Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Exitlude (play the video...)

As you've probably noticed, I've been very inactive lately on the recruiting front, and this is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my last semester of university has just started, and I need to work pretty hard to achieve my goals on that front, and secondly, if I'm being honest I've lost interest in the recruiting process over the last couple of months. Let's face it, its a completely flawed system.
Stars mean nothing, when you watch the NFL draft, check out what their high school rankings were, way too many flew under the radar for the scouting services to be proved accurate. So many 'top' prospects don't pan out, whether it be for off the field issues, or the fact that they just aren't good enough. I've come to the conclusion that its pretty pointless following the recruitment of a kid from March -> Signing day when: 1) there's a good chance he won't sign with you; and 2) there's a good chance that he won't be the player you hope he'll be.

So for these reasons, I'm sorry to say that this will be the last post on MGoRecruit.

I'd like to thank all of you for your continued support over the last two and a half years, I never really imagined that the site would become so popular - 6 million hits! I started the blog because I was bored over the summer and loved Michigan football; of course I still love Michigan football, but nowadays I just won't have the time to keep the blog running with high quality. So again, thank you so much for following the blog and putting up with my recruiting ramblings for so long!

Fortunately for you, as Michigan fans there are plenty of ways to get your recruiting fix. The godfather of UM recruiting is and always will be Sam Webb, and I can't recommend his morning radio show and/or podcasts enough. They really do cover all the important stories, and if anyone has an idea where a recruit is going, it's Sam. Then you have another great free source over at MGoBlog, which I'm sure you already know about, but its worth mentioning that Ace does a great job over there.

I haven't spoken much with SimplyComplex lately, but I'm sure he'll continue to work in the field of Michigan recruiting, so make sure you follow him here on twitter. I'd also like to thank him for the great contributions he's made to the site over the last month.

So yeah, that's it. Best of luck to all you in whatever you're up to the future, and thanks for everything.

Go Blue.

Visitor Update

2013 3* WR James Onwualu from Saint Paul (MN) will not be visiting this weekend as reported by various sites. James told me that him visiting was just a "false rumor" and he will indeed not be visiting.

Kevin Gladney Update

A couple days ago I had the opportunity to chat with 2013 Akron (OH) WR Kevin Gladney. Gladney has offers from Nebraska, Michigan State, and Michigan as of now. Gladney stands 6'2 and 185 lbs., and has the ability to play in a pro or spread style offense. Heres an update on his recruitment:

-West Virginia and Michigan are recruiting him the hardest, but Michigan is showing him the most love. No decision date or leaders.

-Gladney participated in the Under Armour combine and he thought that he had "a pretty good performance, and he learned a lot, but more importantly he enjoyed himself a lot."

-Being a top receiver in Ohio makes Gladney "feel good", and inspires him to work harder to get better. He says that he has handled the recruiting process very well. He's been very humble and has "treated everyone respectfully like his parents told him to.

-Kevin would be welcome to play both basketball and football, if the opportunity was available. Basketball was actually his first love.

-Kevin says that he improved on his speed and height from a year ago to help better his game. When asked what his strengths and weaknesses were, he said: "My strengths would be my speed and my ability to catch the ball at it's highest point." My weaknesses would be my strength. I feel like I need to get stronger."

-Greg Mattison is Gladneys main contact at Michigan. He said that "Mattison is great, and he's a good guy, whose really funny and sounds like he really wants me to be a wolverine."

Gladney should be a top five prospect in Ohio come summer time once he participates in some junior days and football camps. Seems like Gladney has really connected with Coach Mattison and he likes Michigan. We need to get him on campus, but as of now, I like our chances.

Upcoming Weekend Visitors

Hokes Mad Magicians writer; Sarah Hughes gives an in-depth, and extensive look at Michigans visitors for this weekend. Check it out here.

Monday, 13 February 2012

New Writer

Hello everyone, the MGoRecruit team has added another member to the blog today. The new writer is Brandon Brown. Heres a little background on Brandon:

"I was born in Tawas, Michigan in 1984 so that makes me 27 years old. I grew up in a really small, rural town in mid-Michigan. I was bred, born, and raised a die-hard Michigan fan. I went to a really small public school and played sports my whole life. I went on to college at Central Michigan University and studied to become a science/PE teacher and coach. I moved to South Carolina in 2007 in search of a job and landed it after 1 interview. I teach 7th grade science and coach wide receivers and defensive backs in football, and I am a head girls basketball coach."

Brandon will be our "film guy" who will be breaking down and evaluating recruits. He will give you in-depth analysis on recruits and it will hopefully give you a better understanding of what the recruit excels at, and areas that they could improve upon. With Brandon being a high school football coach, he has an "eye for talent" which should let you know that he knows what he's doing.

Everybody give him a follow at @CoachBrown3. Welcome him with warm, and open arms!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Shaq Wiggins commits to Georgia

2013 Atlanta (Ga.) CB Shaq Wiggins has commited to Georgia today according to his twitter. Wiggins had some interest in Michigan, but there were some discrepancies regarding whether or not he had an offer from the Wolverines. Wiggins was on Georgias campus today for an official visit, so it wasn't all that surprising for him to stay in-state.

His commitment doesn't really affect Michigan too much because they seem to be higher on other corner backs such as Kendall Fuller, Jourdan Lewis, amongst others.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Quick Hitters

- It seems like all four major recruiting services have released early rankings now, as the Rivals 100 is out. Shane Morris is #16, Dymonte Thomas is #77.

- Ohio TE Jake Butt has named Michigan as his clear leader, and he checks in at #96 on the previously mentioned Rivals 100. Michigan will take at least two TEs in this class, and Jake has a good shot at being the 2nd.

- Per an Allen Trieu tweet, Illinois WR Laquon Treadwell will be visiting Michigan this weekend, as well as Michigan State. The Wolverines were his leaders previously, but he's just picked up offers from USC and Ohio State, so the competition just got a lot tougher. The Buckeyes will get him on campus next month.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Dan Gibbs to walk on at UM

2012 in state offensive lineman Dan Gibbs has chosen to walk on at Michigan over scholarship offers from Ball St, Eastern Michigan and some ivy league schools. This is a nice get for UM as it takes a bit of pressure off the Kozan decision and doesn't cost us a scholarship.

Gibbs is a three star prospect on, which is good for a walk on. He's a very smart guy, so he'll have every chance to excel on and off the field at Michigan.

Commitment Profile: Khalid Hill

Name: Khalid Hill

Location: Detroit, MI

Position: TE

Ratings: ESPN – NR* (40), Scout – NR*, 247 Sports - 3*

Recruitment: There's not too much to say here. Hill grew up a Wolverine fan and knew that when offered, he would commit. He increased the chances of getting that offer by turning in an MVP performance at Michigan's summer camp, although he still had to wait until February 6th 2012 for his offer.

Offers: Michigan, Central Michigan.

Stats: Currently weighs around 235lbs at 6’2. As a junior he caught 29 passes for 448 yards and 6 TDs. Also played on defense and made 55 tackles, but he'll most likely be a TE in college.

ESPN Analysis: None available. Analysis: None available

Improvements: Hard to say this early on, and without any real evaluations. Wouldn't mind seeing him grow 2-3 inches in height though.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: Michigan missed out on Sam Grant at the end of the 2012 class, so it was obvious that they'd be after at least one TE in the 2013 group. They got to see Hill in person at the summer camp, and were clearly impressed with what they saw. He's also a very smart guy, and as he grew up a Wolverine fan, he sounds like a great fit for the team.

At this point his commitment won't affect any other 2013 prospects, as Michigan probably has room for at least one more TE, depending on how much Al Borges wants to use the position in the future. Michigan got a good receiving and blocking duo in Funchess and Williams for 2012, so it might be tough for Hill to get past those guys on the depth chart, but its so early that its not really worth speculating just yet.

The ratings aren't overly impressive, and neither is the offer list. Unfortunately that offer list is unlikely to expand now that he's committed so early, but UM coaches know what they're doing, and this is clearly a guy they wanted in the fold early.

Commit Watch over: Welcome Khalid Hill

Commit watch lasted roughly 30 seconds. Khalid Hill (Detroit, MI) has become the 3rd commitment for the class of 2013, joining Shane Morris and Dymonte Thomas. Hill is a three star TE on 247Sports, where the story was first broken.

