DPJ, Collins Visiting This Weekend
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) September 21, 2016
Michigan will have their top two wideout targets on campus for the Penn State game. Five-star Cass Tech WR Donovan Peoples-Jones still isn't saying much to the media, but given the number of visits he's taken it's hard to imagine any other school being out in front, and he's got plenty of connections to the current roster:
"Really trying to see the players that went (to Cass Tech), players I know compete," Peoples-Jones said. "I know Lavert Hill, Mike Onwenu, Jourdan Lewis, all the Cass Tech guys. It's always a great time to see them in action and see them in general."
DPJ's only official visit so far has been to Nebraska, a school that's not a threat to land him. While he plans to see Florida and FSU, he hasn't set those dates yet. Michigan is looking good here.
While Georgia has been making a push of late, four-star AL WR Nico Collins will visit Michigan for the fifth time this weekend, and nobody pays their way for five unofficial visits without some serious interest. Sam Webb caught up with Collins's father, who as it turns out has been doing his part to recruit Collins to the Maize and Blue since he was a youngster:
"I'm a Michigan fan through and through,” the elder Collins said laughingly. “I could be in Jamaica somewhere (and) I'm still a Michigan fan. Yeah, I'm a Michigan fan through and through. The football down here is pretty tough, but you like to be true to your team. You grow up as a Michigan fan or any fan, that's who you like to ride with."
"I used to talk to (Nico) about Michigan a lot when he was a little younger. He wouldn't buy into it. He's always been a closet Michigan fan, but it actually took the trip... the first visit on campus… (that is what) I think sold him."
The elder Collins also called Jim Harbaugh a "genius at what he does," and took note of number of freshmen who saw the field immediately, saying "that's a big thing." Despite the rumored surge from the Bulldogs, Michigan is still the odds-on favorite.
Meanwhile, Corey Malone-Hatcher is doing his best to push for a commitment from Tarik Black. Michigan may not have any receivers committed to the class yet; that doesn't mean they're in bad shape at the position—far from it, in fact.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
[ed-Seth: Eat Well Embrace Life has a new hummus dropping on shelves today:
It’s made of Cayenne, Chipotle, and Jalapeno Peppers (no relation).
(Okay maybe there’s some relation).]
It’s been way too since we had seafood on the tailgate post. It’s also been too long since we wrapped something in bacon. Even if it was last week (which it wasn’t) it’s not good to go too long between things wrapped in bacon.
I really love this combination and guests at the last tailgate agreed. This one is super tasty and can be cooked on the grill, in the smoker or in your oven at home. It can be prepped the night prior and tossed on the grill in the AA Pioneer parking lot an hour before kickoff. AND….it’s served on a stick. Albeit, a tiny stick, but it’s still a stick and everything is more fun served on a stick.
Salmon (Skin removed)
Bacon (thick sliced)
Maple Syrup (Grade A, not the pancake syrup)
Meat Church Honey Hog Rub
[After the JUMP: as if the first two words in this recipe didn’t grab you, there’s also Bacon and Salmon. Also a giveaway at the end]
(Guess what? I published a book this offseason. It’s about baseball. The Cubs. The White Sox. And that one time they played each other in the World Series. Check it out. It’s only available via Amazon Kindle right now, but a print on demand option is coming soon)
Jabrill Peppers leads the nation in tackles for loss and punt return yards. We all knew that. But I liked typing that out. And reading it over and over and over……
How has the unique start to his season impacted the Heisman race? His odds to win the trophy have fallen from 25/1 to 20/1. There were seven players with shorter odds than Peppers in the preseason. There are still five players ahead of him now. Two players, Lamar Jackson and Greg Ward Jr., have jumped ahead of him on the board. Ward Jr. has gone from 35/1 to 18/1. Meanwhile, Jackson is now the overwhelming betting favorite at –225 after starting out as a 50/1 three weeks ago. Below is a list of the top-6 betting favorites and their opening preseason odds.
|Candidate||Current Odds||Preseason Odds|
|Greg Ward Jr.||1800||3500|
I like the steadiness of McCaffrey. He started 6/1 and remains 6/1. Other notable odds not seen above: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield started the season at 10/1 with the fifth shortest odds available. Today, he’s not even listed on the updated betting board. Had we made this chart a week ago, Florida State’s Dalvin Cook and Deondre Francis would have both been in the top-6. However in the wake of the Noles beatdown at the hands of Louisville, both have dropped. Francis began the season as a 60/1 shot, but was down to 12/1 a week ago after his hot start. Like Mayfield, he is no longer on the betting board. Cook remains in contention, although his odds have been falling all season. He opened at 8/1, was 12/1 a week ago, and today you can get Florida State’s star tailback at 33/1. For perspective, San Diego State tailback Donnel Pumphrey is just ahead of him at 25/1.
