so much for that
The NIU coverage map can be found here.
Mark Hasty checks in with Pickin' On The Big Ten. Michigan-NIU prediction:
NOT QUITE THE SUBURBS OF CHICAGO 13
NOT QUITE NATIONAL CONTENDERS 34
Barry Alvarez chose... wisely. Future Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema may be the most brilliant defensive mind in the country, if you look at the raw numbers as TAMABINPO did for the recent Roundtable, one question of which was basically "who are the best offensive and defensive minds in the country?" Kyle took a look at the top 20 scoring and yardage defenses over the past five years looking for consistency of effort and came up with Auburn, Georgia, USC, Miami, etc... but then he datamined himself a stark contrast in the directions of two defenses linked by one coach:
04TD 04SD 03TD 03SD 02TD 02SD 01TD 01SD 00TD 00SC
KState 43 84 6 8 2 1 3 7 4 17
Wisc 9 6 43 50 63 38 58 81 79 34
Bielema left Kansas State for Wisconsin after the '03 season.
Not Brett Bielema. Hopefully Charlie Weis.
I love that graph. It immediately changed my mind about a lot of things. I may have underrated Wisconsin this year. If you're interested in the future of the Big Ten, keep an eye on the Badger defense this year. They're young and have been pillaged by graduation; if Bielema does anything approaching his 2000-2004 performances, you can probably pencil Wisconsin into the top half of the Big Ten for the next 10, 20, 30 years. Bielema's only in his mid-thirties. He's got a lot of time ahead of him before he goes JoePa.
(Excellent work by TAMABINPO, as per usual. One of the best CFB blogs around.)
Drew Stanton really doesn't like Michigan.
Brief hockey note: Gajic and Werner have both signed AHL contracts. I could actually see Werner make the show someday in a limited, protected sixth-D and PP specialist role a la Marc-Andre Bergeron in Edmonton. We shall see.
Hello, mgoblog readers. Vijay from IBFC, Joey from Straight Bangin', and myself thought it would be good idea to get together and talk about the upcoming Michigan season. We each moderated a third of a conversation about Michigan football as it stands on September 2, 2005. We started with the offense, which you can find over at Straight Bangin'. I took the defense, which is below. Vijay addressed some more general questions about the state of the program and its direction which you can find over at IBFC.
Some introduction to our general personalities:
Joey: Well, from my perspective: The sky is falling, Carr is a jerk, a playoff is swell, the defensive line is the thing, and Terry Malone is overrated. Like Marlin Jackson. And I, too, am a jerk.
Vijay: From my position, I am a hopeless optimist, I think 10-1 is realistic, we'll improve enough on DL to hide some schematic and back 7 flaws and we'll win the Big 10. Carr is good enough that he shouldn't have the complaint/praise ratio he has, and the only thing I hate more than ND and playoffs is the idea of ND being in the playoffs.
Brian: I, on the other hand, choose to ignore the fact that our safeties are forced to undergo Katzenmoyerization upon matriculation, Herrmann's determination to confuse his own defense into submission, and Carr's decision to leave his nuts in a jar at home whenever he plays a road game and believe we're destined for a Weis-like run of greatness and the next 6 national championships.
Joey: Aren't we a nice triumvirate of Michigan fans?
Indeed. So there you go. That's us. And here we go:
Brian: Okay. Now to the not so sunny side of life. Michigan's D has been a lightning rod of criticism from the instant Dusty Magnum's field goal cleared the crossbar. The back seven is very green, but there's hope on the DL. The big question: is the defense going to control mobile quarterbacks?
Vijay: Okay, I'll run with this one.
Brian: Please do.
Vijay: Control, hell no, but they'll do a better job than they did last year. Last year we were simply a free meal. We will not swarm like some other teams may, but we should be able to contain a guy like Troy Smith enough that he has to make something else happen, too, to beat us. And the difference will be assignments. We had guys in the back 7 who were nowhere near where they should have been.
Joey: Against mobile QBs, I'd like to see the d-line do a better job of defining the workable space.
Vijay: Joey, elaborate please
Joey: It would be nice if a QB couldn't evade the containment and instead was forced back toward defenders.
Brian: Isn't that what happened in the OSU game? Woodley beats his blocker but holds up to keep contain, and then boom, 67 yard touchdown over Shazor.
