You win. Behold the power of the Michigan internets, as it collectively raised nearly six grand for refugees last week:
1. Michigan 46 5843.83
2. Auburn 45 3,870.21
3. Alabama 14 1991.66
4. UGA 20 1915.21
5. Texas 5 1625.73
Michigan nearly tripled everyone except Auburn. Ohio State chipped in 232.67, Michigan State 126.81, Penn State 48.14. Yes, the Nittany Lions were beat out by Georgetown, Case Western, and NYU on a college football blog—it's the Zack Mills era again. As your reward Orson will produce fawning Michigan content, but thanks to the parsimony of the rest of the league we came up only halfway to the 50k tattoo level. Orson has a special message for everyone, as well:
Dear MGoBlog commentariat.
I would like to thank you, the Michigan fanbase, alums, and assorted daywalking saints of the Great Mitten State, for both your generosity and enthusiasm in taking part in the EDSBS Charity Drive and for helping us raise $25,000 for the cause of refugee resettlement. We at EDSBS are fond of harumphing in the direction of your Michigan Man-ness in the name of gentle mockery, but this one is from the heart to Michigan Men and Women who make the concept so much more than a hollow saying. HARUMPH! from the bottom of our gin-soaked heart, MGoBlog.
We love you, and we thank you. Now that we're all awkwardly emotional, um [XKCD CARTOON OR MUPPETS GO HERE. ]
Orson asked what I'd like to see as he temporarily re-skins EDSBS and I was like "Tim Biakabutuka but we should ask the internet," so throw your ideas for anything below this post.
This Week In "I Forgot About This Draft." I threw a bunch of links in a post with the intent of getting to them later and totally forgot about them, thus robbing you of my opinion on Brady Hoke's contract*, some memories of Vada Murray, one with an embarrassing URL, and Chad Ford saying "a number of NBA scouts($)" believe Darius Morris needs to return to school. Also this, the most Michigan sign ever:
The Michigan Difference is saving refugees while making wikipedia jokes.
*[Why is Hoke's buyout double Rodriguez's? What's the benefit of locking yourself in like that when your man would "walk to Ann Arbor"? Like… in the unlikely event Hoke wins three games the next three years wouldn't you want to move on to the next guy?]
Yes, sir, anything you want me to convert to sir. Buried towards the end of a lengthy profile of 6'6", 330 pound weightlifting champ and OL walk-on Gary Yerden is this biographical tidbit:
Yerden is a Jehovah's Witness….
…one who gets results, no doubt.
Sundry basketball recruiting bits. UMHoops hit up last weekend's Pitt AAU tournament and came back with scouting reports and seven minutes of Glen Robinson III video. (Nick Stauskas was supposed to attend but got sick, leaving Robinson the featured attraction.) The scouting video reveals many, many dunks but not a whole lot of play in a structured halfcourt offense—such is the nature of AAU.
It's apparent that Robinson will instantly be Michigan's best athlete when he arrives. Dude can get up. His shooting is more of a question. He's got a nice-looking stroke but started that tournament with some bricks worthy of Brent Petway. He did warm up late.
As for the class of 2011, Max Preps has put out their final top 100. It features Burke and Brundidge in their usual slots between 60 and 80 (in this edition Brundidge is 62, Burke 80—the usual, one most Michigan fans with an opinion believe is backwards), and then here's a surprise:
100 Max Bielfeldt, PF/C Notre Dame (Peoria, IL) 6-9/230
That would make Bielfeldt about as big of a prospect as Matt Vogrich, who showed up 100th on Scout's list because he was "the best shooter in the country" but didn't make any other. The Maxpreps list says it is a "composite" based both on high school production and college potential, the former of which helped the ultra-productive Bielfeldt.
So… I'll take a Vogrich-level 6'9" PF. Michigan didn't have a ton of irons in the fire for 2012 anyway and if Morris jets before he's a senior they'll still have an open scholarship for SIM BHULLAR(!).
