TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
[Ed-M: Edited and front-paged for great content.]
Now that National Signing Day 2011 has finally come to a close, the Michigan coaches have been reviewing film and sending out offers to 2012 prospects. As mentioned many times before, the 2012 class is extremely strong in the midwest, including Michigan and Ohio, as well as Illinois and Indiana as well.
Here are some local and regional prospects to look out for, on offense.
Note: Sorry for the massive wall of text as well.
QB Gunner Kiel – 6'4, 220 lbs, Columbus, Indiana.
With Michigan’s move to a more pro-style offense Kiel becomes an even more important prospect. Kiel was offered by the previous staff as well, and he has some mobility (600 yards rushing) to go with his big-time arm (2,700 yards passing). However, Kiel is an Notre Dame legacy recruit, and he’s also been offered by Alabama, Cincinnati, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Purdue, TCU, and Tennessee among others.
QB Robert Gregory – 6'3, 180 lbs, Chicago, Illinois.
Gregory is the teammate of 2011 signee Chris Bryant and 2012-super OL Jordan Diamond. Though Simeon ran a spread offense, Gregory possesses very good arm strength and could develop into a solid pocket passer. There are rumors out there that schools are looking at Gregory as an athlete, but he is only interested in playing quarterback. An interesting note as well, as Gregory recently said in an interview he and Jordan Diamond would be attending the same school.
RB William Mahone – 5'10, 200 lbs, Austintown, Ohio.
There is some serious talent at running back in the state of Ohio next year, and Ohio State has already locked down two studs in Warren Ball and Bri’onte Dunn. Michigan’s coaches are looking for another big-time back, and Mahone visited the campus twice last year, so there is mutual interest in both parts. Other offers: Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Miami (NTM)
RB Juwan Lewis – 5'11, 200 lbs, Muskegon, Michigan.
Many of you Michigan west-coasters will recognize the name, as Lewis starred on a very good Muskegon Big Red football team this year. Interestingly enough, Lewis played fullback in Muskegon’s shotgun/pistol offense. Like Mahone, Lewis has good size, but deceptively good speed as well. Lewis camped at Michigan last year, and is very interested in the Wolverines. Offers: None
Burbridge was one of the stars on a 14-0 Harrison squad that captured the state title this year. An excellent athlete, Burbridge played RB, WR, CB, and KR and excelled everywhere, though he will be a receiver at the next level. He reminds many of fellow Harrison alumni Mark Dell, and it is rumored Burbridge is very close to Dell as well. That is not true. Michigan State has offered and appear to be the early leader for this top 10 player in the state next year [Ed-M: Farmington Hills Harrison (Drew Stanton, Agim Shabaj) was a Michigan State feeder in my day, but haven't produced a Spartan since Dell; M got Charles Stewart from there] , but there is no doubt he will be interested in Michigan.
WR Amara Darboh – 6'2, 190lbs, West Des Moines, Iowa.
A big athlete with great speed, Darboh has the ability to stretch the field vertically and is very dangerous in space as well. Darboh will likely be the #1 player in Iowa, and that may not mean much but he is a very talented player. He has yet to narrow down his list, but if Michigan offers I fully expect Darboh to visit in the fall. Other offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin.
WR Stefon Diggs – 6'0, 175 lbs – Olney, Maryland.
Diggs is the teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess. While he doesn’t possess great size, Diggs does have blazing speed and great hands to boot. He’s a crisp route runner and has dominated every camp he has shown up at. Diggs, along with Dorial Beckham-Green, will likely challenge for the top receiver spot in the nation in 2011. Just a few weeks ago Diggs said he was interested in Michigan, with Countess signing with the Wolverines. I don’t expect Michigan to land him, but there it is good to see interest there. Other offers: Cal, Florida, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Pitt
TE Sam Grant – 6'6, 230 lbs, North Royalton, Ohio.
Grant only caught 16 passes last season, but that’s because St. Edwards ran a primarily run-based offense. Grant has already tripped to Ohio State and Michigan State, and he will be a premium talent at the next level. With Michigan looking for more Tight Ends in their offense, look for them to get Grant up on campus soon. Other offers: Toledo
Athlete Drake Johnson – 6’1, 205 lbs, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Johnson is a very talented athlete at Ann Arbor Pioneer, who played running back this season and excelled as a national track runner as well. In college Johnson’s career may take a number of possible routes, as he could play running back, wide receiver, or even linebacker. Being right across the street from the Big House, I expect Johnson to be very well-scouted by the Michigan staff and definitely a possibility for an offer down the road.
As for offensive linemen, I haven’t spent enough time looking at all the film, but there are a lot of talented linemen in the Midwest this year. It’s not quite as talented as the past, but there is much better quality throughout the area. I fully expect Michigan to stock up on at least 3-4, maybe 4-5 this recruiting cycle. Along with Jordan Diamond, whom we’ve known about for a while, here are names to watch.
