Jackson Hyperbole Is A Dominant Trait

Jackson Hyperbole Is A Dominant Trait

Submitted by Brian on February 1st, 2011 at 2:44 PM

mark-ingram

If you had 36 minutes in the "how long would it take a Jackson to wildly overstate the ability of Thomas Rawls*" pool, collect your winnings:

“Honestly, I did get a chance to watch Mark Ingram a few times,” [Fred Jackson Jr.] told The Flint Journal. “Mark is probably one of the best guys ever to come through here. Mark was great, but there’s something about this kid Thomas. If I was to compare them as high school backs, give me Thomas Rawls.”

He's like a Heisman trophy winner… except fast!

*[No offense intended to Rawls. All comments in this post reference the Jackson family's unique gift for shameless hyperbole and are not meant to reflect cynicism on the part of the author. The author legitimately enjoys this meme. He would find it sad if the Jackson family ever said a tailback was "okay." The author's life story was encapsulated in a Kids In The Hall sketch once. Hoke uber alles.]

Hello: Thomas Rawls

Hello: Thomas Rawls

Submitted by Tim on February 1st, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Over the course of the recruiting process, MI RB Thomas Rawls has made it no secret that he'd commit to Michigan if he had the chance. Michigan has offered, and according to the Detroit News, Rawls will be a Wolverine. Apparently his coach was unable to contain the excitement until Thomas's press conference, at which Rivals confirmed he committed to Michigan.

Thomas Rawls

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #77 RB, #15 Instate 3*, 5.6, #20 Instate 3*, 76, #81 RB

The sites are in agreement: Thomas Rawls stands 5-10, and about 215 pounds. Their rankings of him aren't very high, but there are some reasons for that. Scout openly downgrades players for being academic risks (which is stupid, because it's easy for the layman to tell whether or not he ultimately enrolls at school - rankings should be about skill, not some abstract "value" parameter), and ESPN says that he deserves to see his stock higher than it is, apparently not realizing that they're the ones ranking these kids. More from ESPN:

He is a physically imposing back with good downhill attributes. Hits the hole with authority and flashes good downhill burst and momentum. Quick to see and hit the cutback. A decisive and aggressive runner who is constantly heading North with square shoulder pads and good lean. Displays good explosive out of his cuts and can change speeds to elude.

So far, so good. Weaknesses?

Breaks consistent first contact but did not see the pile pushing power we were expecting. Competition at times appears inferior.

So, uh "AWESOME, except he plays against crappy competition" means he's the 81st-best RB in the country? Color me skeptical on their methodology (more on it in the next section). They also say he has the speed to break big runs against high schoolers, but may not be able to continue at the next level - a more reasonable criticism.

If that's the extent of their criticisms, sign me up for a guy with the upside that a bowling ball-type guy with all the positive attributes listed in the top section.

Scout asks Rawls to talk about his own game:

“I’m a power back and a speed back. I’m also pretty elusive. I can break tackles and always find a crease.”

The elusiveness might be overstated, as that's one of ESPN's criticisms of Thomas, but the combo of speed and power seems to be right in line with scouting reports. 

A lack of offers may have kept his overall rankings low, but somewhere in the 3-star range - just a bit higher in the pecking order - seems to be legit to me.

[Ed.: Touch The Banner may provide some insight into the rankings that ESPN's boosterism does not: "Many fans want to compare Rawls to Mark Ingram, the Flint product who won the Heisman for Alabama in 2009.  Admittedly, Rawls and Ingram have some physical similarities.  Both are approximately the same height and even have similar gaits.  But Ingram (who was a 4-star recruit) is and was quicker than Rawls.  Michigan fans might not like me for saying this, but Rawls reminds me of Kevin Grady."

OTOH, LeVeon Bell.]

OFFERS

Central Michigan was Rawls's only offer almost through the entire recruiting process. Though Michigan didn't offer until close to the end, they were always right there for him.

Why so few offers? His grades have been a question mark, and that scared away a lot of schools. He insists he'll qualify to play as a freshman, so hopefully it won't be an issue. The lack of offers is part of what kept his rankings low, so look at it with a critical eye.

STATS

Sophomore and junior stats from Scout:

Thoimas Rawls made All-State Honorable Mention, All-Conference and All-City for his sophomore and junior seasons. As a junior, he rushed for 1,056 yards and 16 TD's on 138 carries and recorded 101 tackles. He says he can bench 285-pounds, squats 405 and has a 34-inch vertical jump.

And as a senior:

1,585 yards rushing on 450 carries; 21 touchdowns

He broke the single-game rushing record that a guy named Mark Ingram held for the Flint area, running for 343 yards and 5 TDs.

FAKE 40 TIME

4.5, per the premium sites. That's pretty darn good for a running back with Rawls's size. Of course, his reputation is as a guy who's pretty fast for his size, so I guess it makes sense. Three FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Youtube highlights:

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Michigan is in need of a power back, especially with the move to a pro-style offense. Michael Cox has shown flashes, but those have only been against the worst competition on the schedule. The previous coaching staff didn't trust his blocking or hands enough to play him on any regular basis.

