Hello gents. I've been out the last few days enjoying the natural beauty of and extreme numbers of mosquitoes on North Manitou Island:
Your move, Ohio
Protips: stay away from the areas of the island in the lee of the wind—surprisingly, the west side—and punch anyone who tells you bug bands work in the face. Then do it again, and ask them if they're wearing their getting-punched-in-the-face bands. They probably are.
Anyway, exodus was half pretty great, half a nine-mile Mosquito Death March and I kind of feel like I need a vacation from the ol' vacation. But here is a computer and here are open tabs so…
Annual bit on camp commits. It's that time in July when an under-the-radar prospect or two has committed after showing up at Michigan's camp and impressing, causing various message board folks to say that was a dumb move when Player X is out there. With the commitments of Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson, Player X is Artavis Scott and/or Montae Nicholson, Parrker Westphal, Adoree Jackson, etc.
Leaving aside the fact that people complaining on message boards haven't seen these players do things, I think it's healthy to have a couple of camp commits a year. It shows that the coaching staff doing so is paying attention to that camp, that there's a reason for people to show out, and that the staff can evaluate guys on their own.
Amongst the Michigan fanbase camp commits have gotten a bit of a bad rap because late in the Carr regime they started leaning way too heavily on it and had erratic (at best) results. The camp guys from 2005 to 2008:
Rocko Khoury: Miss.
Mike Cox: Miss, though he did get drafted after transferring to UMass.
David Molk. Major hit.
Steve Watson. Miss.
James Rogers. Miss.
Troy Woolfolk. You could give him an injury INC, I guess. Lean towards miss there.
David Cone. Miss. Coner.
Quintin Patilla. Miss.
Mister Simpson. Miss.
Christ McLaurin. Miss.
Zoltan Mesko. Hit, but, like, a punter.
Mesko was the #1 punter in the country that year and can't be declared a camp find. Also, he's a punter. Leaving aside him, the record of camp commits is one indisputably great player in Molk, one contributor in Woolfolk, seven guys who flamed out—a few of whom had no business in D-I, let alone Michigan—and the special case of James Rogers, who did start on the worst Michigan secondary of all time. He managed to do that and suggest that he was also a miss.
- That's a symptom of imperial decline, but it shouldn't necessarily reflect on the coaching acumen of Hoke and his staff. If it helps, the vast majority of the above guys had zero other decent offers. Most had zero other BCS offers, period. Watson and Canteen both had offers from Tennessee and Rutgers. Little different situation.
Dumars. Dead to me. While I actually like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as a selection at #8, the mere fact that Detroit's pick was between 7th and 9th for the fourth straight year is all you need to know about Joe Dumars, post-Rasheed trade. Dumars hasn't been able to put together a team that made the playoffs, but neither has he properly tanked. He signed Ben Gordon to a contract so bad Dumars had to dump a first round pick to get rid of him, he still has No Eyebrows on his bench, he traded Chauncey Billups for the corpse of Allen Iverson while offering Prince and Hamilton extensions, and he is now pursuing Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith in free agency for reasons known only to him, all so the Pistons can end up on the fringe of the lottery or exiting in the first round next year.
So, yeah, I do feel like I can say that passing on Trey Burke is a prime example of why the Pistons suck. This is just offensive:
Dumars said that in discussing the possibility of this decision as the draft progressed, he was reminded of when Indiana Pacers general manager Donnie Walsh drafted Reggie Miller ahead of Indiana University favorite Steve Alford in 1987.
Steve Alford went 15 picks later; Burke was off the board on the very next pick, taken by a team that trade up to get him. If Burke takes off in Utah… argh. Seriously considering attending the Palace for the Pistons-Utah game and rooting my ass off for the Jazz.
Pretty much the GRIII thing. One graph on Glenn Robinson's scoring says it all:
Couple that with his 13% usage and you have a guy who is… okay… bear with me… Brent Petway with a three point stroke. Robinson clearly has buckets more potential, but that is the profile of a garbageman exclusively. That the NBA would take that guy in the middle of the first round, well, see above on Dumars.
I agree with folks who say if Robinson was looking to maximize his stock he should have left this year. There are lots of reasons other than draft position to do things in your life, obviously, but if his numbers stay like that in year two his stock will drop precipitously. If he gets a lot better at creating his own offense, it'll rise—and Michigan will destroy. Yes please, sir:
I feel like people have only seen one side of my game, cant wait to see the shock on peoples faces when the see the real GRIII.
Backup plan. Dave Telep on Derrick Walton's game:
I went back and reread my notes from last summer. Some of the buzzwords included “winner,” “set-up man,” “reads defenses” and “thinks pass first.”
Walton is a point guard’s point guard. He’s a player who has a craving to win and will be an extension of his coach. Next year, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary will need the basketball. Walton, if he’s the player I believe him to be, will not only recognize that, but will allow them to be better scorers for the Wolverines.
Walton assist rate will be a stat to watch early in the season.
Hockey guys incoming. A couple of scouting reports on hockey's upcoming, much-needed infusion of talent and desire. JT Compher sounds like the right prescription, and how:
1. JT Compher – F – US NTDP – Michigan Commit
Compher has one of the highest compete levels I’ve ever seen, and while he’s listed between 5-10 to 6’0, we can all agree that Compher plays far bigger than his size. He slams into the tough areas of the ice with abandon and has an excess of offensive prowess not typically found in a player as willing to get his hands dirty. The Team Illinois product is a potential first rounder.
