Monday, 18 July 2011

The DT Situation

Defensive Tackle was marked as a position of need coming into this class, especially after Michigan missed out on Darian Cooper at the end of last year's recruiting calender. However, the word on the street is that the Wolverines will probably only take one more DT in this class. (I think Godin will play DT in college).

The two main candidates at this point are Ondre Pipkins and Dan O'Brien, but let's also not forget about Sheldon Day; a four star prospect who had Michigan as his leader this spring before things seemed to cool down dramatically.

Well, Michigan are right back in it with Day, as he's down to visit Michigan at the end of July for the Big House BBQ. The problem with Day is that his original timeline was to decide late in the season, which isn't good if he wants to pick UM. However, last time he visited, he was blown away, so maybe he'll commit on the spot if he feels the space won't be there in October/November.

The same could be said for Ondre Pipkins, another late July visitor who could well pull the trigger when he visits. I don't think he's around for the BBQ, but I know he's spending a week or so with his Dad who lives in Michigan, so the Wolverines could have a couple chances to seal the deal.

As for Dan O'Brien, he too is very high on Michigan, especially with his good friend Matt Godin committed, and with other in state prospects recruiting him to Michigan. However, he likes a couple of SEC schools in Tennessee and Alabama, and he's in fact visiting them this week, so competition is stiff. He's also thinking of taking official visits in the fall, which means his timeline could rule him out.

So, one spot, three talented DTs. In order of likeliness, I'm going Pipkins, Day, O'Brien, which just so happens to be my order of preference, although I'd be more than happy with any of them.

Almost forgot the Wildcard: Aziz Shittu, former Stanford commit who is looking to take a bunch of visits. Still a longshot right now, but you never know!

63 comments:

  1. Could you tell us what each of DT's strengths and weaknesses are? Because I have yet to find this out. thanks benji!

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  2. If I had to choose between the 3 of them I would take Pipkins.

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  3. I would sure like to see us land/accept 2 DT's in this class.

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  4. Of course, the coaches also told Blake Bars he'd start at LT and that Shittu would play a Tarrell Suggs time role. We know they'll take 1 1/2 (NT + Godin,) but taking 2 1/2 wouldn't surprise me with our DT depth being so shaky and the rotation they want to use.

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  5. We will take two DT's from among Pipkins, O'Brien and Day. It makes no sense to take only one so that seems like a pressure technique to get a commit. In response to Football Dude: Pipkens is a beast at 320+ and will play NT (1 Tech); Day is smaller and very quick - likely a 3 Tech; O'Brien at about 300 and very quick could play either interior position. All three are REALLY good.

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  6. Campbell, Washington, Talbott, Ash, Rock will be the 5 DTs in 2012. So they could only take 1 in this class, giving 7 total (incl Godin).

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  7. Rock and Godin will eventually grow into DT's but both will likely either redshirt, or play 5 tech in the beginning, or both. It would be a miracle if Talbott ever plays a game for Michigan at this point. His injury and his (less than) 250 lbs will certainly keep him out of the DT rotation. We could end up with as few as 3 DT's playing in 2012 unless a true freshman plays, or Rock and Godin put on weight fast enough, or a Guard moves to DT.

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  8. Obrian would be huge...not just cause he is a great player, but he would help recruit the Flint area with Hayes and Rawls

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  9. 3-technique DT's don't need to be as big as people are making it seem. If we land a Pipkins and/or O'Brien these guys will play NT. Both of these two will play at AA over 300lbs. Godin and Rock already way 270lbs. The three technique needs to be able to penetrate gaps and make plays behind the LOS. NT occupy blockers and keep OL off the LB's as a priority. Mike Martin is a great NT! He occupies blockers WHILE still making plays! Wormley at 255lbs has the frame to add 30-35lbs and play the 3-technique as well although he will probably play mostly DE. Washington, Ojemuida, Brown, Spence are all guys that will for sure stay outside. A guy like Aziz Shittu 275lbs could slide back and forth between the two spots, but would be ideal for the 3 technique position.

    @5302 I no Pipkins dominated in 7 on 7's this summer, but I love O'Brien. He is every bit as good as Pipkins, but secondly he is a Michigan kid. If he truly wants to be at the UM I am all in on him. I would take him over Pipkins if I had to choose one.