However, Stephen Hopkins may have a lock on the starting (power back) position, and as an academic risk, it's probably for the best that Rawls takes a redshirt year to focus on academics and adjust to college life. That will also give him the chance to undergo a year of college weight training, and get acclimated with the playbook before he's ever expected to do anything on the field.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan really needs a defensive tackle and a tight end, but everything else going forward is pretty much gravy. There are five prospects - Fisher, Clark, Willingham, Barnett, and Cooper - still out there (that we know of), and the Wolverines should have room in the class to take them all, should they be so lucky.

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Desmond Morgan

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Desmond Morgan

Submitted by Tim on December 15th, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.

Desmond Morgan Goes Blue

Read the Hello: Desmond Morgan post for full details on the kid. He almost never smiles in pictures (at least ones on the internet), and more often looks ominous:

morgan.jpg

Fluff on Morgan's move to quarterback after only playing linebacker for his first three years. He's a well-rounded athlete, also playing hockey and lacrosse. The best part:

“Anything less than the playoffs would be very disappointing,” said Morgan, who has a 3.97 grade-point average. “There are a lot of great schools in the OK Red. I think the hard work in the offseason is going to pay off.”

Following the season, he was named to the All-Area First-Team defense, and captained it as Defensive Player of the Year:

“He knows where everybody is supposed to be. He makes the calls on defense and just his presence out there makes other guys around him better as well,” [West Ottawa Coach Jim] Caserta said. “… When you gameplan against us, you have to put at least a couple guys on him, and it makes the guys around him better.”

Opposing coaches were equally impressed:

“Desmond Morgan playing sideline to sideline, that kid can play at any college right now and I’ve admired that kid,” [Muskegon Coach Shane] Fairfield said after his team won 28-14. “That kid has inspired our defense, just watching him on film. He comes out here and runs like he’s Ironman. I’m glad our linebackers had a chance to play against him, because he made us grow up and realize how to play linebacker.”

Congratulations and welcome, Desmond.

Big... Thawed

Elsewhere in last weekend's visitors...

OH WR Darius Patton was "impressed" ($, info in header).

Though he visited last weekend, don't expect PA DT Rob Trudo to decommit from Syracuse ($, info in header).

MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel is ready to start thinking about a decision ($, info in header). Expect him to make his choice in early January.

LA CB James Richardson enjoyed himself at the "beyond amazing" event ($, info in header). He's currently an SMU commit, but he'll now consider Michigan.

Tom's Weekly Update has full reactions from OH WR Darius Patton, IL OL Chris Bryant, and LA CB James Richardson.

Prince Holloway, Come on Down?

hollowayprince.jpeg

FL Slot WR Prince Holloway is receiving an in-home visit from OL Coach Greg Frey later this month (the contact period ends next Monday), at which time his commitment status will be clarified. To recap, Holloway has said he's ready to commit to Michigan, joining his cousin, FL CB Commit Dallas Crawford, in the class.

Howeva, with MI RB/Slot Justice Hayes already in the class, I'm not sure if Holloway holds a committable offer at this time. Though MI WR Shawn Conway won't be a Wolverine next fall, Holloway, at 5-9, isn't really the prototype to fill the outside receiver position. He also has yet to achieve a qualifying score, and though it's possible for him to keep working toward that, Michigan's staff is probably leery of the risks after cases like Adrian Witty, Demar Dorsey, and Davion Rogers.

Within a week, we should have a much better idea of where Holloway stands with this coaching staff. Sam says on WTKA that he would already be committed to Michigan is not for a bit of a "slow-play."

Coaching Carousel Reopens Doors

PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett says he'll see who Pitt hires as a replacement before making any sudden decisions. If the new coach brings along a whole new, staff, it's more likely he'll decommit ($, info in header). However, he wants other coaches to know that he's available if they just wanna, you know, have a chat.

PA DE Desimon Green decommits from Pitt. He's heard from Michigan, as well.

MI CB Valdez Showers remains committed to Florida for now. Now that the Gators have hired Will Muschamp, he'll likely come to a decision on his commitment soon.

FL DT Tim Jernigan eliminated Michigan and USC last week (HT: Dreisbach1817), but with Meyer resigning at Florida and the Wolverines playing in a bowl game just an hour away from his hometown of Lake City, Florida, might MIchigan have a chance to change his mind?

KY LB Lamar Dawson isn't sure what to think about Florida now that Urban Meyer has retired. He no longer plans to visit this weekend ($, info in header). He's visiting Michigan in January.

Happy Trails

LA DT/OL Gregory Robinson commits to Auburn.

MD DT Darian Cooper has eliminated Michigan from consideration.

PA DE Myles Jackson committed to Rutgers.

OH LB Steven Daniels committed to Boston College.

GA S Avery Walls committed to Cal in the only painful recruiting loss in this week's update. Walls was actively recruiting for Michigan in the summer, but coaching uncertainty made it tough for him to pick the Wolverines, as he wants to enroll in January. (I'm not sure how it makes more sense to pick a school that went 5-7 and will be looking for a new coach soon, but whateva).

OH CB/Ath Tyler Williams committed to Akron.

Etc.

MI RB Thomas Rawls is serious with his recruitment.

He’ll take an official visit to Central Michigan — the school that first expressed interest — next weekend. Then it’s off to the University of Michigan the following week, with a stop due in Toledo sometime in January. Cincinnati is in the process of setting up a date as well, said Rawls.