Notre Dame series not so permanent. Remember when Michigan and Notre Dame agreed to play for 30 straight years? Not so much. We know they're taking a break in 2018 and 2019 and now David Brandon is creating the future in a way that might not include the Irish:
"I have to have seven home games a year. If you think about a nine-game Big Ten schedule, there will be one year I have four home games and one year I have five. In the year that I have four, I have to play every one of my non-conference games at home, so I can't be in a world where I have four Big Ten home games and I'm supposed to play Notre Dame (in South Bend). I can't live in that world. Those are the kinds of issues I have to deal with."
Let's ignore David Brandon speaking like he's the Queen of England for a second: a nine game conference schedule means the ND/OSU/Nebraska home-home-home thing might come to a head. It's possible that Michigan gets their way and won't have to change their ND schedule—the conference has a motivation to protect a rivalry game TV apparently loves because for insane reasons they get 11/12ths of the revenue—but if they do it's doubtful the series continues unless ND is willing to have UM and USC be home or away at the same time. They might since they tend to have another marquee opponent regularly and the Michigan game is important for their TV contract (which they don't have to share).
Ramgod shamgod. Add "mascot" to the list of things associated with OH OL Kyle Dodson that are epic:
I feel molested just looking at that thing. It's a Tom of Finland Thundercat, and it wants to sexy wrestle me.
Etc.: Kenpom adds coaching resumes. Now I don't have to thumb through each page to confirm last year's Michigan D was the best Beilein has fielded in a BCS conference. Zach Travis's spring game post is bullish on caveats before getting into opinions. Forward Thinking on Kaleb Ringer.
So… that happened. As per usual, many events from the spring game are in the eye of the beholder. Is Devin Gardner's inability to find anyone open an indictment of him, an indictment of the second-team wide receivers, or… uh… like… people being covered? I know that latter seems improbable but I have seen football games in which this has happened. Whether your reaction to Saturday was "woo defense" or "ugh offense" depends on your state of mind and may oscillate wildly.
Unfortunately, there was a lot that was unambiguously bad, most of it from the quarterbacks: interceptions whistled yards over the intended receiver's head or thrown directly at linebackers, a Mallett-like plague of dropped snaps, offsides calls, etc. The general impression was more 2008 than 2010. Denard completed 5 of 14 passes for 5 YPA—2008 numbers—and ran six times for 60 yards, averaging 1 YPC after his first attempt. Insert the usual spring caveats and add a bunch more besides for small sample size and an awkward transition, but that is a far cry from the last spring game, and very little of it can be attributed to awesome defense. The QBs sucked on their own.
Here are highlight-type substances (which also feature the Most Legendary Press Conference Ever):
The official site version:
Other vague impressions:
The worst part ever. That guy who sung the anthem. I don't know why events that aren't actual football games are accompanied by some never-was with vibrato Tourette's singing the national anthem. This happened at the Big Chill, too. This is the last drip of Michigan football for five months—give me the band.
Obviously not so good. Devin Gardner was also inaccurate in drills. They have this dig route where a slot receiver works to the seam then cuts his route off 15 yards downfield and Gardner was consistently missing it. Denard missed a couple times but was obviously better. Both performed poorly in the game itself, which fine. Denard doesn't need a more practice on running plays that were beaten into his head last year, sometimes literally. If you're installing new stuff now is the time to see if it works.
HOWEVA, man… it did not seem to work. They kept running the waggle and Denard could not get anything out of it. There was a guy in his face the whole time; the resulting throws were frequently incomplete due to inaccuracy. In the video above when Hoke references a couple of "drops" the best examples the BTN can dig up are Drew Dileo almost making a spectacular one-handed stab and Darryl Stonum almost making a spectacular sideline lay-out.
