mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
As caught by—prepare yourselves for a username—MGoUser "Every Roh Has Its Thorn," Redshirt freshman-to-be Kaleb Ringer has put an "FSU" in his twitter handle and adorned his page with that bulldog hockey fans know and no one else does. Usually this means the guy in question has left the team, though in this case Ringer does still have some Michigan stuff around.
The handle change from "Ring_RingUM" to "Ring_RingFSU" is pretty indicative, though. Further supporting data: his brother is at Ferris and he tweeted "big brah I'm on my way" recently. That could mean anything, sure. This not so much:
I put my internet sleuth hat on. I declare he's outie, as the kids said like ten years ago. I have taken the hat off. I feel bereft.
Ringer sat out last year with an undisclosed injury that I've heard was a knee issue. If that robbed him of some of his athleticism he may have chosen to keep playing instead of taking a medical scholarship. Whichever it was, I'd heard that there was a possibility he wouldn't make it to year two a while ago.
The on-field impact should mainly be felt on special teams. Ringer wasn't going to be on the two deep at ILB with Morgan, Bolden, Ross, and Jenkins-Stone ahead of him and probably wouldn't have gotten many snaps this year.
This does bring Michigan down to 85 even if they bring back suspended punter Will Hagerup. Hagerup recently said something on Facebook that suggested he'd learned he would be reinstated; it wouldn't surprise me if the two events were related. IE: Hagerup got booted down to walk-on and now has to get in line. Just speculation, that.
Michigan currently has 15 scholarships for their next recruiting class, and with normal rates of attrition should get to 18-20. Ringer is the first member of the 2012 class to leave; it stands at 24. Here's Ringer's recruiting post if you'd like to reminisce.
"East Lansing's Big Ten Team" Doesn't Have The Same Allure, For Some Reason
It's been a quiet week, relatively speaking, for Michigan recruiting, so today's roundup kicks off with an update on the program making a serious run for the #3 spot in the Big Ten recruiting rankings: Northwestern.
Yes, you read that right.
No, seriously, you read that right.
The Wildcats built upon their on-field success under Pat Fitzgerald with a solid recruiting class in 2013, landing consensus four-star QB Matt Alviti, underrated RB Godwin Igwebuike, and a solid group of three-stars—not just Midwest kids, either, with signees hailing from Texas (3), California (3), Florida, and New Jersey.
On the heels of a ten-win season and their first bowl win in 63 years, Northwestern is now poised to put together their best recruiting class in... ever? The Wildcats have already hauled in another four-star signal-caller, Clayton Thorson, giving Northwestern future four-star depth at quarterback, a position where they've already managed to turn an array of middling recruits with varying levels of scrambling ability into competent (at the very least) conductors of their up-tempo spread in recent years. Now the Wildcats have jumped up to 19th(!) in the 247 Composite Team Rankings after reeling in MI OL Tommy Doles and OH ATH Dareian Watkins in the last week.
Doles, of course, was long thought to be a heavy Michigan lean—I lost count of the number of times the Grand Rapids Christian product has been on campus in the last year. Given his other offers—Army, Air Force, Iowa State, and Northwestern—and the fact that he seemed on the verge of committing for months, it appears Doles' choice has as much to do with Michigan backing off as Northwestern coming on strong; regardless, the Wolverines should be fine when it comes to O-line recruiting, and the academic-minded Doles found a great fit from an on- and off-field perspective in Evanston.
Watkins, who announced his choice this morning, is the more interesting example of a prospect choosing the Wildcats over several Big Ten (and beyond) options previously thought to be more desirable. Michigan State was his other finalist, and he also held offers from Illinois, Iowa, Louisville, Maryland, NC State, Penn State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others. When Watkins' father explained his choice, Northwestern's academics were cited as a huge reason for the commitment, but the football reasons played a large role as well ($) [emphasis mine]:
"We're all very very excited about the chance to go to Northwestern. We think it's not just an amazing academic opportunity, but an amazing football opportunity. The academics overshadow the football part sometimes, but Coach Fitz has turned the program around. They were 10-3 last year, won the Gator Bowl against an SEC football team, and he was 2-0 against the SEC last year. We think it's undervalued what they are as a football program. As much he chose a life path, he's also very competitive. He wants to be part of a Big Ten Championship and compete for national championships and we think that can be done at Northwestern."