The offer list won't blow you away, but to be honest I'm not worried about that this early in the process. Tight end is obviously a big need after we missed out on Sam Grant in 2012, so its good that UM already has one in the 2013 class

Commit Watch

Michigan fans should apparently be on the look out for a commitment today:

Cass Tech 2013 CB Jourdan Lewis has to be a candidate, having recently received his UM offer. It will almost certainly be a guy from the 2013 class, because nobody (nobody!) knows what Kozan is doing.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Quick Laremy Tunsil Update

I spoke with Columbia (FL) Offensive Tackle Laremy Tunsil earlier today and we discussed his recruitment a little bit. Laremy is one of the few five-stars on 24/7 sports and is a member of ESPNU's 2013 Early Top 100 prospects in the country. Heres the highlights:

-Laremy has a top five of FSU, LSU, Alabama, Michigan, and Florida. He has created a strong bond with all five of those schools coaches. The coaches are what attracted Laremy to those programs over everything else.

-Laremy currently has 13 offers. He says that his recruitment is really crazy right now, but he's really enjoying the process.

-He says that being a top recruit nationally feels great, but he knows that he still gad stuff to work on to become better a player. Hasn't had a chance to visit Michigan yet, but he wants to sometime soon. Plans on attending many camps and junior days over the spring and summer.

-His biggest strengths on the offensive line would have to be his quick feet and athleticism. Says that he is great in run blocking and pass blocking, but he could still use some more work on his pass blocking to become elite in that area of his game.

-The biggest thing he's looking for in in a college is education. He loves Michigans offensive line program and he has a GREAT relationship with Coach Funk.

-His parents are his greatest inspirations in his life. He will wait til national signing day to make his decision.

This was just a short update with Laremy. I should be in talks with him again to discuss things in a little more detail.

Quick Peter Kalambayi Update

I just got done speaking with Peter Kalambayi, a OLB/DE recruit out of Matthews, North Carolina (Butler HS). Peter's recruitment has recently blown up and he was also just offered by Michigan not too long ago. Some recruiting sites have him as the best player in the state of North Carolina, which is a great accomplishment. Heres the update:

-Has a top four of Stanford, Clemson, North Carolina, and Michigan. Says that he's been getting high interest from Oregon and Alabama. Recent offer from Kentucky. Might visit Michigan relatively soon for a camp showing.

-Coach Montgomery visited his high school a few weeks ago. They told him that he could play OLB or DE depending on how his body develops.

-The biggest thing that Peter likes about his top four schools is that they all have a good mix of academics and football, which will be one of his biggest deciding factors in his recruitment.

-His biggest strengths would be his pass rushing ability and his coverage skills. He says that he struggles in the run game, if he's always thinking pass.

-He emulates his game after Brian Orakpo and Von Miller. His favorite thing to do is rush the passer. Has no idea when he wants to decide.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Diamond to Auburn

Jordan Diamond has committed to Auburn, best of luck to him there. Michigan's hopes for a 5th offensive lineman are now pinned on Alex Kozan, who will decide between UM, Auburn and maybe Iowa? Does Diamond committing to Auburn help our chances with Kozan? Here's hoping.

Diamond Decision

OT Jordan Diamond will announce tonight at 8PM ET, between UM, Arkansas, Auburn and Wisconsin. It's hard to say where he's going, but I'm not as confident as earlier in the week. Hopefully UM will land one of Kozan and Diamond, but really in recruiting there is no guarantee. A couple months ago I picked him to go to Wisconsin before UM came back into it, but maybe the SEC has lured him in?

I'm going to guess Arkansas because Wisconsin has lost a lot of staff, and Auburn isn't a very good program when they don't have Cam Newton leading them.

There will be no live blog for fear of disappointment.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ask Kyle Bosch a Question!

Hey guys, I'm going to be chatting with 2013 OL Kyle Bosch tomorrow morning and wanted to see if anyone had any specific questions that you'd like to ask Kyle. Post a comment with your question and I'll make sure to get your question to him tomorrow!
NOTE: If you aren't already, please follow me on Twitter at @SimplyComplexMM. I need more followers!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Evening News

Word is that Alex Kozan is still deciding between Iowa, Michigan and Auburn, despite having committed to the Hawkeyes last week. This would really take the pressure off UM for the Diamond announcement, should they land Kozan. Not sure when a decision is coming just yet. In 2013 news, ESPN has changed up their schedule and released an early top 100. It's not really ranked, but the top 100 are given stars, Morris has five, Thomas has four; Standard.

NSD blog #1

Dennis Norfleet - The signing day surprise

Dennis Norfleet, an in state RB previously committed to Cincinnati has flipped his commitment to Michigan, becoming the 25th member of the class on signing day. Norfleet is a four star on scout, rivals and 247Sports. ESPN doesn't like him too much, what do they know eh? :P

This was the signing day surprise everyone was talking about yesterday. A full commitment post, as well as Willie Henry's one will be posted later today. Until then, enjoy Norfleet's highlight reel, here.

Commitment Post: Willie Henry (Re-posted)

Name: Willie Henry

Location: Glenville, OH

Position: DT

Ratings: ESPN – 3* (75), Scout – 3*, 247 Sports - 3*

Recruitment: Willie Henry came out of nowhere really with a surprise official visit to Michigan on the last weekend before signing day. He got the offer and committed a day or so later. Henry will join his former teammate Frank Clark on the Michigan defensive line in 2012.

Offers: Michigan, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Hawaii and some non BCS schools.

Stats: Currently stands at 6’3 and around 270lbs and runs a 4.78 forty yard dash. 247 sports credits him with 10 sacks this year.

ESPN Analysis: Though Henry needs to keep developing his frame and add some more good mass he does possess good natural size and looks to carry more bulk than is listed. As a defensive tackle he flashes a good get-off, but can be inconsistent and while at times he shows a nice burst at other times he can be a beat late and needs strive to be more consistent in his get-off.

He sometimes plays with high pad level and even when he plays low he can get overextended. Needs to generate more power from his lower body if he's to compete at the next level. Improvement of hand use would really help him disengage and beat blockers.

Improvements: Needs to get bigger, and general technique.

Film Highlights: Link here.

Final Thoughts: We thought Michigan was done on the defensive line, but clearly they were searching for a guy to go alongside Ondre Pipkins in the middle. This frees up Matt Godin and Chris Wormley to begin at strongside DE.

For a lowish three star to get an offer from Michigan at this stage is fairly unusual. Henry really came on during his senior year and clearly the UM coaching staff sees some potential in him, and with 3 DL coaches on the staff, Henry will have every opportunity to improve his game.

As a freshman he's more than likely heading for a redshirt year so that he can add some bulk to his frame and work on his technique. Further down the road he'll be competing to get in the DT rotation, but generally DT can be hard to project. He could explode his RS Fr year, who knows!

As for the rest of the class, its a bit of a mystery. Jordan Diamond is the only certain prospect, but even his commitment isn't certain. Michigan might make some signing day moves, we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012


It's technically already started for me... but tomorrow (for you) will be fairly uneventful. Michigan does have one rumored surprise recruit that they are hoping to sign, but the main announcement for us will come on Friday with Jordan Diamond.

I'll still post some updates and might do a liveblog at some point. Tune in to WTKA radio for their show which will feature coach Brady Hoke himself for one hour at least! He'll be able to talk about any recruits that have sent in their LOI's.

Update: Its pretty much confirmed that Michigan has another commit, who's LOI will be faxed in early tomorrow. The story is due to break at 8am, so wake up early!!!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Bad News........

Looks like we won't be having special guests joining the national signing day's a violation of the booster rule to have fans interacting with prospects. I wasn't aware of these rules, so I apologize for the inconvenience.

Benji Edit: Lol

Willie Henry update

According to Henry himself, he has not committed just yet, so I've taken down the commitment post. There must of been some kind of confusion between him and his head coach, who told Sam Webb that he had committed. A minor setback, but he's still expected to commit sometime between now and NSD.

De'Niro Laster Interview

One of the fastest-rising prospects in the state of Ohio is 2013 Cleveland Shaker Heights athlete De'Niro Laster. As a sophomore, he recorded 65 tackles and six sacks at linebacker and tallied over 600 yards and six touchdowns as a receiver in 2010, according to Scout, and he's off to a strong start to his junior season. At around 6'3", 215 pounds and still growing, Laster has the versatilty to play outside linebacker and wide receiver. All four of the recruiting sites have him slotted in at wide receiver at the next level. De'Niro currently holds offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Duke, and Temple, and already has interest from schools such as Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oregon, Pitt, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

De'Niro Laster
*Courtesy of 24/7Sports
I was able to talk with De'Niro a few weeks ago and this is what he had to say:

SimplyComplex: How's your recruitment going? What schools have shown the most interest in you?

