Event reminder. We're having a Hail To The Victors kickoff party/thing on Friday at Circus Bar. Hopefully it will be as crazy as last night.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) August 1, 2016
About last night. I don't get WOO NIKE. I have no strong feelings about clothing brands, except insofar as I would like them to put the sports teams I like in uniforms that 1) stay in one piece, 2) are legible from distance, and 3) don't make me envy the dead. I'm in the same realm of bafflement Dan Murphy was last night:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- They lined up for T-shirts.
All day, Michigan fans stood in line for T-shirts. And when the sun went down they chanted and painted their faces and counted down the last few seconds like it was New Year’s Eve for T-shirts, ones with a tiny lopsided parabola in the corner instead of a striped triangle. ...
“I’ve lived 52 years, a lot of them right here in Ann Arbor,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said into a sea of fans recording on their cell phones. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
LIST OF SHIRTS I WOULD STAND IN LINE TO BUY
1. if it was the 12th century and they sold indulgences on shirts
— mgoblog (@mgoblog) August 1, 2016
But I'm happy you're happy, and happy that recruits and players are bonkers for the stuff. There are many many variations of this on Michigan player twitter:
— Moe Ways (@MoeWays) August 1, 2016
It's probably better that Michigan's back with marketing folks who can inspire the kind of devotion that results in a walk-on basketball player crowdsurfing like he's 1992 Eddie Vedder. The gap between the Only Incompetent Germans and that 190-proof blast of capitalism is obvious. While the headline number* on Michigan's apparel contract has been beaten by a few different schools since it was signed a year ago, Jumpman exclusivity looks like a big deal for players and recruits—you know, the people who help you win on the field.
I have one hope, and that's a football version of Jumpman. Pick one of Desmond or Woodson:
A permanent logo swap ain't happening, but if Nike wants to do a special edition thing that will sell a lot of merch and not piss off traditionalists this would be killer. (I think? I obviously have no idea what I'm talking about in this department. Later today I will advise rappists on the finest iambic pentameters. The very best.)
I have one concern. The hockey jerseys look weird and wrong.
Mismatched blues, a weird sheen on top, really not digging the jersey with one maize stripe across the top and nothing else anywhere. A closeup of the hockey jersey does seem into indicate it's regular jersey material and not, like, shimmery. I'll reserve final judgment until I see them in the wild, but I'm not hopeful.
*[I say "headline number" here because it looks like various other schools have structured their contracts such that theirs is the "biggest ever" to the press but not in reality. For example, OSU's "biggest ever" deal with Nike is actually worth $13 million less in cash than Michigan's over the same timeframe. They just pad it out with more gear at an inflated price. I haven't looked into the details of UCLA and Texas but it's possible—probable in UCLA's case—that the same thing is going on there.]
This is completely rational. I retract my tweet at Nick Baumgardner yesterday:
"I definitely think its symbolic, it's a new age for Michigan," Gozdor said. "A lot of my friends are saying they're going to burn their Adidas gear and forget the whole entire thing ever happened."
He was right.
Jeremy Gallon finally gets to be taller than some people. An alert reader points out that the Nojima Sagamihara Rise, a team in Japan's "X-League," is currently listing Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon on their roster. (Also included is former Illinois safety Earnest Thomas III.) Thorough research* reveals that only two foreign players are allowed to be on the field at any one time; the Rise must be planning on Gardner to Gallon for 50% of their plays. This is a good plan.
[Update: now there is an article on this occurrence:
“Everybody here is so respectful, so nice. It’s almost like a compete 180 from in America,” said Gardner, who made 27 starts at quarterback for the Wolverines, with a smile. “They (the Americans) are nice people but I’ve never been to a place where everybody is so kind and so respectful, and it’s just part of the way everyone is here. It’s pure refreshing to get a chance to experience it.”
No Michigan State or Ohio State fans in Japan, I take it.]
*[googling the league's wikipedia page]
I'd be happy to be wrong here. Erik Magnuson doesn't strike me as a guy who the NFL will consider drafting early unless he takes a big step forward as a senior, but CBS's Dane Brugler disagrees with that take, naming him one of the top ten senior OTs in the country and saying he "played like a legitimate NFL prospect":
...moves with a smooth shuffle and wide base, transferring his weight well in his kickslide to mirror edge rushers. He stays low off the snap and prefers to use his hands to control the point of attack to out-leverage and out-power defenders. Magnuson is able to secure downblocks and anchor at shallow depth, driving his legs to finish in the Wolverines' power offense. He has also been praised by the coaching staff for his leadership and consistency during the week.
