this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, we'll try to make it as comprehensive as possible. We were only able to make it to 1 high school game this week (sorry to spoil you last week with 4 games), so that's listed at the top. In future weeks, the 2011 commits (of which there are currently 1) will be included as well.
MI RB Austin White
Last week: Stevenson lost to Howell 14-28. Austin rushed 16 times for 119 yards and 2 TD (12.44 YPC). He also caught 4 passes for 59 yards, and had a 53-yard touchdown grab erased due to penalty. Paul and I were there, so experience the glory of HD:
In all honesty, if Stevenson's coaches would have just given Austin the ball more (and you can't argue with his production), the Spartans would have had a much better chance to come away with a win.
This week: Stevenson (0-2) at Salem.
|Austin White 2009|
MI QB Devin Gardner
On two occasions in the first half, Gardner heaved up nice touch passes to the end zone only to see the ball slip through teammates fingertips and fall harmlessly to the turf.
Devin finished 19-30 passing for 389(!) yards. He also had a 66-yard rushing touchdown on the game's first play, and finished with 10 rushes for 102 yards with another touchdown (2 total).
This week: Inkster (0-2) has the week off.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
SC QB Cornelius Jones
Conelius Jones ran for 45 yards and a touchdown and threw for 125 yards and another score as Spartanburg traveled to Northwestern and knocked off the Trojans 20-10 Friday night.
No word on attempts.
This week: Spartanburg (2-1) v. Sumter.
|Cornelius Jones 2009|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
Last week: Marcus beat Plano West 35-25.
Senior Stephen Hopkins scored his third touchdown of the night, this one from 8 yards out with 6:13 to go, to put the Marauders up, 35-25. Hopkins combined with juniors Dagan Newsome and Rufus Mason for more than 300 yards on the ground.
Hopkins finished with 28 rushes for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns.
This week: Marcus (2-0) @ Fossil Ridge.
|Stephen Hopkins 2009|
|Plano West||W 35-25||28||128||3||4.56|
TX RB Tony Drake
Last week: Skyline rocked Kimball 51-2. Drake rushed 8 times for 69 yards (8.63 YPC) and a touchdown.
This week: Skyline (1-0) v. Arlington Bowie.
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview rocked Christian Life Academy 60-14. Dileo had a 50-yard touchdown grab.
This week: Parkview (1-0) @ Arcadiana.
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Last week: Pioneer pounded Dexter, winning 45-0. Ricardo had 55-yard and a 45-yard touchdown grabs for the Pioneers. Miller photo appears courtesy of AnnArbor.com.
This week: Pioneer (2-0) v. Saline.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Last week: Canton South falls to Canfield, 7-10. No word on Robinson's stats.
This week: Canton South (0-2) v. Ravenna.
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Last week: Huron defeated Tecumseh 41-14. Jeremy had an interception for the Rats, but no receptions.
This week: Huron (1-1) @ Temperance Bedford.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Last week: Harding rocked Youngstown Chaney, 58-0.
This week: Harding (1-0-1) v. Akron Buchtel on Saturday evening.
OH OL Christian Pace
Last week: Avon Lake fell to Brunswick 7-24.
This week: Avon Lake (0-2) v. Elyria.
OH DT Terry Talbott
Last week: Wayne defeated Canton McKinley 27-14. There's no specific mention of Talbott, but the defense performed well:
Four big plays — including one on defense — catapulted the Warriors to a 27-14 victory over Canton McKinley...
Wayne’s defense unleashed a “trifecta” — sack, fumble and TD — as the Warriors forced four turnovers and improved to 2-0
After seeing how dominant he can be a week ago, I would be shocked if Terry wasn't directly responsible for some of that defensive wizardry.
This week: Huber Heights (2-0) v. Glenville on Saturday evening. This should be a hell of a game. I'd recommend checking it out, if you're in the area.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Last week: Trinity falls 22-36 to powerhouse Canon-McMillan.
This week: Trinity (0-1) @ Greensburg Salem.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
Last week: Hampton defeated Blackhawk 21-13.
