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Before moving on to the third of our four regions of the tournament, let's look over the results from The Bad Times region, which weren't nearly as close as I expected but did feature our first (minor) upset.
#1 Rage Stripping: 2,802 (88%)
#8 Hat Antics: 373 (12%)
#4 Sheet Throw: 1,150 (44%)
#5 Rage On The Run: 1,491 (56%)
#3 WELL OKAY: 2,279 (86%)
#6 Plea To The Football Gods: 360 (14%)
#2 Slow-Motion Meltdown: 2,194 (79%)
#7 Intent To Deceive: 597 (21%)
And now, the Harbaugh In Action region, a loosely defined grouping of GIFs featuring Harbaugh doing... things. As always, click the stills to open each GIF in a lightbox.
HARBAUGH IN ACTION REGION
(1) Dr. Harbaugh vs. (8) Pre-Snap Adjustment
I'm never going to top my original caption for this so why try:
Dr. Harbaugh: "What seems to be the problem here?"
Patient: "It's my back, doc."
Dr. Harbaugh: "Oh, that's no problem at all. A little breeze through the ol' mine shaft will have you up in no time."
Patient: "I've made a huge mistake."
The belt-lift is, in fact, a time-tested method for getting a player's wind back, but that doesn't make the visual any less hilarious.
(4) Green Ass Smack vs. (5) Hype-Up Beating
There's so much going on here, culminating in Harbaugh licking his fingers and smacking his own ass.
Oh, just a casual beating to make sure the quarterback is sufficiently ready for football.
(3) Harbaugh's Huddle vs. (6) Ready To Play
While Harbaugh isn't doing anything particularly nuts here, I love the visual of him in the middle of a sea of winged helmets.
The khakis/cleats combo puts this one safetly into the field. You can't convince me Harbaugh wouldn't start for at least three Big Ten teams right now.
(2) Punt Demo vs. (7) What's The Call?
Yes, I put this GIF here so I could fit more tantrums into the Bad Times region. You're welcome.
Even though Harbaugh probably has good reason to stick his head into the huddle, I like to think it's just because he can't help himself.
Voting will remain open until the final region posts early next week.
Hello. Sorry about that involuntary vacation there. Dumping water on your laptop is not fun, especially when the backup you had on hand for just such an eventuality doesn't boot either. Then I was at Blogs With Balls yesterday, trying to look somewhat official.
I am back now, even if the change in keyboard styles makes me want to die. Nothing makes me angrier than trying to use a keyboard I'm not familiar with. It's like having a stroke, one that suddenly puts punctuation all over the place for no reason. Anyway.
Just another day in the life. Offseason is relative.
Jim Harbaugh gives his version of Drake's album cover, gets RT'd by the First Lady
Anonymous NFL scout strikes again. The woooooorst:
This anonymous scout quote abt OSU's Eli Apple was, um, interesting:"The kid has no life skills. At all. Can't cook" https://t.co/03a8Tn3F6V
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) April 27, 2016
There's about a 90% chance that the dude anonymously slamming Apple's life skills spends most of his life in hotels, has been divorced four times, and hasn't cooked anything more complicated than cereal since the 1970s. Also, this random slam from a guy who doesn't even know Apple appears to be 100% false:
Eli has made me some fire fried chicken and mac and cheese. The source seems to be pretty unreliable
— EzekielElliott#⃣1⃣5⃣ (@EzekielElliott) April 27, 2016
The NFL draft starts tonight so our brief annual spate of anonymous, ludicrous slams of NFL prospects is just about over. Tune in next year, when someone accuses Jourdan Lewis of setting fire to his toaster.
Durkin on Harbaugh. None of this is actually a surprise; it is a confirmation about what life under Harbaugh is like:
CR: I'd imagine your early days at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh were a lot like the early ones at Bowling Green under Meyer. Is that accurate?
Durkin: It was absolute mayhem. It really was.
When I first got there, it was like, oh my gosh. Then you finally spend more time with Jim. The guy is really smart. Extremely smart. Everything is for a reason, but he loves chaos. That's just how he operates. He loves confrontation, chaos, conflict. He doesn't want it to be everyone comfortable, this is the schedule. He just loves throwing a wrench in the works.
