“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
So, right, we now have a second quarterback in the 2007 class. Steven Threet of Adrian is transferring from Georgia Tech. What does Michigan have in Threet? A pretty good quarterback, it looks. Both Scout and Rivals gave him four stars -- he was in the Rivals 250 last year -- and ranked him high among the available quarterbacks in a strong year for the position. Scout had him #13, Rivals #9. ESPN is a huge outlier, ranking him only the 65th best quarterback in the '07 class. Which is, like, David Cone territory and doesn't seem to match up with a generally positive scouting report (more on that later).
Orson's lingering suspicion than any lanky, immobile, pale 6'6" guy he meets on the street is, will be, or has been a Michigan quarterback gets stronger with every passing day, as Threet fits the Michigan quarterback MO to a tee. He is indeed 6'6" and criticisms leveled at him are usually along the lines of "graceful as a water buffalo"; he offsets said criticisms with a big arm and the proverbial headiness that all nice young men with good standardized tests are credited with when the media discusses them. ESPN's Threet scouting report:
Has the arm to place the ball anywhere on the field and is very accurate. He stands tall in the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield and does an excellent job working his way through progressions. ... He makes good, quick decisions and rarely forces the ball. He has just enough movement skills to avoid within the pocket and buy a second passing chance. ...not an elusive athlete. He is not a guy you want on the perimeter; is at his best in the pocket. ... For such a tall player, he releases the ball low and his elbow sinks, very much like Vince Young. This negates his great natural height and can cause batted balls. His footwork can be inconsistent and drop speed needs to improve. [paging John Navarre! -ed] .... He is smart and heady. [see? see? -ed]
The above mechanics criticism -- the first and last time Threet will be compared to Vince Young -- is echoed by Rivals' Mike Farrell:
Michigan quarterback Steven Threet looked great physically but his footwork lacked and he dropped his arm a bit on his release.
Threet was impressive in his short time at Georgia Tech, slotting into the #2 spot on the depth chart behind Tyler Bennett almost immediately:
The main challenge will likely come from freshman Steven Threet, an imposing 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect who enrolled early so he could take part in spring drills.
"Taylor's got the lead right now, but I want to see Steven go out there and compete and do the best he can," Gailey said. "If Taylor continues to play well and wins the job, what if we go to Notre Dame (for the season opener) and he gets sick the night before the game? We've to have a quarterback the next day. Somebody's going to play. We don't know who that's going to be right now."
Threet was clearly the second option in the GT spring game, getting a series with the first team offense and finishing 7-11 for 51 yards and a touchdown. And the following praise comes with a full Tom Deinhart Stupidity Warning, but it was a collaboration with Rivals' Jeremy Crabtree so maybe this has a smidgen of truth in it. They're comparing '07 recruits to '06 recruits:
Georgia Tech's Steven Threet (Adrian, Mich.) is like Georgia's Matthew Stafford. Sure, Taylor Bennett looked good in the Yellow Jackets' bowl game, but Georgia Tech might consider opening its quarterbacks competition with Threet climbing aboard. Why? Because the big, strong-arm Threet (6-5, 230) is a classic dropback passer whose package of acumen and skills might allow him to start right away.
Of course, when Threet's transfer was announced all the actual practicing and praise he got went out the window for poorly-founded theories of a fear of competition:
No need, though, for alarm. Threet might have been No. 2 this season, but that's a definite "might." If he won that job, and I don't think he was going to, it would have been by a hair over Calvin Booker and/or Josh Nesbitt. With Taylor Bennett in position to handle the next two seasons, there is plenty of time for Tech to plan/recruit so that two years from now, when Threet most likely would've been a real factor, the Jackets will have filled in that hole.
My hunch is that after having a so-so spring when it became apparent that Bennett would be the man for the next two seasons and that Calvin Booker is at least a little (and maybe more) better than some thought, Threet gave matters some thought.
He was, from what I have been told, an outstanding student, but I think fellow freshman QB Josh Nesbitt showed up last month and began working out with other players, and although those workouts are limited in their form by NCAA rules, there is a pretty good chance that Threet got an eyeful.
Next, a top QB prospect, Renfree of Scottsdale, Ariz., commited to Tech and said he was going to redshirt in 2008, and begin competing in '09. I know some have said he was homesick, and I haven't spoken with Steven so you can call me crazy (and be right). But my theory is he didn't like the writing he foresaw on the wall.
