in town for free camps
Ian Bunting: Tall
Bunting and Funchess: Hopefully the football version of this minus the disappointment.
Tight end Ian Bunting was Michigan's lone representative* at Nike's invite-only camp The Opening, which wrapped up over the weekend. While he didn't crack any of the top performer lists I've seen, Bunting stood out in a more literal fashion, leading off 247's rundown of players with "eye-popping" measurements:
At 6-foot-6, Bunting measured in as the tallest prospect in attendance at The Opening. He also weighed in at 223 pounds and has added some strength to his frame, starting to look like a college tight end.
Bunting dealt with a balky hamstring during the combine and 7-on-7 sessions; with the injury, he recorded a 33-inch vertical leap and 5.0-second 40-yard dash ($). Assuming that 40 time improves when healthy, Bunting has some tantalizing measurables — combining that hamstring-hampered leap with his height puts Bunting at 9'3" off the ground, by my math, before he even puts his hands in the air. Putting him and Devin Funchess on the field at the same time could cause total matchup chaos for future Michigan opponents, especially in the red zone.
While slot receiver commit Freddy Canteen wasn't invited to The Opening, four-star CB Jalen Tabor told Sam Webb($) that he would've shined — a notable shout-out considering Tabor is one of the few to face Canteen in person:
“He’s got good routes. I definitely respect Freddy Canteen. We go at it all the time. That’s my man. We just had 7-on-7 at Maryland. The whole championship game it was just me and him. My coach said, ‘go get (Canteen).’ And they were testing me. We were going at each other. So I’ve definitely got a lot of respect for Freddy Canteen. He is going to be good in college.”
Asked if Canteen would've done well at The Opening, Tabor replied "without a doubt, yes." He also spoke highly of fellow corner Brandon Watson, specifically for his ability to jam receivers at the line: "I've seen him jam some people up... real good." Unsolicited praise about Michigan commits from a prospect who's not considering Michigan is always nice to see. This is your weekly Rank Our Guys Higher For Reasons update.
The Opening Recruiting Updates: It's Real, And It's Spectacular
(via SBNation Recruiting)
PA S Montae Nicholson could be Michigan's most realistic possibility to fill the final spot in the secondary, depending upon your thoughts—or the coaches', really—about Parrker Westphal's prospects as a safety. He continues to play his cards close to the vest, telling SBNation in the above video that he's still open to several schools, including Florida State and Stanford (skip to 1:48 for recruiting talk unless you want to hear Nicholson's thoughts on sneakers). Nicholson's recruitment should extend through official visits, and in a good sign for Michigan, the only one of those he's set up so far is for Michigan-ND in September. Penn State is another school that could make a run; Michigan being one of the first schools to recruit Nicholson should help them be in the mix until the very end.
Meanwhile, five-star CA ATH Juju Smith told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz at The Opening that, despite the distance factor, Michigan is very much a player in his recruitment ($):
For Michigan, the interest on Smith’s end is sincere, with an official visit to Ann Arbor set in stone this fall.
“It’s really real,” Smith told GoBlueWolverine. “On an honest level, Michigan is up there. They’re one of my top five, I’m taking an official visit, and hopefully I can see what they have for me.
Smith originally planned to take an official for the Notre Dame game but instead will be in Ann Arbor for The Game. Michigan would likely take him as a safety who could moonlight as a receiver; Smith's top schools—including Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, UCLA, and USC—have all mentioned the possibility of playing on both sides of the ball. While expectations should always be held in check when it comes to top-flight West Coast prospects, the Wolverines have a legitimate shot here.
Michigan also has a real chance at another top California product, four-star OLB Dwight Williams, who confirmed to Bogenschutz that he'll take an official for the Notre Dame game ($). Florida, the only other school scheduled to receive an official from Williams, may be the biggest competition for the Wolverines.
