well that's just, like, your opinion, man
This is the cover of a 128-page book:
…THAT YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW
It is now in stock in the MGoStore for $15. You can also get it as a PDF download for $5. Or you can get the slightly different (fewer pictures, a bit more words) version on Kindle here for $9, or from iBooks soon. Or you can walk into any Underground Printing store, or Moe's, or Literati (so far) in Ann Arbor and buy a copy off the shelf.
OR YOU COULD BEG MATT FOR ONE
HTTV 2016 is sponsored by my friend Matt Demorest of Homesure Lending, who upgraded everybody who did the Kickstarter to first-class shipping.
Thanks to Brexit, rates hit what will probably be an ALL-TIME low today. Even if you refinanced or bought a home recently you might want to check with him to see if it's worth it to try again. He'll let you know.
Matt also asked for a box of books with his sponsorship, so if you fill out a loan application I bet you could get him to cough up a copy. Follow the link or call him: 734-531-9950.
OR YOU COULD SIT BY THE MAILBOX
If you are a backer and you got your address to us on time, your unsigned books ought to be on their way as of tonight. If you're unsure if you got your address to me, go to the last update I posted on Kickstarter for the backers and see if your name is on the list. (You'll have to be logged in and a Kickstarter backer to see it.) Or check your spam folder for a pile of emails.
I'm taking care of the Kickstarter orders before anything else, but please wait a few weeks before asking where your copy is, since sometimes they don't come as fast for some reason. The very first would have arrived like today or tomorrow.
If you pre-ordered the book, those will be mailing out this week and next. T-shirts and signed books will come later.
OR YOU COULD COME GET ONE FROM BRIAN
Literati is going to throw us a launch party at The Circus Bar on Friday, August 5, at 7pm. We'll have the bar reserved for us before it opens for the regular Friday night traffic. Brian will be giving a presentation to tamp down your expectations for this season, or something.
I have to miss it for a family thing which may or may not mean they don't trust me to talk about this year's team without falling to the floor and giggling.
[What's inside, after THE JUMP]
Edit: Oh, right, it's Tuesday.
Herbert Announcing Tomorrow
Michigan is in prime position to pick up another offensive lineman when four-star FL OT Kai-Leon Herbert announces his decision sometime tomorrow between the Wolverines, Florida, and Miami (YTM). Michigan got his most recent visit and has the last nine picks on his Crystal Ball, including that of 247 scouting director Steve Wiltfong. When previewing his decision for 247's Luke Stampini, Herbert may have tipped his hand in what's been considered a Michigan/Florida battle with Miami on the periphery [emphasis mine]:
“It’s the relationship I have with Coach [Mike] Summers, Coach [Randy] Shannon, and Coach [Jim McElwain] himself,” Herbert said of Florida. “They were my leader for quite some time and they definitely know how to recruit.
Herbert would be an impressive pull from a powerhouse program (American Heritage), and a commitment from him could also help Michigan land five-star OG teammate TJ Slaton, whose recruitment may become a Michigan/Clemson battle.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Previously: Last year's profiles. S Josh Metellus, S Khaleke Hudson, CB David Long, CBLavert Hill, LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse, LB Devin Bush Jr., LB Devin Gil, LB Josh Uche, DE Ron Johnson, DT Michael Dwumfour, DT Rashan Gary, DE Carlo Kemp, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, TE Devin Asiasi, WR Eddie McDoom, WR Nate Johnson.
|Rancho Santa Margarita, CA – 6'2", 185|
|Scout||4*, #134 overall
|Rivals||4*, #129 overall
#26 WR, #20 CA
|ESPN||4*, #179 overall
#22 WR, #20 CA
|24/7||4*, #135 overall
#20 WR, #15 CA
|Other Suitors||UO, USC, ND, OU, Stanford, ASU|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. Army AA. Nee Dylan Crawford.|
Senior (starts at 1:00):
Way back in the long-long ago when Brady Hoke was still around, Michigan fans with an obsessive recruiting bent were hoping that Michigan would land a quartet of California stars: KJ Costello, Theo Howard, David Long, and Dylan Crawford. By the standards of recruiting expectations more than a year out from Signing Day, this actually turned out pretty well: Michigan locked down the latter two. Getting there was pretty hairy, with Long committing to Stanford early and Crawford looking like he'd head to Oregon for a couple weeks after the Ducks finally offered.
But before Crawford could pull the trigger on that Duck offer, though, a guy named Eddie McDoom did. Crawford committed to Michigan shortly afterwards; now Michigan has both. Jedd Fisch probably spent most of February with tented fingers, laughing ominously in his underground compound.
