"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
The gurus are all over the map with this kid, with Scout calling him a 4* tackle while Rivals and ESPN both think of him as a 3* d-end. At Michigan, he'll probably end up on the interior of the line, as the Wolverines need much more help on the inside than they do out. ESPN even points out in their evaluation:
He is a good example of why not to judge a book by its cover. On film, he has kind of a thick and squatty build with less-than-ideal height. He almost looks like a defensive tackle, but plays the end position well.
So, if he plays like a tackle, and most schools that he has committed to (Michigan is #3 behind Indiana and Cincinnati) have considered him a tackle, why not grade him as a tackle? Anyway, ESPN's judgment of his game:
There are more naturally athletic ends, but he can get it done. He is a good wrap-up tackler and plays with a good motor. As a pass-rusher, he can bring some heat off the edge. He works to attack that outside shoulder and use his weapons to knock the blockers hands down and turn the corner. He does not look like a dangerous edge rusher, but he can cause some problems.
Again, it seems as though they're "meh"-ish on him as a defensive end, but his upside as a tackle seems much higher. Scout's brief evaluation of him falls in line with that:
Black is a player who could line up as a defensive end or at the tackle position. He's got great burst and will give all out effort on each play. Does a good job going lateral and shows great strength and toughness. With good size and speed, Black is still learning techniques and moves that will take his game to another level. Special player who doesn't get the credit he deserves.
(Sidetrack: I never understood people whose job it is to rate players calling a particular player is underrated. If you think that, just raise his rating, no? That's on you, man). An athletic defensive tackle who is still a little raw, as Scout lists his only weakness as technique, but strengths of body control, explosion, and effort. From a local article when he committed to the Hoosiers, Black gives a short breakdown of his skills:
Black brings a combination of speed, strength, and technique to IU. “I’m a very physical player, and my footwork and handwork separates me. I use my hands a lot to get free, and that allows me to get to the running back and quarterback. And I’m pretty fast for being 295 lbs, 4.9 speed right there.”
He's probably overstating his footwork and hand technique, since those attributes are listed by others a the ones he needs the most work on. Also: 295 pounds is a huge difference from what the recruiting site list his weight, in the 260-pound range. Did the writer just make a typographical error of 259? That has to be the case.
As a guy who is considered. a tweener between defensive end and tackle, he probably won't develop into the big 1-tech space-eater that MIchigan is lacking in this class, but the 3-tech Ryan Van Bergen position may be a better option, with Richard Ash given time to grow into a 1-tech.
Black had previously been committed to both Indiana and Cincinnati, so he obviously held offers from them. Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan State, Bowling Green, Purdue, Syracuse, South Florida, Kansas, Wake Forest, Minnesota, South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan offered him in March, so it's not like he was some fall-back plan: the Wolverines really liked this guy.
Following his junior season, he also picked up some interest from Alabama, as well as Tennessee back when they had the all-star recruiting staff. He also received interest (but no offer) from the in-state Buckeyes.
As a junior, Black racked up 76 tackles and 8 sacks, along with 3 forced fumbles and 2 recoveries, with one going all the way to the end zone. That was his first season playing defensive end, as he had previously been a tackle. His senior year, he had 10 sacks and 61 total tackles along with 2 forced fumbles, as Wyoming made it to the State Finals.
He has a highlight video up on Youtube, but Black's ScoutingOhio video is longer (and therefore better, of course):
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Black is Michigan's third defensive tackle in the class of 2010 (more if you count someone like Jordan Paskorz as a future possibility), but all three seem to be 3-technique guys. Black is one of the smaller, at just 250ish pounds, right around the same size as Terry Talbott. Michigan currently has good talent starting, with limited depth behind.
The plan is probably to have all three guys redshirt, with Ash, the biggest of the three, aiming to bulk up enough to become a true nose tackle. Michigan's starters at DT are good, but there is limited depth, so these guys could get a little bit of playing time as redshirt freshmen, and move into key backup roles as sophomores.
