things go poorly
Who is the man, Brady Hoke? Krikor Arman, says Brady Hoke
The other side
So last week I bombed Braylon Edwards and various other people who have publicly or privately undermined the program since Carr's departure. I owe the internet in general a POV from the other side. I met a Bo walk-on at the Michigan Beerfest a couple years ago and he's been a consistent email correspondent; he provides this perspective from the recent billions-return alumni thing:
We had the team meeting last night which started out in the field house with Coach Hoke speaking for a few minutes while introducing his staff. Afterwards we went over to the stadium and had dinner in the club level, which is beautiful. There were probably 200 guys there, including Coaches Hanlon, Burton, Thornbladh, Moeller, and Carr. It was a nice gathering and great to see the old fellas.
Regardless of what some outsiders think or what people want to hypothesize about RR, the fact of the matter is it WAS a different environment and it DID alienate ex-players/coaches, to a degree. Michigan football is different. It's a family. It's steeped in traditions that are older than the vast majority of people on the board. RR did not take care of the program. He did not endear himself to the guys who won 42 championships in the 132 years of Michigan Football. One thing I heard over and over last night from ex-players was "thank God we're done with that bullshit" ("the lack of defense" and "the guy just didn't get it"). It may seem petty, but this isn't like taking over an old, family owned business and revamping the computers and offices. This is Michigan. I can't put it into words, but as much as I supported RR, he did not, in fact, get it.
I talked with Bruce Madej for a while as well as Paul Schmidt. I was surprised to learn that RR did not force freshman/sophomores to live in the dorm. The only players who HAD to live in the dorm were the early enrollees, and they only had to stay there until after spring semester. Think about that. An 18 year old kid is going right from living at his folks place and attending high school to instantly living on his own, with rent and phone bills, gas bills, grocery shopping, etc. ALL THE WHILE trying to maintain his athletics AND play for a demanding coach. There's no way an 18 year should be put in that situation. It's overwhelming. Schmitty told me that was the first thing he told Hoke when he arrived. Hoke immediately switched the policy back to freshman and sophomores MUST live in the dorm.
It may seem like a pathetically insignificant aspect of the RR regime, but I think it's yet another example of how many different ways he failed as the head coach at Michigan.
I am NOT here to say Hoke is the answer because he's getting the young kids back in the dorm. BUT, he has brought back some things that made this the winningest program in college football. AND, he's galvanizing the fabric of Michigan football that had rusted a little bit over the last 3 years.
So… there's that. My position here is endlessly conflicted. I wish the "This is Michigan" stuff wasn't so inflexible that it caused what happened over the last three years and etc etc etc but everyone knows that. This guy, like Craig Ross, just wants to see Michigan win. That's what we all want. We just have different opinions on the best way to go about doing that.
Jake Ryan and WLB
I know that you weren't as high on Jake Ryan after a more thorough review of the spring game than some people, but he did do okay and he got some good reviews from bowl practices. My question is this - why isn't he a contender at WLB instead of SLB? It seems like he's a bigger, stronger, guy that can tackle well but might not be athletic enough in coverage. Isn't that the type of guy you want at the WLB while the athletic converted safety types play the SLB (Gordon, Hawthorn, Jones, etc.)?
I wasn't necessarily down on Ryan. Like everyone else I was impressed by his playmaking, but he was going up against a redshirt freshman walk-on when he blitzed off the strongside. That's a major factor in a 1-v-1/2-v-2 scrimmage.
As for the question, Ryan is a big dude at 6'3" and nearly 230 pounds as a redshirt freshman. The usual S&C path will see him brushing up against 240 next year. That's a good size to be the guy facing down a tight end on the LOS most downs. It's not so good to be the designated super fast pursuit guy. Also, the knock on Ryan from high school was his agility. His recruiting profile is littered with references to his ability to "attack vertically," worries about his ability to cover guys, and vague mutterings about a move to DE.
While Ryan may have been an OLB candidate in the 3-3-5—where attacking vertically is a large chunk of the job description when you're not being coached by Greg Robinson—he's strictly SAM in a 4-3 under. Fortunately, he looks like an excellent fit there.
