Yes, yes, it's actually like round 15 or something, but round two with Beilein at Michigan.
Your random ACC opponent for this year's challenge: Syracuse and their 2-3 zone and long people everywhere. Michigan gets 'em at home. 'Cuse was undefeated for a big chunk of this year until their good fortune ran out and they started dropping close games against teams both good and bad; they were busted out of the tournament in the second round by Dayton, finishing 28-6.
While Michigan has been more battered by graduation and attrition, Syracuse also took some major hits. Leading scorer CJ Fair graduates; phenom point guard Tyler Ennis and SF Jerami Grant both entered the NBA draft.
Those guys represent a lot of Syracuse's offense; guys left over include three-point specialist Trevor Cooney and post Rakeem Christmas, plus DaJuan Coleman if Coleman can ever get healthy. Syracuse fans seem to think they're in for a "serious rebuilding year," FWIW.
The Orange do bring in a couple of touted recruits. Composite five star PF Chris McCullough is already 19 and should be ready to bang anyone Michigan can muster on the interior, and PG Kaleb Joseph will try to fill the gap left by Ennis. Even so, this is a much more manageable task than travelling to Cameron last year.
NC DE Darian Roseboro took an extensive visit to Michigan last weekend and reported back favorably; Sam Webb has an article on the result, in which Roseboro's dad raves and says he's seen what there is to see:
“I’ve seen all I’m going to see,.” Mr. Roseboro said flatly. “I’m not going anymore visits. Maybe he and his mother and grandpa will go one or two more places… maybe Tennessee, maybe (North Carolina) State, (North) Carolina or Duke. It won’t be any place further than what we’ve been.”
They want to come to a decision in the next couple months between Michigan and the schools listed above. NC State is popularly held to be the biggest threat… can we still be confident recruiting against NC State? I feel we can. .
Camps and such continue
Rivals's camp tour arrived in Detroit recently, and while there aren't a whole lot of local 2015 kids that Michigan seems to be pursuing there is one they're definitely after. He is Cass Tech RB Mikey Weber:
"Nussmeier, the day he came in, he contacted me and he brought me to their facility and he showed me a lot of things and he really opened my eyes back to Michigan," Weber said. "Nussmeier brings that Alabama style of running and that's what I'm looking for."
Weber was named the #1 player on offense in attendance:
Weber was virtually unguardable during the one-on-one period. The Rivals250 member is extremely agile and can change directions on a dime. Weber ran extremely crisp routes and had very good hands.
MSU seems the main competition unless Notre Dame puts on a press, but we are now in a situation where we can hope a highly touted running back commits to MSU before Michigan's target decides. In this case that's OH RB Larry Scott, who is reportedly about to drop to MSU.
/waves tiny 'punt' flag
Notre Dame, for its part, just got back in after a "misunderstanding" had Weber thinking an offer was coming when it was not. The two parties still seem to be at arm's length at the moment.
Weber's planning a hats-on-the-table decision at the Army game, FWIW.
Malzone just has to fire the photon torpedoes down the tubes to get an offer
MI QB Alex Malzone was the QB MVP, FWIW, and may be inching closer to a Michigan offer:
The most noticeable thing about him was his rifle arm. The ball really pops off his hand and gets to his target in a hurry. Malzone's good footwork helped him throw a very accurate ball. He was able to hit most of his receivers in stride throughout the day.
His throwing session($) for various college coaches went well:
“My conversation with Coach Nuss went very well,” Malzone said. “He’s been all around the country seeing guys throw. I think he has one more, maybe two more on his list. He told everyone from the beginning he was going to see everyone throw. And then see what happens from there. And that’s pretty much what he told me. He said he was very impressed."
If I had to bet, Malzone's recent performances and flagging interest from the crew of elite California dudes will lead to Michigan issuing that offer. Wake Forest has issued his first BCS offer.
Elsewhere, PA OL commit Jon Runyan Jr showed up for a camp in the NY/NJ area, providing an opportunity for someone to provide scouting on him:
Runyan, a Michigan commit, was technically sound. His initial punch had purpose and he moved his feet well. He stayed low in his pass protection stance, and he did not reach. His balance was good, but he had a little difficulty when a speedy defensive lineman tried to go straight up the field on him. He was solid, and will continue to improve as his strength and size increase.
Listed at 6'3.5" and 265 pounds, Runyan is slated for the interior unless he hits a growth spurt.
Welp, part one
If you need a definition of how the recruiting landscape has shifted over the course of the last football season, here it is($):
Coming off a spring game visit to Michigan State on Saturday, Detroit King linebacker Tyriq Thompson has the Spartans out front as the team to beat in his recruitment. … Thompson's father played for Michigan and he holds an offer from the Wolverines.
Previously MSU was only in play for certain recruits with family backgrounds that favored MSU or had academic red flags that Michigan, for better or worse, is shying away from. Now they're leading for a Michigan legacy with a Michigan offer. This is what happens when you have the most unwatchable football season in the country while your instate rival wins the conference and Rose Bowl.
Quick, play some more LFO, Special K!
Welp, part two
CA DE Keisean Lucier-South called Michigan a childhood favorite and was super-enthused about the offer that did come from Ann Arbor, but at the moment he's got another school out front($):
"UCLA is probably I would say the team to beat right now. I have been talking to them the most right now and I've seen them and been to their school the most so they're the team to beat."
He does have an official planned to Michigan this fall (also ND) and is going to take his time.
OLSM LB Daelin Hayes was set to commit to Michigan at that Rivals camp before putting off his decision. His performance at the camp justified the early offer:
Hayes is looking like he will be among the nation's best in that class after what we saw on Sunday. It was always known that Hayes was talented, and that at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds he had ideal size. However, he missed his sophomore year after getting injured in the first game of the season and there was some questions as to justhow good he was. We got that question answered pretty sufficiently on Sunday when Hayes proved to be on another tier athletically.
As far as his recruitment goes, his current offers are from M, MSU, Wisconsin, and Tennessee and isn't maintaining any leaders. He plans to camp($) at M, MSU, and Wisconsin so it doesn't seem like he's looking to go too far afield.
MI OL Thiyo Lukasa seems to be an instate battle, one that probably favors Michigan this instant but see Welp Part One above.
Basketball is going better, stop me if you've heard that before
Chatman and Wilson zoom up available rankings
It's another final rankings update, so Michigan recruits must be shooting towards the ceiling. This time it's Scout, which finally makes Kam Chatman a five star (at #23) after Chatman was the #1 four star on Rivals and 247. Also rocketing up the rankings is DJ Wilson, who finishes #67 after being an anonymous three star upon his commitment. "Gold in them thar hills" tag: deployed.
Unfortunately, it seems like Michigan and Cole Huff aren't going to end up making sweet three point babies… this sentence got really weird really fast. I was powerless to stop it, you have to believe me.
Anyway. According to his AAU coach, Huff is down to two:
Cole Huff is down to Creighton and Iowa where he is visiting tomorrow he will be making a decision following the visit #Eleate
— clint parks (@Brotherhood05) May 1, 2014
Given the way they'd been talking about Michigan before I have to assume that Michigan did not end up pursuing Huff. That isn't the craziest thing in the world if Chatman and Wilson are both stretch fours… I just thought a guy who had that size and shot like that would be a lock to perform under Beilein. C'est la vie.
With Huff off the board, the next major event in basketball recruiting is likely to be the June window in which Michigan conducts its elite camp and fires out offers to 2016 prospects. Michigan is going to have a couple of big, big time guys on campus for that camp. One of them is going to be NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr. If that seems like an odd place for a guy super interested in Michigan to be, Chris Balas has a long piece($) on the reason Michigan is high on his list. Turns out Jeff Meyer coached his father back in the day when he was at Liberty, and things went better than they do with Rutgers coaches:
"One word - integrity," Thornton Sr. told us last year. "I remember him as a man as much as a coach. He had high integrity. Of course he'd get after you in practice, but that's what you do as a coach. There were times he'd call you just to check on you and see how you were doing."
