According to The Wolverine's Brandon Brown, Michigan has picked up a commitment from three-star Rhode Island DE Kwity Paye.
— Brandon Brown (@BSB_Wolverine) October 24, 2016
Paye is Michigan's second commit in two days, following four-star PA DT Donovan Jeter, and their 18th overall commit in the class. He had been committed to Boston College, where he'd originally been offered and recruited by Don Brown, but the recent offer and official visit to Ann Arbor changed the course of his recruitment.
I'll have a full Hello post up for Paye this afternoon after the game column.
1 hour and 17 minutes
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starts at 1:00
Higdon is better than Weber. That unstoppable offset draw. Braden at left tackle. Speight puts himself back on the Rudock trajectory. A wild Wheatley touchdown appears.
starts at 22:15
Eh, it was the usual. Hurst bellyrub and the likeability factor, Glasgow running a quarterback out of bounds for no gain. Nitpicks: Metellus suspectedon the Turner catch over Gedeon, Winovich blamed for that one long run, and random chance finally answering a prayer blamed for the TD.
3. Fifteen minutes of giggling over Ohio State
starts at 36:44
This was an upset, but lol: Ohio State has a loss—kick six part of an uncharacteristic special teams meltdown. Barrett shut down as a runner.
4. Talking Big Ten With Jamie Mac
starts at 52:38
Perry Hills: no picks! Funniest part of MSU-Maryland? Eastern Michigan is ahead of Michigan State in S&P+ rankings. Iowa could backdoor cover that 7-win threshold this year with a bowl win. Wisconsin appears to be legit; Nebraska hasn’t really paid anyone. Clayton Thorson: unstoppable throw god 2.0; Austin Carr could have something to do with that. Lagow took the chaos out of chaosteam; their right tackle is a problem spot. Rutgers-Minnesota was an even game. Commissioning Rivalry Trophy for Rutgers-MSU.
- “I Want to Go Back to Michigan”—UM Marching Band
- “I Want to Go Back to Michigan”—Judy Garland
- “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
- “Across 110th Street”
THE USUAL LINKS
Fresh off an official visit for the Illinois game, four-star Beaver Falls (PA) DT/SDE Donovan Jeter announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon.
— Donovan Jeter (@__5god__) October 23, 2016
Jeter decommitted from Notre Dame a week ago in part because of a conversation with Greg Mattison. He gave your new favorite recruiting quote to Pittsburgh Sports Now in the aftermath:
“I don’t want to play for a mediocre school,” he said. “I don’t want to play for a team that goes like 7-6. I want to go to a school that plays in the big bowl games or plays in the College Football Playoff. I don’t want to go to an average school because I don’t think I’m an average player. I want to make big time plays on a big time stage.”
It's been a good weekend.
4*, #30 DE,
|4*, #14 DT||4*, 80, #28 DT||
4*, 91, #8 SDE,
4*, #11 SDE,
Jeter played strongside end for Beaver Falls at around 300 pounds last year, but has dropped ~50 pounds and plays on 3-4 DE this year. He's listed at 6'5" on three of the four sites (Scout says 6'6") and between 250 (247) and 270 (ESPN) pounds. He could be a three-tech or a strongside end in Michigan's defense.
Jeter comes from an athletic family. Both of his older brothers have played college basketball at a high level: Lance Jeter (6'3", 225) was an all-conference guard at Nebraska, and Sheldon Jeter (6'8", 230) was a productive sixth man for Pitt as a junior last year. Donovan, of course, wound up with a slightly different body type.
There's surprisingly little on Jeter in the scouting department from before his Notre Dame commitment in September. All I could find was an undated ESPN underclassman eval that they've since updated, but the old one is worth posting to provide a starting point—it's probably from before his junior year since it mentions a need to add weight:
STRENGTHS: Tall with massive frame and great strength. Powerful at the point of attack and is difficult to move off the ball. Possesses good lateral agility and balance in space. Uses length to keep blockers at bay. Reads quickly and can counter Aggressive player with a great motor. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will need to fill out his ample frame. Not overly sudden and a bit of a long strider. Needs to refine his stacking and shedding. ... BOTTOM LINE: Jeter is a strong, aggressive kid with prototypical size and more than enough speed. We believe he has the potential to develop into a well-rounded defensive end at the next level. He has plenty of upside.
[Hit THE JUMP for more scouting, video, and the rest.]
News bullets and other items:
Chris Evans blacked out when he was hit, which Harbaugh noted the doctors said is sometimes better for the brain in the long run, and was feeling better by halftime
Grant Perry and a few others didn’t play because of disciplinary issues
De’Veon Smith got more first-half carries than they planned; the staff liked what they saw and called the same play for him a few times
First half, you’re up huge, did you guys take your foot off the gas or was it something Illinois did to not quite rack it up like you have been?
“Yeah, first of all, I just think our team really played well today. The execution was outstanding both offensively, defensively, special teams. We were just executing well. I was really, really impressed. Those first three drives of the game, and then the entire game-- I thought Wilton Speight might have had one of the best games of his career.
“It was pretty windy out there. It was pretty tough to throw the ball whether we were going into the wind, with the wind, he was throwing the intermediate deep stuff—the 30-yard throws, the 35-yard, 40-yard throws, just on the money—it was impressive. Sometimes it’s never as good as you think until you look at the tape, but I have a feeling that was the best he’s played.”
