i refuse to even consider this a possibility
I followed yesterday's discussion about Facebook and friends with interest. Full disclosure: I am a 49 year old Michigan Grad. In other words, my time really came before extensive use of Facebook, Myspace, etc. For those of you who are teens and current students, I am just another old fart. However, I am also a pastor, who has some responsibility and relationship with youth in the church, and I have a 15 year old daughter. She lives on Facebook. For this reason, I have a Facebook account. It allows me to briefly keep tabs on the youth at church, and my daughter, and rarely, to comment or reply to something. Some of the youth just use Facebook, and no e-mail. For the same reason, if they request it, I also text message them, instead of calling or e-mailing. I am trying, with some reluctance, to stay "current."
However, I never even consider texting or facebooking someone who isn't interested in contact. In fact, I RARELY facebook or text those who I already know. I have never even considered becoming "friends" on Facebook with someone I don't already know personally. I probably only go on Facebook once or twice a week . . . I just don't have time for it. And when I go there, I sometimes wonder at the wisdom of some of the stuff the youth actually put up for others to read.
Which brings us to recruiting. It is bad enough that I waste as much time as I do on mgoblog. But I don't think I would ever consider putting recruit names in to see if they would "confirm" me as a friend. I'm just an old white geezer they don't know from Adam.
However, instead of criticizing, I would love to hear from some of you young whippersnappers about proper Facebook etiquette. Are you telling me that in youth culture, it is ok to send friend requests to as many people as you want, whether you know them or not? What is the age cut off? When are you weirded out by someone older contacting you on Facebook? I kind of assume that somewhere around 30, you are an "adult," and below, you are youth or college age.
As regards recruits, it just seems weird and inappropriate to me to have personal facebook contact with a recruit, just because you were able to google stalk his name and high school, and so forth.
On that note, I really liked the Oku comments about just being left alone. Between fans, recruiting gurus, family, media, coaches, and who knows who else, it has got to be really over the top, the amount of contact and pressure put on quality hs football players.
I really like reading Tom VH, but I'm curious how he gets so much info without becoming annoying to recruits. When does one cross the line?
On another topic, I think it is great that these athletes have the opportunity to take visits to different schools. What I think many of us Michigan grads forget is how sheltered many of these players are. We should all remember that many of them have never been on a plane, and in some cases, never traveled out of the state they live in. Some of them have rarely, if ever, eaten in a nice restaurant. When I moved to Chicago, I was shocked to find some teens who had NEVER been to Lake Michigan, or to Indiana. To some of these recruits, seeing the ocean or snow or a huge stadium is about the same as many of us going to Antarctica or Mount Everest. I also think it is wise for them to check several schools out, to make sure they are sure. For every Ricardo Miller, (or coach's kid Jim Harbaugh) who knows they are going to Michigan, there are a dozen who don't have a clue. I would rather that they visit enough schools to know "Yes, I really want to be a Michigan Man," then to make a commitment and have regrets.
Another thing I remember from my time in AA was how many fellow students had lived their whole lives in Michigan, especially metro Detroit . . . in Livonia, or Troy, or Warren, or Gross Pointe, or Bloomfield Hills, but also a bunch from Grand Rapids, or Muskegon, or the Lansing or Flint area. They had never been extensively exposed to other areas of the country and world, and were pretty narrow in their thinking. Mind you, there were always kids from Chicago and NY, but the vast majority were Michigan homers. Maybe things have changed now. But my point is this. Many Michigan fans have lived in Michigan their whole lives, went to Michigan, and want their kids to go to Michigan. Even if they had the money, they wouldn't choose to go (or for their kids to go) to Texas, or to Harvard, or to Yale, or to Stanford, or to Southern Cal, or to Washington. And yet, we want kids from wherever to leave their families, their roots, their comfort zone, just so we can have a football team. If someone wants to do this, to escape Pahokee or wherever, that's great. But I don't think it's unreasonable for kids (and parents) to be somewhere near each other. I parked next to LaMarr Woodley's folks at the ND game 3 - 4 years ago, and I'm sure his parents were happy to be able to drive to a majority of their son's games. In hockey, I'm sure that Kampfer's parents are glad he's going to school close enough to attend. The solution is not just to recruit kids from elsewhere (Florida, Texas, Ohio, California). The solution has to be at least partially, to improve the quality of HS football in Michigan.
