landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
This was going to be a part of Monday Recruitin' but deserves its own post.
So: we're down to one quarterback commit. Rodriguez has a month or so to latch on to another one, though, and a number of attractive targets:
VA QB Tajh Boyd originally committed to West Virginia, but decommitted during WVU's season, probably right after he saw the Bill Stewart Face. He then committed to Tennessee only for Lane Kiffin to say "seeya" as soon as he took the helm. Since he got back on the market he visited Ohio State, generating strong rumors of a future commitment, and plans on visiting Oregon.
Can Michigan get in on a guy they were never really involved with in the first place? They'll certainly try. It might not matter much; ironically given the circumstances of his Tennessee situation, Boyd decommitted WVU in search of a place that would throw the ball more and (hypothetically) better prepare him for the NFL. Can Rodriguez convince him he's interested in throwing the ball more? You'd think so given that his other two quarterbacks are Threet and Forcier, but public perception is hard to change.
Damage to the class if M picks him up: Negative. Boyd his higher rated by everyone.
Chance M picks him up: Seems a long shot at this point. M can really sell opportunity here, though.
FL QB Eugene Smith is currently committed to West Virginia, so you know he must like the offense. He was on the board for a long time even after the Beaver/Newsome commits, and then still remained on the board after the Newsome/Forcier swap. He's got a longstanding relationship with the Michigan staff—I believe Calvin Magee is the main guy—and kind-of sort-of seemed to be favoring Michigan at points despite the scholarship situation. Then he committed to WVU a month ago.
Could he be open? Well, yes. Smith told a West Virginia radio program this when he announced his commitment:
I don't want to say I'm shutting the door completely. It will all come in due time. Wait till things get settled down and get my grades.
If Smith's door remains open and the vibe he gave off earlier is any indication… well, it's not like that state's opinion of Michigan could get any worse. One possible hindrance: FL WR Steadman Bailey—briefly a Michigan recruit in the summer—is also a WVU commit. But, uh, we've got a spot at outside WR, kid.
This is 100% speculation, but I got a weird Forcier-like feeling during Smith's recruitment; he obviously liked Michigan quite a bit. If he liked it as much as Forcier he would have leapt on an offer earlier, so this is no slam dunk. Still… I would not be surprised if Smith popped up on the radar again and took a visit.
Damage to the class if M picks him up: also negative. Smith is higher rated by everyone, too.
Chance M picks him up: Extremely strong for a guy currently committed to another school, or "not very good at all but we've got a shot." If Smith decides to take a visit I think we've got a pretty solid chance.
MD QB Raymond Cotton is an Auburn decommit mighty displeased by the Chizik hire. Michigan was not involved with him before his commitment, but, hey, I just broke up with my girlfriend what a coincidence you just broke up with your boyfriend do you want to grind on the dance floor here sign this it's a LOI.
Four-star quarterback lists Ole Miss on top
That's the headline of a Rivals article in the aftermath of his decommit, albeit one written a couple days before the Atomic Beaver detonated. Arkansas and Southern Miss are also up high; this guy has the geographical preferences of a guy from Georgia, not Maryland.
Damage to the class if M picks him up: Not insignificant but minor. Cotton's a guy on the three/four star edge and Beaver was generally better regarded. He's good enough to be a viable option, though.
Chance M picks him up: No idea. He's floating out there and Michigan's got an attractive spot open, but he seems set on the SEC.
FL QB Denard Robinson is current uncommitted and may be more of an athlete recruit than a quarterback. Florida and Georgia are both competing for his services but plan to bring him in as a WR/DB and I know you're thinking "ack Feagin can't throw" right now but Robinson is on another level as a recruit. He's a member of the Rivals 250, their second-fastest "athlete" prospect, a member of the ESPN 150…
Robinson and ATH Brandon McGee could be twins in this class as both are about 5'11, very athletic, quick and actually very accomplished passers, but it will take the right offense and coaching staff to commit to them as QB's as opposed to making the move to corner or wide receiver.
…and a four-star cornerback to Scout.
Florida has long been rumored the leader, and the Gators have offered him at quarterback. How honest is that QB offer? Eh… fairly legit, actually. Though Florida already has a QB commit in this class they did not take a QB last year and one of the two they took in 2006, Cameron Newton, is in hot water for stealing (and chucking) some kid's laptop.
Robinson really wants that QB shot and a early playing time. He's serious enough about both that he plans on visiting UCF in January; he will also visit Michigan. West Virginia is another candidate.
