"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
[Ed-S: Bumped from diaries]
Who needs a football fix? Every year I like to size up the relevant QB competition to Michigan in an effort to convince myself that we’ll go undefeated. Please see the following links for the ghosts of seasons past as well as an overview of the general thought processes behind these projections (2010, 2013, 2014). I was unable to post diaries for 2011 and 2012. This exercise is pretty hit and miss but its fun so let’s get to it.
I don’t actually expect anyone to click through to all those links so here’s a summary of the foundational ideas I’ve developed over the years:
1. As far as I’m concerned, the feel good year end rating for a QB is about 140. It’s a tough standard but that’s what the subjective good looks like. Great starts setting in above 145.
2. I treat player skill as a ratcheting riding-a-bike type thing. You don’t just forget what you once “knew” When performance recedes, its because of other factors outside of skill. Therefore, performance must be parsed in order to not over assign skill to a given performance.
3. I strive for an accuracy of +/- 4 points in passer rating. I.e. 131 vs. 135 and 135 vs. 139 are acceptable but 131 vs. 139 is a miss. Below 130 is bad and if I put you in that category and you score at or below 130, I claim a hit.
4. Barring injury, if I pick the wrong starter the a priori assessment carries over to the replacement. More on this later.
5. I use Bill Connolly's RB Rating system to guide my commentary regarding specific players. I had developed a version but, the data streams I needed dried up and his method accounts for most of the factors I did so its good enough for me.
[Hit the Jump for a post-mortem of 2014 QBs]
OH QB Austin Appleby who camped at Michigan hoping for an offer has committed to Purdue.
Of course this means that Michigan will offer him late in the process and switch him by signing day.
Another QB off the board (even though he didn't have an offer). Interesting to see how everything will play out moving forward.
Michigan's camp starts today and run's to the 23rd. I'm obviously not there, but here's who has told me they will be there at least one of the day. There is going to be a ton of kids at this camp, since it's back to being big and open to everyone.
- RB Juwan Lewis (5'11", 208 lbs) 3 star from Muskegon
- QB Austin Appleby (6'5", 228 lbs) 3 star from Ohio. Hoping to earn an offer.
- OL Steven Elmer (6'6", 297 lbs) 2013 prospect from Midland, MI. Just received his Michigan offer today, they're on campus. Already has Michigan State, Mississippi State, and Wisconsin.
- QB Brian Blackburn (6'5", 197 lbs) from Detroit might be there.
- DT Danny O'Brien (6'2", 293 lbs) 4 star from Flint. This camp could help him and Michigan get back on the same page. He'll be there Monday or Tuesday.
- OL Daron Brown (6'5", 312 lbs) from Detroit. Just received an offer from Akron to go with Buffalo.
- RB Alden Hill (6'2", 220 lbs) 3 star from Ohio. Hoping for a Michigan offer.
- OL David Dawson (6'5", 305 lbs) 2013 kid from Cass Tech. I'd imagine there will be more Cass kids like Kenton Gibbs, who will be there 20th and 21st, coming with him.
- DT Vontrell Williams (6'2", 265 lbs) 3 star from Illinois. Trying to earn an offer. The 21st is when he'll be there.
- Maybe: Michigan commit Anthony Standifer and his 2013 teammate WR Laquon Treadwell.
- QB Robert Gregory (6'3", 181 lbs) 3 star, teammates with Jordan Diamond is supposed to be there.
- DB Cameron Burrows (6'1", 175 lbs) 2013 prospect from Trotwood, Ohio. He isn't sure if he's coming or not yet.
- DE Matt Miller (6'4", 240 lbs) 2013 prospect. He's '11 signee Jack Miller's younger brother. I confirmed with Jack that Matt will be there. He said the coaches are interested in Matt and they're excited to see him at camp.
- RB/FB Wyatt Shallman (6'3", 245 lbs) 2013 instate prospect will probably be up on Monday to hang out. He won't be participating.
This is just a small list of notable people I've confirmed. I'll post them as I hear of more.
We're already a few weeks away from the spring game and recruiting is in full swing. With two commitments under their belt the coaches are expecting a few more to come in before or during the spring game. Here's a look at a few visit reactions, upcoming visits, and general notes.
6'5", 228 lbs.
North Canton, Ohio
Appleby has been making his rounds across the country for unofficial visits. He took a trip out to Florida to see the Gators and then made his way up to Ann Arbor.
I wasn't offered on this trip, but we sat down with the coaches and they told me what they want out of me to get that offer. They said they want to see me at their camp and based off of that we'll talk about an offer. They told me that they've seen my film and that they really like me but they want me to camp before they offer.
Normally when you hear that from a prospect it's not good news. However, Appleby has the talent to eventually get an offer depending on what happens with Zeke Pike and Maty Mauk. The fact that Michigan hasn't offered isn't discouraging him.
