Friday Recruitin' Has Its Own Luginbill Watch Joke Comment Count

Ace July 20th, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses early returns on Shane Morris at the Elite 11 finals, 7-on-7 highlights of Khalid Hill and Csont'e York, and a few happy trails in both the '13 and '14 classes. Also included is an interview with 2014 TX CB Nick Watkins.

Arm Cannon: Engaged

Embedded again, both for informative purposes and so I can make a "Tom Luginbill got his watch from a Happy Meal" joke.

The Elite 11 finals are under way in California, and naturally they feature Shane Morris throwing a football a very long distance:

Morris also won the Golden Gun Accuracy Challenge yesterday, so those rapidly-moving projectiles are hitting home. His performance on Day 1 impressed Rivals's Mike Farrell:

Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris clearly has the biggest arm at the event and loves to show it off. But this is even more encouraging: He is improving his touch and the ball didn't sail on him nearly as frequently as it has in past showcases. His long ball wobbled a bit, but it wasn't too concerning. Morris' ceiling is very, very high.

And his Day 2 performance even moreso, as he landed atop Farrell's list of standouts ($):

1. Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle - Morris earned the gold jersey for the afternoon after winning the accuracy contest in the morning and he continued his fine play in 7-on-7 situations. While all of the quarterbacks have been encouraged to check down quickly, Morris keeps his eyes downfield more than others, has a cannon arm and fit the ball into some tight windows. He still clearly prefers to throw to his left so he needs to work on field vision, but he has shown the most overall tools through two days.

The lefty's tendency to focus on only half of the field appears to be the area he must work on the most, as it also cropped up in Scout's rundown of the second day's top performers ($):

4. Shane Morris - There shouldn't be much question of who has the strongest arm any more. Including the college players acting as counselors, the strongest arm at the Elite 11 Finals belongs to Morris. When push comes to shove, Morris has a laser-like focus on the left side of the field. That's a habit he'll need to outgrow.

That arm, though; counselors at the event include Georgia's Aaron Murray and Clemson's Tajh Boyd, and if Scout is to be believed Morris already has more arm strength than those two.

With the event still ongoing, I'll have more on Morris's Elite 11 performance in Tuesday's roundup. Other early standouts include Miami commit Kevin Olsen, USC commit Max Browne, and Notre Dame commit Malik Zaire.

Khalid Hill And Csont'e York 7-on-7 Highlights

GBW's Josh Newkirk recently uploaded Maximum Exposure player highlights from the IMG 7-on-7 National Championships, giving us a close look at tight end commit Khalid Hill... well as wide receiver commit Csont'e York:

Hill's more extensive highlight reel suggests that he was a more frequent target of Morris at the event, and you can see why: he does a nice job working underneath the coverage as well as finding space up the seam. York gives defenders trouble with his length, but the brief clip doesn't tell us a whole lot more about him as you can't see him run most of the routes.

Speaking of MaxEx, 247's Steve Wiltfong recapped their summer performances thus far, including blurbs on Morris, York, Hill, Jourdan Lewis, Damon Webb, and Malik McDowell.

Happy Trails

Not much news on the 2013 recruiting front this week, but we do have a few happy trails, unfortunately.

It should come as no surprise that TN RB Jordan Wilkins pledged to Auburn after previously eliminating the Wolverines from contention. VA RB Derrick Green is now the lone remaining running back target in the class.

There had been some talk of five-star FL CB Vernon Hargreaves III putting Michigan back into the mix in his recruitment, but he tweeted yesterday that he won't be able to visit Ann Arbor; he's releasing a top five momentarily, and the Wolverines won't be on it.

HI DT Scott Pagano named a top four of LSU, Alabama, Florida, and Clemson, and will name his choice on August 10th ($). He hasn't visited Michigan and I don't believe the coaches are taking another defensive tackle regardless.

2014 Updates

OH LB Michael Ferns has already narrowed his list down to a final three of Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame. ESPN's Jared Shanker reveals he's also ahead of the game when it comes to academics:

Ferns will return to the Red Devils basketball team after taking his sophomore year off. His head coach at St. Clairsville, Brett McLean, said Ferns will be in the running for valedictorian in 2014, and to top it off the imposing, hard-hitting linebacker is preparing to go pre-med when he gets to college.

"As soon as I got into high school science and math stuck out for me," Ferns said. "From a social aspect, I feel like I could make (football and pre-med) work. Every college at this level is going to have a great education. I'm focusing on going to school but also the opportunities I'll have after my four years and what it takes to finish up pre-med."

