Nashville (TN) Montgomery Bell OT Blake Bars committed to Michigan this past week (Touch the Banner profile). Bars is 6'5" and 275 lbs., which sounds like the perfect size for an offensive guard; however, the coaches told him that they intend to see how he does at left tackle before trying him anywhere else. His average star rating between the four major services (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, and 24/7 Sports) is 3.33 and his average position ranking is #43 (though he's unranked by 24/7). What can you expect from someone with that ranking? Well, back in 2002 Michigan got Rivals' #42 and #44 offensive guards. Guard #44 was Tom Berishaj, who hung around for a couple years and then departed prior to 2004 without making an impact. Guard #42 was Mark Bihl, who started 17 games at center from 2004-2006 and was a Rimington Award finalist as a fifth year senior; he signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2007.
ADDED TO THE BOARD
I'm not sure how I missed this, but Eden Prairie (MN) OT Nick Davidson was offered by Michigan a few months ago. He moved from North Carolina to Minnesota back in April due to the fact that his father, Jeff Davidson, was hired to be the OL coach by the Minnesota Vikings. The elder Davidson played for the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints and has coached for New Orleans, New England, Cleveland, and Carolina. The younger Davidson has mentioned interest in Clemson, Minnesota, Stanford, and Virginia Tech, and Michigan doesn't seem to be in the running.
New Orleans (LA) Edna Karr OT Derek Edinburgh has also been offered by Michigan. He's 6'8" and 320 lbs. with offers from just about every second-tier school in the country . . . and LSU. If his high school name sounds familiar, that's because it's the alma mater of the awesomely named Munchie Legaux, a 2010 dual-threat quarterback that Rich Rodriguez pursued. Legaux committed to Colorado before settling on Cincinnati, where he played wide receiver last season and caught 1 pass for 18 yards.
Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian WR Jordan Payton decommitted from USC. Payton is a 6'2", 199 lb. wideout who has been a soft commit to USC for a long time. He's been showing interest in Michigan for months, and he has stated that he plans to visit Ann Arbor at some point. His coaches won't let their players take official visits during football season, so Payton either has to visit unofficially this summer or take an official visit to Michigan in the dreary winter months.
OFF THE BOARD
Cleveland (OH) Glenville DB De'van Bogard committed to Ohio State. Bogard was being recruited to play the slot corner position that will likely be manned by Thomas Gordon this fall.
Waco (TX) CB Will Hines committed to Missouri. Greg Mattison was recruiting him and making some inroads several weeks ago, but Michigan is pretty full of cornerbacks in the class now.
Baltimore (MD) Dunbar WR Deontay McManus "committed" to West Virginia. I put that verb inside quotation marks because it sounds like he's as committed to West Virginia as Bree Olson was to Charlie Sheen. I'm not saying it's not true love . . . but I just wanted to make an analogy between Sheen and WVU because, well, they're both effed up.
WIDE RECEIVER RECRUITING
The coaches have stated that they would like to take two wide receivers in this class. So far only a couple have shown serious interest, but here's a rundown of the uncommitted offerees:
Jackson (TN) Christian's Drae Bowles has offers from all over the place, and hasn't shown any particular interest in his offer from the Wolverines. Several factors make me think he's headed for (or staying in) SEC country.
Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison's Aaron Burbridge has some work to do in the classroom, but otherwise, it sounds like Michigan would be the leader. He already has two classmates committed to the Wolverines in TE Devin Funchess and DE Mario Ojemudia. He's Rivals' #19 wideout and #134 player overall.
Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep's Leonte Carroo has shown some interest in Michigan, but all signs point to him staying in the Big East, most likely at Rutgers. He's a 6'1", 205 lb. track star so . . . shucks. Several of his teammates are also being recruited by the Wolverines: DE Darius Hamilton, S Elijah Shumate, and CB Yuri Wright. Shumate and Wright have also shown interest in the Wolverines, but we have almost no shot at Hamilton.
St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins' Jehu Chesson was offered by Michigan relatively recently. He's 6'3" and 182 lbs., and while his recruiting profile isn't necessarily as impressive as some others on the list, his physical skills remind me of the Michigan receivers of old - Adrian Arrington, David Terrell, Braylon Edwards, etc. I'm not saying he's as good as all those guys, but the size/speed combo brings back good memories. It sounds like Michigan has as good of a chance as anyone, and he was originally recruited by the Rodriguez staff and visited in summer 2010, so his familiarity with Michigan goes back a little ways.
