Monday Recruitin' Goes Wholy Holy Comment Count

Ace July 29th, 2013 at 3:51 PM

If you think the headline contains a typo, try listening to better music.

George Campbell, Mayor Of Twitter

As Michigan fans tried to decrypt Wilton Speight's Twitter teaser, Saturday afternoon bled into Saturday evening with no word about a commitment. Would it be Shaun Crawford? Sterling Jenkins? Erik Swenson? Maybe even Malik McDowell? Any would've been great; the real answer, though, elicited a rapturous response.

George Campbell's commitment briefly turned the entire Michigan twittersphere into Robin and Brady Hoke into the proudest papa.

Mason Cole's Instagram also features ... are those tears, Coach?

It also attracted the attention of the CEO of Twitter, Michigan grad Dick Costolo.

Modified rule: Don't tweet at recruits — unless you're the CEO of Twitter. [Side note: This is a story. Get here already, football season. Also, Matt Hayes must be stopped, and this is one of a very short list of things Michigan and Ohio State fans can agree upon.]

Why is everyone so excited? Because if "500" was an Olympic sport, George Campbell would win the gold, silver, and bronze.

Also, have I mentioned he's 6'4" and runs a 4.36 40-yard dash?

I mean...

Wow, indeed.

Yes, Campbell still has work to do when it comes to his hands and route-running — this video from the Columbus NFTC highlights both the best and worst parts of Campbell's game right now — but with two more years of high school ball to play, his potential is terrifyingly vast. Scout's Jamie Newberg provided a detailed scouting report of Campbell after his commitment, and even the areas for improvement section features one of them good problems ($):

What may be of concern: Campbell catches the ball well but is not a natural pass catcher. Sometimes he fights it but he is getting better and better. Size is also an issue because you just can’t forecast just how big this cat is going to get. He has a giant frame and long arms so there is no telling what his size will be like in three or four years. Remember, he still has two high school seasons to play before he gets to Ann Arbor. Will his growth prompt a position change? If so, how will that impact his develop?

All of these are concerns but I see them as minor concerns because Campbell is such an outstanding athlete. Recruit him now and worry about it later.

Oh no he might be even more giant and still probably really fast.

Campbell's commitment does more than just give Michigan one of the top prospects in his entire class. It also looks like he'll be a major recruiting conduit in the tradition of Morris, Speight, Ferns, et al — Campbell reportedly struck up a close friendship with 2015 MI ATH Brian Cole, and he's already reaching out to other top prospects on Twitter. Others, including 2015 MN LB/DE Jashon Cornell, ESPN's #1 overall recruit in the class, took immediate notice after Campbell tweeted out his commitment announcement.

Oh, and some other guy passed along his congratulations.

That guy is consensus top-100 2015 running back Damien Harris. He committed to Michigan while I was writing this post. Brian, mercifully, handled the Hello post. Commitments come in pairs, Brady Hoke poops magic, and Michigan now has their top targets at wide receiver and running back already in the fold for 2015.

Hello there, potential überclass:

Not a bad start to the week, you guys.

[Hit THE JUMP for much, much more on the BBQ, including reactions from Malik McDowell, Shaun Crawford, Sterling Jenkins, and Justin Hilliard, plus surprise appearances from a couple of Glenville's finest.]

First, The Bad News

Top-ranked 2014 running back Leonard Fournette did not make it to the BBQ. This was a bummer until Campbell committed, the clouds parted, and the sound of angels singing "The Victors" resonated throughout Ann Arbor. Now that Harris has committed, this is even less of an issue, especially since Michigan had an outside shot at best even if Fournette had made it to campus.

In related news, Michigan informed NJ three-star Jonathan Hilliman that they won't be taking a back in the 2014 class. It now looks like he'll end up at Rutgers. You probably no longer care about this in the slightest.

And Now, The Good

Fournette may have been a surprise no-show, but the equally-surprising appearance of Cleveland Glenville five-star ATH Marshon Lattimore, four-star safety teammate Erick Smith, and 2015 Tarblooders ATH Milen Golden and WR Trevon Story is a nice tradeoff:

From L to R: Golden, Lattimore, Story, and Smith. As for your question, Marshon, I think the resounding answer around these parts is quite good.

