Brandon Phelps is one of the top athletes in the country, hailing from Demascus High School in Maryland. Phelps was recently ranked a 4 star on Rivals, and can play either side of the ball. I caught up with him to talk about Michigan, and his recruitment. Take a look at his highlight tape, then the interview.
TOM: Tell me a little bit about your game. I don't think a lot of people know that much about you.
BRANDON: I play receiver and corner for my high school team. Colleges are mostly recruiting me for defense, though. I honestly feel like I'm pretty even at both positions, but most colleges see me as a defensive back. I really don't have a preference, so what ever they want me as, that's what I'll play.
TOM: What makes you say you're even on both sides. What are your strengths?
BRANDON: My ball skills, and being a receiver really helps me know how other receivers are going to run their routes. I can also pick up on weaknesses in zones real well, and my speed is one of my strengths, too.
TOM: What was your most recent forty time?
BRANDON: I ran a 4.39, a 4.40, and a 4.37 on our track at my school recently. I'm always trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster, though.
TOM: You said most schools are recruiting you for defense. Which schools are recruiting you the hardest right now?
BRANDON: Probably UCLA, Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, and Penn State.
TOM: So are those the schools that stick out to you, or that are on top of your list?
BRANDON: I don't really have a list yet. I'm going to try to make it out to as many schools as I can over the summer, and do some research on each school over the internet, then narrow it down from there. I'll narrow the list probably midway through the summer, because I want to make my decision before the season starts.
TOM: Where does Michigan fit into that? Are they getting a visit?
BRANDON: Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to try to get up there; they're on my list. Growing up I really liked Braylon Edwards, and I watched them on TV, so I've been following ever since. My coach said the Big House is unbelievable, because he's been there for a game. He told me that whenever I visit, he's coming with me.
TOM: Who do you keep in contact with at Michigan?
BRANDON: I'm mostly in contact with Coach Dews. He's a real cool guy; I like him. We mostly just have regular conversations, and it's cool to have the luxury of being able to talk about whatever with a coach like that. But, we're still getting to know each other, and building a relationship.
TOM: What is a school going to have to do to get your attention, or get you to commit?
BRANDON: To me, the most important thing is education. I want to become a better person, wherever I go, and I want to be able to find a good job after college. I'd really like to play in front of a lot of people, too, and I just want to be around nice people. People that make you better, and that make you feel comfortable. That's what I'm looking for on these visits, and I hope to have it done before the start of my season.
Now that the Big Ten will officially have 12 teams, divisions aren't far behind. We have options here, and that's not even to speak of the question of whether other sports besides football should use divisions as well. (Helpful hint: HELL NO.)
No, the options are the myriad ways this could be done. Some choices to make:
- ACC-style split, non-geographical or Big 12/SEC-style split, by geography.
- ACC/SEC-style scheduling or Big 12-style scheduling.
There are probably other ways to do it, but these are the extant methods and I don't see a great many different ways to do it. Those are basically the only options for a divisional split, for example. So how would this look?
Well, the Big Ten is different than these other conferences, in that we have a lot of trophies to hand out. No conference does intraconference rivalries like the Big Ten. I count thirteen games that are played each year, or used to be before Penn State, for trophies - this includes Michigan/Ohio State, for which there is no formal trophy, but often, the winner receives a Rose. So this kind of thing needs to be taken into account. These thirteen are:
|Michigan-Michigan State||Paul Bunyan Trophy|
|Michigan-Ohio State||needs no trophy|
|Michigan-Minnesota||Little Brown Jug|
|Michigan State-Penn State||Land Grant Trophy|
|Michigan State-Indiana||Old Brass Spittoon|
|Illinois-Northwestern||Sweet Sioux Tomahawk*|
|Wisconsin-Minnesota||Paul Bunyan's Axe|
|Penn State-Minnesota||Governor's Victory Bell|
Old Oaken Bucket
Floyd of Rosedale
The conference did a decent job of keeping rivalries intact as best they could when Penn State was added, so I think they will take these into account in the future as well.
Note that Nebraska has no established rivalries; this makes things easier. What might a geographical split look like? East/West is natural; this means:
This isn't well-balanced, but it's not terrible either. At least the eastern teams get to beat up on Indiana. And the rivalries match up for the most part. If you use the Big 12 system for scheduling, which means you play three teams two years in a row and the other three teams the next two years, a lot of trophy games get left behind; therefore, these are matched up with permanent opponents in order to save a few - here, Illibuck and the Jug. Lost (or relegated to occasional status, are the Victory Bell - not very old - and the Purdue Cannon - and my brother is a Purdue grad and never, ever talks about some pressing need to beat Illinois. Come to think of it, nobody does even though Illinois thinks everyone is their blood rival.) In the ACC model, you play your permanently-matched cross-division opponent every year and rotate the other games. Michigan would play Wisconsin and Illinois one year, Illinois and Iowa the next, Iowa and Northwestern after that, and so on.