This week: Hampton (1-0) v. West Allegheny.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Last week: Liberty beats Niles 29-12. Kinard caught a 24-yard touchdown pass, and also came in for some praise from his coach:
Whittaker said Gutierrez and Michigan recruit Antonio Kinard are the heart of his defense.
“They were all-conference linebackers last year,” he said. “We’ve come to kind of expect them to make those types of impact plays and they have made many.”
This week: Liberty (2-0) @ Campbell.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Last week: Lake Region lost 0-9 to Winter Haven. Marvin had 20 tackles(!), in addition to a forced fumble and an interception. 43 yards on 8 carries (5.38 YPC).
This week: Lake Region (0-1) v. Kathleen.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Senior QB Courtney Avery broke a couple of tackles and burst up the middle on a 54-yard TD run less than three minutes later.
Avery finished the game 14-26 passing for 202 yards, and he ran for 40 yards on 7 carries.
This week: Lexington @ Cameron.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
Last week: Wayne defeated Canton McKinley 27-14. There's no specific mention of (either) Talbott, but the defense performed well. See above for details.
This week: Huber Heights (2-0) v. Glenville on Saturday evening. This should be a hell of a game. I'd recommend checking it out, if you're in the area.
It was with some trepidation that I agreed to be on Mitch Albom's show last week during the jihad reaction*. But I figured, hey, what the hell, the worst thing that happens is some guy listening thinks I might be worth reading. So I go on, and express my point of view. Albom asks some pointed but fair questions, and I hang up. Fine. But the next 30 minutes or whatever are then dedicated to the proposition that I am just an example of Michigan fans "circling the wagons"; none of the points made are actually addressed. Instead I am dismissed as the Google Master from the MGoBlog… by Mitch Albom of the Free Press.
While the rest of the planet has moved past the idea of true objectivity, grizzled newspapermen still cling to the idea that a fact is a fact and the manner of its presentation and the context its surrounded with have no impact on how that fact is received. Albom asked me "do you think the writers of this piece have an agenda?" in a fashion that made it clear that this would be the journalistic equivalent of crossing the streams. Sure, they heard tell some guys down yonder tried it once but that's why there's this big smoking crater and everyone's kids have three heads.
I responded "well, agenda is a loaded word" because the context I was in—hey there you go—but my immediate thought was of course they have an agenda. Albom might as well asked me if I thought the reporters were robots. (A man without an agenda @ right.) People who are not robots have agendas, motivations, desires, and so forth and so on. They want to be tall and have hair and people who read their writing who can actually remember what the writer identifies himself as. Or they want a shiny prize. Or they want to jump off a sinking ship.
The most obvious and universal agenda to want your work to be important. I'm always annoyed when I've got this cool theory that the stats don't bear out. I then have to actively remind myself to present the full story when I (usually) try to make my case anyway. Most recent example: rugby punting reduces long returns. There's a natural tendency to ignore or downplay things that detract from your argument, especially when you've put a ton of work into it. Everyone wants their work to be meaningful.
So no one gets away without having their motivation examined anymore. No one. Jim Carty just put up an interesting post about "faith-based reporting," which is the idea that increasingly the people in the room at press conferences are working for GBW or the Wolverine or this site and make little pretense about being generally in favor of Michigan winning football games. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with large swaths of it (around 50%) but no section more than this one:
The suggestion that Rosenberg shouldn't have worked on the piece is nothing less than bunk, as I've covered above. He's a terrific journalist - just recruited to contribute for SI.com, incidentally - and one of the most fair people I know. Nothing he's written in the past would be cause for him to be removed from this piece. The suggestion that the Freep somehow took advantage of the freshman because it didn't fully brief them on their full agenda is similarly silly.
