All Star week part two
Dylan Crawford is a top-100-ish WR
UA is over (as is Semper Fi) and now it's on to the Army game. Multiple recruits of major interest plan to decide at the game. CA WR Dylan Crawford is definitely doing so. With Oregon full at wide receiver it's not even certain who Michigan is competing with in his recruitment. His only officials have been to Michigan and Oregon; he also lists Washington, Stanford, Miami, and UCLA. I guess UCLA could be an option since he must have taken an unofficial there at some point, but this looks like a slam dunk.
Meanwhile MI CB Lavert Hill's ever-shifting commitment plans briefly maybe probably shifted to an Army announcement:
“I’m not for sure,” Hill said at check-in Sunday. “I got to talk to my mom and see what she says about it. It’s kind of up to her.”
Hill said he's down to Michigan and Michigan State, and that he talks to Jourdan Lewis "probably every day." Then Clemson offered, Hill reset his announcement for Signing Day, and said he would visit Clemson.
Anyway… there was a brief flurry of Michigan State optimism based on the idea that Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley would be a package, but with Corley trending towards OSU that package is falling apart. If Hill did decide at the Army game it was only going one way, and that's to Ann Arbor. Clemson getting involved is a potential hitch, but I'd be surprised if they could overcome the longstanding relationships and brother angle.
Finally, FL TE Isaac Nauta is announcing at the game, and while the universe expects it to be Georgia he provides a glimmer of hope in an interview with the AJC:
“I fly home on Jan. 10 and gather up my stuff and go,” Nauta said, who added that the events of this week can factor into his decision. “I’ve got it down to two in my head and I’ll be able to make a decision sometime this week.”
It is likely that Alabama is the team that got cut since Nauta has filed enrollment paperwork with UGA and Michigan but not Alabama. Steve Lorenz also offers a sliver of hope; while cautioning that he still expect Georgia to be the pick he relates that people in the Michigan program think they've got "more than a puncher's chance."
This is very much a "so you're saying there's a chance" situation. Door isn't 100% closed yet.
The already committed
In addition to the not-yet-committed, Michigan also has a trio of committed fellows that we'll get a bunch more data on. Those gentlemen are TX DT Jordan Elliott, MI OL Michael Onwenu, and IN QB Brandon Peters. Onwenu is a physical marvel:
The scale didn't go high enough to weigh Onwenu. We'll call it 350+. But the MIchigan commit was really impressive in that he's not a sloppy big body and he has extremely long arms. In fact, though he's only 6-3, only one offensive lineman had longer arms than Onwenu.
Meanwhile Elliott was one of the most impressive players on the first day of practice.
— Damon Sayles (@DamonSayles) January 4, 2016
— Greg Powers (@GPowersScout) January 4, 2016
— Jason Howell (@RivalsJason) January 4, 2016
Elliott must be poised for a move up in the Rivals rankings, as they currently have him a nondescript three star. All the other services have him much higher—he may be making a case to move up even there.
Elliott also offered up this spectacular quote about Jim Harbaugh:
"He's just a mystical person. He always looks at you in the eyes when he's talking and then he'll say things when he starts to look away. It's pretty funny. I've never described anybody as mystical before either."
Elliott got in a bit of a twitter tiff with EJ Holland and continues to insist his recruiting process is 100% done; unfortunately he believes that Michigan is not going to get TX LB Dontavious Jackson.
Signing Day Decisions
Michigan has never really been a school that does much on Signing Day: they'll pick up a few guys, generally lower-rated ones, but the kind of ESPNU I-commit-with-a-hat-and-maybe-a-dog thing has never been the way Michigan recruits.
Harbaugh is set to change that in a major way, as the following players are all planning on announcing on February 3rd:
- NJ DE Rashan Gary, who you may have heard of. Michigan is a heavy favorite.
- TX LB Dontavious Jackson, who maintains no leaders or top list. You can piece together an approximate picture of M, UCLA, FSU, Bama, Florida, and Texas. Jackson took officials to the first three, plans officials to Bama and UF, and is local to Texas. FSU may lead.
- FL WR Pie Young, who has maintained Michigan as his leader for a while. Miami may be the nearest competitor but really who knows?
- As mentioned, MI CB Lavert Hill is, at this instant, deciding to decide on Signing Day.
