Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Matt Godin

Melissa Leigh Morrison

Tom VanHaaren interviews incoming freshman defensive end Matt Godin.

Video: Talking Junior Hemingway and the Kansas City Chiefs

2012 Season Countdown: #61 Mario Ojemudia

Mario Ojemudia
Name: Mario Ojemudia
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Ojemudia was in high school.  He had 80 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 blocked punt.

Final TTB Rating:

When Ojemudia originally was offered and committed to Michigan, I was a little bit leery of him.  People claimed that he was unblockable, but what I saw on film was that nobody really tried.  For a powerhouse team like Harrison that has good players at just about every position, sometimes it's easy for decent players to play great.  The biggest saving grace for Ojemudia, to me, was that Michigan's three defensive line coaches - especially Greg Mattison - thought he was a player.  I don't trust the coaches on everyone, but defensive line recruiting shouldn't be an issue while he's at Michigan.

Ojemudia played a lot of defensive tackle in high school, so working at defensive end is going to take an adjustment.  When he played as a stand-up defensive end in the Semper Fidelis All-American Game, he struggled to get off the ball quickly.  It's a completely different technique from what he played for the past couple seasons.  But Michigan's coaches have shown a willingness to rotate defensive linemen liberally, which is why three guys played meaningful snaps at weakside end last season (Craig Roh, Jibreel Black, and Frank Clark).  With Roh and Black changing positions to strongside end and 3-tech defensive tackle, respectively, that leaves Clark and SAM-turned-WDE Brennen Beyer to fight for snaps.  Ojemudia's size at this point might prevent him from being useful on running downs, but his motor and pass rushing ability could make him a valuable third-and-long commodity.

Prediction: Situational pass rusher, backup WDE

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Tom Strobel

Brooke Mora
Tom VanHaaren interviews incoming freshman defensive end Tom Strobel.

Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week: Michigan Bikini Girl

If you have any other pictures to be featured, drop me an e-mail.  Go Blue!

2012 Season Countdown: #62 James Ross

James Ross
Name: James Ross
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #15
Last year: Ross was in high school.  He had 138 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.

Final TTB Rating: 94

If you can't tell by the commitment post above - and the TTB Rating - I really like Ross as a prospect.  He was a steady contributor throughout his high school career, seems to have a good head on his shoulders both on and off the field, and seems to be one of the more college ready prospects.  Ross committed last May and never wavered at all, despite being offered by some heavy hitters from around the country.

I might rank Ross higher on the list if not for the depth at weakside linebacker, his future position.  Sophomore Desmond Morgan returns as the starter, redshirt freshman Antonio Poole earned praise throughout the spring (EDIT: Poole is likely out for most/all of the season due to a biceps tear), and senior Brandin Hawthorne has some starting experience, too.  Despite being college ready, there's a chance that Ross will redshirt because of the depth ahead of him.  It's been a few years since Michigan could redshirt elite talent, but the depth appears to be getting back to traditional levels. My guess is that Ross will see the field as a backup or special teamer, because we could quite possibly see Morgan move to MIKE in 2013, and the coaches may want to groom Ross as the starter at WILL.  But with fellow freshman Joe Bolden earning praise at MIKE, too, it will be interesting to see how the depth sorts itself.  Regardless of who starts, some talented kids will be biding their time on the bench.

Prediction: Backup linebacker and special teams contributor

Thursday, June 28, 2012 Brady Hoke - all team, all the time

Danielle Houghton
Nick Baumgardner talks about some changes that Hoke made from the previous regime, including their responsibilities in meetings and his attempts to bring them closer together as a team.

Kenny Allen practices punting

Before deciding to become a Wolverine, 2012 preferred walk-on punter Kenny Allen from Fenton, MI, drew interest from some of the best programs in the country and held a scholarship offer from Oregon State. He shows off his leg strength and consistency in the videos below, which he was kind enough to share with TTB just days before heading to campus.

2012 Season Countdown: #63 Ricardo Miller

Ricardo Miller
Name: Ricardo Miller
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 234 lbs.
High school: Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #80
Last year: I ranked Miller #48 and said he would be a backup tight end.  He played in eight games as a special teamer and backup tight end but did not accrue any statistics.

Miller has led a bit of a wandering path to this point in his career.  He started off as a highly touted wide receiver recruit, but when he arrived in Ann Arbor for his senior year of high school, it looked to me like he wouldn't be able to hack it at wide receiver.  He tried to play at wideout as a freshman, moved to tight end as a sophomore, and now finds himself back at the wide receiver position after the spring didn't go so well.

Now headed into his junior year, Miller doesn't look much closer to seeing the field with any consistency.  He's too slow to stretch the field, not sudden enough to get open on short routes, too small to be an in-line blocker at tight end, and was never considered a "jump ball" type of receiver in high school.  He seems to be a man without a true position.  However, the need for contributors at wide receiver (and tight end) is pretty dire.  The starters are average, and the backups are very young and unproven.  It remains to be seen how Al Borges will use him in the offense, if at all.

Prediction: Backup wide receiver or tight end

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BTN: Q&A with Greg Mattison

Kate Upton
The BTN's Tom Dienhart interviews defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.  Mattison hints that the defense will be better able to make adjustments prior to the snap now that they have a year of experience in the system.  That could lead to more confusion . . . hopefully for opposing offenses.

Video: Best of the 2012 NFTC One-on-ones

Video: Michigan 27, Indiana 20 (1996)

2012 Season Countdown: #64 Mike Kwiatkowski

Mike Kwiatkowski
Name: Mike Kwiatkowski
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 257 lbs.
High school: Macomb (MI) Dakota
Position: Tight end
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #81
Last year: I did not rank Kwiatkowski.  He played in two games but did not accrue any stats.

Kwiatkowski didn't play much last season and didn't start playing football in college until last year.  However, from what I have seen in practice and film, I think Kwiatkowski could be a surprise contributor this season.  He's big enough to be a blocking tight end when the offense uses multiple tight end sets, and he's even athletic enough to catch a pass here or there.  I don't expect him to start or turn into a star, but he could be the offense's equivalent of Nathan Brink.

Prediction: Backup tight end

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Maize 'n' Brew: Recruiting Roundtable, Part 2

Here's the second part of Maize 'n' Brew's recruiting roundtable, in which I predict things and hope everyone else gets them horribly wrong so I will win the $1 million prize.  Keep your fingers crossed for me .

Video: The Brady 6

2012 Season Countdown: #65 Chris Wormley

Chris Wormley
Name: Chris Wormley
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 270 lbs.
High school: Toledo (OH) Whitmer
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #43
Last year: Wormley was in high school.  He had 66 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup.

Final TTB Rating: 73

Wormley's reputation as a football player went through a bit of a rough patch last year.   Widely regarded as an elite recruit early in his high school career, questions arose about his health and aggressiveness.  Some people (including me) thought that perhaps he had suffered an injury or, worse, had lost his fire for the game. The numbers above look pretty good, but it seemed they could have been better if he had given a little more effort on the field.

