"What (Michigan coaches) told me is that they're focusing on point guards right now, but if anything opens up, they'll definitely come back on and recruit me as hard as they were," said Towns
Update 1/25: Added FL QB BJ Daniels, FL WR Martavious Odoms, OH OT Patrick Omameh. Linked to articles on FL QB Justin Feagin, MI DE Nick Perry, SC CB JT Floyd. There's also an extensive piece on Big Ten recruiting classes at ESPN; though ESPN's proven itself useless in the prediction business, their opinions on recruits' talent are an interesting data point.
Removed PA WR Vaughn Carraway (dropped us).
Editorial Opinion: This is why SC CB JT Floyd sports a blue smiley on the recruiting board:
"I would definitely say Michigan fans will be happy, but I'm going to leave it at that," Floyd said after returning home. "I want to talk it over with my parents first, take this last visit (to Tennessee) and get everything squared away."
The UT visit is a downer, but that's as close as you can come to committing without actually committing. Since he's already very familiar with UT -- he committed to them as a junior, remember -- it's unlikely anything they can show him will sway his opinion.
One more for the "eeee Barwis" pile from Floyd:
"Just the vibe of the football players, I think they're excited about the new change," said Floyd. "Everybody's real anxious to get to work, and that strength and conditioning coach â€” he's one of the best in the nation. The players gravitate to him. I think the Michigan football program is definitely moving in a positive direction."
That same article is kind of a recruiting roundup piece with quotes from Brandon Moore...
Moore, like Cissoko and Martin, has already committed to the Wolverines. He said he came away very excited about his future in Ann Arbor.
"They told me about how they use the tight end," he explained. "They told me he'll be flexed out sometimes, he'll be like the H-back position sometimes. They said that's how they're going to use me, in a position like that. It's kind of like the thing that I was doing at my high school."
The fans were real nice and the players I met seemed cool. I don't remember a whole lot of names, but they were nice. And Coach (Rich) Rodriguez has brought his entire staff with him from West Virginia, so nothing is going to change. That's the offense he wants to run, and he'd like me to run it."
...that aren't exactly chock full of news.
MI DE Nick Perry told the Detroit News what he told USC's Scout site over the weekend:
"I just liked the environment, the surroundings," Perry said of USC. "I was around good people there -- the players, the coaches. Yes, I feel I could fit in. The need for defensive ends is great there. They want me to come in and compete (for the position) right away.
"I'm not going to commit until signing day. They wanted me to, but they're not pressuring me."
Perry is really, really wrong about USC's "need for defensive ends" -- in this class and the last USC already has six commits at the position, including five-star Everson Griffen and four other four-stars -- but Pete Carroll has the super power mushroom version of whatever weird mind control juju Ron Zook is working. Perry will visit this weekend, at which point we'll have a pretty good idea whether or not the USC buzz was temporary and if Michigan can land him.
Quarterback continues to see names emerge, mostly in Florida. Two kids who would like to play quarterback but are mostly getting defensive back offers appear interested in Michigan but wary of a potential Pryor commitment. Justin Feagin, mentioned previously, is an under the radar sort who gets highly positive reviews from locals. He appears a realistic sort:
At first I had to tell Mom that everyone wasn't telling the truth," Feagin said with a laugh. "I mean, there are things that any coach will say to get you on campus and onto the football field. You have to know which ones are sincere and, of course, those who are just saying things to make it all sound good."
This is going to be a pretty stupid statement, but I like the kid's quotes a lot:
"The experience is demanding," Feagin said. "But I wouldn't change what I'm going through right now with anyone. This is the most exciting time of my life."
He sounds like the type of guy who works like a dog. As mentioned: stupid generalization.
BJ Daniels is the other name out there, and he seems like more of a thrower:
This season, the Lincoln coaching staff scrapped the more conventional offense of years' past for a spread attack designed to utilize Daniels' skills as a runner and a passer.
It turned out to be a pretty good idea.
Daniels tallied 3,456 total yards (2,552 passing, 904 rushing) by himself in leading Lincoln to a 10-2 record. ..."This year I wanted to focus more on passing," Daniels said. "I didn't want to take off running as much, unless it was third or fourth down and we needed a first down.
"Passing is something that I wanted to do. Running is something that I can do. It's just an extra thing."
