Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
Delayed a day due to quality content of actual importance in the diary section that I didn't want to boot from the front page…
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the seventh 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 canto, we reach the great city of hell – what Dante called Dis. This city houses the final circles of hell.
Davy Crockett and I made it down to the ferry after a lengthy walk. Along the way I admired the great wall along the far side of the Styx. The wall was gray and stained with blood. It had a dank and dark feeling, evil if you will.
"Davy, what's with the wall?" I ask.
"That there wall separates the light sinners from the truly vile sinners. Behind it lies the great city of the underworld. Back several years ago, it was called Dis. Now, they officially call it Columbus."
I turn to Davy with a smug look on my face, "That's not too cliché is it?"
He replies, "Yeah, hell isn't filled with a truly creative bunch."
"Apparently," I say.
When we reached the ferry, we were met by the boat keeper. The keeper was in a druid robe, so his features were hidden, but I could tell he was tall. When we approached him, he motioned us to the boat without saying so much of a word. He left my nerves unsettled.
About half way across, I decided to break the silence and ask him a question, "So is this your full time job?"
The next thing I know, the boat keeper pulled up his oar and wacked me across the head. Everything went black.
When I awoke, I was on the banks of the Styx, already taken off of the boat. I could hear the current ripping by the shore and someone talking in the background. As I came to my senses, I realized it was Crockett talking while trying not to laugh.
"Dammit, man, that was one hell of a hit. You can't be doing that kind of stuff...Yeah, yeah, I know, he'll be fine. Just take it easy you crazy badger."
As I rolled over and up onto my feet, I looked over a boulder to see Crockett talking to the robed figure. This time his hood was down. It was Bucky Badger. That stinking badger knocked me out.
I tried to run over to him to give him a return shot, but my head hadn't quite recovered. As I stumble across the banks toward Bucky and Crockett, I saw the badger reach into his pockets and retrieve a bag. Too dizzy to fight and interested in what he had to offer, I stopped and grabbed the bag from his hand.
"What's this?" I asked.
Bucky, unable to talk motioned to Crockett to explain. Davy said, "That's a mixture of mushroom, mushroom, and snake called Badger, Badger, Badger. It'll clear your head."
Puzzled, I reply, "Clich—"
Davy interrupts, "Cliché, yes. We established that already."
"Just checking," I say as I take a bit of the contents in the bag. Amazingly the stuff worked, clearing my head almost immediately. I handed the bag back to Bucky as he made his way back to his boat. He motioned in a big wave, replaced his hood and was off.
I whisper to Davy, "I hate badgers," and Bucky promptly turns around, gives the arm gesture for "suck it." That bastard. But he's not worth the effort of chasing him down. Especially with him already so close to his boat oar.
Turning back to Crockett, I ask, "So what next?"
"Well, we gotta get into Columbus. There's a gate up yonder. We'll have to go in there," said Crockett.
As we walked up to the gate, the tower over the gate loomed large. It had to be over 200 feet tall. The gate itself was over 20 feet tall, made of thick sturdy wood and fastened with steel. It did not appear to have been opened in years. Above the gate was a look out post that appeared to be manned by no one.
When we reached the foot of the doors, Davy called up to the post, "Hey, you up there. Get your lazy selves down here and open this door!"
Nothing happened. Davy and I look at each other with a "now what?" look. A few seconds later, I see what looks like a man with a mohawk poke his head over the edge of the lookout post.
"What is you're name?" called the look out.
"I'm Davy Crockett, and this is formerlyanonymous," replied my guide.
"You're not Davy Crockett, you're John Wayne! And who the hell is formerlyanonymous?" returned the man from above.
Davy turned to me and whispered he'd be right back. Davy then floated on up to the look out post and disappeared behind the ledge. I waited for something to happen, and after waiting two or three minutes with nothing happening, I started to lose hope.
All of a sudden, I hear a yell and see the mohawked man falling from the ledge. When he reaches the ground, I realize it's Sparty, and man, does he have one hell of a black eye. Crockett comes back down from the ledge, settles down posing like Captain Morgan over the Michigan State mascot.
"Sparty, no. I'm Davy Crockett. You are going to open that door," says Crockett with the expression John Wayne would always would have at his characters' smuggest moment of any of his movies.
"Well you're out of luck, brah. I own this gate. I'm not opening this door without divine intervention," replied the Spartan. And like clockwork, a light shined through the darkness above. Out of the godzillatron, a voice as sweet as candy spoke:
"Little bro, this is Ufer. You'll open that gate right now."
