Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Jarron Jones to ND

Four star defensive tackle Jarron Jones has committed to Notre Dame this week, having once been a Penn State commit. At one point he was very high on Michigan and was trying to schedule both unofficial and official visits.

This isn't a big deal for UM, I don't think he was even that high on their board given that Pipkins has committed and they are still in play for O'Brien and possibly Azizz Shittu.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Cass Tech gets a beating

Cass Tech high school in Detroit consistently produces good individual talent, but it looks like the team in general could be in for a down year if a 43-7 loss to Farmington Hills is anything to go by. Farmington Hills are a very good team, but that's still a bad result for a team with two Michigan commits.

Check out this detnews article for a recap of the game.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Another day, Another departure!

I've just seen that Chris Barnett has left the program, when did this happen? I swear I've been checking all the main UM sites for team news this week, and somehow I must have missed this.

Freshman TE Chris Barnett, who basically switched to UM on signing day has left, leaving the TE position pretty light for this year. I really hope Ricardo Miller comes good now!

Will this effect recruiting? Maybe. Ron Thompson is the only TE left on Michigan's board, but we don't even know for sure that he has a committable offer. If I were Hoke, I'd be awfully tempted to take Thompson should Michigan lose out on Brionte Dunn, or a 6th OL. Thompson is a great prospect who's excelled at camps and combines this year, and with Kevin Koger departing UM after this year, the coaches might feel they now need him in this class.

Extra: We also have to think about the possibility that A.J Williams makes the switch to OL.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Je'Ron Stokes next to leave

When it was first put out there that Michigan would take a class of 26, many were skeptical about how 8 new spaces would free up in the class (early predictions gave UM 18 scholies). But the annual attrition that we've become used to over the last 3 years has struck again and claimed Tony Posada and Je'Ron Stokes this week, and it might rear it's head again in the next few days.

I discussed Posada's departure yesterday, so now let's look at Stokes. Firstly, we have to be disappointed that a guy with so much hype coming to the team has failed to live up to it. But then we have to consider how weak the depth chart is looking at WR next year!

Michigan will now almost certainly take two WRs with the four remaining spots, unless they opt for Ron Thompson and move Devin Funchess to WR, which is a viable option in my opinion if they can't get the right WRs.

Anyway, this means another change to the projected class!

The focus on the class is now fully offensive, so out goes Dan O'Brien and in comes Jordan Payton for the first time! Amara Darboh is still the other receiver, and Jordan Diamond is in as the 6th OL. I'm keeping Brionte Dunn in there too.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tony Posada leaves the program

There will always be some freshman who it just doesn't work out for, and this year Tony Posada is the guy. It's a shame because of how badly UM needs OL, and also because it doesn't really look like he gave UM much of a chance, he was barely on campus before he left!

This departure could change Michigan's recruiting slightly for the 2012 class. Originally UM wanted 5-6 OL for the class, of which they currently have five; but they almost have a sixth in Jordan Diamond. The question is though, would they now take 7 if Zach Banner and Joshua Garnett decided to commit together at the ND game or shortly after?

Monday, 22 August 2011

September Officials

Writing a post a day is harder than it used to be...

There aren't many spaces left in the class and Hoke will probably just accept commitments straight away, which means the timing of official visits in September could be key. Let's take a look at a few that have already been scheduled.

September 3rd (WMU)

Only one guy down here at the moment, but it could be an important one in Amara Darboh. I'm sure there will be others, especially the local guys as well as a load of current commits.

September 10th (ND)

This will be a big one! Brionte Dunn will be there, which means his cousin Dymonte Thomas will probably come too (UM would love an early commitment from him!). Another big time offensive recruit, Jordan Payton is scheduled to take in the game, and he'll be joined by fellow west coast prospects, Zach Banner and Joshua Garnett. Banner has had the visit scheduled for a long time, and if Garnett is able to go, I think he will.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Changes to Projected class

It's been a while since I've changed my projected class, and with a few official visits now scheduled, I think there should be some changes. It's hard to guess what positions the coaches really want, but I imagine it'll be 1 defender and 3 offensive players, with a basic first come first serve policy.

