Ace is currently on the street trying to score some icepacks for his fingers and methamphetamine for everything else, because by this time tomorrow the Hello post backlog will be 62.
Meanwhile, in the MGoBlog executive suite* the rumbling basso laughter of world domination. Via Tim Sullivan:
Michigan's 2013 recruiting is on a roll today. Pickerington (Ohio) Central defensive end Taco Charlton confirms that as the sixth commitment of the day, and No. 9 overall for the class.
So… today went well. Charlton is the sixth consensus four star to commit today. I'm going to high five this wall now.
*[no, it's not a basement.]
By the way, Michigan picked up CO OL Chris Fox sometime in the second half of the Ohio State game—he probably felt an impulse to run out on the floor and tackle Ted Valentine and knew his destiny at that point. That makes February 18th, 2012 the Best February Michigan Sports Day In Living Memory.
- Football picks up five(!) consensus four-star recruits: IL OL Kyle Bosch, CO OL Chris Fox, MI OL David Dawson, MI CB Jourdan Lewis, and MI RB/H-back/TE/DE Wyatt Shallman. They now have 4 of the top five in Michigan according to Rivals, four top 100 recruits, and 7 consensus four stars.
- For the second consecutive year, Michigan hockey's senior day ends with an OT winner. They rise to #2 in the PWR, at least at this instant.
- Basketball beats Big Ten leader OSU 56-51 and now has a real chance at its first Big Ten title since 1986.
Muppets? Damn right muppets.
And you can't have one without the other…
ALL OF THE THINGS.
I now know how it feels to be Annyong Bluth.
Welcome to the fourth(!!!) commitment post of the day, for Cass Tech OL David Dawson. He joins Kyle Bosch, Wyatt Shallman, and teammate Jourdan Lewis in pledging to the Wolverines today in what's clearly a massive conspiracy to force me to work for an entire Saturday/give me carpal tunnel syndrome/turn my keyboard into a smoldering hunk of plastic and aluminum. There might be another commitment coming, as well. If that's the case, you'll have to excuse me for putting off the post until tomorrow. I've heard there's a basketball game tonight.
Anyways, on to Dawson.
|NR OG||4*, 90, #28 OT|
Another four-star! There's some disagreement about whether Dawson is a tackle or a guard—I think he'll end up playing inside at Michigan—but his recruitment has blown up in recent weeks and it appears the ratings will follow suit. Dawson is listed at anywhere between 6'2" (ESPN, a low outlier) and 6'5", with the general consensus that he's around 6'4", 305 pounds.
Dawson really started getting noticed on the camp circuit last summer. He spent his first two seasons of high school ball at Cass Tech before moving to Houston for his junior year. Though he's back at Cass Tech for his senior season, the year in Texas explains why he pops up on this Rivals list of the top underclassmen in the Southwest ($):
Dawson is actually a well-known prospect in another region of the country as he moved to Texas from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech late in the summer. The big junior is a road-grading offensive lineman that is very solid in the running game and could end up possibly moving inside at the next level. He put on a show at several camps and combines over the spring and summer and, being the fertile recruiting area of Houston, should see his stock take off after a few more games this season.
While it took a little longer than Brian Perroni expected for Dawson's recruiting stock to soar, you'll see in his offer list that this indeed happened eventually. Allen Trieu caught Dawson as the Best of the Midwest event last February, naming him the Underclassman MVP ($):
Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson had a great season and has had a good start to the off-season at the camps and events he has been to. At 6-4, 290, I think he's a future guard still, but he can play inside or outside and has good technique and strength. He was one of the better linemen fundamentally, which was impressive for a young guy.
That's a pretty solid consensus that Dawson projects best to guard, and this is echoed in other reports, as well; that certainly makes sense given his height. Josh Helmholdt evaluated Dawson at last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, placing him in a class with five-star Notre Dame commit Steven Elmer ($):
While Elmer is the early favorite to be the top offensive line target in the state of Michigan, Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson is likely to push him for that honor. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder has outstanding technique for a young lineman, and his strength belies his years. He was nearly unbeatable in one-on-ones and promises to be one of the state of Michigan's top talents in the 2013 class.
