this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Michigan picks up a commitment, so the rankings are front-paged this week. There was very little action elsewhere this week, with the rest of the top eight remaining entirely unchanged. Also, Indiana continues to be unaware that they have a football program, which is probably for the best. Changes since the last rankings:
5-9-12: Michigan picks up Csont'e York. Illinois picks up Kenton Gibbs. Purdue picks up Randy Gregory.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
Staying for a while. Helmet numbers are around until someone gets tired of them again if correspondence sent to Shane Morris is any indication:
I like them so much better when they're the same color as the rest of the helmet. Let's work on that, kids. Also someone send one of these to Treadwell with a #1 on it.
Michigan Replay, 1999. Intro not present, unfortunately. Post PSU win. This was smack in the middle of the We Own Penn State period.
Old, old school. Great article by John Kryk as he catches up with 91-year-old Al Wistert to talk about how his brain's doing and various other things. Wistert is hale and hearty, full of stories:
Wistert said he often did take a pounding; speed can help an undersized tackle avoid only so much contact.
"It was always a problem," he said of his size. "Each guy that I played against outweighed me by 40 or 50 pounds, and that was never easy.
"Playing nine years in the NFL would be a long time in any era. I didn't have a lot of injuries, though. I usually played 60 minutes and didn't come out of the game. But I managed to survive it. I guess I was pretty tough."
Wistert said he doesn't recall there being any protocols, or even concerns, back in the '40s about the effects of hits to the head. He doesn't recall having suffered a concussion, and said he doesn't know of any teammates who were ever kept out of a game for having had, in the parlance of the day, his "bell rung."
"No, I don't remember any serious precautions that they would make about that. So I guess there wasn't any concern about it."
Wistert played both ways for nine years in the NFL at 214 pounds. Different era then. Obviously.
NEVER TALK JIM DELANY. Unless you're telling that story about how you fingerbanged Mark Shapiro. All responses to all questions should be colorful anecdotes about turning his outrage into yearning. That's quality stuff.
It's just the everything else that's an issue:
"I don't have a lot of regard for that team," Delany said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Who is that team?
"I don't have a lot of regard for that team," he said. "I certainly wouldn't have as much regard for that team as I would for someone who played nine conference games in a tough conference and played a couple out-of-conference games on the road against really good opponents. If a poll doesn't honor those teams and they're conference champions, I do.
He didn't say Alabama. Did he have to? Anyone ever heard of a team not winning its division or its conference but going on to win the national championship?
GODDAMMIT JIM DELANY NOW ALABAMA IS GOING TO SHOW UP IN DALLAS AND TRY TO WIN. OUR WHOLE PLAN WAS THIS: DO NOT MAKE ALABAMA FEEL LIKE THEY SHOULD WIN THIS FOOTBALL GAME. OUR WHOLE PLAN IS NOW: AAAAAAAAIIIIEEEEEE. I SHOULD SHAKE YOU, SCREAMING "GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF" AND YES I KNOW THAT'S IRONIC.
Or maybe this doesn't matter and Alabama was already thinking they should win the game. But probably not.
Potentially useful walk-on? Michigan's acquired a preferred walk-on named Chris Maye from Union City, Michigan. He's a defensive back and he seems pretty fast:
Maye had several opportunities; officially visiting U-M and Michigan State for track, as well as making official visits to U-M, MSU and Army for football. He was the No. 1 track recruit at U-M, but Maye set his sights on playing football, actually turning down track scholarships.
With Brink poised to contribute and Kovacs entering his fourth year as a starter, guys like these are worth keeping an eye on in case they turn out a lot better than expected. Or Dantonio offers them. Whichever comes first.
Slash. Slash is old now, and I wonder if he just has a wig with the hat attached that he puts on when he wants to be Slash and takes off when he just wants to be an old guy in leather pants. Maybe he has to take the leather pants off too.
Anyway: Jay Bilas is sick of watching basketball teams beat up on weak sauce that probably shouldn't even be in D-I and has a radical solution($):
The bottom half of Division I is simply not competitive enough on a consistent basis to justify the bloated size of Division I. If Division I is reduced to a more reasonable size, there would be better games, a better distribution of talent across a smaller pool, and a better and more marketable product.
