The Ballad of Pearlie Graves

A series exploring the commitments (and subsequent decommitments) of Michigan’s lost members of the class of 2009. This one has by far the most literary-sounding title.

2009 DT Pearlie GravesThe Commitment
Pearlie Graves’s recruitment stayed under the radar until he committed to Michigan. He was offered in the summer, but most fans thought that he was to be forgotten about when Dequinta Jones went blue. However, the Wolverine coaches stayed on Graves, and even when he came on an official visit to Ann Arbor, most Michigan fans thought “what a waste for a guy that isnt coming here.” In late November, he pulled the trigger for Michigan, and fans were no longer down on him, as he had become a 4-star to at least one site.

The Decommitment
For much of the recruiting process following Graves’s commitment, most Michigan fans thought that he was more likely to stick with Michigan than fellow DT DeQuinta Jones. He made little mention of taking other visits (though he had apparently gone on some without alerting the recruiting sites or even Michigan’s coaches). Still, he seemed likely to stick until the very end, when Big 12 teams and even a couple from the SEC came calling. Graves said he would make his final decision on Signing Day, and by that time Michigan’s chances looked rather grim. Indeed, when he faxed in National Letter of Intent, it went to Lubbock, Texas rather than Ann Arbor.

The Impact
This one hurt. Though Michigan landed Big Will Campbell in the class of ’09, they needed more than one defensive tackle, and whiffing on two guys (both of whom considered themselves “committed” to Michigan up until the last minute) on Signing Day was a major blow. Michian now finds itself in need of multiple defensive tackles for the second year in a row, and the class of 2010 is not nearly as strong at the position was was last year’s crop.

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Recruiting Update: Signing Day ’09 Minus 1

The 2009 board, including extraneous prospects, can be seen here: 2009 Recruting Board.

As for the information on still-realistic prospects:

There has been a massive downturn in confidence among the Michigan internet fanbase for two important prospects. FL QB Denard Robinson has been downgraded significantly (with Florida now being considered the favorite, although he won’t be able to play QB there). Florida Gator Country is still not confident on Denard, but they’ve certainly changed their tone from the last few days, citing “murmurs”:

IS THERE STILL A CHANCE? I don’t think this one is likely for Denard Robinson, but I have definitely been hearing some murmurs to suggest that Denard is a possibility in this class. Do I think it’s likely? …

…and the Miami Herald has some fluff on Robinson’s final decision. The Toledo Blade says he’ll anounce his decision at the same time as Witty, but that isn’t accurate from what I’ve heard, so take it for what it’s worth.

The other prospect of dwindling confidence is PA WR Je’Ron Stokes. Michigan had been considered a pretty strong front-runner for Stokes ever since his visit, and so the other schools Stokes was considering (Tennessee and Illinois) spent all their effort talking down Michigan. Stokes is evidently worried about not getting the ball enough, not getting enough playing time, and even Rich Rodriguez being fired after this year, all of which are vary from moderately stupid to hilariously ridiculous. Regardless, Michigan is no longer a prohibitive favorite, and they likely trail one of the other schools at this point.

SC DE Sam Montgomery has trimmed his final list to three schools, and Michigan ain’t one of ’em. Conventional wisdom has him signing with either UNC or LSU.

SC OL Quinton Washington was widely regarded to be down to just South Carolina and Michigan coming into the week, and Phil Kornblut confirms that is the case, and that Washington hadn’t announced his decision as of last night, because he hasn’t decided:

“He’s a confused young man right now,” [Timberland coach Art] Craig said. “He’s torn completely in half,” between USC and Michigan.

If you take out Kornblut’s little addendum, it can be deduced that his heart and his head may be telling him different things. Washington is still expecrted to make a final decision sometime today.

LA DT Commit DeQuinta Jones is expected to announce at 12:30 tomorrow between Michigan, Arkansas, or Tennessee.

No updated information on FL CB Adrian Witty or OK DT Commit Pearlie Graves, so everything can be considered status quo on those two for the time being.

Is it possible that Michigan hops on a fewer sleeper prospects if they dont land the majority of these guys? It’s certainly possible, but I’d be surprised if it was more than one or two guys. The more likely scenario is they bank a couple scholarhips for ’09 (give them to preferred walkons during the season) and hopefully gear up for a big 2010 class.

