...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Update 3/28: Removed CA CB Courtney Viney(UCLA) and SC S Mark Barnes(has dropped us). Linked to mondo Muskegon Chronicle article on MI CB Ron Johnson. Michigan is named as the favorite within (by the author, not Johnson). Added a link to the (surprisingly professional) Piqua HS website -- that's Brandon Saine's school. Linked to video of OH RB Dan Herron and Rivals roundup article with mentions of MI TE/DE Ryan Van Bergen and MI CB Chris Rucker.
Added MI DT Ryan Wheat and MI OL Darrell Davis-Budnaro based on the latest JimS opus.
Editorial Opinion: The passage in question from the Ronald Johnson article:
Michigan is considered the frontrunner in the "RoJo" recruiting battle, for many reasons. First, is his friendship with Taylor, a projected starter at noseguard this fall for the Wolverines. Second, his closest relationship with a college coach is with U-M defensive backs coach Ron English. Third, he took his first official visit there.
But unlike Taylor, who verbally committed to U-M before his senior season began, Johnson has no plans to do that and said he might not make a final decision before the official signing day in February.
"Part of me wants to stay close, so that everyone can come see me play," said Johnson, who some schools have not ruled out as a receiver, or even a running back. "But part of me wants to go south where it's warm. I don't want to rule out any options."
Also, the article contains further evidence that Pete Carroll is kind of a tool:
Annese laughs when he plays the message, which he has kept on the answering machine in the Muskegon High School football office.
"Hey Tony, this is Pete," the message goes, sounding like an old friend. "I'll be around today. Give me a call back."
But that is neither here nor there, as they say.
Chris Rucker is listed at 5'9" 170 and has offers from BG and Cincinatti so far. That height combined with his list -- the two offers, Michigan, and mid-level BCS schools BC and Georgia Tech -- makes it seem doubtful that he'll receive an offer if DB recruiting goes to plan. It's well known that Ron English likes his corners big and ornery. We'll probably see how much mutual interest there is at camp; the bet here is that Rucker stops listing Michigan sometime during the summer.
Ryan Van Bergen, however, may receive an offer at either DE or TE, both positions of need going into the year that don't have a lot of high profile offers out at the moment. At TE there's PA H-back offer Steve Paszkorz, but that's about it. Van Bergen's early offers -- Indiana and Purdue -- are also a notch above Rucker's. Junior year stats:
He was a junior all-state selection in 2005, after recording 59 tackles, seven sacks and four interceptions at defensive end and catching 20 passes for 274 yards and four scores on the offensive side of the ball.
Allot of people think that with him being a huge fan all he needed was an offer from them. With most of us being Buckeyes fans....that just isn't good news. haha
Obviously that's all very, very [sic]. Also, BP resident insider unionfutura on OH S Eugene Clifford:
Gonna be a battle
Pros: Likes OSU, is/will be receiving a ton of attention by the OSU staff
Cons: The coach he likes the most is Ron English, and he's now personally recruiting him, will camp at
Not as optimistic as others (the people who have emailed me saying he's done deal to OSU are flipping crazy), but we have a better chance than I thought possible.
That's a step back from the optimism shown recently by BP residents. Especially like the last bit ("we have a better chance than I thought possible") and the implication that English can snatch away an Ohio player who grew up an OSU fan -- that's mojo. Wonder if he calls up the coaches at Colerain and says "hey, it's Ron. I'm getting some java, let's exchange beat poetry. Lataz."
Just freakin' yesterday:
[The Jack Johnson departure] Survey says "probably not"...
"I think the only way you're going to get me out of here is at gunpoint," Johnson told reporters after a win in the conference playoffs.
... but we've been here before.
Today, the Michigan Daily makes a small but appreciable contribution to the profit margins of Ann Arbor-area ulcer treatment purveyors:
Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson may not be as sure about staying in Ann Arbor as he claimed to be all season long. ... "At this point, I'm kind of up in the air, I guess," Johnson said in an article published yesterday in the Raleigh News and Observer. "I still feel hesitant on making the jump. I want to make sure. I'm going to talk to a few people who I really confide in, and after talking to them try to make a pretty good decision. Right now, I'm really torn."
