help i've been transported back in time to Jim Tressel's hiring help
[Ed-S: Bumped on a light day]
For a few different reasons I decided not to use a grade scale because each player is given different responsibilities by line. Brian Lebler deserved an A because he exceeded expectations, but how do you differentiate his A and Carl Hagelin's? It also helps avoid any kind of backlash I might receive from a player who decides to take a look at what I wrote.
Pre-Season Expectations: Moderate/Low
Coming into the year Guptill was one of six freshman, his role was supposed to be checking for the next four years and here he is as your teams leading scorer.
Big Gup really came up big for the Wolverines as the season went along, becoming a balanced scorer and a huge presence in front of the net. He did not fall into the freshman slump like the others mostly because opponents refused to acknowledge that he was standing in front of the goal by himself, he was given as much space as he needed to tip and redirect pucks all season long.
Coming in labeled as a big man, Guptill showed that he also had college level stick skills from the start. A big man who can lead the rush is more than valuable to a team who loves to run the transition game.
Best Moment: The overtime goal that snapped a 7 game winless streak for Michigan against Alaska, the team would finish the season on a 12-3-3 run.
Pre-Season Expectations: High
The first diary I wrote about hockey was a pre-season preview, I thought that the hardest thing to replace from last years class was going to be the leadership of Matt Rust. We lost a gritty, hard working, team player but Chris Brown has stepped in and done a great job to fill the void.
Brownie provided the best defensive option of our forwards and was a well balanced player. He has great offensive skills, defensive ability, checking and leadership. He provided the anchor for a line that carried the Wolverines through the second half of the season and into the NCAA tournament.
Best Moment: Brown pulling the string on Miami defensemen Will Weber.
Pre-Season Expectations: Moderate
Looking deeper into the stats Wohlberg had a pretty good season statistically, he cut down penalty minutes drastically, improved his +/- by double digits and needs three points to match his career high. Posted a 194-192 record in the faceoff dot (.503%).
The contributions David brings to the team are invaluable, but they get a little overlooked being behind Brown and Guptill. His passing definitely was a major asset for the top line, as his 16 assists tied for team lead among forwards.
Best Moment: Named to the All-GLI team for his tourney preformance.
Pre-Season Expectations: High
It was an interesting season for Treais, who ended the season red hot but spent the first half shying away from the plays and not making much of an impact.
The Daily did a great article on A.J. and he talked about how much being over his playing weight effected his game. When he got himself back into shape he became a completely different player and the talk started to flow in about Treais finally becoming what Red always thought he could be.
After shifting the lines for the first half of the season, Treais fell into place with Di Giuseppe and Glendening to provide a reliable scoring option. He has passed his previous career highs in goals with 15 and points with 26, also improved his +/- by +15.
Best Moment: One timer snipe in overtime to send the Seniors out with a victory.
[After jump: The rest of the team]
The first to drop in what became an eight-commit weekend, Wheaton (IL) St. Francis OL Kyle Bosch pledged to Michigan nine days ago. The Rivals100 lineman will likely play guard in Ann Arbor, though he has the versatility to play anywhere on the line. I had the chance to talk to Kyle yesterday about his commitment, why he chose the Wolverines, his future role on the team, and much more:
ACE: What made you decide that a couple weekends ago was the right time to commit to Michigan?
KYLE: It just felt right at that point. It didn't even make sense to keep dancing around the country and trying to find any place that had the same sort of academic and athletic combination that Michigan has. I've been all over the place, I've checked out every place, and at that point it just didn't make sense to let the offer sit. It seemed just like I should just act now and try to start recruiting for my class.
ACE: You mentioned the academics and the athletics. What set Michigan apart from the other schools that you were considering?
KYLE: It wasn't even the fact that it's the biggest stadium in the country or the best facilities in the country of any of that, it's more the people who were actually there working. From Coach Hoke to the athletic trainers, they're all very good people, and that definitely set them apart from a lot of other schools.
ACE: You were the first to commit in what would become a pretty wild weekend of commitments. What was it like seeing all the dominoes fall after you committed?
KYLE: It was kinda crazy. I don't know if it was because of my offer and my acceptance of the offer that started a bit of a firestorm of commitments, but if it was I'm glad I did it, because I think our class is going to be a very, very good class. We have about 13 commitments now, I think our offensive line is all filled up, we've got a great running back, Wyatt [Shallman], and the number one quarterback in the country, that's Shane Morris. I think we're going to be able to make a long run in the BCS standings, and I wouldn't be surprised seeing us in four or five years playing in the national championship.
