Previously: S Carvin Johnson, S Ray Vinopal, S Marvin Robinson, CB Courtney Avery, CB Terrence Talbott, CB Cullen Christian, CB
Demar Dorsey, LB Jake Ryan, LB Davion Rogers, LB Josh Furman, DE Jordan Paskorz, DE Jibreel Black, DE Kenny Wilkins, DT Terry Talbott, DT Richard Ash, C Christian Pace, WR Drew Dileo, WR Jerald Robinson, WR DJ Williamson, and WR Jeremy Jackson.
|Ann Arbor, MI - 6'3" 215|
|Scout||4*, #27 WR, #167 overall|
|Rivals||3*, #66 WR, #12 MI|
|ESPN||4*, 80, #27 WR|
|Others||#89 to Sporting News|
|Other Suitors||Tennessee, Florida|
|YMRMFSPA||Braylon Edwards/Jason Avant platypus|
|Previously On MGoBlog||A nearly two-year-old commitment post. Friday Night Lights took in Miller's games against Inkster, Saginaw, and Chelsea, and Tom talked to him after the WMU game.|
|Notes||Early enrollee. Good friend of 2011 RB Demetrius Hart.|
There's also sophomore film.
It's not quite right to say Ricardo Miller had the biggest disconnect between early hype and late rankings in the Rivals era of recruiting, but that's only because fellow Floridian and mega-offer-toting sophomore Marvin Robinson experienced a decline from probable five star to "you'll take a low four and like it." But it's not far off either.
A couple years ago I was answering some questions after my now-annual trip to New York to tell the local alumni club wildly incorrect things about Michigan's upcoming football season (bowl predictions the last two years: Alamo and Insight) and someone was concerned about Michigan's future wide receiver recruiting in the spread 'n' shred, and I described Ricardo Miller as a "lock" and a high school version of Terrell Owens, except nice. The first bit was accurate—Miller's commitment post above is almost two years old, as he dropped 18 months before Signing Day. The jury is very much out on the second.
It's worth noting the early hype was not limited to Michigan circles that could be prone to overrating a guy presumed to be a lock. He was ranked the #11 player in Florida($) by Scout at one point…
11. Ricardo Miller, WR, 6-2, 200, Orlando (Dr. Phillips)
The Skinny: Physical specimen who is still a little raw. Has great speed at his size and projects to be a #1 WR type who is a go to guy. Has size to make tough catches over the middle. Has great hands, needs to work on his concentration. Very good blocker. Can get down the field and be a deep threat. Played at Dr. Phillips in Orlando as a junior. A player who has the tools to play on Sunday.
…and that wasn't even his high water mark. Florida Football Magazine had him #2 in the state:
Big, strong, and fast, Miller could be playing for a major college right now but he's only a junior. He was the star of many off-season 7-on-7 tournaments.
Top two in the state of Florida should come with some impressive offers and it seemingly did, with Florida and Tennessee cited by multiple sources at the time of his commitment. One article specifically mentioned the magic word "written." In contrast to the skepticism about Jeremy Jackson laundry list of mega-offers, given the surrounding hype I tend to believe that Florida and Tennessee would have happily accepted a commit from Miller. Later claims at Alabama, Notre Dame, and LSU offers are a bit more suspect.
There are no rankings out on either Scout or Rivals for the 2010 class yet, but the buzz about Miller is substantial. Most have him pegged for the Darryl Stonum type range on Rivals, a high 4-star guy hovering around the top 50 overall.
Naturally, OUTRAGE resulted when Miller debuted at 139, which the math inclined will note is outside the Rivals 100. Speculation centered on how long it would take Rivals to fire the waste of space who made that decision and correct the grievous error. Rivals, naturally, dropped him to a meh three star in their next revamp and finished the year by declaring Miller the #66 wide receiver in the country, a couple spots behind Northwestern commit Rashad Lawrence. Lawrence claims other BCS offers from Duke, Stanford, and Purdue. Vanderbilt stands aloof on his schools list, present but decidedly sans the check mark representing an offer. Miller's fall was precipitous.
What was this based on? The only scouting content($) I can find in Miller's profile:
PERFORMANCE: Led Pioneer in a six-team scrimmage, recording a leaping touchdown grab and a couple of other catches in traffic.
STRENGTHS: Big, strong kid, especially in the lower body. His frame forces one to wonder if he will outgrow receiver spot and play another position, like outside linebacker or strong safety. Great attitude and very intelligent. WEAKNESSES: Struggles getting in and out of breaks. Does not move as well as other top-rated receivers. Had a lapse of concentration by dropping a touchdown pass late in the scrimmage. - G.L.
Just a few months earlier he was second team All Army Combine, but that somewhat lackluster performance in a scrimmage was apparently enough to turn Miller from a four star guy with "huge upside" into just another generic three star. The natural tendency is to scoff.
