Thursday, 29 December 2011

DeAnthony Arnett Update

The news has broke, and it looks like there is major problem with any potential Arnett to Michigan talks; Derek Dooley and Tennessee won't let him join a BCS team in the state of Michigan, which is beyond a joke really.

His father is seriously ill, so he should be close to him. Why not let him be close to his father as well as allowing him to live out his potential at a decent football school? Its completely unfair because Arnett cannot afford to pay his own way at UM or MSU, so unless Tennessee changes their tune, he'll have to play for Western/Eastern/Central Michigan, I think?

We're not even playing Tennessee in the future, and seen as we're good and they're...not good, we're unlikely to meet them in a bowl in the next 3-4 years. In these circumstances, he should be allowed to transfer to any school.

McNamara to Oklahoma

Tight End Taylor McNamara committed to Oklahoma today, which is actually very good news for Michigan. McNamara dropped UM when he decided to visit California instead about a month ago, so we had no chance with him anyway.

His commitment to Oklahoma is good though, because it may discourage Sam Grant from visiting the Sooners, who recently offered the Ohio prospect. Who knows, maybe even Oklahoma is full at TE now (I don't know much about their class/depth chart), in which case Michigan has one less competitor.

Arnett to transfer

2011 ESPN 150 wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett is apparently transferring from Tennessee, due to the illness of his father and the firing of the Vols' WR coach, according to this article.

The illness of his father is a very tough thing for Arnett to go through, so its understandable why he probably wants to play college football in his home state. If he does transfer, he'll probably seek a waiver from the NCAA so that he doesn't have to sit out a year.

Michigan won't take another receiver from the 2012 class, the whole Monty Madaris thing is a dead end. But a player as talented as Arnett might just interest Brady Hoke if the Wolverines have one spot left in the class towards the end. This is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you, and a happy new year too! Thank you for reading this blog, and commenting on posts etc, I really do appreciate it.

I won't have internet access for my laptop over the next few days, so I won't be able to post anything. I doubt any big recruiting news will happen, but just in case you can follow me on Twitter here, where I'll be able to tweet from my phone!

Happy Holidays!

The MGoRecruit Team

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Commitment Profile: Jehu Chesson

Name: Jehu Chesson

Location: Ladue, MO

Position: WR

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (79), Scout – 3*, 247 Sports - 3*

Recruitment: Chesson was a Michigan visitor in summer and came away impressed, but we didn’t hear too much about him until his official visit to UM for the Ohio State game. He was rumoured to be very high on Michigan after that game, but kept his word to visit Iowa a couple weeks later. The Hawkeyes visit was good, but not good enough to leapfrog UM, so he committed to the Wolverines a few days later. Northwestern was also in the final three.

Offers: Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Missouri, UCLA, plus non BCS offers.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’2.5 and around 180lbs, with no reported 40 yard dash time (he’s probably a 4.4 – 4.5 guy). As a junior he racked up 605 yard receiving with 11 TDs. (Snr year stats to follow)

ESPN Analysis: Chesson has good size to go along with some surprising strength and decent speed. Can play either slot or wideout, and gets off the LOS and into his routes quickly and smoothly. He can be a vertical threat with his speed and height, but we’re not convinced he has elite speed to burn the better corners at the college level.
One of his best assets is his ability to adjust to the ball and make spectacular grabs. He can really bail out a QB if the throw is off target, often making acrobatic catches in traffic. He needs to improve his intermediate routes, but does well on option routes against zone coverage.
Overall is a good BCS caliber prospect who could develop into a top receiver given his upside (height, decent speed, good hands).

Improvements: Route running is something to be worked on, as he apparently drifts on hitches and curls.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: With Chesson’s commitment, Michigan now has their two wide receivers for this class; and both are guys that might not have elite ratings, but both posses good upside. For those who are moaning about why we don’t get elite WR prospects, just remember that Justin Blackmon came to OKST a similar size to both our current commit, AND he was rated lower! Just something to keep in mind!

At Michigan, Chesson will certainly get his chance to play early because Michigan lacks WR depth, and it’s a relatively easy position to play as a freshman, as long as you know how to block! 

As for the rest of the class, this won’t have a great effect, because we’ve forecasted this for a while now, and so to have the Michigan coaches (I’m guessing?). It does mean that Monty Madaris won’t visit though. UM shouldn’t take another WR unless Dorial Green Beckham comes calling, and the odds of that happening are 0.000000000000000000001%

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ohio St Sanctions

Yeah so OSU got hit with a one year bowl ban, and more scholarship reductions.

I really hope Meyer was telling recruits that they won't get extra sanctions, because now that could come back to haunt him.

For the record, Brionte Dunn is sticking with OSU, despite the bowl ban.

Chesson Decision + Dan Gibbs update

Firstly, the big news this week will be the announcement of WR Jehu Chesson, who is expected to make his collegiate decision tomorrow. Michigan fans are optimistic, as they should be, you'd figure that UM wins a recruiting battle against Iowa and Northwestern! Plus there is a great opportunity for Chesson to play early, UM loses Odoms and Hemingway after the bowl, so playing time is up for grabs. PLUS, Chesson knows he's guaranteed to have a high caliber QB throwing him the ball throughout his UM career.

In other news, in state offensive lineman Dan Gibbs will take an official visit to Michigan soon. He's a three star prospect on some sites, and a very smart guy (considering Penn and Dartmouth), so he'd probably be a good fit at Michigan. If he gets offered, it could end his recruitment right then, if not, maybe he'll get a preferred walk on spot. I'd imagine Michigan will wait until they know where they stand with the likes of Kozan, Garnett, Diamond etc before offering Gibbs.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Weekend Updates

I've gone back home for the holidays, so I've been busy lately; let's catch up on some recruiting news!

- Jehu Chesson visited Iowa yesterday and will decide sometime this week. He'll talk it over with family/coaches etc and Michigan should be the choice. It seems like he had a good time at Iowa, but I don't think it will be enough to pass up the opportunity at Michigan.

- Yuri Wright visited Notre Dame, and Michigan is up next for him in mid January. Firstly though he has the Army All American game.

- Michigan is in a good position for Armani Reeves still, but the fact is that he remains a Penn State commitment, and his decision will largely come down to who their new head coach is. Usually in this situation the recruit wants the new coach to be someone already on the staff, because they have a relationship already, so if Penn State hires externally, and assuming its not Urban Meyer (jokes!), I think we'll get him.

- Speaking of Urban Meyer, he just landed a commitment from Noah Spence, the number four player in the I know we're not meant to get carried away with all this recruiting hype around OSU, but look at their current DL recruiting class: Spence, Washington, Pittman, Schutt. There are some monsters right there, so just be thankful that we have the best OL class in the country: Stacey, Bars, Braden, Magnuson, Kalis + one more in the future!

- Josh Garnett has named a final three of Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford. It's surprising that Washington didn't make the cut, as he's been a frequent visitor to them and of course they're the in state school. Stanford are the favorites in my book, they've got great academics, he's already visited them once before, and he's still got his official there to come.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Quick Hitters

- Now that Brionte Dunn is off the board, Michigan has gone after David Perkins (South Bend, IN). He's originally from Michigan, but moved to South Bend and ended up as a Notre Dame commit. He decommitted from the Irish and is looking around. Michigan is now in the running to get an official visit, which is obviously vital as they are playing catch up to a bunch of other schools. Perkins is considered a linebacker by most, but Michigan wants him as a running back.

- Armani Reeves had an in home visit with Michigan coaches this week, and Sam Webb continues to say that Michigan is in a good position. He'll set up a visit soon which could seal things for UM.

- Everyone keeps asking about Josh Garnett, so I'll say this: I think Alex Kozan is a much more likely option. Whilst Garnett rated his Michigan visit very highly, I think he'll end up closer to home at somewhere like Stanford or Washington. Maybe Stanford because of his academic focus.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Commenting on the blog

It seems like a few Ohio St fans have been exploiting the new settings of 'anyone can comment', and this doesn't sit well with me :P Therefore I've changed it back to the old settings where you have to have an account to post.

Ohio St fans: Just remember, 40-34 and 58–43–6. Those are key numbers! You can brag all you want about your win streak, I'm sure I would have done the same had I been around for Michigan's  NINE game winning streak, but in the end, the only thing that matters is the last game, and the overall record. The last game shows who has the current bragging rights, and the overall record shows which program is winning the rivalry.

Screw the last post

BillBankGreene Bill Greene
RT @ScoutRecruiting Dunn Reaffirms To Buckeyes

As this tweet says, Brionte Dunn will be a Buckeye.

I literally just posted something about how Dunn and Kozan would shape the rest of the class with their decision timetables, but now that is mute.

Our most likely final five will be Chesson, Grant, Reeves, Kozan and Wright. (Pretty darn good)

Plus we're going super hard after Ty Issac now for sure! This development with Dunn hurts, but got to be positive and look to the future!

The Key Recruits

There's five spots left, but the class is still somewhat hard to predict because of two recruits; Brionte Dunn and Alex Kozan.

Firstly, let's look at who we have a realistic shot with (in my view): Alex Kozan, Brionte Dunn, Yuri Wright, Jehu Chesson, Armani Reeves, Sam Grant. (If Grant stays with BC, Michigan will go after J.P Holtz).

Right now I think we'll end up with Chesson, Reeves and Grant; we are in a very good position for all three. Chesson is deciding probably within a week, and Grant could decide at any moment. If Armani Reeves visits in the next two weeks, he could also pull the trigger soon. After this it gets interesting:

- Michigan really wants a 6th offensive lineman because our depth is so bad, therefore if Kozan wants to commit, they'll take him and be left with one spot between Dunn and Wright, which is not ideal. Given that Yuri Wright is taking official visits up until the last week of January, its looking like Michigan won't have room for him in the class, presuming Dunn is already on board.

- Speaking of Dunn; now that he's not enrolling early, he's delayed his visit to Michigan. He's now got plenty of time to pick out a date in January, and if he picks it 2-3 weeks in advance, you can bet the likes of Kyle Kalis/other Ohio commits will try to make it in too.

