Also I lost money on Stately Victor. So I chose a bad weekend to take a semi-vacation. Every time I hopped on my phone to see what was going down, Michigan was picking up a DE commit or Ohio State was seeing its troubles expand or Michigan State fans were having entertaining meltdowns or the OHL draft was somehow giving Michigan commitments instead of stealing them. You think it's just a random weekend in May and surely the only thing you're going to miss is nothing. Not so much. But if that's going to happen every time I'm out of pocket I'll be in the Yukon until August even if we pick up some suspensions along the way.
It all started with dozens of cars over a decade. The Dispatch reports Ohio State is looking into their players' tendency to buy cars from one guy with the usual level of signed memorabilia in his office and at least one very interesting sale:
Public records show that in 2009, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with less than 20,000 miles was titled to then-sophomore linebacker Thaddeus Gibson. Documents show the purchase price as $0.
Unfortunately for people wishing to see OSU bombed into the stone age, the Dispatch found that "nearly half" of the cars are on record as being sold for less than the Blue Book value, which is a way of saying it seems like there's a reasonable distribution of prices when that price isn't no dollars. That's unless the cars in question are all blinged out yo—the Dispatch only knows make and model.
However, in addition to all these sales this Kniffin guy also loaned Terrelle Pryor the cars he was driving when he was pulled over three times in loaners. It's extremely implausible that the NCAA won't be able to put together another finding of improper benefits. It was also implausible that Pryor could get away with the car hijinks and he did.
Ohio State compliance is putting up a brave face, but privately the prospect of Kniffin and his 130k in IRS debt facing down the law for misreporting sale prices for these cars has to be foreboding. If there's a choice between jail and confirming documents that would expand the scope of OSU's trouble to include a lack of institutional control, skeezy guy in undisclosed state will no doubt take the latter.
Still need that smoking gun to turn up, unless OSU's crack compliance storm troopers investigating car purchases and letting that Gibson thing slide is it. Ohio recruiting guru and OSU partisan Duane Long:
What about Pryor? I mean, every dealership owner is totally cool with letting me test drive their personal automobile for days on end across state lines. Especially when I was in college. Apparently that’s when I was most trustworthy. That story is believable right?
Now we find out it’s not just star players, it’s a bunch of players AND their families. Good Lord.
Don’t fret Buckeyes because this stuff was already cleared by OSU compliance. Whew!!! I knew they were on top of this. Sure they missed years of players cashing in on items that we would cherish our entire lives but are trivial to the players in exchange for tattoos and cash. But buying cars, they were all over it. Color me relieved, except for one thing. I saw a post asking one simple question, If all of this was cleared already then why the INTERNAL investigation? Hasn’t there already been one? Hasn’t it already been cleared? So what if the Dispatch thinks it’s a big deal. The answer to the Dispatch article is “It’s already been cleared”. Case closed. Story over. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead we muttered under our breath like Latoya Jackson’s mousy voice “we cleared this” and then contradicted the value of that entire “clearing” by announcing our internal investigation. That is ridiculous. Doing this internal investigation is a big announcement to the world “Yeah we didn’t really clear anything and we would hope you guys wouldn’t notice”.
It beggars belief that 50 different Buckeyes all got a legitimate deal with one particular salesman who has provably given Terrelle Pryor rides no one else would get. Maurice Wells' mom bought a car in Columbus. She lives in Maryland. So did Pryor's mother and brother, who live in Pennsylvania. The NCAA should be able to ask anyone with eligibility to prove they're making the payments the notes claim they are with permanent ineligibility the alternative. There's clearly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest what went down was rife with illegal benefits. If they don't they're making a mockery of their enforcement process at a school that's already done a better job of that than USC.
The car thing brings options approaching nuclear into play. Basketball players are involved and violations uncovered could stretch back a decade to when Maurice Clarett and Marco Cooper told ESPN they were given loaner cars and sweetheart deals. If the NCAA uncovers an ineffectual see-no-evil car accounting system in the wake of that very public accusation, pairing that with Tatgate makes for the worst NCAA violation in a long, long time.
