Tom's Column: U-M Recruiting as of Oct. 21

The Dating Game

First off, a quick comment regarding the Purdue game. Yes, it was another 'ugly' win. But truth be known, knowledgable sources around Ann Arbor did not expect the Wolverines to be 6-1 after seven games. So, lack of 'style points' notwithstanding, Michigan is in actuality overachieving. Wolverine fans wouldn't trade places with Penn State or Purdue, would we. Here's a quick glance way-ahead: it is the 2003 season (with a softer schedule, senior quarterback, etc.) that is being pointed to for a run for all the marbles.


Recruiting and The Dating Game.
Sometimes you're doing the picking, sometimes you're the one being picked-or-not.

I could never be a college recruiter. Now that my daughter is 16 and dating, the memories come back ... being a college recruiter for me would be out of the question.

Everyone knows the dating scene. At least all of us adults do. And at 51 years old, I'm glad as heck to have those days years behind me. And now I finally know why, way back when, I used to hate the TV show "The Dating Game." I just hated that show. It seemed like it was always on. I'd watch it and squirm for a few minutes. Then I'd walk up to the TV set (yes, we had to WALK up, how did we ever manage) and change the channel to "I Dream of Jeanie" -- the perfect Dating Game antidote (all you young guys who never got to see it, you gotta go find it on "TV Land"). Anyway, back then I used to tell myself I hated the show because, "That's not dating!" All those perfect sun-bleached California kids preening and picking each other. But now, years later, I realize that I actually hated the show because it was just like dating. The 'choosers' and 'choosees' were both in a state of 'total-anxiety-whilst-pretending-to-be-totally-cool." And watching the show would instantly take me 'right there' emotionally into my own love life (or lack thereof!). Chilling. I couldn't stand it - I'd have to go turn it to my beloved Jeanie-genie, where everyman's-dream-girl chooses YOU.

And it isn't just the anxiety. Real dating has the added element of being extremely complicated. You know, while going after 'the person of your dreams', or even dating her-or-him, one needs to keep a flirting process going with other potentially-future dating partners as well. Some of these others are 'fall-backs', others are actually 'more desirable' than the current 'yours truly'.

It's all kind've like juggling burning chainsaws -- except that dating is more emotionally draining.

That's why I could never be a college recruiter. These guys have to go through this every year with the recruits they are wooing -- and not just one 'target' every once in a while like with girlfriend-boyfriend romance-dating. College recruiters have to keep this 'juggling process' going with dozens of kid every year, in order to successfully woo 15-25 'one-and-only's'. It's a complicated, and emotional, business. The choices that these 17 year old kids make determine the program's future, and the recruiters' jobs. Talk about anxiety! Fortunately for Michigan fans, the Wolverine coaching staff is one of the hardest working, and most charming(!), bunch of recruiters in the business. And so every year Michigan fans are treated to some 'genie'-quality recruits. This season, with a Wolverine recruiting class of only 15-or-so in the offing, each individual recruit-courting is more crucial than ever. So let's look at how the Wolverine recruiting ritual is progressing.

"Formally Engaged to be Married"
Michigan's seven commitments:

1. Quarterback Sam Keller (6-4, 205 lbs., 4.85 in the 40) from Danville, Calif., San Ramon Valley. He is Rivals100's #9 pro-style quarterback.

2. Running back/safety Anton Campbell (6-0, 185 lbs., 4.45 in the 40, 330-lb. bench press, 36-inch vertical jump, 2.8 GPA/18 ACT) from O'Fallon, Missou., Fort Zumwalt West. He is Rivals100's #6 all-purpose back.

3. Tight end/offensive lineman Adam Kraus (6-6, 275 lbs., 4.9 in the 40, 300-lb. bench press, strong student) from New Orleans Brother Martin. He is's #10 offensive tackle.

4. All-American tight end/defensive end Will Paul (MSU Nike stats: 6-4, 255 lbs., 4.59 in the 40, 3.0 GPA/18 ACT) from St. Louis Parkway West, Missou. He is TheInsiders' #30 prospect.

5. All-American Linebacker Jim Presley (MSU Nike stats: 6-2 1/2, 215 lbs., 4.56 in the 40, 4.06 in the shuttle; 10.8 100 meters, 375-lb. bench press, 2.9 GPA/19 ACT) from Milford, Mich., Highland. He is's #64 prospect.

6. All-American offensive lineman Jake Long (6-7, 295 lbs., 5.0 in the 40, 340-lb. bench press, 2.7 GPA) from Lapeer, Mich., East. He is's #72 prospect.

7. All-American Place kicker Garrett Rivas (5-9, 180 lbs.) from Tampa, Fla., Jesuit. He has been named the East team kicker in the US Army All-Star game in January.

This leaves the Wolverines looking for perhaps up to eight more 'one-and-only's'.

"Going steady"
Michigan currently leads for:

1. All-American defensive back/‘athlete' Ryan Mundy (PSU Nike stats: 6-2, 200 lbs., 16 reps of 185 lbs.; 4.45 in the 40, 10.7 100 meters, 290-lb. bench press, 2.7 GPA/830 SAT in 2001) from Pittsburgh, Penn., Woodland Hills (teammate of Steve Breaston). He is a member of Tom Lemming's Sept. Top 100. He has a Michigan visit scheduled for the Nov. 2 MSU game ... will it be an official visit?

