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 livechat...it'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 scout.com 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 Scout.com 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 MGoBlog.com 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.

Recruiting Mailbag

Hey guys, just wanted to let everyone know that I will be having a recruiting mailbag today. I'll will have a mailbag every single week on Monday or Friday. You can send me your recruiting questions (football or basketball) via email: simplycomplexmm@gmail.com , over twitter: SimplyComplexMM, or just post your questions in the comments below. I'll try to answer  every question and then create a blog post with the questions and my answers. And the questions can be about 2012, 2013 or even 2014 recruiting.

EXTRA: I will be posting my first interview with a highly ranked prospect, so make sure to tune in later today!

Josh Garnett Update

Four star OL Josh Garnett will announce his college decision on January 26th, with Michigan and Stanford as the main two choices, and Notre Dame kind of just making up the top three.

He hasn't made the decision yet, which means it could really hinge on the in home visits that should take place probably this week, or maybe early next week. Brady Hoke himself will be flying out there to give his best recruiting pitch!

It's really tough to call right now, as there are several key factors pulling him both ways. It's going to be one of those decisions that really no one knows until its done, which to be honest makes it very exciting.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Ondre Pipkins gets 5th star

Title says it all really. After a stellar showing at the Army All American game, Michigan DT commit Ondre Pipkins has picked up a 5th star on rivals.com. The analysts at rivals don't give out a 5th star to that many players (in comparison to scout), so this is quite an achievement.

Rivals will bring out their full rankings for the 2012 class in stages throughout the week. I believe the top 100 comes out tomorrow?

Weekend Updates + Blog Update

This weekend Michigan hosted three of their top 2012 targets, as well as one of their main priorities for the 2013 class.

- Jordan Diamond took his official visit to Michigan this weekend, after already visiting Auburn and Ohio State. He's got Wisconsin and Arkansas to follow, so its a bit early to say where he's going to end up. Before he started taking visits, I thought Wisconsin was in a really good position, so that visit will be very important.

- Sam Grant was the unofficial 2012 visitor this weekend, and he'll be deciding pretty soon. I think it will come down to Michigan and Boston College, although officially I think he's got a top four that also includes Arkansas and Oklahoma. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say he ends up blue, might depend on his in home visits though.

- Armani Reeves finally took his Michigan official, but like Diamond he's still got two more left, so even in January its early days. His cousin Camren Williams seems pretty keen on Ohio State, so the two of them will visit the Buckeyes this week followed by a trip to Penn State at the end of the month.

- 2013 RB Ty Issac was on campus again to check out the Wolverines. It wouldn't surprise me if Michigan was the early leader, but with a prospect as good as he is, many other schools are bound to come in the mix soon.

In other news, Josh Garnett visited Stanford officially this weekend, and is now done with his visits. It's a UM-Stanford race, despite an apparent top 3. It's really close, but I have to give the edge to Stanford, based on their academics, and the fact that they're a lot closer to home. Still, both schools will get one last chance with an in home visit.

Blog Update

I'm pretty satisfied with how far the blog has come over the last year or so, but there is always room for improvement. In evaluating the blog, I thought whats the one thing it really lacks? The answer (to me) was obvious; first hand interviews with recruits. Now, I've spoken to recruits in my time, but being in my final year of university, and living in a different time zone, its not ideal for me to do right now. I'm more suited to the analysis and prediction side of recruiting. So, whats the solution to this problem? Easy, recruit someone to do the interviews for me!