BONUS: Texas fans are running a strong second to Michigan when it comes to e-outrage about this stuff. Burnt Orange Nation campaigns for a show-cause—their third post on the subject—and Barking Carnival opens up both barrels as well. A sniff of Switzer is a red cape to Longhorns.
Other possibility: Malletts be Mallettin'. Ryan Mallett's father dropped a dual bombshell as he tried to explain why his kid transferred away from Michgian, saying that Lloyd Carr told Mallett to transfer and Rodriguez didn't pursue Mallett as hard as he should have. The latter quote:
“Ryan’s the one who called (Rich Rod),” Jim Mallett continued. “He said, “Can I talk about the offense?’ And then he told me, ‘Daddy, (Rodriguez) never looked me in the eye.’ He never visited with the family, he didn’t talk to us. I never met the man. But hey, it wasn’t a fit. Let’s move on.”
This set off another minor war between the Rodriguez and Carr factions vying to determine which of them was incrementally less of an asshat over the last three years. There is another possibility: this is just a self-serving remembrance from the sort of guy who promises "revenge" on Miami for not drafting his kid. For one, Rodriguez never looked Mallett in the eye because Mallett was in Arkansas, not Michigan—unusual behavior for a player planning on staying at Michigan. For two, Carr told Mallett to transfer plenty before he'd even retired. I believe Carr told Mallett to GTFO, but it wasn't because he was looking out for his player.
The team. The team:
Also the team.
Stonum suspension redux. Darryl Stonum has been suspended "indefinitely" for his second DUI, which is better than the rumor I got in my inbox that he had gotten the heave-ho but seemingly not much better. Stonum had a breakout 2010 and could have done so again as a focal point when Michigan went under center; now he could be out for anywhere from a couple games to the year. Michigan could hypothetically redshirt him, FWIW.
I wish I had something to offer about how serious the on-field repercussions would be but it sounds like that's up to Stonum's actions over the next few months. A second DUI is a serious offense.
We're going to need a bigger ark. Michigan picked up a pair of WDE commits over the weekend from Ohio's Pharaoh Brown and Michigan's Mario Ojemudia, bringing their 2012 class to ten guys all from Michigan and Ohio, all offensive linemen or front-seven defensive players. This would be Brady Hoke self-parody if every guy in the class didn't sport the offer list of a guy at least on the 3-4 star borderline, but they all do so it's just good stuff. Michigan has 17 slots right now and can push that to 19 by not offering a couple of guys fifth years; with a reasonable amount of attrition they'll be looking at a class of 22 or more.
They seem to lead for Matt Godin, Chris Wormley, Terry Richardson, Anthony Standifer, and Jordan Diamond. They'll probably grab two DTs from the Pipkins/O'Brien/Day/Johnson group, which brings them to around 17. The five remaining scholarships go to:
- Mystery QB
- Mystery RB, Preferably Blue Chip, Thx
- Hypothetically Qualified Aaron Burbridge or Mystery Outside WR
- Mystery OT Probably From California
- Mystery OT
If they end up whiffing on any of the guys counted in the class it will probably be Wormley, at which point Michigan will put the full court press on the touted SDEs who veritably litter Ohio this year and, given the way things seem to be going, get one.
Michigan's problems, such as they are: getting the second WR it seems they need, finding a true safety, and smushing MI TE Ron Thompson in. If they bloat this class up to 25 they can add Thompson, another safety, and another WR without squeezing out that fifth OL.
That's asking for six kids to leave the team before February. I can glance at the Depth Chart By Class and easily pick off six guys whose absence wouldn't be felt but that's somewhere between rude and skeezy. While Michigan won't put themselves in a situation where they sign a bunch of guys and then say "medical scholarships for everyone," the best interests of the program are now aligned with certain guys leaving it. That's uncomfortable.