2. All-American defensive/tight end Doug Van Dyke (6-6, 235 lbs., 4.8 in the 40, 2.4 GPA/21 ACT) from Marshall, Mich. He is The Insiders' #81 prospect. Like Mundy, he has an unofficial Michigan official visit scheduled for the Nov. 2 MSU game ... will it be changed to an official visit? Nebraska and Purdue are only slightly behind Michigan.

3. All-American Cornerback Leon Hall (USC Nike Stats: 5-11, 175 lbs., 4.42 in the 40, 4.19 shuttle, 33 inch vertical jump) from Vista, Calif. He is's #9 cornerback. He has his Michigan official visit scheduled for Jan. 10.

"Serious dating"
Michigan is currently the co-leader for:

1. All-American linebacker Lamarr Woodley (MSU Nike stats: 6-1 1/2, 250 lbs., 4.0 in the shuttle; 4.72 in the 40, 4.0 in the shuttle, 29-inch vertical jump, 315-lb. bench press, 2.9 GPA/16 ACT) from Saginaw, Mich. He is Rivals100's #25 prospect. Michigan and MSU are the co-favorites. He has his Michigan official visit scheduled for the Nov. 2 MSU game weekend.

2. All-American linebacker/defensive end Shawn Crable (6-6, 225 lbs., 4.74 in the 40, 10.8 100 meters, 2.8 GPA/15 ACT) from Massillon, Ohio, Washington. He is The Insiders #92 prospect. He attended the Michigan/Washington game. Is it Michigan and Ohio State at the lead for him, or perhaps Michigan/USC? He visits USC Dec. 6, and Michigan the next weekend.

3. All-American ‘athlete' Prescott Burgess (6-3, 220 lbs., 4.59 in the 40 at the OSU Camp, 3.0 GPA/15 ACT) from Warren, Ohio, Harding. He is The Insiders' #11 prospect. He attended the Washington game. He is keeping his distance from the press these days, but this one still looks like a dead-even Michigan/OSU battle.

4. All-American offensive lineman Mike Jones (6-5, 305 lbs., 5.1 in the 40, 2.8 GPA/20 ACT) from Oak Lawn, Ill., Richards. He is The Insider's #68 prospect. He attended the PSU game; he also attended a Michigan spring practice. His brother played for Notre Dame. Sometimes this looks like a Michigan/Tennessee battle; other times Michigan/Notre Dame; however it seems to be Michigan/'somebody'.

5. All-American running back Lynell Hamilton (Stanford Nike stats: 6-0, 195 lbs., 4.25 shuttle, 28-inch vertical jump ... 4.4 in the 40, 3.0 GPA) from Stockton, Calif., Edison. He is Rivals100's #8 running back. Another recruit who is maintaining his privacy and 'neutrality' regarding schools; however, Michigan looks to be at least in his top three. He may be making his officil visit for the Oct. 26 Iowa game.

6. All-American ‘athlete' Dareus Hiley (5-11, 175 lbs., 4.4 in the 40, 2.7 GPA) from Cleveland, Ohio, Glenville. He is The Insider's #52 prospect. Hiley and Donte Whitner made an unofficial visit for the PSU game, and have official visits set up for the Dec. 6 weekend. Another Michigan/OSU battle; this one could be in the "going steady" catagory if his grades were all in order.

7. All-American defensive lineman Carnell Stewart (6-5, 290 lbs., 4.8 in the 40, 415-lb. bench press, 2.8 GPA) from River Ridge, Louisiana, John Curtis Christian. He is TheInsiders' #67 prospect. He has visits set to Colorado and Florida, and LSU looms large as well.

Michigan is getting an official visit from :

1. All-American quarterback Clayton Richard (6-5, 225 lbs., 4.7 in the 40, 4.0 GPA/1340 SAT) from Lafayette, Ind., McCutcheon. He is Rivals100's #90 prospect. He wants to make an unofficial visit either for the Iowa or MSU game. This one might be 'serious dating', but his recruiting process is still too early to tell.

2. All-American cornerback Donte Whitner (MSU Nike stats: 5-11, 176 lbs., 4.43 in the 40, 32.8 inch vertical jump; 10.4 100 meters, 3.8 GPA) from Cleveland, Ohio, Glenville. He is The Insiders' #19 prospect. Whitner and Dareus Hiley made an unofficial visit for the PSU game, and have official visits set up for the Dec. 6 weekend. This one is almost 'serious dating', but rumors persist that OSU is the leader.

3. All-American offensive lineman Ryan Harris (2002 Michigan camper, 6-4, 260 lbs., 4.9 in the 40, 3.7 GPA/26 ACT) from St. Paul, Minnesota, Cretin-Durham. He is TheInsiders' #50 prospect. Again, this one is almost 'serious dating', but with two other top suitors: Notre Dame and Miami (both of whom seem to think they are his main heart-throb).