I've lived all over the country: the West Coast, the East Coast, the South, the Northeast, the Midwest a few times (including my stint in Ann Arbor), so I know about that of which I speak. I've been in Boston for the last 4 years, which has a climate similar to Ann Arbor.
I used to complain about the winters, but not any more. The cold is really not that bad. Get a good coat with a hood. Dress in layers. Get some boots. For lack of a better phrase, be a man about it.
The cold is at most a minor inconvenience when you consider all the upsides of living in the North. Though it's a clique, the change of seasons IS spectacular. There is a rhythm to the dying leaves and then barren trees and then splashes of green returning with spring. Maybe even better than that is the snow. The snow this year has had an other-worldly beauty to it. At night, it sparkles from the street lights as you walk by. I can think of no more peaceful setting than walking through snowflakes quietly drifting down.
I'm sure SEC coaches talk about how miserable the cold can be in the Big Ten. I'm sure Pete Carroll talks about the fun and sun in So Cal. And maybe cruising "the strip" in Gainesville in the middle February is what you seek. But I for one chose Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. I chose the Law Quad in the fall and a jog through the Arb on a crisp winter morning. And I'm better for it.
Bored while waiting for an 18-year-old to decide your level of happiness for the next four years?
Here's a list I compiled of the best (in my opinion) player to wear each jersey number, 1-99, for Michigan, from 1929 to the present.
If you're wondering why guys like Germany Shultz, Al Benbrook or Willie Heston from the Yost years aren't on there, that's they didn't wear numbers back then. When they did start wearing numbers, however, they switched them around almost willy-nilly. I'd love to have Ernie Vick (19, 8, 2, 14, ...) or Harry Kipke (1, 4, 6, 14, 18, or no number at all) on my list, but they wore too many numbers to associate them with one or another. Therefore, I made my cut-off at 1929, when Kipke became the head coach, and made numbers (relatively) permanent.
Also, a player can only have one number they are associated with (even if Braylon Edwards was the best player to ever wear 80, he's up against the No. 1's)
All-time best Michigan man at each number.
