Michigan loses 3rd verbal commit after offensive lineman Caleb Stacey withdraws from class
The Michigan football team's acclaimed recruiting class suffered its third casualty Saturday when offensive lineman Caleb Stacey announced he has withdrawn his pledge.
The Cincinnati native revealed via Twitter that he intends to play for the hometown Bearcats.
"Before it gets out from anyone but me I have decided to decommitt from Michigan to stay home and play ball at the University of Cincinnati," Stacey tweeted to his more than 1,300 followers.
Stacey is the third verbal commit no longer in Michigan's class, joining tight end Pharaoh Brown, who was dropped after he took a visit to Oregon, and cornerback Anthony Standifer.
Michigan played this past season with only eight scholarship offensive linemen, and head coach Brady Hoke, ever mindful of line play, has expressed his desire to reload at that position. In this regard, Stacey's departure hurts the Wolverines.
But it shouldn't hurt much.
Michigan is stockpiled at offensive line in this class, with verbal commitments already in from five-star Kyle Kalis; four-stars Blake Bars and Erik Magnuson; and three-star Ben Braden. Three-star tight end pledge A.J. Williams also could play the position, and many project him to do so.
That group is one of the best in the country, rivaled only by Ohio State.
Now, the Wolverines appear to have room for two more offensive linemen. Their 2012 class currently stands at 23 commitments, and is expected to have room for up to 28. However, it's possible they will not max out this class, leaving more room for the 2013 cycle.
Michigan is courting several blue-chip offensive linemen, and is considered to be one of two frontrunners for Josh Garnett, the top recruit from the state of Washington. His other favorite is Stanford, where he recently took a visit.
Garnett is a five-star prospect and the nation's No. 3 guard, according to Scout. He is the No. 1 four-star according to Rivals.
Rivals' Tim Sullivan told AnnArbor.com that Stanford and Michigan remain close for Garnett, but gives the Wolverines an edge because of Garnett's emphasis on personal relationships in the recruiting process.
One of Garnett's best friends in football is Magnuson, who already is committed to Michigan.
"He has said the relationships will be the difference, and then he’ll say, 'My good friend Erik Magnuson...'" Sullivan said. "It’s almost like a hint sort of thing."
Other prospects eying Michigan include four-star Jordan Diamond of Chicago and Alex Kozan of Castle Rock, Colo.
It's important the Wolverines finish out their offensive line class strong not only for the sake of immediate depth, but also to counter Ohio State's spectacular defensive line class.
The Buckeyes already have verbal commitments from defensive linemen Noah Spence (No. 5 overall player in the country), Adolphus Washington (No. 10), Tommy Schutt (No. 48) and Se'Von Pittman (No. 58).
Verbal commitments are nonbinding. Recruits can sign letters of intent Feb. 1.