Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
Not Dead ... Yet
The commitment of 2015 KY RB Damien Harris led many, including myself, to assume that Michigan's recruitment of 2014 LA RB Leonard Fournette — who'd just no-showed a planned visit for the BBQ — was D-E-D dead. Per 247's Kipp Adams, however, it appears there's still a faint pulse ($):
According to Fournette’s father, Leonard II, three of those four programs are slated to get coveted official visits from the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2014 247Composite.
“He plans to take officials to Alabama, USC, Michigan and Florida,” Fournette II said, adding that Miami (Fla.) is likely to receive the fifth one.
LSU was not listed as a school slated to get an official, but Fournette II did list them as an additional top school.
Unfortunately, Michigan isn't mentioned once in the rest of the article, which features plenty of talk about LSU, Alabama, and USC. There is one other revelation: the Fournettes are apparently the Gradys of the South, as Leonard III's younger brother — a thus-far unoffered 2015 running back — is named... Lanard. That doesn't get confusing, I'm sure.
As far as Fournette's recruitment goes, I'll believe Michigan has the slightest of chances when he's physically on campus, and even then the outlook is still probably grim. But, hey, Damien Harris...
PRETTY GOOD, GUYS
...is pretty good, guys. GBW had Allen Trieu talk about Harris's potential impact and lo, is there ever potential for impact ($):
“He was at the Best of the Midwest Combine two winters ago," Trieu said, "and he was already pretty physically put together, and ran a pretty good 40 there, and then when you find out that kid is only a freshman you’re like, wow. I was able to go back and pull up the film from his freshman year and after the first three plays on the film, I basically turned it off and said I know this guy is a big time guy -- a national guy. And I don’t get too many guys like that, to be honest.
"There’s not a ton of guys that I turn on the film and right away I know that this guy is going to be right up there with the best in the country but, for him to be that way at an early age, I knew that there was something special there.”
Trieu also mentions that Harris is a "really good receiver" in a camp setting, something that doesn't come through on film because why throw to the guy when you can hand the ball to him directly and probably score a touchdown, amirite?* Harris's high school coach echoed Trieu's praise and talked up his football IQ to TomVH ($):
Madison Southern High coach Jon Clark said Michigan is getting a big, multidimensional back in the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Harris.
"He's a lot bigger than people think. He's not a small speed back, either," Clark said. "He's an excellent receiver out of the backfield, he is a smart player and he understands defensive schemes."
Harris confirmed to Trieu in another article that, while he's been leaning heavily towards Michigan for a long time, the commitment of George Campbell accelerated his process; a childhood fan of the Wolverines, Harris gave a great quote about committing to his dream school ($):
"I don't even know what to expect. Growing up and loving a school and it being your dream and being able to achieve the dream and play at Michigan, it's mind blowing to think it's coming true. I'm going to be thinking about how blessed I am to be playing, not only for a great school, but with great teammates and great coaches and a great fan base. I hope to live up to the expectations they have, but I'm going to work hard and come in and play my game."
It's always great to see these kind of dreams fulfilled, and even better when they're the dreams of five-stars.
Speaking of insanely talented recent 2015 commits, a local news article on Campbell contains this tidbit about his academic plans:
"Everyone, not just the coaches but also the players, they all took me in as one," Campbell said on Monday. "Pretty much, it's like a big old family there. Not just that, but the academics. I plan on majoring in Sports Management, and they have a great program there. It's the best choice for me at the moment and for my future, too."
If this was the work of Professor Needs A Raise, he's now been upgraded to Professor Needs A Building Named After Him. You know, as soon as one of us remembers his real name — The Professor Needs A Building Named After Him, Er, Building doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
How rare is a commitment from a kid like Campbell? DGDestroys put together this chart over at Maize n Brew of the eventual destinations of Florida five-stars ranked among the top 15 players in their class (covering 2002-2013):
You'll note the complete lack of Big Ten schools, with Notre Dame representing the only program north of West Virginia to land a prospect matching the criteria. That prospect was Aaron Lynch, who transferred to USF after his freshman year. As long as Michigan holds onto Campbell — and he stays where he is in the rankings — then they're pulling off something that hasn't been done in the Rivals era.
