this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Dodge Charger R/T:
Dodge Challenger registered to Auto Direct and Aaron "Don't Call Me Lane" Kniffin, who claims to have spoken with OSU's compliance director 50 times:
The local news channel followed Pryor around and reports he's been driving it for two weeks.
Not pictured: Terrelle Pryor. Pryor was ticketed in one of these with dealer plates traced back to Auto Direct. Also not pictured: another loaner of unspecified model Pryor was ticketed in.
The Nissan 350z Pryor rolled up to last night's meeting in:
And the Coke Classic shot of a youthful Pryor who has just found out people will let him borrow cars because he's rad:
Ah, simpler times.
I will venture a guess that this is a lot of cars for one person to have in a short period of time and that Terrelle Pryor's taken his last snap at Ohio State.
latter via @lukezim
Well, that was anticlimactic. One day you're all lawyerin' up with Gene Marsh and the next you're calling up Rich Rodriguez for that sweet CBS College Sports hookup. That's life as a warden: one day the cop cars roll up and there's just one way out.
More anticlimactic yet was Waiting For Dohrmann, the end result of which was one (anonymous) awesome story about Tressel rigging a camp raffle and a few more violation-type things that may or may not end up part of a very long document issued by the NCAA. The Dispatch story about Terrelle Pryor's eternal test drive seems more damaging at the moment. That came with strong rumors that Pryor is done at Ohio State as the result of an honest-to-God investigation; the Dohrmann piece is just talking to a couple of unreliable-seeming dudes who may go Ray Small on us once it becomes clear to them that they're going to have to follow Herbstreit out of town. As far as camel-incapacitating things go this was not the anvil promised by Tressel's sudden resignation. It was barely a straw.
So either there's more coming or Ohio State knows that the cats being loosed willy-nilly all over yonder and back can be sourced better than SI can put together on short notice. That's not a huge leap. At this point we have statements from six OSU athletes—Robert Rose (new in the SI article), Ray Small, Antonio Pittman, Maurice Clarett, Mark Titus, Marco Cooper—that hookups on everything from tats to cars were widespread dating back to 2002. Pryor's had at least a half-dozen loaner cars and drove up to a team meeting yesterday in this baby:
Note the temporary tag on the back. Terrelle Pryor is the biggest dodged bullet in the history of the concept.
The picture painted by sketch tattoo artist, discontented former players, random humor-writing walk-ons, and, you know, evidence collected by a federal investigation and a billion public records requests makes—wait. We've done this already. I've used the phrase "beggars belief," and since then we've had the Titus thing and the Small thing and the Pryor car thing expanded and the car guy says he's talked to OSU compliance more than 50 times and, yes, Dohrmann talked to a couple of sketch guys who indicted another three dozen or so Buckeyes. We passed the point where it was obvious Ohio State had come to define "lack of institutional control" about a month ago.
All the steady trickle of information that's come out since has done is confirm what Michigan fans knew in the deepest, most deranged bits of their conspiratorial hearts. All that stuff that the goofiest winged-helmet-baseball-cap wearing fanboi said was the rotten core of the Buckeye empire in various all-caps posts on your favorite message board is… like… true. Close enough, anyway. If it's not yet, accurate-to-date Buckeye insider types rumble about "much more."
But Ohio State's date with the NCAA is months away, possibly longer as they attempt to compile the ever-expanding pile of doom into a coherent narrative. Tressel's done now.
And what is he? Last summer I went on the Bucknuts podcast and grudgingly admitted Tressel was top five coach who had halted the parade of embarrassments OSU suffered under Cooper (Ken-yon Rambo's 0.0 GPA, losses to Michigan, etc). I'd been taken in like everyone other than the tinfoil hat wearers of the internet. He's not that.
He's not a paragon of virtue, either. The most annoying meme in the aftermath is about how Jim Tressel is a saintly man who made a "mistake" and the world is worse off now that he's not a football coach and will not be helping young men from rough and tumble backgrounds meet eligible young boosters:
Jim Tressel’s departure at Ohio State is a sad loss of a man with character. College athletics needs more men like Tressel among its ranks. Sadly, the atmosphere is not conducive for good men lasting too long.
With some notable exceptions, Ohio State fans on the internet have turned into Tammy Faye Baker.
click for slightly big
Tressel did not make "a" "mistake". He has spent the last 15 years of his life cultivating a studied ignorance of obvious NCAA violations. He may be a nice, Christ-fearing dude—not like anyone has flogged the Bible to shield himself from criticism—but he can still do that as a civilian. The fact that he texts psalms to former quarterbacks ("Get yours"—Tressel 3:16*) doesn't mean a series of choices spanning more than a decade is a mistake. He's not even trying to play by the rules everyone else signed up for.