1. Braylon Edwards, WR (over Carter, Terrell, Alexander)
2. Charles Woodson, CB
3. Tripp Welborne, CB (over Marlin)
4. EDIT: Jim Harbaugh, QB (over Marquise Walker)
5. Gordon Bell, HB
6. Tyrone Wheatley, HB (over Dave Brown)
7. Chad Henne, QB (over Leach & Henson)
8. Jason Avant, WR
9. EDIT: Dennis Franklin, QB
10. Tom Brady, QB
11. Alvin Wistert, OL/DT (over Albert and Francis Wistert)
12. Ricky Powers, HB
13. Garland Rivers, CB (over Larry Stevens)
14. Brian Griese, QB
15. Elvis Grbac, QB (over Breaston)
16. Adrian Arrington, WR
17. Ted Petoskey, End (over Larry Foote)
18. Bump Elliot, HB (over Amani Toomer)
19. Robert Brown, C/DT (this is a big number for kickers)
20. Mike Hart, HB
21. Desmond Howard, WR (over Biakabutuka)
22. Ty Law, CB
23. Jamie Morris, HB (you try picking btw JM and CP!!!)
24. Butch Woolfolk, HB (over Jack Clancy)
25. Tom Curtis, S (over Shazor)
26. EDIT: David Key, HB/DB
27. Bennie Friedman, QB (over Charles Bernard. Who remembers Stephen King?)
28. Robert Timberlake, QB
29. Leon Hall, CB
30. Andre Weathers, CB
31. Stuart Harris, S
32. Anthony Thomas, HB
33. Leroy Hoard, FB (over Mike Taylor)
34. Tony Leoni, HB (not Brabbs?)
35. B.J. Askew, FB
36. Aaron Shea, TE
37. Erick Anderson, LB (Can you pick btw him and Jarrett Irons?)
38. Robert Wiese, FB (met this guy on the plane once)
39. Adam Finley, P
40. Ron Johnson, LB (over Ron Simpkins)
41. Zoltan Mesko, P (over Rob Lytle)
42. Billy Taylor, RB/FB (over Tony Boles, Lawrence Reid)
43. Jim Pace, RB/FB (over Carl Diggs)
44. John Lott, DB
45. Dave Harris, LB (over Bill Daley)
46. Harry Newman, QB
47. Bennie Oosterbaan, End
48. Gerald Ford, C
49. Bob Chappuis, HB (over Ed Frutig)
50. Otto Pommerening, OL
51. Steve Everitt, C
52. Rod Payne, C
53. Mel Owens, LB
54. Mo Williams, OL
55. Brandon Graham, DE
56. LaMarr Woodley, DE
57. Maynard Morrison, FB/C (over Dave Pearson)
58. Rob Renes, DT
59. George Lilja, C
60. Mark Messner, DT (over Danahue)
61. Turner Booth, LS (Michael Sullivan, Willis Ward)
62. Quentin Sickels, OL
63. Les Miles, OL
64. Clare Jack Wheeler, QB
65. Reggie McKenzie, OL
66. Mike Hammerstein, DT
67. Mervin Pregulman, OL
68. Joe Cocozzo, OL
69. Jon Runyan, OL (over Forest Evashevski Sr.?)
70. Marty Huff, LB
71. Dave Gallagher, DT/OL
72. Dan Dierdorf, OL (over Jumbo Elliott, Robert Wahl)
73. Bill Dufek, OL
74. Mike Husar, OL
75. William Yearby, OL (over Bubba Paris, Skrepenak, Baas)
76. Steve Hutchinson, OL (over Stefan Humphries)
77. Jake Long, OL (over Jansen)
78. Dean Dingman, OL
79. Jeff Backus, OL
80. Alan Branch, DT
81. Glen Steele, DE
82. Norm Betts, TE
83. Bennie Joppru, TE
84. Shawn Thompson, TE
85. Lowell Perry, End (over Paul Seymour)
86. Tai Streets, WR (over Bob Westfall)
87. Ron Kramer, End
88. Jim Mandich, TE
89. Richard Rifenberg, End
90. Tim Jamison, DE
91. Matt Dyson, LB (over Josh Williams)
92. Steve Evans, LB (what, you prefer Dan Rumishek?)
93. Sam Sword, LB
94. Jason Horn, DT
95. Curtis Greer, DT
96. Calvin O'Neal, LB
97. Chris Hutchinson, DT
98. Tom Harmon, HB
99. Pierre Woods, LB
*Thanks to the Bentley Library for their searchable database.
Notice only two players are from last year's team. But I have high hopes that some of the younger guys can end up on this list eventually. For some of them, it wouldn't require so much improvement as a switch to a generally bad number.
Now make me a liar. I'm sure I'm wrong on several of these.
MichFan1997's recent Facebook conversation with Ricardo Miller has rekindled the shouldn't-be-but-is awkward topic of how much access to high school athletes is necessary, appropriate, and/or healthy.
For the record, I am a 21-year-old junior at the University of Michigan; I am Facebook friends with many members of the football team, including William Campbell and Tate Forcier, who only recently arrived on campus. However, I have never made any attempt to communicate with them except Andre Criswell, who often asks his "friends" to guess his current weight. I have never posted on anyone's wall or added an optional "personal message" when I friend request them. I simply hit the friend request button and wait for a confirmation.
But isn't that counterintuitive? Am I not requesting this man's friendship because I want to be his friend? Because I want him to acknowledge me?
At the present apex of online activity and access, I would actually contend that such is not the case. I don't particularly care what Bryant Nowicki is up to or what kind of music Dann O'Neill likes. Adding a football player as a Facebook friend is simply the current generation's trading card. There is nothing in the friend request transaction that belies sincerity; the athlete in question never has to look at my name again and most likely never will. He simply hits "accept" and I get the satisfaction of listing Johnny Sears, Jr. as one of my "friends." That's where it ends. Or at least should end.
But unfortunately, it doesn't end there, because high schoolers with no obligations or commitments to a university also have Facebook accounts, and it is in these situations that the creepiness escalates.
In the comments section of the Ricardo Miller diary entry, chitownblue said:
"Every time I hear about an (adult?) fan having facebook and myspace conversations with 17-year-old kids, I get completely and utterly skeeved out, and worried for these kids. Not because you're a rapist (you're probably not), but because these kids naively let hundreds of people gain access to their lives, and the second they decommit, or drop a pass, or get arrested with weed, or anything, they have hundreds of strangers whom they've 'disappointed' with access to give them a piece of their mind."