Norcross (GA)'s Jason Croom was offered a few weeks ago, said thanks but no thanks, and is almost certainly going to stay in the south.
West Des Moines (IA) Dowling's Amara Darboh has said that he wants to visit Michigan this summer, and he's got about a month to do it before summer practice starts for him. Florida, Iowa, and Notre Dame seem to be the leaders, although Michigan has a chance to wedge its way in there. I would really like to see Darboh come to Michigan, but I think those other teams are going to be hard to beat.
Olney (MD) Good Counsel's Stefon Diggs is an all-everything, 5-star recruit who could play safety in college, too. He showed early interest in Michigan partly due to incoming freshman Blake Countess, a former teammate at Good Counsel. But it seems like the Wolverines have fallen off with him and he's a real longshot at this point. He also has a current teammate who's being pursued by Michigan in RB Wes Brown, but that doesn't look like it will happen, either.
Monroe (NC) Sun Valley's Jody Fuller has already decided on a final four that doesn't include Michigan. Those four are Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.
Springfield (MO) Hillcrest's Dorial Green-Beckham is a consensus top-3 player in the country. He's very quiet when it comes to recruiting and has some family health issues, so I fully expect him to stay somewhere close to home. Elite athletes like Green-Beckham tend to have a relatively straight route to the NFL, and I expect he's no different than the Julio Joneses of the world. I'm guessing he'll spend three years at a big-time program like Oklahoma and then get drafted by one of the NFL's worst five teams.
Tatum (TX)'s Jalen Overstreet is an athlete type who currently plays quarterback in high school. Much like New Jersey QB/ATH Devin Fuller, I don't think it would be a bad idea for Michigan to take a kid with some potential at QB but the ability to play other positions, too. With three current scholarship quarterbacks and a 2013 kid committed in Shane Morris, the coaches can be a little liberal in who they take as a signal caller. Overstreet only has a few offers, but one of them is from Texas Tech, a program that has already sucked in four other Michigan offerees (WR Reginald Davis, OT Trey Keenan, OG Michael Starts, and WR Dominique Wheeler). But defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is on the job in Texas, so never say never.
Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian's Jordan Payton was mentioned above.
Lakewood (CA)'s Darius Powe's favorite school is Ohio State. The only problem is that Ohio State hasn't offered. Most of his offers have come from Pac-12 country, and I expect that he'll stay out west if OSU's
boosters recruiters don't come through.
Cincinnati (OH) Taft's Dwayne Stanford has been trying to get to Ann Arbor for awhile. He was supposed to visit at the end of June, but plans fell through when his high school teammate, DE Adolphus Washington, couldn't join him. They seem like a package deal. And even though Michigan has plenty of defensive ends in this class, the 6'5" Stanford - who plays like Plaxico Burress - would be a welcome addition . . . and I guess we could take on the burden of Washington, who's a 5-star to Scout.
Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco's Bryce Treggs seems like a lock to become a California Golden Bear. That's been rumored for a long time, he's a legacy recruit, and his good friend Zach Kline is their 2012 QB recruit. Kline has talked a little bit about visiting Michigan, so if that happens, maybe the door opens a wee bit for Treggs. But don't get your hopes up.
Inglewood (CA)'s Derrick Woods is probably either staying in Pac-12 country or heading to the deep south and playing in the SEC. He has offers from everywhere and wants to drag out his recruitment until National Signing Day, so the chances for Michigan here are somewhere around zero.
As you can tell from that breakdown, things aren't looking particularly promising for anyone. The best chance seems to be with Burbridge, who might be in a Thomas Rawls-type situation where he has to get things in order and then see where things stand in January/February. But Michigan plans to have its recruiting for 2012 done by the end of the season, so he might be out of luck if he has to wait that long. That leaves you with guys like Chesson, Payton, and Stanford, and Michigan has some work to do with all of them. If the coaches do indeed want to pull in two receivers, they might need to settle for one of these guys and then extend an offer to someone like Cincinnati (OH) Moeller's Monty Madaris, who has offers from the likes of Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan State, and Nebraska. Michigan has a strong presence in Ohio and they would instantly be his best offer, with the possible exception of the Cornhuskers.
MagnusThunder is the author of Touch the Banner, a Michigan football blog.