the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
GBW is reporting that OH S Ray Vinopal has committed to Michigan($). Either that or they just like posting stories titled simply "Ray Vinopal!" Informative update coming.
GURU RATINGS & CHATTER
|2*, #144 S||2*, NR||2*, 68, #254 ATH|
All right… yeah. So Vinopal is a "sleeper" if you want to be kind or a "MAC prospect" if you're not a Michigan fan. But hey, he's basically Ted Ginn!
I saw Vinopal take an end around for a touchdown against MY Irish (St. Vincent St. Mary). The kid is ridiculously fast. He's one of those kids who you get into school and worry about a position later.
I hate to throw the comparison out there, but he reminds me of a shorter Ted Ginn.
Doesn't have the same top end speed IMO, but a very very good football player.
Oh. So, like, a slow Ted Ginn. More, because as long as we're taking a comment from a random Notre Dame message board it might as well be the whole thing:
People forget Ginn was a top cornerback coming out of high school, and switched to WR as a freshman. I could see the same thing with Ray. People will look at his size and say corner, but I think he'd be deadly in the slot and as a returner.
ESPN, for its part, does not reference Ted Ginn in its evaluation of the #254 "athlete" in the country:
Lacks desired length and height as a high-point safety as well. He is an active run defender who will come down and fill hard; provides good secondary support. Shows adequate closing burst and makes solid contact as a tackler with better-than-adequate pop. Overall underneath range and speed is good but he does not fill with great downhill burst and sharp angles; loses outside leverage on the ball at times. … Lacks quick diagnosing and reaction skills which is a concern. Not a guy who projects well playing down over the top of slots in man coverage schemes and feel he could struggle mirroring/breaking down on quicker skill players in space.
That is Jordan Kovacs. I don't know, maybe this evaluation was pre-senior season and he got a lot better, warranting the interest from major programs this fall, but that's the least enthusiastic ESPN scouting report this guy has ever seen.
They aren't encouraging, as Vinopal was a sleeper going into his senior season and despite "interest" from a number of local power programs it doesn't appear that any other than Michigan pulled the trigger. So, the teams beaten out: Bowling Green, Kent State, and Air Force.
For what it's worth, Vinopal claimed that Notre Dame—where he visited for the USC game—and Pitt were considering him after his strong senior year. Wisconsin also might have offered in July or something, but it's unclear.
No senior stats yet but here's his junior year:
After intercepting two passes his sophomore season, the 5-foot-11 and 185-pound Vinopal had another interception his junior season and had three games in which he made over 10 tackles. Vinopal also rushed for 1,112 yards and scored 12 times.
FAKE 40 TIME
How about a spectacularly FAKE combine from Vinopal's freshman year?
Also deserving special mention was freshman ATH Ray Vinopal of Cardinal Mooney in Ohio. At 5-foot-9 ½ and 178-pounds, he had a 28.5-inch vertical, 9-foot broad, 4.45 shuttle, 4.56 40, and 30 reps at 135-pounds.
4.56 40 as a freshman gets four FAKES out of five.
Vinopal is the guy running around with a huge arrow over his head:
And some pass coverage:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Well… if you care about recruiting rankings, Vinopal is clearly the least exciting recruit in the class. That ESPN evaluation checks off all the things you don't want to hear about a recruit: small, slow, confused, etc. And on film he really does look like Kovacs. But there's a reason I don't watch recruiting film: I am a blogger. Obviously Michigan and a couple other schools looking at Vinopal thought there was something there, but recruiting rankings are meaningful things and a Brandent Englemon is a best-case scenario here.
That said, sometimes guys fall through the cracks and a lot of successful defenses are built from parts like Tyler Sash and whoever Wisconsin's running out there these days. The odds are against Vinopal, but that's not a guarantee.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
You can write off the renewed Oh S LaTwan Anderson interest: with Vinopal's addition, Michigan has six defensive backs in this class and is primed to add a seventh in FL CB Tony Grimes. More likely, Marvin Robinson will find himself at linebacker before long.
More interesting is the scholarship situation: Vinopal is the 23rd commitment and three guys are expected to commit sooner or later, pushing Michigan over 25 and necessitating someone coming in on a grayshirt if there is no attrition. Vinopal may be that grayshirt candidate, come to think of it. It's clear that Michigan will sign 28 this year with three guys aware that they are candidates to grayshirt if everyone gets in. Vinopal and the two guys currently unqualified are the most likely.
Etc.: Photo gallery of a Mooney blowout has several pictures of Vinopal.
|WHAT||#36/31 Michigan v. Arkansas Pine Bluff|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
|WHEN||2:00 PM EST
December 5th, 2009
|THE LINE||No line, junkie|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
The Wolverines are officially slumping. They have 3 losses in 3 games, at least one of them to inferior competition. The shooting has been bad, the defense has been terrible, and nothing has seemed to go right for the Wolverines.
