Now that signing day for the 2010 class is over, focus shifts to 2011. With just one player in the 2010 class on the offensive line, OL will be a major focus. Anthony Zettel is a junior offensive lineman from West Branch, MI who was recently offered by Michigan. I caught up with Anthony, and here’s what he had to say.
TOM: It’s obviously early in the process, but what offers do you have so far?
ANTHONY: I have an offer from CMU, Michigan State, and I just got my offer from Michigan. Notre Dame actually called, and invited me to their junior day, too.
TOM: What position are you being recruited for?
ANTHONY: I play offensive tackle now, so they’re recruiting me for the offensive line, but also for the defensive line. I play defensive end, but I think I would be better in college at the tackle spot. I can plug holes better, and my speed would be better for that position. CMU, MSU, and Michigan are all recruiting me for both sides of the ball. They’re not sure where they want me to play yet.
TOM: Tell me about you as a player. What are your strengths, and what are you working on?
ANTHONY: I’m on the Michigan summer workout plan right now, so I’m trying to get stronger and faster. Our team did the workout plan this summer, but I’m doing it by myself right now. I want to increase my size, but keep my athleticism. So far, I’ve increased most of my maxes, but I’ve really helped my speed and vertical. I should be up to 265 by the end of the summer. Some coaches have told me that I play a little high, so I need to work on that, too. But, I think I have pretty good technique, and my footwork really helps me a lot.
TOM: Being from Michigan, who were you a fan of growing up?
ANTHONY: I’ve been a Michigan fan my whole life, and I still am. I have to put that aside for recruiting, though. I want to look at other schools, too, and see other places. I want to see what everyone has to offer.
TOM: What did the coaches say when they offered you?
ANTHONY: Well, they’ve been saying they were going to offer, and they said it would be around signing day. It came, and my coach pulled me out of class, and told me had some news for me. We called the coaches back, and coach Frey told me they were offering.
TOM: You’ve been in Ann Arbor quite a bit already; do you plan on being back for another visit anytime soon?
ANTHONY: Their junior day is February 20th, so I might be going back up for that. If I don’t make it up then, I know I’ll be back up there some other time. I’ll be there often over the summer, and the school year.
TOM: Do you have a schedule for your recruitment?
ANTHONY: No, I just want to see what everyone has to offer, and when I feel comfortable, I’ll make my decision. I’m not sure when I’ll decide.
TOM: Since you are a fan of Michigan, does this offer put them in the lead?
ANTHONY: Yeah, Michigan has always been there with me, but I would put them first. I did really like Michigan State when I went on a visit, but it just seems like Michigan was a little better. I really like how high level of facilities they have. I’ve liked all the coaches I’ve met at every school, but it just seems like Michigan has always been a little
You think we'd let one of the more controversial Wolverines in recent history go without getting the full treatment? Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to meet speed-demon, head-hunter, swag-dancer Demar Dorsey.
|4*, #19 S, #203 overall||4*, #13 S, #162 Overall||5*, 85, #2 S, #12 Overall|
Dorsey burst onto the scene when he blew up as a junior at the Under Armor combine:
Despite being committed to Florida for more than two months, little else was known about the 6-foot-1, 175-pound prospect.
That all changed with his appearance at the combine. Dorsey wowed observers by first running a 4.31-second 40-yard dash before bettering that on his second attempt with an unbelievable 4.25. The ultra-athletic junior also vertical jumped 39.5 inches, recorded a 4.1-second shuttle and broad jumped 10 feet 1 inch to show that his abilities stretch far beyond just speed.
Those testing numbers are très impressionnant, and Dorsey was tabbed as a future star. The Palm Beach Post certainly thought so:
Rivals and Scout have not yet released their 2010 prospect rankings, but expect Matt Elam, Demar Dorsey and Dowling to be five-star prospects.
Miami Herald ranked him #9 in Broward County before the summer of his senior year, and bestowed some praise upon him:
Having watched this gifted athlete play a number of times, you continue to see why some schools like him as a safety, while others love his speed and cover skills enough to put him at the corner position.
Same thing as everyone else.