Evaluations from ESPN and Scout aid in this task. ESPN has him one of the highest ranked players in the class($) and just outside their top 150:
…essentially a wide receiver with H-back size and toughness. He could easily develop into a 225-pound hybrid player with a ton of versatility. … His willingness and ability to come up with big plays over the middle of the field is one of his most impressive traits. What he might lack in great speed, he makes up for in overall talent. He possesses big, reliable, soft hands with very few body catches. Most of his receptions come with great hand positioning and concentration. … He makes great adjustments to the ball, while it's in the air -- especially on over-the-shoulder grabs. What really stands out is his ability to make plays on the jump ball, balls thrown in traffic and adjustments to poorly-thrown balls. Comes off the ball quickly and reaches top speed rapidly for a player of his size.
Concerns are the usual for wide receivers in this class over six foot: raw speed. "Lumbering" makes a repeat appearance, though in Miller case he just does it "a bit."
That evaluation might be a bit generous about the hands, however. Scout's take lists "hands and concentration" as his negative and mentions it in the brief scouting report on his profile:
Is a big bodied, physical wide receiver with good speed for a kid with his size. He can take short passes, break tackles and get into the open field. He has big, strong hands and can snatch passes out of the air, but needs to work on his consistency with catching the ball and will sometimes let passes get into his body. Is a good blocker and a tough, hard working kid.
In addition, Miller's performance at the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp drew some criticism($) in the same area:
Two things were obvious… he could get deep or go up over anyone in attendance. He was too strong for most DBs he faced, and the speed he possesses at his size made it unfair at times. Hicks was the only DB that experienced his fair share of success in one-on-ones. Miller’s biggest enemy on the day was the dropsies. The short to intermediate passes…i.e. those with some steam on them… weren’t always handled cleanly.
And a little more form Allen Trieu:
According to Scout.com, Miller is a four-star wide receiver who possesses an unbelievable physical package for a high school athlete.
“He has great size and has worked hard in the weight room. He is stronger and physically ahead of where a high school senior entering college should be. For someone with his size, he has good straight line speed and shows the ability to snatch the ball out of the air.”
“He is a great kid who will be a good ambassador for a program and an excellent recruiting host,” Trieu said of Miller.
Despite the somewhat backhanded compliments for his speed (always "for a guy his size") and occasional issues with dropped balls, Scout places him exactly where ESPN does, the #27 WR nationally. That's considerably higher potential than Rivals (OUTRAGE!) suggests.
Whatever Miller's potential is, he seems highly likely to reach it. Take whatever star-crossed Michigan talent who suffered from a poor home environment and seem to waste his God-given gifts you like and imagine the exact opposite of that. That's Ricardo Miller:
“He’s always in overdrive, always giving 110 percent,” Reagor-Miller said. “I’ve never had to make him do things because he takes the initiative to do it himself. Hard work and commitment pays off, and now he’s learning that.”
Apparently, Miller has an affinity for sit-ups. His mother said they can’t watch a television program together without him throwing himself to the floor during every commercial break from some crunches. Coach Salapa also recalled Miller’s many impromptu sit-up sessions before, during and after practices.
“Sometimes, we have to keep him from working too hard,” Salapa said. “He does everything to the max.”
Ron English will be pleased to know that Miller's parents are still together, and as a bonus are both ex-military. An EMU scholarship offer is in the mail!
Part of Miller's decline can probably be explained by his move from Florida to Michigan. After he committed he knew he'd be enrolling early and decided he'd start the Michigan bit of his life even earlier than that:
"It's basically the fact that it was closer to my school and my mom wanted to move up during this time to be closer to her dad," Miller told SN Today. "It will be a lot easier to have access to Michigan and to help recruit in Michigan. And now all my family will be close by and be able to see me play. That was another big part of it."
Recruiting sites are gaga about Florida and might have looked at whatever scrimmage Miller was at in a more positive light if it was taking place down there. Also, Pioneer's quarterback was not a guy who's going to play in college. Tim after one of Miller's games:
This was the first time I'd seen Miller look truly dominant against high school competition, though he's looked semi-dominant before, he just never gets the damn ball. His quarterback doesn't have the confidence in his own arm to hit Miller on the always-wide-open deep posts (or deep crosses - look how open he is nearly every time he runs a route, but the QB is too scared to throw it), otherwise Miller would have finished with 200+ receiving yards in every single game of his I've attended.
His final numbers were indicative of that: just 31 catches but at almost 20 yards each and ten touchdowns amongst them. In the game against Inkster I saw the Pioneer QB preferred the diminutive outside receivers (Pioneer used Miller as a tight end much of the time) to chancing a safety picking him off. This was actually a slight decrease from his junior numbers 34 catches and 615 yards), but if we've learned anything through this five-receiver recruiting profile journey it's that high school quarterbacking makes receiver stats almost useless for projection.
Why a Braylon Edwards/Jason Avant platypus? Braylon was not a big time guy as a recruit, so this is just a comparison based on playing styles. Miller's a big strapping guy who can go up and get jump balls but might have some hands issues. Michigan's listing him at either 6'2", 208 (upon his commitment), or 6'4", 215 (now). Splitting the difference there yields 6'3" and around 210; Braylon is 6'3" and around 215.