Four-star GA DE Andrew Williams — Do I consistently get him confused with Dwight Williams? Yes. — also attended The Opening; not only is Michigan among his leaders, but he'll be on campus soon, per Sam Webb ($):
Though not yet ready at the time of this interview to lay out his entire list of finalists, he did open up a bit regarding the Wolverines’ standing.
“They’re up there,” Williams replied when asked if Michigan is in his top five.
“I would love to get down there for the 19th. That’s definitely one visit I personally plan on taking. I’m definitely interested in Michigan.”
Michigan is firmly in the mix for Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell; Williams is quite the contingency plan should one (or both) of those two end up elsewhere.
*Drake Harris also received an invite, but couldn't attend due to summer school — if you missed the news, he did that to ensure that he can enroll early.
[Hit THE JUMP for LEONARD FOURNETTE VISIT POSSIBILITY (sirens), the latest on Shaun Crawford, and more.]
Minor crisis averted. Butler went with the other guy, not Lavall Jordan. Why is unclear—comfort level I guess since Jordan hasn't been at Butler in a while. And I don't care. Guy who molded Darius Morris and Trey Burke and is going to be a head coach someday soon is still at Michigan. Keep these guys together a couple more years and this thing is established big-time. After that happens I'd actually be in favor of some current assistants heading out to establish themselves an obvious pick when Beilein retires.
Meanwhile, the critical 2014 recruiting class (in which Michigan is actually slugging out high-profile recruitments instead of acquiring stars like Burke, GRIII, and Zak Irvin who were either under the radar or snatched so quickly no one else could get involved) may get a bump from the turnover in Indy.
Butler was widely assumed to be the leader for Indianapolis SF Trevon Bluiett, a top-50-ish player who's been tearing up the AAU circuit this summer. Scout's Brian Snow recently told GBW that he'd be "beyond shocked" if Bluiett didn't end up at Michigan or Butler, and there were a couple of different reports that the Bulldogs had been dropped. Immediately refuted reports…
Scout's Sam Webb, citing Bluiett's father -- Reynardo -- said his son had yet to speak with Miller, claiming Butler was still a player for his son.
…but I'd rather be the team that reports are not being refuted about.
I want one. The Michigan version is… uh… Bo punching out a tree? Fielding Yost riding roughshod over the Vatican? Whatever it is, Brady Hoke should get on the phone with Kliff Kingsbury and get an equivalent in Schembechler Hall:
BUT DOES IT COME IN VELVET
Now I'm envisioning a whole lineup of offensive murals, Pawnee City Hall style. The possibilities. The possibilities.
(Yes, that's Texas trying to Man Up Crab in the background.)
CAP HIM NOW. Messi's doing some sort of thing where he goes around playing charity matches. The most recent was in Chicago, had a Northwestern alum—their all-time leading scorer—on the other team, and, well:
That guy works in finance now. IE: he is not a professional. He's probably just happy he's not playing with a howling wind coming directly off Lake Michigan.
For health and other such items. Taboos now != taboos then.
NUKE URBAN MEYER. I'm a little unclear what's going on with this Aaron Hernandez thing but from what I can make out, Hernandez arrived at Florida straight from an ESPN laboratory in their hometown of Bristol, massive and unformed. After three years at Florida he was a combination of Dexter and Jeffery Dahmer, because Urban Meyer. Therefore Urban Meyer is basically Skynet creating the Terminator and should be bombed from space?
I think I have this straight. It fuzzy, though, because my brain keeps trying to drown itself when it tackles sentences like these:
At Florida, Meyer was the best in the business at winning.
At all costs.
Sadly, though, Aaron Hernandez now stands alongside Tim Tebow as a symbol of his UF program.
At Florida, Tebow was not only a great Gator.
He was Urban Meyer's greatest fumi-Gator.
Can the FCC force Mike Bianchi to change his twitter handle from @BianchiWrites to something that is not a flat-out lie? No? What about the elusive and abstract concept of justice?
