this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
An part of recruiting that I think gets overlooked is the creation of recruiting pipelines. These are espeicallly important for Michigan Football compared to other schools because a majority of the scholarship players come from outside the state they are located in. RR (along with Ricardo Miller) was on his way to possibly builiding a pipeline to Dr.Phillips HS, but we all know how that turned out. Here a couple of other pipelines from the RR era that I feel the coaching staff should focus on maintaining:
Cass Tech (Detroit, MI)
This one is a no brainer, and with Michigan Alum Coach Wilcher at the helm this pipeline should be solid for years to come. This year is looking to pay off big with both LB Royce Jenkins-Stone and DB Terry Richardson hopefully joining the 2012 Class.
Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, OH)
There are both players on the football roster recruited by Carr (Moore) and RR (Roundtree, Shaw) from Trotwood that I am hopeful this can continue with the new coaching staff. Establihsing a recruiting pipeline in talent-rich Ohio would also be a boon for years to come. This year the staff may go after a position of need, S Bam Bradley.
Chaparral (Scottsdale, AZ)
After Tate Forcier left the program the new Michigan coaches were left scrambling to find a late addition to the 2011 class. They found a diamond in the rough with Texas QB Russell Bellomy, and patched the hole. While they picked up Bellomy, the Michigan coaches look for a quarter back in every class. Maty Mauk (6'2", 185 lbs/Kenton, Ohio) was the latest to receive an offer from the Wolverines. Here's what he had to say.
TOM: I guess the main question right now is if Michigan has offered you yet?
MATY: Yes, they offered me yesterday (Thursday). The offensive line coach has been the one recruiting me from Michigan.
TOM: So is that five offers now?
MATY: Six, Illinois just offered too. [Mauk's offers: Bowling Green, Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and Missouri]
TOM: I know your brother was at Cincinnati when Brian Kelly was there, so you almost have two separate connections now with Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Are they the two that are at the top right now?
MATY: I'm wide open right now, so everyone (including Michigan) has a good chance.
TOM: Spring ball is going to start to pick up soon and you're not too far from Ann Arbor, are you going to make it up to Michigan any time soon?
MATY: Yeah, I'm going to go up to Michigan sometime in the next couple weeks.
TOM: What do you want to experience on the visit, or what about Michigan is interesting to you?
MATY: The stadium and the tradition they have is great. The offense is going to be a force, and just to meet the coaches.
TOM: Taking visits this early, is this the start of the process for you or do you want to get things done pretty quickly?
MATY: No, I'll probably take my time with everything; I think I'm going to wait. I'm hearing from the schools that have offered and Arkansas, Auburn, Louisville, Penn State, Kentucky, Iowa, LSU, and a few others nationally.
Right now, U-M sits 9th in the Pairwise (up from t-12th to start the day), tied with UNH and losing that tiebreaker, so effectively 10th. There are a lot of games left, and the Pairwise is notoriously shifty, so here's a look at the easiest path upward in the rankings.
Comparisions that M currently loses:
1. Yale: unflippable comparison
2. BC: Surprisingly flippable. The difference is the record against Teams Under Consideration (TUC). BC is 9-5-0 (64.3%), while M is 9-6-3(58.3%). There are two teams lurking just below the cutoff (LSSU and OSU) that would help us if they were bumped up. Coincidentally, they play each other next weekend. Looking at their schedules, I would guess that OSU will end up a TUC and LSSU will not, adding 3 wins and a loss to our TUC, for a winning percentage of 61.4%. If both make it, the percentage would be 64.6%. Both teams have two games left against current TUCs (BC vs. UNH, M vs. Western), as well as their conference tournaments, which might swing this entire comparison one way or the other.
