Update 5/2: Linked to articles on FL WR DeJoshua Johnson(second), FL RB Roy Finch, SC RB Marcus Lattimore (second, third), FL S Daunte Carr(second), OH DE Jibreel Black, LA S Ronnie Vinson, MD LB Troy Gloster($), FL QB Christian Green, FL CB Travis Williams, FL WR Chris Dunkley, MD LB Josh Furman (and PA QB Malik Stokes). Video of PA DE Dakota Royer, MI QB Devin Gardner, MN OL Seantrel Henderson, IA QB AJ Derby, TX LB Corey Nelson. Moved LA WR Drew Dileo to committed.
Removed MD WR Adrian Coxson(PSU), FL WR DeJoshua Johnson.
Added PA WR Andrew Carswell, FL CB Rashad Knight, GA CB Jonathan Mincy, PA LB Jordan Paskorz, MD S Lorenzo Waters, NJ RB Tony Jones, UT DT Ricky Heimuli($), MD S Michael Coley, MD S Lorenzo Waters.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
MD WR Adrian Coxson committed to Penn State, which is obviously not a big deal since he is an outside WR and Michigan has four of those in the class already.
I wasn't going to take FL WR DeJoshua Johnson (of Pahokee!) off the board just yet since this report comes from a source I'm unfamiliar with…
Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft.
…but I pretty much believe these guys since a recruit getting down to a top three is a crazy thing to lie about and the conventional wisdom on Johnson matches up with those final three schools. (Also, Johnson might want to check on what Oklahoma State runs before making any rash decisions.) Then came this article and this interview that confirmed, so he's gone.
Also destined to leave the board at some point in the future is PA DE Dakota Royer. He's made a number of visits to schools across the Midwest but hasn't stopped by Michigan. In this Rivals AMP video it's clear that Penn State is a considerable favorite:
Unless Royer makes it to campus in the near future—there are no plans to do so at the moment—he'll probably drop Michigan whenever he comes out with a shortlist.
Um, no seriously
MI QB commit Devin Gardner put in an appearance at a camp and, uh, had an interesting go of it:
But Gardner didn’t come looking to impress with his quarterback skills. Instead the super athlete stressed he was looking to impress everyone with his ability as a wide receiver and overall player.
Gardner would take a few snaps as a quarterback but he also took part in all the testing and had one of the top forty times by posting a 4.57 electronic timed forty. Gardner didn’t disappoint anyone and took home overall combine MVP honors.
Uh, I guess it's good Gardner's such a kickin' athlete he can crush a combine at any number of different positions, but no thanks on the position switch. Though that 4.57 isn't in the realm of Florida's FAKE (FAKE! FAKE!) 40 board, these things take place under highly variable conditions. An electronic 4.57 in a 6'4" beast QB is plenty fast. All you need to know about his athleticism is this: showed up at a combine, screwed around at a variety of positions, got overall combine MVP. The end.
Throwing motion? What throwing motion?
Elsewhere in combines, both PA CB Cullen Christian and PA CB Brandon Ifill had good days at the Penn State combine:
Defensive back Cullen Christian (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills) may not get as much publicity as his teammate, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ifill, but it was Christian who came away from the camp with honors. Ifill did a nice job Saturday and showed why he has scholarship offers from multiple BCS schools. But Christian was even better and was named the camp's defensive back MVP.
I was under the impression Christian was a solid four star sort, but a couple reports like this indicate he was trending towards anonymous three star and is now moving up into the four-star range.
Dual freak linebackers
MD LB Josh Furman did this:
Josh Furman (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) may have had the single best outing out of any prospect on this year's Under Armour combine tour. He posted a wind-aided 4.39 40-yard dash, a 42 inch vertical jump, a 4.12 short shuttle and a modest broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. His 16 reps of 185 pounds were also very impressive and a bit surprising given his longer, rangier frame (6-foot-2, 192 pounds).