If you want a fisk of this abomination, it has been fisked.
On the two for one. Kenpom looks at an array of statistics and concludes that yes, a two-for-one is generally the right move, but I should probably stop shouting "two for one!" at the end of the first half:
The two-for-one is a complicated issue, and it generally doesn’t provide as much benefit as one might think. Like the fouling-up-3 conundrum, if the strategy is executed perfectly, a large benefit is likely. But players aren’t robots, and all of the imperfect acts that can disrupt the strategy eat away at the potential benefit. Assuming the average gain is a fifth of a point, that’s worth slightly less than one percent in terms of win probability at the end of a half. A coach implementing this strategy will win one extra game out of 100 - and that’s out of 100 games where a two-for-one opportunity exists!
I will try to remember to never bring this up again as something that is important. Contrast that effect with the assertion Romer made about going for it on fourth down: you'd win an extra game every other year. Much larger effect there.
Never played the game. As you might imagine, I'm rather sensitive to assertions that you have to have Been In The Arena to comment on sports. This doesn't happen much these days, but a few months I checked my twitter mentions to find a dozen-tweet-long conversation between two BITA meatheads taunting me for not being an athlete and laughing at my assertion that Jordan Kovacs was a better safety than Ernest Shazor. I'm not sure what part of Being In The Arena makes you incapable of watching things and coming to obvious conclusions…
REMEMBER WHEN THIS ISH HAPPENED ALL THE TIME
…but this isn't rocket science, it's just paying attention systematically. Being In The Arena doesn't mean you do that. I mean. Matt Millen.
So yes I found Bill Barnwell's takedown of the player-generated NFL 100 list, which purports to be a ranking of the best guys in the game, delightful:
Only nerds and losers care about statistics, right? If anyone should know about the impact that the league's mauling guards and run-stuffing nose tackles have on the game, it's the guys who play alongside them in the trenches. You win from the lines out!
And yet, somehow, despite there being about three times as many offensive linemen on NFL rosters as there are running backs, there are 12 running backs against just six offensive linemen in the Top 100 Players list. Put it this way: 37.5 percent of the starting running backs in football are considered to be one of the top 100 players in football. That's better than one out of every three. Only 3.75 percent of the starting offensive linemen in football are considered to be one of the top 100 players in football.
That is just one of many, many problems that arise when you ask people unprepared to do something to do it. The Been In The Arena argument is 90% a request to take your thoughtless blather uncritically. NOPE
Etc.: Excellent Bryan Curtis piece on former Michigan baseballer Mike Cervenak, who is in his 15th year(!) in the minors with Toledo. Michigan voted the best uniforms in the Big Ten, which duh. Presumably this is a ranking of the actual uniforms, not the ghost unis from the bowl game. Burke in Utah, is betting favorite to be Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile in Joe Dumars, signs power forward who can't shoot to play small forward, duplicating strengths, ignoring weaknesses, and setting the Pistons up as—at best—an easy first-round victim. DBB's Mike Payne brings a flamethrower; do not get him mad at you.
The recruiting rankings get a bump after three recent Michigan commitments; while the Wolverines still hold the top spot, Ohio State has made a serious run of late to close the gap. Elsewhere, Rutgers goes for quantity, the Indiana schools battle for Not Last Place, a kid named Freedom commits on Independence Day, and Wisconsin comes to a mutual understanding with Taiwan Deal.
Changes since last rankings:
6-19-13: Rutgers picks up Brandon Russell. Michigan State picks up Jalen Watts-Jackson. Wisconsin picks up Dominic Cizauskas. Indiana picks up Willie Yarbary.
6-20-13: Ohio State picks up Jalyn Holmes. Rutgers picks up Jacob Kraut and Donald Bedell.
6-21-13: Ohio State picks up Stephen Collier. Michigan State picks up Gerald Owens and David Beedle. Iowa picks up Jameer Outsey. Indiana picks up Delroy Baker.
