- Wisconsin moral victory: What are the odds of Michigan basketball going 8-4 down the stretch to match last year?
- Weird freaky three-point luck of opponents? We all agree they don’t defend non-threes well.
- Don’t yell at refs at the Kohl Center in German? Getting more physical is laudable; you’re not turning these guys into Bill Laimbeer. FREE JOHN TESKE!
- Ty Wheatley Sr. moves on, how will Michigan? Sam shares some facts about the Wheatley situation that rather definitively refute the assertions of certain persons who get really angry when random internet people are politely skeptical of those assertions.
- Talk names: The Beast, Mike Hart, stealing from Indiana or Penn State.
- General Harbaugh turnover: it’s fine. You’ll never get a Bo-like staff again.
- Recruiting: Aubrey Solomon’s great quickness. James Hudson: greatly desired by Michigan. Wheatley loss hurts with Gay.
- Penn State could win the conference (no really win it not…) next year?
- You can catch the entire episode on
THE USUAL LINKS
As you likely expected/dreaded by now, Wyatt Shallman’s Michigan career is over. Degree in hand, Wyatt announced on Twitter this afternoon that he’ll pursue a grad transfer for his final year of eligibility:
Thank you to The University of Michigan pic.twitter.com/gLyYESgZ2y
— Wyatt Shallman (@WyattShallman) January 19, 2017
Injuries held Shallman back from seeing the field for most of his time here. At his first fall practice observers noted Shallman was doing hamstring exercises and a redshirt was all but certain. He took one handoff in the blessedly forgettable App State game, and appeared sparingly on special teams in 2014. Going into 2015 Sam Webb reported a strained calf, and several weeks later Shallman tweeted a photo of himself about to go into surgery. Later that season he took three handoffs late in the Rutgers game, blowing through a couple of tacklers for one thunderous five-yard gain that suddenly reminded us of the player Michigan thought it was getting. But with Michigan’s crowded backfield, Shallman could never seem to break into the running back rotation; if they tried him at fullback it never seemed to stick long enough for the public to get a read.
Off the field, well, we’ve made little secret here that he’s been one of our favorite players since his recruitment—tags on this site include wyatt shallman’s mushroom hair, wyatt shallman’s ferrett, wyatt shallman’s wallaby, and wyatt shallman is metal af. Shallman committed to Michigan early (he was #2 of that 9-commit-a-palooza in February 2012) and was instrumental in helping to build that particularly close 2013 class. If he ever had police show up at his door it was because of a habit of adopting interesting fauna. His playful viking personality was just one of many reasons Michigan fans were excited to see Shallman on the field since his junior year of high school.
That recruiting excitement included three sites (Rivals punted and called him an ATH) ranking him #1 or #2 in the country at his position (fullback), despite that not actually being his position. All rated him 4 stars and around the 6th to 10th player in a strong in-state class, but just about everyone needed a long time to be convinced Shallman wasn’t playing DE, TE, FB, H-back, or whatever. For their part Michigan made it clear he was offered as a running back despite Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith in the class, and each time someone checked in Wyatt was still a back, albeit one who could do lots of other things. Personally I think I finally came over to the idea when Harbaugh arrived, since “multi-purpose, super-athletic, lion-maned, exotic creature-adopting, 260-pound running back” sounded like a thing that should totally happen in a Harbaughffense.
Now we’ll be rooting for someone else to tap that delightful potential. Root strongly—this is a guy who’s been a pleasure to cover over the last four years, and who has done about as much for Michigan as you can from the sidelines.
Going to be a dodgy year on the OL. Steve Lorenz reports that Grant Newsome has a "minimal" chance of playing in 2017. That is not good. If that's the case you just about have to slide Ben Bredeson outside and run with something like Bredeson/Kugler/Cole/Onwenu/Somebody.
You'd think the leader to be Somebody would be redshirt sophomore-to-be Nolan Ulizio. Ulizio didn't look particularly good when he got in this fall; I've heard that he had mono and was down to 260 at one point. He bounced back during the fall but only to 280. He could surge forward once he gets to the right weight.
A bountiful draft. The NFL's website names Michigan the team poised to send the most talent to the NFL draft:
Early rounds: EDGE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley
Middle rounds: TE Jake Butt (injury), WR Amara Darboh, OT Erik Magnuson, RB De'Veon Smith
Late rounds: OG Ben Braden, WR Jehu Chesson, LB Ben Gedeon, DT Ryan Glasgow, S Delano Hill, OG Kyle Kalis, CB Channing Stribling, S Dymonte Thomas
I'd be surprised if Braden and Kalis got picked but everyone else has a real shot of going off the board. Charlton appears to be surging up draft boards to the point where debatably silly things are being said about him:
Mel Kiper says on conference call that Michigan's Taco Charlton is the best pass-rushing defensive end in the draft.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 19, 2017
This is a draft with Myles Garrett in it, so that's a thing.