Tell me something I don't know. Rivals initial top 100 is a bit light on Midwesterners and, as usual, over-represented by the Texas/California/Florida triumvirate. I'm working on a larger post about this but:
- From 2000-2006 Texas, Florida, and California supplied 35% of NFL draft picks. From 2007-2010 they supplied 34%.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 48 players from those three states.
- The Midwest (MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, PA) supplied 17% of NFL draft picks.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 15 players from those states.
I haven't looked at enough data to see what the issue is but my bet is consistent overrating of Big Three players at a the near-uniform expense of everyone else. Some of this is inevitable unless you expect the Rivals guys to figure out which half a Montanan is going to get drafted every year, but if you suck out the odd NFL player from the ignored Great Plains and New England states you should be overrating the rest fairly uniformly. That hasn't happened so far this year.
Caveat: it's possible that the good players in the big states get scouted sooner, leaving the rest of the nation to catch up. That would mean the final Rivals 100 would be less Big Three biased. I'm not sure yet, which is why there's a post in the works.
Etc.: Brandon Burlon's departure is official. Michigan's solar car hits the NYT. They're going to paint the imaginary no-charge circle on the floor. Beilein thinks that helps but I'm not sure since their defense is built around charges, not blocked shots. Hockey's endzone nets are stupid.
There's been some chatter about Terry Richardson's upcoming announcement being a twitter prank from Royce Jenkins-Stone but 247's Steve Wiltfong reports that Cass Tech coach Tom Wilcher says Richardson will "probably make his decision this week." With Ross and Jenkins-Stone in the boat, Michigan is the presumed favorite.
Bryson Cianfrone, Max Domi
If you're a Michigan fan, Saturday's OHL draft was the Best OHL Draft Ever. This isn't exactly a high bar to leap, but not only did Michigan commits plummet well into the "what the hell, why not" range* but Bob Miller of The Wolverine reports Michigan may have actually picked up(!) a commitment instead of lost one:
A very valued source reports this morning that Bryson Cianfrone's selection in the third round of yesterday's OHL draft instead of the first round position he should have held may be due to a commitment to the University of Michigan. Cianfrone is smaller in stature and large in talent. Seen by many as a lock for the first round, he fell to hometown (Toronto area) Brampton in the third round.
The third round is not quite what-the-hell territory but that drop is significant. I poked around some OHL mock drafts published before Saturday, and all had him in the top ten because he is "explosive." Yost Built has more details. As a small, skilled Italian center from Toronto the comparisons to Cammalleri are inevitable, but Miller says he's more of a Shouneyia—a playmaker. I'm not sure how reliable this site is but it says Cianfrone will graduate in 2012, which means he could be a very young freshman next year if he so desired.
The other possibility is that Cianfrone really wanted to go to Brampton for some reason and he'll sign. We'll see. If Cianfrone is really ready to go in 2012 that means one fewer year cooling his heels and indicates he's the kind of student who puts a priority on his education.
Meanwhile, while Max Domi did go to Kingston like everyone figured he would, the second thing everyone thought he'd do—reconsider the college thing for the OHL and his dad's old teammates—hasn't happened yet. In fact, the younger Domi tweeted he'd be at Michigan yesterday:
@jjmarks16 naw man im not playing for kingston... heading down to the ushl and playing for inde i think
@jjmarks16 ya man im heading down to michigan u in 2 years
Doug Gilmour also said his first round pick wasn't going to report:
“I spoke to Tie and his ex-wife Leanne (recently) and their decision is to go elsewhere right now,” Gilmour said. “But this is junior hockey and there could be changes. If he wants to play in this league, it's kind of up to us. I'd love to have him.”
If that seems insane to you, remember that the OHL now gives you a compensatory draft pick one slot lower if you don't get your first-rounder signed. They may think it's worth the flier that Max doesn't take to the USHL since the cost isn't that steep.
