Thursday Recruitin' Rekindles Interest Comment Count

Ace January 23rd, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Damien Harris Fallout: Back In It For Mike Weber?

2015 five-star RB Damien Harris decommitted from Michigan this week. After Al Borges—his primary recruiter—was fired, Harris decided he needed to take a step back and explore his options, though his mother says Michigan is still on top, per Sam Webb ($):

“The reason he came to this decision is he felt like when he committed, at the time, we felt like it was the right decision even though it was early,” she explained.  “Months later he has been thinking and thinking, ‘I didn’t really go and look at other places probably like I should have.  I didn’t consider other places like I should have.’   Even though Michigan is #1, and that hasn’t changed, he just wants to make sure he doesn’t have any regrets when he gets ready to enroll.  He just wants to make sure that he didn’t leave any stone unturned and wants to make sure he didn’t miss out on anything, even though he knows Michigan is still his #1.  That’s all.  He is just making sure that if he was to visit other places, he wasn’t going to regret not taking the full experience.”

Meanwhile, a certain despicable portion of the fanbase* isn't helping Michigan's cause. Harris has taken a lot of heat on Twitter for his decommitment and his coach told TomVH that could be a factor in his ultimate decision ($):

People need to back off of him [on Twitter]. He’s a 16-year-old kid. People are attacking him on there,” [Madison Southern coach Jon] Clark said. “You have grown men who are way out of line, and Michigan fans better ease up or they’re going to push him away from Michigan. The coaches aren’t; the fans are.

“The only impact a fan ever has on a kid is a negative one; that’s it. There’s not a fan out there that has a positive impact on this kid.”

To state the blitheringly obvious: DON'T DO THIS. I realize/hope this doesn't apply to 99% of you, but nothing you're going to do as a fan—positive or negative, in person or on social media—is going to make a positive difference in a prospect's recruitment. Leave the recruiting to the coaches and, as a general life rule, leave harassing high school students to... nobody. Nobody should do that.

Anyway, with Harris opening up his recruitment, Michigan has rekindled their interest in 2015 four-star Cass Tech RB Mike Weber, per GBW's Josh Newkirk ($):

“I talked with (Nussmeier) for a half-hour on the phone. He is real excited about recruiting me,” Weber told GoBlueWolverine. “He told me it was crazy that Michigan stopped recruiting me. So when he got there he was telling me how he really wanted me (at Michigan). It made me open my eyes back up to Michigan.

Michigan is back on the radar.

Weber named a top five of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Tennessee (in no particular order); the Spartans and Vols have been the presumed favorites for a while now, though the renewed Michigan interest could change that. It didn't take long for Weber to recipricate that interest, too—he was the only prospect in attendance at last night's Iowa game, which he seemed to appreciate. Whether or not things work out with Harris, Weber would be a great addition to the class; he's been very productive against solid competition for the last two years and looks great on film.

[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on Malik McDowell, new 2015 offers—including a long-awaited one to a California DE—the final Rivals250, and more.]

McDowell Alters Visit Plans

With just two weeks left until Signing Day, Malik McDowell changed his official visit schedule, and it's not a change that bodes well for Michigan, per Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($):

Visits have already been taken to Alabama, Florida and, just this past weekend to Florida State. LSU and Ohio State were supposed to receive McDowell's final two official visits, but after a Tuesday in-home with Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, McDowell is now looking to attend the Spartans' big official visit weekend in East Lansing this weekend. LSU was scheduled to host McDowell this weekend, but it looks like they are still in the mix and Ohio State is likely to get moved out of the official visit rotation.

Given McDowell had previously stated he wouldn't take officials to the two in-state schools because he'd already visited both enough times to inform his decision—and he could always take unofficials since both are within driving distance—this is a pretty bad sign; about the only good news from this is it appears he won't be a Buckeye. I've flipped my Crystal Ball pick for McDowell from Michigan to MSU, and it's been trending that direction for a while now.

