it's a major award
The Wit and Wisdom of Weis returns. Head to 50 seconds in this video:
A transcript, since it's a little hard to make out: "I think the first opportunity they're going to have to really make a statement is that day [Sept. 6 against SDSU], and then we'll listen to Michigan have all their excuses as they come runnin' in and sayin' how they have a new coaching staff and there's changes. To hell with Michigan." Then someone's cellphone rings and Weis makes some goober remark about using all the minutes and just looks so incredibly pleased with himself and if there was a just and loving God at that moment a mountain goat would come bounding into the frame and headbutt him to the ground, whereupon he would flail his legs like an upturned beetle and emit a horrifying bovine howl.*
Weis has issued a fatwa against excuses. Check this Dan Wetzel piece:
"But I'm not an excuse guy."
But wait! There's more!
"What I never want to do is make an excuse for how things go," he said.
After the first Michigan beatdown:
I'm reluctant to even say this because it almost sounds like making excuses for the first game.
The title of Weis' book? "No Excuses."
It's almost as if he thinks he can't be blamed for being the Worst Coach in the Universe as long as he doesn't have an excuse (read: "reason") for his performance. Imagine if Jeffery Dahmer had taken this tack: "look, I know the easiest thing to do is assume I'm crazy since I do crazy things like chop people up and put them in my freezer and then, like, pan-fry them with a nice roasted garlic butter. But I'm not an excuse guy. My performance as a human being has been unacceptable, and I'm not going to say it's because my parents abused me when I was a child, because that sounds like excuse making. As mentioned, I have no excuses, so you should totally let me go."
But, yeah, he totally could have turned Notre Dame around by now if he was allowed to recruit the same thugs Navy and Air Force do.
The NCAA has just released the four-year running APR numbers through the 2006-2007 seasons. Numbers for teams followed slightly (or more!) by this blog:
(Last year's report, FTR.)
A big dip from the basketball team worries. The APR's cutoff before sanctions are applied is 925, so they're flirting with penalties even before this year's Morris-Price-Udoh-Smith exodus is taken into account. It's likely Michigan dips into the danger zone next year, and they might stay there for a year or two. Apparently there's a waiver process via which you can avoid penalties if you have mitigating circumstances and a plan for improvement, -- that's how Purdue is dodging the axeman -- so Michigan may avoid actual scholarship losses.
Football also took a minor hit as the trouble that plagued Carr's final years starts to show. I think we'll see another dip next year, though not one so drastic as to threaten penalties, followed by a plateau that lasts two-ish years before Michigan starts to regain lost ground.
Scores in non-revenue sports were universally good. The lowest was the women's basketball team and their 955. Purdue is the only Big Ten team faced with penalties in a revenue sport; their basketball program fell short. (Indiana is going to get it next year, though. They got waivered despite having a score of 899 and now five guys are gone early*, many of them having left without academic eligibility. Just desserts for hiring such an obvious sleazeball.)
*(not mentioned in that link is NBA-bound Eric Gordon.)
Michigan's 2010 hockey recruiting class will be epic if the kids who have committed stick to their commitments. D Jon Merrill and F Luke Moffatt are generally regarded as the best kids at their position in their age bracket and are potential top-ten NHL draft picks. F Jared Knight is a bit less hyped but would have been an OHL first-rounder if he wasn't planning on going the NCAA route. His size will depress his spot in the NHL draft, but initial indications are he could be anywhere from TJ Hensick to Andrew Ebbett. (I haven't stumbled across anything that indicates how highly regarded Hotchkiss Prep D Mac Bennett, the fourth commit, is.)
The 2010 class will be super mega epic if F Colin Jacobs joins the show. Jacobs is getting oodles of hype...
"Colin certainly has huge upside and is a player we are monitoring closely," said Chris Lepkowski, assistant personnel director for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP), based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "Our program is one that requires the highest level of dedication by the player and his family. We are not only looking for the most highly-skilled player, but a player who has character, can handle adversity, and will be able to effectively manage his time. Colin's on-ice talent is in line with the NTDP's past players."
