"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."
Not official offical but official (wink wink) per Zordich via Mlive. (not sure if we have done a hello on front page for him already - I don't recall one but if so if so kill the topic mods)
I did a diary on Lyons if you are unfamiliar with his background; I would basically classify him as a taller Ray Taylor. Playing in the Big 10 should be a lot easier on the fella when you compare and contrast the level of QBs in the 2 leagues.
Also Zordich says Countess, Lewis and Stribling are the current top 3 corners. No surprises.
One of the worst-kept secrets around Michigan's football program for months now has been the eventual addition of Stanford graduate transfer corner Wayne Lyons.
On Thursday, new Michigan defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich basically confirmed the move, explaining that Lyons was on campus over the weekend, and the team's excited to bring him in during fall camp.
"Wayne was here over the weekend, we spent some time with him and I've watched a lot of film on him," Zordich said. "I think he's the right kind of body, a bigger body, he's a lot like Channing (Stribling). A lot of length.
"Our (cornerbacks room) has been told that there is going to be three (new) guys coming into the secondary," Zordich says. "We've got a transfer from Stanford coming in, a true freshman (in Keith Washington) and a (freshman) safety who likes to play corner in Tyree Kinnel.
With the hiring today of "Mama" it seems the potential exists for 5th year senior Stanford DB Wayne Lyons to be headed to A2. Until today I was trying to figure out why a (mostly) starter for a very good defense, at a great academic institution, with great weather, in a good conference, playing for a staff who develops defensive players well - would uproot his life for 1 year, but it now makes sense.
Anyhow here is a little I unearthed. Unlike Michigan football, Stanford football is not rich with blogs and website covering every little breath so it was not easy to find too much. RuleofTree - their SBNation blog - which I found a lot of good info on their prior coaches, and Kevin Hogan is my main source of all things Lyons ... and even then there were basically 2 stories remotely related to him this fall
Also I only cared about what I could find the past 2 years - what he was ranked in HS means absolutely zilch. (He was the 6th best rated S if that matters to you) I do hope S.C./Magnus can look at his film and offer their own scouting reports. There is not much (positive) on his NFL prospects in terms of scouting but that is a harsh bar, and again the # of sources is limited - whereas I could find 15 opinions on Blake Countess quite quickly.
Stanford bio here. 6'1, 193 lbs.
Best as I could tell working backwards is Stanford had a first year DB coach this year and Lyons - despite starting in 2013 - was not a top line starter. While a competent player he sounded like a starter by default perhaps paralling to a guy like Raymon Taylor. A decent college player but one apt to make mistakes and who has holes in his game.
His 2013 to 2014 journey actually sounds a lot like James Ross III if we ignore the position. Ross I believe was the 2nd leading tackler in 2013 (Lyons was the 5th in 2013 for Stanford), and saw his playing time eradicated quite badly, partly due to formations that focused more on nickelback rather than 3 LB sets and partly due to (????). Lyons had a similar falloff in that he was a part time starter - 7 games started as a senior. A blurb from ROT blog writer Jack Blanchat:
....his college career thus far has been more average than stellar. If this is indeed Lyons' final year at Stanford, perhaps he is looking for a starting opportunity after being forced to split time at cornerback this fall. Under first-year defensive backs coach Duane Akina, Lyons appeared to grow as a player, but some costly lapses may have forced Akina to restrict his playing time.
Blanchat was a bit more kind in his end of year wrapup of Stanford football writing in December:
Alex Carter was fantastic, Wayne Lyons finally took a leap, and Jordan Richards was great against the pass and the run. The only weak spot from time to time was Zach Hoffpaiur, who has never been particularly natural in coverage. (But he was good at stopping the run as a nickel corner.) I think Duane Akina proved to be an asset to the Stanford coaching staff right away, and I think the added physicality from this unit was attributable to his coaching philosophy. The fact that he finally got Wayne Lyons to break through his plateau was most impressive to me.
So the positive is Lyons seemed to make some progress from a plateau. The negative is the writer seemed amazed by it. And even with that progress he was still forced to split time.
One other thing to keep in mind was the other CB in Stanford's system was Alex Carter who apparently is good enough to declare early for the draft as he has. So it seems Lyons (or other CB on field that Lyons lost playing time to) would be the target of opposing QBs). But other than that Lyons was surrounded by a lot of talent - while Stanford fell off record wise their ills were mainly on the offensive side of the ball. So he has no excuse of playing in a weak defense and not getting help.
