“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
Michigan had two recruits sign about a month ago, but being in the middle of the season, I hadn't had a ton of time to do the research and otherwise on the guys. But over the last few weeks, a couple of local paper articles brought the two players back into the forefront.
Cole Martin has been a lifelong Wolverine fan, and a pretty solid athlete to boot. At John Glenn, he's caught, pitched, and played short stop.
"When I was 10 years old, we were walking around (Ray Fisher Stadium, Michigan's baseball field) and I told my dad, 'One day you will watch me play on this field,'" said Martin.
Martin plans to major in chemical engineering and go on to medical school to become a surgeon.
Last spring, Martin batted .414 as he led the Bobcats to a 32-8 record, and into the Division 2 regional final, where they lost to Mount Pleasant 4-3. With Berryhill last summer, Martin was named Great Lakes Region Most Valuable Player before the team went on to win the American Legion World Series.
The picture above, by Michael K Photography, was taken 2 years ago, but does hint that Martin is in fact a switch hitting catcher. Martin is probably an immediate redshirt at just 5'11" 160lb, plus he's highly unlikely to take Crank's spot unless his defense is spectacular.
Also worth noting is Cole's involvement in his school's hockey team. Maloney has had some success with former hockey players including current star Ryan LaMarre. Maloney's take:
"Cole Martin is a really good athlete. He's got a good arm and could potentially fill in as a utility player, but he's a catcher with a decent bat. Just the makings of a good all-around athlete, and we want to have as many athletes in our program as possible. We think if you're really athletic you have a chance to find your niche," said Maloney. "He's also a hockey goalie, and I like that toughness. We've had success with guys who have been multi-sport guys, especially hockey players at both Ball State and at Michigan. Cole will fit into that really well."
Pitcher, Royal Oak/University of Detroit Jesuit
Perry is a right hander from the Detroit area who's put up some impressive numbers at a solid program. From MGoBlue and Rich Maloney:
Perry, a prep standout from the University of Detroit Jesuit, led his team in earned run average, innings pitched, wins and strikeouts as a junior last spring. He is a big game pitcher, owning a one-hitter in the 2008 regional semifinal and a two-hit complete game to clinch a 2009 regional championship.
"We think [Perry] is very projectable, has a nice loose arm, the makings of a good breaking pitch and comes from an outstanding school and a good baseball program. We are really excited about his upside and him participating in our program,"
Not bad for a guy they just happened across:
“[A Michigan scout] was there (at the CABA nationals) to see another team, but I said: ‘You ought to stick around and see this kid who will be pitching for us. His name is Jay Perry,'” Meisner recalled.
“It wasn't his best game, but it was a very, very good game and his stuff was electric. From that day on, Michigan had an interest in him and saw him pitch a bunch of times.”
The Michigan coaches liked what they saw in Perry […] So much so they offered the 6-foot-1, 165-pound right-hander a scholarship to pitch for the Wolverines next year.
From that same article, we see we've got a flame thrower:
“One of the U-M coaches told me I don't have any stop in my motion; it's a nice, smooth motion,” Perry said. “It's loose, not herky-jerky. I guess that's the key to longevity and throwing well.”
Perry said he likes to throw hard, adding it was instilled in him at a young age.
“I always thought that puts you a step ahead,” he said. “If you're not hitting the spots perfectly, there's a little less time for hitters to react. I like to throw hard; I think it looks cool.”
That's cool. So too, supposedly, is his change up, giving him two plus pitches. Something tells me we won't see Perry for at least two years as he redshirts and works on creating another plus pitch.
Michigan now has a class with 7 members thus far. I don't think we see much in the way of scholarship additions from this point out, but we could see a couple of preferred walk-ons pop up over the next month and a half. Michigan has signed 4 right handed pitchers, two outfielders, one infielder, and one catcher in this class, addressing their two biggest needs (outfield and pitching).
With Nick Urban graduating and Ryan LaMarre probably leaving, the two outfielders have an outside shot of both starting next year. As we've seen during LaMarre's injury, we're a bit thin on outfielders with Kittle, Krantz, and Stephens all sliding from the infield to the outfield this season. The only current underclassmen on the roster listed as potential outfielders is only Biondi, Mills (a pitcher, but has played a few innings in left this season), and Ben Ballantine, a potential starting pitcher next year.
Michigan should be full at catcher for the time being. Crank and Safara will both be back next year, as well as preferred walk-on John DiLaura who is red shirting this season. That depth is probably why Martin is considered a potential utility player a la Tim Kalczynski in 2008.
