"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."
At this point, anyone reading this post is pretty familiar with Da'Shawn Hand, the nation's top overall prospect. Michigan and Virginia Tech are presumed to lead the other three schools in his top five—Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina—while LSU and USC are on the outside looking in. Even further on the outside is Ohio State, where Hand reportedly had a poor visit experience the first time around, and despite a decent trip there last weekend—he swung by while in town for the Columbus NFTC—the Buckeyes won't be a factor in his recruitment going forward.
If you believe Eleven Warriors [ed-S: ...''s recruiting guy Jeremy Birmingham, not Ramzy] , this is because the Ohio State coaches suddenly decided they weren't very interested in the top player in the country—for reasons, you see—and here begins the fisking:
For some reason, my contention that Ohio State would not be aggressively attempting to get back into the Hand sweepstakes set off an internet wildfire with people.
This contention is reasonable; it's become clear that Ohio State is a longshot at best to get Hand, and the coaching staff could better spend their time targeting prospects with more interest in the Buckeyes. This would be a good place to stop, but...
As I have said a few times, it's a simple matter of personality. Ohio State wants people who are going to go 1000 miles per hour, every day, on and off the field. They want people who fight for each other, for their university and for their own improvement. They want people who are challenging themselves to improve every day and do so without the need to proclaim their own greatness for people to see, read, or hear. They want competitors and they want fighters.
...then there's this load of crap, as if the above doesn't fit what every football coach in America is trying to find in a recruit. Which leads us to the really stupid thing:
As far as Da'Shawn Hand? I've never said he was not a competitor, just that things with Ohio State and Hand did not see eye-to-eye from the start of his visit in November because he was not being treated any differently than any of the other recruits on hand, 90-minutes before kick-off of the biggest game of the year. The Buckeyes could not give Hand the attention they would have liked to, and the day was a bit too hectic for him to get "comfortable" at Ohio State.
This is a remarkably shitty thing to write about a high school kid without anything approaching first-hand evidence. The "I've never said..." hedging is just that, hedging, because discussing OSU's supposed lack of interest in reconnecting with Hand after everything in the previous paragraph is either a case of really unfortunate juxtaposition or the type of insinuation that unfairly impugns the character of a 17-year-old — one who, by all other accounts, is a kid of extremely high character.
The timing—when it's become blindingly obvious that Hand doesn't want to go to Ohio State—makes this come off as some seriously sour grapes. I'm sorry, Buckeye faithful, that Hand's reaction to being asked about Ohio State in the above video was this:
But, no, I'm not actually sorry. A high-profile player isn't interested in your school and may very well end up at a rival school. These things happen. Responding to this by suggesting that a player doesn't work hard enough, or is afraid to compete against the best, or isn't motivated enough to improve ... even if the implication is merely by context, that's a bad look. Nearly as bad as the one Hand gave when asked about Ohio State.
I think Eleven Warriors does a fantastic job, and that includes their recruiting coverage, but seeing this—and the wild speculation that it inevitably led to in such a forum—was disappointing. Perhaps, next time, just say that the kid isn't interested and move on.
[Hit THE JUMP for camp highlights of Ian Bunting, the latest on the Malik McDowell transfer rumors, and more.]
Good Skills, Bunting
Tight end commit Ian Bunting earned position MVP honors at last weekend's Columbus NFTC and a subsequent invite to The Opening. Highlights of his camp performance are above, via GBW, and feature a pretty nifty one-handed catch. There's no way to say this without sounding creepy, but... he's got huge hands, right? That's a lanky kid in general, in the overgrown-receiver, Funchess-like way, and this makes sense when he reminds you that he's never actually played tight end before, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):
“I think I did really well. I tried a little tight end this time around which I’ve never really done but I’m going to have to start some time so I might as well. It was fun and I liked it. I had some really good looks from some great competition here.”
Galloping effortlessly down the sideline with his long legs, Bunting looked smooth in his drill work, showing good discipline in his routes, looking the ball into his big mitts for hands. Still, Bunting admits he has plenty to work on.