OG Kelby Latta, 6'4, 295 lbs, Battle Creek, Michigan.
OT JJ Denman, 6'6, 305 lb, Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania.
OT Jake Meador, 6'6, 280 lbs, Whiteland, Indiana.
OG Caleb Stacey, 6'4, 275 lbs, Cincinnati, Ohio.
OT Ben Bradem 6'6, 285 lbs, Rockford, Michigan.
OK, after reading for the 1,234,123rd time that someone feels "queasy" about Gardner's application for a Medical Redshirt and comparing it to what Saban does at Alabama I thought we could do a brief overview of the two things and get them out there in the open. If this debate comes up again, point the person to this post. (Mods, if this should be board rather than Diary throw it there)
First, the terms themselves:
Redshirt: An extra year of eligibility to play collegiate athletics. Most linemen redshirt in order to spend a year in a college weight program without playing any games. Student athletes are allowed 1 RS year. You cannot play in any games and get a normal RS. This scholarship counts against a team's total (85 for football)
M Example: Taylor Lewan RS'd his Freshman year to build his hatred for donkeys
Medical Redshirt: An extra year of eligibility to play collegiate athletics - determined by a governing body. A player receives an injury that is not career ending, but they will miss a long chunk of the season. The player can apply for a medical redshirt and gain another year of eligibility, the thought being "let's not punish kids for getting hurt and have the whole year on the field be a loss." The injury has to happen early in the season and the player cannot participate after the 1st (3 or 4?) few games of the football season. I'm not sure the rules for other sports. Occasionally across the college football landscape this practice will be used to get someone young some playing time in their first year without losing a RS year/whole year of eligibility. Many people are skeptical of Gardner's back injury - and this is why there is the application/vetting process. This scholarship counts against a team's total (85 for football)
M Example: Devin Gardner tweaked his back this year and could not play after the injury. He is applying for a Med Redshirt.
Medical Exemption: A Medical Exemption is a failsafe for athletes who have career-ending injuries and can no longer participate at all in collegiate athletics. A Medical Exemption allows the AD to continue to pay for a (now former) Injured Athlete's scholarship. This is a protection for athletes such that if you can no longer play, your scholarship does not disappear. The Athletic Department continues to pay for the scholarship but the scholarship does not count against team scholarship numbers (85 for football) or Title IX Numbers, or anything like that.
M Example: Antonio Bass destroyed his knee in like 300 ways. His playing career was done. His playing career was paying for his education (I don't know if he could have afforded Michigan one way or not without it). Rather than lose his scholarship he received a Medical Exemption and the AD paid for the Scholarship without the football team being punished.
Those are the terms and their definitions. The issue with the SEC and Saban and Oversigning is they are forcing kids who with injuries but NOT career ending injuries to take medical EXEMPTIONS (not RS). Saban is ending these kids' college careers, but still paying their tuition. Essentially he is kicking kids off the team, but sending them on their way with a scholarship... they just are off the football team and can't play NCAA sports ever again. If you look at the graph below, either Bama had 12x the career ending injuries of every other SEC team, or he's abusing the system.
I hope this provides some clarification as to the different terms and the issues and how they are different. When the Med Redshirt system is "abused" it benefits the student athlete by giving them another year of eligibility (Devin gets out from behind Denard for an extra year. Yay!) When the Med Exemption system is "abused" it benefits the program/team at the cost of the student athlete. The athlete is off the team and the team has another scholarship to hand out the next recruiting cycle.
Hope this helps the debate. See here also for more details: http://mgoblog.com/content/axeman-publicized
Also see the comments, some great points brought up as always.
Everyone on these very pages knows that the primary goal of THE KNOWLEDGE is to reveal the future to anxious folks
but, in this post, THE KNOWLEDGE shall take a look at some of the events in the recent past and identify various scenarios that could have happened
but first, THE KNOWLEDGE would like to once again emphasize the power of his predictions
two years ago, before G. Robinson was hired as the Def Coord, THE KNOWLEDGE had revealed that the new DC would be the current DC of the Baltimore Ravens (Rex Ryan then)
this, of course, happened - but two years later
the power of THE KNOWLEDGE is so great that the prediction was done two years in advance
the only thing greater than the future-revealing-power of THE KNOWLEDGE is the ability to actually comprehend this power
onto the main point of this post
most people consider that Brandon screwed up the decisions on the head coach. many believe Michigan would have been better off keeping Rodriguez as the HC, but making sure he hired Manny Diaz as the DC and not interfered with the defensive side of things
and, of course, Hoke was the least popular choice among fans at the time of his hiring
Two things Hoke could have done to immediately unite the fanbase and provide great potential and assurance for the future are:
1. Hired Rich Rod as the OC instead of bringing along Borges. This would have ensured continuity in the offense, and ensured a great leap forward in production in 2011.
