Signing Day Doesn't Supply Drama
Brady Hoke and the staff put together another top class in 2013, and they finished it off the way it should be done: with no drama. Hoke's policy that restricts players from visiting other schools worked, and every last commitment stayed true to his word by signing and faxing their letter of intent. No angry mothers, no flip-flopping behind the staff's back, and no negative stories for ESPN to run.
The overall smoothness of the day made it easy for us to keep the site updated as the letters came in. We have profiles for all of the early enrollees and singing day signees, and a signing day roundtable as well. My favorite question is always the one aimed at the sleepers. Your Maize n Brew sleeper picks include Maurice Hurst, Ben Gedeon (see DG's very reasonable explanation as to why he's a "sleeper"), Channing Stribling, Jaron Dukes and Da'Mario Jones. I picked Jones, so he better turn out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Michigan Secures 2014 QB Wilton Speight
Speculation over who would receive the coveted first quarterback offer ran rampant for weeks, and the frontrunner seemed to be Oklahoma gunslinger David Cornwell. Michigan instead offered Virginia quarterback Wilton Speight, and as a result many Wolverine fans are in a state of disappointment.
Speight is a great prospect, and one who will help Michigan build true depth at the most important position on the roster. Is he good enough to warrant and early offer when more talented players like Cornwell are out there? Not in my opinion, but the coaching staff thought otherwise and offered him on signing day. He committed on the same day.
Check out DGDestroys' New Blue piece on Speight for a thorough breakdown of his game. I see an accurate quarterback with an average arm who also needs to work on his release a bit, and DG seems to see much of the same thing.
Urban Meyer and the Border Wars
The class of 2014 is beginning to heat up and Urban Meyer is already on a roll in the state of Michigan, securing Damon Webb and Lawrence Marshall before Michigan has an in-state player of its own. Why is this so significant? We all know that the state of Ohio supplies division one talent at an extremely high level, and Michigan is going to fight Urban Meyer for some of the best talent in the state. Hoke has managed to pull in Dymonte Thomas, Ben Gedeon, Mike McCray, Deveon Smith, Chris Wormley, Tom Strobel and Kyle Kalis in a matter of two years, and every last one of them held offers from Ohio State.
Urban Meyer's coup of Lawrence Marshall and Damon Webb might be just as painful to Michigan as that entire haul of seven players was to Ohio State. The state of Ohio outproduces Michigan by far when it comes to elite talent, so Michigan needs to make sure that it secures the few kids inside its own state who are capable of earning a fourth star. Yes, the Wolverines can still travel across the country to find players like Webb and Marshall, but finding players of their caliber with such deep connections to the program is highly unlikely. Michigan simply doesn't have the luxury of giving up in-state kids like Ohio State does.
Offers, Visits and Phone Calls
Michigan didn't waste any time dispersing some new offers and visiting recruits following signing day. New offers include:
PA RB Shai McKenzie
CO RB Christian McCaffrey
NJ WR Juann Winfree
NJ WR Saeed Blacknall
CA CB Adoree Jackson
TX LB Otaro Alaka
CA WR John Smith
CA LB Dwight Williams
FL ATH Jacques Patrick (2015)
Players visited or called by the coaching staff include, but aren't limited to:
GA DE Andrew Williams
IL OL Jamarco Jones
CA RB Joe Mixon
MI WR Drake Harris
OH LB Kyle Berger
General Notes and Multimedia Items
Michigan has made the cut for two five-star defensive lineman in the class of 2014. Consensus overall number one defensive end Da'Shawn Hand has the Wolverines in his top five with Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, and five-star defensive tackle Andrew Brown has Michigan in his top ten with OSU, Virginia, Virginia Tech, UNC, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Georgia Tech.
Our very own DGDestroys assembled a 2014 Michigan Big Board. You can argue about #2-10, but #1 is absolutely correct.
Scout stockpiled photos of 2013 Midwestern signees when they were kids. Extremely comical.
Class of 2014 running back target Elijah Hood has highlights out:
As does 2014 NJ WR offeree Saeed Blacknall, on Hudl.
Finally, a string of interesting tweets regarding signing day:
Hoke: Wyatt is very multiple with what he can do. Can run inside zone, can catch the football... an Aaron Shea type— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) February 6, 2013
Hoke - Don't put a lot of stock into recruiting services. You gotta find guys who fit your blueprint for what you want to be as a program.— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) February 6, 2013
Hoke: re ratings... "Kovacs wasn't a star, he was like a moon"— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) February 6, 2013
#Michigan looks at up to 1500 players in the 2014 class. - Hoke Crazy.— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) February 6, 2013
Borges says he told Shane Morris: "Well, it's time for me to quit being nice to you."— WolverineNation ESPN (@WolverineNation) February 6, 2013
Ben Gedeon is what you'd say a #Michigan linebacker is like - Mattison— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) February 6, 2013
You didn't let him finish, he was talking about Women's BB! RT @joerexrode: MSU RB recruit R.J. Shelton"We will beat Michigan every year."— DG (@DGDestroys) February 6, 2013