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Monday, 31 January 2011

Jake Fisher Update

TomVH is tweeting that Jake Fisher will announce his college decision at 8PM EST on signing day; pending the weather I guess (assuming he does another press conference?).

Right now it seems like a Michigan vs Oregon battle, with the slight edge going to the Ducks. I think most Oregon fans think they have him all but locked up; but we'll just have to wait and see.

Thomas Rawls update

RB Thomas Rawls has decided to move his announcement up to tomorrow (1:30 EST), according to 24:7 Sports, link here.

The weather seems to be the main factor in this, as theres a chance Rawls' school won't be open on Wednesday due to snow.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Rawls + Cooper Update

The big news this weekend is that Thomas Rawls has officially received his Michigan offer, and apparently was elated over it. This is a kid that has always wanted to play for Michigan, but he didn't have the grades. But he didn't give up, he worked his butt off in the classroom and now has an offer to one of the top academic universities in the world, I'm so happy for him!

Rawls will make his announcement on signing, in a press conference at 9:30AM ET.

Extra: Rawls also seemed very optimistic on Michigan's chances of landing Chris Barnett...

If you haven't seen it already, check out TomVH's interview with Chris, here.


Darian Cooper is also going to be announcing his decision on signing day, although he doesn't have a time set just yet. One of the biggest factors in his decision will be his relationships with the players, so it's good to hear that he got on well with Josh Furman (host), Taylor Lewan and fellow recruit Antonio Poole.

Michigan has finally made it back into Cooper's top group, along with MSU, Iowa and Georgia Tech; and you can't help but feel optimistic here. We know his mom really likes Michigan, even more after Michigan showed her this again (go down to #15!). He and his mom are also good friends with the Hollowells if I remember rightly?

Darian Cooper visit reaction

Make sure you check out TomVH's interview with Darian Cooper over on MGoBlog, link here.

Weekend News

As you can see below, I finally got round to writing up the commitment posts for the last six guys that verballed to Michigan. You can check out the commit list, here.

Michigan has had five official visitors on campus this weekend, but yet the news out of Ann Arbor has been virtually non existent, apart from a couple of tweets from Darian Cooper, and the news that Chris Barnett is being hosted by Darryl Stonum.

Hopefully today and tomorrow we'll get some reactions from Cooper and Barnett, who are the two big visitors. We pretty much know where Thomas Rawls stands, but it'd be nice to hear if he got the offer whilst on campus.


Chris Bryant

Name: Chris Bryant

Location: Chicago, IL

Position: OL

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (77), Scout – 3*, Rivals 4*

Recruitment: Chris Bryant has always been very high on Michigan, in fact it's a miracle it played out this long. He was one of those Michigan locks when Rodriguez got fired, so you weren't sure how it would affect him. Fortunately it turned out to have little effect on his recruitment, as he selected Michigan despite late pushes from Pittsburgh, Illinois and Arizona.

Offers: Michigan, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Arizona, Stanford, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota.

Stats: At 6’5 and 330lbs, Bryant is a bit of a monster. He’ll be looking to get down to around 310 at Michigan. He runs a 5.3 forty yard dash.

ESPN Analysis: Bryant is a raw talent with very good upper body playing strength, flashing the ability to dominate defenders. Has the size for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition however his body mass will need to be redistributed through off season conditioning.

Flashes good pull / trap ability; can kick out and seal up inside showing the ability to play on his feet in space. We see a player capable of making the necessary run blocks at the next level of play once his techniques improve. His nimble feet and arm length should be assets in pass protection; flashes short set ability however his bend and base need attention; is capable of sliding his feet and playing flat footed in a reduced area; demonstrates the upper body playing strength to control pass rushers however all areas of hand use need refinement. We like the aggressive finishing attitude this guy brings to the game, it's what we like to see from offensive linemen.

From the man himself: “I’m big and quick. A lot of college coaches like that I can move. Also, I’m not a sloppy 330, I’m built. I have a real powerful punch too, but I’m trying to improve my footwork and my overall technique. I’m just trying to get it all down.”

Improvements: Needs to shed some pounds, turn some of that weight into muscle. Has surprisingly good feet and athleticism for a guy his size, but footwork can be improved. The use of his hands is also something to be addressed.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Heading for a redshirt, but Michigan hasn’t taken many O-lineman over the last few years so he could see playing time fairly early in his career. O-line was the main need coming into this class, RR aimed to take four, maybe 5 guys in 2011. Bryant’s commitment gives the Wolverines their 3rd OL commit, however if they take persuade Jake Fisher to rejoin the fold, they’ll have an impressive four.

One thing to note about Bryant is that he's the teammate of 2012 OT Jordan Diamond, who is already a top 100 player on scout, and an ESPN150 watch lister. Diamond likes Michigan a lot already, but the commitment of Bryant can only help things even more.

Antonio Poole

Name: Antonio Poole

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Position: LB

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (78), Scout – 4*, Rivals 3*

Recruitment: Poole’s recruitment can be summed up in two words; Greg Mattison.

With only two weekends left in the recruiting calendar, and one of them being spent in Miami, Poole wasn’t even sure if Michigan would get his last official visit; Pittsburgh were after him big time. Then Greg Mattison strolled in for an at home visit and by the time he left, Poole was a Michigan commitment; although he waited a few days to announce it publicly.

Offers: Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Cincinnati, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Wake Forest and Syracuse were his BCS offers. Miami and Nebraska were also interested.

Stats: Currently weighs around 215lbs at 6’1. He runs a 4.56 forty yard dash. As a junior he had 64 tackles (10 TFL), 2 FFs and 3 FRs. Senior stats are hard to find, but apparently he had 22 TFL.

ESPN Analysis: Poole is tough and active with very good production against the run. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. His strong wrap tackling ability should serve him well.

Has great instincts, showing good play recognition skills against the run and pass. Has good timing when filling gaps and has the combination of strength, speed and agility needed to beat blockers. His speed and athleticism is also an asset in pass coverage; he’s very aware of routes and has the ability to cover receivers coming out of the backfield. Has a great motor with outstanding acceleration, meaning he can cause havoc in the backfield; showing good closing burst on the QB.

Improvements: The above evaluation is actually really positive, shame its not reflected in his rating. He seems to be quite good in all aspects of his position, so not a whole lot of work is needed; might need to add a bit of muscle.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: The linebacker play has been subpar during Rodriguez’s tenure, and there is definitely a need to add some good prospects in this class. Poole is more than likely going to play on the outside, but he'll have competition from 2-3 guys in this class; however he might be the top OLB we take.

General consensus is that he doesn’t necessarily need a redshirt and that he'll probably see some time on special teams given his skill set. His playing time will be decided on how Hoke utilizes his current talent on defense. Do players like Cam Gordon, Josh Furman and Thomas Gordon play OLB instead of their old positions of ‘Bandit’ and ‘Spur’.

Russell Bellomy

Name: Russell Bellomy

Location: Arlington, TX

Position: QB

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (78), Scout – 3*, Rivals 3*

Recruitment: Yet another Hoke commitment that was previously committed elsewhere, in this case; Purdue. Danny Hope hates us. Anyway, after the departure of Tate Forcier from the program, it was clear that Hoke needed a QB in this class. After offering a couple of guys, he got Bellomy to visit in late January, and Russell committed shortly after leaving campus. The opportunity to attend Michigan was too good to pass up.

Offers: Michigan, Purdue, Boise State, USF, Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan State and some MAC schools.

Stats: Currently weighs around 180lbs at 6’3. As a senior he gained 1,564 passing yards (58.8% completion rate) and 15 touchdowns whilst throwing just three picks. He also had over 800 yards rushing, making him a dual threat. Runs a 4.63 forty yard dash.

ESPN Analysis: He is a very good athlete with a tall, but gangly frame that has a ton of room to fill out and develop strength. While his mechanics can be a bit wild and inconsistent, Bellomy displays toughness, grit and a competitive demeanor.

