This is a little different than the past couple installments, because there were some midweek visits from a couple highly regarded prospects. Here's a brief rundown of this week's visitors:
Zeke Pike - Quarterback - Edgewood, KY
Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others
Scoop: A 6'5", 220 lb. quarterback (that weight seems like a lowball estimate, by the way) with offers from every corner of the country, Pike seems to have more than a passing interest in Michigan. This probably isn't a comparison anyone who likes women would appreciate, but he plays a little like Ben Roethlisberger. Pike possesses a very strong arm and can run a little bit, but he's not fast enough to be a spread quarterback like Tim Tebow or Cam Newton. One plus for Pike is that he doesn't seem to possess the ego of some other big-time quarterbacks. Perhaps his small-town upbringing (Edgewood has about 9,400 citizens) has kept him humble. Additionally, Pike only has one year of starting under his belt, so he's a little bit raw and inexperienced. He hasn't announced a leaning toward any particular school; however, he has stated his intentions to visit Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, and Tennessee before trying to zero in on a summer decision. In case you can't tell, the only school north of the Mason-Dixon Line in that visit list appears to be Michigan. I don't know if that's good or not. Pike is also friends with 2011 Michigan signee Chris Barnett.
Kaleb Ringer - Linebacker - Clayton, OH
Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Michigan, and Toledo
Scoop: Ringer is a 6'0", 219 lb. inside linebacker prospect. He can run a little bit, blitzes well, and can bring the hammer when he chooses. I'm a little unsure about Ringer, because I've seen two different players on two different films. One shows a guy who's decisive, aggressive, and flies to the football. The other shows a kid who doesn't diagnose plays very quickly, leaves his feet too often, and takes too many blockers head on. I think he has the ability to be a good player, but he has to be the former type of player on a consistent basis. As for his recruitment, it seems pretty clear that Ringer will be announcing for Michigan on April 15th, the day before the spring game. His father played linebacker at Iowa, and his uncle (Javon Ringer) was a Michigan State Spartan running back who now plays for (er...uhh...is locked out from) the Tennessee Titans.
Austin Appleby - Quarterback - North Canton, OH
Offers: Kent State, Temple, Toledo
Scoop: At 6'5" and 228 lbs., Appleby has the size of a Michigan quarterback. It was reported at one time that Appleby had been offered by the Wolverines, but that seems to have been a mistaken report. Since Michigan has their eyes on a few other realistic possibilities, it's not surprising that Appleby wouldn't have an offer at this point. It's not impossible that Appleby could be offered later in the process; however, he's not on par with the other guys. I see a lot that Appleby needs to improve. He needs to be quicker getting out from under center, he needs to hold the ball higher to give him a consistent throwing motion (and speed up his delivery), and he needs to strengthen his arm. He doesn't put great spin on the ball, which isn't necessary to be a good quarterback (see Peyton Manning) but it helps. There is potential for Appleby, but Michigan fans might not like the comparison I see: John Navarre.
Maty Mauk - Quarterback - Kenton, OH
Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt
Scoop: Mauk is an intriguing prospect. More inclined to the spread, he's a 6'2", 185 lb. gunslinger whose father/high school coach runs a five-wide, shotgun spread offense that has Mauk slinging the ball all over the field; over 13 games in 2010, he threw the ball 568 times, which is almost 44 times a game. He's quick and has a bit of gunslinger mentality. Like Appleby, he has a lot of work to do on his throwing motion. While his release is quicker because of a three-quarters throwing motion, a low release on a 6'2" quarterback is asking for trouble. There have also been rumors of leadership issues for Mauk. And while rumors aren't always true, generally it seems that if you find smoke, you will eventually find fire. Mauk's older brother Ben played for Notre Dame's Brian Kelly at Cincinnati, and Maty's size, experience, and skill set make me think he will also want to be coached by Kelly.
MagnusThunder is the author of Touch the Banner, a Michigan football blog.