...is amazing. At one point he refers to Illinois as "the state that we're currently in." And in not in a "it sounds better in context" kind of way.
Thursday Recruitin' Crawls For The Team, The Team, The Team
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.
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.
*I love Macs, but when they go, they go—every three years, like clockwork. Yes, a new one is on the way.
Yeah, he didn't make himself sound, uh, smart. First it was the state of Chicago "as we call it" then it was "the state' we're currently in" Illinois, THEN it was "Illini nation".
Dude barely beat out Purdue in the recruit rankings.
story pushed me to click the 247 link and see the class rankings.
I find it "interesting" they were able to sign 23 players in this class, 24 in 2013, 25 in 2012, and 25 in 2011.
Those seem like huge classes year after year, yet Michigan was left with small numbers this year, and even smaller (possibly) next year. "Interesting".
That's not that uncommon. They signed 97 guys over those four years, which is only 12 over the cap. Having 12 guys leave the program over the course of 4 years is hardly "interesting." Keep in mind as well that it's not uncommon for a class to lose a guy or two before fall practice even starts.
We have recently had better than average attrition (meaning low) which has led to our smaller classes. But it's very common for teams to take in the 22-25 range every single year without it being "interesting."
So I clicked through to see who the #1 QB was, and then started reading the list of players.
Coming in at #41 was "Buster Rhymes, RB, Miami".
EDIT: so now I finish reading Ace's post, and he already highlighted this for us. Apologies for the useless contribution.
was about to post the same damn thing
Now EMU just needs a Timon and a Pumbaa
Slot receiver and fullback?
The video additions to your recaps and stories really bring these pages to life. There is a lot happening, obviously, and seeing it all play out is very interesting and informative.
There are always going to be themed games at www.shangpokiesonline.com that seem to be a bit seasonal but Starlight Kiss is one of those games that will more than likely keep you coming back for more no matter what time of the year it is, and also one of the pokies where people lose money. Consider playing this game for free to try out to see if it is something that you would enjoy before spending your hard-earn cash on it. This way you will know exactly what to expect from this game before you place your first real money bet.
Amazing how in the "recruiting matters" article, the 1-star programs have consistently outperformed the 2-star programs.
Couldn't it be argued that the recruiting rankings are just wrong then? As in maybe the 1 star programs are better evaluators than the 2 star programs, who might be looking at the recruit rankings a little too much?
Yep, I was trying to draw onclusions from that... maybe it is easier to identify top talent, but when you get into the 2-3 star range it is not as accurate, but then again 1-star programs consistently outperform 2-star... so yeah, who knows. But stars definitely seem to matter for the first three tier programs.
Great quote from that Sap's article from the Messner story at the bottom
In the morning I told my mom and dad that I formalized everything and told them I’d be a Wolverine. My mom, being a mom, said, “I thought they were called Bruins.” I told her, “Mom, I’m going to Michigan.”
deficiencies in the Michigan program. Coach Hoke is on record as saying they all have to do a better job. My questions are these.
Were they not doing the best the could during the last two seasons? Are they capable and have the knowledge to do better?
Seriously, I am not sure of what more they can do.
Senior Starters on Offense next year are Devin...thats it!...I count 3 on Defense (Ryan, Clark, Morgan)....Bottom Line is Hoke recruits are Juniors (I don't count 2011) and younger....what did you expect?
Well, just off the top of my head, I expected not to give up more TFLs than any team in the country. And I expected not to have consecutive negative rushing yard games.
Dammit! Those were my expectations to but I had repressed both disappointments to the recesses of my memory.
All signs point to coaching. Unless the prep rankings are drastically off we should have plenty of talent on this team. Yet I can't look at this team and say they improved on anything throughout the season. I have faith in my Wolverines but I'd be lying if I said I was supremely confident in where this program is headed. I hope I'm wrong it happens more times than I'd like to admit.
I remember hearing Borges interview the first year and thought he was being smug and flippant regarding melding the offesnse around the personnels strength and not to the wco. It did irk me and he seemed a little insecure.
That is an interesting article about the value of star rankings. As I've said before, let's see how MSU handles replacing 6 guys on the defense and still having a mediocre offense. Not saying they are going to crater, but look at the rest of the teams in their strata and you don't see teams that consistently win 11+ games year-in/year-out.
That said, the 1* group is terrifyingly good compared to the kids they bring in. Well, maybe not Illinois.
