Bumped to the front page due to a new Michigan commit.
Action since last rankings:
8-9-10 Iowa gains commitment from Jordan Walsh.
8-10-10 Wisconsin gains commitment from Mike Caputo.
8-11-10 Michigan gains commitment from Tony Posada.
Slow week in the Big Ten, as I predicted. The sites should be coming out with updated rankings soon, so keep an eye out for that.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 16 Commits|
Brindza picks up ratings of 5.4 and 76 from Rivals and ESPN, respectively.
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
Sade gets ranked by Rivals and ESPN, helping Nebraska bump up in averages. They're just ahead of Michigan now, in my estimation.
|#4 Michigan - 10 Commits|
Michigan snags OL Tony Posada, who is currently unranked to Rivals, but a solid 3-star to the other two sites. He slightly brings down the Wolverines' averages, helping Nebraska pass them up.
|#5 Michigan State - 13 Commits|
No change for MSU.
|#6 Indiana - 21 Commits|
Nothing new for IU.
|#8 Iowa - 13 Commits|
Jordan Walsh picks Iowa. Austin Vincent upgraded to 5.4 on Rivals. John Raymon gets a 78 from ESPN, and Mike Orloff gets a very slight upgrade to 69.
|#7 Northwestern - 13 Commits|
Cameron Dickerson gets a slight bump from Rivals to 5.5. Still, they slide past Iowa with a decent week for the Hawkeyes.
|#9 Minnesota - 13 Commits|
Devin Crawford-Tufts gets a 5.5 rating from Rivals.
|#10 Wisconsin - 9 Commits|
Badgers pick up Mike Caputo, plus Terrance Floyd gets a 77 rating from ESPN.
|#11 Penn State - 4 Commits|
PSU still taking it easy.
|#12 Illinois - 13 Commits|
Reilly O'Toole and Chris Boles pick up decent ratings from Rivals, and they're now considered the #2 and #3 prospects in the class. Justin DuVernois gets ranked by ESPN.
|#13 Purdue - 6 Commits|
Boilers still bringing up the rear.
ENTHRALLING photo of a hotel hallway via Angelique Chengelis on Twitter.
First, the official statement from Athletic Director Dave Brandon:
Statement from Dave Brandon Regarding NCAA Hearing
We feel that the committee gave us a full and fair hearing today. Our statements today were similar to those we provided the NCAA earlier this summer: We own the mistakes we have made, we fixed some process and communication problems that caused them, and we’re keeping a close eye on this so it doesn’t happen again.
I’m proud of the extra effort everyone has been putting into compliance these past several months. Rich and his staff – in coordination with the compliance group – have been working together to keep us on the right track.
We will await the committee’s decision and we will not speculate about the outcome – we must let the process play out. We won’t comment further on this matter until after we receive the committee’s decision.
We’re going to get back to Michigan now for the start of what we expect will be a great football season.
And now, a few relevant newsbits via the Twitter accounts of the various beat reporters who were there:
Principal U-M figures are arriving in hearing room, including Rich Rodriguez... Others arriving: former GA Alex Herron, UM s/c coach Mike Barwis, Big Ten comm Jim Delany, UM asst AD Scott Draper, UM fac rep Percy Bates. about 9 hours ago via UberTwitter
Brandon wouldn't specify timetable for hearing committee ruling, but said it was a wide range of dates 23 minutes ago via tweetdeck
Fmr. Michigan grad assistant Alex Herron (who we think is him) left the meeting room at 9:15 a.m. Not sure if he is done for the day.
about 7 hours ago via TweetDeck
11:07. Alex Herron returns to the meeting room off semi-full elevator, buttoning up his tan suit as he walked.
Alex Herron is out of the room and heads into the elevator and gone with Draper. Lunch break.
about 5 hours ago
Brandon on hearing: "It was a very fair and thorough hearing ... feel good about fact we were given that opp and the process will continue."
22 minutes ago via web
NCAA's final UM verdict? Brandon: "They gave us wide ranges of time. But that's not for me to announce."
19 minutes ago via web
Brandon: "We're going to go back (to UM), we're going to prepare for a great season were going to get focused on football"..et ncaa do work
12 minutes ago via web
And non-hearing news:
U-M AD Dave Brandon sent the waiting media pizza and breadsticks -- Domino's, of course. Greatly appreciated.
