NCF On The Trail: Michigan football

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Even though late June and early July are often slow times for recruiting, the No. 1 recruiting class continues to add members. Michigan picked up three 2014 commits in the span of a few days and two 2015 commits last weekend.

Linebacker Noah Furbush (Kenton, Ohio/Kenton) gave his pledge to Michigan on Monday morning, his coach Mike Mauk confirmed to ESPN.com via phone.

“We’re excited for him,” Mauk said. “They were the first school to offer him. He’ll be an hour and a half away from home with Coach [Brady] Hoke and his staff and their great tradition. He’s excited about his commitment.”

Furbush chose the Wolverines over offers from Michigan State, Purdue, Tennessee, Kentucky and Nebraska, among others.

“Throughout my recruitment I just wanted to get around as see as many places as I could,” Furbush said. “I knew I wanted to commit before my [senior] season started. Michigan was one of the first to offer me and so right from the get-go it had me thinking a lot about Michigan and they were under high consideration.”

He liked how Michigan was close enough to his hometown but not too close. And he’ll have a bit of family close by as his older brother attends physical therapy school at the University of Michigan-Flint.

The 2014 prospect made up his mind this past weekend after having conversations with his parents and coaches, but it was his second visit to Ann Arbor in early June that really separated the Wolverines.

“My family believes in something called due diligence. We wanted to further evaluate Michigan and have them evaluate us,” Furbush said. “I think it was a good opportunity to engage with the coaches and form relationships with them.”

He’s the Wolverines’ 14th overall commitment and their third linebacker commit, joining Michael Ferns (Saint Clairsville, Ohio/Saint Clairsville) and Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson). Michigan coaches have told the 6-foot-4, 235 pound-prospect that they’d like to use him as an inside linebacker, even though he plays outside linebacker for his high school.

“He runs like a defensive back,” Mauk said. “He moves and changes direction very well. He’s physical and very aggressive. He has a great nose for the football and a great burst, and he makes plays. I think his best years of football are still ahead of him.”

The rising senior hopes to study engineering at Michigan and holds at 4.0 GPA at Kenton High School in northwest Ohio. Mauk said he believes the Wolverines are picking up quite the commit with his four-star linebacker.

“He’s a tremendous leader and a great person,” Mauk said. “It’s just a great fit.”
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The Big Ten will get stronger on Thursday. It just remains to be seen which conference school will be the beneficiary of ESPN 150 offensive tackle Jamarco Jones’ (Chicago/De La Salle) decision.

The No. 66 player nationally and top-10 tackle will make his commitment at 2 p.m. ET Thursday at his high school and will choose from Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Jones visited all three schools two weeks ago, and he said those visits ultimately shaped his decision. He was considered an Ohio State lean heading into those visits.


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It’s never a surprise to see Alabama football near the top of any ratings. Nick Saban has a proven track record on the field. That has translated to the recruiting trail as he has pulled in top classes year in and year out, finishing in the top three in recruiting in each of the past five years. He's had the top class for the past two seasons.


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With the commitment of Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage), Michigan has landed its highest-ranked running back since 2006. Green, the No. 5-rated running back, is the only ESPN 150 back to pick Michigan during that time frame.

He isn’t the first running back commit for the Wolverines in the 2013 class, as Deveon Smith (Warren, Ohio/Howland) and Wyatt Shallman (Novi, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central) are also committed, but Green is a huge get for a number of reasons.


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ESPN 150 S McQuay commits to USC

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After four prospects decommitted from the USC Trojans since the beginning of November, the Trojans have finally got some good news as ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) verbally committed to USC tonight during the Under Armour All-America Game.

The 6-foot-2, 183-pound four-star athlete selected the Trojans over Florida State, Oregon, Vanderbilt and Michigan.

As a senior, McQuay totaled 54 tackles and five interceptions on defense. He also added five receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown on offense.

McQuay, the nation’s No. 3 safety and a starter in Friday's UA Game, is expected to enroll early at USC and be eligible to play spring football.

With McQuay's decision, the Trojans have 15 verbal commitments, including 10 who are members of the ESPN 150. Each of the 15 commitments is ranked as a four-star or higher.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Offensive tackle Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial), committed to Cal since July, is about to get busy again with recruiting.

