Recruiting Update: February 6, 2012

Tag: 2012 Recruiting

6Feb 2012
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Recruiting Update: February 6, 2012

Columbus (OH) Marion Franklin wide receiver Jaron Dukes
(image via Columbus Dispatch)

Because this post was getting so long, here you’ll find mostly class of 2013 developments.  All of last week’s developments with class of 2012 kids, National Signing Day, etc. are encapsulated in Friday’s post.

Owensboro (KY) Apollo defensive tackle Hunter Bivin, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan late last week.  He’s a 6’7″, 288 lb. kid with offers from Auburn, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, among others.  Bivin has developed a bit of a connection with his former high school opponent Jeremy Clark, the 2012 safety commit.  I’m afraid this one might go in Ohio State’s direction.

Avon (IN) Avon defensive end Elijah Daniel, a 2013 prospect, grabbed an offer from Michigan last week.  He’s a 6’4″, 253 lb. strongside end with offers from Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, among others.  His older brother Armonze is a linebacker at Marshall, but Elijah is likely to attend a bigger program.

Sicklerville (NJ) Timber Creek defensive end Dajuan Drennon, a 2013 prospect, received a Michigan offer last week.  He’s a 6’4″, 227 lb. kid with offers from Florida State, Iowa, Penn State, and Washington, along with several others.

Columbus (OH) Marion Franklin wide receiver Jaron Dukes, a 2013 prospect, got an offer from Michigan last week.  He’s 6’3″, 195 lbs. and also holds an offer from Toledo.  His favorite team as a kid was Michigan, despite living in the Buckeyes’ home city.

Cincinnati (OH) Moeller linebacker Shane Jones, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan.  He’s 6’1″, 220 lbs. and looks like a future weakside linebacker or perhaps a MIKE.  As a junior he had 89 tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception.  Jones also has offers from Cincinnati and Indiana.

Wexford (PA) North Allegheny offensive guard Patrick Kugler, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan this past week.  He’s a 6’5″, 265-pounder with offers from Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, and many others.

Bloomfield (NJ) Bloomfield offensive tackle Marcell Lazard, a 2013 prospect, received a Michigan offer.  He’s a 6’6″, 293 lb. lineman with offers from Miami, Virginia, West Virginia, and others.

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech cornerback Jourdan Lewis, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan on Wednesday.  Lewis is 5’11” and 170 lbs., skinny like seemingly every Cass Tech cornerback.  Michigan seems to be the early favorite, and they have obviously developed a pipeline to Cass Tech (Terry Richardson, Royce Jenkins-Stone, William Campbell, Thomas Gordon, etc.).  His only other offer is from Toledo.

Columbus (OH) Bishop Hartley tight end Jacob Matuska, a 2013 prospect, received a Michigan offer on Wednesday.  He’s a 6’5″, 240-pounder with offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, North Carolina State, and Toledo.

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison linebacker Mike McCray, a 2013 prospect, received an offer from Michigan.  He’s a 6’4″, 230 lb. kid who looks like a future SAM linebacker.  He has also been offered by Boston College, Illinois, Kentucky, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, and a few others.

NewLenox (IL) Lincoln-Way West offensive tackle Colin McGovern, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan last Thursday.  McGovern is a lanky 6’7″, 280 lb. kid with offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Tennessee, and Wisconsin

Ashburn (VA) Briar Woods linebacker Matt Rolin, a 2013 prospect, got an offer last week.  He’s a 6’4″, 205-pounder who would likely be pegged to play SAM linebacker.  He also holds offers from Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Washington, among others.

Sicklerville (NJ) Timber Creek defensive tackle Greg Webb, a 2013 prospect, was offered during Michigan’s blitz of New Jersey this past week.  He’s a 6’2″, 290 lb. future nose tackle with a 335 lb. bench and a 635 lb. squat, both of which are pretty impressive for a kid who’s just a high school junior.

Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge wide receiver Rob Wheelwright, a 2013 prospect, got an offer from Michigan, too.  Wheelwright is 6’1″, 174 lbs. and is the younger brother of Ernie Wheelwright, who played wide receiver for the Minnesota Gophers and now plays for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.  Rob had 12 touchdowns as a junior, and he holds offers from Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Syracuse, and Wisconsin.

Louisville (KY) Trinity cornerback Ryan White, a 2013 prospect, picked up an offer from Michigan last week.  The 5’10”, 178-pounder is the teammate of fellow Michigan targets James Quick and Jason Hatcher, a wide receiver and defensive end, respectively.  While not quite as coveted as those teammates, White has also been offered by Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and Louisville.

Dallas (TX) Bishop Dunne offensive guard Ishmael Wilson, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan this past weekend.  He’s a 6’5″, 275 lb. kid with offers from Cal, Nebraska, and Vanderbilt.

Voorhees (NJ) Eastern cornerback Eli Woodard picked up an offer for the class of 2013.  He’s a 6’1″, 185 lb. kid whose skills indicate that he could stay at cornerback, despite being fairly tall for a corner.  He’s a big-time recruit with offers from Alabama, Cal, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, among others.  The early returns suggest he’s leaning toward Ohio State.

Chicago (IL) Simeon offensive tackle Jordan Diamond committed to Auburn on Friday night.  Diamond was considered to be a heavy Michigan lean last winter and spring, largely because his former high school teammate Chris Bryant is an offensive guard for the Wolverines.  But the longer Diamond’s recruitment dragged out, the more murky it looked.  It became pretty apparent at some point that this would not go Michigan’s way . . . it just wasn’t clear whether he would pick Arkansas or Auburn.

Celina (TX) Celina offensive tackle Jake Raulerson, a 2013 prospect, committed to Texas.  While Michigan was recruiting him for offensive line, many other schools were recruiting him to play defensive end.  That might not be a bad place for a 6’4″, 250-pounder.

Toledo (OH) Central Catholic safety Jayme Thompson, a 2013 prospect, committed to West Virginia.  It’s somewhat unclear whether Thompson actually received an offer from the Wolverines.  He reported to Michigan blog Tremendous  that he did indeed receive a verbal offer from the Wolverines, but the other recruiting sites have refuted that notion.  Either way, he’s currently inclined to become a Mountaineer, but he said early on that he would be a Wolverine if Michigan offered, so this one might be something to watch between now and signing day.

3Feb 2012
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Recruiting Update: February 3, 2012

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry (#74) was one of two commitments Michigan received

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry committed to Michigan.  He received an offer over the weekend on a hastily planned official visit, and things went well enough for him to commit almost immediately. (Find Henry’s commitment post here.)

Detroit (MI) King running back Dennis Norfleet committed to Michigan.  He received an offer on the eve of National Signing Day and committed almost on the spot.  The 5’8″, 175 lb. athlete could play running back, slot receiver, punt returner, and/or kick returner. (Find Norfleet’s commitment post here.)

Tampa (FL) Berkeley Prep wide receiver Nelson Agholor committed to USC.  Agholor was heavily considering Florida and Notre Dame, too, but you can’t really go wrong with USC when they’ve had a steady string of NFL-bound quarterbacks, including returning senior Matt Barkley.

Oxford (AL) Oxford linebacker Kwon Alexander committed to LSU.  The 6’2″, 212 lb. outside linebacker spurned the in-state schools in favor of the LSU Tigers.  He’s an athletic kid who really looks like he’s going to be a star at the next level.

Lakewood (WA) Lakes offensive tackle Zach Banner committed to USC.  Banner is the son of former Washington Husky, Atlanta Falcon, and Oakland Raider Lincoln Kennedy.  Banner himself is already 6’9″ and 310 lbs.

Oxon Hill (MD) Potomac cornerback Ronald Darby committed to Florida State.  Darby is only 5’11” and 172 lbs., so he lacks some bulk, but he has some of the best speed in the country.  He had previously been committed to Notre Dame, but I can’t blame him for wanting to get away from the Fighting Irish and the ticking time bomb that is Brian Kelly.