6-22-13: Iowa picks up Keegan Render.
6-23-13: Ohio State picks up Terry McLaurin.
6-24-13: Wisconsin picks up Michael Dieter. Illinois picks up Malik Turner. Maryland picks up Brett Kulka.
6-25-13: Wisconsin picks up Taiwan Deal. Maryland picks up Tyler Burke and Brendan Moore.
6-26-13: Rutgers picks up Adonis Jennings. Penn State picks up Troy Vincent Jr.
6-27-13: Ohio State picks up Jamarco Jones. Wisconsin picks up Austin Hudson. Iowa picks up Matt Nelson.
6-28-13: Rutgers picks up Kiy Hester and Jimmy Hogan.
6-29-13: Michigan picks up Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson.
7-1-13: Michigan picks up Noah Furbush. Penn State picks up Antoine White.
7-2-13: Illinois picks up Matt Domer. Indiana picks up Donovan Clark.
7-4-13: Nebraska picks up Monte Harrison and Freedom(!) Akinmoladun.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|247 Comp. Rank* (Nat'l Rank)||School||# Commits||5*||4*||3*||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||247 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
|2 (8)||Ohio State||14||0||9||4||3.36||3.57||3.64||3.50||3.52|
|3 (18) ↑2||Rutgers||20||0||2||17||2.80||2.85||2.85||3.05||2.89|
|4 (19) ↓1||Penn State||13||0||5||8||3.23||3.31||3.31||3.38||3.31|
|5 (25) ↑1||Michigan State||12||0||0||12||3.08||3.17||3.25||3.33||3.21|
|6 (26) ↓2||Northwestern||12||0||3||9||3.17||3.08||3.33||3.33||3.23|
|7 (37) ↑1||Wisconsin||10||0||2||7||3.00||3.20||3.00||3.10||3.08|
|8 (38) ↓1||Nebraska||11||0||0||10||2.91||2.64||2.82||3.00||2.84|
|10 (59) ↑1||Illinois||8||0||0||8||2.63||2.75||2.63||3.00||2.75|
|11 (64) ↑1||Maryland||8||0||0||6||2.75||2.50||2.75||3.00||2.75|
|12 (69) ↓2||Minnesota||5||0||1||4||3.00||3.40||3.20||2.80||3.10|
|13 (75) ↑1||Indiana||7||0||0||4||2.57||2.43||2.57||2.43||2.50|
|14 (76) ↓1||Purdue||6||0||0||4||2.33||2.67||2.67||2.83||2.63|
*Full rankings and explanation here.
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
The season so far, if it were a series of movies:
- Aug. 31: Back to School
- Sept. 7: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
- Sept. 14: The Expendables
- Sept. 21: Chariots of Fire
- Sept. 28: The Princess Bride
- Oct. 5: Any Chuck Norris movie
- Oct. 12: Shaun of the Dead
The last couple times we saw Indiana, unstoppable throw-god Ben Chappell took all the points from Tony Gibson and Bill Lynch took bubble gum out of his mouth. Jordan Kovacs was chasing Darius Willis from behind and everyone else was chasing Denard Robinson.
My goodness, how time flies. Gibson has since run out of points and Lynch has run out of gum. Kovacs stopped having to chase people, although people continued to chase Denard. Sometime at the end of 2010, everything collapsed momentarily and then exploded.
What we have now is a sort of post-apocalyptic situation where the folks in Bloomington are trying to remember how society, civilization, and football are supposed to work. The good news is that nearly everyone from last year is returning, ostensibly in an effort to learn from their mistakes and try to do better. Progress so far has been minimal but sustainable, and the earnest spirit is nice to see. The Hoosiers have learned how to advance themselves from the line of scrimmage, although they are still struggling with the concept of opposing defenses. To make matters worse, they are constantly ravaged by marauding running backs and wideouts.
