Thursday Recruitin' Flippantly Discards Ice Cream in the Name of The Game

Thursday Recruitin' Flippantly Discards Ice Cream in the Name of The Game

Submitted by Ace on January 5th, 2012 at 12:19 PM

DeAnthony Arnett is free and headed to East Lansing, and now we're back to your regularly scheduled Thursday Recruitin'. 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.

Does Michigan Lead For Josh Garnett?

In recent weeks, the general consensus on Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett has gone from him having Stanford as his team to beat to Michigan taking the position as his leader. One of the few who hadn't weighed in on this change was, of course, Garnett himself. ESPN posted a video interview with Garnett, who's participating in tonight's Under Armour All-American Bowl, and he was asked if the the perception that Michigan is his leader is a misconception (transcription via The Wolverine, emphasis mine):

"It definitely wouldn't be a misconception [to say they lead]. To be at a big time school like that, especially when you have guys like Eric Magnuson, [five-star tackle] Kyle Kalis ... when you have three big time linemen that could come in and compete with each other, build those friendships. They have some defensive linemen coming in, and Ohio State is bringing in some guys, so you can definitely have a good match-up in three or four years.

"All the linemen that have come out of Michigan and the legacy and going to the Big House with 115,000 people waving pom pons, saying 'Go Blue' ... it's definitely hard to turn that down."

Garnett still has an official visit to Stanford on the docket for next weekend, so by no means is Michigan in the clear—especially with the relative ambiguity of the question/answer posed—but that's one heck of a good sign. Garnett mentioned his close friendship with Magnuson multiple times over the course of the seven-minute interview, and it really sounds like that bond could be the deciding factor in his recruitment.

Meanwhile, there have been conflicting reports about the status of Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep corner Yuri Wright and his scheduled visit to Ann Arbor for the weekend of January 13th. At one point it sounded like he would announce at the Army All-American Game on Saturday ($, info in header), and while he said he would still be taking his visits, making a commitment before ever seeing Michigan's campus was not a good sign. While message board chatter over at Scout suggests Michigan may have cooled on Wright while zeroing in on Armani Reeves, Tim Sullivan reports that Wright will NOT be announcing this weekend and will visit Ann Arbor as planned ($), and Wright repeated that statement on Twitter in no uncertain terms.

As for Reeves, the current Penn State commit is still waiting to see how their lengthy coaching search ends ($, info in header):

"I'm in the wait and see process with Penn State to see who they hire and where they're going to go in terms of the coaching staff. I want to talk to the head coach, see where he wants to go with personally as well as the direction he wants to take the program.

"Hopefully, he has the same idea that Joe (Paterno) had. You know, academics first and just be a Penn State guy."

On the visit front, Reeves plans to take his official visit to Penn State before taking any other visits but Michigan is in the running for a official visit after that.

His visit to Penn State is tentatively scheduled for January 13th, but that would not take place if they still don't have a coach. Michigan looks to be the most likely alternative if Reeves were to decommit, though Notre Dame is in the picture.

A few more happy trails to report as we roll towards signing day: Jordan Payton will decide between Cal, UCLA, and Notre Dame at the Army game on Saturday ($, info in header); Zach Banner has narrowed his list of schools to USC, Washington, and Oklahoma ($, info in header); and Greg Garmon committed to Iowa this week—it's looking unlikely at this point that Michigan will take another running back in the class.

We're So Good That a Deion Sanders Endorsement Gets Third Billing in This Section

Tis the season for high school All-American games, and practice reports on Michigan commits in both the Army and Under Armour games have been overwhelmingly positive. Ondre Pipkins has made a lot of noise for the West team at the Army game, and he also gave one of the interviews of the year at Rivals:

Though I generally find the whole "Ohio" thing rather silly, hearing all the recruits discuss their hatred for "Ohio" is absolutely hilarious. While "Pee Wee" Pipkins was goofing around off the field, he was no joke at practice this week, and was named by Rivals.com's Mike Farrell as Monday's top performer for the West squad ($, info in header):

Pipkins is a monster physically - he already looks like B.J. Raji or Vince Wilfork. He is one of the most physically imposing defensive tackles we have seen in awhile. At the point of attack, he is impossible to get on his heels and he penetrates quickly and athletically for a big man. Pipkins is going to be a load for the East offensive line to handle; he was simply dominating a good group of West lineman in the early session of practice.

Yes, please. Pipkins claimed in the above video that he weighs around 330 pounds right now, and while that's almost certainly not all good weight—he also admitted that he doesn't track his caloric intake, plus the whole snarfing down ice cream thing—he looks like he's ready to step onto a college field tomorrow. Good thing, too, considering the depth at DT next year.

Joe Bolden has been similarly turning heads all week at the Under Armour practices, and in this free 24/7 article he's named as his team's top linebacker prospect despite entering the week with little fanfare:

One of the least-publicized players entering the week, the Michigan commit was a hit from the first day on with his instincts and underrated feet and athleticism standing out. Bolden also was a sponge to the coaching given and by all accounts is a future leader of the Wolverines‘ defense. Bolden currently is 220 pounds, but has the frame to add 15-20 more in time.

Bolden was also named the Black team's defensive MVP by Scott Kennedy of Scout ($, info in header):

With the offensive line occupied by the defensive line, the linebackers were free to roam uninhibited. No one took advantage of the room to run better than Michigan commitment Joe Bolden. Bolden was popping pads during walk-thrus, and he continued to seek and destory when the tempo was moved to full speed. Bolden doesn't do anything half-speed. He showed he was capable of dropping into coverage as well as attacking the line of scrimmage.

Bolden is one of Michigan's three early enrollees, and it sounds like he's the most likely to see the field early next year. Bolden's teammate, Terry Richardson, also came in for praise in the above article, and he got some hype from Prime Time himself, Deion Sanders, who's helping coach the defensive backs:

“Number one (Terry Richardson), the (Bryson Echols) kid is playing his butt off and (Chaz Elder) as a safety has done well,” Sanders said. “The best thing about Richardson is he’s a very coachable kid. You tell him something one time and he is going to implement it. Whatever you tell him, he will do. Echols is a fighter, he’s battled in everything he’s done. These kids are sponges in that have been well-coached.”

I don't think anyone worrying about character issues with Richardson has ever actually met the kid, as his passion for the game and enthusiasm in general are both outstanding, plus he's one of the more polite recruits I've had the pleasure of interviewing. It does not come as a surprise that he's standing out as a very coachable player.