Three New 2015 Offers

In a move many recruitniks have been awaiting for months now, Michigan extended an offer to 2015 CA four-star WDE Keisean Lucier-South yesterday; he discussed his reaction with our own Brandon Brown:

I talked with Keisean and he was very passionate when I asked him how he felt about receiving the Michigan offer. “I was just in shock. (Laughs) I mean I felt like it might be coming but I didn’t know for sure. I didn’t actually see the coach (Ferrigno) but my coach told me about the offer.”

While he isn't naming any favorites, Michigan is "up high" on his list, and he should visit campus sooner or later. There's a lot of competition, and the Wolverines are frustratingly late in offering, but KLS has prevoiusly called Michigan his "dream school"—here's hoping the coaches can capitalize on that.

Perhaps as another result of the Harris decommitment, Nussmeier offered another 2015 running back, North Carolina native Johnny Frazier, who spoke with Maize n Brew's Eric Rutter about the offer:

"Yeah, coach Nuss offered me at about three or three thirty," said Frasier.  "He had me call him and then he told me.  I hadn't been in contact with them at all before it, so it was out of the blue.  A couple weeks ago I got offered by Georgia in the SEC.  That was a pretty big offer to me.  I'm still getting used to this whole thing, so it's new."

Frazier put up some ridiculous numbers in his junior season, rushing for 3,042 yards and 45 touchdowns on 248 carries—that includes a 410-yard, eight-touchdown performance featured in the video embedded above. He told Rutter that he doesn't plan on staying close to home, which is good news for the Wolverines—so far the only out-of-state schools to offer him have been Michigan, Georgia, and Georgia Tech. Check out his full junior tape here.

Nussmeier—dude's hit the ground running—also offered four-star CA QB Blake Barnett, a Notre Dame commit, though per Josh Newkirk it's unlikely anything will result from it ($):

“I know Michigan is a very good school. They have a very good football program as well. But I’m committed to Notre Dame.”

He added that he'll only be taking visits to South Bend this year, which... as someone who's been to South Bend multiple times, that seems like a missed opportunity.

In quarterbacks more likely to end up at Michigan, Coach Ferrigno stopped by to see four-star CA prospect Kyle Kearns, and he told GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz that he thinks an offer will come ($):

“Coach Ferrigno has been the one that’s kind of talked to me about where I stand but he’s basically just been saying they really like my film,” Kearns said. “But Coach Nussmeier only offers quarterbacks that he’s seen.”

Nussmeier has been in phone contact with Kearns but hasn't had the chance to see him in person. If/when that happens, Michigan should be right in the thick of things.


The final Rivals250 was unveiled on Tuesday, with the new four stars released yesterday, and it was a mixed bag for Michigan commits. Drake Harris dropped from #106 to #115, Michael Ferns dropped from #202 to #211, and Bryan Mone plummeted from #185 to losing his fourth star; on the flip side, Chase Winovich added a fourth star, though he didn't crack the top 250.

Greg Mattison dropped in to see elite 2015 OH ATH Jerome Baker this week, per Steve Lorenz ($). While Ohio State is the definite favorite, Michigan was the first school to show interest, something Baker noted and appreciated; he's looking to set up his first visit to Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are recruiting him as an outside linebacker.

Yes, Michigan State may be in the market for a new 2015 QB after Jayru Campbell body-slammed a security guard in the halls of Cass Tech. No, this is not something to gloat about. Here's hoping the security guard is okay and Campbell sorts out whatever issues he may be going through.

Braden Smith is strong. This is apparently a thing.

*Yes, I realize some pathetic people actually go through the effort of posing as fans of opposing teams and harassing recruits on Twitter. There's still a healthy chunk of idiocy coming from those who consider themselves Michigan fans.


Jack Daniels

January 23rd, 2014 at 3:35 PM ^

Baker has set up multiple visits to Michigan but has failed to show up to any of them

The coaches should realize that a kid who cancels his visit plans 5-6 times isn't a kid who will go to Michigan


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:44 PM ^

High school athletes, believe it or not, have busy and often-changing schedules; in-season planned visits often fail to materialize for that reason. Here's a quote from the article linked in the post:

"I'm going to call Coach Mattison this week to talk about visiting maybe at the end of February," [Baker] said. "They're going to be doing a junior-day type event but haven't set the date yet. Even if they don't have it or I can't make that day, I'm going to be trying to get there in the near future. Michigan is one of the schools my dad and I have been talking the longest about getting up to see. It's a school I really, really want to visit soon."