Damage to the class if M picks him up: Minimal. Robinson's 6-foot tops and probably not even that so is less of a true QB prospect than Beaver, but a QB offer from Florida is a QB offer from Florida is a QB offer from Florida.
Chance M picks him up: Not good; Florida seems the likely destination. One positive: he's taken his official to Florida and came back uncommitted.
Before you ask: yes, TX QB Tyrik Rollison is a top-100 recruit to Rivals and is a dual threat quarterback floating around uncommitted—you may remember him as the QB who was Not Beaver in the Beaver game televised on ESPN2 this fall—but at last update he had an offer from Colorado State and maybe Baylor and definitely not Oklahoma State. What does this say? It says "very unlikely to qualify" in big flashing red letters. I'm hoping that's not the case and Michigan gets involved; that doesn't seem probable.
There are a couple of uncommitted guys listed as dual threat quarterbacks in the Big Ten area: Dolapo Macarthy is from Merrillville, Indiana, and has an Iowa offer; Darren Jones is from Illinois and has offers from Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Both are three stars.
None of the four guys listed above seems likely. The chances any of the four commits to Michigan are below 50%, and probably below 35%. Then you're vaguely hoping Michigan gets involved with a guy from Texas who may not qualify or down to three star sorts. I'd take a three star sort, but let's not kid ourselves: this decommit is likely to significantly downgrade the results at the most important position in the class.
Right, so that is Shavodrick Beaver's myspace and he's been flat-out lying to the mods at Rivals and Scout:
Tulsa received a quarterback commitment Friday afternoon when Shavodrick Beaver announced he'd sign at the University of Tulsa.
Beaver, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, is from Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider High School,and has been ranked the eighth-best quarterback in the country by rivals.com.
Beaver had given a commitment to the University of Michigan, but switched to TU after a home visit by TU coach Todd Graham.
This seems like completely farfetched crap, but Rivals has an article with quotes($) up, too. WTF? This one really bothers me because for months Beaver's been called up and has said things like "I'm ten thousand percent committed!" Man up and admit you're wavering.
Michigan now needs to scramble for a second quarterback in the class. They've been recruiting FL QB Denard Robinson and may look to get involved with WVU/Tennessee decommit Tajh Boyd; expect Eugene Smith to get a phone call, too.
in percentages (or, better yet, in ± with a baseline of 5), how much is Scott Shafer's departure reflective of a poor fit as DC (and thus a tacit admission by Rodriguez that he was an unsatisfactory hire) vs. being indicative of the first the first flowering of potential panic by Rodriguez in the face of booster/fan/media displeasure (a la Auburn & Tony Franklin, as you've illustrated) on a scale that he was unprepared for. Please discuss.
Ninety percent "poor fit as DC." The Purdue game, which came when the team was 2-6 and had given up 35 points in three of the last four games, with the other game against Toledo, seemed like a breaking point. Michigan installed the 3-3-5, saw it backfire spectacularly, and from there the rift had formed and it was not repaired.
I put very little credence in the idea that coaches give half, or even a tenth, of a damn about what's said about them in the media or amongst fans. That's only relevant at the point where you get dragged into the athletic director's office and he says "some assistants go or you do." Michigan is a school that gave Tommy Amaker six years and would have let Lloyd Carr return for as long as he pleased no matter what happened against Ohio State: ultimatums did not happen.
Brian, you've probably already addressed this, but if 2005 was the Year of Infinite Pain, what was 2008?
I'm partial to the construction adopted by Auburn fans: 2008=DEATH.
Various questions on recruiting, all from one email:
How does the amount of verbal decommits stack up to other programs? This has to be a somewhat common occurrence throughout the country?
How does the number of decommits this year compare to other years under Carr? Or is this more than UM is used to?
I realize every UM fan in the blogosphere overreacts & is shocked when a kid decommits, but don't you think the coaching staff rates each verbal commit differently? When Newsome committed, I hope the coaching staff had him as a "soft" commit & were not shocked when he dropped us? As opposed to say when a Thomas Gordon committed - they coaches would have to believe this is a rock solid commit. I would think the coaches know what kids are not yet 100%, even thought they gave a verbal & still need some recruiting.sadf
Don't some verbal commitments nowadays constitute a "leader in the clubhouse" for a lot of kids?
- Newsome: not at all. Michigan replaced Newsome with an equivalent prospect in Tate Forcier. (Newsome started the recruiting cycle ranked way high but has dropped steadily since; he didn't even start for Hargrave this year.)
- Fera: little. Michigan replaced Fera with a near-equivalent in Brendan Gibbons. Also: kickers are crapshoots.