That's gone, man. The days when people could be expected to take it on faith that the reporters in question were noble just-the-facts truth-seekers, ma'am, has been steadily evaporating for 30 years and boiling off since the people formerly known as the audience started firing back. I do not care what people who personally know the guy think. I automatically suspect bullcrap in all ways that fit into conventional narratives or wishful thinking too easily, whether it's LOL NC$$ hates SEMO or Andrew Maxwell casually outing MSU on the MSU official site. There is no way I'm exempting a columnist who's regularly deployed false assumptions in the pursuit of Rodriguez or a newspaper that headlined said columnist's ill-researched Justin Feagin column "Win at all costs poor formula for Rodriguez." Carty interprets the Deadspin post defending Rosenberg's objectivity as legitimate; I don't see how anyone who's followed the Free Press' inflammatory headlines and snotty opinion pieces can come to that conclusion. A preposterously long breakdown of said article is at the foot of this post. I've thrown it behind the jump because it's tedious.
My base assumption is that unnecessary lack of transparency is always in the service of concealing dishonesty. And there are plenty of instances of concealment or outright dishonesty in the article in question:
- Misrepresenting quotes from two freshmen. Even leaving aside the questionable ethics of asking players questions about a piece you're planning without disclosing the unusual focus of the piece, the quotes from Hawthorne and Stokes are flat misrepresentations of what they said. At no point did they say any of the activities were "required," and in fact literally everything they list can and likely will fall under the NCAA definition of a noncountable hour. The problem with quoting the freshmen is not that they were not briefed on the agenda of the piece but that quotes were blatantly misrepresented.
- Providing anonymity for flimsy reasons. I'd be surprised if a single current player is one of the anonymous sources providing damning quotes. It's certain that at least some of them come from departures. And there are no potential repercussions for a departed player outside of what happened to Toney Clemons at Colorado, who was told "don't do that again" and directed to release a statement that made him seem like less of a dip. That is not sufficient justification for anonymous quotes in a story that you think makes a case for major NCAA infractions.
- Cloaking the distribution of current and former players. Even if you provide anonymity to the departed players, there's no reason to cite ten people interviewed for the story, drop the bombshell of "current and former," and not clarify whether or not the only current players in the story are the aforementioned duped freshmen. There is zero reason to not put "current" or "former" between the words "anonymous" and "player" after the anonymous player drops a damning quote.
- Ignoring the extremely obvious context. As previously stated, "everyone does it" is not a moral defense (which, IME, is unnecessary) but it's certainly a technical one.
In a media environment where you are always (rightfully) under suspicion it's imperative to show how the piece came together, to forthrightly address reasonable criticism, and provide the primary-source data that you used to construct the story.
The Free Press did none of this. Worse than that, there are sections of the story that are clearly disingenuous. That kills your credibility. That goes double when you are on record as the sort of extreme Rodriguez skeptic that would trot out a host of weak sauce in a column that slams Rodriguez for doing literally the exact same thing John Beilein—who you've never said a discouraging word about—did when he broke his contract. It goes triple when you couldn't be bothered to do the simple legwork of calling Justin Feagin's high school coach or checking his juvenile record before launching a broadside at the sort of kids Rodriguez is bringing into the program. (And don't give me that "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" stuff. Couching your work in disclaimers doesn't change the thrust.)
There was a way to go about this in a fair manner: disclose the names of the transferred kids. Clarify where the damning quotes are coming from. Provide appropriate context (45 hours a week) for the allegations. Don't misrepresent quotes from kids you're about to hang out to dry.
I've heard a lot about how I'm a Michigan fan. I've heard a lot about how I identify myself as Brian. I haven't heard one word about the actual content of my criticisms. Eventually, it becomes clear the lack of response is because they simply don't have one.
*(For the record: this isn't my jihad. The whole jihad bit is a reference to the first Jihad, which was way closer to an actual jihad. It was launched when an incredibly credulous West Virginia reporter announced that Rich Rodriguez had shredded every last document concerning West Virginia football.
I mean, really, which side here is a technologically deficient society bitter about its fading glory and hugely resistant to change? That's what I thought.)
The Michigan win yesterday was huge for the program on the field, and was also a help in the recruiting department. The first game of the season was taken in by a handful of committed recruits from this year's class and plenty of the top players in 2011.