Now suppose we were a little different about splitting this up. As it turns out, this is geographical, in a way; it's a North/South split. It also preserves 11 of the 13 rivalries:
|Michigan State||Penn State|
This also has the benefit of matching Nebraska with its western cousins, and in an ACC/SEC-style schedule system, 11 of the 13 rivalries. This time the Victory Bell and the Spittoon are relegated to semi-rivalry status, and let's face it, anyone who claims to have a rivalry with IU football that doesn't share a state with them is doing it wrong. The Spittoon is pretty one-sided.
In this arrangement, you could actually switch Penn State and Indiana's "permanent rivals" and save both those rivalries at the expense of the Land Grant Trophy and keep 12 of 13 rivalries intact. But MSU-PSU is a lot more compelling (and liable to get MSU beat more often) than IU/MSU or Minny/PSU.
This allows, also, for the possibility of a Michigan/OSU title game, though it sacrifices the idea of the division as a prize for winning the game.
Either one is a tough draw for Michigan. One puts them in a division with Penn State and Ohio State, which is a nasty way of doing things. The other puts most of the crappy Big Ten teams in the other division, but also the two toughest teams in the conference.
These, I think, are the ways of splitting up this conference and still keeping the rivalries intact. It remains to be seen how much these things come into play.
I'm just sayin'. Two-deep players bolded.
|NO||NAME||POS||HT||WT||YR||EXP||Hometown (Last School)|
|94||Armstead, Armond||DE||06/05/10||295||JR||2V||Sacramento (Pleasant Grove)|
|97||Jackson, Malik||DE||06/05/10||245||JR||2V||Northridge (Birmingham)|
|91||Casey, Jurrell||DT||06/01/10||295||JR||2V||Long Beach (Poly)|
|92||Fangupo, Hebron||DT||06/02/10||330||RS JR||1V||Santa Ana, Calif. (Mt. San Antonio JC)|
|98||Harris, DaJohn||DT||06/04/10||295||RS JR||2V||Inglewood (Serra)|
|90||Simmons, Derek||DT||06/04/10||285||RS SR||3V||Suisun (Armijo)|
|44||Tupou, Christian||DT||06/02/10||285||SR||3V||Sacramento (Grant)|
|46||Cumming, Ross||LB||06/01/10||220||JR||2V||Laguna Niguel (Santa Margarita/Naval Acad. Prep)|
|37||Campbell, Jordan||LB||05/11/10||230||RS JR||2V||Corona (Norco)|
|54||Galippo, Chris||LB||06/02/10||250||RS JR||3V||Corona (Servite)|
|23||Horton, Shane||LB||06/01/10||210||RS JR||1V||Chatsworth (UNLV)|
|17||Morgan, Michael||LB||06/04/10||220||RS SR||3V||Dallas, TX (Skyline)|
|6||Smith, Malcolm||LB||06/01/10||225||SR||3V||Northridge (Taft)|
|38||Bryant, T.J.||CB||06/01/00||180||JR||2V||Tallahassee, FL (Lincoln)|
|35||Ashton, Taylor||CB||05/08/10||170||RS JR||TR||Mission Viejo (Arizona State)|
|47||Harbin, James||CB||05/10/10||175||RS JR||Los Angeles (Los Angeles Southwest JC)|
|26||Harper, Daniel||CB||05/10/10||180||RS JR||2V||Rancho Cucamonga, CA (Damien)|
|41||Noble, Allen||CB||06/01/00||190||RS JR||SQ||Denver, CO (Mt. San Antonio JC)|
|35||Taylor, Ashton||CB||05/08/10||170||RS JR||TR||Mission Viejo (Arizona State)|
|24||Wright, Shareece||CB||06/01/00||185||RS SR||4V||Colton (Colton)|
|45||Crittenden, Omari||CB||06/01/00||180||SR||SQ||Modesto, CA (Modesto JC)|
|19||McAllister, Drew||S||06/01/10||195||JR||2V||Danville (Monte Vista)|
|49||McMahon, Ryan||S||06/01/00||195||JR||2V||Daimond Bar (Damien)|
