somehow we're only 124th
Sort punchy posts today, I guess, but a reminder: softball takes on Alabama in their WCWS opener tonight at seven EST on ESPN. Varsity Blue has a thorough preview.
"We appreciate the efforts made by both UMass and Bowling Green to accept one-year contracts to play at The Big House," Athletic Director Bill Martin said in a statement issued by U-M. "The scheduling landscape is becoming more difficult and we discussed the open dates with a number of institutions and want to thank them for their time and effort during this process."
The Wolverines will welcome UMass to Michigan Stadium Sept. 18, a week after traveling to Notre Dame. U-M will then host Bowling Green Sept. 25 before opening Big Ten play Oct. 2 at Indiana. The Maize and Blue still have yet to fill the final open date (Sept. 4) on their schedule.
As you might remember, UMass was rumored to be the newly-renovated Michigan Stadium opener, but this will not happen. Martin on that date:
"We are working hard to line up an opponent for the opening game in renovated Michigan Stadium," Martin said. "We hope to have an announcement in the near future."
The implication behind Michigan's strenuous denials that UMass would be the opener was that they'd try to find an opponent that was appealing, or at least moderately interesting. We'll see if that comes to pass.
John Calipari, folks:
UK announced Tuesday that three scholarship players will not be back on the team next season.
The three were A.J. Stewart, Donald Williams and Jared Carter.
Each of them has been told to play nice or else and has quotes thanking everyone for the opportunities, but privately they must be seething. By the numbers this is vastly worse than the Alabama stuff, as Calipari signed the class in the full knowledge he'd have to boot almost a quarter of his team to do it, without the luxury of medical redshirts. And he's not even done: if Jodie Meeks comes back and there are no academic issues, two more guys will have to get show the door. It's indefensible. Kentucky should be ashamed they allowed it to happen.
Meanwhile, a walk-on was taking about a scholarship with Gillespie and then got the cold shoulder. This doesn't come close to the level of the departed above since the player didn't come to UK under the impression he could spend four years there and end up with a degree, but the manner in which it was handled is revealing. The JCCW on that:
Time for tweeting? Check. Time to give a good kid, a lifetime Kentucky fan and Kentucky native, the common courtesy of telling him he's not needed in person? Or even over the phone? No dice.
These guys got cut so Calipari could cram his five-member recruiting class, which will no doubt feature a number of one-and-dones, on campus, and the idea of the "student-athlete" dies a little more. Calipari's now two for two on abandoning schools just as they get nailed with major sanctions for activities that—like Steve Fisher—the headman didn't know about because he didn't want to. Add in his record as an assistant at Kansas and Pittsburgh and Calipari has been at four schools, all of which have been hit with major infractions stemming from his time there. (Here's the NCAA database for these things; unfortunately it's impervious to links.)
Yeah, John Calipari had no knowledge of (probably) Derrick Rose's fraudulent test score, but that's sort of the point: he didn't know. And he didn't know Marcus Camby and the agent blah blah blah. He's not an idiot and neither are the people at Kentucky. And neither is the public. We're all terribly cynical now.
I find this stuff hugely depressing. Calipari can't take his two recruits and coach the guys he's got and wait a single year to graduate some kids, he's got to boot upstanding players off the team now so he can win now because that's just what he does, and the Kentucky administration just watches. All Kentucky has to do is wait and they'll have their full compliment of NBA-focused players who regard school as a nuisance and Kentucky as a marginally preferable alternative to Europe. Not even that's good enough.
I wonder about people who don't care about anything past the final score, don't care how that stuff goes down. I'd hate to be the guy behind A Sea of Blue right now, as he's not one of these people:
What he has done is effectively turn UK into an NBA franchise, and while that might be good for wins and losses and national championships, it isn't going to be welcomed everywhere. Some people are going to be very upset with how this is going down, and they have every right to be. UK has historically honored its scholarships, and has only rarely (if ever) done what is going on right now -- forcing players to transfer in order to make room under the "scholarship cap."
He excuses this behavior in two ways: blaming the athletic director for letting it happen and citing the massive contract Calipari signed, which "demands immediate results."
