At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Mark The Nomad still wins by a million. In what is inevitably going to be a successful trolling of Michigan State message boards across the state, MLive asked their readers for pictures of their badass Michigan tattoos. None approach the glory of Mark the Nomad's Harbaugh on Saved by the Bell masterpiece, but there's no shame in coming second in this competition.
This is my favorite:
"I need a wolverine, but I don't want it to be generic."
"I could make him look like he just walked in on his parents having sex."
"Make it so, number one."
-"Jean-Luc Picard's many tattoos: a memoir," by Jonathan Frakes
Second place goes to the guy who went full entrails.
The owner of this tattoo helpfully points out that the heart in the wolverine's hand comes from the pile of rotting gristle that used to be an Ohio State player below. Sports: we are reasonable about it!
A blessed man indeed. Jim Harbaugh has never heard of Paul Finebaum.
A coach approaches, fixes his collar and tells him he was the talk of the Paul Finebaum Show that day. Finebaum, whose show is nationally syndicated and televised on the SEC Network, discussed Harbaugh's appearance in Alabama with his legions of dedicated callers.
Harbaugh looks confused and shakes his head. He doesn't know who Paul Finebaum is.
The coach continues, "He's a radio show host."
Again, nothing from Harbaugh.
"He's a big deal down here in SEC country," another coach chimes in.
For just about anyone else involved with college football I would assume that is a put-on. Harbaugh is constitutionally incapable of being anything other than HIMSELF AT MAXIMUM VOLUME, though.
I assume that Harbaugh's knowledge of things is a sine wave of infinite amplitude. He can tell you the exact order of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II and the order of elimination of every Bachelor contestant in history; he's never heard of popcorn and thinks marsupials are horses. He regularly knits shawls with his teeth; every damned time his wife turns the faucet on he goggles and exclaims "WHAT IN TARNATION IS THAT?" Etc.
Mmm shade. Nick Baumgardner:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Someone forgot to tell Jim Harbaugh he's supposed to hate this stuff.
"The Raiders are still in play" is played out right now but if we keep saying it it'll be funny again in a few years. The Letterman approach.
Baumgardner quotes Harbaugh at his Sincerely Yours In Football best:
"This is the greatest sport ever invented," Harbaugh says. "Nobody will ever play four years of high school football and look back and say 'I wish I hadn't played football.' You ever hear anybody say that?
"It just doesn't get said. Because it doesn't happen. Football is darn good for you. Darn good for you."
SEC honks who are cheesed off about these satellite camps downplay this aspect of Harbaugh's personality, but it seems real to me. Harbaugh is a football evangelist in an era when people are muttering about the long-term future of the game. He's also a guy looking for recruits. It can be both.
Less of a big deal right now. Michigan's summer basketball camp came and went in the middle of this swarm business with hardly a mention. That's partially Harbaugh sucking up the offseason oxygen—something Beilein is probably happy about—and partially the fact that Michigan doesn't seem on the verge of offering blue-chip 2017 guys who are talking like they will commit. Last year Tyus Battle and Derryck Thornton were in attendance—one out of two ain't bad.
This year, 2017 NV SF Greg Floyd, a top 75 guy but not a five-star, was the most notable (uncommitted) name participating. Austin Davis and Jon Teske were there; Cassius Winston was present but sat out with his broken wrist. The rest of the notables are younger kids that may or may not end up on the radar in the next couple years.
Speaking of Winston, his visit for the camp follows one in May. Both Scout and Rivals seem to be incrementally more optimistic with each one. The vibe now is that Michigan probably tentatively leads; before it was that they maybe tentatively lead.
Okay. The basketball rules changes that were proposed have officially been instantiated.
OFFICIAL! 30-sec shot clock, 4-foot arc, reduction in time outs among changes coming to men's basketball next season. pic.twitter.com/qgLqt0BS6D
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) June 8, 2015
I don't think the clock change will impact Michigan—or anyone—disproportionately. Michigan does get dinged by the larger arc, as they've always been a team that tries to take a charge instead of block a shot. Teske is arriving at the right time, at least.
And thank God for small timeout murders. Put the rest in a sack and throw them in the river, please.
In Texas. A slice of life from the Houston stop:
“OK, you gotta run, speed up, throw a catchable ball,” he said, jogging in a loop and throwing the ball to a camper 10 yards away, always moving. “Throw a catchable ball. That’s not a catchable ball. A catchable ball is right there. Shoulders, one foot in front of the number.
While observing, the former San Francisco 49ers coach offered: “No one likes watching incompletions. They really don’t.”
I imagine a couple of projectors got broken in there.