Crawford isn't a whole lot different than Johnson and McDoom. Most evaluations cite an advanced understanding of routes, excellent athleticism without crazy top-end speed, and technical adeptness. The term "polished" is frequently deployed. In October Michigan was apparently selling him on their lack of depth at slot receiver, which both McDoom and Johnson are also candidates to play. All three are also candidates on the outside.
Crawford has a few inches on his compatriots and is the most likely to be a full-time outside guy; all three can move inside or out depending on Michigan's need on any particular down. ESPN:
…very competitive speed and slippery elusiveness… very shifty with wiggle and fluid change-of-direction to use at the top of stems into and out of breaks. … can get on the toes of defenders quickly to eat up cushion … knows how to use his feet, hips and burst to gain separation. …very adept at tracking the deep ball over the shoulder …reasonably wide catch radius …can make people miss, … may not just run by people [in college] like he routinely does at this level. … athletic and precise and has a good feel for the game.
…electric in and out of breaks. …quickness to separate …brings a lot to the table after the catch as an elusive player with good moves. …aggressive mentality as a blocker. He really takes pride in picking up a block… great toughness. … Kenny Stills type
…strong route runner where he cuts extraordinarily well and he does a great job setting up cornerbacks. The four-star is also exceptional at catching low passes by getting his hands under the ball and scooping it. Sometimes, he lets the ball get into his body, but most of the time Crawford rips it out of the air.
…does everything well. …solid frame and is much stronger than he looks. …nice burst, is a polished route runner and has good top end speed. … natural pass catcher and always uses his hands rather than his body to make a play. He's also a smart kid and knows the game.
…very good speed and flashes some extra burst at times that a lot of other players don’t have. … plays really hard. … good hands and shows good body control on sideline catches. I would like to see him be more of a player that attacks the ball at its highest point … very good potential as a route runner and does a good job of selling double moves. Because he’s a better athlete than many of the players covering him, he sometimes will rely on just running by them and not running the crispest routes.
…a good route-runner with outstanding hands… good short-area quickness …isn't a deep burner… his football savvy, vision, and quickness allow him to make big plays anyway.
…does a good job of bursting off the line of scrimmage….can shake defenders in space. … deft route runner who does a good job of using head movement and jab steps to set up defensive backs. … shows the ability to work across the middle of the field without being affected by impending contact. … does not have many obvious weaknesses in his game.
While last bit is a theme repeated by a few different evaluations, there are some negative reports.
A couple of grumbles about his hands seem to be based on a bad camp or day of practice; more complete evaluations are generally positive. There are a more durable concerns. He didn't blow people away at the Army game. This Rivals evaluation from the game is skeptical about Crawford's ability to be a deep threat:
247 moved him out of their top 100 because he "never really asserted himself" in 7-on-7 and in a separate section actually intended to praise him they noted that he was just "going through the motions" on the first two days of practice. Scout also noted he "wasn't active" in the morning of day one, though they said he did well in the afternoon section. Touch The Banner also notes that Crawford wasn't the most productive receiver on his team; 2017 Oklahoma commit Grant Calcaterra, who Michigan took a poke at early in the cycle, beat him out.
Like Johnson, Crawford's combine testing numbers are pretty righteous. He was one of the top performers at the Opening:
Dylan Crawford was one of 10 participants out of the 166 who tested to qualify for NIKE Football Rating Championship. At 6-1.5, 183 pounds, the athlete clocked a 4.45-40, 4.01 in the shuttle, jumped 37” in the vertical and threw the power ball 42’.
Crawford was just out of a walking boot and ran for the first time in a month when he put that on the board. FWIW, 247 had completely different numbers—worse 40, worse shuttle, better vertical and power ball—but either way, dude was one of the most athletic guys at a gathering of the top recruits in the country. He came in second in combine testing at a loaded Opening regional in Los Angeles as well; he'd win the WR MVP award after bringing in "numerous" deep balls that displayed "his ability to stretch the field." How this jibes with the consistent "he's fast but he's not that fast" above is unknown.
That 6'1.5" is also a positive. It's a rare recruit who ends up listed smaller than he actually is by the recruiting sites. Crawford is one of them. He grew a couple inches after he popped up on everyone's radar.
Crawford's ability as a blocker jumps out on tape. There was a brief mention above; it was echoed in more depth by other analysts. Son Of A Coach:
One of the most tenacious run blockers I’ve seen out of a someone considered a blue chip receiver prospect. He gets after it better than a lot of tight end recruits.