Miller doesn't seem to have the same deep speed Braylon does, nor does he seem likely to be a guy who is "not on the same page" as the coach. He is an extreme character guy and program ambassador who should be able to crush guys on slants, make catches with guys on his hip, and generally be a guy who uses muscle and positioning to get open instead of raw speed. This is all Jason Avant.
Now, can you combine those assets of Avant and Edwards and get a great player?
Guru Reliability: Low. Major spread in the numbers, wide receiver with ugly quarterback situation, transfer, early commit, disagreement on a key attribute (hands), uncertainty as to what his best position is.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Seems to have a cap on his upside since he's already so physically developed—also potentially a reason his stock fell as others improved and he leveled off—but still a guy who seems like he'll have above-average physicality even as a collegian. Slightly worried that a possession receiver with eh hands or a long bomb guy with eh speed makes the guy a WR tweener, but it seems like if there's any way he can improve either he'll work on it until it's better.
Projection: Will probably play this year as Michigan tries to get some outside WR depth; could redshirt if Stokes shows well and Robinson plain beats him out but it will probably be close enough that he gets some time. Not likely to see much in the way of passes while he's in. A Lloyd Carr Memorial Redshirt-Burning WR Blocking Seminar beckons.
Rich Rod and a couple of the team's stars in the trenches met with the media today.
Rodriguez on Team stuff
Winged helmets - That's a team thing. It's usually more involved than 'is a guy out of shape?' It's more has he earned the wings?"In order to run out the tunnel on the fourth, everyone has to earn the wings. "You've got to appreciate the privilege you have to play here." Rodriguez expects everyone will meet the challenge.
Attention to detail good - guys done a good job picking up concepts. Pleased with special teams, and they're doing a couple new things schematically that he likes.
Had a couple really warm days. Need that to get guys in shape. Only had one 2-a-day so far.
Execution has been just OK offensively. Don't want any bad snaps or bad decisions. Defense - "Particularly because we've got a lot of our defensive package already in installed. I've been pleased with their mental part."
Number 1 jersey. hasn't been discussed in about two years. "It's not retired, but it's semi-retired at the moment."
They'll taper second-team reps about 8 or 9 days before the UConn game. Travel squad guys will get more reps at that point than those who are unlikely to play. That situation could change daily. More questions about the lineup are not a problem as long as it means there are more guys who can play.
Rodriguez on Personnel
QBs - "Wide open." They aren't consistent all the time. Hope we have enough confidence to play all three. Couldn't see it right now, because all three aren't playing to a high level. All three should get there before UConn.
RBs - "One guys stands out one day, today it was somebody else. It's probably as wide open as any position." With a couple physical practices this week, they'll have 2-3 guys hopefully.
Koger on the Mackey watchlist - "He's played quite a bit." Rodriguez puts no stock into preseason award watch lists. "If it helps motivate him to have a great year, that's great." Both Koger and Webb should have good years.
Stonum - returning and being a featured receiver. "He's had an outstanding camp so far." He, Martavious Odoms, and Terrance Robinson should be the top returners. "We expect a lot of Roy" Roundtree. He's in great shape.
Level of play has to get better on the offensive line. Experience doesn't necessarily mean you got better. So far, it's solid but not nearly good enough. It sounds like Dorrestein and Huyge have probably held off the younger guys so far, but "I couldn't tell you right now the depth chart" They're in great shape. Omameh: "Best I've seen him look" He and Schilling are good for a top pair of guards.
Freshman safeties have impressed. They've still had classes, etc. Anxious to see what they do once classes end and they can focus on football.
Will Hagerup has been really good. Today our kickers did a nice job. We haven't always been kicking field goals well. Hagerup tried some kickoffs, but is probably not in the mix for that. All kickers equal - Gibbons, Meram, and Broekhuizen.
Most experienced part of team. "I wouldn't say we're the most ahead..." in terms of schemes, but probably have the most leadership.
It's huge having Molk back. Not too deep at center. His return brings depth, experience, leadership.
RT - Who's looked good so far? Perry Dorrestein, Huyge, and Schofield are about even. Everybody's working and improving. Fair game, would be confident in any one of the three. LT Lewan competing with Huyge. That's wide open too. Both want it, both working hard. Tackle battles don't affect what he does - your technique doesn't change with who comes in.
Chemistry on interior is pretty good. Omameh had never played guard next to Molk until this fall. Right off the bat, things were clicking, working together all summer. "My knowledge has improved," talking with other interior OL, Molk and Schilling.
Patrick had never practiced at guard before his first start there last year. Not too much different, but little things you have to be aware of compared to tackle. "The guys were pretty big" when he came in last season. Played only tackle before, the tackles were tougher to block.
Denard - His knowledge of what we're trying to do has progressed. He still has the speed, quickness, etc. Combine it, and he's a lot more dangerous than he was.
RBs - everybody's had an impressive day or play. Excited to see what they'll do once the season hits. Vincent Smith coming back adds depth and experience. He's elusive, and it's great to have him back. He doesn't seem to be affected by the injury at all.
Maintaining 298-300 weight, even with heat. Was 251 pounds when he got here. Worked with Barwis. Made huge gains in strength, weight is just coming on. Only way he can tell he's heavier is the scale - still moves like he did before. Strength is evident when he's blocking.
