According to Inside The Huddle's Michael Spath, the NCAA has denied Jeremy Clark's petition for a sixth year of eligibility:
According to a source, Jeremy Clark has been denied a sixth year of eligibility. Has signed an agent and will pursue his NFL options.
— Michael Spath (@MichaelSpathITH) January 23, 2017
Clark started seven games at cornerback in 2015 and three in 2016 before tearing his ACL against Penn State. The former three-star safety recruit was a critical component to the last couple secondaries, battling Channing Stribling to a relatively even draw for playing time until the injury.
Without Clark, Michigan will be very inexperienced at cornerback in 2017. Redshirt junior Brandon Watson, who's seen scattered snaps at nickel, is the only upperclassman at the position. Sophomore Lavert Hill and David Long are the favorites to earn starting spots; they'll compete with redshirt sophomore Keith Washington and freshmen Ambry Thomas and Benjamin St-Juste. Unless Michigan picks up another corner in the 2017 class—it looks like they'll get one more—that is the entire group of scholarship corners for next season.
Herbert's commitment video lives on, at least.
Scout's Corey Bender reports that four-star FL OT Kai-Leon Herbert has decommitted from Michigan:
— Corey Bender (@Corey_Bender) January 22, 2017
Since committing to Michigan in July, Herbert has taken multiple visits to both Miami (YTM) and Florida; he took an official to Miami this weekend and will OV to Florida next weekend. His recruitment should come down to one of those two in-state schools. Herbert's departure probably ends any (very outside) chance M had with teammate and four-star OG TJ Slaton.
Herbert's decommitment leaves Michigan with 26 commits in the 2017 class and five on the offensive line. Four of those linemen—Chuck Filiaga, JaRaymond Hall, Joel Honigford, and Andrew Stueber—could potentially play tackle, and M may need one of them to step into the lineup as soon as this upcoming season. Michigan continues to pursue three-star VA OT Mekhi Becton, whose Crystal Ball is trending in the direction of Virginia Tech. The rest of the linemen on the board are long-shots at best, so if the coaches aren't content with five OL in the class, some new names could emerge.
DJ Wilson led a blue-collar effort for Michigan today. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
After Illinois blew out Michigan in Champaign ten days ago, Illini center Maverick Morgan described Michigan as a "white collar" team.
When the Wolverines arrived at Crisler for today's rematch, their blue road uniforms were hanging in the lockers—a request the players made, according to John Beilein. If the message weren't already abundantly clear, Billy Donlon made sure it hit home.
"He wrote 'street fight' on our wall with a sharpie," said DJ Wilson. "We were like, 'you know you can't take that off,' and he was like, 'that's the point.' His energy was contagious and I think it showed in the first half."
Wilson, in particular, took that message to heart. He scored 19 points (7/10 FG), grabbed six of his seven rebounds on the offensive end, immediately finishing a couple with emphatic tip-slams. He also broke down the Illinois zone with five assists and contributed a block and some more altered shots to Michigan's strong defensive effort.
"He's got to get in there," Beilein said of Wilson. "One of our zone things was he was not leaving the paint so he could rebound, and stay in there instead of stretching [out to the perimeter]."
"He can really shoot, but he's got to understand that if we're going to win, if he's going to play at another level, he's got to mix it up inside. He's very receptive to that coaching."
This afternoon, it showed. Wilson attempted eight of his ten shots from inside the arc after shooting only four two-pointers over the last two games. His six offensive boards matched the career-high he set in the conference opener at Iowa.
Wilson, Walton, and Irvin all produced at the rim. [Campredon]
Unlike the first Illinois game, when he also had 19 points, Wilson got plenty of help. Derrick Walton posted 13 points and 11 rebounds, all on defense, for his first double-double of the season and sixth of his career. Zak Irvin wasn't exactly efficient, needing 15 field goal attempts to get his 15 points, but he repeatedly broke down the Illini defense and got to the basket. Most importantly, the team-wide defensive effort was a night-and-day contrast from the last time around: after allowing 1.42 points per possession in Champaign, Michigan held them to 0.89 PPP at Crisler and forced 17 turnovers.
After Michigan followed up their awful defensive showing at Illinois with a shootout win over Nebraska in which neither team could stop the other, there was good reason to fear that this team would embrace having to out-gun every team they faced from here on out. Today's win, however, marked the second consecutive game in which the Wolverines played much-improved defense. The final score isn't indicative of the flow of the game, either; Michigan held a comfortable lead throughout and led by 21 with 5:57 to play before packing in the offense a little prematurely.