Crawford displays some aggression toward defensive backs in the running game, and he can be a very effective blocker on the edge with crack blocks and stalk blocks.
Rivals took in one of his high school games—which is a rare opportunity to focus on guys when they don't get the ball—and came away similarly impressed:
…not only willing to block, but also fiery when it came to the task. He said afterward he realizes receivers have to be well rounded at the next level and he has worked hard at making his presence felt even when the ball isn't in the air.
Our YMRMFSPA has proven that you don't have to be a huge guy to wreck tight ends, and you know that Harbaugh is going to prioritize guys who block with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. This section also mitigates concerns you might have after those indifferent Army game reports that Crawford doesn't get after it. Crawford might not have put a huge priority on a slightly ridiculous All Star game; when he's put in an actual game he seeks to dominate his opposition.
Etc.: Per Jedd Fisch, Crawford will go by his middle name at M. MGoBlue is still a little confused about this. Will wear #1. This scouting report from a guy covering the Army game is too ridiculous to put in the body of the post but also too ridiculous to ignore:
“As spicy as they come at the wide receiver position,” Herron said. “A guy who’s not one of these Calvin Johnson-types, he’s not, 230-40 pounds. He’s just over 6-foot, 180 but plays as though he’s the size of Megatron.”
Why Jehu Chesson? Chesson arrived as a wiry track star in need of a lot of polish who lacked recruiting hype. This isn't particularly close to Crawford, but the receiver Chesson turned into—a 6'3", 200-pound outside receiver and defensive back abattoir with the ability to stretch a ten yard pass into 30—is. Chesson has an inch or two on Crawford; Crawford arrives at Michigan much closer to his eventual ceiling.
Less recent comparables include Marcus Knight and Tai Streets, both lanky outside receivers with solid deep speed and reliable hands.
Guru Reliability: Exacting. Lock-step rankings, Army game appearance, heavily scouted high school. Some wobble in the scouting reports but not much really.
Variance: Low. A polished kid with a good frame and excellent off-field stuff.
Ceiling: High-minus. Doesn't appear to be Braylon but could be a solid #1 WR in college if he works out. I do give the sites' (slight) skepticism in this department credence since they saw him a lot and there seems to be broad agreement on this point.
General Excitement Level: High. Johnson/McDoom part III. Less likely to bust than either of those guys because of his size. Still like McDoom a bit better but it's splitting hairs.
Projection: Probably plays on the outside. Probably does not redshirt since Michigan needs to find two new outside receivers next year and there's enough uncertainty about Ways and Harris—more or less the only options with any experience—to play both Crawford and McDoom. I'd prefer at least one of the three WRs already profiled gets a redshirt, but it's hard to pick out who that might be.
Crawford will have a real shot at starting as early as next year; if his blocking translates to college that'll give him a leg up. At the very least he should be rotation piece. Things might get complicated in 2018 if Michigan does lock down Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins, either or both of whom could be the kind of talent who pushes through returning starters after an apprentice year. Crawford's ability to pop into the slot gives him the flexibility to stay on the field; it's likely that one of these slot/outside types does get pushed out of playing time. No idea who.
The first rule of Draftageddon is "you must complain about Draftageddon." The second is "the four people drafting assemble teams of Big Ten players in an effort to seem the best at drafting."
Previously on Draftageddon:
Peppers and Lewis are taken before the one good quarterback and our tight end goes 5th overall.
Chesson, Cole and Wormley go in Round 3, Glasgow ends Round 4.
How things stand:
Seven Michigan players have gone in the first 17 picks. Now it's time to see who's good on the other teams, right?
(Ace's Round 5 pick was part of last week's)
ADAM: Round 5, Pick 2: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Offense: Pat Elflein (C/OG-OSU), Dan Feeney (OG-Indiana)
Defense: Jourdan Lewis (CB-Michigan), Dawuane Smoot (DE-Illinois), Taco Charlton (DE-Michigan)
Yeah, I took Smoot before Charlton, but there's no defensive end in the conference whose upside I'm more excited about than Charlton's. At 6'6 and 287 pounds he's big enough to play strongside end, but his insane athleticism allows him to play just as (if not more) effectively at weakside end.
He'll likely get the majority of his snaps at weakside end this fall, a position he didn't start at until last season's Penn State game. Despite that, Charlton racked up 5.5 sacks and 8.5 TFLs in 2015. He took the opportunity presented against PSU and promptly destroyed Christian Hackenberg, displaying his power on a stunt inside in which he bull-rushed his way through a guard:
And later flashing some of his pass-rush moves when he swam past the left tackle:
PFF says his 41 total pressures ranked sixth among defensive ends; imagine what he can do with a full season at WDE, another year under the tutelage of Greg Mattison, and the added benefit of Don Brown's insane slants and stunts.