Daaaang. You can commence the feeding frenzy. A teams are about to make it rain offers. Furman maintains not even the hint of a leader and has been backed off from green to yellow as the initial excitement of the Michigan offer fades and Furman realizes he can go just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, DC LB Javarie Johnson, he of the erroneous post-visit commitment report, also appears to be a guy who's using the combine circuit to shoot his stock through the roof:
…on the hoof, there might not have been a better-looking prospect. Johnson is tall (almost 6-foot-4) with a frame that looks like it was carved out of clay for an outside linebacker. He is long and lean but is also layered with chiseled muscle and looks far thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at.
ESPN says Johnson "could be the next big star to come out of Dunbar." Too bad that commit report was erroneous.
PA QB Malik Stokes—the younger brother of incoming WR Je'Ron Stokes—also gets a mention:
During seven-on-seven, offenses were run out of the spread, allowing quarterbacks to display their passing skills in the short-to-intermediate range. Stokes did not disappoint. He started off a bit rusty -- showing inconsistent accuracy -- but warmed up quickly, hitting receivers in stride and making sound decisions. His touch was very good.
He's switching high schools so he can throw a bit more. Pitt's offered and Stokes claims interest from a number of BCS programs, so a Michigan offer isn't out of the question down the road. Buuut:
He completed a few downfield throws but we do not see pocket-passing arm strength or the requisite size for the next level.
Another Scout report says he could be a really really good… CUSA or MAC QB. Stokes is going to need a big senior year to get a Michigan offer.
Long fluffy-style article on MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn't have a lot of news—he plans on deciding on or near Signing Day—but does have this tantalizing quote:
"The only way for Seantrel to lose that No. 1 spot is if he decides to not play football," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals based in Athens, Ga. "We haven't seen anybody better to make a change. He's definitely a five-star player who will make a major impact in college."
Michigan figures to be in the top five when that time comes.
Excitement about TX LB Corey Nelson, the teammate of TX RB commit Tony Drake who named Michigan his leader a couple weeks ago, should deflate:
"I don't really have a top five but A&M is my top school right now." However, Nelson does plan to make official visits.
Nelson appears to be one of those guys like Sam Montgomery who has a new leader every day, so Michigan's not out of it. The thing to watch for now is potential visit plans.
Okay, so there's this article about FL S commit Marvin Robinson title "Michigan commit considering Canes"($); commence swine-flu-level unnecessary panic. Unfortunately, after the events of last year we can't just laugh it off, but all the insiders remain extremely confident. I'm choosing to spend my time running around screaming "AAAAAAAARRRGH AAAAAARGH DEATH" worrying about Michigan's safety situation this fall. Will inform if my fear increases beyond miniscule here.
Etc.: CA RB Brennan Clay picks up an Oklahoma offer. Freep thing on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has one thing of note, this quote from his coach: "He can turn punts into long gains." Webb article on FL QB Christian Green for some reason; he's almost definitely ticketed for FSU. Michigan is in LA S Ronnie Vinson's top six.
More fixening. So I'm starting to make small tweaks to the website—you'll notice that mgolicious is less ugly—with an eye on implementing a couple features for fall. On the list:
- Some variety of mobile support.
- Adding subscriptions. (No content will go premium, but a few people have inquired about murdering the ads while still supporting the blog. Subscriptions would basically be no ads + increased power to moderate things. Speaking of…)
- Implementing some form of user moderation to cut down on things the majority of people think are wastes of time.
There might be some other things but they're not new features, they'd be new ways of dealing with things on my end that would cut out some of the annoying robotic tasks I have to do. Upshot: over the next couple months you may get a friendly Drupal maintenance screen if you visit after 10PM. There's no reason to be alarmed.
Now we need Javon Ringer to get a Leonidas tattoo so large and realistic he ceases to be Javon Ringer. EDSBS posts some picture of Terrelle Pryor showing off an extremely complicated hand sign and his massive Ohio State forearm tattoo, but Lamarr Woodley sees that and raises:
I think Lamarr Woodley's arm is bigger than my leg. I think his tattoo is bigger than Hugh Jackman. It is definitely bigger than Hugh Grant. Lamarr Woodley's watch could cover Andorra in eternal night if placed in the appropriate geosynchronous orbit.
Also, I ask about the Pryor picture again: what's with the fey lumberjack shirts?
