no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
Via Sam Webb this morning:
Contrary to multiple published reports citing comments for Norfleet’s high school coach, Detroit King headman Dale Harvel, the senior kick/punt returner has not been dismissed from the football team….
“He has been suspended for the past three weeks,” the source said.
He may or may not make it back.
A Detroit King assistant did tweet out something about trying to get Norfleet to graduate. That seemed to imply that Norfleet could be up for a graduate transfer; it also implies that if there's any damage to his transcript it's not so far gone that he's doomed.
Hello Hibbitts. Brent Hibbitts did decide to sign on with Michigan as a preferred walk-on over various MAC and other mid-major offers. This is more notable than most other walk-on acquisitions because Hibbits has intriguing size—he's 6'8"—and had a high level of interest from D-I programs. His skill set also fits in with Michigan:
Hibbitts averaged 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Hudsonville last season, earning Associated Press Class A All-State honorable mention status and leading the Eagles to a district championship.
"He has a really nice skill set," Hudsonville coach Eric Elliott told MLive last Wednesday. "He can handle the ball, is a great passer with court vision and has a nice shooting touch. Interested schools see him as a stretch four. That's his ideal position."
There's a lot of competition at that spot presently, but give Hibbitts some time and there's a nonzero chance he's a contributor late in his career. I mean, we all know where the Stain Train started.
Weirder things have happened.
This is about to change. It already has with Dennis Norfleet's exit, in fact. It is a breakdown of attrition in the Big Ten:
That is spectacular on Michigan's part. The 2011 class rivaled 2010 in flameouts, and then virtually nobody left for three years. There's about to be a major uptick, but at least Michigan retained the bulk of their prospects before the inevitable attrition that comes with a coaching turnover.
Iowa is pretty salty about what's going on there BTW:
In all of the non-Iowa seasons in which a program lost 10 or more players -- 2011 Michigan, Ohio State and Rutgers -- a coach had left, with the new coach either cleaning house (Meyer, Hoke/Harbaugh) or failing to keep the last coach's guys (Flood). Iowa, of course, has no such impetus for big attrition.
That is especially galling when Wisconsin and Michigan State are quality redshirt-and-develop programs with recruiting approximately on Iowa's level. It seems impossible that Ferentz will get Iowa back to even B+ football before his buyout reaches plausibility.
DAYTON. ONLY DAYTON. I mean.
If Hibbitts had been offered by Dayton he would have gotten a full hello post, I think.
Overseas options hit hockey. I don't think this is going to be a trend since 18-year-olds can just go play in the NHL if they're that good, but uber-prospect Auston Matthews is at least considering the option of spending next year in Switzerland:
The Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League hold his junior rights after selecting him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft. A report from Switzerland’s Blick News Service on Sunday said Matthews had signed a contract to play for the Zurich Lions in the Swiss A League.
He denied that report, but said he was keeping all options—including the A League—open. It was doubtful Matthews was going to sign on with Michigan, and more doubtful after the Copp stuff broke. It would have been fun to see him in college anyway.
HATIN' ASS MICHIGAN SPURRIER. The fruits of your labors, ladies and gentlemen:
Notre Dame players hit that "Play Like A Champion Today" sign, and dang if they don't look like a ten dollar sweatshirt you got in 1993.
Don't think Michigan fans should be torn up about the Notre Dame rivalry ending. If they want to play a religious school that goes .500 against USC, Boston College is free.
Rudy and The Lego Movie are basically the same story, except nobody pretends The Lego Movie is a documentary.
Bielfeldt is on the move. Any remaining hopes that Michigan might hang on to Max Bielfeldt are now gone, and it is definitely the coaching staff's choosing.
"I did tell the coaches that I did want to come back to Michigan," Bielfeldt said. "But at the end of the day things didn't work out and we both decided to move on."
Bielfedlt added, "I told (coaches) that I wanted to stay (and) Michigan was my first choice but as time went on I had to explore other options."
That is odd since it doesn't look like they are going to fill their 13th spot this year. I am more enthused about Ricky Doyle than most people but even I think Bielfeldt is a backup plan worth having when you have major questions about the guys behind him.
