Zach and I exchanged messages about adding another roundup earlier this week, and the conversation was brief because we both thought it would help add to our coverage in a major way. I can get information out in a more timely manner, and I can also be more thorough in my pieces if I'm not breaking down an entire week's worth of information. Expect roundups on Monday and Friday from here on out.
Michigan Adds Monster Defensive Tackle
If I asked you which state Michigan's next commitment would come from, what would you have said? Ohio? Michigan? Illinois? Florida? Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Your correct answer is Utah.
Bryan Mone is the third member of the 2014 recruiting class, standing at 6'4", 340 pounds. Mone was inches shorter and sixty-plus pounds lighter a year ago; many didn't know if he'd end up as a five-technique or the three-technique. There's no question where he'll end up now.
What does he bring to the table? A large, athletic frame, and a motor that doesn't stop running. Players who go on growth spurts sometimes lose their explosion, but that isn't the case for Mone. His athleticism is somewhere between elite and above average, and he throws high school kids around like a BCS defensive lineman should. His highlight tape is brutal, in a good way of course:
He's currently outside of the top 150 players in the country, but I expect him to climb toward the 75-150 range once he gets his new and improved frame into the camp scene. He turned down offers from BYU, Ole Miss, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, and Wisconsin.
Mone fits into the three-tech spot in my opinion, so expect Michigan to take another tackle that fits the nose guard position. He's capable of sliding all the way inside, but I feel like he's too long and too athletic to be playing the one-tech.
New 2014 Rivals 250 Released
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like Rivals is releasing its rankings a bit earlier to compete with Scout and 247's early rankings. Anyway, you can find the new list here.
Five-star players worth keeping an eye on include:
#1 DE Da'Shawn Hand
#2 CB Jabril Peppers
#4 S Quin Blanding
#6 DT Andrew Brown
#8 CB Adoree Jackson
#12 RB Elijah Hood
Notable Rivals 100 four-star players include:
#21 DE Malik McDowell (He could easily end up being a five-star)
#32 CB Damon Webb (I don't think his recruitment is over just yet)
#41 ATH Marshon Lattimore
#47 S Montae Nicholson
#55 OL Alex Bars
#56 WR Drake Harris
#67 WR Demarre Kitt
#70 LB Nyles Morgan
#84 LB Michael Ferns (Committed to Michigan)
#93 WR Artavis Scott
#94 OL Jamarco Jones
Recent commitment Bryan Mone comes in at #172 in the Rivals 250. He's capable of climbing into the top 100 if he shows up to camps during the summer.
More on Hoke's No-Visit Policy
Mitch Sherman of ESPN recently wrote an article about no-visit policies in college football, taking aim at Brady Hoke, among others. Sherman does his best to make it sound as if Hoke is pressuring kids into making decisions before they're ready to do so, and he even tried to make Urban Meyer look like and angel in comparison. Hoke isn't telling a recruit, "Look, you commit to us now and stay committed without visiting other schools. Don't even so much as look at other schools before you make a decision, because Michigan is the place for you." Spartans, Buckeyes and Mitch Sherman want you to hear this, but it's far from what Hoke actually does.
Hoke probably says something closer to, "Listen, we know you're being recruited by multiple schools and would like to make the best decision for yourself. If you aren't ready to make the decision, don't make it. If you are ready you should commit to us, but when you commit to us you stay committed to us. We're investing in you, and we expect loyalty in return." If this is anything close to what Hoke says, what's wrong with it? Sherman was wrong about one thing: the recruiting game shouldn't be totally in the hand of the recruit. How many people cried wolf when Robert Nkemdiche played a handful of coaches? Hoke is up front about his rule, and he isn't looking to trap kids against their will. He's preventing his class from becoming a reality television series on signing day.
Lawrence Marshall Decommits
Defensive end Lawrence Marshall committed to Ohio State just days ago, only to decommit after visiting Michigan this week. Ohio State and Michigan should both be heavily involved in his recruitment. At least we can officially put the brakes on the "Urban Meyer is killing it in Michigan" stuff.
Speaking of Meyer, let me clear up my opinion of him and his recruiting tactics. Do I honestly think that Urban Meyer is a cheater? Definitely not, and anyone throwing the "you're salty over that loss" line at me is only doing so because they're lazy and have no legitimate argument to make. Meyer plays the same game that countless coaches play across the country: lie to recruits and bait them into playing for you. Now I can't tell you which coaches specifically lie to recruits, but I can say with complete confidence that Urban Meyer is a proven liar when it comes to the media. He told the media countless times that he wouldn't be leaving Florida, then left Florida for health issues, only to deny rumors of becoming the next Ohio State coach. Petty things like denying a circle of trust and skewing the numbers in regards to football players' choice of major also irk me, but I have to admit that they aren't major issues.