This is a legitimate concern; I looked through the "previous posts" on William Campbell's wall and found these comments, dated December 29th, 2008--the height of his decommitment.
"Wow, bro...All I gotta say is what ever happened to loyalty?? UR not a true Michigan man, get the hell out and stay out!!!!"
-Brandon Coot Kusz of Kalamazoo Valley Community College (a true Michigan man if there ever was one)
Obviously that kind of message is despicable and Mr. Coot Kusz is an irredeemable pile of shit, but, as rude as that post was, I found the resultant comments way "creepier."
"Dude, Brandon. STFU, Big Will hasn't even made his mind up yet. Dude, Coot get a life."
"Dude So What. He shouldn't be bitched at for changing his mind."
"hey brandon get a fucking life you fucking loser"
"it unreal that u guys make these comment on here. its reall uncalled for i mean im crushed too that he prolly wont be donning the maize and blue, which by the way u would look really good in big will, but i mean hes still just a kid. tone it down with all the criticizum. Hey Big Will if u change ur mind Michigans here. Youd start right away ya no" (spelling unchanged)
Keep in mind that all of these comments were posted on William Campbell's wall, not Mr. Coot Kusz's. Campbell's "defenders" didn't want Campbell to feel better, and they didn't really care if Mr. Coot Kusz regretted his asshole comment. They believed that Kusz's comment cost Michigan ten Recruit Points and they wanted the glory of restoring them. "Gosh," Campbell said in their minds, "that Kusz guy is a total dick who makes me want to eschew Michigan for LSU, but thanks to Jordan and Dylan's reaffirming pep talks, my faith in the Wolverines is restored to an amount identical to the moment immediately preceding Kusz's comment."
These are the creepers. Anyone who friends a high school football or basketball player is doing so with the warped and fictional assumption that he can actually recruit the kid simply with the power of the internet. These are the same people who start groups like "Bring Jelani Jenkins to Michigan" and actually accrue enormous memberships.
Facebook friendships with enrolled college football players is not inherently creepy because there is no recruiting fantasy involved. They're already there; there's nothing to sell.
Recently, David Oku had this to say about recruiting:
"Everyone is trying to get me to pick already, but I'm not ready," Oku said. "All these coaches are making it worse by calling and trying to talk when I don't want to. This is a lot of pressure to put on one kid, and it doesn't help that I've got some family stuff going on, too."
"I'm not taking any calls," he said. "I just want the coaches to give me some space. Too much is going on for me right now."
"I'm not committed to anyone anymore," he said.
"I don't have any plans to sign on Wednesday. I don't know when a decision will be made. I just need some space and some time to think and sort things out. Hopefully the coaches will respect that and understand how difficult this has become for me."
These kids have people clawing at them - calling, texting, e-mailing, facebooking, "chatting" before they've done a thing - I've never seen someone talk seriously about the toll it can take on a young kid who has lots of other things to worry about.
Maybe, before we start becoming facebook friends with people 5-15 years younger than us, we could step back and realize that these are not mature adults we're dealing with - and they're making the biggest decision of their lives to that point - one not based on our own entertainment.
Good afternoon. How are you feeling? I know that your weekend was exciting, what with McDonald's special 50 pack McNugget special running for three days you must have lived like a KING. I hope your tummy feels fine and, may I say, you do look a little slimmer. Are you wearing vertical stripes? You devil!
Anyways, I just want to commend you on your amazing job at Notre Dame. As a Michigan fan, I should probably not be writing you, what with our coach's ability to produce the same season as you did in 2006 but, you know what, I just drank a Red Bull in my room at the Holiday Inn Express so it's either Extreme Sports or write you. I digress.
You have Jimmy Clausen, a player that Rivals claims is the best pro-style quarterback in the past five recruiting classes, and somehow made him look not just like an Emu but an Emu who shit himself. You somehow didn't get Brady Quinn killed in your first year at Notre Dame so if I were Clausen, I would know that the countdown has to be getting close before the pocket collapses around me and I find myself shanked by a guy named Bubba. It's been incredibly amusing to watch Clausen come on the field as a freshman, young and full of pep and then see him now. He is so terrified of the predicament you place him into almost every down that if he could have the ball hiked to him next to the sideline, he would. He made Michigan's historically awful defense look decent last year. It took MICHIGAN to put a cocky swagger into his gait. I'm shocked he didn't go pro just to go undrafted and escape you. Btw congrats on that big Hawaii win. It's a shame you didn't get to play against Colt Brennan... you know, the kid who'd been in jail and that you could improve your team with if only you recruited hoodlums and thugs... oh well. Let's sum it up this way: you somehow are able to make Clausen look MORE like an idiot on the field than he does off.
