I think I know what buckstachioed gentleman Mr. Baugh sits next to at the library when he composes his tweets.
Friday Recruitin' is Creeped Out
Today's recruiting roundup addresses some disturbing Twitter-related news, the recruitments of Ty Isaac and Henry Poggi, a pair of new 2013 offers, and a way-too-early top 25 for the class of 2014.
On Twitter and Recruits
Prepare to be creeped out:
Ohio State has learned that a convicted sex offender from Kentucky has made contact with Buckeyes student-athletes both in-person and through social media websites.
The Lantern obtained a Friday email that was sent from OSU athletic director for compliance Doug Archie informing Buckeye student-athletes that the university is aware of photographs OSU players have taken with Charles Eric Waugh, 31, a man listed on Kentucky’s sex offender registry, Archie said in the email.
"The University has become aware that an individual who is listed on Kentucky's sex offender registry has recently been seen in pictures with our student-athletes," Archie said in the mail, which was preceded by a warning text to student athletes.
Land-Grant Holyland has further details, including screencaps of Waugh tweeting inspirational quotes to Ohio State players and recruits and a photograph of him with 2013 recruits Alex Anzalone, Joey Bosa, and Mike Heuerman (above). Waugh is a registered sex offender—and currently on probation—because he was convicted in 2007 of "five counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by minors." As Land-Grant Holyland points out, Waugh could be in deep trouble, as the terms of his probation explicitly prohibit him from using any social media platform that allows access to minors, which is obviously the case with Twitter.
What strikes me most about the whole ordeal, however, is that several people—including a pair of current Buckeye players—came to Waugh's defense when he was called out by LGH on Twitter for sending quotes to underage kids and "pandering for [retweets]." This happened prior to the revelation that he was a sex offender, but I still find it deeply worrisome. One of the most prevalent arguments I see when people defend interacting with high school recruits through social media is that many of the recruits enjoy those interactions, so they're justified. I can't agree with that logic—there's a reason most high school kids can't vote, and it has to do with gaining a proper understanding of the world around them.
I'm not saying people shouldn't ever follow recruits; given the nature of my job, that would be hypocritical. I honestly don't see why people want to do so—the amount of relevant news gained is dwarfed in comparison to the sheer volume of high school drama, tweets with far too much information, and life musings of high schoolers—but that's your prerogative. When the line is crossed to interacting with recruits, however, it becomes a problem; even if you can't see an issue with chatting with a high school kid you don't know, there is the fact that NCAA violations are being committed at an alarming rate. I've had people ask me to tweet at recruits and encourage them to go to Michigan, which not only violates NCAA rules and the principles of journalistic integrity, but is also asking me to insert myself into a life decision for which I have no business giving input.
I realize that I'm speaking to a small fraction of the blog's readership, and also that there are a large number of fans who won't see this. But things will change soon—this isn't the first or last time that recruits will unwittingly interact with a sex offender, to put it bluntly—and I can't foresee fans having such unfettered access to recruits remaining the norm. Get ahead of the curve, remember that you're dealing with high school kids, and understand that it isn't your job to tell these young men what they should do with their lives. Brady Hoke will handle recruiting just fine without you.
(As for Facebook, by the way: don't. Just don't. Please don't make me list the reasons why you shouldn't "friend" recruits.)
Isaac Visiting USC, More 2013 News
IL RB Ty Isaac will take his second trip to USC this weekend, and according to Sam Webb he'll be accompanied by his mother ($). While I still think Michigan has the edge in his recruitment—his mother indicated that another visit to Ann Arbor is likely—this does signal that USC is a legitimate contender, perhaps moreso than Notre Dame. Isaac does ask that people not read too much into the trip, however:
“At this point (people) are going to find out (about the visit) anyway,” he said. “They’re going to have writers out there that hear that I’m out there, and they’re going to write about it. I can’t control that. I knew I had it set up for about two weeks and I kind of didn’t want to say right when I knew because you know how some of these guys on the internet are. They go crazy… like two visits means a commitment. But it’s tough… you have to get out and see these places. Just because it’s far away doesn’t mean it should be a one visit type deal. I’ve been a lot of places multiple times, so we’re just checking it out again.”
Please don't let Isaac doing his due diligence cause panic(!) in the comments. Also, as he has said in the past, Isaac plans to make his decision before the fall.
Rivals caught up with MD DT Henry Poggi after his visit to Alabama, and he played things close to the vest, abstaining from naming any leaders ($). He's working on setting his first visit to Penn State, however, and also is considering trips to Texas A&M and Cal. Given that he's taken three trips each to Michigan and Alabama, I wouldn't expect those schools to become a threat unless he takes return visits.
