At Sound Mind, Sound Body Media Day today, I had the opportunity for a quick conversation with LB Commit James Ross.
James (in the video above): I'm James Ross, I committed to the University of Michigan. I committed there because that's the right fit for me, the perfect defense with Coach Greg Mattison, and I like what they're doing with the program.
Tim: You were one of Michigan's first 2012 commits. Is it exciting for you to see a bunch of talented recruits join the class since then?
James: It's actually very exciting to see all these great talents coming to Michigan. All of my close friends are coming, this is a real good experience to see all of this.
Tim: Is it exciting to see some of the guys you've known for a long time like Terry and Royce?
James [far right, with Shane Morris and Richardson]: Yeah, it's actually pretty fun to see all that. All of us played little league together and playing in college together, it just... it was the dream from the beginning, and now to see it's happening, it's really exciting.
Tim: I know St. Mary's doesn't really have winter graduation, so I'm guessing you won't be early-enrolling, right?
James: Well, my school really doesn't allow it, so yeah.
Tim: St. Mary's has made it to the State Championship Game and not quite finished it a couple of times in recent years. What is it going to take for you guys to take the next step?
James: Well, it's been troubling me for some time now. But I think once we get in that situation again, we've just gotta go practice way harder, and just take everything way more seriously. It seems like when we got there, it's like we're happy to be there, and we're not ready to play the game. So once we get there, we gotta take it more seriously.
TIm: You've been committed for a while, has that given you a chance to put your recruiting hat on a bit?
James: I've been recruiting a lot of guys. We were down at The Opening [Nike's pre-season combine], and that's all me and Terry were doing, was recruiting. But, we were at the Big House Barbecue, and Big PeeWee [MO DT Ondre Pipkins], the big D-Tackle, that's all I was in his head the whole time. I got his number, I'm texting him, on Facebook with him. I just need some big tackles in front of me, that's all.
Thanks again to James for taking some time to talk to me. Interviews with Shane Morris and Terry Richardson coming up next week.
Previously: CB Greg Brown, CB/S Tamani Carter, CB Blake Countess, CB Delonte Hollowell, CB Raymon Taylor, LB Antonio Poole, LB Desmond Morgan, LB Frank Clark,
LB Kellen Jones, DE Keith Heitzman, and DE Chris Rock.
|Plymouth, MI - 6'4" 220|
|Scout||4*, #12 DE, #76 overall|
|Rivals||4*, #16 SDE(?), #5 MI, #201 overall|
|ESPN||4*, 79, #24 DE|
|Others||247: 4*, #11 OLB, #6 MI, #208 overall|
|Other Suitors||Notre Dame, MSU, UCLA, NW|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post from Tim. FNL video as well.|
|Notes||Has a twitter.|
Brennen Beyer is a throwback to the Natural Way of Things in-state as established by Bo and Mo and Carr before the cliff Michigan recruiting went off. He's a universal four star from Michigan, he wanted to go to Michigan, he got the offer, committed, and never wavered. Bully for Beyer and the Natural Way.
All four recruiting services have him a four-star player and Scout had him in their top 100. It's easy to see why if you hit up the senior-year footage above, which features a lot of Beyer taking on and defeating blocks en route to making plays. That's a changeup from highlight reels that feature the star swooshing past confused linemen en route to killing some poor 5'10" sophomore. (See: Brown, Pharaoh and Ryan, Jake, not that there's anything wrong with killing sophomores.)
Beyer gets past people even when they try to do something about it:
Beyer overwhelms offensive linemen with his initial burst off the ball and his hands are so quick, it must appear to the linemen that there's simply a flurry of movement in his face. Beyer has a terrific frame and sometimes seems to be made of elastic as he's able to lay out and contort his body to get a ball carrier trying to elude him. Simply needs to add weight and continue to get stronger to be a dominant defender - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com
Tim reported back that Beyer has an odd build with a long torso, long arms, and short legs but didn't know what to make of that, good or bad.
