Observations on Michigan Football Recruiting 2012

Michigan's Class of 2012 is excellent! It is ranked in the Top 10 by virtually every major ranking service and "expert." It was ranked at one time as high as #1 or #2, but the lack of closing key prospects in the last month hurt the overall ranking. Michigan's overall national ranking is as high as #2 and as low as #8 with most experts placing us 4th or 5th. In the Big Ten, we and Ohio State were far and away the two top teams. Luginbill confirms mission accomplished National Signing Day Coverage at 2:00 p.m. Pizza House 3-6 p.m.

Let's start on offense! We chose not to go after a quarterback after we received the pledge of five start 2013 recruit, Shane Morris, and other top quarterbacks we were recruiting chose other teams: Maty Mauk (Missouri), Gunner Kiel (Indiana/LSU/Notre Dame), Zach Kline (California), Tanner Mangrum (BYU) and Zeke Pike (Auburn). We also flirted with Devin Fuller (UCLA), Jake Rodriques (Oregon) and Bennie Coney (Cincinnati); in all, we offered at least 8 quarterbacks.

At running back, we wanted a "big, athletic" back, and our top recruit, Brionte Dunn, wavered on his September, 2010 Ohio State commitment up until Urban Meyer became the Buckeye coach in late November, and then re-committed in December after taking two unofficial visits to Ann Arbor. We did sign three running backs: Drake Johnson, Sione Houma and Dennis Norfleet. Norfleet is the "Signing Day Surprise;" he is the top rated running back in the State of Michigan and called "electric" by all the rating services who have seen him in action. He will serve as a kick returner that we so desperately need, and he'll also be able to run plays at wide out. He really is an outstanding prospect, and it is terrific that the coaches were able to steal him from Cincinnati and identify that a "small" back like Vincent Smith serves a purpose in thier "pro-style" offense that is focused on "mash mouth" football primarily using a "big back." Johnson's a good prospect from Ann Arbor Pioneer that ran for 324 carries, 2788 yards, 38 TDs in his senior year, and will run for his third state high hurdles title this Spring. He is quite an athlete. Houma was primarily recruited as a fullback so I'd expect him to redshirt in 2012 until he gains the size and weight for Big Ten play. We also strongly considered David Perkins (Ohio State/Notre Dame) late in the process, but it apparently didn't work out. We also looked strongly at Wes Brown (Maryland), Greg Garmon (Iowa) and Keith Marshall (Georgia), but couldn't get either to visit. We looked at E.J. Fatu and camper Alden Hill (Tennessee) at fullback. In all, we offered at least 19 running backs, 5 of those were fullbacks.

The most interesting recruiting battles came at wide receiver, tight end and offensive line. At wide receiver, we "slow-played" the top prospect in the state, Aaron Burbridge, by asking him to improve his grades first semester prior to extending him an offer. He pledged to Michigan State. It's too bad because we secured the commitments of two Farmington Harrison teammates, Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia. We courted Jordan Payton who committed to USC, California, Washington and finally UCLA (almost to us and Notre Dame). We also went after Top 10 five star prospect, Stefon Diggs, who was Blake Countess' teammate, but couldn't get him to visit. We probably could have signed Monty Madaris, but we told him we ran out of scholarships at that position after accepting the pledges of Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson in December; however, the Daryl Stonum situation created another opening. Ditto DeAnthony Arnett who transferred from Tennessee; unfortunately, both signed with the Spartans. Our miscalculations ended up giving our in-state rival three super wide receiver prospects. Other wideouts we courted included Dwayne Stanford (Oregon), Darius Powe (California), Kenny Lawler (California)and Jalen Overstreet (Texas). In all, we offered at least 25 wide receivers.

At Tight End, we started last Spring with two pledges: A.J. Williams and Devin Funchess. It looked like we were done. Then, it seems like the possibility of having Williams playing offensive line became a possibility because of his size. Later, our pledge, Pharaoh Brown, demanded to be considered a tight end instead of a defensive end. We consented, but then decided to see what Oregon was like so we rescinded our offer. He pledged to the Ducks. So, we began manuevering in the last two months to see Taylor McNamara (Oklahoma), Sam Grant (Oklahoma), Evan Baylis (Oregon), J.P. Holtz (Pittsburgh), Will Johnson (West Virginia) and thought we would sign Grant. Oklahoma beat us out, and ironically for Grant signed 4 tight ends. We'll just have to be satisfied with our two pledges. We probably could have alsotaken Ron Thompson, but apparently he didn't mesh with the coaches and pledged to Syracuse. We offered at least 10 tight ends.

On offensive line, we secured the pledges of Ben Braden, Caleb Stacey, Erik Magnuson, Blake Bars and Kyle Kalis. Kalis is our top rated recruit, and will have a good chance to contribute in 2012 as will Magnuson. We were able to keep Kalis despite a big effort by Ohio State to regain his pledge. Kalis is our top rated, and probably most important recruit since he will start or at least rotate in during the 2012 season. We were in the final two for Josh Garrett (Stanford), Alex Kozan (Iowa) and Top 5 for Zach Banner (USC). Our coaches desire to get at least 6 offensive linemen drove Stacey to decommit to Cincinnati. We also flirted with Jordan Diamond (Auburn), Alex Kozan (Iowa), Evan Boehm (Missouri), Kyle Murphy (Stanford), Chris Muller (Rutgers), Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh), Paul Thurston (Nebraska), Shane Callahan (Auburn), Joey O'Conner (Ohio State/Penn State), Arik Armstead (Oregon/USC) and Jeremiah Poutasi (Utah). We really put out a big net on the offensive line with over 44 offers.

