no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
I just talked to Michigan's 9th commit of the year, LB Kellen Jones, and he was as excited as can be. We talked about his decision, his visit, and what happened in Rich Rodriguez' office when he told the coaches. Here's some one line quotes for you:
- "Michigan is a family, and just seeing that really reinforced everything for me. It was really everything I was looking for. I prayed about my decision, and God told me Michigan was where I was supposed to be. I wanted to take this visit to clarify that, and it did."
- "I actually made my decision about 2 or 3 weeks ago, but like I said I just wanted the visit to make sure. We got to see the summer workouts, see the Big House, and all the players. It was so exciting. I can't wait to play in the Big House, I mean it's the Big House. We got to go to the top and look into the stadium, and my whole family was just excited."
- "My family was there with me, and I had told my Dad that I would be committing, but I hadn't told the coaches yet. He wanted me to tell them because Michigan was his dream school, so he was as excited as I was. I actually think he was even more excited than me, he was going crazy."
- "We were in Coach Rodriguez' office, and my family was in there with me. I told Coach that I was committing, and my whole family broke into the Michigan fight song. My Dad, Uncle, me, everybody was singing the fight song. Coach Rodriguez laughed and said he had never seen that before. He was shocked."
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the next installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH WOLVINLA
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
Isn’t it strange how we spend so much time together, here at MGoBlog—and yet we really have no idea who each other truly are? For all we know, any of us very well might have bumped into a fellow MGoBlog reader in the city, or perhaps spoken to someone in a business call… or maybe even ruffled each other’s feathers on a Friday night at the local pub. It’s a bit strange to think that friendships can be and are formed here with no regards at all to who these people actually are offline.
For me, I’ve been bumping into people here for over two years, and some more than others. And if you call them that, I’ve certainly made a few friends. I’d like to think that WolvinLA has been one of them, so let’s get to this exclusive interview:
1. You’re not the only one, but you are one of a select few that sport a nifty little 2 or (2) at the end of your name. What happened? Wrath of Brian? Wrath of Interwebs?
Somewhat wrath of the interwebs I guess, but a smarter person probably would have figured the problem out. I started as WolvinLA, but at some point I was having technical difficulties, and since some people on this board have grandparents as tech-savvy as I am I couldn't figure it out. After not too long I gave up and started my current account under my work email. I wish the story was more exciting, like my account was hijacked by pirates or ninjas or something, but no such luck.
Either way, you have amassed quite a slew of MGoPoints despite never creating any blogs in either of your incarnations. In your own words, what makes a good response on someone else’s blog?
That's not really true, I've started two different blogs but neither of them lasted more than 2 posts. I only stay excited about that stuff for about 10 minutes, but it makes me appreciate those who can make it work.
When posting on someone else's blog, you need to either say something substantive or something funny. If you can say something substantive and funny, that's where the magic happens. I also try to disagree with Magnus a lot, that's usually good for a 10 spot of MGoPuntos (my fiancee is Latin, sorry for the MGoSpanglish).
2. You’ve also been posting at MGoBlog for a long, long time. What’s changed since you first arrived on the scene? Who do you miss? What do you find interesting about the blog that wasn’t around two or three years ago?
Honestly, I miss ChrisGoComment. Where did he go? I literally think about that every day (not literally). The blog has changed a good bit since I started reading, mostly for the better. The addition of the VB guys and TomVH was huge, especially since the recruiting stuff is a big, big draw to the blog. I thought MGoProfile was super lame until you asked me, now I think it's totally sweet.
3. Tell us, what is the perception of the University of Michigan on the West Coast? What do all those shiny California types think of the winged helmet, and the Big House, and all of the things we hold dear?
I think most people would be surprised how many Michigan fans there are in California, or at least Los Angeles. I see people wearing M gear all over, UM stickers and plate frames are everywhere, it's awesome. I actually have a client who just told me the other day how it's her son's dream to go to Michigan (he's in high school) and he didn't have any special connection to the school.
