As usual, new commit means we hit the front page. Action since last rankings:
12-19-10 Iowa loses commitment from Mika'il McCall (false alarm from the recruiting sites).
12-20-10 Illinois gains commitments from Dondi Kirby and Kenny Nelson. Minnesota gains commitments from Grayson Levine and Marcus Jones. Nebraska loses commitment from Tevin Mitchell. Wisconsin gains commitment from Devin Gaulden.
12-22-10 Illinois loses commitment from Tyler Marcordes.
12-24 Michigan gains commitment from Matt Goudis. Minnesota gains commitment from Drayquan Crawford.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn 1 star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45, except JuCo players, who aren't included in the average).
Full data after the jump.
CA K Matt Goudis, though he said he wouldn't be decommitting from Boise State, has done just that and pledge to Michigan.
|3*, #5 K||2*, 5.4, #12 K/P||3*, 77, #16 K/P|
The sites are unanimous: Goudis is 6-0, 165 (however relevant that is for a kicker). They're in semi-agreement on his ability, too, ranking him anywhere from the #5 to #16 kicker in the nation (though Scout is the only service that ranks them independently from punters). If you separate punters, he's Rivals' #7 pure kicker, and #9 to ESPN, bringing the rankings much closer in line.
ESPN's breakdown is way more brief than we're used to:
Matt Goudis is a refined ball striker. The ball jumps off his foot and he in great control of his rhythm and follow-through. His motion is very repeatable... Matt's hang-times on his kick-offs are solid and he should be able to compete early in college on both field goals and kick offs. Matt gets good height on his FG off the ground and should not have a difficult transition to the college game. Matt has a solid high school resume and has game experience making big field goals for his high school team.
It also mentions that he's a good punter, with the athleticism to run the fake punt, but with Will Hagerup in town, that's likely to be irrelevant at Michigan. Scout hears from his kicking coach Chris Sailer:
Matt is an oustanding kicker. He has a good leg and makes kicks consistently with great height. He is the top field goal kicker in the nation in the Class of 2011. Hard working young man with a great attitude. Big time D1 scholarship prospect.
The the commitment post ($), Sailer says he's the "best pure field goal kicker in the nation." He was in Sailer's national Top 12 this summer, but Chris Sailer himself ranks Matt #2 in the country, saying:
He has a huge leg, makes FG's with ease off the ground, and kickoffs with the best of them. Mentally he is very strong showing great maturity to kick at the next level.
Matt himself tells Scout his power will improve when he gets into the weight room, so there's that to look forward to. His long this season was 54 yards (though I assume that's off a tee).
Goudis decommitted from Boise State (to whom he committed in October) to join the Wolverines. According to the premium sites, his only other offers came from Cal and Fresno State.
Scout has partial senior stats:
6-of-10 field goals this year – his longest a 54-yard boot and another 52 yarder for good measure; averaging 43 yards per punt.
Those numbers don't jump off the page to you (especially if he's kicking off a tee), but without knowing the distances on the attempts he missed, it's hard to be too concerned about it - aside from the general panic we've grown accustomed to feeling.
Full game-by-game breakdown in the next edition of Friday Night Lights.
FAKE 40 TIME
The premium sites don't list a 40 time for Goudis, and since he's a kicker it's probably irrelevant. Five FAKEs out of five.
There are several other videos on Youtube, including nailing a 54-yarder.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Goudis is a pretty good kicker prospect, but we've seen that in recent years without much success at the college level. However, the coaching staff feels he's good enough to spend a scholarship on, so he'll get every chance in the world to win the job for next fall.
Recruiting kickers is something of a crapshoot, so it's hard to project too much one way or the other. For a guy who's likely to be a four-year starter, he could be a moderate improvement over the 2010 kicking situation (gulp), or he could eentually become an All-American type.
I prefer to believe in the latter.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has been actively recruiting a kicker for the better part of the 2010 recruiting season, so this comes as no surprise. It takes up one of those 18-20 spots - Michigan currently has about 15 commits, with Anthony Zettel, Chris Bryant, and Kris Frost likely leaning toward going Blue - leaving just a couple more to fill spots.
That means Michigan has to go hard after a defensive tackle (I'm now considering OH DE Commit Chris Rock a definite DT) and a safety, and then if they have another couple spots - for example if Antonio Kinard is not a part of the class - they can fill them as they see fit.
via Roar of the Tigers.
