this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
The recruiting process has been a long one for 4 Star Illinois OL Chris Bryant, and he's ready for it to be over with. Bryant makes his decision on Friday the 28th at 7:30pm at his high school in Chicago. I caught up with him to talk about the final hours, and what he'll be focusing on while making his decision for tomorrow. Here's a look at his film, then the interview.
TOM: Are you ready for all this to be over with yet?
CHRIS: Yeah, I mean it's stressful. It's been fun, but difficult so I'm almost ready.
TOM: What's it like today and tonight, the day before you make your decision?
CHRIS: Well, Coach Hoke came by the school today and then the Pitt coaches, Coach Graham and Calvin Magee are coming by later tonight. After that I'm just going to check over all the places I've been, the trips I've taken, and sit down and think about it. I want to make sure that I'm comfortable, because I have to live there the next 4 to 5 years. In my mind, I know where I'm leaning, but I want to sleep on it and do my thing tomorrow.
TOM: When the coaches come by this late in the process what are they talking to you about? For instance, what was Coach Hoke saying today?
CHRIS: Going through this process it's just been about building the relationship. That relationship doesn't come over night, and today was just kind of a regular conversation. He was telling me how I fit in, and about their new type of offense. It was just us getting to know each other more.
TOM: You talk about building a relationship. In a short period of time, do you think you've done that with the new Michigan coaches? Do you feel comfortable with them?
CHRIS: Ever since the first day I met them we hit it off. He's a player's coach, and someone you like having a conversation with. I didn't have a hard time bonding with him. I feel comfortable with all these coaches, I wouldn't second guess playing for them.
TOM: What happens after all the coaches leave? Do you and your parents sit down and discuss everything, or are they letting you make the decision?
CHRIS: My parents are a big part of my decision. After the coaches leave we'll sit down and talk through everything, then just get ready for tomorrow.
TOM: How many hats will be on the table?
CHRIS: I'll have four. Arizona, Michigan, Pitt, and Illinois.
Tom is having trouble posting on the site, so follow him on Twitter for the latest updates - Tim
- TX TE Chris Barnett. Arkansas soft commit. Also considering Texas A&M and others.
- MI RB Thomas Rawls. Looking for a Michigan offer (waiting on a qualifying test score). Announcing on Signing Day.
- OH LB Commit Antonio Poole. Committed to Michigan Tuesday.
- MD DT Darian Cooper. Had an in-home with DC Greg Mattison yesterday. Scout's Gene Hankerson is feeling good about the situation there. Iowa and Michigan State are the main competition. Iowa was out in front, who knows if the news that they try to kill their players will affect him.
- OH DE Commit Keith Heitzman. Committed last Saturday.
Arizona OL Ryan Nowicki is not coming. He has been telling me he feels good about being committed to Penn State, so it's not a big surprise. They were in on Ryan late anyway, so it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.
Don't be surprised if some of these guys end up committing to Michigan on Signing Day - or even before that, if the visit weekend goes well. Expect some of Michigan's current commits to unofficially visit as well.
The list is subject to change over the next 24 hours. Stay tuned for updates.
This weekend was a huge success for Michigan, not only with the three commitments from K Matt Wile, DB Raymon Taylor, and DE Keith Heitzman, but with the other visitors as well. Here's what some of them had to say.
5'11", 170 lbs.
The interest from McClure came from his relationship with Brady Hoke at San Diego State. Now that Hoke was at a bigger program like Michigan, McClure was interested.
It was a great time. We met with all the coaches, saw the stadium, and hung out with the players. My host was Denard Robinson, which was pretty cool. He's like a celebrity there. Walking through the Big House was pretty cool, too.
Michigan's new defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, has only been on campus for one weekend, but he's already polished off his recruiting tricks.
I talked with the defensive coordinator quite a bit. We talked scheme, and he knows his x's and o's. It was pretty cool to be able to talk with him. I also talked to coach Hoke about the school, tradition, and the opportunity to play early there.
Stefan has said he will decide and announce sometime this week. I would imagine distance might be a factor with him, and I wouldn't get too excited. While I think he had a good time, it's hard to pull kids out of California. I would guess he'll stay home and go with someone like Cal.
6'2", 240 lbs
Willingham is a four star that had been committed to Texas A&M, and decided recently to take a trip out to Michigan. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, he took a recent visit to Colorado the same weekend as current Michigan commit Kellen Jones. Kellen had an opportunity to tell Leilon why he chose Michigan, and what he liked about it. This weekend he got to see it for himself.
We got a chance to talk to all the coaches, and it was pretty cool to sit down with the defensive coordinator. Ray Lewis is my idol, so that was like a dream. They were just telling me how they would use me up there, ether inside or outside. I really liked it up there. I mean, the Big House speaks for itself, everything was great. We hung out with all the other recruits, and everybody was just having a good time.
Willingham does have one more visit scheduled to UCF, and says that he will announce on signing day.
The (Michigan) coaches know I'm going out to Central Florida, so that's fine. I'm decommitted from Texas A&M, too, so I'm not with them anymore.
