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Rolling into the sixth week already Michigan's recruiting has started to pick up steam. This week's and next week's games will both be big for visitors. We could (should?) see a few commitments along the way. Here's an update on a few prospects with a look at the visitors this weekend scheduled so far.
6'5", 320 lbs.
Ray has been on Michigan's radar for awhile now, and it had seemed as though Wisconsin was the school to beat. Michigan is still looking to add a few offensive linemen to this class and Ball is one of those targets.
I would say that Michigan and Wisconsin are tied at the top right now. Once I go up to both schools I will know who is where on my leader board. I'm visiting Wisconsin on October 16th, and I haven't set it up yet but I think the Illinois game will be the best for my official to Michigan.
Ray said that his decision will come down to who has more to offer and who comes out with a bang on his visit. Wisconsin's visit could vault them ahead of Michigan, but if he takes his visit to Wisconsin and doesn't commit then M should have a good shot. Ball may be competing with Chris Bryant for the final offensive line slot in the class.
6'4", 215 lbs.
Michigan is also looking for a few linebackers in this class, and Sean Duggan is a target. Duggan has somewhat pushed his recruitment to the back burner to focus on school and his team. He has started to set up his official visits though.
I'm going to Boston College on the weekend of the Clemson game, and Michigan either the first or second week of December. Depending on if I'm still playing or not, I'll go up to Duke and Virginia after my season.
Wisconsin was removed from his final list because they're full at his position. So Michigan is in the top four and will get a visit. I think they have some ground to make up on Boston College but it definitely helps that Wisconsin is no longer in the picture. You can tell by Duggan's list that he's a serious about academics.
5'8", 190 lbs.
Demetrius is making his final decision on Friday of this week. He'll be notifying the coaches of each school if he'll be playing for them next season. This is hard for me because I can't really share a lot of info this close to a decision.
I know that's not what any of you want to hear, but I don't want to ruin anything for Demetrius. I've been saying this for awhile now, and it's not speculation, Auburn is not as big of a threat as people are saying. I have a call scheduled with the family today, so I'll share what they allow me to, but don't expect a lot before the decision. I don't really like giving hints about where he's going, but I will let you know of any negatives to watch out for.
I will create a separate list in the diaries for this, but here are the visitors (that I have confirmed so far) coming in for the game this weekend. You'll notice that Kris Frost is not on this list. He's not sure if he's going to make it or not. He wants his parents there, and they're not sure if they can make the trip.:
- Devondrick Nealy (5'10", 175 lbs., Running Back/Slot) Jefferson County/Florida - Nealy said when he received his Michigan offer that it was "One of the biggest scholarships yet," and that he was very excited. Michigan is recruiting him more for a slot receiver and he has a top four of Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, and Minnesota (yeah, Minnesota). He doesn't plan on making his decision until the end of the year.
- Marquise Williams (6'3", 218 lbs, Quarterback) Mallard Creek/North Carolina - Williams is a North Carolina commit and friend of Michigan target Kris Frost. I spoke with Williams about the NCAA allegations and how it effects North Carolina and he didn't seem too thrilled about what was happening. This is an odd situation because Michigan currently has QB Kevin Sousa committed.
- Kellen Jones - Michigan commit.
- Jack Miller - Michigan commit.
- Jake Fisher - Michigan commit.
- Kishon Wilcher - Cass Tech athlete and son of Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher. He does not have an offer from Michigan, and thinks they want him to walk on. He's not sure if he would be willing to do that because he doesn't want his parents to have to pay for college. He does have a Toledo offer.
- Royce Jenkins-Stone - 2012 Cass Tech linebacker.
- Terry Richardson - 2012 Cass Tech DB.
- Brian Blackburn - 2012 Crockett quarterback.
My "little" brother is now several inches taller than me (and carries several more pounds of muscle) but when we were kids I owned him at nerf basketball, knee football, one-glove boxing, living room wiffle ball and any number of other outdoor sports that we adapted for indoor play during our scorching Arizona summers. The release of Nintendo games like 10 Yard Fight, Tecmo Bowl and Double Dribble gave us a new outlet for our never ending competitive battles, and here was another arena in which I was seldom defeated. Seldom. Mostly I experienced victory, but those of you who grew up with little brothers know how aggravating it was to be defeated by them. Losing to a little brother felt very different than losing to a peer, and on the rare occasions when I experienced back-to-back defeats it changed my amused, condescending attitude toward our "rivalry" into unquenchable competitive fire and I could not rest until I had regained my crown.
