"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
In the 2005 NBA Draft, three players were selected before Chris Paul.
Australian-born Naismith winner Andrew Bogut went first to the Milwaukee Bucks, a team with two young point guards—T.J. Ford and Mo Williams—hoping to fill a hole at center. He topped out as a solid post threat and rebounder before injuries derailed his career over the last couple seasons.
The second pick belonged to the Atlanta Hawks, a franchise in desperate need of a franchise point guard. Instead of choosing Paul, the super-productive yet diminutive playmaker, the Hawks chose Marvin Williams, a 6'9" forward who'd flashed great promise as a freshman sixth man on North Carolina's national title team. Good at many things but great at none, Williams has been a huge disappointment, providing below-average efficiency as the third option on some decent Hawks teams before being traded prior to last season straight-up for Devin Harris, whose career has been in a freefall since he was the centerpiece of Dallas' 2008 trade for Jason Kidd.
The Utah Jazz took 6'3" point guard Deron Williams with the third pick and can't be blamed for that choice, as the Illinois product has had a very productive pro career featuring three All-Star appearances.
Paul went fourth to the New Orleans Hornets, won Rookie of the Year in 2006, and in the seven years since has established himself as the best point guard in basketball. The Hawks, still looking for that franchise cornerstone, have been kicking themselves ever since; they're now targeting Paul in free agency and, in fact, violated NBA tampering rules by saying as much in a press release.
You probably know where I'm going with this. The NBA Draft is tomorrow night and Michigan's Trey Burke is expected to go anywhere from second to eighth. Brian has posted this before, but I want to once again draw your attention to Grantland's "NBA Job Interview" with Burke:
If YouTube is blocked or you don't want to watch the video, at the :32 mark Bill Simmons asks Burke to say which current pro is the type of player he'd like to be. Burke, without hesitation, says Chris Paul; look around for the various pre-draft content and this is his established ceiling. Simmons immediately fires back with what, at least from my impression, is the biggest doubt NBA GMs have about Burke's ability to become the next CP3:
The one thing about Chris Paul, though, is he's thick. When he goes down low, and he bounces off guys, they kinda bounce off him, too. The one thing I noticed with you in college, you would bounce off guys sometimes and you would take hard falls...
I didn't follow Paul's college career too closely, so I did three things after watching the above clip. First, I went to Burke's and Paul's respective NBADraftNet profiles, which has their pre-draft measurements.
Burke: 5'11.75" w/o shoes, 6'1.25" w/ shoes, 6'5.5" wingspan, 187 pounds, 3 bench press reps (185 lbs.)
Paul: 5'11.75" w/o shoes, 6'1" w/ shoes, 6'4.25" wingspan, 178 pounds, 10 bench press reps (185 lbs.)
Burke is, in fact, a little bit bigger than Paul was when he came out of college, and while Paul has clearly added muscle since he was drafted, his listed weight is still at 178 pounds. The difference is in their strength — Paul performed much better on the bench press.
The second thing I did was watch Paul's college highlights, and boy do they look a lot like Burke's:
At this stage in their careers, Burke and Paul had similar body types as well as similar games; both made their hay by dominating the ball, effortlessly finding ways to the rim, passing at a level that often caught teammates off-guard, and knocking down outside shots to keep defenses honest. Paul looks stronger at the rim than Burke and has a few more jaw-dropping passes in his arsenal; otherwise, they're practically doppelgangers.
The third thing I did was to compare their final college seasons statistically, a convenient comparison in this instance since both left school after their sophomore seasons. The full rundown can be found at StatSheet, which is the source for this (chart?) chart:
Despite a much higher usage (28.9% vs. 23.1%) and a longer three-point line (20'9" vs. 19'9"), Burke and Paul have near-identical offensive ratings; Burke boasts a better assist rate, fewer turnovers, and a higher eFG% despite attempting 28% of his team's shots against Paul's 20%. Paul has one major advantage, getting to the free-throw line at a much higher clip.
Simmons' point holds true, as far as I can tell, though it's an issue of strength, not size; Burke and Paul are near-identical in all other regards, but Paul was better in college at taking contact and continued to develop that talent in the NBA — look at his shooting heat map from this year, which shows his impressive efficiency in the paint and at the basket.
Can Burke make up this ground? I think it's possible. For one, his work ethic is tough to match, and obviously that's the largest obstacle between a player and adding strength. The videos of Burke working out before he arrived at Michigan are something I always point to when discussing his seemingly out-of-nowhere rise to the top of the college basketball world. For some reason I can't embed the video, but look at Burke's face as he's about to arrive at his after-school workout destination: the steps of the 94-foot-tall Hoover Dam* in Columbus.