Blowin' up. Basketball recruiting again, but not Evan Smotrycz this time. It's someone sporting a name familiar to Michigan fans:
The hottest player in the state of Michigan right now is Patrick Lucas-Perry, from Flint Powers. The 5'10 PG has blew up to the point, where he is a legit candidate for the #1 player in 2011 in Michigan. Lucas-Perry was the #1 ranked PG in Michigan in my updated rankings for college coaches and subscribers.
Yes, that's LLP's kid brother. Lucas-Perry the younger joins a crowded field of 2011 Michigan guards with significant recruiting hype; Brandan Kearney and Carlton Brundidge are the other big names. Michigan has strong interest in all of them, but only Kearney has the sort of height (6'4") usually associated with Beilein guards. (Brundidge is listed around six foot.) Though it's too early to tell which of the three will be the top priority and which Michigan State will target, the 2011 basketball class is looking a lot like this year's instate quarterback crop: there's enough talent to go around.
We still noticed. Someone in the Minnesota AD must have worked in a senate office before, because the Gohers released this information Friday at 5 PM hoping to mitigate whatever TRY FIGHT BEST damage it might WIN DO TRY TEETH do to Tim Brewster's reputation:
Minnesota's football team lost three scholarships after its Academic Progress Rate dropped during the 2007-08 reporting period. The Gophers' APR fell from 927 to 887, and their multiyear APR dropped to 915, which is below the scholarship-reduction cutline of 925.
Whee! Minnesota will be operating with 82 scholarships next year. This is another BCS program, albeit a second-tier one, struck down by the APR and is further evidence it's not completely useless.
I was momentarily taken aback by the timing of this—May is pretty late to find out you don't get three scholarships, especially if you've signed a Minnesota LOI—but it appears the Gophers knew about this for a while:
Football factored in its penalty by signing three fewer players to scholarships this spring, meaning the program will have a maximum of 82 players on scholarship this season. If the Gophers are above 925 next year, which appears likely based on the fall semester team APR of 957, the scholarships will be restored.
(Thanks to the Daily Gopher for the link.) There's no kid out there who just found out he's getting a grayshirt, sparing me a somewhat self-important gavel-pounding rant.
Minnesota's APR troubles are likely to be mirrored by Michigan over the next couple falls, as the Gophers suffered from a lot of attrition when Brewster came in. The APR deducts one point for anyone leaving your program, no matter their academic status, so Michigan's array of transfers will see their gaudy numbers fall to meh levels. Michigan's starting out from a much higher spot than Minnesota was, though, and scholarship reductions are unlikely.
A lack of communication could have something to do with the Cameron Wright decommit though another school of thought says Matta and company grew disinterested.
…when there is a quote from Cameron Wright saying this…
"I was definitely going to stick with Ohio State," said Wright.
…because then you look like a stupid fanboi attempting to downplay the 100% fact that Wright's scholarship was yanked. Cameron Wright did not "decommit." The internet has links, and you're chucking credibility out the window when you blatantly misrepresent reality.
Etc.: The JCCW on Deadspin and how it's pretty much the ESPN of sports blogs: "You want clutter? You want something that is not, in fact, about sports, but is about the useless, "funny" sideshows that surround sports? I give you Deadspin."
A long email about scheduling in parts:
1. Martin maintains that they need the revenue from the home games to help out with the budget. Seems to me Martin is running the department like a business. That being the case, if you own a business that has a number of different departments and some of those departments are not producing revenue, aren't there three options? 1. Try to increase revenue in the revenue producing departments, which he's trying to do. 2. Try to increase revenue/cut costs in those departments that are not producing revenue. 3. Ax those departments that are not producing revenue.
The third option is rather severe since it is college athletics we're talking about. So I'd be interested to see/know what Martin is doing to try and increase revenues in the other sports as well as reduce costs in the other sports. Hopefully, if Beilien keeps the basketball moving in the right direction that will help the revenue stream coming in from bball.
Michigan doesn't have much leverage via which to increase revenues in other sports. When you're trying to fill Crisler by selling five-dollar seats to nonconference games there's not much you can do to milk the season ticket holders without risking rebellion. And those home nonconference games aren't raking it in like a football game would. Hockey's about break-even now and stuck there; everything else, well… revenue is sparse.