Obviously there is a big Pac Ten influence out here, but most people I talk to have a lot of respect for Michigan - both athletically and academically. Well, except most USC fans. I find them to be obnoxious as all hell. I'm down with UCLA though.
Gotta love that word, RESPECT. What do you miss most about Michigan and/or the Midwest? I'm from Michigan, and that will always be home. There's no perfect place, there are things about LA that are great - the weather, predominantly, but Midwesterners are the best people in America, no doubt about it. You don't realize how nice and down to Earth people are there until you move to a place like LA. On the rare occurrence that someone holds a door or an elevator for me out here, I ask them if they're from CA, and although I usually get a strange look, the response is always "No."
4. You are an alum, if I do correctly recall. In your journeys westward, what has your alumni status meant to you and to those you have met? How has it affected the life you’ve created?
Being a UM alum has helped me in two main ways. The first is that I have so many classmates out here. As a Michigan alum, you can head to any major city and you'll be surrounded by your old classmates. When living in a far away city, that's invaluable. The second is the reputation. A UM degree gives instant credibility. You can hate UM sports all you want, but to most people, a UM degree means your a pretty sharp individual. If you don't know Michigan, you aren't worth knowing. I just made that up.
5. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what you do for a living? And, what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
I work in medical sales, so I drive around all day trying to convince hospitals to purchase overpriced equipment. One day I will crash and/or run off the road because I'm MGoBlogging behind the wheel. Lucky for me, traffic never goes more than about 15 miles an hour in LA.
My free time is filled up by one thing lately - on June 28th I entered MGoFatherhood, and little Charlie (like the Heisman guy) takes up all of my free time, 24 hours a day. I'm sure any fellow dads on here can relate.
For the record, I’ve seen pictures-- the kid was literally rockin’ a Block M beanie cap in the maternity ward-- nicely done, my friend. Let’s move on… describe the perfect meal.
Mmmm, I eat too much. This is kind of a depressing question since I just got blood work done and apparently I don't eat as healthy as I should. But my perfect meal is anything with lots of red meat and potatoes.
6. Meat, good. Let’s wrap it up with the old standards-- can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I grew up, no joke, in a family full of ND fans. My mother's family were Irish Catholics from South Bend. Sure, they didn't have to be ND fans. But they were, in a big way. My cousin even has that little leprechaun tattooed on his leg - I didn't say they were classy. About the time I was in elementary school when you start liking sports teams, 5 guys, all freshmen, started for the University of Michigan's basketball team. They were awesome. About the same time, a receiver from Michigan won the Heisman. I came home from school one day and told my mom I wanted to be a Michigan fan. She, along with many of my relatives tried for years to turn me into a Notre Dame fan, but something inside my little brain told me they would fall short of expectations for at least the next 2 decades. Ultimately, I went to UM for college and that had pretty much sewn things up.
Finally, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
My fiancee has accused me a number of times (and it's hard to tell if she's joking) of being gay for Tom Brady, so she'd probably say him. This is a hard question. It usually depends on whose highlight video I just watched. But saying "it's a tie with everybody" is the equivalent to the people who say "I like everything, really" when you ask their favorite music (and I hate it when people do that), so I'll go with Desmond, combining how good he was on the field for us with how awesome he's been to the program since, with a Super Bowl MVP thrown in for good measure. Runner-up honors to C-Webb - albeit a controversial pick, he was dominant and jump-started my fandom. I still wear my #4 Jersey with pride.
With a network of over 460,000 graduates, the University of Michigan’s Alumni Association is a veritable brotherhood that spans the globe. It goes without saying that the block M opens doors and makes business happen, and our own blog alone features everyone from government military contractors to lawyers, doctors to Fortune 500 businessmen. As the song goes, the “Leaders and Best" -- I'd love to know how much business goes down every year in America simply because it's one
Michigan Man shaking the hand of another.