Vijay: You know, I really think most of those big runs from Young weren't by breaking contain, they were by finding the gaps between two rushers, where an LB should be waiting. No LB. And Brian, amen. Woodley beat his man and held up. That's awful. You can't expect your SS to keep coverage for 8 seconds.
Joey: I suppose so. I guess I want to see the DEs hold their positions but make more plays. Does that make sense? It seemed like pressure from the edges didn't result in tackles. And as you've both mentioned, even when the pressure was adequate, there was no one in position to make the QB pay. So really, my answer is a hybrid. I think UM will be successful if its DEs define the space a QB has, making tackles when they can, and if the LBs can be in position when a QB goes back toward the field
Brian: Have your cake and eat it too.
Vijay: That's the "swarming thing" I was talking about. If you want Woodley flying off the edge, you have to expect him to miss a bunch of times, but at least force the QB back towards someone else. There's never anyone else there for us. How many times do you see a QB juke a DE, only to get racked up from behind by a 2nd rusher? How many times do you see that happen against Michigan. I feel the opposite. I want Woodley and JVA and whomever else just flying at the QB with no conscience. And I want our LBs behind that ready to clean up.
Joey: I think we're
getting at the same thing--people playing their assignments well--but we might be articulating it differently.
Brian: Speaking of the defensive line, I think it's the key to the entire year for the team, the one unit that will make the D if it dominates like it could. New coach, new attitude, same pretty good players. What level will they play at?
Vijay: I harp on it, but I hate youth and those guys were first year starters. They will be much improved. And having quality depth will mean the world to Gabe.
Joey: Well, I was going to originally write that good defense and winning in college football start with the defensive line. Ask Iowa, USC, and LSU. If I can defend Herrmann, a little, it would have been nice were the d-line being taught d-line things.
Vijay: Agreed, Joey.
Brian: Is Stripling going to make a difference?
Joey: Yes. He's actually taught the linemen techniques to use. They might now have a better idea about how to disengage or use an o-lineman's weight and leverage against him.
Vijay: Yes. Our d-line had no technique.
Brian: Stereo action. Okay. How much of a difference? Are Woodley and Watson All-Americans at the end of the year?
Joey: That's a subjective distinction. Woodley will be very, very good (if they let him play with his hand down). Watson can be very, very good, but he'll get tired since he's fat. I thought Woodley was very good last year. He made some mistakes, and he missed some tackles, but he's the best pass rusher and he was surprisingly effective against the run.
Vijay: Well, there are only 4 All-Americans. Not sure we have 2 of the top 4 DL in the country. But they'll be All-American caliber, if you'll accept that chickening out.
Vijay: If I may change the discussion a bit: Pierre Woods ... 2003 quality, 2004 quality or somewhere in between?
Brian: (He was next, Vijay, just pretend I asked that)
Joey: In between. I feel as though he generally held his position well and strung out plays to the outside at times. I am still uncertain about what happened last year.
Vijay: No one's saying, if anyone knows.
Joey: It sounds like Woods was complacent, injured, and involved with partying off the field.
Brian: I'll throw in an answer: somewhere in between. I don't think Burgess is going to relinquish his spot. And I don't think the coaching staff will trust him to do much except pass rush.
Vijay: DE or OLB? Or both?
Joey: I like the idea of Woods at LB because his size doesn't limit his speed.
Brian: He'll play both but I doubt he sees the field against mobile quarterbacks at all. He's horrible in space.
Joey: But he was so horrible last year in space that I don't think it really works. LOL.
Vijay: So he's a go against ND and Minnesota, but no go against OSU and MSU?
Brian: Yes. Use against those two strictly limited to pass rush duties.
Joey: I worry about MLB. Who's playing there? Originally, I thought that it was gonna be the Brick. Then I read it was gonna be Harris. Then I read that Harris has been banged up.
Brian: Harris is injured again. McClintock is McClintock.
Vijay: Graham is outside all the way. Harris took the spot and McClintock moved to back up Graham, but with Harris oft-injured, McC is back at MLB.
Joey: Does McClintock make you feel confident?
Brian: In certain situations I'm comfortable with McClintock. Again, UW, Minnesota, but not against mobile QBs.
Vijay: I am quite happy with McClintock.
Joey: He is the hardest UM player to assess. Some really like him. Some think he's kind of slow.
Brian: Doesn't it bother you that he lost his job, Vijay?
Vijay: I never felt McClintock was the star of the defense, but with how horrible our entire LB corps was last year, people still kept praising Manning and Reid and never had anything nice to say about McC.