So, when you first get there, it's like, what's going on? But it was great. To see someone impose their will, their confidence, their vision on a program, to totally change it—total 180. Stanford was known as a soft, academic, wine-sipping program. Now it's the total opposite. He definitely imposed his will on the place.
This was Bo's approach to the point where he would deliberately stoke fights between his coaches just to see what everyone really thought. Harbaugh runs through a lot of coaches; they generally move on up afterwards, often quickly, because life under Harbaugh is a pressure cooker.
Durkin also relates the one-on-one story we've heard a couple times before:
CR: Let's end with the story of you playing Harbaugh one-on-one at Stanford. What do you remember?
Durkin: It was a random day in the office. We were meeting, talking about something, and he was dribbling a basketball. We were talking about something—recruiting or something—and the conversation somehow got to, "Hey, let's go out and play."
So we went to play one-on-one. First to seven. Great. So we're playing. I went up for a layup or something, he fouled—I mean, hacked me. And I didn't call it. I didn't expect him to call foul. No, we're good. Check up.
Then it became, O.K., if that's not a foul, there are no fouls. So the game went on for—the reason it became epic—it was over an hour-long game. To seven. And people are up there watching. No one wanted to lose, and no one would call a foul. So it was, if the guy got a step on you, chuck him in the back, lose the ball. Nope, no foul. Good, your ball. So it went on. It was well over an hour. A game to seven.
CR: Who won?
Durkin: He won. I let him win in the end. Job security.
I've repeatedly stated that I was skeptical about how good of a DC Durkin actually was after Michigan tailed off against spread teams late, but he's the kind of guy who could be much better as a head coach than a coordinator*. He's already done some good things with Maryland's recruiting.
*[And he's just unproven there, not necessarily bad. Last year was his first truly running his own D after operating under Will Muschamp at Florida and he inherited a ton of talent from the previous guy. It's striking how close the parallels are between 2015 and 2006, which also saw a hotshot new coordinator inherit a bucket of talent, turn his unit into one of the nation's best, and then get annihilated by Ohio State while doing something seemingly nonsensical. With Durkin that was running a safety at 15 yards against a spread to run offense; with Ron English it was trying to cover an NFL first-round WR with Chris Graham.]
Maryland doesn't recruit good and stuff. Excellent data post from Capital News service detailing the futility of Maryland recruiting despite a healthy amount of local talent. It incidentally proves our Mississippi Is A Black Hole Nothing Escapes theory:
That will never cease being a mystery to me.
I do think there are some questionable assumptions the data invites you to take away here because their list of top talent-producing states has Delaware(?!) third and Hawaii fifth. This is correct on a per-capita basis, but why that's relevant to a college trying to fill a recruiting class is unclear. (Delaware is likely that high because of ECA, the controversial magnet school that Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson attended.)
Incoming Cain? MI SF Jamal Cain got his Michigan offer. Cain, a 2017 kid ranked as a three star by the world, got a bunch of Michigan predictions on his 247 page in the immediate aftermath. It doesn't sound like he'll drop immediately…
"His recruiting is rapidly growing," said Covington, a former player at Oakland, who added that Cain is likely to go through the recruiting process and not commit anywhere until before or duirng his senior year at Cornerstone Prep.
Cain is currently rated as the No. 190 overall played in the 2016 class in the 247 Sports Composite.
…but plans have a tendency to change. Endless Motor has an interview with Cain that is of interest:
EM: Can you tell us a a bit about the basketball presentation?
JC: Coach Beilein showed me film of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Zak Irvin, and said he wanted me to play a similar role at the shooting guard/small forward spots, and that I would be used in that way. Coach Beilein said I could really thrive in that role at UM.
In Trey-Burke-ish basketball recruiting news, Xavier SImpson surges into the top 50 in ESPN's final rankings after an outstanding senior season that saw him win the USA Today POY in the state.
So much for that. JT Compher signs with the Avs and CCM is gone lock, stock, and barrel. When Red returned one of the arguments made in favor of that decision was that CCM was more likely to return—at least portions of it—in Ann Arbor. That obviously did not work out.