If you're looking for WLB reinforcements look to safety, where Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman are OLB-sized guys idling behind starters.
Technical blocking stuff
The one thing I noticed from the scrimmage was a lot more "angle blocking" (layman's term, actually the offensive line appeared to be using Wing-T rules) as opposed to zone. The idea is to gain leverage on your opponent by blocking in towards the ball with the tackles/TEs and pull. The biggest thing that makes me say this is first the pulling techniques on the QB sweep looked exactly like a puller in a wing-T system (open deep, run around a down block). "Angle blocking" is the idea in the flesh. However, I actually could see this as an advantage for M going forward. Zone is ubiquitous. Rule blocking is not. Could be an advantage. The blocking did not look that great, yet.
Borges seems to be finding what the personnel does well and focusing on that (hence the grab bag of multiplicity). Holy hell, we need a good runner, I hope Mike Cox is it.
I kind of thought Michigan was good at running zone stuff by last year. The mobility on the interior gave them the ability to get downfield and pick up linebackers on the second level. I worry about their ability to move Big Ten defensive tackles, though. Last year it was up to those DTs to move faster than the OL so they didn't get reached. This year the power schemes will ask playside OL to overpower DL who might be bigger than them. We'll see.
Krikor Arman sets the record straight
Thank you for the excellent reference in today's blog, I am honored. Just wanted to clarify a couple things. I did not come from the club team. I went directly to open tryouts and made the team out of the 10 people trying out. And this "forward #14" scored two goals in his first game, and has four championship rings from Michigan, one a National Championship.
So thank you, because I really appreciate all of my friends reading about how I was "forward #14."
Krikor Arman, M4
No offense was intended to Krikor Arman in this morning's post. Krikor Arman is notable enough to be in Wikipedia, which means he is more important than me, most webcomics and, for a brief time, Old Man Murray. He is also in med school.
Recent announcements from QB Zeke Pike and TE's AJ WIlliams and Devin Funchess have given thought about where Michigan will go from here with regards to each position and certain players. Here's a look at what could potentially happen in the future, and how the recent announcements may affect other players.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Devin Funchess is the teammate of Ojemudia and the two have been making trips to Michigan together. Recently Mario told me that Michigan was in his top three with Michigan State and Stanford. It seems natural to wonder if Devin Funchess committing to Michigan will have any affect on Mario.
It depends on what [Devin] says to me. We've talked about playing together, but that's not the main reason I would choose to go to a college. I pretty much knew [Devin] was going to Michigan, I just didn't know when he was going to commit.
Mario has been up to Michigan a few times and has openly said that they have been impressive every time. He was in East Lansing this last Tuesday, and he plans on taking another trip out to Ann Arbor in the next few weeks. This time he'll bring someone other than Devin along.
I'm going back up there probably in a few weeks. We're just going to hang out, the coaches want me to finally bring my parents up there. [My parents] don't have a preference between Michigan or Michigan State.
That's a good next step in the process for Michigan to get his parents on campus. He wants to make his decision before the season starts.
6'3", 202 lbs.
Now that Zeke Pike is off the board Michigan will have to look to their other options. They have current offers out to other quarterbacks, but outside of Bennie Coney they aren't in favorable position with many. The Michigan coaching staff may have to extend a few new offers and Tyler O'Connor might be a candidate.
I have been hearing a lot more from [Michigan] lately. They will be here at my school on Wednesday. I think they'll eventually offer especially with them not getting Zeke Pike. They haven't said that, but I think they will. I want to get up there to be around the coaches and see how they are.
O'Connor said that if Michigan were to offer it would be a big one for him and that he really likes the Wolverines. He wants to get to know them though and still go through the process.
If they offered I think they would be one of my leaders. I want to still take my time with everything though. I want to have my decision made by the first week of my football season. I'm looking to see how well I like the coaches, the opportunity for things after school and football, how good the team is, and how well I fit.
O'Connor has already been on the radar for the Michigan coaches but could very well see an offer soon. Austin Appleby has also been told by the coaches that they are interested, but they want to see him at camp first.
