"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."
"There's a certain level of confidence and composure he brings to the court," said sophomore forward Aubrey Dawkins, who played the bulk of his minutes as a freshman while LeVert sat on the end of the bench in a sweat suit. "When you know you have a player like that on your team of that caliber, it's just like, we're in his hands and he can do a lot of things for this team. It's a comfort. It's nice."
"I just really wanted to see him in a game and I loved what I saw," Beilein said. "He was active. He's got a motor. He's got some things he's got to work on. He doesn't have the strength to (play) the way he'd like to in the Big Ten yet, but that's what we're going to work on in-between (games) without inhibiting his ability to play the next game."
Today's recruiting roundup welcomes Jack Wangler, previews Michigan's signing day (spoiler: there's not much to preview), covers the latest in the 2014 class, and more.
Hello: Jack Wangler
Over the weekend, Michigan picked up a preferred walk-on in Warren (MI) De La Salle WR Jack Wangler, son of former Wolverine QB John Wangler and high school teammate of Shane Morris. Wangler didn't have any major college offers but did hold interest from a handful of MAC and Ivy League schools—the lure of following in his father's footsteps won out in the end:
"I can't wait to carry on the Wangler name at Michigan," he said. "Before I made it public, I was sure to call my dad and let him know what I had decided to do. He was definitely excited. Being around Michigan my entire life and experiencing it so much the past couple seasons really made it an easy choice. My dad said my years at Michigan will end up being the best four or five years of my life. I know they were for him."
While Wangler isn't a high-profile recruit—he's only ranked on Scout, where he's a two-star—he's impressed on the camp scene. Scout's Allen Trieu named him one of the emerging prospects at last April's Adidas Invitational:
Wangler had a good showing, first running a 4.58 in the forty yard dash and then catching everything thrown at him for the rest of the day. He has good ball skills and went up over top of a couple defenders to grab some passes and he's a kid who knows how to create separation.
Wangler has put a lot of work in this off-season with his Maximum Exposure teams, going head-to-head against some of the top defensive backs in the country. Wangler is always going to be a possession receiver; but his speed is coming along, and he has been timed as low as the 4.5 range for the 40-yard dash. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Wangler is a physical receiver and a technician when it comes to route-running.
As a guy who won't take up a scholarship slot, Wangler has some upside—he's got decent size, route-running, and hands, not to mention strong familiarity with Michigan's quarterback of the future. If there's a position group where a walk-on with a niche—in this case, sure-handed possession receiver—could work their way onto the field in the next few years, it's at receiver.
[Hit THE JUMP for your very brief signing day primer, news on the 2014 QB situation, new offers, and more.]
Signing Day 2013: Like 2012, Minus The Part When Things Happened (Let's Hope)
With Derrick Green in the fold and Durham Smythe off to Notre Dame, there's little in the way of signing day intrigue for Michigan recruitniks; barring a last-minute offer, the Wolverines have the 2013 class wrapped up, and unlike last year there isn't an obvious Norfleet-type to snatch away from the Cincinnatis of the world. Michigan's best-case scenario is that Wednesday comes and goes with little more action than 27 successfully received faxes.*
I say that's the best-case because there's still some uncertainly surrounding Henry Poggi and Alabama. The signs still point to Michigan, in large part because the Tide don't have room for Poggi unless they get some late decommits; Mike Farrell posted on the Rivals board that he expects Poggi still ends up in Ann Arbor, with his only trepidation coming from the Poggi clan's complete silence on the matter ($). It seems like Poggi will stick with Michigan in the end, but if there's going to be a recruit who makes a late switch, it's him.
