the season has truly begun now
This week George CaFLAPPAJMAAA WOOOO PEROBEEE FLABBBADABBA ROOSKIE ROUNDTABLE CROOTIN LINEUP:
- BRIALNAWLFJKLASDFJ KL;ASDJFKL;JA
- ACOERFJALKFUASD0[F IADSKFJKLASDFJ
- SETHLKFADJF KLASDJFKLASDJFKLJA
- BLUE IN SUASDFKL; UASDKLFUio'fuasdklfua
- HEIOFUD FJKLASDFJKLASDFJKLASDFJKLASDF
And the questioEEEEEEEBAAAAAAHAHAHAVAHAHAHAHAHA:
With the commitment of George Campbell HOLY GOLDEN KSDJFKLAJSDKLF AJKLDFJ?/FJAKLSDJF QUAMARAN A HIJUCKAJLUA SHEE SHEE FUM DAMIEN HARRIS KICKLUK RAINBOWS PEPPERS FARGARARPRID EVER OR FUPOAUERLKJASDF;KL AOF;JADFU EXAMPLES NOT MORRIS?
Brian: Well... yeah. While it's crazy that I can put together most of a projected class for 2015 already--
RB: Damien Harris, Mikey Weber.
WR: George Campbell, Brian Cole.
TE: Ty Wheatley Jr.
OL: John Runyan Jr., Sterling Jenkins
DL: Brady Pallante, ?!?
LB: Justin Hilliard, Tyriq Thompson
DB: Tyree Kinnel, Shawn Crawford
K: Andrew David
That's 15, and while I bet Michigan gets up to 18 or so, half of the class is either committed or lockalicious (Kinnel, Wheatley, Weber, Crawford, probably Jenkins) 18 months from Signing Day
--but Michigan isn't even that far ahead of the game in the 2015 class. Texas (surprise!) already has 8 commits; Michigan is only fifth in the 247 rankings despite having the top WR in the class and a RB somewhere between top 100 and Mike Hart But Fast. Recruiting is accelerating to the point where it looks like hockey.
As far as having it stick, how many decommits does Michigan suffer? Like one per class. So George Campbell just went from like 20% Wolverine to 95%. I'll take it.
Since I've demolished the question above, maybe a new one: how is Brady Hoke doing this?
Mathlete: Based on such a level-headed, well punctuated questions such as that, I am sure you are looking for a technically correct answer. The correct answer is of course not. No team in the history of football has ever had commitments from players of this caliber this early. Hoke is clearly so far ahead in the recruiting game he will probably be resting his starters for the 2015 class with half the time left.
Actually pinning downing commitment dates can be a bit of a challenge and tracking where a commitment is ranked at the time is essentially impossible as the 2015 class has been ranked far faster in the cycle than any other before them. With that in mind, the best I could find in terms of high final rankings committing to a school before the start of September of the players' high school junior year where 2005 Ohio State and 2013 Georgia. In 2005 Tressel got commitments from the eventual top two players in Ohio that early. Five star tackle Alex Boone committed on the 1st of August and high four star cornerback Jamario O'Neal had been committed for six months by the time his junior year kicked off. For this year's Georgia class they had two four stars, safety Tray Matthews and quarterback Brice Ramsey commit in the summer of 2011.
[More drooling, some pretty good justification for drooling, and we make Brian play "Wizard or Rapper", after the jump]
Roy Manning return? With Jerry Montgomery gone to Oklahoma, Michigan needs to fill a spot on their coaching staff. No, it will not be Mike Hart or Ty Wheatley. It'll be a defensive guy. But there is another dude floating out there who is a young former Michigan player: Roy Manning.
Manning was a little-regarded recruit who came seemingly out of nowhere to start as a senior and did well enough to get drafted and have a few years in the NFL. Like Montgomery, he's become a hot name hopping to and fro. He was hired at Cincinnati in February, got a standing ovation for doing so, and had just landed at NIU after Jones took the Tennessee job. Fluff bits:
He's got a Ron English basso going on.
Home ice and the future. Michigan finishes its regular season this weekend with a home and home against Ferris State needing a sweep and some help to secure a first-round home series in the playoffs. If they don't acquire the requisite points, Michigan's last home game in front of the students will have been the February 1st matchup with Michigan State. Which… wow. Just another way in which this season has been bizarre and disappointing.
It's senior day for the, uh, seniors, and it looks like a pretty manageable class to replace:
- Lee Moffie: Michigan's #4 or #5 defenseman in the unlikely event everyone is healthy.
- AJ Treais: Tied for second in scoring with 11-12-23; had excellent start to the year and tailed off as guys like Sinelli and Copp moved onto his wing because they did that skating hard stuff. Copp has actually produced decently, but not having a reliable offensive option on the other wing has hampered production from him.
- Kevin Lynch: I have no idea what line he's on; ideally would have become a Rust-like shutdown center. Instead is anonymous middle-of-lineup guy with 6-13-19.
- Lindsay Sparks: diminutive winger will go down as Craig Murray 2010 for me, a player on the third line who I liked more than is rational and spent four years expecting a breakout from that never came. 4-4-8 in 16 games this year.