Last year, they were a much better squad with more space between games, and the hectic travel schedule from the weekend may have given them less time to prepare for Boston College than they would have liked. A pair of off days, both at home, may give the team a little time to recharge the battery, and Pine Bluff isn't exactly Boston College in terms of talent.
DeShawn Sims and the snipers for Michigan really need to get going in this contest, and it might not be too difficult to do. As we'll see in a moment, this is a really bad defensive team.
Arkansas Pine Bluff
The Golden Lions had opened their season with 5 consecutive losses, all of them coming on the road. In fact, they don't play a home game until their 15th contest of the season(!). Colorado and Denver took down Pine Bluff on a road trip through the Centennial State, and the Golden Lions have also fallen in El Paso, Akron, and Tempe.
Guards Savalance Townsend and Terrence Calvin lead Pine Bluff in scoring, and Calvin, a senior point guard, is also the assist leader. 6-8 post man Lebaron Weathers is the key inside presence, tied for third in points per game and leading the Golden Lions in rebounding. Fellow senior Tyree Glass stands 6-7, and gets the third most minutes of any Golden Lion (behind only the two guards).
It's far enough into the year that tempo-free stats might mean something, so here's the first tempo-free breakdown of the season. If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Arkansas Pine Bluff: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Pine Bluff Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. PB Def eFG%||260||337||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. PB eFG%||232||254||M|
|Mich TO% v. PB Def TO%||2||328||MMMM|
|Mich Def TO% v. PB TO%||41||313||MMM|
|Mich OReb% v. PB DReb%||242||1||PPP|
|Mich DReb% v. PB OReb%||326||81||PPP|
|Mich FTR v. PB Opp FTR||295||342||M|
|Mich Opp FTR v. PB FTR||10||133||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. PB AdjD||157||215||M|
|Mich AdjD v. PB AdjO||111||225||MM|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
So, Pine Bluff is kind of horrible, and they've been horrible against competition that isn't very good itself. The only thing that the Golden Lions are pretty good at is rebounding the ball. This should be highly effective against Michigan, of course, as the Wolverines aren't really known for crashing the boards. Michigan has a huge advantage in nearly every single other category, and if this game is even close, it might be an omen for a long season.
This game may not be the one that gets DeShawn Sims really rolling, as the Golden Lions have multiple players with decent enough size. However, if Michigan chooses to play two big men at once, they'll probably be able to overpower the overmatched Golden Lions. That should open up the three point line, as should the mere fact that the Lions have already given up 30% 3-point shooting to opponents, playing less talented teams than Michigan.
This looks like the type of game that is frustratingly close for a few minutes, before the Wolverines really start to pull away.
On Jared Odrick's odd Big Ten DPOY victory:
Conferences, be they high school or college, have stupid political bylaws that determine all-conference teams (i.e. conference champs get to name 3 players to 1st team, 2 players to second team). The head scratchers like "Odrick: B11DPOTY" are usually negotiated settlements between coaches/SIDs (if you put my player up or vote for my player, i'll vote for yours) or actually written into the bylaws (i.e. your team is first in points against, you get to name B11DPOTY). Normally, those types of things result in a clear shake out. Sometimes when the margins are not obvious or the bylaws don't work out nice...the solutions are political (AKA stupid looking).
P.S. Is there hope for the defense to get better next year? Do you think Lloyd realized how bad the defense was going to be? and got out?
Odrick was just named first-team All America, too. Brandon Graham got jacked, not that there's any surprise in that.
As to the PS questions: yes, but not very good, probably yes he realized things weren't going to go swimmingly once he left, and no, that had nothing to do with his departure.
It seems as though most of the time Denard is in at quarterback, he is deployed in an otherwise empty backfield. This means that he either passes (infrequently) or runs. Any thoughts on why there is rarely a running back in the backfield with him. This means a read option is out the window. You would think that with his speed that this might be an effective attack. Is he having trouble making the reads in practice?
Two possibilities: Denard can't make the reads, or Michigan thinks he'll be more effective with the field more spread out. I don't get it, personally: Rodriguez broke out the zone read with Pat White early in his career.
That lack of zone read, more than anything else, makes me think Robinson is eventually destined to move to a Percy Harvin-esque slash WR/RB role. He's not running a run-crazy version of the base offense, he's running a no-decision, extremely predictable high school offense. Is there any way he advances enough without the benefit of a redshirt year to pass up Forcier or even Gardner, who's plenty familiar with the zone read in high school?
I think the answer to Denard Robinson is to give him a QB package but start the transition in earnest this offseason. Next year it's Tate and you try to redshirt Gardner, using Robinson as an all-purpose player.
