YMRMFSPA = "you may remember me from such players as." Note that this is not supposed to be a projection of success; we only know how successful players play, as unsuccessful ones don't.
|Lauderhill, Florida - 6'0" 186
|Scout||3*, #42 S|
|Rivals||4*, #14 S|
|ESPN||80, #22 S|
|Other Suitors||Ohio State, Wisconsin, Tennessee,
South Carolina, Stanford
|TomVH interviews Vlad; MGoBlog commit article.|
|Notes||Best name in the class; early enroller.|
Emilien seemed ticketed for Ohio State before a senior-year injury knocked him out and the Buckeyes accepted a slew of defensive back commitments. He received a mid-march offer from OSU and favored the Buckeyes for a long time, but never pulled the trigger. Offers followed from Tennessee, South Carolina, USF, Auburn, and Illinois before Michigan followed suit in late April. LSU followed up with one.
It was at this point Emilien and OSU started drifting apart, as he remained uncommitted while six other DBs signed up. After some on-again, off-again stuff—due in part to some malfeasance on the part of OH S Bradley McDougald, then an OSU commit—Ohio State reappeared on his list for good at about the same time Michigan got back on it. After officials to Wisconsin and Michigan, Emilien picked M the day after the OSU game.
The ACL tear that held Emilien out his senior season, and two big schools' reaction to it, may have made the difference:
"It meant a lot to me that U-M stayed loyal to me after I hurt my knee ... others stopped recruiting me at that time and that hurt. Michigan stayed with me; they showed me they will still be with me in tough times as well as good."
So: that's a wide selection of impressive early offers and continued, if intermittent, Ohio State pursuit despite their flood of defensive backs. Plus you've got two sites giving him four stars despite the injury. Sounds good, but we're probably going to have to wait to see him on the field. Coach quote:
"Vlad is still just really developing,'' Davis said. "He was a running back as a freshman. I think he has the potential to be just like [current Gator] Major Wright.''
Major Wright, you say?
Of course, Wright was a major (ha!) reason Florida's secondary was so toasty crisp in 2007—Citrus Bowl what—and he didn't spend his senior year on the sideline. Emilien's early enrollment is probably not enough to offset inexperience and any lingering effects from the injury.
But he'll work when he gets here:
WHAT I DO TO STAY IN SHAPE: "I'm a workaholic; basically all I do is train, train, train. I wake up at 5 a.m. and go train. I run track, too, so I'm trying to keep myself in shape for that. I lift weights. Go on the track and do a couple of 400s to keep my endurance up. I run a couple of 110s, because that's what they run in college. I've got to get used to the college life and make sure my speed is up."
Pray to Baby Jesus that he got an A in geometry; if he does we've got something here.
Why Jamar Adams? Approximately same build, same sort of early offer, and he's the only Michigan safety in the last ten years that wouldn't be an insult.
Guru Reliability: Low. Wide spread and a senior-year injury.
General Excitement Level: Moderate Plus. OSU safeties not named Jamario O'Neal have played out of all proportion to their rankings for years now and I'm extremely happy to pry a guy they thought was worthy of a March offer out of their hands. Probably underrated, but the knee injury increases the chances he won't live up to those offers.
Projection: Either sparing special teams time as a freshman or (hopefully) a redshirt. In 2010 will be a major threat to start at strong safety, though he might have to fight Brandon Smith to get a job.
it comes. it is the glendening. prepare your rosewater. [er: commenters point out this is actually Wohlberg, which is true.]
Hockey won four straight. I'm staring at a box score that shows Michigan down 2-0 after seven minutes and then this:
Travis Turnbull (Louie Caporusso, David Wohlberg) PPG 15:04
Brian Lebler (Travis Turnbull, Robbie Czarnik) 16:44
Luke Glendening (Louie Caporusso) GWG 15:32
Luke Glendening (Louie Caporusso, David Wohlberg) ENG
That's the equivalent of basketball winning with 30 points from David Merritt. The night before Michigan pulled Hogan after he gave up 3 goals on eleven shots and put in Sauer for the third and then Sauer went out and won the next night. The once-settled goalie situation now seems unsettled, but four wins over decent competition is four wins. Michigan has now moved into third place in the CCHA and has nearly clinched the first-round bye. Notre Dame is six clear and is all but assured the regular season crown—things would be much more interesting with competent refereeing a couple weeks ago—and Miami remains a game ahead of M.
