Monday Recruitin' Raises Its Stock

Monday Recruitin' Raises Its Stock Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 7th, 2019 at 10:00 AM

The relative quiet of the recruiting calendar’s dead period gave way to two all-star games last week, and with that a ton of new material on the players about to age out of appearing in these recruiting roundups. Thursday’s Under Armour All-America Game featured five Michigan signees: FL LB Anthony Solomon, OH OL Nolan Rumler, GA OT Trente Jones on Team Flash, and DC LB Quinten Johnson and MI DT Mazi Smith on Team Ballaholics. CA RB Zach Charbonnet elected to sit out the week of practice and game with an injury, which should please the superstitious lot; Greg Biggins wrote after the first day of practice that 247 came into the week with Charbonnet on five-star watch.

Though Smith and Jones won’t earn fifth stars either, they did plenty in practice last week to raise their stock in the eyes of analysts. 247’s John Garcia called Smith “the best interior guy” while ESPN.com’s Craig Haubert named Smith to his list of the week’s best. 247’s Allen Trieu, who has probably seen Smith more than anyone in the country, added some detail to Garcia’s line. He noted that Smith hasn’t done any camps, but it seems he adapted to 1-on-1 drills against competition on par with his talent level rather quickly. Trieu mentioned Smith being told something about how to use his hands by the coaching staff, then using that to win reps later in the day. For a player who has been able to pin his ears back and run through his opponent at will until this past week, it was an encouraging sign of adaptability. (And a positive sign for next year, when he’ll be needed to be ready to rotate in at DT.)

[Other guys adapt after THE JUMP]

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Jimmystats: 2019 Recruiting Comps: Offense

Jimmystats: 2019 Recruiting Comps: Offense Comment Count

Seth December 20th, 2018 at 4:50 PM

More fun with rosters! With signing day behind us I've updated my spreadsheets and the associated interactive chart. Behold: the 2019 class contextualized against every Michigan recruit since 1990:

You can mouseover the big yellow bubbles to get a sense where each guy fits against previous Michigan players in the recruiting rankings. But let's still dig out each player to understand the context of his scouting. The full data are here.

QB Cade McNamara

image

The style of quarterback who uses his legs and is constantly being asked about his height is now considered a "Pro Style" quarterback, especially if he commits to Harbaugh, though it's not hard to find the guy Cade McNamara most reminds us of. Cade is a clear rung down from Tate's Top-150ish ratings, and for good reason. However Michigan's lone QB recruit in this class is still strongly above the 4-star line. Despite the other comps being substantially different players, the boom/bust nature of his ranking is evident in the range of success you see around him.

[After THE JUMP: The position you were dreading]

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Friday Recruitin' Didn't See Your Text

Friday Recruitin' Didn't See Your Text Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 16th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

This week saw the release of a new Top247 in which most of Michigan’s commits stayed near their prior ranking. There were two moves worth discussing, though, as GA OL Trente Jones (pictured above) shot up and CA RB Zach Charbonnet entered rarified, dangerous territory. Charbonnet moved up from #41 to #26 in 247’s rankings, which puts him six spots over the five-star threshold. Michigan’s recent history with five-star running backs is woeful enough that an Angry Michigan Five-Star Running Back-Hating God may have been invoked at some point, but how can you watch Charbonnet’s highlights and not give him a fifth star?

 

I also recommend watching this video for the runs at 3:05 and 3:27. There’s a very useful every-touch/block video that someone cut up from the second half of Charbonnet’s playoff game two weeks ago, and that shows that he’s a pretty good blocker as well.

247’s Greg Biggins wrote about Charbonnet in the aftermath of Oaks Christian’s playoff victory last weekend and there are so many pull quotes you should just read the whole article.

His ability to make something out of nothing, take a pounding but not flinch and look even stronger in the 4th quarter than he did in the 1st really makes him special. His game translates really well to the college level and there is no question he has the ability to see the field as soon as next year at Michigan.

Biggins goes on to say that Charbonnet should be considered one of the best backs to come out of Southern California in the last decade and will eventually play in the NFL barring injury, so that seems good. Whereas TN RB Eric Gray’s visit this weekend was probably necessary for Michigan to keep him in the class (more on that after the jump), Charbonnet’s visit be this Saturday is the opposite. Steve Lorenz notes that Charbonnet spoke with 247 a few weeks ago and said he wasn’t sure whether other schools were pursuing him because he doesn’t respond to his texts and doesn’t check his phone much these days.