He also talks about academics—specifically mentioning Michigan's computer engineering program—tradition, and gameday experience (and says he wished he had been at U-M/OSU) as his top factors. If he's just blowing smoke, he's going the extra mile to do so.

Jack Daniels

January 23rd, 2014 at 3:50 PM ^

Those are some nice quotes, but he was scheduled to visit a couple times in the summer and ended up being a no-show. I remember reading (when I had membership) articles about him planning visits on 247 and there would inevitably be some update where he cancelled at the last second, even during the summer. It was like clockwork.


January 23rd, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

Yes, he's canceled visits. Yes, he's probably ending up at Ohio State. Yes, there's a chance this visit—like the others—never actually happens. Again, however, things pop up in recruiting that we never know about, and he sounds very serious about getting on campus. If Mattison (his primary recruiter) and the coaches thought he wasn't serious about visiting—especially in the wake of multiple canceled visits—they wouldn't waste their time recruiting him.


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:39 PM ^

2014 recruiting is closing mildly. We have some really nice pieces to work with. 2015 can be another nice recruiting class if we earn it on the field. The McDowell news is really a bummer. He is going to be an absolute Jabawaki for MSU. They tend to do really well with 3 star talent to begin with. Hopefully we can secure the state again in the next few years. Campbell and Harris decommiting does sting a lot...but it's just so early. I do think Michigan tends to hurt themselves in recruiting by limiting themselves and placing all their eggs into very few baskets. We left some recruits on the table this year and might end up eating schollies for absolutely no legitimate reason. We need more players and playmakers. Gotta find them and get them in a winged helmet.....


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

It's the end all be all for our recruiting purposes. Both MSU and Ohio will finish with better recruiting classes than us this year. They took the top 2 in state kids to boot. That is a MAJOR alarm that should be ringing to a deaf tone in Ann Arbor. Losing 11 games in 2 years is not acceptable...okay or sustainable in terms of recruiting. We just have to start winning lots of football games and I think our recruiting approach needs to be tweaked as well.


January 23rd, 2014 at 8:45 PM ^

Winning 9-10 games and splitting MSU-OSU is a very arbitrary benchmark to project onto high schoolers' minds.  These kids are young but they also get football, yo.  They get the emotional side of it.  They know what it's like to lose so I really don't buy that they'll decommit because Michigan was 7-6 instead of 9-4.

Michigan's season was not terrible by record, and by no means the worst season they've had.  They're not expecting dominant seasons or Michigan wouldn't even be on their radar.  The problem is that they watched the same games we did, and the deficiencies were impossible to hide:  Sloppy play, scared coaching, setting the wrong records, squeaking by Akron and getting absolutely curb-stomped in laughers against MSU and K-State.  This, this is the sort of thing any kid who's played football will notice.

Sure they'd prefer to be the winner every time, but I don't think any kid would feel shame if they imagined wearing maize & blue in the Ohio State game.  If anything, that's where a coach would say, "Yeah we lost, but you saw how close we were, and with a guy like you we'd get over that hump."  My point is, you can sell a 1-point loss to a recruit.  It's really not a problem.  What you can't sell are the ineptitude, the collapses, the disasters, the embarrassments.  2013 had way too damn much of that.

Wolverine 73

January 23rd, 2014 at 3:46 PM ^

And by that, I mean a commitment from someone really good that is unexpected.  After Hand (who seemed to love Michigan) opted for Alabama, Campbell decommitted, Harris decommitted, and now the tea leaves apparently say McDowell to State (how does that square with lifetime Michigan fans who value education most--oh, wait, never give any credence to "value education" in recruiting), Michigan recruiting is looking increasingly less impressive.  It seemed as if Hoke & Co. were gathering steam with each new class.  But I guess a truly dreadful season like 2013 has consequences.  We really need a good year with an exciting, consistent offense to get the Harris's and Campbell's of the world interested again.