BigTen commish Jim Delany just chatted with the media about some conference issues. Said divisions should be decided within a month.
Michigan AD Dave Brandon on U-M/#Alabama: "Maybe."
Brandon talked with NotreDame AD Jack Swarbrick & said they are "excited about continuing the series and working on what form that takes."
More on the NCAA hearing after the weekend.
With Rodriguez ramping up the media restrictions in the wake of the Jihad and the Daily publishing details of that edge pitch play they debuted against Iowa, glimpses from within Michigan's early practices have been rare. This has ticked off the Blade guy, but come on Blade guy, what do you expect? Rodriguez tried.
Anyway, the Big Ten Network has stopped by and the twitters are lighting up with 140-character bursts of potentially useful information. They are collected below, organized by position and theme. I won't link to each individual tweet but they can be found at @BTNDaveRevsine and @BTNBrentsBlog (by Brent Yarina).
Based on today - tough call on QB situation. All 3 have had some good moments. DR clearly improved as a passer. [Revsine]
Devin Gardner can't put a pass in the wrong place here early on. Rapid fire drill, he's on the money with everything. [Yarina]
Gardner definitely looks like he could get snaps. He's very impressive, but Denard has improved as a passer quite a bit. [Yarina]
It's one day, but #Michigan looks good. If I was making choice, I'd split snaps between Robinson and Gardner. DG is good. [Yarina]
Denard Robinson looks like a completely different passer. Add the threat of pass to his running ability, and #Michigan could give d's fits. [Yarina]
He [Tate] was banged up today. But emergence of Gardner and Denard's improved passing don't help. [Yarina]
UPDATE: one more from Revsine, responding to MVictors about a QB question:
I would definitely say Gardner is in convo - impressive kid. G&H seem to think Robinson is the best of the 3. Tough call.
The Mystery Of The Wingless Helmets
Yarina posted this picture:
You'll note that Forcier's helmet is plain blue, sans wings. A twitter guy named GoBlueNColumbus (ouch) caught this and started pinging Yarina with questions:
The #Michigan people told us not to read anything into the lack of wings on some helmets. [Yarina]
Didn't pay too much attention [to who didn't have them], to be honest. As far as big names go, though, he was the only one I noticed. [Yarina]
Meanwhile, Rodriguez after the first practice on the "handful" of guys not prepared to play football:
"If they don't [improve their conditioning] they will not have the opportunity to wear the winged helmet on Sept. 4 [in season opener against Connecticut]," Rodriguez said.
Dollars to donuts the plain helmets are a motivational device and that Forcier's absence at offseason workouts has put him in the bad group. They didn't accidentally hand last year's starting quarterback a plain helmet. [UPDATE: Maybe they did? A Countdown to Kickoff video shows Tate in the regular helmet.]
Michigan's facebook page has a set of 20 photos that does not reveal anyone else in the bad group but do show Koger, who had been rumored to be in the handful, in possession of wings.
Various Individuals Mentioned
At Michigan's practice. Love the "M" drill - runner trying to get thru 3 levels of blocking. Saw good moments from Michael Cox & W Campbell [Revsine]
Great energy in 1 on 1 tackle drill. Vlad Emilien just had a big time hit. Sweet move earlier out of Terrance Robinson. [Revsine]
Vladimir Emilien just made a bone-crushing hit on a 1-on-1 drill. The entire defense celebrated the hit. [Yarina]
Good team drill going on right now. Jeremy Jackson looks like he could help at WR. D Robinson clicking nicely with the short stuff. [Revsine]
Marvin Robinson, Brandin Hawthorne and Courtney Avery among the others who had good moments [Revsine]
Gerry and Howard both impressed with Jibreel Black. DiNardo also likes the way Patrick Omameh has looked today. [Revsine]
Loss of Mesko is obviously a concern, but the frehman Hagerup has really boomed a few [Revsine]
One thing's for sure: #Michigan coaches are very intense and vocal. [Yarina]
Mike Martin on difference between this year's defense: "I think we're a lot closer." [Yarina]
Take it for what you will. I'll update this with any subsequent information.
Do you think there is any chance we would see either Terrence Robinson or Kelvin Grady at RB in the fall?
With five somewhat viable options at tailback, probably not. The best chance to see that move is if Vincent Smith is not fully recovered from his ACL injury since all three are tiny jitterbug receiving sorts.