When he reaches a decision, he'll hold a low-key press conference at his school. And should he receive a qualifying test score, don't be surprised if that choice is Michigan. More local fluff.

OH QB Cardale Jones and his teammate, OH WR Shane Wynn, didn't make it to Ann Arbor for the Big Chill. Jones, at least, will try to reschedule for later this winter.

NJ TE/QB Tanner McEvoy has a final four ($, info in header). Spoiler alert: Michigan is in it.

Michigan has offered OH TE/Ath Frank Clark, and they're now a co-favorite for the Cleveland Glenville prospect ($, info in headers). Perhaps his recruitment will have an effect on his teammate Cardale Jones.

NC WR/LB Kris Frost still wants to start out at wide receiver at whichever school he chooses. His coach says he'll be excellent at either:

[Butler Coach Mike] Newsome said, "He's great on both sides of the ball. He thinks he's a better receiver than linebacker. I think he's a better linebacker than receiver, but the thing that makes him so much better a football player is he's just got 'it.' He's got the other factor to him that I can't coach into him, and that factor that takes his game to a whole 'nother level. He's just got an intensity level that helps him be better than folks he faces."

That intensity and his physical gifts - Frost has a 35-inch vertical leap and has been timed at slightly less than 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, for example - are what led more than 30 Division I colleges to offer him a scholarship.

Opposing coaches give the same level of praise:

South Mecklenburg coach James Martin said, "From a defensive standpoint, he completely understands the game. He understands formations. I've seen him make so many checks. He's one of the best linebackers I've seen since I've been coaching in Charlotte. On offense, when he gets out on the open with his hands and speed, he's a true threat."

Michigan can probably offer him much more opportunity at the wideout position, since Shawn Conway won't be in the class.

FL S Roderick Ryles, a teammate of FL RB Commit Dee Hart, will not attend Arkansas, because they don't need safeties. Michigan may be interested, though they didn't offer Ryles prior to his commitment to the Razorbacks.

JC defensive back Anthony Baskin visited Michigan last week.

The Wolverines are looking at Indiana decommit MI CB Raymon Taylor. He's a lifelong Wolverines fan, but Michigan has not yet offered.

PA LB/FB Nicholas Klass may walk on at Michigan ($, info in header).

MD CB Blake Countess is close to a decision ($, info in header).

Local fluff on an offer to CA K Connor Loftus.

2012

IL QB Robert Gregory was named First-Team All-State as an athlete.

Michigan is in the top five for MI RB Juwan Lewis.

MI CB Terry Richardson was named an Under Armour All-American.

Sam Webb's recruiting column last week covered a junior combine that took place over the weekend. Once the 2011 class is wrapped up, the Wolverines will start to show serious interest in some of these guys.

Wednesday Recruitin' Seeks Another RB

Wednesday Recruitin' Seeks Another RB

Submitted by Tim on December 1st, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.

Assume The Position(s): Offense

rawls.jpeg

MI RB Thomas Rawls was the subject of last week's Sam Webb recruiting column in The Detroit News. He was super-productive in his senior year:

Despite sitting out two games with a high ankle sprain Rawls rushed for 1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns. His year was highlighted by a 344-yard rushing effort against Saginaw Heritage in Week 4 and a 396-yard rushing effort against Bay City Central in Week 5.

Scout's Allen Trieu breaks down his game:

"He is one of the toughest runners I've seen. He's very compact -- a bowling ball kind of kid who can break tackles and has a good burst. While most people see him as just an inside battering ram, I think he proved to me over the summer and the course of this year that he has legit breakaway speed. He's also very underrated as a receiver out of the backfield."

As long as he can nail a qualifying score on his standardized tests, it's likely he'll land a Michigan offer - and soon ($, info in header). It sounds like the Wolverines are a heavy favorite to land him should that happen:

Even if new suitors do come calling, they clearly will have a steep hill to climb. "I'm going to wink my eye a couple of times about this, but let's just say I'm thinking about staying close to home (to play college football)," he said.

With Justice Hayes coming in as a slot receiver, the Wolverines still have a bit of room in the class for another true running back - the "big back" complement to slashing Dee Hart - and Rawls could be that guy.

Elsewhere in running backs, FL RB DeVondrick Nealy still favors Michigan ($, info in header). His skill set is more on the Hart/Hayes end of the spectrum, so I'd be surprised if Michigan's coaches accepted a commitment from him.

Also on offense, Michigan is looking for a tight end. NJ TE Jack Tabb has narrowed his list to 6 ($, info in header), and will take just a couple more visits before coming to a decision, hopefully by Christmas. If he doesn't commit to the Wolverines, recent offeree OH TE Darien Bryant might get increased heat.

The Wolverines are also seeking another offensive lineman, with IL OL Chris Bryant the most likely option. Bryant is on the verge of an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header), and will announce a commitment in early January. Can the  Buckeyes catch up to his current favorites?

Player Breakdowns

Rivals has started rolling out their Position Superlative rankings (they've done the offense, and have only done D-line thus far on the other side of the ball). Michigan commits and targets feature:

I'll recap once more if Michigan targets and/or commits are ranked in the defensive back 7.