Meyer may or may not lie directly to recruits, but I personally see him as a snake and a robotic liar, and I've thought that about him since he was at Florida. He doesn't cheat. Lying to recruits isn't cheating, but I would much rather have Brady Hoke as my head coach and feel confident that my alma mater is being lead by an honest man. Meyer is an extremely talented coach who deserves all of the praise he gets for leading Ohio State to an undefeated season, but that doesn't mean I can't see him as a dishonest human being. Let the argument die there.
Offers and Visits for 2014 Prospects
The 2014 recruiting cycle will continue to pick up steam in the coming weeks, and new offers will be out on a weekly basis. New offers since Monday:
GA WR Wesley Green
GA LB Bryson Allen-Williams
Next weekend is shaping up to a monster recruiting weekend: CB Parrker Westphal, WR Drake Harris, DE Lawrence Marshall, RB Elijah Hood, DE Malik McDowell, LB commit Michael Ferns, QB commit Wilton Speight, OL Mason Cole and WR Artavis Scott could all make appearances in Ann Arbor. Possible 2015 five-star athlete George Campbell will come with Cole and Scott if they end up making the trip from Florida. Drake Harris is apparently coming in an entire day early to see Ferns and Speight, so there's that.
Texas cornerback Nick Watkins holds a Michigan offer, and he's looking into visiting Michigan this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if he never makes it up for that visit; he's from the south and holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and others.
Finding that Elite Receiver
There has been a need at receiver for years now, and Michigan is still looking for an elite receiver after two full recruiting cycles under Brady Hoke. The term "elite receiver" could mean one of many things, but in this case Michigan needs a receiver with elite burst. Borges and Hecklinski love tall, rangy receivers who can go up and get the ball. That's just fine, but the offense needs someone who's capable of pulling safeties out of the box by stretching the field, and there's no one on the roster matching that description right now. It wouldn't hurt to add a smooth route runner with a decent pair of hands either: I think these players are criminally underrated.
[Looks up at sky, screams "LAQUON TREADWELL!"]
The staff has targeted and offered more than a handful of receivers this already year, but these are the few that I believe Michigan has a chance with. Can any of them be that elite receiver? We'll see.
Corey Holmes (Florida; 6'1", 175; holds offer)
Holmes doesn't have the elite burst that I mentioned above - he probably runs in the 4.55 range - but he's more polished than any of the other receivers on this list. He runs decent routes, and he definitely has a natural feel for the position. His soft hands and smooth stride make him a very attractive prospect, and I would be pleased if Michigan could pair him up with a great athlete at receiver. He holds offers from Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and a host of others, so landing him won't be easy.
Artavis Scott (Florida; 5'11", 180; holds offer)
No youtube highlights available, so you get this FOX Sports video of him in 7-v-7:
Scott is the polar opposite of Holmes: speedy, on the shorter side, and not at all familiar with the receiver position. Yes, he's 5'11" and looks like he could play in the slot, but people quickly forget that Jeremy Gallon has won outside time and time again. Scott is the quickest player of those mentioned here, and he's probably the only one with elite physical tools.
Derek Kief (Ohio; 6'5", 185; not yet offered)
I watch Kief's video and see a faster, weaker version of Jaron Dukes. This naturally makes me give him a "meh", but that won't stop the staff from recruiting him. He's 6'5", has decent leaping ability and a solid pair of hands, but there are only so many spots on the roster for big possession receivers. If the class ends up with three receivers it can afford to include someone like Kief, but I'll be disappointed if they only take two and another Jaron Dukes is one of them.
Maurice Ways (Michigan; 6'3", 185; not yet offered)
Ways quickly became popular in the recruiting circles for his nickname "Mo", which makes for a legendary name when coupled with his last name. He should become more popular for his game as time goes on, especially if he gets into camps and shows out well. He doesn't have the same amount of length that Dukes or Kief do, but he's still a long receiver. He would outrun either of those two, and he's much smoother and stronger than Kief. Some don't have him on Michigan's radar, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up being a part of this class.
Others worth noting:
Drake Harris (Michigan; 6'3", 180; offered) - I'd have Drake in the top section if he wasn't committed to Michigan State, but he remains solid to the Spartans for now. He committed to them months ago and recently decided to focus solely on football, calling Tom Izzo instead of Mark Dantonio when he made the decision [laughs]. He's an elite prospect with the size, ball skills and athleticism to be a true number one in college, and as of now it looks like an OSU/MSU/UM battle for his services. That situation could change quickly, as he'll be offered by more and more national powerhouses as time goes on.