unfortunately, Hoke was against this idea, although Rich was readily available and willing to fill the OC spot
hence, we are left with another change in the system and subsequent dropoff in production
2. Hired OSU's Tressel as the DC. This would have been a great step up for Tressel both in terms of challenge and in terms of job prestige
it would have been an easy sell, but Hoke was unable to pull it off
instead he hired Mattison, the great friend of former S&C goach Gittleson
while Mattison is a good NFL coach, it remains to be seen if he can adapt to the college game where spread offenses rule. Tressel would have been the better choice here
Now that we have taken a look at what could have gone better, we will take a look at what the future holds in the next post
Hint: It is quite rosy
"...the ball caps were placed on the table with care,
hoping young men would grab the block M varieties there."
Such is a time to be excited for our team, to look to the future, to have hope, to be proud that of all of the schools out there, they chose ours.
I find myself not jealous, but extremely envious of these young men-- they get to be Michigan Wolverines-- they get to put on that helmet, they're assigned their own number, and they get to be part of the brotherhood. That's special, regardless of the past, be it long gone or recent.
As such, I find myself giving the same speech I do every time this year, which is really quite simple:
THIS IS THEIR DAY.
THEY CHOSE US. THEIR ENTIRE LIFE WILL BE SHAPED BY THE DECISION THEY HAVE MADE. THE SPOTLIGHT IS THEIRS, NOT YOURS. WELCOME THEM.
Even last year, some of us found it necessary to be harsh, to our own recruits. A young man named Vinopal was unjustly criticized because of some web site run by men he's never met gave him a rating that some of us were unhappy with. On Signing Day. That's just plain wrong-- imagine your brother or son choosing a school, choosing a future and being at peace with it, only to be welcomed by harsh judgement and criticism before he's even stepped foot on a practice field.
It is 2011, ladies and gentlemen. The Hoke era. The fresh start. There should be no griping about spread offenses or slot ninjas. No judgement of anyone because of the baseless value of these things called 'stars' next to their names from various sources. No whining about losing anyone to Auburn, and no talk about decommits or unfilled slots or Demetrius's or what-could-have-beens.
Tomorrow is a day to welcome the newest members of our team and let them be proud of the life-changing decision they have made. Think of the choices you made at eighteen, and how they altered your entire world. Think of their parents, and how even our baseless and anonymous comments could potentially reassure or alarm them of their children's future. Think of the rest of the college football world, and how closely they will be watching Fort Schembechler, Ann Arbor, and yes, even MGoBlog. And yes, they will be watching.
Make 'em all proud, and welcome them to the family.
PS-- Also, if you get a chance, you might want to thank TomVH for all of the hard work he's going to put in on our behalf tomorrow... His busiest day of the year is tomorrow and I'm sure his phone is pre-emptively cringing in fear for its very life today. Same goes for Brian and Tim-- it's by their collective hand that we'll be able to enjoy all the hoopla here tomorrow.
Happy National Signing Eve, everyone!
Signing day is almost upon us, and there are roughly six recruits to keep an eye on.This staff has done an excellent job keeping kids committed and adding additional pieces to fill gaps. Here's a look at what to expect, and when to expect it.
5'10", 215 lbs.
Rawls is a three star prospect, which most people assume is because of the concern with his grades. Most people assumed he would not qualify, which led to a not so impressive offer list. Also, since his high school coach is Fred Jackson's son and he's made no secret of the fact that if he qualifies he's going to Michigan other schools may not have bothered.
Don't let that list fool you, because Thomas is the kind of back Brady Hoke is looking for in his offense. I can only imagine the conversations about Thomas between Fred Jr and Fred Sr. [ed: "Son, you are the greatest coach in the world and you have created a combination of Herschel Walker, House, and Bo Jackson."]
Rawls recently came back from his trip to Ann Arbor with an offer and a plan:
I wouldn't say it was the dream offer, Michigan is the dream school. I grew up watching them, and I just worked to get there. I basically had the offer, but I just didn't say much. I don't want to say too much about academics, but I will be eligible for the 2011 season. I want to keep some stuff for my press conference, which will be at 9:30am on signing day at Flint Northern.
Thomas is "deciding" between Michigan and CMU on signing day. This should be an excellent pick up for Michigan, and an excellent job by Thomas to get eligible.
6'7", 270 lbs.