Elsewhere in evaluations, Poole1Dan passed along a first-hand report on MI RB Commit Justice Hayes:

Hayes is not a Big Ten caliber running back, at least not from what I saw in the Milford game. But as a slot receiver, he's pretty good. He displayed excellent body control on the 21 yard TD catch and could be dangerous in a Steve Breaston way on bubble screens. He could motion into the backfield and be a poor mans Percy Harvin (something Michigan has yet to deploy with any of their slots in the RichRod era). With his agility and vision, he might be Michigan's answer at punt returner, which has been a disaster ever since Breaston graduated.

As always, take one-game scouting reports with a grain of salt, but as this seems to corroborate a lot of what we've heard about Justice so far, it's worth paying attention to.

Upcoming Visits

Josh Helmholdt talks about the visit weekends coming up over the next two weeks, including a group of five this weekend:

Michigan will kick off its December official visit period with five official visitors this weekend. Commitments like Cass Tech cornerback Delonte Hollowell, Plymouth defensive end Brennen Beyer and Fremont (Ohio) Ross cornerback Greg Brown will be joined by uncommitted prospects Wayne Lyons of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard and Blake Countess of Owings Mills (Md.) Good Counsel.

Tom's weekly update touches on Lyons's visit. Helmholdt also mentions a host of prospects for the Big Chill:

Recruits who have already scheduled their official visits to coincide with the Big Chill include Chicago Simeon offensive lineman Chris Bryant; Cleveland Glenville teammates Cardale Jones and Shane Wynn; Holland West Ottawa linebacker Desmond Morgan; Winter Springs, Fla.; linebacker Ryan Petro, and West Branch Ogemaw Heights defensive end Anthony Zettel.

Tom will keep us updated on the latest as the weeks go on (including a January visit from top KY LB Lamar Dawson), so stay tuned.

Etc.

Josh Helmholdt says that OH CB Greg Brown and FL RB Dee Hart are the only currently-committed recruits planning to enroll early. Brown tells him:

"I'm just focusing on finishing my high school education next month and in those following couple weeks, I will be enrolling at Michigan to play ball for the Wolverines," Brown said. "I just can't wait to get in the Big House in front of those 110,000 fans and play some football."

As mentioned in yesterday's Friday Night Lights post, Hart will be formally invited to the US Army All-American Bowl tomorrow, so I'll have full coverage of the announcement next week.

There are several other prospects considering Michigan who are looking into early enrollment, including NC WR/LB Kris Frost and GA S Avery Walls, both participants in the Army All-American Game, who plan to announce their commitments at that time.

Tom's Weekly Update has a few pictures of TX LB Commit Kellen Jones alongside some former Michigan greats.

Happy Trails

We've been wondering is NC QB Marquise Williams would decommit from North Carolina, but if he does, it seems like Virginia Tech, not Michigan, will be his destination. He remains an unhappy-face on the recruiting board, but I won't remove him quite yet.

GA DE Ray Drew has narrowed to a final 6, not including Michigan.

OH LB Percy Johnson, an ex-pat from Michigan, has committed to Cincinnati.

2012

MD WR/S Deontay McManus has received a Michigan offer.

Wednesday Recruitin' Avoids Dee Overload

Wednesday Recruitin' Avoids Dee Overload

Submitted by Tim on October 6th, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the F riday Night Lights series.

The Inevitable

hartsmile.jpg

I'll try to keep the overload on this topic to a minimum, but FL RB Dee Hart makes his decision this Friday at noon between Michigan and Alabama. In last week's Sam Webb article in the Detroit News:

Chad Simmons: "I like Michigan's chances here."

Geoff Vogt: "I definitely see Dee Hart going to Michigan. I think it is where he has always been most comfortable.

Hart's teammate HaSean Clinton-Dix is changing his tune about Michigan being too cold, by the way. Still think he's a longshot, and he's claiming to be solid to Bama. Michigan is showing interest in a couple more DP guys as well, in WR Chris Gallon and S Roderick Ryles.

Keep an eye on mgoblog Friday around noon for a Demetrius Hart update.

VISITS!

Another big game at home, another group of official and unofficial visitors. This list, according to Tom:

2011

  • Devondrick Nealy - (5'10", 175 lbs/ Slot Receiver/ Jefferson County, FL/ 3 Star)
  • Marquise Williams - (6'3", 210 lbs/ Quarterback/ Mallard Creek, NC/ 3 Star)
  • Jack Miller - Michigan commit
  • Kellen Jones - Michigan commit
  • Jake Fisher - Michigan commit
  • James Elliott - (6'4", 305 lbs/ Offensive Line/ Pensacola, FL/ 3 Star) He'll be back in December as well. He's waiting for a committable offer. If he gets it, expect him to commit.
  • Anthony Zettel - (6'4", 250 lbs/ Defensive/Offensive Line/ Ogemaw, MI/ 4 Star)
  • Kishon Wilcher - (5'6", 154 lbs/ Cornerback/ Cass Tech, MI/ 3 Star)

2012

  • Royce Jenkins-Stone - (6'2", 215 lbs/ Linebacker/ Cass Tech, MI)
  • Terry Richardson - (5'9", 160 lbs/ Cornerback/ Cass Tech, MI)
  • Matt Godin - (6'5", 253 lbs/ Defensive End/Tackle/ Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Brian Blackburn - (6'5", 197 lbs/ Quarterback/ Crockett, Mi)
  • Danny O'Brien - (6'3", 278 lbs/ Defensive Tackle/ Flint, Mi) Will only be there for the first half, because he has homecoming.
  • Hunter Matt - (6'2", 187 lbs/ Linebacker/ Roosevelt, MI)
  • Juwan Lewis - (5'11", 200 lbs/ Running Back/ Muskegon, MI)

There are bound to be other additions to (and removals from) the list, so check back to Tom's diary for all the latest. NC WR/LB Kris Frost had to reschedule for a later date ($, info in header).

