack.

For a safety who'll cover the slot, that's a pretty ideal evaluation. It jives with the junior film, which doesn't look like that of the #78 corner in the country. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with Tom Lemming for a scouting report, and this one also sounds like it's meant for someone better than a middling three-star:

"Faustin is one of my 'Other Players to Watch' in Florida," Lemming said. "He's 6-2, 175 pounds and has legit 4.5 speed. He has good range, quick hands and loose hips and does a very good job of playing the ball. He needs to add weight and strength but is an exceptional athlete."

In related news, recent tight end commit Luke Schoonmaker got a 14-spot bump in Scout's tight end position rankings, added a three-star ranking from Rivals, and got evaluated by ESPN, which now has him as the #19 in-line TE in the country. There's plenty more in last week's roundup.

If you're going to star-gaze without watching the film, I recommend at least waiting until February.

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

Hello From The Future: Stephen Herron

Hello From The Future: Stephen Herron

Submitted by Ace on July 29th, 2017 at 8:28 PM

While there's a great deal of anticipation for Michigan's 2019 recruiting class, they entered today's BBQ at the Big House with only one commit. Four-star Ohio offensive lineman Nolan Rumler became the second pledge this morning. Moments ago, five-star Louisville (KY) Trinity defensive end Stephen Herron Jr. became the third.

Herron is currently ranked as the #4 WDE in the 2019 class. He chose Michigan over an extensive list of power programs that included Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Stanford, and Texas.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #5 WDE,
#41 Ovr
4* WDE NR DE 4*, 94, #4 WDE,
#34 Ovr
5*, #4 WDE,
#34 Ovr

While Herron was given four-star ratings in the early going, he's in normal five-star range by numerical ranking, so he adds the coveted fifth star in the composite. Rivals included him in their initial, unordered list of four-stars, and hinted at the possibility of moving him into five-star territory after the Rivals camp in Columbus this summer. ESPN fired an eval and forgot to rank him.

Herron is listed at 6'3" or 6'4" (Scout and 247 split the difference) and somewhere in the range of 225 (Rivals) to 244 (ESPN) pounds. He looks lanky on film; there's plenty of room on that frame for him to add weight until he's big enough to play weakside defensive end, and it'll help that he's played on a three-man line in a high school. He told Scout's Allen Trieu after a visit in February that Michigan said they envisioned him as another Taco Charlton, so the coaches may even believe he has the potential to bulk up and play SDE.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths

Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths

Submitted by Ace on July 28th, 2017 at 2:41 PM

BBQ Visitors: McGrone Ready To Commit

The annual BBQ at the Big House takes place this weekend; in fact, some visitors are already on campus. As usual, it's one of the biggest visit weekends of the year, and it should produce at least one commitment. Four-star IN LB Cameron McGrone, who recently shot into the top 50 in 247's rankings, is visiting and will then announce his decision on Monday at noon between Michigan, Notre Dame, and Indiana, per TMI's Evan Petzold.

The Irish were seen as Michigan's biggest competition but the Wolverines have all the momentum; they have the last 19 picks on McGrone's Crystal Ball, including those from Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, and (most tellingly) Irish247's Tom Loy. It'd be a shock if McGrone went elsewhere, so expect a lot more on him in this space come Monday.

Along with many current commits, some top 2018 prospects will also be on campus this weekend. The notables, culled from 247's Steve LorenzTMI's Brice Marich, and The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:

  • Top-100 MO DT Michael Thompson, who has Michigan in his top five but looks to be leaning towards in-state Mizzou at the moment.
  • Four-star CA S Bryan Addison, who Lorenz believes is M's top safety target in the cycle. USC is the favorite but this is his first visit to campus.
  • Four-star TX OT Rafiti Ghirmai, a longtime target despite being somewhat off the radar who may be a tough pull from Texas.
  • Three-star FL CB Sammy Faustin, who Lorenz says M "quietly lead" his recruitment with Don Brown spearheading the effort.
  • I usually don't take much note of visits by current commits, but in the case of Emil Ekiyor, who's coming off a visit to Alabama, his is worth mentioning.
  • Four-star MO DE Ronnie Perkins, an Oklahoma lean and perhaps M's top defensive end target, is a maybe as he's looking for transportation to Ann Arbor, per Lorenz.
  • Lorenz reports that Michigan is also expecting top-100 MD DE Eyabi Anoma, who plays for Biff Poggi at St. Frances, to be on campus this weekend. TomVH subsequently reported, however, that Anoma plans to visit Maryland. Crootin!

Michigan may not add to the 2018 class this weekend beyond McGrone, but if they can make progress towards solidifying Ekiyor's pledge it'd be a successful BBQ. A big visit for Thompson is high on the wish list, too.

Meanwhile, there's a star-studded group visiting from the 2019 class, which I'll cover after the...

[JUMP]

Monday Recruitin' Isn't In The Middle Of Nowhere

Monday Recruitin' Isn't In The Middle Of Nowhere

Submitted by Ace on June 19th, 2017 at 3:01 PM

Happy Trails: Tyler Shough

Four-star AZ QB Tyler Shough had long been expected to join Joe Milton in Michigan's class, to the point it was unclear who was running second behind the Wolverines, but quarterback recruiting has a way of turning on a dime. That happened last week, when Shough committed to North Carolina shortly after visiting Chapel Hill.

With Milton already in the class, this was a miss Michigan could afford. At the same time, it makes Milton a bit more of a risk if he's the only QB in the class; while Milton is a boom-or-bust project, Shough is more polished and has a higher floor. While Shough had maintained that Milton's presence in the class wasn't a factor, Steve Lorenz's notes on the commitment suggest otherwise:

I'm told he felt that UNC was a better fit from a football sense than Michigan, which can basically be translated to earlier playing time opportunities being available.

As of now, there's still a possibility Michigan looks to take a second in 2018. The A4 camp on Saturday got a lot more interesting all of a sudden.

Unfortunately, Saturday's A4 quarterback camp didn't provide alternative options, and Jim Harbaugh at least indirectly blamed the new Individual Associated With Prospects rule, which prevented Michigan from even trying to bring in the star-studded coaching lineup of years past to work the camp:

“That’s the landscape we have,” Harbaugh said. “Even pro players, you have to do a complete background search on who do they know that is already on our team or we could be recruiting. So we stayed away, just college coaches and our players.” ...

“Yeah, I think it’s silly and ridiculous,” Harbaugh said of the rule. “It’s been that way for 50 years that high school coaches can work camps and college coaches could go work camps at high schools. It’s always been that way. Drastic change.”

While the other recruiting rule changes were steps in the right direction, the IAWP rule is as much of an ill-conceived disaster as expected.

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