Meanwhile, the top player in Michigan, 2014 five-star DL Malik McDowell, also attended the BBQ with his family in tow; after the visit, his father told Josh Helmholdt precisely where Michigan stands in his recruitment ($):

"Michigan is right there," Greg McDowell said. "For me, I would love for him to go there, but ultimately it is his decision. I know one thing… Michigan is the team to beat."

Moe Ways managed to get the words straight from the horse's mouth, per ESPN's Chantel Jennings ($):

MALIK MCDOWELL: “I asked him what his top three was, he didn’t have one but he did say Michigan was No. 1. He said that he loves the vibe there, that his parents really love Michigan as well. … Personally, I think when it’s all said and done, he’ll be a Michigan man. He just fits the class perfectly. We didn’t talk too much about football or recruiting, we were just having a good time.”

McDowell is expected to take official visits to some top southern schools before announcing his decision at the Army All-American Game; he's yet to set up any of those officials. Regardless of where he visits and when he makes his decision, Michigan is the clear favorite.

A visit to Notre Dame produced from glowing quotes from 2015 OH CB Shaun Crawford, to the point that some worried he's not a Michigan lock, the long-standing perception of his recruitment. After visiting for the BBQ, Crawford spoke to TomVH and assuaged those fears ($):

“The schools are pretty much the same, but one is different with its faith and class size. To me the academics and what they do on the field is equal, but Michigan is still at the top,” he said. “I connected with Coach (Curt) Mallory and Coach (Greg) Mattison at Michigan. I want to keep building our relationship and friendships with the other coaches. That definitely keeps pushing Michigan more to the top.

Crawford wants to talk with his family before making a commitment; it wouldn't surprise at all if one came sooner rather than later.

2015 four-star PA OT Sterling Jenkins wants to ride his bicycle, he wants to ride his bike, he wants to ride his bicycle, he wants to ride it where he likes, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($):

Besides the usual festivities associated with the BBQ, Jenkins got to experience the Michigan campus as a whole and there were a couple things in particular he noticed.

"I'm starting to realize some of the things I want to see about a certain campus," Jenkins said. "One thing that's really important to me is having a place to ride my bike. In terms of physical activity, if I'm not playing football I'm riding my bike. There are plenty of places in Ann Arbor to do that, so that was cool. There was also a real sense of community. Fire hydrants with the helmet stripes on them, buildings and cars had Michigan stuff all over it. You notice those types of things. It feels like a home; like if I played there, it wouldn't feel like a business type place."

Michigan holds a place among Jenkins's top group with Pitt and Penn State and may very well be on top of his list after last weekend.

2015 IL ATH David Edwards told TomVH his visit was "unbelievable" ($) and gave Steve Lorenz a list of positions for which Michigan is considering him. That list is long ($):

"I talked a lot to Coach Mallory today, who told me they like me in four spots," he said. "Defensive end, offensive tackle, tight end or quarterback. He said they want to watch me play a little this season to determine where they would like to have me. During their bye week, they are going to come out and watch me play. I have no preference in terms of which position I play at the next level, so the fact they like me in so many spots is encouraging."

Edwards is already listed at 6'6", 225 pounds, and clearly has the frame to project to a number of spots. He's planning to attend a game this fall and is a strong candidate to receive an offer.

Perhaps the top 2015 prospect in Ohio, Cincinnati St. Xavier LB Justin Hilliard, wouldn't name favorites after the BBQ but mentioned a handful of schools he'd like to see this fall to Tim Sullivan ($):

"I definitely now know a lot more about Michigan, I would say," he said. "I'm probably done - that was probably my last visit [for the summer]. The next step will probably be some games. Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, there's Arkansas and maybe some others."

Iowa, where Hilliard's older brother plays, will also be a big factor in his recruitment.

2015 Detroit MLK LB/S Tyriq Thompson, son of former Michigan safety Clarence, provided perhaps the best picture of the entire weekend*:

Thompson called the visit "amazing" in an interview with 247's Steve Wiltfong; he plans to visit for the Notre Dame game, which is quickly shaping up to be one of the biggest recruiting events at any school this fall.

