mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
Over the past two days Michigan has locked down the services of two touted 2013 players, IN SF Zak Irvin and MI PG Derrick Walton. The two commitments just about complete Michigan's recruiting for the next three years and, with the recent additions of Nik Stauskas, Austin Hatch, and Mark Donnal to go with ever-rising Glenn Robinson III, establish a new baseline for Michigan's ceiling under Beilein.
When John Beilein arrived at Michigan he'd never acquired a player ranked in the top 100 by the diverse and sundry recruiting gurus who translate AAU performance into college projections. Despite this, he'd turned West Virginia into a consistent tourney program and run to a couple of Elite Eights.
This made him attractive to Michigan. Since the Ed Martin thing Michigan has been erring on the side of caution. Beilein's reputation as a guy who could win without even glancing at the seamier side of basketball recruiting separated him from Brian Ellerbe, who seemed to seek out kids who were neither good at basketball or life, and Tommy Amaker, who recruited decently but could not coach to save his life.
Beilein's first class lived up to that reputation:
- UR Stu Douglass: one other offer, that from WMU.
- UR Zack Novak: one other offer, that from Valpo.
- UR Ben Cronin: one other offer from WVU.
- UR Robin Benzing: German.
Cronin's hip prevented him from ever playing and Benzing ended up a point short on his standardized test. Douglass and Novak have been important contributors but are obviously limited—their rankings and offers were on target. Benzing developed into a German national team player who's consistently been mentioned as a late-first or early-second round NBA draft prospect.
This was something close the script we expected when Beilein was hired. Michigan attractiveness relative to West Virginia should produce an uptick, though. Where is our uptick?
Mid-major sorts: 3
Touted recruits: 0
Outperformers: 0 (unless you count Benzing)
- UR Blake McLimans
- UR Jordan Morgan
- #100/#137 Matt Vogrich
- ~#60 Darius Morris
Uptick achieved: Darius Morris was Beilein's first-ever consensus top-100 recruit. Beilein identified Morris early and followed him around like he was a Grateful Dead concert; Morris held Michigan to be his leader throughout his recruiting process and picked Michigan over offers from Oregon State, Washington State, and USC. He proceeded to considerably outplay his ranking en route to becoming a two-and-done.
Matt Vogrich was regarded a pure shooter and given the last slot on the Scout 100 for having the purest stroke in the country; Rivals had him at the tail end of their 150. His offer list had a number of mid-to-low-level BCS teams (Stanford, ND, Wake, GT, Colorado). If not for Morris, Vogrich would have been Beilein's highest-touted recruit ever.
The rest of the class was not so much with the uptick. McLimans took a post-grad year in an effort to draw interest and did get Boston College and Georgia Tech offers, but his ratings were decidedly mid-major. Early commit Jordan Morgan was regarded a major reach even by Morgan's father; he had no other BCS offers.
Mid-major sorts: 2
Touted recruits: 1
Outperformers: 1 (Morgan)
- #84/59/#98 Evan Smotrycz
- #93/UR/UR Tim Hardaway, Jr.
- UR Jon Horford
- UR Colton Christian
Uptick sustained, with another guy around Morris's rankings in Smotrycz. Smotrycz was a non-entity when Beilein started recruiting him and committed just before a blazing AAU season that saw him leap high up lists—at one point he was a top 50 recruit. He came back to earth a bit before final rankings came out.
Meanwhile, Tim Hardaway, Jr., was rated on par with Vogrich but is playing on a much higher level. Horford is another mid-major sort who is moving towards contributing. His only other offer was from Providence. Christian was a very late addition who was headed to Tulane before a coaching change freed him up.
Mid-major sorts: 2 (Christian, Horford)
Touted recruits: 1 (Smotrycz)
Outperformers: 1 (Hardaway)
- #81/94/142 Trey Burke
- #73/98/106 Carlton Brundidge
- UR Max Bielfeldt
- The established pattern has gone from a single touted guy to one and a half touted guys to two, with one big body to develop in the mix. Michigan snagged Burke before another rise, this one spurred by a dominant high school campaign that saw him named Ohio Mr. Basketball; if anything it seems like he's underrated.
- Brundidge committed earlier and saw his rankings drop a little bit but still remains in the 70-100 range; Bielfeldt was a very late addition Michigan managed to grab over Illinois.
- Mid-major sorts: 1
Touted recruits: 2
This is where Beilein seems to ignite:
- #46/60/55 Glenn Robinson III
- #99/100/UR Nik Stauskas
If you believe the chatter coming out of this AAU summer, Robinson is due for another move up the rankings (he's already gone from a three-star to a top 50-ish guy) and Stauskas may as well. Either way this class is two solid four-stars who fit the system while simultaneously drawing attention from NBA folks. This class does not have the project/sleeper/mid-major recruits that have featured in all his previous classes, and it seems like if it adds anyone it will be national top ten recruit Mitch McGary. (Which they probably won't, but if they don't they don't have to add a random guy for roster purposes.)
Mid-major sorts: 0
Touted recurits: 2-ish.
It's too early for anyone to have a solid grasp on where this class is going to be ranked but Beilein has acquired a full class about a month after scholarship offers could officially be issued:
- PF/C Mark Donnal is on early top 100 lists.
- SG/SF Zak Irvin had offers from IU, Purdue, and Butler; two different sources have recently talked him up as a potential top 30 player in his class.
- SG/SF Austin Hatch's story is well known.
- PG Derrick Walton was set to visit MSU this weekend, whereupon he was likely to be offered. He's on early top 100 lists as well.
Even if the Irvin chatter is optimistic it seems like this will be another class full of solid top 100 guys well below the one-and-done range. That's three straight: a trend.
- Mid-major sorts: 0
Touted recruits: 3?
Time will tell how each of these guys develop, but it's clear that Michigan has gone from picking off late sleepers to identifying and acquiring their plan A targets. When the 2013 class is on campus the only players who can plausibly be identified as backup plans or reaches will be Horford—who seems like he'll at least be useful as a senior—and Bielfeldt. Everyone else will be a guy who Beilein was after hard early.