Maybe in a tackle football game he can escape that contain guy on the regular, but that seems like a high variance strategy with limited upside. Option 1: beats corner guy, is on corner, has shot at running some probably not immense distance or hitting a crossing route of some variety. Option 2: second and 20. There's a reason the waggle is strictly an occasional changeup—whenever you've got the ball and are spending time with your back to the defense there's a chance something awful is going to happen, like John Navarre getting blown up in that one MSU game.
Mike Cox was the most impressive, scoring the only legitimate touchdown of the day for the offense—the second was an uncalled offensive PI that outraged Charles Woodson even if he wasn't watching it—on a 68-yard rumble through the middle of the defense. A few runs later he powered through a couple diving arm tackles for a decent gain. Notably, no coach dropped his headset in disgust without even yelling at the guy, which totally happened at last year's fall scrimmage. That was a sign Cox was going to be buried on the bench all year. Light going on? Let's hope so.
Stephen Hopkins seemed like Stephen Hopkins. Everyone else was pretty eh. Hayes and Rawls will have a shot in the fall.
With all but five Michigan receptions leaders returning there wasn't much new here, especially since the quarterbacks had such an off day. Hard to show anything when you're chasing Carvin Johnson down instead of vice-versa. A few items:
- It seems like Drew Dileo has risen to second on the slot depth chart.
- Odoms is still outside.
- Moving Ricardo Miller to tight end is a very bad sign for him. Seeing him next to the other TEs is like seeing that tiny third-string FB in the game. He just doesn't have the frame for TE, especially in a manball offense, so… what does that say about his potential future as a WR?
- The much-touted involvement of the tight ends did not materialize. I don't remember a single catch [Ed-M: Koger got one] and I think they only targeted TEs once or twice. This has been an exceptionally overblown meme anyway. Last year Michigan TEs had 20 catches. In Carr's last year they had 24. When you've got talent you throw to it; Michigan's talent is in the slot.
Michigan needs a couple big receiver recruits this year because the cavalry does not appear to be coming. Jerald Robinson may develop into a decent option but Miller's not even at the spot anymore and DJ Williamson didn't look good in drills or exist in the game; Jeremy Jackson is probably the best of all the receivers brought in last year and his upside is strictly possession.
It's all but impossible to pick out anything specific live unless you're a savant, which I'm not, so… uh… yeah. Michigan's attempts to run power didn't go so well—a follower tweeted that Michigan's guards were the equivalent of Michigan's kickers when they tried to pull. Again, with a veteran line that's got zone blocking down it's okay to work on the stuff they don't know yet. It seems foolhardy to dump that entirely and we did see a couple examples of Rodriguez's QB stretch, so let's hope the playcalling is less slanted towards the unfamiliar in fall.
The second team OL was walk-on infested with injuries to Molk (played but sparingly) and Lewan (out). They could not block the second-team DL, which contributed to Gardner's issues. Late it seemed like Mattison called off the dogs specifically so Gardner could see what it was like to not have someone breathing down his neck two seconds after the snap.
One guy I did think looked pretty good was Schofield.
All eyes were on Will Campbell and Will Campbell was all right. He got single blocked the whole day, alternating his time between pushing into the backfield to force cutbacks on unsuccessful runs, getting blocked out of rushing lanes, and (on passing downs) sitting at the LOS being the guy who looks for screens and scrambles. Unsurprisingly, reports that Campbell was "unblockable" as a three-tech turned out to be fiction—Campbell didn't beat a block all day. His contributions were limited to getting a moderate amount of penetration when single blocked on running plays. It was far from dominant; it could have been worse. I'm still pretty worried about what happens on stretch plays.
As for the other guys, RVB was out, leaving Jibreel Black and walk-on Nate Brink alternating at SDE. We know what to expect out of Martin when his ankles exist, and now he's getting moved around on passing downs. Schofield seemed to win his battle with Craig Roh, but Roh made a couple of plays on runs and looks like an honest-to-God DE these days. Kenny Wilkins was the DE who got steamrolled on the Cox TD.
