TVH Weekly: Bennie Coney, Greg Kuhar, Buckets More

Submitted by TomVH on February 14th, 2011 at 11:39 AM

There's going to be quite a bit of info in this weekly update because we're back to square one. Offers are being passed out, new names are starting to surface, junior days and combines are happening, and everyone's meeting everyone else. Rather than me listing all the offers that are out right now, I'll just point you to Magnus over at Touch the Banner and his offer board.

This weekend is what was the "Michigan Showcase" camp and is now "Best of the Midwest." Either way it's in Ann Arbor and will host some of the top kids in the Midwest--like the name suggests. Coaches can't attend the camp but Michigan will take the opportunity to show a few kids around before or after.

As always, you can find more of these updates on my Twitter feed, and if you ever have any tips or questions feel free to email me at [email protected].

Bennie ConeyBennie Coney

6'2", 205 lbs.


Plant City, Florida

Coney was offered by the previous staff, and had an 'incident' that lead to his dismissal from his high school team. Despite those facts Coney says he has heard from the new Michigan staff and the incident is nothing to worry about.

The (Michigan) coach said he looked at my film over 40 times, and he liked what he saw. He said they would love for me to get up there and see the program, and that I pass the eye test. I'm up to 210-pounds now. I got into a small altercation with one of my teammates, and the seniors said they didn't want me on the team so they kicked me off for last year. I'll be back on the team this year though. 

I have to take what these kids say as their word, and this is what Bennie is reporting. He says that Michigan is in his current top five along with FSU, Notre Dame, Auburn, and LSU.

We'll see if they pursue him heavily; there are plenty of quarterbacks in the Midwest and California.

Greg Kuhar

6'3", 265 lbs. 

Defensive Tackle

Concord, Ohio

Kuhar is a big defensive tackle who also happens to be a wrestling champion. Michigan was Greg's first Big Ten offer, which was exciting for him and his family. 

Any Big Ten school is amazing, playing in that atmosphere would be awesome. My parents were really excited, my dad loves Michigan. Being from Ohio I like Ohio State, but I'm really just a fan of college football in general. I always watch Big Ten football and root for them.

Kuhar currently holds offers from Michigan and Toledo, but that list will probably expand  soon. Whenever Michigan decides to set a date for junior days, look for most of the midwest kids, including Greg, to make it up to Ann Arbor. 

Vince BiegelVince Biegel

6'3", 210 lbs.


Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

I reported that Biegel received a Michigan offer last week and has the Wolverines in his top three with Wisconsin and BYU. Wisconsin is his leader for now, but there's room for that to change. 

I was thinking about committing after my junior season, this past season but I decided not to. Wisconsin took five linebackers and lost the coach that was recruiting me, so I want to take it slow and look around now.

I want to look at other schools, and it's funny Coach Matty [Mattison] actually recruited my dad out of high school. Coach told me he didn't want this to be like what happened with my dad [who went to BYU]. Coach is pretty well known in this area, and he's a funny guy.

I don't think I have to keep repeating how many good things I've heard about Greg Mattison anymore. It's just a given that everyone loves him, and somehow has been recruited by him.

Wisconsin still has a slight edge right now, but what happened with the linebackers and the coaches I think really affected Vince. Both his dad and uncle played for the Cougars, but I'm not sure if that will be enough to get him out of the Midwest. You can watch his junior film here.

Ron ThompsonRon Thompson

6'4", 210 lbs.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Eastpointe, Michigan

Ron Thompson also received an offer last week, and it was a big one for the instate junior. Thompson is a big fan of Michigan, and was hoping to hear from them. Thompson's coach Avante Mitchell filled me in on what happened and what's next. 

Ron talked to Coach Jackson, and he was very matter of fact with Ron. He said, "We've seen your film, and you're the type of ball player we want at Michigan. You have the right ball skills, agility, and you're the type of player we want to be a Michigan man." Ron was very professional on the phone, but you could tell he wanted to jump out of his skin. He's a big Michigan fan. 

Besides being a fan of Michigan, Ron has a few other connections to Ann Arbor.

We actually coached Devin Gardner for a long time, I've been coaching him since he was little. Ron had the chance to meet Devin last year at a 7 on 7, so that was a big deal for him. Ron's a good kid, he deserves this attention, he busts his butt every day. We told him to enjoy the moment, go through the process and once he's to the point where he knows then go ahead and make it.

Thompson will also try to make it up to Ann Arbor for a visit soon. I'm not sure how long he plans on letting his recruitment play out, but it's safe to say that Michigan is in good position for Thompson. 

Quick Quotables:

PA LB Deaysean Rippy (6'2", 200 lbs): Rippy should be one of the top linebackers in the country, and had this to say about his recruitment so far.