Sometimes that doesn't work so well and you've got Jarrett Smith and Ron Coleman on your team, but Beilein's track record when it comes to unplucked gems is unparalleled. See: every player at West Virginia, Morgan, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz, GRIII, and even Morris and Horford. Now that he's plucking gems other schools are interested in, well… as soon as Michigan figures out its point guard spot they seem Back. For now, and for a long time.
Notes from Brady Hoke's small-group interviews on Friday.
Pregame traditions: The Victors Walk will return this year. Brady has never touched the banner (he was already on the field as an assistant), but isn't yet sure if he'll do it going forward.
Captains will be voted by the team in the third week of camp.
Medicals: Teric Jones, Terry Talbott, Christian Pace are all done for their careers. Scholarship numbers: "I don't know... It's maybe 81 guys on scholarship right now.
On the #1 jersey: "They're going to have to earn it. And they're going to have to earn #2 after Vince [Smith] is gone." #1 will always be a receiver, and #2 will always be a DB.
"Football now at this level - for good or bad - is 12 months a year." It's hard not having coaching contact with the players in the summer, but he trusts they did the right work. "A guy like Denard who's played a lot of football and has a voice on our team, you give him that [summer leadership] responsibility." The strength coaches can help with workouts, but it's up to team leadership to hold guys accountable.
Strongest positions: "I think the wide receivers as a group, from what I can digest coming back, have done a good job. I think the O-line have done a good job." It's not fair to evaluate the overall talent level on the team at this point, but "I like our kids, how they've reacted to a transition." They're not a finished product at this point though. "We'll always have those discussions" about who will get serious playing time, but at the end of the day, the coordinators will get a lot of leeway, with Brady helping.
"I tell our coaches, when we start [summer camp] on the 9th, assume [the players] know nothing." They'll re-teach fundamentals to make sure everything is up to par. They didn't follow this approach following the 1997 season because they thought they could get by with three returning starters on the defensive line, and it backfired at the start of the '98 year.
Defensive line and offensive line are the two most important positions on the field. Everyone wants a great quarterback, but you can't move the ball (or stop the opponent) without winning battles up front. I think Al Borges [a QB-centric coordinator] would tell you that our offensive line has gotta be the lead for our football team."
Michigan is fortunate to have so many rivals. Lloyd did a great job handling the number of rivalry games, so Brady learned from him.
Possessing the ball, running it, and taking care of the football is an important part of team's success. "Mike Martin I'm sure would love to get zone-blocked all day long."[ed: bler.] The pro-style offense brings a different physical aspect that helps build team toughness. They need to hold onto the ball to help the defense, and the pro-style offense brings that. "We like points, don't get me wrong," they aren't going to hold the offense back from scoring, though, except in end-game situations.
Freshman contributors: "As we look at our depth, the two backs will get a chance. There's maybe some depth issues we have a little bit up front on the offensive line, there's maybe some depth issues on the defensive line." They might use freshmen to fill those roles, but he can't say which ones until he sees them play in camp.
"I think it's a shame - and I said this in my initial press conference - that we splintered or fractured, or whatever you want to call it, because that's not Michigan. We've moved forward from there." On "Michigan Man": There are just some guys who have integrity, love for Michigan, etc., that deserve the distinction.
"My expertise is not offense, and never will be. That's why we've got a great offensive staff." He meets with Borges about the offense twice a week during the season, and they discuss the offensive gameplan. "For me to go to Al and say 'we need to do this' ... that'd be a mistake." [ed: yes!]
The first thing Denard said to Brady was "Coach, I'm all-in." The value of a Michigan degree was important to his dad and him. He even said he'd help the team at another position if need be - but that didn't need to happen. Denard's speed is impressive, but his instincts and vision are great as well. "We're going to still keep some elements of what the spread gives you, because of his ability. But we're going to move to be pro-style offense, which he happens to be pretty good at that, too."
"There's no better running backs coach in the country" than Coach Jack. If they're three weeks into fall camp and there's still no starting RB emerging, then the concern will start to set in. He wasn't surprised or disappointed that nobody emerged in spring. They want to have one lead back carry the load (about 20-25 carries), and have a couple other guys help out with some carries. Stephen Hopkins can play both fullback and running back. He didn't shy away from blocking in the spring, which is encouraging. "Thomas [Rawls] is a bigger back who's got really good vision and balance and has explosion to him. Justice, I think he's got a real explosiveness to him, but also is physical enough to run over a guy."
"Kevin [Koger] I think is a guy who's on the line of scrimmage in some things we ask." There should be more tight end playing time available as well, because they'll use some bigger sets. Steve Watson has a great work ethic, and his skill set is a great complement to Koger. With so many tight ends on the roster, there will be some packages where they can get in and play FB as well, as an Aaron Shea-like position.
There are some pretty tough guys at wideout, which is where evaluations start for every position. WR blocking is crucial to creating big plays. "I think Junior has got a chance to be really a good player, I like Roy's work ethic, I like his attitude, I like Odoms's attitude. There's more guys there: Jerald Robinson has done some things that I'm a little more pleased with." He has matured, as players often do in their first couple years on campus. Junior has been doing great.
The players will weigh in at the start of fall camp. From the guys that have stopped by to talk to Hoke in his office, Taylor Lewan is 304. "By the time he's done, he'll be a 317 pound left tackle, or 320." All the other guys look pretty good. Molk is a bit bigger.
"I was talking to Bo a little bit - Pelini - and he had to build a confidence in the defense. We have to do that too, but the only way you do that is by stopping people." They still need to identify some guys who are playmakers, and put those guys in positions to succeed. That will take more than just fall camp.
Mike Martin has good movement skills, which is why they've been able to use him in different ways (along with his intelligence). That doesn't mean he is a perfect player, and they gave him some technique things to work on over the summer. Martin has the potential to be mentioned among some of the great defensive linemen at Michigan. He needs to improve using his hands.
