Today, I go to grad school in Austin and I am witnessing the preparation for the football season at the school that is 34 wins behind Michigan. I am supremely indifferent about the Longhorn Network, Memorial Stadium, and finding a tailgate spot for Saturday’s game against Rice. Texas football? Meh, I don’t care. Though the name is "neither Greek, Latin, nor English, [but merely] a piece of language gone mad.", The Clan of Catholepistemiadis my birthright. MGoBlog is my homepage and although I don’t have a clue about the stats and all that smart people stuff, my weeks in the fall are determined on Saturdays and have been for as long as I can remember.
My fandom begins on a cold January night 25 years ago and although I have no recollection, my first pair of shoes were blue and gold Nikes from Mast’s shoe in Ann Arbor. Growing up near the Fife family, my shoes were destined to walk over as a little neighborhood kid playing 500 with Dugan, Jeremy and Dane throwing to all of us kids. My earliest Michigan memory – where I went to bed sobbing- with Dugan as a freshman was Webber in New Orleans. For a 7 year-old staying up until 10 PM was huge, but watching Michigan was my obsession from then on.
There were happy moments as kid: 1997 - A friend’s birthday party seeing #2’s interception against MSU, A cold gray November Cub Scout camping trip listening to the punt return against Ohio St, screaming that December when he won the Heisman, having my first kiss at halftime of the Rose Bowl. Charles Woodson is my 11 year-old idol. I was even more hooked after that. Buying all the Michigan T-shirts with the Tasmanian devil in Maize and Blue, “Michigan Football is Life, The Rest is just details”, and best of all a #2 jersey. As I look back as a kid, the events of my life are all remembered in context to Michigan games. That year is special to me just because of how old I was. If I was five years younger or five years older, the impact of that season would not have been imprinted on my sports soul.
Getting the thick envelope in the fall of my senior year of high school, my dreams were realized. I was going to moving to my personal Valhalla. Approaching my freshman year, I had no one living to counsel me about life at Michigan as all of my family is all either a Chippewa or a Spartan. My long passed grandfather was kicked out of Michigan after one semester after WWII for driving his blue Packard onto the lawn of DKE and yelling for his brother-in-law to come down out of the house. My uncle who had died the year before I started school was a huge Michigan fan, but lived far from me and that resource was gone as well. I got a lot of his things including a CD with Hail to the Victors, which I played constantly during the 2003 Oregon game assuming that his spirit on the track would somehow allow Michigan to win a regular season West Coast game. Yet again, more Michigan misfortune.
Things were never the same after that trip to Eugene. Rumors about Lloyd’s health. Chris Webber in federal court. Tommy Amaker. Antonio Bass’ knee. My freshman, sophomore against Ohio St. Football Armageddon. Bo gone. Freep Derp. My senior year was the worst. The Horror, Oregon, Losing Chad, Wisconsin, and Ohio St. The rain, the score, Tressel: it all was a massive dong punch. Many people in red were on the business end of curses as I cried leaving Michigan Stadium being the first class since the 1930’s to go all four years without beating them. I was most upset for Mike, Chad, Jake and Mario. They never will get their due.
I blamed Lloyd. He always turtled. It was time for a change. It was peanut butter jelly time. I was excited. Up until the last 3 years, I remembered the losses more than the wins. But, I longed for old Michigan. The Michigan of my childhood. Maybe that’s the only place it still exists.
I was on a cruise ship during the end of “The Process” paying like $4.00 a minute to find out wtf was going on. I almost choked on my own puke when I saw Brady’s name as the choice, but then I hear him speak. Wow. I was hooked again. Then I thought to myself, “Are we Notre Dame?”. I guess that remains to be seen. Hoke is what is needed and he seems to have luck or the Devil working right alongside with him. The first question that they should have asked Hoke comes straight from Cypher asking Neo:
"So, you're here to save the world? ... What do you say to something like that?"