Wormley claims to be 270 lbs. now and he's headed for the strongside defensive end position, unless or until he outgrows the position.  There has been a lot of discussion about his potential to play the 3-tech defensive tackle spot, and that seems to be a distinct possibility down the road.  Strongside end is a tough position to play for a true freshman because of the technique and strength required to hold up against double teams, so Wormley should probably redshirt.  After senior starter Craig Roh graduates, Wormley can battle with his classmates, Keith Heitzman, and Nathan Brink for the starting job.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

Recruiting Update: June 26, 2012

La Porte (TX) La Porte LB/DE Hoza Scott
(image via Beaumont Enterprise)
Matthews (NC) Butler cornerback Channing Stribling was offered at Michigan's camp on Wednesday and committed to Coach Hoke on Thursday morning.


Grand Rapids (MI) Christian offensive tackle Tommy Doles was offered by Michigan.  Doles is a 6'5", 260 lb. lineman whose only offer comes from Michigan.  He attends the same high school as a fellow 2014 offeree, wide receiver Drake Harris.  So far Michigan's coaches are recruiting Doles as an athlete and are looking at him for offensive line, defensive line, or perhaps even as a tight end. (Highlights.)

New Orleans (LA) St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette was offered by Michigan.  Fournette is a 6'0", 210 lb. tailback with offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, and many others.  As a freshman in 2010, he had 174 carries for 1,735 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Shaker Heights (OH) Shaker Heights defensive end Joe Henderson was offered by Michigan. Henderson is a 6'4", 215 lb. high school defensive end who looks like he would play weakside end if he chooses Michigan, the only team to have offered so far.  (Highlights.)

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Corey Holmes camped at Michigan and earned an offer. Holmes is a 6'1", 175 lb. receiver with offers from Florida, South Florida, and Wisconsin.  He stated that Michigan sits atop his list, but it's early in the process.  Holmes is the teammate of defensive end Joey Bosa, whom Michigan offered for the 2013 class before he committed to Ohio State.  (Highlights.)

Monroeville (PA) Gateway safety Montae Nicholson was offered during camp.  He's a 6'2", 195 lb. safety who could play either strong or free, and he has already been offered by Penn State and Pitt.  Gateway consistently puts out FBS talent, including guys like Shayne Hale (Pitt), Cam Saddler (Pitt), Corey Brown (Ohio State), and Dorian Bell (Ohio State). (Highlights.)

La Porte (TX) La Porte linebacker Hoza Scott was offered by Michigan.  At 6'2" and 205 lbs., he already holds offers from Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas, and USC, among others.  Last month he named his top five; four of them are in the SEC, and the other one is Cal.  He appears to be a long shot to come to Michigan, but you can see in the highlights that the kid is a playmaker, pulling off outside linebacker plays that I normally see only in NCAA Football '12.

Mansfield (TX) Timberview safety Brandon Simmons was offered by Michigan.  Simmons is a 6'0", 170 lb. free safety or cornerback prospect with offers from LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and several others.  His teammate is fellow safety prospect Edward Paris, who has also been offered by the Wolverines.  As a sophomore in 2011, Simmons had 100 tackles, 15 pass breakups, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. (Highlights.)


Sherman (TX) Sherman offensive tackle Aaron Garza was offered by Michigan.  Garza is a 6'4", 300 lb. lineman.

Berea (KY) Madison Southern running back Damien Harris was offered by Michigan. And yes, I've started a 2015 offer board, and Harris was the first name on that list.  That means 2011 was Harris's freshman season, but he ran the ball 62 times for 742 yards (11.4 yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns while playing in just six games on varsity.  He's already 6'0" and 200 lbs. (Highlights.)


San Diego (CA) Horizon wide receiver Darren Carrington committed to Oregon. He was just recently offered by Michigan and mentioned plans to attend camp but never made it to Ann Arbor.

 Hilliard (OH) Darby athlete Caleb Day committed to Illinois. Day didn't have a Michigan offer but camped at Michigan last week in an effort to earn one. He could play several positions in college, including running back, wide receiver, cornerback, or safety.

Wide receiver Sebastian LaRue committed to USC. Michigan had a shot to win over LaRue until the Trojans offered. Then it was game over.

Seffner (FL) Armwood wide receiver Alvin Bailey will be visiting Michigan this week.  Bailey has already been offered by Michigan and is the teammate of highly touted defensive back Leon McQuay III, who has Michigan in his top three after visiting last month.

Cordova (TN) St. Benedict running back Jordan Wilkins is visiting Michigan today.  He already visited Auburn and almost committed there, and he mentioned that he wants to play early.  That may be difficult with all the other running backs on Michigan's roster.  I have doubts about whether a visit will sway Wilkins, but at least he's coming to campus.  I wrote up a scouting report on him a month ago.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Maize 'n' Brew: Recruiting Roundtable, Part 1

Gemma Atkinson

This is a bit late getting posted because I was out of town, but Maize 'n' Brew posted a recruiting roundup last week that featured questions with yours truly and people from Tremendous and Maize Pages, too.

I would like to give myself a small pat on the back for my very first answer, where I said that one of the guys to fill out the class would have to be a sleeper cornerback.  Channing Stribling was offered two days later and committed.  Now we'll wait and see if I got any other questions correct . . .

Channing Stribling, Wolverine

Channing Stribling (in white)
(image via MGoBlog)

Matthews (NC) Butler cornerback Channing Stribling committed to Michigan last week.  He chose the Wolverines over an offer from Ball State.

Stribling is a 6'2", 170 lb. cornerback and wide receiver who claims a 4.5 forty.  As a junior in 2011, he had 37 tackles, 14 pass breakups, and 6 interceptions.  On offense he made 37 receptions for 636 yards and 8 touchdowns.

ESPN: Unranked CB
Rivals: 2-star S
Scout: 2-star CB
247 Sports: 3-star ATH, #95 ATH

Stribling is the teammate of several fellow 2013 Michigan offerees: quarterback Riley Ferguson (Tennessee), wide receiver Uriah LeMay (Georgia), and linebacker Peter Kalambayi (Stanford).  Butler consistently churns out FBS talent, many of whom have been offered by Michigan in recent years.  But Stribling didn't have an offer until he camped at Michigan last week, where he wowed the staff enough to earn an offer on Wednesday.  He committed to Brady Hoke on Thursday morning.

Stribling is a pretty physical player, especially for playing his junior season at 160 lbs. or so.  He's a willing tackler who wants to come up and hit, but he gets overpowered a little bit at times.  That should change as his body matures and he starts to add weight.  Where he currently lacks the confidence to wrap up ball carriers and instead chooses to go low and dive at legs, he should eventually be a solid run supporter.  Stribling has decent hips and ability to change direction, but his mental discipline helps him there.  He seems to read plays well and recognize developing route combinations.  When the ball is in the air, he shows an ability to go after it, timing his leaps well and using his length to disrupt receivers and bat the ball.  As a receiver, one of Stribling's key attributes is his ability and willingness to fight for extra yardage after the catch.

On the negative side, Stribling has somewhat limited speed.  He doesn't accelerate extremely well and even when he gets to top speed, he won't leave opponents in the dust.  His length and anticipation make up for that lack of speed at times, but in a flat-out foot race, he might not win against opposing players with elite speed.  He also has some footwork and body position issues to work out, but those seem fixable.