In case you were wondering why ESPN thinks he's the #12 player - at any position - in the country, check out their evaluation of Dorsey, which is positively glowing:
Dorsey is a remarkable athlete that has a great combination of athleticism and toughness.
As a defensive back he is the entire package; a great blend of skill and natural talent. Very fast on run support with excellent closing speed. Gets to the ball carrier in a hurry and delivers the wood when he hits. Really explodes on contact and drives the legs throughout he tackle; really punishes the ball carrier.
So, yeah, it's fair to see, with an evaluation like this, why ESPN considered him the #12 prospect in the nation. They love the kid, and can't say enough positive things about him. They even mention that he'd be an excellent player on the other side of the ball, as well.
For those questioning his speed, he ran a 10.60-second 100m dash at a track meet as a junior, finishing second only to some guy you may have heard of, who just so happens to be his cousin*:
"I was kind of disappointed in myself to run a 10.44, but I will accept that,'' [Denard] Robinson said. "Running the No. 2 time in the nation is pretty good. I was trying to run a 10.3, but there was strong wind. I'm working harder on it and expect to hit a 10.3 by states.''
Boyd Anderson's Demar Dorsey finished second in 10.60.
That's speed to burn, folks, and he's shown it translates to the football field. He would go on to run a 10.55 time later in the year.
Early in the process (and apparently late in it as well, according to Rich Rodriguez), Dorsey was thought of primarily as a corner, who may be able to move to safety in the future.
Dorsey’s speed has coaches everywhere drooling. His coverage skills may be a little raw, but scouts believe he has the ability to play safety if he bulks up a little. Dorsey also had offers from FSU, Miami, UNC, and Wisconsin.
SoFlaFootball took in some 7-on-7 action by Dorsey's Boyd Anderson team, and came away impressed with his ability to play the deep safety role:
Dorsey is flanked by one of the best cornerback tandems in South Florida with Cliff Coleman (2010) and Harmon Brown (2011), and Dorsey is able to roam the middle of the field and make plays. He came away with two interceptions that were tipped by teammates as he came swooping in.
...and you bet your ass I added Harmon Brown to my 2011 watch list. What does Dorsey say of his own abilities?
"I can cover very well and I like to come up and hit," said Dorsey. "I am a very aggressive corner. I'm long and tall so I like to be aggressive jamming."
In addition to having all of the physical attribute required to be an elite player, Dorsey also hates losing and works hard to avoid it.
"Whenever we lose I try to come back harder and practice harder," said Dorsey. "I just try to better myself and help carry the team."
That second part speaks to something that Rich Rodriguez has talk about over and over again. He wants guys on his Michigan team to love football and love winning, and they have to be willing to put in the work to achieve their goals.
*(Maybe? It's unclear whether or not Robinson and Dorsey are actually related even though Dorsey has claimed so.)
Dorsey originally committed to Florida during his junior football season, and his final selection was between Michigan, Florida State, and USC. That's basically a who's-who of programs who have excellent secondaries (coughcough and Michigan coughcough), so this kid had the best offers you can possibly get. I could run down some of the other programs who really wanted the kid, but don't the Florida and USC offers say it all, really?
Dorsey's teammate Cliff Coleman, on the Boyd Anderson secondary going into last season:
"We call ourselves the no-fly zone,'' said Coleman, an electric kick returner who took back three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns last year. "Teams are not going to get anything through the air. All of us can cover and we can tackle. We believe we have the best secondary in the state. Now we have to go out and prove it.''
Despite all the hooplah, Boyd Anderson struggled in the 2009 season, going 6-6 with a loss in the second round of the Florida 5A State Playoffs. So that didn't work out, but "No Fly Zone" seems to be an emerging nickname for Dorsey.
As far as individual stats, this site is incomplete, but credits Demar with the following:
31 rushing attempts for 203 yards (6.55 ypc) and 1 touchdown (add at least 1 carry, 65 yards, and another touchdown), 8 receptions for 142 yards (17.75 ypc) and two touchdowns, 5 punts for 124 yards, and no stats defensively or in the return game.
The Detroit News says he racked up 75 tackles and 4 interceptions, to go along with 540 receiving yards.