... oodles ...
Some scouts hype Jacobs as the best American-born player since Mike Modano.
Here is what Alan Caldwell had to say about Jacobs:
"Jacobs is one of the best 1993-born players in the United States. The fact that he went this low means he'll be a tough sell on the WHL. First-round talent if he comes."
If Jacobs doesn't end up in the WHL he's very likely to be with the NTDP. Just an advisory to keep his name in mind.
Oh, so that explains it. Bill Martin talked to the Big Ten Network, explaining that Michigan's basketball program now has the funding for a practice facility:
Now that we're practicing, look out, world.
Just one transfer away from a return. Indiana safety Jerimy Finch was a top-50 player in the class of 2007 who 1) committed to Michigan early in the process, 2) inexplicably visited Indiana with a bunch of his teammates, 3) even more inexplicably decommitted from Michigan and committed to Indiana, 4) decommitted from Indiana and eventually signed with Florida because Urban Meyer was apparently calling anyone on Rivals' top 100 list.
After his recruiting sojourn, we have more numbers: 5) got move to linebacker against his wishes, 6) broke his leg in the third game of the season, 7) pretty much failed out of Florida, and 8) is now transferring back to Indiana.
He's projected to be Michigan's starting free safety in 2010.
The Big Ten Network: feel the excitement! Presented without comment other than the obviously snarky lead-in:
Dance gala to be aired on Big Ten Network
"Performing Iowa: Dance Gala," the University of Iowa's first original non-sports cable TV program for the Big Ten Network, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the auditorium of the UI Art Building West.
No, wait, one comment: damn you, Comcast. This is the last straw.
Speaking of, yet another article that claims a Comcast-BTN deal is imminent:
The Big Ten Network and Comcast â€” the nation's largest cable provider that replaced Insight Communications this year in Springfield â€” likely will announce an agreement in late August, said John Ourand, a reporter for SportsBusiness Journal.
"Both sides are saying they expect something before the football season,'' Ourand said.
An announcement could come in as soon as two or three weeks.
Late August or in two or three weeks? It don't matter to John Supinie of the Springfield Journal-Register! The article does have an interesting suggestion: though Comcast and the BTN always talk about a potential deal like it stands alone, the BTN's association with Fox means that there are dozens of channels and stations and so forth and so on in constant flux between the two media titans.
Side note: a WCHA channel? WTF?
Ha-ha. A reader sent along this lol-worthy State News piece wherein the outgoing sports editors "reflect on years of Spartan sports memories." You know where this is going: the Horror features prominently despite, you know, not actually being a Spartan sports memory in any way. Even weirder:
1. MSU football vs. Michigan, Oct. 1, 2005: Domata Peko's 74-yard fumble return touchdown
1) Michigan State lost that game (obviously). 2) The play referenced here may in fact be the worst call in the history of college football. That sounds bombastic, but not only was Chad Henne's arm obviously hit during his throwing motion, just as obviously going forward at the time, and just as obviously propelling the ball forward before it hit the ground -- making this a trifecta of incredibly obvious items that indicate a forward pass -- but they actually reviewed the incredibly obvious forward pass and called it a fumble anyway. Incredibly obvious missed calls from yesteryear can't compete because they weren't validated by some batty old zombie up in the booth. (The video on the post disappeared, but if you want the relevant section of the NCAA rulebook it's here.) We actually spent the entirety of the remainder of the game bitching about that call, enraging an elderly Spartan fan to the point that he wanted to fight us.
Another editor cites the first half of a game Michigan State got blown out in; only the girl
who is apparently one of the three Spartan hockey fans manages to name two things that are actual Spartan sports memories that aren't kinda humiliating.