As far as reducing costs in other sports: Michigan fancies itself to be Stanford of the East when it comes to its athletic department and wants each and every one of its programs to be competitive, many of them nationally. Mike Bottom, the swim coach, is probably making bank relative to his peers. Same with the women's soccer coach, who is late of the national team. For most Michigan fans the only benefit this produces is a ceremony wherein a bunch of teams you've never seen walk across the Michigan Stadium turf after winning the conference.
But they're not really the problem. This is a situation analogous to pro sports, where people complain about how much money the players are making as if it has an impact on ticket prices when in reality the relationship is reversed. Michigan has been very good at extracting revenue and that money goes somewhere. In 2003, Michigan paid athletic department employees a total of 19 million dollars. They budgeted 27 million for 2008. That's twice the revenue of one home game.
Would life be vastly different at major college athletic programs without the 12th game? No. Coaches would have slightly less spectacular salaries. The end.
2. The thing that gets me with the scheduling is why does he feel the need to schedule 1-AA schools? If he'd do the schedule a few years in advance, he probably wouldn't have to. With the ND contract, ND will be on the schedule for a while as well as a couple MAC schools. Why not look to the some of the other lower level D1 conferences for games? The lower level Conference USA schools, some lower level WAC schools and maybe some Sunbelt schools. I'm guessing a good amount of those schools wouldn't mind having a visit to Ann Arbor on their schedule to use it as a recruiting tool.
I understand the reasoning for wanting as many home games as possible, but waiting until there's less then a year away from the start of the season to finalize your schedule really leaves you with limited options. It's poor planning on Martin's part imo.
To the average fan there isn't much difference between UMass and Middle Tennessee or Memphis or San Jose State, and, honestly there isn't much of one to me. They're just teams Michigan should crush no matter what. They'll have a tepid crowd with plenty of no-shows, be televised on the BTN, and be immediately forgotten unless something terrible happens.
In that context, I understand reaching for I-AA teams. They're cheaper and the chance you get upset is lower. The issue here isn't really which overmatched team you bring in, it's the entire concept. People would be rolling their eyes just as fervently if it was Louisiana-Monroe or Idaho being kicked around as a potential opponent.
I can't speak to the poor planning, as I don't know the specifics of what's going on.
p.s. - If RR continues to be successful in promoting the spring game, could that help with freeing up money for home and homes? Even if you're only charging $10, if you get 60-70,000 people through the gate by the time you add on concessions, parking, etc. that's probably over a million dollars in revenue.
Probably not. Michigan got 50k this year for free… how many would they get if they ticked people off by charging?
I thought the big fix to the nonconference problem would come from television revenues, but Bruce Madej says that all revenues, including nonconference ones, are split evenly with conference members. So Indiana is making just as much from Texas-OSU as Ohio State. This is obviously a huge disincentive to schedule a real opponent.
This question is another question and not an insane leap from Scott above:
First, what differentiates an OL recruit/player from tackle/guard/center? Right or left side? Certainly some players can handle multiple positions, but how is their ideal position determined?
Second, why are slot receivers typically short? Isn't the key attribute being fast? Would an equally fast but tall player work just as well or better?
One: Mostly height. Ideal tackle height is from 6'6" to 6'9". Interior linemen can be much shorter: David Molk is listed at 6'2" and may be even smaller.
Why should tackles be so tall? Height usually brings long arms with it, and long arms help contain outside pass rushers and generally do wonders in pass protection. Michael Lewis tackles (ha!) the subject in The Blind Side:
The ideal left tackle was big, but a lot of people were big. What set him apart was his more subtle specifications. He was wide in the ass and massive in the thighs: the girth of his lower body lessened the likelihood that Lawrence Taylor, or his successors, would run right over him. He had long arms: pass rushers tried to get in tight to the blocker's body, then spin off of it, and long arms helped to keep them at bay. He had giant hands, so that when he grabbed ahold of you, it meant something.