Brian: Vijay thinks "slow" means "white" to a lot of fans.
Vijay: Absolutely on the race thing. I could go on for a while there, but I'll pass.
Joey: I say "slow" meaning that he doesn't seem to get to plays in time to stop them. But most of our guys don't. I might be making that up, but I didn't think McClintock seemed especially effective. I know Vijay has studied this more than I have, though. Vijay?
Vijay: Here's my complaint, Joey. When Manning isn't there, if you blame Manning, you're a Herrmann apologist. When Reid misses the tackle, if you blame Reid, you're a Herrmann apologist. But when McClintock isn't there, it's perfectly okay to say "God, he's so slooooow ... get him off the field. Don't blame the players. How can you defend Herrmann? You're insane. And get McClintock and Massey off the field, 'cause they are so slooooow."
Joey: Well, that is partially racial. I won't deny that. I just think that all of our LBs play slow, though.
Brian: White people *are* really slow. Can't dance either.
Brian: Anyway. Shazor was Janus last year, the two-faced God who saved games and took them away. Now he's missing training camp with the Cardinals. Will the safeties be better or worse without him?
Vijay: Worse, but they'll look better because of improved DL play. How's that for a copout?
Joey: Shazor deserves a lot of blame. But so does Mundy. How many times did a team complete a pass to a WR while Mundy was arriving a step too late. Is the argument that Shazor was freelancing and leaving Mundy to play two positions?
Brian: Don't you think Shazor was the root of all evil after Purdue?
Vijay: The love of money? Are you hinting at reasons for his premature departure?
Joey: Are you saying that Shazor just didn't try?
Brian: I'm saying the dude freaked out. Total ninja flipout.
Joey: Does that fully account for Mundy?
Brian: Mundy was equally culpable. I am as hard on him as anyone.
Joey: I was mad at Shazor but I was more disappointed in Mundy. Some of that is my fault for buying into the hype he got coming out of high school, but he is a pedestrian defensive back who is routinely out of place. And he's already hurt. I think that the safeties will be about the same as last year, in totality.
Brian: So it's more of the same? Eight 60+ yard touchdowns?
Vijay: an>Nah. That's where the DL will help.
Joey: Engelmon is rumored to "be in the right place at the right time." If that's true, then we'll cut down on the big plays. If not, who knows? Vijay is right, though. A better d-line makes the entire D better. That's the whole moral of the story.
Joey: Are the cornerbacks good?
Brian: Next question: are the cornerbacks good?
Joey: Well, they'll seem good enough if QBs don't have much time.
Vijay: I am very confident we'll get at least capable cornerback play.
Brian: How so?
Vijay: Hall is very good. I think between the other guys they will find someone capable of being the #2 corner. At safety, we're looking for two distinct positions. Much tougher.
Joey: I think that Hall is good. I don't know if he's gonna be a great player, or even a leader, but I think he can cover guys for reasonable amounts of time. And like Vijay, I think someone will emerge across the field. If you believe the reports, a guy like Stewart has the physical gifts but needs to learn how to think. Experience is the best teacher. Mason seems to be decent in zone coverage, and that should be sufficient, again, if the d-line is giving QBs limited time to find receivers.
Vijay: Sears, Trent, Stewart ... all getting better reviews than our safeties.
Joey: I like Harrison as a safety, but he's a year away. If he is really put together like "they" say he is, he could be a solution at SS because he's fast.
Brian: So in summary it looks sort of like a replay of last year with a significantly improved D-line? Fair characterization?
Vijay: I think so. And hopefully less confusion in the schemes.
Brian: I'll believe that when I see it.
Joey: Yeah, especially since Marlin Jackson was so overrated.
Brian: Marlin overrated? Who what when?
Vijay: Marlin was overrated at first by people who said he was our next great Woodson-level corner. Then he was underrated by all the people who complained all the time that he was overrated.
Joey: This is my thing about Marlin: Did he ever significantly alter the outcome of a game?
Brian: That's a double-edged sword, Joey. I'll take a cornerback who is quietly effective over getting toasted by a white WR against ND cough Curry cough.
Joey: I suppose so. Some of his shortcomings, like blown coverages, weren't all on him. The d-line didn't help him.
Vijay: I can think of many, many times when guys like Whitley, Howard and the like altered the outcomes of games. Not good.
Joey: Look, I'm not saying he was bad, but he wasn't this incredible presence on defense who made plays. He wasn't a real weapon. Maybe corners like that are hard to come by, but honestly, would the UM season have been significantly different had he been hurt?