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  10. Agreed about size, except in Godin and Rocks case they are also 6'5" tall or more. They'll have a tough time gaining leverage and penetrating against an established shorter Guard as freshman unless they build up more size or have perfect technique, whereas Martin and Day are 6'2". I think they will do that easily, but not until after a few years. Shittu is an odd case because he has the right build for 3tech, but the wrong skill set. In 1on1 DTackle drills he regularly gets toppled by guys who're even taller than him. His strength is the more athletic outside speed rush. Similar for Godin and Rock. They have the athleticism and the long arms to break from the strong-side tackle and grab the ball carrier so they're better suited for the 5tech run stopping role until they're ready to move inside.

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  11. Our favorite insider Ace Williams says that Michigan will be getting a commitment from a 325lb DT at the BBQ.That could only mean Pipkins. Hope it's true.

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  12. Does anyone see a potential #1 jersey candidate at WR? Roundtree was undoubtedly our most productive receiver last season, but if I had to pick right now, I'd say Junior Hemingway. He's a bigger body, and is much more aggressive when it comes to fighting for the ball in the air, and after the catch. I think we'll see more production out of him this year with the new offense.

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  13. @michael Ken Wilkins is a DT now and Nathan Brink played with the 1's in the spring game and the coaches have said he could be in the rotation. Also Terry Talbott will most likely put on weight and if he avoids injury he will be in the rotation. So thats 5 in the rotation for 2012, 6 if Talbott gains weight and avoids injury.

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  14. @michael Ken Wilkins is a DT now and Nathan Brink played with the 1's in the spring game and the coaches have said he could be in the rotation. Also Terry Talbott will most likely put on weight and if he avoids injury he will be in the rotation. So thats 5 in the rotation for 2012, 6 if Talbott gains weight and avoids injury.

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  15. Why are people still talking about Shittu? Rivals has him listed with no interest in Michigan. He had narrowed it down to 8 or 9 teams with interest. Have I missed something?

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  16. I don't want to sound like a pessimist but DLine depth for 2012 looks pretty dire. The website lists Wilkins at DT but he'll be 1st choice backup at SDE in 2012. Plus he only weighs 260 even after redshirting. Nathan Brink is a 6'5" 250lb walkon. If he plays at NT this year we're in a bad way. Walkons played in the Spring Game just so we could have a Spring Game. Terry Talbot came in under 250, had a potentially career ending back injury, had surgery, and is still under 250. He may not ever be able to play again, let alone get healthy and put on 50 lbs. TTB did a pretty good profile on him in June. Things are thin enough that the coaches have discussed putting DE Heininger inside even though he's our only serviceable SDE backup right now, but they'd prefer him inside and Brink outside to the other way around. We'll have 2012 true freshmen in the rotation.

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  17. Does anyone know what is going on with 2011 commit Kellen Jones?

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  18. I just saw a thread about it, people were saying it was something serious. No one has any confirmed sources, so out of respect for the kid let's not throw rumors around speculating it.

    On a completely unrelated note, I was looking at Mike Harts rivals profile to find what players are most similar to him (since people always reference him when they talk about going back to a pro style running back). An almost identical player is Justice Hayes except he was a high rated recruit. If you don't believe me check out these rivals profiles (note the height, weight, and speed)
    Mike Hart: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-Mike-Hart-17175
    Justice Hayes:http://rivals.yahoo.com/michiganpreps/football/recruiting/player-Justice-Hayes-85603

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  19. I would love to see Justice Hayes show us some Mike Hart flash. He needs to put on some weight, at least 20 lbs, but he has the speed and agility, so I'd take that in a heartbeat.

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  20. Does a large number of linebackers and less depth at DT mean we could possibly be headed for a 3-4 defense in 2012?

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  21. Jut,
    There was a great post and discussion about your point on MGoBlog.

    As we all expected, very slow leading up to the BBQ.

    Anyone else absolutely LOVE clicking on College Football on the SI site, and having an image of Hoke and his players pop up? You can't even BUY that kind of PR!!!!!

    Go Blue!