Speaking of making recruiting history, The Wolverine's Michael Spath dug through the Rivals database($) and found that the last team to pull in the #1 players in their class at running back and receiver was USC in 2007 with Joe McKnight and (sigh) Ronald Johnson. Michigan has a chance to do that with Campbell and Harris; it would be the first time the Wolverines pulled off the feat since 1998, predating the modern recruiting services, with Justin Fargas and David Terrell.
[Hit THE JUMP for, oh hey, another 2015 prospect that looks like a stone-cold Michigan lock, more reactions from last weekend's BBQ, how OSU's latest commitment could affect the Wolverines, and more.]
Countdown to Kickoff exists again. Talkin' with Devin Gardner:
So that explains that. If you were wondering why Michigan's option plays weren't actual option plays the last couple years, well, yeah:
“We did it [the Wildcat] in OTAs and a couple of times he ran the ball and fumbled the ball and he didn’t know how to pitch," Bradley said, according to the Register.
The one time he did try to pitch on a speed option was when he got lit up in the backfield, and that was a fumble.
Oklahoma State was not always good. Wolverine Historian presents the 1992 non-classic:
Gardner on Darboh. I think both of last year's wide receivers are on pace to work out, and Darboh is ahead of the curve:
"He's just a great athlete," Gardner said of the wideout. "He's strong, he's fast, he catches the ball well. He's pretty much everything you could ever want in a receiver."
Gardner compares Darboh to Junior Hemingway, but fast. No, seriously:
"He goes up and gets the ball just like Junior. And he runs fast."
I'll take it.
O'Bannon-related victory. I thought Sam Keller's lawsuit had been folded into the O'Bannon suit, but apparently not. They've just won at the appellate level:
By a 2-1 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said EA's use of the athletes' likenesses in its NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball games did not deserve protection as free expression under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
EA is disappointed that free speech doesn't cover important things like college football videogames using the representations of people without mentioning it to them, and plans to appeal, for all the good that will do.
They'll have to name him Lack Of Seat Cushions. Sorry, those are the probably fictional, possibly offensive stereotypical Native American rules:
I don't make the probably fictional, possibly offensive stereotypical Native American rules. I just enforce 'em, lady.
Jordan Paskorz: I'm not dead yet! Michigan could use some tight end depth with veteran Mike Kwiatkowski departed, and Jake Bu—MAH GAWD THAT'S JORDAN PASKORZ'S MUSIC, AT LEAST I THINK IT IS BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE HE EVEN HAD SOME:
[Paskorz's] career has since been derailed by seemingly interminable instability.
But that's about to change, as he enters his second season at tight end and seems to have fought his way into the rotation as a blocking specialist. …
"What I like is, we settled him into that position and I think he can be a guy who gives us a little more on-the-line-of-scrimmage movement. That’s exciting."
At 6'3", 251, he is about the right size to be more of a pusher at TE. AJ Williams is a guy Michigan will ask to fill that role as well, but he needs a lot of technique work to get there. We'll see if the talk translates into playing time.
When do I get to be on a bulletin board? Because if Steve Everitt's lighthearted jab at Kirk Cousins qualifies…
…surely I can come up with something vile enough to get up there despite not being a viking. Hey, Spartans! You smell! Bad!
I'll work on it.
In related news, Dave Brandon once again reiterated that he doesn't want a night game in the series. This is correct. I hope the real reason is wanting to tweak MSU by playing anyone but them at night, but I'll take "don't want a bunch of East Lansing people drunj" after the Gathering of the Juggalos that was two years ago.
Speaking of. UTL II Hype Video:
Glenn Robinson: now he can jump. Yeah, now:
His vertical is up four inches to 12'3".
Etc.: Introducing Dr. Gay Hitler, who was of course from… Ohio, and the son of George Hitler, and a dentist.
Here is a class of 1927(!) alum talking bout her days on campus. Oregon has some money. People don't like dynamic pricing, except for that one guy on facebook who hasn't been to a game since 1982 but likes being a prick to people on the internet. Bill Connolly previews Ohio State. Lewan talks Gholston punch.