I'd seen Compher take on Michigan with the NTDP and started muttering on WTKA about how he might have to take on a lot of leadership tasks even in year one, and that's why: he goes and gets it every shift, something Michigan seemed to lack. The emergence of Andrew Copp mitigates that need. Still, there aren't a lot of options for second-line center period, let alone guys who bring a two-way energy. I bet he ends up slotting right behind Copp and playing a lot like him.
Meanwhile Tyler Motte is more in the little devious bastard mold:
…he has always been a very strong, agile skater. Motte also added quite a bit of grit to his game this year, showing a great compete level and making up for his lack of size by using his quickness and tenacity to win puck battles. He's also still got some pretty good offensive abilities, finishing second on the U18 team with 26 goals scored on the season.
The other impressive thing about Motte's season is that he seemed to turn in some of his best performances against the toughest competition he faced. He was arguably his team's best skater in a 3-3 tie against Minnesota early in the year, scored a pair of goals in an upset win over his future team, the University of Michigan. He also led the US in scoring at the World U18 championships, with eight points in seven games.
That's very encouraging. TJ Hensick types who are awesome college players without projecting too well to the pros (Hensick never made it in the NHL and just signed in Sweden) are the best guys to have in your recruiting class, and if Motte goes in the third-to-fifth round range he's projected and remains a guy who gets it done at the college level, thumbs up.
Wheeeee. A look at LSU's finances gives some indication as to where athletic departments are stuffing all of the money in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to hide it all:
The major reasons for the ticket price increases are to offset skyrocketing tuition, salary and employee benefit costs, Alleva said.
The athletic department must reimburse the university’s academic side for each scholarship it hands out — even paying the higher, out-of-state rate for non-Louisiana student-athletes. Alleva said tuition costs have been rising about 10 percent per year the past several years.
In addition to ever-rising coach and employee salaries, Alleva said the fringe benefit rate has gone up from about 22 percent five years ago to 39 percent for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
“If someone makes $100,000, we had to pay an additional $22,000 to the university for sick leave, vacation, holidays and their pension,” Alleva said. “Now that rate is going up to 39 percent.”
LSU's budget has gone up about 150% in a decade, but only because skyrocketing costs have forced it blah blah blah. The money just makes your suit look lumpy and there's a 20 hanging off your sock, LSU.
Etc.: UF assistant Brian White: if you walk into a room and Urban Meyer is going "ding" in a wheelchair, run. 2015 OH SG Luke Kennard was the main attraction at Michigan's team camp. Elite 11 now overrun by men who write business books. The NCAA title belt, a history. Nebraska has a place to play if it wants to add hockey. Endowing the #1 jersey killed it.
Every week we obsess about something. Is it just to drive ourselves crazy? Is it because you like roundtables and we're ready to promise anything to a 5-star reader? Are you sick of this rhetorical paragraph? Fine. Brian's out this week so here's the e-pinion board:
|Sad Seth||The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; will finally get to touch the banner at the Bar Mitzvah at the Big House.|
|Nefarious Acewardo||Player is a longshot. Popular opinion holds that they're likely to be too busy writing 10 Hello posts all at once.|
|Mathlete||Players in this category maintain exquisite data.|
|Happy Heiko||Players whom Borges has in a small group as a tenuous favorite.|
|Mr. Blue in South Bend||Player is either a verbal or his Twitter account betrays a solid Michigan lean.|
And the question:
Right up until Signing Day 2012 certain bloggers were perturbed that Dennis Norfleet hadn't been offered despite being Steve Breaston wrapped up a little ball of hometown wonder that dances in end zones before kickoffs. Are there any guys in the 2014 class that you're eyeing and kinda wish these coaches would go after?
Seth: Answer my mailbag questions Ace!
Heiko: Dominique Booth? He's that four-star receiver from Indiana whose name we saw a lot on recruiting updates not too long ago. It seemed like there was significant interest between him and Michigan, but then he sort of fell off the map. Apparently Hoke and co. never came through with an offer. Now he's predicted to go to Tennessee. So ... what gives? I get that he's not the 6-3 minimum that Borges demands of his receivers -- at 6-0, he's basically a midget -- but he'd be kind of perfect for slot, no? He looks pretty fast on film, and he's really good at catching bubble screens ... Oh wait. That's why we didn't offer. Never mind.
BiSB: It's hard to be too geared up over any unoffered/untargeted prospects given the current target list. The coaches are making serious runs at a dozen or so guys, almost all of whom are somewhere between elite and EEEEEEEEEE. That said, one guy I'd like see the coaches give a hard look (especially if they miss on Dwight WIlliams) is Drue Tranquill out of Fort Wayne. I know he's the trendy name right now, but he seems like a guy who could provide some quality depth at SAM or strong safety. He also has the potential to be a special teams demon. Plus, if Michigan doesn't grab him, you just know he'll end up at Michigan State or Purdue or Iowa and he'll be a thorn in Michigan's side for what seems like seven years.
