TomVH: Weekly Update Mailbag Style

Submitted by TomVH on August 16th, 2010 at 11:39 AM

We're switching it up for this week's Update. I thought I would give you guys a chance to ask some questions, and I could try to shed some light on your inquiries. Feel free to add your thoughts, or info in the comments. 

Where does Michigan stand with Sammy Watkins and Kris Frost? I saw that Frost has a visit date set up with Michigan, and I know Watkins came in the spring. What are our chances of landing both of these guys?

You're right about Frost, he will be taking an official visit for the MSU game. If money and timing work out, he might be up for a couple games this season. He's down to Auburn and Michigan at this point.

Early on I would have said that Michigan was comfortably in the lead. Auburn, however, has caught up and this will be get close. I'm still thinking Michigan leads, and it would probably take quite a bit for him not to choose us. As it is with a lot of the uncommitted prospects Michigan is after, we just need to win. 

As far as Watkins, I've said this a couple times but there's a rumor that Sammy has grade issues. I haven't 100% confirmed that, so take it FWIW. (EDIT: I have talked to someone close to Watkins, and they say that he thinks his grades are good enough, but he needs to pass the SAT. He just re-took the SAT, and thinks he passed, so he'll know soon.) If he's fully qualified then we have a good chance. From talking to his teammate Dallas Crawford (who we have a really good chance with) it sounds like they might be favoring different schools. If the grades rumor is true then I'm sure the coaches still have a bitter taste in their mouth with Florida recruits that have grade issues. 

I was wondering how likely it would be that Michigan pulls off a recruiting miracle and actually gets some of the top prospects to switch commitments, or commit in general. I.E. - Trey DePriest, HaSean Clinton-Dix, DeAnthony Thomas, Ray Drew, or anyone else in the top 100 nationally.

This is a tough question to answer, because all of this will depend on how the team produces on the field. To get this out of the way though: forget about DePriest, it's not happening. As far as Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, I think he's pretty set in his ways about Alabama. He does have a few teammates in his ear about Michigan, now that '12 QB Nick Patti has been up for a visit and seen it for himself. He would be pretty hard to pull away from Alabama, so it's not likely. Again, the theme here is win and there's a chance. 

I spoke with DeAnthony Thomas about his interest in Michigan. If he schedules an official visit then there would be reason to hope. The only way Michigan has a chance with him is if he takes an official visit. There's obviously a need for highly ranked defensive backs like Thomas, so playing time would be an easy sell. I would put him in the "don't count on it" file. 

Ray Drew is an interesting scenario. Drew is good friends with DB Avery Walls, who is very high on Michigan. Walls has been apparently recruiting Drew to come to Michigan with him. Friends recruiting friends is one of the best recruiting tools a school can have.

I interviewed Drew back in June and he told me he was wide open. But he also told me that it's going to be hard for any school to pull him out of Georgia because his mom wants him to stay close to home. He's open to go out of state, but he's a momma's boy. 

Knowing that Demar Dorsey didn't get admitted, and some didn't qualify, how good was the 2010 class in retrospect?

This is all going to be opinion, since none of them have played a down of football yet. Dorsey is obviously the nonqualifier that was needed the most. While Jones could have played multiple positions he wasn't expected to contribute early, and neither was Kinard. Dorsey could have been a starting corner.

Looking at the rest of the class, judging by the talk around practice it seems as though they've filled a lot of holes with the 2010 class. Jibreel Black, who's playing defensive end, has been getting a lot of praise. He was already 253 pounds coming in, so it was an easier transition for him. We have our starting punter in Will Hagerup in this class. Marvin Robinson, Cullen Christian, Carvin Johnson, Drew Dileo, and Stephen Hopkins could potentially all see the field this year. If we have 7 out of the 24 recruits that signed seeing playing time, I think that's a good indicator of their work ethic, talent level, and fit.

Some of the recruits will just take more time to develop, and adjust to the next level. Not seeing significant early playing time isn't necessarily an indicator of their talent level. Christian Pace, for example, will redshirt and study the ways of David Molk at center. Some recruiting analysts said that Pace's height was the only thing that kept him from being one of the best offensive linemen in that class, and there's a lot of excitement around his future at center once Molk leaves.

The three star debate has been beaten to death everywhere on the internet, so I'm not going to go there. Could they have done better in certain areas? Sure. Do I think they did a good job, given the circumstances (3-9, 5-7)? Definitely. 

