Monday, February 2, 2009

2 Days to Go: Michigan Recruiting Nerds Play the Waiting Game

The 2009 college football recruiting season has almost run its course, and Michigan fans (including college football recruiting nerds like me) are still holding their breath.

In just 2 days America's top college football recruits will sign letters of intent to play football for the college of their choice on Signing Day, Wednesday, February 4th.

The Michigan Wolverines have landed 20 recruits so far and have earned a ranking of 20th in the land by and 7th in the land by recruiting magazines respectively.

Following a disasterous 3-9-0 football season in 2009, Michigan has done remarkably well on the recruiting trail, but it has been an exhausting process with more ups and downs than any Michigan football fan might ever remember. With 5 spots left to fill and possibly more, here are the top remaining prospects for the Wolverines for 2009:

QB/CB Denard Robinson, 4 star, No 13 CB, 6-0, 176 lbs, Deerfield Beach, FL, 4.38 speed. Choice is between Florida and Michigan.

CB Adrian Witty, 2 star, NR Safety, 6-1, 185 lbs, Deerfield Beach, FL, speed unknown (was injured in 2008). Witty is considering Kansas State, Michigan and Florida.

OL Quinton Washington, 3 star, No. 125 OL, 6-4, 322lbs, St. Stephen, SC
Between Michigan and South Carolina. Too close to call.

Over the last 3 weeks Michigan has apparently lost out on landing the following list of interested recruits. Some of them visited the UM campus in Ann Arbor:

OL Marcus Hall, 5 star, No. 2 OL, 6-5, 293 lbs, Cleveland, OH, 5.4 speed, Committed to Ohio State.

WR/QB Travante Stallworth, 3 star, No. 120 WR, 5-9, 180 lbs, Leesville, LA, 4.4 speed. Auburn bound.

DE Bennie Logan, 3 star, No. 64 DE, 6-3, 245 lbs, Coushatta, LA, 4.8 speed.
Committed to LSU

WR Willie Haulstead, 4 star, No. 37 WR, 6-2, 195 lbs, Miami, FL, 4.6 speed
Committed to Florida State.

DE Sam Montgomery, 4 star, No. 7 DE, 6-5, 240 lbs, Greenwood, SC, 5.7 speed
LSU or North Carolina or Tennessee.

WR Je'Ron Stokes, 4 star, No. 19 WR, 6-0, 195 lbs, Philadelphia, PA, 4.5 speed
A Tennessee commit. Considered Michigan for a time, but apparently leaning toward flintlock, hound dogs and Davy Crockett, a.k.a Tennessee.

There have been the stunning decommitments of Kevin Newsome (Penn State commit) and Shavodrick Beaver (Tulsa). Beaver's decommitment came just 6 weeks before signing day, which forced a change in Michigan's recruiting efforts during the last several weeks. Michigan desperately needs 2 QBs in the 2009 class to build up talent and depth at this key position to ensure that Rodriguez's spread option offense might have an opportunity to run at full throttle. They have one in Tate Forcier, but need another to add depth.

If Michigan lands the above 3 recruits (Washington, Witty and Robinson) and somehow retains DT Pearlie Graves and DE DaQuinta Jones in the class, then Michigan will have landed 23 players total. Two to three additional spots remain for the class, but it remains unclear who would occupy them.

Should 4-star CB/QB recruit Denard Robinson decide not commit to Michigan for some reason, then the Wolverines' 2009 class would still be on par with previous classes under Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez comparatively speaking. Over the last 8 years both Michigan and Ohio State have landed top 10 recruiting classes (actually identically ranked on average at 10th place over the last 8 seasons.)

Also noteworthy is that Rodriguez did land the No. 1 rated players in Michigan (DT/OL William Campbell) and Ohio (CB JT Turner) respectively.

The media will no doubt find ways to highlight the decommitments of Newsome and Beaver. But 2009 recruiting haul is a already sweet class for Michigan and can be made only sweeter by landing Denard Robinson.

(Photo of Denard Robinson by Nissa Benjamin of Miami Herald)

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