This highlight video shows a guy who scrambles around with an intent to pass:
He's got some shake, too:
Daniels is a four-star outside of the top 250 to Rivals and is most heavily considering Mem
phis and South Florida because he really wants to play quarterback. Michigan would seem a slam dunk over those two programs, especially with Matt Grothe returning for his junior year at USF, but the threat of Pryor looms large. Hopefully he'll wait to see what happens with him; I doubt USF can seriously pass up a guy like him if he wants to wait until Signing Day.
And then, right, Pryor. There are four articles above if you're interested, but only one says anything that isn't MOTS. It's from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and the interesting passage goes like so:
A source close to Pryor said Wednesday that Batch has become the point person in Pryor's recruitment and that other connections from the Jeannette business community, like DeNunzio, are not involved. That's why, the source said, Tressel recently called Batch and asked him to come with Pryor to Columbus, though Pryor already made his official visit to Ohio State on Nov. 2.
It was unknown whether a second Ohio State trip will take place.
Pryor doesn't live with either of his parents, instead residing in Jeannette with his godfather, Willie Burns. Pryor said of Batch in his newspaper diary, "I trust him a lot. When I go on these visits, I think he'll know who's telling the truth just by sitting there and listening."
I'd like to emphasize the following is all speculative; given Pryor's public indecision speculation is all we have to go on.
"DeNunzio" above is a 78-year-old restaurant owner in Jeannette who was a prominent banker in town for 45 years; reading between the lines on "other connections from the Jeannette business community" is not hard to do. This falls into Ray Reitz's line about Pryor's "friends" needing to understand that Pryor must do what's best for him -- presumably to take the open starting job at a school guaranteed to run the offense Pryor was born to operate.
Batch has been at the head of the Pryor recruitment for a couple weeks now and hasn't met Jim Tressel; this worries Tressel and pleases me. I'm not exactly optimistic but maybe I'm less pessimistic now, especially since Pryor intends to take a couple more official visits.
OSU fans are, as you might expect, displeased with the Pryor items over the last couple days:
Leading the charge in trying to unravel something is MGoBlog, which is really a shame, because Brian has spent the better part of the past two weeks railing against the "jihad" WVU has launched against Rodriguez.
Two major differences: I am not a member of the Michigan athletic department with a credulous reporter in hand, and I am not making obviously false statements like "it's like nothing ever existed." I am making a fairly logical leap from "OSU fans are basically Alabamans" and "OSU coaches are having dinner with a guy who lets Pryor borrow his Corvette" to "something fishy is going on." Point the second has been covered over the past couple days and has been confirmed by Jeanette locals, OSU's Scout site, and Scout guru Bob Lichtenfels.
Point the first: Basically Alabama. Ohio State boosters are awesome. Local dealerships are exceptionally generous with their test-drive programs:
Clarett sat out the 2003 season after he was charged with misdemeanor falsification for filing a police report claiming that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment was stolen from a car he borrowed from a local dealership. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Ohio State suspended Clarett for misleading investigators, and for receiving special benefits worth thousands of dollars from a family friend.
"Family friend" indeed. A poor kid from Youngstown in his first year in Columbus just happens to have a close personal friend who owns a car dealership.
You can find super-awesome jobs:
During his sophomore season, after he claimed the starting quarterback job and beat Michigan â€” a feat that cinches your celebrity in Columbus â€” he walked into a local health-care provider looking for a summer job and came out carrying an envelope with $500 in it. The cash was given to him by an Ohio State season-ticket holder named Robert Q. Baker, who bragged to co-workers that he owned Smith.
You can find a place to live:
Salyers claims the Roslovics reneged on a verbal agreement, allegedly orchestrated by then Ohio State assistant coach Paul Biancardi, to pay her $1,000 a month plus reimburse expenses if she would provide for Savovic during his time at Ohio State. In depositions, Salyers describes how over a four-year period she became a surrogate mother to Savovic, giving him food, shelter, clothing, transportation, spending money and other expenses.
(It should be noted, given the OSU denials later in that article, that Savovic was later declared ineligible and OSU was forced to vacate the games he played.)
There's a pattern of behavior here even if you don't include the documentation of widespread academic fraud in the New York Times, the Maurice Clarett ESPN the Magazine story, and the $3000 AJ Hawk just happened to have lying around. (I know Hawk looks like a caveman, but he's probably heard of a bank.) It involves Ohio State fans with lots of money ignoring NCAA regulations. Sure, all these things could be a completely innocent athletic department beset on all sides by those who would destroy it without cause. Occam's razor says otherwise.