Technique and strength repeatedly come up when Dawson is discussed; it sounds like he's a pretty polished offensive lineman for his age and he has the physicality to make good use of those technical skills.
More recently, Dawson was named first-team all-combine at the U.S. Army Bowl, being mentioned along with Brendan Mayhon and Dorian Miller for being "immovable objects on the line [who] also moved their feet well for being so massive."
Dawson's offer list ballooned in the last couple of weeks. Before committing to Michigan, he held offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, EMU, Florida State, Indiana, Mizzou, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, and West Virginia. He also had interest from Colorado, Houston, Iowa, LSU, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
No stats for offensive linemen.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 40 time of 5.4 seconds, which, um, doesn't sound fake at all. One FAKE out of five, in the hopes that he's actually a bit faster. Considering he's lauded for moving his feet well in his most recent camp appearance, I'd like to think so.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Dawson should slide in at guard along with Kyle Bosch in this class, giving Michigan a pair of top-notch interior linemen. Given Dawson's frame, I think it's also a possibility that the Wolverines think of him as a possibility at center, a huge need for this class. Either way, Michigan could use the depth on the line as soon as the 2013 season, and Dawson provides a high-quality option moving forward along the interior of the line. I'm sure I'll have more on him in the fall, as I'll doubtlessly be taking in at least one—if not more—Cass Tech games this season.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Two offensive linemen down, both likely interior players, means Michigan can go after a couple of high-quality tackles—say, Ethan Pocic and Logan Tuley-Tillman, to throw a couple names out there. We'll see if Michigan thinks they can move Dawson to center or if they decide to pick up another prospect who's actually listed at that position; thus far, the Wolverines haven't offered one, but there's no way they can go through this recruiting cycle without taking a player who can fill that need.
All in all, Michigan now has seven spots filled in a class that should go up to 20-22 players. Six of those players are four-star prospects to at least two recruiting sites, with four of those players committing today. To say the least, this has been a remarkable day—and it might not be over—and a great start in general for Michigan's 2013 class.
As Blue in South Bend just tweeted to me, recruits come in pairs of pairs now, as the Wolverines picked up their third and fourth commits of the day in Cass Tech teammates Jourdan Lewis and David Dawson. I'll start with Lewis, a cornerback who really impressed while playing across the field from incoming freshman Terry Richardson.
Lewis lining up against 2012 Michigan commit Devin Funchess (Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog)
|NR CB||4*, 90, #21 CB|
Lewis will likely be a four-star prospect across the board when all is said and done, and Rivals regards him as a top-200 prospect early in the process. He's listed at anywhere between 5'9" and 5'11" depending on where you look, but having seen him three times this past season in person, I can vouch for him being right around 5'11"—he had a good couple inches on teammate Terry Richardson. For a Tech CB that's huge. There's more of a consensus on Lewis's weight, as three of the four sites list him at 170, which sounds about right.
Lewis has played varsity football for Cass Tech since his sophomore year, but he wasn't really on the recruiting radar until an impressive performance at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp last June, chronicled here by Josh Helmholdt ($):
...cornerback Jordan Lewis (sic), has not made as many camp appearances, and thus is not as widely known, but the 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect should end up generating the same level of interest. Cass Tech has produced a BCS Conference cornerback prospect in four of the last five classes, and Lewis should keep that streak alive. Lewis' overall athleticism is off the charts, and he showed great ball skills in one-on-ones.
Lewis had the unfortunate distinction of being listed as "Lewis Jordan" on the Cass Tech roster for all of last year, and the spelling of his name is routinely bungled.
