"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
There probably isn't a more anticipated position group for the Michigan coaches to get on campus than the 2011 offensive line commitments. With only three signed in the class they need all the depth they can get. When Illinois lineman Chris Bryant announced his commitment to Michigan it was a sigh of relief for the fans and coaches alike. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound guard waited all the way until January 28th to announce that decision and chose Michigan over the likes of Arizona, Illinois, Pittsburgh, and Stanford.
Now that Chris is only a week away from making the trek to Ann Arbor to start his new journey he says it's all starting to become real. "It hasn't really hit me yet, I don't think it will really hit me until I get down there," he said. "We're moving in on the 25th, I'm not going to be there this weekend [the 17th] with Jordan because I want to spend time with my family. The whole process is something you dream about and it doesn't even seem real yet." While everything is sinking in, Bryant has already started to think about what he's most excited for once he gets to campus. "I think seeing my name in the locker room, and having it be official. Putting on that winged helmet and just being a part of all that tradition is just exciting," said Bryant.
Often times offensive linemen can have one of the more difficult transitions from high school to college. Their training both on the field and off the field can be drastically different, which is why Bryant is trying to follow everything by the books. "It's a big jump from high school and a lot of work, but I'm trying to do the workout book they sent me," he said. "They want me up there at 335 pounds and I'm at 340 right now. The conditioning was the toughest part but that's preparing for the next level."
Preparing his body is only one part of the process for Chris, and he also understands that he will have a huge adjustment to make in his academic and social life. "I'm going to try to balance my time with all the things being around my class, the weight room, in everything I do balance will play a big part in that," he said.
As Bryant gets closer to joining the Wolverine family he's had plenty of time to reflect on his journey. The recruiting process was long and sometimes tiresome for Bryant which is why he's passed on some of his knowledge to teammate Jordan Diamond. "I waited everything out and took my time, which was good and bad. It got to be really long for me," Bryant said. "It's Jordan's decision and he has a lot of offers from great football schools and great academic schools, but I tell him Michigan has both. He grew up a Michigan fan, so that makes it a little easier, but he'll make the right choice."
Bryant may not be nudging Diamond to join him in Ann Arbor, but the sheer fact that he'll be there makes it a little more comfortable for Jordan without saying anything. Having close friends and family close by makes it easier for anyone to adjust, and that holds true for Bryant as well. "When I went up there for the spring game that's when a lot of kids in my class went up and we all just bonded. We are really close, and there's not one person that I bonded with more than another. It's just a big family there and that's what's special about it," he said. Chris will be rooming with fellow 2011 signee TE Chris Barnett once he gets to Ann Arbor, and said that he's ready for everything in front of him.
Taft WR Dwayne Stanford has been at the top of the conversation when it comes to wide receiver prospects. It doesn't hurt that his teammate, DE Adolphus Washington, is a top recruit also being courted by Michigan. Stanford and Washington had previously been unable to make their visit to Michigan and Stanford finally rescheduled his trip for this weekend. Here's what he had to say about the upcoming visit and where he's at.
TOM: You and Adolphus are making your way up to Michigan this weekend?
DWAYNE: No, Adolphus can't make it this weekend but I am going. He's going to Kentucky on Friday and I'm going to Michigan on Saturday.
TOM: Don't you guys usually travel together? Is this the first visit you'll take without him?
DWAYNE: I visited Tennessee during a football game and he didn't go, but other than that yeah we've been together. This will really be one of the first unofficial visits not to a game that I've taken besides camps or anything.
TOM: With this visit what are you looking to learn from Michigan? Do you have any questions you want answered, or coaches you want to meet?
DWAYNE: I just want to go up there and talk to some of the players and the coaches. I want to find out exactly how they want to use me. I'm really just going up there with open eyes. I'd like to get to know the wide receivers coach better. I had misplaced his number so I have some questions for him about how they'll use me. I basically want to put a name to the face and develop that relationship.
TOM: I know I spoke with you briefly when the Ohio State allegations came out. What were you and your family thinking when it happened?
