Wed...er... Thursday Recruitin'

Wed...er... Thursday Recruitin' Comment Count

Tim December 3rd, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Let's take a position-by-position look at recruits in positions that Michigan still has needs. Yes, they're mostly on defense. For reference, Michigan has 21 current commits, and there's still been no resolution as to whether they can accept more than 25 commitments.

Offensive Line

FL OL Torrian Wilson made a surprise commit to Stanford in the summer, but now he will visit Michigan this weekend. I had long assumed his commitment to Stanford was soft, but with no recruiting news until now, I had started to change my mind. It appears as though my faith has been reaffirmed.

hankins.jpgIn case it wasn't apparent from such events as "5-7," MN OL Seantrel Henderson is no longer considering Michigan.

Defensive Tackle

Thought to be out of consideration for Michigan, MI DT Johnathan Hankins (I've seen his first name spelled about a hundred  different ways, with no indication as to which might be right), has finally received his Michigan offer. Despite growing up a Michigan fan, Florida is still his strong leader.

Obviously, Michigan was similarly impressed, but their prolonged evaluation process has them currently trailing in the race for the three-star prospect's services.

"Florida is ahead right now," Hankins told Scout.com. "It was a great place. The players were great and the fans were amazing. The game (against Florida State) was great too. I feel comfortable there. They said I have a chance to play because they are losing defensive tackles. I'd have a chance to start. It's all up to me. After (visiting) Florida, I didn't want to take any more visits, but I rethought that and my coaches wanted me to take all my visits."

He visits Michigan this weekend, and Michigan will have the opportunity to outdo Florida then; there's also a chance that Florida might fill up (or "fill up") before Hankins has an opportunity to commit. He plans to decide before Christmas.

The increase in Hankins interest might be due to a couple other guys falling off, as last week a small Arkansas paper reported TX DT Big Tex Beachum might be solid to Arkansas. He still has not publicly reaffirmed his Arkansas commitment, so on the board he stays. Even The Recruiting Guy's follow-up doesn't have a quote affirming his commitment. FWIW, Sam Webb posted an article on Beachum that involved the words "clears the air($)," a universal signal that the article in question directly contradicts previously-reported information. He's still in play.

FL DT Richard Ash committed to West Virginia, which means Michigan is out, right? NSFMF, Tom reports that Ash will visit Ann Arbor this weekend. The Pahokee Pipeline lives!

Defensive End

Michigan has offered post-grad VA DE David Mackall ($, info in header), who originally committed to Maryland in the class of 2009.

The Wolverines are also the leader for FL DE Clarence Murphy. As Brian noted last week, Sam Webb has talked about a "gut feeling" on WTKA, which generally means a silent commitment.

Linebacker

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The biggest possibility for Michigan in the linebacking corps is MD LB/S Josh Furman, who will announce between Michigan and Virginia Tech at the Crab Bowl on December 19.

Both schools have strong academics, both have early playing time as a possibility, and Furman has established strong relationships with both staffs. With so many similarities between the pro

grams, settling on one sounds like a daunting task, but Furman has already done it.

"The location factored into it, along with the environment and the official visit," he explained.

As implied by that quote, a decision has been made and the coaches informed for each school. The location factoring could be interpreted as a bad sign for Michigan, but he did have tons of positive things to say about Michigan following his official visit. If the coaches have been informed, Webb's "gut feeling" is unimpeachable. Furman is putting up gaudy rushing numbers in his senior season, and is a huge prospect for the Wolverines.

Defensive Back

CA S Sean Parker still wants to take a Michigan visit. The Wolverines are in a final seven-ish also consisting of PSU, Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee, Washington, and USC.

Michigan leads for FL CB Tony Grimes and his teammate, DE Clarence Murphy.

Hollywood Hills defensive back Tony Grimes said he is leaning heavily toward the University of Michigan. When a decision to commit is made, Grimes said he and Hills defensive lineman Clarence Murphy will attend the same school.

"Michigan sticks out for both of us," Grimes said. "There we feel we can come in and play as true freshmen."

As noted above, the two are essentially Michigan locks, assuming the Wolverines stay on them until they announce a decision on Signing Day.

CA S Tony Jefferson is down to USC and Oklahoma. Michigan is still on the fringe of his recruitment, or even with the top two, depending on who you ask. Still, though don't expect anything further.

Don't expect FL CB Spencer Boyd to end up at Michigan: he's sticking with Notre Dame. [Editor's note: not so fast! Rivals threw up an image of Boyd in an article header indicating he will take an official this weekend.]

Also: Rivals AMP says Michigan is "re-emerging($)" for OH S Latwan Anderson, but kid goes to Glenville and ain't coming here.]

Commit Updates

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MI QB Devin Gardner is ready to move on to his college career, after high school ended on a down note with a 27-6 loss to Lowell in the state championship game.

"I can't mourn this,” Gardner said after the loss last Friday. “I start getting ready for my future on Monday - lifting, throwing, watching films and getting better as a quarterback so this will never happen again."

Gardner was in attendance at last night's basketball debacle, and is firm in his commitment to Michigan. He no longer plans to enroll early.

MI RB Austin White is not wavering, despite a lame internet rumor to the contrary last week.

Further commit updates, including All-State team news, will be in next week's Friday Night Lights post.

[editor jump-in]

22 + 3 + er… more = er…

At this point we are operating under the assumption that Michigan can enroll no more than 25 freshmen this fall no matter how many scholarships it has open. This is unfortunate since any attrition is likely to see scholarships go unused again. It also means that Michigan has 22 commitments, three guys who are virtual commitments, zero spots left in the class, and about a dozen other guys they're still recruiting.

The conclusion is inescapable: expect attrition from the current commits. Whether it's a decommit or a gentle suggestion that maybe Player X would be better off in a situation with more opportunities for playing time, the way Michigan is recruiting suggests they're going to end up with a couple more commitments past the three expected ones. This will necessitate some current commits not signing or for Michigan to sign up to 28 with the intention of getting down to 25 by August.

Speculating about who is likely to depart in the former case is rude, but there are a couple of players who are reportedly not qualified yet and if they don't get there soon—ie, after this semester's grades are in—Michigan could be within its rights to say "sorry, but we can't take the chance you might not make it in." Your personal distaste for this sort of thing will vary. Mine is a six out of ten.

Possibilities in the latter case are grayshirting someone or expecting slight academic attrition from the incoming class. Some folks have proposed that MI WR Jeremy Jackson come in as a walk-on with a corresponding bump in Fred Jackson's pay, which is interesting, very definitely against the spirit of the rules, and possibly against the letter of them if Jackson received an official offer letter.

In any case, the next two months figure to be somewhat bumpy.

[/editor]

Etc.