Morgan, who scored 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting in the first game, mustered a six-point, three-turnover performance this afternoon; in 22 minutes, he had a +/- of -22, the worst mark of any player by 13 points.
"We won't have a painter come in until next year, at least," said Beilein.
#45 Michigan (12-7, 2-4 B1G) vs
#74 Illinois (12-7, 2-4)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||2:15 pm ET, Saturday|
Michigan -6 (KenPom)
Michigan -7 (Vegas)
PBP: Kevin Kugler
Analyst: Bob Wenzel
Right: DJ Wilson was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal first matchup against Illinois. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]
Michigan needs seven or eight more conference wins out of their remaining 12 games to have a realistic shot at an at-large bid without making a huge run in the conference tourney. This is one of six games in which they're the outright favorite on KenPom; they must hold court at home.
In his press conference today, John Beilein suggested that some younger guys could get a chance if the team's veterans continue making freshman-like mistakes:
Beilein says there's going to come a time when recurring errors by veterans will just have to lead to a benching. Says team needs a spark
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) January 20, 2017
That was in response to Nick's question about Mark Donnal's missed blockouts against Wisconsin, so this may be the #FreeTeske game, and Beilein even mentioned rethinking Austin Davis' redshirt. Xavier Simpson's work on defense has probably earned him a longer look, as well. Ibi Watson has only been on the court for four minutes in conference play, so it doesn't seem like he's close to breaking through, but Beilein mentioned Zak Irvin's habit of driving into bad situations, so perhaps this is his time, too.
THE LAST TIME
It's rarely good when a game leads to a players-only meeting. That was the case after Michigan's 85-69 loss to Illinois, which was a defensive catastrophe. A mediocre Illini offense scored a season-best 1.42 points per possession, shot 64% from both inside and outside the arc, and rebounded eight of their 19 misses. Center Maverick Morgan, who called Michigan a "white-collar" team in the aftermath, made 8-of-9 field goals. Freshman reserve Kipper Nichols had 13 points and five offensive boards; he hasn't had more than four points or one offensive rebound in any of his other five appearances.
Michigan got solid outputs from DJ Wilson (19 points), Derrick Walton (11 points, 7 assists), and MAAR (14 points). Those weren't nearly enough to overcome the teamwide defensive effort and poor performances from Moe Wagner (6 points, 3 turnovers) and Duncan Robinson (2 points, 5 fouls).
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||13||Tracy Abrams||Gr.||6'2, 185||64||19||106||No|
Robbie Hummel, Guard Edition. Learned how to shoot while hurt, somehow.
First matchup: 24 mins, 4 pts (1/2 2p, 0/1 3p), 2 reb, 3 ast, 1 to, 1 stl
|G||5||Jalen Coleman-Lands||So.||6'3, 190||66||17||97||No|
Just A Shooter™ is 43% on 3P in B1G play after rough start to season.
First matchup: 31 mins, 12 pts (0/3 2p, 4/5 3p), 3 reb, 4 ast, 2 to
|G||21||Malcolm Hill||Sr.||6'6, 225||82||26||117||No|
High-usage and efficient, versatile scorer. Draws a ton of fouls.
First matchup: 32 mins, 15 pts (3/5 2p, 1/3 3p, 6/7 ft), 4 reb, 2 ast, 1 to
|F||12||Leron Black||So.||6'7, 220||44||24||106||Very|
Excellent rebounder on both ends. Decent finisher who gets to line.
First matchup: 17 mins, 10 pts (5/9 2p, 0/1 3p), 5 reb (1 off)
|C||22||Maverick Morgan||Sr.||6'10, 245||56||22||109||Very|
Good finisher and shot-blocker, not much of a rebounder.
First matchup: 29 mins, 16 pts (8/9 2p), 1 reb, 4 ast, 3 to, 1 blk, 1 stl
|F||2||Kipper Nichols||Fr.||6'6, 225||9||17||112||Kinda|
Crushed M on boards in first matchup. Averaging 15 mins in last 4 games.
First matchup: 19 mins, 13 pts (5/8 2p, 1/1 3p), 8 reb (5 off)
|F||43||Michael Finke||So.||6'10, 230||49||17||107||No|
Stretch four with career 52/37/64 shooting splits. Good offensive rebounder.
