Cass Tech linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone was just the fourth player to commit to Brady Hoke's class of 2012, doing so last April. The consensus four-star recruit has since won a state championship with the Technicians and played in the Army All-American Game, and he's looking to continue that run of success at Michigan. I got the chance to chat with Royce over the weekend—via text, hence the short-ish answers—and we discussed his goals for his freshman year and career along with a few other topics:
ACE: How was the Army Game for you? It had to be fun being there with James [Ross, Royce's childhood friend] and your future teammates.
ROYCE: Yeah, it was a great experience. Everyone competed and had fun.
ACE: What are your goals for your freshman year?
ROYCE: Get my weight to 235 [Royce is currently listed at 215 on Rivals, though he looked bigger in person this fall], learn the defense, and see if I can at least get in the rotation.
ACE: You and the whole 2012 class come in with some big expectations. Do you ever feel pressure from that, or more just excitement?
ROYCE: Just excitement because everyone in this class is all about getting better and getting on that field.
ACE: What's it like to know you'll be playing for Greg Mattison as your defensive coordinator next year?
ROYCE: It's good to know you have a coach that knows what he's doing and not leaving when you get there.
ACE: When your Michigan career is over, what do you want to look back on and say you've accomplished.
ROYCE: [I want to say I've been an] All-American and All-Big Ten in my sophomore, junior, and senior year.
ACE: Do you expect to go out on top at Michigan like you did at Cass Tech?
ROYCE: Yeah. I plan on getting a national championship when I get there and before I leave.
A little mental distraction from the impending Lions game. UM obviously has 4 stud linebackers in this class. Anyone know where specifically these guys project? I know Ross was told he will play weakside. It looks like Bolden and RJS are more of the MLB type (Or maybe weakside in the 4-3 under). Then what about Ringer? Does anyone project to Sam?
Thursday Recruitin' was getting a little lengthy, but I wanted to get this information somewhere for people who are interested in watching Michigan recruits in this weekend's All-American games.
Under Armour All-American Game
Tonight, 8 pm, ESPN
Michigan commits and targets (with jersey numbers):
Black ("Highlight") Team:
#1 CB Terry Richardson
#27 LB Joe Bolden
White ("Blur") Team:
#78 OL Josh Garnett
Army All-American Game
Saturday, 1 pm, NBC
Michigan commits and targets (with jersey numbers):
#12 CB Yuri Wright
#66 OL Kyle Dodson
#67 OL Kyle Kalis
#6 LB James Ross
#10 LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
#53 DT Ondre Pipkins
#77 OL Erik Magnuson
A heads-up to anyone who is in the Ann Arbor area and wants to check out a lot of 2012 commits at once:
Farmington Hills Harrison takes on Cass Tech tonight at 8pm at Eastern Michigan University's Rynearson Stadium. Notable players include:
Farmington Hills Harrison: Mario Ojemudia (UM), Devin Funchess (UM), Aaron Burbridge (MSU, consensus 4*)
Cass Tech: Royce Jenkins-Stone (UM), Terry Richardson (UM), Laron Taylor (Iowa, 2* rivals, 3* scout, 3* 247sports), Ruben Lile (uncommitted, consensus 3*)
It should be a good game, as Cass Tech was unbeaten until it lost to Lake Orion last year in the Division 1 semifinals, while Harrison is the defending Division 2 state champion following a 14-0 season.
Yesterday, 247 named Michigan's 2012 offensive line class the best in the country, while also giving the Wolverines honorable mention at tight end. Today, they ranked the defense, and prepare for a little debate: The defensive end group of Chris Wormley and Tom Strobel came in second behind Florida State, which is cool, but the linebackers (Joe Bolden, RJS, Kaleb Ringer, and James Ross) also came in second, after Alabama, which is far less cool from a Michigan fan's perspective. While the issue is certainly up for debate, and Alabama has a pretty fantastic group, 247 analyst Gerry Hamilton said 'Bama's position at the top was 'pretty much cut and dry'.
To his credit, in the comments, J.C. Shurburtt acknowledged that both have great classes, implying that the Tide's spot at the top wasn't as clear-cut as Hamilton suggested. Your (probably wildly-biased) thoughts, MGoBoarders?
This will be the home of the BBQ visitor list. The event takes place on July 31st and looks like it's invite only. I'm still working on confirming visitors so I should have more names added as I get them. Be sure to continue to check back frequently.
Here's who I've confirmed so far:
LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Commit
DB Terry Richardson - Commit
LB James Ross - Commit
DE Matt Godin - Commit
DB Allen Gant - Commit
TE Devin Funchess - Commit
DE/LB Mario Ojemudia - Commit
DE Tom Strobel - Commit
OL Kyle Kalis - Commit, said he will for sure be there. He's going up with his head coach Finotti, because his coach wants to sit down with Mattison to talk defense.
OL Ben Braden - Commit
2013 QB Shane Morris - Commit
DT Danny O'Brien (6'2", 293 lbs, 4 Star)
WR Jehu Chesson (6'3", 182 lbs, 3 Star)
2013 OL Steven Elmer
2013 RB Wyatt Shallman
2013 LB Jonny Reschke
RB Bri'onte Dunn (6'2", 215 lbs, 4 Star) - His father told me yesterday that Bri'onte will likely be going up with his cousin Dymonte Thomas. Bri'onte's Dad might not make it up though.
DE Chris Wormley - Said via text he is coming to the event.
DT Ondre Pipkins (6'3", 325 lbs, 4 Star)
DB Anthony Standifer - commit
2013 WR Laquon Treadwell
2013 DB Dymonte Thomas
TE AJ Williams - Commit
2013 RB Ty Isaac
OL Jordan Diamond (6'6", 290 lbs, 4 Star)
DB Jeremy Clark - Commit, said he's going to try to make it up.
OL Caleb Stacey - Commit
WR Monty Madaris (6'2", 190 lbs, 3 Star)
LB Kaleb Ringer - Commit
LB Joe Bolden - Commit
Five (!) 2012 commits have been selected to the 51 player watch list for the 2011 high school Butkus Award. This is great for not only these athletes, but also their current teammates, and for UM Football. Past winners include Manti Te'o, Jordan Hicks, and Tony Steward. Free rivals article, with complete list, is linked.
Best wishes for great senior seasons!
Within the past hour he's indicated that he intends to early enroll, that the main reason he chose Michigan was because "[B]rady's there to clean up the big mess" and said he wouldn't have come to Michigan if RichRod (he used a more... perjorative term) was still the coach and they were running the 3-3-5.
I'm thinking this may have some relevance to the whole "Michigan having success recruiting Michigan" meme that's been developing on the front page.