3. North Dakota: unflippable comparison
4. Denver: Surprisingly flippable. Again, the difference is TUC record, and Denver's is very similar to BC's, with a current percentage of 64.6%. Their remaining games against TUCs are two at home to St. Cloud St. and two at UNO. St. Cloud is close enough to the cutoff, and have such a difficult remaining schedule, that they might drop under the cutoff, and UNO is a tough opponent at home. Denver will also have to negotiate a tough WCHA tournament field, so there is a good chance that their percentage will drop.
5. Merrimack: unflippable comparison. I know, right?
6. Minn.-Duluth: flippable. U-M would need to win both TUC record (currently ahead by a whisker) and record against common opponents (COp). The latter is currently fairly close, and will undergo changes in the next two weeks and both teams play opponents that also appeared on the other's schedule. UMD has two games at Colorado College and two at home against UNO, while we have two against Northern Michigan. Adding the games against those teams makes our current COp percentage 68.8%, compared to 75% for UMD. A sweep over Northern (theoretically) would bump our COp percentage to 75%, so UMD would have to win 3 out of those four games (or win two and tie two). This will probably come down to who does better in their conference tournament.
7. Neb.-Omaha: Flippable. They have a big lead at the moment in TUC, but have previously-referenced games against UMD and Denver, to go along with two at Alaska-Anchorage. The good news is that if we can't flip them, there is a good chance it's because they made it possible to flip either Denver or UMD.
8. New Hampshire: Flippable. We just have to pass them in RPI. So we have to win, and they have to...not. They have two road games at Vermont followed by home-and-homes with Northeastern and BC, then the Hockey East tournament. We would certainly need for them to take zero or one point from BC in that series, or a major slip-up against the others.
9. Notre Dame: Very flippable. The deciding factor right now is COp percentage, but both teams play conference opponents in the next two weeks that they have not yet played, but the other has. Once those games are factored in, the COp percentage is a tie. This one will simply come down to who has a better record down the stretch (or whoever wins if they face off at the Joe).
A strong finish should get us a 2 seed, which is where I think we'll end up. I think a couple of these comparisons will flip simply by virtue of teams beating each other. A 2-2 finish and a loss in the semis at the Joe would probably still get us a 3 seed, but we could drop to a 4. Of course, it is possible for a bad finish to knock us out totally, but it would take a massive implosion (like losing three of the next four, and not even making the semis at the Joe), and maybe having non-tournament teams win their conference tournaments. Failing that second step, we would have to drop to 16th to fall out, and there are really only 5 teams in range of passing us unless we lose out from here.
Who to root for/against:
1. Michigan (duh)
2. OSU and LSSU
3. Sweeps in the Denver-UNO, UMD-UNO, BC-UNH series. If you want to pick teams in those series, pick UNO and UNH, because their comparisons are probably harder to flip.
1. Michigan State. Not just because you hate them, but because you don't want them becoming a TUC. Hopefully they'll drop games in Alaska next weekend and it won't matter.
2. Notre Dame. Not just because you hate them, but becauseyou want to flip their comparison.
3. Anyone directly below us in the pairwise. Union, Dartmouth, RPI, Miami, Wisconsin.
4. St. Cloud State. If you have this much time to care about how St. Cloud State fares and how that affects Michigan, perhaps you should reevaluate your life. As should I.
I've been thinking a lot about oversigning with this year's Signing Day having come and gone. The problem, as I see it, isn't really one of competitive balance. It would be nice to have a level playing field, but I certainly wouldn't be willing to give up Michigan's built-in advantages anymore than an Ole Miss fan would give up oversigning, JUCO stocking, or quaint reminders of a brutal, bigoted past.
*Everything would have been forgiven if you would have picked him! [Ed-M: In fairness to their fans, the Ole Miss base wanted them to have this, but their school wouldn't allow it.]