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  22. What is going on with Kellen Jones? Is he ok?

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  23. The Detroit Free Press calls Blake Bars a defensive lineman twice in an article about the recruiting class, though he's also listed on the side as an 0-lineman. I'm wondering if they know something we don't.

    As for 2012 DT depth -- there is Big Willy, Richard Ash is a redshirt frosh that was highly recruited and thought of, and Q Washington converted to d-line late last year after the depth issues. He's a red soph. With Wilkins eating and lifting himself into a DT from a LB, and with Terry Talbot we should be okay with quality depth in 2012. Jack Miller is coming in this fall as a 3-star OL/DT. ESPN seems to think he's a DT though he was listed on this site as OL. If there's depth on the OL he could easily shit to DT with his size and ability.

    I think the coaches have been smart to take so many DEs. If you look at the official UM roster there are only 5 DEs listed, and 2 of them are seniors with no eligibility left. And of them Van Bergen will probably shift inside at times this year if needed.

    I also think that Brennan Beyer and the Rock are going to play this year, as Roh did his frosh year. We'll find out soon, as it is almost time for fall practice to start. We'll have a clearer knowledge of depth once the freshmen get their tries.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20110719/SPORTS06/107190329/Brady-Hoke-staff-assemble-strong-class-recruits?odyssey=mod|mostview

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  24. The Freep just doesn't care to check their info, Bars is definitely an OL. I loved this line that you said " If there's depth on the OL he could easily SHIT to DT with his size and ability"

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  25. BM-
    whats the link to the article? I can't find it.

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  26. The coaches have said Nathan Brink would be in the rotation

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  27. Jut-

    http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/evidence-michigan-headed-3-4-defense-2013

    Sorry, not really an article, just an interesting reader derived thread with interesting comments.

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  28. The freep is a rag tabloid. All they do is cut and paste. Rarely do they ever contribute anything that is not already public domain.

    Their classic M O is to compile quotes from a single presser, and then string out a series of posts throughout the week, recycling the same material.

    Not surprised they made such an obvious error. Probably a summer intern, working for free, while the "author" of record is drinking beer on the golf course.

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  29. And I meant no offense to the National Enquirer.

    They broke the Edwards story, and the Woods story, yet they get dissed by people like those over at the freep?

    Please....

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  30. Burbridge update!!

    "I'm not close to a decision right now," he said. "It's still Michigan and Michigan State. Those are the only two." Burbridge wouldn't say who he favors at this point, noting he hasn't taken any recent visits. Again, school is his first priority. "I'm trying to get my grades in order first," he said.

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  31. How can you play college football if you dont even have good enough grades to play in high school lol. To be honest he sounds like an MSU player for sure. If you show up in high school you can pretty much pass every class and if you dont that reflects your attitude 100 percent.

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  32. easy balla,

    While i agree with your assessment of high school academics, lets remember we are talking about kids. Kids are immature and make mistakes. It shows character he has realized those mistakes and is working on fixing them. There's no guarantee he qualifies, im just saying don't count him out, UM would love to have him if he works for it.

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  33. BM-
    thanks for the link. lots of info.

    everyone-
    did you happen to see the string of posts using bbq puns on mgoblog. its a riot.

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  34. If he goes to prep school, does that mean he would count towards a 2013 scholarship? This is if he doesn't get his grades up and he chooses michigan.

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  35. If he chose to go to JuCo then he would be part of the class for whatever year he transfers I believe. I don't know Hoke's policy on transfer students though...

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  36. According to TomVH, Brionte Dunn is currently scheduled to attend the Big House BBQ...even though that is the plan as of now, according to his father that could change between now and then...

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  37. Michigan almost never accepts transfer students, and I view the comments he made as only good news. He is trying to get his grades up to qualify for college, but he probably could already get into MSU. This means he is working to get his grades up for Michigan, and I would love to have him. Does anyone know if his problems are strictly academic and not behavior?

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  38. Hey balla
    You can talk shit and think your better than this kid, but if I were you id watch his film first. The kids the real deal and will play on Sundays. So unless your some hot shot something he'll probably make more in his second nfl contract than you will in your whole life. Though we should all judge HIM for not being all he can be.