Zing! SI's "Truth and Rumors" is basically a news aggregator that takes snippets from articles and reposts them to SI. Today we have this on GA S Darren Myles:
Coaches from Georgia, Illinois, Marshall, Michigan, Ohio State and Ole Miss were on hand to get a glimpse of junior free safety Darren Myles Jr. and his teammates during opening day of spring football practice at Carver on Monday. Myles, whose marquee scholarship offers are from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Tennessee, enjoyed a productive day at the Nike camp in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday.
A wag in the comments:
So the hot news here is that if your school has a name, they are still in the mix of getting a commitment from this guy?
biminator | 05/06/08, 08:22 AM
Good news, mostly, from wherever in the ether the OHL draft originates from. (It's a conference call.) Both Michigan recruits were picked in the third round, which is right on the border between "secret deal worked out" and "flier." The general impression I've gleaned is that both picks are strongly in the flier category.
Defense recruit Jon Merrill went to Plymouth. Plymouth's GM:
"We had Jonathon Merrill rated as a top defenseman on our list. He is committed to Michigan and the US program, but we'll wait and see. He's not going to be here this year, I don't think, but we'll talk to him and his family and kind of follow the same path we went with Beau Schmitz - just talk to the family as needed and not bother them too much."
Obviously there's no pre-existing deal with Plymouth. They reference Beau Schmitz, a former NTDP defenseman Plymouth just signed, but Schmitz's situation was quite different: he was a Ferris State commit for a while but decommitted and the WOTS is that he was never going to qualify.
OTOH, Merrill's been at just about every Michigan home game since he committed a couple years ago. Bob Miller made reference to "hearing some things" about another Jenks, -- AJ Jenks was a commit supposed to come in with Czarnik and Wohlberg, but defected -- which gives me the willies, but if Plymouth doesn't expect him to show up this year then he's got a choice between one year with the NTDP and going to a Michigan team he obviously would like to play for and the Plymouth Whalers, average attendance: 2,600 fans in a rabidly half-full Compuware Sports Arena. Weird things happen, but they would be weird.
One last bit on Merrill: in the Hockey's Future thread on the OHL draft there is a guy who works for Red Line's junior division, and he shared RLR's scouting report:
Currently rated #1 overall by Red Line Junior in our rankings for the 2008 Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft. In a class by himself as far as Red Line Junior is concerned when it comes to available defencemen his year.
Has all the tools to become a superstar-calibre pro: excellent size, effortless, fluid mobility and a good head for the game. Uses the body regularly. Makes his first pass with authority. Great point shot, and gets it low and on the net consistently. Technical skating is outstanding, with smooth pivots and excellent backward/lateral acceleration. Reads plays well defensively and deftly uses long reach and quickness to cut off available lanes. Knows when to be aggressive in his challenges.
Has already committed to next yearÂ¹s U.S. U-17 National Team.
Again, Jack Jack Jack. There will never be another JMFJ, but Merrill sounds as Jack-like as possible without the scouting report directly stating "Jackson Pollack embodied in a hockey player... is he insane or brilliant? From the chaos comes beauty, and in the edges of understanding is a serenity unknown to outsiders. Liable to kill Ryan Smyth someday."
Meanwhile, forward recruit Jared Knight also went in the third, and he went to one of the two teams you, as a fan of an NCAA hockey program, do not want to see your player drafted by: London. (Kitchener is the other.) Still, Knight was not regarded a flight risk before the draft and the Hockey's Future chatter* on his selection is universally pessimistic about his chances to report. CHL fans think everyone is going to report, so that's a good sign. Knight was apparently the #19 rated player by ISS, with Merrill coming in #6 -- obviously they're not as enamored as Red Line.
One target, Brandon Saad, is a goner:
"To go (in the) first round was an honor," Saad said. "I've had a couple of meetings with them already and I'm pretty excited about going there. I've been away a couple of times at camps, but never for very long.
"About this decision, we haven't decided whether I'm going this year or next year. My parents might hold me back to get my life in order. We've been talking to them (the Spirit) about that. I'm going to take a couple of visits up there, see how the mini-camp goes and make our decision based on that."