According to TomVH, Michigan sent out offers to two new prospects ($) this week in Fort Lauderdale (FL) University School of Nova South teammates WR Jordan Cunningham and DT Maquedius Bain. Cunningham is strangely listed at either 6'1" or 6'3" and makes the top 150 on both Rivals and ESPN, though he garners three-star ratings from Scout and 247. MAQUEDIUS BAIN (yes, he gets the all-caps treatment) is currently a Florida State commit, but he could possibly open up his recruitment; he's in the top 100 on both Scout and ESPN, but also has three stars on two sites.
Neither offer should come as a surprise considering Michigan's needs, especially with how things are trending at wide receiver. While things look good for Laquon Treadwell, there's still along way to go before he decides. Meanwhile, TX WR Eldridge Massington just committed to USC this afternoon ($, info in header). Fellow TX WR Marcell Ateman committed to Oklahoma State on Wednesday. NC WR Uriah LeMay cut his list down to ten ($), and it doesn't include the Wolverines. With two more receivers a near-necessity for rounding out the class, don't be surprised if Michigan goes hard after some new names on the recruiting trail.
Quickly: Sam Webb's DetNews feature this week is on CA ATH Elijah Qualls, who's trimmed down his current list to Washington, Oregon State, Arizona, Nebraska, California, Michigan, Iowa State and UCLA, though USC, Oklahoma, and Oregon could just into the mix if they offer. He's considering using an official visit to check out Ann Arbor. Michigan added a quarterback for the 2012 class, picking up Detroit Jesuit's Brian Cleary as a preferred walk-on.
Camps! Plus 2014 Updates
It's a big weekend for Michigan commits, as Columbus will host an Elite11 regional today then the Nike Football Training Camp on Saturday. Shane Morris will try to earn a spot in the Elite11 finals after failing to do so at the Dallas regional last month, though he'll face stiff competition from Stanford commit Ryan Burns (ESPN's #17 overall recruit) and others.
The NFTC will play host to commits Jourdan Lewis, Taco Charlton, Khalid Hill, David Dawson, and Mike McCray, who will attempt to raise their stock with strong camp performances. Scout's Allen Trieu has an extensive free preview; uncommitted recruits of note include Cass Tech DT Kenton Gibbs (no M offer), IN DT Darius Latham (offer), and a host of 2014 prospects, including MI WR Damon Webb, OH WR Thaddeus Snodgrass, MI LB Deon Drake, MI LB Gary Hosey, MI LB William White, and MI RB Lorenzo Collins. I know TomVH and Chantel Jennings will be there, as will the guys from Tremendous, so there will be no shortage of coverage on the event next week.
247 released a (very) early top 25 for the class of 2014, and several players holding Michigan offers made the list, including top overall prospect VA DT Da'Shawn Hand. Other offerees: NJ CB Jabrill Peppers (#3), MD OT Damian Prince (#13), NC OT Bentley Spain (#17), DC CB Jalen Tabor (#20), and MI DE Malik McDowell (#23). [EDIT: Tim Sullivan just posted over on The Fort (and said I could pass this along) that Peppers doesn't yet hold a Michigan offer, despite statements Peppers has made to the contrary. His coach confirms that Peppers doesn't have an offer at the moment.]
Peppers named a top six this week that includes Michigan, and he revealed to 247 that he grew up as a fan of the Wolverines ($). Joining the Wolverines are Stanford, USC, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, and Ohio State; Peppers said that Michigan will "definitely" be in his top five when he has one, and he's working on setting up an unofficial visit. Getting in early on Peppers would make for a fantastic start to the 2014 class.
Quickly: Kyle Turley and J.C. Shurburtt break down Logan Tuley Tillman's junior film—there's not much insight beyond what Turley wrote up last week, but it's interesting to see him go through tape. David Dawson is still getting visited by other schools, with Florida making a particularly strong push, though he remains committed and won't take visits elsewhere—he's well aware of Hoke's policy. Trieu breaks down the emerging 2014 prospects in the Midwest, including recently-offered Parrker Westphal.
Wow, you really have to wonder if the Anzalone decommitment has anything to do with this guy. This could be huge for them in a completely negative way. If what Ace said before wasn't true, it sure is now.
"Something's just not right at Ohio State,"
When do you think Michigan starts really looking at Kenton Gibbs? Not many nose tackle recruits come to mind that we're pursuing that haven't committed elsewhere.