Although hustle and effort aren't an issue, Magnuson has sloppy tendencies with a bad habit of lowering his head and losing sight of his target, ending up on the ground. He tends to be a waist bender and lacks ideal length to compensate, which allows savvy rushers to get him off balance and leaning. While powerful when squared to defenders, Magnuson will struggle to recover once defenders attack his shoulder.
I thought Magnuson was okay, and only that, a year ago. I get the vibe that PFF agrees with me since they haven't posted anything about him, or the rest of the Michigan OL not named Mason Cole. They tend to have an "if you can't say anything nice..." policy.
I'd be happy to be right here. Ryan Glasgow makes ESPN's list of the top 25 Big Ten players... at #25, which I'm sure I'll find is an outrage once they get around to putting a punter at 16 or whatever. Even so, thank you, ESPN, for not consigning Glasgow to a Wally Pipp role just yet. PFF also names Glasgow their #3 breakout player this year, though they do admit that's a bit of an injury-induced slam dunk:
2016 grade: 84.8 | 2015 snaps: 332 | PFF College 101 rank: 72
The argument could be made that Glasgow has already broken out as he boasted the nation’s No. 19 run-stopping grade before going down to injury last season, but since he only played 332 snaps, he still qualifies as a breakout candidate. He’s seen the field for 753 snaps the last two seasons, posting a strong +32.7 grade against the run, and last year he improved his pass rush grade to +9.0 on the strength of a sack, four QB hits, and 12 hurries on 179 rushes.
Taco Charlton shows up at #7 for the same reasons we're hyped about him around here: a lot of production in under 400 snaps. There are scattered Big Ten players to round out the list plus a couple of old names for recrutniks: both Cal RB Vic Enwere and Arizona State RB Kalen Ballage make the tail end of the list.
Spreading the wealth. Michigan probably has four guys on that aforementioned top 25 B10 players list (Lewis, Peppers and Butt are probably locks and Glasgow snuck in) so it's not exactly crazy that these gents missed it...
Michigan DL Chris Wormley and receivers Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson: Wormley is one of the more versatile defensive linemen in the league, with the ability to move between end and tackle, and he had 14.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in 2015. Some of us argued for his inclusion, though we ultimately went with a different player in his position group. As for Darboh and Chesson, they are clearly two of the better wideouts in the league. Yet neither had huge numbers last season, and even Jim Harbaugh will tell you it's a coin flip on who is the better player. They sort of canceled out each other for purposes of this list.
...but since two of those guys are seniors getting first round draft hype it is a little bit crazy. Also:
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) August 1, 2016
Meanwhile Feldman named Michigan's receiving corps the #3 unit in the country. Michigan could be all right this fall.
Etc.: Peppers gets votes from current Big Ten football players as the Big Ten's best defensive player... and its best offensive player. PSU fans expect a punter to be their biggest impact freshman... and they're probably right. Y'all probably don't know how bad PSU punting has been the last few years. TV networks not a big fan of the Big 12's naked cash grab. Always weird when some guy you remember as like 15 is now writing for the Daily. I'm old and DEATH DEATH DEATH. ND contract details.
Melanie Maxwell/Ann Arbor.com
What it says in the title duh. Note: other than Drake Johnson, who was obviously the inspiration for this.
Ace: Two years ago, it was hard to imagine Caris LeVert would make a list like this. After forcing John Beilein to burn his redshirt and contributing to the 2012-13 title game squad, he played an effective second banana to Nik Stauskas on a 2013-14 team that nearly made it back to the Final Four and set the (since surpassed) KenPom standard for offensive efficiency. The blueprint was there for LeVert to step into Stauskas’ role as a junior, play at or near an All-American level, lead a deep tourney run, and then face a difficult decision about whether to turn pro early.
|Lucy will let him get back on the court next time, Charlie Brown. [Bryan Fuller]|
Instead, Michigan struggled out of the gate in 2014-15, suffering a few humiliating defeats as the team failed to gel around LeVert, who struggled to maintain his sophomore-year efficiency. As Michigan survived a last-second, game-tying attempt by Northwestern at Crisler in mid-January, LeVert went down clutching his foot while the rest of the team celebrated. On a seemingly innocuous play, he’d suffered a season-ending injury; without him, Michigan missed the postseason, and LeVert returned to try it again his senior year.