“Getting in a three point stance and getting off a press,” he said. “I’ve never really done it before but it’ll come.I’m going to play a little tight end this year on my high school team too, so, I’m going to learn.”
Yeah, odds are the Funchess comparisons will also extend to Bunting's blocking until he plays at the college level for a couple years.
The Paramus Catholic junior had just finished first in the 100-meter dash at the 45th boys NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield, but his time of 10.80 was way off what he had hoped.
"That wasn’t good,’’ said Peppers, the No. 2 football recruit in the nation who has committed to Michigan.
So then he did this in the 200:
The powerfully built 6-1, 205-pound Peppers found another gear and powered his way past Clemes with 50 meters to and then started to pull away on his way to victory in 21.13, a Bergen County record and No. 4 in state history.
Yeah, still fast.
BBQ Adds A Big-Time Visitor
Five-star CA CB Adoree' Jackson may play on the West Coast, but he's got Midwest roots after growing up in Illinois, and a visit to the old stomping grounds will include a trip to July's BBQ at the Big House, per Sam Webb ($):
“I’m actually going back home to Illinois in July,” Jackson reported. “By the time I get back home (the Michigan coaches) said they get back in the office in July. So at the end of July I should be there for a visit.”
“I doubt I’m going to be able to make it to all those schools (for unofficials). I’m just trying to visit the local ones… Michigan, Notre Dame, Illinois and Tennessee. That’s pretty much the local ones that I can get to. I doubt I will get all the way around. I’m not even planning on doing all that. I just want to enjoy my little break while I can and if times allows, I’ll go see the schools.”
Michigan could be a major player in Jackson's recruitment—his interest sounds quite genuine if you read the whole article—though they're at a disadvantage in at least one area: Jackson plans to run track in college, and his other top schools (USC, UCLA, Florida, and Florida State, among others) boast better track programs in better track conferences. This hangup is why 247's Gerry Hamilton doesn't give the Wolverines the same shot with Jackson as the two Florida schools ($):
The 5-foot-11,185-pound two-sport budding star has long been thought to be locked into staying on the west coast at the end of the day since moving to the area from Illinois, but we continue to hear that Florida and Florida State are more than in the hunt to land the uber-athletic prospect. Michigan is also in the hunt moreso than some others in the top 10, but track is expected to play a key role in the decision making process with the southern schools standing the best chances long term to get him to leave home.
USC appears to be the team to beat, so Jackson has to decide both to leave California and deemphasize the track factor for Michigan to have a legit shot; if his visit goes well, however, that could very well be the case.
The Detroit News reports that top-ranked in-state DL Malik McDowellwill transfer from Detroit Loyola for the upcoming school year, likely to Southfield High School. This shouldn't affect his recruitment drastically, but there are a couple positives if this does go down:
McDowell's coach at Loyola is a big Notre Dame guy, while Southfield's coaches have a very good relationship with Michigan's staff.
Michigan commit and fellow D-lineman Lawrence Marshall plays for Southfield and would certainly be recruiting McDowell on a daily basis.
Loyola plays in one of the state's lower divisions—watch this to get an idea of the level of competition—while Southfield will give McDowell stiffer competition, including an opening-week game against Cass Tech.
People will stop asking if they play the same position if they're on the same line (this may only affect bloggers with email addresses)
This isn't a done deal yet, but it sounds very likely to happen, especially if the News is running with the story.
Michigan makes the top six for NJ RB Jonathan Hilliman along with Ohio State, Miami, Vanderbilt, Alabama, and Rutgers, per Scout's Brian Dohn ($).
A probable happy trails to DC CB Jalen Tabor, who named a top five that doesn't include Michigan. With the Wolverines in hot pursuit of Jackson and IL CB Parrker Westphal this isn't a big surprise.
