recruiting is weird and scares me
Brian is out sick so this is my first shot at one of these. I’m not as plugged in as the other guys so if I missed something important leave it in the comments. Mostly this is going to be Army Game practice stuff.
No Blind Siding
Michigan target Chuck Filiaga, with normal-sized humans [U.S. Army All-American Bowl, via USA Today]
Let’s start with the good news: Crystal balls to Michigan are still flying in for 4* TX OT Chuck Filiaga, who’s a 6’6/335 pound shot at a starting left tackle that Michigan desperately needs. Filiaga will be at right tackle during the Army Game because his team is full of LTs. His decision, between Michigan, Oklahoma, and Nebraska is scheduled for noon.
Even if Filiaga enters the fold, Michigan is not done recruiting potential tackles. Next likeliest target, 3* OT Mekhi Becton, told Maize and Brew that Michigan remains “definitely high on my list.” Michigan also make the top three for AL 3* OT Toryque Bateman, though grades and the likelihood of other commits coming/sticking makes that seem unlikely now.
Obligatory Najee Section: We are linebackers
You have been a good recruiting follower so you’ve so far managed to refrain from watching the parade of ankleless linebackers following 5* CA RB Najee Harris to various endzones. The recruiting industry is finding him just as slippery. We are now officially past the Flight Aware segment of the recruitment and on to Flight Plan Aware. 247’s Bart Simmons first wrote yesterday that Army Bowl people said they’re flying Harris back home after the game, but then said a source told him Harris had requested a change to the wrong Birmingham:
Per a source, Harris has requested a flight change — asking to land in Birmingham now, instead of back home in California (Oakland). That would put the running back on Alabama's campus by Sunday evening at the latest as an early-enrollee, ending a dizzying back-and-forth between Alabama and Michigan that's worn on for months.
I maintain that you should ignore virtually everything until Harris is literally on campus at one school or the other on Monday, since that is quite apparently his preferred method of announcement. Bama people seem confident, Michigan people seem confident. Rivals had their national analysts weigh in, with votes going 2-1 in favor of the Tide. Harris has denied everything. Look closely at anyone new in your freshman seminar Monday.
Willie Being Silly?
The last round of interviews from San Antonio with MS 4* OLB Willie Gay have convinced reporters that LSU now leads Michigan and Mississippi State for what would be the first life form to ever escape “the Sip.” For their part LSU is taking Gay’s sudden interest very seriously, with Tigers linebacker commit Patrick Queen rescheduling his official to coincide with Gay’s. Sam Webb confirmed that LSU is the stated leader…
"Really all of my schools are even. LSU has probably got a little bit high, a little bit. I don't know where I'm going to go yet but LSU has moved up a little bit higher."
…but reported that Gay’s family is still heavily favoring Michigan, and this doesn’t sound like someone who’s moved on:
"They didn't move down,” he said. “When I went to Michigan it was like, perfect. Everything I ever wanted in a school… academics, I feel like I was at home still (and) the weather wasn't that bad to me. I was cool with the cold weather. I loved it."
Gay called the report that LSU leads “kind of accurate.” Call me a homer but I think this one has a lot of elements of a guy who’s messing with reporters. Michigan does still have to weather an official visit to down-the-street Mississippi State in addition to that to LSU on the 20th. I doubt it’s done.
Wille a Will? Possibly relevant, according to SEC Country LSU is recruiting him at WLB:
LSU is courting Gay as a WILL linebacker to help pad the team’s depth at a crucial position.
If you remember your Wisconsin previews, Aranda’s 3-4 has a WILL that’s a second middle linebacker—think Mike McCray’s job—so no they’re not trying to make him Vince Biegel, but neither are they calling him a slot overhang guy. Michigan has made it clear he would play the multifarious Peppers SAM spot.
Possibly unrelatedly, this got tweeted:
Y'all gotta think... a kid will press one school to then choose the other for the surprise ... just think
— Tarik Black (@LetmeRockk_) January 5, 2017
Big Nose Tackle Options are Shrinking
You would think if there is only one word in the English language that an uncommitted prospect can put before “Michigan” to erase any doubt about his intentions, it’s “F---.” Well, 5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon dropped just that particular bomb this week in a Periscope to fellow former Michigan commit WR Jeremiah Holloman (now a 4* UGA commit). A day later Solomon apologized on twitter to Michigan fans.
So: we’re done? Not quite. Sam said on his segment today that Michigan is still after him hard, which WTF?
