Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #33 Mario Ojemudia

Mario Ojemudia
Name: Mario Ojemudia
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 250 lbs.
High school: Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Position: Defensive end
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #53
Last year: I ranked Ojemudia #32 and said he would be a backup weakside end. He made 20 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery.

Ojemudia had an okay year for a backup defensive end last season. He has yet to harness the potential that had a lot of Michigan fans excited coming out of high school, but he has made plays here and there - an interception against Nebraska as a freshman, a forced fumble against South Carolina, a fumble recovery against Kansas State. He has mostly been a fresh body coming in to spell the starter (or the starter's backup).

This year he should see an increased role, and now is his time to shine. The Wolverines are roughly two deep at each defensive end spot, and Jake Ryan (now a middle linebacker) and Cameron Gordon (graduated) will likely not be available for nickel duty as weakside ends. Ojemudia will be Frank Clark's backup, and the next man up would likely be raw freshman Lawrence Marshall. I'm guessing that Marshall will see snaps, but he probably will not be particularly effective. I believe Michigan will have an improved pass rush this season with a quicker defensive front and more blitzing, and hopefully that will lead to guys like Ojemudia getting freed up by confused and overwhelmed offensive lines. He is a solid player but has yet to show whether he can be a star or not.

Prediction: Backup weakside end; 30 tackles, 3 sacks

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big Ten Blog: Five Big Ten players, coaches to root for

Josh Moyer runs through five players and coaches within the conference to root for, including Michigan captain Jake Ryan, coming off a torn ACL.

Hit the jump for three ladies who are well endowed.

2014 Season Countdown: #34 Will Hagerup

Will Hagerup (with Erin Andrews)
Name: Will Hagerup
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Milwaukee (WI) Whitefish Bay
Position: Punter
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #43
Last year: I ranked Hagerup #95 and said he would sit out the year because he was suspended. I was right!

Hagerup was the Big Ten's best punter the last time we saw him. Unfortunately, the last time we saw him was in 2012. Which was two years ago, for you calendar junkies. It really was 2012, too, because he was suspended for the New Year's Day bowl game in 2013 against South Carolina, plus the whole 2013 season. Hagerup has had some undisclosed issues with staying on the right side of the rules.

This might actually be too high (heh...too high) for Hagerup, who has a couple suitable backups in senior Matt Wile and redshirt sophomore Kenny Allen. Wile would probably be better served concentrating on kickoffs and placekicking, the former of which he has been doing, and the latter of which he will take over full-time from the departed Brendan Gibbons, who had his own legal issues. Allen has a lone punt to his credit, although that punt traveled a long way. Still, Hagerup can be a weapon with his booming punts. The hope is that Hagerup has turned over a new leaf and can weed out the sticky inconsistencies of his personal life, potentially resulting in a veritable pot of gold for his teammates, who will be racing down the green field in a joint venture to nip opponents' punt returns in the bud. If Hagerup plays in every game this season, it will be the first time in his five years that he will not have been suspended for at least one contest.

Prediction: Starting punter; 44-yard average

Visitors: 2014 BBQ at the Big House

Lincolnton (NC) Lincolnton defensive end Darian Roseboro
This year's BBQ at the Big House for 2015 prospects will be on July 27th. Last year Michigan did two separate barbecues for seniors and then underclassmen, but I believe this year's will be one combined event.

Jalen Bates - DE - Kaplan (LA) Kaplan: Bates is a 6'4", 240 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #22 weakside end, and #499 overall. Michigan is one of his top few schools, and his cousin is former Wolverine linebacker Jonas Mouton. Bates is aiming to visit Ann Arbor sometime around June 24-26, so he may miss the actual BBQ but will be in town at roughly the same juncture.

Chris Clark - TE - Avon (CT) Old Farms: Clark committed to Michigan in June (LINK).

Brian Cole - WR - Saginaw (MI) Heritage: Cole is a 6'2", 190 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #5 athlete, and #65 overall. Cole may not be able to stay for Sunday's BBQ, but he will be at Michigan on at least Friday and Saturday.

Kengera Daniel - DE - Raleigh (NC) Millbrook: Daniel is a 6'5", 250 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wake Forest, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #21 strongside end, and #503 overall. He claims a 4.89 forty and had 89 tackles, 13 sacks, and 1 interception as a junior in 2013.

Jack Dunaway - DE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Dunaway is a 6'3", 212 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He's the teammate of Michigan quarterback commit Alex Malzone. Dunaway is also the son of Craig Dunaway, a tight end at Michigan from the mid-1980's.

Joshua Ellison - WR - Flint (MI) Carman-Ainsworth: Ellison is a 5'11", 185 lb. prospect with no FBS offers at this time, as far as I know. He is a potential walk-on candidate.

Damien Harris - RB - Berea (KY) Madison Southern: Harris was committed to Michigan, but he then de-committed in January (LINK) after offensive coordinator Al Borges was fired. Michigan is still under consideration but is believed to have fallen behind Ohio State, if not Alabama and Kentucky. UPDATE: Harris no longer plans to attend the BBQ.