- Jeff Rohrkemper: fourth line jack of all trades.
The key, of course, is what happens with Michigan's offseason defections. There are a ton of guys who are departure threats, starting with the dream D pairing of Merrill and Trouba and extending to Nieves, Guptill, Bennett, and Di Giuseppe. While none of those extended guys seems NHL-ready, Guptill was left at home for a series this year and is a third-rounder. He seems like a candidate for the Chris Brown "really?" departure.
A goalie will be scoured for, of course.
Welcome to the team. Here is pack of raving dingoes. Enjoy. From ESPN's exit interview series comes this nugget from Mike Kwiatkowski($):
My lowest moment of my career was probably be my first year, [Rich Rodriguez'] last season, when I was playing scout team left guard. I had thought about if this decision was right for me. I wasn’t playing my position and going against Mike Martin all the time.
Despite being a freshman walk-on tight end, he did not die. I'm using Mike Kwiatkowski as a bomb shelter in the event we teleport back to 1980 and there is a nuclear war on.
No more flyovers? Step A in any debate about cutting spending is to go right to the stuff that people notice no matter how small. Like flyovers:
Federal budget cuts would end flyovers at sports events
Of course, they have to fly the planes at some point—can't have a war with a bunch of crop dusters flying F-16s unless you can start cloning Randy Quaid—so the net additional cost of having some of those flights buzz stadiums is, um…
“It’s no additional cost to the government for support of any public events. Typically, if you see a unit fly over a football game, that is 90 seconds out of a several hour training sortie that they’re flying.”
Zero? Here is someone's attempt to explain why this is a thing:
"We just have a reduced number of those training hours, and so everything is being dedicated to just preparing for that overseas deployment and for flying that's actually happening overseas," Varhegyi said.
Not very good. Later they mention that Army/Navy/Air Force sports could get hit despite 95% of Navy's funding coming from sources other than the government. Filed under scare tactic—dollars to donuts the flyovers continue.
Something that is not true at all. Drew Henson talks about his brief baseball career in a non-bylined article that prevents me from hammering whatever intern wrote this:
But he always had his sights set on baseball — simply, he said it was more fun — and even signed with the Yankees after they made him a third-round pick in 1998. They agreed to let him finish his college football career, and he played summer ball in the Yankees system while still at U-M.
John Navarre would not be a divisive figure if this was true. Oh, and Michigan probably would have been awesome in 2001. Also that article is based on another article, which it links right at the end of the piece in a non-underlined URL link. Bad intern.
Etc.: Derrick Walton is a Mr. Basketball finalist, puts up 31 on Taylor Truman for senior day. WTKA afternoon show is kaput. Recruits' 40s are lies. Does the recruiting deregulation need to be salvaged? If so, suggestions to do so.
Can you guess what was wrong with Herb? Also the copyright to this at the end says "U.M.&M."
Of all the things to despise about the new divisions—like the MSU game being technically more important every year than Ohio State—at least let's admit there's one wonderful benefit: Michigan-Minnesota is back to every year.
The historians like this one because there were some major powers with some major players who went on or ended some major streaks back in the day. But with more than enough annual powers on the schedule these days, I kind of like having this one historically poignant yet presently non-stressful mid-year contest with the people who invented cooking the cheese inside the actual hamburger.
After yet another Hallow's Eve scare, a nice jug of hot cider and Minnesota's safeties are just the thing. Alas, it is not Jug Saturday yet, and there's some things from last week that we need to over again. Like what happens when you lose your 5-star quarterback?
DON'T MISS THESE:
You Get This One Chance. Why is it every time we've got like THE MAN under center, the minute he goes out it's terror central? Not just Denard against Nebraska but the crater when Mallett departed, or the black hole that formed when Henne's arm was removed from its socket against Oregon in 2007, or the feeling in the pit of your stomach when that Buckeye Steinbrenner bought off Drew Henson (right). Enter oakapple, who goes back through recent history to show how the uber recruit tends to both work out and scare off competition. Whyfore wast thou oppos'd to class, bygone son of Forcier?
He hits on some good questions—like the handling of Gardner. But if he looked back further, to the deep recruiting of the time after Bo, he might have seen a different magic.
Gameboy went back over Michigan's 2012 opponents past to pull up percentages for how much better our defense fared against them than their average opponents. Michigan got blown out by Alabama about exactly the same way everyone else did, and we beat UMass the same way everyone else beat on UMass. As for the rest, the defensive performances have one other outlier in Air Force (we did marginally better than Mountain West teams) and otherwise stand as "omigod that was a tough defense" in the memories of everyone else. I fixed his charts to make them more legible so the descriptions may be a bit off.
[After the jump, more spooky things]
Ah, I see you entrusted the future of your defensive backfield to Chris Richards
and Johnny Sears, and offered Carson Butler. You shouldn't have done that.
