"Pre-Best Guess List": 21 Junior Rec. Targets

We don't recall Michigan ever having as many as four public junior commitments within a week after Signing Day! And according to our informal count, Michigan will have only 15 scholarships available for its 2004/05 football recruiting class – a small number. So that leaves only around 11 more slots available.<br><br> Here are the commitments, plus 17 more junior prospects we believe have a strong mutual interest with Michigan.

You could call this a "Pre-Best Guess List." It might be fun to put this issue into storage until next February, and then pull it out and see how accurate this list actually is – it is awful early to try to compile a definitive list, so this will certainly expand and change some, expecially through the end of spring.

- Junior commitment #1: Running back Kevin Grady (2002 U-M Camper, 5-9, 230 lbs., 4.5 in the 40, 2.7 GPA) from East Grand Rapids, Mich. The consensus #1 instate junior finished his junior season with 2,507 yards (including 235 in the State Championship victory) and 39 touchdowns. He committed Sept. 8, 2003, after attending the Houston game and before attending the Notre Dame game. He plans to enroll at U-M in Jan. 2005.

- Junior commitment #2: ‘Jumbo athlete' James McKinney (US Army Combine stats: 6-1 1/2, 274 lbs., 5.10 in the 40, 14 bench press reps., 24 1/2 inch vertical jump, 2.7 GPA) from Louisville, Kent., Central. He made unofficial visits for the Notre Dame and OSU games -- and committed shortly after the OSU game. At the U.S. Army Junior Combine he reminded us of Carl Diggs in how he moves, plays, etc. McKinney is a true 'jumbo athlete' who could end up at any one of a number of positions, including tight end, linebacker or defensive line.

- Junior commitment #3: Offensive lineman Justin Schifano (2003 Michigan Camper, 2003 PSU Nike stats: 6-4, 302 lbs., 5.1 in the 40, 30 bench press reps. of 185 lbs.) from Webster, N.Y., Schroeder. He told us he actually committed during his unofficial visit for the Notre Dame game Sept. 15, but he made his commitment public on Jan. 15. Schifano is a three-year starter at offensive tackle for Schroeder High School, which won the state title his freshman and sophomore seasons and lost its only game his junior season in the state championship game. He was considered perhaps the top offensive lineman at the 2003 PSU Nike Camp.

- Junior commitment #4: Wide receiver Mario Manningham (6-0, 180 lbs., 4.4 in the 40) from Warren, Ohio, Harding ( the alma mater of Prescott Burgess). Manningham, a long-time Michigan fan, made an unofficial visit to Michigan for the Indiana game, and committed to the Wolverines on Feb. 5, the day after Signing Day. Considered one of Ohio's top three prospects, as a junior he made 32 receptions, for 700 yards and 11 touchdowns as Harding went 10-1.

With top commitments at running back and wide receiver, Michigan may have those needs for the next recruiting class filled. However it can be assumed that the Wolverines would still like one quarterback (Michigan only has three scholarship quarterbacks on its roster although they are very good ones) and about two of each of offensive tackles, defensive linemen, cornerbacks, and, we guessing, perhaps three linebackers. Particular needs are for cornerbacks (always scarce as hen's teeth!) and linebackers (scarce in recent years, this coming year LB-recruit-numbers may be a little better). Oh yes, and a kicker (hopefully punter). So here is a "Sweet Seventeen" list of juniors who may be top junior recruits. Those who already have Michigan scholarship offers are noted.

- Quarterback Evan Sharpley (6-3, 190 lbs., 4.7 in the 40, 4.0 GPA) from Marshall, Mich. Sharpley, considered the top instate quarterback and one of the top five instate prospects overall, attended the OSU game last fall. He reportedly grew up a Michigan fan.

- Offensive lineman Dan Doering (US Army Combine stats: 6-5 1/2, 270 lbs., 5.29 in the 40, 16 bench press reps.) from Barrington, Ill. He has a Michigan offer, and it is assumed that Michigan will end up in his final five. Doering is one of USA Today's Top Ten Juniors.

- Offensive lineman A.J. Haas (6-6, 265 lbs.) from Copley, Ohio. He is considered one of the top two junior Ohio offensive linemen.

- Nose tackle Terrance Taylor (2003 U-M Camper, 6-0, 285 lbs., 4.9 in the 40) from Muskegon, Mich. Taylor is one of the top two instate juniors, along with Kevin Grady, and has a Michigan offer. He attended several Michigan games last fall, and tells us Michigan is his leader. As a junior he made 68 tackles including 10 sacks. He is one of USA Today's Top Ten Juniors.