Black seems to have some pretty high potential, and as a possible multi-position guy (he could play RVB's DE/DT spot or even Brandon Graham's DE position), he's tough to predict too specifically for the future.
[Editor's Note: I think maybe we might be thinking about this all wrong by attempting to file the DEs and DTs in different piles. RVB and Graham both played inside and out during their careers at Michigan and the sort of body types M is looking for at the three-tech and strongside defensive end are similar enough that I'm looking at the big glob of defensive linemen like so:
Quick: everyone apparently but Paskorz, Rogers, and possibly Ryan or Kinard most prominently.
SDE or DT: Ash, Talbott, Wilkins, Black
Once Michigan gets these guys in for a year or two they'll have a better idea of who fits in what spot and if any of them are NT material. They probably won't be and Michigan will bring in a couple different mounds of humanity next year.]
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
The final numbers are all very muddled. Black's spot could be the last one in the class, or there could be as many as two spots left depending on the academic status of a couple kids and if a couple players are willing to grayshirt.
Any remaining spots are probably being reserved for safeties (Sean Parker, Demar Dorsey, Rashad Knight) unless a surprise blue-chip falls into Michigan's lap.
Listen, I'm not saying I want this to happen. And I'm not saying that UM took Jibreel because they think they'll lose TT. But maybe Jibreel jumped at this spot because TT is out the door, or maybe TT is out the door because he knew Jibreel would jump at this spot. This is not a crazy idea.
He's visiting other schools, that's not a commitment to me. Some players that visit other schools stick with their commitment, but many don't. To me, that's not a commitment. If he sticks with M, that's great, but I never consider a kid who is looking around, "committed."
I'm not worried about TT. I just don't agree, at all, with "committed" recruits taking visits. What if you wife, or girlfriend, went on a date with another guy, just because the dinner and movie was free? Is she really committed to you? Sure, there would be times where she comes back and has no interest in that guy, but there are also times when she sees that the grass is greener.
This is not about TT specifically. I just always take the stance that once a committed recruit starts taking other visits, he's no longer committed.
There has been a lot of speculation lately about the Talbotts, particularly Terry; his status got switched to "soft verbal" even before this recent commitment. My question: anyone know where he is looking? Who are we in danger of losing him/them to? Also, what are the chances that the staff ushers them elsewhere with Black now in the class?
Considering that he has to drag around an anchor of two losing seasons, relentlessly negative media coverage, and outright character assassination by a sizeable contingent of Michigan "fans," this recruiting class brought in by RR and staff is going to be a pretty strong one, absent any weird disasters on NSD. IMHO RR has demonstrated excellent sales and marketing skills.
Occasional excess is necessary to remedy the deadening effects of moderation.
It's amazing how when he's on the job Alec Baldwin can come across as an almost overbearingly intense and physically-threatening lug who'd enjoy nothing more than ripping your head off, pissing down your throat and eating your eyeballs for good measure, but away from the job seems to be a friendly, affable guy with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
Sort of like RR. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Occasional excess is necessary to remedy the deadening effects of moderation.
I am guessing that they'll make room for any top tier guys left; Parker and/or Dorsey, which makes sense. So with Black now in, where does that space come from? Who would grey-shirt, how does that work even, and if someone has to go, who is the odd man out?
Considering that some of our lesser rated recruits (no knock on them, just that they would be most likely to get the grey-shirt/no-call-back treatment) committed so late in the process, I think it is far more likely that a walk-on or a potential 5th year doesn't get a scholarship than somebody in this class gets dropped.
To me the most likely scenario is that one or two current guys decommit (always a strong possibility in any recruiting class) or don't quality. If everybody stays on board and qualifies and we sign Knight and/or Parker I think the first guys to get trimmed would be former walk-ons or less than desirable 5th years. That being said, those are a lot of ifs so I'm not really worrying about it just yet.