So spare us the hymnal, cooler-poopers. Jim Tressel
is was a football coach, not a social worker. As he did this he turned boys into men like every football coach does. This just makes him a football coach. He's also a hypocrite and liar who lived up to the "Senator" nickname in the end, his moral rectitude just a cover.
He got what was coming in the end, and now a comically inept Ohio State administration—TWO GAMES!—is going to get theirs. We have not seen the last of the gun in the desk drawer in Columbus.
The Importance Of The Stuff In The Dohrmann Article
While you'd have to be a Vest true believer to believe the accusations leveled in it are false, without a federal trail of evidence the track record of such things actually resulting in boot to the face is not great.
To me the most important bit about the SI article is the accusation about Pryor—love you, big guy xoxo—raiding the equipment closet for rad epic loot. That's something trackable. Not tracking it: failing to monitor. Tracking it and not being like "hey, Pryor, why do you need sixteen sets of shoulder pads": some other variety of major violation. Complicit equipment managers are a relatively common source of major violations.
Meanwhile, if the NCAA can't get Rose or Small or someone on the record it won't matter how obvious it is the entire Ohio State starting lineup should be suspended since there's no evidence other than "jeez, duh."
A Strong Contender For Animated GIF Of Forever
Via "The Monarch."
Why Tressel had to go, and why it was obvious, in the words of Mike Riley:
"Jim's deal is a lesson," Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said last month. "Anything that comes up, you've just got to give it to compliance right now. In our world today, you think it's not going to be found out eventually?"
Our world today, indeed. Ohio State discovered Tressel's knowledge of the tattoo parlor case in January only by digging up e-mail correspondence from April 2010.
"I tell our players all the time," Riley said. "As soon as you start going down the wrong track and you start doing something wrong, the clock starts ticking until the day you get caught, because it's going to happen."
If he wasn't fired the above would not be true and the entire rickety structure of NCAA compliance—built on self-reporting—would collapse. Ohio State suspending Tressel for two games was an outrageous joke that shows you the stark difference between the way Smith and Gee handled this and how adults would have. They've botched this from the start and will reap the whirlwind for their efforts.
BONUS: Wetzel on the react to the original press conference:
The moment called for solemn acknowledgement of a mistake and the promise to the university that the truth would be gathered. Instead it was a pseudo pep rally. My phone was flooded with calls and texts from administrators at other schools and conferences who couldn’t believe what they’d just witnessed.
Meanwhile, you can't throw a rock without hitting a Buckeye player excommunicating another Buckeye player for outing the program shenanigans. Tyler Moeller is the latest, this time taking shots at Mark Titus for stating the obvious. Can't wait to see the reaction to Robert Rose now. How many ex-Buckeyes have to state that many in the program are on the take before the others give up the ghost?
And, God, Pryor… I maintain an almost total ban on badmouthing specific kids as bad people but it's impossible to talk about Ohio State football without remarking on the fact that Pryor is a sociopath and this was obvious from the start:
Pryor showed that he felt entitled when he met questions from those who attended his collegiate announcement by scoffing, “Whether I was a bad kid or not, you‘re all still here.”
Not even the Touch of Tressel can redeem him. The car! He shows up anywhere in that car! He's not even a well-written villain—it's like he's a foil for Jackie Chan. Twitter search his handle for schadenfreude? Twitter search his handle for schadenfreude.
Former players react as in an ambivalent fashion. Wojo says this opens the door for Michigan, which yeah. It's almost reassuring that you can rely on David Mayo to come up with the stupidest possible take. Mets Maize has a cat + Keanu Reeves picture via serendipitous Google Image Search. Also words. Genuinely Sarcastic has the full dossier of Tressel's funny business, and he posted it Friday(!). BWS was hoping for more.
*[I know this is not a psalm. TIA.]
Michigan picks up a legacy commit, as the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant has pledged to the maize-and-blue. OH S Allen Gant becomes the 13th recruit in Michigan's class of 2012.
|3*, NR S||NR WR||NR WR||NR Ath|
As you can see, the recruiting sites are lukewarm-at-best on Gant. To my surprise, he isn't viewed universally as a safety, as I had assumed to be the case (and that's the position he'll likely play in college). His profile has fallen off considerably since the days when he was considered the best 2012 prospect in Ohio ($, info in header).
24/7 Sports is the odd site out on height, calling him 6-1 whereas everyone else agrees he's 6-2. Weights range from 198 to 210. A good overall estimate of size then, is about 6-2, 205.