Vijay: Yes, Joey. Awful thought, yes. With all our difficulty with big plays and big play backs, mobile Qbs, etc ... imagine if we also lost our best cover man? Purdue .
.. loss. Minnesota ... loss.
Brian: I think that's a hell yes but that's just me. Not to mention he was great in run support. Biggest hitting corner I can remember.
Joey: When he made the hit. Dude missed a fair share of tackles.
Brian: I don't remember that at all.
Joey: I don't want to be forced into a position where I have to denigrate him to seem right. I'm just saying that he wasn't as good as many say. At least, as I saw it. There were a lot of plays--in space, usually--when he would wave his arms as a guy evaded him.
Brian: Bottom line: will we lose a game (or games) because of the defense? I'm talking like score 30 and lose.
Joey: Yes. MSU.
Vijay: I don't think we'll get lit up like we did against OSU and Texas, but we may well lose a 31-30 game, and MSU is my biggest fear. If we lose to MSU, it will be on the D, because there's no way they can stop us from scoring 30.
We had some stragglers enter the preseason poll after its initial release, four in total, and since the season has officially commenced I have cut off entries and have updated the final preseason poll. We have new 'winners' of the Mr. Bold and Coulter/Krugman Awards: examine them here.
No road out of conference games! Zow!
Michigan opens against Northern Illinois, one of the better MAC teams but one breaking in a new quarterback and rather flimsy-looking on defense. Their grinding ground attack racked up 238 yards a game last year and they were narrowly nipped by BCS teams Maryland and Iowa State. A MAC-opening loss to Toldeo was their only other defeat last year. The Huskies are no joke but they appear ill-equipped to exploit Michigan's weaknesses on defense or even think about slowing down the offense. Michigan should win this going away.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Weis E. Coyote and his merry band of NCAA-approved ethnic stereotypes are next. Weird, evil things happened in South Bend last year when a bediapered Henne and a nonexistent Hart blew a 12-0 lead and lost after a series of improbable second-half turnovers. I don't know what to expect from the ND offense. Can Weis install an effective system in a few months? Is Brady Quinn any good? Can Weis transmogrify the brains of Stovall and McKnight and make them into good wide receivers? Chances are that there will be some anxious moments as our safeties and linebackers adjust to playing a non-MAC team, but I don't expect the Irish to go nuts. I do know that the Irish secondary will be wretched, its linebackers middling, and its line game and talented but thin and prone to wearing down. This should be a win, if only for Vijay's sanity.
Eastern Michigan sucks.
The road and Big Ten opener is at Camp Randall, at night. It's Barry Alvarez's last opportunity to not get pwned by the Wolverines, which causes some coach-skeptical souls to fear it, overlooking the fact that Wisconsin is singularly incapable of exploiting our defensive weaknesses and has only a couple proven offensive linemen, a questionable secondary, and John Stocco, who I think is no good at football. I doubt Wisconsin scores more than 14 without aid from turnovers, and Michigan should breach 20 easily. Road opener hex broken.
The Michigan State game is the most important of the year. It starts a set of four critical games for Michigan, the heart of the schedule. MSU was robbed of victory in Ann Arbor last year when Drew Stanton went down and Braylon Edwards went up in one of the best games in Michigan history. There will be bloodlust in East Lansing, a place where Michigan rarely plays well. This is the moment we'll find out if the mobile quarterback thing has been mitigated, but I don't expect that Michigan will need a last-gasp burst to crack ten points this year. The Spartans are coughing up defensive players left and right. They'll have one of the worst secondaries Michigan faces this year. Another shootout is coming.
Minnesota succumbed to a late game Michigan comeback for the second straight year despite being outgained vastly. Turnovers and costly defensive mistakes leading to 80-yard Maroney touchdowns kept the Gophers in it last year but they were badly outplayed overall. mgoblog is on record predicting a Gopher offensive explosion this year and thus I am somewhat apprehensive about the game. Minnesota has the tools to handle the defensive line (Eslinger and co), exploit the linebackers(Maroney), and make the safeties look foolish(Wheelwright and Ellerson). They will put in a much better offensive performance than they did a year ago. Fortunately, Minnesota's defense looks as flimsy as ever. Michigan should be able to crack 30 against them. There's an 80% chance that'll be enough.
