“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
This week George CaFLAPPAJMAAA WOOOO PEROBEEE FLABBBADABBA ROOSKIE ROUNDTABLE CROOTIN LINEUP:
BLUE IN SUASDFKL; UASDKLFUio'fuasdklfua
And the questioEEEEEEEBAAAAAAHAHAHAVAHAHAHAHAHA:
With the commitment of George Campbell HOLY GOLDENKSDJFKLAJSDKLF AJKLDFJ?/FJAKLSDJF QUAMARAN A HIJUCKAJLUA SHEE SHEE FUM DAMIEN HARRIS KICKLUK RAINBOWS PEPPERS FARGARARPRID EVER OR FUPOAUERLKJASDF;KL AOF;JADFU EXAMPLES NOT MORRIS?
Brian: Well... yeah. While it's crazy that I can put together most of a projected class for 2015 already--
WHAT'S THAT DON'T MIND IF I DO!
QB: ?!? RB: Damien Harris, Mikey Weber. WR: George Campbell, Brian Cole. TE: Ty Wheatley Jr. OL: John Runyan Jr., Sterling Jenkins DL: Brady Pallante, ?!? LB: Justin Hilliard, Tyriq Thompson DB: Tyree Kinnel, Shawn Crawford K: Andrew David
That's 15, and while I bet Michigan gets up to 18 or so, half of the class is either committed or lockalicious (Kinnel, Wheatley, Weber, Crawford, probably Jenkins) 18 months from Signing Day
--but Michigan isn't even that far ahead of the game in the 2015 class. Texas (surprise!) already has 8 commits; Michigan is only fifth in the 247 rankings despite having the top WR in the class and a RB somewhere between top 100 and Mike Hart But Fast. Recruiting is accelerating to the point where it looks like hockey.
As far as having it stick, how many decommits does Michigan suffer? Like one per class. So George Campbell just went from like 20% Wolverine to 95%. I'll take it.
Since I've demolished the question above, maybe a new one: how is Brady Hoke doing this?
Mathlete: Based on such a level-headed, well punctuated questions such as that, I am sure you are looking for a technically correct answer. The correct answer is of course not. No team in the history of football has ever had commitments from players of this caliber this early. Hoke is clearly so far ahead in the recruiting game he will probably be resting his starters for the 2015 class with half the time left.
Actually pinning downing commitment dates can be a bit of a challenge and tracking where a commitment is ranked at the time is essentially impossible as the 2015 class has been ranked far faster in the cycle than any other before them. With that in mind, the best I could find in terms of high final rankings committing to a school before the start of September of the players' high school junior year where 2005 Ohio State and 2013 Georgia. In 2005 Tressel got commitments from the eventual top two players in Ohio that early. Five star tackle Alex Boone committed on the 1st of August and high four star cornerback Jamario O'Neal had been committed for six months by the time his junior year kicked off. For this year's Georgia class they had two four stars, safety Tray Matthews and quarterback Brice Ramsey commit in the summer of 2011.
[More drooling, some pretty good justification for drooling, and we make Brian play "Wizard or Rapper", after the jump]
A couple of things stand out to me about the comparisons. First, it is amazing that of the other two times a situation like this has happened, both of the early commitments have been from the home state of the team they committed to. In Michigan's case, neither player even comes from a state that borders their home state. One thing I think that magnifies how this feels is that both Harris and Campbell are skill position players. It's one thing to get a big commitment from a lineman and watch them push tiny high schoolers around, but to get to watch them run by player after player on their way to another 50 yard touchdown run or catch, that's a whole different experience.
The final thing to note about this is that I don't have 2014 or 2015 loaded and the 2015 top 100 are committing quickly. 13 of the 247 composite have already committed to a school. Alabama already, two from out of state. South Carolina also has two commitments in the 2015 top 100. While this is certainly a spectacular start, with the ability to distribute high quality highlight tapes instantly, elite players are being identified, recruited and committing at a faster pace than ever. I will now return to watching George Campbell jump over people and Damien Harris not even have to run through people because he is running past them.
