this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
at least there's still bubble hockey? [Bill Rapai]
I don't know if there was anything Jim Hackett could have done about this in the short time he's been athletic director, but man, for the second straight year the hockey schedule is deeply unappealing to me as a season-ticket holder. Worse, it doesn't set Michigan up well for an attempt to make the tourney in Red Berenson's final year. Let's run down the problems.
The nonconference schedule sucks
Here's the nonconference schedule, with last year's RPI out of 59 in parentheses after. Home games bolded.
- Mercyhurst x 2 (39)
- @ Union (30)
- @ RPI (46)
- Robert Morris x 2 (25)
- Niagara (58)
- @ BU x 2 (3)
- Dartmouth x 2 (22)
- NMU (GLI) (35)
- Tech or State (GLI) (8 or 32)
- Ferris State (34)
The best nonconference home game is none. The only team that made the tournament last year (other than Tech, which is in the GLI with Michigan every year) is BU. BU has been thoroughly mediocre for the past five years when Jack Eichel wasn't around. He and his +51(!!!) are no longer around.
The opponents aren't even interesting from a historical standpoint: other than Ferris State and NMU in the GLI, none of these teams are old CCHA teams. They are just random Eastern teams that aren't good and want a paycheck.
This is especially grim because the Big Ten was so bad last year. In a tough, or even reasonable, league a 22-15 record is a good shot at the tournament. Michigan had none because the Big Ten was a disaster. Even if the league gets off the mat somewhat this year (doubtful since MSU and Wisconsin both inexplicably retained their coaches), Michigan is going to need some help from a solid nonconference schedule. This is emphatically not it.
And that goes double since the home/road split is 9/5. The current iteration of the RPI irrationally overrates road wins and irrationally underrates home wins, so any team that is willing to scrimp for guarantee games like Michigan clearly has is putting itself even further behind an already rather large eight ball.
There are infinite football conflicts
It's like this was intentional:
- There are only four road games before the Christmas break.
- Two of them come during football's bye week.
- One of the Robert Morris games is on October 31st. Michigan plays Minnesota that day. That game has already been announced for 8 PM.
- There is a home game on the day of a home OSU game that's at least 50/50 to be at 3:30.
- In the unlikely event Michigan makes the Big Ten Championship game, there is a home game against Wisconsin probably at the same time.
I understand that some conflicts are inevitable. This is close to maximum hypothetical conflict. Michigan has scheduled games that no Michigan fan is going to want to attend that hurt their chances to make the tournament.
There are way too many games early and way too few late
As mentioned, the season ticket has 12 of its games before the break and just 7 after, one of which is the NTDP exhibition. There is another month-long gap between home games. (At least this time it's not because Michigan sold a game against MSU so Chicago could ignore it.)
- And Michigan inserted the Ferris game into a weird mid-February bye week. They go six weeks(!) between home league games, from Ohio State on January 17th to Ohio State on March 4th.
There are still no playoffs
Maybe I'll fly to Minneapolis, though. It could happen.
"Pace Yourself" Isn't In The Harbaugh Lexicon
Michigan's already reeled in ten commitments this month, and with several highly interested prospects set to visit campus soon, recruiting shows no sign of slowing down.
Three-star FL OLB Jonathan Jones has been among the handful of prospects most expected to join the class sooner or later, arrived on campus today for what will be a five-day unofficial visit, per Steve Lorenz. That long a visit is almost unheard of, and while Jones made the very reasonable request for people to stop asking if he'll commit, it's definitely on the table.
Starting next Wednesday, a whole crew will arrive from the east, per Lorenz: four-star PA TE Naseir Upshur, four-star NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, four-star NJ WR Brad Hawkins, four-star NJ DE Ron Johnson, and 2017 four-star NJ C Cesar Ruiz will all spend three days on campus. Upshur and Johnson both have Michigan at the top of their lists, Mitchell seems like a strong possibility, and Hawkins has Michigan and South Carolina tied at the top.
2017 four-star Paramus Catholic OLB Drew Singleton is expected to visit on Friday, per Lorenz. His five-star 2016 teammate, DT Rashan Gary, told Rivals' Adam Friedman that he plans to be in Ann Arbor on June 25th, and his mother will come along with him ($).
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup]
We might have to have a Twitter of the Year bracket if things keep going in this direction. First, Jack Wangler helps out Justice Hayes!
— jack wangler (@J_Wangler16) June 17, 2015
And then there's Jourdan Lewis with his best Marshawn Lynch impression.
— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) June 18, 2015
I would support Lewis extending this impression to all media interactions, getting everyone all furious at him, and then dropping the charade in the middle of a press conference for seemingly no reason.
Also, this post reminded me that Wyatt Shallman bought a ferret. This has been the best offseason.
After the spring game this year I was moved to write about the stuff Michigan was doing with Peppers. So moved in fact that I scrapped a "10 ways the NCAA can fix itself" feature for HTTV and wrote it on hybrid spacer players and how Peppers is a special type of that. If you'd like to read that, there are ways:
(not to scale)
e-Book version: Fewer photos, but a few paragraphs here and there that were cut for space. Now available from the Kindle store, working on iBooks.
