Thursday Recruitin' Is An Expert On Questionable Phrasing Comment Count

Ace September 22nd, 2011 at 10:06 AM

In this week's Thursday Recruitin', Danny O'Brien moves up his decision date, rumblings continue about the status of Bri'onte Dunn's OSU commitment, A.J. Williams is the subject of both an unfortunate headline and an awesome YouTube video, new 2013 offers go out, and much more. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticism, suggestions, always, I'll be reading the comments, and you can also reach me on Twitter or via email, where I'll also encourage you to send any recruiting articles of interest that you think I should include for the next week's edition.

O'Brien Announcement Change and More on Uncommitted (to U-M, at least) Prospects

According to several sources, including Rivals's Josh Helmholdt, who was kind enough to actually deliver the news outside of a paywall, Flint Powers DT Danny O'Brien has moved up his decision date to October 6th. I should be in attendance for this one unless the Powers athletic director confuses me with that other guy who uses the name Ace, in which case he'd be well within his right to kick me to the curb on sight. Luckily, I actually have credentials and stuff.

24/7's Steve Wiltfong calls Canton Glen Oak running back Bri'onte Dunn "college ready" ($, info in header), and quotes his high school coach saying Fred Jackson compared Dunn to Tyrone Wheatley, which means he obviously left out the part where Jackson added, "except with laser vision, the speed of a Lamborghini, and the raw power of the fictitious love-child of Earl Campbell and Mike Alstott." While the article is paywalled, Wiltfong added a pair of responses on The Blue Board after a poster said Dunn was "all OSU as long as they don't get hammered by the NCAA" [emphasis mine]:

I'm not so sure I agree with this. Michigan has a lot of good things going regarding Dunn. I do think Penn State is a distant third, but in my opinion in talking with Brionte and his coach, plus all the whispers and rumors we hear, I'd be nervous about Michigan if I was Ohio State.


For the record, I called Brionte's commitment soft. He didn't say it was soft. He said Ohio State was his leader.

In my opinion, anyone taking visits is a soft verbal. You can debate how soft that verbal is regarding who the prospect is and the ties he has to the committed school, but I can't consider a kid anything but soft if he's taking visits.

Anything can happen when a kid visits somewhere and experiences something different.

While Dunn has not said anything to the effect that he has decommitted, that comment makes it sound like he might as well be. Now, it also most definitely says Ohio State is his leader, so rein back that enthusiasm just a bit. As far as I can tell, anyone who thinks they know where this is headed is either (a) lying to themselves or (b) Bri'onte Dunn.

Sam Webb's weekly DetNews article focuses on Don Bosco Prep (NJ) cornerback Yuri Wright, who had a lot of good things to say about Michigan:

"Michigan is the school I wanted to go to my whole life, and I just love the University of Michigan," Wright told "I'm going to visit Michigan. It's in two or three weeks, but I have to settle on the date."


"Michigan has just been one of my favorite schools since I was a kid," he said. "I like the family atmosphere there, the tradition, and I know I can come in and get a real good education and have a chance to play early for a real good football program. I feel like (defensive backs coach) Curt Mallory is a real good coach and he is definitely a guy that can get guys better and one day hopefully send me to the league."

As Webb mentions in the article, Wright has several teammates at Don Bosco (a national power) who are either committed to or considering Rutgers, so they could be a major player in his recruitment. He is also planning on taking a visit to Michigan State, potentially for the Michigan game, and will announce his decision at the Army All-American Bowl.

Quickly: Michigan is "near the top" for receiver Amara Darboh ($, info in header), who is looking to visit Ann Arbor after the end of his season. Erie (PA) McDowell running back Greg Garmon likes both Ohio State and Texas A&M ($, info in header), but Michigan isn't out of it, and I just have to include this quote from Garmon for the sake of comedy: "Coach Fickell will be there for years." Um, let's hope so.

A.J. Williams Is Wildly Entertaining, Unfortunate Subject of Ambigious Headline

First, just watch this video, in which the 2012 commit discusses playing tackle this year in high school, his plans to be the "[sixth] great blocker" on the field as a Michigan tight end, and, of course, catching fish with his bare hands:

If you're too lazy to watch, or YouTube is blocked at work, you can find the full transcript here in an article titled "Sycamore's Williams an expert on holes," which, um, moving on...

Q: Your quarterback (Kyle Sess) is running all over the place, so he must be running behind No. 88?

A: Yes sir, running right behind me. We’ve got a couple plays designated where I go get some “kill” shots on some linebackers and he runs right off the butt. He’s doing a great job as a quarterback just running and getting out there.

Q: How does that feel when you make a big hole and you see him scamper down for six?