While Lewis was noted as an outstanding camp performer after SMSB, there were still questions about his on-field ability, but he began to answer those starting with Cass Tech's season opener against Farmington Hills Harrison. Allan Trieu said after the game, "He's a fast, athletic kid, who is not the biggest (5'8, 165-lbs), but makes a lot of plays. He had some nice returns, a couple tackles and an interception on a diving attempt. He holds a Toledo offer, and is a BCS prospect in my opinion." Josh Helmholdt listed Lewis as the #5 performer of the Big Day Prep Showdown—and the top junior, after three Michigan commits and Aaron Burbridge—and gave this evaluation ($):
The 5-11, 170-pound Lewis is very shifty and shows good agility in the open field on offense. His speed is unquestioned, but he also had more pop in his hits than we expected, knocking several ballcarriers backward with good form tackles. His ball skills were also on display with a shoelace interception that stopped a promising Harrison drive. What Lewis will need to improve the next two years is his play recognition, but that will come with experience and the junior had little of that before this season.
I also took in the game, and you can find my full report—as well as a few highlights—here. I thought Lewis was Cass Tech's best player on the field in that game, and I thought much the same when I saw the Technicians face off against Warren De La Salle and Shane Morris in the state playoffs:
Lewis was the best player on the field on Friday, recording three pass breakups and a critical interception (included in the video highlights above), where he read where Morris was going beautifully and made a great play on the ball. Lewis has a couple inches on Richardson, and while he's still quite skinny, he's able to play a more physical game while still exhibiting good speed and agility.
With Richardson doing such a great job blanketing receivers on the opposite side of the field, Morris often tried to throw at Lewis, but the junior was ready—he did a great job of staying right with the receiver, waiting until the ball was there, then reaching around and knocking it away without committing a penalty—his pass breakups all felt like a carbon copy of the previous one. Lewis is the next in line in the Cass cornerback pipeline, and he looked worthy to take up the mantle previously held by Richardson, Dior Mathis, and Boubacar Cissoko, though he has a little bit of height on each of his predecessors.
[Ed-S: That mantle:
Overall, Lewis brings outstanding athleticism to the cornerback position, and his coverage skills improved markedly over the course of last season. He's also not afraid to come up and make a hit, and once he adds a few pounds he could be a plus defender against the run.
Lewis had just two offers—from Michigan and Toledo—when he committed, but he made it clear from the beginning of the process that the Wolverines would be tough to beat. Rivals lists interest from Alabama, Iowa, MSU, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, so clearly some big-name schools started to take notice of his ability.
Lewis recorded eight interceptions as a junior and also had a big impact on the other two phases of the game, scoring six times as a receiver and five as a returner (three kickoff and two punt).
FAKE 40 TIME
24/7 lists him a 4.40, which is faaaaaast. Lewis possesses tremendous athleticism, but I'll have to hang a three FAKEs out of five on that one until I see some confirmation from a camp that uses electronic timing.
Also, check out the 0:40 mark of this video to see Lewis picking off Morris in their playoff matchup.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
With only J.T. Floyd graduating from the cornerback ranks after 2012, Lewis should be afforded the luxury of a redshirt. After that, he should be right in the mix for playing time with Courtney Avery and Terrence Talbott gone after 2013; he could very well be competing with Richardson for a starting spot across from Blake Countess. Lewis impressed me even more than Richardson in the three games I watched them play this season, and he has the potential to be an impact corner early in his career.
Lewis is also a very proficient return man; he could carve out a role in that capacity as well, especially on kickoffs, though it could be difficult to find a spot there with Dennis Norfleet on the roster. Still, Lewis was one of the most impressive prospects I saw in all of 2011, and he's a huge get for this class.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan will likely go after one more corner after only bringing in one player at the position—Richardson—in 2012. The Wolverines are already in the mix for several elite CB prospects, including five-stars Kendall Fuller and Vernon Hargreaves III, and Michigan also has a good shot at Tre Bell and Ryan White. Michigan can be pretty picky with this last corner spot, so look for them to try and fill it with a top-flight player.
Including Dawson (post coming soon), Michigan now has filled seven spots in the 2013 class: one QB, one RB, one TE, two OL, one CB, and a safety. They'll likely take 20-22 players in this year's class, barring greater-than-expected attrition.