It’s comforting to know that whatever city you might find yourself in, there’s probably a fairly good chance that someone else there will share your love for the maize and blue. WolvinLA is proof that even in the surreal world of California, Michigan is a recognized national brand that stands for something. As we move closer to the season, we all can have hope of what that something will be. Thanks and I’ll see you
all next week for another exciting edition of MGoProfile!
With all due respect to Brian's "Worst Plays of the Decade List", I disagree with number one and believe either the 100-yd interception return or the missed chip-shot field goal from the Toledo game in 2008 is the worst play of the decade. It's long-winded and more negative than I usually let myself get with Michigan football, but here's my explanation:
There is no disputing that the 2008 version of the Michigan Wolverines was bad. Awful. Under certain metrics, the worst ever. Undebatably the worst of my lifetime. Bad.
Nonetheless, going into the season, with a new coach and a relatively solid defense (especially along the defensive line and at corner), we didn't know what we had. Regardless of what it was, we knew it would be a Michigan football team. A different team, to be sure, but still a Michigan team.
In fact, as bad as the team may have been, from a talent perspective, in 2008, they didn't cease to be a "Michigan" football team, as we understood it, until the Toledo loss. As strange as it may sound, through all the 8-4 years, Michigan was a program very used to winning (some would say expecting). Regardless of the circumstances, there was always a belief that Michigan could win. The last sentence speaks to both the fans and the players.
Its this belief that brought Drew Henson's team back against Illinois, John Navarre's team back against Minnesota, and Chad Henne's team back against Michigan State. While the listed games are drastic examples, they characterize a mindset throughout the program that this team would not lose. Or, at the very least, they would not quit. Michigan always had a chance to win a game, could (not would) always find enough plays to pull the game out (or, too often, just a couple plays too few).
I'm certainly not suggesting Michigan always won. Simply that Michigan was always a tough out. Other than otherwise "flukey" games (Iowa in 2002, Oregon in 2007) where some (spread offense) team would go nuts against Michigan, there were close loses. And Rose Bowls with USC. But, mostly just a lot of close losses. (I realize there were a ton of wins, those obviously count in the "Michigan was very good" category)
Michigan had been outmatched before. They had clearly walked into situations with the lesser team in tow. Or, at the very least, the team that looked worse on that given day. But, always, even in loss, the team fought. Someone would make a play, someone would do something. The defense would hang on just enough, the offense would show just enough sign of life, that we could always believe Michigan would win.
Some of those close losses were embarrassing. Appalachian State comes to mind. As does Northwestern. But, at the very least, those embarrassing losses were upsets! Big ones, in fact.
And so the 2007 season [my bad ... 2008] began. The first game of the year was a 2-point loss to a Utah team that went on to finish undefeated and beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. In that game our offense was just not working. I remember sitting in my seat in the Big House and wondering if this was really what we'd become. But then the defense awoke, the special teams made a play, Steven Threet entered, and Junior Hemmingway showed a flash. While we lost, we did what Michigan has always done when overmatched. They perservered. They found some way to compete.
The Utah game was followed by a close win against Miami (NTM). An uninspired, closer than it should be win against a MAC team? Not usually after a loss, but sure. Why not, this time.
How about a flukey turnover fest, in South Bend (where else?), during a monsoon? The monsoon's a nice added touch ... hmm, did we outgain them? We did. Ok, good then. I've seen that game before too. Nothing new.
Wisconsin game heroics inspire hope. One of the Bowden's writes a column about how "Michigan is BACK". We're 2-2, and we've been here before. We all know this Michigan team.
The following week was a disheartening loss to Illinois. Michigan blew a lead against a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Juice Williams. Though a strong sign the house was on fire, the smoked Wolverines had been turning every mobile quarterback they faced into a Heisman candidate. This was nothing new.
The Toledo loss, caused significantly by the 100-yd interception returned for a touchdown and a missed field goal at the end of the game by Michigan, was the nail. It was at that point where Michigan ceased being Michigan, and suddenly became a team that might actually lose to Toledo. Everyone's gut reaction was to liken the Toledo loss to Appalachian State, but that was being far too kind.