Dave Birkett of AnnArbor.com interviews a couple of recruiting experts about Michigan's class thus far. Tom Lemming seems to be a bit higher on it than Allen Wallace of Scout. Both agree that it's a solid class, but won't contend with the nation's best. Lemming is very high on Cullen Christian, and both of them really like Gardner, because he's awesome.

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Wednesday Recruitin'

Wednesday Recruitin' Comment Count

Tim November 25th, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Cullen Christian Goes Blue

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As everyone has been expecting for some time now, PA CB Cullen Christian picked the Wolverines yesterday, adding a much-needed defensive back to the class of 2010. The announcement itself had been planned for weeks, and although it took a little longer than expected, the result is unsurprising. Local article. (Christian image via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

For the record, The US Army All-American Bowl will select a player from Penn Hills next week. Christian and WR/S Brandon Ifill have both been nominated, and I'd imagine Christian is the choice as he is rated better by every recruiting service. And since there wasn't room for it yesterday, here's part 2 of Cullen's junior highlight video:

Who Will Fill the Class?

With Christian's commitment and the news that 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty will join the team this winter, there are only a few more spots available in the 2010 recruiting class. Next week's recruitin' update will be an overview-type post, but for now, let's look at a few of the guys who are still possibilities.

FL WR Kenny Shaw has narrowed his list to Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State, with Georgia having an outside shot at him. He will announce his decision on Signing Day. [Source: ESPN, though they've apparently made it their corporate mission to not get a single inbound link, so whatever]. Florida State is still on top, but Michigan may have moved into second after an enjoyable visit ($, info in header/speculation).

CA WR Kenny Stills, one of the many visitors to the M/OSU game, will announce his final decision on December 1st. Michigan is probably on the outside in this one, but at least we'll know soon, right?

TX DT Jatashun Beachum enjoyed his Michigan visit, but it sounds as though he's unlikely to decommit from Arkansas. This is a disappointment, since it sounded before the Michigan visit like a decommitment from the Hogs was basically just a formality. Further updates coming as that situation develops.

MD LB Josh Furman has narrowed his list to two, with a decision date set ($, info in header). The narrowing is news, but he's been planning to announce at the Maryland Crab Bowl for some time, and there's been no indication of a change there. No word on the final two, but Michigan and Virginia Tech were announced as his leaders last week, so it's probably them... and Scout confirms all the information in one convenient header.

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CA S Sean Parker told MGoBlog's own Tom VanHaaren that he plans to officially visit Michigan. Rivals confirms. Parker was supposed to be a heavy Notre Dame lean, but recent events are obviously concerning.

CA S/LB Tony Jefferson enjoyed his Michigan visit, but not even the afterglow is enough to move the Wolverines into his top 2. UCLA and Oklahoma are still on top for him, and he's going to "consider [Michigan] the rest of the way." Not the most promising update in the world. (Jefferson pictured at right via the Detroit News).

[Update: News article does say that "ESPN speculates he will choose the Wolverines," but that's contradicted by the direct quotes linked above and should be taken with a grain of salt.]

Recent Michigan offeree OH S Ray Vinopal is named 1st-team all-District. He was in the house for Michigan's loss to Ohio state. Despite the result, he enjoyed the visit.

FL CB Tony Grimes and DE Clarence Murphy both enjoyed their visit to Ann Arbor, and I think the headline "Michigan on Top in Hollywood Hills" ($, info in header) is a pretty good indication of where the Wolverines stand with both prospects. Rivals confirms ($, info in header) for Murphy.

[your editor dips in for a moment…]

Gut Feelings

For what it's worth, on Monday's WTKA recruiting roundup, Sam Webb said he had a "gut feeling" on four players: Christian, Grimes, Murphy and Furman. For those unfamiliar, Webb's gut is the place he puts information about silent commitments. Christian has already dropped and Grimes and Murphy are a formality; if Webb is right about Furman and that potential rule change those four guys would close out the class.

Snake-Oiling The Irish?

The last time Notre Dame switched coaches, Michigan pirated away DE Jeremy Van Alstyne and CB/S Brandon Harrison from Ty Willingham's last class. Weis has been crushing Michigan's head in recruiting since he was hired. So can Michigan repeat the feat when Weis is fired two seconds after this weekend's game against Stanford ends?

Probably not. There are two kids in the class that Michigan finished second for, but FL CBs Lo Wood and Spencer Boyd are generic three-star sorts and Michigan isn't going to throw one of their generic three-star cornerbacks overboard, or pass up on Grimes, for them. Notre Dame's got a couple of good linebacker commits but they're both from North Carolina and had no interest in Michigan before they committed. Five-star CO DE Chris Martin has been a soft commitment for a while but he's had no interest in Michigan and Weis's firing isn't likely to sprout any. Michigan didn't make IN DE Blake Lueders's top five the first time he cut it down.

The only other player in Notre Dame's class who seems like even a slight possibility is IL OL Christian Lombard, but Lombard committed to Notre Dame at the Army Junior Combine and is likely a true believer who isn't even going to look around. (Side note: Lombard was a consensus five-star at that combine and Rivals now has him a meh three star. Ricardo Miller should have a "what happened to our recruiting rankings" pity party with him.)

In sum: Michigan and Notre Dame did not got head-to-head much this year and Michigan has better options at the spot where they did and ND won, so Weis's axing isn't going to be fruitful for the already-crammed recruiting class.

[/editor]

Happy Trails

OH TE Alex Smith officially decommitted from Cincinnati last week, and Michigan was in the small group of schools he was still considering. Alas, he chose North Carolina yesterday, meaning his tenure on the recruiting board is over once and for all.

SC WR Nick Jones, who Michigan had offered, committed to South Carolina. Michigan was never hot on him, and I imagine he was mostly offered for leverage on Marcus Lattimore.

2011

FL RB Demetrius Hart missed his playoff game last week because there was a controversy over whether he lived in the appropriate school district to attend Dr. Phillips.

John Magrino, Dr. Phillips athletic director, said OCPS determined Hart should sit until administrators can study allegations brought by Olympia that he lives in Pine Hills, not the DP school zone.

"He was assigned to our school from day one as a ninth grader and we’ve never had any reason to question that until today,” Magrino said.

Dr. Phillips managed to squeak out a 23-22 victory over Olympia without him, and he was cleared to hit the field against Apopka this weekend. Apparently, the mere challenge by Olympia's principal has been seen as a bush-league move. Hart is considered a heavy Michigan lean, although he wasn't able to make it to Ann Arbor for a visit last weekend.

ESPN's On The Trail (no link) reports that FL DT Tim Jernigan, who holds a Michigan offer, is only likely to consider Florida and Florida State.