Feel really good health-wise. "Feel really good, strong." Able to catch up strengthwise and get in shape during spring. "I was affected last year" by the injury. It became a mental game, and he tried to just not think about it. Put on pads and play.
D-Line - Those guys are doing a really good job. Everyone's stepping up. GB, RVB making plays. Getting to QBs and rushing the pass. WC, Sagesse, Patterson - adding depth, we can count on them. Adam Patterson is a senior, this is his year. We have a lot of depth with guys stepping up. Won't have a dropoff if someone goes out.
Will Campbell is camp roomies with Martin. The coaches might have put them together so Martin could try to pull him along, and Will's responding well. He's in good shape - but football shape is different than just going out and running sprints.
"Pat's skill as a pass blocker has really improved." Only faces him in certain rush schemes. Usually goes against Molk and centers in drills.
Molk and Martin are in in groups with Barwis. Always a competition on field, in weight room. Trying to beat each other's weights, always pushing each other. "It's back and forth. I like to say I win." Molk - Tough, he's the anchor, pulls everyone together. Doesn't talk much, but doesn't need to. We battle every day, making each other better.
Dealing with Brandon Graham's departure, there are many different ways to get to the QB. Several different guys contributing to pass rush. Good things with Roh, Van Bergen, Banks, doing a great job.
Why will this team be diff than last year - "we had stars then, showed up every game," this year there are more guys that can be counted on. Everyone's coming together.
Camp is fun when we do situational stuff - real football. Not so much the drills that get repetitive.
Check the klaxon wiring, will you? The absence of Tate Forcier from the most recent Countdown to Kickoff video has been noticed and is causing consternation. Also it is spawning somewhat sad hypotheses that this is a brilliant tactic to confuse and alarm our enemies. My guess is either that they didn't want to put a guy with a solid blue helmet in the clips, thus spawning yet more speculation about solid blue helmets, or that Tate's minor injury (as reported by the BTN when they were at practice) had him down with the third team and they didn't want to spawn speculation about Tate as a third string option. They spawned the exact same speculation in a different way instead.
A couple of other bits Burgeoning Wolverine Star has gleaned from minute analysis of the countdown to kickoff videos:
- Mark Moundros has been running with the ones a lot in practice. His presence on the starting defense is really beginning to worry me. Then again Obi Ezeh has always worried me.
- Vincent Smith appears to be running with the twos and Fitzgerald Toussaint appears to be taking a lot of snaps with the starting offense.
I'm not sure how much either of those means, but Moundros winning the MLB job would be concerning, not so much because of what it says about Ezeh but what it might say about Kenny Demens, JB Fitzgerald, and the rest of the scholarship linebackers who have disappointed thus far in their careers.
Meanwhile in countdown to kickoff, here's Taylor Lewan and Craig Roh working on their vaudville routine:
Team, team, team. A debate settled: Bo Schembechler deployed the famous "The Team, The Team, The Team" speech prior to the 1984 season.
Bar bets resolved all around. Now: if Rodriguez is going to deploy "The Team" in his tweets can we get him to say "those who stay will be champions"? I have literally been waiting for this since he was introduced at halftime of the Ohio State game.
Ve vant the money. Great graph from the Daily Cardinal showing the television money (Lebowksi) landscape as of now:
Though tiny now, the Pac-10 is going to vastly increase those tiny circles when their contract expires in 2011. In a realm of ever-expanding cable options even the ACC was able to leverage their free agency into a massive increase in revenues. A Pac-10 plus Colorado and Utah is going to see their raw numbers shoot up. Same with the Big 12 when their contracts expire. That's one reason the much-hyped SEC ESPN contract was overblown: when you're locked in that long the contract is shiny up front but by the end of it looks ragged. The BTN is excepted because the conference owns half of it and gets a revenue share, so that 112 million now won't be 112 in 2031. The SEC's deals will still be 150 and 55 in 2023. Not to imply that's terrible or anything.
Conveniently for the Big Ten fan, the Machiavellian point of view lines up with the one that's good for the players: you want D-I football to be as expensive as possible for the participants, with an emphasis on required spending on student-athletes.
While we're talking money. The Sports Business Journal has a paywalled article on what the Big Ten will do with its contracts now that Nebraska's on the way, but they put some interesting numbers in the intro…
The Big Ten Conference is preparing to auction the TV rights to its new football championship game, a move that industry insiders say could fetch $15 million to $20 million a year. The conference also plans to reopen its current deal with ESPN to account for the addition of Nebraska…
…which will push them even farther into the lead. Maybe Minnesota and Illinois will actually hire some one real this time around? Gary Pinkel, Gary Patterson, Charlie Strong, etc?
Swing low, Iowa. I've been thinking this for a while and now I'll dare mention it because a couple other outlets have broached the same thing: isn't Iowa due for a recession after their debt-fueled 2009? The lasting image of Iowa's Orange Bowl-winning season isn't Adrian Clayborn turning something into a damp red smear* but an Indiana pass pinging off four separate players before landing Charmin-soft in the hands of Tyler Sash.
