Solomon has decided, has not announced
Chad Simmons talks to GA DT Aubrey Solomon:
"I feel like I have found out where I am going," Solomon said. "It came to me on Wednesday. I just prayed about it the night before and when I woke up, the answer came to me."
Football and graduation rate are the two things Solomon cited in his decision, and things are holding steady with the expectation it will be Michigan. The Georgia 24/7 guys still think it is Michigan:
Just talking to a few sources in the last 48 hours, I continue to feel like Aubrey Solomon is going to Michigan. Just too much smoke there. Alabama I feel like is 2nd from talking to most down South.
Martin visiting this weekend
Michigan's renewed fervor in its pursuit of IA WR Oliver Martin appears to be paying off:
Source: #Michigan getting an official visit from 4-star WR Oliver Martin this weekend. Huge.
— Brandon Justice (@LandOfJustice) January 26, 2017
This Oliver Martin visit, unlike to OSU, seems like it's really happening. Michigan source: They're already working on "flights, hotel, etc"
— Matthew Bain (@MatthewBain_) January 26, 2017
Martin returning to Michigan, a school he's already been to, instead of heading to one of his other suitors, speaks volumes about his recruitment. We've flipped our crystal ball back to Michigan in response.
Gay still somewhat up in the air
Sam caught up with MS LB Willie Gay's mother and talked about it on WTKA this morning. A reader paraphrases:
Long story short, it sounds like Willie Gay's favorite school is LSU at the moment. However, to say Mom would be disappointed in that choice is a bit of an understatement. The way Sam puts it makes it sound like basically LSU is not an option in HER opinion. Willie could still choose LSU obviously, but if her opinion has even a small bearing on his decision, then LSU better do something to sway her opinion.
Sam doesn't think Michigan is the favorite here; the most realistic scenario that sees Gay end up in AA is mom nixing LSU and Gay liking Michigan more than Mississippi State.
Sam has a couple of pieces on Scout with more detail:
My feel for this is Mississippi State is Mom's first choice followed by Michigan. I think Willie is leaning to LSU and that she is really against it. I don't know who Willie likes more between Mississippi State and Michigan.
There's a window that Michigan can hit here but it looks like a small one. Lorenz reports that Gay will be a "tough pull" at this point.
Weird guy watch
MA S Ifeatu Melifonwu did make it to campus per Sam, and the odds that he'll get his offer are "really good"; a flip is naturally anticipated.
Other than that, all the various weird names have faded. Michigan look set to swing on their top targets and move on with a 27-29 man class unless they roll a critical hit. Lorenz did mention that Michigan is poking around OH P Brad Robbins, a Nevada commit. Robbins is "strongly considering" a visit the weekend after Signing Day; at that point Michigan will know if they have a scholarship spot or not. Survey says: very probably.
Guys like Dennis Norfleet do come out of the woodwork late. If there's a gentleman like that lurking about he's probably a low-to-mid three star instate kid like MI S Allen Stritzinger, who is also committed to Syracuse.
I may have to redefine Kaiju
2018 FL by way of Australia OL Daniel Faalele is turning heads at IMG because he is an absurd person.
He stands 6-foot-9, weighs 394 pounds and possesses a rare combination of power and speed. He is of Tongan and Samoan ethnicity and was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He's 17 years old and wears size 18 shoes.
You may remember Michigan heading out to Australia last year for a satellite camp at which Faalele was the main attraction; Michigan offered a few months ago. That followed a half-dozen teams who did so despite the fact that Faalele has never taken a snap in anger. He's scheduled to do so this fall for IMG, and you should prepare yourself for a torrent of hype:
Wright recalls one memorable play when Faalele was responsible for trapping 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end Josh Kaindoh, a five-star recruit bound for Florida State, at the line of scrimmage. Faalele delivered a hit that sent Kaindoh airborne, and although Faalele sheepishly denied trying to do it intentionally, Wright isn't so sure.