Michigan has their eye on AZ QB/P Jordan Morgan. He's been invited to the Army All-American Combine in San Antonio.

Etc.: MI CB Dior Mathis is an Army All-American, along with MSU Commit Joe Boisture (which is odd, because he was so awful this year that his high school team benched him). That's an Army player each of the past four years for Cass Tech, with two picking the Wolverines (though Boubacar Cissoko didn't exactly turn out as expected). Fluff on the high school coach of GA DT Michael Thornton and LB Tyrone Cornileus. Michigan pipeline Pahokee faces an unceremonious exit from the state playoffs.

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Wednesday Recruitin'

Wednesday Recruitin' Comment Count

Tim November 18th, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2010 and 2011 Michigan football recruiting boards.

Out of Town Guests

jefferson.jpg

Wow, this would be an awesome recruiting weekend if it weren't for a game in which Michigan is likely going to get taken to the woodshed (plz don't, guys). Looking at past recruiting updates, we have the following list:

Official Visits:

  • FL CB Tony Grimes
  • FL DE Clarence Murphy
  • CA LB Tony Jefferson (pictured at right, courtesy of the Detroit News).
  • PA CB Cullen Christian
  • FL RB Cassius McDowell
  • FL S Rashad Knight (leaving for Ann Arbor at 6:45 AM Saturday)
  • FL S Commit Marvin Robinson

Unofficial Visitors:

  • 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
  • MI CB Dior Mathis

Jefferson came in for the Sam Webb treatment in the Detroit News last week:

"They said they are in need of a player like me," Jefferson said in April after he received his Michigan offer. "They said I could play early at whatever position they think I could play -- outside linebacker, safety, or even offense. They liked my (physicality). That's what Michigan recruits."

He's a 4-star to both sites. MGo-Recruiting Guru Tom Van Haaren adds that Jefferson will not be the only California prospect in attendance. CA WR Kenny Stills will be in town along with CA Ath (and USC Commit) Dillon Baxter. Tom talked to Baxter yesterday. CA RB Brennan Clay, an Oklahoma commit and high school teammate of Tate Forcier, might also make it in. Or not.

SoFlaFootball says FL DT Richard Ash will visit for the Ohio State game as well. Ash comes from the familiar Pahokee pipeline, so Michigan might have a good chance to land him.

Add to that TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum.

FL WR Kenny Shaw will be in the house as well. Remember, he's a former teammate of Ricardo Miller and current teammate of 2011 FL RB (and heavy Michigan lean) Demetrius Hart. Speaking of whom...

Expect a bunch of juniors as well, including Hart. Demetrius may be in the "good visit = commitment" category. 2011 OH S Ron Tanner will also be in attendance ($, info in header).

As previously discussed, GA teammates DT Michael Thornton and LB Tyrone Cornelius will take a fall visit. I wouldn't be surprised if it's for this game, though that's certainly not confirmed.

VINOPAL

Added OH S Ray Vinopal, who has received a Michigan offer. Vinopal had been on the radar much, much earlier in the process, but it didn't seem like he'd ever receive an offer. With that offer in hand, expect a winter visit from him. Here's his highlight video, courtesy of ScoutingOhio:

I honestly don't intend to reinforce racial stereotypes, but just from the highlight film, he looks like a guy who is always in position because he plays smart, not because he has elite speed. Vinopal also looks to be a big hitter. Cardinal Mooney is a traditionally strong program, and it couldn't hurt Michigan to have an in there.

For those concerned about his low recruiting profile, it appears that Vinopal's strong senior year is drawing interest from Notre Dame, Pitt, and a number of other local BCS programs. If a couple of those inquiries are followed up with offers, it'll be clear he's a Lewan sort of late bloomer, not a reach.

Cullen Near the End

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PA CB Cullen Christian, as noted above, is visiting Ann Arbor this weekend. He had also planned to visit Ohio  State last weekend, but that apparently didn't happen. The Buckeyes were one of the prime challengers for his commitment, so not visiting the Buckeyes can only hurt them. He still plans to decide on November 24th, so as long as his Michigan visit doesn't go poorly, he could be the next addition to the 2010 recruiting class.

Christian has made several unofficial visits to Ann Arbor, most recently in June. He is comfortable with what the program has to offer, but wants to spend a few days around the players, coaches and students before rendering his decision.

"I want to get everyone's opinion about Michigan before I make a choice,” Christian said.

Definitely sounds like his mind is all but made up. Michigan has been eliminated from contention for his teammate, S/WR Brandon Ifill, so don't expect a package deal.

Happy Trails

VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who had previously named Michigan near the top of his list, has committed to UCLA. He visited the Bruins a week ago, whereafter he named them his favorite. I'd accept a trade of Olaniyan for Jefferson (a UCLA commit), if it's possible. Olaniyan's off the board.

CA CB Joshua Shaw, who I removed in the last update, picked Florida yesterday.

Permanently removed TX DT Jay Guy, who has switched his soft Cal commitment to a hard Nebraska one.

Etc.:

Spurned commit Holmes Onwukaife may be back in the picture for the Wolverines. Michigan and VT are the leaders for MD LB Josh Furman ($, info in header). MI QB Commit Devin Gardner isn't wavering, which is good because he does things like this. 2011 DL Donte Phillips was "wowed" by his Michigan visit a couple weeks ago ($, info in header). OH TE Alex Smith has parted ways with Cincinnati. He'll make a final decision within a couple weeks.

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Wednesday Recruitin'

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Tim November 11th, 2009 at 12:15 PM

All-time updates can be found on the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board and the 2011 Michigan Recruiting Board.

Just Win, Babby?

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Michigan fans have seen what impact a tough season can have on a recruiting class, as the terrible 2008 squad led to attrition from last year's class, and made this year's crop more difficult to pull in. With the Wolverines facing similar struggles in 2009, some recruits may be out of reach, but a few key guys see the team improving:

"It doesn't change anything," said Millersville (Md.) Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman, who officially visited Ann Arbor in September. "They are a young team and they need people at certain positions to play and be successful like they have been (in the past)."

While the losing streak has probably put the likes of MN OL Seantrel Henderson out of reach, Furman is an important recruit, as Michigan's linebackers have... struggled this year. The article also mentions that CA LB Tony Jefferson will visit for the Ohio State game (rescheduled from last weekend), despite MIchigan's trying season. More on visits a little later.