Ace: As [Mathlete] said, there are serious obstacles to figuring out exact commitment dates from bygone classes, so I'll trust his work and echo that we're moving into unprecedented territory — this isn't just a Michigan thing, though, as the pace of recruiting has sped up significantly even just in the last couple years. Just look at the top prospects in the 2014 class: 53 out of the top 100 players on the 247 Composite have already committed to a school and we're still a month away from their senior seasons. That number expands to 150 when we look at the top 250 players. Those figures are all the more eye-popping when accounting for the fact that higher-ranked prospects tend to commit later in the cycle — only three of the top 12 overall prospects have made commitments (including Jabrill Peppers, of course).
The difference between Michigan and the rest of the country, at the moment, is that they're defying that latter trend and snagging the very top prospects at this very early juncture. There are just two other schools that boast a pair of top-50 2015 commits on the 247 Composite, Alabama and South Carolina, but the highest-ranked recruit between the two comes in at #30 (Tide DE commit Mekhi Brown) — George Campbell, at #8 overall, is the highest-ranked commit to any school. No 2014 five-star committed to a school that early in the cycle — the earliest was Tuscaloosa native Bo Scarborough, who committed to Alabama last September. In the 2013 class, the only five-star to commit as early as Campbell (or even within the subsequent four months) was another Alabama prospect who committed to the Tide, tight end O.J. Howard, who pledged in July of 2011.
So Michigan is currently doing something that only Alabama has accomplished in recent years, only the Wolverines are reaching well outside their recruiting base to do so. Is this sustainable? I'm more inclined to guess it's an anomaly, especially with the special circumstances surrounding Campbell — it certainly helps to have his friend and teammate, Mason Cole, committed to the previous class and flying up with him on recruiting visits. On the other hand, Brady Hoke and his cohorts have blown past every reasonable expectation about recruiting, even as we raise those expectations with each subsequent class. Top prospects take notice when other top prospects flock to a certain school — the timing of Damien Harris's commitment was no coincidence, and just look at any Alabama class from the last several years — and Campbell's commitment (and to a lesser extent, Harris's) has attracted serious attention from blue-chips like Jashon Cornell and Brian Cole; 2015 five-star CB Minkah Fitzpatrick's high interest in Michigan is at least in part due to his relationship with Jabrill Peppers.
Can it stick? Sure it can, though something as crazy as plucking the top prospect out of Florida a year-and-a-half before Signing Day isn't going to happen on a yearly basis, by any means. With the increased pace of recruiting, other schools are inevitably going to piece together early commitments of comparable value to Michigan's before too long, too — and a quick start, as we've learned, doesn't always guarantee late success. Still, there's every reason to be very excited about the start to Project 136 and its potential to build into a truly special class.
BiSB: I think it's fair to say that rankings-wise, the start is impressive but not unprecedented. I guess I'm not as shocked by the timing of the commitments as I am by the quality of the players themselves. Sure, Michigan had some advantages in these two particular races, but GOTDAMN LOOK AT THAT KID RUN. If these two committed back-to-back six months from now, it would still be awfully impressive. And given the accelerating pace of recruiting (there are already 9 committed kids in the 2016 class and 2 committed kids in the 2017(???!?!!?!#^%) class), having a few commitments kids at this point is rare but not paradigm-shifting.
What I'm most impressed with is that once again Michigan has snagged a recruiter early in the class. George Campbell seems poised to take the baton from Shane Morris, Michael Ferns, Wilton Speight, and Jabrill Peppers.
The internet has changed recruiting in lots of ways, but one of the under-appreciated ways is that social media allows players to recruit each other much more than in the past. Recruits aren't under the same kind of contact restrictions as coaches (there are no dead periods, for example), and as we all know peer pressure is can be very powerful. That's one of the big reasons I think this latest surge has some staying power; elite-level recruiting is becoming self-reinforcing, and Michigan is in excellent shape in that category through at least the next two classes.
Also, George Campbell can jump out of the building. Which is nice.
*NOTE TO KENTUCKY FANS: Notice I said that players recruiting each other is really important. Fans recruiting players is STOP DOING THAT.
