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Monday, August 07, 2006


Needs Going In: With two unheralded quarterbacks over the past two years and Chad Henne set to graduate a year after the '07 class steps on campus, Michigan needed one blue chippah and how.

Commitments To Date: Ryan Mallett is a blue chippah and how: when not scaring the daylights out of wide receivers with passes approaching the speed of light, Mallett makes a little money on the side hurling communications satellites into orbit. His hype has waxed (Rivals had him one of the top ten prospects in the country at first), waned (they dropped him to around #25 and made him the last five-star) and grown gibbous once more after an impressive Elite 11 camp where various observers claimed him second-best behind Texas-bound John Brantley, neck-and-neck with Clemson-bound Willy Korn.

Potential Commitments: None. If Michigan was going to continue pursuing other quarterbacks they probably would have made a push for Adrian's Stephen Threet, who committed to Georgia Tech. They're done.

You Should Panic This Much: None. Michigan got its man.

Running Back

Needs Going In: A running back in this class would be a luxury. Michigan has four from the last two classes, three of whom come to Michigan with at least one service or guru declaring them to be OMG shirtless. If they find someone they like they'll take him, but they can go without this year and not worry a bit.

Commitments To Date: None. Michigan had offers out to both Brandon Saine and Danny "Boom" Herron, but both went to Ohio State. Must love the taste of crayons.

Potential Commitments: Most of the talk has centered around Illinois' Robert Hughes, who was rumored to be favoring Michigan a month or so ago but is now rumored to be favoring Notre Dame. Ah, rumors. Hughes is a big-time recruit who Michigan has been after heavily since the start of the year; he'll stay in the Midwest. Most of the other backs on Michigan's board have gone elsewhere or just plain dropped Michigan. Two names who still list Michigan: Curtis Shaw and Gerald Jones, though Jones is supposed to be completely tiny -- like 5'6" tiny.

You Should Panic This Much: None. Other than kicker, this is the position least likely to be filled when the class is finished. Michigan would very much like to land Hughes but won't fret if they don't.


Needs Going In: As severe as you could get for a relatively unimportant position. Sleeper Andre Criswell, a defensive end/linebacker prospect to various MAC teams, was a last-second addition at the position in '06. He's the only underclassman fullback on the roster.

Commitments To Date: Vince Helmuth -- not to be confused with Phil -- was Michigan's first commit in the class to the mild consternation of Internet grumblers set on a sexy position like cornerback or quarterback. Grumbles should be silenced, though, as Michigan filled their hole at FB with a plowing blocker in the Dudley mold. ESPN ranks him the top fullback prospect in the country.

Potential Commitments: One fullback is enough, thanks.

You Should Panic This Much: None. This hole is filled about as well as the one at quarterback.

Wide Receiver

Needs Going In: Michigan's one recruit from a year ago, Greg Mathews, is probably going to play in preparation for '07, so Michigan will need receivers in quantity to prevent a nasty gap. Expect three players by Feburary 2nd.

Commitments To Date: Michigan sleeper James Rogers came to Michigan camp, caught everything in sight, and won the "smokehouse" award for fastest player at his position. He was offered and committed soon after. A running back in high school, Rogers is a project but draws comparisons to a certain other instate sleeper at WR who was kind of good.

Potential Commitments: Recruitniks are keeping their eyes on OLSM's Taurian Washington, South Carolina's Junior Hemingway, and Pennsylvania's Toney Clemons. Hemingway is the most touted of the three -- ESPN ranks him #17 in the country -- but all three are solid four-stars to everyone. All three are also supposed to be favoring Michigan, Washington's reported OSU commitment nonwithstanding. With Rogers already in the fold Michigan probably only has room for two of the three. If two of the above three fall through, Michigan will pursue Californians Zion Babb and Marques Simas.

You Should Panic This Much: Not much. Current scuttlebutt claims that Washington and Hemingway are very likely to end up in winged helmets, likely leaving Clemons to Pitt.

Tight End

Needs Going In: Major. Instate sleeper Quintin Woods is the only tight end in last year's class and he hardly played varsity football until his senior year, when he starred... at defensive end. He's a project and with only Carson Butler in the year ahead of him Michigan needs a couple tight ends to make up the numbers.

Commitments To Date: Michigan jumped on sleeper Martell Webb before anyone got wind of his freakish 6'5" self, then picked up a second commitment from Denver's Steve Watson, son of current Broncos receivers coach and former Broncos reciever Steve Watson. Webb is the huge HS wide receiver with serious mismatch potential; Watson is the heady coach's son who might be a bit plodding.

Potential Commitments: Two tight ends should do it.

You Should Panic This Much: A little. Three straight years Michigan has swung for the fences with utterly raw, outrageously athletic basketball players and has only Watson in the "safe bet" category. With three cracks at a breakout player Michigan has a good chance of getting one, but it's still something of a risk. And it doesn't seem likely that Butler, Woods, and Webb are going to be crushing, Spaethian blockers.

Interior Line

Needs Going In: Michigan looks for two or three G/C types in every class.

Commitments To Date: Illinois center David Molk, a high three star to Rivals but a member of the Scout 100 with ESPN splitting the difference of opinion. Currently undersized but tenacious and "nasty," Molk is an ideal, mobile center candidate.

Potential Commitments: I dunno. Pennsylvania's Steve Wisniewski is earmarked for Penn State. None of the in-state kids have offers. No one on the board has been heard from in a month or two. I dunno.

You Should Panic This Much: A little. Having Molk on board is nice but the total dearth of names aside from him is somewhat unsettling. But... it's guard. Last year nonwithstanding, they generally grow on trees and their recruiting rankings are almost irrelevant.


Needs Going In: Like guard, Michigan would like to get two in every class, occasionally three if things are looking thin. A year ago they picked up three-star Perry Dorrestein and five-star Steve Schilling.

Commitments To Date: None.

Potential Commitments: Californian Mitchell Schwartz, a three star on the upswing, is the surest bet at the moment -- great news for Spaceballs fans. Arkansas' Lee Ziemba, a top 100 player to everyone, is reputed to like Michigan quite a bit as well but it could be hard to get him that far away from home. New York's John "No Relation" Elliot, also a top 100 player, has Michigan on a list of nine schools heavy on the academics but light on the football accomplishments and is a definite possibility.

You Should Panic This Much: A moderate amount. As it stands right now, Ziemba will probably stay closer to home and Elliot has a lot of schools to sift through. Even if Schwartz does commit that still leaves Michigan one tackle short without a great chance of pulling a high-profile recruit. Again, though: offensive line is the place where recruiting rankings are least useful. All the practice buzz at tackle focuses on relatively unknown Mark Ortmann, not VHT Corey Zirbel.


Ryan Mallett currently fills Michigan's most pressing need, er, impressively and the numbers at wide receiver and tight end appear to be coming. Missing out on Saine and Herron is disappointing and the offensive line situation is looking kind of tenuous, but the big issue on this side of the ball is locked down with the perfect recruit for Michigan's offense. Pick up Hemingway and Washington plus a couple tackles and the rest is gravy.

Right-now grade: A-.