Sparty reluctantly answers, "Yeah, brah. I'm on it."
And Ufer said unto Sparty, and "bow down to the Michigan fan as he passes."
The light faded back into the godzillatron and everything went back to normal. This was awesome. Sparty got up and started pushing open the door to let me pass. As I walk through the door, he bowed down.
Right as I pass through the threshold of the door, Sparty called me "scUM." Before I could even insult his typically Spartan, weak insult, a lightning bolt came from above and punished the Spartan. Life was good.
As we passed through the gates, we entered the 6th ring of hell and the city of the extremely not cleverly named city of Columbus, where the true villains of Michigan football exist.
5'11", 185 lbs.
Johnathan is one of the Chaminade prospects that Michigan is after. WR Spiffy Evans is the other; Michigan was also recruiting QB Jerrard Randall before he committed elsewhere. Aiken and Evans were going to try to make it up to Michigan this summer, but that's not going to be happening. Good news is that Johnathan knows he will be taking an official visit to Michigan. I asked him if he was 100% positive he will be using an official on Michigan, he had this to say.
We just haven't had time to plan anything to get to Michigan for the summer. The official is 200% happening. Michigan is definitely in my top five. Spiffy (Evans) and I are trying to plan it so we can come together.
If you notice he said that Michigan is in his top five. That's a non formed top five as of now.
Michigan, UCLA, Rutgers, and West Virginia are my top four right now. That will probably change, though, it's just how I feel right now.
Michigan is in the current top four, and will most likely fall somewhere in his final top five. His mind isn't anywhere near being made up, so we will have to wait. His early enthusiasm for Michigan is a good sign.
6'3", 275 lbs.
Darian just came back from a visit to Virginia Tech, where he competed in their camp. It doesn't sound like they impressed him, since his tentative top eight below does not include the Hokies. Cooper has played his recruitment very close to the vest, and doesn't like to share a lot about what he's thinking. But I have to try and asked him where he was at right now, if there would be any movement in the near future. He responded with this:
I'm starting to narrow down my list, I think it's about that time. I've made some mental cuts, but nothing definite. This isn't certain yet, but I'm thinking my cut down list is UCLA, Penn State, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, NC State, and Georgia Tech. These were the schools that got on board earliest with me, too.
He stressed that this isn't a final list, just the schools that are sticking out to him right now. The conversation took an interesting turn when he told me that he would be coming out to Michigan sometime in the winter:
I'm coming up to Michigan in the winter to hang out with Delonte Hollowell. We met his family at the Big House BBQ, and the Hollowell family invited me back for the winter to stay with them.
That's a definite plus. The family friendship type bonds are meaningful, helping kids get a better feel for the environment and the school itself. A lot of times with kids that are considering schools away from home it helps their family know they'll be safe if they've made bonds with other families like this. No one knows which way Darian is leaning, but I'm willing to bet Michigan makes his top five eventually.
6'5", 330 lbs.
Bryant was recently offered by Michigan, which was a big deal to him. Chris is teammates with big (literally and metaphorically) 2012 offensive line prospect Jordan Diamond. They've talked about going to school together, and they're both very high on Michigan. Bryant:
I'm really excited about Michigan. I haven't narrowed down my list yet, but I will soon. Michigan is definitely in my top group, though.
Stanford could potentially be an obstacle for Michigan, as he recently took a trip to Palo Alto and really enjoyed himself. The Wolverines seem to have an edge so far, though, as Bryant has been a frequent visitor and has openly campaigned for a block M offer. The last time Bryant was at Michigan his parents didn't get to come with him, so they thought they would fix that:
I'm coming up to Michigan again in the next week or two. My parents never got to see anything, so they're coming up with me. We just want to get to know the coaches a little better, and get a better feel for them.
I talked a little with Jordan Diamond about Chris, and Jordan told me that they're both really liking Michigan right now. If Chris chooses Michigan, it will have a real impact on Jordan's decision.
- OL Jake Fisher committed yesterday. He told me a few days prior to his announcement that he couldn't tell me who he chose, but that he "really likes blue gatorade."
- RB Demetrius Hart is taking his official visit for the UConn game on September 4th.
