spoiler alert: i linked this
The number one overall recruit in the 2016 class, Paramus (NJ) Catholic DT Rashan Gary, announced his commitment to Michigan on ESPN this afternoon. Gary had long favored the Wolverines, who held off the likes of Clemson, Ole Miss, and USC to secure his signature.
The impact here is two-fold. Jim Harbaugh landed a Signing Day commit of the highest caliber and visibility, which can only help the program in future recruitments of elite players, especially those in New Jersey. Then, of course, there's Gary's on-field impact, which should be considerable from the moment he steps on campus.
5*, #1 DT,
5*, #1 DT,
5*, 94, #1 DT,
5*, 100, #1 DT,
5*, #1 DT,
HE'S PRETTY GOOD, YOU GUYS.
In addition to being the unanimous choice for top overall recruit, Gary is college-sized already; he's listed at 6'4", 286 pounds on the low end (Scout) and 6'5", 293 on the high end (247). I believe the latter figure has been updated more recently.
[Hit THE JUMP for WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO]
Michigan added a critical piece to its secondary and tallied a head-to-head win over Michigan State this morning when All-American Detroit King CB LaVert Hill announced his commitment to the Wolverines at the PSL Signing Day ceremony. The younger brother of senior safety Delano Hill joins top-100 prospect David Long to give the 2016 class a top-notch cornerback duo.
Hill originally committed to Penn State back in January of 2015. He was a consistent presence in Ann Arbor during the fall, however, and backed off that commitment in November. While MSU made a strong push for his signature, Hill couldn't pass up the chance to play with his brother, as well as his good friend Jourdan Lewis, who happens to be a very similar player.
4*, #7 CB,
4*, #14 CB,
4*, 80, #21 CB,
4*, 95, #6 CB,
4*, #12 CB,
Hill is a four-star across the board and a top-100 prospect on two of the four recruiting sites. His rankings rose over the course of a strong senior year that culminated in a state title and an appearance in the Army All-American Game.
One reason Hill had to work his way up the rankings is his size: he's listed at 5'10", ~175 pounds on three of the four sites, while Rivals gives him an extra inch.
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]
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OKAY SO HERE'S OUR SPONSOR. Yep, Homesure Lending. It's like all those Rocket commercials except 1) Matt was not a major contributor to the subprime crisis, so he's got that going for him, 2) Matt never wrote a letter to LeBron James in comic sans*, 3) Matt goes out to various companies to get you the best possible rate. My lender has the word "wholesale" in its name, and this makes me feel great. Also the rate.
*[Probably. I have not checked with him to make sure this is true.]
OKAY SO THIS IS THE SCHEDULE.
- 8:10 AM: TN WR Nate Johnson. Michigan.
- 9 AM: MI CB Lavert Hill. Michigan.
10 AM: MI OL Alaric Jackson. M, Iowa, Nebraska.
- 11 AM: MI K Quinn Nordin. Michigan.
11:30 AM: AZ DE Connor Murphy. Michigan, USC, Oregon, ASU.
- 1 PM: NJ DE Rashan Gary. Michigan.
1 PM: FL WR Pie Young. Michigan, Louisville, USC.
- 3PM: CA TE Devin Asiasi. Michigan.
3PM: CA DT Boss Tagaloa. Michigan, USC, UCLA, UW. 4PM: CA QB Vic Viramontes. Michigan, Utah, Cal.
OKAY SO THIS IS THE NEWS-ONLY TWITTER COLLECTION
OKAY SO THIS IS THE EXULTATION/PANIC/DEPRESSION THREAD
Answering questions whilst chained to my laptop all day. If I don't get to yours it's almost certainly because it's already been answered several times already, or I'm answering it right now. Greg Little is not flipping. I deeply regret ever bringing his name up in speculation. There is no silent commit whose name isn't on the schedule above. Don't tweet at croots.
This was nearly the entire recap. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
I can't fully capture the noise this fan made. A guttural wail, as if Chewbacca had been stabbed in the heart, or a baby elephant had suffered a collapsed lung. It was the sound of a soul forcefully leaving a man's body.
Michigan had a 10:29 scoreless drought in this game, Indiana went on a 28-0 run, and that noise emanated from the seats behind press row. Let's try this sports thing again tomorrow.
Basketball preview here.
Super Saturday. Photos from the doubleheader from the Players' Tribune:
The Manuel UConn tenure. Jeff Jacobs has an exellent, comprehensive rundown of Warde Manuel's tenure at the UConn AD. Some UConn fans blame him for the Huskies getting left behind in the zombie Big East while Louisville got the golden ticket to the ACC; other than that somewhat fanciful complaint his tenure was rock-solid:
There are people who disagree with this, but Manuel handled the Kevin Ollie hiring as full-time coach just about perfectly. Ollie's biggest supporters, some who held their own power, wanted Ollie to get a long-term contract immediately. Manuel wanted to get to know Ollie, wanted to see him in action. Ask yourself this: What defined Ollie? He always had to work the hardest to prove himself on the court and that narrative continued for more than a decade in the NBA. If he was to be a success, the best possible outcome would be for Manuel to wait, like what he saw and give him that long-term deal three to four months into his job. That's what happened.