- Barnes: little. Guy is a three-star who is probably going to end up at Purdue for lack of better offers. Michigan can get a dozen of those kinds of players.
- McNeal: considerable. McNeal is a top-100 talent to everyone and Michigan is not going to replace that in this class unless they snake oil some kid unexpectedly.
- Campbell: either not at all or enormously, depending on whether he recommits.
Overall: there's a ding from the McNeal departure and if Campbell doesn't rejoin the fold it'll be a huge disappointment; other than that the decommit hullaballoo is a lot of hype with little impact.
Programming note. The blog takes its annual week off for Christmas starting Tuesday. Depending on the travel schedule—ie, the weather—Monday will either see full posting or a somewhat abbreviated day when I throw up a recruiting thing and maybe a UV sort of thing at 8AM before getting on the road. Tune in to find out.
After that, the blog will be off until the 30th, at which point I'll preview Michigan's New Year's Day Bowl— wait. What? Seriously!??!?
Hello destructor. Why yes, that's one Lamarr Woodley on the cover of Sports Illustrated:
Also there is Elvis.
It's a scam. Dan Wetzel and Yahoo have a killer article on the giant flaming scam that bowl games are for college football teams:
The Sugar Bowl’s total revenue was $12.9 million in 2006 according to tax documents. Its chief expense is paying $6 million into a payout pool for BCS teams. The rest of the money for teams comes from a cut of television and sponsorship revenue.
Wetzel later cites numbers that the ACC and SEC championship games cost from 1-2 million dollars, so the gap between 8 million and 12.9 million—about five million dollars, in case Andy Katzenmoyer is reading this—is being thrown away by college football because they let third parties run their postseason.
For the last time. The NCAA instituted some new clock rules in the offseason and they duly chopped twelve minutes and 6% of plays from every game so that we could get more awesome updates on awesome NASCAR which is awesome. In the preseason there was considerable debate about just how many plays would be wiped away by the institution of an NFL-style 40 second clock. Dr. Saturday, then SMQ, said "some"; I said "none," and so forth and so on.
I was wrong to gullibly believe that the clock rules wouldn't actually chop time off the game, but the 40 second clock probably wasn't the main culprit. The main culprit was the change in the out of bounds rule, which was projected to cut about five plays out of every game. The net loss in plays this year…
G Plays/G Time/G Pts/G
2005 717 140.71 3:21 52.61
2006 792 127.53 3:07 47.53
2007 792 143.42 3:23 55.37
2008 770 134.73 3:11 52.78
…is about seven if you take the average of the two "normal" years (2005 and 2007). The difference is almost entirely the fault of the OOB change.
If they don't repeal that, my suggested prescription for keeping your precious commercials but not hacking out plays we pay more and more to see: reduce the playclock from 40 seconds to, say, 36. Or 35. Whatever. Cut out dead time wherein we're lovingly surveying the craters of Dave Wannstache's ancient acne or going WOO LET'S PRETEND WE KNOW ABOUT NASCAR.
"Neutral site" indeed. Here's a terrible decision:
The University of Michigan baseball team will defend its 2008 Big Ten Tournament title in Columbus, Ohio, as the conference office and Greater Columbus Sports Commission announced today (Thursday, Dec.18) that Huntington Park, the home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, will serve as the host site for the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament. The event will mark the Big Ten's first neutral-site baseball tournament since 1994.
Jesus H. Christ. "Neutral site" != Columbus, Ohio. The NCAA hockey tournament has been plagued by this sort of thinking too. Guys, get over yourselves. You're college hockey and college baseball, and not even like good draft-pick-laden southern college baseball. No one is going to drive a million hours to see your team play, especially if it's in Columbus freaking Ohio. After the game you can see the beer can statue of Woody Hayes! Look, it's punching Jesus!
The net result of this is to strip the regular season champion of the one small benefit they gathered from, you know, winning the freaking conference and bestow that benefit on Ohio State. And even if you really insisted on making it a "neutral site" there are a thousand minor league ballparks across the Midwest that would actually be, you know, neutral.
Unless you know you can sell out a random "neutral" site, all tournaments/regionals should be on someone's home court/ice/field. It gives players a greater motivation to perform during the regular season and prevents embarrassingly empty stadiums when, say, Ohio State finishes fourth in the Big Ten and bombs out in two games.
Adios, Cronin. Ben Cronin will redshirt, as expected:
But what makes the most sense now is to redshirt him. I believe his window ends just about now, this time. Scheduling the surgery is a part of that. Nothing conclusive, but I do think you’ll hear something as we flip it (past the 1/3 mark of the season), and have to make a decision.