One Game to Sway Them All

As mentioned above, the Ohio State game looks to be an important one for recruiting. Aside from providing an opportunity to show that this ship is headed in the right direction (plz plz win), it's the biggest visit weekend of the year. The list will probably change over the course of the next week, but it's shaping up to be a blockbuster, per Josh Helmholdt in the Freep:

Official Visits:

  • FL CB Tony Grimes
  • FL DE Clarence Murphy
  • CA LB Tony Jefferson (as mentioned above)
  • PA CB Cullen Christian
  • FL RB Cassius McDowell
  • FL S Rashad Knight
  • FL S Commit Marvin Robinson

Unofficial Visitors:

  • 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty
  • MI CB Dior Mathis

Aside from that article, GA LB Tyrone Cornelius has talked about visiting Michigan (as mentioned last week), but no word on whether it will be for the OSU game or post-season. CA WR Kenny Stills is in a similar situation. There are also a number of indications that some 2011 prospects will be in attendance, including FL RB Demetrius Hart, a possible commit if he really likes what he sees.

Quarterbacks

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Sup Ladies?

SC QB Commit Conelius Jones's Shrine Bowl profile is now available, and he's listed as a wide receiver, who will be a defensive back at Michigan. Obviously, we won't have full confirmation of his future position until Signing Day.

In other quarterbacking news, MI QB Devin Gardner comes in for a solid round of fluff from Sam Webb in the Detroit News. He's still looking at possibly enrolling early.

"He had a great junior year and has simply built upon that," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "He is considered one of the top handful of quarterbacks in the country and is firmly entrenched as a five-star prospect. As far as upside goes, I don't see many quarterbacks that have his potential."

Rivals recently named Gardner the best scrambler among 2010 QBs, and the second-strongest arm, behind Penn State Commit Robert Bolden. At this time, I am obligated to grumble that I think Bolden is overrated.

man, I wish mgoblog had some awesome Gardner video that I could link here.

Happy Trails?

LA QB Munchie LeGeaux committed to Colorado. Once Michigan took Conelius Jones, the writing was probably on the wall that LeGeaux was no longer an option.

Though CA CB Josh Shaw was talking as recently as last week about taking an official visit to Michigan for the Ohio State game, that's no longer a possibility. He will decide early next week between 5 schools that aren't Michigan: Florida, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and LSU. I'ma be straight with you: one of those things is reallllly not like the others.

PA DT Shariff Floyd has been alternately not very interested in Michigan and not at all interested in Michigan, so the latest sign of no interest (he will fill his final official visit slot with North Carolina) isn't quite cause to remove him from the board. Michigan is totally not landing that kid, though.

VA LB Aramide Olaniyan was positively raving about Michigan following his unofficial visit in September, but now UCLA may have moved to the forefront. That does give him a reputation for falling in love with the most recent school he's visited, so don't read too much into it. Still, there's no mention of an official visit to Michigan in December, as there was immediately after his first trip.

Olaniyan said he plans to take two more visits in December and then make his decision.

"I have Duke set for (Dec. 4) and North Carolina (Dec. 11)," Olaniyan said. "I'll make my commitment right after those visits. If I get invited to an All-American game, I'll announce then in January but otherwise, I'll do it in mid-December after my last visit."

Yeah, so that probably means Michigan has really fallen off.

OH S/WR Bobby Swigert has selected Boston College.

Etc.

Michigan's chance at TX DT Jatashun Beachum is "big" ($, info in header). Michigan offered MN DE Tobi Okuyemi... but he immediately committed to Nebraska. GA DT Mike Thornton has the Wolverines "in his thoughts" ($, info in header).

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Wednesday Recruitin'

Wednesday Recruitin' Comment Count

Tim November 4th, 2009 at 12:05 PM

All updates can be found on the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board and the 2011 Michigan Recruiting Board.

Welcome to the Fold, Carvin Johnson

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Sure to be the subject of many "Calvin Johnson with a Korean accent" jokes over the next 4+ years, LA S Carvin Johnson became the 20th member of Michigan's 2010 recruiting class last night. The full googlestalk of the under-the-radar prospect can be seen in the Hello: Carvin Johnson post, but there's still a little more info out there to be had, namely an article from nola.com. Relevant bits quoted below:

Johnson said also spoke Tuesday night to both Wolverines running backs coach Fred Jackson, who had recruited him since Michigan extended its official offer during August two-a-day practices. Johnson said reached his decision in consultation with his mother Kim.

That's a slight inconsistency with other stories, which said he was offered in May. Continuing along:

"First of all," Roth said, "everybody who knows Carvin or who has been around him knows that he’s as good of a person as he is a football player. That’s a compliment to him and his momma. Football-wise, he’s a ballhawk. He’s always around the football making plays."

Johnson, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, with 4.7 speed in the 40, projects as a safety at Michigan. He is fully qualified academically with both the necessary core curriculum grade-point-average and test score, Roth said.

So, not only a (hopefully) good football player, but also a good student. Welcome, Carvin, may you be the first of many DB commits in November.

[editor takeover]

BONUS: A Lousiana high school coach emailed MGoBlog to suggest that just because Johnson is virtually unknown to the recruiting sites doesn't mean that he's not a player:

With regards to your posts on Carvin Johnson, I can tell you that you are wrong on your assessment.

As a veteran Louisiana high school football coach at several highly successful programs, I have had players go on and play all over the country and on to the pros. I have also had kids play for RRod at Tulane, Clemson and WVU. RRod knows the type of football we play here in LA and picks and chooses which schools he recruits. … RRod knows this state and which schools produce college-ready players.

Carvin Johnson is not even one of my players – but I have played against his Rummel team and know Jay Roth and his program well. Carvin Johnson can play. Here in LA, we do not send kids to camps to get hyped up. We know our kids can play. If a LA kid is going to combines, it is very much more than likely due to (a) his high school coach trying to get exposure for himself or (b) because his program isn’t any good, but he plays well. Trust me, this is how it is.

You are getting a solid player – big, physical, coached up, football smart.

Just my nickel’s worth of commentary because that kid can play. I saw him 1st hand from my own sideline earlier this season when his team eked out a victory against us. Carvin can play and Jay is a good coach.

Coach Ox

So there you go: evidence that Johnson is a sleeper in a good way.

[/editor takeover]

Reverse Manifest Destiny

Last week, mgoblog's own TomVH reported that CA S Tony Jefferson would visit MIchigan for the Purdue game. WTKA's Ira Weintraub e-mailed to let us know that the date has changed, and now Jefferson will be in town for the contest against the Buckeyes. Greg Biggins of ESPN confirms that he will now visit the weeekend of the 21st.

Also in town from the left coast will be CA WR Kenny Stills. He also says:

"I talk all the time with [CA RB] Brennan Clay, Tony Jefferson, [CA CB] Joshua Shaw, [CA DE] Ronald Powell, a few others," Stills said. "There's a good chance a lot of us could be at the same school next year and that would be great.

Stills, Shaw, and Jefferson, plz. I believe Josh Shaw will complete that trifecta by also visiting for the OSU game. He has said he wants to take a Michigan visit, and that would be the perfect time to get him on campus.