A: It’s great. I love it actually. Whenever I make the big hole, I try to run downfield with him. I can never catch him of course.

Well, that blockquote didn't help the ambiguity much, but I'm all for college-sized tight ends (good lord, I can't escape it!) who are that enthusiastic about blocking. If Williams can even catch just the occasional pass, he could be a great weapon to have in a MANBALL-oriented offense.

Scout's Scott Kennedy watched Erik Magnuson and his La Costa Canyon squad take on San Clemente and their own blue-chip offensive lineman, Kyle Murphy. Here are his thoughts on Magnuson, and you can also find video from the game in the free article:

The first series of the game gave us Murphy on the defensive line head up over Magnuson. A match up of two offensive linemen going against eachother typically will favor the one actually playing offense, and the first series nod went to Magnuson. He showed good upper body strength in being able to stand up Murphy and hold his ground against the bigger player, something he's probably not used to facing at this stage of his career.

Magnuson uses his hands well getting good placement into the chest of the man he's blocking without risking a holding call. He also has a little instigator in him. Michigan fans can get ready to read about the practice dust ups he may be in the middle of during the heat of summer two-a-days.

Nice to see that he holds up well against high-level competition, and a nasty streak on an offensive lineman is almost never a bad thing.

Quickly: Paywalled TomVH makes me sad. He's continued his countdown of Michigan's most important commits, but all are ($): No. 7 Tom Strobel, No. 6 Ondre Pipkins, No. 5 James Ross, No. 4 Eric Magnuson, and No. 3 Jarrod Wilson.

Tim Be Freepin' and More 2013 Notes

Now that Tim has settled in at The Wolverine, he is also taking over Josh Helmholdt's recruiting column at the Free Press—if you're mad about this, I think you're missing the point, by the way—and his first article profiles new commit Dymonte Thomas:

As excited as Thomas is to join U-M’s 2013 recruiting class, The Wolverine coaches are just as excited to have him. He is currently listed at 5-foot-11, but according to Marlington coach Ed Miley, the star defensive back may still be growing.

"His dad is 6-3 and his uncle is like 6-6 or 6-7, so I don't know if he's done growing yet. He's probably grown an inch and a half in two years. He's gotten a lot taller," Miley said.

While I've never heard of a 6'7" safety, I'm totally down with a 6'3" safety with 4.5 speed. Meanwhile, Tim is on his grind, putting out another Freep article just two days later on Shane Morris and him acting as one of Michigan's best recruiters:

Morris has other recruiting targets in his sights, too. Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton and Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes offensive lineman Zach Banner attended the Notre Dame, and Morris gave his best pitch for Michigan to the senior prospects.

“I talked to Jordan Payton and Zach Banner for a long time,” Morris said. “I tried to talk to everyone I could out there and build relationships.”

I love the idea of HS junior quarterback Morris giving his best recruiting pitch to house-sized senior offensive lineman Banner, if only for the ridiculous mental image.

The Detroit News's Tom Markowski discusses the state's top junior prospects, and of course Morris is featured:

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming also listed Morris as the state's top underclassman in his preseason preview.

"He's got a college arm," DeLaSalle coach Paul Verska said. "When you throw a curl, you want him to throw a curl. He throws it hard. He's doing everything we want him to do and more."

Josh Helmholdt has much more on Morris in a free Rivals article:

From December to July, I saw Morris more than a half-dozen times, often going head-to-head with some of the top quarterback prospects in the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. That gave us a real good feel on what the Michigan commit brings to the table and how he stacks up nationally. Over the course of those eight months we saw Morris develop great poise and come into his own as a leader. He carried that into the start of his junior campaign, but as the season has progressed Morris has become a little jumpy in the pocket and that is affecting his accuracy. He is not getting the protection I'm sure he would like, and is rushing his footwork.

Morris has a big league arm and can make every throw. At 6-3 and 195 pounds, he is also more of a threat to run with the football than given credit for. He is definitely a pro-style passer, but he can pick up yards with his feet when he needs to and has the toughness to withstand hits.

Sadly, we must say happy trails to one of Michigan's top 2013 prospects, Midland's Steve Elmer, who committed to Notre Dame while on a visit there last weekend. After reading what Steve Wiltfong had to say about why Elmer pledged to the Irish, it's tough to be upset:

Regarding Elmer, a gentlemen on Twitter asked me to come and give some background on what led to his commitment to Notre Dame.

He basically said he knew he was heading to Notre Dame when the Saturday before he saw 114,000 people go crazy during the Wolverines come-from-behind victory over the Irish in Ann Arbor. He just couldn't share in the joy. He liked Michigan, liked the coaches, but he realized he wanted Notre Dame to win that football game. That's what pushed him over the top with the other things ND has to offer.