Head coach Kevin Wilson seems intent on rebuilding the program from the ashes, though, and good on him for trying. Will Indiana finally make the leap in year three? Are they doomed to an endless cycle of promise and disappointment? Would the program be better suited for the MAC? Is this the real life? Are we actually living in the Matrix?
DUN DUN DUN.
Unstoppable throw-god lies low.
Indiana’s starting QB Tre Roberson broke his leg during the second game of 2012. Naturally, backup Cameron Coffman filled in and posted the Big Ten’s best passing yardage in 2012. Wait, what?
Yeah. These things happen sometimes. Even to Indiana! Which has had one winning season (2007) in the last 20 years!
Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Indiana’s quarterback might be good this year, I should point out the passing competency is a little exaggerated. Coffman completed 60.7% of his passes for 2734 yards at a 6.7 ypa clip. In any other conference that would be unremarkable (Big Ten!). The 15:11 TD:INT ratio is pretty pedestrian, too. The only thing Coffman’s stats tell us is that he threw a lot of passes – like 60 vs. Penn State a lot – not all of which were aimed downfield.
I’m not saying he’s not actually a decent player. The Big Ten just sucks. (Or prefers a nice running game as opposed to wussy throw-ball. However you want to spin that.)
Anyway, as a first-year starter Coffman was pretty streaky. There were plenty of moments of awesomeness (like throwing 3 TDs, 0 INTs against Michigan State) intermingled with general mediocrity. For example, here is awesomeness:
And here is not awesomness:
Over the course of the season he had really great performances against MSU, Ball State, and Iowa, and he tanked against Northwestern, Navy, and Purdue, of all teams.
If he gets the consistency thing down, the Hoosiers passing offense might actually be kind of good. The receivers will certainly be talented enough: Cody Latimer (51 rec, 805 yards, 6 TD), Shane Wynn (68 rec, 660 yards, 6 TD), and Kofi Hughes (43 rec, 639 yard, 3 TD) were first, second, and third on the team in yardage last season, and they all return. At 6-3, Latimer and Hughes are the bigger downfield targets; Wynn is the 5-7 smurf trying to juke guys. I’d expect at least one of them to crack 1,000 yards this season.
If Indiana wants win games, one of them will pretty much have to. That’s because the ground game is pretty stinky. RB Stephen Houston will be a senior this fall, and he has his own consistency issues to work out. Last season he was more cold than hot, although he did manage to end up with 749 yards, 12 touchdowns and a 4.7 ypc average. His 10-ish carries a game as the team’s top rusher suggests that he got his yards mostly by surprising opponents with the ball. As far as ability goes, he’s the type of player that lives and dies by his offensive line, which is bad news for him because his offensive line is crap. Against the competent defenses of MSU, Wisconsin, and Penn State, Houston barely averaged 2.0 ypc.
To put the ground game in perspective, Indiana finished at the bottom of the conference in rushing attempts. That’s a pretty solid vote of no-confidence. But hey, they all return! One year older, one year better, hoorah.
Speaking of guys returning, the whole Coffman-led offense thing could go entirely out the window if Roberson gets his job back.
This photo would be way cooler if they were playing futbol.
Well this looks pretty GERGian. Indiana gave up 35.3 points per game in 2012, and they’re not even a little bit ashamed because they beat Iowa.
So what’s there to look forward to in 2013? Lots and lots of points.
The Hoosiers defensive coordinator is Doug Mallory. He’s the son of former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory and older brother of current Michigan DB coach Curt Mallory’ older brother. Like Curt, Doug also played DB for Michigan under Bo. At the moment, the data on his ability to DC are incomplete. Mallory inherited Tony Gibson’s negative infinity points (literally, since Gibson actually went to Indiana for a little while [ED: Actually that was Greg Frey and Rod Smith; Gibson went to Pitt. Uh, let's pretend his spirit was at Indiana, though.]) two seasons ago and has probably been popping antidepressants ever since. In his moments of clarity he’s done well enough to improve total defense by two points per game up from the 37.3 they gave up in 2011. And here’s a nice little stat I guess: in 2012 the Hoosiers led the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss. That’s progress, and progress is happiness.