Gets the ball out quickly and with good zip to short and intermediate areas of the field. Gets set quickly, shows very good feet in his drop and can anticipate routes and throws to a spot very well... Throws a soft, catchable ball that has the necessary zip to fit into tight windows when he has to... He has a good arm, but not great power or the ability to consistently stretch the field vertically. Shows the ability to keep a play alive, evade within the pocket and make plays on the move. This is the area that surprises you the most about him-- he is a very good runner and improviser. Shows quickness, elusiveness and top end speed to be a guy that you have to contend with as a runner on the perimeter or the zone-read keep.

Improvements: Adding muscle is necessary, but by all accounts he has the frame to do so easily. He needs to polish up his mechanics; but thats a standard for most high school QB’s going to the next level.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Those film highlights are really impressive, and he’s playing against some high level competition there in Texas (5A?). As mentioned above, this was a necessary pickup for the class, and Michigan now has three scholarship QB’s lined up for next fall. Ideally Hoke would like to redshirt him next year, but that depends on how healthy Denard and Devin stay. He should have the opportunity to get at least one year as a starter, possibly more depending on both his and Devin’s redshirt status’.

He carries a 4.0 GPA, which is always great to see for your QB.

Matt Wile

Name: Matt Wile

Location: San Diego, CA

Position: K

Ratings: ESPN – 2* (74), Scout – NR*, Rivals 2*

Recruitment: Wile’s family has a long history at Michigan; Matt will be a 5th generation Michigan student. He originally planned not to commit whilst on his official, but that soon changed once he got on campus. Nebraska was the main competition late on, as the Huskers were meant to get a visit the weekend after. Was an Army All American.

Offers: Michigan, Air Force, San Diego State, Washington and he likely would have received one from Nebraska if he visited.

Stats: Hit nine of twelve FG’s as a junior, including a long of 48 yards. Around 90% of his kick offs go for touchbacks and he’s also a pretty good punter. Rumored to have kicked a 63 yard FG at a camp in Northwestern, and apparently made a 58 yarder at the Army Bowl practices.

ESPN Analysis: Matt is an athletic kicker/punter who is also solid in coverage. Matt has made multiple tackles in coverage. He has a field goal approach that is repeatable. The ball jumps off his foot and he has a smooth rhythm. He does need to finish down field more on his FG at times. There are times where he pivots and comes across his body slightly. His kick offs are solid for a high school kicker. He generally drives the ball into the endzone and gives his team good hang-time to run underneath his kicks. Matt's punting is not at the same level as his kicking but he does have the tools to become a good punter with more experience. Matt should be able compete early in college.

Improvements: Well he’s probably already an improvement on what Michigan has right now on campus. His power seems good, so just accuracy/consistency really.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Clearly the coaching staff didn’t have much faith in the kickers already on campus to turn around their kicking woes, and who can blame them. Wile has a chance to come in and steal the starting role straight away; heck if he can make FG’s consistently from 35 yards and under, that’ll still be a huge upgrade.

Hoke recruited him whilst he was at San Diego State, so clearly he’s quite high on him. Wile’s ratings aren’t great, but he was an Army All American, so that’s encouraging.

Raymon Taylor

Name: Raymon Taylor

Location: Highland Park, MI

Position: DB

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (77), Scout – 3*, Rivals 4*

Recruitment: Taylor has been a lifelong UM fan, but committed to Indiana fairly early on after not receiving much interest from the Wolverines. Towards the end of his senior season he decommitted from the Hoosiers after Bill Lynch was let go, and subsequently received a scholarship offer from Rich Rodriguez. Taylor made it clear how much the offer meant to him, and from then on it was obvious what school he would end up at; even after the departure of RR, he was still a Michigan lean. He committed to Michigan two weekends before signing day whilst on his official visit.

Offers: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Toledo.

Stats: Currently weighs around 170lbs at 5’10-11. As a senior he made 43 tackles along with 5 interceptions. He also had over 1000 yards of offense, with 14 TD’s. Has run a 4.43 forty yard dash, but says he expects to go sub 4.4 this summer with his sprint coach.

ESPN Analysis: Taylor has been employed as an athlete on this roster due to his versatility, speed and ball skills. He is a feisty, tough prospect that we feel has the most upside to be a cornerback at the next level with experience as a return specialist as well.

Needs to add some bulk before college, but plays big and likes to get in the face of the WR. Has adequate hips and shows good balance when mirroring routes; has the speed to stay with receivers. Has burst out of his cuts, and possesses very good closing speed when driving on the ball in front of him. He’s a playmaker on defense, showing excellent ball skills and a leaping ability which will help him when he goes up against bigger college receivers. He plays with a mean streak and is quite effective in run support despite his size; wraps up well and rarely misses open field tackles.

From the man himself: “I’m very aggressive and have great ball skills. I make plays and change games; but I want to get bigger and add more bulk and muscle.”

Improvements: Bulking up is the standard for CB’s in this class, but unlike most of the others he already possesses great speed; so that's isn't an issue

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: This is a good pickup for Michigan’s class. I know we have a lot of CB’s, but Taylor has the upside of possibly switching to Free Safety. He’d need to add a lot of muscle, but according to his evaluation he has the speed and tackling ability (along with a bit of a mean streak) needed to play FS. Either way he’s heading for a redshirt though.

Keith Heitzman

Name: Keith Heitzman

Location: Hilliard, Ohio

Position: DE

Ratings: Scout – 3*, Rivals – 3*, ESPN – 3* (75)

Recruitment: Was recruited under RR but did not have an offer until Hoke came along. He was originally a Vanderbilt commitment but flipped to the Wolverines one day after receiving the offer. Growing up in Ohio, he always wanted to play in “The Game”. Can also play TE, but was apparently recruited to Michigan as a DE, where he earned all state honors.

Offers: Michigan, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota + a host of MAC schools.

Stats: Currently weighs around 240-245 lbs at 6’3; he runs a 4.9 forty yard dash. Can’t find much in the way of stats, but ESPN credits him with 13 sacks in 2009.

ESPN Analysis: Heitzman possesses solid size for a high school defensive end and should be able to add more good bulk as he physically develops and gets into a college weight program. He gets off the ball well. One of his main issues is the use of his hands; needs to be more active and consistent with them, using them disengage blockers faster. He has average pursuit skills but needs to work on his play recognition skills. Heitzman is a solid defender who will flash some tools to be tough versus the run and pass.

Improvements: Better use of hands. Develop his pass rushing arsenal, i.e show more than just a bull rush.

Film Highlights: 2009 Highlights here.

Final Thoughts: A redshirt is a virtual certainty with guys like Roh, Van Bergen, Black, Wilkins and more already on the depth chart. Has the added benefit of being able to play TE, which is a need in this class; so if things don’t work out on defense, he can always switch sides.

Played on a state championship team and made all state honors ahead of some OSU DE’s, so we know he’s a winner!

Friday, 28 January 2011

7am

Ok, so I've managed four hours sleep, things are looking clearer now.

The Chris Bryant commitment was an expected one, but an important one. Michigan wanted to take 4-5 lineman in this class, and they now have three on board with Posada, Miller and Bryant. They would love to get Jake Fisher back in the fold, but he's currently in Eugene, Oregon, and the Ducks might even be the favorites right now!

OT Pat Flavin still remains an option, the coaches have been in contact with him. So if/when Fisher comes off the board, he may well get an offer. He's an Illinois commit, but we know Coach Funk has been in contact.

EDIT: A few former Michigan targets committed elsewhere yesterday.

- DE Ray Drew to Georgia

- DT Mickey Johnson to LSU

- Cyrus Hobbi to USC

Stat of the day: Assuming everyone that signed is still in the program, Ole Miss should have 122 scholarship players on campus next year; possibly more if they have any 5th year seniors from the 07 class. Michigan will have around 90.

Chris Bryant, come on down,,,,

It's 3am right now, and I've come back from an end of exams party....

I managed to check that Chris Bryant has committed after at least 15 attempts to spell his name right on my ihpone.

Enjoy this. More analysis in the morning, hopefully more sober.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Quick Hitters

I've got my final exam of the semester tomorrow, so expect a lot more updates from then on. For now, here are some quick fire updates.

