MD WR Adrian Coxson committed to Penn State, which is obviously not a big deal since he is an outside WR and Michigan has four of those in the class already.
I wasn't going to take FL WR DeJoshua Johnson (of Pahokee!) off the board just yet since this report comes from a source I'm unfamiliar with…
Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft.
…but I pretty much believe these guys since a recruit getting down to a top three is a crazy thing to lie about and the conventional wisdom on Johnson matches up with those final three schools. (Also, Johnson might want to check on what Oklahoma State runs before making any rash decisions.) Then came this article and this interview that confirmed, so he's gone.
Also destined to leave the board at some point in the future is PA DE Dakota Royer. He's made a number of visits to schools across the Midwest but hasn't stopped by Michigan. In this Rivals AMP video it's clear that Penn State is a considerable favorite:
Unless Royer makes it to campus in the near future—there are no plans to do so at the moment—he'll probably drop Michigan whenever he comes out with a shortlist.
But Gardner didn’t come looking to impress with his quarterback skills. Instead the super athlete stressed he was looking to impress everyone with his ability as a wide receiver and overall player.
Gardner would take a few snaps as a quarterback but he also took part in all the testing and had one of the top forty times by posting a 4.57 electronic timed forty. Gardner didn’t disappoint anyone and took home overall combine MVP honors.
Uh, I guess it's good Gardner's such a kickin' athlete he can crush a combine at any number of different positions, but no thanks on the position switch. Though that 4.57 isn't in the realm of Florida's FAKE (FAKE! FAKE!) 40 board, these things take place under highly variable conditions. An electronic 4.57 in a 6'4" beast QB is plenty fast. All you need to know about his athleticism is this: showed up at a combine, screwed around at a variety of positions, got overall combine MVP. The end.
Throwing motion? What throwing motion?
Elsewhere in combines, both PA CB Cullen Christian and PA CB Brandon Ifill had good days at the Penn State combine:
Defensive back Cullen Christian (Pittsburgh/Penn Hills) may not get as much publicity as his teammate, wide receiver/defensive back Brandon Ifill, but it was Christian who came away from the camp with honors. Ifill did a nice job Saturday and showed why he has scholarship offers from multiple BCS schools. But Christian was even better and was named the camp's defensive back MVP.
I was under the impression Christian was a solid four star sort, but a couple reports like this indicate he was trending towards anonymous three star and is now moving up into the four-star range.
Josh Furman (Millersville, Md./Old Mill) may have had the single best outing out of any prospect on this year's Under Armour combine tour. He posted a wind-aided 4.39 40-yard dash, a 42 inch vertical jump, a 4.12 short shuttle and a modest broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. His 16 reps of 185 pounds were also very impressive and a bit surprising given his longer, rangier frame (6-foot-2, 192 pounds).
Daaaang. You can commence the feeding frenzy. A teams are about to make it rain offers. Furman maintains not even the hint of a leader and has been backed off from green to yellow as the initial excitement of the Michigan offer fades and Furman realizes he can go just about anywhere.
Meanwhile, DC LB Javarie Johnson, he of the erroneous post-visit commitment report, also appears to be a guy who's using the combine circuit to shoot his stock through the roof:
…on the hoof, there might not have been a better-looking prospect. Johnson is tall (almost 6-foot-4) with a frame that looks like it was carved out of clay for an outside linebacker. He is long and lean but is also layered with chiseled muscle and looks far thicker than the 210 pounds he weighed in at.
ESPN says Johnson "could be the next big star to come out of Dunbar." Too bad that commit report was erroneous.
PA QB Malik Stokes—the younger brother of incoming WR Je'Ron Stokes—also gets a mention:
During seven-on-seven, offenses were run out of the spread, allowing quarterbacks to display their passing skills in the short-to-intermediate range. Stokes did not disappoint. He started off a bit rusty -- showing inconsistent accuracy -- but warmed up quickly, hitting receivers in stride and making sound decisions. His touch was very good.
He's switching high schools so he can throw a bit more. Pitt's offered and Stokes claims interest from a number of BCS programs, so a Michigan offer isn't out of the question down the road. Buuut:
He completed a few downfield throws but we do not see pocket-passing arm strength or the requisite size for the next level.
Another Scout report says he could be a really really good… CUSA or MAC QB. Stokes is going to need a big senior year to get a Michigan offer.