If there are any other preferred walk-ons coming, I have to think there might be an outfielder or two, as well as a second baseman. Michigan has 2 more years with Lorenz at third and Dennis at short (I'm not holding my breath on 3 more), and 2-3 years of Stephens and Luther at first. Of course, pitching is always and option as a team can never have enough of it.
I'll post the rankings weekly in the diaries, and frontpage it occasionally (i.e. when Michigan gets commitments). The team rankings are very rough estimates until the services have released more full individual grades.
Action since last rankings (aside from Scout releasing a new Top 300 list):
4-5-10 Indiana gains commitment from Jake Reed.
4-10-10 Indiana gains commitment from Tre Roberson.
4-11-10 Michigan State gains commitment from Connor Cook.
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals 250||Scout Average||ESPN 150|
I'll only make charts for the teams that currently have commits. Rivals 250 means that a given prospect is on the Rivals 250 to Watch, and ESPN 150 means that a prospect is on the Watch List for the ESPNU 150. Scout ratings are on the 5-star scale.
|#1 Ohio State - 8 Commits|
Several future Buckeyes get lofty rating from Scout.
|#2 Michigan State - 4 Commits|
Spartans pick up Connor Cook from Ohio.
|#3 Michigan - 3 Commits|
Brown and Conway pick up 3-star ratings.
|#4 Notre Dame - 2 Commits|
Jordan Prestwood joins the fold for Notre Dame.
|#5 Minnesota - 2 Commits|
Still just two for the Gophers, who dropped Calvin Phillips a couple weeks back.
|#6 Indiana - 4 Commits|
The Hoosiers pick up a couple pieces, including a good TE in Jake Reed.
|#7 Wisconsin - 1 Commit|
Just one for Wisconsin.
|#8 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Zook has got to be recruiting for his life this year.
|#8 Northwestern - 1 Commit|
Northwestern holds steady with one prospect.
Michigan moved to 18-11 and 4-2 in Big Ten play this weekend with a series win over Purdue at Ray Fisher Stadium, 2 games to 1. Ryan LaMarre was the big story of the weekend exploding for a 9/13 batting average in the 3-hole for your Wolverines.
UPDATE: Ryan even earned POTW honors in the Big Ten:
LaMarre earns his second career Player of the Week honor and his first this season after leading Michigan to a series win against Purdue over the weekend. The outfielder hit .692 and slugged 1.077 on the strength of three doubles and a triple vs. the Boilermakers. He also recorded three hits in every conference game, extending his hitting streak to 10 games dating back to last season. Against Central Michigan on Wednesday, LaMarre made his first start since suffering an injury at Texas Tech on Feb. 20. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in a 13-7 win. In eight appearances this season, LaMarre has four multi-hit games and is hitting .519 with a .704 slugging percentage.
Full recaps and series thoughts after the jump:
[Ed: couple of first-hand observations posted on the message board that jive with those of a couple sources of mine who were also there. Those will be coming early next week.]
I was at today's scrimmage and noticed a couple of things:
-the final score was 59-53 offense... it was 53-42 when they went to a segment called last play from the 3 yard line with the defense up by 4. defense stuffed the offense twice then Denard ran in for the win.
-everyone played. walk on slot receiver #10 (not gallon) i think his name is Jordan Barpal had a terrific catch in the back of the endzone for a touchdown from Jack Lennedy.
-John McColgan looked good at FB.. even had a td reception.
-Stephen Hopkins is the real deal. He was running with the 1s has the "big back" and had some really tough runs. I love the way he finishes his runs and really punishes defenders.
-the QB competition is WIDE OPEN. All 3 played with all the lineman and WRs. ( it seemed like they were rotating the QBs with no regard as to which offensive teams were going in.)
-Taylor Lewan looked very good. he played LT with the first team and the second
-the defense looked phenomenal. There tackling was like night and day from last season. There was only one missed tackle that I saw, and it was on a great move by Mike Cox who looped back around and ended up being tackled for a loss by Thomas Gordon.
I was very impressed by today. The team seems to really be coming along.
Another Report Pulled From Lower In the Thread
I was there too and concur with the OP and was pleasantly surprised.
I would add:
Fitzy had a nice run. He was solid. Stephen looked the best on this particular day though.
Thomas Gordon seems to be the best fit for the Stevie Brown Spur/Bandit position for now. I would be curious to see if he will beat out Marvin, or even Cam, or JT Turner.I think they will have to move JT Turner to one of the safety spots when the other frosh get in. That young lad had himself a growth spurt. He is a big kid. It will be interesting to see what they do with him once they get depth this summer at CB
The LB's or secondary didn't suck. I was pleasantly surprised. Troy is pretty good at that CB spot. The defense as a whole was better against the run than I ever would have thought based on last year.
