2013 Wrap: D-Line

2013 Wrap: D-Line

Submitted by Ron Utah on December 16th, 2013 at 5:56 PM

2013 will be remembered as "The Season of Infinite Pain" for me, and for many others, I suspect.  High expectations have a way of making even good seasons frustrating; 2013 has been well-below "good."  Not only did we fail to compete for a B1G Championship, we had our expectations boosted after a magical performance against Notre Dame, only to be crushed by consecutive weeks of struggling to beat two of the worst programs in college football.

I was going to wait until after the bowl game to write this diary, but this lull is killing me and let's face it--the BWW Bowl isn't going to change much.

This series is something of a follow-up to my diary re-ranking players based on Rivals ratings.  Reading the beginning of that diary will help explain the player's rankings (as well as the Rivals ranking system).  Additionally, I've added letter grades, which are explained more thoroughly at the end of the post, so that we can get down to business with the first position group in the series:

 

Defensive Line

Season Grade: C+  Overall, it was a less-than-stellar year on the defensive front.  My pre-season predictions said the fate of our season rested on the offensive and defensive lines, and I believe that turned out to be the case.  The D-Line produced just 13.5 sacks, and only one player on the line had more than 2.5.  The "right to rush four" was never earned, and the season suffered because of it.  

That said, there were some positive signs.  Frank Clark showed marked improvement, and Willie Henry emerged as a viable option to replace either QWash or Black in 2014.  Wormley started to emerge in limited snaps, and other young guns like Ojemudia and Charlton showed flashes.

Big things were expected of Frank Clark in 2013

Tkl Solo Asst TFL Sacks QBH FF INT PBU
42 19 23 12.5 5.0 7 0 0 1
Rivals Pre-Ssn Current
5.6 5.8 5.9

Season Grade: B+  To say Frank Clark made a big jump this year would be an understatement: he had 17 more tackles, 3.5 more TFLs, and 3.0 more sacks than in 2012.  More importantly, he played much more consistently and held down his job as the WDE all season.  He led the team in TFLs by a whopping 5.0, and many of those came against some strong opposition (2.5 vs. Iowa, 2.5 vs. MSU).

That said, the off-season hype and reports of him besting Taylor Lewan in practice pushed expectations to a probably unreasonable level, and he did not come through. I predicted that we would need at least eight sacks from Frank Clark if our defense was going to get the requisite amount of pressure on opposing passers to make 2013 a successful (B1G Champs) season.  Not only did he fall far short of that number, his five sacks all came in three games: UConn, Penn State, and Indiana.  In hindsight, we sure needed those sacks against UConn and PSU, but they weren't enough to win the game.  His pass-rushing was pretty quiet--even though he deserved a few more QBH's, he only finished the season with seven (which led the team), and had just three in B1G play.

2014 outlook:  It says here (again) that without significant production from Frank Clark (or a surprise at WDE), the whole 2014 team's ceiling is limited.  It is vital for every 4-3 team to be able to produce consistent pressure from their front four, and the WDE is the guy with the best opportunities in our system.  If Clark can't get to eight sacks in '14, we'll once again find ourselves in the middle-of-the-pack (#67 nationally in 2013 with 23.0 total) in sacks.  That is not a good place to be.

Jibreel Black will be missed

Tkl Solo Asst TFL Sacks QBH FF INT PBU
26 13 13 7.5 2.5 3 1 0 2
Rivals Pre-Ssn Current
5.7 5.7 5.8

Season Grade: B  Jibreel Black is the kind of player you like more every time you see him play.  I believe he was our most consistent performer on the line this year, even plugging-in at NT despite his 278 lb. frame.  Black, by far, produced the most pressure from the interior of the line, and probably produced the most consistent pass-rush of anyone on the team.

Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough.  He was tied for second (Cam Gordon) on the team with 7.5 TFLs and third (Chris Wormley) with 2.5 sacks.  On the defensive line, only Clark and Willie Henry had more tackles.  Yes, he was a productive player, but this needs to be the baseline for DTs if we are going to achieve our potential as an elite program.  For Jibreel Black, I see a guy who maxed his potential and deserves to be remembered for his worthy contribution.  But I also see a guy who stood out more than he should have because of pretty poor production by the D-Line as a unit.

NFL draft outlook:  Black is a fringe prospect, IMO, with a minimal chance of being a FA pick-up.

Quinton Washington's 2013 was a bit of a mystery

Tkl Solo Asst TFL Sacks QBH FF INT PBU
19 5 14 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Rivals Pre-Ssn Current
5.6 5.8 5.7

Season Grade: C+  I call shenanigans.  QWash finished the 2012 season strong--he had ten tackles in our last three games and a sack in the Outback Bowl--and appeared poised to be one of the team's most important pieces in 2013.  While no confirmed injuries were reported that I am aware of, I believe there were some physcial issues that held him back this year.  But that's just speculation.