His scout profile has Allen talk about his own game:
“I’m able to read the quarterback well and know what the offense is doing. I’m pretty quick and I hit hard. I’m a very hard-nosed player. I’d like to be better overall and get faster and quicker. I want to brake [sic] on passes better.”
He was the subject of a Sam Webb column in the Detroit News last summer, and his dad talked briefly about his game:
"He is almost 6-2, and weighs in the 205- to 210-pound range. He runs a 4.6, he's got a nose for the ball, he's physical, and he is smart. Having that type of football intelligence, it just makes his job that much easier because you want to react instead of think out on the football field. Plus he's coachable. His football intelligence and coachability are his two greatest assets along with his physical capabilities."
As a fairly huge high school safety, he'd better be wiling to bring the lumber with regularity. At that size, the natural questions about speed (and a potential move to linebacker) arise:
Allen Gant is another of this outstanding defensive back class that has questions as far as what kind of athlete he is. It is actually more than that. It is where he fits. He has the talent to play receiver but I have never believed he had the speed. The big question will be if he is fast enough to play safety and if not does he have the frame to grow into an outside linebacker?
Gant is known for being an intelligent player, so even if he lacks a little bit in 40-yard dash time, being in the right spot to make plays can make up for that. The MSR Ohio Blog talks his game, and it certainly sounds like the instincts are present:
Last fall I was impressed with his toughness on the football field. Stood out as a free safety. Excellent open field tackler. Good ball skills. Anticipated well. Most of all, when he had a chance to "strike" he did. Covered sideline to sideline.
His coach had never played a freshman before Gant came along, so his early reputation as one of Ohio's top prospects was partially based on being an early bloomer.
With 4 linebackers and another linebacker-y tweener (Mario Ojemudia) already committed, I'm guessing that Michigan's coaches are confident enough in his speed to remain at safety. Now that he's committed as a safety, hopefully some of the recruiting sites will rank him at that position and we can get a more accurate picture of where he stands.
Allen had offers from a host of MAC schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (NTM), and Toledo, but he also had a few slightly bigger letters to his name: Boston College, Cincinnati, Stanford, and West Virginia. It's not a murderer's row, but there are definitely a few worthwhile offers in there. He was expecting an Illinois offer ($, info in header) back in February, and his Rivals profile indicates he received it.
Gant had interest - but no offer - from several big-name schools: Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC.
Scout brings the junior year stats:
Allen Gant finished his junior season with 56 tackles, three interceptions and two fumbles caused. He also had 20 receptions for one touchdown.
That was good enough for third-team All-State. He had a recurring hamstring injury through most of his sophomore year, which hampered his production in that season, but he led his team to a state title as a freshman.
FAKE 40 TIME
4.6 seems to be the consensus time, and while that's respectable for a strong safety (in fact quite good I think), guys Gant's size aren't generic 3-stars if they can run that fast. I deem it three FAKEs out of five.
Gant junior video from ScoutingOhio:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He's unlikely to be a big star unless the recruiting sites are just plain wrong, but after a redshirt year, he definitely has the potential to contribute on special teams. and he could end up a starter by the time he's an upperclassman.
Especially with a coaching change underway, it's tough to know where Michigan's current secondary players will end up, what quality of player we have on the roster now (I'm going to assume better than they've looked the past 3 years), so it's tough to project too far into the future. Gant has the feel of a solid upperclassman starter who doesn't get a lot of national (or conference) recognition.
As a youngster, he seemed like a future 5-star thanks to an early maturation, but that has fallen off as other prospects his age have matured as well (think Marvin Robinson). However, Gant has been injured over portions of the last two years, so when healthy, hopefully he can regain that top form.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's felt like it for a while, but spots are going to start actually getting tight now. Pending the decision of Wayne Morgan on Thursday (all indications at this point are that Michigan leads), Michigan has two to three defensive backs in the class, the other being Terry Richardson. Brady Hoke and company would probably take a fourth, but the fifth guy is going to have to be somebody they think very highly of.
The needs going forward are still at defensive tackle and on the offensive line, particularly at tackle. A quarterback and a wideout are also needed, and a good running back would be nice, thank you very much.
(clicks get larger) Unlike other Tricky Tressel images today, MINE SHOWS JIM IN A SWEATER VEST!