In the future, Michigan can look forward to visits from PA DE Deion Barnes ($, info in header), NC TE Drew Owens will officially visit Michigan for the Iowa game ($, info in header), and NJ TE Jack Tabb will be making a trip to Ann Arbor sometime this fall ($, info in header), this time for an official.

Sam Webb has been dropping hints on the WTKA recruiting roundup that a bigtime prospect committed to another school is planning an official visit to Ann Arbor, and most believe Florida State commit FL S Karlos Williams will take a visit to Ann Arbor.

Etc.

Sam Webb's weekly Detroit News column went roundtable last week, as Sam asked Scout.com's recruiting experts about some notable recruits.

zettel.jpeg

MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel (pictured at right):

Allen Trieu: "Michigan was his first love and it's always tough to forget your first love. Michigan right now is the leader with a couple of schools following behind."

MI RB Thomas Rawls:

Trieu: "A bunch of schools have told him that once he gets his academics taken care of he will get offered... I do know that Michigan is very interested."

MLive has fluff on his quest to pick up his grades to earn college scholarships.

FL CB Dallas Crawford and FL WR/S Sammy Watkins:

Simmons: I think there are a few schools that if they treat Dallas right and they recruit him the right way, that gives them a definite leg up with Sammie Watkins."

Vogt: "I think there is a pretty good chance that Dallas Crawford ends up wearing Maize & Blue... Michigan is certainly one of the top three teams [for Watkins] (with Clemson and Miami)."

For Spartan fans, there are also updates on MI WR DeAnthony Arnett and OH CB Doran Grant, so check it out.

FL S Wayne Lyons may be re-warming to Michigan, though he'll miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Check out Tom's weekly update for the latest on OH OL Ray Ball and OH LB Sean Duggan.

Happy Trails, FL CB/S Jonathan Aiken, who committed to Rutgers.

Happy Trails, PA OL Paul Gaughan, a Boston College commit.

2012

FL QB Bennie Coney has the Wolverines in his top five, along with Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Purdue.

For those extremely worried about the recruitment of OH DE Chris Wormley, Fox Toledo's Hardcore Recruiting Minute covers the pride of Whitmer High School.

For those unable to watch, the important section goes like this:

Chen: "But he definitely has his eyes on the team he's loved growing up: The Maize and Blue."

Wormley: "You know, they're becoming a good program now and the stuff they're doing - they're definitely still in my top. So we'll see where everthing goes... You know, it excites me that they're coming up and becoming the Michigan team that they've always been, and, you know, it's just a good thing for them."

Wormley is now holding an Ohio State offer, so he's no shoo-in to land in Michigan's class. He won't decide until during or after his senior season.

OH S Allen Gant was in the house for Michigan's victory over Bowling Green ($, info in header).

Wednesday Recruitin' Awaits the Dee-cision

Wednesday Recruitin' Awaits the Dee-cision

Submitted by Tim on September 29th, 2010 at 10:05 AM

[Ed: see what he did there?]

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.

Decision Time is Finally Here. Maybe.

WallsArmy.jpg

GA S Avery Walls has been named to the Army All-American game. His coach had plenty of good things to say about him too:

"Avery came to this school and just instantly was a great leader who showed great character," Gess said. "As far as him as a player, he just shuts down a whole side of the field because coaches won't throw or run that way. He also raises his teammates' level of play. He's a great representative of Eagle's Landing Christian and what they stand for."

He'll make a decision next month, after a couple visits to Oregon and Cal. Michigan was in great shape after his visit to Ann Arbor, and hopefully the Ducks and Bears do nothing to change that. Walls is an early-enrollment candidate.

If FL RB Demetrius Hart doesn't make his decision next week, it wouldn't be the first time he's changed his mind about an announcement timeframe. However, this is the most public he's been about when he'll pick his school. Hart is taking an official visit to Alabama this weekend. Tom hinted that Hart may take another unofficial visit in his weekly update, and I bet that would be to Michigan should he choose the Wolverines. It's still looking good here.

Assume the Position: D-Line

Michigan is hunting for at least one defensive tackle, and probably another defensive end. Who are some of the candidates?

FL DT Tim Jernigan will not decide until after his senior season. He's also started planning out some of his visits:

He said he plans on attending at least one game involving each of the schools, including the UF-Alabama game Oct. 2 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the LSU-UF game in Gainesville on Oct. 9 and games at Michigan and USC.

That means no Michigan State game in Ann Arbor, leaving Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin weekends. If his coach is right:

The biggest factor the coach said would play into Jernigan’s decision is playing time.

With a college-ready frame and skill set, Howard said Jernigan is going to likely attend the school that can provide him a chance to play early.

That means Advantage: Michigan over all of his other contenders.

MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel gave raving reviews of his visit to Michigan State:

"It was an amazing game to be at," Zettel said. "I think that Michigan State is starting to become a very good team. I was able to have some small talk with a lot of the recruits at the game."

OK, maybe that's more "I was in attendance" than anything hugely positive for the Spartans. Scout's Allen Trieu explains to the Lansing State Journal:

Michigan looks like it could be the team to beat for Zettel, but the Spartans are in contention.

"He's been a life-long Michigan fan, and you just want to be able to stay in the game with him," Trieu said. "The fact that he hasn't committed to Michigan yet is a big thing for Michigan State."

At this point , when "not committed to Michigan quite yet" is the best thing you can say about State's recruitment of the kid, the Wolverines are looking good.

GA DE Ray Drew, Walls's buddy, wants to visit Ann Arbor:

"I would also like to go to Michigan to see the Big House. Every football player knows about that place... There are a lot of schools I would like to see before I decide on signing day.”

He says he's close to having all of his visits set up, so we should know soon when he'll be in the house. Drew won't make a decision until Signing Day.

The Others

MI RB Thomas Rawls is smashing Mark Ingram's Flint-area rushing records. If he can get his grades up, he could be a good addition to Michigan's class. At 5'10", 215, he's a differenet sort of back than Hart.

NJ TE Jack Tabb is taking an official visit to Iowa City this weekend ($, info in header), even though the Hawkeyes already have three (!) tight ends in this class. Michigan is in the running for one of his other visits, and he took a trip to Ann Arbor earlier this summer.

IL OL Chris Bryant, a recent visitor to Ann Arbor, has the Wolverines in his top 3/4 with Arizona, Stanford, and Illinois. From the tone of the article, Michigan is still on top.

KY LB Lamar Dawson has M in his final 7.

Dee Hart isn't the only Orlando Dr. Phillips guy with Michigan interest. It is highly unlikely that FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix will strongly consider Michigan anymore, but his fellow safety Roderick Ryles is looking for an offer.

Happy Trails

FL TE/DE Brandon Fulse has narrowed his list, and Michigan is no longer on it.

Happy Trails, FL DE Giorgio Newberry. He's committed to Florida State.

It appears as though VA CB Demetrious Nicholson is no longer planning to take a Michigan visit.

2012

FL QB Bennie Coney is holding a Michigan offer. It will be interesting to see what types of QBs Michigan goes after this season.

Just to clarify, Plant City is not the same Plant that 2011 OL Commit Tony Posada attends.

OH RB William Mahone is interested in Michigan, and attended a summer camp in Ann Arbor this summer. The Buckeyes already have two RB commits in 2012, so they won't be the competition.

As expected, MI DT Danny O'Brien received his verbal offer from Michigan at the Bowling Green game.

ESPN's Chris Pool reports that IL DT Tommy Schutt also holds a verbal offer from the Wolverines.

Also in attendance last Saturday was OH S Allen Gant. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant (and nephew of Charles Woodson) plans to take his time making a decision.

Thursday Recruitin' is READY FOR SOME FOOTBAW

Thursday Recruitin' is READY FOR SOME FOOTBAW

Submitted by Tim on August 26th, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue.

Visits

Since next week's Thursday Recruitin' is the last one(!) before actual football(!), I'll devote a good portion of it to a visitor list for the UConn game. Of course, there's no harm in looking ahead, right?

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FL RB Demetrius Hart (at right) is expected to make it in for UConn (along with either the Michigan State or Iowa game). Will he be able to convince his buddy, Alabama Commit S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix to join him? (Sounds like it).

GA S Avery Walls has named four of the schools that he'll officially visit. Michigan, Tennessee, Cal, and Oregon are the lucky few, and he's trying to schedule a fifth. The Michigan visit is next week.

LA CB Daren Kitchen will make his official visit for the UConn game ($, info in header). He's on commitment watch if a written offer comes through.

Tom has compiled a more comprehensive list, including a number of unofficial visitors from the classes of 2011 and 2012.

Non-UConn related, NJ S Sheldon Royster might try to visit Michigan before the end of the month ($, info in header). Seeing as how the month ends in five days, he'd have to get that over with very soon.

In less certain visit news, a couple guys are "maybes" on making it to Ann Arbor this fall.

OH OL Aundrey Walker has named three official visit destinations: Michigan State, Ohio State, and USC. The Spartans and Trojans seem to be the two teams giving Ohio State the biggest challenge. Michigan is a longshot for him at this point. [Ed: Glenville guy so obvs.]

FL CB/S Jonathan Aiken is starting to set his official visits, and Michigan should be one of those:

“Nothing is really set in stone, but there’s really a couple I really plan on taking which is Rutgers and UCLA,” said Aiken. “Once I get my schedule from my coach, I can probably go ahead and set them two in stone, because those are two I really plan on taking. There are a couple others, I might go to Michigan.”

It doesn't sound like he's high on the Wolverines, and he's planning to make a commitment in the early fall. If he does come to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines might secure his commitment, but otherwise don't hold your breath (H/T On the Banks).

CA CB/Ath DeAnthony Thomas, a USC commit, has talked about visiting other schools, including Michigan. However, it's not the Wolverines (or even the Trojans) that he's favoring:

Thomas who is nicknamed the "Black Mamba" is the top CB in the country. He was considered a lock to USC but now lists Washington and UCLA as his favorites.

We'll have to wait and see if Rich Rodriguez offers Thomas.

Pruning Lists, Taking Tests, Graduating Early

NJ QB/TE Tanner McEvoy is narrowing his list to ten schools. Once he gives his turndowns to the coaches of teams that aren't making the cut, he'll make the list public. I would be surprised if Michigan makes the cut (H/T On the Banks).

MI RB Thomas Rawls, is trying to up his ACT score, and takes it again in September. He speaks with Fred Jackson regularly, and it sounds ike Michigan will offer once he gets qualified.

His film is impressive, and he could be the big back complement in this class if everything works out academically. Rawls is in a similar situation to MI DT Damon Knox, whose impressive film could net him an offer with improvement in the classroom.

IL OL Chris Bryant is the latest profilee of Sam Webb in the Detroit News. The upshot:

"Signing day was my goal, but with everyone committing so early and everything it is hard to say (that a choice will be held off that long). Once I set my top schools and they start filling up, I'm going to have to go ahead and decide out of my top schools which one I'm going to...

"(The Michigan coaches) were telling me that I'm definitely one of the top guys on their recruiting list," he said. "If it ever came down to the point where they were just running out of spots or had one spot left, they said that they would definitely get in contact with me and let me know.

If Michigan pushes for a commitment at some point, they're likely to get one.

MD DT Darian Cooper has narrowed his list to seven schools, including Michigan. He won't plan any official visits until he is down to five schools.

NC Ath Kris Frost tells Tom that he plans to graduate early from high school. If he commits to Michigan, look for a January enrollment.

Happy Trails

WI RB Melvin Gordon committed to Iowa.

IN OL Nick Martin committed to Kentucky.

FL OL Max Lang committed to South Florida.

MI TE Ben McCord committed to Ball State. He wasn't willing to wait around for higher-caliber offers, it seems.

FL DE/DT/OT Giorgio Newberry is planning official visits to LSU, Tennessee, Notre Dame, and Clemson. He doesn't mention Michigan in the article, and another one says he's down to a final list without the Wolverines, so happy trails it is.

SC DE Gerald Dixon has trimmed his list to South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Auburn, and Wake Forest.

MI CB Valdez Showers committed to Florida yesterday. Michigan State and Michigan were the runners-up, though he said he always wanted to get out of the state.

2012

FL QB Nick Patti won the Golden Gun Accuracy Challenge at the Las Vegas Elite 11 camp.

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FL OL Abraham "Nacho" Garcia (at right) is interested in a few schools early in the process:

I like Wisconsin, Michigan and UM too,” Garcia said. “I’ve read up on the Big 10 and I have friends that are going there. I have friends that are going to a bunch of schools."

With LSU, Florida, and Ohio State also on the radar, it sounds like he has bigtime early interest. He wants to be the top recruit in the class of 2012, thanks to his run blocking skills:

"Abe is the kind of guy that can be the cornerstone of your team," Harriot said. "He's a strong force, he's the anchor of our line. We know we can go to his side whenever we need a first down or a touchdown."

Keep an eye on Garcia for next year's class.

OH DE Chris Wormley attended Michigan's Fan Day on Sunday.

Thursday Recruitin' Asks Who Is Next

Thursday Recruitin' Asks Who Is Next

Submitted by Tim on July 8th, 2010 at 11:23 AM

As a reminder, recruiting updates are saved for posterity on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board.

About To Drop?

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FL OL Tony Posada may be getting close to a Florida offer ($, info in header). He just needs to lose 10 pounds and the Gators have promised he'll receive one. [Ed: Or that could be a slow-play and Florida isn't going to offer.] Florida was his childhood favorite, so that could dampen his Michigan lean. Posada and MI OL Jake Fisher (pictured at right) are both deciding soon.

If one or both of them pick(s) Michigan, that would be a fine start to Michigan's offensive line haul in the class. The Wolverines are the favorite for both, but Fisher plans to check out Michigan State once more before making a decision, and Posada is searching for that Florida offer.

Much, much more on their ability to play football if they commit.

Tops In State

Scout has released its Top 80 List for the state of Michigan. The Top 10, and other recruits of interest (or who might be at some point):

  • 1 LB Lawrence Thomas (MSU Commit)
  • 2 WR DeAnthony Arnett
  • 3 DE Brennen Beter (Michigan Commit)
  • 4 OL/DE Anthony Zettel
  • 5 RB Justice Hayes
  • 6 OL Jake Fisher
  • 7 CB Valdez Showers
  • 8 RB Onaje Miller (MSU Commit)
  • 9 LB Ed Davis
  • 10 CB Delonte Hollowell (Michigan Commit)
  • 11 WR Shawn Conway (Michigan Commit)
  • 13 RB Thomas Rawls
  • 16 LB Taiwan Jones (Michigan State Commit)
  • 21 DE Damon Knox
  • 22 TE Ben McCord
  • 35 TE Nate Dreslinski
  • 46 FB Joey Kerridge
  • 59 RB DaShawn Bell
  • 66 LB Dwight Trammer
  • 73 OL Bryan Bell
  • 74 OL Willie Beavers

Right now, it appears as though Michigan State has the slight edge in-state, but the Wolverines have a good chance to close out strong.