Cleveland (OH) Cleveland Heights offensive tackle Kyle Dodson flipped from Wisconsin to Ohio State.  The 6’6″, 315 lb. monster had been committed to Wisconsin for a couple months, but the departure of some of Wisconsin’s offensive staff (coordinator Paul Chryst became the head coach at Pitt) and the arrival of Urban Meyer contributed to the change of heart.

Washington (D.C.) Friendship nose tackle Eddie Goldman committed to Florida State.  The 6’4″, 307 lb. Goldman was offered when Rich Rodriguez was still Michigan’s head coach.  Many expected Goldman to choose Auburn, so he surprised some people.

Lakewood (OH) St. Edward’s tight end Sam Grant committed to Oklahoma.  He had previously been committed to Boston College, and many Michigan insiders expected Grant to pick Michigan.  The 6’4″, 245 lb. tight end might find himself lingering near the bottom of the depth chart with the Sooners.

Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep defensive end Darius Hamilton committed to Rutgers.  One of the top recruits in the nation, the 6’4″, 245-pounder seemed to be leaning toward Rutgers all along, so this wasn’t a surprise in the slightest.  High school teammate Leonte Carroo is a part of the Scarlet Knights’ class as well.

Euless (TX) Trinity offensive guard Hiva Lutui committed to Utah.  Lutui didn’t receive a lot of attention from Michigan fans, and a while ago, it seemed he would choose UCLA.

Cincinnati (OH) Moeller wide receiver Monty Madaris committed to Michigan State.  His recruitment ended in a bit of a head-scratching way, because he was reportedly concerned about going so far from home.  Michigan is right next to Ohio, of course, but driving from Cincinnati to East Lansing is a significant drive (5 hours and 23 minutes, according to Google Maps).  Madaris held off from signing on Wednesday, which caused his high school coach to say some pretty immature things.  There’s nothing like supporting your 18-year-old student-athlete when he’s troubled with the biggest decision of his life.

Brooklyn (NY) Erasmus Hall cornerback/safety Wayne Morgan committed to Syracuse.  The 5’11”, 188 lb. defensive back suffered a somewhat precipitous drop on some recruiting sites as the recruiting cycle wore on, dropping as far as the #116 safety in the nation, according to Scout.

San Clemente (CA) San Clemente offensive tackle Kyle Murphy committed to Stanford.  The 6’7″, 275 lb. lineman has good feet and will likely remain at left tackle as a collegian.

Lehi (UT) Westlake defensive end/outside linebacker Moana Ofahengaue committed to Utah.  The 6’4″, 205-pounder could play weakside end or outside linebacker in college, and he really stood out in the Semper Fidelis All-American Game.  He was high on Michigan early in the process, but Michigan filled up at defensive end pretty quickly.

Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton flipped from Cal to Washington UCLA.  Throughout his recruitment, he was committed to 33% of the Pac-12’s schools: USC, Cal, Washington, and finally UCLA.  You do not want to stand behind him in line at McDonald’s, because you will be waiting a long time just to order your damn McDouble.  He could stand to listen to the Toadies a little more.

Tempe (AZ) Corona Del Sol offensive tackle Andrus Peat committed to Stanford.  The mammoth 6’7″, 305 lb. Peat has a brother who plays defensive tackle at Nebraska.  Peat visited Michigan last summer, but it was pretty clear early on that he would be staying out west somewhere.  I would envision the above mentioned Murphy at left tackle and Peat on the right side, giving the Cardinal two solid bookends on the offensive line for the next several years.

McKees Rocks (PA) Sto-Rox linebacker Deaysean Rippy committed to Pitt.  The 6’2″, 200-pounder looks like a wideout (and indeed played WR in high school) and is a little thin.  He will probably take a year or two to add some weight, but he’s very fast and could turn into a solid, athletic outside linebacker for the Panthers.

