things go poorly
THE GOAL OF DRAFTAGEDDON
The goal of Draftageddon is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT DRAFTAGEDDON.
I'm hearing this is incorrect. I see. The goal of Draftageddon is to draft a team of Big Ten players that seems generally more impressive than that of your competitors. Along the way, we'll learn a lot of alarming things, like maybe Maryland is good? Full details are in the first post.
PREVIOUSLY ON DRAFTAGEDDON
- Everyone not grabbing dual-threat senior QBs grabs defensive linemen
- Seth takes Venric Mark in front of just about everyone
- Nothing terribly remarkable happens
- BISB takes all the guys I want
- A ridiculous amount of time is spent discussing the merits of one particular interior lineman from Rutgers
- WILDCARD TIME as Brian takes a quarterback despite already having a quarterback.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
ROUND 13 - PICK 2: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
O: QB Connor Cook (MSU), RB Ameer Abdullah (NE), WR Devin Funchess (U-M), TE Maxx Williams (MN), LT Brandon Scherff (IA), LG Kaleb Johnson (RU)
D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), DE/DT Andre Monroe (MD), NT Darius Kilgo (MD), OLB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW), OLB Matt Robinson (MD), CB Desmond King (IA), S John Lowdermilk (IA)
ST: KR/PR Ameer Adbullah (NE)
ACE: Heiko lives!
Brian's decision to draft a, uh, third-and-long quarterback put an end to the staring contest between me and Seth. I'd like a full-time starter, thanks, and not of the Rudock/Stave/Siemain caliber.
Oh, look, it's the Rose Bowl MVP.
Connor Cook took the reins of an offense so laughable it was being outscored by its own defense, took a couple games to settle in, and proceeded to make the Spartan O downright respectable. He put up excellent numbers for a redshirt sophomore, averaging 7.3 YPA with a 22:6 TD-to-INT ratio. Those numbers were in spite of a receiving corps that didn't feature anything resembling a true #1 receiver, and didn't have much quality from there, either. Using Seth's pet stat, RYPR, here's what Cook was working with in 2013:
His #1 receiver performed like an average #2. His #4 receiver averaged 3.8 yards per target. The rest of it isn't so great, either. Click over to Seth's post and look at Michigan's 2013 receiving corps. Even with their lack of production from the #3 spot, the Wolverines were far superior.
BISB: /Microphone... getting so hot... must... let... go...
ROUND 13 - PICK 3: Jabrill Peppers, CB (and S/RB/WR/Nickel/WILL/KR/PR/BMOC/GGTK), Michigan
he will fix everything
O: QB Devin Gardner (UM), RB Jeremy Langford (MSU) WR Kenny Bell (Neb), WR Shane Wynn (IU), OT Donovan Smith (PSU), C Austin Blythe (Iowa)
D: DE Joey Bosa (OSU), DE Noah Spence (OSU), LB Jake Ryan (UM), LB Mike Hull (PSU) CB Sojourn Shelton (Wisky), CB Jabrill Peppers (UM), S Kurtis Drummond (MSU)
BISB: I still needed a corner, a safety, a nickelback, a running back, and a wide receiver. So I took one.
Everyone is aware of the story of Jabrill Peppers. He is the highest ranked (and possibly the most highly-touted) recruit to hit a Big Ten campus in the last decade. If Sojourn Shelton is the prototypical field corner, Peppers is the archetypal boundary corner. Big for a corner at 6'1", 210 lbs, he hits like a linebacker but nevertheless shows sprinter speed and acceleration that translates to the football field. He's as quick-twitch of a human being as you'll ever find; he's basically Venric Mark. But after an 80's-style Rocky training montage. And five inches taller.
I know, I know. Recruiting hype stars don't matter never played a snap in college blah blah. Screw that. What are the usual concerns about freshmen? Physical preparedness, mental preparedness, and how the game translates to the next level. Physically, I'll defer to the unnamed assistant coach from USC:
"I've only seen two players in high school with a body like that," the USC coach says, "and both of them are named Peterson [Adrian and Patrick]."
As far as translating to the next level, watch the burst and acceleration in these two clips. Translation, my ass. I don't care what level of competition he's playing (though his competition is pretty good) or what kind of stuff doesn't show up on the highlight reels (though his full game cut-ups are equally impressive). This kid is basically a glitch in the physics engine. And sure, there's gonna be a mental transition, and sure both of my corners are young. Fortunately I have the best free safety in the Big Ten over the top to erase any youthful mistakes.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Seth drafts Troy Woolfolk, Ace with the Big Red Block.]