That's way more of an introduction than a wallpaper deserves, but replace me with Michigan and my brother with Michigan State and the story above is a pretty good description of how I feel right now about the Michigan/Michigan State football rivalry. Yes, we have more than twice the number of wins in the rivalry and there's the national championships and the Heismans and all of that, but after two consecutive losses it's not enough to have dominated them in the past.
Fast forward several decades and my brother is a strapping fire fighter and I am a pale and balding desk jockey. We rarely play video games anymore but when we do, the same competitive edge returns and suddenly we're 9 and 12 year olds again. I bet it's the same for many of you. I've couched (wait for it) this homage to brotherly competitive fire (yes, I see what I did there) in video game imagery as a memorial to the veterans of 8-bit battlefields and their modern-day counterparts.
The image below is a preview only. You can get this week's widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
All of the 2010 Schedule Wallpapers
The zone read "midline" is a great answer to 4-3 chalk teams, especially Iowa. Dantonio is a 4-3 guy, too, and I believe this would be a great series to run these next two weeks. I think it would be great against MSU if they play their safeties like they did last year. Their safeties keyed the slot receiver. If the slot ran a bubble screen route, the safety attacked it hard.
- Zone blocking to the playside
- Instead of reading the backside DE, the backside OT fan blocks him
- QB reads the backside B-gap defender. Sometimes this is a 3-technique, sometimes this is an ILB
- If B-gap defender chases RB, QB pulls and runs downhill in B gap.
- If B-gap defender stays home, QB gives ball to RB and the zone play has a numerical advantage.
Some 4-3 teams like to put their 3-technique away from the back. If they do this, then the Mike is the backside B-gap defender.
If the defense puts the 3-technique to the back, then the 3-tech is the backside B-gap defender.
If the offense wants to get advanced, the QB will first read the backside B-gap defender for give/pull. If he gets a pull read, he will then move on to key the Will backer. If the Will tries to come inside to the B-gap, the QB will throw. If not, the QB will run.
Yet another low-action week. Action since last rankings:
9-28-10 Notre Dame gains commitment from DaVaris Daniels.
If you see any errors in the individual tables, please let me know. I'm tempted to move Indiana down a bit, but their averages per commit are about even with (or only very slightly behind) the teams nipping at their heels, and they have more commits.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "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 (unranked players earn one star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 20 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||4||79|
Irish pick up DaVaris Daniels, son of
former current NFLer Phillip Daniels.
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
No change for Nebraska.
|#4 Michigan State - 16 Commits|
Nothing new for MSU.
|#5 Michigan - 10 Commits|
Ready for something to happen here plz.
|#6 Indiana - 21 Commits|
IU is pretty much done.
|#7 Iowa - 14 Commits|
|#8 Northwestern - 13 Commits|
No change for Northwestern.
|#9 Minnesota - 15 Commits|
No changes for the LOLphers.
|#10 Wisconsin - 11 Commits|
No change for Wisconsin.
|#11 Penn State - 4 Commits|
They have to get some commits sooner or later, right?
|#12 Illinois - 16 Commits|
|#13 Purdue - 7 Commits|
No change for Purdue.
"I don't mean much to you, but you mean everything to me."
- Nearly Every Michigan Opponent, 2010.
After reading the excellent diaries prescribing proper fourth down etiquette according to the numbers, odds, and expected values, it makes sense to me that when you have the nation's leading rusher on a 4th and 1, you go for it. Period. But this isn't about our offense's decisions.
Most defenses must put together three consecutive good plays. Michigan's defense has a hard enough time doing that as is, but for whatever reason I've noticed this year that our defense has faced an usually large number of aggressive opponents making the (tactically correct) decision to go for it on 4th down. Part of me thought this was just me being paranoid. But tonight after the game I wanted to see the actual numbers, and boy was this hunch right.
Here is a chart with Michigan and our Big10 opponents in 2010 and the number of 4th downs each team has had to face:
Chart of Opponents Going For It On 4th Down
|Average Per Game||Total||Converted||
Does that jump of the page at you? It should.
