that makes one of us
LOIs are in save those of Kenny Demens, Sam McGuffie, and hypothetical long-snapper George Morales. Demens' absence is probably not cause for alarm; if he was going somewhere else there'd be something up about it now. You can check out Rodriguez's press conference at MGoBlue.
Probably meaningless notes on positions: Feagin at QB, Omameh at DL(?), Koger and Moore both TEs, and Robinson and Shaw listed at ATH.
Some editorial opinion with McGuffie and Pryor still in flux:
The most important thing Rodriguez did in the scanty time he had was get the class near the 25-kid maximum without taking warm bodies. The Rodriguez commits (we're excluding JT Floyd and Brandon Smith here, as both were on Michigan's radar for months before the coaching transition):
- TX WR Terrence Robinson, a four-star to both major sites.
- OH RB Michael Shaw, a four-star top 250 kid to both sites who's just outside the Rivals 100.
- OH WR Roy Roundree, a Rivals four-star who was the best kid in Purdue's class until Michigan went "yoink"
- FL OL Ricky Barnum, a four-star who had committed to freakin' Florida until Michigan went "yoink"
- OH LB Taylor Hill, a one-time Oklahoma commitment and Rivals 250 member.
- FL QB Justin Feagin, a three star to Rivals and two-star to Scout, but with reported offers from Miami and LSU.
- OH OL Patrick Omameh, a sleeper offensive lineman who Ohio State offered once Josh Jenkins decided to stick with West Virginia.
Of the seven, only Feagin and Omameh weren't given four stars by at least one service, and there are reasons to think even those two are on track for significant contributions. None are top-100, but all are potential contributors.
There are some downers. QB became an urgent need when Ryan Mallett transferred and unless we get a Christmas miracle it looks like the only guy at that spot will be Feagin. That's insufficient. Nick Perry's inability to read a depth chart leaves Michigan without a defensive end in this class a year after taking only Ryan VanBergen. DE is less of a concern because one of the linebackers or OH TE Kevin Koger could end up there, but a class with only one guy recruited as a defensive lineman gives me the heebie-jeebies. In this new era of college football where the fifth defensive back is as much or more of a starter than the third linebacker, just three DBs seems one too few. And losing McGuffie would suck if it happens.
But the results are the results: Michigan is currently ninth in Rivals' rankings of the top classes (eighth in star average) and tenth in Scout's after a coaching transition. That never happens. Classes implode when coaching changes are made and generally finish weakly. Michigan didn't lose anyone it still wanted except maybe McGuffie, and Rodriguez's strong finish bodes well for future classes.
Enthusiasm will no doubt scale back if Pryor goes elsewhere and McGuffie defects; for now the new staff has done an excellent job.
*(Koger was supposedly opposed to playing D earlier in his recruitment, but he told the Toledo Blade "wherever [Rodriguez] wants to put me" in a January article. The rest of that quote is about how he played in the slot, not as a true TE, which makes me think maybe he meant "wherever on offense"; the next paragraph starts out with his coach saying he could play on either side of the ball.)
Okay, Shaw is in($). Unfortunately, we've got a minor PANIC on our hands about Sam McGuffie, who visited Cal last weekend and has not sent his LOI in($) to anyone. Losing McGuffie would be a crushing blow to morale... I don't think that's likely but am spooked. (Again, these articles all have the meat in the headlines.)
In other bits, here's Justin Feagin:
"I hope, and it would be better for me, if he goes to Michigan," said Feagin of Pryor, a quarterback from Pennsylvania, who will not sign today. "That really lets me see where I stand as a quarterback and if I have really enough potential. He's a good player, and if he goes there that means I have to work twice as hard to get what I want."
I love his quotes. I think he'll be a success. FWIW, a friend in the Florida media says Feagin is not really a collegiate QB but more of a "wr/wingback" sort who, though he threw nothing except deep balls, is "fast as shit." So there you go.
Pryor on ESPN:
Terrelle, there's no one to throw to at Penn State. Also OSU is evil. SAVE US CHARLIE BATCH. WE'RE SORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE COMMENCEMENT THING, EMU RULES.
Update: Dann O'Neill in the Grand Haven Tribune on McGuffie:
"That's just talk," O'Neill said. "Those people on Rivals are just trying to get more subscriptions. The other recruits and I would know if someone was going to commit. The two kids who did de-commit let us know before they did it so we wouldn't have to find out on Rivals.
"There were rumors about J.B. Fitzgerald going to Rutgers. He and I talked probably more than any other recruit, and he was talking about (Rutgers) before the new coaches were announced, but once they announced Coach Rod, he was set on Michigan.
"McGuffie loves it in Ann Arbor. He doesn't want to go anywhere else."
Worth something, though less than definitive.
Also, let's point and laugh at State:
Carr's personal phone call was the first step in the process that convinced O'Neill to commit to U-M last winter. While he's been badgered at times by various other programs, especially Michigan State, over the past several months, O'Neill has never wavered on his decision to attend Michigan.
Ha, ha, ha.
Rats: Nick Perry to USC. Shaw at 1:00 PM and then we'll know the final disposition of the class with the exception of Pryor.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides more detail on the Pryor delay:
The reason Pryor won't announce his college choice is Penn State.
"They're starting to creep up on me," Pryor said.
Pryor had said earlier in the week that Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State were his three finalists, but it was always believed Ohio State and Michigan were his top two choices. But he apparently is liking Penn State more and more.
"My dad likes them a lot," Pryor said. "He wants me to look into them."
