to play football, not to play trumpet
There are a ton of visitors this weekend so there will probably be a matching amount of info. Since OL Ben Braden and LB Joe Bolden were the two visitors on Thursday I'm going to do a mini update on them here. Here's a look at how their trips went.
6'2", 225 lbs
Bolden has a decent offer list so far with the likes of Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Stanford, and Tennessee to name a few. He took in Ann Arbor for the first time with his dad, uncle, and cousin.
We got there around noonish and we met with Coach Smith, Coach Mattison, and Coach Hoke. Coach Mattison told me more than likely I'd be playing the MIKE linebacker spot. It's definitely a privelage to sit down with him and watch film. Coach Hoke basically stated the goals as a football coach, as a team, and as an individual. We just talked casually for awhile.
As usual the coaches were down to earth and the Big House was shockingly big.
The coaches were really easy to talk to, I feel like I get along with them really well. My dad is my AD and my uncle is my coach and they knew the coaches from when they were at Ball State. They really like those coaches, and they've known each other for awhile. We all got to go to the Big House too, and that sent chills down my back thinking about the history that's been in that stadium.
This visit was a positive for Michigan, but Bolden isn't making his decision any time soon.
I was definitely impressed by this visit. Michigan is definitely up there on the list overall. I haven't narrowed anything down yet, I just know that Michigan is up there.
Bolden may visit North Carolina this weekend, and plans on trying to make it back up to Michigan sometime soon.
6'6", 285 lbs
As you probably know Braden committed on his visit Thursday. He and his coach had planned this visit for awhile and Ben decided that he was comfortable enough to make his decision. I spoke with his head coach, Ralph Munger, about the visit.
He and his father made a trip to Wisconsin, the family made a trip to MSU, and also Michigan. He's been traveled and checked out a lot of places. Ben shared with me and his parents that he appreciated all the time with the coaches, but he just feels real comfortable with Michigan. He was going to go to MSU also, but in the last couple weeks he was just really excited about Michigan. After today I could see why, he really feels comfortable there. He connected, he looked at the educational opportunities, the football opportunities, and he felt that was the place he could call home.
From a coaching perspective, it's important that a high school coach is comfortable sending his players to that respective school they choose. Luckily for Michigan, Coach Munger has a long time relationship with Brady Hoke.
I've known Brady for a lot of years, he's been very good to me. I've learned a lot from Brady. I've known him on a very personal level and what you see is what you get with Brady. All the years that I've known him and he's still the same guy that he was ten years ago. He's definitely a player's coach, a coach's coach. I can't say enough good things about Brady. He has a certain magnetism with attracting good people. He's very demanding of his players, yet his players are always willing to give everything they've got. He assured me all the coaches will treat the players like sons, and there's a lot of teaching going on there. The line coach that Ben will be working with, he's a family guy, and a very good teacher too.
The recruiting process is very much about relationships and it seems like all the past work that Brady Hoke has put in will soon start to pay off for him.
Illinois has a few top defensive linemen in the 2012 class and Vontrell Williams is included on that list. The 6-foot-2, 263-pound defensive tackle currently holds offers from Bowling Green, CMU, Illinois, and Toledo among others, but has recently been hearing from some big time schools. Michigan is one of those programs showing interest in the Chicago native, and Vontrell took a trip over to Ann Arbor this weekend. Here's a look at his film and what he thought of the visit.
TOM: What was the first thing you saw on your visit?
VONTRELL: When we first got there we saw my dad's old teammate, Coach Hecklinski. After that we went to an academic meeting and saw the academic staff. I learned a lot academic wise and how they help us through college. They make it easier for you to transition.
TOM: Your dad was teammates with Coach Hecklinski?
VONTRELL: Yeah, they played at Western Illinois together. That kind of helps to have someone there that we already trust.
TOM: That's interesting. So what did you guys do after the academic meeting?
VONTRELL: After that we went to watch practice. You would never know that was their first practice. Everything was so crisp, I don't know, everything seemed to be on point like they've been practicing for years. That let me know that Michigan is back now and that Coach Hoke is going to do good things.
TOM: After practice I'm assuming you got to see the facilities and the Big House?