I would bet a solid sum of money that Gibbs ends up in our class.
That wouldn't surprise me one bit. Think the coaches are waiting to see him at the one-day camp before they extend an offer. If they do, I'd be pretty shocked if he didn't end up in the fold.
He's a local guy with teammates who are already committed, so the coaches probably feel he's a guy they can still get if they wait a bit to offer. But unless we get a high profile NT to commit, I think he's our guy.
Agreed. I think Gibbs would commit almost immediately if offered by Michigan.
Also, Ace, with Anazalone out of OSU, and Levenberry going to FSU, do you think there will be any revival of interest there?
I have no inside information here, but it would make a lot of sense to go after him. He's obviously very good, and we're no longer saving that spot for anyone.
Possibly, but there's much larger needs elsewhere—DT and WR especially—and they could be working from behind after turning him down earlier. Tough to stop a recruitment cold and then pick up where you left off.
All well again, but at what point are we more interested in talent? I understand the needs, and how severe they are, but on the other hand, we're not in on many WRs or DTs at anywhere near Anzalone's level.
I'm just thinking here, obviously. At the same time, if life gives you lemons...we're apparently blessed at LB, but we seem to be cursed at WR.
It's early May. Signing day is in February. Get back to me then if Michigan is still having trouble filling needs at WR and DT with high-caliber recruits—I have a feeling we won't be having that discussion.
I understand the desire to get all of the four-stars, regardless of position, but take a look at Michigan's depth along both lines and you'll realize why that's not an ideal way to recruit.
I get that its early. And that things change. I'm just looking at a streak of WR whiffles stretching back to Sean Conway, so the distance to February is comparatively lessened.
Different coaching staff. Tons of targets still on the board. Dukes already in the fold.
I stand by my statement.
Do you consider our 2012 WR signees whiffs as well? Darboh was a consensus 4-star who was being chased by most of the top midwest teams. Chesson had less hype, but still had a number of other Big Ten offers and was a guy the staff liked right off the bat.
Obviously I'd like to get a couple blue chip WRs in this class, but if we get two more guys like Darboh and Chesson, you can't complain too much about that. We already have Dukes who is at least on par with those two.
I don't consider them whiffs at all, but they're not homeruns either. This isn't about me playing the ingrate fan. We haven't secured a legitimate downfield threat at wide receiver in years. darboh and Chesson are fine, possibly even fantastic possession receivers. But they're also not downfield threats. Nor is Dukes.
If we get one, fine, that's...kind of the point I'm making. But it has been a rough run since we had a certain kind of receiver (Stonum).
If the coaches go after Anzalone now, they risk angering coaches and recruits who were turned away by Michigan earlier (Anzalone, Jones, O'Daniel, etc.). They said they were full but instead they would obviously have just been going after another recruit instead, which might be deemed as an insult. Interestingly, the three linebackers who were turned away have all committed elsewhere since then...although Anzalone recently decommitted.
Can we please get that creeper photo off the front page, or photoshop something over his face? That dude is seriously disturbing.
Agreed. In deference to the kids in the pic, I say take it down. It serves no purpose to show it, since the only one doing something knowingly wrong is the perv, and the recruits are still technically minors.
within three yards of that creep, let alone put their arms around him.
I WILL PANIC IF I WANT TO PANIC
Why has nobody pointed out the fact that the creeper is wearing a long-sleeve red and grey shirt under a polo?
than I thought he was
If true, why haven't we offered Peppers yet? Seems like he is begging for an offer.
You must be thinking of someone else... Jabrill Peppers is a 2014 DB who has been offered by Michigan.
Ace while I think you have a good point to an extent about "be careful what you say to recruits or prospective recruits on twitter" it bothers me that you connected it to this news which I think is the wrong message.
The problem with this situation is that this guy is a registered sex offender, not that he was talking to recruits on twitter telling them where to go.
The message should be to recruits (and high schoolers in general really) to say I know twitter and facebook exist but be careful who you interact with and how close you get with strangers. Just because someone follows you on twitter and acts like a friend doesn't mean you need to interact with them and just because someone requests you as a friend on facebook doesn't mean you should add them or message with them.
Again, the point is true you could be getting Michigan in trouble with inappropriately tweeting...especially if you shouldn't be around kids or interacting with kids at all but this thing with Ohio State is not connected to that, unless more of the mgoblog readership than I hoped has people on it who are or should be restricted from talking to kids by the police.
Tweeting a recruit=not inherently bad
Tweeting a recruit as a sex offender and hanging out with them=bad
Tweeting a recruit saying "come to my school!"=bad but not related to the above.