- First change; Dwayne Stanford is out. We just haven't been hearing much positive news regarding him and Michigan, whereas UM seems to be in a good position for the likes of Amara Darboh and Jordan Payton. Whilst I'm sure we'd all love to get Payton, I think with Darboh visiting for the WMU game, he should be the favorite to get the WR spot.

- The second change is a follow up from the first. With Stanford out, that pretty much means Adolphus Washington won't end up at Michigan. If UM do indeed take another defensive player, it's more likely to be a DT like O'Brien or Shittu, or a CB like Yuri Wright. Clearly out of these three, O'Brien is the most likely, so he gets the nod.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The blog is back...

I've been a little distant from the blog this summer, and haven't posted nearly as much as I'd have liked to, but the lack of recruiting news hasn't helped things either. Anyway, the blog will now have my full attention pretty much until the end of the season, which is when my next exams start.

There will be at least one decent post per day, and I'm hoping to start a regular live blog either on Sunday or Monday evenings that will discuss all things Michigan recruiting, as well as the previous game that weekend. And I promise that it will be faster than the last liveblog! (I've figured out how to do it properly :P)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The season approaches...

This weekend hasn't provided much news in terms of recruiting; there were no commits, no visits, not even any good interviews surfacing on the net. This is partly because there are so few players on UM's board, but mainly because people are now starting to focus on actual football! Summer practice has started, and whilst I haven't heard that much about how the team is looking, I'm going to take a quick break from recruiting to casually predict how this season will unfold for UM!

Game 1: WMU

Western Michigan were apparently meant to give Michigan a close game back in 2009 when they had Tim Hiller at QB, but they really struggled in the Big House. I don't think they are as strong as in 2009, and this is basically the same UM team but two years older, so it's a guaranteed win.

Prediction: Win!..............Chances of Prediction being correct: 97%

Game 2: Notre Dame

This is obviously the first real test of the season, and it should be a very tough game. ND finished 2010 very strongly and will be motivated after two tough losses in recent years to UM. However! This is a big rivalry game and Brady Hoke will definitely have the troops fired up, and given that the game is in Michigan Stadium, I'd be awfully tempted to bet on UM.

Prediction: Win!..............Chances of Prediction being correct: 51%

Game 3: EMU

Not much explanation needed here; there will be riots if Michigan lose this one, it's probably the easiest game of the year.

Prediction: Win!...............Chances of Prediction being correct: 98%

Game 4: SDSU

SDSU were a good football team last year, and bring back a few good players. Ryan Lindley at QB is a very strong QB and the little running back will be a threat too. This game will certainly test Michigan's defense, but I think the offense should win them this one fairly comfortably.

Prediction: Win!..............Chances of Prediction being correct: 75%

Game 5: Minnesota

The Golden Gophers are a poor team...

Prediction: Win!.............Chances of Prediction being correct: 84%

Game 6: @ Northwestern

After 5 home games to start, the Wolverines hit the road and are given their first loss in my book. Dan Persa is a very good dual threat QB, and if he's as good as last year, he could rip through Michigan's D and rack up some serious points.

Prediction: Loss.............Chances of Prediction being correct: 60%

Game 7: @ MSU

This won't go down well, but I'm predicting two losses on the bounce for UM here! 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.

Prediction: Loss..............Chances of Prediction being correct: 55%

Game 8: Purdue

After two straight losses, the schedule now gives Michigan an easy chance to redeem themselves against a good, but very beatable Purdue team. In the Big House I don't think Purdue will have an answer to UM's offense.

Prediction: Win!.............Chances of Prediction being correct: 80%

Game 9: @ Iowa

Iowa have lost Ricky Stanzi and a few other big names like Adrian Clayborn, so I really like Michigan's chances here to pull off a big away win. They actually should have beaten Iowa in 2009, but unfortunately DRob threw a bad INT on what would have been a game winning drive. Expect no such mistakes this time around as Michigan becomes bowl eligible!

Prediction: Win!...........Chances of Prediction being correct: 55%

Game 10: @ Illinois

This will be a very close game, but I'm going to be a bit pessimistic and pick Illinois. They should be a decent football team this year, and Michigan might already have one eye on Nebraska next week, and OSU after that.