With NHL departures now (probably) completed, this is what Michigan's looking at next year. I'm bumping Cutler Martin up to F:
That does not look like a tournament team unless Michigan is better than it's been on defense since Mel left. Michigan loses six of its top seven scorers and gets back only two forwards who were significantly above zero in +/-: Kile and Dancs.
Goodbye Idaho. If only EMU would follow. The Vandals are dropping down to I-AA after getting booted from the Sun Belt, which only admitted them in the first place so they could have a conference championship game. With no conference home and none pending, their only logical move was to drop down and play with the Montanas and North Dakota States of the world. Two things: this apparently won't even save them money…
The athletic department will save money having to fund fewer scholarships (63 as opposed to 85), but a source told CBS Sports that the program will lose money overall.
…and Idaho football costs about 20% as much as EMU's athletic deficit.
While the move enjoys some support in the community, Idaho will lose its FBS branding -- playing at the highest level of college football. Idaho students fund football to the tune of $127 per semester in their tuition payments.
Which is boggling if you think about it. EMU faculty and students just urged the university to drop football, to which the regents said "nah." Eastern's athletic department spending is completely insane:
The study point to an increase in the total full time equivalent athletic staff from 64 in 2006-07 to 85 in 2015-16, doubling staff salaries from $3.2 million to $6.4 million as the department saw 10 more coaching positions and more than 11 "athletic personnel" added during the same time period. During that same time period, the report indicates EMU's entire faculty increased by just 15.78 full-time equivalent personnel.
The arms race at the top of college athletics makes sense because the money's got to go somewhere. Eastern is setting money on fire—its students' money.
Rappists say nice things. I mean, I think they do. Migos on Harbaugh:
"He knows the music," Migos member Offset told TMZ. "He's a real cool playa. He's a playa, man, from the Himalayas."
#wellactually he goes to the Andes mountains, person who was clearly trying to rhyme things.
SBN on the Big Ten's rights situation. This is a point worth considering:
Will coaches freak out if their games aren’t on ESPN?
Yes, and so will administrators throughout the conference. Years ago, when the ACC flirted with leaving ESPN for Fox, some of the conference’s powerful basketball coaches were not shy about voicing their displeasure, believing that the lack of ESPN coverage would hurt their recruiting efforts. It’s too early to know how Big Ten coaches and athletic directors will react. But consider this: When school administrators asked at the recent league meetings if it’s possible for ESPN to get shut out, they were told, “Anything is possible.” One senior official at a Big Ten school said his peers “were scared to death” at the prospect of not having games on ESPN, which could eat into their recruiting.
ESPN's "lowball" offer for half the rights package was easy to pass over. It'll be harder for the Big Ten to extract maximum revenue from the second half without abandoning ESPN entirely, and that's a move everyone is wary of. Well, maybe. I've yet to see the Big Ten do anything other than maximize revenue.
Etc.: MLS to Detroit? If so you have to make them Detroit City and call them "The Rock." This is not negotiable. Profiles of Graham Glasgow and Jourdan Lewis. More on Glasgow's draft status. Jabrill Peppers already being talked about for next year's draft. A CFB commissioner is discussed; seems impractical. Baseball doing well. Holding The Rope on personnel shifts at ESPN.
The two-sentence rule change that most SEC coaches didn't understand is no more:
NCAA Board of Directors rescinds ban on satellite camps, source tells @ESPN
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) April 28, 2016
A gold star to whoever's running the Alumni Association's account this fine day:
— Michigan Alumni (@michiganalumni) April 28, 2016
Once the DOJ rattled its saber, even if gently, you had to know that the chance a lawsuit-besieged NCAA would follow through on the band was nil. Especially since it seems like a number of conferences were in favor of the ban despite being, uh, not in favor of it. Even the conferences who meant to vote for it didn't understand the implications of the change, and thus found it hard to defend in public unless they had a smarm black belt like Greg Sankey.
The camp ban is thus done for this year, but don't be surprised if the SEC and ACC come up with a less draconian version of the rule next year. They might limit camps to 5 or something, which wouldn't impact many schools not coached by high-functioning lunatic workaholics.
Nuss went from sense-bringing savior to Brandon crony really in one trip to South Bend. And he didn’t even make our list. [Fuller]
The assistant you changed your opinion on the fastest, negative or positive? Note: this was inspired by a conversation about Durkin, whom nobody took. In fact we probably left a lot of answers on the table in trying to avoid the obvious.