DWAYNE: We were all in shock. I didn't think that Coach Tressel would resign or get fired, I thought he would stick it out. Fickell is the head coach now and he'll do what he can to win them a Big Ten Championship and if the NCAA lets them, go to a bowl game. Ohio State is bigger than one coach, the tradition they have. At first it did hurt their chances with me, but I talked to the wide receivers coach and he's brought everything up for me. I don't want to say they're at the top but they're up there.
TOM: What about Michigan, where do they stand right now?
DWAYNE: Michigan, they're not at the very top either but they're up there on my list because of how persistent they've been to get me up there. They have a great tradition, won championships, won Big Ten titles. They're in a rebuilding stage which is even better because I could help Michigan get back on top. They've been at the top parts of my list for awhile now.
TOM: I know you go to some of the same camps as Michigan commits, and they have some Ohio kids. Do you ever talk to any of them?
DWAYNE: Yeah, I was at a 7 on 7 with Joe Bolden and he was trying to recruit me. I've been talking to the quarterback Shane Morris, too, I've been talking to him a lot. He's going to be up there this weekend I think, and he was saying we need to show the coaches the future and all that. I'm also good friends with AJ Williams, too. He's always in my ear.
TOM: What's next? I know you've said you want to wait to make your decision, is the timeline still the same?
DWAYNE: I'll have my official top five out in September. My top eight right now is Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, and Tennessee. I'm going to go out to Tennessee, North Carolina, and obviously Michigan this summer. As far as a timeline it'll probably be towards the end of the season. It's really whenever I feel comfortable with the school and with my parents. I'm just projecting that it will be at the end of the school year.
Defense was a huge priority for Brady Hoke the second he stepped on the recruiting trail for Michigan. That was made apparent when four of his first six commitments for the 2011 class were defensive players. Cincinnati linebacker Antonio Poole was one of those commitments despite not receiving an offer from the previous Michigan coaches. Poole was a name that frequently came up throughout the recruiting process and that fans were happy to see on the Wolverine commitment list.
As the days get closer for Antonio to step on campus and make an impact, he still has one more big game to prepare for. Along with Michigan signees LB Frank Clark and DE Keith Heitzman, Poole was selected to play in the annual Big 33 game that puts the best high school players from Ohio against the best that Pennsylvania has to offer. "You have to be nominated by someone like a coach, and then they choose the best players from the nominations," said Poole.
The game is his main focus right now, but it has given him a chance to connect with his future teammates Clark and Heitzman. "We've been focused on the game and trying to win, but we have been talking about Michigan too," he said. "Frank is actually playing defensive end, linebacker, and some safety; he's really athletic. Keith has been doing pretty good, too, they're both really good." Antonio will be lined up as a MIKE linebacker so there's a chance for all three to be on the field at the same time.
The Big 33 is an honor for Antonio and he's excited about being able to represent his state, but it's also an excellent opportunity for him to prepare for better competition at the next level. "I think this will help me get better, help me to go up against better competition and get myself prepared to make an impact once I get [to Michigan]," said Poole.
The preparation and competition is only one aspect of how he's getting himself ready to compete at Michigan. The biggest change for Poole was probably his new workout program he received once he signed his LOI. "When I first got the exercise book I didn't even know how to do some of them, so it was kind of hard," he said. "The running stuff I knew how to do that, and I think I've built up a lot of stamina from the workouts. I've gotten a lot faster and I'm up to 220 pounds now." The coaches will probably have him play around 225 as a freshman so he's almost at his ideal weight.
The Big 33 game has some great tradition behind it, and has seen some outstanding players in their past years. Both are aspects of Michigan that Antonio is recognizing by comparison. "This game is going to be on TV so it's a big stage. After this I'm just excited to get on the field and play in the Big House, even bigger stage. I want to bring the winning back to Michigan and the tradition back to what it was," said Poole. As a versatile linebacker that can play either WILL or MIKE, Poole will have every opportunity to compete for a starting spot to help Michigan back to prominence.