Appalachian State was an epic upset. Toledo got lucky and beat Michigan? This was plausible. I didn't field a thousand text messages that said "SRSLY?", "WHAT IS GOING ON! FIRE LOYD NOWW!!", and "dont wry, youll win". I didn't stare at a wall in disbelief. I was fine. Resigned. The world had changed, not just then, but had been changed, and the realization wasn't sudden or explosive. It was resigned. I disconnected. I, at that moment, realized that getting too upset about a Michigan loss was no longer an option. My defense mechanism, to ensure I kept my sanity, was to emotionally distance myself. Michigan football, as we all had known it, changed at its core following that loss.
By the next week, Brian had stopped honestly previewing our opponents, The now-infamous PSU Preview begs us to reconsider our existential relationship with the Michigan football universe.
My vote for number 1? Anything that contributed to that Toledo loss.
Sorry to be a downer.
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the ninth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this circle of Dante's version, those who would commit Heresy are punished in tombs of fire.
As we reach the 6th circle, there was a noticeable feeling of optimism in the air. The mood felt less heavy. The feeling was strange, one that I hadn't felt in quite a while. It didn't take me long to figure it out either. Michigan just defeated Minnesota, closing out a perfect record in the Metrodome.
The celebration didn't last long in my mind. I knew Michigan was still 3-7 and not going bowling for the first in ages. It was a hollow win.
The 6th Circle is a eerily quiet cemetery. Graves are aligned quite compactly, and there is little room to pass without nearly stepping on the hallowed ground. Each soul is in a grave marked with their name. Below the name is listed a saying one of two phrases, "Down in front!" or "You can stand!" As I start to see these two messages, I have already figured out what the sin of this circle is, embattled fans.
It seems strange that this is the only circle thus far that has it's damned in what seems like isolation. I guess that's because the fans here would rather fight with each other than focus on the game. In each case, standing or sitting and yelling at the standing, they ruin each other's game experience. Say what you will about the idiot message board posters, they at least bicker away from the game. These that fight during games, there is a problem there.
But despite my personal feelings about these besetting fans, I can't help but wonder what their take on their punishment is. About half way through the 6th Circle, I couldn't contain my curiosity, especially when my other option was watching Northwestern beat Michigan on a wet Ann Arbor afternoon. So I turned to Davy, "Davy, do you mind if I talk to one of these spirits of this domain?"
"Nah, partner, do as you wish. Just don't ask too many questions. The people in this circle get a bit testy."
"Yeah," I start. "I can tell by the headstones. Any suggestion on sitters or standers?"
"They're damned if you do, they're damned if you don't. Or, well, yeah. The sitters will moan that you're impeding their time. The standers will complain that your not a big enough fan to ask them questions. Pick your poison, kid."
"Great, I'll take the crab juice. Um, how about the standing guy? I don't want to have to sit down to perform this interview."
Davy replied, "That's a good point. Let me round up this feller over here." Feller? Really?
Davy began to wave his hands to open the grave, and as he did, flames burst through the opening as if the grave was pressured with fire. After the grave completely opened, a spirit leapt out as if he were gasping for air.
"Woooo does it feel good getting out of there!" the spirit exclaimed. "Now who do I owe thanks for getting me a break?"
Davy points over to me, "That'd be this here fella."
"Well, then thank you. My name is Super M. Fan. I had it legally changed to that back in '97, right after I caught every game of that National Championship season, at home and on the road. I had Charles Woodson's face tattooed on my ass after he won the Heisman. Wanna see?"
"No. Not at all," I replied as the guy went and pulled down his pants to moon me.
"KISS THE WOODSON!" he proclaimed.
"You're not a real fan if you can't appreciate Woodson in all his glory."
"How much can you tell me about Michigan's baseball history?"