What is certain is that his season was just mediocre.  We needed him to eat blocks and make a few plays each game; he didn't do enough of either, registered zero TFLs on the season and just five solo stops.  Expectations probably hovered around 35 tackles, 8.0 TFLs, and 3.0 sacks; he was far short of all of those marks.  Sure, part of it was that we frequently had smaller DL packages out there, but if QWash had been playing up to his potential, I don't think Mattison would have kept him on the sideline.  He was serviceable while he was in, but that's about the best I can say.

NFL draft outlook:  Not happening.  He appeared poised to be a late-round pick after last year, but a completely lackluster senior season seems to have erased that possibility.

 

Other notables

Player Tkl Solo Asst TFL Sks QBH FF INT PBU Grd Rvls Pre Now
Henry 28 12 13 2.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 B 5.6 5.7 5.8
Beyer 25 15 10 4.0 2.0 5 1 1 1 B 5.8 5.7 5.8
Ojemudia 20 12 8 1.5 1.5 1 0 0 0 B- 5.7 5.7 5.7
Wormley 17 8 9 4.5 2.5 0 0 0 1 B- 5.7 5.7 5.8
Heitzman 8 3 5 0.5 0.0 1 0 0 0 C- 5.5 5.7 5.6
Pipkins 7 1 6 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 Inc 6.1 5.8 Inc
Godin 3 2 1 0.0 0.0 1 0 0 0 C- 5.7 5.7 5.6
Ash 3 1 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 D+ 5.8 5.6 5.5
Charlton 2 1 1 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 C 5.8 Unr 5.7
Strobel 2 1 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 D+ 5.8 5.7 5.5
Glasgow 2 1 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 D+ 5.2 Unr 5.5

It's remarkable that we never established a starter at SDE.  Keith Heitzman was the presumed and nominal guy, but only started seven times and didn't even play in one of our games.  Brennen Beyer is currently listed as the starter at SDE, and he spent most of the season playing SLB with his 250 lb. frame.  It is not good that he is our best option at that position.  Chris Wormely showed signs that he can play up to his lofty potential, but did not produce consistently.  Matt Godin was sometimes on the field.

Willie Henry figures to start at either DT or NT in 2014.  Despite playing in only nine games (and missing stat-boosters CMU and Akron) and starting just five, Henry racked-up 28 tackles and 2.5 TFLs.  13 of those tackles came in the final three games.  QWash's 2013 fade gives me pause, but I will go ahead and predict a big 2014 for Henry anyway, in the 40 tackle range with about 10 TFLs.  Tom Strobel (whom I wrongly predicted would have a breakout 2013) will also figure into the rotation here, and perhaps Henry Poggi and Maurice Hurst.

Beyer is the presumed starter at SDE, and, as Brian says, will likely fulfill his Roh 2.0 destiny.  He will add 20-30 lbs. in the off-seasn and be solid but not spectacular, just as he has been this year.  He will be reviewed again in the LB wrap-up.

Ondre Pipkins will probably be our starting NT if he can get healthy; that is a big "if" for a 300-plus pounder who's had trouble staying in shape when his legs worked properly.  If it's not him, please feel free to panic as Richard Ash is currently listed as the #2 option at NT.  After that?  Ryan Glasgow is the only other guy with the requisite size (and the aforementioned Henry, which requires plugging someone else in at DT) to play the position.  Perhaps Hurst will become a NT; Bryan Mone will be a true freshman and is likely to get some snaps.

Mario Ojemudia and Taco Charlton represent what I believe to be the most talented group of back-ups on the roster, and I expect both to contribute.  Charlton may very well be big enough to play SDE and even DT on passing downs, and I hope we find a combination of players that can get pressure on third down without blitzing, which may put Ojemudia at the SDE.

 

2014 Outlook

The line will lose its interior starters in Qwash and Black, but both are replaceable.  Henry is likely to be an upgrade at either position, and in the other spot...well, we may miss Jibreel Black if someone doesn't step-up.  At SDE, I expect Beyer to be an upgrade over the platoon this year.  Even if he's not, I'd expect Wormley to be an upgrade.

To be an elite defensive front, we need our line to produce around 20 sacks.  That's 50% more than this year's group could manage.  While I believe Clark will take another step forward, Beyer will be solid, and I am excited about the future for Henry and Wormley, 2015 is when Hoke's recruiting will have the D-Line up to snuff.  I expect a "B/B-" season in 2014...quite a bit better than this year, but not yet elite.

Grading System:

  • A+   Consensus All-American.  One of the best players in the country regardless of position.
  • A  Likely Second-tem All-American/First-team All-B1G.  A hugely impactful player that affects every snap for which he is on the field and is one of the better players at his position in the country.
  • A-  Likely All-B1G selection.  A play-maker that forces other teams to adjust their gameplan.
  • B+  An impact player who is a big factor in the team's success.
  • B  "The expectation for the position."  At Michigan, this means you are doing your job well enough to get us to at least 10 wins and to challege for the B1G title.
  • B-  Not quite up to par.  A player who may start, but an upgrade would be helpful.
  • C+ Significant snaps for a C+ player will hold the team back from achieving its goals: 10 wins and a B1G championship.
  • C  An average college football player on an average team.  Picture an average starter at Washington State.
  • C-  A player that is consistently unproductive and should only be on the field in an emergency situation or for garbage time.
  • D+  A player whose performance hurts the team.
  • D  A player that should not be on the field for any reason at Michigan.
  • F  Pure disaster.