Harbaugh stories. Chase Goodbread collects them from Michigan players at the Shrine game:
"One time, he told us as a kid he got hit by a mail truck and was in a cast, and was still playing football with it. Then they had to rebreak it -- I can't remember if it was his foot or his arm -- because he kept playing on it and made it worse. I mean, who gets hit by a mail truck? It could only be you, coach Harbaugh." - DB Dymonte Thomas
Screaming works? 538 tracks penalties by which sideline they're thrown on and the results are not encouraging if you're the kind of person who believes people are in charge of things for a reason:
This is NFL data and so not directly applicable to college, but you'd think college refs would be even more susceptible to these sorts of things since they're drawn from a wider pool and are probably less capable on average than NFL refs.
So: the defense gets called for "aggressive" penalties ("unnecessary roughness, personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, and horse-collar tackles" per the article) 30-40% more often when there are people complaining nearby.
Meanwhile the holding graph is very strange since the effect inverses once you approach the goal line. The only mechanism there is revenge(!) as side judges who are now far away from the screaming maniacs exact their price. Maybe it evens out for holding.
Not that anyone calls holding anymore. This was one of the main takeaways from the Film Room broadcast of the national title game: Alabama scores thanks to an edge block on which a defender is yanked to the ground; someone exclaims that is a hold; the assembled coaches all laugh about the fact that nobody calls holding any more.
Tracing Michigan's ground game issues. De'Veon Smith is performing impressively at the Shrine game practices:
One of the best players at the East-West Shrine this week has been Michigan running back De'Veon, Smith and he had a tremendous practice on Wednesday. ... Both his route and the blocking earned Smith some a lot of praise from the coaching staff. In the team scrimmage, he also broke off a few chunk runs, weaving his way through defenders with quickness, balance, and vision.
Scouting sources told WalterFootball.com that Smith could be the best offensive prospect on the East team, and he has had a tremendous week to help his draft stock.
East Day 3 practice - RB De'Veon Smith (Michigan) had a great day. Very good in pass pro, hands, physical, compact build.#shrinegame
— NFL Draft Blitz (@NFLDraftBlitz) January 18, 2017
It would be nice if Michigan's problems were because of Smith since he's out the door and Michigan has a number of guys who look like viable replacements; I don't think that's the case, and his rising draft stock concurs. Michigan has a major build job on the offensive line to undertake. Related: TTB has a breakdown of the guys who Michigan recruited and their destinies.
I guess this is fine. Football is set to get a slightly early signing period:
The Division I Football Oversight Committee is moving forward with a proposal that would open a 72-hour signing period for high school recruits in December. The timeframe would correspond with the current December signing time for junior college recruits.
But the committee isn’t recommending an early-signing time for recruits in June.
That "early" period is still after everyone's season, so most of the coaching changes will have already transpired. I didn't like the rumored June signing period since it was inane to lock guys in before they could take official visits and before the firing season.
While the June date didn't make it, an artifact of those earlier discussions may have wormed its way through anyway:
As part of the committee’s proposal, rules on official visits for recruits would also be modified. Recruits would be allowed to take official visits from April-June of their junior years, two months earlier than initially proposed.
That's good for Michigan, which will be able to get early-deciding kids on campus more easily now.
Midterm CSB rankings. Michigan-relevant players ranked by the NHL's central scouting board:
- F Josh Norris: #46
- D Luke Martin: #67
...and that's it. Mike Pastujov, who was hyped as a potential first-rounder, is not on the list. The cavalry is not coming next year.
Shooting a gun with no bullets in it. There is a Mississippi state senator who thinks he has a magic wand:
Mississippi Rep. Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia) has proposed a new House Bill that would surely benefit Ole Miss’ current recruiting woes: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Fairness in F.A.C.T Investigation Act of 2017.
Lamar, a former Rebels walk-on running back from the early 2000s, is pushing a bill giving the NCAA one year to complete its investigation once it notifies a school of possible rules violations, according to a report from WCBI News.
NCAA: "Or what?"
TREY LAMAR: "Or I shall name a bill at you a second time!"
This is not how state government works, Trey Lamar. FWIW, various coaches at AFCA project that Ole Miss will find out their fate in 2-3 months, and that it will not be pretty. Or it will, because NCAA.
