I am not a big fan of attrition via "slow play" but I would think that the obvious decommitments would be DJ Williamson or Tony Drake. Have heard Drake may have trouble qualifying and neither are at a position of significant need.
Let's take a position-by-position look at recruits in positions that Michigan still has needs. Yes, they're mostly on defense. For reference, Michigan has 21 current commits, and there's still been no resolution as to whether they can accept more than 25 commitments.
FL OL Torrian Wilson made a surprise commit to Stanford in the summer, but now he will visit Michigan this weekend. I had long assumed his commitment to Stanford was soft, but with no recruiting news until now, I had started to change my mind. It appears as though my faith has been reaffirmed.
In case it wasn't apparent from such events as "5-7," MN OL Seantrel Henderson is no longer considering Michigan.
Thought to be out of consideration for Michigan, MI DT Johnathan Hankins (I've seen his first name spelled about a hundred different ways, with no indication as to which might be right), has finally received his Michigan offer. Despite growing up a Michigan fan, Florida is still his strong leader.
Obviously, Michigan was similarly impressed, but their prolonged evaluation process has them currently trailing in the race for the three-star prospect's services.
"Florida is ahead right now," Hankins told Scout.com. "It was a great place. The players were great and the fans were amazing. The game (against Florida State) was great too. I feel comfortable there. They said I have a chance to play because they are losing defensive tackles. I'd have a chance to start. It's all up to me. After (visiting) Florida, I didn't want to take any more visits, but I rethought that and my coaches wanted me to take all my visits."
He visits Michigan this weekend, and Michigan will have the opportunity to outdo Florida then; there's also a chance that Florida might fill up (or "fill up") before Hankins has an opportunity to commit. He plans to decide before Christmas.
The increase in Hankins interest might be due to a couple other guys falling off, as last week a small Arkansas paper reported TX DT Big Tex Beachum might be solid to Arkansas. He still has not publicly reaffirmed his Arkansas commitment, so on the board he stays. Even The Recruiting Guy's follow-up doesn't have a quote affirming his commitment. FWIW, Sam Webb posted an article on Beachum that involved the words "clears the air($)," a universal signal that the article in question directly contradicts previously-reported information. He's still in play.
Michigan has offered post-grad VA DE David Mackall ($, info in header), who originally committed to Maryland in the class of 2009.
The Wolverines are also the leader for FL DE Clarence Murphy. As Brian noted last week, Sam Webb has talked about a "gut feeling" on WTKA, which generally means a silent commitment.
The biggest possibility for Michigan in the linebacking corps is MD LB/S Josh Furman, who will announce between Michigan and Virginia Tech at the Crab Bowl on December 19.
Both schools have strong academics, both have early playing time as a possibility, and Furman has established strong relationships with both staffs. With so many similarities between the pro
grams, settling on one sounds like a daunting task, but Furman has already done it.
"The location factored into it, along with the environment and the official visit," he explained.
As implied by that quote, a decision has been made and the coaches informed for each school. The location factoring could be interpreted as a bad sign for Michigan, but he did have tons of positive things to say about Michigan following his official visit. If the coaches have been informed, Webb's "gut feeling" is unimpeachable. Furman is putting up gaudy rushing numbers in his senior season, and is a huge prospect for the Wolverines.
CA S Sean Parker still wants to take a Michigan visit. The Wolverines are in a final seven-ish also consisting of PSU, Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee, Washington, and USC.
Michigan leads for FL CB Tony Grimes and his teammate, DE Clarence Murphy.
Hollywood Hills defensive back Tony Grimes said he is leaning heavily toward the University of Michigan. When a decision to commit is made, Grimes said he and Hills defensive lineman Clarence Murphy will attend the same school.
"Michigan sticks out for both of us," Grimes said. "There we feel we can come in and play as true freshmen."
As noted above, the two are essentially Michigan locks, assuming the Wolverines stay on them until they announce a decision on Signing Day.