Please note that these grades are NOT representative of what I believe to be a player's future potential.  I am not assuming anyone with a low grade will turn out to be an unproductive player at Michigan.

Tom Strobel: Three Tech

Tom Strobel: Three Tech

Submitted by Blazefire on April 16th, 2013 at 12:02 AM

So this is something I pulled out of the presser with Mattison:

Tom Strobel is a guy we’re very very happy with at the end of spring because here’s a guy that plays the 5-technique and because of an injury, we moved him to the three.

I thought this was an interesting quote and bore further examination, since I hadn't heard anything about him being moved to three-tech prior to this.

For the uninitiated, the difference between Three Tech and Five Tech is as follows (Descriptions from Touch the Banner):

5-TECH DEFENSIVE END
Alignment: 5-technique, which is on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle
Gap responsibility: C gap (between offensive tackle and tight end)
What should he look like? It's only a matter of semantics, but head coach Brady Hoke and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison appear to be referring to this position as the 5-technique defensive tackle.  Don't get caught up in the terminology - the term "5-tech" is more important than whatever comes after it.  This player needs to be able to stand up to double-teams by the tight end and tackle, which will come with some regularity.  He also needs to be able to rush the passer when the tight end releases or when the offense goes to the spread.
Best physical fit: Ryan Van Bergen (6'6", 283 lbs.)

3-TECH DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Alignment: 3-technique, which is on the outside shoulder of the weakside guard
Gap responsibility: B gap (between weakside guard and tackle)
What should he look like?  Rather than size, the key at this position is the ability to get penetration.  Whether it's by brute strength or pure quickness, it doesn't really matter.  Most running plays go to an offense's strength, which means the 3-tech is expected to play the B gap while simultaneously squeezing the A gap and trying to prevent cutbacks.  In passing situations, the 3-tech ought to be able to beat a single block (typically the guard) and push the pocket.  Because of the job description, players of various shapes and sizes can play the 3-tech.  Albert Haynesworth was a great 3-tech at 6'6" and 335 lbs., but so was Warren Sapp at 6'2" and 300 lbs.
Best physical fits: Mike Martin (6'2", 299 lbs.) and William Campbell (6'5", 333 lbs.)

So, according to Mattison, because there was some form of injury (though I don't recall of hearing about any injury to a DT), Strobel came inside. Can Strobel play the 3-Tech? Does this move make any sense? Lets find out.

 

Player Size Weight
Tom Strobel 6'6" 262

According to MGoBlue.com, Strobel is currently 262 and 6'6".vs. the ideal 6:2", 299 lbs Mike Martin or 6'5" 333 Lbs William Cambell, this id not particularly good. However, Albert Haynesworth played very, very well at 3-Tech at 6'6", 335 lbs, so if Strobel can add 40 lbs from last update by start of RS Frosh year, not an unreasonable goal for a 6'6" guy, he's got a chance to fit the right mold, more or less.

However, if he's going to be Albert Haynesworth, we'd better ensure that he really does fit that mold. First of all, what does it take to be a three tech?

A: Ability to get penetration.

Unfortunately, according to scout, his areas for improvement before signing were strength and technique & moves. These are two key attributes that a player uses to get penetration. However, his highlight tape does reveal great speed for beating his man whenever not blocked properly or by design.

So, if he can add the necessary bulk to be a bull rusher, there is always the chance. Lets compare that with what he's leaving behind by leaving the 5-Tech spot.

Unfortunately, the 50 Tech sounds like a great fit for the Tom Strobel that is, a speed rusher, tall enough to take on most TE's, that can also speed rush whenever given the opportunity. There's not much to say here. Tom Strobel already really fit the role of 5-tech well, and I have trouble seeing moving a somewhat slight guy to 3-tech as a great option.

As a caveat, I came today from a funeral, and I am drunk. Perhaps there's something I'm missing. What do you guys think?

ACE: Tom Strobel Scouting Report

ACE: Tom Strobel Scouting Report

Submitted by Ace on October 11th, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I forgot to post this in Weekday Warriors, and I think it's long enough that it works better as a message board post anyway, but reader Kent was at the Mentor-Solon game and came away with these impressions of Tom Strobel and a few other players:

Caught the first three quarters of the Mentor @ Solon game tonight.  Both teams came in undefeated, but Mentor was the favorite.  They did nothing to disappoint and scored on their first five possessions, and always had at least a two score lead.
 
