"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Visit Reaction: M Leads For Jackson
While the game itself didn't have the desired outcome, last weekend proved to be a good one for Michigan's recruiting efforts. Four big-time official visitors took in the game and the Wolverines look to have a great shot with at least three of them.
Top-100 CA ATH Lamar Jackson, who could be a corner or safety at Michigan, told 247's Steve Lorenz that the Wolverines now lead after his official ($):
"Yeah, I'd say Michigan leads," he said. "The Michigan experience kind of spoke for itself. The atmosphere at the game was incredible, the academics at Michigan are great and I learned a lot about the program, the players and the leadership of Coach Harbaugh was really impressive to me. I wasn't sure heading into the visit because it's a long ways away and I was not familiar with the weather, but the visit definitely changed my mind on things."
Michigan is clearly in great shape. This was Jackson's fourth official and he hasn't scheduled his fifth; while many considered USC the odds-on favorite, he has no plans to see them on an unofficial before announcing his decision at the Under Armour game.
Five-star GA TE Isaac Nauta is right up there with Rashan Gary as the top overall target on the board, and he told Scout's Chad Simmons he was "very surprised" by how much he liked Michigan ($):
"Coach Harbaugh told me and showed me that there is a both, a need for me, and a want for me at Michigan. We looked at film, we had a talk, and I saw a lot. at the end of the visit, I was just surprised more than anything else.
"I just did not expect it to be that way. My mind about Michigan has definitely been changed."
Lorenz chatted with us on MGoRadio yesterday and said the visit couldn't have gone much better; that said, he also thinks Nauta still ends up at Georgia, though Michigan has made this a tough decision. Nauta plans to announce at the Army All-American Game.
Top-100 WR Dylan Crawford spoke to Rivals' Adam Gorney after his official visit and discussed his potential role at Michigan ($):
"I really like how it went," Crawford said. "I could see myself fitting in there. I feel like I could play there. I like the coaching staff and obviously the Michigan education is solid and the networking there is unreal. "They don't really have a slot player who could take the fly sweep. They were showing me all the footage about how they have to bring Jabrill (Peppers) on offense to do the bubble screen routes and stuff like that. They said if I was there they wouldn't need to do that."
After talking to a couple sources close to Crawford's recruitment, Lorenz put in a Crystal Ball pick for Michigan ($). One team to watch is Oregon; they haven't offered Crawford yet and could become a major factor if they do.
Finally, after taking officials to both Notre Dame and Michigan, top-100 CB David Long told Scout's Greg Biggins he isn't certain about his Stanford commitment:
"I think there's still some question if they want me more for receiver or corner," Long said. "Notre Dame and Michigan both are recruiting me 100% for corner but I think that's still in question a little with Stanford.
"I'm still committed but I'm also thinking about maybe opening things up a little to make sure I'm doing the right thing. It's such a huge decision and I want to make sure I'm 100% comfortable with it. You can't go wrong with Stanford and I know that but I just want to be totally sure about this."
Long said he "got a little better vibe and felt more comfortable at Michigan" compared to Notre Dame. He's still a Stanford commit and the other California schools will be in the mix as well.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
In Michigan sports that weren't that, Michigan kicked off its hockey season with a shaky sweep of Mercyhurst. The Lakers were .500 in Atlantic Hockey last year and lost five of their top six scorers to graduation. They looked like they were in for a rough year; Michigan dominated attack time and shots. They did not so much dominate on the scoreboard, with one-goal wins Friday and Saturday. (Michigan got an empty-netter Friday.)
Hockey takes in addition to Adam's Goal By Goal:
- Not seeing much difference in the team this year. A lot of individual talent, a lot of breakdowns. Michigan gave up a ton of odd-man rush goals and turned the puck over at or near the blueline far too much. Actual zone entry plays were rare; instead Michigan just tried to gain the zone with individual skill. They'll win their share of games, but I didn't see much that would indicate a turnaround from the last few frustrating years.
- Example of the above. On Sunday Alex Kile was on a 3-on-2 on which he had two guys open and trailing; he chose to try to beat a defenseman around the corner and blasted the goalie for an interference penalty.
- Werenski is up and down and frustrating. He stands out as a super talented even with a bunch of other NHL draft picks on the team. I expect his wrister to pick out a corner every time he gets an opportunity with it. But he was the D caught up ice on Mercyhurst's 2-on-1 goal Sunday and there were several other questionable defensive plays besides. He was iffy on D last year and should by rights be a freshman right now; I don't think that's a reason for long term concern but I was hoping he'd show a little better.
- Nieves is still Nieves. Perimeter player. Not expecting a breakout year. He's centering the "top line" mostly for morale reasons, I think—Compher's line is the actual top line.
- I don't have a feel for Connor yet. Sometimes takes me a while to figure out what I think of a player. Connor is currently in that boat.