By several accounts and what I see on film, Stribling has a solid, hardworking attitude and is a competitive player.  He might not be the best athlete on the field at any given time, but he should work to shore up most of the above weaknesses.  His lack of elite speed and playmaking ability might prevent him from being a nationally elite player at the next level, but he has the potential to be an eventual starter at the boundary corner.  When I look at Stribling, he seems like almost an exact replica of fellow 2013 cornerback commit Gareon Conley.  However, Stribling seems to have a little more position flexibility and could play free safety or perhaps wide receiver if needed.

Stribling is Michigan's 22nd commit in the class of 2013, a class that is expected to reach 24 or so.  Michigan wants another receiver and possibly another defensive lineman, although they will probably continue to recruit Florida defensive back Leon McQuay III.

TTB Rating: 77

2012 Season Countdown: #66 Royce Jenkins-Stone

Name: Royce Jenkins-Stone
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 215 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #52
Last year: Jenkins-Stone was in high school.  He had 84 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries; 309 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns; 4 receptions, 43 yards, and 1 touchdown.

Jenkins-Stone is a hulking middle linebacker prospect who should be a very imposing figure once he adds some weight.  He was given some high praise early on in the recruiting process and, for whatever reason, didn't produce a great deal during his senior year.  Don't get me wrong - those numbers above are very good, but they're not off the charts like many expected.  There didn't seem to be a great deal of on-the-field maturation between his junior and senior seasons.

Going into his freshman season, Jenkins-Stone has an uphill battle to climb for playing time.  He was recruited for the MIKE position, but the starter is Kenny Demens and fellow freshman Joe Bolden enrolled early and received a lot of hype.  And while the depth isn't great at MIKE, there are other options that could slide over from WILL, such as Desmond Morgan and Brandin Hawthorne.  There has been some speculation that Jenkins-Stone will play SAM, and that does make sense.  The only two SAMs on the roster are redshirt sophomore Jake Ryan and redshirt junior Cam Gordon; last year's other SAMs, Brennen Beyer and Jordan Paskorz, moved to defensive end and tight end, respectively.  I actually like the idea of Jenkins-Stone playing SAM because he's not great at diagnosing plays, but either way, he's bound to be no higher than third string.  That means he will have to make an impact on special teams or redshirt.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Ranking the Big Ten football facilities

Holly Weber
Adam Rittenberg ranks the Big Ten's football facilities, and Michigan comes in at #3.  Having never been to Ohio State or Nebraska's facilities, I can't really say whether I agree with this ranking or not.  However, from what I've seen of Penn State (which was supposedly close in the running to Michigan), I don't see a comparison.  Penn State has a nice workout facility and kind of a cool stadium, but Michigan is superior in almost every respect.  I guess some people might prefer PSU's stadium over Michigan's if they like modernity over tradition, but that's more preference than anything.

2012 Season Countdown: #67 Ben Braden

Ben Braden
Name: Ben Braden
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 325 lbs.
High school: Rockford (MI) Rockford
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Last year: Braden was in high school.  No stats are available.

Final TTB Rating: 71

Braden is a mammoth offensive lineman for being an incoming freshman.  At least in my memory, he's the largest scholarship offensive lineman to come to Michigan if those measurements prove accurate.  Despite excellent size, Braden was mostly regarded by the recruiting services as a mediocre recruit.  He's not the most technical or the most athletic lineman around.

Despite some shortcomings, Braden ranks fairly high on the list for a freshman lineman because of a lack of depth.  Technically, Michigan's only two non-freshman offensive tackles are their starters, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield.  Outside of those two, options are limited to freshmen, walk-ons, or guys who are expected to play guard like Elliott Mealer and Patrick Omameh.  Braden might not be any better than those walk-ons as a true freshman, but because of his size, he is perhaps the second-most likely rookie lineman to see the field.  If he plays at all, expect to see him limited to the right tackle position.

Prediction: Backup right tackle

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Erik Magnuson

Arianny Celeste
Tom VanHaaren interviews incoming freshman offensive lineman Erik Magnuson.

2012 Season Countdown: #68 Mike Jones

Mike Jones (#27)
Name: Mike Jones
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 224 lbs.
High school: Orlando (FL) Edgewater
Position: Linebacker
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #27
Last year: I ranked Jones #33 and said he would be the backup WILL.  He was a backup WILL, but he was mostly buried on the bench and made 4 total tackles.

As you can see from last year's post, I am not a fan of Jones's abilities.  Because of the lack of depth at linebacker, I assumed he would be in the mix for playing time, but he was beaten out by Brandin Hawthorne, Brandon Herron, and freshman Desmond Morgan, each of whom started at least one game at WILL.  Jones always seems to be a step slow, which is especially a problem when you're a 224 lb. inside linebacker who's not a particularly big hitter.

I've seen enough of Jones getting passed up to assume that he will once again be an end-of-the-bench guy.  Herron graduated, but Morgan and Hawthorne are still around, along with redshirt freshman Antonio Poole; now freshmen Kaleb Ringer and James Ross join the fray.  Middle linebacker is also a possibility for Jones, but Kenny Demens is the starter there and freshman Joe Bolden might be his primary backup.  No matter where Jones gets the most reps in practice, he's likely to have a true freshman or redshirt freshman blocking his path.  Special teams coverage and mop-up duty seem to be his best bets for playing time.

Prediction: Special teamer

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Blake Bars

Kelly Karloff
Tom VanHaaren interviews incoming freshman offensive lineman Blake Bars.

2012 Season Countdown: #69 Joe Kerridge

Joe Kerridge
Name: Joe Kerridge
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 231 lbs.
High school: Traverse City (MI) St. Francis
Position: Fullback
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #36
Last year: I did not rank Kerridge.  He redshirted.

Kerridge came to Michigan as a walk-on after his senior season was derailed by an ACL tear.  If not for the injury, he probably would have received a couple low-level scholarship offers.  As a sophomore and junior, he had 2,200 yards rushing and scored 35 touchdowns as the team's featured running back.  But after sitting out his senior season, he took last year to work his way back into football playing shape.

Now presumably recovered from his ACL injury, Kerridge has a chance to nab the backup fullback job behind Stephen Hopkins.  He will also be battling freshman Sione Houma, but Kerridge has Houma beat in size.  The redshirt freshman seemed to play pretty well in the spring and did what a fullback should do, block and catch an occasional pass.  He's not the runner that Hopkins is, but Kerridge is more of a traditional I-formation fullback.  Occasional snaps should be available to spell Hopkins or mop up late in games.

Prediction: Backup fullback; 1 carry for 3 yards

Attractive Michigan Girls of the Week

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Allen Gant

Tom VanHaaren interviews incoming freshman safety Allen Gant.

2012 Season Countdown: #70 Erik Magnuson

Erik Magnuson
Name: Erik Magnuson
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 275 lbs.
High school: Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #78
Last year: Magnuson was in high school.  He played well enough to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Final TTB Rating: 87

Magnuson is a highly touted offensive tackle out of California, and some people even made a comparison to Jake Long.  Maybe it's the fact that Magnuson wore #77, but regardless, he is a much hyped recruit.  At the beginning of January, he played left guard in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and while he wasn't as stellar as classmate Kyle Kalis, he did look adequate with the change of position.

Coming into college, Magnuson needs a fair amount of polish and he needs to get stronger.  In a regular year, he would probably be a lock to redshirt.  However, needs on the offensive line might mandate some playing time.  He looks like a future left tackle, although that's a position with a lot of responsibility for a freshman.  We might see him at right tackle or guard if the situation arises, but hopefully he can spend a year refining technique and adding mass.