So to conclude: Kozan is likely to decide before Dunn, and Dunn is likely to decide before Wright. Which means the only way Dunn and Wright end up in the class together is if Kozan goes elsewhere and Michigan can't find another offensive lineman.

We're not completely out of it for Garnett and Diamond, although personally I don't like our chances with either right now. However if Kozan does in fact commit elsewhere, Michigan could make a last ditch attempt during signing week for both these guys, even if it means leaving out Wright.

Sixth OL > Third CB

Hope this makes sense!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Quick Dunn Update (Updated)

TrieuA Allen Trieu
According to @BillBankGreene Canton Glenoak (Ohio) RB Brionte Dunn will take his official visit to #Michigan next weekend.

This is good news for us, as some (myself included) had concerns that Dunn might shore up his OSU commitment this weekend whilst on his official there. At least now Michigan will get another major shot to land him.

UPDATE: Brionte Dunn will not be enrolling early. This means the saga is likely to go on until late January/Signing Day. This will give him more time to build a relationship with Ohio State's 2nd coaching staff, but it also means he'll get to see Michigan on the national stage in the Sugar Bowl. The key event is still this weekend though with his official to UM.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Who should win the Heisman?

This year's Heisman trophy race is a really close call, so I thought it would be interesting to see what you guys think. On the right of the blog is a poll, vote away!

Personally I think Monte Ball should win it, based on his insane stats. He's a touchdown machine, and he's done it against some pretty good defenses too. This may sound harsh, but I just hope Trent Richardson doesn't win it, because if he does it'll show how truly bias the media is to the SEC.
Monte Ball has superior numbers in pretty much every rushing statistic; he's even thrown a touchdown pass! When Richardson has played teams with traditionally good defenses, like Penn St and LSU, he's averaged 4.3YPA and 3.9YPA respectively. Whereas Monte Ball torched the PSU defense for 156 yards and 3TDs at 6.2YPA. Alright Penn St might have been a worse team at that stage in the season, but its a considerable jump in performance nonetheless. Ball also rushed for 100+ yards at over 5.0YPA against Michigan State....twice, and the Spartans had a pretty good D this year. So yeah, that's why I don't think Richardson should win, but he probably will because the media think "oh, I'll take the SEC guy because SEC defenses are sooooooo fast and sooooo physical!!!!".

In choosing between the quarterbacks, its really a toss up with RG3 and Luck. I think RG3 has better numbers, but you have to give Luck credit for basically running his own offense, making calls at the line of scrimmage etc, it's impressive to watch in college. Neither of them have a great supporting cast, so perhaps one of them should win, given they were most valuable to their team.

The wildcard entry is Tyrann Mathieu, a defensive back out of LSU. Its kind of cool to say that the only defensive Heisman winner came from Michigan, and I don't really want that to change. The honey badger only has two interceptions this year, and I don't even think he's that good of a cover corner - isn't Claiborne their best cover guy? Mathieu does have the big play ability though, forcing fumbles and returning punts.
I don't see him winning it, although he'll have a great chance next year as a junior...

This weekend - officials here and elsewhere (Edited)

Should be a pretty important weekend for Michigan recruiting, especially if you want us to land a certain running back from Ohio...

- Brionte Dunn is visiting Ohio State this weekend, officially. The Buckeyes are rumored to have a slight advantage over Michigan in the race to sign Dunn, and there's a legitimate chance of Dunn shoring up his commitment to the Buckeyes this weekend. Urban Meyer will tell him that the NCAA won't penalize them further (probably true) and that Brionte will have great success in Meyer's offense (definitely not true). But still, if the pitch works, this hold saga could be over by tomorrow evening.
Michigan had an in home visit with Dunn yesterday, and according to Sam Webb's podcast this morning they sent Al Borges and Fred Jackson. Hopefully it all went well, and they convinced him to at least give Michigan an official visit next weekend. Whatever the case, I'll be keeping a nervous eye out for a possible story tomorrow evening.

- In more encouraging news, Michigan is pursuing Tight Ends, specifically Sam Grant, who is a 6'6 235lb prospect from St Edward H.S in Lakewood, Ohio. Does that school sound familar? It should do, because it's the home of current UM commit Kyle Kalis too! The four star offensive lineman is visiting Michigan officially this weekend and there's a good chance that he brings Grant along.
Grant is a three star (78 overall) prospect on ESPN. Oh, and I should probably mention that he's a Boston College commitment. Still, the Eagles finished 4-8 this year, and one of those wins was against an FCS team, so it's clear to see why Grant may not be 100% on board.
Things have cooled down dramatically with Pharaoh Brown, and it looks like Taylor McNamara won't visit. J.P Holtz is still an option, but we need to get him on campus soon. For the moment, Sam Grant, welcome to the projected class!

- As posted earlier, Anthony Standifer and Michigan mutually parted ways this week, meaning an extra spot opened up in the class. Even if Standifer stayed, UM would still have taken Yuri Wright, giving us 3 CBs. So we now want 2 more CBs in this class, Yuri Wright and one more.
If the rumblings today are anything to go by, that one more could be Armani Reeves; a current Penn State commit who is now looking around after the scandal. One potential obstacle to this is Reeves' current teammate, LB Camren Williams. If the two want to stay together in college,'s Sam Webb stated it cannot happen at Michigan, because the Wolverines are completely full on LBs.

Personally, if they really want another DB to go along with Yuri Wright, I hope they give Wayne Morgan another look. Morgan was a silent commit to us earlier in the year before things broke down, but he's still on the market and the competition doesn't look too strong for the four star prospect.

- Forgot to mention the OL. Firstly Jordan Diamond is in Columbus right now, which isn't great for whatever slim chances we have with him. Secondly, there's a good chance Michigan will get a visit from Alex Kozan. He's a guy that got a late offer, but always said he'd visit; I guess now is the time. If Michigan wants a 6th OL, this could be the guy, because I don't rate our chances with Garnett, Diamond, Banner or Evan Boehm.

Anthony Standifer decommits

Three star CB commit Anthony Standifer has decommitted from Michigan this week, apparently in some kind of mutual decision. This means both he and the coaching staff thought it was best. I don't know what the situation was, maybe he wasn't happy about UM looking at a 5th defensive back (Yuri Wright and possibly Armani Reeves are set to visit).

Standifer was only a three star prospect, but he had very nice film and is a bigger CB, which can be useful for the team. In the end though, if we get Yuri Wright as his replacement, then that's fine with me, since Yuri is in the 6'1-6'2 range and rated much higher.

For the class as a whole, this gives Michigan five spaces left. They ideally want Brionte Dunn, Yuri Wright, a Tight End, Jehu Chesson and a 6th OL.

Also, one has to wonder how this will affect our chances with Standifer's teammate, 2013 WR LaQuon Treadwell, who currently has Michigan as his leader.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Brionte Dunn Update

Michigan has an in home visit with Dunn today, but the big news recently is that Dunn will visit Ohio State this weekend on his official visit. A trip to Michigan will probably take place the following weekend.

I'm not sure if it's better to go first or last in these situations, but we have to remember that there's always a chance he could firm up his commitment to OSU on this visit, which would mean UM won't get another shot. That probably/hopefully won't happen, but it's something to keep in mind.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Quick Yuri Wright Update

Four star CB Yuri Wright's top two schools are apparently Michigan and....the Colorado Buffaloes; according to the tweet of a analyst. Why Colorado? Well they have one of Wright's former teammates on their roster, and I guess it can't hurt that they recently sent CB Jimmy Smith to the NFL in the first round of the draft.

But still...Colorado?!! Other schools will still get visits, like Rutgers and maybe Georgia, but Michigan seemingly has a great chance to lure him in now. As mentioned yesterday, Wright plans to visit Michigan in January, and hopefully he'll make a decision in the week after that.

Yuri is a four star recruit on ESPN, but he carries a rating of 82 and a ranking of 40th overall in the country, which would make him our top commitment should he jump on board. He also plays on a high school team that is ranked #1 in the country, so he's got a winning mentality! At 6'1 and 185lbs, Wright would provide Michigan with a big CB, and someone who could really push for playing time as a freshman.

ESPN list his positive traits as Man-to-Man coverage, Zone Coverage, Instincts, and Run Support. Combine that with the fact that they mention he has excellent top end speed, and we have all the characteristics of a top cornerback.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Quick Hitters

A few notes from 2012 and 2013 prospects:

- Jordan Diamond is setting up his official visits, he's scheduled two already, one of which is to Ohio State. I think the Urban Meyer hire has had a positive effect for his recruitment, and given his timetable for a decision, Michigan is all but out of it. The only way he'll end up in the class is if he visits Michigan officially and commits shortly after. If he waits until signing day, Michigan should be full.

- CB Yuri Wright has finished his high school career with a state championship, and possibly a national championship? Do they do that for high school football? I'm pretty sure Don Bosco prep is the consensus #1 team in the country. Anyway, Wright is now ready to take some official visits. His Michigan visit is likely to come in January.

- Michigan coaches have popped in on two top 2013 prospects from the state of Illinois recently, firstly stud RB Ty Issac, and more recently OT Logan Tuley-Tillman (per Allen Trieu's twitter). Issac is going to be a top, top prospect, so its hard to gauge our chances with him right now, although its at least encouraging that Michigan is in there early. Tuley-Tillman was a visitor for the Ohio State game and shortly after named Michigan in his top group.

- Another 2013 prospect who was at the OSU game was Ohio defensive end, Taco Charlton, and he caught up with MGoBlog's Ace to discuss his junior season and his thoughts on Michigan.

Note: From now on, whenever I remember to do so, you can click on a player's name to go to their ESPN profile.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Commitment Profile: Amara Darboh

Name: Amara Darboh

Location: West Des Moines, IA

Position: WR

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (78), Scout – 4*, 247 Sports - 4*

Recruitment: He made a couple of visits in the spring and summer, but his recruitment really came down to his official visits in the fall. Michigan and Notre Dame were his final two visits, and it was clear to see that UM was his preferred choice. He had the chance to visit Florida too, but decided to commit to Michigan instead.

