Preferred Walk-On Hello: Simeon Smith
According to The Wolverine's Brandon Brown, Michigan has added an intriguing preferred walk-on for 2016 in 6'6", 208-pound Kalamazoo (MI) Loy Norrix WR Simeon Smith, who spurned at least one lower-division full ride to realize his dream of becoming a Wolverine ($):
Smith did visit Ferris State last week and was offered a full scholarship but he's in a good situation to be able to turn something like that down and attend Michigan.
"I have the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship," Smith explained. "I can get free tuition to any school in the state of Michigan. I told the coaches at Michigan that I was interested before the Oregon State game and they said they were definitely keeping an eye on me. Then yesterday they offered me a preferred walk-on spot and I had to accept it."
Smith is exactly the type of prospect you like to see as a PWO; the film shows a prospect with lots of raw physical talent—with that frame he could end up as a jumbo outside receiver or a tight end. There's little question he'll be able to handle the academic load, as well:
While athletics played a role in Smith's decision to become a Wolverine, so did academics. Since transferring to Loy Norrix for his junior year, Smith has accumulated a 4.4 grade point average.
“I’ve heard they’re one of the best engineering schools in the country, and I’ve been taking AP calculus and AP physics to prepare to be an engineer,” Smith said. “When this opportunity popped up for me, I couldn’t turn it down.
“I get the education I’ve always desired in addition to getting to play football at a level most people dream about.”
Not a bad combination.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
This year's team will be deep and somewhat old and oh look Walton and Levert are back so that's not bad. Also: Ricky Doyle as basketball Desmond Morgan.
ACE'S HOCKEY PODCAST
Brief segment in which I say things about the hockey team while Ace looks on grimly.
"Across 110th Street"
"Rebellion (Lies)," Arcade Fire
"Very Much Money (Ice Cream Dream)," Open Mike Eagle
THE USUAL LINKS
two gentlemen who won't be on the bench much this season [Patrick Barron]
Incoming: the other thing we're excited about. We taped a basketball preview podcast this weekend and Ace and Alex will be rolling out season preview stuff pretty soon. Media day also transpired. MAAR:
"If he can become an excellent defender on this team then there will always be minutes for him," Beilein said.
MAAR also has to settle down and finish when he gets to the rim, which he does a lot of. Hard to see him getting a ton of minutes this year; equally hard seeing him get a redshirt since he has skills that aren't common on the roster.
At 6 feet, 10½ inches, Wagner is learning the four and five positions in Beilein's system. That involves banging on the blocks. It requires physical play. It demands fighting for rebounds and manning up on defense.
As of now, despite Wagner climbing from 211 pounds to 225 since arriving at Michigan, that's difficult to imagine. It might look like one of those dancing inflatable tube men stuffed inside a phone booth.
"He just hasn't shown that physical ability to rebound yet, but he will," Beilein said. "He's really a talented young man. As I'll tell you every time, (when he plays) you'll say, 'Wow, that was awkward,' and he will be awkward. Then a minute later, you'll say, 'Oh my goodness, did he just do that at 6 feet, 10½ inches?'
Wagner sounds like he's headed for a redshirt. Also he lives for Chipotle. And is six feet ten and a half inches tall.
Kenpom updates. Kenpom has updated itself with preseason rankings. Its exact sauce is secret, but the system takes into account recent performance, returning players, and recruiting rankings. The Big Ten:
- 9 Wisconsin
- 13 Indiana
- 17 Michigan
- 18 Michigan State
- 22 Purdue
- 24 Maryland
- 36 Iowa
- 42 Ohio State
- 51 Northwestern
- 61 Illinois
- 66 Minnesota
- 119 Penn State
- 137 Nebraska
- 223 Rutgers
Well done, Rutgers.
None of that is a surprise given the way I've seen the thing work. Wisconsin is being given credit for being very good the past few years; Kenpom looks at the Michigan roster and is like "tell me more." Then it looks at the Big Ten and is all like "dunno": it projects nobody better than 12-6 and has 8 teams within two games of winning the league.