I'd also like to see Michigan expand their search for a pure OT prospect and offer a guy like Alex Bookser or Andrew Mike. But again, I'm not second-guessing the coaches right now. Not when they're in the position they're in with Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell and Juju Smith and Adoree Jackson and... /breathes into a paper bag.
Ace: Through no fault of his own, Wilton Speight will be compared throughout his career to David Cornwell and Michael O'Connor, the two quarterbacks he earned an offer over in February after the coaches evaluated each prospect — Speight sealed his offer after a personal throwing session for Jeff Hecklinski. If the current rankings hold, his career will be pointed to by one side or the other as a critical data point in the "coaches vs. recruiting rankings" argument; Speight is currently the #22 pro-style QB (#370 overall) in the 247 Composite, while Cornwell (#4 PQB) and O'Connor (#13 PQB) are ranked significantly higher. (Speight has one major outlier, ESPN, which ranks him as the #5 PQB — he's no higher than #21 elsewhere. By the all-important Rank Our Guys The Highest measure, ESPN is your recruiting service of choice this year.)
Cornwell, who committed to Alabama last month, seemed especially keen on a Michigan offer; thus far his rankings, offer sheet*, and camp performances — Cornwell made the Elite 11 finals; Speight didn't after an up-and-down showing in regionals — indicate that he's the better prospect. I also think Cornwell's junior highlight tape is more impressive than Speight's, but I'm just a guy — Al Borges and Jeff Hecklinski are far more qualified to make that evaluation, obviously. I think Speight is a very good prospect and a good bet to start down the line; I'll also be very curious to see how Cornwell does at Alabama, and same goes for O'Connor at Penn State. I know this doesn't really answer the question — Michigan obviously isn't going to go after Cornwell or O'Connor at this point — but I think the coaches have done very well at filling needs and no other names immediately sprung to mind.
I do agree with BiSB that landing a quality OT would be very nice (this is a pretty obvious statement). As for Booth and Tranquill, I think Michigan has better fits for their system with Canteen (a taller slot at 6'3" but still very quick, and I think he'll rise in the rankings) and their current linebacker commits. I could see the coaches extending a late offer to Tranquill, whose film I like, if they miss out on Dwight Williams and Jimmie Swain; I'm okay with the coaches waiting on those two before using a spot on Tranquill when they're currently at a premium.
*An admittedly unfair comparison, as Cornwell earned most of his offers, including Alabama, after Michigan offered Speight — who had interest from several schools, including Alabama, at the time of his commitment. It's quite possible that Speight's offer sheet would be at least as good as O'Connor's if he'd stayed uncommitted.
Ace: Also, it's worth reiterating BiSB's point that recruiting is going so well these days that we're really picking nits here. No coaching staff is going to be perfect when it comes to whom they offer and bring in, and it doesn't really work that way anyway; gaining early commitments — yes, even from lesser-regarded prospects — allows the coaches to focus their late recruiting efforts on the Da'Shawn Hands and Malik McDowells of the world, and it's not like the coaches have much say about when certain prospects decide to make a commitment. Top-100 tackle Ethan Pocic is a great example from last year; he was a strong candidate to commit but wanted to take his time, Michigan filled up on the O-line early, and when an extra spot opened up Pocic had already committed to LSU. Michigan did a solid job of filling that sixth spot with Dan Samuelsen but certainly would've preferred Pocic, in a perfect world. So it goes.
Seth: I like Samuelsen, but then I'm also an unabashed lover of Nebraska's offense, which by the way won the sweepstakes for Zack Darlington, the next dual-threat Apopka quarterback. No, I'm not going there. I would go for Illinois quarterback Clayton Thorson. That's Northwestern's guy in this class. He's 6'4"/197 so he's way more Gardner than Denard. The entire Big Ten except for Michigan and Ohio State was after him. Speight is great, but I think it was a mistake to not recruit a quarterback in 2012 and would like another bullet in the chamber in case it turns 2015 and something's happened to Shane.
BiSB: I think armchair recruiters are more forgiving of the "process" misses like Pocic. Knowing how many spots will be available, and how many recruits they will need at each spot, is obviously pretty complex. Fans are much less forgiving of perceived "evaluation misses," even if the people doing the criticizing are working off of much less information than the coaching staff. If Cornwell turns out to be better than Speight, people will blame Borges, even though there's no reason to believe Michigan WOULD have landed Cornwell (also, people will overlook how good Speight has been for this class. See: Peppers, Jabrill). If Artavis Scott turns out to be better than Freddy Canteen, people will blame Hoke, even though Scott probably wasn't even a realistic possibility when they landed Canteen.
But back to the topic at hand, if this class shapes up the way we're hoping, I can't see any late offers (or lack thereof) that could cause anyone to bat an eye. Unless it's Speedy Noil. Yep, that's the new goal. GET SPEEDY NOIL.
Mathlete: It's pretty hard to argue with how this class has filled up and what's left on the board. Is it too late to offer Braylon's brother?
Catching Up, Three Commits Later
Michigan hauled in three 2014 commits in the last three days in Freddy Canteen, Brandon Watson, and Noah Furbush — if you missed any of their Hello posts, simply click on their name. While I initially couldn't find any film of Canteen in game action, a poster helpfully noted (though I forget where and can't find the link) that he shows up plenty in ECA quarterback David Sills' highlight tape. The focus of the video is obviously on Sills, so we don't get to see Canteen's vaunted route-running; he does, however, make several impressive grabs — look for him in the #19 jersey:
That's a solid body of work for just three games, and is evidence that Canteen has the hands and ball skills to complement his footwork.