We'll, um, see about the national championships, but there's no question Fitzgerald has put the program in a position to contend for conference titles.
Unlike me, Brian is willing to wade into the shallow end* of the RCMB, and he passed along this glorious response to the usual unhinged ranting following Watkins pledging to Not Michigan State:
*There is no deep end, thankfully. It's actually an inflatable kiddie pool filled with horse manure.
[For the rest of the roundup, including updates on Jamarco Jones, Clifton Garrett, and Jae'Sean Tate, hit THE JUMP.]
Previously: Last year's pile.
Our annual kickoff reminder about what "You May Remember Me From Such Players As" is: a playing-style comparison, not a projection. If player X works out, he'll probably remind you of player Y. Player Y is usually pretty good since he's had a successful-enough career that you probably have an idea of what he plays like.
|Trotwood, OH – 6'2", 175|
|Scout||3*, #42 CB|
|Rivals||3*, UR ATH, #52 OH|
|ESPN||3*, 77, #41 CB|
|24/7||3*, #87 CB, #58 OH|
|Other Suitors||Arizona, Pitt, UVA, Purdue, Illinois, Cinci, WVU|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Trotwood-Madison (Roundtree, Shaw, Moore, classmate McCray). Cousin of Dermontti Dawson. Twitter.|
Here is his hudl page as well, which has senior stuff.
Are you a large human? If so, large human, I have good news for you. Michigan is going to recruit you.
Reon Dawson kicks off this year's recruiting profile series because 1) for whatever reason I've always started from the DBs and worked my way towards quarterback and 2) it seems thematically appropriate to kick things off with one of three(!) 6'2" cornerbacks Michigan brought in, now that Dymonte Thomas is threatening to start at nickel. Since Dawson was a 1-for-1 replacement of Gareon Conley, another 6'2" player Michigan wanted to bring in at corner, Dawson is the most thematically appropriate player of the three. Michigan is going to be big, everywhere, and if their original plans are thwarted they'll go get a similarly big plan B, in fact the kind of Plan B that causes Ohio recruiting analysts to compare him to the plan A($).
As far as Dawson goes, he is large, fast clay for Mallory to shape into a cornerback. Like seemingly every wide receiver Michigan's bringing in for 2014, Dawson thought his meal ticket would be basketball and came up a few inches short. As a result, you can put him in the "raw" pile($):
“I didn’t play my freshman year because I thought I was going to go to college for basketball or track. I really didn’t play my sophomore year. I got in a couple games, but junior year was when I really stepped on the scene with Cam and all of them. They really made me better because going against them every day. You’ve got to get better or you’re going to be on the sideline. I’ve got good recovery speed, I’ve got good ball skills, I’m long, and that allows me to check longer receivers. When I went to Illinois they measured me at 6-2, 175.”
That height and weight is a lot more credible than the 4.39 he supposedly ran at Alabama's camp in his first-ever attempt at a 40 yard dash. Southern speed, man. Also Ohio speed, I guess, as he claimed the same time($) at an OSU camp.
Even if that gets five FAKES on the fake 40 scale, Dawson does get called fast quite a bit. ESPN praises($) his "quick feet, smooth hips and very good top end speed"; Josh Helmholdt's first impression of him($) was "very tall for a cornerback and very fast"; Mark Givler notes his "tremendous top end speed".
In fact, a couple folks called Dawson just about an ideal athlete for defensive back. Givler again:
- Tall, long-armed athlete that fits the mold of what college coaches are looking for in their defensive backs.
- Still very raw in coverage, has a tendency to hesitate before making his breaks.
Notes: Dawson went from a virtual unknown going into last summer to a player that now holds several BCS conference offers. Dawson was a starter and key contributor on Trotwood's state championship team this past fall and has an impressive combination of size and speed. Though he's still a work in progress in coverage, Dawson will likely end up as a defensive back but it would be interesting to see what he could do at wide receiver.
And Allen Trieu:
Tall corner with long arms. Good speed and athleticism. Has good instincts and good ball skills. Is relatively inexperienced and needs to work on his technique and get stronger, which will improve his tackling, although he has been proven to be a reliable open field tackler. High upside guy with ideal physical tools for the position.
247's analysis goes with "excellent physical tools."
