to play football, not to play trumpet
Just another day in the life.
— angelique (@chengelis) February 5, 2016
Hackett on WTKA. Jim Hackett stopped by The Michigan Insider today for a 30-minute long interview that wandered through a bunch of news. He of course kicked things off by sounding like your kindly grandfather trying to relate to 13-year-olds in board shorts:
Hackett anticipates ‘cool surprises’ for UM schedule
In other news things:
- Hackett does not think that the MSU flip is fixable.
- The Big Ten is going to go to more of an SEC model with conference scheduling after the move to nine games: "…because of the nine-game Big Ten season, we’re going to have to have an early Big Ten game as the season opens."
- All games going forward will be sold by the Big Ten Network, so Michigan's ability to schedule Notre Dame is further compromised. So that sucks. On the other hand, no more Jerryworld. I might take that tradeoff.
- Despite that both head coaches in the M-ND rivalry want to see it return, and people are working towards making it happen in some capacity. This is the first public confirmation that the series might return.
- Michigan will be forced to play more night games from 2017 onward.
SOTS on the tubes. In case you missed it:
Signing of the Haters. A lot of Michigan State folk have spent the last couple days talking about something that doesn't have a damn thing to do with them. Par for the course, but once they start yelling about how "Signing of the Stars" was some sort of unethical boondoggle designed for hype and recruiting I have various fuses in my head blow and can only reset them by typing this on the internet.
1. Yes, it was designed to put Michigan in the news. It worked so spectacularly that UCF is complaining about it. It will hopefully boost Michigan's recruiting going forward.
2. It also raised 120k for pediatric cancer research. I shouldn't have to even bring this up because having a goofy variety show where you introduce recruits does not need to be justified. The correct answer to "Michigan had a Signing Day event" is "so what?", not "but it was for cancer." Michigan could have raised zero dollars and there would be no valid complaints outside of corniness.
3. But they did raise some money for cancer.
5. Michigan State fans just can't stand a coach who yells at referees like a maniac and does everything he can for media attention. If they had such a coach they'd tar and feather him and shoot him into the sun.
Or maybe they wouldn't.
This is virtually identical to Alabama lizard people moaning about Michigan's satellite camps, attempting to cloak pure self-interest in concern trolling.
Hello, IMG, we are to be in your base. Rumors that Michigan was going to go outside of the box for spring practice have come to fruition:
Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday that the program will spend its first week of spring practice at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida during Michigan's spring break week -- which begins later this month (Feb. 27).
"Our plans for spring football are to go to Florida our first week while the university here is on spring break," Harbaugh said. "We'll go to Florida and have four practices down there. We're going to work hard but we'll have fun doing it."
IMG will be familiar to Michigan fans as the home of TE Isaac Nauta in the previous cycle. This time around they've got…
"Why would Jim Harbaugh want to hold spring practice at IMG Academy in Florida?"
*Pulls up 2017 rankings*
— Scott Bell (@sbell021) February 3, 2016
…a few guys.
This is going to be fun. Ian Boyd on Rashan Gary:
The numbers on Gary are jaw-dropping, no matter how inflated high schooler measurables can be. In a partially laser-timed SPARQ test before his junior year, he produced the following results, blowing away all other 2016 stars tested at the national event.
Height Weight 40 time Shuttle time Vertical leap Rashan Gary as a high school junior 6'4" 287 4.74 4.38 32.1" Average 2015 NFL Combine defensive lineman 6'3 1/2" 286 4.96 4.5 32.2"
Boyd believes Gary can play as an end and will bounce across the defensive line throughout his career but his highest upside in the future is as a defensive tackle, where his pass rush ability should maintain more of its value as he moves up to college and eventually the NFL.
Assuming that Michigan slides Matt Godin out to the SDE spot he was effective in early last year and starts Taco Charlton at WDE, Michigan's biggest need on the DL in 2016 is indeed three-tech, where Willie Henry's absence leaves Michigan with (probably) Mo Hurst and Brady Pallante backing up.
