landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Before this turns into a huge Ron Burgundy parody, let's just get everything out of the way now: BAXTER! You ate a whole wheel of cheese? San Diaaagooo. It's German for a whale's va....ok, that's enough.
Dillon Baxter is a four star running back prospect from San Diego, CA. Though he's currently a USC commit he will be visiting this week along with CA WR Kenny Stills and CA LB/S Tony Jefferson. Yes, he plays offense. No he doesn't play defense. He's really good, though, and his highlight video is jazzy.
On with the interview.
TOM: This visit kind of popped up out of nowhere; how did it come about, and what piqued your interest in Michigan?
DILLON: Michigan was one of my first places I wanted to look, but I never really got a chance to. I just want to make sure USC was the right place. I have an opportunity to go see it, so I wanted to do it now.
TOM: What made Michigan a place that you liked in the beginning?
DILLON: I like the crowd, and I’ve always liked them since I was little. They were kind of my team growing up, so I’ve just always liked them.
TOM: Have you made any other visits besides USC?
DILLON: USC is really only the main place. I’ve been to UCLA a little bit, but not really for that long.
TOM: You, Tony Jefferson, and Kenny Stills will be on the visit, are you all friends? Are you all friends with Tate?
DILLON: Yeah, we’re all friends; Kenny’s going to spend the night at my house before the flight. We all know Tate (Forcier) from high school, so that should be fun to all be together again.
TOM: Have you guys every thought about all playing together, or talked about it?
DILLON: We talked about playing together all last year, so we’re all kind of looking around to find a cool place. It didn’t work out that we’d all play for USC, so we’re going to see if there’s maybe anywhere else we all like.
TOM: Can this trip change your mind? A lot of people think kids that are committed sometimes take trips just to have fun, is that the case here?
DILLON: No, if this is better than USC then yeah. I’m pretty serious about USC, but who knows. The coaching staff at USC are all hype, and always happy to see you and teach you. I just want to find out how the Michigan coaches are, too.
TOM: What are you most excited for at Michigan?
DILLON: I can’t wait for that game; I’m excited. I don’t really know if I’ve been in front of that many people. I just want to see how the game is, the crowd is, just everything. Coach Dews is who’s recruiting me. We’ve been talking the last couple days. So, I want to build on that relationship more and meet the rest of the coaching staff. The offense is exciting, and I hope I can fit in that offense. I want to stay at running back and slot, so that would be right for their offense.
TOM: If this visit does change your mind, or make you think, when will your ultimate decision be?
DILLON: This is the first week of playoffs for us, so probably once our season is over.
The Great Oregon-Southern Cal Debate lasted all of one week and ended in a highly satisfactory fashion for bloggers who did not automatically look at the Trojan on the helmet and slot them in ahead of a team that had just steamrolled them: the same team that handed Oregon a two-score loss then opened up the proverbial can on USC.
There does remain one blog win versus the mainstream folks: bloggers remember that 1) Penn State's best win is over Northwestern and 2) Iowa's is over Penn State. Yes, at this point the Blogpoll should be part of the BCS. I give up. The only worse idea is the current one.
Rest of it at CBS Sports. Tim's final ballot after the jump.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
MI QB Devin Gardner
Last week: Preview fluff. Inkster defeats Southgate Anderson 35-7 in Round 3 of the State Playoffs. We were there, so enjoy some video and a scouting report, which I posted yesterday. Detroit News recap.
This week: Inkster (8-3) v. Warren De La Salle @ Ferndale High School at 1 PM Saturday in the State Semifinals.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
|St. Edward||W 14-7|
|Highland Park||W 27-22||9||16||127||2||2||56.25||7.94||11||74||2||6.73|
|Bay City Central||W 27-20||7||13||132||1||0||53.85||10.15||15||95||1||6.33|
|Muskegon CC||W 34-19||4||9||110||0||0||44.44||12.22||99||1|
|St. Ignatius||L 20-49||1||0||1|
|Edsel Ford||W 51-19||4||7||51||2||0||57.14||7.29||6||98||2||16.33|
SC QB Conelius Jones
Last week: Spartanburg upsets previously-undefeated Rock Hill 41-28 in Round 1 of the State Playoffs.