Jones may not have ended up as high in the rankings as Charbonnet but he did jet up 266 spots (!), earning a fourth star in the process. He also is reportedly his high school’s highest-graded lineman this season, which is very much worth noting as he is teammates with #9 overall prospect Wanya Morris. You may remember Morris from last week’s roundup; he’s the player who was taken first overall in the UA All-America Game draft, one spot ahead of Charbonnet.

[Hit THE JUMP for the longest 2019 update in a while]

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Friday Recruitin' Leaps Tall Humans In A Single Bound

Friday Recruitin' Leaps Tall Humans In A Single Bound Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 9th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

This space has been so focused on breathlessly detailing the recent spate of visits from highly ranked recruits that there hasn’t been much digital ink spilled on some of the highly ranked players already in the class. With no visits this weekend, new intel available, and a recent return from injury, it’s a great time to look at who CA RB Zach Charbonnet has been running around or, more recently, over. And by “over” I don’t mean truck-stick style, I mean literally over, as in Ben Mason hurdling a dude. So yes, click that link. He’ll have a chance to leap over even larger and more athletic guys than usual this January, as Todd McShay tweeted yesterday that Charbonnet was selected second overall in the Under Armour All-America Game Draft. Not a small accomplishment considering 13 current five-stars are on the game roster; Wanya Morris, the player selected ahead of Charbonnet, is ranked #7 overall and is the top offensive tackle in the 2019 class.

It’s not much of a surprise, then, that Michigan has plans to use Charbonnet next season. 247’s Steve Lorenz confirmed this week not only that he fully expects Charbonnet to have a big role in 2019, but that Charbonnet will get a head start on bringing that prediction to fruition when he enrolls in January.

One more 2019 running back who’s also expected in the class: Eric Gray. Lorenz reports that Michigan’s staff still thinks that they’ll be able to sign Gray, who has taken multiple visits to Tennessee and has an Ole Miss official slated for early December. Gray has one final opportunity to visit Michigan this season, so keep your eyes open for his name on visitor lists for the Indiana game. If Gray doesn’t make the trip up, he will have gone the entire season without experiencing the gameday atmosphere in person and without having set foot in the state since camp season while visiting other southern schools multiple times. Writing will be on the wall then, it seems.

[After THE JUMP: Breathlessly detailing the recent spate of visits from highly ranked recruits ]

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Friday Recruitin' Orders A New Box Of Lanyards For All These Name Tags

Friday Recruitin' Orders A New Box Of Lanyards For All These Name Tags Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 12th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Perhaps you’ve heard that there is a football game that will be played at Michigan Stadium this weekend. Teenagers from around the nation are flocking to Ann Arbor to observe the dairy-engorged behemoths from Wisconsin clash with the Herbert-engineered athletic specimens from Michigan under the  glow of very long banks of electric lights.

One teenager who won’t be in Ann Arbor headlined last week’s post as a would-be visitor, and his absence is not necessarily a bad sign for Michigan. Word got around on Monday that five-star NC ATH Quavaris Crouch would no longer be on campus this weekend. 247’s Steve Lorenz reported yesterday that the decision was mutual, and that Michigan’s staff would rather have Crouch, whom he noted is one of the staff’s top two or three remaining targets, on campus some weekend where there aren’t so many other visitors, thus allowing them to focus more attention on Crouch.

This makes some sense in light of Rivals and 247 reporting that five-star OH DE Zach Harrison will be taking an unofficial visit this weekend. 247’s Steve Lorenz reports that Harrison took an unofficial to Ohio State on Wednesday to learn more about their academic offerings. Lorenz notes that Harrison and fellow unofficial visitor 2019 OH S (but really Viper) Joey Velazquez, one of the commits recently featured in FBO, are good friends who grew up together, so maybe being on campus together makes a difference for what will be Harrison's fourth Michigan visit.

It makes even more sense when considering that there are only three official visitors this weekend, two of which are already committed to Michigan with the other happening to be their likely top priority on the offensive line. IL OT Trevor Keegan took an official to Ohio State last weekend and still has officials to Penn State, Georgia, and Clemson planned; 247’s Steve Wiltfong CB’d him to Georgia last week. That’s a lot for Michigan to have to counter, so rescheduling Crouch for a different weekend, risky though it may be, is understandable.