I guess there are two ways to look at it: On one hand perhaps Aubrey was consoling a friend who apparently got pushed out of the class by higher-rated receivers. The other way to look at it is “What is literally the last thing you want to hear from a guy Michigan is recruiting?”. The likelihood of Option B is the likelihood this is officially happy trails. If you’re holding out for the sympathy words excuse, Michigan still has a lot of ground to make up.
That leaves Michigan’s hopes for a guy who can instantly spell Mone next year down to just UT 4* DT Jay Tufele. While Ohio State was a major factor earlier in this recruitment, lately the sense has been that hometown Utah has moved ahead of both Midwestern rivals. Michigan’s former director of player personnel Tony Tuioti leaving to become DL coach at Fresno State could not have helped the Wolverines’ chances. However Tufele told Sam at the Army Game practices today that at least distance won’t be a deciding factor:
“It was never a factor,” he reiterated. “For me going away or going home… it’s either one. It’s just at the end of the day it is going to be wherever best fits me… that’s where I’m going to go.”
While painting the picture of a Ryan Glasgow-like player, Sam noted the relationship with Bryan Mone. Official visits to USC and Utah loom for a now-crucial recruitment that could go a lot of ways. Scout…uh scout Brandon Huffman also chimed in on why Tufele’s a big deal:
Through the first part of the week, Tufele has been the MVP of the defense. He's yet to lose rep in the one-on-ones and when he went against the East interior offensive linemen during Tuesday's practice, he was beating them repeatedly just as he was the O-linemen for the West team. Tufele has a cat-quick first step and grown man strength. Tufele is considering BYU, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Utah.
While BYU and USC are probably placeholders, Michigan has at best as good a chance as the other two, which equals not a great chance.
At least our scouting works. Once again solid Oregon commit Rutger Reitmaier is making everybody’s lists for top performers at the Army practices. 247’s Bart Simmons’s East team update depressingly mentioned two names familiar to Michigan fans this cycle as standout defensive tackles: Reitmaier, and OG prospect Tedarrell Slaton, who’s expected to commit to Florida. Slaton was also the largest prospect in attendance, weighing in at 363 lbs.
The Sabanification of Georgia is Not a Good Development
After leading for a year for AL 4* WR Nico Collins, suddenly it appears Georgia has made it a game. Wiltfong:
A source close to Clay-Chalkville Top247 receiver Nico Collins told 247Sports this week he thinks Michigan and Georgia are on top.
He added he thinks will be the Bulldogs and not the Wolverines that ultimately sign the four-star recruit.
That would indeed be an upset of greater magnitude than turning around Isaiah Wilson, since Collins made multiple visits to Michigan on his own dime. He’ll announce on national signing day.
The Dawgs showing some bite on the recruiting trail after Kirby Smart’s first season ended 8-5 in the Liberty Bowl has caused some people in our community to wonder what’s going on down there. The answer is that it was far more extraordinary that Richt had Georgia at merely Lloyd Carr level in the Age of the SEC. Georgia is twice the recruiting ground of any other SEC state save Florida, and in-state rival GT is less of a threat than Michigan State is to us. Plus, Athens is gorgeous, admittedly as nice a town/campus as Ann Arbor; I can personally attest that their gameday atmosphere is unreal. And Georgia's not a bad school either.
I’m sure some Bama stuff is going on there, but the real reason they’re a threat to Michigan now is because Michigan has chosen to invade SEC territory and compete against the best the SEC has to offer.
Scouting Updates on Committed Recruits
Sam Webb did a feature this morning on WTKA on the Michigan guys he’s watched and spoken to down in San Antonio, and while I couldn’t get the Audioboom recording to work MGoUser ColelsCorky kindly summarized it on our board. Among tidbits in there that weren’t mentioned already, Ambry Thomas looks like an early contributor, Deron Irving-Bey is unrefined but also Young Taco-like off the edge, and Tarik Black has been a “revelation.” Huffman’s scouting report agreed on the last:
The Michigan commit has consistently made plays all week and impressed with his smooth route running for being a bigger framed kid. He has shown good, reliable hands and ball skills as well.
Sam and Josh Newkirk caught up with Black on Wednesday and asked him to name his (homer) pick for top cornerback he’s faced, which offers us a nice segue into MI 4* CB Ambry Thomas:
“I’m not being biased or anything like that cause he’s a Michigan commit. But I do think he’s the best corner out here.”
Adding: “He’s a technician, a long ranging guy and has a lot of speed. You've got to work him to get open.”
Another Michigan recruit who could challenge for early playing time, DE/DT Donovan Jeter got a new eval from Brian Dohn, and it sounds like one of those that could accompany a ratings bump:
Final Thought: Jeter offers position flexibility, which is a great thing for a staff and a player. He can be a defensive end, particularly on the weakside where he can use his length and quickness in his first two steps, or he can add weight and strength and move inside. His body can easily handle 290 pounds, and keeping his quickness is not a concern. His hand speed will also allow him to be successful on the interior of the defensive line.
