“He was on the other side of the court, screaming: ‘Good shot, Kev!’” Durant said, shaking his head in delight. “I’m thinking, this guy’s an All-American type of teammate right there.”
The Freep carried a take from a writer with the Lansing State Journal, regarding some MSU fans being up in arms with worry over the fact that we have taken every top in-state recruit with offers from both schools. I thought it was interesting to see the perspective from the other side. The writer argues that (of course) recruiting rankings don't matter that much, and that sparty has had lower recruiting rankings than us most years but still beat us. But both from the writer's comments and from a few posters, it is clear that clear eyed sparties are indeed worried.
Michigan kept the commitment train rolling by landing Matt Godin and 2013 QB Shane Morris last week. With 11 commitments already in the 2012 class it doesn't look like things will slow down just yet. Here's a look at some recent happenings, and where Michigan is at with a few new prospects.
6'5", 270 lbs.
Keenan is a versatile lineman that has racked up around 15 offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi State, and Tennessee, amongst others. Despite the fact that Trey lives in Texas he has some roots in Michigan.
Michigan came by the other day, Coach Funk did. We plan on making it up this summer because my grandma still lives in St. Clare Shores, that's where my dad's from. He played at Northwood and he's a big Michigan guy. He grew up with the 70's and 80's teams when Michigan was cranking out good teams. He always cheered for Michigan.
Trey has been to Ann Arbor before, just not for a football game.
Before I was a football player I was a big hockey player. We went to Ann Arbor for a hockey game once. I played hockey until I was 15, and I was actually drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western league.
Michigan already has one former hockey player turned offensive lineman in Ben Braden. It would be pretty unique to have two in one class. The Wolverines seem to be high on Keenan's list for a number of reason.
Coach Funk said they're in a real shortage of offensive linemen, they only have eleven. They want to try to get six out of our class. I think he likes how athletic I am, and I'm strong enough to be in lifting meets.
It seems as though the Michigan coaches are positioning themselves to make Keenan's final list as well.
I want to figure out my list by the schools that I feel like have invested time in me, coming by my school, and making the extra effort with handwritten letters like Michigan has. If football didn't happen that I'd still love going to school there. I also want to go to a place that could push me football wise and if everything worked out right, get me to the next level. I think Michigan fits those points.
He plans on having his narrowed down list out by the end of this school year. As he said he'll make it up to Michigan sometime in the summer. Ultimately he would like to have his final decision made before his senior year starts up at the end of summer.
6'1", 175 lbs.
Michigan is in great shape with a few defensive backs that already hold offers. The coaches, however, are still offering defensive back prospects that they think fit their system. Glenville DB De'von Bogard is the most recent recipient, and Will Hines could potentially be on that list as well. I have been in contact with Hines for some time now, but he believes that things are starting to pick up.
I have eight offers so far and I think Texas A&M and Michigan might be close to offering. Michigan came by the school the other day. Coach Funk said he liked my updated highlight film and the defensive coordinator just needed to look at it. He's going to look at it in the next few weeks I guess.
I believe the coaches will be out recruiting these next couple weeks, so Mattison will probably watch his film after that. Hines said that he does have a top list right now, but that could change if some schools jump in the mix.
Right now it's Arkansas, Baylor, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma State. Those are the top five that have offered. If Michigan offers then they'll probably take Notre Dame's spot.
Hines doesn't know too much about Michigan yet, but is definitely hoping for an offer.
They have a great history, a great program, and they make a lot of great players. It's going to be tough to get up there, but I am going to try to get up there for a visit. I'd like to make my decision towards the end of summer after I get some visits in.
Like I said Michigan is in great shape with a few other defensive backs, so we'll see in the near future how many spots are left.
6'3", 235 lbs.
Michigan has already extended a few offers to 2013 prospects. Commit Shane Morris, and Ohio super Dymonte Thomas were the first two. The third is Detroit Catholic Central ATH Wyatt Shallman.
[Michigan] offered me in person. Me, my dad, my mom, and sister all met the coaches. We went in and talked to Coach Hoke and he offered. We were just kind of small talking and then he said, by the way you have a full scholarship to go here that will pay for your education. We just kind of looked at each other, and my mom cried. It didn't really sink in to me until I was driving away from the stadium and I could see it in the rear view, as cliche as that sounds.
Cincinnati has also offered Shallman, and he's hearing from MSU as well. The interesting part of the Michigan offer is that the coaching staff has told him they want him as a tailback, not a fullback.
I was offered as a tailback at Michigan. There's a common misconception that I'm big and will play fullback. I believe that I could be a different type of tailback. I had a long talk with Fred Jackson. They were telling me how the offensive coordinator came from Auburn with Ronnie Brown. Everyone said Ronnie was a fullback, but they noticed his speed and used him as a tailback. I feel like there's some parallels with him, and they told me I'd be dotting the i.
Even though Michigan was his first offer, Penn State was where his recruitment started. That seems to have left an impression on him as well.
Penn State is really the first school to start recruiting me. I went down to a camp after freshman year and they started talking to me after that. With them being my first influence in recruiting really intrigued me. I would love to get an offer from them because of all the tradition they bring to the table.
Penn State may have been the early bird, but Shallman's family will also factor in to his decision.
It's a great thing for my family to have this offer, because they're a football family. I was never a football fan growing up until about 8th grade. My mom is a crazy Michigan fan, she has bumper stickers that say Oh How I Hate Ohio State and everything. It will probably take me awhile to make my final decision, too. It involves my whole family, they're my rock and this is a family decision. I'm going to take my time with everything.
Wyatt is lucky to have a good foundation to support him, and he also has a good friend that recently went through the recruiting process as well.
Me and Matt [Godin] are really good friends. He was kind of my mentor this season, and he was a sophomore on varsity also. We've talked a little bit about recruiting and Michigan but we haven't had a lot of time to sit down and talk about it. Once you commit you're kind of a recruiter for that school so I'm sure he'll try to do that with me.
Shallman is nowhere near a decision, obviously, and plans to let everything take its course.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley recently said Michigan was his leader in a Toledo Blade article. Wormley told me last week that he thinks he's inching closer to a decision. Once track is over in June is when he'll start to focus on his recruitment.
Instate DB Terry Richardson will most likely be making his announcement this week. It will probably be Tuesday or Thursday, according to his coach. I'll let you know once I have the official word. An early decision is good for Michigan. [Ed: The announcement is set for Tuesday at 11:45am]
Ohio DE Adolphus Washington told me that he will be making a trip to Michigan soon. It's safe to assume that he will bring his teammate WR Dwayne Stanford with him as well. Look for that to happen in the next two weeks.
There's been a rumor running around that Michigan may be getting a visit from QB Gunner Kiel. I haven't confirmed that yet, but there's been a lot of smoke around Kiel's name lately, so keep an eye on that. [Ed: Source of the smoke seems to be Facebook stalkers noting a Kiel wall post from Borges asking if he's coming in this weekend. If he does end up on campus that's a very good sign since he was just in Ann Arbor. Rapid-fire visits like that usually mean the school being visited is the leader.]
Georgia DT Jordan Watkins is expecting a visit from the Michigan coaches this week, or next. Watkins has a ton of offers, has a 3.7 GPA, and even plays the cello.
A couple quick notes on a few questions that keep coming up. It looks as though the Michigan coaches have cooled on TE Ron Thompson for now. His coach is planning on calling the Michigan coaches this week to find out what's going on. Please try not to speculate too much here.
Illinois DB Anthony Standifer had to reschedule his visit this past week because his father couldn't make it. He plans on rescheduling it in roughly two weeks, once the coaches are back from recruiting trips. Michigan is still in good shape with him. The new offers from the likes of Notre Dame may cause him to slow things down, but when he visits a commitment is possible.
I was told and reported awhile ago that Michigan and Rutgers were probably the top two schools for New York DB Wayne Morgan. I was told recently that Michigan may have taken over the top spot for Morgan by his coach. Both Morgan and his coaches have been impressed with the Wolverine coaching staff.
Yeah, so it's not gonna happen.
After a celebrated 2010 run of blog personality profiles collectively known as MGoProfile (collected here in the final entry's index), I've heard the rumbling of requests for new 2011 entries continue to grow louder and louder since Signing Day.
Truth is, new developments in both my personal and professional lives have effectively made it impossible for me to continue to meet the deadlines I'd set for myself. Or, at least, to be able to do so and yet still maintain a level of quality I am comfortable with.
As MGoShoe, Brian and others can testify, I went back and forth on this for several weeks now, trying to decide if I can pull it off. One of the biggest reasons that made it hard to decide is because I enjoyed doing it last year, especially because it has been fun building correspondences/friendships with some of the fellow MGoBlog community. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible last year... and have kept in touch since.
But, in the end, life is just too crazy right now. So thanks for the interest, and sorry.
Unless you guys would be happy with one every two weeks...?
If anyone is truly interested in taking over the concept this year, please feel free to express interest. I'd certainly be willing to hand over any artwork or otherwise help get you started.
Just kidding, obviously.
It's a slow night, but to keep this from being pointless, I thought I'd throw down a couple of under-discussed reasons to be excited about Michigan football.
1. As strong as the defensive recruiting has been under Mattison, the guy's skills clearly extend way beyond recruiting. The Baltimore f(rea)king Ravens had him as their DC even though recruitment is a trivial part of an NFL DC's job. There must be some serious coaching and/or motivational skill there.
2. We've talked about quickly filling the 2012 class as beneficial in that it lets us get started on 2013, but it also lets the coaching staff focus its undivided attention on preparing for the coming season. I have a feeling that's a big deal for a new staff.