The Wolverine's Michael Spath chips in:
Red's nervous. Been trying to reach the Johnson's but no one is picking up the phone. Not a done deal, but definitely sounds like something is in the works.
Urgh. At least it sounds like if Jack goes he'll do so soon and not leave the team in the lurch a couple weeks before the season as has been the wont of your Helminens and Tambellinis. Still... gunpoint, man.
One bit of good news: '06 forward recruit Trevor Lewis has been named the USHL's player of the year. That's good company to keep: Last year's top forward*, Ferris State's Dan Reidel, scored 31 points as a freshman. The 2003 winner was Ryan Potulny, the nation's leading scorer.
*(MSU goalie Jeff Lerg won the POY award.)
We have a future nemesis. This is going to be an edition of UV heavy on the backtracking, unfortunately, so we may as well get it out of the way right now. I've been dismissive of the idea that Michigan turned down Tory Jackson, but that was, uh, wrong:
The brashness didn't end there. He [Jackson] talked about:
Being snubbed by the University of Michigan: "I hope they regret their decision not to sign me."
Jackson got dissed; now Jackson is pissed. It says something when the South Bend Tribune has a massive story on a Notre Dame recruit that's headlined "Irish recruit could use serving of humble pie"(!) and filled with passages like so:
If Irish coach Mike Brey happens to have a muzzle laying around somewhere, he might want to have it fitted for Jackson....
Damn! The Free Press also has a snide article on Jackson's postgame outburst:
moments after his 24-point, nine-rebound performance led Buena Vista to a 57-52 win over Berrien Springs in the Class C state title game Saturday at the Breslin Center, Jackson was asked what it meant to finish his career a champion.
He must not have heard the question properly.
"The win today let all the Mr. Basketball voters know they were wrong," Jackson said. "They were wrong about me. They were against me. And now I'm on top, I have the last laugh, so I still feel like I'm Mr. Basketball. I feel like I'm the best in the state. Not to take anything away from the winner. I have respect for him, but I feel like I'm the best, and I showed it tonight."
(Emphasis mine.) Obviously Jackson's attitude made quite an impression on more than one media member. If -- and this seems like a moderately sized "if" -- Amaker picks up Patrick Beverly his decision to snub the mouthy, 5'9" Jackson looks like a good one.
Backtracking Part II: Right, in this space previously:
Meanwhile, on "Mondays With Myles" the critical subject of discussion: the dangers of rushing the court. Because that's the most pressing issue we've got right now. Yep. Nothing else to address. Save the childrens!
This week's Mondays with Miles:
On today's edition of Mondays With Myles, Dr. Brand and I discuss academic fraud and its effect on intercollegiate athletics.
We address the diploma mills that provide prospective student-athletes with meaningless degrees, how those students get past the NCAA Clearinghouse and the responsibility of institutions to admit individuals who are qualified to be there.
(BONUS Audiopalooza: EDSBS interviews Bruce Feldman, proprietor of the Feld-blog.)
Let the Jack Johnson Watch begin. The News & Observer probably had this ready to go moments after Michigan's season ended:
Jack Johnson's college season is over. The big question now is whether his college career is over.
Survey says "probably not"...
"I think the only way you're going to get me out of here is at gunpoint," Johnson told reporters after a win in the conference playoffs.
... but we've been here before.
Hey, baseball! BC&RS recently took in a Michigan baseball game and file a report heavy on the excellent pictures. Recommended for anyone inclined to find baseball players dreamy.
Etc.: The Georgia Sports Blog asks Buckeye Commentary about the 2006 Buckeyes; True Hoop says the author of the SI blog story "doesn't get it"; Sactown Royalty says Bill Simmons "doesn't get it"; Page 2's Patrick Hruby gets it with an excellent article cataloguing tired sports topics:
We're all guilty -- of pandering, of laziness, of covering the same old stories in the same reflexive ways, until we're no longer beating a dead horse, but rather throttling a bottle of glue produced from said dead horse. There's little new to say, few angles that haven't been strip-mined, no clichÃ© that can't be deployed, Delta Force-style, on a moment's notice.
What follows is a "tired sports story ban" that all members of the media are invited to read and sign. I'm on board. I will do my best as a member of the unwashed online masses (I don't even have a liberal arts degree):
Lo, it is done.
