Webblog: Givens, Fitz, King James & More

GBW was on the road again this weekend at the Poland (OH) Invitational to check out commitments Fitzgerald Toussaint, Isaiah Bell, Antonio Kinnard, and D.J. Williamson,and newly offered Hubbard, OH RB Andre Givens. We also were at the King James Shooting Stars AAU tourney in Akron where we got the latest on a 5-star that UM is in hot pursuit of and an exciting take on Evan Smotrycz's talent.

Givens Unable to run
Hubbard's Andre Givens didn't run in yesterday's event like he initially planned to.  The outstanding tailback prospect to a tough spill on the track Thursday, which prompted his coach to suggest sitting out Saturday's track event.  That said Givens still made his way to the meet though where he came to support his "big cousin" Fitzgerald Toussaint.  Givens expressed disappointment about not being able to test his refined track speed against the top dog in the area.  Had he posted a 10.8 100 meter time like he had in recent sprints, he would have gone toe to toe with Toussaint.  As it stands, Givens is pleased with his progress on the track, but is not preoccupied with it.  Track seems to be more of a means to an end for him.  It's a way to help keep up his conditioning and improve his already impressive burst on the football field.  "There are guys that can beat me in track that can't catch me in football," he said.  "It's totally different.  If I see a hole I can get through it just like that.  Track speed and football speed are totally different.  We ain't talking about 100 meters.  I can get through a hole (on the football field), and when I do, nobody is catching me."

Givens' Upcoming  Road trip
A preseason commitment to some lucky school is beginning to look like more and more of a possibility for Givens.  It is by no means a definite, since he has expressed a desire to take all five official visits.  However, as time goes on the security of having his scholarship locked down heading into his senior year may trump the aforementioned fall visit plan.  Another factor that could potentially pave the way for a summer decision is his planned unofficial visit tour this summer with his dad.  They will hit numerous campuses in the coming months.  He will then be in better position to decide which schools he'd like to take official visits to or reach a final decision altogether.

Will Toussaint influence Givens' decision?
Toussaint certainly thinks so.   Toussaint believes Givens is a big time talent and further believes that big talent would work well lined up next to him at Michigan.  So strong is that belief that he plans on working very hard to lure Givens into the fold.  His confidence as a recruiter mirrors his confidence on the track and on the football field.  "I'm pretty sure (Givens) will make his decision to go (to Michigan)," Toussaint said. "It's nothing."

Toussaint blows away the field
Toussaint blistered his competition in the 100 meters Saturday by crossing the finish line 10.86 seconds and a full two body-lengths in front of the second place finisher.  The time was well behind his personal best of 10.59, but there was no one in this race to push him to that extreme.  Maybe Givens can do that in future races.  Fellow Wolverine-to-be D.J. Williamson certainly could.  In his previous encounter with the Warren Harding standout Toussaint mentioned that he finished with the short end of the stick.  "(Williamson) came out top," Toussaint said.  Is he looking forward to racing Williamson again? "Definitely."

Williamson @ the Penn Relays
Williamson's 10.66 100 meter and 21.64 200 meter times at last week's Mansfield (OH) Mehock relays have created tremendous buzz in the Buckeye State.  His presence at the Poland Invitational would have certainly made things more interesting Saturday.  He and three other members of the Warren Harding track team took a pass on Poland and so they could participate in the internationally renowned Penn Relays.  The Harding quartet competed in the 4x100 meter relay and ran a 42.27, good for fourth place in the big school division.

"TK" looks the part
Antonio Kinnard is every bit the 6-5 he's listed and looks to be close to 210-pounds.  On his 18'3" long jump effort Saturday:  "I'm kind of proud of that, but I know I can jump farther than that though."

Payne's recruitment heating up?
GoBlueWolverine was also in Attendance at the King James Shooting stars classic and one of the players we followed the closest was Dayton (OH) Jefferson big man Adreian Payne. Rumors have swirled for a few weeks that the versatile 6-10 210-pound five star prospect was on the verge of trimming his list to eight schools.  He denied having reached a pared down list, but it is clear that Michigan is in the mix.  Wolverine headman John Beilein, who offered Payne long ago, was in his school in recent weeks and there's a strong chance that the Maize & Blue will make the cut.

Michigan "Got a Steal" in Smotrycz?
That's the word from talent Scout and Nike rep Vince Baldwin.  We ran into VB in Akron and though he hasn't seen Smotrycz himself, he is convinced landed a big time player.  "I got a call (from a coach of one of the top programs in the country) and he told me Michigan stole one," Baldwin said.  "He said that kid is really good.  He can shoot from deep, he can put it on the floor… a lot of schools were going to jump on him this summer.  Michigan just got him before he blew up.  I don't know if they get him if he makes it to the summer.  Beilein got a real good one.  He stole one."

More King James New & Notes on the way…
Lots more from last weekend's AAU event is on the way.  The Family's Amir Williams and Carlton Brundidge put up big numbers, a few new names to keep an eye on, player evaluations and more.

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