In a post-commitment interview with Sam Webb, Watson revealed that despite talking about committing together, he and Canteen actually decided to pull the trigger independently; he also threw out a juicy morsel about another offer ($):
“We’ve been talking about (committing to Michigan) since we got the offer,” said Watson. “Freddy was looking at a couple of schools, and I was kind of leaning toward USC and Michigan. I just wanted to go out to SC and see what that felt like. When I came back I talked to coach I just said, ‘I want to go to Michigan.’ Freddy called about two minutes after and said, ‘yo, are you committing tomorrow?’ I said, ‘yeah.’ He said, ‘oh yeah? Me too!’ We basically told Coach Hoke ten minutes apart.”
“It’s funny I just got the Tennessee offer this morning,” Watson later added. “I told him ,’it’s a little too late… I’ve already made up my mind to go to Michigan.”
Watson's coach had previously mentioned that a USC offer was forthcoming until he committed to Michigan, adding to the growing pile of evidence that he and Canteen are better prospects than their rankings would indicate.
Landing two prospects from Eastern Christian Academy gives the Wolverines a potential edge with 2016 ECA LB De'le Harding, whose coach said he earned rave reviews at camp, per Sam Webb ($):
“He is the best rising sophomore in the country,” ECA coach Dwayne Thomas said. “I took him to Tennessee’s camp he was dominant and he got an offer. I took him to Michigan’s camp and no one would have even known he was 14 years old unless I told them. They’re going to offer him. Brady told me, ‘coach, we love that dude.’ The defensive coordinator told me, ‘we love that dude.’ I’ve been doing this a long time. I coached in college for 17 years and I don’t blow smoke. He will be the best player I’ve ever had. I’ve coached a lot of great ones. I’ve got two at USC and one already committed; I’ve got them at Auburn… I’ve got a lot of kids over the last three years at a lot of places, and he will be the best one, no doubt.”
Harding already has offers from Tennessee and USC after dominant performances at their respective camps; he's poised to be one of the top players in his class, and a Michigan offer should come sooner or later. Canteen and Watson both say they'll be giving their younger teammate their best recruiting pitch.
With the commitment of Furbush, meanwhile, Michigan is looking for one more linebacker prospect, specifically an outside linebacker, to complete their 2014 recruiting of that position group. Four-star CA OLB Dwight Williams is rumored to favor Florida, though Michigan also has a good shot; he told 247 that he's locked in officials to Florida, Michigan, and Hawaii, and the Wolverines are speculated to be the Gators' biggest competition ($). Three-star MO OLB Jimmie Swain, the other most-likely target, told Rivals that he's looking to cut two schools from his top five to ensure he can take officials to each of his finalists ($). Michigan is joined in that group by TCU, Michigan State, Oregon, and Stanford; the two Pac-12 school have yet to offer, and it appears the Horned Frogs currently hold the edge:
"TCU is the only one of the top five I've visited already. When I went down there, I just enjoyed the campus and the team and the way they practice. Coach Patterson and I talk on a regular basis. I just loved what I saw when I went down there. Ever since then, I have just been all about TCU. I just loved the atmosphere and everything about that school."
Swain says he hopes to decide in September; his visit, should he make it, will obviously be of great importance if Michigan hopes to land him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on a trio of five-star prospects, an overview of the 2014 running back situation, and more.]
2013 Eastern Christian Academy prospect Kenny Bigelow has already enrolled at USC.
I initially planned on covering football and basketball as well as recruiting in this mailbag, but enough of you sent in questions (thanks!) that I had to go recruiting-only; I may do a separate mailbag to cover the rest later in the week. On to the questions...
For a number of reasons, I'm not worried about this. If you haven't read the SI article on Eastern Christian Academy, it's highly recommended, and should allay some of these concerns [emphasis mine]:
Strictly speaking, Eastern Christian is not even a school but rather a club, with members who attend an online private school called National Connections Academy. "There is a lot of confusion," says Steven Guttentag, president of Baltimore-based Connections Learning, which is the parent company of National Connections. "Eastern Christian is not a school. It's a football training program that provides a site. National Connections Academy is the school. They're our team." Connections Education counts more than 45,000 students among its accredited private and public schools. Its students include everyone from prodigies at New York City's prestigious Juilliard School of Music to Olympic hopefuls, but Eastern Christian represents the company's first foray into team sports.
[T]he reputation of National Connections, and the fast-growing digitalization of U.S. education, affords Eastern Christian a degree of insulation from skepticism. The growth of charter schools and homeschooling have pushed the number of students in grades K-12 taking online courses well into the hundreds of thousands. "What you're describing is definitely unusual," says Allen Ezell, a former FBI agent who spent 11 years investigating diploma mills. "But this sounds like a proctored setting, with adults watching over kids as they do their work and take their exams, and in today's world that's becoming normal."
