FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
Saw this on BON; passing on some accidental memery. In short: five players from opponents that you would draft onto your team given the opportunity.
1. Justin King, Penn State
Aaaargh. Mr. King, if you had decided to come to Michigan a national championship would have been a real possibility last year and you wouldn't be facing down another year of playing opposite Anthony Morelli. Also your head coach would not constantly try to schedule you for brain extraction surgery.
Anyway: King's the best corner in the conference and Michigan's defensive backs are looming as a potential Achilles heel on an otherwise national-championship caliber team. So what if he's still a bit shy when it comes to tackling? He can cover. We need guys who can cover.
2. Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin
Sense a theme? Ikegwuonu did a better job against Manningham than anyone else who faced him -- both Mario TDs were against Allen Langford -- and established himself as an excellent tackler and solid coverman as the year progressed. He's behind King because I've seen King cover deep routes more tightly and, um, King's eligibility isn't in question because he likes to steal.
3. Dan Connor, Penn State
Connor's moving into the MLB spot vacated by the departed Paul Pozluszny; if he was moving over to replace David Harris I would be vastly more sanguine about the linebacking corps this year. Connor's never gotten the opportunity to wreak terrible revenge on Chad Henne, like PSU message board nuts proclaimed he had, uh, proclaimed before he matriculated; if you can't beat 'em -- and you can't, man, you just can't -- join 'em.
4. Sam Young, Notre Dame
He's a right tackle who would form a bookend of death if paired with Jake Long. Though everyone has high hopes for redshirt freshman Steve Schilling, Young leapt right into the starting lineup for ND and performed well as a true freshman. Mono kept Schilling from replicating that feat and a shoulder injury held him out most of the spring, so he's still a talented wilcard. Young, not so much with the wildcard.
5. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin.
The stupidity-based departure of Carson Butler leaves Mike Massey alone amongst Michigan tight ends with a shred of experience. Meanwhile, Beckum was the only identifiable receiving threat the Badgers had last year and he still spent his 2006 torching Big Ten secondaries. And he had just been moved over from LB/DE, so he's just scratching the surface of his talent. Add Beckum to a Manningham/Arrington combination at wide receiver and opposing secondaries would run up the white flag.
6. (I cheat!) Aaron Pettry, Ohio State
I really hope we don't have cause to mutter to ourselves this year and take back all the unfairly nasty things we said about Garrett Rivas and his 80% field goal conversion rate. With Brian Wright apparently struggling -- in the spring game KC Lopata appeared to be the leading candidate for the job -- Michigan is going back to walk-ons to handle the kicking job. Anyone who remembers the Brabbs/Neinberg/Finley year of kicking death is spooked. Pettry didn't get many opportunities last year what with the Buckeyes preferring those touchdown things, but he was 8 for 11 and showed 50-yard range.
7. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
Like King, I suffer through coulda-woulda-shoulda syndrome in re: Gholston, the first Michigan native to excel for the Buckeyes I can remember. (Say what you want about Craig Krenzel's moxie/toughness/grit/general David-Eckstein-ness, but he was an average at best QB.) Gholston was and is a freak of nature, a late-developing player who Michigan was tardy to offer and lost to the Buckeyes. He's sort of like Alain Kashama except sometime over the past couple years he learned how to play football. He would look great occupying a defensive end slot, but he's lower on the list because Michigan looks set at defensive end with Tim Jamison and Brandon Graham.
Others considered: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, OSU; Anthony Scirroto, S/posse organizer, PSU; Sean Lee, LB, PSU; Alex Boone, OT, OSU; Anthony Morelli, QB-- HA! No, seriously folks.
Does this count as a camp commit? Instate offensive lineman Rocko Khoury has committed to Michigan. Informative update coming ASAP.
Yes, I am terribly excited to deploy "naughty moose" once more.
Totally Uninformative Update: Google has nothing. ESPN is very down on him, giving him a 70 -- lowest score I've seen a M recruit get in three years of Scouts, Inc. coverage -- and a lukewarm review. The upshot($):
Khoury is a solid prospect with some upside. He needs to keep developing physically and as a player. We think he could be a kid that would benefit from a red-shirt year.
(Like, um, virtually every lineman ever.) Scout and Rivals both have him at four stars, though The Wolverine's Josh Helmholdt is higher on him than most. Khoury picked up offers from the instate MAC schools and Michigan State after making some camp stops, then spent a day at the Michigan camp, picking up an offer immediately. Though he's been measured at 6'6", Michigan is reportedly looking at him as an interior line recruit.