[Hit the JUMP for more visitors and interesting in-state 2020 interviews]

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Friday Recruitin' Has Come On A Little Bit

Friday Recruitin' Has Come On A Little Bit Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 5th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

[Isaiah Hole]

In an otherwise slow week, word came out yesterday that NC ATH Quavaris Crouch is set to take an official visit to Michigan for the following weekend’s game against Wisconsin. There aren’t many visits as crucial as this one given the small number of sure-take prospects left in the 2019 class (Crouch is ranked 28th in 247’s composite), and it’s made all the more important by Michigan’s standing in Crouch’s mind. Clemson247’s Anna Hickey reports that Michigan is one of three schools—the others are Tennessee and *shudder* Clemson—that have separated themselves from the pack.

The game-day atmosphere for Crouch’s visit should be impactful, and 247’s Steve Lorenz is reporting as much. There’s no other game on Michigan’s home schedule—night game, ranked opponent, early fall weather—that is likely to be as much of a spectacle. Whether Michigan wins that game, though, may be less important than you might think. Crouch spoke to Clemson247’s Anna Hickey about what he has seen from the colleges he’s considering so far this season and his comments were interesting.

"Everybody started off kind of slow. It's like 'oh my god.'," he said. "Michigan has come on a little bit. But you never know, you and some other guys they recruit could come in and change the program. It might just take time, you've just got to be patient. I'm not going to say I'm used to losing, but I've played at places where you've had to build a foundation."

So, uh, thanks Florida and Georgia, and almost-thanks Syracuse and Texas A&M. It’s not only unclear what school Crouch will choose but what position he will play at said school is also up in the air. The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown recently wrote that Crouch seems to be planning to play linebacker in college, while 247’s Steve Lorenz said this week that it works to Michigan’s benefit to have a number of recent examples of two-way players they can point out to Crouch.

TN RB Eric Gray, the subject of a great deal of speculation with regard to the solidity of his commitment, is also expected to be in Ann Arbor for the Wisconsin game, according to 247. Steve Lorenz notes that Gray’s recent visits to SEC schools, including a visit to Ole Miss that ended with a few crystal balls in their favor and rumors of flipping in its wake, did not catch the Michigan coaching staff off guard. They still believe Gray is solid, and it can only help that he’ll be in town for a game in what will be his first visit back to campus since committing.

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

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Friday Recruitin' Works Its Way Into Being Productive

Friday Recruitin' Works Its Way Into Being Productive Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 28th, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Michigan added their fifth commitment of the 2020 class on Tuesday in Cornell Wheeler, and they didn’t have to go far to find him. The West Bloomfield LB, no. 466 in the composite ranking, had his fair share of ink spilled upon committing. 247’s Allen Trieu has a pair of scouting reports, one from Tyrice Grice, Wheeler’s defensive coordinator, and one from his observations from 2017 through camp season. Grice:

“Cornell's going to make sure he's a sideline to sideline player. He works hard on his athleticism because he compares himself to Lance [Dixon] which is a tough one to compare yourself to. He will fit in Michigan's defense. His instincts help him get to the ball so fast and he makes good reads and that's something we teach is understanding reads and he is good at that. It took him a while to learn it, but he worked with me and he got it and he is having a dynamic year. The mental aspect, Cornell has done well at, and Michigan runs the same defense as us and gave us everything we needed to run their defense and Coach Brown loves that.”

Trieu issued his player comparison as part of his scouting report:

“I can see some Desmond Morgan there too where, Desmond was not a combine type guy, but was smart, instinctive and worked his way into being productive. That is what I see with Cornell. And the few times that I have seen him in 7-on-7, he made a good amount of plays just by being in the right places as well.”

The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown also wrote up a player comparison in which he likened Wheeler’s game to that of James Ross.

Both have been billed as a tad sawed off while being extremely instinctive and violent when they arrive at ball carriers. Neither of them are very long but both have decent range because they run well and dissect plays in a hurry. Both also show a knack for blitzing because of how they anticipate and understand schemes and tells from the offense.

