...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Let's talk about the guys we haven't talked enough about yet. The breakout kids. The unexpected boons. Our pantheon of heroes:
- Capt'n Seth of the Comma Police
- An Bender, Flyin' Ace
- The Heiko Kid
- The Blue Creature from the Bend
- Brett Thiessen (secret identity remains hidden)
- Coach Unpossible
Casey Stengel used to do this thing with the media where every year he'd point to a player on his team who wasn't already an established star (Gardner, Gallon, Lewan, Norfleet) and say "that guy is a lot better than people think." And that guy would have a really big year. Mentally (or mathematically if you're Mathlete) subtract John Q. MGoReader's expectation for the guys from your expectation for the guys this year, and tell us who's going to be surprisingly good?
BiSB: I'm on Team ACL this year. On the "breakout star" front, I'll go with BLAKE COUNTESS. I think a lot of people are expecting, or even hoping, that he'll come back
|Rev up the Countess hype again | Fuller|
approximately as he was as a freshman (which would still be pretty good), thinking his injury would offset whatever gains he has otherwise made. But we live in a world in which ACLs are repaired with unicorn dreams (or at least that's how Heiko explained it to me) and heal in six to nine months. Jake Ryan tore his five months ago, and is already running and doing lateral stuff. Countess is a full year removed, which in modern ACL years is "what, me worry?" I think on the conservative side we're going to get the Blake Countess we would have gotten in 2012, and on the upside we're looking at a guy who will compete with Bradley Roby and Darqueze "You Spelled Denard Wrong" Dennard for first team All B1G.
My "breakout contributor" guy is CHRIS WORMLEY, who also tore his ACL about a year ago. Heitzman is the starter at SDE, but Wormley can be a difference-maker. He's bigger and stronger than Heitzman, and already has a year in the system under his belt (even if a lot of that year was on an exercise bike). He'll get plenty of snaps anyway because of the depth at SDE and Mattison's love of DL rotation. He may never take over the starter label because Michigan doesn't really do the whole "roster update" thing, but I think by the end of the year he's the most effective guy at the position, and he'll be getting ~40% of the snaps.
Also, Norfleet will be the new Steve Breaston, by which I mean at some point a tight end will maddeningly refuse to pitch him the ball and as a result you will scream terrible terrible things to no one in particular.
Seth: NORFLEET IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED (else everyone would pick him)
[After the jump: NOT NORFLEET]
This is the continuation of last week's glance at the defensive line prospects from the perspective of body size against M linemen of yore at the same age. The point was to try to project what a certain body size and shape becomes and use that to relate the huge DL crop of 2012 to players we're maybe more familiar with.
This came about when I figured tried sorting the BMI (metric weight divided by height squared) of past players and found similar guys of memory ended up beside each other. Again, BMI is really for assessing whether normal people who are not 18-year-old athletes are overweight; do not interpret the numbers as any measure of how "in shape" any of these guys are.
Last week I did the nose tackles. Moving up the line is the DT, or the 3-tech. A quick technique refresher:
Mentally shift the "1" in a 4-3 under to shaded over the center. In Mattison's defense the 3-tech is the guy lined up in the "3" spot on the line, shaded on the outside shoulder of a guard. He's the "4-3 Pass Rush Tackle," and this defense is designed to let him be more of an attacker than a "plugger." Pursuant to our discussion, greater heights that create leverage problems at the nose are not so much of a problem at 3-tech, which makes this guy more of a 3-4 DE than your traditional over-the-guard tackle. And lo the heights climb—a good 2 inches more than NT among Michigan's DTs.
I thought about sprinkling in the SDEs since there's considerable overlap. Mentally start 5-techs around Willie Henry (B.Graham is above that). I'm leaving in the current players nominally slated for DT.
|3T/5T||Ryan Van Bergen||2007||6'5||260||30.8||34.1||9.7%|
You can see there's a lot of overlap, but in general the big dudes end up inside and the leaner guys are out. Latest recruit Willie Henry is right with Kenny Wilkins as kind of tweeners between NT and DT, comparable to Will Johnson, who maintained his weight (though it was much Barwicized), and Larry Harrison, who added a lot of it and played beside like-massed Watson in a more even front.
So long as Michigan runs a 4-3 under you need to stop looking at a 265-pound freshman "DT" and imagine him lifting his way to 300. The talk of "frame" and "carrying more weight" could matter if you're expecting Henry to be a breather for Pipkins (he might be) but not if he's a 3-tech.