Michigan now has four offensive linemen in the class and will be looking for one or two more, probably two. I would expect a tackle and an interior lineman. With Graham Pocic off the board and Zebrie Sanders kind of a longshot there aren't many big names left that have indicated Michigan is in a strong position. I'm not sure whether Michigan thinks Kevin Zeitler, the kid from Wisconsin who just picked up an offer, is a tackle or guard, but he seems very high on Michigan and is a good bet to end up in the class. The probable sixth member of the OL class is anyone's guess.
Update 6/25:Linked to articles on MI RB Jonas Gray (MSU lead, but that was before he got his Michigan offer), WA DE Kavario Middleton, OR DE Ethan Johnson, MN WR Michael Floyd, PA FB Christian Wilson (also info on Saddler, Baldwin). Youtube video of Jonathan Meyers; Daily Illini article with quotes from FL DE Cory Liuget, IL DE Glen Foster, and IL LB Steven Filer. Added OK QB Nathan Stanley, WI OL Kevin Zeitler.
Removed NC S Robert Blanton (ND), PA OL Lucas Nix (Pitt), MI TE Tyler Hoover (MSU), IL OL Graham Pocic(Ill).
Editorial Opinion: Camp came and went without any of those commitment thingies, unless you could that '09 defensive tackle. (Side note of possible interest: Michigan always, always keeps commits they get from juniors under wraps so that seniors don't get spooked by the competition. Campbell's commit likely means that Michigan is done at defensive tackle with Mike Martin. I would expect Pennsylvanian Chris Henderson to go to Pitt; Michigan may continue pursuing Nevada's Lawrence Guy, who is a defensive end if you ask certain people.)
Jim Stefani says the following players received camp offers:
QB John Weinke
RB Jonas Gray
OL Rocko Khoury
OL Kevin Zeitler
CB Marc Anthony
...and the following group are ones to keep an eye on for possible offers in the near future:
RB/LB Glenn Winston
DE Glen Foster
DE Sean Progar
LB Kenny Demens
QB Nathan Stanley
LB/RB Brandon Beachum
WR Damion Dixon
CB/WR D.J. Woods
OL Deonte Pannell
Anthony and Zeitler both seemed very excited about the prospect of Michigan; Gray still maintains that MSU is his leader and he and teammate Kenny Demens are a package deal. Demens, obviously, is still waiting on his offer. Foster is a teammate of OMG shirtless IL LB Steven Filer, FYI.
The Stefani article has a ton more content and is worth reading for anyone interesting in camp goings on; further excerpts below.
(Sidenote on the Gray thing: I expect a Barksdale-like recruitment in which everyone gets to lead for a week or two and doubt he has a real Florida offer. It seems that absolutely everyone claims a UF offer this year, far too many to be plausible. Florida is probably extending a ton of conditional offers that can only be acted on if you track down a werewolf and bathe in his blood as cheerleaders dance around you, drinking its musk out of silver chalices.)
Commits elsewhere: Nothing surprising in Blanton or Nix going elsewhere. Illinois picked up its first big commitment from Lemont OL Graham Pocic, a guy we had an offer out to, and MSU picked up TE/DE Tyler Hoover, the last guy in Michigan to get a fourth star from Rivals. This is going to sound like standard sour grapes, but I think Hoover was not a high priority for the coaches. We're going hard after Kevin Koger at TE and Hoover was at the same camp as the above-mentioned defensive ends. At Hoover's height (6'7"), many uncomfortable comparisons to Pat Massey floated through Michigan fans' heads. It's a good get for MSU, though. I think Dantonio is going to be more Saban than Bobby Williams for them.
Nasty rumors: The recruiting year we were (are?) experiencing seemed to good to be true given the widely assumed post-season Carr retirement, but there are now internet rumblings that, um, are bad. Jim Stefani:
I've heard from three separate sources that
has fallen behind Notre Dame in the Jonathan Baldwin sweepstakes. This is the first bit of REAL bad news in the recruiting front this year. The other prospects Notre Dame has beaten U-M out for this year are all solid kids, but none are the difference-maker type of prospects that Michigan Baldwinis. Wolverine fans won't be able to spin this one away should Baldwingo Irish.
