"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be in his final year of eligibility, hold at least a 3.2 grade-point average and "have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship."
"That was one of those plays that was real contact courage," Harbaugh said of Chesson’s block. "He just went and made a real, hearty block. I was happy to see that. Darboh is doing the same thing, and Ways is doing the same thing at a higher level than most receivers you’re ever going to find."
Valdez Showers is a versatile athlete out of Madison Heights, Michigan, mainly being recruited as a defensive back. Sitting in Michigan's backyard, Valdez has an offer from the Wolverines and just picked up a somewhat surprising offer from Florida. Auburn, Michigan State, and others have offered.
TOM: Word on the street is that you received an offer from Florida recently?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went down there on the 16th to visit the school. I camped the next day, and I could tell that the coaches were impressed. When I got home, I talked to one of the coaches, and he offered me a scholarship. They just said that overall I'm a great player, and I would fit well at cornerback for them.
TOM: Is that what most schools are recruiting you for? Cornerback?
VALDEZ: Yeah, that's what pretty much everyone sees me at.
TOM: That's a pretty big offer; how many total do you have now?
VALDEZ: I have a total of around 16 now. I don't have a top list yet, though. I'm going to sit down this week, and see if I can narrow it down.
TOM: There has to be some schools that stick out to you, though, right?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I mean, Florida sticks out because they have great football, and academics. Michigan sticks out, they'll probably be in the top group, too. I have a good connection with the coaches at Michigan, and they're well rounded, too.
TOM: When you say you want to narrow your list down, how are you going to decide who makes the cut? You have some nice offers from Auburn, Cinci, Michigan, and Florida, what's the criteria?
VALDEZ: I'm looking for great academics, great football, and a good coaching staff, of course. I really want to find the school that's the right fit for me, though. So, I'm not sure when I'll decide. I just want to take my time with it, and put it in God's hands.
TOM: With some offers out of state, and across the country, how will distance factor in?
VALDEZ: Distance won't be a factor. I'll just go where ever is best for me. My mom was excited when I got the Florida offer, and she's said that she'll come watch me play where ever I go, so that doesn't matter.
TOM: Were you able to make it back up for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this weekend?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went, but my flight got delayed from Florida. I came late to the second day, so I couldn't do a whole lot. I got to talk to a couple coaches from Michigan, and they were telling me to come back up and visit sometime soon. I'm going to try to get back up there pretty soon. I'm not sure when, though.
TOM: Since you're from Michigan, are you friends with any of the other Michigan recruits? Do they try to recruit you?
VALDEZ: I'm friends with Shawn Conway. We met through the 7 on 7's, and became cool through that. He doesn't really try to recruit me, he just tells me to pick the best school for me.
TOM: Describe yourself as an athlete to someone who has never watched film on you.
VALDEZ: I'm a leader on the field, a hard worker, explosive, fast, and I just make plays. I ran the 40 at the Florida camp, and I was timed at a 4.48, and a 4.5. I have a hamstring injury, too, so I know I can run faster than that.
I mentioned this to Tom last night, but I'll share it here too.
I'm friends with a local coach whose team is playing Madison this upcoming season. He chatted with Madison's coach about a month or so ago, and Showers came up. Madison's coach told him that Showers really likes Michigan, and it would be surprising to him if he doesn't end up at Michigan.
Now whether the Florida offer (or something else) has changed things in the last month, I don't know yet. But Showers is very fond of Michigan and the coaches.
Great info Brian, but my question for people that are more knowledgeable than me, is do we have room for Showers? If we have around 20 scholarships to give, would three cornerbacks be overkill when we are somewhat deep at the position in 2011? Wouldn't this breakdown by position make the most sense: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 4 OL, 2 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 CB, 1 S.
But to reply to madtadder, I think that breakdown is close to ideal. However, I think Valdez is a kid who might fall into that safety slot. I had heard that Greg Brown might end up at FS if we bring in another CB, but Magnus disagrees with that.
It's better than any other school he's seriously considering, outside of Michigan.
What a football recruit considers "great academics" is different than what a high school valedictorian considers the same. Florida is better academically than 2/3 of the major football schools, maybe more.
I'm not a UF homer, but I do have respect for the institution. In the USNWR rankings, Florida (47) is only twenty spots behind Michigan (27) in the National University rankings and it tied with UT - Austin (47). Even in an objective sense I would think of Florida as a university with great academics, and it is certainly one of the top ten schools in terms of academics for schools that have fielded a consistently excellent football team over the past two decades. I suspect that if you created an index of teams that mix great football and strong academics, Florida would be right at the top (if not the top).
Now - schools that mix football and academics. Although I agree with you that Florida is by no means a terrible school academically, saying it's the best mix of football and academics is a stretch. Let me think who would be up there with Florida.
USC would most certainly be ahead of Florida. They have a better football history, and they're just as good over the last decade, cheating aside. Academically, they're ranked well ahead of Florida.
For anyone else, you need to qualify the football aspect of the ranking. Are we talking the last 4 years? Or the last 15 years? Or the last 40 years? Depending on how you look at this, Michigan and ND both blow UF out of the water, much better academics and historically better football. UF gets the nod over the last 5 years, but not much more.
As you said, UF is tied with Texas academically. Who is better at football? Again, depends on how you want to quantify that. Penn State is also tied at that spot, and they are a big time football program.
Then you have schools like Stanford and Northwestern. This might depend on how much you weight academics vs. football strength, but these schools have been perennial bowl teams lately, and UF isn't even comparable academically.
In conclusion, UF is strong here, but so are many other schools, a handful above them, I'd argue. UF is probably sneaking in the top 5.
Question. It's been awhile but way back when I was in High School, Farmington Hill Harrison was a B school and they churned out the kids and they were always beating A leauge schools. What conf./who they play does Madison play in?
Madison plays teams like Marine City, Saint Clair, Saint Clair Shores, and Fraser - not exactly powerhouses. They're in the Macomb Area Conference, although I'm not sure what division (there are like four different divisions).
but they did so with the benefit of being able to get athletes from the entire city of Farmington, and not just their section of the city. They were a B school by enrollment, but they weren't really a B school.