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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Update 4/10: Linked to articles on CA WR Christopher Owusu, CA OL Khaled Holmes, and MO TE Wes Kemp. Both downgraded to red due to a lack of interest on M's part. Removed MN LB Sam Maresh (Minn). NE OL Trevor Robinson (Neb), OH TE Nic DeLillo (Clemson). Note that the same article claims M is in Zebrie Sanders' top three. Linked to articles on AZ RB Covaughn Deboskie and KS LB Arthur Brown. Removed TN WR Rodriguez Wilks (we threw him an offer but he's SEC all the way), CO OL Bryce Givens (Neb). Added OH OL Elliot Mealer, OH LB Jamiihr Williams. Linked to very positive article on MI WR Fred Smith and one of those Scout articles about campers/visitors that make a lot of assertions worth evaluating.

Editorial Opinion: A few players are off the board: Sam Maresh committed to his hometown Gophers; ditto for Trevor Robinson and Nebraska. Nic DeLillo had expressed some interest in Michigan but didn't have an offer and seemed unlikely to get one anytime soon with Michigan focusing on Ohioans Brandon Moore and Kevin Koger plus instate prospect Tyler Hoover. None of those are a big deal. Bryce Givens' sudden commit to Nebraska -- earlier he had made the standard noises about taking his time -- sucks mildly because Michigan needs a lot of linemen and he's a good one who had named Michigan his co-leader with the Huskers.

Another couple of prospects have expressed an interest in Michigan that doesn't appear mutual at the moment. CA WR Christopher Owusu is in line behind Fred Smith, -- more on him later -- Jonathan Baldwin, and Daryl Stonum. He might get an offer but he seems like the kind of guy who'd have to show up to camp to do so and as a Californian that seems unlikely. He has Stanford as his tentative leader. (Sidenote: Stanford is popping up more frequently and is being mentioned in a kinder light under Harbaugh's leadership.) MO TE/WR Wes Kemp has repeatedly mentioned he was a big Michigan fan growing up but is behind the same tight ends that DeLillo was.

So all that is fine. What is odd and dispiriting is Khaled Holmes' lack of an offer. He's amongst the top offensive line recruits in the country in a year when Michigan needs lots of linemen, is the son of a former Michigan star, and has an offer from Freakin' USC. This would seem to indicate that he warrants one from Michigan as well, but he does not have one. USC is Holmes' firm leader and Michigan has probably already given away much of its opportunity to make up ground. Bleah! The only possible explanation I can see is that Michigan is really married to this zone thing and they don't think he's a fit for it, but their interest in brobdingnagian Oregonian (say that five times fast) Matt Lipski (6'9", 362!) and similarly huge Californian Vaughn Dotsy makes that unlikely.

KS LB Arthur Brown is perhaps the most highly recruited linebacker in the country, though CO LB Jon Major may be pushing him in terms of total offers. Michigan's thrown him an offer and gets mentioned in every article, but he's not tipping his hand. Until he names a group of leaders, no one knows what he's going to do. He does seem to like Oklahoma.

Zebrie Sanders... who knows? He alternately omits Michigan from his top five and then says he's amongst his leaders. The latest public information is the good half of that equation, as he claims Michigan is in his top three with Clemson and Georgia. (He recently moved from South Carolina. If he had not, he would be a senior at Richland Northeast, the former home of sophomore defensive end Adam Patterson.)

Instate wideout Fred Smith has an offer and, uh...

"Then Michigan was my first big offer. Everybody around here was excited about it. I grew up a Michigan fan. Everybody knows that Michigan is a big-time program. I'm very aware of the big-time receiver tradition they have. Braylon Edwards is my favorite receiver, and I compare my game a lot to his since we're both big, strong and fast receivers."

The Wolverines definitely hold a special spot in his heart.

"I'm not sure I'm a Michigan lock, but I like Michigan," he said. "I'm going to take my time and go on some visits. My mom and dad don't want me to rush. I like Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and I also like Florida. I have offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Toledo and Bowling Green.

"But my mom (Teresa Smith) loves Michigan. She's told me I was going to go to Michigan since the seventh grade. I was just worried about what high school I was going to, but she was telling me about how I was going to go to Michigan."

...he seems like a good bet to commit sooner or later. Though his offer list isn't amazing at this point, Michigan has a great track record identifying instate players early and getting them. Smith is also big into the idea of wearing the #1:
"I've worn No. 1 since sixth grade in basketball, and now I wear it in football, too," he said. "No. 1 is what I want to be in everything. I like being No. 1 in everything I do. I work hard to be the best at everything. If that means working hard in the classroom, doing something extra in the weight room or shooting some more jump shots, then that's what I'm going to do."
Michigan, of course, does not dole out the #1 to incoming recruits since Braylon Edwards established a scholarship for it. Hopefully that won't be an issue.

Scout also had an interesting article on Arizona running back Covaughn Deboskie, who is only the third tailback in the 2008 class to receive a Michigan offer. (Californian Darrell Scott and Texan Sam McGuffie were the first; instater Jonas Gray is supposed to get one sooner rather than later.) From the sounds of it, Michigan has an excellent shot here:

"Michigan is just the monster of football, such a huge program," he said. "How can you not like them? I know they're going to need '08 running backs since they're losing (Mike) Hart next year.

"I was shocked when Michigan offered me. I had sent them my highlight tape, then I got a message to call Coach (Fred) Jackson. He told me that Coach (Ron) English just saw three plays on my tape and told him to offer me. I couldn't believe it! It's like when you try to get a girl's number, not thinking you will and she gives it to you. Wow!

"I'm planning on taking an official (trip) for sure to Michigan and hopefully an unofficial on June 23," Deboskie said. "I want to see the campus and just get a feeling for the place. The only thing I'm concerned about is the winters there. I'm from Arizona and it doesn't get cold here."

I can't imagine a high school junior blurting out an unironic "Wow!" but there you have it. Please note that the article came from Scout national guy Allen Wallace and not GBW, which sometimes makes things seem rosier than they actually are. Deboskie says Michigan, UCLA, and Stanford (see?) lead.

Every so often GBW will put together a list of attendees somewhere -- junior day, camp, etc. -- that has some assertions that you could infer from the tone of several articles published on both sites. Assertions of interest: Michigan leads for NJ LBs JB Fitzgerald and Marcus Witherspoon ("big," in Witherspoon's case) as well as PA WR Vaughn Carraway. Carraway, as noted earlier, is an interesting case. He picked up a really, really early offer from Michigan when his only other was UConn, so Michigan likes him. But they also like Stonum, Smith, and Baldwin. And though the '08 class gets bigger by the day Michigan is not likely to take more than two wideouts in this class. Michigan might end up slow-playing someone into oblivion or turning off Baldwin with a bad depth chart situation (he's torn between football and basketball, where he's the #103 prospect on the latest Rivals 150, and won't make an early decision).

The other assertion is that Michigan "seems to love" Detroit DE/LB Nick Perry and he "could be an early commit." He doesn't have an offer yet.

(Note: Michigan's one-year blip in-state appears to be a fluke. Michigan's locked down two of the top three in-state and seems likely to pick up Smith and Perry, who are probably #4 and #5. The other is Jonas Gray, who Michigan has a decent shot with.)