The Penn State game will be a slugfest, but with the uncertainty at OL, RB, QB, WR, and, oh hell, FB for the Nittany Lions I don't think their offense is going to have a pulse. Michael Robinson is technically a mobile quarterback, yes, but he's more of a mobile wide receiver if you catch my drift. The losses of Lavon Chisley and Ed Johnson and questionable status of JB Paxon will probably put a dent into their formidable defense from a year ago. Michigan should win this one; the Big Ten referees WON'T LET THEM LOSE!!!
It's often said about Iowa that the Hawkeyes never beat themselves, but that's exactly what happened last year when they gifted Michigan five turnovers and found themselves in a 20 point hole by the third quarter. They probably won't be so kind this year, but I think that with an entirely new, entirely green Hawkeye defensive line Michigan is going to be able to run the ball effectively enough to win at Kinnick. It'll be heartstopping, though.
Northwestern may have been in a position to give Michigan a game before God decided to smite them. Now, down five starters, starting four new offensive linemen, and without its best player, Loren Howard, Northwestern is not going to challenge Michigan.
Ohio State is on the verge of putting the Cooper shoe on the other foot. They bottled up Hart last year and then there was that eye-clawing thing with the quarterback and the 150 yard scoring drives. A tossup largely dependent on the development of the two quarterbacks.
Keys To The Season
BAH GAWD! THE COBRA CLUTCH!
A Real American Hero.Who is Steve Stripling? He's an actual defensive line coach. Bill Sheridan coached the position until last year. Amazingly, before Sheridan's stint there at Michigan, he had never played or coached the defensive line. Stripling comes over from Michigan State and, before that, Louisville. In 2003 he cajoled a Spartan team with a line no one would confuse with the Steel Curtain to 45 sacks. 2004 was not so kind to Stripling's charges, but with Kevin Vickerson and Greg Taplin gone and Clifton Ryan battling injury Stripling had very little to work with.
This will not be the case at Michigan. He has two potential All-Americans in Lamarr Woodley and Gabe Watson, a second-team All Big Ten-type in Pat Massey, a lot of potential at the other DE spot, and an absolute ton of depth. If Stripling was the type of person prone to rubbing his hands together and cackling evilly when presented with an infallible plan for world domination, you'd be hearing (what I assume is) his deep, rumbling basso emanating from the very bowels of Fort Schembechler right now. Scattered practice reports have repeatedly mentioned Woodley's general impossibility, the major steps forward taken by Jeremy Van Alstyne, Will Johnson, and Alan Branch, and the fact that Watson is still fat and broke Jake Long. This unit has the potential to be the type of defensive line that covers up a lot of flaws in the defense behind it. It will have to do so for the Michigan defense to reclaim its lost glory. There are two returning starters in the back seven, one of which had a terrible 2004 and missed most of the fall with a possibly chronic shoulder injury (Mundy)--they need help.
Well, Steve Stripling knows how to provide help. And knowing is half the battle.
Not a monkey.
Henne power. Michigan has every tool you could want on offense. Hart is a terrific workhorse back. Grady will be very hard to stop in short yardage situations. Breaston is double-digit YAC waiting to happen. Avant is a possession receiver without par in the Big Ten. Three offensive linemen and the top two tight ends return
. But it is Chad Henne who must take these tools, stick them into the Big Ten anthill, and remove a delicious feast of touchdowns and field goals. Then he can rub his belly and contentedly go "ook ook ook."
What I am trying to say stripped of the weird metaphors is: Henne will have to improve for Michigan to be a serious national championship threat. At times last year he was indecisive, inaccurate, or incapable of making the right read. He'll have to spread Braylon Edwards' 97 catches around to four or five different players, develop better touch on screens and flares, and cut down on his interceptions. If he stagnates, Michigan's offense will as well and there will be a frustrating loss... or three.
Spy vs. Spy. I may as well write it since everyone else in the universe has: mobile quarterbacks must be stopped. We're talking deep need, like send a cyborg back in time to kill the first mobile quarterback need. And then send a second cyborg back to melt down the quarterback's equipment. And then something involving a girl cyborg I can't be bothered to watch. Michigan will be opposing at least four dual threat QBs--Stanton, Basanez, Smith, and Robinson. There should be at least some reason for hope. The breakdowns of last year were the absolute worst case scenario, the hurricane Katrina of Michigan defense. The new outside linebackers are extremely fast, capable of running down most quarterbacks if they can place themselves in the correct area code before all hell breaks loose. The safeties... er. Moving on.