Meanwhile M's nonconference schedule has no middle. They've got four opponents ranging from 23rd to 41st (SMU, Xavier, UConn, NC State) plus a couple TBD opponents who will probably be good in their tournament. Then they have six nonconference opponents Kenpom ranks 240th or worse. Woof.
It's jug week. So you know MVictors is fired up. On the 1903 game:
Speaking of the Armory – We know now that Minnesota equipment man Oscar Munson found Michigan’s water jug inside the Armory a day or 2 after the game, and, we know that Athletic Director L.J. Cooke suspended the jug above his office in the Armory from 1903 to 1909:
Quoting Coach Yost: Before the game a Minnesota man asked him, “Are you going to beat us?” “Well, that’s what we came up here for,” replied Yost. “It will be a great game, and probably a close game. Minnesota has been playing better football than any team in the west this year…if we win this, we win the championship.”
…Tauntings: The Minnesota band entered the field before the game led by a donkey, and, ahem, “the animal wore trousers of Michigan colors.” [They didn’t get those pants from Moe’s.] When the Michigan second team players arrived they were greeted with a rousing chorus of “Poor old Mich” by the Gopher Fans.
The Daily Gopher also has jug miscellanea for your reading pleasure.
The next guy, probably/maybe. For no particular reason I spent a chunk of this weekend looking for John O'Korn clips out. Weird experience, that. A game against Rice from his freshman year demonstrates his promise:
There is some dumb freshman stuff in there; there are also a half-dozen throws to make you go "whoah." Against BYU the next year he was middling at best, though his receivers went out of their way to avoid catching the ball, and then against UCF he was in full Hackenberg mode, turfing about every other screen and getting benched for the duration of the season.
O'Korn is about as far away from Rudock as you can get without leaving the "pro style quarterback" designation: a wild, big-armed gunslinger. There's a lot for Harbaugh to work with there; there's also a long way to go. O'Korn's been rooming with Rudock in an apparent effort to get him more towards the middle of the continuum:
Mastrole said O'Korn is benefiting from living with Rudock, a student of the game and devoted to watching film.
"I'm glad the two of them are rooming together," Mastrole told The Detroit News recently. "John has off-the-charts physical intangibles, and he's a very smart kid. He's going to pick up things and he's observing Jake." …
"He had some turmoil last year but now he's sitting (this season) and learning a lot," Mastrole said. "Jake has been a good fit for him."
I think the word you were looking for there is "tangibles," but I could care less.
That Miami is open. One of the most fascinating jobs in college football is now available for a special someone. That person will have to be a special someone indeed, as Stephen Godfrey and Bud Elliott detail:
Godfrey: I don't know Florida like you do, but I've talked to enough people in the industry to understand the unique problem in Coral Gables. The one thing Luke said that stuck with me the most is how Miami wants to sell "SWAG" on a t-shirt and then recruit and behave in the exact opposite manner. You can't do both.
Bud: You need someone who can relate to the culture at Miami. Golden's "unity overcomes the adversity" slogans were so lame. That is not how these kids are coached when they start in little league. You need someone who relates, who can inspire them. But the administration seems to prefer more of the milquetoast Golden type.
Godfrey: And in 2015, you can't expect the famous Howard Schnellenberger strategy of fencing off "The State of Miami" to compensate for the lack of money and support. Kids in Dade County are uploading highlight clips to Instagram when they're in middle school. Digital film is the biggest change to the recruiting landscape in the last decade, diminishing the local colleges' advantage of identifying prospects before out-of-town schools can. This new hire must be someone for whom local players want to play.
Al Golden, a Penn State alum whose biggest success came at Temple, was as bad a cultural fit as Rich Rodriguez was at Michigan. And Miami is one of the few programs in the country where that "fit" thing looms even larger than it does in Ann Arbor.
This is why Butch Jones, a 63-year-old who hasn't coached since 2010 because he was run out of town by the NCAA, is currently the internet polling favorite at the SB Nation Miami blog. Culture is super-important (and fans on the internet are crazy).
As a result of that and Miami's notorious lack of funding you can probably dump most of the most attractive names on Bruce Feldman's comprehensive list of candidates. (One that includes Jedd Fisch, FWIW.) Tom Herman and Justin Fuente don't have local connections and are going to be pursued by schools with bigger pocketbooks. Dana Holgorsen ($2.3 million already) is probably out of reach monetarily, or will be after his agent gets to work.
