COMMITMENT (SORT OF)
Madisonville (KY) North Hopkins S Jeremy Clark accepted a greyshirt offer from Michigan. He'll have to pay his own way for the first semester of the 2012-13 school year if all goes according to plan, and then he'll get a scholarship in 2013 and count against the class of 2013's numbers. Akron (OH) Buchtel safety Jarrod Wilson is announcing his decision on July 8th at 2:30 p.m. If he opts to attend Notre Dame or Penn State, Clark will reportedly be given Wilson's scholarship offer.
2012 PROSPECTS ADDED TO THE BOARD
Lakewood (OH) St. Edward's OG Kyle Kalis has decommitted from Ohio State. Kalis is a top-50 player nationally and had been committed to the Buckeyes for several months. He was ready to call off his commitment when OSU head coach Jim Tressel resigned, but when Kalis called the coaching staff to call the whole thing off, interim head coach Luke Fickell talked him out of it. Fickell's sweet talk wore off after a couple weeks, though, and now the 6'5", 304 lb. guard is back on the market. Along with Toledo (OH) Whitmer DE Chris Wormley, he visited Michigan this weekend and is good friends with Michigan-bound DE Tom Strobel.
Norcross (GA) WR Jason Croom received an offer last weekend. Croom is a 6'5", 212-pounder who has the frame of a future tight end, but the speed to stay at wide receiver. He has family in the state of Michigan, and the Wolverines need every little connection they can get when trying to pull players out of the deep south. With offers out to wide receivers such as Croom and Cincinnati's 6'5" Dwayne Stanford, it's obvious that the coaches are looking for a big kid who can be a jump ball and red zone threat. However, Croom seems destined for Mississippi State or Tennessee.
Alliance (OH) Marlington RB/FB Alden Hill received a Michigan offer on Wednesday. Hill is a 6'2", 220 lb. runner who looks like a future fullback to me. Rather than 250-pound rhinos like you see at Ohio State and Wisconsin, Brady Hoke seems to be looking for guys who can run and catch a little bit, too. Think B.J. Askew.
2013 PROSPECTS ADDED TO THE BOARD
Stephenson (GA) Stone Mountain DE/LB Reginald Carter was offered last week. At 6'3" and 225 lbs., he looks like a SAM linebacker to me. He played defensive end for Stone Mountain, but has been working out at camps as a linebacker. His future position probably depends on how his body matures.
Midland (MI) OT Steven Elmer finally received his Michigan offer when he camped in Ann Arbor this past week. Elmer already held offers from Michigan State and Mississippi State and looks like a big-time recruit. Elmer is already 6'6" and 297 lbs., runs a 5.15 forty, and has a 4.63 shuttle time. Those are impressive numbers. He and Michigan-committed QB Shane Morris might be the two best players in the state for 2013.
Parker (CO) Ponderosa OT Chris Fox received an offer after camping at Michigan this week. He's 6'6" and 297 lbs. just like Elmer. His only other current offer is from the in-state Buffaloes, but more big-time offers are surely on the way with his size and quick feet.
Concord (CA) De La Salle LB Michael Hutchings has been offered. He had 53 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery as a sophomore in 2010. Hutchings already has offers from Cal, UCLA, and USC, which are obviously big pulls for west coast kids. De La Salle is the alma mater of former Michigan QB Matt Gutierrez (2002-04).
Dallas (TX) Jesuit WR Jake Oliver has been offered. He seems like a lock to stay in Big 12 country, but as a sophomore, he had 85 catches for 1302 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Baltimore (MD) Gilman DT Henry Poggi has been offered. He's only around 6'3" and 235 lbs. right now, but schools must like what they see, because he's already got offers from Alabama, Auburn, Iowa, Ohio State, and Stanford, among others. Michigan has been trying to make inroads into Gilman for a few years with offers to 2011 WR Darius Jennings, 2012 ATH Cyrus Jones, and now Poggi. His two brothers are both FBS players, with Sam a reserve DE for Duke and Jim a backup LB for Iowa.
Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek CB Shaquille Wiggins received an offer last weekend. He's 5'10" and 160 lbs., so he's tiny, but just finished his sophomore year of high school. He already has an offer from Ohio State, as well as smaller programs like Ball State, Cincinnati, and Toledo.
OFF THE BOARD
Texas OT Trey Keenan visited Michigan last week and liked what he saw, but ultimately, he chose to become a Texas Tech Red Raider. That's not much of a surprise if you've followed his recruitment.
Texas OG John Michael McGee committed to Oklahoma. He never visited or showed serious interest in the Wolverines.
Ohio DE Greg McMullen committed to Nebraska. Early on he had been thought to be destined for Ohio State, but Nebraska doesn't have any of those damn NCAA investigators
Pryoring prying into everything. McMullen is one of Ohio's bumper crop of defensive ends that includes Adolphus Washington (uncommitted), Se'von Pittman (MSU; see below), Tom Strobel (Michigan), Pharaoh Brown (Michigan), Chris Wormley (uncommitted), and Ifeadi Odenigbo (uncommitted).
Pennsylvania OT Chris Muller committed to Rutgers. Say hi to
Marcus Witherspoon Anthony Lalota for us.
Massachusetts OT Eric Olson committed to Northwestern. Olson was a kid who visited Michigan and reportedly enjoyed himself. He turned down interest from some schools because he had his eyes only on colleges with stellar academic reputations.