The problem I see is that big-time NCAA football is largely built around taking physically talented young men, pushing them to perform physically, and developing an enormous support system to ensure they can:
1) Afford to stay enrolled through athletic scholarships
2) Maintain a minimum academic threshold to remain eligible, despite many of the athletes not being anywhere near qualified academically to be admitted through the normal undergrad admissions process
The problem with oversigning is that kids suddenly have both of the items many of them need to complete a degree yanked out from underneath them either mid-career or, in some cases, right before they start school. Many will drop out and go back to wherever they grew up because finishing a degree isn't conceivable without the support they had as scholarship athletes.
Wow, we're both tools, aren't we?
That said, coaches do need to be able to control their roster. Just because a kid doesn't get expelled from school for cheating on a research paper about research doesn't mean they're pulling their weight. Showing up on time isn't enough for any coach worth his salt, and I've got no problem with that type of player being cut.
With that in mind, here's an easy, no-frills solution that eliminates oversigning, still allows coaches to control their roster, and should help kids get their education:
1) 85 players on scholarship at any time, period. Graduating Seniors fall off after their last game, and incoming recruits count as soon as their LOI is sent in and count through the next football season.
2) Coaches are allowed to make cuts, and they must be finalized on May 31st for the next season. That player can never play for that school again--even off scholarship.
3) Players cut to free a scholarship for someone else may transfer with immediate eligibility to any school that will have them. Conferences could not make bylaws prohibiting movement among conference teams (e.g. Alabama player X could transfer to Auburn instead of getting a medical hardship scholarship).
4) LOIs are still binding for the player, but require the school to provide five years of scholarship, living, and academic support. Players may void the LOI by transferring of their own accord and these transfers would be treated identically to transfers under the current system. Players cut to make room for another scholarship player still get a full ride, but don't count against the 85 scholarship limit.
5) APR still exists, but players cut to make room for other scholarships still count for the remainder of their career.
6) Grayshirting still exists, but it exact stipulations are detailed on the LOI the school gives the player to sign.
7) Scholarships are only revokable for expulsion or conviction by a court for a non-misdemeanor crime, and the athlete may challenge scholarship revocation for anything short of a felony conviction in arbitration by the NCAA.
8) ADDED! Injuries happen. However, after May 31st, that injured player still counts against the 85 scholarship limit for the year. If a player, say a certain Freshman QB, goes down after four games, too bad. Medical redshirt policies would still apply for further eligibility, however. This would stop mysterious "injuries" from felling a 3rd string guard if Jadeveon Clowney wanted to delay his commitment until June 1st.
My reasoning is pretty simple. 85 scholarship players are allowed at any time, which makes sense. Everyone on the team counts. This is the obvious step to eliminate the specific problem of oversigning. The rest of the steps are designed to protect the athlete, and to some extent, the program.
I completely respect coaches wanting to cut certain players, but the ultimate goal should be to give everyone a chance to earn their degree. It's abhorrent that LSU could take a scholarship away from someone after school starts and send them home. My proposal eliminates the incentive to do that. Since the LOI counts through the next season, a better player couldn't commit late and cause a coach to cull his herd. It would also increase the risk for schools that routinely sign marginal students. If the recruit doesn't qualify, the school loses that scholarship for a season.
The rest of the rules are designed to protect student-athletes. Scholarship football players are really special athletes at top schools, and not all will become great players. The money involved in big-time football is big enough that schools can continue to support athletes who get hurt or don't live up to their hype. I choose five years for a degree because players are often forced to take fewer credits in the Fall and need a 5th year to graduate.
The final, somewhat controversial item might be grayshirting. I don't mind the idea, per se. I'd grayshirt at Michigan before taking a scholarship at CMU, but the details should be stipulated up front.
Thoughts? What obvious items have I missed?
Frequently posters lament the position breakdown of our team. We hear we have too many slots, or not enough O-linemen; we hear that the defense is under-recruited or that we should have signed a particular player last year since we’re recruiting that position this year (Devin Lucien).
Inspired by the various posts debating the makeup of this team, I decided to analyze what a balanced roster would look like, how our current roster is allocated, and what the future may hold.