I am going to put 2 scouting reports to end this and again keep in mind these are just individual opinions, and 1 is very scathing but to each their own - again I hope Magnus and S.C. can come and offer their views, not that we want to sugarcoat his abilities but the more views on him the more of a complete picture we get.
First, Walter Football with an updated view of him in 2015 v last year:
2/7/15: Lyons had 30 tackles with three passes broken up and zero interceptions in 2014. He didn't impress against USC and struggled versus Notre Dame. Teams generally targeted Lyons instead of throwing at Alex Carter.
5/30/14: Lyons has good size and strength on the edge while also being a special teams contributor. The junior totaled 69 tackles with two passes broken up and an interception in 2013. To rise in the rankings as a senior, Lyons needs to show the speed and athleticism to cover speed receivers. He was beaten too often last year and allowed too much separation.
Second... and again this a random Lions blog from last July... but it doesn't sound too different than Walterfootball - just more detailed...
At 6’1” 195, Wayne Lyons has size on his side as a cornerback prospect. Stanford utilized him exclusively on the right side, rotating out with senior Barry Browning last year. Lyons is entering his second season as a starter in 2014. His first did not go as planned.
Lyons was often picked on when receivers could expose his poor athleticism and technique. The Michigan State game is the prime example. Lyons’ hips are too stiff in transition. His footwork is sloppy in and out of his backpedal as well. Receivers who can quickly enter his comfort zone can get him spinning in circles and gain big separation out of breaks. He will then extend his cushion to inappropriate lengths to make up for it.
Though he has two interceptions a season ago, both against Notre Dame, Lyons doesn’t have great ball skills and isn’t often in position to play the ball in the first place. That means his size doesn’t become a benefit enough. Getting physical with receivers is the equalizer for him as with most technically challenged cornerbacks.
For Lyons to become a viable prospect at all, he must stop stumbling around the field in coverage, make his backpedal and leveraging more consistent, and tighten his space with receivers. He’s a senior prospect who still needs to master the basics.
So that's what we have - sounds like a guy who had a new coach come in last year, helped improve his game at least modestly but even with that was losing starting time to other guys. And his running mate in the CB backfield left early for the NFL. So these things also make sense as to why he would leave Stanford in his 5th year, other than Mama coming home.
Projected role on UM: With Lewis locked down at 1 corner, and Peppers apparently moving to S there is a vacancy at the other CB. Lyons sounds a lot like a taller Raymon Taylor - he is serviceable and a good 1 year stop gap which hopefully Stribling can push hard in his 3rd year and RS FR Brandon Watson can also push. (Some might say Blake will be the other corner - could very well be - but I'd rather just see him be the nickel). The defensive coaching at Stanford is generally very good so would not expect some quantum leap due to subpar coaching.
Per Army All-American Bowl live announcement.
We're in the middle of a recruiting dead period, and about a month away from signing day. I thought I would give an update on who's left on the board, time frames for when specific recruits will make their decisions, and who will be visiting in the near future.
|Demetrius Hart||RB||FL||4 Star|
|Justice Hayes||RB||MI||4 Star|
|Brennen Beyer||DE||MI||4 Star|
|Blake Countess||CB||MD||4 Star|
|Dallas Crawford||CB||FL||3 Star|
|Jake Fisher||OL||MI||3 Star|
|Delonte Hollowell||CB||MI||3 Star|
|Kellen Jones||LB||TX||3 Star|
|Chris Rock||DE/DT||OH||3 Star|
|Greg Brown||DB||OH||3 Star|
|Jack Miller||OL||OH||3 Star|
|Desmond Morgan||LB||MI||3 Star|
|Tony Posada||OL||FL||3 Star|
|Matt Goudis||K||CA||2 Star|
That's 14 current commitments, and for argument sake we'll just assume that Michigan will take 20 in this class. Rich Rodriguez has recently said they will take anywhere from 18-20 commits, so we'll go with 20. Here's a look at the most likely recruits left at each position, up to this point. There could be some new names pop up, but this list seems pretty solid for now.