FAKE 40 TIME
Brian said on the radio yesterday that Dorsey's reported times automatically get five FAKES out of five, with a 4.35 on Scout and an Under Armour Combine-verified 4.25 to ESPN (as noted above).
I take issue with Mr. Cook here. but this kid was the fastest at every combine he went to, and was anointed the "Fastest 2010 Football Recruit in the Country" by one source. I'll bump it down a notch, and give him merely four FAKES out of five.
[ed: sub-4.3s are 5/5 FAKES guaranteed.]
There's as much video of Dorsey dancing and singing things that I think white people aren't supposed to understand as there is of him playing football:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
This kid is one hell of a player. He will get extensive special teams duty as a true freshman (including as a potential return man), and even has the opportunity to challenge for a starting position in his first year on campus. He has elite speed, something that Michigan is really lacking on defense outside of Troy Woolfolk.
If Dorsey can keep his nose clean at Michigan, and progresses with the mental aspects of the game to compliment his physical talent, he should be able to challenge for All-American honors in his final year or two on campus.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
This class is completed, and Dorsey was the last person to join. As the 2010 class had 6 DBs in it, including Dorsey, the 2011 class doesn't have as much of a pressing need, and Greg Brown and Delonte Hollowell have both already signed up. Any secondary positions left in the 2011 crop will probably be reserved for elite talents with the needs at linebacker, nose tackle, and offensive line.
This was going to be a bit in UV but kept going. More Dorsey!
The Free Press got its FOIA muscles going again and found out that Dorsey confessed to a couple 2007 robberies as part of a group of five kids. He was placed in a diversionary program. The crime he was acquitted from was a 3 AM incident where he was in a car with four other kids and one of them hopped out to rob some guy; the kids all blamed each other and the cases were dismissed. So… 20% chance he actually did it if you don't believe the clean years after that mean anything. Considerably less if you do. 100% chance Dorsey needed to get far away from some folk.
You'll note that this makes one of Drew Sharp's statements from Signing Day accurate and leaves the rest in the realm of the reprehensible. Dorsey clearly had a rough past and hung with the proverbial wrong crowd, but amongst the many reasons this is the wrong crowd is it seems very bad at not getting arrested. His two years on the right side of the law and his very decision to GTFO are indications he's made a break.
I'm torn about the fairness of the article. On the one hand, it seems to think this is "acknowledgement" that Dorsey got breaks other kids wouldn't…
“All cases are individuals. We are dealing with kids,” [assistant state attorney Maria Schneider] said. “The vast majority of kids stop offending. I hope this is one of them. But if he’s not, we’ll find out soon enough.”
…when he was placed in a diversionary program while three others went to trial. Those three others were 17 and 18 and were already on probation. Dorsey was 16 and not. A second 16-year-old was also involved but what happened to him is unknown, which means he was—drumroll—almost certainly placed in a juvenile diversion program. (Except his records got sealed like they should.) The guy who Dorsey robbed was told that the kid might have a future so can we go easy, and Schneider didn't dispute it, so there's that. Still, the article spends a lot of time arguing—yes, arguing—that Dorsey's potential as a football player isn't a decent reason to keep him out of the criminal justice system.
On the other, it runs a quote from Dorsey front and center:
“My goal right now is to show everybody I’m not that person who I was a couple years back then, hanging with the wrong crowd and stuff like that, showing that I’m more focused,” Dorsey said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Free Press. “I’m focused. I’m ready to move on with my life to bigger and better things.”
And Ann Arbor, he says, is the place to do it.
“I feel like that is a great place for me, where I can start all over and make something out of nothing, make nothing into something,” he said.
That's the point. Maybe Dorsey won't make it, but he's been clean for two years and deserves a shot. If he caught a break because he had a shot at going to college, that was a good bet by Broward County. He did, and now he's going to Michigan. It's up to Rodriguez and Dorsey to make it pay off.
