2014 Michigan vs. Ohio Border Classic

Tag: 2014 recruiting


14Jun 2014
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2014 Michigan vs. Ohio Border Classic

Noah Furbush

The State of Michigan used to have an all-star football game. Ohio used to have the “Big 33” game that pitted Ohio all-stars against those from Pennsylvania. Now Pennsylvania has been booted out, and Michigan will play Ohio today in the inaugural Michigan vs. Ohio Border Classic. The game will be played at the University of Findlay in Ohio at 1:00 p.m. Some notable players on the rosters are:

MICHIGAN
Jason Alessi – S – Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Yale
Byron Bullough – LB – Traverse City (MI) St. Francis: Michigan State
Jalen Embry – CB – Detroit (MI) King: Iowa
Kenny Finley – DT – Muskegon (MI) Muskegon: Western Michigan
Corey Lacanaria – WR – Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Ball State
Avonte Maddox – CB – Detroit (MI) King: Pitt
Lawrence Marshall – DE – Southfield (MI) Southfield: Michigan
Chukwuma Okorafor – OT – Southfield (MI) Southfield: Western Michigan
Kyle Rachwal – LB – Lapeer (MI) East: Eastern Michigan
Giovanni Rescigno – QB – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Rutgers
Dylan Roney – LB – Novi (MI) Catholic Central: Navy
Travis Smith – QB – Ithaca (MI) Ithaca: Wake Forest
Jared Wangler – LB – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Michigan
Jalen Watts-Jackson – CB – Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary’s: Michigan State

OHIO
Michael Barwick – DT – Cincinnati (OH) Country Day: Indiana
Noah Furbush – LB – Kenton (OH) Kenton: Michigan
Marshon Lattimore – WR – Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Ohio State
Erick Smith – S – Cleveland (OH) Glenville: Ohio State

2Apr 2014
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Final TTB Ratings for 2014

Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Bryan Mone, and Jared Wangler

Drum roll, please.

It’s that time of year, time for the final TTB Ratings of the 2014 recruiting cycle. Everyone signed his National Letter of Intent back in February, you say? Pshaw. Not Malik McDowell. Nope. McDowell is still holding out and likely to be attending Michigan State in the fall. I was waiting to see if he would compromise with his parents and sign a NLI to Michigan, but that window passed on April 1st.

So here they are. Check out the rating scale (LINK) if you’re unfamiliar or just want a refresher. Keep in mind that these ratings take into account the other players on the roster. So for example, the second-best middle linebacker on the roster might find himself sitting on the bench for several years not because he’s terrible but because the other guy is really good.

The 2015 TTB Ratings will be coming soon, now that the 2014 cycle is finished.

CB Jabrill Peppers – Paramus (NJ) Catholic: 100
I’m keeping Peppers right where I ranked him initially. He still looks like the best player at his position in the class, and his versatility (he could play safety, return punts and kicks, and perhaps play some offense) makes him an even more valuable commodity. (Commitment post.)

WR Drake Harris – Grand Rapids (MI) Christian: 93
I have no reason to downgrade Harris from where I ranked him after his junior year, except for the fact that he missed his entire senior season with a hamstring injury. The injury concerns me and is still nagging him this spring, but it’s impossible for me to say whether that will affect him going forward in his career. Considering injuries can derail anyone’s career, I’m going to leave Harris at this rating and hope that he recovers and develops fully. (Commitment post.)

DT Bryan Mone – Salt Lake City (UT) Highland: 79 88
Watching Mone from his junior to his senior year, he looked to have added some weight and lost a step. When he played in the Under Armour All-America Game, I thought he looked slow and a little lethargic, but that was roughly two months after his season ended, so maybe he was just out of shape. Either way, I see a guy on film who can stay low and who uses a violent hand strike to disengage from blockers. While he can probably be whipped into shape a little bit, he’s not a nose tackle who will amaze people with his athleticism, but he should be an active clogger up the middle. (Commitment post.)

OG Mason Cole – Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake: 87
Another guy who has already received some practice hype as an early enrollee, I like the way Cole bends and I like his lateral quickness. He has been playing some tackle this spring, but I’m not sure if that’s his long-term position because he’s not the longest guy around. Wherever he ends up, I think he’ll be a good player down the road. (Commitment post.)

LB Michael Ferns – St. Clairsville (OH) St. Clairsville: 83 85
Ferns can be slightly hesitant to diagnose plays, but otherwise, I think he has almost everything the coaches would want in a linebacker. He could be more physical when shedding blocks, but I think that’s something that can be taught for him. Otherwise, he runs well, does a good job in space, and is a forceful tackler. (Commitment post.)