Devin was owning the 2 and 3rd team D. He is the real deal, I don't care what string he was playing against. He seems to have the best shot of us having a vertical game whenever he takes the reins. Denard has a cannon, but doesn't have the touch that Devin has. Devin had a long gainer to Gallon. When Devin played with the 1's he threw a TD to Roundtree.
Denard seemed to have the most success moving the ball against the first team D. He was carving up the D when running the zone read, has a cannon, lacks a little touch on the short and intermediate stuff. If they want to stay true to the West Virginia style O, then Denard has to be the guy this year. He reads it pretty well, and has the explosiveness necessary to get around the corner obviously.
Tate was pretty decent. Didn't get as much time with the 1's as Denard. Tate is Tate. Pretty accurate on the short and intermediate stuff, not as explosive as the others when running the zone read. He did okay though. He can win football games, they just have to tailor the play calling to his strengths.
I would guess that we see more of a rotation this year as opposed to last year when Tate was getting the majority of the snaps. Devin is the real deal, I would hate to be the coaches if they wanted to keep a redshirt on that kid. I wouldn't be able to do it.
Either way. Denard has to be on the field somewhere. You can tell he is putting it together. He is way too explosive to spend as much time on the sidelines as he did last year.
The Oline seems to be a lot better too. Taylor Lewan was getting a lot of time at LT and did really well. It wouldn't surprise me if he just didn't let that spot go.
Cam is a ball hawk. He is very much a see ball, hit ball kind of player, and seems to be just fine at that deep safety if he has to stay there. They tested him a little bit.
It wouldn't surprise me though that when the fall frosh comes in to see them work JT Turner in back there, and move Cam up to a Spur/Bandit position to get the best 11 out there. You can see the talent in JT, the sky is not falling with him, but he has outgrown corner and in my opinion is only there this spring because they don't have depth to move him. JT is big enough now to work into a spur/bandit type roll too.He looks to be in the 210-215ish range.
One fumble, but no turnovers up until the point I left. I had to jet a little early.
All in all I came out actually more impressed with the defense than the offense. Logic tells me that is a good thing, but with this team....who knows?
In Which Your Editor Provides A Short Addendum
I also heard that Hopkins was killing people today in a fashion similar to a squatter Minor, although I'm guessing with less speed since a 230-pound running back who's as fast as Minor is not a generic three star recruit. The quarterback situation seems utterly confused; depending on who you talk to any of the three is the likely starter against UConn. Running back is also a jumble.
One thing that is becoming more and more certain: Taylor Lewan is locking down the left tackle spot, which is great news.
It is never too early to begin planning for your NCAA purchase and with the announcement of this year’s cover boy ringing in our ears and the Spring Game one week away I figured the time was right for a pre-preview of the upcoming NCAA Football 11.
This year’s cover athlete will be none other than Tim Tebow (Angel choir sings in background at just the mention of his name). He will be the cover athlete on all systems, unifying the title for the first time since 2008 when undrafted Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky received that honor. With this announcement, made this week by EA, Tebow has been making the rounds and this is what he had to say:
Best part of being cover athlete – “I've been playing this game since I was 6. But they made so many big changes this year, I needed to find out the secrets before it came out."
Reaction to yourself first time on a video game – “First thing I thought was, I'm faster than that. [laughs] I wanted to call some people and get my speed rating bumped up a little bit.”
Tebow’s burn on the rest of us in answer to how he likes playing himself – “To be honest, I don't actually play as Florida a lot. Even the last four years I haven't played as them too often because they're really good in the game and it's too much of an advantage for whoever is playing as them. Usually we pick lesser teams.” (I wish I had that same issue playing Michigan, but no one ever complains)
Weirdest combine question – “Whether I'd rather be the quarterback for their team or the governor of Florida”
Video game QB vs. the real thing – “You can always find those plays in every game that work for a touchdown or a big gain all the time and no matter what the defense tries, they can't stop you. Only downfall is sometimes you might cramp up a little on the thumbs.”
Madden 11 designer Donny Moore on Tebow’s upcoming stats – “"Tebow will be the best trucking quarterback in 'Madden' this year, He's not the most elusive, but in terms of breaking tackles and power, he will be able to put down his shoulder and run over a few defenders. A lot of this is fluid, but right now in 'Madden 11,' we have Tebow at 80 speed and 92 acceleration. Trucking, carrying the ball, like I said, he's going to be better than any quarterback coming into the league."
For those whose heart goes paddy pat at the mere mention of Tim Tebow here is the link to the full interview - http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=5073043
EA has released few details as of yet, but there is enough information out there to get excited about what we can expect:
Graphic Jump – First screen shots look so good that EA had to come out with a statement confirming that they in no way touched up the pics, and that they were indeed real in-game shots. You will also notice something that has been glaringly missing in the background. Pinstripes! That is right, referees are making a comeback in NCAA ’11.