Long fluffy-style article on MN OL Seantrel Henderson doesn't have a lot of news—he plans on deciding on or near Signing Day—but does have this tantalizing quote:
"The only way for Seantrel to lose that No. 1 spot is if he decides to not play football," said Barry Every, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals based in Athens, Ga. "We haven't seen anybody better to make a change. He's definitely a five-star player who will make a major impact in college."
Michigan figures to be in the top five when that time comes.
Excitement about TX LB Corey Nelson, the teammate of TX RB commit Tony Drake who named Michigan his leader a couple weeks ago, should deflate:
"I don't really have a top five but A&M is my top school right now." However, Nelson does plan to make official visits.
Nelson appears to be one of those guys like Sam Montgomery who has a new leader every day, so Michigan's not out of it. The thing to watch for now is potential visit plans.
Okay, so there's this article about FL S commit Marvin Robinson title "Michigan commit considering Canes"($); commence swine-flu-level unnecessary panic. Unfortunately, after the events of last year we can't just laugh it off, but all the insiders remain extremely confident. I'm choosing to spend my time running around screaming "AAAAAAAARRRGH AAAAAARGH DEATH" worrying about Michigan's safety situation this fall. Will inform if my fear increases beyond miniscule here.
Etc.: CA RB Brennan Claypicks up an Oklahoma offer. Freep thing on LA WR commit Drew Dileo has one thing of note, this quote from his coach: "He can turn punts into long gains." Webb article on FL QB Christian Green for some reason; he's almost definitely ticketed for FSU. Michigan is in LA S Ronnie Vinson'stop six.
That has been reassuring. I mean, obviously RR & co are good at finding guys flying under the radar -- see everyone at WVU -- and there's reason to believe RR-selected three stars are more likely to be underrated than most.
Completely agree. Honestly though, I've been choosing to ignore said hysteria. I think all this angst has more to do with a 3-9 season than it does the actual recruiting. Hell, even Brian is leaning towards hysteria at times. People need to just calm down and trust that Michigan chose wisely in hiring RR. The historical evidence certainly backs that up.
to play devil's advocate, what if them being offered by Michigan played a role in the increased fawning at combines? No background knowledge/analysis here or anything, just the suspicion of a reverse anti-Michigan bias. Maybe being noticed by a big school clues these guys into a kid, after all we always say that coaches are better talent evaluators than the guys working at Rivals/Scout. They wouldn't want someone like RR finding a kid that they didn't think would amount to much and then have that kid be awesome. Also, your diary entry today was fantastic
Ehh, combine performance can be objectively measured, and has the ability for comparisons between recruits there. Typically the big sites just haven't seen enough of certain players, or maybe the players didn't show mad skillz until the combine.
I think it's important to note that it's a business for Rivals/Scout, and it's probably not bias/malice so much as what they think will drive revenue.
I'm guessing not a lot of coaching goes on at most combine events, and that players don't do much developing at them - just going to show off cool stuff they can do and gain the glory of coaches and the internet. Still, given his crazy-ass release, I'd be more comfortable if Gardner gave the appearance of spending a little more time learning how to play quarterback.
What I meant to imply is that I'd be more comfortable if I had more abundant evidence that Gardner was working on becoming a more polished quarterback. Working out at receiver doesn't count as such evidence.
I don't get his decision to go as an athlete at the combine. Every good QB I've read about seems to be very focused on being a QB, proving himself at QB, and working on being a great QB. He had earlier been quoted as saying he recognized deficits in his game (release etc) and was planning on spending the summer working on those skills. So then a combine comes and he takes a few snaps, but mostly focuses on proving how good an athlete he is? It seems a decision that indicates not a lot of commitment to being great and demonstrating that point. Am I making too much of that?
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Will Campbell was returning punts at the AA game and everyone was excited that he is an awesome athlete, knowing full well that he will destroy opposing guards and quarterbacks for multiple seasons. I think Gardner dominating multiple positions at a combine falls more into that fun-having, showing-off type of display than anything to get worried about.
He probably wanted to show off his raw athletic talent since he is still working on the mechanics, thus he would get all of the praise, and very little negative publicity. Eh, I can't seem to put this thought into the right words. Oh well, nevermind.
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I would make the comparison to a "Pick Up Game" of basketball at the YMCA. Say you are known as a shooter and you want to go and play some ball at the Y and try new things so you start posting up people and driving to the hole displaying your all around game. When the season rolls around you will go back to doing what you do and that is shooting the ball.