Everyone's talking about Jake Ryan after his pick six and constant pressure of Gardner, but his primary opponent was a redshirt freshman walk-on not very good at blocking people. Big difference between his setup and, say, Campbell taking on the starting guards on the regular. Cam Gordon's in front of him for a reason. Ryan does appear like he'll push for time.
On the whole this unit was surprisingly decent for one starting a guy who just transferred from Hampton after not getting any PT there. Often when I'd watch Campbell he'd get kicked out of the hole way too easily, but as I braced for a big run two linebackers would roar in from the backside and swallow the play. That's what a one-gap defense does as long as you get your "run fits" right, and it seemed like they were vastly improved over last year. I'm extremely leery of the depth when your best alternative to Demens is Marell Evans, but here it seemed like the transition was going smoothly. Caveats apply: could just be the OL not being any good at what they're being asked to do.
FWIW, it was Brandon Herron getting steamrolled on the Cox TD run.
With Floyd and Woolfolk out this was also a lot of walk-ons. It's not good for Terrance Talbott to be behind Tony Anderson; Cullen Christian was also behind Anderson but was apparently injured and did not play. This will be some combination of Avery/Floyd/Woolfolk this fall unless Blake Countess shows up extremely ready. Greg Brown showed better than most expected after he spent his senior year of high school at linebacker.
As for safety, Michigan certainly looks good there. Marvin Robinson, Josh Furman, and Carvin Johnson are physically reminiscent of NFL safeties. A dollar says that perception doesn't last into the Big Ten season, but in this game they only blew two plays—the Cox TD (overrun by a very confused Robinson) and Denard's game-opening 55-yarder (Johnson was understandably outrun). Oh, and there was that hopeless Gardner bomb that should have been intercepted but ended up a completion. I think that was also Robinson, but I don't remember exactly.
So… slightly encouraging here. While Johnson's interceptions were gifts he came up and put a lick on more than one tailback who had broken to the sideline. Robinson also bombed a couple tailbacks. Furman was in position to break up a couple of Gardner deep balls and could have had an interception or two if Gardner's passes had been a little more accurate. Unfortunately, I am constitutionally incapable of not panicking about safety play even if there is evidence I shouldn't.
Will Hagerup is sophomore Zoltan: still too inconsistent but if he gets hold of one look out. He's going to hit a 70-yard punt this year. He'll also hit some 35-yard dribblers, but he's getting there.
Kickers: aigh. [Ed-M: They say
Aslan Matt Wile is on the move.]
Other Video Type Objects
Important bit on Denard: “in the real world, he'll probably run more than you saw today.”
Photo galleries abound. AnnArbor.com:
If the spring game is any indication, Mattison is not afraid to bring the heat. One of the criticisms Ravens fans levied at Mattison was that he “didn’t blitz enough.” That is something that is said about just every defensive coordinator ever, so take it for what it’s worth. Still, the concern that Michigan is going to drop back into a cover-2 and rush four is something that I’ve been somewhat afraid of. I thought the 3-3-5 was going solve that, instead it proved to be the exact opposite of an aggressive, attacking defense.
As OHHW notes, rushing four would actually be an improvement on last year. Ace predicted and wanted ugly. Point Ace. The Big House Blog wonders where Roy Roundtree went. Hoke says Michigan has a "long way to go." Mattison says he "doesn't know if [Johnson] was responsible for" his big plays, which… yeah. Photos and bits from MVictors.
The spring game was a success from a recruiting perspective on a few different levels. The commitment from instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone was an important early get that most didn't expect so soon. Outside of the commitment here's a look at what some of the other visiting prospects had to say. As always you can find me and more updates on Twitter, and if you have any questions or tips please email me at [email protected].
6'6", 289 lbs
Diamond is a big-time prospect nationally and for a Michigan class that needs a hig- profile tackle or two. He has been to Ann Arbor plenty of times, but this time he brought someone new.