Offers: Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Vanderbilt and Minnesota.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’2 and around 195lbs, with a reported 40 yard dash time of 4.42. He suffered a shoulder injury during his senior year and thus only played seven games, but he still racked up 48 catches for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns.

ESPN Analysis: Darboh is a combination of strength and quickness as a big receiver with a sturdy build, long arms and nice height. He is part playmaker and part possession player and against this level of competition he can really stand out.

Shows some physicality at the line of scrimmage and is generally quite a good blocker. Shows great ability to find the open spaces in zone coverage and help out his quarterback, but he can also go over the middle and make catches in traffic.

Makes good adjustments to the ball while its in the air, often bailing out his quarterback if the pass is inaccurate. Can often be a body catcher at times, but he secures the ball well. He knows how to use his size effectively, which should make him a good target in the red zone at the next level. The main concern is his top end speed, which doesn't look anywhere like his forty yard dash times would suggest. Needs some polish in his route running, but should be a solid BCS prospect.

Improvements: Speed? For the record, not many reports think he lacks top end speed, in fact others list speed as an asset of his. Route running is an area for improvement, along with other general WR tools.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Michigan needs WRs badly in this class, and Darboh is a commit that we should be really happy about. If that forty yard dash time is legit, then Darboh should have the speed and size to give Michigan a proper downfield threat to open up the deep passing game. His size will also come in handy for blocking.

When he gets to Michigan, he will have the chance to compete for playing time immediately along with the other WR prospect that Michigan will land. We're lacking depth at the position, and with Hemingway and Odoms departing, Darboh will have a really good chance to see the field early if he progresses in summer camp.

This commitment won't have a great affect on the rest of the class, as Jehu Chesson has already said that he's still going to visit Iowa, and Jordan Payton just seems like an unlikely option now. Chesson and Darboh did get on well at the OSU game though, and even talked about coming to UM together, so this commitment might help just a bit with him, although I think we will get Chesson anyway.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

We're going to a BCS Bowl Game!!!

This, apart from the victory over Ohio State, is one of the most exciting moments I've witnessed as a Michigan fan. This was meant to be a transition year, but the team has pulled off a ten win season and made it to the BCS Sugar Bowl to face Virginia Tech.

A BCS bowl is a big deal for a lot of reasons. Firstly you get to showcase your team on the national stage, or as Dave Brandon puts it, help spread the Michigan 'brand'. It's also great news for recruiting, as hundreds of future prospects will watch Michigan compete on a big stage against a good opponent.

I haven't watched much of Virginia Tech, but they haven't beaten anyone good, and they've received a beatdown from Clemson....twice! Hearing this, I'm reasonably confident at this early stage that Michigan can pull off the win, and this would be huge for the program as it would really confirm that Michigan is back.

Amara Darboh, welcome aboard!

Wide Receiver Amara Darboh has committed to Michigan, per 247 Sports. He tweeted #Go Blue about 30 mins ago too! The commitment to Michigan was expected, the only question was whether he'd visit Florida before announcing, and I think he made the right choice!

According to some, Darboh has been a Michigan lean for a long time, but needed to convince his circle that Michigan was definitely the right place for him.

More to come in the commitment post, which will be up either later tonight, or early tomorrow morning.

BCS Update

Michigan jumped an amazing four spots to #12 in the final coaches poll, all but securing us a place in the top 14 of the BCS standings. Michigan State (#13), Georgia, Houston and Oklahoma all dropped below us after suffering losses this weekend.

Alabama remained at #2 in the coaches poll, which means they'll probably play for the national title. Therefore we'll end up in the Sugar Bowl vs some random team, maybe KSU or BSU.

If I had a vote

I'm sure a lot of you are anxiously awaiting the final BCS standings which come out tonight, so to help kill some time, here's my thoughts on the BCS rankings.

#1 LSU vs #2 Oklahoma State (!!!)

Explanation: If you look at strength of schedule, I really don't think Alabama deserve to play LSU in the national title game. Imagine if they did have a rematch and Bama won by 3pts in overtime, who would really be the national champion? The teams would have split two games, by equal winning margins, but I would still argue that LSU had the more impressive win in Tuscaloosa and thus should be national champions? Screw that! Put Oklahoma St in there, a team with the ability to actually score points on LSU, and a team that has played a tough schedule. The cowboys only loss comes in double overtime on a week where there were clearly off field distractions for the team and university in general. Their defense isn't great in terms of yards, but they are opportunistic, as proven yesterday. Plus, Justin Blackmon will own whatever corner LSU matches up against him.

As for Michigan, I have us ranked 14th, which would make us eligible for a BCS bowl, which I think we'll get. I have MSU at #13 because they did beat us by two touchdowns, and they played a great game last night against Wisconsin. Still, MSU won't go to a BCS bowl, even if they are ranked higher than us because...they're little brother, and will always be a less attractive team. They'll end up in the outback bowl or something like that, call it karma for the way they played against us, i.e dirty.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The final five

Ahh the time has finally come to put some percentages into the equation! There's an assumed five spaces left in the class, so here's how I think things could play out, with percentages for each recruit. Remember, these are just my opinions, although I'd like to think they are well reasoned opinions...

1) WR Amara Darboh: There's been a fair bit of buzz since his Michigan visit last weekend. Everyone is assuming Michigan is leading, and the only thing in our way right now is a trip to Florida that might not even happen. Even if he does go to see the Gators, I still love Michigan's chances; (Florida's leading receiver is Andre Debose with 15 catches for 423 yards...their RB has 28 catches....). Notre Dame could be a contender, but they already have 3 WRs committed along with an athlete who could play WR or Safety.
Chances of picking Michigan: 80%

2) WR Jehu Chesson: Another visitor from last weekend; Chesson struck up a friendship with Darboh, and there's a strong possibility that they will attend college together at Michigan. Chesson loved his UM visit, and the competition is Iowa and Northwestern, not exactly big time schools. Jehu has a great chance to play at a big time school in Michigan, at a time when the Wolverines are searching for their next great receiver; it should be hard for him to pass up that opportunity.
Chances of picking Michigan: 65%

3) RB Brionte Dunn: You know the story. If he goes with his head, it's Michigan. If he goes with his heart, it's OSU. In the end I think he realizes that his best opportunity to excel is at Michigan, in a pro style offense in front of a monster OL that is taking shape in this current recruiting class.
Chances of picking Michigan: 55%

4) CB Yuri Wright: He's been heavily focused on his high school playoffs recently, and thus didn't get a chance to visit, but there's a good chance he makes it up to Ann Arbor this month. Yuri has spoken highly of Michigan, even though he hasn't visited yet, and that has to be a good sign. If all goes well on the visit, Michigan may well be the team to beat.
Chances of picking Michigan: 40% (It's not a high percent, that's because there are still a lot of schools in the running.)

5) Mystery Tight End: It could be Taylor McNamara, it could be J.P Holtz who was visited this week by the coaching staff, or it could be a TE out of nowhere! Whoever it is, Michigan wants/needs one more in this class.
Chances of picking Michigan: N/A (none have visited yet, or even set a visit date)

This means, despite the good visit from Josh Garnett and Jordan Diamond last weekend, as well as the coaches visit to Evan Boehm this week, I don't think they'll get another OL in this class. A lot of it has to do with decision timetables, as well as proximity to home in the case of Garnett. This also means that I don't rate Michigan's chances with Stefon Diggs; the competition will be too great, and his timeline probably doesn't help our cause.

Things can change, but if I had to call it today, this would be my guess.

EDIT: Some of you have commented that this post sets the bar too low. To be honest I don't really see it that way, it's just realistic. Michigan wants Brionte Dunn more than they want a 6th lineman, and they definitely want 2 WRs, so that's three players you'd take over Garnett/Diamond etc. Then personally I think they need another tight end in the class, because A.J Williams could easily move to OT and become a really good player there. Lastly we have Yuri Wright, who is a stud corner. I don't have any real preference as to who to take, Yuri Wright or a 6th OL, I just think Wright would be more likely to commit before Garnett/Diamond.

As for Stefon Diggs, it would be extremely optimistic to put him on this list when he's still considering 7 other schools, and hasn't visited/given any indication that Michigan is in a top 2-3. Plus Darboh and Chesson are both announcing before Christmas (maybe even before Diggs visits!), so if they choose UM, we might not even have room for Diggs.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Brionte Dunn - What lies ahead

The recruitment of Brionte Dunn has been a wild one already, but there's still so much to come in this saga. He's already spoke with Urban Meyer, and was impressed with what the coach told him, but there are still many issues to sort out.

Today, Sam Webb of tweeted that Michigan coaches were having an in home visit with Dunn today, and this is very important for the Wolverines. Brionte's mom didn't make either of the visits to Ann Arbor this month, so it's vital that she talks to the coaches today and gets an idea of what Michigan is all about. UM running back coach Fred Jackson will be there, and he's a very experienced recruiter, hopefully he can work some magic. Ohio State coaches will also be visiting him in the coming weeks.

Next on the list of issues facing Dunn will be the position of offensive coordinator at Ohio State. Urban Meyer has been known for running a spread attack at Florida, and with a talent like Braxton Miller already in Columbus, he'd be a fool not to run some kind of spread option offense, in my opinion. Dunn is more of a power back, so if Meyer brings in a spread guru or just anyone who hasn't run much from under center before, this could be a big advantage to Michigan, as we're moving towards a traditional power I running game.

Then we have the all important official visits. It'll likely just be one to each school; I don't see any other schools coming into the conversation. He visited Penn State this fall, but they've since had problems; to say the least. The official to Michigan should give his parents a chance to see the clearly superior academics (!!!) as well as an opportunity to speak in depth with Coach Hoke and offensive coordinator, Al Borges. He should be accompanied by good friend Kyle Kalis on this visit, and maybe Dymonte Thomas will go along too (just a guess there), which would aid Michigan.

