They started close to home, but the Wolverines have started to venture out of Michigan and Ohio with commitments from Illinois (DB Anthony Standifer) and now the West Coast in CA OL Erik Magnuson. As Erik told to Tom a couple weeks ago:
"I just feel comfortable with the coaches, and I know them so well. I feel the program is going in the right direction. I know some of the 2012 commits and I think they're all good players. They're bringing in a good offense, and I want to get out of California. I just feel like Michigan is the right place for me."
Welcome to the fold, young man. For what it's worth, part of that "knowing the coaches so well" stems from their time at San Diego State. Hoke's Aztecs were Magnuson's first offer.
4*, #16 OT,
4*, 5.9, #8 OL
|4*, #24 OT||
4*, 95, #13 OT,
#10 Cali, #85 Ovr
As usual, we will start with the premium sites' takes on his height. This will be quick however, as every single site lists his weight at 275, and only ESPN breaks the lockstep at 6-6, by calling him 6-5. So let it be blogged: Erik Magnusen is 6-6 / 275.
The sites get a little more varied on him as a player, though not by much. Scout and 24/7 Sports think about the same of him, putting him near the back of their top-100 lists, and in the teens among offensive tackles (ESPN is even more pessimistic, keeping him out of their 150 and as the #24 tackle). Rivals is significantly more impressed, unofficially calling him the 8th-best offensive lineman and the #34 prospect at any position in the country.
I saw him at the Stanford NFTC- I liked him. He's big, athletic and seems to have a mean streak (no pads, mind you).
Shurburtt went into a bit more detail in a story on 24/7 Sports:
Magnuson has an excellent frame, good feet and plays with a nasty streak. He was dominant in one-on-ones and looked good athletically moving around in position drills. Combine what he showed Sunday with what he shows on film and there’s a good chance that Magnuson could move up our rankings when they are updated again.
That certainly makes it sound like he's going to be closer to Rivals's positioning than Scout's next time 24/7 updates the rankings. Adam Gorney of Rivals calls him one of the most physical guys he's seen in person:
On the offensive side I think Erik Magnuson is pretty tough. He just embraces the physical side of being an offensive tackle and he's not afraid to compete in a really tough way.
He was named MVP of the Asante Trenchmen Academy ($, info in header), and Rivals provides some highlights from that event. Note the quick footwork out of such a big dude. Picture at right from that event, via Scout.
He's a pretty good pass blocker, but has said himself that he'd like to improve on his drive-blocking. It's natural for high schoolers to be good at one or the other, so once he gets into a college weight program and adds some strength, his run blocking should improve. More from Magnuson himself, via Scout ($):
"I work harder than anyone else. I have good footwork from playing basketball and I'm real aggressive and physical with my opponents. I am further along as a pass blocker than I am in blocking in the run game, though. Opposing coaches have said they notice my athleticism and speed despite being my size."
“Erik's a very athletic and aggressive player,” said Sovacool. “He's a really big kid too and he hits all the benchmarks that you're looking for in a football player, especially at offensive tackle. He's all of 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, but the difference between him and other kids his size is that he can run. He's also a guy that isn't afraid of the weight room and has a little bit of an edge to him, which I think recruiters like as well.”
That size listing is a serious outlier, but the coach is likely just overstating weight, and Erik might be a little shorter than his listed 6-6. He's been named to the US Army All-American Bowl, and he's mentioned enrolling early (he's a very good student, and was all-academic in his league as a junior).
He's a big true tackle who can play on either side of the line. There's no mention of his long arms - typically considered necessary for left tackles at the next level - but based on pictures and video alone, it doesn't seem anything is amiss. As somebody who's most comfortable as a pass blocker in high school, starting at left tackle is likely.
He's not the physical freak of a Jake Long is (but is anybody? [Ed-M: Lewan, so far]), but he has the attributes needed to succeed at the next level.
As a West Coast product, Erik's offers were a Pac-12 who's who: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. Only Arizona State and USC didn't extend him the scholarship opportunity (though in a video interview he states that USC is the only offer he lacks).
He's not just a regional prospect -- Cincinnati, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, and Oklahoma offered.
Offensive linemen don't have any stats. However, he's performed well enough each of the past two seasons to earn All-League recognition, per his Scout profile. He's also earned all-Academic honors (as mentioned above), which is nice both because having intelligent dudes is never a bad thing, and because OL is one of the more brain-intensive positions on the field.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites list a 40 time for Erik. In the Rivals video linked above, you can see that he's not quite as fast or quick as the offensive lineman he's "racing" in the ladder/running drills, but speed isn't necessarily his game, either. I'm assuming that, as a relatively slender OT prospect, the 4.9-5.1 range is most likely. This gets five FAKEs out of five.