Don't expect FL CB Spencer Boyd to end up at Michigan: he's sticking with Notre Dame. [Editor's note: not so fast! Rivals threw up an image of Boyd in an article header indicating he will take an official this weekend.]
Also: Rivals AMP says Michigan is "re-emerging($)" for OH S Latwan Anderson, but kid goes to Glenville and ain't coming here.]
MI QB Devin Gardner is ready to move on to his college career, after high school ended on a down note with a 27-6 loss to Lowell in the state championship game.
"I can't mourn this,” Gardner said after the loss last Friday. “I start getting ready for my future on Monday - lifting, throwing, watching films and getting better as a quarterback so this will never happen again."
Gardner was in attendance at last night's basketball debacle, and is firm in his commitment to Michigan. He no longer plans to enroll early.
MI RB Austin White is not wavering, despite a lame internet rumor to the contrary last week.
Further commit updates, including All-State team news, will be in next week's Friday Night Lights post.
At this point we are operating under the assumption that Michigan can enroll no more than 25 freshmen this fall no matter how many scholarships it has open. This is unfortunate since any attrition is likely to see scholarships go unused again. It also means that Michigan has 22 commitments, three guys who are virtual commitments, zero spots left in the class, and about a dozen other guys they're still recruiting.
The conclusion is inescapable: expect attrition from the current commits. Whether it's a decommit or a gentle suggestion that maybe Player X would be better off in a situation with more opportunities for playing time, the way Michigan is recruiting suggests they're going to end up with a couple more commitments past the three expected ones. This will necessitate some current commits not signing or for Michigan to sign up to 28 with the intention of getting down to 25 by August.
Speculating about who is likely to depart in the former case is rude, but there are a couple of players who are reportedly not qualified yet and if they don't get there soon—ie, after this semester's grades are in—Michigan could be within its rights to say "sorry, but we can't take the chance you might not make it in." Your personal distaste for this sort of thing will vary. Mine is a six out of ten.
Possibilities in the latter case are grayshirting someone or expecting slight academic attrition from the incoming class. Some folks have proposed that MI WR Jeremy Jackson come in as a walk-on with a corresponding bump in Fred Jackson's pay, which is interesting, very definitely against the spirit of the rules, and possibly against the letter of them if Jackson received an official offer letter.
In any case, the next two months figure to be somewhat bumpy.
Dave Birkett of AnnArbor.com interviews a couple of recruiting experts about Michigan's class thus far. Tom Lemming seems to be a bit higher on it than Allen Wallace of Scout. Both agree that it's a solid class, but won't contend with the nation's best. Lemming is very high on Cullen Christian, and both of them really like Gardner, because he's awesome.
I am not a big fan of attrition via "slow play" but I would think that the obvious decommitments would be DJ Williamson or Tony Drake. Have heard Drake may have trouble qualifying and neither are at a position of significant need.
Since Fred is a employee of the University of Michigan. Wouldn't he get a considerable discount on his son's tuition?
I thought I read somewhere that Fred was going to be done after this last season. I could be mis-remembering.
I hate Roger Clemens.
I've received some solid information that suggests Fred Jackson is probably going to move on after the season by his own choice. This should not affect the status of his son's commitment; Jackson's probably going to head to the NFL.
Given my opinion of how important a running backs coach is—not very—I don't think this is a big deal and hope the replacement is one of those young, energetic recruiter types. The first guy who leaps to mind is Ty Wheatley, now on Ron English's staff at EMU. With all the Rodriguez stuff—and the rumors as to where some of it is sourced—that may not be an option.
No employee discount on tuition at U of M.
I agree that push-based attrition is not that desirable, and I will have a problem if UM punts a kid or two because someone "better" shows up. Of course, if the kid doesn't qualify academically or decides to decommit because he reads the writing on the wall and realizes playing time will be tough, then I am marginally happier with that.
