Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Summer recruit wrap: Michigan
By Chantel Jennings
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The summer camp season proved to be exciting, as it always is. Here are 10 things we learned through this summer.
1. Camp will always be a proving ground
The 2014 class will only have about 18 members, so when Michigan headed into this summer’s camp with 10 commitments, it was unsure how many camp offers would really exist (especially considering how many highly-ranked guys had, and still have, interest in Michigan). But for guys like Brandon Watson (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Freddy Canteen (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), camp was all they needed. Their performances there were enough to garner offers. Sooner rather than later, those two turned those offers into commitments. And it wasn’t just true in the 2014 class. Offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. (Philadelphia/St. Joseph’s Prep) became the Wolverines' third commitment in the 2015 class after he proved himself at camp and picked up and offer.
2. The barbecue in the Big House is still … big
Yes, even with a smaller class projected for Michigan in the 2014 class, the annual barbecue in the Big House will still be just as big of a deal. In the 2014 class, running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) will be a huge (read: giant) name in attendance. Fellow 2014 running back Jonathan Hilliman (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep) will also be at the barbecue, as will 2014 defensive end Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy). And obviously, because numbers are smaller in 2014, this will be a big event for underclassmen. Headlining the visits are athlete/linebacker Osa Masina (Salt Lake City/Brighton), wide receiver George Campbell Jr. (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and defensive back Shaun Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward).
3. 2015 offers spread far and wide
A large percentage of Michigan’s commitments over the past few seasons have come out of the Midwest. However, as the Wolverines coaching staff becomes better known, they’re expanding their footprint, which is pretty obvious by the 2015 offers. Of the 28 offers, 20 (69 percent) fall outside of the Midwest. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the 2015 class will be comprised of non-Midwest prospects, but as the staff gets more settled in, they’re definitely trying to establish a larger national presence.
4. Michigan-OSU battles will be even bigger in 2015
George Campbell Jr. of Tarpon Springs, Fla., is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN Junior 300.
The 2015 offer sheet so far for Michigan and Ohio State could almost be interchangeable at this point. And with Ohio State snagging Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) and Michigan getting Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville), there’s a definite border war feel. Over the past few months, in the 2015 class, we’ve already seen battles started over Crawford, running back Mike Weber (Detroit/Cass Tech) and athlete Brian Cole (Saginaw, Mich./Heritage).
5. Campbell lived up to the hype
Last winter, most people thought of Campbell as the younger teammate of Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Florida/East Lake) and as an afterthought behind Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Florida/East Lake). Building up through the spring, there was a lot of talk that he could have the highest potential of the East Lake trio, but it had yet to be proved. This summer, through the 7-on-7 scene and at The Opening, Campbell showed that he’s the real deal. Offers poured in, and after basically being a little brother tagging along on Cole and Scott’s visits, he has become a household name among recruiting followers.
6. Brady Hoke loves his special teams
Kicker Andrew David (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) became the Wolverines' first 2015 commit during this camp season. And on top of that, Michigan hosted an entire camp for kickers. Hoke has often spoken highly of his respect for special teams and with scholarship special team players in kicker Matt Wile, long snapper Scott Sypniewski and now David, Hoke is showing the importance of special teams at Michigan.
7. Michigan spotted early talent in 2015 class
Of the 28 offers in the 2015 class, 26 of those prospects ended up being listed on the ESPN Junior 300. The overall top prospect, defensive end Jashon Cornell (St. Paul/Cretin-Derham) has interest in the Wolverines and a connection to the program -- his high school coach played for Greg Mattison at Notre Dame. And the top wide receiver is Campbell, who has visited Michigan several times and will also be in town for the barbecue.
8. Michigan isn’t worried about early QB offers
The Wolverines took a lot of time to put out a 2014 quarterback offer and finally offered Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate School), but in the 2015 class they pulled the trigger during this camp season. Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./Saint John Bosco) is the No. 1 QB in the ESPN Junior 300 and currently holds 12 offers, though that number is sure to grow. And Rosen might be the start of a trend for the Wolverines as they begin offering top pro-style quarterbacks earlier in the cycle.
9. Wolverines finding under-the-radar talent
The camp scene is a place to be seen by the Wolverines coaching staff, as shown by Watson and Canteen. But players such as Noah Furbush (Kenton, Ohio/Kenton), who committed during the camp season, show that Michigan isn’t just interested in the well-known names. Great tape and coach recommendations can go far with the Michigan staff.
10. Swenson stands out
For an offer to go out to a 14-year-old, let alone a 14-year-old offensive lineman, is pretty rare. But this summer at camp, offensive lineman Erik Swenson (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South) showed why the Wolverines wanted in on the top talent so early. The rising sophomore competed with players two years older and dominated the competition. Even more remarkable is that at 6-foot-6, Swenson’s 280 pounds looks somewhat slender. He could still put on more weight and likely has a few more inches to grow. As a Michigan fan, the camp was a lot of fun for Swenson and it definitely was a lot of fun for the Wolverines coaches to imagine Swenson someday donning maize and blue.