His impressive Youtube highlight:
As he pointed out himself, he's not the strongest run blocker at the point of attack, but that will improve as he adds mass. What he does show is good agility in pass blocking, as a pulling lead blocker, and in getting downfield blocks. He also has a basketball highlight reel.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So, this guy is a serious player, right? Although offensive linemen almost always redshirt, Michigan's depth at offensive tackle is pretty light for 2012, and Magnuson has mentioned potentially enrolling early. That could mean (depending on who else ends up in Michigan's recruiting class) that he's immediately the most likely OL candidate since Mr. Plow to make the 2-deep as a freshman.
In that season, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield will be redshirt juniors, and as long as they stay healthy (and depending on what depth develops among backup tackles), Erik will hopefully still be afforded the chance to redshirt. Either way, in his second year on campus he should get a bit of playing time as a backup as he prepares for the following season.
In 2014 Lewan and Schofield will have shuffled off the collegiate coil - hopefully as Picks 1 and 2 in the NFL draft - and Magnuson will be one of the players with a chance at a starting spot. He'll either lock down one of the tackle positions, or get heavy time as a backup. By the time he's a senior or redshirt junior, I think Magnuson is a lock to be a starter. He has all-Big Ten potential, and if he lives up to it, 2nd or 3rd-team All-American honors are a possibility as a redshirt senior.
The recruiting sites certainly think highly enough of Erik to place him in that spectrum (24/7 Sports is going to move him up in their next re-rank, and Rivals has already anointed him as a top-40 prospect in the nation).
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
This is a huge weight off Michigan fans' shoulders. A true left tackle is finally on board. That said, weak tackle recruiting classes over the previous two years (Tony Posada and Chris Bryant of the 2011 class seem more like guard or right tackle prospects, and center Christian Pace was the only lineman in 2010's crop) means that Michigan is in dire need of at least one more tackle. That would preferably be one that could play on either end of the line, such as IL OT Jordan DIamond. Another highly-rated interior guy would be nice as well, but is not nearly as necessary.
Away from the offensive line, defensive tackle is now the only remaining priority. At least one highly-rated wideout is important, and a quarterback and running back would be nice. Other than that, remaining scholarships (assuming there are some) can be spent on prospects that the coaching staff really likes, regardless of position.
Piling on. It's bad when Adult Swim is on your case:
Different kinds of one thing. Braves & Birds makes a good point about oversigning:
The teams that have the greatest incentive to oversign are the middle class or lower class programs that struggle to recruit top players and therefore have to make up with quantity what they cannot acquire in quality. Thus, we would expect that the most successful teams in the conference would not oversign because they don’t have to do so. Therefore, looking at results and recruiting quantities is a fool’s errand because Pennington is not normalizing for program status. In other words, if Florida signs 85 players over a four-year period and Ole Miss signs 105, we wouldn’t expect Ole Miss to have a better record because the extra players will not trump all of the other advantages that Florida has over Ole Miss.
There are two kinds. The first kind (as practiced by Houston Nutt): "maybe if I sign everyone who can play football enough of them will be eligible for me to keep my job." The second: <imperial march> SABAN </imperial march>.
Here's a graph from Brian Fremeau that gives you an indication of just how few kids enroll at Ole Miss relative to the rest of the nation's top 25 recruiters:
Nutt is way down at the bottom with VT, who no one ever talks about; South Carolina, USC(?), and Auburn a bit higher up, then a big band of average followed by places that do not bother with academic issues either because they are morally opposed to skeeze (no one) or don't have to bother (everyone). You'll note LSU and Florida amongst this group. Teams towards the bottom can plausibly argue that their oversigning is less harmful because it consists of signing guys who aren't going to be eligible instead of shoving kids in good standing out the door.
Meanwhile, an SEC partisan is fussin' about Big Ten fans complaining about the competitive advantage provided by oversigning:
Is there some advantage? Sure. SEC teams from 2002 through 2010 averaged 3.42 signees per victory. Big Ten teams average 3.11 signees over the same period. Hardly the night and day difference one would expect.
But while oversigning isn’t the magic bullet Big Ten fans would want you to believe, things like local talent base, tradition and spending serve as tried and true differentiators.
We at MrSEC.com aren’t fans of oversigning. As noted above, we would have no problem if every school went to a hard cap at 25.
But the argument that oversigning is the difference between the SEC and the Big Ten? Well, that doesn’t hold water. And as you can see above, that argument doesn’t even hold water when you make comparisons within the same conference.