Other visit reactions:

  • 2016 Farmington (MI) WR Desmond Fitzpatrick called it a "great visit" and he'll also be back for the ND game, per Lorenz ($).
  • 2016 OH QB Messiah DeWeaver got a lot of one-on-one time with Al Borges; he's hoping for an offer but knows that Michigan will wait to put one out for a quarterback. DeWeaver is attempting to one-up everyone by attending both the Notre Dame and Ohio State games.
  • Another 2016 name to watch: Saginaw Arthur Hill DL Lawrence Gordon, who unwittingly topped DeWeaver by saying he'll attend "every [Michigan] game I can," per Tim Sullivan ($).
  • Michael Ferns brought along his younger brother, 2016 LB Brendan Ferns, per Scout's Dave Berk ($). Don't call Brandon the "little" brother, though — at 6'3", 205 pounds, he's already taller than Michael.

Why yes, the "good" section of today's post is significantly longer than the "bad" portion.

Everything Else Before I Collapse From Keyboard Poisoning, Which Is Totally A Real Thing I Didn't Just Make Up

"Holy s---, that's him?"

That's the stellar lede of SI's lengthy feature on Jabrill Peppers. Obviously, read the whole thing. If you'd like to see him spit a solid freestyle-that's-not-really-a-freestyle, go the 1:30 mark of this video. Trust me when I say you'll want to skip the part before that.

Linebacker commit Noah Furbush led his Kenton squad to the National Select 7-on-7 title over the weekend, earning the #5 spot on Rivals's list of top performers ($):

The Michigan commit is the only BCS-level prospect on tournament-champion Kenton's roster, and on Friday he played a big part in his team winning the title. He's a smart defender who never seems to miss an assignment in pass coverage. He's also good at reading the quarterback and knowing when and where to break on the ball to make a play.

At the same event, 2014 PA WR/ATH Malik Hooker named Michigan to his top six ($).

Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson get it.

2015 four-star Cass Tech RB Mike Weber tweeted this after Harris's commitment; clearly, Michigan will still be a big player in his recruitment.

Ohio State lands a big-time commitment of their own in 2014 four-star OL Demetrius Knox.

I have a new favorite non-Michigan recruit, and it's Alabama prospect Racean Thomas.

This week in "Did you seriously post that on the Internet?"

*Tight end commit Ian Bunting photobombing Michigan's future linebacker corps is also in the running.



July 29th, 2013 at 4:29 PM ^

I didn't know there was another Ferns. I'm betting he will be one of the first 2016 commits.

EDIT: Just remembered seeing a M. Ferns Twitter pic of both his and his bro's rooms. I think his brother is a big OSU fan. But we'll probably be in good shape with big bro here.


July 29th, 2013 at 4:38 PM ^

""Defensive end, offensive tackle, tight end or quarterback. "

That can't be real, unless he's a fitter version of Jared Lorentzen, which would be really cool, come to think of it.

True Blue Grit

July 29th, 2013 at 5:25 PM ^

grew a couple more inches.  If anything, that would make him even more dangerous as a receiver.  There are plenty of 6-6 WR's in the NFL.  Either way; it will be interesting to see how he develops physically and technique-wise in the next two years. 


July 29th, 2013 at 5:56 PM ^

None at all? Just OSU getting a OL commit to help their future shambles at O-line? I'll take it. Best recruiting update ever. (Literally, we've never had one with two 5 stars committing in a single week)


July 29th, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

...immediately after his commitment Tweet asking Damien to contact him. So, yeah.

MGoHomework assignment: embed that tweet in a reply to this comment and earn my gratitude and a moderation of "Informative".

Edit: Never mind. Missed it in Ace's OP. Ace is an ace.


July 29th, 2013 at 6:00 PM ^

Wait. Isn't the Twitter CEO a booster? Isn't it a violation for a booster to contact recruits? 

Nevermind. Just saw the other thread. Apparently it is a violation. 