I do think this situation brings into question some of the earlier commitments RR sought from lower-rated kids. I am not going to be one of those guys who knocks a successful coach for his recruiting decisions - hell, I'd be horrible at it - but this definitely shows an undesirable consequence of signing so many kids early on. If the kid is a great fit but is lower rated, that is fine and I trust the coaching staff. At times, though, it seemed like RR didn't want to be left with open spots on his dance card, but now he has more suitors than he expected and has to turn away some nice prospects. And yes, I feel really old having written that.
That is extremely well put, and I think many of us on this board feel the same way (well, at least I do).
Of course, if the kid doesn't qualify academically or decides to decommit because he reads the writing on the wall and realizes playing time will be tough, then I am marginally happier with that.
Unfortunately when it comes down to it when coaches "cool" on a kid, that's usually how it gets reported.
Yeah, I know that is how it tends to play out. But if you give the kid a heads-up early on and he still has a chance to sign with another school, I feel less bothered with the decommit. But cooling on a kid a month before the first LOI signing day bugs me irrespective of whether or not I root for that team.
Can any of the early enrollees' scholarships be applied to last year's class, thus allowing us to take more than 25 commits? I have a vague understanding that there are ways we can do this, or grayshirt players, or something.
I believe the counting early enrollees towards the previous class has been squashed.
who can't qualify. All scholarship offers implicitly assume that the kid will be able to attend that institution. If the coaching staff feels that keeping the offer intact is worthwhile in individual instances, fine, but that's a judgement call, not an ethical call.
I don't have a real problem with it if it is based on academic qualifying - depending on the circumstance. Sometimes it's the kids' fault and other times there are other factors. Coaches should look into that on a case-by-case basis and evaluate IMO. If they are pushing a kid out because they don't feel they need him anymore or they no longer think he's talented enough, I am 100000000% against it. Coaches should know their need and do their homework on scouting talent before they offer kids. If a kid accepts their scholarship offer, coaches should honor it.
I hear ya but if I would guess that the glaring black hole implosion of the defense this year might have made coaches more aware of some needs that weren't as apparent in the spring game or beginning of the recruiting cycle...
Things like Witty not qualifying, JT Turner getting in late, Vlad not being ready to step on at safety, BooBoo getting kicked off the team, JT Floyd not being a great cover corner, Ezeh and Mouton regressing, etc. I would think those are all things that have necessitated taking more DBs than we would have otherwise and realizing the glaring need for quality linebackers.
After reading that and seeing all the players we are in on, if the rumors are true about the 25 max being firm, I can't help but think of a worse year for that to happen, especially given how many schollies we have to offer.
on one hand i feel bad for a kid losing his spot. on the other hand i understand the pressure the coaches are under and how difficult it can be balancing the recruiting process. my reaction can be summed up by what colonel jessep said in a few good men, and i quote "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it." basically, I'm not going to sit here and demand bcs bowls and top 10 recruiting classes and then question the coach that provides them (or should i say hopefully provides them). it's how the college ftball world now works and we aren't exactly in a situation like mack brown at texas getting 95% of recruits to commit, and stay that way, immediately upon being offered. however, if it starts getting to nick saban level recruiting tactics that will be too much.
Part of building a great program is building a program that does things the right way. If the staff freezes out some kid, especially if it's Kinard or Williamson, that's a damn shame. And if we get to a point where we're dismissing that as business as usual, we're giving up on building a program we should be proud of.
In my opinion we should be trying to build the best possible program we can. If that entails cutting a kid loose 2 or 3 months before National Signing Day, with plenty of time to find another school, then so be it.
This is the recruiting landscape we are in now. If the players can decommit from a school then the school should be able to do likewise.
That's an interesting argument. My response is threefold.
1) It's way easier for a school to find to find a quasi equivalent replacement than it is for a kid. Especially one who declined to attend summer camps because they were already committed, like some of our commitments did.