While the defense returns 10 starters this season, it loses its two relatively talented players in DT Adam Replogle and DT Larry Black, Jr. Even with those guys, however, Indiana gave up 5.3 ypc, good for 8th worst in all of college football. How will the Hoosiers replace them? I don’t know. I feel bad naming anyone because publicly associating individuals with the Indiana defense has to be a HIPAA violation of some sort.
But I suppose I should. This is why we’re here after all.
So. Senior S Greg Heban will be the main guy trying to chase people down from behind. He had 68 solo tackles last year, so it looks like he was pretty good at catching them at least. Good for him. He also had 7 tackles for loss and a sack, so it looks like he has some blitzing ability. For comparison’s sake let’s call him Hoosier Kovacs.
Hoosier Kovacs will be assisted in running-after-people-and-occasionally-blitzing by fellow safety Mark Murphy (70 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack), and sophomore LB David Cooper (86 tackles, 9 TFLs, 3 sacks). Together those three will serve as the entire defense while others stand around having intense internal struggles about spots and getting to them.
This team is kind of like: Northwestern’s dystopian alternate reality.
Vs. Michigan: Michigan’s defense will probably play a nickel the entire game, which means we should see a lot of Dymonte Thomas. Seven games into the season seems like a pretty good time for a true freshman to blow up.
Other than that I think the only other thing to pay attention to in this game is when to do the wave. I always miss the first go-around.
Anyway, here is some fun stuff from 2010:
- Aug. 29, Indiana State
- Sept. 7, Navy
- Sept. 14, Bowling Green
- Sept. 21, Missouri
- Sept. 28, BYE
- Oct. 5, Penn State
- Oct. 12, @Michigan State
- Oct. 19, @Michigan
- Oct. 26, BYE
- Nov. 2, Minnesota
- Nov. 9, Illinois
- Nov. 16, @Wisconsin
- Nov. 23, @Ohio State
- Nov. 30, Purdue
Outlook: 5-7 overall, 2-6 B1G
- Wins: Indiana State, Bowling Green, Illinois, Purdue
- Too close to call: Navy, Minnesota
- Losses: Missouri, Penn State, @Michigan State, @Michigan, @Wisconsin, @Ohio State
Dilemma: The HTTV proofs were delivered at the same time as the game.
First a confession: the last time I bought EA's college football game was 10 (the 2009 season) for PS2. I used to get it every year from the Woodson cover to the Desmond cover and play until it was taking more time than I could excuse because an exercise bike was involved. The exception was '05, which I played for four days before going back to 2004, still the gold standard of the series.
The versions I had were all great for power runs to set up bombs but in the summer of 2009 I was mostly interested in wrecking offensive rushing records with Rich Rod's offense. Like anybody with a touch of ASD, I cannot play until I've filled in and fiddled around with Michigan's rosters. Tate Forcier was like an 80 overall when I was done. Denard was probably set to move to cornerback—remember this was the 2009 offseason, when old men in conference hotels were dancing to Weapon of Choice:
Then I started playing and videogame Forcier would throw 8 interceptions per game because linebackers could leap 100 feet in the air. There was no such thing as an incomplete pass; you threw screens or you threw interceptions. It took just three games for my frustration to turn me off from the series and turn me into one of those people who delights in The Consumerist ripping on EA. Other than goofing around on my 2004 dynasty NCAA the game was dead to me.