- I tweeted a couple of days ago that Michigan was no longer recruiting Floyd Raven, and yesterday he committed back to Ole Miss. Makes sense.

- Things are still looking good right now for Leilon Willingham, despite the fact he's visiting UCF this weekend. The Hoke-Mattison combination should win this battle, so unless things go wrong from now on, expect Willingham to go blue on signing day.

- Michigan is also still leading for LB/S Frank Clark. He's a Glenville kid and they usually announce on signing day together, but there's an outside chance he might get it over with tomorrow.

- Stefan McClure picked the Cal Golden Bears this morning; I'm somewhat surprised - I guessed UCLA. The combination of distance and weather was what held Michigan back.

- Chris Bryant is still announcing tomorrow, and that should be for Michigan. It'd be a huge upset otherwise. Announcement is set for 7.30PM ET.

- Chances are Jake Fisher won't be signing with Michigan. Oregon seem to be recruiting him well, and he visits the Ducks this weekend. Michigan still has a good shot, but even if we assume all four schools (UF, UM, MSU & UO) have an even chance (25%), that's still a 75% chance he won't pick Michigan.

- FB Trayion Durham is expected on campus this weekend and is rumored to be very high on Michigan. However his academics might not be in order, and that could be why Wisconsin dropped him.

*UPDATE*: He won't be visiting anymore. Could be academics.

- Thomas Rawls changed his schedule slightly, he'll still visit Michigan officially this weekend, but his announcement has been delayed until signing day. If he's qualified, he's in the class, no question.

- TE Chris Barnett is also going to be a visitor this weekend. We haven't heard much from him lately regarding his interest in UM. He could absolutely love the visit and commit on the spot, we don't really know.

- OT Ryan Nowicki had his in home visit on Wednesday, and now should be on campus tomorrow for his official visit. He's a Penn State commit.

*UPDATE*: Rivals are reporting that Nowicki won't be visiting this weekend, he's sticking with Penn State.

- Darian Cooper is probably the most important target left on the board. He'll also be taking his official visit, and probably announcing on signing day along with some of his teammates. The fact that he's visiting gives UM a chance, but it might just be too late. If Hoke was hired a month earlier, I reckon he'd be blue.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Cooper to visit UM

The big news today is that Darian Cooper has decided to visit Michigan officially this weekend, after having an in home visit with Greg Mattison yesterday. Michigan would love to take a DT in this class, especially one as good as Cooper, who's a four star prospect.

Whilst getting the visit is great, it will still be an uphill battle to get Cooper to commit to the Wolverines. I got the impression he really liked his Iowa visit, and he has a teammate also considering the Hawkeyes.

Cooper has already visited Michigan before, way back in the spring for the Big House BQQ.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Hoke on the move

Hoke was in California yesterday to visit commit Matt Wile and target Stefan McClure, and now he's been in Colorado visiting LB Leilon Willingham. There's a chance Leilon might have delayed his decision back until signing day (this isn't to do with Antonio Poole's commitment). Michigan is still strong here.

Now Hoke will move on to Arizona to visit offensive tackle and current Penn State commit, Ryan Nowicki. If that in home goes well, expect Nowicki to visit Michigan officially this weekend, and then who knows, maybe even flip his commitment.

With Jake Fisher probably ending up elsewhere, it's pretty vital that Michigan picks up an OT in the class, and Nowicki and Pat Flavin are the main candidates right now to replace Jake.

Countess back on board

Earlier on my Twitter I said that Michigan was no longer recruiting Floyd Raven.

The reason for this is that the visit with Greg Mattison seems to have done the trick for Blake Countess, who announced on Twitter that he had reaffirmed his commitment to Michigan. This means Michigan won't be taking another defensive back in this class, after Stefan McClure dropped us earlier today.

Countess is Michigan's top recruit in the class, so losing him would have been disastrous after previous top recruits Dee Hart and Dallas Crawford, departed. Recruiting has gone extremely well since Mattison was hired, you can't help but wonder how good the 2012 class might be, especially with it being a good year for Midwest prospects.


Antonio Poole commits

As expected, LB Antonio Poole has announced for Michigan tonight during a basketball game at his high school. This is a nice pickup for Michigan, and shows just how good a recruiting weapon Greg Mattison can be; Poole hasn't even visited.

This gives Michigan four LB's in the class, but they are likely to add at least one more, and probably two in Leilon Willingham and Frank Clark. More to follow later.

Notice to fans

Just read this story on how a four star LB was put off Mississippi State because he was being harassed by a fan with wall posts and messages etc on Facebook.

There's a lesson to be learned! Hopefully that doesn't ever happen to us.


Russell Bellomy Commits!

Danny Hope must be livid right now. He didn't like RR for stealing Roy Roundtree at the last minute, so I guess he won't like Brady Hoke for taking Russell Bellomy away from the Boilermakers only a week before signing day.

Bellomy was a visitor on campus Mon-Tues, and rumors before the visit were saying he was pretty high on Michigan after they starting showing interest. Bellomy is a consensus three star QB, but listed as a dual threat on rivals. I think we all expected to land a pocket passer, so this is somewhat surprising.

Personally I'm just happy to have a QB in the class, as things would have been shaky next year with only Denard and Devin. More on this later.

This won't be the only commit tonight...


More Updates

- First off, Stefan McClure will be announcing his college decision on Thursday, but it looks like Michigan won't be a finalist. Distance from home, and probably the weather played a big role in this, so there's not much Coach Hoke could have done. UCLA are the favorites.

- Greg Mattison had his in-home visit with Blake Countess, trying to make sure Michigan brings in at least one Army All-American cornerback. He'll follow that up with a visit to see Darian Cooper again.

- Thomas Rawls will now announce on signing day at his high school. He had an in-home with Fred Jackson this week and still claims he'll be eligible to play next season. Still looking good for Michigan here.

- Antonio Poole is scheduled to announce tonight at around 8:30PM ET; Michigan are the heavy favorites here, expect him to go blue.


Floyd Raven Update

For those of you wondering, Floyd Raven has not committed to Texas A&M, despite reports on ESPN. Right now Floyd is scheduled to visit Michigan this weekend, but that might change if he gets an offer from Alabama.

If the Tide offer, he'll head off to Tuscaloosa, and that'll be the end of it for Michigan. Even if he does visit Ann Arbor, I'm still not liking our chances. Clearly Michigan is trailing other schools right now, and given the amount of young DB's we're going to have next year, the depth chart would be off putting to Raven.

In other news:

Greg Mattison was in Darian Cooper's school today, and the talk went well enough for Cooper to have an in-home visit with Mattison tonight. I can't help but feel Cooper is slowly warming to the new staff, and that he'll probably take the official this weekend.

Brady Hoke had an in-home with Stefan McClure yesterday; no word on how it went just yet, so for now, UCLA and Cal are still the favorites.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Linebackers

The big news from last night is that Antonio Poole is expected to announce for Michigan tonight, after having an in-home visit with the new LB coach and Greg Mattison. Sam Webb announced Michigan has another silent commit in the form of a four star LB, which means it has to be Poole really. TomVH is also hinting everyone should tune in tonight for the press conference.

Poole would be a fine addition to the class, and his commitment would confirm just how good a recruiter Greg Mattison really is. Poole wasn't even a lock to visit Michigan this weekend, let alone commit.

My only query is what does this do to Frank Clark and Leilon Willingham? With Kellen Jones and Brennen Beyer already committed, would Michigan take five LBs? Or would Beyer move back to DE? Clark is being recruited as a S/LB hybrid, so that might be why they can take all three.

*EDIT*: Thanks Will, forgot about Desmond Morgan; so that's a potential six LBs in this class.

Frank Clark will now announce on signing day along with the rest of the Glenville bunch. His final three are Michigan, MSU and UNC; and right now Michigan has the edge.

As for Willingham, he'll announce this Wednesday, so look out for that too.

Other News:

- Michigan offered Trayion Durham, a FB from Ohio. He's a former Wisconsin commit and a consensus top five FB in the country. He's rumored to be high on Michigan right now, and should take a visit to Ann Arbor this weekend.

