in town for free camps
The T-shirt arms war is being lost. This aggression will not…
…uh. This aggression will be tolerated. Just point that somewhere else, PCP-raging hell-coyote(?).
One dollar this is not a thing. Former Oregon QB Jake Rodrigues is transferring, and Michigan has just been mentioned as a school that has "reached out" by Scout West Coast recruiting guru Greg Biggins. Michigan would have four other available QBs by the time he was again eligible, so it doesn't seem likely he'll be heavily pursued.
The one thing that makes it seem even vaguely possible is the lack of a redshirt on Shane Morris. Rodrigues would have to sit out one year and then would be able to play three, which would restore one-a-year balance to the Morris-Speight-Malzone wave of QBs. Still: doubtful.
FWIW, Michigan did offer his first time around. He went off the board to Oregon in May, so Michigan didn't have much opportunity to make an impact.
I know I said I'd make these separate posts… but there's not enough for a full basketball recruiting post, so I'll just mention it here. CA PF TJ Leaf did visit briefly after playing at an AAU tourney in Indiana before catching his flight back to California:
"Michigan likes to run a point guard, a center and then three players who are versatile and can create," he said. "The coaches have brought up Glenn Robinson to me a couple times before as far as a comparison, but nothing too specific. They say I'm a perfect fit for the offense and I agree. I really like that about Michigan and I also really like the fact that Coach Beilein is under contract there until the 2019-2020 season. I don't have to worry about him not potentially being there if I was to play there."
Glenn Robinson plus about three inches (and minus three inches of vertical) sounds pretty good to me. Sounds like Michigan has sold him on both fit and the fact that Beilein ain't Tom Crean when it comes to legions of fans just waiting for an excuse to pull the lever on his ejector seat.
Michigan would be "at or near" the top with an offer and is looking to decide in January or February.
/waves tiny punt flag. For the Nth consecutive year the Big Ten leads college sports in filthy lucre. I used to think this was terrific until it became clear that the relatively narrow gaps in revenue are meaningless when it comes to competing in the sports that drive all the interest.
Purdue can offer ten million dollars to alum Kevin Sumlin and he's not leaving A&M, and even though SEC outfits have somewhat less money they also run significantly fewer teams than the Big 10 does on average. As the money has spiraled upwards the Big Ten's national reputation has spiraled down. So congratulations, various high-level administrator types who can now afford a third house. Everyone else should shrug.
See also: BTN on basic cable in New York now. That it got done so quickly without terms being disclosed suggests the BTN is coming in at a much lower price than it does elsewhere in the footprint, because obviously. Also the money, it does nossing.
But at least they're working out how to throw less of it away. The Iowa Gazette has a look at bowl ticket guarantees and the changes the Big Ten is finally imposing on them. First a boggling statistic given stubhub exists:
Top-10 teams Ohio State and Clemson rank among the nation’s most devout bowl travelers. However each school absorbed more than 11,100 tickets of their 17,500-ticket requirement to the Orange Bowl. Yet the Orange Bowl posted an attendance of 72,080.
Michigan sold 40.7 percent of its ticket allotment to the Tempe-based Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Wisconsin and Minnesota sold barely one-third of their tickets to the Capital One and Texas bowls, respectively. Among Big Ten schools only Iowa (78.2 percent at the Outback) and Michigan State (94.5 percent at the Rose) sold more than half of their allotted tickets this year.
Despite no running game, no quarterback, a late-night December bowl game, and the high probability the market gets flooded with cheap tickets to a game far from sold out Michigan still sold almost half of their allotment. We love vacations, I guess.
Anyway, all those losses are pooled with the bowl payouts and then everyone gets an equal slice, so any "TEAM X LOST MONEY ON BOWL Y" headlines you read are fictional, at least for the Big Ten.
As for changes:
“We’re paying less money in a guarantee, but there will be years where they’ll make more money,” Outback Bowl President Jim McVay said. “There’s a shared revenue deal where the schools are going to keep all the money over a certain threshold."