A transfer to Michigan obviously blows that theory all to hell; you don't transfer into the same recruiting class as Ryan Mallett to lessen the competition you face. That guy is also the one who wrote the YAY TECH article on Threet's transfer that drew FanHouse ire. It's kind of sad when the AJC blog specifically positioned as a fan's view on GT athletics is more objective than the actual beat guy's effort.
Editorial Opinion: Obviously Michigan is done at quarterback this year. With Mallett, Cone, Threet, and Wienke on the roster going forward Michigan finally has some QB depth, assuming that they all stay.
Also! If you want a mug or t-shirt with Threet's stony visage on it, you are in luck.
"The biggest thing is that the two coaches that recruited me took jobs at other schools, and that happened after I got there," Threet said. "Nothing against the other coaches because I like them, [offensive coordinator John] Bond and [Liam] Klein. It was just a different situation.
"People have been asking if it was homesickness, or
classes were too hard, or if it was all the competition at Tech," Threet said from Ann Arbor, Mich., after visiting Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr Thursday with his parents. "It was not any of those at all. I had a 3.76 grade-point my first semester, and the competition here is as good or better."
This comes from the dodgiest of potential sources, the registration-free and largely anonymous MLive message boards -- the source of an unfounded Chris Perry broken leg rumor back in the day -- but it fills in some blanks that I had wondered about earlier. Anyway, the rumor:
Michigan just landed another 4 star QB, but this is a 2007 transfer, not a 2008 recruit. I don't think it will be offical until he meets with Lloyd and staff tomorrow. I am excited, as it is a personal friend of mine. The QB position looks real good for the next 5 years or so.
This can only be instate quarterback Steven Threet, a four star from the '07 class who just announced he's fleeing Chan Gailey Equilibrium. Okay, okay. Unsubstantiated internet rumor, yes. But no one just leaps on a board to say "Michigan got a quarterback transfer" if they're trying to stir things up; no one gets stirred up by that sort of thing. Circumstantial evidence: more than one article in the aftermath of the Michigan camp had with direct quotes claiming Michigan would take two quarterbacks this year. In-state three star Brendan Kay was one of these players hoping for the second quarterback offer; he committed to Cincinatti yesterday. Implication: Michigan filled their need and Kay need not wait on an offer any longer. I buy it; expect a Threet announcement soon.
Assuming this is true, Threet would have an enforced redshirt then four years of eligibility. It would be just as if he enrolled with the rest of his class. Also, irony meters across the state will break if Michigan picks up a quarterback recruit who can only transfer because he enrolled early instead of loses one.
Update: A second source close to the situation confirms this; question mark removed from post.
That headline was going to be "Porter staying" but then I remembered this was Michigan hockey we're talking about. A positive blurb on the official site of the Phoenix Coyotes, who hold his NHL rights, has this quote from the captain-to-be:
Porter is expected to return to Ann Arbor this fall where he will serve as the Wolverines team captain and try to help capture the school's first NCAA Championship since 1997-98.
"I want to finish up my fourth year at Michigan, finish up school, get my degree and then hopefully after that sign with the Coyotes," said Porter.
Standard Michigan hockey paranoia applies, but when the team that holds his rights says he's expected to return you can ease up on the Xanax. Porter is apparently doing well with the Coyotes, playing on a high profile line with Gopher and former fifth overall pick Blake Wheeler:
While Coyotes prospects Martin Hanzal and Blake Wheeler continue to grab headlines (deservedly so), the third member of that line, Kevin Porter, is quietly putting together an equally impressive performance this week.
Though Porter was expected to return, a verbal confirmation of that is always nice to have. The other departure threats also seem likely to stick around. Chad Kolarik has always been regarded an extremely good bet to return. There's some chance Mark Mitera might go -- and that would be disastrous -- but the Ducks don't appear to be making a move to sign him yet. So... um... yay? Jack hardly seems like an early departure at all, so an offseason of losing only Cogliano seems like a pretty good one.
The number one sign you're a Michigan hockey fan: the premature loss of the best defenseman ever and your projected number one center qualifies as "a good offseason." But we've got a Swede!