- OT Ryan Nowicki is also a candidate to visit Michigan. He's a current Penn State commitment from Arizona. Things aren't looking that good with Jake Fisher right now, so the staff are looking to find a replacement before signing day. Fisher is quite high on Oregon apparently.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Updated Class Predictions

Whether you were a fan of the Brady Hoke hire or not, you have to be impressed with what he's achieved in such a short period of time. We've certainly seen enough to suggest that recruiting is going to be just fine under Hoke's reign.

Michigan scored three commitments over the weekend, but I think there's at least four more guys out there who are destined to end up blue. So assuming six scholarships left, here's my prediction for where they are headed:

- Chris Bryant: Announcing on Friday, UM are big favorites

- Frank Clark: Also announcing on Friday, as mentioned earlier, Michigan lead right now

- Leilon Willingham: Had a great visit to Michigan, and whenever he does announce, it should in theory be for the Wolverines

- Thomas Rawls: It's always been Michigan for Rawls, and now that his academics are in order, it should be all sorted. He will announce on the 31st

- Chris Barnett: Potentially taking Clark and Heitzman on defense (when both could play TE) means Brady Hoke must be fairly certain he can land a TE in this class. Barnett is visiting next weekend and the depth chart doesn't look good for him at Arkansas. He went to Miami last weekend, and this week it's Michigan.

- RANDOM: I'd like to say Stefan McClure, because he's the top prospect left, but Michigan still doesn't have a DB coach, and that is sure to hurt their chances right now. With this last spot, it could literally go to anyone, a random QB from nowhere, maybe Jake Fisher rejoins the fold, maybe it's a surprise DT? Maybe it goes unfilled, it's so hard to predict it right now that I'll have to leave it open.

Visitors updates

To say this recruiting weekend went well would be a huge understatement. Michigan scored three commits yesterday, and its looking like two more might join the fold.

- As I tweeted a few hours ago (follow me on Twitter!!!), Frank Clark really enjoyed his trip to Michigan. He's being recruited for defense by the way; which gave Greg Mattison the chance to show off his recruiting skills that we've been hearing about. Clark got to hang out with Denard, Devin and Cam Gordon; who all made a big impression on him.

Michigan was a co-leader for Clark during the season, but he's really liking the new coaching staff; if he were to announce tomorrow, it would be Michigan. As it turns out, we'll have to wait until Friday, so hopefully nothing will go wrong between now and then.


- Leilon Willingham doesn't have his announcement date set just yet, but whenever it is, you should probably expect him to pick Michigan. Leilon is a big fan of Greg Mattison, and he was blown away by what Michigan has to offer. Willingham got on well with the players (Denard is a recruiting tool like no other!) and also the other recruits like Justice Hayes and Frank Clark.

Justice Hayes tweeted that one more visitor planned to commit, and Sam Webb is saying there could be at least one silent commit right now. Just got to figure out which one it could be...

In other news:

- Tony Posada is once again a firm commitment to Michigan

- Darian Cooper had a very good time on his Iowa trip, he visited with a current teammate (Cyrus Kouandjio: top10 player nationally) and got hosted by a former teammate in Marcus Coker. The Hawkeyes could be tough to top right now. As for Michigan, well Greg Mattison got in contact with Cooper after the Iowa trip, so maybe he's convinced him to visit next weekend, thats all we can hope for.

- Hakeem Flowers has committed to N.C State, this makes some sense after last nights post that Michigan pulled his offer.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Michigan cuts Flowers

EDIT: Note the new hilarious title of the post....

It looks like Brady Hoke doesn't want a WR in this recruiting class. Michigan has apparently pulled out of the race to sign Hakeem Flowers, and this confirms what TomVH mentioned earlier today; that things didn't look good.

It's a shame really, I would have liked an outside receiver in this class, especially with Stonum and Hemingway departing after next year. Flowers was also likely to be Hoke's top signing in the class, as he carries a rating of 80 on ESPN.

Still, the show must go on, and apparently the visits this weekend went really well.

I love Twitter

Justice Hayes is tweeting "We gotta Kicker!"

Considering he's on an official visit along with Army AA Kicker Matt Wile, one would naturally assume that Wile has committed. That would make three commitments today!

Waiting for confirmation now...

*MGoBlog's TomVH is confirming the story on Twitter, and that's good enough for me! Analysis/commitment posts coming later tonight.

**UPDATE**: Justice's latest tweet - "We're not done"

Surely not a fourth commit???

Raymon Taylor commits

Michigan is stealing commits left right and center! Former Indiana commitment Raymon Taylor has committed to the Wolverines today whilst on his official visit. This is a nice in state pick up, although I can already see the "ANOTHER CB????" comments....

Taylor has loved Michigan for a while, but only got an offer in December from RR. He made it clear then how much this offer meant to him, and whilst the change in coaching staff may have slowed down the process, there was little doubt he would end up in Ann Arbor.

Commitment post to follow later.


Keith Heitzman commits

Ohio TE/DE Keith Heitzman has become the latest member of Michigan's 2011 recruiting class, and the second lured in by Brady Hoke. Heitzman was a former Vanderbilt commitment but flipped to Michigan today after receiving an offer yesterday.

I don't think anyone knows a whole lot about him just yet, and we're not even sure if he'll play DE or TE at Michigan. I'd guess TE right now, but if they land Frank Clark and Chris Barnett, then he could move over to defense.

*EDIT*: Ignore the above, Michigan recruited him as a defensive end.

Commitment post to follow soon.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Thomas Rawls Update

It's looks like Thomas Rawls could be in Michigan's class after all. The hugely talented in state RB has been in contact with Brady Hoke and Fred Jackson, and whilst he doesn't have an offer yet, he stills plans to take an official visit to Michigan next weekend.

The issue with Rawls has always been his grades, he has a 2.8 core GPA, but scored only a 15 ACT, which he has since retaken. He plans to announce his decision on January 31st, and I fully expect the choice to be Michigan. Here's why:

- It's down to UM and CMU; the later has offered

- Rawls claims there will be a surprise in his decision

- Well choosing CMU won't be a surprise if they are the only offerers - I think the real surprise here is his new ACT score, which he has refused to reveal - I wonder why...(surprise!)

- Michigan wants to offer him; Fred Jackson is so high on him as a prospect

- I think Rawls will inform Michigan of his new ACT score and get an offer on his official next week, then commit to the Wolverines on the 31st!

In doing so, the Wolverines will be getting a 5-foot-10, 210-pound monster who would surely fit in perfectly with the new offense.

This weekend

There are currently eight prospects on campus; three of which are commits:

- RB Justice Hayes

- CB Tamani Carter

- OG Tony Posada

- CB Raymon Taylor

- LB Leilon Willingham

- K Matt Wile

- CB Stefan McClure

- TE/LB Frank Clark

Michigan could easily come out of this weekend with a couple of new commitments, in fact I'd expect at least one; Taylor is the most likely.

New offers

Brady Hoke isn't slowing down with the new offers, as at least two more have gone out today.

Keith Heitzman (Hilliard, OH) is the latest recipient; a tight end who's currently committed to Vanderbilt right now. Apparently he's very interested in Michigan, so this is definitely one to watch. He'll probably visit next weekend.

Antonio Poole was also offered a scholarship this morning. UM assistant coach Darrell Funk stopped by with the good news, but it's still not sure whether Poole will visit. Next weekend he'll either be in Ann Arbor or Pittsburgh. Just have to wait and see.

Tamani Carter

Name: Tamani Carter

Location: Pickering, Ohio

Position: CB

Ratings: Scout – 3*, Rivals – 3*, ESPN – 2* (74)

Recruitment: Was a surprise commitment for Michigan as Carter was previously committed to Minnesota.

Offers: Michigan, Minnesota, Stanford, Iowa, Arizona, Air Force and Kent State.

Stats: Currently weighs around 175 lbs at 5’11, although that height might be a bit generous. He runs a 4.48 40 yard dash.

