to play football, not to play trumpet
A full breakdown of Michigan's Signing Day class from Sam Webb and Ryan Terpstra along with Scout analysts Allen Trieu and Brian Dohn.
For those of you who paid attention to SotS yesterday, you might have noticed that Ric Flair said he was recruited by and offered a scholarship by Bump Elliott. Several former players confirmed that this is true, and they took him to Beta House during his university visit.
I must have misread, because I thought I read that he signed an LOI - did their used to be different rules on LOIs? Could you sign more than one and then choose? Or perhaps Bump let him out of it? More likely he just said he was offered one, I don't know.
Regardless, I wanted to see what became of his football career if this is indeed true. Turns out, Ol Richard Fliehr was in fact a Golden Gopher, ever so briefly.
He was an O-Lineman with the team in '69 and '70, though I can't find record of him after that. According to his wiki page, he started training for pro wrestling in the winter of 71 - so if they mean Jan/Feb '71, he probably dropped out of school following the end of the 1970 season. The Gophers last game that year was 11/21 - a loss at Wisconsin to cap a 3-6-1 year, so that timeline would fit.
Unfortunately, as an OL, there are no stats. He would've been a very small O-Lineman, as he's only billed at 6'1" - I suppose in that day he might have been a couple inches taller, 6'3" or so. Likely a center?
Last night Brain Dohn wrote, "National Signing Day produced winners, disappoints and surprises."
Michigan State was on the list for disappointment and guess who is it???
The Spartans make the list because of expectations, and the inability to land anyone on the day. It may be coach Mark Dantonio's best class with the Spartans, but coming off a playoff appearance, they were a non-factor on the day. Cornerback LaVert Hill, defensive end Karamo Dioubate and defensive end Prince Sammons were all on the table and none would up choosing Michigan State.
Here the Link:
Love it! That they are throwing salt on a wound.
Here’s the backstory on U-M history professor Tyran Steward, who was one of the presenters at SOTS (he took the stage with Brad Keselowski). In case you were thinking he’s just a random professor they picked to lend a little academic prestige to the occasion, you would be wrong.
He has a strong connection to Michigan football, and considering he helped us land Rashan Gary, we owe the professor some thanks.
It’s quite obvious he was selected for SOTS because he’s Rashan’s favorite professor. I’m not sure if they asked him as a thank-you for helping to land Gary, or if it was designed to help push Gary over the maize-and-blue edge. But he wasn’t on the Hill Auditorium stage by accident.
When Gary came for his official visit, they arranged for Rashan and his mom to have breakfast with Professor Steward. You’ll remember that Rashan’s mom gushed about it to Scout:
“I met Tyran Steward. He’s a history professor,” Coney said. “He was just telling me about his classes. I can talk to this guy for hours. The day we left, Sunday morning, we went and had breakfast together and we just talked about everything. Not so much about Rashan, but just about life. Going through questions that I had, picking his brain… I was really impressed by him. I said if Rashan goes to Michigan, Rashan will be definitely taking one of his writing courses.”
Tyran Steward is also the one who’s largely responsible for bringing the story of Willis Ward to life. If you’ve seen the excellent documentary “Black and Blue,” you know the Willis Ward story. He’s the extraordinary Michigan man who was benched for the Georgia Tech game in 1934 because of the color of his skin. Oh, and he was Gerald Ford’s best friend.
Steward wrote his master’s thesis (at EMU) on Willis Ward, and he was interviewed extensively in “Black and Blue.” Here he is in the trailer for the documentary:
If you haven’t yet seen “Black and Blue,” then get a copy and see it. You’ll not only learn an extraordinary story - you’ll also get to meet Tyran Steward.
So, if you’re wondering who that anonymous professor at Signing of the Stars was, that’s who he was. And I think we all need to offer some thanks to Professor Tyran Steward today. Thanks for bringing the story of Willis Ward to life. And thanks for being the kind of excellent professor that brought Rashan Gary to Ann Arbor.
Oh, and the kicker? Tyran Steward got his doctorate at Ohio State.
Thanks, Professor Steward.
Ratings are on a 1(lowest) - 10(highest) scale. (Edit: 5 is the mean. Above 5 is a comparative advantage. Below 5 is a comparative disadvantage.) Relation to current depth chart and principal opponents is included throughout.
Take-aways: Rashan Gary is a coup, but Rashan Gary with David Long and Lavert Hill could lay the foundation for the most dominant defense in college football. Neither ILB nor DT are as dire of concerns in the short or medium term as some folks seem to think. OLB and the HSP are unkowns over the long term as Brown takes over and Peppers departs. Brown as DC makes OLB one of the most intriguing positions in the class. If you are looking for a sleeper of the year candidate, that is a good place to start.
#1) defensive end
Michigan lands a generational talent in Rashan Gary. The two Johnsons are both very good prospects.
Importance to scheme: 10.
Importance to depth chart: 7. DL is deep, but Gary fills a long sought need at 'elite pass rusher.'