I think you missed the larger point, which is that tweeting recruits is inherently bad. The Waugh case is obviously an extreme example, but how are these high school kids supposed to determine which random strangers are safe to interact with? Especially when it's so easy to develop a fake, but believable, online persona—Sarah Phillips, anyone?—there's absolutely no way to do that.
But even that isn't the real point. The real point is that, as an adult, you shouldn't be bothering minors you don't personally know through social media, whether your intentions are good or not. The justification for that is two-fold: (1) It's pretty creepy and, if you're begging for retweets or telling a 17-year-old how great he is, also quite pathetic, and (2) If you have any remote connection to the university, including buying football tickets, it's an NCAA violation.
Then there are deeper reasons that it's wrong. As I said in the post, it's really none of your business to tell a recruit what you think he should do concerning a major life decision, especially when you know nothing about the kid beyond his highlights and a few news articles. There's also the issue of ego—I don't think it's healthy at all that this generation of recruits is constantly being bombarded with people telling them their shit doesn't stink. I realize this isn't a stark departure from recruits of previous generations, just a different form, but the increase in degree is massive; I'd venture to guess that Shane Morris, a junior in high school, is currently more recognizable and popular among Michigan fans—especially the hardcore segment of the fans—than 80% of the current team, and that may be conservative. If Morris can keep that from going to his head, he's got a remarkably strong character (and I'm not saying he doesn't, for the record—he's just the best example that came to mind).
Then aren't you going into exactly what you talked about in your original post that you're kind of being a hypocrite? I'm not trying to be condescending but you're making a leap to assume that just because you tweet a recruit that is a complete stranger is that you are saying something related to their recruitment.
Just like I know you do, I have a number of Michigan recruits on my twitter that I am following and will occasionally tweet to them if they say something funny or on a birthday or something like that....but I don't add them so I can talk to them. Mostly I want to see what they are up to with the camps they go to and such so I can follow that see how they did but there is nothing wrong with being cordial. Yes, the only reason I have them on there in the first place is because they are going to Michigan but I am not talking about their lives or their recruitment or what they are majoring in or whatever else.
I don't know exactly how you do your job but I am assuming that some of your job involves tweeting recruits or potential recruits and asking for interviews that way as well as doing phone calls emails whatever else. This is a good thing. We want to read that stuff. But you could construe that as equally creepy...even though it is entirely harmless. That's why to me tweeting isn't inherently bad.
I think the issue is you are thinking about tweeting all in one way which is very frustrating to think of our fans bothering 16 and 17 year olds saying hey come to Michigan! It's embarrassing and probably does get kids thinking a bit too highly of themselves and that type of tweeting is inherently bad. I have faith it will be overcome Hoke and co will bring them back down to Earth when they get to Michigan but it shouldn't be happening in the first place.
Maybe I have more faith in high schoolers than you do. Even if it was someone dangerous they were talking to is it going to hurt to send them a reply in a tweet? Unlikely. But it is about knowing the boundaries and sticking to them even if you think you know them.
Your heart's in the right place but I think you're overreacting a bit and assuming the worst from people who do not all behave wrongly in the twitterverse.
There's a couple problems with this. First of all, part of my job is to talk to these recruits; I think it's different to interact with these players as a reporter than as a fan. And believe this: if it wasn't my job to do so, not only would I not be tweeting these guys, but I wouldn't even follow them. Also, many of these players—and if I'm tweeting anything besides an interview request, this is certainly the case—I've seen in person and interviewed; they know who I am and there's a level of familiarity, as well as professionalism.
I have faith in high schoolers. I really do. Who I don't have faith in is the increasingly large section of the fanbase who treat Twitter like an open invitation to do their own recruiting or just generally interact with recruits in a way that they would never do with a normal high school kid. For every kid like Laquon Treadwell, who genuinely seems to enjoy interacting with fans, there's one like Ty Isaac, who obviously doesn't enjoy the attention but can't escape it. Treadwell, I'm sure, would be just fine without fans tweeting at him, but the way it's set up now, Isaac can't escape it unless he completely avoids Twitter and Facebook, which is a lot to ask of a high school kid of this generation, for which social media is a critical medium for interaction with peers.