Harbaugh media tour. Michigan appears to have sent Jim Harbaugh on a tour of every radio show in the country. They're conveniently located in one place—wherever the Super Bowl is—this time of year, and Michigan's taking the opportunity to have Harbaugh around, seeming (largely) sane and repeating that he has no intention of exiting Ann Arbor any time soon:
On future NFL opportunities: "This is where I want to be. I'm having the time of my life." Mentions 2015 most fun year in football.
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) February 5, 2016
Coaching moves. After a one-year pitstop as an analyst at Michigan, Erik Campbell gets the WR coach job at UConn. With Partridge moving up and TJ Weist also getting a WR coach job, his with South Florida, Michigan has three open analyst/recruiter type spots if they maintain the same level of staffing as they did last year. One of those spots has been filled:
Prattville assistant Bam Richards (@cadillac98) tells me he is joining the Michigan Wolverines as an offensive analyst.
— Stephen Gunter (@Stephen_Gunter) February 4, 2016
Michigan has of course gotten to know the Prattville staff pretty well over the past couple years.
Flanagan's Devin Bush Sr. is widely expected to get the second opening. Who might fill the third is unknown, but it'll probably be someone who ends up at loose ends after the NFL season.
Etc.: Good to know, Jourdan Lewis. Trevor Siemian will throw-god in the Super Bowl. Jehu Chesson is still on crutches a month after the bowl game. Doubtful it'll be an issue that affects him in fall, could hold him out in spring. The Players' Tribune as new-world press releases.
The number one overall recruit in the 2016 class, Paramus (NJ) Catholic DT Rashan Gary, announced his commitment to Michigan on ESPN this afternoon. Gary had long favored the Wolverines, who held off the likes of Clemson, Ole Miss, and USC to secure his signature.
The impact here is two-fold. Jim Harbaugh landed a Signing Day commit of the highest caliber and visibility, which can only help the program in future recruitments of elite players, especially those in New Jersey. Then, of course, there's Gary's on-field impact, which should be considerable from the moment he steps on campus.
5*, #1 DT,
5*, #1 DT,
5*, 94, #1 DT,
5*, 100, #1 DT,
5*, #1 DT,
HE'S PRETTY GOOD, YOU GUYS.
In addition to being the unanimous choice for top overall recruit, Gary is college-sized already; he's listed at 6'4", 286 pounds on the low end (Scout) and 6'5", 293 on the high end (247). I believe the latter figure has been updated more recently.
[Hit THE JUMP for WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO]
Announced announcements organized again
Your slightly adjusted who-is-announcing-when primer:
- 7 PM tonight: NJ CB Jordan Fuller. Michigan, OSU, ND.
- 9 AM, NSD: MI CB Lavert Hill. Michigan, MSU.
- 11 AM, NSD: MI K Quinn Nordin. Michigan, USC.
- 1 PM, NSD: NJ DE Rashan Gary. Michigan, Ole Miss, USC, Clemson.
- 1 PM, NSD: FL WR Pie Young. Michigan, Louisville, USC.
- 2 PM, NSD: AZ DE Connor Murphy. Michigan, USC, Oregon, ASU.
- 3PM, NSD: CA TE Devin Asiasi. Michigan, USC, UCLA, UW, Bama.
- 3PM, NSD: CA DT Boss Tagaloa. Michigan, USC, UCLA, UW.
Fuller's decision tonight
NJ CB Jordan Fuller seems to have successfully kept everyone in the dark about his final destination until this morning when Lorenz CB'd him to Ohio State, reporting that Michigan's coaching staff does not expect to come out on top. Before that both sides of the presumed Michigan/Ohio State battle had more or less thrown their hands up and said "dunno." Bill Kurelic just yesterday:
In the case of Fuller things have become tighter since I did my Crystal Ball of Fuller to the Buckeyes right before Fuller’s in-home visits – Michigan has staged a rally and is a very real threat and Notre Dame has not given up in their chase.