Brian: Seriously. I wonder if part of Michigan's decision-making process when it came to the quarterback they offered for the 2014 class was his ability to pull in the rest of the class a la Morris. Wilton Speight's family flies the kid out to California on the regular so he can go to his quarterback coach--this is a guy with the means to flit about the country acting as ambassador, which he has done with aplomb. Cornwell doesn't seem like the type, not that Alabama needs a lot of help in that department. Meanwhile, Ferns was a guy Michigan was going to go after no matter what but his super-early offer and commitment may have something to do with the fact that he's the type of guy to send people Team 135 t-shirts.
Current commits are your best recruiters: they know who Wiz Khalifa is*, they are unrestricted by the NCAA, they are up-to-date on the latest social whatsits that Brady Hoke knows not wot of, and it doesn't seem like a coincidence that Michigan is getting
Seems like a wizard.
bedrock early commits from guys who simulate NCAA seasons just so they can get to recruiting.
*(I do not know who Wiz Khalifa is. Is he a wizard?)
Ace: Wiz Khalifa is a successful rapper, and given his ability that probably required extensive sorcery.
Brian: He can't be that successful. I've heard of a lot of rappers. SNOOP DOGG, anyone? THE ICE CUBE? DOCTOR ANDRE 4000? LARGE BOY? I am all up in the raps.
Seth: Well I was expecting a little more incoherent babbling but since you guys have hit all the points already I'm up for another round of "Wizard or Rap Artist? with Brian. READY?—
While you ponder this, I don't have data for all the players on a Campbellian level but I do have data since 2004 on Michigan's recruits. Record for committing days before NSD is Shane Morris followed by all four 2015 commits:
May 10, '11
Jun 24, '13
Jon Runyan Jr.
Jun 25, '13
Jul 27, '13
Jul 29, '13
Aug 9, '12
Sep 2, '09
Sep 11, '11
Sep 8, '03
Sep 29, '08
Having a flag-bearer build a class isn't new. Drew Henson, though an in-state kid, was in every conversation for best recruit in the nation when he committed to Michigan in the fall of 1996 (right after Chris Weinke decided to retire from baseball and seek a second career as FSU's quarterback). Henson began trumpeting the class and this garnered interest from national recruits like David Terrell, Marquise Walker and Justin Fargas.
That arm. That poise. That chin. That ACT score! Drew is even a quarterback name!
Considering that he was committed [to sports] so early, it should be no surprise that Drew Henson committed so early. Henson was a junior at Brighton High School when he walked into Lloyd Carr's office on Nov. 29, 1996 and told Carr he would be a Wolverine. Carr, like Florida State's Bobby Bowden, had promised not to recruit any other quarterbacks in 1997 or 1998 if Henson committed.
But Henson's recruiting process was not finished. He called several top prospects and made the 20-minute drive to Ann Arbor for every major recruiting weekend. Not coincidentally, Michigan's recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the country after letters of intent were signed Wednesday.
Four hundred thirty-two days later Michigan signed the No. 1 overall class to people who considered such things in the before-time. Since 2004 only two players ranked among the top three players in their class (by Rivals) committed so early: D.J. Fluker (not a rap artist) in 2009 to Bama, and DaQuan Bowers to Clemson in 2008. Linemen probably don't have the same effect.
It's not a slam dunk: Kevin Grady was a 5-star in-state recruit who committed just about two years before his first snap (over a year before Mike Hart had his). He worked Manningham to join his class but even he couldn't lure a defensive back (or convince his coaches they weren't done with Johnny Sears and Chris Richards).
The example that worries me here is Ricardo Miller, like Campbell a tall, leaping receiver with a FAKE 40 time and the best player in Florida. Miller committed, if not this early, still about two years out from when we all expected him to be in a Wolverines uniform, if not THAT uniform. He waved the blue flag and moved to Ann Arbor to get a head start on his Michigan career, then ended up a tight end and never contributed on the field.
So, yeah, that's the darkest spin I can put on this so you don't spend the next two years just drooling about a 2015 freshman. I agree with Brian that this seems to be a strategy of Hoke's to get a standard-bearer who's going to act as a de facto recruiting coordinator with limitless access, and with the other guys that modern connectivity makes such a thing. But even if we start posting FAKE bone fusion metrics along with 40 times, I'm still a bit skeptical that scouting reports based on sophomore video are going to be as accurate as we're used to.