Amari Henderson - CB - Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek: Henderson is a 6'1", 182 lb. prospect with offers from Kansas State, Kentucky, Penn State, and Wake Forest, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #111 safety, and #1481 overall. He claims a 4.46 forty, a 41" vertical, a 255 lb. bench, and a 355 lb. squat. He has not been offered by Michigan, but he has been in contact with area recruiter Roy Manning. The Wolverines are searching for someone to replace Shaun Crawford, who decommitted in favor of Notre Dame. UPDATE: Henderson committed to Wake Forest on July 19, but still wants to attend the BBQ.

Tyree Kinnel - S - Huber Heights (OH) Wayne: Kinnel committed to Michigan in August 2013 (LINK).

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. - LB - Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central: Kirkland committed to Michigan in May (LINK).

Marcus Lewis - CB - Washington (DC) Gonzaga: Lewis is a 6'1", 187 lb. prospect who committed to Florida in April. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 athlete, and #118 overall. He claims a 4.38 forty and will be at The Opening this month. Lewis has said that, while he remains committed to Florida, he wants to explore his options, and one of them is playing in Ann Arbor. There was recently some news that he would transfer to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year, but it appears he will remain at Gonzaga Prep.

Alex Malzone - QB - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Malzone committed to Michigan in May (LINK).

Iman Marshall - CB - Long Beach (CA) Poly: Marshall is a 6'1", 170 lb. prospect with offers from LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 5-star, the #2 cornerback, and #8 overall. He will also be attending The Opening. Marshall's presumed leader is USC, but he worked out with Michigan freshman Freddy Canteen in the off-season and wants to check out Michigan's campus. He attends the alma mater of former Michigan corner Donovan Warren.

Joshua McMillon - LB - Memphis (TN) Whitehaven: McMillon is a 6'3", 230 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #16 outside linebacker, and #215 overall. He visited Michigan this spring and is very high on Michigan, although the SEC pull is strong in the state of Tennessee. UPDATE: McMillon will not be attending the BBQ because his parents can't come, but he will try to visit with them prior to his August 22nd announcement date.

Grant Perry - WR - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Perry is a 6'0", 185 lb. prospect with offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Kent State. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #131 wide receiver, #1051 overall, and #15 in the state of Michigan. He camped at Michigan and did well, although the Wolverines have not extended an offer. He is Malzone's top receiving target at Brother Rice.

Patrice Rene - CB - Alexandria (VA) Episcopal: Rene is a 6'1", 180 lb. prospect with offers from Indiana, Ohio State, Rutgers, and Syracuse, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #27 cornerback, and #212 overall. Rene is moving from Ontario to Virginia for his senior season.

Mook Reynolds - CB - Greensboro (NC) Northern Guilford: Reynolds is a 6'0", 175 lb. prospect who committed to Virginia Tech in February; he also has offers from Georgia, Michigan, and Notre Dame, among others. Despite being committed to the Hokies, he wants to explore his options and has made a good connection with cornerbacks coach Roy Manning.

Drew Richmond - OT - Memphis (TN) University School: Richmond is a 6'5", 320 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #6 offensive tackle, and #75 overall. Richmond will likely not be in attendance at the BBQ, but he has mentioned an interest in visiting, despite Michigan not making his initial top 10 list.

Darian Roseboro - DE - Lincolnton (NC) Lincolnton: Roseboro is a 6'3", 293 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 strongside end, and #122 overall. As a junior in 2013, he made 125 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks. Michigan recruiting guru Sam Webb has been speaking very confidently about Michigan's chances of landing Roseboro, who has developed a solid relationship with his recruiter, cornerbacks coach Roy Manning.

Jon Runyan, Jr. - OG - Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseph's: Runyan committed to Michigan in June 2013 (LINK).

Auden Tate - WR - Tampa (FL) Wharton: Tate is a 6'4", 195 lb. prospect with offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and South Carolina, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #40 wide receiver, and #319 overall. As a junior in 2013, he caught 49 passes for 815 yards and 5 touchdowns. Michigan may have been in front at one point, but an offer from the Seminoles in late May might have changed the tide in his recruitment. Tate is a possibility to attend the BBQ but has not yet purchased airline tickets, so it is unlikely.

Garrett Taylor - CB - Richmond (VA) St. Christopher: Taylor committed to Michigan in March (LINK).

Tyriq Thompson - LB - Detroit (MI) King: I wrote a scouting report on Thompson in January (LINK).

Michael Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Weber is a 5'10", 205 lb. prospect who has a top group that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #13 running back, and #108 overall. Over the last two seasons, he has 3,359 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns. Weber is visiting USC this weekend and is attempting to fly back in time for the BBQ.

Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. - TE - Manlius (NY) Canisius: Wheatley is a 6'6", 275 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Miami, Michigan, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #10 tight end, and #231 overall. While he has grown to a mammoth size, Michigan is still recruiting him as a tight end, although he could play defensive end or even offensive tackle if he continues to grow. UPDATE: Wheatley will miss the BBQ.

