Recruits React to Borges Firing, Nussmeier Hiring
Michigan's offense will look different next year, as Al Borges has been replaced with former Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. The firing of Borges was met with mixed reactions:
Michigan RB target Vic Enwere says Borges leaving does impact him, makes it more difficult to flip from Cal. Will see who they hire.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 8, 2014
Michigan OL commit Juwann Bushell-Beatty "I know I'm not going anywhere."— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 8, 2014
WHOAH! Just found out about Coach Borges.— Moe Ways (@MoeWays) January 8, 2014
Man..... I can't believe this about Coach Borges.— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) January 8, 2014
Damien Harris' mom said it was sad and a shock to hear about Borges, but right now they are letting it sink and aren't talking about it.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 8, 2014
Al Borges Fired.... Oh— George Campbell (@GeorgeCampbell0) January 8, 2014
The only offensive recruit whose decision could be affected by Borges' release is Damien Harris, who seemed to be fairly close with Borges. Although this could turn into bigger news, I doubt Harris flips now that Nussmeier is on board.
Reactions to the Nussmeier news were universally positive($), with every recruit or verbal commitment saying something positive about the former Alabama coordinator. Maurice Ways is hyped:
Wow! Is it true that Coach Doug Nussmeier from Alabama is gonna be our new OC? If this is True I'm Hype!!— Moe Ways (@MoeWays) January 9, 2014
If any offensive players do decide to jump ship, it won't be due to Nussmeier's hiring.
What sort of impact will the new offensive leader have on Michigan's recruiting efforts? In the short term, expect Michigan's QB and RB recruiting to be shaken up in the class of 2015 – the Wolverines could turn around and attempt to woo five-star talent Ricky Town away from Alabama. In the long term, expect him to be a slightly stronger recruiter than Borges was. Much more on this later.
Flurry of Offers Goes Out
As if there wasn't enough news regarding Michigan's football and recruiting efforts this week, the staff–Doug Nussmeier included–sent out a flurry of offers in the classes of 2015 and 2016. Juniors Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jalen Dalton received their Michigan offers, as did sophomores Thiyo Lukusa and Kareem Walker.
The offers to Fitzpatrick and Dalton are both significant. Fitzpatrick, a high four-star cornerback who is good friends with five-star Michigan verbal Jabrill Peppers, has been high on Michigan and wanted an offer from them for quite some time. Dalton is another elite four-star prospect at defensive end, effectively ending Michigan's "You're the only one!" pitch to top overall end Jashon Cornell. Michigan will get its chance to impress Fitzpatrick and should eventually climb into his top group; I doubt that happens with Dalton, who looks like a Florida State lean.
Lukusa and Walker aren't as important, mostly because they're both so young and could still go any direction in their recruitment. Lukusa is a future four-star tackle/guard prospect who looks to be trending toward Michigan State, although the offer from Michigan and hiring of Nussmeier are both working in their favor at the moment; expect it to come down to both in-state schools. Walker will be a four-star running back, already holding offers from Penn State, Rutgers, WVU, MIchigan and others as a high school sophomore.
Jones Sets UM Official Date
Michigan recently offered running back Jeff Jones during the Under Armour All-American events, and it looks like he'll be on campus soon:
Michigan RB target and Minnesota commit Jeff Jones says he's visiting Ann Arbor Jan. 31, and the Borges news doesn't hurt their chances— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 9, 2014
Note the timing of the visit, which comes one week after Jones' visit to Florida. Vibes around the recruiting community are all positive for Michigan, which is now the favorite for the four-star running back on the Crystal Ball; I'm assuming this Michigan surge is driven by the fact that UM will be the final school that Jones visits. Doug Nussmeier will certainly be in the ear of Jones, too.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
Our very own DG Destroys put together a great string of videos of Michigan players in action during the Under armour All-American Game. Jabrill Peppers showed out during the game, but Michael Ferns turned in a hype-worthy performance:
Lawrence Marshall and Chase Winovich participated in the Offense-Defense Bowl in Orlando. Lawrence outperformed Winovich, showcasing his quickness and overall athletic ability against decent offensive lineman. He has put on a substantial amount of clean football weight, helping him play at a higher level($):
"I was even surprised at the gains I've made since the season ended," Marshall said. "I was about 225 when the season was over, but I'm up to 240 right now and I'm feeling great. My hands are moving quicker than ever and even after making the gains I have, I feel just as fast as I was, if not faster than I was before. I had a good week at the bowl and felt good about how I performed. I'm doing well right now."
Marshall was already an explosive edge rusher with respectable length. Fifteen pounds of muscle later, it sounds like he's prepared to contribute to Michigan's pass rush on day one, especially if his hands are now as violent as he makes them out to be.
Full senior highlights of outside linebacker prospect Osa Masina are now available. Michigan absolutely needs to add a SAM prospect in the class of 2015; Masina is one of the better SAM prospect on the UM board.
Under Armour held a combine for underclassmen, and former Michigan commitment George Campbell showcased his speed against some of the best corner prospects in the game:
Campbell is legitimately 6'4", yet he comes off of the line faster than most slot receivers I've ever watched. I expect the Doug Nussmeier hire to help Michigan's chances with the former commitment.
Speaking of Nussmeier, the new OC is most likely to change UM's quarterback board for the class of 2015 before he scrambles any other position. I expect QB prospect Kyle Kearns, who stood out at the most recent Elite 11 camp, to remain on that board. He should be a four-star prospect across the board when all is said and done.
Michigan receiver commitment Maurice Ways will play in the Michigan-Ohio All-Star game in June. This will not end well for the most northern state of the two.