The worst thing about all this pressure is that a Dorsey MIP is now a big deal in a way that Kevin Grady getting frighteningly drunk and falling asleep in his car is not. If Dorsey doesn't keep his nose clean at Michigan, the rest of the team can have a spotless record and the storyline will be Dorsey this and Dorsey that. That's a hell of a burden, one that few players with "checkered legal pasts" have to deal with. When Roderick Jenrette came to Michigan State, he was carrying two burglary arrests with him—about which more later—and no one knew. His troubles were explained away by Mark Dantonio and people either respected his privacy as a juvenile offender or were lazy or were just stunned by how magnificent Dantonio's jaw was, and he was left alone.
For whatever reason, Demar Dorsey wasn't afforded that luxury. I have my theories as to why.
Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that will help him walk the line.
The larger context. So this article is basically fine, if too insistent on making a case against the local state's attorney for not treating a 16-year-old kid harshly. But compare this seven-page story that flags down everyone on all sides with the Free Press's pathetically credulous story on Michigan State's Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown— or "fight" or "altercation" or "pillow hugs" if you're the Free Press.
Dell Sr. said his son did not participate in violence at Rather Hall. He, however, did say his son initially lied to coach Mark Dantonio about his presence there.
"I said, 'Man, why didn't you just tell the truth and say you were there and didn't participate in any of the physical stuff?' " Dell Sr. said. "He said: 'I don't know. I should have just told the truth.' "
That was it as far as quoted sources went: parents of Michigan State players.
Cunningham and Dell each pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault and battery in East Lansing district court Wednesday.
How about the pathetically credulous article titled "Legal strategy at issue in Michigan State altercation" that asserted the criminal charges filed against nine Spartans were probably just crap to get "the truth"—about which see "bzzt" link above and the additional charges levied to Oren Wilson and Myles White? Or the pathetically credulous acceptance of Mark Dantonio's bald-faced lie about Roderick Jenrette, who had been arrested for robbery mere days before he arrived on Michigan State's campus?
It wasn't until Jenrette was booted for the team for hugging a unicorn at Rather Hall that anyone bothered to look into his double-robbery past, and this was a 2008 recruit who was arrested August 1st of… 2008! Dantonio took the bizarre step of sending Jenrette home to "work on family issues" and no one bothered to see if maybe there was something up with this kid. These are the same crimes, same state, hell even the same position, except one kid was two years past his trouble and was treated to a front page column questioning him and the other was two days past it and ignored. I'm sure I don't have to draw a picture.
I got a zinger in my inbox that's a good summary:
When did Demar Dorsey become Kwame Kilpatrick in the eyes of the Detroit Free Press?
Anyway, just throw this on the ever-growing pile of evidence that the Free Press has a double standard. Soon we'll be able to put a ski lift on it.
We'll have much more Signing Day video from the early enrollees down the road on MGoBlog. For now, enjoy each of them talking about what it was like to enroll early at Michigan.
...and onto the assistant coaches:
- In last year's recruiting class, there wasn't as much need for defensive tackles, but striking out on the guys last year meant there was a big need this year.
- The team has good depth at nose tackle right now. It's much easier for guys to learn a 3-tech position, then slide inside later in their careers.
- Recruiting in Ohio is important, because Michigan needs to maintain its standing there. It's also a talent-rich state that is very close, which makes it a little easier to recruit.
- There's no problem with only taking one offensive lineman in the class of 2010, because there were more immediate needs that Coach Rodriguez had to fill.
- Christian Pace is a good kid who loves to play football, and plays with a high motor. He is exceptionally quick for an offensive lineman.
- There was an emphasis in this recruiting class on recruiting guys who can play in space, and do so with toughness and quickness. Marvin robinson and Josh Furman are "space players," and their position doesn't need to be defined until the coaches get them in practice.
- Robinson was already coaching the Quick and Spinner linebacker last season, so he'll take over the duties of coaching all linebackers, and they'll pick up a safety coach to complete the class. "Whoever Rich hires, it'll work well."
- Robinson is very happy for Coach Hopson being able to land a coordinator role.
- Most of the other schools trying to recruit Jeremy Jackson tried to get to him by going through Fred's wife. Jeremy was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and he wanted to be a Wolverine.