Can we/should we take some comfort in looking at Oklahoma this year? They have an entrenched, top-tier coach, who is indisputably good at coaching in a big time conference. I haven’t looked at their roster, but I think its safe to assume they don’t have Michigan’s youth and under-scholarship issues. They were number two preseason, and when their quarterback goes down and have to play a freshmen, they’re 7-5.
(This email started under the premise that OU finished 6-6, which made the comparison better. I just realized that they finished 7-5, and literally crushed almost all the opponents in victory, and were close in every loss.)
Still, is the comparison valid? Take a national title contender, and put in a freshmen qb, and you are now a middling 7-5. Michigan has only freshmen qbs and 10 other glaring problems and ends up 5-7. Isn’t this actually par or slightly above? This whole thing is a full year longer than everyone expected. Last year was a black hole and this past season was year 1.
Well… no. As the emailer noted, despite their crappy record Oklahoma is an entirely different level from Michigan this year. Their peripheral stats show a team that's snakebit. Michigan's show a team that's just bad. We don't need to hack down to complicated statistical measures to do so:
|Pass Efficiency Defense||10||75|
Oklahoma's nonconference schedule included Miami (That Miami) and BYU, a Baby Seal U—Matt Guiterrez alma mater Idaho State—and bad CUSA team Tulsa, so the overall schedule is probably about as challenging as Michigan's. And there is no comparison. Michigan is better at three things: net punting, rushing offense, and kickoff returns. They are vastly worse in all of the big categories.
This is the flipside of pointing to Georgia Tech and declaring that it's easy to show up and contend for a conference championship in year two. Record isn't everything. Michigan's peripherals this year were really, really terrible; they indicate a team that is going to have to put in yet more time rebuilding. Oklahoma's probably going to leap back to BCS quality next year.
Comparisons to other programs who have struggled through mediocre years or other coaches who have struggled through an opening two seasons as poor as that of Rodriguez don't strike me as relevant. Michigan is in the midst of a unique, wrenching transition from 40 years of one thing to something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. They started a walk-on quarterback. Three walk-ons played extensively on defense this year, one of them a freshman starter at safety. There are no meaningful comparisons; we just have to grit our teeth and hope it works out.
I agree with the timeline proposed by the emailer: Michigan is a full year behind schedule because of a combination of things. After the Utah game I said the program was under construction and would be finished in 2010; now that is fanciful. Obviously.
World Cup draw liveblog at The Sporting Blog. THEY'RE TALKING TO MORGAN FREEMAN WOO.
The delightful news keeps coming:
Warren, a third-year junior who led Michigan with 4 interceptions this year, has filed paperwork to ask the NFL's underclass advisory committee for his draft status.
He said Thursday their input will play into his decision, but turning pro is "just something that I believe it's just for me."
"I'm definitely, I'd have to say heavily, I like the chances of me coming out," Warren said at Michigan's annual football bust.
BONUS: Vincent Smith's ACL was torn against Ohio State. He'll miss spring practice and may be touchy going into the fall according to someone close to the situation.
Let's take a position-by-position look at recruits in positions that Michigan still has needs. Yes, they're mostly on defense. For reference, Michigan has 21 current commits, and there's still been no resolution as to whether they can accept more than 25 commitments.
FL OL Torrian Wilson made a surprise commit to Stanford in the summer, but now he will visit Michigan this weekend. I had long assumed his commitment to Stanford was soft, but with no recruiting news until now, I had started to change my mind. It appears as though my faith has been reaffirmed.
In case it wasn't apparent from such events as "5-7," MN OL Seantrel Henderson is no longer considering Michigan.
Thought to be out of consideration for Michigan, MI DT Johnathan Hankins (I've seen his first name spelled about a hundred different ways, with no indication as to which might be right), has finally received his Michigan offer. Despite growing up a Michigan fan, Florida is still his strong leader.
Obviously, Michigan was similarly impressed, but their prolonged evaluation process has them currently trailing in the race for the three-star prospect's services.
"Florida is ahead right now," Hankins told Scout.com. "It was a great place. The players were great and the fans were amazing. The game (against Florida State) was great too. I feel comfortable there. They said I have a chance to play because they are losing defensive tackles. I'd have a chance to start. It's all up to me. After (visiting) Florida, I didn't want to take any more visits, but I rethought that and my coaches wanted me to take all my visits."
He visits Michigan this weekend, and Michigan will have the opportunity to outdo Florida then; there's also a chance that Florida might fill up (or "fill up") before Hankins has an opportunity to commit. He plans to decide before Christmas.