MI WR Ricardo Miller, the new mayor of Ann Arbor, was pleased by his now-obligatory appearance. "It was a good win," he said, "and it was a real good atmosphere. I was with some of the other kids, and they liked it too. I know Dior [Mathis, the Cass Tech cornerback] liked it a lot," Miller said.
When asked what the difference was between this game, and the game he attended last year, he told me, "Well, first, we won. That part was great, it was a good feeling." Miller continued: "The second was that everyone just seemed more with it. The players seemed like they were more in the game than last year."
Ricardo also mentioned the fans' support for the team and Rich Rodriguez, "A lot of people have jumped on the wagon, it seems like. They won, and everyone was happy. I didn't like that they weren't supporting him before, but I know there was a lot of fans there showing him how much they care."
Miller made a point about how living so close to the Big House will prepare him to see the field next year: "I'm going to every home game, and every time I go into the stadium, I get less and less nervous. So, each home game for me is going to help calm my nerves for when I actually get to play."
Ricardo Miller gallery by Paul. It's from Pioneer's 32-28 win over Inkster.
On the defensive side of the ball, PA DE Ken Wilkins and OH CB Courtney Avery (right) made it up for their first ever Michigan game. Both were excited about what they saw. "It went real well," said Wilkins. "I loved it. The fans were crazy, it seemed like they all knew my name. The Victors Walk was crazy too, it was just nuts. I was honestly surprised, I didn't know it was going to be that loud, and that crazy."
The coaches and the game gave Ken a better look at how he'd be used in the game. "I talked to Coach Robinson a little before the game," he said, "and I think I'll be used like Craig Roh*. He had a really good game, so it was just exciting to see that in person."
Courtney Avery said the game was a good way to get to know his future teammates. "I had met Ricardo before," he said, "but I had never met Kenny." Avery was impressed with his first visit to Michigan Stadium: "This was the icing on the cake. I was amazed at how many people were there. I loved the atmosphere all together. It was cool to see the game in person, because you get to see how excited the sidelines get, and the players that aren't on the field," said Avery.
The visit also gave Courtney a chance to see how he'd be used on defense. "I talked to Coach Gibson, Tall, and Rodriguez before the game," he said. "During the game, I was just watching the corners and their technique. It was cool to see how they play, and that I'll be out there soon," Courtney said.
*[Editor's note: Wilkins is being brought in as a deathbacker but given his size and Michigan's depth chart, I'm betting he ends up in the Brandon Graham role eventually.]
He will pull off your arm and beat you to death with it and then settle down for a meal, it will be just like "Alive" down to the sexy 70's hair. Dex's latest at the WLA is pretty great all around but possibly best for highlighting this Vernon Gholston-esque gun show photo:
So that's where the rest of Tate Forcier's biceps went. (reference)
Diaries jihad! With the advent of the season I am moving things from diary to board with extreme prejudice. Consider whether your diary has the same level of value as a typical jamiemac post or this thorough research from BlueSeoul (who you may remember as Odoms hater from the season preview…
…but he's contrite):
1st Stat Category: Yards per thrown at
This stat is better than yards per catch because it includes a penalty for players who drop the ball or loaf it on a play and don't get open. Yes they are penalized for having a bad QB but that would affect all the numbers across the board.
C. Brown 13
Stonum, Webb, Cox, Shaw, 0
I'm not so sure about including plays on which a guy is bracketed and the quarterback is just chucking the ball away in the general direction of the player, but that's an interesting metric to track throughout the season.
Back to the larger point: please read the guidelines before posting up a diary (they're right above the text entry area), and let's try to keep that area of the site extremely high-value. I'm moving anything that seems like it was dashed off in ten minutes without thought. FWIW.
Speaking of high-value diaries. Steve Sharik's got an initial defensive analysis:
Obi Ezeh made a very nice tackle on a WR screen, but he still has a ways to go. His reaction time needs to improve. Example, 2nd play of the game, the B gap window opens right in front of him and there is no lead blocker. This is LB 101. Open window = hit it. He should have hit the RB behind the LOS for, at worst, no gain and probably a 1-yard loss. Instead, he hit the RB at 2 yards and they ended up with a 3-yard gain.