Adam: I was on the fence when Jedd Fisch was hired; he hadn't spent more than two seasons anywhere since his time as an assistant QB/WR coach with the Ravens from 2004-2007, and his stints as an offensive coordinator in college and the NFL yielded uninspiring results. One need only look as far as his Hello post to see that advanced stats weren't kind to his tenure as a college or pro OC outside of one shiny FEI number in 2011.
You shouldn't judge based on a limited data set, and Fisch's work is a reminder why. Jake Rudock, already a pretty good quarterback when he got to Ann Arbor, saw his completion percentage rise 2.1% and his yards per attempt rise 0.7 yards to 7.8 from 2014 to 2015. The Harbaugh caveat applies, but the receivers also made big year-to-year improvements.
[After the jump: another thinks—we had them coming]
Amara Darboh's catch rate rose 6.7% and his yards per target increased by 0.5 from 2014 to 2015 to a total of 7.6 YPT. Jehu Chesson's catch rate didn't rise as much as Darboh's (up 4.2% to 62.5% in 2015), but his yards per target jumped a massive 3.2 to 9.6 YPT in 2015. RYPR, a Bill Connelly measure that looks at a receivers production, how important they are to their team, how good the team's passing game is, and how often the team passes, was not kind to Darboh (201st overall) and Chesson (665th) in 2014. By 2015, both players were basically in the top 50, with Darboh 53rd overall and Chesson jumping up 620 spots to 45th.
From Fisch admonishing Harbaugh to run a play that wasn't on the call sheet that ended up winning the game against in Indiana in double OT to the "good shit, Jedd" gif to the efficacious screen game for which Harbaugh heaped praise on Fisch, the year ended with his one-year contract as cause for concern, not celebration.
All of the advanced stats provide strong supporting evidence but don't consider the most important number: two, the number of years Fisch's contract was extended a few months ago. Using the Indiana game as the point where my opinion had completely flipped, it took only 11 months to go from thinking his title was a fancy way of saying he's a WR coach to viewing him as either the de facto offensive coordinator or co-OC and as responsible as anyone for the offense's growth.
David: Lavall Jordan was hired by John Beilein after the disastrous 09-10 season. That season went down in flames and in order to save his job, Beilein completely remade his staff. He poached Jordan from rival Iowa, who also had a mediocre season.
Though not highly-touted, Lavall came to be known as a "guard developer." He started off very quickly turning Darius Morris into one of the best guards in the B10. His PPG went from 4 to 15, APG from 2.4 to 6.7, and his 3FG% from a paltry .179 to an increased .250, including All-B10 honors. It might have worked too well and Morris left after his sophomore year to go to the NBA.
Guys that followed include: Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert. Burke went from a PSU-bound 3* to POY and a Top 10 NBA draft pick. Stauskas was a lot higher rated, but after blowing up in his sophomore year, he followed the 2 years and out trend and also became a Top 10 pick in the draft. LeVert was a little different. He wasn't as coveted as the previous few guys, but still has a lot of potential for a post-March class-filler. LeVert returned for both his junior and senior seasons, but neither worked out for him health-wise. It remains to be seen where he'll get drafted, but after his junior season he was talked about as a borderline lottery pick.
Over the last couple seasons, you could see the development in guys like Rahk and Irvin. Rahk came in as a super raw athlete and has turned into...maybe Michigan's most well-rounded player? Irvin also has grown his game from Just A Shooter to a bit of a drive-and-kick player. Jordan won't be around for the end of either of those careers, but their progression has been easily noticeable.
Lavall Jordan was considered for the Butler head coaching job a few seasons ago. He was ultimately passed over, but UW-Milwaukee finally came calling in early April. He has done a lot for Beilein and Michigan in his six seasons and certainly deserves and opportunity to see if he can run his own ship. It also works well for Michigan because when Beilein retires in the not-too-distant future, Michigan should have some indication of what Jordan looks like making all of the decisions.