ACE: Being a part of a class that's already up to 13 players, and seeing you guys interact on Twitter and stuff like that, it seems like the class is very tight-knit. What's it like being a part of a class that's seemingly so close at a point this early in the process?
KYLE: I think that's great that we're becoming this close. I'm definitely making a conscious effort to try and network with these guys and try to get to know them better, because these are the men that I'm going to be living and dying next to in the trenches and working my butt off in the weight room with in the offseason. I think getting this sort of relationship, this sort of brotherly relationship, we're already to already starting to grow on and grow with, it's really essential to the team. If we get that established before we even get to the first day of summer camp, I think that just the camaraderie will carry us a very long way.
ACE: You also mentioned already having the line class filled up with five players. Have you talked with the coaches about specifically what role, what position, you'd be playing when you get on campus?
KYLE: If I need to play guard, I know how to play guard. If I need to play center, this offseason I'm learning how to play center. If I need to play tackle, I know how to play both tackle slots. I think at this point, I talked to Coach Funk, and he said he sees me at guard for my junior and senior year, but if need be I can probably play tackle if someone gets hurt or if there's a spot that needs to be filled.
ACE: You mentioned talking with Coach Funk and you talked about being with Coach Hoke. What really set the Michigan coaching staff apart from the other coaching staffs that you've come across?
KYLE: That's a good question. The thing about them is that there's not as much of "we're coaches, we're here to win," as there is "we're fathers, and you're my kids. If we win, great, but we're here to develop young men." Winning isn't the only thing, it's to develop young men, and not only help them maybe get to the NFL but develop them and get them ready for life. You can tell with Coach Hoke, he definitely has a very strong family mentality. When I told him I committed, he gave me a bear-hug when we were talking. I met all of their families, the families were all there. I got to talk to their kids. You could there that every coach there, whether it be Coach Funk or the defensive coordinator, everybody was basically an uncle to the kids and everybody was really close with the kids. You could tell that these men definitely have a lot invested in you as a person, not just as a football player, and I really respected that. I've seen that at Michigan State and Stanford also, and I really liked them too, but Michigan definitely set themselves apart.
ACE: Looking back on the times you've come up to Ann Arbor, what's really stuck out to you the most when you were on your visits?
KYLE: As a player, what stood out to me is how, no matter if the kid was a two-star recruit or a five-star recruit, they treated them all the same, they all gave everybody an equal amount of attention. I've been at junior days where I get talked to for 45 minutes but there's three other kids where it seemed like the coaches didn't know they were even there. I really thought that was pretty cool. What stood out to me, I guess as a physical attribute, is all of the fans. The fans are unbelievable there. When I was there for the Notre Dame game, it was the first game under the lights, and they came back and the fans were going insane. The Nebraska game, where the jumbotron didn't even work and the score clock didn't even work and the fans were screwing with the Nebraska quarterback, he wasn't getting the ball off until late and getting under pressure, I thought that was pretty cool too.
ACE: Coming from Illinois, it's a really strong class of players this year. Have you developed a relationship with the prospects coming out of your state—not just the guys who are committed to Michigan but the uncommitted guys as well?
KYLE: Yes, I have. I talk to Ty Isaac quite a bit. I've talked to Logan Tuley. I talked to a bunch of kids who were around our recruiting class. I have developed somewhat of a relationship with a lot of the kids in Illinois.
ACE: Now that you're committed, I know Shane has been spearheading a lot of the recruiting effort. Are you looking to pitch in and do some recruiting of your own?
KYLE: Yeah, absolutely. I'm doing that right now, actually. I know a kid named Henry Poggi that is a highly-recruited defensive lineman. I've gone to a couple camps with him and he's a hell of a player and a really good kid. I'm talking to Ty Isaac a lot, trying to get him. I'd actually talked to Patrick Kugler about three weeks before he committed, and I was actually going to come up this weekend when he did commit, but I ended up not going. He shot me a text right when he committed. It's really exciting to see all the guys commit and see what sort of class we're building up.
ACE: Are you planning on doing any other camps or combines over the offseason?
KYLE: I'll definitely be doing one of the Nike ones at the Barrington Fieldhouse in Illinois, just to see if I can go to The Opening. Other than that, I'm going to go to the Michigan camp, go to the one-day Michigan camp and work with Coach Funk and see how he works with me. That'll be fun to do. That's probably what I'll end up doing.