Etc.: Sierra Romero is ESPNW's softballist of the year. The Longhorn Network is a disaster. Jay Mariotti still has Jay Mariotti opinions. Rudock profiled. Remember this site calling the pursuit of Jim Harbaugh the "Harbaugh Hail Mary?" Here's a Harbaugh Hail Mary. On the shoe wars. Exposure U details.
the last of the famous international playboys
This rumor had been floating around for a couple weeks now, picked up steam on Rivals this morning, and has now been confirmed by Nick Baumgardner:
ANN ARBOR -- Dennis Norfleet is no longer a part of Michigan's football team, according to his former high school coach.
Martin Luther King High School football coach Dale Harvel told MLive on Tuesday that Norfleet has been dismissed from Michigan's program by coach Jim Harbaugh.
"Evidently he was dismissed from the team, Dennis informed us he was no longer on the team," Harvel said Tuesday afternoon. "Something about a disciplinary thing between him and coach Harbaugh. Whether it was academics or something internal, I'm not sure. He just said they had a disagreement and he was let go."
I have heard it was academic. Not sure if that's a slackness that is now verboten under the new regime or a Norfleet morale issue leading to breakdowns elsewhere. [UPDATE: Steve Lorenz says he skipped "more than one final."]
The writing was on the wall as far as Norfleet's career went when he featured as a tiny cornerback in the spring game and was mercilessly picked on for the only offense of the day. With that secondary and that WR corps, the fact he was on defense was a death knell. He may have continued returning kicks and punts; even that job was going to be put under major threat by Jabrill Peppers.
This does get Michigan to 85 scholarships, give or take a walk-on. With a couple of medical hardships likely to be on the way, there should be room to add a fifth-year WR or two, as Mike Spath has suggested might happen.
I will now go sit by myself in a dark room and listen to the Smiths.
skill position recruiting under Brady Hoke
Where is the talent?
Hoke's recruiting classes were consistently highly ranked, bringing in 4 and 5 star athletes coveted by other reputable football programs, yet I keep reading that we lag many Big Ten teams in talent. I find it hard to believe Hoke is this bad at talent evaluation and missed on this many athletes. What do you think of the innate talent on the roster? Is this a pure development issue, or was Hoke that unlucky or bad at identifying talent?
Peter from Horsham, PA
It could be there, but concealed by the Hoke chaos.
Last year's D was 14th in yards per play and returns eight or nine starters, depending on how you define the term. The only personnel losses were Raymon Taylor, Frank Clark, Jake Ryan, and Brennen Beyer; Michigan gets Desmond Morgan off an injury redshirt and adds Wayne Lyons.
It didn't feel like that good of a defense, though. Part of that was the quality of competition. Michigan is 41st in FEI despite having shiny regular stats. (MSU is one spot ahead of them in 40th.) Part of that was the offense putting the D out there so often in bad situations that they were going to crack eventually. Many, many games over the past two years have had a similar pattern. The defense scratches and claws to keep Michigan in it and then they collapse in the fourth quarter because they're out of juice.
The other part of that was Michigan going to a man press defense their team simply could not hack. Blake Countess was exposed for half the season before they went back to their old ways. Is that "talent"? In some ways. But Hoke took an All Big Ten sophomore and destroyed him because he couldn't see that he was being put in a terrible situation for his skill set.
Meanwhile on offense… I got nothing. With the exception of projected TE Devin Funchess, Michigan recruited horribly at QB and WR under Hoke. The Chesson/Darboh class was all right, but they appear to have missed on all three guys they took the next year and the jury is very much out on last year's class. QB… I want to throw a rock in Hoke's general direction every time I think about it.
Recruiting very badly at QB is a way to have your recruiting rankings far outstrip your ability to play football. It's only one spot. Michigan's piles of OL are five. Michigan has nothing to show from the Hoke era other than a three star they took early with little competition and Shane Morris, who it is now clear was wildly overrated by the services. Morris is the kind of boom-or-bust guy you can take happily in a Harbaugh context where the roster has five or six or seven QBs on it; he is a disaster waiting to happen if the two guys in front of him are Russell Bellomy and air and the guy behind him is a middling three star. Harbaugh set about fixing that, at least.
Meanwhile the places Hoke did best—the lines—are the ones where you have to wait the longest to get a return on your investment. OL are particularly unpredictable.
And, yes, I do think Hoke was pretty bad at IDing talent. Look at the Dukes/Jones/York WR class, or the performance of the tailbacks he brought in, or the Wangler/Ferns/Furbush/Winovich LB class. Do not get me started on the tailbacks. Look at the decision to move to press man.