They will still celebrate him in Columbus. The name Tressel will mean 9-1, will mean 2002, will mean an era when in-state talent and Big Ten Championships were Ohio State entitlements. But as of today, the argument over the last decade will be simply academic. Jim Tressel has resigned as head coach of Ohio State and a new legacy, a stained legacy, will now be written (#WhileWaitingForDohrmann) (UPDATE: It's here)
To you, hyper informed Michigan fan, there will be few surprises. We knew about the cars ever since Maurice Clarett told police in 2003 that $10,000 worth of stuff had been stolen from his "borrowed" ride. We guessed about the improper benefits too when Clarett corroborated his teaching assistant's claim of academic impropriety, and it came out that Troy Smith's mystery suspension had been because he (as a backup RB) was taking a booster's money. We figured it went higher when the university shot back at Clarett's allegations by discrediting him, then welcomed him back with open arms the minute he backed off his claims (which killed the case). We figured the institution was on board when every "investigation" into a reported incident came back finding there was nothing more than was originally reported.
This weekend former Buckeyes took to the Twitters to evoke "The Sacred Brotherhood" when Ray Small broke code.* Raise of hands: who didn't already figure out that Tress
puts put particular value on discretion?
Of course we saw it because we're Michigan, naturally ready to believe the worst about the Buckeyes. Why didn't anyone else though? SI's Andy Staples took some of the credit (emphasis mine):
If the three highest profile players of a big-time coach's career all got dinged by the NCAA, you would think that coach might be dirty. So why, after Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor all faced NCAA sanctions, did people still think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was squeaky clean? Why, after Tressel admitted in March that he played ineligible players and lied to the NCAA about it, did people still rush to his defense, claiming him an otherwise perfect coach who made one little mistake?
Because Tressel, Ohio State and a compliant media -- yes, I'm just as guilty as the other two parties -- sold that narrative so well.
Like other organizations built on loyalty over honesty, the loyal will remain so. Ohio State's best possible outcome now is for the NCAA to believe Tressel was solely at fault, take the resignation as evidence it's not an institutional problem, and in five years or so revive the sweatervest as a Buckeye legend who won big then graciously took the fall when the gotchyas got him.
Through my blue-colored glasses, that this incident exposed an institutional – not just a coach - problem is wholly believable, particularly in light of the period of time, and how the president and AD have handled themselves since last winter. That the NCAA will see it that way is not so clear. They'll certainly wonder how Ohio State had the gall to think it could get away with feigning ignorance, handing out a few suspensions, then asking for dispensation to play in the Sugar Bowl. But to admit that the tats and the cars were systemic is to admit the NCAA has been blind to the improper benefits at Ohio State manifest for 7 years.
Tonight we expect an SI article by George Dohrmann that may make NCAA's decision for them. In August, unless that's moved back to add more violations, will be the big hearing. Prediction: a lot more popcorn will be consumed before it's all over.
Caveat: There are a lot worse things a person can do than to give a free car to a guy you're still ultimately "paying" a tenth of what he brings you (Ballparking here: Pryor room/board/education/car: ~$12,000-$15,000? Pryor jersey sales: $1 million - 13,334 sold at $75/pop?) They cheated and lied and it was unfair but let's keep this in perspective.
* He's recanting today but The Lantern posted some of the audio. Undisputed: Ray Small likes to say "you know."
EPIC GIF by the monarch:
And it gets better from there.
Your Diarist of the Week is BlueNote, who had the most informative article to date on this blog about the outlook for Ohio State and its efforts to keep information within the Brotherhood:
Takeaway #3: OSU is playing hardball
The general crappiness and irrelevance of the documents retrieved by the AP signals to me that OSU is handing over very little. The school is challenging the AP to keep fighting.
Takeaway #4: The fight will continue
The fact that the AP actually published a story about Doug Archie’s 2009 performance evaluation means that this topic is gold to the media. If this non-story gets major national press, imagine what the AP could expect from a story about Sarniak emails?
In other words Ohio State plans to give up every inch in gallons of blood, and the AP can get so much play off any Ohio State scandal related article they're happy to oblige. Also: BlueNote thinks the highly anticipated SI article tonight might be a (state version of the) Freedom of Information Act tidbit that revealed more than it was meant to.
As for Michigan (oh yeah, us), two great diaries this week on Hoke's recruiting. The first is a fancy schmancy "my guess at the final Class of 2012" thing by JC3. The other: I was pleasantly surprised by the thought put into oakapple's discussion on early commitments and whether they will be a benefit or a great risk. He's talking mostly about the consensus 3-star types. Count me among those in favor of classes large and early, with a "moar study needed" caveat. Recent memory has plenty of last minute offers (Feagin, Butler, Criswell) who didn't pan out (recent last-minute guys who did were in the immediate aftermath of a coaching change). I'd rather hit January wondering if we can squeeze in somebody than have the staff trying to pry guys away, and have a year to focus on 4- and 5-stars with a safety net.
Geaux_Blue put together an APR Comparison Chart for football:
The purple line at the top is who you think it is, the light blue one just under it is going to fuel at least one Penn State fan justifiably acting arrogant toward you at some point in the future, and the worrisome navy line which started among the leaders and which has been going down down down while everyone else is going up up up…c'est nous.