Newsome at Michigan (via 247) and on the field (Rivals)
Lawrenceville (NJ) Prep OT Grant Newsome announced his commitment to Michigan this morning via a very heartfelt note he posted on Twitter [click for full size]:
Newsome, who chose U-M over Penn State after recent return visits to both schools, is the seventh commit in the 2015 class, joining Jon Runyan Jr. among offensive linemen.
4*, #20 OT,
4*, #21 OT,
4*, 81, #25 OT,
4*, 92, #22 OT,
4*, #19 OT,
Newsome is rated with remarkable consistency by scouts, to the point that he's ranked higher among offensive tackles on the 247 Composite than any of the four recruiting services. I don't think I've seen that for any player, let alone one who's yet to play his senior season.
There's almost universal agreement about his size, as well. He's listed at 6'7 everywhere but 247 (6'6"), and everybody but Rivals (280 lbs.) pegs his weight at 290. There's little question where Newsome fits on an offensive line—that's prototype tackle size.
Newsome made his first major mark on the recruiting scene after his sophomore year, when he picked up an offer from Penn State shortly after standing out in their summer camp ($). Unfortunately, no scouting report at that link, but pulling in an offer from a strong recruiting Penn State program that showed major interest in him through two coaching regimes is a pretty good sign.
Scout's free eval likes his mobility and notes he needs some work on technique, which will be two running themes throughout this post:
Newsome is athletic, strong in pass protection and can get to the second level quickly in the running game. He is good drive blocking and does a nice job in pass protection. He has good length and is able to protect the edge, but does need to refine his technique. Newsome also gets to the second level quickly. -- Brian Dohn
He gets to the second level so quickly it needs to be noted twice in a four-sentence span, apparently. Getting another look at U-M's latest commit, Dohn ranked Newsome's performance third among offensive linemen, one spot ahead of Runyan, in a strong field at the New Jersey NFTC ($):
3. Grant Newsome, 6-6, 290, The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School
Skinny: Newsome had the unenviable task of being a left tackle in a 1-on-1 competition, which is slanted greatly toward defensive ends. His kickstep was good, he did a good job of not reaching and he used his length to tie up and frustrated defensive ends. Newsome also showed a good initial punch, and his lateral slide and footwork was also solid.
It appears Newsome's already improving on some of the technical aspects. While he came up short of position MVP honors and an automatic spot in The Opening, 247's Steve Wiltfong thought his performance could've merited an invite to Nike's elite camp:
Mclean (Va.) Lawrenceville School Top247 offensive tackle Grant Newsome could have easily won offensive line MVP honors and been invited to The Opening as well. Perhaps he still will. Has the ideal frame one wants in a left tackle, has nice length, he can bend, he keeps defensive linemen off him, not letting them get their hands on him.
ESPN's junior eval is just a condensed version of their longer one, so I'll reprint it here; it reflects the general consensus that Newsome has the ideal size and potential to be a great left tackle, but needs to add strength and technique—like most every offensive lineman coming out of high school—to put it all together ($):
STRENGTHS: Is very tall with a lean blend that looks to be capable of supporting additional bulk. Can move adequately in space for a guy his size with the ability to pull and block what is directly in front of him. Flashes the ability to get set quickly in pass to slide feet and mirror. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Needs to continue to develop functional strength. Does not always roll hips and explode through contact. Can deliver a punch and jolt defender when given the angle but first step is not consistently on proper angle. Hand placement will need to improve as an edge protector. ... BOTTOM LINE: Newsome has the frame and athletic ability to develop but is still a bit raw at this stage. His size and athleticism will garner interest from some bigger schools down the road.
NJ.com placed Newsome second in their state rankings—ahead of Penn State's trio of highly touted New Jersey commits and 2016 five-star Rashan Gary—published this February after he earned first-team all-state honors:
Attributes: Newsome is as good an athlete as you will find playing offensive tackle. He possesses terrific feet and initial quickness. His lateral agility, anticipation and overall athleticism project him to left tackle in college. He displays good willingness in the run game and the potential to become a standout BCS offensive lineman.