Mario Ojemudia participated in Tuesday's inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, and he wasn't pleased with his performance, tweeting, "Got the dub but didn't play that well and I messed up my ankle." I took in most of the game before switching over to the Sugar Bowl festivities, and Ojemudia had a difficult time getting off blocks, mostly due to the fact that he looks to weigh around 215 pounds. I still think he's a great prospect as a pass rusher, but added size and strength is a must, and it will likely take a redshirt year before he's ready to see the field at the collegiate level.

Also coming in for praise from the Army Bowl are commits Erik Magnuson, who even got some work at center during practices, James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and Kyle Kalis ($, info in header). Early enrollee Jarrod Wilson participated in last week's Offense-Defense game, and 24/7's Sean Fitz "loved" Wilson's combination of size (he says Wilson is pushing 6'3") and speed in centerfield ($).

Quickly: Touch the Banner interviews Erik Magnuson, whose favorite play in high school is a screen play for... Erik Magnuson; new blog Tremendous talks to Amara Darboh, who simply says "I don't like them," when asked for his thoughts on Ohio State; and Tim gathers commit reactions to the Sugar Bowl victory ($, info in header)—the ever-quotable Pipkins took the Haters Gonna Hate approach: "Everybody had us losing because they were hating on us - especially those Ohio State guys - but we won a bowl, so what can you say. Everybody heard us cheering downstairs."

Yes, I'm Now Interviewing 2014 Recruits

A few quick notes on underclassmen prospects:

First of all, I caught up with Crete (IL) Monee receiver Laquon Treadwell this week, and while he stated that he has no favorites, he listed a top five of Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek corner Shaq Wiggins once held Michigan as his leader, but he now has the Wolverines third behind Tennessee and Virginia ($, info in header). He also gave an idea of his potential timeline:

“I want to commit, like, during the summertime — June or July, somewhere in one of those dates — and just get the whole thing over with and focus on my senior season,” Wiggins said. “Once more offers start coming in — probably, like, when I go back to school or something like that — then I’ll narrow it down.”

Also looking to expedite his recruiting process is Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OL Kyle Bosch, who's had Michigan among his favorites and says he's looking to cut his list down to five schools "by the end of this month or the beginning of next month" in an article on 247Sports ($, info in header). He gave his impressions of Michigan, who have been recruiting him hard:

“I’ve been talking to Coach Funk a lot,” Bosch said. “He’s just telling me that he’s really excited about me, and he sends handwritten letters to me four or five times a month. I just like the whole atmosphere there. I like the player-coach and player-player relationships there, and the team-first type of mentality. They all treat each other the same way, and I really like the down-to-earth atmosphere they have.”

Finally, yes, I talked to sophomore quarterback Anthony Sicilano this week, and the class of '14 standout has interest in Michigan, who are among a laundry-list of top schools that have contacted Siciliano. With Michigan likely set at QB with Shane Morris in the 2013 class, Siciliano could be a top priority in the future.

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' Puts Down 'Three and Out' Long Enough to Write This Post

Thursday Recruitin' Puts Down 'Three and Out' Long Enough to Write This Post

Submitted by Ace on October 27th, 2011 at 10:12 AM

This week's Thursday Recruitin' discusses Jordan Payton's upcoming decision (again), big news coming from both Josh Garnett and Zach Banner, the next great Michigan nickname, several new 2013 offers, and BREAKING Mitch McGary news. 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.

Rounding Out the 2012 Class

With the addition of Jeremy Clark to the 2012 class (more on that later), Michigan now has 23 commitments and five spots to fill—probably with two receivers, and offensive lineman, a running back, and perhaps a defensive back. How will they round out the class? I guess this is a good place to start:

That's four-star CA wideout Jordan Payton, of course, who decided—after visiting Notre Dame for the USC game last weekend—to push back his planned announcement from Tuesday to some time in the next two weeks. After the visit to South Bend, Payton claims that Michigan and Notre Dame are "tied" for the lead in his recruitment ($, info in header) after he had maintained that Michigan was his clear leader heading into the weekend. While this could be cause for a meltdown, I wouldn't get too worried—Payton is taking the time to gather his thoughts after a big visit, and I still think Michigan is in great position to land him whenever he decides to make his choice. Notre Dame always come back right at the end, right?

In more encouraging news, Puyallup (WA) OL Josh Garnett has set one official visit, and, well, you see where this is going [emphasis mine]...

"I'm going to Michigan on Nov. 19 when they play Nebraska," Garnett said. "I'm also going to visit Miami at some point also. I'm thinking pretty seriously about visiting Oklahoma too."

One school is showing Garnett more attention than the others.

"Cal is recruiting me the hardest by far," he said. "Coach (Tosh) Lupoi is the lead recruiter but all of their coaches are in contact with me. They are definitely showing me a lot of love."

Garnett is working down his list of 11 programs but said he has no favorites at this time among the group. Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Auburn and Notre Dame are a few other programs on the list.

While this by no means indicates that Michigan is his leader (one look at the quote about Cal should dispel that notion), Garnett coming to Ann Arbor is certainly a good sign, and anything can happen once a recruit gets on campus. [Morning edit: Of course, just before I go to sleep last night a new Garnett article pops up on Scout in which he says he "may" make it to Ann Arbor for the Nebraska game ($), so we'll have to wait and see if this one really happens. Encouraging news is slightly less encouraging, but still, I think, encouraging.]

Meanwhile, Garnett's fellow blue-chip Washingtonian lineman, Zach Banner, has been the center of attention this past week, and he named his top five schools ($, video embedded below) before heading to Notre Dame for an official visit:

For those who don't feel like clicking on the video, Michigan made his final five along with Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, and Washington. If you head over to Oklahoma's Rivals site, you'll see (at the moment I'm writing this, at least) a big fat headline proclaiming "Sooners On Top" linking to an article that claims Oklahoma leads for Banner ($, info in header), with extensive quotes from the recruit about how well his visit went. While I usually don't blockquote from premium articles, there's been genuine debate about how to interpret this quote, which comes off as a bit of a leading question from the interviewer but also seems to point to Oklahoma leading:

So is it fair to say that Oklahoma is currently the leader and Washington and USC will have to show him something that surpasses what he saw at Oklahoma?

"Yeah," he said plainly. "All five of them are going to be completely involved but I'm still taking my USC and (Washington) visits but if you were going to ask me who I'd bet on, Oklahoma has a good chance."

Interpret that how you will, but obviously Michigan is still in it, though they might have some ground to cover. Just as notable, IMO, is Banner saying he'll announce his decision date (note: not make his actual decision, just to be abundantly clear) this Saturday, at his Army All-American ceremony.

There are other options on the offensive line, as well. TomVH caught up with Jordan Diamond, and read his article ($) and check out the video interview (free) over at WolverineNation. Michigan is still among the schools Diamond is interested in, and he's been in contact with former Chicago Simeon teammate and current Wolverine Chris Bryant, but he says he has "no favorites" at this time and will not make a decision until signing day. After taking in the ND-USC game last weekend (along with every other top prospect on the planet, it seems), Diamond won't be making any other visits until after his season is over.