I've seen a lot of that stuff before, and they were just showing us around. My father was there for the first time and he said everything was great. He got a great impression from everything, and he thought the coaching staff was great. He actually said he would feel comfortable with me playing there so that felt good.
Since Diamond has taken numerous visits to Michigan's campus, and the fact that his teammate Chris Bryant signed with Michigan, these visits are more about comfort than discovery for him. But...
It did give me a chance to see how they coached and how they were showing the players what they need to do. I saw Coach Funk is doing a good job with those guys getting the fundamentals down. I've seen a lot of them now and it's about getting familiar with these schools. These visits, I have my parents go up to see where I might be going. I didn't really see anything new, it was just more of a confirmation of what I've been seeing.
While he didn't necessarily see anything new with the program, Jordan definitely got to be a part of a new experience.
When we got there we came out on the field and there was a bunch of fans telling me Jordan we need you. To have them recognize an offensive lineman and ask me for autographs was pretty cool. I was getting stopped on the street and people were asking me if I was Jordan Diamond. I was signing autographs for little kids, and to have that happen at a big school was cool. Being with the players is always great too; they're exactly the same on and off the field. The character and attitude they have is always the same.
Jordan isn't positive exactly when he wants to make his final decision, but he knows how he wants to get there.
I'm going to keep taking visits right now, then narrow it down to a top ten during the summer. After that I'll get it to a top five before the season starts and I'll take my official visits to those five. I know Michigan will definitely be in the top five. Michigan is looking solid right now.
Diamond has always wanted to take his visits and take his time with the process, so this is nothing new. These early visits have helped Michigan lay the ground work for later on in the process when the tough decisions come around.
6'7", 305 lbs.
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
Denman is a huge offensive lineman that has racked up around 21 offers from schools like Michigan, Boston College, Miami, MSU, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wisconsin to name a few. JJ took in Ann Arbor for the first time and came away impressed.
I spent the whole day Friday looking around the campus, and then Saturday we spent more time at the facilities and the spring game. I was the only one there on Friday so we got talk to all the coaches. We talked about how they're bringing back a pro style offense and that they need big linemen. Everything overall was good, I really liked the coaches. The coaches seem real down to earth and straight shooters. The Big House: I walked in there and it was just huge. They said they were going to put up scoreboards and that they might be adding more seats which is crazy.
The Big House is typically something prospects remember from their visits, but the MIchigan players were what stuck with Denman.
All the players are genuine guys. I talked to Denard Robinson and it was just like he was a normal guy. He saw me walk by and was just like "hey what's up man," it was like he didn't even do what he did on the field. I talked to Jake Long too and he was the exact same way. It's like Michigan doesn't produce cocky guys, they're all humbled and that was cool.
Although JJ has a pretty big offer list he already has a good idea of who makes up his top group.
I think I know the schools that I like, I'm going to go out to a couple more just to make sure. I definitely know I'm going to take an official visit to Michigan, and I'm going to try to make it back for the Notre Dame game because it will be their first night game. I'll probably take all five of my officials. The five schools right now are Michigan, Boston College, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Rutgers.
It sounds like this visit helped Michigan but it won't mean much until he starts taking official visits.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Ojemudia is an interesting instate prospect that has been up to Michigan with his teammate TE Devin Funchess a few times now. If you remember last time Mario said that he was surprised that he liked his Michigan visit so much. It seems like the spring game might have helped Michigan a little more.
It went really well, it was fun. I didn't really see anything different but I'm feeling really comfortable with all the coaches, and I really like Michigan now which is kind of weird since I grew up not liking them. I think these visits have sort of leveled everything out now.
Mario has also been to Michigan State three or four times now, but hasn't been in a while. Having processed the trips he's taken, he thinks the visits have helped him narrow down his list to a group of three.
I've somewhat narrowed it down. I like Michigan, Stanford, and MSU, but that could all be subject to change if I get another offer from a school I like. Two schools that I really like are Penn State and Ohio State.