"Michigan has a baseball team?" he asked.
"You're not real fan of the University."
"BURN!" said Davy, as flames reached up and scorched the wretched soul.
After letting his yells subside, I redirected the conversation. "So, how's hell treating you, I mean other than the burns?"
"Dude, it's horrible. Not only can I not get a decent drink down here, but I have to watch the Big Ten Network's Greatest Games for eternity."
"That doesn't sound so bad."
"They're all Michigan losses. And the only commercials are for Rotel and Barbasol."
"Ouch. I take that back. If it makes you feel any better, though, that's all they play even on Earth."
"The worst part, occasionally they tease us with a break in programming. It always ends up being campus programming from Purdue's campus. Have you ever seen how they inseminate a cow? Dude, least interesting semen related thing ever. This guy in a plastic glove sticks his hand up the cow's an—"
"Dude, stop it. I know where this is going, and I don't want you to go on any further."
"Hey, there's only so many ways to get your jollies down here."
"No. Enough. Stop."
"Fair enough, guy… Hey, Michigan's about to take on Northwestern on BTN in like 3 minutes. I think Michigan may finally win this one. I can't remember back to the '95 season, but jNWU has to be horrible, am I right?"
"You're not going to—" I start before interrupted by Davy.
"Formerly, let him have it. We must continue on. Super M. Fan, get back in the hole." The spirit sank slowly back into his crypt to go endure more pain and misery. Davy looked at me, "He hasn't even gotten to you're time on BTN's greatest games. Just wait until he has to watch the Horror. Yikes."
"I envy him not."
"Come on boy, let's move on. Trouble is on the horizon. Michigan is losing to Ohio State by 3 touchdowns. The gods will be angry." So hastily we set off.
Sorry this is late, I had a lot going on today. Here's the weekly update.
6'1", 210 lbs.
Jones is coming up to Ann Arbor with his father this weekend. This could be a huge visit for Michigan, as Kellen appears to moving towards a decision. I asked him about the visit and if an announcement might soon follow:
I can't wait for the trip. As far as a decision, I'm going to let God make it for me. If he tells me it's the right place, then it's right. I plan on making my decision in early August before my season.
I wouldn't expect a commitment on the spot, but I wouldn't rule it out either. A visit to his dad's favorite school could seal the deal for Michigan.
5'9", 160 lbs.
All Purpose Back/Cornerback
Los Angeles, California
While most of the recruiting sites list Thomas as an all purpose back, a lot of people think he'll move to corner in college. Currently committed to USC, Thomas has been open about possibly taking visits to other schools. Michigan was among that list of possible destinations.
I'm not decommitting from USC, I'm just looking around. I haven't planned anything yet, but Michigan is a school I'd like to see. If I do come out there it will be on an official.
I asked him where his interest came from, and what Michigan might have to do to get his attention:
They have great facilities and history with their defensive backs. They don't really have to do anything. I don't have an offer yet, but I want to see the facilities and everything.
He doesn't yet have an offer from Michigan, but if he tells the coaches he'll visit if they offer, they'll offer. This isn't a strong indicator yet if he's going to visit, so we'll have to see how this plays out. USC isn't doing themselves any favors right now.
6'2", 210 lbs.
I said this in another thread, but I'll say it here again: I spoke with Karlos Williams a few weeks ago about Michigan. For those that don't know, Karlos is currently committed to Florida State. He' also one of the top safeties in the country. I told Karlos that what we spoke about was off the record, so I didn't report anything, but now he's given some interviews at the Gridiron Kings that had the same information, so it's time to spill the beans.
Karlos said that he has interest in Michigan, and is looking at coming up for an official visit to the Iowa or MSU game. If he does come up he won't be by himself. He has been talking to a group of Florida kids, one of them being TE Brandon Fulse, about visiting Ann Arbor. If Michigan gets off to a good start, there's a real possibility this trip could happen.