If Division I shrinks to 120 or 150 teams, the cry that Butler and VCU would be left out is the first one hears. Slow down. Look at the 120 FBS teams on the football side, and then look at the top 150 in the BPI. Teams like Butler (which just bolted the Horizon League for the Atlantic 10) and VCU would be among the 120 to 150 teams that are qualified and committed to a better Division I. It would include plenty of committed and competitive teams, and nobody would miss the early-season games against sacrificial lambs.
Most of the competitive programs would make it above that bar, and Bilas further suggests that top D-II teams—where the bottom 200 teams would end up—could get bids to the NCAA tournament to keep the Cinderella factor high. End result would be much better nonconference scheduling. It's a win for fans.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where John Calipari cancels the IU-Kentucky series because he can't get Tom Crean to move it off of home courts. Fans are about #10,000 on the list of stakeholders. As long as the NCAA is a loose confederation people are going to make eyes at status they can't achieve. There's nothing to be done except make sure you avoid the real dregs so your RPI doesn't suffer.
Answering rhetorical questions. It's my hobby. Here are three masquerading as one:
Zack Novak: The world's smallest, toughest and most self-deprecating power forward?
Smallest: at a major college level, yes. Not for all of D-I thanks to the problem above. Toughest: um… probably not. Most self-deprecating: hell yes. Should have asked "most likely to have a rage fit" as well:
“A great all-around athlete,” Beilein later added, gesturing along the table of 10 honorees at Barton Hills Country Club. “If he had chose wrestling, he’d be sitting next to (wrestling assistant) Sean (Bormet). If he had chosen hockey, a great defenseman, he would have been. (Hockey coach) Red (Berenson), don’t you think so? Knock some people around. (Football coach) Brady (Hoke), a cornerback? One of those other things -- a safety?
“(Golf coach) Chris (Whitten), that’s the one thing I know, he would not be sitting next to you -- unless Happy Gilmore can make a comeback, because every club would be broken by the end of the first round.”
I find it odd that Beilein knows who Happy Gilmore is. This is probably unfair.
It's like Japan, except flat and slippery and less irradiated. That would be Michigan hockey practices this fall. The addition of Andrew Copp, an end-of-the-bench NTDP player who is likely to be Danny Fardig 2.0, gives Michigan 15(!) forwards, 9(!) defensemen, and 4(!) goalies this fall. Some of these guys are deep roster players who aren't getting scholarship money and don't expect to play, but the defense corps is especially jammed now that it appears everyone's back next year.
Michigan brings in two NTDPers who will be drafted, one very high, and these guys who played frequently last year:
Two of those guys are probably going to get scratched every weekend unless Connor Carrick is also in the scratch mixture.
Scoring is the main issue. The cavalry there arrives in 2013. A senior-year blowup from AJ Treais would be most welcome.
Etc.: BYB's Kurt Mensching gets a Detroit News columnist gig. May they replace Rosenberg as effectively. Kyle Bosch will enroll early. The Hoover Street Rag posts its version of Special K for a day. These posts are tempting me to put together a list of the worst possible stadium anthems. Sigur Ros: untoppable?
Today's recruiting roundup updates the status of Laquon Treadwell and Ty Isaac, discusses a couple upcoming visits, and more.
Treadwell Not Visiting This Weekend, Moves Up Timetable
Any disappointment Michigan fans felt when IL WR Laquon Treadwell changed his plans to visit this weekend should be dispelled with the news that he's "anxious to make a decision" according to an interview with Sam Webb ($, info in header). Treadwell had previously planned on taking all five official visits and making a commitment after his football season, but now there's no concrete timeline and "a decision is going to come faster now." Given Treadwell's repeated visits to Ann Arbor (he's still planning on taking another one soon), frequent contact with current commits, and Michigan's status as his presumed leader, this is a great sign, especially since Treadwell says that the coaches are holding the last open receiver spot for him—this isn't a chance spurred by pressure to commit from Michigan's end.