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  39. Damn new collective bargaining agreement, making it so rookies actually have to prove themselves and wait until their rookie contract expires to make money.

    And I think we should not use the word shit on this blog unless it is used to say this:
    "If there's depth on the OL he could easily shit to DT with his size and ability."
    -Professor A
    That comment made my day.

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  40. TO FUNNY!!! ANYWAYS, ALDEN HILL CAN BE TAKEN OFF OUR RB/FB LIST, HES GOING TO TENNESSEE.

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  41. Hey Richard

    Before you start talking about a guy playing in the NFL you should wait for him to play one snap in college first lol. Do you have any clue how many 4 star players don’t make it in the NFL? I can tell you there are a lot more that don’t make it than do. As for his film I have watched it he looks amazing. My comment had everything to do with his work ethic. He obviously doesn’t have a good one at all to be failing high school. Maybe the kid can change and show maturity or maybe he can just do what he has been doing and go to MSU lol. I will take a 3 star WR with a great work ethic over a 4 star WR with an average work ethic any day. I have no clue how this kids work ethic will be in college this is just me speculating. I would love for him to prove me wrong.

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  42. Ok well if he isn't passing in high school it is hard to just change your study/work habits over night. He will have to try hard to change that aspect of his schooling to make it easy to handle the high amount of work he will have to qualify.

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  43. Miller is a backup Center, could be a good one, and will redshirt. Even Jake Long redshirted. Talbot is (yet again) too injured to practice or lift. He'll need a year of rehab to get back into condition, then put on 40-60 pounds after that if he's ever healthy enough to play again. Rock and Wilkins could be DTs someday, but that someday is not this year, maybe not next year either. RVB had a tough time as a 3-3-5 DE last year, these smaller-younger kids will have it even worse as interior linemen facing 600+ lbs of double team. Rock could be big enough to play 3rd string DE this year, they'll know if he's good enuhg to not redshirt next month. Beyer weighs 215 and will likely redshirt. Our best shot is to ask a guy like Tony Posada to move to DT next year and/or have Pipkins play as a true freshman. Once more for reference: 325>260. We could put 250-260 lb kids across the DLine, but only once, even at 3rd string. After scraping those poor kids off the field they'll put guys in there who have at least a fighting chance.
    I'll have a ton of respect for Burbridge if he sticks it out and qualifies. It's easy to work hard at something you're good at, it's tough working hard at something you're not good at.

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  44. Hey balla watch his film. Just watch it. Just do it.

    @ mark. The bargaining agreement is why I said second contract, which is awesome for the nfl to do. Look how much people like Ryan Leaf made to sit on the bench. And im sorry about the s word. Soldiers just getting back from Afghanistan tend to not be able to speak a sentence without cussing four times. So im doing well, but not perfect yet.

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  45. Richard,
    Thank you for serving, and welcome home. It's because of people like you, that people like the rest of us live free to type any nonsense that emits from two neurons rubbing together.

    I think one could look at this topic (HS academics/student athletes) in more than one way. Here are only two perspectives:

    On the one hand, it's a tremendous opportunity for a kid who would otherwise probably end up with a low pay, labor or service job, to learn, grow, and have the opportunity to earn a 4 year degree from a school like Michigan while also chasing an NFL dream.

    On the other, it's kind of sad to see kids putting so much into something that is a long shot, could end in a flash, (Antonio Bass come to mind) and perhaps less time and effort into education.

    Since we don't have much to go on today, lets play a new game:

    How many recruits do think will commit before they leave from the BBQ weekend, and who?

    I'll guess 3. O'Brien, one of the two WR's, and a 2013 kid.

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  46. @richard I second what BM said about serving, thanks for all you do.
    I think we will get one of the DT's eithe PIpkins or O'brien, I am not so sure about a WR I think the coaches might be waiting for Peyton and/or Stanford to visit before accepting a commitment. And regarding a 2013 kid; Steve Elmer won't commit he wants to play out his recruitment, I doubt Jonny Reschke would commit just because he hasn't been glowing about Michigan just yet. I do think we could get a commitment from Wyatt Shallman, but I am still unsure of what position Michigan is even thinking about having him play. I do think Wormley will commit in that time. One note about 2013 recruits, on the Wednsday recruiting roundup on the mgoblog Tim linked an Ohio site that state the three must have 2013 recruits from Ohio and Dymonte Thomas was one of them.