First matchup: 12 mins, 10 pts (2/2 2p, 2/2 3p), 3 reb (1 off)
|G||3||Te'Jon Lucas||Fr.||6'0, 170||23||19||98||Not Really|
Pass-first slasher getting larger role lately.
First matchup: 23 mins, 5 pts (1/1 2p, 1/1 3p), 1 reb, 8 ast, 1 to, 1 stl
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Everyone finalizes their rankings
Tuesday's post covered the final Rivals 100; since Rivals has released all of its final rankings. Scout, 24/7, and ESPN have finalized theirs as well. We're going to ignore small moves down, since those are mostly drops based on other guys flying up the board and don't signify a change of opinion regarding the prospect in question. Guys who had significant moves on at least one site:
COMMITS: STOCK UP
- CT WR Tarik Black got a ten spot bump on Scout.
- FL OL Cesar Ruiz saw steps forward everywhere ranging from minor bumps (247 moved him up 12 spots to #54) to more significant ones (up 36 spots to 41 on Rivals). ESPN has him 28th (up from 69th), which would be five-star territory except ESPN is apparently only handing that out to 14 recruits this year.
- OH DT James Hudson had a big rise on 247 from 237th to just outside the top 100.
- VA DE Luiji Vilain surged to the cusp of five-star status at 247 (up 49 spots to 36th) and up 107 slots to #74 on Rivals. ESPN bumped him up to 69th (nice) from #95.
- MI DE Deron Irving-Bey got a ~25 spot bump on ESPN and a 10 spot bump on Scout.
- FL LB Jordan Anthony got a ~30 spot bump on Scout and was otherwise static.
COMMITS: STATIC BUT I'M MENTIONING THEM ANYWAY
- MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones had a significant fall at 247 to 26th (from 8th) and minor bumps elsewhere. He's now in a very tight range.
- MI CB Ambry Thomas dropped 30 spots to 62nd on 247; he gained about that many slots on Rivals but that only got him up to #146.
COMMITS: STOCK DOWN
- CO QB Dylan McCaffrey took a nosedive. 247 moved him from 58th to 204th; Rivals slid him about 80 spots to land at #131. Scout and ESPN have him in that same range now.
- TX OL Chuck Filiaga dropped about 60 spots to #175 on Rivals. He had a ~10 spot drop on Scout.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton fell 21 spots at 247 to exactly 100th despite being laid up with an ACL injury. That's a grumble.
- UT DT Jay Tufele jumped up to 14th (+25) on 24/7 and 37th(+64) on Rivals.
- GA DT Aubrey Solomon jumped 11 spots to 20th on 24/7 and solidified his five star status elsewhere.
- MS LB Willie Gay jumped 18 spots to 33rd on 24/7 and from outside the Rivals 250 to 73rd.
- IA WR Oliver Martin rose to 47th (+23) at 247 and entered the Rivals 250 at #206.
- GA WR Nico Collins fell about 40 spots to 200th at 24/7 and around 60 spots to 120th at Rivals
More positive than negative here, as the only player to take a major hit was McCaffrey; meanwhile three guys who are in the class (Vilain, Ruiz, Hudson) and four of the five major targets got bumps.
Aubrey Solomon trending to M, says everyone except Aubrey Solomon
Solomon with 2018 commit Otis Reese back in the day
Good news: Michigan's surge on 5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon's crystal ball has continued unabated. Michigan's picked up the last 14 picks, amongst them another handful of 24/7 personnel including Steve Wiltfong. Further reports from the Michigan in-home are very positive as well:
“Aubrey’s mom was really impressed that he brought his daughter along,” Webb said. “The visit hit all the marks. Anyone doubting Michigan’s strong standing in the race just isn’t paying attention.”
“It was one of the best in-home visits ever. It was just a different setting to see a coach,” Solomon said. “My mom loved it, too, and was just shocked how engaging the coaches were, especially with my baby sister. His daughter and my sister got a long so well, it was just heartwarming and a great visit.”
Wiltfong went as far as to say that a couple of sources indicated it was a Michigan-USC(!) battle, which would be excellent news indeed.
Defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County) said Alabama still leads.
"They still lead big, but not by a huge margin," Solomon said. "I like the physicality they bring and their defense."
That was Tuesday about an hour after the previous recruitin' went up; nothing about that statement has done anything to dissuade people from picking Michigan. The author of that piece, Ryan Bartow, is in fact the guy who was first to pull the trigger on a Michigan pick, and he remains unmoved.
