I did not make this headline up
Gone, gone, gone, whoahoaoahoah. Alex Mitchell and Jeremy Ciulla, previously mentioned as departees, were officially announced as such today. Also leaving the team are Antonio Bass and Chris McLaurin. Both of the latter will remain on medical scholarship. The only surprise there is McLaurin, who played sparingly as the third or fourth tight end a year ago and was seemingly passed by Martell Webb by year's end.
No mention of this George Morales kid supposedly offered as a long-snapper. You'd think the guy would send in his LOI at 12:01 AM if he had a legitimate offer. There's a theory kicking around that Michigan wanted to delay his signing in case everything fell perfectly and they needed him to grayshirt, but IIRC grayshirts usually sign anyway.
Rodriguez did mention Michigan would like to add somewhere between one and three guys to the class: obviously this refers to Demens, McGuffie, and Pryor.
This sounds a little grim on McGuffie: "When a kid confirms they are coming the night before and then don't come through it is tough, but it is understood in our profession." He did follow that up with a reference to his dogged recruitment of Noel Devine, the electric scatback from last year who took his decision to March 30th.
Update: Demens' LOI is in.
LOIs are in save those of Kenny Demens, Sam McGuffie, and hypothetical long-snapper George Morales. Demens' absence is probably not cause for alarm; if he was going somewhere else there'd be something up about it now. You can check out Rodriguez's press conference at MGoBlue.
Probably meaningless notes on positions: Feagin at QB, Omameh at DL(?), Koger and Moore both TEs, and Robinson and Shaw listed at ATH.
Some editorial opinion with McGuffie and Pryor still in flux:
The most important thing Rodriguez did in the scanty time he had was get the class near the 25-kid maximum without taking warm bodies. The Rodriguez commits (we're excluding JT Floyd and Brandon Smith here, as both were on Michigan's radar for months before the coaching transition):
- TX WR Terrence Robinson, a four-star to both major sites.
- OH RB Michael Shaw, a four-star top 250 kid to both sites who's just outside the Rivals 100.
- OH WR Roy Roundree, a Rivals four-star who was the best kid in Purdue's class until Michigan went "yoink"
- FL OL Ricky Barnum, a four-star who had committed to freakin' Florida until Michigan went "yoink"
- OH LB Taylor Hill, a one-time Oklahoma commitment and Rivals 250 member.
- FL QB Justin Feagin, a three star to Rivals and two-star to Scout, but with reported offers from Miami and LSU.
- OH OL Patrick Omameh, a sleeper offensive lineman who Ohio State offered once Josh Jenkins decided to stick with West Virginia.
Of the seven, only Feagin and Omameh weren't given four stars by at least one service, and there are reasons to think even those two are on track for significant contributions. None are top-100, but all are potential contributors.
There are some downers. QB became an urgent need when Ryan Mallett transferred and unless we get a Christmas miracle it looks like the only guy at that spot will be Feagin. That's insufficient. Nick Perry's inability to read a depth chart leaves Michigan without a defensive end in this class a year after taking only Ryan VanBergen. DE is less of a concern because one of the linebackers or OH TE Kevin Koger could end up there, but a class with only one guy recruited as a defensive lineman gives me the heebie-jeebies. In this new era of college football where the fifth defensive back is as much or more of a starter than the third linebacker, just three DBs seems one too few. And losing McGuffie would suck if it happens.
But the results are the results: Michigan is currently ninth in Rivals' rankings of the top classes (eighth in star average) and tenth in Scout's after a coaching transition. That never happens. Classes implode when coaching changes are made and generally finish weakly. Michigan didn't lose anyone it still wanted except maybe McGuffie, and Rodriguez's strong finish bodes well for future classes.
Enthusiasm will no doubt scale back if Pryor goes elsewhere and McGuffie defects; for now the new staff has done an excellent job.
*(Koger was supposedly opposed to playing D earlier in his recruitment, but he told the Toledo Blade "wherever [Rodriguez] wants to put me" in a January article. The rest of that quote is about how he played in the slot, not as a true TE, which makes me think maybe he meant "wherever on offense"; the next paragraph starts out with his coach saying he could play on either side of the ball.)
Okay, Shaw is in($). Unfortunately, we've got a minor PANIC on our hands about Sam McGuffie, who visited Cal last weekend and has not sent his LOI in($) to anyone. Losing McGuffie would be a crushing blow to morale... I don't think that's likely but am spooked. (Again, these articles all have the meat in the headlines.)
In other bits, here's Justin Feagin:
"I hope, and it would be better for me, if he goes to Michigan," said Feagin of Pryor, a quarterback from Pennsylvania, who will not sign today. "That really lets me see where I stand as a quarterback and if I have really enough potential. He's a good player, and if he goes there that means I have to work twice as hard to get what I want."
I love his quotes. I think he'll be a success. FWIW, a friend in the Florida media says Feagin is not really a collegiate QB but more of a "wr/wingback" sort who, though he threw nothing except deep balls, is "fast as shit." So there you go.
Pryor on ESPN:
Terrelle, there's no one to throw to at Penn State. Also OSU is evil. SAVE US CHARLIE BATCH. WE'RE SORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE COMMENCEMENT THING, EMU RULES.
Update: Dann O'Neill in the Grand Haven Tribune on McGuffie:
"That's just talk," O'Neill said. "Those people on Rivals are just trying to get more subscriptions. The other recruits and I would know if someone was going to commit. The two kids who did de-commit let us know before they did it so we wouldn't have to find out on Rivals.
"There were rumors about J.B. Fitzgerald going to Rutgers. He and I talked probably more than any other recruit, and he was talking about (Rutgers) before the new coaches were announced, but once they announced Coach Rod, he was set on Michigan.
"McGuffie loves it in Ann Arbor. He doesn't want to go anywhere else."
Worth something, though less than definitive.
Also, let's point and laugh at State:
Carr's personal phone call was the first step in the process that convinced O'Neill to commit to U-M last winter. While he's been badgered at times by various other programs, especially Michigan State, over the past several months, O'Neill has never wavered on his decision to attend Michigan.
Ha, ha, ha.
Rats: Nick Perry to USC. Shaw at 1:00 PM and then we'll know the final disposition of the class with the exception of Pryor.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides more detail on the Pryor delay:
The reason Pryor won't announce his college choice is Penn State.
"They're starting to creep up on me," Pryor said.
Pryor had said earlier in the week that Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State were his three finalists, but it was always believed Ohio State and Michigan were his top two choices. But he apparently is liking Penn State more and more.
"My dad likes them a lot," Pryor said. "He wants me to look into them."
Pryor also said his father doesn't see "the trust" in some of the coaches recruiting him that he sees in Penn State.
What? Seriously? I mean... we all understand that the surest way to murder your prospects for the NFL is to get "coached" by Jay Paterno, right?
I think we're out, bizarrely. At this point Penn State is a much better option for Michigan fans, as PSU's class outside of Pryor is pretty crappy everywhere except linebacker, especially if this Shaw switch is legit (upon which more later). If there's any school in the country guaranteed to staple Pryor's butt to the bench for two years and then concoct an offensive scheme that minimizes his talents, it's Penn State.
Meanwhile: Rivals has pulled their story on Shaw switching to Michigan, and there are indications from PSU people that this isn't necessarily over. Woo Tony Hunt redux.
Update: Rivals, again:
Trotwood, Ohio, four-star running back Michael Shaw was expected to announce for Michigan during a 9:00 a.m. press conference this morning but has decided to wait until 1:00 p.m. after reconsidering his options. Shaw previously made a commitment to Penn State.
Rivals says there's a "very good chance he picks Michigan."