...talks about how UConn hasn't been in contact and how they're out. (HT: UMHoops)
Ohio LB Joe Bolden (6'2", 225 lbs) was in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago with his dad and his uncle, who also happens to be his coach. He decided to take another trip back up, but this time with his mom and dad. Here's his highlight film and his thoughts on the visit.
TOM: You were just in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, so what prompted this visit?
JOE: I didn't see as much as I wanted to last time. This time we got to drive through campus, see the classrooms, and we just got to see a lot more than last time. We go the grand tour of everything. I didn't get to see a dorm because there weren't any vacant, but I got to see the building that I would be living in.
TOM: I know you went up with your dad and uncle last time, who went with you this time?
JOE: Just my mom and dad.
TOM: What did they think of the visit. Your dad has seen campus before, but this was the first time for mom. How did she like it?
JOE: She really liked it. She really liked Coach Hoke, and Mrs. Hoke and Mrs. Mattison were actually up there so she got to talk to them for awhile too. To me she seemed pretty impressed.
TOM: Did they have questions for the coaches that they, as parents, wanted answered? I know moms can be protective sometimes.
JOE: Not really any more questions, they pretty much answered everything before I asked them. Coach Hoke without my parents even asking answered everything. We sat down for about 45 minutes and just talked about me living up there. He talked about her being a mom and obviously she's protective. He told her that if I were to choose Michigan that I'd be safe and taken care of.
TOM: So where are you at right now with the process? I know you told me last time that you think you're getting close, but what does that mean?
JOE: Right now I have it narrowed down to a couple schools that I'm very serious about, but I want to keep those quiet so I don't give anyone the wrong impression. I'm getting as much information on them as I can, and talking to as many good resources as I can.
TOM: How will you know when you're ready to decide?
JOE: I still haven't gotten the chance to sit down with my mother, father, and uncle and weigh out the pro's and con's of everything. My uncle wasn't at school today, but we'll probably sit down in the next couple days. I really don't have a timeline, it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in February. I'm not sure yet.
TOM: When you say weigh everything out, what are you thinking about with regards to each school?
JOE: Academics has always been a big part of my life. My parents have stressed school work comes before the game of football, so that's number one. If I fit into the program, if I like the coaches, and if the university has tradition, a good winning tradition.
· $20 donation receives a Fathead Teammate Block M (roughly 12”x7”)
· $100 donation receives a Fathead Junior Big House Mural (17”x30”)
· $250 donation receives four passes to a pre-season scrimmage
· $500 donation receives 2 pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to ONE of the following four games: Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State or Minnesota.
· $750 donation receives 2 pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to the Nebraska game.
· $1,000 donation receives 4 Mott Club Tickets which includes ($300/individual ticket):
1. Stadium Parking for Spring Game
2. Priority Access (front of the line fast-pass) to the Michigan Experience
3. Priority Access (front of the line fast-pass) to Locker Room Tour and associated experiences Friday or Saturday
4. On-field experience during the Alumni Flag Football Game (designated bleacher area)
5. Access to special viewing location for the Spring Game and a VIP Reception in the Regents Guest Area (food will be served) with drop-in from Desmond Howard and other football alums during and/or following the game
Following is a list of everything you need to know about the annual spring game and activities:
Parking: The lots around Michigan Stadium owned and operated by the University of Michigan are free and open to the public. The U-M Golf Course Lot (Green) will be restricted to golfers only. Pioneer High School will be charging $20 for cars and $50 for RVs on Saturday.
Gates, Restrooms and Concessions: The Michigan Stadium gates will open one hour prior to the alumni game at 9 a.m. All available restrooms on the lower concourse will be open and concessions will be available at several locations throughout the stadium.
Locker Room Tours: Fans can tour and take photos in the Michigan team locker room from 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday (April 15) and from 7-9:30 a.m. on Saturday (April 16). Fans will have access to the stadium field on Friday night during the time devoted to the open locker room but the field will not be accessible Saturday morning because of the spring game activities.
Desmond Howard Returns as Honorary Captain: Michigan’s 1991 Heisman Trophy and current ESPN College Game Day analyst Desmond Howard will be the Honorary Captain for the Mott Spring Game. Howard will be present for the alumni game, spring game and Mott Hospital functions.
Victors Classic: Former U-M football players will be split into the maize and blue teams and will match wits in the third annual alumni flag football game starting at 10 a.m. Over 85 former football players from five different decades will participate.
NFL Players to Attend Spring Game: Some of the current NFL players scheduled to be in attendance are Steve Breaston (Arizona Cardinals), Prescott Burgess (Baltimore Ravens), Braylon Edwards (New York Jets), James Hall (St. Louis Rams), Mike Hart (Indianapolis Colts), Marlin Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles), Zoltan Mesko (New England Patriots), Ryan Mundy (Pittsburgh Steelers) and LaMarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers).
