Friday Recruitin' Hurdles a Guy

Friday Recruitin' Hurdles a Guy

Submitted by Ace on February 24th, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Today's recruiting roundup checks out Shane Morris's new highlight tape, goes over the laundry list of top prospects who took notice of last weekend's commitment extravaganza, and details Michigan's new offers and expected visitors.

What, No Punting Highlights?

Shane Morris unleashed his junior tape yesterday, and the first full minute features him... running. And hurdling a guy. I'm seriously, you guys:

Oh, there's also your standard fare of cannon-launched deep balls and precision touch passes, but SHANE MORRIS HURDLED A GUY AND HE'S TOTALLY DENARD 2.0. Also, he punts, though disappointingly that wasn't in the video:

Don’t underestimate Morris’ potential in the punting game. While a left-handed thrower, he kicks right-footed. According to De La Salle’s special teams coach, Morris averaged a shade under 40 yards a punt last season and had a 58 yarder in one game. Morris played soccer for seven years.

Next week we'll learn that Morris throws a 90-mph slider with either arm, turned down Red Berenson's overtures to be Shawn Hunwick's successor, and is the only person to defeat The World's Most Interesting Man in a game of jai-alai.

Morris, as you're well aware, is also pretty good at this whole recruiting thing—that Hoke guy isn't bad himself, I hear—and top prospects have taken notice of Michigan's dynamite start to the 2013 class. Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac is one of those prospects, though he's also trying to take his time with his decision ($, info in header):

“It’s hard not to notice (Michigan’s recruiting success), but I kind of told myself ‘don’t let that be a deciding factor,” said Isaac.  “I know there are a few places that I really want to see. I know that being somewhere with a good class is a big deal, and to me it’s very important, but I didn’t really want to make a rash decision just because everyone else was doing it.”

Isaac will visit Ann Arbor on March 10th between trips to Notre Dame and USC, who appear to be the other schools in contention for the Midwest's top back, though he's yet to narrow down his list ($, info in header). One factor very much playing in Michigan's favor is their depth chart, something Isaac is keeping a close eye on, as he wants the opportunity to play early. Another top Illinois prospect, Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, is also keeping a low profile, but he's willing to say that the Wolverines are among his leaders ($, info in header):

While he claims to have no top list, Treadwell will admit Michigan is one of his leaders. After this past weekend, when Michigan picked up eight commitments, there might not be much time before he will have to make a decision, something that Treadwell says won't deter him from his timeline.

"That won't change anything for me," he said. "It's not my time yet."

One player who has flat-out stated Michigan is on top is four-star linebacker E.J. Levenberry in a free ESPN article linked by Brian yesterday. The Wolverines are also in good shape with four-star linebackers Dorian O'Daniel and Mike McCray; with Michigan likely to take just one or two at the position they should be able to get a very high-quality haul there.

247 Sports updated their Top247, and for the most part the new rankings were kind to the Wolverines, though Jake Butt took a rather perpelxing tumble. Touch the Banner provided a summary of the movement:

- Shane Morris dropped from #12 to #14
- Dymonte Thomas dropped from #35 to #40
- Chris Fox dropped from #39 to #47
- Kyle Bosch jumped from #55 to #42
- Jake Butt dropped from #70 to outside the top 247
- Taco Charlton jumped from #115 to #99
- Wyatt Shallman dropped from #149 to #187
- Jourdan Lewis dropped from #218 to outside the top 247
- David Dawson jumped from outside the top 247 to #195

My only guess as to why Butt would drop so far is that 24/7 initially evaluated him as a DE, and when he committed to a school as a TE they adjusted accordingly; I still don't know why he fell all the way out, as most first-hand accounts have him as a better offensive prospect than defensive. C'est la vie. Click that TTB link to see where all of Michigan's targets landed in the new list, which provides further confirmation that the Wolverines are offering the cream of the crop this year.

New Offers, Scheduled Visits, Visit Reactions, Etc.

Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focuses on one of the many high-profile offensive linemen to come out of Illinois in 2013, New Lenox Lincoln-Way West's Colin McGovern, who could vie for that last offensive line spot in the class:

"I spoke with Coach Funk over the weekend and (Wednesday), and he let me know there is one spot left (for an offensive lineman)," McGovern reported. "I'm just glad that I'm going to be visiting really soon there so I can sort of get a look at things and maybe compare it to schools that I've visited in the past. But I'm not looking to commit right now. I'm going to let it play out and whatever happens, happens. If they stay available that'd be nice because that's an extra choice for me. I know Michigan is a great school and a powerhouse football team, but I'm not going to rush into a decision that I might regret."

McGovern will visit on March 10th, and he's also got visits scheduled for Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and possibly Washington over the next couple months. He's not in a rush to make his decision, but he also doesn't have a set timetable; when he feels like he's ready to make a choice, he'll go ahead and do just that. He doesn't claim any favorites right now, though he says Michigan would be near the top of his list if he had one (he doesn't).

The top-ranked lineman in Illinois, Ethan Pocic, was the only Saturday visitor to not commit last week, but that doesn't mean he wasn't impressed with Michigan. Pocic released a top ten and the Wolverines are included ($, info in header). As of right now, he hasn't set up any other visits. Michigan also impressed a pair of Monday visitors in TE Jacob Matuska, who talked to Tremendous—it looks like the Wolverines will take a third TE in the class—and DT Donovan Munger, who still doesn't have a Wolverine offer ($).

Your semi-weekly list of new offers:

  • Four-star Reading (MA) Wyomissing Area OLB Alex Anzalone, who told 247 he's planning March visits to both Michigan and Notre Dame ($, info in header).
  • Bastrop (TX) three-star CB Antwuan Davis received his offer from Coach Funk last week ($, info in header). He hasn't set up visits but mentioned Michigan among the schools he'd like to check out.
  • Upland (CA) DE/OLB Joe Mathis grabbed an offer last week and is looking at taking one of his official visits to Ann Arbor ($, info in header).
  • 2014 Bishop (MD) McNamara OT/DT Damian Prince received offers from Michigan, Florida State, Iowa, and North Carolina last week, bringing his total to 11 already ($, info in header).
  • 2014 Grand Rapids Christian ATH Drake Harris is primarily a basketball recruit—he's been in heavy contact with John Beilein—but he also says he's received an offer to play football for the Wolverines ($, info in header). He's the rare player who could be a legit scholarship player at two sports.
  • 2014 Washington (DC) Friendship Academy CB Jalen Tabor was offered on Sunday ($, info in header). He already holds offers from schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech, and he's looking to visit Ann Arbor this summer.

As you can see, the coaching staff has been able to turn some of their focus to the sophomore class—identifying 2014's top targets—with half of the junior class already wrapped up.

There's a short list of weekend visitors after last weekend's junior day atmosphere (though it wasn't an official junior day): four-star OL Patrick Kugler, who holds an offer; Barrington (IL) OL Jack Keeler ($, not offered); Logan Tuley-Tillman (yes, again); and 2014 QB Chandler Kincade, who's an early Pitt commit.

Several other players are planning future trips to Ann Arbor. Pittsburgh (PA) TE Scott Orndoff, Wisconsin's lone commit in the class of 2013, told Tremendous that he'll take a visit to Michigan after being offered recently—further evidence that the Wolverines want a third TE in the class. PA OT Mike McGlinchey is looking to take a spring trip to check out the Wolverines ($, info in header). Erial (NJ) Timber Creek teammates DT Greg Webb and DE Dajuan Drennon might be a package deal, according to Webb, and plan on visiting Ann Arbor in the future ($, info in header).

A quick note: Despite a recent MaxPreps article saying Michigan had renewed interest in Midland OT Steven Elmer, Sam Webb has confirmed with Elmer's father that he's not interested and is solidly committed to Notre Dame. End of discussion.

Quickly: SBNation editors pick their favorite tales from the recruiting trail, and it's a hilarious read (I must agree with Andrew Sharp—Willie Williams is tough to top). MnB's Zach Travis answers questions about recruiting and the renewed fervor of the Michigan-Ohio State battles for SBNation's main recruiting page. Chantel Jennings goes over the remaining needs in the class ($). TomVH focuses in on the top remaining targets along the offensive line ($).

Tuesday Recruitin' Gets the Mom Seal of Approval

Tuesday Recruitin' Gets the Mom Seal of Approval

Submitted by Ace on February 14th, 2012 at 2:41 PM

In today's recruiting roundup, Sam Webb goes in-depth with Logan Tuley-Tillman and Laquon Treadwell, discusses new offers and visits, and takes a look ahead at a couple of 2014 prospects. Also, Derek Dooley whines about not being able to oversign. You stay classy, SEC.

ALEX KOZAN UPDATE

There is no Alex Kozan update. Please stop asking. When he makes a decision, you'll know. Do not disturb the tao of the vision quest.

Other 2012 stuff: Joe Bolden is already hitting the weights hard after enrolling early ($):

[Preparing for spring practice] includes making every voluntary workout session, hitting the books hard and preparing for Big Ten football. He and strength coach Aaron Wellman aren't best friends yet, but "getting there," Bolden said with a chuckle.

