Monday, February 3, 2014

Who's left in the 2014 recruiting class?

The Southfield trio of Ray Buford, Lawrence Marshall, and Malik McDowell
This is that crazy (and awkward) time of year when high school seniors get grown men's hearts pumping. There will probably be little fanfare for Michigan on National Signing Day, which is on Wednesday. The thought is that Michigan is trying to get defensive end Malik McDowell, and they'll bank the scholarship for next year if that doesn't work. So the guys on this list won't be picking Michigan, but I'll still be interested to see how they pan out over the next several years.

Lorenzo Carter - DE - Norcross (GA) Norcross: The #18 player nationally, according to the 247 Composite, is leaning toward Georgia with the Bulldogs receiving the final official visit. Unless something crazy happens, I think he ends up a Bulldog.

Malachi Dupre - WR - New Orleans (LA) John Curtis: One spot ahead of Carter in the national rankings, Dupre has had LSU as his leader for a long time. UCLA received the final visit of his recruitment, but the thought is that he will end up in Baton Rouge playing for the Mad Hatter.

Adoree' Jackson - CB - Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra: The #7 player in the land appears to be leaning toward Florida, where he might be able to best pursue dreams of doing the triple jump in the Olympics. USC is the likely second option.

Roderick Johnson - OT - Florissant (MO) Hazelwood Central: The #125 player has been expected to end up at Florida State for a long time, but Ohio State got a visit a couple weeks ago. It would be quite an upset if Johnson committed to the Buckeyes, who may lose offensive lineman Jamarco Jones to Michigan State.

Malik McDowell - DE - Southfield (MI) Southfield: The #32 overall player was a Michigan lean early, but now it seems like he's favoring Michigan State. An uncle wants him to go to Florida State, and Urban Meyer really, really wants him in Columbus. Nobody really knows where he'll pick to go, but chances are dimming for the Wolverines. I think it's a Michigan-MSU battle because either the kid or the parents should win out.

Mattrell McGraw - S - New Orleans (LA) John Curtis: A teammate of Dupre's, the #362 player overall has been rumored to be heading to Oregon for a while. Texas A&M also has a chance.

Steven Parker - S - Jenks (OK) Jenks: The #108 player nationally has been a supposed Oklahoma lock for a long time, despite taking several other visits and expressing interest in others. His final official visit took place this past weekend when he traveled to Auburn.

Damian Prince - OT - District Heights (MD) Bishop McNamara: Prince, a 5-star and the #27 overall player, was thought to be headed to Florida State for a while. However, the Seminoles have fallen off his list, and now it appears to be a two-horse race between Florida and Maryland. His best friend, Jalen Tabor, flipped from Arizona to Florida at the beginning of January, and that may be the push he needs to end up in Gainesville.

Lamont Simmons - CB - Jacksonville (FL) Raines: Simmons is the #970 player overall, but he has an excellent offer list and has taken visits to Auburn, Arkansas, USC, and Penn State over the past two months, with a visit to State College this past weekend. Despite getting the most recent visit, the Trojans will likely get his NLI.

Braden Smith - OG - Olathe (KS) North: Smith is the #63 player overall, and I think he should probably be ranked even higher. Smith doesn't like to talk about recruiting, so he's been difficult to read throughout the process. He visited Michigan last summer and removed the Wolverines from his list immediately. Now the thought is that he'll end up at TCU, which is a somewhat odd choice for such a highly touted recruit. Auburn and Texas A&M also have a shot.

John Smith - S - Long Beach (CA) Poly: The #20 player in the country was looking around when Lane Kiffin was the head coach at USC, despite the fact that he appeared to want to wear a Trojans uniform all along. After Kiffin got fired, USC immediately jumped to the top of his list, according to recruiting gurus. It would be a surprise if he picked Notre Dame, Oregon, or UCLA.

Solomon Thomas - DE - Coppell (TX) Coppell: The country's #25 prospect, Thomas has kind of been all over the place throughout the recruiting process, seeming at times to be headed to Ohio State and Texas. Now he seems likely to end up at Stanford with UCLA having an outside shot.

Denzel Ward - OT - Chicago (IL) Simeon: The #649 player nationally has been all over the place with his recruitment. He has been committed to both Michigan and Purdue, and he moved from Illinois to Florida to a different school in Illinois. The most recent buzz I heard had him likely committing to Syracuse, but he has also visited South Florida and Vanderbilt in recent weeks. I think the coaching change at Vandy will keep him away from Tennessee, so it's the Orangemen vs. the Bulls.

Andrew Williams - DE - McDonough (GA) Eagle's Landing Christian: Williams, the #231 player in the country, has long been considered an Auburn lock, but he has taken visits to Clemson and Georgia in recent weeks. I think it's either Auburn or Georgia.

Richard Yeargin III - DE - Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School: The country's #266 player decommitted from Notre Dame a couple weeks ago, and it was clearly because he was favoring Clemson. Texas offered him a week ago, but he has not visited Austin, so he'll likely be picking the Tigers.

Kenny Young - LB - New Orleans (FL) John Curtis: Ranked #175 nationally, it looks like Young will probably pick UCLA over LSU and Texas A&M. With teammates Dupre and McGraw also making late decisions, it should be an interesting week at Curtis.


  1. I hate that they're considering banking the scholarship. Michigan is not in a comfortable-enough position to let scholarships go unused (actually rewarding walk-ons, but you get the point.)

    If/when McDowell goes elsewhere they should call up some 2-star/3-star linemen who'd love to be at Michigan and give him an offer. Preferably on the OL, where the injury news paired with inexperience is depressing. Michigan's only sure-fire starter right now is Graham Glasgow, which is scary. I realize a freshman isn't going to fix that in 2014, but he might in 2015 or 2016. OL is the toughest position to recruit according to many, including this article:

    This is a time of year where guys like Norfleet can still be unearthed and signed. Michigan shouldn't pass on that opportunity without at least trying to flip someone.

    1. Why not Ka'John Armstrong? I've been saying it for months now

    2. Disagree...would much rather have that scholarship sit idle for one year, and give it to a likely contributor next year, then tie it up for 4 or 5 years with someone who ends up on the scout team, because we took him just to take anybody.

    3. Yeah. It all depends on the quality of the player. Should never sign somebody just because we want to fill a spot. I don't mind on using it on solid linemen, but other than that, might as well wait for next year.

      Recruiting since September has been tough because we were having a lame season, so we might as well bank a few for next year -- 2015 class will be very small, even smaller than 2014 class.

    4. Recruiting is by nature uncertain. It's a false choice to describe it as a scout teamer vs a quality player. Yeah, you take a 4 star over a 3 star usually but they're all gambles. The more you take the more likely it is you find players.

    5. I never presented "scout teamer" vs quality player as the only choice, but that's where a 2 star OL is likely to end up at Michigan.

      And no, the more 4 stars you take over 3 stars or 2 stars, the more likely it is that you find players

  2. Braden Smith has a sister on the TCU track team. I believe that's the connection.