2) Schools have eighty five scholarships. It's anticipated some of the kids who choose to attend don't work out on the football field. In other words, even if a kid does back out of a commitment, there's no guarantee he would have held up his end of the bargain, contributing on the football field, anyway. In contrast, for the kid who gets frozen out, those are still 4-5 years of his life that he's signing up for, it's a decision based on more than just the contingencies of what happens on the football field.
3) The recruits are just kids, coaches are fully grown adults representing supposedly benevolent institutions. The adults should be held to a higher standard when making such a serious commitment.
I would counter that football has, rightly or not, become more of a business than an extra curricular activity. Because of this fact coaches should be able to do whatever they need to do within reason, to field the best product they can.
Even if you believe in my side of this argument that leaves the door open for players who dont work out. This still isnt the perfect talent evaluator. Coaches will screw up.
I am in no way advocating for coaches cutting a kid loose 1 day before signing day. There are limits to what is right in my mind. Leaving a kid 2-4 months of time to find a new school is acceptable to me.
"I would counter that football has, rightly or not, become more of a business than an extra curricular activity. Because of this fact coaches should be able to do whatever they need to do within reason, to field the best product they can."
1)UM signed Rich to a contract, undoubtedly with specific language for expected conduct. However the University chooses to define Rich's obligations, the function of that contract is to make it enforceable in exchange for the salary.
2)It is very likely more profitable for the University to allow some marginal loss in wins to preserve their distinct brand. Not to mention the necessity of keeping their obligations as a non-profit state-run institution.
3)Are you really going to completely ignore the moral implications? The kids and parents are making a significant commitment despite having no expertise and no practice while being sold by professionals who do this year after year. It's obvious that oversight is necessary if you care about the kids and parents as much as winning.
No I am not ignoring the moral implications. I am saying that it is not immoral at all to tell a recruit 2 to 4 months before signing day that the football program is no longer interested in him.
I think it is FAR more profitable to win big games and national championships than it is to take the "moral high ground."
I would guess that that contract has more language and bonuses in it for winning football games than it does for telling a player in November or December that we no longer want you to play a sport here.
The athletic department of the University of Michigan is a business for all intents and purposes, separate from the school itself monetarily. I highly doubt that if Michigan told a recruit in December that they no longer wanted him to play football and the next year they won a national championship that any of you would be bitching about it. Plus the income from that game and season would be huge. Money is not a valid argument in this debate.
Your position ignores the future impacts on recruiting. If Rodriguez develops a reputation for dropping players just two months before signing day, (1) Michigan will gain a reputation for not maintaining its commitments to players, making it less likely that players will risk committing and losing out on other opportunities, (2) the media will pile on Rodriguez with new vengeance, which is the last thing the program needs, and (3) other programs will have an easier time recruiting negatively against Michigan.
Also, there is a problem dropping recruits in December. Many classes are filling up. Scholarships that were available may not be. A school might have recruited the targeted number of players for a given position. I don't think you can safely assume these recruits will simply land on their feet.
1. This only happens if Michigan does this with regularity and with many recruits. Which I am not advocating for.
2. The media is going to pile on RR regardless of how he recruits. If the results are good they will shut up
3. See Alabama. I am not advocating we recruit like they do but the results have paid off and theyre recruiting very well even with how they treat their recruits.
To your last point if the recruit is good he will find somewhere to play football. It may not be a school with the reputation of Michigan but they will play somewhere. But like I said earlier, this is a business not just an extra-curricular activity. In the end the only thing matters are results.
"In the end the only thing [that] matters are results."
If you are referring to adding and dropping committed recruits without hesitation (the "all is fair in love and war" mentality), then I vehemently disagree. Integrity counts. A lot. Many Michigan fans love the program for more than just wins and losses. I would be unhappy to have Saban represent my university, regardless of the on-field success.
If you are referring to the fact that the media will give RR a free pass provided that he wins, you are probably correct. Sad but true.