[Hit the JUMP]
Meet Raul Wallenberg, who did more with his Michigan degree than, well, anyone:
Wallenberg developed a system of Swedish safe-houses, and eventually worked to create a separate international ghetto for Jews under protection from Sweden and other neutral powers. He created a rescue team that worked to protect those under Swedish protection--in some instances, they would impersonate Nazi officials in order to demand Jews from death marches, and then return them to Budapest. For his actions, Wallenberg was a target of multiple assassination attempts.
Then he disappeard, but man that guy had some chutzpah. In Michigan guys who didn't save thousands of lives, ReadYourGuard, who played some football at Michigan himself, has started interviewing former players. His first is Clay Miller. His story includes Bo's first use of the goal line formation. It is very much worth a read.
The annual betting prospectus. Tim Tolman from The Saturday Edge puts out a free betting prospectus every year for the Big Ten. Again, I like to read the gamblers' takes because they're forced to be more realistic. On the other hand:
My biggest gripe is he expects Rashan Gary to replace Willie Henry at 3-tech; if Gary starts it's because Wormley is at 3-tech and Gary is at SDE. One man's guess at how the DL will shake out on competitive snaps:
|Anchor (SDE)||Tackle (3-tech)||Nose||End (WDE)|
|Gary (40%)||Wormley (40%)||Glasgow (53%)||Charlton (75%)|
|Wormley (45%)||Hurst (40%)||Mone (45%)||Winovich (20%)|
That has Wormley and Taco on the field most of the time, Glasgow and Mone rotating to stay fresh (Hurst is the NT only when they go Bear), Hurst getting a lot of play at DT, and Gary on the field about half the time, but all over the line. It'll probably change up from game to game as Don Brown decides which dude is best suited for his particular matchup.
Anyway Tim doesn't even say the name Hurst, even though Matt Godin and Brady Pallante(!) come in for mentions. If Pallante plays non-garbage time this year there would have to be a plume of green smoke where the DT two-deep once stood.
Part time blogger. Our mods don't get the appreciation they deserve. Sometimes it shows. Hit play at the bottom, skip the first 30 seconds, and sing along:
You are struggling to defend your dumb notion
It’s half-cocked, riddled with emotion
When the words don’t come you turn it all around
Throw out a “f---”, then run the ship aground
It's actually good.
First year QB: A problem? User unWavering wrote a diary that starts by showing you every national champion or runner up QB since 2000 and that half were first-time starters. If you extend that to the start of the BCS era you get Vick, junior Weinke, the guy who replaced Peyton Manning, and Marcus Outzen (Weinke was injured). None of them were coached by Jim Harbaugh. Quarterback will be fine; injuries to the offensive line, bad linebacker play, safeties regressing, and games when O'Neill's crew are officiating are my biggest concerns.
From Johnny Orr to Beilein. The helpful thread title is Michigan has now produced more 1st round NBA Draft picks than any other program in the B1G. Indiana has more first and second rounders historically but Beilein's national championship game roster alone had four first-rounders on it plus a second-rounder.
How can I help?
Seriously. And feel free to pass that along.
[After the jump: a good reason to thank the troops, a draw-a-Woliverine competition, and an important update on Michigan's QB battle.]
[No not really but you'll want to see it anyway.]
Davison Offered, Nearing Decision
Three-star 2017 MN combo guard Brad Davison had a strong spring on the EYBL circuit and subsequently added a handful of major offers to his list. His recent visit tour included a stop in Ann Arbor, where he picked up a Michigan offer, and he told The Wolverine's Chris Balas that they'll be in the mix when he makes a decision:
“First off, spending time with Coach Beilein was pretty special … that was because he’s one of the best at what he does,” he said. “That was a cool experience. We toured the facilities, and I want to go into business so went to business academic advisors, met with the players, toured the campus. The players were great. I hung out with Duncan [Robinson] and Mo [Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman], so that was fun.
“The best part was probably just hanging out with the players. Those are the guys you’re going to be with if you go there.”
Davison expects to make his choice this month. Wisconsin, one of the first programs to recruit him, is considered by many to be the team to beat, and Stanford is also heavily involved. Michigan shouldn't be ruled out, however—after their offer, 247's director of basketball scouting, Jerry Meyer, put in a Crystal Ball pick for the Wolverines.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]