Prediction: Loss............Chances of Prediction being correct: 55%

Game 11: Nebraska

The Cornhuskers are a good team, maybe even a team that could win the Big Ten this year, but for some reason I fancy Michigan to pull off the upset. Taylor Martinez is a very hit and miss type of player, and Denard Robinson could really show him up in this game. Nebraska's D might be well prepared for UM, but I still like the Wolverines here in a close one.

Prediction: Win!............Chances of Prediction being correct: 52%

Game 12: Ohio

For the first time in ages, it seems like Michigan actually has a good chance to beat the Buckeyes! I still think OSU will be a good team, probably a better team than Michigan; but that doesn't mean UM can't pull off the upset on the day. UM will be pumped, and despite Luke Fickell's best efforts, I don't think OSU will be ready for the new found intensity that Michigan is going to bring to The Game.

Prediction: Win!............Chances of Prediction being correct: 60(!!)%

That gives Michigan a 9-3 record if I've counted correctly; with all three losses coming on the road. Overall this is a very optimistic prediction, wins against Nebraska AND OSU might seem unlikely now, but who knows; Michigan might look like a different team come November.

Anyway, this post was just a bit of hype for the season. Feel free to post your own version in the comments section, I'll be interested to see how many of you have Michigan playing for the national title!!!!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Reeves to PSU

Cornerback Armani Reeves did indeed commit to Penn State today, as foreseen by pretty much everyone. The recent visit to Penn State and the fact that his current teammate Camren Williams is a PSU commit didn't give us much hope in the first place.

If Michigan still wants another CB in this class, then it will probably be Yuri Wright; who would actually be the top prospect overall for UM should he commit. Wright has UM near the top of his list, but hasn't visited yet, so it's hard to say where things stand.

Armani Reeves Announcement

I tweeted this a couple days ago but forgot to post it. Cornerback Armani Reeves will announce his college decision today at around 10am with Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State being the finalists.

UM only just recently got back into the picture for Reeves, so it will be a big surprise if he ends up choosing the Wolverines. Wise money has to be on Penn State, who he visited fairly recently.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The remaining spaces

The class now sits at 22, which in August is extremely impressive. With UM thought to be taking 26 this year, simple math tells us that there are only four spaces left, so what positions will/should they go to?

Wide Receiver: This is probably the only real need left in this class and with prospects like Darboh, Stanford and Chesson still up for grabs, I don't think Michigan will miss out on a WR.

Cornerback: Personally I don't think another CB is needed, but it looks like it could well happen given the way UM are after Armani Reeves and Yuri Wright. Both prospects are saying UM wants to take one more elite corner.

The next two positions are more random, they will go to the first two to commit, almost regardless of their position. If I were to guess how it ends up, I'd say OL and RB.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Commitment Profile: Ondre Pipkins

Name: Ondre Pipkins

Location: Kansas City, MO

Position: DT

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

Recruitment: Pipkins actually grew up in Michigan, and his Dad still coaches football here, so he has plenty of connections to the state and the state's premier football program! Michigan has really always lead for Pipkins since they offered, but there was fairly strong competition from the SEC schools, particularly Tennessee and Alabama. Michigan State will try to claim they were in the race, but to be honest, they weren't. Pipkins visited Michigan for the first time at the BHBBQ and claimed it to be his best visit, but he still insisted that he would take officials. A few days later he committed, funny how things work.

Offers: Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan State, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and many more.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’3 and around 320lbs, with a 40 yard dash time of 5.15 seconds. The best stats I could find on his junior year were 50 tackles and 3 sacks.

ESPN Analysis: Pipkins is a big boy and he shows flashes of being a real handful at the nose. He has good overall size, but may need to spend some time in a college weight program not only improving strength but reworking his build some to allow his size to better work for him. He can show flashes of very good first-step quickness which can grab your attention.

Has the ability to knock blockers back, but could use his hands better as well as improving his upper body strength. Has good burst off the snap of the ball and can collapse the pocket, but needs to show this more consistently.

It's a harsh evaluation compared to others!

Improvements: Needs to work on his consistency and footwork when driving through blockers. Also needs to work on his pad level and use of hands.

Film Highlights: Link here. There is actually no highlight film of him available on the likes of youtube etc, so there's a video of him just after he blew up the nike camp.

