Tuesday Recruitin' Awakes to a New Day and a New Way Comment Count

Ace January 31st, 2012 at 12:38 PM

The recruiting roundup is going to be rather quick today, as I'm supposed to hop on a plane this afternoon and I still have yet to pack. I'll actually be out of pocket for much of Signing Day—due to circumstances outside my control—but Brian is aware of this and will have all your NSD needs covered. On to the roundup...

Lifting the Cloud

Michigan headed into last weekend expecting to pick up at least two, possibly three, and just maybe four new commits for the 2012 class. Instead, Armani Reeves decided to join his godbrother at Ohio State, Alex Kozan chose Iowa, and Sam Grant pulled a shocker and picked Oklahoma, surprising even Sooner insiders. It was not exactly sunshine and lollipops in Wolverine land. I'll leave it at that.

Enter Cleveland (OH) Glenville DT Willie Henry, whose commitment was announced (early, it turned out) by head coach Ted Ginn yesterday afternoon, providing a ray of sunlight through the dense cloud of doom and gloom. For more on Henry, a promising but raw prospect, check out his commitment post. Sam Webb interviewed Ginn after Henry's, er, not-yet-commitment, and that critical pipeline to Glenville appears to be open once again for the Wolverines [emphasis mine]:

The Wolverines’ cause in this race was undoubtedly helped by Brady Hoke’s long standing relationship with Ginn… one that dates back to his time as an assistant at Michigan.

“I had a relationship with Brady going back with (former Michigan defensive end) Pierre (Woods),” the Glenville coach recalled.  “Then he went to Ball State and (the relationship) increased… he took about five or six of my guys.  The relationship has always been there. It’s a new day and a new way (at Michigan).”

CAN I GET AN AMEN? Sorry, got caught up for a second. But yes, after Michigan's relationship soured with the Ohio powerhouse at the end of the Carr era and under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines have pulled in Frank Clark and Willie Henry from the Tarblooders (yes, the Tarblooders) in consecutive classes. This not only bodes well for the current squad, but future recruiting classes.

[ED: Kyle Mienke's article on Henry came out too late to get swept up the Hello post and contains a lot of Trieu-based praise for Michigan's newst commitment:

"You watch his film and you go, 'why isn't he ranked higher?'" Trieu said. "You also go, 'Wow, why didn't he have a ton more offers?'" ...

"He just didn’t play much, didn’t really make an impact as a junior, and that happens at talented schools like Glenville," Trieu added. "He was a kid who just completely stayed off the radar until late. But, once you saw him play, you could tell he can really play.

"Michigan's getting a very good player, even if he isn't ranked like it."

Scout's Dave Berk is also a fan; sounds like Henry is a potential contributor despite a recruiting process that would imply he is not one.]

Michigan now has one known target left on the board: Chicago Simeon OT Jordan Diamond, who announces his choice on Friday between Michigan, Arkansas, Auburn, and Wisconsin—Diamond has confirmed he dropped Ohio State from his list, but denied doing the same with Auburn ($).

Addressing the Needs

I thought, after the general panic caused by Michigan's 0-for-3 weekend, that this would be a good time to take a look back at initial expectations for the class. Enter the 2012 recruiting board (not updated in a long time, I know), where Tim outlined the needs at each position for the class. Here's a breakdown of each position group and the number of prospects Tim projected the Wolverines to get based on need:

QUARTERBACK: 1. Not filled, but can I interest you in a Shane Morris? I thought so.
RUNNING BACK: 1+. While M missed out on Bri'onte Dunn, Drake Johnson and Siome Houma are both in the fold.
WIDE RECEIVER: 2. Done, not only with high-caliber prospects, but high-caliber people in Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson.
TIGHT END: 1-2. Welcome, Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams.
OFFENSIVE LINE: 4-5. Michigan has filled the minimum requirement with high-quality prospects, and Jordan Diamond would give them one of the best offensive line classes in recent memory.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: 2. Ondre Pipkins should be a 3+ year starter at the nose, Henry fills a need at the three-tech, and both Chris Wormley and Matt Godin could end up here, too.
DEFENSIVE END: 2. Wormley and Godin are joined by Tom Strobel and Mario Ojemudia, giving Michigan a talented and versatile set of DEs.
LINEBACKER: 2-3. Michigan has three All-Americans plus an early enrollee in Kaleb Ringer (UA All-American Joe Bolden also enrolled early).
SAFETY: 2. Jarrod Wilson, Allen Gant, and Jeremy Clark all project to safety.
CORNERBACK: 1+. All-American Terry Richardson addresses that need, though it would've been nice to get one more.