"It's strenuous, but good," he said. "That's one of the reasons I came in early, to get in and get my body in shape to play Big Ten football. I've gained three pounds (in a month), and I don't think it's fat."

Bolden came in at 225 pounds, so it sounds like he's well on his way to being physically ready to see the field this fall.

Touch the Banner posts Allen Gant's senior highlight tape.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley rants against the SEC's new restrictions on oversigning over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I really don't even know where to start; he thinks oversigning is "good for the student-athlete," complains that he can no longer greyshirt recruits who were injured as seniors—claiming that they could get just as good medical care at home as they would with the professional medical staff at Tennessee—and is mad he's no longer able to take guys who aren't academically eligible. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that such idiotic scumbaggery is coming from a guy who regularly wears orange pants and has a history of blocking legitimate transfer requests, but man... if he disappears in the near future, it's because Nick Saban decided Dooley wasn't a suitable spokesman for the SEC way of doing things.

Teach Me How To Logie

Peoria (IL) Manual OT Logan Tuley-Tillman and Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell both visited Ann Arbor last weekend—and, perhaps more importantly, brought along their mothers—getting a chance to take in the basketball game against Illinois and check out the Big House when it's not packed with 110,000+ people. After the visit, Sam Webb interviewed the recruits and their moms on WTKA, and video of the interviews is posted on Scout. Tuley-Tillman's is broken into three parts; part one is free, and parts two and three are behind a paywall. Logan confirmed that Michigan is definitely his top school—it was his "sixth or seventh" visit, and he's looking to come up again this weekend—followed by Alabama and Florida State. MGoUser WolverineInABag had a summary of the rest of the interview, which I'm reprinting below [emphasis mine]:

-Michigan remains his outright leader, by a long shot

-This was LTT's 6th visit to Michigan, 1st with his mother

-Has developed a great relationship with Coach Funk

-His Aunt living close to Ann Arbor is VERY important to him

-His Mother wants him to go to UM, and she seemingly stressed that several times in the interview

-His Mother calls him "Logie"

-He will take all of his official visits

-Loves the family atmosphere at Michigan

This was his mother's first trip to Ann Arbor with Logan, and she came away very impressed with the school and the coaches. While Logan plans on taking his time and seeing other schools, at this point it's difficult to see him not ending up at Michigan—he's already been inside Nick Saban's office and come out with the Wolverines as his leader.

Treadwell's interview is spread over two parts, again with the first part up for free and the second paywalled. Though Treadwell is also slowing it down and won't name a leader at this time, he did say that Michigan at one point held a big lead and they're now in his top group with Michigan State—where he also visited last weekend, and enjoyed it—and Notre Dame. He's been impressed with his recruiters at Michigan, Coach Montgomery and Coach Hecklinski, and so was his mother. One very interesting development is that Treadwell, Tuley-Tillman, and Joliet (IL) Academy RB Ty Isaac are in regular communication about their recruitments; they're considering all going to the same school and would like to visit Ann Arbor together. That would be one heck of a package deal.

Speaking of Isaac, Webb posted an excerpt from a full magazine feature in which he interviews the junior's father, Tyrone, and they discussed Isaac's visit to Ann Arbor in January. It appears that Fred Jackson is pretty keen on coaching Isaac in the future:

Sam Webb: What were some other things, aside from the genuineness, that kind of stuck out to you during your time on campus?

Tyrone Isaac: “One of the things that really stuck out was Coach Jackson. When we walked in there, he had a plan for him. No other place that we went had a plan. He had dates written down, and he had, ‘if you commit, you know, I want you to know all the plays before you ever get on campus’, you know? For me, you have to have a game plan. You know? Seriously, you have to have a game plan.”

Wyatt Shallman—another running back recruit, and that has been reiterated to him several times—visited this past weekend as well, and he reported that he enjoyed the visit and his talk with Jackson ($). Shallman is in no hurry to commit and won't name any leaders; right now he's focused on working out with his Catholic Central teammates after being hampered by a hamstring injury for most of his junior year (he says he's now back to 100%).

Offers, Visits, and Lists (Oh My)

A few new offers for class of 2013 prospects came in over the weekend. Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter's Prep CB Tre Bell received his offer from Curt Mallory on Sunday; I interviewed him yesterday and will have that transcribed and posted in the near future. The offers have been pouring in for Bell—a three-star to 24/7—over the last couple weeks, including ones from Florida, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The Wolverines also offered 6'5", 295-pound tackle John Montelus, who hails from Everett (MA). He recently was named the #214 overall prospect in the Rivals250. Tremendous has a quick rundown of their interview with him (linked above), and I should be talking to him within the next day or so.

One of the top running backs in the country, Cypress (TX) CyRanch's Keith Ford earned his offer over the weekend. He's a highly-sought prospect with a current top five of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida State and Alabama, and he holds offers from all five of those schools. It could be very tough to bring him in, though potentially not as tough as many Texas prospects—he's originally from Jacksonville, though that also makes Florida State a more intriguing destination.

Michigan also offered another running back, Cordova (TN) St. Benedict's Jordan Wilkins, who also holds offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Arkansas and Memphis ($, info in header). Wilkins is still waiting to hear from some big-names schools, as well as visit the places he's been offered from, but he did name a preliminary top five:

"Right now I don't have a top list, but it was Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Ohio State and now that Michigan popped in there that's probably my top five," [Wilkins] said.

Meanwhile, several top prospects have stated intentions to visit Ann Arbor. Four-star Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton will be in Ann Arbor this weekend, and he mentioned the possibility of an early commitment to Scout ($, info in header) [emphasis mine]:

"It'll just be great to get a chance to talk to all of the coaches you know Mattison, Hoke," said Charlton. "I got a chance to talk to Singletary and Montgomery and Coach Smith just them right there was great, especially that they came all the way down to Ohio to see me. That just shows that they're showing love to me already."

The question now is how much of that love will Charlton reciprocate when he is in Ann Arbor next weekend. Might a commitment take place while he is on campus?

"It might be a little slight chance," Charlton said with a smile. "We'll see how things go after the visit, then we'll talk after that. I definitely want to enjoy the visit first."

Charlton has maintained throughout the process that Michigan getting in on him early was a big point in their favor. We'll have to see if he decides that's enough of a factor—along with potential early playing time, another priority—to end his recruitment early.

Running through the other players who plan on visiting and don't have set dates yet: Richmond (VA) RB Derrick Green, who wants to visit this summer and said Fred Jackson is "one of the coaches that’s going to keep it 100 with me," which is just a fantastic quote ($); Good Counsel (MD) CB Kendall Fuller, one of the top prospects in the country ($, info in header); Shaker Heights (OH) DL Donovan Munger, who's hoping for an offer soon and "definitely" plans on visiting ($); Cleveland Glenville S Christopher Worley—confusing, I know—who currently holds just a Bowling Green offer but has several big-name schools, including Ohio State, interested ($); Avon (OH) athlete Ross Douglas would "love to have that [Michigan] offer," and he's talking to Greg Mattison about taking a visit ($).

There are a couple happy trails: Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek CB Shaq Wiggins committed to Georgia, while Austintown (OH) Fitch DL Billy Price chose the Buckeyes this past week. Also, four-star NJ CB Eli Woodard has set a decision date for Thursday afternoon, and—after coming off a three-day visit to Columbus—Ohio State is the presumed destination ($).

A couple of rising sophomore defensive linemen have expressed interest in Michigan recently. Allen Trieu has a free article on Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell, who's coming off a fantastic performance at last weekend's Elite Big Man camp ($). McDowell plans to camp at Michigan, MSU, and LSU, but he had a one-word answer when asked which school he rooted for growing up: "Michigan." Look for the Wolverines to be heavily involved in his recruitment, and also for him to be one of the top prospects in the 2014 class.

Another player who could earn that distinction is Thiensville (WI) Homestead DT Brandon Hines, who's recently spoke to Greg Mattison and has expressed interest in Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Boston College, and Arkansas early ($). I should be talking to Brandon this week as well, so you'll be hearing more from him soon.

2013 Recruiting Reset

2013 Recruiting Reset

Submitted by Brian on February 2nd, 2012 at 2:59 PM

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MI QB Shane Morris and OH S Dymonte Thomas

Now that the 2012 class is in the bag and on their way to being legends or busts—there is no middle ground—eyes turn towards the 2013 class. This is because football is still a goddamn long way off. Michigan's needs, available slots, and current commits below:

Spots

Attrition is a fact of life, etc etc etc, expect at least five more slots, etc. But right now Michigan graduates the following players after 2012:

  • QB: Denard Robinson (sniff)
  • RB: Mike Cox, Vincent Smith
  • WR: Roy Roundtree, Terrance Robinson
  • TE: Brandon Moore
  • OL: Patrick Omameh, Ricky Barnum, Elliot Mealer, Rocko Khoury
  • DL: Will Campbell, Craig Roh
  • LB: Kenny Demens, Brandin Hawthorne
  • DB: JT Floyd, Jordan Kovacs

Michigan's late whiffs on a variety of folk have paved the way for fifth years for Cox and Robinson. This leaves Michigan with 16 graduating seniors and zero to two open slots depending on what Alex Kozan and Jordan Diamond do.

If you're starting with 16-18 in February, you'll be signing at least 20-22 a year after. Expect yet another basically full class as Michigan tries to work off the Rodriguez instability.

Gentlemen Of Distinction And Taste

Michigan kicks off the 2013 recruiting year with two already in the bag. Instate QB Shane Morris is in the running for five stars and OH S Dymonte Thomas seems like he'll be prominent on everyone's initial top 100 lists.

You can also see the full docket of Michigan offerees on wlubd's diary, soon to be upgraded to a wiki page.

Needs

Quarterback: 1 (filled). Filled with Morris. Slight possibility they'll pursue a second guy, a three-star type, after going without this year.

66337572[1]Running back/fullback: 2 RBs, preferably blue chip. Fullback is probably off the table after Sione Houma signed this year. Running back is the same old story: Michigan has many bodies but no blue-chips. 2013 recruits will be freshmen when Toussaint is a senior, so this is the year to pull in a big-timer. In the midwest, Illinois has Ty Isaac (right) and Indiana has Jaylon Smith. Michigan is after both already; stiff competition will come from Notre Dame and Ohio State, respectively.

Michigan would like at least two. Right now they're relying entirely on Fred Jackson scouting reports for post-Toussaint production. Scary thought.

Wide receiver: 3. It's unclear how many guys Michigan is going to want going forward. When 2013 arrives they'll have four outside types plus senior slots Gallon and Dileo. They'll also have Morris in any blue-chip WR's ear they care to. This might be a year to load up.

Q: will Michigan pursue a slot guy? They might already have one on the roster in Justice Hayes or Dennis Norfleet. Long-term, it seems like a teams can make good use out of a quick little bastard even if they're dedicated pro-style guys. Marquise Maze was Alabama's leading receiver this year, and Keshawn Martin was a hugely effective part of Michigan State's offense and special teams the past four years.

Tight end: 2. Still a thin spot and seemingly one that is becoming vogue in college football. Expect at least one and probably two.

Offensive line: 5. Michigan wanted six but with late defections and whiffs came in with only four or five. Four exit this year, so the line remains just as big of a priority in this class as it was in 2012. Expect four to six OL. One will be a center prospect.

SDE/3-Tech: 2. I'm lumping these together since it's become clear that it's hard to tell which rangy, large, unthrilling pass rushers are strongside defensive ends and which are three-technique defensive tackles. Michigan got a load of these dudes last year: Strobel, Wormley, Godin, and Henry are all ticketed for one spot or the other. This year they can skimp a little but will probably want one or two.

NT: 1. This is the domain of Pipkins. Michigan will want a backup/platoon-mate.

SLB/WDE: 2. Again, these positions have seen Beyer and Clark flip between them and seem largely interchangeable when it comes to projecting high school recruits to a position. Michigan picked up Mario Ojemudia as a WDE and momentarily had Pharaoh Brown in the fold; the other four LBs in the class all seem to be MLB/WLB types. Maybe Jenkins-Stone or Bolden will end up sliding down to SLB eventually.

MLB/WLB: 1. Not a high priority with Ross, Ringer, Bolden, and Jenkins-Stone all seemingly destined for one spot or the other and Antonio Poole coming off a redshirt. Wise to take at least one guy here, maybe two. Numbers not a priority.

168024[1]CB: 2. You cannot litter your roster with sufficient cornerbacks. Realistically you have to look at this position as a three-man unit with the nickelback at least as important as whoever you yank off the field when he gets in. Michigan will have six guys for those three spots and should look to add two or three more.

Cass Tech corner Jourdan Lewis (right) has a Michigan offer and seems likely to hop on it in the near future. He's like a Cass Tech corner except he's taller than TomVH.

S: 1 (filled). Thomas fills a spot and Michigan acquired three in the previous class (Gant, Wilson, Clark). They can probably get by with just Thomas; if the right player comes around they'd likely take a second.

K: 0. Michigan does not need a kicker or punter.

Wildcards: 0-3. The above numbers add up to 22. If the class expands towards 25 they will be able to fill in thin spots with additional players. I'd say another OL, safety, RB, and SLB/WDE are the likely places to see spare scholarships deployed.

Thursday Recruitin' Half-Listens, Says "Uh-Huh"

Thursday Recruitin' Half-Listens, Says "Uh-Huh"

Submitted by Ace on January 19th, 2012 at 10:54 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' looks at receiver recruiting in the wake of Darryl Stonum's dismissal, looks at the final updated rankings from three recruiting services, rounds up last weekend's visits, and much more. Usual request: please contact me via email or Twitter (or leave a comment) with any suggestions, tips, or links you think should show up in the next recruiting roundup.

More Receivers? Not So Much, At Least For Now.

After Darryl Stonum was kicked off the team this week amidst rumors of multiple in-home (Cal commit Jordan Payton [$]) or official (uncommitted Monty Madaris) visits from four-star receivers, it appeared that Michigan would try to immediately fill the void left by Stonum with a third wideout in the 2012 class. Now the picture is far murkier. Tremendous posted late last night that Michigan coaches would no longer visit Payton today, and he would instead take a visit to Washington, where his primary recruiter at Cal, Tosh Lupui, now coaches after a surprising decision to change jobs. Tremendous seems to believe Michigan still has a shot with Payton, but it doesn't look good—Payton had an interview with Scout on Tuesday in which he stated interest in UW and UCLA, but never once mentioned Michigan ($).

Meanwhile, Monty Madaris was initially slated to take a visit to Ann Arbor this weekend, but instead he's decided to travel to Michigan State, now one of his two finalists along with Cincinnati. Madaris, depending on where you look, will either decide this weekend or next, and either way the chances appear slim that the Wolverines will be a major factor. Four-star former Arizona State commit Kenny Lawler, who had previously mentioned interest in Michigan, also looks to be off the board as he narrowed his focus to Oregon State and Washington State this week ($, info in header).

So, will Michigan take a third receiver in the class? I think it would be a good idea, especially if they can find a bona-fide deep threat—a specialty the team sorely lacks without Stonum—but right now there are no obvious candidates on the board unless you're one of the few, stubborn holdouts hoping for Stefon Diggs or Dorial Green-Beckham (not happening, people).

There are other positions Michigan is looking to fill, however, and prospects look brighter along the O-line and even at tight end. Josh Garnett visited Stanford last weekend, and the blue-chip lineman says things are still even at the top between Michigan and the Cardinal ($, info in header). Potential money quote:

"It's pretty much even, really, he said. "It didn't move Stanford ahead at all, actually. A lot of people think it didn't at all. It's going to be tough to pick just one, but with those schools, there's no wrong choice."

That's not a particularly glowing quote after a final official visit to one of your finalists. If you're of the belief that Michigan held a slight edge in Garnett's recruitment heading into last weekend—and that opinion is becoming more popular among experts as time passes—then that quote would indicate that the Wolverines still hold a slight lead. At worst, it appears to be a coin-flip proposition, and he plans to announce his decision on January 26th, so we'll find out relatively soon. If Michigan can't bring in Garnett, they still have a very good shot at four-star OL Alex Kozan, who has the Wolverines in his final three along with Iowa and Auburn ($, info in header). Michigan had an in-home visit with Kozan on Monday, and he's looking to wrap up his recruitment soon.

The Wolverines hosted a few visitors themselves last week, including tight end Sam Grant, who now has Michigan in his final four with Arkansas, Boston College, and Oklahoma ($, info in header). Grant initially wanted to get his recruitment over with as soon as possible, but he's now saying he'll take his time to weigh his options, and all four of his finalists have visited or will visit with him at his home this week.

Four-star corner and tenuous Penn State commit Armani Reeves enjoyed his official visit to Michigan ($, info in header), and the coaches will be in-home with him on Saturday. He still has a visit to Ohio State set up, as well as a tentative visit scheduled to Penn State after he gets to know the new coaching staff, but the Wolverines appear to be in very good position to land his commitment should he choose to decommit from the Nittany Lions.

Also visiting was Jordan Diamond, and the behemoth offensive lineman not only enjoyed his visit ($, info in header), but allayed concerns that the large number of incoming recruits along the O-line would be a negative factor for Michigan:

“They said I’m still a tackle, but wherever they want me at (along the offensive line) I’ll do,” he stated.  "I can play both tackles.  Yeah, they’ve recruited a lot of linemen, but I’m a competitior [sic] and I’m willing to try to beat anybody out because that’s how it’s going to be wherever I go.”

There are a couple of Happy Trails to report to go along with Payton and Madaris. Four-star corner Kenny Crawley, a former Tennessee commit who briefly popped back up on the radar, will decide on the 25th and currently has Colorado, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Michigan State atop his list ($). Four-star linebacker David Perkins, who Michigan considered as a running back recruit, committed to Ohio State this week ($, info in header).