But, he added, he expects to eventually end up in the Saginaw playing in the OHL and not going the U.S. college-route his 17-year-old brother George Jr. will eventually take when he's finished with high school.
Tyler Toffoli also went in the first round. He is committed to his Junior A team for next year, but it's rare that a first round pick eschews the OHL. Miller regarded him a longshot to start, anyway.
Two other targets Miller called out as guys to watch fell significantly. Kevin Clare, a "very high end defenseman" according to Miller, slipped into the fourth round and went to Erie. Erie is widely regarded to be the Detroit Lions of the OHL. Michigan's top goalie target, Jack Campbell, fell to Windsor in the sixth round. Both are likely headed to college. Bob Miller's OHL draft thread has information on all these kids and more.
*(Sorry to lean so heavily on anonymous message board posters by LOL CHL Canadian teenagers, but media coverage of the OHL draft, especially as it relates to NCAA commitments, hardly exists.)
Update 5/2: Moved TX QB Shavodrick Beaver to committed. Subsequently removed all QBs except for Tate Forcier and Eugene Smith, who are downgraded to red, and SC QB Stephen Gilmore, who was moved to safety.
Linked to video of FL RB Jamaal Berry, interview of MI WR Cameron Gordon, articles on MI WR Cameron Gordon, MS S Rod Woodson($, downgrade to red), OH OL Chris Freeman, VA RB David Wilson, TX QB commit Shavodrick Beaver, note on FL WR Steadman Bailey (downgrade to gray). old articles on NJ DE Anthony Lalota.
Removed SC S Stephen Gilmore (dropped us).
Editorial Opinion: First, the Bryce McNeal error. I think Vijay is right when he lays out what happened like so:
This news of a commitment was disputed by the "pay sites" (Scout and Rivals), and was generally categorized by most as "untrue", "premature" or "unofficial". Those three words mean three very different things, and I suspect the middle one is the most accurate. There's a variety of statuses (stati?) recruits fall into. There's commit (said so publicly), soft commit (said so publicly but seem to be wavering or at least listening to other schools), silent commit (told the coaches but isn't ready to go public) and "lean" (they have a favorite, but aren't ready to end the process). Even thought a commitment is not binding, there's some feeling that it is official, that a public announcement carries some weight. ...
The bottom line here is this; we have two sites each reporting that multiple people told them that McNeal has decided on Michigan. It could be that they are wrong, that it's an elaborate scheme to trick Michigan bloggers or that they independently made up the same story. All those explanations seem somewhat unlikely. What's far more likely is that McNeal likes Michigan a lot, reached some kind of tipping point and got chatty about it, and that these two blogs ran with a factually correct story that simply did not use the normal catchwords of the recruitnik. If those are the facts, McNeal is either a Michigan "lean" or (if he told the coaches what he told the friends) a "silent commitment".
(That post also contains an entertaining shot at loony NDNation blog "The Rock Report" if you're in withdrawal from that sort of stuff.) I think a post was warranted but it should have been phrased more cautiously. There's nothing to do except apologize and soldier on.
Not a lot of movement this week except for the McNeal stuff. Some players added to the board who seem ticketed elsewhere, some articles that don't provide much in the way of new information, and a couple guys that seemed like longshots get downgraded or dropped. What movement there is came from the wide receivers, notably:
MI WR James Jackson. An odd source of good news for the lightning slot guy: MSU Rivals guy Jim Comparoni. He called out five instate prospects the Spartans are keeping an eye on. One of them was Jackson, and he spake thusly:
Michigan is considered the favorite to land him, but MSU and Iowa are intensely pursuing one the fastest guys in the state.
Comp: "Early indications are that MSU's not the leader; he has major speed as a slot back. But we see him as a wide receiver."
There is also this from an emailer:
My good friend at Michigan is from Grand Ledge and [knows people close to his situation]. The kid told me that James asks all the time about Michigan and how my friend likes there, etc. She tells her son that James is very interested in Michigan and she's pretty confident he'll come to Michigan. This kid was high school teammates with James.