But size along couldn't cope with the threat to the quarterback's blind side, because that threat was also fast. The ideal left tackle also had great feet. Incredibly nimble and quick feet. Quick enough feet, ideally, that the the idea of racing him in a five-yard dash made the team's running backs uneasy. He had the body control of a ballerina and the agility of a basketball player. The combination was incredibly rare. And so, ultimately, very expensive.
I've seen Jake Long, perhaps the ideal left tackle, in action and at no point did he remind me of a ballerina but set aside that bit of fluffery and there you go.
On the other hand, in the interior space is restricted. Unless something strange happens no one is going to run right by you, and therefore you can put guys who are just about as nimble but squatter and more powerful there. In a traditional running game* guards and centers would like very much to take a defensive lineman and blow him off the ball. That requires leverage: the #1 line cliché of all time is "low man wins". Being (sort of) short is a head start on being low. Think of Pat Massey, and then think of Terrance Taylor.
As far as right or left side: at tackle the guy on the left is the star because he's protecting the quarterback's blindside (unless that QB is left handed). So the best pass protection guys go there, the guys with the most experience and most ideal tackle physique. The guy on the right has a lot of responsibility there too but usually ends up being less slanted towards pass protection just because most teams don't have two Jake Longs.
*(What about Michigan? Michigan's more about cutting linemen off and getting guys in space against one guy who's not quick enough to cut up with you. Rather than driving the defender backwards your main priority is to either 1) get on the right side of him and prevent yourself from getting plowed into the tailback or 2) take your man's existing motion to the ball and shove him right past the action. Guards are still shorter because it's a lot easier to find a 6'3" guy with the requisite agility than a 6'6" guy.)
Two: The key attribute in a slot receiver is not raw speed but quickness. While a slot receiver is rarely going to get his tiny little legs moving at full cartoon speed, he is going to have 210-pound linebackers attempting to put their helmets through his ribcage plenty. Once you catch that swing pass or bubble screen, the ability to juke the first guy out of his jock is way more important than what your velocity is after ten yards in a straight line.
I'm sure Rodriguez wouldn't mind a 6-foot slot a la Peter Warrick, but those guys are rare. 5'8" guys with dreads who can teleport short distances are in better supply and less demand. So it's considerably easier to get the best or second-best 5'8" guy in the country, as Michigan did with Jeremy Gallon, than the best 6-foot one.
Some time ago I mentioned that the site's ability to email you registration information was erratic. It turns out there was some population behind aggressive ISP-level spam filtering that would scythe down MGoEmails before they reached people in this group.
An effort was made to fix this, and given the results of a group of test cases it appears to have succeeded. So: if you tried to register at any point in the past and were unable to get login information you can try again and this time it should work. If it doesn't, please email me.
The re-rank. More on Evan Smotrycz and the hype train a-buildin':
"I was pretty impressed with him; he's pretty tough," Daniels said. "I heard the rumblings about him. He was known as a guy that can really shoot the ball, and I hadn't seen him before so he was a priority guy for us." …
"I expected him to be able to shoot the ball well from deep," Daniels said. "I was surprised with how he attacked the rim and surprised with his toughness. Against Jayvaughn Pinkston, one of the tougher guys in the class, Evan more than held his own. He mixed it up inside, and I was thoroughly impressed with him."
It's getting to be that time when the scouting sites put their rankings where their mouths are, and the first vote is in. Scout has slid Smotrycz up to #17 amongst power forwards. He still a three star, but he's right on the verge of a fourth. The #16 guy, Melvin Tabb, is #73 on Scout's preliminary list of 75 kids, so Smotrycz is probably around #80. That's a big step forward from unranked and virtually unknown.
(Side note: one of the Rivals mods posted that Prep Spotlight shot Smotrycz all the way to #46 in their latest rankings, but there's no way to link—Prep Spotlight's website is defunct and it exists only as a magazine.)
The flameout. The Free Press considers Michigan's 2005 recruiting class, which turned into Mario Manningham, Terrance Taylor, and not much else. This is territory this blog has gone over in detail. The 2004 and 2005 classes, in summary:
Michigan got killed by back-to-back classes that saw a ton of attrition at key spots. Basically the only thing Michigan has to show from the 2004 and 2005 classes is the defensive line, which was Big Ten championship caliber.