Ole Miss throws that entirely out of whack, as do a number of mid-level strivers that are rooting through any large-ish kid in the south to see if any of them can play football.
Meanwhile, I haven't seen many (or any) Big Ten fans say it is the difference between the SEC and the Big Ten. This whole thing is a red herring, anyway: the institutions most publicly against oversigning are Georgia and Florida. Ability to identify skeeze does not stop at the Mason-Dixon line.
It's an obvious advantage that's built on perverse incentives, which is reason enough to get rid of it, differences between conferences be damned. For an SEC fan to rabble rabble about how it's not that big of an advantage on the field misses the point in stereotype-fulfilling fashion.
Terrelle Pryor's lawyer. Is Jackie Chiles:
"It was probably good for Terrelle to meet persons like myself, African-American lawyers, very successful -- quote, unquote," James said. …
"Irrespective of how harsh and idiotic we think some of the NCAA rules are, they are still on the books," James said. "They had slavery for all those years. Those rules are still on the books, and the courts uphold them."
James then ranted about the NCAA and its enforcement process.
"You've got a captured system here in college football. It's mandated, dictated, the student-athletes have no rights. They have no relief."
That is all.
That is not all. Bombs continue to drop on Pryor from all angles. Random NFL GM:
“We spent a lot of time this year going through Cam Newton(notes) and Ryan Mallett’s(notes) personality,” an NFC general manager said. “I haven’t done all my homework on Pryor yet, but my initial impression is that if you line all three of them up and just talked about trust and reliability, Pryor is dead last. Like not-even-out-of-the-starting-gate last.
“And it’s probably only going to get worse.”
Some guy in an otherwise pretty kind Dispatch story:
"People are terrified," Davis said. "They want to really examine the kid as a person, because the stories you hear on the grapevine are not stories that excite you - stories about his leadership, how his teammates respond to him, how he was handled at Ohio State."
And Thayer Evans wrote a story I linked in the sidebar that says an 18 year old male enjoyed having girls send sexy photos to him. I've been on the Terrelle Pryor-emotional-problems bandwagon so long I remember when it was just me and some nuts from Penn State message boards and even I think Evans went a bit too far:
Pryor’s focus consistently led back to one thing: himself.
And while some may foolishly believe Pryor’s statement Tuesday that his decision to forgo his senior year at scandal-ridden Ohio State was out of “the best interests of my teammates,” the truth is that he did it out of selfishness. He did it only to escape being investigated by the NCAA and to try to salvage what’s left of his bleak future.
Well… yeah… but you write for, like, organizations, man.
(Also, Dispatch lol:
The best part about this is the cooler poopers are doing it to themselves.)
Do not read if you are only going to make a tedious argument that shows you don't understand statistics. Bill Connolly, purveyor of Football Outsiders' other college football ranking system and Football Study Hall author, previews Michigan. There are many numbers and a discussion of just how good Michigan's offense was last year (as per usual, advanced stats == fawning) that people who would like to restrict their sample size to four first-half drives against Wisconsin won't like:
If only Michigan had been able to play defense. Despite a slight fade as the season advanced, the Wolverines' offense was incredibly successful in 2010, posting huge point and yardage totals on a series of stellar defenses. Their Adj. Points tell the tale -- against a strong slate of defenses, the Wolverines produced at an incredibly high level for each of the first nine games of the season before a combination of injuries and fatigue (and, possibly, lack of faith in the defense) set in. Michigan still averaged 28.9 Adj. PPG over their final four games, with only two below-average performances against Purdue and Mississippi State.
I'm not sure where Connolly's getting the idea Michigan blitzed on almost every passing down, however. Even if he has numbers for this I kind of doubt them, since I tracked rushers for the Indiana UFR and came up with a ton of 3 and 4 man rushes. If that's charted I wonder if the 3-3-5 threw someone off.
Anyway, Connolly's takeaway is "I hope they don't turn Denard into Brad Smith that one year they tried to make him a pro-style quarterback": since they don't like Nebraska as much as everyone else and their system looks at recruiting rankings that drastically overrate Michigan (attrition) they're hinting the FO Almanac will have Michigan at or near the top of the division.
WTF? I know we're supposed to be taking the high road and all but seriously, if anyone could be expected to jovially bomb Ohio State in the paper it's Mike Hart. Mike Hart:
"I really think Jim Tressel is a great coach," Hart said. "I hate the school, I hate Ohio, can't stand them, but I think he's a great coach. Whatever happened didn't make him a better coach. The players were doing wrong, and (Tressel) broke the rules, which obviously is wrong, but it's not like he was giving them steroids to give them a competitive advantage."