However, don't be surprised if he decides to "come public" with his choice earlier than that. This visit put Michigan in the driver's seat, and then some.
6'2", 210 lbs.
Although he's from Glenville, Clark has always maintained that Michigan is high on his list. Before this visit Michigan was in his top three with MSU and UNC. I spoke to him briefly after his visit, and Michigan has definitely helped themselves with Clark.
He described the visit as, "excellent" and said that he will be announcing his decision on Friday the 28th. Clark is in the same category as Willingham right now. He will make his choice public soon, but Michigan has put themselves in the driver's seat with this visit.
- OL Chris Bryant is announcing on Friday. Likely between Michigan, Arizona, and Pitt. I like Michigan's chances.
- TE/LB Frank Clark is announcing Friday. Between Michigan, UNC, and MSU. I like Michigan's chances.
- LB Leilon Willingham may announce this week, but could wait until signing day. I like Michigan's chances.
- 4 Star TE Chris Barnett is visiting this weekend, the 28th.
- 4 Star DB Floyd Raven may visit Alabama this weekend instead of Michigan. We'll see what happens.
- RB Thomas Rawls may visit this weekend, and is announcing on the 31st. If he's qualified, I like Michigan's chances.
- DB Blake Countess may come back up for an unofficial visit to meet the new DC, and potentially the new DB coach if they have one in place.
- OL commit Tony Posada was in Ann Arbor this weekend, and the visit reassured him of his commitment to Michigan. Nothing to worry about there.
- DT Darian Cooper just got done with an official to Iowa. He tweeted that Michigan's new DC Greg Mattison promptly called him, and said he was, "very interesting." That could be something to watch if they go after him hard.
New Michigan commit(s), and this bad boy hits the front page. There's been tooooons of action since last rankings:
1-15-11 Michigan loses commitment from Jake Fisher. Illinois loses commitment from Carl Williams.
1-16-11 Indiana gains commitment from Bernard Taylor. Indiana loses commitment from Shafer Johnson.
1-17-11 Ohio State gains commitment from Ejuan Price. Notre Dame gains commitment from Chase Hounshell. Penn State gains commitment from Bill Belton. Illinois gains commitment from Eaton Spence.
1-18-11 Notre Dame loses commitment from Stephon Tuitt. Minnesota gains commitment from Steven Montgomery.
1-19-11 Notre Dame gains commitment from Stephon Tuitt. Michigan State gains commitment from Matthew Ramondo.
1-20-11 Penn State gains commitment from Deion Barnes. Minnesota loses commitment from Tamani Carter. Michigan gains commitment from Tamani Carter. Minnesota gains commitment from Joe Bjorklund. Nebraska gains commitment from Ameer Abdullah.
1-21-11 Indiana loses commitment from Jalen Schlachter. Michigan State gains commitment from Juwan Caesar.
1-22-11 Michigan gains commitments from Keith Heitzman, Raymon Taylor, and Matt Wile. Purdue gains commitment from Frankie Williams. Northwestern gains commitment from Jordan Perkins.
|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).
Full data after the jump.
I am crazy for the Alaska ice hockey hype video that Brian has re-posted. It's like watching a Kurosawa or a Kubrick film. Or a vintage Chuck Barris game show. You just know you're in the hands of a master. I mean, every time I watch this video-- and I have watched it many, many times-- I have a new question about the ultimate meaning of the piece, or the inspiration for certain radical creative choices. This time I'm wrestling with questions about the bear's motivation.
Obviously I get the motivation behind the inciting incident in the opening sequence. He's pissed about how global warming, caused by western industrialized nations' gluttonous appetite for self-gratification, as represented by the icebreaking Carnival cruise ship, has upended the nature's cycle by disturbing his annual iceberg-encased hibernation. He reacts on instinct, as any giant mutant electro ice bear would: by summoning his lighting stick and wreaking complete destruction upon the ship.
And, though it took me a a couple of repeat viewings, I feel like I get why he takes things to the next level by scrambling his fellow giant mutant electro ice bear wingmen into the giant mutant ice bear sized F-16 fighters. Oh the delicious irony! Man's hubris ("Sure we'll build you some giant mutant ice bear fighter jets! What could go wrong?") returns to deliver a hellfire apocalypse upon those well-established symbols of human excess: the college hockey arena.
And sure, I totally understand why the lead ice bear finds it necessary to nuke Earth in order to save Earth. This is the human condition distilled. Only through death do we truly know life.
But what I simply can't figure out is why he doesn't give his ice bear wingmen a head's up on the forthcoming planetary destruction. What did they do to deserve that? They were his wingmen-bears, man! I know from a whole bunch of Jerry Bruckheimer movies that you don't leave your wingman-bear. And you definitely don't NUKE your wingman-bear. I mean, unless they specifically say: "Forget about me, do you hear? I'm a gonner,bra. You nuke this rock!"
This is not to say that there isn't a very good reason the filmmaker made this choice, because I know there is. I just don't get it.