When Ollie was on his way to winning a national championship in 2014, there was Manuel ahead of the curve to lock in Ollie with a new five-year deal.
UConn's four major sports (football, both basketballs, and hockey) are all on the upswing or maintaining a high level of success. Manuel also pulled UConn out of a Jim Calhoun-generated APR disaster and spearheaded a move to Hockey East.
He's gone as soon as the NFL comes calling. Harbaugh writes an article for the Players' Tribune:
I’ve talked to a lot of people who feel that way about Michigan — and I’ve talked to a lot of other people who feel that way about their college, too. It happens everywhere. You probably feel that way about where you went to college.
But in my unscientific surveying of people I’ve talked to, I feel that it happens the most here at Michigan.
Which is why finally, I moved to Ann Arbor a third time. To be the head football coach.
A lot of people outside of Michigan asked me why I decided to make that third move to Ann Arbor. It’s pretty simple: I love football. I love coaching. I love Michigan. And for me, there’s no better place for those three things than right here in Ann Arbor.
It doesn't hurt that there's no megalomaniacal guy in a fur coat hovering over his shoulder in Ann Arbor.
As a side note, do you know what I see in my head whenever I hear "Players' Tribune"?
This is what I see, except with cards that read "PRESS" sticking out of their hats.
A firm-ish return date. Beilein on Levert's return:
John Beilein to @dandakich , "Caris LeVert has been out 5 weeks, he's getting better, hope to have him back on the court this or next week".
— Producer Kyle (@ProducerKyle) February 1, 2016
It's good to have a timeframe. It's unfortunate that timeframe isn't a little quicker now that Michigan's World Tour Of Bad Big Ten Basketball has concluded.
Death to autobench, in numbers. Tucked away in a piece on Washington having an unprecedented number of guys foul out is this note on the most DQ-averse team in college basketball:
By the way, there has been only one team to avoid a disqualification this season. The last time a Michigan player fouled out was February 17th of last season when the human box-score line-break, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman fouled out against Michigan State. My stance on when to sit players in foul trouble is somewhere between “ignore foul trouble completely” and “always sit guys in the first half that have two fouls”. It’s a very tough problem to study. But it seems to me that if you do subscribe to the latter approach, the fact that none of your players are fouling out is an indication your instincts for loss aversion are too strong.
The fact that Michigan fouls so rarely in the first place makes the autobench even more frustrating in practice. It is what it is; it's a blind spot.
Recruitin' rabblin'. Andy Staples on the decommit thing:
We'll need to hear Michigan's side of the Swenson case before passing judgment, and NCAA rules will keep Wolverines coaches from publicly discussing the specifics of Swenson's recruitment until after he signs. If it turns out Michigan's staff waited until January to tell Swenson—who committed to then-coach Brady Hoke in November 2013—he wasn't wanted, then the Wolverines deserve criticism for being lousy communicators. If Swenson had this knowledge in September or October, he could have reopened his recruitment earlier at a time when other schools would have had more open slots. The well-paid grown-ups here should be held to a higher standard than the high school students, and if Swenson's camp is telling the truth, Michigan's staff might need to learn how and when to break bad news.
It beggars belief that Swenson's camp is telling a full and honest accounting of the story if only because Michigan insiders started chattering about his place in the class months before the actual decommit, first privately and then in public. A final decision may have been delayed; if he didn't know it was because he didn't want to. Either way, Michigan should be explicit about these things much earlier.
The bump. Bill Connelly has an article on the "Bama bump," which is the perception that recruits committed to or recruited by Alabama get rankings boosts. Some services say they peek; others say no way:
To summarize, Luginbill said, "It absolutely exists because of subscription sales." Scout's Brandon Huffman said, "We don't do it, but others might." 247Sports's JC Shurburtt said, "Nah, but they do produce a lot of NFL talent, which matters," which seems like a roundabout way of saying it does kind of exist, only for reasons other than subscription sales.
Only Rivals' Mike Farrell said, "Nope!"
The denials here are odd, since re-evaluating a prospect once you get information like "Nick Saban is a fan" seems, you know, sensible. Connelly is in favor of the bump, and for the most part so am I. And it does exist. In Michigan's case it's usually when they become interested in a lower-rated guy. An unranked or two star player is about 99% likely to work his way up into generic three-star territory by the time Signing Day rolls around.