Tom Crean just fainted, then cut down some nets.
Thornton plans to be at Michigan's elite camp for nearly a week, and an offer will certainly follow. Thornton is the #19 player in the country on the 247 composite, and their Crystal Ball has swung from 100% Arizona to 50-50 over the past few weeks.
As a bonus, Thornton and his dad have seemingly convinced NJ SF Tyus Battle to take in the elite camp as well. Syracuse is supposed to lead for Battle; get 'em on campus and all that.
And Michigan has plenty of options after those two… it seems that the 2016 cycle is the one where Michigan is really starting to see the payoff from their recent success. AL SG Josh Langford (not that Josh Langfeld), claims "high interest($)" in Michigan…
“Oh I definitely want to get up to Michigan,” Langford’s father said. “And Michigan State has also shown a lot of interest too so, I definitely want to get up to Michigan to check them out.”
…MI PG Cassius Winston is waiting on his offer, KY PG Quentin Goodin is tentatively planning to go head-to-head with Thornton at the elite camp, and ON PG Jamal Murray has M and MSU near the top of his list with only one visit under his belt—that to Michigan. Chances are Michigan locks down a top-50 PG in 2016.
Etc.: 2016 PA RB Miles Sanders is a Michigan offeree who's just getting into the recruiting process($). Penn State just offered. 2015 UT LB Osa Masina releases a top eight with Michigan in it. More importantly: is his twitter handle a shoutout to Greg Ostertag?
|Paramus, NJ – 6'1", 210|
5*, #3 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
5*, #3 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
5*, #2 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
5*, #4 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
|Other Suitors||Alabama, OSU, ND, Florida, LSU, everyone else|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace. One Frame At A Time on the run. Picture Pages on the run. Comparing Peppers to hyped dudes past.|
|Notes||Paramus Catholic (Juwann Bushell-Beatty)|
And you're probably familiar with this one:
Do I actually need to write this one? Surely you are full to the brim with Jabrill Peppers information. Eighteen years ago he sliced open his father's head with a sword and leapt forth, fully formed, ready to wreak havoc upon Persians and Carthaginians alike. After shoving the Indian subcontinent into an aesthetically pleasing location he wandered the world, dispensing sage advice to operators of wheeled vehicles of all descriptions everywhere. He decided to go to Michigan to win the Heisman as a defensive back and did so twice in the future forever and ever amen.
The end. Hooray.
If you are not sated yet, here's all this other stuff. Let's start with the various "room for improvement" sections found in scouting reports. Clint Brewster:
Improvements: It is very hard to find a flaw or a glaring area for improvement in Peppers game.
What Needs Work
I’m sure when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile, there must have been one bad step during it, so it leaves room for Peppers, the No. 4 prospect in the nation, with things to improve upon.
Does anyone have an actual criticism? Second chance time, Mr. Dohn.
The only thing with Peppers is sometimes he is so aggressive and wants to make a play so badly, he will bust an assignment in the passing game or guess which hole to fill in the running game rather than just wait for the play to develop and do his one-eleventh.
All right, then. These are the… uh… multiple and serious negatives of Jabrill Peppers. Offsetting these are some meager positives that may one day see him squeeze onto a Division I football field.
- Brewster, 247: "Peppers is a rare athlete with potential to be great at the next level. He is one of the most talented players I have ever seen at the high school level. At 6-foot-1, and 205-pounds, Peppers has college ready size to go with un-matched speed and explosiveness."
- Dohn, Scout: "Peppers has it all. The speed, acceleration, change of direction, ability to turn his hips and cover down or across the field, leadership, competitiveness, physicality, strength and a high football IQ."
- Adam Friedman, Rivals: "Peppers' incredible natural athleticism combined with his big frame and tireless work ethic has helped him become a true lockdown cornerback. "
- Scott Kennedy, Scout: "…could play four to five different positions and excel at them. He is a strong running back. He is as fluid as a good corner. He hits like a linebacker. He could play safety. You could honestly take him and put him in an outside linebacker position and he would flourish. He is going to return kicks. He is going to return punts. He catches anything that is near him. He is spectacular."
- Tom Luginbill, ESPN: "…in the past nine classes we are not quite sure we have seen a skilled athlete on defense like Peppers. He is as naturally gifted and explosive of an athlete as we can recall and he could play five positions."
- ESPN evaluation: "Has sudden movements but can also accelerate at a premium level with great top-end speed. … Will arrive with or shortly after the ball before the receiver can react. Naturally gets his head around to locate the ball and competes for it like a WR when it's in the air. Shows really good tracking and ball skills and a natural awareness around the football in all three phases of the game. … Shines in tight coverage … Takes sharp angles, closes strong with great burst and will wrap and pop as a tackler. … game changer."
- Tim Sullivan, Rivals: "While he's not his listed 6-1 (more like a shade under 6-0), Peppers' weight won't be in question. He is already built like an NFL defensive back, and hits with the force you'd expect. Throughout the week in practice, he could barely prevent himself from laying a big hit in the run game or against a wide receiver while playing coverage … also every bit the explosive athlete we expected him to be. "
- USC coach: "Holy s---, that's him? I've only seen two players in high school with a body like that and both of them are named Peterson [Adrian and Patrick]."
"Is that all?" you scowl whilst raising a glass of cognac to your lips. "I had heard he was rather something." You're such an elitist.
Anyway, everyone who has seen Peppers has come away fanning themselves and trying to jam more stars into the guy's profile. There is no dissention here, except as to where he will play.
Two of the above evaluations mention he could play four or five positions (RB, WR, CB, S, and maybe OLB is how that breaks down), and several articles bat that possibility about. 247's JC Shurburtt asserts that he's a surer thing on offense because there's no denying his ability there ("electric and dynamic") and he may outgrow the corner spot if he's not enough of a freak athlete to outgrow the corner spot and still play corner. On the other hand, Rivals suggests he's more of a sure thing on D, and everyone ranks him there.
This was not at cornerback
So then where does he end up? We've already had a rather long comedy breakdown of something Peppers did on offense on this site. Meanwhile, poke an analyst in the right mood, as Sam Webb did, and you'll find yourself asking a follow-up question like so:
You mentioned he could play five positions at the next level. At what position do you think he would have the greatest impact?
And the floodgates veritably open with comparisons to other players. Most are corners, but some don't make any sense so the ones that do make sense are split between CB, S, and offense: Take your pick from:
- Joe Haden, CB, Florida/Cleveland Browns. This was Rivals' rather bizarre shot at a comparison, one that starts out with "physically, Haden and Peppers aren't very similar." They do assert that Haden and Peppers are both "strong, physical cornerbacks" who will come up against the run. Haden was a HS QB, just about exclusively.
- Greg Reid, CB, FSU/St Louis Rams. Reid is apparently the nouveau Antione Winfield since he is 5'8" but Peppers's UA coach brought him up as a comparison point because he levels people: "He reminded me of Greg Reid. I’ve never seen a corner come down that fast underneath -- that aggressive. He is a corner that I think can hit like a linebacker. He wants to hit. He doesn’t want to stray from a hit. To be that muscular he has great fundamentals. I think he’s probably the most physical corner we have here.” This gentlemen then said he was going to be a safety/rover/hybrid guy after comparing him to a 5'8" corner.
- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU/Arizona. The most sensible CB comparison comes from Peppers himself, who notes their almost identical size. 247's Clint Brewster also cites Peterson in his evaluations.