[HIT THE JUMP for THE CATCH dangit you probably just want the positive stuff I suck at jumps]
As a youngster, I was lucky enough to be exposed early and often to the unparalleled experience of listening to Keith Jackson call a college football game. While I was too young to fully appreciate this before his first retirement in 1998, even as a shortsighted high school senior I knew well enough to savor every word when he called the classic 2006 USC-Texas title game, his last on the mic.
In the years since, his absence has become as tangible as his presence—while I enjoy, or at least respect, the likes of Brent Musburger, Verne Lundquist, Joe Tessitore, and Sean McDonough, none comes remotely close to capturing the essence of college football as eloquently or charmingly as Jackson. (This is no slight, of course. Legends are not legends if they're easily replaced.)
I thought about Keith Jackson today, oddly enough, after seeing this tweet from Spencer Hall, which on its face has absolutely nothing to do with Keith Jackson:
— edsbs (@edsbs) May 3, 2013
After the initial conniption fit over the existence of such a magnificent name, I actually got sad, because I imagined the possibility of Keith Jackson saying the words "Brodarious Hamm" in his understated, melodic Southern drawl. He'd say it just like any other name—enunciating flawlessly, elongating just the right syllables, leaving plenty of space for the words to breathe—accompanied with a typically Jacksonian turn of phrase: "Tackle made by 310-pound freshman Brooo-darious Hamm. If he keeps eating his cornbread, he'll be man-sized one day."*
This caused me to do three things. The first was to abandon whatever crappy post I was writing at the time. The second—compile a very incomplete list of 2014 recruit names that I wish I could hear Keith Jackson say during the course of a broadcast:
- Lorenzo Featherston
- Kentavius Street
- Bentley Spain
- Raekwon McMillian (and if Jackson called him "The Chef", I would immediately die the world's happiest death)
- Adarius Pickett
- T'Kevian Rockwell
- Malachi Dupre
- Dontavius Blair
- C'yontai Lewis
- Breeland Speaks
(Did I put together this list exclusively by scrolling through Alabama and LSU targets on the 247 database? Well, duh.)
The third, out of curiosity, was check Google to see if a Keith Jackson soundboard existed online, because certainly there must be one. Remarkably, there is not, at least that I can find. This is the first result:
I've never been more disappointed in the Internet.
*The cornbread line is something he said, verbatim (if memory serves), about a 300-pound freshman Texas defensive lineman during that final game. To the very end, Keith still had it, every bit of it. I imagine he still does.
more like #gameofthrowns amirite
In ur pocket, disrupting ur mechanics. Bruce Feldman started tweeting pictures of some guy shoving a broom at Devin Gardner and I was like "er?" Turns out one George Whitfield is a famous quarterback-coaching guy. QB Yoda, if you will. The broom is an effort to break a quarterback's mechanics down:
I talked to some front office guys, scouts and coaches, and two AFC East teams did a study of pocket-passing analytics. Both teams found that 60 percent of the time the quarterback had to make some sort of adjustment or escape before getting a throw off. Only 40 percent of the time did he take the designated drop and make a clean attempt at a throw.
If that happens behind millionaire offensive linemen being coached by millionaire coaches in billionaire leagues, you don’t get any higher than that. Two in five plays.
The first thing we do with elementary-aged kids is start them throwing on the run. I don’t care about his three-step drop. You can really improve his football quality of life if you can teach that little guy how to throw on the run.
He's all about the many plays when things don't go quite right and the quarterback has to do something other than make a perfect step-up-and-throw. Gardner still has a tendency to float balls in these situations as he reverts to his wonky high school motion.
Kyle Meinke has a roundup of all the Whitfield-related stuff you may need. He seems to think Gardner is good at football:
— George Whitfield Jr. (@georgewhitfield) May 2, 2013
Hopefully he'll need less of that than an average quarterback what with Lewan and Schofield keeping him clean.
Gold in them thar hills. Continuing a theme:
Sai Tummala has decided to decline the scholarship offer from Husker Coach Tim Miles and will instead go back home and play for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Yeah, you vaguely remember Tummala as a guy who walked on at Michigan a couple years ago. He departed for a JUCO, blew up, and was a late signing who apparently had offers from a half-dozen schools including Pitt(!) and BYU(!). John Beilein can pick 'em, man.
In other news, Nebraska's taking a look at a Finnish power forward this weekend. This is now the other half.