2015 East Lake (FL) ATH George Campbell, future five-star and current high school teammate of Mason Cole and Artavis Scott, was the first rising junior to earn an invite to The Opening, per TomVH. He also confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that he'll accompany Cole and Scott to the BBQ at the Big House in July.
Fantastic work here by MGoUser Coastal Elite to put together a (chart?) chart of Michigan's head-to-head recruiting efforts so far in this class. By Coastal Elite's method, the only schools to get the best of the Wolverines for mutual targets in this recruiting cycle are Texas and LSU.
Denard took the track side as a side project while his focus was on football
Did Denard even run track all four years he was here? I remember the video of him running sprints as a freshman, but never saw much after that. I assumed he'd given up track once the football weight got added to his frame.
"...what do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?"
It's one thing if posters say stuff like that. It's an entirely different thing if the staff of a site does. While MGo has it's set of stupid-heads like any large sports site, the staff has handled themselves with professionalism in regards to not disparaging high schoolers or making up falsehoods to make UM look better as far as I can remember.
Well I don't know the kid personally. From what I can tell he is a kid... smoked weed... and made a rap video.
You're right he should be publically humiliated on a very popular blog.
The point was Ace got a little heavy handed against 11W about what they said about Hand a solid week or so after he made a front page post rubbing a kids face in it who A) is kid B) smoked the dopz 3) made poor rap video
Maaaaybe we aren't as holier than thou-ey as we think we are?
or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
How are those two things even remotely similar? If Dashawn Hand had done some stupid shit, made a video about it and posted it on the Internet, and 11W made fun of it, I don't think Ace would take much issue with it.
But that's not what they did. They claimed that the top recruit in the country wasn't a good fit for them and then made claims about his character that were completely baseless (in fact there is evidence to the contrary). Those two things are not the same.
And I take issue with the idea that I was attacking this kid's character. I attacked his MUSIC VIDEO, on the grounds that it was a terrible music video. From my comments on that piece
Here's a pretty comprehensive list of everything I mocked in this piece:
The fact that they filmed it in (a) a shed, and (b) a pavilion in a park
His blatant drug use/references at a time in which he was still pledged to play D1 football at a school where OF COURSE they wouldn't be cool with that.
The ridiculous repetition of his name
The camera work
The awkward guy in the video
The NSFW-ness of the video (again where MSU obviously wasn't gonna be cool with it)
The fact that his lyrics don't match up to his lip syncing
The fact that MSU lost Drake Harris
The ridiculously long fade-out
This is a guy who, in a very public fashion, launched his professional rap career, and posted this video in the official YouTube account for said professional rap career. If you think I was too snarky or harsh, that's fair. But I strongly disagree with the contention that this was in any way an attack on this kid in any personal capacity.
Yeah, I find it distasteful to overly criticize other fan sites. Other fanbases hate Notre Dame partially because of the "holier than thou" attitude. Although I attended MIchigan for seven years and loved every minute of it, the condescension towards other schools can be annoying on occasion.
That being said, I am extremely excited by how this class is shaping up despite the relatively small class size. In my opinion, the only thing that is separating our defense from the elite defenses you see in the SEC are freak defensive linemen. Although Hand doesn't appear to be on a Clowney level (and really who is), he would be an immediate impact player. Still a long way to February, but if we can get Hand and Scott, I would be extremely pleased to say the least.
11W is ordinarily a great site. Their staff is generally very sane and smart/savvy, and their patrons are, all-in-all, on the reasonable end of the scale. This Hand stuff is both nuts and out of character for them.
I really don't see the connection bewteen these two situations.
The guy from 11W is making baseless statements about personality flaws that Hand supposedly has The writer has no evidence to support his claims, and appears motivated to smear Hand simply because he's not interested in signing with the Buckeyes.
The criticism of Datbull has been harsh, but it can hardly be called baseless. The guy made and published his own video, so we could all see for ourselves that his rap skills are nothing worth passing on an athletic scholarship for. He also appeared to smoke weed in the video, which calls his judgment into question.