ACE: Evaluating your own game, and also taking what the coaches have told you, what would say are your biggest strengths on the field and what are you looking to improve upon by the time you get to the next level?
KYLE: My greatest strength is probably run-blocking and finishing my blocks. If I don't hit the guy down, I ride him until the whistle blows, even if I ran him 40 yards downfield I'm still going after him. I always roll my hips, [Coach Funk] said that for my age, for my size, me rolling my hips every single block is definitely a very unique thing I have to offer. Something I'd like to improve on would be my pass protection. I don't really have a problem with it, I didn't let up a sack this year, but we don't throw the ball as much as a lot of teams because we have such a good running back and a good scrambling quarterback. I'm working on that right now actually at my gyms, just working on pass protection. I'd like to learn how to snap, also, that's one thing I'd like to learn how to do. I'm also working on that.
ACE: You talked earlier about looking at this class and seeing a possible BCS contender down the road. What's the goal for you personally when you get to Michigan?
KYLE: My personal goal is just to help be a leader on and off the field. With my team I hold a lot of weight with a lot of the guys just because I'm always there for them on and off the field, and that's one of my big goals, not even to start but just to be there for all the guys, from the defensive backs to the running backs and of course the offensive linemen. I just want to build a good relationship with them. After that, probably just getting bigger, getting stronger, and seeing what happens about where the coaches want me to be.
ACE: If you can, in as short a sentence as you can, tell me why you ended up picking Michigan?
KYLE: That's a tough one. I'd say I chose Michigan, just the feeling that I got. I woke up that morning and I went from Notre Dame and MSU the day before to Michigan; I'd slept it over the night before I went on campus, and I said if I get that same feeling again that the time was now. Then I got that feeling and I committed.
True story: I woke up to my phone vibrating on my desk and I immediately had no doubt that I was way late in getting to a "Hello" post. I didn't know for whom—though I had a good idea it was Wexford (PA) OL Patrick Kugler, who tweeted that Michigan "[felt] like home" after his visit yesterday—but I knew that Brady Hoke doesn't sleep and had no trouble punishing me for my slothfulness. This is where we're at with Michigan recruiting right now; I'm going to have to start patterning my sleep after a college football coach. This is totally okay as long as the 2013 class is wrapped up by the end of March.
On that note, Michigan now has its entire five-man offensive line class filled before the end of February. It is filled with four-stars. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
4* OT, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 92, #20 OT,
Four-stars across the board for Kugler, because what else did you expect? He even has an early four-star ranking from Scout, so it appears he's destined to end up on each of the four services's top-[blank] lists. Rivals is the most bullish for the moment, placing him as their #54 overall prospect, making him the team's third-best commit by their standards and the sixth in the Rivals100. Every site but Rivals lists Kugler at 6'4", 270 pounds—Rivals credits him with an extra inch and ten pounds—making him the ideal size to move inside, most likely to center.
Kugler's certainly got the bloodlines to be a dominant lineman. Scout's Bob Lichtenfels cited the Kugler family history when naming him the breakout 2013 prospect of the East last October ($):
We knew Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny offensive lineman Patrick Kugler was going to be good. His family lineage would suggest that his father Sean Kugler is the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his brother Robert Kugler is red shirting this season in his true freshman season at Purdue. The younger Kugler is better than we thought, he is dominant. I actually wouldn't hestitate to say he is the best lineman in Pennsylvania regardless of class.
Patrick did not let the resource of having an NFL offensive line coach for a father go to waste, working with his dad on technique and also being a ball boy, getting to absorb the atmosphere of an NFL training camp. Here's Kugler's self-evaluation ($):
'I just think my best thing is my physicality and run blocking definitely," he said. "I like being really physical and I'm working on my pass sets a lot. I'm working a lot on my strength and trying to get up there, get bigger and quicker."
Scout lists feet—not a surprise when working on footwork with an NFL coach—intensity, and nasty streak as Kugler's strengths, and his only listed weakness is size. While Kugler can't change being 6'4", this is actually a good thing for a center, and at 270 pounds he's got the frame to be college-ready by the time he sets foot on campus. Here is Scout's full evaluation:
Kugler is a technician and he is nasty. He finishes his blocks and always plays to the whistle. He has great feet and gets to the second level as well as anyone. Very dominant at the point of attack. he is equally adept at run blocking and pass protection. He is very cerebral and is rarely in bad position. Very good knee bend and deceptively athletic. Needs to fill out his frame more, but that will come with age and experience.