6'3", 225 lbs.
Ekanem just recently received an offer from Michigan to go along with Boston College, MSU, Pitt, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech among others. He already has a nice offer list, but is trying to take everything in for now.
I'm trying to stay open minded about everything so far. I will start narrowing it down before my football season starts. I plan on taking all five of my official visits and deciding after my football season.
Coach Mallory was the Michigan coach that extended the offer to Ken and he's excited to continue to build that relationship.
I was surprised that [Michigan] offered, I didn't know they were that interested in me. When I was younger that was my team, and I love the stadium, I can say that. I don't know much about them though, and I don't have a favorite team now. I'm really looking for academics, good coaches, a good recruiting class for 2012, and a place that feels like home.
Ekanem said he might do an unofficial visit to Michigan over the summer, but nothing has been planned.
- The most popular question lately has been if Michigan still has room for Ron Thompson now that they have two tight end commitments. With the recent attrition I think there is still an opportunity for him to be a part of this class. AJ Williams and Devin Funchess are versatile enough that they could both project to different positions.
- Ohio DE Pharaoh Brown says that he will be making another visit to Michigan soon. This time his mom will come up with him to check out the place. MIchigan has been in the lead for some time and Brown has been picking up a good amount of offers recently. He still wants to make his decision by June or July.
- Illinois DB Anthony Standifer is probably very close to a Michigan offer. There was some confusion about whether he did or didn't and he's gotten that straightened out.
- Pennsylvania OL Tyler Alt (6'3", 275 lbs) was getting a visit to his school tomorrow by Coach Mallory. Alt is out of town though, so he'll be speaking with Mallory over the phone tomorrow instead.
- Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing his final decision on May 12th.
Denser than a neutron star. SI's draft profile of Jonas Mouton:
That is a very dense 239-pound human, or it's Terrence Robinson. I'm just amazed someone took a picture of Robinson holding the ball—he's got one career catch.
Not so much. According to GBW's Bret Osburn, hockey forward Jacob Fallon won't return to the team next year($). We haven't seen confirmation anywhere else but the addition of Sinelli could be construed like a kind of a "whoah, we need a guy" thing. He'd be Michigan's 14th forward if Fallon does come back, and while you want a couple extra guys around forward #14 can probably come from the club team. (Krikor Arman say what.) More than next year it's the jam adding Sinelli creates in the next two years that make his addition seem kind of like an either/or with Fallon.
The most convincing possible argument against the BCS. Everyone likes Andy Staples. He writes interesting things, thinks advanced stats might have some merit, and is willing to get in twitter fights with SBN bloggers without being condescending to them. But there is no greater reason to like Andy Staples than his admittedly half-cocked BCS implosion scenario. Specifically, this bit:
The Fiesta, after missing out on Big Ten No. 2, takes Pac-10 No. 2 and matches it against Notre Dame. Every year. Because Notre Dame equals ratings and sellouts.
That's right, Notre Dame: "after missing out on Big Ten No. 2". /Degeneration X entrance in your face
The mouths of babes part XXI. In a Sam Webb article on OH LB Joe Bolden, Bolden drops some super secret future plans:
"They are definitely up there on the list," Bolden said of the Wolverines. "The facilities are impressive. Both indoor fields are as long as the outdoor grass and outdoor turf fields. Then you just walk into the Big House and look from side to side — 115,000 people are screaming for you on a Saturday. There is probably no feeling like it. They told me that they were going to add about 6,000 seats. That's definitely an impressive thing."
Those would presumably be more rows in the endzone, but how that works with new scoreboards is undetermined. Do they flank the scoreboards? Would they move their grand spanking new boards? Do they set one back or something? Someone interview another recruit so we can find out.
The past! Um… was anyone allowed at Wisconsin's spring game? This is a somewhat sincere question. They won the Big Ten, the weather was nice, and most of the shots in this video feature zero (0) spectators:
While you can see some people in the endzones they could be parents or something.
In other news, zero touchdowns were scored, all of Wisconsin's quarterbacks are terrible and they'll spend the next four years going 3-10,000 because they don't play Michigan. Sorry, Wisconsin. We don't make the schedule, we just doom everyone who doesn't play us. We don't like it either.
Tatgate warp. I guess the NCAA has been working on OSU's case since at least December but even so they've pounded out a Notice of Allegations against Tressel & co in record time. When Michigan got their version of that during the Jihad I did an email interview with the Bylaw Blog that tried to get a sense of how final all this was. The answer was "pretty final":
A major violation case, once it gets to this point, rarely is argued back down to a secondary infraction. To get to a Notice of Allegations, especially in this case, the enforcement staff and Committee on Infractions would have worked very closely to decide if there were major violations, ultimately the COI's decision.
Individual major violations are sometimes downgraded to secondary violations during the response and hearing. In the Kelvin Sampson case at IU, one of the original five major violations--that Sampson and assistant coach Jeff Meyer gave Derek Elston a backpack and t-shirt and recruited him during a camp--was found to be only a secondary violation. Of course, the COI can add too, like the failure to monitor charge that came after the committee hearing.
Expect all or almost all of the allegations in the NOA to stick. They are:
- Seven different players sold or exchanged memorabilia.
- Tressel "knew or should have known" two of these players were ineligible but played them anyway.
- Jim Tressel lied about this—the dread almost-certain-firing bylaw 10.1 violation.
…and that's it. So much for delicious rumors of point shaving/something much worse/Ohio nuclear apocalypse, at least for now.
Not that the above doesn't constitute something close to Ohio nuclear apocalypse. The Dispatch's article has some raw numbers that are alarming for OSU fans: 13,385, 500, and 6000. The former is the amount of money the seven players got. The latter are the amounts Troy Smith and a basketball recruit got in the recent past. The first is pretty big; the second two expose OSU to repeat violator status. While Michigan was technically a repeat violator when the Jihad started, their eventual infractions were major in name only and had nothing to do with Ed Martin; here this seems like the continuation of a pattern.
As far as Tressel himself goes, the email trail is even more damning than previously known. The Dispatch:
After Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel was alerted that some of his players had traded memorabilia for free tattoos from a suspected drug dealer, he exchanged numerous emails, phone calls and text messages with the tipster, his star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Pryor's mentors.
Documents obtained by The Dispatch also show Tressel called an FBI agent within days of getting the first email warning the coach of the potential NCAA rules violation and a federal drug investigation.
But OSU records don't show a single call or email from Tressel to the Ohio State compliance office in which he could have reported his players' apparent violations of NCAA regulations.
(Some OSU spokesman claims the dozen extra emails between Tressel and Sarniak were "inadvertently omitted" from previous document releases.) Michigan fan disclaimers and all that but I can't see how anyone can construe that as anything other than a deliberate decision to not suspend players known to be ineligible. The text of that email to Sarniak:
"This guy, Chris Cicero, is a criminal lawyer in town. He played here when I was an assistant coach in the early 1980s. He has always looked out for us. jt"
If anything justifies a we-have-to-fire-you show cause it's this case*. I mean, right? I'm betting OSU vacates last season, gets a bowl ban for this one, and gets a show-cause on Tressel. Scholarship penalties could be in the offing but I'm guessing they won't be severe unless the NCAA justifies it with that "repeat offender" status.
*[Um… other than trying to frame a murdered player of yours as a drug dealer.]
Spring extrapolations. Magnus picture-pages the Cox touchdown from the spring game and comes away with some conclusions: no Wilkins this year (he was obliterated by two walk-ons), not so much on Herron, Marvin Robinson is highly inconsistent.
Etc.: Rodriguez says going to Michigan wasn't the best decision he's ever made, which… yeah. Depressing headline. Pete Bigelow claims Cullen Christian's exit doesn't "make for another cornerback crisis," and he's right: it continues and deepens a secondary-wide crisis that has been raging at various levels for going on ten years. Soon pirates will start appearing off the coast of the Michigan secondary. UMHoops scouts a bunch of 2013 targets. Christian transfers to—surprise!—Pitt. Someone owes me ten million dollars. Penn State's first coach is Guy Gadowsky, previously of Princeton.
Happy Easter, and Chag Sameach. While the bulk of you are eating chocolate and painting/finding eggs, my tribe has Passover. Aside from eating matzah and the related constipation the holiday has a traditional dinner, or "seder." The dinner has a script: symbolism of the various traditional dishes, four questions of the "gee, I wonder why we're eating matzah…" variety recited by a kid, followed by the story of how Pharaoh was smart for being long wheat in the ancient futures market but was unsuccessful in labor issues.
In recent years our family has been adding fiancés, wives, etc., who grew up with slightly different traditions and very different views on what makes an appropriate Seder. The big argument's over the orange. This is a thing we started doing like 10 years ago which I love and some people completely despise. The parable for this goes that one day an orthodox rabbi said there would be a woman rabbi (actually "woman on the bimah") when there's on orange on the Seder plate. So: plop.
In January MVictors and Hoover Street wrote their epic "The Clans. The Factions. Defined," which brilliantly defined the various sub-groups of Michigan fandom. The party lines haven't gone away in three months. There's always that one topic that…
Um, can I help you…?
: I am MisoBOgon. The only true Michigan fan. And I'm only stopping by to tell you how sick I am of hearing you people whine about "The Process." And I can tell from your intro that's exactly what you're about to do.
Actually, no, I was…
Look, I don't know where you people are coming from…
…from whence you people have come but really I was just going to write a Dear Diary about how ridiculous all of this Internet bickering is becoming.
Oh come on.
Guys, guys, what the hell…?
: Isn't it obvious? I've been tracking user data pretty closely and it seems the various fan factions who were scattered by the last three years' events are coming back together for some Michigan football talk and encountering…each other.
Ah. Well that explains all the bickering this week. Anyway what I was gonna…
… say is welcome back to anyone who left us over the last few years. As Decaturogon or whatever above mentioned, it's probably high time for the Michigan fan base to come back together. You know what we need for that?
If all of these be-hatted folks can co-exist in my head* we can all exist together in a room that seats 115,000.
At the risk of making this post sound any more Maize & Brewish, in honor of Passover, here's a list of what I consider sufficient to be classified a Michigan fan:
- Rooting for another team as well. (Dayenu)
- Rooting for M now, but used to not be (Dayenu)
- Rooting for M, but not having gone to the University of Michigan (only State fans care about this, and that's because few people will root for State if they didn't go there or have another close connection to the program.) (Dayenu)
- Rooting for M, but not supporting the current staff or individual members of the program. (Dayenu)
- Rooting for M, but not supporting former staff or members of the program. (Dayenu)
- Rooting for M, but not reading/watching the right material. (Dayenu)
- Rooting for M, but representing the university or the program badly. (Dayenu)
- Rooting only for Michigan in one sport. (Dayenu)
- Being able to experience long periods of ambivalence when Michigan's not winning. (Dayenu)
As for ranking who's a good fan and who's a worse fan – the topic of a removed board post this week – I think peoples' definitions of that are so wildly different as to make the trite-ass "it's different for every person" cop-out true in this case. But let's be sure, eh? Fandom poll!
For each factor, just indicate how important each is in how you might rate fandom. My purpose is just to see if there's any consistency at all, even among a group as insular as a blog's readership.
* In my life I've been all but the 2nd Estate. But there's time yet.
Seriously, all of these narratives are in my head at once.
Left: Two guys we're pretty sure have pictured themselves as Ray Lewis.
Right: what the board thinks of our moderating job at present.
It's survey week at MGoBlog. The first by umhero is probably the most inadvertently useful bit of recruiting news I've ever read. It asks the board to vote on who they think will end up in the class, and reactions are so lopsided I feel like I know the kids' decisions better than they do. I'll let him do the honors of results but the poll is here. By the way hero, pollcode? That's so 2009!
Survey Two is results-oriented. That is wingedsig published the results of his 500-person study on MGoBlog's board moderation, which proves two things: the pos/neg system isn't near perfect, and there are at least 20 females on the Internet!
I took a look at the law itself, and have concluded that coaches salaries do not have to be equivalent, both through reading the law and through anecdotal evidence as told by UM's salaries.
Justin took the salaries of the revenue sports (coaches, then coaches and assistants) and the numbers changed. He ends with 30 coaches for women's sports and 18 for non-revenue men's sports. The mean salary is pretty close (both over $80K) and explainable by the ladies' coaches being incredibly good at their jobs.
For example softball is No. 1 in the country right now, and Tennis just won the Big Ten Championship again!
When We Were Slaves in Egypt…
The Spring Game's technically not a game, but it's enough to bring monuMental back (to the future)!
Look closely and you'll see the 1901 team's secret to scoring a point a minute: Time Traveling Denard Robinson! Also time-traveling Hoke.
In another past blast, JimLahey wrote up his encounter with Lloyd Carr at the WESPY Awards (Windsor Essex Sports Person of the Year). It's so vintage Carr:
The conversation was about 8-10 minutes long and we mostly discussed literature and philosophy. There was a great point in the conversation when we talked about writers who make their work inaccessible to most people by unnecessarily writing in complex schemes just for complexity's sake. I said I preferred the simple, classic, and understated genius of writers like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, whose complexities come from the depth of their characters. He agreed.
That little part right there is the Diary of the Week, because remember how the part about Carr that we all loved was absolutely unique and genuine and wonderful? Read the short diary and you will too.
The other candidate for DotW was stubob's statistical attempt to create a new metric (which he calls "effectiveness") for offensive and defensive play. Right now it's mostly raw data that says what we already knew about last year:
Defense, on the other hand, was great in the rain against Purdue, better-than-average against ND and Illinois (per drive, remember), and shelled by MSU, the other MSU and Wisconsin. This should not be news.
But he's getting some help from the comments and promises to pick apart SD State games next so keep your eyes open because I've got a feeling Part II's gonna get good! Bonus: one of those enlightening, wordy exchanges that the comments section used to be back in the before time* broke out at Comment 3.
* My recollection of the before time was a lot of sarcasm from WLA and Brian a lot less worried about pissing people off, but then I came late.
More Michigan commits, and we're back on the front page. Action since last rankings:
4-22-11 Michigan gains commitments from AJ Williams and Devin Funchess.
4-23-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from Vince Biegel. Minnesota loses commitment from Nick Rallis.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
As I said, it looks pretty incomplete. I'm considering switching all rankings to 5-star scale, instead of using the RR ratings for rivals, and the numeric ratings for ESPN (which I did last year). I also might add 24/7 Sports' rankings to the chart.
|#1 Ohio State - 5 Commits|
The greatest number of commits, and the only team with multiple 5-stars.
|#2 Notre Dame - 5 Commits|
Irish had a pretty big weekend with a couple commits.
|#3 Penn State - 6 Commits|
Nittany Lions start strong after having a poor beginning to the 2011 recruiting class. Jarron Jones is listed as a soft commit.
|#4 Michigan - 6 Commits|
A pair of linemen and a pair of linebackers for Brady Hoke's first full class.
|#5 Wisconsin - 3 Commits|
Badgers have an excellent offensive lineman and a nondescript runner to start the class of 2012.
|#6 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
A couple commits for Northwestern.
|#7 Minnesota - 4 Commits|
I'll be the first to admit I may be underrating the Gophers' class to date. We'll see what happens when some of the other sites have rated their prospects.
|#8 Nebraska - 1 Commit|
Ho-hum to start the class for the Huskers.
|#9 Iowa - 1 Commit|
An offensive lineman kicks off Iowa's class.
|#9 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Unrated WR starts Illinois's class.
|#9 Purdue - 1 Commit|
In-state commit for the Boilers.
Indiana and Michigan State are tied for last with 0 commits.
Continuing the new Michigan tradition of landing commitments at the same position back-to-back, the Wolverines gained a commitment from OH TE/OL AJ Williams this afternoon.
Come at me bro: Scouting Ohio
|3*, #15 TE||NR TE||NR TE||NR TE|
The premium sites are mostly in agreement on his size: three votes for 6-6, and ESPN is the lone dissenter at 6-5. They're also pretty close on his weight, with two votes for 255, and two votes giving 5 extra pounds at 260. That difference is too small to be relevant.
Now that we know how big this kid is, we start coming to the questions of position. If a high school junior weighs 260 pounds, there's a darn good chance he'll be near 300 by his redshirt sophomore year. It seems almost inevitable that he ends up on the offensive line, especially since that's what he'll do most of his senior year. Ohio recruiting guru Duane Long like his potential there:
A.J. Williams, Cincinnati Sycamore. Could be top five in the state after a year of playing tackle rather than tight end, something he will do this year.
Of course now that he's a Michigan commit, Long will downgrade him to "worst player ever to come out of Ohio." More from Duane:
I have to mention Cincinnati Sycamore's A.J. Williams. I know Mark Porter is grinning seeing his name come up as we don't quite know what to do with him. He plays tight end at 6-6 255 but blocks like a tackle. The thing is he is so athletic you have to want a guy like this at tight end. You have a third tackle on the field at all times without giving up a weapon in the passing game. We have no idea whether he can catch the ball though. On a 4 minute highlight reel he only catches one ball.
That's a nice segue to the the negative: he hasn't caught a lot of passes in his high school career. That's not such a big deal if he fills out and end up on the offensive line, right? Magnus said on Maize n Brew that he could be a strictly-blocking tight end as well:
While Thompson is more of a pass-catching threat, there are also offers to guys like Williams and Mark Harrell, which suggests to me that Brady Hoke wants a blocking tight end, too.
Somebody who's mostly a blocker, with the occasional threat of catching a pass (remember, Long raves about his athleticism), could be a great addition in Borges's offense. He's also a high-scoring player on the hoops court, speaking to either his size or athleticis, but more likely both.
AJ had a pretty good offer sheet, with representation from the SEC (Arkansas, Vanderbilt), ACC (Boston College, NC State), Big East (Louisville, West Virginia), and Big Ten (Illinois, Indiana), to go along with some lower-caliber squads.
Ohio State would have liked for him to be available late in the year in case they wanted to toss a last-minute offer his way, but the Michigan commitment obviously closes that door.
Given that he has an entire highlight reel that includes only one catch, it's fair to say that AJ doesn't rack up a whole lot of individual production. Therefore he falls more into the "offensive lineman, there does not have stats" category.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the only site listing a 40-yard dash time, crediting him at 4.9 seconds. Considering he's a tweener between tight end and tackle, that's downright realistic (if not a little on the pessimistic side). I'm left with no choice but to dole out a mere one FAKE out of five.
ScoutingOhio has only a preview for his highlight video:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
As I started writing this post, I was dead set on the idea that this guy is a high school tight end who becomes an offensive lineman in college. I'm still leaning that way, but now I'm not quite as sure. He's a de facto third tackle in high school, so it wouldn't be that much of a change for him (especially if, as noted above, he simply plays on the line this year). However, he also has pretty good athleticism, and while that trait isn't "wasted" by putting him on the line, it's definitely one less weapon you have.
At the end of the day, I'm going to predict he ends up as a 6-6 (or even taller, as he's only a high school junior right now) 315 offensive lineman, capable of playing pretty much any position along the line until the coaches give him a bit of specialization. Like every offensive lineman, he will spend a year redshirting to bulk up and start learning the system.
Down the road, he'll show some flashes of brilliance in backup duty, and his career will follow a similar arc to what Patrick Omameh's has done so far [Ed-M: earning late-season playing time over established veterans as a RS freshman then blowing up All-American linebackers by Game 2 of his sophomore year? Um, yes please!]. All-Big Ten and even All-American honors are not out of the question way down the road.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Since Williams is a tweener, it's tough to know exactly how the coaches view him, and therefore what impact he'll have on the class. If he's strictly a tight end, it may squeeze Michigan lean Ron Thompson out of the picture. If he's an offensive lineman, it gets Michigan one player closer to the projected goal of 5-6 players at that position.
Either way, he has little effect on overall numbers, and is another useful piece to a solid (but not great) beginning to the 2012 class. The biggest needs remain quarterback and defensive line.