Enter SimplyComplex (Real name: Davon):

"Hello my fellow Michigan fans, my name is Davon and I will be helping out Benji with MGoRecruit as the site's recruiting analyst and reporter from here on out. I've done many interviews with Michigan recruits as well as some 2013 prospects. In the interviews, I use the name SimplyComplex instead of my real name because that's how I contact recruits. I am a regular poster on the recruiting site 24/7 Sports and I've been working with the blog Midnight Maize, which is where I post my interviews. Some of the recruits that I've interviewed are: Allen Gant, Devin Funchess, Kamani Thomas, Colin Goebel, Cameron Burrows, Brogan Roback, Devonte Moore, Ethan Pocic, and Erik Magnuson. I have many more interviews setup and finished, but I wanted to wait and post them exclusively on MGoRecuit. I plan on creating some type of recruiting segments on the blog where you guys can ask me any recruiting questions you might have via liveblog, recruiting roundtable, etc. I'll try to post as often as I can, although my schedule might get hectic sometimes, but I'll try my best. You can follow me on twitter: @SimplyComplexMM. Also, I have a surprise for you guys that will be unveiled on National Signing Day. So make sure to tune in here on February 1st. Finally, if you have any questions for me, post them in the comments and I'll answer all of them as fast as I can. I look forward to working here and providing you guys with the best recruiting content that I have to offer! Have a great day and Go Blue!"

Welcome Davon!

Sometime today I'll enable him to start posting on the site, so look out for his content in the future! As for me, I have exams starting this week, and ending next Wednesday (25th Jan), which is why I haven't posted much over the last few days. I'll be back with vengeance for the run up to signing day, which should include much more comment answering, email responses and twitter replies etc, as well as an awesome signing day live blog.

For the record, if Davon's 'surprise' on signing day goes to plan, then it'll definitely be worth your while to be on the site during NSD!

Extra: One final bit of blog news. After my graduation in June, the summer project will be moving the blog to its own site, away from the blogspot format. Hopefully this will make it easier for you guys to post any comments you have, as well as being able to start your own threads in a forum layout. It's early stages, but I've got some friends in web design who will be helping me design it, so thats something to look forward too!

Go Blue!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

247 Sports final rankings

247 Sports have released their final rankings for the class of 2012, you can see their top 247 prospects here. UM has 10 prospects in the top 247, 5 of which landed in the top 100. It's not quite as positive as scout's rankings, but its still pretty nice.

I don't have time to do a full recap of the list, but Ondre Pipkins was our top prospect at #51, and the most surprising ranking was RJS at around #210. Bit harsh there maybe.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Final Scout 300

Scout.com has released its final rankings for the 2012 recruiting class, or at least the top 300 prospects. The list includes a whopping 14 Michigan commitments, which is very encouraging. You can view the full 300 here, but below are the Michigan rankings:

 - 5* Kyle Kalis: #35 overall, #6 OT
 - 4* Ondre Pipkins: #65 overall, #7 DT
 - 4* Joe Bolden: #69 overall, #4 OLB
 - 4* Erik Magnuson: #82 overall, #15 OT
 - 4* James Ross: #83 overall, #7 OLB
 - 4* Tom Strobel: #93 overall, #12 DE
 - 4* Royce Jenkins-Stone: #111 overall, #2 MLB
 - 4* Mario Ojemudia: #162 overall, #20 DE
 - 4* Chris Wormley: #164 overall, #21 DE
 - 4* Terry Richardson: #183 overall, #14 CB
 - 4* Amara Darboh: #205 overall, #32 WR
 - 4* Devin Funchess: #221 overall, #8 TE
 - 4* A.J Williams: #225 overall, #27 OT
 - 4* Jarrod Wilson: #245 overall, #19 Safety

Key Targets: Josh Garnett (#42 overall, #3 OG), Armani Reeves (#79 overall, #6 CB), and for comparison's sake ONLY, Yuri Wright (#146 overall, #10 CB).

Thoughts: Very positive rankings if you're a Michigan fan. There aren't really any shockingly bad rankings, although TR @ #183 might be a tad harsh seen as he got great reviews from perhaps the greatest corner to play the game, Primetime himself!

Apart from that, I'm happy. By the way, these are going to be the most positive rankings UM gets, rivals and ESPN will be harsher, just based on where our prospects currently lye with them. Not sure about 247 sports.