Then they put Denard on the cover (and the wife let me get a PS3 once I proved how awesome it is at Netflix). And since I'd moved on from guy at convention hotels to guy who works for a college football blog, it turned out I could get an advance copy of the thing with Denard on the cover in return for telling people how I felt about it. A part of me finds it ridiculous that I can get away with this. Since I've been out of things for awhile (and Misopogal has grown skeptical over all this "work" I've been putting in) I'm gonna deliver the game to Ace after I post this, and next week you'll get a review from someone with a frame of reference within the current console generation. Here's the things you should know now:
1. IT HAS DENARD ON THE COVER. Truly it is the most beautiful thing to grace a cover since...NCAA 06? NCAA 99? A baby swimming toward a dollar on the album where music got its balls back? If Denard was smiling maybe.
I adore all of you!
He is actually the most appropriate cover athlete for a version of this game since they put Ricky Williams on the one with unstoppable running backs because…
2. OPTION OFFENSE is awesome. They completely redid that and now read options work the way they're supposed to. EA also gave the defense its option-crushing corner blitzes and scrape exchanges.
I keep forgetting to sub Green in at FB
However the counter to the counter sucks. They put bubble and PA split end screens in the playbook, but the defense reads these way too quickly on any difficulty worth playing. Also I've found my skill position guys tire so fast that when I go to it I keep getting Jeremy Jackson. Anyway the option stuff is the most fun, specifically the read and triple options. Too bad Michigan went back to the future on offense since...
[after the jump]
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, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox.
|Plymouth, IN – 6'5", 290|
4*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
Nebraska, Pitt, Minnesota, Illinois
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post.|
Decommitted from Pitt for Nebraska, then decommitted from Nebraska. Also, 'murica.
Nothing embeddable. Does have a hudl page.
Wait… what is… three stars? Is that how you say? What? Yes, it's true: some recruiting services think a 2013 Michigan offensive line commit is a middling prospect. We cannot use the well-established script this time out. Panic!
Even so, Samuelson was decently well regarded for… uh… three stars. He got a fourth from Scout and was the first guy with three at 247. In our hybrid eyeballin' star system he'd get 3.5. This would qualify as a lot of Big Ten teams' highest-rated lineman. Here he's sixth. Viva Brady Hoke.
Samuelson watchwords include "blue-collar," "tough," etc. Trieu:
“Absolutely he could bring with him toughness and a blue-collar work ethic. He really has the mental makeup of an offensive lineman. He’s a hard worker and a tough kid. He is a grind it out and get the job done kind of player.
“Samuelson is not going to go to any combines and put up ridiculous numbers. He’s not going to have that stellar 40-time or shuttle time, but he’s the kind of player that you win with especially in the Big Ten."
It does say something that the primary teams on him before Hoke swooped in were Pitt, now in possession of the Wisconsin offensive braintrust, and Nebraska. Scout liked those grinding aspects enough to bump him to four stars, again emphasizing he is a "tough, hard-nosed lineman" and his "blue collar" nature.
ESPN's evaluation is pretty positive relative to their "meh" rankings:
Is quick out of his stance when releasing up on linebackers or pulling to trap; flashes the ability to reach on offset down linemen and get a hat on active 1st and 2nd level defenders. Can get tossed at times needing to improve his agility and balance when playing in space. This guy is a tough customer who finishes with the effort we like to see when evaluating offensive linemen. His long arms should be and asset in pass protection.
They have a lot of technique questions and think he's a little bit stiff, FWIW. That evaluation conflicts with some others, which—get this—actually say a high school lineman has good pad level. Josh Helmholdt:
"He's an above average athlete for the position. He really moves his feet well. He plays with great leverage. I think that something that really stands out in his film is that he's always up underneath the pads of the defensive lineman. He just does a lot of things well. I wouldn't say there's any one thing that makes you say 'wow', he's just a well-rounded offensive line prospect."
I think a high school lineman underneath dudes pads is a wow experience but like okay. Clint Brewster also praised his "well above average technique" and mean ol' block finishing—another pattern. A negative: Samuelson's team barely passed, so protection is an unknown. Another from Allen Trieu:
"He plays at a small school that is a little bit in the middle of nowhere. It took some schools some time to find out about him. I think that one of the major areas of concern that was holding schools back from offering was level of competition."
