Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

New in Blue: 2016 SG Tyus Battle

Monday, May 11th, 2015


Battle(Gregory Payan, AP)

Tyus Battle – SG | 6’6″, 205 | Edison, N.J. – Gill St. Bernard’s School
ESPN: 5-star, #4 SG, #14ov Rivals: 5-star, #16ov 247: 5-star, #4SG, #12ov Scout: 5-star, #4SF, #10ov
Other top offers: Duke, Connecticut, Louisville, Syracuse, Ohio State, Notre Dame

Just days after missing out on the No. 2 overall prospect for 2015, John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines picked up a huge commit for the following season.

Tyus Battle announced via Twitter Monday that he will attend Michigan over a host of other schools, including Ohio State, Duke and Syracuse, who were considered among the front runners.

Battle is the No. 12 overall recruit and the No. 4 shooting guard according to 247 Sports. Scout lists him 10th overall in the 2016 class, while Rivals currently has him the lowest at 16th. His official visit to Ann Arbor this past weekend seemed to be the trump card for Michigan, as he committed just two days later.

Battle gives Michigan an elite guard in 2016 with the coming departures of Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht to graduation. Battle is an elite shooter from all over the floor and can create his own shots with his quickness.

If the high school senior holds onto his top 14 ranking, he’ll move to Ann Arbor as the highest ranked recruit in Beilein’s tenure at Michigan. His previous highest recruit was Glenn Robinson III, who was ranked No. 16 overall.

As a sophomore in 2013-14, Battle averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game for Gill St. Bernard’s School in Edison, N.J. His numbers dipped to 16.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game last season as result of an injury-plagued year in which he played in just nine games. A big senior season in 2015-16 should help keep Battle ranked among the best in the nation before he heads to Ann Arbor.

New in Blue: 2016 RB Matt Falcon

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015


Matt Falcon(Scout.com)

Matt Falcon – RB | 6-1, 215 | Southfield, Mich. – Southfield
ESPN: 3-star, NR Rivals: 4-star, #13 RB 247: 4-star, #13 RB Scout: 4-star, #8 RB
Other top offers: Ohio State, Oregon, UCLA, Nebraska, Tennessee, Arizona State, Arkansas, West Virginia

Just two days after landing a commitment from running back Kingston Davis, Jim Harbaugh picked up a more highly-rated running back in the form of Southfield, Mich. rising senior Matt Falcon. The 6’1″, 215-pound back teased fans throughout the day with tweets foreshadowing some big news and finally dropped it shortly after 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Falcon is a four-star recruit according to Rivals, 247, and Scout, and a three-star per ESPN. However, the latter hasn’t updated its rankings since last summer, and he’s surely to rise once the rankings are updated. In fact, recruiting analyst Tom Lemming tweeted as much just after Falcon announced his commitment.

 

Currently, Scout has Falcon rated the highest as the eighth-best running back in the 2016 class, while Rivals and 247 each list him 13th. Scout also has him 149th nationally, while 247 has him 263rd. They all have him either 6’0″ or 6’1″ and between 200 and 215 pounds.

The offers have been coming in in droves the past few months as Nebraska, North Carolina, Arizona State, Arkansas, and Oregon have all offered since late February. Falcon, who lives and plays in the Detroit suburb of Southfield — just 40 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor — received the coveted Michigan offer on Feb. 17. He unofficially visited Michigan just 10 days later, and again in March, before visiting again for the spring game last weekend. He had also visited Ohio State last November for the Michigan game.

Falcon joins Davis, fullback David Reese, quarterback Brandon Peters, offensive lineman Erik Swenson, and linebacker Dele’ Harding in the 2016 class and almost certainly fills out the backfield recruiting for the cycle.

New in Blue: 2016 RB Kingston Davis

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015


Kingston Davis(Kenny Moss, Opelika-Auburn News)

Kingston Davis – RB | 6-1, 225 | Prattville, Ala. – Prattville
ESPN: NR Rivals: 3-star, NR 247: 3-star, #3 FB Scout: 3-star, #100 RB
Other top offers: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indiana, Bowling Green, Ohio, Toledo

Jim Harbaugh continued his hot recruiting streak on Monday with a commitment from class of 2016 running back Kingston Davis. The 6’1″, 225-pound Prattville, Ala. native tweeted his commitment first thing in the morning.