Also the front of the MGoWedding's save the date cards, minus the elder-terrifying text.
It's time for the annual approximately week-long Christmas break, which extends from tomorrow, the 23rd, to the 28th. Normal blog service resumes the 29th, with exceptions made for breaking news of an important variety. A recruiting dead period just began and the only sporting event in the interim is a basketball game against Bryant they should win by 30, so monumental news is unlikely.
Merry Christmas/Holiday of Choice.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Blake Countess Goes Blue
MD CB Blake Countess committed to Michigan last week. Tom spoke with Blake shortly after the commitment, and he had this to say:
I just fell in love with the school, the facilities, and everything the University has to offer really.
He also talked to The Baltimore Sun's Matt Bracken:
“The Big House, I knew about it but hadn't really seen it at all,” Countess said. “When I went there, it was just unbelievable. I really fell in love with the school, the atmosphere and Ann Arbor.”
Touch the Banner on Blake's game:
I can't honestly say that he's "great" at any one thing. But unlike several other cornerback recruits over the past few years (Justin Turner was too big, Demar Dorsey was too thuggish, Boubacar Cissoko was short and harbored too much ill will toward delivery boys), Countess doesn't have any glaring deficiencies. He has decent size, runs well, has good hips, is a solid tackler, and tracks the ball well in the air.
Hypothetical Decommitment Apocalypse
We've addressed rumors (and facts) re: Demetrius Hart's commitment status time and again, but the case remains the same: He's committed to Michigan as long as Rich Rodriguez is the coach. Florida scrapping the spread offense for pro-style sets narrows down the likely competition for Hart's signature, helping Michigan hold onto him. Of course, Alabama just so happening to spend thousands of dollars upgrading Dr. Phillips's facilities is coincidence, I assure you.
Elsewhere in decommitment scuttlebutt, FL CB Commit Dallas Crawford is starting to hear from his childhood favorite, the Miami Hurricanes. Like Dee, Dallas is unlikely to decommit as long as Rich Rodriguez's job is safe, but this certainly throws a wrench in the works. Tom talked to his coach, who gave some reassuring quotes. At least Miami's fans are sure to show the love.
"I think it's a media thing, what they're trying to do, making it a big deal,"
Which is 100% true, of course. Fellow commit Desmond Morgan is effusive in his praise of what a "great guy" Rodriguez is. He's also confident that the staff will return, but will stick with Michigan no matter what. (in the article above, Blake Countess makes similar statements).
And, while we're on the topic, I guess I'll have to mention the Detroit News article stating Dave Brandon's timetable is affecting recruiting, if only because Tom is quoted. My personal thought is that he's not going to change his mind, regardless of how much people bitch about it, so what's the point in continuing to rail on about it?
Looking for positive news? MI RB/Slot Commit Justice Hayes says more commits are on the way.
NC QB Marquise Williams is going to stick with UNC ($, info in header), unfazed by the USC-level sanctions headed their way. Of course, there's a contradictory article about his status every other day, so bear with that one.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost talked recruiting before participating in the Shrine Bowl last weekend:
"It's time for the (Army) All-American game in San Antonio and I'm really excited about that. [If he could choose what to play there] It would be receiver, my wish. That just goes back to showing what I can do. A lot of people want to stress and say, 'You're so good at linebacker so why are you thinking of receiver?' I haven't really been seen at receiver and I don't feel like it's that big of a deal. I'll always have something to fall back on. It's not like I'm running away from something. I feel like if I have an opportunity to do both I'm going to take it."
As for what's going to be the deciding factor between Michigan, LSU, and Auburn:
"It's pretty much going to come down to comfort level," Frost said. "It's going to be what is the best fit for me and what team is going to expose me the most and allow me to make plays and be the best I can be. I'm going to have some time now to look it over with my family and think about it and now's the time to get back to school, get back to studying and get back to the recruiting process."
He plans to make his choice at the Army game. Frost was named the defensive MVP for North Carolina in the game.
High school fluff on Shawn Conway's JuCo adventure.
Michigan sent a big contingent of recruiters to visit SC WR Hakeem Flowers ($, info in header).