Fun Fact: We have 14 commits in the top 300, MSU has 2.

Sam Grant to visit

Ohio TE Sam Grant is the latest to put his name down for a visit this weekend. The three star prospect, and teammate of current UM commit Kyle Kalis, has already visited UM for an official visit, so the fact that he's coming back is a very good sign. Commitment watch may well be on this weekend.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

National title game

Ohh my...

That defense. I don't care how bad Jordan Jefferson played, Alabama didn't give them anything. The one positive is that we got to see how Saban/Smart chose to defend against a reasonably mobile quarterback, and now Borges has to think of ways to exploit the system they used (I believe Herbstreit said it was a lot of cover 2 with corners in short zones for run support).

Michigan is going to have to make some serious strides on offense to be able to compete in Dallas on September 1st, no matter how many of their defense goes pro, because the practice of oversigning means that Bama will reload and still have a pretty darn good defense next season...

Jordan Diamond Visit

Four star offensive tackle Jordan Diamond is also likely to be on campus this weekend for his Michigan official visit. Diamond has already visited Ohio State and Auburn, and had a great times there, so this could be tough for Michigan to leapfrog those schools, along with Arkansas and Wisconsin who are both still in the mix.

Michigan led for Diamond for a long period of time over the spring and early summer, but I think it will need a minor miracle for him to pick the Wolverines on signing day. We'll see how the visit goes, but right now Josh Garnett is a more realistic option.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Armani Reeves to visit

Cornerback, and still Penn State commit Armani Reeves will visit Michigan officially this weekend. I don't know whether he's spoke with the new head coach yet, but Michigan has a great chance now, and he's clearly the guy UM wants at corner.

If Penn State had hired a well known college coach, or even just kept Tom Bradley on the staff, I think they'd have a decent shot at keeping Reeves. Bradley was the DC for 10 years and had a good relationship with Reeves, so his resignation might be why Reeves is visiting so promptly.

Yuri Wright Update

Three recent events that are directly or indirectly involved with the recruitment of Yuri Wright:

1) Big rumor circulates about Wright potentially announcing at the recent Army game. If he did announce during the game, it would have been for Notre Dame, there's little doubt about that. Even though he did not announce, the fact that the rumor was circulated in the first place says that his interest in Notre Dame is probably quite high.

2) E.J Shumate announces for Notre Dame. Shumate is a safety prospect, and the current teammate of Yuri at Don Bosco Prep. It might not have a huge effect on Wright, but it's certainly not going to hurt ND's chances.

3) CB Ronald Darby decommits from Notre Dame. With Darby in the class, the Irish had the #1 and #4 CBs in the class, and despite Wright's own lofty status, that's something that has no doubt crossed his mind if he was eying early playing time. With Darby now out the way, it makes ND look more attractive to Wright.

So yeah, Wright to ND looks in the cards, especially since Michigan is apparently going after Armani Reeves with more effort.

Right now it looks like UM wants 1 OL, 1 CB, 1 TE, and then the last spot will depend on the fate of Darryl Stonum.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Army game thoughts + 2013 update

The Army All American game took place yesterday afternoon, in front of a record crowd of over 38,000 people. Michigan had five commitments and one target (Wright) playing in the game, and all of them did ok, but the real standouts for me were Erik Magnuson and Kyle Kalis. Magnuson missed a couple blocks, but overall looked pretty good, and Kalis was solid throughout, more than holding his own against Ondre Pipkins.

The footage I saw of Yuri Wright wasn't that good. He was giving receivers a hefty cushion (was he told to?), and the opposing team took advantage by completing several short routes against him. He also missed a key tackle on a screen pass that allowed the running back to gain an extra 10-15 yards. Got beat for easy TD by Dorial Green-Beckham too, but the #1 WR in the class made a bad drop. People have said before that he's a raw corner, so I guess he just needs time in a college program to get coached up.