Recruit capsule: Grant Newsome
• Frame - 10
• Pass Blocking - 9
• Run Blocking - 8
• Awareness - 7
• Upside - 10
Only consensus five-star corner Minkah Fitzpatrick ranks in front of Newsome; the locals really like his game. That article also featured the requisite glowing review from his coach:
"He's a very unique player in the sense that he combines anything that anybody who coaches college football would want in a young man. He is smart, articulate, tall, long and athletic. He's got a great sense of the game, a great work ethic and he's smart on the field and in the class room. And he's a gentleman. And I know that's a lot of superlatives, but he's doing a fantastic job all-around and we are lucky to have him." – Lawrenceville head coach Danny O'Dea
The above and the note Newsome posted upon committing probably covered any concerns about fitting The Pattern™. Just in case they didn't, it's worth noting Newsome heavily emphasized academics throughout his recruitment, taking looks at the likes of Cal, Duke, and Northwestern, and going into exacting detail on how Michigan's combination of excellent academics and support made a major impression after his most recent visit ($):
Newsome, who is looking to major in Civil War history [ed-Ace: my man] , said the academic tour, and specifically the M-PACT program and its director Shari Acho were a major plus for the Wolverines.
"It's definitely something I would say will factor into my decision," he said. "Michigan's academic support system is really unique for their athletes and it's something my mom and I were both really, really impressed with. They gave me a clear cut idea of the types of classes I would be taking and what the life and schedule is like for a student athlete. Michigan's APR and graduation rates were something I had heard about, but it's not something I'm concerned about at all. I know I am capable of succeeding anywhere I go, and for me the support system stood out so much, I know I will have more than enough resources to be successful in school if I decide to choose Michigan."
It appears at least one negative recruiter didn't get the updated APR scores.*
Michigan is getting a lineman who fits the left tackle mold to a T, has excellent athleticism for his size, displays no off-field warning signs, and needs to add strength and technique to get to where he needs to be. Given U-M's recent offensive line classes, he should be afforded time to develop, and after that the potential is very high.
[*Honestly, negative recruiting doesn't really get a rise out of me—it happens everywhere in some form or another—but at least get the facts right.]
In addition to Michigan, Newsome earned offers from Alabama, Cal, Duke, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others. A decent list, I guess.
Lawrenceville Prep went 5-3 last season, and while the Rivals search function is still not working for me, they've got an alumni page that gives you a solid idea what level of program they are—the vast majority of their graduates who play college football do so at Ivy League schools or the like.
Offensive lineman, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
No 40 time is readily available, but, you know, offensive lineman. The quick feet, as described by seemingly every scout, are what matter here.
Sophomore highlights are available on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He'll be a tackle.
Okay, that's both obvious and uninformative. Newsome should be able to take a redshirt year; when he gets to campus, Erik Magnuson and Ben Braden will be redshirt juniors, Chris Fox and Logan Tuley-Tillman redshirt sophomores, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty should be a redshirt freshman. Early enrollee Mason Cole and David Dawson, who's in the same class as Fox and LTT, may also be in the mix at tackle, though at least one of those two should eventually slide inside.
Newsome most likely will get a multi-year apprenticeship while he's refining his technique and hulking out, then he'll get his shot at earning a starting job.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has the offensive tackle they needed, and while they could add another lineman—probably a good idea for class balance if they have the room—they're in a position to take the two they've got and focus on other positions given the depth along the line in the last few classes.
With Ty Isaac's transfer taking up a scholarship, we're projecting 15 or so players in the class with normal attrition, though that number could certainly grow. That leaves eight spots remaining for U-M to add a running back, a wide receiver or two, a tight end (a spot they could fill soon with Chris Clark), a defensive end or two, an outside linebacker or two, and perhaps another defensive back to fill Shaun Crawford's vacated spot. Add all those needs up and you get to nine players—space is limited, something that Michigan has used to their advantage on the recruiting trail in the past.
A couple summers ago, I delved back into the blogspot days to look at Brian's 2008 recruiting posts and how well players lived up to expectations. There were high points, like Mike Martin wrestling Not Mike Martin. These were accompanied by lows such as "Dann O'Neill might be Michigan's most critical recruit." The McGuffie mixtape was rewatched, wistfully.
I forgot to continue the series last summer, so I'm picking it back up with the 2009 class; conveniently, all the players from that class have completed their time in the program, so it's easier to give a fair retrospective on their careers. If you want to go back and look though the old posts yourself, the Tate Forcier profile features links to every player.
While that last link is a nice teaser for the offense portion of this exercise, today I'll be looking at the 2009 defensive recruits. Brace yourselves.