Atwater (CA) Buhach defensive tackle Aziz Shittu committed to Stanford for the second time.  The 6’3″, 275-pounder originally committed to the Cardinal early last year, but he re-opened his recruitment in June.  He was always thought to be staying on the west coast; it just wasn’t clear which California school he would attend.  Along with Murphy, Peat, linebacker Noor Davis, and running back Barry Sanders, Stanford pulled in a hell of a recruiting class, perhaps their best ever.

Sacramento (CA) Grant safety Shaq Thompson flipped from Cal to Washington.  Thompson had just committed to Cal a few weeks ago, but when lead recruiter Tosh Lupoi left the Golden Bears for the Huskies, Thompson followed quite promptly.  This will make it extremely disappointing for Thompson once Lupoi takes a job elsewhere in about two years, which seems likely in the coaching world.

McDonough (GA) Henry County defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson committed to Alabama.  The 6’2″, 270 lb. Tomlinson will probably play defensive end in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 scheme, although he could easily be a defensive tackle in a four-man front.

Edwardsville (IL) Edwardsville defensive tackle Vincent Valentine committed to Nebraska.  He’s a 6’3″, 300 lb. nose tackle type.

Palm Beach Gardens (FL) Palm Beach Gardens offensive tackle Avery Young committed to Auburn.  Young is a 6’6″, 273 lb. lineman whose brother Willie currently plays for the Detroit Lions.

There are a few prospects on the 2012 Offer Board who have yet to announce their college destinations:

Chicago (IL) Simeon offensive lineman Jordan Diamond will announce tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST.  Michigan insiders are not particularly optimistic that things will fall their way, with the recent vibe leaning toward Arkansas.

Olney (MD) Good Counsel athlete Stefon Diggs will announce next Friday, February 10th.  Michigan appears to be out of the running for Diggs.

Klein (TX) Oak fullback E.J. Fatu has run into some personal/family issues, transferred schools, and his recruitment is a bit up in the air right now.

Wimberley (TX) Wimberley fullback Dennis Smith has allegedly run into some legal trouble, and he might be one of those kids who ends up at a JUCO.

Bamberg (SC) Erhardt athlete Demetrius Williams has fallen off the radar.  He was recruited by Rich Rodriguez, so he probably didn’t have a committable offer from Brady Hoke and Co.  However, I have been unable to find any new info on Williams for the last several months.

1Feb 2012
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2012 International Bowl

International Bowl participants Devin Funchess, Terry Richardson, James Ross, and Royce Jenkins-Stone

International Bowl
February 1, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Austin, TX

USA Team targets:
Ronald Darby – RB – Maryland (Florida State)
J.J. Denman – OT – Pennsylvania (Rutgers)
Devin Funchess – TE – Michigan (Michigan)
Greg Garmon – RB – Pennsylvania (Iowa)
Mark Harrell – OT – North Carolina (Notre Dame)
Royce Jenkins-Stone – LB – Michigan (Michigan)
Trey Keenan – OT – Texas (Texas Tech)
Marcus Maye – S – Florida (Florida)
Ifeadi Odenigbo – DE – Ohio (Northwestern)
Moana Ofahengaue – LB – Utah
Jordan Payton – WR – California (UCLA)
Se’von Pittman – DE – Ohio (Ohio State)
Terry Richardson – CB – Michigan (Michigan)
James Ross – LB – Michigan (Michigan)
Tee Shepard – CB – California (Notre Dame)
D.J. Singleton – S – New Jersey (Wisconsin)
Caleb Stacey – OG – Ohio (Cincinnati)

World Team target:
Faith Ekakitie – DT – Illinois (Iowa)

1Feb 2012
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Dennis Norfleet, Wolverine

Detroit (MI) King running back/returner committed to Michigan
on Tuesday evening

Detroit (MI) King running back Dennis Norfleet was offered a scholarship on Tuesday night and committed almost on the spot.  He had previously been committed to Cincinnati, and he also held offers from Michigan State, Pitt, and Tennessee.