The NCAA, according to the article, considers National Connections "an approved nontraditional course provider," so there should be no issue passing their academic requirements. ECA and its predecessor, Red Lion Christian Academy, have produced several D-I recruits in the last few years, and as far as I can tell there's been no issue with the NCAA or the recruits' respective schools. An incomplete list:
- 2011 Red Lion DL Angelo Blackson is entering his junior year at Auburn, where he's expected to start for the second straight season.
- 2012 Red Lion DL Eli Ankou was accepted by UCLA and redshirted last season.
- 2013 ECA five-star DL Kenny Bigelow enrolled early at USC, so he's already passed admissions and gone through a semester of classes.
- Fellow 2013 ECA prospects Khaliel Rodgers (USC) and Jahmere Irvin-Sills (Miss. St.) signed with BCS programs. Michigan's coaches reportedly contacted Rodgers after David Dawson's decommitment last year, but he was solid to USC and did not receive an offer.
Michigan admissions could be a different animal — though UCLA and USC are both fine schools — but here's where my final point comes in: Brady Hoke, quite simply, doesn't take academic risks. None of his recruits have failed to qualify and the line of communication between his staff and the admissions department is strong; let's just say the athletic department learned from the Demar Dorsey debacle.
While we're on the subject of Canteen and Watson...
Ace! Love your writing, dude.
Question on Recruiting. I trust the coaches, I love the coaches. They've earned the right to pick who they want. But do you think it's a little weird to go so hard after a few guys so off the radar at this point in the process (the past 3 days), or do you think the coaches truly see that much potential in these guys, and got some steals? I know - hard to know when a guy only plays 3 games a year, but curious for your take.
The longer I cover recruiting and, on occasion, happen to stumble into some insider-y info, the more I realize that the coaches do everything — everything — for a reason. In fact, you don't even need insider info to know this. Just look at how the wide receiver recruiting shook out over the last few weeks:
- Artavis Scott visits Clemson for their camp, which runs from June 12th-14th.
- Freddy Canteen picks up his offer at Michigan's camp on June 18th.
- In an article released on June 24th, K.J. Williams tells 247 that his top three is Syracuse, Michigan, and Mizzou, in that order ($).
- On June 26th, ESPN's Brian Stumpf reports that Scott has moved up his announcement and will decide at The Opening, which is going on this week. Clemson immediately becomes his presumed destination.
- Freddy Canteen commits to Michigan on June 29th.
Even if we presume that Canteen is the third option among those prospects — and I'm not sure the coaches would put Williams above him, especially since they wanted a slot receiver — it's clear that the coaches saw the way things were trending with Scott and Williams and decided to make a move instead of waiting, which could've left them coming up empty on all three prospects.
Then we get into the fact that Canteen, along with Watson, had very good reasons for being under the radar, and earned their offers by performing for the coaches in person. The Wolverine's Michael Spath posted a great rundown of recruits who were offered at camp and committed to Michigan; there have been 23 such players since 2002 ($). Of those 23, just six ended up as four-star prospects, and given that fact Michigan has been quite successful in identifying overlooked talent:
Among the 23, 21 have already completed their eligibility, and of those, 10 started at least one season for the Wolverines. Multi-year starters include: LB David Harris (2002 class), [OL Jake] Long, [DL Will] Johnson, [OL Alex] Mitchell, P Zoltan Mesko (2005) and OL David Molk (2007).
Yes, the list of camp-offered commits includes such luminaries as David Harris, Jake Long, David Molk, and the Space Emperor (Of Space). NOT BAD.
With the increased pace of recruiting, it's easy to forget that the current rankings will look wildly different come February; the recruiting services still haven't had a look at every available prospect, obviously, and there's still a good chunk of camp season, next fall's actual football season, and the postseason All-American games to go. Especially at this stage in the recruiting process, it's best to trust the coaches, at least until there's any shred of evidence that they're not good talent evaluators (and all of the available evidence points in the exact opposite direction).
It's not as simple as this with most prospects — the coaches do their best to use everything at their disposal to evaluate a recruit, and how much they weigh each factor is largely dependent on the specific recruit. Camp allows the coaches to not just judge a player's size, potential, and technical ability in person, it also gives them insight into how quickly a prospect picks up on their coaching — they can judge coachability and character in a way that they obviously can't do with a highlight tape.
The problem with camp, of course, is that it isn't actual football — they're running drills without pads, not lining up and playing 11-on-11. That's why game film is still quite valuable. With guys like Canteen and Watson, who simply don't have much film available, the coaches have to lean more heavily on how they did at camp, but for most prospects that's not the case. I wouldn't say camp trumps film, nor the opposite; this answer is a bit of a cop-out, but it goes on a case-by-case basis, as the available information differs — sometimes dramatically — from prospect to prospect.
I know people pay probably too much attention to stars when it comes to recruits, but the recent conversation about what coaches saw in certain players bothered me because it was based on an inexact rating system. If you think about a previous QB battle, mgoblog has this to say:
"Projection: Even if Robinson doesn't pan out Michigan won't be moving him for at least two years and doesn't have the quarterback depth to redshirt anyone this year, so at the very least you'll see him reprise the Feagin role from last year's Minnesota game except with a definite possibility he'll throw. Going forward it'll be a battle between his electric athleticism and Forcier's polish, with Forcier having the obvious early edge because of his spring enrollment."