Marshon Lattimore (Ohio; 6'0", 185; holds offer) - He goes to Glenville in Ohio, which, yea...don't watch this highlight tape if you don't want to see someone who attends an Ohio State pipeline murder his high school competition. He definitely has the elite ability I'd like to see in this class, and could play multiple positions at the next level.
Demarre Kitt (Georgia; 6'1", 195; holds offer) - Kitt is from the deep south, which usually doesn't bode well for Michigan. He's the most well-rounded receiver on this list in terms of physical tools and natural feel for the position. I don't see him coming to Michigan, but they're in the hunt for now.
Saeed Blacknall (New Jersey; 6'3", 205; holds offer) - Blacknall was just recently offered, and he already held offers from the likes of Boston College, Florida State, Ohio State and others. He has a great combination of size and speed but could use work on the ins and outs of the position. Overall a great prospect that Michigan could get in on.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
You know that Twitter has taken over the world when a Michigan coach gets his own handle. Hecklinski is the staff's recruiting coordinator, so it's no surprise that he's the one who took to the internet.
The aforementioned Florida trio of Mason Cole, Artavis Scott and George Campbell might end up attending school together:
"(Mason and I) talked about it -- we're going to go to the same school," Scott said. "We know for a fact we're going to the same school."
"I feel like there is a pretty good chance we'll wind up in the same place," Cole concurred. "We talk about it a lot. I know what schools I like and he doesn't like, and which schools he likes that I don't like."
If their plan to be a package deal actually comes to fruition, the winning program would instantly become a major factor in Campbell's recruitment.
"I talk to them all of the time because all three of us have a close bond," Campbell said. "We're always talking to each other about everything. With those two at the same place I think that'd be a (school) that I'd need to get out to (take a look at)."
"We call ourselves the 'big three' even though he is in a class lower than us," Cole added. "If me and Tay do end up going to the same school, that will definitely influence George a lot. Us three are like brothers. It would definitely sway his decision a little bit."
Package deals rarely work out, especially when that package deal is comprised of players from two different classes, but there's still a chance that all three end up in Ann Arbor. That would be huge.
Scout interviewed two members of the Michigan football staff, asking all sorts of questions related to the recently signed 2013 class. Video:
You can find the transcript here.
Five-star running back Elijah Hood has a top five, in order: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Michigan. Don't leave me a smart ass comment for listing six schools: Georgia Tech and Michigan are tied for fifth, according to Hood himself.
Michigan's first two commitments in the class of 2014 are picking up where Shane Morris left off:
Numerous kids mentioning @wiltonspeight and @m_ferns10 recruiting them for #Michigan. Just killing it on the recruiting trail thus far— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) February 15, 2013
Ferns is an extremely classy kid who will carry the torch for this class until graduation.
The primary recruiter for the first three commitments in the 2014 class might not be who you expect:
Primary recruiter for each of the 2014 #Michigan commits thus far = Jerry Montgomery. #KillingIt— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) February 12, 2013
Not Mattison, not Jackson, not Hoke. Montgomery recruited Jake Butt, Henry Poggi and Taco Charlton as well, so the man has a solid track record.
Speaking of great recruiters, ESPN named Greg Mattison the recruiter of the year in 2012. His NFL pedigree is paying dividends at Michigan:
Since Mattison returned to college from the NFL for his second stint at Michigan, he has been armed with a familiar sales pitch to the defensive players he recruits. See Ed Reed? See Ray Lewis? I coached them. I can coach you, too.
"I want to play professionally," Michigan commit Taco Charlton told WolverineNation in a recent interview. "That's why I chose Michigan, because I thought it'd give me the best chance to get me to the NFL, especially with Greg Mattison."
Yes, it's been two years since Mattison left the now-Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens -- but his message still sticks. He coached one of the best defenses in the NFL and his approach, his style has never changed.
If recruiting is the "lifeblood" of any football program, then Michigan has a master in the art of it.
Mattison was an elite recruiter long before he was in the NFL; he was responsible for recruiting a large chunk of talent at Florida under Urban Meyer. His time in the League is certainly useful in recruiting, but Mattison's biggest weapon in recruiting is definitely his personality. Coaches with his room presence win recruiting battles more often than not.
Steve Lorenz pointed out that Micahel Ferns' highlight barely has any views, and since I'm disappointed in you all I'll embed it and recommend that you watch at least a minute or two:
His lack of lateral explosion is the only thing keeping him from being a rare inside linebacker. He's still going to be very special, and he really is one of the classiest recruits I've followed in recent memory.