- Percy Johnson LB - Now an Ohio kid, just moved from Michigan. Really likes Michigan, we'll have a good shot here if we offer. We haven't offered yet, and most schools are waiting on his ACT scores. He told me, "I'm a loyalist, and that's the big house, so you know." - Valdez Showers RB/WR - Instate kid, nominated for best name in 2011 class. - Robert Mincey DE - Told me that Michigan is his leader. He doesn't have an offer yet, though.
- Rico Butler RB/WR - Ohio - Jamare Mills TE - WILL NOT BE ATTENDING. He was invited, but he told me he can't make it. He did tell me that Michigan is one of his favorites right now. - The Dr. Philips kids should be there ( Demetrius Hart, Hasean Clinton-Dix, Laquentin Smith) - DeAnthony Arnett ***Said he will try to make it, but probably has basketball obligations***
- Vincent Croce DT - Will be coming up. He's making his arrangements today. Has a good amount of quality offers so far. He's not sure where Michigan stands yet, but there's enough interest to come in on his own dime from Maryland.
- Ryan Griffin DB - Ann Arbor Pioneer. He said he thinks he'll be there, but is checking his schedule to make sure. I thought I talked to a couple other kids, but I can't remember right now. I'm getting ready for a trip, so I'm out of it. Like I said, add if you know of more.
Should Devin Gardner take a redshirt or play in his freshman year? The answer to this question depends upon how much impact you think he might have in 2010, versus how badly we will want him to play in 2014 as a fifth year senior instead of a new starter. We don’t know what he will do in college and we most certainly don’t know what he will be like five years from now. However, one thing that we can do is look historically at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Michigan football team in the years where they have had a fifth year senior quarterback at the helm. This represents a hypothetical 2014 for a Devin Gardner led team. Then, we can compare those results to the years where Michigan has had a new starting quarterback. This represents a hypothetical 2014 for a Michigan if Gardner leaves after the ‘13 season.
Let’s look at fifth year senior QBs in the last 30 years against our two biggest rivals, and the bowl game results.
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Let’s tally up those results, shall we? In the last 30 years, we are a combined 13-2-1 vs. MSU and OSU when we have a fifth year senior starting at quarterback. In those eight seasons, we made a BCS bowl game all but once, and we have won four of those (for those of you in Columbus – that means we won a BCS Bowl game 50% of the time). Yes, yes, I know that the BCS didn’t exist before 1998, but I think you get the point.
Only three times did we not win vs. OSU and MSU. Wow. I should point out that in two of those games, the 5th year senior did not play the whole game. In 1992, Elvis Grbac got injured in the first half with only two pass attempts. In 1999, Tom Brady sat out a little more than a quarter in place of Drew Henson.
Now, let’s take a look at the results the last 30 years when we have had a new starter at quarterback:
|1987||Brown||Loss||Loss||Hall of Fame||Win|
|1993||Collins||Win||Loss||Hall of Fame||Win|
In the last 30 years, we are a combined 9-17 vs. MSU and OSU when we have a new starting quarterback. In those thirteen seasons, we made a BCS game only once, and we lost it (for those of you in Columbus – that means a 0% success rate). 9-17 vs. MSU and OSU, and only one Rose Bowl in thirteen seasons. Wow, that really sucks. 8 of MSU’s 9 victories against us in the last 30 years have come in a year where we had a new starting quarterback. This is a crappy trend that is consistent over all four Michigan coaches in the 30-year period. Please note that I left out 1988 because even though Michael Taylor was technically a new starter, senior Demetrius Brown finished the season with victories in Columbus and Pasadena.
So what does this mean for Devin Gardner? Ideally, Forcier will be a four-year starter, which means that Gardner might take over the team in 2013. If history is any indicator, that means 2013 will be a mediocre year in which we split the two big ones, at best, and have almost no chance at a BCS game. If we have another new starter in 2014, expect the same. On the other hand, if Gardner is playing as a fifth year senior, expect lots of misery for the residents of Columbus and East Lansing and a BCS bowl game.
I think that my opinion on this matter is clear. Devin Gardner needs to take a redshirt, if at all possible.
A group of us were sitting in a hotel lounge the night before the Penn State game in '97. Fred was jovial to say the least, every few minutes saying, "We're gonna crush these guys." He was reeling off story after story. My favorite one was this:
"...so Tai (Streets) comes off the field and his finger's broken. I mean, you can see the bone sticking out. That finger's broken. So he goes to sit down and Lloyd looks down at him and yells, 'What's the matter Streets? Aren't you tough? Get back out there!' The bone is sticking out of his finger. You can see it. Man! But back out he goes."
Fred was cracking up the whole time.
Bo and Jerry Hanlon were elsewhere in the lounge, but I was more than content listening to Fred. I've learned he sometimes doesn't let the truth stand in the way of a good story, but that makes the stories all the better. So while my story is true -- Fred actually said those words -- you might want to verify the finer details of the actual event.