Hockey Team to Receive Recognition: The Michigan men’s ice hockey team, the 2011 NCAA runner-up, will be honored during one of the breaks at the Mott Spring Game. The Wolverines played for the national title last Saturday (April 9), falling 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth. The Wolverines completed the season with a 29-11-4 record this season and won the CCHA regular season championship.
The Michigan Experience: New for the 2011 spring game is an interactive area for kids to participate in football activities. Located on the south concourse of the stadium grounds, there will be football related activities for kids, football character photos and a healthy kids area.
Kick for Cash: The athletic department will randomly select one fan to attempt field goals with the chance to win a PNC gift card up to $300. They will have the opportunity to kick from three different spots, the 10-, 15- or 20-yard lines, with varying prizes for each of the three distances.
Matt Giraud to Sign National Anthem: Former “American Idol” contestant Matt Giraud is going to sing the national anthem for the game. A Kalamazoo, Mich., native, he was born in Dearborn and graduated from Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti (2003).
Radio Broadcast: Ann Arbor’s Sports Talk 1050 AM WTKA will have the exclusive broadcast of Michigan’s spring football weekend activities. Ira Weintraub and Steve Clarke will be broadcasting live from the booth and Sam Webb will be roaming the sidelines during the day’s activities. The station will begin broadcasting Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and carry the former player’s flag football game and the final spring practice in its entirety on its airwaves.
Michigan Rewind: The athletic department’s online football recap show will have a complete highlight package and interviews with Brady Hoke and players available on MGoBlue.com following the conclusion of the final practice.
Inside Michigan Football: The final show of the spring will air on Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. The 30-minute behind-the-scenes look at Michigan football will recap the spring game and all the activities surrounding the partnership with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Big Ten Network Broadcast: Matt Shepard (play-by-play) and former Wolverine offensive lineman Jon Jansen (analyst) will broadcast Michigan’s spring game live on Big Ten Network starting at noon EDT. In addition to the practice game footage, the network will feature post-scrimmage interviews with head coach Brady Hoke and players.
Like the football team, I'll be making a brief appearance this off-season before disappearing again until Fall.
The theme of the coaching search and press conferences over the last several months has centered around the idea that it's time to return the program to "Michigan Football" (demonstrative finger quotes here). Whether or not you believe that such a thing as "Michigan Football" exists and that the program has indeed drifted from that thing, the message is clear - moving forward, the team and the style of play will look different under Brady Hoke than it did under Rich Rodriguez. The question is, given our personnel (specifically a player whose name rhymes with Denard Robinson) how different will it look this year? Just how far back will Coach Hoke and his staff turn the clock? Will they force Denard into a scheme where he feels out of place, or will they shift their offensive philosophy to take advantage of his considerable talents?
I found an archival photo of Fielding H. Yost's first Michigan football team and thought it would be a great counterpoint to the "return to Michigan football" theme. Yost's 1901 team was dominant (11-0 record, 550 points scored - 0 points against) and depended on fast, efficient players to execute a "hurry up" offense to perfection. Stylistically, that sounds more like the offense we saw under Rich Rodriguez than what we should expect from new offensive coordinator Al Borges. Denard Robinson's style of play would have been a perfect fit for Yost's first "Point-a-Minute" team.
If Coach Hoke and Denard Robinson jumped into a DeLorean and turned the clock back to 1901, this modified team photo is what you might see hanging in Schembechler Hall today.
The image below is a preview only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
Here is the list of visitors I have confirmed for the Spring Game so far. If someone isn't on this list it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't coming, I might not have confirmed it yet.
Commit Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs): Caleb has been vocal about trying to recruit for Michigan and has done so with Joe Bolden. It will be good to get him on campus in front of other prospects.
2013 Michigan QB Shane Morris (6'3", 189 lbs): Has a Michigan offer, will probably be the top quarterback in the state next year.
Instate TE Devin Funchess (6'5", 205 lbs): Another trip up for Funchess and he might come with his teammates Mario Ojemudia and Aaron Burbridge.
Illinois DT Vontrell Williams (6'2", 263 lbs): Loved his first visit to Ann Arbor, still hoping for an offer.
Instate LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs): Will most likely be joined by Terry Richardson, just waiting for confirmation.
Instate TE Ron Thompson (6'4", 210 lbs): Has decided not to make his announcement this week. He just changed schools so he's going to hold off. Michigan is still in good shape.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond (6'7", 289 lbs): I haven't confirmed if he's coming with his teammate QB Robert Gregory, but it would make sense.
Instate LB James Ross (6'0", 209 lbs): His dad said they should be there.