And remember the recruiting hubaloo around Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver. This got me thinking, of those who have pledged to Michigan in the past few years which player(s) do you think have far outperformed their ranking?
I'm not sure the example used here is the best one for the question, since both Forcier and Denard were highly-regarded prospects, but there are a few from Hoke's first couple classes. In the 2011 class, Frank Clark looks poised to outperform his three-star rating; he may have done so already simply by seeing the field and contributing early. 2012 signee Devin Funchess was a borderline 3/4-star recruit and he showed tantalizing potential as a freshman; when a freshman gets put on school record watch — in this case, Jim Mandich's career mark for receptions by a tight end — it's safe to say he's performing at a very high level. Ben Braden is another player from the 2012 class who could easily surpass his three-star expectations; Braden has a good chance to start at guard as a redshirt freshman and eventually make his way out to left tackle. Jehu Chesson, Willie Henry, and Mario Ojemudia are a few other candidates from that class to make a bigger splash than their recruiting rankings would indicate, potentially as soon as this fall.
So, with the three recent commits and the 2014 class already up to 14 guys, does this mean it's all quiet on the (mid)western front? I know this class was projected to be in the teens, maybe up to 20 guys, and I feel like we've gotten there quickly. Is Michigan kind of done for the time being on the recruiting scene or will there be another push right before the season?
I'm tempting fate by saying this, but I think the pace of recruiting for the 2014 class is going to slow down now that camp offers have gone out (and been accepted) and most of the remaining targets are high-profile players — those guys are more likely to utilize the full process, take their officials, and make a late decision knowing that programs will leave a spot open for them. Da'Shawn Hand, Adoree' Jackson, Malik McDowell, and JuJu Smith all fall under this category, and I'm surely forgetting a couple other targets either slated for late decisions or taking the process slowly. It's possible that Michigan picks up a couple more commits before the season starts, but for the rest of the summer I'd expect as much action (if not more) from the 2015 class.
How do you see the 2014 recruiting class finishing up based on what we know today? — AC1997
I'm operating under the assumption that Michigan makes it to 20 spots in the class, even though for now there aren't that many scholarships available. With 14 current commits, that leaves six open spots. I'd expect those to be filled by:
- VA DE Da'Shawn Hand (not a lock by any means, though)
- MI DL Malik McDowell
- A safety, hopefully JuJu Smith (a longshot) or PA ATH Montae Nicholson (a much more realistic option).
- An offensive tackle. There isn't an obvious candidate here with Jamarco Jones committing to Ohio State.
- An outside linebacker. Of the players currently holding offers, three-star Jimmie Swain and four-star Dwight Williams are the most likely candidates. I'm skeptical of Michigan's chances with Williams (a presumed Florida lean), though, and Swain named Oregon and Stanford to his top five recently despite not holding an offer from either; if one of those two comes through, that could spell trouble for Michigan's chances. We could see a late offer go out here.
- The best player available that doesn't match the above. That could be Jackson, though I highly doubt he ends up at Michigan, or perhaps a running back — CO three-star Kalen Ballage is the back they appear to have the best chance of landing with Jonathan Hilliman leaning towards Ohio State.
I did not overlook Parrker Westphal, though that's not based on any insider info. The longer his recruitment stretches out, the less I think he ends up at Michigan, especially since he seems like a better cornerback prospect than a safety and the Wolverines just took a pure corner in Brandon Watson.
I was asked the other day which of the freshmen would redshirt and I was like "ooh I'll Hokepoints that." Then I realized I wrote something on this last year,.
What it is: redshirting comes from the five-to-play-four rule. As written:
14.2.1 Five-Year Rule - A student-athlete shall complete his or her seasons of participation within five calendar years from the beginning of the semester or quarter in which the student-athlete first registered for a minimum full-time program of studies in a collegiate institution, with time spent in the armed services, on official church missions or with recognized foreign aid services of the U.S. government being excepted. For foreign students, service in the armed forces or on an official church mission of the student's home country is considered equivalent to such service in the United States.
22.214.171.124 Participation after 21st Birthday - Any participation as an individual or a team representative in organized sports competition by a student during each 12-month period after the student's 21st birthday and prior to initial full-time enrollment in a collegiate institution shall count as one year of varsity competition in that sport. Participation in organized competition during time spent in the U.S. armed services shall be excepted.
This is the 2010 version of the 1996 version of the 1986 "prop 48" that codified a rule going back to one of the NCAA's original guidelines from 1910. One of the first rules of the fledgling Big Ten was to require a year of residency at the school before competing. As the NCAA reformed through the 1930s the five-to-play-four thing was codified. Nebraska legend claims the first redshirt (they would), when Warren Alfson asked to sit out 1937, his sophomore year. The term comes from the color of the shirt scout teamers at some team wore—too many schools claim to be the origin for us to know which it was.
2012 Update: Among last year's guys, Clark, Gant, Strobel, Wormely, Godin, Henry, Ringer (no longer with team), Bars, Braden, Kalis, Magnuson, Drake Johnson, and Chesson made it through with their redshirts intact. Wilson, Pipkins, Bolden, Ross, Norfleet, Funchess, A.J. Williams, and Darboh played often, and Richardson, Ojemudia, Jenkins-Stone and Houma had theirs burned on special teams or backup duties or because Frank Clark got himself benched for a game. Gardner received his medical redshirt, and Countess put in for what will almost assuredly be his. Hagerup will have 2013 count for him.
