With Michigan now targeting a class of 18 to 20 commits the staff is starting to narrow down their targets. Here we will focus on the recruiting of the offensive side of the ball. This week a lot of news came out regarding two players from the Orlando area. Kevin Sousa, a three star rated quarterback out of Orlando Lake Nona, decommitted from Michigan and verbally committed to Wake Forest. Although this was not a surprise, it is still a loss for the Wolverines as Sousa had great upside on his 6’4” 230 pound frame. Also causing a stir was Orlando Dr. Phillips RB Demetrius Hart. First rumored by Orlando ABC Channel 9 was a possible post-game announcement from Hart. Most anticipated a decommitment from Michigan and a commitment to Alabama. With Nick Saban and other Alabama staff members at the game this made sense, especially when it was confirmed a post-game announcement was to take place. However no post-game announcement was made outside of a short ceremony honoring his selection to the Army All American bowl.
With the loss of Sousa, Michigan could turn up the heat on Cardale Jones. Outside of Jones, Michigan is really left without an option. With the potential of a medical redshirt being granted to Devin Gardner a quarterback is not a huge position of need as the staff looks to keep scholarship numbers higher in 2012.
Projection at the QB position – Zero commits
The running back position is a position of need. Denard Robinson was left alone for most of the season as Michigan lacked the explosive back to keep the defense honest. Dee Hart is the perfect option for this class. He possesses a skill set that is very rare and that is evident of his 3,000+ all purpose yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior. He is still committed to Michigan and barring a coaching change I expect him to remain firm to his commitment. It is unknown whether Hart will take the three hour trip to Jacksonville for Michigan’s bowl game. With the Orlando Sentinel reporting that Hart has dropped Alabama and now adding Florida he could make the choice between the Outback (Tampa, UF), Capitol One (Orlando, UA) and Gator (Jacksonville, UM) bowls. He simply may just stay at home.
Michigan’s other option at the running back position includes Flint, MI Northern HS’s Thomas Rawls. Rawls is a bruising back much like Stephen Hopkins. With that said don’t underestimate his speed. He has great breakaway speed and runs with great power and leverage. He is definitely an under-the-radar type of player. Iowa and Michigan are holding back at this point due to grade issues, however if the grades come through expect him to get offered by both Big 10 teams.
A decommitment from Dee Hart would be absolutely devastating to this class. However if that were to happen look for Michigan to get on Chevelle Buie (Cocoa, FL), Tre Mason (Lake Worth, FL), Devondrick Nealy (Monicello, FL) and even Utah commit Jarrell Oliver (Sugar Land, TX).
Projection at the RB position – Dee Hart, Thomas Rawls
Michigan currently has one outside wide receiver commit. However, Shawn Conway did not make the grades and will go to a JUCO before re-applying for admission to Michigan. Devin Lucien is a three star prospect out of Encino, CA. He has major interest in Michigan as they just offered, but it may have been a little too late. Michigan is also in good position with Hakeem Flowers. Flowers, out of Greenville, SC, has nice size and can be a physical receiver for the Wolverines. Also a possibility is another Orlando Dr. Phillips kid, Chris Gallon. However with his off the field issues Michigan may just stay away from this one. Oh, and is it really over with Sammy Watkins? Probably unfortunately.
Projection at the WR position – Hakeem Flowers
Although listed as a running back, Michigan received a verbal commitment from Justice Hayes (Grand Blanc, MI). Hayes is a great athlete who excels both as a running back and slot. However his skill set would be ideal at the slot position in the spread offense. Slots are asked to have the skills needed to receive the ball and then act as a running back in space. Hayes fills this roll great and should have a bright career in Ann Arbor.
Projection at the SWR position – Justice Hayes
Not a lot of tight ends are screaming to play in Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense. However Jack Tabb, Tanner McAvoy and Darien Bryant have interest. Most of these kids are jumbo athletes who can line up at tight end or along the defensive front. Out of the three I expect the most serious interest to come from Darien Bryant. With that said, Michigan will most likely go without a tight end in this class at this point.
Projection at the TE position – Zero commits
Most of the offensive line recruiting is done. Jack Miler, Jake Fisher and Tony Posada create a nice threesome. All three players are big and athletic. The strength of all three is their ability to run block. Jake Fisher is ultra-athletic and could turn into a dangerous run blocker in space while Jack Miller is a mauler who could make a great guard or center. Tony Posada is also a great run blocker but has shown great improvement as a senior in pass protection. Michigan will look for one more offensive linemen and that looks to be Chicago Simeon’s Chris Bryant. Bryant is another great run blocker at 6’5” 330 pounds. One position I’ll never worry about with this staff is offensive line.
Projection at the OL position – Jack Miller, Jake Fisher, Tony Posada, Chris Bryant
Overall, this will be a smaller than normal offensive class for Rich Rodriguez. However for obvious reasons this is music to many Michigan fans ears. With Justice Hayes at slot and Dee Hart sticking to his commitment this offensive class could be rated an B or higher with the potential of the offensive line group Michigan is bringing in. A very explosive outside wide receiver (a.k.a. Sammy Watkins) would have been nice for the Wolverines and would potentially have made this offensive class an A.
Projected 2011 Offensive Class:
|RB – Dee Hart – – Orlando, FL (Instant Impact Player)|
|RB – Thomas Rawls – – Flint, MI|
|WR – Hakeem Flowers – – Greenville, SC|
|SL – Justice Hayes – – Grand Blanc, MI (Instant Impact Player, at a deep position)|
|OL – Jake Fisher – – Traverse City, MI|
|OL – Jack Miller – – Toledo, OH|
|OL – Tony Posada – – Tampa, FL|
|OL – Chris Bryant – – Chicago, IL|
Top Three 2012 recruits at each position (very early still folks, especially for Michigan who is taking time with offering junior prospects):
|Nick Patti – Orlando, FL||Qua Barnes – Apopka, FL|
|Brandon Napolean – Jersey City, NJ||Shane Barron – Flint, MI|
|Maty Mauk – Kenton, OH||Tyree Monroe – Madison Heights, MI|
|Drake Johnson – Ann Arbor, MI||Sean Price – Citra, FL|
|Will Mahone – Youngstown, OH||Matt Doneth – Nova, MI|
|Dennis Norfleet – Detroit, MI||Taylor McNamara – San Diego, CA|
|Corey Smith – Akron, OH||Jordan Diamond – Chicago, IL|
|Monty Madaris – Cincinnati, OH||Ben Braden – Rockford, MI|
|Jalen Cobb – Warren, AR||Shane Callahan – Parker, CO|