Does the departure of JT Turner possibly help our chances with any top flight DB's in this year's class? (Doran Grant, Dallas Crawford, etc)? Do they see an even better opportunity for immediate playing time?

They already saw an opportunity for immediate playing time, but I'm not sure that most of them even know who JT Turner is, let alone that he's not on the team anymore. However, Michigan's lack of depth in the secondary is known by recruits. Turner's departure only increases that. When they find out Turner transferred then it will make Michigan more appealing for the kids that were already genuinely interested in Michigan.

I say genuinely interested because there's a lot of prospects that list Michigan, but we probably don't have a good shot with. Doran Grant and Kyshoen Jarrett are two of those recruits. There are rumors about Ohio State landing Doran Grant. He talks about us in interviews, and lists us in his top group, but I would be unbelievably surprised if he picks us. If I was guessing, I would pick Ohio State or Miami. He doesn't have an offer from Miami yet, but if he shows more interest in them, he might get it. Jarrett is rumored to be down to Penn State and Pittsburgh, since he's a Pennsylvania kid.

So who's left, and who do I think we have a shot with? Here's a list of the recruits that you should pay attention to.

  • Dallas Crawford (Florida/5'10", 185 lbs, 3 Star) - Crawford actually reminds me of a more athletic Courtney Avery. He's a smart kid, and he plays quarterback in high school right now. He recently told me that, "Michigan has a very, very, very, realistic chance," of landing him.
  • Avery Walls (Georgia/5'11", 184 lbs, 4 Star) - Walls has always spoken highly of Michigan, and more importantly so has his mom. I think Michigan might actually lead with Avery, and will likely get an official from him as well. He's looking to make a decision relatively early, so we'll find out soon.
  • Valdez Showers (Michigan/5'11", 181, 3 Star) - Showers is an instate kid, and has Michigan in his top six along with Auburn, Iowa, Florida, Northwestern, and MSU. This is a tough one, because he was really excited about his Florida offer. I've had some off the record talks with other recruits about Showers that left me more confused than before. He's likely to make his decision soon, I'm just not sure where his minds at. He's a Michigan fan, but a few things could get in the way.

Besides these names it's slim pickings. Daren Kitchen from Louisiana had tried to commit, but was told to wait. They want at least one more defensive back in this class, and now with the departure of Turner, potentially two. Telling Kitchen to wait means they're higher on other prospects and think they have a good enough shot to take a chance. 

The recurring theme with all of this is that Michigan needs to win. If they win, the recruiting landscape will take on a whole different look. Florida State commit Karlos Williams, the number two defensive back on Rivals, has said he has interest in Michigan. He told me personally that if Michigan is having a good season, he and some friends from Florida will try to make it up for the Iowa game. Obviously more names will come out of the woodwork once the coaches review more prospects and have a better grasp for where they're at with these current recruits. They just need to win, and the commits will come.

What are some 2012 kids that we're in on early?

These aren't all of them, but it's a good start:

  • LB James Ross - Instate kid, loves Michigan. We need to win (have you heard that before?)
  • OL Jordan Diamond - Teammates with 2011 Illinois OL Chris Bryant, who could ver well end up at Michigan. Bryant will announce his decision a few games into the season, and his decision will likely effect Jordan's as well.
  • DT Danny O'Brien - O'Brien goes to Flint Powers and has Michigan and Tennessee in his top two. Michigan needs to land him.
  • QB Bennie Coney - Has a verbal offer from Michigan. Coney is a 6'2, 205 lb quarterback from Florida. He'll be announcing his top 5 soon, but told me that Michigan will be in his top 5. He wants to get out of Florida and explore; he doesn't want to stay in Florida his whole life. He thinks that Notre Dame, Florida State, Purdue, Texas Tech, and Michigan will comprise his top 5, but it's not official.
  • RB Coy Brown - Brown is from Indiana and told me that his top three (in order) is Indiana, Michigan, then MSU and Notre Dame are tied for third. He'll be visiting Michigan for the Iowa game, and has already camped at Michigan. He's a bigger back at 6'0", 205 lbs.  
  • DT Tommy Schutt - The teammate of one time Michigan recruit, current Iowa commit OL Jordan Walsh. Tommy spoke highly of Michigan when we talked recently, and said that Jordan's decision to go to Iowa shouldn't have a big effect on him. 
  • LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Royce is a Cass Tech product, and loves Michigan. We all know how those stories end. 
  • DE Chris Wormley - Wormley is a big Michigan fan, but has been upset about the lack of contact from the Michigan coaches. He understands the rules behind it, but is still upset for some reason. Ohio State may be taking the lead, which means that they're probably also not following the rules (assumption).