After a drop-off you get to the RS freshmen Rock and Heitzman, and incoming Wormley and Godin. This is the Ryan Van Bergen/Norman Heuer*/Grant Bowman region which slowly drifts down a list of tweener 3- and 5-techs like Biggs, Zenkewicz, Banks, and Feazell, then Normal Heuer.*
Those guys were a little smaller than seems optional at the position, but they're also both quintessential Hoke DTs; if Wormley becomes RVB2 and Godin is Bowman, that would be win. Quinton Washington was a larger freshman than any of these guys, much larger than even Alan Branch or 22-year-old freshman Renaldo Sagesse. Q has dropped his BMI by 7.6% to reach a playing shape still large for 3-Tech but not as big as Branch (who was 6'6) played. A freakmonster like Branch or (pro comparison) Shaun Rogers/Tommy Kelly can do well here by bull-rushing hapless guards on a direct route to emptying a QB's alveoli…
(after the jump, you know what's coming)
Decision day approaches for OH S Jarrod Wilson, who will make his choice public on Friday at 2:45PM. Michigan, Penn State, and Notre Dame are the finalists, and the general vibe seems to be that Michigan has at least as good a shot at landing him as the other two schools.
Should Wilson pick Michigan, KY S Jeremy Clark will keep his greyshirt offer from Michigan, but it's expected that Clark will receiver a full scholarship offer for the 2012 class if Wilson picks the Nittany Lions or Irish.
Holding the Lines
Michigan's recruiting on both side of the line of scrimmage has gone well already, and it could get better soon.
According to camp position coach Courtney Morgan, Erik Magnuson was the best offensive lineman in attendance and it's really no surprise since the four-star tackle from Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon has proven multiple times that he's one of the best in the country.
Magnuson has great footwork, plays with a lot of intensity and passion, and simply doesn't let defensive ends around him. He was really good at the B2G Camp, the Stanford NIKE Camp and the Asante Trenchmen Academy this spring and summer.
In an absolutely loaded group of offensive linemen in the West this recruiting cycle, Magnuson continues to prove he's one of the best.
Of note, Courtney Morgan happens to be a former Wolverine, and a mentor of CA OL Jordan Simmons. Tom spoke with Magnuson's high school head coach:
"He's one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the country," he said. "That's his big selling point is that he's a real athlete. At that size, a full 6-foot-6 and 280 plus pounds he can run with just about everybody on the team. It's ridiculous how athletic he is."
He also mentions that Magnuson is one of the hardest workers out there, and athletic enough to practice at wide receiver(!!!!) for his high school team.
AZ OL Andrus Peat's top 10:
Arizona State, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, Texas, USC (Southern California).
Michigan may be a longshot, but staying on the list this late into the game definitely gives them a chance.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins took to Twitter last week to provide a recruiting update. Per MGoShoe's recap:
- Top 6 (in order): Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida
- Intends to take officials in the fall
- Hasn't been in contact with other Michigan recruits
- Has visited Missouri, Kansas, Ohio State
- Hopes to visit Michigan soon
- Wants to major in business administration or communication
Not a whole lot of new stuff (aside from the teams joining Michigan in his top six), but it's good to hear it directly from the prospect's mouth.
While O'Brien said all the right things about the embattled Rodriguez at the time, he believes that the program is heading in the right direction under new coach Brady Hoke.
"Their new coaching staff is unbelievable," O'Brien said... "I think they're going to make a big turnaround, especially with the recruiting classes they're pulling in."
O'Brien and Pipkins seem to be the top two prospects for Michigan's nose tackle spot in the 2012 class, though Brian would prefer two 1-techs in the 2012 crop.
More of the same, as OH DE Chris Wormley tells the Toledo Blade's Ryan Autullo that Michigan leads for his services. As far as timeline goes, he plans to decide by the end of August, but a choice could come any time.
MD DE Ryan Watson has a top four of Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech.
Other People's (De)Commits
NY DT Jarron Jones is back on the market, decommitting from Penn State this week. However, with Michigan's current recruiting situation at defensive tackle, the Wolverines probably aren't a serious contender for his services.
After decommitting from Stanford, CA DT Aziz Shittu publicly hoped that he gets a chance to check out Michigan before the class is full. Tom talked to him about recruiting, and Aziz may try to take in Ann Arbor the weekend of the Notre Dame game.