With his technical ability and feel for the game, Kugler sounds like the ideal center, though he's got the ability to play anywhere along the interior of the line and potentially even tackle—that likely won't be necessary given the recruiting haul this year and last.
So, in short, Michigan just pulled in a refined, technical lineman who knows the game, is equally skilled at pass- and run-blocking, and has the proverbial nasty streak. Oh, and his dad is the offensive line coach for the Steelers. I'd say "DO WANT," but we already got him.
Kulger had 25 offers when he pledged to Michigan, including Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Miami (FL), Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Washington, and West Virginia. [EDIT: Also Ohio State. Continue maniacal laughter.]
Offensive lineman, so no stats. He was recently named to the ESPNHS Underclass All-America team and pulled in all-state and all-conference honors as a junior. He was also first-team all-conference and all-state honorable mention as a sophomore.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 5.1-second 40 time, which I'll give three FAKEs out of five, as well as a 300-pound bench press and a 415 squat.
Kugler does not have a highlight tape available, surprisingly. I'll update this if I come across one.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Kugler is the center that Michigan has been looking for, and while he'll likely take a redshirt year to bulk up, he could compete with Jack Miller for the starting job as a redshirt freshman. [EDIT: Though with the lack of depth, he may be forced into duty as a backup as a true freshman.] Even if Miller holds off Kugler until he graduates, Kugler will likely be a two-year starter anchoring the middle of the Wolverine line; no 2012 lineman projects to center and there's literally no depth after Miller. Kugler is much higher-ranked than your average center by the recruiting services, so I'm guessing he'll be in the running for postseason accolades by the time he's an upperclassman, though that's just a guess since I clearly don't have any film to base that on.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The Wolverines are now done taking offensive linemen, having pulled in two projected tackles (Logan Tuley-Tillman and Chris Fox), two guards (Kyle Bosch and David Dawson), and Kugler, the center. They're also up to 13 total commitments for the class of 2013, and while I sound like a broken record, I'll once again state that this class should have around 20-22 players, though some recruiting analysts suggest Michigan could take up to 24. That would take a fair amount of attrition, so we'll have to see about that.
With the remaining spots, Michigan appears intent on taking two receivers (one big outside playmaker and a versatile slot, probably), another tight end, a nose tackle, a linebacker, and another corner, at the very least. That would put the Wolverines at 19 commits, and they could use their remaining scholarships on the best players available.
BONUS RIVAL SCHADENFREUDE. From the Notre Dame board IrishEnvy in their Patrick Kugler thread:
Today, 11:20 AM #20 (permalink) Raining On Your Parade
Committed to UM today.
Last edited by phork; Today at 11:23 AM..
That is all.
|WHAT||Michigan vs. Purdue|
|WHERE||Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI|
|WHEN||6 PM Eastern, 2/25/2012|
|LINE||Michigan -6 (Kenpom)|
Saturday's game represents Senior Night at the Crisler Center and—depending on what you think of a rapidly-imploding Illinois squad—Michigan's toughest matchup over their last three games. If the Wolverines can handle the Boilermakers, a
13-5 14-4(!) conference record becomes not just a real possibility, but the likely season outcome, as does at least a share of the Big Ten title (shakes fist at Minnesota for their Minnesota-esque choke job against Michigan State).
Brian has already previewed Purdue once, so be sure to check that out for reference, but a couple things have changed since Michigan eked by the Boilers last month. Namely, starting guard Kelsey Barlow was booted off the team for allegedly assaulting a bar bouncer after leaving his wallet inside said bar and attempting to re-enter (forcibly, it appears). He was a relatively efficient player with a knack for getting to the line, but the Wolverines no longer have to worry about that.
At this point, you are intimately familiar with the star of Purdue, 18th-year senior Robbie Hummel. Hummel plays over 80% of the available minutes for Purdue and, at 6'8", is their starting center; he's a very efficient player for his sky-high usage, can step out and knock down the three (34.8%), rarely turns the ball over, and cleans up the defensive glass at a high rate. He'll be a tough defensive assignment for Jordan Morgan, though Morgan and Smotrycz held Hummel to 16 points on 14 shots in the first matchup (he did manage to dole out six assists).