Also, Beilein's vertigo is improving and he may be on the sidelines for the Oakland game.
Steve Kampfer takes his status as a Wolverine to heart, albeit in this case its the variety with an adamantium skeleton:
Junior defenseman Steve Kampfer appears set to play in the GLI, Berenson said last Friday, and he'd likely be paired with Tristin Llewellyn or Chad Langlais. The tournament would be Kampfer's first games since suffering a fractured skull and other injuries during an alleged on-campus assault by suspended Michigan football player Mike Milano on Oct. 12.
"If we can continue in the direction we're going and there's no setbacks, I think he'll play," Berenson said.
With Brandon Burlon and Greg Pateryn playing well and Matt Rust and Aaron Palushaj off at the WJC, might we see a (possibly temporary) return of Chris Summers to forward? I guess it's a matter of whether you'd rather scratch Pateryn or someone of the Lebler/Glendening/Fardig ilk.
In any case, the next few games will be critical for Michigan's season and getting one of their top three defensemen back on the ice should be a great help.
Oh and also… what is going on at State?
Defenseman Ryan Turek was released from the team for failing to meet the expectations of the team. Turek's lack of success is pretty disappointing. He was a 4th round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues--incidentally, drafted in the same round by the same team as Travis Erstad, who is now playing D-3 hockey. Turek was also among the first group of "early commits" to choose a school years in advance of actually enrolling in college.
Also departing the team for juniors is an overmatched freshman who should return as a sophomore next season. Comley's going to have a hell of a hole to dig out of next year. Lerg and (likely) Jeff Petry depart, and there doesn't appear to be a ton of help on the way. This might be the beginning of the end for Comley.
Ticket deal. Hey, kids, if you're wandering around without basketball tickets for early January the athletic department has a deal for you: buy a $10 general admission ticket to either the Wisconsin (Dec 31) or Illinois (Jan 4) game and get a free one to the Ohio State (Jan 17) game.
Wunder Boner. I present this as a gift to our friends at the RCMB. A certain hat in this commercial will make it a staple of WalMart Wolverine threads for years:
You can show your appreciation by losing next year's football game. Thanks in advance.
Obsolete. I was about to mention this line in a Tom Deinhart article on coaching changes…
Don't be shocked if Michigan makes a change at defensive coordinator.
…when someone IMed me saying that Shafer was outtta heeeeere. But there are a couple interesting notes in it anyway:
EMU wants to hire a coach by Christmas
Word is Eastern Michigan would like to hire a coach by Christmas. The names floating around are Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown, Grand Valley State (Mich.) coach Chuck Martin, Iowa receivers coach Erik Campbell, New Orleans Saints tight ends coach Terry Malone, Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson and Louisville defensive coordinator Ron English.
All have University of Michigan ties except Martin.
That's what you get when you bring Lloyd on as a consultant, I guess. EMU is a death job so I seriously doubt someone like Brown or English—young up-and-coming sorts—would put their necks on the line for three years of failure, but Campbell and Jackson may never get another shot at a head job. Losing Jackson might ding recruiting—his son, of course, is a 2010 commit.
Also there is this on ND:
Charlie Weis survived at Notre Dame, but his staff may be shaken up a bit. Among those who could be gone are offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, defensive line coach Jappy Oliver and offensive line coach John Latina. Strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza also may be gone.
I can't believe Latina still has a job after the disaster of a 2007 season, let alone this year.
And this on Clemson's DC search:
Chavis and Rhoads would be prominent names if Michigan decides to go outside the program for the DC hire.
Chizik would offer little insight to the makeup of his staff. The Birmingham News reported Monday he told Tuberville's coaches at a staff meeting Sunday night that they should seek jobs elsewhere. One source close to Chizik said, after that meeting, he talked to defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads and linebackers coach James Willis about staying.
The post linked above also mentions that if Willis does decide to bolt he would be a tempting target for another SEC team:
Did I mention that Auburn's linebacker coach James Willis is probably available to help some lucky SEC school's LB corps play much better?
If Hopson is the guy at DC, Michigan will be looking for a linebackers coach (or, I guess, a secondary coach—current DL coach Bruce Tall has coached the secondary, LBs, and the DL in his career). Willis has the onfield chops and was reputed to be one of Auburn's better recruiting assistants; he's got a lot of Southern ties that Rodriguez treasures.
Etc.: Evidently Minnesota's recruiting class is quite a bit better than the average Glen Mason effort; mea culpa.