"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
The Michigan commitment train never stops. Back to the front page we go! Action since last rankings:
5-9-11 Penn State gains commitment from Brian Gaia.
5-12-11 Michigan gains commitment from Matt Godin. Illinois gains commitment from Jason Robertson.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
Rivals has released their initial rankings, so instead of watchlist guys, I'm going on the 5-star system for them. Remember, currently unranked prospects by any service receive 1 star.
Full data after the jump.
There's a David Foster Wallace story from Oblivion in which a main character has an incredibly talented sphincter. He becomes renowned for pooping out beautiful works of art and it's all very confusing and revolting and weird and sad because that's the overall thrust of Oblivion. It's called "The Suffering Channel." You should check it out if you've always wanted to read a 90-page story about poop art*.
What I am saying to you is this: Brady Hoke is not entirely dissimilar from the talented Brint Moltke. The man poops magic. In this he is the exact opposite of the star-crossed Rich Rodriguez. Because we are (largely) not clinically depressed people trying to grapple with 9/11 we can leave out the existential dread. The man poops magic. Yay!
When Hoke took the job he brought some dudes with him and no one was that impressed since no one had ever heard of them, and then he asked Greg Mattison if he'd like to come back to college a year after he'd flirted with Florida and his defensive backs coach was going to be hired away. If you listen to Peter King, they really liked the defensive backs coach and didn't necessarily love the idea that their DC would constantly be flirting with a return to college. So they said "okay, you should probably go" instead of backing up the dump truck of money at his house. So now Michigan has a veteran defensive coordinator Urban Meyer says is "the best recruiter in the country" who can say "you == Ray Lewis."
When Hoke took the job Michigan State had barely had to fight for the top player in the state the past couple years because his coach had him ready to pick Michigan State a year before he signed. The guys responsible for that are no longer at those high schools and four of the top five players in the state are either from Cass Tech, best friends with the guys from Cass Tech, or Michigan fans. Michigan got all those guys.
When Hoke took the job Ohio State was the omnipresent Big Ten Death Star, scandal free since the arrival of Darth Tressel and merrily blowing Michigan's seasons to bits. There was no reason to believe it would change until Tressel entered his JoePa phase about ten years from now, which is when Hoke would be getting ready to retire himself. Then a lawyer inadvertently sent a photon torpedo down the exhaust hatch.
So. When Brady Hoke was hired I put up "We Are ND" which wait why link when you can embed:
This was both an opportunity to post "We Are ND" again and an editorial commentary on hiring an old guy with an indifferent career record instead of a young one who can plausibly be declared up and coming. At the time I thought Hoke was good to beat OSU maybe three times in a ten year career and then would give way to the next guy because he'd be 65 by then, and while this would be an improvement on the last decade there are several Southeast Asian prisons that would qualify as an improvement on the last decade vis a vis OSU.
A few months after Hoke's hire the two low-probability events above have transpired. Michigan's ceiling in this brave new world is now unknown. Or more unknown than "probably not as good as Ohio State," which wasn't exactly an axiom in the first place.
It's likely Ohio State will be searching for a new head coach soon, and the addition of Mattison not only promises defenses better than not only the Rodriguez-GERG debacles but those of the last half-decade of the Carr era when punt-and-strangle became punt-and-strangle-the-DC. Even if Tressel manages to survive he will take a heavy hit from the NCAA. His reputation is already in tatters. Michigan State's renaissance will be brief and quickly ended if in-state recruiting continues on the path it has this year, and Michigan already has the top guy in 2013 whispering in his classmates' ears about where they should go.
Meanwhile, Hoke has done a tremendous job to not screw it up. This is not a backhanded compliment. Not screwing it up is really hard. Greg Robinson: QED. Hoke knew and acquired Mattison; even if the Ravens weren't fighting hard having the temerity to ask or the knowledge he could get him is something. He has not lost any of the in-state locks to Penn State or Ohio State or Notre Dame or Michigan State and along the way he flipped two of the three guys Michigan State fans were banking on and probably the third if he can get his grades up. A wave of media and program adulation was waiting for anyone who could say "hi, I'm not Rich Rodriguez"; Hoke has turned large sections of Southeastern Michigan into lovesick tweens by saying "you're not Rich Rodriguez either!" He hasn't blown his layups, which is more than Michigan's head coach has been able to say for a while.