The only need that isn't already addressed in this class is quarterback, and Michigan already has one of the top quarterbacks in 2013 committed (and doing a little recruiting himself). Not only that, but the talent level puts this class easily into the top ten nationally. There's the ledge, and you shouldn't be anywhere near it.

In other news on committed prospects, Scout released their final rankings for the Midwest region and the state of Michigan. Five of the top seven in-state prospects are blue, as are seven of the top 21 Midwest recruits, and that number would go to eight if Diamond comes into the fold on Friday.

Quickly: Kyle Meinke with a great article on Darboh's tumultuous childhood over at AnnArbor.com; Chris Wormley, just chillin' and watching the AFC title game with Greg Mattison—NBD; Tom writes a free (hooray!) article on social media and its impact on the current class.

Blue Chips

[ED: this section by ed, who is Brian.]

The Detroit News's Blue Chip list survey annually produces bold statments, total fiction, and pathos when they ask the #15 ranked kid in the state why he didn't go to State or Michigan and he doesn't say "neither of them wanted me." This year's edition is no different. Your winner for quote of the year comes from Tennessee commit Danny O'Brien:

I just don't like Ann Arbor. It's a little too liberal for me.

This will not be a problem in Knoxville.

Other quotes of note come from Mario Ojemudia ("it was definitely the [M] coaches who changed my mind" on where he should go to school), Royce Jenkins-Stone ("there was no way I would go there" if Rich Rodriguez was still coach at M), Devin Funchess (consistent complaints about MSU "favoritism"), and MSU commit Jamal Lyles, who says Michigan wanted him as a tight end.

2013 News

No new offers to report for now, but Michigan has picked up interest in a couple of prospects: Riverside (CA) J.W. North TE Marcus Baugh, a four-star on 24/7 ($, info in header) and South Jordan (UT) Bingham DT Lowell Lotulelei, also a 24/7 four-star ($, info in header), who were both visited by Michgian coaches this past week.

Several big-name targets received major offers from elsewhere, however. OT Logan Tuley-Tillman visited Alabama last weekend and got an offer from Saban ($, info in header). Michigan is still presumed to be the leader, but Tuley-Tillman did say that the 'Bama visit was "awesome." Ohio State offered a pair of Michigan targets in Hudson (OH) LB Ben Gedeon ($, info in header) and Warren (OH) Howland RB DeVeon Smith ($, info in header). Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek CB Shaq Wiggins picked up an offer from home-state school Georgia ($, info in header), and now has an updated top five (in no particular order) of the Dawgs, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, and Ole Miss.

Finally, happy trails to a pair of recruits: Alabama landed running back Altee Tenpenny ($, info in header), who didn't have an offer but was an early target, and Ohio State nabbed early five-star athlete Jalin Marshall.

One last note: If you missed my post on the board yesterday, I recorded a pre-NSD podcast with Jeff Junstrom of Black Shoe Diaries and Alex Gleitman of Eleven Warriors—we give an overview of each of our classes, break down a few of the top recruits, project how each class will round out, and discuss some big names that are on the radar in 2013. This should be a recurring feature; it's always good to keep a close eye on the enemy.



January 31st, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

I've never been a proponent of banking scholarships, I think it's stupid.  Sometimes you save one or two spots at the end for certain guys and they don't come, that's just part of it.  But I don't like to intentionally bank scholarships for the next year. 

Even if it's a player that you didn't think warranted a scholarship before, try to fill up that last spot.  Sometimes the guys we weren't originally sold on (or the coaches weren't originally sold on) end up exceeding expectatins.

We didn't offer Frank Clark last year until it looked like we wouldn't fill all our slots, and he ended up contributing more than most of the other guys in the class.