In related news, four-star OL and recent offeree Alex Kozan just picked up an offer from Ohio State ($, info in header). Michigan and OSU join a top group of Arkansas, Oklahoma State, LSU, Oregon, Colorado, Iowa, and Illinois, but Kozan is looking to pare that list of nine down to three or four in the near future.

Also, five-star OL/DE Arik Armstead has indeed opened up his recruitment, but 247's J.C. Shurburtt says this is likely a battle between Cal and USC, and with no mention of Michigan they're a fringe contender at best. Don't hold your breath for this one.

For more on wide receiver recruiting, updates on current commits, 2013 news, and MITCH MCGARY'S FINAL THREE AND IMPENDING DECISION (*cough*), hit 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' Is Mere Hours Away From Being Moot

Thursday Recruitin' Is Mere Hours Away From Being Moot

Submitted by Ace on October 6th, 2011 at 10:23 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien's decision is just hours away, but don't hold your breath, Bri'onte Dunn takes over the fourth quarter, and the Cass pipeline appears it will continue into 2013. 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.

Danny O'Brien Announces Today

Hooray for timely news, even if every indication has O'Brien leaving the state. Just in case something crazy happens and he ends up blue (again, unlikely—if it does, I'll be torn between being happy for a new commitment and angry at myself for skipping the presser) here's a couple quotes from Tim Sullivan's Freep piece on O'Brien's decision, which takes place at 2:30 this afternoon:

"O'Brien has always had an explosive first step,” said Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt. “Over the course of the spring, (he) added 25 pounds to his frame and, with the weight gain, came the needed strength.”

O'Brien plays all over the field for Powers, lining up at defensive tackle, defensive end and even running back. [Power coach Bob] Buckel, in his first year, considers it a blessing to have O’Brien.

“I’ve been a head coach 29 years, but this is my first year at Powers,” he said. “It’s nice to come into a program where you have a great player your first year. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he got the chance to play a little bit of offense in college.”

O'Brien will choose between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State. Check any O'Brien-related message board post and you'll get a pretty good idea of where he's very likely to end up.

In other news on (for now) uncommitted prospects, Tim also breaks down the top remaining 2012 targets on the board for the Wolverines. Jordan Payton and Amara Darboh, who have already visited campus, seem to have a leg up in terms of securing the open spot(s) for wide receivers in this class over Monty Madaris, who hasn't yet been to Ann Arbor, though he plans to do so later this season. The rest is stuff you probably already know, but if you want a good primer on the most likely names to fill in the class, it's a very solid breakdown.

Fox Sports Ohio televised Bri'onte Dunn's latest game, and Scout has the highlights available for free. Click through to see the video, and here's a summary from what turned out to be a remarkable fourth-quarter performance:

For much of the game, it seemed as if Dunn would get only a token carry or two and be used mostly as a decoy. Then the fourth quarter came, and GlenOak's strategy to use Dunn became clear. Call it "Jordanesque"; keep it close, then let the star take over.

Dunn had two carries for three yards heading into the fourth quarter. He had 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown in the final frame alone. That could almost be considered a night off for the workhorse running back who is likely to finish his career with over 1,000 carries.

Dunn had injured his hip the previous week, which explains his lack of carries early, but his performance in the final stanza propelled GlenOak from a 7-3 deficit to a 16-7 comeback victory.

Quickly, the paywalled stuff: Misleading Scout headline says Zach Banner has a timeline ($, info in header), when said timeline is that he'll announce his decision date for "either before or after the Army [All-American] Game]." His last three official visits will be to Notre Dame, USC, and Washington; he has already visited Michigan and Oklahoma. Five-star receiver Stefon Diggs has cut his list down to 11 ($, info in header), and Michigan is among them, though I wouldn't get excited unless he takes an official visit (obvious statement is obvious, I know). Good Counsel (MD) prospect Wes Brown has a top six ($, info in header), and it appears Michigan has another potential option at running back if they can't lure Dunn away from Ohio State. Wideout Jehu Chesson has a top five that now includes Northwestern ($, info in header), and yes, Michigan is in it for him as well.

Hit the jump for the rest of Thursday Recruitin', including updates on 2012 commits and videos of Jeremy Clark and Shane Morris, plus much more from the class of 2013.

Mailbag: Safety Strategy, Double Banner, Shotgun For Real, Mancrushes

Mailbag: Safety Strategy, Double Banner, Shotgun For Real, Mancrushes

Submitted by Brian on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:44 PM

zach-banner-bballsafety-signal

Zach Banner! Safeties!

Are coaches too conservative on the goal line? This was something I wondered on Monday. The Mathlete did some research into it. Survey says:

This one was a bit surprising to me as I dug in. Turns out coaches call this one about right. Existing playcalling from the 1 is worth on average +.10 in expected value. Going to a base playcalling set reduces that slightly to +.06. The difference is entirely in the magnified value of lost yardage. The 2 point loss weights negative yardage plays so strongly that the 11.2% of plays for loss on normal downs drive the value too low compared to the 2.1% of plays that go for a loss from the 1. I think the bigger takeaway is once you get a couple yards away from the 1. Once you have a little bit of space you might as well open it up but at the 1 or 2 you do have to be very careful.

All that being said, the numbers are fairly close and depending on score and time opening it up, even from the 1 could be a good decision.

In this instance, the conventional wisdom seems to be right. The next time your coach calls for a two-yard dive on first and goal ten from the one, grit your teeth and know it's the percentage play.

Let's wonder about Zach Banner playing everything for us.

Hi Brian,

It seems that Zach Banner really enjoyed his visit, so why not get ahead of myself and assume for a minute he's going to go Blue... If that happens, and if he wants to play hoops as well, how does that affect our basketball scholarship situation? Would that fill the last spot that we are praying is filled by Mitch McGary?  (I would assume that a 2 sport scholarship player counts as a scholarship against both sports, doesn't it? If not, why wouldn't schools start over-signing and stashing players on the water polo team.)

Thanks,
Daniel

Anyone who plays football counts for football if they are on scholarship. Banner would be a walk-on for basketball, as a few MSU football players have been in the recent past. You can keep up your dual Banner/McGary fantasies. Yeah… that's the stuff.

Mancrushes of the author.

Hey Brian,

With all the talk about best games for the under thirty-two crowd (i'm 31), I started thinking about a ranking of players that the under thirty two crowd adores.  Your MANCRUSH with Denard led me to think that he's one.  But who are the rest of your top five?  Hart?  Graham? Woodley?