Prediction: Redshirt if possible

Jeremy Clark Answers Your Questions

Jeremy Clark shed his grayshirt after a strong senior season.

As a medium-sized city, Ann Arbor can be viewed as either a thriving urban area or a small college town, depending on perspective.  In the case of incoming freshman free safety Jeremy Clark, it's clearly the former.

Jeremy is moving to Ann Arbor from Madisonville, Kentucky, a small, isolated town with a population of less than 20,000 people.  Daily fishing trips, eating at Long John Silver's and enjoying the outdoors are among his favorite activities, and although Jeremy has seen his fair share of states and cities due to his father being in the army, he recognizes that living in Ann Arbor will be quite a change after spending the past few years in Madisonville.  "It's a real small town, like a ghost town almost," he said.  "It's different [from Ann Arbor]."

But Jeremy is less concerned with acclimating himself to a new city than he is about making an impact on the football field.  He recently took some time out of a summer afternoon to talk football and answer several reader questions.

Choosing Michigan:  "I like to win.  So out of all of my offers, Michigan was winning the most.  I sure didn't want to go to a losing team. . . .When I went on that visit, they made me feel very comfortable, so as soon as I went on that visit I felt like, 'Yeah, I belong here.'  I was hearing from Florida, Villanovia, Kentucky, Illinois, Cincinnati and NC State; those were the major ones.  Everything else was from - uh, I forget the name of the little conference - oh, the MAC.  But once I committed to Michigan a lot of the schools started backing off. . . .The schools that offered me were NC State, Illinois, Cincinnati, Ohio - not Ohio State, just Ohio - Western Michigan, Western Kentucky and I can't really remember the rest of them."  

6'4'' and fast:  "My height is 6'4'' and my weight is 190.  My forty time is a 4.47, and then my bench is 260. . . .They've been working on me getting faster.  My junior year, I ran 4.6s and then my senior year, I didn't run anything above a 4.5. . . .I ran track my junior year going into my senior year.  I ran the open 400 and then the 4 X 100.  Track helped me get a lot faster than what I was." (Side note:  This website lists a 11.56 second 100 meter dash for Jeremy.)

Playing safety, maybe wide receiver:  "When I went down for there camp, they tried to use me down in the box, and it wasn't really working all that well, so I guess they see me as more of a ballhawking safety. . . .There were other schools that wanted me to play linebacker, but I wanted to stay in the secondary, so Michigan told me I could stay back there, and that's one of the reasons that I committed to them. . . .No, they never talked to me about that [playing wide receiver], but I'd be willing to play there if they needed me there. . . .When I was playing wide receiver in High School, all my routes were basically go routes.  I was faster and taller than everybody, so I'd just go straight and the quarterback would just lob it to me. . . .If they wanted to try me out at wide receiver, I wouldn't mind it."

Strengths and weaknesses:  "I need to work on flipping my hips and my feet work.  But then my strength is that I'm fast, so I have make-up speed.  And I'm 6'4''."

Taking off the grayshirt:  "When they first offered - like you said they'd have to grayshirt me - I was just happy to be able to go to Michigan.  Then I started thinking, 'I want to get out there and play now; I don't want to do the grayshirt.'  But then they said that it depends on how good of a senior year I have.  And I had a good senior year.  I had a good senior year so then they took it away, and that was very, very good."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Drake Johnson

Erin Plato
Chantel Jennings interviews incoming freshman running back Drake Johnson.

Video: John Navarre tribute

2012 Season Countdown: #71 Kenny Wilkins

Kenny Wilkins (image via UMGoBlog)
Name: Kenny Wilkins
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 280 lbs.
High school: Washington (PA) Trinity
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #41
Last year: I ranked Wilkins #57 and said he would be the third string SDE.  He did not see game action.

Wilkins has had an interesting journey at Michigan so far, and he's only a redshirt sophomore.  He was recruited as a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, arrived on campus planning to play defensive end, and has now grown into a 280-plus pound defensive tackle.  Rumors from practices suggested that Wilkins just didn't show the aggressiveness and work ethic to earn playing time, but putting on 30-40 lbs. in a year or two can do that to a guy sometimes.

This spring the talk was a little more positive, as the light was rumored to have flipped on for Wilkins a little bit.  I won't buy it until I see it, but there's an obvious need on the interior of the defensive line for someone to step up.  Perhaps Wilkins sees the opportunity for playing time and has decided to make a run at a starting job.  Wilkins played both nose tackle and defensive tackle in the spring.  I think he's too short on technique and size to play the nose once the season rolls around, but he could be in the mix as a 3-tech.  He's probably not in any danger of starting, though.

Prediction: Backup defensive tackle

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Smart Football: My favorite method for running a reverse

MC Barao
Chris Brown runs through some variations on running a reverse (or end around), using Auburn, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia as examples.

Video: Michigan vs. Ohio State - The Rivalry

Rivals: Illinois pre-season top 30 for 2013

LaQuon Treadwell is the #3 player in Illinois
I won't do this for every state, but since Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois have turned into recruiting hotbeds for Brady Hoke and company, this will be the last rundown (at least for now) of state rankings.  Here's a look at the top ten in Illinois, after which it becomes somewhat irrelevant to Michigan:

1. Ty Isaac - RB - Joliet (IL) Catholic (USC)
2. Ethan Pocic - OT - Lemont (IL) Lemont (LSU)
3. LaQuon Treadwell - WR - Crete (IL) Crete-Monee
4. Kyle Bosch - OG - Wheaton (IL) St. Francis (Michigan)
5. Aaron Bailey - QB - Bolingbrook (IL) Bolingbrook (Illinois)
6. Matt Alviti - QB - Park Ridge (IL) Main South (Northwestern)
7. Logan Tuley-Tillman - OT - Peoria (IL) Manual (Michigan)
8. Josh Augusta - DE - Peoria (IL) Peoria
9. Colin McGovern - OT - New Lenox (IL) Lincoln-Way West (Notre Dame)
10. Darius Mosley - CB - O'Fallon (IL) O'Fallon

2012 Season Countdown: #72 Matt Godin

Matt Godin
Name: Matt Godin
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 273 lbs.
High school: Novi (MI) Catholic Central
Position: Strongside defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #81
Last year: Godin was in high school.  He had 90 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks.

Godin committed to Michigan last May after being publicly disappointed about not getting offered earlier.  The coaches saw his 6'6" frame, now up to 273 lbs., and thought he would fit in well as a strongside end.  Godin's recruitment paid off in another way by helping to garner a commitment from 2013 running back Wyatt Shallman, Godin's teammate at Catholic Central; and it almost helped land Danny O'Brien, a defensive tackle from Flint who ultimately signed with Tennessee.  Godin played both ways at times for the Shamrocks, playing as both an offensive tackle and defensive lineman.

Going into his freshman campaign, Godin should be near ready in regard to his size.  He's expected to play strongside end, and senior starter Craig Roh is expected to have about 280 lbs. on his 6'5" frame by the time the season begins.  Roh is a technician, however, and Godin needs to work on that aspect of his game.  He has a chance to see the field because of a lack of depth at the strongside end position.  Last year's starter, Ryan Van Bergen, graduated and Roh is moving from the weak side.  Meanwhile, Godin will have to contend with fellow freshmen Tom Strobel and Chris Wormley, as well as walk-on Nathan Brink and redshirt freshman Keith Heitzman.  It seems likely that Godin will eventually grow into a 3-technique defensive tackle, but in the meantime, the battle for the backup strongside end will be interesting to watch.