· Strobel’s height and weight are the real deal, probably more 6’5” than 6’6” though.  He’s got a big solid frame and can easily pack on more weight in college.
· I had him in on 4 tackles, 1 sack, another huge qb hit that caused a fumble.  He may have recovered a fumble, but honestly couldn’t tell after they unpiled everyone.  Everyone seemed to congratulate him, but that may have been just because he’s Tom Strobel.
· Solon ran a spread and largely ran away from Strobel’s side or threw quick passes
· At times he stood up a little to straight out of his stance, but that’s a criticism of every stud high school DL.  When he did stay low and fire off, he just ran kids over or threw blockers off him like rag dolls.  Which he should of, Solon’s tackled were probably in the 6’ 200lb range.
· He was also part of the FG block team that caved in the line and blocked an XP.
· Had a real good play holding the edge on a sweep his way, he would have made the play but got held pretty badly (which it was called)
· Other items of note, Mentor’s QB, Mitch Trubisky, was pretty impressive.  He moved around well in the pocket, had good presence, solid arm, and accuracy.  Overall pretty impressive.  He’s a junior.  He is listed in Rivals DB at 6’ 3”, 195.  I think he’s definitely D1, but can’t say much more than that with any kind of confidence.
· Mentor has a sophomore WR, Brandon Fritts, he’s every bit of the listed 6’4”, maybe not all of 180.  He is smooth, pretty fast, showed good hands (caught one off of shoe strings), and was targeted a bunch in the passing game.
· Mentor’s kicker can kick.  He hit a 50 yarder, off a block, but still impressive.  All his XP’s were flush as well.  Not great at kickoffs though.  Tomislav Derezic, he’s a senior.  6’ 230

Many thanks to Kent for the update. If anyone is inclined to go to any games involving Michigan commits and is willing to submit a report, feel free to shoot me an email. I will bribe you with MGoPoints, especially if you're able to come up with some film (though that is going above and beyond, obviously).

TomVH: Big House BBQ Visitors

TomVH: Big House BBQ Visitors

Submitted by TomVH on July 19th, 2011 at 11:06 AM

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:

Yes

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

Not Coming

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

TVH Weekly: Eric Olson, Adam Bisnowaty, Se'Von Pittman and Much More

TVH Weekly: Eric Olson, Adam Bisnowaty, Se'Von Pittman and Much More

Submitted by TomVH on June 13th, 2011 at 12:30 PM

With sixteen commitments now on board it could start to get interesting for Michigan recruiting. They arguably have anywhere between 21-25 spots total for this class, which means they have at most 9 more scholarships available. Here's a look at what could happen next and some notes from a few prospects.

As always you can follow me for more updates on Twitter @TomVH, and email me with any tips or questions at [email protected].

Eric OlsonEric Olson

6'6", 265 lbs.

Offensive lineman

Cambridge, Massachusetts


Olson's name popped up later than the other linemen Michigan has been looking at. He has an offer and took in Ann Arbor this past week.

Our flight was delayed so we got in late Tuesday night. We pushed everything to Wednesday, but I have a buddy who's a freshman there so we went out to dinner with him on Tuesday. On Wednesday we met with Coach Mallory, went to the business center, the academic center and met with the academic advisor. They took us on a tour, went to the facilities, the Big House, and Al Glick field house. It was pretty unbelievable, they have the best facilities of any school that I've been to. It's a pretty special place. I got chills walking down the tunnel and seeing the Go Blue across it. The Big House was great.

As I reported last time academics will be a huge factor in Eric's decision. He's done his homework on each school and got to see what Michigan has to offer in person.

The Ross business school is a prestigious place. They talked about the rankings and the opportunities you have from there. I asked how difficult it is to be on the football team and in the business school. They said that Zoltan Mesko did it and he was near the top of his class. With summer classes you can get some of the core classes out of the way.

With the academic side layed out clearly he also got a chance to sit down and talk with his potential position coach.

We met with Coach Funk and talked about his experiences and where he's coached. My school runs basically the exact same offense they want to run, a two-back pound it play-action offense. Their depth chart is a strong point for their recruitment because it's pretty wide open. There's a chance to play early there. Coach Hoke told us that he wants to recruit high character kids and his main focus is to get them a degree. 

Since this was Olson's last visit he now has some thinking to do, but he's not sure of when a decision will come.

I've dabbled with the idea of going out to Stanford's camp, but I'm not sure. These past couple days we've been talking about it. We'll make a decision to either commit somewhere or I might go out to Stanford. I don't know when it could happen, could be a week, tomorrow, a couple weeks. I'm honestly not sure yet.

I believe him when he says he's not sure. I think he has it narrowed down in his head, but probably doesn't have his decision yet. That's at least as of when we spoke. If he decides not to go out to Stanford I think that bodes well for Michigan's chances. I'll have more on the offensive line situation further down.

Adam BisnowatyAdam Bisnowaty

6'6", 275 lbs.

Offensive Lineman

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Bisnowaty was making his way through an unofficial visit tour and stopped in Ann Arbor to check out Michigan. The four star lineman's athletic director filled me in on how the visit went.

Adam told me that he really enjoyed the visit. He liked everything very much, and he said that he was impressed with the head coach. The facilities were out of sight, and I know we have nice facilities, but he said it was really great there. I think he's been interested in Michigan for awhile, how can you not be interested in Michigan. Academics are important for him, and our old head coach is friends with one of the new Michigan coaches. He's traveling out to Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Purdue. 

These trips were for Adam to gain more comfortability with each program, and to potentially help him make his final decision.