On defense, we really did well and we needed to because we lack depth. On the defensive line, we got one of the best Nose Tackles that was available in Ondre Pipkins, and three solid defense ends in Chris Wormley, Mario Ojemudia and Tom Strobel. Matt Godin will most likely play defensive tackle, but he could also play anchor defensive end, too. We offered at least 24 defensive ends and 16 defensive tackles. Ojemudia will be a rush end while Strobel and Wormley look to be anchor ends like VanBergen. On the final week before signing day, three star Big Willie Henry visited and pledged. We had previously turned away several possible prospect stating we were full on the defensive line, but again, the lack of closing other prospects opened up this opportunity. Other guys we looked at were: Aziz Shittu (Stanford), Danny O'Brien (Tennessee), Sheldon Day (Notre Dame) and Tommy Schutt (Ohio State/Penn State).

We settled things at linebacker last Spring with the commitments of Kaleb Ringer, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Joe Bolden and James Ross in late April and early May. Two of those, Bolden and Ringer enrolled on January 4th so they'll see action in the Spring Scrimmage. While Bolden and Ross have the best chance of playing time in 2012, we did well overall. We refused to consider others like Camren Williams when the Penn State fiasco began, and it may have cost us a defensive back recruit. In all, we offered at least 15 linebackers.

We secured the commitments of Terrence Richardson, Anthony Standifer, Jarrod Wilson, Allen Gant and Jeremy Clark. Like at linebacker, we had a full class by Summer in early July. That was until changed our minds on Standifer in December, the explanation was he didn't take foreign language requirements, but I don't think that is the real reason. Only the LS&A School requires 2 years of foreign language for admissions, not the other schools (Business, Engineering, etc.). Most football players enter in the School of Kinesiology so the foreign language shouldn't be an issue. Either way, Notre Dame also backed away so at last report, he was looking at Boise State. Jeremy Clark impressed the coaches at Summer Camp, and won an offer that originally was a greyshirt to enroll January, 2013; however, they changed that during the Fall. Jarrod Wilson has also enrolled early. Terrence Richardson is a solid cover guy. Both Richardson and Wilson could very well be in the rotation for 2012 season. We were hoping to add Armani Reeves for a "big" corner, but even though we'd been recruiting him many months prior to Meyer accepting the Ohio State job, he stole him away from us when his high school teammate, Camren Williams, also pledged to the Buckeyes. We also recruited Yuri Wright (Colorado) hard until his texting problems that expelled him from Don Bosco. We also thought Wayne Morgan was going to commit last Summer, but when he waited, we withdrew that possibility. Some others we spoke with were Kenny Crawley (Colorado) and Kevon Seymour (USC). We offered at least 23 defensive backs, and accepted 5 commitments.

On special teams, we secured the services of preferred walk-on, Kenny Allen, from Fenton. He will punt and placekick. He had offers from several teams including Oregon State. Norfleet will become a kickoff returner. We also have accepted preferred walk-on pledges from Bo Dever at wide receiver and Mark Larson at linebacker. I would guess we'll also add a preferred walk-on at long snapper shortly.

Overall, we offered at least 193+ prosepects and have accepted these 25 commitments:

Michigan Football Recruit 2012 Position State Pledge Scout Ranking Rivals Ranking MaxPrep Ranking 247 Ranking ESPNU 150 ESPNU Rating US Army All-American Under Armour All-American Semper Fidelis All-American Offense-Defense All-American
Allen, Kenny P MI Michigan NR 2star n/a n/a n/a 73 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Bars, Blake OL TN Michigan 3star 4star n/a n/a n/a 79 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Bolden, Joe LB OH Michigan 69 111 n/a 59 142 80 n/a Yes n/a n/a
Braden, Ben OL MI Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 79 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Chesson, Jehu WR MO Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 79 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Clark, Jeremy DB KY Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 76 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Darboh, Amara WR MO Michigan 205 215 135 199 n/a 78 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Funchess, Devin TE MI Michigan 221 3star n/a n/a n/a 80 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Gant, Allen DB OH Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 75 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Godin, Matt DT MI Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 79 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Henry, Willie DT OH Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 75 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Houma, Sione RB UT Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 74 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Jenkins-Stone, Royce LB MI Michigan 111 184 200 209 113 80 Yes n/a n/a n/a
Johnson, Drake RB MI Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 72 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Kalis, Kyle OL OH Michigan 35 22 100 62 132 80 Yes n/a n/a n/a
Magnuson, Erik OL CA Michigan 82 78 82 72 n/a 79 Yes n/a n/a n/a
Norfleet, Dennis RB MI Michigan 163 236 n/a 169 n/a 75 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Ojemudia, Mario DE MI Michigan 162 3star 153 n/a n/a 80 n/a n/a Yes n/a
Pipkins, Ondre DT MO Michigan 65 14 159 51 n/a 80 Yes n/a n/a n/a
Richardson, Terry DB MI Michigan 183 224 75 142 68 81 n/a Yes n/a n/a
Ringer, Kaleb LB OH Michigan 3star 3star n/a n/a n/a 78 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Ross, James LB MI Michigan 83 172 117 116 n/a 80 Yes n/a n/a n/a
Strobel, Tom DE OH Michigan 4star 4star 203 198 n/a 78 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Williams, A.J. TE OH Michigan 225 3star n/a n/a n/a 77 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Wilson, Jarrod DB OH Michigan 245 4star 144 n/a n/a 80 n/a n/a n/a Yes
Wormley, Chris DE OH Michigan 164 3star 53 73 n/a 80 n/a n/a n/a n/a

25 Signees

Press Conference

National Football Recruiting for 2012

Big Ten Football Recruiting for 2012

National Football Recruiting for 2011

Big Ten Football Recruiting for 2011

National Football Recruiting 2010