- Reggie Bush, RB, USC/Lions. Since no one ventured a specific player who made sense when talking about Peppers's vast offensive potential, this one's mine. When searching for an offensive comparison, Scout's Scott Kennedy started talking about De'Anthony Thomas, a 165-pound dude when he entered college. Bush is now listed at 203 on his NFL bio and has the same height as Peppers; Peppers can make a legit claim to his explosiveness. Peppers projects as a RB/WR space hybrid type guy more than a Green-style pounder.
- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee/Chiefs. Kennedy did bring up an interesting name whilst fighting himself about where to play Peppers: Berry, a box safety/hybrid space player/all-around-pain: "I think his impact on the game [would be maximized by] letting him roam around a little bit and freelance and let him play – an Eric Berry style of safety where they would walk him up. I mean, Eric Berry had 15 tackles for loss. He is that kind of a player. Eric Berry, I thought, was maybe the best player in college football a couple of years ago.”
Meanwhile, the guy you may have heard of mentioned above in You May Remember Me From Such Players as spans all of these things: a corner, return guy, and occasional wide receiver at Michigan, Charles Woodson spent time at corner, safety, and nickel in the NFL, excelling at all three. As the NFL game became more spread out, Woodson flipped inside to provide the triple threat skills the ideal HSP manages: blitz, cover, and support the run. A former Stanford player lays out Peppers' ability in that department:
Peppers shows on video to be a very tough player and a violent tackler. If he does, as most expect, end up on the defensive side of the ball, his reaction skills could place him in the role of a top-end cornerback. However, his willingness and ability to strike and his blitzing competence could make Peppers an excellent safety, given that he is already around six feet tall and 200 pounds, or a corner who could master the nickelback role when necessary. He closes well on run plays and does so with a purpose, making him an all-around football player well worthy of his gaudy offer list.
Erase the first word in that evaluation and it may as well read "Woodson."
Now… take a look at the Michigan roster and think back to what they were doing with the defense in spring: one high safety, cornerbacks in your grill, one definitively box safety plunging down to the line to disrupt things. Generally it is harder to make the big game-changing impact from a safety spot, but if you've got the skillset it is possible—Berry was the fifth pick in the draft—and Peppers seems to have it.
What about next year? Expect a bit of a slow start if Peppers does slot in at corner. Paramus used Peppers mostly as a safety, so the finer points of tight coverage are things he'll have to develop. His UA position coach:
“Maybe he needs to work on just the biggest fundamentals of a cornerback,” Cox said. “We all know he’s aggressive now so it’s now work on reading the routes a little quicker, reading the quarterback drops, understanding the pass drops a little better.
“He’s more run oriented. You can tell he wants to play run, run, run -- sit back a little more and work on your passing routes, work on the quarterback drops and your receiver breaks.”
"I definitely want to improve on my hip flexibility," Peppers said. "I know that I've been ranked and seen as the top cornerback in the country, but people don't realize that it's actually a pretty new position for me. I don't have a lot of experience there. Given that, I know I need to continue to learn about the position and learn how to understand it. Once I really understand and grasp it and am able to combine it with my athletic ability, the sky will be the limit for me at the position."
Perhaps this would be arrogant, except literally everyone else who has described Peppers's potential has echoed it. So it's just normal.
Don't expect him to take too long, though. Unlike Brandon Watson he's had to do a variety of things in a variety of ways. As a bonus, various coaches say he picks things up quickly. His high school coach:
“He's playing safety for us and our defense is really a complicated type defense. We don’t sit in one thing. We combo cover. He’s used as a robber, he blitzes, he makes calls on the field himself, the check coverages. We tried to broaden his football horizon and say you know what, you’re one of the top-rated kids in the country, you’re going to learn the game big time and we’re going to put a lot on you.”
If Michigan does chuck him in at safety he could win the starting job opposite Wilson quickly. Probably not opener quickly; Big Ten play is a possibility.
I was in Camp Boundary Corner before doing this evaluation and now I'm torn between that and Safety Of Doom who moves down to play nickel/SAM against spread teams, sort of like Stevie Brown except riding an avalanche of dinosaurs. I won't regard any move as a bad sign, but rather an an attempt to get him on the field.
"I treat Jabrill like he's one of our coaches," Partridge says. "I'll tell him things that I would never tell other players. I treat him like one of the coaches because he can handle it, he gets it."
Why Charles Woodson? You're damn right I'm breaking out the big one. If not for Peppers, then for who?
And it is a super-tight comparison anyway. Peppers and Woodson are both burly boundary corner types with the physicality to get in the box and put a guy on the ground. Peppers was the top cornerback in the country; Woodson was also but just wasn't rated like it. Dynamic skills extend to offense, where return jobs and opportunities to moonlight as a slot receiver beckon. Same size, same skillset, same everything.
Guru Reliability: High. All say the same thing, was scouted top to bottom for years, all star game appearance.
Variance: Low. Already physically ready. Some question about experience at the cornerback spot but CB is a location about athleticism above all. Has 87 backup options if CB doesn't work out.
Ceiling: Can't hold us.
General Excitement Level: Yowza.
Projection: Michigan's jam-packed corner situation makes things a little questionable in year one. Is he displacing one of Taylor/Countess/Lewis? Well… maybe. None of those guys bring the size Peppers does to the table and that boundary corner spot is just begging for a guy who has the size and athleticism he does. But that'll happen gradually, as has been the case for all Michigan cornerback standouts past: about half a year working his way into the lineup before a mid-season promotion to the starting job.
Taylor departs after this year so the boundary spot should be his for the next two or three years, probably two.
The other option is for Peppers to be a heavily box-oriented safety and hybrid space player. It is not a terrible idea what with Michigan in possession of Lewis and Stribling for the next three years plus Countess for the next two; guys like Peppers can have the same level of impact elite corners do and the potential upgrade at SS looks like a bigger one than the potential upgrade at CB.
And what about the other side of the ball? He'll be given every opportunity to take kickoff and punts from day one; Norfleet is going to have to hold him off. Working him into the offense is probably something for 2015 and beyond. Once that milestone is hit, though, you'd have to be nuts not to at least explore the possibility.
It could happen?
Red Berenson has two years left on his contract and says this will be his last one. Speculation about his replacement has been rife. Veritably so. Folks around the program have been chattering about Red Wings coach Mike Babcock taking over for a few years now, primarily Michael Spath at the Wolverine but also from guys at the Daily:
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) April 29, 2014
Despite the chatter, the idea a sought-after NHL coach would take the pay and prestige cut to pilot a college program has always been a "pull the other one, it has bells on" kind of thing. I have believed that people around the Michigan hockey program believe the thing about Babcock without really believing it myself.
That opinion is undergoing a bit of a shift.
Yesterday, a press conference sent the Michigan hockey blogosphere into a tizzy, and today fuller articles hit the News and MLive. While the comment about being Red's assistant is clarified as a joke by MLive. The fuller picture contained therein is one of a guy who seems to have a plan that involves having a job that's not necessarily with the Red Wings.
“I do want him back. I think we work good together.”
Coach, after mentally crossing out the word "good" and replacing it with "well":
Babcock, who turned 51 on Tuesday, said it was “no priority whatsoever” to get a new deal, adding “I doubt it” when asked if he’d talk extension.
That has to be unprecedented: a coach openly stating he doesn't care about a new contract. Charlie Weis is still getting paid, you guys.
Unfortunately, in context the quote about "definitely" staying in Detroit is just about next year, because he's got a daughter who's a senior in high school.
“My daughter’s going into her Grade 12 year. I’m either going to be the coach of the Red Wings or I’ll be Red’s assistant coach for a year,” Babcock said. “For sure I’m staying in Detroit. I haven’t thought about going anywhere else.”
So don't read too much into that.
Still, in marked contrast to a GM who says he'll discuss an extension with the club Babcock is talking about a year-to-year deal after this season. That is the kind of thing you do when you have something else in mind. It may be a temporary thing or he may be looking for a change of scenery to another NHL club. It is a concrete step towards Babcock at Yost, and as such gives the chatter out of Ann Arbor a credence it lacked yesterday.