Michigan's Redshirting History
My data goes back to 1993 because that's how far back Mike DeSimone goes and I used him to extend my database beyond my fan memory.
|Class||Recruits||DNE||RS'ed*||% of class**|
* Those parenthetical +'s are medical hardship redshirts or mid-career transfer years, e.g. the three for 2007 are Woolfolk, Hemingway and Threet.
** % of those enrolled who redshirted as freshmen
DNE=Did not enroll
We're guessing non-qualifiers were a problem solved by the regime change and this staff's tendency to target guys who spend their weekends doing nothing but homework and helping old ladies cross the street. Anyway they happen before the redshirt decision is made so I've removed them from the numbers. We see some fluctuating, where anywhere between a half and 86% of a class is shirted. In chart form (click biggets):
As you figured, position matters.
Cornerbacks and running backs tend to play right away. Receivers, safeties, fullbacks and defensive linemen play if they're big enough. Quarterbacks, linebackers, ends and tight ends are shirted if possible while they bulk up. Offensive linemen nearly always redshirt.
Hype matters too. I only have average stars to whatever sites in my database back to the class of '97 but that'll do:
Predicting the Class of 2013
|Player||Pos (RS rate)||Stars||RS??||Reason?|
|Kyle Bosch||OL (96%)||★★★★||yes||Is OL. However early enrollee and 2nd in this class to play if needed.|
|Jake Butt||TE (78%)||★★★★||no||EE. Could use poundage but Funchess and Williams only guys ahead|
|Taco Charlton||DE (67%)||★★★★||no||Beyer's move to SAM puts Taco on the three-deep at WDE, a rotational position|
|David Dawson||OL (96%)||★★★★||yes||Is OL|
|Reon Dawson||CB (39%)||★★★||yes||One of them has to.|
|Ross Douglas||CB (39%)||★★★.5||no||EE and at least one of the young corners will play.|
|Jaron Dukes||WR (52%)||★★★.5||yes||Either he or York will probably play this year.|
|Chris Fox||OL (96%)||★★★★||yes||Is OL|
|Ben Gedeon||LB (67%)||★★★★||yes||LB depth is finally good enough we can RS these guys.|
|Derrick Green||RB (36%)||★★★★★||no||Probably #2 on depth chart right now.|
|Delano Hill||SS (56%)||★★★.5||yes||May crack the depth chart w/ M-Rob's departure but there should be enough guys ahead.|
|Khalid Hill||TE (78%)||★★★||no||They played Houma last year and Hill is a weapon Borges can't wait to deploy.|
|Maurice Hurst Jr.||DT (55%)||★★★.5||yes||If one of QWash,Pipkins or Henry may need freshman NT, otherwise RS.|
|Da'Mario Jones||WR (52%)||★★★||yes||Is the slot of the WRs; there's two seniors there now (Dileo & Jackson)|
|Patrick Kugler||OL (96%)||★★★★.5||yes||Is OL but could be in the mix; if he's not ahead of both Miller & Glasgow he should shirt. Burzynski can be 3rd guy at C.|
|Jourdan Lewis||CB (39%)||★★★★||no||Corners play early, or get wasted on punt coverage.|
|Mike McCray||LB (67%)||★★★★||yes||See Gedeon|
|Shane Morris||QB (62%)||★★★★.5||no||Death to ACLs|
|Henry Poggi||DT (55%)||★★★★||yes||Is the more 3T of the freshmen, so lots of options ahead of him.|
|Dan Samuelson||OL (96%)||★★★.5||yes||Is OL, needs to develop as a pass blocker.|
|Wyatt Shallman||RB (36%)||★★★.5||yes||Will RS while they find a position for him.|
|Deveon Smith||RB (36%)||★★★.5||no||RBs play early, will pass Rawls by end of season as #2 thumperback.|
|Channing Stribling||CB/S (39%)||★★★||yes||Skinny and positionally unsure but probably will be wasted on special teams.|
|Scott Sypniewski||LS (96%)||n/a||yes||Glanda still here.|
|Dymonte Thomas||S (56%)||★★★★.5||no||Already the starting nickel|
|Logan Tuley-Tillman||OL (96%)||★★★★||yes||Is OL, developmental prospect, a lock.|
|Csont'e York||WR (52%)||★★★||no||One of the receivers will have to play at least, York seems most polished.|
Unrelated note: Brian is off until Wednesday, so you're stuck with me until then. Given the back-to-back-to-back commitment posts I'm pushing the recruiting roundup back to tomorrow. I'd also like to put together a mailbag tomorrow; anyone with questions about recruiting, football, or basketball can ask away on Twitter (hashtag #mgomailbag if you will) or via email.
Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. saw their NBA dreams turn to reality in last Thursday's NBA Draft, and I've been remiss in my duties to not do some sort of writeup about it. This is probably because I was temporarily devastated by Detroit's decision to pass on Burke at #8 and am just now beginning to get over it; I should probably stop tying any part of my emotions to the fate of the Pistons for sanity's sake.
