this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Get your welp on:
Tyus Battle is taking an official visit to Syracuse this weekend & opening up his recruitment, per sources. Committed to Michigan in May.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 19, 2015
There had been rumbles the last couple days to the effect that Battle would take a visit to Syracuse, who had been one of his presumed leaders along with Duke before his commitment to Michigan.
It's unclear at this point how open his recruitment is, but in general schools that suffer a decommit do not get the kid back. How Syracuse remains appealing after Jim Boeheim got blasted by the NCAA remains a bit of a mystery.
Michigan was very strong with AL SF Josh Langford before Battle committed on his official visit and will probably look to re-open serious contact with him immediately.
I attended the Sound Mind Sound Body camp at Dakota High School last Friday and had the chance to speak with a number of Michigan commits and targets. Today’s interviews include Jaylen Kelly-Powell, a Cass Tech safety with offers from most of the Big Ten, and Osiris St. Brown, a four-star receiver (according to the 247 composite) who visited Michigan earlier in June.
Jaylen Kelly-Powell, 2017 safety
Adam: How do you feel you did out there today?
Kelly-Powell: I feel pretty good. I had fun.
Kelly-Powell: Yeah, two times.
Adam: How did today’s camp compare to the others you’ve been to?
Kelly-Powell: This was better. This one was bigger. Everybody from around the world came out.
Adam: What’s it like to have all of these coaching staffs here?
Kelly-Powell: It means a lot to learn from the best. Most of these coaches have actually played in the NFL and so they can teach you a couple things.
Adam: Where’s your recruitment at right now? Do you have any timeline going forward?
Kelly-Powell: No. Kelly-Powell, right [Bill Rapai]
Adam: What was your favorite part of today?
Kelly-Powell: Coaches teaching me techniques and stuff. That helps.
Adam: What kind of feedback did you get from the coaches out here today?
Kelly-Powell: They said I did good. They said I’ve got great feet and everything so just keep working hard. It went pretty good.
Adam: As far as Michigan goes, who’s recruiting you?
Kelly-Powell: Coach Partridge and coach Wheatley.
Adam: Can you describe their recruiting styles? What are they like?
Kelly-Powell: Well, coach Wheatley, he treats me like I’m his son. He actually talks to me. He’s not trying to sell me on anything, he just tells me how it is and what to look for in a college. He’s really good. Coach Partridge, he’s like that too.
Adam: What are you looking to work on this summer?
Kelly-Powell: My technique.
Adam: Any other visits planned?
Kelly-Powell: Tomorrow [Saturday the 13th] I’m going to Michigan.
Adam: Will you be at their camp?
Kelly-Powell: No, I’m just doing a visit. From there we’ll go on a college tour with Cass [Tech].
[After THE JUMP: Osiris St. Brown and Harbaugh vs. Ralph]
at least there's still bubble hockey? [Bill Rapai]
I don't know if there was anything Jim Hackett could have done about this in the short time he's been athletic director, but man, for the second straight year the hockey schedule is deeply unappealing to me as a season-ticket holder. Worse, it doesn't set Michigan up well for an attempt to make the tourney in Red Berenson's final year. Let's run down the problems.
The nonconference schedule sucks
Here's the nonconference schedule, with last year's RPI out of 59 in parentheses after. Home games bolded.
- Mercyhurst x 2 (39)
- @ Union (30)
- @ RPI (46)
- Robert Morris x 2 (25)
- Niagara (58)
- @ BU x 2 (3)
- Dartmouth x 2 (22)
- NMU (GLI) (35)
- Tech or State (GLI) (8 or 32)
- Ferris State (34)
The best nonconference home game is none. The only team that made the tournament last year (other than Tech, which is in the GLI with Michigan every year) is BU. BU has been thoroughly mediocre for the past five years when Jack Eichel wasn't around. He and his +51(!!!) are no longer around.
The opponents aren't even interesting from a historical standpoint: other than Ferris State and NMU in the GLI, none of these teams are old CCHA teams. They are just random Eastern teams that aren't good and want a paycheck.
This is especially grim because the Big Ten was so bad last year. In a tough, or even reasonable, league a 22-15 record is a good shot at the tournament. Michigan had none because the Big Ten was a disaster. Even if the league gets off the mat somewhat this year (doubtful since MSU and Wisconsin both inexplicably retained their coaches), Michigan is going to need some help from a solid nonconference schedule. This is emphatically not it.