WR Freddy Canteen – Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: N/A 83
Film on Canteen is scarce, and what I saw of him early basically came from his quarterback’s (David Sills’) highlight tape. I can’t say whether spring practice hype has altered my viewpoint on him, but it has been positive. Regardless, I commented on his quickness and route-running ability when he committed, and that seems to be giving Michigan defensive backs problems so far, too. He reminds me of Wes Welker with his quick feet and could be effective in the slot like Roy Roundtree was back in 2010. (Commitment post.)

WR Maurice Ways – Detroit (MI) Country Day: 77 81
I might be a little higher on Ways than the recruiting services, but I really like all three wide receiver recruits in the 2014 class. Ways has reportedly had problems with his hands at certain points, but he didn’t concentrate solely on football until his junior year. His hands improved as a senior, and he reminds me of a Marquise Walker type who has good enough speed and size to threaten deep but won’t be a big-play machine. (Commitment post.)

LB Chase Winovich – Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson: 79
The more I’ve seen of Winovich, the more I’ve become convinced that he’ll be a solid player. I really see him as a SAM in an Under defense, so I’m not sure exactly how he fits if Michigan goes to an Over look semi-permanently. He definitely needs to get stronger, because he’s a willing hitter but ball carriers just don’t go down with the ease they should when he hits them. (Commitment post.)

QB Wilton Speight – Richmond (VA) Benedictine: 77
I feel comfortable with this rating. I still don’t see “star” written all over Speight, but he should have a couple years under offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (who will probably be a head coach somewhere by the time Speight graduates), sit behind Devin Gardner and Shane Morris, and then have a couple years to compete for the starting position. He has good arm strength and has improved his mechanics over the past year, and he has already shown good leadership skills with the way he helped recruit in the 2014 class. (Commitment post.)

TE Ian Bunting – Hinsdale (IL) Central: 78 75
Bunting played more tight end as a senior than he did as a junior, when he was exclusively a wideout. He still has a lot to learn about blocking, so it would probably behoove him to redshirt, add some weight, and learn blocking techniques. He doesn’t have the physical mentality that I saw out of Butt, so I have some questions about whether he can break tackles and block like a Big Ten Y tight end would need to do. He doesn’t have the speed to split out like Devin Funchess has done. (Commitment post.)

DE Lawrence Marshall – Southfield (MI) Southfield: 72 74
Marshall’s highlights are a series of plays on which he is unblocked or has to fend off terrible attempts at chop blocks. He does have good speed and leaping ability, but disengaging from blockers is a question mark. For that reason, he reminds me a bit of Mario Ojemudia coming out of high school. I rated Ojemudia as a 78, and he’s still looking like he’ll be a backup to Frank Clark with two years of eligibility left. I liked Marshall’s senior film better than his junior year, but not by a ton. (Commitment post.)

DT Brady Pallante – Naples (FL) Barron Collier: 70 69
I’ve said before that Pallante reminds me of a slower Mike Martin. He’s got the leverage, the hand violence, and the knack for shedding blocks. He won’t be the biggest guy, and his lack of explosiveness will prevent him from being the TFL machine that was Martin. I don’t see Pallante as a star, but I do see him as a solid rotation player down the road. I’m knocking him down just one peg because I don’t see him having much NFL draft potential with his size. (Commitment post.)

OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty – Paramus (NJ) Catholic: 68
After watching his senior highlights and seeing him in the Under Armour All-America Game, Bushell-Beatty looks like a guy who might be more suited to playing inside at guard. I would have concerns about him being quick enough to play on the edge, and he’s more of a waist bender than a knee bender. With the other talent surrounding him, I think he might get pushed to the back of the pack, although he could be one of those guys who emerges as an upperclassmen to fill a void. (Commitment post.)

LB Noah Furbush – Kenton (OH) Kenton: 64
Furbush reminds me an awful lot of Brennen Beyer, who has played linebacker and defensive end at Michigan. I was fairly high on Beyer coming out of high school, but his play in college has been somewhat forgettable. Furbush was recruited as MIKE, but he looks like a future defensive end or maybe a SAM linebacker if Michigan runs the Under front. (Commitment post.)

LB Jared Wangler – Warren (MI) De La Salle: 59
Wangler, who played defense mostly as a safety in high school, lacks the foot speed to be a safety in college. He will probably bulk up a little bit and play linebacker. Initially, I thought that he played like a SAM linebacker in a WILL’s body, but with Michigan’s supposed move to the Over front, I think Wangler fits well as a SAM, period. I think he is limited athletically and doesn’t have the biggest frame, but he has a chance because he’s a heady, aggressive player. Regardless, the Wolverines have brought in some good talent at linebacker over the past couple years, so it may be tough for Wangler to move past them. (Commitment post.)