Defensive line is an obvious exception, where Michigan's turned two three-star Glenville projects into real players, but that just re-confirms that Hoke was a pretty good DL coach who ended up in way over his head.
Uppity so-and-sos with their thesauri
Excuse me while I correct your nerdom with my (apparently) superior nerdom. Ferret Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson would not be the correct name. What you are looking for is Ferret Super Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson. In the first Tecmo Bowl, Bo Jackson was just a man. It is in Super Tecmo Bowl that he became an unstoppable run-circles-around-the-cpu-god. Surely you did not mean to name the ferret after the lesser of the two Bo Jacksons.
Bro. I said I would brook no criticism about my asymptotically perfect ferret names, and yet here you are, brooking your ass off. Well, BEN, clearly "Ferret Super Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson" is clunky and unwieldy and stupid, as any six-year-old child could see. It is obvious to any Tecmo Bowl connoisseur that we are talking about the destroyer of worlds Bo Jackson, "Super" or not. Humor, prose, and lovemaking are all about omitting unnecessary flourishes. So too are ferret names.
[After the JUMP: Ben gets commuppanced hrrrrrd]
Top-100 IL DE Josh King named a final five last Friday, including Michigan in the group along with Michigan State, Penn State, USC, and Notre Dame. According to 247's Steve Lorenz, Michigan State is believed to lead for King, while Michigan is potentially running second. King hasn't set a timeline for his decision.
In case anyone forgot how silly recruiting can be, three-star IL DT Naquan Jones felt compelled to release a "top five" of his own, despite only narrowing his choices to six schools*:
— Almighty Nay (@thealmightynay) May 7, 2015
While this top group also has no order, it's pretty easy to glean that Wisconsin and Penn State are running behind the other four schools. Scout's Beth Long reports Jones will make his decision on June 5th, and his top schools were chosen largely based on his relationship with their respective coaching staffs, since he's only visited Michigan State and South Carolina among his top six. Michigan should get their shot; Jones told Scout's Josh Newkirk a pre-decision visit to Ann Arbor is in the works ($).
*To be clear, I'm not making fun of Jones here, but the near-universal, bizarre obsession with naming top fives and tens and almost never any other number.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup]
2016 five-star wing Tyus Battle just committed to Michigan:
Excited to say that I am going to be a Wolverine!!?????????? pic.twitter.com/xdEUC5o9ol
— tyus battle (@kidmamba23) May 11, 2015
This should help you salve your Jaylen Brown wounds even if he is using the split M. Informative update coming.
|5*, #10 overall
|5*, #14 overall||5*, #14 overall
|5*, #11 overall
|5*, #12 overall
The 247 composite didn't have to work too hard to average those rankings: the world has Battle just outside the top ten in the 2016 rankings, the #4 shooting guard in the country behind (former?) Michigan target Josh Langford, Malik Monk, and Terrance Ferguson.
Battle is high on everyone's wish list because he brings NBA size and athleticism. Then there's a lot of conflicting information. ESPN says Battle may be "most gifted on the defensive end of the floor," praises his maturity, and says he's got "good size, long arms, speed, quickness, and leaping ability." They then say his three point shooting is the "most glaring weakness he has." With ESPN evaluations it's always tough to know when and how they saw the kid, and that'll play a role as we hit a bunch of scouting reports that say he's a great shooter.
There isn't a lot of recent scouting since Battle missed about five months with an ankle injury likely sustained as he helped the USA U17s to a gold medal in Dubai. Before that he was in a bit of a funk but recovered from it…
The No. 11 player in the class of 2016, Battle has struggled a bit for much of the spring. He's grown to 6-foot-5, gotten much stronger and has been in the process of adjusting his game. Sunday, he mixed jump shots, transition finishes and drives to the hoop nicely and as a result he played the best he has this spring. Battle said that he feels like he's started to get things going in the right direction and he's excited for the summer ahead now that he has his confidence going.
…to re-establish himself one of the top prospects in the 2016 class:
Tyus Battle, 6-foot-5 SG (No. 25 2016): It was not a great spring for the wing from New Jersey. It was, however, a great summer. Starting around Memorial Day, Battle broke out of a funk he had been in through the early stages of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League. Battle looks to be much more comfortable with the size that he added in the last year, and he was shooting very well during July. He looks like he will be moving up to five-star status.