The prognosis now is much better than it was in January. Hoke will be able to shovel early missteps onto Rodriguez's grave—already the tallest mountain east of the Rockies—and ride out the awkward transition from the spread, at which point he'll have a roster full of guys who are qualified, a career record worlds better than Rodriguez's, and a talent advantage over his division opponents. From there it's a matter of grabbing that goddamn win over Ohio State and seeing what happens. It's hard for me to think we'll be as good as spread terror du jour in any particular year, but let's whine about that bridge when we get to it.
Or: Wednesday Recruitin' Wasn't Particularly Subtle About This Yesterday
Matt Godin Goes Blue
MI DE/DT Matt Godin committed to Michigan on WTKA this morning, and though the podcasts are not available quite yet, it was apparently a good one. Here's another quote Godin gave to Tom:
"We have one goal, a National Championship. I've already been talking about it with my future teammates. We are going to be a defense with a nasty streak."
After reading a lot of commitment posts, one tends to see two patterns emerge to rationalize a lowly three-star... The other subset would be the prototypical ‘Oh, Iowa and Wisconsin make championship contenders out of these types of kids every year’, but what does that mean? It means that the kids may not have the same explosive potential as others, but are high effort, smart, and (for the most part) pretty technically sound. I think it’d be hard to put Godin anywhere but the latter category
...There are no further breakdowns of his game - yet - so for now, enjoy the Hello: Matt Godin post. And (since I forgot to add it this morning) a hearty thanks to MGoUser Six Zero for the image.
NC OLs Clayton and Brock Stadnik committed to South Carolina. Michigan had been interested in Brock only, and when it became clear that the twins insisted on attending school together, the recruitment cooled quickly.
IL WR Jordan Westerkamp committed to Nebraska. Michigan wasn't a serious player for him, but he's a (new) teammate of IL DT Jaleel Johnson, a recent recipient of a Michigan offer, who seems to really like Michigan.
CO TE Evan Baylis has committed to Oregon. Something tells me Brady Hoke's staff isn't sweating the loss of a tight end.
He's not off the board yet, but GA WR Jaquay Williams is making a commitment soon, and I for one would be shocked if he picked Michigan.
The Interview Portion of Our Programming
FL QB Bennie Coney is still including Michigan among his top 5, and certain reports have indicated that's a final list. He's also turned his act around after being kicked off Plant City's team last year, according to Coach Wayne Ward:
When you’ve made a mistake, the only thing that people remember was that mistake, no matter what you do. For me, he’s been doing good. He has a 3.0 (GPA) in the classroom, he just scored an 18 on the ACT so he’s qualified already. That just lets you know that he’s making the proper steps in becoming a collegiate athlete. …He’s been doing everything the right way, we just want to make sure we stay on that path.
Tom talked to former Wolverine Ricky Powers, the high school coach of OH S Jarrod Wilson:
Jarrod is a smart kid, and I know he's planning on narrowing it down soon here. I don't know who it will all be narrowed down to, of course Michigan will be on the list. I think he'll have schools like Michigan, Stanford, and Notre Dame which shows you his intelligence...
I think he has a timeline, but I try not to talk to him about it too much. He's quiet, but he's a great kid and he really will break down different things to make a decision. He'll make the right choice.
There's plenty more on Jarrod in the interview, but sounds like Michigan is not heavily recruiting his teammate, OH WR Corey Smith, who is deciding soon ($, info in header).
It was better than I expected. They showed us around a lot and explained all the schooling stuff to us. They were good people, they seem like I could build a relationship with them. I'm just looking around right now, I'm still committed to Ohio State.
Though he says he's firmly committed to the Buckeyes, we'll see what happens with their infractions case.
CA WR Malik Gilmore talked to Tom about his recruitment:
I'm still taking everything in right now. I want to get out and take my visits and then I will start to narrow down the schools. I've been hearing from Cal, UCLA, and Northwestern lately, so we'll see. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I will be seriously considering Michigan in all this.
His commitment is still a long way out, but Michigan is definitely a school he's considering.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins was the subject of the latest Sam Webb column in the Detroit News. Michigan seems to be in strong position. Allen Trieu on Pipkins's game:
"Pipkins is a big-bodied space-eater that can command double teams, but he's quick enough and light enough on his feet to penetrate and disrupt," said Trieu. "Once he learns to really use his hands and consistently play under people, he's going to be an even tougher guy to move and block... Big kids like him that are 320 pounds and move the way he does are very rare."