The feeling that
could really make a big push when it comes to in-state recruiting. Michigan State may have waited too long to offer Jones Gray, and with teammate Kenny Demens not yet sporting a Wolverine offer, I would not be surprised to see both verbal to the Spartans sooner rather than later. The longer this thing plays out the better for Michigan . I also think Michigan Michiganhas a battle on their hands with for both Fred Smith and Nick Perry. Michigan State
Yikes. Michigan State can promise both -- hell, they can promise virtually anyone -- immediate playing time and an opportunity to meet a new head coach your senior year. And they've totally got a clock that counts down to the Michigan game. We'll see how these things pan out, but losing Perry and Smith would revive all those "can't recruit instate" stories from a year ago.
Other things: I like WA DE Kavario Middleton's final five very much: Washington, Michigan, Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State. Arizona State is probably right out, and there is no USC. I think we have a decent shot here, as he has a clear choice between staying close to home and the most successful program on his list.
Also, OR DE Ethan Johnson had previously been quoted as favoring ND and USC but spent multiple days at camp. GBW:
USC is considered a big threat to U-M for Johnson, so we asked him about USC, and he said, "I visited there this spring. It was okay."
We asked if Michigan and USC would be there in the end for him, and, smiling, he said:
"Michigan will be there until the end."
My GBW Slant Klaxons are blaring -- conventional internet wisdom holds USC a strong leader at the moment -- but attending lots of camp on your own dime shows serious interest.
Meanwhile, this Pitt Trib-Review article has notes on various players. Baldwin has definitely chosen football. Returner Cameron Saddler:
"I did have a favorite, Virginia, but it's starting to even out," he said. "Every team I put in my top 10 wants me bad.
"WVU is picking up real big. It seems like they got their mind made up of exactly what they want me to do when I get there."
Saddler and Gateway linebacker Shayne Hale originally wanted to go to college as a package deal. Since narrowing their separate lists to 10 schools, Michigan, Oregon and West Virginia are the only schools they have
Good? Bad? Dunno. H-back/LB Christian Wilson named a leader, supposedly:
"So far, probably Clemson is the one that I liked the most and then North Carolina."
Clemson is one of a few schools recruiting Wilson to play running back and linebacker. Wilson said he would like to have a final four -- two schools that want him for offense and two for defense -- before he makes a decision by the end of June.
Wilson has elsewhere debunked this claim as a miscommunication about texting. He came up for an unofficial during camp and I am mildly optimistic about him, FWIW.
Varsity Blue is reporting the departure of redshirt freshman linebacker Cobrani Mixon for greener pastures, or at least green-ish ones: a transfer to Cincinnati or Kent State. Mixon's Facebook account confirms:
For those with bifocals, the highlighted text: "Cobrani is done with michigan this is his last night eva..." This is not the world's most incontrovertible evidence, but a Mixon departure had been rumored for a few months now and Varsity Blue seems sure of itself.
Though Mixon was a moderately shirtless recruit two years ago -- a mid four-star type who spent part of the year in the Scout 100 -- as soon as he arrived there were doubts he would ever see the field. It was clear by this spring he had been passed by Grand Rapid sleeper Obi Ezeh and JUCO Austin Panter; instead of getting the Anton Campbell treatment he's decided to find somewhere he can see the field. If he chooses Cincinnati he'll join fellow Colerain-to-Michigan-to-playing-time refugee Mister Simpson and we can mourned the missed opportunity to have not one but two Biakubutuka-level awesome names all at once.
Impact on the '07 team: little. Mixon was, by all reports, not ready to see the field this year. This does serve as partial explanation for Michigan's heavy pursuit of linebackers in this class; Michigan now has 18-ish scholarships available for '08.
A couple emailers have passed this along but they didn't need to, since the Big Ten actually sent me this email they blasted out to apparently everyone from actual newspapers to two-bit bloggers:
DELANY CALLS ON COMCAST TO APOLOGIZE
STATEMENT BY BIG TEN COMMISSIONER JAMES E. DELANY
REGARDING THE CHARACTERIZATION OF BIG TEN CONTESTS AS 'SECOND AND THIRD TIER'
"Comcast recently has characterized events that will be on the Big Ten Network as 'second and third tier.' I believe Comcast owes every Big Ten university an apology. The comments are an insult to Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin: To the universities, their students, their fans and alumni and their communities. There are no second-rate contests in the Big Ten."