I noticed this too and did not deploy a minus, but maybe I should go back and at least provide a –0.5. Sharik also mentions that Ezeh spent some time "catching" blockers, which is great lingo I will immediately imbibe for a frustratingly commonplace occurrence in the Life of Obi.
Stevie Brown is an OLB. He is not a hybrid player. The true hybrid player is the strong safety, Mike Williams. Sometimes he was at the LOS (line of scrimmage), and sometimes he was a deep safety.
No, Stevie Brown hasn't been playing anything except outside linebacker in anything I've gotten to in UFR, but one of the themes of the offseason was the multifaceted use of the word "hybrid" and how confusing everything got when you were trying to deploy it yourself. Brown's a hybrid in one sense because he's a tiny OLB who can reasonably cover a slot receiver, as he did on Western's first third-down attempt in the game, not because his position is particularly innovative. Maybe we can just call him a "mammal" instead, as opposed to ponderous, hibernation-prone dinosaur Johnny Thompson. (No offense meant to Thompson; he was just born 20 years too late to be an outside linebacker.)
Mwa ha ha ha. Yes, I am a sucker for teaching your children that the guy in the other uniform is evil and should be poisoned and then putting them on the internet in a fashion that will ruin their first dates for all time. Yes, doing this will get your video on MGoBlog:
You, out there with the kid: cute violence == pub.
Refutin'. More parents chime in on The Article In Question:
"Personally, knowing Coach Rod, I don't think there's any truth to it, I don't think there's any merit in it," Michael [Shaw, father of Mike Shaw] said.
Aand Carletta Moore, mother of redshirt freshman TE Brandon, FTW:
"First of all, it's wrong, because I went straight to the source -- I went straight to Brandon -- and it's a rumor," Carletta said. "My thought on it -- the devil has a job to do, too, you know? That's just the way I see things. I don't think there's truth to that story at all. Coming from my son, there's no truth to that story."
Hey, I didn't say it.
The Wolverines are carrying nine defensemen on the roster right now: Chris Summers, Steve Kampfer, Brandon Burlon, Chad Langlais, Tristin Llewellyn, Scooter Vaughan, Greg Pateryn, Lee Moffie, and Eric Elmblad. The first four are locks to be in the lineup every night, barring injury. There are fewer games to go around (at least in theory) for the third-pairing defensemen since Kampfer and Burlon are healthy after missing a combined 24 games a year ago.
Wow. Vaughn's been dogged with persistent rumors of a move to forward, but they could hypothetically redshirt Moffie if he wanted to be redshirted. (Moffie wasn't drafted by the NHL, FWIW, so he might be amenable to that in an effort to get more playing time overall.) The upshot is that Bryan Hogan is the hockey team's Brandon Graham—he cannot get injured—and that the team looks like it should own again, though hopefully with better luck in the tournament this time.
Michigan Monday is always more fun after Michigan does not soil itself:
True freshman Tate Forcier got the start at quarterback and looked…well…he looked…okay, I’ll just come out and say it, he looked really, really good. There, I said it. He finished the game 13-20 for 179 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 11 times for 37 yards. Forcier looked completely comfortable throughout the entire game. He was poised and knew where to go with the ball just about every time.
Whole thing worth a read; skepticism expressed at what happens when Michigan gets "punched in the mouth" next week, which is fine metaphorically except for the fact that Notre Dame is not really a punch-you-in-the-mouth sort of team unless we get a –then-run-away-and-hide appended to it.
|Last week's ballot|
- Boise shoots up the poll, and I didn't really intend for North Carolina to do the same, but it appears as though it has happened.
- Virginia Tech drops on the basis of "I was ranking them because I thought Tyrod Taylor would finally produce," and that assumption did not hold true.
- Oregon is still in the poll, though I think there's a possibility they really, really suck. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for one more week, on the basis that Boise might just be pretty good.
- Ohio State and Ole MIss drop for being unimpressive in wins (don't let the final of that Ole Miss game fool you: Nutt was just running up the score at the end. That was a close game well into the third quarter).