Etc.: Fired Alabama DL coach Bo Davis talks to AL.com, attempts to spin a tale about how his firing was for one violation of the bump rule, cumong man. Analyst Rick Finotti gets the head job at DIII John Carroll. Dumb, but important. The playoff is good. Willis Ward and the track captaincy. Recruiting rankings are getting better because of Hudl. Yost, 1946.
An annual series that attempts to figure out which of the major recruiting services had the best read on a recruiting class. You get three points for the best, two for second, one for third, with ties adding all those up and splitting it. Note that the higher the rank the more willing I am to make a distinction between takes. #20 is different than #60; #200 is the same as #240.
No significant differences:
- Jeremy Clark. The sites missed on Clark (if he plays well in his sixth year and gets drafted) since they didn't think he could play corner. He was a generic three star to all.
- Allen Gant. Nobody was optimistic here. FWIW, ESPN was the most thunderously pessimistic, ranking him the #150 WR and #72 player in Ohio.
- Jarrod Wilson. Wilson was a mid-four star to everyone; Scout put him #245 but actually had him lower positionally than anyone else. Wilson performed to his rating.
- Matt Godin. Godin got one four-star ranking from 24/7; they rated him the #17 SDE and #11 in the state while folks who offered three stars ranked him #8 and #10 in-state and around 30th as a DT, which has twice as many guys as SDE. Those are more or less the same ranking despite the star difference. He was a quintessential 3/4 star tweener and played exactly like it.
- Ben Braden. Generic three star to the world, and that was about right. Braden was co-Sleeper of the Year along with Chesson. Willie Henry was the best pick; Chesson and Braden were probably #2 and #3 depending on how you feel about Jeremy Clark.
- Jehu Chesson. Also a generic three star to everyone.
- Sione Houma. Fullback. ESPN only gave two stars but actually had him higher positionally than anyone else.
Not Applicable: Kaleb Ringer had microfracture surgery as a freshman and never recovered. He transferred to Ferris State. Sites were more or less in agreement on him in any case.
Note: ESPN only ranked out to 150 this year.
A universal four star despite his diminutive size, Richardson barely played and eventually transferred to Marshall. This was not the finest day for any of the scouting services but ESPN was the wrongest, placing him #68 in the country. 247 (#142), Scout(#183), and Rivals(#224) were more skeptical by degrees but not far enough apart to make a distinction.
1st(T): 24/7, Scout, Rivals
Another universal four-star with not much playing time to his name, Ross flashed big talent but ended up watching for most of his career. While this was a miss by everyone, Scout(#83) and 247(#116) were the highest on him, with Rivals (#172) a hair more skeptical. ESPN wins the prize for leaving him at the bottom of their four-star rankings with an 80.
3rd(T): Scout, 24/7
The third in a series of four star guys who didn't pan out; ESPN(#111) and Scout(#113) were higher on RJS by a wide enough margin to ding them relative to Rivals(#184) and 247(#209).
1st(T): Rivals, 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, ESPN
Played a ton, but never particularly well. Ended up undrafted; Michigan upgraded with new faces after his departure. Should have been a high three star; was instead universally hailed with 247(#58) and Scout(#69) significantly higher on him than Rivals(#111) and ESPN(#142).
1st(T): Rivals, ESPN
3rd(T): 24/7, Scout
Finally someone a recruiting service underrated. Wormley was infamously dissed by Josh Helmholdt for his lack of motor; Rivals gave him a generic three star ranking that stands out as the biggest miss of the cycle. He was their #22 player in Ohio... after being the subject of a heated Michigan-OSU recruiting battle. Okay.
Everyone else offered four stars, with 24/7(#72) much higher on him than Scout (#164) and ESPN (unranked four-star). Wormley turned into a stalwart DE/DT who should be off the draft board by the end of day two. 24/7 was thus bang on.
2nd(T): Scout, ESPN
One of the biggest busts of the class, Strobel was a four-star guy to three services. Despite being radically undersized for DT, Strobel was sent there early in his career, emerging as a redshirt junior after Michigan lost their top two nose tackles. Strobel was overrun and not offered a fifth year.
ESPN was the lone skeptic and they were very skeptical. He was the #29 player in OH and the #61 DE. Scout(#93) missed most badly, with 24/7(#198) and Rivals (unranked four star, albeit in front of Wormley) more or less tied for second.
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals
Despite a large split in opinion I think I have to punt here. Ojemudia was in the midst of a breakout season as a senior when he went down with an achilles injury in game five, i.e. the very instant it was too late to redshirt. Also he was one of the most insane burned redshirt of the Hoke era, getting spot time in nine games as a 230 pound DE.
So was he a four star and guy just outside the top 200 (ESPN, Scout) or a generic three star (24/7, Rivals)? Yes. Also no.