He's hoping to get [a decision] taken care of before the season, but I think he's realizing that might not be possible. He's planning on taking some official visits, and I doubt he'd take all five. His options are pretty open I don't think he's sold on any one over the other.

His athletic director, Mike O'Brien, had nothing bad to say about Adam and thought that any program would be lucky to have a kid like him. He'll probably know more about where he stands with each school once he's done taking his visits.

Erik MagnusonErik Magnuson

6'6' 275 lbs.

Offensive Lineman

Carlsbad, California


As you know by now Erik has committed. He told me it would be happening around two weeks ago, he just wanted to take this visit to see everything in person. Now that he is committed he will be putting on his recruiting hat.

It wasn't anything that I expected at Michigan, it was crazy. It was such a cool place and everyone was so nice. I want to get the best players to commit there now so I've been talking to OL Isaac [Seumalo, 4 Star], DT Aziz Shittu, and OL Jordan Diamond. The coaches didn't know much about Isaac because he's from a small school, but they know of him now. If they offer him, we want to play together, so I think he'd be really interested. 

Erik was on campus for the jersey reveal, but as I said on Twitter he was NOT allowed to attend the event.

They didn't want to take any chances with any NCAA stuff so I couldn't be in there. I did see some pictures of them and they look good. I'm going to try to come out there for the Notre Dame game with my family and then I'll probably take an official visit by myself for another game.

Magnuson was a huge pick up in himself, but it sounds like he could be a good recruiter for Michigan as well.

Se'von PittmanSe'Von Pittman

6'5", 245 lbs.

Defensive End

Canton, Ohio


I spoke with Pittman's head coach this past week, and since then there have been some rumors flying around. I'll discuss some of what I was told this week here and a little bit further down. First, here's what his coach had to say.

There's four schools that have never really wavered in his top group, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and MSU are the four and the southern schools are in there because they've won National Championships and all that. When it comes down to it though I think that distance might be an issue for him. Brady and Greg have done a great job with him in recruiting. He plans on getting up there sometime at the end of the summer.

The Ohio State mess is not the only factor playing into why Pittman feels strongly about the Wolverines.

I've known Greg [Mattison] and Brady [Hoke} for awhile and think the world of them. Brady at Ball State, we spent a lot of time together. I've worked several camps with Greg at Notre Dame and MIchigan. He's a first class guy.

As far as how his recruitment is going to play out, his coach had this to say.

[Se'Von] wants to take a couple official visits. They're going to be game day officials because his intentions are to be a mid-year graduate and enroll early. He's done a lot of homework, he's gone to camps, spring balls, evertyhing. He might be going up to Michigan's camp, we have a couple kids going up there, so he might come up too.

I was told by someone that I trust, and that is very close to the situation, that Michigan a few weeks ago thought they were very close to landing PIttman. Since then I was told that they have slowed things down with him. I don't want to get into too much or speculate but we'll see how it plays out as he gets closer to his graduation, and if he does indeed graduate early. It's not over with him by any means.

Offensive and Defensive Line:

That's a good segue to now talk about where Michigan is at with both offensive and defensive line recruiting.

First the offensive line. With Magnuson committing that gives them a true left tackle and Ben Braden and Caleb Stacey on the interior. Michigan is still in great shape with Illinois OL Jordan Diamond. If you missed it I spoke with his mother about where they're at this past week. He and his family will be visiting Ann Arbor this week for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp, and will also pop in to see the coaches.

Eric Olson and Adam Brisnowaty are fresh off visits as I just talked about. Colorado OL Paul Thurston should be deciding within the next few months and has Michigan in his final group. Someone that hasn't been talked about much is Tennessee OL Blake Bars (6'5", 275 lbs, 4 star), who is originally from Michigan and is still an option. The coaches could potentially offer Magnuson's friend Isaac Seumalo, who happens to be ranked 175th overall in the nation per Rivals. 

There is still some drama with the offensive line, however. Ohio State commit Kyle Kalis told me this past week that he is still committed to Ohio State but is listening to other schools. Michigan is one of those schools he's listening to and he could potentially visit. The possible kicker here is that Kalis and recent Michigan commit Tom Strobel are friends. I asked Kalis if Strobel's commitment would have any effect on him and he said, "I'm not sure, maybe." That might sound like nothing, but to me it sounds like Strobel has an opportunity to get in his friend's ear. This could be something to watch as Kalis has said the sanctions on OSU and their potential head coach would matter in his final decision.

You will likely see the final offensive line commits come from this group. What the combination is, I'm not sure yet. 

As for defensive line recruiting, this gets a little more confusing. With Strobel's commitment Michigan now has DE Pharaoh Brown, DE/DT Matt Godin, DE/LB Mario Ojemudia, and the aforementioned Tom Strobel. The good thing about these commitments is that a lot of them are versatile and can be moved to different spots if necessary.

Michigan will likely take three more defensive line commitments. That sounds like a lot, but the prospects they're in on are the kind that you have to take. DE Chris Wormley has said openly that Michigan is his leader and I wouldn't expect him to wait much longer before deciding. Outside of Wormley you have DE Se'Von Pittman, DE Adolphus Washington, DT Ondre Pipkins [who should be visiting soon], and DT Aziz Shittu. I'm only going to include these names for now, because these are the kids I think MIchigan has the best shot at landing in the current time. 

