Kareem Walker (center) with fellow NJ native Ahmir Mitchell. [Isaiah Hole/247]
Michigan has once again fought off Florida State to land their second top target in as many days. After Devin Bush Jr. committed yesterday, top-ranked Wayne (NJ) De Paul Catholic RB Kareem Walker's announced his Michigan pledge this afternoon. The Wolverines have been in the driver's seat for Walker since his October official visit eventually spurred a decommitment from Ohio State, where he'd committed during last season's national title game; Auburn and Florida State emerged as contenders but Michigan managed to fend them off.
Walker is the 23rd commit in the 2016 class, the second at running back (joining Kingston Davis), and the fourth from New Jersey (Brad Hawkins, Ron Johnson, Ahmir Mitchell). If Michigan closes out like they hope, Walker won't be the last to join the class from the Garden State.
5*, #2 RB,
4*, #1 RB,
4*, 87, #1 RB,
4*, 94, #2 RB,
4*, #1 RB,
Every site but 247 has Walker as one of the very top prospects in the country, and even though 247 is a significant outlier they still consider him the second-best running back in the class. There isn't a Leonard Fournette or Reggie Bush level of can't-miss back; Walker is a cut below them as a prospect but still obviously quite good.
Walker has a solid, college-ready build; he's listed at 6'0", 200-210 pounds by all but 247 (6'1", 210).
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]
[Ed-Seth: If you like Harbaugh stories and want to support #ChadTough, read on.
Take This Job & Love It! is a collection of Jim Harbaugh yarns from his friends, family, coaches, teammates, and former players. A small sample of contributors: Shemy Schembechler, Jon Falk, Todd Anson, Jamie Morris, Jerry Hanlon, Bump Elliott, Mike Ditka, and Tappan Junior High coach/Phys Ed teacher Rob Lillie. The book is only available in Michigan stores or online.
The author Rich Wolfe is an old friend of Jack Harbaugh, and he’s written 50 other quasi-biographies like this, where he goes around to his subject’s friends and prints their stories. One is on Tom Brady, before that first Super Bowl.
For this one he called me with an idea: post an excerpt on the blog, and if anyone bought the book from that we’d donate 100% of the proceeds to #ChadTough. So here’s a few bits from a long section titled “A Roomie With a View” by former Michigan player and Harbaugh roommate Jerry Quaerna. If you’d like more, head to www.chadtoughharbaughbook.com. Or you can find it in some stores in Michigan but it’ll be more expensive that way.]
Excerpts from ‘A Roomie With a View’
1. YOUR DADROCK IS UNACCEPTABLE
I was recruited to play football at Michigan. When I went there, Jim was my roommate. Jim and I were paired up as freshmen. We didn’t know each other. Then we lived together as fifth-year seniors. I got to see Jim before he was a big star and after he was big time. I had a long trip over from Wisconsin. I got unpacked, and I was sleeping on my bed in the dorm when Jim showed up with Jim Minick. He grew up with Minick in Ann Arbor. Minick spent 26 years in the Marines and is now Jim’s right-hand man on his Michigan staff.
I woke up and introduced myself to these guys. What was the first thing Jim did? This was back in the day. This was ’82. We had LPs. I was into music, and I had about 20 LPs and my turntable. Those were going to go out the window in three or four years, but I had a nice collection of vinyl there.
After Jim shook my hand, he went straight to my vinyl collection, and he critiqued it. I’m not kidding you. I had good stuff. I had the Doors, I had Jimi Hendrix. I had plenty of Beatles. I’m a big Beatles fan. Jethro Tull. I had Hot Rocks from the Stones. I loved that album. I had Black Sabbath. I had some great independent records. I had some Priest.
Jim is going through my records, and he’s saying, “Yep, no, yep, no. Doors, no. Beatles, nope. Jethro Tull, no.” When he’s done critiquing my collection, he goes, “You don’t have any Who.”
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of this and some other stories, or hit THE LINK to get them all]
There are very few fanbases that act like Michigan's when it comes to bowls. This year's Citrus allotment sold out before a lot of season ticket holders realized they were on sale, and the secondary market launched at double the list price.
This is hardly Michigan's first Florida rodeo, and hardly the resellers' first Michigan vs. the local Gators rodeo. As such the secondary market remains flooded with big swaths of 10 seats together, all priced over face of course. I asked Ralph Garcia at TiqIQ how these usually play out:
On a historic Michigan beat-- the Outback Bowl from 1/1/13 seems to be the most similar game. The game saw ticket prices slowly increase from 12/8 to 12/16 and then remained pretty much flat from the 17th to 20th. Approx 10 days out is when things get interesting, as a lot of people unloaded at lower prices. For that particular game, the cheapest tickets available occurred on 12/20/12 while 48 hours before marked the next lowest point.
Last year's Minnesota/Missouri New Years Day matchup in the Citrus Bowl had pretty consistent ticket prices from the 8th on, until a free fall starting on the 30th.
The free fall seems to happen only for the good tickets, and will probably function differently since Florida is basically at home, so the final drop-off can't be so severe—like if tickets start getting below face the Gator fans in Gainesville or wherever will just buy them.
Here's what Ralph suggested vis a vis strategy (this was as of 5:49 p.m last night):
We've seen about 2,000 extra tickets hit the market in the past 96 hours, resulting in the drop of asking price. If quantity stays up, prices should continue to fall. As a seller, it's important to price competitively as there's now plenty of similar tickets for sale. Being $5 cheaper than another seat in that section could make the difference as buyers are sorting through the selections.