LeVert looked fantastic, putting up All-American-level numbers as the team’s centerpiece, and Michigan made it through non-conference play with a quality win over Texas and no bad losses. LeVert was poised to lead his team to a decent NCAA seed while cementing his standing as a first-round NBA prospect. Then, in the waning moments of the conference opener at Illinois, it happened again: LeVert stepped on a defender’s foot, rolled his ankle, and came up limping.
[Continue at THE JUMP even though you don’t want to, because you know you should, even if it’s painful. If you make it to the end there are 24 minutes of Denard highlights]
Donovan Peoples-Jones is ridiculous
Love the guy in the background who loses it:
— Chris Huff (@Performance80FS) March 21, 2016
Yes, that is Devin Gardner in the background, and he has some box jumping skill himself:
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) March 22, 2016
No update on his recruitment but hanging out with Gardner can't hurt now that Al Borges is gone.
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) March 22, 2016
Michigan picked up commits from MI LB Josh Ross and 2018 OH LB Antwaun Johnson over the past couple days; Johnson's hello post was updated earlier today; Ross gets his turn tomorrow. Both are four-star types. Ross cited Don Brown's defense as a major attraction:
“Just based on what he showed me with that defense, it fits me perfectly. I just can’t pass the opportunity up. I just had to take it. He really blitzes his linebackers. I know last year there was a couple of plays where I got right through on blitzes, and I’m getting better and better at blitzing. That’s a lot of what he does and I can see myself in his system.”
Older brother James was born four years too early. Would have been a Don Brown dude for sure.
The potato door opens in 2018
Ross was always likely to follow his brother to Ann Arbor, but Johnson is an alpaca out of nowhere. His commit is a significant one for Michigan since Jim Harbaugh hadn't exactly emphasized a nearby state with a lot of talent (and Michigan's main rival) in it. Since Harbaugh's arrival only Nolan Ulizio, a late flier Michigan flipped from UConn, has fled the potato state for the friendly confines of Ann Arbor.
So. Johnson is not only a very good player in his own right but also a thorn in OSU's side. He is also the teammate of OH DE/DT Leonard Taylor, an early five-star in the 2018 class. Taylor visited along with Johnson and came back making positive noises:
"It was an A+ visit," he said. "Definitely an A+. It was really an eye-opening visit for me to see Michigan in person. It definitely had an at-home feeling to it. I didn't feel out of place there."
More significantly, he immediately scheduled a return trip for the Spring Game. Two visits in a month and a teammate committed should give Michigan a very real shot at landing Taylor. Lorenz has a "hunch" that Taylor pulls the trigger in the near future in Michigan's favor, which is… rather something, that.
every recruit gets their Peppers photo, including Jaelen Gill.
In addition to the Springfield duo, Michigan also hosted 247's early #1 in the state, OH RB Jaelen Gill. He returned from that visit downright effusive:
"Academics, the atmosphere, the campus life, and great football," he said of the Wolverines. "The people at Michigan are wonderful."
That's a really short article but there are a couple more very encouraging quotes in it all the same. Lorenz followed up with an Inside Michigan Recruiting in which he states the visit "couldn't have gone much better"… but that he's still guessing OSU. Even so the vibe is great, man.
Per a guy on Bucknuts, Gill is not a native Ohioan and is in fact from New Jersey originally. So… all of a sudden it's not too far fetched that Michigan gets three of the top five in the 2018 Ohio class. Harbaugh? Harbaugh.
AJ Harris may or may not be on commit watch
AL S AJ Harris also came up for a visit and was momentarily expected to commit yesterday. That did not happen, obviously. Harris remains very high on Michigan, naming them his outright leader after the visit:
“They are my top school,” said Harris. “They are just from the academic standpoint. One of the best out of any school I have visited and by far the best coaching staff that you will get at the college level."
Lorenz fired off a crystal ball, and it sounds like Harris is just letting things marinate before pulling the trigger. If there is a complication it would be on Michigan's end, as they have guys like MI S Jaylen Kelly-Powell high on their board.
Hansard announces announcement
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) March 18, 2016
NJ DT Fred Hansard will announce his destination on May 14th, his birthday. Michigan is amongst his seven finalists and his destination is very much am mystery. His crystal ball has a couple Rutgers picks from Guys Who Hilariously Pick Rutgers For Every High Profile NJ Recruit, a couple Penn State picks from Guy Who Fires Off A Guess At Every Recruit In The Country, and then the Temple 247 guy goes with M.