MaizeAndBlueWahoo introduces us to the latest Varsity Men's Sport: Lacrosse.
After the jump, 10,000 words on what I plan to do on my summer vacation.
So I'm doing the Memorial Day thing and as such am almost completely out of pocket. I'm typing on a phone and therefore can't do various things I otherwise would do. Like link. Sorry in advance.
Preliminaries out of the way: wow. Ding, dong. /brucecampbellvoice. Tressel's dead, Ohio State won't have a new coach until November, when the Buckeye season will end no matter their record, and there's an SI story coming out in the next day or so that will apparently explain the sudden shift from "I hope he doesn't fire me" to dead man. In all likelihood that will contain details that put USC level sanctions on the table. In the interregnum in Columbus, shiny friendly not about to get cratered Brady Hoke will be in ur base stealing ur recruits. Full analysis tomorrow when I've got a computer and the SI story. Someone find a good place to get a Dispatch style count up clock in the meantime.
As odd as it may seem the 2012 class is already starting to get to the point where fans speculate on who fits where and how many spots are left. The offensive line is a big priority in this class and with two commitments on board the coaching staff is likely looking for 2-4 more. Here's a look at some of the prospects Michigan has a chance with and a few other notes.
6'6", 280 lbs.
Meador is a four star offensive lineman, ranked 241st overall in the country by Rivals. He holds offers from Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, and Northern Illinois. He has also started to hear more from the Michigan coaches.
Coach Borges came down to my school a few weeks ago. He said they really like me and when they get back from spring recruiting they will discuss offering me. If they invite me up to take a visit then that's when they'll offer.
Jake lives relatively close by, but says he isn't too familiar with the Michigan program or Ann Arbor.
I don't know too much about them, but if they were to offer I would be interested. I would like to make a decision mid to late June. If they offer then I'll try to get up whenever I can.
We'll see what the coaches say about an offer, or if they ask him to camp. He says he wants to make his decision by June, but that could change if other programs start to show interest as well.
6'5", 275 lbs.
Thurston took a trip to Ann Arbor just a few weeks ago and came away very impressed. It seems like his recruitment is starting to wind down now.
I'm probably going to make my decision in July or August. I'll probably see what happens in the next few weeks then maybe take one or two more visits. After that I'll narrow my list down in June and make my decision from there.
Paul has a great offer list including Arizona, Cal, Arkansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA among others. I think Michigan has a good chance here, but he keeps everything very close to the vest. I would be surprised if Michigan didn't make his top list, but anything can happen.
6'6", 275 lbs.
Magnuson is a four star offensive tackle who is ranked 34th overall in the country by Rivals. He holds an impressive offer list that includes Michigan, Cal, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford and others.
He told me back in March how great of a relationship he has with the Michigan coaches from their days at SDSU. He went so far as to call offensive line coach Darrell Funk, "The man." The original plan was to come out to Ann Arbor for an official visit, but that plan has changed.
I'm coming out [to Michigan] on June 10th. I'm really strongly considering them so I want to get out there and see it. They have a couple good 2012 commits, and I know the coaches really well, so I really like them.
Erik also recently told me that Michigan was in his top three with two other schools to be named later. Michigan has a very good chance with Magnuson, and the fact that he moved his visit up to June is a really big deal for them. Just something to keep an eye on.
6'5", 220 lbs.
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Michigan already has a commitment for the 2013 class, so it's not too early to talk about it. Breneman is a 2013 prospect that already has offers from Alabama, Boston College, Maryland, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and now Michigan.
I hadn't heard anything from Michigan until last weekend when my coach informed me that they were coming to my school to offer me. I went to a game at the Big House with my family a couple years ago and was impressed. I'll decide soon if if's a place that I want to visit this summer. They'll definitely be a school that will get consideration.
It seems so early, but since he is already wracking up the offers he's already started in with his recruiting process and will evaluate schools this summer.
I don't want to say I'm going to narrow my list this summer, because I don't plan on doing that for some time. I am more going to decide which five to eight schools I want to visit. I want to learn more about some programs.
Plenty of time for Adam to figure everything out and it seems like Michigan is a place that intrigues him. We'll see if they get a visit or not.
In case you missed it last week, New York DB Wayne Morgan has moved his decision date to June 2nd instead of June 1st. There's no set time yet, but he plans on telling all the coaches of his decision first. I will hopefully have some film of Wayne from a camp this past weekend posted soon.