De'Niro Laster: My recruitment is going GREAT right now pretty much every school in the nation is recruiting me,as far as some of the individual teams that stand out are Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Tennessee,West Virginia,Wisconsin, LSU, Texas, Michigan State,Oregon, Louisville, Bowling Green, Syracuse, Boston College, Minnesota, Pitt, Indiana, Notre Dame, and Duke.

Simply: Do you have a leader at the moment? Any early favorites?

Laster: I have no current favorites,I'm just trying to enjoy the process as of now and stay humble.

Simply: Have you taken any visits to any colleges since your football season is over?

Laster: I haven't visited any school yet since the season but through the up coming months I plan to vist OSU, Michigan,West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati for now. I went to the Michigan showcase last winter and had an impressive day.

Simply: Which Michigan coaches have you been in contact with? What position are they recruiting you for?

Laster: I have talked with ,I think it was coach Jackson, I'm not sure but they said they liked me a lot and wanted me to send film ASAP. They are recruiting me as a WR but I like OLB more.

Simply: What kind of performance did your team and yourself have this football season? Your stats?

Laster: I had over 100 tackles 5 sacks 2 FF 2 blocked punts in eight games, 28 rec for over 600 yards and 2 TD. My team didn't do so well we went 2-8,.I had a great year and missed the last game because of a shoulder injury which is fine now.

Simply: You're a very versatile football player seeing as you can play both linebacker and wide receiver. Which position do you like more and which position do you see yourself playing in college?

Laster: Like my brother/friend Frank Clark, when he was getting recruited in HS he played wide receiver and excelled at it, but like he did, I believe I will play OLB in college.

Simply: What type of things are you looking for in a university?

Laster: In a university I'm looking at the type of environment that will make me the most comfortable.

Simply: What are your strengths at your respected positions?

Laster: My strengths are my size and speed combo 6'3 215 and 4.6 speed, I'm quick with a high football IQ, versatile and a leader.

Simply: There have been rumors that you and Donovan Munger are a package deal. Any truth to that?

Laster: Yes it is confirmed that me Donovon are a package deal .*

Simply: Do you have a timeline for when you'd like to make your decision?

Laster: I plan to commit before the season or on signing day.

*-Donovon Munger has been in contact with Michigan recently, so them coming as a package deal to Michigan is a real possibility.


Just a bad few days for UM! I woke up today to discover that Sam Grant has committed to Oklahoma over Michigan, unbelievable! I don't think anyone saw this coming; UM were clear favorites and it seemed like only a matter of time before he joined his teammate Kyle Kalis in Ann Arbor.

Possible reasons for his Oklahoma commitment: (Pure guesses at the moment)

- Oklahoma run a passing offense that recently sent a TE to the first round of the NFL draft.

- He's frustrated that UM waited so long to offer after he thought he had an offer back in the spring/summer but it turned out to be false.

- Did he grow up an OSU fan? Growing up in Ohio, there's a high chance that he rooted for the Buckeyes and maybe he just couldn't bring himself to suit up for the Maize and Blue!

As for the rest of class, it now means that Jordan Diamond and newly found DT Willie Henry are the only prospects we are 'in' on. Henry is easily the most likely to join the fold, and logic suggests that UM can't possibly strike out with 3 OL prospects in one week, so we have a decent/good chance with Diamond. I think Jordan took his last official visit to Wisconsin though this weekend, and this is worrying as before UM came back into it for Diamond, I was projecting him to the Badgers. If UM does strike out with Diamond, would they give 3* OL Dan Gibbs an offer? They really want at least five OL in the class, so maybe they will.

It's been a crazy few days with several surprises that haven't gone our way, but this is still an extremely good class. We started so outrageously well on the recruiting trail that it was almost impossible for the finish to match the start.

If you go over UM's class though, you can't help but smile:
- Adding Diamond to the OL class will make it an extremely good haul
- We have two tall, rangy wide receivers
- We have a RB who runs a 4.35 forty at 200lbs
- We have a talented pass catching TE and a big physical blocking TE
- The DL is already strong, and adding a guy like Willie Henry (high upside) gives it even better potential
- The linebacking core is very, very good.
- We have one very good CB, a ballhawking safety (Wilson), and a strong safety (Gant)

Ideally we'd like to add another corner to the class, but its not a necessity. UM already has Blake Countess locking down one CB spot for the next 2-3 years, and Delonte Hollowell has shown promise. Then we have guys like Tamani Carter, Raymon Taylor.

Conclusion: IF we can land Diamond, then its mission accomplished with this class. All the key positions of need will have been filled, expect perhaps QB but we have Shane Morris in 2013.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Alex Kozan to Iowa

4* Colorado OL Alex Kozan commits to Iowa tonight over his other two finalists: Auburn and Michigan. Kozan visited Michigan on December 9th and hosted Coach Hoke for an in-home visit, so we were definitely in the hunt for him.

This was a horrible recruiting weekend for Michigan after losing out on Kozan and Armani Reeves, but we still have the Sam Grant, Willie Henry, and Jordan Diamond announcements to look forward to!

Reeves to OSU

Four star CB Armani Reeves just announced on twitter he's going to OSU. This is a real shame, as it marks a win for Urban Meyer over UM in recruiting, and we don't really have any other corners on the board right now. Will they make a last ditch attempt to sign one out of nowhere?

Kozan decision

Four star OL Alex Kozan will likely be making his college choice tonight, with Iowa and Michigan the favourites. This is a tough one to call, but there are a lot of people saying Iowa. I think UM still has a decent shot, and Garnett going to Stanford might help us here.

Surprise Recruit

During the liveblog, many of you asked whether UM would get a commitment out of nowhere on signing day. Well it's not quite signing day yet, but the Wolverines have a great chance of picking up a commitment from DT Willie Henry, who is on campus for an official visit.

Henry is a defensive tackle that doesn't have many good offers at all, so if Michigan offers him today, then there's a strong chance he commits. He's also a guy from Glenville HS in Ohio, which produced Frank Clark for us last year.

Henry is a three star prospect (I know, I know), so if he does get offered this late in the process then it tells us that Hoke and Mattison really see some potential in him. Trust the coaches, they've led us to a BCS in year one, I think they deserve our trust; so please don't flame about MOAR 4* STARS!!!!

Edit: Go blue, beat Ohio!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Garnett to Stanford

Well that was a crazy liveblog, 4000 of you were reading at the time of his decision, which is mental. Unfortunately it was all for nothing as Garnett picked Stanford.

I think academics and distance from home were the main factors. Best of luck to him at Stanford, by all accounts Garnett is a great guy, so yeah, I hope he succeeds at Stanford.

Josh Garnett Announcement Liveblog

Pre Garnett Liveblog

I've finished my exams now, and actually have a weeks break between semesters, perfect for the build up to signing day! I've probably missed a few things recently in terms of posting, so here's a live blog to catch up.

Note: Also will act as a test for the Garnett liveblog which will happen later today!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Sam Grant decommits

Tight End Sam Grant has decommitted from Boston College, paving the way for him to perhaps join Kyle Kalis at Michigan in 2012. Since Oklahoma took Taylor McNamara, I felt Boston College would be the toughest competition, so this really makes things look good.

Grant should be announcing fairly soon, as he's had in home visits this week. Michigan definitely favorites to land him now.

Caleb Stacey decommits

Offensive lineman Caleb Stacey has decommitted from Michigan today, and will now sign with the Cincinnati Bearcats. He's from the Cincinnati area, so this is probably just a decision to keep him closer to home, but one must ask the question whether Michigan's likely expansion on OL recruiting had something to do with it.

Anyway, if you're one of those optimists who thinks we can get both Garnett and Diamond, well good news: we now have room for them. Alex Kozan is also still an option, he's deciding soon, but no one is certain of his decision.

Catching up with Erik Magnuson

As we get closer and closer to National Signing Day, many will start to reflect on Michigan's 2012 recruiting class. Michigan has been getting commitments from the usual states, Ohio and Michigan. In addition to Michigan and Ohio the Wolverines (in large part due to Brady Hoke and staff's connections in California) have been able to snag one of California's best prospects.

