The Highlights: WolverineHistorian
The Setup: After thumping South Carolina on the road, Michigan won their next three games—against Maryland, Wisconsin, and Michigan State—by a combined score of 84-6. That set up a #1 vs. #2 matchup at Iowa that the Hawkeyes won, 12-10, thanks to four field goals and a dominant defensive performance. A 3-3 tie against Illinois two weeks later dropped Michigan to #9 in the polls, and while they bounced back with a blowout of Purdue, a trip to Minnesota looked like a classic trap game the week before The Game.
The Gophers, coached by Lou Holtz, entered the game at 6-3. Two of those losses, however, came in close games against top-five teams, Oklahoma and Ohio State, at the Metrodome. Add in their road loss to Michigan State, and their three defeats came by a combined 15 points. Many felt the Gophers were due for an upset. It wouldn't come against Michigan.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
I don't get it. I mean, I get it: when Seth said he wanted to do a post about what Adidas inflicted on us I was like YES THAT. A combination of incompetent Germans and a weak or nuts AD was literally not a pretty sight over the past few years. I don't get the WOO NIKE half of that:
"We certainly heard it from fans a fair amount, 'when's Nike coming back?' " says Scott Hirth, co-owner of the M Den, Michigan's official athletic retailer. "There's no two ways around it, and there's no way to sugar coat it. Adidas and football success didn't go hand in hand, and we can't dispute that.
"I think for a lot of fans, it's a feeling of 'Michigan's the best, Nike's the best, Michigan should be with Nike.' "
A shirt's a shirt to me. A jersey is a jersey until it becomes two halves of a jersey flopping in the wind. Nike is no stranger to fashion disasters itself. A lot of people are super happy about this because they owe brand loyalty* to a company that probably makes much of its stuff in literally the same buildings other apparel companies do. So it's a bit weird.
*[I reserve brand loyalties for places they really matter: tortillas. Mission forever. If you bring Azteca into my home I will bludgeon you with them and then kick you out.]
But whatever man, I'm happy you're happy. For athletes it's a different story, of course: the gear is important, especially shoes. And Nike seems to have reputation there that is worth something.
If it makes them happy and a bunch of other people happy, that is a good thing to do even if it does not grow the bottom line as much as possible. The athletic department isn't a profit-driven enterprise, so what should it drive to? Making its stakeholders happy. This appears to do that.
And it might not even leave money on the table. I wonder what metrics Hackett is using when he says this:
Jim Hackett has no problem saying that Michigan's new apparel deal is the largest in the country, topping any other collegiate apparel contract.
Hackett, speaking with a handful of reporters on campus Tuesday, said Michigan would have netted the country's largest apparel deal from Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, but ultimately opted to return to the swoosh.
I wonder because of that reportedly bonkers Under Armour offer to Texas, and reports that Nike was coming in under the other two companies. If other company X is willing to offer more to Michigan they will probably offer more to someone else as well. Not because they're worth more than Michigan. Because it's worth more to company X to have something approximating Michigan.
We'll find out soon enough, and I bet he's right in some way or another since they're going to release numbers next week. I mean, you'd think so. It's common sense. I am going to apply that now.
He's got an average of being excellent. Last April a mailbag post contained a rundown of the various negotiations Michigan executed during the Brandon era. The results there were not pretty:
- Brady Hoke was hired and then paid top ten numbers,
- Michigan was stuck in a different division than OSU (with a crossover game),
- Michigan got an unpleasant home/road split in the 14-team league,
- Notre Dame punked Michigan when they ended the contract,
- Mitch McGary did not have his suspension reduced despite the NCAA changing their rules about pot tests
- Al Borges was offered a 300k raise.
Since Hackett has arrived he has hired Jim Harbaugh for far less than he would get from an NFL team and locked down a Nike contract that can be plausibly called the biggest in the country. What do you think about THAT, Bastian Schweinsteiger?
I agree: not bad at all.
Maize. Maize is not blinding yellow. It is not regular yellow. It is an orangey yellow. It is like the image that leads this post. If Michigan actually starts wearing maize that would be nice.
A jumping man. Nike's Jordan thingy is part of their deal with Michigan. I made an offhanded comment about it in the news post about the deal and got several "NO, SERIOUSLY" replies in the comments and on twitter about it. More detail is available at MLive:
According to a Nike spokesperson, Michigan basketball will become the fifth program outfitted by Jordan Brand. The Jordan Brand currently outfits North Carolina, Georgetown, California and Marquette in men's basketball and North Carolina and Georgetown in women's basketball.