All of these trips he's taking are helping him get to his final decision, which he says he wants to have done before his season starts.
2013 QB Shane Morris was also on hand for the spring game. He seemed to enjoy the fan attention he got as well.
It went really well, I had a lot of fun. I signed my first autograph on a #12 Michigan jersey. That was crazy. I've pretty much seen the whole school three times now so I just want to get to know the coaches better and get more comfortable at the school.
Michigan commit OL Caleb Stacey had his decision validated while he was on campus for the first time as a commitment.
It went great, I had two kids around the age of ten ask for my autograph. It made me feel like I was at home with great people, great atmosphere, great fans, and just all around great place. I was trying to recruit [JJ Denman] and Sheldon Day while I was up there.
** QB Zeke Pike is announcing his decision on Wednesday. He told me that he's down to Auburn, Michigan, and Purdue. He said you shouldn't look too much into the rumors about him being committed to Auburn. I have a strange feeling about this one.
New York DB Wayne Morgan's coach tells me that Michigan has moved up on his list.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden took in Ann Arbor with his parents, and may be nearing a decision.
I hinted on Twitter that there was going to be a silent commit yesterday. The prospect told me it was ok to tell people his intentions, but to obviously keep his name quiet. The plan was to commit to the coaches, take two more visits then come forward with the announcement at his school. He told the coaches Sunday night and they told him that he should take the other two visits first then commit to them. It wasn't a rejection, but more so not acknowledging a commitment from a kid that wants to take visits. The announcement should happen in 3 or 4 weeks.
If you missed it here's last week's Weekly Update with TE Pierre Aka, DE Noah Spence, and WR Amara Darboh.
Now that Michigan has a solid number of early commitments, this won't be a depressing exercise. Since most recruiting sites don't have full rankings out yet, this will be a bit... incomplete.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
As I said, it looks pretty incomplete. I'm considering switching all rankings to 5-star scale, instead of using the RR ratings for rivals, and the numeric ratings for ESPN (which I did last year). I also might add 24/7 Sports' rankings to the chart.
|#1 Ohio State - 5 Commits|
The greatest number of commits, and the only team with multiple 5-stars.
|#2 Notre Dame - 5 Commits|
Irish had a pretty big weekend with a couple commits.
|#3 Penn State - 6 Commits|
Nittany Lions start strong after having a poor beginning to the 2011 recruiting class. Jarron Jones is listed as a soft commit.
|#4 Michigan - 4 Commits|
A pair of linemen and a pair of linebackers for Brady Hoke's first full class.
|#5 Wisconsin - 2 Commits|
Badgers have an excellent offensive lineman and a nondescript runner to start the class of 2012.
|#6 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
A couple commits for Northwestern.
|#7 Minnesota - 4 Commits|
I'll be the first to admit I may be underrating the Gophers' class to date. We'll see what happens when some of the other sites have rated their prospects.
|#8 Nebraska - 1 Commit|
Ho-hum to start the class for the Huskers.
|#9 Iowa - 1 Commit|
An offensive lineman kicks off Iowa's class.
|#9 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Unrated WR starts Illinois's class.
|#9 Purdue - 1 Commit|
In-state commit for the Boilers.
Indiana and Michigan State are tied for last with 0 commits.
Michigan has a 2012 commitment from MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone.
|4*, #7 OLB||NR LB||NR OLB||4*, 93, #18 OLB#174 Overall|
The recruiting sites are in near-complete agreement: Royce is 6-2, 215 pounds. When I saw him play early last season, I thought he looked pretty skinny, so either that's an overestimate of his weight, or he has the frame to get up to 230 or 240 pounds pretty easily. I think both are true to a degree.
Since it's so early in the process, there's very little out there on him. Scout's Allen Trieu:
He just might have as much upside as any other prospect in the state. He has a great frame at 6'2, 215-lbs, and has athleticism and speed to go with it. As a junior, he really stepped it up one more notch by adding discipline and the ability to make reads and attack to his game.