But Rich Rodriguez is making just 1.5 million at Arizona, has a ton of South Florida experience in recruiting, and runs a spread offense that would help differentiate Miami from the other two in-state P5 programs. It would be a roll of the dice for both player and program, but… I mean, Deerfield Beach is less than an hour from Miami proper.
Or they could just hire the Rock.
Michigan's first offer recipient for 2017 became their first commitment in the class this evening when four-star Milwaukee (WI) Rufus King shooting guard Jordan Poole picked Michigan in a ceremony at his school.
4*, #19 SG,
|4*, 87, #16 PG||
4*, 92, #16 SG,
4*, #21 SG,
Poole is generally regarded as a top-100 prospect; he's just a couple spots outside ESPN's early top 60 and otherwise makes all the services' top x lists. There's some disparity on his size; Rivals and 247 list him at 6'4" and 180-185 pounds; Scout at 6'3", 175; and ESPN is the outlier at 6'1", 160, which seems quite outdated.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Poole was a big riser during the latest evaluation period, resulting in a number of big-time offers, including Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, and Michigan. As a sharpshooting combo guard who's developing as a ballhandler, he earned a very intriguing comparison from Scout's Derek Piper ($):
Poole was at his best at the NY2LA Summer Jam in Mequon, Wis. a few weeks ago. He showcased his loaded arsenal at the offensive end, which includes a pure outside stroke, effortless handles and superb court vision. Even playing up at the 17U level, Poole put opposing defenses to the test with everything he brings to the floor.
There’s a reason he has earned the nicknames of “Splash” and “Baby Steph”. Poole operates with a natural smoothness to his game, and his range extends far beyond the three-point line. Poole can splash NBA-range triples with ease and his overall skill set continues to grow. Even taking the role as a facilitator at times, Poole was extremely impressive.
ESPN's evaluation finishes with the very same comparison ($):
Poole is a rangy 2-guard prospect that can knock in jump shots out to 23-feet. He has a smooth effortless release and he understands how to square himself up for the shot. His shot is deadly off the catch and he oozes confidence. His ball skills are coming around and his step-back dribble and crossover are getting tighter. In addition, he is a quality passer and understands angles while feeding the post. He has a decent 1st step and has the ability to utilize the "step through dribble" while tossing in the occasional runner.
Poole is wiry and he'll need to get considerably stronger to withstand physical defenders. He needs to improve his triple threat game, especially his 1st step. In addition, he needs to get more explosive and stronger while trying to finish through contact. His ball handling is solid, but that is another area that needs polishing.
Poole has a ways to go before he fills out, but his skill set reminds us of a high school version of Steph Curry.
Now that we all need a cold shower at the thought of a Steph Curry in a John Beilein offense, it's worth noting Curry made huge strides in his shot release, ballhandling, and defense when he got to the NBA. But still. This would be very nice.
247's Andrew Slater has a very detailed, free scouting report from Poole's performance at June's Nike Elite 100 camp (I added paragraph breaks for readability and bolded a few things for emphaiss):
Poole is an excellent three-point shooter, both off of the catch and dribble, but is slightly better off of the catch and from the right-hand side of the arc. The Milwaukee native has a very release, excellent form, and deep range on his shot. While he can penetrate, he seems to prefer to pull up. Although he doesn't have a mature body, at this venue, Poole was able to withstand contact on penetration. He will need to add muscle.
Even though the strength of his game is as a deep knock-down shooter with a good crossover, the right-hander also demonstrated good court vision in transition and off of penetration. The Wisconsin Playground guard needs to be able to finish better with his left hand. While he often created his own shot off of the dribble, he will need to strengthen this area of his game. Poole seems to be a better off-the-ball defender who uses his relatively high basketball IQ to generate steals off of errant or well-telegraphed passes.
At 6'2", Poole, who has average athleticism, has good size for a combo, but will be slightly undersized for a high-major two guard, but doesn't look like he's done growing. While he showed an ability to hit the mid-range shots in drills, he almost exclusively either pulled up from deep beyond the arc or opted to attempt to attack the rim. Poole seemed to demonstrate relatively good leadership ability.
