Mike Lantry, 1972
Signing day is fast approaching and anticipation is rising to fever pitch. So where will Michigan's 2012 class wind up ranked? I thought I would do a little prognosticating with a heavy dose of disclaimers. This analysis is based only on Scout, since they provide the most visibility into their ranking system. Their scoring system is somewhat arbitrary (maybe even a little silly?) and the final rankings are not profoundly meaningful, as I'm sure we all know. Still, we are just trying to have a little fun here as we bide our time ever so impatiently.
Also, I am referencing their "Commitment Tracker" which contains information some may classify as dubious. The finalist lists are somewhat suspect, and the predictions of the two analysts are arguable (some of the picks are from outside the finalist lists). So, take it all with a mountain of salt and let's have at it!
Here are the current top 10(ish):
So how might this change from now to Signing Day? Let's focus first on Michigan's prospects. Here are the most likely additions to the class and the number of points they would add to Michigan's point total:
So if Michigan were able to bring in the mother lode and sign all of these prospects, it would push their total points to 4810 (counting only top 25) and move them into the #1 slot! (if nobody else signed anyone). Of course, it is highly unlikely that Michigan will strike pure gold while everyone else strikes out, so let's look at this a bit more realistically.
It does seem likely that the Maize and Blue will add to their current commitments and a jump of 600 points or more is not out of the question. So which schools would be in a position to finish above them? This will depend on whether the other schools have roster space to add more scholarship players and how likely they are to land additional blue chips.
On the subject of how they might close, I considered how many prospects in the Scout 300 they are considered finalists for. I also make note of who at least one Scout analyst thinks they lead for. Of course, they could also sign additional players outside the top 300 and each such player would add about 75-125 points to their total. Let's look at each contender.
Alabama- With 27 commits, they can only add one more at most? (I may be mistaken, but I believe the SEC is planning to limit schools to 28 this year). They are in the running for 6 top prospects and are projected by at least one analyst to lead for two: Eddie Goldman (worth 298 points) and Dalvin Tomlinson (209). The Tide will be tough to roll.
Texas - I'm not sure how much room they have beyond their 24 commits, but they are finalists for 4 top prospects and lead for one: Dalton Santos (215). Michigan could pass them if the Longhorns come up short.
Ohio State - There is some question as to whether the Buckaroos are already over the scholarship limit. We will have to see whether or not that is an Urban myth. They are listed as a finalist for 7 top prospects and are said to lead for 2: Armani Reeves (fergodsakes no!) and Kyle Dodson (207). Assuming they stay within their limits, it would seem Michigan has a good chance to pass them up in the final rankings.
Florida - The Gators, at 20 commits, may have available space (or not; available scholarship info is hard to come by and I'm not going to turn a fun little exercise into a major research project). They are finalists for 8 top prospects and are projected to lead for two: Stefon Diggs (299) and Nelson Agholor (217). Still, Michigan should have a big enough cushion to avoid becoming gator bait.
Miami (YTM) - The Hurricanes already have 31 commits so (wait, what?!) so I really don't know what to make of that. They are listed as a finalist for 5 top prospects and projected leader for one: Tyriq McCord (208). If Miami passes Michigan in the final rankings it's time to open up yet another NCAA investigation.
LSU - Listed as a finalist for 3 top prospects and a leader for none; highly unlikely to close the gap with the good guys.
Notre Dame - Not known for oversigning, the home stretch for the Irish may be limited by available slots. They are on the finalist list of 9 top prospects but the Scout guys don't see them landing any of them. Barring unforeseen leprauchan chicanery, likely to remain behind Michigan.
South Carolina - With 24 commits in the fold, only 2 top prospects on the radar (with no projected signings) and a sizeable gap, they Gamecocks are unlikely to rise in the pecking order.
Florida State - The Seminoles are the real wild card with only 16 current commits and 9 top prospects in the wings. Four are predicted signees: Ronald Darby (300), Eddie Goldman (298), Jameis Winston (299), and Tracy Howard (298). With the ACC apparently determined to win the oversigning cup, Florida State seems to be the team most likely to close strongly. It's even possible they could jump MIchigan, but I wouldn't stick a spear in that.