In which I emulate Sherlock Holmes to an unnecessary degree

Remember back when GA DT Michael Thornton said he might take an official visit to Michigan at some point? TomVH confirms, via Twitter, that this will indeed happen. Considering that he's the only Georgia DT that Michigan is still heavily recruiting, we can assume this Scout header is about him, no?:

Georgia LB to Visit Michigan

GBW's Eugene Hankerson talked to the player - who plans to visit with his DT-Teammate.

Using a little detective work, we discover that there are three prospects in the Rivals database who are linebackers from Stephenson High School: Jabari Johnson, Franchot West, and Tyrone Cornelius.

Johnson doesn't have a picture available on his Scout profile, so he's out (otherwise the header photo for the article would be his profile picture). That leaves West and Cornelius. Let us compare the photographic evidence:

cornelius.jpgmysteryman.jpgwest.jpg
Cornelius, Mystery Man, and West

The mgo-photo analysis provides indisputable evidence: It's Mr. Cornelius, with the official visit, in the Big House.

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I got way too much enjoyment out of this. Cornelius had been thinking about a Michigan visit for a while, FWIW.

Additional Linebackin'

FL LB Christian Jones is apparently still considering Michigan ($, info in header). I've re-added him to the board, since it seems like a lot of recruits are trying to stay as far as possible away from Florida State. Still, even getting him on campus would be a minor recruiting coup.

Part of the reason VA LB Aramide Olaniyan's is on the open market is that Duke was supposed to suck this year, and they did nothing to change those predictions in week one, falling at home to 1-AA Richmond. However, the Blue Devils have since rebounded, and now control their destiny in the ACC Coastal. Olaniyan is back to considering the Blue Devils, although Michigan still remains near the top of his list.

Happy Trails

It was apparent that he wasn't headed to Michigan for a while, but now we know where FL RB Eduardo Clements will play his college ball: Miami (YTM).

FL CB Ricardo Allen committed to Purdue.

2011 OH DE Steve Miller has committed to Ohio State, which is sad, but not unexpected. I at least thought he'd give Michigan an unofficial visit or two.

2011

Speaking of 2011, it's been a while since we've had an update on junior prospects. Athlete Vault has released an initial top 100 and relevant prospects at this time are:

#2 FL DT Timmy Jernigan (Michigan offer, but probably a Florida lock)

#3 AZ OT Christian Westerman (Michigan offer)

#10 GA TE Jay Rome (Michigan offer)

#12 MI LB Lawrence Thomas (Michigan offer, favors MSU)

#15 OH QB Braxton Miller (Michigan offer, favors OSU)

#27 FL S Hasean Clinton-Dix (Michigan interest, Dr. Phillips)

#35 FL WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin (Michigan interest)

#50 NC QB Christian LeMay (Michigan offer and camper, probably a lock to Florida)

#52 OH LB Trey DePriest (Michigan offer)

#54 DE Jalen Grimble (Michigan offer, added to the board)

#84 TX S Sheroid Evans (Stonum, Herron, Woolfolk HS)

#91 OH DE Chris Rock (Michigan interest)

#100 FL RB Demetrius Hart (Michigan lock)

Several other guys on the list will probably be of interest by the time 2011 recruiting truly ramps up.

For his part, Sheroid Evans would like to run track and major in engineering in college. Somebody get this kid on the phone with Troy Woolfolk and Patrick Omameh, stat.

Lawrence Thomas, on the other hand, is the subject of a ridiculously-misleading ESPN headline: "Mich. LB favors another Big Ten school" is a phrase which here means "Penn State is a school he is considering." The article itself even explicitly says he has no favorites.

Added OH TE Robert Mincey to the board, as he took a Michigan visit for the Penn State game ($, info in header). Same with PA OL Kevin Reihner.

SoFlaFootball also has its top 50 for 2011.

Etc.:

People close to MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment are "beginning to think" he'll probably end up at Southern Cal. Uh, no, they've pretty much thought that all along. Notre Dame homers, on the other hand, think it's a 2-horse race between them and Ohio State. MI RB Jeremy Langford visited Michigan recently ($, info in header), I'd be surprised if an offer comes through. Michigan is pursuing post-grad VA DE David Mackall, currently a Maryland commit ($, info in header). I've added him to the board. SC CB John Fulton is selected to the Shrine Bowl. PA CB Cullen Christian no longer a lock? Say it ain't so! Is FL WR Kenny Shaw still interested in Michigan? A possible official visit would seem to imply so.

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Wednesday Recruitin'

Wednesday Recruitin' Comment Count

Tim October 29th, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Somewhat light update this week, though delayed until Thursday due to a busy Wednesday. All-time updates can be found on the 2010 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. Don't forget about the 2011 Michigan football Recruiting Board, although there is no 2011 news in this update.

Up Front

beachum.jpg

I've added TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum (pictured at right) to the board, as he plans on visiting Michigan ($, info in header). He's currently committed to Arkansas as a running back(!) and is a 280-pound dual threat QB(!) in high school. That's one heck of an athlete that the Wolverines are pursuing on the defensive line.

Both MN OL Seantrel Henderson and PA DT Sharrif Floyd opted against visiting Michigan last weekend, which seriously damages Michigan's chances at both of them (though it may be a better thing that they didn't sit through the rain to see Michigan get pounded). The Daily Gopher thinks Michigan is hanging on near the back of Henderson's top schools, though that was with the assumption he would visit Ann Arbor. As for Floyd, he went to Ohio State instead, and he has a new top five:

In no particular order, they are: Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, South Carolina and USC.

Last Line of Defense

Michigan's woes in the secondary, compounded by the dismissal of Boubacar Cissoko from the team yesterday, have a number of recruits giving Michigan a hard look. CA CB Tony Jefferson, currently a UCLA commit, plans to take a Michigan visit for next week's Purdue game, as mgoblog's own TomVH said Tuesday. UCLA (where he is currently committed), Florida, and Miami are his other finalists.

johnson wilkins.jpg

Added LA S Carvin Johnson to the board, as he took an official visit to Ann Arbor for the contest against the Nittany Lions ($, info in header). He really enjoyed the visit, as well ($, info in header). Johnson has a Michigan offer, and favors the Wolverines pending a couple more official visits. Carvin is on the left in the photo, next to Wolverine commit PA DE Ken Wilkins (image courtesy of Josh Helmholdt in the Detroit Free Press).

FL CB Tony Grimes has had Michigan near the top of his list for quite some time now, and the Wolverines may be in a similar position for his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy. However, neither is ready to make a decision any time soon:

"I'm just letting things come to me in recruiting," Grimes said. "I'm more focused on my play on the field, but I am staying in touch with certain college coaches. The recruiting stuff will all play itself out in the end. I'm in no hurry to make a decision."