Point guard Lewis Jackson is the other focal point of the Purdue offense, and he's nearly as efficient as Hummel. Jackson gets to the line at an extremely high rate and hits over 50% of his two-pointers, but he's not at all a threat from the outside (5-24 on the season from three). Trey Burke's job will be to keep Jackson in front of him and stay out of foul trouble, a difficult proposition in combination.
The Boilers have a pair of dangerous outside shooters besides Hummel, as starting guard Ryne Smith and sixth man D.J. Byrd connect at over a 40% clip from three. Neither poses a threat inside the arc—of their 358 combined FGA, 276 have come from three—but Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stu Douglass must make sure to stay at home and close out hard when they're on the floor. 6'2" Terone Johnson is the other starting guard and is by far Purdue's least efficient backcourt member with significant playing time outside of Anthony Johnson, who may be forced into a slightly larger role off the bench after Barlow's dismissal.
Stepping into the starting lineup these past two games—Byrd was suspended against MSU, so we'll see if he starts tomorrow instead—is low-usage forward Travis Carroll, who provides solid offensive rebounding, a shot-blocking presence, and little else. Purdue will stick with that seven-man rotation.
Since the first game against Michigan, Purdue has beaten Northwestern twice, Illinois on the road by 5, and Nebraska at home by 18, while dropping home blowouts against Indiana and Michigan State and nearly upsetting Ohio State on the road. That last game stands out as a bit of a fluke, but a three-point loss at OSU is a three-point loss at OSU.
The Boilermakers currently sit at 18-10 (8-7 B1G), placing them on the bubble but likely in the NCAA tournament as long as they take care of Penn State at home and get out of the first round of the BTT. This game could ensure them a spot in the tourney, however, so the Wolverines must be prepared to face a fired up squad.
Conference four factors:
|Factor||Offense (Rk)||Defense (Rk)||Avg|
|Effective FG%:||49.0 9||53.7 11||49|
|Turnover %:||12.2 1||18.0 9||20.5|
|Off. Reb. %:||29.8 8||31.5 8||32.2|
|FTA/FGA:||33.8 7||37.5 9||36.4|
Purdue has not shot the ball particularly well—especially from inside the arc—in conference play and their field goal defense has fallen off a cliff. While they don't turn the ball over, they're not great at forcing turnovers, and their lack of size hampers their rebounding. Their effective height is actually lower than Michigan's, a rare sight indeed when not playing Northwestern.
Obligatory Hardaway. I thought he had turned the corner after the Illinois game but he regressed against Northwestern; nothing highlighted his recent shooting struggles quite as much as a 2-8 performance from the line in an arena half-full of Michigan fans. Purdue has no true center to speak of and without Barlow they lack athleticism, as well; Hardaway should be on a mission to get to the basket at all costs.
Many of you will hate me for saying this, but keep shooting the three. I know Brian highlighted the potential uselessness of defensive 3FG% recently, but the Boilermakers are second-to-last in the conference, allowing a 39.2% rate from beyond the arc. I don't want to see the Wolverines jack up 38 threes again, but they shouldn't be afraid—outside of Hardaway, who should drive at all times—to put up some outside shots. I don't think that needed to be said, but there it is.
Get it inside to Morgan and Smotrycz. The two bigs combined for 22 points on 8-12 shooting in the first game as Purdue struggled to defend the interior. Morgan even notched a pair of assists, and Hammer & Rails is afraid of the Wolverines continuing to attack with the inside-outside game:
This team is a difficult matchup for us because we proved the last time we cannot stop Morgan in the paint, and he can kick out to Evan Smotrycz or Zack Novak for threes. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. can get their own shots too. In their last five victories they have been defensively stifling, holding those defeated opponents under 61 points.
Also, like, please don't miss layups, Morgan. The dwindling number of hairs on my head will thank you for it.
Don't let Hummel go off. Self-explanatory. Michigan did a fine job of this in their last matchup, but Hummel is the type of player who can explode at any time, and I think that's necessary for Purdue to win this one.
Keep Jackson from getting the lane on the pick-and-roll. Purdue's other dangerous option is getting the lightning-quick LewJack into the paint via the pick. Burke's been very effective defensively in conference play and he's going to have to keep them up; the last thing Michigan needs is for him to get into foul trouble. Same goes for Morgan—if he picks up a couple of cheapies while trying to corral Jackson, Michigan's effective height becomes much the same as Purdue's and the team loses one of their biggest advantages.