"I stopped and thought, 'Did that really happen?' " Wright said. "Then I got in the huddle and said, 'Daniel, did you aim to do that, or did you just run into him?' Daniel said, 'Coach, what was I supposed to do?' I said, 'You were supposed to hit him.' He goes, 'That's what I did!' "
Michigan's obviously got an in here. Fingers crossed, because I need to see this kid next to Xavier Simpson.
GA WR Nico Collins will take an official to Georgia this weekend; things continue to trend away in that recruitment. If Michigan does lock down Martin it's a wash.
Both GA RB Kurt Taylor and NM RB O'Maury Samuels reaffirmed commitments to Michigan. Taylor had said he would visit MSU; Samuels was still considering Arizona. With those two shutting their recruitments down, all of Michigan's commits are solid heading into the final visit weekend.
This isn't a surprise at this point but Sam says Michigan's pursuit of UT DT Jay Tufele is likely fruitless, with USC surging late and Utah though to be in front of the two Big Ten schools.
If you'd like to dwell, CA RB Najee Harris explains how close he was to flipping to Michigan.
Michigan offers 2018 OH LB Dallas Gant, cousin of former Wolverine Allen. They'll get a visit, etc.
Matt Wenzel profiles MI WR enrollee Donovan Peoples-Jones.
[A Michigan student getting enriched on a trip to Rome, 2001]
- To Rome! Oh you voted spring break away? Okay we’ll wait until our semester is over then fly to Italy…with educational opportunities, and press release orphans. Also Michigan can hypothetically still go to Florida in future years after classes end. Come at me NCAA! Orphans! Would Saban ever do this? Recruiting effect.
- Solution to SEC schools rampantly paying players, other than legalizing the rampant paying of players?
- A lost Michigan game on rollerskates. Also some funny wins in Notre Dame’s win count. Like a thrift store. Probably not on rollerskates.
- JayBaugh to RBs: 10th coach might fix it. Better for the team, obviously not the position.
- Greg Frey: looks like a great move. Great track record, coordinated OSU’s new offensive coordinator’s offense.
- Scary Indiana, scary Indiana, scary Indiana, let me say it once again. Scary Indiana, scary Indiana, scary Indiana, yes this was recorded when, the Hoosiers’ size still gave us hesitation. Given past events it was a logical explanation. So now we have this extraneous syncopation. We weight the Big Ten race, and catch it in the face, for Scary Indiana, scary INDiana, scary Indiana vs M at home.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
Moe Wagner exploited mismatches in the post. [Eric Upchurch]
Michigan exploited multiple mismatches in the frontcourt to jump out to an early lead and used that as a springboard to a 30-point blowout of Indiana.
Let that sink in for a moment.
A shorthanded Indiana squad was faced with a choice: stick center Thomas Bryant on Moe Wagner and hope DJ Wilson wouldn't destroy 6'6" injury replacement Zach McRoberts, or put Bryant on Wilson and hope Wagner wouldn't feast on McRoberts in the post. They initially chose the second option. Wagner feasted, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the first half on 6-for-8 shooting. When IU tried putting Bryant on Wagner, it didn't go any better, as Bryant couldn't stay in front of the quicker German big man.
The Hoosiers couldn't exactly slow down Wilson, either. He did a bit of everything, attacking the matchup on McRoberts early, setting up his teammates with gorgeous passes, and providing great rim protection. He finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, four blocks, and a steal; if anything, that undersells his impact.
"Don't forget, DJ and Moe are really evolving, yet," said John Beilein. "They are really playing the big crunch time minutes for the first time."
It was easy to forget that tonight.
Probably could've been the whole recap. [Upchurch]
After the big men softened up Indiana's defense, Derrick Walton took over, getting to the hoop time and again, and finishing when he got there, a great sign given his past struggles scoring at the rim. He led the team with 21 points (7-for-8 FG, 6-for-7 FT) and five assists.