Bill Kurelic notes that in his tweet he "appears to be wearing an Ohio State helmet" and let's see if there might be a reason for that…
Sullivan thinks it's Penn State, FWIW.
Spring practice visitors
AJ Dillon, a LB/RB out of Massachusetts, is on campus right now. Early yet; Michigan is in a top five with Wisconsin, ND, FSU, and Virginia. Meanwhile Sam Webb reports a bunch of guys came in for practice on Monday. One, Ross, already committed, and AJ Harris may be next.
Another interesting name is PA OL CJ Thorpe, who told Brice March that he is "extremely interested" and will pare his list down after a couple more unofficials. Thorpe told Lorenz he had a "sense of comfort" in Ann Arbor and that he would like to return for a fuller experience. This one would be a brutal blow to Penn State if Michigan can pull it off… he's a legacy.
Top X lists, tentative visits, you know the drill
- PA RB D'Andre Swift has Michigan amongst a long list of schools that he intends to visit. That list includes anyone who's anyone. Also Penn State. He does not tip his hand in any particular direction in the above article.
- AL WR Nico Collins doesn't have a top four but his top four is Michigan, Georgia, Bama, and Clemson. Bud Elliott also lists his height at a Funchess-esque 6'5". Collins just impressed at a regional Opening camp ("precise in his routes, caught everything with his hands and did it all on a 200-plus pound frame") and will visit for the Spring Game.
- CN by way of FL WR Josh Palmer got his first offer from Michigan and has been on campus; he tells Tim Sullivan that he wants to see a few other Big Ten schools like Illinois and Maryland and sure let's just put Syracuse in the Big Ten because they're a mediocre program that might have some television subscribers attached. Uh. Then he will fire off a commit after spring. Michigan could be the choice but I'd be surprised if they took a three-star early when they aren't going to have big numbers at the spot and they are after Collins and Peoples-Jones.
- Three star NJ OL Joshua Fedd-Jackson has a top three of UNC, Rutgers, and Michigan. He plans an early April visit to M… but probably not for the spring game since he'll be at UNC that weekend.
- Three star CA WR/TE Grant Calcaterra will drop by Michigan on a seven-school Midwest tour. Calcaterra is a former teammate of 2016 signee Dylan Crawford and his list is academically-oriented, so if Michigan decides they've got room for him they'll likely be in it to the end.
- Michigan offered TX CB Kary Vincent Jr, wants to visit, no definite plan, no top list. "Loves" Harbaugh, FWIW.
- NV CB Alex Perry didn't want to leave the West before a Michigan offer came in; now he wants to get out for Unspecified Visit. He's got an odd list for a four star guy: he decommitted from Arizona State, visited TCU, and talks up Colorado some. As always, wait to see if he actually sets foot on campus.
- FL CB Randall Haynie has a top five of M, Duke, Vandy, Wisconsin, and WVU. Grew up watching Denard, knows O'Korn, academic-oriented top five… if Michigan pursues they'll be in it.
Grudging 2018 mentions of the week
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) March 21, 2016
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson visited and put Michigan high on his list, as you can see above. He seems, uh, enthused:
— DorianThompsonRob... (@DoriansTweets) March 21, 2016
Thompson-Robinson has that Harbaugh Let's Capitalize Every Word thing going on, and his twitter handle was carefully curated by Jon Bois.
Significantly, that tweet follows visits to Florida State, Michigan State and Ohio State. He hasn't gotten a flood of offers yet; if Michigan does send one out he's likely to be in the 2018 class.
IN LB Pete Werner fired off a commitment to ND shortly after visiting both ND and Michigan. Indiana Catholic school kid was always an uphill battle. Lorenz notes that KS TE Trevor Kent is trending to Oklahoma on the crystal ball and could commit this weekend on a trip to Norman.
Dodgeball got heated. Denard and Devin talk to Isaiah Hole at the A4 camp:
Battle status. Still no commitment, apparently planning on taking what would be his final official visit to either UConn or Kentucky, door with Michigan may remain open. Jarron Cumberland's visit did not result in a commit($) and there is no public mention of an offer, but Sam Webb says that things went very well and that you shouldn't read much into that.
Meanwhile, Syracuse blog Nunes Magician* has some insider info:
NunesMagician.com was told earlier today that the official visit went "very well," but Jim Boeheim did not receive a commitment. …
As each day goes by, Syracuse fans should feel less optimistic. The staff has been on the 5-star New Jersey native since his freshman year. He has visited the campus multiple times, but is still tentative to pull the trigger.