I'm still open to everybody. I was offered by Michigan when Coach Rod was there, but the new staff has been in contact. I'll try to make it up there for a visit, maybe for a practice.

MO DT Ondre Pipkins (6'3", 325 lbs): Pipkins is originally from Saginaw/Rochester and only recently moved to Missouri. He said he's hoping to hear from Michigan.

I was actually both a Michigan and MSU fan. I know Lamarr Woodley, Charles Rogers and Jason Richardson so I can't really choose one side. Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, MSU, Iowa, Oregon, and Auburn would be awesome for me. 

MI DB Leviticus Payne (5'9", 175 lbs): Payne has been hearing from Michigan. One of his coaches told me that Michigan is close to offering. Here's more from our conversation:

Leviticus is an excellent student athlete, a really nice kid to have around. He's been a consistent worker in the classroom and athletically. He's the hardest working kid we've been around. I know a lot of places want him for defense, but I think he has good enough ball skills for offense too.



  • California TE Taylor McNamara was offered last week. He filled me in on where he's at here.
  • Ohio DE Ifeadi Odenigbo placed fifth overall in the Cleveland Nike combine. There were also a few other notable recruits at the same event, which we talked about on the board. Ifeadi is supposed to meet with the Ohio State coaches sometime soon, but maintains they are not his dream school. Stanford, Ohio State, and Michigan seem to be near the top.
  • Ohio OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 290 lbs.) is a name to keep an eye on. He was the first ever offensive lineman to score over 100 at a Nike combine. He also happens to be a Michigan fan, and will be reaching out to the Michigan coaches. His top five so far is Michigan, Northwestern, Cincy, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green.
  • Maryland WR Stefon Diggs, a teammate of current Wolverine Blake Countess, is another name to watch. His coach tells me to keep an eye on DE Roderick Chungong, RB Wes Brown, DE Ryan Watson, and OL Mike Madaras in the 2012 class from Our Lady of Good Counsel as well. 
  • Another teammate of a current recruit to watch is DB/RB Brandon Watkins (5'10", 195 lbs), who plays with Leviticus Payne. Watkins missed five games last year due to injury, but his coach thinks he's a gamer. 
  • Glenville DB De'Van Bogard (5'11", 172 lbs) could be close to receiving a Michigan offer. Unfortunately he's probably about to get an offer from Ohio State too. He's an OSU lean. 
  • Ohio QB Maty Mauk was offered by Michigan last week, and told me about his feelings towards the Wolverines here.
  • Pennsylvania DE Noah Spence will be one of the most sought after defensive line recruits for 2012. His coach told me how Michigan will factor in to his recruitment.
  • Missouri LB Michael Scherer (6'4", 229 lbs) plans on coming to Michigan for an unofficial visit in March after a 7 on 7 tournament. 
  • Ohio QB Tyler O'Connor (6'3", 202 lbs) has been hearing from Michigan, and could see an offer soon. 



February 14th, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

Thanks for the update Tom. I hope that Ron Thompson commits to this class. He could be a nice pickup for Michigan. Plus Coach Jackson seems to think highly of him, which is an added bonus.


February 14th, 2011 at 11:00 AM ^

It's working out to be a perfect storm for the good in the Midwest this year. So much for all the great players being in the south, if UM can pull 15 kids from their backyard and the rest from the big pipeline states what a haul the 2012 class and my blood pressure to boot.


February 14th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

Biegel being turned off that Wisco took 5 LBs isn't great - we took 4. 

Also, pretty surprising how many CBs we're going after considering we'll only take 1 maybe 2 in this class. 

Pretty good balance of positions in this update, but I will never, ever say we're going after too many offensive and defensive linemen. 

EDIT:  Benny McGowan looks like a big time recruit, I wouldn't be surprised if his offer lists shoots up real soon.  We need to get on him quick - he would be a great pick-up at a a position of need.


February 14th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

Hoke has openly stated he see's some kids quitting the program because it will be too tough, a different system, or any other thing from the list of reasons. It won't be our big name guys, but rather guys that the coaching staff feel aren't working out, although they will never openly state it. This happens with any coach transition. There was already that rumor about Brown (i think?), going home and such...

....I'm just saying, don't worry about last year, dont be surpised if come next year we have more than the 16 scholarships we have now to hand out.


February 14th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

Oh there's no doubt in my mind that we'll have more than 16 spots available, maybe even more than 20.  But even so, I don't see us taking more than 2 corners, since we'll probably take 10 guys from the O and D lines alone.  Combine that with 2 receivers, a TE, a RB, and a QB just on offense, and we're already up to 15.  That leaves about 5 between LBs, safeties and CBs, and we'll need to take 2 safeties. 

Point is, we would need major attrition to justify taking more than 2 corners. 