- 2012 QB Nick Patti, teammate of Demetrius Hart, will also be at the UConn game. Patti enjoyed his recent visit, and Michigan has a good shot here. If he can grow a couple inches, he'll start getting recruited far and wide.
- OL Cyrus Hobbi really enjoyed his visit to Michigan.
- The next big visit for Michigan will be on July 29th when Texas LB Kellen Jones and his father come up. Kellen is a pure middle linebacker that Michigan has a great shot at since his father passed on his fandom to his son, which is fortunate given how linebacker is a position of need. He's athletic enough to line up outside or in, but projects to the middle at the next level.
- OL Tony Posada from Tampa, Florida will be announcing his decision soon. If Florida doesn't offer, then Michigan is in the driver seat. If Florida does offer then he'll probably stay home.
A few weeks ago, a link was posted about Nebraska fans speculating who their biggest rivals in the Big 10 will be.
Here is the answer to that question, from the Big 10 insider's perspective:
You will instantly hate Ohio State. Everyone always does. You will find their fans ignorant, crass, and crude. You will wonder why there are not jail cells in Ohio Stadium like there are in the Pros. Of all of the Big 10 schools, Ohio State will remind you the most of a Big 12 South school.
You will find Michigan fans arrogant with a sense of entitlement, but for no justifiable reason. They will be knowledgeable and friendly when you visit their house, but they will talk about you behind your back. You will get so sick of hearing about the split 1997 National Championship that you will gladly give them the crystal trophy from your half of the title, just to shut them up. Of all of the Big 10 teams, Michigan fans will treat you like a guest in "their" conference the longest.
Penn State will be assigned to you as one of your designated rivals. You will not be asked your opinion about this. It will be for the Big 10's convenience, not yours. You will try to play along, but you won't actually hate Penn State. You will find their constant whining about the refs, the scheduling, the weather, the whatever, to be pathetic. You'll pity them more than hate them.
You will not hate Michigan State at first. Until they finally beat you. Then you will hate Michigan State. That one win is all you'll hear about until your ears bleed. It won't matter if you beat them the next 9 years in a row, that one win is all you'll hear about. Nobody gets more mileage out of one win per decade than Michigan State.
You will feel compelled to hate Iowa because of proximity. The rivalry will be intense and passionate, but as long as you win your fair share, it will never quite digress into true pure hatred. You will be a little disappointed by this.
This will be your biggest rival. When you look in the mirror, you will see Wisconsin. Everything you like about yourself you will see in Wisconsin. Everything you don't like about yourself you will see in Wisconsin. You both currently occupy the position of kings of honest, in-your-face, power football. The Big 10 town won't be big enough for the both of you.
Illinois will annoy the hell out of you. They will show up once a year and declare themselves your biggest rival, even though you'll have no recollection of actually losing to them. After your game with them, you will completely forget all about them until next year when they will remind you again.
You will dread playing Minnesota. Not because of the hatred of a bitter rivalry, but because there is just nothing to gain. If you win, it was what you were supposed to do. If you lose, it will always be in the back of your mind: We just lost to Minnesota. Is this the inflection point of a lousy season? Ask Penn State about this.
You will admire and respect Northwestern for how, against the odds of being a small private academic school, they still field some competitive winning teams. You will show your admiration and respect by beating the crap out of them.
Indiana and Purdue:
You won't care at all about Indiana and Purdue. You will feel bad about this. But you still won't care.
Author note: This got long. Real long. My bad.
In this diary I build off of the foundation laid out in the White Rainbow entry over the weekend to size up the QB around the Big Ten as well as other QBs of particular interest to Michigan. This is a list of player expectations going into the season based on the investigations I’ve conducted previously. This list is presented in order of worst to best expected year end pass efficiency for each category.
Before I begin, I wanted to share a technique for ranking QBs that came to me after I published the White Rainbow diary. In that diary I talk about how I think passer rating does a decent enough job at determining large differences between players but a poor job at distinguishing subtle differences between them. Well, after playing with the numbers a bit, it looks like taking the average ranking for all four categories yields a method for differentiating players with similar QB ratings but vastly different subjective quality.