The scouting reports think the bit about the arms is good, anyway. A coach quote:
“I saw him do a 330-pound power clean. For a high school kid? Wow! His arms are so long, too. He’s got really long arms and knows how to use them. But he’s just so strong.” …
“You can’t block him one on one as a defensive end,” Sawchuk said. “He had those sacks against Rockford, and that’s a well-coached team.”
Sawchuk returns to those arms in a freebie interview with Sam Webb:
Sam Webb: From a skill set standpoint; what does he do well, what are the strengths of his game?
Mike Sawchuk: “He has got a motor that does not quit. He just keeps on coming at you. He has got great arm length. He’s really worked on his explosiveness in the weight room with power cleans and the parallel squat and all the stuff we do in the weight room. Probably his greatest thing is his quickness and his motor.” …
people look at the way he uses his hands and gets separation and he’s got those long limbs and his motor and they just love it."
Beyer also draws praise for his lateral quickness and corner-turning first step. A report from the Michigan Elite camp($), which was the only one he attended:
There may not have been a more impressive prospect at the camp … Beyer's first step was unmatched and there was not an offensive lineman in the camp that could keep him from turning the corner. With 4.5 speed and tremendous lateral quickness, Beyer could be a standout at either DE or LB.
All this and he's an excellent student (3.9 GPA, pursuit by Northwestern and Stanford) and citizen. A bit more from Sawchuk and Webb:
Sam Webb: In your experience with Brennen (Beyer) as a player over the years, just what [do] you think of him as a player?
Mike Sawchuk: “Obviously since he’s been in our program he’s done nothing but work his tail off. He’s one of those kids that worked his tail off, not only on the football field and in the offseason and that, but in the classroom as well. He also works at being a great citizen, good character kid. He really has no weaknesses in my eyes.”
That's probably why he was the center of an "epic" M-ND battle that thankfully didn't turn out to be at all epic.
Downsides? There must be downsides since he's not rated higher. All right, yes, there is some disagreement about just how advanced Beyer's technique is. ESPN—the least enthusiastic of the services by a good distance—put out a report that's only middling($):
… He gets off the ball well. While he can tend to lose them at times for the most part he uses his hands well to take on blockers. He needs to watch his pad level, but flashes the ability to keep leverage and be tough at the point of attack. Displays the ability to shoot his hands and create some separation, bend at the knees, generate power from his lower body, and hold his ground. Does a good job of being able to stay square and work along the line of scrimmage. … He is a productive pass rusher. He will use his hands to punch and try and knock blockers out of their cylinder. Displays the ability to try and work to the shoulder and use a move to clear from the blocker.
That's a lot of "flashes," "can," and "displays." It's pretty positive overall but the implication is clear. TTB echoes:
Has a tendency to turn his shoulders, allowing blockers to get into his chest. He does not drive his feet when making contact with the ballcarrier; stronger runners will gain extra yards after contact. He needs to refine his pass rushing moves, because he uses virtually no technique aside from his speed. Beyer rarely uses his strength to overpower blockers or deliver a strong initial blow.
Don't let me take Magnus out of context here—that's just one part of the "weaknesses" section in a scouting report that praises his hands, agility, and dedication ("the definition of a high-motor player") before making the inevitable comparison to Roh. It's just that we're in the weaknesses bit of the profile.
There's also the usual bit about how high school player Brennen Beyer is in high school, which is not college, and if Brennen Beyer would like to play in college he should become college-sized. Everyone (ESPN, coach, TTB, Scout) says this shouldn't be a problem since he, like Chris Rock, has giant meaty bones on which to hang sheets of muscle.
So let's and then see what happens in two years. Hopefully something that sounds disgustingly like celery when we watch the replays of it twenty times.
LANSING -- The cheers and screaming fell silent in a matter of seconds for the Rockford football team and its fans.