That was a month and a half ago; since then Jackson's given those OSU recruits the impression he was ticketed for OSU. I officially don't know what to think, other than it's OSU and Michigan with everyone else trailing significantly.
MN WR Bryce McNeal. Not officially committed, but sports blue for a reason.
PA WR Todd Thomas. Another week, another PSU message board thread with people bemoaning PSU's recruiting vis a vis Michigan. A weird mix of inside information and junk in there, but the upshot is that Thomas recently announced Michigan was his leader. This take seems accurate and encouraging:
He isn't going to Pitt. He said he wants to play in front of a big crowd, not in from of hundreds. PSU is running second behind Michigan. If the coaching situation were addressed, PSU would be leading.
Chances of that are extremely slim unless Thomas waits until after the season. I've bumped him to green.
I added OK WR Tracy Moore based on this article. Given all the other targets Michigan is pursuing I think he's unlikely to get his offer unless things go seriously awry, but I did want to point this out:
Michigan is a school that has just started to turn up the heat in Oklahoma under new head coach Rich Rodriguez. They have already offered David Oku and Gabe Lynn and have started to show interest in a number of other of the state's top talents.
"Their linebacker coach came down one day and got with Coach Frid (Union Head Coach Kirk Fridrich) a little bit and got all of my information. I am just waiting to see how it plays out.
The linebacker coach is Jay Hopson, of course, and his name has come up more than any other in recruiting articles so far this year. Part of that is that we're poised to whiff on every D-I caliber prospect in Mississippi, but the guy gets out there. I wonder if we'll actually reel in any of the guy
s he's after.
In non-WR news, VA RB David Wilson is seeing his recruitment heat up:
"I got a message to call Florida today," Newell [Wilson's coach] said. "I know Tennessee is in the mix. Ohio State's coming Wednesday. Florida State's in the mix. It's going to get bigger before it gets smaller."
Michigan's had an offer out to Wilson for a while. The last four big-time prospects at Wilson's high school all went to VaTech, but three were legacies and the other just wanted to hang with Michael Vick. At least publicly, Wilson remains open:
When asked if Tech is the team to beat for Wilson, Newell says, "I'm not going to say that."
But, what if a sportswriter were to say Tech is the favorite for Wilson.
"He never has mentioned any one front-runner," Newell said.
If you want to read between the lines like whoah, "I'm not going to say that" is not exactly the same as "no."
Michigan's continued pursuit of tailbacks despite having Teric Jones and Fitzgerald Toussaint committed probably means one or both is being looked at as a potential slot receiver. Jones' speed makes him the most likely candidate.
Another week, another skill-position filled set of updates. At this point it doesn't look like there will be much movement along the lines until Michigan's summer camp, when they'll identify a set of guys they like and send out a wave of offers; hopefully a couple will turn into quick commitments. One item of interest on Trotwood-Madison OL Chris Freeman:
The 6-foot-9 and 320-pound Freeman has made a dramatic rise up the recruiting charts. He did not play football until his junior year. Even then, after joining the team at the beginning of the season, Freeman did not actually play in a game until Madison's final contest of the 2007 season.
But recruiters saw enough in that one contest, coupled with Freeman's massive size and excellent potential, to make a pitch for his services.
Freeman says he has scholarship offers from Florida, LSU, Miami, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina State and some others.
Freeman has a dozen offers, including ones from the last two national champions, based on one game! Very Michael Oher, hopefully minus the almost complete lack of schooling.
Lastly, Kevin Newsome plans on enrolling early according to this free Rivals AMP piece on the Michigan quarterback commits. It's worth checking out; the Rivals guys have a different take on Beaver than his stats suggest, saying he's more of an athlete that will need significant polish than the thrower-with-legs I guessed he was. Beaver's actually ranked as a wide receiver by Scout, FWIW. Meanwhile, GBW continues writing articles about Tate Forcier, which, like... okay. That would be weird. But good.