Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
Fullback Stephen Hopkins has left the team, according to all of twitter. That's unexpected. Hopkins had some injury issues early this season and was on the verge of getting Wally Pipped by Joe Kerridge but had seemingly fought his way back to starting before a pretty terrible outing against Ohio State. Seems like that was a breaking point but that's just speculation.
With Paul Gyarmati graduating, that leaves Kerridge and freshman Sione Houma the main options at fullback, which is fine. Kerridge seemed to be a better blocker than Hopkins anyway. Houma has played on special teams for whatever reason and seems like more of a run/catch threat from the spot if and when he sees playing time. In addition to those two guys Michigan is also bringing in Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman as H-back sorts*, so they're fine at the spot.
Hopkins leaving opens up a 24th scholarship in the class, with more attrition pending. Given the flurry of offers Michigan has issued in the past few weeks it's clear they're looking for another linebacker, preferably a SAM type**, and I would guess they go above 25 if they find enough players they like.
*[FWIW I bet a dollar Shallman is on defense by the end of his freshman year.]
**[I don't think this has anything to do with Cam Gordon or Jake Ryan. It's more about the freshman class. If Royce Jenkins-Stone isn't going to be a SAM, and it doesn't look like he will, then there is no one younger than Ryan on the roster who can play the spot. Even if they make the logical move and slide Mario Ojemudia over, they could still use another guy there before Michael Ferns arrives in 2014.]
Ricardo Miller's facebook page:
I know there was a fake Devin Gardner page out there but this one has 1200 friends and several pictures of Miller taken from cellphones and the like. Looks legit to me.
Miller bounced to and from tight end after arriving early, never finding playing time. With walk-ons seeing snaps ahead of him the writing was on the wall—time to move on. As a redshirt sophomore his departure does open up a scholarship slot in the next class. That brings Michigan to 23 plus any guys who don't get a fifth year; they currently have 22 plus maybe longsnapper Scott Sypniewski. Gareon Conley is wavering, of course.
Also: yeah, Miller's getting a degree in three years. Good luck to him.
NEWS ITEM: Brady Hoke announced at Media Day that redshirt freshman Tamani Carter has left the program. Carter had obviously not seen the field. He was the first guy to ever commit to Brady Hoke, signing up as part of Michigan's late "oh crap we have a month before Signing Day and need ten guys" blitz. Michigan actually snatched him from Minnesota a mere eleven days after he'd committed to the Gophers. He also claimed Iowa and Stanford offers, though it seemed like they went off the board midway through his senior season.
No idea why the guy left yet but if I had to guess it's that he saw the writing on the wall about playing time. He was a non-entity in the spring when Allen Gant and Josh Furman weren't around and may have slipped further down the depth chart after their arrival/reinstatement.
Carter's departure takes Michigan down to 76 scholarship players this year and takes the open spots for the class of 2013 up to 22 plus any fifth years who don't return, though there are a couple of walk-ons (Burzynski and Brink) who might make a case for themselves as scholarship guys a la Kovacs. Sam Webb has been saying that Michigan is planning a class of 25 on WTKA; by my figuring Michigan is still two players over once fifth year decisions are factored in. That's not much of a concern six months from Signing Day, since things like injuries and depth charts and allegations happen to football players.
OTHER NEWS ITEMS: Clark and Toussaint will return to practice on Monday; no decision has yet been made about suspensions. Roy Roundtree had his knee scoped and will be out two weeks.
[Programming note: sorry about the slow content from myself. Minor family emergency, emphasis on minor, but one that required some attention the last 24 hours. Anyway…]
the spring headfake
Michigan's decision to recruit ALL OF THE CORNERBACKS is now a little clearer, as Sam Webb is reporting that Terrence Talbott has decided to leave the program. Talbott was buried on the depth chart last year before a star turn in the spring practice videos that seemed to indicate he was being given serious consideration for playing time. JT Floyd reasserted his hold on the starting spot in the spring game, and now Talbott's out the door. Apologies to Andy Staples, who used the hype at this site to name Talbott to his spring breakout team.