Tears of joy quickly became tears of sorrow. A return trip to Ford Field and a chance at another Division 1 state championship was denied when Plymouth senior end Brennen Beyer made a game-winning touchdown catch with two Ram defenders in tight coverage in the back corner of the end zone with 4.5 seconds remaining. …
"(Beyer) is a great kid, and he just keeps playing," Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk said. "As a coach, obviously, you have doubt (when they score that touchdown with just over a minute to play), but these kids never quit."
registered 65 tackles and 12 sacks at defensive end as a senior year... caught 31 passes for 10 TDs as a senior ... compiled 45 tackles, nine tackles for loss and nine sacks during his junior season ...
Teammate and future ND (boo) K Kyle Brindiza on Beyer:
The skills he possesses are crazy," Brindza said of Beyer. "On defense, he comes off the ball so well and he's super-fast, so he's able to get to the quarterback quickly. On offense, he's a big, fast target with great hands. He can outjump a lot of defensive backs, which makes him hard to stop."
Why Craig Roh? Again, take it from the horse's mouth:
"He said they could see me playing a defensive end-linebacker hybrid position like Craig Roh's playing now for them. It's been exciting."
That was the Rodriguez crew, but there's no indication Hoke and company think any different. (Except for that linebacker business. Screw that in the ear.) They're recruiting Craig Roh WDE types in Mario Ojemudia and Pharoah Brown, so that spot will exist.
Roh, meanwhile, was a too-light 6'5"-ish pass rusher who high school offensive tackles thought had super powers. He had a bigger profile thanks to a standout performance at the UA game [Ed-M: and a bit more technical praise -- see: "crab people" meme)], but in all other ways Beyer is Roh-like.
Guru Reliability: Not quite high. Would have been nice to see Beyer go up against elite folk at an all-star game, as those are often illuminating when it comes to the best of the best. As it is there's a not-insignificant spread in his rankings from all-conference sort to good starter.
General Excitement Level: High. Near universal acclaim, impeccable academics, effort level widely praised, high level of athleticism, and good size. If there are any red flags for Beyer they are hard to make out. He'll need some time to get big, I guess.
Projection: Weakside DE is one spot where Michigan is fairly well stocked. Roh and Jibreel Black (and maybe Brandon Herron?) make for an enticing rotation, one that hopefully allows Beyer to redshirt. If Ryan Van Bergen's graduation forces Black to flip to the strongside—and it probably will since the other options are Rock, Heitzman, or a true freshman—Beyer will see plenty of time spelling Roh as a redshirt freshman in 2012. The starting spot will be his to lose in 2013.
Old, old, old. Old enough, anyway. 1981 Purdue-Michigan:
Sort of like that 2007 Northwestern game where Michigan futzed around for 45 minutes before blowing the doors off, though in the NW game Northwestern kind of blew their own doors off.
Memphis stuff. Gary Parrish tweeted that Michigan's first-round matchup in Maui would be Memphis. The Tigers were probably worse than Michigan last year, going 25-10 in Conference USA. They got a 12 seed and were narrowly bounced by Arizona in the first round of the NCAA tourney en route to finishing #87 on Kenpom.
HOWEVA, they were incredibly young, even younger than Michigan. Their three top usage guys were all freshmen and their lone senior was one of those grunt-and-rebound centers who saw about half of available minutes. Kenpom had them #344 of 345, in front of only Stetson. Michigan, #335, was comparatively methuselan.
Michigan loses Darius Morris, though, and Memphis returns everyone save Will Coleman, that center. That's advantage Memphis. Looks like an even game.
The winner will face the winner of Duke/Tennessee in the second round, also known as "Duke." In the event of a first round loss Michigan will likely get a rematch with Tennessee; hopefully they can win that one and avoid Chaminade in the third game.
Like the rest of the economy. Slate has an interesting bit on the sports ticket bubble that seems to be collapsing in the MLB, NBA, and even NFL. College football remains the highest-scarcity sport of all and will be the last to see these effects but you have to wonder at what point will Michigan have trouble filling the stadium because it's a better deal hit up scalping sites. One example close to home:
If you want to take in next week's Indians-Tigers AL Central showdown in Cleveland, for example, you can snag lower box seats in the infield—normally $44—for as low as $25. As a bonus, reseller fees are typically lower than teams' own ticket fees. Given those options, it would be stupid to pay full price at the ticket window.