Don't Answer the Phone, Mom. It's Urban Meyer.

Rivals released their updated Rivals100 and Rivals250 lists this week, and Ondre Pipkins shot up from #59 to #14 overall, picking up his coveted fifth star in the process on the heels of an outstanding week at the Army All-America Game. Touch the Banner has full breakdowns of the movement of Michigan commits—the most notable are a 29-spot drop to #78 for Erik Magnuson and a 41-spot rise to #111 by Joe Bolden, as all the other moves are relatively minor.

ESPN also just released their updated ESPNU 150, and there's an obvious emphasis on players who participated in the Under Armour All-America Game, which of course is televised on (wait for it...) ESPN. Terry Richardson is Michigan's highest-ranked recruit, coming in at #68. Royce Jenkins-Stone is #113, Kyle Kalis is #132, and Joe Bolden is #142. Pipkins's absence is highly perplexing.

The Detroit News unveiled their Blue Chip list for 2012, and it's dominated by Michigan commits, including Mario Ojemudia at #1:

"Defensively, the only player in my 50 years of coaching I'd compare him to is Lamarr Woodley (Saginaw High)," [Harrison head coach John] Herrington said. "We played Saginaw in the playoffs (in 2001, Harrison defeated Saginaw 31-14 in Division 3 semifinals) and Woodley was pretty good. Mario can't be blocked. He burst onto the scene his junior year. We played him just on offense his sophomore year. Don't ask me why. I remember against Novi, that first game his junior year, we said, 'Oh my!' He's got great speed, sure, but he's so quick off the ball. He can play pretty well in space, but it'll take awhile (to adjust)."

The adjustment Herrington is referring to is Ojemudia's transition from defensive end to outside linebacker, which appears inevitable due to his 215-pound frame. Other players of note in the Blue Chip list: Richardson (#2), James Ross (#3), RJS (#4), Aaron Burbridge (MSU commit, #5), Matt Godin (#6), Devin Funchess (#7), Ben Braden (#10), and Drake Johnson (#13).

Kyle Kalis was named to the Parade All-American team this week, and he also had quite the interview with Tremendous. Apparently, he was not to keen on speaking with Urban Meyer, and these comments set off a bit of a firestorm from trolling Buckeye fans:

Tremendous: Speaking of phone calls, did you decide to answer it when Urb hit you up a few weeks ago?

Kyle: Well, it happened like this: I heard the phone ring one night and I saw it was a 614 number and knew who it was right away because it was right after a speech he gave. Before I had a chance to stop my mom, she had picked it up, so I had to talk to him.

Tremendous: What did you guys talk about?

Kyle: It was really awkward.

Tremendous (laughing at AWKWARD URB): What do you mean?

Kyle: I was half listening, pretty much saying "uh-huh" the entire conversation. I was being respectful but in the back of my mind I just wanted it to end.

Tremendous.

Quickly: Touch the Banner interviews Matt Godin; Drake Johnson and Godin will appear in the MHSAA's East vs. West All-Star Game on June 30th; and Chantel Jennings profiles Amara Darboh over at Wolverine Nation ($).

Quick 2013 Updates

Holy moley this is getting long, so 2013 updates will come fast and furious.

Shane Morris interviewed with ESPNHS about participating in last year's Elite11 regional camp as they look ahead to the quarterbacks who will comprise this year's Elite11. The video feature can be found at MGoVideo.

Blue-chip RB Ty Isaac discusses his unofficial visit to Michigan last weekend with both Sam Webb ($) and TomVH ($). He told Webb that Michigan will definitely be in his final list when he decides to narrow things down, no matter the length of said list—that's obviously great news for Michigan, who could really use a dynamic running back recruit.

The other big-time junior to visit last weekend was Woodbridge (VA) Hylton LB E.J. Levenberry, who now has Michigan in a list of schools he's seriously considering along with Ohio State, FSU, Oklahoma, Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Auburn ($).

Quickly: Michigan offered Fort Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers LB Jaylon Smith ($, info in header); Jerry Montgomery paid a visit to four-star Richmond (VA) safety Tim Harris, who expects on offer soon ($, info in header); Tremendous talked with four-star LB Peter Kalambayi, who has Michigan in his top four; Baltimore DT Henry Poggi is looking at a potential visit for a Michigan basketball game ($); top-ranked Ohio DB Cameron Burrows will announce his choice today, and all signs point to Ohio State ($, info in header); and five-star QB/ATH Jalin Marshall will announce on the 31st, choosing between Notre Dame, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Alabama ($, info in header).

Thursday Recruitin' Walks the Walk (Specifically, the Hoke Walk)

Thursday Recruitin' Walks the Walk (Specifically, the Hoke Walk)

Submitted by Ace on January 12th, 2012 at 11:51 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' recaps the All-American games are takes a look at what could be a big visit weekend for the Wolverines. Usual request: please contact me via email or Twitter (or leave a comment) with any suggestions, tips, or links you think should show up in the next recruiting roundup.

Big Visit Weekend: Will Wright Make It?

The recruitment of four-star cornerback Yuri Wright took some bizarre twists and turns this week, as there remains disparate view between recruiting sites on whether or not he'll even be on campus this weekend for his previously-scheduled official visit. Sam Webb suggested on WTKA that, in essence, the staff has cooled on Wright and he's no longer among the list of visitors. Over at The Wolverine, Tim Sullivan talked with Wright and his coach and both were still under the impression that the visit was still on ($). I'm not sure what the situation is, though Wright looked very raw at corner during the Army All-America Game and the buzz is that he could project better as a free safety—the coaches want a true corner, so it's quite possible the staff have turned their attention to Armani Reeves.

Speaking of Reeves, the current Penn State commit, he will be in Ann Arbor for an official visit this weekend ($). He had played the waiting game while Penn State looked (and looked, and looked) for a new coach, and now that New England offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is in the fold there, Reeves was able to make his schedule. Since O'Brian is coaching in the NFL playoffs this weekend, Reeves will be at Michigan, and he'll visit Penn State with his last official. Ohio State has also emerged with some new-found interest, and it's likely Reeves will take a trip to Columbus next week.

In other DB recruiting news, four-star corner Kenny Crawley decommitted from Tennessee, and Michigan could be in the picture for him:

Crawley, a shutdown corner who notched 43 tackles and five interceptions last season, will take an official visit to Kansas next week with teammate John Walker, a senior defensive back, Johnson said.

Crawley is also considering Auburn, Georgia, Maryland and Connecticut. He is also going to re-consider Michigan, Johnson said. His remaining official visits will likely be to three of those five schools.

“We’re sitting down and considering [official visits] today,” Johnson said. “I think Georgia is playing a key role in there. Colorado is real high on his list. He liked the school and liked what they got.”

Considering the lack of any word on Crawley and Michigan since last Friday, when the above article was posted, and the lack of clarity on whether or not the coaching staff is even pursuing him, consider this a longshot prospect for now. It looks pretty clear that the staff is putting most of their efforts into trying to flip Reeves to Michigan, then be done with defensive back recruiting for the class.

Meanwhile, Jordan Diamond has narrowed his list to a final five, though it's not set in stone:

"I've got five but things could change," Diamond said. "With coaching staff changes going on, I'm definitely going to wait it out."

Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Auburn and Arkansas are the final five listed by the Maxpreps number seven offensive tackle in the class of 2012. He has officially visited all but the Wolverines so far and is looking for each program to match the criteria he's laid out.

Diamond will visit Michigan this weekend, Arkansas next weekend, and he's tentatively scheduled to head to Wisconsin the week after that ($).

Another prospect who has just been confirmed by Scout to be visiting on an unofficial this weekend ($) is tight end Sam Grant—teammate of Kyle Kalis—who has maintained since December that he would like to wrap up his recruitment in the near future. He reportedly had a great visit at Oklahoma last weekend, and they will be a major threat, but if Michigan can make a big impression this weekend we could be on commitment watch.

Happy trails to Monty Madaris, whose finalists are Cincinnati, Michigan State, and Kentucky (and Ohio State, if they offer), and David Perkins, who was considered by the Wolverines as a running back prospect but now has a final five of Mizzou, Ohio State, Oregon, Illinois, and Cal after things never really got off the ground with his Michigan recruitment ($).

Ondre Pipkins: Video Gold

First of all, if you somehow missed Ondre Pipkins's Brady Hoke impression, just click here right now. DO IT. Now you can watch his highlights from the Army Game, where he recorded two tackles and a forced fumble—take special note of his annihilation of a poor, unsuspecting QB at the 2:05 mark and him somehow chasing down Stefon Diggs and knocking the ball loose at 2:35:

The big man has some surprising wheels, looked fantastic in the game, and he drew a lot of praise for his work all week. He won Rivals.com's Mike Farrell's award for the prospect who improved his stock the most ($), and was named by Brian Perroni as the #6 performer overall for the West squad ($), taking both practices and the game into account:

The huge 6-foot-3, 330-pound defensive tackle moves much, much better than a player his size should. Pipkins proved to be a tough matchup for a very good offensive line all week in practice. In addition to his strength he has a motor that is nonstop. He had one of the most impressive plays of the game where he chased the opposing quarterback all the way to the sideline and made a huge hit that left the crowd in awe.