And his high school coach Greg Reynolds:
"Ondre is strong and quick off the ball, and when he can latch onto an opponent and stay low, he can take care of some gaps for sure," Reynolds told Scout.com. "He gets double-, sometimes triple-teamed, which allows our linebackers to flow freely. He plays with a good motor. His job is to draw the double- and triple-team, but he is very disruptive in the backfield. We're going to do some things next year to try to open things up for him."
The Saginaw expatriate is on track for a late summer decision, or he may let his recruitment drag on a bit longer.
NY QB Chad Kelly visited Ann Arbor last week, and talked to Tom about his impressions:
My impression was that it was a great program and they're turning it around from the past few years. I think it compared pretty well and overall it was a good time... In the process I'm just checking everything out, trying to find the pros and cons of all these schools. I will make my decision before the season though.
He'll have to camp to earn an offer, but Michigan might be in good position if they show interest.
Tom interviewed AZ CB/ATH DJ Foster following his Michigan offer last week:
As of now I kind of have a top five, but schools keep offering so it keeps changing. Right now it's USC, ASU, Oregon, Stanford, and Cal. That changes all the time though, like when schools like Michigan offer...
I plan on taking all five of my official visits. I'm definitely going to try to use them on schools that I can't really see on unofficials. I would love to use one of them on Michigan.
If the Wolverines can get him on campus, they have a chance to land him, but we'll see if such a visit actually happens. Since it sounds like Michigan wants him on defense, here's his highlight from that side of the ball:
The MSR Ohio Blog compliments OH OL Commit Caleb Stacey:
Some colleges are looking for that "hard-nosed tough guy," and two that come to mind are Caleb Stacey(Oak Hills) and Benny McGowan(Centerville). Both need to improve pass blocking techniques. Both need to work on balance. Both do bring that toughness and nastiness that Zach Born [sic] brought to Ohio State.
Despite the frequent misspellings, apparently this guy is legit. Plus he's complimenting a Michigan commit, so I'll trust him.
Other Offensive Linemen: WA OL Zach Banner is one of the top offensive linemen in the nation, and stands at a massive 6-9, 300. he has guaranteed that he will visit Ann Arbor ($, info in header). TX OL Michael Starts wants to visit Michigan this summer. CA OL Kyle Murphy is interested in Michigan ($, info in header). TX OL Trey Keenan has a Michigan connection ($, info in header).CA OL Jordan Simmons was expecting a visit from Michigan last week. Michigan visited MN OL Jonah Pirsig earlier this spring ($, info in header). Michigan is "up there" with CO OL Paul Thurston, who visited over the weekend ($, info in header).
Defensive Linemen: GA DT Jordan Watkins may be receiving a Michigan offer this week. NY DT Jarron Jones is a soft commit to Penn State, and he'll visit Ann Arbor in June. Michigan has offered VA DE Ken Ekanem.
Defensive Backs: TX S Will Hines had Michigan coaches visit last week, no word on an offer yet. NJ S Elijah Shumate is "high on Michigan" ($, info in header). A Michigan offer has piqued the interest of GA CB Geno Smith ($, info in header). Michigan has offered FL RB/DB Nelson Agholor. He's one of Rivals's new 5-star prospects.
Army All-American nominations have started to drop, and include some Michigan commitments.
Hopefully there is a (brief) break in commitments this week, so we can take a step back and take a look at the recruiting class as a whole in the next edition of Wednesday Recruitin'.
OH RB Dymonte Thomas recently visited Ann Arbor with his cousin, 2012 RB Bri'onte Dunn.
IL WR Laquon Treadwell should be on your radar . He's a teammate of 2012 prospect Anthony Standifer.
MI DE/FB Wyatt Shallman has picked up a Michigan offer, but the coaches told him they want him at... tailback? He's 6-3, 250 as a high school sophomore, so uh... yeah...
On a visit to Ann Arbor for the Michigan spring game a couple weeks ago, MI DE/DT Matt Godin offered his commitment to Brady Hoke. He is the 11th commitment of Michigan's 2012 class. He told Tom the reasons behind that commitment:
|3*, #39 DE||NR DT||NR DT||4*, 92, #12 SDE #239 Ovr|
So the four premium sites disagree on his position, and unfortunately the two that have rated him agree on where he'll play. That means we have a pretty good idea of where he stands among defensive ends, but as a DT, he's still a mystery. With that in mind, we move on to the measurements: the sites have a consensus at 6-5 (Scout is an outlier, per usual), and somewhere between 253 (combine verified by Rivals) and 265 pounds.