I wonder what "Let The Bodies Hit The Floor" does to the value proposition of a football ticket.
In the wild. One of the Willy The Wolverine guys sent along a video of some variety of Michgian's one-game mascot. Thrill as Willy plows over some kid he can't see! Marvel at Steve Fisher on a golf cart shaking hands! Check out an obscure argument! 80s hair!
People who have emailed me about the Willy era say he was not well loved by the students, but at least he was organic.
This is love. I'm with everyone else. This is the best bowl name in dozens of years:
It's quaintly named after an agricultural product and has chives. It's too bad it's in Boise during the dead of winter.
Very likely completely false. Tim Rohan envisions an alternate universe just for Obi Ezeh:
Kenny Demens had already won. He wasn’t Obi Ezeh.
That’s all that mattered in the fans’ eyes.
Ezeh, one of the most puzzling players in the storied Michigan football program's recent history, started his career as a Wolverine with promise before he was vilified for his drop-off in play once then-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez changed defensive schemes. Ezeh would have thrived in the downhill, knock-your-teeth-out approach Greg Mattison will surely expect out of his middle linebacker.
Not to pile yet more derision on Ezeh's career, but… dude… come on. Ezeh was a clunky two-down linebacker who couldn't take on blocks or read plays. The mass coaching incompetence didn't help, but ain't no DC who can do anything about this:
This is the reason UFR exists: to prevent statements like the above from going unchallenged. Kenny Demens was instantly much better than Obi Ezeh, which is what mattered.
What the Schutt? To recap yesterday's very long thread:
- Tommy Schutt is a near five star NT to Rivals and Scout.
- He wants to commit to Notre Dame in the afternoon.
- NT Sheldon Day beats him to the punch, causing ND to pull his offer. The ND fanbase is confused.
- Schutt wants to visit Michigan today.
- Michigan says "sorry, not interested," reportedly because an NT commitment had already happened.
- There is no NT commitment. The Michigan fanbase is confused.
Tommy Schutt said he woke up Thursday with plans to orally commit to Notre Dame later in the day.
The 6-foot-3, 301-pound senior defensive tackle from Glenbard West was a victim of timing, though, as his offers from the Fighting Irish and Michigan were pulled Thursday after the schools told him they secured commitments from players at his position.
In a text message, Schutt said he was a half hour from calling Notre Dame coaches to give his commitment when he received word that the offer had been pulled. He was informed that Michigan pulled its offer earlier in the day.
Does Tommy Schutt have gangrene? Lingering, massively infectious, malignant ebola-gangrene?
Michigan's NT recruiting is deeply bizarre. They've got almost no one after senior Mike Martin, Brady Hoke is a DL coach, Greg Mattison is a DL coach, they have 26 spots, and they think having a fullback is more important than securing a second very-highly-rated NT type for a position that sees serious rotation. I mean, this is the NT depth chart next year:
- Richard Ash?
- Quinton Washington?
That is it. Ash is dogged with health rumors, Washington is a converted OL, and sucking Washington over to NT leaves Will Campbell with one sort-of backup in Kenny Wilkins, who's like a 250 pound DE.
If they end up with Pipkins and O'Brien it's all cool. Anything short of that and every successful interior run in 2014 is going to be stroke-inducing.
Etc.: Obviously Casey Anthony is an OSU fan, but why did OSU feel compelled to put out a press release about it? Versus is going to put some college hockey on TV. More coverage is always good and the promise of more HD is even better. They are counting down to kickoff.
I am a long time reader of your blog, this summer I went to Normandy to visit the D Day beaches. Imagine my surprise when in Carentan (where the 101 airborne landed) I saw this car dealer.
We've just gotten some copyright lawyers a free trip to Normandy. Say thank you, copyright lawyers.