Part of that article gets into how they aligned him (and Dymonte Thomas) in the spring game, but I wanted to explain more in detail what we mean by this:
Michigan will spend most of its time this year in nickel formations with Peppers acting as a hyper-athletic strongside linebacker. Against conventional sets they’ll be a base eight-man front with one deep safety (Jarrod Wilson) and Peppers acting as a maniacally aggressive strong safety, allowing the rest of the defense to play all kinds of tricks.
The gist is Michigan's defense, whether against spread or tight formations, is trying to have its run-stopping cake and eat the passing game too by putting Peppers in the slot, where his linebackerness can be brought to bear as well as his cornerbackosity.
Here's the Blue Team's first play in the Spring Game:
The soundtrack is off by a few seconds; sorry.
[There is Woodson after the jump]
Photo via 247
In what could be a sign of things to come, Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan S Josh Metellus announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon on Twitter. Metellus visited Ann Arbor last weekend with teammates Devin Bush Jr. and Devin Gil, both of whom have Michigan at or near the top of their lists. Metellus is the 16th commit in the 2016 class, the first at safety, and the second to announce today, following Ben Bredeson.
|2* S||2* S||NR S||NR S||2*, #145 S|
Scout and Rivals have each thrown two stars Metellus' way, but neither site even had an article posted to his profile prior to his commitment. Metellus earned his offer at Michigan's satellite camp hosted by Flanagan, so this is another instance of the coaches seeing a prospect in person who hasn't yet received much attention from the recruiting services.
Metellus is listed at 6'0", 185-187 pounds on every site save ESPN, which is a distinct outlier at 5'10", 170. He looks closer to the general consensus on tape.
This might be a first: there isn't a single evaluation on any of the sites. Highlight film goes here, then:
Metellus looks like a good athlete, enthusiastic tackler, and potential weapon as a punt gunner. Most of the pass defense highlights occurred on poorly thrown balls, so I won't attempt further analysis on four minutes worth of junior film. Perhaps more than with any other commit in the class, this is a situation where until there's more to go on, you either trust Jim Harbaugh's judgment or you don't.
Metellus was a Georgia Southern commit before visiting last weekend, when he and Gil both decommitted from other programs (Miami, in Gil's case). His other offers are from FIU, Miami (OH), Midd. Tennessee State, and South Alabama.
Flanagan's history of producing Division I prospects is relatively short and undistinguished until the present. Bush, Gil, and Metellus have obviously all earned Michigan offers; 2017 CB Stanford Samuels is a potential five-star. This is a pretty good time to develop a strong connection to the school, which Michigan has accomplished with the satellite camp.
None posted that I could find.
FAKE 40 TIME
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He will probably play safety?
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The big impact here is the potential that Metellus' teammates will join him in Ann Arbor, which appears to be a distinct possibility. Metellus also fills a need at safety, and Michigan should be all set there with either ATH Kiante Enis or, potentially, Gil.
No pictures of Claypool or Kelly so instead enjoy some gratuitous Harbaugh [Bill Rapai]
I attended the Sound Mind Sound Body camp at Dakota High School last Friday and had the chance to speak with a number of Michigan commits and targets. Today’s interviews include Chase Claypool, whom the Michigan coaches were keeping a very close eye on, and Xavier Kelly, a Michigan target and U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection.
Chase Claypool, 2016 WR
Adam: How do you feel you did on the field today?
Claypool: Pretty good. I’ve got to work on my press release. I tried to get as many reps as I could but there were so many people, but it was a good learning experience most of all so pretty good.
Adam: What kind of feedback did you get from the coaches?
Claypool: Work your arms and different techniques, and just keep it up. Be physical.
Adam: As far as Michigan goes, who’s involved in recruiting you? [It was windy. He must not have heard the first part of the question. Such is life.]
Claypool: Oregon, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Rutgers.
Adam: Who are the Michigan coaches that have been talking to you?
Claypool: Jim and Jay Harbaugh, and then Jedd Fisch. I got a chance to visit two days ago or yesterday and I met the whole staff there.
Adam: How did the visit go?
Claypool: It was really good. I got to hang out with some players there, two of the players, Moe [Ways] and Ian [Bunting], so that was good.
Adam: What else did you do on your visit?
Claypool: I took a tour, saw the field, saw the facility, and saw the business building because that’s what I think I want to take so that was really nice. We went out to eat to that Cuban burger place.
Adam: Frita Batidos?
Claypool: Yeah, yeah!
Adam: What was your impression after the visit?
Claypool: It was more building a relationship between the staff and the players and me, so the visit was really good but the relationship building was a lot better. Oh, and I walked through the tunnel and went on the field.
Adam: What would you say is the coaching staff’s recruiting style?
Claypool: It’s less serious. It’s more laid back. They want you to feel comfortable with them, so they don’t just want to talk about football and this is what you’ve got to do and this is what we want to see. It’s more like how’s your mom doing, how are things at home…more personal, in a good way.
Adam: How did you feel you fit in with the players?
Claypool: I clicked with those two players really well, so I feel like it’d be a nice fit. They’re all really nice.
Adam: What are your plans for the rest of summer?
Claypool: I have a couple camps coming up and then in July I don’t have anything booked so I might take a couple unofficial visits if I can get the money.
Adam: Where else would you like to visit?
Claypool: The places that I haven’t visited yet and that I’m not going to go any camps there, so probably Tennessee and Mississippi State…maybe a couple Pac 12 schools like Arizona and stuff.
[After THE JUMP: Xavier Kelly]