[Update: Hogan had the flu and pulled himself out, apparently.]
…and moved way up in the Pairwise. The win streak has moved Michigan into outstanding position in the pairwise. They're second overall now, somehow, and Notre Dame has fallen to fourth. If the season ended today, Michigan would finally get to stay home and play in the Grand Rapids regional.
I'll spare you the details as to how the bracket is formed—those interested can get them at USCHO—but forming a coherent one is tough at the moment because three teams currently in the tournament are guaranteed hosts: Minnesota, Yale, and UNH. Michigan's bracket on a pure seeding basis is frickin' righteous:
15. AH autobid (probably Air Force)
However, Yale has to be in Bridgeport and there can't be a first-round intra-conference matchup, so someone would have to get swapped out or in. The thing that seems to make the most sense right now is swapping Yale into BU's bracket and Denver into Michigan's, but all this stuff is going to change a thousand times before the end of the season. It's not worth getting exercised about.
You want Notre Dame to lose, lose, lose, as if they slide ahead of Michigan in the PWR they'll get the spot in Grand Rapids and Michigan is getting shipped. (Probably. The rule book no longer demands that #1 seeds get placed in order of seeding.) Also feel free to root against UNH, as their hold on the tournament is tenuous at the moment and their exclusion would help Michigan not get hosed.
The margins in the PWR are always thin, so Michigan has a lot to play for in the final couple weeks of the season and the playoffs. They've got a couple of road games against Ohio State—which has to be kicking itself after it took a 3-2 lead against ND with under three minutes left, then took a spearing(!) major, let the game get tied up with a second left, and lost in OT—and the season-ending home and home against Ferris. OSU is solidly on the bubble for the tournament and will be playing for its season against Michigan; Michigan will be playing to keep pole position for Grand Rapids. Should be an excellent series, and both games are televised.
Mark Mitera's prognosis got grimmer. Michael Spath:
When [Mitera] met with the entire media about three weeks ago, he was energized and talking about a mid-February return. Not so Monday. Admits getting back into playing shape is much harder than he anticipated. Looks good when he does skate, but his stamina is lacking severely. Said today he wasn't even sure he'd be back for the final weekend of the regular season Feb. 27-28.
Spath updated that with a quote from one of the coaches stating that if Mitera was ready for the CCHA playoffs he'd play in them—and remember they'll have two weeks to prepare after the Ferris series—with the most likely lineup change being Chris Summers to forward.
I'm not wild about that idea since Summers has been excellent on D and the return of Mitera would be an opportunity to sit the penalty- and mistake-prone Llewellyn (although he may have played better the past couple weeks); meanwhile the Michigan grinders like Winnett and Fardig and Ciraulo and Glendening have all been playing well.
Michigan picked up a depth forward for next year. Chris Heisenberg is now listing Lindsay Sparks as a Michigan commitment. Sparks was committed to Brown until his M switch. Yost Built has more on Sparks; sounds like he'll be a depth forward. Maybe John Shouneyia upside?
Notre Dame announced a new arena. Ding, dong, the Joyce is dead. Jeff Jackson has already made them a power and they'll be one until he retires; the new arena should help him recruit. The CCHA's days as the Big Two and little ten (or eight or nine) are over; Miami and ND are here to stay.
So: I'm back. It might be a little slow today as I attempt to catch up on almost two weeks of happenings and assimilate them into coherent thought. But it might not.
First, though: massive thanks to UMHoops, Varsity Blue, The Wolverine Liberation Army, Yost Built, The Hoover Street Rag, MVictors, Diarist Jamiemac, and longtime commenter and general blog affiliate Colin for picking up the slack and then some in my absence. I hope you found a couple other blogs to read during our painful separation. Also, Tom Van Haaren turned in an MGoBlog first by breaking the commitment of OH WR Jerald Robinson.
A common question: where was I? This, hopefully, will reveal all.