February 14th, 2011 at 11:55 AM ^

A lot of people think we'll see a big exodus of slot receivers, but I'm not so sure.  Here's my breakdown:

We really have four SRs on the team - Grady, TRob, Gallon and Dileo.  Roundtree will likely be an outside receiver, but he's not leaving anyway and I know he's now one of the slots you're referring to so he's not worth including.

Grady is in his last year this fall, and he's already used a RS.  No sense in him going anywhere. 

Terrence Robinson is the most likely to leave since he had one catch last year (but it was a good one).  He was a RS soph last fall so unless transfers to FCS, he'll only have one year of eligibility left. 

Gallon is an athlete, and got the ball a lot more last year than Robinson, despite being younger.  I suppose I wouldn't be shocked if he left, but as surprised as any other non-starter.  We won't have a lot of receivers after this fall, so I think he'll stick around.

Dileo will stay.  He's not exactly a smurf (5'10" is an inch or two taller than the other guys), he's fast, he has good hands, and he's proven to be a solid return guy, despite being a true frosh last year.  M will have plenty of 3 wide sets, and he'll see the field a lot once the seniors this fall graduate.  And I think he'll be good.

In summary, this "mass exodus" of slot receivers will actually result in 0-2 transfers, and I would be very surprised with 2.


February 14th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

Barring some unforseen hate from the new staff with Dileo, I doubt we will see him leave.  He was pretty darn good @ return last year and we know that an emphasis will be placed on special team play now that we (most likely) cannot use our 50 point a game offense to negate field position. 

Besides I'm a firm believer that if a guy can catch and run his routes he will find a place on the field no matter how tall he is.  He has proven he has good hands for the return game so hopefully that can translate to some route running.


February 14th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

Well, then we define smurf differently, I suppose.  According to the roster, which we should assume is either accurate or uniformly inaccurate (otherwise this debate is moot), Dileo is listed as one inch taller than Robinson and 2 inches taller than Gallon.  Dileo is listed at 171lbs, Gallon at 180 and Robinson at 175, so by weight, Dileo is the lightest, but he's also the only one of those three not to have gone through an offseason of S&C, and Robinson has had 2 years of it. 

I always assumed that the "smurf" or "slot ninja" designation was more a height thing than a weight thing, but considering Dileo is taller than both the others and behind them only slightly on the scale despite being the only true frosh (and these are pre-season weights) I'd say it's a certainty he ends up the biggest of that group. 

By comparison, Dileo is about the same size the Manningham was when he played at Michigan.  He's currently listed at 5'11" and 183 on the Giants' roster.


February 14th, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

I think your numbers breakdown is pretty on point to what we will end up seeing depending on how many guys transfer after spring ball, or which guys decide to leave, or are not invited back for a 5th year.

I think we will take more than 1 TE though. Borges runs a lot of multiple TE sets, and Koger will be gone after this upcoming season, and they don't really know what they have in Moore or Barnett until they see them in action. I think the staff will take 2 TE's for sure, and it wouldn't shock me if they took 3 just to redshirt one if they have a couple extra scholarships open up.


February 14th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

I would take a second TE before a RB or a second WR.  We have a lot of RBs and while I think they will take two WRs and two TEs, if it's between taking two WRs or two TEs, I think TE will get the nod.

Looking at our roster and the offense we plan to run Borges is going to need two productive TEs at all times so having four on the roster seems to be a priority.


February 14th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

That's a tough one.  I know we need TEs, but taking two TEs in a small-ish class is tough.  We took zero WRs last class, so I think we need two in this class, and even though we took 2 RBs last class I think you always take a RB.  That is just such an important position. 

If we need to go through a season with 3 TEs, that might work for a bit. 


February 14th, 2011 at 11:22 AM ^

between all the positive write ups about baseball players coming to spring training in the best shape of their lives and all the young kids who are about to redefine the game of head is spinning


February 14th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

I just love all the run Mattison is getting from these kids.  He sounds like a recruiting force.  I loved the Mattison hire when it happened and it just keeps getting better.  Hope he pulls some big time talent.  Great update Tom.  Thank you.


February 14th, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Wrestles at northwestern. He was the top rated hwy in the country a few years back, I think I saw him wrestle at davison a few years back.

On a side note...kuhar is a much better wrestler than martin. Probably not as good a football player, but martin was really raw when I saw him in high school. He was too physically imposing for anyone to handle though, and managed to avoid any big time studs when he wrestled, but he was never really a wrestling prospect, whereas kuhar could go just about anywhere he wanted on a wrestling schollie. Michigan wins the hwy high school battle this year though, Pommeranke from rogers city is unstoppable.


February 14th, 2011 at 12:38 PM ^

Getting Mauk would be awesome.  I worked in West Central Ohio for a couple years.  The Mauk family just breeds athletes.  Football, basketball ball, women's basketball.  It's sick.