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  47. @Michael: Will Campbell, Richard Ash and Quinton Washington are all 300+ pounders, and all three of them will be NTs in 2012 (WC would have to have a monster year to even consider leaving after this, his jr. year -- and so far that seems unlikely). Considering we will have four defensive linemen in the game at once this year, that means those playing under tackle can be quicker and lighter because they will be playing one on one most plays.

    I'm talking about serviceable depth, not Suh or McCoy type abilities. We'll have that by this time in 2012 even if Pipkins or Day is all that we get.

    The UTs can be around 265-280 depending on how much muscle mass they have, and how speedy they are. Chris Rock will be able to be in that weight range by 2012.

    Rich Rod was not the only coach to ever switch peoples positions, and the chances are that one or two players on the roster already or coming in this fall will gain the weight and muscle necessary to move up a position. Bell went from safety to LB, Wilkins from an end/lb to an under tackle. Ezeh and Moundros switched from FB to LB. It happens. My post above was simply to show that we don't need 2-3 DTs for 2012 (though I would love to have two of them) to have depth at the two DT positions.

    We are weaker, as I said, at DE, where you only need to be 230-250 to play well. We need these DEs more than the DTs. DTs are run-stuffers and there to clog up the o-lineman for our LBs to do damage. Living in Maryland and having Ravens friends, I've seen the need to have good depth and speed at the LBS and DEs as more imperative than piling up 300-pounders.

    Lastly, I don't think it's smart to preach a definitive position for recruits who haven't shown up on campus yet. Look at WC and Roh.

    As someone who has followed Michigan and general college recruiting for over 20 years, it's funny that we're so advanced in discussion about the 2012 class when the 2011 class hasn't had its chance on the practice field.

    Pipkins might be a man amongst children right now, but it's a hell of a long road to Ann Arbor -- no matter how good a player's tape is. Look at Max Martin, Kevin Grady, and sadly, Sam McGuffie.

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  48. Mark,

    My understanding is that the two WR's confirmed for the BBQ have offers.

    I agree that the staff would like to land Payton or Stanford, but an offer is an offer.

    How do you tell a kid "well, you have an offer, but you can't give a verbal until we hear from guys we like better."

    Won't happen. They are giving offers to kids they want. They will accept verbals from kids that want to suit up for Michigan, as soon as the kids are certain.

    Ditto for the last OL spot, RB, and the DT's.

    The BBQ is not just a free for all, open to every recruit. My understanding is that it is by selective invitation only.

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  49. Jordan Simmons update

    Apparently as of yesterday, Simmons has named Michigan in his top 3 along with Oregon and I believe USC.

    Depending on where you look, Simmons is ranked 1st or 2nd in the nation in his position.

    Simmons' mentor is Courtney Morgan - Michigan Wolverine 1999-2003

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  50. I think it's Miami not michigan. You probably say UM and assumed it was the real UM(Michigan), not the fake one (Miami).

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  51. No Really!!! Here's the link to the story.....I think they screwed up their offer board,

    http://247sports.com/Article/Nations-2nd-ranked-OG-has-top-3-31994

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  52. Well now I am confused, on twitter a bunch of people said it was USC Oregon and Miami. I guess we shall wait and see.

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  53. It is Usc, miami, and oregon.

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  54. Can you guys get into the article......why do they mention Michigan?

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  55. They mention Michigan for the WR that likes us and Oregon State...I'm assuming it's Jordan Payton. I'm not VIP either.

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  56. Powe doesn't have an offer from us and as of the 15th was wide open with no clear leader. Have we thrown him an offer.

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  57. He doesn't have an offer but he wants to visit. It can't be payton because oregon state isn't in his top 5. It may be derrick woods also.

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  58. We'll never know...........at this rate the damn class will be full at the BBQ before dessert comes out!!!!!

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  59. The only certainty about recruiting at this point is everything on the table is a win-win. Goodnight folks.....gotta be up in 5 hours for work.

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