- Michigan's offer might have put Carvin Johnson on the radar in the first place. He's a great player, and Coach Jackson had to fight off two SEC programs the night before Signing Day to keep him committed to Michigan.
- It's not the most important factor, but picking up kids who were winners in high school is always a plus, because they know what it's like to win, and they wouldn't have been winners in high school if it wasn't for their work ethic. You don't need to teach them how to work hard to win.
- Both Stephen Hopkins and Austin White will have a chance to contribute in the fall.
- Jeremy Jackson and Ricardo Miller are both big outside receivers who play a physical game. The plan is to leave them at wideout, but if either of them grows into a tight end, they would be willing to make the switch if the team needs it.
- Jerald Robinson is a potential KR/PR down the road, as is DJ Williamson, whose speed rivals Darryl Stonum's.
Michigan 11-11 (4-6 Big Ten)
Yes, it's come to the point in the season where I've run out of pithy, depressing titles to put on basketball posts. "Northwestern 67, Michigan 52" describes it more succinctly than some lame 2-word phrase probably could. I wanted this basketball team to be good, and as an optimist, I am among the last to give up hope. I am constantly looking for evidence that the football team will improve from year to year, evidence that the basketball team is better than their record shows, some sign that good times are coming.
However, it comes to a point where the optimism just runs out. Dylan from UMHoops probably sums it up best in his game recap:
The last month or so has been littered with games where Michigan reminds you how good they could have been. In this one, Michigan reminded us how bad they really are.
So, through all the smoke and mirrors of false hope, we now have a pretty good idea what this basketball team is: a bad one. How that happened over the course of one off-season while only losing two walkons and a Canadian is beyond me, but it happened.
At the end of the first half against Northwestern, the team had looked mediocre, but not yet bad. The second half was a carbon-copy of the previous time the Wolverines faced the Wildcats: the defense didn't show up to play, the offense couldn't get a good look (though at least this time it wasn't due to a load of turnovers), and the Wolverines' stars disappeared. Michigan went from down just 5 points at the break, to down by 21 with under 5 minutes to go, and the 15-point margin only looks marginally better.
It comes to a point where there's no explanation besides a complete lack of heart and leadership. It's not like DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris don't want to win. But wanting to win isn't enough. That desire has to turn into effort and smart play (including shot selection - ugh) for victories to go up on the board.
- DeShawn Sims's tweet summed up his game: "I Didn't put in work today. Gotta do better than 4pts with a Lost. Amnesia though Badgers nexts." Hopefully, he can indeed put this game behind him and come out with a fire against Wisconsin.
- Many Harris and... Darius Morris(?!?) were the only Wolverines in double figures, both with 11 points. When Morris gets time to work on his shot in the offseason, he could develop into one hell of a basketball player.
- As noted above, turnovers weren't a serious problem in this game, as the team only committed nine (four of those came from Manny Harris). However, they were jacking up some awful shots. Some of it was freaking out in the face of defensive pressure, but some of it was just mental weakness, and not staying disciplined in picking when to shoot.
- If I had asked you before the game, would you have guessed Stu Douglass would be the team's #3 rebounder? Didn't think so.
- On that note, where was Zack Novak? After he gave up that awful foul at the beginning of the game (on what was an inexcusable missed over-and-back call), he didn't do a whole lot in the game. Part of it may be looking back after a couple days with only a scoreboard to look at, but it didn't seem like he achieved his usual GRIT ratings.
Michigan tries to avenge a road loss to Wisconsin Saturday at 4PM in Crisler Arena. We've moved beyond the point of "must-wins" for the sake of the NCAA tournament, and have moved along to being eligible for the NIT (gulp). The 1984-85 team, which earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, will be honored at halftime.
A little background on Michigan and Demar Dorsey from a reliable source: Dorsey started seriously looking around after Urban Meyer had his momentary retirement and both Charlie Strong, his future defensive coordinator, and Vance Bedford, his primary recruiter and future position coach, left for Louisville. Bedford, of course, had two stints as Michigan's defensive backs coach under Lloyd Carr.
Michigan got involved with Dorsey when Bedford called up Rich Rodriguez and told him to look at the kid; Bedford personally vouched for his character.