[+] EnlargeCameron Hunt
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comCameron Hunt looks forward to an upcoming U-M visit, for which former teammate Kyle Bosch will likely be his host.
Hunt plans to visit Michigan on Jan. 11 after he returns home from the Under Armour All-America Game, Oregon on Jan. 18 and Cal on Jan. 25.

He’s also considering Ohio State, though he has yet to set a visit. It has been a long road for Hunt, who drew little recruiting interest before a breakout camp circuit last spring.

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ESPN 150 S McQuay set to decide Friday 

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) will be making his college decision at the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday.


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Most high school seniors who have committed to Division I programs look forward to their freshman seasons in hopes of seeing what college life is all about.

Patrick Kugler (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) is already thinking past that.

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound offensive tackle for the Tigers will move over to guard or center for Michigan and is already thinking about playing in front of 2013 quarterback Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) down the line.

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Tennessee will host several visitors for Saturday's game against Florida. Most will be unofficial visits. One of the headliners is clearly Derrick Green, the four-star tailback from Richmond (Va.) Hermitage High School, who'll be taking his first official visit.

Green is scheduled to visit Michigan in October. He has also said he'll visit Auburn and is considering Oregon, Ole Miss and Virginia Tech.

Here are some other prospects scheduled to be in Knoxville this weekend:

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Under Armour All-American quarterback Shane Morris (Warren Mich./De La Salle) has been committed to Michigan for more than a year. And while Morris is disappointed in seeing prospects back out of early commitments during the 2013 recruiting cycle, the ESPN 150 prospect has enjoyed getting his recruitment out of the way before his junior season.


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Derrick Green is weighing his options -- all of his options. The ESPN 150 running back has already visited nine schools this summer, and he made a trip south over the weekend to check out three more.

The trip began with a stop in Tuscaloosa to visit the University of Alabama. It was the first time the Richmond, Va., resident had been on the Crimson Tide’s campus.

“It was really nice,” Green said. “I got there, spoke to my position coach, spoke to Coach [Nick] Saban, toured the campus. I had a good time seeing the facilities. I got to speak with the strength and conditioning coach. I really like him a lot. It was overall a good trip.”

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ESPN 150 cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton) disclosed his list of top five schools Friday via Twitter.

"Top 5 ) 1.Florida 2.Clemson 3.Vanderbilt 4.Miami 5.Notre Dame , USF is not in my top 5 but still considering !" Hargreaves wrote.

Hargreaves also holds offers from Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and numerous others.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback is the No. 4 player in the nation and No. 1 at his position.

See video of Hargreaves at ESPN RecruitingNation.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Wide receiver Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), a 2014 prospect, was one of the top wideouts to compete at the Jimbo Fisher Camp on Thursday. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound athlete says he has enjoyed his experience in Tallahassee.

"I love it," Scott said. "It's a home town, it's in Florida, they have the best weather and I love the facilities. I'll probably be back to see some games this year."

Scott picked up an offer while camping at Florida in June and said he will likely visit UF for a game this year as well.

"I love the coaches at Florida," he said. "Every time I go I could just see myself there. I like Florida, I like how they fit me -- I just liked it. I'll probably go see some games at Florida too and maybe UCF."


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Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) saw Friday how big Ohio State is and the 6-foot-8, 370-pound offensive tackle loved it. Brown was in Columbus to visit the campus and the Buckeyes made an impression.

“It was pretty interesting,” Brown said. “I got to meet some of the coaches. I got to check out the campus, which is huge. I got to learn a little bit more -- definitely got to learn a little bit more -- about what they have to offer.”

What Ohio State has to offer might just fit into Brown’s future as the 2014 recruit will no doubt feel the pressure as schools pick up the intensity for his services.

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Michigan State is getting the ball rolling on its 2014 class -- in football and basketball.

Rising junior athlete Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) committed to the Spartans in a ceremony at his school Wednesday.

"I went up to Michigan State and they offered me for both football and basketball," he told WolverineNation’s Tom VanHaaren. "That's what I want and I feel like it's the best place for me.”

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