2012 Recruiting Hotlist: Offense

Submitted by JC3 on February 4th, 2011 at 6:57 PM

[Ed-M: Edited and front-paged for great content.]

Now that National Signing Day 2011 has finally come to a close, the Michigan coaches have been reviewing film and sending out offers to 2012 prospects. As mentioned many times before, the 2012 class is extremely strong in the midwest, including Michigan and Ohio, as well as Illinois and Indiana as well.

Here are some local and regional prospects to look out for, on offense.

Note: Sorry for the massive wall of text as well.


QB Gunner Kiel – 6'4, 220 lbs, Columbus, Indiana.

With Michigan’s move to a more pro-style offense Kiel becomes an even more important prospect. Kiel was offered by the previous staff as well, and he has some mobility (600 yards rushing) to go with his big-time arm (2,700 yards passing). However, Kiel is an Notre Dame legacy recruit, and he’s also been offered by Alabama, Cincinnati, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Purdue, TCU, and Tennessee among others.

QB Robert Gregory – 6'3, 180 lbs, Chicago, Illinois.

Gregory is the teammate of 2011 signee Chris Bryant and 2012-super OL Jordan Diamond. Though Simeon ran a spread offense, Gregory possesses very good arm strength and could develop into a solid pocket passer. There are rumors out there that schools are looking at Gregory as an athlete, but he is only interested in playing quarterback. An interesting note as well, as Gregory recently said in an interview he and Jordan Diamond would be attending the same school.

RB William Mahone – 5'10, 200 lbs, Austintown, Ohio.

There is some serious talent at running back in the state of Ohio next year, and Ohio State has already locked down two studs in Warren Ball and Bri’onte Dunn. Michigan’s coaches are looking for another big-time back, and Mahone visited the campus twice last year, so there is mutual interest in both parts. Other offers: Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Miami (NTM)

RB Juwan Lewis – 5'11, 200 lbs, Muskegon, Michigan.

Many of you Michigan west-coasters will recognize the name, as Lewis starred on a very good Muskegon Big Red football team this year. Interestingly enough, Lewis played fullback in Muskegon’s shotgun/pistol offense. Like Mahone, Lewis has good size, but deceptively good speed as well. Lewis camped at Michigan last year, and is very interested in the Wolverines. Offers: None

Farmington Hills Harrison defensive back Aaron Burbridge (16)attempts to make an interception as Lake Orion receiver ?? (21) looks on during grid action against Lake Orion at Harrison Saturday.WR Aaron Burbridge – 6'0, 175 lbs, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Burbridge was one of the stars on a 14-0 Harrison squad that captured the state title this year. An excellent athlete, Burbridge played RB, WR, CB, and KR and excelled everywhere, though he will be a receiver at the next level. He reminds many of fellow Harrison alumni Mark Dell, and it is rumored Burbridge is very close to Dell as well. That is not true. Michigan State has offered and appear to be the early leader for this top 10 player in the state next year [Ed-M: Farmington Hills Harrison (Drew Stanton, Agim Shabaj) was a Michigan State feeder in my day, but haven't produced a Spartan since Dell; M got Charles Stewart from there] , but there is no doubt he will be interested in Michigan.

WR Amara Darboh – 6'2, 190lbs, West Des Moines, Iowa.

A big athlete with great speed, Darboh has the ability to stretch the field vertically and is very dangerous in space as well. Darboh will likely be the #1 player in Iowa, and that may not mean much but he is a very talented player. He has yet to narrow down his list, but if Michigan offers I fully expect Darboh to visit in the fall. Other offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin.

WR Stefon Diggs – 6'0, 175 lbs – Olney, Maryland.

Diggs is the teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess. While he doesn’t possess great size, Diggs does have blazing speed and great hands to boot. He’s a crisp route runner and has dominated every camp he has shown up at. Diggs, along with Dorial Beckham-Green, will likely challenge for the top receiver spot in the nation in 2011. Just a few weeks ago Diggs said he was interested in Michigan, with Countess signing with the Wolverines. I don’t expect Michigan to land him, but there it is good to see interest there. Other offers: Cal, Florida, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Pitt

TE Sam Grant – 6'6, 230 lbs, North Royalton, Ohio.