Fred's a great guy. Too bad I've moved to Florida...
Jim Burton played for Michigan from 1968-1971. He was a left handed pitcher who was known to bat right handed, somewhat of an oddity in today's game. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 1967 draft, but he decided against signing the professional contract and came to Ann Arbor. While his college he had 288 strikeouts in 228 innings. The highlight of his career in Ann Arbor had to be his no hitter, thrown against Wisconsin (back when they had a team) in 1971. It was the first no-no thrown by a UM pitcher in 88 years (so long that they don't even have reliable records for games before that). It's one of only 2 complete game no hitters in Michigan history. That's impressive. While I haven't found his win total for his 3 years on the varsity squad, he did have a ridiculous 19 wins his senior season (there wasn't a cap on games played in a season until the late 80s/early 90s).
Burton was selected in the 1st round (5th overall) by the Red Sox in 1971. After several years of pitching woes (rampant wildness) and back problems, he finally broke into the big leagues in 1975, a big year for the Red Sox, it was the year of the epic Red Sox vs Reds World Series.
Burton had a successful season with the Red Sox. In 29 appearances (4 starts), he went 1-2 with a 2.89 and a save. His bad luck began in the World Series. In game 3 at Riverfront stadium in Cinncy, Burton lasted only 1/3 of an inning with a walk. Game 7 was worse. Jim would be tagged with the loss in the ninth after walking Griffey, getting 2 outs, then giving up the winning run on a Joe Morgan single. A walk later and he was yanked. Many Boston fans blamed him (or manager Daryll Johnson for putting him in) for the loss of the series.
Burton was interviewed many years later for the book "Boys of October" by Doug Hornigs:
"Yeah. You know, over the years Morgan has always given me credit for making a good pitch in that situation [...] Which doesn't change the outcome, unfortunately. But I threw that pitch because the one before it, which was an inside fastball he fouled off. I was surprised at how fast he came around on an inside pitch like that, and I decided I better not try it again. Fisk came out. We discussed it and decided on the slider." "That's what it was. I wound up and threw it exactly where I wanted it, as hard as I could throw one. My slider wasn't a tight one; it was more like a 'slurve' that started in close to a left-hander and broke a lot, away from him. That's what that pitch did. It fooled Morgan, and you can see him start to bail out at first." You can, but but it's not by much. And his recovery is amazingly fast. "Then he kind of threw the bat at the ball." Just trying to foul it off? "Maybe. But he got the end of the bat on it and blooped the fly to center. I turned, and the first thing I saw was Freddie Lynn going back a step or two. And I thought, 'Oh, no.' I knew Morgan hadn't hit it solid. I could see Freddie had no play."
Burton spent the next year at AAA Pawtucket trying to regain his confidence. He eventually made it back into the MLB for one game in 1978. He threw 2.2 innings giving up a hit, a walk, and striking out three. He would spend the next season in the Mets minor league before heading back to his native Michigan to begin life after baseball. After trying a few different jobs in Michigan, he opened his own printing shop. The job eventually took him to Charlotte, NC, where he still lives today.
A special thanks to the The Baseball Biography Project for so much great information.
It has long been my contention (& I think that few will disagree) that the 5 hot bed states for prep talent are FL, CA, TX, OH and PA. Therefore, I feel that universities in those states could probably sign only players from thier own states (if they really had to) and still compete at the upper level. For supporting data, I use Scout's 2010 final recruiting team ranking and stats. I list in this order: State, University, final ranking, # of 5 stars signed from within their own state, and # of 4 stars signed from within their own state. For example: MI, UM, 12/1/2 (UM finished ranked 12 in the nation with 1 in state 5* signee and two in state 4* signees.
The 5 Hot Bed States
FL - Florida 1/2/9, FSU 10/3/5, Miami 17/0/3.
TX - Texas 3/4/13, Texas A&M 25/1/3
CA - USC 5/3/8, UCLA 8/1/10, Stanford 24/0/2
PA - Penn St 9/2/5, Pitt 16/0/3
OH - OSU 20/1/4
These 5 states put 11 teams in the final top 25 (MI put only 1). Of the 11 teams which finished higher ranked than UM, 6 were from the hot bed states. Those 6 averaged 2.5 5* from within their own states and 8.3 4* (this compares to UM's previously mentioned one 5* and two 4*). MSU was also one 5*&two 4*. Also, teams from those 5 states have won 7 out of the last 10 BCS Championships. Clearly, just winning the in state battle with MSU isn't going to be enough to be in the upper tier of schools. There usually are not enough in-state 5&4 star players to fill a class. The recruiting task becomes even harder when you consider the type of player that RR is looking for to run his O and D. Finally, OH is the only near-by state for UM to easily draw from, whereas Oklahoma has TX, Alabama, Auburn&LSU have nearby FL and WSU (edit: Washington) has CA. Considering all of that, JOB WELL DONE, RR and staff. I can't wait to see how the classes look when we are coming off of winning seasons.