Davis is a three-star recruit according to the four major recruiting services. ESPN and Rivals don’t have him ranked at his position, while 247 lists him as the third-best fullback and Scout ranks him as the 100th-best running back. They’re all pretty much in agreement about his size as ESPN has him 6’0″ but the other three 6’1″ and all have him between 225 and 230. That puts him an inch or two taller than Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith and roughly in the same neighborhood of weight.

Davis comes from Prattville, Ala. where Harbaugh secured a commitment from his teammate Keith Washington on National Signing Day. Harbaugh is also hosting a satellite camp in Prattville this summer, to the ire of Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. In addition to Michigan, Davis held offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Louisville, Southern Miss, and some smaller FBS schools. He was offered back in January and visited for the spring game over the weekend and it was enough to convince him to pledge to the Wolverines.

As a junior last season for the Lions, Davis rushed for 1,432 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, as they reached the state championship game in Class 7A.

In the span of three days, Harbaugh has rounded out an entire backfield for the 2016 class with quarterback Brandon Peters, fullback David Reese, and now Davis. They join offensive lineman Erik Swenson and linebacker Dele’ Harding in the class.

New in Blue: 2015 forward Moritz Wagner

Sunday, April 5th, 2015



Moritz Wagner

Moritz Wagner – F | 6’9″, 210 | Berlin, Germany – Alba Berlin
ESPN: N/A Rivals: 4-star 247: N/A Scout: N/A
Other top offers: N/A

On a weekend that Michigan football took center stage with Jim Harbaugh’s return to the Big House, John Beilein didn’t go quietly, securing a big-time commitment of his own. German forward Moritz Wagner announced on Sunday afternoon that he would attend Michigan rather than pursue a professional career in his home country.

Wagner is somewhat of an unknown since he’s from Germany and none of the recruiting services rank foreign players. The 6’9″, 210-pound forward played for Alba Berlin in the Euroleague and also played for Germany’s B team in the U18 European Championships last summer.

Beilein went to Germany to watch Wagner play and made a good enough impression to convince Wagner to move to the States to continue his basketball career. He had interest from a number of other schools, but Beilein’s track record of player development surely weighed in Michigan’s favor. Wagner appears to be just the type of player that fits Beilein’s system — a skills big man that can step outside and shoot.

As the only current member of Michigan’s 2015 class (as of now), Wagner will replace Max Bielfeldt, who is the only current player that won’t return next season. Beilein awaits Caris LeVert’s NBA Draft decision, which could free up another scholarship if LeVert decides to forego his senior season.

New in Blue: 2016 LB/FB David Reese

Sunday, April 5th, 2015


David Reese(247)

David Reese – LB/FB | 6-1, 235 | Farmington, Mich. – Farmington
ESPN: 3-star, NR Rivals: 3-star, #17 ILB 247: 3-star, #14 ILB Scout: 3-star, #9 MLB
Other top offers: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indiana, Bowling Green, Ohio, Toledo

A day after receiving a commitment from 2016 quarterback Brandon Peters, Jim Harbaugh secured a second commitment in the form of linebacker David Reese. Shortly before the spring game, the Farmington, Mich. native flipped his commitment to the Wolverines from Louisville.

Reese is rated a three-star according to each of the four major recruiting sites. Scout ranks him the highest as the ninth-best middle linebacker, while 247 lists him 14th, Rivals 17th, and ESPN has him unranked. However, Harbaugh recruited Reese as a fullback rather than a linebacker.

Reese originally committed to Louisville on March 7 during an unofficial visit, but when his home-state Wolverines offered three weeks later it was only a matter of time before he flipped. Reese also holds offers from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indiana, and a host of MAC schools. He joins Peters, offensive lineman Erik Swenson, and linebacker Dele’ Harding in the class and will work on convincing his teammate, three-star receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick to follow his lead in flipping from Louisville to Michigan.