With what I mentioned about Pittman above I am wondering if that will alter anyone else's decision timeline. For example Adolphus Washington plans on announcing his decision at the Under Armour All American game, whereas Pittman plans on graduating early which means he needs to decide sooner than Washington. Wormley will likely announce before the season, and if he picks Michigan that's one less spot available between Washington and Pittman. If the coaches wait for Washington then it probably means they will not get Pittman.

Extra:

Pennsylvania RB Greg Garmon told me via text that he will be visiting Michigan on Monday. I'll have more from him soon, or after the visit.

Cali DT Aziz Shittu was mentioned above in the defensive line recruiting, because I think Michigan has a legitimate shot with him. Shittu has a top eleven right now that includes Michigan, Cal, Notre Dame, Auburn, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Florida, Washington, Arizona, and Nebraska. "I might make it out [to Michigan] for the Notre Dame game, those jerseys were dope," Shittu told me. Dope is good. He will probably wait to see how teams perform during the season before making any decisions. Ondre Pipkins has wavered on when he will make his decision, so Ondre's decision could potentially alter where Shittu ends up if he were to pick Michigan.

Pennsylvania DE Noah Spence is still interested in Michigan as well. His father told me this past week that they are just laying low for right now and letting Noah enjoy some time off. He just took the SAT on Saturday. Not a lot is going on right now, but the Michigan coaches did take a visit to his school during the evaluation period. 

2013 WR LaQuon Treadwell is teammates with current commit DB Anthony Standifer. Treadwell is hoping for a Michigan offer, and there's a chance he would commit right away if he received the offer. The Michigan coaches plan on watching his film and going from there. Just something to keep an eye on. I'll have more from him later on.

Ohio RB Bri'Onte Dunn has been talked about a lot lately. I've previously reported that he and his father are waiting to find out what happens with the OSU sanctions, and they will definitely have an effect on his commitment. His father told me this past week that they plan on making it out to Penn State as the next stop, and there's also a chance that they will be at the Michigan-Notre Dame night game during the season.

Utah FB Sione Houma did not commit during his visit to Michigan this weekend. He doesn't say much, but he told me that his parents went with him on the trip, and that he could potentially see himself going to Michigan. He will probably wait everything out, and I think distance might factor in here.

To stick with the fullback theme, I mentioned on the board this past week that Michigan currently leads for Texas FB EJ Fatu. He doesn't talk much either, but he sounds pretty excited about Michigan. We'll see if he makes it up soon for a visit.

I've gotten a lot of questions about quarterbacks lately. Maty Mauk took a visit to Ann Arbor this past week and Indiana QB Gunner Kiel postpponed his announcement that was supposed to take place on Sunday [the 12th]. From what I was told I wouldn't get too excited about Kiel, but I'm not sure that anyone really knows what's going on. His family keeps everything very close and doesn't leak too much. Both quarterbacks will likely decide soon and Michigan is still in the mix for both of them. If they miss on both then I would expect Austin Appleby to become a real option. He plans on camping and if the coaches like what they see, he could get an offer. I preface all of that with the fact that I don't know what is going to happen with Mauk or Kiel---both keep everything quiet.

2013 instate OL Steve Elmer was offered by Wisconsin. He now holds offers from Wisconsin and Mississippi State. I spoke to his dad a few weeks ago, I just haven't posted the interview yet. That will go up this week.

Tom Strobel's Visit Reaction

Tom Strobel's Visit Reaction

Submitted by TomVH on May 25th, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Ohio DE Tom Strobel (6'5", 245 lbs) took a trip up to Ann Arbor this past weekend. Strobel has had his interest in MIchigan steadily rise the more and more visits he's taken. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say about the most recent trip.

TOM: Who came up to Ann Arbor with you this time, and what did you get to see?

STROBEL: I've been up there before for the spring game, but I went with both my parents this time. We got a small tour of campus and facilities. We talked to all the coaches.

TOM: I'm assuming that this visit gave you a better chance to actually get to know the coaches?

STROBEL: For sure, we got to sit down and talk with them. They talked about football and family mostly. We didn't really go over scheme or film. We really just talked about football here and there, it was honestly more about the person they want to come to Michigan. It was all about character. They said they want to get someone that fits as soon as possible. I told them I wasn't supposed to make a decision any time soon. I'm not sure exactly when I'll decide, sometime in the near future.

TOM: Since your parents were there what was the overall impression of the coaches for both you and your parents?

STROBEL: The coaches are very kind, respectful, and very personal too. They didn't really talk about football it was more about my mom and dad. They asked me about how I feel about academics, which I appreciated. It's nice not to talk football all the time. They just explained to us that they want to have that Michigan man.

TOM: Have you narrowed your list down yet, or started to?

STROBEL: 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.

TOM: Have you been out to see all of those schools yet?

STROBEL: The only places I haven't been are Stanford and Nebraska. I'm interested in Nebraska also.