Anyone else want to share some good feelings before Monday strikes?
A long, long time ago I did some analysis on the correlation between defensive performance and player experience. The results showed, somewhat surprisingly, no correlation. However, the consistent knock was that the analysis leaves out player talent level. This article will hopefully lay that issue to rest. We will look at the talent level of defenses throughout the NCAA, examine the correlation between the average rivals star rating of the defensive players on the two-deep and the defensive performance, and conclude that it is quite significant. We will weep a little at Michigan's poor performance, but end up hopeful that from the ashes of 2010, a salvageable defense can rise in 2011.
As before, I'm scraping the depth chart data from rivals for the 97 teams for which it is available, and for this analysis, using only the defensive players. As before, I calculate "experience" from the players academic year (fr = 1, so = 2, jr = 3, se = 4, gs = 5, rs += 1).* I then take a simple average to come up with an experience score for the defense.
Next, I scraped the rivals recruiting database to get star ratings. Unfortunately, even though both data sources are from rivals, they have a significant amount of mismatches, so I had to go back through and find ratings for several hundred players, in cases where, for example, rivals had the full name in the two-deep but only the first initial in the recruiting database. Yes, this was a massive pain in my ass**, and it is why this analysis doesn't include offensive data - I didn't feel like looking up another several hundred players***. Players that I couldn't find got 1 star. (eg, the Michigan 1 stars are: Moundros, Kovacs, Leach) Finally, with stars for every player, I took an average for each defense.
"Defensive Performance" comes from Football Outsiders. I'm back to using the S&P+ out of personal preference.
First lets look at a plot of experience vs talent for defenses in the NCAA last year:
Each point is a team, their average "talent" as measured by rivals star ratings is on the X axis, and "experience", as measured by average years on the team, is on the Y axis. The blue lines cross at Michigan's point. As you can see, Michigan's defense last year averaged right around 3 stars, which is not the worst in the NCAA but certainly not the best.
Lets summarize this data with a bunch of tables:
Teams with most talented defenses:
Teams with least talented defenses:
Talent on Big 10 teams + Nebraska and ND:
Teams nearest to Michigan by Euclidian distance:
|Team||Stars avg.||Exp. avg.|
Huh. . . that's actually some pretty good company.
Ok, next, lets look at how talent correlates with defensive performance:
Finally - a good correlation! After staring at those experience vs performance shotgun blasts, this is beautiful. Clearly, having a more talented defense leads to better performance. In a linear regression model with defensive talent (avg. rivals stars) and defensive experience (avg. years on team) as predictors and defensive performance (Football Outsiders' S&P+) as the target, talent is a significant predictor (p = 3.49e-11) of defensive performance with a large effect size (each avg star increases a defense's S&P+ score by 14.8). R2 is so-so, at 0.38. However, as we saw in previous analyses, years on the team is still not a significant predictor (p = 0.84). This underscores the extreme importance of recruiting.
The blue lines cross on Michigans point. Teams with the same level of talent turned in much better defensive performances, and teams with similar defensive performances pulled it off with much less talent. Blerg.
If we take the red line (best fit line) as a gauge of the performance a team should be able to get from a group of players with a given telant level, we can look at who is overperforming and underperforming that prediction by looking at the distance of the actual performance from the red line.
Top 10 outperforming their talent level:
|Team||Gain over Predicted|
Top 10 underperforming their talent level:
|Team||Loss from Predicted|
Big 10 + Nebraska and ND:
|Team||Distance from Expected|
I've said it before, I'll say it again: Blerg.
Interestingly, even after including talent in the regression, experience ("years on the team") is still nowhere close to being a significant predictor of defensive performance. Getting older is not guaranteed to make your team appreciably better, but getting talent on the field does. There is also clearly a range of outcomes available at each level of talent, exemplefied by Boise State and TCU (assuming FO S&P+ really does account for strength of schedule). We might attribute this to a factor not included in the regression analysis, eg. "coaching".
All told, there are no excuses in Michigan's average experience or talent level that can account for the defensive performance in 2010. In terms of average talent and experience, this team resembles some of the best teams in the country, including the national champions. Hopefully, this means there is no reason that there can't be a huge turnaround in 2011.
Unfortunately, SD State doesn't have a depth chart on rivals, so they weren't included in this analysis. It might be interesting to compare their performance to expectations - maybe I'll do that for my next diary.
* Yes, I know this counts "years on the team" and not "years as a starter", quit telling me that.
** I discovered a bug in rivals recruit search. Go here: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/recruit-search and put Greg Banks in the first and last name boxes, and select "any year" in the drop down. Hit search. Now go back and search for Greg Bank.
*** Though if anyone wants to help me compile this data I'd be open to that, we could use more excellent articles like this one: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/recruiting-bias-and-accuracy