Thanks,
Ron

It's hard to tell with Denard's career barely more than a third completed, but it's equally hard to deny that he's #1 with a bullet right now. Strictly in terms of the amount of EEEEEE I would feel if put in a room with a current or former Michigan football player and was expected to interact with them:

  1. Denard. Obvious.
  2. Brandon Graham. Essentially Denard as a world-crushing defensive end. The combination of his performance, the defense he was on making that performance more difficult, and his ability to work through all the crap he had to deal with during the transition makes him an easy #2.
  3. Mike Hart. Equally obvious.
  4. David Harris. He looked like Worf and played like Worf. I have a special affection for him because I was very high on him in the UFRs and his pro career has borne that out.
  5. David Molk. Also I guy I loved very early, and then he drops f-bombs and says things like he'll "try to be nicer to the media" and is perfectly blunt.

The thing about a list like this is I want to extend it to a top 25 because hey, I left out Charles Freakin' Woodson. It's apparent that the guys I've reviewed every play of are higher up on my list.

Hello Brian,

On your podcast, you said that Denard is a pretty accurate quarterback. I have a suspicion that might be wrong.

As I think you've astutely pointed out, Denard racked up completions to wide open receivers because of his running ability. This likely props up his completion percentages without requiring him to be all that accurate. I distinctly remember last year's Michigan State UFR, for example. You made a comment about Denard's difficulty fitting the ball into tighter spaces.
This just might just be my lexical confusion about 'accuracy.' In any case, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Respectfully,
caesar

This was discussed in the first couple offensive UFR and I agree to some extent. Denard was helped by a lot of screens, short throws, and blitheringly wide open seams. His major issue last year was missing wide receivers by miles; his major issue thus far has been missing wide receivers by miles, and a lot of his completions have been on deep punt-type things where underthrowing the guy is a good strategy but not a particularly difficult one.

That said, he at least seemed more accurate last year. Was that because he was rarely throwing in to tight coverage? That's probably some of it. If Denard's in a favorable down and distance and Michigan runs convincing play action his INT against EMU is a first down because there's no defensive back to intercept; I mark the exact same throw CA.

All the more reason to go back to the Denard or die offense.

Roh + Black plz

Hi Brian,

I was wondering what is so different about the responsibilities of the 2 defensive end spots in this defense that we cannot play Roh and Black at the same time?

In most defenses that I'm familiar with the two DE spots are relatively interchangeable. My limited understanding is that you generally want the better run defender on the strong side because teams often run that way because they have an extra blocker, and you generally want your faster, quicker, pass rusher on the weakside to make it easier to sack the QB.
Besides those minor differences, I don't understand what is so gravely different about the 2 positions in our defense that we wouldn't want our 2 best DEs (Roh and Black, counting Van Bergen as a DT) in the game at the same time?

I suppose that if Will Campbell man's up and takes over at DT, and we slide Van Vergen back out to DE, this question is moot, but I still would like to better understand the major differences between the two positions.

Thanks for clearing this up,
Daniel

In a 4-3 even the two DE spots are relatively interchangeable. In a 4-3 under they're significantly different.

The strongside defensive end:

  • is essentially alone next to the strongside G and T
  • takes a lot of doubles
  • has to hold up
  • doesn't get many opportunities to get a speed rush off the edge
  • is kind of a defensive tackle but not quite unless you've got a really good one

The weakside defensive end:

  • almost always gets single blocking
  • rarely, if ever, gets doubled
  • can speed rush all day on passing plays
  • often drops into short zones on zone blitzes
  • is kind of a linebacker sometimes

There are players who are great at both of these. Brandon Graham flipped back and forth and was still Brandon Graham. But in general they are meaningfully different players.

HOWEVA, as mentioned in the defensive UFR I'm advocating both of those guys on the field at the same time, especially against spread formations where the relative lack of bulk won't be too killer. Someone's playing out of position on this line and maybe it's time to try an extremely slanty DL featuring no real anchor but four fast guys (or three fast guys and average Ryan Van Bergen) who can one-gap into the backfield all day. It's not ideal; it's still worth a shot.

denard-shotguntom-brady-shotgun

Denard / Tom Brady, first and goal from the two: shotgun

I have a different conventional wisdom.

Hi Brian,

Assuming perfect execution and the right personnel, why is it widely accepted that operating from under center is superior to the shotgun?  Are the physics such that the extra downfield head start of 2 yards for a RB that much more effective in a running game as a base set (with shotgun draw type plays serving as the offbeat counterpoint)?  What about from a passing perspective?  I would think that the shotgun allows the QB (any QB) to see the field better at the outset of the play...so does it all come back to the running game?

Posed another way, given <insert current top tier NFL QB>, why is under-center better than shotgun?  I'm trying to remove Denard from the argument to get a sense of what we'll be trying to do with Gardner/Morris/et al.

Hope this question makes sense - would appreciate any thoughts (or links to others' thoughts) you've got.

Go Blue!

-V

I think it may be accepted, but that acceptance seems to be shifting in the NFL. For one, see Tom Brady. The league is just now dealing with the injury faking brought on by no-huddle spreads. Shotgun plays are generally more efficient than plays under center even there, though the main reason there is passing, not running.

I mentioned this on the podcast, but the NFL scouts' constant whining about the spread killing the footwork of college QBs has always seemed like a selling point for the shotgun. If footwork is so important and so deficient in a spread option system that seems like a lot of time spent working on something else. This goes both for little ninjas like Denard and artillery pieces like Ryan Mallett, who spent no time under center in high school and couldn't even take a snap half the time as a freshman in college. If footwork is really hard, stop doing footwork. Just start where you're going to be.

This thinking is now becoming popular since a bunch of spread QBs have been instantly successful. Don Banks:

"People have kind of gotten away from the stereotypical thinking we used to see about the spread. I remember when [Florida State's Heisman winner] Charlie Ward came out and they said, 'Oh, he plays in the shotgun.' There were all these different reasons why he couldn't succeed, and it just baffled me. I said 'Do you see what the guy is doing? He's making plays to win games. He's making decisions, he's throwing the ball, he's on target, he's moving away from the rush, all the things you have to do in the NFL. Taking a snap from the center is the easiest thing to learn, all those other things are hard. But I think we've kind of gotten away from that kind of thinking, and we're looking at what these guys do positively. They can make decisions, they can throw on the move, and they can get out of the pocket. So you say, OK, let me build off of what their strengths are.''

Spread zealotry is catching. This, from Football Outsiders, was written four years ago:

Over the past three seasons, offenses have averaged 5.9 yards per play from Shotgun, but just 5.1 yards per play with the quarterback under center. This wide split exists even if you analyze the data to try to weed out biases like teams using Shotgun more often on third-and-long, or against prevent defenses in the fourth quarter. Shotgun offense is more efficient if you only look at the first half, on every down, and even if you only look at running back carries rather than passes and scrambles.