- NJ S Jordan Fuller is packing almost his entire recruitment in the last month and could realistically go to any of his four finalists.
- FL LB Jonathan Jones is more or less down to Michigan and Notre Dame.
In addition to those primary targets there will be six or seven guys announcing who Michigan might be involved with depending on how the class works out, including TX S Chris Brown, CA TE Devin Asiasi, CA DT Boss Tagaloa, and AZ DE Connor Murphy, plus a couple guys under the radar. Batten down the hatches.
Rashan versus MechaRashan
Would you like additional hype on NJ DE Rashan Gary? Probably? Okay.
Gary walked onto the field the first day of practice as the No. 1 rated player in the nation and he walked out off the field of the Citrus Bowl distancing himself and securing that spot atop of the rankings, where he will sit when they are updated for a final time before signing day in February.
Gary also landed a couple of made-up awards from Mike Farrell, including best motor…
Gary has a non-stop motor and even if you play him right, he will push you back into the pocket no matter what. He was taking as many reps as he could in practice, he could have taken the head off the quarterback numerous times and he was nasty in the game. You can’t teach desire and drive and he has plenty of both to go along with impressive talent.
…and the most consistent player, along with the best player, period. ESPN concurs:
Gary possesses a wonderful combination of size, power and athleticism and maximizes those attributes with a high-effort style of play. … An impressive aspect of his game is his hand usage. That activity, combined with his strength and motor, can make him extremely difficult to keep blocked and that was evident in his performance throughout Saturday's game. …
In addition to his impressive physical attributes, Gary also conducted himself in a five-star manner off the field. Gary is as good a No. 1 overall prospect that there has been since we began with the recruiting nation player rankings, and long as he remains coachable and focused, all the tools are there for him to an impact player for whichever program he signs.
Along with the evals come a pile of Michigan folks re-asserting that the Wolverines are heavy favorites. You can read the Sam Webb version ("Michigan is the overwhelming favorite") or the Tim Sullivan version ("Michigan will be all-but impossible to beat"); I like 'em both.
Other UA evals
This column discussed WI OL commit Ben Bredeson's UA performances a bit on Friday; he seems like he'll maintain his current near five-star ranking. A bit more confirmation from Tim Sullivan:
While he has been a brick wall at tackle for his high school team, the likes of five-stars Rashan Gary and Marlon Davidson (both on his own team for practices) are a different animal, and he stood up well.
Scout's Josh Newkirk concurred, noting an "impressive week":
He showcased good feet and didn’t struggle with faster defensive ends throughout the week. While he might end up at offensive guard at Michigan, he proved that he is versatile enough to play on the outside. And looks the part of a player who can hit the field early on in his career.
You might pencil him in as a redshirt freshman starter in 2017, if you were so inclined.
FL LB commit Devin Bush Jr. didn't get a lot of chatter from national guys good or bad and seems likely to maintain his rankings but not move up. Sullivan:
He doesn’t look the part physically, just because he’s shorter than the other linebackers, but when drills go live, he immediately displays that size isn’t everything. He’s quicker than everybody else, and moves well. He was in the backfield a couple times during team drills, and one of his biggest assets – hitting like a ton of bricks – wasn’t on display with the practice not at full-speed.
Bush sounds like an excellent fit for a Don Brown defense. Brown likes his linebackers small, quick, and mean.
NJ RB Kareem Walker is the lone guy who is likely to take a rankings hit after the UA and Semper Fi games. Walker didn't have much opportunity to show what he can do since he was put behind a shaky offensive line trying to contest Gary, and PSU commit Miles Sanders performed better. Sam Webb:
…never saw much daylight between the tackles (none of the black team’s backs did because of the relentless d-line play led by Gary), and he was forced to bounce many of his carries to the outside. That just isn’t where his bread is buttered. Walker is a downhill, one-cut, and go back… and that’s how he’ll be used in Ann Arbor.
A dollar says he'll drop to just outside the top 100 most places. 247 already has him there.
Semper Fi evals
PA S Khaleke Hudson: DO WANT
Well, one: I watched the first half and change and came away very impressed with PA S Khaleke Hudson. Hudson displayed terrific closing speed, finished plays with a thump, and had multiple PBUs against wide receivers. Dude filled up the box score:
Khaleke Hudson had seven tackles, two tackles for loss, forced a fumble and had a game-high four pass breakups, with no other player having more than one in the game.
