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Midyear Recruiting Prospectus

Programming Note: Yesterday's podcast should be fully operational now. Check it out here.

We're halfway through the recruiting year, and Michigan's class is already starting to shape up. Let's take a look at needs filled and remaining, and who is left on the board. This should be used in tandem with the eligibility chart, which reveals how many scholarships Michigan is likely to be able to give out (about 18-20).

Need - 2
Commits - 1
After the decommitment of Kevin Newsome, Michigan has need for one additional quarterback to Shavodrick Beaver. Beaver is a tall athlete who is a raw QB prospect with high upside.
Michigan needs one more, and a recommitment from Newsome, or a pledge from Tate Foricer or Eugene Smith seem to be the most likely scenarios.

Running Backs
Need - 2-3
Commits - 2
Fitzgerald Toussaint and Teric Jones are speedsters, and Jones was a star at the Army All-american combine last year. Toussaint is a shifty little dude. Both of the current commits are likely to be mixed RB/slot types.
Floridian Vincent Smith is announcing his college decision on August 30th, and all signs point to a Michigan hat being pulled out of the bag. If it does indeed come to fruition, Michigan would likely be done recruiting at this position unless a superstar wanted to commit to Michigan as well. Smith has mentioned a desire to enroll early at the school of his choosing.

Wide Receivers
Need - 2-3
Commits - 2
Bryce McNeal is a big, fast gamebreaker on the outside. His highlight tape is very impressive (taking into account the important caveat that almost all highlight tapes are, indeed, impressive). He can go vertical, and has a lot of ability after the catch. Jeremy Gallon is a little guy who is a wishbone QB in high school. He has a ton of speed and moves, and will likely fit in the slot at Michigan.
Michigan doesn't really need another wideout, but if someone the caliber of Shaquelle Evans or Rueben Randle wanted to commit to Michigan, they would make room for him.

Tight Ends
Need - 0-1
Commits - 0
Dion Sims from OLSM is a TE prospect, but I think if he committed to Michigan it is likely that he would move to defensive end. Same goes for any other TE commit. This isn't a position of need at all, since there are several TEs already on the roster, and only one graduating after this season.

Offensive Line
Need - 2-3
Commits - 1
Michael Schofield is a good inside-outside prospect who will probably end up at tackle in Ann Arbor. He has played tight end as well, and shows off his athleticism by running hurdles.
Travis Bond has mentioned that he'd like to take an official to UM, and a few other guys like Brennan Williams have expressed strong interest. Michigan would like to get at least one more O-lineman, but if they don't, it won't be the end of the world, since none are leaving the team after this year.

Defensive Tackle
Need - 2
Commits - 2
William Campbell is a game-breaking DT, and has a lot of potential. He is explosive and strong. DeQuinta Jones plays DE in high school, but has been putting on enough weight to shift inside in college.

Defensive End
Need - 2-3
Commits - 0
Craig Roh is a good-looking strongside defensive end who seems to be genuinely interested in spending the next four years in Ann Arbor. Michigan also needs a speed rusher off the edge, and someone like Keenan Graham could go a long way toward assuaging the fears of Wolverines fans. Someone like Craig Drummond is a possibility as well, but it sounds like he might have trouble qualifying.

Need - 1-3
Commits - 1
Jordan Barnes is currently Michigan's only true linebacker commit (they have a couple safeties who may move down), and I even think he would look pretty good on offense as a MAX back. However, he is a linebacker for now, and he has athleticism at the position, if not polish.
Vincent Smith's teammate Brandin Hawthorne is also deciding on August 30th, and there is a similar confidence that he will pick Michigan. Beyond that, Michigan would likely hold out for a top-rated (on their board, if not the recruiting sites) linebacker.

Need - 1-2
Commits - 2
Mike Jones might be a candidate to move to linebacker, and there is a similar sentiment about Isaiah Bell. However, I think that the new system doesn't emphasize adding bulk, and at least one of them will stay at safety. Bell has the athleticism to also return punts on a team that features Fitzgerald Toussaint, and Jones is used frequently as a blitzer in high school.
There are a couple guys left on Michigan's radar if they decide that one of the current commits would be better served to move down to linebacker. No top prospects are left on the board, but there are some solid lesser-ranked guys.