Now it can be told on a list of teams most likely to regress this year:
The Hawkeyes had a great record last year, but they weren't dominant. They beat Northern Iowa and Arkansas State by a combined four points. They nearly lost to Michigan and Michigan State. In 2010, they get every tough team in the Big Ten while missing Illinois and Purdue. Iowa State usually plays them tough regardless, and they go to Arizona. It's not going to be an explosive team, and the schedule is tough.
That's Team Speed Kills and it's admittedly hazy, but the point about NIU, Arkansas State, Michigan (guh), Michigan State, and that omitted Indiana game is well-taken: Iowa was 89th in total offense last year. That is not often the recipe for a top-ten team, especially when the top-ten defense lost about half its starters and is still deploying a walk-on at safety.
In 2008, Iowa had the best running back in the nation and the best defense in the Big Ten, but lost four of five games decided by three points or less and had to settle for a nice consolation prize in the Outback Bowl. In 2009, a less impressive team on paper turned those close games, winning four of five by three points or less and landing the program's highest AP poll finish since 1960.
That was despite dropping from second in the conference in scoring offense in '08 to tenth in '09, as well as dropping to tenth in rushing and total offense, and from ninth nationally to 34th against the run on defense. The only difference was the uncanny knack for rallying the troops when tied or trailing going into the fourth quarter, which Stanzi and Co. pulled off five times in as many attempts against Northern Iowa (down 13-10 at the start of the fourth), Penn State (down 10-5), Wisconsin (10-10), Michigan State (down 6-3) and Indiana (down 24-14).
…but only after pointing out his 56% completion rate and meh efficiency ratings. Meanwhile, those fourth quarter comebacks scream regression unless you think Stanzi is some Rick Six** prone version of John Elway chafing under Dan Reeves. I don't think Iowa will be bad, exactly, but I'd be less surprised by the Hawkeyes finishing fifth in the Big Ten than second.
*(Adrian Clayborn: I say this with the utmost respect possible OH GOD NO—)
**(I see you, stpaulhawkeye. "Rick Six" is brilliant.)
Wha? Sid Hartman is like a billion years old and whenever I read something from him he seems confused so take this stuff FWIW:
Delany didn't see the Big Ten going to nine conference games in football in the near future, but one thing that might force that move is the big-money schools having to pay to attract nonconference opponents.
Since Delany just gave the first day of Big Ten Media Days whatever slight usefulness it had by bluntly declaring a nine-game conference schedule on the way, by "near future" Hartman probably means 2013. Then again, he's old enough where that does seem like a far off place. I wouldn't pay it any mind given Delany's previous statements.
Previously: S Carvin Johnson, S Ray Vinopal, S Marvin Robinson, CB Courtney Avery, CB Terrence Talbott, CB Cullen Christian, CB Demar Dorsey, LB Jake Ryan, LB Davion Rogers, LB Josh Furman, DE Jordan Paskorz, DE Jibreel Black, DE Kenny Wilkins, DT Terry Talbott, DT Richard Ash, C Christian Pace, WR Drew Dileo, and WR Jerald Robinson, and WR DJ Williamson.
|Ann Arbor, MI - 6'4" 195|
|Scout||3*, #79 WR|
|Rivals||3*, #22 MI|
|ESPN||4*, 79, #39 WR|
|Other Suitors||Florida? Texas? LSU? Tennessee?|
|YMRMFSPA||Greg Mathews or Tyrece Butler|
|Previously On MGoBlog||TomVH interviews Jackson. Friday Night Lights took in one of his games.|
|Notes||Son of RB coach Fred Jackson. Early enrollee.|
Of all the fine players Fred Jackson has coached in his tenure, he's the most excited about his son, Jeremy, who shoots lasers out of his eyes and reminds him of a Braylon Edwards, except fast and with giant hands made of glue. And when Jackson committed to Michigan months before the previous class even signed it seemed like this was a widely-held opinion. Every article about it mentioned hot-damn offers:
When high school senior Jeremy Jackson looks through the family mail, he commonly sees what every high school student athlete dreams of — full ride scholarships to the colleges of his choice.
Jackson cites offers from four of the top 10 football college in the land, including Florida, Louisiana State and Texas.
Michigan wasn't the only major program to offer Jackson a scholarship. Florida, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa and North Carolina all came calling, too, and Jeremy seriously considered signing with LSU.
In addition to Michigan, Jackson had scholarship offers from Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and North Carolina.
ESPN confirms as well. There are a bunch of Scout articles with those claims that also add Louisville and Stanford to the docket. Tennessee even came in months after his commitment with an offer. Texas was on him "hardest." As Christopher Walken might say about hot dogs: wow.
HOWEVA: not to suggest that a member of the Jackson family might be given to exaggeration, but given the way the Jeremy Jackson story played out it's more likely that the offer-type substances listed above were "verbal" offers that, like a Les Miles letter of intent, evaporate when someone attempts to use them. When it came time to rank the kids, Jackson's offers from the best schools in the country amounted to a generic three star rating from the drop. Even Ricardo Miller, about whom more in the near future, started off with a ranking slightly proportional to the hype. Jackson checked in at Anonymous Three Star and stayed there for the duration. Rankings systems aren't infallible but when a player actually has the offers Jackson claims he did six months before the previous class signs he at least starts off a four-star.