On top of that, Farrell cited Pipkins as the "War Room Favorite" for the player who hit it off the best with the reporters, and he did the Hoke walk after nailing Hoke's introductory press conference speech. Quite a week, that.

Also drawing major praise from the Army game was Kyle Kalis, who earned the #5 spot among the East's top performers on Rivals ($):

The 6-5, 305-pound Kalis was moved between tackle and guard most of the week in bowl practices and showed he could be effective against college-bound defensive linemen in either role. When game time rolled around Kalis was used exclusively at right guard and was solid in that role, despite spending his entire senior season at tackle. Throughout the week, Kalis proved to be the most consistent offensive line prospect on the East squad. He does not have the upside of a D.J. Humphries, but he has the size, strength and technique to step on the field early in his career.

Kalis actually matched up several times against Pipkins in the game, and they both won their fair share of battles—they'll likely reprise that matchup many more times in future Michigan practices, as Kalis certainly looked at home at guard.

For more from the Army Game, make sure to check out highlight videos of all the Michigan commits plus Yuri Wright over at MGoVideo.

In the Under Armour Game, early enrollee Joe Bolden was one of the top standouts of the week from any position group, tallying seven tackles during the game (highlights courtesy of MaizeNBlueJ):

24/7's J.C. Shurburtt was duly impressed by Bolden in this free article, which also covers his thoughts on Terry Richardson:

The Michigan commit was impressive all week in practice, and quickly caught all the coaches attention at Under Armour. He is a guy that certainly really impressed with his football IQ. Not just that, but his ability to move laterally, and his general ability to play his assignments and to not take false steps. He reads the play and is more athletic than people give him credit for, and is one of those guys that if you go to a camp or see him at a 7-on-7, maybe he is not as high on your list, but you put him in pads and you can really see this guy having a great college career and playing a lot in the National Football League.

Shurburtt noted that Richardson is not physically ready for the college game, which does not come as a surprise, but was very impressed with his athleticism. Bolden, meanwhile, was also named the week's Best Tackler by Rivals.com's Chris Nee ($). Sam Webb has a complete rundown on Bolden, Richardson, and Josh Garnett, plus early practice impressions of the Michigan commits in the Army Game, in his column last week in the Detroit News.

Not to be forgotten is Mario Ojemudia, who participated in last Tuesday's inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Game. Though an ankle injury kept Ojemudia out of the second half of the game, Scout's Josh Newkirk still came away with a favorable impression ($):

Ojemudia only played the first half because of an ankle injury he sustained right before half time. It was nothing serious, but he sat out the second half for safety precaution. That said, in the time that Ojemudia did play, his presence was felt. He made two tackle on the afternoon and held contain pretty well. He did get caught up with bigger bodies at times, confirming his admitted need to add bulk to his frame.  Other times he showed why even at his current weight he can be a handful and why he’ll be even scarier when he is heavier.

Ojemudia matched up once against Jordan Diamond and used his quickness to beat Diamond with an inside swim move. He really needs to put on weight—as I noted last week, he was often stonewalled at the line of scrimmage—but he's a heck of a pass-rush threat even at around 215 pounds.

Quickly: Chantel Jennings profiles early enrollee Kaleb Ringer, whose dad hit it off so well with Hoke that Michigan's coach almost forgot to extend Ringer an offer when he was on his official visit ($).

2013 News

Two blue-chip juniors will be on campus for visits this weekend: Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac will be in Ann Arbor on Saturday ($, info in header), and Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton LB E.J. Levenberry will also visit on Saturday ($, info in header). It's great to get two highly-touted prospects on campus this early, as both players project to be near the top of their position groups nationally in the 2013 class.

Michigan offered several prospects in the last week, highlighted by five-star receiver Robert Foster ($, info in header). Foster wasn't the only receiver to pull in an offer, as Michigan also extended one to Uriah LeMay, who I interviewed this week, and Wylie (TX) receiver Marcell Ateman ($). Louisville (KY) Trinity DE Jason Hatcher—whose teammate, junior receiver James Quick, was recently offered—also picked up an offer ($, info in header).

New blog on the scene Tremendous scored a chat with Logan Tuley-Tillman, who named a top five, in order, of Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State, and South Carolina. Arkansas and SC were both recent offerrees, and Tuley-Tillman plans to attend Alabama's junior day, though he has yet to receive an offer from them—the newly-crowned national champs could be a major player in his recruitment.

Quickly: My interviews with PA TE Adam Breneman and IL OL Colin Goebel; 24/7 breaks down Michigan's current offer list for both offense ($) and defense ($); Shane Morris commits to playing in the 2013 Under Armour AA Game ($, info in header); and Michigan shows interest in Canton (OH) McKinley OT Xzavier McAllister ($, info in header), adding to the fantastic list of names on the 2013 recruiting board.

Thursday Recruitin' Beat Ohio... Now What?

Thursday Recruitin' Beat Ohio... Now What?

Submitted by Ace on December 1st, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Argh, I'm getting this up as quickly as possible after forgetting to save and having half the post eaten the first time around. Apparently I need a not-so-friendly reminder to use the save button more often. Duly noted.

Bri'onte Dunn Update: Fred Jackson Deployed

Bri'onte Dunn thoroughly enjoyed his Michigan visit last weekend ($, info in header), telling this to Sam Webb:

“It was a good atmosphere,” Dunn said regarding the Saturday afternoon spectacle at the Big House.  “That was first time going to an Ohio State - Michigan game at Michigan, and it was a good experience.  I think it was more intense (than last week's game versus Nebraska). It was a more important game, the game was close, and it was more fun.  The coaches were very happy about winning and they were talking about how they wanted me to come down there.  They were all hugging me and just very happy about me coming down two weeks in row.”

With Dunn being on Michigan's sideline as they faced the arch-rival school he's currently committed to, Dunn's stated disdain for playing in the spread, and Ohio State hiring noted spread guru Urban Meyer as their head coach, this is a done deal, right? Not so fast, my friend ($):

"Coach (Urban) Meyer called me tonight, and it was great speaking with him," Dunn stated. "I was told he was going to call me tonight, but it was still pretty awesome hearing him call. We talked for a while, and he also talked to my dad, and it went great."

"Coach Meyer said he's going to stop by my school and see me soon," he added. "I had a few questions I wanted to ask him, but I got kind of nervous and I never asked them. I will definitely look forward to talking to him face to face."

The big question that must be asked: How is Dunn going to fit into the offense when Urban Meyer has never produced a 1,000-yard rusher as a head coach, despite (contrary to his claims) having a couple Dunn-sized backs at Florida and Utah? That one could be tough to answer—at least honestly—for Meyer if he hopes to keep Dunn in the fold at OSU. Meanwhile, Michigan sent in Fred Jackson for an in-home visit, and while the conversation focused on academics ($, info in header), I'm sure Dunn was reminded he'd be like Tom Harmon but faster, with more Heismans, and a better post-playing acting career if he came to Ann Arbor. Dunn has confirmed that he'll be an early enrollee, so his decision will be coming in the relatively near future.

Another player who will be deciding soon is wideout Amara Darboh, who also had a real good time at the Ohio State game and has set a concrete timetable for his annoucement ($):

Sam Webb: As far as your recruitment goes, your coach did an interview last week and said a decision could come from you this week.  Is that accurate for you?

Amara Darboh: “Yeah, I think I need to talk to my guardian and people that are close to me and stuff, but yeah. I’m at that point where I think it could come soon. I think it’s going to be no later than before Christmas. I just want to get it done with and go into (shoulder) surgery knowing where I’m going to go.”

Darboh could take one last visit to Florida, but he's unsure if he'll do so—either way, the decision will come by Christmas and quite possibly sooner than that. Another wideout with a similar timetable is Jehu Chesson, who has Michigan in his top three and will announce by Christmas, according to TomVH ($). Chesson struck up a friendship with Darboh, and the two could even be a package deal ($, info in header), which would be a great sign for the Wolverines.

Also impressed with his visit, and for good reason, was Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett, pictured at right with Jake Long and 2012 commit Erik Magnuson. Tim Sullivan has a feature on Garnett in the Free Press, and the signs look good for Michigan:

Over the weekend, Garnett visited Ann Arbor to take in the experience at Michigan for the first time. While in town, he met up with his friend, Calrsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon offensive lineman Erik Magnuson, who is already committed to Michigan. Thanks in part to Magnuson’s presence, Garnett enjoyed the visit, and has moved Michigan into the top group of schools on his list.

“Thank you to Michigan football for showing me a great time,” he said on his Twitter account Sunday. “I love it in Michigan can't wait to be back! Go Blue!”