2014 QBs To Watch: Cornwell, O'Connor, Speight
Another indication that Michigan is done with the 2013 class: the coaches have turned Wednesday's focus squarely on their 2014 quarterback targets. The coaches reportedly have phone calls set up then with their three top QBs on the board—Oklahoma's David Cornwell, Florida-via-Canada's Michael O'Connor, and Virginia's Wilton Speight—and those should provide clarity (and perhaps an offer or offers) for the quarterback situation, per Tim Sullivan ($). Of those three, Speight's is the name that has emerged most recently; he received a visit from Coach Hecklinski last week, and Steve Lorenz reports it went very well ($):
"I threw about twenty balls overall. Coach Heck said he wanted to keep me fresh for my basketball game tonight," Speight said. "After he left, my coach told me after the first five that it was all he really needed to see. He told him he felt like I was one of the three best quarterbacks in the country. That's obviously a really humbling and amazing thing to hear."
Speight's junior highlights are embedded above—he's got a bit of a funky throwing motion and doesn't show off huge arm strength, but his accuracy is apparent.
The Wolverines continue to push offers out to underclassmen. In the last week, they've offered:
2015 Saginaw (MI) ATH Brian Cole, who learned from Fred Jackson that he has an offer waiting for him when he's a junior, per Tim Sullivan ($).
2015 UT RB/OLB Osa Masina, who added Michigan to offers from Wisconsin, BYU, and Utah (where his older brother will play next fall), per Steve Lorenz ($).
Most of the recent spate of 2014 offers are still to national-level prospects, but we're starting to see Michigan get in early on a few guys, as well—most of Ballage's interest has come from local schools.
Last Call For 2013 Rankings
Getting in just before the bell, Scout released their final 2013 Midwest 150 as well as state-by-state rankings for the region. Michigan commits in the Midwest 150 include:
#6 Dymonte Thomas
#7 Shane Morris
#8 Kyle Bosch
#10 DeVeon Smith
#13 Jourdan Lewis
#22 David Dawson
#23 Jake Butt
#26 Ben Gedeon
#29 Taco Charlton
#45 Delano Hill
#49 Wyatt Shallman
#52 Logan Tuley-Tillman
#54 Dan Samuelson
#57 Mike McCray
#67 Khalid Hill
#86 Da'Mario Jones
#91 Reon Dawson
#92 Ross Douglas
#97 Csont'e York
#112 Jaron Dukes
The Wolverines have nine of the top 30 prospects in the region, besting Notre Dame (5), Ohio State (4), USC (2), Ole Miss (2), and Michigan State (1).
WolverineNation has been putting out a lot of interesting free content. Chantel Jennings penned an article on the rise of 7-on-7 football in recruiting that features a quote from Lloyd Carr:
"They'd all get a lot of work against the passing game, which I think was a great thing in terms of developing the skills of the athletes," Carr said. "It gave all the skilled athletes the opportunity to be evaluated by the college coaches. ... It became a great way for us to evaluate the kids that came to our camp."
Jennings and TomVH also put together a short test of Michigan football trivia that 24 of the commits participated in anonymously. The whole thing is an entertaining read, but this section in particular cracked me up:
4) What's the name of the trophy for the Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry? A: The Little Brown Jug
Correct: 11 Incorrect: 13
Best answers: "Golden Bowl."
"Is it a bucket? I don't know what the name is."
"I was going to Google it, but I know that's cheating."
"They have a trophy for that game?"
Multiple recruits guessed that the Ten-Year War occurred in the 19th century, which... close enough, right?
Completely understandable on the Poggi's silence. If the Poggi's did refute the rumors, the recruiting sites would make headlines out of the info, then start rumors anew and pester the hell out of the Poggi's to refute the new rumors, all in the name of page hits.
Didn't he deny the rumors and then get asked again within a month or something? If that was the case for me I would probably go silent too. I mean if everyone was just going to make shit up regardless of what I said you might as well just say f it.
"Michigan Defense" is dominating everything, in every aspect of life. That's a rough definition.
Do I not know the meaning of humbling, or do people use it strangely? I know if I was told I was one of the top 3 QB's in the country it wouldn't be humbling. I'm not saying I'd be an arrogant dick after hearing that, but it certainly wouldn't make me more humble.