The schools are going to get less terrible tickets, and of course it's now the Big Ten in charge of where schools go (for the most part). With the newly diverse slate of bowl locations it's no longer just Florida Florida Florida, so people can go other places for the warm-weather vacations they inexplicably crave.
Paternalism! MLive finds some former Michigan players and asks them about paying guys. They are generally against it*. David Cone:
"I think that (allowance) number should come up a little bit. It should. I came from a middle class family, it couldn't have covered Michigan, but they could help me out if I didn't want to eat what the team was eating, I could eat something else. (But others couldn't, and) that number has to come up.
"But I don't think kids should be paid differently. If they're paid differently, then it's a salary. If it's a salary, then you're an employee. And if you're an employee, you can be fired."
That argument is just so frustrating. It is the opposite of reality. Two BU hockey players just got "fired". It happens to a half-dozen Alabama players annually. Kansas State refuses to release Letitia Romero so she can transfer. Employees can enter into contracts that guarantee X in the event they get fired—Charlie Weis is laughing right now about this fact. There is a ton of law about the rights of employees in this country, and none about the rights of student athletes. Reclassifying them puts them in a position of power.
Cone is in favor of a player having right to his likeness, so at least there's that.
"If we give these kids money, we're opening up a can of worms for a different set of problems," former Michigan safety Marcus Ray said. "Casinos, expenditures on drugs and alcohol, giving them the means to finance some of that stuff."
This kind of thinking bugs me. We are perfectly happy to have baseball and hockey players sign contracts with huge signing bonuses without worrying that they'll end up playing Pai Gow in a den of ill repute. Everyone treats the first round of the NFL draft as a watershed moment where you buy your mom a pink Cadillac, but what happens when you're Denard Robinson instead of Teddy Bridgewater? Maturation is a gradual process that everyone approaches differently, and if there are some guys who will waste whatever's provided them (hello, Allen Iverson) that's unfortunate but it's no reason to prevent the guys who will just send it to mom from benefiting properly from their hard work and talent.
*[This is not a unanimous opinion. At the event we had last year with Chris Perry, Marlin Jackson, and Jerome Jackson all three were in favor of some level of payment. Marlin has a quote in this one on the conservative end of things; the other two guys were more strident, IIRC.]
Dey tik r jebs! Mikey Weber got one of those photoshops from Michigan.
u of m cold with these edits pic.twitter.com/kNH5paw29t
— Uncle Mike (@mikeweber25) May 21, 2014
It has been asserted that the photoshoppist* misspelled "All American" as "All Amercian," but I have it on good authority that this is a long game that ends with many hilarious references to the South Park episode "Goobacks" and convinces Mikey Weber that he should attend Michigan because of a cartoon about immigration from the future that probably came out when he was like eight or something.
Also I don't think Weber noticed it.
*[I am less careful about spelling photoshoppist than rappist.]
Interesting. The Eagles are embarking on a draft strategy wherein they draft almost exclusively guys who have graduated. Six of seven draftees this year were college graduates, and that is not a fluke:
Allen, who made the Big Ten Conference's all-academic team while at Wisconsin, is one of six Eagle draftees to be on track to graduate out of the seven players they selected. In today's game, that is unusual: This year, 98 college players went pro after their junior season, a record that marks a 34% increase from 2013 and an 85% increase from 2010. (That total doesn't include players who had playing eligibility left but had already graduated.)
The Eagles' operative theory is based on Patriot and Colt outfits laden with graduates that were successful. They seem to think that football is hard and complicated so smart people are better at it. Also people who go do things even if they are hard.
He told Kelly "the guys with degrees have what you are looking for. They are driven. If it's between two players, a degree might tip the scale. But at the time, I don't think he was even thinking of the NFL."
If there's something behind that it should benefit Michigan, which tends to take the high school equivalent of the guys the Eagles are looking for in the draft. Just as soon as our smart guys are old, anyway.
Welp. Mike Babcock says any rumors about him and Michigan are bunk. All I can say is that the reason I thought it was possible was because guys high up in the Michigan hockey program thought it was likely. Quite high.
|Kenton, OH – 6'4", 240|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
NR OLB, #42 OH
|ESPN||4*, NR overall
#21 OLB, #14 OH
|24/7||3*, NR overall
#33 OLB, #18 OH
|Other Suitors||MSU, Tenn, Neb, NW, Mizzou|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Has a twitter.|
There's no senior reel per se but a guy seems to have taken video of everything Kenton did last year, so a youtube search for Furbush brings up a ton of tiny clips.
Many, many recruits have their heights and weights overestimated. The only organization that more brazenly overstates such things than high school football programs is the WWE. But yes sir, I believe that Noah Furbush is a large man. I might even believe he is from Parts Unknown.
Just watch those clips: Furbush is unidentified most of the time, so as you watch the ballcarrier the experience is one of wondering where the hell that defensive end came from. Except when he's playing defensive end. Then he came from defensive end.
Furbush is already an rather enormous linebacker at 6'4"+ and 240-ish pounds, without the benefit of a college S&C program. And there are a lot of evaluations that suggest his 6'4", 240 may even understate things. The phrase "every bit of" tends to get thrown around. Allen Trieu:
This kid is every bit of his listed size. When we saw him in person, his stature really stood out. He’s not just tall, but he’s long and pretty filled out and has big hands.
The first thing that jumps out about Furbush is his size. … He's every bit of his listed 6-4, 230 pounds, if not a little bigger.
As a result, there is a lot of chatter about Furbush being a future DE or the kind of OLB who is closer to a DE than not—think ND strongside LBs, or Jake Ryan. None of this is coming from Furbush or Michigan, though, who recruited and accepted his commitment with the idea that he would be a middle linebacker, or even a weakside linebacker. I know, man. Weird.
Defensive end is frequently suggested elsewhere.
- DUANE LONG, 247: "I am looking at Furbush now as a defensive end. He is a long kid with a really good frame. If he really is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, it is just a matter of time before he is 255. Not many kids stay at linebacker at that size."
- TENNESSEE COACHES: "Furbush, who claims to have been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said he’s being recruited by Tennessee to play the Leo position, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker spot in the Vols’ 4-3 base defense." [ed: OSU also uses the Leo; it's just a fancy name for what we've been calling WDE in the 4-3 under.]
- ALLEN TRIEU, SCOUT: "Michigan is going to try him at middle linebacker, which he hasn’t done a lot of but he could also play SAM or defensive end. He’s a tough, blue-collar type player who goes 100-percent and shows good closing speed. I really like him as a pass rusher and a blitzer. I think he does that much better than he does dropping into space."
There are a few people who think he's got the skills to be an inside linebacker. 247's Clint Brewster is more enthusiastic than the rest of his rating team, stating he's "definitely a four star" in his evaluation and talking about LB skills… albeit OLB ones:
… plays with great aggression and intensity. He runs through ball-carriers with a real nasty disposition. Furbush would be a great fit in the 3-4 defense. He can play over the tight end and has the athletic ability to drop and play in space. Furbush has excellent acceleration to the ball and explodes through tackles. He has excellent instincts and plays with a very high football I.Q. He doesn’t over pursue and does his job on each play. Furbush has outstanding pass rush technique and excels coming off the edge, getting after the quarterback. He shows excellent first-step-quickness. … It was tough to find improvements Furbush can make because it looks like he is coached really well and also plays with outstanding aggressiveness. He has what you look for at linebacker.
All right, even the LB-positive evaluations tend to make you think he's an LB/DE hybrid.
His coach has even higher praise…
“I think as a player he’s going to bring exceptional athleticism,” explained Mauk. “He’s got exceptional explosion, power and is a very physical player. He’s very athletic and has got good speed, good burst and he makes a lot of plays.
“He’s also long and athletic at 6-foot-4, 235-pounds and moves and reacts and changes direction extremely well.
“I think he’s athletic enough to play linebacker,” he said. “But also tough enough and physical enough that if they need to put him down and rush the passer, I think he would be really good at that as well.”
…but coaches being coaches sometimes they judge based on their level of competition instead of projecting kids to college. Elsewhere Mauk is quoted saying Furbush "runs like a defensive back," which seems impossible.
Outside of his coach, most evaluations focus on that explosion and ability to get in the backfield. Long again:
He is an explosive player and comes off the snap like a shot. He shows the top end speed to run down plays on the other side of the field.
Mark Porter of Bucknuts:
…you like his explosion and the way he just destroys the ball carriers with his first four or five plays. He really strikes people and strikes them pure. That’s harder to do than you think. He has that innate ability to destroy people when he hits them."
Sullivan's live report:
had a very physical, nasty streak to his play … good burst from the linebacker position, even if his top-end speed is never going to blow anyone away. He was able to get into the backfield and finish plays repeatedly… stayed very disciplined.
Tim liked him as a two-point SAM linebacker best, FWIW.
At Kenton Furbush rotated through SAM, MLB, and DE, because you can do that in high school when you can throw your teammates into the ballcarrier if you get bored. Furbush actually played most of this season with a cast on his hand, which did little to slow him down. When it was time to take the thing off, he removed it himself with hedge clippers.
Michigan identified Furbush early. They were his first offer; MSU, Tennessee, and a dozen or so others had followed by the time Furbush committed in July. Ohio State had him into camp and there were some reports that he had impressed (there was one photo from the camp that communicated just how huge he is that I regret not being able to find again) and was being seriously considered if some of OSU's targets ended up elsewhere, but without the offer Furbush wasn't waiting around.
He's a good fit for the Pattern, of course. Coach again:
“He’s got a great work ethic and is very dedicated and hard working always trying to improve and get better. He’s got great group leadership skills and is a guy who’s got good morals and is a great student as he places a heavy emphasis on his academic work."
Whether or not Furbush can stick on the interior he has a lot of good arrows. He's a lot closer to a finished product physically than a lot of guys and has a violent upfield acceleration that is likely to stick with him. His rankings aren't great but Michigan's eagerness to offer says something. Furbush didn't play defense until he was a junior and blew up physically without ever showing up at a camp to announce his new found big skrong muscles. It's not often you get guys showing up to games and going "whoah" because a guy is bigger than he's supposed to be.
That might prevent him from doing what Michigan thinks he'll do; it's a pretty good sign for his usefulness somewhere or other. And if they're right…
Etc.: Queensbury rules.
"I would consider myself a pugnacious competitor on the football field," he said.
Why Brennen Beyer? Beyer was a high school OLB who has bounced between SAM, WDE, and now even SDE with middling success. Though Furbush is already almost as large as Beyer is as a senior, Beyer was a higher-regarded recruit because his hand technique was already quite advanced. Both guys are 6'4"; Beyer shows the kind of decent ability in space that allows him to be an asset on zone blitzes that I imagine is Furbush's reasonable upside.
If the coaches are right about Furbush at MLB it's either time to break out the kazoos or Johnny Thompson comparisons.
Guru Reliability: Low. Furbush ignored the camp circuit and played at a school that does not have a ton of high-level recruits. He was basically unheard of before Michigan offered. And despite being the only service to give Furbush four stars, ESPN has no scouting report for him.
Variance: High. Positional uncertainty. Very easy to see him getting sucked into the tweener vortex.
Ceiling: High. If 6'4" MLB works out that's pretty nice.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Boom or bust prospect.
Projection: Your guess is as good as mine. Michigan will try the MLB thing for his freshman year because in the over that's where he fits until he's 260, if he does end up hitting that weight. A redshirt would make sense for a guy who's going to take some time to find a home.
Down the road, if Michigan goes back to the under he ends up at either SAM or WDE unless he is actually Brian Urlacher—unlikely. Once he gets much above 250 he's either going to have to be an athletic freak or move down to the line, and that'll take a couple years max.
Camps are forming around Malzone: is he a program savior who just happened to be born in the right state rooting for the right team, or is he a Plan B kind of guy you'd expect to go to State in a heretofore "normal" year? Where would you put him on the Cone-Henson Scale?
Explanation of the Cone-Henson Scale of Quarterback Recruit Excitement Level:
Cone is the guy you get when Henne just completed his freshman season, and you only hope to see in freestyle rap videos or junk time against Delaware State; Henson was the late-'90s equivalent of top overall player in the country. He who cannot be charted not charted--went back to '98 so it won't be the "Cone-Mallett" scale. I have them ranked worst to first within the categories, which are:
- Need the Dudes: David Cone ('05), Justin Feagin ('08), Jermaine Gonzalez ('00), Spencer Brinton ('01transfer), Russell Bellomy ('11), Jason Forcier ('06)
- Seems Like Our Kind of Guy: Steve Threet ('07 transfer), Wilton Speight ('13), Tate Forcier ('09), Clayton Richard ('03), Andy Mignery ('99), Matt Gutierrez ('02), John Navarre ('99), Shane Morris ('13)
- Hey-O!: Devin Gardner ('10), Chad Henne ('04), Ryan Mallett ('07), Drew Henson ('98)
Ace: I'd say Malzone fits snugly into the middle category. I expect that by the end of the recruiting cycle, if not sooner, he'll be a four-star or close to it on all of the recruiting services—Scout already has him there, the Rivals guys are hinting he'll get the bump when the non-Rivals250 four-stars are released Wednesday, and ESPN left him entirely unranked despite a glowing evaluation. 247 at least ranks Malzone, but has him behind a few players with very limited offers—the pro-style QB three spots in front of him on their position rankings holds this offer sheet: Arkansas State, Charleston Southern, Georgia State, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State. I think Malzone's gonna jump that guy.
|In '96, Jason Kapsner was a recruit on par with Mallett. Michigan didn't take a QB in '97 but people figured with Kaps, Dreisbach and Brady on the roster, Henson might have to wait until 2001 for the roster to clear out. [SI]|
Also supporting Malzone as an "our kind of guy" recruit is the timing of his commitment; if Michigan didn't feel he was capable of being a quality college starter, they wouldn't have offered him eight months before Signing Day in a class with room for just one quarterback. Also, Malzone seemed like a prospect who would've committed to Michigan regardless of when they offered—being a Wolverine was clearly a lifelong dream of his—and U-M evaluated plenty of highly ranked QB prospects; there was no reason to offer when they did if they didn't believe he'd be able to supplant Morris (or Speight) when the time comes.
Finally, there's his film, various camp evaluations, and recent offers; all point to Malzone as an accurate passer with solid arm strength and the intelligence to quickly absorb and take command of a playbook. The area most cited for improvement last fall, Malzone's baseball-influenced mechanics, had become a source of praise by this spring's camp season. His height (6'2") and lack of a Henne/Mallett/Morris-level cannon will probably keep him from being an NFL prospect; that doesn't so much matter at the college level, however, and I see no reason he can't succeed as a starter at Michigan.
Bill Connelly a few years back created a new uberstat for receivers called RYPR (receiving yards/total team plays *Passing S&P+). His description:
Below, you will find a measure that attempts to answer the following questions about a given pass-catcher:
- 1) How much do you produce?
- 2) How important are you to your team's passing game?
- 3) How good is the passing game to which you are important?
- 4) And how much is the forward pass featured in your team's offense?
The idea was to simply multiply the following four factors together: a player's Yards Per Target, his Target Rate, his team's Passing S&P+, and his team's pass rate. Target Rate x Yards Per Target x Passing S&P+ x Pass Rate = RYPR.
Let's skip right to Michigan
I went through several iterations trying to match exactly what Connelly had done, so this may not match the results I reported beforehand. Here's the breakdown of Michigan's targets with NCAA averages in parentheses:
|Target #||Receiver||RYPR (NCAA avg)||Yards/Tgt||Target Rate|
|1||Jeremy Gallon||178.0 (102.6)||10 (8.6)||32% (23%)|
|2||Devin Funchess||97.0 (68.8)||8.1 (8.1)||21% (17%)|
|3||Drew Dileo||22.6 (49.5)||5.8 (7.8)||7% (12%)|
|4||Jake Butt||30.5 (36.6)||8.7 (7.7)||6% (9%)|
|5||Jehu Chesson||28.7 (27.0)||9.2 (7.2)||6% (7%)|
|6||Fitz Toussaint||26.3 (20.9)||10.2 (6.7)||5% (6%)|
|7||Jeremy Jackson||9.2 (17.1)||7.1 (7.0)||2% (5%)|
Funchess's 97.0 was 22nd among teams' second targets though his yards per target were average for No. 2 guys. The max protect stuff in the season's third quarter (Indiana through Nebraska) bore out in the numbers, with that third receiver (Dileo) far under the typical third receiver's usage.
Best Receivers in a Bad B1G
Gallon wasn't the only long term top receiver to graduate last year, and the conference wasn't very deep on receiving talent to begin with. The result is not many wideouts left in-conference to have cracked that 100 (average for a team's best receiver) mark. In 2013 the Big Ten average RYPR for its teams' top three receivers was 69.5, last among major conferences and just ahead of the Sun Belt and Conf USA. When I removed all seniors the Big Ten was behind the MAC (Conference USA was still very worse). Here's the best among those that remain.
|Receivers||Team||Tgt||Rec||Yds||YPT||Tgt Rt||1st Dn%||RYPR|
|Devin Smith||Ohio State||#2||44||660||9.0||20.9%||34%||88.7|
Maryland has lots of receivers. Northwestern's Joneses were pretty productive, and could be more so in a Trevor Siemian offense. The tight ends:
|Tight Ends||Team||Tgt||Rec||Yds||YPT||Tgt Rt||1st Dn%||RYPR|
|Jeff Heuerman||Ohio State||#4||26||466||12.9||10.3%||44%||62.6|
|Jesse James||Penn State||#3||25||333||8.3||10.2%||33%||39.0|
Remind me to draft Heuerman in the draft-o-snark.
Draftageddon is upon us. We will delight half the readers, irritate the other half, and learn much more about Big Ten football than we ever thought possible; along the way Seth will issue terrible snark about players like they will always be what they were last year and ignore it when Jack Mewhort ends up drafted in the second round.
THE OCEANS WILL BOIL, THE LAND WILL BE BESET. And so forth and so on. Devin Gardner knows what's up.
Everyone drafts a QB, 5 OL, and six skill players on offense. Heiko is not with us but yes you can take a QB to be a skill player other than your QB. The sixth skill player is for flexibility. Please denote RB/FB/TE/WR when you draft, and sure you can draft six tailbacks if you want to feel the wrath of the voters.
On defense, everyone drafts 4 DL, 3 LB, 2 CB, and 2 S and one wild card intended to be a hybrid space player. The extra guy is because nickel packages are important, and defending the spread is important. But yeah he could be whatever you want, you loons.
A punter and a kicker are also drafted.
Standard snake procedure.
Imaginary points are awarded for PR/KR skills amongst your draftees.
Once everyone has filled a particular slot the last remaining guy who has not filled the slot has to take a guy at most three rounds later, to prevent three QBs from going off the board in the first round and no one for the rest of the draft until the very end (although with this group that would be dangerous and leave you with Andrew Maxwell).
Kyle Prater must be drafted far too early.
I get to gloat about Rashede Hageman every third round.
As randomly determined by RANDOM.ORG the order is
Brian, you are me, and also on the clock.
ROUND 1 - PICK 1: Braxton Miller, QB, OSU
O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU)
BRIAN: While I don't think there's that huge of a gap between Miller and Devin Gardner since neither of them are likely to be around when things get back to me I have to grab one now. The clear choice is Miller. The only guy to finish in the top ten in both rushing yards and passer efficiency last year, Miller is by far the most explosive QB in the Big Ten and has steadily progressed as a passer, going from 54% to 58% to 64% completions over the past three years and steadily increasing his ability in the pocket. Will he ever be great there? No. But, uh...
...he doesn't have to be. Main concerns here are dual: OSU revamps its OL and loses Carlos Hyde, which may make things generally less efficient and put more burden on Miller; this leads to concern #2: Miller seems to be bionic with the hits he can take but the was knocked out of enough games last year to get Kenny Guiton 109 attempts. He's not exactly fragile but neither can you expect him to get through a season totally unscathed.
ROUND 1 - PICK 2: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
O: LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
ACE: As tempting as it is to build my offense around Devin Gardner and a functional offensive line, I think in a four-person draft the Big Ten has enough talent at quarterback to hold off on picking one here. Meanwhile, I'm not convinced the conference is as deep at tackle (at least for this exercise), and there just happens to be one—and only one—that could've been a first-round NFL Draft pick had he left early: Iowa's Brandon Scherff, who's present in the top ten of just about any 2015 mock draft you can find.
At 6'5", 320 pounds, Scherff has pro-ready size, and he's a monster of a run blocker with a size/quickness combination that's truly impressive on film. At the very least, watch the first clip from this video of him absolutely dominating Northwestern for a series:
Sure, I'll take the guy who can escort a defensive lineman ten yards downfield with one arm. Also, in a league that features some talented pass-rushers, Scherff provides a reliable blindside protector—Iowa finished first in the B1G in fewest sacks allowed and, since that number is skewed by pace/style, third in adjusted sack rate last season.
While my heart told me to pick Gardner, my brain remembered what happens to quarterbacks that aren't properly protected. With this pick, I've got easily the best run-blocking tackle in the conference, and probably the best pass-blocker, too.
ROUND 1 - PICK 3: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
O: QB Devin Gardner (Michigan)
BISB: I don't think Gardner is the best player remaining, but in my mind there's a bigger drop-off from Gardner to the next quarterbacks than there is between the top-flight defensive linemen I'm tempted to grab. Seth can't take all of those.
[@ RIGHT: Bryan Fuller]
Gardner threw for 2960 yards (in only 12 games) at a 60.3% completion rate. His 8.6 YPA was the best in the Big Ten, and more than a yard per attempt more than Cook and Hackenberg. Ha accounted for 32 TDs (21 throwing, 11 rushing) against 11 INTs. He threw for 14 TDs against 3 picks and 8.85 YPA in Big Ten play. And he did that with absolutely no running game (at least of the 'forward' variety). He did it without padding his yardage numbers with bubble screens. He did it with a strained everything. And the next time he sees a pocket will be the first time.
The last time he stepped onto the field, he threw for 451 yards and 4 TDs with no picks and ran for another score. On a broken foot. And when he was healthy? Boy howdy.
Gardner lost pocket-sized safety blankets Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo, but Devin Funchess is a legit #1 receiver (I swear, if anyone drafts him as a TE I will force-quit the draft), and between him, Freddy Canteen, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, and Dennis "DENNIS NORFLEET" Norfleet he will have plenty of targets, He should be productive once again. Now, if he can just get a liiiiiiittle time to throw the ball...
Uh oh crap forgot about that.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Alarming quantities of opposition defensive linemen]
From Darrin Kirkland's junior highlights, which you should watch.
Four-star IN ILB Darrin Kirkland Jr. became Michigan's seventh 2015 commit, and second in the last week, when he made his pledge while visiting campus yesterday. You can find his Hello post here, and Brandon caught up with him for an interview posted this morning. A pleasant bit of news that didn't make either post appeared in a short piece in the Indy Star—Kirkland plans to enroll early:
"I feel good and my family is extremely proud," Kirkland said. "I can't wait to graduate and head over there in the winter time."
Kirkland plans to graduate in December and take part in Michigan's spring practice in 2015. Kirkland had 71 solo tackles, 40 assisted tackles and three sacks last season.
Even though there are plenty of inside linebackers on the roster in the classes ahead of him, making early PT something of a longshot, it never hurts to get a head start on navigating both the playbook and college life in general.
When we left off last week, Shaun Crawford had told the coaches of his plans to visit Notre Dame and Ohio State. Now we can add another school to that list:
DB Shaun Crawford says he will also be visiting Miami in June. Hasn't talked to Hoke yet
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) May 17, 2014
Right on the heels of that Crawford news comes word that Michigan has offered another 2015 cornerback:
2015 DB Cameron Ordway (Pulaski, Tenn.) says Michigan offered.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) May 19, 2014
Ordway is a four-star and the #21-ranked cornerback in the class according to the 247 Composite, and his offer sheet—which includes Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, FSU, LSU, Notre Dame, OSU, Ole Miss, PSU, and Tennessee—is quite impressive.
Tennessee and Ole Miss are currently favored on the Crystal Ball. Given that list of interested parties, I'll believe Ordway has serious interest if, and only if, he makes it to campus.
Speaking of offers to highly sought prospects that probably won't come here, Michigan offered the nation's #10 WDE, Georgia prospect Arden Key, according to 247's Kipp Adams. Key's already named a powerhouse-laden top five:
Last week Key named a top 5, in order, of Oregon, Miami, LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
There's time for U-M to get involved, as Key plans to decide at the Army AA Bowl, but I'd put him in the same category as Ordway—until there's word of a visit, I wouldn't get too optimistic.
The 2015 Rivals100 got an update today, and it features a lone Michigan commit: Garrett Taylor, who took a slight dip from #41 to #48 overall, though he remains the #6 corner in their position rankings. A few of U-M's top targets were among the biggest movers, both good and bad:
- FL RB Jacques Patrick jumped 26 spots to #18 overall and picked up a fifth star. He's now the second-ranked running back on the list, behind only Damien Harris (#4 overall).
- FL WR George Campbell lost his fifth star and tumbled 26 spots to #42 overall; Rivals cited continued concerns about his catching ability.
- CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South moved up 40 spots to #35 overall after being "virtually unstoppable" at multiple camps this spring.
- NC SDE Darien Roseboro, who recently named U-M to his top ten and may very well have the Wolverines out in front, moved down from #45 to #79. With Roseboro now weighing 283 pounds, Rivals pegs him as a tweener who may have to move inside.
Other prospects of interest include IL DT Terry Beckner Jr. (#32), OH OLB Justin Hilliard (#49), UT OLB Osa Masina (#58), MN DE Jashon Cornell (#76), and VA DE Clelin Ferrell (#77).
Rivals named Tyree Kinnel as the #10 performer among defensive backs who participated in one of their camps, citing his ability to cover like a cornerback ($):
The 6-foot, 190-pound Kinnel is a safety prospect, but he was able to show off the coverage skills of a cornerback en route to winning MVP honors at RCS Columbus. Not surprising considering he is a safety, Kinnel was physical at the line of scrimmage and bumped wide receivers off their routes. He was also able to open his hips and run with them down the field. Kinnel is headed to Michigan, making a commitment to the Wolverines last summer.
IL DT Terry Beckner Jr. has been quiet on the recruiting trail—so far, the only visit he's made was to nearly Mizzou—but he told Tim Sullivan that he plans to visit a couple familiar schools ($):
"I'll go to camp June 1 at Ohio State," Beckner explained. I'm excited to get there.
"I haven't made it up to Michigan yet. I'm going to try to go there. Their coach was just at the school, I think coach Hecklinski. I really haven't had a chance to talk to him yet though."
We'll see here—the fact that the OSU date is set and the Michigan one isn't is of some concern.
Tip o' the cap to Rice for winning the recruiting game. Shut it down. We can all go home now.