He is the kind of guy you get to replace a Jabrill Peppers—while he's not Peppers he ain't bad, either.
Hudson split his time at Semper Fi between safety and running back, impressing at both locations. He could fill out a bit and play linebacker. He veritably screams Harbaugh guy. Here's hoping Michigan goes after him full-steam.
Michigan's two commits in the game didn't do much. NJ DE Ron Johnson is linebacker sized and it showed; NJ WR Brad Hawkins was targeted once. Both showed very well in practice, however.
2. Ron Johnson: Right behind Jones on Friday was Johnson once again. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound is tenacious off the line, and he has the speed to get to the football that cannot be coached. The Michigan commitment has had some new things thrown at him this week, and he has adapted well, while showing a high football IQ.
5. Brad Hawkins: Most wide receivers play outside for their high school. When practice began, the coaches let them go to a spot and work. Hawkins went to the slot and has done well when the ball has come his way. He has done well catching short passes and on end-arounds, and the Michigan commitment is more fluid and sudden than many might think given his size, especially in tight spaces, where he used double moves to make defenders miss twice in a span of five plays Friday.
Johnson is a holy lock to redshirt given his size and Michigan's 2016 DL, but as a developmental guy he's promising. Similar to Mario Ojemudia.
McCaffery is the #2 pro-style QB in 2017
Michigan's top target at QB in 2017 is CO QB Dylan McCaffery (yes that McCaffery), a 6'5" gentleman in the running for the top QB in the class. With Stanford focused on a couple of the other contenders for that crown, Michigan is increasingly perceived as the favorite. That perception got two major bumps over the last week.
MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones tells 247's Luke Stampini that Michigan and Ohio State are recruiting him hardest:
“The most, without naming any favorites, Michigan is recruiting me really hard, Ohio State is recruiting me really hard, probably those two,” Peoples-Jones told 247Sports. “I do have favorites. I’ll be releasing my top ten shortly.”
Michigan is hoping to keep the elite receiver in-state.
“They’re pretty much telling me they really want me. They had a lot of coaching staff changes, a lot of changes around the university, so pretty much going forward, I’m just looking for what they can do for me.”
Florida also gets a mention but Stampini is a UF reporter reporting for a UF site so that was likely prompted while M and OSU were brought up organically. Peoples-Jones also talked to Scout's Josh Henschke:
"They've always been pursuing me," Peoples-Jones said. "Nothing's changed like that, I was just ready to see what Harbaugh was going to do and he's doing some very special things."
He's positive but noncommittal throughout; his recruitment will take a while. Michigan seems to be trending positively. His dad is an alum, FWIW.
247 says they'll be keeping an eye on IN QB commit Brandon Peters to see if they should issue a fifth star at the Army game. NJ S Jordan Fuller is down to M, OSU, PSU, and ND. He plans a visit to Ann Arbor on the 22nd. Anyone's guess as to where he's leaning. NJ WR commit Ahmir Mitchell will wear #2.
CA TE Devin Asiasi lists Michigan in his top five but has three officials scheduled over the next three weeks to other locations; he might get out to M mid-week. Never say never if that happens, I guess.
FL DE Joshua Uche got an offer a couple weeks ago and has set a visit for January 22nd. He's a generic three star but as a Miami decommit who is visiting Florida the week after he sees M he seems like a late riser.
Michigan offers 2017 AL LB Will Ignont. Ignont says he's wide open.
1/1/2016 – Michigan 41, Florida 7 – 10-3, 6-2 Big Ten, season over
[Ruby Wallau/Michigan Daily]
On television, passes over a certain length are leaps of faith for the viewer. The quarterback throws it. Then there's a second or two before the intended target comes into focus. In that second you hope the guy is open or covered, depending on the situation. Maybe sometimes if you're lucky just plain expect something good to happen. For most of the year Michigan's defense has given fans the right to expect something at least reasonably difficult in those moments.
The offense hasn't quite managed that, even after Harbaugh found the right way to scream-pound Jake Rudock midway through the season. Also Florida's secondary is House of Cosby, except with Jourdan Lewis. So Rudock flung it up and for a moment there it didn't look too good. The arc was a bit high, the ball hung a bit long. Despite the recent surge I felt a wave of trepidation as this ball's parabola swung back towards Earth.