The Wolverines are now in his top two along with Stanford ($). There's still a long way to go with Garnett's recruitment, as he'll be taking official visits to Notre Dame and Miami in December and January before making his final decision (he could visit Oklahoma, as well). Also in that free update: Michigan will make an in-home visit with Zach Banner tomorrow, and the Wolverines are in his top five with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, and Washington.

Garnett and Banner aren't the only options for the final O-line spot in the class, as Michigan improved their standing with Chicago Simeon OL Jordan Diamond over the weekend ($, info in header):

“I loved it,” Diamond said regarding his time in Ann Arbor Saturday.  “I Ioved everything about it.  I loved the atmosphere, the fans, the crowd…it was absolutely crazy today!  I really enjoyed myself.  The game was crazy.  I absolutely loved it.  It was a different experience from the UMASS game I went to earlier in my career.  It moved (the Wolverines) up, definitely.  Definitely it did.”

How far up? We'll have to wait to find out, as Diamond plans on trimming his list down to 5-10 schools within the next couple of weeks—he's stated throughout the process that he's taking things slow, and that's exactly what he's doing. The Wolverines will almost certainly be a factor until the end, however.

Quickly: Urban Meyer's hiring isn't exactly good news for Michigan despite Dunn's spread hatred, as Yuri Wright said "heck yeah" when asked if he was now interested in the Buckeyes (free article); Stefon Diggs has narrowed his list to eight schools—Michigan, Cal, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, Auburn, Virginia, and Virginia Tech, who was a late replacement for Maryland on the list; another wideout to keep an eye on ($, info in header) is Upland (CA) four-star Kenny Lawler, who just decommitted from Arizona State; according to TomVH, Michigan is back to hotly pursuing TE Taylor McNamara ($), who's being recruited hard by fellow Californian Magnuson right now and is also friends with Garnett.

Pee-Wee Loves His Visit and Kalis Gets His Fifth Star

Ondre "Pee-Wee" Pipkins is the subject of a free article by Sam Webb, and you are strongly encouraged to read the whole thing:

“Aww man, that right there was like witnessing history,” Pipkins exclaimed.  “Michigan hadn’t beaten them in seven years.  I was just sitting back watching like, ‘wow, they actually did it!’  Everybody had a different outlook on Brady Hoke, saying he wasn’t going to win over eight games. Some said he wouldn’t even win eight games.  He proved a lot of people wrong.  I feel like he had the same team that Rich Rodriguez had and he basically took those kids and taught them how to play football instead of just telling them to play.  He actually broke it down and was teaching them.  That’s what (the players) were telling me on my visit.  ‘We actually learned how to play football.’  I was sitting in the stands and I was just happy for them.  They’d been working hard all season.”

Okay, mild gut-punch for the remaining Rodriguez zealots out there, but man, that kid is excited to be a Wolverine. Pipkins also walked into Greg Mattison's office wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt—to which the former Ravens DC responded, "Get out of here!"—and spent time with Shane Morris recruiting Jordan Diamond. Fan favorite in the making? I think so.

Meanwhile, Rivals has released their new Rivals100 and Rivals250—Touch the Banner has you covered on all the changes (100, 250) for Michigan commits and targets—but the big news is that Kyle Kalis moved up and got his coveted fifth star:

"In 10 years of covering recruiting, Kalis is one of the most college-ready offensive linemen I have seen. Physically he appears able to step on a college field right now, and his technique is advanced beyond his years," said Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Josh Helmholdt. "The other thing that sets Kalis apart is that he is a very versatile lineman. He can play right or left tackle but also bump down to guard if his college team needs him there."

National recruiting analyst Mike Farrell added that Kalis looked great in pass protection in his game against Don Bosco Prep, which helped him earn that fifth star as that opens up the opportunity for him to play pretty much anywhere on the line. In non-surprising news, considering the reaction to his commitment switch from Ohio Sate to Michigan, Kalis reitereated that he will not be going back to the Buckeyes now that Urban Meyer is their coach ($, info in header).

Quickly: Scout on Erik Magnuson and his recruiting efforts with Garnett and McNamara ($), and Tom runs down more visit reactions from The Game ($).

Holy [Bleep], Ty Isaac

DO WANT [emphasis mine]:

Following a record-setting game in which he displayed why he is – if not the best college prospect in Illinois – on a very short list of premier players in the state, Isaac could do nothing more than politely summon some soft-spoken words to reporters looking for him to put one of the most surreal games in state history in perspective. But that’s what happens when you rush for a state-title game record 515 yards and six touchdowns, yet still lose 70-45 to nemesis Lombard Montini, which was exactly what Isaac did Saturday in the Class 5A championship.

That effort came on just 26 carries, for a solid 19.8 yards per carry, and Isaac's TD runs covered 71, 63, 56, 66, 2 and 69 yards. His defense should probably apologize profusely, as I'm not quite sure how it's possible to lose when your running back RUNS FOR 515 YARDS AND SIX TOUCHDOWNS. Isaac hasn't gotten too deep into the recruiting process yet, but is "high on Michigan" ($, info in header) according to 247Sports, who also have a free feature on the junior from Joliet (IL) Catholic:

Some of the schools that have offered have made an impression on both of Isaac’s parents.

“Notre Dame and Michigan,” Tyrone said. “Not to say they’re at the top of Ty’s list, but I’d have to say those two, and I can see Ty has a high-level of interest in those schools. I ask him and he says Dad, I don’t know yet. I just want him to be as informed as he can. Most of the schools in the Midwest we’ve seen and we’re going to see a lot more places.”

“We have met phenomenal people,” Karen said. “I can’t say there is anyone we met we haven’t liked. People say recruiting is so much fun, and it’s fun, but it can also be overwhelming. I loved the Michigan staff. I love the Notre Dame staff. We had a great visit with the people from Wisconsin. Coach (DeAndre) Smith at Illinois is a great guy. Lester Erb from Iowa is very nice.”

Read the rest and try to figure out how this guy isn't a five-star across the board yet. I can't.

Quickly: WR Laquon Treadwell enjoyed his visit and may be closer to a decision ($, info in header); ditto DB Shaq Wiggins ($, info in header); paywalled articles on 2013 recruits who visited (and of course, liked their visits): Brother Rice LB Jon Reshke, Owensboro (KY) Apollo OL Hunter Bivin, Youngstown (OH) Cardinal Mooney S Marcus McWilson, Dayton (OH) Huber Heights Wayne OL Lovell Peterson, and Hudson (OH) LB Ben Gedeon, who could be making an early decision this summer.

Thursday Recruitin' Won't Go Interviewing Zach Banner's Mama

Thursday Recruitin' Won't Go Interviewing Zach Banner's Mama

Submitted by Ace on November 3rd, 2011 at 10:51 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' will not be talking about Mitch McGary, because sometime after his 5 p.m. announcement today we'll know everything we need to know about his recruitment. It's a pretty quiet week this week, but as always, there's still a fair amount to discuss about football recruiting. Usual request: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.

Shaq Thompson Is Visiting, Bri'onte Dunn "Kind Of" Committed to OSU

So, hooray for actual original reporting, as I saw Tim Sullivan's message board post over at The Wolverine ($) saying that five-star CA safety Shaq Thompson's coach was pretty sure he would take an official visit to Michigan and shot Shaq a message on Twitter. He got back to me Tuesday night, and confirmed that he'll be taking an official to Ann Arbor, although I still haven't heard from him about which week he'll be coming up. Sam Webb said on WTKA yesterday that he thinks the coaching staff wants Thompson to come up for a non-game weekend to make sure he has genuine interest in Michigan. That would also give the staff more one-on-one time to get to know Thompson and sell him on the school.

This is big news, obviously, as Thompson would be the highest-rated recruit in the class at a position of need, but before you get too excited keep in mind that Michigan is still likely a longshot to land him at this point. Getting him on campus is a big step, but the Wolverines will be competing with Cal (the school he originally committed to), Oregon, Notre Dame, and Washington—and perhaps others, such as USC, as he hasn't decided where he'll be taking his final official—for his commitment.

In today's 'quote that will make everyone freak the hell out,' Bri'onte Dunn said this to Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts after visiting Ohio State for their game against Wisconsin ($):

When asked if he is still a solid Ohio State commitment, Dunn said, “Kind of. I’m still thinking about stuff. I want to check the other schools out.”

Dunn did say that he really enjoyed the visit to Columbus, but he's also planning to take an official visit to Ann Arbor, and he might take trips to Penn State and Miami as well. The door sounds like it is still very much open. Huzzah. (Ohio State fans, predictably, are taking this totally in stride and are certainly not bracing for a potential decommit by saying they don't want Dunn anyway. Nope, not at all. Nothing to see here.)

Consensus four-star cornerback Yuri Wright will be taking an official visit of his own for the Ohio State game—the first time he'll have visited Ann Arbor—and he told Steve Wiltfong that two schools are currently on top for him ($, info in header):

“I would say Rutgers and Michigan are two schools that would be pretty hard to say no to them,” Wright said following practice on Thursday evening.