If you're at that game as a visitor and realize you still want Notre Dame to win, that's where you should be. Best of luck to Steve in South Bend.

Michigan sent out several new offers in the past week, offering scholarships to Pickerington (OH) Central defensive end Taco Charlton ($, info in header), Celina (TX) offensive lineman Jake Raulerson ($, info in header), Joliet (IL) Academy running back Ty Isaac ($, info on his profile), and Dayton (OH) Trotwood-Madison defensive back Cameron Burrows, whose article is actually free and can therefore be blockquoted:

"It means a lot. I liked it up there. They showed me some things and I'm taking them under consideration. Its a nice place."

The atmosphere during Michigan's come-from-behind 35-31 victory over Notre Dame really impressed Burrows.

“There were 114,000 people there," Burrows told 247Sports on Sunday. "It was real hot when they started making that comeback in the third quarter. My ears were popping and everything.”

Burrows maintains Ohio State as his leader right now, but Michigan certainly appears to be in the mix.

Finally, Duane Long spotlights some of his favorite 2013 prospects, including five-star Jalin Marshall as well as Burrows, and Toledo St. John's quarterback Brogan Roback discusses his lifelong Michigan fandom and his recruitment in this local news clip.



September 22nd, 2011 at 10:16 AM ^

The Steve Elmer story proves that ND could still be a huge powerhouse with the right coach.  There's no other program that could be as mediocre as ND has been for that long who could get that kind of love from an out of state blue chip prospect. 


September 22nd, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

Agreed - especially since recruiting has not been the issue there under Weis or Kelly. While we all joke about their lengthy "return to glory," I have a hard time seeing them not having a good deal of success with all the talent they're able to bring in. At this point, it's just a matter of finding the right coach, and I'm certainly not ready to say that coach isn't Kelly.


September 22nd, 2011 at 10:18 AM ^

disclaimer: I don't have any idea what I'm talking about and am generally, an idiot...

...Having said that, it is my opinion that Dunn fears the same hillbilly wrath that came down on Kyle Kalis when he switched from the Bucks to the Wolverines. Thus, it may be his plan to prolong his verbal pledge to the Bucks for as long as he possibly can before switching to UM just in time to sign an LOI. This will leave him with the minimum amount of time to deal with half-wits in leather hats who will criticize him for making the most important decision of HIS life that contrasts with their wishes.

Those are my thoughts.


September 22nd, 2011 at 10:36 AM ^

Michigan definitely has a chance, especially with Dunn's cousin Dymonte Thomas on board - they've talked about playing together in college, and that's something they'd like to do. Of course, those "package deals" often don't work out, but in this case Thomas is solidly on board with Michigan while Dunn has serious interest. I'm not saying it will happen, but that's a factor that plays in M's favor.

NMU Blue

September 22nd, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

but this isn't a normal package deal between friends.  This is a close family that has grown up playing ball together and wanting to do it at the college level.  I like reading all of the posts back and forth on Dunn.  They remind me of the Abraham Lincoln quote about the chicken being the wisest of all the animals because she only cackles after she has laid an egg.  I'd be nervous if I were a buckeye.  Something says Jim Lahey is dead nuts on.


September 22nd, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

Eh, not really. He'd have paperwork to fill our for a month beforehand, and if he didn't have that done at OSU someone would know about it. He could keep it a secret until around the beginning of December, but the coaches would know if they asked for his EE forms and he didn't fill them out, or told them he wasn't filling them out. And it would then be only a matter of time before the internets knew.

That said, I still agree with the sentiment that if he were to switch, it would be a good idea for him to keep that a secret for as long as possible. But I think people would figure it out well before he was on campus.


September 22nd, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

I'll throw my cards in as well. I'm looking for Bri'Onte to show up for the UM-OSU game, and make the commitment then.

There you have it, I call November 26 as the day.

BK-Raback-Finest it !


BTW - Big thanks to Ace for linking the AJ Williams article. I haven't heard any news about him in ages, but I find him to be one of our more intriguing prospects. Recruiting services don't care for guys that don't fit perfecttly into a specific position. I think that AJ hasn't gotten the hype because they see him as a "tweener". Once he gets on the field and kicks some butt, they'll change that term to "mismatch".


September 22nd, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

Does his recruitment mean anything to Pipkins recruitment, and of the remaining targets for 2012, who is the most important for us to get in your opinion, Dunn, O'Brien someone else?


September 22nd, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

I don't think O'Brien's recruitment has any meaning for Pipkins' commitment. Pipkins was getting a block M tattooed on his back a couple of days ago,

From the MGoBlog and AceAnbender retweets:

Ondre Pipkins getting greatest tat ever? RT : Getting the Block M tatted on my and keith jacksons quote...