Guh. Multiple other former players say they "genuinely feel" for the other players caught up in this situation who have nothing to do with it, which seems a little much. We're concerned about Ohio State walk-ons and kickers now?
Etc.: Laurinaitis and the Real Girl. Wetzel hears call to argue why OSU's violations aren't as bad as USC's, argues that OSU's violations are worse than USC's. The Wolverine Blog searches for breakout players.
Tomorrow at 8 PM Adidas and Michigan and Notre Dame will have an under-the-lights unveiling of the uniforms both will wear when the first night game in Michigan Stadium history goes down. That's odd: marketing 101 is "when you have bad news, release it on Friday at 5 PM." Michigan is treating their great unveiling like they're firing their coach for massive NCAA violations.
On the other hand, maybe it's not so odd. Yesterday the M-Den momentarily posted what looked like the official thing:
If that's what you're deploying, 8 PM isn't late enough. Broadcast the announcement from the Chinese factory where they'll be made at 4 AM Eastern.
The M-Den twitter feed later posted a three-part item expressing regret for the "mistake" that obviously failed to address whether or not those were the real McCoy. They likely are. Tom pointed out the close-up teaser image has the exact same M the mistakenly posted jersey does. If they're different, they're not much different.
Tomorrow we'll enter the ranks of schools that dress up like clowns for a little bit of money from a shoe company. Notre Dame will as well. I'll make some sarcastic comments, privately think anyone I see wearing one of the jerseys is a total sellout, and move on. This September we'll watch Clownz Faceoff 2011 and life will go on. It's not really a big deal. Everyone does it, and traditionalists sigh, and recruits say they're excited.
So why does this make me want to buy a shotgun, rocking chair, and lifetime supply of lawn fertilizer?
Well, there was a way to do this that would not give people hives. It did not require the assistance of a crack team of uniform designers, and it didn't have stripes conjured from one of their fever-dreams.
The numbers on the helmets (and the different wing pattern on them), block Ms on the socks and shoulders, and overall retro stylings of the mid-60s (like gray face-masks) would have provided a distinctive, historically accurate look. (Doctor Saturday pointed out that it would have been a look from an era when Michigan and Notre Dame were in one of their periodic snits, but whatever.)
It wouldn't have been much different. It would have been cool, though:
It would have been a genuine callback to another era of Michigan football. They could have brought out some former players, celebrated a Rose Bowl win, whatever. If they're going to do that in the Franken-uniforms they'll have to bring out a nighmarish assemblage of Horace Prettyman's arms and shoulders stapled to Bill Yearby's torso and head; the lower body will be a cyborg entity from 2211 that shoots postgame celebration laserz. The legs will stop at the knees because bony undead horror robots of 2211 come hovering or they don't come at all.
This bothers me because it makes it obvious that honoring the program's past doesn't crack the top several reasons they'll put the stripes on this fall, falling behind at least "money," "making Adidas happy," and "allowing Dave Brandon to 'create the future'." My money teat is easy to milk, but not that easy. I won't put on a Big Chill shirt with an Arby's logo on it and I'm not buying whatever that is above.
This makes me an old man but it also strikes me how stupid the corporate culture Dave Brandon comes from is. At a consumer-facing, mid-sized, publicly-traded corporation it's all about three months from now when you report your numbers and the stock price goes up or down and you're a hero or an idiot. Once companies go public they slowly lose the distinctive characteristics that made them successful in the first place and become a collection of generic suits*. The suits get paid exorbitant amounts of money to trade long-term goodwill for numbers that will allow another set of suits to increase the exorbitant amount of money they are getting paid.
The best example of how this doesn't have to happen is privately-owned Chik-Fil-A, which is still closed every Sunday for religious reasons and is so loved by Southerners that when the corporation bought the naming rights to the Peach Bowl it was generally regarded as an improvement. These are correlated factors.
These days a lot of tech companies are remaining private longer than they would have in the past—Facebook is the best example—in order to avoid the relentless make-your-numbers effect of being a public company. It seems like Michigan is announcing its IPO Friday night.
*[Once you get to the behemoth side of the scale you can maintain identity via monopoly: Google and Apple are distinctive entities that appear to have ethoses (ethii?) other than making money hand over fist; they can probably have these because they are making money hand over fist.]
(HT on the 60s uniform picks to "cutter," denizen of Michigan messageboards everywhere.)
That looks official what with its number and the Adidas logo and looking all like a thing that exists in the world. You still can't buy one (it errors out when you click on the monstrosity) but I think it's official enough to say that Michigan is going to look very, very stupid when they take the field against Notre Dame.