Final Thoughts: I like ESPN's evaluations, they are by far the most thorough and generally quite accurate when we look back at past players. However, I've got to be skeptical about this evaluation. Pipkins is one of the top players in the country this year based on his combine performances, and his offer list is much better than a three star rating.

As a freshman with great size, he'll definitely have a chance to compete for a rotation spot, and by his second year he could well be starting if UM is still in a 4-3. In other words, a redshirt is unlikely, unless his technique really needs as much work as ESPN says it does.

There are only four spots left in this class, and I don't think any will be going to another DT, unless his name is Aziz Shittu. The remaining spots should go to a WR, RB, CB and and OL. However you could definitely see UM missing out on that RB...

DT was a big need coming into this class and Michigan has finally filled it, to the relief of many fans I think!

Pipkins to UM

You crafty fox Mr Pipkins...next time a kid says he really wants to take official visits, I'm just going to ignore him!

Three Star (should be four star) DT Ondre Pipkins has committed to Michigan today, all but ending DT recruiting for this class; which might be bad news for Dan O'Brien.

Pipkins has had a great spring and summer at camps etc, and has earned some really impressive offers, so this is a great pickup. Anyway, more of this talk in the commitment profile later!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Sheldon Day to ND

Four star DT Sheldon Day has committed to Notre Dame, ergh.

It's always bad to see a top player commit elsewhere, but it feels even worse when you know you're going to see him each year on the opposite sideline.

Day was once considered to be a big Michigan lean back in the spring, when a quick succession of visits had the Wolverines as clear favorites. But things cooled down dramatically over the summer as Michigan gained in stature with the likes of Ondre Pipkins and Dan O'Brien. He was scheduled to visit for the BBQ last weekend, but didn't make the trip in the end, and I guess that sealed things for Notre Dame.

Who's left? (Defense)

Following up from Wednesday's offense based post, here's a look at who the Wolverines are realistically targeting on the defensive side of the ball, and see when a decision might come:

- DT Ondre Pipkins: I'd say he's still the front runner for the presumed one DT spot left in this class, although Dan O'Brien is a very close second (see below). He visited for the first time for the BHBQQ and loved it, but it wasn't enough for him to commit early. His top group includes Michigan, Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee with UM as the favorites. All four will get an official visit, so a decision will probably come late in the season.

- DT Dan O'Brien: He's seen Michigan, he's seen the SEC schools. I'm not really sure why he's delaying his decision so much when there's only 1 spot left at Michigan. He's probably going to take his officials this fall to the likes of Tennessee, Florida and Alabama, maybe MSU and UM too. If I were to guess how it all unfolds, I'd say Pipkins to UM and O'Brien to Tennessee? Just a guess.

- DE Adolphus Washington: It's still hard to project Washington into this class when he hasn't even visited, but I still think he's pretty high on Michigan. They are bound to get an official visit, and are sure to be in his final group come January when he announces at the Under Armor AA game.

- CB Armani Reeves!: Surprised? I sure am. But multiple sources are saying that Michigan is recruiting Reeves again. With four DBs committed, I'm skeptical about why they want another CB when spaces in the class are low. Maybe Hoke isn't happy about what's already on campus! Whatever the reason, Michigan is back in the hunt, although they more than likely trail Notre Dame and Penn State at this stage.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Who left? (Offense)

After Wormley's commitment this weekend, there are only 5 projected spaces left in this year's class; and the season hasn't even started yet! Crazy. Anyway, let's take a look at the realistic targets left on UM's board, and see when they might be thinking of making a decision.

- OT Jordan Diamond: As you read this I think Jordan is currently on campus at Ole Miss, having visited Arkansas yesterday. He's liking what he sees and will more than likely revisit some SEC schools on official visits. So it looks like his commitment might take a while to come, but in the end I think Michigan will hold off the challengers.

- WR Dwayne Stanford: I've recently seen two 'top five' lists for Dwayne, one included Michigan, the other did not. I suspect Michigan is still in with a chance here, given that he grew up liking UM and that he hasn't even visited yet. He'll be taking all his officials, and one should be to UM before deciding around October-November.

