Michigan Recruiting Article from Sam Webb

Submitted by StephenRKass on July 31st, 2014 at 8:14 AM

There is an extensive article this morning from Sam Webb covering the BBQ at the Big House. Ace did a great writeup already, and covered much of the material in his Monday piece here at Mgoblog (http://mgoblog.com/content/monday-recruitin-races-first#comments)

Here's the link to Webb's article at the News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140731/SPORTS0201/307310019/0/sports0201/Latest-Barbecue-Big-House-wows-Michigan-football-recruits

For those of you who are recruiting junkies, there is never too much material, and I think Sam Webb is one of the best in his connections with recruits. He covers the good news of cornerback recruit Marcus Lewis decommitting from Florida, RB Mike Weber taking a redeye back from USC to make the BBQ, and DE Darian Roseboro making his last scheduled trip to UM before his Aug. 29 announcement date.

There was info, however, on one recruit I haven't personally read much about: OLB Jalen Bates. Here's what Webb had to say on him:

The Wolverines have seen their stock improve almost as much with Kaplan (La.) outside linebacker/tight end Jalen Bates on the heels of his time in Ann Arbor. The buzz on 6-5, 235-pounder has gotten louder in recent weeks thanks to a Texas A&M offer and an exemplary camp performance at LSU. As was the case with Lewis, the Maize & Blue were sitting outside his top five. Since the barbecue, that is no longer the case.

“(Michigan is in) the top five right now for sure,“ said Bates. “(The barbecue) was fun. It was one of the (most fun) times I’ve had. They treated me like family. All the coaches, they all treated me like they have been recruiting all their life. They all kind of flocked to me and they treated me like I was a celebrity. I liked the way they treated my family — all the coaches’ wives and their kids.”

“(Michigan assistant Fred Jackson) was like one of my uncles. It was like he missed me. We hung out almost the whole time. It was like I was out here visiting family, and I haven’t even met some of these people. It was cool.”

Bates found himself just as awestruck by the school itself.

“It was cool,” he said. “I liked the facilities and the stadium. The biggest part was everything was original and historic, and that was the best point for me. Overall, it was one of my best experiences ever. It was almost like going to a historical place. You can’t beat that.”

Michigan is joined atop Bates’ list by Arizona State, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, and Louisiana Lafayette. With a Sept. 19 decision date already set, there is a good chance he won’t be able to officially visit all of those schools before his announcement. The Wolverines’ ace in the hole could be the support of Bates’ cousin, former Michigan linebacker standout Jonas Mouton.

Lastly, there are snippets on a bunch of great 2016 recruits, including OG Ben Bredeson, WR Cameron Chambers, RB Elijah Holyfield, DL Mike Onwenu, OT Clark Yarbrough, and others. What was striking to me was how many of these recruits have also been offered by Ohio State, Alabama, as well as other major schools. These are mostly 4 star recruits. Michigan clearly is holding it's own on the recruiting trail.



July 31st, 2014 at 8:23 AM ^

We get this kis you thank Coach Hoke personally. Made the entire family including the kid tear up wanting to play for Michigan


July 31st, 2014 at 8:30 AM ^

Raoul and Don my be typing at this very moment, but those who follow Sam on WTKA each morning (use iHeartRadio) are aware of a couple updates. 

Asmir Bilal is no Michigan lock, neither Sam nor Bilal (he talked to him) know where those rumors/crystal ball picks are coming from.  Sam said there was talk of him committing this week, but if he had, it probably would have been ND.  Still thinks they'll be tough to beat.

Cam Chambers is also no lock, though Michigan is in the mix with Ohio and Sparty.  He's a 2016 kid, so let's all agree not to get too excited if he goes elsewhere (announcement tmw).  Sam said no gut feeling, but reason to tune in to the announcment if you're an M fan (apparently there were rumors yesterday that M was out).  

Jalen Bates did an interview and talked about a top 3 that did not include Michigan, but Sam says they are absolutley still in the mix.  Sam says others have noted he might have been the most physicaly impressive kid at the the BBQ.   

Everyone Murders

July 31st, 2014 at 8:34 AM ^

Webb did a great job breaking down where all these kids stand, and of portraying the atmosphere of the BBQ event.  It's fortunatethat Webb is focused on Michigan, since he does a solid job sourcing his reporting and his writing style is engaging.