As the scouts say, this is the kind of guy Wisconsin and Nebraska have plucked out of the Midwest for years. His weird recruitment—a quick commit to Pitt followed by a decommit to Nebraska and a decommit to Michigan, no camps at all—is of the variety that holds down reported offers and scouting interest.
At Michigan, Samuelson will play… somewhere. ESPN's profile contains a first:
Samuelson plays effectively at the guard position showing the upper body playing strength needed to control defenders when single blocking. However his size and athleticism appears better suited for the offensive tackle position.
His coach agrees.
"We run the football a lot, but Dan is really long and his arms are long. If you look at him you'd say he was a tackle, but he plays guard for us. So he could play anywhere. I think the sky's the limit for Dan. I think that he could be a real special player on the next level."
Scout projects him at guard, FWIW. The point is Samuelson also comes off the 6'5" swing guy assembly line and could play anywhere on the line according to Funk. Given the recruiting rankings and the odd fact that his high school used him on the inside—almost never the case for high-level D-I prospects—he's probably going to end up at guard, technically. Michigan seems to go with a next-guy-in setup that has sixth and seventh linemen that will pull into the lineup no matter who goes out. Samuelson will train at guard and tackle.
It does seem like Samuelson will stick around even if the depth chart looks brutal for much of his career. Staying close to his family was a major reason he decommitted from the Huskers and he knew what he was signing up for when he made that decision. His coach:
"The thing that separates Dan from a lot of the other kids is he wants to be good. Sometimes you get a big kid that's a superior athlete at the high school level, they're 17 or 18 years old, and they don't have a real strong work ethic. Dan wants to be good, he wants to prove himself. I think that's something that's going to carry him over when he gets into that program and into that strength training program, I think he's going to do really well."
Even if he doesn't start for a while, having a kid like that in your back pocket is a huge asset.
Etc.: The pattern from his coach:
He has been a multiple sport athlete in high school, and he is a great kid. He has never been in trouble, he is a really good student and he has got all of the intangibles. He looks the part… I can tell you that.”
Why Rueben Riley? Riley was a G/T swing guy who probably should have been a guard but was forced into action as a not-very-good right tackle, where his pass protection was exposed. His athleticism was pretty meh, his recruiting rankings in the generic three-star range.
Samuelson has an inch or two on Riley and could have higher upside on the outside with his long arms. I'm just looking for a run-oriented swing guy with middling recruiting rankings. OL YMRMFSPAs are hard.
Guru Reliability: Low. Relatively large swing in opinions, zero camps, not a highly scouted area.
Variance: High. Poor competition in Indiana, never really pass blocked.
Ceiling: Moderate. Punt!
General Excitement Level: Sorry sorry sorry: low. OL are weird and all that but I'm finding it hard to see a situation where Samuelson sees the field early given the strenuous competition. See below. Not that Samuelson cares what I think:
"I'm not scared at all (of the competition)," the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Samuelson said by phone this week. "I knew who's there, and that they're great, but it never scared me. I never looked at it that way.
"I looked at it like two years down the road, this school could be like Alabama, where no one can stop us because of our line."
Projection: Is OL, redshirt.
Then he's in the melee. Seems to be a heavy underdog to start as a redshirt freshman, and if that doesn't happen he's got a wait in front of him. The 2014 line projects to be a junior (Miller), three sophomores (Braden, Magnuson, Kalis), and a freshman (no idea but Bosch or Dawson if you put a gun to my head). If those projections are wrong the net effect will be to make the line younger, not older, unless Chris Bryant comes out of nowhere.
So… Samuelson is probably hanging around as the seventh or eighth lineman for a long time, with injury and washout his best shot at starting until he's a fifth year player. But OL are weird, you know the drill.