Talbott's departure leaves Michigan thin at boundary corner. If Floyd goes down it probably sees Blake Countess slide over and Courtney Avery slide into the starting lineup with either Delonte Holowell or Raymon Taylor taking over the nickel spot. Either that or Taylor steps into the starting lineup at boundary, but he's listed at 169 pounds on the roster… other than Floyd Michigan's cornerbacks are tiny. By virtue of being listed at 5'11", 180 Talbott was the second-biggest guy available. Floyd's health, already pretty important, is now more so.
From a recruiting perspective, Talbott's exit opens up a 21st scholarship for the 2012 class. On the WTKA recruiting roundup a couple days ago, Webb mentioned that Michigan would now take a 25th player in the class, so Talbott's decision seems to have come recently and led directly to Ross Douglas's offer and commitment. Michigan is still after LaQuon Treadwell and will look for BPA with slot #25. Rivals is reporting($) that Leon McQuay III has dropped Michigan after the Douglas commitment, so who that might be is a mystery unless it's VA RB Derrick Green.
NON-BONUS: The 2010 class, originally 27 strong, has been hacked to 15 in just two years. Death by…
- ACADEMICS: Antonio Kinard, Demar Dorsey, Davion Rogers, Conelius Jones
- BEING A NE'ER DO WELL: Austin White
- INJURY: Christian Pace, Terry Talbott
- DEPTH CHART RELATED: Cullen Christian, Ray Vinopal, DJ Williamson, Carvin Johnson, Terrence Talbott (probably)
last time: irrelevant. this time: apt metaphor
The bomb. Mark Emmert dropped it, and dropped it with unprecedented speed. The actual penalties are harsh but along the same lines as they usually are: bowl bans, scholarship reductions, and fines. Penn State's ban is four years, their scholarship reductions are 10 a year for four years, their roster limit is 65, and their fine is staggering. Penn State also vacates all its wins from 1998 to 2011, erasing Paterno's name from many record books.
This is all very terrible, and let's think of the victims.
Now let's think about football with our reptile brains.
Can we poach Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? A standard corollary to any bowl ban is to waive transfer restrictions on players whose eligibility expires before the ban does. This makes the entire Penn State roster fair game. Furthermore, John Infante says the NCAA is "considering waiving [the] scholarship limit" for schools that accept PSU transfers, something they have officially declared now. The catch is they'd have to pay that scholarship back the next year. In any case, that doesn't apply to Michigan, which is still trying to get up to a full complement of 85 after the Rodriguez attrition fiesta. Right now they've got 78 on scholarship.
The last remaining catch is the Big Ten's intra-conference transfer rule, which was recently nerfed from not being able to offer a scholarship at all to this:
The Big Ten altered its transfer rule within the conference, starting with the 2011-12 season. The new rule allows transfers to receive a grant-in-aid from their new school, but reduces their remaining athletic eligibility by a year. That penalty could have been waived if Wisconsin did not block him [Jared Uthoff] from Big Ten schools.
Penn State has lost the power to block transfers at all, so it may be a free for all not only for various Big East schools but also Michigan itself. Delany has taken some time out from crushing coaches' heads, Kids in the Hall style, to mention the Big Ten is likely to throw the floodgates open:
Both current Penn State players and incoming recruits will be able to transfer and be eligible immediately. Although a transfer within the Big Ten could result in some penalties, league commissioner Jim Delany said Monday that the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors are leaning toward allowing such transfers with no penalties.
The answer here appears to be "yes."
Would we even want to poach any Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? And maybe a tight end? A quick glance at the roster reveals a few guys who could shore up weak spots: DT Jordan Hill was honorable mention All Big Ten and Michigan could really use him at either NT or 3-tech. Anthony Zettel is a touted recruit from Michigan coming off a redshirt… but taking Zettel complicates Michigan's efforts to get 24 guys into its 2013 class since his eligibility does not expire after this year. In general, Michigan's looking for the equivalent of fifth-year transfers in basketball. Guys who might be of interest:
- WR Justin Brown, a senior who was PSU's second-leading receiver with 35 catches last year.
