The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
Cincinnati Oak Hills OL Caleb Stacey was Michigan's second commit of the 2012 class, pledging all the way back in March, when people were still freaking out about Brady Hoke's ability to pull a solid class together. Stacey, of course, is still committed, while any concerns about Hoke's ability to recruit have been shunted aside for full-scale Hokeamania. Caleb was kind enough to agree to an interview as he prepares for Oak Hills's opener against Cincinnati La Salle.
ACE: What are your goals heading into your senior season? Doing anything special to prepare for Michigan?
CALEB: Heading into my senior season there is only one goal on my mind, and that is to take my team to the state playoffs for the first time in school history since joining the GMC conference. Preparing for Michigan right now really isn't on my mind much because I have another season to play in high school, but I'm definitely trying to get better week by week -- whether that be working on footwork, getting stronger in the weight room, or really focusing on fundamental things like hand placement and zone steps.
ACE: Do you have any visits planned at this point?
CALEB: Yes, I have a visit planned for the ND game. Although it's an unofficial I'm still ecstatic to get up there again. Already have my hotel booked!
ACE: Have you been talking to any other recruits, either in your class or 2013 players? Now that you're committed, are you doing any recruiting yourself?
CALEB: I try to do as much recruiting as I can to help The Team out. When I get a chance to talk to some of the recruits I really sell what a great place Michigan is and how when you visit there isn't much you don't like, if anything.
ACE: With the news that Tony Posada is transferring, it looks like Michigan is going to have to rely upon some young players on the interior line in the very near future. Does the prospect of being on the two-deep as a freshman change how you approach preparing for college? Have the coaches asked you to do anything specific to get ready for Ann Arbor?
CALEB: It doesn't really change how I approach preparing. I'm always going to work as hard as possible at what I do. That's just the type of player I am. The coaches haven't really told me anything specific I need to prepare for when I arrive on campus, just to be ready to work hard and have a great attitude.
Many thanks to Caleb - who's already caught on that at Michigan, "The Team" is capitalized, often thrice - for taking the time to answer my questions. He asked that I make sure to let you know that you can follow him on Twitter. Help a future Wolverine out, MGoTweeters!
MGoBlog is trying to start creating photos, not just using them, and will have a guy on the road with Ace this fall getting pictures of recruits and etc. These will be Creative Commons licensed, so anyone can use them as long as they attribute them and don't use them for commercial purposes.
We've set up a flickr account to help us with this. I thought as long as I was doing this I would create an MGoBlog flickr pool.
The goal of the pool is to extend this pool of guilt-free photos to anyone who'd like to contribute. Photos for the pool should be:
- About Michigan sports or tangents (band, gameday things like tailgating)
- Creative Commons licensed. We are doing attrib-nocommercial but any flavor will do.
Unfortunately flickr does not have any mechanism via which I can enforce this latter requirement, so I'm looking for a few people to moderate the photopool to make sure. I'm not going to have a lot of time to monitor it during the season, so this might fall flat if no one cares to contribute. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to moderate the pool.
If you're interested in contributing but don't know how to set this license on your pictures, go here for a rundown of what the various options are and to the licensing page to set your default license to some flavor of CC.
First of all, how do you pronounce my name?
Well, it's a German name (I know, right?), it looks Japanese, my last name is Chinese, my driver's license says I'm from Ohio ... now everyone's confused.
It's okay. I have no idea, either.
The story goes like this. I was born in China while my dad was doing grad school in Germany. My family moved to the US when I was three, at which point we anglicized my Chinese name, which was Hui ==> Huey.
But that wasn't good enough for my dad. The summer before second grade he decided I should drop the Chinese name and use a not-Chinese name. I said okay. How about Michael. Or Tom. Or Raphael because the Ninja Turtles RULED.
My dad said, "No, how about 'Heiko.' It's my favorite German name." I said, "What?"
That was the end of the conversation.
Second grade started, and my teacher asked me how to pronounce my name. I had no clue, so I sounded it out. "Hay-ko." And that's what I've called myself ever since. My parents call me "High-ko," which is also what Brian and, incidentally, German people call me. "High-ko" is correct. "Hay-ko" just sounds right.
Why am I working for MGoBlog?