ESPN Analysis: Carter is a quick-footed skill prospect with very good athleticism. He looks shorter on film than his listed measurable. Has more than adequate height but his leaner frame and lack of great strength are concerns when projecting for the college level. Quite aggressive in man coverage, trying to become the receiver on routes; has great ball skills. He’s more quick than fast, and lacks great explosiveness which could hold him back at the major college level. Needs to bulk up if he wants to play press coverage.

From the man himself - “I cover really well. I have great hips and closing speed. I also play offense and I’m very explosive. I want to improve my speed. And I’m still working on my feet. Overall, I’d like to get bigger and stronger.”

Improvements: The same as all of Michigan’s CB commits; get bigger, get faster! What is it with us and undersized CB’s?

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Is without doubt heading for a redshirt. With every Michigan commit that has a low rating, there’s always the tendency to just call them a sleeper prospect. Although Carter might not be one; the offers from Iowa and Stanford are encouraging, as well as Arizona and Minnesota. He’s a smart kid with a supposed great work ethic, so maybe once he gets on campus he’ll start proving the ratings wrong.

As for the rest of the class, well this gives Michigan a third CB commit, which is fine, but the Wolverines have three more still on the board. You’d hope at least one of these can make the move to safety.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Strange Commitments + other news

I've been sleeping for the last ten hours, so waking up to find out Michigan has another commitment is great, but just who is Tamani Carter???

Well, he's a 5'11 175lb CB from Pickering, OH who runs a 4.48 forty yard dash; but the reason this is such a strange and unexpected commitment is because in the weeks before signing day, Michigan will entertain 3 more CB's in Raymon Taylor, Stefan McClure and Floyd Raven on official visits. Maybe Michigan isn't too hopeful for the second two?

A lot more detail in the Commitment Post to follow later.

Anyway, in other news:

- Tanner McEvoy is off the board after he committed to South Carolina. RR was looking at him for QB, but I'm not sure how well he'd fit in a pro style.

- Deion Barnes has committed to Penn State, ending whatever minuscule chance Michigan had of getting him back on campus. Btw, Brady Hoke had made a pitch to both Barnes and Delvon Simmons, but it was just too late.

- The general opinion is that Darian Cooper probably won't visit on the last weekend in January. Hoke is trying to persuade him, but it looks like he's pretty set on a final three of Iowa, Georgia Tech and Michigan State.

- LB and current Texas A&M commit Leilon Willingham will be visiting Michigan next weekend. He's a four star prospect on rivals, and Michigan could use another LB in this class.

- TE Chris Barnett, an Arkansas commit is also looking to visit Ann Arbor, although his visit might be a week later. The Razorbacks have two very good TE's committed above Barnett, so maybe he doesn't his place on the projected depth chart.

- DE Brandon Alexander is another prospect gaining a new found interest from Michigan, and the word here is that he's a true sleeper. He's picked up an offer from Texas, and given their current class, that is quite an achievement.


It's getting quite hard to keep track of all these new targets. In the end, this class could actually end up quite big and full of a lot of players we hadn't even heard of a month ago. Brady Hoke is certainly giving it everything he's got on the recruiting trail, and I can't help but think the 2012 class could be really special; especially since Greg Mattison has recently been proclaimed as one of the best recruiters in the game by....everyone.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Big Time Updates

Firstly, if you missed it, Kellen Jones "re-affirmed" his commitment to Michigan and probably won't visit Miami on the 28th. This was expected after a hire like Greg Mattison.

- It looks like Blake Countess will end up at Michigan, despite visiting Penn State last weekend. He's had conversations with Coach Hoke and Chris Singletary, and things are looking even better after an in-home visit with Hoke today. Blake did just tweet "those who stay will be champions"; so is his recruitment done now? Probably.

- Floyd Raven (Reserve, LA) will visit Michigan the weekend before signing day after speaking with Coach Fred Jackson and current Wolverine DB, Carvin Johnson. Raven decommitted from Ole Miss last week and has since visited Utah. Ole Miss are still be considered, as are Michigan and Texas A&M.

- Jake Fisher will visit Florida and Oregon this month. This isn't great for Michigan, but it'll probably still come down to Michigan vs MSU unless the Gators or Ducks really wow Fisher, which is of course possible. Has he actually received offers from them yet though? Fisher spoke with Michigan's new OL coach for a couple hours earlier this week.

- Brady Hoke did an in-home visit with Darian Cooper, despite Cooper dropping the Wolverines earlier this month after RR was fired. The visit seems to have paid off, and Cooper will now consider making a January 28th visit to Ann Arbor. The decision to run a 4-3 defense is certainly helping things, and also Cooper is quite familiar with how good a Greg Mattison defense can be, living in Maryland. This is still a longshot right now, but there's hope at least.

Final ESPNU 150

Well there's no surprises about the #1 spot, Jadeveon Clowney is a man amongst boys, and he leads the ESPN 150 by an astonishing eight (8!) points, with a rating of 95. Unfortunately none of Michigan's commits made it into the top 150.

You can check out the top 150, here.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Greg Mattison hired as DC

I've been sleeping for the last few hours, so I'm sure you probably already know, but anyway....Greg Mattison (Baltimore Ravens DC) has been hired as Michigan's new defensive coordinator.

This is pretty good move by Brady Hoke, firstly because it will cause some positive stir in recruiting. Telling Kellen Jones that you've coached Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs will make that a pretty easy sales pitch; expect Jones to reaffirm his commitment soon.

Here's the thing though, although the Ravens are a great team defensively, and have been for years, don't go expecting Michigan to have a good defense this year. Our team is still young, and it will take time for Hoke and Mattison to get it to the level they want. Of course they will be better than last year, naturally. But I'm saying, Mattison doesn't exactly have a Ray Lewis, Ed Reed or Terrell Suggs...

Note: he kind of has a Haloti Ngata in Mike Martin...but only for a year.

Rankings Updated

Both Rivals and Scout have updated their final rankings for the class of 2011, links:

Scout 100 Rivals 100

I must warn you, Rivals is particularly depressing; both Dee Hart and Kris Frost earned top 20 rankings and a 5th star...ouch.

Scout places Brennen Beyer in their top 100, and Rivals has Justice Hayes in theirs. As for the rest of the players, lets just say they weren't overly generous with stars this year. Stefan McClure did check in at #69 on scout though, so there's something positive.

Personally I prefer ESPN's rankings, with the points measure, so I'll be looking out for them. However, I'm not exactly holding out for a top 25 class.

To keep your spirits high, remember these guys will be juniors next fall. And some of them are still at Michigan.


Kris Frost Update

Got an exam in 50 mins, so I'll keep it brief.

Word is that Auburn has finally accepted Kris Frost's verbal commitment.

*UPDATE* - It's been confirmed that Kris Frost is now part of Auburn's recruiting class after being accepted by the Tigers.

This is a huge shame for Michigan as we've really lead all the way (for at least 2 years) and he was even a silent commit in December; so to fall at the final hurdle certainly hurts.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Quick Hitters

A few random updates from what's been a busy week for Michigan recruiting:

- Hakeem Flowers is ready to announce his college decision, and will do so this coming Sunday (7:15PM ET) at his high school. His finalists are LSU, Michigan, N.C State and Oregon. Michigan has a really good chance here, and I believe Flowers had a phone call set up with Hoke either for last night or tonight; which is great. Each school will visit him to give their final pitch this week.

- If you haven't seen it already, check out TomVH's interview with Chris Bryant, here. It sounds like he and his family got on well with Coach Hoke yesterday, which means Michigan is the heavy favorite to be announced on January 28th.

- Tony Posada will visit Michigan officially next weekend. He had a good visit to Mississippi State, but if all goes well in Ann Arbor, Posada will stay in this class.

- Kellen Jones expects to get a visit from Michigan coach Fred Jackson this week. Jones is taking visits, but insists he's pretty solid to Michigan; he might even take a trip to Ann Arbor to meet Coach Hoke.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Recruiting Predictions

It's been a bad day for Michigan recruiting, with both Goudis and Fisher backing out on their commitments; but despite this, I have faith that Brady Hoke is going to end this class well. Here's how I see this class ending up.