3/25/2006 - Michigan 1-5 North Dakota - EOYOIP
The hockey team did indeed go gentle into that good night. That was okay -- there wasn't much hope from the start and Michigan provided no reason for the fan to generate any once the puck dropped. A Chad Kolarik knuckleball that fluttered over Jordan Parise's shoulder had to pass for the rage, but since Michigan spent all of ten minutes in this game within two goals of the Sioux it was one of the meeker rages you'll see. Michigan hockey should be picking up a deed to the earth any time now.
No, no... rage here; light here. Didn't you guys take English in high school? Should I bust out the Gatsby?
Why was this okay? The overall effect of the North Dakota bombing was similar to the '03 Rose Bowl against USC. We knew we were dead meat going in and there was no point at which it looked like we could pull an upset. Warren St. John's law of fan pleasure ("the pleasure derived from a victory is inversely proportional to the expectation said victory would be acheived," to paraphrase) should have a corollary that states that psychic damage is minimized when you know you're going to lose to vastly superior competition and do. Then I could just say "Corollary I to the WSJ LOFP" instead of write all this and save everyone a signficant amount of time.
It would have been nice if the hockey team was half-competitive like Navarre & Co. They weren't. That's life. Resignation, frustration, and exasperation* all passed through my head, but it was mingled with relief. The 2005-06 trial by ordeal is over. Let's not dwell on it when we can overhype football players we've never seen. Onwards and upwards or something.
*(for comic hilarity, please read in the voice of Cajun Man)
So that's why no one cares about the NIT. Damn, that was some crazy stuff in the actual tournament, eh? Kind of puts that Dion Harris thing in perspective. That is, unless you're ESPN Classic and have decided to rebroadcast an NIT game as an "instant classic." That's right: you can see Michigan-ND at 5 PM today, immediately followed by a 1972 game of checkers featuring a guy who would later become the uncle of Corey Haim.
Anyway, during the Duke game I had a moment of epiphany as to why they bother me so: at some point in the midst of the Duke run in the second half they switched to a shot of the excited Duke faithful and I thought to myself: "fuckin' white people."
For a moment, I totally understood Huey P. Newton. Duke makes me want to punch myself, therefore I dislike Duke.
Also: more RBUAS NIT extravaganza, recruit Patrick Beverly is down to Michigan, Arkansas, and St. John's, and an apology from Maize 'n' Brew for turning yesterday's Cowherd comment thread into a minefield of copyright law is accepted.
Speaking of overwhelmingly white groups of people: hockey is tonight. I'm surprisingly nervous for someone who gave up on the season a month ago. The Sioux will be at full strength, as head coach Dave Hakstol has confirmed that leading scorer Drew Stafford will play. As you might expect, the Grand Forks Herald is all over the regional matchup. The Ann Arbor News also has some puff pastry on Jack Johnson.
TV clearances can be found here -- good news if you live in Alaska, Maine... and Memphis?
Some brave soul finally smuggled out Michigan's pro day results:
|Jason Avant||WR||Avant (6-0Â½, 209) twice ran the 40 in 4.80 seconds. He had a cast on his hand, which probably impeded his performance, and he will run again in the near future. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.19 and the three-cone drill in 7.02. In addition, he had a 35Â½-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4 broad jump.|
|Gabe Watson||DT||Watson (6-3Â½, 336) stood on mostly everything he did at the Combine. He had a 26Â½-inch vertical jump and an 8-foot-6 broad jump.|
|Tim Massaquoi||TE||Massaquoi (6-2Â½, 254) ran his 40s in 4.84 and 4.87 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.34 and the three-cone drill in 6.92. In addition, he had a 29-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-2 broad jump.|
|Pierre Woods||DL||Woods (6-4 3/8, 249) ran his 40s in 4.78 and 4.73 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.19 and the three-cone drill in 6.87. In addition, he had a 32Â½-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-11 broad jump and 15 lifts.|
|Adam Stanovich||OL||Stanovich (6-4 1/8, 309) ran his 40s in 5.61 and 5.62 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.82 and the three-cone drill in 7.91. In addition, he had a 24Â½-inch vertical jump and a 7-foot-9 broad jump.|
|Matt Lentz||OL||Lentz (6-5 7/8, 320) ran his 40s in 5.38 and 5.38 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.88 and the three-cone drill in 7.98. In addition, he had a 23-inch vertical jump, a 7-foot-8 broad jump and 36 lifts.|
|Pat Massey||DL||Massey (6-4 7/8, 290) ran his 40s in 5.09 and 5.11 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.60 and the three-cone drill in 7.40. In addition, he had a 25Â½-inch vertical jump, an 8-foot-7 broad jump and 25 lifts.|
Highlighted for your amazement are the heights of Massey and "Stanovich." The book on Michigan tackles has long been 6'6" at least, but Stenavich was extremely effective last year at just over 6'4" -- though that may equate to "listed at 6'6"." Food for thought as regards OL recruit Steve Schilling, who's supposed to be a bit short for tackle.
