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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yes, this one's really boring since Michigan is completely done on this side of the ball outside of the offensive line.


Since Last Update: Status quo.

Needs: Major. Only Jason Forcier and David Cone, two middling recruits, will be around when Henne leaves.

Commitments: Human catapult Ryan Mallett, who you must have heard about already.

Prospects: None.

Projection: We're done.

Panic: None. Michigan targeted Mallet for years; he fits perfectly into the offense; he was the coaches' first choice.

Running Back

Since Last Update: Commitments from three-stars Marquis Maze and Avery Horn. Dropped by virtually everyone else.

Needs: With two recruits and two in the last class, Michigan is done.

Commitments: Maze's story is remarkably similar to that of Mike Hart: he is a tiny man playing for a tiny school and getting little in the way of attention. He gets around 15 touches a game and usually racks up something like 150 yards runnning around the same bewildered, tiny white guys who featured in Hart's high school highlight clips. Maze is smaller and quicker than Hart, more a dart than an inexplicable bull. A good comparison: minute but electric Brandon James, the lilliputian man you may have seen returning kicks for Florida this year. It's unlikely he's ever the feature back but should see a lot of time as a returner and trick play factory.

Avery Horn is another middling recruit, offered by much of the Pac-10 but not USC or Cal. Smallish (5'10") but fast and reported to have a bruising running style, Horn could be the next Jerome Jackson. There are worse things.

Prospects: Californian Curtis Shaw still lists Michigan but any further commitments are doubtful.

Projection: We're done.

Panic: None, though neither recruit seems on a track to stardom. I adore the idea of Marquis Maze in all his tiny, touchdown-creating wonder.


Since Last Update: Status Quo.

Needs: Would be nice to get a good one. Redshirt freshman Andre Criswell was a last second recruit who never played fullback before arriving at Michigan, and there's little else on the roster.

Commitments: For what it's worth, Vince Helmuth was offered on junior day, is busy running over Michigan high schools, and is ranked the #1 fullback in the country by most who bother to rank 'em. So we've got that going for us.

Prospects: None

Projection: We're done.

Panic: None. Though fullback isn't the most critical position on the field, it's a nice little bonus to have an excellent one locked up.

Wide Receiver

Since Last Update: Taurian Washington committed to OSU; Michigan picked up Junior Hemingway and Toney Clemons.

Needs: Well... I didn't think they were huge since Michigan will have three wideouts with sophomore eligibility next year (Laterryal Savoy, Antonio Bass, and Greg Mathews) but evidently the coaches disagreed. Depending on how you define various players, Michigan could have as many as six WR commitments. Realistically that number is three, but still...

Commitments: James Rogers, Junior Hemingway, and Toney Clemons. (Marquis Maze is filed under RB, Martell Webb under TE, and Zion Babb at DB.) Rogers may be a sleeper, but Michigan has a good track record with kids they unearth at summer camp and his offer when Michigan had three or four high-profile targets leaning towards them bodes well. He's virtually guaranteed to redshirt -- he plays RB for his high school team -- but has the athletic ability to contribute. Hemingway and Clemons are reportedly near clones of each other: loping downfield threats with great leaping ability, body control, and hands. Clemons is also supposed to be raw; Hemingway more polished. Depending on who you listen to, they're incredibly great or just good. Time will tell.

Prospects: Marques Simas dropped us or we got full or whatever. In any case, he's no longer interested and we don't have the scholarship to offer him anyway.

Projection: We're done.

Panic: None. An excellent haul, especially since "polish" tends to be overrated for WRs, IMO, and no one in this class is going to be pressed into serious duty until they've been on campus for a couple years.

Tight End

Since Last Update: Status quo.

Needs: Somewhere between moderate and major, depending on the suitability of the recently-moved Chris McLaurin and the academic status of Quintin Woods.

Commitments: Steve Watson from Colorado and Martell Webb from Michigan. Webb, like Carson Butler, plays WR for his high school team but at 6'5" and 210 pounds is probably going to end up a receiving tight end in college, but only after a redshirt year. Watson, the son of a former Broncos wide receiver and current assistant coach also named Steve Watson, is 240 and already a tight end for his team. He'll be more ready to play than Webb but according to the guru sites has a significantly lower ceiling.

Prospects: None.

Projection: Done.

Panic: None. Webb has a ton of potential and Watson is a nice backup plan or bookend. With Butler just a freshman they'll have time to develop.

Offensive Line

Since Last Update: Lee Ziemba decided to stay in the south. Steve Wisnewski dropped us because we were too similar to Penn State -- except that losing three out of four years thing.

Needs: Three to five players just like every year.

Commitments: Center Dave Molk, slightly undersized but ranked highly by Scout despite that. Rivals is less sunny.

Prospects: John Elliot, a highly touted tackle from New York, has us on a list of seven teams that will be cut to four shortly. Matt Romine, equally touted but from Oklahoma, is deciding between Michigan, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, but we're probably third in that group.

On the interior, the only name who's been mentioned as a visitor is Arizona's Jaivorio Burkes... who didn't actually visit. He needs a test score of some description -- I'm pretty sure he just needs a score, no matter what it is -- before he can take official visits. He'll come in at some point later.

Projection: I doubt we get Romine. Elliot's made some rumblings about staying closer to home. Burkes I don't know much about. Confidence level is low.

Panic: Major. Molk is nice but has size limitations that may cap his ceiling, though he would seem a good fit for the zone game if it sticks around that long. We have no commitments other than him and only a 50/50 shot of landing even one of Elliot/Romine/Burkes. Yes, offensive line is a hard position to project, but there's a difference between low-rated guys Michigan picks out of the crowd early and the situation they find themselves in now with few players interested and fewer still likely to commit. Michigan's in damage control mode.


B+, down from A- earlier in the year. That A- assumed someone would come along on the offensive line; no one has. Still, Michigan filled the most important position in football with an OMG shirtless recruit well suited for their offense. They picked up a bevy of potential vertical threats to go with Mallett, an interesting jack of all trades who looks to be Breaston's heir apparent, and the closest thing to a blue-chip fullback you can have.

Still: one offensive line commitment and no others appear to be on the way. This... is not so good.