Update 12/22: Linked to articles on OH CB Mike Edwards, SC DE Sam Montgomery, LA DE Bennie Logan, TX WR Josh Gordon, FL DE Pernell McPhee, MI DT Will Campbell, AZ OL commit Taylor Lewan, video of NC OL Travis Bond. Pictures of Justin Turner's Army Bowl press conference.
Added OH OL Henry Conway, FL LB Willie Ferrell, LA WR Travante Stallworth.
Removed VA OL Morgan Moses, LA WR Rueben Randle, FL S Angelo Handley (UNC), MD DE Jason Ankrah (Neb), TX QB Shavodrick Beaver.
2010 stuff: article on MI WR Baquer Sayed.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. We've discussed the fallout from the Beaver decommitment in a post earlier today; now onto the rest of the story.
Minor panic over the past week because Will Campbell wasn't talking much after his visit to Florida combined with minor panic about the effect of Scott Shafer's departure on defensive recruits, particularly Campbell teammate and safety commit Thomas Gordon, to create moderate indigestion on the part of Michigan fans who pay a little too much attention to recruiting. (Guilty as charged.)
Some antacid for your ulcers. Here's Campbell on the Shafer departure:
"It really doesn't affect me because my defensive line coach is still there," Campbell said, speaking of U-M assistant Bruce Tall, who also attended the banquet. "It also doesn't affect me at all because I don't know where I'm going. Even if I was still committed there, it probably wouldn't make a difference because my coach is still there."
To summarize in three words: good… bad… okay.
Also, on Sam Webb's Friday recruiting podcast he mentioned having talked to Campbell and did not get a vibe to be worried about. Campbell's final official visit took place over the weekend at Miami; he decides January 3rd at an All-Star game.
There's been a lot of gushing about Taylor Lewan behind paywalls, and while there's always a lot of gushing on the premium sites after anyone commits this particular gushing has a different tenor than most. ESPN's released some gushing of its own to the plebes, so take a look:
Lewan's development into a top-15 offensive tackle has been nothing short of amazing. We feel Michigan is getting an offensive lineman with perhaps the best upside we have seen at the position in recent years. The coach who helped mold him into the upper-echelon positional prospect he is today agrees.
"He's as good athletically as any guy I have ever coached," Ragle said. "The thing that makes him so special is his upside when you think he's only been coached at the position for about eight months. But the one intangible that's most impressive is his nastiness --Taylor wants to bury someone on every play, and you can't coach that."
This praise has gone above and beyond the run of the mill stuff I've seen in a half-dozen years with the recruiting sickness, and the bolded praise above comes from an entirely neutral observer at Scouts, Inc., not one of the guys on Michigan's premium sites*. Lewan's obviously got some weight and technique work to do, which is the reason he trails a number of other prospects at tackle despite having that upside; he's a guy to get excited about anyway.
*(This is not to say a guy like Josh Helmholdt won't give it to you straight about a prospect, but it's natural to be a little skeptical of fawning praise from someone affiliated with a school site.)
Back to Stallworth.
You're not alone if you got a Michigan vibe from Tom VanHaaren's interview with LA WR Travante Stallworth. A number of Auburn recruits committed to the Tigers with the idea they'd be playing in Tony Franklin's "Spread Eagle" offense, among them Stallworth, and they can't like the sound of this:
That could change when Chizik hires an offensive coordinator. Chizik emphasized his plans to re-establish a smashmouth brand of offense at Auburn.
The previous regime recruited most of the offensive recruits to run the spread offense. There are three specific players that could struggle to run a more traditional offense - receivers Brandon Heavens, LaVoyd James and Travante Stallworth. All three are 5-foot-10, and none weigh more than 180 pounds.
Geez, newspaper guy, way to call out specific kids and tell them they're not fits for their current commitments. Tiger fans appreciate it, I'm sure.
A relevant passage from Stallworth's interview:
TRAVANTE: Well, they [Auburn] fired the staff too, and I was real close to the TE/WR coach. I haven’t talked to anybody from Auburn since. My recruiting coordinator got fired, but he called me yesterday. That’s the only person I’ve talked to.
TOM: So what schools are you most interested in right now?
TRAVANTE: I’m highly interested in Michigan, I’m real interested in South Carolina, and I’m kind of interested in TCU.
Stallworth allows for the possibility of a commitment on a visit, and sounds like one of the better citizens available this recruiting cycle. He's a three-star guy to Scout and Rivals, but ESPN gives him an 80 (equivalent to a mid-to-high four star) and has high praise for him. He'd be a good pickup in the slot, which could use another player now that RB has taken a couple hits and a guy like Teric Jones might see his future in the backfield.
The other other guy who catches the ball.
TX WR Josh Gordon's story is a weird one: he, along with Bryce McNeal, was the best wideout at last year's Army All-America combine according to Rivals. He then repeatedly, publicly stated he wanted a Michigan offer and would commit if he got one. Then he got two stars from the recruiting services and started talking about Baylor. No, Baylor:
"It was real nice," Gordon said. "I was actually really surprised by how nice it was. They have real good facilities and everything was state-of-the-art, which I wasn't expecting. I didn't think it'd be that good of a football environment, but I guess this is the "new" Baylor they said."
Can you dance at "new" Baylor? Probably not. And Josh Gordon loves dancing. Anyway, with Michigan in search of an outside receiver sort they're getting back in Gordon's recruitment:
"I'm getting an in-home visit from some (Michigan) coaches this week," he said.
"I like Michigan because they are rebuilding their offense and have been recruiting me a lot more lately," he said. "I think I'd have a good chance to play early there and get the offense there going."
Gordon says he hopes that Michigan offers next week because he doesn't plan on waiting for the Wolverines much longer. "If they offer me this week then great," he said. "I'll take a visit there and see what it's like. If not, I'm just gonna focus on the ones I have offers from and move on."
That was a week ago and there's been no update on whether he got that offer, or indication he'll visit. Could be off the radar because of Christmas and all that; he'll be a guy to watch in the new year. I'll be interested to see how his recruitment, and his career, play out.
It appears that Glenville cornerback Mike Edwards has given up on the idea of an Ohio State offer:
While Edwards was impressed with his Cincinnati visit, he said he will at least make official visits to Michigan and Tennessee before selecting a college. Edwards has scholarship offers on the table from those three schools as well as Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and others. If he were to land an offer from Ohio State he would definitely visit the Buckeyes.
So that's top three for Edwards, a borderline four-star at a position of need. I'm still skeptical anyone from Glenville will sign with Michigan until Ted Ginn Sr is elsewhere.
Etc.: JUCO FL DE Pernell McPhee did not sign yet.