Oh and Brian, he's was a rapper:
Internet: where you can find things like "Nene raps"
I would like to see a discussion on rappers. I have my opinions, but Brian's opinion and Ace's debate intrigue me. I don't want this to turn and start talking about "The Smiths", strickly rap, including everyone from Wu-tang to Pettaway and Dat Bull. Let's do it.
Becuase we've got two 4/5* guys in the fold already and almost half the rest of the class is 'lockalicious' or committed already. Very small window for Campbell (and maybe Harris) to make an impact in this class, though if we get close to 15 commits and a few more of those spots open up to get us to 17-19, I suppose we've got a good shot to reel in some more top end guys.
Anyone know how large the 2016 class is supposed to be? We could make a big impact there with these guys in so early and possibly Sven Schwen Swenson in early as well
While in general I agree with you, look what USC was able to do with their "exclusive" class. I actually think that gets guys on board a little quicker and maybe makes the top recruits want to get in more.
So looking at Soph would technically be correct. Still, it's such a long way out that it's way too early to start speculating. I think right now you can maybe ball park it that way with the knowledge that you are very slowly and carefully offer kids at this point you know you'd take, but to nail down anything that's even close to definitive would be dubious at best at this point.
Law of averages says this Ricardo Miller will stay a 5 star player and actually contribute significantly, correct? Also, Miller didn't quite have the offers Campbell has. But yeah, that's a damper on things.
Also, can't we say that Campbell's 40 time is totally not fake? I mean he had two laser timed 40s a month ago in the 4.3's. If we don't take that as REAL, then we should probably just disregard the 40 time totally.
I would just like to say that this is probably my favorite feature on Mgoblog now. These roundtable discussions are truly awesome to read and hope they continue weekly once the season starts. Honestly, each year I've gotten the HTTV, I've skipped to the end to read the roundtable first, so yeah, I really enjoy these, keep up the good work.
But Damien Harris' highlight tape doesn't blow me away like, say, Fournette's. Doesn't mean he won't be a great player for us, but he just doesn't seem to fly. I did read that he ran a 4.40 recently, which surprised me. He looks like a Mike Hart type to me, which I would be absolutely fine with.
Ace tweated about you, and I just had to see the stupidest comment in a long time. We couldn't get the best 2014 RB, so we instead got one of the best in 2015 who has been described as Mike Hart but much faster. Please tell me your thoughts on George Campbell. Does his tape not blow you away because he doesn't have the same size as Calvin Johnson?
My description of Harris has nothing to do with the fact that we likely won't land Fournette. It's strictly based on a look at his highlight video. I didn't see him pulling away from defenders like you typically see in a potential 5-star RB. I think it's funny that you say my comment was the stupidest in a long time, then go on to compare him to Mike Hart, which is exactly what I did, and I said I'd be fine with that.
Since you asked, I think Campbell's highlight video looks amazing; great athleticism, if not a polished receiver (like to see him use his hands more to catch it).
You may now go back to being hyper-sensitive about every comment not dripping with praise.
I'm not going to downvote your opinion but I feel compelled to state that it is not really fair to compare other RB's you might see to Fournette and then dismiss them because they don't measure up. Fournette is one of the best RB prospects I have ever seen and is as close to a guaranteed All American, 3 year and gone in the first round to the NFL-type RB as you will find.
Harris is definitely NOT in the same class as Fournette but he is still pretty darned good. My only "concern" about Harris is the level of competition he faces in a small town in central Kentucky.
I appreciate your level-headed response, and agree with your sentiments. Perhaps had I been as eloquent I wouldn't have been negged so much. I compared Harris to our all-time leading rusher, and somehow that was a slap in the face. All I meant to say was that I've heard about this kid since he was a freshman, and I expected him to look even faster, especially considering the level of competition he faces. I am still very pumped about his commitment and expect great things from him.
"The example that worries me here is Ricardo Miller"
That is kind of a rough comparison. Ricardo was great, but had a big body (great for TE) and was only 6'2" out of high school. A classic tweener. Cambell is much taller and also actually much higher rated (by Rivals) whereas Ricardo was hyped (EDIT: Ricardo ended up a generic 3-star with no national ranking), but never actually recieved the rankings from the recruiting sites.