As for the evaluations, Scout asks him about his game:
“I’m quick off the ball and I use my hands well. I get great separation too. I move pretty well and have very good vision. I want to improve my technique and tackle better. I’m also trying to get stronger and more physical.”
Those are pretty standard "I am good at some things, but want to get better at other things"-type comments. Every high school player needs to improve strength, so that's no surprise. His movement skills seem to be his strong point, and Forward Thinking agrees:
Godin is a big man with a bigger motor. The first thing that strikes you is his excellent athleticism for his size. It's rare to see a big man move around like he can. He isn't the most explosive player off the ball, but once he gets out of his stance it doesn't take him long to get into the backfield.
Explosiveness and strength will be his weaknesses at this point. Allen Trieu (HT: Forward Thinking):
On the defensive line, Detroit Catholic Central's Matthew Godin has great size, and is athletic for his frame, he just needs continued technical work and he needs to get stronger. I like his frame, his motor, work ethic and he has agile feet for a big man.
The weaknesses are common to most high school prospects, so as long as he can live up to his potential in a college weight program, they probably won't be a huge deal. He was recently profiled by the Flint Journal:
Coach Tom Mack said Godin exemplifies what a hard-nosed player is all about. “In practice, he demonstrates his abilities very well — playing the game of football, that’s the No. 1 criteria. You have to be able to mix it up,” said Mack. “That’s a quality of a great football player. He does a great job of focusing in on what his assignment is. He exhibits a lot of mental toughness in the game. I think his mental toughness is a key element. “I think he directs himself very well as far as getting the job done.”
Though Wisconsin is the "USC Quarterback" or "Ohio State Safety" of offers for linemen, that's primarily a distinction for the other side of the ball. Still, I'll trust Wisconsin's coaches when it comes to evaluating the big guys. Michigan State joined the Badgers as Godin's other Big Ten offer.
Outside of the Big Ten, Matt had offers from the ACC (Boston College, Duke), the Big East (Cincinnati, Syracuse), and lower-profile teams from the Big 12 and SEC (Missouri and Vanderbilt, respectively). From the ranks of the non-BCS leagues, Buffalo was his only listed offer. If he hadn't made such an early decision, there's no doubt his offer list would have swelled to something a bit more impressive.
Scout has junior numbers:
As a junior, Matt Godin earned All-Catholic League honors after recording 66 tackles, 28 for loss, two sacks and one batted pass.
He's a defensive end in high school, so the low sack numbers are a little troublesome, but there's such a wide range of high school offenses it's tough to cast any blame. Obviously he's able to get into the backfield, as his 28 TFLs demonstrate.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the only premium site with a listed 40 time, at 5.03 seconds. His Youtube highlight (embedded below) says 4.98. That's not bad at all for a 260-pound guy who's in between defensive end and defensive tackle. Only two FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Godin is the sort of kid who is unlikely to make an impact early in his career, before blowing up (or at least becoming a very solid role player) in his final years on campus. As a high school player who notably lacks strength, a year in a college weight program can work wonders. For that reason, I think he's a lock to redshirt as a true freshman, as long as Michigan has enough strongside defensive ends ready to play in 2012.
In his first two years actually on the field, he'll get limited playing time, mostly in blowouts. However, as a junior, he'll work his way into the starting lineup, and perform effectively in the position. As a 5th-year senior, a second-team All-Big Ten honor is possible. Depending on how he develops, he could earn even more impressive honors.
Though I project him as a strongside defensive end here, there's always a chance that college-level strength and conditioning see him put on more muscle mass, and become a 3-tech defensive tackle. As an underdeveloped high schooler, the range of possibilities for his career is wide-spanning. He could be a career role-player, or a future star. I'll trust Greg Mattison's scouting talent on this one, and split the difference.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It seems likely that Godin will at least start his career as a defensive end. If he puts on more weight, he could (finally) be Michigan's first defensive tackle in the class, but all reports have him at least starting his career at defensive end. So, that makes him the third defensive end in the class, and Michigan is probably only looking to take one more - another strongside guy, and even that one only if he's elite (Chris Wormley pls).
Going forward, Michigan's biggest needs are an elite running back, a good wideout, an interior defensive lineman or two, and a couple more on the offensive line - preferably tackles. They could also use a quarterback, but with Shane Morris's commitment to next year's class, they have the luxury of holding out for a top guy.
This afternoon was last weekend all over again as far as the hockey team is concerned. Max Domi's NCAA dreams turn out to be the usual fiction designed to evade the OHL draft:
- Rumors that Domi is going to be traded to prospect-pirating London are rampant. Deals are always bad news since OHL teams essentially always have the kid they're trading for locked up.