In my years writing this thing, the red mist has descended and I've lit up an unsuspecting dullard quite a lot. Here's a tempo-free aerial of various college football blogs measuring crankiness versus verbosity:
As you can see in this highly scientific study, the combination of crankiness and verbosity here is virtually unmatched. If you write something dumb about Michigan sports, chances are I've called you horseface or fitted you for a Darth Vader mask or stated my surprise no one has tazed you, bro. This is either an asset or a detriment to the site, depending on who you are and the topic at hand. I'm not sure which myself.
But one guy I've mostly ignored has been Drew Sharp. Other than one incident where Sharp suggested that the Big Ten had totally caved in their Comcast negotiations because Comcast could switch the channel to a digital sports tier when his own paper was reporting that this was complete bunk, he's only drawn mention in UVs when his book reviews are hilariously negative or he doesn't understand the First Amendment. This is because criticizing Sharp for being an incompetent bomb-thrower is like criticizing Kim Jong-Il for creating a backwards nation of racist dwarves: yeah, you're right, but that's the goal. Drew Sharp is North Korea on paper. What's new?
But a man must draw a line somewhere. Here's my line: when Drew Sharp uses Demar Dorsey as a piece of meat for his own personal gain.
A selection of things Sharp said yesterday while pushing his contention that Michigan shouldn't have signed Dorsey:
MATT SHEPARD: "He was timed with a 4.4—"
SHARP: "Avoiding police."
SHEPARD: "That happened when he was 16 and he was acquitted.
SHARP: "I wonder if that was because he was a high profile recruit. Hmm. I wonder. … OJ got acquitted. Being acquitted doesn't mean you're innocent."
"If this was any other 16 year old facing charges on buglary [ed: of an unoccupied building; dropped], armed robbery, and assault [ed: fictional charge], that kid might be serving probation. He probably thought 'I have to go to trial so I can get this off my record.'"
"I'm done with second chances. I have a hard time believing this kid Dorsey's learned one damn thing through his close calls with the criminal justice system."
SHEPARD: "It's been a couple years… has he gotten into any trouble since?"
SHARP: "Not that we know of! … It's naive for for people to automatically assume that you have to give these guys another chance."
SHEPARD: "Why take a chance?"
SHARP: "It's desperation."
He's also got a column but since it starts "It's not National Signing Day. It's National Sighing Day," I refuse to expose anyone else to its toxic brain-killing funk. It's basically the same premise, except on paper and written by a third grader.
Drew Sharp doesn't know anything about Demar Dorsey except that when you search for his name in a Broward County database it comes up with a traffic violation and two felony charges, one of which was dropped and the other he was acquitted on. He only knows that because someone on the internet did it for him. The amount of research he has done to make these statements is exactly zero.
This is not enough information to make sweeping assertions that Dorsey probably wasn't innocent, doesn't deserve a "second chance"—in this case a first chance, but whateva—, that it's desperation to take a kid Florida*, USC, and Florida State were after, and that you have to be naive to think Dorsey hasn't gotten in trouble since. He defamed the character of a high school kid he's never met, and the point is that it's a "risk" for Rodriguez and Michigan.
A risk of what? A risk Dorsey does something dumb in college and doesn't make it? That's a risk for Dorsey wherever he goes, and since one of the reasons Dorsey cited for leaving Florida is that being farther from home will help him "concentrate on football" coming to Michigan makes it less likely that happens. And dumb stuff is a risk for Michigan no matter who they sign.
The risk appears to be that Sharp and his fellow hard-hitting journalists will follow up with articles when and if Dorsey messes up. Articles like this:
There's more drama down the road at the other school, but Michigan State doesn't mind the boredom.
Rich Rodriguez dismisses a wannabe drug dealer from Michigan and immediately there are suspicions regarding the tautness of his program -- procedural questions that were once mostly asked of Michigan State head coaches.
Yet on the same day, Mark Dantonio welcomed back a running back freshly released from a four-month jail term for hospitalizing a hockey player during a campus fight last fall. Dantonio placed unspecified restrictions on the player's return, reminiscent of Lloyd Carr's private penal policy at Michigan, and the actions barely raised a public ripple.