I'm gonna go ahead and get the defensive back portion of this post over with, as the four commits in the secondary were Vlad Emilien, Thomas Gordon, Justin Turner, and Adrian Witty. Emilien's projection was a harbinger of doom for U-M's future situation at safety:
Projection: Either sparing special teams time as a freshman or (hopefully) a redshirt. In 2010 will be a major threat to start at strong safety, though he might have to fight Brandon Smith to get a job.
Brian, today, on this quote: "I was so innocent then."
Smith moved to outside linebacker, then announced his intention to transfer near the end of the 2009 season, ending up at Temple and never doing anything of consequence there. Emilien followed a similar path, playing a little special teams as a true freshman, then transferring after the first game in 2010 when Jordan Kovacs put a death grip on the strong safety spot. He ended up as, yup, an outside linebacker at Toledo, where he made 15 tackles as a senior last year.
|omg shirtless heroin-laced carrot|
Witty never actually made it onto the team due to academic issues, eventually landing at Cincinnati, where he's the top returner in the secondary this year. Not getting him through admissions may be viewed as a recruiting failure, but in context, it was totally worth it:
Adrian Witty, a teammate of Denard Robinson, is Denard Robinson's teammate. On this team, which they share, they play together. Also, Witty and Denard Robinson attended the same high school. At this high school, they played on a team which they shared and played together on: they were teammates.
That should be clear. Many, many folks regard Witty's offer as the heroin-laced carrot used to lure critical QB recruit Denard Robinson away from Urban Meyer's clutches and to Michigan's post-apocalyptic frozen wastes.
Even though Witty would've been, at worst, the second-best defensive back in this class for U-M, there are no hard feelings here. We salute you, heroin-laced carrot.
The most hyped recruit in the class was Massillon, Ohio's Justin Turner, a top-35 overall player to both Rivals and Scout.* It wasn't hard to see what all the excitement was about:
That excitement only grew after Turner tore it up at Army All-American Game, to the point that his recruitment post led off with a discussion of one of those B/R "[touted recruit] is [football titan]" posts:
If you're measuring by delusional expectations of internet denizens, Justin Turner may be the #1 recruit in the universe. You've got to have an avalanche of hype for some guy to write an article saying you're Charles Woodson and get this response:
"Good article, but i see justin turner being faster then charles woodson. I also see turner being a better saftey the woodson was but woodson will be a better return man."
IE: "Good article about some high school senior being the reincarnation of the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman, but don't you think you're selling him a little short? Also I have no recollection of Charles Woodson's return abilities, which were pretty much crap aside from one white hot moment." (Yes, this exchange happened on Bleacher Report. Where else could it?)
Brian took the conservative tack, comparing Turner to... Marlin Jackson. Let's just move along.
The one defensive back to actually make a positive impact on the field at U-M, Cass Tech's Thomas Gordon, came in as a relatively anonymous recruit. He got Brandent Englemon for his "YMRMFSPA" and this projection:
General Excitement Level: Well… he is the lowest-ranked non-kicker in the class, and that's probably for a reason.
Projection: Obvious redshirt and will likely require at least two years before he's ready to see the field on defense. The most likely (but by no means assured) outcome is that he doesn't contribute much.
Yes, it's possible for a Cass Tech recruit to exceed expectations.
[*ESPN was a skeptical outlier, listing him as their #21 athlete. Point, ESPN.]
|At least Mike Jones provided us this picture.|
General Excitement Level: Eh; I'm expecting one of the OLB recruts to pan out in a big way, one to be okay, and one to wash out.
I won't spend much time on these guys simply because there isn't a whole lot to talk about, but I will note that when a search for a player comparison goes like this, there's a pretty good chance you've got a serious tweener on your hands:
So he's just like Shawn Crable, if Crable was six to eight inches shorter. So he's just like Chris Graham, if Hawthorne was a stiff, clunky guy incapable of shedding blockers and not much for changing direction. He's not like either, actually. I mean, just look at the guy. Linebacker? In college? Er. There's a reason Hawthorne is well down in the rankings.
Brian suggested Hawthorne "may be better suited for a 3-3-5 than a more traditional D," and hoo boy did some bad memories just come flooding back. Quick, to the defensive line!
THORQWASH & The Crab Person
Between this and the legendary hood slide, we're all good, Big Will.
Justin Turner wasn't the only five-star recruit to the established recruiting sites to get some major skepticism from ESPN. Will Campbell's rankings went #35 overall (Scout), #26 overall (Rivals), and... #21 offensive tackle (ESPN). Another point for the Worldwide Leader. Like Turner, an outstanding Army game performance added to the hype, as did pictures like this...
