this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Warning: if you like pot way too much stop reading right now before it's too la--
Duuuude. Freaky. I am your duly appointed nomination representative for the following awards.
The Trev Alberts Quits To Do Construction Award
(AKA "The Award Winner For Winning The Most Clumsily Named Award Category Winner Award Award," AKA "The Trev")
FOR: The funniest blog.
(Wait... where am I? This is bullcrap! This is just like the BCS.)
Best New Blog
FOR: The best blog started within the past year.
- Card Chronicle
- Fire Mark May
- Conquest Chronicles
- Saurian Sagacity
- Corn From A Jar
- Double Extra Point
Best Podcast/Audio Thing
FOR: A somewhat abstract category, this is either for the best (semi-) regularly produced college football podcast or the single best piece of audio put out by the college football blogosphere during the year.
- Lee Corso Slo Jam, Every Day Should Be Saturday
- The Orgeron Song, Verno's Blog
- Michael Lewis Interview, Every Day Should Be Saturday
- In The Bleachers, In The Bleachers
- Midwestcoast Bias, Midwestcoast Bias
- The Double A Zone
- Friday Night Lites, The House Rock Built
Note that the first three are individual things; the latter four regular podcasts.
Best MSM Blog
FOR: The best blog rocked by an Official Journalist. For the purposes of this category, "Official Journalist" is anyone blogging in said capacity at either a newspaper website or one of the big internet sites like SI.com or ESPN.com; Official Journalists with indie side projects go elsewhere.
Hurray those are the nominees hurray.
Peter Bean has the next batch of soon to be incredibly rich and famous nominated bloggers over at Burnt Orange Nation. He'll post his list around 1 PM.
Unfortunately... ballots were due like an hour ago so no revisions this time. But here.
Poll coming ASAP.
Update 1/9: Removed a fair number of commitments to other schools. Moved CA CB/S Michael Williams to committed. Added NBC's US Army Bowl "highlights" which are less highlights and more "every play." Michael Williams features intermittently, but they're under Mallett (and here: first quarter second quarter third quarter fourth quarter). You'll have to watch Mustachioed Non-Heisman Winner plug Sprint four times, but you can also get in the entire game in like 25 or 30 minutes, which is way less creepy and pedophiliac than watching it live. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. Game fallout: guy who looks like he walked right off the 1988 World Series of Poker set and into the Texarkana Gazette goes OMG Mallett; GBW gushes; ESPN says that Mallett is at least Clausen's equal($) but they aren't "in love" with any of this year's quarterback class -- they still lifted him from #54 to #12, though.
Meanwhile, three Michigan commits -- WR Toney Clemons, S Jerimy Finch, and C David Molk -- featured in another game that no one saw because it was on ESPNU. Scout has a recap. Sounds like Molk did well; Finch has been shooting up Rivals' -- the lone dissenter on his awesome talent -- board for a while now. He's #30 with a bullet in their latest top 100.
Linked to article on NC DE Kourtnei Brown.
Editorial Opinon: I missed the Army Bowl, which I plain forgot was on, but NBC's extremely helpful video clips above are the entire game compressed into about 25 minutes, so I saw the Mallett exhibition. And... like... damn. He was ponderous on the one designed run they had, but he's ginorbous so that's okay. Most impressive to me were a couple of plays outside the pocket late in the third. One was a waggle bullet put right in his receivers' numbers well downfield, and the second was a similar rollout, only this time Mallet evaded two unblocked defenders smoothly and rifled a ball in-between a couple of defenders. There were also a couple sweet seams, but Clausen and a couple of the harried East quarterbacks found similar success looking for that route so I lean towards coverage restrictions making that a money play in this particular All-Star format.
MGoBlog philosophy on All Star games is this: chemistry and odd rules issues make a poor performance excusable -- dismiss mucho-hyped recruits based on half a game's worth of snaps at your peril -- but there are generally a few players in each game who jump out and establish themselves as no-doubt stars. Witness Justin Boren's roadgrading a year ago, Desean Jackson's explosive performance two years back, etc etc. To me, three guys leapt off the screen: USC commits Everson Griffen and Chris Galippo plus Mallett. Extremely encouraging.
Williams didn't see much action aside from acting as the punt and kickoff returner for the West. He had a couple decent returns but didn't look like a monster threat. At defensive back, he wasn't tested and it's impossible to know if he A) didn't play much, B) covered scrub-ish WRs, or C) was good enough in coverage that QBs shied away from him. Anyone with a more comprehensive opinion on Williams' game is welcome to post it in the comments.
No one saw that other All Star game, but some general impressions from, er, the impressions I've seen:
- Toney Clemons looks like a future star, emphasis on "looks." Raw as hell at the moment, so raw you might want to spell that hell "hail" and put it in italics, mentally.
- Molk is still short but a good pickup anyway. From the above-linked GBW recap:
David Molk really impressed in this All-Star game with his blocking ability and his athleticism. The East's Head Coach, Don Soldinger, when asked who the best player on the team was said -- David Molk. He possibly could be the most athletic offensive center Michigan has had in a very long time. He gets under the pads of the defensive player and drives him down the field and then he searches out the linebacker to block.
