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Monday, May 21, 2007

Update 5/21: Linked to article on DC DT Reggie Ellis. Added KS TE Spencer Ladner, AL OL Antoine McClain, GA S Jamoris Slaughter (Scout article), FL OL Matt Patchan. Linked to Rivals roundup article w/ info on Cissoko, Fred Smith, Vaughn Carraway, newspaper article on Butler High in NC. Did some general cleanup with schools of interest and reorganized a couple sets with some new gray icons. Linked to Jonas Gray article. Does he have a frickin' offer or not? Linked to articles on PA WR Vaughn Carraway, NC S Robert Blanton, PA LB Shayne Hale, PA QB Terrelle Pryor, header on PA WR Jonathan Baldwin (no longer considering basketball), pictures of OH TE Kevin Koger. Moved IN OL Kurt Wermers and OH TE Brandon Moore to committed. Added TX CB Adrian Bushell. Downgraded Darrell Scott to red, removed FL DT Marcus Forston (was only on board because of single brief mention, does not appear to have any serious interest). Linked to articles on the commitments of Wermers (second article) and Moore.

Editorial Opinion: A lot of news this week, what with the commits and so forth and so on. Some questions posed by commenters:

Do we take a second tight end?

Very probably. The new offense uses a ton of two tight end sets and with the loss of Butler we'll have a senior Massey, the two '07 recruits, and the unimpressive McLaurin/Criswell combo, if Criswell isn't shifted back to fullback. As long as we stick with the zone game we should consider a second tight end a starter and recruit like it. I would expect Michigan to take either Tyler Hoover or Kevin Koger, possibly both if they think one can play defensive end.

How highly ranked is Wermers going to be?

I initially projected a standard three-star rating, but there have been some rumblings recently that he might end up a solid 4*, top 250 sort. Evidently he was impressive at a recent combine. I still think he gets only three. We'll see.

How many more OL?

Lots. I bet we take a full line and maybe a sixth player. At this point we're at 17 scholarships and there are some obvious candidates to not return for potential fifth years; this small class is now going to end up around 21 or 22 players, most likely. With only two recruits in last year's class and three in the class before it -- one of whom did not redshirt -- linemen are a huge priority. I would expect another tackle and one or two more interior linemen. There aren't any names that jump out at the moment, but I kind of hope enormous Oregon lineman Matt Lipski, who plans on camping, shows well enough to get an offer. He'd be a project but Michigan would have the time to develop him with Ortmann and Schilling looking likely to start over the next three years. Also, instater Rocko Koury has an awesome name and is beginning to build himself some buzz.

On to other stuff...

Gray! McGuffie! Running back controversy! So this Scout article claims an offer for Jonas Gray.

I think it is wrong. This continues to be the recruiting year's most puzzling subplot: like... WTF? An instate back with no apparent character or academic issues is universally acclaimed a top-100 player and Michigan refuses to offer at a position of need. Freaky, especially because Michigan only has three confirmed offers out, all to players extremely far away. Californian Darrell Scott is a longshot, and though Covaughn Deboskie seems interested he's being heavily pursued by a lot of schools and it would be foolish to put all our eggs in his basket.

That leaves McGuffie. All the circumstantial evidence points to promises being made by a Michigan coaching staff extremely confident in landing a promise-worthy back. The only guy that could possibly be is McGuffie. So I'm inclined to take this BP post kind of seriously:

Is a Wolverine, and has been for sometime.
A check into that posters whopping four contributions to BP reveals a prescient post on Andrew Sweat. I'd also like to remind readers of this post from a while ago:
I grab some videos and slap 'em up on the Fanhouse, because, dude. Seriously. A comment shows up like so:
Ok, here's the deal. I was on the same team with him this past year when he rushed for his 3,121 yards and 43 TD's. Im a Michigan fan so of corse Im trying to get him to wear the maize and blue, and sometime in November I think it was Michigan offerd him a full ride.