- The third line is pretty dang good. It was Calderone, Marody, and Warren. All of them are high effort, physical guys. Calderone had some trouble receiving passes, but other than that those guys dominated their opposite number. Michigan is going to get production out of them against opponents' bottom six.
- Depth: questionable. Michigan skated seven defensemen on Sunday and elected to double-shift centers on the fourth line. I'm fine with this—one of my complaints over the last few years is that Michigan didn't seem to play its stars enough—but if there are injuries Michigan could be really thin at F.
This will be another season flirting with the tourney cutoff. Michigan's awful schedule hurts them significantly here. The Big Ten appears to be a tire fire again. These days RPI overcorrects for home games and Michigan loaded their schedule with them. And their nonconference schedule is mostly crap. I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan is the non-tourney team with the best record in April.
More Big Ten tire fire details. Alarmingly for the league and Michigan's schedule strength, Minnesota is 0-3 and has scored just one goal. Everyone expected the Gophers to take a step back after graduating huge chunks of their team; that much of a retreat is going to be yet another anchor for a league that is already carrying several around.
Meanwhile Wisconsin is coming off a BU/BC weekend in which they were outscored 10-1, OSU has been swept by Miami and BGSU, and Michigan State was just swept by Denver (total goals 7-2). Big Ten teams aren't just losing, they're getting crushed.
Penn State(!) is the only team with anything approximating an encouraging start after a competitive split with Notre Dame. Everything else points to a repeat of last year minus a good Minnesota team. Maybe the Big Ten could spend some of their filthy lucre on hiring non-incompetent hockey coaches next year? Could we try that maybe? MSU and Wisconsin allowing Tom Anastos and Mike Eaves to return is bad for everybody.
Yost things. They have walked back a lot of the in-game commercials this year, so that's nice. IIRC the only thing still around is Find The Object Under The Corporate Logo. That's down from just under a dozen per game last year.
The folks in charge are still a bit off, though. Hockey Special K has limited opportunities to do his thing because of the nature of hockey but he's still jamming in a goal horn—completely unnecessary w/ the bad—and then playing pump-up music before the puck drop. Why Special K insists on playing 5 seconds of music before every kickoff/puck drop is always going to be a mystery.
Also the concession prices remain completely out of whack. When it's more expensive than Joe Louis I'm going to avoid buying things out of principle. I can't imagine the tiny incremental profit increase is worth the psychic damage to hockey fans who are already pretty beat up. I almost dropped my tickets this year because I could probably TiqIq the entire schedule for half of what my seats cost. Like, I decided not to and then two weeks after the deadline I relented.
Yost is not priced at all sensibly, especially when it comes to students. They're down to two sections and an overflow in the endzone, which is super depressing. I know we want the hockey program to break even but surely the atmosphere in the building is more important than X thousand dollars.
Friday, October 16, 2015
Michigan 6, Mercyhurst 4
UM 1 Mercyhurst 0 EV 04:45 Nieves (1) from Connor (1) & Martin (1)
Nick Boka has the puck at the blueline and passes to Cutler Martin after reading his defender, who’s close enough to warrant not shooting. It’s a smart pass; Martin’s defender is moving across and giving him a big cushion. He takes advantage of that, gathering the puck and taking time (maybe even too much time) before firing.
The puck sails into traffic, and if we’re to believe the official score sheet it hits Kyle Connor at some point before reaching the goaltender. The goalie stops it but can’t gather, allowing a plush rebound to his left. The two netfront defenders have pinched in, and you can see from the screen shot that the distance between the nearest defender and Boo Nieves is not great for Mercyhurst.
The goaltender has to make a lateral push that’s basically impossible to do in time to cover; there’s no way he’s locking down the post when he has to go from the middle of the crease to the side. All Nieves has to do is flip a backhander over the goalies shoulder, which isn’t the easiest thing from that sharp an angle. Still, he’s got the necessary space to do so and executes.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest]
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After Speaking with my Parents and Coaches, I am blessed to say, I have committed to The University of Michigan pic.twitter.com/nZa5jQELtD
— Kurt Taylor (@KurtTaylorRB2) October 16, 2015
Three-star 2017 Covington (GA) Newton running back Kurt Taylor committed to Michigan on Friday afternoon, before, you know, all of that happened.. Taylor named the Wolverines as his leader when they offered him in August, had a great trip for the BYU game, and didn't need to wait until the Michigan State game to announce his commitment on his latest campus visit.
Taylor is the third Michigan commit in the 2017 class, joining tight end Carter Dunaway and cornerback Benjamin St-Juste.
|3* RB||3*, #19 RB||NR RB||
3*, 88, #24 RB,
3*, #35 RB,
All the sites save ESPN have Taylor ranked as a three-star, though he's within sniffing distance of four-star territory on 247 and Rivals. He's a short, solidly built back, listed at either 5'8" or 5'9" and right around 200 pounds on all four recruiting services. Taylor already looks like he's come relatively close to maxing out his frame.
[Hit THE JUMP for the full, informative commitment post.]