Webb also caught up with IL RB Ty Isaac's mom after the family took a trip to USC last weekend, and while Ty hasn't stated this outright, his mother thinks he's down to Michigan and USC ($). Insider chatter surrounding Isaac makes it sound like this could be an extremely close battle. Commence unwarranted freakout despite #1 class.
MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr. is still planning to visit Michigan and Michigan State soon, but his previous plans to make a commitment in the near future may be out the window due to the number of schools showing interest ($, info in header). Hurst isn't the only four-star DT making plans to see Ann Arbor, as IL DT Josh Augusta plans to either take an unofficial this summer or an official in the fall ($, info in header).
Quickly: Kyle Bosch is set to enroll early ($), which is always good news. Coach Dan Ferrigno stopped in to see CA WR Sebastian LaRue last weekend ($, info in header). MI DT Kenton Gibbs committed to Illinois. Gibbs is a Cass Tech product who many presumed would eventually garner an offer, but thus far one hasn't materialized. VA DE Wyatt Teller named a top two of Virginia and Virginia Tech ($), with Michigan on the outside looking in.
Michigan Offers Five-Star Who Will Never Come But It's Fun to Dream, Right?
At first glance, seeing Michigan offer a 2014 five-star prospect and immediately shooting into his top three would be cause for celebration. Unfortunately, said five-star is AL ATH Bo Scarbrough, who happens to hail from Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide. Yes, Alabama is also in his top three ($). If Michigan can pull Scarbrough, being recruited as a receiver, from the heart of 'Bama country, I'll be pleasantly shocked.
Sam Webb's latest DetNews offering profiles two-sport MI ATH Drake Harris, who at 6'3", 175 pounds with exceptional athleticism could play wide receiver or shooting guard (or both) at the high-major level. Harris vehemently denies the rumors that Michigan State is an early leader, saying that all interested schools—including Michigan, which has extended a football offer—are on even ground at this point. Scout football analyst Allen Trieu and basketball analyst Brian Snow both agree that his ceiling is higher in football. Here's Trieu's evaluation on Harris on the gridiron:
"Drake has a very high ceiling in football," said Allen Trieu, Scout.com midwest regional football recruiting manager. "He has the height and the frame to go along great athleticism and ball skills. Plus, when I saw him in person he was faster than I expected him to be. He's certainly a high level BCS prospect. His athleticism serves him well in both sports, but if you look at it from the perspective of supply and demand, there are more 6-3 guards out there than 6-3 wide receivers who can jump out of the gym.
Harris compares his style of play to Larry Fitzgerald, and yes I would like some of that. We'll see if this becomes a battle between the two in-state programs.
Quickly: DC CB Jalen Tabor has an early top three($) of Alabama, Tennessee, and Maryland. OH WR Thaddeus Snodgrass plans to camp at Michigan this summer ($). Look, it's Brian's favorite recruit. If you haven't had enough of me yet, I appeared on the Michigan Man Podcast to talk 2013 and 2014 recruiting.
BlueReign / The Diaries / Lattimer
Maybe I was asking for it by demanding more diaries last week but 346 characters in the diary tab, and 108 of them you people caps'ed. That includes the " – x days ago" parts which you would have rendered in 18-point bold if you could have. With all the shoutin' these better be good.
This one's good. It's a sports in general diary about the mindset of athletes and how they can be driven to use performance-enhancing drugs by stephnrjking. He doesn't excuse anything; mostly he demonstrates that strong control by the leagues is an imperative. However I disagree with his assertion that benefits…
PEDs can increase strength. They can increase speed. They can increase endurance (cyclists don't use anabolic steroids, but directly alter their blood chemistry to increase their cardiovascular efficiency to astonishing levels). What are sports if not tests for speed, strength, and endurance? PEDs can give a soccer player the endurance to win a corner in the 87th minute, a baseball player the extra length on a fly ball to hit a home run, or a running back the extra kick to make it to the second level. A basketball player gets extra height on their way to the basket, a hockey player recovers quicker for the next playoff game, a swimmer has the extra wattage to win at the wall.