Brown also checked in with Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt, and a picture of a tenacious, slightly undersized heat-seeking missile is starting to emerge. Helmholdt:

"His size and stature scream gap-filling thumper, but then he went out and nearly won position MVP honors at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Chicago, an event that highlights a linebacker's ability to play in space. Wheeler is effective going forward, backward or sideline-to-sideline. He hits with bad intentions, but also has the explosiveness to blitz or cut off the alley."

Helmholdt also notes that his offer list would have seen the addition of national powers if he had decided to take his recruitment into the spring, but that Michigan pounced on Wheeler’s willingness to finish the recruiting process early.

Brown also spoke with former Michigan WR and current West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy, who called Wheeler “the best middle linebacker in the state of Michigan.

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

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Friday Recruitin' Watches Sanford and Son

Friday Recruitin' Watches Sanford and Son Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 14th, 2018 at 2:00 PM

[Greg Powers]

This is Fine: Earnest Edition. Five-star OK S and no. 12 overall player in the 247 composite Daxton Hill is taking his official visit to Michigan this weekend. If frequency of texting recruits already committed to M is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If the path to playing time is any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. If academics are any indication of where Michigan stands, they’re in pretty good shape. Sam Webb sat down with Hill for an exclusive interview and pumped out this series of three articles, one of which further detailed Hill’s feelings on the importance of academics:

“(Academics are) real big,” he said. “(Booker T Washington) is a great school academically. Sometimes I’ll be in my room just doing homework for hours, so I take my academics serious. That plays a big part of it. I don’t want to make it too easy for me. Wherever I go I just want a challenge academically and athletically.”

That quote is so Michigan it just finished class 10 minutes before the hour. (Yeah, I’m cool, I’m with it.) Hill’s a pretty good athlete, too. Webb said this morning on WTKA that, should he commit, Michigan will not have had an athlete as good as him since Tripp Welborne and that he has the potential to start at any program in the country from the day he sets foot on campus. For quantitative confirmation, let’s turn to Hill’s test results from The Opening: 

For the man above 🙏🏼 #4.3laser pic.twitter.com/Ywq68b0hI9

— Dirty30 (@daxhill5) April 29, 2018

Sure, yeah, 99th percentile of all athletes tested in his class should be just fine. Beyond what Hill brings to the table or what Michigan can offer him are the relationships formed during the recruiting process, and Hill has been in contact with a few current commits for some time. Webb mentioned on the radio this morning that NV QB Cade McNamara is also going to be on campus this weekend, and that’s important as the two have built a friendship. Webb, in his free article about Hill’s parents perspective on his recruitment, talked to them about his relationship with other prospects:

But I know Daxton has made relationships with certain players. I won’t say the school, but he says with one school, ‘I have a relationship with more of the recruits than the others.’ I think I got a feel for which way he’s going (with that). That’s more important. One of the main (decision) aspects is his teammates – that class going in with him.”

There’s also a section in the piece about how Hill got close to committing somewhere this summer before realizing he needed more time; I highly recommend you check the piece out. One possible sticking point for Michigan could be that they don’t have a program in journalism, his desired field of study; Michigan can always point to Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Brian Griese, Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf, or unfurl the scroll-length list of names of The Michigan Daily alums currently writing professionally and contend that things could work out just fine. Hill’s parents think this visit will help solidify things for Daxton, but who knows whether there will be a resultant Hello post or a keening board thread. It seems fruitless to predict what a guy will do when said guy spends his free time watching Sanford and Son or Good Times instead of playing Fortnite.

[After THE JUMP: the whole D is broken]

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Friday Recruitin' Gains 15 Pounds, is Noticeably Bigger Throughout the Body

Friday Recruitin' Gains 15 Pounds, is Noticeably Bigger Throughout the Body Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 7th, 2018 at 12:25 PM

I’m sure Charbonnet added weight via lifting or whatever, but I personally guarantee what’s on the bandana works, too

Earlier this summer, Brian penned a recruiting roundup in which he noted 247 had CA RB commit Zach Charbonnet ranked in their top 50, and Michigan RB commits who end up with a fifth star usually go the way of the very real dog that, should 247 not knock Charbonnet’s ranking down, was definitely gonna get it. The outlook for this very real dog continues to get worse, as 247’s Greg Biggins took in Charbonnet’s Honor Bowl performance last weekend and came away feeling that he was “easily” the best player of the 20 or so high-level prospects on the field.