With Coach Hoke we were just building the relationship and he told me they definitely think I'm a D1 quarterback. It's a challenge to me because I have all the confidence in myself and I'm excited to prove what I know I can do.
Austin got the full treatment from the coaches and felt that he got a good idea of who the new Michigan coaches are.
We met with the coaches and Coach Singletary. We went straight to practice and the players were popping around. They look like a whole new team, I definitely think they're on the right track. The overall enthusiasm and attitude was great. Everything they do is about beating Ohio State. I think the coaches were great, they were honest and genuine. It's hard to compare visits, but I'm definitely interested in Michigan.
I think Michigan would be in good position with Appleby if they were to offer. We'll see if that happens.
6'3", 220 lbs.
I brought up Antonio as a name to keep an eye on a few weeks ago. He hasn't been offered yet, but is planning on taking a trip to Ann Arbor this Saturday.
I'm really interested in Michigan. That was my favorite team growing up. I talked to Coach Hecklinski and they haven't offered yet, but they really like me.
Morrison is hoping for an offer this weekend, and if Michigan does offer they could vault into his top group.
I know the coaches from San Diego State, but I don't know too much about them. I have about ten offers right now but the schools I talk to the most are Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana. [Michigan] would definitely be in my top three schools if they offered. I don't really have a leader yet, but if Michigan were to offer they might be at the top.
There are already a good amount of linebacker prospects with offers that Michigan is in good position with. We'll see if Antonio does get offered this weekend, but I wouldn't be shocked if he wasn't.
6'4", 295 lbs.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Latta is a big prospect that hasn't started to pick up steam with his recruitment yet. He currently has offers from Wisconsin and Western. Some schools prefer him on the offensive line and some prefer defensive line. Michigan has shown interest in Kelby, and the new coaching staff has made that feeling mutual.
I like the kind of mentality the new coaches are bringing and starting to get. I like the style of ball they're playing, and I just want to see what kind of coaches they are and how we get a long.
Kelby hasn't picked up many offers yet so he isn't anywhere near making his final decision. He does have an idea of how it will play out though.
I want to have it down to three schools by the time football season comes around. I know Wisconsin will be in there and the other two spots are open. Michigan has a chance to be in there. I'll probably make my final decision at the end of the season. I'm really just looking for the style of play, if they can win, the coaches, the class I'd be coming in with, and the education.
Wisconsin is the leader for now, but Kelby has interest in finding out more about Michigan. Latta says that the Michigan coaches have told him they prefer him on the offensive line. They have quite a few offers out already to offensive linemen with around 4 committable spots left.
- If you missed it you can take a look at what QB Zeke Pike thought of his visit to Michigan here. Pike just took in Arkansas this past weekend, but Michigan has done a good job of getting in the conversation. Zeke plans on making his decision within the next few months and as of now Michigan has a great chance.
- Visit reactions from Minnesota OL Jonah Pirsig and Ohio TE AJ Williams are here.
- East Detroit TE Ron Thompson told me he will be making his decision within the next few weeks. He doesn't have a set date, just whenever he feels ready. Michigan is in good position.
- Ohio LB Kaleb Ringer will be announcing his decision on April 15th at 6pm EST. Michigan is in good position here as well.
- Michigan offered Texas fullback EJ Fatu (5'10", 235 lbs). His late father was Eddie Fatu, the WWE wrestler and his cousin is The Rock.
Michigan has offered eight quarterbacks so far with two of those prospects already committed to other schools [Brewer - Texas, Kline - Cal]. Evaluations and new offers will definitely be forthcoming, and Ohio quarterback Austin Appleby may be one of those candidates. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound signal caller is trying to plan a trip to Ann Arbor this weekend to find out more about Michigan's interest in him. Here's a look at his film and where he's at in the process.
TOM: I know you have offers from Toledo, Kent State, and Temple, but where are you at right now? What schools are you starting to hear from?
AUSTIN: Everything is going very well. I visited Pitt and Akron this weekend, and they both pulled me aside from the junior day groups to talk to the head coach. They told me how much they liked me and that I was at the top of their quarterback lists. I'll also be going to Michigan, U Conn, and Florida over the next few weeks, so I'm very busy.
TOM: That is busy. Did you set a date yet for the Michigan visit?
AUSTIN: We're trying to schedule it for this weekend. They invited me out on March 26th, but we are already booked for Florida that day. My dad is trying to confirm a visit to Michigan for the 13th, and then we'll go to U Conn on the 19th.
TOM: If Michigan were to offer where would that put them in your rankings, or where would they stand overall for you?
AUSTIN: I want to keep all my options open right now. I am very interested in the Big Ten and Michigan. Right now we're in the information gathering process. Every team that has offered me is very high on my list, so based on that they would be high on my list.
TOM: Do you know when you want to try to narrow everything down and when you want to make your final decision?
AUSTIN: In a perfect world, by the end of June or early July. I am planning on attending a few camps and I don't know what doors may open. I know it will be by August 1st for sure.