- Firstly, I don't think we're going to see any more decommitments. Sure Kellen Jones is visiting Miami; and Countess isn't exactly solid right now, but in the end it won't take much from Brady Hoke to get these two in the class. When a DC gets named, things will be easier.

- We might not be getting Dallas Crawford back, but Michigan has a good chance to lure Jake Fisher back into the class. Florida and Oregon haven't offered him (as far as I know), and even the MSU guys on rivals.com think Fisher will go blue in the end.

- Kris Frost won't be enrolling early because Auburn didn't accept him in time. If I was Frost, I'd be pretty frustrated with the Tigers. Frost has been in contact with Michigan, and I think Brady Hoke will be able to convince Frost that Michigan is where he belongs.

- Chris Bryant really liked his visit to Pittsburgh, but I reckon it's just because of the familiarity with Calvin Magee. Bryant loves Michigan, and he really cares about academics which gives the Maize and Blue a big edge. He's now met with Brady Hoke, and I think everyone expects him to choose Michigan on January 28th.

- Raymon Taylor been leaning towards UM for a while after decommiting from Indiana; and I expect he'll commit to the Wolverines after his official at the end of this month despite the coaching change.

- Michigan is mainly looking at two guys for WR (Flowers and Lucien); of which I expect them to get one. I thought Flowers was a certainty to end up in the class when RR was there; he loved that offense and Michigan in general. However, Hoke had two 1000 yard receivers at SDSU this year, and you can bet he'll mention that to Hakeem.

Lucien hasn't visited Michigan yet, so it's hard to guess where he'll end up, it all depends if Hoke can get him on campus before signing day. He's deciding between Miami and Michigan for his final official.

- Michigan will get at least one surprise commitment from a California kid; a prospect that we hadn't really heard of before Hoke was hired. Stefan McClure (see below post) is certainly a candidate for this spot; but I reckon there might be one more; maybe a current SDSU commit? Could be a QB or TE to help out with the transition to a more pro style offense?

*EDIT* - Brady Hoke has just extended an offer to Kicker Matt Wile (San Diego, CA). With this offer, and the possibility that Derrick Mitchell (former minor leaguer) might walk on, and with Connor Loftus still theoretically alive....it looks like Michigan will be taking a kicker in this class. So those of you who weren't happy with my "Gibbons could get better" idea, can rejoice!

Random Updates: Michigan has offered defensive back Floyd Raven, who just decommitted from Ole Miss today. Not sure how interested he is just yet.

MGoBlog's TomVH is reporting that Michigan has been in touch with Illinois OT commit Pat Flavin; who had an offer from SDSU. I certainly wouldn't mind some insurance on Jake Fisher.


Conclusion: Michigan has 10 commitments at the moment, but a few of them are just soft verbals. If the above happens, they will end up with around 16-17 commits, which would be a great save for this class.

Hoke is throwing everything into the recruiting trail now after securing Denard and doing all the player meetings, and one would guess his staff will be completed in the next few days. Once a DC gets named, it will be a lot easier to turn the soft commits (Countess, Jones, Beyer???) back into firm verbals.



Stefan McClure to visit UM

Army All American CB Stefan McClure (Vista, CA) will be visiting Michigan next weekend instead of his previously planned destination; UCLA. McClure's very first offer came from San Diego State, and Hoke has continued to recruit him at Michigan.

McClure is only a three star prospect on ESPN, but is rated considerably higher by rivals and scout, who have him as the #5 and #7 CB respectively. In other words, he could be a good replacement to Dallas Crawford, or even Blake Countess.

Scout lists McClure with a top four of Boise State, Michigan, California and UCLA; however he's also visited Washington, Oregon State and Colorado officially; so they could still be in the mix.

I get the feeling he probably likes Brady Hoke a lot, but just never liked SDSU; so now that Hoke is recruiting him to a BCS school, he has a much better chance.

Jake Fisher decommits

Not a good day for this recruiting class!

Jake Fisher, Michigan's only true OT commit in this class no longer considers himself a Michigan commit. This comes on the back of his visit to Michigan State; I'd really hate for him to end up there...

He's also looking at Oregon and Florida, as well as Michigan; who are still in the mix. This is huge loss for Michigan, as Fisher has a lot of potential at OT. Brady Hoke is going to have to show his recruiting skills here if he wants to lure Fisher back to the good guys.

Matt Goudis decommits

Kicker Matt Goudis has decommitted from the Wolverines today, and is now part of Miami's 2011 class....I warned you, it's Al Golden; he hates us....

Goudis was originally a Boise State verbal before switching to Michigan in December. It turns out Goudis had a pretty good idea RR was going to be fired, even when he committed; however he thought Jim Harbaugh was a certainty to be his replacement. So when Hoke was hired; Goudis was off straight away.

This isn't a big loss for the class, there are a lot more important players that could still leave. Whilst a kicker would have been nice, there's no guarantee that he wouldn't turn out to be the next Gibbons.

Also, who knows, maybe Gibbons or Broekhuizen will turn things around next year; meaning there is no need to take a kicker in this class.

Note: Will Connor Loftus now consider Michigan again? He's from California; so maybe Hoke knows about him. He wanted to visit Ann Arbor a while back, but then Goudis committed.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Tabb to UNC

As predicted Jack Tabb has committed to the University of North Carolina tonight over his other finalists, Iowa and Arkansas.

Michigan was dropped from contention after Rich Rodriguez was fired; which is a shame because Michigan were the favorites to land him before that.

Brady Hoke definitely wants a TE in this class, but his list of options is getting smaller by the day. Frank Clark now seems like the best bet, he'll be visiting on January 21st.

Michigan targets

A few updates from the prospects Michigan are still after at this point:

- If Michigan gets a WR if this class, it's most likely going to be Devin Lucien, and not Hakeem Flowers; who was a Michigan lean before the coaching change. Lucien was recruited by Hoke at SDSU, and UM will try to get him on campus for a late January visit.

I'm not saying Michigan is completely out for Flowers, but it's not looking great right now. Hopefully he'll get in contact with Brady Hoke and find out where he stands.

- Chris Bryant is the most likely to end up in Michigan's class right now; he's eager to meet Coach Hoke, and might even come up to Ann Arbor this weekend.

- Ohio TE Frank Clark has rescheduled his Michigan official visit to January 21st. In theory the coaching change could help, because Brady Hoke likes to use TE's a lot, so Clark could see the field early at Michigan. The Wolverines are probably trailing his other favorites right now, but a good visit could see us back in contention. Clark's other schools are UNC, MSU and Minnesota.

So far fellow Glenville prospect Cardale Jones has not rearranged his visit to Michigan, instead he's looking at Penn State, LSU and Ohio State. Michigan wants a QB in this class, so maybe they'll make a late push for Jones.

- Raymon Taylor is still classing himself as an Indiana commitment; this seems strange, I thought he made it pretty clear he was decommitted last month. This doesn't really change much for Michigan, he'll still visit campus sometime this month to meet Coach Hoke. I think Michigan has a pretty good chance here.

- Kris Frost STILL hasn't been accepted into Auburn's class, and several recruiting analysts don't think he ever will be. This leaves the door wide open for Brady Hoke and Michigan to snag a really good linebacker.

This obviously isn't going to be top 25 class, but if Hoke can keep the remaining commits on board and then grab 3-4 of the names above, it certainly won't be a disaster.

Fred Jackson Retained

Michigan's RB coach Fred Jackson will remain on the staff after receiving an official offer from Brady Hoke this week. This is good news for recruiting, as Jackson knows the Michigan area very well and has plenty of contacts.

By keeping Jackson on, Michigan still has a chance to land in-state running back Thomas Rawls, who plays for Jackson's son in Flint, MI. Rawls has academic issues, but with the class being so small, and with Rawls being a great talent, Michigan might be willing to take a chance on him qualifying.


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Crawford done with Michigan

It was reported last week that Dallas Crawford was decommitted from Michigan, but the hope was he would still consider the Wolverines in the end.

That doesn't appear to be the case now as ESPN is reporting that Dallas has dropped Michigan from his options all together. His high school coach Grant Readhead says he'll visit Miami, USC and UNC officially before making his final decision.