HOWEVA, if Michigan goes to more four-wide looks this fall you a dollar says whichever slot receiver isn't Roy Roundtree spends a lot of time motioning into the backfield to give Michigan some two-back looks. Martavious Odoms hasn't proven himself anything more than an okay runner, so Robinson and Grady might get some reps as the slot/RB hybrid. Both were tailbacks in high school (Robinson was also a spread 'n' shred quarterback and occasional receiver) and put up crazy numbers. They've also displayed or (been rumored to have) a hands of a stone-like substance.
Whether that happens will depend on a lot of things, primarily Smith's health again. If you've got Smith in the game you've already got a slot receiver who can play running back and then the other guy will probably be a Cox or Hopkins capable of going directly upfield with bad intentions. With that possibility, three veteran tight ends hanging around sucking up playing time that this slot/RB hybrid might otherwise get, and the presence of Odoms and Roundtree chances for Grady and Robinson to
After reading the notes on RR presser, how concerned should we be about the LB unit heading into fall camp? I was already concerned with this unit, but then I read this…
If Mark Moundros wins a linebacker position, he probably won't continue playing fullback. He's not just at linebacker as a gimmick, and there's a chance he'll get minutes there.
UM has 2 guys in Mouton and Ezeh who have 20+ starts each under their belt. They've got a couple other guys, Demens and Leach, who both saw a decent amount of action last year. Now granted, the performance of the LB's last year was not very good, but now a guy who I believe has played fullback his entire career at UM might actually get some minutes at LB (and I'm assuming RR wasn't referring to garbage time minutes)???
Is Moundros blowing up at LB? Are the returning LB's just not progressing like everyone had hoped they would? A combination of the two?
Keeping my fingers crossed that the 2011 recruiting class is stocked with some stud LB's.
I'm also leery of the idea Moundros finding playing time signals anything but more DOOM this fall. I remember Fitzgerald Toussaint squirting through a weak tackle attempt in the spring game and being relieved that the guy who missed it was Moundros because the assumption was he wouldn't play. But I'm also skeptical of the veracity of press conference statements about team-favorite, hard-working walk-ons. Sometimes public comments are made less for their accuracy and more for their effect on the team—remember the Johnny Sears hype?—and the idea Moundros could play a lot this season falls squarely in that realm.
Moundros obviously works like a dog if he's a team captain despite being a walk-on who hardly played last year; I'm guessing this gives him an advantage over his competition that the coaches would like to reward in an effort to get other people to work as hard as he does. If I had to bet I'd say Moundros is a consistent participant in the short-yardage and goal-line packages but doesn't get regular playing time in the base defense.
On the other hand, it's not like he could be that much worse, right? Michigan football is fun!
I know you briefly mentioned WVU's sanctions and the effect they might have on Michigan in yesterday's Voracity and seemed to deem them minimal, but do you have any idea whether this could possibly result in us forced to get rid of Rodriguez because he is "blacklisted" in the NCAA compliance book? I am in the camp that believes another coaching change at this point would be disastrous, and really think we are starting to turn a corner. It would really suck to lose Coach Rod just when we might be able start something special.
I'm not sure even the Bylaw Blog would be able to say much for certain about whether Rodriguez could be singled out for special sanction, since history would suggest it's not likely but the NCAA is in an era when they're attempting to change precedents. I don't think the WVU allegations are a major factor since they are essentially identical to the ones at Michigan. They may even help since the new regime apparently changed nothing. This isn't the equivalent of Kelvin Sampson because Sampson had already been sanctioned by the NCAA and immediately went back to the illegal-call well. Rodriguez can reasonably argue he was not knowingly flouting the regulations at either school. If he makes that case successfully he should be fine.
Even if he doesn't, the NCAA generally imposes like-for-like sanctions. If you commit recruiting violations to get players they reduce the number of players you can have and put recruiting restrictions on the school. If you go over practice limits you give them back two for one. I'm not sure what a like-for-like penalty specifically directed at Rodriguez looks like—not being able to attend practice?—and in any case Michigan's bent over backwards to cooperate, Rodriguez has no track record, and the violations are so minor that I'd be surprised if the NCAA did anything except put a nasty letter in RR's file no matter how many newspapers call Michael Buckner.