Another reason we're doing well at Paramus. Blake Costanzo is a former San Francisco 49er who's now an assistant at Paramus Catholic. His take on Harbaugh is a bit different than the few 49ers who have not already retired:
"Awesome," Costanzo said. "You want to play for a guy who's been through it, been to practices, grinded, knows what it's like to be in a locker room. To have a guy that knows what you are going through is huge." …
"Everywhere is Michigan country now. They've been all over the country," Costanzo said. "They are just good people. I know a lot of the coaching staff and they are just good people. I promote good people no matter where they are."
Michigan looks set to rake in a number of New Jersey commits this cycle.
Can't stop, won't stop. Old Dominion announces a 2016 satellite camp stop for the sisterhood of the travelling football. No doubt it will be the first of many.
MLB draft fallout. Baseball saw a number players drafted. CF Jackson Glines, a senior, went in the 10th round. Junior 2B/closer Jacob Croenenworth went in the 7th; he's a junior but Bakich is not holding out hope he'll return. 3B Travis Maezes went in the 13th; Bakich says they might get him back.
Michigan's recruits went late if they went at all, so they should arrive on campus.
What is the difference between this run:
…and this run:
If you guessed "the one Harbaugh/Drevno were coaching got yards and the one from Hoke/Borges didn't" you win a running theme of the 2015 offseason. The results are certainly stark; why that's true is what we're interested in.
The Power Play
These are both the same play by the offense, and the same play Brady Hoke promised to make into Michigan's base because it is the manliest of plays. It is Power-O, the one where you pull the backside guard and try to run between the tackles.
You can click for biggers
The play is relatively simple to draw up and complex to execute because it uses a lot of the things zone blocking does, including having the blocking and back react to what the defense does. For all the "manball" talk this isn't ISO, where you slam into each other quickly. Depending on how the coach wants to play it and what defensive alignment you see, the basic gist is to get a double or scoop of the playside DT and kick out the playside DE, then have an avalanche of bodies pour into that hole—if the defense is leaping into that gap you adjust by trying a different hole further outside. Leaving two blockers to seal off the backside, one blocker, usually the backside guard, pulls and becomes the lead blocker—it's up to him to adjust to what he sees when he arrives.
You can run this out of different formations with different personnel, and the one immediately apparent difference in the above diagrams is Michigan was more spread—a flanker (Z) is out on the opposite numbers and the strongside is to the boundary; after the motion this is an "Ace Twins". Stanford ran this with a heavy "22-I" formation, meaning two backs (RB and FB) and two tight ends (Y and H) in an I-form. The benefit Michigan gets from its formation is the guy Stanford would have to block with its fullback Michigan has removed from the play entirely by forcing him to cover the opposite sideline.
What Stanford gets in return for its fullback is matchup problems: the open side of the field is going to be two tight ends and a fullback versus two safeties and a cornerback. Run or pass that can go badly for the defense as these size mismatches turn into lithe safeties eating low-centered fullbacks, and dainty corners on manbeast TEs.
In War of 1812 terms, Michigan is the Americans, sending the fast-sailing frigate Essex in the Pacific so the enemy has to move ships to the Galapagos instead of harassing the Carolinas. Stanford is the British, parking 74-guns ships of the line where engaging them cannot be avoided and trusting the outcome of any forced engagement should turn in their favor. The point is both work to the advantages and disadvantages of the talent on hand. (In this analogy Borges is a guy trying to use Horatio Nelson tactics with a Navy of sloops and brigs).
That being said, it still works as well as anything—people did in fact score points before the spread, and those who scored a lot of them could do so by keeping defenses off balance and with good execution. As we'll see both of those factors played a big role.
[after the jump]
The Highlights: WolverineHistorian
The Setup: After their season-opening triumph over Notre Dame, Michigan traveled to Williams-Brice Stadium to face 11th-ranked South Carolina, off to a 2-0 start after a breakout 10-2 season in 1984 under coach Joe Morrison. Morrison, who'd taken over in 1983, had quickly injected life into a mediocre program by introducing both a high-flying offense and an intimidating new tradition for home games, described by Bo Schembechler in Bo's Lasting Lessons:
Those men down in South Carolina, they know how to take the field. We were already on the field when I told my guys, "I want you to see this!"
The speakers boomed the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which builds really slowly. Then they started pumping a thick fog by the players' tunnel, and the crowd started going nuts as the anticipation built.
Our guys were getting jacked up just waiting for them to come out. "C'MON, WHATYA—SCARED? GET ON OUT HERE!" Until finally the Gamecocks came flying out of that tunnel—dressed all in black! I lost my hearing for a few minutes from that music blaring and the crowd screaming. God that was great. That is how you take the field. THAT is college football!
South Carolina's 1984 season was called the "Black Magic" year because Morrison would wear all black on gameday. The 1985 season wouldn't prove worthy of a nickname.