My real worry is around his official visit to Ohio State. The guy has grown up as an Ohio State Buckeye, and no matter how bad things get, you'll always have that desire to play for your childhood favorite. He probably knows a lot of the players, and he's also got the pressure of the state wanting him to attend OSU, which can be a powerful thing.

Lastly, we have the NCAA sanctions against Ohio State, which are expected to be announced in mid December. Originally these were pretty important in his recruitment, as something like a bowl ban would have been a significant factor. But sadly, it looks like OSU will just get a slap on the wrist from the NCAA, and probably won't face any additional sanctions.

All of these events will have taken place by christmas time, so expect a decision to be made around then, maybe earlier if he can schedule his official visits quickly.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Recruiting Summary

So there were lots of top recruits on hand for the game yesterday, let's run through some of their reactions:

- Brionte Dunn clearly had a good time, "Dunn's 2nd UM experience better than the 1st" is a heading on's front page. ($ article)

- Scout also has a story on Jordan Diamond entitled "Michigan moves up with Diamond". Again, this is a $ article, so we can't get the full reaction, but the title really says a lot!

- Josh Garnett also had a great visit, capped off by this photo he got with former Michigan Wolverine and #1 NFL draft pick, Jake Long. Academics will be important for Garnett, and recruits usually rave about the academic tours at Michigan, but there is a long way to go in Garnett's recruitment, probably go close to signing day.

- 2013 CB Shaquille Wiggins (Atlanta, GA) said on twitter that he was close to committing. This might just be a young kid getting caught up in the moment, but still this is a very good sign this early in the process. 247 Sports has him as a four star prospect already, and also has Michigan as his leader now.

- 2013 WR LaQuon Treadwell was another prospect who was probably close to committing, ESPN recruiting expert TomVH said on twitter than Treadwell wants his mom to see Michigan 'immediately', which is a very encouraging sign. As I said last week, Treadwell is a good bet to be the 3rd commit in the 2013 class.

- Also, just a quick note to mention that Cass Tech smashed Catholic Central 49-13 in the Div 1 State final yesterday. Cass Tech is loaded with talent this year, including Michigan commits RJS and Terry Richardson. Catholic Central also has a UM commit, Matt Godin. Game summary here.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Hail to the Victors

If you predicted that scoreline, hats off to you; you deserve some kind of medal.

First off, whilst we don't like Ohio State, we do/should respect them as a talented football team, and we should respect the way their offense came out and played today. They played their tails off for Luke Fickell, and their gameplan was actually very good. I'll enjoy this victory for a long time, but Braxton Miller's rushing will haunt my dreams for a long time too!

Still, hail to the victors! Michigan finally wins the big one, largely thanks to Denard Robinson who turned in the best game of his Michigan career in my view. He will go down as a Michigan legend for ending the streak, as will all those seniors.

I was nervous before the game, but it was even worse during! The game never looked safe and after the officials blew that TD call from Tousiannt, I really did fear the worse. It was Michigan that was making the mistakes (fumble, bad  punt, bad penalties), but thankfully the defense finally sealed it at the end.

Now we just have to sit back, enjoy the day, watch some more college football maybe, and then wait for some recruiting stories unfold further - hopefully in our favor!!!


Friday, 25 November 2011

Quick Recruiting Note

Just a quick note to say that four star offensive tackle Jordan Diamond will be at the game on Saturday, per his tweet this week. Along with Josh Garnett, that gives Michigan two top offensive lineman on campus and the Wolverines would settle for either one.

Michigan led for Diamond for most of last season, and through the spring and early summer this year, but have recently fallen back. I think Wisconsin could be the leader right now, but Michigan is certainly not out of it. Lets not forget that we still have his former teammate Chris Bryant on the roster, which could be a big factor. This visit will be an unofficial, so a good experience on Saturday followed by an official during the Winter could really elevate Michigan back into the lead.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

OSU Weekend (incl prediction)

A win would:
- Give us our first win against Ohio in way too long
- Probably send us to a BCS bowl game
- Make us believe that Hoke really is a god and that a national title in 2013 is a strong possibility

A loss would:
- Simply ruin our season, there's a big difference between 9-3 and 10-2 with a win over OSU.

The stakes are high, and as usual there will be a lot of very talented recruits on hand to witness 'The Game'. A lot of them will be 2013 kids, as well as a lot of 2012 commits, but there are going to be some big time 2012 targets that Michigan would love to secure a commitment from this weekend.

I'll start with arguably the most important, Brionte Dunn. He'll be on campus for his 2nd visit in as many weeks and despite being an OSU commit, many people (incl me!) feel that Michigan is probably the favorite. He's enrolling early so a decision won't be too far away, this weekend could just seal the deal for Michigan.

Amara Darboh is first of our official visitors on Saturday, and Michigan is also in a fairly strong  position for him. He visited Notre Dame last Saturday and it could well be a UM-ND battle, and I think UM will win this one.

Michigan doesn't necessarily need a 6th offensive line commit in this class, but if Joshua Garnett was to announce for the Wolverines, it would be very hard to turn him away. He's taking his official for the game, and I'm pretty optimistic about UM's chances here, especially after seeing a CBS recruiting analyst predict him to UM.

Jehu Chesson has flown under the radar recently in terms of Michigan's WR recruiting as the focus has largely been on Darboh, Payton and Diggs. But Jehu takes his official visit to A2 this weekend, and anything could happen here.

As mentioned above, there will be a lot of 2013 recruits at the game, but few of them will have an offer, unlike Laquon Treadwell. The WR teammate of Anthony Standifer has visited Michigan a couple times already this year and could be a good bet for the next 2013 commit. Shane Morris will be there, so if those two get talking, it can only be a good thing for UM.

A lot of people are already asking the question of whether to storm the field, but that really is premature. Despite their poor record, OSU is still a decent football team and probably has a more talented team overall than Michigan (based on recruit rankings). A win for the Buckeyes would put them to 7-5 and actually make the season not a complete disaster.

I haven't watched much of OSU's games this year, but what I have seen gives me at least some cause for concern. Braxton Miller is not a great passer, but he has the ability to buy a lot of time with his legs and then find open receivers. Examples - last plays of Purdue and Wisconsin games in regulation time. Michigan has to keep him contained, force him to make the tough throws.

Apart from him, the rest of OSU's offense is basically Dan Herron running it. Michigan did a good job against Rex Burkhead last week, but Herron is probably a little better, so that's something to watch out for. Still, I have faith in Mattison and his players to get the job done and hold OSU under 20 points.

On offense, I think the key to victory is pretty simple; don't turn the ball over. OSU's defense is good but not great, so if Michigan plays smart football and executes, they should be able to put up 30 points, which will almost certainly be enough for victory.

If the game were in Columbus, I think it would be really close, but given the home field advantage, the superior coaching and greater motivation, Michigan should win this game by around 2-3 touchdowns. I think both defenses will come out strong before Michigan gets going on offense in the 2nd quarter, taking a 10 point lead into halftime. A quick flurry of 3rd quarter TDs, help Michigan to run away with it...

Prediction: Michigan 35 ; Ohio 17

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New TE target

With the departure of Pharaoh Brown from the commits list, Michigan needs a new TE and they're hoping that Taylor McNamara (San Diego, CA) will be that guy. He's a former Arizona commit who's looking around now that Arizona fired their coach. Funnily enough they hired RR to be their new coach, so already we're in a recruiting battle with our old coach!

McNamara is rated as a four star prospect by ESPN recruiting (79 overall), so he's around the same level as Pharaoh Brown. He also just tweeted that he's considering Michigan for an official visit now. Other schools still in the mix include Cal, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Washington.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Monday Recruiting Notes: Bad

It's a bad start to the week:

- Firstly, Shaq Thompson has named a top three of ASU, Cal and Washington, and is unlikely to visit Michigan. This is a shame, but if Michigan does want another DB, Yuri Wright is a more realistic option anyway, and just as talented.

- Secondly, Jordan Payton visited Arizona State this last weekend, so that's another 'stay near home' option for him to take over moving to the Midwest. The longer his recruitment goes on, the lower my confidence gets.

- Now for the big news, Michigan has lost a commitment. Last week I mentioned that Pharaoh Brown would visit Oregon, but I said it probably isn't a big deal because he would have told Hoke in advance etc. Well word is that Michigan didn't know much about this, and no longer consider him a commitment. no longer lists him as a commit, which is a pretty good indicator of where things lie.
Whilst I doubt the door is completely closed on Brown, I doubt either sides are too happy with each other right now, so Hoke and Co will definitely start to look elsewhere. If we assume A.J Williams will play OL at Michigan, then I personally think they really need another good TE in this class; one just isn't enough.
Perhaps they could take another look at Ron Thompson, now a Syracuse commit, or even Sam Grant, the teammate of Kyle Kalis. Maybe a new TE target will emerge now that Michigan are having such a good season.

- Scholarship numbers: Michigan will probably go to 27-28 in this class, if they feel like they can get some real talent in those final spots. If we consider Brown as just another recruit, then we have 23 commits, leaving 4-5 spaces. If I could choose my perfect ending to the class, I'd go for Brionte Dunn, Jordan Payton, Stefon Diggs, randomly good Tight End, and if a 5th space is available, Yuri Wright.
Note: A lot of people might take Amara Darboh over Payton because of Darboh's speed, but Payton is rated higher on recruiting sites for a reason, and if I were picking the commits, I'd already have a speed guy in Stefon Diggs.
Also, just to clarify, those 5 names above are my ideal scenario, in fact it's very unlikely that it will finish that way.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Post Game Review

The first half was a pretty decent performance, scoring 17 points and defensively we just had one bad play. But that second That was something else.

Michigan well and truly dominated a good Nebraska team in all three phases of the game, and I literally couldn't stop smiling whilst watching. Perhaps most uplifting of all was the fact that Denard Robinson looked really good out there, and his form couldn't have come at a better time with the OSU game next week. Ok sure, the interception was bad, but it was also a very good play by that defender to deflect the ball upwards. Apart from that Denard was good both on the ground and through the air; the pass to Odoms for a TD was really, really nice.

