Michigan football team adds quarterback, offensive lineman to 2011 class
A day after the Michigan football team learned two members of its 2010 recruiting class likely wouldn't qualify to enroll this summer, the Wolverines got a pair of verbal commitments to their class for next year.
The two verbals bring Michigan's 2011 class to seven members. Defensive end Brennen Beyer (Plymouth), cornerback Greg Brown (Fremont, Ohio), wide receiver Shawn Conway (Birmingham Seaholm) cornerback Delonte Hollowell (Detroit Cass Tech) and defensive end Chris Rock (Columbus, Ohio) had previously verbally committed to the Wolverines.
According to the Wolverine.com, Michigan offered Sousa last week before the speedy quarterback announced his decision following a campus visit Tuesday. The Rivals.com 3-star recruit also had offers from Colorado State, Duke, Illinois, Texas Tech, Louisville and West Virginia among others.
As a junior, Sousa completed 90-of-102 passes for 1,502 yards and eight touchdowns while also rushing for 989 yards and six touchdowns on 112 carries. Sousa registered a time of 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has been picking up more attention following solid showings at the Nike camps and the U.S. Army Junior Combine in January.
"I think he's a real good catch for them," CSTV recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said Tuesday night.
Lemming saw Sousa earlier this year and projected him to be one of the top quarterbacks in Florida. Lemming was impressed with his running ability considering Sousa's size, giving Michigan a solid dual-threat option once Sousa arrives next year.
Miller, meanwhile, chose the Wolverines after dwindling his college choices down to Michigan and Boston College, according to TheWolverine.com. While Rivals.com listed Miller as a defensive end, Michigan projected him more as an offensive lineman, helping fill a need up front.
Lemming interviewed Miller earlier this year in Toledo and was impressed with him on both sides of the ball. He becomes the first offensive lineman to commit to Michigan's 2011 class.
By Lemming's assessment, Michigan's recruiting class for 2011 is shaping up nicely, continuing a trend of improved recruiting that Lemming has seen develop under third-year coach Rich Rodriguez.
"They're in on more top guys than ever before under Rodriguez," Lemming said Tuesday night. "They're offering them and staying on top of them and I think the kids are waiting to see how the season shapes up.
"I think if they get off to a good start this year, you're going to see kids jumping on board real quick because Michigan has much tradition and facilities as anyone in the country. So it's just people waiting to see exciting football and I think that could happen this year."
Lemming said while many recruits remain in wait-and-see mode, Rodriguez can still offer up a plan for rebuilding as he enters his third year. In time, the Wolverines will have to produce, but because of what Michigan can offer academically and outside of football, Lemming feels Rodriguez and his staff still have a shot at top recruits even with disappointing seasons the past two years.
Most recruits realize Michigan is still trying to hone the spread offense Rodriguez introduced when he arrived. But after Rodriguez's first two seasons produced only eight wins and no bowl appearances, attracting recruits becomes tougher - even with the school's rich football tradition.
"It really comes down to the ability of the assistant coaches to sell the program to the kid," Lemming said. "If the coaches know about the tradition and everything like that and they're able to sell the academics, the facilities and also the future, then they're going to be successful.
"Michigan is still one of the elite teams nationally and so it's going to be a lot easier to sell that than (other places.)."
Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.