They will be fine. (this is where I get downvoted or accused of being a Sparty)
They have 2 major losses on D, Dennard and Bullough. They have a guy who terrorized us and OSU named Ed Davis (3 star from Detroit) who will take Denicos Allen role. Their other LB will be in the NFL next year. So they need to find one of a crew of guys to fill the middle. They rotated a whole bunch of people in at DT and they might even play a frosh or two (they got some guy from Wisconsin who is like 315 lbs already yesterday)... their DL aside from Calhoun was not the stars of that defense. Calhoun will probably be preseason All American and unlike Gholston has a high motor. Trae Waynes IMO is a better CB than Dennard at that point in his career and will be their #1 CB. So their defense will fall off from "ridiculous" back to its normal "damn good" that its been every year for the since 2011. So they have to find a 2nd CB from a coach (Dantonio) who has been spitting out CBs for well over a decade - they don't need STAAARS at that position they take 6' 6'1 athletes with 2 and 3 stars and make them into corners. That said their 2nd corner will be a drop off.
Their offense brings back every skill player except 1 WR - they did lose some OL but they succesfully rotated 8-9 guys in the OL which is unusual as usually you go with your 5 all year. So maybe a small step back. Mediocre offense? The mediocre one that put up a good amount of points on Stanford's vaunted defense? It was mediocre in September but unlike some squads it took major leaps and bounds as the year progressed.
They have all their main foes at home next year - UM, OSU, Nebraska and face a ho hum PSU on the road. PSU is their toughest Big 10 road game. I expect them to lose to Oregon but if they find a way past them they have a good chance to be 11-1ish or 10-2 at worst. THey will probably drop a dumb game somewhere since most teams do but they are probably the best team in the Big 10 next year as I think OSU takes a step back with their RB and OL losses.
Since Greg Jones left UM fan has been yelling "well we will see how they handle that" or "now they fall back to earth". It is past the time for people here to say that and accept their new level is higher and might be Wisconsin-like in nature where they have a system and the coaches and find players to fit in and won't be going anywhere. Yes they were 7-6 in 2012 but every game they were in it and it was due to a QB who was not a playmaker and a complete crapfest in their OL. 2012 was their recent exception, not rule. MSU is not going anywhere until Dantonio retires.
Let's reconvene in November. I have MSU at 10-2 this year. What about you? 7-5? 8-4? 6-6? I will be happy to be wrong. Last year for example they took Purdue 7-0 deep into the 4th and only their defense saved them. A game like that in 2014 they will lose. Every team has a game like that every year. But aside from Oregon they will be favored in every game in 2014 IMO.
They lose 3 studs (Allen, Bullough, Dennard) and have 1 stud to replace Allen already in the wings. I dont care about their DT losses because their DT were just big run stuffers and didnt do much else in that defense - their DTs are there to stop the run and keep LBs clean. There was no Jerel Worthy to lose off that 2013 squad that is hard to replace. They were rotating a bunch of guys at DT so saying they lost "2 DT starters" when those guys play half the game is a reach. So to me they have 2 major losses on that defense with a top 3 coordinator in the country and a coach who is top 10 and who focuses on defense. It will be a top 10-15 defense in my opinion.
I noted in a thread some time ago that a top-20 defense was like Iowa this year; give MSU that defense and they lose 3-4 games at the very least. Again, this isn't to knock them down to 7-6 or not a bowl team, but it's a very fine line they are walking.
And while they do have lots of games at home, Oregon won't be fun and IU can hang with anybody, especially if MSU's corners struggle. And maybe it's just me, but that UM game felt closer than it had any reason to until that interception turned into -30 yards of offense. With a new OC and (I hope) a more mature offense overall, that game could get interesting.
I'll predict 9-3 or 8-4, which would be a pretty good season but a step down from this year's.
Just because you rotate your DTs doesn't mean that losing two starters is not big deal. It just means that either a) the four guys rotating won't be as strong, or b) they won't rotate as much, meaning the 2-3 guys who are playing will be gassed at the end of games. It also means that an injury at that spot will be a bigger deal.
One reason MSU had so much success this past year was the lack of injuries. Kinda like how teams who have extremely good turnover ratios in a give year (good luck) tend to have good records, same goes for teams who are especially lucky in terms of injuries. Having good recruiting not only helps you with your starters, but it typically means your reserves are better than other reserves. MSU was not a very deep team in a lot of position groups this season despite having talented starters, but that wasn't exposed because they stayed very healthy. If MSU isn't as lucky on the injury front this coming season, their lack of depth could cost them a win or two as well.