...and, for entirely different reasons, this:
WE GOT THOR.
In retrospect, however, maybe we should've seen Campbell's future weight issues coming:
Campbell is one of the biggest players in the Army game, but he's apparently not ready for the roller coasters when the teams visit Six Flags on Tuesday night.
"There's a weight limit on those things," he said. "I might be on the tea cups."
Even though he didn't have the desired impact until a solid, though not five-star-caliber, senior season, Campbell always gave a hell of a quote. Brian's Gabe Watson comparison was pretty on point; though Big Will didn't come close to Watson's production, they were similar players—jovial, wildly talented, bull-strong, big fans of food—with similar hype coming to Ann Arbor.
|craaaaaaab people craaaaaab people|
Michigan landed two defensive ends in the top-100 range in the class: Craig Roh (right) and Anthony LaLota. While Roh never became an edge-rushing terror, he managed to consitently produce and improve despite boucing between positions—not to mention different defensive schemes that didn't necessarily fit his skill set—for his entire career due to factors outside his control. This comparison both worked and, well, didn't work:
Why Shawn Crable? Crable was a 6'6" athletic terror with chicken legs who spent his Michigan career bouncing from DE to OLB and would have been the perfect player to slot in this spinner spot. Crable was also rated right around where Roh is. The comparison here is very tight.
The tweener aspect of the comparison was spot-on, but Roh ended up being a very different player from Crable, more disciplined and able to hold the point of attack but far less explosive off the edge.
As for LaLota, he received one of the most random YMRMFSPA comps in this blog's history:
Alain Kashama… except good!
Kashama was a total project at Michigan, coming in with little football experience—as did LaLota, who played just 12 games of organized football before hitting campus—before settling in as a reserve pass-rushing specialist, eventually totaling six career sacks.
That ended up being six more career sacks than LaLota recorded, as he transferred back to home-state Rutgers two weeks into his sophomore season, where he quit football to focus on his education after a move to tight end saw him buried on the depth chart.
We end with the class curveball, Quinton Washington, whom everybody evaluated as an interior offensive lineman—with most saying he had a ton of potential there, this blog included:
General Excitement Level: High. It's clear the coaches were nuts about this guy and he's got the offers and recruiting mojo to back it up.
Projection: Though the coaches have suggested Washington might see the field this year—they think he's that ready—a redshirt makes more sense with Schilling's move inside solidifying the interior line. He'll have to fight Ricky Barnum to replace Moosman next year; if he loses that battle he'll be the odds on favorite to replace Schilling in 2011.
Steve Schilling, in fact, was his player comparison. Washington instead moved to nose tackle early in the 2010 season, worked his way into a starting role as a junior, earned the nickname QWASH, and gave the defense a proficient space-eater until his role mysteriously diminished last season.
The real answer is Roh, but one could make a reasonable argument that Michigan's most critical 2009 defensive recruit was a guy who never played a down for the Wolverines: heroin-laced carrot (seriously, Brian, how the hell do you come up with these things?) Adrian Witty.
so so fast
Not so fast. Incoming transfer Ty Isaac wants to play next year, and has at least some sort of case to do so. Is it enough? While we are talking about an insane organization that could do anything, the consensus is probably not.
"(The family health issue) has to be a debilitating injury," said John Infante, a former NCAA compliance officer who operates the popular "Bylaw Blog" for AthNet. "It doesn't have to be life-threatening, necessarily, but it would have to be something that prevented her from working or getting around, if it's a surgery for hearing loss, I'm not sure if that'll qualify, but it might."
And then the 100-mile thing kicks in. If Isaac was 109 miles away, you could probably fudge the difference. Michigan's distance from Peoria might be problematic.
From Michigan's perspective, moving Isaac a year behind Smith and Green is better for roster balance… but not so good for this year, when offensive production is critical for the perception of the program.
O'Bannoning. The O'Bannon trial kicked off yesterday, and there were highlights. The NCAA wanted O'Bannon to know that a man he respected thought college athletes should not be paid.
After establishing that O'Bannon looks up to Bill Walton, attorney pulls up article Walton wrote saying student-athletes shouldn't be paid.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 9, 2014
It was determined that Noted Legal Scholar Bill Walton has a legally binding opinion and the case ended 15 minutes later with a comprehensive NCAA victory. : (
In case the previous sentence is not true, you may want to read about the issues addressed on day one of the trial. The NCAA is trying to show that the college experience is worth something, which I guess sure it is. How that relates to publicity rights and the law is… well, there's a reason Bill Walton is getting brought up.