As mentioned above, the defense did have that one bad play, conceding a 54 yard TD, but they still held Nebraska to only 260 total yards, and 17 points. They also contained Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez, allowing them to gain only 36 and 49 yards respectively; both were under 4 yards per carry.

And then we have special teams! Even those guys were making plays today, two fumbles forced and a blocked punt! This really was a great team effort.


Brionte Dunn was at the game, and was seen taking a photo with 2013 commits Shane Morris and Dymonte Thomas (his cousin); can't be a bad thing. Dunn is coming back to Michigan next weekend for the Ohio State game, per Sam Webb, and Sam also said that Brionte will be enrolling early. This is seemingly great news, because will all the uncertainty at Ohio State that will probably go on for another couple months at least, would he really want to enroll early there? I doubt it, Michigan are now favorites.

Pharaoh Brown will be taking a visit to Oregon tonight for their game against USC, or at least that was the word last night. Not sure how Hoke feels about this, Brown will have already told him about it for sure, especially after the TR and RJS thing. Personally I doubt much will come of it.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Nebraska Prediction

This is a hard game to pick, mainly because Nebraska are so similar to Michigan this year; both 8-2 (4-2), both with limited passing games but fairly good running games, both with mobile quarterbacks and decent defense etc etc.

I watched most of their game vs Penn St, and I think Michigan's biggest problem will be Rex Burkhead. He's got over 1000 yards rushing on the year, and his general toughness makes him hard to bring down. Penn St has a good defense and he gained 121 yards on them with a TD, so this is worrying.

Michigan will probably (hopefully?) dare Nebraska to pass, and if they can get the same kind of QB pressure as they did against Illinois, Taylor Martinez should be forced into some mistakes. The concern though is if Michigan loses contain and allows him to scramble, he's got the speed to make the defense pay.

On offense, Michigan will no doubt start the game by just running Fitzgerald Tousiannt, seeing how good the interior DL of Nebraska is without Jared Crick. Personally, I'd like to see us do short and easy throws on first down to keep Nebraska off balance, stuff like a tunnel screen to Gallon. Michigan needs to get Denard Robinson into the game early, whether it be by rushing or passing, we need him to be confident, because when he is, he's very dangerous.

Michigan's offense has been good at home, but they haven't really faced a good defense since Notre Dame, so this will be a good test before the big game next week. Ultimately I think Michigan will pull out the victory, limiting their mistakes while our defense forces some turnovers.

Prediction: Michigan 31; Nebraska 21

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Brionte Dunn visiting

Michigan won't be hosting many 2012 recruits this weekend for the Nebraska game, but at least a big timer will be there! Brionte Dunn will be visiting Ann Arbor with his cousin, and current 2013 commit, Dymonte Thomas.

Not sure yet on whether its an official or unofficial visit, but given the lateness of this news, one would think it's an unofficial as they take less time to plan etc. Hopefully a few more Ohio commits will come up for the game now that they know Brionte is coming, someone like Kyle Kalis would be ideal.

As for Michigan's chances, the visit certainly helps but you get the feeling that his recruitment will be decided by factors such as the NCAA penalties for the Buckeyes, and who their new coach is, assuming Fickell is done. For example, if they got Urban Meyer, who is known for more of a spread offense, would Dunn fit in there?

Still, this is very good news. Let's hope Fitzgerald Tousiannt gets loads of carries on Saturday, and of course lets hope Michigan wins!!!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Quick Hitters

Does anyone else have a blog with blogspot? If so, how do you post links nowadays, they've changed the format and I can't figure out how it works? Anyway, onto recruiting:

- Michigan LB commit Joe Bolden has been selected to play in the Under Armor All American game this January. Michigan already has one other commit in the game, Terry Richardson.

- Amara Darboh has scheduled his official visit for the Ohio State game the weekend after next. There is a lot of optimism surrounding Darboh and Michigan; he's visited before and seemed to really like it, so a commitment wouldn't be shocking after the visit. He's going to Notre Dame this weekend btw.

- has updated their rankings, and a few Michigan commits have made some nice jumps. A.J Williams is now a four star OT, and Joe Bolden and Tom Strobel have jumped into the top 100 overall.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Stefon Diggs: The story so far

There's been a lot of talk about WR Stefon Diggs and Michigan recently, so I thought it might be useful to go over his recruitment, which has been a real roller coaster for Michigan.

Diggs first came on the radar of Michigan fans during the recruitment of his former teammate, Blake Countess. At the time, everyone was reasonably confident about Michigan's chances of luring the five star talent to Ann Arbor, and there were already early talks of spring/summer visits.

However over the off season it surfaced that Diggs had some academic issues and Michigan backed off. Of course most other schools didn't back off, and Michigan lost significant ground; but they still made his top 11 schools at the start of the season.

Diggs has since really improved in the classroom and is now by all accounts, set to qualify academically. Once Michigan got word of this, they were back on him. Fortunately, one Michigan man who never stopped recruiting Diggs was Blake Countess. The two remain very good friends and Diggs was encouraged to see that Michigan lets the true freshman Countess play over a senior (Woolfolk) at CB.

A random Twitter conversation between the two in which Countess says they should wear the #2 and #1 jersey's between them (representing the team's #1 WR and #1 DB) really caught the eye of Michigan fans and the buzz started to rebuild.

Now last week we have Sam Webb's article in the DetNews which suggests that Michigan has a pretty good chance with Diggs and that he's looking to set up a visit for after the season. He'll be narrowing things down to a top 7 shortly, which means two teams in that list won't get an official visit - Michigan badly needs one.

Right now I'd say Michigan definitely trails some schools like Cal, Virginia, maybe Miami too, plus there are the national powers that are still after him, Florida, Oklahoma, USC etc. So all in all, despite the recent optimism, things still aren't looking that great from Michigan's perspective. It's great to be back in the hunt, but Michigan have a long way to go if they want to win him over before signing day.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Payton decision almost here?

According to his Twitter feed, Jordan Payton has almost arrived at his college decision. He was originally scheduled to announce it a couple weeks back, but delayed it after visiting Notre Dame for their game against USC.

As far as I know, he hasn't taken anymore visits since then, which means Michigan is still the favorite in my book. If he chooses a Midwest school, chances are it will be Michigan, but if he decides to visit a California school in the next few days, like UCLA, Cal or even USC (where he was originally committed remember!), then we could be in trouble.

While we're on the subject of WRs, Michigan is seemingly back in the hunt for WR Stefon Diggs after Michigan reestablished contact with him. I'll be doing a fairly big post on him that goes over his entire recruitment and who the leaders are right now + Michigan's chances.

Also for the record, one of our other WR targets, Amara Darboh, will be visiting Notre Dame this weekend.

Defending Denard

In the comments section of the post below, there is a fair bit of criticism of Denard Robinson, and I've also had a series of email from someone (you know who you are! :P) saying that Denard should not be the starting QB. Personally I find all this talk pretty silly, especially when you look at the numbers Denard put up last year when he was in a comfortable system.

We have to remember that whilst Denard is a junior, this is his first year as a starting QB in Borges' system, and he's playing against some pretty good defenses on the road. If you remember he struggled to pass during his first year in RR's system, and look what happened his 2nd year. It's not unreasonable to think that Denard will make another jump forward this offseason.

At times we also have to question the play calling, as especially against Illinois it was painfully obvious whether we were going to run the ball or pass. But still, Denard actually put up some ok numbers through the air as he went 6/9 for 92 yards with no INTs, I'm giving him a pass for the hail mary play as that was always liking to end up as a pick.

You also have to give Illinois some credit, they brought a lot of pressure and their front four was very active in the backfield, especially Whitney Mercilus; our OL really struggled to block him at times.

Also, Michigan doesn't exactly have a great core of Wide Receivers. Hemingway is pretty good but prone to some easy drops, Roundtree has been non existent this season, and most of the others are undersized. Darryl Stonum's return next year should really help Denard to stretch the field.

Now let's look at Devin Gardner, who a few of you probably think should be the starting QB. He went 2/5 for 47 yards and a TD. I'll give Devin props for the TD pass as that was really nicely done, the OL gave him time and he stepped up and hit Odoms with a perfect pass. But apart from that his performance was still quite sketchy; I didn't think he looked comfortable out there.

I didn't watch the Iowa game, so I can't talk about Denard's performance there, but I watched every snap of the Illinois game and he was nowhere near as bad as some people are making him out to be. If you go back and watch the game you'll see him actually make some nice throws; if Odoms was taller he would have had a TD pass too.

The entire offense plays better at home, so it'll be interesting to see how Denard does, assuming he's healthy, against the defense of Nebraska, which is pretty good. I would like to see more, and better designed QB runs, and more short throws on 1st downs from Borges, as I think that would really help to build up Denard's confidence.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Halftime Review (Updated for post game)

Got to be happy with the defense, they have been truly dominant for two quarters there against a talented Illinois offense. But our own offense is seemingly holding us back by turning the ball over in FG range. The game should be out of Illinois' reach already, and yet they are only down 14-0 at the half.

Michigan's offense started off very well with Fitzgerald Tousiannt gaining nice yardage and Robinson running in a couple TDs. But then Illinois just starting selling out on the run, and yet we still called run plays on first down.

Denard has made some nice throws, it's just these negative yardage plays and turnovers that are killing us. I've also got to question the play calling in key situations. On the 4th and 1, personally I'd kick a field goal just to keep the momentum going forward. Either that or I would have run it out of a stronger formation, not 3 WRs when the defense KNOWS you're running the ball so they don't have to spread.

Post game review:

The second half wasn't really an improvement offensively. Michigan started poorly with the injury to Denard, and Devin didn't really look too comfortable in there. The defense showed up again in the 2nd half and J.T Floyd came up with a great play to make the interception; he deserved to run that back for a TD, shame he couldn't.