As we all know, the NCAA allows division I football teams to provide scholarships to a total of 85 players each year (while most players keep their scholarships for at least 4 years they are technically all one year scholarships). Despite what the SEC may do with their scholarships, Michigan plays by the rules so 85 scholarships works out to 5 classes of 17 players in each class (5 classes assumes everyone takes a redshirt year). A perfectly balanced roster would have no attrition; all players would stay five years; and 17 RS seniors would be replaced by 17 recruits each season. Here’s what a roster like that would look like:
While we could debate the numbers by position group, this gives a pretty good blueprint for an ideal roster. A team like this would rely primarily on upper classmen. The structure would eliminate the need for desperation recruiting where the makeup of a position group is so dire that the coaches are desperate to land freshman to fill in the two-deep. Obviously player attrition would make managing a roster so precisely impossible, however that doesn’t mean it’s not something quality programs should strive for. Realistically, we could probably expect to lose anywhere from three to five players each season to the draft, injury, ineligibility, or home sickness; that would mean our recruiting classes would be 20 to 22 with 17 being redshirted and the remaining recruits added to the active roster. It is well known that Wisconsin and Iowa start a high percentage of fifth year players each season, which may account for their quality play despite lackluster recruiting.
Let’s take a look at our current roster compared to the “ideal” roster:
*Recruits are projected for this class
As you can see, the team lacks consistency from season-to-season. We have an abundance of WRs, a dearth of O-linemen and D-tackles, and a cluster of safeties all in one season. I suspect that over the next couple of seasons Coach Hoke will try to remedy this by balancing recruiting the way I described above. For some insight into the coach’s thinking, here’s a look at our current offers and the way I suspect the class will break down:
|Zeke Pike||6'5"||220||4.7||Dixie Heights HS, Edgewood, Kentucky||Yes||Yes|
|Gunner Kiel||6'4"||220||N/A||East HS, Columbus, Indiana||Yes||Yes|
|Bennie Coney||6'2"||205||4.8||Plant City HS, Plant City, Florida||Yes||Yes|
|Maty Mauk||6'2"||185||Kenton HS, Kenton, Ohio||Yes||Yes|
|Matt Jones||6'2"||200||4.53||Armwood HS, Seffner, Florida||Yes||Yes|
|Stefon Diggs||6’1″||185||4.4||Our Lady of Good Counsel, Olney, Maryland||Yes||Yes|
|Dorial Green-Beckham||6’6″||215||4.4||Hillcrest HS, Springfield, Missouri||Yes||Yes|
|Dwayne Stanford||6'4"||200||4.5||Taft HS, Cincinnatti, Ohio||Yes||Yes|
|Aaron Burbridge||6'0"||175||4.35||Farmington Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, Michigan||Yes|
|Derrick Woods||5'11"||180||4.5||Inglewood HS, Inglewood, California||Yes||Yes|
|Deontay McManus||6'0"||209||4.5||Dunbar HS, Baltimore, Maryland||Yes||Yes|
|Sam Grant||6’6″||230||4.8||St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio||Yes|
|Sean Price||6'4"||206||4.9||North Marion HS, Citra, Florida||Yes|
|Devin Funchess||6'5"||205||Farmington Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, Michigan||Yes|
|Ron Thompson||6'4"||225||East Detroit HS, Eastpointe, Michigan||Yes|
|Taylor McNamara||6'5"||235||Westview HS, San Diego, California||Yes||Yes|
|D.J. Humphries||6’5″||265||4.9||Mallard Creek HS, Charlotte, North Carolina||Yes||Yes|
|Jordan Diamond||6’6″||289||5.0||Simeon Vocational HS, Chicago, Illinois||Yes||Yes|
|Zach Banner||6'9||295||Lakes HS, Lakewood, Washington||Yes||Yes|
|Dan Voltz||6’5″||289||5.3||Barrington HS, Barrington, Illinois||Yes||Yes|
|Chris Wormley||6’4″||255||Whitmer HS, Toledo, Ohio||Yes||Yes|