Added Murphy, "We are probably just going to continue to focus on high school football right now and then once it gets towards that deadline, we are going to put our heads together after we take our officials and (determine) where we want to be the next three to four years."

Grimes is one of Michigan's top prospects at corner, and adding a pass-rusher would be icing on the cake.

Elsewhere in Michigan leans, PA CB Cullen Christian enjoyed his visit to West Virginia. The Mountaineers are probably Michigan's biggest competition for Christian.

Moving to a prospect that the Wolverines don't have a great chance with, CA S Dietrich Riley is favoring Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida, and USC. I think the title "Riley Down to Four" might be overstating the case, but any other school is definitely facing an uphill battle. Michigan is one of four schools vying for his final official visit.

Etc.

OH LB Steve Mehrer visited Ann Arbor last weekend ($, info in header). His best current offer is Bowling Green, so he's probably way down the list of possibilities. OH TE Alex Smith has Michigan in his final two with Cincinnati. ESPN has (rather unwisely) made it impossible to link to their "On the Trail" recruiting updates, so no link, but CA RB Anthony Barr has eliminated Michigan, and I've removed him from the board.

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Tuesday Recruitin'

Tuesday Recruitin' Comment Count

Brian July 21st, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Update 7/14: Linked to articles on FL CB Tony Grimes, LA WR Drew Dileo, FL WR Ricardo Miller, PA CB Cullen Christian (and PA S Brandon Ifill), OH OL Christian Pace, MI RB commit Austin White, CT LB Khairi Fortt, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, IA QB AJ Derby (HT: BHGP), MN OL Seantrel Henderson (second), OH LB Jewone Snow. Moved MI RB Austin White to committed.

Videos of MI WR commit Jeremy Jackson, MI RB commit Austin White.

Removed FL CB Spencer Boyd (ND), SC CB Detrick Bonner (VT), SC OL Eric Mack (SoCar), MD LB Troy Gloster, UT DT Ricky Hemuili, NJ RB Tony Jones, OH RB Erick Howard, MI WR Baquer Sayed. Also removed the three QBs in the "unoffered prospects" category. Moved CA RB Dietrich Riley to S, FL RB Nickell Robey to CB, PA RB Zach Zwinak to LB.

As per usual, some links from Varsity Blue.

Editorial Opinion: Mildly busy week highlighted by the commitment of MI RB Austin White, which gives Michigan the top instate QB, RB, and WR in this class. On to the show…

Happy Trails

I took the opportunity presented by Austin White's commitment to rearrange the RB board. Anyone with a defensive position got shoved to that side of the ball on the assumption that's where Michigan will recruit them in the future and a couple marginal guys got sliced.

Other departures:

  • FL CB Spencer Boyd finally committed to ND, surprising no one.
  • A couple of South Carolina guys committed elsewhere.
  • MD Troy Gloster is down to West Virginia and Stanford, which is one screwy list if you ask me.
  • M did not make UT DT Ricky Heimuli's top ten.

Michigan was a real longshot in Heimuli's recruitment, but not even making a top ten list is harsh. Gloster's a mid-three star linebacker, so none of this is particularly damaging. On to that damage, though…

Slipping away?

MN OL Seantrel Henderson's recruitment has undergone an unfortunate twist in the last couple weeks. Last week he tentatively announced four officials, none of which were to Michigan, and said Florida State—still not Michigan—might be the fifth. This week:

Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson told ESPN affiliate Web site GatorCountry.com, "Florida, USC and Ohio State... its going to be one of those three. They play for championships and they put a lot of people in the NFL."

Wha? Okay, it's not final…

"It's not that I've closed the door on anyone. I'm still open but I've got some things that are important to me. It's going to be a tough choice but I'm going to make the right one whatever that is."

…but that's a huge shift from Henderson's previous statements and the widely held epinion that Michigan was a player on his short list and possibly even a tentative leader. Also there is this from MaxPreps:

In fact, one source close to the situation expects it to ultimately come down to OSU and USC, with Minnesota likely having already been ruled out.

Adding confusion to confusion, epinion merchants on M premium sites still say Michigan's a factor. So… yeah. Not dead yet in the same way Henderson wasn't in the bag earlier in the year, but chances haven't exactly gone up over the past couple weeks.

Oh, Right, That

I promised some more Christian Pace scuttlebutt in last week's Tuesday Recruitin' and then forgot all about it. Allow me to make amends. A reader sends this along:

A friend of mine is close to the Avon Lake football program.  He's a former MAC football player, his kid is on the team, and he helps out with their off season conditioning program.  He is not a cheerleader who is normally wowed by kids, but he confirmed to me last weekend that Pace is the real deal.  He mentioned that Florida State was absolutely smitten with him.  The FSU coaches actually told Pace that he is better than one or two of their starters today and would start for FSU in the 2009 season (as a 17 year old).  That's obviously an over-the-top statement, but FSU clearly saw him as a guy who would play immediately and wanted him badly.  I wonder if Rod is expecting Pace to at least be in the two-deep for the 2010 season, and thus encouraging the early enrollment.  Otherwise, enrolling early just to be redshirted the next season seems like a form of self-torture.  Especially for a recruit who had good coaching/training in HS and is relatively polished.

This jives with what the recruiting-mad Florida State fans at Tomahawk Nation told me: Rick Trickett was crazy about Pace, downright loony, and was really disappointed Michigan got him. Given the close association between Trickett and Rodriguez, that bodes well for his future.

What The… No. I Must Resist.

LA WR commit Drew Dileo comes in for the big fluff in his local paper, and you get one-count-it-one guess as to which current NFL player gets dragged up for comparison. Correct:

“He (Jackson) told us Drew reminds them of Wes Welker,” Simoneaux said.

The rest of the article has fascinating insight into Dileo's recruitment, including this remarkably self-aware statement:

“I know my profile isn’t as great as a lot of other kids’ around the country,” he said. “I know (Michigan) reached out there a little bit to get me. It’s not about proving anybody wrong. I just don’t want people up there to feel like I wasted a scholarship.”

Yipes. Hope he wasn't referring to this space, which attempted to be kind but was blunt in its assessment of Dileo's recruiting profile and the class composition when he joined up ("not terribly enthused"). Here will be a true test of Rodriguez's ability to unearth productive who-dats. They found the guy, they pursued him heavily…

“Of all the coaches that came through,” Parkview assistant David Simoneaux said, “Michigan was the most aggressive. They said they just had to have him.”

…and they got him. I hope it works out.