And then Jehu Chesson panned into view. Just Chesson, because Vernon Hargreaves was standing at the twenty yard line with an enormous animated question mark over his head. Chesson caught an uncontested touchdown that Rudock had punted up short on purpose, and the slow-motion rout was on.
A few months ago Michigan trundled to another one of those losses against Utah that are all pretty much the same depressing football game. In it, Chesson burned a corner on a double move almost as badly as he did Hargreaves. He downshifted as he neared the endzone; Rudock tried to make the perfect pass and ended up overthrowing a sure thing by a couple yards.
That was a theme of not only his junior season at Iowa but the first half of this year: Rudock would try to hit the perfect pass every time, and often this was just out of his reach. That tendency continued; it combined with an unfamiliarity with the offense to turn Rudock from an efficient, if beleaguered, game manager into a guy who barely completed half his passes and couldn't hit 6 YPA against UNLV.
There wasn't anything to be done about this. Rudock was in Ann Arbor to spackle over a quarterback recruiting sinkhole of epic proportions, and if he didn't work out he didn't work out. A shrug is all you can muster if the stopgap is in fact a stopgap.
Then f(Rudock) = 2^x
Ain't never seen anything like that before. One day, Jake Rudock was scuffling through a depressing transition season. The next he was keeping Michigan afloat as the defense scrambled in the aftermath of Ryan Glasgow's injury.
The Chesson touchdown, while easy, was the culmination of Rudock's year. That closed the circle from the Utah game. Later Rudock would dump a 45-yard post route in Chesson's lap to put a cherry on top.
My preseason assessment of Jake Rudock—I said he'd have "a season like last year at Iowa except more efficient: 60% completions, 8 YPA, excellent TD/INT"—was looking somewhere between laughable and pitiful halfway through the year and well I'll be danged:
Rudock finished behind only Nate Sudfeld in passer efficiency in the Big Ten, averaged nearly 8 yards an attempt, had a 20:9 TD:INT ratio, and led the conference with a 64% completion percentage.
Rudock ended the year against the nation's #4, 5, and 8 S&P+ pass defenses. His line in those three games: 64/101, 63%, 7.9 YPA, 6 TD, 1 INT.
I am going to repeat that. Jake Rudock's line against three consecutive top ten pass defenses: 63%, 7.9 YPA, 6:1 TD-INT.
Give Jim Harbaugh your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and he will turn them into NFL quarterbacks. Give Jim Harbaugh your disjointed messes, your pitiful morale, your nonsense rosters, and he will put on a hard-hat and create a ten-win team. I think we just got done with the glide path. Now for a rocket and a match.
Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week
you're the man now, dog
#1 Jake Rudock completed his in-season renaissance with a stunningly efficient performance against a third-straight top-ten pass defense. He also ran for some yards and gave a polished post-game interview. Destined to be a backup QB in the NFL for the next ten years.
#2 De'Veon Smith went full Ricky Vaughn in this game, demonstrating a greatly improved ability to read the game in front of him and quickness possibly borne of a recovery from injury. PFF credited him with 11 broken tackles; he crested 100 yards against a fierce run defense.
#3 Jehu Chesson toasted Vernon Hargreaves crispy on a touchdown, caught a tough 45-yard post route, had a catch-and-run conversion on which he was pulling away from the Florida secondary before a safety chopped him down, had a spectacular over-the-shoulder reception on a play he also drew a flag on, and then had the best catch of his life on a throw that took him about six inches out of bounds. Do I hear Manningham 2.0?
Honorable mention: Chris Wormley and Willie Henry had terrific days on the DL and are excluded mostly because the offensive players had a much tougher matchup. Jarrod Wilson ended his boring Michigan career with a boring interception and we love boring safeties and will miss him. Kenny Allen hit a couple chip shot field goals, blasted a punt that would have probably been a 70 yarder had the endzone not intervened, and hit Vernon Hargreaves so hard on a kick return that he forgot to cover Chesson a bit later. Mason Cole and Graham Glasgow were terrific on the ground and equally good against the pass.