Solomon says "right now I'm done" but that something could come up, because that's how this recruitment has gone. I go back to the UGA moderator who said Solomon might not even take in-homes with Saban and Smart. If that turns out to be the case Michigan fans can go into his Signing Day decision with a lot of confidence. If those guys do drop in it will be a nail-biter.
Elsewhere in five-star DTs, Lorenz has put in a crystal ball for UT DT Jay Tufele to Utah. That appears to be the consensus from both OSU and Michigan folks.
Oliver Martin will be going somewhere this weekend, or nowhere
Michigan has officially landed in Iowa City. Wolverines here for in-home visit with Oliver Martin today. pic.twitter.com/RCzEumNHi5
— Matthew Bain (@MatthewBain_) January 17, 2017
That's how geography works. You're always in a place. You're never nowhere unless you're Michigan State and it's bowl season.
Anyway, Michigan has once again put on a full court press for IA WR Oliver Martin, who they supposedly led for until a parting of the ways a couple months ago. That parting occurred when it looked like they'd get a dozen OL along with four WRs—I think you can assume that GA WR Nico Collins was a silent commit given the pattern here—and could not afford the space for a fifth. Martin is reputedly a Harbaugh fave-rave so the only reason they'd back off is if they thought they had no room.
With Collins now much more in play than previously thought and spots seemingly available, heeeere's Oliver again. Lorenz and Isaiah Hole flipped their crystal balls back to Michigan once pursuit was re-engaged in earnest, and Wiltfong might not be far behind. Lorenz:
I was around him all week at the Army game in San Antonio and there's definitely a bond between he and quarterback commitment Dylan McCaffrey. I also believe Martin would already be committed to the staff if they had the room earlier in the process.
Martin has a couple of officials left, one of which can be to Ann Arbor since his October visit was an unofficial. Depending on which article you read you'll discover that he's headed to Gainesville, Ann Arbor, dunno, or nowhere (because he has a swim meet on Saturday). An official to Ann Arbor is probably game over for the other chasers, but it sounds like the Martins might shut it down and just take some in-homes.
The Becton Oversight
mean mug grade: A-
I've neglected to mention anything about VA OL Mekhi Becton the last couple times. This was solely because I didn't have any Becton tabs. Lorenz reports that confidence is still strong on Michigan's end and that the academic angle is important to him. That passes the smell test since Becton was reputed to be a strong Virginia lean for a while. Wiltfong, however, is hearing differently:
247Sports was told last weekend that it could be a Louisville-Hokies battle for Becton who is also considering Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon and Virginia among others. There’s confidence around the Hokies program the 6-foot-7, 345-pound Becton will end up at VT.
The UVA 247 site meanwhile says that sources at his high school are "still adamant that Becton should be considered a heavy UVa lean."
Aaand this appears to be a direct quote of a text from a UL commit that the Louisville site may have published a bit unwisely:
“Becton (didn’t) talk much but is debating between Michigan and us, which is pretty dumb with early playing time at Louisville but he doesn't follow me back.”
I have news for this young gentleman about the state of Michigan's 2017 offensive line.
Further complicating matters: Becton has a VT visit this weekend and Oregon the week after. So that's four schools with insiders swearing up and down that they lead with Oregon lurking on the perimeter. Anything could happen.
Elsewhere in OL news, Lorenz reports that while PA OL CJ Thorpe will official this weekend it would be an "absolute stunner" if he flipped his commitment.
Weird Guy Watch
Rivals projects VA LB Ellis Brooks to Maryland, but mostly because they have to project him somewhere. Their certainty level is low indeed. 24/7 latest update on him states that the last-weekend visit is now up in the air between Michigan and Penn State.
Clemson OT transfer Jake Fruhmorgen has a narrow list of Michigan, LSU, and Florida. Sam caught up with his dad, who apparently reads PFF:
(Jake can) get a redshirt, and good strong year (training) will put him in a strong position to compete at LSU. And they ranked #1 in college last year as a unit.
The only site out there ranking OL units is PFF. Anyway. Florida just lost their OL coach and Fruhmorgen and father have put great emphasis on position coaching in their decision, so they are likely behind the eight ball a bit. Drevno has tried to get in touch, so Michigan appears set to pursue Fruhmorgen in earnest.