Towards the end of the game Devin made a couple nice 3rd down conversions through the air, one of which was a big touchdown pass that really iced the game. So props to Devin for that, but really Michigan still has a long way to go offensively.

Player of the game: This is a tough one. I thought Mike Martin and RVB played REALLY well together on the DL, and they had like three or four sacks between them. Fitzgerald Tousiannt obviously had a good game, but for me MVP has to be J.T Floyd. The INT was a real momentum changer, and he was very strong against A.J Jenkins in one-on-one coverage. I don't think Jenkins ever truly 'beat him' on a play.

Looking ahead: Nebraska will be tough, but I like Michigan's chances at home. Taylor Martinez could be hard to stop on the option though.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Illinois Prediction

I finally got round to watching the Iowa footage, and it wasn't as bad as first thought. Denard, although woeful on the deep pass, didn't appear to play that bad. However he could struggle this Saturday against a pretty decent Illinois defense.

Before the season I had this down as a loss, and I'm actually going to stick with that prediction. Illinois has lost three straight games, but they got a bye week to refocus and heal up; they'll come out firing at home and take a quick lead.

I like Michigan's D, but I don't think they'll be able to handle the option run of Illinois whilst trying to contain A.J Jenkins, at least not for four quarters on the road. On offense, Michigan will have to deal with the NCAA's lead sack specialist, Whitney Mercilus, who is likely to cause our RT all kinds of problems. I think Illinois will get pressure on Denard, and force him into some bad throws, and turnovers.

Prediction: Michigan 20; Illinois 24

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Quick hitters

- Firstly, defensive commitment Pharaoh Brown says he will be start as a tight end at Michigan. I guess this isn't too surprising given that A.J Williams is likely to grow into an offensive lineman, and Michigan really needs more tight ends after Chris Barnett left the program over the summer. This move shouldn't have a big effect on Michigan's current class.

- There's been a lot of talk about Shaq Thompson visiting Michigan. It sounds like it will happen eventually, but probably not for a while, and I wouldn't be too hopeful of it either. Yuri Wright is probably a more realistic option right now if Michigan wants another DB.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Where are they now: Jake Fisher

Name: Jake Fisher

Position: OT

Recruitment: Jake Fisher came on the scene as a raw but highly talented in state offensive lineman, who was quickly snapped up by Rich Rod before his senior season. However, after Rodriguez was let go by Michigan, Fisher decommitted and started to look at other programs. Despite strong effort from the Michigan coaching staff to hold onto him, Fisher found a new home in Eugene, Oregon.

Oregon: There are not many stats I can give you for an offensive lineman, so I posed the question to an expert: Charles Fischer of, more on him later. The review:

"We have been surprised through the whole process with Jake Fisher. First we didn't know a thing about him when he decommitted, but Coach Kelly did and apparently others knew of his abilities considering the big-time offer list. He was a Rivals three star--so most of yawn, and say, "well that's nice," but it's not a huge thing one way or another.

Yet later when Jake committed to Oregon--Coach Kelly stated that Jake was one of the best Offensive Linemen in nation, or "he didn't know what he was doing." That set many of us back because his ability to analyze talent has almost become legendary in Eugene. He offered a small town QB from Texas a schollie on the second day of camp....and he hadn't done much in his HS career yet going into his senior year. He was later selected as Rivals National HS Player of the Year. He offered another QB on the second day of camp...and this guy hadn't even started for his HS team yet! Marcus Mariotta went on to be MVP of the Hawaiian All-Star Game and holds one of the most impressive videos of a HS QB yet. So Chip's comments got tons of attention toward Jake.

As a true freshman he has passed tons of upperclassmen on the Offensive line to be not only on the second team, but one of the top three players who come in as relief. As a freshman? And he has done well. Even when he gets beat he was smart enough to drive the defender BACKWARDS and the RB cut around him. This is stuff that OLinemen don't get about Zone Blocking until the light goes on mid-sophmore year. Jake's got it now, and we are pleased.

Oregon recruited a group of highly ranked OLinemen last year...and they all redshirted but Jake. All them got the pub...but Jake has the PT already. Oregon needs to improve the beef on the Offensive Line and we feel that last year's group of seven will be the line that beats some SEC teams in a few years. Jake is going to head that group.

Count us as lucky to have him and myself as grateful for him and Chip's ability to analyze and recruit."

What could have been: That's definitely high praise! To earn significant playing time as a freshman on the offensive line is certainly a big deal. One has to question whether he could do it at Michigan, where the Wolverines are trying to build a massive offensive line; i.e he would have needed to bulk up more for Michigan than the spread of Oregon.
Still, with Michigan's depth on the offensive line, Fisher was one of our key recruits in the 2011 class and looking back it's really disappointing that we missed out on him. Having him and Taylor Lewan as our tackles down the road would be pretty cool.

Extra: The review on Jake Fisher came from Oregon football Analyst Charles Fischer, who runs one of the top new football websites on the net: His video analysis of the Oregon spread offense is really, really good and I'd recommend it to anyone who is keen on learning about the spread, or anyone who is trying to get better at NCAA12!


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Commitment Profile: Drake Johnson

Name: Drake Johnson

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Position: RB

Ratings: ESPN – 2* (72), Scout – 2*, 247 Sports - NR*

Recruitment: As you'll see from his offers list below, this wasn't a big recruiting battle. Basically Johnson woke up one morning and discovered that Michigan had offered him, and with the Wolverines being his dream school, he committed instantly. Easy as that.

Offers: Michigan, Eastern Michigan.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’1 and around 205lbs, with a no reported 40 yard dash time. However he is a very successful track athlete and has set numerous records in that field, so we can assume he's fast, and at 200lbs, that's a very good sign. So far as a senior he's amassed 2757 yards and 37TDs according to one of our blog commenters!

ESPN Analysis: Johnson has the size and athleticism for the running back position at the major level of competition; it appears his frame is capable of handling additional bulk over time. Can run inside and out, possessing the ability to break tackles in the open field.

Has quick feet which combined with his good vision allow him to hit the holes fairly swiftly. Also has good hands and can be a threat out of the backfield as a receiver; does his best work on the outside in open space.

He's an under the radar prospect with the size and speed combination to warrant further evaluations later in the year; his current level of competition might be a cause for concern.

Improvements: It's an outrageously positive review for someone with a rating of 72; I guess his low ratings reflect the fact that he didn't show up to many camps/combines.

Film Highlights:

Final Thoughts: As with all Michigan commits who join the fold with bad ratings, we pass them off as sleeper prospects who will eventually turn into great discoveries! With Johnson's combination of size and speed, there's no reason to believe he isn't a true sleeper prospect who could develop into a real football talent.

Playing time will be hard to come by for him early on, but apparently he's good at returning kicks and punts, so he could see the field that way. Rawls, Hayes and others will occupy the backfield for at least a couple years before Johnson challenges for a starting role.

Overall I'm generally always happy with a commitment, especially such an athletic one as this. However, not all evaluations of Johnson will be that good, after all there must be a reason why only UM and EMU thought him to be worthy of an offer. Is he a track star playing football? Or the other way round, only time will tell.

Michigan wanted a running back in this class, and this should be him. With only two theoretical spaces left in this class, I don't think Michigan should be looking at another RB. A WR and a DB/OL should be what rounds out the class. This of course means that there would be no place for Brionte Dunn; the only way he gets in this class is if Michigan has more departures and thus more spaces available.

While we're on the subject of Dunn, my optimism on his recruitment has died down dramatically after the recent surge of OSU. The Buckeyes are winning games again, and that can't hurt their chances with Dunn. He visited the Buckeyes for their game against Wisky and had a great time, and he still hasn't visited Michigan officially yet.

Commit #24: RB Drake Johnson

In state (or even in city) RB Drake Johnson has committed to the Wolverines today, shortly after receiving his offer from the coaching staff. I actually have a lecture to go to, so a commitment post will have to follow later tonight.

Just quickly, this all but certainly means Michigan is out of it with Brionte Dunn, as I doubt they would want to take two RBs with only a few spaces left in the class.

Secondly, Drake is having an extremely productive season and has earned his offer, in fact it was probably only a matter of time given his stats; more on them later!

Quick Hitters

As per usual, not much is going on with Michigan recruiting at the moment, but here's a few quick notes on CFB in general.

- The talk about an LSU-Alabama rematch is really annoying me! LSU beat Alabama on Bama's home field, so why on earth do the Tide deserve another chance? If you can't beat them at home, in theory you shouldn't beat them on a neutral site. Unfortunately I think the way it plays out is that the rematch will happen, because Bama stayed so high in the polls. Personally I'd rather see Oregon get a rematch, because if they cut out the silly mistakes, their offense could easily put points up on the Tigers when healthy.

- Jordan Payton still hasn't committed anywhere, and the longer it goes on, the more worried I am that it won't be Michigan. Is he having doubts about leaving the West Coast? If so, Cal will probably come back into it, and that would worry me more than ND do right now. Also in WR recruiting news, Jehu Chesson has lined up the UM-OSU game as his official visit date.

- TE Ron Thompson committed to Syracuse yesterday, which is a real shame in my view. Thompson is arguably one of the most talented pass catching TE's in the country, but for unknown reasons it just didn't work out with Michigan. Best of luck to him at Syracuse.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Tough times

What a mixed day! I had an unbelievable experience in the Directors Box at the Emirates Stadium today for the Arsenal-West Brom game, but my mood is now poor after hearing of Michigan's close loss to Iowa!

The loss pretty much kills Michigan's chances of going to the B10 title game, so now the only thing I care about is beating Ohio State. If I was offered an 8-4 season with a win over OSU at the start of the season I would have snapped up that offer, and the same goes for right now.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Mid Week game prediciton

I'm going back home from University tomorrow and will be busy for the next few days, so I'll do this week's prediction now. For the record, I was pretty close on the Purdue score last Saturday! Anyway, on to Iowa...