The following table* shows an excerpt of the NCAA QB rankings for the 2009 season.
|1||Tim Tebow, Florida||QB||SR||164.17||67.83||9.22||6.69||1.59|
|2||Kellen Moore, Boise St.||QB||SO||161.65||64.27||8.2||9.05||0.7|
|3||Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame||QB||JR||161.42||68||8.76||6.59||0.94|
|22||Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin||QB||JR||142.99||64.33||8.25||4.88||3.35|
|23||Daryll Clark, Penn St.||QB||SR||142.64||60.89||7.88||6.3||2.62|
|25||Kirk Cousins, Michigan St.||QB||SO||142.63||60.37||8.17||5.79||2.74|
|48||Richard Stanzi, Iowa||QB||JR||131.62||56.25||7.95||5.59||4.93|
|51||Joey Elliott, Purdue||QB||SR||131.13||61.66||6.99||5.08||3|
|57||Juice Williams, Illinois||QB||SR||129.38||57.71||7.19||5.29||3.08|
|58||Mike Kafka, Northwestern||QB||SR||129.25||64.84||6.97||3.25||2.44|
|59||Terrelle Pryor, Ohio St.||QB||SO||128.91||56.61||7.1||6.1||3.73|
|64||Tate Forcier, Michigan||QB||FR||128.15||58.72||7.3||4.63||3.56|
|67||Ben Chappell, Indiana||QB||JR||126.44||62.62||6.87||3.97||3.5|
|98||Adam Weber, Minnesota||QB||JR||114.66||52.04||7.04||3.54||4.09|
If you take that same data and rank each player for each of the four categories then average that ranking, you end up with what I’m calling the QB Prism Score yielding the following final ranking.
QB Prism Score
|Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame||3||6.75||1|
|Kellen Moore, Boise St.||2||8.5||2|
|Tim Tebow, Florida||1||8.75||3|
|Daryll Clark, Penn St.||23||31.25||21|
|Kirk Cousins, Michigan St.||25||33.5||24|
|Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin||22||37.75||34|
|Joey Elliott, Purdue||51||50.25||44|
|Mike Kafka, Northwestern||58||52.75||48|
|Juice Williams, Illinois||57||58||57|
|Richard Stanzi, Iowa||48||60||62|
|Terrelle Pryor, Ohio St.||59||61.75||64|
|Ben Chappell, Indiana||67||62.5||67|
|Tate Forcier, Michigan||64||62.75||68|
|Adam Weber, Minnesota||98||85||100|
Notice how this technique improves differentiation between similar QBs using the exact same data and very simple math (rank and average). At the very top we see that the all three guys had awesome numbers, but Tebow had the worst INT % of all of them. The method distinguished Clausen as a higher overall performer than Moore and Tebow.
A similar thing occurs when looking at Big Ten QBs. The traditional passer rating ranks Daryll Clark, Kirk Cousins, and Scott Tolzien as virtually identical passers; Prism score separates them substantially.
Now look at the log jam between Ricky Stanzy and Ben Chappell; only 5 passer rating points seperate 7 players. The Prism Score breaks these into main groups: Elliot-Kafka and Williams-Stanzi-Pryor-Chappell-Forcier.
Some bunching still exists but the bunches are smaller.
Anyway, I thought that might be a useful and easy technique for people who are so inclined to apply. On with the purpose of this diary.
Adam was ranked 98 - of - 100 in NCAA passer rating for 2009. I would actually rank him 100 - of - 100. His completion percentage, yards per attempt, and interception rate were terrible, especially for a redshirt Junior in his third year as starter. His touchdown rate ... I'll be good and listen to Thumper's dad ("if you don't have anything nice to say..."). Eric Decker did get hurt, but that's not the reason Weber wasn't throwing TDs. Of his 13 TDs last year, 5 were to Decker, 5 were against Michigan State, and the other 3 were flukes. OK, so that last part was mean. Recall that MSU's secondary was worse than Michigan's in 2009.
Going into 2009, Minnesota had 10 returning offensive starters available to them; that was a mature squad. My previous QB-centric work has shown that by year 3 as starter, QBs are what they are. Adam Weber is bad at passing. Phil Steele thinks Weber will end his career on a high note, I don't. Alas, I think Thumper's dad is disappointed in me.
Side Note: Minnesota's D only has 2 players returning and Phil Steele points out that they play USC, Penn St., Ohio St., and Iowa at home so they'll have to go on the road in order to try and win. That's just mean. Short Minnesota; with leverage. When do we play them again? Oh ... sweet.
I make no bones about it; I think Stanzi is hugely over rated. He throws a worse ball than Brady Quinn and is inaccurate to boot. I tried to find a picture of him throwing a pick but couldn’t confirm the result of the pass shown. There’s a 5% chance that what you’re looking at is a pick (no joke) so I’m assuming that it is until proven otherwise. Relax, I’m mostly kidding.