At 6’6/261 Jeter seems large enough to be in the mix for some standard-down spelling of Chase Winovich as a more Taco-shaped WDE, or Rashan Gary’s backup at SDE immediately. Since Gary is expected to take off some of Hurst’s load at tackle this year, the Anchor position has plenty of snaps available.
The Distant Future 2018
After talking up SEC football 6’6 NJ TE Elijah McAllister told Steve Wiltfong he grew up a Michigan fan and that Michigan has been in contact. I may have posted that just for this quote:
“I liked the SEC culture, everyone is great down South. Growing up in New Jersey, a lot of fast-moving people, not everyone is nice. Down South everyone is nice.
MGoBlog’s official Southern correspondent BiSB reports that “Bless your heart” is actually Tennesseean for “F--- you!”, but as we noted above that doesn’t necessarily mean they hate you.
Oh right, we should report this. In least surprising decommitments not involving Penn State recruits whom Michigan leads for:
— Jason Higdon (@Jason_Higdon) January 28, 2016
Decommit = exit post but this one's been heading that way for several weeks. It does make that weird exchange with a Texas247 guy who wouldn't believe his Michigan commitment even weirder.
FWIW this one is more Antwaine Richardson than Rashad Weaver: the coaches wanted him in the class, as evidenced by Harbaugh flying in for an in-home visit a week ago. Elliott is expected to visit and commit to Texas this weekend, the fourth (and presumably last) school he has committed to during the process.
Take as further evidence that "commitment" can mean vastly different things to different people, and that it is foolish to presume another party has the same meaning as you. This is also the flipside to continuing to recruit a nominally filled position in the class; Elliott made comments to Sam Webb ($) in November that made it seem like he was certain to stick. With no 2015 NT and just Mone and Pallante left after Glasgow graduates, Michigan badly needed at least one and hopefully two nose tackles in this class. If they'd stopped with Elliott they'd be in a bad spot right now.
The Michigan coaches moved on last week, securing a commitment from former PSU commit Michael Dwumfour; they remain in pursuit of another NT type in Californian Boss Tagaloa.
Attrition, Expected and... Not So Expected
In a move that should surprise no one, three-star in-state ILB David Reese announced his decommitment from Michigan yesterday so he can find a program that will allow him to enroll early:
— REESE3⃣ (@Dreese18) December 10, 2015
The coaches assuredly saw that coming. That wasn't the case with the decommitment of three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes over the weekend, per 247's Clint Brewster ($):
The de-commitment came as a huge surprise to Michigan as coach John Baxter just saw Viramontes and reported back to Harbaugh that the visit went extremely well.
We have been told that Viramontes was given bad information from a member of his camp that Michigan wouldn’t give him a shot at quarterback and he would immediately be a fullback or linebacker, which is completely false.
Sam Webb discussed the Viramontes situation extensively on his radio show Monday; alum96 was kind enough to write up a summary on the board that's well worth reading. The upshot: while Michigan wasn't expecting Viramontes to leave the class, they don't consider him a must-get—they'll continue to pursue him but at this point there are other uncommitted prospects who are higher priorities.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
I don't get it. I mean, I get it: when Seth said he wanted to do a post about what Adidas inflicted on us I was like YES THAT. A combination of incompetent Germans and a weak or nuts AD was literally not a pretty sight over the past few years. I don't get the WOO NIKE half of that:
"We certainly heard it from fans a fair amount, 'when's Nike coming back?' " says Scott Hirth, co-owner of the M Den, Michigan's official athletic retailer. "There's no two ways around it, and there's no way to sugar coat it. Adidas and football success didn't go hand in hand, and we can't dispute that.
"I think for a lot of fans, it's a feeling of 'Michigan's the best, Nike's the best, Michigan should be with Nike.' "
A shirt's a shirt to me. A jersey is a jersey until it becomes two halves of a jersey flopping in the wind. Nike is no stranger to fashion disasters itself. A lot of people are super happy about this because they owe brand loyalty* to a company that probably makes much of its stuff in literally the same buildings other apparel companies do. So it's a bit weird.
*[I reserve brand loyalties for places they really matter: tortillas. Mission forever. If you bring Azteca into my home I will bludgeon you with them and then kick you out.]
But whatever man, I'm happy you're happy. For athletes it's a different story, of course: the gear is important, especially shoes. And Nike seems to have reputation there that is worth something.