The Hawkeyes obviously had a terrible result last week losing to Minnesota, but that doesn't mean we are going to walk over them this week, especially not in their home stadium. Iowa is undefeated at home this year, and on paper has a talented enough team to cause Michigan some serious problems on Saturday.

Firstly, on offense they have a running back that went over 250 yards last week in Marcus Coker, and then they have a QB with a passing rating of 178.3 at home. Lets also not forget the schools all time TD receptions leader, Marvin McNutt. I haven't seen much of Iowa's O-Line, but from a skill position perspective, they look good on offense. Michigan defended the run quite well last week, but struggled against MSU in run D, so that is a concern.

For Michigan's offense, the key is getting Fitzgerald Tousiannt into the game early to take some of the pressure off Denard. The health of our OL is a concern here. If Michigan can establish the run early and not turn the ball over through passing, then I think they can put up a fair amount of points against this average Hawkeyes D who have conceded 27, 31 and 24 points to Pitt, NW and Indiana respectively at home.

Despite the success of our defense this year, I am worried about Iowa's offense this week, but if Michigan can force a couple of turnovers it should be enough to pull out the win. For this, having Jordan Kovacs back would be huge, but I guess we don't want to rush him back. In the end I think Michigan just does enough on offense to pull out a close win.

Prediction: Iowa 27 ; Michigan 30

Sidenote: Unfortunately I won't be watching the game this Saturday, as I've somehow got myself into the Directors box at Arsenal Football Club for their match against West Brom! Still, I'll probably be following the game on ESPN's scorecenter!

Carvin Johnson Leaves Program

Sophomore safety Carvin Johnson has left the program this week, becoming the latest in a long, long line of Michigan secondary departures.

I actually quite liked Johnson as a player, he showed a fair bit of promise even under Greg Robinson's watch, so I figured he would take the next step under Mattison. Unfortunately this hasn't happened and Thomas Gordon beat him out at free safety.

Like all other departures this year, this takes Michigan very close to the target of 26 scholarships available for the class of 2012 to take up. It also increases the likelihood that another one of those 26 spots will go to a defensive back....Yuri Wright we hope.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Basketball recruiting?

I very, very rarely talk about Basketball recruiting on here, but recent news forces me into this special post. Even if you're not that keen on basketball, this still is still major news because it should in theory have a very positive impact on the University as a whole!

Mitch McGary, who is the number two overall prospect in the class of 2012, is meant to be announcing his college decision this Thursday, and he's down to just Michigan, Duke and Florida. Right now, everyone seems to be saying Michigan will be the choice.

If Michigan were to land him on Thursday, it would really mark a step forward in Michigan's basketball program, which has been good/not great over the last 3 years. Usually a guy like McGary would end up at the traditional powerhouses like Duke, UNC or Kentucky, so for Michigan to steal him on Thursday would be something special, keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Go Gophers!

I'll recap the Michigan game and a few other B10 games tomorrow, but for now lets give three cheers for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who basically took Iowa out of the Legends division title race with a stunning 22-21 upset!

The Gophers (2-6) have looked simply terrible this year, but they played their hearts out today and you have to feel good for them, especially since we already spanked them 58-0...

Friday, 28 October 2011

Purdue Preview

Before I get into the game, one quick recruiting note. According to the Sun-Sentinel, WR Jehu Chesson is scheduled to visit for the Purdue game, which would make things very interesting because most Michigan fans are already assuming Amara Darboh will be the 2nd receiver, assuming Payton picks UM. However! Since I tweeted the Chesson visit yesterday, I've had a couple people telling me this visit probably won't happen, and looking back on the Sun-Sentinel article, there are no quotes, so don't be surprised if he doesn't show. Onto the game:

I know Purdue had a nice win against Illinois last weekend, but I really don't see them as a major threat here. Firstly, the game is at the Big House and secondly Michigan's players should be eager to prove themselves after a pretty poor showing in East Lansing.

Michigan needs to get the running game going early, and I think they'll be able to that against a Purdue front seven that doesn't really have any standout players. In the passing game, Denard will have to watch out for Purdue's CBs, who are pretty good; especially Ricardo Allen. But coming off a bye week, Michigan has had plenty of time to work on their timings etc, so I expect Denard to come out throwing well.

On offense, the Boilermakers like to run the ball, but they aren't really that good at it; nobody on the team has rushed for over 400 yards. I think Michigan's defense should handle them quite comfortably and hold them under 20 points.

Michigan will get off to a good start and eventually pull away in the 2nd half behind a strong defensive performance from Greg Mattison's crew.

Prediction: Michigan 38 ; Purdue 16

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Over before it began

It looks like Michigan's slim chances of landing Arik Armstead have come to a close already, that is if you believe what 247Sports' JC Shurburtt. In a brief article today about where Armstead is likely to end up, Michigan was not even mentioned.

Shurburtt outlines Cal and USC as the frontrunners, largely due to proximity to home and the fact that their DL coaches are Tosh Lupoi and Ed Orgeron respectively, two of the best recruiters in college football.

Despite a good visit to Notre Dame, the Irish's chances apparently aren't that great, which doesn't bode well for Michigan given our similarities. The odds were never good to begin with, but somehow they've got even worse in a matter of days.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Quick Updates

- Firstly, Jordan Payton announced on Twitter that he won't be announcing today. This is certainly not the end of the world for Michigan, it's more of a smart move on his part. By waiting a week or so he'll let the ND visit emotions cool down, and then he can make a purely rational decision. I still think he'll end up at Michigan.

- Zach Banner has said that Oklahoma was his top visit so far, and with favorites Washington to still come, as well as USC, this does not bode well for Michigan at all. This might explain why we've offered OL Alex Kozan recently.

- Joshua Garnett will apparently take his official visit for the Nebraska game instead of the OSU one. This is a shame in my view because he won't get to see the Big House really in full swing. Whilst I'm sure the crowd will provide a good atmosphere vs the Huskers, nothing quite compares to the Game.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Commitment Profile: Jeremy Clark

Name: Jeremy Clark

Location: Madisonville, KY

Position: Safety

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (76), Scout – 3*, 247 Sports - 3*

Recruitment: Clark is a bit of a sleeper prospect, as he doesn't have that many offers but clearly has some serious talent. He impressed the UM coaches early on, but not enough to earn a full scholarship for 2012, as Michigan was already in on Allen Gant and Jarrod Wilson at the time. Clark still committed, but the view at the time was that he would jump on a real offer from another school. However Clark's stellar senior year meant the Wolverines couldn't afford for that to happen, and they gave him a 2012 scholarship offer instead of the grayshirt.

Offers: Michigan, Illinois, N.C State, Akron, Ball State, and other MAC schools.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’4 and around 200lbs, with a 40 yard dash time of 4.47 seconds. As a junior he racked up 75 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 8 pass breakups.

ESPN Analysis: Clark is a tall and rangy free safety prospect with a lot of production. Very lean without a lot of bulk, strength and power to his frame right now but we like his upside and room for development as an overall player.

Will definitely play free safety in college because of his good range and awareness in deep coverage. Reads the quarterback well and uses his size to his advantage, going up and grabbing the ball at its highest point.

Needs to improve his man coverage, which is a weakness at the moment. His height makes it difficult for him to make tight, fluid turns in coverage, but he does flash the ability to stay with his man and break quickly on the ball.

Could do with improving his tackling technique in order to become more of a presence in defending the run. Overall a good prospect who has the natural instincts required, just needs some coaching up on technique.

Improvements: Man coverage is highlighted by ESPN, as was tackling ability.

Film Highlights: None available on youtube, I believe it got taken down.

Final Thoughts: Clark seemingly has great size and speed, with good instincts. These are promising tools for any young free safety. Clearly the coaching staff like this guy a lot, firstly to offer him a grayshirt, and secondly to upgrade the offer just so they don't lose out on him. And given the improvement of our defense this year, I trust Hoke and Mattison's judgment 100%!!!

A redshirt year is likely, and in the years after he'll probably be competing with his classmate Jarrod Wilson for playing time.

As for the rest of the class, this certainly shakes things up a bit. Would UM dare take 6 defensive backs if Yuri Wright came calling? And if they do, would one of them leave due to the level of competition? Will they forgo taking a 6th OL now that Zach Banner is looking like a longshot again? Or will they only take one WR?

Greg Brown leaves the program

Greg Brown, a freshman DB from Ohio has left the program this week. Brown was the first commitment of the 2011 recruiting class and enrolled early last spring. The decision comes as a slight surprise as we heard positive reviews of Brown during the spring, and he even featured in the spring game. I guess the emergence of Blake Countess just pushed him too far down the depth chart. Regardless, all the best to Greg.

In regards to scholarship numbers, this does not push up the figure of 26. If you recall, Michigan started the 2012 recruiting class with very few available scholarships, so this transfer, like Christian, Barnett, Stokes etc, just helps us get to 26.

Jeremy Clark Update

A couple of months ago it was announced that Jeremy Clark (Madisonville, KY) would grayshirt at Michigan next year and become a member of the 2013 class after that. But after a stellar senior year, the Michigan coaches have apparently extended a full scholarship offer to Clark for the class of 2012.

I'll do a full commitment post on this later today, but for now just know that Clark is a 6'4 200lb Safety who loves to hit!

The question now, is how does Michigan allocate the final three spaces in the class? WRs are still badly needed, so they'll probably still try for two there, and then I guess they'll take whoever commits out of a top OL and Yuri Wright?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Upset Weekend

The BCS title race was really shaken up last night as Oklahoma and Wisconsin both suffered losses, all but ending their title hopes. Assuming Alabama wins out, and Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State at the end of the year, we'll have a really interesting situation where Boise State might be the only unbeaten team left to face Alabama.

Anyway, another upset that might slide under the radar is USC beating Notre Dame in South Bend. The Irish have looked pretty good since losing to UM back in September, and USC hasn't exactly been wowing people. Notre Dame had a very strong group of recruits at the game last night, so it's probably a good thing that they lost.