[ed-S: Med School rankings by USN&WR, just sayin': Michigan-10th; Penn State-unranked, at least worse than 110th; Notre Dame-doesn't have one]

Matt Pargoff recently caught up with Ferns, who says he's looking to make a decision by the end of his junior year, and he plans on graduating early. Ferns made trips with his whole family to Notre Dame and Penn State, but on his prior visit to Ann Arbor was accompanied only by his father; he plans to rectify that situation for next weekend's BBQ at the Big House.

Those hoping Cass Tech CB Damon Webb would make an early decision to Michigan might want to temper those expectations after Webb camped at LSU and came away with an offer ($). Webb's father told Allen Trieu that a decision won't come until "probably this time next year," and they'll make a return trip to Baton Rouge before then. He's also quoted by Steve Wiltfong($) as saying that "LSU is right up there with Michigan." Webb is looking like a top-100 player who will garner attention from a who's-who list of national powers, which gives me the feeling his recruitment is far from over, even though Michigan holds home-field advantage.

Here's a fun example of why I don't often post links here when recruits say they want to visit a school but don't set a date. Two days ago, 247's Todd Worly posted an article on FL ATH Javon Harrison containing this quote($):

“I’ll try to visit [Michigan],” Harrison said. “I’ll try to go this fall during the week, and I probably could make it for a game. Probably both.”

On the same day as the article was posted, Harrison announced his commitment to Virginia Tech. It's always a good idea to take any quote like the above with a grain of salt when it's given to a reporter from a team-specific site.

Joining Harrison in the happy trails category are AZ OT Casey Tucker, who pledged to USC this week, and SC LB K.C. Crosby, who will choose on Sunday between a final five that doesn't include Michigan ($).

An Interview With Nick Watkins

TX CB Nick Watkins has already garnered offers from Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. He's also ranked as the #36 overall prospect in the class of 2014 by 247. At 6'0", 180 pounds, he has frame to be an elite cornerback, and with those early offers it's easy to see him maintaining his blue-chip status through the recruiting process. I had the chance to briefly chat with Nick earlier this week, and here's the transcript of our interview:

ACE: First of all, which schools have been in contact with you the most so far, and how many offers are you up to?

NICK: I am up to I think 13, and all of the schools have been in contact with my coaches about me.

ACE: Do you have any favorites or a top list right now?

NICK: Nah, not really, all of them are at the top right now.

ACE: What do you know about Michigan, and what was your reaction to getting an offer from them?

NICK: I know that they're a winning program, with great tradition. My reaction was surprised because they hadn't sent me any mail or been in contact with my coaches until the last week of spring football.

ACE: Now that they've offered have you been in touch with the coaches more? If so, which coach or coaches do you talk to?

NICK: Yes, I have been. I talk to Coach Mallory and Coach Funk.

ACE: What schools have you visited so far, and do you have plans to take any visits during the rest of the summer?

NICK: I only visited Texas. And nah, not right now.

ACE: I know it's a long way away, but what factors will determine where you want to go to school?

NICK: The education [is] first. So a good business major! Also, where I can compete and get on the field early, a good school atmosphere and a good coaching staff!

ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say is your biggest strength and what do you want to improve before you get to the next level?

NICK: My biggest strength would be my length. I have great hips for a tall corner, and I can make plays! I want to improve my strength right now.



July 20th, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

Khalid Hill looks legit, it's surprising he gets so little recruiting site love.  Yeah, he's not 6'6".  But he has the bulk, athleticism and hands to make up for it.  And he runs really good routes.  Dustin Keller and Aaron Hernandez are about Hill's height, and we know they're very good TEs. 

He seems like a guy who could be an Aaron Shea type of players, which is exciting.  I'm not sure if Hill hits like Shea did, but I also think he has athleticism that Shea didn't.  Either way, he's a guy to get excited about, for sure.


July 20th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

I get that, and I'm not any less excited about him because of it, it's just a talking point.  But it has to be more than that.  He's listed at 6'2", and the #28 TE according to Rivals.  Ahead of him, there are 3 dudes listed at 6'3" (including the #7 guy) and 6 dudes who are 6'4" (including the #3 guy, and two others in the top 10). 

So although I don't expect him to be a top-10, unanimous 4-star recruit, I also don't think he should be #28, behind guys going to Cincinnati, Air Force and Rice.  Funny thing is, the guy going to Air Force, Pete Cender, is also from Michigan and ranked #23.  His other offers are BGSU and Western - that's it.  That does not jive with me.   


July 20th, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

He has an offer from Michigan, which he jumped on the second he got it.  That totally changes things.  Shane's lack of offers hasn't hurt him. 