VONTRELL: Man, the weight room was unlike any other weight room. They had some things I've never seen before. It was very professional, it was pretty crazy. They had machines that get you warmed up in less than two minutes. And then the Big House, man, I've never been inside the Big House and there's nothing like being right in the middle of that M. Just looking around and picturing all those fans there it was great.
TOM: After the facilities then did you get a chance to sit down with the coaches?
VONTRELL: Yeah, I was able to meet Coach Montgomery, Coach Hoke, and also Coach Mattison. We met Coach Jackson too and also Coach Singletary. I was impressed by all of them, but I was most impressed with the resume of Coach Mattison. Being the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, it says a lot to come back to Michigan. To coach those guys at the Ravens and to come back really says a lot. It also says a lot about how long the coaching staff will be there. I believe that will be the last place Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison will coach at. I also believe that the coaching staff they have around them they'll bring home some national championships.
TOM: Wow, you have a lot of good things to say about Michigan and this trip, were you a fan of Michigan growing up? Is there a reason you know so much about them?
VONTRELL: I've been a Michigan fan all my life. Just visiting Michigan was a dream come true. Then to have the Michigan coaches like me was another plus. Michigan has always had my eye, I know the fight song and everything.
TOM: With you having such high interest in Michigan, I know they haven't offered yet but did they talk to you about what you need to do to get that offer?
VONTRELL: They talked to me about it, yeah. Coach Mattison was telling me that Michigan isn't like other schools that just throw out offers. They told me that I'm very very high on their list, that I shouldn't get discouraged that they haven't offered yet, and if I do everything I'm supposed to then I'll have an offer eventually.
TOM: What's it like to hear that from a Coach? What goes through your head when you hear him tell you he's interested in you?
VONTRELL: It's an honor that any college wants you, but it's a special honor with Coach Mattison. Achieving everything he's done, it's amazing. For him to actually tell me he wants me to play for his school it means a lot to me. Once upon a time I felt like maybe I wasn't a big time player, but with Coach Mattison telling me that, I know I'm a big time player now.
TOM: With all that being said, when do you want to make your final decision? How is your recruitment going to play out?
VONTRELL: I want to make my decision when I'm 100% sure. While Michigan is a great school I want to take my official visit there to be 100% sure on whichever school. I'll never know just by talking to the coaches on the phone, I need to be there. I need to be around the student body, around the players and the coaches to get to know them more. I just want to be 100%.
TOM: Even thought they haven't offered yet, after this visit where does Michigan stand?
VONTRELL: Michigan is definitely in the top three. I'm still kind of choosing the other schools in the top group, but Michigan is definitely in there.
TOM: Will you be making it back up to Michigan any time soon?
VONTRELL: Yeah, I'll be back up for the spring game. I'll definitely be there for that.
[Ed-M: Bumped because I'm still laughing]
Upper Peninsula can’t be sure it’s staying in Michigan
BY MARK SNYDER
DETROIT FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Upper Peninsula said all the right things.
It said it would “definitely” be back next year. After all, it is geologically attached where it is, and already has the Mackinac Bridge connecting it to the rest of Michigan.
But the UP will investigate other options.
Once caught in the middle of a Michigan-Ohio recruiting war over Toledo (who later proved to be one of the largest busts in history), the UP was lured away from Wisconsin with the promise of being part of an actual state. Things in Wisconsin have changed since then, however, and the UP may find the attraction of a living, breathing NFL team, as well as Bret Bielema’s musky man-scent, to be too powerful to resist.
The UP has been a valuable asset to Michigan. Once a source of lumber for paper mills and the iron that eventually fed Detroit’s automobile industry, the UP has recently put together an impressive collection of Indian casinos and even taken a Hollywood turn in “Escanaba in da Moonlight.”
However, the presence of Mackinac Island on its southeastern border has become an irritant. The overwhelming odor of horse feces and fudge can be a powerful repellent, and may push the UP toward the greener pastures of Green Bay.
The UP said Sunday it will be back. It was understandably emotional. It has since been unreachable for comment, as the invention of the telephone has not yet progressed that far north.
I believe, as of now, it will return to Michigan. When it makes the decision official, Michiganders can exhale.
Until then, even the UP can't be certain itself.
Contact Mark Snyder: [email protected].
Editor's note: A previous headline on this story named the Upper Peninsula a part of Canada. This version is correct.