THIS GUY SAYS MICHIGAN IS #17
And will remain there all year because coaches don't pay attention to football games other than their own. The whole thing, with opponents bolded:
- Ohio State
- Texas A&M
- South Carolina
- Notre Dame
- Florida State
- Oklahoma State
- Boise State
- Oregon State
Michigan State is in also receiving votes at #27, and that's it for teams Michigan will face.
Aaaaand we’re back. And we’re done with the ennui stuff. Mostly. More on that in a bit. But for now, we return to the decidedly more upbeat world of social media. As usual, if you come across anything that you think deserves a spot here, send it to @Bry_Mac. Or just find me on the blog. I’ll be the football-playing golden retriever.
Just when everything was going right for the Maize and Blue, a bombshell. Michigan has once again been thrust into the harrowing and unpredictable world of NCAA violations. And this time, the violations come from the very top of the Twitterverse.
— dick costolo (@dickc) July 29, 2013
That was Twitter CEO and Michigan uber-fan Dick Costolo sharing either a congratulations or a simple comment of amazement on the commitment of George Campbell. The problem was that he replied directly to Campbell and Wilton Speight, which you loyal TWIT readers recognize as an NCAA no-no. Now, this happens all the time, so while it is technically a violation, I’m sure it won’t get very much attention… except for here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and holy crap how can this return 2000 results?
We’re on thin ice here, so Mr. Costolo, if you’re reading this, (a) I know it’s dumb as all get-out but you probably shouldn’t do this again, and (b) HOLY CRAP DICK COSTOLO READS MGOBLOG. Mind staying for an interview? We can order pizza. It’ll be fun.
Don’t worry, though. Ohio State may be equally screwed. You see, their newest commit, Demetrius Knox, has been a long-time Buckeye fan, and as such he has been posting for a long time on the Eleven Warriors forum. J’accuse! The posters communicating with him have been unknowingly violating NCAA strictures for months, if not years. It’s such a problem that they literally have to ostracize the kid.
Meanwhile, Bob Stoops becomes the latest coach to actively encourage fans to tweet recruits.
"That's something that's becoming a part of it," said Stoops when asked if he had concerns about fans contacting recruits on Twitter. "We may hire you to govern our social media with the fans… I'm not kidding," he said. Once things get rolling, it's not stopping."
So wait a minute: Stoops is just openly telling fans to contact recruits on Twitter? Something even OU's own compliance department frowns upon?
"I'm pretty sure that's what it means," said Stoops. "You hear that OU fans? We have to get on board."
This is on the heels of Vandy coach James Franklin condoning it. And yet THIS isn’t a violation. Orchestrating innumerable violations is not itself a violation. I guess what I’m saying is O’BANNON RULES.
GRIII doing GRIII things
Submitted without comment. Because I can’t words.
[After the jump: SAVAGES!!!]
It's still July, barely, which means stories like Michigan banning seat pads from the Big House — while season ticket holders, as if they haven't dropped enough dough, are provided the option to lease an official Wolverine Seat for $35 per season — still move the needle around these parts. Like many of you, I've owned an officially licensed U-M seat cushion, but not the AD-approved permanent rental, and used it at games for years. Those are now worthless, right?
Not so fast, says the M-Den. They're dual-purpose, you see...
A kneeling pad with a handle? This is innovation, not a blatant money-grab. American ingenuity at its finest. In that vein, we crowdsourced some ideas for alternative uses for these totally useful hunks of branded foam.
Looking for something to toss around the Diag? Look no more! The handle provides an easy grip for throwing, and the soft foam interior ensures that nobody's hurt when your toss inevitably lands nowhere near your intended target.
EMERGENCY FLOATATION DEVICE
Why are these women so happy to be jumping out of a doomed plane? With their officially-licensed floatation devices, they know that as long as they survive the impact with that large, rapidly-approaching body of water, they'll be floating in style while waiting for the Coast Guard.
[HT: BiSB and @MikeSmuz]
Dave Brandon himself was kind enough to model the latest in Michigan-branded winter fashion. Perfect for staying warm during November football games or going incognito when the fanbase finally turns against you in full, penniless force.