I don't buy the theory that the staff has already committed to 59 scholarships among current players, thereby yielding 26 for next year. The sensible thing to do is to tell the walk-ons and 5th years that they will have to wait until after national signing day before they can be sure they have a football scholarship for next year.
I assume Rich's "26" for the class was his ideal number. He wants to give scholarships to 59 current players -- that is, there are 59 players he either wants to or has to bring back next year -- but I doubt that those are all official at this point. That would just be stupid.
This is a great player to commit to the Wolverines. I always felt Jibreel Black would go blue. I'm really glad we got who we want. This kid can really play.
Forget that Jibreel is a three star player! Braylon Edwards was a three star player too, he just caught an 83 yard pass from Sanchez in the AFC Championship game. Wooooooo! Go Blue! That boy can run. When does football season start, I'm ready.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield" --Alfred Lord Tennyson/ John Sheridan B5
Grayshirt is another new term and is applied to the prospect that signs a letter of intent in February, but doesn’t report in the fall with his teammates. He delays entry to college until midyear, i.e. January. That NCAA five-year clock doesn’t start ticking until the player enrolls as a full time student, so gray-shirting is really a delayed version of red-shirting. Texas Tech, for instance, signed 34 players last February, but NCAA rules prevent them from enrolling more than 25 to start the fall. Some of those nine other players are gray-shirted this fall. They cannot enroll in college as full time students, can’t receive their scholarship, nor practice. It is like getting an extra year of practice, because most of these players don’t see the game field until two years later and they have the advantage of going through an extra spring practice.
I'm sure there's a better definition, but this is the first that came up after a quick google search, and the guy's picture on the website is amazing!
With all the bad press and set backs on the field, I think sometimes around here we forget that this is still Michigan. Good recruits/parents of those recruits will always be impressed with a top 25 school and a well respected team that's on national TV every week and plays in front of 110,000 fans and in arguably the biggest rivalry in sports. Go Blue.
(Sidetrack: I never understood people whose job it is to rate players calling a particular player is underrated. If you think that, just raise his rating, no? That's on you, man).
I've had this same feeling before. The explanation that I've heard is that guys will be rated low by the national people but the regional/local people will think that he's better than that but be unable to convince the people that determine the final rankings of that. Thus, the regional guys call him underrated since they write the stories about players but don't determine the full ranking.
My problem with that explanation is that it implies such a disconnect between the national and local guys that I don't think the recruiting services could continue to exist if they had that much internal tension and discord.
I think it's more likely just a way for writers to placate fans by saying that a guy is underrated. Think about how many angry emails from Michigan fans they can avoid just by putting in that one phrase. I'd be curious as to how many schools with huge fanbases (like Michigan) have their lower rated prospects called "underrated" compared to other schools.
Another, more plausible explanation of the DL recruiting
ans why there are not more true NT guys being targeted...we're probably going away from the 30 front after somone decided giving up 30+ points a game was not a good idea. This class and this approach tells me were probably going to field a true 40 front and build the depth on it otherwise we're going to only have one guy who is truly suited to play NT and that's Campbell.
I sincerely doubt we'll see any grayshirting. Taking grayshirts makes more sense when a team will lose a lot of seniors the following year. We won't - we're scheduled to see 13 guys graduate. Using Ray Vinopal as an example (since he's our lowest rated recruit), if he grayshirts, that's one less guy that we can recruit for 2011. So instead of having 13 scholarships to give, we'll only have 12. Is taking Vinopal really worth taking only 12 guys in a recruiting class? I don't think it is.
I don't think there will be grayshirts. I think people won't qualify or people will be Barnes-ed.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Ash is going to be a nose. We were undersized on the defensive front this past year, and Ash is only 265. Do you really think they want him to put on FORTY pounds or so to be sufficiently big enough to play NT?
IMO, Black and Ash and Talbott are all defensive ends or defensive tackles, but none are NTs.