2012 Michigan Football Recruiting: A Look at Commitments and Possible Targets
Brady Hoke and the University of Michigan Football team have gotten off to a hot start in recruiting. In the last 79 days, they have amassed 16 commits and ESPN just released their first rankings, with Michigan currently ranked sixth in the nation and No. 1 in the Big Ten.
For our purposes, we will take an in-depth look at the first 16 commitments and also look at the likely possibilities for the next six to nine scholarships the Wolverines have available for the 2012 class.
If Hoke and company perform on the field the way they do on the recruiting trail, Michigan could be on their way back to the top. Let's take a look at the individuals whom are verbally committed to the Wolverines.
*All rankings will be based from Scout Recruiting Services.
James Ross, MLB, Orchard Lake, MI
James Ross, No. 2 MLB, 4-star, Orchard Lake, MI.
Ross is a 6'1" 220-pound linebacker from the state of Michigan. He flows from sideline to sideline and is a big-time hitter. Ross is not afraid of contact and reportedly fell in love with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.
He should add stability to the linebacker corps at Michigan. Before he contributes, he will need to get a little bit bigger to hold up at the point of attack in the Big Ten. Expect Ross to be a three-year starter and achieve a couple of All-Big Ten awards.
Royce Jenkins-Stone, MLB, Detroit, MI
Royce Jenkins-Stone, No. 3 MLB, 4-star, Detroit, MI.
R.J. Stone is a 6'2" 225-pound linebacker from Cass Tech HS in Detroit. He has garnered national attention with offers from Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and USC. Stone's commitment was huge as it propelled other top prospects to sign up to play at Michigan.
Stone has prototypical size for a top notch linebacker. He will continue to bulk up and make plays. He is a great athlete as he is also a running back for Coach Wilcher and the Technicians of Cass Tech. Fortunately, Michigan is still young on defense, but Stone could be a guy who comes in and competes for playing time quick. He is that talented. Expect Stone to top out around 6'3" 240, and to be a potential All-American for Greg Mattison's defense.
I would expect Stone to be a a potential first-round pick by the time he leaves Michigan.
Devin Funchess, TE, Farmington Hills, MI
Devin Funchess, No. 6 TE, 4-star, Farmington Hills, MI.
Funchess is what we call a "tweener" for the WR/TE position. He currently stands at 6'4" 210 pounds. This pickup was surprising for Michigan fans because Farmington Hills has been a Spartan stronghold in state for a while. His highlight tape is quite impressive for a young kid.
One great thing for Funchess committing early is the fact he can go ahead and begin to put on weight since he knows what Hoke expects of him. By the time he lives in Michigan, I would expect him to end up at 6'5" 235 pounds. Funchess has good speed, great hands, and will only need to work on blocking bigger defensive ends.
Funchess certainly passes the eye test. Next season he will compete with upperclassman Brandon Moore and highly touted 2011 recruit, Chris Barnett. Expect for Funchess to make an impact and have a successful future at Michigan. Think Ben Troupe of the early 2000s at Florida when you look at Funchess.
Kaleb Ringer, OLB, Clayton, OH
Kaleb Ringer, No. 9 OLB, 4-star, Claymont, OH.
Ringer is a 6'1" 230-pound linebacker from the state of Ohio. He comes from a good family as he is the cousin of Tennessee Titans running back, Javon Ringer. Ringer was an Ohio State fan but visited Michigan and fell in love with the program.
He has the ability to flow all over the field as he has good speed. He reminds me a little of former Michigan and Jets linebacker David Harris. I expect him to be a contributor later in his career and be a late round draft pick.
Terry Richardson, CB, Detroit, MI
Terry Richardson, No. 11 CB, 4-star, Detroit, MI.
Richardson joined his teammate R.J. Stone and chose Michigan over Alabama, Notre Dame, and USC. He is a 5'9" 170-pound corner with excellent ball skills. When he gets the ball in his hands, he can make things happen as he also plays wide receiver for Cass Tech. He has decent speed, plays smart, and is a playmaker.
I would expect Richardson to help out depth wise. He may need to bulk up before he can make a huge impact for the Wolverines. Richardson, along with 2011 Army All-American Blake Countess, could team up for a dominating tandem in the future Michigan secondary.
Expect Richardson to earn multiple All-Big Ten honors as he is a scrappy player. His size might keep him from being a high draft pick but could contribute in the NFL much the way Leon Hall has done.
Erik Magnuson, OL, Encinitas, CA
Erik Magnuson, No. 34 overall player, OT, Encinitas, CA.
