Thursday Recruitin' Checks The Odometer Comment Count

Ace September 4th, 2014 at 2:00 PM

No Bad Plays

malzone-roseboroAs recruits turn their focus to the first couple weeks of their high school season, the recruiting news firehose has slowed to a trickle for the moment. Thankfully, scouting of Michigan prospects is in full swing.

The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with the head coach of one of the conference opponents of Darian Roseboro (right, with Alex Malzone) to get a view of his game from the other sideline ($):

There are a lot of things that Roseboro does well, that's been documented, but sometimes it's difficult for casual followers to find weaknesses. When highlights are viewed they are just that - highlights. Snider insists that a lot of times what you see is what you get with Roseboro.

"I think it's really tough to identify weaknesses with him," Snider admitted. "He's pretty tough to block. I think that as a sophomore he might've taken a play off now and then, but last year he didn't really do that. He was much more aggressive and tough.

Roseboro's highlights are, well, highlights, so if he's bringing that on a snap-to-snap basis, that's great to hear.

Reports continue trickling in from last weekend's games. Josh Newkirk spoke with LB commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. after he recorded 17 tackles, four TFLs, a fumble recovery, and an interception in his team's opener to discuss the improvements in his game this year ($):

At 6-foot-2, 226-pounds, Kirkland says he worked on his strength mostly this off-season and it showed in his game on Saturday.

I feel like my strength could be one of the key assets of my game,” Kirkland said. “Being able to shed blockers. That’s one of the biggest things I needed to conquer. As well as my quickness and my speed. Just not to be blocked by lineman, because some are very athletic. It’s helped me a lot. I have been covering sideline to sideline, and it’s really helped me in coverage as well.”

That extra work certainly appeared to pay off in week one. Kirkland also mentioned that he's struck up a friendship with five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South; both will be on campus for the Penn State game.

[Hit THE JUMP for Where In The World Is Tim Sullivan, the latest on Chris Clark, several 2016 prospect updates, and more.]

Our friend Tim Sullivan, meanwhile, is gettin' his hustle on. I saw Tim at Wayne State last Friday, and he was back there on Saturday to scout 2015 QB commit Alex Malzone as he lead Birmingham Brother Rice to a 40-34 win against Chicago Brother Rice ($):

The biggest change from Malzone last season is the amount of audibling and checking he's allowed to do at the line of scrimmage. His head coach, Dave Sofran, trusts the quarterback to make the pre-snap reads and adjust plays accordingly. Even with a struggling run game and protection from the line spotty, Malzone was able to get his team into the right play and run the offense effectively.

Tim noted Malzone's accuracy was "a little spotty" but overall he looked improved from last year, and he spread the ball around to several receivers. He did have a favorite target: 2015 three-star WR Grant Perry, who caught eight passes for 213 yards and two TDs. Perry holds offers from a handful of MAC schools and is a good candidate for a preferred walk-on spot; at 6'0", 185, he could be a useful option out of the slot.

Tim also made his way to Bridgeview, Illinois, to catch 2015 OL commit Jon Runyan Jr. and St. Joseph's Prep take on Chicago Mt. Carmel. St. Joe's won 28-27 on a blocked extra point; Runyan performed well and is bigger (6'5", 275) than he was last year—you can see that in the picture at left, via Tim—but he still has some technical refinements to make ($):

The primary areas in which Runyan has room for improvement are technique-oriented. He has developed the physical attributes needed to become a top lineman, but doesn't always know exactly how to use them. He has a nasty streak as well (clearly an inherited trait from Jon Sr.), but can only use it in fits and starts because his positioning isn't always optimal for burying a defender.

It's worth noting Runyan is playing left tackle at this level—and reportedly held up well in pass protection—while he almost certainly will be a guard at Michigan.