If some other recruit that Michigan wanted had posted a video of himself smoking weed and rapping awfully, and was deciding between football and a rap career, then I would have no problem with some writer from 11W or wherever saying, "I don't want that kid. He has poor judgment and appears somewhat delusional." The problem is when, as here, the writer makes those kinds of claims without any evidence to base it on.
"You will suffer humiliation when the team from my area defeats the team from your area." -- The Onion
While I expect his blocking to be less-than-exciting when he arrives on campus, he is damn near college-ready to make an impact as a flex receiver. He is so smooth, and doesn't break stride or his routes to make catches.
I have posted this before, and got down-voted and boo-hissed for it, but Brady Hoke definitely has a weakness as a recruiter: he does not appeal to the "show me the love" type of recruits as much as some other coaches do.
Recent articles have confirmed this: Hoke does NOT lay out the red carpet for recruits. While this ends-up being a strength with a lot of prospects, there is definitely a group of uber-talented (maybe Treadwell, for example?) players out there that want to be wined-and-dined and/or are very impressed by fanfare. Hoke & Michigan are at a disadvantage with these recruits, and that will cost us some great talent. The flipside is, of course, that the genuine "real recognize real" attitude will attract others. You can't have both.
Make no mistake, we wanted Treadwell. I don't think ANYONE on this board pretended we didn't. But, for whatever reason, he didn't like the pitch as much here as he did at Ole Miss.
My issue with 11W is, why can't they just see that maybe, just maybe, their staff won't appeal to every recruit they want? Oh, this is why.
I agree with all of this. But, what makes Jeremy Birmingham's comments so laughable, is that he implies the reason Hand didn't mesh with OSU is because they didn't roll out the red carpet (which pretty much calls Hand a selfish prima donna in not so many words) and didn't treat him differently than other recruit. What this further implies is that Hand's interest in UM must be because they treated him like the second coming of Christ, which we all know is not Hoke's style and actually the exact opposite his style, as you stated above.
I don't really have a problem with 11W. It is a fan site, and that kind of media appeals to OSU fans apparently. What I do have a problem with is OSU's head of player personnel trashing Hand in tweets, "We are looking for competitors on and off the field. Some do. Some don't."
I am not 100% sure if Mark Pantoni directed it at Hand, but Jeremy "Birmingham" certainly implied that much.
I don't think for one second that Mark Pantoni directed that at Hand or any recruit for that matter. I think that was probably an old random tweet that Birmingham grabbed to use as a Double-Dumb exclamation point on an already dumb answer to a mailbag question. Jeremy Birmingham has quite a pair of Buckeyes on him to be claiming all that he did, and then trying to imply that, "look, Mark Pantoni agrees!"
Yeah, I saw that. The timing of the tweet is poor, even a little suspicious, but if OSU's Head of Player Personnel is directly tweeting crap like this to Hand, then OSU has bigger issues than Jeremy Birmingham.
You are likely right that the Brian Kelly that coaches kids is different than the one who showed up in their living rooms a year earlier. I imagine that if Kelly unleashed his inner purple-faced maniac in front of recruits and parents, he would not do so well in the recruiting department. So, when purple-Kelly eventually comes out, you will inevitably have some kids who transfer.
By contrast, with Hoke, what you see is what you get, so it is likely that attrition of top talent will be less.
Because of Hoke's "real" ways, he is never going to wine and dine a kid, make promises that the kid will start on day 1, or generally cater to kids' egos in the way that some coaches (Ole Miss, maybe?) do. And yes, we will definitely lose out on some kids that want that experience.
But for every Treadwell (if, in fact, he is that type of kid) that we miss on, we land a Peppers who recognizes real. Sure, there are a ton of talented "ego" kids out there, there are also a ton of "real" kids out there. I am perfectly fine competing for those with the ability to recognize real.
From what I remember when kids talk about what they like about Michigan, two topics seem to repeat themselves. The team seems like a family, and the coaches talk to you like a real person.