Will Campbell has dropped 17 or 18 pounds - he was out of shape this spring. "Hopefully he doesn't eat it all back in the next 8-10 days." He has enormous potential that hasn't been realized yet. "Part of that is moving back and forth on both sides of the ball, and really finding a home. I think he's learning how to play up front, the expectations of how you have to play up front." He's had the opportunity to work with his teammates this summer, and hopefully he's taken advantage of that.
Craig Roh has matured, and has a better approach to the game now.
Jake Ryan can cause a lot of havoc on defense "because of the fanaticism that he plays with." He plays at a high level of energy, and the scheme needs to adjust to the personnel on the roster right now. "When you look at some of the different packages within a defensive scheme, I think there's some things he'll do a tremendous job with."
Kenny Demens is healthy now. He got scheme work in spring, just didn't do as much of the physical aspects because you want to be careful with shoulder injuries.
JB Fitzgerald needs to play more consistently to see significant playing time. "We'll have hopefully enough guys to have a rotation in there." They want to have guys playing hard for four quarters, which means depth is important. "He's had a really good summer, I'm sure of that."
Marell Evans did some pretty good things in spring practice, but there are some things he has to do better. "When you look at him from a guy who can be a good special teams guy for you, he fits that role. That's a big deal, because we need to play our best players on those teams also."
"I think Carvin [Johnson] had a good spring. He's a guy who is passionate and hungry and loves to play." He'll compete for a safety position. He's an intelligent competitor who likes to drop big hits. Courtney Avery had a good spring as well. "There will be a great competition between Woolfolk - because Troy'll be healthy - Courtney, JT Floyd will be healthy, and a young man named Greg Brown." Fall camp is important for Marvin Robinson, because he didn't get all 15 spring practices due to a class schedule. JT Floyd and Troy Woolfolk are both moving around fine and doing everything.
"We probably have more safeties than we do corners at this time, but it'll be fun to watch those guys compete." Corners need to learn to have a short memory if they get beaten.
Kicking will be resolved in fall camp. The young guy will be coming in (Matt Wile), but even during camp, they might not know because "kicking on State Street is different than kicking on Main Street." They won't know how guys kick in front of 113,000 fans until they get the chance. Dan Ferrigno will coach the kickers, and he's studied the fundamentals of kicking. However, they trust that the kickers are getting good advice from their external kicking coaches. "We're not settled in anywhere, honestly." There will be competition and expectations in fall camp.
Will Hagerup has an extremely good leg. "It's a weapon for you, and we want to make it part of our offensive package. From fakes and things that we might have to pooch punts." He needs to keep working on the finer points.
There are some candidates in mind for return duties, but it's too early to say who it might be.
Ohio recruiting: "There's a lot of familiarity, being from there." He's been recruiting there for 20 years. Michigan has 2 Heisman winners and plenty of great players from the state. Recruiting in the midwest is going to be an important part of the effort, but "also we're very fortunate that we're a global education." You can recruit nationally at Michigan, in addition to hitting the base areas. Georgia, Texas, Florida, California are other places to get talent. Big Ten Network is a good selling point for out-of-area kids, because it's nationally available.
Recruiting others' verbal commits: "We have a Signing Date for a reason, and that's the first Wednesday in February." In Brady's experience, the contact with soft commits has been from the kids reaching out, not the other way.
"Guys recruit well because they're honest and they work at it. Period. Michigan's not for every player. It's hard academically, and we're gonna have expectations of how you go to class."
It's tough to get junior college players into Michigan, so they won't really pursue that route. He didn't recruit JCs much at Ball State or San Diego State, either.
Jim Delaney's meeting with the Big Ten coaches on Thursday wasn't addressed specifically to Hoke and Fickell (whose schools he singled out in his speech at the podium), but to everyone, a reminder of the value of the Big Ten brand, and the importance of upholding that brand. "It's probably something that we all needed to hear to some degree. But at the same time, it's something that he felt - as the guy who leads this conference - he needed to make sure that we all were on the same page." Every conference commissioner that Hoke has encountered has taken advantage of similar opportunities. With so much change happening in the Big Ten (new coaches, new team), it was a good time.
Game day is more fun and easier with tough practices during the week. Even Hoke is hoping to have fun coaching.
It'll be a tough situation to play against San Diego State this fall, because there's a great group of kids there. They'll be a good team, with a 5th-year QB and a solid running back, and all 5 OL starters back. "Tremendous linebackers, that unit will be real solid for them." Rocky Long is a tough, no-nonsense coach.
Hoke is open to Full Cost of Attendance scholarships at Michigan, but there's a question of how far it goes. It is different from paying players, though. "I honestly don't have time to figure it out. That doesn't mean I don't care about it." It could create a bigger gap between the big and small schools. "Right or wrong, there's a division. We're fortunate because we're Michigan, with 110,000."
Hoke hasn't thought about proposals to raise minimum GPA requirements. [The interviewers tell him Bo Pelini and Kirk Ferentz said they support it, but SEC coaches were not in favor]: "I can't understand why" [Sarcastically].
First, now-ceremonial photo of some dude very far away rocking colors he probably knows not wot of:
I was in… France. We had a free apartment to stay at and my mom turned in a bunch of airline miles, so it seemed like a one-time opportunity. It rained most of the time and the food was pretty disappointing but it sounds like everyone in the United States melted while we were gone so that's cool. Also if you ever get a chance go to a calanque, you should probably do it:
That is a real place, not the scene from Contact where the alien is all like "yo I'm your dad what up Jodie Foster."
The guy above was checking out a very serious bocce tournament we stumbled across in Marseille whilst trying to figure out how to get back to the bus. I'll probably throw up a trip report in the diaries if there is further interest, or even if there isn't.