And consider this a follow-up to yesterday's post about bowls:
Brian, There is an incredible reference that you might be interested as you rally the troops this year to start the season. In Nathaniel Philbrick's new book 'The Last Stand" there is a reference to Custer leading a charge at Gettysburg with a Michigan contingent that might have won the war (pre SEC). From page 48:
As it turned out, all Stuart(Jeb) had to do was punch his way through a vastly outnumbered regiment from Michigan and victory was his, but as the Confederates bore down on the northern counterparts (who were outnumbered by four to one), an event occurred that changed the course of the battle and, arguably the war.
Custer, dressed in an almost comical black velvet uniform of his own design that featured gaudy coils of gold lace, galloped to the head of the First Michigan and assumed command. Well ahead of his troops, with his sword raised, he turned toward his men and shouted, "Come on, you Wolverines!" With Custer in the lead, The Michigander's started out at a trot but were soon galloping, "every man yelling like a demon."
A union leader mentioned later that this "was the most gallant charge of the war."
We should start a campaign to have Rodriguez sport velvet and gold lace. It is in this way our ascendance will be assured.
The media had an opportunity to talk to Rich Rodriguez and the team's newly-elected captains Steve Schilling and Mark Moundros today. Notes follow.
Friday morning will be the first day in full pads. They'll finally be able to tackle and go live. It will only be about two hours and fifteen minutes, because Rodriguez has to leave for Seattle in the afternoon. On Saturday, there will be no practice, but payers will go to their position coaches' houses for a meal. 2-a-days start Sunday. They'll have a couple scrimmages in Big House, beanie bowl. Go through whole game routine. For the veterans, it shouldn't be a big deal.
We're in pretty good shape, not game shape. The weather hasn't been that hot yet. Need warm temperatures to get guys in game shape. Guys who weren't in shape have responded as you'd expect. If you fight through, practice will help get you in great shape, but guys who started in great shape recover more quickly. It will take 3-4 weeks for everyone to get into shape. "If you aren't in shape, you won't play."
They're a very attentive group, eager to learn, grasped concepts. Put more in than anticipated. Right on track installation-wise.
All the position competitions haven't been separated yet. Will remain that way until we see them in pads.
No injuries. Some guys have missed time for the end of summer school. Most finishing today, tomorrow, monday next week. Mike Shaw is practicing. Still involved in his class. "Ongoing with him."
They'll shift some guys in the secondary, Teric Jones will be a S/CB. JT Turner's departure did not create new concerns. When asked about a potential return from Turner, Rodriguez stated: "He doesn't play for Michigan."
We're all anxious to get NCAA stuff behind us. School, Administration, players, want the committee to reach a conclusion. As soon as the hearing is over, those involved will fly back and get ready for practice on Sunday.
Kickers: need to see them in pressure situations to evaluate them.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams are all getting plenty of reps. In a week or so, they'll reduce it to two main groups with the reps divided about 60-40.
QBs making a conscious effort to take care of the ball. Need to work on decision-making as well. Has Denard picked up where he left off? "I think so. He looks physically bigger. Mentally he's understanding a lot of the concepts." Eager to do well. Limiting QB contact, but they get banged around a bit. Tate and Devin have to assume leadership by position. Hard for frosh/soph to take control. Has to happen naturally. They'll get that as their play improves. Re: Tate. "We've challenged all our guys." Tate gets more attention, because he plays a high-profile position. Tate is responding to the challenges, not sulking or laying back.
Woolfolk probably feels more natural at corner. Could play at safety if need, has the physicality. Brings that to the corner position. JTF had a good camp so far.
Punt return will be taken care of by Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrance Robinson, and Drew Dileo. All have really good ball skills. Kickoffs will be returned by all of those guys, plus Darryl Stonum.
Darty Stonum loks fantastic. Junior getting himself into better shape. Stonum good camp. Junior good last couple days.
Quinton Washington is completely healthy. He's been set back last fall and in spring with injury. Rodriguez is pleased at the conditioning of the offensive and defensive lines as they came into camp. Christian Pace is struggling health-wise (knee). They were already going to redshirt him, and he may need knee procedure, too.
A tentative depth chart will be released Monday of game week. A few "ORs."
At running back, nobody has separated from the pack yet. It should be one of the most interesting races, because there will be at least two, and probably three guys that will play quite a bit. That's a position that needs to be evaluated with full contact.
Schiling and Moundros: Team voted for those guys as permanent captains. They will do all they can to keep that honor. At least one additional game captain will be selected for every game.