This is a huge blow to Michigan's 2011 class as they have now lost both their ESPN150 commits in Hart and Crawford. I'm sure Brady Hoke will try his best to contact Crawford, but right now I'd say Miami has to be the most likely destination for the talented prospect.

Blake Countess just became even more important, Hoke has to keep him on board.

Brady Hoke Recruiting Article

If you haven't seen it already, check out Sam Webb's latest article on Brady Hoke as a recruiter here on DetNews.com

It covers Hoke's past experiences as a recruiter and also talks about Tony Posada and Blake Countess, both of whom are eager to speak with the new coach; plus how Hoke could close out the class with the likes of Chris Bryant, Raymon Taylor and Devin Lucien.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Denard staying?

A few current Michigan players are saying that Denard isn't going anywhere next season, which makes sense after Brady Hoke basically said they are prepared to change their offense to better suit the talent already at Michigan (aka Denard). In fact, Dave Brandon asked Hoke how he would use Denard when he interviewed him, so I guess that played into the decision to hire him in the first place.

This is great news for Michigan, especially after Brandon announced that Tate Forcier is no longer with the program, leaving just Denard and Devin as the scholarship QB's. Hoke will almost definitely have to bring in a QB in this year's recruiting class.

Recruiting Updates

- Jack Tabb, who dropped Michigan last week (now confirmed), will decide between UNC, Arkansas and Iowa on Friday. I think it has to be UNC for him.

- Kris Frost still hasn't been accepted by the Auburn Tigers, and communication between the two parties has been pretty poor. IF Auburn decide they can't take Frost, then Brady Hoke will actually have a decent chance to land a four star prospect.

LSU will also be another alternative for Frost, especially since they still have their coach.

- Kellen Jones will be visiting Miami sometime this month, and possibly Colorado too. I'm telling you, Al Golden hates Michigan...he's going after everyone!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

First Reactions

Michigan commit Jack Miller seems very happy with the Brady Hoke hire and is looking forward to meeting the new head coach once he's had time to settle down. Miller has received renewed interest from other schools following RR's firing, so it's good to know he's 100% blue.

Miller has also stayed in contact with fellow Ohioans' Chris Rock and Greg Brown. Rock is still all in for Michigan, and Brown has enrolled early, so it's safe to say he's on board with the new coach too.

Should be hearing plenty about Blake Countess, Dallas Crawford and Jake Fisher on what they make of the Hoke hiring over the next week, so look out for that.

It's official

Brady Hoke is the new head coach of the Michigan football program.

Would I rather have landed a big name coach? Yes

Would I rather have kept Rich Rodriguez? Yes

But still, the Michigan fan base must learn from it's last mistake and get behind the new coach, because this team needs all the support its going to get next year.

Hoke may not be the most experienced coaching candidate out there, but he has worked wonders with both Ball State and San Diego State, so maybe the time is right to give him the reigns at Michigan. One thing is for sure, you can't deny his determination to bring UM back to glory; no one wanted this job more than Brady Hoke.

It will be interesting to see who he brings in as co-ordinators and other coaches. *EDIT*: Just found out that Hoke's brother, Jon, has basically been a defensive back coach all his life and is currently with the Chicago Bears. Could Brady persuade his elder brother to come help out a weak Michigan secondary?

As for recruiting, it's going to be pretty poor for a while I'm afraid. Let's face it, a lot of recruits won't know who Brady Hoke is, and no matter how good he is at a sales pitch, he's going to need to show results on the field to start landing a Michigan caliber recruiting class.

His main priority should just be holding the current class together, securing players like Jake Fisher and Blake Countess. The best possible outcome now is that he keeps all the commits, and lands Chris Bryant, Raymon Taylor and Dallas Crawford to finish off the class. Oh and if Tom Bradley leaves Penn State, he should definitely take a shot at Anthony Zettel.

Miles staying put

Scout.com and probably many other sites by now are reporting that Les Miles will remain as the head coach of LSU, after an announcement was made by their AD, Joe Alleva.

Welcome Brady Hoke??

Let the panic commence!!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Coaching search over?

Seems like everyone thinks Les Miles to Michigan is virtually a done deal now. Miles met with Michigan earlier tonight, and Dave Brandon has since flown back to Ann Arbor. However there is still a Michigan plane in Baton Rouge, which could be for Miles after he tells his current players...?

If this does go ahead, I'll be happy. After we missed out on Harbaugh, Miles is a pretty good replacement. He's actually won a national title, and averages 10 wins a season at LSU; which is very impressive in the SEC.

Let's hope this gets wrapped up tomorrow so Miles can have the maximum amount of time before signing day to salvage this class and get to know the current players.

*UPDATE*: It's not looking so positive with Miles today....

National Championship game

Unfortunately Michigan didn't make it into the title game this year....shame, it was all looking so good at 5-0...

It should still be an exciting game, with two top offenses going up against two 'average at best' defenses. The key to the game will be whether or not Cam Newton gets injured, because let's face it, they are as close as you can get to a one man team on offense without being called the 2010 Michigan Wolverines.

I hope Oregon win, but I just think Auburn will make enough big plays on defense to get ahead in the shootout.

Prediction: Auburn 38; Oregon 34

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Recruiting Updates

The firing of Rich Rodriguez has hit Michigan's recruiting class pretty hard, the amount of possible commits dropped from 7+ to....one? Even current Michigan commits are opening things back up; for some reason it seems like Al Golden and Miami are after all of them! Anyway, here's a quick breakdown of where Michigan stands.

- Jake Fisher is still committed but has opened his recruitment back up. He's been talking to MSU, ND, PSU and Oregon, so the competition could be tough if Michigan doesn't bring in the right coach. He'll take an official to MSU, and possibly the other three if they offer. If he likes the new coach, and forms a good relationship, don't worry about him.

- Jack Miller has also been hearing from a lot of schools, but it looks like Boston College is the only one that could challenge Michigan. Miller is likely to stick to his pledge no matter who is brought in. No really worried.

- Dallas Crawford will take an official visit to Miami, his childhood favorite school. USC have also sparked some interest, but I don't think he'll visit them. This is the one I'm most worried about right now, but I think if Les Miles comes in, Crawford will stay.

*EDIT* : Crawford is no longer classed as a Michigan commit, and he will visit USC officially after speaking with Monte Kiffin. Michigan is still in the race of course, but right now it's looking doubtful unless they bring in the right guy. LSU offered Crawford, so if Miles ends up in Ann Arbor that would really help, because it shows his staff has been interested for a while.


- Joining Crawford on his official visit to Miami will be kicker Matt Goudis. I'm not really sure why the coaching change matters that much to a kicker, but alas; he's opened it up.

- Kellen Jones is another one picking up interest from the Canes, they will probably offer him shortly, trying to get him to at least visit. He's just waiting to see who the next coach of Michigan is before locking things down.

- Blake Countess has also opened it up, but to be honest I don't see him leaving the class. Basically if the new coach comes in and says he wants Blake at Michigan, then he'll stay. He chose Michigan the school, not the coach.

- In stater Raymon Taylor is still really interested in Michigan, and he'll visit officially once a new coach is in place. He's not exactly a consensus four star, so might have to see if the new staff want him first...

- Chris Bryant has delayed his decision until later this month, i.e when Michigan should have a coach. He loves Michigan as a school, and whilst he didn't want RR to go, I think Michigan still leads. If they bring in the right guy, expect him to go blue.


Coaching Update:
A lot of these issues will be resolved as soon as the new coach is announced. I think if Dave Brandon brings in a big name coach, Michigan will keep all of these commits, presuming they are all wanted by the new staff.
Michigan is going to meet with Les Miles, and by the sounds of it, he could well accept the job. Miles has been a good recruiter and is one of few possible candidates that I would actually have faith in to hold the class together and perhaps make a steal on signing day.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Frost to AU; Lyons to Stanford

If you haven't heard already, Michigan did not pick up any more commitments from the Army AA game today. Kris Frost chose Auburn live on national television, but it's possible that the Tigers don't have room for him in this class; so is the door still open for Michigan here? Have to wait a bit to find out for sure.

