Interesting article from espn about Ken Caldwell who has been steering basketball and football recruits to UCF. I had to post because I had always thought that the recruitment of Leilon Willingham was a bit odd. I'm not saying that he is involved with Ken Caldwell, but who knows.
we're done, right?
Signing day is almost upon us, and there are roughly six recruits to keep an eye on.This staff has done an excellent job keeping kids committed and adding additional pieces to fill gaps. Here's a look at what to expect, and when to expect it.
5'10", 215 lbs.
Rawls is a three star prospect, which most people assume is because of the concern with his grades. Most people assumed he would not qualify, which led to a not so impressive offer list. Also, since his high school coach is Fred Jackson's son and he's made no secret of the fact that if he qualifies he's going to Michigan other schools may not have bothered.
Don't let that list fool you, because Thomas is the kind of back Brady Hoke is looking for in his offense. I can only imagine the conversations about Thomas between Fred Jr and Fred Sr. [ed: "Son, you are the greatest coach in the world and you have created a combination of Herschel Walker, House, and Bo Jackson."]
Rawls recently came back from his trip to Ann Arbor with an offer and a plan:
I wouldn't say it was the dream offer, Michigan is the dream school. I grew up watching them, and I just worked to get there. I basically had the offer, but I just didn't say much. I don't want to say too much about academics, but I will be eligible for the 2011 season. I want to keep some stuff for my press conference, which will be at 9:30am on signing day at Flint Northern.
Thomas is "deciding" between Michigan and CMU on signing day. This should be an excellent pick up for Michigan, and an excellent job by Thomas to get eligible.
6'7", 270 lbs.
Traverse City, Michigan
Jake Fisher is fresh off a visit to Oregon, and it's coming down to the wire. Chip Kelly is pretty strict when it comes to prospects visiting and offers they hand out. They like kids to visit if they are seriously thinking about coming to Oregon, and I think Jake is. I spoke to him after his visit, and he had this to say:
Everyone is fair game right now. I'm going to sit down with my parents and talk everything over. I'm either going to announce the day before signing day, or on signing day.
He also told me the visit to Oregon went well, but not much more than that. Jake is really tough to read, so this could go one way or the other. The Michigan coaches have made him a priority. Will it be enough?
Who's Signing When
Signing day is Wednesday. As mentioned earlier there are roughly six prospects that Michigan has honed in on. They would have enough room for all six under certain circumstances. Here's who's left, and when they plan on announcing.
- MI RB Thomas Rawls: Signing Day at 9:30am.
- CO LB Leilon Willingham: Signing Day at 7pm MT. Michigan is in great shape still with Willingham. He'll be choosing between Michigan, ASU, Colorado, Washington, and UCF presumably.
- OH LB Frank Clark: Signing Day around 10 or 11am.
- MD DT Darian Cooper: Signing Day.
- MI OL Jake Fisher: Either announcing the day before signing day, or on signing day. Visit to Oregon went well. He plans on talking it over with his parents and then deciding.
- TX TE Chris Barnett: Will announce on Saturday. Wants to weigh out all the options rather than think on emotion. The Michigan visit went very well. He is deciding between Arkansas and Michigan.
Prediction: I don't like predicting, but Michigan has a legitimate shot at landing all six that are left. I don't know if they will, but they have a shot. I am confident about three of them, somewhat optimistic about one, and usure about two. I think when it comes down to it they will most likely land 3 or 4, if they get the 5th or 6th it's a bonus.
I'm having trouble posting, so I'm just going to put an update here with where we're at right now.
Tim posted the visitors list for me in the diaries, if you're too lazy to look up and over, it's right here.
Illinois OL Chris Bryant had a visit from Brady Hoke today. He's on his way home from school, so hopefully I will catch up with him later. Chris is announcing his decision tomorrow at 7:30pm (I believe Central time). It's down to Michigan, Pitt, Arizona, and Illinois. Arizona's OL coach recently took another job, and Chris hasn't visited Tucson in awhile. If I had to guess it's probably down to Michigan and Pitt, with Michigan getting the edge tomorrow. Hoke and co. have made it clear how bad they want him.