His early stats on the AAU circuit weren't great, largely because he took a ton of three pointers and not much else. I can't figure out why, but it seems like his team wasn't particularly well organized.
As for the upside:
Obviously, he’s an effective perimeter shooter, but he also possesses lean athleticism and a frame that should enable him to become legitimately strong as he progresses.
I also like his defensive potential at 6-6, with the spidery athleticism to defend wing forwards and many shooting guards as well.
As mentioned above, there’s a very high likelihood that Battle will become a successful high-major performer. The things he does well, at 6-6 and athletic, typically enjoy a very high translation level to college and beyond. There aren’t enough shooters and scorers in college basketball — but don’t take my word for it, just ask your nearest college coach — and Battle will supply that as early as his freshman season.
Scout's Brian Snow caught him when he was playing with Team USA:
He attacked the rim well with the dribble and was excellent finishing in the mid-range. Battle was shooting it well from deep, though at times he was a bit streaky mostly due to his footwork being inconsistent. Still he is one of the best shot makers and athletes on the wing in the class and showed his impressive scoring ability all day long.
He hit a few deep jumpers, and then began really turning it up. Battle got on the glass and converted a few offensive rebounds for buckets, slashed to the rim, and then scored in the mid-range. It was a good finish to a strong day for Battle.
And Sam Webb had a take from Michigan's camp:
Sam’s Take: If there was a better shooter in attendance I didn’t see him. In one of the shooting drills Battle didn’t have a single miss. In another he only missed one. He can drill jumpers coming off screens with the ball or without, and he can also knock them down pulling up off the dribble. It game action he was streakier from distance, but his stroke is undeniable. When it came to getting to the rim he did so with relative ease thanks to his quick first step and strong handle. One of his best moves was a blow-by off a hesitation, but in that move he also put on display the next stage of development.
Battle sounds a lot like LeVert: a lanky 6'6" guy who's an excellent shooter with long arms and passing ability. He may or may not be able to get to explosive dunkland on the regular, a la Jaylen Brown. Battle:
“I think knocking down jump shots and creating my own shot, I’m pretty good at,” Battle told Scout.com.
“I’m probably better from mid-range,” he added. “That’s more of my game. When they go to man-to-man I like to get the mid-range jump shot.”
Battle is already as big as rising senior LeVert, which helps explain the disparity in their rankings. (Also, LeVert was criminally underrated even after winning the Ohio POY award that has been a ticket to the NBA for a decade.) The hope you have is that Battle can add the posterizations as he gets older—the ranking implies he's got the athleticism for it.
A who's who as you might expect. His final seven schools were Michigan, UConn, Duke, Syracuse, OSU, Louisville, and Notre Dame. Arizona, Kentucky, Indiana, and Villanova also offered.
I couldn't find anything that seemed reliable.
From last summer's Peach Jam, when he was a rising junior:
And at another tourney:
An SNY profile:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Take your pick between a meatier Caris LeVert or a quicker Zak Irvin. Battle seems to split the difference between Michigan's two wing stars. If that three point shot is currently erratic, it's close enough to where it needs to be for Beilein to put him in the 40%+ range, and then you've got a six-foot-six guy with long arms and at least B+ athleticism.
So more of the same, maybe with a little more oomph.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has at least three spots for next year's class: Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht graduate and they currently have an open slot. Those slots would appear to be full with Battle, Jon Teske, and Austin Davis, but 1) Michigan would very much like a point guard with Spike's departure and 2) it appears that Michigan offered Davis with the idea that he might prep and arrive in 2017 depending on how the 2016 roster develops.
That would leave them with room for a point guard. Michigan is pushing hard for in-stater Cassius Winston and has opened up their horizons after Derryck Thornton accelerated and committed to Duke. Currently rising 6'6" NY PG Kevin Huerter is currently the name with the most juice if they can't get Winston, but after plan A things are fuzzy.
Michigan will likely wait and see what kind of unexpected attrition they have, if any, after the year before looking for additional players. Irvin reaching NBA range and a playing time transfer from someone frozen out this year are possibilities; I'd guess they grab a point guard as soon as they can and continue recruiting wing types with the expectation they will have a slot.