Give Novak and Douglass the biggest standing ovation in the history of standing ovations. It's senior night. I can't remember a pair of seniors who deserve your undying love as much as the two unheralded white boys from Indiana. If the roof doesn't blow off of the Crisler Center when these two are introduced for the last time at home, I will be waiting outside after the game with a machete. You would not like this, and neither would I, as I value my freedom mightily; however, I also value upholding ridiculous statements I make on the internet. Don't test me.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Michigan by 6. Also, biggest standing ovation ever.
With 258 games and 185 starts between them, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass will take the Crisler Center floor for the final time on Saturday night. The duo committed to Michigan with little fanfare and, bit by bit, have reestablished the program. Neither player ever averaged double digits or posted glamorous numbers but Zack Novak broke the 1,000 point plateau and Stu Douglass is likely to graduate as Michigan’s all-time leader in games played. Most importantly when all is said and done they will have taken the program, which hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament in a decade, to the Big Dance in three of their four seasons. Both players would tell you that the memories can wait as Michigan hosts Purdue with a chance to remain perfect at home and within striking distance of a Big Ten championship.
The memories can wait during the game, but if doesn't get pretty damn dusty in Crisler afterwards, regardless of the result... machete.
Also, the_white_tiger with a stat-heavy look over at Maize n Brew, and the aforementioned Hammer & Rails preview. The Daily's Ben Estes on Zack and Stu. AnnArbor.com's Nick Baumgartner with a list of the top five Zack and Stu moments—you'll be pleased with the placement of the aneurysm of leadership.
Today's recruiting roundup checks out Shane Morris's new highlight tape, goes over the laundry list of top prospects who took notice of last weekend's commitment extravaganza, and details Michigan's new offers and expected visitors.
What, No Punting Highlights?
Shane Morris unleashed his junior tape yesterday, and the first full minute features him... running. And hurdling a guy. I'm seriously, you guys:
Oh, there's also your standard fare of cannon-launched deep balls and precision touch passes, but SHANE MORRIS HURDLED A GUY AND HE'S TOTALLY DENARD 2.0. Also, he punts, though disappointingly that wasn't in the video:
Don’t underestimate Morris’ potential in the punting game. While a left-handed thrower, he kicks right-footed. According to De La Salle’s special teams coach, Morris averaged a shade under 40 yards a punt last season and had a 58 yarder in one game. Morris played soccer for seven years.
Next week we'll learn that Morris throws a 90-mph slider with either arm, turned down Red Berenson's overtures to be Shawn Hunwick's successor, and is the only person to defeat The World's Most Interesting Man in a game of jai-alai.
Morris, as you're well aware, is also pretty good at this whole recruiting thing—that Hoke guy isn't bad himself, I hear—and top prospects have taken notice of Michigan's dynamite start to the 2013 class. Joliet (IL) Catholic RB Ty Isaac is one of those prospects, though he's also trying to take his time with his decision ($, info in header):
“It’s hard not to notice (Michigan’s recruiting success), but I kind of told myself ‘don’t let that be a deciding factor,” said Isaac. “I know there are a few places that I really want to see. I know that being somewhere with a good class is a big deal, and to me it’s very important, but I didn’t really want to make a rash decision just because everyone else was doing it.”
Isaac will visit Ann Arbor on March 10th between trips to Notre Dame and USC, who appear to be the other schools in contention for the Midwest's top back, though he's yet to narrow down his list ($, info in header). One factor very much playing in Michigan's favor is their depth chart, something Isaac is keeping a close eye on, as he wants the opportunity to play early. Another top Illinois prospect, Crete (IL) Monee WR Laquon Treadwell, is also keeping a low profile, but he's willing to say that the Wolverines are among his leaders ($, info in header):
While he claims to have no top list, Treadwell will admit Michigan is one of his leaders. After this past weekend, when Michigan picked up eight commitments, there might not be much time before he will have to make a decision, something that Treadwell says won't deter him from his timeline.
"That won't change anything for me," he said. "It's not my time yet."
One player who has flat-out stated Michigan is on top is four-star linebacker E.J. Levenberry in a free ESPN article linked by Brian yesterday. The Wolverines are also in good shape with four-star linebackers Dorian O'Daniel and Mike McCray; with Michigan likely to take just one or two at the position they should be able to get a very high-quality haul there.