Hoke is now scheduled to meet with OL Jake Fisher to try to convince Jake to come back on board. Fisher recently took a visit out to Florida, which causes some concern. Jake is announcing his final decision quietly on signing day. Hoke will be there at 7pm tonight.
There was a post in another thread that said Glenville LB/TE Frank Clark was moving his decision from tomorrow to signing day. That is confirmed. He'll be announcing on signing day, because Ted Ginn Sr. thought it would be a good idea.
LB Leilon Willingham told me a few days ago that he still plans on visiting UCF this weekend, and announcing his decision on Signing day. This was always the plan, so nothing has caused him to change that. I was told that the UCF visit is more for fun. Michigan still looks good here, and would be a great addition if they can land him.
Michigan currently has 16 commits, with somewhere around 4-6 spots left. Likely/Possible names to pick Michigan Chris Bryant, Frank Clark, Leilon Willingham will leave them with roughly 2-3 spots left. Names to fill those spots could be Jake Fisher, Darian Cooper, or Thomas Rawls. Wildcard from this weekend's visit is Chris Barnett.
This weekend was a huge success for Michigan, not only with the three commitments from K Matt Wile, DB Raymon Taylor, and DE Keith Heitzman, but with the other visitors as well. Here's what some of them had to say.
5'11", 170 lbs.
The interest from McClure came from his relationship with Brady Hoke at San Diego State. Now that Hoke was at a bigger program like Michigan, McClure was interested.
It was a great time. We met with all the coaches, saw the stadium, and hung out with the players. My host was Denard Robinson, which was pretty cool. He's like a celebrity there. Walking through the Big House was pretty cool, too.
Michigan's new defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, has only been on campus for one weekend, but he's already polished off his recruiting tricks.
I talked with the defensive coordinator quite a bit. We talked scheme, and he knows his x's and o's. It was pretty cool to be able to talk with him. I also talked to coach Hoke about the school, tradition, and the opportunity to play early there.
Stefan has said he will decide and announce sometime this week. I would imagine distance might be a factor with him, and I wouldn't get too excited. While I think he had a good time, it's hard to pull kids out of California. I would guess he'll stay home and go with someone like Cal.
6'2", 240 lbs
Willingham is a four star that had been committed to Texas A&M, and decided recently to take a trip out to Michigan. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, he took a recent visit to Colorado the same weekend as current Michigan commit Kellen Jones. Kellen had an opportunity to tell Leilon why he chose Michigan, and what he liked about it. This weekend he got to see it for himself.
We got a chance to talk to all the coaches, and it was pretty cool to sit down with the defensive coordinator. Ray Lewis is my idol, so that was like a dream. They were just telling me how they would use me up there, ether inside or outside. I really liked it up there. I mean, the Big House speaks for itself, everything was great. We hung out with all the other recruits, and everybody was just having a good time.
Willingham does have one more visit scheduled to UCF, and says that he will announce on signing day.
The (Michigan) coaches know I'm going out to Central Florida, so that's fine. I'm decommitted from Texas A&M, too, so I'm not with them anymore.
However, don't be surprised if he decides to "come public" with his choice earlier than that. This visit put Michigan in the driver's seat, and then some.
6'2", 210 lbs.
Although he's from Glenville, Clark has always maintained that Michigan is high on his list. Before this visit Michigan was in his top three with MSU and UNC. I spoke to him briefly after his visit, and Michigan has definitely helped themselves with Clark.
He described the visit as, "excellent" and said that he will be announcing his decision on Friday the 28th. Clark is in the same category as Willingham right now. He will make his choice public soon, but Michigan has put themselves in the driver's seat with this visit.
- OL Chris Bryant is announcing on Friday. Likely between Michigan, Arizona, and Pitt. I like Michigan's chances.
- TE/LB Frank Clark is announcing Friday. Between Michigan, UNC, and MSU. I like Michigan's chances.
- LB Leilon Willingham may announce this week, but could wait until signing day. I like Michigan's chances.
- 4 Star TE Chris Barnett is visiting this weekend, the 28th.
- 4 Star DB Floyd Raven may visit Alabama this weekend instead of Michigan. We'll see what happens.
- RB Thomas Rawls may visit this weekend, and is announcing on the 31st. If he's qualified, I like Michigan's chances.
- DB Blake Countess may come back up for an unofficial visit to meet the new DC, and potentially the new DB coach if they have one in place.