Clearly, NFL teams have figured the importance of the Shotgun out for themselves. Over the past four seasons, the average team has gone from using Shotgun 19 percent of the time to 36 percent of the time, not even counting the Wildcat and other college-style option plays that have become popular in recent years. Before 2007, no team had ever used Shotgun on more than half its offensive plays. In the past two seasons, five different teams have used Shotgun over half the time. It is likely that if teams continue to increase their usage of the Shotgun, defenses will adapt and the benefit of the formation will become less pronounced.

Under center has a few advantages: it does not tip plays based on the position of the running back (unless you're shuffling the fullback argh). The tailback can run north and south more easily. If you do not have a running quarterback it is hard to get safeties to massively misplay play action based on a shotgun running game. And that's all I've got.

So… the answer to your question is "people have not caught up with the new reality."

Thursday Recruitin' Finds 1,000 Ways To Say 'That Was Awesome'

Thursday Recruitin' Finds 1,000 Ways To Say 'That Was Awesome'

Submitted by Ace on September 15th, 2011 at 9:55 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', effusive praise of the Under the Lights experience abounds, Danny O'Brien nears a decision, the 2013 Scout 100 is released, and there's even some basketball recruiting news. 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.

If You Weren't In Ann Arbor, You Were Wrong

So sayeth Shane Morris:

It's tough to find a recruit who was in attendance that would disagree with that sentiment. From the non-paywalled articles, here are quotes from Devin Funchess...

"That was a live game," he said. "I got down when Notre Dame scored the wide open touchdown, but Michigan did a lot with 30 seconds. It was a great game and a great comeback and I want to be a part of it next year."

...Allen Gant...

“It was fantastic,” Gant said of the atmosphere. “Especially being in the biggest stadium in college football, there’s no greater feeling then that. Especially being the first night game at Michigan Stadium, it was fantastic. Listening to all the music going on between the plays… it made me want to go out there and play right away.”

...and Terry Richardson:

"This is why I committed," he said. "This is why I set my plans to Michigan. It's a great university. We have to come here and try to carry on the big time tradition."

The incredible game and atmosphere had an impact on the uncommitted visitors, as well. Gant sat next to WA OL Zach Banner and CA WR Jordan Payton, and he thinks the experience gave Michigan a big leg up in each of their recruitments [emphasis mine]:

“I actually sat right next to them. We built a pretty good relationship and it was a good experience being with them. I think that Zach and Jordan think this is a great atmosphere to be in and playing in front of 114,000 people is just an unbelievable experience. I feel like at the end of the day, Ann Arbor is where they want to be.

Even from the premium articles, it's easy to get a sense of how well the visits went for, well, everyone. [Note: All of these should come with a ($), but it seemed ridiculous to insert that after every single link for the rest of this section.] Banner was "blown away," by the Big House, telling 24/7 that Michigan "definitely moved up my board." Danny O'Brien (more on him later) called the experience "electric." Jordan Payton deemed the trip "amazing," and said Michigan is his leader—he might even move up his announcement, though he won't reveal a date yet. Erik Magnuson quipped "there's nothing like it." Caleb Stacey? Simply speechless.

Of course, the Wolverines didn't play host to just the seniors. 2013 DB Shaquille Wiggins tweeted after the game, "I can't wait to go to Michigan I jus want those new uniforms.." The Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek standout, who holds a U-M offer, named a new leader this week ($). I'll give you zero guesses, because duh.

The visit set the bar ($) for Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton, who also earned an offer from the coaches this week and now has the Wolverines among his leaders. For Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OT Kyle Bosch, the trip exceeded his expectations ($). Toledo (OH) St. John's DE Matt Miller, younger brother of Michigan offensive lineman Jack, appears to have enjoyed himself as well:

All that, and I've yet to mention that Dymonte Thomas, one of the top juniors in Ohio and a blue-chip recruit at both running back and safety, committed on the spot Saturday. This "night game" concept just might catch on, guys.

Danny O'Brien Sets a Date and More 2012 News

Flint Powers defensive tackle Danny O'Brien will make his much-anticipated announcement during his school's homecoming rally on October 7th, choosing between Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, and Michigan State ($, info in header). As Scout's Sam Webb notes on his new Twitter page, that announcement comes before planned official visits to Tennessee and Michigan State, the two schools that seem to have the best shot at him outside of Michigan. Having a "Hello" post prepared by the first week in October seems like it would be a good idea.

Our good friend TomVH reports that wideout Amara Darboh will take an official visit to Michigan on either November 19th or 26th, coinciding with the Nebraska and Ohio State games, respectively ($, info in header). Darboh initially planned on visiting for the Western Michigan game, but wasn't able to make it in that weekend—I wouldn't read much into that, especially with the rescheduled visit, and I think Michigan is in good position with Darboh.

Don Bosco Prep (NJ) defensive back Yuri Wright has one official visit set ($, info in header), and since this is a Michigan site, you can probably guess where that visit is going to be. He hasn't decided on a date yet, but it looks like he'll be in Ann Arbor within the next month. He has a final six of Michigan, Rutgers, Georgia, Notre Dame, Cal, and Michigan State.

The Wolverines may be in line for a surprise visit from five-star Sacramento (CA) Grant safety Shaq Thompson ($, info in header). Thompson has the ability to play multiple positions, has fantastic size (6'2", 210), and is the type of prospect you don't really say no to, so it will be very interesting to see what happens if Michigan gets him on campus—I doubt the coaches would turn him away because of a numbers crunch.

Quickly: Michael Rothstein profiles Greg Mattison and his recruiting prowess at WolverineNation. Also at WN, TomVH counts down Michigan's top ten most important commits in the class, with Caleb Stacey the No. 10 most important commit ($), Devin Funchess No. 9 ($), and Terry Richardson No. 8 (free). MLive's Kyle Warber caught up with Mario Ojemudia for an interview last week. Good Cousel (MD) five-star receiver Stefon Diggs will trim his list down to eight on October 1st, and is looking at Auburn, Miami, Florida, and possibly Clemson for official visits—he'll be a tough pull, and Michigan needs to find a way to get him on campus if they want a shot. Fullback commit Sione Houma's ankle injury, suffered during his game last week, is not serious, and he should be back on the field within two weeks.