(new scoreboards new scoreboards new scoreboards not a cesspool of filth and corruption so deep Sepp Blatter is impressed deep breaths)
Is it possible to write things not about Ohio State's rapidly unraveling sweater? There is a hypothetical world in which this is the case, but it is not this one. Almost literally every day some new mortar lands in the Ohio State compliance department and detonates.
Some detonations are widely hyped and a little disappointing. Others are stealthy-like, come when you're watching Clint Dempsey add "…bitch" to the end of every sentence (and score!) and are like whoah. Blockquote unnecessary but present:
Terrelle Pryor, who announced through his attorney Tuesday that he would bypass his senior season at Ohio State, made thousands of dollars autographing memorabilia in 2009-10, a former friend who says he witnessed the transactions has told "Outside the Lines."
The signings for cash, which would be a violation of NCAA rules, occurred a minimum of 35 to 40 times, netting Pryor anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 that year, the former friend says. The source spoke to ESPN under the condition that his face not be aired on TV and that his name not be published.
As far as unsubstantiated anonymous sources go this one comes with a guy sporting an "infickellwetrust" handle on the eBays that was until recently "intresselwetrust" who sells all kinds of sports memorabilia including that from a lot of Buckeyes. So… wow. Get that paper, ignore the sense you are a walking self-parody. (Game used Henson cleats just 120!)
Does this add anything substantial to Ohio State's mounting pile of accusations or is it just a pile-on? Well, it has excised Terrelle Pryor from next year's season, leaving Ohio State to pick between Brooks Bollinger Memorial Eighth Year Senior Joe Bauserman, who's like 30 now or something and an assortment of underclassmen of whom true freshman Braxton Miller is the most touted.
But that's in the past, as Rich Rodriguez might have it. As for the future, this specific accusation is one that sounds scary but seems less likely to have a paper trail a compliance program can be expected to trace. Unlike the other accusations there's no email sitting in Tressel's inbox or compliance audit five years ago that was basically ignored or guy in charge of the equipment that should have one of those inventory things.
But while this specific thing may or may not add to the NCAA dogpile, if Brooks is correct about this…
In addition to Pryor’s past NCAA transgressions, today I confirmed that Ohio State was recently cited by NCAA enforcment officials for dozens of payments Pryor received in past years from a Columbus sports memorabilia dealer that are considered outside of NCAA rules.
The NCAA violations were discovered when the name of the local memorabilia dealer, Dennis Talbott, was seen on checks Pryor was depositing in his personal bank account.
…and personal bank accounts are being examined (probably with the threat of terminated eligibility hanging over the request), well, items have acquired a distinct nature of being in reality.
And then there's the stuff already known
Braves and Birds makes a point I've been trying to make but haven't done so as eloquently:
We are coming off of a season in which several teams lost key players because of suspensions for improper benefits. Ohio State’s head coach (and arguably their compliance department, which seems unable to find evidence of wrongdoing despite media outlets finding stories like candies tumbling out of a piñata) ignored evidence of similar violations on the part of his players. Doesn’t the NCAA have to reward schools like Georgia and North Carolina for being proactive in dealing with improper benefits by showing that the alternative is significantly worse? The NCAA needs to hammer Ohio State and not for punitive reasons or because the Bucks derived a major competitive advantage from its players trading memorabilia (that point is debatable), but rather to send a message to its members that self-reporting is a big deal. The whole system, which most closely resembles a rickety dam trying to hold back a flood of money headed towards the athletes who create it, depends on honest self-reporting.
It's hard to look at the USC violations, which were tied to the Trojan staff based on one two-and-a-half minute phone call to the running backs coach, and not see something worse coming down the pipe for OSU. USC:
- Had one player implicated for an awful lot of money.
- "Should have known" based on Todd McNair's Fisher-like desire not to know.
- Laughably stonewalled.
- Has one player implicated for a lot of money plus a half-dozen more confirmed NCAA violators plus an alleged two dozen more.
- Absolutely did know because the head coach was directly informed.
- Laughably stonewalled and, as a bonus, got the NCAA to declare its players eligible for the Sugar Bowl.
Unless the raw amount of money funneled to Reggie Bush is a significant factor (and I can't see why that would be since the difference here appears to be between low six digits and mid-fives) it seems hard to make a case that Ohio State shouldn't get penalties harsher than USC's—significantly harsher. I'd be interested to see if anyone can make a Devil's Advocate case that what's currently happening in Columbus is less severe than the Bush imbroglio. Pretty much the only person who's tried is Drew Sharp, and he did not do well* even considering he's Drew Sharp.
Seriously. The gauntlet is thrown down: can anyone make the case Ohio State should get off lighter than USC?