When a kid has an elite offer, it far outweighs a number of MAC and MAC-ish offers.  Especially when that kid shuts down his recruiting the moment he gets said elite offer. 


July 20th, 2012 at 10:20 PM ^

Maybe Pete Cender is a better football player.  Hill's only other offer was from CMU, and when Michigan swooped in with an offer, he ended it right there.  We have no idea how many other offers Hill would have received in the meantime.  For all we know, he could still be sitting on a CMU offer while Cender grabbed those other offers and leaped "ahead" of him in the offer category.


July 20th, 2012 at 4:47 PM ^

It has more to do with mechanics than righty/lefty. A lot of lefty's just have poor mechanics from not having the high level coaching. It seems like a lot of lefty QBs also play baseball, so the pitching motion used in baseball lengthens the delivery of the football. Most lefty's that have big arms are, at the bare minimum, given a look on the baseball diamond. Big arm + lefty = baseball scouts drooling. That's my personal view of it anyway.


July 20th, 2012 at 6:07 PM ^

I recall analysis done here or linked to that showed that due to the higher chance of success for a lefty in baseball and the lack of any advantage in football, most lefties with big arms ended up in baseball.

M Wolve

July 21st, 2012 at 3:05 AM ^

For what it's worth, I played college football, and I didn't get into my alma mater's medical school. I know that it's only one example and Ace may have been joking, but I'm just trying to illustrate that where you go to undergrad doesn't necessarily increase your likelihood of getting into the same college's med school/other grad program. Also, if I had been rated on rivals, I may have been granted a tenth of one star, which likely holds less weight when it comes to applications than one who actually contributes to a team.


July 21st, 2012 at 11:43 PM ^

hmmm...going to a school with a medical school always trumps a school without. may i ask which school we are talking about ? hopefully you did go to med school. i did undergrad at the U

Abe Froman

July 22nd, 2012 at 1:10 AM ^

Ooh, yeah. Um, I'm going to have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there...


I know a bunch of prince's and domers who became MD's.  And I know a bunch of WSU undergrad's who weren't accepted to med while others from small liberal arts colleges were.


Not to mention,even if you have a med school:

the quality of undergrad ed =/= quality of med school

case in point -- us at the University of Michigan.



July 22nd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

But you're taking the extreme example - comparing a mediocore undergrad with a med school (such as Wayne State) to a very good to elite undergrad school without one (ND or other top liberal arts schools). 

There are exceptions, but if you compare two schools that are close to equal, it's better to have the undergrad with a med school.  Is that fair? 


July 22nd, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

I'm with Abe here.  In my experience it has no bearing on your likelihood of getting in.  Why would it?  Think about how much involvement you have with the med school when you're in undergrad.  I'd say roundabout zero.  You're actually probably able to get more meaningful experiences at a local hospital without a med school than if there is one because you don't have to compete with a thousand other students for volunteer/shadowing/work experiences.  The med schools aren't even going to look at the supposed quality of the school that closely in most cases, because there are so many other variables surrounding each individual applicant.  Having or not having a med school at the undergrad institution will naturally be even lower on the checklist than that.  I don't think it's even on the check list actually.

Abe Froman

July 22nd, 2012 at 9:44 PM ^

the only advantage having a medical school has upon your undergraduate education is the guaranteed close proximity of a hospital and biomedical research.  given that every community has a hospital and most universities and colleges have biomedical research, students can achieve the benefits of patient care and research experience despite not having a local med school.

that being said, if you attend a university without a med school, it is very likely that university is a lower-tier school, and your chances of getting accepted to med school will be hindered due to the universy's lack of academic rigor.  that's notable, but ultimately it is the academic rigor of the undergraduate instituion and the individual's course of study that has the greatest bearing on evaluating the academic credentials of prospective students (aside from the obvious GPA and MCAT).

keep in mind, the purpose of the MCAT is to normalize applicants across a spectrum of schools and programs of study so that this all becomes moot (although it never really is).


July 21st, 2012 at 10:43 AM ^

Excellent, soft hands.  Very good vision and tracking of the ball.  Pretty good movement for a thick guy.  Did notice he was enjoying 7-on-7 without being hit, as his stance at the line of scrimmage was rather slack.  Don't know enough about him to comment too much more, but would say also that if he is a high-character and football IQ guy, then he will fit in well. 


July 21st, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

Pete Cender is 6'4" 230 lbs and runs a 4.65 40 yard dash. Khalid Hill is 6"2' 230lbs and is probably slower than 4.65. To my knowledge a good part of the rankings is based on upside and the players ceiling and Cender probably has a higher ceiling thus the higher ranking