Pryor also said his father doesn't see "the trust" in some of the coaches recruiting him that he sees in Penn State.
What? Seriously? I mean... we all understand that the surest way to murder your prospects for the NFL is to get "coached" by Jay Paterno, right?
I think we're out, bizarrely. At this point Penn State is a much better option for Michigan fans, as PSU's class outside of Pryor is pretty crappy everywhere except linebacker, especially if this Shaw switch is legit (upon which more later). If there's any school in the country guaranteed to staple Pryor's butt to the bench for two years and then concoct an offensive scheme that minimizes his talents, it's Penn State.
Meanwhile: Rivals has pulled their story on Shaw switching to Michigan, and there are indications from PSU people that this isn't necessarily over. Woo Tony Hunt redux.
Update: Rivals, again:
Trotwood, Ohio, four-star running back Michael Shaw was expected to announce for Michigan during a 9:00 a.m. press conference this morning but has decided to wait until 1:00 p.m. after reconsidering his options. Shaw previously made a commitment to Penn State.
Rivals says there's a "very good chance he picks Michigan."
A monster signing day for Michigan starts off with the official commitment of FL QB Justin Feagin:
American Heritage quarterback Justin Feagin is going to commit to Michigan, according to Stallions coach Willie Bueno.
Feagin will come in as a QB.
Michigan's also picked up a commitment from FL OL Ricky Barnum($), which is a hell of a get this late in the recruiting process. Barnum was a Florida commit until, like, two seconds ago.
Terrelle Pryor's announcement? Back off:
"I'm 100 percent sure I'm not signing," Pryor said. "It's a tough decision and I'm still trying to decide between Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State."
Pryor did say he has eliminated Oregon and told the Oregon coaches the school was too far from home. Pryor said he'll probably make a visit to Penn State.
"When we talked (Tuesday morning), I gave him my choice and he gave me his," said Pryor's father, Craig. "They weren't the same. But it's his decision."
Craig Pryor said he did not pick Ohio State, but he did not indicate what school his son chose.
Craig Pryor also told his son that playing immediately might not be the best way to make progress. He said it wouldn't hurt if he sat back and watched while he tries to learn to read defenses.
"He's not worried about playing right away," Craig Pryor said. "It will give him time to learn and adjust to the speed of the game."
You can parse that a number of different ways, but the bit about "playing immediately might not be the best way to make progress" sounds very bad for us. It is possible that Pryor's dad was asked a bunch of leading questions and played them off, leading to a noncommital answer that seems something else out of context. I find it hard to believe that long-dormant Penn State and the worst quarterback coach in college football could swoop in and grab Pryor with one visit from their doddering, soon to retire coach and there seemed to be a buzz congealing around Michigan yesterday.
FWIW, Rivals had this earlier:
You just can't think Signing Day will come and go without the Trojans pulling an upset someplace along the line. This is a tough call because the main candidates are Nick Perry, T.J. Bryant and Jerrell Harris and most observers expect each of them to go elsewhere, but even if they strike out on those three perhaps a big de-commitment will come their way.
This is a change in tune for Mike Farrell, who had previously predicted Perry to USC. Perry's officially eliminated Michigan State, which would seemingly put Michigan in an excellent position for Perry's 11 AM press conference.
Update II: A Cleveland-area blogger interviews yrs truly, BTW, about various topics related to Pryor and signing day.
Well... if you're not into wild-ass internet speculation just skip this one.
Still here? Okay. I present this thing from the CBS Sportsline message boards:
I just flew back from Pittsburg and guess who sat nect to me on the flight. Jerome Bettis. I sat and talked football with him for about 2 hours. Guess what he told me. Terrell Pryor is going to Michigan. Was never a doubt in his mind after the official visit. This was passed onto him from Charlie Batch who he had just been out with the night prior to his flight with me. As a Buckeye fan I'm crushed, and don't want to believe it. It even took away from the fact that I was sitting next to an NFL future HOF player and talking with him. I can furnish a photo upon request of myself and "The Bus" if needed. I hate when Darth Rodruigez and the evil empire wins.
The horrible grammar and spelling immediately raises suspicions until "As a Buckeye fan" explains them away. That's verisimilitude, baby.
A check of this guy's posting record reveals this is not a driveby; "bolosak" has 200-some posts and was a frequent participant in the pissing matches between LSU and OSU fans in the run-up to the Not Sugar Bowl.
This, by itself, might not be worth posting. Bolosak could be going for a hoax. However, the College Football Talk post referenced this morning is another piece of information in Michigan's favor; I also received an email from a reader who seemed connected* during the coaching search indicating that a Western PA source was also claiming Pryor would choose Michigan. These are three hopeful signs, and I want you to think of me when Pryor picks Ohio State tomorrow.
*(odd phrasing, yes. Normally I would go with "previously reliable," but in this case the emailer was one of a number sending information along the lines of "there's a power struggle going on but Les Miles is close to a done deal" in the week before the Herbstreit "newsflash." The information ultimately turned out to be incorrect, but I believe that was more because the situation changed than anything else.)
Update: Another "probably OSU" piece from a reputable source to offset any flickering optimism you might have:
Jeannette quarterback Terrelle Pryor plans to announce his college choice Wednesday and indications are it will be Ohio State.
A few of Pryor's friends and acquaintances told the Post-Gazette Ohio State is Pryor's top choice. One unnamed source said Pryor told him recently he would sign with Ohio State.
Who knows? Bleah!
Update II: Forgot a hat tip to The Only Game That Matters on the message board thread.