this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
New Michigan commit(s), and this bad boy hits the front page. It was a hectic Signing Day in the Big Ten, so all the action won't be listed here. Last rankings. Barring any unforeseen developments, this will be the last set of rankings for the 2011 class. New rankings:
|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 - 24 Commits|
Ohio State takes the recruiting crown with a good-sized cass of quality players. They're slightly behind Notre Dame in ESPN average, but a big part of that is having a long snapper commit. It sounds like OH OL Chris Carter will sign with Ohio State after all, so I've left him in the chart.
|#2 Notre Dame - 23 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||3||79|
The Irish picked up Troy Niklas on Signing Day.
|#3 Nebraska - 19 Commits|
The Huskers' class is a small-ish but solid one. A couple of their signees might play minor league baseball instead of enrolling at school.
|#4 Michigan State - 21 Commits|
Michigan State's class is high-variance, with a couple highly rated guys (though 5 stars for Lawrence Thomas is an exaggeration for sure), and some low-end guys as well. I have Sparty just a hair ahead of their in-state rivals, and the extra commit for MSU was the tiebreaker.
|#5 Michigan - 20 Commits|
Wolverines picked up a few new commits, including a big time tight end in Chris Barnett. However, they also missed on a couple prospects of need in MI OL Jake Fisher (Oregon) and MD DT Darian Cooper (Iowa).
|#6 Iowa - 23 Commits|
Iowa dropped a couple commits and picked up a couple new ones on Signing Day. The headliner among newcomers is MD DT Darian Cooper.
|#7 Wisconsin - 20 Commits|
An okay class for Wisconsin, but nothing special. [Ed-M: Hello, I'm Wisconsin.] As usual, success in Madison will be based upon developing the 3-star types.
|#8 Penn State - 16 Commits|
A small class for the Nittany Lions. It's got a couple top-end guys, but top-to-bottom is just okay.
|#9 Illinois - 27 Commits|
An enormous class for Ron Zook. Can quantity trump quality and help Zook win enough games to stick around another couple years?
|#10 Northwestern - 17 Commits|
Northwestern has their traditional small recruiting class. They're likely to redshirt most of these guys, and focus on development in the system.
|#11 Minnesota - 22 Commits|
I am wholly unimpressed by Minnesota's recruiting class, a hybrid of Tim Brewster and Jerry Kill. They have more JuCo guys than any other school, and a number of guys they have to hope pan out as sleepers. Note former Wolverine Tim McAvoy's brothers are bound for Minneapolis.
|#12 Indiana - 21 Commits|
Indiana loads up on the lines on Signing Day.
|#13 Purdue - 15 Commits|
No sugarcoat, this is a terrible recruiting class. It could spell the beginning of the end for Danny Hope.
Ann Arbor, February 6, 2011. New WikiLeaks documents surfaced in Cheyenne, Wyoming this morning that shed fresh information on AD Dave Brandon's decision to fire Coach Rich Rodriguez. To protect the identity of the leaker [editor's note: retired Wolverine's lyricist Stan Jones], the decisive moment has been redacted in lyrical form].
The AD's office was contacted this morning but refused comment. Coach Brady 'Hoss' Hoke at the Schembechler Spread was unavailable. Text of the lyrics follows.
Ghost Buckeyes in the Sky
A new AD went riding out by Stadium and Main
A Process he did Ponder as he thought of old A-Train,
When all at once a mighty herd of Buckeye fiends he saw
A-plowing through Ann Arbor’s sky and up the Big House draw
Yippie yi yaaaaay
Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Ghost Buckeyes in the sky
Their Bribes were still on fire and their cleats were made of Steal
Their Nuts were gray and crimson and their hot breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through our sky
For the Wolverines were coming hard and he heard their mournful cry
Victors yi yaaaaay
Victors yi Ohhhhh
Ghost Buckeyes in the sky
Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their jerseys soaked with sweat
They’re riding hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet
'Cause they might just ride forever on that range up in the sky
On horses snorting fire as they ride on hear their cry
Victors yi Ohhhhh
Victorsy yi yaaaaay
Ghost Buckeyes in the sky
As Wolverines loped by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your team from Hell a-riding on our range
Then Brandon change your Coach today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Tressel’s herd, across Ann Arbor’s skies
Victors yi Ohhhhh
Victors yi Yaaaaay
Ghost Buckeyes in the sky
Ghost Buckeyes in the sky
Ghost Buckeyes in the sky
[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!