Jackson didn't, and even ESPN—by far the most enthusiastic service in re: his talents—put out an evaluation that uses the word "lumbering" in the first sentence($):
Jackson is a big, lumbering wide receiver prospect with great size and a thick build. He is strong and knows how to use his size. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism. Possesses long arms and a wide catching radius. Comes off the ball hard and will push defensive backs off him. Looks a bit like an H-back type. He is versatile and can be effective both inside and outside. He has good hands, plucks on the run and uses his body very well to shield defenders from the ball. If it's reachable, he will make the effort and display excellent focus.
The rest of it is more of the same: "lacks great burst," "may struggle to create separation," "mismatch in the red zone," "reliable," "excels in a crowd," etc. He gets a lot of Eckstein adjectives; the evaluation screams "son of coach"; in no way does it make it seem likely that Florida and Texas offered a kid in Michigan before his junior year is over.
That book on Jackson is consistent. The Rivals evaluation:
STRENGTHS: Jackson is a big target. He may actually be taller than his 6-3 listing in his profile. He has really soft hands. He catches the ball away from his body well, and makes it look easy. He is a better-than-average route runner as well. He will be a very reliable receiver at Michigan, and overall, was impressive on Friday.
WEAKNESSES: Jackson lacks top-end speed. It shows most in his inability to separate himself from defenders on deep routes. However, he does have pretty good body control and good hands. With some added strength, he will be able to make catches with defenders on his hip. - G.L.
Is a big bodied kid who uses his body well to out-position defenders. Has good ball skills and timing and is able to go up over the top of defensive backs to make tough catches. Has fantastic hands and makes grabs in traffic. Lacks top end speed and ability to stretch the field but should be a reliable possession receiver and red zone target.
"Hands," "size," and "red zone weapon" are his assets; "speed" and "downfield threat" the negatives. Everybody hold hands and sing in harmony: the scouting report on Jeremy Jackson is unanimous. Even Jeremy Jackson agrees when talking about things to improve on:
They haven’t talked about speed, but my Dad just told me to keep working hard every day. I ran a 4.58 at camp, and I’d like to get that down to a 4.4 or 4.5. I want to improve my weight, and I can’t really improve my height at all, so I’ll focus on those. I’m assuming they want me to gain weight, they haven’t mentioned it. Rich Rodriguez isn’t influencing me on my speed either; it’s just a goal of mine. My route running and catching ability are my strengths right now, which helps.
His coach is also on board:
“He is big and strong. He uses his body very well when playing against a (defensive back). He cuts very quickly and has great feet and hands,” Gildersleeve said.
“He is a good teammate. He does his job and works very hard,” Gildersleeve said. “The players on the team look for him to make big plays for us.”
Gildersleeve liked the "big and strong" part so well that he moved Jackson to tight end as he installed a veer offense; despite this he managed to call the kid's number enough for him to lead the county with 47 receptions (and 691 yards), an increase on his 42 catches (and 620 yards) as a junior. This came despite games in which he was targeted five times and had an opportunity to make a catch once.
Because his dad coached at Michigan his recruitment was extraordinarily brief and obvious save for the offers listed above, which we just covered. At Michigan he'll be a wide receiver unless he packs on a ton of weight and becomes a slight, but potentially dangerous, tight end. A side note on his potential usefulness: as a former high school TE and a gritty Gritstein of a player with excellent size and long arms, his ability to block on the edge could be a major asset in the ground/screen game.
"He brings a lot to a team," Huron coach Joel Przygodski said. "The most tangible aspect of his game can't be seen on film - he is so smart on the field. He's a very, very difficult player to game plan for. We just shake our heads at some of the things that young man has done."
Father son stuff gets weird:
When Jeremy emerged as one of Michigan’s top recruiting targets for 2010, Fred drew the role of lead recruiter. He wrote Jeremy a letter or two each week, as he did all of his prospects, explaining how much he wanted him and what Michigan had to offer. And he made regular trips to see Jeremy at Huron High School.
Other guy named Jeremy Jackson: David Hasselhoff's son on Baywatch, who put out a sex tape in 2008 and is now endorsing a product that prevents premature ejaculation, but only in Australia. AMBIGUOUS CLAUSE WOOT.
Why Greg Mathews or Tyrece Butler? Butler is probably the closer comparison since he was also around 6'4" and sticks in my memory as the Michigan WR most likely to get tagged with "lumbering," Listed at 6'3", 211, he was not a hyped recruit and ended up a bit player until his senior year, when he caught 21 passes as the #3 receiver. (Did he get injured or something? All of his passes were made in the first eight games; he registered nothing in the last five.)
Mathews, meanwhile, was considerably more hyped as a recruit—he squeaked into the tail end of the Rivals 100 on their last revamp his recruiting year—but turned out to be overrated because he couldn't really get separation from defensive backs. He did have some spectacular hands, though, and would have been a reliable underneath target if he'd had a non-freshman quarterback either of his upperclass years.