UCLA - With a class of 25 already, and no projected signings among the blue chippers, the Bruins are too far back to maul Michigan in the rankings.
The Rest - Everyone else is most likely too far back, point-wise, to threaten Michigan's final class ranking. Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Georgia, Auburn and Stanford may be candidates for a strong closing stretch.
Well I hope we all had fun and are not taking this too seriously. Anyway, there is actually an outside chance that, if all the planets align properly, Michigan's recruiting class could finish with the top ranking on Scout. More likely. a third place finish seems about right. I highly doubt we could drop below the #5 spot. The one thing we can almost certainly predict is that there will be some surprises. We will all know soon enough.
Edit: - I corrected the point values associated with each recruit caused by a slight misunderstanding of Scout's formula. It was mostly just a point or two adjustment upward. More importantly, as elaydin points out, Scout only counts the top 25 recruits, so I made that adjustment as well.
Today we are going to breakdown the Powerplay goals from the Michigan win over Notre Dame on Saturday night. (Ignore the mouse burnouts)
Here we start out with our basic cycle, Notre Dame is in a normal 2-2 box penalty kill. Notice how far the forward is playing up, he will not be able to get back fast enough for and lose puck or rebound.
Like stated before, the ND forward could not get back in time so anything that gets through to the right is a goal. Quick shot from the wing goes wide left and around the back boards, Wohlberg gathers and starts the cycle again.
Once again the forward is playing Pateryn high, streching the box out. Guptil is screening and no one in gold is paying attention. Pateryn cranks it and gets super lucky, the shot just misses hitting the forward because his hips are swinging to the right.
After a faceoff win and a good keep in, Treais brings the puck down to face a pretty normal rush situation.
Treais uses a great shot fake to freeze the defensemen, who loses position going down to block the shot.
The move was great, the defender is beat, but the angle is bad. The only way Treais scores is if the goalie guesses wrong.
Summerhayes takes away right post and 5 hole. He is wrong, and the bent knee gives A.J. just enough space to fit it in left side.
Cass Tech linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone was just the fourth player to commit to Brady Hoke's class of 2012, doing so last April. The consensus four-star recruit has since won a state championship with the Technicians and played in the Army All-American Game, and he's looking to continue that run of success at Michigan. I got the chance to chat with Royce over the weekend—via text, hence the short-ish answers—and we discussed his goals for his freshman year and career along with a few other topics:
ACE: How was the Army Game for you? It had to be fun being there with James [Ross, Royce's childhood friend] and your future teammates.
ROYCE: Yeah, it was a great experience. Everyone competed and had fun.
ACE: What are your goals for your freshman year?
ROYCE: Get my weight to 235 [Royce is currently listed at 215 on Rivals, though he looked bigger in person this fall], learn the defense, and see if I can at least get in the rotation.
ACE: You and the whole 2012 class come in with some big expectations. Do you ever feel pressure from that, or more just excitement?
ROYCE: Just excitement because everyone in this class is all about getting better and getting on that field.
ACE: What's it like to know you'll be playing for Greg Mattison as your defensive coordinator next year?
ROYCE: It's good to know you have a coach that knows what he's doing and not leaving when you get there.
ACE: When your Michigan career is over, what do you want to look back on and say you've accomplished.
ROYCE: [I want to say I've been an] All-American and All-Big Ten in my sophomore, junior, and senior year.
ACE: Do you expect to go out on top at Michigan like you did at Cass Tech?
ROYCE: Yeah. I plan on getting a national championship when I get there and before I leave.
The recruiting rankings are front-paged this week as we have a change at the top. Unfortunately, you probably know the change, and you're almost certainly not going to like it: Ohio State jumps Michigan after picking up four recruits (and the Wolverines losing Caleb Stacey, though that wouldn't have mattered in terms of the standings). Otherwise, the team rankings hold steady as we near signing day. Action since last rankings:
1-15-12: Taylor Decker changes commitment from Notre Dame to Ohio State. Illinois picks up T.J. Neal.