Nobody thought much of Henry when he committed but Scout offered him a reasonably high ranking (#38 DT); the rest of the services (#59 OH, #97 DT, #54 OH) had him in the "if we gave out two stars any more this guy would have two stars" range.
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
Pipkins had an ACL injury that hampered his career but was healthy enough to play the year after his injury and three years removed from it at Texas Tech, so his lack of impact was probably more about his ability. Everyone missed here; ESPN (four-star outside the top 150, #16 DT) was significantly more skeptical than the rest. Rivals gave him five stars and ranked him in the top 20; Scout and 24/7 had him just outside the top 50.
2nd(T): 24/7, Scout
Everyone except ESPN was in a tight band from #71 to #82 overall; ESPN had him a four-star and the #27 OT in the country. I was ready to punt on this since Magnuson was kind of at the midpoint but both Seth and Ace were strongly in favor of the latter ranking.
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7, Rivals
Rivals was the only service to offer Bars a fourth star; they ranked him the #32 OT. The next most optimistic service, ESPN, had him #54. Bars never played and transferred away.
1st: 24/7, ESPN, Scout
Played a bunch; like Bolden never played particularly well. Has some chance of getting drafted late. Should not have been a five star; Scout(#35) and Rivals(#22) gave him one. 24/7 was significantly more skeptical (#61) and ESPN more skeptical yet(#132).
3rd(T): Scout, Rivals
Generic three star tight end rankings from three services. Scout offered him a fourth, ranked him as an OT, and placed him #225 overall. While Williams did have his late Harbaugh surge, the skeptics were correct.
1st: 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
Another bad miss by Rivals in the Midwest, as a future second-round pick with obvious eye-popping athleticism got three stars from them. Everyone else offered four, with ESPN the most optimistic. He was just outside their (then) top 150 and the #5 TE.
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7
Another guy with three sites in a tight range, this from #199 to #215. ESPN whiffed badly, ranking Darboh the #82 WR and a three-star. The other sites were bang on.
1st(T): Rivals, Scout, 24/7
Sigh. Norfleet made a terrible decision to sign up for a Brady Hoke/Al Borges joint that had less than zero use for a tiny running back, but it must be stated that he should not have been a four star. ESPN was the lone service to dump Norfleet way down their list (#80 RB, #26 MI); the other three sites had him a solid four star from #163 to #236. And they probably would have been right if Norfleet had gone to Kansas State or something.
2nd(T): Scout, Rivals, 24/7
Your 2012 Recruiting Class Rankings Winner is...
ESPN. By a landslide.
- ESPN: 30 points
- 24/7: 24 points
- Rivals: 18 points
- Scout: 17.5 points
It sucks for Michigan that they won largely because they thought a bunch of guys were overrated relative to the rest of the services; on the other hand, ESPN says Michigan has a terrific class this year. So we've got that going for us.
24/7 won the 2011 class, which had fewer points up for grabs since so many of those gentlemen were in the generic three-star void. Your two-year totals:
- ESPN: 39.5
- 24/7: 36.5
- Rivals: 25
- Scout: 24.5
Ron Bellamy Day. From WH. Part II is here.
Remember that one time an otherwise obscure/disappointing player was a superstar for a day?
Full game is on the youtubes.
Smoothitron: I went through his game log not that long ago praying that wasn't his career high, and it's not, but it's close.
The pinnacle stretch of Spike's career was tragically unfun.
[Do NOT hit THE JUMP if you prefer to fondly remember erstwhile highly hyped Michigan scatbacks]
Friday, January 13, 2017
#9 Minnesota 5, Michigan 2
Minn 0 Mich 1 EV 08:57 Assists: Allen & Winborg
The puck’s dumped in, and though that’s usually not a great way to generate offense it works here because Allen’s essentially dumping it to the corner to himself. Getting rid of the puck allows him to use his forward momentum against the back-skating, mid-turn defender without worrying about the puck being knocked away.
Winborg, who’s in the faceoff circle in the screencap above, gets into excellent position behind the net. He’s there to set a pick as Minnesota switches defenders, with the one in the bottom of the faceoff circle in the above screencap the man who’s picked off. Allen has the space behind the two to poke the puck ahead, skate through, and retrieve it.
Allen gets the puck and has a huge passing lane with which to work. Schierhorn’s got to whip his head from tracking behind the net to the side of the net to the high slot too quickly for him to do much about a shot attempt.
Minnesota’s forwards all collapse on net and watch behind the net, which allows Shuart a perfect and completely undefended chance. He puts the puck high on Schierhorn, who can do no more than flinch.