Isaiah Hole talks to 4* PA DE commit Donovan Jeter's coach about what he brings:
"Size and ability. I think the biggest thing out there, from a recruiting standpoint, is that they're looking for kids with size and they're looking for kids that can move. Donovan certainly possesses those intangibles. We saw a motor and an explosiveness from him in his stance"
Scout's John Garcia Jr clarifies that TN QB Jackson Gibbs is a PWO candidate at a few different schools and will be picking between M, Alabama, and UCLA. Reports a few months ago that he had gotten a bonafide offer never made any sense, anyway.
Michigan's top 2018 QB target, NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, told Maize n Brew that the Fisch move was a big deal for him:
“That’s a huge get,” he said, regarding UCLA hiring Fisch. “It’s going to be tough for schools to beat out UCLA for me making my decision.”
That would be a bummer. I'd love to see what a dual-threat can do with Harbaugh.
Various other 2018 names:
- 4* TX CB D'Shawn Jamison (doesn't know anything about M, vaguely plans visit),
- 5* NC DE KJ Henry ("definitely" plans a visit),
- 5* FL DT Taron Vincent (IMG kid, formerly a protege of Biff Poggi, says M is outside his top 3 of OSU, Bama, and FSU),
- 4* NJ WR Jahan Dotson (top ten, has been on an unofficial, knows Singleton fairly well),
- 4* MO WR Kamryn Babb (M "absolutely" a factor per Trieu after recent offer)
Nick Saban is dropping out of helicopters on FL TE Will Mallory.
— T.CallahanFoundation (@TC22Foundation) January 18, 2017
That shouldn't matter since his dad and both uncles played at M.
I will deign to mention that Michigan has offered 2019 MN OT Quinn Carroll, who looks to have the profile of a top 100 guy so far. There are a couple of big-timers instate as well as OH OL Nolan Rumler, as well.
The Post Defense Was... Good?
Michigan put up a surprisingly strong fight in the post. [Patrick Barron]
I don't think I was alone in thinking Wisconsin, boasting two strong post scorers in Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes, would crush Michigan in the paint on Tuesday night. Instead, Michigan limited the Happ/Hayes duo to shooting a combined 8-for-20 on two-pointers with six assists and four turnovers; they were the two least-efficient players among Badgers to play at least 12 minutes.
I went back through the game and pulled clips of every Wisconsin possession that went through the post. While Happ missed a couple makeable shots, Michigan generally played strong post defense, with both DJ Wilson and Moe Wagner standing out for the good:
Given how Michigan has played defense this year, the first thing that jumps out is their effort; they scrapped for post position, didn't give up on plays, and hit the deck for rebounds.
Wilson gave up an easy bucket to Hayes early when he got caught napping on a cut (0:29 mark) and couldn't recover in time to deny prime post position. He otherwise did quite well; he blocked Happ twice and forced a Hayes miss shortly after the aforementioned bucket by establishing good position and forcing him to spin for a tough left-handed attempt.
While Wagner wasn't quite as strong in the post, which allowed Happ to get good position on him multiple times, he used his hands quite well to disrupt Happ on the way up and pulled off the subtle "step in and bump the guy with your chest" thing that often throws off shots and rarely draws a whistle (0:39, 2:23). A couple paint baskets weren't on the bigs, either; I didn't include Vitto Brown getting isolated on Duncan Robinson, which ended in a layup (surprise!), and on the final clip Robinson rotates over to the open big way too late.
The notable exception to M's strong interior defense: Mark Donnal, who gave up an and-one and fouled Happ on the floor just before he could give up another on his two post defense possessions before getting yanked.
In his lone opportunity, Jon Teske gave up a second-chance bucket when he lost contact with Happ after an offensive rebound. I'd still like to see more of him out there; Donnal was physically overwhelmed on defense and once again a non-factor on offense, so Beilein might as well let his behomoth freshman big man work through his mistakes—Teske is much more likely to display significant in-season improvement than a guy in his fourth year in the program.
Michigan still had their fair share of defensive breakdowns, which I'll get to momentarily. That said, this was an encouraging performance on that end of the floor, especially in the paint. If the Wolverines can replicate that level of effort on defense while getting offensive outputs like they have in their non-Wisconsin Big Ten games, they can make a late tourney push. It's a huge if, of course, but it's hard not to feel better about this team after Tuesday night despite the loss.
[Hit THE JUMP for the aforementioned breakdowns, highlights of a couple 2017 commits, and more.]