Seemingly everyone who hit the floor got into the act. Duncan Robinson scored 13 off the bench; Zak Irvin added 12 points and three assists; Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman also had 12 and played exemplary defense on Hoosiers star James Blackmon. Michigan shot 63.3% from the floor, their best mark in a Big Ten game since 2006.
Indiana shot the ball well themselves, finishing at 54.5% from the field. The Hoosiers couldn't keep up, however, because of their 16 turnovers. Those were part a product of good, aggressive defense—Michigan had seven steals—and part some really sloppy play on IU's part.
"We did have some great [defensive] possessions," said Beilein. "We created turnovers by just being active."
Put it all together and this was a laugher that Tom Crean could hardly bring himself to talk about; his postgame presser lasted all of a few minutes.
"There's no excuse for it," Crean said of their defensive effort.
While one coach sulked, the other was loose and excited, knowing his team has laid down a blueprint for success over the last few games.
"It's just a great feeling for those guys knowing this is how we're going to win going forward," said Beilein.
"The world corrects itself at some point, and basketball does too," he added.
From his lips to the basketball gods' ears, hopefully.
#43 Michigan (13-7, 3-4 B1G) vs
#30 Indiana (14-6, 4-3)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||9 pm ET, Thursday|
Michigan -1 (KenPom)
Michigan -4 (Vegas)
PBP: Rece Davis
Analyst: Jim Calhoun
Right: Obligatory. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
This week presents a huge opportunity for Michigan to get back on the right side of the bubble and improve their position for conference tournament seeding. Michigan is currently the second team out of the projected NCAA tournament field on the Bracket Matrix. Indiana and Michigan State (Sunday's opponent) are the two teams directly ahead of the Wolverines in the conference standings. Michigan needs a split, at the very least, if they don't want to put themselves in a very tight spot.
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||2||Josh Newkirk||Jr.||6'1, 195||62||19||102||No|
|Most PG-like player, but only has 1.6:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.|
|G||4||Robert Johnson||Jr.||6'3, 195||65||22||120||Not At All|
|Sniper beyond the arc, solid finisher inside of it. 5th in B1G in eFG%.|
|G||1||James Blackmon||Jr.||6'4, 200||71||24||126||Not At All|
|High-volume, high-efficiency scorer. Defense can be an issue.|
|F||15||Zach McRoberts||So.||6'6, 200||26||7||133||Kinda|
|OG Anunoby's nearly invisible replacement. 6/17 FG in 211 minutes.|
|C||31||Thomas Bryant||So.||6'10, 255||67||21||118||No|
|Excellent rebounder and post scorer, good shot-blocker, now hits occasional three.|
|C||20||De'Ron Davis||Fr.||6'10, 240||32||25||119||Very|
|Solid backup C. 54% on FGs, effectively crashes offensive boards.|
|G||11||Devonte Green||Fr.||6'3, 186||28||18||101||No|
|Efficient scorer (57/39/75 shooting splits) but very turnover-prone.|
|G||0||Curtis Jones||Fr.||6'4, 175||31||19||112||No|
|Outside shooting threat, struggling to finish inside arc.|
|F||13||Juwan Morgan (inj.)||So.||6'7, 230||47||16||136||Yes|
|Great rebounder and finisher this year. Status unclear due to ankle injury.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Michigan's added Greg Frey as an OL/TE/run game coach, as you probably heard about. Michigan valued his addition enough to move Jay Harbaugh into a somewhat awkward spot as the RB coach, and his track record makes it obvious why.
Michigan, Part I
Rich Rodriguez and Frey walked into a disaster zone in 2008. After Corey Zirbel was forced to retire with an injury, Michigan had something like 7 or 8 scholarship offensive linemen. Things did not go well.
By year three, Frey's last in Ann Arbor, Michigan had a first-choice lineup of:
- LT Taylor Lewan
- LG Stephen Schilling
- C David Molk
- RG Patrick Omameh
- RT Perry Dorrestein
Four of those guys would go on to NFL careers of at least a few years in length, with Lewan and Omameh still in the league. Lewan and Omameh were Frey recruits. Lewan was a fast-rising prospect who Frey IDed first and got in the door for before he rose to the mid-to-high four star status he ended the cycle with; Omameh was a late poach from Cincinnati. Molk, who Frey inherited as a redshirt freshman, won the Rimington as a senior.