I'm liking Michigan's chances if it comes down to a battle of official visits between Michigan and Rutgers, though you never know, and Wright is still considering several other schools. That said, the Wolverines look to be in good position with him right now.

Quickly: Jordan Diamond fluff; M is in four-star receiver Darius Powe's top four ($); free Scout film on receiver Monty Madaris; and happy trails to Texas athlete Jalin Overstreet, who got an offer to come in as a quarterback for the Longhorns (Michigan, and most others, were recruiting him as a safety) and he jumped on it.

Much, much more—including Zach Banner jokingly threatening a Seattle reporter (we hope)—after the jump.

Thursday Recruitin' Can Finally Have a Wideout?

Thursday Recruitin' Can Finally Have a Wideout?

Submitted by Ace on October 20th, 2011 at 11:02 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' discusses Jordan Payton's upcoming decision, the recruitment of Zach Banner, T-Rich and "Little Shane," and Tom Lemming's high praise of Ty Isaac. Usual request: Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.

Payton Sets a Date Plus a Look at the O-Line

Oaks Christian (CA) four-star wide receiver Jordan Payton (right) will announce his college decision next Tuesday ($, info in header), after he returns from a visit to Notre Dame for the USC game. Payton has narrowed his list to Michigan, Notre Dame, and Cal, but has maintained for several weeks that Michigan is his leader and that stance has not changed. Unless he has a major change of heart while visiting South Bend, Payton will likely end up wearing Maize and Blue.

Another recruit of interest visiting Notre Dame this weekend is Lakewood (WA) Lakes OL Zach Banner, who has set a top five of Michigan, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, USC, and Washington. The blue-chip tackle prospect has already visited Michigan and Oklahoma and will make his way to USC and Washington later this season. Sam Webb profiled Banner this week in the Detroit News, and the atmosphere when Banner visited Ann Arbor (for the Notre Dame game) could give the Wolverines a leg up to land his commitment:

Huffman added: "The best thing (the Wolverines) had going for them is he saw the game of the century. He got to fully got to experience the game atmosphere the energy of 115,000 people. He got to meet with Beilein, but more importantly he got to experience a pretty special and electric feeling that he is not going to be able to duplicate anywhere else. Oklahoma topped out at about 80,000 people against Missouri and the kid has been going to Washington games (with fewer fans) his whole life."

Apparently, Michigan has also told Banner they could see him making an impact as soon as next season, potentially at right tackle. Banner says he plans to make his college choice on January 14, but adds that "a change of schedule could happen at any time."

Tim Sullivan (YTTS) takes a look at potential 2012 offensive line commits for the Free Press, discussing Banner, fellow Washingtonian Josh Garnett, recent offeree Alex Kozan, and very recent USC decommit Arik Armstead. Since Michigan's chances at landing Armstead are thin at best, let's look at what Tim has to say about Kozan:

He has a top eight list that includes U-M, Iowa and LSU, and he plans to visit as many of those schools as possible before making a decision in late December. The 6-4, 295-pound Kozan is a powerful drive blocker that needs more polish in pass protection. He said U-M is recruiting him to play guard.

Several recruits trimmed their lists this week. Lakewood (CA) receiver Darius Powe maintains a top five of Michigan, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, and Arizona State, but says that the Beavers and Bruins currently stand out as his favorites ($). Cincinnati Moeller receiver Monty Madaris hasn't narrowed his focus too much yet, but says that he only has two definite visits lined up, to Michigan State and Florida State. Cincinnati Taft teammates Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford have eached named a top three ($) and will announce their decision on November 9—Washington is down to Ohio State, Alabama, and Michigan State, while Stanford will choose between Ohio State, Oregon, and Cincinnati.

Quickly: Oregon has taken the lead for five-star safety Shaq Thompson ($, info in header), and Cal and Washington round out his top three, but he still plans on taking visits to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Arizona State and maintains that he is still quite open. Alex Kozan's interest in Michigan has picked up since receiving his offer ($, info in header). Tom interviews Jordan Diamond for ESPN.com—please tell me Dave Brandon does not watch this video and get any more brilliant ideas about the uniforms.

Hit the jump for much more on current 2012 commits and 2013 recruits.

Thursday Recruitin' Enrolls Early

Thursday Recruitin' Enrolls Early

Submitted by Ace on September 29th, 2011 at 10:32 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', a high school coach manages to out-hyperbole Fred Jackson, Ondre Pipkins gets invited to the Army AA Bowl, a Scout, er, scout channels his inner Rod Allen, and two more 2012 commits plan to enroll early. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.

Early Enrollin'

With the coaching staff saying for a while now that the 2012 recruiting class would hit at least 26 members—and possibly, if not probably, go as high as 28—despite there currently being just 24 available spots, Michigan was going to need to find some players to enroll early. Safety Jarrod Wilson has been in that boat for a while, and now comes the news that two linebackers will arrive in Ann Arbor for the spring term as well ($, info in header)—Joe Bolden and Kaleb Ringer.

The Wolverines are allowed to backdate up to three early enrollees, essentially having them count as part of the 2011 class, which allows them to push up to the Big Ten limit of 28 recruits in a class. Bri'onte Dunn, if Michigan were to land him, is also a candidate to enroll early, but that now is more of a developmental bonus and less of a numbers necessity if the Wolverines can pluck him from Ohio State's grasp.

In other news on current commits, Tim Sullivan's latest contribution to the Freep profiles tight end commit A.J. Williams, who has played almost exclusively on the offensive line his last two seasons in high school but will still be a tight end for the Wolverines, one of the reasons that drew him to Ann Arbor:

Though he loves pancaking opposing defenders, he didn’t want to be exclusively a blocker in college. The opportunity to play tight end is another reason he chose Michigan.

“That’s also what made Michigan a great decision,” said Williams. “They actually wanted me for the tight end position, which I want to play.”

His 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame should help Williams be ready to contribute from the first day he steps on campus in August. Playing as a blocking tight end, he should be more ready to play than the average freshman. After not catching any passes for two years, however, he will have to make an adjustment when he gets to the next level, and get reacquainted with the nuances of going downfield to catch passes.

With the lack of depth and size at the tight end position for next year, Williams will have the opportunity to play right away. Though he may not be ready to be an oft-targeted receiver in the passing game, his blocking should be an asset right off the bat, especially when Michigan runs the ball.

Steve Junga of the Toledo Blade has a lengthy piece up on safety commit Allen Gant, whose work ethic has made him a three-sport star at Sylvania Southview and impressed his father Tony, a former Wolverine himself:

In the spring he will earn his fourth letter in track and field, where he is a rare blend -- a discus thrower and shot putter who also runs sprint relays.

"The drive really comes from Allen," Tony Gant said. "I had a certain type of drive, but what he does -- lifting weights and eating healthy and drinking a gallon of water a day -- I never did that.

"I was a 6-foot, 185-pound kid who never lifted a weight in my life until I got to Michigan. He's in the weight room six days a week on his own. He motivates himself."

"Allen's always had a good work ethic, even as a youngster," [his grandfather and former professional baseball player] Chet Trail said. "You never had to do too much to get him to practice. I wish I could take some credit for [his motivation], but Allen is a self-starter."

Gant already weighs in the 200-pound range and looks like he's ready to step on a college field immediately, though he'll likely get some time to develop as a depth player and on special teams before being called upon to contribute on the defense.

Quickly: Ondre Pipkins was one of four prospects recently named to the Army All-American Bowl, joining fellow commits Royce Jenkins-Stone, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson, and James Ross. Kenny Allen's commitment writeup at The Flint Journal. Your TomVH insider content of the week includes Drew Henson breaking down the offensive commits, Marcus Ray doing the same for the defense, and profiles of his top two committed prospects, RJS and Kyle Kalis.

For more, hit the jump.

Thursday Recruitin' Is An Expert On Questionable Phrasing

Thursday Recruitin' Is An Expert On Questionable Phrasing

Submitted by Ace on September 22nd, 2011 at 10:06 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien moves up his decision date, rumblings continue about the status of Bri'onte Dunn's OSU commitment, A.J. Williams is the subject of both an unfortunate headline and an awesome YouTube video, new 2013 offers go out, and much more. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, etc.as always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.

O'Brien Announcement Change and More on Uncommitted (to U-M, at least) Prospects

According to several sources, including Rivals's Josh Helmholdt, who was kind enough to actually deliver the news outside of a paywall, Flint Powers DT Danny O'Brien has moved up his decision date to October 6th. I should be in attendance for this one unless the Powers athletic director confuses me with that other guy who uses the name Ace, in which case he'd be well within his right to kick me to the curb on sight. Luckily, I actually have credentials and stuff.

24/7's Steve Wiltfong calls Canton Glen Oak running back Bri'onte Dunn "college ready" ($, info in header), and quotes his high school coach saying Fred Jackson compared Dunn to Tyrone Wheatley, which means he obviously left out the part where Jackson added, "except with laser vision, the speed of a Lamborghini, and the raw power of the fictitious love-child of Earl Campbell and Mike Alstott." While the article is paywalled, Wiltfong added a pair of responses on The Blue Board after a poster said Dunn was "all OSU as long as they don't get hammered by the NCAA" [emphasis mine]:

I'm not so sure I agree with this. Michigan has a lot of good things going regarding Dunn. I do think Penn State is a distant third, but in my opinion in talking with Brionte and his coach, plus all the whispers and rumors we hear, I'd be nervous about Michigan if I was Ohio State.