1-16-12: Penn State picks up Jordan Lucas.
1-17-12: Ohio State picks up Joey O'Connor. Gunner Kiel changes commitment from LSU to Notre Dame. Minnesota picks up Roland Johnson.
1-18-12: Ohio State picks up David Perkins. Minnesota picks up K.J. Maye.
1-20-12: Camren Williams changes commitment from Penn State to Ohio State.
1-21-12: Caleb Stacey changes commitment from Michigan to Cincinnati. Nebraska picks up LeRoy Alexander. Zach Jackson changes commitment from Illinois to TCU. Illinois picks up Justin Hardee. Minnesota picks up Ben Lauer.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so they are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.
Of course I'm biased in my desire here but I'd sure like to see the San Francisco 49ers versus the New England Patriots in the upcoming Super Bowl. Just imagine the positive impact this may have on recruiting high school athletes around the country as they tune in to the constant buildup of sports talk high-lighting the obvious common bond between Tom Brady and Jim Harbaugh. If this comes to pass I envision a bombardment of discussion contrasting the two former Michigan quarterbacks - their records and accomplishments at Michigan, life styles, personal ambitions, and NFL careers. Wow! This could be a cavalcade of prime time publicity for Michigan football. This is why I'm pulling for second place finishes for the Giants and Ravens today.
It's no secret that Trey Burke is having a rather special freshman season. I got to wondering how special after reading the following in an annarbor.com article from about a week ago:
[John Beilein] says he's never had a freshman point guard quite like this one.
"I look at (ex-Michigan point guard Darius Morris') year-long stats from his freshman year," Beilein said. "Here's Darius, who was playing with Kobe the other night, and Trey already has more assists in this season than Darius had his whole freshman year.
"And Darius was a heck of a player. It's not normal. I can't recall (a freshman point guard) having this type (of year). It's been very rare that we've had ([to] play a freshman this much). It's rare, but it's been very good."
Burke's Year in Historical Context
So how does Burke's freshman year to date stack up against the freshman seasons of other point guards in Michigan history? To measure this, I borrowed a tool the Wall Street Journal used last year to identify MVP guards (with Darius Morris coming out on top). I like this metric because it's simple, easy to understand, but also quite telling. As the WSJ explained, it calculates "which players are involved in the highest percentage of their team's field goals, either via assists or by making shots themselves." The formula is simple: field goals made (FGM) + assists/team FGM.
Using the Men's Basketball Statistic Archive, here are the results for the freshman years of Michigan's leaders in assists (not all of whom were point guards):
|Player||Year||FGM||Assists||Team FGM||% Team FGM|
So Trey Burke is right there among the leaders for this metric. (Note that two of U-M's top assists men didn't have freshman years at the school: Rickey Greene was a junior college transfer, while Rumeal Robinson was ineligible his freshman season.) For comparison's sake, Darius Morris finished his sophomore season with 201 FGM and 235 assists, which meant he was involved in a remarkable 51.5 percent of the team's 847 FGM.
Burke among Cousy Award Finalists
How does Burke's season compare with that of his contemporaries? Quite well, when you use the same metric to compare this year's finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation's top point guard.
|Player||School||FGM||Assists||Team FGM||% Team FGM|
|Damian Lillard||Weber St.||130||66||470||41.7%|
|D. J. Cooper||Ohio U.||82||105||469||39.9%|
|Kendall Marshall||North Carolina||41||181||598||37.1%|
|Dee Bost||Mississippi St.||94||84||508||35.0%|
|Caspar Ware||Long Beach St.||102||59||479||33.6%|
Burke comes in 5th place overall and 2nd only to UConn's Shabazz Napier among the finalists from major conferences. This provides some further proof of just how good a season he's having—and how valuable he is to his team. I think it also shows why he should remain among the Cousy finalists when the list is narrowed down from 20 to 10 in early February.