OH TE Darien Bryant committed to Nebraska, but wait! He immediately decommitted, so he may still be an option.
Happy Trails, NC TE Drew Owens, who committed to South Carolina ($, info in header).
Local fluffon CA K Connor Loftus, who holds a Michigan offer:
He came into Saturday night's CIF state championship Open Division bowl game with 15 field goals, including a long of 53, and he hasn't missed from under 40 yards. In the Pac-5 semifinals, he had a 68-yard punt against Mission Hills Alemany. Even more impressive is his ability to put the ball consistently into the end zone on kickoffs.
Yes plz. He plans to visit.
In his weekly update, Tom has information of FL S Roderick Ryles and MD DT Darian Cooper considering Michigan.
Michigan, Oregon, and Ohio State are the favorites for IL QB Robert Gregory. He likes that they "play athletes" at the QB position. Gregory was All-State as a junior.
The other part of Tom's brief interview with new Michigan commit Blake Countess regards recruiting for the Wolverines:
Ohh of course. Me and Stefon are really close, so thats definitely going to be something I look foward to doing in the future. We have a bunch of underclassmen studs at my school.
"Stefon" refers to MD WR Stefon Diggs, one of 15 wideouts Scout has already pegged with 4-star status for the 2012 class.
RC Slocum, man about town. This doesn't have anything to do with anything but here's Joe Paterno doing the limbo:
Sort of, anyway. I don't think you're supposed to go that way. Paterno probably thinks going backwards is a Hun affectation. Also prepare for the OBC to burn himself into your retinas:
These are from a recently unearthed cache of photos of former Texas A&M coach RC Slocum that features both Gorbachev and Mathew McConaughey, although not in the same picture. Barking Carnival theorizes that Slocum is the most interesting man in the world, and it's hard to disagree. Gorby!
OTL on oversigning. ESPN's put out what's hopefully part one of an extensive series of interviews with college athletes who have been screwed out of scholarships and swept under the rug. It's LSU again:
So Les Miles…
- Runs a program that oversigns and cuts players who don't seem useful.
- Doesn't bother to tell players they've been cut in a face to face meeting.
- Relies on someone else to send a letter to the kid.
- Refuses to meet with the kid after he's received the bad news.
- Baldly lies about the kid at media day.
Then Elliot Porter shows up and says he had to be a man about getting cut by Miles, demonstrating more maturity than his erstwhile head coach. Unfortunately for those of us making huge "Please Be Our DC, Randy" signs for the bowl game, Randy Shannon's rep as an awesome dude also takes a huge hit.
Not to beat this dead horse for the thousandth time, but this is some bullshit right here and should be a major target for reform. ESPN's doing the Lord's work, and I hope they continue.
The inevitable redshirt. To reiterate something from Tim's presser recap, Devin Gardner's back problems held him out of the last eight games and have set him up to take a (surprise!) redshirt this season:
“His back has been better, and he’s been able to do most of the stuff today,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Saturday.
Should a medical redshirt be granted, Gardner would, in theory, have two years to hold the starting quarterback job. Denard Robinson is penciled in as the starter through the 2012 season.
Yes, the nature and timing of Gardner's injury is unbelievably convenient, but if they've got documentation they've got it and the NCAA will have to grant Gardner his redshirt. We should all go back and undo the Great Gardner Non-Redshirt Infighting, since it looks like Michigan's going to have its cake and eat it too… unless Rodriguez gets fired and everyone transfers and we're starting Jack Kennedy next year.
Gwaltney in repose. A Bruce Feldman article on well-travelled former blue chip recruit Jason Gwaltney, who I remember openly campaigning for Rivals to raise his ranking as just another message board plebe, has a random quote about Rich Rodriguez($):
He says he did learn how to practice full-speed from his days at WVU. "They chiseled that into my brain," he said. "Coach [Rich] Rodriguez instilled something in me. I still owe that man a lot."
Gwaltney ended up at a D-III HBCU in New Jersey and is in an upcoming all-star game with fellow spectacular flameout Fred Rouse. His brother Scooter Berry was an afterthought throw-in but developed into an All Big East defensive lineman as Gwaltney toured the lower divisions of college football, so he's got an obvious what-could-have-been in his own family.
Hello Georgia? After UGA's athletic director was pulled over for DUI with a girl in the passenger seat and her panties in is lap, UGA has a new athletic director. His first scheduling actions were cancelling games against actual opponents that the old guy had put in place, so it seemed like Georgia's brief glastnost period wherein they were prepared to end their infamous policy of never leaving the South was over. This, then, is a surprise:
Preliminary discussions have taken place with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State about the prospect of one or more of them scheduling a home-and-home series with Georgia in the future, UGA athletics director Greg McGarity confirmed to Dawgs247.
“We’d love to do a home-and-home with a Big Ten or Midwestern school that has a rich tradition,” McGarity said. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make that happen.
“Hopefully, within the next year, we’ll be able to have something in writing.”
Georgia and Clemson have a series that extends until 2014, so any series would have to wait until at least then. McGarity says the series would be "way down the road" so one school or the other would have plenty of time to cancel it.
Would Michigan be interested? I'd hope so. Dave Brandon's already set up a neutral site matchup with Alabama that's slightly cool but also thousands of miles from either campus in a generic, if swanky, corporate stadium. From a fan's perspective having a home and home with Georgia is way cooler than a one-off in Dallas. From a financial perspective not so much—Michigan's getting a home game's worth of revenue from the Jerryworld game—but money isn't everything and Michigan needs something to spruce up the schedule in years when Nebraska, Ohio State, and Notre Dame are all road games. Of course, "sprucing up" the schedule in those years means "making it brutal," so maybe not.
Would they be more interested than the other three schools listed? Probably not. I'd bet Michigan is the least likely of the four to actually land a series with Georgia. Because of their Notre Dame series they have to work in games against actual opponents where they can; Penn State and Ohio State don't have any annual commitments and Notre Dame has to fill twelve games every year.
Limbo update, or backdate, or whatever. Yesterday Tom's recruiting post quoted Darian Cooper saying Tony Dews told him Michigan coaches would "know January first" whether they'd be around next year. Recent commitment Desmond Morgan was told something similar with more confidence but something less than rock-hard certainty:
“I’ve talked with coach Rodriguez and the rest of the coaches and they’re pretty confident he’s going to be there after the season,” Morgan said. “I’m pretty confident as well. No matter what happens, Michigan’s a great football program.”
So that's Morgan and Countess in the boat no matter what. Picking up two commits during this time of uncertainty is a nice insurance policy against the uphill battle a January coaching change would see the new guy fight.
Bang-bang. Soony Saad's been called in to the U20 team, whereupon he scored in a dismantling of Canada and essentially announced he'd be back for 2011:
Philadelphia Union striker McInerney scored in the 50th minute while Saad also notched an impressive 25-yard half-volley score in the 34th.
It's nothing new for Saad, one of the top strikers of the ball in the country, who helped lead unsung Michigan to the College Cup as he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. "It was nice being in camp. It was kind of a tough adjustment coming off the college season," he said.
When the subject turned to the College Cup, where the Wolverines suffered a semifinal loss to eventual champion Akron, Saad declined to comment.
"Not until we win the College Cup next season," he said.
The usual disclaimers apply.
Etc.: Zac Ciullo comes in for an extensive profile in the News. Random New Yorker poem about Michigan. Jason King drops some positive fluff about the basketball team along the same lines as my column but with far fewer references to the DOS command line. Might want to update that photo, though.
This should be the last regular edition of Friday Night Lights for the 2011 recruiting class, but there's more to come with new commits and all-star games, etc. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
New Commit MD CB Blake Countess
As a defensive back at a program with lots of talent, Countess didn't have to spend much time on offense, and defensive stats go unreported in high school ball. Interpret the numbers below as a small part of his production this season.
Game 1. Preview. Good Counsel defeated Cincinnati St. Xavier 21-6. Article 2. Another article. None of the articles mention Countess, but his junior teammate Stefon Diggs stole the show (more on him in tomorrow's recruitin' post). Blake had 1 rush for 3 yards and 2 receptions for 22 yards.
Game 4. Good Counsel smashed Bishop O'Connell 53-7. Blake didn't accrue any offensive stats.
Game 5. Good Counsel pasted Bishop McNamara 48-0. Blake came up big on special teams:
The only score in the first quarter followed an excellent punt return by Blake Countess of 52 yards to the Mustang 17 yard line...