VERY STYLISH HAT
— Mike Randazzo (@TremendousSW) July 31, 2013
Lookin' good. But if you sit on it, they will shoot you.
MY VERY OWN MGOPANIC ROOM
Provides extra padding for the next time you're waiting out a commit watch/unwanted Buckeye visitor.
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, OL Dan Samuelson, TE Jake Butt, TE Khalid Hill, HB Wyatt Shallman, WR Da'Mario Jones
|Detroit, MI – 6'3", 190|
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
(minus the blocking)
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace; also, Ace scouts CPA against Old Redford. The message board notes that he can dunk.|
Ace took in a CPA game:
Csont'e York is a guy who is really thankful for the emergence of camps everywhere all the time. He hit a bunch of them, impressed, and went from guy with Toledo and Bowling Green offers to Michigan commit. He did this for the usual reason: catching radius.
Bob Lichtenfels caught him at his NFTC appearance, and described Al Borges catnip:
York made everything look so easy that we started to take it for granted. By the end of the camp his circus catches were looking routine. He is very smooth in and out of his breaks. Possesses very good ball skills and gets separation from the defender. He uses his body well to shield defenders from the ball. Smooth, gliding type of runner. Not sure how good his top end speed is, but he is very tough to cover on the short to intermediate routes.
This is the book on the kid. Allen Trieu took in the same camp, said he was "the guy who really emerged" because of the same thing:
He's a tall, lean kid with fantastic ball skills. He's effortless when it comes to adjusting to the ball in the air and making tough grabs that are high or not right on target. He's not a burner, but can create separation and gave a lot of the top DBs trouble.
In another article on the same camp, Trieu added that he's "aggressive attacking the football in the air and has exceptional leaping ability." Top DBs at that camp included OSU commit Cam Burrows, BTW, so York was making a name for himself against serious men.
“What makes Csont’e special is his ball skills,” Chandler Park coach John Jergovich said. “His natural ability to catch the ball at its highest point and not catch it with his body. He’s always catching the ball with his hands. His body control is ridiculous.”
Ace scouted him:
York capitalized on the few opportunities he had to make an impact, and all three of his catches—including one two-point conversion—featured his excellent ball skills and body positioning. York knows just where to put himself to shield the defender from the ball, and once he does that it's over—he catches the ball away from his body and reels in anything close. Only once did York have a remote shot at the ball and not bring it in, and on that play he almost made a spectacular one-handed grab on a fade. One play later, CPA ran the same play and he came down with a touchdown.
ESPN's version of same:
York is a long and lanky redzone threat with a wide catch radius and a penchant for making the acrobatic grab look easy. He is tall and lean, but with great flexibility and body control for a tall player that is still growing into his frame. … He is very natural in terms of his change-of-direction skills and body control. Has fluid hips for a taller receiver and is a smooth route runner who doesn't have to gear down a lot when going into and coming out of his breaks. He has long arms and good leaping ability. … His hands are soft and reliable. … Over the shoulder concentration is excellent.
All of this is pretty awesome you guys, and I hacked out about a bunch more stuff in that vein. 247 also notes that he has "extremely long arms," which make him play even taller than his ample height.
THE CATCH? Yeah, the catch. Guy is a consensus three-star despite the above. Why:
The problem with York is he is not an overly explosive player and lacks great speed and a second gear. Builds to top speed, does not bolt to it. Is limited after the catch to just extending plays for positive yards, but not a homerun threat.
Okay. That's why ESPN seems to be all about York but then ranks him in the triple digits. Trieu agrees in his Scout assessment, noting "elusiveness after the catch" and "speed" as negatives and noting that he's "not one who will give you a ton after the catch. On the other hand, "he's not a 4.4 guy, but has a solid burst and can create separation both underneath and downfield."
Also in agreement? Michigan State:
"It was Michigan, and what else should I say?" York said of his decision. "I actually grew up a Michigan State fan, but they said they questioned my speed and needed to see more."