I am in no way saying that RR should resort to Saban like recruiting practices. I am, however, saying that RR should be allowed to say to a recruit 3 months before signing period that the program no longer wants him.
I am not saying this should happen to many recruits every year (Like it does in Alabama). But in years like this, RR should be allowed, and take no grief for, dropping one or two recruits right now in order to bring in guys he thinks are better players and will help build the program into a MNC contender. That is ultimately his job. He is here to win football games. If he doesnt he loses his job. He should be allowed to do what it takes within reason to stay employed.
Apologies if it has already been explained, but why is it that we can't sign more than 25 players in one year if, even with those players, we'll be nowhere near the total limit of 85 scholarships? Is it just an NCAA rule or something?
i can't believe the NCAA would make a rule that keep potentially keep schools from filling up all their scholarships. I know the reasoning, but i'm guessing the kids from alabama and ole miss still ended up somewhere with a scholarship or at least a chance for one, even if some of them went to FCS schools, so everyone still got a happy ending. And looking at the team rankings this year OK state and BYU are both over 25 already
Is that it's a Big Ten rule to cap it at 25, not an NCAA rule.
so what happens if we say screw it and sign over 25? can the big ten penealize us by taking away scholarships and DQing us from post season play for a year if we do even if the NCAA itself has no problem with doing it? or would it just be fines and such?
this here site says otherwise.
I had a long blah blah blah post about how I found sources that suggested otherwise, but then I saw the Gabrielle Reece workout commercial, and after I collected myself, I realized that the third hit for my search was thisheresite, and lo! There was an answer, and it was good.
I wrote that diary, but it only refers to the NCAA. I couldn't find any Big Ten rules but I couldn't believe they would implement stricter rules than the NCAA, so I thought we were fine.
TomVH spoke to someone in Michigan compliance who said the Big Ten made the rule.
TomVH spoke with someone in Michigan compliance who indicated that the Big Ten has recently imposed a rule that won't allow early enrollees to count against the previous class.
I must confess I have become mildly obsessed with this development since there's no mention of it anywhere on the interwebs. I really wish the Big Ten would issue a press release or publish their rules on their website. All they have done is handicap their own schools since the rest of D1 can back date schollies.
I would not be surprised if two of our lesser recruits aren't asked to greyshirt, if we are able to find 27 recruits who want to come and can qualify. I assume, we will oversign to the max and then after signing day approach a couple of players with the news that we can only give them schollies beginning next Jan.
It will be an interesting few months.
in addition to Kovacs and Leach looks like many walkons will be rewarded.
When you boil it down this situation is an indictment of the staff accepting six commitments from receivers. What really bothers me is if we give Williamson or Kinard the boot, like many here have suggested, they have no other reported scholarship offers this late in the process. The staff would be completely fucking him over.
Also, freezing kids out like this would give us zero moral highground in cases like Shavodrick Beaver's. If the staff pulls out the rug from some kids at the last second they really have no right to expect any better.
although im not going to get outraged yet until i see how it all plays out.
Both Ash and Notre Dame-commit Spencer Boyd will be here this weekend, according to rivals. Woot.
that just because a kid is visiting doesnt mean hes going to come. when that baxter kid from usc said he was coming, alot of people immediately assumed he was committing. he came, and in the end, stayed with usc. there are still people interested in michigan, alot of them, but that doesnt mean they're coming here ipso facto.
it will be an interesting next 2 months though.
He had a pretty good year, considering the talent level in that part of Texas. I hope he can qualify because he would be a welcome addition. That being said, if some of these kids can not make the grades, then I have no problem letting them go. The reason being is it would be better to lose them now than when they are a part of team.
I still think we end up with a nice class.
I honestly dont see why a coach or school cant retract a scholarship if another recruit comes along who they believe is a better fit for the system they are running. Until National Signing Day nothing is official. Any one of the current commits could sign elsewhere in February.
