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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Weekly Update: Recruiting news, notes

By Tom Van Haaren

The Weekly Update at WolverineNation is a sneak peek inside Michigan recruiting. This week, a look at three 2014 prospects with interest from the Wolverines.

Travis Smith

The quarterback position has been one of the more discussed topics concerning the 2014 class. No offers have gone out, and it’s safe to assume most of the targets are still being evaluated.

One of those prospects includes Smith (Ithaca, Mich./Ithaca), who has been in contact with the Michigan coaches quite a bit.

“I have talked to Coach [Al] Borges a lot. I call him and we just talk,” he said. “I got hurt in the state championship game, so I haven’t been able to throw yet, but he’s coming in February to watch me throw.”

Smith is one of the more intriguing prospects in his class and also happens to have grown up a Michigan fan.

“When I was younger I was always a Michigan fan. Everyone I knew growing up was a Michigan fan,” he said. “As I started going through the recruiting process I got more neutral, though. I don’t really have a favorite yet.”

Despite saying he is neutral, Smith does acknowledge that a Michigan offer would be tough to pass up. He wouldn’t necessarily rush into a decision, though, as he’d like to take time to talk with his family and make sure he makes the right choice.

He is also well aware of the fact Michigan has not extended any offers at his position in this class, and he understands why.

“Coach Borges wants to find the perfect guy for his system, and I think he’s just taking his time,” he said. “He sees a lot out of all of us, out of the guys that they’re looking at.”

Smith also has been hearing from Michigan State and Nebraska, among others, and says he doesn’t have a timeline.

“I just want to see what I get in the next few months and see what offers come through,” he said. “I’ll just wait it out and see where the best fit for me happens to be.”

Daniel Helm

Daniel Helm
Michigan sticks out to Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood tight end prospect Daniel Helm.
The state of Illinois has been good to Michigan in the past, and it is looking to capitalize once again. The tight end crop for the 2014 class in Illinois is fantastic.

The group includes Nic Weishar, Ian Buntin and Helm. Both Weishar and Helm have been offered, while Bunting is hearing from the staff.

Helm doesn’t have a timeline, but says there are a few schools he would like to see in the offseason.

“I’d like to visit Michigan, Tennessee, maybe Michigan State and maybe a few others,” he said. “I don’t really know for sure yet, but I’d like to visit in the spring. “

It is still early for Helm, but he says there is one school that sticks out for right now.

“As of right now, out of the schools that have offered I would say yes [Michigan leads],” he said.

That sounds like it’s not set in stone and that he is still open, but for right now Michigan is sticking out to him. That’s good news for the Wolverines, because Helm is starting to garner some serious interest.

If Michigan were to land him, it would give the coaching staff yet another talented, athletic tight end to utilize in the passing game. Having Devin Funchess and Jake Butt already on the roster, Michigan could create quite a few mismatches with size in the passing game.

Austin Roberts

An intriguing prospect in the 2014 class is Roberts, who transferred from Florida to Carmel (Ind.) High School. Roberts is listed as a wide receiver but has started to hear from schools, including Michigan. He could be a versatile offensive weapon.

“They’ve been telling me that I’m one of their top guys that they’re going after in the 2014 class. They look at me almost as a flex/tight end/receiver hybrid,” he said. “Since the season started teams have been looking at me as that kind of player. I’ve gone on and watched some Aaron Hernandez highlights.”

Roberts’ father is Alfredo Roberts, the tight ends coach for the Indianapolis Colts, so he is familiar with the position and what it takes to succeed. His father was also a coach at Florida Atlantic, so Roberts understands the recruiting process as well.

Austin Roberts has racked up some big offers, including ones from Florida, Iowa, Miami, Ohio State and Stanford.

Michigan visited Roberts in school last week but has not offered yet. He is going to be one of the better prospects in the Midwest, though, so it doesn’t look like an offer is out of the question. It might just depend on what other prospects Michigan feels good about and where Roberts would fit in the offense.