Now presenting Things That Happened When I Was Going "Meh" At Escargot:
A large chunk of next year's attrition got resolved. Kellen Jones, Teric Jones, and Christian Pace are not on the fall roster and therefore not on the team. Kellen Jones reportedly got in some legal trouble that must be serious given the repercussions on his team status. Pace and Teric Jones got sent to St. Saban Memorial. Meanwhile, Terry Talbott is also expected to miss the season but it's unclear whether or not he has made the same journey. Rivals says Hoke confirmed he was medicaled($) in the hallway scrum following his media day time, so that's probably that for one Talbott. UPDATE: Misopogon reports that Ablauf also confirmed Talbott is done.
Three of the four are obviously not sketchy. Michigan needs linebackers and DTs like Mark Dantonio needs the collected Sophocles and Pace was the only(!) offensive lineman in his class. Teric Jones's departure is one you can question given his place on the depth chart, but since there's an entire football season between now and crunch time it's probably legit. In the Big Ten, sketchy medical scholarships are something to look for in January.
As for on-field impact, Teric found it impossible to contribute even in an offense suited to his scatback skills; his absence won't impact Michigan going forward. Pace removes one bullet from the chamber at center, but they'll still have Khoury and Miller once Molk graduates. That should be okay. Talbott's absence is bad. Now instead of a shaky three-star-ish redshirt freshman behind Will Campbell there are walk-ons and air and maybe Kenny Wilkins. Kellen Jones's absence will be felt keenly as well. My excellently-timed recruiting profile of him hyped him up as an immediate contributor and possible four-year starter due to his talent and the glaring hole at WLB. Now he's gone and WLB next year is the untested Mike Jones and two really small guys.
With those four off the roster the path to 26 is considerably less eyebrow-cocking. Michigan will have to shed another two or three players before signing day. A natural level of attrition should get Michigan to their projections without fuss.
Michigan got a fullback. Tim profiled Sione Houma, who is it. I hate giving scholarships to fullbacks because the difference between a walk-on fullback and a scholarship fullback is usually indistinguishable. Michigan's best in the last 15 years was walk-on Kevin Dudley. If they really take one DT it's going to be weird, doubly so with the uncertain status of Talbott.
Michigan got Chris Wormley. A foregone conclusion, that, but it's another head to head win for Hoke against the Bobcats. SDE is set in a major way and someone—possibly two someones—are moving to three-tech as soon as they hit campus.
San Diego State got a little less scary. Two of their receivers are out for the year with knee injuries, including presumed #1 Dominique Sandifer. Their new leading guy is the equivalent of Kovacs—walk-on made good. Ryan Lindley's good but he might not have anyone to throw to.
Something vaguely ominous happened with Devin Gardner's redshirt. Brady Hoke has been unusually wishy-washy about what Devin Gardner's eligibility status is after he saw a few snaps here and there as the designated Guy Who Replaces Denard For Three Plays Guy during the nonconference schedule. This is unusual. In the past the NCAA has just issued a ruling and been done with it.
The eligibility status of Alabama receiver Darius Hanks—still on the team and everything after five years!—may provide some insight into why:
… Hanks appeared in one game as a true freshman in 2007, hauling in one pass for six yards in a 52-6 win over Western Carolina. Accordingly, his fifth season required a waiver from the NCAA, which apparently attached the two-game breather to offset Hanks' contribution to that hard-earned victory four years ago.
Gardner appeared in three of Michigan's first four games. Against UConn and ND his box score totaled one rush for –4 yards but against BGSU he had 6 rushes for 25 yards and went 7 of 10 for 85 yards and a TD in the air. If I'm Dave Brandon I'm making the first couple of games of 2015 walkovers. Which Dave Brandon is going to do anyway because…
Dave Brandon does not Get It. This is awful:
"I don't believe we can or should go on the road for nonconference games when we can put 113,000 people in our stadium. It's, financially, the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for our fans, in terms of their ticket packages. And we're going to alternate with Notre Dame, so we're going to have one game on the road every other year. So the rest of those games, I would like to have at Michigan Stadium."
Kiss ever seeing an interesting non-ND nonconference opponent goodbye. This is another symptom of the AD's descent into full-blown corporate ninnydom: we get to play Alabama in Dallas because it makes incrementally more money than having an exciting home game. Brandon fails to understand that the point of an athletic department is not to accumulate the biggest Scrooge McDuck vault. (See also: renting the Big House for your special event, though that's far less offensive since I don't have to buy a 70 dollar ticket to the Jones-Wilson wedding. Unless I do. Do I?) Even if it was, the marginal difference between one home game against a real opponent and two body-bag games from schools charging a million each is not that much. People will suck up the difference on the ticket cost: a Clemson ticket that costs $80 will make people happier than an EMU one that costs $70.
At least we won't have to endure three pointless games against non-BCS opponents yearly for too long. Schools have been told to clear the decks in 2017. Presumably that's when the Big Ten will go to nine conference games. That's is not as cool as actually seeing teams from other conferences but better than our yearly battle for county pride.
Ohio State didn't get anything extra handed them by the NCAA. Time for a homer check. Matt Hinton:
Is it really possible for the people in charge to have that little interest in enforcing their own rules, as long as the paperwork is in order? …
The Ohio State and USC cases are similar in the sense that they both involve a star accepting a lot of money from shady characters on the fringes of the program, but the the case against OSU is on a different level. Where USC's violations (as chronicled by the NCAA's final verdict) involved a single player, Ohio State's involve at least six. Where USC consistently disputed that anyone affiliated with the program knew what was going on with Bush — as well as the sketchy evidence the NCAA used to reach that conclusion — the paper trail leading from Jim Tressel's hard drive is an indisputable smoking gun. Which he intentionally concealed as the offending players led the Buckeyes to another conference championship. Ohio State's star player(s) and its head coach did the crime, and no one denies it. Tressel's silence after being tipped to the investigation is the definition of a program failing to cooperate. He's the head coach: He is the program.