S Brandon Watson – Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: Incomplete
I still have not seen enough of Watson to offer an opinion here. He has been playing safety this spring and reports have been positive, but practice reports are to be taken with a grain of salt. (Commitment post.)

10Feb 2014
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Recruiting Update: February 10, 2014

McKinney (TX) North running back Ronald Jones II

ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2015
Merrillville (IN) Andrean linebacker Josh Barajas was offered by Michigan. He’s a 6’3″, 210 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois and Purdue. He’s a 247 Composite 4-star, the #12 inside linebacker, and #366 overall. As a junior in 2013, he had 92 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 interceptions. He’s a thick kid and would likely be a MIKE linebacker at the next level.

McKinney (TX) North running back Ronald Jones II was offered by Michigan. He’s a 6’0″, 185 lb. prospect with offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, among others. He claims a 4.45 forty and is a 247 Composite 4-star, the #14 running back, and #169 overall. As a junior in 2013, he had 244 carries for 2,406 yards and 39 touchdowns. Jones is an explosive runner and has some deceptive power in a fairly thin frame.

ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2016
Allen (TX) Allen offensive tackle Gregory Little was offered by Michigan. He’s a 6’6″, 280 lb. prospect with offers from Baylor, Clemson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, among others. Early buzz suggests that he’ll be a 5-star prospect and one of the top few players in the country for 2016.

OFF THE BOARD
Norcross (GA) Norcross defensive end Lorenzo Carter committed to Georgia. The Bulldogs were the favorite with Florida and Florida State trailing behind.

New Orleans (LA) John Curtis wide receiver Malachi Dupre committed to LSU. Dupre was considered a heavy LSU lean throughout his recruitment, and he ended up with the Tigers despite UCLA making a hard run at him.

Norfolk (VA) Lake Taylor defensive tackle Nyquan Harris committed to Marshall. There was some question about whether Harris ever held a Michigan offer, but he was listed on one of the recruiting sites as having one, so here he is.

Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra cornerback Adoree’ Jackson committed to USC. This was somewhat of a surprise move because a lot of people thought he would head to Florida due to their track program. However, late-in-the-process visits to UCLA and USC seemed to give the Trojans an extra shot to impress (UCLA never seemed like an extremely serious option), and new head coach Steve Sarkisian took advantage.

Florissant (MO) Hazelwood Central offensive tackle Roderick Johnson committed to Florida State. This seemed to be a long time in the making. For what it’s worth, Johnson was high on my list of desired players in the 2014 class, so I expect him to turn into a very good player in Tallahassee.

Minneapolis (MN) Washburn running back Jeff Jones solidified his commitment to Minnesota and signed his NLI. Jones blew up a little bit after the Under Armour All-American Game, of which he was MVP, and earned offers from Florida and Michigan. However, there were some reported issues with Jones’s academics and some uncertainty of whether he would qualify this year or not, so Michigan stopped recruiting him. He was also considering Iowa State up until the end.

Sarasota (FL) Booker running back Marlon Mack committed to South Florida. Mack earned an offer late in the process when Michigan was looking for a runner. He promptly decommitted from UCLA after earning an offer from the Wolverines, then Michigan stopped recruiting him, he was rumored to have committed to Louisville, and finally settled on USF.

Southfield (MI) Southfield defensive end Malik McDowell committed to Michigan State . . . kind of. The long and difficult story has been well documented, but the gist of it is that he likes MSU, in part because they really know how to party in East Lansing. Dad isn’t a fan of Michigan State and said he wants Malik to get out of the state to remove himself from some friendly influences. That’s nothing compared to Mom, who didn’t attend the signing day press conference and won’t sign Malik’s National Letter of Intent. Without her signature as the guardian (the parents are separated), McDowell can’t fax a binding NLI. So he’s verbally committed to MSU right now, but Florida State, Michigan, and Ohio State are all technically options right now. Usually kids get their way in these situations, so he’s very likely to end up a Spartan.

New Orleans (LA) John Curtis safety Mattrell McGraw committed to Oregon. He’s the teammate of Dupre and linebacker Kenny Young, both of whom had offers from the Wolverines.

Plantation (FL) American Heritage wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie committed to Georgia. McKenzie’s recruitment was a roller coaster ride as he was rumored to have committed to Notre Dame a few months ago, then planned to sign with Ole Miss, and finally committed to Georgia after receiving an offer from them just before National Signing Day. Running back teammate Sony Michel – who visited in 2012 when his brother’s UMass team played in the Big House – signed with Georgia, too, so they end up being a package deal.