"We took a great season and made it miserable,'' Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery told The Herald. "We didn't stop No. 5 (QB Cornelius Jones) all night long. I told our kids we got beat in all phases of the game tonight, and you can't win when you give up 41 points.''
Jones did most of his work on the ground, rushing for 110 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns in the pivotal victory. Jones was especially key on third downs, converting three third-and-longs with big runs.
The lone pass attempt resulted in defensive interference and set up the Vikings with first-and-goal from the five.
“We knew nobody was going to pick us to win,” Jones said. “But we stuck together as a team and everybody executed and did what they were supposed to do.”
Way to figure out a winning gameplan during the regular season, corch.
This week: Spartanburg (4-8) @ Sumter in Round 2 of the State Playoffs. The Vikings fell to Sumter in week 4.
|Conelius Jones 2009|
|Boiling Springs||L 35-39||1||0||77||1|
|Rock Hill||W 41-28||0||0||0||0||0||-||-||18||110||2||6.11|
TX RB Tony Drake
This week: Skyline (11-0) @ DeSoto in Round 2 of the State Playoffs. DeSoto is a talented team, with 2 Texas commits and an LSU commit in their senior class (of course, Skyline has 8 seniors committed to D-1 programs).
|Tony Drake 2009|
|Plano East||W 45-19||15||167||1||11.13||0||0||0||-|
|Lake Highlands||W 42-27||19||226||2||11.89||1||6||0||6.00|
|W.T. White||W 62-3||4||50||1||12.50||0||0||0||-|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
Last week: Marcus beats Grapevine 48-18 in Round 1 of the State Playoffs.
Injecting a heavy dose of senior rusher Stephen Hopkins and junior rusher Rufus Mason, the Marauders wore down a game Grapevine squad in the game’s final 24 minutes to advance past the bi-district round of the postseason, 48-18.
Riding the legs of Hopkins, the Marcus speedster bolted through a gaping hole and scurried 16 yards for the touchdown just 30 seconds into the second quarter.
Speedster, you say? Hopkins ran 26 times for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns, while adding a 26-yard pass reception.
Hopkins photo by Brandon Wade of the Star-Telegram.
This week: Marcus (7-3) @ Cedar Hill in Round 2 of the State Playoffs.
|Stephen Hopkins 2009|
|Plano West||W 35-25||28||128||3||4.57|
|Tyler Lee||W 17-7||22||118||1||5.36|
|Southlake Carroll||L 30-41||28||150||1||5.36|
|Flower Mound||W 63-39||21||217||2||10.33|
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview Baptist beats Marksville 40-8 in Round 1 of the State Playoffs.
Senior tailback Drew Dileo added receiving and rushing touchdowns.
Dileo, a Michigan commitment, made three catches for 74 yards.
Dileo rushed for 68 yards on five carries.
This week: Parkview Baptist (9-1) v. Crowley in Round 2 of the State Playoffs.
|Drew Dileo 2009|
|Christian Life||W 60-14||1||50||1||50.00|
|Church Point||W 54-0||2||40||1||20.00|
|Port Allen||W 32-7||11||65||0||5.91||3||92||2||30.67|
|West Feliciana||W 23-7||50||1|
OH OL Christian Pace
Last week: Preview fluff #1:
“Ronnie has turned into a great receiver, thanks to his being a great athlete with great size, speed and hands. We have great leaders on the line like Christian Pace and Dan Schneider who everyone looks up to and does a good job keeping everybody in check.”
"Our lines on offense and defense are starting to play really well together and our passing game is starting to click, and that’s starting to move defenders out of the box," said two-way lineman Christian Pace.
"We all want the same goal, and that’s a state championship, and senior year is there. It could be your last game," Pace said.
Avon Lake falls to Toledo St. Francis DeSales 10-13.
This week: Avon Lake (8-4) has been eliminated from the playoffs, and their season is over.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
Last week: Hampton pounds Uniontown 35-14 in Round 2 of the State playoffs.