Anyway, last year he actually had the highest rating of the next four QB in this list, which were in a tight cluster, but his high YPA and solid TD rate obscured the fact that his completion percentage and INT rate were the worst of the bunch. The two categories he was good in, YPA and TD rate, are highly influenced by things outside of the QB himself (receiving corps, O-Line, run game, opposing defense). The two things he has direct influence over, Cmp % and Int rate, he was really bad in.
Coming into his third year as starter he should improve somewhat and has McNutt and DJK returning but loses Bulaga and Moeaki. Net, net, I think Iowa sees modest improvement in their passing efficiency. The problem is, they need more than that.
Now excuse me, I’m about to get kicked out of the country by the Americanzis.
Apparently, I hate senior quarterbacks with oodles of experience. That has nothing to do with the fact that Michigan doesn’t have any, I swear.
In all honestly, I think Chappell is a fine QB and a great find for Indiana. He has progressed nicely so far and should take another step forward this year if Indiana’s O-Line can absorb the losses of two 4-year starters. Maybe, maybe not.
As far as the quality of his passer rating he is the opposite of Stanzi; He did the things he could control (Cmp %, Int %) well, but didn’t do so well in the things he needed help in (YPA, TD %). The latter two categories should take a step forward this year as IU’s top 5 WRs return this year. Again, if the O-line holds up IU should be a pretty saucy passing team.
All in all, I expect there to be a significant gap between Stanzi and Chappell. He’s slotted here because the support he has around him isn’t as good as that of the others ahead of him.
Originally I was going to do a spotlight diary on Forcier similar to one I’m working on for Denard Robinson but, since Forcier is more of a known quantity in terms of style and actual production evaluating his prospects is much more straight forward.
As most Michigan fans know, Forcier was a Godsend for Rich Rodriguez in 2009. From his pedigree to his tutelage by Marv Marinovich to his early enrollment, Forcier’s freshman performance didn’t exactly come without signal. Based on my previous work on QB maturation, Forcier’s freshman year was solidly that of an average true freshman 5 star recruit which is well above that of the typical first year starter. Considering that 5 star QB recruits almost always go to very good, if not elite, football programs and are therefore surrounded by elite and mostly mature talent (see Chad Henne), Forcier proved that all the fanfare that accompanied his arrival in Ann Arbor wasn’t just optimistic hype. And he sustained a meaningful injury to his throwing shoulder early in the season.
What’s more remarkable to me is that as polished as he was, he still showed room for tremendous growth. In terms of performance metrics Forcier was ahead of schedule in completion percentage and YPA, and he met expectations for TD rate and INT rate. The four picks he threw in the Ohio State game took his INT rate from 2.5% to 3.5%. If he had maintained the INT rate had going into the game—resulting in 1 INT and 3 INC instead of 4 INTs—his final passer rating would have been 2 points higher with all else being equal.
Those keeping track will note that, true to his hype, Forcier was ahead of schedule in terms of the self-controlled parameters (Comp. %, INT %) and solid in the team help parameters (YPA, TD %). Michigan has a stable of high potential receivers with extensive starting experience and development time and also has the best offensive line it has had since 2007. With reasonable personal development and the supporting cast he has around him, Forcier has every opportunity to be all Big Ten this year. Michigan might not have a senior QB in the strict sense, but it has one in the practical sense.
As insurance against Michigan slappy-ism, I’m placing him further down the list than I think he’ll end up.
Terrelle Pryor, JR, Ohio State
Say what you want about TP, no one would think twice about him if he weren’t a baller. As a true freshman, he a had a high passer rating that met the long term quality thresholds establish in the White Rainbow diary. Last year was a step back statistically for him as he regressed in completion percentage, YPA, and INT rate; his TD rate remained solid though. The regression makes some sense between the expansion of his responsibilities in OSU’s offense and the breaking in of new contributors at the skill positions.
Another difference between his freshman and sophomore years is that Pryor ran less often in 2009. This is a bad idea; if Pryor is allowed to flash his running ability explicitly, opposing defenses must respect the threat which would leave easy opportunities in the passing game. Josh Nesbitt is the uber-example of this effect. Nesbitt rarely throws and is inaccurate (46.3%) when he does, but when he connects, the result is a big play. Nesbitt’s YPA in 2009 was a staggering 10.5 accompanied by a good TD rate (6.2%) and solid INT rate (3.1%). I’m pretty sure Nebitt’s YPA was the highest (by over a yard!) in the FBS, and certainly the highest in BCS conferences. He’s not a great passer, but that doesn’t stop him from doing extensive damage when he throws.