Seth: I may be betraying my own folly here but, well, West Virginia's pass defense was ranked 2nd in S&P+ in 2007, and Tony Gibson had turned Ryan Mundy into an NFL prospect in a year after three of that guy wandering lost in Michigan's defensive backfield. It was 2008, and we were young and in love with Rich Rod's modernization mandate, Barwis's wolves, and advanced maths, and I clung to that ranking which probably had a lot to do with Jeff Casteel's diabolical blitzes.
|Before “Never Forget” starting taking its toll we got a preview of 3-3-5 hell on the day RR put Gibson in charge. [via DetNews]|
Through much of 2008 the only major hit to my inflated rating of Gibson's stock was when Juice Williams turned Michigan's entire defense into a twitching pile of goo. By Penn State Donovan Warren had perceptively checked out, and they were doing panicky things like inserting Cissoko.
Then came Purdue, when the defense suddenly switched to a 3-3-5 stack that didn't cover out routes. Since Shafer was a 4-3 guy his whole life, and Gibson was the chief representative of the West Virginia Party, it didn't take long to deduce there'd been some sort of coup, and who was in charge. In the UFR Brian openly asked...
>"Is Gibson completely inept or something? He was one of the two guys who made an appearance with Rodriguez at his first Michigan press conference (Magee was the other) and therefore is subject to accusations of Debordian cronyism from the skeptical; he and Rodriguez have been joined at the hip for a long time. West Virginia fans were mostly glad to be rid of him."
I made my name with a series documenting the personnel problems underlying the "Never Forget" era of Michigan's secondary, and Lloyd's players and staff can shoulder as much of the blame for rejecting the transplant as Rodriguez's staff. There's also recruiting Denard to Michigan, and Gibson has done very well as WVU's defensive coordinator (with an underrated assist from now-UCLA DC and onetime Paterno heir apparent Tom Bradley). But if we're talking about dramatic changes in perception, nobody can match the drop from unreasonable high to unfair low that Gibson undertook in November 2008.
Ace I was a freshman in 2006, the year defensive backs coach Ron English took over as defensive coordinator from Jim Hermann. This was before I followed position coaches much at all, so for me, English entered with a clean slate.
|Back when Ron English ended a dominant season with a total misfire at Ohio State it didn’t earn you the Maryland job. [via MGoBlue]|
For the first nine games, the defense absolutely kicked ass. The run defense was impenetrable, the pass rush was fearsome, and Leon Hall was a great number one corner. I watched with glee from the student section as David Harris patrolled sideline-to-sideline, Shawn Crable mad storked his way around blockers, and LaMarr Woodley killed people. While Michigan’s offense wasn’t bad themselves, I couldn’t wait to see English’s vicious cohort of demons get back on the field.
In an oddly timed non-conference game, a 3-6 Ball State squad came to Michigan Stadium for what would be undefeated Michigan’s final tune-up before The Game. While the defense didn’t exactly falter, they allowed BSU to hang around; at the time, most figured the too-close-for-comfort 34-26 win was simply a product of the team looking ahead to Football Armageddon.
Instead, it was a harbinger of doom. Instead of a heated defensive battle, The Game quickly turned into a shootout, and it revealed just how little Michigan was prepared for the new era of spread offenses. All year, the defense had crushed a series of pro-style plodders, but English had no idea how to counter OSU’s three- and four-wide sets with Troy Smith taking snaps.
In the waning moments of the first half, the Buckeyes—already up a touchdown—drove deep into Michigan territory. OSU emptied the backfield, sticking future first-rounder Anthony Gonzalez in the slot. English decided the best way to defend this was to put Chris Graham, a 230-pound inside linebacker, in man coverage on a NFL-level slot receiver. You’ll never guess what happened next.
Ohio State shredded Michigan to the tune of 7.2 yards per play. In the Rose Bowl, USC ripped apart the secondary in the second half to cruise to a win. The next season, Michigan played their first two games against modern spread offenses.
I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say, I was no longer a fervent Ron English supporter.
BREAKING: Grant Mullins has committed to Cal as his transfer destination per his Instagram https://t.co/203han7GQ1
— Mike McAllister (@McAllisterScout) April 27, 2016
Shortly after wrapping up a visit to Michigan, Columbia grad transfer Grant Mullins announced his commitment to Cal for his senior season. The combo guard was also considering Syracuse.