January 31st, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

Dan Gibbs is the only name that realistically springs to mind as he was being recruited for a preferred walk-on spot and could arguably upgrade based on position-need.

Might just be a case of the coaches would rather save scholarships and reward certain walk-ons than give a guy a scholarship just to fill space, so I don't necessarily know if I call this banking.  Plus I doubt attrition will be nearly as bad this year as it was last year, so it's not like sitting on scholarships because we missed out on a couple of players the depth killing decision it could be oterwise(still shaking head about Lucien and Flowers).


January 31st, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

I never want to intentionally have less than 85 scholarship guys.  Banking is silly, especially with the amount of attrition they days.  The leeway comes with 5th year guys, if they were up against the 85 limit for next year, you have to weigh the incoming recruits value vs not extending 5th year guys that contribute and add depth already like T. Robinson.  


January 31st, 2012 at 1:07 PM ^

What really goes into these "X-star" ratings, anyway?  I'm more used to dealing with NFL scounts and my open disdain for them is due to their obsession with physical features.  At the high school level I'd certainly expect players to be much more raw, but the cynic in me still thinks they'd focus too much on stuff like height and weight.  At the college level, though, a player can change an awful lot of they're taught technique and have a good motor.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

But you're right - players are more likely to change between high school and college than they are between college and the NFL. The rawer the talent, the more guesswork (and luck) is involved with finding top end talent.

I think a lot of people make a mistake with a 3 star vs. a 4 star recruit in thinking the 3 star can't be as good as the 4 star. He can - it's just less likely. While the 4 star has maybe a 50% chance of being a quality starter and the 3 star has only a 25% chance, it doesn't work in absolutes.

It's not like when an NFL team signs a scrub to be their WR or QB. At the NFL level, guys have much longer track records and are way more likely to play to their track record. With recruiting, it's all much more subject to chance.


January 31st, 2012 at 1:13 PM ^

...Chesson being a stellar kid, I recommend to you Chantel Jennings' recent WN (Insider) article about him.

In many ways, he's the antithesis of most highly touted Division I recruits. But, that's the way he likes it.

On most summer days before Chesson even picks up a football he can be found running around a park with 8-year-olds in the midst of an epic shaving cream battle or chasing children around the St. Louis City Museum.

And when that isn't keeping him busy, he's at the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, a place that brings in homeless infants and children, giving them a place to stay and eat. He makes sandwiches and plays basketball with the kids, not for the show or to check off a box for a community service class, but because it's where he feels he should be.

"I wake up in my bed in Ladue every day, and I go to a wonderful school," Chesson said. "But there are children born into poverty and hardship. They get the short end of the rope for no reason at all. I thank God it wasn't me, but I wonder why it has to be like this." 

The article goes on to talk about how Chesson was born in Liberia in the midst of its civil war. He moved to the US at the age of 5 and like Darboh has his own special perspective on what's valuable and what's not.

Chesson and Darboh are a special addition to the Team.


January 31st, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

And skipping the Oscars?

I'd be curious to see what people were projecting our recruiting class this year to be like, not in position, but in rankings after the last two years of recruiting classes. Back in the "are we ever going to get a commit?" days.  And then see if anyone would have been disappointed with "oh, probably top 5".  Or been laughed off the site.

Maybe more fitting for tomorrow, but looking at the Scout Michigan list, my "sleeper" for the class is Ben Braden. Plucking the best offensive lineman from Michigan, even if his stars aren't glowing, has ended up with a potential NFL player enough times for me to not think he has as much potential as some of the more highly touted linemen in the class.  So I never thought of him as a "fill in" around the bigger names, but another future big time contributor.



January 31st, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

So what happened between Glenville and Michigan? I never heard too much, but rumors I've seen here and there was something to do with Ted Ginn Jr? Like he was a Michigan lean until something happened? If someone could clear that up for me it would be great


January 31st, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

The story I heard:

Ginn Sr, the Glenville coach, felt like we stunted Pierre Wood's growth and cost him a pro career.  See this quote:

"Our relationship with Michigan is dead, but [Michigan Coach] Lloyd Carr is the one who has killed it," Ginn Sr. told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "It's disgraceful."