Why? It doesn't, of course. It demands eventual results, or at least it would if anyone at Kentucky gave a tenth of a crap about the players currently on the team.
I look at the rest of that guy's post, which is filled with halfhearted defenses of Calipari's long and checkered past and just cringe. I'd hate to wake up and see my basketball team filled with mercenaries and the country's biggest asshole on the sideline, winning the hollow victories of the morally bankrupt. What's the point of pretending Kentucky's basketball team is wing of the university anymore?
All right, back to Paskorz: he's a 6'4", 230 pound LB/DE who will play "spinner" or… no. You know what? I give up. Everyone in the comments calls it deathbacker, so deathbacker it is. This guy's playing deathbacker.
|3*, #62 DE||3*, #28 WDE||78|
Prepare to hear an inordinate amount about Paskorz and his brother during the 2010 and 2011 Notre Dame games: the elder Paskorz is a fullback at Notre Dame.
It appears ESPN rushed to get an evaluation up as soon as Paskorz committed, because as I was assembling this he went from 40 (unrated) to 78 and picked up an evaluation. The most interesting portion of it as regards Michigan:
At the high school level he plays from a "two" point stance and could be considered as an outside linebacker / defensive end hybrid prospect in the right fit. Overall, we feel he will fit best more as a traditional defensive end. He could be asked to play from a "two" point, but seems best suited to play near the line of scrimmage in an attacking fashion.
This is a Greg Robinson recruit like a 5'8" guy with dreads is a Rodriguez recruit. The ESPN evaluation spends a lot of its time talking about that three-point stance and flaws in his technique that come from not being in it. The implication: Michigan got Paskorz's offer out more quickly than a lot of other school because the others were waiting to see if he could put his hand down full-time; Michigan doesn't care.
The rest of the ESPN evaluation is moderately positive, praising his size and frame but saying stuff like "displays ability to" BLANK "but needs to be more consistent." Solid is deployed frequently, and his style of play is dubbed "workmanlike."
About a year ago, Jim Stefani ran down some rising junior tight end prospects and listed Paskorz #2 nationally. That ranking is old, though, doesn't encompass everyone's junior year, and should be taken lightly.
Minnesota, Virginia, and Pitt were Paskorz' other major offers.
I couldn't find even a whisper of any.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout's profile lists a 4.74 combine time, which was a combine time and shouldn't be FAKE.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
And it's flimsy indeed here, with very little to go on other than ESPN's evaluation and yawns from Scout and Rivals. It's so sparse here that I actually watched Paskorz's highlight reel in an effort to form an opinion—usually a futile task for non-tailbacks—and came up with this: yup, that's a two-point stance.
As the younger brother of a highly recruited player, Paskorz is not a sleeper in any way and we should take the rankings at face value. You might be able to argue that he's a better fit at Michigan because of the deathbacker slot and that an internal ranking at M would have him higher—and evidently did than most major schools. But this is another generic three-star with little upward mobility and eh offers. Paskorz's most direct comparable is a Spytek or one of those workmanlike—there's that word again—defensive linemen from the mid-90s.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
When OH LB Antonio Kinard committed the assumption was he was also destined for deathbacker, but he's listed at 200 pounds, not Paskorz's 230. With Michigan is pursuing a number of other guys—Ken Wilkins, Marcus Rush, Will Gholston (though don't get your hopes up there, I guess)—for the spot Kinard might be regarded as a middle linebacker recruit eventually.
Michigan's picked up a commitment from PA LB/DE Jordan Paskorz. Informative update coming… considerably later. I have to go suck at soccer.
Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Justin Turner, CB Adrian Witty, LB Isaiah Bell, LB Mike Jones, LB Brandin Hawthorne, DT Will Campbell, DE Anthony LaLota, DE Craig Roh, OL Michael Schofield, OL Taylor Lewan, OL Quinton Washington, WR Cameron Gordon, WR Je'Ron Stokes, and WR Jeremy Gallon.
|Detroit, Michigan - 5'8" 186
|Scout||3*, #44 RB|
|Rivals||3*, #37 RB|
|ESPN||78, #48 RB|
|Other Suitors||Iowa, Minnesota|
|Hello: Teric Jones|
|Notes||Cass Tech (Cissoko, Campbell, Gordon)|
Teric Jones, the third member of Michigan's 2009 class to graduate from Cass Tech, went from Indiana recruit Cortez Smith's backup to the sort of player who would net and accept an early Michigan offer over the course of a single combine in January of his junior year. Jones went down to San Antonio to participate in the Army All-American junior combine, where he was "one of the biggest stars" after knocking out a smokin' hot 4.37 40. Even if that trips your FAKE sensors, that was the fastest time at the event, and that's no mean feat. (Maybe it should trip those sensors, as that time is often reported as a 4.47; either way he was the fastest guy there.) Jim Stefani has more detail:
Very impressive at the 2008 U.S. Army Combine, running the fastest forty at the event (4.37), putting up 20 bench reps and looking great in drills, scurrying past LBs and showing soft hands catching the ball. An All-Combine performer.
Although small in stature, running back Teric Jones came up big everywhere else. His 4.47 40-yard dash time was the fastest heard about all day and he put those numbers to practice in the one-on-one drills, catching several long passes down the sidelines after leaving defenders behind.
"I wanted to let everyone know that I am one of the top backs in the nation," Jones said. "I wanted to show my speed and agility and show that I am a big playmaker."
USC was calling($), Michigan was offering, the track was still smoking, and after he committed there was sure to be a rankings surge…
…that totally failed to materialize. Jones ended the year a middling three star everywhere. Oh well. It's not like he hid, either, showing up at the Penn State Nike camp and racking up over 1,600 yards as a senior. Here are many of those yards in a nine-minute highlight reel (youtube killed the audio due to copyright stuff):
Despite this, the recruiting sites took a long look and said "meh."
ESPN did have some kind words, though:
Jones is a major sleeper in this class if he can land in an offense that utilizes his good speed and elusiveness in space. … Can attack a defense in a number of ways as a runner. Perimeter speed to take it the distance on the outside, suddenness and body-tilt to slice through the small creases in-line and deceptive strength breaking tackles. Has a natural smoothness and fluidity to him as a runner and shows good body control. A true weapon and homerun threat in space with his great burst and acceleration. Loses little speed when coming out of his cuts and squares up quickly assisting his power as a runner.
ESPN's main problem was a McGuffian lack of yards after contact "despite a strong frame". Despite that he's a "great one-cut-and-go slasher" that shows "spurts of great top-end speed"; they say he's a huge mismatch in a wide-open spread offense.
Hey! We've got one of those!
GAME MVP- Teric Jones, Cass Tech Jones finished with 161 yards and two TDs and constantly picked up chunks of 20 yards. He is just sick in the open field with great cut back ability and field vision.
NGS also took in Cass Tech's season-ending loss to Southeastern, during which Jones was "solid" (20 carries, 97 yards, TD) but "held in check."
In fact, Michigan might be shooting Jones into lots of space as a slot receiver. Rodriguez said Jones was a slot receiver who "may also get reps at running back" at the signing day press conference, and Jones did have some nice receiving numbers as a junior: 24 catches for 306 yards.
Why DeAndra Cobb? You may remember Cobb from such touchdowns as "What are you doing, Ernest Shazor?" and "Goddammit, Shazor!" during the Michigan State game that would turn into Braylonfest. He was a lightly-recruited JUCO jet engine who was mostly a kick return threat, so this comparison isn't particularly tight. I'm having a hard time coming up with a Michigan player main asset was his ability to make one cut and hit warp 9 without resorting to Tyrone Wheatley, which is obviously not the right comparison.
Guru Reliability: High. Combine, camp, healthy senior year on a team with Will Campbell. And they're all in agreement.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. This was trending towards low just because everyone's so eh about him, but Lord he's fast and that ESPN scouting report makes it sound like he's a guy better suited for the spread 'n' shred than the general population.
Projection: Whether he's a tailback or a slot receiver he's destined for a redshirt to add weight and not waste time.