Dymonte Thomas Commits, 2013 Scout 100 Released

As mentioned above, Alliance (OH) Marlington S/RB Dymonte Thomas committed to Michigan after the Notre Dame game. You can find much more in my "Hello" post, but here's some delicious bitterness from the Duane Long Report's Jerry Beeson [emphasis mine]:

Friday night I had the opportunity to get a first hand look at the Marlington Dukes and star junior Dymonte Thomas as they traveled to Mahoning county to take on Poland. I was hoping to witness a future Buckeye, but after watching Michigan's come from behind win over the Irish of Notre Dame, word has come down that Thomas has verbally committed to Michigan. Key word being verbal, but I'll leave that at that.

Um, Jerry? All commitments are "verbal" until signing day. That's how this whole thing works. Deal with it. Making that statement even more ridiculous is the fact that, a few weeks ago, DUANE LONG wrote on the very same site that Ohio State wasn't showing enough interest in Thomas, and he was a "baffling non-offer." That same article also proclaims Michigan's newest commit both the best running back and the best safety in Ohio's class of '13, which is nice. Thomas will play safety when he takes the field for the Wolverines.

Speaking of Thomas, he earned a four-star rating in the newly-released Scout 100, which gives players star ratings but no rankings yet—the full list is simply ordered by stars and then position. Thomas is among the top seven safeties in the country, while fellow commit Shane Morris is one of just 12 players (and two quarterbacks) to earn a five-star rating. Here's a list of Michigan targets who made the list (all are four-stars except Jalin Marshall and Michael Hutchings; positions are what's listed on Scout, not necessarily what they'd play at Michigan):

  • Middletown (OH) RB Jalin Marshall
  • Concord (CA) De La Salle OLB Michael Hutchings
  • Sammamish (WA) Skyline QB Max Browne
  • Wayne (NJ) Hills QB Kevin Olsen
  • Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac
  • Destrehan (LA) WR Rickey Jefferson
  • Camp Hill (PA) Cedar Cliff TE Adam Breneman
  • Midland (MI) OT Steven Elmer
  • Dallas (TX) Lake Highlands OT Kent Perkins
  • Huber Heights (OH) Wayne OT Lovell Peterson
  • Lemont (IL) Township OT Ethan Pocic
  • Lake City (FL) Columbia OT Laremy Tunsil
  • Parker (CO) Ponderosa OG Christopher Fox
  • Avon (IN) DE Elijah Daniel
  • Detroit Catholic Central DE Wyatt Shallman (offered by U-M as a tailback)
  • Hudson (OH) OLB Ben Gedeon
  • Woodbridge (VA) C.D. Hylton OLB E.J. Levenberry
  • Bloomfield (MI) Brother Rice OLB Jon Reschke
  • Fort Wayne (IN) Biship Luers OLB Jaylon Smith
  • Matthews (NC) Butler MLB Peter Kalambayi
  • Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central MLB Tim Kimbrough
  • Murrieta (CA) Vista S Su'a Cravens
  • Trotwood (OH) Madison CB Cameron Burrows

Michigan has at least some interest from a full 25% of next year's Scout 100, and with the 2013 class shaping up to be much smaller (probably 18-20 players, depending on attrition) than 2012, the Wolverines will be able to pick and choose from among the nation's elite.

Quickly: Tom has a feature article on Steve Elmer ($), and while the article is paywalled, you can see his video interview with Elmer for free here. To quote the great Keith Jackson, if Elmer keeps eating his cornbread, he'll be man-sized some day. According to the 24/7 message boards, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin are in a lead group for Elmer over Michigan State.

Basket-ball?

Yes, basketball. Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focused on five-star 2012 big man Mitch McGary, and extensively quotes his AAU coach, who is definitely a fan of John Beilein:

"The post player is intimately and intricately involved in John Beilein's system," [AAU coach Wayne] Brumm explained. "I don't know anybody who runs a better offensive system for a post player than Michigan. So I have to say, why not (Michigan as a possible destination)? Everybody else is (analyzing McGary's recruitment) like they're a friggin fan. We're trying to pick a school that is in Mitch's best interest."

Brumm added: "John Beilein can flat-out coach. The people I talk to and the coaches I talk to, I'll flat-out tell you — they are scared of John Beilein. They are worried about the day he starts getting the talent that they've got (at their schools). He's been at a bunch of places that he couldn't recruit high-major talent. Now he's at Michigan and it looks like he is making some headway there. When he starts with an even slate in terms of talent, look out! Look what he did last year. Look what he did with Darius Morris, Timmy Hardaway, and look what he has done with Jordan Morgan. My goodness, isn't anybody paying attention?"

[raises hand] The article also quotes a Scout national hoops recruiting analyst who says that Michigan "is certainly right there, if not at the top, very close to it," in terms of McGary's recruitment. McGary himself has a blog on ESPN Rise, and he recapped his recent visits to Michigan, North Carolina, and Duke:

I would say that the part that stood out most about the visit was the fans and just how much love they showed me. I really wasn’t expecting all of that. People talk about the Cameron Crazies at Duke, but that’s how it was at Michigan too. Those fans showed me the most love of the three visits.

Fans chanted "Mitch Mc-Ga-ry" during the Western Michigan game, and that caught the big man's attention. In the blog, he also debunks rumors he committed to both UNC and Duke while also saying that he'd like to check out Kentucky, Maryland, and Florida, but he's "not sure" he'll make it to those schools. The Wolverines have turned into a serious player—perhaps even the favorite?—in a recruitment that felt like a pipe dream not very long ago.

Joe Eberhardt of UMHoops caught up with 2013 commit Glenn Robinson III for an interview, and they discussed Robinson's AAU teammate... Mitch McGary:

This summer, I was recruiting [McGary] hard and I know Michigan is in his top 5. I know he had a great time on his visit to Michigan. He’s my best friend and we are really like brothers. I want him to do what is best for him, but I’ll try to do what I can do to recruit him to Michigan. I really don’t know know where he is going to end up, but I hope he comes to Michigan. I know he’s still taking visits and making a decision, but I don’t think it will be too much longer before he decides.

According to UMHoops, Michigan now has a new target in the 2013 class in rising Texas big man Dominic Woodson, who now claims a Wolverine offer:

New England recruiting expert Adam Finkelstein describes Woodson as “a poor man’s Dejuan Blair, a power player and space eater inside the lane who bullies his opponents on both ends of the floor.” Most importantly, Woodson lists an offer from Michigan as well as Oklahoma, Michigan State and Baylor with interest from Louisville, Florida, UConn and Texas. An offer would likely have to be made official by a visit to campus but the Michigan interest appears sincere with Beilein and Bacari attending open gym.

He sounds like a contingency plan if Beilein and Co. can't land McGary, especially given the limited number of available scholarships in the next couple classes.

Finally, Dylan posts his own recruiting class rankings for 2013, and the Wolverines currently sit atop the list, though it's still very early in the process (half the conference, including Michigan State, has yet to land a commit).