Burke has also bulked up since he arrived at Michigan; while he's still on the skinny side, he's more defined than he was as a high-schooler and has added 15-20 pounds of muscle since arriving in Ann Arbor. That hasn't taken away from his game one bit—in fact, his finishing has improved—and he should be able to continue adding weight to his frame without losing athleticism or explosiveness.
Then there's the shooting aspect. While Paul was a very good three-point shooter in college (47.0% for his career), he's been just okay in that regard as a pro (35.6%, and the only time he's cracked 40% was in 2010 when he had a career-low 127 attempts). Burke's college numbers are worse, but they came under different circumstances — the longer line, of course, and also Michigan's late-clock "do something, Trey" offense. Rarely did he have the chance to catch and shoot; according to hoop-math.com, just 49% of Burke's three-pointers were assisted last year, while every other Michigan regular had a figure at or above 85%. If Burke ends up on a team with enough proficient ballhandlers to allow him to occasionally spot up, not just run high pick-and-rolls and choose to drive or pull the trigger, this could be an area where he's more effective than Paul.
Do I think Trey Burke will be better than Chris Paul? No, probably not. Paul's strength is a bigger asset at the NBA level than in college, and while I believe that Burke will improve in that regard, he's starting from well behind where Paul was at this stage — his around-the-rim finishing and free throw rate may never match Paul's. CP3 is also one of the league's best defensive point guards, and while a good part of that is his Burkian thievery—Paul has led the NBA in steals five times—it's also a product of his strength, which allows him to hold his own one-on-one against bigger guards.
Do I think that Trey Burke could become as effective as Chris Paul, just in a slightly different manner? Yes. The key here will be the development of Burke's outside shooting. We already know he has NBA range—just ask Kansas—and if he can become a 40%-plus outside shooter it'll open up room for the other parts of game.
I won't make the argument that Burke should go first overall—the Cavs have quite a point guard in Kyrie Irving, anyway—or even that he should go to Orlando at #2 (Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore are both exceptional athletes with NBA-ready skill sets). With less-proven players like Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, and Anthony Bennett likely to go off the board before Burke, though, I think it's safe to say there will be at least one team dealing with regret down the line, and for a long time at that.
*Not to be confused with the better-known Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada border.
Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton, DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman.
|Wheaton, IL – 6'5", 307|
4*, #49 overall
4*, #104 overall
4*, #157 overall
4*, #103 overall
Bama, ND, Stanford, Miami, MSU, Nebraska
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from a simpler time when Ace had fingers, not PTSD.|
Early enrollee. Twitter
Senior highlights from… Michigan's official site?
Odd. They rank high on the entertainment scale for OL highlights, assuming you like huge guys caving in not so huge guys.
This is going to sound really familiar. Kyle Bosch is basically David Dawson give or take an inch and a ton of recruiting drama. He's a rather large guard who could kick out to right tackle if necessary, he is an advanced technician for his age, he has the hatred of all other living beings in pads necessary to get a scholarship offer from Michigan, he is a consensus four star just outside of most top 100s with one enthusiastic site depositing him around 50th.
The biggest difference for the purposes of this post is camps. Dawson went to all of them. Bosch mostly ignored them. He did get an Opening invite and showed up, but he came down with something nasty and had to leave just a day in. The only other mention of a camp I can find was an observation-only visit to SMSB. So there's significantly less scouting out there.
What exists is Dawson-esque. The themes that emerge with both guys: a love of contact, an ability to get downfield, and a defender on the ground. A Notre Dame evaluator took a look at Bosch back when it was assumed he would end up in the blue and gold:
For me, his two best traits are the nastiness with which he plays the game and the swagger he has on the field. Many offensive linemen play with attitude and confidence, traits that Bosch also possesses. What Bosch seems to have on film is a swagger that is often displayed by skill players or linebackers.
Bosch is also "physical and aggressive," has "good agility and good foot quickness" and gets off the line quickly; main downside was a bit of hip stiffness that might make it unwise to put him on the edge against a quality rusher—apparently that means you can't change direction as effectively in a pass set.
His coach makes him sound like a defensive lineman what with references to motor and intensity:
"I think the biggest thing is that he has such a high motor. He's a very intense football player, and I think a lot of times, bigger kids like that take a while to develop that. But he has an intensity level that I've never seen in a big guy. He loves contact."
Steve Wiltfong emphasized his strength and meanosity:
“He’s a guy who looks to fight on every snap. He is super strong with over a 400-pound bench press. He is a good athlete. He is an interior guy who will go after people.”
And Allen Trieu called him($) "a tough, rugged kid," a technician, and that if you put a guy in front of him "that' guy's ending up on the ground."
