Signing Day: It Happened, I Guess
OFFICIALLY OURS NOW
By the time I was able to get my laptop to start yesterday*, Michigan had already received LOIs from every committed prospect, and Malik McDowell had announced his intention to attend Michigan State. Brandon caught up with all the freshly inked signees on Tuesday night; other than the usual coachspeak-filled presser, there was little else of note to happen on the recruiting front yesterday for the Wolverines.
Of course, there's the McDowell situation, which is a mess. He committed to MSU in a ceremony at Southfield High School. His father attended, though he's still not a big fan of the decision; his mother did not. As of now, McDowell's LOI remains unsigned, and potentially could for a while:
“I’m not legally able to do it because I’m not the custodial parent,” Greg [McDowell, Malik's father] told The Detroit News, noting that Malik is only 17. “[Joya Crowe, Malik's mother] has to sign it and I have to sign it, too. I don’t know when it will happen. Malik has to handle that with his Mom. I’m willing to do whatever my son wants. It’s been a long process and an uneasy process.
“That’s something he’ll have to deal with, because at the end of the day it’s all about him and he has to work it out.”
State's coaches sounded confident that he'll be a Spartan eventually—if worst comes to worst, McDowell doesn't even need a LOI in order to get his scholarship and enroll in the fall, though that leaves MSU in the unenviable position of hoping he sticks to his commitment without any binding document.
Could Michigan potentially get back into his recruitment in the meantime? It's highly unlikely. Malik is obviously intent on going to MSU; if he's forced to compromise with his mother, FSU and OSU are also possibilities—and there's also the matter of whether or not the coaches would want a player who may not really want to be in the program. Usually in these types of situations, the prospect eventually gets his wish, and that's what I expect to happen here.
As for actual newsworthy bits regarding Michigan's commits, there's one worth reprinting: Drake Harris, who missed his senior season with a torn hamstring, is "feeling more and more 100 percent," according to Jeff Hecklinski, and should be healthy for spring practice.
[Hit THE JUMP for a great Bo Schembechler story, Bo Pelini's unusual recruiting methods, lolTimBeckman, actual evidence that tweeting at recruits doesn't work, and more.]
This Did Not Make "Bo's Lasting Lessons"
Dr. Sap checks in at MVictors with a tremendous Bo Schembechler recruiting story:
Bo promised the phenom that he could play both football AND baseball at Michigan. Oh, ya – the kid was a great baseball player as well.
But nope. ‘East Lansing here I come.’ was all this recruit was thinking.
Then Schembechler did something that finally made this QB realize how badly the coach wanted him at Michigan. Bo got on his hands and knees and CRAWLED across the table and told this kid, as only The General could, that he was going to go to MICHIGAN!
Click through to see the quarterback in question, and be sure to check out the #1, #8, and #41 recruits in that year's top 100. (Also, realllllly tough break for #46.)
Important Signing Day Updates From Elsewhere
Good Bull Hunting goes in depth on five top national prospects and the fanbases that tweeted at them the most. Surprise! Tweeting at recruits has little to no positive impact on their decision.
Meanwhile, Bo Pelini in-home visits get... interesting:
I bet you can't take me down, Pelini joked with Tanner. Farmer hesitated. Pelini is pretty tall and in good shape. But he's not a wrestler.
Go on, boy, Brian told his son. If he wants to go, go.
You scared to take me down? Pelini said to Tanner.
The strongest player in Nebraska's 2014 class got Pelini in a hold and lifted him up in the air. There, a potential takedown turned into a big hug between coach and player.
I refuse to believe the last sentence, as Bo Pelini is incapable of showing positive human emotion. Everything else checks out, however.
Tim Beckman called out Northwestern in his NSD presser. One moment, please.
Okay, I think I'm good. But seriously, Tim Beckman, y'all finished behind Rutgers. Maybe lay off the rivalry jabs for a while, especially when you're 0-2 against said rival—yes, 2013's depleted Northwestern team still managed to beat the Illini—and 1-15 in your two years in the Big Ten.
Grantland's Holly Anderson sat in on Tennessee's "war room" yesterday; the Vols certainly earned this particular commitment:
[Receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Zach] Azzanni, by staffwide acclaim, has the best story from the road this offseason, about an incident that occurred while chasing down another juco player, receiver Von Pearson: “A piece of ice fell off a truck and ripped the undercarriage off my rental car. I walked half a mile one way and back in two-degree weather in Reno, then drove through the mountains about midnight with no cell service. I walked to the gas station, bought a bungee cord, came back and bungeed the bottom of my car to the engine and drove it back to the airport to get a new car and drive THAT back through the mountains to see Von. It’s 90 miles from Reno to Feather River JC through the mountains, 40 of which have no cell service. On a two-lane icy road through the Sierra Nevada mountains.” Pearson, the second-ranked player in the JC 50, signed and enrolled early.
Finally, congratulations to Dacorius "D.J." Law for signing with Ole Miss. And Utah. And East Mississippi Community College.
Brandon caught up with 2015 four-star QB target Brandon Wimbush, another candidate to receive an offer.
Matt Hinton's annual column on why star rankings matter—yes, they really, really do—pegs Michigan as one of 11 "five-star" recruiting programs of the last four years ... and one of just two (along with Georgia) to fail to make a BCS title game. MSU also features as one of the outliers that routinely outperforms their recruiting rankings. Blergh.
SI caught up with "top recruiters" from around the country and asked them to name this year's most overrated and underrated recruits, with the caveat that they couldn't choose prospects committed to their school. A consensus top-four player in the country is underrated and I DON'T DISAGREE:
• Jabrill Peppers, CB (Michigan): "He's probably the best overall player in the country. He can play running back, safety, cornerback, probably linebacker. There ain't nothing he can't do.
Da'Shawn Hand falls in the "overrated" section if you're hoping to feel marginally better about that whole situation.
SBNation's Michael Bird (aka @BravesAndBirds) expands on Seth's post to discuss the expansion of the SEC recruiting footprint.
*I love Macs, but when they go, they go—every three years, like clockwork. Yes, a new one is on the way.