Stripe versus Swoosh. Fight! Yesterday the university announced that, effective next year, the primary athletics sponsor was switching from Nike to Adidas. This is not something I particularly care about, at least not to the extent that it matters more than $7.5 million per year, nearly double the previous deal. If Adidas put in the best bid, I'm perfectly happy to dump Nike. There's an undercurrent of discontent with the move out there I find odd after the introduction of the controversial Bibby McPiping jerseys that were universally panned and then immediately forgotten about.
Well, the piping's still there and it still irritates. Unfortunately I can't find the exact quote, but something Uni Watch's Paul Lukas said about that one horrible weekend when Florida, Virginia Tech, and a few other teams wore asymmetrical Nike eyesores featuring one neon sleeve stuck with me: the truly grating thing (other than, you know, the uniforms) was that Nike seemed to regard itself as the show, not the teams they sponsor.
What bothered me about the piping was not the piping itself but the fact that Miami had identical piping-bib-woo jerseys done in different colors, as, I'm sure, do several other teams. Nike tries to play this off as a structural necessity required to prevent their space age jerseys from accidentally sending players to the moon or something, but I've seen a lot of shirts in my time -- people just love wearing the things -- and I call bull. Universally identical piping was a Nike branding technique subtle enough to rope Michigan in. I'd rather be Michigan than a Nike school that happens to wear maize and blue. So, insofar as I care for reasons other than "the athletic department gets money they can rule the world with," I support the devil we don't know here.
Internal UPDATE! The Free Press with more delicious details:
There is a "most favored nation" clause in the contract that will keep Michigan as Adidas' top college deal.
Nice! NDNation is throwing a hissy fit; they signed a ten year, $60 million contract in 2005 (Michigan's is the same money over eight years) and are upset about the MFN status and the fact that Michigan is getting "33%" more than ND did. That's what you get when your engineering school sucks ass.
McGuffdate. USAToday w/ Rivals content:
McGuffie still undecided
Sam McGuffie, the nation's top all-purpose back, took a visit to Michigan last week. The 6-foot, 188-pounder has yet to make his college decision, but said he's getting close.
"The recruiting process is getting very overwhelming, but there will be a decision in the next few weeks," McGuffie said. "Michigan has been my favorite for a while, followed by USC, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Florida (in no particular order).
"I want to enjoy this process and not make it so pressure-packed."
That Sunday-next decision referenced in Monday Recruitin' appears to be off. It's encouraging that "Michigan has been [his] favorite for a while," but A&M folk are suddenly confident and the public opinion of the internet is rapidly switching. So... yeah. I kind of have to back off earlier confidence. I wouldn't call it unconfident -- I still think he ends up at Michigan -- but this reversal is pretty frickin' weird and I don't know what to do with it. FWIW.
It appears two sorts of people read this blog: students and lawyers. This is for the latter:
Coach Carr has only 116 spots available on his team and he wants you to be part of it. The 2nd Annual Michigan Men's Fantasy Football Experience will be held on August 2-3, 2007. Proceeds will benefit the "Men of Michigan" Prostate Cancer Research Fund at the University of Michigan. Our goal is to advance awareness, research and treatment of the most diagnosed cancer in American men.
We will conduct two-a-days practice installing offensive and defensive schemes coached by the Michigan coaching staff. Participants will attend a typical team meeting in Schembechler Hall, review actual practice film, and suit up in the Michigan Stadium team locker room. You will have your own locker at the Big House and receive an authentic Nike game jersey.
The cost for the two day experience is $2,500 per person and includes meals and overnight accommodations at the Campus Inn Hotel where the team stays prior to every home football game. We have an outstanding event planned and we hope you will join us for a memorable experience. You can reserve your spot on Coach Carr's team or receive additional information by contacting FootballExperience@umich.edu
As noted, all proceeds benefit charity. Last year Jon Chait went and reported back with a fascinating look inside the camp and the program. Anyone who decides to go this year is encouraged to offer up their own impressions. There is a guest post waiting for you.
Did we know this? The Chicago Tribune has an article on Alice Cooper's new golf book -- anyone who's surprised hasn't seen Wayne's World. In it, a potentially awesome addition to Mini-Me amongst the B-level Celebrity Michigan fan parade:
Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in East Detroit in 1948 to a family with French Huguenot roots mixed with Sioux Indian "and a lot of Irish." (He changed his name legally to Alice Cooper in the '70s.)
The Furniers had three vital rules: "You had to be a Democrat; you had to be a Tigers fan; and you had to be a [Michigan] Wolverines fan," Cooper remembers.