Later on in the season when I walked in to watch film of our previous game, our head coach saw my shirt (the day of the Indiana game) and we were talking about Michigan, and Sam looked at me and kept stating he's going to Michigan. Over time, he's repeated the same statements to me. And just last week he got my attention to let me know he's visiting Michigan in February.
(Comment sic.) Intriguing! But probably internets FUD. I follow up with the guy. I get a name and number that check out. I think it's legit, and I think in February we're likely to get a commit from McGuffie.
So... February didn't happen. But this is all playing out like Michigan has McGuffie on lockdown. This is the long way of explaining that I'm very confident on McGuffie. As always, FWIW. This might be a good time to point out this old Houston Chronicle article on him.

Wideouts! PA WR Vaughn Carraway still maintains us as a leader and is now beginning to pick up some impressive offers -- Tennessee the latest. Interesting note on his recruitment from Scout:

“Michigan is still at the top,” Carraway said. “I've kept in contact with Coach (Steve) Szabo mostly. He said they haven’t decided if they want me for offense or defense yet. I really like their coaching staff and the way they practice.

“I’ve been there a couple of times,” he added. “I want to visit one time again before the season and then go again for a game. That will probably be my official visit."

Intriguing. With things seemingly going very well for instater Fred Smith, Woolfolk/Herron teammate Daryl Stonum, and Ty Law-cousin Jonathan Baldwin, Carraway might fit into this class in the defensive backfield. He's 6'2" but only 170 according to that Scout article... a big corner? That would go some distance to explaining the paucity of corner offers out at the moment. Carraway wants to commit before the fall.

Scouting stuff. Rivals has a free article on MSNBC with a report on the recent PSU Nike combine that has a couple scouting reports for those looking for a clearer picture of a couple of our recruits. First, CB commit Boubacar Cissoko:
The best player in the bunch was cornerback Boubacar Cissoko of Detroit Cass Tech. The recognition as the top defensive back in the camp really came as no surprise. Many believed he was the top cornerback at last year's NIKE Camp in Columbus.

Cissoko, who is a Michigan commitment, was amazing in the one-on-one drills last weekend.

While many other cornerbacks in the camp played off the line, Cissoko got right up in the faces of the receivers and locked them up with press coverage. Some questioned how he would handle going up against taller receivers. He's only 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds, but Cissoko had no trouble handling bigger guys. His technique and physical nature allows him to play much bigger than his size.
Reminds me of Arkansas CB Chris Houston, who was a delight to watch against Gamecock WR Sidney Rice during their matchup last fall. Houston's small but will line up right over your grill and fight you everywhere.

WR target Fred Smith:
Smith, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver, had a very good camp and performed well in the one-on-ones. He made one amazing catch on an out route where grabbed the ball and kept both feet in bounds, despite being tackled by the defender.

Smith might not be the fastest receiver around – he's probably a guy that runs in the 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash – but he runs great routes. If you get the ball in his vicinity, he'll catch it.

Smith also has a great college-ready frame that allows him to beat the jam at the line of scrimmage.
Jason Avant? I call everyone Jason Avant these days. But great routes and hands, big college-ready frame, not the fastest? Could it be anyone else?

Sargent! Interesting name at safety: Georgian Jamoris Slaughter. Slaughter on Michigan:
"I want to go where they'll help me with my future," he said. "I want to play in the NFL after college, so it would be great if they had a history of that."

Slaughter says that growing up, Michigan was his favorite team. "I guess I always liked their style," Slaughter said. "I always picked them when I played Madden. They have a great defense and I like how they blitz and zone a lot. You can really show your skills there."

Odd spate of Georgians with an abiding fondness for Michigan this year; Omar Hunter also counts himself a longtime fan. Normally I would be skeptical of his desire to come north, but he counts Notre Dame and Ohio State amongst his top five so he seems less bound to the south than most. We'll have some competition but it sounds like we've got a legit shot.

Similar story with TX CB Adrian Bushell, who has offers from Michigan, Florida (offering everyone), and Texas Tech and claims those three plus West Virginia as a top four.

Also there is this. Jim Stefani has an enormous post recapping Michigan's offensive recruiting to date and doing some projecting in the future. If you've got the time...