[Hit THE JUMP for things more interesting than Heisman odds]
Talk about the line play through three games. Some room for improvement, do you think?
“Yeah, absolutely. There’s always room for improvement. They’ve done a good job and we’ve got to keep on getting better just in pass protection, which is—we’ll do that, and communication. But they’ve done a nice job, and we expect a big game this week.”
Do you see guys still playing too high at times?
“Yeah. You always can improve on the offensive line with pad level. You’ve got to get lower and get your eyes in the right spot and be physical with your hands and move your feet and know where you’re going and communication and targets and that sort of thing still needs improvement. Every day you’ve got to work on that and that’s important.”
Do you still see a rotation with the two Bens at left guard?
“Rotation’s always open. Rotation’s always open.”
Talk about Bredeson’s progression.
“Done a nice job. Really has. He plays, like I mentioned before, quick twitch and smart and can process quickly on his feet. Like all those other freshmen, has done a nice job transitioning there and really improved.”
What did Wilton show you in that game? You take the first game interception and then the big hit and coming back in.
“Wilton’s a true competitor and he’s a tough guy. I think anybody who plays the quarterback position’s got to be a tough guy. You’re gonna take hits you don’t want to happen, we don’t want to happen, but it’s how they respond. I mean, that was a tough hit on him and he bounced up and he led us the rest of the game and took us back from being behind. Just really pleased with what he did. It shows his true character and how important it is, the team to him and him being a competitor and winning every down.”
[After THE JUMP: what’s up with the Morris/O’Korn thing, complimenting large gentlemen plying their trade, and a big compliment for Speight]
- The sound is a little weird. This is because Craig is in the wrong chair, probably.
- Iowa falls, Ed is kermittishly sipping tea.
- Peppersageddon. Why are you trying Peppers on the edge?
- Repetition will make the defense better.
- Worry about Braden/blitz pickups.
- Colorado’s nose tackle is good.
- Let’s hope Speight was injured and trust in Harbaugh
- Ohio State-Oklahoma. Is Louisville a playoff team—they’ve got Clemson and Houston on the schedule.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
Previously: Penn State Offense
the mutant muscle in Amara Darboh's arm just twitched for, oh, no reason.
Penn State's defense got the job done against Temple despite entering the game down their top corner, two starting linebackers, and a rotation defensive end; they finished it without their other starting linebacker, who's now out for the year; both starting safeties also exited due to minor dings during the game, though both got back in. While not dominant, they held the Owls to only 5.2 yards per play, and shut down their running game almost entirely after they struggled mightily in that regard against Pitt the week prior.
Unfortunately for PSU, there were still obvious deficiencies despite facing a Temple offense that ranks 104th in S&P+. Unless PSU is awarded points for degree of difficulty, they could be in for a rough afternoon against Michigan.
Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
We're continuing to incorporate Pro Football Focus grades into these posts. A red border around a player indicates a sore spot, which we've defined as a player who averages around a -2 PFF grade per game—or, alternatively, someone who stands out for the wrong reasons on film. In the above, Michigan guard Ben Braden and PSU linebacker Jake Cooper fall under this category because of their PFF grades, while PSU spacebacker Manny Bowen has a solidly positive PFF grade but looked like an easily exploitable player to me.
Yes, PSU is down all of their starting linebackers after Nyeem Wartman-White injured his knee against Temple. Safety Koa Farmer is making a midseason position switch to strongside linebacker (backing up Bowen) to help cover for depth. The new starting MIKE is redshirt junior walk-on Brandon Smith, who appeared in three games before this season.
Base Set? 4-3 under. Bowen will slide over the slot against three-wide formations. When PSU goes to a nickel set, they usually bring on Christian Campbell as an outside corner while sliding John Reid inside. Grant Haley missed the Temple game, so that could change; he's listed atop the depth chart, which has removed all the other injured players, in Penn State's game notes.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]