This is kind of how I feel about Jonathan Jones, the Florida linebacker who seems like he's been on the verge of a commit for months now.
In any case, Duke is not getting involved again, Syracuse doesn't seem like a particularly appealing destination for Battle for whatever reason (a good one: they are down a quarter of their scholarships for as long as Battle will be in college), and UConn is currently in the American. If he does visit Kentucky that blows up the "distance is the main factor" thing.
Maybe the door is still open? If not it sounds like Cumberland will be in the class pretty soon.
*[The name of this is a long story involving a bad quarterback.]
Bonjour pronto. That's French, right? Alpaca-outta-nowhere commit Benjamin St-Juste is Canadian, and if we've learned anything from South Park it's that Canada's a little bit different than the United States. One of the differences is that Canadian high school is apparently as long as you want it to be.
People were talking about St-Juste as 2016 or 2017 commit yesterday; today Tim Sullivan notes that there's a chance he could come in this fall($), as he's around 18—the usual age you enter college. I think there will be room, and the corner depth is going to be iffy after this year so you may as well.
Unnecessary dumping on Java aside. Summer Swarm commit Rashad Weaver sounds like an exceptional student:
An accomplished student throughout his high school career at Cooper City High School outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, most of Weaver's courses are of the advanced-placement or honors variety. Meaning his grade-point average can soar above the customary 4.0, if he's able to push it that high.
During his sophomore year, he had it up to a 4.6. But as a junior, a simple misdirection had him aggravated.
Weaver enrolled in an AP computer science class as a junior. He knew it'd be a challenge, but figured he'd be able to hang. And then things got started.
"It turned out to be a class that was basically for kids who did Java coding at home for fun," Weaver chuckles. "So, yeah, it was tough."
Mr. Weaver, this is my advice to you: if you ever see "LISP" on a course description, run like hell. This is my advice to all people. Emeril! Run like hell if you ever see this:
Now there will be a computer science hipster in the comments talking about how LISP is really elegant because of closures. I apologize in advance.
Anyway, you probably don't come here so I can dump on obscure programming languages. A little more on Weaver:
he appeared at Michigan's satellite camp stop in south Florida with some hope and not much else. At best, Weaver figured he could catch the attention of a Big Ten school. At worst, he knew he'd leave the event a better football player.
It was a win-win, he figured.
And, as is often the case in the classroom, he was right.
"The main reason I went to the camp was because I saw Michigan coaches would be there. I saw it as an opportunity, figured I'd do my best to put my best foot forward and do everything I could to get noticed," Weaver says. "I figured at least it'd be something where I could get better. I was going to go out there and do my best. If I showed well, then they'd notice me. If not, then maybe it wasn't meant to be.
"But I went knowing I'd get better one way or another. And it all worked out."
At 6'5", 245, Weaver is one of the infinite DE/TE prospects Michigan will bring in as long as Harbaugh's around. We probably won't know where he sticks until he's a junior.
Next year will not be the year. Northwestern's never been to the NCAA tournament. This is their nonconference schedule:
A tourney, road games against VT and DePaul, and then garbage.
They do get two of UNC/KState/Mizzou in their tourney. If that even helps much:
Last year's RPI of Northwestern's 2015-16 OOC slate: Two of 11, 100 & 218. Also: 196, 197, 228, 243, 265, 270, 292, 299, 326, 333, 345,
— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) June 24, 2015
Brutal. And this is a team that returns everyone except oft-injured senior JerShon Cobb and little-used Dave Sobolewski; they've got a senior version of Alex Olah and Tre Demps. This is the kind of Northwestern team that could possibly maybe put themselves on the bubble. But if they are, they're going to be crushed by their own schedule.
Etc.: The Puff Daddy thing is the weirdest. Zach Werenski profiled for the draft. A4 camp report. O'Bannon "one of the most significant antitrust cases of this era," says judge. Carr speaks at a Big Brothers, Big Sisters event.Take a picture: this UV has no mention of a weird thing Harbaugh did.
It's apparently that arbitrary down time in the offseason when I take a look back at Brian's recruiting profiles for the class that just finished their time at Michigan. In this case, that class is the infamous 2010 group, the last full class brought in by Rich Rodriguez during his time at Michigan.
So, uh, you've been forewarned.
I'll start with the nine offensive players in the class, five of whom were wide receivers. If that sounds like a strange and dangerous way to contruct a roster, you may be a longtime reader of this here blog. Or maybe you just watched the offensive line the last few years. Either/or, really.