February 14th, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

Is it just me or does that O'Connor kid look infinitely better than Mauk? His throwing motion is smooth, he doesn't have the happy feet, and he looks more pro-style as well. I wonder why we got out an offer to Mauk before O'Connor.


February 14th, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

It is difficult to compare O'Connor and Mauk head to head. Your obsevations on O'Connor are spot on. Besides being a fairly polished high school pro-style QB he is tough, humble, a leader and a great kid overall.  What people see in Mauk, besides the gaudy statistics, is his athleticism and play making ability. From a personality perspective Mauk is a complete opposite of O'Connor with Maty possessing a swagger and outward confidence that can be misinterpreted in a negative sense by some opponents and casual observers. I think the bottom line with both of these guys is that they play in solid successful programs and are "winners".

Troy Neinberg Fan

February 16th, 2011 at 7:52 PM ^

I agree 100% with you.  I like watching O'Connor's tape far more the Mauk's.  O'Connor is fluid in his delivery, can go from under center, keeps his feet moving in the pocket, and is always going forward.  Mauk on the other hand runs around in the back field and does that spin move...athletic of course but a Big Ten DE will be waiting right there for him.  Mauk has never taken a snap from under center.  The competiton that Mauk faces is also not as good as the competition faced by O'Connor.  They are both great athletes but I really hope the UM will offer Tyler O'Connor and I would love to see him in Maize and Blue next year.

Go Blue


February 14th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

Is Biegel a Mormon?  If his dad went to BYU, and he's considering it, there's probably a 90% chance he is.  If that's the case, there's also a distinct possibility he would go on a mission at some point.  What often happens, then, is a kid comes in one year and redshirts, then serves his mission (for 2 years) and is 3 years out of high school before he actually plays.  Sometimes it requires a lot of conditioning when they get back, so probably more like 4 years before he plays - unless, of course, he's either not Mormon or he is but doesn't plan to be a missionary.

Examples - former UM TE Tyler Ecker was, I think, the last one to do this at UM.


February 14th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

I found this from a 1989 article about his dad:



Rockne Biegel is probably the most heavily recruited prep football player BYU has ever signed, period. Michigan State sent Tony Mandarich to be his personal on-campus host. UCLA turned him over to Troy Aikman. Iowa State sent The Legend, Dan Gable, to woo him for wrestling.

When crunch time arrived, UCLA Coach Terry Donahue called Biegel to set up a visit, but first asked for a commitment.

Biegel countered by asking if the Bruins would sign his brother, T.D., when he graduated a year later. Donahue told him, "We don't ever sign white running backs."

And so Biegel, a Mormon by way of Wisconsin Rapids, was off to BYU, which he says "made a package deal with my brother. They told us they'd have a spot for him." They did, and now the Cougars have two wonderfully named Biegels - T.D., a freshman running back, and Rocky.

Rarely has BYU possessed an athlete in any sport with the credentials and versatility of Rocky Biegel, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound kid big enough to play linebacker, skilled enough to play quarterback, strong enough to rule, absolutely rule, the wrestling mat, and fast and athletic enough to win the high hurdles.

But then, was there ever any doubt that Rocky - or for that matter T.D. - would be an athlete, or even a football player? Rocky and T.D.? Rockne was named after Knute Rockne, and T.D. - Thorpe David - after Jim Thorpe."

The article is much longer; here's the source:


February 14th, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

be interesting to see if this offensive staff goes after the old school Navarre and Brady type pocket passers or starts recruiting dual threat types like Devin and or Bellomy type passers. I hope for the latter!



February 14th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

I think we go after both types.  I think it is better to go after the guy with great pro-style attributes that can also scramble and run if he needs to.  It seems like more and more the "pro-style" kids can also tuck it and run if they have to.


February 14th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

Yeah, no doubt we'll go after both, but the dual threats will be much more of the "passers who can run" rather than the "runners who can pass." 

That said, if a recruit like Mallett or Henne, or "passers who pass and don't even think about running" have interest in Michigan, we absolutely take them.  Maybe even prefer them.

With so many spread teams nowadays, we should have a decent shot at the statues.


February 14th, 2011 at 2:15 PM ^

I think your right that more of these "pro style" kids can pull it down and run more and more recently. I just think it makes your offense alot more dangerous when you qb has some wheels. When plays breaks down,he has the capability to run and make the defense pay. 



February 14th, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

From just a quick scan of Tom's post, I don't see enough linemen yet.  O or D.  Aren't we in desperate need?  We gotta have those walls built for the skill guys to do their thing. 




February 14th, 2011 at 5:18 PM ^

Linemen - especially offensive linemen - take a long time to develop.  That's why you see so many late offers and "fast risers" amongst linemen.  Some kids who are 240 right now and don't look like much might be 270 by football season and looking much more like college players.