I agree with 10-2. Their offense will only get better and their schedule is easier. Until we actually see something different I expect them to be a top 10 defense every year. (those bastards)
I see what you did there.
I think the loss of Lewis will also hurt in that defensive backfield, and for all of the talk about guys just stepping in and replacing guys like Allen, we'll have to wait and see if that actually comes to fruition.
Talk of them taking athletes and turning them into first-rounder CBs is all fine and good, but if it was that easy then everyone would be doing it. Dantonio is a good defensive coach, but color me skeptical that they'll just keep pumping out stars at one of the toughest positions on the team. I will agree that Calhoun will be a beast, but again he'll have to deal with a different defense around him, and that could affect how he performs if teams can move their protections around.
As for the offense, maybe "mediocre" is not right, but this was a team that scored 14 points at home against Minny, and considering UM put up 41 on them and Clemson dropped 40, I'm not as impressed with MSU's 34.
It's a competent offense, and Langford looks to be a solid back along with Kings and Lippett at WR, but it isn't a world-beater at offense. It will be solid, but I do wonder how it will look even if that defense takes a small step back; they were put in some really solid field positions because that defense was fantastic.
I agree they may be the class of the conference next year, but that isn't saying that much. I mean, the only three teams that have looked even semi-competent the past couple of years are OSU, MSU, and Wisconsin, and who knows what is going to happen with Iowa, Nebraska, or UM. Personally, I agree that OSU will take a step back, but with Miller you never know how they'll play. The schedule gods are obviously going to help MSU next year, but people keep acting like that 7-6 was totally out of the blue. Sometimes you get some breaks, sometimes you don't. UM was a couple of breaks from going 5-7 or 10-2. Stuff happens.
I agree that they are probably going to be like a Wiscy, but MSU has always seemed to underperform their talent. They are not built to go 11+ wins every year, though, and unless they are amazing at player development I'm not sold that they'll just replace Bullough, Dennard, Lewis, Allen, etc. and keep plugging along. Hell, Wayne looked great at times but so did Roby for OSU, and then this year happened and stuff changed. Their situations are obviously quite a bit different (Fickell is a mess right now as DC), but I refuse to buy that MSU is the new class of the conference despite their success recently. I remember the same story about Iowa years ago after a couple of 11+ win seasons, and they basically muddled along after that as that batch of great players couldn't be replaced quite as easily.
And yes, I'll admit that part of this is my UM bias.
Fair enough, I enjoy a lucid conversation that involves more than "but but MSU! SPARTY NO! and mutter mutter mutter." You make decent points and I agree with a lot of what you are saying but I think most of us of a "certain age" (over 30) are extremely biased towards Sparty because we think of the teams of the 90s and 00s which were full of Sparty NOOOO. What impressed me about the team last year was their resilience... the way OSU came back against them and they just came right back at OSU, and the way STanford got a nice lead on them and MSU dominated physically the rest of the way....without Bullough. Their mental state and culture has changed under Dantonio which was probably the biggest change to the program - they always had tough hard hitting teams even under Perles, and while they still make bonehead plays at times out of aggression they have a lot more talent and resilience now to overvome it.
To me defense is the great equalizer. We both pointed that out in different ways. If you have a great defense your offense can suck 2-3 games as all teams offenses usually do and the defense bails you out. They had once in a generation type of defense last year (2002 OSU, 1997 UM) that saved them IMO from 2 losses. They could have lost to friggin Western if not for a few breaks last year, so yes it is a fine line and the difference between a #15 defense and #2 is substantial. A great offense on the other hand will take 2-3 games a year off when it just is not in sync - Alabama is an example this year; their defense was down this year.... defenses dont do that, and defenses travel. Which is why it is fun to watch Seattle and San Fran in the NFL.
To me MSU takes a step back in 2015. They have UM OSU Neb on the road so all those favorable matchups of 2014 flip. They bring in Oregon and could be breaking out Terry if Cook leaves early. But "taking a step back" is not the old 5-7, 4-8 Sparty of the past as long as Dantonio is there. But I think 2014 they have a lot of things favorable. I also failed to note they do have a loss of a starter as safety so that is important too along with Bullough and Dennard.
