Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coaches Across the Country: Bye Week

As usual during bye weeks, the Michigan coaches have scattered across the country in order to further contact recruits in-person.  This has multiple benefits for the coaches as it shows recruits that they are indeed a priority for the staff and it helps build trust between players and the staff, two very important aspects of recruiting.  So far, the staff has already traveled to multiple states and visited with prospects, parents and coaches alike.  Linebacker coach Roy Manning made his way through North Carolina over the past couple days and is hitting Virginia right after that.  Along his trip through the Tar Heel state, Manning stopped in to see TE/DE Anthony Rush, LB Darian Roseboro and recently-offered hybrid S/LB Tanner Muse.

When I first spoke to Muse, it was evident that he felt very honored to be offered by Michigan.  Muse also mentioned that he had developed a good relationship with Manning over time and is interested in visiting Michigan for the Ohio State game.  After Manning's second visit, Muse is holding Michigan in even higher regard.  "To know he came all that way to see me is a huge deal to me in my eyes," said Muse.  During their conversation, Manning and Muse discussed several things, but mainly stuck to how Muse's schooling and the Michigan program.  This visit made quite an impression on Muse as he said that Michigan "no doubt" moved up on his list.  He doesn't have a number one, though, and maintained that he would have to visit Ann Arbor before potentially putting Michigan at the top of his list.  I fully expect for Muse to be at the Ohio State game on November 30.  

Another stop on Manning's NC trip was to Hunstersville to check in on 2016 WR Conner O'Donnell.  While he did not get to visit O'Donnell, he did have a 40 minute conversation with Conner's father, a conversation that reportedly went very well.  Conner's dad wouldn't go into detail on the subject of their talks, but he smiled and told Conner not to worry about it.  O'Donnell has had a very productive year so far catching 32 passes for 908 yards and 6 touchdowns.  When watching O'Donnell's midseason highlights, his red zone awareness is immediately evident, making Conner a valuable and dangerous target around the end zone.  He has above average hands and also possesses the ability to stretch the field, a skill that is backed up by a gaudy 28.7 yards per catch.  As of right now, O'Connell's top five consists of UCLA, Mississippi State (both offered), Notre Dame, Michigan and Arkansas in no particular order and he is very high on the Michigan program.  "The school interests me because of the academic prestige and legendary name behind Michigan," said O'Connell.  "You can go anywhere and say Michigan and people know what you're talking about.  The football program has so much history- and its tradition- it's hard not to want to be a part of that.  The coaches are great.  Coach Heck has helped me tremendously in becoming a better receiver.  Overall, Michigan really interests me."  There are only 2 offers extended to 2016 prospects at this time, so an offer might be a ways away, but his dad's reaction to Manning's visit sounds very positive.  Michigan is also high on O'Connell's teammate 2016 RB Robert Washington and that feeling is more than mutual.  The two plan to attend college together wherever that may be.

While this visit didn't occur during the bye week, coach Mark Smith was in Tennessee last weeking, stopping in at Memphis University School to see 2015 OT Drew Richmond.  Richmond is a big athlete at 6'5" / 300 lbs and is highly-regarded across the country, including offers from Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Ohio State, and Tennessee, among others.  During the visit, which Richmond notes wasn't very lengthy, the pair mostly talked about school-related items.  Richmond has been on Michigan's radar for a long time now, but it doesn't look like an offer is on the way- and Richmond senses this too.  "He told me they were taking one more tackle and I think they'll get a guy up there and he'll commit on the spot," said Richmond.  This is very interesting because Richmond basically offered up his theory that Michigan will get "a guy up there" without being prompted.  He later said that he has no clue who it is and that he was just assuming, but it sounds like he may be reading the putting a couple pieces together.  This unnamed prospect from somewhere north of Tennessee could be David Moorman seeing as he is yet to receive an offer from Michigan, but it could also be any number of 2015 OTs or it could be none at all.  It is difficult as of what to make out of that statement. 

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