At this point, any athletic director with half a brain is going to set up a firewall between himself and the head coach. Oh, sure, there will be any number of compliance people who will be sent around wagging fingers at coaches about following regulations. But there will also be plenty of blind eyes turned to what those coaches are doing when the compliance folks aren’t in the room with them. So when the shit inevitably hits the fan, those ADs and the presidents they work for can blink their eyes vapidly at the NCAA investigators, claim they had no idea what was going on and swear they’ll get rid of the rogue bad apple. And it’ll work.
Nice system you got there, NCAA.
Mark Emmert, you have lost our confidence in your ability to do the job.
The next time you speak, we won't be able to take you seriously thanks to news that Ohio State would not face additional charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control in the school's infraction case.
'It's all about what the NCAA can prove, not what we've read' is the company line. Well, you had a chance to prove things but you said you weren't going to try.
It’s pathetic, really. The rats see a ship sailing to probation, and it’s every dirty, cheating program for itself.
Ohio State got out first, and now North Carolina sees the opening. Soon enough, Oregon will too.
Here’s the best part of this growing, sordid tale: The NCAA is standing with open arms on the other side.
Want to blame someone for North Carolina’s utterly bizarre firing of coach Butch Davis, who was never mentioned once in the program’s lengthy NCAA Notice of Allegations? Blame Ohio State.
Better yet, blame the NCAA – and more specifically, president Mark Emmert.
Meanwhile Mandel, the guy who was predicting this would happen, hasn't taken up a position on whether it's good or bad. I haven't found anyone who doesn't have a framed Andy Katzenmoyer jersey who thinks this is anything other than total horseshit. Homer check tenuously passed.
Meanwhile, OSU confirms that Terrelle Pryor was ineligible for the entirety of last year and bans him from contact with the program without explaining why. Where is the extra violation that gets Pryor that treatment while the other five players remain on the team, associated with the program. Is the NCAA interested in this? Apparently not.
There is a recent precedent for a team not getting failure to monitor or LOIC (which come on) and still getting hammered: Alabama got 21 scholarships docked and a two-year bowl ban for various boosters paying dudes to go to Alabama. If Ohio State gets something similar, fine. The NCAA's two-eyes-for-an-eye policy could see at least 12 scholarships obliterated and two years of bowl ban even without LOIC if the committee is like "hey, your head coach lying to keep a half-dozen players eligible and hoodwinking us to let them play in a bowl game… that's bad."
loldantonio. Mark Dantonio called Jim Tressel a "tragic hero."
Then Jim Brandstatter was all like "loldantonio" and Dantonio was all like "paraphrase of insanely misused Teddy Roosevelt quote about being in the arena," because that's what people who say stupid things do when they are criticized for saying stupid things.
The Big Ten Network made itself into a feed. Press release:
BTN2Go features a live feed of all BTN linear network programming, including more than 40 football games, over 100 men’s basketball games and hundreds of other live events, as well as Extra Football Game Channels, on-demand programming and archived content.
BTN2Go will be offered exclusively through BTN’s participating cable, satellite and telco distribution partners as an authenticated digital service to subscribers who already receive BTN as part of their video subscription.
If the authenticated bit lets you watch the BTN if you're in Alabama despite the locals not giving a damn, that's great as long as it works better than the streaming service did a year ago when I tried it for an hockey game. If it's ESPN3 quality, lovely.
Desmond Howard had a good idea. Via Get The Picture:
“But if you want to play the education game, then check this out. If they get my likeness for life, then they should be committed to my education for life. So if Mark Ingram 20 years from now, when they’re still selling his jerseys in Tuscaloosa, says ‘You know what? I want to get my Ph.D.’ Guess who should pay for that? They should be committed to his education for life. They’re still selling his jerseys.”
If a school is still profiting off a guy who had a few years in the NFL and now has some messed up knees and maybe wants a more saleable degree, he should be able to get it.
Wolverine Historian posted a bunch of games. Bo becomes the winningest coach in school history with a victory in The Game:
John Gibson defects to the OHL, Michigan picks up Michael Downing. Let's not mince words: dropping a college commitment less than a month before classes start is a dick move. I get that he'll get more games next year because he probably won't be splitting time, but exactly no information has changed since he committed and signed a LOI. Blah blah blah about "doing what's best for me" is what they say on Jerry Springer, too.
Michigan now has zero backup to Hunwick and is in a desperate search for his replacement next year. At least whoever they pick up—they likely need two goalies—won't have a midget dynamo blocking their path.
In happier news, Michigan's somewhat glaring hole on D going forward is smaller thanks to Downing's commitment for 2013. Downing was the third pick and first defenseman in the USHL Futures Draft. He's coming off a strong showing at the U16 Festival. OHL defection risk currently seems low: he's from CC, has an older brother already in the USHL, and was drafted in the flyer area of the OHL draft (8th round) by Sarnia, a team not known for picking up off college-bound folk.
People discussed ways to prevent "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" events. Gibson's very very late decision spurred a round of "what can we do" from Yost Built and The United States of Hockey. Yost Built wonders about making a hockey LOI binding in the same way an NTDP commitment is. Someone will have to ping The Bylaw Blog for confirmation but that would redefine the LOI in such a comprehensive fashion it wouldn't be a LOI anymore. It's currently a non-legal agreement enforced by a non-NCAA organization of schools interested in reducing chaos.
The United States of Hockey discusses whether or not it's a good idea to allow CHL players to play NCAA. He says no, and he's right. CHL teams have no incentive to keep athletes NCAA eligible even now; removing that restriction would provide an incentive to actually discourage players from keeping up with their books. The number of players headed the other way would be few. Meanwhile, the USHL has established itself a high quality league designed to get kids to college. This would hurt it as some players choose the CHL over it.
It's a moot point anyway: the NCAA just relaxed regulations on foreign players playing with pros. Hockey specifically requested and acquired an exemption.
So there's not much the NCAA can do. The one thing I'd suggest is prohibiting American 16 and 17 year olds from playing CHL hockey in Canada. As we learned during the Max Domi song and dance, Hockey Canada currently prohibits Canadians from leaving the country to play junior. Domi's dad would have had to "move to" Indiana to get his kid eligible for the USHL, a major hurdle for anyone who didn't have a long NHL career.