California OT prospect Erik Magnuson has recently seen his recruitment take off with offers from Arizona, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA among others. The La Costa Canyon High offensive lineman's stature lives up to his last name standing at 6-foot-6, and 275-pounds. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say about Michigan.
TOM: For anyone that hasn't seen you play can you describe yourself and your game?
ERIK: I'm quick, athletic, big, and aggressive. I just love to compete no matter who my opponent is.
TOM: Since you're from California how interested are you in Michigan, and how much do you know about Michigan?
ERIK: I'm really interested. I've never been there, but I know the coaches from before and I love them.
TOM: You knew them from when they were at San Diego State?
ERIK: Yeah, I know them from there. I feel like Coach Funk is a great coach and really knows a lot about the offensive line. I know him the best, and talk to him a lot. Coach Hoke is just the man. He took me in when I was a sophomore and just really treated me well. He was always true with me and never fed me any BS.
TOM: Again to go back to the California thing, is distance going to be an issue for you?
ERIK: I'm not sure yet, because I've only visited west coast schools, but I don't really think so. I know my family will still come to games no matter where I go. Also, I've spent a lot of time in Canada so I know what cold weather is all about. The weather doesn't affect me at all; I prefer it actually.
TOM: Does that mean that you're going to try to get out to Michigan any time soon?
ERIK: I'm not really sure about any time soon because I'm really busy with AAU basketball and football training and camps. It's hard to find time, but I'm for sure going to use one of my official visits to Michigan.
TOM: To use an official that means you have to wait until the season starts. Are you planning on waiting until signing day to make your decision, or do you want to get it done sooner?
ERIK: I haven't decided yet if I want to wait until signing day, but I'm definitely going to wait until I'm comfortable and 100% sure. I just have to weigh out all my options and do what is best for me in the end.
TOM: With that being said, and I know it's early, but do you have a top list yet?
ERIK: My list of top five changes about every week with new offers coming and what not, but Michigan is always in it. Right now it's Oregon, USC, Michigan, Miami, and Oklahoma.
TOM: When you go to evaluate these schools to make your final decision what are you looking for?
ERIK: A winning program where I feel like I will have a good chance to get a lot of playing time. And like I said I want someone that I feel comfortable with, it's going to be a lot of how I feel.
This is the first big visitor weekend for Michigan and I've already confirmed a few names. This was in the Weekly Update, but this will be the permanent home of the list as it gets updated with new names. Here's who I have so far.
- Kentucky QB Zeke Pike (6'5", 220 lbs): Pike had to reschedule the visit to next week. Offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, FSU, LSU, Michigan, Penn State, and USC among others.
- OL Chase Deback (6'8", 308 lbs) Michigan: Hoping for an offer from Michigan. Reporting no offers yet, but is gaining interest from local schools.
- LB Joe Bolden (6'2", 225 lbs) Ohio: Recently offered by Michigan. Other offers include Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, NC State, Stanford, Tennessee, and West Virginia among others.
- OL Jonah Pirsig (6'9", 300 lbs) Minnesota: Also has a Michigan offer as well as Auburn, Illinois, Iowa, MSU, Ohio State, and Wisconsin among others.
- WR Aloyis Gray (6'3", 165 lbs) Indiana: Teammates with Pierre Aka, he's hoping to get an offer. Cincinnati, Illinois, and Purdue have offered.
- OL DeAndre Herron (6'6", 300 lbs) Indiana: Has offers from Louisville and Toledo, will probably have more soon.
- OL Daron Brown (6'5", 312 lbs) Michigan: Has been up to Michigan before, and is hoping for an offer. No offers yet for Daron, but is gaining interest from local schools.
- DB Wayne Morgan (5'11", 188 lbs) New York: Rutgers leads because he's familiar with their program. This visit could be big for Michigan. Offers from Alabama, U Conn, Miami, Penn State, Rutgers, and Syracuse among others.
- DB Allen Gant (6'1", 182 lbs) Ohio: Recently took a trip up to Ann Arbor and plans on camping this summer. Some offers include Boston College, Cincinnati, Stanford, and West Virginia.
- DE Mario Ojemudia (6'3", 215 lbs) Michigan: Plans on taking his time with his recruitment, has a Michigan offer.