Jenks (OK) Jenks safety Steven Parker committed to Oklahoma. This was long expected, although he flirted with the idea of visiting Ann Arbor even when the coaches had stopped recruiting Monroeville (PA) Gateway’s Montae Nicholson, who proceeded to commit to Michigan State.

Forestville (MD) Bishop McNamara offensive tackle Damian Prince committed to Maryland. It was quite a coup for the Terrapins to keep the 5-star player in his home state, but they have done a good job in recent years of keeping guys home (Stefon Diggs, Wes Brown, etc.). Florida State was the other major player near the end.

Jacksonville (FL) Raines cornerback Lamont Simmons committed to USC. Simmons was one of numerous guys to decommit from Rutgers throughout the process. He’s a big corner who could also play safety for the Trojans.

Olathe (KS) South offensive guard Braden Smith committed to Auburn. A lot of people thought he would end up at TCU due to the fact that his sister runs track there, and still others thought he would end up at Texas A&M.

Long Beach (CA) Poly safety John Smith committed to USC. Early in the process, I thought Smith might end up at Michigan or Notre Dame. He was not fond of Lane Kiffin as the head coach at USC, and he spoke highly of the Wolverines and the Irish. However, as soon as Kiffin was axed, it seemed like USC jumped to the forefront once again.

Coppell (TX) Coppell defensive end Solomon Thomas committed to Stanford. He had people guessing up until the end with some people guessing Arkansas and others picking UCLA. At one time he was thought to be high on Ohio State, so Michigan dodged a bit of a bullet with a good player staying out west.

Chicago (IL) Simeon offensive tackle Denzel Ward committed to Syracuse. Ward was once committed to Michigan, moved from Chicago to Florida without informing Michigan’s coaches, decommitted, committed to Purdue, moved back to Chicago but attended a different school, decommitted from Purdue, and ended up signing with the Orangemen.

McDonough (GA) Eagle’s Landing Christian defensive end Andrew Williams committed to Auburn. The only other serious contender seemed to be Clemson.

Memphis (TN) White Station linebacker Petera Wilson committed to Tulsa. I have been to Tulsa, and it’s beyond me why someone would choose that school when he has offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, UCLA, and USC, among others. Luckily for Tulsa, it’s not my decision.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School defensive end Richard Yeargin III committed to Clemson. He had previously been committed to Notre Dame, where I think he would have been an outside linebacker. But in Clemson’s scheme, I believe he will end up as a weakside end.

New Orleans (LA) John Curtis linebacker Kenny Young committed to UCLA. Six players from John Curtis signed National Letters of Intent, and they’re headed to six different schools in five different states.

5Feb 2014
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National Signing Day schedule for Michigan commits

Paramus (NJ) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers

Here’s a list of approximate signing/faxing times for Michigan’s commits. When the National Letters of Intent are confirmed to have been sent/received, I will update the post.

Brady Pallante – DT – Naples (FL) Barron Collier: Signed at 7:39 a.m.

Maurice Ways – WR – Detroit (MI) Country Day: Signed at 8:07 a.m.

Ian Bunting – TE – Hinsdale (IL) Central: Signed at 9:40 a.m.

Noah Furbush – LB – Kenton (OH) Kenton: Signed at 8:01 a.m.

Lawrence Marshall – DE – Southfield (MI) Southfield: Signed at 10:53 a.m.

Jared Wangler – LB – Warren (MI) De La Salle: Signed at 9:00 a.m.

Jabrill Peppers – CB – Paramus (NJ) Catholic: Signed at 8:00 a.m.

Chase Winovich – LB – Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson: Signed at 7:03 a.m.

Juwann Bushell-Beatty – OT – Paramus (NJ) Catholic: Signed at 8:27 a.m.

Unless Michigan pulls any surprises late in the day (or after today, which is rare), that wraps it up for the 2014 recruiting class.

3Feb 2014
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Who’s left in the 2014 recruiting class?

The Southfield trio of Ray Buford, Lawrence Marshall, and Malik McDowell

This is that crazy (and awkward) time of year when high school seniors get grown men’s hearts pumping. There will probably be little fanfare for Michigan on National Signing Day, which is on Wednesday. The thought is that Michigan is trying to get defensive end Malik McDowell, and they’ll bank the scholarship for next year if that doesn’t work. So the guys on this list won’t be picking Michigan, but I’ll still be interested to see how they pan out over the next several years.

Lorenzo Carter – DE – Norcross (GA) Norcross: The #18 player nationally, according to the 247 Composite, is leaning toward Georgia with the Bulldogs receiving the final official visit. Unless something crazy happens, I think he ends up a Bulldog.

