I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
The recruiting services are split on the #1 overall prospect in the 2014 class; Rivals and 247 give VA DE Da'Shawn Hand top honors, while LA RB Leonard Fournette earns that distinction on Scout and ESPN. Michigan is among the top contenders for Hand, of course, and Fournette is a lock to stay in the SEC, either at LSU or Alabama. Unless...
LSU and Alabama are the teams to beat for five-star New Orleans-St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette.
Except Fournette says it isn't so.
"That's not accurate," Fournette said Thursday, insisting he doesn't yet have any favorites among a list of offers so long he's stopped counting.
Well, then. The article by al.com's Mike Herndon names two other schools Fournette has visited—Florida State and Texas—as well as a certain program he's strongly considering for an official visit; yes, Michigan:
"You could say that (top prospects) pay attention to where other guys go," Fournette told Rivals.com. "I like Michigan. School-wise, they're more focused on grades than football. That's what I like about them. I think Jabrill made a good choice."
This is not happening. I refuse to believe this is happening. I will refuse to believe it even if Fournette makes it to campus, and will cease disbelief if—and only if—Fournette's name is signed in ink on a LOI faxed directly to Schembechler Hall in February. At that point, I'll still consider the whole thing a cruel hoax until Fournette actually suits up in a Michigan uniform.
[watches highlight tape again]
[counts plays before Fournette is tackled]
Apologies in advance for him committing to LSU and all of us feeling sad.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest round of underclassmen #JPTTA, updates on several top 2014 targets, and more.]
Bulking up. Glenn Robinson III posts his offseason workout results to the internet. He is a cyborg:
Not bad for under two months. Now, about creating those shots…
In similar news for the ladies, boy does Michigan like taking pictures of itself without a shirt on. Dennis Norfleet may have an eight-pack.
But he has eyebrows and can play basketball. NBADraft.net has joined Chad Ford in projecting Trey Burke to the Pistons; Hardaway also slips into the first round at #29.
There's another interesting name right after Hardaway's: Glen Rice Jr. You may remember Michigan passing over Rice when he was a recruit despite their apparent desire to lock down any NBA kids, Michigan alum or no, they can find. Despite Rice rounding into a potential first-rounder, that seems to have been the right call since for whatever mildly unsavory reason, Rice spent last year tearing up the D-League instead of helping Georgia Tech not be horrible.
Anyway: that rumor out there about how the Pistons would rather grab Cody Zeller than Trey Burke when they've got Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is so insane that it must be a smokescreen, but Joe Dumars is both the guy who put together the most unlikely championship team in… almost ever, I bet and the one who thought spending most of his cap space on a six-foot shooting guard and a guy without eyebrows was a good idea, traded Chauncey Billups for the ghost of Iverson and then couldn't even tank properly. I'm about fed up with Dumars at this point, and passing on Trey Burke (at eight!) is dead-to-me time.
What would happen if Trey Burke went up against NBA-level defenses? If only there was some way to tell… some way to tell… some way to tell…
5/10 from 2, 4/11 from 3, 10 assists versus Kansas
Dumars is eyeing this kid from Uzbekistan I bet.
Cry me a river of blood and transfers. Your unpaid student-athletes are leaving for better opportunities elsewhere in spite of the fact that you give them no money. You have done the same time and again to arrive where you are, the head coach of a basketball program. This is your hot take on that:
“It’s a bad rule,” Self says.
“It’s totally unfair to programs where they’ve worked with kids for four years,” Weber says.
Yes, that is the Bill Self at Kansas who just took grad transfer Tarik Black from Memphis, and Bruce Weber, the Kansas State coach who took Sam Maniscalco from Bradley. I'd like to say this is a surprising lack of self-awareness, but it's more required than surprised these days.
Elsewhere in the article, 16 players transferring up is an epidemic, with a transfer from Tulsa to Missouri highlighted as a negative ("I felt terrible for Danny [Manning]" says SIU coach Barry Hinson) after Tulsa fired its head coach. These days new head coaches feel free to cut loose anyone who doesn't fit their systems and these guys still have the gall to complain when players go where they know they're actually wanted. The article does, to its credit, suggest that actually offering those now-legal four-year scholarships would go a ways towards making the complaints something other than laughable.