The coaching staff has been incapable of fixing this massive hole in their defensive gameplanning for years, but never was the need to deal with the problem so desperate. Carr has shown that he can adapt, though the changes come slowly.
This all sounds like grasping at straws, because it is.
Worst Case: Henne's development stalls. He's still pretty good but continues to misread coverages and throw interceptions. Limited by Henne, the offense sputters a bit. The defensive backfield is a disaster and. Mobile quarterbacks continue to go nuts against Michigan and the Wolverines lose at East Lansing and Iowa City, drop to 1-4 against the Buckeyes, and manage to blow another game along the way in classic Michigan fashion to go 7-4. Pitchforks and torches sell out in Ann Arbor and an angry mob chases Lloyd Carr and Jim Herrmann out of town.
Best Case: Henne makes The Leap. Woodley and Tim Jamison go nuts rushing the passer and Graham and Burgess vastly improve Michigan's terrible linebacking play. The secondary is still a bit shaky but the defensive line doesn't allow anyone to exploit it. Michigan finally figures out how to stop mobile quarterbacks. Zoltan The Inconceivable averages 55 yards net punting, and Michigan heads the Rose Bowl for a third straight year, gunning for the national championship. 11-0, bitches!
mgoblog says... I consider Scott Loeffler the coaching equivalent of Anne Sullivan after he turned John Navarre from the worst Michigan starting quarterback since 1984 (no offense, John, but that sophomore year was not pretty) into an All Big Ten player and an actual NFL draft pick. Henne will advance. People will fear him. The offense has too much talent everywhere to not be one of the nation's finest as long as the somewhat precarious offensive tackle situation works itself out. Michigan hasn't been this loaded on offense in a long, long time.
The defense should be better. Last year Michigan's defense was the worst it has had in the Bo-Mo-Llo era by a wide, statistically implausible margin. This year there is a ton to prove and question marks everywhere, but one unit that can potentially cover up a lot of flaws: the defensive line. Lamar Woodley is defensive equivalent to Henne. If he turns into a double-digit sacker and Jeremy Van Alstyne performs like the coaches think he is capable, Michigan's defense won't be enough of a liability to keep Michigan's offense from winning games...
Except once. Could be MSU, could be Iowa, could be OSU, could be Minnesota or Penn State. There are too many potential landmines for Michigan to go undefeated, but too much talent to miss the BCS. 10-1, 7-1, 1st Big Ten.
Let's get it on!
"Upon Further Review" is my play-by play opinion of football games that people are way more impressed with than they should be; I have a DVR. It records things. It's cool; we're buds.
NIU Offense / NIU Defense
ND Offense / ND Defense
EMU Offense / EMU Defense
UW Offense / UW Defense
MSU Offense / MSU Defense
Minnesota Offense / Minnesota Defense
PSU Offense / PSU Defense
Iowa Offense / Iowa Defense
Northwestern Offense / Northwestern Defense
Indiana Offense / Indiana Defense [missing, lo siento]
OSU Offense / OSU Defense
[Alamo Bowl Redacted]
Vandy Offense / Defense
Central Offense / Defense
Notre Dame Offense / Defense
Wisconsin Offense / Defense
Minnesota Offense / Defense
Michigan State Offense / Defense
Penn State Offense / Defense
Iowa Offense /Defense
Northwestern Offense / Defense
Ball State -- No Tape (ESPNU)
Indiana Offense / Defense
Ohio State Offense / "Defense"
Update 9/1: Changed KY DT Corey Peters' status to reflect the fact that Auburn leads now. Added FL RB CJ Spiller, removed DE Byron Isom, WR Chris Bell, and WR John Maddox. Linked to another Peters article and a Toryan Smith article. Linked to Antwine Perez article that claims he is down to just USC and Michigan... no LSU. Removed Myron Rolle(FSU).
Editorial Opinion FSU? Um... okay. I'd like to reference my recruit-to-English translation guide:
"Academics are extremely important to me" - I don't care about academics in the slightest.
"No, seriously, the academic reputation of a school is critical in my decision making." - My mom is in the room.
Further proof that academic reputation means nearly zero to anyone looking at a potential NFL career--and that those it really means something to go to Stanford anyway. Not that Rolle is a bad guy or FSU is a bad place to go.
Perez is widely thought to be heavily favoring USC, by the way (and it's more just a random blog's assertion). Reminding myself of the cardinal rule: Don't panic.