…incentivize steroid use for football players as much as baseball or cycling. A commenter mentioned soccer, where endurance again is a major factor of success. The reason is because the PEDs that don't show up in a test only give you a marginal edge. In cycling that tiny margin makes a huge difference as you expend your endurance to near its absolute maximum. In baseball it makes a difference because hitting or pitching you will accumulate so many trials that even marginal changes will appear in the stats. Remember what Crash Davis said's the difference between hitting .250 in the bushes and playing in Yankee Stadium: one hit a week. We tend to think of juiced up sluggers hitting copious amounts of dingers, but they started catching guys with the spot checks or investigations and a lot of times it was dudes in their mid-'30s trying to quickly come back from an injury.
MLB in particular compounded their problem by purposely turning a blind eye after the lockout. Whether it was because they didn't want to go 20 rounds again with the players union or just got distracted by Mac's dingers, it created a scenario for a lot of guys where you juiced or fell behind guys who did. The numbers of ballplayers at the end of a needle doesn't apply to college football because college football never tacitly allowed it.
In football it's going that extra inch with Al Pacino and whatnot, but the rewards of a little bit extra, if extant, are hard to see. I don't doubt that there are players who use PEDs in college football, but the edge isn't going to show in practice or in stats, making it a dumbass risk to take without the promise of rewards. So then it's go big or don't bother, therefore fewer will bother.
More has gone into educating these guys about the risks of steroids than any generation before them, so I'd imagine they realize the increased risk of injury, which in a contact sport is closer to guaranteeing you'll get injured. I'd be way less surprised if they're taking brain drugs, e.g. Sammy Watkins, because those are widely available on a modern college campus and a full coarse load on top of the amount of study the game requires more concentration than physical endurance.
There's the few guys who go all Steve Lattimer, taking 1,000 to 10,000 times safe amounts of anabolic steroids to turn into starters. Brian Cushing (above, moments after owning Jake Long) had those rumors around him since high school, but only failed a drug test once, after he was in the NFL, and he disputes it. I'm not accusing Cushing—I'm saying if you start growing outside the bounds of the usual athlete growth rate (which is pretty high to begin with) people will notice. Also they test everybody on entry to the NFL. I think the risks for college football outweigh the benefits more than for other sports. I'm sure there's still dumbasses who do it anyway. I don't think you need to hedge your fandom for it.
Two stars. Modder BiSB tried to look at recruiting from the angle of two-stars. The update to this included some rubber hitting road when he showed the draft picks who came from higher stars seemed to have more successful teams than those who came from nowhere, but then Ohio State screws up the 5-star thing by going 7-6 with lots of them. I would guess the reason a 4-star who becomes an NFL player has a better team in college mostly because his team had more 4-stars who'll be future NFL players on it while lots of lower-ranked diamonds share the field with plenty of 2-stars who don't work out.
Etc. Blockhams go green for a week. Not shown: Chalmers (the MSU brother) covering the family home with a spray-painted bedsheet.
Best of the Board
WE NO SHANE A MORRISCANO
Blue had me on the fence on the diary but then add this and it's Diarist of the Week. That became the opening salvo of the Shane Morris Photoshop Thread he started. And did the cropping. Give yourself 200 points sir! The rest of you, click to find Shane joining the ranks of the Photoshop HoF, trolling fascists (and Ohio State, if you see them as not fascists), held aloft the Titanic by Lewan, tempting bulls, flying through space, catlabbing, and doing the Up and Over It hand dance. Hard to believe it's been over a year since he committed.
IN A PINK LOCKER ROOM
Michigan Replay / Inside Michigan Football (dramatization).
About the time you're reading this I'll be off to have breakfast with the guy who made Michigan Replay happen (this is a great gig!). To fill in the blanks and refresh my own memories I enlisted the board's help and the result was a LOT of people with fond tales and uncanny knowledge about the weeks when the hosts were in flux. Also: lots of YouTubes of old episodes. Prepare to lose all productivity to the irresistible combination of '70s funk rock and Bo Schembechler doing UFRs. IMF is not a replacement. I don't know what could be.