At the same event, Poole also caught the attention of Scout's Brian Snow:
Jordan Poole was definitely one of the breakout players at the camp. The Milwaukee native absolutely lit up the nets from deep with his jumper. When given time and space he was one of the most consistent shooters all weekend, and then he also showed some aptitude for being able to play the point. Running a team is still a work in progress, but he has decent floor vision and can really stretch the court, especially off of ball screens.
Depending on how he hones his ability to run an offense and defend quicker guards, Poole could end up at the one or the two at Michigan; for now, it looks like he'll be a floor-stretching shooting guard who can slide over and play the one in a pinch.
Poole holds offers from Auburn, Bradley, Drake, UW-Green Bay, Illinois, Indiana, Marquette, Memphis, UW-Milwaukee, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech, among a few others. All of the high-major offers came in after the most recent evaluation period.
According to MaxPreps, Poole averaged 14.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists against 1.7 turnovers, and 1.8 steals per game as a sophomore while posting impressive 50/40/80 (2P%/3P%/FT%) shooting splits.
Shorter sophomore highlights:
Poole's breakout performance at the NY2LA Summer Jam:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Poole looks like an ideal fit at the two in John Beilein's system due to his shooting ability and range. He also has a relatively quick path to playing time; when he arrives in 2017, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman will be the only combo guard type on the roster, and Rahk will be a senior that season. By 2018-19, Poole should be starting alongside 2016 point guard Xavier Simpson.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is technically full on scholarships for 2017-18, but there will inevitably be attrition between now and then. Four-star IN F Jaren Jackson is the other offer recipient so far in the 2017 class and should get a great deal of attention from the coaching staff.
Bye Week Visits: Nauta, Gary Square Off
Coming to your citayyyyyyy
It's the bye week. Life is mercifully boring, unless you're on Michigan's coaching staff, in which case you're probably on a plane.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) October 23, 2015
The coaches will stop by schools and check out games of several top targets today and tomorrow. The headliner is tonight, when five-star DT Rashan Gary and Paramus Catholic take on five-star TE Isaac Nauta and IMG Academy at 7pm (televised on ESPN2 if you're curious); Jim Harbaugh will be there, per TomVH ($):
Harbaugh is expected to be in attendance at IMG’s game on Friday as it takes on Parramus Catholic, a team that features the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Rashan Gary.
"It’s awesome that he’s coming to the game,” Nauta said, “especially because I was just up there and he’s making the effort to come down here. He could have gone to a lot of places but he chose to come down here so that’s huge.”
That's a nice two-for-one, and it's not the only stop Harbaugh will make on the recruiting trail this weekend; 247's Steve Lorenz reports($) he'll also head to Houston on Saturday to see four-star ILB Dontavious Jackson and three-star S Chris Brown. John Baxter is heading out to California to see four-star CB David Long and, in all likelihood, four-star ATH Lamar Jackson. Jay Harbaugh is going to Tampa to check out three-star TE Jacob Mathis. Tim Drevno is on his way to Texas to watch four-star OT Jean Delance.
Several other top targets will receive visits, as well. There's also a new name on the list of bye week targets: four-star 2017 CO OT Jake Moretti, an Ohio State commit who 247's Bill Kurelic reports got a visit from Jedd Fisch ($):
Being a class of 2017 prospect and being an offensive lineman out in Colorado, Moretti’s name doesn’t often come up right now. But Wolverine assistant Jedd Fisch, with Michigan having a bye this weekend, stopped at Moretti’s school this week.
And Fisch isn’t the only coach interested in flipping Moretti.
“Schools keep coming after me,” Moretti said. “(But) I’m good with Ohio State. I’m 100%. I love Ohio State. Ohio State is a special place.”
Michigan's had some success recruiting in Colorado and could add to that if Carlo Kemp chooses the Wolverines over Notre Dame. We'll see if anything develops with Moretti.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
On the roundtable this week:
- I get a sick burn about Craig in after he went at me hard last week
- People are still calling in with highly unlikely scenarios about that last play
- I'm like let's move along
- Nope, no moving along
- Probably because it's a bye week