2010. A Defensive Odyssey
So. The 2010 Defense. The general consensus is a solid “WTFWTHCWT” (What the F? Why the hell can’t we tackle?). I decided to look at tackling, mostly to deduce whether it was coaching or just us being small and getting run over. Good tackling technique can be outstripped by superior strength/athleticism, so it was a valid consideration to look at technique of tackling to ensure that our defensive woes were a parallel to youth and not the infamous GERG. Considering both the change in coaching situation (Mattison for Mayor of Smackmouth-Swaggerville), it now makes more sense to look at these numbers mostly for future reference, as progression of freshman is inevitable, and with the number we played on D our chances for a leap forward are large.
About the analysis:
1. I regarded made tackles as anytime a player made contact with the ballcarrier and that ball carrier ended up down by contact using solid tackling technique. I did not look at technique of made tackles, as after 1/2 of tape review most of the tackles that were made were of good technique. Any tackle that forced the ball-carrier out of bounds was counted as a made tackle.
2. I designated missed tackles as failing to make a tackle in space, taking an extremely bad angle on a tackle that should have been made, or simply just getting the hit but not bringing down the ballcarrier.
3. Bad Form takes into account any missed tackle that used any of the following:
- Head on the up-field side
- Arm/Jersey tackling
- Any hit at or above the numbers
- Getting "shook" in open field due to not breaking down or over pursuit.
The notable difference here is missed tackles sometimes come from being overpowered or stiff-armed, not a technique avenue. If the UM defender made the hit with the head on the right side and attempted to wrap up but the ball carrier just slipped through, I counted this as a missed tackle only. If, however, the same play happened with the UM defender coming in high and behind, this was counted as both a missed and bad form tackle.
To derive the "Tackling Efficiency" I used the following formulas as necessary:
Tackling Efficiency: (Made Tackles - Missed Tackles)/(Bad Form Missed Tackles+1)
This metric takes into account both total tackles made along with missed tackles. In my mind it should give a good representation of who is making the most tackles, while missing the least
Tackling Percentage (%):Made Tackles/Tackling Opportunities (Made + Missed)
This should just give a straight representation of “If I was in position to make a tackle, did I bring down the ball carrier?”
- I included both metrics to allay the concern on a previous post that I was marginalizing the D-line due to limited numbers of tackles. As you can see, both metrics relatively correlate with one another, with both having one or two anomalous results.
Individual Players Tackling Efficiency:
A few notes from the individual analysis:
- Our defensive studs are who you expected
Martin, Demens, Kovacs and RVB are monsters
- Mouton was a beast outside of conference, but once we hit the B10 he dropped to about 3 tackles for ever 2 misses.
- Ezeh really cannot tackle.
- Roh was not as beast as he could have been
- Underclassman tended to tackle less effectively in B10 play than upperclassman
Individual Players Tackling Percentage:
A few notes from the analysis
- Our defensive studs are who you expected
Martin, Demens and RVB are monsters
- Roh was a better tackler than it seemed with the efficiency index.
- Upperclassman seem to tackle better in the B10 than underclassman, with less noticeable dropoff
- Carvin Johnson has the potential to be a bad bad man. Dude can tackle. And more often than not, he puts the ball carrier down with authority.
A By-Class Anaylsis:
I stockpiled the numbers by year. 1st years are True Frosh and RS Fr, 2nd years are True Sophs and RS So’s etc.
(9 1st years, 4 2nd years, 3 3rd years and 6 4th years)
This team is young (shocker). There were 9 players that were first year players, compared to 4 and 3 2nd and 3rd year players. Of the 6 seniors to play, only 3 had meaningful minutes (Ezeh, Mouton and Rogers). The trend is easily demonstrable, as you get older you get better at tackling. Ignore the 4th year numbers, as Rogers is absolutely terrible at tackling, something you would expect of a WR journeyman at CB. The most telling graph I feel is the tackling efficiency by class analysis. This clearly shows that, while there were less sophomores and juniors, they made more of the opportunities and made more tackles as a whole. Going forward, I think there are some players on D that are young that have the potential to be absolute stars. Carvin Johnson and Courtney Avery both flashed some absolutely astounding athleticism; however with a year in the weight room I think Avery could be a better tackler. Most of his missed tackles weren’t bad form, just simply not being strong enough to bring down the ball carrier.
- Cam Gordon is best suited to be a down-hill blitz type LB, as when he played in the box is when he was most effective.
- Ray Vinopal should have been red shirted, however we did not have that luxury. He is definetly the gritty player we expected, just simply not big/strong enough to make the plays in run support we needed.
- Mike Martin gets held. A lot. So does RVB.
- Demens has the potential to be an All Big-Ten LB. He is that dominate. Once he starts learning some passing coverage and his reads are more instinctive, his tackles for loss will go up. He greets the runner with violence, and is all over the field shedding blockers and enforcing his will.
- Carvin Johnson should be the freshman people are most excited to see next year. That kid has an absolute nose for the football, and plays with good energy.
- Roh at the weak D end is a potential good fit, however he really needs to work on breaking down and containing the QB. Against OSU he continually broke contain and TP just stepped up and downfield he went.
- Jibreel Black needs work, but he could be a good one. Really good moves and solid hand use