The Big 33 will be played on Saturday June 18th at 7:00pm EST. More information on the game can be found here.
Only just got a chance to write down some details from the Boston coaches meeting. I'm going from memory, so any other MGoBloggers in attendance, feel free to correct/add your impressions.
Steve Grafton (pres. alumni assoc.) asked for no video/audiotapes so coaches would feel comfortable being candid.
Little boy asked Hoke what the best part was of coaching at Michigan. Answer: It's Michigan. (Nothing more. 'Nuff said.)
Hoke did his "good afternoon", "42", "132 championships", "Ohio" bit to get the crowd going. He was asked about BCS v. Playoffs. He doesn't like playoffs because can't say how fair they will be.
David Brandon did most of the talking. Very laudatory of MSC - says he voted for her as a Regent. She is deeply involved and understands the value of athletics.
DB was asked what teaching moments would come out of the events in Ohio. He said that any time anywhere someone gets into trouble, that becomes a teaching moment. He said the important thing was to recruit players of character. The coaches nodded emphatically.
DB doesn't read blogs, says they don't influence him. Underwear wearing basement dwellers. He says mostly they don't have all of the facts, he is in position to have all of the facts.
DB was asked about compensation for players. He pointed out that only a handful of college sports programs operate in the black. (Berenson interrupted to have DB point out how much a college athlete costs the University - hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, housing, food, tutoring, medical, etc.). DB said there is no discussion of stipends or pay to play. There are some costs which are directly attributable to attending school which are not paid and should be. He used transport to and from home for a West Coast player as an example. This can be a burden on some families.
The coaches were asked about how much weight they give the various recruiting/rating services. Berenson said that some times it's like they are babysitters not recruiters. He pointed out that now they are recruiting down to Sophmores and that there are some East Coast schools recruiting Freshmen. Beilein said that they don't go by others' rankings, they go by their own. They trust their own and feel that some of the recruiting services base their rankings on a limited amount of time actually watching a player. Hoke and LAX coach, John Paul, agreed.
Beilein is very excited about the renovations for Crisler. Hopeful of bringing some BB alums back as part of the celebration over the new opening. He also spoke about Darius' departure to the NBA. He said that he had been getting calls from the NBA and started meeting with Darius and his family. he pointed out that Darius is a 3.5 gpa business major, bright guy and that he made the right decision for himself. confident he'll go first round. when I had a chance to speak with him directly, I commiserated over how tough the Wisconsin loss had been. He shared that his daughter, 9+ months pregnant was at the game, and went into labor a few hours later. That was quite a night!
Red was very inspirational and had some great interactions with some young boys in attendance. He was asked about the Big 10 tournament. It's still a while off, and still in negotiations. Looks like St. Paul will be a venue, which will give Wisconsin and Minnesota an advantage. Would like to see the venue rotating. When I spoke with him directly, we talked about the future of the CCHA. It's still sorting itself out and he thinks ND is shopping around for a good deal in picking a Conference. Michigan is still their biggest draw and they want to keep us on their schedule.
John Paul, new head coach for LAX was introduced. A2 native, dad works for UM, will be coming back to Northeast for both games and recruiting.
Finally, for all you MMB fans out there, I was able to speak with DB about the piped in music at the stadium. DB said that there was some resistance in the Big 10, but that they have been able to change the rule and now can mike the band. They expect this to make a big difference. He cautioned that they will keep some piped in music because the 'young people' like it, but is hoping for about 65% MMB and 35% recorded.
Everyone was very approachable, and signing things and posing for pictures. They had to rush off immediately after the Q & A for their flight to NYC.