|27||Jones, Marshall||S||06/01/00||190||RS JR||3V||Agoura Hills (Oaks Christian)|
|34||Spiegel, Spencer||S||05/11/10||175||RS JR||SQ||Los Angeles (Harvard-Westlake)|
|14||Kan, Brett||QB||06/02/10||195||RS JR||TR||Honolulu, HI (Punahou)|
|16||Mustain, Mitch||QB||06/03/10||200||RS SR||2V||Springdale, AR (Arkansas)|
|26||Tyler, Marc||TB||06/01/00||225||RS JR||1V||Lancaster (Oaks Christian)|
|21||Bradford, Allen||TB||05/11/10||235||RS SR||4V||San Bernardino (Colton)|
|2||Gable, C.J.||TB||06/01/00||205||RS SR||4V||Sylmar (Sylmar)|
|27||Mokhtar, Ahmed||TB||06/01/00||210||RS JR||SQ||Laguna Beach (OSU/Orange Coast College)|
|10||Shoemate, D.J.||FB||06/01/00||220||JR||2V||Corona (Servite)|
|31||Havili, Stanley||FB||06/01/10||230||RS SR||4V||Salt Lake City, UT (Cottonwood)|
|80||Carswell, Brandon||WR||06/01/10||185||RS JR||2V||Milpitas (Milpitas)|
|22||Ness, Drew||WR||06/01/00||190||RS JR||SQ||San Diego (Westview)|
|9||Ausberry, David||WR||06/04/10||235||RS SR||3V||Lemoore (Lemoore)|
|17||Patterson, Travon||WR||05/10/10||175||RS SR||4V||Long Beach (Poly)|
|47||Stephens, Scott||WR||06/01/10||185||RS SR||1V||Pasadena, CA (St. Francis)|
|83||Johnson, Ronald||WR||06/01/00||190||SR||3V||Muskegon, MI (Muskegon)|
|88||Ayles, Blake||TE||06/05/10||245||JR||1V||Orange (Orange Lutheran)|
|40||Ellison, Rhett||TE||06/05/10||255||RS JR||2V||Portola Valley (St. Francis)|
|84||Kusnir, Zack||TE||06/06/10||260||RS JR||La Jolla, Calif. (San Diego State)|
|23||Cameron, Jordan||TE||06/05/10||220||RS SR||2V||Newbury Park, CA (BYU)|
|67||Reardon, Michael||C||06/05/10||285||RS JR||1V||Anaheim (Orange Lutheran)|
|61||O'Dowd, Kristofer||C||06/05/10||300||SR||3V||Tucson, AZ (Salpointe Catholic)|
|74||Heberer, Zack||OG||06/05/10||290||RS SR||3V||San Pedro (San Pedro)|
|68||Lewis, Butch||OG||06/05/10||285||RS SR||3V||Denver, CO (Regis Jesuit)|
|70||Smith, Tyron||OT||06/06/10||285||JR||2V||Moreno Valley (Rancho Verde)|
|72||Coleman, Martin||OT||06/05/10||315||RS JR||2V||Huntington Beach (Edison)|
|25||Roepke, Boomer||P||05/09/10||180||RS JR||SQ||Reno, NV (Reno)|
|30||Houston, Joe||K||05/08/10||175||RS SR||SQ||Redondo Beach, CA (El Camino JC)|
|48||Harfman, Jacob||P||05/11/10||200||SR||1V||Chino (Mt. San Antonio JC)|
There have been a lot of articles written about NCAA sanctions will impede the Trojan's recruiting in 2011 and beyond. I wanted to see strictly based on the numbers what USC will be able to do this year in recruiting.
The USC Depth Chart lists 16 scholarship players as either a Senior or RedShirt Senior. I also counted 4 RedShirt Juniors who were low on the depth chart and unlikely to earn a 5th year. By my count USC will have somewhere between 16-20 scholarships available for 2011. Take into the NCAA banhammer and they are down to 6-10* available scholarships.
*This number may also get bigger if Juniors and Seniors on the team decide to transfer
USC already has 7 Verbal Commitments but obviously some of those players may be looking elsewhere. However 6 of them are from California (the other 1 from Las Vegas) so they may stick it out. And since there is a scholarship reduction not all of the Freshman would probably redshirt may be afforded that luxury (Michigan fans know all about that). USC coaches will have to make some tough decisions on what positions they want to focus on recruiting the next 3 years.