Wow. Magnuson is a big time offensive lineman and a huge pickup for the Wolverines. He chose Michigan over virtually every Pac-12 school, Miami, and Oklahoma. Rivals has Magnuson as the 34th ranked player in the nation. He measures in currently at 6'6" 280.
Usually, offensive linemen redshirt, but there is reason to believe with Michigan's lack of offensive line depth that Magnuson could be an instant performer. I believe he will compete for the RT position early on and move to LT when Taylor Lewan is drafted.
Expect Magnuson to be a prime-time player and a big time NFL prospect in the next four to five years.
Mario Ojemudia, DE, Farmington Hills, MI
Mario Ojemudia, No. 20 DE, 4-star, Farmington Hills, MI.
Mario is a 6'3" 225-pound defensive end who has freakish credentials. He is the teammate of Wolverine commit Devin Funchess. Some people do not really know what to expect yet because he has played defensive tackle for his high school.
We will find out more about Ojemudia when he moves to defensive end and works to get around the corner. I think it is highly likely that Ojemudia is redshirted in year one and bulks up. By the time he leaves Michigan, expect him to be a freakish 6'4" 250 pounds with great speed. He should burst onto the scene in his later years much the way Shantee Orr did for Wolverines.
Tom Strobel, DE, Mentor, OH
Tom Strobel, No. 24 DE, 4-star, Mentor, OH.
Strobel chose Michigan over Ohio State and it was a huge surprise as he was thought to be a lock for the Buckeyes. He is a big kid measuring in at 6'6" 260 pounds. This gives him added value as he could play defensive end or move into the role of defensive tackle. He is a smart kid and plays with a high motor.
He should become a solid performer for Michigan and give them added depth to the defensive line throughout his career. He reminds me a little of Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Joe Bolden, OLB, Cincinnati, OH
Joe Bolden, No. 23 OLB, 4-star, Cincinnati, OH.
Bolden is another Ohio kid the coaches targeted. He will help anchor one of the best linebacker classes to ever come through Michigan along with Ringer, Stone, and Ross. Bolden is the biggest of the incoming linebackers at 6'4" 235 pounds.
Hoke is really high on Bolden and I believe he will be a contributor of some sort early on at Michigan. The linebacker position is crowded with the four verbals in this class, four signees in 2011, and no starting senior linebacker on the roster.
Competition will be fierce the next few years to get on the field at linebacker.
A.J. Williams, TE, Cincinnati, OH
A.J. Williams, No. 15 TE, 3-star, Cincinnati, OH.
Williams is a sleeper because know one knows if he will play TE or move to tackle in college. He is a big 6'6" 265-pound kid who plays exclusively in a run offense. It remains to be seen if he will able to catch the football. From the sources, Hoke plans on using him as a blocking TE to go along with pass catchers Barnett and Funchess.
If Williams remains a TE, he might be able to help instantly in goal-line blocking situations as he is a physical specimen blocking.
Anthony Standifer, DB, Crete, IL
Anthony Standifer, No. 23 CB, 3-star, Crete, IL.
Standifer chose Michigan over Notre Dame and gives them a taller presence at cornerback. He measures in at 6'2" 190 pounds. Standifer could also move to safety, but unlikely. He is a sleeper and is expected to move up the recruiting ranks in his senior year. His film on youtube is quite impressive.
I would expect Standifer to add depth and compete hard with Terry Richardson early on for playing time. I think one of those guys will play special teams as a freshman and one will redshirt.
Standifer is rated as high as the No. 98 overall prospect according to some recruiting gurus.
Matt Godin, DL, Novi, MI
Matt Godin, No. 32 DT, 3-star, Novi, MI.
Godin is a lifelong Michigan fan and was thrilled to come on board. Godin has made the statement public that his recruiting class has one goal—a national championship. Godin is a 6'5" 270-pound DE/DT. He explodes off the ball and has a high motor.
I don't expect Godin to be a star, but do expect him to be a serviceable backup in his Michigan career. His size and effort could make the difference if he blooms into a star.
Caleb Stacey, OL, Cincinnati, OH
Caleb Stacey, No. 39 OL, 3-star, Cincinnati, OH.
Stacey did not camp so that proves his lower rating. He actually shows good leverage and has the ability to be a decent college offensive lineman. He is around 6'5" 280.
Offensive linemen are really hard to project, especially those who don't camp usually. I will leave this one to you to research.
Ben Braden, OL, Rockford, MI
Ben Braden, No. 41 OL, 3-star, Rockford, MI.