2012 will be a good year for talent in the state of Michigan, and hopefully our record for the 2010 season will give reason for some excitement.



August 16th, 2010 at 6:06 AM ^'re saying is Michigan needs to win?

Seriously though - it does seem to me that there's this pent up desire on the part of elite recruits to be part of RichRod's Michigan. They're just concerned that there won't be much more of that beyond 2010. A decent season and we'll see some surprises. A good season and we'll be in wildest dreams territory.


August 16th, 2010 at 6:52 AM ^

kitchens feel about being told to wait??? to me taking a kid that WANTS to play at michigan more than anything is more important to the team and the school... but i guess i have to trust the coaches...

turd ferguson

August 16th, 2010 at 1:33 PM ^

i think that's just the way it goes. believe me, i would have wanted to play QB for michigan as much as anyone on the team during those years.  as a michigan fan, though, i'm damn glad that wasn't the only criterion for determining whether i would. 


August 16th, 2010 at 7:40 AM ^

Coney doesn't seem to have Auburn in his top 5? I didn't see that one coming. On my blog, in regards to Danny O'Brien, I've said multiple times how impressive his film is. He already looks college ready. I'm also a little surprised that we're in with Coy. Reading Sam Webb's interview with him after he camped here made it seem like he was more impressed with ND and MSU. 


August 16th, 2010 at 7:45 AM ^

update as always- enjoy the format.   Do you have any updated information regarding D Hart? A back with his versatility is almost a must have in this offense and his recruitment seems to have a lot of twists an turns...........


August 16th, 2010 at 8:21 AM ^

This is a big year in recruiting and on the field. The main thing I got from you was winning is the cure and  it could make some big timers rethink Michigan in a positive way.


August 16th, 2010 at 8:26 AM ^

As far as Watkins, I've said this a couple times but there's a rumor that Sammy has grade issues. I haven't 100% confirmed that, so take it FWIW. If he's fully qualified then we have a good chance. From talking to his teammate Dallas Crawford (who we have a really good chance with) it sounds like they might be favoring different schools. If the grades rumor is true then I'm sure the coaches still have a bitter taste in their mouth with Florida recruits that have grade issues. 

Knowing the audience this blog has, perhaps 100% confirmation should be acquired before rumors are started regarding minor's high school grades.


August 16th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

Considering that "100% confirmation" would require having his transcripts in hand, "100% confirmation" is nearly impossible.

That being said, I trust TomVH's integrity (he has shown it on several occasions) and usually where there's smoke, there's fire when it comes to recruits' grades.  TomVH is pretty reliable about this stuff.


August 16th, 2010 at 2:42 PM ^

I understand your concern. I put an "edit" in there, because I found out more information. Watkins thinks his grades are  good enough, but he needs to "pass" the SAT.

You can read into that a couple different ways, since the NCAA uses a sliding scale for eligibility. He just re-took the SAT and thinks he passed it, so we'll find out soon. 


August 16th, 2010 at 8:38 AM ^

Good stuff Tom, always look forward to the current recruiting situations for the Wolverines. Really need to land some of these guys like Crawford and Frost. Keep up the good work Tom. 


August 16th, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

Tremendous work as usual Tom!  I could read this stuff all day long.  Looks like Auburn is starting to become a recruiting rival, who would of thought that?  I know we're looking in Florida more.  Looking forward to D. Hart commiting.

West Texas Blue

August 16th, 2010 at 10:02 AM ^

The Wormley recruiting situation is somewhat irritating. A kid and his family are Michigan fans; the kid has straight up said numerous times that Michigan is his leader and he's probably going to end up there, but now OSU is poised to take the lead due to Michigan coaches not contacting him?

Look, I understand that the coaches want to follow the rules (not sure if contact rules are more closley monitored after Practicegate) but how many people honestly believe that USC, OSU, Florida, Alabama, LSU, etc follow the contact rules? Michigan's already at an disadvantage due to 2 crappy seasons and a poor in-state recruiting base, is following these contact rules that big of a deal? Shit, OSU racks up several dozen secondary violations a year (many are these contact rules IIRC) but no one gives a shit because they are landing top 10 classes and dominating the Big 10.