He plays as much fullback for Cass Tech as he does linebacker, and he's a punishing inside runner in their spread-type attack. The criticism on Royce has been that he needs to play with equal violence on defense as he does on O.
Once he learns to play with a nasty attitude, he seems like an excellent prospect. His frame and athleticism are both near-perfect, and he has a lot of upside if he lives up to his potential.
Cincinnati, Michigan State, Iowa, Pittsburgh, and Toledo were Royce's early non-Michigan offers. However, he blew up over the past month or so, earning offers from the likes of Alabama, Oklahoma, and Florida. This kid is a Big Deal.
ESPN has his junior stats:
Registered 90 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions. Rushed for 10 touchdowns..
Not bad, but keep in mind that Detroit Public Schools often inflate player stats. Adjust accordingly.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the sites have listed 40 times. I'll shame them by saying five FAKEs out of five.
You might be able to catch a few glimpses of him (#10) from last year's Friday Night Lights video on Delonte Hollowell.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Royce has excellent physical skills and potential. He could eventually slot in at any of the linebacker positions, though I think strongside seems the most likely at this point.
With Michigan's huge haul of linebackers in 2011, Royce won't have to play right away, and should be able to spend his freshman year redshirting. The new depth in front of him should allow him to spend another year learning the system and playing special teams, before he works into a bigger role as a redshirt sophomore.
As an upperclassman, Royce should be a heavy member of the rotation, taking control of a starting position by the end of his redshirt junior year, and potentially earning All-Conference honors as a senior.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Royce is Michigan's second linebacker commit in 2 days. Since Michigan took several linebackers last year (though maybe not any who are naturals at strongside 'backer), they don't need more than a couple in this class. One more (probably the first of MI LB James Ross and OH LB Joe Bolden to commit) should close out the recruiting class at the position.
Basically every position other than linebacker is a remaining need in the class. Offensive and defensive lines in particular are needs, because Michigan's depth is light there.
Though the news has been out since Tuesday thanks to an overzealous Dayton Daily News reporter, OH LB Kaleb Ringer made it official tonight (or will very soon): he wants to be a Wolverine.
4*, #8 MLB
When I first wrote this post a few weeks ago, all four premium sites had Ringer listed at 6-1. Now Rivals and ESPN have downgraded him to 6-0, which is probably the more accurate number. I'll give him a shade under 6-1. Scout and 24/7 Sports (the two who list him at the taller height) say he's 225 pounds, whereas Rivals and ESPN are right around 220.
He may not wow you with the eye test, but put on the film and he's all over the field making plays. He's very solidly built, has a nose for the football and has legitimate sideline to sideline speed. He's also physical and can take on blocks. I have to see more of him in coverage, but he's a kid who could end up leading a team in tackles for several years in college.
They list his strengths as hitting ability, block shedding, and speed, while calling size an "area for improvement," which... dude probably ain't growin' a whole lot more. For the record, UMGoBlog's analysts actually say that his speed is only OK.
Per a local fluff article, he certainly has the attitude for a linebacker:
Ringer often does get a backfield call on goal-line situations, but otherwise creates havoc as a speedy, hard-hitting linebacker... “It’s the only sport that you can beat up somebody and not get in trouble for it,” he said. “I really appreciate that.”
In the same article, the Talbott brothers' former head coach talks about Ringer's abilities:
Wayne coach Jay Minton is sold on Ringer. Minton helped groom former Wayne and OSU standout linebacker Marcus Freeman and sees Ringer as having a similar impact. “If there’s a better (linebacker) in the state, I want to see him,” Minton said. “Whenever they can run out of Ringers is fine by me. There’s a lot of them. It’s got to be really neat for that family to see the success that they’re all having. Kaleb could be one of the best of the bunch.”