Guru Reliability: High. Yes, despite the spread between some on the rankings, when they all say the exact same things about a player there's no reason to expect anything different than the scouting reports.
General Excitement Level: The opposite kind of moderate that dropped on DJ Williamson. Williamson could be anything from Braylon/Mario III to Doug Dutch II; it seems obvious that Jackson will be a solid, unspectacular contributor who would ideally be the #2/#3 receiver on the team when he is an upperclassman.
Projection: Enrolled early and has a shot at playing time outside with the scant experience past the starters, but still likely to redshirt since it seems like Miller and Robinson are getting more early buzz. Probably won't see the field much until Stonum and Hemingway go; redshirt sophomore year is his first shot at playing time.
We're switching it up for this week's Update. I thought I would give you guys a chance to ask some questions, and I could try to shed some light on your inquiries. Feel free to add your thoughts, or info in the comments.
Where does Michigan stand with Sammy Watkins and Kris Frost? I saw that Frost has a visit date set up with Michigan, and I know Watkins came in the spring. What are our chances of landing both of these guys?
You're right about Frost, he will be taking an official visit for the MSU game. If money and timing work out, he might be up for a couple games this season. He's down to Auburn and Michigan at this point.
Early on I would have said that Michigan was comfortably in the lead. Auburn, however, has caught up and this will be get close. I'm still thinking Michigan leads, and it would probably take quite a bit for him not to choose us. As it is with a lot of the uncommitted prospects Michigan is after, we just need to win.
As far as Watkins, I've said this a couple times but there's a rumor that Sammy has grade issues. I haven't 100% confirmed that, so take it FWIW. (EDIT: I have talked to someone close to Watkins, and they say that he thinks his grades are good enough, but he needs to pass the SAT. He just re-took the SAT, and thinks he passed, so he'll know soon.) If he's fully qualified then we have a good chance. From talking to his teammate Dallas Crawford (who we have a really good chance with) it sounds like they might be favoring different schools. If the grades rumor is true then I'm sure the coaches still have a bitter taste in their mouth with Florida recruits that have grade issues.
I was wondering how likely it would be that Michigan pulls off a recruiting miracle and actually gets some of the top prospects to switch commitments, or commit in general. I.E. - Trey DePriest, HaSean Clinton-Dix, DeAnthony Thomas, Ray Drew, or anyone else in the top 100 nationally.
This is a tough question to answer, because all of this will depend on how the team produces on the field. To get this out of the way though: forget about DePriest, it's not happening. As far as Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, I think he's pretty set in his ways about Alabama. He does have a few teammates in his ear about Michigan, now that '12 QB Nick Patti has been up for a visit and seen it for himself. He would be pretty hard to pull away from Alabama, so it's not likely. Again, the theme here is win and there's a chance.
I spoke with DeAnthony Thomas about his interest in Michigan. If he schedules an official visit then there would be reason to hope. The only way Michigan has a chance with him is if he takes an official visit. There's obviously a need for highly ranked defensive backs like Thomas, so playing time would be an easy sell. I would put him in the "don't count on it" file.
Ray Drew is an interesting scenario. Drew is good friends with DB Avery Walls, who is very high on Michigan. Walls has been apparently recruiting Drew to come to Michigan with him. Friends recruiting friends is one of the best recruiting tools a school can have.
I interviewed Drew back in June and he told me he was wide open. But he also told me that it's going to be hard for any school to pull him out of Georgia because his mom wants him to stay close to home. He's open to go out of state, but he's a momma's boy.
Knowing that Demar Dorsey didn't get admitted, and some didn't qualify, how good was the 2010 class in retrospect?
This is all going to be opinion, since none of them have played a down of football yet. Dorsey is obviously the nonqualifier that was needed the most. While Jones could have played multiple positions he wasn't expected to contribute early, and neither was Kinard. Dorsey could have been a starting corner.
Looking at the rest of the class, judging by the talk around practice it seems as though they've filled a lot of holes with the 2010 class. Jibreel Black, who's playing defensive end, has been getting a lot of praise. He was already 253 pounds coming in, so it was an easier transition for him. We have our starting punter in Will Hagerup in this class. Marvin Robinson, Cullen Christian, Carvin Johnson, Drew Dileo, and Stephen Hopkins could potentially all see the field this year. If we have 7 out of the 24 recruits that signed seeing playing time, I think that's a good indicator of their work ethic, talent level, and fit.
Some of the recruits will just take more time to develop, and adjust to the next level. Not seeing significant early playing time isn't necessarily an indicator of their talent level. Christian Pace, for example, will redshirt and study the ways of David Molk at center. Some recruiting analysts said that Pace's height was the only thing that kept him from being one of the best offensive linemen in that class, and there's a lot of excitement around his future at center once Molk leaves.
The three star debate has been beaten to death everywhere on the internet, so I'm not going to go there. Could they have done better in certain areas? Sure. Do I think they did a good job, given the circumstances (3-9, 5-7)? Definitely.
Does the departure of JT Turner possibly help our chances with any top flight DB's in this year's class? (Doran Grant, Dallas Crawford, etc)? Do they see an even better opportunity for immediate playing time?
