Class of 2013 Most Likely Finished
I'm continually asked if Michigan will be in on anyone else in this class. So, to answer it once again: the staff isn't recruiting any additional players and will only do so if someone in the current class drops off. Henry Poggi hasn't come out and squashed rumors of him flipping to Alabama, so there's a possibility that he leaves the class and the staff offers someone else to fill his spot; I don't see this happening. Also, keep in mind the fact that this is an inexact process that often ends with kids making rash last-minute decisions, making it impossible for someone like me to predict the final state of this class with any certainty.
While I'm on the class of 2013 I'll let you know that Michigan picked up a preferred walk-on receiver named Jack Wangler. For those of you who don't know, that means that the staff asked him to be a walk-on, as opposed to him going to an open student tryout. Wangler's highlights:
He looks like a typical walk-on: athletic enough to make the team in a tryout and possibly contribute on special teams, but not good enough to garner major recruiting interest. Also, the man passing to him in that video is Shane Morris.
Michigan's Needs in the Class of 2014
One thing is obvious after looking at the roster: Michigan needs more offensive lineman. The last two classes have been stacked with talent on the line, but the Wolverines still aren't out of the hole that the previous staff left them in. Look for the staff to go hard after the maulers once again. The defensive back four will again be an area of priority, and Mattison knows the defense needs more speed on the defensive front. The last major need is at wide receiver, where the numbers are decent but the talent is low. Michigan needs elite talent at receiver.
How I'd rank the position groups based on need:
1: Offensive line
2: Defensive line
3: Receivers and tight ends
4: Defensive backs (mostly corner since we've recruited so many S/CB tweeners)
5: Quarterbacks (one needed, preferably highly-ranked)
6: Linebackers (although we need help at SAM; we're set at MLB and WLB)
7: Running backs
Feel free to argue about this in the comments.
Offensive lineman Denzel Ward was the second Michigan commitment in the class of 2014, until he became the first decommitment of the class of 2014. Apparently it was a "staff decision" to let Ward go, meaning that he was looking around and didn't plan on remaining faithful to what he and the staff had originally agreed to. He claims that Michigan remains an option, although I don't see the staff taking him back after they personally told him "see ya". He'll be recruited by the Midwest powers, and maybe more if he does well on the camp scene; Michigan won't fret his loss because they're in on plenty of solid offensive lineman already.
Coaching Staff Working the Recruiting Trail
The staff has been on the road recruiting everywhere from Texas to Michigan. Recruits they've visited this week include but aren't limited to:
Southfield (MI) DE Lawrence Marshall
Southfield (MI) WR Ray Buford (2015)
Dallas (TX) OL Ty Barrett
Chester (VA) S C.J. Reavis
Dallas (TX) CB Nick Watkins
Thornton (IL) WR Jauan Wesley
Thornton (IL) CB Tifonte Hunt
Mansfield (TX) S Edward Paris
Mansfield (TX) S Brandon Simmons
Detroit (MI) ATH Jalen Embry
Detroit (MI) OLB Carl Fuller
Bolingbrook (IL) CB Parrker Westphal
Woodbridge (VA) DE Da'Shawn Hand
Washington (PA) RB Shai Mackenzie
Grand Rapids (MI) WR Drake Harris
Aliquippa (PA) S Dravon Henry
Charlotte (NC) RB Elijah Hood
O'Fallon (IL) DE Dewayne Hendrix
Olney (MD) DE Jesse Aniebonam
You can also check Brady Hoke's 247 profile to see other prospect the staff has visited. The staff has surely seen many other prospects, but these are the kids that I've heard about via multiple Twitter accounts and other resources. This is what national recruiting looks like, Mark Dantonio.
A small wave of new offers have gone out as well. New offers include:
Norcross (GA) DE Lorenzo Carter
Coppell (TX) DE Solomon Thomas
Lewisville (TX) DB Jamal Adams
Falcon (CO) ATH Kalen Ballage
The theme recently? Defensive ends and defensive backs.
*All prospects mentioned in this section are in the class of 2014 unless otherwise noted.
2014 QB Picture Clearing Up?
The staff has yet to send out an offer to a signal caller in this class. According to QB prospect Wilton Speight, Michigan is targeting himself and two other quarterbacks:
"He told my coach that the Michigan coaches have talked and I'm one of the top three (junior) quarterbacks in their eyes in the country," Speight said. The other two, Hecklinski said, are Michael O'Connor from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG and David Cornwell from Norman (Okla.) North. All three could soon garner scholarship offers.
I'm hoping that David Cornwell is the first one offered, as he is by far the most talented in my opinion. We'll see who gets the coveted first QB offer soon enough.
General Notes and Multimedia Items
USC and Penn State have both extended offers to 2014 DE Malik McDowell. This is no surprise, as McDowell is the best prospect in the state of Michigan. The Wolverines offered long ago.
247 Sports released its class of 2013 All-American team. Michigan's two members are offensive lineman David Dawson and Patrick Kugler. Their thoughts on Dawson:
Headed to Michigan over offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, Dawson was a key cog on an offensive line that paved the way for Cass Tech to win its second-straight state championship. The nasty interior lineman was selected to play in the Under Armour All-America game. He is ranked by 247Sports as the top player in the state of Michigan, the nation's No. 3 offensive guard, and the No. 65 prospect overall.
..and on Kugler:
Committed to Michigan back in February over scholarships from places such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina and Stanford. Kugler is ranked by the 247Composite as the nation's top center and No. 63 prospect overall. Kugler finished his high school career as an Under Armour All-American. His father Sean Kugler is the head coach at UTEP.
America, eff yea.
ESPN's Michigan crew did a nice trivia piece with recruits. Check it out for a good laugh. My favorite part:
1) Can you name all three Michigan Heisman winners?
A: Tom Harmon (1940), Desmond Howard (1991), Charles Woodson (1997)
Best answers: "Did Braylon Edwards win it? What about Tom Brady? & Dang it. Jake Long? No? Ah, man, I give up."
"Desmond, Charles Woodson and that old dude."
That old dude.
Scout released its final 2013 rankings for prospects in the East. Derrick Green comes in at numero uno:
Derrick Green possesses a combination of power, balance, acceleration and speed to be the premier running back in FOXSportsNEXT 2013recruiting class, and those attributes also landed him atop the final East 100rankings.
The Hermitage High (Richmond, Va.) five-star prospect and Michigan commit jumped from No. 6 in the preseason East 100 rankings, and is one of four Michigan commits in the top 22 of the final rankings.
Speaking of Green, he claims that Brady Hoke cried when he heard that Green had committed to Michigan. Sam Webb clears the air via Twitter:
Clearing up some growing misconceptions... Hoke did not cry over Derrick Green's commit, but was excited about it...— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 29, 2013
So there's that. Hoke is an emotional man, not an emotional woman.
Class of 2014 RB Mikale Wilbon has highlights out:
As does 2014 WR Demarre Kitt:
I like his film, but he still isn't the #1 that Michigan so desperately needs. Same ole, same ole.
Make sure to check the site for coverage on national signing day. We'll have profiles up for every recruit, a breakdown of early enrollees and more. Also, I'll be posting the roundups earlier in the morning from now on instead of at noon.