If it makes them happy and a bunch of other people happy, that is a good thing to do even if it does not grow the bottom line as much as possible. The athletic department isn't a profit-driven enterprise, so what should it drive to? Making its stakeholders happy. This appears to do that.
And it might not even leave money on the table. I wonder what metrics Hackett is using when he says this:
Jim Hackett has no problem saying that Michigan's new apparel deal is the largest in the country, topping any other collegiate apparel contract.
Hackett, speaking with a handful of reporters on campus Tuesday, said Michigan would have netted the country's largest apparel deal from Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, but ultimately opted to return to the swoosh.
I wonder because of that reportedly bonkers Under Armour offer to Texas, and reports that Nike was coming in under the other two companies. If other company X is willing to offer more to Michigan they will probably offer more to someone else as well. Not because they're worth more than Michigan. Because it's worth more to company X to have something approximating Michigan.
We'll find out soon enough, and I bet he's right in some way or another since they're going to release numbers next week. I mean, you'd think so. It's common sense. I am going to apply that now.
He's got an average of being excellent. Last April a mailbag post contained a rundown of the various negotiations Michigan executed during the Brandon era. The results there were not pretty:
- Brady Hoke was hired and then paid top ten numbers,
- Michigan was stuck in a different division than OSU (with a crossover game),
- Michigan got an unpleasant home/road split in the 14-team league,
- Notre Dame punked Michigan when they ended the contract,
- Mitch McGary did not have his suspension reduced despite the NCAA changing their rules about pot tests
- Al Borges was offered a 300k raise.
Since Hackett has arrived he has hired Jim Harbaugh for far less than he would get from an NFL team and locked down a Nike contract that can be plausibly called the biggest in the country. What do you think about THAT, Bastian Schweinsteiger?
I agree: not bad at all.
Maize. Maize is not blinding yellow. It is not regular yellow. It is an orangey yellow. It is like the image that leads this post. If Michigan actually starts wearing maize that would be nice.
A jumping man. Nike's Jordan thingy is part of their deal with Michigan. I made an offhanded comment about it in the news post about the deal and got several "NO, SERIOUSLY" replies in the comments and on twitter about it. More detail is available at MLive:
According to a Nike spokesperson, Michigan basketball will become the fifth program outfitted by Jordan Brand. The Jordan Brand currently outfits North Carolina, Georgetown, California and Marquette in men's basketball and North Carolina and Georgetown in women's basketball.
That is a weird—but exclusive!—grouping of teams to join. It includes a team that just locked down Jaylen Brown, who repeatedly said he'd play at an Adidas school. Good job, good effort, Adidas.
Anyway. If any logo on a thing can get recruits to sign up for something it appears to be this logo. I think cold, hard cash works better, though.
GAMBLING! ESTABLISHMENT! AND SO FORTH! Ole Miss is being investigated for hijinks in the recruitment of Laremy Tunsil, a five-star OL who walked right into their starting OL. Tunsil was just arrested for domestic assault against his stepfather, who apparently took whatever cash was on offer from TMZ for photos.
His stepfather says the incident happened because "Tunsil exploded on him for voicing his displeasure about the college star hanging out with sports agents," a story so implausible Michigan could have come up with it in the immediate aftermath of the Shane Morris incident. Dollars to donuts the stepfather has flipped on the kid after gently guiding his recruitment.
Minnesota, 1988. Via Wolverine Historian:
The weather was un-good.
Well, when you lay it out like that… MLive has a slideshow of Brady Hoke's old coaches and where they ended up. I'm sure we've addressed it before, but yikes man:
- OKAY: Greg Mattison stuck in Ann Arbor as the DL coach. Roy Manning is at Washington State. Doug Nussmeier is Florida's OC.
- IS THAT A REAL PLACE? Dan Ferrigno is at San Jose State with Al Borges. Darrell Funk is at Akron. Jeff Hecklinski is at Colorado State-Pueblo. Doug Mallory is at Wyoming. Mark Smith is at Florida Tech. Fred Jackson hasn't landed yet, if he's going to stay in coaching.
Hoke's coaching tree is comparable to Lloyd Carr's minus Brady Hoke. Woof.
I am in favor of this. Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis retired a year ago and has been brought in as a "senior adviser" at Michigan. We are just Joe Parker and Bruce Madej away from The Expendables: Athletic Department Edition.
De Carolis brought in Hutch and was well-loved at Oregon State, FWIW.
Another guy. Former UConn OC TJ Weist has been hired at Michigan as an "analyst," which probably means he'll break down tape and help with gameplanning:
Weist is not a Michigan assistant, which means he's not an active recruiter and his coaching duties will be limited by NCAA rules.