July 29th, 2013 at 8:15 PM ^

And I think we would agree that 2/3 of those guys never lived up to their potential. (Fargas through no fault of his own). Lets remember these kids are 3 seasons from campus before we declare victory.

On the other hand things could be muuuch worse. E.G. RR o-line recruiting ::shudders::


July 29th, 2013 at 8:32 PM ^

You have a running back who was good enough to star at 2 major universities and play in the NFL a long time, a receiver who was so good he left for the NFL early, and a QB who had one of the best single season's ever in a Michigan uniform and took playing time from one of the greatest QB's of all time. Every HS #1 guy isn't going to be an NFL Hall of Famer; but they were all really good college players.


July 30th, 2013 at 7:30 AM ^

In the 3 seasons that they played together, Michigan went 29-8, won 2 Big Ten titles, and won 3 bowl games, all against SEC competition, including one BCS bowl.  Of course, if by "potential", you meant they didn't win 3 National Championships and beat every opponent by 30 points, then,  yeah, they came up way short.

You're probably right, though, recruiting some of the best HS Junior talent in country is probably a riskier way to go than to wait until late in the 2015 recruiting cycle and picking up the 2 and 3 star diamonds in the rough and then "coaching them up" like some other programs do it.

"Score: -1 Trolling" - Yeah that seems to fit.


July 29th, 2013 at 7:33 PM ^

"There was also a real sense of community. Fire hydrants with the helmet stripes on them . . ."

I went back to A2 a few summers ago, after not having been there for about a decade.  I was seeing A2 from a fresh perspective.  I noticed the fire hydrants with the helmet stripes on them.  I thought "That's really cool.  That kind of attention to little details has got to impress recruits that come through here."

These kind of little things really do matter.  They add up to the impression of a first class program.  Things like having the color of the pants, the jersey numbers, the helmet wings all be the same color . . . those kind of things, they do matter.






July 30th, 2013 at 6:33 AM ^

Per his Hello post

Had 742 yards and 11 touchdowns on 62 carries as a freshman in six games. A concussion shortened his season. Last year he put up 1,778 yards on 144 carries and scored 35 touchdowns. <


Isn't concussion usually a bad sign, that early in someone's career? 

Not trying to troll here - but genuinely concerned about the kid.

Blue in Yarmouth

July 30th, 2013 at 8:33 AM ^

but lots of people get concussed at young ages never to have another one again. When I was six I fell three stories down a cylindrical stairwell to the floor and had a serious concussion. Following that I had played competitive hockey until I was 24 and received many hard hits and was considered a fighter in the CHL (though I didn't like being considered that). Anyway, I was never concussed during my playing career after a serious concussion at age 6 so it isn't a sure thing that he will have concussion issues going forward.


July 30th, 2013 at 9:51 AM ^

I think a concussion is a big deal.  I would imagine our staff would consider it a big deal as well, and I would imagine they will make sure to keep an eye on him.

I wouldn't think one concussion should end a career.  From the looks of it the school did the right thing and kept him out of playing ball for the rest of the season to make sure. 




July 30th, 2013 at 8:57 AM ^

Maybe I'm missing something - but despite Harris' commitment I would have thought we would still take a RB in 2014.  It's a long way to NSD for the 2015 class - not trying to be Debbie Downer, but I'd rather have a bird in the hand than 2 in the bush as they say...

I know class size is limited in 2014 - but why close the door completely on Hilliman?  Attrition or another prospect not signing on the dotted line could have left a slot open for him.  Guess I just like to take a RB every year if at all possible.


July 30th, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

but it seems to me like we haven't been recruiting running backs all that hard for the 2014 cycle anyway.  I would venture to guess that with two backs coming in last year (and shallman possibly a third) one of them will get redshirted and become our '2014' running back... 

Also, sure it is a long way to signing day but we haven't seen much attrition under hoke.  Look at the Conley situation: he only had a little 'buzz' at the time of signing with us, when that changed he bolted.  And that will happen.  But with Harris, and campbell, and people like shane in the past, they already are huge recruits with many options.  I think the risk of the high level recruits bolting is less likely than the lower ranked recruits...