That came right about Woods got in trouble with Carr.  It doesn't make a lot of sense though as Woods played in 12 to 13 games a year, aside from his redshirt year.  

Prior to Woods though we had a good relationship with Glenville supposedly and it appears Hoke and Mattison reopened that.  


January 31st, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

As a sophomore he had 68 tackles (2nd on the team), 14 TFL and 7 sacks (led team).

He only made 46 tackles over his junior AND senior seasons, with 12 TFL and 3 sacks.

I think Woodley's emergence may have had something to do with the reduction in playing time but I could definitely see Ginn/Woods being upset that a guy with so much ability got taken out of the starting lineup.

Add to that the fact that we supposedly only wanted Ted Jr. if he played corner and you get the problematic relationship we've seen.


January 31st, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

The list of "Addressing the Needs" is very telling. If one was to completely forget about the recent kids we missed on, and only look at that list, I firmly believe that people would be ecstatic about the class itself, and consider it a very, very successful recruiting season. And with the possibility of getting Diamond, most people would consider it either close to, or an actual, homerun of a recruiting season.

I hope that Diamond goes blue, because that would set our lines up for the future, both sides, to be dominant in the B1G.


January 31st, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

A "winner" could win a batting title and still not be happy any day he goes 0 for 3.

That said, I get uncomfortable when recruiting news gets too much like shopping for commodities.  People aren't property, and I couldn't give a rat's ass about a 5-star recruit if he's a jerk.  Ace is pretty good about mixing in some bio and that's OK; my point is without that I'd get queasy very quickly.


January 31st, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I love the notion of Ann Arbor being "too liberal" - it's not like its a city where everyone drives around with PETA flags on their Priuses doing black-tar herroin with recycled needles from America Apparel while listening to Dead Kennedys on their way to Whole Foods to buy some saten.  It's a freaking college town - yeah, it's a bit more "liberal" politically than the state in general, but it's not Gomorrah. 

As for the class, looks like the coaches addressed most of the needs, though I still would like to have seen another blue-chip recruit in the defensive backfield and at a skill position.  But overall, a great-looking class and some positive inroads into 2013.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

I'd buy that, but Knoxville is by all accounts a somewhat "urban" school.  And as a college town, it is going to be reasonably liberal.  I mean, if you really want to see a "liberal" college town, go to Amherst, MA or Boulder, CO.  Ann Arbor is just nice.

But yeah, it sounds like he liked the Knoxville culture more.  It's just weird he'd say something like that instead of just saying he didn't feel like going to UM.  Ah well.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

I don't really see it being a political issue or "skin thickness" issue - I think O'Brien just liked UT more.  Maybe he liked the coaching staff, the school, early playing time, the SEC, whatever.  I just thought it was funny that his argument against A2 was that it was "liberal".  I think the great part of A2 is that regardless of your political or social beliefs, it is pretty welcoming and fun. 

And just because I don't want this to become more political than my intent, I thoroughly endorse every religious, political, social, etc. belief held by every member of the MGoCommunity.  Except if you are a French Huguenot from the 1500's - I'm sorry, but your views on usury are just not copacetic with today's modern financial system.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

Maybe you're right on why he chose Tennessee, I don't know.  I just disagree with you on Ann Arbor.  The town, at least the school part of it, is very liberal, and pretty in your face about it.  It's a fun place, to be sure, but the school is actually quite the opposite of "welcoming" when it comes to conservative politics/beliefs.  Although undergrad is better than the law school in that regard by far.  So I have to disagree with you there. I say this out of love for the time I spent there, because I wish that part of it was different. 


January 31st, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

I think most law schools tend to be pretty liberal (in my experience attending and knowing other students at schools across America), so that's not super-surprising.  Only school I've heard that is passionately "conservative" is UChicago, and that was more economically than societal.

But whatever, it doesn't sound like we are really arguing about anything important.  My point remains that calling A2 unnecessarily "liberal" seems like code for "I didn't like the depth chart".