Also: isn't Massey supposed to be 6'8"? That has to be inaccurate -- I mean, are you going to believe a website that references Adam "Stanovich" or your own lying eyes?
So SI wrote this ginorbous set of articles on the web, blogs, etc, etc, etc, and how sports coverage is changing. (Apologies if this blog-MSM catfighting bores you, but it's a hot topic right now... and it's not like the OSU game is Saturday.) I haven't actually read the thing since I'm outside the velvet rope of SI Exclusive, but the author of the piece published a similarly ginorbous Simmons interview undertaken during the construction of the article. Ian will feel all tingly inside reading this:
BS: I think this is going to be it for me. I really want to move into scripts next. I'm ready to do it. I've been doing this since '97. At the spring of next year, my contract ends. That would be 10 years. I'm not saying I wouldn't come back. But I think 10 years is a nice run. Maybe keep my NFL column and that's it.
...but I think that once he's gone to the great Billy Zabka in the sky and we're all trying to decipher Scoop Jackson columns ("okay, okay... so carry the 'Crilla' and divide by this fawning one-sentence paragraph... take the square root... let's see... I get 'black people r kewl!!!' That's what I always get...") people will reconsider their enimity for the man. That's not to say that I didn't find certain bits of the interview grating -- Simmons goes on for a bit about how he doesn't understand the Internet rip brigades...
Also, I always wonder about those sites that really attack everybody. ... I definitely did a little of that on my own Web site, but I was still writing three columns a week, I was trying to back it up. I don't think you should criticize another writer unless you can back it up and be like, "I'm better." The proof is in the pudding. It's like being a bad chef and writing a restaurant review and criticizing another chef. But can you cook? I don't get it.
... and then five minutes later complains about not being able to rip on people:
BS: One of the worst things about my job is that there are so many people at ESPN I'd have so much fun making fun of. Berman, Stuart Scott, Stephen A. [Laughs]. This is when I start to get in trouble. As the alleged common sports fan, I'd like to go after them but I can't because we're all on the same team. I can't write about the WNBA because ESPN's covering it. I can't say Tim McCarver's an idiot, I have to dance around it. One time, I made fun of the Sklar brothers and they were furious. That's hilarious! And that's on the record. Oh, no, the Sklar brothers are angry! > The Sklar brothers being anything other than piteously grateful anyone acknowledges their existence is hilarious, but that line-drawing between bloggers who attack everyone and Simmons, who wants to attack essentially the same people, is specious reasoning from the mainstream side of Simmons' Janus-head. Mostly it seems like Simmons doesn't understand people who rip on him.
Anyway: Florida TV guy and blogger Whit Watson -- a brother Janus, if you will -- did read the full ginorbity and comes correct:
In my opinion - and it's ONLY my opinion - Sports Illustrated comes very, very close to calling the blogosphere "Hooterville."
"Hooterville" being the name that Boston public enemy #1 Dan Shaughnessy dubbed Orlando with during a '95 Celtics-Magic playoff series. The irony here is that given a major SI article on blogs, there was going to be a default "Hooterville?" section because all feature articles must follow this format:
Hot trendy thing! Trend trend thing! Trendy thing is hot like Paris Hilton! But adverse affects of trendy thing? Trendy thing cancer? Secondhand trendy thing?
Add in the "Dey took ur jobs" (audio... so, so worth it) effect going on and viola: article littered with ominous noises about irresponsibility, lack of decorum, and the like. The latter is especially grating given that the least decorous place in the universe is talk radio, which is not known for being run by maverick independents. But whatever.