I assume it goes without saying that locking down a guy who voluntarily left the Red Wings after a decade would be the coup to end all coups.
I think it's really happening. Mike Babcock-to-Michigan rumors have just been turned up to 11:
Mike Babcock says not worried about negotiating for extension, will either remain coach of Red Wings or be assistant at U of M/ Berenson
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) April 29, 2014
That is quite a statement: "eh, if I don't continue to coach one of the most storied franchises in the NHL I'll just go be Red's assistant." If Michigan sticks to the plan that would be a one-year apprenticeship before the job came open.
Oh really. Paging Captain Renault: Mitch McGary's drug test won't impact his draft stock.
"No, not really, because you know what, probably 70 percent of the league does that (smokes marijuana)," the scout told MLive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
But what about the spirit of sport, NBA? What about the spirit of sport?
"Appropriate." Matt Hayes walks up to the unionization issue on a tee and takes a Casey-like swing:
So if we’re going to do this; if we’re going to call athletes employees (or whatever you want to call them) and expand benefits and increase their ability to market and make money off themselves, the consequences for violating rules must be swift and appropriate.
Gone are the days where Troy Smith can take $500 from a booster, sit out a bowl game, get reinstated and two years later finish his career by winning the Heisman Trophy.
If you take $500 from a booster now, you lose eligibility. Permanently.
Hayes, prone on the ground, cartoon birds circling his head. The tee, untouched.
The average Troy Smith is still going to get the money, but will not be punished. Ramping up penalties for infractions that 99% of offenders will not get caught for is like throwing people in jail for speeding.
I mean, who cares? Who cares that Troy Smith now has 500 dollars? Level playing field, you say?
Gone are the days of second, third and fourth chances as it relates to— take your pick— arrests (and convictions), academic failure, failed drug tests (performance enhancing or recreational), or any behavior that harms a university’s reputation.
Let me just direct you to the quote above about Mitch McGary. Or, you know, society. The society in which those first time arrests and convictions generally result in probation or diversion so that people can have a second chance. If people were held to the standards Matt Hayes is advocating for newly professional-ish college athletes, unemployment would run around 50% and include Matt Hayes.
Let's goooooo. The News profiles now-critical Mark Donnal, collecting the various encouraging quotes about him that have been dropping in the past couple months:
“He’s definitely displayed a couple of specific skill sets,” Alexander said. “Mark is a tremendous passer, both in traffic and on the perimeter. His shooting range makes him a capable and reliable pick-and-pop jump shooter on the perimeter.
“He has a great face-up game in the post. The thing he discovered through added strength is the ability to rebound the ball in traffic.”
With sufficient three-point range to drag posts out to the perimeter, Michigan's post guys are liable to find shotblockers absent when they get by their guys. It'll be interesting to see what happens Walton and LeVert's shooting percentage at the rim when Donnal is out there providing Beilein his first shooting five since his arrival in Ann Arbor. I'm more concerned about his defense and rebounding—by the end there, Jordan Morgan was in beast mode.
Bacari is at least making the right noises about where he's headed:
“The thing that really excites me as his position coach is that nasty edge that he brings to the table, as well.”
He also has an interesting quote about how at Michigan "you are who you can guard," and the offense takes care of itself. Donnal will start at the five—out of necessity now—and has some ability to move out to the four as he "continues to improve his conditioning and lateral quickness." Given the composition of Michigan's roster the next couple years it doesn't seem like he'll be spending much, if any, time at the 4.
How much thing X irritates coaches, officially. Michigan's defensive grading system seems a little out of whack to me:
Like… forcing a fumble—hit the ballcarrier with enough force to make him drop the ball—is way harder than recovering one—get lucky, fall down. And what counts as a "missed tackle"? Missed tackles come in all shapes and sizes: you can let someone outside of you for a huge gain, which is super super bad, or you can not quite get a guy down but delay him enough that the cavalry rallies to stop him a yard after you would have. I'm guessing that latter probably counts as a tackle and the former gets a CRITICAL ERROR added to it.
Even so, it seems like "missed assignment" is the worst of all possible things. Missed assignments are touchdowns waiting to happen. When I do the UFRs some guy doing something that doesn't make any sense gets a serious downgrade and most of the coach types who have commented seem to agree with that assessment.
But being a coach is always a compromise between what you actually think in your head and what you think is the best way to get 85 guys doing a complicated thing well. See: the entire concept of "coachspeak." Or "Devin Gardner might start."
Just don't advertise it during games. Michigan Stadium is now open for prom:
Michigan Stadium is getting ready for prom season as part of a push to use the home of Wolverines football for more events during the offseason.
About 230 students from Durand High School, about 45 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, will take the field May 10 — the first time the Big House has hosted a prom, The Ann Arbor News reported (http://bit.ly/1mQvHXn ). And Dexter High School's prom is there May 17.
Hooray incremental revenue, as long as incremental revenue is not flogged at my ears during the games. See also: weddings, facebook, twitter, nonrevenue sports.
Everywhere, all the time. Ramzy on Ohio State's version of creating the future is worth your time:
Ohio State does not belong to you. You just happen to work there at this moment - you're stewards for a rich inheritance you're passing along to someone else that no one will ever cash. That's what Ohio State is. You did not build this brand. You can only damage or improve it.
And you should find as many ways as possible to give it away for free. Businesses do this all the time because it gives them a great return and it's terrific exposure for future buyers. Future buyers. This is where we talk about the children who don't have wealthy parents or opportunities to embark on a wallet-crushing fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
Also in this genre is a post from Get The Picture, a Georgia blog:
It’s not like money is a problem in Athens. It’s just that there seems to be little thought to spending it in a way that makes the fan base content. I think back to the shameful way North Campus was treated before Michael Adams had his hissy fit and essentially shut down the tailgate experience; much of that could have been resolved with better security, more restroom facilities and a reasonable amount of attention paid to trash removal. None of that is exactly back-breaking from a financial standpoint for a school with Georgia’s resources. It’s just that no one in a position to improve things could be bothered with it. And that’s a story you could repeat in many other ways.
Instead, we’re offered enhanced wi-fi, ever more intrusive piped in music and goofy sideshows like yesterday’s mascot abomination as a solution. But I don’t weigh the prospect of live attendance on the basis of my short-term attention span. The home experience is about greater comfort and convenience. I don’t wait to go to the kitchen for a drink, my bathroom smells nice and I can always find a place to park. This is the lesson I’m afraid McGarity and his AD peers are missing. I want what I got yesterday – a feeling that the money I’m shelling out is somehow being spent to benefit my experience in a way that gives me what I have at home, while making me feel glad I came.
I also recommend the comments, this one in particular:
UGA AA for so long thought that buying a ticket was the only way to gt a good view. Then 27 inch crt color television gave ay to 60′ HD home theaters and the Butts-Mehre suits haven’t yet figured out how to compete without creating something to sell.
Georgia fans are basically the Michigan fans of the SEC and they're experiencing the same things, albeit with less of a swoon with their football program. The comparison they're making here is to the Masters, which is a fantastic example of an organization successfully creating a culture of otherness that makes it in fact special. While that comes with costs—see women and minority membership—they're holding onto their fanbase because they make it feel good to be a fan. I can't say I remember the last thing Michigan did that was a step in that direction.
That reminds me of a thing I think I failed to relate when it happened: before the Nebraska game this year I was walking to my family's tailgate. As I neared the stadium the jumbotron was showing me the previous week's game… against Michigan State. Devin Gardner got annihilated and intercepted and I was like "feels bad, man."