Grant only caught 16 passes last season, but that’s because St. Edwards ran a primarily run-based offense. Grant has already tripped to Ohio State and Michigan State, and he will be a premium talent at the next level. With Michigan looking for more Tight Ends in their offense, look for them to get Grant up on campus soon. Other offers: Toledo

Athlete Drake Johnson – 6’1, 205 lbs, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Johnson is a very talented athlete at Ann Arbor Pioneer, who played running back this season and excelled as a national track runner as well. In college Johnson’s career may take a number of possible routes, as he could play running back, wide receiver, or even linebacker. Being right across the street from the Big House, I expect Johnson to be very well-scouted by the Michigan staff and definitely a possibility for an offer down the road.

As for offensive linemen, I haven’t spent enough time looking at all the film, but there are a lot of talented linemen in the Midwest this year. It’s not quite as talented as the past, but there is much better quality throughout the area. I fully expect Michigan to stock up on at least 3-4, maybe 4-5 this recruiting cycle. Along with Jordan Diamond, whom we’ve known about for a while, here are names to watch.

OG Kelby Latta, 6'4, 295 lbs, Battle Creek, Michigan.

OT JJ Denman, 6'6, 305 lb, Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania.

OT Jake Meador, 6'6, 280 lbs, Whiteland, Indiana.

OG Caleb Stacey, 6'4, 275 lbs, Cincinnati, Ohio.

OT Ben Bradem 6'6, 285 lbs, Rockford, Michigan.


Trust the Process

February 5th, 2011 at 8:22 AM ^

Looks like a beast at 6'6" and 290 lbs.  Pretty impressive offers this early in the process including Michigan, OSU, ND and Wisconsin.  He will most likely be a top target for us, in my opinion.

True Blue Grit

February 5th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

I noticed one of the stud QB's in 2012's class is Bart Houston, and according to Scout has Michigan on his list.  He's at powerhouse  De La Salle H.S. in California, source of former Michigan QB Matt Guttierez.  Any one know if he has an offer yet or whether Michigan may be targeting him?  Hoke's CA connections can't hurt here. 


February 5th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

of ESPN announcers making awful puns on Gunner Kiels' name.

"Wow Gunner really gunned that one in there.."

"Gunner fires a bullet to his tight end.."

This will not be pleasant.


February 5th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

Millbrook is in the same conference as my old high school, and they dominate us on a yearly basis. That being said, the level of competition isn't that good. While on tape he reminds me of Dee Hart, there are almost no D-1 players coming out of that conference. The only recent recruit I can think of is Robert Crisp (I saw him play in person twice and he was literally twice the size of anybody on the field) from the 2010 class. Then again, I don't follow any recruits besides the ones that UM is going after. 

His offer sheet is extremely impressive and I would love to have him play for Michigan, just thought I should share my 2 cents.


February 5th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

Great list.


I'll add a bit to the OL list:

  • OG Dan Voltz from Barrington, IL
  • OG Ryan Anderson from Kent (Roosevelt), OH
  • OT Jonah Pirsig from Blue Earth, MN
  • OT Zach Banner from Lakewood (Lakes), WA
  • OT Tyler Alt from Greensburg, PA
  • OT Taylor Decker from Vandalia (Butler), OH
  • OT Sid Anvoots from Indianapolis (Bishop Chatard), IN
  • OT DJ Humphries from Charlotte (Mallard Creek), NC

Definitely not extensive, but that's a good initial list to add to the names you listed above.

In terms of bigger/WCO style WRs:

  • Cameron Wilson from Dublin (Jerome), OH
  • David Perkins from South Bend (Washington), IN
  • Gehrid Dieter from South Bend (Washington), IN
  • Tres Barksdale from Solon, OH

Ron Thompson (ATH, DE or WR) is someone you could add to that too. Rivals had a nice article on him the other day - he's being looked at on defense by a lot of teams, but he's a big body and could potentially be a great possession WR.


February 8th, 2011 at 9:28 AM ^

OT Sid Anvoots from Indianapolis 6'4+ / 280lbs.  10X State Champ Bishop Chatard  INDIANA

OT Jake Meador, 6'6, 280 lbs, Whiteland, Indiana.

Being an Alum from Chatard , I've seen both these young men play against each other for 3 years from Frosh to JV to Varsity  add into the mix that 5A Whiteland has never scored on 3A Chatard and compare SoS. But in the recruiting game  2" = 2"

The Anvoots kid for his size is fast, has great feet, finishes his blocks until the whistle and has a pretty good mean streak.  All plusses. His minuses include not being 6'6 and flexibility, one of those can be corrected. He finished the year with something like 130 pancakes, just a few behind the 2011 Martin kid who is going to the Irish. I also heard he broke his wrist around game 12 this season and kept playing all the way through the State game and got it worked on when the season was done so no question about toughness.