So I think that his commitment is pretty solid. He probably would like playing with O'Brien so they could dominate interior linemen together.


September 22nd, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

guys don't rule out the fact that he chose the school for academic reasons.  he's a smart kid and is very driven academically.  word is the edge wasn't as much football but in their opinion the weight of an undergrad degree in their perception being a bit more than an undergrad degree from Michigan.

Thinking out loud - if/when ND joins a conference - do they lose some of the luster of what they offer?  A big part of their pitch is the fact that they play and travel everywhere (like Navy in Ireland next year).  That all goes away with the ACC as an example. 


September 22nd, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

I would have assumed growing up in Midland (he did grow up there, right?) and surrounded by blue and yellow Block Ms everywhere that something would've have tipped him towards us.

Midland did that to me when I moved there in elementary school: I thought to myself 'there are a lot of Michigan fans here!' Then I realized they were for Midland High, and I got a bit sad (Dow grad)

True Blue Grit

September 22nd, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

if he commits.  IMO, with RB being such a shaky position for us, getting Dunn here has to be a huge goal of the coaches.  And Dunn would almost certainly see immediate playing time.  But I agree with JimLahey - Brionte is probably playing his status close to the vest to keep the cretins off his butt at least during his season. 

Regarding Elmer, it always amazes me how ND can keep attracting so many top players despite a) mediocre or bad play on the field b) a bug-eyed, purple-faced coach on the sideline who looks like his head's about to explode, or c) their revolving door of coaches. Anyway, good luck Steve.

My dream finish for Michigan's recruiting class would be:  Dunn, O'Brien, Banner/Garnett, Wright, Darboh, and Payton.  Hopefully we can squeeze 6 more guys in. 

Indiana Blue

September 22nd, 2011 at 11:00 AM ^

and you're taken with who you want to win, then there's his answer.  This has nothing to do with whether Michigan or nd has this or that coach, or the future winning opportunities ... it simply is what it is.

RE: Dunn  -  if Boise gets 9 football scholarships taken for what the NCAA said was LOC issues, then tsio is in for a scholarship beatdown.  We'll see ... but the NCAA will speak before signing day.  Incidently - the B1G office has also been entirely too quite about tressel's use of ineligible players last year ... c'mon Delaney trying to find some "balls"?

Go Blue!


September 22nd, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

Well in regards to Boise State, their football program had a very minor part in the problems. It was mainly their women's tennis team that committed multiple major violations, while 4 other sports (football included) committed minor violations. That caused the LOIC tag and as a result football suffers more than it probably would.

Indiana Blue

September 22nd, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

the tennis team somehow gets tied to the football program because they gave football recruits candy bars and let them sleep on the floor in the dorms (must be cheaper than the $15 South Carolina spends ...).

So tennis team + candy bars = 9 lost scholarships.   How does this compare to a head coach that lies DIRECTLY to the NCAA about ineligble players just so his team can make millions of dollars in a BCS game?

Go Blue!


September 22nd, 2011 at 11:02 AM ^

Ace please watch the wise cracks in regards to holes as before you know it you could be working your way into or out of one-no buts about it!

As for Elmer wish the kid the best of luck as he definitley made the best decesion for himself-I wonder how that figured into Dad's decesion graph/chart?


September 22nd, 2011 at 11:09 AM ^

He's probably right.  Garmon didn't say he'll be the head coach for years.  Fickell seems like one of those guys that will hang around the program in any capacity rather than try to venture out on his own without the support of "Buckeye Nation".


September 22nd, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

Good for him.  

In 1998, I was considering 4 undergrad schools, and took my college visits, including one to Notre Dame for the ND-UM game that UM got the doors blown off them.  I was miserable during the  entire game and drive home, and realized I couldn't fathom being in South Bend without being able to enjoy a major part of that ND undergrad experience (rooting for their football team).  Most mature reason to nix a school?  Maybe not, but sometimes, you like who you like.  

We can all acknowledge a good HS student isn't exactly hurting himself by heading to ND.  Good luck to Elmer.



September 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

With how shaky and thin our defensive line has been thus far this year, I really hope that O'brien goes blue. With as good Pipkins and a few of the other DE commits are, I'd love to see another big time player in the interior.


September 22nd, 2011 at 6:28 PM ^

I love Tom, but Pipkins is way more important than #6. We need a DT thats ready to play now. I might even put him at #1. (We obviously need OL too, but we have several commits there)


September 23rd, 2011 at 7:30 AM ^

That's how it should be. Unless in 2 years we find out he was betting on ND.. jp He looked like a good kid. What about Kyle Bosch? Do we have anything on him? His film looked really impressive for a sophomore and he looked like a "Finisher" consistently driving his man into the ground.