He still thinks OSU but hedged that very hard. Webb related that this is a "dogfight" and that things are 50/50.
If Lorenz is correct that's a bit irritating. Yesterday Fuller retweeted a Michigan edit and then a bunch of tweets from Michigan commits showing him the proverbial love. And… uh… some guy playing Counterstrike with an MGoUser told said user that Fuller would go to M, so we had that going for us. I just wanted Counterstrike guy to be right, really.
Double silent commit is extra ninja
Brandon Justice set off a 600+ comment thread here by reporting a "surprising pickup" on the twitters:
I was informed today, by the recruit, that he will silent commit to #Michigan 'sometime tomorrow', announce NSD. A surprising pickup for UM.
— Brandon Justice (@BrandonCJustice) January 29, 2016
He'd later reiterate that, yes, the gentleman in question has a commitable offer. Steve Lorenz reported that Justice's information was indeed legit but declined to steal the guy's scoop. In the aftermath everyone from TX OL Greg Little to USA ADM Chester A. Nimitz has been mentioned as a possibility.
Of late most speculation in the non-ludicrous category has centered on CA QB Vic Viramontes, a former commit and MGo fave-rave. Webb posted a potentially-related note about Vic's resurgence on Michigan's board, as Harbaugh has a "special appreciation" for the guy. Sam says he'll be one to watch through signing day.
We're putting him back on our best guess list based on that chatter and because it hurts too much to keep tearfully deleting it.
Hello again: Nate Johnson
Nate Johnson & Jim Hardbaugh hitting the Dab. pic.twitter.com/6RwjQGiepA
— James Johnson (@jtjohnson281) January 31, 2016
TN WR Nate Johnson's trip to Notre Dame was apparently as disastrous as Brady Hoke's most recent, resulting in a parting of the ways between the Irish and Johnson.
With ND out of the picture, Johnson's nominal commit gets far less nominal. He visited Miami, was committed to Purdue, and fielded an offer from in-state Tennessee; of those schools only the 'Canes seem like any threat, and there was minimal buzz coming off his official there. Wiltfong believes Johnson will stick in the Michigan class, and that makes sense.
The last hurdle there is whether Michigan wants to spend the scholarship, but NJ WR Donald Stewart committing to Stanford probably answers that question. As a reminder, yes, Nate Johnson can play football:
He's a guy Michigan went after with many other options available. It is very good to have him back in the fold.
[after THE JUMP: your very very last Gary panic of the week, admittedly speculative Bossiasi CB explanation]
Blessed to be Committed to the UofM pic.twitter.com/H4oelVMY5K
— Michael DwumFour (@mike_dwumfour) January 25, 2016
On the same day he announced his decommitment from Penn State, three-star Wayne (NJ) DePaul Catholic DT Michael Dwumfour committed to Michigan, a move many expected after Dwumfour's recent official visit.
Dwumfour is the 25th commit in the 2016 class and the third at defensive tackle, joining Jordan Elliott and Rashad Weaver, both of whom are decent bets to end up elsewhere by NSD. Dwumfour is high school teammates with RB commit Kareem Walker and close friends with #1 overall recruit Rashan Gary; he's the fifth New Jersey native to join the class, and it's highly unlikely he'll be the last.
|3*, #68 DT||3*, NR DT||3*, 78, #48 DT||
3*, 84, #75 DT,
3*, #58 DT,
Dwumfour is a nondescript three-star across the board, and unlike Michigan's two other recent pickups, his offer list mostly fits that profile as well.
All four sites list his size in the same range: 6'2" (6'1.5" on Scout) and 282-286 pounds; his commitment article on Scout lists him at 6'2", 295. He's got the build of a true nose tackle and will easily get above 300 pounds.