Prediction: Backup defensive end

Monday, June 18, 2012

ESPN: The cost of recruiting

Jaimie Bernhardt
Mitch Sherman provides some data on how much various teams spent on recruiting over the past couple years.  Michigan spent roughly $489,000 in 2010 and $577,000 in 2011.  The Wolverines are fairly high on the list, but nowhere near the Tennessee Volunteers, who spent almost $1.5 million in 2011.  Yowzers.

Video: Brady Hoke's speech to campers at Sound Mind Sound Body

2012 Season Countdown: #73 Terry Richardson

Terry Richardson
Name: Terry Richardson
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 163 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Cornerback
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #13
Last year: Richardson was in high school.  He made 49 tackles and 7 pass breakups; he also had 24 receptions for 425 yards (17.7 yards per catch) and 2 touchdowns, plus 1 kickoff return touchdown.

Final TTB Rating: 80

Richardson had a terrific junior season as teams threw away from Delonte Hollowell (now a sophomore at Michigan) and into the arms of Richardson, who had 9 interceptions that year.  His production really fell off as a senior, although he still broke up 7 passes and made an impact on offense and special teams.  Richardson nabbed offers from all over the country and flirted with visiting other schools, but eventually stuck to his Michigan commitment.

Heading into his freshman season, Richardson appears to be a little light at only 163 lbs.  Michigan returns both starting cornerbacks in J.T. Floyd and Blake Countess, with slot corner Courtney Avery, spring upstart Terrence Talbott, and backup Raymon Taylor also in the mix.  It seems unlikely that Richardson's services will be needed this season, and while he could help out returning punts and kicks in the future, the Wolverines have some players to do those things already on the roster, not to mention fellow incoming freshman Dennis Norfleet, who is being brought in specifically to fill those duties.  If everyone stays healthy, Richardson should be able to redshirt this season and fight for playing time in 2013.

Prediction: Redshirt

Recruiting Update: June 18, 2012

Class of 2014 linebacker Michael Ferns visited Michigan this weekend
(image via Twitter)
Chicago (IL) De La Salle offensive guard Jamarco Jones was offered by Michigan on his visit to campus.  He's a 6'5", 285 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois, Ohio State, and Vanderbilt.  He plays left tackle for De La Salle, but his body type and pulling ability suggest more of a future at guard than tackle.  I really like his athleticism, strength, and mentality.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech cornerback Damon Webb received a Michigan offer on Thursday.  The 5'11", 170 lb. Webb transferred to Cass Tech this offseason and will play for the Technicians for the first time this fall.  Similarly to future teammate Jourdan Lewis, it appears Webb could play either cornerback or receiver in college.  The Wolverines want him for defense.

Somerville (NJ) Immaculata defensive end Tashawn Bower committed to Auburn.  He said not long ago that he would visit Michigan this summer, but when he made his commitment, he said he was shutting down his recruitment and that he was 100%.  You never know in recruiting, but it looks like that visit might not happen.

Avon (IN) Avon defensive end Elijah Daniel committed to Clemson.  Daniel never strongly considered Michigan and always seemed to want to head south.  Clemson just picked up defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, who is considered by some to be 2013's top overall prospect, last week.  If you go to Clemson, you might not win many games . . . but it does give you a good chance to get to the NFL.

Oakland (CA) Freedom wide receiver Darrell Daniels committed to Washington.  Some people were surprised that Daniels picked the Huskies over USC, but those were his two leaders for a while.  Daniels expressed early interest in seeing Michigan, but it never seemed like a serious flirtation.

Matthews (NC) Butler quarterback Riley Ferguson committed to Tennessee.  Michigan already has its 2013 quarterback in Shane Morris, but Ferguson was one of only three guys that the Wolverines offered in the process.  Michigan's staffs have gone after Butler hard in recent years, trying to reel in guys like linebacker Kris Frost, linebacker Peter Kalambayi, and both Christian and Uriah LeMay; however, the coaches have struck out ever since they got Jamar Adams back in 2004.

Akron (OH) Firestone wide receiver Kevin Gladney committed to Nebraska.  Michigan was pursuing him early and it was rumored that Gladney was close to committing, but that buzz went away and so did Michigan's recruitment of him.  He was originally reported to be 6'3" or 6'4", but it turned out that he's only 6'1".  Gladney's not particularly fast or elusive, and Michigan needs a playmaker as its third wide receiver, anyway, so it wouldn't have been a great match.

Washington (DC) Friendship Collegiate Academy inside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue committed to Maryland.  He was offered just prior to Michigan filling up on linebackers, so it doesn't seem like Michigan got too far into the process of going after him.  Regardless, Ngakoue appeared to want to stay close to home, he has a couple classmates committed to the Terps, and Randy Edsall is doing a nice job of recruiting since coming over from UConn.  Friendship Collegiate Academy has been churning out some quality talent in the last few classes (such as DT Eddie Goldman in 2012), so it's good to try to develop a relationship there.

Here's a look at some of the kids who are camping at Michigan this week.

Michael Ferns - LB - St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville
Jamarco Jones - OG - Chicago (IL) De La Salle
Josh Malone - WR - Gallatin (TN) Station Camp
Christopher Murphy - CB - Kennesaw (GA) Harrison

2012 Michigan Summer Camp Participants

Here's a rundown of the prospects I've gathered who were planning to camp at Michigan next week (June 17-21).  This is not a comprehensive list, and certainly there are a lot more kids who will be visiting (and some of these kids might not make it).  If you have any additions to make, please leave a name (and a link to a source that says he's visiting), and I'll try to incorporate some info and a brief analysis to the list.  Thanks!

Darren Carrington - WR - San Diego (CA) Horizon: Carrington is a 6'2", 187 lb. quarterback and wide receiver.  He's the son of former San Diego Chargers safety Darren Carrington, who played in their Super Bowl loss to the San Francisco 49ers.  He received an offer from Michigan last week, so his main reason for camping would seem to be for seeing the campus and meeting the coaching staff. (Highlights here.)

Johnny Daniels - DT - Chicago (IL) Foreman: Daniels is a 6'5", 250 lb. defensive tackle with a single offer from North Illinois.  He also participated in last week's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, so he's really trying to get exposure at these camps.

Caleb Day - ATH - Hilliard (OH) Darby: Darby is a 6'0", 188 lb. athlete who could play lots of positions in college, including running back, wide receiver, cornerback, or safety.  Michigan hasn't offered yet, but he really seems to be hoping for one from the Wolverines.  He does, however, have offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio State, and several others.  Day looks a little too stiff to play cornerback at a big-time program, but I could see him fitting in at any of those other positions.  Michigan has bigger fish to fry at running back (Jordan Wilkins, Derrick Green) and wide receiver (LaQuon Treadwell), and they're pretty set at safety.  However, Day could be a backup option at any of those positions and reminds me of a slightly less skilled Dymonte Thomas.