Unexpected In The Other Direction

Josh Helmholdt follows up on CA LB Tony Jefferson, who told ESPN last week Michigan would be on his list of official visits and USC was out. The article doesn't actually have any quotes, so let's just highlight this:

One reason Michigan likely has made a quick rise on Jefferson’s list is because of his desire to receive a highly respected degree. Jefferson committed to Stanford very early in his junior year, citing the Cardinal’s academic prestige. He eventually reneged on that commitment, but still is looking for a strong academic situation.

So there you go. Jefferson maintains no leaders.

Then there's this (now nearly week-old) article on FL CB Tony Grimes. Money quote:

"Michigan is going to be tough to beat," he said. "It's a great program. The networking is on point at Michigan and the alumni system is amazing. The coaching staff is building something great over there."

Schwing. Grimes isn't highly rated on Rivals but is Scout's #5 corner and the offers agree with Scout: Miami, Alabama, Georgia, and plenty others. Grimes visited earlier in the year and has scheduled a return trip for the Notre Dame game; that's the first official he's set.

And, yes, I am contractually obligated to highlight this quote:

"I was with Vladimir (Emilien)," Grimes said of his time in Ann Arbor. "That's my boy. He told me one difference (at Michigan) is once you get there, you are not just a piece of meat, you are a part of the family. That's something I can believe because he didn't play none of his senior year after he tore his ACL, but they didn't just cut him off. They kept his offer and he committed there. "

At this point I'd love nothing more than to never hear the world "family" in connection with Michigan football, good or bad.

More of the Same

PA CB Cullen Christian favors… yep:

When asked to name his leader, Christian said, "I like Michigan best. I feel I have the biggest bond with their coaches. I feel like it's a family there. Michigan is a great school."

Plz commit ASAP plz. Christian may bring along teammate and PA S Brandon Ifill, who's recently declared a top two of M and Maryland and will visit August 31st. Picking up Christian and Grimes would be a stellar 1-2 punch at corner.

Adios, Guy Whose Name I Just Figured Out

I had CT LB Khairi Fortt's name wrong on the board all this time, which is probably why he's got Michigan at or near the bottom of his top six:

"Penn State and North Carolina would be two visits," Fortt said. "But I have to go back over things. We visited 15 or 16 schools. I have to go back through my notes and pictures. I visited Penn State and North Carolina recently, so those schools are (fresh) in my mind."

Fortt does not see himself taking all five official visits.

"I might make three visits," he said.

Fortt tentatively plans an unofficial to Michigan in the next month, but M is clearly behind at least two schools and is just barely hanging on.

Etc.: I've been ignoring a lot of stuff on FL LB Jeff Luc because he's hardly mentioned Michigan and is expected to stay in state, but Sam Webb's been saying on the radio that he expects Luc will take an official. He also confirms that Khairi Fortt is not likely to end up at M. OH LB Jewone Snow doesn't seem like he'll get an offer. IA QB AJ Derby is still open. Commitment fluff on MI RB Austin White. Some MI WR Jeremy Jackson youtube interviews. Bo Schemblogger catches up with MI WR Ricardo Miller for a quick interview.

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Tuesday Recruitin'

Tuesday Recruitin' Comment Count

Brian July 14th, 2009 at 10:11 AM

Update 7/14: Linked to articles on OH DT Terry Talbott, PA OL Robbie Havenstein, CA S Sean Parker, OH OL Skyler Schofner, OH S Latwan Anderson, FL RB Corvin Lamb, SC QB Cornelius Jones, MI P Mike Sadler, CA LB Tony Jefferson, PA DT Sharrif Floyd, MN OL Seantrel Henderson (and PA S Brandon Ifill), CT LB Khari Fortt.

Video of SC QB commit Cornelius Jones.

Helmholdt on the tailbacks and such. MI QB Devin Gardner makes the Elite 11. MI RB Austin White decides Wednesday. This story isn't really about OH CB commit Courtney Avery.

Added FL RB Brandon Gainer.

Removed FL DE Delvin Jones, OH OL Andrew Donnal (Iowa), OH OL Travis Jackson (MSU), TX LB Corey Nelson (A&M).

Some links from Bleed Scarlet.

Happy Trails

Jones was a tremendous longshot from day one and Jackson camped at Michigan but failed to get an offer. BFDs—sarcastic BFDs—both.

OH OL Andrew Donnal, on the other hand, is a highly-regarded kid and should have been one of Michigan's priorities at tackle this fall; he's now off the board. And TX LB Corey Nelson had Michigan as his leader for about ten minutes in March, but Michigan quickly fell off the radar. Linebacker options are thinning.

Imminent, Impending, Etc.

aUSTIN wHITE

MI RB Austin White has a decision date, which according to Sam Webb is tomorrow. The status as of a week ago when Tom VanHaaren caught up with White:

I talk to Coach Rod Smith and Jackson the most. I really like that I’ve built a good relationship with all the coaches, not just my position coaches. It’s good to get to know all of them, and see that they all have the same goals. That’s kind of what has them [Michigan] as my favorite.

White's currently sporting blue on the recruiting board. The LSU visit did not come off and State's opinion of their chance became clear when they offered Nick Hill. Everyone expects he will put on a block M hat tomorrow.

The Spartan spin machine will get engaged now; I can't wait to hear what Valenti and the rest of the short bus crowd come up with to explain State losing a guy who's got two brothers on the MSU team and was the preferred choice of both instate schools.

Done, or no?

With TX RBs Stephen Hopkins and Tony Drake in the bag—though a lot of people are saying Drake will end up a slot receiver woo don't we need some more receivers—and the likely addition of White, Michigan is close to done at tailback. There are still a couple guys out there that Michigan would just about have to make room for, though.

One, FL RB Eduardo Clements, camped at Michigan, claims an even top three of Miami, Georgia, and Michigan, and has seen Georgia take two high-rated tailback commits in recent weeks. Even so, most observers think Michigan remains a longshot. An official visit is on tap if his recruitment goes that long.

The other is a new, surprising name: FL RB Brandon Gainer. He's got a top two that includes M:

… Gainer is a true running back prospect and ranked as the No. 12 player at the position nationally by Rivals.com. Michigan has made a big jump on his list in the last few months and now joins Florida State atop his list. He plans to take an official visit to Michigan this fall and decide soon after where he will attend school.

Gainer's name had hardly come up before that announcement, so I don't know much about him yet. He's a member of the Rivals 250.

White's commitment will likely end the recruitment of everyone else, including two more Florida tailbacks: Corvin Lamb now says LSU leads($) and Cassius McDowell always seemed like a plan B option.

Your Verging-On-Creepy Gardner Update

Have I gone a week without mentioning enormous, fleet-footed, charming, handsome MI QB Devin Gardner? No? Well, this won't be the week either. Gardner's made the Elite "11"* passing camp:

Devin Gardner (Committed to Michigan)
Gardner is raw and mechanically unorthodox, but he's extremely productive and talented. Plus he possesses a great work ethic-- he wants to be good. Gardner is big, athletic and the perfect fit for the spread with upside to develop and refine his passing skills.

