A pair of new Wolverines and we're back on the front page. Action since last rankings:
6-6-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Josh Ballesteros. Michigan State gains commitment from Tyler O'Connor.
6-7-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Dean Lowry. Notre Dame gains commitment from David Perkins.
6-9-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Isaac Fruechte.
6-10-11 Michigan gains commitments from Tom Strobel and Erik Magnuson. Northwestern gains commitment from Dan Vitale.
6-11-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Dinero Moss.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
ESPN's initial rankings are finally out, so their numbers in the table above have switched to star averages, rather than 150 Watchlist prospects.
Full data after the jump.
[Ed: Here you go: the items in the flesh. They don't like quite as dumb in pads. /alwayslookonthebrightsideoflife]
Brian already put up a placeholder post, but here's the whole deal. OH DE Tom Strobel has committed to Michigan. I was even beaten by a local paper ("smh," as the kids are saying these days):
"Like most people in Ohio, I was raised with a biased opinion against Michigan. However, it occurred to me that there was no justification for my prejudice, besides the fact that it was Michigan. I think it says something that despite my apprehension, Michigan still stood out above the rest. I am confident that I have made the right decision for my future, and I look forward to beginning my college career as a Wolverine."
Here we go:
4*, #24 DE,
4*, 5.8, #36 DE
4*, 93, #14 WDE,
#8 Ohio, #169 Ovr
ESPN is the outlier as far as Tom's quality as a player goes. While he's a solid 4-star to each of the other sites, the Worldwide Leader has him listed as a "meh" 3-star - though he's not far from four. As size goes, he's a consensus 6-6, with weights ranging from 240 (24/7 Sports) to 250 (Scout and ESPN).
Now that ESPN has some player evaluations up, we'll start there:
He is a tall kid with solid bulk and he displays the room to add more good size with time in a college weight program. He gets off the ball well. For a taller kid he displays the ability to play with some bend and keep solid pad level. He uses his hands and reach well to take on blockers and keep some separation. He displays good upper body strength to not only keep blockers from getting into him but to also shed. He is a solid wrap-up tackler.
He's listed as "tough against the run," but needing work becoming more effective playing the pass (though he can bat down the occasional ball). To me, that sounds more like a strongside end, rather than a weakside guy, but what do I know? On a similar note, Bucknuts has considered him as a 3-tech tackle:
Strobel is one I am having trouble with. I have no doubt about his talent. He was at one time a top ten kid on my list. What I am having trouble with is Strobel being a three-technique tackle. I have not seen him up close so I will defer to those who have, including the Buckeye staff which has offered him as a tackle.
If Ohio State's offer for him was indeed at tackle, than he certainly has plenty of room to grow, and it remains to be seen what position he'll play. He was the subject of a Sam Webb column in the Detroit News earlier this spring:
"The first thing that sticks out about him is that he passes the eye test easily," said [Scout Ohio Analyst] Greene. "He is a true 6-6, with long arms, and probably weighs 240 pounds. He could probably carry another 30-35 pounds easily on that frame. I think he has the chance to maybe be great someday. I think he's a guy who is kind of growing into his body right now. He is just 17 years old and has got another year of high school left. I think his best football is three to four years ahead of us."
That speak to his upside down the road, rather than the idea that he's some sort of finished product. Of course, that means he could be a low-floor, high-ceiling, boom-or-bust type, as well. Greene does say that in a non-crazy year, he'd be the best DE in Ohio. Strobel himself speaks on his game:
"I've got a really good work ethic," Strobel stated. "I'm always hustling to the ball no matter what. Even if it seems the play is already made, I'm always going to be there right behind the tackle or I'll be making the tackle. I'm always hustling to the ball. I think that's the biggest thing you'll notice -- hustle."
Sounds like a gritty grit gritterstein, and a hard worker who can be an asset to any program. From a Scout article ($):
Strobel, 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, certainly passes the look test with flying colors. Strobel stood out for Mentor as an intense, big, physical athlete, and one who plays with a high motor, never taking plays off.
That confirms Strobel's own evaluation of his motor, and "passing the look test" generally equates with either a finished product, or a guy who has the frame to fill out well for the next level. Since it sounds like he's not polished yet, assume the latter. He definitely has the athleticism to dunk the basketball (and block fools, as pictured at right). He's also tough enough that he played through a cracked trachea(!) in a game last year.
He's an Army Game selection.
He was considered an Ohio State lock as recently as March, and held a Buckeye offer (joining MI LB James Ross MI CB Terry Richardson as players on Michigan's commit list with that distinction). For an Ohio prospect - particularly this long before signing day, that is a Big Deal.
Aside from MAC teams, he also held offers from Stanford and Vanderbilt, the entire Big Ten - there are conflicting reports on whether he'd earned one from Penn State - and some of the higher-end Big East teams (West Virginia, Cincinnati, Syracuse, et al.) Another big name on his list is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
Though he didn't have many non-regional offers, his offer list within the region is about as good as it can get. In fact, it is as good as it can get.
The Scout profile has sophomore and junior stats:
As a sophomore, Strobel made 47 tackles including 10 for a loss and seven sacks.
As a junior, Strobel recorded 37 tackles including five for a loss and two sacks. He also recovered two fumbles.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists Tom with a 4.8-second 40-yard dash time, while 24/7 Sports says 4.90. For a guy whose pass-rushing abilities are dogged in evaluations, but seems to otherwise be an excellent athlete, that doesn't sound too bad. A mere two FAKEs out of five.
The official Mentor account has his Youtube highlights:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Strobel sounds like a guy who can be a big asset down the road, but isn't likely to contribute as a true freshman. Luckily, Brady Hoke has a defensive end obsession, and there will be plenty of guys ahead of him, allowing for a redshirt.
On that note, the defensive ends in Strobel's own class, and the classes in front of him, might make it difficult for him to see the field early on, unless (as predicted by Bucknuts and/or Ohio State's coaching staff) he's a 3-tech tackle in college. SOMEBODY in Michigan's class is going to have to move inside.
Strobel seems like the sort of guy who will burst onto the scene as a redshirt junior or senior, and turn in a surprising All-Big Ten campaign (maybe not first-team, but earning recognition nonetheless).
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Dude, I have no idea. There are thousands of defensive ends on the roster and in this class, and Michigan is in good position for at least a couple more, including Chris Wormley. Somebody is going to have to move. I could see it being Strobel, maybe Matt Godin, or maybe even Wormley, should he end up in this class. Whether any of these guys could be offensive linemen remains to be seen.
At the end of the day, Michigan still needs a nose tackle-type (hopefully MO DT Ondre Pipkins), and sort out positions for all these other guys down the road. With the way this class is being filled out, I don't think it's possible for Hoke and Co. to fit in some of the positions we've been calling "optional," such as quarterback and running back. Without further attrition, there are 2 spots left in the class.
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.