Sam Webb from the Detroit News takes a look at Michigan's recruiting trail, where things are heating up in the Sunshine State:
One of the most obvious recruiting developments in the brief Rich Rodriguez era is the emphasis placed on Florida. The Wolverines have assigned assistants Greg Frey, Calvin Magee and Rod Smith to recruit the state. Only the state of Michigan, in which six coaches are assigned to recruit, has a greater representation. As a result, the number of Florida prospects with confirmed offers has spiked this spring, and it is still on the rise.
RB Jaamal Berry, Palmetto High (Miami), 5-11/184/4.31: Berry has been one of the hottest recruits in the country during April. Michigan threw its scholarship hat in the ring on Monday on the heels of an outstanding combine performance. He scorched the 40-yard dash at the Scout.com/Under Armour event a few weeks ago in Miami by running a blistering 4.31 and delivering a 38.5-inch vertical. Scout.com Florida analyst Mike Bakas was impressed by Berry's showing: "He's plenty big enough and will likely be a 200-plus pound kid in college. He looked like the big-time player we saw on film and continues making a strong case to become a five-star player." Berry has made it a point to chat with other Florida prospects about attending the same school, including Michigan targets Eugene Smith, Brandon McGee and Frankie Telfort.
CB Brandon McGee, Plantation High, 6-0/180/4.45: McGee is clearly one of the most electrifying prospects in the Sunshine State. He didn't play a down at the position he's being recruited for, but none of the programs pursuing him seem to mind. He's that good. "My season last year went pretty well," McGee said. "I played seven games and missed three due to a high ankle sprain. I actually played most of my season injured, but it still turned out pretty well. Colleges aren't recruiting McGee at quarterback, though. "They want me as a corner," he said. "Cornerback is the position that works to my advantage with my height, my speed, and my size. I'm working on perfecting my cover skills this summer. I'm getting with my trainer and my position coach and I'm trying to become a lockdown corner. I'm playing both ways this year."
DT Antwan Lowery, Christopher Columbus High (Miami), 6-3/336/5.31: Lowery is one of the more recent Michigan offer recipients. Noted for his agility, he will be even more effective once he trims down to his desired playing weight of 300. One of the major factors in Lowery's college decision will be academics. "Education is the most important thing in my life," Lowery told Scout.com. "I am looking for a school with a good student-to-teacher ratio and a place where the teachers can help the students."
WR Nu'Keese Richardson, Pahokee High, 5-9/155/4.50: Richardson was the wing man to incoming Michigan freshman Martavious Odoms last year at Pahokee. Now that "Tay" is on his way to Ann Arbor, Richardson is the main man for his squad. Last year he hauled in 26 receptions for 452 yards and six touchdowns. He also racked up 274 yards and four touchdowns passing. His cat-like quickness is tailor-made for the slot receiver position in Michigan's offense.
S Jonathan Scott, Seabreeze High (Daytona Beach), 6-4/195/4.60: The recruiting process is not a foreign experience to Scott. He is the younger brother of former Georgia Tech standout Kenny Scott and Ohio State sophomore corner James Scott. Now it is Jonathan's turn, and he is slowly but surely becoming a coveted prospect in his own right. He already has eight offers, the most recent from Michigan. "I'm a big guy that can drop his hips and get loose," Scott said. The Wolverines currently sit in Scott's top three with LSU and Florida State.
QB Eugene Smith, Miramar High, 6-3/180/4.60: Smith is just the kind dual-threat signal-caller Rich Rodriguez covets. He is a threat to go the distance whenever he scrambles, but is equally dangerous through the air. His passing accuracy and ability to read defenses distinguishes him from the stereotypical "running quarterback." As a junior he passed for 1,597 yards, completing 70-of-115, with 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He holds offers from all three Florida powers and a host of other big-time programs, but the Wolverines are definitely a factor in the race for his services.
RB Vincent Smith, Pahokee High, 5-8/165/4.60: Also a teammate of Martavious Odoms at Pahokee, Smith is scatback type with outstanding hands. Though not as fast as Nu'Keese Richardson, he too has the open-field ability that translates not only to tailback, but to slot receiver as well.
LB/S Frankie Telfort, Gulliver Prep (Miami), 5-11/197/4.41: Telfort displayed tremendous athleticism at a recent Scout.com/Under Armour combine in Miami, running a blazing 4.41 and turning in a 36-inch vertical. He doesn't have prototypical linebacker size, but he is a ferocious hitter and possesses the kind of inline quickness that allows him to stay with backs in space. "I have good speed, knowledge and explosiveness," Telfort told Scout.com. "A lot of people say I play like Ray Lewis and go crazy on the field sometimes. I'm also a good leader on the field." His Michigan recruitment is in its infancy, but he has definite interest.
I like the speedy kids we're going after -- speed is, after all, one of the keys to Rodriguez's successful offenses. The fact that [current commit] Martavious Odoms has paved a way from Pahokee High to A2 for his other standout h.s. teammates is promising, too. Florida has proven to be one of the hotbeds for football talent, so I'm glad we're hitting it as hard as we are.
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