Today's recruiting roundup covers last weekend's high school action, the latest on Leon McQuay III, the 2014 ESPN 300 Watch List, and more.
Butt Turns Tables, Defeats Taco
Remember the picture of former Michigan safety Carvin Johnson as the saddest of sad pandas after losing the state title game? Taco Charlton also hates losing, and after his Pickerington Central squad fell 37-0 to Pickerington North—the first time in six tries that North defeated their crosstown rivals—he's the next in line for Agony of Defeat Photo of the Year:
Much like Johnson in that state title game, Charlton was phenomenal in a losing effort, recording ten tackles and 1.5 sacks while playing on offense, defense, and special teams for the Tigers. In the end, though, it was fellow Michigan commit Jake Butt, who finished with nine catches for 92 yards and a TD as well as a crucial fourth-down sack, celebrating a rivalry win on Central's home turf. I'll have much more on this game, including more photos and video highlights, in tomorrow's Future Blue Originals.
Speaking of outstanding two-way efforts, Dymonte Thomas led Marlington to a 34-14 victory with 249 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries and also recorded an interception—all after suffering an ankle injury that forced him out of the first offensive series. Thomas also threw an eight-yard touchdown pass. You can see highlights from the game at the 4:30 mark of this video.
Channing Stribling continued to show why he's regarded as a fast-rising prospect, returning an interception 25 yards for a touchdown for Matthews Butler. According to TomVH, Stribling now has five interceptions in six games on the season as well as a kickoff return for a TD and a receiving TD.
We haven't heard much from Wyatt Shallman, who's been battling injuries, thus far this season, but he had a breakout performance on Friday. Playing defensive tackle, Shallman finished with six tackles, four hurries, a sack, and an interception (returned for 20 yards), via TomVH.
DeVeon Smith rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns on only 12 carries in a 37-14 victory for Warren Howland. Several other commits found paydirt over the weekend, including Mike McCray (77 yard TD catch along with five solo tackles), Gareon Conley (TD catches of 58 and three yards), Ross Douglas (13-yard TD run), Ben Gedeon (71 rush yards and two TDs), and JaRon Dukes, whose 10-yard TD reception provided the winning points in a 7-6 victory.
In other commit news, David Dawson announced on Twitter that he's been invited to represent Team USA in the International Bowl. Also, Magnus has an interesting discussion about Wyatt Shallman's college position over at TTB; I agree with him that Shallman stands out much more on offense, and I believe he'll stick at running back.
[The latest on McQuay's visit plans and more after THE JUMP.]
Farrell: USC Leads For McQuay
We'll start with the good news on FL DB Leon McQuay III: according to Sam Webb($), McQuay will bring along his mother, father, and step-mother for his official visit to Michigan, which will span from Friday to Sunday during the weekend of the Northwestern game (Nov. 10). Bringing along the whole family would indicate that the Wolverines are still under serious consideration.
The bad news is old news; Rivals featured McQuay as their recruit of the week, and in this free video Mike Farrell says he believes USC is still out in front with Florida State in second, and Michigan doesn't get much of a mention:
However, Farrell maintains that McQuay is still open and all the schools receiving official visits—a number that now includes Oregon—are in the running. Depending on USC's scholarship availability, this recruitment could come down to the impression each school makes on those critical visits.
In case there's any doubt about Michigan's early recruiting strategy for the 2014 class, the newly-released ESPN 300 Watch List paints quite a picture: Of the 49 offers sent out by the Wolverines, 41 of those players made the cut, according to TomVH ($)—as usual, Magnus has compiled a handy list of commits and targets on the list. Lone 2014 commit Michael Ferns is represented, as are top in-state targets Damon Webb and Malik McDowell. The priority for this staff is clear—send out early offers to the elite national prospects, then wait for junior film and further evaluation before filling in the gaps and covering the Midwest with offers.
McDowell continues to rack up an impressive list of offers from around the country, and the latest comes from Florida ($, info in header). I think he'll end up staying in the Midwest, but he'll have his pick from among the nation's top schools.
2014 IL OL Denzel Ward has set a visit to Ann Arbor for the Illinois game, according to 247's Todd Worly ($, info in header). Ward is playing football for the first time this year after previously focusing on basketball, and at 6'9"(!!!), 295 pounds, he's quite an intruiging prospect. He's also friends with fellow Chicago native and current Michigan lineman Chris Bryant, so there's a Wolverine connection here.
The latest Rivals roundtable features Josh Helmholdt saying Laquon Treadwell has impressed him more than any other prospect this year as well as the panel's take on which factor is most overrated in recruiting—the jury is split between academics and losing a game with visitors on campus in that category, but I personally hope Woody Wommack is spot on:
Uniforms. While most recruits and players enjoy sporting new unis, I don't think there's ever going to be a top recruit who commits to a school just because they have cool uniforms. Fans get excited every time their school gets new uniforms and assume it's going to have an instant impact on recruiting. But if every school has 4-5 variations that they break out every season, does anyone really have an advantage?