Need - 1-3
Commits - 2
Justin Turner is a big, physical corner. though many think he might move to safety, he could be very successful on the boundary in Shafer's cover-2 schemes. DeWayne Peace is a high school WR/DB who seems to be primed for a full-time move to defense at the next level. He has very quick feet, if not top end speed.
Darius Winston and Dre Kirkpatrick are both nominally open to Michigan, though Winston seems primed to pick either Arkansas or Ole Miss on September 5, and Kirkpatrick is thought to be all but delivered to Nick Saban and Alabama. If neither of these guys ends up a Wolverine, there are a couple other prospects, such as Florida's Mywan Jackson, that could end up in blue.

Need - 1
Commits - 1
Anothony Fera, who has a huge leg and the nation's #2 ranking at the position, is Michigan kicker for the class of 2009.

Following the commitments of Smith and Hawthorne (either to Michigan or elsewhere), I expect Michigan to slow down on the recruiting front, and not pick up any lesser-rated players for a while. If a five-star wants to commit, so be it, but they won't heavily pursue 2-star prospects. After the season, they'll kick back into high gear, and grab top commits and lesser-rated guys alike as the top players are pulled off the board. xpect an exciting finish in January.

This does tell me one thing: The Michigan coaches, whether they want to admit it or not, are probably pretty confident about how the team will be this season. A successful 2008 might show top recruits that Michigan isn't as down as people think, and the strategy of holding out for top guys until after the season shows they think they'll be able to grab those top prospects.

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“Midyear Recruiting Prospectus”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I posted this on FRI and after some new tidbits, it seems like the list of potentials is getting much shorter.

    Recruting Math:
    14 Commits
    +2 (1 RB/WR & 1 LB) from FL in AUG - suspected
    = 16 (18-20 scholarships available) means UM has 2 to 4 left.

    1 QB (Newsome, Forcier, or Smith)
    1 OL (Williams, Bond, Freeman, Hall, or etc.)
    1 or 2 DE (Roh and/or Tank, etc.)
    1 DB (Winston??? - Probably Not)
    1 LB (Jenkins??? - Sounding Good)
    1 WR (Shaq Evans???)

    QB Forcier and DE Roh visit on SAT, 8/30. You gotta' think if either of them wanted to commit they would be welcomed with open arms. That only leaves a couple of slots available for Top 100 types during the end run.

  2. Anonymous Obes Says:


  3. Anonymous Jacques Auef Says:

    Tank won't be part of this class as I understand he has some "issues" that won't be resolved.

    Jenkins a big if...yes he will have Michigan in his top picks because he and his family liked Barwis A LOT but Barwis isn't coaching the team. Thus a big question mark about if the team and coaches sans barwis sits well with him.

    WR a BIG ?. With the negative recruiting going on around UM's inability to pass, it might keep a highly touted WR from wanting to go to Michigan. And if the passing game smells worse than my underwear after a hot sweaty day especially after eating taco bell at noon, might see McNeal doing the decommit shuffle.

    What is really troubling me is the lack of interest in the DE department. Michigan is dire need of one and yet no one is all that interested in wanting to play for them. What's up with that?

  4. Anonymous Jacques Auef Says:

    edit.. if the passing game STINKS worse...

  5. Anonymous Obes Says:

    lack of DE interest? really? lol you're gonna be surprised. and mcneal's not goin' anywhere.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    All of my hopes of a return to glory are slipping away... unless we get Jenkins. I was hoping for Winston or Dre, but they are staying south for sure.

  7. Blogger Tim Says:

    Anon - I think you can look to 2010 for the big recruiting class under Rich Rodriguez.

    While this class may be underwhelming to some, it was mostly just to fill a few needs, regardless of whether the guys who filled them were top prospects or not.

    With all the off-field stuff behind RR, and a more organized recruiting effort, 2010 should be a pretty good class.