Much like Caleb Stacey, we do not know much about Braden. He does have great size at 6'6" 285 pounds. Obviously, Michigan did not recruit the offensive line position hard under Rich Rodriguez so there will be chances for all linemen who commit.
Pharaoh Brown, DE, Lyndhurst, OH
Pharaoh Brown, No. 41 DE, 3-star (4 stars according to all other sites), Lyndhurst, OH.
Brown is a beast at 6'6" 230 pounds. He plays defensive end and quarterback for his high school team, which speaks to this kid's athletic ability. His size, speed, and power is amazing.
I am high on Brown's potential and expect him to be perhaps one of the best players from this class. It is hard to ignore his credentials. By the time he leaves Michigan, he will be a 6'6" 260-pound specimen who makes plays and is a high draft pick. Think Jevon Kearse of ten years ago when looking at Brown's tape.
Allen Gant, SS, Sylvania, OH
Allen Gant, No. 41 SS/WR, 3-star, Sylvania, OH.
Gant is a Michigan legacy as his father played for the Wolverines under Bo Schembechler. He has been a legend in Ohio since he started his freshman season and led his team to a state championship. In the last two seasons, Gant has been plagued by injury which has led to a significantly lower ranking.
There was a time when Gant was thought to be a lock as the top player in Ohio and a potential five-star prospect. If he can remain healthy, he might be able to prove people wrong who have ranked him lower now than in his freshman season.
Gant has great size for a safety at 6'2" 210 pounds. He plays physical (something that Michigan safeties need).
Possible Targets for Brady Hoke's Ideal Class
The previous slides all detailed kids whom have already committed to play football at the University of Michigan in 2012. I now want to focus on the guys I think Michigan is targeting and who they have a legitimate shot at getting.
At first, I believed Hoke would only take around 22 guys, but he has made it obvious he is recruiting for a full class. For our purposes, Michigan already has 16 commitments. I will give them nine more spots which will fill the class at 25.
I will also include one guy who doesn't seem likely to qualify academically which will put him at a community college in 2012 and a return to Ann Arbor in 2013.
Who Will It Be Next?
Currently the Wolverines have two TEs, three OL, four DL, four LBs, and three DBs committed. What will the rest of the class look like? Here are my predictions for the remaining nine openings:
QB - Gunner Kiel, 5-star No. 1 QB, Columbus, IN. Delayed his Sunday decision for what some believe another chance to visit Michigan. We will see where this one goes.
WR - Aaron Burbridge, 4-star No. 11 WR, Farmington Hills, MI. His friends (Funchess and Ojemudia) are Ann Arbor bound. If he qualifies, he will be in the Maize and Blue in 2012. If not, he will be a Wolverine in 2013.
OL - Jordan Diamond, 4-star No. 9 OT, Chicago, IL. Thought to be a Michigan lean all along. He will solidify a solid Michigan offensive line for years to come.
OL - Paul Thurston, 4-star No. 16 OG, Arvada, CO. Recently said Michigan was at the top of his group. I think he will go blue in the end and be a great pickup for Hoke's Wolverines.
DE - Chris Wormley, 4-star No. 13 DE, Toledo, OH. This is a Michigan/Ohio State battle, and it is one that Michigan is winning and should win in the end.
DT - Ondre Pipkens, 4-star No. 14 DT, Kansas City, MO. He was born and raised in Saginaw. According to sources he will name a final five tomorrow and Michigan is supposedly leading. Look for him to go blue in the end.
FS - Jarrod Wilson, 4-star No. 10 FS, Akron, OH. Wilson now takes the spot of Brooklyn CB/S Wayne Morgan. Wilson had nine interceptions and five returned for touchdowns in 2010. The staff is pursuing him hard and Michigan is in his top three.
Best Available - To feel out the class, I think Michigan will take the two best available players who commit. This could include a number of guys and they should be elite prospects. The most likely are:
RB Brionte Dunn (5-star and pondering his OSU commitment), WR D'wayne Stanford (4-star), OT Zach Banner (4-star), OG Josh Garnett (5-star), DT Jaleel Johnson/Sheldon Day (4-star), DE Adolphus Washington/Se'von Pittman, or QB Austin Appleby (3-star, and if Hoke misses on Kiel).
Most likely: DT Jaleel Johnson and OT Zach Banner. Hoke wants to solidify the offensive and defensive lines for years to come and does just that with these pick ups.
The Michigan Wolverines
Once again, these are just predictions until everything becomes official in February. One thing for sure is that Brady Hoke has done a masterful job and has Michigan going in the right direction.