We're Really Sorry About The Coaching Thing
As a Pioneer grad, I have no idea how Pioneer won this game.
By the time Brian wrote up Devin Gardner's profile, he'd already enrolled at Michigan and participated in the spring game. The comparison that came up the most in his profile—and, really, the most reasonable one to make at the time—is a pretty good indication of the level of expectation for Gardner's college career:
Why Vince Young? The combination of size, speed, a wonky throwing motion, and the multiple comparisons from gurus tips the balance over to Young, who redshirted despite being the top prospect in the country and didn't come into his own as a passer until he played Michigan in the Rose Bowl—awesome timing!
Guru Reliability: High. Ton of exposure to him. Elite 11 camp, UA game, all that stuff.
General Excitement Level: Towering. Vast. Expansive.
Gardner, of course, stayed on track—except for the cameo at wide receiver—by looking like a future star when he took the reins after Denard Robinson's injury in 2012, and while he had some disappointing outings in 2013, those were largely chalked up to the O-line and playcalling. It came off the rails last year for a host of reasons covered so thoroughly they're not worth bringing up again. Needless to say, reading through his profile leaves one with serious what-could've-been feels.
[Hit THE JUMP for Dramatic Cupcake Hopkins and, well, mostly disappointment.]
Only three former Wolverines were selected in the NFL Draft—Devin Funchess, Frank Clark, and Jake Ryan—but a handful of others will get their shot as undrafted free agents. Here's a quick look at where each UDFA ended up and their chances of sticking on an NFL roster.
Brennen Beyer, DE/OLB, Baltimore Ravens
Beyer was consistently solid the last few years, playing out a career reminiscent of Craig Roh; while never outrageously productive—he topped out at 5.5 sacks in a single season—he played disciplined defense on the edge. Beyer is almost certainly an outside linebacker in the Ravens 3-4 defense, which will be a transition after playing with his hand in the dirt for the most part at Michigan—he did start five games at linebacker in 2013. Like most UDFAs, Beyer has an uphill climb to make a roster; for comparison's sake, Roh spent one season on Carolina's practice squad, then played for the Omaha Mammoths of the FXFL in 2014.
Devin Gardner, WR, New England Patriots
Gardner is making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver, and he landed on the right team to do just that; the Patriots turned Julian Edelman, a 2009 seventh-rounder, from an all-MAC dual-threat quarterback at Kent State into one of the more reliable receivers in the league.
Of course, Gardner did get some experience playing the position in college, playing receiver in 2012 until Denard Robinson's injury forced him back into quarterback duty. Gardner displayed his great athleticism, especially as a red zone threat—he had four touchdowns in eight games as a WR—but his rawness at the position was also evident. The book on Gardner from his pre-draft preparation falls in line with what we saw in 2012:
A college quarterback, Michigan's Devin Gardner is making the transition to wide receiver for the next level, a position he played briefly in his Ann Arbor career. However, he is understandably still very raw as a wideout. During Monday's practice, Gardner rounded off routes, dropped passes and attracted a good amount of attention from the coaches as they tried to coach him up. He did some things well and has the athleticism for his size that should translate well, but it will certainly take some time before he sheds the “quarterback trying to play wide receiver” label.
How quickly Gardner learns the finer aspects of playing receiver will determine if he's worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster or gets the opportunity to refine his game on the practice squad. Even if it doesn't work out with New England, he should get a shot somewhere; there's no question he's got a lot of potential, and I think his hands NFL-quality—the UFR catch chart reveals that he caught all but one easy throw that season, and was targeted on a lot of uncatchable throws that significantly drag down his yards per target.
Delonte Hollowell, DB, Detroit Lions
MLive's Kyle Meinke reports Hollowell will be at Detroit's rookie minicamp this weekend, though it isn't clear whether he's been signed as an undrafted free agent or is simply getting a tryout. (I'd guess it's the latter.) Hollowell saw the occasional snap as a slot corner but mostly played special teams at Michigan. Unless he turns into a special teams demon, he's facing a major uphill battle to make a roster, especially given his relatively small stature.
Matt Wile, P, Carolina Panthers
Wile, who saw significant action as both a placekicker and punter at Michigan, will get his shot as a punter in Carolina. The incumbent Panthers punter, Brad Nortman, took a step back in 2014 after a stellar 2013 season, so there may be an opening for Wile to land the job, but to do so he'll have to beat out an established vetaran—one Carolina used a sixth-round pick on in 2012.