"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
So... new guys. Jordan Barnes is a shortish linebacker from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and a three-star to both Scout and Rivals. ESPN basically agrees, giving him a 77 ("meh"), and saying:
Overall, Barnes is ideal for a team struggling to slow down two-back, power-running schemes but could have difficulty playing cutback versus heavy zone teams. Tough, strong and physical with good short-area burst; should be very productive in the middle for a tradition[al] 4-3 team.
Hey... that's us! Stats:
The 6-foot, 225-pound prospect recorded 146 tackles in 2007 with 38 tackles for loss.
Your standard "save me, Jebus" stuff.
Okay, so he sounds like a Sam Sword type, a two-down run stuffer. There are a couple indications he could be something more: a pretty decent offer list (Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Louisville, and Alabama according to Jim Stefani) and the opinion of the Wolverine's Josh Helmholdt, who suggests Barnes has made a leap forward in recent months and could be headed for a breakout senior year. FWIW, Stefani has a similar take:
Very athletic. Great combination of power and quickness. A bit raw as a player, but has a lot of upside.............Very impressive at May 2008 Columbus Nike Camp.............Tested second best in the SPARQ at the February 2008 Orlando Nike (4.50(hand 40, 4.24/sh, 38.1/vert, 37'0"/pb, 125.88/SPARQ)
Upside is the word of the day here. That SPARQ score is super high, especially for a linebacker. He's not that far away from a four-star ranking on Rivals (he's the #20 ILB and #17 has the fourth star) and could get that if he performs up to his combine numbers this fall.
A fun biographical fact: Barnes is the son of former Lions LB Roosevelt Barnes.
Dewayne Peace, meanwhile, is the only thing approximating a camp commitment we're going to get this year, and he's rated like one: the #128 wide receiver to Scout, #76 to Rivals, and currently unscouted by ESPN. He did have offers from Kansas and Texas A&M and was impressive at all his camp stops:
Peace, the MVP at his position from South Grand Prairie, will be one to watch. His ability to make the tough catch despite going against a very aggressive group of DB's was impressive. With just two offers in hand from Kansas and SMU, things should continue to grow in the recruiting arena.
Video via VB:
There's also some fluffy stuff over at something called Prep Ticket. And that's all there is on young Mr. Peace. At 6-foot and 160 or 170 pounds Peace could be ticketed for defensive back or wide receiver.
Argh three stars? Cranky emailer:
Hi Brian, how are you?
quick question for you...in short, why in the F are we recruiting all of these three star athletes like Dewayne Peace and jordan Barnes?
I guess this Barnes guy is somewhat of a freak of nature (I mean hey, Alabama wanted him too), but Peace? He has offers from Kansas, Texas A&M, CSU, UCF, SMU, and MICHIGAN....
what decision does this kid have to make? Isn't it a no brainer he is going to Michigan? The only question is, why do we want the 76th best wide receiver? We are Michigan, shouldn't we be settling for a LOT better?
Talk to me goose....make this right in my head so I can stop fuming!
Every school takes guys rated at about Peace's level when they find them and like them enough to offer. Even Ohio State's admittedly monster 2009 class has Adam Homan, Rivals' #38 MLB, Zach Boren, the #64 "athlete," and Duron Carter, the #73 wide receiver. In general, I'm okay with camp commitments since they come after an extended look at a prospect and his abilities. When Michigan has Peace on campus for a week they probably know much more about his abilities than the recruiting gurus -- working off a day camp here and there and maybe some highlight video, of which Peace doesn't have much -- do.
Serenity now, Mr. Joseph.
...and I just barely resist the temptation to pun like it's 1999. (Scout link, FWIW.)
Peace is a low-ranked WR from Texas with offers from Texas A&M and Kansas; he camped and earned an athlete offer. IMO, he's a defensive back in college but they're telling him he could play on either side of the ball. Varsity Blue's got a little bit. More from me tomorrow.