There is some dispute about his technique at the moment. His coach thinks it's quality:
"His ability to finish blocks is pretty special, I think," Horeni said. "A lot of linemen his size just want to lean on people, but he rolls his hips, which is something you see at the next level. He explodes on contact and drives through the person.
"There's countless times this year when the guy he's going against gets a little bit off the ground and then (Bosch) buries him into the ground. It's something special."
Similarly, Kyle Turley thought that Bosch was closer to the field than a few of the other early OL commits:
…shows the ability to be able to get to that next level really quick. His explosive nature really stands out on film. His strength, size and punch off the line gives him a chance to have an instant impact. Like the others, he is a finisher. He naturally finishes his block, has great drive and gets to the next level. … has less to work on than the other guys.
On the other hand, ESPN knocks his ability to drive guys($):
Bosch is a physical and aggressive line prospect. … good first-step quickness to get into the defender. He uses angles well and is at his best when he can block down or work in tandem. He flashes the ability to come with a lot of force and deliver a big pop when he gets an angle and has the upper body strength to knock defenders to the ground. He does display some tightness in his lower body and is not as strong at this stage as a drive blocker… will be physical and fight, but doesn't create the type of push that his size or aggressiveness would suggest he could. At this stage, he is more of a wall off blocker. He does an solid job of working up to second level, adjusting on the move and getting a hat on active defenders.
And Scout's profile disagrees with everyone, lists technique as a negative, and praising his ability to drive guys:
Scout.com Player Evaluation:
Aggresiveness / Tenacity
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
A left tackle for his St. Francis team, Bosch is usually the biggest and strongest player on the field, and he plays like he wants everyone to know it. He is big and athletic and takes pride in finishing his blocks and stacking up pancakes. He has good flexibility and leg drive as he excels in run blocking. He'll gain strength and leverage as he continues to fill out his frame and refine his technique.
So there's that. I wonder if "technique" is just a thing they throw up there for anyone without an obvious drawback. Every high school player ever needs to work on his technique. With Bosch ranked in Scout's top 50 that's a possibility.
The sites are split down the middle on whether he's a guard or a tackle, and Michigan told Bosch pretty much the same thing($):
"They told me they project me playing as a guard or a tackle," he said. "They said they love my footwork and they love my athleticism, and they could see me playing both positions. But I'm learning to snap and I'm getting better. I could be a triple-threat and be ready to contribute as early as possible. I've been busting my butt in the weight room and watching film, and I'm getting to become a Swiss army knife at the next level."
The lack of ideal height likely rules out left tackle, but if he's one of the five best he could play on the right.
In spring they played him at guard, so assume that is preferred. Most of the evaluations say he is better there, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by mentioning an exceptional ability to get to the second level, which is more important on the interior. An example from pain-loving anonymous Rivals evaluator:
He comes off the ball quickly and runs well in open space. He plays with a high level of aggression and does well to position himself for knockout blows on linebackers. He shows good lateral mobility when he attacks the second level.
Perhaps his best strength is his ability to not slow down on impact, and yet he stays under control with good pressure on the defender. He does not slow his feet or hesitate with his hands when he engages his opponent. Most importantly, he is on the attack on every play and looks to finish his block by planting his opponent into the turf.
This is a guy you want to pull, pull, pull, pull. That indicates guard. Also potentially indicating guard is a twitter conversation from May between Shane Morris and David Dawson I stumbled across. I will translate from the twitterese:
DAWSON: For every retweet I do 10 push ups and 10 curls, GO!
DAWSON: Shane Morris, I'd advise you to be extra nice to YOUR LINEMAN
MORRIS: dat bull 4 lyfe
DAWSON: and I'm your right tackle you better be EXTRA nice
I don't really know why Morris is referencing DatBull unless he, like myself, is operating under the assumption that there is no bad time for a DatBull reference.
Anyway, I place about 10% weight on a position declaration made before arrival on campus and assume that whoever is on Morris's blindside should he ascend to the starting job will be a natural left tackle. Still, if one of the 6'5" guard types is going to pop outside it seems it'll be Dawson. I expect both eventually find homes on the interior.
Etc.: Bosch's high school has identity issues($):
On his high school mascot being a Spartan: I think I'll be able to get over it pretty quickly and embrace the Wolverine. Our motto is actually "Go Blue!" because we're the Blue Spartans, so we're kind of an oxymoron.
Why Maurice Williams? A 6'5", 302-pound swing player between guard and right tackle, Williams took some time to round into a starter, but once he did he was a second-round NFL draft pick and stuck around the NFL for about a decade before a series of injuries did his career in.
Williams was recruited before the era when people tried to rank these folks, and I can't find anything on the internet that might indicate hype level. Oh well. Bosch is actually heavier than the NFL-vet version of Williams right now and may end up pushing 320.