I... what do you do with that? Comcast has a tough-talking guy who correctly characterizes most of the sports on the Big Ten network as uncompelling, so the Big Ten throws a public hissyfit and demands an apology? Is Jim Delaney a fifteen-year-old girl? Is he having a super sweet sixteen party later? Why does he remind me of Satan confronted with his Acura cake?
Whoever decided to release this instead of burying it deep down the memory hole should be fired, re-hired, fired again, and then tracked down at his new job and fired. This is worse than the SEC email, which was only the stupidest public relations move in years. And the thing is... it gets even worse. The milquetoasty passive-aggression on display -- you won't carry our channel because you're big meanies -- was couched in the basest Save the Women sentiment according to the Daily:
Delany spent a good portion of time during the teleconference addressing a New York Times article, which came out this past Monday. In it, Delany claimed a Comcast official downplayed the importance and demand of the network.
He showed displeasure with a statement made by a Comcast official in the article, which he thought insulted the Iowa women's volleyball team. The official called the team and the type of programming it would offer as "second-tier".
Later on in the teleconference, the author of the New York Times article said that those comments were not made in his writing. Delany said he had heard them somewhere, though. [this is my favorite bit. "These comments never appeared in our newspaper" ... well I heard them! I did, I say!]
"Their comments bothered me," Delany said. "Quite honestly, I don't know how those comments go on the east coast (where Comcast is headquartered), but in the Midwest, when you are talking about a women's sports teams, you talk about them with respect."
Not only is this wantonly false -- here in the Midwest we scoff at womens sports and Title IX more than on the East Coast because it's gutting the wrestling programs of the world -- but it's a distraction from the real issues at hand. It sounds like the Big Ten knows it's going to lose so it's preemptively conjuring reasons other than "we are idiots" for the public to consume: Comcast doesn't care about women. Comcast is mean. Comcast came up with the way the Sopranos ended. Hey, we all hate Comcast. But we aren't stupid enough to blame them for everything when your brilliant scheme backfires.
Jim Delaney's breathtaking arrogance and stupidity deserve the round of mocking it will get, but the Big Ten is a great conference, one of America's great sports institutions. It deserves better than a fool who can't shut his mouth as commissioner.
PS: Tom Deinhart thinks the BTN is just brilliant. This is what we call a kiss of death.
Hey, you: you're probably wondering what's up with high school sophomores. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Check that; there is definitely something wrong with that. You are bad and should be banned from the internet for a long time. But since you're still here: Michigan picked up a commitment from instate junior William Campbell of Cass Tech at camp. Campbell is 6'5", 298, and (kind of obviously) a DT. He's Michigan's earliest public commitment ever and should be one of the headliners of what looks like a strong 2009 Michigan crop headlined by Battle Creek running back Larry Capers, who is -- wait for it -- grrrrrreat. Since Campbell is a junior defensive tackle at a PSL school this the sum total knowledge about him to date:
- He committed to Michigan.
There won't be a googlestalk here; there's nothing to stalk yet.
Meanwhile, Varsity Blue takes a look at the very early returns for that '09 class.
More NHL Draft: mgolicious @ right still has the aftermath of a mock draft orgy; all have Pacioretty in the mid-to-late first round. There's also this article from the AANews that's mostly things noted here yesterday except for this bit:
Rust, whose stock rose during his final season in Ann Arbor with the USA Hockey developmental program, had several meetings set up with teams once arriving in Columbus.
Likely to be the second Michigan player drafted - he's rated as high as the third round - Rust just wants to be taken by a team that has good intentions with him.
"I'm hoping for the best,'' Rust said. "The draft is obviously important, and it's exciting, but I know it's not the end of the world if I get drafted in, say, the seventh round instead of the third.''
Rust is supposed to be a Helminen-esque speedy defensive lockdown center, but I think that third-round projection is very optimistic. Fifth to seventh is reasonable; Helminen himself went in the eighth.
The draft's first round is tomorrow night -- primetime, baby! put it on NBC and watch the ad dollars rake in! -- with the remainder Saturday.
Wanton Comcast bashing.
(Not that I blame the tech here; I mean... comfy chair, hour on hold... I'd conk off too.)