That is a weird—but exclusive!—grouping of teams to join. It includes a team that just locked down Jaylen Brown, who repeatedly said he'd play at an Adidas school. Good job, good effort, Adidas.
Anyway. If any logo on a thing can get recruits to sign up for something it appears to be this logo. I think cold, hard cash works better, though.
GAMBLING! ESTABLISHMENT! AND SO FORTH! Ole Miss is being investigated for hijinks in the recruitment of Laremy Tunsil, a five-star OL who walked right into their starting OL. Tunsil was just arrested for domestic assault against his stepfather, who apparently took whatever cash was on offer from TMZ for photos.
His stepfather says the incident happened because "Tunsil exploded on him for voicing his displeasure about the college star hanging out with sports agents," a story so implausible Michigan could have come up with it in the immediate aftermath of the Shane Morris incident. Dollars to donuts the stepfather has flipped on the kid after gently guiding his recruitment.
Minnesota, 1988. Via Wolverine Historian:
The weather was un-good.
Well, when you lay it out like that… MLive has a slideshow of Brady Hoke's old coaches and where they ended up. I'm sure we've addressed it before, but yikes man:
- OKAY: Greg Mattison stuck in Ann Arbor as the DL coach. Roy Manning is at Washington State. Doug Nussmeier is Florida's OC.
- IS THAT A REAL PLACE? Dan Ferrigno is at San Jose State with Al Borges. Darrell Funk is at Akron. Jeff Hecklinski is at Colorado State-Pueblo. Doug Mallory is at Wyoming. Mark Smith is at Florida Tech. Fred Jackson hasn't landed yet, if he's going to stay in coaching.
Hoke's coaching tree is comparable to Lloyd Carr's minus Brady Hoke. Woof.
I am in favor of this. Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis retired a year ago and has been brought in as a "senior adviser" at Michigan. We are just Joe Parker and Bruce Madej away from The Expendables: Athletic Department Edition.
De Carolis brought in Hutch and was well-loved at Oregon State, FWIW.
Another guy. Former UConn OC TJ Weist has been hired at Michigan as an "analyst," which probably means he'll break down tape and help with gameplanning:
Weist is not a Michigan assistant, which means he's not an active recruiter and his coaching duties will be limited by NCAA rules.
"T.J. has a wealth of coaching experience and will be an excellent addition to our staff," Harbaugh said in a statement. "He has shown the ability to develop countless NFL caliber wide receivers over his career and has immense knowledge of the collegiate game. He will be a great asset to our program."
Weist is a former Jack Harbaugh guy and Michigan native, so this is an obvious fit. Michigan appears to be spending its money on having a good football program instead of… not that. This will help happiness, and help make more money.
Etc.: MI/WV SF Miles Bridges says he wants to visit Michigan again. Kentucky though. More decals with Sap. OSU LB talks trash on Twitter. "Split zone" from James Light. Also this is a really cool and sneaky coverage in which a corner plays man press for about ten yards before bailing on his WR in an effort to trap the QB into a bad throw.
It started off so well.
Then they tried to lick our moisture:
…and things began to fall apart.
[After the jump: crimes against fashion, crimes against yellow, crimes against offense, crimes against eyes, crimes against humans]
Elite 11 Updates: Peters Performing Well, Probably
Ah, the Elite 11, when a group of more than 11 of the nation's best quarterbacks gather for a camp in which a handful of throws will be analyzed to death. There's usually something of a disconnect between how the recruiting analysts and the camp counselors rank the performers. This year doesn't appear to be different. After Monday's opening session, Scout's Brandon Huffman named Michigan commit Brandon Peters among the five quarterbacks who stood out to him:
Was one of the most consistent passers all morning. Was just hot from the get-go on day one. Looked athletic and threw the ball with very little effort. The Michigan commit really dropped the ball into the basket for receivers and it looks like the Wolverines have a lot to be excited about.
247's Barton Simmons also had high praise for Peters:
Finally Brandon Peters was one of the guys that multiple analysts were buzzing about and his upside is crazy considering he's had limited quarterback training and he has elite athleticism that shows up on the basketball court.
Partway through the camp, however, Peters isn't on the Elite 11 rankings list. (He's far from the only notable missing: five-star FSU commit Malik Henry didn't crack the list, either.) Peters still has time to make a move; regardless, he's been impressive to onlookers.