I no longer prospect as much though, because the gold nuggets are coming to me. Baumgardner caught up with WI SF/PF Kevon Looney's coach:
"He's definitely interested in Michigan," Looney's AAU coach, Shelby Parrish, told MLive.com. "He likes Michigan's style of play, he likes coach Beilein -- he's very interested in him."
Looney is going to cut down to five and take officials from there. Scout has also been buzzing about potential Elite Camp visits by Devin Booker and Kameron Chatman. All of those guys are in the top 40; Looney is top ten.
UMHoops talked with 2015 C Stephen Zimmerman:
Zimmerman has also been in constant contact with Michigan — he said he’s been speaking with Michigan’s coaching staff about “once or twice a week for the past three weeks.”
“I’ve been talking to them a lot more recently,” Zimmerman said. “They seem like a great coaching staff and everything. It’s a great school.”
Maybe it's the product. Bacon has a different take on the languishing interest from students in showing up for football on time:
Getting mad at your paying customers for not liking your product as much as you think they should, then punishing them for it, is probably not something they teach at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. …
But if the athletic director didn’t ask the students what they thought about the new policy, or why they arrive late or not at all, I have a few hunches. Because tickets are so expensive now, and games take so long, the current students didn’t go when they were kids – which is when you get hooked on watching the band flying out of the tunnel and the players touching the banner. No matter how tired or hungover we were in college, we wouldn’t think of missing those moments.
Of course, our habit formed because we knew the game was going to start at 1:05, every Saturday, for years. Now it could be noon, or 3:30, or 8 – and sometimes they don’t tell you when until a couple weeks before the game.
Why? TV, of course. Which is to say, money.
Back then, we also knew Michigan would be playing a solid opponent – every game. In Bo Schembechler’s 21 seasons, they played 77 games against non-Big Ten teams. How many were not from major conferences? Exactly ten.…
When the students can show up for Michigan State, though…
I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but Bacon is right that the product has lost some of its luster. An annoyingly loud ad is an an annoying loud ad even if it's for renting Michigan Stadium or field hockey; prices are higher; times are random.
It's over. It does not matter that MSU might have a slightly easier schedule than Michigan in the crossover games unless they can beat M and OSU in any given year, but here's a hilarious statement from Mark Hollis:
“You’re gonna have MSU playing frequently in Chicago (against Northwestern),” Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis said this week on “The Drive with Jack” radio show on WVFN 730-AM in Lansing. “Minneapolis is another market that’s important to us. We put all those out there and Jim listened to us."
I wonder why that might be.
Yes please. If Zak Irvin ends up an upgrade over Tim Hardaway it'll be with defense and rebounding—they have similar offensive games. Irvin seems more inclined than Hardaway to be an impact player on the other end of the floor:
He'll fight for minutes with Stauskas, Robinson and sophomore Caris LeVert -- and he'll do it from day one. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"That's a good thing," he said. "Going against each other every day in practice is going to make us that much better. Defense is definitely going to be the difference-maker, though.
"Those of us who can play defense will be on the floor, especially at the end of games."
Coaches love to hear that.
"I'll play where they put me," he added.
He says his best spot is shooting guard, but he'll probably be a SF/PF at M. Not that there's much distinction in the offense.
Of course. Via WTKA's Ira Weintraub, Sirius is allowing you a chance to head out on the road with… POP EVILLLLL. And what better place to take in the second greatest-evil ever allowed into Michigan Stadium than the home of the first?
One winner and a guest will fly to Grand Rapids for a Pop Evil concert at the Orbit Room on May 17th where they will meet the band, then join them on the tour bus that night, heading to Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio for Rock on the Range on May 18th and 19th where they will have the chance to get on stage and intro the band! The prize also includes two nights’ stay in Columbus, OH and airfare home.
If you enter and win this, I will give you every MGoPoint that will fit in a 64-bit integer if you intro them as the worst thing to ever happen to Michigan football. This will get a great cheer from the crowd, and may not even be interpreted as an insult by the band.
Huh. Ace points out that in Football Study Hall's F+ rankings of the last few years of the Big Ten, Michigan's 2010 and 2011 offenses are in a dead heat near the top of the rankings:
Let the debates about whether Al Borges and Denard Robinson were a good fit rage in perpetuity. The 2011 crew made their hay with a ruthless devastation of OSU and the UTL fluketasm; they were maddeningly erratic, what with the trash tornado game and Iowa under center debacle. The previous year was fairly consistent until the grim end to the season, but never put the spurs to anyone of consequence.