Guru Reliability: High. Consensus, healthy player, low amount of projection, but basically no camps.
Variance: Low-plus. Again, no low for OL. But Bosch, like Dawson, doesn't have as far to go as many. He's already at a good 307 and may or may not have good technique. The hip-rolling thing is a hurdle cleared that can hamper people's careers.
Ceiling: High. Has the size and disposition to be an NFL player.
General Excitement Level: High. This is a recording.
Projection: Is OL, redshirt.
Afterwards it's the same thing you heard after the Dawson/Kugler/LTT posts: a war beckons on the interior. Next year two spots open, and whether one of them is on the interior or not, Michigan is going to play its best four guys and a center. Bosch and Dawson are your frontrunners on the interior.
Again, predicting a winner there is a foolhardy exercise, but projecting the guy who emerges from the melee with a machete in his teeth to be pretty friggin' good at football is obvious. One or two or three of these guys is going to get injured or lost in the shuffle and not work out; Michigan will be able to weather those hits without problem.
Michigan's history in the Big Ten is full of win
If you've been away for a month, meet our new regular feature, a roundtable of sorts where we have the MGoStaff answer questions about stuff on the fan mind. With the future Big Ten schedules getting announced I thought I'd use this week to pull the one we had to cut (for space) from the HTTV Roundtable, wsg Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan. The schedule (home games in bold):
9/24: @Craig Ross School of Obscure Historical Facts About Michigan/3:30p/BTN
10/1: ACE ANBENDER AGRICULTURAL*‡/7:30p/ABC-ESPN
10/8: ---bye week---
10/15: @ Seth Fisher School of Arts & Letters*/3:30p/BTN
10/22: @ College of Blue in South Bend*/TBA/BTN
10/29: MATHLETE UNIVERSITY*†/3:30p/BTN
11/5: @ Heiko Yang College of Medicine and Constraint Plays*/12:00p/BTN
11/12: BRIAN COOK COLLEGE OF SNARK/12:00p/ABC-ESPN
* Big Ten Game
‡ Night Game
And the question:
How many conference games do you think are ideal?
Seth: Let me throw out some stats. Since coming back to the conference in 1918 Michigan has won 69.5% of its conference games, and 72.2% of its nonconference games. If you narrow it down to games since Bo and take out the bowl games those numbers are 76.8% of Big Ten games and 76.5% of non-conference games. Michigan tends to beat Indiana just as regularly as it does its MACrifices, so for us at least it's not a big deal to add conference games. For the record…
Nine conference games in a 13-game season is 69.2% of all games. Ten of 14 (including the B1G championship) is 71.4% of the season. So nine is technically the same proportion we're used to.
Ace: I’d like to see the Big Ten eventually move to ten conference games so there’s home/road balance, fewer crummy non-conference games, and enough cross-divisional games for us to remember that, yes, Wisconsin is in fact in the same conference as Michigan. Nine is fine for now, though, and moving to ten wasn’t much of an option with programs locked into future non-conference games.
Craig: There is no ideal under the current no-conference-at-all hoo-haw. Like Curly, I prefer to be burnt at the stake (as opposed to having my head chopped off) because a “burnt steak is better than a cold chop.” So, I guess I vote for 10 with two meatball pre-season games. Nine is a joke. 5/4 then 4/5? That sucks. And we get to play Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin three of every seven years? Some years a team in the East may not see any of the three? And another team might see all of them?
Mathlete: Ideal for what is the question? If Michigan is continuing to schedule mediocre Pac-12 teams there probably isn't a ton of difference between 8 and 9 games, unless Wisconsin or Nebraska is the extra game and they are having an up year. The ninth game probably helps Michigan and OSU the most in the conference since in any given season they are most likely to have the best team and the more games the less likely a team makes a lucky run at a title. In terms of national championship it all depends on how the other conferences react. I have my doubts that anyone will give real weight to a Big Ten team that plays a nine game slate versus another conference that plays eight. So if the Big Ten is one of few it's probably a slight negative. If a bunch of other conferences are doing it then its probably a benefit to the Big Ten because the middle and bottom of the conference is typically not as good as others. Especially compared to Bob Stoops' Big Twelve, their bottom half is national championship caliber.
The final question is how do teams schedule non-conference. If this is an excuse to schedule three cupcakes then its probably all a wash. If teams are still pushing for at least one quality game then it's at least a bonus for season ticket holders.