ESPN: 3-star, #81 RB
Rivals: 4-star, #5 all-purpose back, #206 overall
Scout: 4-star, #19 RB
247 Sports: 4-star, #7 all-purpose back, #169 overall, 95 grade

Norfleet is 5’8″, 175 lbs. and lists a 4.34 time in the forty.  As a junior he had 1,880 yards and 31 touchdowns.  He followed that up with 2,033 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior.

Norfleet is solidly built despite being quite short.  He stated on Tuesday night that Michigan offered him a chance to play running back, slot receiver, kick returner, and punt returner.  Michigan hasn’t had a consistent punt returner since Steve Breaston, and there hasn’t been a solid kickoff return guy since Darryl Stonum in 2009.  Norfleet has the short-area quickness and the breakaway speed to be effective at both of those positions.  He also could be used as a zone read option guy in the backfield with Denard Robinson or Devin Gardner, or as a pass receiver in the mold of Vincent Smith.

Aside from the obvious concern about his size – his chances of being the full-time back are very slim – I’m not a big fan of the way Norfleet finishes plays.  He jogs into the endzone too often, which rubs me the wrong way and makes me question how disciplined he is.  Still, it’s better to take an athletic guy whom you might have to instill with some discipline than to bank the scholarship for next year.

Norfleet is Michigan’s 25th commitment in the class of 2012.  He’s also the first guy from Martin Luther King High School since defensive tackle Larry Harrison and safety Ernest Shazor left after the 2004 season.

TTB Rating: 76

30Jan 2012
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Willie Henry, Wolverine

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry
(image via 247 Sports)

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry has given his verbal commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.  The 6’2″, 270-pounder picked Michigan over Hawaii, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Pitt, Syracuse, and others.

Recruiting rankings:
ESPN: 3-star, #97 DT
Rivals: 3-star
Scout: 3-star, #38 DT
247 Sports: 3-star, #75 DT

Henry earned an offer this past weekend when he took an official visit to Ann Arbor.  He had previously visited Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, and Pittsburgh, and the pick was probably going to be Pitt until Michigan jumped into the fray.  When Michigan came forward with an offer after it became clear that at least a few of their high-profile targets would choose other schools, Henry didn’t take long to decide.

The quick defensive tackle boasts a 4.78 forty yard dash, and that is indeed his biggest strength – speed.  I’m particularly impressed with how quickly Henry gets off the ball and penetrates into the backfield.  There are multiple highlights where he sprints downfield when blocking.  Not only does that show his speed, but it also shows effort.  You can’t teach speed, and when you combine that with desire, it’s hard to stop.  I like how hard he works and the way he celebrates after making good plays.  It’s pure excitement, but not the “look at me” variety.

Henry does not come without flaws, however.  He’s a very raw prospect when it comes to technique.  He doesn’t use his hands well consistently, and too often he allows offensive linemen to get into his body.  As a small-ish defensive linemen, he can’t afford to lose that technical advantage.  He also tends to play a little high at times, which will get him blasted out of position against bigger, more powerful offensive lines.  I would also like to see Henry show a little better play recognition.

Overall, I love the offer to and commitment from Henry.  He’s exactly the type of prospect that is ripe for the picking at this time of year – an athletic project who, if he pans out, has a chance to be a real difference maker at the next level.  He needs to add weight and will likely redshirt, but his ability to get off the ball and chase from behind makes him a potential TFL machine.  While he reminds me of a slightly larger Terry Talbott (a 2010 commit who never played a down for Michigan), I think Henry has a higher ceiling.  He’s likely headed for the 3-tech position that Will Heininger occupied this past season.  I think he even has the ability to play the 5-tech defensive end position, but Michigan should have that position well covered with the other recruits in the class.

Henry is the 24th commitment of Michigan’s class.  Glenville is the alma mater of Michigan defensive end Frank Clark, and also the home of fellow 2012 Michigan target De’van Bogard, who is headed to Ohio State.

TTB Rating: 76