Until then, lol. How many transfers of the 400+ this year were by choice of the coach, not the player? When that number is less than 16, call me.
Hello California. The Big Ten has called a press conference today with reps from the Holiday and Hunger bowls, which undoubtedly means they'll be affiliating with those folks. The Holiday is slated to get the third pick of teams left over from the big bowls (ie, 4th or 5th, mostly 5th); Hunger will be deposited into the Congrats On Going 6-6 range.
The Holiday is slated to be another one of those annoying play-up blows where the Pac-12 will send its second pick to the thing, not the third. That plus road game is not a good recipe for bowl success even if you aren't an epic pile of ever-growing suck. Remember that one time an Iowa team that went 2-6 in the Big Ten played Texas in Texas? Yeah. That's somewhat mitigated by the Big Ten having a stupid number of teams soon. Silver linings woo.
One hundred and forty two. Beilein talks retirement?
The soon-to-be seventh-year Michigan coach said Thursday he's got an idea of how many more years he'd like to coach before retiring, but isn't ready to announce those numbers publicly just yet.
"I have some numbers out there in my mind," said Beilein, who will turn 61 in February.
Prior to last season, Beilein said he still hadn't given retirement much thought, explaining how he'd just know when it was time to step away from the game. The 2013 season will be his 36th year as a head college basketball coach.
I suppose this is an inevitable thing. Guy will do so at Michigan, that's for sure, and hopefully not for another six or seven years.
Inflation. Lawyers Guns and Money takes a look at inflation-adjusted Michigan ticket prices over time, finding that things bounced around in a narrow range from 27 dollars (2012) to 47 for an entire century before the recent explosion to approximately 130 dollars, depending on how much of your PSL you're writing off.
Also included: why amateurism was basically fine in 1981 and is ludicrous now.
(3) Salary of Michigan’s head football coach, in 2012 dollars:
2012: $3.25 million
That is all you need to know. Related: 16 million of projects for field hockey, softball, and baseball approved.
OR: Hear, hear, let's have a hearing
People stood in front of a judge and talked yesterday, which happens all the time but only rarely is it the Ed O'Bannon case, which has been going on for years and will continue to go on until the sun is a feeble red dot in the sky* and people come to the conclusion that the NCAA is nuncupatory.
O'Bannon and his crew are trying to get a class certified, which would take their case from a few irritated dudes to everyone who has or is playing NCAA sports right now. Results are unknown at the moment, but the gist of it is that the NCAA is in trouble. The judge asked why the O'Bannon folk didn't have any current athletes as plaintiffs if they were trying to certify a class of NCAA athletes; O'Bannon's lawyers said flat-out they would add one. Cue the obvious reference:
The Curt Flood of major college sports is probably on a campus somewhere in America right now. He's probably participating today in some "voluntary" summer weightlifting or conditioning session. His head coach probably makes seven figures, and his school's conference probably signed a megabucks television deal in the past few years.
Curt Flood lost, which no one not actually employed by an athletic department wants to see happen here. The plaintiffs have been saying they have current guys interested for a while but have left them out so far because they didn't want to expose them to retaliation, which… honestly, would be the best possible thing for them. Can you imagine if a kid was added to the lawsuit and the NCAA took away his eligibility? The resulting war would make Helm's Deep look like a Kentucky home game.
SI says legal experts believe the class will be certified, and highlighted a Lionel Hutz argument from the NCAA:
"If you go in front of a camera and know you're going in front of a camera ... you're fair game for TV," Curtner said. "Cheerleaders, mascots, lots of people appear in these broadcasts, and there's a uniform practice in this country that these rights are not individually sold."
Curtner, in turn, drew a skeptical chuckle from the judge when Wilken subsequently asked, "So what is it the colleges are selling when they sell rights to show their games?"