Seth: Ten. Unlike Dave Brandon I can live in a world where Michigan has just seven home games per year, especially if I'm trading an $85 UMass ticket for a road trip to Evanston or Madison. I admit that under such circumstances Indiana might never see another bowl game, but I don't care. Scheduling real opponents is only going to become a tougher challenge as other leagues expand their conference games and crack down on any Vanderbilts who might be undermining their marketing. This probably messes with Notre Dame's need to maintain two of their "odds be great" rivalries, but sending their echoes back to bed is not our concern. Right now it's a major coup just to get a date with Oregon State or Cincy; if it's all the same why can't we just ask out Iowa?
Brian: At this point? 12. If Michigan's going to actually play a big name, then I guess ten. To me that means getting the ND series back or actually scheduling home and homes with power programs again. None of this neutral site/Arkansas business.
Do you feel old today? I feel old today, because Michigan picked up a commitment this morning from Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseph's OL Jon Runyan Jr., son of former Michigan All-American lineman Jon Runyan (1993-95), one of the first Wolverines I distinctly remember watching*. Runyan picked up an offer during last week's technique camp and from that moment was expected to be the first 2015 commit; kicker Andrew David narrowly beat him out in that regard, pledging to the Wolverines last night. For the second straight commitment post, we start with a quote about Michigan, Dream School ($):
“It’s my dream school and I really don’t want to play anywhere else,” said Runyan Jr., who is heading into his junior season at St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) Prep. “I just can’t play anywhere else. I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else.”
“My dad (thought) I was going to commit the whole time. I have been telling him my whole life that I want to play football for Michigan. He wasn’t surprised I committed. He was just happy and relieved. He feels awesome that I am going to Michigan.”
I don't think there will be any concerns about a future decommitment.
*Yes, now I probably made you feel even older.
|Scout||Rivals||ESPN||247 Sports||247 Comp.|
|NR OT||NR OT||NR OT||3*, 85, #37 OT||
3*, #37 OT,
247 is the only service that's ranked 2015 prospects; they bestowed Runyan with an early three-star rating just a couple days ago, so that's likely based on very limited scouting for now. Rivals and 247 both list Runyan at 6'4", 250 pounds, while ESPN pegs him at 6'3", 240. (Scout does not list his height/weight.)
The elder Runyan was listed in the NFL at 6'7", 330, so it's entirely within reason that his son is still growing—which would be nice, since he needs another inch or two to project to tackle. As for adding weight, it appears he's already doing so, according to The Wolverine ($):
Although the younger Runyan isn't quite dad's 6-9, 300 pounds, the 6-3, 250-pounder has good bloodlines, a tenacious attitude, and the ability to put on weight quickly (he's about 30 pounds heavier than he was last we checked).
That was from last week's camp, so those height/weight figures (at least for Junior) should be accurate.
Scouting on Runyan at this stage is mostly limited to last week's camp appearance and his sophomore highlight tape. On the former, here's GBW's Josh Newkirk on Runyan's Michigan camp performance, which stood out among the linemen in attendance ($) [emphasis mine]:
Jon Runyan Jr., 2015 OL, St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.)—The son of former U-M offensive tackle, Jon Runyan Sr., Runyan Jr. was offered by the Wolverines’ today after a strong two day performance. Part of the reason behind his offer was his strong showing in the 1-on-1s each day. While he’s not as big as his father, Runyan Jr. comes in at 6-foot-3, 245-pounds, and still looks like he’s growing. He showed good feet today and was able to stay in front of his opponent in the trench battles. He’ll need to add strength, but has two years to add bulk before college.
According to The Wolverine, Runyan measured up well against the other linemen at the camp, including 2015 Top247 prospect Chuma Edoga, who's still waiting to hear about a Michigan offer of his own ($):
A few 2015 players showed out along the offensive line as well. Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern offensive guard Chuma Edoga and Philadelphia St. Joseph's Prep tackle Jon Runyan Jr. both looked strong in the competitive portion of the day. Neither holds a Michigan offer, but it's possible that changes after camp.
Runyan earned an offer before Edoga, obviously; that's likely because Runyan projects to tackle, while Edoga is an interior prospect, an area where the Wolverines have more depth.
As for Runyan's film, 247's Clint Brewster broke down the tape and came away very impressed with his technique ($):
A pure technician, Runyan Jr. does everything right with flawless technique, the right feet, the right hand pop and the ability to handle himself well against all types of pass rushers. He is quick off the blocks with plus athleticism and won’t be out-hustled by the high motor types. Runyan Jr. does a great job of getting out of his stance and downfield when pulling or on screens.
Areas for improvement include size—which, in this case, may actually be improved aside from just adding muscle mass—and playing with more aggression and physicality, which should come with the added size. Runyan has a long way to go in that regard, though with more than two years before he suits up in a Michigan uniform he has plenty of time to develop.