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:50 PM ^

Ohio was down with sanctions and we had a highly ranked 2012 team. We should have beat them in 2012 ....won the B1G and had a 10 win season this year. Instead....we lost to Ohio twice in a row and got smashed by Sparty. Our staff failed big time and we have now missed our window. We could have had ALL the recruits if we just did what we were supposed to do. Now they have to start over.

I Like Burgers

January 23rd, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

Regaining that lost recruiting momentum could take a few seasons too.  The team has fared poorly by their own standards in back-to-back seasons and posting a good record next season won't erase any negative perceptions in one fell swoop.  It'll certainly be a step in the right direction, but its going to take two good seasons in a row before anyone rightly declares Michigan to be "back."

I also don't think we'll see the typically hot start to recruiting that Michigan has enjoyed in years past.  The high profile decommits have created a bit of a dark cloud over the program and I think you'll see a lot of recruits hold off and take a wait and see approach.


January 23rd, 2014 at 5:02 PM ^

Start over? Have you not been following our recruiting? We have had several excellent years of recruiting and I personally like the young men we have coming this year. 
We are never going to get ALL the recruits - Ohio will always have an advantage in Ohio because many of those kids grew up Buckeye fans - so it will always be a battle regardless if we beat them or not. We did take advantage and pull in some kids that were Ohio leans in the last couple of classes but honestly how long do you think Ohio would be down? - especially with a recruiter like Meyer.
This is just like all the Sparty fans crying about the missed window during the Rich Rod tenure and aftermath - it would take years of them winning at a high level to erase the general perception of them as second tier to Michigan and this isn’t going to happen.


January 23rd, 2014 at 9:25 PM ^

I would say that Sparty did take advantage of the RR years.  Best thing that ever happened to them.  Along the same lines as the de-facto death penalty we gave ourselves in basketball that Izzo took advantaged of.



January 23rd, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

Take a closer look at the timing of things, and how they bring people up and down....     had the local media not been all over Hand, he'd have been an afterthought.....

Had McDowell committed to msu early, then it'd be considered similar to Lawrence Thomas or Gholston.

Had we not had this BBQ thing in the summer, we wouldn't have the inevitable low when guys like Campbell, who shouldnt be committing two years early in the first place, 'decommit'

Take a step back and look at the fine recruiting Hoke has done.  It is outstanding. The only miff I have is DL, especially the DT, feels still weak...and losing mcDowell to msu stings because we need Michigan-like DTs again.   But otherwise the recruiting is humming nicely.

All talk for six months about mcdowell mcdowell mcdowell.... meanwhile we have studs like mone and MARSHALL, the latter whose name i havent heard here forever.....  stop talking about a guy like mcdowell and start appreciating a guy like marshall.


January 23rd, 2014 at 5:09 PM ^

I agree with everything except on the DL. Wormley, Ojemudia, Pipkins, Henry, and Godin have played meaningful snaps and while they are inexperienced, I see promise. Add to that Beyer, Heitzman, and Clark, plus Strobel (who has played at 3T and SDE), Charlton, who played a lot on third downs, and Hurst and Poggi who redshirted, and there is more depth on the DL than at any point in the last several years.

It seems to me that 2014 will be the year when you see their development and they either breakthrough or stay the same, though I admit there is a blinding gap in the middle where there is only one DT from the 2010 and 2011 classes.


January 23rd, 2014 at 6:04 PM ^

agreed!  the class of 2014 is a very good group!  I'm sick of all this bullshit about how this years recruiting is so disappointing (and the pessimism in general; thank God for the 2014 is great meme).  Seriously, get a grip; we did not get Hand and maybe we lose out on McDowell.  Don't care.  This class is already special.  MSU is out recruiting us?  you are out of your mind!  even if they get mcdowell, they are light years behind Peppers, Ferns, Harris, Mone, etc.  Its not even close!  The only team in the B1G with comparable recruiting is Ohio; no one else is even close.  our two primary obstacles to success were erratic offensive playcalling and youth.  One is already taken care of; they other will be soon enough.  The classes of 2012, 2013, AND 2014 are among the best in all of college football.  When this O-line and D-line grow up, we are going to stomp MSU into the ground.  Maybe in 2014, but I doubt it (still too young).  2015 - it will happen; and I can't wait.  Nothing will make me happier than watching a redshirt junior Kyle Kalis picking up the inside blitz; and then, five minutes later, watching sophmore Jabril Peppers playing press coverage while junior Ben Gedeon smokes MSU's walk-on QB on our own inside blitz. How many Kalis's, Gedeon's and Peppers does MSU have? zero.  As for the we can't develop talent crap - we don't know that because most of our talent are freshmen and sophmores.  How many freshman and sophmores started from MSU this year?