This season Ohio State has everybody coming back except for the tight end. Pryos has already shown how much damage he can do when he puts it all together; if you don’t know, ask Oregon. This year he will be better and will have high quality support around him. The result is likely to be an emetic wave of OSU/Pryor hype. Chin up though, chances are that this is his last year on campus.
Cousin’s superiority over Keith Nichol in 2009 was apparent to everyone except Mark Dantonio. Maybe Dantonio had a problem with the fact that it looks like Cousins likes to rub his butt up against his lineman’s during a wind up. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Even though it was his first year as starter, Cousins put up the numbers of a seasoned veteran. His YPA of 8.1 was above the threshold of good QB play, and his Comp.%, TD rate, and INT rate were just a hair’s width away from the thresholds; that’s close enough.
Coming into 2010, Cousins will lose his top receiver in Blair White along with a bunch of other knuckleheads who ain’t going out like dat, son. But, because of Dantonio’s preference for only disciplining players that are either expendable or not worth the heat of benevolence, Cousins has some good to very good WRs retuning in B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell, along with non-knucklehead Keshawn Martin.
The challenge for Cousins will be finding enough time to hook up with his receivers. MSU loses 3 starters from a so-so offensive line in 2009. I don’t expect that to slow Cousins down too much though.
Tolzien and Cousins were neck-and-neck for best returning passers and based on 2009 numbers alone, Cousins actually wins. Both had the same-ish YPA and Tolzien had a better completion percentage, but Cousins had a better TD rate and lower INT rate along with an adequate completion percentage. However, when you look at the team Tolzien has coming with him, his prospects for 2010 look higher and that give him the nod in my book.
The Badgers have a monster offensive line coming back all of which are either returning starters of have substantial starting experience. Running back John Clay was the Offensive Player of the Year in 2009. Tolzien has his top wide receiver back, too. So yeah, there’s absolutely no reason why Wisconsin’s passing attack shouldn’t be very, very good this year.
I don’t have much else to say except that I think Bucky Badger is dumb, and that makes me feel better. What? That’s totally germane to the topic of this diary.
Scheelhasse was a rivals.com 4 star recruit who also received offers from Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and bunch of other solid programs according to Rivals. That’s solid endorsement, but his supporting cast is likely to be a drag. The Illini need to establish all new receivers this season and also need to replace two multi-year starters on the O-line. Beyond that, Illinois is bringing in a new offensive coordinator this year, so there are strong headwinds against Scheelhaase.
Despite grim sounding early returns, 4-star and one time Michigan recruit Kevin Newsome should be the guy for Penn State this year. He has been around for a year and therefore has time invested in a collegiate strength and conditioning program, play book study time, technique development. Penn State has to find a new combination at O-line, but there’s plenty of talent available to make that happen. They have their top 2 WRs retuning as well as really good running back in Evan Royster to take the heat off.
Dan Persa, RS-JR, Northwestern
Persa was a rivals.com 2-star recruit in 2007 who’s biggest offer besides NW came from West Virginia. So, theoretically, Rich Rodriguez thought this guy had some skillz. Northwestern has a solid supporting cast around him with all 5 starters on the O-line returning this year, as well has two WRs who each caught more than 40 balls last year and the teams leading RB (Kafka was the team’s rushing leader in 2009). I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up having a better year than all of these guys.
Robert Marve, RS-JR, Purdue
Marve originally committed to Miami (FL) as a 4 star recruit in the class of 2007. He also received offers from Purdue, Michigan State, and Alabama. He started as a RS-SO at Miami but split time heavily with Jacory Harris. He was suspended for the first game in 2008 for disciplinary reasons related to his arrest for a misdemeanor mischief charge during his redshirt year. He was also suspended for the bowl game for missing class. Oops, I got carried away with the Google-stalking. What can I say, I was fascinated. Besides, I think its worth wondering how this kid handles adversity. This is basically the anti-Tom Brady story.