It December, anyone of the kids currently committed if told today they no longer are wanted by the University of Michigan could find somewhere else to play football. Now if this were late January or early February then I would say that is shady.
I guess my reasoning is that if the recruits can sign elsewhere than we should also be able to say we are no longer interested and that should be ok.
With the amount of pressure coaches are under these days, they should be able to what it takes to get the best players they possibly can and we should be ok with that. Again its early Im sure they would all end up playing somewhere.
These are NFL free agents, they're kids and their lives are being altered significantly. Yeah, there are jerks who take advantage of the system. There are also earnest kids who dreamed of playing for a school. They have other offers that they forsake because their dream school calls. Then they find out their offers have been handed to other people and now they'll be attending college elsewhere, maybe its their 4 or 5th choice after all. If you're family doesn't have money and now you're going to CMU instead, thats not a happy situation.
The coaches are well paid to deal with these frustrations. Kids and parents are not.
Well in an ideal world we would not have to worry about this. Unfortunately we do not live in such a world.
As much as we may not like it, major college football is as much of a business as the NFL. When coaches are the highest paid employee in the state there are pressures that come with that. When its do or die for the coach in question he should be able to do what it takes to keep his job.
Like I said, if this occurs in late January or early February then that is absolutely bush league on the part of the coaching staff. But if they leave enough time for the kid to find another school to go to then that should be ok.
Kids need to understand that the situation that coaches are in there are consequences. Unfortunately that means that to assemble the best possible team for the school, and keep his job, he may tell you hes not interested anymore. Welcome to real world kid!
Is that the famous Michigan Classiness we always hear about rearing its head?
Hey, I have an idea: The kids you might be hinting at are kids who have offers pretty much only from schools with lots of words or directions in their names. So, you don't accept the committments from these kids in the first place, or you don;t even OFFER them in the second place.
Maybe the stff got a little jumpy and accepted committments from some kids too fast? Maybe this staff is a little too enamored with its perceived ability to cull diamonds in the rough?
Either way, there are names on UM's commit list who would have been available well into January in the event bigger names don't commit.
As one other poster said: These are kids and families. There is a human element that goes beyond wins and losses. Rodriguez makes $3 Million per year. HE is the last one who deserves sympathy over 18 year old kids who are the ones having promises broken.
Or, did I just wake up and fabled, noble, old glory Michigan is in the SEC?
pulling an offer from a kid who can make the grade is fine by me. I thike the whole witty situation shows that if a kid can't make it, we'll stick with him and give him a second chance (not a winston-like second chance, a good second chance) if he makes the effort. "slow playing" "cooling" on a kid is not good in my mind. this whole big ten max of 25 still blows my mind. stupid!
Is Witty 100% qualified this year?
I think he's a 2 star and with the talent we might bring in I'd feel bad (but not as bad as I would if we miss on a 4 star for him) but I think it might be okay for U of M to ask him to go JUCO or to a lower academic team. He did already miss the mark once.
Sometimes players change schools after committing. Why can't schools act the same? Players have acted like the commitment doesn't matter until it's signed (and sometimes still doesn't). I think a 2 or 3 star who is committed to a big school should know they might get cut.
Random, completely irrelevant note: I really like Southeastern's jerseys. Normally I'm not a fan of purple, but something about the purple and the font of the numbers makes them look pretty smooth.
He actually believes that he might start as a freshman at Florida? I would guess that this is just a recruiting tool that Florida is using to get him excited, but if he's really that good that Florida is recruiting him so heavily I wonder why Michigan waited this long to start pursuing him. I'm not questioning Rich Rod or the staff or anything but has anyone heard much about this kid?
They told him they would evaluate his film after his season ended. They did, they liked it, they offered.
Thanks for the information. I find it kind of odd that Michigan never seemed to be interested, especially with all the worries about lack of depth at defensive tackle after last years late changes of heart by recruits. But I guess I'll just have to trust Rodriguez's judgment on this one.
Here's some good news: