Hockey pet peeve: "when a teammate tips a puck in on you, which is exactly how my first collegiate goal against happened. Thanks, Copper."
I posted about this on The Sporting Blog so this is going to be a rehash, but since this is the Leno-Conan tiff of college football right now I haven't thought about much else: holy crap in a hat, USC hired Lane Kiffin.
There are a thousand different ways in which that statement can be taken: wow, what a snake. Wow, Al Davis was right. Wow, even Charlie Weis shot down USC. Wow, I love hot dogs. In all ways the hire makes no sense, and the rest of the blogosphere is busily examining all of these angles plus dongs on a rock. Last night I had the same giddy reaction that the rest of the universe did. USC hired a guy who rose through the ranks thanks to nepotism and has time and again proven himself an idiot of the highest order. Woo.
Today, though, I'm bothered. That USC had to stoop so low as to grab Kiffin indicates the coming sanctions are harsh, but taking Orgeron and maybe picking off Chow and the thing stuck in my craw indicate that maybe USC is going to get off easy. The thing that is currently stuck in my craw is the thing I had to resort to all caps to properly express over at TSB:
LANE KIFFIN WAS THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR AND RECRUITING COORDINATOR WHEN REGGIE BUSH WAS ON THE TAKE AND JOE MCKNIGHT COMMITTED TO USC. USC is hiring one of the guys—possibly the guy—who was most responsible for the NCAA coming down on the program.
Can this be interpreted as anything other than a taunt? USC is going to get penalized in two different sports in February. They've fired one coach for directly paying a runner and lost another because he managed to ignore agents in his locker room. And they bring in Lane Freakin' Kiffin, a guy who
- has racked up seven or eight very public secondary violations in one a year at Tennessee
- is currently under investigation for employing Tennessee undergrads as a sort of USO show from sea to shining sea
- pursued and acquired Bryce Brown when his recruitment and sketchy AAU-style handler became too much for Miami, which I remind you is Miami
…argh… Spock… herecomethe… ALLCAPS
- LANE KIFFIN WAS THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR AND RECRUITING COORDINATOR WHEN REGGIE BUSH WAS ON THE TAKE AND JOE MCKNIGHT COMMITTED TO USC.
USC is getting hit with football violations and they have just hired the guy most directly responsible for those violations occurring as their head coach. He is bringing Ed Orgeron and possibly Norm Chow back with him, giving USC more than one coach who had full knowledge of the shenanigans going down in LA and did zero to stop it.
USC has just double-dog-dared the NCAA to do something meaningful. They've thrown away the idea of contrition in favor of defiance. They are saying yes, we have had three separate incidents in two sports in a matter of years, but this is not a lack of institutional control. It is the institution. Insofar as we can, we cheat.
This is the NCAA's Waterloo. If USC does not suffer severe repercussions that make it all but impossible for them to compete on a national level for five years in both major sports, the idea that the rules mean anything is over.
Though they had been long-considered near-locks to join Michigan's 2010 recruiting class, that is no longer the case for FL CB Tony Grimes and DE Clarence Murphy. Murphy committed to Maryland last week, and since then, Grimes has not sounded so positive on the Wolverines. Mgoblog's own TomVH talked to Grimes and says:
With Murphy choosing Maryland, everyone is kind of seeing the writing on the wall. I'm not sure what happened to change Grimes mind, but it seems like it is changing.
He's playing everything close to the vest right now, so he's not telling a lot. Like I said, I don't think it's good news, though.
Murphy talked to The Baltimore Sun about his commitment, and what his teammate is thinking:
“Me and my friend, Tony Grimes, were planning on going to school together,” Murphy said. “I think he stopped favoring Michigan a little bit. He went up there and got into some cold weather a little bit. … [So] he’s still weighing things out a little bit.
The Wolverines are still in a small group for Grimes, though Ole Miss is probably his new leader. To add insult to injury, Tony was just selected to participate in the USA v. the World All-Star Game. Jay Hopson's departure may have played a role here.
In other recruiting attrition, 2009/2010 FL CB Adrian Witty sounds like he will not be making it to Ann Arbor. Though some fans speculated that Michigan offered him only to help land Denard Robinson last year, the coaches seemed to really like Witty, and losing him is a hit. With Michigan's extensive DB recruiting in the class of 2010, hopefully the damage is limited.
The final piece that appears to be dropping out of Michigan's 2010 class is TX RB Tony Drake. The source is admittedly second-hand, but Michigan commits talk to the coaches about recruiting a hell of a lot more than you or I do. At this point its tough to consider Drake committed.
All of this changes the numbers for the class, taking it down to 23 commits (removing Grimes and Witty), with the potential to get up around 27 or 28. With Grimes and Murphy no longer penciled in, the Wolverines can find about 4 more prospects. Hopefully, Calvin Magee;s candidacy at USF won't affect any of Michigan's other commits.
The Other Side of the Fence
It's coaching change season around the country, which means that other schools' recruiting classes may be ripe for poaching. We first turn our attention to sunny Los Angeles, where Pete Carroll and a number of his assistant coaches are heading north to the NFL. One of the crown jewels of the Trojans' class, CA RB Dillon Baxter, will open his recruitment, and Michigan was the only other school to which he has already taken an official visit.
If the Michigan coaches can convince him to go Blue ("Baxter said Friday that Florida and Michigan had reached out"), it would be a huge recruiting coup, and a more than adequate replacement for Drake. MGoBlog's TomVH has talked to Baxter, who indicated he nearly switched his commitment to Michigan following his official visit. Carroll's departure is probably a positive for Michigan's recruitment of CA S Sean Parker as well.
The fact that it's uber-recruiter Lane Kiffin taking over may bolster the Trojans' recruiting. Despite showing no ability to be a head coach, Kiffin is a proven winner in February.
To the best of my knowledge Michigan wasn't really a serious player for any of Tennessee's current commits other than GA LB Mike Taylor. He will decommit from Tennessee, though it's assumed he will commit to Florida, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that is a "false statement." It would still be an upset for him to land anywhere other than Gainesville.
One other player may be affected by the Kiffin departure: FL OL Torrian Wilson. Wilson visited Michigan in the summer and maintained the Wolverines as his leader before a surprise Stanford commit. He decommitted in search of a school closer to home and announced a top three of South Florida, Tennessee, and Michigan. Michigan is the farthest from Miami but is currently the only school of those three with, you know, a head coach. That would seemingly bode well, but watch out for Louisville. Charlie Strong has been hitting Miami Northwest hard and already has two of Wilson's teammates committed. Wilson's next list will be interesting.
Also in coaching change news, Michigan State RB coach Dan Enos is heading north to become the head coach at Central Michigan. Since the Spartans have a heavy in-state bent on their recruiting class, there may be a chance Michigan can step in for a couple guys, no? The following recruits have Enos listed as their primary recruiter on Rivals:
- MI QB Joe Boisture
- MI DE Taylor Calero
- MI LB/DE William Gholston
- MI CB Mylan Hicks
- MI RB Nick Hill
- MI RB Jeremy Langford
- MI WR/Ath Tony Lippett
Of those prospects, only Gholston and Hicks likely interest Michigan, and Gholston ain't happening for. Hicks was also recruited by Harlon Barnett, State's secondary coach, so I doubt he is likely to wriggle loose. It appears as though MSU's recruiting class is safe (unless Gholston, as rumored, has legitimate interest in Alabama). For the future, however, recruiting Detroit may suffer slightly for the Spartans, as Enos was their main man in Detroit. That's good news for the Wolverines.
In non-coaching change poaching, GA QB/Ath Blake Sims has decommitted from Alabama after being unclear where he figured into the Tide's future plans. He's considering a small group of other schools including Michigan and West Virginia, though Tennessee and Georgia probably lead.
“I am not sure if I would have played receiver or where at Alabama, but I am just looking for a place I know they spread the ball out and where I will be used the best,” Sims said.
It's important to him to have a chance on offense rather than in the secondary, and if the coaching staff can give him a shot at QB, he may end up in blue.
With Grimes seemingly out of the picture, Michigan will probably turn up the heat on FL S/CB Rashad Knight. TomVH thinks Michigan no longer leads, but he is officially visiting this weekend, giving the Wolverines a chance to close the gap, and possibly even seal Knight for the Maize-and-Blue.
As mentioned last week, OH DT Jibreel Black is expected to take a January visit to Ann Arbor. I believe Michigan's only other big recruiting weekend will be January 30th, the weekend before Signing Day.
SC WR Hakeem Flowers "Will Look to Get Away," and also holds a Michigan offer ($, info in header). He should be among the top wideouts nationally.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell gave GoBlueWolverine an interview during the US Army Combine, and considering the headline says "his thoughts on committing to U-M," it sounds like there's not only a good chance he'll become a Wolverine, but also do it soon ($, info in header). I've upgraded him to a Blue Smiley on the recruiting board.