Because the past three years of Michigan fandom taught me that if someone breaks your heart, the only way to feel better is to get closer to them and then write mean things about them. I'm just kidding. I would never write mean things about Denard (or anyone!).
For real now: I love writing, and I love Michigan sports. When I started the research phase of my training, my time became fairly flexible, so I joined Daily Sports where I assumed the role of the weird older guy. I covered women's volleyball first, and that taught me how to become very good at keeping track of a roster that reads "Alexandra (Zimmerman)," "Alexandra (Hunt)," and "Alexandra (Erwin)." (If you've been following volleyball, here's a programming note: Lexi the senior setter graduated, and she'll be replaced by Lexi the freshman setter.) In the spring I wrote for water polo and followed them all the way up to their unstorybook-like postseason demise at the hands of ... Indiana.
Obviously, by joining mgoblog, I won't be writing for the Daily anymore. So, while the feelings are fresh, here's my plug for them: You guys are great people, you all do a great job -- tremendous, even -- and I'm going to miss you.
But I'm still not convinced any of you know what I do during the day.
And I hate that you start all your sentences with conjunctions.
Am I really getting an MD/PhD?
Yes, really. Are you ill? If you're nice about it and present me an organized list of symptoms, I will tell you if I think you should go see a doctor.
Sorry, my mind is still swimming from the whirlwind of this past week and I couldn't come up with a better title, but I figured I'd introduce myself.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, my name is Ace Anbender, and I've previously written at The Wolverine Blog, The Wolverine Magazine, and The Ace of Sports (I was quite the humble college freshman, I guess). I've been following football recruiting with more than a passing interest since high school, and while it has never been the main focus of my writing, I will be doing everything I can in the upcoming weeks and months to provide the expert analysis that you guys have enjoyed from the great work of Tim and TomVH, who both leave big shoes to fill.
I graduated from U-M with my bachelor's in history last December, after four-and-a-half years (including five, shall we say, interesting years in the student section) as a Wolverine. Though I was born in San Francisco, the undisputed greatest city in the world, I have lived in Ann Arbor since the age of five and started attending football games with my father during the 1994 season. I almost never made it here, as my first game in Michigan Stadium was supposed to be the Colorado game that season, but a serendipitous work trip kept my father from taking me and my mother sold the tickets - who knows what would've happened had I experienced my first soul-dong punch at such an impressionable age.
My favorite Wolverines of my lifetime - well, the part of my lifetime when I've been able to follow a football game - are Charles Woodson, Brandon Graham, Mike Hart, and Tim Biakabutuka, while my favorite games that I have been able to attend are '97 and '03 Ohio State, '07 Michigan State, '08 Wisconsin, '09 Notre Dame, and '10 UConn. I realize those games have a very recent flavor (a flavor which, I admit, had some bitter aftertaste), but I hope you understand that attending games as a student is an altogether different experience.
None of that has much at all to do with what I'll be working on here, and when it comes to recruiting I welcome any and all input, which will be a huge help especially as I get acclimated to the new job. Don't hesitate to contact me via Twitter (@aceanbender) or email (aceanbender [at] gmail [dot] com) with any advice, criticism, helpful recruiting tidbit or article, anything that you think would help me do the best possible job I can at the best Michigan blog in existence. I'll also be a constant presence on the board, posting under the moniker "Ace", so you can track me down there as well.
Thank you all for what has already been an outpouring of support, which is very much appreciated - I know that I'm following in the footsteps of a couple of great guys who did fantastic work, and I hope you all enjoy what I bring to this fine establishment.
40 years ago today -- August 22, 1971 -- saw the only NFL game ever to be staged in Michigan Stadium history; a preseason exhibition game between the Detroit Lions and the Baltimore Colts. It is a factoid now, just a trivia question. But it opens up a series of stories that are instructive on the past, present and future of our Stadium and our Athletic Directors.
The 1971 preseason game between the Lions and the Colts was a classic bit of showmanship by Don Canham. In those days, the Lions still shared Tiger Stadium with baseball, and in August, it was still a minor problem to arrange dates and reconfigure the field for the two sports. A Lions game at Michigan had been talked about for some time, but it was not until 1971, three years into Canham's reign at Michigan, that he had the power and wherewithal to pull it off.