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]
RIP to da servers
A few weeks ago I mentioned that Michigan was set to have a Signing Day unlike any they'd experienced since Signing Day became a thing. There are usually a smattering of commits and maybe a flip or two. This year was looking to maybe double that level of activity even before Michigan got it in their head to pull the ol' Bobby Bowden out:
Because of the Signing of the Stars event on National Signing Day, I am expecting most (if not all) of Michigan's remaining pledges to be silently committed to the staff until February 3rd. If they don't, it's either because Michigan believes it's their only chance to publicly secure said kid or the kid just doesn't want to wait to make it public.
Obviously that's not 100% with three commits in the last day. In Uche and Mbem-Bosse's case they had officials scheduled so the commits eliminate those schools as threats unless the recruits take the Nate Johnson path.
We have a plan for Signing Day, but if Michigan gets ten commits all bets are off. Let's hope RAILGUN™lives up to its badass name. In lieu of flowers please donate to a fund to investigate Ole Miss recruiting.
Visit weekend fallout other than three commits
— Donald Stewart (@Donald_Stewart8) January 23, 2016
NJ WR Donald Stewart declared Michigan his leader. With Nate Johnson trending to Notre Dame and the rest of the WR class comprised of smaller guys, the 6'4" Stewart brings a unique skillset and should definitely be a take. He just visited his two finalists, so Stanford has little ammo left to catch up with.
Status quo with NJ DE Rashan Gary but we have a little section on him below for the clicks.
Ditto FL WR Eddie McDoom. He did not commit publicly; he did tell various people things were going really well after saying that he would commit if things went, you know, well.
AZ DE Connor Murphy hasn't talked to anyone yet about his visit. Michigan is generally regarded the favorite; his mom came up with him.
We project all of the above in the class in addition to Uche and Mbem-Bosse. On to guys who are still relatively open…
NJ CB Jordan Fuller doesn't say much, and when he does say stuff it's carefully calibrated to not give anything away. He did tell Scout's Brian Dohn that Don Brown showed him "really cool stuff" and that Michigan's defense looked "really fun to play," but for insight you have to go to second-hand stuff.
So let's do that. Dohn says he "knows the job Michigan did with Jabrill Peppers" and "loves" Michigan's academics but that ND and OSU were ahead pre-visit. He cancelled his trip to PSU and is thus down to three; Wiltfong doesn't think ND is much of a threat.
Tim Sullivan notes that rumbles from both ends of Fuller's recruitment seemed positive:
The Michigan staff is feeling good, and perhaps just as telling, we've heard rumblings that the Ohio State coaches are worried about the progress Michigan has made there.
And Rivals mid-Atlantic analyst Adam Friedman on Gary and Fuller:
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) January 25, 2016
The Buckeyes have limited slots and just flipped a DB recruit from Louisville. They would likely still take Fuller. OSU 247 guy Alex Gleitman still thinks it's OSU but offers considerable uncertainty as he says that. Fuller is very much in play.
— Devin Asiasi ⛅️ (@asibo_) January 23, 2016
Finally, reports from CA TE Devin Asiasi and CA DT Boss Tagaloa and people close to them were highly positive, as they usually are. ESPN's Erik McKinney caught up with them. Tagaloa:
"It was much more than I expected. This visit was by far one of the best I've taken. They are really high on my offer list right now and there's a good possibility I could be going there, too."
Asiasi had similarly positive but not definitive statements. UCLA, Washington, and USC are all in play for both. The duo took trips together to the former two and have USC set for next weekend; Asiasi cancelled a midweek visit to Alabama. Lorenz reports that Michigan believes this is one package deal with a high chance of coming to fruition. I believe it. When you're taking all your officials as a pair, that means something.
Whether that's good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. West Coast folk tend to think Asiasi is much more open to departing than Tagaloa. Scout's Greg Biggins:
"…with Boss, it would still be a surprise if he left the state but not as much with Devin, he's very open to everyone right now and fits that Michigan offense really well."
Wiltfong also thinks Tagaloa will stay in the west, with Asiasi an option.
If this is indeed a package Michigan is hoping that Asiasi is the guy driving the bus here, as Michigan is school on his list most likely to let him play tight end for the duration of his career. At this point all of the finalists seem like they're in play.