- Defensive lineman Ekom Udofia (6-2, 290 lbs., 4.68 in the 40, 380 lb. max bench, 600 lb. squat, 4.1 GPA/1160 PSAT) from Scottsdale, Ariz., Chaparral. USC is his early favorite, with Michigan perhaps second. As a junior he recorded 72 tackles including 12 sacks.

- Defensive lineman Mataele Pau'u (USC Nike Stats: 6-3, 295 lbs., 5.2 in the 40, 27 rep.s of 185 pounds.) from Manhattan Beach, Mir Costa. Michigan may be his favorite. As a junior he made 76 tackles including 11 sacks.

- Defensive end Christian Fleming (6-5, 250 lbs., 4.7 in the 40) from Erie, Penn., Strong Vincent. As a junior he made 41 tackles for loss and 23 sacks. He reportedly has a Michigan offer.

- Defensive end/Tight End Antonio Hinton (2003 Michigan Camper, 6'5, 265 lbs., 4.60 in the 40) from Harper Woods, Mich., Trinity. If he qualifies he could be right up there with Grady and Taylor as the top instate juniors.

- Outside linebacker/defensive end Carson Butler (6-5, 228 lbs., 4.6 in the 40) from Detroit Renaissance. A transfer from Lansing Waverly who had to sit out last season due to transfer rules. May be the top ‘sleeper' in the state.

- 'Jumbo Athlete' Brian Cushing (6-3, 230 lbs., 4.5 in the 40) from Bergen, N.J. Catholic. The top junior linebacker prospect in the state, last season he played all over the field, making 120 tackles, 9 sacks, 7 interceptions and 22 tackles for a loss. He was 1st team All-State by the Associated Press, and reportedly has strong interest in Michigan.

- Linebacker Brandon Logan (US Army Combine stats: 6-0, 189 lbs., 4.72 in the 40, 11 bench press reps., 26 inch vertical jump.) from Lexington, Kent., Catholic. Brandon is a two-time Michigan Camper and has a U-M offer. The Wolverines lead.

- Linebacker Ryan Reynolds (US Army Combine stats: 6-1 1/2, 215 lbs., 4.65 in the 40, 4.17 shuttle, 29 inch vertical jump, 34 bench press reps.) from Las Vegas, Nev., Bishop Gorman. Reynolds is on of USA Today's Top Ten juniors. Michigan has offered him, and he has told us that he will most likely make an official visit to Michigan.

- Linebacker Chris Jeske (6-2, 215 lbs., 4.5 in the 40, 4.3 GPA) from Joliet, Ill., Catholic (Mike Kolodziej's alma mater). As a junior Jeske made 163 tackles, 113 solo as Joliet Catholic won the Illinois State 5A title. He has early offers from Wisconsin and Northwestern, and Michigan visited his school in December. He will most likely attend summer camps at Michigan and Ohio State.

- Linebacker/fullback Andrew Hawken (2003 Michigan Camper, 6-2, 220 lbs., 465 in the 40) from Grandville, Mich. As a junior he missed 1 1/2 games due to injury, but recorded 1270 yards and 23 touchdowns (as well as 38 receptions) to lead Grandville to the Division 1 semifinals. He grew up a Michigan fan and had plans to attend the Feb. 29th Ohio State game Junior Day.

- Cornerback/athlete Justin King (5-11, 182 lbs., 2003 PSU Nike stats: 4.29 in the 40, 3.72 sec. shuttle, 37.1 inch vertical jump, 11 bench press reps., 3.0 GPA) from Monroeville. Considered perhaps the #1 junior prospect in Pennsylvania, he rushed as a junior for 1,763 yards (8.2 yards per carry) and 29 touchdowns; and as a cornerback he recorded 28 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and three interceptions. His stepfather/coach (a PSU grad) told us Justin would visit U-M for it's late Feb. Junior Day, for a spring practice, and for the Michigan Summer Camp.

- Wide receiver/cornerback Derrick Williams (US Army Combine Stats were: 5-11 1/2, 185 lbs., 4.41 in the 40, 31 inch vertical jump, 13 bench press reps.) from Greenbelt, Md., Roosevelt. Williams is one of USA Today's Top Ten Juniors, and has told us that he is interested in Michigan.

- Kicker Brandon Fetterolf (5-10, 170 lbs.) from Midland, Mich. Michigan is probably looking for a punter, but Brandon is really a place kicker. He made 12 field goals last season, with a long of 46 yards.

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