Indana TE Pierre Aka (6'4", 250 lbs): Although Pierre just took a visit this past Saturday he told me he's most likely going to be at the spring game as well.
Pennsylvania OL JJ Denman (6'7", 305 lbs): Might make the trip.
Indiana DT Sheldon Day (6'2", 270 lbs): Was deciding where to go this weekend and chose Michigan.
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson (6'2", 277 lbs): Might come with Jordan Diamond
Instate OL/DL Kelby Latta (6'4", 295 lbs): Not sure if he'll make it yet.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley (6'4", 255 lbs): He said he'll come if the weather is good. He's been to campus enough that it's probably not a big deal.
Instate LB Tyler Goble (6'0", 232 lbs): Went to a practice last week and the coaches told him they want him to camp this summer. Former teammates with Brennen Beyer.
New Jersey DB DJ Singleton (6'3", 200 lbs): Said he's not sure if he'll be able to make it yet.
Ohio OL Benny McGowan (6'4", 290 lbs): Not sure if he'll make it up.
Ohio RB/DB Will Mahone (5'11", 205 lbs): Michigan's recruiting him for defensive back and until they offer I don't think he'll show much attention.
Illinois DT Vincent Valentine (6'3", 300 lbs): Not coming.
Ohio DB Allen Gant (6'1", 182 lbs): He'll be back up for camp in the summer.
Ohio TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs): Not coming, but not a big deal. Michigan is in good shape with AJ.
Instate DE Matt Godin (6'5", 260 lbs): He's going to Penn State this weekend.
Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer (6'0", 219 lbs): Making his decision the day before, Friday the 15th at 6pm EST.
Pennsylvania LB Deaysean Rippy (6'2", 198 lbs): Told me some things came up and he's unable to make it.
Indiana ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs): At Notre Dame.
The spring game is almost upon us, which means that the recruiting process is about to be in full effect. With two commitments under their belt the Michigan coaching staff could see that number jump very soon. Here's a look at this past weekend's visitor, a few updates on other recruits, and what the future holds.
6'4", 250 lbs.
Aka does not currently have an offer from Michigan, but has been trying to get on campus for some time. He was supposed to make the trip up last weekend with teammate WR/QB Aloyis Gray but the plans fell through. He made the day trip up on Saturday with his coach and was well worth the wait.
It was amazing. When we first got there we took the tour, met with the academic advisor, talked to the recruiting coordinator, then my position coach and Coach Hoke. That was the best part talking to the coaches. I actually built a relationship with them, which I haven't been able to do really with other schools.
Pierre would like to go into nuclear engineering so schools like Michigan and Stanford stand out to him. While he wasn't offered on this trip he did get a chance to talk to the coaches about what he needs to do to earn a scholarship to Michigan.
They said they could offer at anytime, but they definitely will offer if I do good at the one day camp this summer. They all like me, but they just want to see me catch the ball. They said that they only send handwritten letters to certain guys and I'm on that list, they just want to see me in person.
His coach felt the visit was a success and also told Pierre that he thinks Michigan is a good place for a tight end. Aka currently has offers from Arkansas State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, Toledo, and WMU. His team essentially only uses their tight ends for blocking, so there's no film of him running routes or catching the ball. If he does well at summer camps he could see his offer list grow.
6'4", 245 lbs.
Spence has racked up offers from almost everywhere and is five star in Rivals' early evaluation. I have done updates with Spence's father and his coach, so now it was time to hear from Noah himself on where he's at in the process.
I'm definitely going to take all my visits, I'm just taking it step by step right now. I'm wide open and just looking at everybody. When I go to narrow it down it will be through a lot of prayer, seeing what my parents like, and if I feel like I fit in with their system and if they have a family atmosphere.
As you can imagine narrowing down a list the size of Spence's can be intimidating and confusing. He has already started to take trips and is looking to the future to see where he can take in next.
I've taken trips to Maryland and Tennessee, and I'll be up to Penn State for the Blue and White game. I'll probably do local schools for now like Rutgers too. Once I have more time I'll go to the further away schools.
Michigan is one of the schools he and his family are interested in seeing over the summer. Spence says that's most likely when he'll make the trip to Ann Arbor.
I've always liked Michigan since I was younger, it definitely interests me. I like them a lot, the coaching staff seems real down to earth. We talk about everything, grades, football, and how everything's going. Not everything is football with them.
Noah and his family are very close, and his father has been helping him along with the process. So it isn't a surprise that Spence wants to make sure his family is comfortable with his final choice as well.
The school has to include my parents, because they're a big part of my life. It has to be all there too football wise and school wise. I think I want to major in kinesiology, but you're going to get a good education at any D1 school really. I'm not really looking for a specific type of defense, I think I can play defensive end or linebacker. The only way to find out if I fit is to go out to practice and look at the schools.