One of my biggest fear with the new coaching staff is that they're going to end up marginalizing Devin Gardner because he's not a player they recruited. I think I'm justified in my worry because that sort of thing happens all the time. He certainly has the measurables to play in a pro-style system. And after seeing what Vince Young did at Texas and what Troy Smith did at OSU, I think his skill set could work in a non-spread 'n shred offense.
Here's what the QB depth chart looks like for the next four years -
2011: Robinson, Gardner, Bellomy
2012: Robinson(maybe), Gardner, Bellomy
2013: Gardner, Bellomy, Morris
2014: Gardner(maybe), Bellomy, Morris
So in 2013, Gardner will have to beat out Bellomy, a player the current staff recruited, and Morris, probably the most hyped QB recruit we've gotten since that dude from Brighton. Then in 2014, if he gets his redshirt, he'll have to compete with a sophomore Morris, and I'd say all bets are off at that point.
I think you are paranoid.
Gardner's an interesting guy. He's not Denard or Troy Smith or John Navarre. Vince Young really is his closest comparable. (Insert copious disclaimers about how good Young was and how unlikely Gardner performs at that level.)
What does a MANBALL team do with Vince Young? Do they look at the legs as a nice bonus when the play breaks down? Is Michigan even a MANBALL team? I mean… there's Hoke's words and then there's what Al Borges actually did at SDSU. I'm working on a post about this: the limited evidence we have suggests Hoke means what he says when he says he doesn't futz with Borges at all. It's tough to reconcile that with Hoke's very Lloydball statements.
So… like much about the next few years, how well Gardner fits is unknown. But even if we assume the Lloyd-iest, MANBALL-iest version of Michigan under Hoke he has a major asset: experience. Shane Morris is going to have to be a prodigious talent to wrest the starting job from Gardner when he's a freshman and Gardner is a redshirt junior with two years under Borges. As for Bellomy, his recruiting profile reads like a poor man's Gardner—if Gardner doesn't get a fair shot Bellomy will be in the same boat.
Now that Beilein is going all gangbusters on 2013, Dylan keeps downplaying the situation. I definitely see where he is coming from, as none of them have even signed their LOI's yet. I also understand that it is common practice to pull a kid's fifth year (in McCliman's case). But I still struggle with the idea of hoping Colton Christian transfers, or hoping THJr decides to go pro, or hoping that if we (by some miracle) land McGary that he's a one and done.
What's your take on it? Too early to get all worked up about this? If by this time next year, the roster is exactly the same except without Stu and Zack, is that time to get all worked up about this?
p.s. is it "wrong" or whatever to accept a kid's verbal commitment, but then not allow him to sign the LOI when the day comes? The verbal is not at all binding on the kid's part, obviously. For example, if Stu and Zack are the only ones to leave, could we decide to only take one of the 2012 small forwards? The other would still have a year to find a team, and it would definitely be less morally dubious then, say, a greyshirt or something.
Michigan is currently oversigned by two for the fall of 2013. One of those scholarships can be freed up by not offering a fifth year to McLimans, which is a standard, fair practice. He should have a degree by then.
To not have another one would mean not losing a single player over the next two years. That is exceedingly unlikely. You have to go back to 2005-06 to find a two year period in which no one left without exhausting their eligibility*. In 2005 Tommy Amaker had eight scholarship players—not a recipe for a playing time crunch.
So, yes, it is too early to get worked up. If there's zero attrition over the course of the next year or Michigan lands McGary, then you might cock an eyebrow. Even then you have the Hatch situation** and the possibility of an NBA departure. The chances Michigan sees Tim Hardaway's senior season seem pretty low right now.
There's a balancing act between what's good for the program and what's good for the kids that always leaves some chance you miscalculate. In the case of Nick Saban, that chance is 100% once he signs 24 kids with maybe half that many spots. It's all program there. In Beilein's case the chance no one leaves the team in two full years is small enough that I don't have a problem with handing out one more spot than seems available.