I was going to wait for Rittenberg to post on this out of courtesy but since Dave Birkett put it up it's time to mention it. Tom VanHaaren, via Rittenberg, has confirmed that Michigan did interview former Marshall head coach and Ohio State defensive coordinator Mark Snyder for its vacant assistant coaching position:
Rittenberg told me today that Snyder HAS interviewed for the position. He doesn't know much more yet, but should know more later today. One of their guys is at the coaching conference, and is having lunch with Snyder today.
At first glance, landing Snyder would be something of a coup. It's not often you can get a former HC and Ohio State DC to take a job coaching the linebackers. In the TomVH thread linked above there's some discussion about Snyder pro- and con-; it appears the Wikipedia article is full of lies about Snyder's resume. Wikipedia little box says Snyder was Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 1996 to 2000; his official Marshall bio and the article itself say he coached defensive ends. The little box (of lies!) also says he was Ohio State's DC for four years; he was only DC in 2004.
Snyder's year as OSU DC had some wild swings. Early the Buckeyes gave up 33, 24, and 33 in three consecutive losses against Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Iowa; late no one put up more than 24 and Ohio State strangled Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. The final numbers were good: 30th in total defense, 19th in scoring, 19th in pass efficiency D. The following year OU shot up to 5th in both total and scoring defense, which you can either interpret as a sign Snyder wasn't that good or that he had a young team that year. Survey says these were the Ohio State seniors on defense in '04:
|Uniform #||First Name||Last Name||Position||Class||Games Played|
I think that's four starters (Fox, Fraser, Green, and Schlegel), two of whom were drafted in the third round. So the massive improvement from one year to the next doesn't necessarily say much about Snyder.
At Marshall, Snyder did zero, getting to .500 once in five years—this year's 7-6 season.
Snyder's still young for a former head coach at 45 and has seriously deep ties to Tressel with his stints at Ohio State and Youngstown State. He played safety at Marshall and has coached every position group on defense, FWIW.
The high school season is long over, but there are post-season honors to cover, and a number of Michigan commits took part in All-American games over the past few weeks. Here's a roundup of those performances in what is likely to be the second-to-last FNL for the 2010 recruiting class (after Signing Day, I'll recap the seasons of everyone who commits after today).
MI QB Devin Gardner
Gardner was part of the winning Black Team in the Under Armour All-American Bowl, completing 2-of-4 passes for 15 yards and a score, while rushing 4 times for 14 yards. The Black Team won 32-7.
Gardner drew similar praise from Black team coach Sam Wyche, a former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Devin is going to be a big-time player at Michigan," Wyche said. "He and (Alabama commitment) Phillip Sims are guys to me that are going to come quickly to the scene. Devin has a great smile. He is going to sell a lot of product for somebody. He's got a great personality. He's smart -- you can change directions with him and it doesn't bother him at all. He is ready to go."
Game highlights, courtesy of Under Armour:
Gardner's TD toss takes place at the 2:00 mark. As mentioned elsewhere on the blog, Gardner did not enroll early in Ann Arbor.
SC QB Conelius Jones
MI RB Austin White
Named Honorable Mention All-State at RB.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
FL DT Richard Ash
Ash participated in the Outback Bowl All-Star game. No word on how he did.
OH DT Terry Talbott
3rd-Team All-State at defensive tackle.
LA S Carvin Johnson
PA CB Cullen Christian
Local pregame fluff. Christian participated in the Army All-American Bowl over the weekend, playing corner. His East team fell to the West, 30-13. Christian was thrown at 4 times, with only one pass completed - a 39-yarder to USC commit Robert Woods. Postgame fluff. Cullen has been selected to the Big 33 Game.
WI P Will Hagerup
"My brother has been in some big stadiums before and he was saying after that first kick you'll be a lot more calm," Hagerup said. "The first kick I was real nervous and it definitely could have been better. I was definitely more relaxed for the second two."
This appears is a statement from Chuck Heater declaring his intent to stay at Florida, although the quote is just supporting:
In the end, Heater said his relationship with Meyer kept him in Gainesville. At age 57, Heater also isn’t looking for the next best job. Heater will now handle the entire secondary instead of just the safeties while providing input for Edwards.
“I have a deep respect and relationship with Urban that goes back more than 20 years,” Heater said. “I’m joined at the hip with him. It’s personal for me.”
That's wrapped in an article that repeats the erroneous assertion that Michigan has a coordinator spot available and actually contains the assertion that Meyer's defensive coordinator hire is "igniting the defensive staff with a new voice," though, so it's possible that the guy writing the article is from space.