Michigan inked a very impressive 2013 recruiting class and the 2014 class in starting to take shape as well. So far the Maize and Blue have verbal commitments from Wilton Speight (3* QB – Virginia), Drake Harris (5* WR – Michigan), Maurice Ways (3* WR – Michigan), Ian Bunting (4* TE – Illinois), Mason Cole (4* OG – Florida), Michael Ferns (4* LB – Ohio) and Brian Mone (4* DT – Utah). The Wolverines also picked-up Brady Pallante (NR DT – Florida), who received a greyshirt offer, which means he’ll count against either the 2014 class or the 2015 class depending on how the numbers shake out. NOTE: Juwan Bushell-Beatty (3* OL – New Jersey) committed on 4/29.
Running Backs (1)
Talented depth is being built, but it is also young and unproven depth at this point. I could see the staff taking one RB in this class, but it wouldn’t be all bad if they missed out mainly because the 2015 has a few big time prospects that love Michigan.
Dravon Henry – 5’11” 180 lbs. Aliquippa, PA. Dravon is a longish shot at this point and has a top 4 schools of Ohio State, Pitt, PSU and West Virginia. He did however say that this list could change and is somewhat fluid. IF he visits UM there’s a shot there, but I just don’t see it at this point.
Jonathan Hilliman – 6’1” 210lbs. Jersey City, NJ. Hilliman just released his list of top 10 schools, with a top 3(in order) of Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama. He had planned on visiting in the spring, but nothing has been set in stone yet. If he does indeed visit, Michigan should be there until the end.
Joe Mixon – 6’0” 195lbs. Oakley, CA. Mixon is one of the most heavily recruited kids in the country regardless of position with somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 offers. He recently cut that list to a more convenient 16 which includes Michigan. He will likely take all of his officials and wait until the all-star games in January to decide. Michigan’s chances in snagging Mixon will again come down to whether or not he makes it to Ann Arbor.
The relationship between offense and defense is well documented. Few defenses are able to play at a high level if they are constantly on the field because of an unproductive offense. At the same time defenses are often at the mercy of their offense where field position is concern. If an offense put their defense in bad spots by turning the ball over or failing to convert on 4th down, the defense is at a distinct disadvantage. Over the last year, Brady Hoke has introduced a new line of thinking where the relationship between offense and defense is concerned. Two comments made by Hoke highlight his line of thinking and the philosophy as a whole. The first was made by Hoke while the coach of San Diego State and was directed towards Oregon. In an interview with San Diego columnist Tim Sullivan Hoke declared:
“Right, wrong or indifferent, when you’re zone blocking all the time — when you’re playing basketball on grass — you practice against that all spring, you practice against it all fall and then you’re going to play a two-back team that wants to knock you off the football. I don’t think you’re prepared.”
Hoke made similar comments during Big 10 Media Days 2 weeks ago:
“I can tell you, and I’m a defensive coach, that when your defense plays against a pro-style offense all spring long, and they play against a pro-style offense all fall camp, you build a toughness and an edge because the schemes themselves are different … And this is a physical football league. It’s a physical offense, with people who run the football. We think we can play better defense by the fact of how we do things on the offensive side of the ball because they feed off each other.”
Hoke’s point is simple yet intriguing. The offensive scheme that a team uses helps dictate the level of preparation for the defense. Two aspects of Hoke’s comments are worthy of further examination. The first concerns the result of a defense practicing against an offense that utilizes zone blocking a majority of the time. The second concerns defenses who play against basketball on grass i.e the spread being unprepared to handle downhill running teams. These comments have led many members of the Michigan faithful who have watched Michigan struggle mightily on defense over the last 3 years to nod their head in agreement. After all Michigan has been gashed by downhill running teams for most of the last 3 years. Is there validity to Hoke’ comment is the question. Are teams that primarily use zone blocking and play “basketball on grass” less prepared defensively? Is the reverse also valid? Are defenses that practice against a pro-style scheme and primarily drive block less prepared to deal with spread teams?
Offensive tackle is a huge position of need and Michigan got a verbal from one of the best in the country this past weekend in left coaster Erik Magnuson. The Californian made it in to Ann Arbor last weekend and made his verbal pledge to Coach Hoke.
Sean O’Connell: Did you know Coach Hoke before he took over at Michigan?
Eric Magnuson: “Yes. I have a great relationship with him that was started when I was 15 because he was at SDSU, just 20 min from my house.”
Sean O’Connell: Who was your primary recruiter? How is your relationship with him?
Eric Magnuson: “Coach Ferrigno. I have a GREAT relationship with him.”
Sean O’Connell: Did you grow up a fan of Michigan? Where did the interest come from?
Eric Magnuson: “I didn’t have a favorite team growing up. My interest all came from Coach Hoke going there.”
Sean O’Connell: How did you commit and what was the reaction?
Eric Magnuson: “I had a meeting with Coach Hoke, Coach Ferrigno, Coach Funk and my dad. I just told coach I was ready to commit and they went crazy. It was awesome.”
Sean O’Connell: What other schools did you consider?
Eric Magnuson: “Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Miami, Boise State, Oregon and USC.”
Sean O’Connell: Have you talked to any other kids about coming to Michigan?
Eric Magnuson: “Yes, a lot. I’m trying to help build a national championship team.”
Sean O’Connell: Last one. I know there is a long time until February, but do you think you’ll visit any other schools along the way?
Eric Magnuson: “No, I don’t think I will.”
Name: Erik Magnuson
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height & Weight: 6’5” 290 lbs.
High School: La Costa Canyon (CA)
Erik’s Coach: “Erik’s a very athletic and aggressive player. He’s a really big kid too and he hits all the benchmarks that you’re looking for in a football player, especially at offensive tackle. He works really hard on his academics and tries to stay ahead in all of his work. I believe the last time I checked with him and his parents, he was going to be able to graduate and start college early.”
On Committing (24/7 Sports): "It is just the right fit. UM has everything I am looking for and I feel like the program is really headed in the right direction"
On Michigan: “This place is awesome, just what I expected it to be. I didn’t waste any time. When you know, you know. I got in last night [Thursday] and spent the whole day on campus today. I got that special feeling about this place and love all the coaches.”
Sean O’Connell UMGoBlog.com: “Erik is a very physical and aggressive blocker. He has great size at 6’5” 290 pounds and is another very athletic lineman. He is one of the top OL’s in California this year and in my opinion, one of the top 15 or so in the country. Magnuson is trying to enroll early and with his size, could possibly see the playing field early. Erik is an outstanding get for Michigan and has the ability to be a very, very good player.”
Scouts Inc, ESPN.com: “Magnuson is a tough inline blocker capable of dominating opponents with his good upper body playing strength. Has the size along with enough athleticism for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. Although we detect some lower body stiffness this prospect manages to play with good balance and agility when in space; comes off the ball hard when drive blocking but will need to improve his explosion, initial quickness and first step … Magnuson has the physical tools to be a successful offensive tackle at the major level of competition. However we don’t see an immediate starter, rather a player needing some time and perhaps a red shirt year to improve his athleticism and pass protection skills.”
|2010 (Jr.)||La Costa Canyon||N/A||N/A||N/A|
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