It’s about wins and losses, but it is obvious more than that that. It’s about the seniors this year who were being recruited when I was a senior. It’s about covering the scars of past three falls. It’s about the dilithium of the nicest quarterback who I’m so proud of. It’s about once again, putting the end of pin into the reset button of this whole thing, holding down for 10 seconds, and seeing what happens. I’m sick and tired of emo. I’m ready to savor the tribal glow once more.
Back by popular demand, or maybe entirely despite it, I return for my third year providing your weekly primer in what not to watch. Last year, no team pulled off the shutout, but 12 teams had 2 or fewer wins. Welcome to the list, Memphis. Elsewhere, New Mexico managed to go 1-11 and not finish last in their conference. The mighty MAC had no less than 4 teams with two wins or less. So without further ado, let's get into it.
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Under new management, obviously. The B1G (plus Notre Dame) must've known there were changes going on at MGoBlog, because barely anything happened on the recruiting trail these past couple weeks. Thanks, everyone! Action since last rankings:
8-14-11 Purdue gains commitment from Jordan Roos.
8-21-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from D.J. Singleton.
8-24-11 Penn State gains commitment from Malik Golden.
8-25-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Greg Kuhar.
8-27-11 Iowa gains commitment from Ruben Lile.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota), Darius Stroud (Indiana), and Steffon Martin (Purdue) are exluded from their respective team averages.
On to the full data, after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
Michigan remains solidly at the top of the rankings. Sione Houma picks up three stars from 24/7 after previously being unranked.
|#2 Notre Dame - 13 Commits|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
ATH/WR Malik Golden COMES TO PENN SCHTAAAAATE. He isn't quite enough to bump the Nittany Lions past Notre Dame, but they're hot on the Irish's heels for the #2 spot.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes, despite the rumored Adolphus Washington commit. He's not in this class... yet.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
Kodi Keiler is upgraded from unranked to three stars on ESPN.
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
The Badgers pick up safety D.J. Singleton. Hugs Etienne goes from unranked to three-stars on 24/7. Hugs all around, I guess (sorry, that was too easy). If Wisconsin can pick up a couple more commits, they have a good shot of passing MSU in the rankings.
|#7 Indiana - 17 Commits|
The Hoosiers add Sebastian Smith. Tanner Kearns gets 3 stars from 24/7. Four players (Kearns, Cornett, Todd, and Fletcher) earn two-star rankings from Rivals after being previously unranked. Alex Todd upgraded to three stars on Scout and 24/7, and Dawson Fletcher gets two stars from 24/7.
|#8 Northwestern - 14 Commits|
The Wildcats grab Greg Kuhar. Chris Fitzpatrick picks up two stars from Rivals and 24/7, and Mike McHugh gets his two stars from 24/7 as well. Northwestern inches closer to Indiana, but, well, Gunner Kiel.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
The Hawkeyes picked up a commit from Cass Tech ATH Ruben Lile last night, which vaults them ahead of Minnesota (larger class, far lower quality) and Nebraska (still stuck on six commits).
|#10 Minnesota - 18 Commits|
No new commits for the Gophers. Mitch Leidner gets three stars, and Brian Nicholson and Samad Hinds each two stars, from 24/7.
|#11 Nebraska - 6 Commits|
No change for the Huskers.
|#12 Purdue - 12 Commits|
The Boilermakers land Jordan Roos, although 24/7 has yet to catch on despite the fact that they have him as a three-star and he committed two weeks ago. B.J. Knauf gets a third star from Scout and 24/7, Jonathan Curry gets bumped up a star by ESPN, and Anthony Brown and Paul Griggs get three stars from 24/7. Scout is still missing Andy Garcia, Steffon Martin, and Knauf from their commitment list -- thanks for making this task easy, guys. At this point, I'd say Purdue is pretty close to leaping Nebraska, but the lack of a single four-star player (on any service) makes it tough to justify that move unless they pick up a couple more commits.
|#13 Illinois - 8 Commits|
No new commits for the Illini. Joseph Spencer picks up a three-star rating from ESPN. Zach Jackson and Joey Warburg each get three stars from 24/7.