THE KNOWLEDGE has returned with the exciting news that THE KNOWLEDGE has returned to these very pages
Months ago, before any scandal broke in Columbus, THE KNOWLEDGE accurately revealed that tressel will be fired at OSU
Many was the number of idiots that didn't heed the word of THE KNOWLEDGE, and as usual THE KNOWLEDGE soared leaving every doubter in a trail of dust
now, THE KNOWLEDGE will provide information on the following items:
- 2011 season brief review
- upcoming sanctions on OSU and MSU
- OSU's coach for 2012 and beyond
in a follow-up diary, THE KNOWLEDGE will also reveal Part 1 of the PROFILE (Part 2 was revealed last year)
this is the decade of THE KNOWLEDGE, and the decade of Michigan as THE KNOWLEDGE has pointed out before. as can already be seen by the good recruiting, the OSU implosion, upcoming sanctions against msu and other factors, the indicators have started
this season is the starting point of a decade of dominance by Michigan football. however, it is just the starting point
hence, Michigan will not go undefeated in 2011; however, they will be the B1G conference champions and will finish the season 12-2
the details of the wins and losses will be revealed as the season approaches
the sanctions against OSU will, unfortunately for the rest of the nation, be minimal. NCAA will force them to vacate wins for the 2010 season and reduce scholarships by 6 over the next 3 years (2/year)
OSU will then continue with their cheating unfettered and with greater secrecy
sanctions are also upcoming against MSU for various major violations
due to the critically sensitive nature of this issue, THE KNOWLEDGE will only reveal that they will face sanctions much worse than USC and be decimated to be a footnote in the new B1G
THE KNOWLEDGE has already revealed (months ago) that Urban Meyer will take over as the new coach at OSU
due to the minimal sanctions, he will happily accept the jon and go on to establish OSU as the top team in their half of the conference, losing on a regular basis only to Michigan
as always, when these
predictions facts are proved correct by the passage of time, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar
and bask in glory
This year's recruiting class to date has drawn near unanimous praise, and some M fans are damn near ecstatic over the results so far. In particular, the last month's or so results have been undeniably strong. The dominance of Michigan based talent, in-roads into Ohio, and the list of top ranked recruits still listing us highly are all seen (rightly so) as a terrific start for the coaching staff. But is the overall quality of the recruits as top notch as the consensus estimates of the fan base?
To examine that, I looked at Rivals data for every year since 2002, when they first started rating. I looked at the total number of 4 and 5 star recruits each year, and then calculated that as a percentage of the overall class. As we know, 4 and 5 star recruits are what fans think of as "elite" recruits, and if you look at elite recruits as a percentage of the overall class, you can get a rough idea of the "quality" of that year's class.
There are major caveats with this approach, starting with a huge one; this year's class isn't finished being rated, since none of have even played a game as a senior in H.S. Also, the class isn't, like, complete. Finally, the usual caveats of recruiting ratings apply as well. But since fans are typically using ratings to proclaim their happiness with recruiting, it seems fair to at least look at the early ones, just as we do around here in Tim's "Hello' posts. So here goes:
YEAR- #4/5* of # in class (%)
2002- 11 of 21 (52%)
2003- 13 of 17 (77%!)
2004- 13 of 22 (59%)
2005- 10 of 23 (44%)
2006- 11 of 19 (58%)
2007- 7 of 20 (35%)
2008- 17 of 24 (71%)
2009- 14 of 22 (64%)
2010- 6 of 27 (23%)
2011- 6 of 20 (30%)
2012 to date- 7 of 16 (45%)
So of the 11 years that Rivals has recruiting rated, there have been 4 of those years that, by looking at 4 and 5 star percentage of class, this year's class so far has beaten. And of course 6 that had a higher percentage of the class rated as elite by Rivals. Again, I don't draw any conclusions here because of the above caveats, but I do find it interesting. What do you think?
EDIT: some asked about how this would compare to Scout's ratings. Here goes:
2002- 8 of 21 (39%) 2003-11 of 17 (65%) 2004- 10 of 22 (44%) 2005- 14 of 23 (65%) 2006- 10 of 19 (53%) 2007- 14 of 20 (70%, major outlier vs. Rivals) 2008- 15 of 24 (62%) 2009- 9 of 22 (40%) 2010- 9 of 27 (33%) 2011- 5 of 20 (25%) 2012 (56%)
So M this year so far, has a quality rating that has beaten 6 of it's past year's ratings, and trails 4 years.