Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2018 Recruiting Update: February 8, 2017

Toledo (OH) St. John's Jesuit linebacker Dallas Gant (image via Rivals)

ADDED TO THE BOARD: 2018

Baltimore (MD) St. Frances defensive end Eyabi Anoma was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'5", 230 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Maryland, and Penn State, among others. He's a 4-star, the #4 defensive end, and #81 overall. He's a speed rusher who doesn't quite look 6'5" on film.

Owings (MD) Northern offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan was offered by Michigan. He's a 4-star, the #12 offensive tackle, and #123 overall. The 6'6", 305-pounder has offers from Ohio State and Penn State, too. Duncan is an athletic left tackle prospect with a good motor.

Toledo (OH) St. John's linebacker Dallas Gant was offered by Michigan. He's a 4-star, the #5 outside linebacker, and #132 overall. Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, and others have also offered. Gant is the cousin of former Michigan safety/linebacker Allen Gant and attends the alma mater of former Michigan lineman Jack Miller.

Hit the jump for several more new offers in the 2018 class.


Monday, February 6, 2017

A History of #1 Center Recruits

Cesar Ruiz
In past years, I have done examinations of the various positions at which Michigan has pulled in the #1 recruit. So you can find pieces on the #1 running back (LINK), the #1 cornerback (LINK), and the #1 overall recruits (LINK). Below you'll find a bevy of household names for the sexiest position in football: offensive center.

2000: Jason Respert - C - Warner Robins (GA) Northside
Respert was a backup guard at Tennessee as a freshman and then earned the starting center job in 2001, only to have a season-ending ankle injury after three games. He would go on to start seven games at guard during the 2002-2003 seasons before being named a captain in 2004. I can't find any evidence of him playing in the NFL, and the latest news I can find is that he was coaching high school football in his home state.

2001: Ben Wilkerson - C - Hemphill (TX) Hemphill
Wilkerson started immediately as a freshman at LSU in 2001. He was First Team All-SEC in 2003 and 2004, and he was the co-recipient of the Rimington Trophy (along with Michigan's David Baas) in 2004. He went undrafted in 2005 and then played in 32 total games with the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons from 2005-2008. Since then he has been coaching, most recently as an assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears.

2002: Bobby Morton - C - McKinney (TX) McKinney
Morton redshirted for Notre Dame in 2002 and then became the full-time starting center in 2003. He moved to left guard and started in 2004 and then started four games at center in 2005, playing a backup role the rest of his redshirt junior season. He bounced back and forth between center and guard as a fifth year senior in 2006. He was not picked in the 2007 NFL Draft and I can't find any record of him playing in the NFL.

Hit the jump for more.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My life as a 247 Sports Crystal Baller



 As of Wednesday, I (mostly) wrapped up my first recruiting cycle as a 247 Sports Crystal Ball picker. The chance to be a Crystal Baller was conferred upon me by Steve Lorenz, to whom I'm grateful for giving me a chance to expand my horizons.

There are bound to be a few kids trickling in with commitments, so rankings can change. However, as of this writing on February 3, I'm ranked #28 nationally (out of 175 ranked pickers) with 1,003.38 points. I got 80.6% of my picks correct. You can find the full list here (LINK).

It's fun taking a shot at where some of these kids will land. My biggest moneymakers were picks for Khalan Laborn (Florida State), Andrew Thomas (Georgia), and Luiji Vilain (Michigan), each of which earned me 80+ points.

On the negative side, the most annoying part is that I don't live on 247 Sports. Sometimes I hear news or see something developing with a certain player, but I just don't have the time to log in to 247 and make or change my pick. Then I either forget about it or the kid chooses a school before I get around to making the choice. It makes things difficult for someone who's not a full-time blogger, but I guess that comes with the territory. Anyway, it's been fun making Crystal Ball picks, and I hope to improve on that ranking and percentage for the 2018 class.

Friday, February 3, 2017

2017 Recruiting Awards

Cesar Ruiz
It's time for the yearly recruiting awards. You can look back on past awards here (LINK).

Best Overall Recruit: C Cesar Ruiz
An offensive lineman isn't a sexy pick for the best overall recruit, but Ruiz is the country's #1 center and I gave him a TTB Rating of 99. He has the size and the experience at the position to play fairly early in his career, as well as develop into a very good player down the road. I expect him to at least be in the running for a Rimington Trophy by the end of his career.

Best Offensive Recruit: C Cesar Ruiz
Centers play offense.

Best Defensive Recruit: DT Aubrey Solomon
Maybe this isn't a very sexy choice, either, because nose tackles generally aren't superstars. But Solomon is 6'3", 295 lbs. and extremely strong, and he plays with good leverage. Defensive line coach Greg Mattison has taken less talented players and turned them into college stars, so Solomon should be in line for some great things.

Hit the jump for the rest of the superlatives.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Brad Robbins, Wolverine

Westerville (OH) South punter Brad Robbins

Westerville (OH) South punter Brad Robbins was offered by Michigan and committed to the Wolverines on Wednesday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Illinois Navy, Nevada, and Rutgers.

Robbins is 6'2", 180 lbs.

RATINGS
Kornblue Kicking: #1 P
ProKicker.com: #3 P, #6 specialist, #7 combo kicker
Rivals: 2-star K
247 Sports: 2-star, 73 grade, #7 P, #3232 overall

Hit the jump for more.

Nico Collins, Wolverine

Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville WR Nico Collins

NOTE: With the new website getting its ass kicked, I'm going to post a couple things here. I'll migrate these posts over to www.touch-the-banner.com once things settle down a bit.

Pinson (AL) Clay-Chalkville wide receiver Nico Collins committed to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and LSU, among others.

Collins is 6'5", 195 lbs. As a junior in 2015, he caught 60 passes for 1,103 yards and 16 touchdowns. He followed that up with 43 catches for 865 yards and 9 touchdowns as a senior.

RATINGS
ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #21 WR, #150 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #17 WR, #120 overall
Scout: 4-star, #24 WR, #178 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 92 grade, #29 WR, #200 overall

Hit the jump for more.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Touch the Banner is on the move!

The day that we all have been waiting for has arrived. That's right. After a couple years of contemplation and a couple months of consternation, the new site has been created and launched. That's in no small part to the numerous people who have donated toward the site redesign. So as of today, I am officially abandoning Blogger for the greener pastures of Wordpress. You can find the new site now and forevermore at: