"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."
Two 2015 Ohio defensive backs have proclaimed Michigan their outright leader, and both have given Michigan fans a reason to believe they'll pop in the near future. In OH CB Shaun Crawford's case, that's because he's announcing on Friday at 4 PM on ESPN.com. He told Rivals's Mark Givler that "I don't really have a group of finalists, it's mainly just that one school for me," actually moved Miami down his list after visiting, and hasn't been offered by other potential favorite Notre Dame. This one is not heavy on suspense.
Crawford is a leetle guy at 5'8" to 5'10", depending on who you believe, but he brings 170+ pounds to the table already—the same as Michigan's 6'2" freshman corners—and impressed Givler with his toughness:
Shaun Crawford is as good in run support as any corner I've seen come out of Ohio the last few years.
Commence the Antoine Winfield comparisons that will never, ever stop.
That is a highly reassuring thing to hear about Crawford, since no one doubts his athleticism or skill—it's all on the size, or lack thereof. Crawford's actually playing safety for his team so that he'll have more impact on the game this fall, FWIW.
The other guy, OH S Tyree Kinnel, has not been as explicit as Crawford but according to Brandon has set a visit for Saturday. Kinnel was clamoring for a Michigan offer, extremely disappointed when one didn't come after camp, and now has one. A commit watch is definitely on. While Kinnel was momentarily inclined to open things up given the lack of proverbial love, Hoke and company have a knack for closing the deal, like they did with George Campbell.
Kinnel is a four-star to 247 and Scout but has not been rated by ESPN yet. Those four star rankings in the range where Kinnel would be on the tail end of top X lists or just outside; he's a solid 3.5 star guy by our reckoning. The major drawback is that he seems to be a CB/S tweener, which Michigan doesn't care about at all. Nickelback, maybe?
[After the jump: Jabrilladiculous]
Jabrill Peppers is still ridiculous
Paramus Catholic scrimmaged over the weekend; NJ CB commit Jabrill Peppers acquired one decleater…
…and one sick spin move touchdown…
…to add to his list of jaw-dropping highlight reel plays. Jabrill Peppers, like George Campbell, is committed to Michigan.
Everyone is doing their best Simon Phoenix impression, and I approve.
BONUS: I don't remember PA LB Chase Winovich's hair being quite so… blonde.
Don't look at that thing directly, use a pinhole camera. I probably should have told you that before the picture.
Hair. It's important business around here.
[ACTUAL FACT LIKE THINGS ON WINOVICH FROM ARTICLE: says he's 6'3, 216, which would make him the smallest Michigan linebacker in the last two classes other than Wangler so of course he's projected to SAM. He's also playing quarterback for his high school team this fall to go along with his LB duties.]
Rerankings abound, but are boring
Both Rivals and Scout released new top X lists to mark the end of the summer camp season. It was mostly the usual slow degradation of rankings that happens when your evaluation doesn't change and other guys appear from nowhere and pass you.
There were some other events, though. On the Scout side of things, camp "sleeper" Freddy Canteen picked up a fourth star and moved into the 300 at #280. He no longer qualifies as a potential sleeper of the year even with our new relaxed standard of at most one four-star ranking.
#5 Jabrill Peppers: up two spots.
#10 Da'Shawn Hand: down eight.
#33 Drake Harris: down five spots.
#38 Malik McDowell: down five spots.
#91 Bryan Mone: up three spots
#107 Lawrence Marshall: down four
#173 Michael Ferns: down 27
#253 Mason Cole: down two
#266 Chase Winovich: down 36
Ferns had a couple of camp outings in which he did not show as much mobility as folks wanted, IIRC. No idea what the Winovich deal is since they haven't said anything about him after they bumped him into the 300 after the Michigan-OSU battle there resolved itself. I don't think he went to any camps.
Hand's drop was one it was easy to see coming after most analysts at the Opening said he was very good but only that. In the context of potentially generational talents like Fournette and Peppers he did not quite match that.
Rivals also released new rankings, which Ace analyzed a bit yesterday after the Rivals twitter account said something entirely different than what they wanted to say. They were not at the Opening, supposedly because someone's ticked off about Rivals's new exclusive camp series. It shows right at the top:
#1 Da'Shawn Hand: unchanged
#2 Jabrill Peppers: unchanged
#40 Malik McDowell: down from something
#62 Drake Harris: also down
#122 Mason Cole: down
#180 Bryan Mone: up one
#189 Michael Ferns: down 61
And so forth and so on. Their articles on the 100 and 250 getting updated have exactly one mention of Michigan, that a passing reference to Jabrill Peppers being a Michigan commit. That's because Michigan commits generally ain't GAF about camps: Cole, Mone, Harris, and Peppers showed up to one or two things between them.
Where Wangler goes
New commit Jared Wangler is moving from safety to linebacker this year at De La Salle. Where does he fit in college? Weakside linebacker mostly but don't rule out a nickel-type role where he can flex over the slot more effectively than most linebackers. Hybrid is the name of the game:
"Right now, he is playing a kind of hybrid position for us," Verska explained. "He's has linebacker responsibility in some of our packages, and safety responsibilities in others. He has played a lot of safety for us over the summer. We moved him there about halfway through the summer. He's a big kid, but he can run really well. He's done a great job.
"He's very good in coverage. He has picked up all the checks and things we do in the secondary very well, and he breaks on the ball quickly. He can jump, and he plays very physically. You're not going to find too many 220-pound safeties around, unless they're in the NFL."
He'll be at least James Ross size by the time he sees the field, and he may bring more coverage ability. In an ideal world he is a tight-end killer capable of beating their blocks and covering them one on one.
2015 VA DT Tim Settle, an early contender for the top kid in the country, will be at the ND game with Da'Shawn Hand. 2015 Denmark(!) DT Hjalte Froholdt consuming Herlev Rebels. Wheatley brothers profiled by a guy who is not good at talkin':
TJ Wheatley is 6'6", 245 and claims Michigan and Alabama offers.
Michigan lands five commits and a potential future commit on the USA Today All-America list: George Campbell (who is committed to Michigan), Mason Cole, Drake Harris, Michael Ferns, Jabrill Peppers, and possibly/probably Da'Shawn Hand. Not bad.
I propose that Shaun Crawford is the Jeremy Gallon of DBs. He is undersized, but tough and instinctual. People will always talk about his size, but when he gets on the field it doesn't seem to play a role at all. Also, with his frame he could be stocky and powerful, but also shifty like Gallon
I thought Kinnel displayed good hips and quick feet, could start at NB and work his way outside. If Michigan lands Cole and Cole wants to play defense, I think Safety is probably a better destination for him that CB. That would round out a fast and physical 3 person DB class and Michigan would be finished at the position group.
Brian, can you someone on your team land an interview with Professor Rosentraub?
I'd love to hear his thoughts on what a sports management degree can do for student athletes, about the NCAA generally, and to get some feeling for what makes him so awesome. My guess is that it would be the greatest story since Heiko-Borges.
All caveats about him being just a kid apply here, but word on the Rivals board is that Chase may not be the most cerebral linebacker in the world. Just one of the opinions of the evaluators over there after seeing him at camps, etc.
The feeling is that he is at his best if you just line him up and send him screaming at the QB. If that is to be believed, I think our coaching staff may project him at WILL, just an FYI.
or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
Ah I guess I have my SAM and WILL responsibilities confused. I always thought a SAM had to get after the RB or QB and shed blockers mostly in run support whereas the WILL was more or less a blitzer or a coverage guy depending on the pre snap read. I am not a coach.
or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
He'll have to learn to play with control either way
I mean, some parts of WILL, the parts you said, are true and relative to Winovich, but the read and react would hurt him more at WILL I think. At SAM you do have to shed blockers and get off the edge and find the ball carrier, but your read is much easier so it's much more simply reacting.
Well, the coaches recruited Winovich as a SAM, and it's rare that you'll find a 6'4" guy with a long wingspan at WILL. It's not a coincidence that the guys playing there (Ross, Morgan, Jenkins-Stone) are a shade over 6'0" and on the lighter side (220 lbs. or so).
I think outside of Peppers obviously, Crawford would have to be my favorite CB that we've recruited over the past few classes.
He reminds me of FSU's LaMarcus Joyner. Joyner was a 5-Star, and I wouldn't go as far as saying that Crawford should be ranked that highly, but they have some similar qualities.
It seems like it's been a while since we have recruited a CB that is so willing to come up and just torch people in run support. Crawford is extremely good at getting off of blocks as well, which has sometimes plagued our secondary.
Hoke has recruited some good cover corners, but none of them seem like thumpers outside of Crawford and Peppers.
Crawford also has great speed...Pumped for this one.
Really don't know much about Kinnel, however, but at this point with how successful recruiting has been, every player really just seems like a bonus.
HS football seems so brutal due to the size mismatches - you can have the 150 lb kid who is going to be an accountant in 5 years playing next to a guy who is headed to a BCS type Div 1 team and when they cross paths... this type of stuff happens. Even the 190 lbs sort of unathletic dude playing within arms length of the 250 lb MAC future offensive lineman doesnt seem like a fun place to be.