I traveled down to Canton, Ohio yesterday to check out the game between GlenOak and Firestone, and spent my time observing a few key players. I'm sure everybody is aware of Bri'onte Dunn on GlenOak, but there were a few more high level players on the field. Below are my notes on a few of them.
2012, RB , # 25 ,Committed to Ohio State
Pros: As the star of GlenOak, there are going to be some high expectations for Bri'onte this year and he didn't disapoint in this game. Bri'onte is a big, strong runningback and certainly looks the part as a downhill runner who makes his living going between the tackles. He has good quickness and sees the hole well, getting through it with a good burst. Once he gets into the second layer he shows good vision and spots the open space to the left or right. He's a tough and violent runner, often delivering a blow to the first guy that gets to him. He's a tough guy to bring down, rarely being tackled by the first guy. He keeps his feet moving and made a few good plays after breaking an early tackle.
Cons: There didn't appear to be many flaws in his game, but he's definitely not perfect. He lacks elite speed. He was unable to gain the corner on a few pitches and never broke any long runs. He's not slow, but he's no burner out there. I was also a little concerned about his hands. I think he dropped two pitches and fumbled another. He was not thrown to from what I can recall, but he did put the ball on the ground once or twice.
Overall: Bri'onte had a very good game. I believe he ended up at around 140 yards on about 25 carries in three quarters (Numbers are not exact). GlenOak dominated Firestone and they had the luxury of sitting Bri'onte and getting some other guys playing time. Ohio State is getting a good one, assuming he sticks.
(Here's a shitty video of a kick return by Bri'onte)
2013 WR, #8
Pros: Kevin is a big time wide receiver who should get interest from some good programs. The current word on the street is that he is a heavy OSU lean, and he looked like he had that kind of potential. He's got good size and looked every bit of his listed 6'4. He displayed good speed on a few routes and came down with a great catch on a long ball over the middle. This catch in particular was over the shoulder with a defender right on him and it required him to make a good adjustment to the ball. He also displayed tough side and made a few good blocks on running plays.
Cons: He disappeared for long stretches of the game. This was probably caused by his QB to an extent, who wasn't very good.
Overall: This was short because I didn't see him make a lot of catches. My impression was mostly based on a few routes that didn't materialize into anything and that one good catch.He has the physical abilities to be a good one and should do better as the season progresses and he sees more balls thrown to him.
(A few photos below. Dunn is #25, Gladney is #8. Kinda hard to see)
Other Guys To Keep an Eye On / Guys Who Impressed Me:
1. 2012 QB Christian Manns: He looked bigger than his listed 5'10 183 lbs. He displayed a good arm and even made a few good runs on QB draws. Starting quarterback Reid Worstell did not play.
2. 2013 OL Steve Mathie: He looked like the biggest kid out there at 6'4 and 275 lbs. Glenoak ran to his side quite a bit and had success doing it. I didn't focus on him, but there were no obvious break-downs in blocking. He should be a big time prospect and already reports an offer from UCLA.
3. 2012 WR Lunden Butler: He made a few good touchdown catches. 6'0 195 lbs
4. 2012 WR Jordan Autrey: This kid is a burner. He was a real home run threat and took it to the house.He's diminutive though at 5'6, 145 lbs.
5. 2012 WR/LB DaShawn Hall: Made a few great plays on both sides of the ball. 6'0 210 lbs.
1. Something Shaw: I don't have any information on him besides he's number 32, but he made some good plays as a ? (TE, FB, RB, WR?). and is a big, bruising kid.
I plan on catching a few games tomorrow (St. Edwards vs Glenville and Medina vs Mayfield) and hope to continue this throughout the season so I would appreciate any comments, things you like, things you don't like, requests etc. Feel free to ask any questions below and I'll try to answer them.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @NStank. I might do some live tweeting or whatever.