landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
How do you feel about your unit here going into the first game?
“You know, the thing that’s unique about the kicking game is the first time you really test it is the game, and we don’t have preseason games in college. So, I feel great about the practices we’ve had so far. We get 29 of them. We’ve had whatever, however many we’ve been allotted. The head coach has given us incredible meeting time, practice time, and availability and so to this point I like the focus of our players and what we’ve done and look forward to the contest, but you get to see what you’ve got when you play. It’s very hard to simulate a kickoff or a punt in practice and the intensity of the game.”
Who’s leading at the kicker spot?
“Well, you know, we’ve got three. This competition is going to go all the way up until pregame. And there’s really no need to pick one at this point because there’s none of them that have been in a game. Coach Harbaugh really believes in competitive excellence at every position, and those guys are duking it out. They’ve been taking- they took equal turns today in team. Each of them got four kicks. They’ve taken equal turns pretty much through camp.”
Who are the guys working there?
“Kyle Seychel and Kenny Allen and Andrew David- you know, the new guy, the freshman. They’ve done a nice job. Once again, we get the opportunity to practice 29 times so we’re going to take that opportunity. There’s not an established starter or whatever there, so…”
What about at punter?
“Well, at punter, Kenny Allen and Blake O’Neill are both punting. They will both punt, okay? They will both punt for Michigan this year. Blake has some skills Kenny doesn’t have, [and] Kenny has some skills Blake doesn’t have. And we’re a pro-style team on offense, defense, and kicking game, and Blake came here to want to be a pro in one year, and Kenny has really embraced being accurate. So here’s the thing: they’re both good. Kenny’s improved a lot. Blake adds some nice depth there, and they’ll both play. Don’t know how often you see a two-punter system, but we got one.”
[After THE JUMP: Kick and punt returners, and a personal connection]
I changed up the format this week since the question was a seven-parter. A reminder of who everyone is:
- Brian: Blogger of mighty repute.
- Ace: Lead reporter, recruiting/basketball guy.
- Seth: Associate editor/site business guy
- BiSB: A funny person.
- Adam Schnepp: Press correspondent (Heiko's old job) and hockey guy.
- Alex Cook: Basketball correspondent
- Dave Nasternak: J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Lead Backend Logistics Strategist and Associate Vice President of Name Day Nittany Lion Taunting and Corporate Titlery (i.e. a responsible adult)
The Question Seven Questions:
Brian: Best recruit? Most important? Most likely to outperform ranking? Best name (nationally)? Guy who got away who will haunt you? Guy you are most irrationally enthusiastic about? Overall class hot take? Harbaugh?
BiSB: Brian Cole. He's a fantastic athlete, but more importantly Cole is a guy with speed in a position where, despite the assertions of some, SPEED IS A GOOD THING THAT CANNOT BE TAUGHT AND IS A GOOD THING. One caveat: Roquan Smith takes this category if he picks Michigan.
|Five votes for the superlative in-stater. [Allen Trieu/Scout]|
Seth: Brian Cole. In a terribly weak in-state class, this player this year was the perfect opportunity for Dantonio to flip the in-state script—no weird families or MSU connections or coaches who lock players in their cars during their Michigan visits or questionable transcripts.
AND he's a great player at two positions of need. Other than Borgesian leapers at receiver there's Canteen and Drake Harris's un-Dude hamstrings. Safety is an even greater need; if by some holy luck Peppers stays through 2018, Michigan would have two safeties in 2018. I'd gladly take Cole and four more just like him.
Adam Schnepp: Zach Gentry. I am an unabashed fan of gun-slinging giants who causes Physics and Anatomy to get into a fight over who left THAT loophole open. I think about fitting him into a Harbaugh-ffense and find myself chortling under my breath. If you're a commit who makes me chortle when thinking about your fit with Michigan's system then you too could be a contender for next year's Best Recruit.
Dave Nasternak: Probably Brian Cole. I can see arguments for Gentry, but I think that Cole is the best overall player, right now. And I think (hope?) he is the only member from this class who will not see a 2015 redshirt...if for no other reason than they just will not be able to keep him off of the field. There are a handful of places that he should be able to contribute early -WR, Returner, ST coverage, etc.
Ace: Another vote for Cole. He's such a good athlete that it's hard to imagine he won't end up contributing somewhere, and he's especially impactful with the ball in his hands.
Alex Cook: Brian Cole. The whole "the best players from Michigan go to Michigan" thing is, um, patently false, but there's a good chance that Cole will be the best homegrown recruit in this cycle. Oh, and he was a presumed State lean before committing to Michigan - and he stuck through the coaching change? Great. I'm sold.