North Korea DPR at
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||9 PM Eastern, Today|
|LINE||OSU –7 (Kenpom)|
ASGB png via HSR
In case you allergic to clicking: Jared Sullinger is an NBA lottery pick at center who is a monster at rebounding, shooting, getting to the line, and ORtg in general. It's worth noting that Sullinger's been in a bit of a slump of late. His two-point shooting has slid from 61 to 57 percent in the last few weeks.
Sullinger is surrounded by a bunch of bouncy wing types and 40-minutes-of-hell point guard Aaron Craft. While the bouncy wing types are a little inconsistent, the rebounding and defense they bring makes Ohio State extremely difficult to beat even when they're playing like crap on offense. They possess Kenpom's #1 defense, and their #13 offense isn't exactly terrible.
One thing has changed since Michigan's first matchup with OSU: they now seem somewhat vulnerable to getting pounded inside themselves after getting beat up by Michigan State in their own building. Applicability of this event to tonight's game: 0.0%.
Since squeezing Michigan into a panini press of offensive rebounds and despair… er. Since beating Michigan 64-49 at home in a game that was vaguely competitive until OSU started pulling away several minutes into the second half, OSU has
Beaten Wisconsin on the road in a close-ish game (58-52)
Edged Purdue at home (87-84) in a game where Purdue went nuts from three
Gotten horsewhipped by MSU at home (48-58) and
Churned out a 78-68 win over Minnesota.
That's seen the Buckeyes fall to second in Kenpom. Let's all point and laugh.
Conference four factors:
|Factor||Offense (Rk)||Defense (Rk)||Avg|
|Effective FG%:||51.2 4||45.3 3||49|
|Turnover %:||18.3 6||21.9 1||20.8|
|Off. Reb. %:||36.6 2||26.4 1||32.5|
|FTA/FGA:||39.1 4||28.7 2||36.5|
OSU's offense is pretty good at putting the ball in the net and then gets better when they get second chance opportunities you're undoubtedly sick of hearing about. The defense is all-around throttling.
OSU is only a mediocre three-point shooting team (7th at just under 34%) and takes very few as a result. They do give up a relatively high number of threes, something Kenpom is busy asserting is more important than actually being able to defend them. It seems like there's little actual ability in three-point D numbers.
Get insanely hot from three. Purdue's not much good this year and they managed to stick within three of the Buckeyes by hitting a mere 58% of their threes. They might have even won if OSU didn't hit 9 of 16 themselves.
OSU gives up a lot of threes and doesn't have a lot of control over whether they go down or not. Threes also lead to a lot of long rebounds on which Michigan's lack of size is less of an issue on the offensive boards.
Yeah, it's the desperate act of an overmatched team to close your eyes and hope you can make it rain from behind the arc. And? Michigan's not winning this game unless they have a significant advantage in threes made.
Collapse, collapse, collapse. If the choice is between A) Sullinger grinding Michigan's thin post presence down, getting 57% twos off, and getting to the line and B) taking your chances with OSU's outside shooting, it's hardly a choice at all. Michigan will do what they've done all year, which is cheat like bandits against any and all post feeds.
Morgan actually did a good job against Sullinger last time out since he can front with less threat of getting beat over the top. No one else on the roster has much hope of doing anything other than being an annoyance, even if the temporary Smotrycz-Sulllinger matchups didn't go too badly last time.
Box out Lenzelle Smith and the rest of the world. David Merritt took on some of Michigan's defensive rebounding problems in a recent UMHoops post, pointing out Michigan's missed rotations when the above collapsing occurred. Those rotations left Lenzelle Smith (bottom of the picture) staring down the barrel at this:
The results were predictable. I think we've given up on the idea that Michigan's Stu-based lineup isn't going to get pounded on the boards but Michigan has to do better this time out. Hardaway is a big part of this as the second-biggest dude on the floor (and the guy not rotating above). Speaking of…
Win the mercurial shooter shootout. William Buford and Tim Hardaway Jr. have been plagued with inconsistency, except in Hardaway's case this is actually a way to say he's consistently been laying bricks. Hardaway got a little mojo back against Illinois and now finds himself one of just two Michigan players with a reasonable claim to being as athletic as his opponent (Burke is the other). It would help a great deal if Hardaway can score efficiently. He doesn't have to and probably can't go Brandon Paul; Michigan just needs him to hit open shots and finish better at the basket.