"As good as an NFL Draft pick" is pretty high praise (though note those words were the author's, not Minton's).
Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long:
Kaleb Ringer, 6-2, 225, Clayton Northmont. I become more impressed with Ringer as time goes along. I have always been concerned about his size. He was about this same size when he first popped up on the radar screen so I was concerned about him outgrowing the position. We have seen it happen with other top linebacker prospects, most recently with Glenvilles Andre Sturdivant. Ringer is even more athletic than Sturdivant and has that same nose for the ball and for making big plays.
He lists Ringer as the #1 linebacker in the state of Ohio. From another breakdown:
I thought he would outgrow linebacker. He has not done that. Ringer is a classic Mike linebacker. Hashmark to hashmark it is hard to not pick Ringer. He is physical and a physical specimen. He is going to carry another 20 lbs on that frame... I have seen his complete highlight film. Not one play of Ringer in space.
Playing in space (and speed in general) are the main questions on Ringer coming out of high school. I won't accuse Long of changing his tune once it became clear that Ringer would become a Wolverine, but he had this to say earlier in the week:
I think he is slightly overrated because the way the game is played linebackers must be able to cover and I have not seen it out of him but if you want a middle linebacker to run from tackle to tackle and stuff the run then this is an awfully good football player. He committed to Michigan without an offer from the Buckeyes. I did not see a Buckeye linebacker in Ringer but this is definitely an upgrade in talent for Michigan.
Judge for yourself, though it seems to me to be a radical change in a short span.
As a Southwest Ohio guy, it's no surprise to see a Cincinnati offer for Kaleb. Syracuse and West Virginia had also offered, along with a host of MAC schools. In the Big Ten, Illinois and Iowa were his other offers.
Notably absent from that offer list are Ohio State and Michigan State. The Buckeyes told him that his lack of an offer had nothing to do with his ability, which might raise a flag. The Spartans (where is older nephew Javon starred a few years back) may have had similar reasons for not offering.
Posted 35 solo tackles and 50 assists
He was also an occasional running back (primarily on the goal line) and punched in a couple touchdowns on the season.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout, Rivals, and ESPN are all sorely lacking in 40 times. That means I get to accuse them of being very FAKE indeed, dishing out five out of five. Between his freshman and sophomore years in high school, he ran a 4.85 at a camp, which does not sound FAKE at all (his 4.13 shuttle time was a much more respectable number).
His sophomore highlights are on Youtube, along with an abbreviated junior highlight reel:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Ringer is a classic middle linebacker, and a perfect example of one difference between the current coaching staff and Rich Rodriguez's staff. He's a big, stocky, smashmouth-type football player, and doesn't have elite speed or the flexibility to project to several different positions. YMRMFSPA some like Jarrett Irons.
With Michigan's linebacker haul in the class of 2010, Kaleb should have the opportunity to redshirt as a freshman. However, starter Kenny Demens will graduate following the 2012 season, and Kaleb will get every opportunity to win the starting position himself. I would assume he doesn't earn that starting position (Desmond Morgan and Kellen Jones will have a year of experience on him), but he'll be a member of the rotation, earning situational playing time and getting plenty of experience in blowouts.
With two years of separation from at least one of the linebackers in the class of 2011 (I assume one or both will see the field instead of redshirting), he should be a solid starter as an upperclassman. He seems to me like the type of guy who can rack up all-conference honors without drawing a ton of interest from the NFL.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
As noted above, Michigan took several linebackers in last year's class. That means they don't need many in 2012, and getting a commitment from a high-profile guy like Ringer means they can focus only on the guys they really want, such as James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and Joe Bolden. Crazy though it may seem, there's a chance that Michigan will have to say no to one of those guys.
Ringer is the first of many defensive players to commit to the class, joining a pair of offensive linemen. Michigan's main needs for the rest of the class are an elite quarterback, and millions of players on both sides of the line. A couple tight ends and a wide receiver are probably in the cards as well.