4. All-American offensive lineman John Sullivan (6-4, 280 lbs., 4.9 in the 40, 350-lb. bench press, 3.2 GPA/1250 SAT) from Greenwich, Conn. He is's #60 prospect. Michigan is in his top three, but Notre Dame and Boston College seem to lead Michigan.

5. All-American linebacker/defensive end Claude "Turk" McBride (6-4, 235 lbs., 4.6 in the 40, 3.2 GPA/780 SAT) from Camden, New Jersey, Woodrow Wilson. He is The Insiders' #42 prospect. He has visits set to Michigan (Dec. 13) and UCLA, but he maintains that he is still 'playing the field'.

6. All-American defensive end Victor Abiamiri (6-5, 245 lbs., 4.5 in the 40, 3.0+ GPA/1140 SAT) from Baltimore, Md., Gilman. He is TheInsiders' #48 prospect. Another kid who is keeping his 'courting' private, but according to Tom Lemming he likes Stanford and Notre Dame as well as Michigan, as well as Maryland where his two brothers play.

7.All-American wide receiver/cornerback Antonio Cromartie (6-4, 200 lbs., 4.4 in the 40, 10.7 100 meters, 2.5 GPA) from Tallahassee, Fla., Lincoln. He is The Insiders' #24 prospect. He makes his Michigan officia visit Jan. 10. He also has visits set to Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama, and home-town FSU also looms large.

8. All-American wide receiver/athlete Steve Smith (6-1, 185 lbs., 4.45 in the 40) from Woodland Hills, California, Taft. He is The Insiders' #59 prospect. It looks like Michigan will get a visit, but this one is 'wide open' with Texas, USC, Tennessee and Washington all strongly in the running as well.

9. All-American tight end Greg Olsen (6-6, 240 lbs., 4.7 in the 40) from Wayne Hills, New Jersey. from Wayne Hills, New Jersey. He is The Insiders' #20 prospect. He is visiting Michigan Jan. 10, but has Notre Dame and Tennessee visits scheduled for December ... will he commit to the Irish (where brother Chris is a freshman QB) before he gets over to A2?

10. Running back/safety Jerome Jackson (MSU Nike stats: 5-11 1/2, 193 lbs. ... 4.45 in the 40, 3.5 GPA/16 ACT) from Saginaw, Mich. He is making an official visit the MSU game weekend. Michigan is short of running backs, and short of running back recruits as well. This could bode well for Michigan and Jackson.

Michigan is trying to get (or stay) on the 'dance card' for:

1. All-American defensive back Paul Oliver (6-0, 180 lbs., 4.42 in the 40) from Kennesaw, Georgia, Harrison. He is TheInsider's #22 prospect. He has a MSU game official visit scheduled, but he is alco committed to Georgia.

2. All-American wide receiver Jayson Swain (6-2, 205 lbs., 4.45 in the 40, 34-inch vertical jump, 2.8 GPA/15 ACT) from Huntsville, Alabama, Grissom. Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee are his leaders. Michigan is trying hard for a visit, but is struggling to get into the number five slot for him.

3. All-American outside linebacker/defensive end Kirston Pittman (6-4, 235 lbs., 4.5 in the 40) from Reserve, Louisiana, East St. John High (just west of New Orleans). He has visits set to Miami and FSU, and won't commit to others right now; Michigan is in the running for one of the three remaining slots.

4. All-American running back Reggie Bush (6-0, 180 lbs., 4.4 in the 40) from San Diego, Calif., Helix. He is TheInsider's #35 prospect. He is everyone's top running back prospect; a Michigan visit is a long shot.

5. Michael Bush (6-3, 225 lbs., 4.5 in the 40) from Louisville, Kent., Male. He is TheInsider's #3 prospect. Michigan trying to get involved for the top Kentucky wideout ... have they gotten involved in time?

6. All-American running back Lendale White (6-2, 230 lbs., 4.53 in the 40, 2.7 GPA/18 ACT) from Littleton, Colorado, Chatfield. He has four visits scheduled: Texas (already visited, the fav?), USC, Oregon and Georgia Tech. It'll be either Kansas State or Michigan for the fifth.

7. Defensive/Offensive lineman Pat Sharrow (6-3, 275 lbs., 4.9 in the 40) from Monroe, Michigan. Michigan has offered him a scholarship, but for January.

An "Engagement" seemed likely, but the denoument was "Jilted:"

1. Defensive lineman Trevor Laws from Minneapolis. In the spring Michigan was his leader. After attending the Notre Dame and Michigan camps however, it seemed clear that ND appealed to him more; he recently committed to the Irish.

2. Wideout John Logan from Lexington, Kentucky. This one is a bit baffling. The three-time Wolverine camper seemed to be leaning to Michigan, and Michigan was looking to seal the deal. Instead, he suddenly committed to Kentucky. Making this loss even harder is that his linebacker little brother (a 2002 Michigan camper) is an even better prospect.


Note: the "Best Guess Michigan Recruiting Class" list has been moved to the "Spotlight" section below. As has a "Commitments" list. And the "Visits" list has been updated in that "Spotlight" section as well.

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