In relevance to Michigan football directly I don't think this means too much. I believe the only recruit Michigan and USC are competing for is OL Andre Yruretagovena. In 2011 USC will have only 3-4 Offensive Tackles on scholarship so I believe they will still be pursuing Andre. I am hopeful he goes Blue and Michigan is playing in a bowl game while USC is not. GO BLUE!
St. Xavier LB Sean Duggan is on his way home from his trip to Michigan. His Dad couldn't make the trip, but his Mom and Uncle (who's the equipment manager for the Detroit Lions) came.
Sean first told me he didn't have words to describe the visit. He said everything about it was awesome. They first toured the normal buildings, academic center, and the Big House. Sean and his family said they were in awe. He couldn't believe the size, and how nice it was. He was trying to compare it to his current field in high school, which holds 10,000 people. It seems like everything really blew them away. They got a chance afterwards to eat some local food, and take in campus.
They then met with the coaches. Greg Robinson sat with them, and talked about his experience, and why he liked Michigan. Sean and his family were very impressed that Rich Rodriguez actually sat with them for an hour to talk about everything.
He told me his Mom loved everything she saw, and so did Sean. Before this visit Sean didn't know too much about Michigan, but this visit vaults them into his top three.
I'm on my phone, so forgive me if there's any errors.
One of the big sticking points in the conference expansion talks is “Think of the poor students, and how far the women's field hockey team will need to travel.” I intend to evaluate that statement, and examine what difference, if any the proposed expansion scenarios have on it, as well as examine the effects of previous expansion (a.k.a Penn State).
|Colorado||Boulder, CO||920||880||1250||1240||1260||1300||1040||820||1360||1140||950||0||overall average|
As it stands now, the average distance between schools is 695 miles. Adding Texas and CU makes the max distance 2100 miles. Texas and Colorado are at least 800 miles away from every existing school, and already 950 miles from Boulder. And, it goes without saying, about 1200 miles from the Pacific. Adding CU and UT makes the new average 900 miles. On the surface, that’s a ton, but, by doing so, it allows the creation of an East and West conference, with the dividing line in Arizona or thereabouts. That should actually reduce the travel distance between in-conference schools. So what we could wind up with is some sort of Pac-8, and a South Western conference that has nothing to do with the Pacific. Or, given what’s going on today, anything and everything else.
The Big 10 is the conference we all know and love, and has a reasonable shape, making for much more manageable distances between schools. As it stands now, there is an average of 370 miles between schools, with Minnesota – Penn State the longest trip at about 900 miles. Note that Google maps is either aware of the Car Ferry, or assumes a Dukes-of-Hazzard-ish jump of Lake Michigan at Muskegon to get to Minneapolis and Madison. As always, chart:
|Champaign||Bloomington||Iowa City||Ann Arbor||East Lansing||Minneapolis||Evanston||Columbus||State College||West Lafayette||Madison||Lincoln||Columbia||South Bend|
|Michigan State||Ann Arbor||350||330||450||0||70||650||260||190||410||260||390||750||660||170|
|Penn State||State College||620||550||800||410||470||990||600||320||0||560||730||1100||860||500|
|Notre Dame||South Bend||200||200||300||170||150||500||110||280||500||150||240||600||450||0||overall average|
|pre minus PSU||262.2222||308.8889||345.5556||327.7778||301.1111||512.2222||217.7778||373.3333||248.8889||296.6667||319.4444|
It seems Missouri is less a given than it was yesterday, but I’ll leave it because it would make too much work to take it out. Adding those three makes the new average distance 400 miles, and Nebraska – Penn State is the long haul at 1100 miles. Once again, there would probably be East and West divisions in the conference to reduce the mileage even further, but a distance difference of 30 miles is pretty negligible.
Big-10 pre-Penn State
For those of you who have stuck with me this long, here’s the payoff. What effect would removing Penn State have on the distances? Or, how much effect did adding Penn State have originally? You can see that without Penn State, the average distance drops to 320 miles between teams, or a difference of about 50 miles.
What all this shows is that the net mileage difference from adding Nebraska, Missouri and Notre Dame would be less that the difference was just by adding Penn State, even without factoring in the divisional separation. The Pac-10, on the other hand, is already crazy, and adding anything east of Arizona is even more crazy. To put this in perspective, the CCHA has an exemption for any team that plays an Alaska team. Google maps says that it’s a 3800 mile drive from Ann Arbor to Fairbanks. The trip from Austin to Seattle is 2100 miles. Perhaps they will have exemptions for anyone making that trip.