USA hockey should adopt the same policy, limiting American high-schoolers who want to play in the CHL to the small number of American teams in the WHL and OHL*.
*[The Q just shut down their only American team, the ridiculously-named Lewiston MAINEacs.]
Austin Hatch is still in a coma a month after the plane crash. At least that's what his local paper says. Depressing.
Zak Irvin picked Michigan. Covered yesterday, but dang if Beilein's recruiting hasn't been on a steady upward trajectory since his first class. It's got to plateau soon, but that plateau looks like a Sweet 16 team.
Also, UMHoops has uncovered the first grainy videos of the camera-shy Irvin.
People covered ADs golfing like it was news. I don't care if it's July. A story about an athletic director playing golf against another athletic director is time that could have been spent on something more socially productive like spitting off a balcony. I'm not linking to any of this stuff. Sports editors across the state: you have suffered the mother of all eye-rollings.
Baseball made its RPI more Northern friendly. By acknowledging that—surprise!—having to spent the first month or two of the season on the road is a significant handicap, Big Ten teams that are actually kind of good will stand a better shot of making the tournament. They also eliminated some bonuses/penalties for teams at the extreme ends of the the range.
Getting those kind of good B10 teams remains a chore. As long as this is true…
Some schools are able to play 35-40 of their 56 allowable games at home, while other teams, due to factors such as weather, may play only 20 home games.
…the playing field will never be anywhere close to level, but good luck trying to change that.
In related news, Jonathan Bornstein moves to Honduras. Bob Bradley was fired and replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann as the head of the USMNT. I get people's reservations about Klinsmann's reputation, which is largely based on one World Cup with Germany and a flameout with Bayern Munich, but if there's one thing the US needs now it's a holistic look at how they develop talent and how it can be improved. The talent gap with Mexico won't be huge for the rest of this WC cycle, but it's hard to see the US not taking a back seat once the Dempsey/Donovan/Dolo/Boca generation ages out after Brazil. There are 100x fewer Uruguayans than Americans, man: there's no reason the US shouldn't be able to produce a few world class players.
Also! PSU QB Paul Jones is academically ineligible, leaving the QB competition there just Bolden and McGloin. The Big Ten further proved that putting their athletic directors in charge of naming anything just leads to a successories poster. BTN revenues increase 21(!) percent over last year. A Michigan undergrad built the largest solar array in the state. Basketball agreed to a home and home with Arkansas. Doctor Saturday predicts 7-5 again, but adding up the "likely win/tossup/likely loss" bits seems to point to 8-4. Gameday likely for the ND game.
You know by now that Chris Wormley has committed to Michigan and become the 21st commitment for the 2012 class. While he was the only commitment at the BBQ the event was a hit. Here's a look at reactions from some of the visiting prospects. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and email me any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'2", 295 lbs.
O'Brien has been listing Michigan as one of his favorites for some time now. This visit gave him a chance to get more personal with the coaches and other commits.
This visit definitely helped Michigan; I had a great visit. I got even more comfortable with the coaches and I'm good friends with a lot of the commitments so that was fun. I saw the locker room this time too, I never saw that before.
Now that he has taken this visit he will have to try to cut down his list even more and soon make a decision.
I'm going to think about my comfort level this week and where I'm at with everything. I have a top six of Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Michigan State, and Iowa right now. I'm going to cut that down to three and then take official visits to those schools. I know Michigan said they're only taking one defensive tackle, but if they want to take two I will still consider them if someone commits before me.
Danny has mentioned to me before that he knows the coaches have said they'll only take one, but he thinks there's a good chance they could take two.
6'6", 297 lbs.
Steve Elmer and his father have been on Michigan's campus a few times this year, and this time he got to bring his mother and brother along as well. I caught up with Steve Elmer Sr. to talk about their trip.
This visit was a little different because more of my family was there. My wife, Steven, and my middle son were all there. We got to spend more time with the coaches and their families. We actually got a picture with all the 2013 kids; Shane Morris, Wyatt Shallman, and Jonny Reschke. They all got a chance to talk.
While the Elmers didn't necessarily see anything that they haven't before they got to see things from a different angle this time.
We had a different perspective on everything. We took a normal tour that they would give to incoming freshman, maybe a little abbreviated. We went to all the athletic stuff, and I don't know if it was a coincidence but we sat with the Dean of Admissions and a couple academic people. We spent some time with Shari Acho, too. My wife didn't meet her last time so it was good she got to meet her.
This visit also gave them a better chance to catch some one on one time with Brady Hoke.
We got to spend more time with the coaches, which is important because we're looking for a comfort level. When we were at camp Brady Hoke was very busy and this time there were only around twenty kids there. There was about four or five occasions that we got some time to talk with the head coach. We met his wife too, and she is legitimately a genuinely nice person. They played some highlights, some things about Michigan, and then Brady Hoke spoke and got us all pumped up. The message was pretty much to restore the pride, that he's bringing Michigan back.
Elmer has already received a few early offers and will see plenty more roll in. While I don't think they want to drag his recruitment out the family wants to find the place that Steven feels is right for him, however long that takes.
6'3", 325 lbs.
Kansas City, Missouri
Ondre Pipkins' visit was one of the more anticipated by the fans. Ondre had told me prior to his visit that there was a chance that he could announce at the event. Obviously that didn't happen, but it doesn't mean it still won't. As you can imagine he was busy today, so when we spoke he kept it short and sweet. I asked him what the visit told him about Michigan and if he would be visiting again soon.
Michigan men take care of Michigan men. That means that they take care of you beyond football. And yeah, I'll visit again.
The important part about saying he'll visit again is that he's still in the state of Michigan for some time. So there is a chance that he will be visiting again while he's on this current stay in the state. We'll see what happens.
6'2", 210 lbs.