|Name||State||Decision Date||Rivals Ranking|
|Kris Frost||NC||Army All American Game (Jan 8th)||4 Star|
|Hakeem Flowers||SC||Either January or Signing Day. May still take visits.||3 Star|
|Devin Lucien||CA||Signing Day. Visiting Michigan January 7th||4 Star|
|Prince Holloway||FL||January 15th. Recently said he will commit to Michigan on his January 15th visit.||3 Star|
Frost is in this category because he will most likely get his chance to try wide receiver before potentially moving to linebacker. The situation for Michigan here is that they may just lead for all four of these receivers.
|Name||State||Decision Date||Rivals Ranking|
|Wayne Lyons (S)||FL||Army All American Game||4 Star|
|Raymon Taylor (ATH)||MI||Visiting January 7th. Decision after that.||4 Star|
|Sheldon Royster (S)||NJ||Visiting January 7th.||4 Star|
|James Richardson (CB)||TX||Deciding in January||3 Star|
|Roderick Ryles (S)||FL||Planning a visit, decision date unsure.||3 Star|
Again Michigan is in great position for most of these recruits.
|Name||State||Decision Date||Rivals Ranking|
|Jack Tabb||NJ||January||3 Star|
|Frank Clark||OH||Visiting January 7th, decision date unsure.||3 Star|
|Tanner McEvoy||NJ||Visiting January 7th, decision date unsure.||3 Star|
Tabb is thinking over his decision, and will be announcing sometime in early or mid January. The coaching situation had been factoring into his decision, and he was also hoping for an offer from Miami. He's not getting the Miami offer, so it will be between Michigan, North Carolina, and Arkansas.
|Name||State||Decision Date||Rivals Ranking|
|Chris Bryant||IL||January, or Signing Day||4 Star|
Bryant isn't sure if he wants to wait until signing day to make his decision, or just get it over with. He is waiting to see what happens with the coaches, but Michigan is likely to land Chris.
|Name||State||Decision Date||Rivals Ranking|
|Anthony Zettel (DE)||MI||Likely to decide in January.||4 Star|
|Darian Cooper (DT||MD||Visiting January 7th, likely to decide signing day.||4 Star|
|Max Issaka (DE)||NJ||May visit Michigan||3 Star|
|Deion Barnes (DE)||PA||Visiting January 7th, decision in mid-late January or signing day||4 Star|
As you can see, there are a lot of recruits left for only roughly 6 spots left. The good news is that there is a lot of quality left on the board. The recruits that are left and still have Michigan in the race are ranked highly, and more importantly could help Michigan in key areas.
The next visit weekend will be January 7th, and will be host to a good amount of prospects. Here's the list so far, and as usual will be updated as we get closer. These visits aren't set in stone, so they could change from now until the 7th.
- S Sheldon Royster - Michigan is in Royster's top four with North Carolina, Rutgers, and South Carolina
- DE Deion Barnes - Michigan is in Barne's top group with Penn State, South Carolina, and Georgia.
- WR Devin Lucien - Michigan is in a very favorable spot for Lucien. This visit could determine where he ends up.
- DT Darian Cooper - Cooper still lists Michigan in his top group, but definitely has concerns about the coaching situation. He should have some answers by this time.
- ATH Raymon Taylor - Recently offered by Michigan, and recently decommitted from Indiana I suspect that Michigan leads.
- TE Tanner McEvoy
- TE/LB Frank Clark - The Glenville prospect always speaks highly of Michigan, and is excited about the visit.
This past weekend was host to a few important official visitors, and this weekend will see even more prospects coming in for the Big Chill hockey game. A slightly different format:
Visitors from this Past Weekend (12/3)
There were no commitments from Maryland DB Blake Countess or Florida S Wayne Lyons. I spoke briefly with Lyons, and have a full interview scheduled for later today. He had this to say so far:
"It was a good trip. The academic side of it was good, and I know my mom liked that too."
Rumors had Michigan potentially leading for Countess, and this visit was a big one since it was his first official. Blake was tweeting the whole weekend; here's a few of them:
- goblue !!!!!!!!!!
- Michigan was great. i could def. see myself there!
- I was with Josh Furman, Denard and Devin Gardner..and the other players that were there on officials.Delonte, wayne and G.Brown
His coaches aren't easy to get ahold of, so I'm still working on getting more from him. Lyons is expected to make his decision at the Army game, and will take a trip to Nebraska next.
Official Visitors for the Big Chill
This weekend is not only host to the Big Chill and fireworks, but a plethora of official visitors. Here's the list I have compiled so far. As always this list will be posted permanently in the diary section to add and remove recruits.