Spence plans on making his final announcement at the Army All American game which will give his suitors plenty of time to show them what they're about. Whoever lands him is not only getting a quality prospect but a quality kid.
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh hasn't been talked about too much but has offers from Florida, Iowa, Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, and Notre Dame among others. While he has some big time schools coming after him he says he's still in the researching stage of the process.
I'm trying to find time to go to the schools to learn more about them and see where I fit in. I don't have an exact date of when I want to decide yet. The spring and summer is when all the visits will start. I just want to go to the ones that are closer for now, then later on in the summer go out to the further ones.
The receiver position hasn't been discussed as much as the defensive side of recruiting, but Michigan is losing some big time talent after this season. Coach Mallory has been recruiting Darboh to try to fill those holes.
They said they like my character and they like that I'm a playmaker. I know Michigan has a great football program and I'm trying to learn more about them. I think I'm going up there after my Notre Dame visit. Coach Mallory talks to me about a little bit of everything though. He's friends with my head coach, Coach Wilson so they know each other well.
Amara is a competitive receiver and says he does whatever it takes to win. He doesn't currently have a top group yet, but hopes to have one sometime in the summer.
When I make my decision it's going to be about the connection with the coaches and the offensive system. I'm also thinking about studying business, so somewhere that would help me with my degree. I just want an offense that I have a chance to make plays in, that throws the ball enough to make plays.
Darboh has been out to Iowa and Iowa State since they're basically in his backyard. He plans on going out to Notre Dame for their spring game and planning other trips after that.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden is visiting Michigan on Tuesday [April 12th] with his parents. He was recently up to see Ann Arbor with his coach, who's his uncle, and his dad. He told me recently that he thinks he's closing in on a decision, and that Michigan commit Caleb Stacey has been recruiting him to choose the Wolverines. I'm not sure if Tuesday will be the day he pulls the trigger, but it might help move him towards his decision.
This is a very preliminary list and will absolutely grow as I confirm more names. As usual I will post a permanent list in the diary section during the week.
Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer (6'0", 219 lbs): Making his decision the day before, on Friday the 15th at 6 pm EST. If you haven't figured out what's happening you haven't been paying attention.
Illinois OL Jordan Diamond (6'7", 289 lbs)
2013 Michigan QB Shane Morris (6'3", 183 lbs)
Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson (6'2", 277 lbs): He might be coming up with Jordan Diamond
New Jersey DB DJ Singleton (6'3", 200 lbs): Not sure if he'll be able to make it yet.
Indiana ATH David Perkins (6'2", 209 lbs): Still hoping for an offer, might go to a different spring game.
Michigan LB Tyler Goble (6'0", 232 lbs): Baseball schedule might get in the way. He was recently out to a MIchigan practice and the coaches told him they want him at their camp. He's a former teammate of 2011 commit Brennen Beyer.
Michigan DB Terry Richardson (5'9", 160 lbs): If Terry comes it might be safe to assume that James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone will be there, I just haven't confirmed yet.
Like I said I will have more this week as I confirm some names. Stay tuned for that.
A few weeks ago I posted a survey for all Mgoblog users to take. First of all, THANK YOU to the 500 participants! You have immensely helped me out for a class, and hopefully you have helped to make Mgoblog a better online community. As many of you requested in the survey thread, below are the statistical results from the survey and a few insights from the essay responses.
Insights (based on feedback received from survey questions and essay responses):
The point system does not affect motivation to post on a large scale, but it does largely affect the content being posted. While many Mgoblog members appreciate the value of a point system, they believe that the members and moderators are incorrectly using it because of opinion-based voting (rather than content-based), inflated reputations due to over-posting (quantity, not quality) and the exploitation of such reputations. Based on this research, I would make the following recommendations to improve the Mgoblog online community:
- Stress quality (not opinion) based voting to the members. Make it clear to all members that “Upvoting” and “Downvoting” is for quality-based feedback only. All members should have the right to their opinions, and their value and reputation as a poster should not be jeopardized because of varying opinions.
- Continue to support the voting function, but eliminate points for posting. As a result, quality of posts will be stressed, rather than the quantity of posts.
- Set an automatic ban number for members that obtain a certain amount of negative points. This will guarantee that members of poor value and reputation will be excluded as soon as possible.
- If/when these changes (or similar) are enacted, return all posters’ points to 0. This should be done so true reputations can be built within the better system of moderation.
The last "fun" question was meant to judge the Mgoblog community's confidence of win percentage for the upcoming season.
The Mgoblog community expects Michigan to lose to Iowa (close one), Nebraska, and Ohio State, finishing with a record of 9-3. Our most likely loss, according to the amount of votes, is Nebraska.
Thanks again to all participants, and GO BLUE!