In related news, the NCAA blinks in the Keller case, settling that for 20 million. They have again asserted that current student-athletes who receive a check for their likeness will not have their eligibility compromised, because that's ridiculous. As long as compensation for your likeness is mandated by a court after the fact, you can profit off of it.
"In no event do we consider this settlement pay for athletics performance."
It's just getting paid for something without having to sue they have problems with. Delightfully, the NCAA is going to try to argue that there is no market for college athlete's images after settling two lawsuits in which 60 million dollars have been issued in compensation for those images. Oh, and EA says they would have paid if they could have.
Also a prime NCAA argument: the ban on compensation is required for a level playing f—
“If you’ve got a $6 million athletic budget, you shouldn’t be worrying about what I do,” [Washington president Michael] Young contends. “You’re never going to compete with us. We don’t recruit the same players. We don’t even play on the same field. It just doesn’t matter.”
A potential factor. The student section is collapsing this year, and MLive has a potential reason why. Prices:
Ohio State -- $252 for 7 games
Penn State -- $218 for 7 games
Wisconsin -- $188 for 7 games
Iowa -- $175 for 7 games, $165 with future alumni group discount
Michigan State -- $175 for 7 games
Nebraska -- $166 for 7 games
Purdue -- $119 for 7 games
Illinois -- $99 for 7 games
Rutgers -- $99 for 6 games
Minnesota -- $90 for 7 games
Indiana -- $60 for 6 games
Maryland and Northwestern -- tickets free with full tuition and student fee payment
Michigan's is 50 bucks more than Ohio State; unlike Ohio State, Michigan is barely above .500 since 2007. And Ohio State has a big game or two on the schedule. Once again, Michael Proppe sounds like the adult:
"We did a survey for students while we were researching the general admission policy, we told them 'assume the price stayed the same, here's the schedule for next year, even if we went back to reserved seating, how many would renew their tickets?' I think it was about 68 percent who said they'd renew.
"(The drop) was pretty predictable, actually, even with going back to a more attractive ticket policy that a lot of people would drop their seats."
And about 68% renewed. It's kind of amazing that it's the student government that had to survey the students.
"What we want is the students who buy tickets to show up," Brandon said. "If what we've done is lost some of the students that really weren't interested in attending, if you're looking at the projected reduction in tickets, that's almost the equivalent of the no-show average we had (last year)."
The no-show rate is not going to go down much, as the kind of people who no-show games aren't the ones for whom three hundred bucks is kind of a big deal. Michael Proppe for athletic director.
Everybody into the pile. I thought Michigan's hockey roster was going to be crowded this fall. Now it's going to be jammed. Michigan picked up a commitment from Ann Arbor native Niko Porikos a couple days back. Porikos is a '93, which means he'll arrive at 21. Generally this is a sign of a gentleman who is destined to be a healthy scratch for most of his career, and… well, yeah, probably.
In Porikos's favor, defensemen do take time to develop, and given the state of the roster it's not like they need a guy to be a practice body.
Michigan has seven defensemen on the roster, plus incoming freshmen Sam Piazza and Cutler Martin. Porikos is number ten…
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
Zach Werenski and what appears to be a Swedish ten-year old
Michigan has not quite acquired a commitment from U17 defenseman Zach Werenski. Poke a guy on twitter, or especially Mike Spath—who was way out ahead of the story but has to be careful for the same reasons Sam Webb does—and he'll say Werenski is going to be in Ann Arbor. They'll generally do this with an "ugh" because Werenski is kind of a big deal, a potential top ten draft pick, and they are Boston College fans who thought they were going to get him.
The thing is: he's a potential top ten draft pick in 2015, and Werenski is probably going to be playing for Michigan this fall. IE: dude is skipping his senior year of high school. Thus the "eh, maybe" aspect of this whole thing, where Spath drops hints for months and all the news comes from the BC side of things.
Adding Werenski would put Michigan at a whopping 11 defensemen, and while a few of them are not real threats to play (Spencer Hyman redshirted last year; Mike Szuma didn't get a game after playing most of his freshman year), I thought there was some Title IX-related reason that Michigan couldn't have a really big roster. Maybe not? Title IX compliance comes down to a court saying you are or are not, because the law is written pretty vaguely.