Ohio OG Tyler Orlosky committed to West Virginia. Michigan didn't seem to be pursuing Orlosky very hard (in fact, there were rumors that his offer was retracted). He's the teammate of the highly regarded Kyle Kalis (mentioned above), but Kalis seems to be in no danger of going to WVU, so this probably won't affect Kalis' recruitment.
Ohio DE Se'von Pittman committed to Michigan State. Pittman seemed like he was headed for Ohio State, but then Tatgate happened. Then Pittman seemed like he was headed to Michigan, but the coaching staff was rumored to have told him to hold off. Then Pittman seemed like he was headed to Michigan State, because he was.
Colorado OT Paul Thurston committed to Nebraska. Michigan was one of his three finalists, but ultimately, he chose to become a Cornhusker. Good luck to him.
RUNNING BACK RECRUITING
The uncommitted 2012 offerees include:
Tampa (FL) Berkeley Prep's Nelson Agholor has offers from everywhere and could play any number of positions in college (running back, wide receiver, cornerback, or safety). He's one of the most dynamic athletes in the country. I'm listing him here as a running back, but I imagine any coach in the country would let him choose his position. He hasn't narrowed down his list, so Michigan's chance is as good as anyone's.
Olney (MD) Our Lady of Good Counsel's Wes Brown has been of interest to Michigan fans for several reasons. First, he has an all-everything teammate in 2012 wide receiver Stefon Diggs, whom Michigan is also recruiting. Second, his former teammate Blake Countess is an incoming freshman cornerback. And oh yeah, Brown is pretty good at football, too, with almost 1,300 yards rushing as a junior. Brown has made some comments that indicate he's annoyed with the whole "package deal" thing with Diggs, which Brown said was just a rumor. There's no package deal agreement in place with his teammate. And frankly, it seems that Brown is accepting that he's a good player, but not necessarily a Grade A target. I would not be surprised to see him end up at a second-tier program, maybe in the Big East, ACC, or Big 12.
Erie (PA) McDowell's Greg Garmon visited Michigan recently. And while he's generally considered to be North Carolina's or Penn State's to lose, getting kids on campus almost always gives Michigan at least a temporary bump. He's probably the Wolverines' best chance with an uncommitted running back, but that's not saying much. He reminds me of Wisconsin's soon-to-be-freshman Melvin Gordon.
Exton (PA) Downingtown East's Drew Harris is a bigger running back than most of these guys, standing 6'2" and 195 lbs. He's solidly built and would probably play in college around 215 lbs. Harris stated that Pitt and Virginia Tech are his top two, but he has visited Penn State and will visit again this summer. I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that Michigan can crack his top group.
Murfreesboro (TN) Blackman's I'Tavius Mathers seems like a lock for the SEC, whether it's Alabama, South Carolina, or Tennessee. He's not very noisy on the recruiting trail, so it's hard to get a good feel for where he's leaning. However, I have heard zero buzz about him having serious interest in Michigan. He had 2,614 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns in 2010 and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee.
Raleigh (NC) Millbrook's Keith Marshall is in the race for the #1 running back in the country. He has offers from virtually every major program in the country. Michigan recently made the cut down to his top 12 schools, although he's never visited Michigan and hasn't talked about taking an official. He's 5'11" and 190 lbs. but can run between the tackles or get outside. He plans to graduate early and enroll at the school of his choice, so his recruitment ought to end sooner rather than later.
Bamberg (SC) Bamberg-Erhardt's Demetrius Williams reported a Michigan offer last year when Rich Rodriguez was still here, so I've kept him on the board. However, it seems as though Michigan has stopped recruiting him. His three favorites are Illinois, Michigan State, and Ole Miss (in that order). South Carolina is a talent-rich state, but so far Michigan's coaches have only offered a couple other prospects from the state. One is Williams' teammate, DE Martin Aiken. The other is OG Patrick Destefano, who committed to Clemson.
Perhaps Michigan's best chance with any running back is in the form of Canton (OH) Glenoak's Bri'onte Dunn, which is not a new name to people who follow recruiting. Dunn is currently committed to Ohio State but has made no secret of his dislike for what's going on with Jim Tressel's resignation and the potential sanctions coming down from the NCAA. Dunn has visited Ann Arbor in recent weeks and, while he hasn't said so, I would guess that Michigan's #2 on his list.
Austintown (OH) Fitch's William Mahone is a player to watch for a Michigan offer. I'm a little surprised that Michigan's coaches haven't gone after him yet. The rumor is that Michigan showed some interest in having Mahone play safety, but Mahone sees himself as a running back. So if Brady Hoke and Co. change their tune as to what position he could play, they might be able to get back into it. Much like Greg Garmon and Drew Harris, Penn State ought to be a major player in Mahone's recruitment. If one were to commit to the Nittany Lions, that might affect how the other two choose going forward.
I've maintained all along that Michigan doesn't need a running back in the 2012 class. There are plenty of backs on the current roster, and only one (Michael Shaw) is scheduled to graduate at the end of this season. The coaches ought to take an elite talent if the opportunity presents itself, and just about all the guys on this list would fit in that category. However, taking someone who's "just a guy" just creates even more of a logjam of just-a-guys at the position. In fact, the seeming lack of serious interest from the running backs on this list could very well be connected to the fact that these kids look at Michigan's roster, see seven tailbacks returning, and figure they'll go somewhere with a less crowded depth chart. But if Michigan suffers attrition at the position or just wants to take a running back, anyway, there are a couple potential offerees from the midwest, like Wakarusa (IN) Northwood's Coy Brown or Muskegon (MI)'s Juwan Lewis.
MagnusThunder is the author of Touch the Banner, a Michigan football blog.