Berkley Edwards - RB - Chelsea (MI) Chelsea:
 Edwards is a 5'9", 189 lb. running back prospect and the younger brother of Braylon Edwards.  He started off with some MAC offers, but has more recently picked up offers from Cal, Iowa, and Minnesota.  He reportedly ran a 4.32 forty at an Adidas Combine.  Speed is not really an issue, but at his size, he might not be the running back for Michigan.  He's not exactly a clone of incoming freshman Dennis Norfleet, but both are small-ish and fleet of foot.  I do not think Edwards will be receiving a Michigan offer anytime soon. (Highlights here.)

Kenton Gibbs - DT - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Gibbs is a 6'2", 290 lb. nose tackle prospect who has been angling for an offer from Michigan for some time.  He has a steady stream of high school teammates going to Michigan, but without an offer from the Wolverines, he committed to Illinois last month.  The coaches may still be looking for an impact nose tackle, so if they like what they see from Gibbs at the camp, we could see Gibbs switch his commitment.  It's a little early, but his recruitment reminds me a little of the Jonathon Hankins recruitment from a few years ago. (Highlights here.)

Heath Harding - RB - Dayton (OH) Christian: Harding is a 5'10", 170 lb. running back with offers from Ohio and Toledo.  As a junior in 2011, he rushed for 1,500 yards and 33 touchdowns. (Highlights here.)

Paul Harris - WR - Upper Marlboro (MD) Douglass: Harris is a 6'3", 186 lb. wideout who has already been offered by Michigan, as well as Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and USC.  As a junior in 2011, he had 38 catches for 875 yards (23.0 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns.

Taivon Jacobs - WR - District Heights (MD) Suitland: Jacobs is a 5'11", 165 lb. wide receiver who already holds offers from Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, along with several others.  He also wants to run track in college and has been timed at 4.35 seconds in the forty.  As a junior in 2011, he had 35 receptions for 921 yards.  He can absolutely fly and, unlike a lot of track guys, Jacobs has some shiftiness. (Highlights here.)

Clark Kissick - QB - Owingsville (KY) Bath County: Kissick is a 6'1", 235 lb. lefty quarterback without any FBS offers yet. (Highlights here.)

De'Niro Laster - WR - Cleveland Heights (OH) Cleveland Heights: Laster is a 6'3", 220 lb. jumbo receiver/tight end with offers from a few MAC schools and Cincinnati.  He visited Michigan a few months ago and came away without an offer, and now he'll be back looking for more exposure.  He's now teammates with national WR prospect Shelton Gibson and attends the same high school as class of 2012, Ohio State-bound Kyle Dodson. (Highlights here.)

Dan Monteroso - WR - St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville: Monteroso is a 6'3", 180 lb. wide receiver with offers from Boston College, Iowa, Marshall, and some MAC schools.  As a junior in 2011, he had 23 catches for 454 yards and 7 touchdowns.  He's the teammate of 2014 linebacker Michael Ferns, who has been offered by Michigan. (Highlights here.)

Jazz Peavy - WR - Kenosha (WI) Tremper: Peavy is a 6'1", 170 lb. receiver.  He had been planning to camp, but he committed to Washington on June 17, so he may decide not to show up after all.

Demetrius Stinson - RB - Detroit (MI) Douglass: Stinson is a 5'10", 190 lb. running back whose lone offer comes from Toledo.  As a sophomore in 2011, he ran for 1,462 yards and 22 touchdowns, to go along with 35 tackles and 4 interceptions from his cornerback position.  He will probably not get a Michigan offer at the camp because he's small-ish and not extremely fast, but he could come away having earned offers from other schools. (Highlights here.)

Poet Thomas - DT - Beverly Hills (MI) Country Day: Thomas is a 6'6", 295 lb. offensive or defensive tackle with offers from Colorado and Florida, along with a few MAC schools.  He was recently ranked as the #30 prospect in the state of Michigan, so I doubt he'll earn an offer from Michigan.  For being such a big kid, he plays a little soft and might be better off playing offense in college. (Highlights here.)

Brian Allen - C - Hinsdale (IL) Central:
 Allen is a 6'1", 245 lb. center prospect with offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin.  He's a little undersized right now, but he's a very aggressive player who reminds me a little bit of redshirt freshman center Jack Miller.  I would probably rank Allen ahead of Miller in overall talent.  He seems like a kid that Iowa will turn into an All-Big Ten player if they get ahold of him. (Highlights here.)

Brendan Ballard - OT - Sebawaing (MI) Unionville-Sebawaing: Ballard is a 6'6", 300 lb. offensive tackle prospect.  He does not hold any FBS offers yet, but at that size, he has a good chance of earning some.

Drew Barker - QB - Burlington (KY) Conner: Barker is a 6'3", 204 lb. quarterback with offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Louisville, and Purdue.  As a sophomore in 2011, he threw for 1,473 yards and 7 touchdowns, and also ran for 1,570 yards and 22 touchdowns. (Highlights here.)

Ty Barrett - OG - Dallas (TX) Skyline: Barrett is a 6'5", 290 lb. offensive guard prospect with offers from Texas Tech and West Virginia so far.  He has family in Michigan, so perhaps that would make the distance from Texas a little easier to handle.

Mike Barwick - DT - Cincinnati (OH) Summit Country Day: Barwick is a 6'2", 255 lb. defensive tackle prospect who holds no offers at this point.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 68 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery.  Barwick plays fullback and linebacker in high school, but his future clearly lies on the defensive line. (Highlights here.)

Tinashe Bere - LB - Cincinnati (OH) Sycamore: Bere is a 6'1", 210 lb. inside linebacker prospect with a single offer from Illinois.  He attends the same school as incoming freshman tight end A.J. Williams.  As a sophomore in 2011, Bere had 65 tackles and 4.5 sacks.  His sophomore highlights show a kid who's a decent hitter and athlete, but the game is moving too fast for him.  He'll have to develop fundamentally to earn more elite offers. (Highlights here.)

Dante Booker, Jr. - LB - Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary's: Booker is a 6'3", 210 lb. linebacker with offers from Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State already.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 157 tackles, 11 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries.  St. Vincent-St. Mary's is generally considered to be an Ohio State feeder, and that seems to be the way Booker is leaning right now, although his father played defensive line at Auburn. (Highlights here.)

Dominique Booth - WR - Indianapolis (IN) Pike: Booth is a 6'1", 195 lb. wideout with offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Mississippi, Purdue, and Wisconsin.  He had 46 catches for 585 yards and 5 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011.  Booth is a slithery kid with good size who could play on the outside or in the slot. (Highlights here.)

Robert Bowers - DE - Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge: Bowers is a 6'5", 210 lb. weakside end prospect with a single offer from Cincinnati.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 49 tackles and 8 sacks.  He's teammates with class of 2013, Wisconsin-bound receiver Rob Wheelwright, whom Michigan offered. (Highlights here.)

Justin Brent - WR - Indianapolis (IN) Speedway: Brent is a 6'3", 193 lb. wideout who holds no offers at this point.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 40 catches for 819 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He claims a 4.6 forty and a 270 lb. bench press, which is pretty impressive for a high school sophomore.  He has the speed and athleticism to be a well regarded prospect, but he's a little bit raw when it comes to route running and catching the ball.  (Highlights here.)