Improved Realism – Ever complained that this year’s NCAA looks just like last years? That shouldn’t be the complaint this year. With linear lighting the feel and look of the fields and players should be a huge upgrade to Madden like quality. What does it mean? It means the game will now have shading dynamics based on the time of day. If it is night the skin, jerseys, and helmets will be shaded appropriately and in the day time have that spring fresh look to them. It is hard to put into words, but my hope is we get rid of that plastic, shiny, pasty player graphic, and the result is a more believable player look.
Locomotion – Can I get a Whoo Woooo! I am ready for this train to leave the station and excited to see its inclusion into the new NCAA. What it means in short is that 99 Acceleration now means as much as 99 Speed. If you noticed in years past it was all about running a straight line faster than the defender, (no an occasional zigzag to overcome a faster defender diving does not count). With the addition of locomotion NCAA will get the power of the burst. Players with fast acceleration will close on ball carriers and make tackles with their quick acceleration. Dynamic Short Yardage players ala Forcier against ND - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gDv0HMTJEY&feature=related, will be able to make the quick move to fool the over pursuing DE and then turn on the afterburners to outrun safeties.
Team Playbooks – How frustrating has it been playing NCAA for Michigan fan the last few years? 2 years ago we had a pro-style offense playbook, that didn’t resemble the product on the field in any way, and then last year we had 1 bubble screen and an option playbook that again didn’t resemble anything Michigan was running on the field. This year is supposed to be improved with Team specific playbooks that closely resemble the on the field product. Florida has been getting this for years, but finally the rest of us may have it.
Formation Subs – Remember back in the olden days, when the PS on your gaming platform had a 2 that followed it? There was this little feature that made football just plain better, where you could customize any formation including kick-off teams to maximize your team’s competitive edge. Well that is finally back after a long hiatus, and no team will benefit more than Michigan. That means you can set up Denard Robinson to come in automatically anytime you run the Ace-Big formation, or bring in Focier for the Shotgun formation. It means you can customize your DL to get Campbell and Martin on the field at the same time when you need run stoppage against the dive in a 3-3-5 set. It means good stuff.
NCAA Football 11 will be hitting the store July 13th. While it still seems too far away I know, the date has steadily been creeping earlier and earlier in the last few years. In fact EA has moved the release date earlier in July every year since 2007 when it released on July 18th. Maybe it only takes 364 days to make a new issue of NCAA hence the change.
I know that many of you, like myself, celebrate the release of NCAA like a national holiday. We work diligently in the months of July and August, while others haven’t even thought of cleaning out their coolers yet, as we put together “The Game Plan.” I’m not making any guarantees, but if the coaching staff would just glance at “The Game Plan” this year it might just make Michigan a surefire Three-Peat National Championship team. The plan works, and I can show you my NCAA trophy case if you don’t believe it. Keep playing, and I’ll see you online.
[Ed: These games are at home, and while tonight's promises to be chilly the weekend day games should be beautiful spring weather in the 60s. If you're around, I suggest going.]
Michigan (16-10, 2-1)
Purdue (12-11, 1-2)
|Friday 7pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|Alan Oaks (3-3, 3.29 ERA)||vs||Matt Bischoff (3-1, 2.06 ERA)|
|Stats||Audio (WTKA)||TV: BTN|
|Notes: Michigan is 131-52 all time, Last year: 1-0 (4-3 in 10 innings)|
|Saturday 1pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|Bobby Brosnahan(3-2, 4.36 ERA)||vs||Blake Mascarello (1-2, 2.61 ERA)|
|Stats||Audio (WCBN)||TV: BTN|
|Notes: Mascarello is a LHP|
|Sunday 12pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|TBA||vs||Matt Morgan (2-0, 3.23 ERA)|
|Stats||Audio (WCBN)||TV: BTN|
|Notes: No idea on the starter. Katzman? Miller?|
It's been a long time since Michigan has faced off with Purdue in Ann Arbor. With the Boilermakers being the team rotated off the schedule the last two years, they haven't been to Ray Fisher since the 2007 season. The two teams have faced off three times since that series, twice in Ann Arbor for the 2008 Big Ten Tournament, Michigan winning both games, and once as a side game in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge of 2009, Michigan winning 4-3 in 10 innings.
This year's matchup is a bit less intense than the Big Ten Tournament, but it's not without it's own importance as Purdue can be dangerous if their starting pitching (as mentioned in yesterday's Q&A) can get in a groove against our aggressive hitters.
Match ups, concerns and more after the jump…