This week: Hampton (7-4) v. Hopewell in Round 3 of the State Playoffs.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Last week: Lake Region falls to East Ridge 2-47. Robinson is out for the year with an injury.
This week: Lake Region (0-9) missed the playoffs, and their season is over.
LA S Carvin Johnson
Last week: He was all-district, which comes with stats:
senior safety Carvin Johnson, a Michigan commitment who finished with 56 tackles and 4 interceptions. Johnson was selected as a punt and kick return specialist. He averaged 17.5 yards on punt returns with one score.
Rummel beats Captain Shreve 10-3 in Round 1 of the State Playoffs. Johnson kicked some serious ass:
The state's top-seeded team in Class 5A scored 10 first-quarter points, with a key punt return by Raiders safety Carvin Johnson setting up the game's lone touchdown...
In addition to his punt return, Johnson also had two interceptions, with the second ending Captain Shreve's final threat with one minute, 16 seconds remaining.
"We just played hard and we got through it, " Johnson said. "We're know we're going to struggle at times. Our offense has struggled all year. We've just got to keeping getting it done."
Johnson's first interception ended the game's first possession and put Rummel in place for its most productive moments offensively.
Is that not enough? He also had 2 sacks.
This week: Rummel (11-0) @ Jesuit in Round 2 of the State Playoffs. Rummel beat Jesuit earlier this season.
|Carvin Johnson 2009|
|East St. John||W 20-14||0|
|OP Walker||W 23-0||1|
|Brother Martin||W 13-7||0|
|St. Augustine||W 7-6||1|
|Archbishop Shaw||W 18-17||0|
|Captain Shreve||W 10-3||2||2|
MI RB Austin White
Stevenson's (8-3) season is over after falling in the second round of the playoffs.
|Austin White 2009|
|South Lyon||W 37-0||8||173||3||21.63||0||0||0||-|
|South Lyon East||W 47-20||16||234||5||14.63||0||0||0||-|
|Catholic Central||L 0-38||10||75||0||7.50||0||0||0||-|
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Pioneer's (8-3) ended after a loss in the second round of the playoffs.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
|Arthur Hill||W 58-20||1||20||0||20.00|
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Huron's (5-4) season ended without a playoff berth. Jackson finished with 43 catches for 573 yards.
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Canton South (3-7) missed the state playoffs, and its season is over.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Harding (6-3-1) will not make the State Playoffs, and its season has ended.
OH DT Terry Talbott
Wayne's (7-4) season ended with a defeat in the second round of the playoffs.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Trinity (4-6) has been eliminated from the State Playoffs, and their season is over.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Liberty (4-6) missed the State Playoffs, and its season is over.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Lexington (6-4) missed the State Playoffs, and their season is over.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
Wayne (7-4) has been eliminated from the playoffs, and their season is over.
WI P Will Hagerup
Whitefish Bay (5-5) has completed its season after a first-round playoff loss.
2011 OH CB Greg Brown
Ross (5-5) missed the State Playoffs, and its season is over.
|Greg Brown 2009|
|Benedictine||W 28-21 (OT)||6||99||1||16.50|
|Findlay||L 40-43 (3OT)||8||122||1||15.13||0||0||0||-|
|Marion Harding||L 0-21||0||0||0||-||4||13||0||3.25|
Via the Shredder.
No worries, but you'll still worry. These days there are many emails I get that fit neatly into categories. One category: "oh noes Devin Gardner!" All I can tell folk concerned that Gardner might decommit is that he is asked about the strength of his commitment every ten seconds and has not yet deviated from strongly endorsing it. Two more examples, one from MGoBlog recruiting analyst Tom VanHaaren on the twitters:
QB Devin Gardner told me tonight that the Florida rumors going around are not true. Everyone take a collective sigh of relief.
Gardner says "I'm listening to what they have to say, but I'm still solidly with Michigan" in another article from The Sporting News that notes he has no plans to visit anywhere else. As long as that remains the case, you should not panic. If he does visit, panic.