He transferred because of an apparent falling out with HC Randy Shannon; but Jacory Harris flat out beat him head to head that year. Marve was pretty inaccurate (54.5%) and had an extremely high INT rate (6.1%) and a low YPA (6.0). Marve is coming off a torn ACL suffered just before fall camp last year. His knee is probably fine now, but he had to have missed a lot of pratice time rehabbing his knee rather than working on his accuracy and timing with the receivers.
If he’s grown up since his Miami days Marve has a shot at being the best new QB in the Big Ten saving for a certain someone. Purdue returns the Big Ten’s most prolific WR of 2009, Keith Smith, but is pretty thin at OL. The running game took a big hit when Robert Bolden tore his ACL this spring so a lot of pressure will be put on Marve to produce.
Other QBs of Interest
Kyle Havens, 5th Yr, UMass
I wasn’t going to write anything about UMass because they’re an FCS team that was sub-500 last year and who lost their top rusher and receiver from that team, but then I saw this video from the spring and figured people might get a kick out of it. Madre. Same team, dude.
Anyway, I thought it’d be rude to link that video and not do a write up so here it goes. Havens was actually a rivals.com 3-star JUCO recruit in 2009. He played in and started 10 games last year but his prism stats were terrible: 55.3% Completion percentage, 7.2 YPA (OK, I guess), 3.4% TD Rate, 5.7% INT Rate. That’s against FCS competition.
BGSU had a crazy prolific passing attack last year. They’re all gone, only 4 offensive starters are back this year. As far as QB there are four guys vying for the gig: Matt Schilz, RS-FR, 3 star; Aaron Pankratz, RS-FR, 2 star; Kellen Pagel, RS-FR, not ranked; Caleb Watkins, FR, 2 star.
Pankratz is the only guy to have thrown the ball in a college game (13 attempts), but Schilz was purported to have the inside edge in the spring. Watkins had a bunch of offers from MAC teams, but, his Rivals profile also lists Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Cincinnati, for whatever that’s worth.
Frazer is another senior QB with a lot of experience that I’m turning my nose up at. It’s not me, it’s him. I promise. This will be his 3rd year with meaningful playing time as a starter. His passer rating for the last two years has been dreadful: 103 in 2008, 116 in 2009. Running those numbers through the prism shows that he was indeed a bad passer. Last year was an improvement over 2008 as he improved his completion percentage, YPA and TD rate by normal amounts while improving his INT rate by a large amount. Unfortunately, all of those numbers were bad save for TD rate which was sligtly below average.
This year Frazer has a solid to good RB and an experienced offensive line returning but loses his top 2 WRs from last year. Frazer should be able to improve is Cmp % and INT rate of his own accord, but he has a significant way to go in order to reach high quality veteran numbers and this is his last year to do it. As for YPA and TD rate, my opinion is that you need help from the rest of the offense to get good numbers there, and while the O-line and running game should be solid, having 2 new starting WRs to break in will cut into the progression there.
The Notre Dame offense has a lot going on this off season, new head coach, new offensive scheme, and a new starting QB. Sounds like a tough transition, huh? I actually don’t think so. I don’t see the transition from a Pro Style offense to a Passing Spread to be all that different. Both systems need guys who can pass block, throw, and catch; Notre Dame has all of that, in spades. Crist is a new starter but he was a 5 star recruit who has been on campus working out and improving his technique for two years. Sure, he has to learn a new playbook but Brian Kelly’s system is notoriously simple making it easier for inexperienced players to step right in and be effective. Crist will have a whole off season to learn the system. Sure, he won’t be flawless out of the gate, but I can’t imagine that he’ll be a liability either.
As for the team around him, Crist and Kelly inherit Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph who have already established themselves as elite players at their positions. The O-line has three 4-star recruits returning as starters and the other two spots are likely to be filled with 4-star recruits as well. The retained talent fits the new system like a tailor made glove lined with memory foam. Are we really to believe that Brian Kelly wouldn’t have recruited these players himself?
Some people look at Notre Dame in 2010 and see a situation similar to what Rich Rodriguez walked into at Michigan in 2008. They are wrong. Oh, so wrong.
And there it is. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on these players, how big a threat they pose to Michigan’s secondary, and anything I may have overlooked/understated in my assessments. Also any feedback on the Prism Score would be helpful as well.
*Can someone please explain to me how to format tables so they show up with Maize and Blue row and column headers? I’ve tried many things, I’ve failed many times.
/desperate plea for assistance.