Do I recall correctly that Rich Rod the BBQ at the Big House?  If I'm remembering that correctly, it's interesting to me that this fact hardly ever gets mentioned.  Whoever started it had a great idea, no matter how you cut it - it's a great chance for recruits, coaches, and the recruits' families to get to know one another in a relaxed environment.  Although the "Great Race" event strikes me as a bit cheesy, I like that it gave the staff a chance to show off the campus and town in a relaxed manor (as opposed to a guided tour).


July 31st, 2014 at 8:46 AM ^

I will disagree with you on the Amazing Race thing.  As we get older we forget what we are like at 16-17 years old.  We also forget what a first time on campus was like.  I remember the first time I stepped on campus it felt enormous... within 4-5 months of course it was very manageable.   So instead of keeping them all in 1 corner of the campus where all the athletics are OR doing formal type academic tours, this is a fun way to explore in small groups with your friends while actually learning something along the way.  It's a great way to bond in smaller groups as well.

And to top it off the social media aspect cannot be understated - its mass marketing and recruits across the country could follow via the hashtag and say hey thats cool and interesting.  With how the top recruits have a loose network with each other this sort of thing is like a MLM scheme in terms of publicity.

Everyone Murders

July 31st, 2014 at 9:09 AM ^

I should have said ""I like that it gave the staff a chance to show off the campus and town in a relaxed manor (as opposed to a guided tour)."  Oh wait.  I did say that. 

Snark aside, I agree that it was a clever way to get the kids to take in the campus, and agree with your point that the social media aspect was important.  Presumably other recruits are following these kids, and the buzz should help increase the allure of the BBQ event in future years. 

So +1 to you, but still - get the hell off my lawn.


July 31st, 2014 at 9:20 AM ^

You were the one who called the Amazing Race "cheesy"—which is never a compliment in any context. If you're going to offer that kind of opinion, then develop a thicker hide. MGoBlog isn't Quaker Sunday School.

Everyone Murders

July 31st, 2014 at 9:45 AM ^

I was mostly agreeing with alum96, and the "get the hell off my lawn" was obviously a joke.  At least I thought it was obvious, especially when combined with a "+1 to you".  My understanding of the "get off my lawn" line is that the person writing it is acknowledging being a bit of an unreasonable grouch.

So to clarify, my opinion is:

  1. That the Amazing Race is a bit cheesy, and
  2. My (long-removed-from-16/17 years-old) opinion is pretty much immaterial when considering that it worked for the target audience.  That was one of alum96's points, and a very good one.

Also, get the hell off my lawn. 


July 31st, 2014 at 9:35 AM ^

Yes it was Rodriguez. However I have not mentioned that myself because RR discussions usually degenerate into a tire fire. He really should be credited with a few good things. The BBQ and Denard come to mind immediately. I would also personally credit RR for Hoke landing at Michigan, albeit indirectly. Not everyone would agree with me that this last is a good thing. So be it.


July 31st, 2014 at 9:42 AM ^

OSU also has a cool event , the Fright Night Lights thing but it seems more "rockstar-ish" with former players and I think even some music peeps were there.  But I think the difference in the 2 events highlighs the type of coaches.   I was curious how long this FNL thing has been happening at OSU - is it recent or a longer term Tressel tradition?   Having them both on the same weekend probably is tough on some kids who have both schools high on their list.

Space Coyote

July 31st, 2014 at 8:35 AM ^

I feel he's going to end up at WDE, not at LB. Even in an Under front I would project him as a WDE, FWIW, so it's not just a front thing.

Anyway, two things really stand out about Bates:

First, he has a great frame for college football. He's still very lean right now, but he is a very long 6'5" with broad shoulders to add good weight once he arrives on campus. He also appears to have legs and hips that will allow him to add good weight through his lower body as well.

Second, when he fires out low he shows the potential you look for when scouting prospects. It's not refined yet, and he isn't consistent with how he handles blockers, but he shows glimpses of good pad level (shock!) and great explosion out of a four point stance. Similar to Roh out of high school (not quite as crab-like), he utilizes that stance to provide some power to his game and some explosion out of the stance.

Technique-wise, he has a ways to go. His first steps are inconsistent. Sometimes they are too long and he loses power and explosion. Other times they are too short and he rises up. This makes it so at times he isn't nearly as explosive or powerful as he is at other times. But for a high school kid, you're looking at projected potential much more than finished product at this point. He really doesn't understand hand usage at this point, more often than not chicken winging blockers or driving his chest into them. His stiff in the open field, and lacks some lateral mobility. This is the major reason I project him as a DE and not a LB. He'll also need to improve that in order to help him shed blockers and win vs the run as well.