Malachi Dupre – WR – New Orleans (LA) John Curtis: One spot ahead of Carter in the national rankings, Dupre has had LSU as his leader for a long time. UCLA received the final visit of his recruitment, but the thought is that he will end up in Baton Rouge playing for the Mad Hatter.

Adoree’ Jackson – CB – Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra: The #7 player in the land appears to be leaning toward Florida, where he might be able to best pursue dreams of doing the triple jump in the Olympics. USC is the likely second option.


Roderick Johnson – OT – Florissant (MO) Hazelwood Central: The #125 player has been expected to end up at Florida State for a long time, but Ohio State got a visit a couple weeks ago. It would be quite an upset if Johnson committed to the Buckeyes, who may lose offensive lineman Jamarco Jones to Michigan State.

Malik McDowell – DE – Southfield (MI) Southfield: The #32 overall player was a Michigan lean early, but now it seems like he’s favoring Michigan State. An uncle wants him to go to Florida State, and Urban Meyer really, really wants him in Columbus. Nobody really knows where he’ll pick to go, but chances are dimming for the Wolverines. I think it’s a Michigan-MSU battle because either the kid or the parents should win out.

Mattrell McGraw – S – New Orleans (LA) John Curtis: A teammate of Dupre’s, the #362 player overall has been rumored to be heading to Oregon for a while. Texas A&M also has a chance.

Steven Parker – S – Jenks (OK) Jenks: The #108 player nationally has been a supposed Oklahoma lock for a long time, despite taking several other visits and expressing interest in others. His final official visit took place this past weekend when he traveled to Auburn.

Damian Prince – OT – District Heights (MD) Bishop McNamara: Prince, a 5-star and the #27 overall player, was thought to be headed to Florida State for a while. However, the Seminoles have fallen off his list, and now it appears to be a two-horse race between Florida and Maryland. His best friend, Jalen Tabor, flipped from Arizona to Florida at the beginning of January, and that may be the push he needs to end up in Gainesville.

Lamont Simmons – CB – Jacksonville (FL) Raines: Simmons is the #970 player overall, but he has an excellent offer list and has taken visits to Auburn, Arkansas, USC, and Penn State over the past two months, with a visit to State College this past weekend. Despite getting the most recent visit, the Trojans will likely get his NLI.

Braden Smith – OG – Olathe (KS) North: Smith is the #63 player overall, and I think he should probably be ranked even higher. Smith doesn’t like to talk about recruiting, so he’s been difficult to read throughout the process. He visited Michigan last summer and removed the Wolverines from his list immediately. Now the thought is that he’ll end up at TCU, which is a somewhat odd choice for such a highly touted recruit. Auburn and Texas A&M also have a shot.

John Smith – S – Long Beach (CA) Poly: The #20 player in the country was looking around when Lane Kiffin was the head coach at USC, despite the fact that he appeared to want to wear a Trojans uniform all along. After Kiffin got fired, USC immediately jumped to the top of his list, according to recruiting gurus. It would be a surprise if he picked Notre Dame, Oregon, or UCLA.

Solomon Thomas – DE – Coppell (TX) Coppell: The country’s #25 prospect, Thomas has kind of been all over the place throughout the recruiting process, seeming at times to be headed to Ohio State and Texas. Now he seems likely to end up at Stanford with UCLA having an outside shot.


Denzel Ward – OT – Chicago (IL) Simeon: The #649 player nationally has been all over the place with his recruitment. He has been committed to both Michigan and Purdue, and he moved from Illinois to Florida to a different school in Illinois. The most recent buzz I heard had him likely committing to Syracuse, but he has also visited South Florida and Vanderbilt in recent weeks. I think the coaching change at Vandy will keep him away from Tennessee, so it’s the Orangemen vs. the Bulls.


Andrew Williams – DE – McDonough (GA) Eagle’s Landing Christian: Williams, the #231 player in the country, has long been considered an Auburn lock, but he has taken visits to Clemson and Georgia in recent weeks. I think it’s either Auburn or Georgia.


Richard Yeargin III – DE – Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School: The country’s #266 player decommitted from Notre Dame a couple weeks ago, and it was clearly because he was favoring Clemson. Texas offered him a week ago, but he has not visited Austin, so he’ll likely be picking the Tigers.


Kenny Young – LB – New Orleans (FL) John Curtis: Ranked #175 nationally, it looks like Young will probably pick UCLA over LSU and Texas A&M. With teammates Dupre and McGraw also making late decisions, it should be an interesting week at Curtis.