2010 and 2011 stand out as the zenith of Michigan offensive line play over the past... God, probably 15 years. 2011 had Lewan, Molk, and Omameh back; Frey recruit and future NFLer Michael Schofield drew into the lineup along with Mark Huyge. Lewan, Omameh, and Schofield returned in 2012 but the two new guys (Ricky Barnum and Elliott Mealer) were major steps back, and from there it was disaster time.
This is a painful recent memory for Michigan fans; it is also a best-case scenario for anyone attempting to suss out the ability of a position coach. Michigan was bad when Frey arrived; they were good when he left; the air went out of the balloon over the next few years.
Frey landed in Bloomington after his brief strange trip under RichRod and was the OL coach for Kevin Wilson until Wilson was booted a couple months ago. How much of Indiana's improvement was Wilson and how much was Frey is impossible to determine, but the combination took IU's offense to heights not since since the days of Antwan Randle-El.
This season the vagaries of recruiting Indiana and a series of injuries forced multiple young players onto the field, with predictable results; despite that Frey's track record is very strong:
...his work in Bloomington has been outstanding. Jason Spriggs is in the NFL. Dan Feeney is a potential first-round pick and probably the best guard in this year's draft. Even less heralded players, like Collin Rahrig and Jake Reed (and probably Dimitric Camiel soon to join them) have spent time on NFL rosters.
And all of that was done without the benefit of the kinds of highly regarded players Michigan would be more likely to attract than IU. When they committed, neither Feeney nor Camiel were considered among even the top 900 prospects in the 2012 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, while Spriggs was listed as a tight end.
Michigan fans no doubt remember 2015's mashing at the hands of Frey. That year's line was 8th in adjusted sack rate and 35th in adjusted line yards; the previous year's was 27th and 86th. Run efficiency took a big hit this year but IU popped back up in sacks allowed.
Frey made a ton of chicken salad in Bloomington and both close observers of Indiana...
sorry to ruin your morning but michigan just hired greg frey and, um, that’s bad for indiana https://t.co/yV50f2BnCz
— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) January 25, 2017
...and national analysts...
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 25, 2017
...think Michigan just scored a coup.
But what about crootin?
A conveniently-timed article from the Tampa Bay Times:
Indiana-Tampa Bay recruiting pipeline outperforms state schools
This is largely attributable to Frey.
"The reason Indiana is having so much success in the area is all because of Greg Frey," Largo football coach Marcus Paschal said. "I have a great relationship with him that goes back a long way. He knows Rick Rodriguez, who I played for. Frey even recruited me when I played at Largo and he was an assistant at USF."
Indiana has five commits from the Tampa area in this recruiting class, including a four-star kid they flipped from USC. Frey also recruits Cincinnati for the Hoosiers with good success. He should be an asset.
But what about manball?
You'll note that for the last decade Frey has been coaching spread OLs that run a ton of inside and outside zone and not much gap stuff. (If you remember gap stuff from Indiana in the last couple years you're probably thinking about the pin and pull sweeps that are a staple of most offenses these days.) The transition from hyperspace IU chaosteam football to Michigan's manball is a large one.
This is probably more asset than drawback. Michigan has not run outside zone with any effectiveness the past couple years; Frey promises to help fix that. That should help diversify Michigan's run game. Michigan has a large portion of the manball specialists in college football already while Frey has been on the cutting edge of high-tempo spread for a decade. It's reasonable to expect some profit as those two systems exchange DNA.
Finally, Frey was the right hand man of Ohio State's new offensive coordinator for six years. If anyone has insight into Kevin Wilson's tendencies it's him.
But what about the media?