Traverse City, Michigan
Jake Fisher is fresh off a visit to Oregon, and it's coming down to the wire. Chip Kelly is pretty strict when it comes to prospects visiting and offers they hand out. They like kids to visit if they are seriously thinking about coming to Oregon, and I think Jake is. I spoke to him after his visit, and he had this to say:
Everyone is fair game right now. I'm going to sit down with my parents and talk everything over. I'm either going to announce the day before signing day, or on signing day.
He also told me the visit to Oregon went well, but not much more than that. Jake is really tough to read, so this could go one way or the other. The Michigan coaches have made him a priority. Will it be enough?
Who's Signing When
Signing day is Wednesday. As mentioned earlier there are roughly six prospects that Michigan has honed in on. They would have enough room for all six under certain circumstances. Here's who's left, and when they plan on announcing.
- MI RB Thomas Rawls: Signing Day at 9:30am.
- CO LB Leilon Willingham: Signing Day at 7pm MT. Michigan is in great shape still with Willingham. He'll be choosing between Michigan, ASU, Colorado, Washington, and UCF presumably.
- OH LB Frank Clark: Signing Day around 10 or 11am.
- MD DT Darian Cooper: Signing Day.
- MI OL Jake Fisher: Either announcing the day before signing day, or on signing day. Visit to Oregon went well. He plans on talking it over with his parents and then deciding.
- TX TE Chris Barnett: Will announce on Saturday. Wants to weigh out all the options rather than think on emotion. The Michigan visit went very well. He is deciding between Arkansas and Michigan.
Prediction: I don't like predicting, but Michigan has a legitimate shot at landing all six that are left. I don't know if they will, but they have a shot. I am confident about three of them, somewhat optimistic about one, and usure about two. I think when it comes down to it they will most likely land 3 or 4, if they get the 5th or 6th it's a bonus.
New Michigan commit(s), and this bad boy hits the front page. There's been tooooons of action since last rankings:
1-23-11 Michigan State gains commitment from Brandon Clemons. Illinois gains commitment from Darrius Caldwell.
1-24-11 Nebraska loses commitment from Aaryn Bouzos. Northwestern gains commitments from Andrew Smith and Deonte Gibson. Minnesota gains commitment from Wedley Estime.
1-25-11 Michigan gains commitment from Antonio Poole. Michigan gains commitment from Russell Bellomy, Purdue loses commitment from Russell Bellomy. Purdue gains commitment from Raheem Mostert.
1-26-11 Illinois gains commitment from Valdon Cooper. Indiana loses commitment from Donte Phillips.
1-27-11 Illinois gains commitment from Willie Beavers.
1-28-11 Michigan gains commitment from Chris Bryant. Ohio State gains commitment from Bryce Haynes. Nebraska gains commitment from Joseph Carter.
1-30-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Mauro Bondi.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn 1 star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45, except JuCo players, who aren't included in the average).
|#1 Ohio State - 22 Commits|
Long-snapper Bryce Haynes commits to the Buckeyes, and though he brings down their averages quite a bit, it's unfair to knock the Buckeyes below Notre Dame for adding another piece to their class.
|#2 Notre Dame - 23 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||3||79|
No changes to the Notre Dame class. It's a very solid one, however.
|#3 Nebraska - 17 Commits|
Aaryn Bouzos drops the Huskers for Air Force. Nebraska responds by snagging defensive end Joseph Carter and kicker Mauro Bondi (the latter of whom ESPN gives a ludicrous 79 rating).
|#4 Michigan State - 20 Commits|
Michigan State picks up a highly-rated offensive lineman in Brandon Clemons. I think their class could jump Nebraska's with another talented commit.
|#5 Iowa - 20 Commits|
No changes for Iowa.
|#6 Wisconsin - 20 Commits|
The Badgers are still waiting on ESPN to rate Frederick Willis and Tyler Marz.
|#7 Michigan - 17 Commits|
The Wolverines pick up commitments from Russell Bellomy, Antonio Poole, and the long-awaited Chris Bryant. With very similar averages to Penn State, they're pushed ahead of the Nittany Lions on the basis of having more commits.
|#8 Penn State - 15 Commits|
No change for the Nittany Lions. As mentioned above, they're passed by Michigan in this week's rankings.
|#9 Illinois - 29 Commits|
Illini add a couple more pieces to what will end up as easily the conference's largest recruiting class.
|#10 Northwestern - 17 Commits|
Northwestern picks up Deonte Gibson and Andrew Smith. The Wildcats get a little bump up in the rankings.
|#11 Minnesota - 22 Commits|
The newest Minnesota commit, Wedley Estime, is not even in Scout's database.
|#12 Indiana - 15 Commits|
Indiana's class gets smaller as Donte Phillips is no longer a Hoosier. Class size drops them behind Minnesota and Northwestern.
|#13 Purdue - 14 Commits|
Some services are saying Armstead Williams is no longer committed to the Boilermakers, so keep an eye out for that next week.