(Thanks, Chicago Tribune, for specifying that. It's not like we're the Wildcats.) We can't compete with USC, obviously, but I think Mini-Me and Alice Cooper is a hell of a Celebrity Fan Deathmatch tag team.
Hey... great. A helpful commenter points out this chilling quote from BTN president Mark Silverman in a brief AP article that seems rephrased from a press release:
"We're well on our way toward ensuring that roughly half the subscribers to smaller cable systems across the Midwest have better access to their favorite Big Ten schools and teams than anytime in history," Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said in a statement.
Yikes. Way to lower expectations. Hopefully that's just an awkward, easily misinterpreted public statement and not a reflection of revised ambition.
Okay, so Jim Carty responded to the Friday "Les Miles sux" post and didn't even make any uncomplimentary comparisons about my appearance. I feel heelish; well played. But I still think Miles is a tremendous long shot for a hypothetically available Michigan job. Carty offers up the hiring of John Beilein as evidence that the Michigan of the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s no longer exists:
Here's but one example: When it was first suggested Michigan hire John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, the overwhelming opinion among old guard in-state media, and old guard fans, was that Michigan would never approach a coach with a huge buyout, let alone a coach with no Michigan ties and a track record for job hopping.
Time and time again, I was told I didn't know Michigan when I pushed Beilein for the job.
This is not a valid comparison. One: people who said that Michigan would never pay John Beilein's huge buyout were right. Michigan contributed not a dime to it; Beilein and his magic lawyer later got the amount knocked down considerably. Two: Tommy Amaker had no Michigan ties when he was hired and no other candidate suggested or seriously rumored had any. There are precious few Michigan ties around the coaching ranks aside from a couple of NBA assistants. Three: Beilein's job hopping wasn't out of line for any coach working his way up the prestige latter.
The attributes Beilein brings to the job are pure old-school Michigan: an innocuous, genteel public persona. A reputation for cleanliness beyond compare. A focus on fundamentals, execution, and outworking the opponent. The only thing even slightly new school about Beilein is the size of his contract, and Michigan's unwillingness to pay a market rate has been overblown by the media -- primarily Terry Foster -- from day one. Amaker had a market contract when he signed and would have kept pace with his coaching peers if he had achieved any success. His 900k buyout was a "deferred compensation" account he was getting either way. Beilein reinforces the existing stereotypes of Michigan's priorities. They would like to win, yes, but only in a certain way.
Hiring Miles would be a virtual 180 from the Beilein hire, the equivalent of grabbing John Calipari or Bob Huggins. Each has experienced a lot of success with highly recruited athletes; each has been dogged with unproven but persistent rumors about the sort of programs they run; each maintains a sketchy public persona. The problem with Miles isn't that he dropped the f-bomb at an alumni function, it's that he followed that up with intemperate comments about USC and is further whining in the press about how tough the SEC is and how that justifies LSU's candy nonconference scheduling. Maybe the Jerry Springer crowd (w00t cultural references ten years out of date, Simmons has nothing on me) digs his combative style, but dollars to donuts the Michigan athletic department sees it as unprincipled and undignified, especially after last year's Urban Meyer campaigning. Hiring him would be a major departure for the athletic department; the Beilein hire only reinforces that.
This concludes my speculation on the motives and thought processes of others. Personal opinon follows.
Should Miles be given a shot?
I guess he might warrant an interview; I would be disappointed if he was the guy. I assume that LSU and Okie State are the sorts of places that will overlook a lot in the hopes of winning some games, and while Michigan isn't Stanford they do have some standards. If Miles' advantages lie mostly in his willingness to be sketchier than the average bear then he is of little use to Michigan.
Personally, I believe that they do. Okie State was like a slightly better version of Minnesota when Miles was there, and his consecutive two loss seasons at LSU are fairly impressive but are built on a Saban-collected gold mine of talent. While Carty's right that dismissing those results out of hand is excessive, I am disturbed by the widely held opinion amongst SEC fans that Miles is the stupidest coach in the conference. Even LSU fans seem kind of unimpressed.
LSU seems to be a ramshackle train of enormous talent that implodes on a regular basis because it is lax, undisiciplined, and plain dumb. Take Miles away from the ridiculously fertile recruiting grounds of Louisiana and slap his hand when he tries to import guys who can't spell "cat" in three tries and visions of Michigan State dance in front of my eyes. My personal preference is for either a proven tactical expert like Jeff Tedford or someone who will just recruit his ass off. What, exactly, is Les Miles good at? He must be good at something, but I don't know what it is.