Orlando Brown - OT - Duluth (GA) Peachtree: Brown is a 6'9", 376 lb. (not a typo) offensive tackle with offers from just about every school in the country.  His father is the late Orlando Brown, who played offensive tackle in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens (and who was famous for shoving an NFL referee to the ground after Brown was hit in the eye with a penalty flag).

Daniel Cage - DT - Cincinnati (OH) Winton Woods: Cage is a 6'3", 265 lb. defensive tackle with offers from Cincinnati and Illinois.  He attends the alma mater of Michigan linebacker Antonio Poole.

Lorenzo Collins - RB - Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison: Collins is a 6'0", 210 lb. tailback prospect without any FBS offers yet.  Many people assume that he will commit to Michigan State if the Spartans offer. (Highlights here.)

Nathaniel Devers - OG - Massillon (OH) Washington:
 Devers is a 6'3", 265 lb. guard prospect whose sole offer so far comes from Toledo.  He attends the same high school as 2013 cornerback commit Gareon Conley, as well as former Michigan players Justin Turner and Shawn Crable.  Devers visited last month but came away without an offer, so he'll be trying to earn one with his camp performance. (Highlights here.)

Deon Drake - LB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Drake is a 6'1", 215 lb. running back/linebacker with an offer from Cincinnati, Pitt, Syracuse, and Western Michigan.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 42 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, and 4 fumble recoveries.  Cass Tech has been a Michigan pipeline for the last several years and Drake is the teammate of Terry Richardson, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and Jourdan Lewis from the 2012 and 2013 classes. (Highlights here.)

Daniel Gresham - RB - Fort Worth (TX) All Saints Episcopal: The teammate of Michigan offeree Demetrius Knox, Gresham is a 5'11", 226 lb. tailback/fullback prospect with no offers yet.  As a sophomore in 2011, he had 62 carries for 584 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns.  He has pretty good feet for his size and decent speed, but he has very good balance and is tough to bring down.  As with Knox, there's a chance he visits for camp but it's not likely.  (Highlights here.)

Drake Harris - WR - Grand Rapids (MI) Christian: Harris is a 6'4", 175 lb. wide receiver who has already been offered by Michigan, but he could end up playing basketball in college. As a sophomore in 2011, he had 57 catches for 1,118 yards and 14 touchdowns.  (Highlights here.)

Caleb Henderson - QB - Burke (VA) Lake Braddock: Henderson is a 6'4", 223 lb. quarterback with offers from Maryland, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.  He's currently considered to be leaning toward the Hokies.

James Hendren - OT - Brookline (MA) Dexter: Hendren is a 6'7", 305 lb. sophomore with no offers yet.  Hendren moves pretty darn well for his size, and I'm very surprised that he has no offers at this point. (Highlights here.)

Brandon Hines - DT - Mequon (WI) Homestead: Hines is a 6'2", 280 lb. defensive tackle with no FBS offers yet.  He has visited Michigan previously and seems to be angling for a Michigan offer, so a good camp performance could put him on their offer board.

Jeremy Holley - QB - Elyria (OH) Catholic: Holley is a 6'5", 210 lb. passer with no offers yet.  He threw for 1,925 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2011.  Holley grew up as an Ohio State fan, but he's a pocket passer, so Urban Meyer might not be very interested.  He doesn't exactly have a Howitzer for an arm, but he definitely looks like an FBS prospect. (Highlights here.)

Corey Holmes - WR - Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas: Holmes is one of the more established recruits planning to camp at Michigan.  He's a 6'1", 172 lb. wideout who already holds offers from Florida, Rutgers, South Florida, and Wisconsin.  St. Thomas Aquinas consistently puts out top-notch athletes (Joey Bosa, Jelani Hamilton, Bryan Cox Jr., Marcus Roberson, Bobby Hart, Lamarcus Joyner, Cody Riggers, Giovanni Bernard, Duron Carter, etc.).  I would be surprised if Holmes doesn't earn an offer at camp or shortly afterward.

Gary Hosey - LB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech:
 Hosey is a 6'0", 230 lb. inside linebacker without any FBS offers yet.  He transferred in the offseason from Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison to Cass Tech and will now be playing at Michigan pipeline.  In my opinion, Hosey is the least talented of Cass Tech's three main linebacker prospects and somewhat unlikely to be offered by Michigan.

Ricardo Johnson III - QB - St. Paul (MN) Cretin-Derham: Johnson is a 6'0", 175 lb. quarterback with a single offer from Hawaii.  Cretin-Derham has put out some excellent athletic prospects in recent years, including Notre Dame-bound wide receiver James Onwualu and former Irish receiver Michael Floyd.

Coleman Key - QB - Broken Arrow (OK) Broken Arrow: Key is a 6'5", 210 lb. quarterback prospect. He was a backup to his older brother Kason last year, so he doesn't have any film or notable statistics.

Jake Khoury - DT - Traverse City (MI) St. Francis: Khoury is a 6'3", 268 lb. defensive tackle prospect.  And before you ask, yes, he's related to former Michigan center Rocko Khoury . . . but they're cousins, not brothers.  Jake doesn't hold any offers yet. He's a pretty stout kid with decent athleticism, and I'm guessing he'll have some Big Ten offers by the time all is said and done.  (Highlights here.)

DeShone Kizer - QB - Toledo (OH) Central Catholic: Kizer is a 6'4", 205 lb. quarterback with offers from Boston College, Illinois, Louisville, and Nebraska, along with a bunch of MAC schools.  He's on the record as being high on Michigan, but Kizer is a dual-threat kid who might not be exactly what Michigan's coaches want.  With Shane Morris in the class before Kizer, though, the coaches might be able to take a developmental guy like Kizer and see what he can add to the team. (Highlights here.)

Demetrius Knox - OT - Fort Worth (TX) All Saints Episcopal: Knox is a 6'5", 300 lb. lineman with an offer from Michigan, as well as ones from Alabama, Ohio State, and Texas.  As with any elite kid from Texas, he's going to be tough to pull out of the south. Knox mentioned an interest in visiting for the camp, but chances are slim that he actually makes it.  (Highlights here.)

Darryl Long - TE - Westerville (OH) South: Long is a 6'4", 220 lb. tight end.  He played defensive end as a sophomore in 2011 and made 35 tackles, so playing tight end will be a new adventure for him.  He doesn't hold any offers yet, but he reminds me a little bit of former Michigan tight end Martell Webb.

Montae Nicholson - S - Monroeville (PA) Gateway: Nicholson is a 6'3", 200 lb. safety prospect with offers from Penn State, Pitt, and a couple MAC schools.  Gateway has sent a few kids to Pitt and a few kids to Ohio State in recent years, so even if Michigan offers, it will likely be an uphill battle.

D'Andre Payne - CB - Washington (DC) H.D. Woodson: Payne is a 5'9", 172 lb. cornerback with offers from around the country, including one from Michigan. (Highlights here.)

Gelen Robinson - DE/LB - St. John (IN) Lake Central: Robinson is a 6'1", 230 lb. high school defensive end who will probably have to play linebacker in college.  He's the son of former Purdue and Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Glenn Robinson and the brother of incoming freshman basketball player Glenn Robinson III.  He's an aggressive kid who looks like he could play MIKE at Michigan, but playing defensive end in high school might stunt his development for college. (Highlights here.)