Michigan did not after his camp performances, offered, and nailed him down. A few mid-level BCS schools (Cincinnati, Illinois, Syracuse) had thrown their hats in before that
In the ancillaries section of our post, York's coach says he's an enthusiastic blocker. Like, guy could have come from Pahokee:
" I think one of his biggest attributes is that he loves to block. Loves to block. I think he's just as excited putting a DB on his back or cracking down on a linebacker as he is to catch a touchdown."
HOWEVA, Ace caught him and was like WTF?
On most plays York simply jogged downfield if the ball wasn't coming his way…. On two occasions he ran directly into another receiver on downfield routes—part of that may be poor play design or a mistake by the other player, but York's routes weren't exactly precise.
When York did make an effort to block, it was pretty obvious that he was holding, and I'm frankly surprised he didn't draw a flag. When he wasn't able to latch on to a defender's shoulder pads, he was thrown aside with relative ease.
That was not a 49-0 blowout he could take it easy, man, in. York's team lost in double OT. So… blocking is a work in progress, as it is with a lot of high schoolers. Also maybe his routes, though apparently when he's in a camp setting those are excellent.
It is possible his high school team was not the most organized, but Ace mentioned that at times he didn't even bother to run routes in another section of his scouting report. Contrast that with this from the NFTC…
The 6-2 prospect took countless reps, winning most of them and showing great ball skills, route-running and mismatch size. York has impressed us in several different settings and he deserves a lot more college interest than he is receiving.
Besides having great size, York is a very technical receiver. He runs clean routes and makes sharp cuts, creating space for his quarterback to find him down the field.
…and there's almost a contract-year vibe from his camp performances. You prefer your guys to be robot killers, because then there's less of a chance they fade away when their motivation leaves them. Maybe there was something sapping his enthusiasm that won't follow him to Ann Arbor. Who knows?
Etc.: Has… unexpected musical tastes.
Bon Jovi is the man I love his radio station on Pandora Poison, Journey & Survivor can't beat them!
This may be why Brady Hoke offered him. Not saying it is, but you can't rule out an impassioned Hall & Oates conversation leading to an offer. Interesting answer to a "who do you respect most on the current team" question:
Which current player on the team he looks up to most: Defensive lineman Frank Clark. I've seen his work ethic. It's good. He goes hard at all times. That motivates me. He told me when I get up there it's about work, and you have to get it done. I also look up to Raymon Taylor, because he has the same work ethic, too.
Would like to be Braylon:
“I want to be the caliber receiver that Braylon Edwards was,” said York. “He was always so good at going up and catching the ball at its highest point and that’s one of my strengths too."
I would like this as well.
It's pronounced "Sawn-tay," FWIW. Has a great, sad story.
Why BJ Cunningham (minus the blocking)? Cunningham was a big-bodied, box-'em out, sit-in-a-zone-hole receiver for Michigan State. This one was hard for me so I asked Ace and he confirmed that York is "certainly a similar body type" to Cunningham. Cunningham used his frame and leaping ability to get balls downfield, since he was rarely able to just blow by guys.
The major difference right now is blocking, which Cunningham was unbelievably good at—like, almost a third tight-end good—and York is… not. York is also about 20 pounds short of Cunningham but should fill out to around the 210, 215 area that he did.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Some camps, kind of consensus, but not a lot of in-person scouting save Ace's, and it sounds like his compete level was not the same in high school as it was at camps.
Variance: Low-plus. Guy already has all the skills you want but isn't going to become George Campbell (who is committed to Michigan). The plus is for some uncertainty about that compete level.
Ceiling: Moderate. A guy who can be a nice #2 receiver if he works out.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Scouting reports here are a lot kinder than the rankings, at least for camp season.
Projection: From the camp reports you'd think he would be the receiver most likely to play, but that blocking thing from his high school game makes me (and Ace) think he'll get beat out by either Dukes or Jones to be the freshman WR who plays.
Then, like Jones, he'll have an opportunity next year as Michigan loses four guys who figure to see snaps (Gallon, Dileo, Jackson, and Joe Reynolds). York sounds like the kind of guy who can find a role for himself on third and medium as a chain-moving slant merchant and could play himself into a dozen or so catches. That's where he'll probably stay for the next year since no one leaves, and then he'll have a chance to be the #2 when Darboh leaves.