This leaves Michigan with an open scholarship for next season, and unless another grad transfer candidate emerges out of the blue, it's likely John Beilein will use it on a late-rising 2016 prospect—or, like he did last year, leave the scholarship open, which seems like the least-desirable route.
Sam Webb reported last week that Michigan was showing interest in four-star WI F Kostas Antetokuonmpo, but there hasn't been any word on him since then. The coaches checked in on IMG Academy three-star F Aleem Ford last week; he committed to Wisconsin shortly thereafter. Unless the coaches can get Antetokuonmpo to campus, they might be scrambling for other options.
Those other options almost certainly won't include Spike Albrecht, who's already visited Purdue and plans to see Wichita State and Syracuse. Even if Michigan decides they're willing to sacrifice some early development for Xavier Simpson to bring Albrecht back, the Wolverines won't represent Spike's best opportunity to play the most minutes.
You Down With JKP?
Four-star Cass Tech S Jaylen Kelly-Powell has been a steady presence on campus throughout his recruitment. Last week, Kelly-Powell had his most in-depth visit to Michigan yet, and his father summed it up for Sam Webb:
“It was more informative. It was probably by far the best time and best (visit) he had since he’s been (going) up there. It was very detailed and very to the point (when it came to) what they see him as, what they want him to do, and how much of a priority he is. It was what we needed to hear.”
While some schools are recruiting JKP as a corner, Michigan made it clear they'll give him a chance to see the field early at safety, and Don Brown went over how he could be utilized in the hybrid SAM role currently occupied by Jabrill Peppers.
Kelly-Powell it taking a trip out west to see a few schools the week of Memorial Day; his father indicated a decision could come soon afterwards. Michigan looks like the team to beat, and landing him could help them out with JKP's cousin, four-star Detroit King CB Ambry Thomas.
Meanwhile, Kelly-Powell's Cass Tech teammate, three-star 2017 OG Jordan Reid, is expected to visit campus today with his father and uncle, per 247's Steve Lorenz. Reid recently listed Michigan as the number two team in his top five, behind Florida.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
It's Nice That "Five-Star Updates" Is Now A Regular Section
Michigan already has one five-star prospect, QB Dylan McCaffrey, committed to the 2017 class. They've been named the leader at various points for two others, offensive linemen Tedarrell Slaton and Isaiah Wilson. Yet another, Donovan Peoples-Jones, is in Michigan's backyard. A handful of others have at least expressed interest.
That number now includes TN WR Tee Higgins, who's battling with Peoples-Jones for the distinction of top receiver in the class. Per Lorenz, Higgins is looking to make his way to campus:
“I know I want to get down to Michigan and Florida State,” Higgins said on Sunday. “(Michigan’s coaches) really want me to get on campus, so I just told them I’d get down there."
At the moment, Higgins' Crystal Ball is split between Clemson and Tennessee.
On Monday, Jay Harbaugh went to Washington to visit the nation's #2 offensive tackle, WA OT Foster Sarell, per Lorenz. Sarell has previously expressed interest in taking an unofficial visit to campus; Harbaugh surely pushed for that during his visit.
NY OT Isaiah Wilson has backed off slightly from his previous statements that Michigan led, but the Wolverines are still in his top five after the only other Midwest school in the running fell out, per Scout's Brian Dohn:
"My top five has a little bit of change to it," WIlson said. "I shifted some schools. I would say it's Alabama, Michigan, USC, Georgia and LSU. Basically, it's all about the same thing which each school, and that's that I like the vibe I get from the coaching staffs.It's the coaching staffs, big-time football and good academics."
Ohio State was in Wilson's previous top five, but it was supplanted by the Trojans. He visited Alabama last week, but he does not have any other visits set.
Wilson seems quite enamored with Alabama after his recent visit there; the Tide look like Michigan's primary competition.
In-State Battle Brewing
While most of Michigan's (many) recent offers have gone to 2018 prospects, they're by no means finished offering 2017 prospects. Three-star Flint Southwestern DE Deron Irving-Bey, who held zero Power 5 offers heading into March, added a Michigan offer to a recent Michigan State offer last week, and he told Sam Webb he didn't see it coming:
“When (Drevno) first told me (about the offer) I was really excited because it was kind of out of nowhere,” said Irving-Bey. “I didn’t expect it. When I went back to class I sat there silent. Tears of joy just came out of nowhere. I never saw myself in this situation right here getting offers. This is a true blessing.”