Dantonio is a great coach and Sparty will probably be good in 2014, but they will be hard pressed to win a B1G championship after that. I think MSU was the face of B1G football last year and did a great job (probably the second best team in the country), but this is the year that Dantonio reaped the benefit of down years for Ohio and UM from 2009-2011. Pretty soon, the Hoke and Meyer recruiting is about to create a talent differential that greatly surpasses what we've seen in the past five years. There are articles that claim Sparty entered the class of 'elite' programs this year and that is a bit far-fetched. 2013 was probably the high water mark for the program. Sparty will consistently win 8-10 games and be a really good program, but they won't be able to keep up with Ohio (soon to be the fastest team in the B1G by far) and UM (soon to be the strongest, biggest team in the B1G by far with a few elite speed guys at skill positions). Sparty likes to play in the box. Pretty soon, Ohio won't let them play in the box and we will meet them in the box and kick their teeth in (an event I cannot wait for). Sparty will be hard pressed to beat both of us on any given year. Not a knock on Sparty, just my reading of the tea leaves based on the trajectory of B1G East teams.
Well said. I enjoy the discussion as well. I am from the older set that remember MSU being full of dumb moments, so it is jarring to see them being competent. But they always felt like a bit of an underperforming bunch with guys like JLS and Williams, so this is probably not as unexpected. I just don't think they are going to be the class of the conference for years to come, and some people around here (not you) are acting as if Sparty is the new benevolent overlord because they won the Rose Bowl for the first time in a generation.
Make no mistake that the offense gelled due to Bollman.
Does anyone question the addition of the ex Bucky recruit? Any correlation between academics and athletics?
But you really, really do like to talk about MSU.
Connor Cook has dropped from 10:1 odds to 18:1 in the January Heisman race (I am told by the Sparties that it is much better than the September Heisman) but he is on the list at Bovada.
Yes I am teasing my MSU friends now that they are doing all the things they accuse of us. Their September Heismans (first Bell and now Cook) and all day yesterday their obsession with CROOOOOOTING. It is funny how they have become all the things they talk about us doing...but at least they are following it up on the field.
I have seen some stories past 2 months if Cook follows up this year on a decent slope from the end of last he might be an early entry candidate for the NFL which is crazy considering he couldnt hit the broad side of a barn last September. Not sure if I have seen a player do such a 180 in 10 weeks. That said, they could afford to play Tressel ball with that defense - will be more pressure on him in 2014 but he has a cannon for an arm and decent mobility. And he seems to make big plays on 3rd downs after doing bonehead ones on 1st or 2nd.
I think Cook will be a competent NFL guy when he leaves, probably a backup but there's nothing wrong with that. That said, he got some incredibly lucky bounces this year; he had a couple of goofy passes in the UM game, and if I remember correctly OSU and Stanford had multiple drops that could have turned those games around. True, that happens to everyone, but I have too gotten a kick out of the Cook for Heisman talk about a guy who may be fighting for his starting spot if Terry is as good as advertised.
Yep, Stanford a pass sailed through a players hands from Stanford right into MSU WR hands. Same for Illinois game - he sailed a TD right through a CB's hands and into WR. It was a charmed year for them when you see those things. I think he had an INT hit the ground by an inch vs OSU or there was a penalty or something similar.
His decision making needs to improve. That said he was a RS soph with almost zero experience coming into the year so he made some impressive strides. I am also very impressed with his ability to throw accurately on the run - he might be better on the run then in the pocket. His long throws were pretty awful last year but in the 15-25 yard range he had some impressive strikes.
That said people's memories are short and if he has 2 bad games the chants for Terry will be deafening.
Those last couple of games showed a lot of resiliency from MSU, but at the same time a lot of luck. One or two turnovers in either of those games and they don't win. And Stanford played absolutely into the wheelhouse for MSU; it will be interesting to see how they handle a team like Oregon that can run on anybody.
They will not be as good. I refuse to believe that Dantonio has built that program into a dynasty.
Steroids are still a bad thing.
If I was Malik I would just wait until I was 18 and sign it. Then say "how bout them apples, mom"
Assuming he will turn 18 in a reasonable time.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I read that you have to be 21 to sign it without a legal guardian.
Looked it up last night.
Oh, wow thanks. That seems crazy.
New idea. I would get legal standing as a independent of said parents and repeat until success.
own the rights to his vote in the upcoming primaries, too?
According to the linked 247 article, a parent/guardian still has to sign a LOI if the prospect is under 21 (why this is the case, I have no idea, but the NCAA is weird like that). However, he can sign an athletic-aid agreement when he turns 18 on June 20th, and if MSU allows it he can even sign one of those before he's 18.
Basically, even if his mom refuses to sign the LOI, McDowell can end up at MSU without too much issue.
You need to be 21 to sign legally binding contracts there. As result, rather than have two LOI forms, the NCAA just adopted the MS rules.