It was the previous week's Not Michigan Replay, it turned out, and I just thought to myself "is there literally no one in the athletic department with the common sense to not show Michigan fans highlights of a game in which they rushed for –48 yards?" People are just in charge of things for no reason.
The ultimate Pandora's Box question. Oh, man. As scaremongering anti-union/reform questions go, this is the best/worst:
Could boosters treat recruiting like the Wild West?
oh no what would that look like
Etc.: Why the O'Bannon case is a duel to the death. At least everyone hates the way the McGary thing went down. More evidence that Michigan's upper reaches are inappropriately secretive. Jordan Morgan report card. Talking with Ricky Doyle. The Big Ten basketball powerhouse.
Gardner's implied question is the same we're all asking [Fuller]
The 2014 football season hinges on whether the offensive line can go from one of the worst in the country to just mediocre. We've mentioned the downsides: it has to replace two NFL tackles. The upside is an offensive coordinator who plans to simplify the things they'll have to do, a ton of talent, and rather good excuses for why the bulk of guys weren't so good (youth compounded by panicky/insane coaching decisions). The competence of coaches replaced, arriving, or remaining can't be determined until they play, so guesses at their 2014 performance have to be extrapolated from what we know of the current players and the typical progression of men like them.
When Michigan was still putting together those 2012 and 2013 classes I looked over the history of our offensive linemen going back to the mid-'90s, because my memory before that is weak.
|Year in program|
|Not on team||1||6||13||17||29|
|% Solid +||1%||11%||21%||29%||37%|
The results were the growth chart below. I've reproduced it with updated data from 2013:
Really it's more specific than the above. If you're the backup to Steve Hutchinson in 2000 you could be pretty solid or terrible, but if you were an interior lineman on the 2013 team and hale and still couldn't crack the depth chart, you were obviously not good at that point. One thing working in our favor is Michigan has historically brought in offensive line classes rated about as highly as the recent crops. If you tried this with MSU over the same period there would be stretches of 2-stars (and, um, personal issues) to throw off the numbers.
A more precise way to show where our OL are at this point is to find closer comparisons to historic players at this point in their careers. I couldn't figure out a good way to show "tracks" before, but I think I've learned enough about table html now to make a crude flow chart. Sample sizes are way too small to say "Kalis will be X good by Y season," but if you can read it to say "At that age, Steve Schilling and Patrick Omameh were both about where Kalis is now." Usefulness is better at capping expectations: you can always say so-and-so was a backup at this point, but Miller's not going to be Molk.
|Not on team (x)||TransferRS||Backup||Solid||Star||Jonathan Goodwin|
|Solid||Star||Star||Jansen, Hutchinson, Backus, Long, Lewan|
|Star||Star||David Brandt, David Baas|
|Solid||Star||Tony Pape, Adam Kraus, Schofield|
|Liability||Solid||Frazier, Petruziello, Bihl, Ortmann|
|Liability||David Moosman, Perry Dorrestein|
|Backup||Ben Mast, Courtney Morgan|
|Backup||Solid||Kurt Anderson, Leo Henige|
|Backup||N. Parker, Denay, Kolodziej, McAvoy|
|Unrenewed||Partchenko, Potts, Christopfel, Gaston, DeBenedictis, Ciulla, Gallimore, Khoury|
|Injuries||Zirbel, Mossa, Sharrow, Brooks, Schifano, C. Bryant, Tannous, A.Brown, Simelis, Berishaj, C.Pace|
|Transfers||Ries, Moltane, Zuttah, Wermers, O'Neill, Posada|
[Discussion after the jump]
With Signing Day and spring practice in the rearview mirror, Michigan's roster should remain basically intact until fall and possibly beyond. With the media cottoning on to the enormous hole in the roster created by the last Rodriguez and hybrid Rodriguez/Hoke/Process classes, it's time to update Attrition Watch.
A last look at Rodriguez's first full class. Starter-level contributors are italicized; (sometimes projected) NFL draft picks bolded.
Jeremy Gallon, Justin Turner, Taylor Lewan
Played Out Eligibility: Will Campbell, Craig Roh, Denard Robinson, Vincent Smith, Brandin Hawthorne, Jeremy Gallon, Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, Michael Schofield, Cam Gordon, Fitz Toussaint, Thomas Gordon, Brendan Gibbons
Didn't Take Fifth Year(1): Mike Jones.
Transferred for PT (3): Vlad Emilien, Je'Ron Stokes, Isaiah Bell
Academics/Not Being Nice (3): Justin Turner, Tate Forcier, Adrian Witty
Injury (1): Teric Jones
Left Football: N/A
This class lost a little bit of its luster every time Toussaint tried to pick up a blitz, but this is still a class you can do excellent things with as long as you surround it with other talent. It features two bookend NFL tackles, the season receiving yardage record-holder, Denard Robinson(!), and six to eight other important contributors. Your 11-2 blip is built around these guys.
DOOOOOOOOOOM! Your Freep class.
Dorsey, Gardner, Vinopal
Enrolled (3): Devin Gardner, Jake Ryan, Will Hagerup
Did Not Take Fifth Year(2): Richard Ash, Jordan Paskorz
Played Out Eligibility(4): Jeremy Jackson, Drew Dileo, Jibreel Black, Courtney Avery.
Transferred for PT (6): Ricardo Miller, Cullen Christian, Marvin Robinson, Carvin Johnson, Jerald Robinson, Ray Vinopal
Academics/Not Being Nice (5): Demar Dorsey, Antonio Kinard, Austin White, Davion Rogers, Conelius Jones
Injury (3): Terry Talbott, Terrance Talbott, Christian Pace
Left Football (3): Ken Wilkins, DJ Williamson, Stephen Hopkins
Nothing miserably bad has happened to this already miserably bad class since August. Will Hagerup has hung on to a roster spot; Ash departed after getting his degree, as did Paskorz. That leaves three of 27 players on the roster, including the starting QB and most dynamic player the defense has.
That is of course horrendous, and about 80% of the blame should be heaped upon Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez struck out on tight ends and OL left and right during this period, compounding that issue with some horrible talent evaluation—of the guys who left early, only Ray Vinopal has made any kind of impact at a BCS school.
Baumgardner's article comes with a depressing Big Ten retention rate chart showing Michigan at the bottom at 26%; three teams are tied at 40% for next worst: Minnesota (coaching change), Penn State (holistic program implosion), and Indiana (coaching change, is Indiana). No one else has lost more than half their class; Northwestern leads the way at 82% with MSU second.
Frank Clark 50 pounds ago, Chris Barnett, Tony Posada
This was the hybrid RR/Hoke class in which Hoke found himself with three weeks to pile ten guys in. Late Hoke pickups are denoted with H.
Enrolled (11): Justice Hayes(H), Brennen Beyer, Raymon Taylor(H), Blake Countess, Delonte Hollowell, Frank Clark(H), Desmond Morgan, Russell Bellomy(H), Keith Heitzman (H), Jack Miller, Matt Wile(H)
*[Bryant actually committed after Hoke was hired but had been favoring Michigan so long that Rodriguez deserves the credit there.]
Transferred for PT (2): Tamani Carter(H), Thomas Rawls(H).
Academics/Not Being Nice (2): Chris Barnett(H), Kellen Jones
Injury (2): Antonio Poole(H), Chris Bryant.
Left Football (3): Chris Rock (basically: is walk-on at OSU now), Greg Brown, Tony Posada.
Rawls and Bryant are added to the dead list here; the Bryant departure leaves the OL count from the 2010 and 2011 classes at a whopping one, Jack Miller. Rawls was a signing-day reach who represented Peak Fred Jackson as Michigan scrambled after the process; Bryant was a three/four star borderline OL who needed to take a lot of weight off, much like Posada. Posada showed up for a cup of coffee; Bryant couldn't remain healthy enough to stay on the field, though he did start a few games in the middle of last year.