Conor Sheehy - DE - Milwauke (WI) Marquette University: Sheehy is a 6'4", 255 lb. defensive end or defensive tackle without any offers yet.  He's a pretty fundamentally sound player, but he lacks the athleticism of an elite defensive end prospect. (Highlights here.)

Enoch Smith - DT - Chicago (IL) Mt. Carmel: Smith is a 6'3", 260 lb. defensive tackle with offers from Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois.

Thaddeus Snodgrass - WR - Springfield (OH) Springfield: Snodgrass is a 6'1", 175 lb. wideout with offers from Michigan State and Toledo. (Highlights here.)

Chance Stewart - QB - Sturgis (MI) Sturgis: Stewart is a 6'6", 205 lb. quarterback whose lone offer right now comes from Western Michigan.  As a sophomore in 2011, Stewart threw for 1,361 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.  I've stated before that Stewart reminds me a little bit of John Navarre, with a pretty big arm and not a ton of mobility.  Out of Kizer and Stewart, I would probably prefer Kizer in the 2014 class, mainly because of Kizer's position flexibility and mobility, which Al Borges has proven to use well. (Highlights here.)

Jordan Van Dort - OT - Zeeland (MI) West: Van Dort is a 6'5", 280 lb. high school tight end who will probably move to the offensive line in college.  He has no FBS offers at this point.

Damon Webb - ATH - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Webb is a 5'11", 180 lb. athlete whom Michigan is recruiting as a cornerback.  He received an offer after camping at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp, and there's a strong likelihood that he carries on the tradition of Cass Tech kids coming to Michigan. (Highlights here.)

Darius West - CB - Lima (OH) Central Catholic: West is a 5'11", 189 lb. cornerback or safety with a lone offer from Illinois.  West does not look to me like a Michigan-caliber prospect, as he's not particularly sudden or fast.  I think his best position appears to be at safety.  (Highlights here.)

William White - LB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: White is a 6'1", 215 lb. linebacker without any FBS offers at this point.  Along with teammates Deon Drake and Gary Hosey, Cass Tech has a very formidable linebacker trio.  White's father is former Detroit Lions safety William White. (Highlights here.)

Josh Kirshenbaum - QB - Bloomington (IL) Normal: Kirshenbaum is a 6'2", 175 lb. quarterback with no FBS offers yet.

Michael O'Connor - QB - Chattanooga (TN) Baylor: O'Connor is a 6'5", 205 lb. quarterback with offers from Michigan State and Mississippi State, along with a couple MAC schools.  He's moving from Ottawa (Canada) to Tennessee to gain more exposure and improve his football skills, since coaching and competition in Canada are poor.  As a freshman in 2011, he threw for 51 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions against that poor competition. (Highlights here.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Mario Ojemudia

Audrina Patridge
Michael Rothstein interviews incoming freshman defensive end Mario Ojemudia.

Video: Brady Hoke speaks at Sound Mind Sound Body camp

Recruit Tracker: Junior season stats for class of 2013

DeVeon Smith's statistics were outstanding in 2011
Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OT Kyle Bosch: No stats available.

Pickerington (OH) North TE Jake Butt: 27 receptions, 424 yards, 7 touchdowns; 17.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks

Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton: No stats available.

Massillon (OH) Washington CB Gareon Conley: 26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions; 3 receptions for 10 yards; 3 punt returns for 39 yards; 4 kickoff returns for 142 yards

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech OG David Dawson: No stats available.

Columbus (OH) Marion-Franklin WR Jaron Dukes: 36 receptions, 670 yards (18.6 yards per catch), 7 touchdowns

Parker (CO) Ponderosa OT Chris Fox: No stats available.

Hudson (OH) Hudson LB Ben Gedeon: 1,600 yards rushing, 27 touchdowns; 120 tackles, 5 tackles for loss

Detroit (MI) Crockett TE Khalid Hill: 29 catches, 448 yards (15.4 yards per catch), 6 touchdowns; 55 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 6 sacks

Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers DT Maurice Hurst, Jr.: 61 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks; 27 carries, 440 yards (16.3 yards per carry), 3 touchdowns

Wexford (PA) North Allegheny OG Patrick Kugler: No stats available.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech CB Jourdan Lewis: 52 tackles, 8 interceptions; 6 touchdown receptions, 2 punt return touchdowns, 3 kickoff return touchdowns

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison LB Mike McCray: 132 tackles, 5 interceptions (3 touchdowns), 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Warren (MI) De La Salle QB Shane Morris: 121/235 passing, 1684 yards, 19 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 150 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns

Baltimore (MD) Gilman DT Henry Poggi: 49 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 10 sacks

Novi (MI) Catholic Central RB Wyatt Shallman: No stats available.

Warren (OH) Howland RB DeVeon Smith: 160 carries, 2200 yards (13.75 yards per carry)

Ottawa (IL) Marquette LS Scott Sypniewski: No stats available.

Alliance (OH) Marlington S Dymonte Thomas: 118 carries, 837 yards (7.1 yards per carry), 13 touchdowns; 5 receptions, 105 yards (21 yards per catch), 1 touchdown; 102 tackles, 1 fumble recovery

Peoria (IL) Manual OT Logan Tuley-Tillman: No stats available.

Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park Academy WR Csont'e York: 36 receptions, 587 yards (16.3 yards per catch), 11 touchdowns

2012 Season Countdown: #74 Erik Gunderson

Erik Gunderson
Name: Erik Gunderson
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 312 lbs.
High school: Milan (MI) Milan
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #69
Last year: I ranked Gunderson #67 and said he would be a backup offensive tackle.  He played in four games as a backup lineman.

Gunderson came to Michigan as a 6'8", 338-pounder and slimmed down significantly under Rich Rodriguez, since Rodriguez was into cardio and athleticism for his linemen.  Under Brady Hoke, Gunderson is slowly putting on weight once again and is up over 300 lbs., fourteen pounds heavier than last year.  He played in several games last season, but did not see action in crucial situations.

Offensive tackle is once again a thin position now that Mark Huyge graduated and only freshmen are left outside of starters Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield.  Gunderson could be a key backup if the freshmen struggle to adjust and if there are injuries along the offensive line.  He's a little slow-footed and would most likely work in at right tackle if needed, but he's an adequate run blocker.  No offense to Gunderson, but let's hope that he's not needed this season.

Prediction: Backup right tackle

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Entrance Interview with Willie Henry

Gail Sanez

Michael Rothstein interviews incoming freshman defensive tackle Willie Henry.

Big 33 Game

The Big 33 game, which features some of the best senior football players of Ohio against those of Pennsylvania, will be played tonight at 7:00 p.m.  It will be broadcast on the NFL Network.  While no Michigan commits will be playing in the game, there will be various Michigan offerees and future Big Ten players participating.  Players of interest:

Warren Ball, RB (offered, Ohio State)
Devan Bogard, S (offered, Ohio State)
Jermaine Edmondson, S (Michigan State)
Frank Epitropoulos, WR (Ohio State)
Najee Murray, CB (Ohio State)
Tyler OConnor, QB (Michigan State)

J.J. Denman, OT (offered, Rutgers)
J.P. Holtz, TE (offered, Pitt)
Skyler Mornhinweg, QB (Penn State)
Rushel Shell, RB (Pitt)