A new user stumbled upon the thread where Brian told people not to freak out about recruits every time they lean in one direction and fart another, because the recruit at the time was a certain legacy from Columbus with a snowplow business. This led to exhumations of many a dead thread and prediction. Like the banana dancing about peanut butter because the alternative was hiring the guy from Ball St…oh. This then became the great threads of the past, e.g. "Things you're man (or woman) enough to admit."
I followed some of the links and ended up reminiscing more about some of the commenters of yesteryear. I've long wanted to do an article bringing up some of the great threads from BITD, not just the ones that go in the hall of fame but those with five punting Zoltans, or the Paint of a 24th century Michigan Stadium with maize jerseys and planets for video screens that launched Midnight Maize.
BEAT OHIO IN 2013
A law professor goes over the most recent case of Ohio State and its predilection for lawyerly hypocrisy in defending its interests (as in they act like they're defense attorneys, not that lawyers are all such and what), particularly with how they claim the utter sanctity of student records to fend off investigations but then disclose personal information. I didn't want to delve too deep into the grad student's claims in this is better aired, but there's some good discussion in there about institutional ethics. From a football standpoint, there's a good and evil narrative. From a reality standpoint I wouldn't doubt for a second that Michigan has been two-faced to serve its own needs, if not so obvious about it.
For a case example of how people can justify their actions in their own heads see Terrelle Pryor believing his extra benefits at OSU were the work of divine providence. Emotional problems, remember?
Beating them is the important thing. In college athletics, it's when you lose that people get dissatisfied and everything comes out. Sustained success with sustained ethics only happens if the program uses that as its foundation.
Sam Webb's interview with the 2013 commits who camped at Columbus includes a "Beat Ohio!" cheer.
Image above is umhero getting wwaaaaaaaayy ahead of things.
Your moment of zen:
You will be surprised to find out which of these men is Chris Rock, or at least you would if you didn't know already.
Redshirt-freshman-to-be Chris Rock, he of the name that looks almost exactly like former Wisconsin basketball player Kammron Taylor, has left the program.
Rock hadn't played yet (obviously) and didn't make much impact in spring, so the departure shouldn't affect Michigan's projected performance in 2012 unless things get ugly at the three-tech spot. And since there are a couple of large incoming freshmen who may have beaten Rock out, this could be a writing on the wall type of scenario. Rock's star fell precipitously after his commitment to Michigan, something his recruiting profile acknowledged. He was a developmental guy, and if he wasn't developing meaningful wink wink ellipsis goes here…
The previous assumption of 20 open spots given fifth year non-renewals now moves to 21. Michigan was probably going to take two SDE/3tech guys unless they pulled a star secondary recruit out of nowhere, so priorities don't really shift. Expect 1 RB, 1 WR, 2-3 DL, and maybe that secondary guy with Michigan's six-ish remaining spots.
Carl Hagelin, 2007-2011
PROS: Molded from Swedish clay to be Red Berenson's platonic ideal of the student-athlete. Such an awesomely good defensive hockey player that it was immediately apparent even to novices. There was no such thing as an odd-man break with Hagelin on the ice. Fast as hell, offensively productive, and so good he leapt straight from Michigan's roster to the Rangers. If the Rangers had figured out how good he was in camp, would have been a strong Calder candidate. Four-year player with serious NHL ability, a rarity. Just really, really awesome at hockey.
Indirectly responsible for Yost's burgeoning flag tradition. Scored with a second left in overtime to win the game on senior night. I cried out "CARL?!!?!" during the devastating Miami Fort Wayne game that really needs a nickname.
CONS: Did not singlehandedly drive Michigan to national title, but you could say that about everyone on this list. Hagelin's senior year saw them get closer than any team since '98, so this is less of a con than it is for anyone else.