At Gridiron Kings Karlos played on the Southeast team, which was the winning team and it also happened to be the same team as Demetrius Hart and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix. I asked him if anyone was talking to him about any schools:
Dee (Hart) and Ha Ha (Clinton-Dix) are tremendous talents. We all actually talked about schools the entire time we were there. Everybody has their school and they're going to make their decisions. We've talked about playing together, and it's just one of those things where we can all play together, or go our own ways.
So… they could play together, or they could not play together. I then asked him if any Michigan talk down there had maybe helped their chances, or made him think a little more.
Of course it's always positive, but I am thinking of taking the official.
It sounds like some things said are helping him make his travel plans. A little side note: there has been a lot of scuttlebutt from around the Florida area about Michigan and growing interest from athletes down there. If Michigan starts off the season right, then we could see a big shift in the recruiting picture.
- OL Tony Posada will be making his announcement within the next couple weeks. I've heard it could be later this week, or it could be the middle of August. It seems to get moved every day, but it should be coming soon. As long as Florida doesn't offer Michigan is in front. Posada has publicly stated his decision has been made for a while.
- OL Chris Bryant just took a visit with his parents, and everyone loved it. He's going to talk things over with his parents before making any decisions. In my opinion Michigan is a clear leader, and will probably be hearing from him soon.
- RB Justice Hayes is announcing his decision on July 30th at 11am. Most people believe his choice to be Notre Dame. I am one of those most people. If he picks Notre Dame, it doesn't mean it's completely over. He is a similar case to DeAnthony Arnett. in that they are both Michigan fans. Again, if Michigan comes out hot it could pique his interest.
- As MGoShoe noted, RB Dee Hart had a great GK tournament himself.
To the front page, since Michigan got a commit.
Action since last rankings:
7-18-10 Michigan gains commitment from Jake Fisher. Iowa gains commitment from Mike Orloff. Purdue gains commitment from Taylor Richards.
7-21-10 Illinois gains commitment from Tony Durkin. Northwestern gains commitment from Jack Konopka.
7-22-10 Illinois gains commitment from Josh Ferguson.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings have been converted to their "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, and ESPN uses grades out of 100.
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 12 Commits|
Long time, no commits for the Irish.
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
The Huskers are still awaiting rankings for a couple guys. I imagine all the kickers will be ranked at once in the next updates on the major site, but I'm not sure Stafford will ever be ranked by ESPN, since they list JuCo guys separately.
|#4 Michigan - 8 Commits|
Michigan picks up Jake Fisher. He had a strong camp season, so we'll see if he gets a rankings bump.
|#5 Michigan State - 9 Commits|
No change for MSU.
|#6 Indiana - 20 Commits|
Hoosiers quietly putting together a solid class. Will it be poached like last year's? The Hoosiers stand to fall and fall hard once some other schools reach comparable commit numbers.
|#7 Northwestern - 11 Commits|
The Wildcats pass the Hawkeyes with the same number of commits, and better average rankings on all but Rivals. Iowa stands to regain the lead, since they have more unranked guys at this time.
|#8 Iowa - 11 Commits|
Mike Orloff becomes the Hawkeye's lowest-rated recruit on Rivals and ESPN. Scout hasn't looked at him yet.
|#9 Minnesota - 11 Commits|
Devin Craford-Tufts grabs a 74 rating from ESPN. The Gophers pass up Purdue on the basis of similar-or-better average rankings and a much higher number of commits.
|#10 Wisconsin - 6 Commits|
Wisconsin passes Purdue on the basis of (much) higher averages from Rivals and ESPN with the same number of commits. Plus their class is funny because it only has two positions in it.
|#11 Purdue - 6 Commits|
Taylor Richards joins Purdue. ESPN really likes him, but Rivals hasn't even ranked the guy.
|#12 Illinois - 9 Commits|
Illini pick up a couple new prospects, pulling up their averages. They're close to passing Purdue because they have more commits with similar overall averages.
|#13 Penn State - 3 Commits|