They already saw an opportunity for immediate playing time, but I'm not sure that most of them even know who JT Turner is, let alone that he's not on the team anymore. However, Michigan's lack of depth in the secondary is known by recruits. Turner's departure only increases that. When they find out Turner transferred then it will make Michigan more appealing for the kids that were already genuinely interested in Michigan.
I say genuinely interested because there's a lot of prospects that list Michigan, but we probably don't have a good shot with. Doran Grant and Kyshoen Jarrett are two of those recruits. There are rumors about Ohio State landing Doran Grant. He talks about us in interviews, and lists us in his top group, but I would be unbelievably surprised if he picks us. If I was guessing, I would pick Ohio State or Miami. He doesn't have an offer from Miami yet, but if he shows more interest in them, he might get it. Jarrett is rumored to be down to Penn State and Pittsburgh, since he's a Pennsylvania kid.
So who's left, and who do I think we have a shot with? Here's a list of the recruits that you should pay attention to.
- Dallas Crawford (Florida/5'10", 185 lbs, 3 Star) - Crawford actually reminds me of a more athletic Courtney Avery. He's a smart kid, and he plays quarterback in high school right now. He recently told me that, "Michigan has a very, very, very, realistic chance," of landing him.
- Avery Walls (Georgia/5'11", 184 lbs, 4 Star) - Walls has always spoken highly of Michigan, and more importantly so has his mom. I think Michigan might actually lead with Avery, and will likely get an official from him as well. He's looking to make a decision relatively early, so we'll find out soon.
- Valdez Showers (Michigan/5'11", 181, 3 Star) - Showers is an instate kid, and has Michigan in his top six along with Auburn, Iowa, Florida, Northwestern, and MSU. This is a tough one, because he was really excited about his Florida offer. I've had some off the record talks with other recruits about Showers that left me more confused than before. He's likely to make his decision soon, I'm just not sure where his minds at. He's a Michigan fan, but a few things could get in the way.
Besides these names it's slim pickings. Daren Kitchen from Louisiana had tried to commit, but was told to wait. They want at least one more defensive back in this class, and now with the departure of Turner, potentially two. Telling Kitchen to wait means they're higher on other prospects and think they have a good enough shot to take a chance.
The recurring theme with all of this is that Michigan needs to win. If they win, the recruiting landscape will take on a whole different look. Florida State commit Karlos Williams, the number two defensive back on Rivals, has said he has interest in Michigan. He told me personally that if Michigan is having a good season, he and some friends from Florida will try to make it up for the Iowa game. Obviously more names will come out of the woodwork once the coaches review more prospects and have a better grasp for where they're at with these current recruits. They just need to win, and the commits will come.
What are some 2012 kids that we're in on early?
These aren't all of them, but it's a good start:
- LB James Ross - Instate kid, loves Michigan. We need to win (have you heard that before?)
- OL Jordan Diamond - Teammates with 2011 Illinois OL Chris Bryant, who could ver well end up at Michigan. Bryant will announce his decision a few games into the season, and his decision will likely effect Jordan's as well.
- DT Danny O'Brien - O'Brien goes to Flint Powers and has Michigan and Tennessee in his top two. Michigan needs to land him.
- QB Bennie Coney - Has a verbal offer from Michigan. Coney is a 6'2, 205 lb quarterback from Florida. He'll be announcing his top 5 soon, but told me that Michigan will be in his top 5. He wants to get out of Florida and explore; he doesn't want to stay in Florida his whole life. He thinks that Notre Dame, Florida State, Purdue, Texas Tech, and Michigan will comprise his top 5, but it's not official.
- RB Coy Brown - Brown is from Indiana and told me that his top three (in order) is Indiana, Michigan, then MSU and Notre Dame are tied for third. He'll be visiting Michigan for the Iowa game, and has already camped at Michigan. He's a bigger back at 6'0", 205 lbs.
- DT Tommy Schutt - The teammate of one time Michigan recruit, current Iowa commit OL Jordan Walsh. Tommy spoke highly of Michigan when we talked recently, and said that Jordan's decision to go to Iowa shouldn't have a big effect on him.
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone - Royce is a Cass Tech product, and loves Michigan. We all know how those stories end.
- DE Chris Wormley - Wormley is a big Michigan fan, but has been upset about the lack of contact from the Michigan coaches. He understands the rules behind it, but is still upset for some reason. Ohio State may be taking the lead, which means that they're probably also not following the rules (assumption).
2012 will be a good year for talent in the state of Michigan, and hopefully our record for the 2010 season will give reason for some excitement.
Recently I updated the MGoPoint policy so that voting on other people's nodes actually cost points. I thought this would deter the phenomenon where one high school kid creates 6 accounts, gets them all above 20, and then starts negging like a maniac. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much people love their arbitrary number thousands of points beyond any tangible change in their status around here.
So let's vote. Your options:
- Status Quo Ante Bellum. Voting is free.
- Current system. Voting costs a point.
- Anti-Troll effort. Negging costs a point. Posbang is free.
- Elitism. Voting threshold moved to 500, at which point voting is free.
I'll take write-ins if anyone's got any ideas, too.