The Game: South Carolina opened the game with another proud Gamecock tradition: nearly decapitating diminutive Michigan running backs. Here's Bo again:
We started the game with the ball and sent Thomas Wilcher on our standard off-tackle play. Their linebacker came in from out of nowhere, and Wilcher's helmet flew off—and he was ready to go! I'm telling you, from the opening kickoff, the entire atmosphere in that stadium was electric.
While Willie Hill's hit didn't make WolverineHistorian's highlight reel, it's preserved elsewhere on YouTube:
Hill may have set the tone, but Michigan more than matched it. The defense shut down an SC offense featuring College Football Hall of Famer and five-time Pro Bowl selection Sterling Sharpe. When Jim Harbaugh opened the scoring with an option keeper near the goal line (GIF'd at top of post), Michigan led the yardage battle with 110 to SC's negative-one.
The triple-option offense would remain effective for the duration. Jamie Morris put the Wolverines up 14-0 when Harbaugh chose to pitch near the goal line; Morris would finish with 95 yards, Wilcher with 104, and Harbaugh with 45 on just seven carries. As a team, Michigan finished with 324 rushing yards on 5.3 YPC.
Michigan's defense proved every bit as dominant as the offense, limiting the Gamecocks to 202 total yards—including just 35 through the air—and forcing four turnovers. South Carolina mustered a field goal at the end of the first half. That would be their only score of the game. Four different Wolverines—Harbaugh, Morris, Wilcher, and Gerald White—tallied rushing touchdowns, and Mike Gillette's two field goals brought the final score to 34-3.
The Harbaugh: As you can tell from the above, Harbaugh didn't need to throw the ball a whole lot. When he did, he moved the ball in solid chunks, finishing 12/22 for 164 yards (7.5 YPA) and one pick. His primary target was 6'8", 240-pound receiver Paul Jokisch, who took advantage of mismatches to tally 115 yards on five catches, including this 41-yarder to set up the game's opening score:
Poor #29 is eye-level with Jokisch's armpit. Hell of a blitz pickup by Morris there, too.
The Most '80s Screencap of the Game:
White pants after Labor Day? Standard uniform in the age of Miami Vice.
Today it's Alabama's turn on "Jim Harbaugh makes people so mad they go cross-eyed and spit in their own face":
For opponents of the satellite camp, and I am firmly among them, Johnson's commitment to Michigan also reinforces what a sham we're presently operating under. Attaching one's self to a high school 1300 miles away like a dad-jeaned toadstool is by no stretch a "teaching opportunity," as the camps were so designed. We've said all along these are nothing but recruiting junkets. That even Michigan's own film study and recruiting efforts previously overlooked the lightly-regarded Johnson only underscores this fact.
Rather than bolstering the satellite camp, in fact, a measured view of the camps in light of Johnson's commitment, only shows that the loophole is a chance to lazily poach talent in contravention of a rule designed to avoid turning recruiting into a 12-month long circus.
This is of course Alabama, the fanbase that annually responds to Nick Saban cutting 6-10 guys with "tough shit, it's a business." It is specifically the blog—albeit not the person—who responded to a post here about a kid getting cut by titling a post "Brian Cook is, Amongst Other Things, a Coward and a Liar." They live in the conference of bag men and are no doubt amongst the most committed participants*. Nick Saban himself caused a kerfuffle several years ago when he skirted the boundaries of the NCAA's quiet period by maybe possibly having conversations with recruits he was permitted only to "bump" into. The number of Alabama fans who cared about this is zero. Alabama fans do not care about NCAA rules, whether it's letter or intent, one iota.
While that is an increasingly defensible position, the word soup above is not. If it even has a position. Its author, Erik Evans, is clutching every pearl in a five-county radius that Michigan might be using these camps to find football players. Several dozen Crimson Tide matrons collapsed to the floor after Dytarious Johnson's recent commitment. The state has never endured such calumny.
The post's argument was difficult to parse out in the first place; it is more confusing now that Evans edited it after the fact. He discovered that Johnson had talked to the Michigan coaching staff before the camp and asked him to attend it to earn his offer; this invalidates large sections of the post but provides an opportunity to sick the specter of a Level 4 violation on Michigan if in fact the compliance officer they're bringing to every damn camp doesn't have his Ps and Qs straight.
It takes a special kind of person to argue that Michigan's satellite camps are an opportunity to "lazily poach talent" and create a "12-month long circus" without even allowing so much as a period to separate those two diametrically opposed thoughts. Attempting to rebut any particular point is futile since most have already been rebutted in the same damn sentence they were made, so we'll have to take another tack. Let's evaluate the stakeholders here to see who is harmed.
JIM HARBAUGH. Evaluates lots of players from across the country in person. Develops relationships with otherwise remote players. Finds some recruits. Improves his football team down the road. Gets to write letters that end with "sincerely yours in football."
CAMP ATTENDEES. Get exposure in front of not only the Michigan coaches but various local staffs. May get scholarship offer they would not as a result. May get to play Peruball against shirtless Harbaugh. Don't have to go at all if they don't want to. Attendance veritably implies approval, and many attend.