Discount for standard GBW-OMG-hype but still something in the plus column for Molk.
Many commits elsewhere. I think the only one I was holding out much hope for was Lorenzo Edwards, who ended up at Florida. That may have been presaged by some MGoBlog commenters who made it clear that majoring in architecture and playing football were not compatible endeavors at Michigan.
The Stretch: Michigan now has 20 commitments and can hypothetically take five more (or even more if they're willing to bend/stretch stuff, but that seems unlikely). Guys remaining we have a shot at:
- TN WR Rashad Mason. Proverbially "blew up" after his senior year. A true sleeper who lost his junior year to a severe car accident. Mason's a 6'6" leaper whose senior film got him offers from a bunch of places. Has set up visits to M, UCLA, and a few SEC schools. Decent shot and this is a recruit Michigan wants badly, stars or no, given the 3 or 4 wideouts already committed in this class.
- MI CB Ronald Johnson. The most shirtless of all corner recruits this year. Widely proclaimed to be a Michigan lock since his name started circulating over a year ago, but we all saw what happened with Dionte Allen. Not a stretch to say that a class with him in it is a success (albeit still slightly disappointing) and one without him is a failure. If any recruit is a must-get, it's him.
- OH LB Jermale Hines. Glenville linebacker now has an OSU offer. Not coming.
- CA CB Donovan Warren. Down to Michigan and various California schools. Not USC would be a shock.
- IN DT Jeff Boyd. Marginal Michigan recruit. Committed to KY but looking around. Teammate of Finch.
- NC DE Kourtnei Brown. Alabama soft commit that will likely firm up his verbal now that Alabama finally has a coach. Says he will decide on signing day between Michigan and a wide array of southern teams. Highly improbable.
- NY OT John Elliot. High profile tackle down to four schools with the instability at BC. All are academically good: Rutgers, UVA, Michigan, etc. Doubtful he comes but not impossible.
- MO OT Donald Stephenson. Three-star OT, Kansas decommit who is visiting. Competition is various Big Twelve schools. Maybe?
Realistically there are two-ish commitments on that list, so Michigan might go scouring for Engelmons as signing day approaches if it has some pending transfers or guys that are not returning for a fifth year and thus surplus scholarships.
There's a press conference at three where Alan Branch will announce his intentions in re: NFL draft. Since he ain't enrolled, it doesn't look good. But official word will go here as soon as there is one.
Update: ESPN says he gone. Not a surprise.
Michael Williams, a moderately shirtless -- call it a tank top -- CB/S from St. Bonaventure, California, committed to Michigan at the Army All-American game this weekend sometime between Ryan Mallett schooling fools and Ryan Mallett throwing perfect-but-dropped touchdown passes to wide receivers totally unprepared for his glory. This is good for Michigan, which needs dudes in the secondary and how, but slightly difficult for your blogger, who for Google-related reasons prefers outlandish names like "Zoltan Mesko" or "K'len Morris" that don't turn up accountants, fifth graders, and CEOs.
Nevertheless, sifting provides the following information: Williams was quickly down to Michigan and Notre Dame, and though the occasional California school (or, oddly, Northwestern) would pop up in a list from time to time it was a battle between midwest heavyweights who cower at bowl games the whole way. Michigan won, obviously.
Williams is either 5'10" or 5'11" or 6'0", depending on who you believe and, as mentioned earlier on MGoBlog, is being recruited as a "nickelback," which is the odd corner-safety hybrid Michigan deployed Brandon Harrison and Ryan Mundy in for much of the year. A report from September on the USC Scout site:
St. Bonaventure â€“ I was pretty impressed with Michael Williams. He was very active from the safety spot, he came up and hit people and he was also dynamic on special teams. I had heard reports that he might be smaller than advertised but I thought he looked around 6-0, 190 and that is plenty big to grow into a fine college safety.
The various sites all liked him about the same. Scout and Rivals have him a high-ish four star but not in their top 100s while ESPN ranks him #94 and breaks all my cliche alarms with the opening of their fawning scouting report ($):
This kid is a flat out football player. Williams is a safety with a linebacker menatlity [sic] versus the run and cornerback skills in pass coverage. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands and is a threat to score everytime [sic] he touches the ball... [redundancy sic]
Flat out! Football! Player! Woo. The whole thing goes on like that and you end up wondering how he got pegged the #10 safety in the country even after he defeated Godzilla in single combat. There's a full profile from the Ventura County Star:
"What makes him a great player on defense," says [St. Bonaventure head coach Jon] Mack, "first is his intelligence, and then second his speed and physicalness.
"He knows where he's supposed to be, and he gets there in a hurry, and then when he gets there, he can inflict some punishment."
It sounds like he was one of the more impressive players in the Army Bowl practices and may find his way into the tail end of top-100 lists when the sites re-order them.
In sum: very, very important pickup of a player who will see immediate playing time in the secondary next year and possibly as a returner. Board update coming probably tomorrow with a look at the recruiting stretch run.
Hockey hockey hockey. HF article on incoming recruit Ben Winnett. Relevant quotes that give you a hint about what sort of player he'll be:
"I'm a fast skating and offensive player who likes to shoot the puck but also likes to set up my teammates, and I have a bit of a physical side to me and like to play gritty and finish my checks when I can," said Winnett in describing his style of play.
Nash and Silverbacks Head Coach Ty Davidson tend to agree with his assessment and are both clearly big fans' of Winnett.
"[Ben is] a pretty good player," says Nash of his teammate. "He buries almost everything he gets, every good opportunity at the net. All I know is I have to get him the puck and he's going to put it in there".
"He's a very good player. He's got, I would say, NHL speed already," Coach Davidson said about Winnett. "He's got a good hard, quick, shot. He's a dependable guy defensively; he's not one of those one-dimensional guys. The other good asset is that he plays with an edge. He's very feisty, he's not afraid to go into the corners or to the front of the net. Very competitive, like I said, dynamic is the best way to put it. He has almost European-type speed and skill."
Ah, Canadian hockey coaches. We can compare his speed and skill with an Actual European next year, so we'll get back to him about that. (Via Yost Built.)
I realize that expecting anyone to stay ever is foolish, but I am an Oilers fan who monitors most of the more reputable blogs in the clumsily-named-but-awesome Oilogosphere and they think that the organizational plan for Andrew Cogliano is to keep him at Michigan. Snippet from Lowetide in a post on the possible signing of UND's Taylor Chorney:
It's also interesting the the Oilers have stated several times at several different levels of management that they expect Andrew Cogliano to stay in college for the full 4 years.
Take that FWIW; I've heard from other guys close to the program that they expect him to bolt. But the Oilers are notoriously penny-pinching and don't even have an AHL team of their own. If Lowetide asserts that the Oilers organization isn't likely to press for a signing we may just be able to keep the tiny fast dude another year or two.
Andrew Ebbett is doing very well in the AHL and has an article about him up at NHL.com. Thrilling DMV story incuded. David Moss, long underrated IMO, has gotten a callup to the Flames and dumped in dirty crease goals in his first three games.
Interesting article in the Toronto Star about the three collegians on the Canadian WJC team, one of whom is obviously Cogliano. Favorite part to rub in the noses of LOL NCAA partisans of the CHL:
[Canadian WJC coach Craig] Hartsburg, who is the coach and part-owner of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, said all three collegians "would develop in the Canadian Hockey League. They're good players. It doesn't matter where they play."
...which is what NCAA fans have been saying for years to irritating Canadian preteens on hockey prospect message boards. Hypothetically.
Yes, there's a game Tuesday, which is tomorrow. Don't forget.
I am not one for the proverbial horn and the tooting and the LAVEN. But the NYT deployed "Cheatypants Sweatervest" -- properly omitting the superflous "Mc" though oddly double-capped -- in an article that gets as close as New York Times will ever get to mentioning what some refer to as Tressel's "creepy child molester vibe."* Relevant passage:
Yet Tressel also has detractors who dispute the authenticity of his image, mock him on Internet message boards as CheatyPants SweaterVest and note that he has been touched by scandal both at Ohio State and Youngstown State, where he previously won four Division I-AA national championships.
Cheatypants Sweatervest had its origin here, then gained popular cachet when it was frequently deployed by Orson. So that's cool.
*("some" in this case == "I", but I'm trying out these cool Official Journalist tricks in an effort to strip any personal responsibility out of my writing.)
We've got suggestions. Apparently a bunch of Time, Inc., magazines are going to cut dead weight:
CUTBACKS, 2007, now playing at a Time Inc. magazine near you.
The latest casualty figure is 150 people - with the ax being honed and a decision possibly due from bosses like CEO Ann Moore in the next two weeks...
People, which had largely been immune to cuts over the past year, will take its hit this time as will Sports Illustrated.
I've managed not to spend thousands of words refuting the irritating, irritating conversation Musberger/Herbstreit/Davie had about evil Michigan blogs, but others have not. Gunslingers goes point-by-point to anyone out there still wondering what a blog is. This would seem to be unnecessary for anyone, you know, on a blog, but in case Brent Musberger wanders by there it is. Click the blue underliny stuff to go to that article, Brent, which is not a "blog" but a "post." Move the little mouse thing. No, it's not a real mouse. Notice how it's cold and dead instead of wriggling away from your gras-- okay, sure I suppose it could be a dead mouse. Move the human interface devic-- no! Stop eating it. You just said you thought it was a dead mouse! Put it-- screw it. You just go on drinking in your car, Brent.
Motown Sports Revival also deconstructs the dumb.
Etc: article about Rose Bowl preparations from the News that takes you inside the team meetings and stuff. EDSBS' Not Fiesta Bowl podcast features me, but all I talk about is Ohio State so you might want to skip it.