And for all of Luginbill's protestations, they absolutely do bump guys. When Khaleke Hudson committed to Michigan he was rated a 74 and below guys headed to Georgia Southern and schools of that ilk. Fast forward to today and he's flown up 34 spots. But that's fine! Before the bump Hudson's ranking looked plainly goofy. I think you should be humble enough to take Harbaugh's opinion into account when you rank guys. It's a better system than "did this guy show up to our camp," for sure.
Now, it's possible that Bama sees guys in the manicured regions move up. I don't follow their recruiting closely enough to know. This is not generally the case for Michigan commits, who tend to slide gradually as the recruiting year goes along. When I do job interviews I ask why this is, and I don't think I've heard the correct answer yet*. Michigan commits tend to slide because they stay the same while a select group of recruits below them emerge into big-time prospects. When you're perched in the top 10% of all high school recruits the direction you generally go is down even if you are ranked correctly.
*[It's still useful for hearing a person's ability to reason on the fly.]
Glasgow on Harbaugh. Stay enthusiastic, my friends:
“You know those commercials, The Most Interesting Man In The World? He’s like the most interesting coach in the world,” Glasgow said this week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
“He’s a really, really genuine guy and he just really cares about his players. Even though he looks crazy out there on game days and all that stuff, he’s really not like that behind closed doors.”
Only refs and people who drive slowly cause Harbaugh to throw conniption fits. BTW, we already have a "jim harbaugh is the most interesting man in the world" tag.
Jimmy & Johnny. Ann Arbor Pioneer is inducting Jim and John Harbaugh into the Hall of Fame of Purple-Wearing Athlete People on March 11; the eventbrite site just went live yesterday. The Facebook page has been posting vintage photos all week of the Harbros and here's one contest that was over before it began:
Sam & Ira are hosting, and they've invited us.
Michigan replay, 1992. Check the sweater:
Etc.: Former Gilman head coach Biff Poggi is taking another head coaching job in Maryland and thus won't be joining the staff. Carr on the Manuel hire. The year in Harbaugh hijinks. Baumgardner has a long article in which Lorenz and Trieu offer some takes on the class. Why Holtz is going to SOTS.
Michigan (17-5, 7-2 B1G) vs
Indiana (18-4, 8-1)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|WHEN||9 pm ET, Tuesday|
|LINE||Michigan -3 (KenPom)|
PBP: Mike Tirico
Analyst: Dan Dakich
Right: Like it was going to be anything but this picture. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
John Beilein still won't speak in anything resembling specifics, but we're getting closer to Caris LeVert's return:
"Caris did more (Sunday) than he's done at all," Beilein said. "This was the first time he really tested himself more than he has. So it's day-to-day, and we'll wait and see when he's ready to go. It's ultimately going to be his decision. It could be soon. It could be later."
Beilein mentioned hoping for LeVert to return to the court "this week or next" on Dan Dakich's radio show Monday, so there's a possibility he sees some time tonight—he'll most likely come off the bench in his first game back, whenever that may be. As Beilein has said repeatedly, we'll know LeVert is back when he's participating in warmups, so your guess is as good as mine when it comes to a specific return date.
Both Michigan and Indiana have benefited from easy opening halves of the Big Ten schedule; at least in part due to the schedule factor, both squads are in the thick of the conference title race. Indiana is tied atop the standings with Iowa; Michigan is a game back. This is the only regular-season meeting between M and IU this season; discussing tiebreaker situations at this stage is very much putting the cart before the horse, but it's at least worth noting.
This game also carries extra importance because Michigan and IU are both on the seven-seed line in the latest Bracket Matrix. There's a decent chance these two teams end up compared head-to-head when it's time for tournament seeding; in that context, it's critical for M to defend their home court.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||11||Yogi Ferrell||Sr.||6'0, 180||84||25||No|
|One of the best PGs in the country. Great outside shooter, distributor.|
|G||4||Robert Johnson||So.||6'3, 195||60||18||No|
|Excellent three-point shooter. Inefficient inside arc. Turnover-prone.|
|F||30||Collin Hartman||Jr.||6'7, 215||52||12||No|
|Low-usage, Just A Shooter™ type making 40% of threes.|
|F||5||Troy Williams||Jr.||6'7, 215||65||26||No|
|Great athlete and finisher, impactful defender, improved shooter, TO-prone.|
|C||31||Thomas Bryant||Fr.||6'10, 245||56||22||Yes|
|Top-flight post scorer also boasts strong rebounding and block rates.|
|G||2||Nick Zeisloft||Sr.||6'4, 210||46||13||No|
|Has attempted 99 threes and 10 twos this season. 39% 3P shooter.|
|F||0||Max Bielfeldt||Gr.||6'8, 240||43||20||No|
|Rebounding and finishing very well, second-best steal rate in B1G. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯|
|F||3||OG Anunoby||Fr.||6'8, 215||27||17||No|
|Efficient inside-outside scorer, good offensive rebounder, turnover-prone.|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]