Other notables: it will not surprise you to see the 2008 offense and 2010 defense on the awful lists; Michigan is in fact the only non-Minnesota/Indiana/Northwestern program to feature. Meanwhile, the two year-turnaround from the second-worst offense in the sample to the 4th-best is kind of amazing. Michigan has been the second-best offense in the league the past four years, but (surprise!) lags on defense.
Etc.: Denard is going to ditch Jags minicamp to come back and graduate. Stephen Ross called Jordan Kovacs personally when the Dolphins signed him. The SEC is chattering about nine conference games now. Also they're going to start picking which teams go to which bowls instead of vice versa. Glockner on the ridiculousness of the Lance Thomas thing from every direction. Michigan is going to be huge at WR/TE. Emmert still under fire.
or you could put it at the Meadowlands or whatever
Jim Delany's been saying the Big Ten's bowl picture is about to change significantly for a while now. An example from ESPN:
The Big Ten's future bowl lineup is starting to come into focus. There will be changes beginning in the 2014 season.
"It could be a lot," Delany told a group of reporters, including yours truly, on Wednesday.
Good, said everyone bored with central Florida. A couple of bowls on the hit list:
Two potential lineup additions are the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, a game the Big Ten has targeted for a while, and the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, where the two sides have mutual interest. Delany wants to keep a presence in Florida with games against the SEC, but it's unlikely the Big Ten will continue to play in three games -- Capital One, Outback and Gator -- every season. Remember also that Big Ten teams will appear in the Orange Bowl more often in the coming seasons.
With the expansion, the league is probably going to add a tie-in, FWIW. It does not sound like any of those exotic proposals wherein multiple conferences switch off a few bowls as dictated by attractiveness will fly.
What should the Big Ten do?
Diversify in both time and space. I'm sure the long-running Citrus matchup will continue; other than that let's get out of Florida, and honestly off of New Year's Day. The ridiculousness of four Big Ten teams playing at once on NYD has to weigh on TV executives as much as it does fans in this era of conference pride. (Or, in the Big Ten's case, conference hope-to-avoid-embarrassment.)
An ideal slate would have maybe two extra NYD games other than the Rose that go off at noon and eight plus a December 30th matchup at 8PM that acts as a lead-in to the new back-to-back tripleheaders. Also it would dump Tampa and Jacksonville for NYC and San Diego.
If the leagues were bold enough to move the Citrus to that slot that already-popular bowl would act as the gateway to a college football smorgasbord. Somebody is going to be playing at 8 on December 30th; the Big Ten would be wise to be a part of that.
Try to find some neutral ground. I hope one thing the Big Ten looks for when it's shopping itself around is neutral territory: playing a Big 12 team in San Francisco; playing a Pac-12 team in New Mexico, etc. If they do get in that NYC bowl that is a good start.
I'm doubtful they'll pull that off since bowl executives will be counting on ticket sales more heavily—as Andy Staples points out, one effect of this switch up is to get more favorable terms from bowl games since college football conferences finally realize bowl committees are useless relics. That means they'll be taking on more of the risk and they'll be focused on helping attendance as much as maximizing TV attractiveness.
Hell, just invent your own bowl game. My favorite piece of corporate-boardroom raiderdom in this era of profit maximization was the Big 12 and SEC creating the jointly-owned Champions Bowl, which became the Sugar Bowl except owned by the leagues. Seeya, blazers. I'd like to see the league explore that model with a game in Chicago or Indy that they provide a high-profile team to.
And someone put a dang bowl in Denver already, which is sunny with an average high near 50 in January, is easily accessible from anywhere in the country, has an iconic stadium, and is the winter sports capital of the country. Also, horses are associated with football.
BOWL GAME ON THE MOON. halp ive been hacked by mark hollis
UPDATE: some hints from the ACC: they're playing in the Pinstripe Bowl, probably against a Big Ten team, and they're getting back the Gator, so expect the B10 to dump Jacksonville. Also, how would this work?
There is also a good possibility that when the Big Ten plays in the Orange Bowl, the ACC will slide into the Big Ten’s slot in the Citrus Bowl.
No me gusta.