Captain Stephen Schilling
We've had 4-5 senior meetings. Idea came up for captains, from nobody in particular. They discussed it a few times, then asked Rodriguez to come to a meeting. They brought up some of the ideas to him, including permanent captains.
Sometimes it makes it easier having two voices at the top, but all the seniors will be leaders. Schilling and Moundros look to the rest of the senior class to be leaders.
As for the distraction of the NCAA hearing, schedule was rearranged so that Rodriguez didn't have to miss practice. Most guys have put that on the backburner; they're not worried about that, they just want to play football and get ready for UConn. They see the headlines on ESPN, but it doesn't really cross their minds other than that.
"Definitely good to have David [Molk] back, it's been a while." He's shaking off some rust, but everybody's getting ready to work together. There's really high potential for this offensive line. They have depth and experience.
Progression among players is a lot quicker now that most guys know the system. Meetings with Coach Frey go quicker, and they can make corrections faster on the field.
Schilling has worked with all three QBs. They're all working hard and playing well - but it's only been a couple days. Offense has made big plays, "looks good to me." Tate's been working hard. Not saying much, just trying to prove he can be the QB. We see him working hard, and that's a good thing. Troy's comments could have affected him, but he's here working hard. Get better every day for the team.
We've had guys cramping, but you see that every year. Guys have been pushing through heat, and are doing better than expected.
The RBs all worked really hard this summer, because they knew they all had a chance to be "the guy." So many different guys are cycling through with the first unit. Competition will bring the best out of all of them. Cox and Hopkins bigger backs, can hit it up inside. Smith gets outside, Toussaint does both. Shaw has speed to burn. Smith "looks good to me." Knee not affecting him.
Captain Mark Moundros
Whole senior class thought it was necessary to have two captains. Great honor to be one of them. Texted his mom and dad first when he found out.
Very encouraged by hunger of team. "We're ready to prove ourselves this year."
Playing mostly LB - like the spring. Always had a defensive mindset. How many snaps can he play on both side of the ball? "As many to help us win." Doesn't regret waiting so long to try linebacker. He's happy where he is right now.
Signs of defensive progress? We have some good schemes, we're working together. That's key for defensive side of the ball. Different schemes will allow for different groups of people to play on front line (when asked if Martin and Campbell will play together).
Secondary doing great. Learning every day. Mistakes have been limited in first week. That'll continue to first game. They bring great energy from the secondary.
OL - the front five - great line. "We have some depth too." Can't pick out just one guy, they all have capabilities and potential. chilling great leader. Dorrestein and Huyge on the edges. The guys who rotate in - different positions - fun to watch that side of the football.
Always had the mindset of competing, play to best of ability. Wherever that puts him, so be it. Worrying about working hard to help the guys around him get better. His fellow MLBs Ezeh and Demens are great - competition will make them better.
When he came to Michigan as a walk-on, he never thought about being the captain one day. He never looked that far in advance, and just took everything one day at a time.
Even though he and Steve are captains, every senior got at least one vote for captain. That guy will have to lead by example to at least the one guy whose vote he got. Honored and humbled to be captain, but they'll lead as a senior class.
Every RB brings a different dimension. Cox power, Smith quick with cuts. Shaw with speed, Fitz is a factor, Hopkins (bigger back - hard earned yards).
Willingness to trust each other will help the team succeed.
So this year I implemented a new policy: all donations not ticketed for site contributors or Phil Brabbs get tallied at the end of the year and then I go spend that money on improvements to the site. This year we've made some adjustments to the comment system:
- Comments have been re-themed to take up less space and hopefully cut down on the phenomenon where a series of replies ends up with comically thin content areas.
- Comments have been ajaxified: no need to reload the page to post a comment.
- The voting system has had a major hole closed: votes on items older than a week do not affect userpoints.
- Another system hole closed: it now costs a point to vote, whether it's up or down. This will prevent people from getting slightly over 20 points with a series of sock puppets and vote-spamming other people. Also, the ratio for posting new threads and diaries has been altered: it's now +1 for up, –1 for down. Comments remain +2 up, –1 down.
There are a couple bugs with the sidebar and placement of some of the new features that should get worked out in the next couple days.
UPDATE: The AJAX was not quite ready for prime time and has been temporarily pulled.
UPDATE II: A lot of users are issuing complaints, which I will address over the next few days. Bear with us.