Chris Clark Still Considering Visits

For those who missed it, 2015 TE commit Chris Clark tweeted over the weekend that he planned to take two official visits, and while he later deleted the tweet he hasn't ruled out that possibility:

We'll see how this develops. Clark's commitment status would, of course, be up in the air if he visits elsewhere. Michigan has one other 2015 tight end firmly on their radar: Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

I Don't Know What To Make Of This

seems pleasant enough

Top-100 2016 OT Liam Eichenberg is the one of the most coveted Midwest recruits in the junior class, and he's got a top three to reflect that: Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State. He told GBW's Josh Newkirk that among those three, the Irish are currently standing out, which makes this subsequent quote all the more bizarre ($):

At Notre Dame I liked the offensive line coach, I really didn’t like [ND coach] Brian Kelly,” Eichenberg said. “But at Michigan I loved the whole staff. They kept saying I was a ‘Michigan Man.’ … [Michigan coach Brady Hoke], I like him a lot. His main thing he will prepare me for the NFL. That’s what he sold me on. Urban Meyer sold me on his connections. How he will set me up after my football career ends.”



Five-star 2016 NJ RB Kareem Walker visited Ann Arbor last month, and while he claims no schools are standing out right now, he told 247's Ryan Bartow that a certain Michigan position coach is the recruiter he's connected with the most thus far ($):

Walker likes [Mario] Cristobal, his area recruiter for Alabama. The recruiter he’s bonded with the most so far is his area recruiter for Michigan, Wolverines cornerbacks coach Roy Manning.

We can talk an hour, hour and a half and probably the first 10 minutes will be about football,” Walker said. “It can be about anything.”

Walker will be a tough pull, as he's getting attention from all over the country, but at this rate it's hard to count out anyone being recruited by Manning.

Michigan offered the #1 athlete in the 2016 class, five-star Alabama commit Demetris Robertson, per 247's Charles Power. Robertson hails from Georgia; I'll go ahead and say this is a longshot.

2017 OLSM LB Josh Ross visited campus again for the season opener, and told Sam Webb that he "feel[s] like [Michigan is] a family" to him; he also had good things to say about Michigan State, but I don't think it's hard to read between the lines here:

That leads to an obvious question… are the Spartans now tied with Michigan in his eyes?

I don’t know about a tie, but those are my two favorite schools right now,” he replied.

This should be an in-state battle going forward, though Ross is already garnering plenty of national attention; I expect Michigan will eventually win out.



September 4th, 2014 at 2:20 PM ^

“At Notre Dame I liked the offensive line coach, I really didn’t like [ND coach] Brian Kelly,” Eichenberg said.

That's a bit like saying "I like my department manager, but I really don't like the president of the company." It doesn't make for a very harmonious work environment. Gotta give the kid credit for honesty, though.


September 4th, 2014 at 2:27 PM ^

is it possible he meant they were standing out in a negative way behind the other 2? That's what his quote sounds like but I can't see the paywalled article to get a better idea. 


September 4th, 2014 at 5:01 PM ^

Clark seemed very firm in his commitment to UM.  I wonder what's made him decide to take officials, knowing that he'll have to decommit?  Aside form the fact his 18 and has already shown a willingness to change his mind (see NC commit/decommit).  Could it be the staffs continued interest in Wheatly Jr?  Have they note continued to show enough ongoing interest?


September 4th, 2014 at 3:36 PM ^

Sounds like Manning is doing his usual good work, but it takes a certain kind of mind-set to say, "OK, today I'm going to shoot the breeze for possibly up to 90 minutes with a 16-year old. And that work very well might not lead to anything in terms of a committment."

I knew this already, but recruiting is crazy. Grown men basically begging for teenagers to make up their (understandably) fickle mind that they like you and your school. 

True Blue Grit

September 4th, 2014 at 4:02 PM ^

coaches today have to spend on recruiting.  It's a miracle they see their families at all.  Recruiting today has become so ultra-competitive, that's what you have to do.  I'd guess Bo and his assistants didn't have to spend nearly as much time sweet-talking each recruit compared to today.  Also, on average, they didn't travel nearly as far very often either.  Recruiting then was more regional for Michigan than it is today, where we're going to places like Florida, California, Utah, Georgia, and Texas much more. 

atom evolootion

September 4th, 2014 at 5:56 PM ^

Malzone looks...Kovacs-ish, right? Kovacs had that harmless look, like "I ain't here to hurt nobody." Then he went flying toward the line of scrimmage from just behind the linebackers like a Smilodon with knives for teeth...