- DT James Terry, Devon Still's backup last year and a guy who will probably move into the starting lineup if he doesn't flee the blast radius.
- DT DaQuan Jones, another backup last year. He's entering his junior season and would require taking the 2013 class down to 23.
- Maybe some tight end but it's tough to say who. PSU's most experienced returner is Kevin Haplea, who had three catches last year and is listed at 248 pounds.
- While it's hypothetically possible an OL could transfer, no one's coming in to play backup tackle, so what's the point?
PSU's very good LBs are seniors but with Michigan returning three starters and grooming an army of youngsters behind them it's doubtful M is the most attractive place should any of them want to transfer.
Would any of these guys even want to leave? When this happened to USC, the Trojans suffered a half-dozen transfers, but the guys who left were universally backups. (That link also includes Seantrel Henderson, but he was a recruit let out of his LOI, so that's maybe not the best example.) It's doubtful any of the PSU seniors will abandon a sure starting gig for uncertainty elsewhere with coaches who haven't thought about you since you were a recruit. They're weighing certainty and loyalty over a one-year cameo somewhere else. Anyone expecting PSU's starting 22 to defect en masse is going to be surprised.
The carnage will be greater with younger kids, who haven't had as much time to develop a fondness for PSU and State College and are staring down the prospect of never going to a bowl again. This doesn't help Michigan much since they want a quick-fix quasi JUCO thing that won't force a player out of the next recruiting class. Few of the players PSU has brought in over the past few years seem worthy of sacrificing that spot. Maybe Zettel, maybe CJ Olaniyan. Past that you're looking at a legion of three-stars and two-stars, guys who don't fit Michigan's positional needs, etc.
Would Michigan even pursue these guys? Probably not. Brady Hoke was recruiting in California or the MAC when these guys were on the market. It would be a surprise if any were on his radar. They might also feel icky about raiding PSU, and they are very confident in their recruiting and evaluation.
On the other hand, you've got an honorable mention All Big Ten DL out there who might enjoy a Rose Bowl…
What about poaching guys who haven't showed up on campus yet? PSU's 2012 LOIs have been invalidated but Urban Meyer already picked PSU's bones clean before signing day. PSU's got one Rivals 250 guy, WR Eugene Lewis. Do you want him or LaQuon Treadwell? Right.
Meanwhile, PSU's 2013 class has the nation's top TE, but Adam Breneman just blew out his ACL. They've also got a touted SDE type in Garrett Sickels who briefly listed Michigan before committing to PSU. Michigan is not the team who will take advantage of the explosion.
Michigan is unlikely to go after anyone who would have eligibility after 2012 but could be interested in one-and-done transfers. Their most obvious needs are WR, TE, and DL, and Penn State has one third-WR type and a couple of starting-ish DTs available. Michigan may look into acquiring Jordan Hill or James Terry. More likely is that the trail of refugees heads to Big East schools.
You will be surprised to find out which of these men is Chris Rock, or at least you would if you didn't know already.
Redshirt-freshman-to-be Chris Rock, he of the name that looks almost exactly like former Wisconsin basketball player Kammron Taylor, has left the program.
Rock hadn't played yet (obviously) and didn't make much impact in spring, so the departure shouldn't affect Michigan's projected performance in 2012 unless things get ugly at the three-tech spot. And since there are a couple of large incoming freshmen who may have beaten Rock out, this could be a writing on the wall type of scenario. Rock's star fell precipitously after his commitment to Michigan, something his recruiting profile acknowledged. He was a developmental guy, and if he wasn't developing meaningful wink wink ellipsis goes here…
The previous assumption of 20 open spots given fifth year non-renewals now moves to 21. Michigan was probably going to take two SDE/3tech guys unless they pulled a star secondary recruit out of nowhere, so priorities don't really shift. Expect 1 RB, 1 WR, 2-3 DL, and maybe that secondary guy with Michigan's six-ish remaining spots.