While this class is better than its predecessor it represents the bulk of the seniors on the roster. That's a problem when you've only got 11 of them and one is an offensive lineman. An attrition rate of 45% that could still go up is middling at best, something Michigan could not afford after the 2010 crater.
Redshirt sophomores and juniors.
Funchess, Henry, Kalis
Enrolled: Dennis Norfleet, Sione Houma, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Devin Funchess, AJ Williams, Kyle Kalis, Blake Bars, Erik Magnuson, Ben Braden, Ondre Pipkins, Willie Henry, Matt Godin, Mario Ojemudia, Tom Strobel, Chris Wormley, Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, James Ross, Terry Richardson, Jarrod Wilson, Allen Gant, Jeremy Clark.
Injury(1): Kaleb Ringer.
Michigan still has all but one guy from Hoke's first class on the roster. The departure, Kaleb Ringer, had microfracture surgery and transferred to a lower level to play.
At this point there have to be a couple guys teetering on the edge of a transfer because they can't get on the two-deep—that kind of attrition is the sign of a healthy program, not a diseased one. It's worth noting that was Michigan super, super paranoid about bringing in anyone who looked like an academic risk in this class. That seemed like a reaction to the previous two recruiting efforts; now it appears to be just their standard.
Enrolled: 27 of 27.
Nobody from Hoke's second class has exited after one year.
Enrolled: 7 of 16 with the rest pending. There haven't been any whispers of academic issues except with kids Michigan ends up not getting, so it's likely the class arrives intact.
Michigan's picked up a commitment from NH SF/SG Aubrey Dawkins, a 6'4" sleeper sort just discussed in this afternoon's recruiting post. The son of Stanford coach and former Duke star Johnny Dawkins, he picked Michigan over Dayton and will come in this fall.
Informative update coming.
Dawkins has the kind of rankings you expect from a guy with a placeholder photo many places. 247 has him a three star and the #67 SG, Rivals an unranked three star. ESPN and Scout still have him a two-star member of the class of 2013.
Dawkins took a prep year, so much of his scouting is old. ESPN hasn't updated his profile since last February. What they saw then($):
…ideal frame for the scoring guard position with excellent length. He does a terrific job of facing up his opponent and blowing by him to get to the basket. … can knock down the 3-point shot and his release looks relatively smooth… must get better handling pressure while dribbling. His handle can get sloppy when defenders get into him-especially when he goes left. His jump shot is solid, but as he gets stronger it needs to get more consistent for the scoring guard position.
That is just about it for scouting reports before his prep year. The major sites didn't collect any this year, either, but fortunately the NE prep school scene has spawned a number of regional sites that track the various D-I players hanging around.
So we know Dawkins had a bust-out performance in February of this year in the NPSI tourney, which is apparently a thing where all the fancy pants schools draw sabres and joust. Three different outfits took note. NERR:
The six-foot-six post-graduate had all parts of his game clicking. He was hot from behind the arc and athletic in transition, but equally important was the level of energy he was able to provide his team on both ends of the floor. He finished with 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.
…breakout performer over the weekend in Providence. Sporting a quality physique and playmaking abilities at the tin, the one question mark surrounding the North Carolina native has always been in his shot making from behind the arc. The son of Stanford head coach, Johnny Dawkins, the younger Dawkins erased all questions surrounding his long range attempt and in his final outing in Rhode Island, hit on four 3’s and at one time, had scored 28 of his squad’s 52 points. …definite mid-major plus recruit, at the very least.
And Cox Sports:
Aubrey Dawkins was perhaps most outstanding. The lanky big man can play all three perimeter positions, and has improved his outside shooting to the degree where burying the three pointer is expected when left open.
Adam Finklestein mentioned Dawkins first in the video accompanying that quote, speaking thusly:
He showed his length and athleticism that everybody knew about. Everybody knew he was a great defender. He handles and passes the ball well enough to play all three perimeter postions. But what was critical to his performance was how well he shot the ball from the three point line. That was the big question mark in his game, and he was virtually automatic with his feet set from downtown.
An athletic guard around 6'5" who can shoot and slash but isn't going to cross a dude over and get to the rim—sounds like your archetype there is Tim Hardaway, Jr. Dawkins has had plenty of time to get on radars and did not until very late, so don't expect freshman fireworks.
That said, he is legit bouncy.
While he's not GRIII, he's got the midair pause going on a few of those alley-oops. Also, he finishes with both hands in some seemingly awkward ways.
A guy with good size and athleticism flying under the radar implies a lack one outstanding skill that puts him in recruitable Bin A or B or C. If you ask him about himself he claims to be a jack of all trades:
“I think my game is an all around game. I don’t think I do anything especially good. I do a lot of things well. Taking it to the basket, shooting from outside, high IQ, value the ball, athletic. I think that about sums it up. Make the best play, not settle for outside shots, take contested shots, do anything I can to win really.
He told Dayton's Rivals site the same thing nearly word for word($).
Scouting video put together by UMHoops shows a guy who can attack off closeouts but the one time he's asked to straight-up beat a guy in an iso situation (late shot clock) it looks awkward and ends up in a turnover. On the other hand, his shooting looks at least serviceable in this small sample size; have to figure Beilein can make him decent or better.
FWIW, Dawkins is self reporting he is 6'6", 185. He's reported anywhere from 6'4" to 6'6"; if he has added an inch or two that would be nice.
In high school, Dawkins averaged 19 and 7 for a team that sometimes did things like score 25 points in an entire game (17 of those were from Dawkins).
At New Hampton, Dawkins averaged about 13 points a game, which led the team. Prep stats can be funky, as those teams are often loaded with multiple D-I prospects. Mitch McGary had trouble even starting for his despite being Mitch McGary.
Michigan's main competition for Dawkins was Dayton, the A-10 squad that just reached the Elite Eight. He had a number of other low-major offers. Rhode Island, another A-10 school, also apparently offered. Nevada was interested.
If you're wondering why Dawkins didn't play for his father, he was direct about that before his senior year at Palo Alto:
“It’s a hard school to get into; I don’t care how good you are, you’ve got to have the grades to get in. I’m not going to go there.”
All right then.
In addition to the clips above, here are some highlights from Dawkins's prep year:
You can watch a replay of one of Dawkins's NPSI games for one dollar here.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
With Michigan's two wing slots thoroughly occupied this fall, Dawkins will compete with MAAR for minutes behind Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin, and then again with MAAR and any 2015/2016 recruits when LeVert and/or Irvin heads to the draft… at least at the SG spot. Michigan may go with Kam Chatman or Cole Huff at the 3, should Huff commit.
As a coach's kid with a nice frame, Dawkins has the potential to be a nice 3-and-D wing for Michigan with an upside similar to THJ's, minus an inch or two of height and vertical.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has one spot left and looks set to spend that on Nevada transfer Cole Huff. If things break down with Huff they would likely bank it for next year unless they really want a 4 or 5 to come in right now. If they're willing to take a transfer who has to sit it appears that need is not severe.
Hey MGoBlog team,
Thought it might be fun to list what would reasonably need to happen on order for Michigan to have a B1G division championship season. I've got: dramatically improved interior OL play, inferior outside OL replacements that still perform above expectations, better QB decision making (fewer interceptions), adequate WR replacements for graduating seniors, improved DL play, and status quo the rest of the way. Follow up question is, what are the odds of these things happening and can we see any historic examples of these sorts of improvements in just one year? Or are we just screwed and should hibernate until basketball season?
Uh. Let me blow the dust off my optimism beanie, place it upon my pate, and spin the propellor.
I feel… marginally better. All right, let's tackle this. If Michigan's going to win the division they have to at least split their dual road games against MSU and OSU and then hope misfortune befalls the one they lose to a couple times. Oh, and beat Penn State and Northwestern and not, like, blow it against Rutgers and Minnesota.