Michigan, through five games, is facing almost twice as many fourth down conversion attempts as the next team (MSU) and three times or more as many as the rest of our Big10 opponents. Our defense is facing an enormous task of shutting down these hyper aggressive teams.
Does that mean our defense is just bad?
Contrary to that, I assert that it is an underlying trend in the games that Michigan plays, one that reconciles nicely another statistical blip coming from my stats on Normalized PPG and YPG, wherein our opponents typically far exceed their season standards when playing against Michigan.
Our opponents most of the time play their best game of the year against us.
Michigan is by far and away the red-letter, circled-twice, highlighted, make-or-break game of the year for every single team we have played. This will likely continue through Ohio State. Our opponents each and every week have thrown (and will throw) the whole playbook at us, and take risks when they normally would not - for a chance at knocking off Michigan.
- UConn wanted ever so badly to bust open it's season as a Big East Title contender.
- UMass wanted to be The Horror II.
- BGSU wanted to be Toledo.
- Indiana was absolutely out for blood big time.
Only Notre Dame, with their new head coach and coming off of a win and playing us at home, (despite us being rivals neither ND nor Michigan believes the other to be THE big rival), doesn't fit the bill of someone willing to sell their own mother in order to beat Michigan....and Notre Dame was 0 for 0 on 4th downs this year.*
There is playing to win and then there is playing as if the season ends today, and that is what we often times find ourselves facing on defense.
Can anyone really argue against the notion that the four teams listed above weren't playing their lights out when they played Michigan this year? Indiana's season, for all intents and purposes, is now over. They had hopes for an eight win season, now it's likely they will struggle to reach six. I have a hard time believing Indiana is going to come out anything but flat next week @osu.
Looking ahead, can we take some positive away from this?
As a direct result of our opponents being hyper aggressive against us this far into the season, it inflates our opponents' PPG, YPG, and TOP. Don't get me wrong, what UConn, UMass, and Indiana did was absolutely the correct strategy - but from a Michigan perspective we don't want our opponents to play correctly by the math. We would much rather them settle for 3 or punt the ball back to Denard. All of these things result in less of our defense on the field, less points for the opposition.
And if our big remaining opponents do that we will allow fewer PPG, and this gives our offense a better chance to equalize for the win. PSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, osu - all of these teams could fit the bill as a more "stodgy" and "conservative" Big10 school. (MSU has already shown a preponderance for trick plays and going for it on fourth down).
Ok. Sounds good to me, but I'm still pissed off about our defense!
Fine. Do yourself a favor and only read the offensive UFR and only watch the youtube highlights of Every Offensive Snap. It does wonders for the blood pressure. Understand that our defense performed precisely to expectations today, but so did our offense!
But seriously, in the meantime, take a deep breath. We now have three road victories in as many years. Road games in the Big10 are brutal (PSU lost, Wisconsin lost, OSU/UM/NW all nearly were upset). And for godssakes get excited! It's MSU week!
*In other years, the UM/ND game builds up differently and everyone lets loose, but this particular year it did not set up that way.
If you're keeping track, Michigan is recruiting RB Demetrius Hart, S Roderick Ryles, and S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix from Dr. Phillips for the 2011 class. As I said yesterday, Roderick Ryles was just offered by Michigan and will be visiting for the Wisconsin game. They're also very much in the conversation with 2012 QB Nick Patti. You can add another teammate to the list with 2011 WR Chris Gallon (6'5", 205 lbs.):
Michigan is starting to come after me hard. They're looking at my senior film right now, and they said after that they might offer. Coach Smith has been in constant contact with me. He said they like me a lot, I just have to wait until they see my film.
Chris sent the Michigan coaches his junior film, and the first three games from this season. Gallon said they are recruiting him as a wide receiver, and if they offer, Michigan has a good shot with him.
I was supposed to go up to Alabama this weekend with Dee (Hart) and HaHa (Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix), but I'm taking my SAT so I didn't go. I'm going to be going to Michigan for the Wisconsin game though. We're all going up there together.
Gallon, Ryles, Patti, and as of right now Demetrius and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix are all planning on being at the Michigan game, when they take on Wisconsin.