California DT Aziz Shittu is still committed to Stanford but told me there's a good chance he will still end up taking an official visit to Michigan.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond tweeted that he will be moving his decision date up. He wants to take a few more visits, but has been canceling the most recent [Wisconsin & Auburn]. He told me it will likely come before his first game of the season. Michigan is in good shape.
A new name to potentially keep an eye on, and to go along with the offensive linemen theme is Oregon OL Isaac Seumalo (6'3", 280 lbs). Seumalo is good friends with Cali OL Erik Magnuson, and while he doesn't currently have an offer the Michigan coaches are aware of him. He is a four star and ranked 175th overall in the country by Rivals.
Upcoming visits include: New York DT Jarron Jones [I will have more on him next week] is planning a trip for June 10th, Ohio DB Allen Gant should be visiting in the next few weeks and that is something to keep an eye on, Illinois DB Anthony Standifer is trying to plan a visit in the next few weeks so his dad can make the trip. Ohio tandem Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford had to reschedule their visit from this past weekend. They haven't set the date yet.
Washington OL Joshua Garnett says he wants to take an official visit to Michigan.
If you missed last week's Weekly Update, you can find it here.
When Michigan fans hear Washington offensive lineman they typically think of 6-foot-9, 310-pound Zach Banner who has said he will take an official visit to Michigan. Banner, however, isn't the only highly touted lineman from Washington that has interest in Michigan.
Four star OL Joshua Garnett (6'5", 275 lbs) holds an offer from the Wolverines as well. Garnett also happens to be the 22nd overall prospect in the nation, which ranks higher than Banner at 31. Here's a look at Garnett's film and what he had to say about Michigan.
TOM: We haven't heard too much from you, is Michigan recruiting you?
JOSHUA: Yes, they are. Coach Ferrigno is recruiting me, he's a very nice guy and we talk quite often actually.
TOM: It's tough to gauge someone's interest when they live in Washington. Are you interested in Michigan?
JOSHUA: Yes, very much interested. Michigan has a great football tradition and is also one of the top academic schools in the nation.
TOM: Are you interested enough that you think you'll take a visit to Michigan?
JOSHUA: Yes definitely. It will most likely be an official visit.
TOM: From the sounds of that I assume that you'll be taking your time with your recruitment then? Do you have a plan on when you want to narrow things down?
JOSHUA: Yeah, I plan on taking my time. I'll most likely have it down to five before the season starts.
TOM: Since you said you want to take an official to Michigan does that mean that they will most likely make the top five? I understand this isn't 100%, but as of right now, most likely?
JOSHUA: Yes, that's correct.
TOM: Michigan isn't just a car ride away for you. Is distance going to factor in to this at all for you?
JOSHUA: Distance is definitely never an issue. I like to say that a plane ride is a plane ride whether it's two hours or six hours.
TOM: What's the main reason you're interested in Michigan? Did you grow up a fan?
JOSHUA: I have always wanted to play in that Michigan - Ohio State game. I think that is a big reason why I like Michigan. That game is probably the biggest in college football, and the rivalry is unexplainable.
TOM: That's an answer that Michigan fans will enjoy hearing. Since they probably haven't heard much on you can you explain what type of lineman you are?
JOSHUA: I'm a bullet, not a bowling ball. I'm very fast and explosive. I really use my agility to beat defensive linemen instead of just my strength.
YOU TOO CAN OPEN YOUR MOUTH IN PUBLIC WITHOUT GETTING PEOPLE MAD
Don't. This is the easiest and best way to go about it. What does everyone think of David Baas? Exactly. We think David Baas won the Rimington award. We do not think he has some weird grudge against his younger doppleganger or is Joe Morgan.
If you have to, do not say anything about Denard. Nothing you can say about Denard will meet the standards of the Michigan fanbase, which thinks he is made of rainbows and sweetness and light and will brook not even the slightest criticism. For instance, saying…
You looked fantastic for five games against nobody. That's what you did.
…as a way to "blast college athletes' sense of entitlement" is taking a cheapshot at a guy playing opposite the worst defense in the history of man. Many people will make the internet annoying for a day until the next outrage.
More importantly, it's inane because Denard is the least entitled athlete at Michigan in a very long time. We get it: you hated Rich Rodriguez to the point where you'll roll your eyes at Denard Robinson. You can stop it now.
If you do say something about Denard, at least own up to it. Desmond Howard's response to this was to claim his comment was about "fans and the media," and while the fuller context of the quote does soften it somewhat it mostly emphasizes how bizarrely inappropriate it is to grab Denard Robinson of all people as a "perfect example" of entitled kids.