Oh, and rebound.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Tajikistan Air Force FC by seven.
Brady Hoke continues to prove that in recruiting, at least at Michigan, commits come in pairs. After Kyle Bosch committed earlier today, Novi (MI) Detroit Catholic Central ATH Wyatt Shallman announced on Sam Webb's radio show this afternoon that he also pledged to the Wolverines. Michigan now has five commits in the class of 2013, and four of them are already garnering four-star ratings from at least three recruiting services.
|4*, NR DE||
4* DE, ESPNU
150 Watch List
4*, 92, #9 SDE,
As you can see, Shallman is a four-star recruit across the board, though his position is very much up in the air; Michigan reportedly recruited him as a running back, but he also played on the D-line in high school and is listed at DE by Scout, ESPN, and 24/7 (though the latter also lists him as a fullback). All four sites agree that Shallman stands at 6'3" and somewhere between 245-255 pounds, though watching him this year I think he's at or above the higher end of that range.
Shallman was plagued by a hamstring injury for much of his junior year, so it's difficult to find any evaluations of him as a tailback. There is one, however, and it's... mine. Here goes me:
Shallman is at his best running North-South, and while he doesn't have top-flight speed, he does get to the second level of defenders in a hurry. When he reaches the back seven, he has a tendency to put his head down and try to bowl defenders over, which often works but also limits his big plays—to his credit, however, there wasn't a single run in which Shallman didn't fall forward for at least an extra yard or two.
I was impressed, as I pointed out earlier, with Shallman's agility. He's not going to utilize a lot of fancy jukes or spin moves, but his go-to move—the quick jump-cut as he approaches an oncoming defender—worked really well for him. Shallman isn't going to make a lot of guys completely whiff at the next level, but he's shifty enough to get defenders off-balance, and with his power that's enough to shed tackles—Inkster defenders were bouncing off of him all night.
Though he only was asked to do this on a couple of plays, Shallman showed that he was a capable lead-blocker, getting to the second level and pushing his man several yards downfield on a couple of occasions. I didn't get to see him in blitz pickup, as Inkster couldn't generate a pass rush on the few occasions the Shamrocks attempted a pass, but his strength is definitely an asset in the blocking game.
In that game, Shallman finished with 72 yards and two touchdowns on just ten carries, including a very nice 25-yard TD run in which he juked two guys (unfortunately, I wasn't able to get video of the game). He seems like the type of player who could plow ahead and pick up decent chunks of yardage, though he's not as much of a big-play threat, and he echoed that sentiment when I talked to him after the game:
ACE: You watched the game against Western. What do you think about the offense, and how do you think you can fit in and make it better?
WYATT: Right now they're still running more spread because of the personnel that they have, they don't really have the 'I' type of thing that they were talking about to me, because they want me to play tailback. When they did go to the 'I', it was very interesting because they were getting six-yard chunks, and that's the type of football I like. I like lining up, going straight ahead, and hitting some people straight in the face, so that's what I like to see.
In case you can't tell, Shallman loves contact and is not afraid to dole out punishment on either side of the ball.
The other evaluations mostly focus on Shallman's ability as a defensive end. Since there's a decent chance he could end up there by the time his Wolverine career is over, they're worth looking at. Here's Josh Helmholdt discussing Shallman after last year's season opener ($):
We did not get to see the 6-3, 250-pound junior tote the football as we had hoped - he was suffering from a hamstring injury and only played on defense - but once he checked in on the defensive line late in the first quarter, Shallman did not come out until the game was well in hand. At times he looked to be protecting the leg, but mostly he went all out and looked sharp. His athleticism for a big prospect is outstanding and his speed is well above average for the defensive end position. We're still not sure if tailback is an option in college, but Shallman is definitely a high-end defensive prospect with a great motor.