Update 7/8: Linked to articles on IL QB John Wienke (a second; video interview), PA WR Vaughn Carraway, TX S Keanon Cooper, AZ CB Marc Anthony, NJ S Brandon Smith. Video of MI CB Boubacar Cissoko. Added TX DE Damion Squire. Linked to Arizona blog post w/ mentions of AZ CB Marc Anthony, AZ TE Dion Jordan, and AZ OL Zach Schlinck. Linked to articles on VA WR Deion Walker, OH OL Zebrie Sanders, IL DT/OL Garrett Goebel, PA CB Jared Holley, IL QB John Wienke. Removed IL DE Glen Foster (Illinois).
Editorial Opinion: A less eventful week than last, which featured three commits and a bunch of guys off the board. Youtube has some stuff, though. New QB recruit John Wienke:
And five-star cornerback Boubacar Cissoko:
MGoBlog scouting report: damn, that kid's legs move fast.
TX S Keanon Cooper has Minnesota(!?) in the lead at the moment, but hasn't visited anywhere except relatively local Texas Tech and has Michigan in the pack slightly behind:
Growing up, Cooper admits he used to follow Texas Tech and Michigan and loves the tradition at Ann Arbor. "Michigan is always competitive and play against top competition every week," Cooper said. "The coaches are great and they have been there a long time."
With Wisconsin also high on his list, it's evident Cooper doesn't mind leaving home for college. Despite another team leading, that's a relatively positive update to me, as it further indicates the Big Ten is a likely option. And the last kid from somewhere other than Minnesota that chose the Gophers over Michigan was... um... I don't know. Someone very confused.
PA WR Vaughn Carraway still maintains a Michigan lead, but I am somewhat skeptical he ends up in this class. Despite a rumored push from Michigan State, it still seems likely that instater Fred Smith ends up committing relatively soon; with three recruits last year and Stonum already in the fold, a sixth wideout in two years is unlikely unless it's someone like Jonathan Baldwin. If Michigan would take Carraway as a defensive back he could still find a spot in this class, but...
Early on some schools were recruiting Carraway for cornerback as well, however he says that now everyone wants him at wide receiver. "A lot of schools told me that it was up to me and I like playing receiver more," he said. "I like having the ball in my hands and getting it into the end zone."
...I don't know if either player or school thinks that an option. The Michigan lead is slight and he has attractive options like Tennessee, for a given version of "attractive" that does not include the uniforms. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Carraway end up elsewhere eventually.
AZ CB Marc Anthony has a top three of Michigan, Cal, and Nebraska:
"It's a big football program and I love their tradition," Anthony said of the Wolverines. "They are known for their defense and I did really well at their camp. They offered me afterward and told me they can see me playing as a freshman. I plan to learn everything I need to know because my goal is to play as a true freshman."
Anthony appears to be Michigan's top cornerback target at the moment; earlier he had named Michigan a solid favorite.
Meanwhile, PA CB Jared Holley has a Michigan offer; this recent article doesn't mention Michigan at all.
OH OL Zebrie Sanders is a longshot:
Sanders, ranked No. 34 in the Midwest by Scout.com, said he favors Georgia slightly over Florida and UCLA and those three lead solidly over Clemson and Michigan. All of his favorites have offered.
Offensive linemen are getting thin on the ground. In-stater Deontae Pannell has an offer and a top three of Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State but says Michigan trails the other two; Arizona guard Zach Schlinck is supposed to think highly of Michigan. Other than that there are a bunch of guys who have talked highly about Michigan but don't seem offer-worthy and guys Michigan has offered who don't seem particularly interested. One or two more linemen would be nice, but Michigan might have to wait for the fall to pick up a late-emerging senior.
I removed VA WR Deion Walker last week, but he does plan on making an unofficial. If he expresses further interest, I'll re-add him.
Whoops! McGuffdate! He was announcing his college choice on Sunday; now he is announcing next Sunday on the same show Daryl Stonum announced his choice. It's essentially down to Michigan and Texas A&M; there were some reports that A&M was making a last-ditch attempt to sell him on being an Aggie. There's some low-level internet panic; I'm unmoved. McGuffie should be a Wolverine in a couple weeks.