I think that's the issue: you fail to acknowledge your own failure so the rest of the world feeds off of it. See, with your losses to military schools so rampant, players are beginning to play Battleship more. They're slimming down, eating salad and watching you go to the buffet more. You see, Charlie, you're self-destructing. You walk into schools and show off your rings and expect people to come to you. You expect your legend to be big and impressive enough that you don't have to get into the trenches and earn your way. And people are hearing more about it. How else can you explain the fact Notre Dame has the 23rd best recruiting class in the nation? Parents DREAM of sending their kids to Notre Dame. For God's sake (literally) you have JESUS in an ENDZONE. Your helmets are GOLD.
But, see, you don't really care about the land of Rockne and Rudy... The Four Horsemen and green jerseys. You must have looked at Lou Holtz and laughed an inch off of your waist thinking how easy it must be to do what he did. Your class was #2 in the nation in 2008. #2! Perhaps it helped your team went 3-9 the year before and recruits saw an opportunity to impact (a la Michigan). But to slip 20 spots Charlie? Something changed.
It wasn't just that you went 3-9 in 2007, when you had four players on pre-season watch lists for six national awards. It was that you refused to acknowledge it as a rebuilding year. You drove off your starting quarterback and buried Sharpley. You refused to even accept the horror that was. At least Rodriguez was frank about it. You just seemed to act like it wasn't happening. It almost came off as... arrogant.
And I think it's that people began to see that as long as you were at Notre Dame, the school would be in the background. You're a big figure and you're proud of it but it seems the organization and institution can't be seen around you. You got negative and got caught saying some ridiculous stuff about Michigan and thugs and tactical advantages. The Patriots got caught videotaping in a manner that was widely scrutinized but overlooked while you were at New England. You sued your doctors over a stomach staple surgery that, honestly, nobody can believe you even had and that got thrown out rather embarassingly. You barely scraped yourself to a bowl game that you, loudly, declared you deserved over anyone else. You ripped on other coaches in the country to recruit when, in fact, all people had to do to show maybe ND wasn't a good idea is point at the headlines. Tell us Charlie: how much did your schematic advantage come from video cameras? You search Google for 'charlie weis recruiting' - this is what you get:
Charlie Weis thinks recruiting is nasty
Charlie Weis alienates Irish supporters
Weis denies accusations of negative recruiting
Notre Dame's Charlie Weis, the worst football coach in the universe
Charlie Weis wrong face to represent Notre Dame
Google returns 10 results on the first page. Ignoring your YouTube video, an article about you barely keeping your job, a speculative article written in November about the ND class looking good (fyi, it's not), an article cautioning people from encouraging your firing and an article flat out saying the recruiting class could save your job is all there is. One encouraging article and another that says if you do well, which it looks like you didn't, you might keep your job.
Let's ignore the article about you decrying the recruiting process that you're supposed to act like you like a la "OHMYGOD MRS. JOHNSON THESE ARE THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES EVER, YOUR SON SHOULD BRING THEM WITH HIM TO NOTRE DAME" and dive into the negative recruiting article. You're infamous for walking into high schools and plunking your rings down without a word, even going so far as to ask people if they want to see them. But when you have Clemson of all schools pointing out that their recruit had you ripping on their education, noting your school's television exposure and being the only school who ignored his commitment, it looks bad. Almost like you look down on anyone that's not you or your school. Which is true.
In the end, Charlie, your time is wrapping up at Notre Dame. Hell you might beat Michigan again this year but odds are it won't save your job. Because people in South Bend do care about their institution. They do care about its legend and place in the lore of college football and elsewhere. And the fact is, Charles, your shadow is too big for such a place. As a Michigan fan even I can say it: Notre Dame deserves better.
Notre Dame Recruiting Class By Year (per Rivals)
2009: #23 (subject to change)