With the additions of two defensive tackles—the only sore spot really left in the class—the 2013 haul is starting to take shape, and this shape is looking pretty darn shapely. Granted we thought the same last year when thousands of 4-star linebackers and linemen burst out of their Ohio prisons to join the Wolverines, leaving—we thought—the staff several months to chase down a few 5-stars. Those didn't really materialize, and might not again. But it's just
November … August … Early JUNE (!) and there's 20 guys in the next class, and they're mostly blue chips, and unless ESPN has done something drastic to their scores I think an entire legion of superheroes just pledged to my alma mater.
If there's any doubt that Brady and Hokesters (this is a terrible name for our coaching staff) are killin' it on the recruiting trail, consider this is now the second year in a row that a board thread has been started to ask is this the Best Michigan Football Recruiting Class Ever?
M-Wolverine beat me to it, but the gold standard here is still 1995—in a word: CharlesWoodsonTomBradyeeeeeeeeee. Also Renes, the Williamses, James Hall, Tai Streets, Aaron Shea… That class was the core of the national championship squad and populated NFL rosters for the next decade. (SI Vault--->)
Putting Captain Hindsight on the sidelines for a moment, the anecdotal standard is 1998. That class was sterling at the top, headlined by Drew Henson (who had nine confirmed miracles by October of his senior year). Before pos-bang threads existed, the fanbase-wide giggle session from Henson playing catch with David Terrell in Central Park nearly toppled the young Internet. Marquise Walker (9th best player in the country overall according to Sporting News), Justin Fargas, Cato June, and Hayden Epstein were too considered Parade All Americans. LB/DL Dave Armstrong and LB Victor Hobson were close. Tom Lemming of Prep Football Report and Bobby Burton of the National Recruiting Advisor named Michigan 1st in the land; Allen Wallace of Superprep put us behind UCLA because they had DeShuan Foster.
(Also in 1998, 548-year-old Brooks MacCleod Bollinger beheaded the Kurgan, won the Prize, and signed as a freshman with Wisconsin.)
The 2013 class isn't expected to be so rich at the top, and thus is unlikely to win the same beauty contest, but it's deeper, still naming high-three star types at the point of the list where '98 was tapering off into French Canadians. The ratings are bound to shift—down as do most early commits as more of their classmates are evaluated and placed on the board, and various uncommitted Top 25 recruits leap toward this year's shiniest object—but at this point there's already enough of it to start, you know, thinking about what all that promise actually promises.
Since '98 and other successful classes occurred before humanity shifted its considerable intellect from inventing things and pondering the meaning of our existence so we could figure out how teenagers work, there is no easily accessible written record from that era with which to compare, except the little from DeSimone. Certainly 5-stars and whatnots existed before 2002, but that's where the Rivals and Scout databases begin, so we shall too.
2002 to 2013 to Various Scouting Systems
Again, I'm throwing out hindsight for now because the Class of 2013s are currently 75 percent of their way through high school, an accurate assessment of their actual abilities not available until 2017 or '18. The class before them hasn't stepped on campus yet. Half of the class before that are redshirt freshmen right now. As to the rest, yes, individual players often vastly under- or out-performed their rankings. Insert usual essay about recruiting in the aggregate is legit yo.
You've seen the way I like to represent this before, putting the classes beside each other with heat-colored levels. I'm not sure if I explained why they're lined up that way; the idea is you can see how many blue chips (4-star and higher) on the left side of the mid-line, and assess how many depth guys and fliers (3-star and lower) you're filling in with. The yellow-green guys (5.7 to Rivals, 79 to ESPN) seem to be 40-60 to become solid Big Ten-level starters or better; the ones over the 4-star threshold something more like 55-45, thus I'm trying to represent a kind of mid-point.
Clicking embiggens, but you can see what's causing the excitement already: Scout is very bullish on the recruits Michigan has verbals from already, and ESPN has either dramatically changed their ranking system or somebody slipped them a press release about Shane Morris taking practice shots at Jake Butt. The numbers are on a Googledoc if you can see if/where I went wrong with this.
At this point we allow Captain Hindsight back into the room…
The captain says 2008 is going to be rough.
This is that column on the spreadsheet where I tried to reassign star ratings based on each player's performance. A 5-star is a major-impact player who probably got drafted in the 3rd round or better; a 4-star is an All Big Ten sort—the RVBs of the world, or a player like Kovacs who's a star but has an exploitable hole in his game (yes, Kovacs was added to 2008). A 3-star is a contributor but in a just a guy way, a 2-star someone we didn't want in there (think Savoy or Banks). The "NR"s are mostly injuries or early early attrition but not the later stuff; if we got a good look at what a guy can do I rated him, e.g. Mallett is still in there for 2007, since coaching change losses aren't likely to apply to us any time soon. This isn't supposed to correlate with performance; it's meant to see what recruiting classes yield.
What struck me most is how long we seem to have been going without those 4-star-like dudes, exactly the type of guys these last two classes have been filled with, and which characterized '95. I too hope some of the more epic blue chips we're after sign up, but even if they don't, the 20 guys in this class are already among the better ones signed in the last decade, and it's not out of the question that they may some day be the best.