The rest of the team? Is not.
By the time Rodriguez arrived at Michigan the excellent recruiting classes of the late Carr era had already been decimated, and few of the departures afterward were unusual. The attrition was worst on the offensive line, which was terrible early until finding some sort of footing as the season approached its merciful end. Speaking of…
The WTF. The Wall Street Journal puts together a piece on offensive line experience and its correlation with football success—strong—and just as you're bracing for Michigan to find itself on the face-punched list you get this shocking table:
|TEAMS TO WATCH||O-LINE STARTS||TEAMS TO WORRY ABOUT||O-LINE STARTS|
|Virginia Tech||100||West Virginia||25|
|Florida St.||86||Penn State||39|
Holy hotpants. I guess that's what happens when you return every single player on the line. A small caveat for the hope implied here: a number of those starts won't see the field as Ferrara and McAvoy get booted to the bench in favor of Huyge or Omameh.
Other bits of interest:
- If Penn State's offense undergoes an inexplicable collapse after returning Royster and Clark, the line might be why. Or the vast talent deficit at WR.
- If Notre Dame can't run the ball this year they never will.
- Remember how everyone was predicting one last bash for West Virginia followed by a swift, Bill Stewart-spurred immolation? Yeah.
The confession. File this under "things you already knew":
“Last year all I did was supervise. I was more of an observer,” Paterno said of his 11-2 team that lost to Southern California in the Rose Bowl. “I have a heck of a staff. Those two years I didn’t do much. Last year we had a pretty good football team, and I didn’t do much.”
So all those shots of Paterno sitting in the press box never talking into his for-show headset meant what we thought they meant: Tom Bradley is Penn State's head coach, and a pretty good one from appearances. (HT: EDSBS.)
The mocking. This goofy video put together by a bunch of kids is more entertaining than it has any right to be:
They also listed it as a reply to 'Jimmy Clausen for Heisman,' which never fails to rope me in for the whole 2:16.
The enemy. Sunday Morning Quarterback surveys the great gray menace:
This is definitely a "rebuilding" year with a lot of uncertainty on paper, destined for the fringe of the top-10 in all the preseason magazines -- and still, Ohio State is likely to be favored in every game except USC, with Penn State serving as the toss-up for the auto bid to the Rose Bowl (where OSU, for all its success, hasn't been in more than a decade). I'm willing to project a conference loss, although I don't know where it will come from if not the Nittany Lions, and another 10-2 effort will be hard for the BCS to ignore.
The whole thing is, as always, a good thing to spend your time reading.
Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Justin Turner, CB Adrian Witty, LB Isaiah Bell, LB Mike Jones, LB Brandin Hawthorne, DT Will Campbell, DE Anthony LaLota, DE Craig Roh, OL Michael Schofield, and OL Taylor Lewan.
|St Stephen, South Carolina - 6'3" 315
|Scout||3*, #19 OG|
|Rivals||4*, #8 OG, #213 overall|
|ESPN||82, #6 OG, #81 overall|
|Others||#82 overall to TAKKLE|
|Other Suitors||South Carolina, Tennessee, Clemson, Miami (That Miami), Alabama|
|YMRMFSPA||Hopefully Steve Schilling, guard version|
|Only the shame of absence.|
Quinton Washington is the only interior lineman in Michigan's 2009 class, and he's a good one. The first indication of this was his All Combine performance at the Army game. This led to a nice set of early offers headlined by recruiting heavyweights Alabama and Miami. Though Michigan followed suit quickly, they appeared on the outside looking in until they started telling him he was made of fairy stars and linebacker evaporation magic. Art Craig, Timberland's head coach, in the aftermath of Washington's official visit:
"To my understanding, he's their number one lineman they are going after in the nation. That's point blank what coach Rodriguez told me Friday night."
Hello! The coaching staff's excitement over Washington's potential also found its way into this Toledo Blade article. The coaches are described as "raving" over Washington while they had "nice things to say" about the tackles. Since the tackles are good-looking prospects in their own right, well… hello!