When Michigan got two early commitments from quarterbacks Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver it looked like they had quickly addressed the most gaping hole on the roster and would discontinue efforts to land other ball-throwin' guys. This did not so much happen. Tate -- not Jason -- Forcier continues to list Michigan high and came out to the one-day senior camp a few weeks ago. Floridian Eugene Smith has Michigan in his top five and appears to be under the impression Michigan is still recruiting him.
In a TLA: WTF?
There have been rumors that Newsome is still open to other schools recruiting him, most prominently Penn State and Virginia Tech. They are no longer rumors. This is a "close family friend" of Kevin Newsome:
"I thought when he picked Michigan, he jumped the gun a little bit, and I was disappointed," [former West Branch coach Lew] Johnston said. "I told him that."
Johnston is not a big fan of Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez, who told Newsome he was "their guy" and then continued to recruit several other top quarterbacks. Michigan received a second QB commitment just days after Newsome's pledge.
"We're very close, and I've told him I'd like to see him stay closer to home," Johnston said. "I'm not going to push it, but there's something about playing in your home state."
There is obviously a possibility of a decommitment and Newsome will bear watching going into the fall.
Meanwhile, I am not a big fan of this Johnston guy. "I'm not going to push it, I'm just going to... you know... push it." Here's a quote from Kevin Newsome himself($):
"I know they want to take two and they're looking at Tate Forcier, Eugene Smith and some others," he said. "I'm not really worried about that. They told me I was their top guy and I know I have to compete. I just think the school and the football situation fit me right."
I don't know who started it, but now we have a feedback loop: Newsome remains slightly open to other schools because Michigan is recruiting other quarterbacks; Michigan is recruiting other quarterbacks because Newsome remains slightly open to other schools.
The situation, as far as I can see:
Shavodrick Beaver is solid on Michigan, and has reportedly even encouraged Forcier to commit. A scholar and a gentleman, he. Beaver grew up a big Texas fan and if there was going to be some wobble it would have been when the Longhorns offered him (at WR) a couple months ago. There was not.
Kevin Newsome is probably going to stick, IMO. The structural factors that led Newsome to pick Michigan -- Jay "Duh" Paterno and VT QB Tyrod Taylor -- are still in place. This Johnston guy is a former West Branch coach and Newsome is transferring to Hargrave Military, which seems to say a lot about the influence this guy wields: not much. Hargrave, by the way, is a prep school that hosts a wide array of guys who didn't make it academically every year. It's kind of a football Oak Hill. Newsome will play on their "post graduate" team.
His father, Kevin Sr., confirmed the move this afternoon, saying his son wanted to "continue to improve at quarterback so he'll be in a better position to step in and help somebody as soon as possible when he gets to college."
Help somebody? Er. That article also floats Newsome's potential attendance at a VT one-day camp; he does that and he's instantly a soft commit.
The Hargrave move is good in multiple ways for Michigan: it gets him to a school well-known for coaching kids up, it provides a tough level of competition, and it should smooth Newsome's path to an early enrollment. If Newsome enrolls early, Michigan won't have to wait until signing day to find out how solid he is, and if he ends up decommitting hopefully Forcier or Smith is still out there. (And even if they're not... snake oil, baby.)
I think Tate Forcier wants to go to Michigan. This is just speculation, mind you, but Forcier continues to speak highly of Michigan long after that stopped making any sense, and dumping a grand or so to come out to the camp a couple weeks ago speaks volumes. IIRC, he hasn't made it out to Penn State, Florida, or Oregon in a while. Throw in those myspace comments when Newsome committed and the preference seems clear. IMO, a Newsome decommit will either be preceded or quicky followed by a Forcier commit.
Eugene Smith might also be a possibility if he intends to wait, which I believe he does.
Who do I want? I like 'em all.
This is a big, huge, bighuge big week for Michigan basketball. If you've been following UMHoops.com you are probably aware of all of this, but in short:
- Beilein is hosting a wide array '09, '10, and '11 prospects this week at various camps.