And that goes double since the home/road split is 9/5. The current iteration of the RPI irrationally overrates road wins and irrationally underrates home wins, so any team that is willing to scrimp for guarantee games like Michigan clearly has is putting itself even further behind an already rather large eight ball.
There are infinite football conflicts
It's like this was intentional:
- There are only four road games before the Christmas break.
- Two of them come during football's bye week.
- One of the Robert Morris games is on October 31st. Michigan plays Minnesota that day. That game has already been announced for 8 PM.
- There is a home game on the day of a home OSU game that's at least 50/50 to be at 3:30.
- In the unlikely event Michigan makes the Big Ten Championship game, there is a home game against Wisconsin probably at the same time.
I understand that some conflicts are inevitable. This is close to maximum hypothetical conflict. Michigan has scheduled games that no Michigan fan is going to want to attend that hurt their chances to make the tournament.
There are way too many games early and way too few late
As mentioned, the season ticket has 12 of its games before the break and just 7 after, one of which is the NTDP exhibition. There is another month-long gap between home games. (At least this time it's not because Michigan sold a game against MSU so Chicago could ignore it.)
- And Michigan inserted the Ferris game into a weird mid-February bye week. They go six weeks(!) between home league games, from Ohio State on January 17th to Ohio State on March 4th.
There are still no playoffs
Maybe I'll fly to Minneapolis, though. It could happen.
"Pace Yourself" Isn't In The Harbaugh Lexicon
Michigan's already reeled in ten commitments this month, and with several highly interested prospects set to visit campus soon, recruiting shows no sign of slowing down.
Three-star FL OLB Jonathan Jones has been among the handful of prospects most expected to join the class sooner or later, arrived on campus today for what will be a five-day unofficial visit, per Steve Lorenz. That long a visit is almost unheard of, and while Jones made the very reasonable request for people to stop asking if he'll commit, it's definitely on the table.
Starting next Wednesday, a whole crew will arrive from the east, per Lorenz: four-star PA TE Naseir Upshur, four-star NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, four-star NJ WR Brad Hawkins, four-star NJ DE Ron Johnson, and 2017 four-star NJ C Cesar Ruiz will all spend three days on campus. Upshur and Johnson both have Michigan at the top of their lists, Mitchell seems like a strong possibility, and Hawkins has Michigan and South Carolina tied at the top.
2017 four-star Paramus Catholic OLB Drew Singleton is expected to visit on Friday, per Lorenz. His five-star 2016 teammate, DT Rashan Gary, told Rivals' Adam Friedman that he plans to be in Ann Arbor on June 25th, and his mother will come along with him ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup]
We might have to have a Twitter of the Year bracket if things keep going in this direction. First, Jack Wangler helps out Justice Hayes!
— jack wangler (@J_Wangler16) June 17, 2015
And then there's Jourdan Lewis with his best Marshawn Lynch impression.
— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) June 18, 2015
I would support Lewis extending this impression to all media interactions, getting everyone all furious at him, and then dropping the charade in the middle of a press conference for seemingly no reason.
Also, this post reminded me that Wyatt Shallman bought a ferret. This has been the best offseason.
After the spring game this year I was moved to write about the stuff Michigan was doing with Peppers. So moved in fact that I scrapped a "10 ways the NCAA can fix itself" feature for HTTV and wrote it on hybrid spacer players and how Peppers is a special type of that. If you'd like to read that, there are ways:
(not to scale)
e-Book version: Fewer photos, but a few paragraphs here and there that were cut for space. Now available from the Kindle store, working on iBooks.
Part of that article gets into how they aligned him (and Dymonte Thomas) in the spring game, but I wanted to explain more in detail what we mean by this:
Michigan will spend most of its time this year in nickel formations with Peppers acting as a hyper-athletic strongside linebacker. Against conventional sets they’ll be a base eight-man front with one deep safety (Jarrod Wilson) and Peppers acting as a maniacally aggressive strong safety, allowing the rest of the defense to play all kinds of tricks.
The gist is Michigan's defense, whether against spread or tight formations, is trying to have its run-stopping cake and eat the passing game too by putting Peppers in the slot, where his linebackerness can be brought to bear as well as his cornerbackosity.
Here's the Blue Team's first play in the Spring Game:
The soundtrack is off by a few seconds; sorry.
[There is Woodson after the jump]