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Reschke is a 2013 prospect fresh off of a Michigan State offer. He took in Ann Arbor today for basically the first time today as a recruit.
This was basically my first time there. The Big House was unbelievable. We were just saying how crazy this place is packed. We took a tour of everything, and I love the campus up there. It was great.
Jonny believes that this visit will help him not only get to know MIchigan better but also get closer to an offer from the Wolverines.
I talked to Coach Smith one on one. All the coaches really like me. Coach Smith told me he's going to take a look at some tape and that I should call Coach Jackson soon. If he doesn't answer then I should call Coach Smith. He didn't say that I was getting an offer, but he was kind of implying it, so I think it's close. After camp they had a dead week and then they put on this BBQ, so they need to regroup and start recruiting again.
The visit really helped with my comfort level though, and it was really cool to see all the kids together. Coach Hoke's speech was pretty awesome and then they played a video, too. I just want to play football right now after that.
As I mentioned Reschke has an offer from Michigan State, and that hit home with him mainly because of where his father went to school.
My dad played at MSU in 1979. It doesn't matter though; he's going to let me make my own choice. He wants me to play somewhere that I'll have an opportunity to play. I'm not going to wait until after my senior year, I want to get it done with. It will probably be around this time next year, I just want to check out all the places that want me during the spring. I'll also probably be back to Michigan for the Notre Dame game.
I believe at this point it's probably a Michigan vs MSU scenario right now for Reschke. We'll see how his recruitment plays out.
6'3", 202 lbs.
Isaac is a 2013 running back prospect that made it in for the BBQ this weekend. This was his first time on campus and he seemed to come away very impressed.
I've been talking to Coach Hecklinski and he told me to come out to the school. We went on a tour, met all the coaches, and I really liked it a lot. We talked to the coaches and most of them knew who I was. I was just happy I could get on campus and get a feel for everything. It was my first time there so I didn't know what to expect. I enjoyed it, I went up there not knowing much about Michigan but it really surprised me. I'm excited to go back and check it out again to get there for a game. This was different, I didn't know what to expect so it was good for me, I really liked it.
Isaac has now been out to Michigan, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin. He says he will try to make it out to all the schools that offer and maybe a few more as well.
To me every school has a uniqueness about it. The way Michigan went about everything and the feel of everything was different. I'll definitely try to get up to games for the schools that have offered. I can't really give you a timeline for everything though, I'm not too sure when I want to make my decision. And to be honest I don't really have a list yet, that's the truth. Everyone wants the big schools, but I want whatever fits me the best, that's where I want to be. I just don't know yet.
It seems like Michigan has done themselves a favor after this visit with Isaac. They haven't offered him yet, but it seems likely that he will eventually receive one from Michigan.
This post is starting to get pretty long so I'm going to save a couple posts for this week. I'll have 2013 RB Wyatt Shallman's thoughts, WR Jehu Chesson, and RB Bri'onte Dunn. Bri'onte's father told me that this visit also helped Michigan with his son, I'll have more from them later in the week. I still think Michigan has a chance with him, I just believe he'll take his time with everything.
WR Amara Darboh told me that he's going to talk to his coach about his last MIchigan visit and his choices overall after camp. His camp ends Wednesday and he'll likely have a short list out soon after. He said that Michigan is up there on the list, but he still wants to have his guardians see what he saw at Michigan, and all the other schools he's seen as well.
I wanted to mention WR Monty Madaris. I had made a comment that because he wasn't visiting for the BBQ Michigan's chances to land a receiver will be pushed back, and that I thought Michigan was in good shape with him and Darboh. I said that not to imply that Madaris was 100% going to commit to Michigan, but that he had mentioned to me it wasn't out of the question. I didn't mean to say that Michigan was the leader and that they were definitely getting him. When I said that Michigan was in good shape I simply meant that they are in the top group for now. I receieved an email from a confused reader and figured I would share with everyone.
Michigan has picked up more commits, so that means we hit the front page. (Tons of) action since last rankings:
7-21-11 Iowa gais commitment from Ryan Ward.
7-24-11 Illinois gains commitment from Joey Warburg.
7-25-11 Iowa gains commitment from Michael Malloy.
7-26-11 Michigan gains commitment from Sione Houma.Penn State gains commitment from Jake Kiley.
7-27-11 Indiana(!) gains commitment from Gunner Kiel.
7-28-11 Michigan State gains commitments from Aaron Burbridge and Jermaine Edmondson. Indiana gains commitment from Jason Spriggs.
7-29-11 Purdue gains commitment from Andy Garcia.
7-30-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Jonah Pirsig.
7-31-11 Michigan gains commitment from Chris Wormley.
PLUS, Scout updated their rankings, so there's a little bit of movement there.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte is not included in Minnesota's average, Darius Stroud doesn't count against Indiana's average, and Steffon Martin is excluded from Purdue's.
On to the full data, after the jump.
At long last, OH DE Chris Wormley has joined Michigan's class of 2012. He's been favoring Michigan over Ohio State over the rest of the field for quite some time now, and it's a good feeling to finally have him wrapped up.
|4*, #14 DE||
|4*, 80, #16 DE||
4*, 96, #3 SDE,
#3 Ohio, #57 Ovr
Rivals's ranking is the outlier here, and we'll explore a bit why that's the case in a moment. ESPN has him barely outside of their 150 (he's the #16 DE, and the #14 is 101st overall).
The premium sites are split on his height, between 6-4 (Rivals, 24/7) and 6-5 (Scout, ESPN). I would guess that the shorter height is a little closer to accurate, if only because Scout notoriously overrates height. As for weight, there's a wide range with 24/7 Sports all the way down at 225, while the rest of the sites are in the 250/255 range. Take a look at a picture of Wormley and try to convince yourself he's 225. 24/7 Sports is just wrong, yo. ESPN:
He is a kid with good size for a high school prospect with nice height and bulk. His current size may suggest he could out grow the end position and it is possible, but we feel he has the tools to stay at end for the long haul... He is a solid tackler. Wormley is also a good pass rusher. His quickness off the ball helps him, but once in motion he displays a good feel for getting to the quarterback. He is able to attack the shoulder and is active with his weapons and displays the ability to utilize moves like the club and rip as well as the push-pull and will also flash the ability to be able to counter inside.