To see footage of all UM commits in the Army All American game, check out MGoVideo!

In other news, 2013 OL Logan Tuley-Tillman will be on campus today, taking in the UM-UW basketball game. This isn't the first time he's been on campus, and apparently Michigan is at the top of Logan's top five, which also includes Alabama, Ohio State, Arkansas and South Carolina.

Tuley-Tillman is the #38 recruit in the nation according to 247Sports' early 2013 rankings, and having already lost out on Steven Elmer (#10 overall), landing Logan would be a great way to bounce back and start off the 2013 OL class!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Reeves Decision

With Penn St's new coach officially named, Michigan's focus switches to Armani Reeves, who has long been awaiting the news. If Reeves gets on well with the new head coach and his staff, then there's a decent chance he sticks with Penn St.

However if things aren't all good, Reeves will certainly take another look at Michigan, probably by taking an official visit.

So now we just need to wait until Reeves gets a chance to speak with O'Brien.

In other news, the Army All American game is on today and Michigan has five commits there, as well as one target prospect in Yuri Wright. Tune in to that, hopefully it will be more of a contest than the UA game on Thursday.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

UA Game tonight

The Under Armor All American game is on tonight at 7:30 ET, so make sure you check it out on ESPN. Michigan commitments Terry Richardson and Joe Bolden have drawn in strong praise all week, so it'll be interesting to see them on the field.

Josh Garnett will also be playing, although offensive lineman tend to look bad in these games as they lack experience playing as a group.

Definitely worth watching!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Arnett gets full release

The season is done, and its definitely one to remember. But now its time to move onto recruiting as Michigan hopes to close out the 2012 class with some big time prospects.

One guy that is definitely a big time player is DeAnthony Arnett, who is now free to transfer anywhere in the state of Michigan after Tennessee finally caved into media pressure and a common sense of decency. Arnett will likely decide between Michigan and Michigan St, so we'll just have to see how things progress.

UPDATE: He's gone to MSU, big pickup for them. They were favorites to land him because of the UM coaching staff that originally recruited him have since....moved on. Whereas Dantonio and Co are still there.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Ohh so sweet

Did we play well on offense? No. Did we play well on defense? Not really (what happened on 3rd and 4th downs?). Did we play well on special teams? Hell yeah!

Gibbons is the obvious hero, making three vital field goals including the game winner which sent me into a cheering frenzy that has probably woken my neighbors at 5:00 am. Honorable mentions to Junior Hemingway who made two huge TD grabs, and also delivered an emotional speech afterwards.

Virginia Tech will moan about the catch that apparently never was; personally I wasn't sure it was a catch, but I did think that was harsh to overturn once ruled a catch. Even Hoke said he thought it was a catch. The Hokies played well on both sides of the ball, especially with their passing attack. Logan Thomas looked really good all game; even that interception he through was unlucky - it was an outrageous play by the true freshman, Frank Clark. On defense, they stifled Michigan's running game and forced UM into 3rd and long situations. So hats off to VT,

A year ago we got spanked by Mississippi State, so to now be crowned Sugar Bowl champions is incredible. Michigan will finish as a top 10 team with a BCS bowl win....don't cry Sparty, although apparently your tears taste like sugar!

What a great way for the senior class to go out, beating Ohio and then winning the Sugar Bowl. Incredible.

Extra: The Allstate president being a UM alumni was quite funny, isn't he meant to act neutral in those situations? Still, just shows you where a UM degree can take you...

Gameday Prediction

With Virginia Tech, the two things I'm worried about is David Wilson running the football, and the deep ball throwing of Logan Thomas against a recently exposed UM secondary. But in actual fact, things don't always work out the way they should in bowl games because both teams have so long to prepare and improve ofn areas of weakness. Therefore it is hard to predict what areas Michigan will struggle/succeed in; instead I will simply say I believe they will win the game somewhere around the scoreline of 38-34.

Go Blue