Welcome all of you Michigan Football Faithful to 2010 - the Year of Redemption (hopefully). 2008 and 2009 were bizarre years for all of us, both painful and embarrassing to some degree and always with that feeling of an especially bad dream that we just couldn't wake up from. Never in most of our lifetimes have we seen our beloved Wolverines flail about in such a disgraceful manner. Now the corner is there to be turned and with this recruiting haul I see prosperity coming on like a freight train... but like a freight train it may take a while to get here.
And how refreshing was it to see this class come together without the constant re-shuffle that was the 2009 recruiting class? I was happy with the players we landed in 2009 but the steady drip of decommits was frustrating. Losing the two defensive tackles at the last moment was especially humbling. Who does that to Michigan? Nothing like that this year, thank goodness. Just commitments staying the course and signing their papers on time, plus a welcome 4/5 star surprise on signing day to give it that proper Christmas-like feel.
Now with two full Rich Rod classes on board, a vision seems to be coalescing out of the fog of the past two years. We are starting to see positions filled with layer upon layer of players with blue-chip credentials or high upside potential. The cupboard is certainly no longer bare, though its talent is young. The players themselves start to look more interchangeable, like we don't have to fall off cliff should so-and-so get hurt or pick our poison in the defensive backfield.
I mean, just look at the Defensive Backfield for a moment and consider:
Corner - Warren (The MAN! Unfortunately decided to move on)
Corner - Cissoko (Reminder to take every hyped recruit with a grain of salt)
FS - Kovacs (Freshman Walkon played inspired football, but so SLOW!)
SS - Williams (Reminder to take every hyped recrui...
(What too much salt will do to your blood pressure.)
Depth: Yes Woolfolk and JT Floyd were also in the mix with the former decent at times and the latter burnt crispy.
Corner - Turner (Please no grains of salt...)
Corner - Woolfolk
SS - Robinson (Maybe not a LB?)
FS - Dorsey (Please no grains of salt...)
Depth: Christian, Johnson, Kovacs, Emilien, Floyd, Gordon, Talbott, Avery, Vinopal
Yes the 2010 bunch looks young and inexperienced. It also looks light-years better than their 2009 counterparts with the exception of Warren and has some much improved depth to plug in in case of injury/incompetence. If Warren had stayed the D-Backfield could have been a strong point of the 2010 team.
Another area where the depth chart is looking solid is on the OL. Many will bemoan the fact that only one OL recruit was landed in the 2010 class but the depth chart shows that things are looking just fine:
|OL (13 - 3)||M. Schofield*
Those five returning starters are encouraging for the coming season, no? Plus the gap created by taking only one OL recruit this season will provide a nice "early playing time" selling point for 2011 OL recruits.
Looking at the rest of the team gets me downright giddy...
QB - Should be a strength with DG an EE and hopefully a RS as well. Tate will hopefully put on several pounds and take his game up a notch.
Receiver - Stocked to the gills and I, for one, can't wait to see if Gallon can live up to his hype. Stonum, Roundtree, Koger, and Hemingway have all already shown flashes. We certainly stocked up nicely through recruiting as well.
RB - Plenty of talent here though low on proven commodities after V.Smith (may his surgery/recovery go smoothly). Shaw and Cox have had their moments and I think Fitz is going to be special.
DL - We seem to be in great shape as far as starters go. I would love to see RVB slide over into Graham's vacated DE spot and Will Campbell show his quality inside as a starter. Hopefully LaLota has progressed well as a RS and can provide useful depth. Sagasse played well in spot duty last year IIRC.
LB - The huge recruiting haul here was desperately needed but won't yield effective depth until 2011 IME. Here's to hoping that under GERG's tutelage, the likes of Ezeh and Mouton can turn a corner, or that JB Fitzgerald can take it up a notch. LB looks like the weak link once again for the 2010 team unfortunately. GERG needs to bring cohesion and make the LBs a unit, instead of the Stevie Brown w/2 lost sheep look of last season.
P/K - Welcome Mr. Hagerup, your arrival is indeed timely. Gibbons, just don't fuck this up, OK?
Looking Farther Ahead:
These three recruiting classes signed since Rich Rod took over have been solid and very good indeed considering the circumstances. The players signed do seem to fit into the type of team RR favors, now both on offense and on defense. This means there is no going back, really. Michigan no longer has the players for a Pro-Style offense shoehorned into the Spread Option and the defense has stockpiled players for GERG's gimmicky defense. If this team can continue to improve, make a bowl, and let RR and staff make it to 2011, this program is ready to explode. If we are forced to go looking for a new coaching staff however, it will take just the right one to be able to pick up these highly customized pieces and make them work.
Here's to a great 2010 season and an off-season filled with optimistic joy free from turmoil and controversy.