Shallman played sparingly on defense when I watched him play, so I'll trust the more experienced scouts when it comes to judging his ability on that side of the ball. His athleticism for his size is a definite plus; while he doesn't have ideal speed for a tailback, he's more than fast enough to put on a good speed-rush from the edge. Here's Allen Trieu on Shallman after his sophomore season:
The 6'3, 248-lb Shallman could be a fullback or defensive lineman at the next level. Since fullback is not a position every school uses, we're projecting him as a tackle, where he played last year. He's a very good player. He's aggressive and has a quick first step.
Trieu also scouted the same game as Helmholdt ($), saying Shallman "looked good [on defense]. He was active, got good penetration and made a couple plays at or behind the line of scrimmage."
Along with Michigan, Shallman held offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Syracuse. He also had interest from Cal, Florida, Georgia Tech—a very interesting suitor if they were looking at him for running back—Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Wisconsin, among several others.
As a sophomore in 2010, Shallman toted the rock 53 times for 355 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. He also 32 tackles (six TFL), two sacks, and a forced fumble.
I'm still trying to track down junior stats, but I'll update the post if I come across them.
FAKE 40 TIME
From a July 2011 Sam Webb feature in the Detroit News:
At 6-foot-3, 251 pounds, Shallman is far from your typical ball carrier. He'll routinely outweigh many opposing linemen, but don't think for a second that makes him a plodder. The Shamrock standout runs a 4.7 40-yard dash, has a 38-inch vertical and a shuttle time of 4.1 seconds. That makes him pound-for-pound one of the best athletes in the state regardless of class.
ESPN lists Shallman as running a 5.11 (though they do list an impressive 4.18-second shuttle), and I've also seen him listed at a 4.9 elsewhere. I'll give the 4.7 a four FAKEs out of five.
Junior highlights from both sides of the ball:
You can also find Shallman's sophomore highlight reel here.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Shallman is a tough prospect to peg down. He certainly isn't your traditional running back, though he could be used very effectively either as a change-of-pace/short-yardage back or a second weapon in the backfield, either in a dual-tailback set or as a fullback. He has experience at both tailback and fullback, and we could see him used in several different roles as a Wolverine.
The big question is whether Shallman will be able to stick at running back; at around 260 pounds as a high school junior, it's tough to see him staying there if he arrives in Ann Arbor much larger than that. Given that he's a four-star DE prospect, it certainly wouldn't be an issue if it worked best for him to shift over to defense. A potentially apt comparison is former Texas Longhorn Henry Melton, another four-star athlete who was 6'3", 275 pounds coming out of high school. Melton began his collegiate career as a massive tailback, averaging five yards per carry and scoring ten touchdowns on just 87 rushes as a freshman. He continued to grow, however, and by his junior year he had shifted to DE, where he started ten games—recording ten TFLs and four sacks—as a senior. Melton was a fourth-round pick of the Chicago Bears and has 9.5 career sacks as a 295-pound defensive lineman.
It's tough to say at this point where Shallman will end up. If he can keep his weight down, I could see him being an Owen Schmitt-style threat out of the backfield. If he gets much bigger, I think he's better suited to play on the defensive line, where he could stand out at end. My guess is we'll see him start his Wolverine career at running back, but don't be surprised if he's a position-switch candidate down the road.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Shallman gives Michigan a bruising backfield presence, and now they'll focus on bringing in a talented all-around back as a complement. Joliet (IL) Academy four-star Ty Isaac appears to be the top player on Michigan's board, but they've offered several other blue-chip running backs as well, including DeVeon Smith, Justin Davis, Derrick Green, and Keith Ford. Expect the Wolverines to take one more back, likely from among that group; Isaac and Smith seem like the best bets to end up in the class.
Overall, Michigan has now filled five spots in what should be a 20-22 player class. There's still a need for 3-4 more offensive linemen, a couple big-time receivers, and depth across the board.