Wednesday Recruitin' Awaits the Season

Wednesday Recruitin' Awaits the Season

Submitted by Tim on August 17th, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Summer recruiting has wound down with the arrival of fall camp, especially for teams with a commit list as close to full as Michigan's. There's still information to go around, but unofficial/official visits (starting with the Western Michigan game) should see the return of action.

Recruiting Action

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IA WR Amara Darboh (pictured at right) will be visiting Ann Arbor for the Western Michigan game, after a strong visit a couple weeks ago.

CA WR Jordan Payton will be in attendance for the Notre Dame game.

IL OL Jordan Diamond is in no hurry to commit, so it's possible that Michigan's class fills up before he wants to commit. There's only one spot available along the offensive line, and WA OLs Josh Garnett and Zach Banner are planning early-season visits. Garnett is trying to arrange his Michigan visit for the Notre Dame game, the same as Banner.

For all the talk of those other linemen, don't forget about PA OL Adam Bisnowaty, who is still considering Michigan. He's the other primary option for that final OL spot in the 2012 crop.

Saginaw fluff on expatriate MO DT Commit Ondre Pipkins, who grew up in the area:

In the end, it was one of those Saginaw High connections that helped cement Ondre Pipkins’ commitment to Michigan. [Roy] Manning, the former Saginaw High star who played at Michigan before a three-year NFL career, is back in Ann Arbor as a first-year graduate assistant on Hoke’s staff.

Manning is friends with Ondre's dad Al, who still lives in Saginaw.

Pipkins's commitment left MI DT Danny O'Brien wondering where he stands with the Wolverines. He planned to call Michigan's coaches on Monday, but no word on how it went.

IL CB Anthony Standifer is solid in his commitment, in case you were worried about his status.

Lists!

ESPN Rise has released their All-Midwest team, and though I'm more apt to ignore a squad with three(!!!) first-team QBs, it's kind to Michigan, so linky, here we go. Commits in bold; other targets in regular.

First Team

  • OH RB (OSU Commit) Bri'onte Dunn
  • OH WR Dwayne Stanford
  • OH OL Commit Kyle Kalis
  • IL OL Jordan Diamond
  • OH DE Adolphus Washington
  • MI LB Commit Royce Jenkins-Stone
  • MI LB Commit James Ross
  • OH S Bam Bradley
  • MI CB Commit Terry Richardson
  • IL CB Commit Anthony Standifer

Second Team

  • OH WR Monty Madaris
  • MI DT Danny O'Brien
  • MI DE Commit Mario Ojemudia
  • OH DE/DT Commit Chris Wormley
  • OH LB Commit Joe Bolden
  • OH S Commit Jarrod Wilson

Elsewhere in "ultimately meaningless lists," Scout's new midwest state rankings are out, with six of Michigan's top ten committed to the Wolverines, but only three from Ohio's cream of the crop.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails, MA CB Armani Reeves, who picked Penn State. That brings Michigan's DB hotboard back down to one uncommitted prospect, NJ CB Yuri Wright.

A couple DBs that had Michigan interest or offers a while back are off the board. DC CB Kenny Crawley and TX S LaDarrell McNeil both committed to Tennessee on Monday.

2013

With the 2012 class mostly complete, it's no surprise that focus shifts more heavily to rising juniors.

MI OL Cameron Dillard may receive a Michigan offer after sending coaches early-season junior film.

MI OL Steven Elmer has set up a few visits this fall, including two to Notre Dame (and one to Michigan for the Notre Dame contest). It seems like the Irish are going to be one of the strongest contenders for his services.

Tom talked with MD DT/DE Henry Poggi following a visit to Ann Arbor last week:

I've taken a few visits down south and decided to go to Ann Arbor before camp starts for us... I would say Michigan is up there, I really like the people down there and the education they have.

I would rather not prolong my commitment. I don't know the exact date, but I'd like to take a couple official visits. If I know before I can take visits then I would just commit, I don't really have to take the officials.

Poggi's offer list already includes the likes of Alabama and Ohio State, so building a favorable impression of Michigan early is a strong start with one of 2013's top prospects.

Keep an eye on IL DE Devante Lee ($, info in header). He's a teammate of IL OL Jordan Diamond (and former teammate of Wolverine freshman Chris Bryant).

Michigan is "turning up the heat" on MI DE/LB Luke MacLean.

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Sam Webb's Detroit News column this week focuses on OH LB Ben Gedeon, primarily explaining why he's called "the freak":

"I was just always a little bit bigger than everybody, so my family called me that."

That's... not as interesting as I was expecting. Gedeon does a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball in high school, and Allen Trieu talks about his physical skills:

"He was excellent when we saw him in camp settings and his film verified what we had seen in shorts and T-shirts," Scout.com midwest regional manager Allen Trieu said. "He is a well built kid at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and moves very well at that size."

Gedeon says Michigan is currently atop his list, but he plans to evaluate all of his options before making a decision. He attended the BBQ at the Big House, where he connected with Michigan commits like James Ross and Kyle Kalis. He tells Tom that Michigan was his first offer - a big deal - and he'll try to visit campus for the Notre Dame game this fall.

GA CB Shaquille Wiggins is trying to visit Michigan for an early-season game.

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Allen Gant

Wednesday Recruitin' Welcomes Allen Gant

Submitted by Tim on June 1st, 2011 at 2:36 PM

I wrote a long intro for this post about how Michigan finally had a week without any commits, and Allen Gant just had to go spoil it. No complaints here, of course.

Allen Gant Goes Blue

OH S Allen Gant became the 13th member of Michigan's 2012 class with his public announcement on WTKA yesterday morning. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant was the top 2012 player in Ohio as a freshman, but his profile has fallen off in the past couple years, thanks in part to injuries.

The Wolverine Blog on Gant:

I’m not sure he’s going to be able to cover as much space as would be necessary to be a highly functional collegiate player, even if he can thump his man when he gets there. Perhaps he’s not done developing physically, but right now I’m a little skeptical of this offer.

Yikes. Maybe Touch the Banner can provide a little bit more optimism?:

The bottom line for his high school team is that he made the play, which is kind of the point of playing football. But when the receivers are faster and the quarterbacks are better, Gant won't be able to get away with plays like that

Eh, not really. For what it's worth, I've seen conflicting reports of injury over the past two years (with the sophomore hamstring issue confirmed), and a couple message boarders have stumped for his athleticism. For more on Allen, check out the Hello: Allen Gant post.

Who's Next?

There's one blindingly obvious option here, and that's because he has a commitment date already scheduled: NY CB/S Wayne Morgan will pick between Rutgers and Michigan tomorrow. He had originally planned to make his choice today.