- WR Jehu Chesson: He visited for the BBQ with his family and they all seemed to have a great time. He's another guy that will want to take his visits, but Michigan should have a good chance here. Missouri will also be right in there at the death, as might Indiana; who he recently visited.

- WR Amara Darboh: Another recent visitor to Ann Arbor, Darboh came away very impressed and I think Michigan is definitely in his top group, if not the outright leader. He'll take some visits, but could still be a mid-season decision. Note that if one of the three receivers mentioned were to randomly commit early, then the other two might be rushed into a decision of their own.

- TE Ron Thompson: Michigan is still under consideration for Thompson along with Syracuse and Maryland. He wants to play for Michigan, but something is holding him back; maybe UM only wants 2 TE's, or maybe there is something else.

Edit: how could I have forgot him?!!!

- RB Brionte Dunn: He visited for the BBQ and liked what he saw. The OSU sanctions will be announced at tge start of the season if I remember correctly; shortly before Dunn is set to take an official to UM for the ND game. So those first couple weeks in September should decide his recruitment!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

BBQ Quick Notes

So we know what Chris Wormley thought about the Big House BBQ, but what about some of the other high profile prospects there?

- There was no commitment from Ondre Pipkins, and it looks like there probably won't be one for a while. It seems like he wants to take at least 3-4 officials before making his decision. Dan O'Brien will probably do the same, which is good for Ondre because it gives him more time.

- Brionte Dunn had another good visit, and it was no doubt helped by having good friend Kyle Kalis and cousin (and UM lean) Dymonte Thomas there. In my opinion it will still come down to those OSU sanctions, but as of right now Michigan still has a very good chance.

- Jehu Chesson is one of the top WR's left on Michigan's board, and he caught up with MGoBlog's TomVH to discuss his visit.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Commitment Profile: Chris Wormley

Name: Chris Wormley

Location: Toledo, OH

Position: DE

Ratings: ESPN – 4* (80), Scout – 4*, 247 Sports - 4*

Recruitment: Chris Wormley grew up as a big Michigan fan, but throughout his sophomore and junior years at high school he insisted that both Michigan and Ohio State were his co-leaders. In fact, no other schools even came close to consideration. I think Wormley would have chosen Michigan in the end no matter what, but the trouble at OSU undoubtedly made his decision much easier. He committed to Michigan during the Big House BBQ at the end of July.

Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Florida (not 100% sure), MSU, Illinois, Cincinnati.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’5 and 250lbs, with no reported 40 yard dash time. As a sophomore he made 59 tackles and 12 sacks.

ESPN Analysis: Wormley is a good looking defensive end prospect and displays the tools to be a tough defender against the run and pass. He is a kid with good size for a high school prospect with nice height and bulk. His current size may suggest he could out grow the end position and it is possible, but we feel he has the tools to stay at end for the long haul.

Very good in run defense, using good burst and pad level to maintain his ground and then shed through his block once he locates the ball carrier. Also has a wide range of pash rushing moves which along with his quickness of the ball make him very tough to block; he capitalizes well on any mistake an opponent makes against him.

Overall is a very solid DE prospect with the skills and size to contribute early in his college career.

Scout Analysis: Tremendous size and ability. Likely a strongside end, but could also play inside. Ideal five-tech. Turned it up another notch in terms of motor and consistent effort as a junior. When we saw him as a sophomore, he just overpowered his opposition. Last year, because I think he saw a few top prospects and, he started to turn up the intensity. He's a naturally massive kid and moves well for that size.

Improvements: His lack of intensity has been an issue brought up by a few analysts, but I wouldn't worry too much about that with Hoke, Mattison and Montgomery watching over him. 'Lateral Range' is also listed on scout as a weakness.

Film Highlights: Link here. (sophomore film)

Final Thoughts: Wormley has been one of Michigan's top targets for a long time now, dating back to the RR era, so it feels great to finally have him committed. He's received some criticism this off season, but I fully expect him to answer those critics with an outstanding senior year.

Wormley will more than likely play strongside DE, a position that will be up for grabs in 2012 after Ryan Van Bergen graduates. With his good size and skill set, Wormley will be competing for the starting role straight away.

As for the rest of the class, this commitment doesn't have too much of an effect on the projected class because it was so highly expected. Will they take another DE? Probably not, unless it's Washington.