So is that, like, a commitment? We're past the OHL draft and so there's no reason to say you're going to Michigan unless you're… like… going to Michigan. If so that would put Domi in the 2013 class with Compher, et al. (Note: I had erroneously assumed Domi was a 2012 prospect earlier.) If only hockey had developed an intricate hat dance rite that marked a prospect's passage into commitmenthood. Then we would know and pester Chris Heisenberg to update his spreadsheet.
In any case, the possible additions of Cianfrone and Domi in 2012/2013 would create a huge logjam at forward. Those two would bulge Michigan's forward corps to 17 in 2013, and while you have to expect some attrition there aren't a whole lot of early departure types on that list save Boo Nieves (who would be a sophomore) and maybe Alex Guptill (a junior). Two years is a long time to keep 17 kids in the boat, though, and Domi and Cianfrone are still liable to wriggle out.
Bonus Random Scouting
Since the world gets scouted for the OHL draft it provides an opportunity for Michigan fans to figure out just what kind of player they can expect at Yost in a couple years. A few bits on Evan Allen:
Silverstick MVP. Absolutely punishing hitter that plays with a mean streak. Did a great job of overwhelming the Marlies in their lone meeting this season. Very solid skill set, and obvious point producer. Most likely going to be a part of the USNDP team.
“Speedy forward who competes at a very high level. Possesses a very good shot with a pro-style release.”
“Reads the play in the offensive zone well. Extremely dangerous in the goal scoring area. If my team needed a goal, this is the guy I want with the puck on his stick.”
“Good north/south skating prospect with excellent acceleration. Not afraid to go to the tough areas of the ice to score. Another player that improved his overall game by playing Major Midget this season.”
Miller also reproduced the OHL media guide descriptions of Domi, Compher, Cianfrone, and Guertler. Save Compher, They're all small, skilled, and explosive.
*[Motte, Compher, Allen, and Talcott were all drafted after the tenth round and only Allen went to a team (Windsor) with any rep for picking off Americans with college commitments. Michigan target Gabe Guertler went in the sixth but if Michigan really has commitments from Cianfrone and Domi I can't see how they can cram him onto the roster, too.]
This weekend ended up being a huge deal for Michigan recruiting. Not only did they secure commitments from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia, but they got instate receiver Aaron Burbridge and Ohio State commit Bri'onte Dunn to visit as well. Here's a look at what Dunn thought of his trip, what may be happening in the near future, and thoughts from a few other prospects.
6'2", 215 lbs.
While Dunn is still committed to Ohio State he has been public about his desire to visit Michigan for some time. The Michigan coaches impressed him when they offered him, and there has been some sort of interest ever since. The recent happenings with Ohio State and the NCAA have gotten the Dunn's attention, and they have said they will continue to monitor what happens in Columbus. I spoke with both Bri'onte and his father after the trip to Ann Arbor. Here's what his father had to say first.
[The visit] went pretty good. They showed us around, we went through the stadium, and basically went around the whole campus. We got a good welcome in there. The head coach, Brady Hoke, wasn't there but we were talking to the rest of the coaches.
They told him he fits in their offense and that they want a back his size. They need a running back. We went up here because he wanted to go to a few places to get the experience. It's just been all Ohio State, so he wanted to look around a little bit. You always have to have a backup plan, too. It was a good trip, though, and his cousin [2013 DB] Dymonte Thomas schooled him on it after he went up there. They've talked about going to school together too.
Both Bri'onte and his father didn't really want to let out too much about the visit or where he stands on either side. Here's the limited amount that Bri'onte was willing to say.
It was better than I expected. They showed us around a lot and explained all the schooling stuff to us. They were good people, they seem like I could build a relationship with them. I'm just looking around right now, I'm still committed to Ohio State.
Like I said, Bri'onte didn't want to put too much out there yet. He wasn't comfortable answering a few of my tougher questions about his situation. I think a lot of this will depend on what happens with the NCAA investigation. I also think that this is just the start of a courtship, and I wouldn't expect anything to happen anytime soon. Either way, it's a positive for Michigan to get him on campus and put a face to a name with the coaches.