Either way, he's similar to Shilique Calhoun coming out of high school, and I think that's his upside. Same type of skill set, build, strengths and weaknesses.

Space Coyote

July 31st, 2014 at 9:27 AM ^

I was indicating I don't believe he would be a SAM or SDE in an Under front, I believe he'd be a WDE in either front. And it's not just the LBs shifting, every other DL besides the WDE shifts as well, they shift "under" the formation or "over" the formation.


July 31st, 2014 at 9:38 AM ^

I prefer Bench and Field fronts. They don't just shift under or over the formation, its towards or away from the strength, which is not always determined by the TE. Or sometimes its predetermined they they play the wide side of the field as the strength. It all varies, just makes me laugh when Brian or someone breaks it all down like its rocket science, although I do understand that there are many novice fans.


July 31st, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

People started getting on me just for saying its not rocket science, which it isn't. If anyone studied it for 20 minutes they could grasp the concepts of fronts, alignments, and gap responsibility. I taught some middle schoolers this summer in like two chalk talk sessions.

Space Coyote

July 31st, 2014 at 11:14 AM ^

It's not rocket science, no, but it's something that many aren't familiar with, even people that played. Many people played in one system in high school, and that's as much as they learned. Many more didn't play at all. It's nice to break it down so fans understand responsibilities, techniques, who is supposed to do what, etc, at a high level. Even coaches talk to each other about schemes and stuff like that, obviously at a more in-depth level, but even they'll talk about fronts and schemes and the pros/cons about aligning to strength, field, right/left.

So I don't really understand that criticism at all. People want to learn about things they enjoy, and they should. It makes them better fans IMO. And breaking it down in some detail is the only way to do that. Approaching that like it's common knowledge not only doesn't give enough credit to the intelligence of those that don't understand it, but it also isn't giving the complexity of the game enough credit either. Fronts are a fairly high level concept, but it isn't always intuitive to everyone, even coaches, especially when you get down to the details.



July 31st, 2014 at 8:40 AM ^


Does Roseboro have any plans on more trips in the month of August?  Just curious.  If no, it sounds like we have it sewn up but since he is waiting til late August I assume the answer is not no.

As for the 2016s, its just too far away at this point - any kid committing this early I am going to put on "high chance of decommit" watch, here or elsewhere.  After losing 3 ourselves who committed about this time last year for the 2015 class I'll focus on 1 year at a time.


July 31st, 2014 at 9:16 AM ^

I'm not sure about other trips, but if I recall correctly, Roseboro has an announcement event scheduled at his school on Aug. 29.  I believe it's a press conference with publicity for the school and what-not.  If that's the case, the fact that he's waiting may have nothing to do with other visits or indecision, he may just be waiting for that event.

A brief google led to a link that talks about announcing at his HS gym: http://www.tigernet.com/update/recruiting/DE-target-sets-announcement-date-16396


July 31st, 2014 at 9:12 AM ^

I hadn't heard much about Fred Jackson lately (until this). Has his recruiting prowess taken a dive? I always thought that was his #1 strength, but it seems like he slid down the totem pole.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:45 AM ^

Jackson has a tougher role than some of the other coaches. He recruits parts of Michigan, and then he recruits places in the deep south like Louisiana and Texas. Players from those areas obviously have a lot of competition with Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Florida, etc. Roy Manning seems to be our new "ace" recruiter, and while that's probably partly because he's young and has a good personality, he's also going after kids in Virginia and North Carolina, where teams like UNC, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech don't have quite the same pull.


July 31st, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

For those who haven't seen him in action, here's an interview when he was first hired as linebacker's coach.  [can't seem to embed here at work]


Besides being a player here with an obvious love for Michigan, he talks about coaching under Mattison after being coached by him, what he learned and how he learned, and how he keeps learning, in the NFL and now.  And how can they not respond to his obvious sincerity and humility?  Halfway through the interview, when asked about his job here:

I can't stop smiling. Oh, my gosh, I just can't stop smiling.

I couldn't stop smiling either.


July 31st, 2014 at 10:26 AM ^

Tyriq Thompson, this kid I got a feeling is gonna be real good.

Wheatley - what are u waiting for?

Hayes - USC this kills me as he will never sniff the field. Trust me

Weber - lets go HOSS your our guy!

It's to quiet w these guys and I think we could loose out on all of them!