New in Blue: 2016 QB Brandon Peters

Sunday, April 5th, 2015


Brandon Peters(D. Kevin Elliott, Indy Star)

Brandon Peters – QB | 6-5, 205 | Avon, Ind. – Avon
ESPN: 4-star, #12 QB, 81 grade Rivals: 4-star, #5 ProQB 247: 4-star, #7 ProQB Scout: 4-star, #20 QB
Other top offers: Wisconsin, LSU, Nebraska, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Indiana, Boston College

On the eve of the first spring game of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, the legendary Michigan quarterback received his first commitment for the class of 2016 in the form of Avon, Ind. signal-caller Brandon Peters. The 6’5″, 205-pound quarterback tweeted out the news late Friday night.

Peters is a consensus four-star recruit according to the four major recruiting services. Rivals ranks him the highest as their fifth-best pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class, while 247 ranks him seventh, ESPN 12th, and Scout 20th. In terms of national rankings, 247 has him the highest as the 157th-best overall recruit. ESPN ranks him 181st with an 81 grade and Rivals has him 211th.

Scout likes Peters’ intelligence, pocket awareness, and running ability/mobility, while listing his area of improvement as field vision. Allen Trieu expands on that by saying, “Good height and is continuing to fill his frame in. Is a good athlete who can run and escape pressure, but he also shows good awareness and feel in the pocket. Gets rid of the ball quickly and has the arm to make throws to the sideline and drive the ball downfield. As he gets bigger and stronger, that should only increase. Smart kid, tough, calm under pressure. Must continue to work on reading defenses and going through his progressions.”

As a junior at Avon High School in Indiana last season, Peters passed for 1,876 yards and 21 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also rushed for 244 yards and five scores.

Peters held offers from LSU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, Iowa among others. He joins offensive lineman Erik Swenson and linebacker Dele’ Harding in the young class. By the time he gets to campus he will join a crowded quarterback group that includes Shane Morris, Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, Alex Malzone, and Zach Gentry.

Recruiting profile: 2015 OL signee Jon Runyan Jr.

Friday, February 20th, 2015


Runyan(MaxPreps)

Previously: 2015 TE Chris Clark, 2015 CB Iman Marshall, 2015 QB Zach Gentry, 2015 RB Karan Higdon

Jon Runyan Jr. – OL | 6-4, 276 | Philadelphia, Pa. – St. Joseph’s
ESPN: 3-star, #96 OT Rivals: 3-star, #45 OG 247: 3-star, #163 OT Scout: 3-star, #39 OG
Other top offers:

The son of the former Michigan and NFL offensive tackle of the same name, Jon Runyan Jr. committed to the Wolverines nearly two years ago, coming off just his junior year of high school. Runyan Jr. is significantly smaller than his father and is no lock to remain at offensive tackle in college (his frame profiles better on the inside), but he possesses the tools of a future Big Ten starter. Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno stress physical and tough offensive line play, two things which Runyan Jr. has plenty of.

Athleticism

Athleticism - Jon Runyan JrRunyan Jr. doesn’t just have the frame of a big tight end, he has the athletic ability of one too. He has the quickness out of his stance and the overall movement skills that would be coveted by a team that is heavy on zone blocking schemes. Runyan Jr. moves very well laterally and downfield and his athletic talent aids him best as a moving run blocker more so than as a pass protector. He was used as an eligible receiver at times with St. Joseph’s and could be used in the same capacity with the Wolverines, either as an extra blocker or on a tight end screen. If Runyan Jr. can continue to improve his body and add strength without sacrificing much quickness, he will have an excellent physical base from which he can develop as a blocker.

Pass Blocking

Pass Blocking - Jon Runyan JrWhile he might have manned the blind side as a prep last season, don’t expect Runyan Jr. to do so at the next level, nor would he be expected to with Mason Cole holding down the job last year as a true freshman. Runyan Jr. simply doesn’t have the length or power to hold up at left tackle, and would be better served as an interior lineman or as a right tackle. His ability to anchor is a serious question considering he is a lightweight at this point in time and did not show any dominant ability to stonewall pass rushers. His height and arm length are also red flags and are below average for an offensive tackle. If Runyan Jr. can take full advantage of the strength and training program when he gets on campus he will be able to become an at least average pass protector and could contribute after a redshirt season.