Brian: I'm going with Zach Gentry. You do not get guys flying past safeties 50 yards downfield at 6'8" anywhere, and Gentry improved considerably over the course of his career. John Navarre running Buffalo 100 Meter Dash? I'll take it. Gentry has higher bust potential, yeah, but that upside. Yooooooo.
[Hit the jump for most important, sleeper, best names, the one that got away, and bloggers going squeeee]
[Note: there were no microphones for media so I can’t get the questions verbatim from my recording. Instead I’ve gone with the gist of the question.]
“Thank you. Good to see everybody. Thanks for coming out today. Exciting day for us as a football program, for the families, and for the youngsters who work so hard to earn a football scholarship and to see that hard work come to fruition today is a very exciting day. We’re very pleased with our class. Very proud, really, and I think everybody that loves Michigan is going to be proud to call these youngsters their own.”
On how difficult it is to come in late in the recruiting process:
“It wasn’t difficult. It was a real joy. It was a real pleasure. Just the things that I learned about some of the players that were already committed under coach Hoke and his regime, and they did a tremendous job.
“You talk about some of those guys- Andrew Paul David. And his confirmation name is John, if you were wondering. Andrew Paul John David. You pretty much got the gospel covered right there. Grew up a Michigan fan. Great love of Michigan.
“Tyree Kinnel, somebody who was handed a Michigan football at birth, was committed here.
“Also, John Runyan Jr. I was told he wore a Michigan onesie when he was a year old.
“People have a love and passion for Michigan football. Grant Perry’s another who recently committed here and signed today. Grew up and Mark’s dad- Mark was a record-setting receiver in the state of Michigan. Over 13 records. But he grew up like me, Grant did. In the shadow of Michigan Stadium, getting autographs from football players and basketball players, dad was a coach. Mark was telling me that he’d bring Grant to practice and as a seven-year-old he always found a way to get a helmet, be running routes, [and] doing amazing things with the football at every practice that he went to. A winner. That’s what I’m really excited about in this class. Those two things; a lot of youngsters that have a real deep desire to be at Michigan and have won, and in Grant’s case he’s won at everything he’s ever done going back to little league baseball, basketball, and football, including three state championships at Brother Rice along with Alex Malzone, who’s also in our class.
“Did I tell you Andrew David was a really good short stop? Heck of a baseball player, too.”
[After THE JUMP: the pickle quote]
Commit Updates: Look, Ma. No Tee.
2015 Michigan commit Andrew David connected on a 58-yard field goal over the weekend, breaking the school record for Ohio powerhouse Massillon Washington in doing so. I'm told that's quite a long way for a high schooler to kick a football accurately, let alone from off the ground instead of a tee. I'm sure there won't be any jokes about trying to sneak this kid onto the team this week. Nope. None at all.
Steve Lorenz has your free wrapup of the rest of Michigan's commits in action over the weekend. Some highlights:
- Alex Malzone finished 13-for-20 for 201 yards and three TDs in a dramatic 28-21 Brother Rice win over Warren De La Salle (Shane Morris' former school). Dave and I were at Wayne State for the game, and I'll have a full breakdown of the tape tomorrow.
- Chris Clark finally began his senior season and did so in style with 14 catches for 165 yards and a TD. Highlights from the game are on his Hudl page.
- Darian Roseboro had seven tackles as a defensive lineman. Oh, and 186 yards and four TDs as a jumbo running back. Sadly, no highlights of this yet.
After dispatching De La Salle on Friday, Malzone attended Saturday's game along with fellow commits Brian Cole, Jon Runyan Jr., and Mike Weber, and according to TomVH he's "confident" that group—and the other commits—will stick with Michigan. At least one anonymous uncommitted target, on the other hand, is reevaluating his stance on the Wolverines after Saturday's debacle ($):
One prospect who has been hearing from Michigan said the season has impacted how he feels about the Wolverines. He has had second thoughts about his interest, not just because of the wins and losses, but because of what he has seen on the field.
Of note: Tom mentioned specifically that 2015 five-star WDE Keisean Lucier-South and 2016 four-star OT Ben Bredeson haven't changed their opinion of U-M, though KLS attached a disconcerting "yet" to his statement.
[Hit THE JUMP for updates on a pair of 2015 targets, Brian Cole's early enrollment plans, yet another school interested in flipping Chris Clark, and more.]
Hoops: Michigan Drops Jalen Coleman
Since basketball recruiting news comes in waves with long periods of inactivity, and I'm the basketball guy around here anyway, hoops recruiting updates have been absorbed into the regular recruiting roundups; please excuse—and correct!—any errors I might make while I acclimate myself to the hoops recruiting scene, which I've largely ignored while Brian handled the updates.