Meanwhile, Peters is also keeping an eye on recruiting, per 247's Steve Wiltfong:
Upshur will be at The Opening this week, as will Peters and Michael Onwenu. You can bet M's commits will be working on getting Upshur to join them.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
|Prattville, Alabama – 6'1", 170|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
#26 ATH, #16 AL
|ESPN||3*, NR overall
#117 ATH, #32 AL
|24/7||3*, #1460 overall
#123 ATH, #164(!) AL
|Other Suitors||Cal, TCU, Miami, Mizzou, Louisville, UNC, Duke, UK|
|YMRMFSPA||Steve Breaston or
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. Older teammate of Kingston Davis and Dytarious Johnson at Prattville. Decommitted from Duke and then Cal.|
The world was not particularly different when Keith Washington committed to Michigan. He is one of the first of the Harbaugh Guys, and demonstrated that in person with the man himself:
"They told me they had heard I was pretty fast, and I told them I'd run a 4.3," Washington recalls. "And they were like 'we don't believe you.'
"So I just said, OK, I'll run one for you right now outside. Let's go."
That story made the signing day press conference and will hopefully be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
It is likely to be one on a slow burn. Washington is a project. He is projected by just about everyone to be a cornerback in college, but—as is often the case with super athletes—he played quarterback in high school. After a senior-year transfer from Texas, Washington walked into a Alabama state power at Pratville and immediately won the starting QB job. As a result all of his DB film is underclassman stuff from Texas. Also he is 170 pounds. It's going to take some time.
Even so there's a major disconnect between Washington's recruiting profile and his high school exploits. Prattville made the 7A* state championship game with Washington at the helm, rushing for 1200 yards at a Denard-esque 7.9 YPC. His passing numbers are pretty good, too: 61%, 1800 yards, 19 TD, 5 INT. He was mentioned as a (fringe) candidate for Alabama's Mr. Football award, won the Montgomery Advertiser's 6A-7A player of the year award… and nobody ranks him in, or really even near, the top ten players in the state when it comes to college potential. He does have to switch positions, but you'd think a guy who ripped through the best competition the state of Alabama had to offer would get a bit of respect even if it was as an "athlete."
Washington is certainly that, running sub-4.5 40s as an underclassman out of Clute, Texas. By the time Harbaugh sat down with him his go-to number was 4.38. Whether that is fake or not, his ability to separate himself—quickly—from defensive backs in Alabama's highest division leaps off his tape. A coach who played against him last year:
"The main thing that stands out about Washington is just how athletic he is," Dukes said. "He was dangerous whenever he got outside the pocket so that was our main focus. We wanted to keep him from doing that. … He can really run. Being athletic at quarterback is a bonus and hopeful, but it's not expected. If your quarterback is shifty and able to run like him it's a huge bonus, but at corner it's a must. You have got to have a great athlete there and I think he is that."
ESPN praises him as a "gifted athlete," repeatedly notes that he "demonstrates he can both run away from defenders and catch people from behind," and says he's a "general athlete that looks comfortable in whatever role he is asked to play."
Keith Washington is fast. Meanwhile his father (who is also named Keith Washington) was an Alabama high school star himself and a fringe NFL player for several years.
The transition to corner is the holdup in his rankings. There is little scouting on him for obvious reasons. He's 170 pounds. He's been mostly an offensive player the last couple years. His DB film from his Texas days looks rough to my amateur eye. Touch The Banner also has the quintessential scout-guy question about him:
I question whether Washington has the hips to be a big-time corner. He's a little bit stiff in the upper and lower body, and he does not transition out of a backpedal very well. As one might expect of someone who's primarily a cornerback, he also lacks tackling technique and doesn't pack much of a punch. Some of these things are technique issues - and strength and conditioning issues - that can be helped with some time in college.
Overall, I look at Washington and I see Jeremy Clark, who's a 6'4" safety for Michigan.
It's tough to make any call on him given the QB transition. When he was a Cal commit, Cal folks were impressed:
Physically, he's long and lean; and he really doesn't have a frame suited for some of the physicality required of a safety. … great acceleration. His ability to turn and chase is impressive with his closing speed. His height and long arms help him in press coverage and playing the ball, and he's a willing though unpolished tackler. … his athleticism makes him a natural in pass coverage. …athletically, Washington really is impressive.
Unfortunately, when I think "recent Cal defensive back" good things do not come to mind. This does:
An optimistic take on a commit should be taken in the context it was given. Clint Brewster also gave an evaluation a swing:
…got to like his height at 6-foot-2, and his rangy frame. Washington won't have an issue covering the big outside receivers. He's got good speed and can cover ground. … Washington shows good change of direction and breaks on the ball quickly.