January 24th, 2014 at 8:41 AM ^

i am not sure I follow your line of thought.... we have been out recruiting MSU since the begining of times.  When michigan is playing MSU, and you look at the who has the better players the last 5 years or so, you would say MSU has more talented players than michigan.  Even next year, MSU will field a better team than us.  I can careless anymore about recruitin ranking and all this crap...our coaching staff need to improve on their player development, their planning for their opponents, in game adjustment, and finally improve end of half and game managment


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:49 PM ^

And with the supposed drop in interest for either Jeff Jones or Marlon Mack in 2014, one has to think there's a good chance of taking 2 in 2015. I'm assuming Sosa Jamabo and Jacque Patrick are doubtful, but leading for Harris still and probably being in the top 3 for Weber if Nuss really goes after him is a good start.


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:54 PM ^

Jamabo stays in the south and Patrick is more than likely a Nole. I hope we continueto recruit Harris like the no.1 option he is. I think Campbell stays in state. UF was his dream school and if they bounce back this year he will be therr....If not he also will warm up to FSU. We could really use and electric slot guy in this class.


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:55 PM ^

I am loving the Nuss hire more and more each day. I believe he will be a significant upgrade in terms of recruiting moving forward. Michigan coaches need to be more aggressive in their recruiting attempts, just as we've seen Nuss in these last couple weeks.  


January 23rd, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

Ace, isn't the only way for McDowell to get tickets to the basketball game for him to visit "officially"? Not saying that the rest of the official visit won't affect him. But, don't you think that might be part of his motivation, even if he liked the Spartans?


January 23rd, 2014 at 4:18 PM ^

But that's a bit of a stretch considering he had to eliminate another school to make that official happen—and he's not canceling another visit to check out a Michigan game, either. Really, really tough to see a positive here.


January 23rd, 2014 at 9:01 PM ^

What I've been thinking for quite a while. If a recruit is supposedly a lifelong fan of Michigan, has visited numerous times, his parents are big supporters of Michigan, and yet he still can't pull the trigger, he's just not feeling it for Michigan, for whatever reason.

FWIW, Sam Webb has said several times that MM appears to think that MSU is just a more fun place to be than UM.

Maybe MM is just massively trolling people and will end up choosing UM, but that's just a fantasy scenario.


January 23rd, 2014 at 4:04 PM ^

If McDowell believes MSU will constantly be this good, then that's his decision. However, history and recruiting (how much it matters, who knows) and the fact they were 6-6 last year, I don't think they can keep playing at this calber.


I hope McDowell realizes that this State team might had been a flash in a pan before commiting to them.

I Like Burgers

January 23rd, 2014 at 4:29 PM ^

If MSU is a flash in the pan, what's Michigan?  Over the past ten seasons, the two programs have nearly identical records.  77-49 for Michigan and 78-50 for MSU.  But in the past four seasons, its been all MSU 42-12 to 33-19.

If anything, that 7-6 record in 2012 was the fluke since they were 13-1, 11-3, and 11-2 before and after that season.  So if you're an in-state kid, the team that has been consistently good through the entirety of your high school career is MSU.  The fluky flash in the pan team is Michigan.


January 23rd, 2014 at 4:48 PM ^

I boldly said might. We won't know for a few years.


And if those previous 3 years, how many Big Ten Championships did they win? 0 is right, same amount as Michigan.


People can believe whatever they like, but one look at Michigan compared to State shows talent is coming to Michigan when State "develops" talent and finds diamonds in the rough. So I just hope these recruits don't automatically assume MSU is a constant Rose Bowl winning team just cause they did it once.