If Gardner goes to his coach this week and asks to switch to WR then we should worry. Other then that he just went to a camp to have fun. It is no different then the video of D Rob running a fly route at some camp in Florida. For all we know some DB was talking smack and he decided to smoke him.
I really see no need to worry.
"I make plays baby, I make plays"
I think you guys are reading way too much into one day. Gardner was an Elite 11 ball boy last year and will probably end up returning, and one goofy combine performance doesn't matter much in the scheme of things.
"Pahokee H.S. (Florida) wide receiver and Gridironstuds.com member DeJoshua Johnson has narrowed his choices down to three: Florida St., Alabama and Oklahoma St. in no particular order. Johnson eliminated Michigan, Florida, West Virginia and any other team running a spread offense after watching this past weekend’s NFL draft."
I get that the NFL scouts aren't big fans of spread QB's, but I don't think they have any problem with spread WR's. I'm not sure what draft he was watching (Crabtree, Harvin, and Maclin were all spread WR's and all were 1st round choices.)
Merrill Hoge was extremely critical of the Harvin pick. He said that Harvin will have a hard time adjusting to running NFL routes. If you watched Florida games, Harvin didn't really run complicated, NFL-quality routes. He ran a lot of hooks and drags and stuff, but not many combo routes or deep outs, etc.
I agree with the assessment, but I think it's irrelevant. Johnson's (and pretty much every other highly rated HS prospect) main objective is obviously to get to the NFL and make big money. I don't think Harvin will be a superstar by any means, but he still went in the 1st round and got that nice payday.
Now Johnson may be less shortsighted and may want to go to a team that will get him NFL ready and maximize his chances of long-term success, but I still think discriminating against spread teams doesn't make sense. Crabtree went to a spread school and I think he'll be a gamebreaker in the NFL.
Basically, I think the NFL's "spread racism" is irrational and has taken on a life of its own to the point where it's influencing guys like Johnson to eliminate schools for kind of a weak reason. Maybe I'm just bitter because I had the delusion that we'd get each and every good prospect to ever come out of Pahokee from this point on.
I like it. Unless your a wr running a deep route or a special teams player, the odds are you aren't going to be running 40 yds on to many plays.
However, the 10 yd dash shows how fast someone is from the get go. In a lot of plays that Florida and now UM will run, the ability to get to top speed quickly is the key to making big plays. A quick slant, hitting the wr on a pass at the line of scrimmage, a running back going through a hole, a wr on a reverese - a big part in those plays going for big yardage is the ability of a player to accelerate quickly and get to the second and third levels of the defense.
...pretty well debunked this in their most recent post today. Thirteen spread WRs were picked in this year's draft (including Crabtree, Maclin and Harvin) as opposed to 17 "pro-style" WRs. I'm not sure how concerned the NFL really is based on these numbers.
One of the reasons given for some NFL teams' concerns with Michael Crabtree was that he ran very simplistic routes in Mike Leach's version of the "spread" at Texas Tech. Some scouts speculated that it might be a more difficult than usual transition for him to the NFL than it would be had he played in a more traditional offense in college. This seems to be a somewhat common criticism of the "spread" offense by pro scouts, fwiw.
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I'm not really sure two days of working with coaches you'll never see again are going to make a great deal of difference in something as touchy and habit-based as mechanics. Whether or not Gardner goes to combines and has them worked on - potentially counterproductively by multiple different coaches who will all be saying different things - isn't going to change the fact that he's going to show up in AA in 2010 needing work on his mechanics.
These big combines are basically chances for players to earn offers and show off their skills. There's VERY little coaching done at these Nike camps and such. Many high school coaches encourage their players to go to smaller camps (often at D-II or D-III schools) if they want to learn fundamentals and techniques.
DeJoshua Jackson probably has been listening to Saban and Bowden and Gundy sell him on spread receivers not cutting it at the next level. Which makes sense given that Harvin, Crabtree and Maclin all went in round 1.
"I loved playing with [Forcier]," Clay said. "I love the players on the team and I love the Michigan coaches. I enjoy talking with [Wolverines head coach] Rich Rodriguez and [quarterbacks coach and area recruiter] Rod Smith. Honestly, they would be my top school if I had a top school. I just really like that program."