The usual, right? At the very least Gardner's invite provides another venue via which to scout and compare Michigan's prize against the rest of the country's top recruits, including fellow instate quarterbacks Robert Bolden and Joe Boisture. If Gardner comes out of the camp on par with the rest of those guys that's a major win since the remainder of the invitees aren't 6'5" gazelles. (Except maybe for 'Bama commit Phillip Sims (Not That Phil Simms).)

That Other Guy

cornelius-jones-spartanburg

Michigan does have another quarterback committed: South Carolina's Cornelius Jones. Jones has been a mystery man thus far in his recruitment, ignored by the in-state schools and devoid of video or rankings on the recruiting sites. That void of information has begun to be filled. Unfortunately, I can't embed AthleteVault's highlight video, but it does exist and you can check it out. All you can tell is he's got the usual athleticism.

Meanwhile, his local paper has been giving Jones some attention of late. His Spartanburg team flew to the final of a local 7-on-7 tournament thanks in large part to his play:

“Cornelius made some phenomenal throws,” [Spartanburg HC Freddie] Brown said. “Defensively, Coach (Mark) Razzano made some good calls in tight situations, and the kids made some big plays with games on the line.”

Along the way Spartanburg downed big programs like Olive Branch (Miss.), Hoover (Ala.), and Independence (NC). In the final,  Spartanburg fell to a loaded Byrnes team that features like three top-100 recruits, including Marcus Lattimore.

And a little earlier the same paper took a look at Jones' redemption story:

“I just was surrounded by a bunch of negative things. I was getting in trouble,” Jones said. “I never saw myself being around any of this (now).”

Jones was out of the public school system for 18 months as a result of his troubles.

At some point he woke up, decided he didn't like the direction things were going in, and hooked up with Spartanburg's new head coach—the previous coach had banned him from the team. From there, it was one highlight video and Michigan had an offer for him. He'll be a kid to root for once he arrives, and he will: despite his time in the wilderness Jones has a 3.7 GPA.

Pairing Up

Michigan's in a good spot with PA S Brandon Ifill, who's yet to visit Michigan's campus but still says this about his leaders:

When asked if he has a favorite school, Ifill said, "It's probably between Michigan and Maryland. I've been to Maryland twice. I feel comfortable with the coaching staff. Michigan has been recruiting me the longest. Coach (Rich) Rodriguez has been recruiting me since he was at West Virginia."

Ifill's scheduled an unofficial at the end of the month, at which point we'll have a better grasp on how much mutual interest there is between the parties. Ifill is the teammate of PA CB Cullen Christian, who maintained a loud and proud Michigan lead for months now, and the pair could extend Rodriguez's streak of locking down teammates to a third year.

That article has some less salutary news, too…

Seantrel?

MN OL Seantrel Henderson's dad says his son has a slate of officials he's planning. They don't include Michigan:

"I know his five official visits. He will definitely visit Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC and Florida. Florida State is one that could change. He might decide to visit somewhere else besides Florida State. He could visit both the Florida schools or he might just take one to Florida."  …

When asked about the four definite official visits, Seantrel said, "That might change, but right now that's it. Florida State might be the fifth one."

Urgh. One way to look at the schedule: he's going to places he hasn't gone to before and can't afford to get to on his own time. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Minnesota did get mentions amongst the "six to eight" schools Henderson is still considering, and Henderson has already been to all three of those. As we're about to see with a kid in California, sometimes the lack of an official isn't all that telling about who leads.

That's more boosterism for the local school, though, and if that visit schedule isn't modified to include Michigan I doubt Henderson ends up at M.

*(taking a page from the Big 10, the Elite 11 actually invites 12 quarterbacks but chooses the name that sounds cooler.)

West Coast Folk

A couple of highly-touted Californians have announced plans to take officials to Michigans. CA S Sean Parker sort of has a top two:

"I'm going to Notre Dame (Sept. 4)," Parker said. "I'm also setting a visit to Michigan, but I haven't locked in the date yet. After that, I'm pretty open and really don't know who will get my last three visits but I do plan to take all five."

Aaaand CA LB Tony Jefferson sort of has a top seven:

"I have my first two visits lined up right now," Jefferson said. "I'm going to Florida (Sept. 18) and Oklahoma (Nov. 13). My last three visits will be to Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State and I'll do unofficial visits to USC and UCLA.

Jefferson claims everyone wants him as a safety so I might have to move him in the near future; he claims early playing time is extremely important and that's why big early leader USC has dropped back to the field.

Parker, who's stated he would like to get out of the state several times, is a considerably more likely option. Either would be a strong addition to the class.

Punting With Birds In

MI P Mike Sadler has picked up a State offer and now bears an impressive list:

Last week, Michigan State offered punter Mike Sadler (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern). With the offer, the Spartans joined the likes of Alabama, LSU, Purdue, Northwestern and the Air Force Academy, all schools which had already offered him a scholarship.

Meanwhile, Michigan appears to be chasing WI P Will Hagerup above all others. Sadler grew up a Michigan fan and had some quotes earlier in the year that suggested an offer would be highly likely to end up in a commit, but if Michigan keeps holding off there's always the chance he gets ticked off and heads elsewhere. Apparently Sadler had a rough outing in front of Michigan's coaches but with specialists, especially punters, I'd trust a half-dozen other teams' evaluations over one or two afternoons.

I hope Michigan tells Hagerup they'll give him a brief window in which to commit before they offer Sadler; I'd rather take the almost-as-meaty bird that would really like to leap into your hand than the Wisconsonian in the bush. Eh… you know what I mean.

Defensive Tacklin'

OH DT Terry Talbott had been reported as a Michigan offeree earlier, but apparently that's not quite the case:

“I know Wisconsin has offered me, Purdue and Illinois, a couple more Big Ten schools, UCLA, Kentucky, Arkansas, and North Carolina State too.  Michigan hasn’t really offered me yet.  I’m just trying to see when I can get a chance to come up there.  We’re having trouble with our cars, but I want to come up and visit.”

Talbott has a (slightly) younger brother who's a cornerback; naturally they'd like to go to the same school. As per usual, a visit will tell.

Etc.: CT LB Khari Fortt remains a considerable longshot but this article claims he's got a visit to Michigan planned and where there's a visit there's a (vague, probably not worth mentioning) chance. PA DT Sharrif Floyd has Michigan in his top six but Penn State sounds like the leader. OH S Latwan Anderson still favors WVU. OH OL Skyler Schofner hasn't heard from M "in a while"; may not be a priority.

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