You may remember Frey's, er, enthusiastic coaching being a major point of contention during Michael Rosenberg's crusade against Rodriguez. That was more about one man's quest to dethrone Michigan's coach than anything rational, as Frey's successful tenure at IU demonstrates. When you're winning (relatively so, in Indiana's case) and producing draft picks this is how the articles go:
“See the defense!” he shouts.
For the record, we have left out the helpful adjective.
And then, again in family friendly form:
“See what’s going on!”
“Find the ball!”
You coach in the take-no-prisoners Big Ten and it’s no time for hugs and sweet words of gentle persuasion. Not in this practice moment, anyway. Frey’s message is as clear as a sledgehammer, and you’d better believe it works. He has built one of the conference’s best offensive lines, meaning it’s one of the best in the nation, and he hasn’t done it with five-star recruits.
I predict a notable silence.
If you had Teddy Greenstein in the Brings Up Erik Swenson Next pool, collect your winnings. I get annoyed at Greenstein because he puts up a front of objectivity while putting out article after article designed to put Harbaugh in a bad light. See the recent article on refereeing where he asked the Big Ten's head of officials if he was bad at his job, got a "no," and said "well, I guess that wraps it all up, folks!"
Anyway. This one was somewhat spoiled by Harbaugh explaining the situation from his perspective...
"There's a camp in June, and we really want you to come so we can see you.' It ended up, after a couple of conversations, that he wasn't going to come to camp.
"I said: 'We're going to be in Indianapolis in the beginning of June for a satellite camp. It's closer to your home.' He said no. I said, 'We really need to see you for ourselves.' He said, 'Just evaluate my senior tape.' 'OK, that's what we will do.'"
...but Greenstein does his best to frame it anyway.
What happened to Swenson is exceedingly rare: a high school player in good academic standing, who remains loyal to the school to which he verbally committed, getting dumped within weeks of signing day.
There is a term for a school dispatching a player it no longer wants: "processing."
Connecticut coach Randy Edsall got crushed last week by national media figures Paul Finebaum ("total disgrace"), Mike Greenberg ("How you go to sleep at night, I have no idea") and the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins ("No one is more committed to Randy Edsall than Randy Edsall") after his scurrilous actions regarding a high school linebacker from New Jersey named Ryan Dickens.
Contrary to pearl-clutchers in the media, "processing" kids before they can sign is a common practice getting ever more common. That's why there's a term for it. Most of these situations go uncommented upon because the kid and coaches know the score and are just looking for a landing spot. The rare thing is a kid getting pissed off about it in the media.
I think we can safely assume that someone moving down from a Power 5 program to a lower level has been processed, and there have been a number of these this year: CB Nick Roberts and QB Todd Centeio went from P5 programs to the AAC. S Ahman Ross is trying to find a landing spot at Appalachian State or Colorado State. RB Bentavious Thompson looks likely to end up at UCF. FIU is the crystal ball favorite for WR Kevaughn Dingle.
That's five guys not from all of the Power 5 or one P5 conference but one recruiting class: Miami's. Every collection of team-specific recruitniks in America has a subliminal list of a few guys who are technically committed but won't actually be in the class. For Michigan this year they were Carter Dunaway and Chase Lasater; for Ohio State they were Danny Clark, Bruce Judson, and Todd Sibley.
The 24/7 decommitment tracker is missing a pager so it only goes back three days. In those three days (three days!) there are four recruitments that look like processing of some variety:
- WR Warren Jackson decommitted from Arizona and fielded a couple of quick CSU picks.
- LB DeMarco Artis decommitted from FSU and told 247 that it was "unfortunate."
- LB Jabreel Stephens decommitted from Louisville and looks set to pick USF.
- LB Jaquan Henderson flipped from Tennessee to Georgia Tech.
It is exactly one week from signing day.
Even if not all of these are genuine processings that should be sufficient to demonstrate that the practice is not rare, or anything close to it. If Greenstein had done 15 minutes of research he would have reached the same conclusion. You have to wonder why he would not take such a basic step before making an easily-disproved factual assertion.