As a buyer, if you're willing to sweat it out, 48 hours out before gametime is when brokers entering panic mode. That's the best bet for some Lower Level or Premium seats at discounted prices. However if you're just looking to get in the door with cheapest seats possible, next week should mark the lowest point. Again, as a buyer keep an eye out for the quantity of tickets available. Large chunks of tickets on the market could mean empty seats at the game and effectively a free upgrade.
Short version: buy nice seats on December 30 or 31 or the day of the game, but if you just need one ticket to get in the door, get that before Christmas.
[EDIT] People in the comments say they've had no trouble getting way below face the day of the game for even the Rose Bowl vs. USC. If that's your strategy I suggest keeping an eye on those big blocks of tickets. If there are 8 together all over the place come December 29, those tickets ought to be circulating in Orlando by Jan 1.
[After the jump: get to know the changes at the Citrus Bowl]
Michigan survived a late push from Florida State to land one of their top overall targets in the class, four-star Hollywood (FL) Flanagan ILB Devin Bush Jr., who announced his commitment to the Wolverines in a ceremony this afternoon. Bush, the son of former FSU and NFL safety and current Flanagan head coach Devin Bush, joins teammates Devin Gil and Josh Metellus in the 2016 class, which now sits at 22 commits.
Bush is the second linebacker in the class, along with three-star Dytarious Johnson, and as an early enrollee he'll have every opportunity to make an instant impact at Michigan's thinnest position group.
|3*, #13 ILB||
4*, #5 ILB,
4*, 82, #12 OLB,
3*, 88, #19 ILB,
4*, #11 ILB,
As you can see, there's a major split in Bush's rankings; Rivals and ESPN have him as solid four-star while Scout and 247 place him in high three-star territory. Bush's size—listed at 5'11", ~225 pounds everywhere but Scout (6'0", 215)—is the likely cause of the difference in opinion; those listings are apparently a little generous on length, as Bush measured in at 5'9", 227 at The Opening.
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative stuff.]
When I talked to Ryan Glasgow back in November after the Minnesota game, he said that he had kind of been able to pick up on how the offensive linemen were standing and pick up some tells whether the play would be a run or pass. When you’re lined up across from a receiver, are you able to pick anything up from them during a game or from watching film? Do they have certain tells?
“Yeah. It’s always about feeling the game and just knowing what they’re going to do. A team always has a gameplan coming into a game, so it’s a script and sometimes they go off the script and then they come back to the plays that they hit you on so you know. You have a feel for what they’re going to do next, so honestly it’s just feeling that, what your receiver likes to do, and just getting in that feel.”
Do they ever tip what route they’re going to run based on how they-
“Yeah. Linemen always tell. The formation is a big teller, and it’s just…yeah, it’s pretty much the feel, honestly.”
You’ve played a lot of man-press this year and you’ve talked a lot about technique, and I know your coaches say it all the time too, that the most important thing isn’t size or speed but is technique. Walk me through that; when you’re lined up in press, what are you looking to do as soon as the ball’s snapped?
“Be physical at the line of scrimmage. Disrupt them. Just do anything I can to bother them at the line. Just being in his hip pocket—you know, that annoys them, just knowing that you’re always there and they don’t have space to move and the quarterback has to put the ball on the spot, so honestly that contributes to incompletions and pass breakups and stuff like that because once you keep getting that tight coverage you know sometime that line’s going to break down.”
What if you have to take a guy a little bit deeper down the field? Say you’re 15 or 20 yards down the field. What’s the technique then?
“You’re trying to push them to the sideline. You’re trying to get them to the sideline, and then you’re trying to stay up under the route and get up in his back hip and turn around and try and look for the ball.”
[After THE JUMP: how to break up a pass and not get burned, a Florida scouting report, and a week of preparation]
Caris LeVert recorded the fourth triple-double in program history. [Fuller]
Caris LeVert's most memorable play of the evening didn't even count towards the fourth triple-double in Michigan basketball history.
LeVert finished with 13 points, ten rebounds, and ten assists, but his steal and Gumby-like save in the second half stood out as the highlight in a game Michigan controlled from start to finish. Duncan Robinson made a sizable contribution to that assist total, knocking down three of his six first-half triples off LeVert passes.
Robinson scored all 18 of his game-high points in the first half. He also scored them all from the same location:
Does he have a favorite spot? pic.twitter.com/LXPZC8duXb
— Dylan Burkhardt (@umhoops) December 16, 2015
When Northern Kentucky reconfigured their defense to prevent Robinson from getting the ball in the second half, the rest of Michigan's offense benefited, especially LeVert and Derrick Walton. Walton returned from his ankle injury, got the start, and looked healthy—save for a brief scare after a hard foul in the second half—in a 16-point effort.
Outside of LeVert making history, Robinson raining threes, and Walton looking spry, the major intrigue from this game came from how John Beilein handled the rotation. (Alright, and the defense once again being not-so-good, but let's leave that for another day.) LeVert, Robinson, Walton, and Zak Irvin all played 34 minutes or more, while Ricky Doyle (23) and Mark Donnal (14) took up nearly all the minutes at the five; Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (11) was the only non-center backup to see anything approaching significant time. Donnal had easily his best performance of the year, netting his season-high 11th point on the pick-and-roll to give LeVert his triple-double.
Andrew Dakich entered in time to run out the clock, and he did so with aplomb.
Tonight's bad poetry:
Duncan made a three.
Duncan made another three.
I need four more lines.