Michigan was Runyan's first offer. He also visited Ohio State (camp) and Penn State (junior day) and fielded interest from Arizona, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, and Virginia, per 247.
Though his family lives in New Jersey, the state Runyan's father represents in Congress, Jon Jr. goes across state lines to attend school at Philadelphia St. Joseph's Prep. While St. Joe's hasn't produced a four-star prospect in the Rivals era (2002-present), they did develop a fine Michigan player in linebacker Victor Hobson, a 2002 all-conference selection who spent six years in the NFL. This is Google's mini-profile for Victor Hobson:
He's aged gracefully, I guess.
Lineman, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the sites list a 40 time, which is largely irrelevant for an offensive lineman anyway. Runyan's athleticism comes in for high praise, so he should be fine here.
Like Brewster, I'm impressed with Runyan's jump off the snap and quick feet. I would also like to see him bury a few more guys into the dirt.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I see Runyan as a player who could take some time to find a home positionally. He's got the long, lean frame of a tackle—he looks like he could easily pack on 50-60 good pounds over the next few years—but as of right now lacks the ideal height for the position. As said above, there's a good chance he grows into that tackle height. If he doesn't—or if he comes to campus still too skinny to play on the line—the coaches have discussed another possibility ($):
Currently, Runyan Jr. comes in at 6-foot-4, 250-pounds, and says he is being recruited to play multiple positions once he gets to Ann Arbor.
“Coach Funk says he sees me as an offensive tackle,” Runyan Jr. said. “And coach Ferrigno says he wants me at tight end. So I really don’t know, but I probably will play offensive tackle.”
If I had to guess a career arc for Runyan, I'd go with a slightly shorter version of former Buckeye Reid Fragel. Fragel came to Columbus as a 6'8", 250-pound tight end, and played that position during his first three seasons on the field, essentially as an extra tackle (he caught 14 passes in three seasons). For his senior season, Fragel moved to right tackle, starting all 12 games there last season and earning all-conference honorable mention while weighing in at 310 pounds. With the offensive coaches looking to throw a bevy of different looks at opposing defenses, I wouldn't be surprised to see Runyan utilized as a blocking tight end until he fills out.
As for the outlook on the line, the projected tackles on campus when Runyan arrives will be current redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson, incoming freshmen Chris Fox and Logan Tuley-Tillman, and 2014 commit Juwann Bushell-Beatty, plus perhaps another tackle in both the 2014 and 2015 classes. Runyan seems very likely to redshirt; from there, he'll compete for a spot on the depth chart.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
As I said in the Andrew David post, it's far too early to give an accurate figure about scholarship availability in the 2015 class, though at the moment it's expected to be a small group. Runyan helps fill a pressing need at tackle, though I'd expect the Wolverines to go after at least one more in both the 2014 and 2015 classes.
It's become tradition for early Michigan commits to take charge and recruit their classmates, and Runyan told The M Block that he's looking to help out the coaches like Shane Morris and Michael Ferns before him:
Recruiter: "I think I'm up for the challenge to recruit other guys. I was talking to Michael Ferns last night. I think I can do it. We were just talking about Michigan stuff. I saw the t-shirt thing he did on his Twitter, but we didn't really talk about it though. I don't think I can top that." (Laughs)
Don't be surprised if the Runyans get a crate of shirts shipped from St. Clairsville, Ohio, before too long.
Michigan picked up their first* commitment of the 2015 class last night when Massillon (OH) Washington kicker Andrew David pledged mere hours after receiving his Wolverine offer. David worked out for the coaches recently and clearly impressed the staff with his ability. For their part, the coaches didn't have to do much to convince David, a lifelong Michigan fan, that Ann Arbor is the place for him ($):
“I grew up a Michigan fan,” David said. “My wardrobe and my carpet in my room are maize and blue. It was a lifelong dream to go there and now it’s coming true. It’s awesome.”
David is now joined in the class by PA OL Jon Runyan Jr., whose commitment post will be up later.
*Sort of: current grayshirt commit FL DT Brady Pallante will join the team in 2015, as well.
|Scout||Rivals||ESPN||247 Sports||247 Comp.|
|NR K||NR K||NR K||NR K||NR K|
Yes, the kicker from the future is unranked on the sites that pay attention to kickers only after they commit. For a better idea at what Michigan is getting, we look to Chris Sailer Kicking, which ranks David as the #6 kicking prospect in the 2015 class; he's the only committed player on the list, and interestingly the lone Midwest kicker to crack the top 50.
For the sake of comparison, Sailer ranked 2013 preferred walk-on J.J. McGrath 68th in the 2013 class. Make no mistake, David is a big-time prospect at his position.