While we're on next year's hockey team, Dylan Larkin is ranked ninth by HockeyProspect.com. That's the highest I've seen, and while he's more likely to go in the 20s than the top ten it does seem at this point that he's likely to go in the first round unlike some of Michigan's recent projected first rounders (Compher, Merrill).
So it's come to this. I assume that Erin Lennon of the Daily has not been around too long, so let me gently suggest that this…
…expect Porikos and Michigan’s underclassmen to play key roles in coach Red Berenson’s defensive-minded system.
…is more a product of sad circumstance than intent, and that if you insist on claiming that Red Berenson is some sort of trap aficionado I will become desolately sad.
It was football. Someone remind me next year when the European American Football Championships are on, because when Germany and Austria face off you get reverse passes and squat kickers doing the Manziel:
So Austria's kicker just made the Manziel $$$ sign after nailing a field goal. You should be watching this. pic.twitter.com/zBdMYL5GTK
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) June 7, 2014
Turns out the Germans and the Austrians have some bad blood here, and that's all you really need.
Etc.: Graham Glasgow was driving a merry car indeed. The NCAA hasn't even bothered to investigate North Carolina. The NCAA would probably prefer it if Washington's president would stop saying things. Mathlete's Lego stadiums make Yahoo.
But Is He ELITE? (Yes.)
Before rankling a certain perpetually aggrieved blogger with one of the most innocuous rivalry tweets ever, Alex Malzone earned himself a bid to the Elite 11 finals with an outstanding performance at the Columbus regional. 247's Barton Simmons put him at the top of the list when running down the best QBs in the "Pressure Chamber" drill (video above):
Alex Malzone – Malzone, the Michigan commit, had a very solid evening and had one of the better arms at the event. He also has good active feet in and outside the pocket. He could blend in at times but he definitely rose to the occasion during his pressure chamber showing. Of his five throws, four of them were dimes that he threw with a lot of command. He missed on a dig route but all in all, he had a strong output on his rival’s field. Later Monday night Malzone earned an invitation to the Elite 11 finals, securing one of the final 18 spots.
Scout's Allen Trieu was also impressed, though it sounds like Malzone still has a little work to do on his mechanics ($):
Malzone was generally on the money. His passes down the seam were excellent and showed the arm to hit the deep outs as well. As noted in the past, he has a hitch in his delivery, but the ball comes out of his hand nicely, with good pace, and he's an accurate passer.
Fellow commit Tyree Kinnel took the field last weekend at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and ranked #5 on their list of top defensive backs at the invite-only event ($):
Multiple times on out routes, Kinnel came up and stepped in front of the pass. He showed off great instincts and a great ability to read receivers' routes and then come up to make the play. Kinnel's backpedal is smooth and then he turns and runs well with receivers. Kinnel is set with his Michigan commitment.
Interestingly, Rivals listed Kinnel as a cornerback; while Michigan recruited him as a safety, he's displayed the requisite coverage ability to have positional flexibility in the secondary. After the event, Kinnel told the Daily's Alejandro Zuniga he's fully committed to U-M despite recent overtures from Alabama and Michigan State.
[Hit THE JUMP for coverage of Ty Isaac's impact on the 2015 RB situation, Grant Newsome's upcoming decision, weekend visit reactions, a potential five-star visitor, and more.]
So That Was Odd And Didn't Happen
PROTIP: DON'T GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH "ABORT" WITHOUT "MISSION"
WVU transfer Eron Harris is headed to MSU, and without ever visiting Ann Arbor. This was seemingly a mutual decision after a conversation before the visit, as Harris had a vision of the way he wanted it to go that Beilein did not share. So, okay. Whatever.
2015 Class: Still Trying To Exist
Moving on, the 2015 roster now looks approximately like this, give or take a Caris NBA departure or miraculous Hatch recovery:
- PG: Walton (Jr), Albrecht (Sr)
- SG: MAAR(So)
- SF: Irvin (Jr), Dawkins (So)
- PF: Chatman (So), Wilson (So), Bielfeldt(Sr)
- C: Doyle (So), Donnal (So)
You could probably slide Irvin and Chatman down a spot, but the upshot is that Michigan would like a guy approximately shaped like a shooting guard. Given the age and NBA departure threat levels of the folks on the roster, a PG/SG combo would be a nice fit. Prime candidates include offerees like MI combo Eric Davis, IL PG Jalen Brunson, and IN SG Jalen Coleman. All of these gentlemen have Michigan in a leading group, and MSU adding two 2015 SG types in a couple days should help Michigan out—MSU is also in the lead group for all those gentlemen.