My interpretation of the phrase was that Speight's reaction to the praise was a humble one, that he was happy about the praise, but felt he couldn't possibly be in the top three with all the other great QBs in the nation.
I think as an athlete, you dream about being the best. You work at being the best. Then you hear someone tell you that, indeed, you're one of the best.
And you're just kinda there. A high school junior going to class and preparing for your upcoming basketball game, thinking, "Wow. I woke up today just like any other day in my life. And now this is what being one of the best looks and feels like." I think in that situation it's pretty conceivable to feel humble.
But that's th exact opposite of being humbled. A humbling experience it when you think you're the best and someone tells you that you're not, or something along those lines. Speights finding out a handful of other QBs got an offer and he didn't would be a humbling experience. Finding out you're one of the best is the opposite of humbling.
I was a kid when the famous Wangler to Carter pass took place. The game was not on TV so we listened to Bob Ufer on the radio. It took a while to figure out what happened because you couldn't understand a word Bob was trying to say at first. But my dad pointed out "I heard the horn" (speaking of course of Ufer's famous Patton horn) so we knew Michigan had scored. Congratulations Jack! Welcome to Michigan!
I respectfully refute the reason Bo started Hewitt
John Wangler and AC were a potent combo but we had a mediocre running game. The strategy to start Hewitt was to run the option and catch OSU off balance. The first drive was right down the field but stalled near the goal line. Bo was just trying to surprise the enemy and it almost worked for 7 quick points.
In Harbaugh we Trust! Especially after the MSU Game.
Still, the whole "passing up" routine was pretty horrific even then -- now it would be beyond criminal. And the first time I saw an inflatable being thrown over the top, I almost dropped one of the twelve-pack I had smuggled inside my jacket! Michigan Stadium in 1978 was quite an eye-opener for an 18-year-old.
"We will do our very best to carry on the Michigan tradition of excellence... And what I ask is that everyone that's for us is for us." Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh
He throws it from about the 26-yard line about 8 yards into the end zone. That's about 34 yards of field length (plus a little bit because of the angle). Any decently athletic guy who knows how to throw a football could make that throw.
With his pedigree, he may pleasantly surprise a lot of Michigan fans. His Dad was a good player and Bo's first "passing QB experiment". His TD pass to AC to win the 1979 IU game is one of my absolute top Big House memories. And after JW left, it was back to the running QB's again with Steve Smith.
"You owe it to every man, woman, and child in the State of Michigan to beat the Buckeyes and silence their fans! Now go out there and make it happen!"
If something is on Twitter, and only on Twitter, proceed with great caution.
Honestly, my way to deal with these rumors (there was the "MLK trip" thing last week, too) is to ignore them entirely. If something is being reported by Sam Webb or TomVH, it's legit. If you're hearing word based on a recruit's Twitter feed—especially if it's about a name that hasn't come up before—that should raise some major red flags.
Everybody loves being the first to share the news, and I understand the feeling. But please, please try to make sure it's actually news first.
The reason for most of those picks is because his offensive line was offensively bad. Am hoping with the coaching and GM changes they address this or it'll be another long year. Thank gosh I'm a Lion fan.....I think.
Had gound glass injected into both knees, and then crawled through fire to bring us a Rose Bowl (Bo's first). I dare you to read the chapter on quarterbacks in "Bo" and not get dust in your eyes. Of course his son is welcome.....!
Norfleet was a four-star Detroit kid with great film who was committed to Cincinnati and his lack of an offer was inexplicable. There isn't a guy out there like that this year. Not saying there won't be a surprise offer, but it'll be much more of a surprise than Norfleet's.
The Norfleet bit on today's podcast was depressing. Any chance the coaches were just messing with us (re: switch to CB)? Or maybe after an off-season to realize the error of their ways, they decide to switch him back?
I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right?
Last year they had early enrollees as well that we're backdated. I do not pretend to be a guru on this, but it works out. The numbers have been put out. Don't fret my friend. I'm sure they've got this.