TOM: What's the criteria to evaluate these schools? How will you narrow it down?

STROBEL: I look for the pros and cons in each school. I'll look at the facilities and the strength and conditioning coaches. I'll be spending most of my time with them so that's important. I want to get in depth with the core of the program, rather than all the bells and whistles. I want to see the food too, I want to see what kind of food I'll be eating. I also want to see what type of coaches they are at each school.

TOM: I have to ask, since you're from Ohio did you grow up an Ohio State fan?

STROBEL: I think everyone in Ohio is an Ohio State fan. I grew up a little Buckeye, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will affect my decision. I'm looking at this without the fan side in it.

TOM: Did you know anything about Michigan before your visits, other than they're the Buckeyes' rival?

STROBEL: I just knew that it was Michigan. To be honest I didn't expect much going there, but then when I got there it was just an eye opener. These visits are what got them in the top group.

TOM: What about any of the coaches? I know they're new to Michigan, but did you know anything about them?

STROBEL: I knew that Mattison had been at Baltimore, but it shows that he's going to be there and he's not going anywhere if he came from the pros. I don't want to be switching coaches constantly, so it makes a difference for a coach to be there the whole time.

TOM: How do you think your recruitment is going to play out? Do you have a timeline yet?

STROBEL: I'm not sure how it's going to pan out yet. I want to get out to Stanford and some other places. I'd like to get my official visits in, but we'll see.

TVH Weekly: Armani Reeves, Allen Gant, Adolphus Washington, and More

TVH Weekly: Armani Reeves, Allen Gant, Adolphus Washington, and More

Submitted by TomVH on May 23rd, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Michigan has been on a roll with commitments so far with the 2012 class. What may be more impressive than the number of commitments is how they're getting kids to change their decision timelines. They've had a number of prospects that were thought to be waiting until after their season pull the trigger. That trend might continue in the near future. Here's a look at this week's happenings.

Armani ReevesArmani Reeves

5'11", 185 lbs

Cornerback

West Roxbury, Massachusetts


Reeves has had Michigan and Penn State at the top of his list for a little while now, but he's decided to bring his top two public.

Penn State and Michigan are the top two. I know I'll be back up to Michigan in June. I'm really not sure if my decision timeline will be moved up or not. It probably depends on how my visits go. 

Armani has said he wants to wait to make his decision, but he's also aware of Michigan's situation with defensive back offers and Terry Richardson's commitment.

I hope I can take my time with all this, so we'll see what happens. The coaches told me they want two corners and two safeties, and since Terry [Richardson] committed so early that plan kind of shifted up. They want me for corner, and Penn State said that I could play on both sides of the ball and special teams, so we'll see.

Reeves said the Michigan coaches haven't brought up offense with him, but you'd think they would allow him to try any spot where he can help. He said he'll try to clear that up with the coaches when he visits in June.

Allen GantAllen Gant

6'2", 210 lbs.

Safety

Sylvania, Ohio


Michigan recently offered Gant, and he told me he will be up to Ann Arbor in roughly two weeks. The Michigan offer came with much excitement from both Allen and his father, former Wolverine, Tony Gant. The elder Gant talked to me about how this affect's Allen's recruitment and how he feels about his son receiving an offer from his alma mater.

As a dad I was so elated, I always wanted Allen to follow in my footsteps. I think he'll make his decision in the next month or so, and right now he's leaning towards Michigan. That's a dream come true to have him potentially go to my alma mater. As a former player for Michigan, we have to do it right the first time. We can't bring in anyone we don't think is going to contribute to the team. It doesn't hurt that Allen is my son, but if he can't play football, he can't play football. That's not the case with Allen, he can play. I'm just elated all the way around.

Gant also shed some light on his son's national ranking, and what a program would be getting with his son.

They're going to get a student athlete who's full of character and leadership. You have to look at those qualities, he has to be smart, be a student athlete, and be a leader. From the football aspect he reminds me of [former Wolverine] Keith Bostic, as far as his aggressiveness. He loves to hit, he's a big safety. An analyst asked me why he's not nationally known, and it's because we knew it would probably come down to Michigan and Ohio State. We never went to any combines or camps, so his name wasn't really out there that much. 

Tony also mentioned the fact that he and Allen both know where they stand with the Michigan coaches, and where everyone else is at in the process.

We have to be aware of how many kids they have committed and who they're recruiting, but we know exactly where we stand with the coaches. We know that Michigan really wants him. We were going to sit back and wait until February, but that was basically from me. I went through the recruiting process in high school and my dad was dying. I didn't get a chance to enjoy the process. Early on I wanted him to travel a little bit and meet some of the great coaches, but deep down we knew he would stay in the midwest. Plus with a program like Michigan, they have the right to be selective. They go after the best, sometimes you can't wait until the last minute to make that decision.

Mr. Gant said that they have been hearing from more and more schools now that the Michigan offer has come through. Purdue, Nebraska, and Michigan State all came down since Michigan offered. Like his father said, I would expect a decision shortly.

Adolphus WashingtonAdolphus Washington

6'4", 230 lbs.