Now that he has picked up offers from the in-state rivals the obvious question is does he like currently like one better than the other.
"No, I like both of them,” Irving-Bey replied laughingly. “My mom, she's a diehard Michigan fan and my dad, he's a state fan."
Irving-Bey plans to decide before his season starts in the fall; while he's looking at other schools, this appears to be an in-state battle.
The Gazillion Other Offers
Michigan continues to send out scholarship offers at a rate that makes it nearly impossible to summarize in a way that's remotely comprehensive. I've done my best to point out the most notable new offers.
This week, that includes three-star OR OT Alex Forsyth. An Oregon prospect with an Oregon offer can normally be dismissed off-hand as a longshot at best, but Forsyth told TMI's Brice Marich he's got strong connections to Michigan:
“I was very excited because I grew up a fan of Michigan because a lot of my family went there. They were very happy too.”
If a visit materializes, Michigan should have a decent shot.
Michigan also offered one of the top 2018 quarterbacks, four-star WA QB Jacob Sirmon, who committed to Washington in December; he told Wolverine247 he was excited about the offer, but it would take "something drastic" for him to open it back up.
Top-50 2018 MO OT Michael Thompson told Lorenz he plans to set up a trip to Ann Arbor after fielding a "surprising and exciting" offer from Michigan.
Four-star 2018 CA OLB Solomon Tuliaupupu is the latest Polynesian prospect to forge a connection with Tony Tuioti, and Michigan is in good position after offering him, per Lorenz:
"It felt great, it started off my day the best way possible," Tuliaupupu said upon making the phone call. "It almost felt like I was in a dream with a good feeling in my stomach all day. Coach Chris Partridge and Coach Tuioti are the ones who offered me. When they offered they said they are very excited to be able to start their relationship with me and they said they love how I play the game of football."
Four-star 2018 GA DB Kyler McMichael added a Michigan offer over the weekend, and while he's being pursued by several top national programs, his father told Sam Webb why the Wolverines are in good shape early:
“I actually know a lot about Michigan,” Mr. McMichael said. “(Kyler) has a really good relationship now with Coach Wheatley. He's been talking to him since he's been in the ninth grade. They've maintained a good connection throughout this past season, pretty much talking once or so a month. As far as Michigan for me, I grew up watching Michigan and watching Michigan Replay on Sunday morning with Jim Brandstatter. I know a lot about the program. I've actually played against Ann Arbor Pioneer (while at Detroit Mumford) and I remember for me the big thing was back then they were contending for state championships. I think they even won. For me to even score against them was the big thing. You arrive in Ann Arbor you see it’s a college town and I think it’s a strong academic environment that’s conducive to learning and taking your academics to the next level.”
As Michigan connections go, "father regularly watched Michigan Replay" is pretty strong.
Four-star 2018 TX TE Malcolm Epps is an early Alabama commit, but he told MnB's Brandon Justice that Michigan—which recently offered—is his father's "dream school," and he said that could potentially impact his recruitment.
It's safe to say Michigan in heavily in the running for 2018 Detroit Country Day linebacker Kolin Demens, Kenny's younger brother.
Three-star 2017 OK DT Deontre Thomas will announce his decision between Michigan and Nebraska on Saturday. There's not much suspense here:
“Both Nebraska and Michigan are kind of similar but the visit to Nebraska just felt more like home,” he said. “It was awesome. There were jets flying over the stadium and fireworks for a touchdown. It was just a crazy atmosphere."
A preemptive Happy Trails to him.
Michigan is one of four schools standing out early to five-star 2018 IMG Academy DT Taron Vincent, per Lorenz. Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia round out his early leaders.
While Michigan starting to recruit a three-star rarely merits mention in these posts, that's not the case with a name like this, via Lorenz:
Michigan has begun to recruit 2017 three-star outside linebacker Fa'avae Fa'avae out at Mater Dei HS in Santa Ana (CA)
Offer him immediately, please.