You will note that guy's slammin', laser-enhanced Michigan hat:
A second commonly-fielded question isn't actually a question, it's "you can't ever do this again," which sentiment I appreciate. This was long and ill-timed and next time someone asks if I can evaporate for almost two weeks in February I'll say "uh… no". HOWEVA, this was also the first time in over four years that I'd taken more than a weekday away from the blog outside of the annual Christmas break. I'll probably do it again at some point. But in summer.
Also appreciated is the flood of donations that came in when the WLA browbeat y'all. I was sitting in a McDonald's in Aswan—free internet!—the last time I got my email and was stunned, flattered, and then a little bit suspicious of the tide. Many thanks to everyone who chipped in.
As a reward for tolerating my absence, here's a list of all the things you can't take on Egyptian planes, including "spear," "weapons for killing cattle," "spiral taking away instrument for cork plug," and, bizarrely, "roller skating shoes." (click for big; well worth it):
Now, on with the show.
Hi. I'm back, and tired, and it's 3:30 AM but I've already slept seven hours today so, like, hi.
The Daily has confirmed the rampant internet rumor that Steven Threet was planning on a transfer:
"I have decided to transfer from the University of Michigan," Threet wrote in the statement. "I have requested and received my release. I do not yet know where I will continue my collegiate career, and have no further comment until that decision is made."
This is obviously not good for anything except my prediction that Tate Forcier would be the opening-day starter. For all Threet's faults he looked competent at times last year and could have been passable as a sophomore; Michigan is basically down to the two freshmen and then it's time to close your eyes, pick a walk-on, and pray.
So, yeah. Hooray for good news immediately upon returning.
Hosted by Varsity Blue. We'll get started shortly before the game.
Walkons? Walkons.The always-awesome Jim Stefani has sleuthed out a number of preferred walkons for Michigan's class of 2009, and he has anointed New York Offensive lineman Tom Lindley the catch of the bunch. Lindley may have been deserving of a full ride elsewhere:
“Though he would have merited a ride somewhere else, lineman Tom Lindley of William Floyd will attend Michigan as a preferred walk-on next fall and try to earn a scholarship down the road.”
but will join Michigan's football team with the benefit of academic scholarship money, and will try to play for a scholarship in the future. Lindley was unranked by Rivals and Scout, while ESPN named him the nation's #131 offensive guard prospect and gave him a grade of 74.
Rodriguez, a former walkon himself (as I'm sure most Michigan fans are already well aware) has long championed having a robust walkon program at Michigan (again, most Michigan fans already know this). Lindley and AA Pioneer's Nader Furrha are the notable walkons for 2009, and the program will undoubtedly continue to grow in the future. As I've said before on Varsity Blue, I would love it if Michigan's program became renowned like that of Nebraska pre-Callahan, and prospect were turning down offers from the likes of Michigan State to try their hand in Ann Arbor.
Because mock press conferences haven't gotten old yet, I say! Presented without further comment:
Numbers. An unnecessarily high amount of fan attention and angst seems to go into which numbers the incoming freshman will sport in the fall. In MGoBlue's Wolverine Welcome series, the already-enrolled freshmen give a little insight as to (a phrase which here means "reveal") which numbers they'll sport come September.
Will Campbell - #73.
Vladimir Emilien - #5.
Tate Forcier - #5.
Mike Jones (obligatory "WHO?") - #27.
Brandin Hawthorne - #7.
Anthony Lalota - #90.
Vincent Smith - Hasn't been Wolverine Welcomed yet. Informative update when the information is available.
Basket-ed Ball. The Wolverines travel to Evanston on Sunday to take on Northwestern. The Wildcats may be a bit vulnerable, as they chocked away their tournament dreams, for all reasonable scenarios, with their EPIC FAIL against Illinois last night. They led by 14 in the second half, and by 6 with under a minute to go(!) before falling to the Illini. A Michigan win would go a long way towards ramping up toward a tournament push.
SMQ on M. Rivals' Dr. Saturday takes on the Michigan issue. Synopsis: Expect better next year, but certainly not a Flowers for Algernon-like leap.
The author's work can usually be found on his site, Varsity Blue.