Monday, March 3, 2008

Team Recruiting Countdown: No. 10 Michigan Wolverines

No. 10 Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten No. 2)

2008 Haul: 24 signees, 3 Athlon Consensus 100

Scouting Report:

No program in America lost more big time talent to graduation than the Michigan Wolverines. They lost a ton of experience on offense, including four-year starters at quarterback (Chad Henne), running back (Mike Hart), O-line (Jake Long/Adam Krauss) and wideout (Mario Manningham started for all three years). The defense took a hit up the middle as well, losing linebackers Shawn Crable and Chris Graham along with safety Jamar Adams.

Oh, and they are replacing one the winningest coaches in Big Ten history, too. Rich Rodriguez’s first order of business is to find a starting quarterback. Local product and Georgia Tech ‘quasi-transfer’ Steve Threet may be the answer. If not, Rodriguez may be scrounging the student section at the Big House for someone to throw the football.

Every other position on the offense has been addressed. Five offensive line prospects head to Ann Arbor including Dann O’Neill (Grand Haven, Mich.) and Ricky Barnum (Lakeland, Fla.). O’Neill dominated in Orlando at the All-Star classic and have scouts thinking Jake Long clone. Barnum, a signing day switch from the Gators, is in the conversation for top center prospect in the nation.

The offensive skill positions are restocked as well. Four running backs, three wide receivers and two tight ends round out a stellar offensive class for Michigan. Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor will likely assume the starting tailback job but depth is no longer an issue. Mike Shaw (Trotwood, Ohio), Terrence Robinson (Klein, Texas) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) are three versatile prospects. Shaw gets the tough yards and has a solid, well-rounded game. Robinson, who was overshadowed at Klein by Texas’ DeSean Hales, could play quarterback, running back or slot receiver. McGuffie is the most intriguing of the three. He grew up a gymnast and can do things on a football field that few kids can. He will be an immediate impact player on special teams in the short passing game.

The pass catchers, Darryl Stonum (Sugar Land, Texas), Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio) and Martavious Odoms (Pahokee, Fla.), will look to step in and help replace Manningham and Adrian Arrington. Stomun is clearly the most gifted and has a very similar game to that of the departed Super Mario.

Kevin Koger (Toledo, Ohio) and Brandon Moore (Trotwood, Ohio) are two very talented tight ends. Moore may have more upside and Koger could end up at defensive end, but each have plenty of talent.

The linebacker position is also well represented in this class. All four prospects are talented and will see time on special teams.

Michigan has done a great job of recruiting nationally. Texas, Florida and New Jersey have played major roles in recent years in supplying the Big Blue with talent. Michigan landed three prospects from each of those states in 2008. They also dipped into South Carolina, Indiana and Connecticut for players.

Ohio will always be a staple of Wolverine recruiting and 2008 was no exception. Seven prospects from the Buckeye state head north to Ann Arbor. Madison High School in Trotwood, Ohio sent three prospects alone to Michigan (Shaw, Roundtree, Moore)

Top Prospect: Dann O’Neill – OL – Grand Haven, Mich. (6-7, 290) AC 100 No. 69

There are not many people who are 6-7 and nearly 300 pounds and can run like O'Neill. He has great athleticism and quick feet for a player of his size. He is very comfortable in open space and can be used much like Joe Thomas was at Wisconsin: pulling and lead blocking on the outside. He has that kind of versatility.

Aside from his athleticism, O’Neill has a great frame and attitude. His big, rangy body has room to add strength and bulk. He has a terrific motor and will block until the whistle blows. He is ready to help the run game immediately as he shows great drive and power. Once he polishes his pass protecting skills, Michigan fans could be looking at another Jake Long.

O’Neill went up against top-level competition in Orlando at the Under Armour All-American game and performed extremely well.

Best of the Rest:

Darryl Stonum – WR – Sugar Land, Texas (6-2, 190) AC 100 No. 46
Boubacar Cissoko – CB – Detroit, Mich. (5-9, 175) AC 100 No. 52
Marcus Witherspoon – LB – Absecon, N.J. (6-2, 220)
Sam McGuffie – ATH – Cypress, Texas (5-10, 185)
Terrence Robinson – RB – Klein, Texas (5-9, 175)
Brandon Smith – ATH – New Brunswick, N.J. (6-3, 210)
J.B. Fitzgerald – LB – Princeton Junction, N.J. (6-4, 225)
Ricky Barnum – C – Lakeland, Fla. (6-3, 260)
Kevin Koger – TE – Toledo, Ohio (6-4, 240)
Mike Shaw – RB – Trotwood, Ohio (6-0, 185)

Sleeper: Roy Roundtree – WR – Trotwood, Ohio (6-0, 170)

Roundtree is another prospect that has too solid of an all-around game to not be successful in college. He shows solid route running ability, above average hands, great toughness and nice acceleration. He gets off the line quickly and simply makes plays. He was another signing day theft as he had been committed to Purdue previously.

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