Can he play cornerback? Nobody really knows.
There is a backup plan. Harbaugh loves to flip guys around and we already have a pretty good idea of what Keith Washington looks like as an offensive player. He looks like Steve Breaston. He looks creepily like Steve Breaston, playing against the top level of Alabama football. Northwestern recruited him as Kain Colter II, except fast(!):
While Washington says he "can come down under center" if he has to, his strengths are working from the shotgun and running the zone-read game -- much like Kain Colter did for Northwestern over the last four years.
Unlike Colter, however, Washington is a burner with "low 4.4, high 4.3 speed."
Michigan's slot receivers in spring were playing corner and then booted off the team (Norfleet), a true freshman probably better suited to the outside (Cole), and various walk-ons. There is room for a Steve Breaston even in Harbaugh's world of thud.
If it turns out the transition to corner is not going very well, the obvious thing to do is stick him at receiver and see if he can also go to work. I'm not sayin'… I'm just sayin'. I am sayin' that I wonder how seriously we should take any of these positional designations given the propensity of Harbaugh to try anyone anywhere. This goes double for Washington, a quintessential ATH recruit.
Get him in, guess at a position, and let marinate.
*[This is the largest classification. Alabama just added it last January for reasons unknown. There are only 32 teams in it, which seems small for a high school division.]
What song are you picking if you had to sing karaoke?
“That’s a tough one. I’d probably have to pick Usher’s ‘Let it Burn.’”
Can you sing?
Please make this happen.
Why Steve Breaston or James Rogers? If you are going off the high school film that does not look like it was filmed underwater, Keith Washington looks like a clone of high school Steve Breaston, who was a dual-threat quarterback and all-around athletic terror. Washington has the same kind of foot-in-the-ground shallow cut Breaston did, and has the ability to maintain speed through it like Breaston did.
As a defensive back the closest comparison I have is not a positive one, but James Rogers was a tall, very fast offensive player in high school with a modest recruiting profile who many people thought would be a defensive back. He bounced back and forth between offense and defense before becoming a starting corner on Rich Rodriguez's first defense. He could not flip the ol' hips very well and was constantly picked upon.
Morgan Trent is another potential comparison here. Trent had a higher profile as a recruit; in college he ended up being a very fast straight-line guy who couldn't change direction well enough to thwart Troy Smith.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Healthy and high profile player, but a major position switch clouds matters. Also no camps after a few early combines—very possible that was a reason his ranking was bleah.
Variance: High. This is an Ikea prospect who you must assemble yourself.
Ceiling: High. 6'2" cornerback with excellent speed.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Love the go-get-it mentality, love the athleticism, worry about major transition and ability to add a bunch of weight and maintain said athleticism. I prefer him as an offensive player.
Projection: One of the surest redshirts on the team. Washington needs to add weight, move to a position he either hasn't played ever (receiver) or hasn't played in a long time (cornerback), and then add more weight.
After that your guess is as good as anyone's. He could end up a starting corner, he could be a slot receiver, he could never find a home and fade away.
This has been a fait accompli for a few weeks now; it is now official:
— UniversityofMichigan (@UMich) July 6, 2015
Also press release.
Creepy divorce metaphor aside, this is likely to please everyone. We have a Best Of Adidas post being assembled and it's a doozy. Around here we started calling them the Only Incompetent Germans after Glenn Robinson's jersey exploded in a cloud of fibers for the third or fourth time.
Nike's not perfect—in fact the only Nike tag we have on the blog is "nike would like you to wear this aerodynamic fez"—but the athletes really wanted Nike according to internal surveys. A lot of the fans really wanted Nike according to Sam Webb, who would know. Even those who were pretty indifferent to the brand of clothing they're wearing scoffed at the many and diverse fashion crimes perpetrated on the best uniforms in sports. And so the department acquiesced even though there were reports that the Adidas offer was worth significantly more.
Yes: the athletic department made a decision based on something other than making revenue go up. Even if you don't really care what symbol is on Michigan's jerseys, that has to feel good.
No numbers yet. Those will be announced next week. Current details:
- Contract runs to 2027 with a Michigan option to extend to 2031.
- Contract starts August 1st of next year.
- Michigan can use "Jumpman" apparel for their basketball teams—apparently this is a big deal.
- The Daily's Zach Shaw reports that employees were told that Michigan will be Nike's "top deal." I think they say that to all the girls.
I don't think uniformz are off the table unless the AD says they're off the table; that will be the next thing to watch for.