I know there are exceptions to this, but many of the lay our the red carpet recruits have a diva like quality. They are Chad Johnson, Terell Owens me-first people who tend to ruin team chemistry and only look out for themselves. This goes directly againt the "The Team, The Team, The Team" mentality Hoke learned from Bo. I wonder if the lets-sit-down-and-have-a-nice-chat type of visit is partially designed to weed out those who do not like this approach. It would not supprise me if Mattison told Hand that he would not start as a freshman, but would get his share of snaps. That was probably a releif compared to being promised he could meet Michael Jackson.
Keep in mind that not all great performers have to have this attitude. Just reciently, Denard was the opposite of a Diva. Charles Woodson was a great player, but not a diva. Desmond Howard was a great player but not a diva. Maybe Treadwell was not, I am not sure, but when you post a picture of a pile of money it tends to lean in that direction. I trust the coaches judement, and whatever direction lost interest first does not matter. I root for those that choose to come to Michigan and hope that any kid who goes elsewhere will be okay when they loose to Michigan.
Very good post. I agree with everything except the part of Hand potentially being told he won't start. I think Hoke and staff want everyone, including walk-ons, to think they have a fair shot at starting. They often say you have to earn it every day, every practice.
I have a similar opinion on Coach Hoke. After listening to the Rich Eisen podcast with Coach Hoke, I just believe that the philosophy is to treat the team as the priority and not cast any special treatment for any individual recruit.
However, I don't consider it a "weakness" of Coach Hoke per se. I think Coach Hoke is playing to his strengths. He really seems down-to-earth and would be someone that I would (without hesitation) send my son to play for. If Hoke were trying the red carpet approach, I really believe he would come off very poorly. This is a man that when he first got to Ball State only wanted to play football and drink all the beer in Muncie, Indiana fergawdsakes!
With recruiting, I think people obsess too much over one recruit. There will be more misses than hits like Treadwell given the amount of competition for the same pool of players. However, I am elated that Coach Hoke is pulling in more than his fair share during the past two to three years.
Make no mistake, we wanted Treadwell. I don't think ANYONE on this board pretended we didn't. But, for whatever reason, he didn't like the pitch as much here as he did at Ole Miss.
The difference being that when Treadwell pulled the lever for Ole Miss, this entire board didn't meltdown into a state of denial of "good riddance, did not want anyway". Granted there was some eyebrows raised over the tweet of Laquon holding a pile of money, but I never saw any posts from Brian on down saying anything to the effect of the bullshit 11W is plying with regards to Hand.
Oh, and what you characterize as a weakness in Hoke's recruiting style, I consider a strength. Will it hinder us on landing some elite recruits that look to be a great fit here? Sure. But the one meme that's been debunked is that Hoke can't attract elite level talent (because we don't pull out the red carpet) and Hoke's recruiting style has the added benefit of attracting the kid who is less fickle. Hoke's commits, for the most part, stay committed.
"...what do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?"
Adding Hand and McDowell with Mone and Marshall definitely portends BIG 10 destruction! In my opinion, D-Line is slightly more important than O-Line recruiting and a bit more predictable in terms of stars-to-success ratio exceptions notwithstanding.
That's the thing.... Ace, to my mind, has generally been pretty neutral and close-to-the-vest as far as recruiting and rivals go*. (Brian has perhaps had some.... partisan moments but they've all been wonderful :) ) For him to fisk the 11w spin about Hand cooling on OSU because he wasn't wined and dined.... that to me is pretty indicative of the lack of professionalism there that he's rightly calling out. That was character impugning speculation about a high school kid that - while not exactly libelous - should be beneath an adult.
* As far as mocking Jay Harris and his rap video? You know who else did that. Everyone on the planet. And deservedly so because it's not like the evidence wasn't plastered all over YouTube.
Former Buckeye Antonio Pittman on being a poster child for compliance: "This osu tattoo stuff is silly. Cats been getting hookups on tatts since back in '01."