Tremendous size and ability. Likely a strongside end, but could also play inside. Ideal five-tech. Turned it up another notch in terms of motor and consistent effort as a junior. When we saw him as a sophomore, he just overpowered his opposition. Last year, because I think he saw a few top prospects and, he started to turn up the intensity. He's a naturally massive kid and moves well for that size.
He is indeed naturally massive, to the point where some analysts were worrying he'd grow out of a natural position. Allen lists his strengths as "Disengaging Skills," "Size," and "Strength," while labeling "Lateral Range" as his only weakness. That speaks to a kid who has a lot of natural strength/ability, but isn't going to run anyone down from behind. As a strongside DE or even 3-technique tackle, that shouldn't be much of a problem.
Allen went into more detail in the Detroit News:
"He's a big-bodied kid who gets off the ball pretty well and is a good overall athlete for his size," said Scout.com Midwest Regional Manager Allen Trieu. "I think with his frame and growth potential, he'll be more of a strongside defensive end or five technique or defensive tackle in college. He's not your long, lean, wiry edge rusher like his teammate (Ohio State commitment) Kenny Hayes, but he can project to a couple different spots in a couple different systems."
For the record, he's listed at 6-6, 260 in that article. He's not going to be a terror off the edge, but certainly has the ability to be a pocket-closing defensive end or a defensive tackle who gets serious penetration.
I have seen great plays that put him at the top of others lists. I also see him disappear for long stretches. One game early in the year the headline had fans all worked up about Wormley because he had a number of sacks. In between you'd not know he was on the field.
In that article, Long said he wouldn't mind missing on Wormley, but he quickly changed his tune:
Wormley has moved into that must-have group with McMullen and Adolphus Washington... Washington and Wormley are the unstoppable ones. They are the ones that can dominate games. It is a matter of them letting it go on every play. That is what I see missing. If they are coachable kids, and there is every reason to believe they are, a coach can get them to bring it on every play, they will not be around college football for very long. Wormley is a manchild. His best plays look cartoonish with bodies flying all over the place in his wake. Such a great frame. He can get so much bigger. I don't think he has been in the weightroom much. He doesn't look like it. The word upside is everything in recruiting. Wormley is the epitome of upside.
Long also picked Wormley as one of his "starting 22":
Strong Side Defensive End - Chris Wormley, 6-4, 250, Toledo Whitmer. Wormley is the one kid in this defensive line class who brings me quickly to that most important word in recruiting, upside. Seeing him in shorts and t-shirt is when this kid really impresses the most. He is 250 and looks 225. Where his body can go and still be as athletic and fast as he is right now at 250 is what has everyone so excited about him.
Magnus disagrees with his physical appearance, but does agree on the motor:
First of all, if he was 250 as a sophomore, then he's 265 or 270 in his junior year. It looks like he put on some weight, and it doesn't necessarily look like pure muscle. Secondly, it looks like he's either favoring some part of his body or he just lacks aggression.
The lack of aggression is presumably something that can be coached up, or at least turned into less of a possible problem should Chris move to 3-technique tackle. Either way, there's a reason even the biggest Ohio State homers have been calling him a top-3 prospect in Ohio despite conceding him to Michigan for quite some time: this is an elite-type player to everyone but Rivals. The weird thing is that the local guys seem far higher on Wormley than national pundits, and I'll trust the guys that see him more frequently (especially since they're much higher on him).
The question is the consistency, and whether he can live up to his enormous potential. If he can, I think you'll see Rivals fall more in line with everyone else, and Chris will be a unanimous solid 4-star. The second big question about Chris is what position he ends up playing. Strongside DE and 3-tech tackle are the strongest contenders.
For a kid that we've been hearing about for the past 2-3 years (that's right, he was on the radar even as a freshman), it's a little surprising to see how few offers Chris has received. Of course, there's also a chance that some bigtime schools knew he was either Michigan or Ohio State-bound, and didn't bother sending him an official letter. For an Ohio kid, holding an offer from the Buckeyes is just about all you need to know in order to believe that he's a top prospect. However, the lack of offers is a weird question mark.
That said, he held offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, and his hometown Toledo. He also had interest but no offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Penn State. There's also a chance (as mentioned above) that some of these schools didn't have a definite position for him, and therefore didn't offer.
Scout has sophomore stats:
Had 59 tackles and 12 sacks as a sophomore.
Through three weeks of October last fall, he had 40 tackles and 7 sacks. I have not seen full junior stats for Chris, but he was named defensive player of the year in his district (ahead of his teammate, 2011 OSU signee Ken Hayes). He's also an elite thrower in track - pictured at right.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the recruiting sites have listed a 40 time for Chris, so I get to give out my default five FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Chris has plenty of physical gifts, and it was surprising to see him not listed as a 5-star when the initial rankings came out, given how much we've heard about him. That means, of course, that the expectations are high.
With few strongside defensive ends on the roster right now (following the graduation of Ryan Van Bergen after the 2011 season), there's a good chance that he could step in and get some immediate playing time as a true freshman. He's probably not an every-down player at DE, but platooning with another player or two is not out of the question.
Following a freshman year that sees significant playing time, Chris will have an entire offseason to continue molding his body and learning the playbook. That means even more time as a sophomore, more likely as a full-time starter.
As an upperclassman, Chris should be a strong contender for all-conference and even All-American honors. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him leave college early to enter the NFL Draft.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Woo defensive lineman. Michigan still has needs at defensive tackle, quarterback, and receiver. Other than a true DT and a wideout, they can be verrrrry selective about who they accept commitments from. It'll probably be almost exclusively elite prospects from here on out, mixed with a couple sleepers that the staff is high on.