Charbonnet told Biggins that he worked on getting bigger, stronger, and faster in the offseason, and Biggins reports that it shows; Charbonnet found a way to add 15 pounds and some subsequent power without slowing down:

The 15 pounds is noticeable on Charbonnet as he definitely looks bigger throughout his body. He’s running with better pad level, finishing his runs and running right through defenders… He has a better burst and more short area quickness as well. He has always had good top end speed but there were times when it took him longer to get to it.

Rivals’ Adam Gorney viewed the same game and came away with nearly the same impression: fast, yes, but most impressive is his power and ability to run through contact. In his words, “when he’s on the field he’s there to hit people and hit them hard.” Seems like a good fit for the offense and a nice complement to the style of fellow 2019 RB Eric Gray.

Though there will always be some trepidation over the solidity of a commitment from a California kid who seems to be blowing up, Charbonnet says that UCLA and USC expressed interest in the past but his parents advised him that they felt moving away from home was good for one’s personal growth. With at least Karan Higdon vacating a seat in the running backs’ meeting room, there’s a fair chance Charbonnet could see playing time next season, a chance buoyed by his plan to graduate early and enroll in time for spring practices.

Mazi Smith, Under Armour All-American and Scion of Fred Jackson

Dream Big. Work Hard.@UMichFootball commit Mazi Smith is officially an Under Armour All-American. #UAALLAMERICA pic.twitter.com/C5SJsPH7Iu

— All-America Game (@AllAmericaGame) September 4, 2018

TMI’s Josh Newkirk caught up with 2019 DT Mazi Smith the day after his selection to the UA All-American game was revealed to talk about what led him to commit to Michigan earlier this summer. Smith, apparently a graduate of the Fred Jackson Academy of Media Relations, didn’t shy away from singling out one person.

"Of course coach Mattison is the greatest coach ever," Smith told The Michigan Insider. "So If I'm just looking at that it's a no brainer.

… "It's ridiculous what he does," Smith said of Mattison. "I've heard so much about coach. They say whatever he gets his hands on turns to gold. But being able to get in there and see it and see him work and  see what he does is pretty special."

I may be new at this, but Smith’s commitment seems as solid as solid gets considering the kind of praise he heaped on a guy who will be his position coach also happened to be his lead recruiter. Smith has been as productive as you’d expect a UA All-American to be; per The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown, he has recorded 11 tackles, one sack, and a number of QB pressures in his first two games.

[After THE JUMP: flips, film, and a whole bunch of texts]

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Friday Recruiting Changes The Deal

Friday Recruiting Changes The Deal Comment Count

Brian July 13th, 2018 at 3:47 PM

This was not the agreement, Steve

If you listened to our latest podcast you no doubt heard my impassioned plea for 24/7 to set a hard ceiling on CA RB commit Zach Charbonnet's ranking. You see, Rudy, five star tailbacks at Michigan generally fall over when whispered upon and fumble explosively a nanosecond from the ground. "Let's stay away from that," I begged, pleading for Charbonnet to top out at #51, a back-half-of-the-top-100 ranking that is in the feasibly productive range.

Instead:

image

Nuts to you, 24/7, for threatening the career of one of Michigan's running back commits before it even starts. Please find exactly 11 players you like more than him before Signing Day, or the dog gets it! I certainly have a dog! That I am threatening! With "it"!

The other back

TN RB commit Eric Gray had an abrupt left turn in his recruitment that started when someone got sidelined:

“After the camp, I didn’t really hear from Michigan because their offensive coordinator (Tim Drevno) was going a different route with running backs,” Gray said, calling his early interaction with Michigan weird. “Once he left (for USC), they started coming back.

“I didn’t think I wanted to go to Michigan because they used to not talk to me. I almost didn’t take the official, but taking it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It really opened my eyes.”

Once Drevno was gone Michigan picked up the pace and secured a commitment. Gray remains the top back on 24/7 after their re-rank and actually slid up 11 spots, because his Opening was impressive:

“He’s the ideal all-purpose back,” 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons said, “with great pass-catching ability out of the backfield, really good burst and change-of-direction and big-play potential, and he was one of the top backs in attendance in Texas.”

I'm all for having a guy like Evans or Gray on the roster at all times; if Michigan does run up against a team that is good at shutting down the straight-ahead stuff the scatback provides another avenue of attack.

[After THE JUMP: even more re-rank positives.]

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