How do they do that? Probably the same way they beat Notre Dame and nearly beat Ohio State last year: Devin Gardner playing like the baby of Denard and Tom Brady. The run game is just not going to be good enough to rely upon. Things that need to happen:
Magnuson and Braden are at least okay. Or Cole or whoever ends up playing tackle.
The interior line is not a complete shamocracy, and someone can pick up a blitz. Reducing bad decisions from the quarterback is at least 50% on reducing the number of opportunities to make bad decisions under pressure.
Gardner increments. 8.6 YPA, 450 yards against OSU, 60% completions… Gardner does not have to go particularly far to be B10 championship quality even if he has a heavy burden.
The defensive line can hold up against mean ol' OLs. The DL wasn't an enormous problem until Ondre Pipkins went down and Ohio State's terrible matchup came to town. With Henry back and still on an improvement kick and the losses eminently sustainable (Washington inexplicably did not play as much as he did as a junior and Black was way, way out of position by year's end) plus Michigan's initial DL rush starting to bear fruit, improvement here is likely.
Pass rush has to exist, in a serious fashion. I'd be more comfortable about this if Ryan was still your edge threat and Clark was bookending him. As it is, increments from Beyer and Clark plus added aggression also seem to bode well here.
A competent safety has to be found opposite Wilson. Your guess as good as mine.
Probabilities: dodgy, very dodgy, likely, likely, 50/50. If you told me the OL would be like a C+ I'd actually be pretty positive about this season… but man, that's a long way to go from an F-, down Lewan and Schofield.
Wait you think this was on purpose?
Dave Brandon isn't a terrible negotiator, he seems to get what he wants, so presumably he wanted this home schedule. Is the point so that we alternate between having all of our difficult games away one year, then having them all at home the next? That way every other year we presumably have a great run that gets us to the B1G championship? The easy early games are obvious schedule padding...
Dave [ed: not Brandon]
I am taken aback by the idea Dave Brandon is a sly fox who always gets his way. It's true the first thing he had to tackle—stretchgate—was seemingly done with aplomb, but in retrospect since the USC case the NCAA hasn't done anything to anybody of note that didn't involve 1) multiple lies from the head coach about NCAA violations or 2) horrible horrible felonies. You or I could have piloted Michigan to a slap on the wrist once the various improprieties turned out to be 15 minutes of extra stretching and grad assistants looking in on summer practices.
- Michigan hired Brady Hoke, possibly because negotiations with Jim Harbaugh went poorly. That "all that glitters is not gold" line from the press conference lingers as bitterness over those negotiations breaking down.
- Michigan gave Brady Hoke a top ten contract when he was not in demand anywhere else and said he'd walk to Michigan.
- Michigan and Ohio State got stuck in opposite divisions with a crossover game, thus guaranteeing that Michigan would have the hardest schedule in their division over time had they lasted.
- Michigan played Alabama for less than they would get for a home game. The head-staving by Alabama made no financial sense, as Michigan traded a huge TV event and a game with ticket prices that were 50-100% higher than home game tickets for an outlay parsimonious enough that bringing the band was a big problem.
- Michigan wore a series of clowniforms. Fan pushback was so severe on this that they have dialed it back out of necessity. Meanwhile, Michigan can't even get uniforms that are, you know, uniform from Adidas.
- Notre Dame cancelled the Michigan series. They punked Brandon along the way, blindsiding him and getting themselves the last home game in the series after getting the first when the teams resumed.
- Michigan gave Al Borges a 300k raise. I mean. Gotta retain that guy.
- Michigan replaced Notre Dame with Arkansas. Look at future MSU and OSU schedules, which feature Oregon and Alabama and Oklahoma and Texas, for comparison.
- Michigan got stuck with MSU and OSU away in the same year. Not only that, they get to travel to MSU twice in a row.
- Michigan couldn't get Mitch McGary's suspension reduced. OSU DE Noah Spence is going to miss three games for testing positive for X or something like it, this after an appeal that reduced the punishment from a whole year. Meanwhile, the NCAA reduced the penalty for McGary's transgression two weeks after he received it. Michigan still got rejected by the NCAA.
With rights fees negotiated by the league, Brandon's main accomplishment as AD has been to raise ticket prices. Any bro in a suit could have done this. Any time he's had to interact with another human in an effort to protect Michigan's best interest or bottom line he's either lost or not even tried. (Night games are not an accomplishment. Networks aren't like "Michigan at night… pshaw." Michigan had been actively resisting them for years.)
His biggest negotiation wins are things that are nice for the bottom line but don't actually have any impact long term. And they're probably attributable more to the capacity of Michigan Stadium than anything else: the Winter Classic and this upcoming Man U-Real Madrid friendly.
So. While it's possible Dave Brandon wanted this home schedule—after all, he is personally responsible for the Horror II—it's more likely he just got run over by the Big Ten, because that's how things go. Things make much more sense if you think of Dave Brandon as Lucille Ball than as Gordon Gekko.
Has Michigan been the victim of B.S. penalties by the NCAA more than any other program?
...at least for the last decade? Specifically, I am thinking about the two obvious instances, which are 'Practicegate' and the recent McGary clusterf---. Both of these seems ludicrously disproportional in the severity of punishment compared to the actual crime. To compound matters, you don't need to look very far to see far more egregious punishment (e.g. Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, etc) go completely unchecked.
Of course, the other nuance to this is that Michigan seems to be doing it to themselves. If they didn't so willingly 'play ball' and try to be as open and transparent as possible, would they even be in some of these messes? It seems to me the days of trying to play by the rules is long gone, and if the NCAA isn't even going to attempt to maintain an ounce of consistency, why would Michigan continue to get hammered while most others skate by?
But in all seriousness, has Michigan been the most unlucky/attacked program by the NCAA compared to the actual transgressions that have occurred?
In terms of proven allegations versus what appears to be the standard, USC would have an excellent case just on the strength of a recent NCAA punishment docket that looks like this:
1. Penn State, pre-softening
3. Penn State, post-softening
1,000,005. Jim Tressel lying to the NCAA at least four times about illegal Terrelle Pryor benefits
1,000,006. North Carolina not even really being a college for its students.
Michigan's stretch-gate crap was essentially nothing but bad PR. Given the way that went down and how the Freep creeps knew exactly what to FOIA it is extremely likely that was an inside job. By the time the NCAA got done with that they were specifically calling out the original article as sensationalized and inaccurate. The punishment was something like a 2% reduction in practice time and the loss of a grad assistant or two. I have no problem with the results of that investigation. It was a joke that turned up some technical malfeasance and was treated as such.
The McGary thing is just terrible luck and the NCAA being the dumbest organization on the planet. Plenty of other athletes have gotten nailed for Violating The Special Spirit Of Sport.
As to your point about not playing ball and just cheating your ass off because you'll get away with it… well, yeah. That is obviously the move. When the best team in the country is going into every year knowing they have to cut like ten guys before fall and it doesn't impact their recruiting, the way to the top is obvious: ruthlessness and lawlessness. By the book, USC probably got what they deserved. They feel aggrieved because almost literally everyone else is doing it and getting away with either nothing or minor penalties.
90% of the crap Michigan goes through they do to themselves. The NCAA is not the problem.
Hello. Ace is on vacation, so I take over recruitin' for the week.
Let's start with basketball, because things are happening(!)
Huff and Dawkins will decide within a month
The departure of Mitch McGary leaves Michigan with two scholarship yet to give in this recruiting class and Michigan seems determined to give them, what with someone blowing up into a lottery pick every year. Unusually for spring-term basketball recruiting, when things like "Michigan got a commitment from Spike who?" occur, the picture here is crystal clear.