This affects Michigan because; Jordan Payton, who is set to decide sometime between now and Tuesday, was meant to be at the game, so having the Irish lose could just seal things for Michigan. I didn't watch the game, but one can only assume the atmosphere was deflated; unlike the Big House when Payton visited there.

So after a long break, we are back on commitment watch!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Arik Armstead Update

Tweeted this earlier whilst I was out, here's a more detailed look:

If Michigan does lose out on Zach Banner, they'll still have a chance to land a major west coast offensive tackle now that Arik Armstead is considering the Wolverines! Armstead is the #1 player in the nation according to and 247sports, but he's been a USC commit for a long time, so he wasn't even on the radar.

He decommitted over the weekend, and it looks like these lucky schools will be in with a shout; Michigan, Cal, Notre Dame, Alabama, and probably USC still. With five schools seemingly still in the race, all of them should be guaranteed an official visit. Apparently he's already set up visits to Notre Dame and Alabama in the coming weeks.

Ideally, Michigan needs to get him on campus for the Ohio State game, which is the one weekend left in the recruiting calender that could really blow him away. If Michigan really wants to gain an advantage, they could tell him he'll play defense in Ann Arbor, because Armstead has said from Day 1 that he wants to play D-Line.

Whatever happens, it's definitely something to look out for, and it's really encouraging to see the top prospects in the nation starting to take a second look at Michigan.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The road ahead

A loss is a loss, let's just move on and try not to dwell on it.

Michigan now has a bye week before what should be an easy rebound game against Purdue. That would send us to 7-1 (3-1), and given that we're going through a coaching change, this is pretty darn good.

Michigan then has two fairly tough road games to contend with, @Iowa and @Illinois. Personally I'd take a split here, but it's not unreasonable to say that Michigan could win both and get to 9-1.

All that remains after that is Nebraska and Ohio State at home, which should both be interesting games. Michigan struggled against the option attack of Northwestern, so I think Nebraska could give us some problems, but to be honest, I think at Michigan Stadium the Wolverines can beat anyone in the Big Ten, with Wisconsin perhaps being the only exception.

So of those last four games, I think Michigan should probably win three of them, minimum two; so we're basically going to be 9-3 or 10-2, not bad eh?

Sidenote: Please answer the new poll on the right! I know it's nothing to do with Michigan football, but I'm buying the phone tomorrow, so opinions are needed fast!

Look on the bright side

I'm so glad this thug didn't come to Michigan.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Updated Projected Class

We're half way through the season, so we have a pretty good idea of just how much progress some teams have made (Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin) and how far back others have gone (Ohio State, Minnesota, Indiana). This obviously has an effect on recruiting, and from Michigan's perspective, one guy in particular. Brionte Dunn.

I know he visited Penn State, but in reality it's a UM-OSU battle for the four star running back. The starts made by both these teams could be more different, as Michigan has clearly improved to become a more balanced football team, whereas Ohio State has serious offensive concerns; which have been alarming Dunn.

Ohio State are a very talented team, yet they are 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten, all but ending their chances of getting to Indianapolis. Plus, if you look at their schedule, they are probably only going to be favored in 2, maybe three games. So if we assume OSU gets to 6-6, what happens to Luke Fickell? He'll be fired.

Going back to Michigan, Dunn can see a team clearly improving, a team that has a shot at the Big Ten title, and a team with no impending NCAA hearings. Ohh, and his cousin is a 2013 commit; who doesn't want to play with family? :D

For these reasons, I'm fairly confident at the moment that Dunn will end up in Ann Arbor, firstly for an official visit, and then for the long run.

Looking at the rest of the projected class, I'm leaving it mostly the same; although it is getting harder to predict. Here's a few quick notes on the other three spaces.

- Zach Banner will decide his college destination after his last official visit, which will be in around a month's time. However, he won't announce his decision until after Christmas. If he were deciding today, I'd be pretty confident, but he has at least 3 visits scheduled over the next 30 days, so we'll just have to wait and see. This space will go to an OL, because Michigan still has a chance with Josh Garnett (visiting for OSU game), and UM recently offered OG Alex Kozan.

- WR Spot 1: This should go to Jordan Payton unless Notre Dame pulls something special out the bag for his visit to them next weekend. Pretty simple.

- WR Spot 2: I've still got Amara Darboh in the projected class, because he has shown a lot of interest and he should visit Michigan for the Ohio State game, which is obviously a great weekend to visit, especially if he witnesses a UM victory. However! WR Darius Powe has just named Michigan in his top five with a bunch of really weak PAC12 schools, and he'll also take an official to Michigan. He's from California, so probably knows Hoke quite well, this one could be interesting.

Wildcard Spot: I think the combination above (RB, OL, WR, WR) is what Michigan would like to close out the class with, but if a guy of exceptional talent wants in, they will probably have to adjust. The most likely candidate for that is Yuri Wright, the nation's #3 CB. He should take an official to Michigan late on in the season, hopefully for the OSU game which will give Michigan a chance at least.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

UM-MSU Preview

It's unlikely that there will be any major recruiting news today, so I thought I'd write the game preview early this week. Before the season started, I predicted a loss here for Michigan, commenting:

"MSU, as much as it pains me to say it, will have a good team here lead by a senior QB who has the potential to be drafted. Plus it's in East Lansing. Hoke will have the team pumped up, but I think UM will lose this in a close one."

I've gone back and forth on this pick all week, in fact, I've already written this post with a prediction of an MSU win, that's how undecided I am. But now, I've just got the feeling that UM will win this ball game, probably in a similar fashion to the NW game, down at halftime before a dominant 2nd half. Michigan will be immensely pumped up for this game, I can only imagine how much it means to the seniors who haven't beaten the Spartans before; so look for those guys to have big games.

The key for this game, as Kirk would say, is all about the Michigan offense. Can the RBs get decent enough yardage to take some of the pressure off Denard? Can the offensive line hold it's ground against a very good DL with an NFL 1st round pick on it?

In the end I think the OL will hold strong and give Denard the time he needs to make the easy throws, which will be vital in the game. Also, I think Denard is due a 50+ yard TD run where no-one touches him, it seems like it's been a while.

On defense, Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen should have a lot of success against a suspect MSU OL. Michigan needs to stop the run game early, and try to get MSU in 3rd and 7+ type situations; i.e force Cousins to make a tough throw. Cousins is a pretty good passer, but is prone to making mistakes. Look for UM to get a couple INTs.

One thing I am worried about is B.J Cunningham vs our cornerbacks. Is it me, or does J.T Floyd have real problems locating the ball in the air on fly routes; hence the frequent pass interference calls.

Overall it should be a tight game throughout, probably MSU leading 14-7 at halftime, before a strong 2nd half UM performance makes it....

Prediction: Michigan 24; Michigan State 17

Feel free to leave your own prediction in the comments section below. Closest to the correct score will win.....hmm.....the respect and admiration of everyone who reads the blog + a free beer whenever I make the 6000km trip to Ann Arbor!

Note: you might have to wait 1-2 years for the beer.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Commitment Profile: Dymonte Thomas

Sorry if you saw the word 'commitment' in the title and got excited...unfortunately I'm just catching up on something I wrote but forgot to post in the wake of that epic Notre Dame game last month.
Name: Dymonte Thomas

Location: Alliance, OH

Position: ATH

Ratings: ESPN – 4* (40), Scout – 4*, 247 Sports - 4*

Notes: With early offers, you expect the recruit to be a strong player. Thomas will be at least a four star guy on most sites.

Recruitment: Dymonte Thomas is actually the cousin of current Michigan target, Brionte Dunn; which might of been how he first got interested in the Maize and Blue. Thomas has visited Michigan twice this year, with the first time being at the BHBBQ over the summer, where he proclaimed UM to be his leader shortly after. His second visit was of course to the epic UM-ND game where he no doubt got caught up in the moment and committed. Not to say that he'll reconsider his commitment at any time, just saying it's easy to see why he committed then.

Offers: Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, UCLA, Tennessee, Notre Dame and others - not bad for an early commit.

Stats: Currently weighs around 180lbs at 6’0. As a sophomore he rushed for 1641 yards with 17 TDs as well as 132 tackles and two interceptions on defense. He runs a 4.57 forty yard dash.

ESPN Analysis: None available. Analysis: None available.

Since the recruiting services don’t have evaluations on 2013 prospects yet, here’s a long quote from his high school coach:

"The thing about Dymonte is that he has two more seasons of high school left," Marlington head coach Ed Miley told "If he keeps on going the way he has so far, he could end up as both the leading rusher and tackler in Stark County history. Dymonte does great in the classroom and is very popular with his teammates. I see him as a safety at the next level, but he could do about anything really. He is a very physical player and a leader on this team."

Improvements: Hard to say this early on; although everyone would love to see him trim down that forty time to 4.5 flat.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Thomas will be listed as an 'athlete' on a lot of sites, but the general perception is that he'll play safety in college. He prefers defense slightly, but to be honest it doesn't matter where he plays because Ohio recruiting analyst Duane Long has already named him as the top safety and running back in Ohio for 2013. For the record, Long really doesn't understand why OSU hasn't offered him.
When he gets on campus, playing time will be initially tough to come by, as Michigan will have at least one solid starter in Thomas Gordon (Snr). Plus, by 2013 you would hope that at least one of MRob, Carvin Johnson or Josh Furman would have stepped up to replace everyone's favorite walk-on, Jordan Kovacs! Then we also have the 2012 commits of Allen Gant and Jarrod Wilson. However, Blake Countess has proved that if you work hard, it's not impossible to crack the two deep of that secondary!
Thomas' commitment gives Michigan a great start to the 2013 class, with two virtually guaranteed four star prospects. It's hard to get a grasp on the scholarship numbers right now, so we can't really say whether Michigan will take another safety in this class.
Finally, I've got to talk about Brionte Dunn. This commitment could have a huge impact on Dunn's eventual decision; as he and Dymonte are pretty close and often talk about playing together at the next level. Thomas will be recruiting him to Michigan at any chance he gets; as will a host of current UM commits based in Ohio. (Kalis, Wormley, Strobel etc etc)