Run Blocking

Run Blocking - Jon Runyan JrDon’t let his underwhelming size fool you, Runyan Jr. is a dominating run blocker. His ability to fight through the whistle and to block opposing defenders five yards downfield is impressive and should catch the eye of this coaching staff which will seek to impose a tough and physical mindset in the offensive trenches. Runyan Jr. gets into his blocks quickly and can generate movement off the line with sheer fight and effort. Even more impressive, however, is his ability to block on the move, which includes releasing off of double teams and getting out to the second level, and coming around the opposite side of the line on pulls. Runyan Jr. has an impressive ability to latch on to targets in space and is difficult to disengage from in the running game. His ability to open up holes and seal off defenders in the running game should allow him to play any of the four positions to the right of the blindside spot.

Technique

Technique - Jon Runyan JrFew offensive linemen come out of high school with good technique, let alone college prospects moving up to the pros, but Runyan Jr. shows solid technique for his level of play at this stage. Quick hands, balance, and leg drive allow him to maintain good positioning and engage with his opponents. He also shows clean footwork and solid angles to block on the move and at the second level. The biggest areas that Runyan Jr. needs to work on are his ability to maintain leverage and proper pad level, and better hip snap into contact. Overall, the fact that he is the son of a former offensive lineman is apparent in his play.

Bottom Line

The Wolverines have suffered from subpar offensive line play for the past few seasons and should be welcoming any new blood that can help shore up this area of weakness. However, Runyan Jr. is still at least a year away from contributing and needs some serious work in the weight room before he is physically up to snuff. I may only be giving Runyan Jr. a two star grade, but this an indication of what he can do now, and not necessarily what he can do in the future. From what I have seen, he could play a very good offensive guard or center, but as I have stressed, a lot of this comes down to the assumption that he can get bigger and stronger with a redshirt. All things considered, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Runyan Jr. crack a spot in the starting lineup as a sophomore.

MG&B Grade (out of 10)
7.8 (2-star)

Alex is currently a senior at UM-Dearborn and has a background in scouting and player evaluation, having learned from some of the best in the business. He contributes a weekly recruit profile/evaluation piece each Friday. Visit our Meet the Staff page to read more about Alex.

New in Blue: Stanford CB transfer Wayne Lyons

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


Wayne Lyons

Wayne Lyons – CB | 6-1, 193 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Dillard (Stanford University)
ESPN: 4-star, #7 Saf, 81 grade Rivals: 4-star, #6 Saf 247: 4-star, #4 Saf Scout: 4-star, #8 Saf
Other top offers: Stanford, Nebraska, UCLA, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida
*Class of 2011

Wayne Lyons became the second transfer to sign with Michigan since signing day Tuesday, joining D.J. Durkin’s defense as a fifth-year cornerback. Lyons spent the last four years at Stanford University, playing 41 games from 2012-2014 after his freshman season was cut short due to a broken foot.

Lyons’ calling card is his athleticism. He played both linebacker and cornerback in high school, so his tackling and ball-hawking skills help him stay with bigger receivers. He also ran track and specialized in hurdles, giving Michigan a dangerous speed combination to go with Jourdan Lewis.

Lyons picked up 30 tackles in 13 games last season, breaking up three passes and forcing a fumble. He recorded 69 tackles as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

As a four-star recruit, Lyons was a top-10 cornerback out of Florida. He joins a Michigan secondary that lost starting cornerback Raymon Taylor to graduation and returns 2014 standout Lewis, senior Blake Countess, and gets mega-hyped Jabrill Peppers back from injury.

Recruiting profile: 2015 RB signee Karan Higdon

Friday, February 6th, 2015


Karan Higdon

Previously: 2015 TE Chris Clark, 2015 CB Iman Marshall, 2015 QB Zach Gentry

Karan Higdon – RB | 5-10, 190 | Sarasota, Fla. – Riverview
ESPN: 3-star, #70 RB Rivals: 3-star, #45 RB 247: 4-star, #29 RB Scout: 3-star, #84 RB
Other top offers: Iowa, Arizona, Tennessee, Arkansas, Syracuse, South Florida, Kentucky, Nevada

One of the first commits flipped to Michigan on National Signing Day, Karan Higdon swapped Hawkeye black and gold for the maize and blue of Michigan in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The diminutive running back out of Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla. offers eye-brow raising athleticism to a Michigan backfield that is stocked with powerful runners the likes of Derrick Green, Ty Isaac, De’Veon Smith, and possibly Drake Johnson. Higdon brings a different dimension to the Wolverines’ stable of backs, but may not have the overall ability to make much a difference in his collegiate career.