Hit the jump for 2016 and 2017 prospects.

Monday, July 21, 2014 Q&A with Nick Baumgardner did a question-and-answer session with MLive writer Nick Baumgardner to introduce Rutgers fans to Michigan.

Hit the jump for three ladies in bikinis.

2014 Season Countdown: #35 Royce Jenkins-Stone

Royce Jenkins-Stone (#52)
Name: Royce Jenkins-Stone
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 221 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Linebacker
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #52
Last year: I ranked Jenkins-Stone #41 and said he would be a backup linebacker and special teamer. He made 5 tackles while playing in thirteen games, mostly on special teams.

Jenkins-Stone's biggest impact last season was when he initiated a minor brawl against Ohio State, for which he was booted out of the game (along with Buckeyes Marcus Hall and Dontre Wilson). It was a somewhat ugly incident, and despite inciting it by ripping off Wilson's helmet during a routine tackle, Ohio State came out looking worse after Wilson threw a punch and Hall flipped off the crowd on his way to the tunnel. Either way, the other parts of Jenkins-Stone's 2013 season were pretty forgettable. He couldn't pierce the rotation at linebacker, and he made fewer special teams tackles than a wide receiver (Jehu Chesson) and a fullback (Sione Houma).

This year brings a modified defense, the 4-3 Over, and some new hope for Jenkins-Stone. Recruited as a middle linebacker, he's too light at 221 lbs. to be the thumper in the middle that was expected of him. Instead, he's a special teamer who has shown an ability to slash downhill but not much else. While I normally wouldn't expect much of a guy who has essentially only contributed on special teams, I am making an exception for him. I have never viewed him as a read-and-react guy, so his new position as a SAM linebacker in the Over fits well - he should be able to blitz from that position and play downhill if flow comes his way. There were some rumblings in the spring that he had leapfrogged incumbent starter James Ross III (who bumped over from WILL in the shakeup), but I find it hard to believe that last year's second-leading tackler will lose his job to a special teamer with 11 career stops. However, I like how Jenkins-Stone fits at SAM, and I think he will get a fair amount of playing time on the defensive side of the ball, not just on specials.

Prediction: Backup SAM linebacker; 20 tackles, 1 sack

Recruiting Update: July 21, 2014

This is Ben Cleveland, perhaps the largest high school baseball player in the country (image via Maxpreps)
Cleveland (OH) Benedictine linebacker Jerome Baker committed to Florida. Baker made noise about visiting Michigan several times, but then his visit got canceled every time. I don't believe he ever made it to Ann Arbor. On the plus side, he was considered an Ohio State lean for a long time, so it's probably a good thing that he ended up choosing the Gators.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, a 2016 prospect, committed to Miami. A diminutive slot type of receiver, Bruce never visited Michigan, but he was always expected to stay down south, anyway.

Toccoa (GA) Stephens County offensive tackle Ben Cleveland, a 2016 prospect, committed to Georgia. Cleveland is listed at 6'6" and 327 lbs. and is just a rising junior. He is consistently mentioned as one of the most impressive looking prospects that recruiting gurus have seen in a long time . . . and the kid (pictured above) won't turn 16 until August.

Lake Stevens (WA) Lake Stevens quarterback Jacob Eason, another 2016 prospect, also committed to Georgia. He's the son of Tony Eason, a former wide receiver for Notre Dame. Jacob is the 247 Composite #2 pro-style quarterback and the #14 overall player in the country.

Randleman (NC) Randleman wide receiver Juval Mollette committed to North Carolina. Mollette claimed a high level of interest in Michigan despite never visiting, and he reportedly connected well with area recruiter Roy Manning. However, he was expected to stay in the general geographical area, so this wasn't a surprise.

Pittsburgh (PA) Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders committed to Penn State. Sanders was offered by Michigan recently and reportedly had the Nittany Lions and Wolverines as his top two, so this was a near miss. This leaves two running backs on the board for 2016: New Jersey's Kareem Walker and Georgia's Elijah Holyfield.

Many (LA) Many offensive guard Garrett Thomas committed to Texas. Michigan had relatively recently re-ignited some interest on Thomas's part, but he was still going to be a tough pull from so far away.

Here's a list of visitors for the BBQ at the Big House (LINK).

Tennessee linebacker Joshua McMillon (August 22nd) and North Carolina defensive end Darian Roseboro (August 29th) have both set announcement dates, and Michigan is a top choice for both. It would be somewhat disappointing if the Wolverines didn't pull in at least one of the two.

Over on Recruiting Season, I profiled Lapeer West's Hunter Andrews, Farmington Hills Harrison's Devon Cook, U of D Jesuit's Bryce Brand, and Lansing Catholic Central TE Tony Poljan; updated the profiles of Joshua Alabi, David MoormanBrian Cole, John Kelly, and Alex Malzone; and added commitments for Southfield's Ray Buford (Minnesota) and Avondale's Joshuwa Holloman (Cincinnati).