- OL commit Tony Posada was in Ann Arbor this weekend, and the visit reassured him of his commitment to Michigan. Nothing to worry about there.
- DT Darian Cooper just got done with an official to Iowa. He tweeted that Michigan's new DC Greg Mattison promptly called him, and said he was, "very interesting." That could be something to watch if they go after him hard.
Of the eight visitors this weekend only three remain uncommitted to Michigan, Frank Clark, Leilon Willingham, and Stefan McClure.
I thought I would provide some information on each so that we can assess our chances.
Frank Clark, TE/LB, Glenville HS, Ohio - Things to consider: Glenville is well known for not sending players to Michigan. He is 6'3" 205 which is a bit undersized for a TE, so Michigan is recruiting him for LB. Our competition is North Carolina (visited 12/10), MSU (visited 1/15), and Penn St. (visit scheduled 1/28, no offer yet). Assuming the other schools are recruiting him as a TE, North Carolina already has 2 in the class (including former Michigan recruit Jack Tabb), MSU also has 2 in the class, and Penn St. has one. I suspect it is between us and State since Carolina has signed 2 since the visit and Penn State hasn't offered.
Leilon Willingham, LB, Mullen HS, Colorado - Things to consider: Mullen is one of the top football powers in the country, with D1 players every year. Mullen will have five players this year receive D1 scholarships. Current Wolverine Steve Watson is a Mullen alum. Our competition is Texas A&M verbal commitment (no visit), Arizona St. (9/24 visit), Washington (10/29 visit), and Colorado (1/15 visit). I believe our top competition is Colorado since they are local and a recent visit. Texas A&M received his verbal without a campus visit because his best friend is a RB there, but he canceled his visit there to visit us. The other visits are too far in the past to be considered strong competition.
Stefan McClure, CB, Vista HS, California - Things to consider: One of the few Army All-American players still uncommitted. One of the top players in San Diego county, Brady Hoke has been recruiting him for two years. McClure is good friends with former Vista great and Michigan star Leon Hall. Our competition is Washington (9/10), Colorado (10/2 visit), Oregon St (11/21 visit), Boise St. (12/15 visit), UCLA (unofficial visit 1/15), California (no visit), and San Diego St (no official visit). Top competition seems to be California and UCLA despite the fact that McClure replaced an official visit to UCLA with his visit to Michigan. He has unofficially visited both UCLA & Cal.
What do you guys think?
We might as well get this post up today since the list is growing by the minute it seems. If anyone had concerns about the new coaching staff and their recruiting ability, they're probably not asking anymore. Brady Hoke seems like he's in 10 different places at once, and the buzz they've started to create in a short amount of time has been outstanding. Here's a look at the visitors list so far for this weekend. Remember this list will continue to grow, and could shrink so check back.
- Commit RB Justice Hayes (4 Star, 5'10", 175 lbs)- Justice being on campus this weekend will help with recruiting. He's been talking up Michigan to quite a few recruits now.
- DB Stefan McClure (4 Star, 5'11", 170 lbs)- Defensive back out of California. Has a good relationship with Hoke from being at SDSU. I think Michigan has a real shot with Stefan.
- DB Raymon Taylor (4 Star, 5'10", 165 lbs)- Raymon might decide to wait a little bit to commit, but I think it's safe to say he'll most likely pick Michigan.
- K Matt Wile - (6'2", 210 lbs)Here's my interview yesterday with Matt's coach. I wouldn't be surprised if Wile was a Wolverine by Tuesday.
- TE/LB Frank Clark (3 Star, 6'2", 210 lbs)- Glenville prospect that I think Michigan has a good chance with.
- OL Tony Posada (3 Star, 6'5", 315 lbs)- The coaches were out to Florida this week to see Tony, and I think this visit will be his last. He should be firm to Michigan again.
- LB Leilon Willingham (4 Star, 6'3", 230 lbs)- I spoke to Leilon's coach today, and it looks like this visit is happening. Willingham is committed to Texas A&M and was supposed to visit the Aggies this weekend. If he cancelled that trip to visit Michigan then that's a pretty strong statement.
- DB Tamani Carter (3 Star, 5'11", 172 lbs) - Michigan's newest commit is visiting.