Roles are reversing. Perceptions are changing.
How did that work out again?
As I wrote at the time:
I'm not even mad. I'm impressed. Here Sharp acknowledges the double standard—at his own newspaper, in his own column—and uses it to criticize Rodriguez and praise Dantonio. He sits at A, takes a good hard look at B, and then leaps to Q. I hope he donates his brain to science.
So because twits like Sharp will misrepresent hypothetical Dorsey misbehavior it represents a risk that Rodriguez shouldn't take no matter how long Vance Bedford has known the kid—over a year—and how flimsy the sketchy past angle is.
For this he spends two days dragging an innocent—literally—kid's name through the mud. So he can have attention.
Here's the thing: Rich Rodriguez cares about his players. When he left West Virginia, they were the only people in the state to defend him. When the NCAA stuff came down and Rich Rodriguez had his press conference about it, he hit his shakiest, teariest point when he was talking about the effects this had on his players. When you listen to Mike Barwis talk about Pacman Jones, the pain is evident—they just couldn't straighten him out enough. He has a good track record. He was right about Pat Lazear, and his disciplinary record over the past five years is considerably above average. Every time he picks up a guy with a rough past and puts him in college he's trying to make the kid's life better.
And yet he gets painted as a bad guy by people who don't care about anything but themselves. Drew Sharp is a selfish, cynical bastard. He's made a career out of making people angry with his half-assed, research-free opinions. He's a disgrace to journalism. If the Free Press had any scruples whatsoever, rampantly bashing a kid with no evidence, or even an effort to collect any, would be so far beyond the journalistic pale that no combination of weasel words could save him.
As part of the segment, Sharp read an email from a current Michigan student than finished "You are a classless, insignificant human being. I am glad that regional newspapers like the one you work for have become obsolete." In response, Sharp said if the kid read the regional newspapers he'd have a better idea of what's being reported—something Sharp could work on himself—and about how blinkered fans were.
I'll let Sharp condemn himself:
Until you get your heads out of your back pockets and look at everything, don't stand up and pass judgment. Because you make yourself look like an ass.
Indeed. In four years, Demar Dorsey is likely to be in the NFL or graduating from Michigan. Drew Sharp is likely to be unemployed.
*(The story that Florida dropped the kid because of his quote-unquote "checkered legal past" is obviously crap. Dorsey had been a Florida commit for over a year. If Florida dropped him it's because he was wishy-washy about his commit and they didn't want to get ditched by him at the last second when they could go out and get an nearly equal recruit who wouldn't jet.)
A final note on Dave Birkett. The AnnArbor.com reporter was also part of the stir by repeatedly pounding Rodriguez on the Dorsey "point." He didn't make any criminally insane and cynical assertions afterwards, so there's that. It is a valid question to ask.
Note the plurality, or lack thereof, of "question." Rodriguez provided the nothing answer he was going to, and when the followup met a nothing answer it's clear that's all you're going to get. Not like that's a surprise, anyway. Birkett would not let it go, though, and dragged it out until Rodriguez got slightly steamed and Dave Ablauf had to step in. This did nothing except waste time. You're not Woodward and Bernstein, you're a freaking entertainment reporter. It's disrespectful to the rest of the room and everyone trying to find out information that Rodriguez would actually communicate if asked about to harp on one topic.
Not even convicted? Next question, coach--we don't even want to finish this one, since clearly Demar Dorsey has no problems whatsoever and will be a fine addition to the football team. That, Michigan fans, is what it would be like if you were anywhere else in the nation and had a recruit with a couple of nasty juvenile arrests, but the Freep is on the scene for this extremely overblown story like the WITI TV 6 news crew. DURR HURR WHY DOES RICH ROD RECRUIT THUGZ OUTRAGE HURR. Because some of them are fast, can play football, and can be kept out of trouble for four years while they win football games? The Michigan press is the polar opposite of SEC press corps, and we mean that in the good and bad way: not fawning, but also convinced there's a potential Watergate beneath that Gatorade bucket over there.