"They are selling exclusive access to their stadium or arena," Curtner responded. "They're telling CBS, you can come in and broadcast this, and no one else can. ... That's all they're selling. They're not selling individual [players'] rights."
Sonny Vacarro said that's the dumbest thing he's ever heard, and while I've been on too many Ohio State message boards to concur it's up there.
The NCAA is going to lose this, right? I can imagine no other way it goes when almost a decade ago various people within the organization itself were asking the same question I have: when literally every move you make is focused on increasing revenue to the detriment of tradition and even common sense, how can you argue that amateurism is, like, a real thing?
"The biggest concern I have is that such a position really does allow for the maximum commercial exploitation of the [student-athlete] and if that occurs, will it be long before we can defend not giving them a piece of the profits?"
But weird stuff happens with lawsuits, I guess. If they do go ahead with the whole-enchilada lawsuit with current players and everything, it is a higher-risk strategy than going with the slow-and-steady approach other reformers have undertaken. But with NCAA correspondence consistently acknowledging the plaintiff's argument, risk seems a relative term.
"off the record, most of those I've spoken to at the NCAA and CLC are in favor of the players being more identifiable not less." –EA sports guy
*[astronomically incorrect, yes, I know.]
Matt Barkley, Giant Jimmy Clausen and Shane Morris
Up until late last season, most Michigan fans were preparing for the possibility of starting this season in the hands of a true freshman quarterback. Prior to last season’s Nebraska game, this season was shaping up to feature a quality quarterback competition. Devin Gardner was the former five star dual threat quarterback. He had looked shaky in his brief appearances and during the Spring Game. At the time, some were wondering if his current stop over at wide receiver could be a more permanent move. Russell Bellomy was the last minute addition to Michigan’s first recruiting class under Brady Hoke. His physical tools were limited but he had put up a solid showing in the previous spring. Bellomy and Gardner were still largely unknowns as college quarterbacks at the time, but what was known didn’t lead many to think there was a strong option on campus. For many, the hope for the 2013 quarterback position rested in five star commitment Shane Morris.
Everything changed at the Nebraska game. Denard Robinson was injured and with Devin Gardner largely at wide receiver, Russell Bellomy got his shot. Bellomy struggled mightily, Gardner was permanently moved back to quarterback and produced a fantastic closing stretch. Meanwhile, high school senior Shane Morris came down with a case of mono and saw his stock slide back with a limited senior year.
Now the picture is much clearer. Devin Gardner has locked down the starting spot, Russell Bellomy tore his ACL, and Shane Morris likely will miss out on a redshirt season, but will be able to spend some time learning from the sideline before being thrown into live action. MCalibur did a great job looking at what Devin’s season could look like. But what would the world look like if Shane Morris was in a position to take over just months after his Senior Prom.*
*This fulfills my professional obligation to reference Senior Prom in any article about true freshmen.
The Short History of Success
The answers aren’t pretty so there isn’t any point in sugar coating. I looked at true freshmen quarterbacks since the 2003 season that played at least 10 games and averaged at least 20 plays (passes+rushes). During that time only eight qualifying quarterbacks have had a positive PAN (Points Above Normal, Opponent Adjusted). Only three have been greater than +1. For reference, last year there were 58 quarterbacks who had positive PAN with at 20 plays per game. There obviously aren’t a ton of true freshman playing most of the snaps in a given year, but eight players in eleven seasons to be above average is a tiny number.
Four of the eight were from BCS programs and of those Robert Griffin, Tyrod Taylor and Terrelle Pryor all had a rushing portion of their game that really helped them. That leaves one pro style true freshman BCS quarterback in the last 11 seasons who had a positive PAN. That player was Matt Barkley in 2009. It should also be noted that the 2009 USC offense was the most highly ranked offensive unit in terms of recruiting profile in the internet era of recruiting. And it’s not that close. Surrounded by all of that talent a true freshman Matt Barkley had a PAN of +1.1. For a 2012 comparison, +1.1 is right between David Ash of Texas and Tevin Washington of Georgia Tech. Over 11 years, that is the best case scenario for a player in Shane Morris’ situation. And although the pipeline is beginning to fill up, the 2012 Michigan offense probably isn’t quite as loaded as Barkley had in 2009.
If you include the dual threat quarterbacks, the best BCS season was Terrelle Pryor’s first
professional season at +2.7. At nearly 3 points above average per game, Pryor’s value moved him into Top 30 range, along the lines of Matt McGloin at Penn State last season. Here is the full list of eight who managed positive territory.
|Terrelle Pryor||Ohio St||2008||+2.7|
|Tyrod Taylor||Virginia Tech||2007||+0.4|
|Nate Davis||Ball St||2006||+0.3|
|Spencer Keith||Kent St||2009||+0.2|
The Long History of Failure
With only eight players passing the average mark, that leaves the rest to fall below. The average season for all other true freshmen quarterbacks was nearly –3. The worst was Jimmy Clausen’s 2007 season at –8. The average performance is on par with Zach Mettenberger’s performance at LSU and if you watched a good LSU team at all last year, you knew none of their success was due to him. Clausen’s awful 2007 would have barely edged out Sean Schroeder of Hawaii to escape being the worst quarterback performance of the season.
The lack of success of true freshman isn’t necessarily indicative of future failure. Even Jimmy Clausen made an All-American list and got drafted in the second round. Teddy Bridgewater, Braxton Miller, Chad Henne, Matthew Stafford, Brady Quinn and Josh Freeman all turned below average true freshmen seasons into great college careers and/or high draft selections.
What it Means for Michigan
Thank goodness for Devin Gardner’s breakout performances. No matter how good a true freshmen quarterback is and how good their supporting cast is, the first season they are going to be a limiting reagent for the offense. In the coming weeks I am hoping to get a look at quarterback career progression to see if there is any sort of an optimal career path where some experience can avoid some of the struggles noted above but still provide the opportunity to get elite talent like Shane Morris on the field as much as possible. Chances are Michigan’s current quarterback timeline should fit nicely into a high value historical path. A year or two to develop behind Devin Gardner combined with Morris’ strong recruiting profile mean that he should be in an excellent position to succeed when his time has come. Luckily for us, that doesn’t have to be this year.
If you've missed the bumping, Ron Utah has been following Borges's coaching history up and down the Pacific coast, and through about 14,000 plays called. Time to play catch-up:
Part I: A young Albison Issaquary Pirate Borges (that isn't his name) began coaching at Salinas High School as a 19-year-old assistant. He spent a year as an assistant at Cal, then went was a tight ends/receivers coach at Diablo Valley College. Then he was OC there, then at Portland State, then was at Boise State when they were making their transition up to Division I-AA. Then it was Oregon and UCLA.
Part II: Borges's ship is attacked and he is forced to join his hometown Cal Bears for the awful pre-Tedford times. After the mistake of joining the Indiana of the Pac Ten, Borges was ready to join the Indiana of the Big Ten, which was entering its DiNardo phase. Side note: Brian is going to be on a panel with DiNardo at a Chicago alumni event in July, the week of the Big Ten meetings. Raise of hands (or hooks) for those who think Brian will start asking DiNardo about Borges, and Gerry will be like "who is this guy?" Anyway then Borges went to Auburn and that's in there too.
Part III: After getting blamed for Auburn's awful 2007 offense under Tuberville, Borges took a year off then got a call from this guy who was taking over at San Diego State.
Part IV: Finally to the data, with career run-pass numbers and his far more efficient passing offense. We also go through his quarterbacks, and a lot of receivers with gaudy YPC numbers (evidence he likes the bomb) and running backs who mostly regressed. Ron also mentions Borges isn't really a recruiter. In the comments he mentions Borges's success on opening drives. Part V?
Diarist of the week assuredly.
Conference of the Crappy QBs.
Last week we welcomed back one of the great diarists from yesteryear, MCalibur. Fed up with passer rating, which as a standalone statistic can't differentiate between Chad Henne and Tommy Rees (see end of the diary) the diarist who is not a sword turned completion %, yards per attempt, touchdown % and interception % into passer ratings, and then used standard year-to-year improvement to project How Gardner should fare this season. He followed up this week by going through all the Big Ten's quarterbacks, and then the rest of the guys on the schedule this year. Here is his data on 11 quarterbacks assembled into a table (rank among the 11 is in parentheses).
|1||Devin Gardner||Mich||132.8 (6th)||176.3 (1st)||177 (1st)||98.3 (9th)||146.1|
|2||Joel Stave||Wis||129.8 (7th)||168.6 (2nd)||125.9 (6th)||152.4 (3rd)||144.2|
|3||Braxton Miller||OSU||127.3 (8th)||144.5 (3rd)||137.8 (3rd)||158.4 (2nd)||142.0|
|4||Taylor Martinez||Neb||143.5 (3rd)||140.1 (4th)||142.6 (2nd)||124.8 (7th)||137.8|
|5||Kain Colter||NW||169.1 (1st)||102.5 (8th)||130.4 (4th)||146.3 (4th)||137.1|
|6||Tommy Rees||ND||158.9 (2nd)||124.4 (6th)||123.4 (7th)||119.3 (8th)||131.5|
|7||Cameron Coffman||Ind||138 (4th)||119.2 (7th)||107.1 (8th)||145.7 (5th)||127.5|
|8||Andrew Maxwell||MSU||101.9 (10th)||102.3 (9th)||96.4 (9th)||171.3 (1st)||118.0|
|9||Chandler Whitmer||UConn||124.5 (9th)||132 (5th)||90.6 (10th)||94.3 (10th)||110.4|
|10||N. Scheelhasse||Ill||137.4 (5th)||96.3 (11th)||78.6 (11th)||125.1 (6th)||109.4|
|11||Philip Nelson||Minn||88.2 (11th)||100.4 (10th)||128.9 (5th)||81.9 (11th)||99.9|
Kudos to LSAClassof2000 for algebraically finding the individual-year APRs for the rest of the conference. Since we have rivals who aren't so good at algebra here's a table of their constituent scores versus ours over the last eight years:
|Year||Michigan||vs MSU||vs OSU|
To Sparty trolls: our oldest constituent score is a major outlier. Let's high-five for being just about even this year in a metric that measures attendance and retention.
To Urban Meyer: It's true that Ohio State was trouncing Michigan since getting trounced itself in 2006…until you arrived.
LSA was also the subject of Six Zero's latest MGoProfile feature, where he explains why he's the only guy here with an adorable pony avatar other those being punished by the mods for avatar infractions. 100% percent agree on the power to delete or edit one's own posts.
Etc. And Michigan's massive endowment isn't so big when you consider other academic factors (like that we have twice as many students as comparable schools).
Best of the Boards
BEST OF THE LOOT
The thread of Michigan swag owned by the readers got huge, and makes me feel pretty crappy about my collection, which is really just a folder full of my old Michigan tickets and old copies of the Daily. Here's MgoBlueD's basement:
And here's the guest room that Wolverine Devotee keeps for when the Buckeye relatives come to town (I'm guessing):
One guy named Stonecoldwolv said his '97 national championship ring.
BIG TEN WATER WAR
You know how Alabama installed a water fountain in their locker room? And how EDSBS suggested what other schools should do? Well 1484 covered the Big Ten. Northwestern's gonna be pretty pissed when they realize Mark Huyge's on our side.
ETC. Pipelines discussion is useful—would love to see a diary on M pipelines through the years and what happened to them. Avant's Hands discusses blowout decorum in anticipation of Spain versus 11 athletic-looking tourists Tahiti kidnapped from a cruise ship that was going by. UM Solar Car Team written up on FoxNews. Vincent Smith and Brandin Hawthorne want to play you on Call of Duty. I'm too old for that, but anyone from Team 120 wanna play Goldeneye?
Your Moment of Zen:
The recruits are grateful for the warning.
(Don't Don't Don't) Don't Stop The Beat
Everybody, a-move your feet and feel united. Oh oh oh.