CAMP ORGANIZERS. Hype from Harbaugh visit can almost double attendance.
SMALL CHILDREN WITH TERRIBLE DISEASES. Increased attendance helps raise money for brain cancer research.
ALABAMA. May have to work slightly harder in the future to convince certain players they should play at Alabama.
I don't mind the Alabama fanbase's purely mercenary mindset so much anymore, but at least own it. You would put your grandma through a wood chipper for a tiny increase in the chance at a national championship. There is literally no moral or ethical issue that would even vaguely factor into your decision making. And that's fine. We need lizard people too. Just don't pretend your objection to satellite camps is anything other than pure self-interest.
On the bright side, Evans has a bright future as a Toys R Us CEO down the road.
*[I gave up on condemning such practices because nobody's ever come up with an actual harm caused by people offering football players petty cash that doesn't involve fan anger stuff.]
Dytarious Johnson is mean
The question we no longer have to answer about basketball
Does it concern you yet that Harbaugh and staff are going after so many 3-star or less recruits (and even unranked ones) rather than shooting for more 4- and 5-star types? Might JH be underestimating his own standing and instead still be in "I'm at Stanford" mentality (i.e., "I need to find the hidden gems because the 5-stars are going to USC, Alabama, and such")?
Thanks for the blog, and give Ace a raise.
Hail to the bloggers,
This is so overblown. Michigan has ten commits. Five of them are composite four-stars (Swenson, Onwenu, Peters, Falcon, and Evans). Of the five who aren't, one committed to Brady Hoke (Harding), one is (probably) a fullback (Reese), and one picked up Nebraska, LSU, and Florida offers after his commitment (Davis). The two other guys are Kiante Enis and Dytarious Johnson. Enis ran for three thousand(!) yards last year and Johnson looks like a BAMF on his Hudl film.
That is not a high flier rate thus far. The two guys who truly qualify are both gentlemen an expert talent evaluator has seen in person.
Meanwhile, here is a list of high four star recruits who Michigan is thought to lead for: NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, NJ WR Brad Hawkins, PA TE Nasseir Upshur, MD OL Terrance Davis, WI OL Ben Bredeson, MI DE Khalid Kareem, and NJ DE Ron Johnson. They are at or near the top for five star NJ DT Rashan Gary and CA LB Caleb Kelly.
They won't get all those guys; they'll get a healthy chunk, and they'll get involved with more guys down the road. It's not going to be an Alabama class but it should be comfortably top ten.
And that's only half the reason recruiting concern is overblown. The other half:
That class was Andrew Luck and three stars. It followed a class that was all three stars, and ranked ninth in the then Pac-10. Stanford was slightly better than that when those classes bore fruit. Recruiting is important; coaching is more important.
[After the JUMP: Countess impact, concerns that Michigan's skill position players are no better than Iowa's, outrageous afro.]
Guess what jerks?
This morning the freshmen got their numbers, and started telling people. Lorenz posted those he was able to gather, which was all but the transfers, Ulizio, and Shelton J. (Warning: 247 autoplays videos on their pages so mute first if you don't want blang blang blaring through your speakers).
May your obsessive compulsive videogame rosters be accurate, and your visions of greatness now come a bit more into focus around the chest and back areas. I'll update this as more come in today.
|#||Name||P||Hgt.||Wgt.||You may remember this digit from…|
|10||Zach Gentry||QB||6'6"||230||Tom Brady of course, but also Todd Collins, Jeff Cohen, and friend of the blog Kyle Anderson. Da'Mario Jones was wearing this through spring so looks like he'll have a new jersey.|
|12||Alex Malzone||QB||6'2"||205||(Spring) Surprisingly few 12's have remained such through graduation (Grbac and Gardner both wore it for a time). Dreisbach was the last QB to do so.|
|22||Karan Higdon||RB||5'10"||190||Harbaugh era mooseback Gerald White is the only RB I can remember wearing it.|
|81||Brian Cole||WR||6'2"||190||(Spring) Historically a TE # at Mich (I always think of Kattus). Was C'sonte's|
|9||Grant Perry||WR||6'0"||183||Dileo, Diallo, Martavious Odoms, and Mercury Hayes. And of course "The Rece" Butler|
|8||Tyrone Wheatley Jr.||TE||6'6"||245||Wore 9 in HS. Little round number on a big Wheatley body? I'm a fan. (Walk-on Joe Hewlett gave it up)|
|77||Grant Newsome||OL||6'7"||280||Lewan, Long, Pape, Jansen, Jenkins, Trgovac, Tabachino, Guy Curtis, Art Walker...|
|75||Jon Runyan Jr.||OL||6'4"||275||Sr wore 69, Jr wore this in HS. Last great interior OL to wear 75 was Baas. OTs include Schofield, Skrepanak, Yearby, and Bubba Paris.|
|70||Nolan Ulizio||OL||6'5"||293||Wore 70 in HS. Bobby Doherty is the one that springs to mind; Mark Erhardt wore it during Harbaugh years.|
|?||Shelton Johnson||SDE||6'5"||225||Waiting on #. Wore 7 in high school; I doubt Poggi gives it up.|
|4||Reuben Jones||WDE||6'4"||225||Less weird when you consider he'll be playing a role not too different from Cam Gordon's. Of course you remember a certain quarterback who wore this.|
|17||Tyree Kinnel||SS||5'11"||197||"Wolf" Dwight Hicks wore it in the '70s, J.O.W. in the early '90s.|
|6||Keith Washington||CB||6'2"||175||You remember Donovan Warren. One back you certainly don't remember wearing this was Harry Kipke when he played for Yost (he wore it one year).|
|16||Andrew David||K||5'8"||170||M used to leave 19 for kickers (Bob Bergeron, Remy Hamilton, Mike Gilette). Andrew's the first 16.|
Nothing yet from the transfers but their previous numbers were all available-ish except O'Neill's.