If it does come down to the wire with no room and Beilein has to part ways with someone in the 2013 class, they'll be right to be pissed off. They won't be locked into a LOI with no other options, though. It would be better for the kid.
The most likely outcome of the scholarship crunch in 2013 is a firm handshake for McLimans, an NBA draft party for Hardaway, and Austin Hatch either reclassifying or becoming everyone's favorite student manager. That would actually leave Michigan room for McGary or someone else.
*[Early departures since follow. 2007: Reed Baker, Jerret Smith. (Baker may not count since he had an explicitly one-year offer.) 2008: Ekpe Udoh, Ron Coleman. 2009: Kelvin Grady. 2010: Anthony Wright (fifth year), Laval Lucas-Perry, Manny Harris. 2010: Darius Morris.]
**[It's clear Michigan was planning on four guys in 2013, as they continued to pursue Irvin and Walton heavily after Hatch's commitment. If Hatch does need to be replaced Michigan might have already suffered the attrition to make the fourth guy totally un-sketch.]
just saw this bit on Scientology (no i'm not wearing a tie and white shirt) and made this connection. That teddy bear thingy on the sidelines was beyond bizarre, yet no explanation that i have seen has been put out there. could GERG have been a Hubbardite? Would this explain better our total failure on D?
check it out:
if not, do you know of any story behind this rubbing the face of players with a stuffed animal?
Cazzie has nailed it. When this went down…
…GERG was screaming "YOU DID IT FOR XENU." Explains everything.
In ancient days during the quarterback drought of 2008, there came a child called Kevin Newsome from Old Virginia bearing news that he shalt accept a scholarship offer from the University of Michigan, and there was much rejoicing among the People of the Wolverine for the wise men of recruiting looked into his future and saw his head anointed by many stars.
But then came the dark years when every first-born quarterback among the Wolverines was slain. To escape the same fate, the child Newsome was put unto a basket and floated down the river, where he was found in the Valley of Happiness and raised in the court of the ancient and Great Paterno.
However as he grew older Kevin Newsome saw his brothers -- even the walk-on -- anointed before him, and wondered about his fate. And finally he decided he must leave Happy Valley and seek his fortunes. One day he came upon a shrubbery engulfed in flame, and out of this shrubbery he heard a voice...
Go down, Newsome, way down in
Happy Valley Penn State land.
Tell old -- Paterno...
Let my QBs go!!!!
(da dum da doobie doobie, da dum da dum)
When McGloin came starter his backups said:
Let my QBs go!
They sat so much they could not stand.
Let my QBs go!
(So the Lord said) Go down, Newsome, way down in
State College Penn State land.
Tell old....Paterno....to let my QBs go!
(da dum da doobie dum, da dum da doobie dum)
So Bolden went to Happy Land
Let my QBs go!
He couldn't make Paterno understand,
Let my QBs go!
(Yes the Lord said) Go down, Bolden, way down in
University Park Penn State land..
Tell old....Paterno....to let my QBs go!
(da dum da doobie, da dum a doobie, da dum da doobie dum dum)
Thus spoke Paul Jones, bold freshman said:
Let my QBs go!
Your first-born son's not right in the head.
Let my QBs go!
('Cause the Lord said) Go down, Paul Jones, way down in
Beaver Stadium Penn State land..
Let my QBs go!
And Paterno said:
No! No! No! I will not let them go!
BIG TEN SCHOOLS TO PLAY NINE CONFERENCE GAMES BEGINNING WITH 2017 SEASON
Teams to feature four or five Big Ten home games on rotating basis
Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten announced today that conference football programs will move to a nine-game Big Ten schedule beginning with the 2017 season.
Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division.
The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, while two of 10 teams featured nine-game schedules from 1971-72 and 1977-80.
Michigan gets the slightly shorter end of the stick but that's probably the way they wanted it since they get ND at home in odd-numbered years. An extra Big Ten home game in years when ND is away should help even out the home schedules.
Insert bitch here about how no amount of insane BTN/ESPN loot will ever allow Michigan to play a real opponent in a home and home.