The leaderboard won't get an update other than the raw numbers this week. Standings haven't been adjusted, so don't get up in arms if something doesn't make sense. Michigan or Michigan State should be gaining a commitment from MI OL Jake Fisher tonight.
Action since last rankings:
7-12-10 Michigan State gains commitments from Trae Waynes and Mark Scarpinato. Iowa gains commitment from Riley McMinn.
7-13-10 Indiana gains commitment from D'Angelo Roberts. Minnesota gains commitments from Kyle and Luke McAvoy. Illinois gains commitment from Chris Boles.
7-16-10 Minnesota gains commitments from Marquise Vann and Devin Crawford-Tufts.
|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|
Buckeyes get a slight bump on Scout, as Jeremy Cash and Devin Smith have earned fourth stars.
|#2 Notre Dame - 12 Commits|
Tony Springmann loses his fourth star on Scout. Councell goes from unranked to 78 on ESPN.
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
Tevin Mitchell gets a fourth star from Scout. Davie goes from unranked to 75 on ESPN.
|#4 Michigan - 7 Commits|
Michigan is one of very few Big Ten teams that didn't see a player gain or lose a star. I'm surprised Hollowell didn't get the 4-star treatment.
|#5 Michigan State - 9 Commits|
Spartans pick up a pair of Wisconsin prospects.
|#6 Indiana - 20 Commits|
Hoosiers pick up D'Angelo Roberts. CJ Robbins picks up star #3 from Scout. Jay McCants is finally ranked by that service, but as a 2-star. Forisse Hardin goes from unranked to 74 on ESPN.
|#7 Iowa - 10 Commits|
Riley McMinn, a consensus 3-star, picks the Hawkeyes. Ray Hamilton gets a fourth star from Scout, and the remainder of their commits get Scout evaluations (three stars for Raymon, two each for Krieger-Coble and Vincent). Vincent goes from unranked to 73 on ESPN.
|#8 Northwestern - 10 Commits|
A bunch of Wildcat commits get slight bumps on Scout. Mogus, Frazier, and Dickerson go from 2 to 3, while Watt goes from unranked to a 2-star. Mertz goes from unranked to 79(!) on ESPN, Watt goes from 73 to 77, Mogus and Frazier both go from unranked to 75, and Dickerson picks up a 73 rating. Without picking up a single commit, Northwestern gains a shitload of value.
|#9 Purdue - 5 Commits|
No change for the Boilers.
|#10 Minnesota - 11 Commits|
It must suck to be Luke McAvoy, who the consensus says is much worse than his twin brother Kyle. LaCosse, Bauducco, and Olson go from 2 to 3 stars on Scout. Bauducco goes from unranked to 74 on ESPN.
|#11 Wisconsin - 6 Commits|
Arneson and Frederick get small bumps from Scout. Frederick and Landisch go from unranked to 75 and 74, respectively, on ESPN.
|#12 Illinois - 7 Commits|
Illini get a nice bump from Scout's revamp, with O'Toole and Mosley each gaining a star. They also land 3-star Chris Boles.
|#13 Penn State - 3 Commits|
Oakman gets a fourth star from Scout.
I just spoke with Demetrius Hart about his visit up to Ann Arbor, his quarterback Nick Patti, and what he thinks his next move will be from here. As always, Demetrius had a great time up in Ann Arbor. With Ricardo and his family up there full time it makes it that much easier for Hart to relax and feel at home.
The question that has been looming for Michigan fans is when Demetrius is going to make his final decision, and how the rest of his recruitment will play out. He still plans on graduating early, and enrolling at the school he chooses in January. Here's what he said about the trip, and what's next.
TOM: How was the visit?
DEMETRIUS: It went real well. I've been up there plenty of times now, and every time I go up there I just like it that much more. The changes they're making, and the things they're going are really good. I really liked it. I was more so happy because Nick (Patti) got to see everything up there. You hear all the negativity that goes on, and some of it might be true, but a lot of it isn't. A lot of it is just the media throwing salt on it, so it was good to see that.
TOM: Nick (Patti) mentioned that he's coming up on September 4th for the U Conn game. When are you planning on coming up?
DEMETRIUS: I'm coming for the U Conn game, too. That's when I'm taking my official visit, and I'm bringing my Uncle up with me. We'll see how it goes.
Apparently on the trip Demetrius was told that Denard's passing has improved, and that the offense was more cohesive. He said that he was pleased to hear that, and excited about their potential.