The increase in Hankins interest might be due to a couple other guys falling off, as last week a small Arkansas paper reported TX DT Big Tex Beachum might be solid to Arkansas. He still has not publicly reaffirmed his Arkansas commitment, so on the board he stays. Even The Recruiting Guy's follow-up doesn't have a quote affirming his commitment. FWIW, Sam Webb posted an article on Beachum that involved the words "clears the air($)," a universal signal that the article in question directly contradicts previously-reported information. He's still in play.
Michigan has offered post-grad VA DE David Mackall ($, info in header), who originally committed to Maryland in the class of 2009.
The Wolverines are also the leader for FL DE Clarence Murphy. As Brian noted last week, Sam Webb has talked about a "gut feeling" on WTKA, which generally means a silent commitment.
The biggest possibility for Michigan in the linebacking corps is MD LB/S Josh Furman, who will announce between Michigan and Virginia Tech at the Crab Bowl on December 19.
Both schools have strong academics, both have early playing time as a possibility, and Furman has established strong relationships with both staffs. With so many similarities between the pro
grams, settling on one sounds like a daunting task, but Furman has already done it.
"The location factored into it, along with the environment and the official visit," he explained.
As implied by that quote, a decision has been made and the coaches informed for each school. The location factoring could be interpreted as a bad sign for Michigan, but he did have tons of positive things to say about Michigan following his official visit. If the coaches have been informed, Webb's "gut feeling" is unimpeachable. Furman is putting up gaudy rushing numbers in his senior season, and is a huge prospect for the Wolverines.
CA S Sean Parker still wants to take a Michigan visit. The Wolverines are in a final seven-ish also consisting of PSU, Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee, Washington, and USC.
Michigan leads for FL CB Tony Grimes and his teammate, DE Clarence Murphy.
Hollywood Hills defensive back Tony Grimes said he is leaning heavily toward the University of Michigan. When a decision to commit is made, Grimes said he and Hills defensive lineman Clarence Murphy will attend the same school.
"Michigan sticks out for both of us," Grimes said. "There we feel we can come in and play as true freshmen."
As noted above, the two are essentially Michigan locks, assuming the Wolverines stay on them until they announce a decision on Signing Day.
Don't expect FL CB Spencer Boyd to end up at Michigan: he's sticking with Notre Dame. [Editor's note: not so fast! Rivals threw up an image of Boyd in an article header indicating he will take an official this weekend.]
Also: Rivals AMP says Michigan is "re-emerging($)" for OH S Latwan Anderson, but kid goes to Glenville and ain't coming here.]
MI QB Devin Gardner is ready to move on to his college career, after high school ended on a down note with a 27-6 loss to Lowell in the state championship game.
"I can't mourn this,” Gardner said after the loss last Friday. “I start getting ready for my future on Monday - lifting, throwing, watching films and getting better as a quarterback so this will never happen again."
Gardner was in attendance at last night's basketball debacle, and is firm in his commitment to Michigan. He no longer plans to enroll early.
MI RB Austin White is not wavering, despite a lame internet rumor to the contrary last week.
Further commit updates, including All-State team news, will be in next week's Friday Night Lights post.
22 + 3 + er… more = er…
At this point we are operating under the assumption that Michigan can enroll no more than 25 freshmen this fall no matter how many scholarships it has open. This is unfortunate since any attrition is likely to see scholarships go unused again. It also means that Michigan has 22 commitments, three guys who are virtual commitments, zero spots left in the class, and about a dozen other guys they're still recruiting.
The conclusion is inescapable: expect attrition from the current commits. Whether it's a decommit or a gentle suggestion that maybe Player X would be better off in a situation with more opportunities for playing time, the way Michigan is recruiting suggests they're going to end up with a couple more commitments past the three expected ones. This will necessitate some current commits not signing or for Michigan to sign up to 28 with the intention of getting down to 25 by August.
Speculating about who is likely to depart in the former case is rude, but there are a couple of players who are reportedly not qualified yet and if they don't get there soon—ie, after this semester's grades are in—Michigan could be within its rights to say "sorry, but we can't take the chance you might not make it in." Your personal distaste for this sort of thing will vary. Mine is a six out of ten.
Possibilities in the latter case are grayshirting someone or expecting slight academic attrition from the incoming class. Some folks have proposed that MI WR Jeremy Jackson come in as a walk-on with a corresponding bump in Fred Jackson's pay, which is interesting, very definitely against the spirit of the rules, and possibly against the letter of them if Jackson received an official offer letter.
In any case, the next two months figure to be somewhat bumpy.
Dave Birkett of AnnArbor.com interviews a couple of recruiting experts about Michigan's class thus far. Tom Lemming seems to be a bit higher on it than Allen Wallace of Scout. Both agree that it's a solid class, but won't contend with the nation's best. Lemming is very high on Cullen Christian, and both of them really like Gardner, because he's awesome.