[After THE JUMP: nothing at all has changed with Rashan Gary but you are still going to click through to confirm this]
Harbaugh antics of the week
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 19, 2016
He proceeded to spend the night at AZ DE Connor Murphy's house, whereupon Murphy either displayed an ignorance of memes or—more likely—deliberately tried to set twitter's server farm on fire:
— Connor Murphy (@CMurph_90) January 20, 2016
Twitter survived. Murphy reports that he played chess against Harbaugh when he was 12 and lost. No word on whether Harbaugh then took him to laser tag.
Business is boomin'
— David Long Jr. (@dee_knowz) January 19, 2016
Tim Sullivan understands what this is about even if we don't
CA CB David Long commits during Recruiting Nation on ESPNU this evening. Show starts at 6 PM. Even Washington mods who will fight you if you suggest players are not going to Washington have resigned themselves to their fate. They are probably fighting themselves now.
Other recruitments with a likely positive outcome in the near future
1. NJ DT Michael Dwumfour told Sam Webb that the "main reason he didn't flip" is that his high school coach wants him to handle things "in a respectful way." That sounds like he's about to let PSU down easy this weekend. It's not you, Penn State. It's me. We have put in a ballz for Dwumfour to Michigan; Sam issued a gut feeling.
One note: Dwumfour is not qualified yet. He says he's "very close" but just "has to finish up a few things." He also gave Webb some enticing intel on Rashan Gary.
2. PA S and MGoBlog fave-rave Khaleke Hudson left his official visit to Michigan with the Wolverines as a clear leader; Tim Sullivan reports that Michigan goes in-home today in the hope of getting Hudson to pull the trigger. Even if Hudson follows through on planned trips to PSU and Pitt he seems likely to end up in a winged helmet by Signing Day. Webb reports "overwhelming confidence" from Ann Arbor.
"They really want me, and they think they can use me in many ways. They say safety - like a nickel - and maybe running back.”
3. It's status quo for MO TE Chase Allen; he has no visits scheduled and Michigan is a heavy leader. Sam issued a gut feeling on him as well.
4. FL WR Eddie McDoom decommitted from Oregon, who subsequently pulled his scholarship, and currently has a list of "Michigan and… uh". He told Scout that he's planning on pulling the trigger this weekend if he "loves it."
I would be surprised if any of these gentlemen did not end up in Ann Arbor.
Gary panic of the week is downright relaxing
Our brief regional era of was kicked off by a couple of Ole Miss crystal ballz from guys who work for the Rebel 247 site. At the time I noted that they were speculative predictions from guys who had no record of ever talking to NJ DE Rashan Gary or his mother and that actions spoke louder than words, so like chill man.
Days later, lo, the ball has unflipped:
…the news that he is returning to Michigan this weekend on his own dime, factored in with his former high school coach on the Michigan staff, the numerous recruiting ties the Wolverines have with players at Gary's high school, and the reports that his mother did not see or was unable to see the Ole Miss coaches Monday when they were there, seems to be bright writing on the wall.
All of these things save the last were true when the ball flipped in the first place.
Gary's official on the 29th may or may not happen; I'm leaning towards "will" after this Scout article:
According to his mom, Jennifer Coney, his last official visit will be to either Alabama or Clemson, and he could visit one officially and the other unofficially. She said a decision on which school will get the official has not been made.
"The final visit will be between Alabama and Clemson," she said. "We may do both. ...We're not sure which one officially."
That notes Gary is going to be in Atlanta next weekend to pick up some award for being awesome, so he's going to be near those two schools anyway. Even if said visit occurs the kind of things that might push either of those two schools past Michigan have already been attempted by Ole Miss, and rejected.
Finally, USC did hire their DL coach. He's a former Trojan DE who spent the last couple years as an assistant strength coach. Not likely to move the needle.
[After THE JUMP: less good news on Jonathan Jones, a massive massive visit weekend, another class projection, and some 2017 news of note.]