That official visit lingered with Washington until the day before signing day, when he finally picked a school. Craig on the major factor that helped him along to Michigan:
“I think Grey Frey is the difference in him going to Michigan. Coach Gibson was his initial recruiter, but he has met his position coach since March or May of last year, whenever they first came. I think that was a big play for them and for him.”
This is a major feather in Frey's cap, as Washington was widely believed to be headed to South Carolina for reasons economic. Washington on his long term goals:
Washington said he’s motivated to improve so he can provide a better future for his parents.
“They mean a whole lot to me,” he said. “They have to work so hard. I just want to make it. I want to make it better for my parents so I can give back to my parents someday.”
For Washington to come to terms with his decision for Michigan he's had to accept his parents aren't going to be there every weekend. Craig:
He said, "we’ve come to terms with the fact that they're only going to see me play probably a couple of times."
Michigan made an argument powerful enough to overcome a lot of structural factors pushing Washington to South Carolina.
As to Washington's talent: though the recruiting services weren't quite as enthusiastic as Frey the reviews were largely positive. ESPN rated him highest, naming him the #6 guard in the country and placing him in their top 100:
Washington has all the tools to be an outstanding college guard. At 300-plus pounds, he moves his feet like a lightweight (or at least a light heavyweight). … Consistently gets to linebacker level when he's left uncovered and usually finds the defender. Sometimes releases a little high, resulting in his feet coming together and a loss of balance. Shows good athleticism for such a big player and is fluid when pulling. … He's a powerful down blocker, destroying the inside man and often burying him in the turf. He's equally devastating on double-team blocks. … Big and mobile, Washington will be a hot commodity among college line coaches.
There's that theme again: athleticism. What Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield bring in 6'7" pass-protection packages Washington brings in a 6'3" linebacker-seeking guard's body. Later ESPN caught his performance at the Shrine Bowl and commented on that ability to get on those second-level defenders:
Washington played the whole game at right guard. We were impressed with his ability to drive block, his foot movement and ability to climb to the second level.
Bill Conley mentioned it too:
He is an impressive combination of strength and mobility. As good of blocker as he is up front, he is extremely fluid getting to level-two linebackers.
Given all those runs last year on which the line was creased but the gain was held down by poor second-level blocking, you can understand where the coaching staff is coming from when they say things akin to "Quinton Washington is the best thing that's ever happened to me."
Scout was the least enthused, giving him three stars. Washington's the #19 guard over there and the last four-star OG to is #13, so he's not even particularly close to that level in their eyes. I couldn't find any explanation for their point of view, nor for Rivals' uncertainty—they bounced him in and out of their top 250 all year.
“His feet are unbelievable for a guy his size,” Craig said. “He can reach you, he can down you, he can pull and go get somebody. He has unlimited potential.”
More from Craig:
"He's physically just so strong and quick at the same time," Craig said. "He's got good hip flexibility and moves well. And whatever you tell him, he absorbs it. He applies himself and he gets it the first time around."
"He has very quick feet and very good technique," said Timberland assistant coach Chris Pond. "He's very good with his hands and he's very strong."
Highlight reels of high school linemen are rarely useful unless you're a football coach, but since they feature 320-pound future collegians against 200-pound future accountants they are often hilarious. Washington hurls several gnats away from his body below:
May the gnats be as impotently annoying in college, Quinton.
Why Steve Schilling? I'd be lying if I told you my memory for Michigan guards goes farther back than the dawn of UFR. They've always been anonymous even when they were future NFL all-pros like Steve Hutchinson. So this comparison is flimsy, but Schilling's main asset is his mobility and hopefully his ability to maintain second-level blocks; Washington sounds like an even bigger version of this.
Etc.: Some more brief clips, though it's hard to make out which one is Washington in most.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. High variance.
General Excitement Level: High. It's clear the coaches were nuts about this guy and he's got the offers and recruiting mojo to back it up.
Projection: Though the coaches have suggested Washington might see the field this year—they think he's that ready—a redshirt makes more sense with Schilling's move inside solidifying the interior line. He'll have to fight Ricky Barnum to replace Moosman next year; if he loses that battle he'll be the odds on favorite to replace Schilling in 2011.