I Like Burgers

January 23rd, 2014 at 5:49 PM ^

So if I'm a recruit, I don't want to go to MSU because they develop talent?  And recruiting rankings don't mean a whole lot if you can't coach that talent up.

And I would hands down take an 11-2 or even a 10-3 season without a championship over the pu-pu platter of 7-6 and 8-5 seasons that have become the norm around these parts.

At least Sparty has gotten to go to the dance.  Michigan has been left far, far on the outside.

turd ferguson

January 23rd, 2014 at 6:01 PM ^

Your argument is confusing, too. What about Michigan says flash in the pan? Historically great college football programs all seem to go through down periods and then bounce back up. No one is arguing that we've been great lately. By our own historical standards, we've been terrible. The fact that MSU's 10-year record in its modern glory years is almost identical to our 10-year record in our modern nightmare years definitely doesn't point to Michigan being a flash in the pan and MSU being a stable power program.


January 23rd, 2014 at 11:28 PM ^

if the highest-ranked kids we're recruiting don't believe that the current staff will adequately prepare them for the NFL careers that they all see ahead of them, then the history, legends, and big house won't mean nearly as much as you think it does.

In other words, if Michigan goes 8-4, 7-5, and 7-5 over the next three seasons and includes losses to MSU and OSU, then we're very probably going to see a noticeable dropoff in our recruiting classes, and the Michigan tradition won't alter that.

Having said all this, I think that Hoke & Co have recruited extremely well so far. The slight downturn in the 2014 class, including missing out on Hand and probably McDowell, can't have been helped by our crappy season in 2013, but it's far, far from the disaster some are painting. Our '14 class is still very good, but we have to improve dramatically next year on the field to ensure that our traditions can have their effect.


January 24th, 2014 at 12:40 PM ^

If Michigan goes 8-4, 7-5 and 7-5 over the next three seasons I'm going to be spending a lot more time with flight tracker than ever before. I think Hoke gets one season at 7-5 and that's it from here on out. DB knows he's tied to these outcomes as well. 

I agree that Hoke et al are killing it in recruiting (and my sense is that long comitted recruites usually see a drop in ranking vs. late commit recruits which perhaps accounts for some of the site's rabble rabble). I agree the class is far from a disaster when, if you look at the profiles of our commits, see how many our rivals offered (i.e., Ferns, Mone, Winovich, Cole, Harris, Bunting, Marshall, Furbush, Peppers, Wangler). All had offers from our rivals (though Wangler, Furbush were single rival offers). Coffee remains for closers.

Plus or minus, I think Hoke gets a year (maybe two) from a committed to him/tied to him DB. If this class is what some call falling off a cliff then I'll take it. 


January 24th, 2014 at 8:54 AM ^

And we had a 10 win season 2 years ago, you are bending facts to fit your point.

And not far, far on the outside. If we didn't have the Denard injury against Nebraska in 2012, we would have had the chance to play in the Big Ten title game.

If the 4th down play gamble worked and Gholston (???) was blocked, Denard would have got around the corner and scored the GW TD in 2011.

Two plays seperated us from 2 Big Ten Championship games.

And "Develop" because I know Michigan will develop their talent too when they get the right players in their system so they will match State in that aspect. State is so good cause their attrition is like 2% (exaggeration but seems like it) and Michigan's should be RS seniors and RS Juniors and Seniors pretty much all left the program.


Why do I have the feeling you are just a State Homer that bends facts to fit your point without looking at both sides of the coin?


January 23rd, 2014 at 4:08 PM ^

As a community, can we all agree on the following:

  1. Don't tweet at recruits, for obv reasons
  2. Don't follow recruits on Twitter or Facebook (unless you actually know them), because they are 16 year old kids and what the hell are they going to post that you care about?

Zone Left

January 23rd, 2014 at 4:31 PM ^

This is where Ace and I disagree. I've found that contacting kids half my age (sigh) over the Internet is really effective in convincing those kids to attend my favorite school.

I developed great relationships with Dee Hart and Laquon Treadwell, for example, that kept them considering Michigan for much longer than they would have otherwise.