Shawn Hunwick, 2007-2012
PROS: Came to Michigan a 5'7" walk-on and third goalie expected to see three minutes over the course of his career. Left in the conversation for best ever; save percentages are no contest. Made me excited about the NHL again when he signed with Columbus and got in a game. Smart, funny guy on twitter. Fertile nickname ground: Tiny Jesus, Little Pimpin', etc. Lack of size gave him a distinctive style since if he stayed in or near the crease he was dead.
CONS: Did not make all CCHA first team. Occasionally lost his ish and started punching anyone who eyed his crease owlishly. Depending on personal preferences in re: 5'7" goalies giving hellacious uppercuts to skaters, this could also be filed under "pro." Failed to score on 20 minutes of power play time against Cornell. Deserved better.
Jack Johnson, 2005-2007
PROS: Johnson the younger was Loose Cannon Cop on hockey skates, a guy who doesn't have to follow your rules, man, because he doesn't need the man to catch bad guys and batter them senseless with ninja kicks while acquiring the sweet lovin' from attractive ladies.
A ludicrously talented defenseman, he loved to doodle around guys he was so much better than. He also loved to annihilate anyone with their head down.
He almost killed BC's goalie with a slap shot. He was really unbelievably good in year two. He wears his passion for Michigan on his sleeve. He probably shouldn't have even shown up after going third in the draft, but did anyway, and then stayed a second year.
…and directly responsible for creating JMFJ shirts for the entire family—including what appeared to a ten-year-old—when they found out about this. IIRC the ten-year-old was informed that it stood for something it did not stand for. "Massive fun," maybe.
CONS: Left after two years, and his first year was… uneven. Massive penalty minutes are obvious. Loose Cannon Cop rep got him suspended, sometimes warranted, sometimes not. At one point during his freshman year I yelled "you're supposed to be the third pick in the draft" at him. Was great fun, but how much impact did he have relative to the other guys on the list?
Kevin Porter, 2004-2008
PROS: Four-year player, Hobey Baker winner as a senior after I said his production would tail off without Hensick driving scoring chances next to him. Solid citizen who led some of the best Michigan teams of the period. His final year featured the Nickelback and Creed goals against Notre Dame in the Denver Frozen Four in a game that Michigan otherwise would have won. If Hagelin gets fewer minus points than anyone else for not finding a title at the end of the rainbow, Porter is second.
CONS: This might sound insane: he lacked personality as a hockey player. He was of course very, very good at hockey, but compared to the other guys on the list his career lacks color. Is this insane? Does anyone else feel this? I mean, I don't know what to say about him other than "Hobey Baker winner." The lone highlight on the tubes is a nice snap shot:
But it's not a good candidate for Most Remarkable Thing on the Tubes. When he won the Hobey it sort of felt like the committee had backed themselves in a corner after snootily denying Hensick despite his point totals the year before. That was justified as an example of the Hobey's character requirement—as if mouthing off to a ref is uncommon. As a result, the uber-talented Nathan Gerbe got passed over thanks to a couple of spearing-type incidents over the course of his career.
Porter is the opposite of Johnson. Johnson was Paul Bunyan on skates. Porter was just really good at hockey.
TJ Hensick, 2003-2007
PROS: The most recent magic midget and a guy I miss every time Michigan blows a 2 on 1… or 2 on 0. Had an amazing knack for making the unstoppable pass in that situation, and plenty others. Capable of stickhandling in a phone booth full of lime jello. This is almost painful to watch…
…because Michigan hasn't had it since he left.
Should have won the Hobey Baker easily as senior since he led the nation in scoring by a wide margin. Often accused of being a glory hound but massive assist numbers suggest otherwise. Was a one-man power play setup, a skill you should appreciate more now. Was immediately awesome; accumulated more career points than anyone else in the timeframe by a wide margin.
CONS: Maybe kind of a glory hound. Once tapped in a Porter shot on an empty net that was already going in. Mouthed off in one of those dismal NCAA tourney losses to North Dakota and got a ten-minute misconduct at the worst possible time. Did not win Hobey Baker, probably because of this. It probably wasn't his fault but the teams he was most prominent on were amongst the worst Michigan's had since the Berenson era took off.
Debate in the comments; voting will be unveiled once all candidates are.