Inside Running

Inside Running - Karan HigdonHigdon measures in at approximately 5’9” and 185-pounds, by no means an intimidating, downhill runner. Higdon shows very good burst out of his stance and getting through holes between the tackles. However, he rarely is able to break one-on-one tackles and relies on his ability to dance away from defenders than to run through them. Higdon is able to lower his pads into contact and shows the determination to run his legs on contact, but will have to make his mark outside of the tackles to be an impactful running back.

Outside Running

Outside Running - Karan HigdonHigdon’s athletic ability as an outside of the box runner made him dangerous at the high school level and he shows the ability to transition that ability into forcing opposing defenses to respect his ability to make plays on the outside. Higdon has very good jump-cutting ability and impressive stop-start transition to elude would-be tacklers. While he has good speed, Higdon won’t make anyone forget about the likes of Chris Rainey and LaMichael James, both of whom had electric speed to outrun angles and take the perimeter with ease. Higdon will need to improve his ability to read blocks and find running lanes in order fully take advantage of his athletic gifts.

Catching

Catching - Karan HigdonThough rarely used in the passing game, Higdon showed flashes of pass catching ability at Riverview High. Higdon has a small catching radius, but is able to catch the football outside of his frame and has the quick acceleration to pick up big yards after the catch.

Blocking

Blocking - Karan HigdonFew running backs the size of Higdon are effective pass blockers at the collegiate level and Higdon is no exception. While he shows a willingness to get in the way and will get out in front of his quarterback when scrambling, Higdon simply lacks the strength and stature at this point to fill the third down back void left by the departure of graduate transfer Justice Hayes.

Bottom Line

Michigan has several running backs on scholarship who have the potential to become above average rushers at the collegiate level, and Karan Higdon is one of them. However, Higdon is somewhat of a one-trick pony who relies on his speed and athleticism to make plays with the ball in his hands and doesn’t have the tools to succeed between the tackles. Look for Higdon to become a complementary piece in the backfield within the next couple of seasons as a threat to stretch the field horizontally.

MG&B Grade (out of 10)
8.0 (3-star)

As the first running back commitment since the 2013 class, and a signing day surprise at that, Higdon should become a fan favorite at Michigan. His high school coach — a Michigan fan — posted on MGoBlog a long description of Higdon’s recruitment and how Michigan landed him. You should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

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Alex is currently a senior at UM-Dearborn and has a background in scouting and player evaluation, having learned from some of the best in the business. He contributes a weekly recruit profile/evaluation piece each Friday. Visit our Meet the Staff page to read more about Alex.

New in Blue: 2015 tight end/defensive end Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015


Tyrone Wheatley Jr(Scout.com)

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – TE/DE | 6-6, 260| Manlius, N.Y. – Canisius
ESPN: 4-star, #12 TE Rivals: 4-star, #13 TE 247: 4-star, #13 TE Scout: 4-star, #25 DE
Other top offers: Alabama, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska

The new Michigan coaching staff is keeping it in the family with a commitment from legacy recruit Tyrone Wheatley Jr on National Signing Day. The son of the former Michigan great and current running backs coach pledged his commitment on Wednesday afternoon after a long recruitment that came down to Michigan and UCLA.

Wheatley is a consensus four-star recruit according to the four major recruiting sites. ESPN ranks him as the 12th-best tight end in the class, while Rivals and 247 rank him 13th. Scout ranks him as the 25th-best defensive end in the class. Scout’s Brian Dohn had this to say about Wheatley:

“Wheatley plays tight end and defensive end, but he looks more comfortable and natural on defense. He gets off the ball quickly, but sometimes gets upright too quickly. Wheatley has the size to overpower an offensive tackle, and also can use his speed to get around the edge. In addition, he can run a play down from behind and is versatile enough to move inside and play defensive tackle if he adds the weight.”

While Michigan missed out on top tight end target Chris Clark when he chose UCLA this morning, Wheatley is likely to wind up at tight end. It’s a deep and talented position for Michigan with junior Jake Butt, redshirt sophomore Khalid Hill, and redshirt freshman Ian Bunting. At 6’6″, 260, he has the size to play right away, and he will have a chance to work his way into playing time in Harbaugh’s tight end-friendly offense.