- These rumors are immediately shot down by Kingston, with Doug Gilmour calling them "garbage." Apparently Domi is not allowed to talk to other teams until camp, but OHL rules are flouted so frequently they may as well not exist.
- People more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the OHL laugh at this as a technicality to make it look like something other than Kingston drafting Domi specifically to trade him to London, apparently the only place he'll report. Kingston has to wait until September for their camp to open, whereupon Domi will fail to report. This will get them a compensatory pick next year, at which point London will trade them some stuff and Domi will go there.
- Michigan Hockey Net noticed that Domi's post-draft tweets about going to Michigan have been erased.
So scratch that. Domi's not coming to Ann Arbor.
In better news, Bob Miller is reporting that Bryson Cianfrone is indeed a Michigan commit and Michael Spath is reporting that Brandon Burlon might not be headed for the pros quite yet. His decision to bolt, even if temporary leaves him with some work to do in class and with the stern glare of Red Berenson, but I'll take some chance of Burlon and a commitment from an otherwise top-ten OHL draft pick over no chance and no Cianfrone.
Now we can all fret about Cianfrone actually showing up, and when that would be. Most likely it he would join the Compher/Motte/Allen class in 2013.
Colorado offensive lineman Paul Thurston decided to take a trip out to Ann Arbor on Monday with his father. The 6-foot-5, 274-pound lineman took in Michigan's campus for the first time and told me about how the trip went. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say.
TOM: You're from Colorado, so it's not like this was a two hour car ride for you. What made you decide to visit Michigan so early?
PAUL: Well, we went up Monday and just got back today. I know Michigan, they're a big time program and the scholarship offers aren't going to be around forever. I thought it would be best to get over there and when things heat up I'll have already seen them and know what they're about.
TOM: You said when things start heating up. Does that mean you have a timeline for when you want to decide?
PAUL: Yeah, I'd like to do it before the season or during the season. So probably around July, August, or September is when I'll make my decision.
TOM: What did you know about Michigan before this visit, or what made you so interested in them?
PAUL: Probably the big time tradition they have there. These coaches I'm sure they'll get back to that again. When I got the offer it was definitely a place I was interested in.
TOM: Ok, so tell me about the trip then. What all did you get to see?
PAUL: It was my first time in Ann Arbor, and when we got there we went to the athletic complex. I met all the coaches, talked with Coach Hoke, talked with Coach Funk, and took a tour of the facilities. The next morning we got a tour of campus, saw the academic center, and we saw the Big House. That was pretty crazy. Then after that we talked to Coach Hoke again.
TOM: The Big House was crazy? How did it compare to other schools you've seen so far?
PAUL: Yeah, the Big House was crazy. You go to a place like Nebraska and they have a pretty big stadium, but then you walk on that field in the Big House and that place is huge. I was in there talking with some of the coaches about what it's like on gameday with all the fans.
TOM: You mentioned talking to the coaches, what were they talking to you about?
PAUL: They were telling me where I'd be playing, where I'd fit in, and where they stand. Talking with Coach Hoke he was able to tell me some things about the program, chat, and just get to know me.
TOM: Where did they tell you that they want you to play? Tackle or guard?
PAUL: Coach Funk said I'll probably go in and play left tackle. If I can play there, then good, if not then they might move me to guard or right tackle.
TOM: Your dad went with you on the trip, how did he feel about it?
PAUL: He really liked it. He said it's definitely a top place and a good place to go.
TOM: We talked about your timeline, but do you have any leaders at this point, or does anyone stick out to you so far?
PAUL: No, I don't really have any leaders yet. I'm coming back from all these visits and trying to get everything on paper. I think I'll take a couple more visits, I'm not sure where yet, but it's coming together slowly. We'll see who starts talking to me.
TOM: What are the most important aspects for you when you're evaluating a school?
PAUL: Some of the big things for me are a good weight program, if they can get me ready and get me ready to compete. If I like the coaches and my position coach, and how long the coaching staff will be there.
TOM: After this visit how do you think Michigan stands for you?
PAUL: They definitely fit all three things I'm looking for. I talked to the weight coach and he has everything I'm looking for. They were telling me that they don't plan on going anywhere either.
TOM: Was there anything that stuck out to you on the visit, or anything unique?
PAUL: Well, I actually got a call that I was selected to play in one of All American games while I was in Ann Arbor, so that's something I'll remember.