(No doubt this assertion will draw "OMG Ed Martin" responses from the yokel crowd. 1) Ed Martin is not a pattern, he's a dead guy. 2) Martin was a Detroit numbers-runner looking to ingratiate himself with local basketball talent and maybe launder a few hundred grand or so, not a super-enthusiastic booster. Until Martin was provided gratis Final Four tickets he had no connection with the program. You are comparing one outlier with no real interest in Michigan's athletic program except as the most conveniently local source of potential NBA players to a pattern of malfeasance; you are stupid.)
Ohio State fans saying "I'm shocked, shocked!" when the pristine reputation of their athletic department is brought into question is somewhere between comical and infuriating. Please. Just because you've managed to rationalize it away doesn't mean everyone else has to.
Does it matter in the long run? Likely no. The NCAA has all the investigative might of Inspector Clouseau. The appearance of funny stuff will remain but an appearance.
The bigger issue here is Pryor's eligibility. Michigan fans remember the glorious three-month period when Kevin Gaines wasn't a psychopath, Jamal Crawford was eligible, and Michigan basketball looked like it was on the upswing under Brian Ellerbe of all people, and cringe. This is what happened to young Jamal:
Jamal Crawford is a rookie with the Chicago Bulls and making a lot of money. But Crawford still wishes he was playing basketball at Michigan.
"I miss college a lot," he said. "I live in a college area now because I like to be around college kids."
Crawford felt trapped last year when he decided to leave Michigan following his freshman season.
He already had served an eight-game suspension for one mistake -- sending the NBA a letter that said he intended to enter the 1999 draft before he enrolled in college. He had missed six other games and was ordered to repay $15,000 in benefits to a Seattle businessman, whom he had lived with for three years during high school. The NCAA later said he could give $11,300 to the charity of his choice. If he didn't pay, Crawford would lose his eligibility.
The infinite kindness of the NCAA: instead of paying the Seattle businessman 15 grand you don't have, you can give Jerry's Kids 11 grand you don't have. Crawford entered the draft, blew up at a pre-draft camp, and was picked 8th overall as Michigan fans clutched their head between their knees in a futile attempt to keep it from exploding.
Crawford was a nice kid with a lack of foresight who got offered stuff and, as most people would, accepted. Pryor's been offered stuff and has evidently accepted. How much stuff and how much of a paper trail there is will determine if the NCAA comes knocking.
It would be just like Angry Michigan Safety Hating God to allow Pryor to commit to Michigan, start six games his freshman year, and then have the NCAA pull a Crawford; this is kind of what I expect to happen because recent experience has taught me that this is what I should expect.
It's all in order! We are very organized! All of the organs! A key point in this shredding kerfuffle is the credibility of West Virginia University as a place more organized than a ferret kegger. If Rich Rodriguez is the human being in this commercial:
Then we can safely assume WVU has no idea what it's doing and, in lieu of any better ideas, is just flinging poo.
It started with a phone call from a newspaper reporter in October seeking to verify the academic credentials of Gov. Joe Manchin III's daughter Heather Bresch. But in less than three months, the inquiry has mushroomed into a controversy that risks casting a shadow of cronyism over this state's flagship university.
Officials at the college, West Virginia University, have been accused of rewriting records last fall to document that Ms. Bresch had earned an executive master of business administration degree in 1998. An investigation by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concluded that she had completed only 22 of the required 48 credit hours.
Manchin, of course, is the governor who's made three or four public comments implying that Rodriguez has been "corrupted by high priced agents" and the like.
West Virginia University athletic department officials acknowledged Tuesday that they used money from a WVU Foundation account set aside for football recruiting expenses to manage other costs in the athletic department.
However, WVU Athletic Director Ed Pastilong and Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration Russ Sharp contend they did nothing wrong by taking money from the 1100 Club to pay other bills.
Former Coach Rich Rodriguez grew frustrated at the way the account was used and was dissatisfied that he was never able to control it, a source said.
This "1100 Club" business seems completely petty (basically, WVU spent money allocated for recruiting flights on other football expenses) but the way it was handled -- badly -- is further evidence that WVU's athletic program is, as we speak, blasting "Come On, Feel The Noise" and partying wildly about Rodriguez's departure.
On one side, we have a highly competent football coach capable of driving an ill-funded and talent-deprived football program into the top five. On the other are the guys who managed to screw it up. Their credibility is not exactly off the charts.
Word. Bill Stewart:
"He's the football coach at Michigan and I'm the football coach at West Virginia and that's what we need to be doing,'' Stewart told the Gazette late Tuesday night. "The wounds need to heal. We need to go on.'' ...