The big recruiting news in either sport this week is that Michigan, in the wake of landing D-III transfer Duncan Robinson, has dropped high four-star 2015 IN PG Jalen Coleman from consideration, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):
Via a phone call Tuesday afternoon, Coleman’s father Piankhi Lands said that recruitment is now over.
“Well we were trying to (set up an official visit) and they told us they were only recruiting one person for the class of 2015 and a Division III guy they had picked up, they didn’t want to set up an official date, Lands said. “They had already given a scholarship out.”
This means a couple things. For one, the staff must be very optimistic about Robinson if they're willing to pass on a shot at an elite 2015 recruit like Coleman to get him—Michigan was a very strong contender (along with Notre Dame, oddly) to land Coleman until this development. It also means the scope of the 2015 recruiting focus has narrowed significantly. Five-star IL PG Jalen Brunson announced five official visit destinations recently that did not include Michigan ($). Sam Webb believes Michigan is also done recruiting four-star Saginaw SG Eric Davis ($).
Two names appear to remain on the board for 2015, players Michigan would take despite the fact that either one would knock a slot out of the very promising 2016 class. The first is Indiana five-star Caleb Swanigan, a skilled 6'9" big man with offers from the likes of Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, and Michigan State. It's hard to see a scenario in which Michigan wouldn't take him if he wanted to come. While the Spartans are thought to lead in his recruitment, Michigan isn't out of it, per The Wolverine's Chris Balas ($):
The Michigan camper (last summer) has kept the Wolverines in the mix.
"The relationship is pretty good," Swanigan said, "and it's starting to build strength. They usually don't offer guys until after the year because they're real concerned about academics, but they're starting to recruit me more.
"Michigan, definitely, they show a lot of love. I've been to the facilities once or twice before. They've been pretty strong."
The other is high four-star combo guard Perry "P.J." Dozier, who's probably still under consideration because he's 6'6" (and reportedly growing) with point guard skills. He's slated to take an official visit to Michigan on September 26th. Dozier sees himself as a primary ballhander at the next level, and apparently so does Michigan, which Dozier's father said is a big positive when talking to Bogenschutz last week ($):
“And again, we never really told the coaching staff what we were looking for, we wanted them to tell us what they saw him as and Michigan did a great job in recruiting, they were there pretty early in the game, showing a lot of interest and with the history of what they’ve done there.
“And Michigan, we have much more respect for the coaching staff there. But mainly, they’re recruiting him the way he wants to be recruited.”
Dozier could potentially eliminate the need/spot for a point guard or shooting guard in the 2016 class given his size and skill-set.
In 2016 hoops recruiting news, Michigan offered 6'6" five-star wing Josh Langford while he was on an unofficial visit last Friday. UMHoops has some video of him dunking all over people, among other things, at that link; Dylan has also compiled sophomore highlights for 2016 commit Jon Teske.
[Hit THE JUMP for football updates, including newly released state rankings from Scout for Michigan and Ohio, and commit Andrew David kicking footballs a very long way with accuracy.]
The annual recruiting extravaganza known as the BBQ at The Big House is just a couple of weeks away on July 27th and already the list of visitors is quite star-studded. A blend of committed and uncommitted prospects from multiple classes will be in attendance for what has proved to be a huge recruiting tool in past classes. Below is who I’ve been able to contact in order to start putting together a list of who will be in attendance and who won’t be. Of course there are many prospects that are still unsure, they are listed as well.
CB Marcus Lewis
CB Mook Reynolds
CB Garrett Taylor
DE Kengera Daniel
K Andrew David
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
LB Joshua McMillon
QB Alex Malzone
RB Damien Harris
RB Mike Weber
S Tyree Kinnel
TE Chris Clark
WR Grant Perry
CB Iman Marshall
DE Darian Roseboro
LB Tyriq Thompson
OL Jon Runyan Jr.
TE Tyrone Wheatley Jr.
WR Brian Cole
LB Asmar Bilal
OL Grant Newsome
OL Patrick Allen
OL Connor Williams
RB Alec Murphy
S Kahlil Haughton
WR Lawrence Cager
CB Lavert Hill
QB Messiah deWeaver
RB Elijah Holyfield
TE Luke Farrell
TE Naseir Upshur
WR Austin Mack
LB Daelin Hayes
OL Ben Bredeson
OL Erik Swenson
CB Levonta Taylor
OL Liam Eichenberg
OL Michal Menet
RB Kentrail Moran
RB Kareem Walker
TE Jake Hausmann
WR Binjimen Victor
A visitor list for an event like this is always subject to change and I know there are several others who belong in one of the categories that I just haven’t heard back from yet. Unfortunately for the readers I am embarking on my honeymoon tomorrow so I won’t be adding or subtracting to or from this list for at least a week.