- TE Devin Funchess (6'5", 205 lbs) MIchigan: Teammates with Ojemudia. TE Ron Thompson (6'4", 210 lbs) MIchigan: Very high on Michigan, plans on waiting a little while longer to make his decision.
- TE AJ Williams (6'6", 260 lbs) Ohio: He'll be up either Tuesday or Friday, he isn't sure of the date yet. Offers include Boston College, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan, MSU, NC State, and West Virginia.
- LB Royce Jenkins-Stone (6'2", 215 lbs) Michigan: Said he wants to get back up to see them practice in pads.
- DE Alex Pace (6'2", 255 lbs) Glenville. Offers from Akron, Kent State, Ohio, Toledo, and Youngstown State.
- LB DeAndre Rollins (6'1", 215 lbs) Ohio: No offers yet.
- DB De'van Bogard (5'11", 172 lbs) Glenville: Reports an offer from USC, could be close to an Ohio State and a Michigan offer.
- DE Se'Von Pittman (6'4", 225 lbs) Ohio: Offers include Alabama, MSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, and Notre Dame.
- DE Chris Wormley (6'4", 255 lbs) Ohio: Confirmed that Chris will be up for this weekend. This will be big for Michigan to have Chris see what practice is like and to get more interaction with the new coaches.
- TE Matt Doneth (6'5", 235 lbs) Michigan: Has offers from CMU and WMU.
- TE Sam Grant (6'6", 238 lbs) Ohio: Has offers from Michigan, Boston College, Louisville, Syracuse, and Toledo. St. Edward teammates with Greg Kuhar and Tyler Orlosky.
- TE/OL Mark Harrell (6'5", 260 lbs) North Carolina: Offers from Michigan, Auburn, Clemson, Kentucky, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Stanford, and Virginia Tech among others.
- DT Greg Kuhar (6'3", 265 lbs) Ohio: Talking to his parents about making the trip. Michigan, Toledo, and West Virginia have offered.
- LB Vin Ascolese (6'2", 205 lbs) New Jersey: Not sure if he'll make it.
- RB Auctavius Bennett (5'7", 180 lbs) Maryland
- WR Monty Madaris (6'2", 175 lbs) Ohio: Not sure of his ride situation, but is trying to make it up. Offers include Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, MSU, and Nebraska.
- OL Sid Anvoots (6'4", 285 lbs) Indiana: He committed to Louisville on Friday.
- ATH David Perkins Indiana: He has to work
- TE Pierre Aka Indiana: Has a ride situation, isn't coming.
I mentioned in the D. Morris thread that Darius Morris with his six assists against Duke had passed Rumeal Robinson (233 in 1988-89) and Gary Grant (234 in 1987-88) to become the all-time single-season leader in assists at Michigan with 235 (as Rothstein reported in an annarbor.com article). His 6.7 assist average for the season is second only to Grant's 6.9 average for 1987-88 (Grant played in one fewer game that season than Morris did this season--34 vs. 35).
It's also worth noting that Morris accomplished this as a sophomore, whereas Grant was a senior in 87-88 and Robinson was a junior in 88-89. Also, in that other thread, enlightenedbum made a good point about Morris besting Grant and Robinson in total season assists:
That's super crazy because of the pace we played at in the late 80s compared to now.
The numbers bear this out: Michigan had 847 made field goals this season, compared to 1,197 in 87-88 and 1,325 in 88-89.
This brings up a related way to assess Morris's season: percentage of team field goals a player either assists or scores--a measure I first saw used in a Wall Street Journal article from February. His 201 field goals and 235 assists mean Morris was involved in 436 of the team's field goals--or 51.5% of the 847 total.
- Robinson in 88-89 was involved in 432 of his team's field goals (199 FGs + 233 assists), or 32.6% of the team total
- Grant in 87-88 was involved in 503 of his team's field goals (269 FGs + 234 assists), or 42% of the team total
Note that when the WSJ did their analysis of this statistic to determine what they called "backcourt MVPs," Morris came out on top among players from the top 10 conferences in the country.
Morris set another Michigan record this year: most 10-plus assist games in a season. He had seven of those, which topped the six each that Grant and Robinson totaled in the same seasons noted above.
As I mentioned in the other thread, if Morris can manage to put together another season like this one next year, he'll have to be considered one of the top point guards in Michigan history.