|California WR Jordan Payton
OFF THE BOARD
This guy was already off the board, but Fairless Hills (PA) Pennsbury OT J.J. Denman flipped his commitment from Penn State to Wisconsin. The 6'6", 305 lb. lineman would appear to fit in well at Wisconsin. Frankly, I can't think of a single reason for an offensive lineman not to choose to attend Wisconsin right now. The Badgers have churned out solid offensive linemen over the last several years, including first round picks Joe Thomas (Cleveland Browns) and Gabe Carimi (Chicago Bears); they win all the time and put up all kinds of points; and they get to eat whatever they want. What's not to like?
Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian WR Jordan Payton has set his announcement date for next Tuesday, October 25th. Payton was formerly committed to USC, and has since been rumored to be a Cal or Michigan lean. Most recent reports have him leaning toward Michigan. The 6'2", 199 lb. wideout will be visiting Notre Dame this coming weekend, but the fact that he set his announcement date for immediately following his visit to South Bend suggests that he has already made his decision. Payton has decent speed, but perhaps more importantly, he knows how to catch the ball and get upfield. He understands body positioning and body lean and will get every inch that's available to him. He probably won't be a superstar at the next level, but he could be a very good #2 receiver.
ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL ROSTERS
Since the first waves of offers from the new coaching staff were sent out earlier this year, I noticed that Coach Hoke and Co. seemed to be offering elite players in higher quantities. That observation has been borne out in numerous ways so far, including the Rivals 250, the Scout 300, the 24/7 Top 247, etc. To add to the mounting list of evidence, I submit more data for the argument that Michigan is targeting higher quality players than they were under Rich Rodriguez:
Last year 25 of the Army All-American Bowl players sported Michigan offers. While the 2012 game's rosters have yet to be completed, 50 of the planned participants have offers to play football in Ann Arbor. Only five of those 50 have committed to Michigan at this point (OG Kyle Kalis, OT Erik Magnuson, LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, LB James Ross, and DT Ondre Pipkins), but if AAB rosters are any indication of elite talent, then Michigan's going after it in spades.
Aside from the four aforementioned players, Michigan still has a good shot at landing the following participants:
- OT Zach Banner
- WR Jordan Payton
- CB Yuri Wright
. . . and an outside shot at grabbing these players:
- ATH Stefon Diggs
- S Elijah Shumate (check out his highlights below)
This is not necessarily meant to be an indictment of Rich Rodriguez, whose recruits are in the midst of having a pretty good season at Michigan right now. But there are some gaping holes, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines, where the Wolverines are lacking both numbers and talent. If the Wolverines snatch an additional two of those players listed above, that will make for an incredibly talented first recruiting class for Brady Hoke.