Michigan four-day technique camp concludes today, and while coverage is still trickling in, there are already offers to report for both the 2014 and 2015 classes.
Let's start with the 2014 class, which had offers go out to a pair of high school teammates in WR Freddy Canteen and CB Brandon Watson. Both prospects attend Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy, which is essentially this sport's answer to hoops factory Oak Hill Academy—the academy itself is built entirely around the football program and attendees take their coursework through a larger online program. Their quarterback is David Sills, whom you may remember as the (then-)13-year-old who committed to USC, and now you exactly why USC offered such a player so early: his father, David Sills IV, is the founder of ECA. The program only played three games in 2012, as five opponents cancelled planned matchups, so what you see above—serious technique work (that's Canteen talking at the start of the video)—is what largely constituted their season, and now they're hitting the camp circuit very hard.
It's of little surprise, then, that Canteen and Watson were flying a bit under the radar heading into camp. It's also of little surprise that Canteen is really, really good at running routes. Here's 247 on Canteen from earlier this spring [emphasis mine]:
11) WR Freddy Canteen – Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Sills and Canteen connected often during this weekend. The 6-foot-0, 175-pound receiver was very difficult to defend and his routes were some of the best out of the entire camp. Canteen did plenty of talking on both days, but he backed it up every time.
GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz on Canteen's performance on Day 3 of Michigan's camp ($):
Catching GoBlueWolverine’s eye in the morning 1-on-1’s and 7-on-7, Canteen is extremely quick and very difficult to slow down off the line. Still developing from a technique standpoint with his hands, something that can be said for all high school wide outs, Canteen took some coaching and implemented it right away in the top group for the afternoon 1-on-1’s, blowing by corners attempting to press, sprinting across the field on quick slants. Canteen is around 6-0 and has the frame to add some muscle but maintain that speed of his, undoubtedly earning his Michigan offer and one of the true highlights on day three at camp.
One of the top corners in the 2015 class said Canteen is the toughest receiver he's covered. Canteen's coach, meanwhile, went as far to say that he's "perhaps the best route-runner in the country," in an interview with Sam Webb ($).
The big question to arise from Canteen's offer, of course, is how this affects the current scholarship situation; while we previously thought Michigan would take one more receiver—Artavis Scott, hopefully—it appears that's not the case:
"Rutgers is still high with me," said Canteen, who was told the Wolverines would be taking two additional receivers in the class of 2014. "I don't know why people don't think that. You could still say Rutgers is my favorite school. There are a lot of mixed emotions when I really think about everything, but the top three are Rutgers, Michigan and Tennessee.
Watson's offer raises similar questions about defensive backfield recruiting—with Jabrill Peppers in the fold and Parrker Westphal a presumed commitment, space in the secondary appears tight, especially if Michigan is a serious player for CA DB Adoree' Jackson (and I believe they are). Westphal's recruitment has gone oddly quiet, so perhaps there's been some cooling off from one end or the other, which would explain why a longtime presumed lock has yet to pull the trigger—I'd compare it to the Tommy Doles situation, but Westphal's initial offer and fit with the team made a lot more sense in the first place.
Regardless, Watson has his offer, and he sounded quite excited about it when talking to 247's Steve Lorenz ($):
"Michigan is definitely right up there," Watson noted. "It's Michigan. They have top of the line facilities and academics and an amazing football program. They pretty much offer everything you're looking for. I am still going to take my time before deciding, however. I'll be up at USC pretty soon and then want to visit a few schools that I am considering most. I hope to decide before my season starts. Michigan will definitely be a return visit."
Watson missed a golden chance for a "fergodsakes," but maybe he'll learn about that on visit number two. Canteen also expressed a desire to return to Ann Arbor before making a pre-season decision; if both players make it back to campus, it sounds like the Wolverines have a good shot at adding to their class. Even if they don't, it looks like the coaches are making inroads with a program that's churning out D-I prospects.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on 2015 offers, including a legacy who could pull the trigger imminently, and much more.]