...

For the record, I called Brionte's commitment soft. He didn't say it was soft. He said Ohio State was his leader.

In my opinion, anyone taking visits is a soft verbal. You can debate how soft that verbal is regarding who the prospect is and the ties he has to the committed school, but I can't consider a kid anything but soft if he's taking visits.

Anything can happen when a kid visits somewhere and experiences something different.

While Dunn has not said anything to the effect that he has decommitted, that comment makes it sound like he might as well be. Now, it also most definitely says Ohio State is his leader, so rein back that enthusiasm just a bit. As far as I can tell, anyone who thinks they know where this is headed is either (a) lying to themselves or (b) Bri'onte Dunn.

Sam Webb's weekly DetNews article focuses on Don Bosco Prep (NJ) cornerback Yuri Wright, who had a lot of good things to say about Michigan:

"Michigan is the school I wanted to go to my whole life, and I just love the University of Michigan," Wright told Scout.com. "I'm going to visit Michigan. It's in two or three weeks, but I have to settle on the date."

...

"Michigan has just been one of my favorite schools since I was a kid," he said. "I like the family atmosphere there, the tradition, and I know I can come in and get a real good education and have a chance to play early for a real good football program. I feel like (defensive backs coach) Curt Mallory is a real good coach and he is definitely a guy that can get guys better and one day hopefully send me to the league."

As Webb mentions in the article, Wright has several teammates at Don Bosco (a national power) who are either committed to or considering Rutgers, so they could be a major player in his recruitment. He is also planning on taking a visit to Michigan State, potentially for the Michigan game, and will announce his decision at the Army All-American Bowl.

Quickly: Michigan is "near the top" for receiver Amara Darboh ($, info in header), who is looking to visit Ann Arbor after the end of his season. Erie (PA) McDowell running back Greg Garmon likes both Ohio State and Texas A&M ($, info in header), but Michigan isn't out of it, and I just have to include this quote from Garmon for the sake of comedy: "Coach Fickell will be there for years." Um, let's hope so.

A.J. Williams Is Wildly Entertaining, Unfortunate Subject of Ambigious Headline

First, just watch this video, in which the 2012 commit discusses playing tackle this year in high school, his plans to be the "[sixth] great blocker" on the field as a Michigan tight end, and, of course, catching fish with his bare hands:

If you're too lazy to watch, or YouTube is blocked at work, you can find the full transcript here in an article titled "Sycamore's Williams an expert on holes," which, um, moving on...

Q: Your quarterback (Kyle Sess) is running all over the place, so he must be running behind No. 88?

A: Yes sir, running right behind me. We’ve got a couple plays designated where I go get some “kill” shots on some linebackers and he runs right off the butt. He’s doing a great job as a quarterback just running and getting out there.

Q: How does that feel when you make a big hole and you see him scamper down for six?

A: It’s great. I love it actually. Whenever I make the big hole, I try to run downfield with him. I can never catch him of course.

Well, that blockquote didn't help the ambiguity much, but I'm all for college-sized tight ends (good lord, I can't escape it!) who are that enthusiastic about blocking. If Williams can even catch just the occasional pass, he could be a great weapon to have in a MANBALL-oriented offense.

Scout's Scott Kennedy watched Erik Magnuson and his La Costa Canyon squad take on San Clemente and their own blue-chip offensive lineman, Kyle Murphy. Here are his thoughts on Magnuson, and you can also find video from the game in the free article:

The first series of the game gave us Murphy on the defensive line head up over Magnuson. A match up of two offensive linemen going against eachother typically will favor the one actually playing offense, and the first series nod went to Magnuson. He showed good upper body strength in being able to stand up Murphy and hold his ground against the bigger player, something he's probably not used to facing at this stage of his career.

Magnuson uses his hands well getting good placement into the chest of the man he's blocking without risking a holding call. He also has a little instigator in him. Michigan fans can get ready to read about the practice dust ups he may be in the middle of during the heat of summer two-a-days.

Nice to see that he holds up well against high-level competition, and a nasty streak on an offensive lineman is almost never a bad thing.

Quickly: Paywalled TomVH makes me sad. He's continued his countdown of Michigan's most important commits, but all are ($): No. 7 Tom Strobel, No. 6 Ondre Pipkins, No. 5 James Ross, No. 4 Eric Magnuson, and No. 3 Jarrod Wilson.

Tim Be Freepin' and More 2013 Notes

Now that Tim has settled in at The Wolverine, he is also taking over Josh Helmholdt's recruiting column at the Free Press—if you're mad about this, I think you're missing the point, by the way—and his first article profiles new commit Dymonte Thomas:

As excited as Thomas is to join U-M’s 2013 recruiting class, The Wolverine coaches are just as excited to have him. He is currently listed at 5-foot-11, but according to Marlington coach Ed Miley, the star defensive back may still be growing.

"His dad is 6-3 and his uncle is like 6-6 or 6-7, so I don't know if he's done growing yet. He's probably grown an inch and a half in two years. He's gotten a lot taller," Miley said.

While I've never heard of a 6'7" safety, I'm totally down with a 6'3" safety with 4.5 speed. Meanwhile, Tim is on his grind, putting out another Freep article just two days later on Shane Morris and him acting as one of Michigan's best recruiters:

Morris has other recruiting targets in his sights, too. Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton and Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes offensive lineman Zach Banner attended the Notre Dame, and Morris gave his best pitch for Michigan to the senior prospects.

“I talked to Jordan Payton and Zach Banner for a long time,” Morris said. “I tried to talk to everyone I could out there and build relationships.”

I love the idea of HS junior quarterback Morris giving his best recruiting pitch to house-sized senior offensive lineman Banner, if only for the ridiculous mental image.

The Detroit News's Tom Markowski discusses the state's top junior prospects, and of course Morris is featured:

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming also listed Morris as the state's top underclassman in his preseason preview.

"He's got a college arm," DeLaSalle coach Paul Verska said. "When you throw a curl, you want him to throw a curl. He throws it hard. He's doing everything we want him to do and more."

Josh Helmholdt has much more on Morris in a free Rivals article:

From December to July, I saw Morris more than a half-dozen times, often going head-to-head with some of the top quarterback prospects in the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. That gave us a real good feel on what the Michigan commit brings to the table and how he stacks up nationally. Over the course of those eight months we saw Morris develop great poise and come into his own as a leader. He carried that into the start of his junior campaign, but as the season has progressed Morris has become a little jumpy in the pocket and that is affecting his accuracy. He is not getting the protection I'm sure he would like, and is rushing his footwork.

Morris has a big league arm and can make every throw. At 6-3 and 195 pounds, he is also more of a threat to run with the football than given credit for. He is definitely a pro-style passer, but he can pick up yards with his feet when he needs to and has the toughness to withstand hits.

Sadly, we must say happy trails to one of Michigan's top 2013 prospects, Midland's Steve Elmer, who committed to Notre Dame while on a visit there last weekend. After reading what Steve Wiltfong had to say about why Elmer pledged to the Irish, it's tough to be upset:

Regarding Elmer, a gentlemen on Twitter asked me to come and give some background on what led to his commitment to Notre Dame.

He basically said he knew he was heading to Notre Dame when the Saturday before he saw 114,000 people go crazy during the Wolverines come-from-behind victory over the Irish in Ann Arbor. He just couldn't share in the joy. He liked Michigan, liked the coaches, but he realized he wanted Notre Dame to win that football game. That's what pushed him over the top with the other things ND has to offer.

If you're at that game as a visitor and realize you still want Notre Dame to win, that's where you should be. Best of luck to Steve in South Bend.

Michigan sent out several new offers in the past week, offering scholarships to Pickerington (OH) Central defensive end Taco Charlton ($, info in header), Celina (TX) offensive lineman Jake Raulerson ($, info in header), Joliet (IL) Academy running back Ty Isaac ($, info on his profile), and Dayton (OH) Trotwood-Madison defensive back Cameron Burrows, whose article is actually free and can therefore be blockquoted:

"It means a lot. I liked it up there. They showed me some things and I'm taking them under consideration. Its a nice place."

The atmosphere during Michigan's come-from-behind 35-31 victory over Notre Dame really impressed Burrows.

“There were 114,000 people there," Burrows told 247Sports on Sunday. "It was real hot when they started making that comeback in the third quarter. My ears were popping and everything.”

Burrows maintains Ohio State as his leader right now, but Michigan certainly appears to be in the mix.

Finally, Duane Long spotlights some of his favorite 2013 prospects, including five-star Jalin Marshall as well as Burrows, and Toledo St. John's quarterback Brogan Roback discusses his lifelong Michigan fandom and his recruitment in this local news clip.