I mean, it's not like there's anyone else in Michigan's recent past that fits that bill slightly better—
If you have successfully piloted your speaking away from Denard, don't imply the kids currently on the team are lazy and soft. This is called "projection," a malady that often befalls middle-aged men past their glory days. The people on the team have worked very hard for little reward because there are a lot of people who aren't on the team for various reasons. So when you say the effort was "lacking" or Michigan "toughness" is back you are telling Ryan Van Bergen, who can stuff your desk-job-having ass in a can, that he's failing you.
This isn't very nice. Also, the opposite is in fact the case.
If you have managed to not talk crap about the players, you are most of the way home. Congratulations! Now you've only got three topics left:
- Rich Rodriguez is the devil. Accurate! So very accurate. But also played out. Everyone in the room will be envisioning you beating on a dead man. How did that go in the last season of The Wire? You didn't watch The Wire? You only read Rudyard Kipling books? Well, let me tell you: not so good. Also it was biting dead people but telling you that is pointless until David Simon writes a book of illustrated allegories featuring animals. How hard would I buy this book? So, so hard. I digress.
- Shuffling the fullback so you can run a power play at a defense that knows what's coming but is powerless to stop you is the only way to play football. Also very, very true but so obvious in the aftermath of Rodriguez being the devil that it hardly bears mentioning. You are trying to bring the Wisdom Of The Michigan Program to the public, but the public already knows that part in its bones. Fooling people is for communists. The wages of spread are turnovers.
- Brady Hoke is a cuddly bear-god who you, 6'9" high school tackle Zach Banner, should definitely play for. Now we are talking. This is a matter that the public is uncertain about—just look around here a few months ago—and Zach Banner is definitely uncertain about, being one of the few high school players in the country who has not leapt to play for our magic-poopin' cuddly bear-god. This is a topic of major interest amongst laymen and scholars and may result in honorary degrees from prestigious institutions if expounded upon at sufficiently withering, recruit-ensnaring length. Bonus points(!) awarded for pointed contrasts with Jim Tressel.
Escuche y repita. Like last year's Ohio State season, the last three years never happened. They are the Godfather III, the lying-newspaper-guy plot from The Wire, the Brian Ellerbe era… right… forgot. Kipling. Forget this bit.
Remember: the last three years never happened and therefore cannot be commented on BRADY HOKE MAGIC POOPING BEAR GOD SAY IT DO IT NOTHING ELSE
SPECIAL BO-ERA DUDE ADDENDUM: it is not racist that Corwin Brown was not hired by Michigan and you should stop saying that because it's not helping Corwin Brown any.
State turdstorm UPDATE! Yesterday Eleven Warriors graciously posted that Maurice Clarett might be a troubled weirdo who tried to take down Ohio State after he got the boot, but at least he's a trying troubled weirdo and he's not all bad. This is a level of understanding I do not have with Tractor Traylor even after the guy died tragically.
11W's reward for this understanding is to have Ray Small go MoCo:
"We have apartments, car notes," he said. "So you got things like that and you look around and you're like, ‘Well I got (four) of them, I can sell one or two and get some money to pay this rent."
The wheeling and dealing didn't stop with rings. The best deals came from car dealerships, Small said.
"It was definitely the deals on the cars. I don't see why it's a big deal," said Small, who identified Jack Maxton Chevrolet as the players' main resource.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on May 7 that OSU was investigating more than 50 transactions between OSU athletes and their families and Jack Maxton Chevrolet or Auto Direct.
Representatives for Jack Maxton Chevrolet did not return repeated requests for comment.
NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from benefiting from the sale of their merchandise. Small said he wasn't the only one.
"They have a lot (of dirt) on everybody," Small said, "cause everybody was doing it."
Man… Ray Small. That guy was in trouble from day one at OSU, threw regular public hissy-fits about it, and he wasn't even that good at football. If I was an Ohio State fan he would be in my circle of the damned. Their term for this rapidly expanding category that includes Kirk Herbstreit and (to the truly deranged) Chris Spielman is "Fake Buckeye."
You can add Mark "Club Trillion" Titus to that list after he posted there was definitely something "shady" going on with football players' cars, then followed it up with a rebuttal saying that he shouldn't get death threats because that's mean. Titus claims the shadiness was to the point where most students knew or should have known what was going on.
Meanwhile, the local news station is investigating the Gibson thing and while that transaction continues to get more complicated it's not getting proportionally more explicable:
10 Investigates [sic] found that Gibson had a trade-in. He traded in a 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that BMV records showed he bought for $15,400 just seven months earlier.
But the dealership may have given him only $1,000 toward the trade-in, [instead] dropping the sales price of the car he was buying by a substantial amount.