Wayne Lyons chose Stanford over Florida, Michigan and UCLA. Stanford has been his leader for a while (secretly), but it was in doubt when Harbaugh bolted for the NFL. Still, he made his decision based purely on the school, and Stanford was his favorite.

It's been a really rough couple of weeks for Michigan on the recruiting trail, and I can't help but look back to early October when UM were 5-0, at that point, this class was shaping up to be an absolute gem.

Updates

Word is that neither Kris Frost or Wayne Lyons will pick Michigan today due to the coaching uncertainty. Their parents are trying to get them to delay their decisions, but it looks like both are still going ahead.

Of course it won't truly be over until signing day, as the new coach will try to steal both of them back.

If I had to guess now, I'd say Frost to Auburn, and Lyons to Stanford.

Army AA game

I watched the Under Armor AA game, and whilst you have to be impressed with the talent on display, it was almost depressing knowing that none of that talent was heading to Ann Arbor.

Fortunately the Army game hosts Blake Countess, who has looked pretty good in practice all week, and he's still committed to UM no matter what. Kris Frost and Wayne Lyons might still announce their decision today, but I wouldn't be surprised if both held back on their choice to see who the new UM coach is.

If Les Miles does go to UM, that would virtually secure Frost for us, because LSU one of the other finalists, so he must like Miles a fair bit. However even without Miles, Michigan has a good chance of landing Frost anyway, but he loves Michigan as a school.

Lyons has a final four of Florida, Michigan, Stanford and UCLA; where only the Bruins still have their original head coach, but lets face it....he might not be there next year. However this still has to give the Bruins some kind of advantage. Really close call here, but if he announces today, I'd guess UCLA.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Twitter

A lot of you have asked if I was going to start a twitter account for the blog...and that time has now come.

Follow 'mgorecruit' for some on the go updates on anything to do with fb recruiting!

Harbaugh to 49ers

NFL.com's Michael Lombardi is reporting that Jim Harbaugh will accept the job offer at the SF 49ers; leaving the Wolverines' fans very unhappy. Harbaugh has family on the West Coast, and he wants to be an NFL coach, so I guess it makes sense.

LSU plays tonight, and Michigan has been in contact with Les Miles; so I'll be watching the game with much interest!

Nealy to Iowa State

Florida RB/slot DeVonderick Nealy has committed to Iowa State this week; he previously announced a top two of Michigan and the Cyclones. Nealy had also planned to announce on signing day and "surprise" people, but with RR gone, I guess he thought there wouldn't be much of a surprise...

Nealy is just one of many UM targets that has now dropped the Wolverines. Later today I'll do a full recap on the effect that RR's firing has had; on commits and possible recruits.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Reactions

Darian Cooper and Lamar Dawson have both dropped Michigan after hearing the official word from Dave Brandon. This isn't too surprising, but it sure is annoying.

Kris Frost and Wayne Lyons both still plan to announce their decision on Saturday, and will base their decisions on the school, not the coaches; which helps Michigan's cause slightly. I think we might still get Frost, but Lyons might be stretch right now.

It sure would help if they brought in a coach before Saturday!

RR fired? (again)

Rich Rodriguez has apparently been fired...for real this time too. Michigan has a press conference set to start in around 45 mins (12:30ET) where they will announce the decision.

I guess they could also announce a new coach at that time if they went after Hoke? Disappointingly Les Miles claims he hasn't heard from Michigan, which is a shame in my opinion, I'd much rather get him than Hoke.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The hunt begins...

Multiple sources are saying that Rich Rodriguez has been fired as Michigan's head football coach; and given that we know he was meeting with Brandon sometime today, it's probably true. This was expected after a poor bowl performance, but I don't agree with it unless they actually have a good replacement already lined up.

The buzz going around is that Harbaugh will bolt to the NFL or remain at Stanford, which means most UM fans are going to be very disappointed - especially after seeing how good he made Stanford last night.

*UPDATE*: Dave Brandon has come out saying that RR has not been fired, however there will be a meeting between him and Rodriguez tomorrow, as well as a players' meeting. Chances are he'll still get fired anyway, but it looks like the media jumped the gun on this one.

John Harbaugh (Ravens coach) has tweeted that his brother is unlikely to go to Michigan, and that's surely a reliable source, I mean why would his brother make stuff up? So it seems like Harbaugh really is out of Michigan's reach now, does that give RR just a little bit more hope of staying around?

Monday, 3 January 2011

Army game updates

There's not much point watching the Under Armor game, because Michigan doesn't actually have any targets there. The Army game on the other hand features two Michigan commits, and a few more targets. Yes...that's right, I said two commits. Apparently Dee Hart is still committed to Michigan...but he'll announce for Alabama on Saturday officially. I guess if RR somehow keeps his job, there could be one final twist.

The main targets at the game are Kris Frost and Wayne Lyons, both of whom are being recruited by UM commit Blake Countess! Frost is rumored to be a silent Michigan commit, and is expected to select the Wolverines over Auburn and LSU on Saturday, regardless of what happens to Coach Rod.

Wayne Lyons is also set to announce during the game, and says he has a leader right now. Michigan and Stanford are likely to be his top two, but both those teams are going to have different coaches by the time he announces; so he might delay his decision further. I think if Michigan lands Harbaugh, they should get Lyons eventually.

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan is also in San Antonio, but predictably he has dropped the Wolverines after that bowl performance; probably figuring the end is near for RR. He'll now decide for one of the southern schools, Florida, Alabama, LSU and FSU.

Lamar Dawson is another Michigan target playing in the game; he'll still visit Michigan even if the coaching staff is let go, which is great news for Michigan. He's looking to visit Ann Arbor in late January.

Harbaugh to NFL?

It appears ESPN's NFL insider Adam Schefter has done a U-turn, and is now reporting that Jim Harbaugh will most likely be coaching in the NFL next year. Schefter had reported Harbaugh to Michigan was virtually a done deal last week.

Harbaugh is the overwhelming fans favorite to take over at Michigan, but if he's not available, who will Dave Brandon turn to? I don't think Brady Hoke is ready just yet, and I'm not sure if Les Miles even wants to leave LSU, so is Rodriguez going to get lucky and land a 4th year???

EDIT: I'll try to make my position clearer....

1st choice: Jim Harbaugh

2nd choice: Les Miles/any other high caliber coach (Meyer? Gruden? etc)

3rd choice: Rich Rod

4th choice: Brady Hoke

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hart eliminates Michigan

Dee Hart has apparently eliminated Michigan, figuring that Rich Rodriguez's days in Ann Arbor are numbered. This shouldn't surprise anyone, as Hart has stated he wanted to play in the spread offense at Michigan, and it looks like that can't happen now.

Hart was the top rated member of Michigan's 2011 class, so this is a big loss; however if indeed Jim Harbaugh is brought in, Hart doesn't have the ideal size to run in that offense.

It's reported that he's down to Alabama and Auburn, which I don't really understand. He was setting up visits to Florida and FSU....and now he's down to the Tide and Tigers? Well, it's not as if the rest of his recruitment has made any sense. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.

EDIT: I guess it won't be interesting to see....he's committed to Alabama. Did they even offer him as a RB?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

N/A

Gameday Prediction

There have been a few recruiting updates that I have not posted about recently, mainly because after today they could well be insignificant. This one bowl game could well decide the future of the Michigan football program! Anyway, enough hype, here's what's going to happen:

- Michigan establishes a respectable run game early on, opening up the play action pass (and the Denard fake run then pass), causing Michigan to exploit a somewhat weak MSU secondary.

- Denard is buoyed from being healthy for the first time since UConn and takes at least one QB iso to the house from 50+ yards.

- The UM defense is well prepared and gets lucky on a few third and shorts, getting off the field early.

- Michigan jumps out to a 14-0 lead early on, and despite an MSU fightback, storm away with it in the 4th quarter.

Final Prediction: Michigan 42, Mississippi State 24

Side note: Just gave some guy a beating on NCAA 11 with these teams. 14-0 then he quit, go blue!!!