College football is a year round process for the real fan that truly never stops.
Each spring, a new group of young men burst onto the scene as they grow out of their junior year. A general ranking is assigned to the top high school football players in the country, and as their senior seasons go by, those rankings fluctuate.
The University of Michigan football team is getting ready for arguably the most important season of the past few decades. The spread experiment takes some time to get under way, but heading into it's third year, it has amounted to nothing more than a failed hypothesis.
The up and coming players want to go to the team that gives them the best chance of winning the National Championship. The most wins of all time, the highest winning percentage, 11 National Championships, 42 Conference Titles, 3 Heisman winners, a litany of pro players and many other accolades certainly play a role in a recruit's interest.
This is a make or break year for the spread and the players that follow.
Winning cures all and after a quick 4-0 start last season, recruits really started taking notice. A lot of the big name players, including Seatrel Henderson, Kyle Prater, Jeff Luc and Marcus Lattimore publicly declared interest in the Wolverines.
As soon as things went sour, they started to look elsewhere. There are quite a few big names in the 2011 class that are going to wait and see what Michigan does, but there is also a solid foundation right now.
The current class sits at eight players and with a great season, any number of them could earn another coveted star. Let's take a look at the current commits and my guess on which of them raises their ranking the highest.
Brennen is a defensive end out of Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan.
He is currently rated as the 13th best defensive end by Rivals and the 12th by Scout. He stands 6'4" and weighs in at 222 lbs with a reported 4.5-4.7 forty yard dash.
He has a long frame that will allow him to put on some more weight and he could fit right in to any system around the country. Many schools offered him early, including Notre Dame, UCLA, Stanford and Michigan State. If he decided to wait the recruiting process out, he would have grabbed quite a few more big time offers.
Greg is a cornerback out of Ross High School in Fremont, Ohio. He is ranked as the 34th best corner by Rivals and the 53rd by Scout. Standing 5'10" and weighing 190 pounds, Greg was the first commit of this 2011 class.
His forty yard dash has been clocked as fast as 4.4 and although he plays both CB and WR for his high school, he will be used exclusively in the secondary at Michigan. In state schools Michigan State and Central Michigan offered Greg as well.
Shawn is a wide receiver out of Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan. Both Rivals and Scout rate him as the 53rd best wideout overall. At 6'4" and 185 pounds, Conway has the ability to go up and get the ball.
He is also excels as a basketball player, which tells you the boy can get up! He caught ten touchdowns as a junior and like Beyer, he has a lanky frame that will allow him to put on some weight.
He was a relative unknown until Michigan offered him and out of all the Wolverine recruits, he may have the most to gain from a great season.
Jacob is an offensive tackle out of Traverse City West High School in Traverse City, Michigan. He is currently a three star on Rivals and not in the top 300 while Scout rates him a four star and lists him as the No. 25 OT in the country. The discrepancy between sites may have to do with Fisher's rise seemingly out of nowhere.
For one, Jacob has shot up recruiting boards recently after a giant growth spurt. He is 6'7" and is listed between 249-273 lbs. Reminiscent of Taylor Lewan, a tall OT prospect from the 2009 class, Fisher was recruited hard by Michigan State and Cincinnati before committing to Michigan.
Delonte is a cornerback out of Cass Tech in Detroit, Michigan. Rivals gives him four stars as their No. 15 CB and Scout gives him three stars and ranks him 37th.
Carrying on the Cass Tech to Michigan pipeline, he stands 5'8" and weighs 158 lbs. He has impressed very early at camps, here's a quick look at a brilliant one handed grab at a Nike combine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVCVEh6IB58.
He jumped on board early and would have been sought after by some big programs if he hadn't.
Jack is a defensive end/offensive lineman prospect out of St. John's High School in Perrysburg, Ohio. A three star on both recruiting websites, he is 6'4" feet tall and weighs roughly 268 pounds.
A strong young man, he excels at both the offensive and defensive line, although will likely end up on the offensive side of the ball at Michigan. He had many offers before committing, including Pittsburgh, Stanford, West Virginia, Michigan State, North Carolina and Boston College.
Chris is a defensive end out of St. Francis Desales high in Columbus, Ohio. Rivals considers him the 23rd best DE and Scout places him 61st. At 6'5", 250 lbs, Chris is athletic enough to play tight end on the offensive side of the ball as well.
He had 15 sacks his junior year and holds offers from Notre Dame, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, among others.
Kevin is a quarterback out of Lake Nona High School in Orlando, Florida. Rivals rates him as the 21st dual-threat QB while Scout gives him a rating of the 36th overall QB. He is listed between 6'2"-6'4" with his weight around 215-235 lbs.
An interesting prospect, Kevin grew up playing soccer and didn't get into football until his sophomore year of high school. West Virginia, South Florida, Central Florida, Texas Tech and Illinois were among the schools vying for his services.
Although I think Jacob Fisher and Shawn Conway will fly past their low rankings, cracking the top 10 at defensive end would catapult Beyer to the front of the progressive line.
He has incredible size for a senior and athleticism that will lead to great production this year. He is the kind of difference maker that would not need a redshirt and could see playing time as a freshman at Michigan.