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Monday, May 19, 2008

Update 5/19: Removed MI WR James Jackson (OSU), NC S Devonte Holloman (Clemson), PA OL Eric Shrive (PSU). Downgraded NJ WR Shawne Kersey to gray. Moved MN WR Bryce McNeal to committed. Again.

Added GA WR Jamal Patterson (more), FL OT Andrew Carter, OH WR Patrick White, TX OL Nick Ash, IL OL Michael Schofield, FL QB(ATH?) Mywan Jackson, IN LB Jordan Barnes.

Linked to articles on MS DE Fletcher Cox, MN WR Bryce McNeal, IL OL Chris Watt (via VB), LA OL Chris Faulk.

Editorial Opinion: Bryce McNeal is now officially officially a Michigan commitment, so bully for that. An expanded version of the McNeal dossier compiled earlier:

McNeal, a 6'2", 175 pound receiver from Breck high school in Minnesota, is #70 in the most recent Rivals 100 and the #11 receiver; Scout has him a 4-star and the #16 receiver. Scout's Allen Trieu on McNeal:

"I love Bryce's game," Trieu said. "He's very smooth, natural, and has some of the best hands I've seen. He can make tough, acrobatic catches and he also is very dangerous after the reception.

"He isn't a 6-4, 200-pound giant, but he has decent enough size to play outside. He also has attributes like elusiveness and hands that would project well to the slot. So he's a player who can fit multiple roles in an offense.

"He's a great kid off the field, too. The Wolverines would be lucky to have him on the field, in the locker room, and on campus."

ESPN has them on their top 150 watch list and likes him quite a bit:
McNeal is an extremely smooth, fluid receiver with very good height and excellent top end speed. He is a true vertical threat, but also could develop into a redzone force once he adds some bulk and strength to his upper body. ... explosive, slashing runner after the catch, he can make people miss and he has shown the ability to be a playmaker in traffic and jump balls. He's a very good leaper in contested match-ups.
ESPN's Tom Luginbill in his little commit note:
"McNeal is one of the better vertical threats this class has to offer. He is also extremely smooth and fluid which can make him dangerous as a route runner and also after the catch. He also has experience returning kicks and is a homerun threat in space.
Seems likely he will be rated somewhere in the top 150, perhaps well into it. As noted in a recent edition of Monday Recruiting, he was on the all-combine team at the Army All-American junior combine:

McNeal showed why he's already picked up some major scholarship offers with a strong showing throughout the entire combine. He was extremely effective in the one-on-one battles, and his combination between speed and hands make him a deadly target.
All that makes McNeal sound like a slightly taller version of Mario Manningham minus the weed, attitude, and probably that electric top gear.

Highlights (low quality, usual NSFW backing track):

Interview from about a month ago:

Slightly more personable than Manningham.

The larger picture: McNeal is the first outside receiver in this class and will probably be joined by another guy at his position (Texas's Josh Gordon?) and one or two more slot guys depending on where Teric Jones ends up. He's Michigan's fourth Rivals 100 recruit this year. Gophers are not happy.
An excellent pickup for Michigan, and one at a position many thought was the most likely to suffer during Rodriguez's term.

The rest of it. A couple prospects who were moderately strong possibilities to end up at Michigan went off the board: MI slot receiver James Jackson committed to Ohio State and NC S Devonte Holloman committed to Clemson. It's always irritating to see a good instate player go elsewhere but, given Michigan's sudden ascent to the summit of little fast bugger Nirvana, Jackson is likely to be replaced by a near carbon copy. (In fact, Michigan may already have that near copy in the form of Cass Tech RB Teric Jones, who is also hella fast but largely unproven.)

Holloman's commit is more likely to dent Michigan's final class, as he was the top-ranked safety who had shown serious interest. Lots of people are talking about a potential OLB move for OH S commit Isaiah Bell, so safety might be more of a need than it appears at the moment.

Elsewhere, two players declared Michigan their leader recently but that might not mean much for one. That player is PA CB Corey Brown of Gateway High School. Gateway is a familiar name for Michigan recruitniks, although it's an unfriendly one: Michigan has lost recruiting battles for Justin King (PSU), Shayne Hale and Cameron Saddler (Pitt), and Dorian Bell (OSU) there. In the good column... nobody. Bell is also a current teammate of Brown and is reputedly in his ear. If you can stand the mouthbreathing and self-congratulations, Ohio State boards are supremely confident about Brown; one of Bucknuts' current player/recruit insiders chipped in to help the tide of smarm. Brown's visiting Ohio State in the next couple of weeks and will probably commit then; if he doesn't, it's on. Until that point, it is not on.

The other guy favoring Michigan is IN LB Jordan Barnes($, info in header), about whom I could find little other than some notes that he was very impressive at a couple of recent combines.