The game was even bigger for a lot of personal stories. One is that I was there, so I remember what a blistering hot day it was, and how badly they worked the refreshment concessions. It was not a regular game-day operation. Still, there was a lot else going on, that made it fun and memorable.
There was a major film crew on hand that day. They were there to film George Plimpton, who played a series of downs as a quarterback for the Colts. It was Plimpton's second stint as the Walter Mitty-QB: In 1963, Plimpton had played in the Lions' summer camp that was conducted at Cranbrook and memorialized his experiences in the bestselling 1966 book Paper Lion:
That book became a feature film in 1968, starring Alan Alda in the role of Plimpton (Plimpton had wanted to play himself) and a lot of the then-real Lions, including Alex Karras and John Gordy. Frank Gifford was featured, along with the previous year's rookie of the year, Lem Barney. Vince Lombardi was given a couple of speaking lines, the model Lauren Hutton was cast as Plimpton's wife, and they found a role even for Sugar Ray Robinson!? Karras' walk-on role brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and it changed his life. He got other movie roles (Blazing Saddles, etc.), a spot on the Monday Night Football team with Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell, and then a feature role in the tv series Webster.
The 1971 Lions' exhibition game in Michigan Stadium was not Karras' first game there; Karras had played for Iowa, where he famously butted heads with Iowa's head coach (and Michigan man) Forest Evashevski, getting into physical fights with his coach. Karras eventually won the Outland Trophy and finished second in the Heisman voting, when he wasn't getting suspended.
Against the Colts, Karras knew that his career was coming to an end. It was his 13th year in the NFL, and as it turns out, Karras was cut by the Lions before the 1971 season began.
The game also marked the return of three of the Colts who had played at Michigan; All-Pro safety Rick Volk, the remarkable defensive back Tom Curtis and Ann Arbor's own Bill Laskey, a linebacker.
But Plimpton was the star of the show, as he frequently was. He was given one series, starting on about the Lions' 20 yard-line (the south endzone), to run a series of plays with film cameras rolling for a television feature.
The Plimpton-led Colts offense ended up picking up 18 yards, 15 of them on a roughing the passer penalty inflicted on Plimpton by Karras (who named one of his sons George, after Plimpton). It was that kind of day.
Michigan has not seen an Athletic Director with that kind of verve and showmanship since Don Canham. Until now. And we now have a Stadium, with lights and luxury boxes, that might make possible something else, something new, like that NFL exhibition game, 40 years ago today.
Very light week, with fall camps under way. Action since last rankings:
8-14-11 Purdue gains commitment from Jordan Roos.
8-21-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from DJ Singleton.
|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 is not included in Minnesota's average, Darius Stroud doesn't count against Indiana's average, and Steffon Martin is excluded from Purdue's.
On to the full data:
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
Sione Houma picks up three stars from 24/7 Sports.
|#2 Notre Dame - 13 Commits|
Armani Reeves is just a three-star on ESPN, not four like I had previously thought.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
Badgers snag New Jersey producy DJ Singleton. Hugs Etienne picks up a 3-star rating from 24/7 Sports.
|#7 Indiana - 17 Commits|
Caleb Cornett, Tanner Kearns, Alex Todd, and Dawson Fletcher pick up 2-star ratings to Rivals. Todd gets 3 stars from 24/7 Sports, while Dawson Fletcher gets 2 (he also gets 2 from ESPN). Todd also moves up to three-star on Scout.
Mike McHugh and Chris Fitzpatrick both get 2-star ratings from 24/7 Sports.
|#9 Minnesota - 18 Commits|
Brian Nicholson and Samad Hinds get 2 stars, Mitch Leidner gets 3 from 24/7 Sports
|#10 Nebraska - 6 Commits|
|#11 Iowa - 9 Commits|
|#12 Purdue - 12 Commits|
Purdue adds Jordan Roos to their class. BJ Knauf, Anthony Brown, and Paul Griggs get 3 stars from 24/7 Sports, while Thomas Meadows gets 2. Andy Garcia moved up from 2-star to 3-star.
24/7 Sports gives a 3-star rating to Zach Jackson and two stars to Joey Warburg.