247 Sports updated their Top247, and for the most part the new rankings were kind to the Wolverines, though Jake Butt took a rather perpelxing tumble. Touch the Banner provided a summary of the movement:
- Shane Morris dropped from #12 to #14
- Dymonte Thomas dropped from #35 to #40
- Chris Fox dropped from #39 to #47
- Kyle Bosch jumped from #55 to #42
- Jake Butt dropped from #70 to outside the top 247
- Taco Charlton jumped from #115 to #99
- Wyatt Shallman dropped from #149 to #187
- Jourdan Lewis dropped from #218 to outside the top 247
- David Dawson jumped from outside the top 247 to #195
My only guess as to why Butt would drop so far is that 24/7 initially evaluated him as a DE, and when he committed to a school as a TE they adjusted accordingly; I still don't know why he fell all the way out, as most first-hand accounts have him as a better offensive prospect than defensive. C'est la vie. Click that TTB link to see where all of Michigan's targets landed in the new list, which provides further confirmation that the Wolverines are offering the cream of the crop this year.
New Offers, Scheduled Visits, Visit Reactions, Etc.
Sam Webb's latest DetNews article focuses on one of the many high-profile offensive linemen to come out of Illinois in 2013, New Lenox Lincoln-Way West's Colin McGovern, who could vie for that last offensive line spot in the class:
"I spoke with Coach Funk over the weekend and (Wednesday), and he let me know there is one spot left (for an offensive lineman)," McGovern reported. "I'm just glad that I'm going to be visiting really soon there so I can sort of get a look at things and maybe compare it to schools that I've visited in the past. But I'm not looking to commit right now. I'm going to let it play out and whatever happens, happens. If they stay available that'd be nice because that's an extra choice for me. I know Michigan is a great school and a powerhouse football team, but I'm not going to rush into a decision that I might regret."
McGovern will visit on March 10th, and he's also got visits scheduled for Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and possibly Washington over the next couple months. He's not in a rush to make his decision, but he also doesn't have a set timetable; when he feels like he's ready to make a choice, he'll go ahead and do just that. He doesn't claim any favorites right now, though he says Michigan would be near the top of his list if he had one (he doesn't).
The top-ranked lineman in Illinois, Ethan Pocic, was the only Saturday visitor to not commit last week, but that doesn't mean he wasn't impressed with Michigan. Pocic released a top ten and the Wolverines are included ($, info in header). As of right now, he hasn't set up any other visits. Michigan also impressed a pair of Monday visitors in TE Jacob Matuska, who talked to Tremendous—it looks like the Wolverines will take a third TE in the class—and DT Donovan Munger, who still doesn't have a Wolverine offer ($).
Your semi-weekly list of new offers:
- Four-star Reading (MA) Wyomissing Area OLB Alex Anzalone, who told 247 he's planning March visits to both Michigan and Notre Dame ($, info in header).
- Bastrop (TX) three-star CB Antwuan Davis received his offer from Coach Funk last week ($, info in header). He hasn't set up visits but mentioned Michigan among the schools he'd like to check out.
- Upland (CA) DE/OLB Joe Mathis grabbed an offer last week and is looking at taking one of his official visits to Ann Arbor ($, info in header).
- 2014 Bishop (MD) McNamara OT/DT Damian Prince received offers from Michigan, Florida State, Iowa, and North Carolina last week, bringing his total to 11 already ($, info in header).
- 2014 Grand Rapids Christian ATH Drake Harris is primarily a basketball recruit—he's been in heavy contact with John Beilein—but he also says he's received an offer to play football for the Wolverines ($, info in header). He's the rare player who could be a legit scholarship player at two sports.
- 2014 Washington (DC) Friendship Academy CB Jalen Tabor was offered on Sunday ($, info in header). He already holds offers from schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech, and he's looking to visit Ann Arbor this summer.
As you can see, the coaching staff has been able to turn some of their focus to the sophomore class—identifying 2014's top targets—with half of the junior class already wrapped up.
There's a short list of weekend visitors after last weekend's junior day atmosphere (though it wasn't an official junior day): four-star OL Patrick Kugler, who holds an offer; Barrington (IL) OL Jack Keeler ($, not offered); Logan Tuley-Tillman (yes, again); and 2014 QB Chandler Kincade, who's an early Pitt commit.