Surprise! The evaluations start with... Chris Sailer, who's already updated David's profile since his commitment:
Andrew is a great young kicker. A fine athlete with a strong leg. Field goals are outstanding. He is smooth, technically sound, and consistent. Kickoffs are solid and will only continue to improve. Also shows punting ability. Makes great strides each time we see him. Is going to be a top kicker in this class for years to come. Has the right attitude and excellent work ethic. Great prospect. Nice early pick up for Michigan!
Don't get thrown off by the 4.5-star rating (by Sailer's system, between a D-I and D-II prospect), as that's the highest rating he's given out for the 2015 class thus far — those will obviously be updated after the next round of camps. A further explanation of why Sailer's rankings are relied upon so heavily comes from a local news article on David:
“If you’re in the top 10 with Sailer, then you should be a scholarship kicker at the BCS level,” [Scout's Bill] Greene said. “That’s how important that is.”
One of the reasons why kicking gurus like Sailer are important is college head coaches really don’t know what they’re getting in a kicker.
“A ranking like Sailer for kickers is actually bigger than the Elite 11,” Greene said. “Those college coaches get a kid on campus and they know what they want in a quarterback. Coaches have no clue about kickers. Urban Meyer knows about quarterbacks. ... Coaches know they don’t know more about kicking prospects than Sailer.
At the Sailer kicking competition last winter, David finished second in the highlight event, "Last Man Standing", connecting on a 55-yard field goal and just missing a 58-yarder in the final round.
David burst onto the scene as a freshman at Massillon, when early in the season he faced a 46-yard field goal into the wind and drilled it—despite thinking he had mis-hit the kick:
“Every kick’s got to be the same,” David said this week. “I knew there was some wind gust. I knew if I hit it right and hit it straight that I have the power to get it there. I followed through, kept my head down and hit it.”
Even with all of that, he admitted to not knowing whether he had put it through the uprights. In fact, to him, things just didn’t feel right when the ball left his right foot.
“At first, I really didn’t think it was going in,” David said. “I turned around and got my stuff. I was pretty mad, then I heard everybody start to cheer. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t really think I hit it that well. I got it off the front of my foot, but I got it.”
When working out for Michigan's coaches, David showed off his power and accuracy in earning an offer ($):
"They had me kick off the ground, not with the tee, and I hit 14 of 15 kicks from 50 yards," David continued. "It was a great workout and I felt I did my best. My kickoffs were strong also, and I thought they would offer, although I didn't know it would be this soon. For me, there was no reason to wait, because Michigan is the only school I've ever thought of attending. This is a definite dream come true for me and my family."
Even for an elite kicker, this is early for a player to be that proficient at kicking without a tee; this should allow David to be more college-ready than most incoming freshmen at his position.
Michigan was the first school to offer David a scholarship. Given his Wolverine allegiance, I'd expect they'll be the last, too.
Massillon Washington is one of Ohio's most storied football programs, claiming 24 state championships and nine national titles. Michigan's recent history with the program has been, well, a little rocky: their marquee commit from the Tigers was 2009 five-star bust Justin Turner, and in the 2013 class Gareon Conley made a well-publicized flip from Michigan to Ohio State.
David is 6-of-11 on field goals of 40-yards the last two years of varsity football. That includes a 46-yarder as a freshman that he drilled at InfoCision Stadium in a game against Hoban. He is 88-of-95 on PATs and 13-of-24 on field goals.
He was better as a sophomore having converted 56 of 61 PAT kicks and he hit three field goals in a win against McKinley last year. He scored 13 points in that game.
As important is his booming kickoffs. Of his 74 kickoffs, 31 went for touchbacks.
FAKE 40 TIME
He's a kicker.
This video from a Sailer camp shows all of two kicks, but it gives you an idea of David's leg strength:
If you're really curious, the "David Andrew" Hudl page features remarkably extensive highlights from both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
When David gets to campus, both Brendan Gibbons and Matt Wile will be gone from the program, leaving him to compete with 2013 walk-on J.J. McGrath (and perhaps another walk-on or two, as well) for the starting job at both placekicker and kickoff specialist. Since we're talking about the fickle position of kicker here, I won't bother to make any attempt at a prediction about David's career; being a top-ten prospect nationally is a good start, though.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The 2015 class, at this point, is projected to be very small (like, <15 players), but with a year-and-a-half until their signing day any number put forth right now is certain to grow. We do know this: Michigan has their kicker and are done recruiting at that position, both for the 2014 class (at least as far as scholarships go) and 2015.
The Game 1974 via Bentley
With the new bowl lineup I thought I'd delve into the conference's history with the things this week. Chart of sane bowl names is here.
We whomped Stanford in 1901 so bad they canceled bowl games for a decade.
Rose or Bust.