In the same vein, Sam Webb's weekly Detroit News column runs down a few of the top guys in the state who are uncommitted. The main prospects of interest in that story are OL Jake Fisher and LB Ed Davis, but it sounds like RB Thomas Rawls could pick up a Michigan offer somewhere down the line.

Scott Burnstein of the Oakland Press runs down a couple in-state sleepers who impressed at Michigan's summer camp.

Assume The Position: Tight End

The times, they have changed since I last broke down tight end recruiting. With the number of offers Michigan's coaching staff has out at the position, I think it's pretty clear that they want one in this class (though they could be offering some guys with the intention of moving them to the defensive side of the ball).

The biggest recent news is OH TE Ray Hamilton's commitment to Iowa. Michigan had appeared to be very strong in his recruitment until he joined the Hawkeyes' class of 2011. Though his commitment seems firm, his dad's connection to Rich Rodriguez could help Michigan stay in the picture with a good season.

SC TE Jerrell Adams seems to have a Michigan offer, and the Wolverines are definitely in the picture ($, info in header). He's definitely a possibility for the spot.

NJ TE Taques Franklin has legit Michigan interest, and plans to take an official visit. However, a little birdie tells me that he has some work to do in the classroom to ensure that he will qualify to play at the next level.

NJ TE/QB Tanner McEvoy (maybe intent on being a QB?), NC TE Drew Owens, FL TE Brandon Fulse, and OH TE Austin Traylor and are guys that Michigan tossed an offer to, and haven't seemed to talk about the Wolverines too much since. I'll assume they're pseudo-longshots.

Happy Trails

Happy trails, NY QB Ashton Broyld. Though he's visited Michigan, he's not hearing from the Wolverines.

Happy trails, NJ RB Savon Huggins, who released a Top/Final 10 list without Michigan.

Happy trails to FL LB Kent Turene. For whatever reason, the staff never offered Turene, even as it became clear that Demar Dorsey's former teammate was going to wind up as a big time prospect. With adequate time to evaluate him (and obvious hints that he was interested in Michigan), I'll trust their opinion in not offering him. He's now committed to USC.

As predicted last week, OH S Ron Tanner picked Ohio State on Friday. Check out Rivals's video, in which he puts on a Michigan hat before actually picking the Bucks. OMG PUNK'D.

Etc.

NC QB Marquise Williams is still planning to decide soon ($, info in header). Michigan was already slipping, and the commitment of FL QB Kevin Sousa is another indication that he won't put on the maize and blue cap.

As The Demetrius Turns... FL RB Demetrius Hart still has Michigan and Auburn on top. Those two and Alabama are still the main contenders for his services. He's considering multiple Michigan visits this fall, and there's no reason to believe the Wolverines have slipped.

OH WR AJ Jordan plans to trim his list soon ($, info in header). Jordan is probably the hottest prospect on Michigan's board at wide receiver, as most expect him to end up donning the winged helmet. AJ should commit before the season starts, and could join his former teammates (Roy Roundtree et al) in Ann Arbor.

MI WR Willie Snead hasn't been hearing much from Michigan, but is getting attention from... Florida? I wonder if things will pick up with the local schools. If not, he'll slip right of the ol' recruiting board.

Though some Michigan fans have been expecting an early decision from MI OL Anthony Zettel, he tells ESPN that's not going to happen. He's considering a couple official visits, mainly to check out Penn State and Iowa (and maybe UCLA), schools on his favorites list that he hasn't had a chance to see. The Wolverines and Spartans still have a healthy lead on the rest of the field. Zettel seems like one of the many prospects that Michigan should land as long as they start the season strong.

Shoutout to MGoUser JC3 who brought this to my attention: IL OL Chris Bryant recently received a Big Ten offer ($, info in header), and Tom confirmed via Twitter that it was from the Wolverines . He'd been openly campaigning for such an offer, so does that mean he might join Michigan's class? He won't decide for a while, but the Wolverines are probably near the top of his list.

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Though this local fluff on VA LB Curtis Grant (pictured at right) doesn't mention Michigan, it does say he's planning to take his time making a decision - and he has interest across the country.

In came Grant, a freshman who had played sparingly up to that point in the season for Richmond-based Hermitage. On the conversion attempt, Highland Springs' quarterback rolled to his right and stopped before attempting to catch Hermitage's defense by surprise with a pass back across the field. Grant batted the pass down to negate the threat.

"I was like 'Wow, the first play we send him in and he makes an impact play'" Kane said. "From then on, he was not afraid of competition. He just went out there and played. That was pretty special for a kid of that age — a ninth-grader coming into a playoff game to replace a senior."

Yay fun anecdote. VolNation doesn't mention a Michigan visit, but I think he's planning to take one in August.

PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett has released a top/final 9, with Michigan, Illinois, MSU, UConn, Penn State, Pitt, Stanford, Virginia, and Wisconsin. He plans to trim again in about a month, and take a few official visits before coming to a decision.

TomVH's weekly update has all the latest news on AZ OL Cyrus Hobbi, FL OL Tony Posada, GA S Avery Walls, and a couple more prospects. Check it out for the news. Speaking of Walls, he comes in for some local fluff. He genuinely enjoyed his Ann Arbor visit, and the coaches will be all over this top safety.