Defensive End

Cincinnati, Ohio


Washington and his teammate WR Dwayne Stanford have been a hot topic lately. They have both expressed interest in Michigan, and while I still think Ohio State will be hard to beat Adolphus recently released his top five schools.

My top five is Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Kentucky, and Miami. Michigan is recruiting me really hard and I know they want to play young talent so that's why they're in there. Me and Dwayne are supposed to [visit Ann Arbor] this weekend.

That's the weekend of the 27th. A few months ago I would have thought Michigan wasn't really in the running, and even up until recently I wasn't sure how much of a chance they would have. I think there is some serious interest in Michigan from both prospects. Both plan on waiting to announce their decision at an All American game so there's plenty of time for Michigan to catch up.

Where does Michigan stand?

It's unknown for sure how many scholarships will be available come February, but the consensus is that there will probably be somewhere around 22. With that being said, Michigan is in great shape with:

Defensive backs:

As Armani Reeves said above, the Michigan coaches might take 2 corners and 2 safeties. They have Terry Richardson already on board, so that's one corner. Reeves said the coaches want him for cornerback. Wayne Morgan has Michigan as his outright leader, and can play either safety or cornerback. Allen Gant is a safety, and as I noted above could pull the trigger soon. The same goes for Anthony Standifer position wise, but he could decide to wait a little while before making his decision. I still think Michigan leads for Standifer though. Michigan leads for three of the four, and is in the top two for Reeves. Barring anything weird happening you will probably see 2-3 of these prospects in Michigan's class.

Offensive line:

Ben Braden and Caleb Stacey are the two commitments on the offensive line so far. Michigan would like to take 5-6 for this class, and some have said that TE commit AJ Williams could move over to tackle if the coaches wanted him to. That's a luxury. They have positioned themselves well with kids like Jordan Diamond and Erik Magnuson, who happen to be the 209th and 34th overall prospects in the country to Rivals. Both are also four stars on other sites. Magnuson will take an official to Michigan and I have a feeling there's a very good chance he picks the Wolverines.

They also still have a chance with Zach Banner, since he has said he will take an official visit to Michigan. Colorado OL Paul Thurston recently visited Michigan and came away very impressed. There's a good chance that Michigan will make his final cut as well. Banner is the 31st overall prospect and Thurston is ranked 137th. Without even mentioning a few other prospects Michigan has a great shot with like Shane Callahan [191st overall] and Trey Keenan, Michigan has a shot with the number 31, 34, 137, and 209th overall prospects in the country all on the offensive line. That would quite the haul.

Defensive line: 

Commitments from Mario Ojemudia [hybrid DE/LB], Pharaoh Brown, and Matt Godin have given Michigan a solid start with the defensive line. They would probably like to add two tackles and another strong side defensive end to go with Matt Godin.

The name that seams to pop up the most for that position is Chris Wormley. Michigan is the leader for Chris, and he recently told me he thinks he's getting close to a decision. As mentioned above Adolphus Washington has Michigan in his top five, and it looks like they will get a strong look. Outside of those two Michigan fans are to be very excited about Missouri DT Ondre Pipkins, who's originally from Saginaw. I believe that Michigan has a very good chance with Pipkins, who is also thinking about moving his decision date up. He just won the DL MVP at the stacked Columbus Nike camp.

Instate DT Danny O'Brien was being recruited this weekend by the Michigan commitments at the Nike camp in Columbus. His recruitment has been interesting, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with him. Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson and indiana DT Sheldon Day are very much in the conversation, although I believe interest from Day could be slightly slipping. Ohio DE Tom Strobel was in Ann Arbor this past weekend, so he should probably be on this list as well. I'm in the process of getting a hold of Strobel to discuss the visit as we speak.

DT Jarron Jones is "committed" to Penn State for now, but says he will visit Michigan. His commitment is very soft at this point, and he's interested in checking out what Michigan has to offer. These are the likely candidates, as of now, to take up the spots for the rest of Michigan's defensive line class. As always I'll give you the "Anything can happen, so don't take this as 100%" warning. There are a few other prospects, like Georgia DE Jordan Jenkins who say they will visit that might move up. Until they visit though we'll keep this list as it is. Although Illinois DE/DT Faith Ekakitie was recently offered I'm not sure on how much interest is there yet from Faith. He'll have to get to know the program and coaches a little more before anything serious.

Extra:

There is a "silent commit" right now on the defensive side of the ball. He's not sure when he wants to make it public yet, so when he gives the OK I will let you know. 

DT Ondre Pipkins was named the D Line MVP at the Nike camp in Columbus. Here's some pictures of him, as well as Michigan commits Terry Richardson, Shane Morris, Mario Ojemudia, and James Ross at the event. Pictures are from ESPN Rise Flickr account. Someone asked me recently if Pipkins had made his top group public. He said it was supposed to be private, but an analyst ran with it so it's out there. Michigan is in very good shape with Pipkins, his visit in June will be pretty big.

OL Jordan Diamond told me that he will probably be making his decision sooner than expected. He wants to try to visit all the schools he's already been to one more time, then decide.