"T.J. has a wealth of coaching experience and will be an excellent addition to our staff," Harbaugh said in a statement. "He has shown the ability to develop countless NFL caliber wide receivers over his career and has immense knowledge of the collegiate game. He will be a great asset to our program."
Weist is a former Jack Harbaugh guy and Michigan native, so this is an obvious fit. Michigan appears to be spending its money on having a good football program instead of… not that. This will help happiness, and help make more money.
Etc.: MI/WV SF Miles Bridges says he wants to visit Michigan again. Kentucky though. More decals with Sap. OSU LB talks trash on Twitter. "Split zone" from James Light. Also this is a really cool and sneaky coverage in which a corner plays man press for about ten yards before bailing on his WR in an effort to trap the QB into a bad throw.
Follow the end of the 2016 line so see where previous classes stood at this point in the process. bigking it makes clickger.
This is gonna be a lot of data and not much analysis that comes from it. Anecdotally, recruiting in the period before this changed dramatically as fans involved themselves in the process. To have a guy like Henne locked up a year out was weird for 2004; Kevin Grady, who pledged to Michigan the summer before his junior season, was unheard of.
The question was has the timeline of committing changed significantly from then to now, or did the thing settle down? I also wanted to see what went on with the other recent transition classes: was 2015 dramatically different from 2011, or 2008?
To answer it I gathered the commitment dates of Michigan freshman recruits since pledging became something reported on the internet (class of 2004). The result was the above chart showing a slightly greater emphasis on getting more commitments around signing day of the last class, and that May-July period between spring and fall practices.
Also under Rodriguez and more so under Hoke, Michigan began taking more guys over a year out from Signing Day. I would expect that to remain thing but not to any great extent. I'll be able to say more once I've gotten the national data to some semblance of sense.
Are they committing earlier to Michigan? On the whole, yes, except for transition classes for obvious reasons.
Taking a mean day is misleading because there are definitely certain periods (summer, near singing day) when commitments bunch. The Greatest February Weekend in the History of February Weekends that built the 2013 class was not repeated, but the 2014 class signed so early that Hoke's last two classes were half-full by now.
You'll note the classes after coaching transitions were also set forward from those a few years out. That is a reflection of the recruiting cycle stretching well beyond a year out. Harbaugh's 2017 class has begun before 6'6 tight ends who camp have ratings—or should—but that isn't a new reality.
Was the 2015 transition class like other transition classes? Your memory is saying "there were never so many decommits" and your memory is correct:
I showed with stars where the last coach retired/was fired/mutually parted ways, and the new one hired. Football seasons began about 175 days out. From there you can see the 2015 class falling apart as the team did, while the greater uncertainty of Rich Rod's 2010 just stagnated the growth of the class. Carr's retirement went relatively smoothly.
The 2015 class was also off to a much stronger start, including 5-stars in George Campbell and Damien Harris over a year before NSD, whereas the 2010 class was built under the shadow of Rosenbergmadeupagate. The 2008 class largely came together during the 2006 season, and in its aftermath.
Within all that you can see how critical a few weeks in winter were. Rodriguez weathered a bit of attrition and finished his class with, if not all he needed (ahem, defensive backs), several players who'd become long-term starters in his system. While we waited for Dave Brandon to get maximum Dave Brandon is Handling This time during The Process, the 2011 class went on a roller-coaster, and Hoke, despite being a fantastic recruiter, was given too little time to add everything he needed.
|Event (days to NSD)||2008
|Coach search begins||Nov 20 (78)||Jan 6 (27)||Dec 2 (64)|
|New coach announced||Dec 17 (51)||Jan 11 (22)||Dec 30 (36)|
On the Data
You can have it here:
A lot of this was from the 247 database, which was from Rivals' database, which was wrong in a lot of spots (for example they give dates they don't know for the 2004 class as 7/8/2003). In the process of tracking down the real dates I asked the guy who covered Mike Hart most closely and got a bonus story for us:
So thanks John L.!
no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
Have a seat over there, Rivals.
Four-star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley will be a senior in high school this fall, so it's somewhat reasonable to discuss him in this forum, unlike whatever's going on above. Corley, arguably the top 2016 in-state prospect, has Michigan outside his top five; the coaches will get the opportunity to work on that when he visits for tomorrow's MSU game, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($).
Corley won't be the only top in-state player in attendance. Four-star Cass Tech OG Michael Onwenu, who just added an Alabama offer, will also visit tomorrow, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($). While he didn't give a date, three-star Cass Tech S Demetric Vance also told Trieu he plans to visit Michigan this summer ($). Vance recently received offers from Tennessee and Michigan State; it wouldn't be a big surprise to see Michigan follow suit.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]