There have also been some rumblings about CA OL Erik Magnuson. He recently named Michigan his favorite ($, info in header), and is visiting next weekend. If everything goes well, the trip to Ann Arbor could be just the first of many.

IL CB Anthony Standifer is visiting today, and although Michigan is at or near the top of his list, I don't think we should be expecting a commitment.

Buckeye Fallout

Rivals Michigan and Ohio State often pursue many of the same prospects, so it's no surprise that the ongoing Armageddon situation down in Columbus has some effect on Michigan's recruiting. The Sporting News caught up with IL OL Jordan Diamond:

"From a personal standpoint, Coach Tress was a great guy, we had a good conversation every time we talked. It’s hard to say if I will change my thoughts about OSU because the opportunity is still there to play early in my position, but seeing a good guy like Tress leave is hard for any recruit to handle.”

It sounds like this will damage OSU - but not too much - in his recruitment. SN also talked to OH DE Tom Strobel:

“What? No way. Well, regardless, Ohio State is still a great school. And I still believe Coach Tressel was a great coach and a great person. It was unfortunate that all this happened. My respect for him hasn’t changed. I still have a lot.”

Tom caught up with Strobel following his visit to Ann Arbor last week (of course, this was before the news came out):

"To be honest I didn't expect much going there, but then when I got there it was just an eye opener... I'm starting to narrow schools down now. Michigan's in the top with schools like Ohio State, Stanford, and Notre Dame. Academics are big for me."

It remains to be seen what will happen with Ohio State's spot on that list (they were considered the heavy leader previously). More from Strobel in the local paper.

Tom Lemming talks about the Tressel resignation's effect on recruiting.

OH RB Bri'onte Dunn is still committed to Ohio State "for now" ($, info in header). His dad told Tom that they've yet to discuss re-opening his recruitment, but several weeks back, there was mention of Dunn going back on the market if something catastrophic (I think this qualifies) were to happen to Ohio State - a bowl ban is 99% certain to come down, and that's a "big deal" to Bri'onte. Considering how different the news is than what's coming directly from the source, it seems like Dunn's high school coach is pushing him to remain a Buckeye.

OH WR Dwayne Stanford says this hurts Ohio State with him, and OH OL Kyle Dodson is "shocked," though he doesn't mention any impact on his recruitment (he'll narrow his list soon). More impact

Big Section for Big Dudes

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So, MO DT Ondre Pipkins, you've just won the Defensive Line MVP at the Columbus Nike Camp, what are you going to do next?

"I'm going to Disneyland pick up a ton of offers!" Ohio State and Oklahoma are among the recent entries to the Ondre Pipkins sweepstakes, though until further notice, I'd assume the Wolverines and Spartans have as good a shot as anybody.

Allen Trieu gives his take on Pipkins from the camp in a free Scout article:

We knew he was good, but I don't think anyone expected the big man to be as dominant as he was. At 6'4, 322-lbs, he showed power, quickness, and all the makings of a big time defensive tackle. As I said before, he can play for anyone in the country and his offer list is starting to match that. We had limited film on him before, so he was ranked conservatively, but I think a big jump is possible for him.

5-star is probably out of the question for now, but it's sounding like he'll come damn close next time Scout updates their rankings. ESPN named him t their all-camp team, along with Michigan commits Shane Morris ('13), James Ross, and Terry Richardson, along with a few Wolverine targets.

Going from big (6-2, 320) to bigger (6-9, 300), WA OL Zach Banner was the subject of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News. The kid insists he wants to be a 2-sport athlete, but more useful for our purpose is the recruiting info he drops on Sam:

"I guarantee that I will be taking an official visit to Michigan," he said emphatically. "I have already scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame and that is going to be Oct. 22, and that is going to be their first night game in 25 years (against USC). I am also going to take an official to Michigan. I want to come to a rivalry game where it is primetime football."

He plans to narrow his list of 30+ schools to a more manageable Top 10 over the summer, and it definitely sounds like both Michigan and Notre Dame are locks to be included.

Banner isn't the only Evergreen State blocker getting Michigan interest, as WA OL Joshua Garnett is also hearing from the maize-and-blue:

JOSHUA: Michigan has a great football tradition and is also one of the top academic schools in the nation.

TOM: Are you interested enough that you think you'll take a visit to Michigan?

JOSHUA: Yes definitely. It will most likely be an official visit... I have always wanted to play in that Michigan - Ohio State game. I think that is a big reason why I like Michigan. That game is probably the biggest in college football, and the rivalry is unexplainable.

Despite considerably less hype, Garnett is actually more highly rated than Banner.

AZ OL Andrus Peat has cut his list to 13 schools, and Michigan makes the grade. Nebraska, USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, Arkansas, Texas, Auburn, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, Miami (YTM), and Alabama are the other lucky suitors.

Tom's Weekly Update is heavy on offensive linemen.

Michigan might be close to offering OH DT Alex Pace. He's a product of Glenville High School.

Michigan was in-school with Stanford commit CA DT Aziz Shittu last week. Despite his Cardinal pledge, he may take an official visit to Ann Arbor.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails, CA QB Jake Rodrigues. He committed to Oregon.

CO OL Shane Callahan committed to Auburn.

Happy trails, FL OL John Theus, who trimmed his list to 6 (non-Michigan) schools.

Happy Trails, CA OL Max Tuerk has committed to USC.

CA LB Scott Starr also committed to USC. The Trojans have already filled 9 of their NCAA-mandated 15 slots in this class. I bet you infinity dollars that Lane Kiffin goes well over 15 and the NCAA does nothing about it.

Caution: Bleacher Report article do not click! Michigan is not in the final 5 for GA CB Geno Smith.

Etc.

MI LB Commit Royce Jenkins-Stone has been selected to the 2012 Army All-American Game (H/T: Blue_in_Cleveland).

I'm pretty wary of the source, but OH S Jarrod Wilson is reportedly high on Michigan State, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Illinois. Gant's commitment could be a factor there, as well.

TN OL Blake Bars picked up a Michigan offer ($).

Tennessee still leads for MI DT Danny O'Brien - though a second article states he has no favorites, but will visit Knoxville this summer ($, info in headers).

2013

Keep an eye on MI OL Steven Elmer, one of the state's top prospects next year. He already holds a MIssissippi State offer ($, info in header).

PA TE Adam Breneman has picked up a Michigan offer ($).

MD TE/DE Henry Poggi is showing a Michigan offer. His older brother attends Iowa, where he was one of the players hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.

Michigan is "turning up the heat" on IL RB Ty Isaac ($, info in header).

Duane Long releases an early 2013 top 25 for the state of Ohio.