The problem isn't mainly with the fans who, presumably like yourself, know the appropriate way to interact with these kids. It's the fact that, if there's any opening at all to do so, those who will violate NCAA rules or just general common sense will take advantage of that situation. There's no inalienable right to have access to these guys, just technology moving faster than guidelines, regulation, or potential consequences can possibly be put in place or understood. I would MUCH rather all access to recruits on social media be cut off—forcing journalists to go back to contacting recruits through coaches, instead of directly—and therefore rid them of the unfettered fan access, than keep the status quo. I currently operate within that status quo because I have little other option if I want to do my job and do it well.
(Also, you'll notice there have been far fewer interviews with recruits on the site lately. This isn't the first time I've wrestled with this issue, especially with so many blogs—which the recruits don't distinguish between—cropping up with that as their main focus. The OSU issue was just the tipping point when I had to bring it up here.)
I think you're being too hard on yourself but I get why you're conflicted. Was it Ty Isaac specifically who got to you? Even when I read that post it seemed like you were bothered (at least I think that was you).
I feel like although it may not be fair compared to what recruits used to go through when you want to be a big time football recruit it's almost what you are signing up for. In a way, it's always existed. You facepalm whenever you hear of those fans of your team who trash a college kid that's on another team to his face or beat someone up that cheers for the other team. The difference now is that it's the access to players is so easy with the social media.
I was out at Buffalo Wild Wings last year and Lawrence Thomas, the MSU recruit, was there celebrating his decision with his family and some Michigan fans were shouting some crap at him. Now some of that is a "Welcome to the rivalry!" and other of it is just classless. That is nothing new but twitter and facebook make it possible to be a constant thing.
There's still a way to handle it if it really gets to you. Even if you say that you need a twitter to stay active in the social life of high school which I cannot confirm *shakes old man cane* as long as you can truly limit access to who you want to give it to I have no problem with it.
It's a shame that the burden is on the high schoolers and not the adults to edit what gets through and you wish that the adults had more common sense, but what isn't that true about. The second someone says something you don't want to hear you can block them on twitter or delete them as a friend on facebook.
But because there's a way to do it either way it should work for the ones who do love interacting and the ones who don't yet still keeping somewhat of a sense of normal high school life together.
As a recruit (even though there's definite negatives to blocking yourself off), you still have that option to only do interviews when you camp or at your games or through coaches like you said.
Thanks for talking this through with me rationally we're not going to be on the same side of this it seems but I don't think either of us are wrong. I know you're the adult but I think it's on them to turn you down or block you or whatever even if you are a professional just like they should do with a casual fan that may be inappropriately contacting them.
Is it a rule that to be a pedophile you have to look like a total creep? I understand there's a correlation, but my god this kid's facial expression is worth several thousand negative words. Can't wait til a new story bumps this shlomo down the blog where I will never see him again.
Yahoo Sports has a full story on it
Alex Anzalone, one of the nation's top linebacking recruits, committed to Ohio State last month, but decommitted Friday after learning he and several other recruits had unknowingly met a convicted sex offender.
"There's a disconnect between what Alex thought was there (at Ohio State) and what is actually there," said Anzalone's father, Dr. Sal Anzalone, told the Reading (Pa.) Eagle on Friday. "Something's just not right at Ohio State. It's not for him."
I was talking to an Ohio State fan yesterday, and he said, "If the kid's anything like his dad, we probably didn't want him, anyway." He was referring to the comment from the father that said something like "Alex wasn't afraid of the guy. He probably could have knocked him out."
So basically, despite the fact that OSU had a sex offender creepily stalking recruits, this OSU fan doesn't want Anzalone because his father made a comment that he thinks is douchey.
Yeah, it's been interesting watching ohio fans come up with a justification for this one when it doesn't fit neatly into the "Meyer cooled on him" or "Non-commitable offer" categories of BS. Now we have the "it's ok because his dad is a douche" category.
ALthough I have heard more than one fan say something along the lines of, "well, if Meyer still wants him, he'll call him and his family, and he'll be back." So that delusion lives on.
Holy Crap that guy just looks like a creep. Hopefully he gets tossed back in jail for violating his probation in just about every way immaginable.
What does the "$" mean if it's not something good for Michigan? I always assumed it was a cha-ching! type of deal, but Ace is using it very flippantly and I can't tell what it means anymore. He nailed his choices to his top ten ($), and it DOESN'T include the Wolverines. Woo. Random Recruit X committed to somewhere other than Michigan ($).
Also Ace what's with the MAQUEDIUS BAIN in all caps. WOO THREE STAR DT WHO IS A HARD COMMIT TO FLORIDA STATE.
the link is behind a paywall.
That explains it. :)
When a recruit's name is in all caps it is because he has a badass sounding, action-hero type name. See: LEVITICUS PAYNE.