Several other players are planning future trips to Ann Arbor. Pittsburgh (PA) TE Scott Orndoff, Wisconsin's lone commit in the class of 2013, told Tremendous that he'll take a visit to Michigan after being offered recently—further evidence that the Wolverines want a third TE in the class. PA OT Mike McGlinchey is looking to take a spring trip to check out the Wolverines ($, info in header). Erial (NJ) Timber Creek teammates DT Greg Webb and DE Dajuan Drennon might be a package deal, according to Webb, and plan on visiting Ann Arbor in the future ($, info in header).
A quick note: Despite a recent MaxPreps article saying Michigan had renewed interest in Midland OT Steven Elmer, Sam Webb has confirmed with Elmer's father that he's not interested and is solidly committed to Notre Dame. End of discussion.
Quickly: SBNation editors pick their favorite tales from the recruiting trail, and it's a hilarious read (I must agree with Andrew Sharp—Willie Williams is tough to top). MnB's Zach Travis answers questions about recruiting and the renewed fervor of the Michigan-Ohio State battles for SBNation's main recruiting page. Chantel Jennings goes over the remaining needs in the class ($). TomVH focuses in on the top remaining targets along the offensive line ($).
|WHAT||Michigan at Bowling Green|
|WHERE||BGSU Ice Arena|
|LINE||College hockey lines, junkie?|
|TV||None. Radio 1050 WTKA.|
Record. 9-20-5 overall, 4-18-4 Gongshow. Bowling Green is by far the worst program in the league. They've given up more goals than any CCHA team (82—3.2 per game) and score way, way fewer than any other (36, a full 25 fewer than Notre Dame, the second-most impotent team in the league). I find this depressing. BG deserves better.
But they don't have better. BG does have a 5-2-1 nonconference record against UConn, UAH, Cansisus, and Bemidji. They've held up the conference's banner in the nonconference.
Previous meetings. None.
Dangermen. Well… I mean, it's tough to pick one out. Freshman Ryan Carpenter and sophomore Camden Wojtala have 20 and 18 points respectively; they have 10 and 9 in 26 CCHA games. Freshman Adam Berkle also has 10 in conference. So they don't have an 0.5 PPG scorer in conference play. There aren't any. This is not a jinx.
Defense. None of BG's defensemen do anything notable on the scoresheet; they all get nailed on plus minus. This is not a jinx.
Goalie. Junior Andrew Hammond is the only guy. He's got a .896 in 34 games; his backup has seen about a single game's worth of time. I assume Hammond's poor save percentage is an effect of poor defensive play in front of him; I can't plausibly claim that I have expertise in this area.
Special teams. Your power plays per game:
|PP For / G||4.3||3.7|
|PP Ag / G||4.9||4.2|
I wouldn't expect much of a difference between power plays for and against; Michigan has gone into series against opponents way more likely to take penalties than they are the past few weekends and seen a Wolverine parade to the box on crosschecks that are actually legal hits not involving the stick at all and so forth and so on. Gongshow is gonna gongshow.
When teams are on special teams, it will be advantage Michigan. Bowling Green is 55th in power play efficiency at 9.5 percent; while they're a lot better at killing power plays (25th; 82.5%) their lack of firepower overwhelms everything else. Michigan is up to… uh… 40th on the power play.
Michigan vs Those Guys
Don't let them score via horrendous turnover. There were a number against Northern and few other scoring opportunities that were not catching the third pairing in its own zone. BG doesn't appear to generate many scoring chances on its own; if they don't win a game it will likely be a totally gross thing off forechecking.
Don't give up a softie. This is pretty insulting to the Falcons, but seriously they're averaging just over a goal per game in the Gongshow.
That's all I've got. BGSU's been playing pretty well lately but it's about bounces going against M. Either that or some guy doing something he's never done before. You can blame me when the jinx comes home.
The Big Picture
If Michigan sweeps and Ferris gets swept M will share the regular season title. While the former isn't farfetched the latter is given how well the Bulldogs have been playing in the second half of the season. Since it will take a BG sweep to prevent Michigan from getting a second-round home series we can move on to the Pairwise barring Mayan-type events.
As far as the Pairwise goes, a sweep sees Michigan tread water. They'd probably drop a spot or two in that case just because some teams within a hair's breadth of them will sweep better teams. Less than a sweep is worse but actually not awful. They've basically salted away all Gongshow comparisons and the RPI is the only thing that will make a difference with Ferris. BGSU is nowhere near TUC status and won't affect that category, so the RPI is it.