Option 1A: CA/NH SF Aubrey Dawkins took his visit to Dayton and came back asserting that he was done taking visits($) and that he'd have a decision between the Flyers and M within a week. No offense to Dayton, but this quote seems to favor Michigan:
"It’ll really be academics… which is better from that standpoint? Which degree carries more weight?”
Some guys talk about academics and they mean having a support system that will guide them through; Dawkins talking about prestige seems like a good indicator for Michigan and its shiny rankings. Dawkins also dropped a quote about being "pleasantly surprised($)" by his visit to Dayton, which is a backhanded compliment that gives you an idea of where his mind was going into that trip. Dawkins did give a different decision criteria to the Dayton site:
"The most important thing I'm looking for is opportunity and how I can come in and contribute. Not necessarily start, but carving out a role on the team."
If Michigan can convince Dawkins of that they'll probably land him. With just fellow sleeper freshman-to-be Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman slated to back up the SF/SG spots, it seems likely they'll be able to do so.
Option 1B: Nevada SF/PF transfer Cole Huff set three visits before the McGary news, all to schools in the Midwest, and then added Michigan once their spot was definitively open. He was at Creighton yesterday, Iowa next week, and Dayton the week after. The chatter coming from Huff's camp (ie, his AAU coach Clint Parks) is positive for Michigan, to the point that quotes like this are showing up in newspapers:
“As far as Cole goes, it’s Michigan,” Parks said. “And when a school like Michigan calls…”
And that was before Huff was certain he had an offer. He is now. Huff would be a terrific add, already the top pick and pop guy in the country(!) as a sophomore coming off a year of weights and Beilein coachin'.
That would fill Michigan's scholarship allotment for the first time in a while with no seniors last year. Don't be alarmed, though. Even if Michigan does get both Huff and Dawkins they'll likely have room next year to chase the Brunsons and Colemans of the world. Michigan may not exercise their option of giving Max Bielfeldt a fifth year, Austin Hatch may end up on medical scholarship, and if LeVert continues on his current trajectory he'll be pirated away by the NBA—especially if the NBA moves to a 20-year-old minimum. The median expectation for scholarships to give next year seems to be 3, plus or minus a LeVert or Irvin or Walton.
If Michigan misses on one of the two gentlemen above, the spectacularly-named Igor Ibaka is a name that's been bandied about after announcers at older brother Serge's NBA game said he was gathering Michigan interest. Igor, a 6'9" PF currently at a JUCO as he adapts to life in the US, does not appear to be a serious target at the moment.
Nothing much is happening with 2015s, as is basketball recruiting's wont, so after the spring period resolves itself the next major event will be Michigan's annual June 15th offer spree to 2016s.
Offer watch at QB?
MI QB Alex Malzone is threw for for Nussmeier($) this week and should get clarity as to where he sits on Michigan's list. WOTS is that things went well:
I'm hearing that @alexmalzone KILLED it in his throwing session this morning! Crisp, accurate... very few balls hit the ground
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) April 28, 2014
If Michigan does offer it sounds like Malzone is likely to drop soon thereafter.
Most valuable hooray, not on lists boo
Kinnel got a Prestigious Invite this weekend
OH S Tyree Kinnel is one of the least touted defensive backs to commit to Michigan over the past couple years, and that's a good thing. Kinnel's a four star most places and will at least be holding his spot on Rivals after he was named the DB MVP($) of their most recent camp:
Kinnel's play during one-on-ones sealed the deal. He was very physical with the wide receivers and had very good instincts. Kinnel wasn't tricked by head fakes and knew when to sit on a route. He bumped many receivers off their route in the open field and was deceptively explosive when breaking on the ball.
Kinnel got an invite to their Five Star Challenge thing and will get an opportunity to move up. That was a Rivals-exclusive event FWIW, so don't expect anyone else to react.
Also of note from that camp are LBs Brendan Ferns and Darrin Kirkland. Ferns (Yes That Ferns) is Michigan freshman Michael's younger brother and despite being a 2016 he drew mention as a guy to watch, as he's already a little bigger than his brother and "moved very well in space." Ferns recently picked up offers from Minnesota and WVU to go with a Virginia one that kicked things off. Michigan is still evaluating.
Kirkland, meanwhile, has a Michigan offer and there was a window in which chatter had him strongly considering becoming member of the class. That should cease, as Kirkland's moving his commitment date back from May 30th to August after Texas and Nebraska offers and Michigan does not seem super high on his list at the moment:
Kirkland is prepared to narrow his list of offers to a top eight on Sunday. He previewed that list by naming Ole Miss and Tennessee as two schools who were strong contenders to make the cut. He has visited both programs, traveling to Ole Miss within the last month.
Kirkland did tell Brandon that Michigan would be in that top eight a couple weeks ago.
Also in guys getting diverted from Michigan, PA OL Sterling Jenkins reconfirmed his final two of OSU and PSU.
We are on this list at least
"I think the Michigan one went better than the Ohio State one to be honest. I felt a little more comfortable with the players at Michigan. Both Coach Hoke and Coach Meyer have a good idea of what they want to do at the tight end position. I think I would say that Michigan is the favorite right now though."
Post-visit glow is always something to be cautious of; in this case a guy coming off an OSU visit who still says he likes M better is probably meaningful. Clark's next stop is a June visit to MSU. Unfortunately, these days you can't just go "lol out of state recruit visiting State." See above.
FWIW, Clark's high school, Avon Old Farms, sent Mike Cox to Michigan.
That seems less than good
MN DE Jashon Cornell took a visit to Michigan State's spring game. Before he said there was a possibility he would swing by Michigan afterwards; he apparently did not. And the aftermath:
Five-star DE Jashon Cornell says Michigan State is his No. 1 school after his visit today
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 26, 2014
Whether or not that stands up, that's a new spot for MSU to be for a big time recruit who doesn't live in Michigan. It spurred a number of 247 crystal ball folks to flip their prediction to the Spartans, including the creepily accurate Steve Wiltfong. Cornell plans a decision in August, so time is running out and officials will not make an impact. Your "guhhhhh" quote of the day:
“I noticed that defense is all world and I see myself playing in that defense in the future,” Cornell said.
MSU's recruiting profit from having 40k at Spartan Stadium for an actual game instead of a desultory 10k for 90 minutes of punting and 45 minutes of disjointed scrimmage is right there. Winning the Rose Bowl probably helps, yeah.
But not all is lost at DE
NC DE Darian Roseboro, a four-star on the fringe of the top 100 in the 247 composite, just finished a four-day(!) visit to Michigan. Articles are still pending; as a preview Sam Webb dropped a quote from Roseboro's dad in a message board post entitled($)
"The frontrunner for Roseboro?"
The answers to these questions are generally "yes"; Webb further asserted on WTKA that Michigan was now in "pole position" for Roseboro. FWIW, he's been predicted to NC State by the three people who have ventured a guess on the Crystal Ball.
A dance to the death with James Franklin
NJ OL Grant Newsome isn't announcing a top list, but it appears that Michigan and Penn State are well out in front for him. He's visited both campuses, plans to decide in late June, and wants to visit M and PSU again before that:
The four-star said he wants to see the full package at Penn State and let his mother see the campus at Michigan since she couldn’t make it when he visited this spring. Newsome said he wants to decide in late June after visiting the Lions and Wolverines in late May or early June, adding he does not plan to announce a top group prior to deciding.
Newsome also mentions M and PSU most prominently in a 247 article, with secondary mention to OSU, Alabama, and LSU.
Etc.: Further good feelings about FL WR Auden Tate from 247; if he visits sounds like it's time for a commit watch. VA DE Clelin Ferrell has Michigan in his top 10-ish($), but comment chatter from guys vouched for by 247 makes it sound like VT is the proverbial lock. Michigan offers 2016 DC OL Jauan Williams, whose only experience on a college campus is at Maryland. Wide open? The widest. They've also offered 2016 GA OL Ben Cleveland.