CA WR Jordan Payton has decommitted from USC, and Michigan is among the schools he will consider:
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder will likely play most of his recruitment close to the vest before announcing and one of the key reasons why is the fact that he's trying to orchestrate a few other players to join him at his eventual destination.
“I'm going to tell you this, it's going to be interesting the next couple of weeks for in recruiting,” Payton said. “You're going to see a lot of changes. Just think Fab Five.” Knowing how the comment would sound, Payton was quick to clarify “like” the Fab Five and that it didn't mean they were for sure headed to Michigan.
ESPN's "The Opening" is taking place as we speak in Oregon, with a number of Michigan commits:
- Erik Magnuson
- Mario Ojemudia
- Terry Richardson
- James Ross
- Anthony Standifer
- Zach Banner
- Adam Bisnowaty
- Bri'Onte Dunn
- Durron Neal
- Danny O'Brien
- Aziz Shittu
- Jordan Simmons
in attendance (among many others). If you want to see this event with your very own eyeballs, it's airing on ESPNU tomorrow at 9 and 10PM, Friday at 8 and 9PM, Saturday at 6, 7, and 9PM, and Sunday at 6AM, noon, and 1:30PM.
- IN QB James Knapke committed to Bowling Green.
- IN QB Zach Terrell and IL QB Anthony Maddie committed to Western Michigan.
- MA QB AJ Doyle committed to NC State.
- FL QB Bennie Coney doesn't mention Michigan in a recent video interview, and in fact he told Tom he's no longer considering the Wolverines.
- IL DT Jaleel Johnson will pick between Michigan State and Iowa.
- UT DE Troy Hinds will decide soon from a list of six schools that doesn't include Michigan (it does include Utah, BYU, Stanford, Cal, Notre Dame, and Nebraska).
- Michigan is outside the final five for OH DE Ifeadi Odenigbo. Ohio State and a cast of good academic schools (Northwestern, Notre Dame, Cal, and Stanford) make his list.
- TX CB Will Hines committed to Missouri.
With Michigan's class filling up, it's not a surprise that prospects are picking other schools with greater frequency.
ESPN's Jeremy Crabtree does not think Michigan is the leader for OH QB Maty Mauk. With conventional wisdom saying that IN QB Gunner Kiel is leaning elsewhere as well, top-flight quarterback options are dwindling for the 2012 crop.
Tom talks to MI RB Juwan Lewis (and his father) about recruiting, but it doesn't sound like a Michigan offer is coming soon.
The Cincinnati Enquirer has 50 local high school football players to keep an eye on this fall, and a few players of Michigan interest appear. Commits:
- #2 Joe Bolden
- #5 AJ Williams
- #7 Caleb Stacey
Targets DE Adolphus Washington (who has Michigan in his top 5 - and Ohio State out of it), Dwayne Stanford, and many juniors also appear.
MI QB Commit Shane Morris highlights from the Madden 7-on-7 championships:
Très impressionnant, and it's a scientifically proven fact that lefties just look much better throwing the ball.
Local fluff on MI OL Steven Elmer and his relationship with former Detroit Lion Lomas Brown.
“My timeline is whenever I’m absolutely sure that’s where I’m going to go,” he said. “I would prefer not to wait until the last possible second. But I’m not rushed. I still have a lot of time. I want to make the most informed decision and involve my family. ... It’s going to be tough to make a decision to pull some of these schools out of the running,” he admitted.
With more than 18 months until Signing Day, it doesn't sound like he's expecting a decision any time soon. He's done attending summer camps for the summer.
Tom talked with IL OL Kyle Bosch, who would like to hear from Michigan.
"Michigan still leads" for OH S/RB Dymonte Thomas ($, info in header).
ESPN fluff on TX WR Jake Oliver, who has already received a Michigan offer.
"I've coached coaches' sons before and they just have a real feel for the game," Jesuit coach Brandon Hickman said. "He just has a knack for the ball and he runs great routes, precision routes. His hands are probably the best I've ever seen as a coach." Combine all that with Jake's size at 6-foot-4, 194 pounds, and college scouts had plenty of reasons to visit Jesuit during the offseason. It's clear they liked what they saw, as he already has received 10 Division-I offers from schools like Texas A&M, Michigan, Texas Tech, Arizona and Arkansas.
Once the 2012 class is wrapped up (which could happen absurdly soon), we'll have a better idea what the needs for 2013 are.