somehow we're only 124th
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.
Though Farmington Hill Harrison has traditionally been a Michigan State feeder, MI TE Devin Funchess has gone against the grain and committed to Michigan. He also told Tom he'll try to recruit his high-profile teammates to join the maize-and-blue fold.
|4*, #6 TE||NR TE||NR TE||4*, 90, NR TE|
We start, as we always do, with the measurements. Usually Scout is the over-estimator in prospect height, but this time it's Rivals that breaks the 6-4 consensus to credit Funchess at all of 6-5. In the weight department, it's 24/7 Sports that's not in complete agreement with the other sites. They say he clocks in at 215 pounds, whereas the others agree he's 205.
Since none of the premium sites have evaluations of his game (for the record, 24/7 Sports has ranked 10 TEs without getting to Funchess), let's dive straight into the newspaper articles. Funchess was one third of a Sam Webb profile a couple months back:
"(Funchess) was a surprise to us," [FHH Coach John] Herrington admitted. "He played much better than I thought he would and he is really developing. He really has dedicated himself. As a JV player I didn't know if he was going to go that hard or not, but he has. He is going to be a great prospect when he puts on weight. He can be a tight end, an H-back, a split end. He has big hands. I'm not sure what he's going to run the 40 in, but I think he could be around 4.6 or 4.7."
Scout's Allen Trieu also chimed in for the article:
"Devin Funchess has super upside. He's tall, can run for a kid of that size and can go up and make spectacular catches. I'd like to see him add some weight and keep working on his consistency. I think he will do those things... I think they're all BCS level players and among the top 10-15 players in the state. They're very talented. I think all three have a chance to be impact guys in college."
UMGoBlog's Sean O'Connell talked to Funchess about his game:
"I am an explosive player that will go get the ball where ever you put it. I have to work on my speed and try to get it down."
Rather than worrying on his speed, he should worrying about adding good weight while maintaining what he has right now. There's also not a whole lot of talk about his hands, choosing rather to focus on size/speed combo.
On top of some MAC offers, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, and Virginia were schools that had unofficially offered Devin. That's not exactly a murderer's row, but Missouri, Michigan State, and Nebraska have all had some decent success in the recent past, and Virginia has put out some good tight ends.
All free sources seem to have fallen into the internet memory-hole, but according to Scout ($), he had 33 catches for about 800 yards as a junior. He was named Honorable Mention All-State, according to the Free Press's Tom Markowski. Going into the playoffs, he had 22 catches for 410 yards.
FAKE 40 TIME
According to his high school coach (quoted above), he's in the 4.6 to 4.7-second range in the 40-yard dash. For a 205-pound tight end, that's not too unrealistic. None of the premium sites have listed times. I'll dole out 2 FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Funchess is one skinny bro for a tight end. Of course, he has another year of high school to put on weight, but he'll probably enter college undersized for the position. I'm not sure if he's planning on enrolling early, but if he doesn't, it's unlikely he gets much playing time as a true freshman, barring a physical transformation in the next 16 months.
That means a likely redshirt (also giving him a year of separation from Chris Barnett - and possibly other 2011 prospects who could end up at the position), as he molds his body and learns the offense. Following that season, he'll work into the lineup - Brandon Moore will graduate following Devin's redshirt year - getting some time in 2-tight end sets.
As an upperclassman, Funchess strikes me as the type of guy who is definitely not a liability, and will become a solid role player. It's tough to see All-Big Ten potential when he has so much developing to do, but it's not out of the question.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's coaching staff continues the 2012 recruiting theme of landing two players at the same position group back-to-back, as they did on offensive line and at linebacker. If AJ Williams doesn't move to offensive line (a definite possibility), the coaching staff is probably done at the position. However, I think Williams does move down (or at least become a very different type of tight end), and there's still room in the class for Ron Thompson.
Going forward, Funchess could also help Michigan's case with his high school teammates Mario Ojemudia and Aaron Bubridge. The coaching staff has a need for wideouts, and Burbridge is one of the Midwest's best. Ojemudia is a DE/LB tweener, but the staff has shown a lot of interest in him.
The biggest needs for the remainder of the recruiting class are defensive linemen, a quarterback, a wideout, and maybe a safety or two.
This is kind of a duplicate of Yost Built's post, but you know me and Questing For Information on hockey recruits. Also tight ends have commenced raining from the sky; Tim will be along shortly to let you know about MI TE Devin Funchess and OH TE AJ Williams, who both just committed.
Michigan's added another member to its 2011 class, one Andrew Sinelli of the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms. Sinelli's current stats (6-3-9 in 45 games) imply he's going to be an end-of-the-roster type but a couple years ago he was a more notable prospect. After leading the Select 14 camp in scoring he was invited to the subsequent Select camps and the NTDP selection camp; along the way he ended up committing to Michigan State.
USHR's available notes on Sinelli follow. His NTDP camp performance:
Andrew Sinelli, Honeybaked Under-16 – Just OK. Blended in, didn’t stand out in any way.
A later appearance at the Select 17s:
28 -- 5’11”, 170 lb. Andrew Sinelli (#16 Grey) – Honeybaked kid moving on to USHL. Nice skills. Michigan State recruit.
He put up 17 points in his first year in the USHL and was then exposed in the expansion draft; his new team flipped him to Youngstown after a few games at the beginning of the season. That's a precipitous decline and now even Sinelli describes himself like he's JJ Swistak:
"I am a high energy forward,” said Sinelli. “I like to play physical and I am not afraid to block some shots. I will have to compete for my playing time and my work in Youngstown on the penalty kill will allow me to succeed on the college level.”
He's a '92—a year older than someone right out of high school—so it's not likely he busts out or anything, but he might have a little more pop than his grim USHL numbers imply.
If there aren't any unexpected departures from the forward corps that brings Michigan to 14 for next year, a fairly comfortable number. At this instant that's projected to rise to 15 in 2012 and a crowded 16 in 2013 but the chances there's no attrition between now and then are zero, so Michigan will should be able to squeeze in everyone they've currently got in the boat if they, you know, want to come.
That should just about do it for Michigan's recruiting for the next three(!) years with the exception of a couple more defensemen and a backup goalie in 2012. I did this in excel:
[Should I have gotten rid of the red squiggles, you ask? Haters. ]
Shuart is listed as a 2012 or 2013 player but he is the same age as the 2013 kids so I put him there for now; it seems clear Michigan is not banking on all of these 2013 kids showing up.
Bonus Max Domi: Domi showed at an NCAA prospect camp in Toronto and said this:
Max is super-skilled and opened the scoring for Team Navy Blue with a laser to the top corner off the rush. Tenacious on the puck, Domi battles through traffic and is a stout 5-foot-9, 184 pounds. Selected by Indiana in the United States League futures draft, Domi is leaning towards the University of Michigan right now, but is waiting until after the OHL draft to make his final decision. … A top-five talent for the OHL draft, don’t be surprised if his stock falls because of the Michigan factor. “I’m pretty confident most OHL teams know I’m leaning towards Michigan,” he said.
I had commitment posts ready to go for these guys before my blogging software melted down and I lost all my drafts (recommendation: Mac users, avoid Ecto at all costs. All. Costs.), so full-fledged Hello posts for both commitments will be coming later this afternoon.
Muchas gracias for your patience.