Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Recruiting Update: January 27, 2015

Left to right: Reuben Jones, Greg Mattison, and Jake Pickard
Albuqerque (NM) Eldorado quarterback Zach Gentry committed to Michigan (LINK).

Lakeland (FL) Lake Gibson defensive end Reuben Jones committed to Michigan (LINK).

West Chester (OH) Lakota West offensive tackle Nolan Ulizio committed to Michigan (LINK).

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Rashard Causey decommitted from Florida Atlantic. Michigan offered almost exactly a year ago, but then he surprisingly committed to FAU in April over some decent offers. The 6'0", 185 lb. prospect took officials to Wisconsin and Louisville in the meantime, and he decommitted following the Louisville visit. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #50 cornerback, and #517 overall. He's also a teammate of cornerback Damon Arnette, who visited Michigan two weekends ago but remains committed to South Carolina at this time. Causey transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas - a powerhouse program in Florida - prior to his senior season. Georgia and Tennessee have entered the fray and may be difficult to beat, but Michigan could also throw its hat into the ring once again, as Causey says he is "open to everyone."

Houston (TX) Cypress Falls cornerback Nate Dalton was offered by Michigan. The 6'2", 185 lb. prospect scheduled an official visit to Michigan for this past weekend, but he then promptly announced that he would not be taking the visit and committed to Arkansas instead. Dalton is a 247 Composite 3-star, the #90 cornerback, and #1011 overall, but the book appears to be closed on him. File him under "Off the Board."

Manvel (TX) Manvel cornerback William Lockett was offered by Michigan. Lockett is a 6'0", 182 lb. prospect who has been committed to UCLA since last August. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #79 cornerback, and #849 overall. Lockett took an official visit to Michigan this past weekend, but he has since said that he'll stick with his commitment to UCLA. So maybe he should be in the "Off the Board" category.

Hit the jump for a couple more new offers, some commits elsewhere, and some other tidbits.

Omaha (NE) Central defensive end Daishon Neal was offered by Michigan. Neal is a 6'7", 250 lb. prospect who has been committed to Nebraska since April 2014; he also has offers from Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Oregon, among others. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #36 strongside end, and #674 overall. Neal has said that he has narrowed his choices down to the Cornhuskers or potentially Michigan, and that was before the offer came through on Monday. It's quite possible that he will visit Ann Arbor officially this coming weekend. As far as talent goes, Neal has some untapped potential. He's a good athlete with some speed and length, but he plays a little high and doesn't get off blocks as quickly as he should. I see him more as a 3-4 defensive end than a speed rusher or one-gap guy, so it will be interesting to see how Michigan runs their defense if he comes on board.

Millburn (NJ) Millburn defensive end Jake Pickard was offered by Michigan. Pickard is a 6'6", 231 lb. prospect who has been committed to Wisconsin since last July; he also has offers from Nebraska, Oregon, Rutgers, and Syracuse, among others. Pickard canceled a potential official visit to Oregon for an official to Michigan this past weekend, and he will be having coaches from Syracuse, Wisconsin, and Michigan in to visit him this week. It was reported that Pickard was told he was the only defensive end Michigan is offering, but that deal seemed to expire on Monday when the coaches officially went after Neal. Pickard is another long, thick guy who is being recruited for the end position, but he could also play tight end, defensive tackle, or even offensive tackle, depending on how his body fills out. He seems to be a high-effort player whose film is full of him getting penetration and batting down passes, which can be be useful assets.

Prattville (AL) Prattville cornerback Keith Washington was offered by Michigan. Washington is a 6'2", 170 lb. prospect who just committed to Cal on Sunday. He has also taken officials to North Carolina, Indiana, and Louisville - with two remaining - and holds offers from Duke (where he was committed last summer), Kentucky, Miami, Missouri, and TCU, among others. He is a 247 Composite 3-star, the #75 dual-threat quarterback, and #952 overall, but several teams are recruiting him as a defensive back. As a senior this past year, he was 93/162 for 1,718 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions; he also ran for 1,201 yards and 20 scores. He moved from Texas to Alabama prior to his senior year, which is why you might see some highlights wearing two different uniforms.