Hank Aaron was the honorary captain today. What was that like, having him around the team and yourself?
“It was outstanding, Trevor. He’s just such a great man, such a gentleman. His granddaughter, as you know, goes to Michigan, and we’ve become friends through her. I was getting textes last night, I was at a high school game and some of the guys on the team were texting me how great Hank Aaron was. He talked to the team last night. Just A+. Can’t have it better. Got a nice autographed picture that he was gracious enough to sign so I’m gonna hang that in my office. Just being around—you know when you’re around greatness, and he’s one of the all-time greats. Really honored to share a sideline with Hank Aaron today.”
The two Bens on the left side, is that something you worked on during the bye week and you liked what you saw?
“Yeah, we’ve—Ben’s not just in the improvement week. We’ve seen what he can do at left tackle. We’ve seen that over the last 23 months. He’s a very versatile player. Felt like that was our best combination, Ben Braden and Ben Bredeson. Ben Bredeson’s a very ascending player. Thought he had a heck of a good game today. Really, everybody on the offensive line played extremely well today. It was impressive the way they executed.”
[After THE JUMP: the only time Woody Hayes, Malcolm X, and Michael Douglas as D-Fens have been mentioned in the same breath]
Karan Higdon rushed for 106 yards on eight carries. [Bryan Fuller]
We're running out of nitpicks.
Michigan dominated another overmatched foe, outgaining Illinois 561-172, and in the aftermath there was very little to complain about.
Even the Rutgers game featured a slow start from the offense. That did not happen today, as Jim Harbaugh utilized a dizzying array of formations, personnel, and misdirection to conduct a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Jake Butt finished it off with a screamingly open three-yard touchdown out of the now-legendary "Train" pre-snap look.
Wilton Speight had been a culprit in those previous slow starts, and generally shaky over the last few weeks. Today, he was as sharp as he's been all year, connecting on 16-of-23 passes for 253 yards. He was responsible for the first two touchdowns, the short toss to Butt and a play-action strike to Tyrone Wheatley Jr. from 21 yards out. Neither was his best throw of the day; that would be a 30-yard post route to Amara Darboh he fit between multiple defenders. His numbers could've been even better if a couple close-call deep balls had been hauled in.
"I think Wilton Speight may have had one of his best games of the year," said Jim Harbaugh. "Whether we were going into the wind, with the wind. He was throwing that intermediate, deep stuff—those 30-, 40-yard throws—just on the money."
Speight mentioned that he'd spent the bye week poring over film from the first six games in order to correct mistakes. The hard work showed in his play.
Michigan had a surprise reshuffling of the offensive line, replacing Juwann Bushell-Beatty at left tackle with Ben Braden and moving Ben Bredeson into the lineup at left guard. While Braden got beat for a sack—on a play in which Speight was partially culpable for holding onto the ball too long—the pass protection was generally good, and the run game flourished.
Even with ample garbage-time totes by walk-ons, Michigan averaged five yards per non-sack carry. Karan Higdon led the way with 106 yards on only eight carries, including a weaving 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap the day's scoring.
"His acceleration, his vision, everything is improving," Harbaugh said. "When he gets to the second level he's got a really good gear to him."
Michigan only had one sack but Jeff George Jr. was under siege. [Eric Upchurch]
Facing third-string walk-on Jeff George Jr., the defense was nearly as dominant as they were against Rutgers. George went 0-for-7 in the first half with an interception when Dymonte Thomas jumped a screen pass one play after Michigan's first failed offensive drive.
"It's about time," Thomas said. This was his first career interception, and apparently the rest of the defense had been rather critical of his hands.
Malik Turner accounted for 86 yards and a touchdown on two catches, both after the game was well in hand. Those two plays accounted for precisely half of the Illini yardage. Turner capitalized on a mismatch with Ben Gedeon on the first. On the touchdown, Delano Hill misplayed a hopeful heave by George to allow Turner to come down with it.
Even the game's most disappointing drives had positive outcomes. Illinois's first big play, a 45-yard run by Ke'Shawn Vaughn out of the wildcat, ended when Jabrill Peppers sprinted him down from the opposite side of the field. The drive ended with a punt four plays later. On the other side, Michigan had two drives stall in Illinois territory in the third quarter; Kenny Allen salvaged both with 23- and 27-yard field goals, a welcome sight given his recent struggles.
The most significant concerns were injury-related. Chris Evans took a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him unconscious on his only carry. Harbaugh said after the game that Evans had recovered relatively well by the time he saw him at halftime, but that's obviously something to monitor heading into next week. Khalid Hill went to the locker room after the third quarter and did not return; there wasn't an update on him after the game. Grant Perry sat out the game with what Harbaugh admitted, after some prying, was a disciplinary issue.
Well, there was one other concern. At the end of his presser, Harbaugh asked whether anyone had seen a replay of the late review—on which Harbaugh challenged the spot on a third-down catch with two minutes left, up 41-8. He was outwardly perplexed as to how the officials could get that call wrong. Michigan, of course, managed to overcome this tragic miscarriage of justice by converting the fourth down on a Bobby Henderson dive, then kneeling out the clock.
Now they're on to Michigan State. It's time to right some more wrongs.
"No question about it," Harbaugh said, responding to a question about whether they'd move on quickly to the MSU game. "Big game. Championship game for our team. We celebrate all wins, but we'll get on pretty quickly to our next opponent."