EDIT: Just found his Highlights from this year on youtube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4Jgty5yP2s



February 10th, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

Honestly, I don't think you guys have a shot at Voltz, Anderson, Pirsig, Banner, Humphries, and Decker. I don't know as much about the other guys you listed. Like it or not, I think it will take a couple years before you get back to be a recruting power. The view of the maize and blue right now just isn't high nationally. I live in Denver (hence DenverBuckeye) and the Big 12 fans here have no respect for you guys. I'm hoping Hoke gets you guys back to it, though, because I want The Game to be more than what Rich Rod reduced it to. I'll never root for you guys, but I do want you to be relevant and where the Wolverines are supposed to be: battling us for Big Ten and national supremacy. I just don't think Hoke will be able to recruit for it just yet. It will take at least a year or two before the major recruits really give you a look, in my humble opinion.


February 5th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

Just some quick thoughts from covering HS football the past couple years:


- Juwan Lewis - I saw Muskegon play 3 times this year, and the kid is certainly a physical runner.  My worry is that he might grow too big to be a B10 tailback.  He runs fairly high, but most kids he runs against can't deliver a blow to make him pay.  When he matched up against Desmond Morgan, that slowed him down a little.  It'll be interesting to see what kind of numbers he puts up this year in the OK Red.


- Aaron Burbridge - I really liked this guys when I saw him play against Lowell.  Runs really crisp routes, catches the ball with his hands and turns up the field quickly; obviously a well coached kid and a great athlete.  Came away impressed.


- Ben Bradem - Massive kid.  Rockford players are well coached, and play against good competition.  I'm sure MI coaches will see how he camps, and then offer if they think he fits.  Remember, SF 49ers LT Joe Staley was a Rockford product, and he came out as a TE.  So these guys know how to block.


Definately some quality talent in the state this coming year.

Dilla Dude

February 6th, 2011 at 9:53 AM ^

Regarding Juwan Lewis, some of that may be true, but Juwan didn't play against cupcakes this year. Muskegon plays in the OK-Red, arguably the best/toughest football conference in the state.

Plus, they played a non-conference game against Macomb-Dakota, one of the top teams in the state of Michigan, not to mention nearly beating State runner-up Lowell in the playoffs. Lewis had a great season against great competition, and i'm confodent he would do great things for the Maize & Blue.


February 5th, 2011 at 3:32 PM ^

WR Amara Darboh – 6'2, 190lbs, West Des Moines, Iowa.

He attends my alma mater.  Watched him play the entire year last season in Dowling Catholic's state championship run.  He is the absolute real deal.  Absloute freak athlete.  Starts varsity basketball as well this year as a junior.  Without question the best athlete on the floor and field every night.  Would love to hear Hawkeye whinning and tears if Michigan can steal him away as we did Cedar Rapids native, Adrian Arrington.  Get him his offer.  Sounds like ND is really working him.


February 5th, 2011 at 10:56 PM ^

I hope we land a pure pocket passer this coming class, miss old michigan football. The I-formation will be back in Ann Arbor this fall, look for denard to improve his throwing stats and take a bump in his running stats. hope he puts some muscle mass on to his frame. People complain that 6'0 is too shot, denard is under rated as a thrower but he has some work to do.

Eye of the Tiger

February 6th, 2011 at 12:56 AM ^

As I've said to the "dual-threat QBs are the only way to go" crowd a few times recently, a great pocket passer is better than a good dual-threat quarterback.  But a great dual-threat quarterback is better than a good pocket passer too.  

What I'd like to see is the quarterbacks we have do both.  If Denard can make his reads more quickly from the pocket, then he'll have the skillset to either drop back and pass, or run/pass out of spread like he did last year, to such great (albeit turnover prone) effect.  Gardner definitely has the tools to do either, a la Vince Young.  

When it comes to our next big QB recruit, I'd like it to just be the best available guy.  All things being equal, my personal preference is for someone who's primarily a pocket passer but can run too, which is how I see Gardner developing.  But I'd be more than happy with Brady 2.0 or Denard 2.0 too.  I'd rather just get the best than look for a specific "type."  


February 6th, 2011 at 8:23 AM ^

Anyone hear about OT Dan Gibbs from Birmingham Seaholm?  Kid's a beast, 6'7'' 300+ lbs and plays with intensity.

I haven't seen any film out on him yet.  Has anyone else?


February 7th, 2011 at 2:24 AM ^

I have a few friends who know this kid and His brother will be more then likely starting at IU this year. Needless to say this kid would be a HUGE commit.