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Recruiting update: Signing Day ’09 Minus 2

2009 Board.

With just a couple days until 2009 prospects sign their letters of intent, the information should be coming fast and furious for Michigan recruiting fans. As such, updates on the 2010 class are suspended until at least Thursday (and probably even later than that). Without further ado, here’s the latest information on all the recruits that Michigan is currently in the running for (as well as a few eliminations of other guys):

First, some removals:
MI QB AJ Westendorp committed to Central Michigan.
FL QB Austin Dantin committed to Toledo.
OH OL Marcus Hall selected Ohio State, in the shocker of the century.
PA OL Tahir Basil (who had pretty much no Michigan interest), committed to Lafayette.
MN CB Varmah Sonie. Committed to Northern Iowa.

FL CB Adrian Witty has set a press conference at 11AM on Signing Day to announce his decision. No word on whether his teammate, QB Denard Robinson, will announce at that time as well. Even is he doesn’t, the announcement from Robinson will probably come some time on Signing Day. For good measure, here’s a little fluff on Robinson. Indications are still (with no definitive word) that the two are a package deal, which would help Michigan.

SC OL Quinton Washington will announce later today or tomorrow between Michigan and South Carolina. Michigan and USC insiders are equally confident on this one, so there is no indication which one he’ll select.

PA WR/slot Je’Ron Stokes will announce his decision sometime on Signing Day. He is thought to be choosing between Michigan, Illinois, and Tennessee. I’ve also re-added Stokes to the board, because regardless of his commitment to Tennessee, he’s clearly open, and Michigan may in fact be the favorite.

SC DE Sam Montgomery took his final official visit (to Tennessee) this weekend, and now:

Montgomery is considering the Vols along with Clemson, USC, Michigan, North Carolina and LSU. “We have to go home and make some comparisons and throw things around and go from there,” Mrs. Montgomery said. “The list does have to be trimmed. We’ll possibly cut some tonight. We’ll be in contact with some schools to get some answers and some clarifications. Distance is not going to be a factor.”

Montgomery plans to announce Wednesday morning on ESPN.

Schools will be eliminated (I assume somewhat publicly) as he goes, with a final decision announced Wednesday morning on ESPN (I assume ESPNU).

DT commits Pearlie Graves (from Oklahoma) and DeQuinta Jones (of Louisiana) are wavering, and have been for quite some time. I assume we’ll hear confirmation of final choices from those two by Signing Day. Michigan really needs at least one, and preferably both of them, to pick the Wolverines.

Most other recruits are pretty much out of the question, though there’s a possibility that the Wolverines pick up a sleeper or two. Everyone else will stay on the board for the time being until there’s official reason to remove them.

Posted under Football, Recruiting

Recruiting Update 1-21-09

Recruiting Boards can always be found on the left sidebar. 2009 & 2010

First things first: it’s quite obvious that, this late in the recruiting process, there are only a few realistic prospects left on the board. There may be other guys that end up wearing the right colors, but it’s more likely that they come out of the woodwork. So, a lot of prospects came off the 2009 board in the past week (unrealistic though some of them may have been). Let’s review:
MS S/WR Dennis Thames. Mississippi State Commit.
TX CB Demontre Hurst committed to Oklahoma State, but may still visit the Canes.
FL DB Jonathan Scott picks WVU.
AL LB Tana Patrick is now only considering Bama, Auburn, USC, MIami of Florida, and Tennessee.
FL CB Jayron Hosley is going to USF, whether he has publicly committed (yet) or not.
CA OL Michael Philipp, who hadn’t really been considering Michigan in quite some time, commits to Oregon State.
NC OL Travis Bond picked UNC over Michigan, adding to the ridiculously large recruiting class in Chapel Hill.

SC OL Quinton Washington is one of the few remaining targets that Michigan has a chance with. The Sporting News’ The Recruitnik blog gives an entirely uninformative update on his recruitment. Phil Kornblut says he visits South Carolina, which is Michigan’s main competition for his signature. Considering he came out of that visit not only uncommitted, but also unwilling to say USC was his leader, chances here don’t look dire. However, he did leave the visit “knowing what he wants to do,” which may be bad, considering it probably means “my last visit rulzed.” Regardless, he does not plan to publicly commit until signing day.

LA LB Barkevious Mingo, who visited LSU this weekend, does not plan to commit anywhere until signing day.

LA WR Travante Stallworth is still “committed” to Auburn, but has a top 3 of Michigan, South Carolina, and Auburn. RichRod has his in-home tonight. Stallworth seems a little more effusive about Michigan than his other choices:

“At Michigan, it was different than any other college campus I’ve ever been to,” he continued. “They have outstanding facilities and the academics are top of the line. Coach (Rich) Rodriguez wants me to come in as a slot receiver and even said I could try quarterback. If it didn’t work out, I could switch to receiver. They just want to get the ball in my hands in the open field.”

RR will also be in the home of DE Sam Montgomery, who has taken 2 officials without committing anywhere. He wants to go to business school, which means Michigan is by far the best option out of his current choices in that regard. He’s still going to LSU, Tennessee, and Oregon.

2009 Michigan football recruits Jeron Stokes and Jeremy Gallon, with Wide Receiver Darryl StonumFreep fluff on the visit by PA WR Je’Ron Stokes (along with a general discussion of WR recruiting). If Stokes gets through his PSU visit without committing, Michigan’s chances in this one aren’t bad. Stokes didn’t really appear to be enjoying himself too much at the hoops game though (photo of Darryl Stonum, Stokes, and Jeremy Gallon by Matt Pargoff in the Detroit Free Press).

Tennessee has hopped in on OK DT Commit Pearlie Graves. The likelihood he ends up in Ann Arbor is ever-dwindling.

FL QB Austin Dantin is practically begging for an offer, though if he’s stooping that low this late in the process, that probably means he’s unlikely to get one. He’s added to the board regardless.

The Palm Beach Post ranked the area’s top 25 seniors:

6. Brandin Hawthorne, LB, 6-1, 181, Pahokee, Enrolled at Michigan

8. Vincent Smith, RB, 5-9, 180, Pahokee, Enrolled at Michigan

11. Brendan Gibbons, K, 6-0, 215, Cardinal Newman, Verbal to Michigan

Hooray South Florida guys.

MI QB AJ Westendorp appears likely to accept a scholarship offer at a D-II or DI-AA school, rather than accepting a walk-on offer at Michigan.

…And this update is getting enormous, so I’ll drop the 2010 knowledge on you later this week.

Posted under Football, Recruiting

2009 Recruiting Update 11-20-08

The Board.

Moved to Committed:
OK DT Pearlie Graves. Woo!

FL DE Victor Gray. The Dr. Phillips prospect is a HS teammate of 2010 commit Ricardo Miller.

New Information:
SC OL Quinton Washington. Might he be favoring Michigan? Finalist for Mr. Football.
MI DT William Campbell. Army All-American.
IN LB Commit Jordan Barnes. Still committed, but also looking elsewhere.
MD LB Jelani Jenkins. Lays out some of his scheduling for cuts and visits.
FL S Vlad Emilien. Don’t forget: He decides Sunday.

FL Slot/DB Marsalis Teague. Focused on four non-Michigan schools.
GA TE Terrell Mitchell. Eliminates Michigan. No surprise here, as he hadn’t said anything about the Wolverines in a long time.
OH DE Tank Carradine. Commits to Illinois.
SC S Devonte Holloman. Commits to South Carolina.
FL CB Jarvis Byrd. Commits to NC State.

MI LB Jeremy Gainer will not be added to the board, because he is still committed to Indiana, but the Livonia Clarenceville player is now looking around. He’s added to the list of guys technically committed elsewhere, but hovering on the edge of inclusion (Willie Haulstead, Jamal Patterson, Je’Ron Stokes, and now also Kenny Bell).

Graves is a good pickup – as long as it doesn’t move Michigan down for Dequinta Jones and William Campbell. It appears that Michigan is getting in on more and more elsewhere-committed recruits. Snake oil time? With Bill Lynch not looking like he’ll have a long tenure at Indiana (though he likely won’t be fired after this year), Jeremy Gainer may be there for the taking if the Wolverines decide they want him.

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Pearlie Graves Goes Blue

GoBlueWolverine reports defensive tackle Pearlie Graves (6-3, 260) from Tulsa East Central High School in Oklahoma has given his word to become a Michigan Wolverine. Graves is the 19th commit in the class of 2009. Also, he has an awesome name.

Player Notes
Graves plays primarily defensive end in high school, and that is where the recruiting sites list him. However, he has a big frame, and with a college-level strength and conditioning program, he will likely move to defensive tackle. He will likely end up as a penetrator who is more of a speedy defensive tackle than Big Ten fans are accustomed to.

Recruiting Notes
Graves was offered by Michigan in the summer, and the Wolverines immediately became one of his favorite schools. He took his visit to Ann Arbor this fall, and went home raving about his time there, particularly the academic support. Graves’s stock has been rising lately, with several programs offering him scholarships recently. He picked Michigan over Oklahoma State and others.

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