13: Jake Rudock (#3 Northwestern, #1 Rutgers, #1 Indiana, #3 Penn State, #2 OSU, #1 Florida)
9: Jourdan Lewis (#1 UNLV, #1 Northwestern, #1 MSU), Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU, #2 Northwestern, #2 MSU, #1 Minnesota)
8: Chris Wormley(#2 Utah, #1 Oregon State, #3 Rutgers, #2 Penn State)
6: Jake Butt(#1 Utah, #2 Rutgers, #3 OSU), Jehu Chesson(#2 Indiana, #1 OSU, #3 Florida)
5: De'Veon Smith(#2 Oregon State, #3 BYU, #2 Florida)
4: Maurice Hurst (#2 Maryland, #2 Minnesota),
3: Ryan Glasgow (#1 BYU), Desmond Morgan (#1 Maryland), Amara Darboh(#1 PSU)
2: Ty Isaac(#2 UNLV), Willie Henry(#3 Utah, #3 MSU), 1: AJ Williams (#3 Oregon State), Channing Stribling(#3 UNLV), Blake O'Neill(#3 Maryland), Drake Johnson(#3 Minnesota), Delano Hill(#3 Indiana).
Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week
This week's best thing ever.
Gotta be that touchdown.
— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) January 2, 2016
Honorable mention: That post route. De'Veon Smith finds a backside cut. Drake Johnson reverses direction on that draw. Treon Harris's ludicrous interception. Willie Henry eats a dude. Sione Houma befuddles a linebacker.
Utah: Crazy #buttdown.
Oregon State: #tacopunts.
UNLV: Ty Isaac's 76 yard touchdown.
BYU: De'Veon Smith's illicit teleporter run.
Maryland: Jehu Chesson jet sweeps past you.
Northwestern: Chesson opening KO TD.
MSU: the bit where they won until they didn't.
Minnesota: form a f-ing wall.
Rutgers: Peppers as Denard.
Indiana: Delano Hill seals it with a PBU.
PSU: Jourdan Lewis breaks their back on a kickoff.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
This week's worst thing ever.
There are eight months until the next game.
Honorable mention: Early defensive hiccups.
Utah: circle route pick six.
Oregon State: Rudock fumbles after blitz bust.
UNLV: Rudock matches 2014 INT total in game 3.
BYU: BYU manages to get to triple digit yards in the last minutes of the game.
Maryland: Slog extended by deflected interception at Houma.
Northwestern: KLINSMANN OUT
Minnesota: The bit where the lost it until they didn't.
Rutgers: KO return given up.
Indiana: run run run run run run run run run run run run.
PSU: OSU's WHAT ARE THOOOOOOSE gameplan against MSU.
OSU: the second half
[After THE JUMP: a run game! Three Amgios 2016.]
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Michigan 3, Northern Michigan 2
UM 1 NMU 0 EV 11:42 Martin (1) from Connor (12) & Cecconi (5)
Kyle Connor picks a puck up off the half boards and carries toward the high slot. NMU forms a wall, and Connor’s only real options are above said wall. He sees Cutler Martin start to pinch down and makes the logical pass to him.
The important thing to note here is that the high-slot defender closed the gap on Martin quickly, so instead of taking a slap shot he had to load up and quickly release a snap shot.
NMU’s Atte Tolvanen temporarily believes he’s compatriot Pekka Rinne and makes an ill-advised glove-save attempt in which he reaches across his body to try and snag a puck headed over his right shoulder. He misses, because he’s not Pekka Rinne.
[More after THE JUMP]
Michigan announced less than an hour before tipoff that Caris LeVert would miss the Penn State game with a lower leg injury. The Nittany Lions ran out to a 7-0 lead as the Wolverines struggled to even get a shot off in early going.
Instead of faltering, though, Michigan found their groove from beyond the arc, netting all of their first 18 points from beyond the arc. Duncan Robinson utilized his deadly pump fake to free up his own shot and assist on a couple others during that stretch, Zak Irvin got into rhythm, and a hot streak from Aubrey Dawkins turned a deficit into a rout.
Mark Donnal earned the start at center. After an inauspicious start—Donnal sat after one minute due to a foul—he picked up where he left off against Illinois, making his first seven shots on his way to a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds. The work of Robinson (six assists) and especially Irvin (seven) off the dribble left room for Donnal at the rim and he continued to look great catching and finishing off the high screen. His effort on the defensive end also stood out; in two games, Donnal has gone from odd man out to effective starter.
