So much for making it through a recruiting cycle without losing a commitment. Lyndhurst (OH) Brush TE/DE Pharaoh Brown (commitment post here) will no longer be attending Michigan next year. The 6'7", 220 lb. tight end seemed slightly disgruntled and headstrong during a late-season interview in which he said that he was starting to enjoy playing offense and that he might have to talk with Michigan's coaches about switching from defense to offense. I started to wonder about his attitude toward Michigan when I saw that interview. Sometimes kids say things like that and laugh; Brown wasn't laughing.
Brown talked to Michigan's coaches about playing on the offensive side of the ball, and they allowed him to flip to tight end. But apparently that wasn't good enough. Brown took an official visit to Oregon this past weekend and, by all accounts, failed to mention it to U of M's coaching staff. The reason? It's a definite no-no to Brady Hoke and his staff. Fellow class of 2012 player Terry Richardson had plans to visit elsewhere this fall, but he was talked out of it also. Hoke believes that if a player commits to a school, he shouldn't visit elsewhere. And if he does, then he's risking his chance to play for the Wolverines.
I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Hoke's tactics here. While I understand that he only wants players who strongly want to attend Michigan, I also believe that players should have the opportunity to explore their options. Especially when the coaching staff is trying to get so many commits early in the recruiting cycle (for example, there are two already in the fold for February 2013), they ought to give kids a little leeway.
This is not to say that Brown should still be considered a commit by Hoke. But in my opinion, Hoke should say, "Okay, you're clearly not committed to Michigan at this time. Go explore your options and I hope you sign with us in February, but in the meantime, I'm not going to hold your spot and it might not be here if or when you want it." Of course, it's entirely possible that Hoke sent that message to Brown, but the prevailing thought seems to be that Michigan will no longer be recruiting Brown.
Brown is a 4-star prospect to Rivals and 247 Sports, and a 3-star to both ESPN and Scout. While it's disappointing to lose someone with his raw talent and skill level, his loss probably won't be an extremely damaging blow to this recruiting class. Michigan has two other tight ends in this class (Devin Funchess, A.J. Williams) and four defensive ends (Matt Godin, Mario Ojemudia, Tom Strobel, Chris Wormley). Meanwhile, the Wolverines have needs at defensive tackle, offensive line, wide receiver, running back, and quarterback. With the recruiting class down from 24 to 23, this leaves five open slots to pursue guys who might have been squeezed out of the class by pure numbers, such as perhaps Jordan Diamond or Yuri Wright. There's also the possibility that Michigan will try to pursue San Diego (CA) Westview TE Taylor McNamara, who recently re-opened his recruitment; however, considering Michigan was content with two tight ends prior to Brown's flip from defense to offense, I'm assuming they won't go hard after another tight end.
For other news on former Wolverines, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.