This will not dissuade hardcore worriers, but there's literally nothing short of signing a LOI—it appears that Gardner will not enroll early, unfortunately—that will do that.
HE MUST BE PUNISHED SEVERELY. I'm normally pretty libertarian when it comes to arbitrary restrictions imposed because we must Think Of The Children and care zero percent about the various MIPs and assorted citations that football players pick up when they do what everyone else in college does. Live and let die, man.
However, in this case I recommend no less than a one-game suspension:
Terrelle Pryor! At a bar! He's 20! Someone arrest him at the state line. Do it for your country.
What's with the jerkery? At this point we're forced to confront the fact that Rich Rodriguez going bust after four—or even three—years is a real possibility, so the actions of one Jim Harbaugh at Stanford are of considerable interest. You're probably aware that Stanford has just finished beating Pete Carroll's head in, causing this terse postgame exchange to occur:
"What's your deal? What's your deal?" Carroll said, according to two sources near enough to hear.
"What's your deal?" Harbaugh retorted, and that was that.
Ah, the You Can't Do That On Television defense. Excellent work after thoroughly sliming the opponent. Carroll could have been referencing any number of things, but the "go for two up 48-21, miss it, get it back, and score again" sequence was probably the reason Carroll became verrrrry un-Dude in the aftermath. If Rodriguez does indeed flame out, Harbaugh will be the first name on many lips, and he will be a deeply strange candidate to consider.
On the one hand: Harbaugh turned around a non-scholarship I-AA program, took Stanford from the 1-11 Walt Harris debacle to 7-3 in year three with consecutive wins over Oregon and USC, and has a family coaching tree a mile long. His 2009 recruiting class finished 20th nationally according to Rivals, the first time in forever that Stanford has peeked into the top 25. Walt Harris's last class was #50. Assuming continued progress on the Farm—likely since his quarterback is a redshirt freshman—he's going to have a hell of a resume.
On the other hand, he's a kind of a big jerk. When he got to Stanford he immediately pissed off Pete Carroll by suggesting he was headed for the NFL—twice. He then trashed Michigan's academics and caused this site to pen a bombastically-titled post called "Destroy Harbaugh." He also picked up a DUI in 2005. Then there was the two-point stunt last weekend. These are not isolated incidents.
Are the items in the latter group enough to disqualify a guy who is almost certainly going to be a, if not the, grade A candidate? I don't know. Probably not something to consider seriously until we get a verdict on Rodriguez.
Warren departure? As expected, Donovan Warren is definitely going to look at his NFL options after the season:
“Definitely I’m going to look into it as far as where I stand,” Warren said. “If it’s the best thing to do for my family then I’ll just have to decide that. But if it’s not then I’ll definitely be here helping Michigan.”
Definitely. If Warren projects as a mid-round pick, as an NFL scout who talked to AnnArbor.com claimed, that would probably mean a return. Caveat: I think Warren's better than that and the scout did not break down his film, he just offered an off-the-cuff appraisal.
Originally intended as a UV bit, but then it got long.
As you've probably heard, Bill Belichick went for a first down on fourth and two from his 29 with about two minutes left and his team leading by six points. The Patriots didn't get it, the Colts made the short march for the game-winning score, and commentators duly exploded at how awful the decision was. Tony Dungy evidently kept saying Belichick "should have gone with the percentages."
He did. Of course he did, he's Bill Belichick:
With 2:00 left and the Colts with only one timeout, a successful conversion wins the game for all practical purposes. A 4th and 2 conversion would be successful 60% of the time. Historically, in a situation with 2:00 left and needing a TD to either win or tie, teams get the TD 53% of the time from that field position. The total WP for the 4th down conversion attempt would be:
(0.60 * 1) + (0.40 * (1-0.53)) = 0.79 WP
A punt from the 28 typically nets 38 yards, starting the Colts at their own 34. Teams historically get the TD 30% of the time in that situation. So the punt gives the Pats about a 0.70 WP.
This is obvious in retrospect, right? Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NFL. There is a slight chance he knows what he's doing. And even if you are one of the folk who really believes emotion and momentum overwhelm probability in football, not even broaching the idea that Belichick might be on to something is simultaneously stupid and arrogant—neat trick. If you are a caveman when it comes to football and see Belichick go for it there, your first thought should be "hmmm… maybe I don't know something." This, obviously, has not happened. Caveman status is self-perpetuating.
Really, no matter how you play with the numbers, it will come out about the same. Try it. There is almost no way–without suppressing the numbers–to make the percentages even out. The Patriots’ best PERCENTAGE chance was to go for it on fourth down. Of course, football is not really a percentage game for most of us, is it? No, it’s a game about emotion and passion and momentum.
This is where Posnanski needs to play a lot of poker. Emotion and passion and momentum are great for football players. For coaches they are ways to go on tilt and make dumb decisions that are safe but go against the percentages. Belichick is ruthless and in a position where media criticism means nothing as far as his job goes. Most other NFL coaches would take the safe route and decrease their chances of winning because they perceive that it would increase their chances of keeping their job.
But, you know, at least Posnanski brought it up. Many thousands didn't, and just did some blah blah about how it was dumb, thereby implying they were smarter than Bill Belichick. This is why he is the traditional journalist who's bridged the internet divide more successfully than any other. Clark Wonk:
In other words, ”traditional sports punditry” is denoted not by what kind of resume you have, how old you are, whether you sit in the press box, or even whether your thoughts are packaged in 800 words of ink, 1600 words of pixels, or two minutes of streaming video. No, “traditional sports punditry” denotes merely that you’re not staying current within your own field: “What the hell is Belichick doing?” as opposed to “Whoa, talk about trusting the percentages–what the hell is Belichick doing?” …
To be aware of what Posnanski calls the “PERCENTAGE”s, ones that indicate that probability was in Belichick’s favor over the course of a thousand tries, does not rule out disagreeing with the coach in this single instance. But to not be aware of these percentages is to fail in the most basic journalistic sense. To write about a decision, much less try to criticize it, without displaying any understanding of its self-evident context is to fall down on the job in the ”why” department, even if you do get the who, the what, the when, and the where.
Humans would be well-advised to nail the “why,” by the way. Computers can now do those other four pretty well.
Seriously. Does anyone remember SHOCKDOME XXXVI*? The Patriots get the ball back in a tie game with about two minutes left. Tom Brady is the Patriot's first-year starting quarterback. John Madden, embodiment of conventional wisdom-type substance, is publicly begging Belichick to run the clock out and head to overtime instead of putting the game on the kid's shoulders. Belichick says screw that noise, I've seen Tom Brady play football, let's go, and two minutes later Adam Vinateri is kicking a game-winning field goal and no one remembers the ballsy decision that won the damn game. The reason Belichick is so untouchable that he can defy conventional wisdom is because he defied conventional wisdom.
And yet no one mentions this.
*(AKA Super Bowl XXXVI. An aging Pat Summerall awkwardly blurted out "this game has turned into Shockdome 36" at some point in the second quarter when the Patriots weren't getting stomped like everyone expected they would, and I died laughing.)
The MGoCreeper van headed to Southgate this weekend for its latest excursion, to see Devin Gardner and the Inkster Vikings take on the Titans of Southgate Anderson. Inkster walked away with a 35-7 victory, behind yet another stellar performance from Gardner:
Gardner finished the night with 74 yards rushing on 11 carries. He also passed for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns on an 11/19 performance.
This was not Devin at his most impressive, but it was still enough to blow out a team in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. A couple of the rushes he had were sacks that came on bad snaps where he had no chance to react, and some of the passes were catchable balls that the receivers weren't able to come down with. Still, it's clear that Devin is the best athlete on the field regardless of who steps onto it, and he's also been the better quarterback every time we've seen him play.
Inkster next takes on Warren De La Salle at 1PM on Saturday at Ferndale High School. Alas, we shall not be there, because there's some college football game going on at the time or something. If the Vikings win, they'll be in the State Finals.