"Who is any of this helping? It's certainly not helping West Virginia University or Michigan. It's not helping Billy Stewart or Rich Rodriguez,'' Stewart said. "I understand there are issues and a lot of them have to be dealt with. But hasn't it just all gotten ridiculous? How did we get to this point?''
I'm with him. Let WVU and Rodriguez settle their lawsuit on page six, and let's just get on with it. Promised "bombshells" should be quietly filed without comment in whatever court has the case, and both parties should vow to never speak of the other again.
In that spirit... this feature's brief lifespan has expired. Assumptions going forward: the shredding thing was much ado about precisely nothing, Rodriguez is neither Satan or Carr, and no one should particularly care about the outcome of the WVU-Rodriguez lawsuit. Occasional links might make their way into UV or on the sidebar; from now on this is all sideshow.
Holly got the color wrong yesterday:
Obviously the first thing that leaps to mind is "OMG photoshop," but that doesn't look photshopped to me. Nor does it look recent, given those "leaf" things on the trees. Perhaps he was just borrowing it, but, dude... that ain't legal, either. Unless you're a star running back in Columbus.
Scout guru Bob Lichtenfels attempts to explain ($), but mostly just confirms the veracity of the above photo and makes it worse:
I believe from what I have heard that is Sarniac's Corvette. TP borrowed it for prom or homecoming and will give it to him as a graduation present. That photo is old news
Sure, Bob, that photo is old news. The idea that a fellow who's buddy-buddy with the OSU coaches is going to give Terrelle Pryor a Corvette... new news? Is this kid even eligible?
Maybe this is why Charlie Batch is involved, and why Jeanette's high school coach has been saying things like
"Terrelle is the person that must make the decision, no one else" Batch said. "He's the person who has to be happy where he'll spend the next three or four years. His friends have to realize that."
Do any of Pryor's friends own glass factories?
Update 1/22: Removed OH WR DJ Woods (Cinci), TX S Keanon Cooper. Noted potential USC lead for Nick Perry. Added FL OL Rhonne Sanderson, MS S Charles Mitchell, OH RB Michael Shaw. Downgraded Christian Wilson and Marcus Witherspoon to yellow.
Editorial Opinion: It's not going great at the moment. DJ Woods picked Cincinnati -- probably the first time anyone's picked UC over Michigan like ever -- and a couple recruits are wavering.
NJ LB Marcus Witherspoon has officially re-opened his recruiting:
What's new in the recruiting war for South Jersey's best football prospect, Holy Spirit High linebacker/defensive end Marcus Witherspoon?
Witherspoon said early last night that he would attend Michigan, Tennessee or Rutgers.
Yes, Rutgers is a late entry in the recruiting picture.
"Right now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do," he said. "All I can say is, I will sign on Feb. 6," the first day recruits can sign binding letters of intent.
This one is up in the air; I kind of expect he'll go elsewhere. It's rare that a kid recommits to a school after publicly decommitting. (Visiting elsewhere is another matter.) (HT: The Diag.)
"My top three is USC, Michigan and Miami. Right now USC is at the top," Perry said.
An instate player declaring anyone other than Michigan his leader is bad, but it's nice that Michigan State is slipping out of the picture. If Perry stays close to home it will be Michigan. Perry has a tendency to go on a visit, drop some quotes that suggest the school he's just visited is going to be the choice, then repeat the process with another school. Michigan has him in this weekend, then he'll make a trip to Miami.
Yesterday Rivals' Mike Farrell reported that PA HB Christian Wilson was under no circumstances going to Michigan. His mom contradicts that, but also makes it sound unlikely Wilson ends up on campus:
Christian has told no one he was not attending MI. I personally didn't appreciate the comment of slandering my son (I think he said any kid) if he would choose not to attend MI. He doesn't deserve that. He is a 17 year old that just had the rug pulled out from under him. He was in love with the former staff and Coach Carr. lets face it, RR is a total 180 when it comes to his style of coaching.
He has always been a solid commit and was real concerned with the coaching changes. He is not a full back or a TE and at this point, the TE recruits are being told they could play H-Back and they just recruited another running back.
What is he to think. He is still waiting to hear from RR.
There's more in this vein. It appears that Michigan and Wilson are headed for a mutual parting of the ways.
Oh, and right, the bolded line above. Does Wilson's mom mean that Michigan's received a commitment from another tailback here or just that they've sent out some offers (which they have)? The way it's phrased it seems like the former. There's been some buzz that Trotwood-Madison RB Michael Shaw, a teammate of Brandon Moore and a visitor last weekend, was very much in play for Michigan. No other tailbacks have visited recently, AFAIK.