|Name||Prev #||Pos||Starts||Elig||You may remember this digit from...|
|Jake Rudock||15||QB||25||Grad transfer||Garrett Moores would have to move. Grbac obviously, also Loeffler.|
|John O'Korn||5||QB||16||So (RS)||Other than Tate you mean? Johnny Wangs! Walk-on Kenny Sloss will have to give it up.|
|Wayne Lyons||24||CB||20||Grad transfer||Took Blake's spot, took Woodson's NFL # – several safeties (Bobby Abrams, Charles Drake RIP) but I can't think of a CB other than Hollowell.|
|Blake O'Neill||39||P||12||Grad transfer||Finley! Complication: Houma wears this and plays punt coverage in case you forgot this.|
Camp Commits: Two Down, More To Go?
— Corey Bender (@Corey_Bender) June 7, 2015
If you actually did things this weekend, you missed two commitments, one piece of inflammatory recruiting material, and enough Harbaugh headlines that Brian mercifully covered the satellite camp stuff not directly related to recruiting in today's UV, or this post would be 19,000 words and published posthumously.
The camp tour continued on to Florida, and the in-person evaluations led to several offers, including the one that set off the latest commit watch:
— Terrell Lucas Jr. (@_TerrellLucas) June 7, 2015
Lucas is a three-star WDE/OLB, and he stood out to 247's Ryan Bartow as one of the top five performers at the Miami satellite camp:
2016 DE Terrell Lucas - Has over a dozen verbal offers. Michigan added their name to the list along with Syracuse and Minnesota, among others. Lucas is a prep defensive end that will likely transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker in college. He has a good frame. Takes coaching well. He was outstanding at last week's Alabama camp and was equally good in front of Michigan's staff.
- Three-star 2016 CB Antwaine Richardson, a high school teammate of incoming freshman DE Shelton Johnson.
- Two-star 2016 S Josh Metellus, a Georgia Southern commit.
- Two-star 2016 SDE/TE Rashad Weaver.
- 2017 WR Clevan Thomas, who reportedly stole the show at the Miami camp.
- 2017 RB Jordan Merrell, a Cincinnati commit.
- 2017 WR Daquon Green, who's added several top-notch offers recently.
This seems like a good opportunity to talk about recruiting rankings and camp offers, since the commitment of largely unranked Dytarious Johnson, the possibility of Lucas also committing, and the number of offers going out to lower-ranked prospects has caused consternation among a certain segment of the fanbase.
Yes, recruiting rankings have been proven time and again to matter when it comes to projecting success. Final recruiting rankings, that is. I'm not saying Johnson is going to turn out to be a five-star, but I'd also be shocked if he were anything less than a solid three-star come February, and I doubt there'd be complaints about his commitment if that were his current ranking. Recruiting rankings change all the way up to Signing Day because the services get more data to inform their ratings; that includes senior film and the very camp evaluations Michigan's coaches are making in-person at each of these stops.
If Michigan is frantically adding unranked recruits on Signing Day, there'd be plenty of reason for worry. It's June. Despite several top-tier players showing high interest, the coaches were comfortable extending these offers and accepting commitments from prospects they'd had the chance to see up close. Given Harbaugh's track record of identifying and developing talent—not to mention the potential readily apparent in Johnson's junior highlights—it's far too soon to use incomplete recruiting rankings as the ultimate gauge for the recruiting class. Michigan still has room to add blue-chippers—and lest we forget, they added a consensus four-star last week, too. Sounding the "it's RichRod recruiting all over again" alarm before it's officially summer is an overreaction at best.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Decent turnout in Indy [Mike Spath]
All the Harbaugh. We haven't had any, you know, games yet but so far the Harbaugh era has absolutely lived up to its promise.
CFB Twitter's hottest weekend topics: Fri.: Harbaugh shirtless Sat.: Harbaugh recruiting material Sun.: Harbaugh camp helps charity
— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) June 8, 2015
As Ace has documented in cripplingly long recruiting roundups, the Summer Swarm tour is piquing the interest of dozens of high level recruits in this class and the next three. Michigan's nailed down a number of commitments already; there's a wave of guys naming Michigan their leader and/or plugged in gents making Crystal Ball predictions for Michigan.
While it's been a lot of under the radar types to date, 1) Harbaugh's first two recruiting classes at Stanford were generic three stars and Andrew Luck and 2) the wave of guys Michigan is thought to lead for has a lot of big timers in it.
Doesn't that mean… yes, it does. Michigan currently has 14 or 15 spots in its recruiting class. There are a few guys who will have fifth year options but don't project to be contributors; that still leaves Michigan at around 18 spots for a class that it feels like will hit 25. There is going to be some attrition before February.
If a couple of these medical hardships that are poorly kept secrets finally get announced in the near future that number looks pretty reasonable; I don't think we're ever going to see the near zero attrition Michigan had under Brady Hoke. Harbaugh drives people too hard for that.
Headlines. The Montgomery Advertiser:
That's today, three days after Michigan's Alabama stop. The last time I took a screenshot of a media organization days after something happened it was Sports Illustrated bombing Michigan dang near a week after the Shane Morris incident. Harbaugh has changed the script a little bit here.
Eliminating satellite camps? That makes a recruit's life harder. It would make a kid like Jovan Swann, a big-time defensive tackle recruit from Center Grove High, drive almost 300 miles to attend the Michigan football camp in Ann Arbor. Swann, whose brother Mario is a defensive back at Indiana, is interested in the Wolverines. He has a scholarship offer from Michigan State (and Indiana and Iowa and more), but not from Michigan.
"As a parent, I decided I'm going to take (Jovan) to any school that he has an interest in," said his father, Mario Swann Sr. "I would have taken him to Michigan this summer, but now I don't have to."
And this is wrong? This is not wrong.
The spectacle of millionaires complaining about their vacation days is not winning over hearts and minds here. Harbaugh, shirtless, weird Jim Harbaugh, is.
That charity camp BTW. Details:
Harbaugh said he found somebody to follow on Sunday.
"I got a new one. I got Lauren Loose now. I'm going to follow her," Harbaugh said. "I'm going to follow her example. Fighter, courageous, happy, spiritual. She's got what I'm looking for. I'm going to follow her. Find somebody. Find somebody every day. You know who's doing right. Go be a good follower. Learn how to do that."
Loose is the daughter of former Lafayette defensive coordinator and current Army defensive coach John Loose. She is a pediatric brain tumor survivor and the one who the football camp is named for. The event raises funds for brain tumor research and cancer services through the Lauren's First and Goal Foundation.
Sunday's event raised $101,800 and the total for the year is $132,787.
Michigan is keeping this on the up-and-up—they're travelling with a compliance person to make sure they don't rack up minor violations—and they're doing a lot of good for the kids who come out, the causes they're helping out, and themselves. You'd have to be a sociopath to be against such a thing, but we are talking about football coaches.
Also. Detroit will get an extended version of the satellite camps:
Harbaugh, his Michigan coaching staff and the team's sophomore football players will work with the United States Marine Corps to "teach life skills, football, language arts and STEM-based curriculum" to 100 Detroit-area boys from grades 6-8 from July 6-18.
Former NFL player Riki Ellison founded the program nine years ago, and runs similar efforts at Stanford, Northwestern and West Point. He'll assist Michigan with its own version of the program.
People were concerned when Michigan canceled its fantasy camps. They've more than made up for that karmic loss.
There will be no apology. You know me: I approve of anything short of a stabbing that makes a college football game spicier. Harbaugh is amping up damn near everybody, whether it's Saban in Alabama or a bit closer to home:
OSU's WR coach took this about as well as perpetually aggrieved DJ Byrnes takes a harmless tweet from a teenager, throwing a twitter shit fit that has since been deleted. Michigan has not scheduled a contrite press conference in the aftermath. Hail Hackett.
Speaking of the man. Random old This Is Sportscenter commercial featuring Harbs:
"This Is Sportscenter" has been around forever.
Just a rando with a story. Take it with a grain of salt:
Source: midway thru 2014, York walked into meeting Harbaugh was holding w/ players, & Harbaugh told Jed that the meeting was for "men only"
— Kyle McLorg (@Kyle_McLorgBASG) June 8, 2015
This is probably not a good move if you would like to continue your employment no matter how accurate it may be. Again, just some rando with SOURCES on twitter.
UNC details. Local paper with some excerpts from internal UNC emails:
“Occasionally when we have a number of people with special issues we can put them together in a special section but we never ever put an athlete into a special section alone – just too many red flags and we have a little bit of academic credibility to try to uphold,” Crowder wrote back. “All of that being said, talk to me and we’ll see if there are any creative options.”
There are hundreds of these emails, many of them heavily redacted. It's clear that the athletic department specialized in keeping kids eligible with non-classes. If anything will rouse the sleeping bear that is NCAA enforcement, this is it.
I suppose. A dozen people sent this to me and more yelled at me on twitter about it, so yes there was an embarrassing fluff piece on Dave Brandon in the Detroit News. It reads more like a People profile of Eva Longoria—"the couple intends to experience daily life in the Big Apple", etc—than something written by a person with self-respect. It thus says everything you need to know about its author, Daniel Howes, without me chipping in.
Just one thing:
Brandon sounds like a man pleased to be back on the familiar ground of corporate America. There he'll be tackling marketing and operational challenges, building (or repairing) a brand buffeted by changing technology and changing consumer tastes. (All of which, by the way, applied at Michigan, as much as the die-hards refuse to acknowledge it.)
Brandon's most important single act as athletic director was hiring Brady Hoke, a man whose main qualification was having been an assistant at Michigan during the 90s. Hoke was dead set against the changing technology of college football; his hire was anything but "innovating the space." All other gestures towards modernity are frippery around a fusty core.
Anyone who still believes Brandon is some sort of visionary after years of ham-handed missteps followed by lies probably contributed to the $607 United Passions brought in at the box office this weekend. But someone's got to believe the Emperor's new clothes are amazing.
Etc.: Michigan MLB draft primer from user Raoul. Summer Swarm tweet recap. Northwestern's "#funbad" game of the year is so obvious you don't need to click through. "#funbad" is such a Northwestern concept, and I mean that affectionately.
Johnson previously visited M with his Prattville teammates [Photo via 247]
The satellite camp tour has produced its third commitment in three days. Prattville (AL) outside linebacker Dytarious Johnson quickly accepted Michigan's offer after putting on an impressive performance in front of the coaching staff yesterday. The Wolverines were the first Power 5 offer for Johnson, who at the moment of his commitment only had a recruiting profile on Rivals, which gives him a perfunctory two stars.
Johnson is Michigan's third commitment from Prattville since Jim Harbaugh took over, joining incoming freshman CB Keith Washington and 2016 RB Kingston Davis. Prior to Harbaugh's arrival, the Wolverines hadn't landed a prospect from any Alabama high school since Madison Bob Jones RB Max Martin in 2004. While Johnson's commitment came as a surprise, he's been on the coaches' radar since they recruited Washington and Davis, and his strong showing at the satellite camp sealed his offer, per Sam Webb:
“When I went and visited (with Davis in April) they told me they wanted to evaluate me more,” Johnson recalled. “They wanted me to come to their (satellite) camp (in Prattville), and I guess they liked what they saw (because) they offered me today. So I wanted to commit.”
“(Harbaugh) told me, ‘congratulations and welcome to the team.’”
Johnson is the tenth commit in Michigan's class of 2016, and the third at linebacker, joining Dele' Harding and David Reese. (Reese could potentially end up at fullback.)
|NR WLB||2* OLB||NR OLB||NR ILB||NR ILB|
While it's safe to expect Johnson will at least rise into the three-star range as he gets more exposure, the recruiting services are still cobbling together profiles for him at the moment; Rivals remains the lone outlet to give him a ranking. The four sites are in relative agreement on his size, listing him at either 6'0" or 6'1" and 205-215 pounds.
As you can probably guess, there isn't a whole lot out there yet on Johnson. He earned a positive mention from Scout's John Garcia Jr. after Prattville came up short in last season's state championship game:
One of the few defensive standouts for the Lions, this underclassmen has versatility on his side. He lines up in the middle or on the edge at linebacker and makes plays against both the pass and the run. Though undersized at 6-foot, 185 pounds, he simply makes plays. A tackle for loss was among his four recorded stops.
That's all I could find on him—that article wasn't even linked to Johnson's Scout profile, since one didn't exist last night—other than Sam Webb's tweet about his camp performance on Friday:
2016 Prattville (Ala.) LB Dytarious Johnson may have been the best of the LB bunch today. Received a lot of love from the #Michigan staff
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) June 5, 2015
We do have Johnson's junior highlights, which I'm going to post up here:
Magnus posted an evaluation today based on that film, and I had much the same reaction after seeing it myself:
For being a linebacker, he's a very smooth runner who moves like a strong safety. The first highlight in his film below is of him playing man coverage on a slot receiver, staying right on his hip on a wheel route, and tracking the ball down in the air; he tips it to himself and races about 75 yards to the endzone. He also likes to hit, and he takes good angles to the football. One thing I also like is that he seems to understand his role as an outside linebacker, and he does a very good job of maintaining leverage and fighting off blocks to keep outside contain.
The athleticism is there, but some basic fundamentals are lacking. His stance and footwork will probably need to be adjusted, but that will come with reps and coaching. He will also need to get stronger and add a little bit of weight.
The coaches seem to have noticed some of the same technical issues, and had already started working through them at Friday's camp, according to the Montgomery Advertiser:
Johnson said he learned "a lot" at the four-hour camp.
"I learned how to get in my stance and how to turn my hips," said Johnson, who plays linebacker. "The footwork."
Magnus added that Johnson's highlights could easily be confused for those of a four-star prospect, and I'm inclined to agree; he looks strong against both the run and pass, closes quickly on the football, and hits hard. This is a very lofty comparison, but he reminds me a little of Ohio State strongside linebacker Darron Lee, a three-star safety with a similar build out of high school. Lee was one of OSU's most valuable players last season because he could disrupt opponent running and passing games while lining up in the box or over the slot. Johnson has the potential to fill a similar role.
Johnson also holds offers from Alabama State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Memphis, South Alabama, and Troy. Add him to the ever-increasing group of test cases for Harbaugh's eye for talent and his ability to identify it early.
Mostly covered above; Prattville has emerged as an unlikely Michigan pipeline, and given the program's recent success, that could get the Wolverines in on future talented prospects, as well.
Per MaxPreps, Johnson was second on Prattville with 82 total tackles (57 solo) as a junior. He also tallied four passes defensed and an interception he returned 71 yards for a touchdown (first clip in his highlights—it's well worth a watch).
FAKE 40 TIME
Johnson's Hudl page lists a 4.50, which gets five FAKEs out of five. (No obvious source, non-specific time, is a linebacker.) His page also lists a 4.30 shuttle time, 32.5" vertical, 315-pound bench press, and 405-pound squat.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Johnson seems like he could be anything from a Lee-style hybrid space player to a more traditional weakside linebacker, depending on his physical development and how the roster shakes out in front of him. The linebacker two-deep will be wide open after Joe Bolden, Desmond Morgan, and James Ross all graduate following this season, though I'd still expect Johnson to take a redshirt year. After a redshirt year—which will also see Ben Gedeon and Allen Gant exhaust their eligibility—he should be in position to compete for a spot on the depth chart.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Oh, heck, copy-and-paste again:
It's still far too early to take a stab at the final numbers for this class; it's clear the coaches are eyeing a class in the neighborhood of 20-25 prospects, which would require a decent but not unreasonable amount of attrition before Signing Day. Wide receiver, tight end, offensive line, defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, and—depending on where Enis and
maybeEvans end up—defensive back remain areas of need.
Michigan is in good position with several highly ranked linebacker prospects; expect them to continue pursuing guys who can fit at that hybrid BUCK spot, such as five-star Caleb Kelly.
The Wolverines are now up to ten total commitments, and pending the inevitable attrition they only have room for four more right now. While there is understandable concern about oversigning, a couple long-rumored roster moves that have yet to become official are still well within the realm of possibility. Right now the numbers look tight and recruiting shows no signs of slowing down; my guess is the coaches know a few things we don't about the roster outlook.
We will now attempt to answer your questions (last updated: July 17 by Seth).
What's the latest?
DUOs accidentally got an extra copy. Due to a mix-up with our fulfillment people, who tried to speed along the process, 181 "DUO" backers got a signed copy in addition to the two from your order. Since they didn't de-dupe either, some of you got two signed books. We can't really walk this back, so enjoy. If you feel strongly that you should pay this back (you don't have to pay this back), buy something from the MGoStore, or put $19.85 into Beveled Guilt. If you think you should pay this forward, put $20 toward your charity of choice.
Shirt level and above: Your second book is SIGNED. If you chose a $50+ option on the Kickstarter, you should have been among the first receive your first copies. Your second copy is a signed by Brian and will ship with your shirt.
T-shirts are now being printed. They'll be in the mail with your signed copies over the next few weeks. People who chose this year's shirt go first since that's most of you.
Your Kickstarter copy should have come. If you backed the Kickstarter and got us your address before 6/30 you should have any unsigned copy already. If you don't by Monday, email me.
If your inbox is filled with requests for your address you should send me that. As of last count we're down to 18 people who haven't done so. I'll bug you one more time in a few weeks and then I'll take the hint.
ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I missed the Kickstarter can I buy a book?
Yes! Current options:
|The Book (Printed)||Kindle Edition||Digital Edition (PDF)|
|(Draft Kings Deal)||(please review)||(Draft Kings Deal)|
not to scale
I have a writeup on these options here. They will be available in stores too but not many because we have no newstand distribution (we would welcome newsstand distribution).
Where's my stuff?
[Just hit the jump.]