- LB Desmond Morgan - This could be the last visit before Morgan makes his decision. I wouldn't be surprised if he announces his choice shortly after.
- DE Anthony Zettel - This is Zettel's last official visit. He's already been to MSU, Penn State, and Iowa.
- OL Chris Bryant - This probably won't be the last visit for Chris. He's been wavering on when he wants to make his decision. He might wait until signing day, or he might just pull the trigger. Michigan is in a favorable position either way.
I'll continue to add to this as I confirm more names.
On to specific recruits:
6'3", 210 lbs.
Matthews, North Carolina
Frost is down to Auburn and Michigan, and has been for some time now. He still plans on enrolling early, and will be announcing his choice at the Army All American game in January. I'm in constant contact with Kris, and I believe that Michigan is in good position right now… as long as Rodriguez is retained. If Michigan were to make a change, then there might be some trouble. I don't believe that a defensive coaching change would make too much of a difference with Kris. The coaches have been on him, and are continuing to show him that they want him, as well:
Coach Rod will actually be out to my house on Thursday. They've just really been telling me how I fit in there, and how much I'm wanted. I don't think I'm going to be able to make it back up there for another visit, but that shouldn't matter too much anyway.
If you remember, Kris was going to try to come back up for another unofficial visit. That won't be happening, but it's not a big deal.
6'1", 189 lbs.
If you read my post yesterday you already know that Devin has scheduled his official visit out to Michigan for January 7th. Since Michigan has offered they have shot up Devin's list, and this visit could potentially vault the Wolverines into the top spot.
I love the overall tradition at Michigan. The tradition they have reminds me a lot of what we have at Crespi (High School). The brotherhood that the players have is amazing. I love the fans, and the whole community of Ann Arbor. I can't wait to visit.
A lot of people have wondered what recruits are thinking as far as the coaching situation with regards to Michigan. Devin felt comfortable enough to share how he was thinking.
I like Michigan for Michigan, so it doesn't really matter to me. I think it matters more to my parents just because they want me to be somewhere stable. Coach Dews has talked to both my parents and they both like him a lot. He's actually coming out this week on Thursday.
This is just one point of view but Devin is more interested in the program, and since he could probably play in most systems anyway, it won't matter much. The timing of this visit could help Michigan too, since Lucien is planning on making his decision on signing day, which is only 3 or 4 weeks from when he'll be on campus.
Other items [from the editor]
- The Orlando Sentinel caught up with FL RB Dee Hart, who says he will remain committed to Michigan if Rodriguez is retained. If he isn't, he's going to Florida to play in the spread.
- MI WR Shawn Conway will not qualify and is headed to a JUCO. He says he would like to return to the fold after his time there is finished but it is extremely rare for Michigan to take a JUCO kid who did not qualify out of high school. Austin Panter, the last JUCO at Michigan, was a qualifier who played seven on seven and went to JUCO for exposure, and the last one before that was Russell Shaw. Michigan's coaches have clearly known about this for a while given the offer to Lucien and late push for Arnett.
I see from headlines on Scout that Wayne Lyons is a visitor this weekend. While "google-stalking" for info on the visit, I stumbled on a great article about him. It may have been posted here in the past, but in light of his visit I thought it was worth sharing.
Coaches at 44 schools have offered Wayne Lyons a scholarship
His list includes offers from Alabama, Boston College, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA and Wisconsin.
For example, of all the blue-chip high school players who now post details of their recruitment on Twitter, how many also include tweets such as the one Lyons sent out last week? "High school GPA has jumped to a 5.0 on the head! Gotta keep that no. 1 spot! Holding on to the dream -- Class Valedictorian for DHS c/o 2011."
He took calculus as a 10th-grader, is his class president and helped Dillard coach Manny Martin start a mentoring program this past spring.
When it became clear in ninth grade that Lyons would be an excellent football player, Bush simply assumed he'd go to Florida, the school she had attended and the school Lyons' sister currently attends. Then the recruiting mail started pouring in, and Bush began reading up on all the universities.
"His sophomore year, he'll get his bachelor's degree" Dillard's Martin said. "His junior year, he'll be working on his masters."
"I want a school," he said, "where the degree is worth something."
Wants to know:
"How many African-American players have graduated with an engineering degree in the past five years? Year-by-year? Please list their names."
Reading the whole article makes me really want this kid to be a Wolverine. What an incredible role model he could be.
I can't wait to hear about his visit.