10 Investigates [sic] has learned that's what Kniffin has told investigators with the BMV.
The trade-in business materializes as predicted; an explanation for how Thad Gibson scraped together enough money to buy two cars worth a total of 30k in less than a year is yet to be explained. Along The Oletangy responds to the investigation apparently clearing the transactions:
In any case, it doesn't matter what the BMV finds when they analyze Jack Maxton Chevrolet's tax forms as long as no special treatment was given to Ohio State football players.
It's obvious plenty of special treatment was provided, but where is the smoking gun?
Position paper on demolition of Ohio State program and whether it is good or bad. If Ohio State was going to fall apart by Notre Daming themselves with a series of coaching hires ranging from questionable to insane, that would be a thing to be conflicted about in the same way certain Ohio State fans are bored with a terrible Michigan team they're just going to blow out.
This is a different thing entirely since it suggests the fence Tressel legendarily put up around Ohio's borders is one based on massive NCAA noncompliance. Meanwhile, thanks in part to this (and in part to Michigan imploding) they've gone 9-1 and turned the Big Ten into their personal playground. If the NCAA finds proof of this massive noncompliance and OSU gets bombed into the stone age and is no longer any good, there's no conflict there. It's an unadulterated good. Michigan has been hypersensitive about this stuff since the Ed Martin Day Of Great Shame, and it's obvious their main rival hasn't. Putting that on even footing will help put the rivalry there if it doesn't swing it all the way back to the Cooper days, which fine by me.
Hot under the collar, part II. ESPN's Mike Fish, you may remember from the above-referenced Maurice Clarett bombing, has a new article. This is the header image:
Africa basketball charity, AAU player headed to Indiana, Tom Crean, Indiana AAU coach. This can't be good. Not pictured: involuntary adoption. Hooray Beilein.
Hey let's rehash this again. MZone noticed that I hadn't mentioned Lloyd Carr's election to the College Football Hall of Fame and asks why I hate Lloyd Carr, complete with requisite psychoanalysis and link to me being mad in the immediate aftermath of the Hoke hire when everyone was mad, something I've obviously backed away from in multiple column-length pieces since.
To defend myself: I don't take the CFHOF seriously. It just elected Deion Sanders. When Tom Curtis was elected it warranted about two sentences. For better or worse, I am totally uninterested in the charity work of rich people. I've also said my bit about Carr as Michigan's coach over and over again. Contrary to two-bit psychoanalysis it was not negative, or at least it was far less negative than many.
And I am pissed off at the hostility to change that's obvious every time any former Carr player says something about anything. We've got a program of Joe Morgans. I'm worried how that will manifest itself on the field. It's not hard to draw a contrast between what's gone down the last three years and what would have gone down if Bo was still around. Bo would have been on the warpath; he probably would have dropped by to scream at Rodriguez some. The impression we've gotten from every one of Carr's former players is that there is exactly one person responsible for Michigan's decline—Rich Rodriguez—and not only is that incorrect (Horror, DeBord, Tressel vs Carr) but it's detrimental to Michigan's future. If we got back to the days where every bowl opponent laughs at how predictable we are that will not be good.
(I don't think that's happening because Borges is a real live offensive coordinator and not a broken robot that only calls zone left. Hoke uber alles.)
Eyerolling reorg. Adam Wodon on the inevitable hockey realignment coming sounds like anyone talking about anything last year when talking about conference realignment:
It all starts with Notre Dame. (Well, it all started with Penn State and the Big Ten, but that's already happened.) Think about it — you're Notre Dame's president. Your sports teams all play in the Big East, or, in the case of football, is the most storied program in college sports. You fire up CHN's iPhone app one morning to check the hockey standings, and what do you see? You see Notre Dame competing against some MAC and D-II schools. You recoil. This is not what Notre Dame does. This is not what Notre Dame is.
That is not a knock on the other schools, it's just reality. There is no way that Notre Dame is staying put. That means that the CCHA is certain to lose its remaining powerhouse (from an institutional, NCAA-wide standpoint), and fall further to seven teams. That means the CCHA is in trouble, as a whole.
Maybe Wodon's got some inside chatter on this that he's refusing to mention in an effort to make his column as annoyingly speculative as possible, but this is the impetus for an elaborate reorganization scenario that sees Notre Dame move to Hockey East because they'd rather play Merrimack (seriously) than Ferris State.
Notre Dame is choosing between some games against BC and then a bunch of schools no one at Notre Dame has heard of plus flying for literally every road game and staying in the CCHA. While ND has money, are they going to spend it on that for no real benefit? And will Hockey East expand to an eleven teams just for the dubious benefits of having ND in the conference? Travel costs matter in hockey, the longest season in the NCAA, and no one is going to make enough money on an ND move to justify the increased costs even if "this is not what Notre Dame does." Yeesh.
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