Anyway, Burke dropped to the #9 spot, where he was selected by Minnesota and quickly traded to the Utah Jazz for the 14th and 21st picks (Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, as it turned out). While Burke couldn't hide his disappointment in falling further than expected — and being passed on by Joe Dumars, whom he has a close relationship with — he landed in an ideal situation.
Last season Utah's point guards finished dead last in the NBA when measured by net PER*, according to 82games.com, producing poorly on both ends of the floor. While the Jazz aren't guaranteeing a starting role for Burke, they might as well — at the moment, he's the only point guard on the roster, and none of last year's lead guards (Jamaal Tinsley, Earl Watson, and Mo Williams, all currently free agents) are NBA-starter quality. As a result, ESPN's Jeff Goodman lists Burke among five players he expects to have an early impact ($):
Utah dealt its No. 14 and 21 selections to move up to No. 9 and grab Burke. It's a logical move, and the ideal marriage for both sides: The Jazz get a heady, high-character floor leader whose game translates to the next level. Sure, he's not a super athlete -- but Utah coach Tyrone Corbin likely will rely on him to come right in and start. Mo Williams, Earl Watson and Jamaal Tinsley are all free agents. This will be Burke's show from the outset.
Burke should become the 22nd player in the last 15 years (16, when this year is included) to be under 6'3" and play 2,000 minutes as a rookie; that stat comes from Utah's SBNation site, and the full list of players is pretty strong — all but a few are at least decent rotation guys. As one would expect from a group that gets plenty of playing time, they tend to put up pretty decent raw numbers:
What are your expectations for Burke's rookie year? The average for that group of 21 point guards is playing in 80 games (starting 62 of them, for 77%), and getting averages of 13.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, and 1.2 spg in 31.3 mpg.
What about the talent around Burke, then? The Jazz finished one spot out of the playoffs last year but are in a rebuilding mode of sorts; power forwards Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, the team's two leading scorers and rebounders last year, are also free agents. Utah does boast plenty of young talent up front, though. Center Enes Kanter (2011) and power forward Derrick Favors (2010) were #3 overall picks in consecutive drafts, and their emergence last year as quality backups has allowed Utah to let go of Jefferson, who's looking for a big payday.
Kanter and Favors are both capable of running the high screen, finishing around the basket, and hitting the offensive glass. With Gordon Hayward available as a sharp-shooting perimeter option and former #2 overall pick Marvin Williams providing some scoring punch at the three, Burke may not have elite talent surrounding him but there's enough to allow him to be productive. With the Jazz looking to build around him and their two bigs, Burke is in a pretty ideal situation for a rookie point guard, and he should compete for Rookie of the Year honors.
Hardaway's situation is a little hazier. Drafted with the 24th pick by New York, Hardaway could see the floor as a role player, but his minutes will largely be determined by whether the Knicks retain free agent swingman J.R. Smith. Even if Smith is gone, Hardaway has competition, and in the same article from above Jeff Goodman listed him as one of the rookies in a tough situation:
The Knicks took the son of the former NBA star late in the first round (24), and, although it seems there is room for him with the departure of J.R. Smith, he'll have to beat out Iman Shumpert for playing time. Hardaway is a streaky, streaky shooter who doesn't do much else.
Posting and Toasting, SBNation's Knicks outlet, has a more optimistic view of how Hardaway could fit into the team, especially if Smith isn't retained:
Hardaway is a solid fit for the roster. His presence provides the Knicks some insurance against the possible departure of talented guard J.R. Smith. His ability to stretch the floor and hit perimeter jumpers fits right in with the offensive philosophy of last season, as does his low turnover rate. THJ possesses all the characteristics associated with the best shooters using screens: He gets good elevation, has great hands, keeps his feet under him, and has good shooting form. While he will likely see much of his offense in pure spot-up situations, THJ gives the Knicks a player who can score off of down screens and attack the paint off of close-outs. He isn't a great ball-handler, but there is some potential for him to work in the pick-and-roll a little given his unselfish nature and feel. Should the Knicks retain Smith, they would find themselves with a somewhat crowded backcourt, but having too much talent isn't the worst problem to experience. It would be more ideal if THJ could guard both wing positions, but that seems unlikely. He does not provide any answers to NYK's current situation in the frontcourt, but he's a skilled guard who can get the ball moving in transition and hit the three.
Hardaway's effectiveness in transition and his spot-up shooting ability are his tickets to success in the NBA, especially on a Knicks team that has Carmelo Anthony dominating the ball. I'm not sure how much time he'll see this year regardless of Smith's situation unless his defense improves markedly — not something that you usually see right away while making the leap to the NBA — or he becomes a more consistent shooter (a possibility, as he'll be asked to do a lot less shooting off the dribble, which wasn't his strongsuit).
Burke appears to have landed in the better situation, and as the more NBA-ready player we expected to see a lot more of him than Hardaway next season anyway. Both could see significant time if the Knicks don't bring back Smith — with New York trading a first-round pick for Andrea Bargnani yesterday, though, it's clear they're gearing up for a title run (however ill-fated) this year, and a developing Hardaway may not fit into those plans. At the very least, however, Michigan fans should be able to see plenty of Burke come this winter.
*Player Efficiency Rating, a stat created by former ESPN basketball writer and current Memphis Grizzlies executive John Hollinger. Explanation can be found here.