Update 6/1: Rivals has released its initial five stars and top 100, and everyone's notes have been updated to reflect the new information. There are still a few "4.5" stars out there for guys who will probably be Scout 5-stars but not Rivals 5-stars; Scout usually gives out maybe 20 additional five-star ratings. I also rearranged them so the players are more or less in ranking order. Moved DeMarco Murray to RB from CB, Steve Brown to S from CB, Brandon Spikes from DE to LB.
So, a lot of moving stuff around without a lot of content changes. The Rivals 100 looks pretty good to Michigan fans. Michigan already has commitments from #19 (Graham) and #39 (Boren) and is in on a lot of the rest, including about eight five-stars that they have a realistic shot with.
Update update: Right. Link is here.
Larry Brooks says the NHL lockout is finally coming to a merciful end. The new deal will have a salary cap of around 36 million dollars and a floor of somewhere from 24 to 28 million, a league-wide salary rollback of 24 percent, a reduction of the UFA age to 28, modifcation to the RFA procedure, and a draft in late June.
If what he says is true (sometimes in question with Brooks), the Al Montoya watch immediately starts. Montoya has alternately insisted that he will return and hedged like a madman. mgoblog believes that if there is a CBA in place by the end of the month and the Rangers offer Montoya a contract he finds acceptable, he's gone. With Dan Blackburn probably retiring in the near future, there would be room in the AHL for Montoya.
How would losing Montoya affect Michigan's prospects for '06? That depends on which Montoya showed up for his senior season, the clutch goalie who was the first goalie taken in the 2004 draft or the sieve that made mgoblog muy triste last year. The effects probably wouldn't be devastating; Michigan would bring in one of the two '06 recruits a year early and anoint them the starter. Whoever is brought in would have to be very sucky indeed to match Montoya's junior year.
"Da Chairman" over at prepspotlight checks in with the latest on Michigan's 2006 class(free reg req.). He predicts Sims, Jackson, and Herzog to Michigan, nothing earth-shattering, but encouraging nonetheless after those persistent Sims-to-Syracuse rumors popped up again on various message boards. All three have been playing well in AAU tournaments recently.
Chair also shares something vague but new: it's the general consensus that Michigan leads for a "terrific" 2007 recruit. Two names keep popping up as the front-runners for the best in-state players in that class, Dar Tucker and Alex Legion. Tucker is widely regarded as a MSU lean... Legion may be the "terrific" '07 recruit. Way too early to do anything but file it away as interesting, but boy do I love filing things away as interesting. And how.
Immediate reaction as regards the team: Michigan's now in a QB bind this upcoming year. Henne's obviously the starter and Gutierrez the backup, but if his arm injury flares up again Michigan will be one hit away from starting a true freshman at quarterback. Again. That's two somewhat unlikely events, but I'd rather it was three, especially because I doubt that Jason Forcier is anywhere near the level of preparation Henne was at last year.
CFN hasn't posted their Michigan preview on the front page yet, but they have put on the eeenternet all the same. It's basically par for the course for CFN... broadly correct with a number of statements that indicate they aren't quite paying attention. Before you read it, mentally prepare yourself by correcting the following statements:
First, in general... CFN was confused by Michigan's insistence on listing people by academic year even if they've taken a redshirt. Thus many players are listed as a year further along in their eligibility than they actually are, like "senior" Darnell Hood and "junior" Jake Long.
"Clayton Richard is one of the nation's best number three quarterbacks and would likely start for at least seven other Big Ten teams." WTF? And you rank the QB position an eight?
"[Hart's] not a home run hitter and isn't much at creating his own running room." I suppose the first part is plausible, but the second part is insane. I mean, how the hell do you think a guy like Hart runs for 1,400 yards?
"Roger Allison will eventually be the team's top fullback, but it might not happen until next year." This sentence is fine but they left out "because he has a mysterious nerve injury that will sideline him until 2006."
"Avant ... has good size and good speed, but he's not a deep threat and isn't going to replace Braylon Edwards..." I don't have a major quibble with this, but let's get in the wayback machine and head back to a year I like to call... 2004. [/Kasey Kasem] What did you say about Avant then, CFN? "He's not just a possession receiver; he can be a scary deep threat leading the team with a 16.4 yard-per-catch average..." Good example there of how the CFN guys guess from stats... which, admittedly, has been a good portion of mgoblog's frustrating foray into the world of season previews.
"The 6-5, 317-pound All-Big Ten talent [Stenavich] will be on everyone's All-America short list entering his third season on the line." Whoah. Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman! Stenavich is all right, but this is a classic example of a Michigan guy getting overrated because he's a Michigan guy. Stenavich is a third year starter at left tackle for Michigan, so he must be teh hottness, right? Eh. He plateaued a while ago.
On the defensive side of the ball, CFN has completely missed Michigan's return to a base 4-3 (hallelujah). But there's more. Horrible, horrible more.
"Pierre Woods [is] sure to come up with a great year..." Strangely omitted was the phrase "playing Madden, because that's the closest he'll come to a football field this year."
"Massey is a slippery pass rusher who feasts on one-on-one blocking." Ummm...
"LaMarr Woodley is part end and part linebacker, but he excels most when Michigan uses the 3-4." Wow. Wow. That's completely 100% wrong in every imaginable way. mgoblog cringes at the idea of Woodley--very possibly the best defensive end at Michigan in fifteen years--lining up at linebacker. Woodley at linebacker makes Baby Jesus kill kittens. (And by "Baby Jesus" I mean "me" and by "kittens" I mean "Jim Herrmann.")
"[McClintock] on the inside [sic weird construction] will be the anchor of the linebacking corps as the only returning starter." David Harris has taken McClintock's job.
"[Mundy's] a consistent tackler with good size and warp speed; he's usually in the right place when he has to be." Some Michigan fan on the Internet (sorry, I forgot who you are) coined the term "Yards After Mundy." That's because there are a lot of them. Mundy needs to improve his angles and tackling badly.
"Punter Mark Spencer, Sr. or Zoltan Mesko, Fr. - A walk-on, Spencer will replace Adam Finley until true freshman Zoltan Mesko gets to camp. Expect this to be a battle up until the opener." mgoblog will consume hats until the cows come home to roost if Mark Spencer ever punts with a game in doubt. Also, why did they completely omit mention of Mesko's impending Heisman campaign?
Anyway, it's there. You can check it out if you like. I'm trying to be a good boy and not bag too hard on it, but if you read this blog you're probably not going to learn anything new. And overdosing on the words "huge," "grow," and "fantastic" is a real possibility. Steel yourself!
Steve Schrader's latest in the Free Press:
"The Pistons might be down, 2-1, but they still have their fans -- and all over the world, not just the nasty ones at the Palace that Heat coach Stan Van Gundy was talking about.
For example, somebody pointed out a Japanese fan site -- www.amigoclub.jp/miki/pistons -- devoted to them."
Schrader then offers the translations kindly provided to mgoblog by a reader. So... it's cool that GO! PISTONS is getting some mainstream press, but... "somebody"? Aren't they supposed to attribute things after Albomgate?
I am annoyed. An email has been dispatched. An email of fury!
Update: Returning to the amigofriends site reveals that Miki, the proprietor, has posted the English translations of her Japanese honorifics. So Schrader probably never ended up here. Someone probably emailed him the link sans blog reference, which is a shame, because that means he missed all the Reggie Miller creepiness.