Princeton (NC) Princeton running back Johnny Frasier flipped from Florida State to North Carolina State. Frasier immediately becomes the Wolfpack's top recruit (#76 overall), ranked even higher than former Michigan commit Darian Roseboro. They're quietly putting together a solid class with #27 overall ranking for 2015.

Oak Park (MI) Oak Park running back John Kelly committed to Tennessee. Kelly was recruited hard by Jim Harbaugh, but Michigan got in on him late and he was friendly with Mike Weber. If the Wolverines had been able to hold onto Weber's commitment, they might have had a chance. Instead, Weber is committed to Ohio State, and Kelly - who was not offered by the Buckeyes - chose the Volunteers.

Salt Lake City (UT) Brighton linebacker Osa Masina committed to USC. Masina is a 247 Composite 5-star and Michigan got in on him relatively early, but the Wolverines' poor season seemed to turn him off. Michigan had been consistently in his top four or five schools, but they dropped out of it recently and it was understood they had no chance. Masina spurned the chance to play at Utah with his older brother.

Greenbelt (MD) Eleanor Roosevelt offensive tackle Isaiah Prince committed to Alabama. The Crimson Tide pulled off a minor upset by stealing him away from Maryland.

Here's a list of last weekend's official visitors (LINK).

It's obvious that Michigan wants at least one more cornerback in this class, but options are getting slim now that Dalton committed to Arkansas, Lockett reconfirmed to UCLA, and Long Beach (CA) Poly's Colin Samuel canceled a hastily planned official visit. Late in the recruiting process, you start to look at lower-rated guys from Michigan or Ohio, places where a childhood affinity for - or awareness of - Michigan's tradition can play a factor. I'll throw out a few names to keep an eye on if Michigan continues to be rebuffed:

  • Southfield (MI) Southfield wide receiver/defensive back Ja'Mar Antwine is a 6'0", 181 lb. prospect who committed to Central Michigan last June. He's a 247 Composite 2-star, the #236 cornerback, and #2682 overall. Antwine looks more like a safety at the next level and is probably an inch or two shorter than 6'0".
  • Grand Rapids (MI) Ottawa Hills wide receiver/cornerback Sam Beal is a 6'2", 177 lb. prospect who's committed to Western Michigan. He probably projects best as a wide receiver, but he has good speed and a long frame to work with. He's a 247 Composite 2-star, the #165 athlete, and #2089 overall.
  • Southfield (MI) Southfield wide receiver/cornerback Ray Buford, Jr. is 6'1", 195 lbs. and committed to Minnesota last July over a bunch of MAC offers. He was a teammate of current Michigan defensive end Lawrence Marshall and Southfield has some decent prospects in the pipeline, too, including 2016 running back Matt Falcon. Buford doesn't offer a ton of speed, but he has decent size and a solid frame. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #77 athlete, and #978 overall.
  • Saline (MI) Saline defensive back Tyrone Miller started off his high school career at Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer and has visited Michigan a few times. He's 6'1", 171 lbs. and claims a 4.61 forty. He's not the quickest kid around, but he is fairly physical and could be a boundary corner, play in the slot, or play safety. Miller held out on committing to MAC schools for a while but committed to Central Michigan in December; however, he recently picked up offers from Kansas and more could be on the way. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #112 cornerback, and #1262 overall.
If I'm ranking these guys in order of preference for corner, it would go Miller, Beal, Buford, then Antwine. Miller seems like a solid choice, Beal has the speed to possibly be a steal, and then Buford and Antwine just seem like they probably don't have the quickness to handle the corner position for Michigan.

Over on Recruiting Season, I added/updated profiles on:

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