That couldn't have happened without a great team effort to move the ball around. Michigan assisted on 18 of their 29 made field goals, forcing Penn State to try an ill-advised switch to zone that had little positive effect. Dawkins took full advantage by slicing through the defense for a pair of layups and feeding off Robinson and Irvin to drill all three of his triples. He'd finish with 14 points, Irvin had 16 of his own—making 4/6 threes—and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman posted 14 on 5/7 shooting.
It's dangerous to take too much away from a matchup against Penn State, which looked as listless as their football team. That said, it's hard to ignore the transformation of Donnal—and to a lesser extent Irvin and even Robinson—in the absence of Michigan's best player, especially when Derrick Walton had a rough day.
A trip to Purdue looms on Thursday. If LeVert returns while his supporting cast continues to display this level of in-season improvement, however, Michigan can put themselves right back into the conversation as one of the Big Ten's upper-echelon teams.
Michigan (11-3, 1-0 B1G) vs
Penn State (9-5, 0-1)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||Noon ET, Saturday|
|LINE||Michigan -11 (KenPom)|
PBP: Jeff Levering
Analyst: Shon Morris
Right: WHY ARE OLD MASCOTS ALL SO SAD?
After Mark Donnal's superlative performance against Illinois, John Beilein is willing to make changes to the rotation if Donnal—or any of the other centers—can produce consistently:
At some point, someone has to lock down the center position. [Donnal] could be on the verge of doing so.
"Is he better coming off the bench? Is he better starting?" Beilein asked rhetorically. "When anybody puts on that type of performance — and he'd been doing it the last week or so in practice before we went on (holiday) break and when we came back, especially when we came back — we're thinking about changing, whether it's the starting lineup or the rotation. It's all in the mix right now."
They'll face a true seven-footer in PSU's Jordan Dickerson today, which should help bring some clarity to the situation heading into Thursday's game at Purdue.
UPDATE: Donnal is starting, but Michigan announced moments ago that Caris LeVert will miss the game with a lower-leg injury of some sort:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced this afternoon (Saturday, Jan. 2), senior guard Caris LeVert will sit out the Wolverines game against Penn State with a lower left leg injury.
"Caris will miss today's game and his future status will be determined on a day-to-day basis," said Beilein. "We hope to know more this upcoming week as he continues with his treatment."
LeVert appeared to tweak his left ankle late in the Illinois game, and while he continued to play he limped around a bit. Hopefully this isn't anything major, especially with Purdue looming later this week.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||33||Shep Garner||So.||6'1, 185||87||22||No|
|Nominal point is more of a scorer. Shooting better from 3 than 2.|
|G||23||Josh Reaves||Fr.||6'4, 190||63||20||Yes|
|Good block and steal rates, struggling offensively. 3/29 on threes.|
|F||0||Payton Banks||So.||6'6, 220||75||22||Yes|
|Decent finisher and rebounder, very iffy outside shooter.|
|F||10||Brandon Taylor||Sr.||6'6, 225||77||29||No|
|Huge usage, middling efficiency (48/36/68 shooting splits).|
|C||32||Jordan Dickerson||Sr.||7'1, 245||45||11||Very|
|Top-ten block rate, excellent offensive rebounder, low usage.|
|G||3||Devin Foster||Sr.||6'2, 205||45||12||No|
|Low usage, bad finisher (10/27 2P) and FT shooter, turnover-prone.|
|C||44||Julian Moore||So.||6'10, 235||40||17||Very|
|Good rebounder and decent rim-protector but not on Dickerson's level.|
|F||1||Deividas Zemgulis||Fr.||6'6, 220||20||16||Not Really|
|Effective scorer in limited minutes.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Odd time, but the UA game is tomorrow so let's set the stage.
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) January 1, 2016
Rashan Gary coming back
senior highlights, or a bear playing football?
(bonus: Kareem Walker runs at 2:30 and 5:40 that look pretty decent)
Excellent news here:
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) December 31, 2015
Michigan getting a return visit feels like a trip to confirm, with only one late official visit to a yet-to-be-determined team able to overturn what looks like a large Michigan lead. Sam Webb has a couple of long posts about Gary's status that continue to give off the impression that Gary is headed to Ann Arbor. Interestingly, the second discusses a prospect committed elsewhere who does not want his name out who will visit in January, might flip, and if he did flip would lock down Gary. Sam offers zero hints as to who this might be but it's a guy
- at the UA game
- committed elsewhere
- with a connection to Gary
There are two guys who seem like candidates: PA TE Naseir Upshur, an FSU commit who is tight with a lot of the NJ prospects flooding to Ann Arbor, and five-star TX OL Greg Little. Little, an Ole Miss commit, was briefly a source of Ole Miss optimism about Gary since those two have apparently struck up a friendship over the course of their recruitments. Little and Gary were at Ole Miss on the same weekend. Maybe this is a situation where these guys might be a package if they can find a school both guys like.
The previous paragraph is entirely speculation.
BTW, Gary is not likely to cede his status as the nation's top prospect.
Gary, meanwhile, has been utterly dominant so far at the event, drawing universal praise for an elite combination of strength, quickness and ability.
ESPN's CFB/NFL draft analyst @KevinW_ESPN said today it was easy to see why Rashan Gary is No. 1. On a different level.
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 30, 2015
There just isn't another player like this one in the country. He is elite and he is No. 1 in the country for many reasons. He was constantly beating the one in front of him, he was in the backfield all day, and he was chasing plays down.
Rivals has him as a "stock up" guy despite the fact that his stock can't actually go up. Here's a bunch of reps between Gary and Little:
I like 'em both.
As far as Gary's decision goes, feelin' real good.
— Garrett Fishaw (@MGoFish) December 31, 2015
Delance decision primer
TX OL Jean Delance will announce tomorrow during the game. We have a ballz in for him based on a few things, but there is no certainty with his recruitment. Lorenz has a a ballz in for Michigan. Tim Sullivan thinks it's very close between Michigan and Texas with Michigan his tentative pick. He mentions something that was a reason we put in our pick:
Delance said he and his mother have to "duke it out" over where he goes. That his mother openly prefers him to stay at Texas, and that the phrasing implies he and Mom are on opposite sides of a disagreement (or boxing match, if he's being strictly literal, I guess)... that means he's favoring Michigan, right?
I mean, he told Josh Newkirk this about Texas:
“Texas is right down the street from my house,” he said. “(In my) home state, that’s what people want me to do. But I got to follow my own dreams, make my own destiny."
Sometimes quotes like that don't mean as much as it sounds like they do, but with Delance he's said things along those lines while being effusive about Harbaugh.
On the other hand, Scout guys are hearing Texas. The Texas 247 guy feels "just as strong about Texas as I did the day I put in a crystal ball for him." (As we'll see in a bit that might not be a bad thing.) Wiltfong and LSU guys at 247 were hearing Texas as well.
And Michigan did offer MD OL Stephen Spanellis, a Virginia commit. Normally that's a bad sign about the other guys on the hook but we've seen Michigan set up a few January visits for guys they may not have room for. Michigan is going into what will be a busy, tense Signing Day and they want to have backup options. A Spanellis offer does say one thing: Michigan has not gotten an official "yes" from Delance and desires to cover themselves if things go the wrong way.
So I don't know. I think it'll be M but if it goes the other way nobody will be too surprised.
[UPDATE: Steve just flipped his ballz back to Texas. Bleah.]
Brad Hawkins jittery? Probably not
Some conflicting information on NJ WR commit Brad Hawkins, who told Rivals he's thinking about visits to North Carolina and South Carolina and "wasn't sure if his recruiting process is over and done with."
"I'm 100-percent committed to Michigan," he stated. "I picked Michigan because it just felt like home. The people there are great people. The environment is a great environment. It's a college football town. There's nothing like it."
Maybe keep an eye on that but it appears that Hawkins is still a very good bet to end up in the class; can't say that about some other people who have scheduled visits. One thing that is clear: neither Hawkins or Johnson is set to enroll early. They were intending to but apparently are no longer.
FWIW, that 247 article confirms that Hawkins is coming in at WR. I'd speculated that either he or Mitchell might be slated for a switch to safety given reports that Michigan would take both CA WR Dylan Crawford and FL WR Pie Young should those prospects be amenable. That still might be the case—see Brian Cole and a zillion other position switches—but not right away.
FWIW, Hawkins is impressing at the Semper Fi game, with Brian Dohn reporting that he's "looked very good" and is amongst the best WRs at the game. Meanwhile Johnson was named the ALPHA DOG on day two:
Ron Johnson (Camden, N.J./Camden) was easily the most dominating player on the second day of practice.