Also - and I consider Ricardo a friend and I wouldn't put words in his mouth - I personally feel he (Ricardo) was jerked around a bit by the coaches at the time. They were just trying to get him in there for depth at any position in need of it (all of them). It is VERY tough to transfer body mass in the time he was required to do so from WR to TE (and back?) so hopefully this coaching staff doesn't mess with Cambell as much.
I guess my point is I wouldn't "worry" about Cambell being handled the way Ricardo was resulting in the Michigan career that was Ricardo's.
To be clear Ricardo is a GREAT kid and did everything he was asked to do by the coaches and bleeds blue.
or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
Never met him, but he did seem like a really good kid. As for having a better career, he really wasn't fleet enough to play WR, so I thought his only chance was to be a receiving TE (like Funchess, not AJ). I was quite surprised when then switched him back to WR.
No one was calling Miller a "classic tweener" at the time and being 'only' 6'2 is good for a WR. Miller was similar to Darboh - who no one is calling a tweener. Also similar to Braylon Edwards, who Miller compared himself to because of similar size. Miller's Hello post said:
"With Stonum, McNeal, and Miller, Michigan will have three elite outside WR recruits in consecutive years with some attractive options (Roundtree, Peace, whoever comes in with Miller in 2010) waiting in the wings should the headliners fail to live up to their billing. If MI WR Jeremy Jackson—son of RB coach Fred Jackson—decides to stay home, Michigan could lock up a monster 2010 WR class faster than you can say something that doesn't take very long to say."
That turned out to be very far from the truth. That's the uncertainty of recruiting, especially for kids who haven't played even their junior year yet. We don't need to gloss over the fact that some of these kids, no matter how highly they rank, aren't going to pan out.
Your post is exactly why I don't "geek out" over "elite" recruits. Campbell and Harris may be great, they may be decent or they may ride the pine. There is just so much uncertainty that is seems foolhardy to get overly excited about recruiting.
Side Note: I couldn't even remember who "McNeal" was when I first read your post and had to wrack my brain to finally come up with Bryce McNeal from Minnesota who de-committed and ended up at Clemson. I think he rode the pine for the Tigers IIRC.
Rarely is it worth geeking out over elite recruits
Especially guys who have 2 more years of high school to go. But, there are some that are worth getting excited for. Henson was one example, because of his position and how universally well-regarded he was. Peppers is another, IMO, because of the whole package.
What bugs me more than the "wooooo we got this guy" mentality is taking it to the next step and saying we don't need to recruit at X position because this guy is so good (even though he hasn't played college football yet).
With much less knowledge than you on both the football-related and (obviously) personal levels, I always felt bad about his path here, expecially because I didn't understand. Transplanting himself, trying to transform himself, and then fading into the background. So thanks for the bit of insight. Hope he's doing well.
Yeah. I really didn't want to insult him here, since Ricardo is exactly the kind of person you want in your program, according to EVERYBODY I've met who've known him (his high school coaches, guys who covered him in recruiting, and M's coaches who had him).
The point had to be made, however, that we have an example of a guy who looks like the perfect recruit in all ways as a sophomore and then just isn't the athlete he was thought to be when he gets to college.
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Just because Campbell is so much better scouted already than Ricardo was. If you go back to Ricardo's Hello post, we've got a whole lotta nothing on information and his offer list was decidedly less wow and Campbell has committed (comparably) sooner than Ricardo did.
OTOH, in Campbell's Hello post has a ton of information because kids his age are getting scouted so much more. Heck, there's ESPN footage and interviews with him already. So what I'm saying is, George Campbell is a lot less likely to not meet these lofty rankings because he's been scouted way more than Ricardo was and it feels like a pretty solid foundation to his top 10 ranking
The OP should realize that after the Offensive Line recruiting we've had along with the DL, that a huge uptick in the skill position recruiting would naturally follow... In fact, I wondered what the top RBs and WRs have been thinking, not jumping at the chance to play here... well, they just did. The dividends of the trench recruiting is gonna continue to be paid in the skill position area.