Erik Magnuson

That recruit is 2012 offensive line commit Erik Magnuson. Magnuson stands at 6'6 and 275 lbs., and will be asked to anchor the offensive line for Michigan for many years to come. Magnuson is one of Michigan's most highly regarded commits, because he provides depth and a need at the OL position. Magnuson's best attributes at the OL position are his versatility, athleticism, and his aggressive nature. Magnuson is a consensus 4* recruit on all four of the major recruiting services, and turned down the likes of USC, Stanford, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon and many others. 

Fresh off his in-home visit with Coach Hoke, I caught up with Magnuson for a quick interview.

SimplyComplex:How was your in-home visit with Coach Hoke? What did you guys discuss?

Magnuson:It went really well. Honestly, we didn't even talk about football. My parents just had a few questions for him, but it was really good for my mom to get to know him. Obviously I already knew him well and my dad has spent a good amount of time with him, but my mom only previously got to meet him, so it was good for her to become comfortable with him.

Simply: What kind of impression did Hoke leave on your mom?

Magnuson: My mom loved him. It's hard on my mom leaving and going so far, so her getting to know coach so well and getting to know what he's all about off the field and everything was huge.

Simply: What kind of questions did your parents have for Hoke? Were they satisfied with his answers?

Magnuson: My parents just had questions about what the scholarship included and the type of rules that Coach Hoke has off the field. 

Simply: You just recently came back from performing in the Army All-American Game. How would you describe your performance there? What was it like to talk with other Michigan commits at the game?

Magnuson: The All-American Game was a great experience and one that I will always remember. I think that I played pretty well considering that I was playing a new position. I felt like if I would have played left tackle than I would have played much better.

Simply: Jordan Payton is trying to set up a visit with Coach Hoke. Have you been recruiting Jordan to Michigan at all?

Magnuson: I had no idea that coach was trying to visit Jordan. I now Jordan already committed to California, but I have been trying to best recruit him all along. I like Jordan a lot and I think he would fit perfectly with what we got going on in Ann Arbor. 

Simply: Joshua Garnett had his official with Stanford this past weekend. How heavily have you been recruiting him. I know that you guys talk all the time on twitter about playing together. What would it mean to you if Garnett committed? 

Magnuson: Of course I have been recruiting Josh. That's my boy. We are bros. it would mean so much to me having a good friend go to Michigan with me. I can't pressure him into anything, though. He's got to make a decision based on what's best for himself just like every other recruit does. Hopefully he makes the right choice and comes to Michigan.

Simply: What do you think of Ohio State? 

Magnuson: I hate them. I can't wait to play and beat the crap out of them.

Erik Magnuson Film

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Cameron Dillard Interview

Canton (MI) guard Cameron Dillard is drawing national attention—along with interest from home-state schools Michigan and MSU—and has already garnered offers from Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. The 6'3", 280-pound junior is a member of the ESPNU 150 watch list and recently showed his skills with the nation's best underclassmen at the Army All-American Combine. Dillard also trains with former Michigan strength and conditioning coach, Mike Barwis on a day-to-day basis.
Cameron Dillard

Here's the full transcript below:

SimplyComplex: How are things going with you on the recruiting front?

Cameron Dillard: My recruitment is going well. I think I should have a big spring based on all the work I have put in this off-season so far.

Simply:  How many offers are you sitting on right now?

Dillard: Right now, I have (5) offers that include Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. 

Simply: Growing up in Michigan, you've been around the UM-MSU rivalry for a long time. Which team is your favorite and why?

Dillard: Actually, I only moved to Michigan 6 years ago, so I can’t say that I have a favorite. Both teams are great.  Also, I didn’t realize how intense the rivalry were between the two schools until I was fortunate enough to attend the game this past fall in East Lansing.

Simply: You had a very impressive junior season. What differences did you notice about your play in your junior season compared to your sophomore season?

Dillard: Considering that I worked with Mike Barwis from the summer of my sophomore year and throughout my junior season, I thought I was more athletic, explosive, and I was able to move better on the field as well as get to the second and the third level blocks. Additionally, I worked with Lomas Brown on pass protection, which was a blessing. 

Simply:  You've had the opportunity to train with Mike Barwis on a weekly basis. How has Mike helped you grow and develop as a football player?

Dillard:  Mike and the rest of staff have been great to work with. As I said earlier, I feel working at Barwis Methods in Plymouth, MI has made me more athletic and explosive in my movements.

Simply: What kind of training does Mike have you do?

Dillard: Mike has me doing same Strength and Conditioning program that he implemented at both Michigan and West Virginia. That way, when I get ready to go off to college, I will be physically and mentally prepared for the rigors of the weight room.

Simply: How much do you like working with him?

Dillard: It is fun. Every day is a new challenge. I cannot thank my parents enough for the opportunity to work out at Barwis Methods.

Simply: Which schools are recruiting you the hardest right now, and which schools would you like to hear more from?

Dillard: There are several other schools showing a great deal of interest including Michigan, MSU, Clemson, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Indiana to name a few. However, there are other schools in the Pac 12 that I feel are gaining some momentum as well. As far as places I would like to hear more from, I would say any school that feels I can best fit into their offense.

Simply: You're obviously a very talented player and being a top recruit certainly has its negatives and positives. How have you handled the recruiting process so far?

Dillard: I have had the support of my family and friends through this whole process.

Simply: How do you stay humble during the process?

Dillard: I realize I have an obligation to my family to work hard because I have blessed with football skills that I can use to get an education as well as bring support to my community. 

Simply: You recently attended the U.S. Army All-American Combine. How was it?

Dillard: It was a great experience. While in San Antonio, I had a 28.5” vertical and bench pressed 185 lbs. for 35 reps. I still have some work to do on my pass protection, but I feel it has come a long way in a year. I consider myself a road grade machine. In fact someone said to me just the other day, “How many IHOP’s did you open this season?” because of all my pancakes on the field. I thought that was funny.

Simply:  Which coaches have you been hearing from Michigan? 

Dillard: I have got to talk to Coach Hoke a few times while I was in San Antonio and when I was at the All-State Dream Team banquet. Also, I have talked to Coach Jackson and Coach Mattison. All these coaches have been real positive with me.

Simply:  What factors will play a big part in your decision?

Dillard:  It is my three A's for a school. These things are athletics, atmosphere, and academics.

Simply:  Pretend like you are scouting yourself. What are some areas that you'd like to improve upon, and what are some areas that you excel at?

Dillard: Well, I am consistently known as a dominant run blocker. In fact, I would call myself a “Grinder.” I like going out on the field and grind my opponent for 4 quarters. I think I have a wide body to take up space, but I can move in that space which makes it difficult for defensive players. One thing I wouldn’t say is a strength but is slowly becoming an asset is my pass-protection skills. Our team is primarily run dominant, so I was blessed enough this off-season to work with Lomas Brown on my pass-blocking skills. Lomas helped me with my pass sets and trying to work on different angles to keep the defensive linemen away from the quarterback. Also, Lomas worked with me on my punch by showing me how to time the punch and where to strike. In the end, by combining both the run and pass blocking skills as part of my arsenal, I think I can be a complete player for any college program in 2013.

Simply: Do you plan on attending any summer camps or junior days?

Dillard: Yes, I will actually be at Indiana this weekend for Junior Day followed by Clemson next weekend and West Virginia on Feb. 11th. I visited Michigan State in December, so hopefully I will be able to get up to Michigan in the spring for spring ball.

Simply: Do you have a timeline for when you'd like to make a decision?

Dillard: Not at this moment. I guess whenever I get that gut feeling the school is right for me, then I will make my decision.

 Cameron Dillard Junior Film:

Recruiting Mailbag: Results

Here are the results of the recruiting mailbag that was posted on Monday. Hope you enjoy!

Question 1:
I'm sure you heard that Urban Meyer has kicked off 2 DBs from the Ohio State team for "violations of undisclosed team rules." This opens up 2 scholarships with Armani Reeves visiting them in the near future, and potentially Yuri Wright making a visit. Would this be convenient or just a coincidence?
I know Michigan has cooled a little with Yuri Wright, but what do you think the chances of them landing him, Armani Reeves or both are?

Answer: As much as I dislike Urban Meyer, I don't think that him kicking off two corner backs was convenient. 
Yuri Wright will not becoming here. With the coaches liking Armani Reeves more, and thinking that Wright is better suited as a safety rather than corner, I think that that ship has sailed. I'm actually more optimistic about Reeves than others. He had strong Michigan interest earlier in his recruitment before picking PSU, and now after his recent visit, we are in great position. The one big factor that could sway Reeves to either OSU, UM, or back to PSU, is his close friend (and commit) Camren Williams.

Question 2:

What are the chances that Michigan ends the class with Garnett, Diamond , Reeves and Grant? 

Answer: I'd say that Michigan stands in great shape with Garnett, Reeves and Grant, but I think that Diamond will end up at another school. Diamond seems to be worried about playing time and with Michigan possibly taking up to seven offensive lineman, I think that will play a big factor in his decision. I'd say 75% for Garnett, 55% for Reeves, 70% for Grant, and 25% for Diamond.

Question 3: Also is Stefon Diggs totally out of the picture? 

Yes, Stefon Diggs is no longer considering Michigan.

Question 4: Do you see any big recruiting suprises for Michigan?

Answer: Sadly, I don't see any surprises for Michigan this year. Michigan is in great position with the rest of their remaining prospects, so if any of them commit, it shouldn't be a surprise.

Question 5:
What is the difference between Yuri Wright and Armani Reeves and which one's more likely to play at Michigan?

Answer: I think the difference between Wright and Reeves is that Reeves is the more polished corner back, They're both tremendous players, but Reeves is more college-ready and is the better corner, while Wright has talent, his rankings seemed to be based on potential. As you saw in the Army All-American Game, he needs quite a bit of work. Reeves is more likely to commit.

Question 6: Which school will most likely have Josh Garnett commit on Jan.26, Mich. or Stanford?

Answer: Michigan. It'll be close though.

Question7: When will Ty Issac commit and will it be Michigan?

Answer: I think that Isaac will commit when he's ready to commit. Not sure on a specific date. I'd like to be Michigan, but it'll be a tough battle with Notre Dame.

Question 8: Since where looking for a WR for  one of our last spots in the class who is most likely the player that will play for Michigan?

Answer: To be honest, I don't think Michigan gets a last WR commit. They've contacted Monty Madaris, but he's Michigan State bound. Jordan Payton is the most likely candidate, but I still think he stays on the west coast.

Question 9: Is Logan Tuley-Tillman going to commit to Michigan if yes is he going to commit this year?

Answer: I think Tillman will commit to Michigan, but I think that he'll commit in 2013.

Question 10: Basketball wise, will James Young commit to Michigan?

Answer: Since Michigan has yet to offer, I'd say that MSU is the team to beat right now. 

Question 11:  What wideouts do you think we will grab next year?

Answer: Michigan is in great position with many wide receivers for the 2013 class. If I were to predict the wideouts, it'd be something like this:
1. Laquon Treadwell
2. Robert Foster
3. Kevin Gladny

Questions 12: With the coaching change that has happened at Cal and Jordan Payton reopening his recruitment, do you believe that Coach Hoke and the staff should go after him? He was abosolutley thrilled with his visit at the Notre Dame game, but personally, I think that he will end up at Notre Dame if not Cal. How much of a chance do we really have?

Answer: The staff should pursue him quite a bit, especially with the Stonum news.I'd say that we have a chance, but not a very good one. He and his family seem determined to stay on the west coast., though. I think that he will end up at Washington personally.

Question 13:  Very curious about '13, especially WR Marcell  Ateman. Seen a lot on scout and rivals bout him and UM. Are we in the running early, or is he going to Texas? 

Answer: We are very much in the running early for Ateman. Texas dominates in-state recruiting most years, but if we can get him on campus, anything is possible.

Question 14: The recruiting sites seem to have us in on a lot of big names next year. When do the early player ratings come out?

Answer: I know that 24/7 Sports just recently updated their 2013 rankings. Not sure about ESPN, Scout, or Rivals. 

Question 15: Are there any big time recruits for the 2013 class who Michigan might be the favorites for?
Answer: As of right now: Logan Tuley-Tillman, Taco Charlton, Laquon Treadwell, Ty Isaac and Jourdan Lewis.

Question 16: How do you see the Hoke-Meyer recruiting battle going?

Answer: Meyer is obviously the "bigger coach" due to his track record, but don't underestimate Hoke and his staff. Mattison was Meyer's best recruiter and he is one of the reasons that Meyer recruited so well. Hoke needs to keep winning games and beat Ohio State a few times for Michigan to really become competitive in the state of Ohio recruiting wise. 

Question 17: With some recruits nationally backing off their commitments, are there any U of M verbals we need to worry about?

Answer: No. Everyone in this class will end up signing their LOI's with Michigan. 

Question 18: When recruiting a top receiver, like Payton, how much does an early verbal from Morris play into the staffs pitch? 

Answer: I don't think the staff really talks about Morris to be honest. I'm sure that a top receiver likes having a top QB already committed, but the staff just needs to sell Michigan and follow their recruiting strategy.

Question 19: Okay, so I have been debating whether or not we need another DT in this class for months now because Will Campbell is not going to get it done next season. Are there any guys flying under the radar that we can pick up?

Answer: I don't see Michigan getting anymore DT commits. They are happy with Pipkins and potential movers like Wormley and Godin.

Thanks to everyone who participated! I'll be holding another Mailbag on Monday.

ESPN updates prospect rankings

Firstly, I know a lot of you don't like ESPN, probably because of their apparent bias to the SEC. But with six national titles in a row, its certainly feasible to say that recruits in the south east are at least on average, better. States like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana are consistently putting top players into the college game and the pros - and this is why ESPN tends to rate them higher. Better competition in high school produces better players.

Fortunately for Michigan, and other Midwest programs, the talent in Ohio and Michigan this year has been at a very high level, and this is reflected in Michigan's class ranking, which currently lies at #7. Anyway, without further ado, let's see where UM's commits and targets line up.

ESPN 150 Members:
CB Terry Richardson - 4* (81), #68 overall, #5 CB
OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone - 4* (80), #113 overall, #9 OLB
OG Kyle Kalis - 4* (80), #132 overall, #10 OG
MLB Joe Bolden - 4* (80), #142 overall, #5 MLB

Outside ESPN 150:
DT Ondre Pipkins - 4* (80), #16 DT
DE Chris Wormley - 4* (80), #16 DE
TE Devin Funchess - 4* (80), #5 TE
MLB James Ross - 4* (80), #8 MLB
S Jarrod Wilson - 4* (80), #13 S
DE Mario Ojemudia - 4* (80), #20 DE
OT Erik Magnuson - 4* (79), #27 OT

OT Ben Braden - 3* (79), #50 OT
DT Matt Godin - 3* (79), #32 DT
WR Jehu Chesson - 3* (79), #58 WR
OT Blake Bars - 3* (79), #54 OT
DE Tom Strobel - 3* (78), #61 DE
OG Caleb Stacey - 3* (78), #35 OG
MLB Kaleb Ringer - 3* (78), #23 MLB
WR Amara Darboh - 3* (78), #82 WR
TE A.J Williams - 3* (77), #36 TE
S Jeremy Clark - 3* (76), #52 S
S Allen Gant - 3* (75)
FB Siona Houma - 2* (74), #4 FB
RB Drake Johnson - 2* (72), #161 RB

The good:

Right now, you may be fuming at a couple of snubs whilst cursing that perceived ESPN bias. Personally, I don't think it's that bad. Let's start off with the positives. Terry Richardson is still rated very highly despite his size, which tells us they think he's a really good cover guy.

Joe Bolden made a leap up into the ESPN 150 after his good showing at the Under Armor game, and Ondre Pipkins made a big jump (3 rating points) up to a four star prospect. He probably should be in the 150, but clearly the analysts have found something they don't like.

The bad:

James Ross is one of the top commits in the class, I'm telling you right now. He's underrated here for sure, and it's probably just because of his size. Tom Strobel is also lower than expected, considering scout has him as a top 100 guy. There are other commits that should be higher too.

The ugly:

Drake Johnson a two star (72)? This is harsh for a guy that put up great numbers and has incredible speed. Whether he goes on to have a great UM career or not, he's better than that rating suggests.

Are there really 81 WRs better than Amara Darboh? No, there aren't.

This is still a positive set of results, you must take into consideration that ESPN gives harsher grades than the other sites. For example they've only handed out 11 five stars this year. Personally I like this, a 5* player should be something special, someone that is ready to dominate at the next level almost immediately. 

As fans we naturally assume that the site that gives our recruits the best ratings, is the best 'ranker'. I bet a few of you will be thinking right now that is the best, and maybe they are. But maybe its because they have many of our commits ranked in the top 100. I use ESPN rankings for this site because they give the most detailed evaluations of commits (i.e a long description of their strengths and weaknesses).

The Targets:
Josh Garnett is rated as a four star prospect (#42 overall, 82 rating) and the #3 OG in the nation. This would obviously be a great pickup if we can land him, as it would help push us up the rankings.

Armani Reeves is a four star prospect (80 rating), and he's listed as the #23 ATH in the class.

Sam Grant is a three star prospect, with a 78 rating.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Michael Hutchings Interview

For decades, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle has been widely regarded as one of the country's preeminent high school football programs — and as such, it has churned out its fair share of marquee talent. This year, De La Salle will be churning out yet another extraordinary player by the name of Michael Hutchings. Hutchings stands at 6-2, 210-pounder and is a five-star prospect according to Scout. Hutchings is also on the ESPNU 150 watch list for the 2013 class. He is also the 39th ranked prospect in 24/7Sports Top 24/7 rankings, warranting him a 95 rating, which makes him a four-star prospect. I was able to contact Hutchings for an interview earlier today.
Michael Hutchings

Here's what he had to say:

SimplyComplex:You're one of the prospects in the country. How exciting is that for you? What do you do to stay humble throughout the recruiting process?

Michael: It's exciting to be a top prospect in the country and have little kids and fans look up to you. However, I stay humble just by continuing to work hard and continue the same work ethic that I had before all the offers came in.

Simply: I know that Michigan extended an offer to you early in the process. Does that give Michigan a slight advantage or are you pretty much wide open right now?

Michael: It does give Michigan an advantage by being an early offer. Showing that they had high interest in me from the beginning is huge, but my list is wide open as of now.

Simply: Do you feel like distance could be a factor in your decision?

Michael: Distance won't be a huge factor in my decision. I just want to get to place where I feel comfortable and it fits what I'm looking for in a school. Such as a great degree with strong alumni network after football, early playing time, and a strong committed coaching staff. I want a coach that is going to be there all of my four years, not up and leave to the NFL.

Simply: How many offers do you have right now? Any favorites or even a top group?

Michael: I have fourteen offers at the moment and there are probably more coming, so I haven't cut any lists down. That will come in the summer when recruiting for 2013 cools down a little bit.

Simply: How would you describe your style of play? What areas do you struggle with, and what areas do you excel at?

Michael: My style of play is athletic. I'm very versatile. I can play both outside linebacker and strong safety. My versatility allows for me to cover a slot receiver or tight end effectively. That's what the college coaches love about my game.

Simply: Do you know who your main recruiter from Michigan is?

Michael: My main contact from Michigan is Coach Ferrigno, but he has been working on giving me more position contacts.

Simply: With you attending De La Salle high school, there have been many alums that give you recruiting advice. Who do you talk to the most and what advice have they given you?

Michael: I talk with Amani Toomer about the process a lot. He didn't try to sell me on Michigan or anything like that. He just gave me some straight-up advice. He said Michigan was a great fit for him education-wise. It was somewhere he felt comfortable and where it felt like the coaches cared. He said that as I start getting deeper into the recruiting process, that some schools may just jump on the bandwagon. He said those first few offers are the ones I want to look at heavily. Michigan was No. 3.I also talk with Matt Gutierrez about once or twice a month, but we haven't really discussed Michigan.

Simply: Do you have any visits planned right now? Which schools would you like to visit in the future?

Michael: I don't have any visits planned right now, but in the future I really want to visit Oregon. Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, and UCLA are some more places that I'd like to visit.

Simply: What kind of things are you looking for in a university? How big of an effect will education have on your decision?

Michael: In a university, I'm looking for how they support and take care of their student-athletes. I have visited one school where they had a graduation plan for their athletes to get there degree in 3 years and their masters in their in five. Education is the biggest factor in regards to my decision, and the rest will follow. That's how my parents have told me to take on the process.

Simply: How do you handle all the attention you get by being a highly regarded recruit? Do you like it? Or does it get annoying after awhile?

Michael:I handle all the attention in an unselfish manner. I don't try to put myself above others. I consider myself on the same level as everyone and I give my friends and fans the same attention that they give to me. It does get annoying sometimes when people repeatedly ask me where I'm going or when I'm deciding everyday that I'm at school, but I don't let that show.

Simply: Where does Michigan stand right with you right now?

Michael: Michigan stands along with all the rest of the schools. I haven't really into in-depth research of all the schools recruiting me.

Simply: Who in your life inspires you to become a better football player and a better man in general?

Michael My parents inspire me to be a better man and that's what this process is helping me with. And, the strong football alumni from our school make me want to be better each day, just to be mentioned with them some day when I'm all done.

Simply: Do you have a time line for when you'd like to decide, or will you just go with the flow of things?

Michael: I don't really have a time line of when I'm going to decide. If it's not before the season, then it will probably be in the Army All-American Game.

Simply: Are you looking forward to participating in all the high school camps over the spring/summer?

Michael: I'm looking forward to competing at two Nike training camps this year at least, which are located at Stanford and USC. I'm also looking forward to going to the USC camp and competing with a good friend of mine, Su'a Cravens. We are arguably number 1 and 2 in the state, so it'll be fun to compete with him.

As you can tell by his interview, Hutchings is a high character athlete that is determined to become an all-time great linebacker. Here's a little breakdown on Hutchings which comes from West regional manager Brandon Huffman. "Hutchings is well put together and has nice long arms with a good base,He can take on linemen and usually makes short work of backs trying to block him. He can also slip his blockers because he moves so well laterally. His hits are big and they almost always end up in a ball carrier or receiver on the ground because he runs through them. Hutchings also excels in coverage and does a great job on his pass drops. He's got tremendous instincts. The big key is that he does it against arguably the toughest schedule of any program in the West, so he's dominant against elite programs."

Michael Hutchings 2010 Highlight film:

Since Michigan extended him an offer early, and has been in constant contact with Coach Ferrigno, I'd say that our chances of getting him are good right now. Although, Michigan must get him on campus to see where Michigan stands with him in the long run.

Michigan Recruiting Roundtable, the First Edition

Heres a recruiting roundtable that I, and many other Michigan bloggers participated in. Hope you enjoy!

In the best interest of the fans, I decided to put together a roundtable consisting of the Michigan blogosphere's best minds in terms of recruiting. The assignment? Five simple questions regarding the recruits Michigan has brought in and the job the coaches have done.

First, the participants:
Magnus Thunder (or Magnus....or Thunder) @ Touch The Banner
The Recruiting Ninja Ace Anbender
Tremendous's own Keith Thompson
MGoRecruit's Simply Complex
Maize Pages' Jeff and MGoShoe

And, the Q/A:

QUESTION #1: 1. Of the 2012 commits and targets that could legitimately commit to Michigan, which one are you most personally excited for and why?

Magnus: I'm most excited for Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's linebacker James Ross. He's a little on the small side, but I think people are going to be impressed with how quickly he reads plays and gets to the ball. Although maybe not as fast, he reminds me of Ian Gold and should probably be a starter within two seasons.

Keith: Joshua Garnett, and there are multiple reasons. The first being that he is an outstanding player that could contribute early finding a place in our thin rotation. The second reason being that he would possibly solidify the best offensive line class in Michigan history. With the front that is being developed it would be hard to not be considered a contender in any game we play.

Ace: I'm going to stick to players I've seen in person, since there's a lot that doesn't show up in the average highlight film. I had the chance to see James Ross play a couple times in the fall, and he impressed me more than any other recruit in terms of his production and consistency. Ross has great range, tackles well, and his instincts were well ahead of the vast majority of high school linebackers—if he can add a little bulk, which I doubt will be an issue, he should compete for early playing time and be a multi-year starter, with the potential to bring in postseason accolades down the road.

Jeff: Royce Jenkins-Stone. Kalis is probably the obvious answer here but he's already projected so high--many, including myself, are saying starting LG by Ohio--that I feel more comfortable instead of excited about him. What makes makes me personally excited for RJS, and the rest of the linebacking corps, I think stems from the talent gap between what Michigan has seen over the last few years and the potential coming in. He has the typical Michigan linebacker frame if you will--6'2", 215 lbs--and the speed and athleticism to go with it. He'll likely redshirt and put on weight but by the time he's ready, I see him as a 3-year starter earning 1st-team All-Big Ten honors.

DGDestroys: Jarrod Wilson. Why? The answer is simple. Speed. For the past few years, our safeties has consisted of converted LBs (before or after the fact), injured CBs, walk-ons (don't get me wrong, I love Kovacs and Van Slyke), converted WRs, and a lot of slower, lower recruited kids. Jarrod Wilson is simply a rangy free safety. And that by itself is enough.

MGoShoe: I expect this won't be an especially unique answer (ED: It was), but for me it's all about offensive line play. I don't know if he'll end up being the best of the 2012 offensive line recruits, but Kyle Kalis certainly has the best shot at contributing immediately at a real position of need. Michigan's lack of OL depth wasn't ever seriously challenged in 2011 but that isn't something Michigan fans should count on next season. Even if Kalis doesn't win a starting position, I'd expect that he'll be called upon at some point to fill in. Ultimately, I expect Kalis to live up to the hype and by his junior season, he'll be garnering All-B1G recognition and national attention.

Simply Complex: I'd have to say that I'm most excited for Jarrod Wilson. I just feel like Wilson is the ball-hawking safety that Michigan has been looking for since the departure of Marcus Ray. Wilson posses fluid hips, good body control, great hands, great instincts and diagnostic skills and has the speed and acceleration to track down receivers. Wilson does need to improve his tackling and needs to play better in the box, but those are things that can be tweaked at the college level. His stats are extremely impressive seeing as he recorded 12 interceptions(5 returned for touchdowns) in his junior year according to ESPN. As time goes on, I think he will play a vital role in Michigan's defense and could even be the "defensive quarterback" down the road, calling plays and audibles etc. as a junior and senior.

QUESTION #2: Which one will be the best college player and who has the most pro potential.

Magnus: Lakewood (OH) St. Edward's offensive guard Kyle Kalis looks like he has the most potential to be a long-term contributor and an NFLer. He has excellent technique and good size, plus the bloodlines to get to the NFL. He's not as athletic as a guy like Jake Long or Taylor Lewan and he plays a position that isn't appreciated as much, but he'll probably be a starter at Michigan by 2012 and I think he has as good a chance as anyone in this class to make it to the next level.

Keith: This is a tough one, but I'll go with Jarrod Wilson. I think he will be given an opportunity to be successful early in his career, and I believe he has the tools to rise to the challenge. Being 6'2" is going to give him a decided advantage over most receivers, and he has the frame to add another 20 lbs bringing him up to 210. If he can maintain his athleticism while adding to his frame, he will be any receiver's biggest nightmare coming over the middle and be able to cover the deep ball even if a receiver gets behind him using his that height.

Simply Complex: I think that Joe Bolden has the most pro potential out of anyone else in this class and will be the best college player. I think this because Bolden has been getting raved about from many recruiting analysts due to his performances in the Under Armour All American Game , as well as the Under Armour practices. Bolden is the total package at linebacker. He has tremendous instincts, great leader and communicator on the defensive side of the ball, excellent tackler, never gives up on a play, and has good ability in coverage. He struggles a bit in run defense, but that can be fixed with some good coaching. Some people have concerns with his size , but I have always believed that it's not the size of the dog, but it's the dogs bite. I would compare Bolden to Clay Matthews in his style of play and football qualities(and they do share similiar hairdos). With Greg Mattison and Brady Hoke coaching Bolden up, I think he has the ability to become a great NFL linebacker.

Jeff: These may go hand-in-hand so I'll just pick one player: Ondre Pipkins. When it's all said and done, I see Ondre Pipkins as our Immovable Force--an Alan Branch reaching his full potential, our Mount Cody. He already has the size covered--6'3", 320 lbs--but what impresses me most is how quick his first step is for a high school senior. His only weakness is consistency and technique which, given that Michigan has essentially 3 D-line coaches, should be shored up by the time he sees the field. Only concern is him keeping his weight in check at a strong and athletic 330 instead of letting himself slip to 350+.

Ace: It's tough not to look at Kyle Kalis and think "NFL guard." He's got the size and skill—he looked great in the Army All-American Game—and he's played against very difficult competition at Lakewood St. Edward. Kalis comes in with a ton of hype, but it seems deserved, and I think he'll not only be a great college player, but a guy who plays on Sundays for a while.

DGDestroys: Best College Player- James Ross. Ross has absolutely everything he needs to be a top tier college linebacker- besides the size. His quickness, instincts, ability to recognize and diagnose plays, as well as his penchant for sorting through the trash on his way to the ball carrier are absolutely electrifying. He'll need to add on some substantial weight if he plans on grinding through the games like MSU, Iowa, Nebraska, and OSU, but everything else is his for the taking. I'd expect him to, at the very least, get in the 2-deep rotation at weakside linebacker next year, ultimately claiming the spot by the end of the year (a la Blake Countess this year). As far as best pro player, I'll go with Ondre Pipkins. This was a close one- there are at least 5 players in this class that I could see blossoming into high draft picks (Kalis was a close second), but Pipkins sets himself apart for a couple of reasons. He balances an intensely competitive nature with a extroverted, yet well grounded attitude to make him a force on and off the field. His burst off the ball and array of pass rushing moves are the most dynamic we've seen in the interior line since...well...Mike Martin of course. He moves well for his size, and he's a high effort player (if anyone hasn't seen him bury Chad Voytik in the US Army All American Game, you should.) In my opinion, Pipkins and a few others on this team have their draft stock in their hands-they'll go as high as they work.

MGoShoe: Ondre Pipkins looks like he will be something special. Greg Mattison will surely find a way to use Pee Wee's ridiculous combination of size and agility to best advantage starting in 2012. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pipkins blow up his sophomore season and Michigan will be fortunate if he sticks around for all four years of his eligibility. Besides, he'll have three coaches. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.

QUESTION #3: It's clear the coaches have effectively recruited the kids they've targeted for the most part. Do you think they've logistically followed the right strategies though? Are there any areas you feel they may be leaving themselves thin in? Who was our biggest miss?

MGoShoe: I don't think it's possible to criticize Michigan's recruiting strategy. They started strong and quickly built tremendous momentum. That said, while I'm excited about the potential of the wideouts and running backs who have committed, this class is missing a can't miss skill position player. I think that changes in 2013 as Michigan's success builds upon itself.

DGDestroys: I think the coaches have done a spectacular job covering their needs so far this year. Going in, it seemed as though OL, TE, and DL were three of our biggest needs. Right now, we have 11 guys committed between the three. The only area of need I feel could have been better addressed would be at the QB position. Although we have Shane Morris committed in the '13 class, depth is still important, especially when considering the chance that Devin Gardner isn't granted his redshirt. That being said, I was never a huge fan of the QBs that did end up with a Michigan offer. Obviously, landing Gunner Kiel or Zeke Pike would have been great. But outside of that, Maty Mauk, Bennie Coney, Austin Appleby (all of whom seemed like our backup plans), were underwhelming at best. Mauk has a weird side-arm throw and played in a system wherein his stats harshly overexaggerated his ability. Coney had some off the field issues and struggles to put a lot of zip on the ball. Appleby struggles to stretch the field vertically and is injury prone. Some will point to offers for Zach Kline and Jake Rodrigues in defense, but neither seemed to give Michigan a serious look. Recent interviews suggest the coaches really wanted Kline on campus, but that never worked out. In my humble e-pinion, the coaches whiffed on this position. In a more general sense, I think there were a few misses that could end up hurting us down the road. There were a few tackles, whose ceilings I really liked, that were fairly high on Michigan. Paul Thurston visited and then selected Nebraska. Shane Callahan, who has relatives in AA, visited in early Spring and seemed like a Michigan lean, then committed to Auburn at their Spring Game (Callahan is, perhaps, one of the best run blocking OTs I've seen all year). Taylor Decker added a fairly early Michigan offer before committing to Notre Dame. Landing any of these players would have been great, but we did end up filling out the position fairly well.I also feel like losing Burbridge to Sparty, even if we were the deciding factor, will hurt us as well. Compulsory, yet still painful, Brionte Dunn sentence.

Simply Complex: The Michigan coaches have followed most of the basic recruiting strategies (that I know of) to recruit mature, high character athletes that will be the face of the Michigan program going forward. Early in the process, the coaches focused most of their attention to in-state recruiting. They contacted prospects out of Cass Tech and Farmington Hills High Schools, which jump started the 2012 class and created good relationships with the coaches of those high schools. The coaches also took advantage of Ohio States problems and "tore down the fence around Ohio" to snag some high profile recruits from there. After they finished with local recruiting, they expanded their recruiting efforts to more of a national level. Early in the process I was skeptical of the coaches ability to recruit players to fill the needs at the skill position on offense, but that all changed with the commitments of Shane Morris. Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh, and Devin Funchess. I would like to see one more wide receiver commit in this class because that's where I think our biggest area of concern is on the offensive side of the ball, but that can all be shored up in the 2013 class. I'd have to say that the coaches biggest miss was Stefon Diggs. I know that he has some baggage, but I never quite understood why the coaches waited so long to get in contact with him. He would of been a for sure playmaker and that he would of been a true game changer on offense, defense, and even on special teams.

Keith: The coaches have filled the missing spots to the best of their abilities with this 2012 recruiting class rather effectively, and for the most part, with the players that were on their short list, they also are already continuing to do do with the 2013 regime. However, the idea of recruiting and implementing a whole new system, offensively and defensively in just one recruiting year is nearly impossible. There are obviously a lot of gaps that need to be filled, and our depth is anything but ideal in many positions (DL, RB (Pro style),WR, OL (lack of experience), TE, QB (Pro Style)) . I trust the coaches have accurately assessed the talent they have on the roster now and decided the biggest immediate needs for the team. The first miss that comes to mind is Brionte Dunn, as a bruising back that can make one cut and go he would have been an immediate impact, but his role at Ohio will not severely impact us. That being said, the player that I feel was the biggest miss was Stefon Diggs. Stefon could have stretched out the field for us and made a huge impact on special teams. With the uncertainty of Stonum, this could be more harsh that originally thought. Stefon also has some interest in Ohio, and with the hire of Urban Meyer, Stefon could easily become Percy Harvin 2.0.

Jeff: When you look at the 2012 class as a whole right now, it's hard to criticize the way Hoke and Mattison put this group together. Whatever strategy they are using, it is working. They've thoroughly addressed our most pressing need, offensive line, with 5 OL (probably 6 by NSD) and 2 TEs--that's 8 guys on the line. I think we'll remember this linebacker class for some time too. I've said this before: I would have liked to seen a QB in this class to perhaps provide some depth before the almighty Shane steps on campus but if that's my biggest complaint, I'll take it. Biggest miss has to be Dunn, given the lack of skill players in this class, so it puts some early pressure to lock up Ty Isaac early in 2013.

Magnus: I think the coaches might regret not successfully recruiting a quarterback in this class. Michigan only has three scholarship quarterbacks right now. Denard Robinson will be a senior in 2012, Devin Gardner will be a junior (as far as we know), and Russell Bellomy will be a redshirt freshman. I think a school ought to take at least one quarterback in each class, because those kids often transfer if they don't like their playing time. I'm not suggesting that Bellomy is a transfer risk, but with a 2013 kid like Warren (MI) De La Salle's Shane Morris coming, Bellomy might see the writing on the wall. If an injury or something else unexpected comes along, Michigan might find themselves in a precarious position. The Wolverines have taken at least one quarterback in the past 14 classes, so I'm not sure why the trend is ending now.

Ace: Well, with a couple weeks left and up to four spots left to fill, I'm not sure it's fair to evaluate the class in terms of needs filled until we see the final product. If Michigan doesn't take another defensive tackle, however, and it doesn't seem like they will, I'm going to be pretty worried about the depth there. Ondre Pipkins looks like a phenomenal prospect, but heading into next year with Will Campbell and Quinton Washington as the only two DTs with even marginal playing experience (unless you want to count Richard Ash, who saw a few snaps this year) is disconcerting. Of course, a player like Matt Godin or Chris Wormley could become a DT, but both are coming in as defensive ends and I'm not sure either would be ready to contribute immediately on the inside.
Overall, however, I think the coaches have done a fantastic job of addressing need, especially along the offensive line—you aren't going to come out of every recruiting cycle with a fully-loaded roster at each position, but they have filled a lot of the holes in the roster in a hurry.

QUESTION #4: Give us the final four players you want and then give me the final four players you think we'll end up with.

Jeff: Want: Joshua Garnett, Yuri Wright, Sam Grant, Brionte Dunn (We can dream!) Get: Garnett, Reeves, 2 guys nobody is talking about right now.

DGDestroys: Want: Garnett, Reeves, (former UT commit) Kenny Crawley, JP Holtz. Get: Garnett, Reeves, Grant, and then bank the 4th spot.

MGoShoe: Want: Stefon Diggs, Joshua Garnett, Armani Reeves and Sam Grant Get: Joshua Garnett, Armani Reeves, Sam Grant, Mystery recruit (A big name)

Keith: Want: Josh Garnett, Yuri Wright, Armani Reeves, Sam Grant Get: Josh Garnett, Armani Reeves, Sam Grant, last one depends on Stonum outcome, it is hard to say.

Ace: Want: Josh Garnett, Armani Reeves, Sam Grant, Jordan Diamond. Get: Garnett, Grant, Reeves, ?.

Ace adds: I'd love to see Michigan really attack the lack of numbers on the O-line and grab both Garnett and Diamond, but I'd be shocked if that happened, especially since Diamond seems like he'll be a tough pull right now. I expect the coaches will take another defensive back, and Reeves seems like the most likely candidate, although Ohio State's late push and his continued commitment to Penn State could make that a difficult pull, too. Garnett and Grant are really the only players I think Michigan has a coin-flip or better chance at bringing in.
Every year, it seems like the Wolverines snag some player on or near signing day who was completely off the radar beforehand (Chris Barnett last year, for example, though he didn't work out). I think the same thing happens with at least one player this year, if not two. I think there are too many needs that still must be addressed for the team to pocket a scholarship for the 2013 class, but the odds of landing four players from the current list of targets (or at least the names being thrown around right now) seem slim.

Simply Complex: Want: Wright, Reeves, Garnett, Madaris Get: Garnett, Reeves, Grant, bank the last spot.

Magnus: Here's who I want that's still available: Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, Washington offensive lineman Joshua Garnett, D.C. defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, and New Jersey quarterback/athlete Devin Fuller. That's mostly an unrealistic list, so here's who I think Michigan will get: Garnett and two guys who are committed to other schools, with one scholarship left open. Garnett is good friends with Erik Magnuson, which I think will be enough to get him in the fold. New guys always pop up on the radar in January, so I think Michigan will probably grab a tight end and/or a defensive back (Armani Reeves, perhaps) from another school. And Hoke showed last year that he's willing to bank a scholarship or two for the following year, so I think he'll only take three more guys, not four.

QUESTION #5: How many B1G Championships does the 2012 class win? Do they win it all?

Simply Complex: I think this class wins two B1G championships. They could win more, but with Rich Rod's players still on the team, I think that, and lack of depth at the moment will limit there opportunities at winning more than two B1G championships. I do think that we win it all in the year 2016.
Keith: They win 3 B1G Championships, Ohio will trip them up once. I don't believe they will win a National Championship though.

Magnus: This class will win one outright Big Ten championship and no national championships. I like Hoke, but there's a big difference between winning the Big Ten and being national champions. Michigan needs to improve on the defensive line before talking about a national championship.

Jeff: 2 and a wishful yes. Non-con will be tough this year but I think the Big Ten is ours to lose so that's 1. And I think their senior season will be pretty special. Obviously, a lot will depend on Shane but a class this strong often builds the foundation for a potential National Champion when an extremely talented QB precedes them, like Denard and our newest group of graduating seniors. If Shane helps bring in a Top 5 class, those juniors and seniors playing in 2015 will be a force to be reckon with.

MGoShoe: It is significantly more difficult to win a B1G Championship now that there's no chance of a co-championship. That said, I'm ready to go out on a limb and predict that we'll see two B1G Championships during the next 5 years with 2012, 2014 and 2015 the most likely years. If, as expected a plus one (four team playoff) BCS system is implemented in 2014, I'd say this class has a chance because a one loss B1G champion is highly likely to be ranked in the top four. That's an easier feat than finishing undefeated and in the top two. I envision the 2014 and 2015 teams will both have outstanding chances of accomplishing this. Then it's just a matter of winning two incredibly high stakes games against ridiculously accomplished teams. Piece of cake!

DGDestroys: This class will end up with at least 1, perhaps 2 or 3 (depending on how long the kid stays around) Big Ten Championship games, and will be in the hunt for the National Title Game in at least 2 of their seasons.

All in all, this piece should give fans a pretty good idea of what to expect coming down the stretch to National Signing Day and also what to look for in the Class of 2012. Hope you guys enjoyed.