August 16th, 2010 at 10:48 AM ^

I'm with you on the "it sucks" part, but Rich Rodriguez can not sustain many more challenges to his integrity. Up to now, he's had plausible deniability. If we were to now go on and pile up secondary violations, it would be worse than practice-gate in my mind. Wanton disregard for the rules with the intention of gaining an advantage is the very definition of cheating. I don't want a cheater to coach the team I root for, regardless of the results that are achieved.

If the schools you mention want to cheat, let them. What they do should have nothing to do with what Michigan does.


August 16th, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

that he loves Michigan as he claims to be because actions speak louder than words.  He was invited to go to Michigan football camp.  He didn't choose to attend the football camp.  He went to OSU football camp instead(even though they're not on the same day).  Ann Arbor is a much shorter drive than Columbus, yet Wormley chose to go to OSU camp over Michigan camp.  That speaks loudly about his actions.

Nasty Jack

August 16th, 2010 at 10:05 AM ^

Super article VH. Thanks! I haven't heard about Arnett at all lately. It appears that he has been pretty quiet. Are we even on him anymore? I know LaMarr spent his summer in Saginaw. Hopefully he got into his ear-if we want him.


August 16th, 2010 at 10:53 AM ^

is valdez showers a quiet kid?  we should be on him like white on rice.  an instate talent at a position of great need.  i'll be disappointed if he doesn't pick michigan.  i had been hoping to hear more from him.


August 16th, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

Once we start winning this year I anticipate a great finish to the 2011 class and a exceptional recruiting class in 2012. If we can get interest from so many Florida kids now just imagine what damage we could do in that state when we start winning.

Magnum P.I.

August 16th, 2010 at 11:44 AM ^

Man, it'd be great to get Ross and Jenkins-Stone in the next class. Shore up a position of major need and make a statement that we get the best in-staters. Great linebacker names, too.


August 16th, 2010 at 11:49 AM ^

AJ Jordan seems to be kinda quiet as of late.  I wonder if he commits, will we have room for Arnett or Watkins.  I know Arnett doesnt have us in his final group.  It is still summer and a while before signing day. 


August 16th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

All things being equal, I'd certainly prefer to be back to winning 9ish games every year. But I have to admit after years of that, I'm sort of enjoying the drama and suspense that goes along with this transition.  The fact that all these recruits are waiting to see how our season goes only adds to my excitement to see things play out this year.

[email protected]

August 16th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

Great Job Tom!

I know there is a lot of frustration among the ranks, but given the delicate nature of Michigan's waiting for NCAA COI's final decision on the current investigation, any secondary rules violation with recruiting could tip the scales of justice severely.  Michigan football will be on probation for the next few years at least, and thus will have to be squeeky clean.  If potential recruits expect extra attention, because they feel they are special, that is unrealistic expectations.

For journalists, I would say that all the negative press pointed against Rich Rodriguez has not helped Michigan's reputation at all.  Given the hot seat Rich Rodriguez sits on right now, people don't know if he will be here in a year, let alone 3-4 years and that has had a visible effect of recruiting.  Although winning this year at least 8-9 games will, the outcome of NCAA's investigation at Michigan and WVU will have very important in determining his future here.  Many journalists obviously don't like Rich Rod and seem bent on riding him out on a rail, but do they take responsibility for the consequences for their actions.  Even under Gary Moeller, there is a perception of continuity from Bo, and when he left abruptly, Lloyd Carr could take over.  Should we blame Bill Martin for making a poor choice with Rich Rod, I don't think so, and do we really want Les Miles now.  Although Jim Harbaugh seems popular now, being a Michigan Man and his good record at Stanford, he was not on the radar screen in 2007.  

Too much discontinuity affects recruiting, and if Rich Rod leaves, how many current players would leave, if we shift to a coach, who does not run a spread offense.  If we lose a lot of offensive and defensive players, we may have a long wait until we can expect to compete with OSU, PSU, Iowa and Nebraska ( and perhaps Notre Dame ) to win the "Big10" title.  Add more jihads from the Freep, AANews and ESPN, and who knows what recruiting we can expect.

I think Rich Rodriguez is doing an excellent job recruiting in this uncertain time, and if he leaves, we may be wishing he had stayed.  Why would Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles want to come to a hornet's nest like SE Michigan with the current state of journalism? 


August 16th, 2010 at 3:48 PM ^

About wormley changing his mind. just because he might be leaning towards osu don't assume shit. maybe because KENNY FUCKING HAYES is his teammate????...just maybe tom??