6'1", 178 lbs
Standifer had been told he was close to a Michigan offer a few weeks back. One of the Michigan coaches was out to see him in person this week, and Anthony was given an offer based on his performance. Things could start moving pretty rapidly for him now that the offer is official.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
He says he has very strong interest, but isn't sure when he wants to make his final decision.
I haven't been down there yet to see much, but I love the stadium and just the football atmosphere there. They told me that I'm a Michigan corner and that they want size, and to get down there ASAP.
I'm not saying it will for sure happen, but I believe there is a chance that Anthony could pull the trigger on his visit. He seemed excited but unsure of what he wanted to do. If the trip goes well don't be surprised if he makes the call on the spot. Before you ask, this wouldn't have any affect on the recruitment of any other defensive backs, including Terry Richardson.
6'3", 195 lbs.
Gilmore is a prospect that has been a little on the quiet side lately. He holds a Michigan offer as well as Arizona State, Duke, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Utah, and Washington. Despite living in California Gilmore says he has serious interest in Michigan.
[Michigan] is definitely a school I'm interested in. I mean we don't really hear that much about them out here, so to learn more about the program and school would be great. I know they have a rich tradition and good academics, it's a huge program. They have been down for awhile, but the new head coach that they have I'm sure is going to turn it around.
Gilmore wasn't positive but he had thought that Brady Hoke offered him previously while at San Diego State. While GIlmore does like Michigan, it's still early in the process for him.
I'm still taking everything in right now. I want to get out and take my visits and then I will start to narrow down the schools. I've been hearing from Cal, UCLA, and Northwestern lately, so we'll see. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I will be seriously considering Michigan in all this.
Gilmore holds a Michigan offer, but since he wants to take his time, I'm not sure how it will play out for him.
The commitment of Mario Ojemudia has increased Michigan's chances with his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. If they put the full court press on Burbridge they have a chance at landing him.
Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing this Thursday the 12th. He's down to Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. His announcement will be public, so you'll know.
A lot of people were asking if the commitment from Pharaoh Brown and Mario Ojemudia would have any affect on Chris Wormley or Matt Godin, and the answer is no. Brown and Ojemudia are weakside ends, and Michigan is recruiting Godin and Wormley for the strong side. They will take all four if they fall that way.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson was offered this week. I believe Michigan has a good chance with Johnson.
Arizona ATH DJ Foster was offered this week. He has interest in Michigan, but they will need to get him on campus before any serious interest could happen. Oregon is the likely early leader.
[Ed: Chatter on twitter is that MI CB Terry Richardson may be announcing soon; hopefully "Roll Tide Nation" is just a tweak directed at Ross and RJS. Also, the Rivals 100 is out. RJS is the only state of Michigan player in the top 100 at #87.]
Michigan re-skin is go at EDSBS:
There's also a Bo gnome that pops up erratically that I didn't have the patience to get a screenshot of. Various people are vomiting the comments. You have done well, Michigan internets.
The Wolverines are truly reeling them in now. Three new commits this week. To the front page again! Action since last rankings:
5-2-11 Michigan gains commitment from James Ross. Notre Dame gains commitment from Justin Ferguson. Wisconsin gains commitment from Bart Houston.
5-5-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Ian Park.
5-6-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Jordan Westerkamp.
5-7-11 Michigan gains commitments from Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown. Michigan State gains commitment from Evan Jones.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
All rankings will be on the 5-star scale this year (when available) for easier comparing across services. Rivals rankings come out this week. Full data after the jump.
