We all know that recruits often release their "Top Lists" once they are trimmed to a top ten, top five, or a top three. Coaches actually go through a similar process when deciding which prospects will receive scholarship offers and which ones won't. After talking to a 2014 quarterback recruit who recently met with the Michigan coaches I have learned that the list of signal callers being watched is at 8, but it appears only 3 of them will initially receive scholarship offers. "The Top Three" quarterbacks on Michigan's recruiting board are Travis Smith (Ithaca - Ithaca, MI), David Cornwell (North - Norman, OK), and Caleb Henderson (Lake Braddock - Burke, VA). Here is a look at each player with some insight to where Michigan stands for each young man.
Travis Smith is an in-state kid playing for Ithaca, a small high school in central Michigan who doesn't face much top talent. He is a little smaller than the other two guys but he is probably the most natural athlete. He's about 6'2" and around 200 lbs. right now but really throws a nice ball. He holds one offer from Central Michigan but will probably receive many MAC offers before he makes his decision. If Michigan does offer him I think he may commit as it would more than likely be his biggest offer. Smith was injured in his state championship game and is supposed to throw for Coach Borges next month now that he is cleared to do so. That may be the deciding factor whether he receives an offer or not. There have been discussions about Smith not being talented enough to play for Michigan but the coaches like this kid for a reason and until I see a glaring reason not to like him, I will trust the evaluation.
David Cornwell seems to have become the fan favorite for this class and its easy to see why. Cornwell is 6'5", 215 lbs. with a huge arm. Cornwell has lived all over the place, including Mali, for a mission trip so his recruitment definitely hasn't been typical but the Michigan coaches have made an impact. Cornwell told me he really wants a Michigan offer and Coach Borges told him that he would probably receive one if he visits in the coming months. Cornwell has a top 6 of Michigan, Alabama, UCLA, Arkansas, LSU and Stanford. He plans to commit during his senior season and with a top list like that, the competition will be fierce. I've talked with Cornwell several times and he doesn't seem to have a leader among his top group. Obviously the coaches are going to put in work with him and that is exactly what its going to take if they want to land him.
Earlier in the recruiting process it seemed the #1 quarterback target was Caleb Henderson, and then his name seemed to cool off for some reason. His name has heated back up and he rounds out The Top Three quarterbacks on the recruiting board. Henderson is 6'4" and 225 lbs. with good wheels. He has a very strong arm and a presence in the pocket using his physical strength to do, pretty much whatever he wants. Henderson really likes Coach Borges, calling him "old school, but very good at what he does." Henderson says his mom absolutely loves Michigan as she spent a lot of time with Coach Brady Hoke last summer during the early stages of his recruitment. Henderson loves The Big House and of course the academics at Michigan. Right now he has a top 5 of Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio State, and Michigan State. Henderson is a lot like Cornwell in that he hasn't tipped his hand at all during our conversations.
Right now these seem to be the quarterbacks that will receive offers in the 2014 class. Obviously the coaches have other targets in case something doesn't work out with these three, but I would look for offers to go out to them first. I think The Top Three will have offers within the next month or two as recruits start making plans for spring camps, practices, and spring games.