Probably happening right now. The regents are set to give final approval to the stadium project at their meeting this afternoon. Here's a pdf of the request. Here's an irritating article from Jim Carty that lionizes John Pollack -- the Hero of Tiananmen Square -- and gets rid of the fact that yes, the renovations are required if Michigan is going to keep up with the Joneses in a couple paragraphs before discarding that to argue...
if you watched this issue from beginning to end, it's hard not to feel the folks who fought for a simpler stadium and the simpler times it represented come out looking a whole lot more honorable than school president Mary Sue Coleman and the regents who rammed this plan through with all the subtlety of South American strongmen.
Michigan fan and Ann Arbor native John Pollack, former school president James Duderstadt, Yost's grandson, Fielding H. Yost III, and the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, rallied a small core of faculty and fans around the idea of saying no to commercialization and setting Michigan apart from the other schools chasing every last dollar.
Michigan cannot say "no" to commercialization; Michigan is already one of sport's most powerful brands. Don Canham is hailed as the first successful commercializer of college sports and remembered fondly for it.
And there's nothing honorable about throwing a public hissyfit, claiming massive division in a fanbase that, at least online, has been united in its support of the renovations. Just because tHOST is a media-savvy guy with connections from his days as a political speechwriter and can butter up the New York Times does not mean his cause has any merit. More:
Pollack will fly in from his New York home for Thursday's regents meeting, but won't be allowed to address the board. The slots for public comments were already filled when he learned the stadium issue had been put on the agenda.
That's par for the course.
The two most important votes on this project, the initial vote and now this final vote, have both been added to the agenda at essentially the last moment, seemingly in a move to stifle debate and opposition.
What purpose is served by listening to the same tired arguments about an egalitarianism that has never existed? Rather than let Pollack further waste everyone's time, let's move on. You can call it "stifling debate" if you like, but there was never really a debate. There was one loud, PR-savvy group with no grassroots support that employed disingenuous political rhetoric in an attempt to stall a project that it seems like the vast bulk of the fanbase supports. Three guys with impressive names and a website do not a movement make, and when you are persistently, uselessly annoying you shouldn't expect perpetual fruitless audiences. Not once in this process did Pollack attempt to measure the sentiment of the fanbase, or if he did the results he got back were disconcerting and quickly buried; "but but but Fielding Yost" is not an argument that sways anyone with decision-making powers, no matter how many newspapers it appears in.
Pollack mutters darkly about cards yet to be played -- ADA legislation -- and he'll attempt to stretch this out as long as possible despite the complete and total lack of non-manufactured public outcry. He lost in the battle of public opinion, so now he takes his quixotic crusade to the courts, because in the end he doesn't care what anyone wants for Michigan except himself. My suggestion: go stand in front of a tank.
Also: Steven Ross has dumped five million into the project already.
Mash note. Maloney from the News:
"I love Michigan," Maloney said. "I'm a Michigan man and they gave me the commitment I was looking for. I never wanted to leave Michigan, but I had to look at the opportunity to take care of my family."
Maloney has been head coach of the Wolverines for five years. They have averaged 42 wins the last three seasons, earning NCAA Tournament spots each time.
"I've only had a handshake, year-to-year deal with them," said Maloney of the previous five years. "I wanted more. I met with administrators from Tennessee in Atlanta Sunday and was impressed with them. They never formally offered me a contract, but I felt one was forthcoming. The marketplace down South is much greater, but the commitment (money) Michigan showed me is much better than it had been."
A touching letter from star P/DH Zach Putnam was of great help:
He said an e-mail from star pitcher Zach Putman closed the deal. Maloney was overcome with emotion from the e-mail by Putnam, a second-team All-American who will return for his junior year next season.
"Zach wrote an incredible e-mail," said Maloney of Putnam who threw 9 2/3 innings of no-hit
ball before losing 1-0 to defending national champion Oregon State in the Super Regional. "It was priceless for me. He said, 'I turned down other offers to come to Michigan and play for you. I understand if you leave, but I love you Coach. We have unfinished business to take care of so we can get to Omaha.' It was an amazing moment for a coach to read something like that."
A sigh of relief here; Michigan can now continue building its program without a potentially devastating blow. Is it arrogant to say "kudos to Bill Martin" like he cares? Eh, whatever: kudos to Bill Martin for locking down a guy who has the potential to be the progenitor of another flagship program at Michigan. Martin has made a couple bad hires, but by bringing in Beilein and keeping Maloney he's increased this guy's faith in a positive outcome after a Carr retirement tenfold.
Etc.: Best headline ever.