FL OT Rhonne Sanderson is and up-and-coming name who just visited Michigan State. He's got Florida State on tap this weekend, then a visit back around these parts:
Sanderson said that Michigan has offered him a visit for Feb. 2nd, one week after he's scheduled to go to Florida State. Sanderson, a Times first-team all county lineman, said the Wolverines will likely offer him on his trip, like the rival Spartans did last weekend.
And, just like that, Michigan has made Sanderson's "top-three" - which includes FSU and MSU - pretty formidable.
"I like it a lot," Sanderson said of Michigan. "A lot of big-time offensive linemen come out of there. They're kind of like a powerhouse with a lot of history and tradition."
If Florida State offers it'll be tough to reel him in.
I count 23 scholarships available and 15 commits; if Rodriguez is going to get to 25 he's going to have to start racking up some dudes quick.
Ted Sarniak is a businessman who lives in Jeanette, Pennsylvania. He owns a glass factory:
"Jeannette Specialty Glass is the longest-running glass company in the city," Howard says. The factory has been in existence since 1904. Ted and Kathleen Sarniak have owned the facility since April 1976.
"It was founded by a family named Crock, and the factory stayed in that family until we purchased it," Ted Sarniak says. "It was previously known as Jeannette Shade and Novelty. As we got into making more items, we changed the name to Jeannette Specialty Glass."
His glass and glass-type things have been touched by the stars:
"We've made sinks for most of the major hotels in Las Vegas, for Ringo Starr and Celine Dion," Ted Sarniak says. "Our line of gourmet dinnerware and serving bowls will be used in upscale restaurants and homes all over the world."
The investigation began in April when Peck received a complaint that Sarniak bribed police to avoid arrest. Sarniak crashed his car into the utility pole at the corner of Lowry Avenue and Division Street following the Jeannette-Central Catholic football game.
When patrolman Justin Scalzo arrived, he "found Sarniak uncooperative, smelling of alcohol, glass in his hair and a damaged windshield," according to Peck.
Sarniak was taken to Mercy Jeannette Hospital for treatment of a head injury but refused to allow medical personnel to draw his blood to determine his alcohol level. In Pennsylvania, a reading of .08 meets the legal presumption of intoxication. Refusal to submit to a blood test or Breathalyzer carries an automatic one-year license suspension, Peck said.
After the incident, Peck said Sarniak contacted another Jeannette patrolman, Keith Rosky, and told Rosky he had only two drinks that night and was not drunk. Peck said Sarniak did not ask Rosky for any favors, but Rosky mentioned the conversation to Scalzo and asked him not to charge Sarniak with drunken driving.
He is very generous to people in the community, and likes football:
Sarniak regularly has given gifts to city police officers, Peck said. Rosky and other officers have received Steeler football tickets from Sarniak.
"Although there was no direct link between the gift of the tickets and the intervention of Officer Rosky in the incident, one would be naive to believe that such gifts were not helpful in Mr. Sarniak receiving a willing ear from Officer Rosky," Peck said.
A smooth mover, Ted Sarniak is probably the richest man in Jeanette, Pennsylvania.
Why is he meeting with Ohio State coaches?
"It's crazy and it's going to get worse as it gets closer," Reitz said. "It's like playing poker: Everybody wants to have the last trump card."
Last week, OSU's coaches made an appearance and had a Thursday night dinner with someone close to Pryor believed to be Ted Sarniak, a Jeannette businessman. The following day, the 6-6, 225-pound Pryor headed to Ann Arbor for his second official visit.
And why has that Scout article, emailed to me by four different people in the span of ten minutes last night, been changed to read like this?
Last week, OSU's coaches made an appearance and the following day, the 6-6, 225-pound Pryor headed to Ann Arbor for his second official visit.
Scratch a message board remotely connected with recruiting and you will encounter a vast network of rumors about Sarniak, Pryor, and Ohio State: Pryor has a new Corvette and worked at Sarniak's factory this summer. Sarniak has a business in Dublin, Ohio, that's doing quite well. OSU coaches and Sarniak had dinner before Pryor's trip to Michigan. None can be proven, and all seem like sour grapes from schools not likely to end up with Pryor on their team.
But... yeah, Maurice Clarett was driving around an SUV he didn't own and Troy Smith was suspended for taking money from a booster and Jim O'Brien bought a bunch of Yugoslavians or something. Ohio State fans are an enthusiastic bunch, aren't they?