January 31st, 2012 at 2:59 PM ^

Very true. At least one a week, some skinny, pot-smoking PETA-supporting art student kicks the living crap out of some conservative frat boy at Scorekeepers. The music and performing arts kids are even more vicious... I've seen whole frat houses shit themselve in fear when some dance major waltzes by on the sidewalk.


January 31st, 2012 at 3:14 PM ^

...Winner of the Thread.

And don't even step foot on E. University with all of the East Quad kids harassing the heck out of the B School kids.

This is such a joke. In my four years on campus in the much more politically active '80s not once did anyone ever say one negative thing to me as I walked through campus in my NROTC uniform.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:13 PM ^

Honestly, this really isn't about politics, but clearly you want to make it so.

I'm going to leave it alone, but my issue was more with the notion of "liberal" vs. "conservative" as a designation for a town, not some huge political argument you clearly want it to become.



January 31st, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

I think after the RichRod years and the patchwork offense that we saw on the field last year, that this staff is having a hard time convincing skill players that Michigan is the best outlet for their abilities.  The "The TEAM, the TEAM, the TEAM" concept sells really well to defensive players and offensive lineman who play as a cohesive unit, but it would seem that it doesn't hit too well with halfbacks, quarterbacks, and receivers. 

Its gonna be a while before Hoke and Co. can sell this team to the Stefon Diggs, Sam Grants, and Brionte Dunns of the world on par with other elite programs.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

I don't think that is going to be as big an issue as you may think - RR had a chance at Dee Hart (A big-name RB who probably would have stayed with UM had RR stuck around).  And he recruited good offensive players - his issue was retaining and maturing the defensive players.

The issue Hoke and co. will run into is the same most teams have - there are only so many elite offensive players out there (same with defensive players), and sometimes you have better luck with one over the other in a given year.  This year I had a sense that the coaches really focused on the defensive side because they saw far more gaps that needed to be filled, especially in the LB and line.  Plus, Hoke, Mattison, etc. are all defensive coaches, and so they may have an easier time talking up the defense initially.  But I have full faith that next year (and maybe even this year) UM will be able to recruit offensive players very well. 


January 31st, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

Also if you're a WR, we don't have a lot in terms of passing highlights to show you.  I love Denard, but I see big name WRs wary of spending a year in passing offense led by him.  Anyone we took in 2012 was looking at one year under him (unless they redshirt).  Then we're selling Gardner, Bellomy (who have no college film), and Shane Morris (a junior in high school) as the next guys.  That's not ideal right now.

Overall I'm happy with stocking up on linemen and the defense with this class.  Hopefully senior Denard is more accurate.  Also hopefully we can get Gardner and Bellomy some highlights in garbage time to show to kids in 2013.  Borges did a lot of with the offense this year, but that was mostly centered around the progress with Fitz.  The passing game is not yet fully installed, a lot of the WR duties still center around blocking, and that has to hurt when you go after a Braylon Edwards type WR.    


January 31st, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

Now OSU has two early 5* commits to start their 2013 campaign.
<br>We only have 1 (Morris, but not according to Rivals) while Dymonte is a mere 4*. We are screwed forever.
<br>But seriously it is eating at me that they are better off now than they were with Tressel. They may not have even gotten Meyer if Tressel was able to leave on jus own terms.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:31 PM ^

Before anyone gets too worked up, let's see how this year and the rest of the commits work out.  Yeah, OSU seems to be recruiting well now (but they tend to anyway), but Hoke and co. are good at their jobs and should be able to nab talent as well.


January 31st, 2012 at 2:32 PM ^

Meyer needs to recruit better than The Vest -- b/c the Vest couldn't beat the SEC in big games.  Meyer needs horses to do that.

Look, UM benefits if UM and Ohio both start beating SEC teams for championship games, and if UM and Ohio go 6-6 against each other over an 8-10 year span.  The rivalry needs to be epic, even-handed, and important nationally.  That only happens when we beat each other's brains out, then the winner goes and beats up an SEC team for the championship.  THEN the UM/Ohio rivalry is back to being #1 nationally.

So we need Meyer to be doing what he's doing, and we need to put an equally impressive team on the field, and we need to go do this thing.