Comparative advantage to the rest of conference: 8. B1G boasts excellent pass-rushing DEs and recruited very well at the position again in 2016. However, Gary has the potential to be a generational talent.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders: 8. Rashan Gary has that much potential.
#2) Defensive Tackle
Rashan Gary is elite. Dwumfour will eventually be at NT/3T. Onwenu might move over.
Importance to scheme: 8.
Importance to depth: 6. Might be critical to 2017, depending on whether or not Mone leaves for the draft.
Comparative advantage to the rest of conference: 10. Ryan Glasgow was one of the best players on defense this year. Bryan Mone might end up being better than Glasgow. They will make our ILBs look better than they really are. Rashan Gary is the best prospect in the country. All of these players could probably start for any team in the B1G.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders: 9. The Glasgow/Mone rotation is the best NT/3T rotation in the country. Gary is the best recruit in the country. Onwenu is a very, very large man who will probably play OL. We have the best DL in the country.
#3) inside linebackers
Devin Bush Jr. could compete for playing time immediately. Elysee Mbem-Bosse and Dytarious Johnson provide solid options.
Importance to scheme: 5. Our monster DTs should keep blockers off the ILB.
Importance to depth chart: 7. I’m not as freaked out about this as most fans are. Gedeon, McCray and Furbush all have solid tools. Between them and the three recruits, we should be able to find two capable starters. I honestly think position coaching was a problem here last year and Brown is known for his LB coaching. Hope I’m right about this.
Comparative advantage to the rest of the conference: 4. Riley Bullough, a good, but not great B1G ILB, is far more proven than our LBs. On the other hand, both Bush and Mbem-Bosse are higher rated recruits than any other incoming ILBs in the B1G.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders: 1. Compare our ILBs to Alabama’s Reuben Jones and Ben Davis. We are hoping for solid, unspectacular play. They expect All-American level play.
#4) outside linebackers/WDE
This is where it really gets wierd. Carlo Kemp is an OLB/DE hybrid type that will probably red-shirt. Josh Uche is a low ranked OLB prospect who is faster than all of our WR commits. Devin Gil was originally a safety prospect and he is also faster than most of our WR commits. Ron Johnson might fit this role.
Importance to scheme: 1/9 Very unimportant in the near-term. Will eventually be very important under Brown. Expect red-shirts with a schematic transition to more 3-4 and less Hybrid Space Player after Peppers departs.
Importance to depth chart: 8. Important for Brown to bring in the type of athletes he will eventually utilize. Expect this to become more important in future years.
Comparative advantage to rest of conference: 2. Very few OLBs on roster, hard to project current recruits. Even so, it’s hard to beat MSU’s STAR LB and Ohio State’s players, including incoming 5-star Keandre Jones.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders: 2, but give it time.
#5) Hybrid Space Player
Khaleke Hudson is a big hitter, but he’s not nearly as fast as Peppers. Long and Hill are fast, but they’re almost certainly not going to be as good against the run as Peppers. Take away: Peppers is sui generis.
Importance to scheme: 10/4. Critically important in the near term, especially against spread offenses. Likely to move away from it, as a matter of degree, when Peppers departs and OLB rises in importance.
Importance to depth: 2. Come on man, Peppers screen-obliterating, slot-cancelling athleticism can’t be replaced. All this heir apparent stuff is just crazy talk. Bask in the fact that we are blessed to watch Peppers play in the Maize and Blue and don’t set yourself of for disappointment farther down the road. We do need to identify solid nickel-backs who are capable run defenders, but that’s not the same as the pipe-dream of building HSP depth.
Comparative advantage to the rest of conference: 10. Peppers is sui generis. Enjoy watching him play while we can.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders: 10. Peppers is sui generis. Enjoy him doing his thing.
Michigan lands David Long and Lavert Hill, two elite athletes with the potential to be lock-down corners.
Importance to scheme: 9. Second only to an elite pass rusher. Especially devastating when paired with elite pass rusher.
Importance to depth chart. 7. Long and Hill are probably crucial to the 2017 depth chart, when Jourdan Lewis, and maybe Peppers, depart.
Comparative advantage to the rest of the conference: 10. Both of Michigan’s top 2 prospects have more potential in this role than any other recruit in the B1G East. They will have to vie for playing time behind arguably the best lockdown corner in the country (Jourdan Lewis). UM’s comparative advantage over the B1G here is ridiculous.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders: 8. Long and Hill are comparable to the elite prospects pulled in by the SEC, Florida State/Clemson, and USC. We have the potential to field the strongest elite DL/press coverage combination in the country by a significant margin.
Khaleke Hudson, Josh Metellus, Ahmir Mitchell, and Brad Hawkins.
Importance to scheme: 6, so long as level of play is adequate but unspectacular.
Importance to depth chart. 9. Other than 2016 and '17 recruits, its just Kinnel at S in 2017.
Comparative advantage to the rest of the conference. 5. Our players and recruits stack up well against the rest of the conference, but we don’t have an obvious advantage.
Comparative advantage to national championship contenders. 3. Our safeties won’t undermine our defense, but they won’t be All-Americans either.