|Ifeadi Odenigbo||6’4″||210||4.44||Centerville HS, Centerville, Ohio||Yes|
|Pharaoh Brown||6’6″||220||4.7||Brush HS, Lyndhurst, Ohio||Yes|
|Tom Strobel||6'6"||240||4.9||Mentor HS, Concord, Ohio||Yes||Yes|
|Mario Ojemudia||6'3"||215||4.65||Farmington Harrison HS, Farmington Hills, Michigan||Yes|
|Tommy Schutt||6’3″||301||Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn, Illinois||Yes||Yes|
|Eddie Goldman||6'4"||307||Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington, D.C.||Yes||Yes|
|Vincent Valentine||6'3"||300||Edwardsville HS, Edwardsville, Illinois||Yes||Yes|
|Sheldon Day||6'2"||268||Warren Central HS, Indianapolis, Indiana||Yes|
|Danny O’Brien||6’4″||255||5.1||Flint (MI) Powers Catholic||Yes||Yes|
|Greg Kuhar||6'3"||265||St. Edward HS, Concord Township, Ohio||Yes|
|Deaysean Rippy||6’2″||198||Sto-Rox HS, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania||Yes||Yes|
|James Ross||6’0″||203||Orchard Lake St. Mary’s HS, Orchard Lake, Michigan||Yes||Yes|
|Royce Jenkins-Stone||6’2″||215||Cass Tech HS, Detroit, Michigan||Yes||Yes|
|Vince Biegel||6'3"||210||4.53||Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln HS, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin||Yes||Yes|
|Terry Richardson||5'9"||160||4.5||Cass Tech HS, Detroit, Michigan||Yes||Yes|
|Elijah Shumate||6'1"||205||4.5||Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, New Jersey||Yes||Yes|
|D.J. Singleton||6'3"||195||4.5||St. Peters Preparatory School, Jersey City, New Jersey||Yes|
Currently we have made 37 offers, and we’ll probably make another 50 to 60 between now and signing day. Based on what TomVH told us about signing percentages and our expectations for some of the players listed above, we can probably expect to sign around 12 or so of the players above and eight from future offers. It will be interesting to see how close this projection will be. It would be nice to return to the days when our teams didn’t rely on underclassmen too much. Hopefully, roster management and recruiting will be some of Hoke’s strengths.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Indiana|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
4:00 PM EST
February 12th, 2011
|THE LINE||Michigan -6.5|
If Michigan wants to make the tournament, this game is a must win. Hell, if they want to make the NIT, it's probably a must-win. Take care of business today, and you can worry about bigger goals later. Enough said.
With a few games under each team's belt, it's finally reasonable to look at the stats. If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Indiana: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Indiana Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. IU Def eFG%||59||117||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. IU eFG%||179||40||II|
|Mich TO% v. IU Def TO%||25||134||MM|
|Mich Def TO% v. IU TO%||236||178||I|
|Mich OReb% v. IU DReb%||308||118||II|
|Mich DReb% v. IU OReb%||42||135||M|
|Mich FTR v. IU Opp FTR||344||329||I|
|Mich Opp FTR v. IU FTR||61||199||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. IU AdjD||45||91||M|
|Mich AdjD v. IU AdjO||76||56||I|
The Wolverines are having a much better season than the Hoosiers, but the stats are nearly even. Part of that is a tougher schedule for the Wolverines. Though Michigan went down in Bloomington in embarrassing fashion, Indiana has yet to win a game on the road this season.
The Wolverines are playing some of their best ball of the season right now, whereas IU lost to Iowa last week... at home. Two of their most important contributors, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford, are injured and likely to miss today's game.
Pomeroy likes Michigan, 68-63, but I'm a little more optimistic, especially with IU's injury situation. I think Michigan comes away with a 65-53 victory in Crisler.