The four-star Michigan commitment could not be blocked at the line of scrimmage, firing off the ball and using his raw strength to explode on contact. At 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Johnson is lean, but on Thursday he showed the upper body strength is already there to throw blockers to the wayside. … Coaches were raving about his performance on Day two, and rightfully so.
Johnson and Hawkins have sort of been forgotten men since their commitments but they're both four star guys.
The last New Jersicorn
Hey, so NJ S Jordan Fuller has had a recruitment even more mysterious than that of TX DE Levi Onwuzurike. He has talked to virtually nobody. He's offered no lists. The only indicator that he's considering anyone is that he took an official to Notre Dame. Dohn reports that Fuller has now set visits to OSU on January 15th and Michigan on the 22nd, with a couple schools trying to get a visit the following week. That appears to be a top three of M, OSU, and ND.
WI OL commit Ben Bredeson has also caught the eye. There have been mixed reports since apparently he drew a lot of duty against Gary, which isn't going to go well for anyone in a drill. Bredeson apparently slowed Gary down a bit, which is good enough to claim the "most successful vs Grendel" award.
Coach Herm Edwards mentioned a few players who stood out: Dwayne Haskins, Ben Bredeson, Levonta Taylor, Rashan Gary, Nigel Knott on the list
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 30, 2015
Scout's Bill Greene was impressed:
He had a good day Monday, and most people would agree he was one of the top linemen on Team Highlight. Bredeson is huge, but he was far more athletic than he looks on film, with better footwork. He was aggressive, and it was apparent he came to play football, not be on vacation.
Bredeson told folks he would start out at left guard when he arrived at Michigan. I'm pretty sure we already knew he was slated to be an interior OL, but there's oddly specific confirmation all the same.
Keep recruitin' that chicken
EJ Holland, the Texas guy who refused to believe that TX DT Jordan Elliott was favoring Michigan—which other people believed due to things like "Elliott saying it to every recruiting reporter he talked to"—will not let his recruitment die:
According to a couple of sources, Elliott is committed to Michigan but could still sign elsewhere in February. Texas will have a good shot if Jeffrey McCulloch and Dontavious Jackson side with the Longhorns. All three communicate frequently.
Hold your panic gifs. Lorenz talked to Elliott's mom and she shot that down emphatically. Meanwhile her twitter feed is a pile of Michigan stuff. Elliott himself also continually tweets Michigan stuff and seems peeved whenever someone suggests he's not solid
Why this dude will not let the Elliott stuff die is unknown, but he thinks Delance goes to Texas, so that's good news.
It's going to be that time soon. I still don't care about 2018 and refuse to until next fall, but 2017 is closing in on being the current class. So:
- 2017 MI CB Ambry Thomas is "very interested" and feels "comfortable" in Ann Arbor. Early favorite there was MSU, we'll see how that holds up.
- 2017 MI WR KJ Hamler, AKA "Speedy Eaglet," says Harbaugh is an "electric, electric coach." MSU gets a cursory mention.
- Michigan still leads for five star NY OL Isaiah Wilson, with Ole Miss and OSU the other two schools drawing mention. Lorenz cautions that Wilson's recruitment is likely to be a "bumpy ride."
- 2017 GA WR commit Jeremiah Holloman is impressing at a camp: "Holloman is a legit 6-foot-3, and, while he's lean, he's got a really well developed frame. He does a tremendous job of using his height to his advantage, and he was a troublesome matchup for many of the top rated defensive backs during practice." Twitter has a catch for those interested.
- Holloman's teammate and 2017 GA RB commit Kurt Taylor was fielding serious Florida interest before he pulled the trigger.
FL LB Joel Dublanko is still on the radar. He's coming in on the 15th despite not having an offer and seems to be a guy who would be a late offer if Michigan has room on Signing Day. Ditto LA DE Malcolm Roach, a Texas commit who told Holland that he would set a visit to Michigan in January. FL TE Jacob Mathis has an official set to Ole Miss right before Signing Day; M is involved there still. Sullivan doesn't think it's happening. FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young remains high on Michigan and plans on committing on Signing Day.
BYU QB Taysom Hill was offered a grad transfer opportunity at Virginia, which is no surprise after Bronco Mendenhall took that job.