Status for those three:
Davis wants to narrow by July, take officials in August and September, and decide by October. He wants to shoot a lot of threes, so we've got that going for us.
Brunson has a top eight including Michigan that he wants to narrow in August, and then he'll take officials and decide before the November signing period. Playing time has always been a major priority for him, so Michigan might actually want him to wait until spring. If he decides before it's clear whether Caris enters the draft (or Walton—longshot I know, but I'd like to introduce you to 10% of this year's first round).
Coleman, as per usual, has not provided any indication of when or where he might commit. He did tell a 247 gentleman that he was planning on "cutting his list soon" and that fit (check), opportunity (likely check) and proximity to home (eh… close enough?) are his main priorities.
Coleman has been too busy making rims explode on the AAU circuit to get too much into recruiting, where he's shooting 50% from three on almost 100 attempts. 247's Crystal Ball still says Michigan almost all the way, but with Coleman telling folks that "to this point, Coleman's dad has been in charge of the recruitment—with Jalen having little involvement" means that you should take any and all thoughts/hopes Michigan leads with a graint of salt.
2015 Big Options
If Chatman does end up sliding down to the 3, which is very possible with his skill set, Michigan would have a reasonably-sized opening for either a 4 or a 5, depending on where they want to play Mark Donnal long term. There are a couple options in this recruiting class still.
One is OH PF Esa Ahmad, who's a little undersized at 6'7" but has been playing well and is planning visits to both MSU and Michigan. Another is 6'10" Henry Ellenson, a power forward out of Wisconsin with three point range and a lot of high-major interest. Michigan is currently on the periphery pending the all-important visit:
"Michigan was at my house, and so was Michigan State," Ellenson said. "Michigan has been talking to me lately. I like Coach [John] Beilein down there. He is a great guy and easy to talk to.
"I know I will take my five officials next fall, but I'm not sure where I am going yet. I know they are big on coming to campus. We'll just see if the timing works out."
Get 'em on campus, etc. Ahmad and Ellenson are both ranked around 50 or 60 most places… except ESPN, which has Ellenson 5th(!) overall.
Michigan's elite camp has come and gone with three headliners: NJ SG Tyus Battle, NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr, and MI PG Cassius Winston, all 2016 five-stars. Those three were the class of the camp, according to Scout. Sam Webb on Thornton($):
This kid has all of the tools. Elite quickness, explosion, three-point range, and he is unselfish. He crossed too many players over to really keep track of and was generally capable of getting to wherever he wanted on the floor. Thornton excels in space, which is why it wasn’t a surprise to see him wave off ball screens. He just doesn’t need them to leverage on a defender.
[Much, much more at the link, FWIW.]
Despite that, the Scout guys generally thought Winston was better right now, though Thornton had more upside because of the whole nobody-can-stay-in-front thing. Battle is a lights-out 6'5" shooter.
Other notables($) included IN SG Kyle Guy ("a much smaller Nik Stauskas"), OH C Jon Teske ("6-10 and skilled … the physical part will come"), and OH SF Seth Towns ("6-7 shooter" whose shot wasn't falling). I don't think Guy or Teske will get offers until M lets Battle and TJ Leaf think about theirs; Towns is still a possibility since Michigan doesn't seem to have a guy obviously in front of him on their board, but it sounds like that offer may take a little bit longer to come.
Teske seems like he's almost recruiting M at this point, and a 6'10" guy with skill inside and out is someone Michigan will be keeping an eye on.
Thorton's vague top five
Thornton told Scout that five teams were coming for him hardest: Kentucky, Michigan, UConn, Cal, and USC. Those kind of statements are generally soft top X lists, and it seems unlikely Cal or USC can hang with the two teams that just met in the NC game and Derryck's dad's coach. Thornton on M($):
“Their offense is so spread out. They’re about development but the offense is really spread out, the bigs are mobile and there’s a lot of pick and roll stuff. They key on development and I love that.”
Thornton has no timetable but it sounds like he might get things over quickly.
“It’s early but I already have 20 offers,” noted Battle. “Michigan has been recruiting me hard, Villanova, Syracuse, Ohio State, Duke, and several other schools.”
Michigan may be recruiting him harder than everyone else because Thornton is recruiting for them? Yeah! That's the ticket. That is the ticket.