- California point guard Darius Morris is making a visit.
Morris, a point guard who's #64 in the Rivals 100 and upwardly mobile, has been saying all the right things for going on six months now; this is the big week. The LA Times:
Michigan has had to be considered one of the favorites to land a verbal commitment from Darius Morris of Windward for quite sometime now, especially since his father had so many good things to say about the Wolverines and what they had to offer his son in this blog, back toward the end of April.
That said, it shouldn't come as a big surprise to learn there's a plan for Morris to visit Ann Arbor on June 29-30, according to quotes. The 6-foot-3 junior point guard has offers from Oregon St., Washington St. and USC. Other programs expressing interest include Arizona, Kentucky and Texas.
Morris is a huge recruit for Michigan basketball. He's a top-50-ish PG from across the country and would be the biggest recruit John Beilein has ever landed. He's Daniel Horton, except this time he'd be committing to the guy widely believed to be the best strategic coach in the country. Landing him would go a long way towards dispelling the perception that Beilein will only recruit six-foot white guys with peanut allergies.
If Morris commits, Michigan will be looking for a high profile wing to round out the class. UMHoops provides the lowdown.
Also, anyone got 40 million lying around?
According to a Crisler Arena infrastructure report recently completed for the university by architectural firm Jicking Lyman Powell Associates, renovating Crisler Arena could cost more than $46.7 million.
The report estimates the cost of a new practice facility at $20.5 million, bringing the cost of overhauling and building to approximately $67.2 million.
Indiana linebacker Jordan Barnes has committed to Michigan. Informative update coming... eventually. Probably tomorrow.
The NHL drafted dudes this weekend, and all four Michigan recruits were picked:
- D Brandon Burlon went in the late second round (#52) to New Jersey.
- Robbie Czarnik went at the top of the third (#63) to the Kings
- Greg Pateryn went in the fifth (#128) to Toronto
- David Wohlberg went in the sixth to New Jersey (#172)
Draft-eligible freshmen Scooter Vaughn and Tristin Llewellyn were passed over, as was 2009 D recruit Lee Moffie. This is the first time since 2000 Michigan didn't have a player picked in the first round. The program is a machine.
Upshot? It's nice to have top-end picks, but a bunch of second to fourth rounders are almost as good since NHL teams are less likely to pick them off after a year or two but they still have excellent talent. See: Porter, Kevin and Kolarik, Chad.
Czarnik going to LA is a little unfortunate. The Kings have a history with Michigan hockey, and by "have a history" I mean "you hate them." Mike Cammalleri, now a (yech) Flame, was pressed and pressed by the Kings until he finally signed right before the season started, pissing Red off something fierce and causing one of his regular diatribes against early signing. Two years ago, USHL player of the year Trevor Lewis never got to Michigan after being picked by the Kings at the tail end of the first round. LA signed him and shuffled him off to the OHL. (Jack Johnson also signed with the Kings early, but he went right into the NHL; can't blame anyone for that.) Czarnik's not going to pull a Lewis, knock on wood, but if he turns into a star he might get signed prematurely.
Other than that, it's nice to see the Devils pick a couple Michigan players. New Jersey's one of the best-run organizations in the league and they get a ton out of the draft, which speaks well of Burlon and Wohlberg's talent relative to their draft positions. They also tend to leave guys in college longer (IMO). Pateryn getting drafted is a major bonus since he's not on much scholarship money.
CCHA Note: Highly-touted Ohio State recruit Zac Dalpe may never see Columbus. He went high-ish in the OHL draft to Plymouth and was just taken by the Carolina Hurricanes. Both franchises are owned by Peter Karmanos. Dalpe was reportedly considering the OHL route but wanted to see what the team who drafted him preferred; Carolina is obviously going to push for the Whalers.
Outside of Michigan, it was a meh year for the CCHA in the draft. MSU recruit Daultan Leveille went 29th; he and Dalpe were the only two players selected before the fourth round, when a couple ND recruits and another MSU player went.