The Football Recruiting Picture On October First

The Michigan football program now has ten verbal commitments, with possibly seven more to go. What is the recruiting outlook at this point in time? Can this be a Top 10 class?

Michigan now has ten verbal commitments. First off, how do they meet the Wolverine's recruiting needs?

Quarterback. Needs: 1. Commitments: 0
Recruits: Antonio Bass (see WR's)

Running Backs. Needs: 2. Commitments: 2 (Kevin Grady, Mister Simpson (FB)). Needs filled.

Wideouts. Needs: 3. Commitments: 2 (Mario Manningham, Laterryal Savoy)
Recruits: Antonio Bass, Selwyn Lymon

Tight Ends. Needs: 1. Commitments: 0
Recruits: Edward Dickson, Anthony Moeaki, possibly Chris Joppru

Offensive Linemen. Needs: 4. Commitments: 2 (Justin Schifano, Tim McAvoy)
Recruits: Cory Zirbel, David Moosman, Marques Slocum (see DT), Dace Richardson

Defensive Tackles. Needs: 2 (or 3). Commitments: 1 (Terrance Taylor)
Recruits: James McKinney, Marques Slocum, Kyle Moore, Hivera Green

'Speed' Inside Linebackers. Needs: 1 (or 2). Commitments: 0
Recruits: Brandon Logan, Rico McCoy, Nick Harris (see S)

Cornerbacks. Needs: 2 or 3. Commitments: 1 (Johnny Sears)
Recruits: Justin King, Victor Harris, Bryan Evans, Derek Pegues

Safeties. Needs: 0 (or 1). Commitments: 0
Recruits: Nick Harris (see LB)

Kickers. Needs: 1 punter. Commitments: 1 (Zoltan Mesko). Needs filled.


The question of course is, how will the remaining needs be filled? Here are our October 1st opinions (unofficial of course).

Quarterback. With true quarterback Chad Henne the starter, and Matt Gutierrez's future uncertain, Michigan would now LOVE to have a quarterback in this recruiting class. In fact, several top QB's were probably called in Sept. to see if they would reconsider U-M ... at this point the possibilities are limited (which would mean that next year U-M might try to sign two).

Running back. With Top 100 prospect Kevin Grady and Mister Simpson in the fold, the RB need is well taken care of. Grady comes in in January '05, will go through spring practice, and will likely be a factor in 2005.

Wide receiver. With two in the fold, Top 100 prospect Mario Manningham and Laterryal Savoy, Michigan in most years would call their WR needs filled. This year, however, the main remaining WR recruit, Top 100 prospect Antonio Bass, is perhaps U-M's co-top recruit overall (with CB Justin King). There is concern that U-M may not have the 'home run' WR next year that Braylon Edwards is this year (Steve Breaston's foot injury has hurt his speed ... this may be why Adrain Arrington is getting a few snaps even though he is not really physically ready to be out there ... they may be hoping Arrington could get deep if necessary), and Bass could come in and help fill that bill immediately as a freshman. Bass is somewhat of a Braylon clone -- strong and very fast, with good size (although Bass is not 6-4 like Braylon). Of course Bass is currently saying Virginina Tech (Labor Day official visit) leads U-M slightly ... VAT is recruiting him as a QB, but it is not likely that Bass could get on the field as early at VAT (as a QB) as he could as U-M (as a WR), and this in the end could make a difference ... you can be certain U-M will explain the PT possibilities at WR at U-M when Bass makes his U-M official visit to Ann Arbor.

Offensive lineman. Again there are two in the fold, Justin Schifano and Tim McAvoy. It is assumed that Cory Zirbel will be a Wolverine, which could leave U-M trying for Top 100 prospect OT's Dace Richardson and Marcus Slocum.

Defensive tackles. With Top 100 prospect Terrance Taylor in the fold now, U-M will still likely push to sign Top 100 prospect James McKinney (and should be able to land him). Marcus Slocum is also too good to turn down if he can make grades.

Inside linebackers. U-M has the best shot at Brandon Logan, and in fact he has again said recently that U-M leads for him. If U-M lands Logan, they can take their shot at Top 100 prospect Rico McCoy and possibly Derek Nicholson.

Cornerback. With Johnny Sears in the fold, U-M really REALLY needs Justin King, and may have the best shot at him now. One more CB beyond King would be desirable (Top 100 prospects Victor Harris, Bryan Evans and Derek Pegues), but King is the main focus.

Punter. U-M has their guy in Zoltan Mesko.

The bottom line.

With 10 commitments, Michigan has 3 Top 100 players in the fold in RB Kevin Grady, WR Mario Manningham, and DL Terrance Taylor (Justin Schifano could quite possibly be considered Top 100 as well) . With 7 spots open, if U-M can manage to fill their WR need with Top 100 prospect Antonio Bass, their DT need with Top 100 prospect James McKinney, their CB need with Top 100 recruit Justin King, and also land OL Cory Zirbel and LB Brandon Logan ... the final two spots would be 'gravy'. Michigan would have met their needs (expect possibly QB) -- and they would have 6 consensus top 100 players in a small 17-member class. Would this class be a 'top 10' class? Not likely -- the only chance (our opinion of course) that a class this small would have to break the Top 10 would be to have a top QB in it. This class would be rated #11-15, but it would be underrated. Now, if U-M were to add Marcus Slocum or Dace Richardson or Rico McCoy or Victor Harris or Derek Pegues, top 100 players all, they would push up close to the Top 10 ... if they land TWO of those guys, who knows.

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