It's a commitment-palooza! OH DE Pharaoh Brown is the newest Wolverine. Also, I'm really going to have to practice spelling "Pharaoh" (not "Pharoah").
|3*, #45 DE||NR DE||NR DE||4*, 90, #10 TE, #14 Ohio|
There's alllllllllmost a consensus among the recruiting sites about Brown's size. ESPN is the outlier in height at 6-5 (all the others agree he's 6-6, except the guy quoted below), and 24/7 Sports is the odd site out at 230 pounds, whereas the others all agree that he's 220.
Though 24/7 Sports calls him a tight end, Pharaoh told Tom that he's a defensive player in Greg Mattison's eyes:
"I talked to Coach Mattison today, and then he put the head coach on the phone and they offered me right there. They said they saw my film and they really liked me."
Pharaoh said he plays quarterback, defensive end, and tight end but Michigan is recruiting him for DE.
He's a big guy, but to play at the next level, he's definitely got plenty of work to do in the weight room. There's not a ton out there on him, but Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long has talked about Pharaoh a couple times:
Pharaoh Brown is 6-7 and 215. He runs so well and is so long. Right now he prefers tight end which is very odd as he plays quarterback on offense. The way he plays end I don't know who would waste him at tight end. Yes, I said waste him. I like a good receiving tight end as well as anybody but defensive linemen are what win championships.
He's not sold on Pharaoh's apparent attitude:
I can tell you I did not consider him [for his projected 22-man OSU class]. He says he wants to play tight end. He is willing to play defense but he wants to play tight end. That is not good enough. We talk about defensive players mindset. He has all the skills to be a great defensive end but I can't put a player on defense who does not want to play defense.
But, like, the film, man. It is good. If he's willing to play defensive end, he's an outstanding player at the position. Despite not being in Long's projected Ohio State class, he's listed as one of the scariest to get away:
I have been very excited about Pharaoh Brown. My enthusiasm has been dampened a bit after hearing about his desire to be a tight end. No matter which side of the ball he lines up on he could come back to haunt us...
Long doesn't really have a whole lot to say about Brown's specific skills other than "they exist." His highlight video shows off great athleticism, but a lot of the plays feature some 5-7 white kid whiffing on a block, so don't read tooo much into some of it.
He's physically reminiscent of Terrelle Pryor in high school, though probably not quite that athletic (and he appears to be much worse as a passer). I'm a little surprised with Scout's ranking of him, but it's still pretty early in the process, so whateva.
Brown had a strong regional offer sheet, with a couple of national names mixed in. Arizona State, Boston College, Colorado, UConn, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska and West Virginia are some of the more notable names on his list.
Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon also showed interest, but did not offer him.
Scout has junior year numbers:
Had 49 tackles (13 for loss), seven sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a junior. Also played quarterback.
The amazing defensive end/QB combo!
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites have listed 40 times. Default five FAKEs out of five.
I'm no professional scout, but color me very impressed:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So he's not Ojemudia-skinny, but Brown is still going to have to really put on some weight to be a top defensive end at the next level. With Michigan's haul of defensive players in the 2011 class and so far this year, he'll be able to redshirt and do some work in the weight room.
After that he should get some work into the rotation as a freshman and sophomore. Kenny Wilkins, Chris Rock, and Keith Heitzman are good players, but somebody with Brown's athleticism is a rare treat, so I think he's able to pass at least one of them on the depth chart by his redshirt sophomore season.
As a redshirt junior, he'll burst onto the scene, acting as a disruptive force in opposing backfields. Depending on his production that season, he has the potential to even be an early entrant to the NFL Draft. He could have All-Big Ten potential by the time he graduates. However as a prospect with a lot of developing to do he has to put in the hard work to reach that potential.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The recruiting along the defensive line is going to get a lot more selective, especially at end where the Wolverines got two commits today alone. With Matt Godin announcing soon, and the likes of Chris Wormley (and a host of others from Ohio) still out there, Michigan has the opportunity to only go after the best.
Going forward, the needs are (as you know, since there has been a commitment post approximately every 20 minutes for the past month) quarterback, offensive line, defensive tackle, and some top offensive skill players. A couple defensive backs would be nice as well.