For a time there was only the Rose Bowl. Then others began to pop up and the Big Ten wouldn't let teams go (Ohio State snuck over to Pasadena after the 1920 season but that was it). Then they said only one team may take a bid from the Rose Bowl.
It's been nearly 40 years and yet any Michigan fan over 50 still shakes with anger at it: In 1973 Michigan and Ohio State met in one of the more epic battles in that epic ten-year war. After Michigan missed three field goals in the 4th quarter the game—and thus the Big Ten title race—ended in a tie. In the process the Wolverines' starting quarterback Denny Franklin was busted up. Woody Hayes, never a particularly classy individual, made an uninformed remark to the media that he's sorry Franklin wouldn't be able to play in the bowl game. In part because they believed Michigan would be without Denny, the conference's athletic directors voted to send Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.
The following year Michigan did make their game-winning field goal, but the officials missed it and there was no replay, and Ohio State again went to Pasadena. Since the Big Ten wouldn't let its teams attend any other bowl, both times a more deserving Michigan had to stay home. Overall Franklin and the Wolverines managed to go three years (1972-'74) without a bowl game despite going 30-2-1 over that span.
The whole concept was as mind-blowingly ridiculous as it seems, and the following year the conference finally got rid of the rule that had become outdated due to...
The conference deigned to allow its teams to go to bowls again only after WWII, and then it was "you can only go to the Rose Bowl if they invite you." Once the Big Ten released its members it sparked a new round of bowl expansion (click to inbigmatate):
Note the Y axis is "Bowl Teams" not games—divide by two to get # of games. Some oddities: Michigan wasn't in the Big Ten from 1907 to 1916, not that it made any difference. Having one yellow dot in the bowl picture looks ridiculous. Michigan State went to an Orange Bowl before joining the conference. Penn State and Nebraska obviously went to plenty of bowls before they joined. Ohio State turned down its Rose Bowl bids in 1960 and '61 because of academics(!); Minnesota went in their stead.
Since the bowl field expanded, the Big Ten's tie-ins have gone through a series of confusing shifts, order only recently having been brought into the process. Owing to its TV draw and instant draw the bowls have typically taken Michigan almost as soon as they're allowed to. As a result when you look at the conference's bowl history you can see Michigan tends to go early even in its rough years.
This is ordered by selection (starting from the left). Historically Michigan has been selected higher than its standing in the conference, the more so the lower down we get. For example in 1984 Michigan received an at-large Holiday Bowl bid—effectively the conference's third selector after the Rose and then the
Cotton Peach took Purdue as an at-large—despite finishing behind Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and tied with Michigan State, whom we lost to that year. Since then there have been progressively more stringent so-Michigan-State-won't-cry rules placed by the conference on the bowls for which teams they can select. Before it was they have to be within 1 or 2 losses of each other. Under the new system there's a tier:
The New Lineup and the Golden Vagina:
1. Teams selected by the playoff committee go to the Golden Vagina Playoff.
2. If the champion is still around they go to the Rose Bowl (vs Pac-12 or at-large), or the Orange Bowl (vs SEC or at-large) in years the Rose are the playoff hosts (2014 and every three years after).
3. BCS bowls can extend an at-large bid.
4. Citrus Bowl (SEC), Outback Bowl (SEC) and Holiday Bowl (Pac-12). Those bowls will unofficially switch off who gets first pick but really the conference will be sitting there negotiating who gets which school with the goal of rewarding better teams and changing things up a bit. Said Delany:
"Someone will obviously select first, but they may or may not get the team they want because that team may have been in that region two years in a row. We're trying to make sure there’s freshness. It's hard when a team goes to say Florida five times in six years to get them really excited."
5. Gator or Music City (SEC), San Francisco (Pac-12), and Pinstripe (ACC). The first two switch off with that bid.
6. Heart of Dallas or Ft. Worth Armed Forces Bowl (Big 12), Motor City Bowl (TBA)
The only way the Big Ten champ will play the Pac 12 champ is if both are seeded as such in the playoff, or both miss the playoff. I am guessing it will not happen very often. The tier system is a rather eloquent method of handling the problem of Michigan State's blubbering over bowls falling over themselves to avoid them. See? You're on the same tier. Everyone on the same tier is the same.
The new system does have its problems:
- Not all of the payouts on each tier are equivalent right now—that seems like it can be negotiated.
- In a scenario where Michigan State beats Michigan in the regular season, thus winning the tiebreaker to get into the Big Ten Championship Game, and MSU subsequently loses that game and is no longer BCS eligible because they're ranked too low now, and Michigan is still ranked high enough for a BCS bid and gets one, Michigan State will still cry.
- In any given scenario, Michigan State will find a reason to cry.