Then the "Play of the Game" ensued. With McNamara kicking from deep in their own territory, Blake Countess received the punt at the Mustang 39. He headed straight up field and then, behind some solid blocking, broke left and scampered to the end zone...
The Mustangs kicked off to open the second half and Blake Countess, the Gameday Player of the Game, took the kick at the 13 and raced 87 yards for another touchdown.
He also had a 16-yard touchdown reception. The kickoff return:
Game 7. Paul VI. Blake had 3 catches for 39 yards and a score.
Game 8. Good Counsel beat St. John's 27-14. I don't think Blake played in the game.
Game 9. Good Counsel beat Gonzaga 50-38. Blake didn't accrue any offensive stats, but had a 9-ayrd kickoff return.
The official website for Good Counsel Football is a little more... complete. I encourage you to check it out, because it links to a lot of 1-play highlights that aren't feasible to embed here. It credits Blake with the following stats on the year:
|Blake Countess 2010|
|St. Xavier||W 21-6||1||3||1||9||0||9.00||1||0||0||0.00||2||2|
|State College||W 35-13||0||0||3||46||0||15.33||2||34||0||17.00||4||3|
|Paul VI||W 42-0||0||0||3||39||1||13.00||0||0||0||-||1||0|
|St. John's||W 27-14||DNP|
FL RB Demetrius Hart
Dee is the class 6A Player of the Year, which makes him a finalist for the Mr. Football award for the state of Florida. More Dee fluff. He got to attend the Heisman banquet as a candidate for Army Player of the Year.
Last Week: Opponent perspective. Game preview. Previews galore more . Dr. Phillips fell to Miami Central 27-42 in the State Championship Game, and Dee was kept out of the endzone for the first time all year. Video:
Stats below from the DP Website.
|Demetrius Hart 2010|
|Cypress Creek||W 52-0||14||168||4||12.00||1||7||0||7.00||3||24||0||8.00|
|Oak Ridge||W 56-28||21||126||3||6.00||4||37||1||9.25||1||5||0||5.00|
|West Orange||W 49-6||11||121||4||11.00||4||24||0||6.00||2||69||1||34.50|
|Oak Ridge||W 45-0||18||129||4||7.17||2||71||1||35.50||2||86||1||43.00|
|Seminole Ridge||W 38-28||21||218||2||10.38||2||40||0||20.00||3||66||0||22.00|
|Miami Central||L 27-42||20||39||0||1.95||0||0||0||-||6||105||0||17.50|
This week: Dr. Phillips season has ended at 14-1 as the State Runners-up.
FL OL Tony Posada
This week: Plant's season has ended at 13-3 as State Runners-up.
FL CB Dallas Crawford
Crawford participated in an area All-Star game last week, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass.
South Fort Myers' season ended in the State semifinals. Dallas finished 126/181 passing for 2349 yards and 26 TDs to only 6 interceptions. He ran 112 times for 450 yards and 17 touchdowns, and also had 4+ interceptions, a pair of them returned for scores. He's the career record holder for passing yardage in his county.
Seasons Complete After the Jump
MI RB/Slot Justice Hayes
Hayes missed most of his senior season with a broken wrist. Grand Blanc finished 7-4 and lost in the second round of the State Playoffs to Lake Orion.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Traverse City West's season is over, with a 6-4 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs. Fisher was 1st-Team All-District as a defensive end. Postseason fluff. Jake was named All-Divisions First-Team All-State (Dream Team).
OH OL Jack Miller
St. John's finished the season 11-2 with both losses to Toledo Whitmer (in the second in Round 3 of the State Playoffs). Miller was also named 1st-Team All-District, and the District Lineman of the Year. Also 1st-Team All-State.
OH DE Chris Rock
DeSales's season ended at 5-6 with a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
TX LB Kellen Jones
St. Pius X's season finished with a 10-3 record and a loss in the second round of the TAPPS playoffs. Jones finished with 110 tackles, 25 for loss, and 7 sacks, to go along with 3 fumbles forced, 2 recovered, and a punt block. He was named TAPPS first-team All-State.
MI LB Desmond Morgan
West Ottawa went 8-3 on the season, with a loss in the second round of the playoffs. Desmon was named the captain of the All-Area Defensive First Team, despite spending most of his time as a quarterback.