further adventures in Jed York being unsuited for his position
Mallett/Wienke/Beaver/Newsome/Threet/Sheridan/Forcier/Denard/Gardner. Not pictured justcuz: Notorious C.O.N.E., Feagin, Conelius, Bellomy, President Kennedy & various other walk-ons, and Nachoshorts, brother to Tacopants, who is 4 inches tall and made of puppy dreams and snowflakes and was the guy Moosman was always snapping to in 2009.
It's about expectations. Among the very few diaries this week was Gordon's highly debatable retcon of recent Michigan history if the sweatervest had remained folded in a Youngstown drawer. That's about what might have happened. My diary's about what we thought would happen.
You've probably done this same exercise a million times after commitments (and 16 times since March): look at the current depth chart for that guy's position, toss in the current commits, and predict a monster future for Michigan, or wonder how in the world we will find playing time for all of these guys. Well things don't always work out how you expect, in fact they never do.
Over the next few weeks I will attempt to review our past expectations for Michigan's position groups at this time in Year X. Hopefully the knife of attrition will be much more lenient in the coming years than it was over the last few. Maybe there's something to be learned here about adjusting expectations. Maybe this is just a colossal thought loop. Either way it's not about OSU's scandal, and will hopefully make for an entertaining walk down memory lane. If it sucks, feel free to eat me alive in the comments. I'm told I taste like chicken.
This week: 2007 Offense.
What was going on:
It was a lazy offseason in pre-Apocalyptic Ann Arbor. I mean really lazy: we had like 3-6 commits at this point (Cissoko, Wermers, Moore, Witherspoon and Mike Martin) but led with plenty more, and thought '08 recruiting was just dandy. Baseball made its run on the national stage (the peak was a 2-game sweep in the regionals over No. 1 Vandy) to get us all excited-like. Mostly we sat around watching Sam McGuffie YouTube highlights and hoping Comcast wouldn't kill our ability to watch Michigan play football. Will Campbell committed for 2009, and early speculation had Larry Capers coming eventually. Cobrani Mixon became our first Facebook transfer. Comcast and the Big Ten were having their great phallis-off. On a way smaller scale John Pollack and Jim Carty were having theirs with the university over plans to install (gasp) luxury boxes at Michigan Stadium. Brian got really excited over the possibility of games on Torrents (MGoVideo debuted June 18), and spent much of the summer trying to figure out why Jonas Gray (and to a lesser extent his teammate and "package deal" Kenny Demens) didn't have a Michigan offer. Autumn Thunder made epic comparisons of people to Lord of the Rings villains, with Jim Tressel cast as Saruman. Crystal ball? Try internet connection.
We were not Harbaugh fans.
Depth Chart: Chad Henne (Sr/Sr), Ryan Mallett (Fr/Fr), David Cone (So/Jr)
Incoming: Steven Threet (4-star, 2007 Transfer/Fr from Georgia Tech), John Wienke (3-star)
Expected: Going into what everyone knew was Lloyd's last year, Michigan was the NFL's quarterback factory, having produced an unbroken line of pro passers dating back to the stone age. That such a legacy would continue was a certainty with 4-year starter and robot Chad Henne mentoring 2007 uber-recruit Ryan Mallett (who survived transfer rumors to Arkansas in late April). In the event of near disaster, Navarre-like object Cone was on the roster. Homecoming transfer Threet and the statuesque southpaw Wienke – who received his camp offer a year ago today – would be on hand if (God forbid) anything happened to Mallett from 2008-'10, or else to mop up the blood from the star's latest aerial assaults.
How'd that turn out? Ha. Henne was iffy and frustrated in the HORROR then had his shoulder blown up in the Oregonian Disaster—the rest of his heroics would be gutting it out with that shoulder to Little Brother little brother, and the legendary dismantling of Florida in the Cap One Bowl. The bubble burst on this dream with the hiring of Spread 'n Shredder Rich Rodriguez. The writing was on the wall for a 3-star pocket passer, and Wienke wisely bolted (for Iowa). Mallett transferred to Arkansas and went on to a productive career with lots of character questions. Cone stuck around to give us a fantastic YouTube video and a few garbage time cheap thrills. Threet emerged from his transfer purgatory to find himself fighting a duck-tossing walk-on for the right to get beaten up in the worst Michigan offense in ever ever. He spent the season in and out of the lineup with assorted injuries, and later transferred to Arizona State so the Richrodigan freshmen could play.
5 Point Scale of Expectation vs. Outcome: Does this scale have a zero? Way Zero.
More after the jump.
That is MGoUser11's artist's impression of OSU "legacy*" jerseys and it is spectacular. Must be nice to have Halloween taken care of for the rest of your college career.
*[grumble grumble abuse of the language by marketers grumble.]
A momentous event. Ohio State's situation, already pushing known boundaries of realness, just broke through into uncharted territory with the return of Michigan ur-blogger iBlog for Cookies. Roused from a nearly two-year absence, Vijay lays out the case for trouble:
the OSU fan belief that the school's compliance department is top notch is non-starter at this point. We have found out that they weren't monitoring athlete's vehicles, that they never really investigated Terrelle Pryor's loaner cars, that they never looked into Aaron Kniffin's relationships with players, that they never acted on information about Dennis Talbott, et al. …
The second line of defense, that this is all about Jim Tressel and 5 players, is also a non-starter, as this now appears to involve the compliance office and at least one assistant coach (one of the people who was notified directly about NCAA violations involving Talbott in 2009).
A third line of defense, or deflection, is the belief of some Ohio State fans that no program could withstand the scrutiny they have been subjected to without such problems surfacing. But a widely believed to be extremely corrupt Southern Cal program was subjected to just such scrutiny, and 3 major violations were found (2 involving Reggie Bush, one involving basketball player OJ Mayo). Michigan faced a hostile local media that first spent months investigating the academics of our football program (and found no academic fraud, no eligibility problems and no NCAA violations), and then our practice habits. Combined with the scrutiny of the NCAA, they turned up evidence of practices that ran 15 minutes over and of Quality Control assistant coaches exceeding their allowed job descriptions.
No scandals. No players suspended. No coaches forced to resign. No covers of Sports Illustrated.
There is plenty more; IBFC's strength was always laying out the facts in pursuit of a conclusion inescapable by the end of the post.
yeah, this is happening for free
Oh and that Talbott thing. So when it came about that Pryor was playing golf with the memorabilia dude I was kind of like "bah, who cares," but out of that story comes this image:
As gifts go, walking into your young son's birthday party in Columbus, Ohio, with the star quarterback of the Ohio State football team and a linebacker is the stuff of dreams. Getting that quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, at the birthday party two years in a row with a teammate seems almost incomprehensible.
Yet there was Pryor in successive December parties with different teammates for Dennis J. Talbott's son -- sights that left even partygoers wondering about what they were seeing.
"We all thought it was crazy," said one 2010 partygoer who spoke to ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on the condition of anonymity. "It was a Saturday night, and I remember sitting there watching them watch the SEC championship game [on TV]."
Terrelle Pryor. At a kid's birthday party. With some guy who drives around in a car with a "TPRYOR" license plate. Eating cake. Playing pin the tail on the donkey. Signing stuff. Listening to the Wiggles.
That in and of itself is iron-clad proof Talbott (not either of those Talbotts) was paying Pryor. Terrelle Pryor does not go to children's birthday parties for free. If anything, the 40k cited by ESPN is low. Terrelle Pryor wearing a festive hat is only happening for low six digits. That's the price—children's birthday parties are awful.
The rest of that OTL story is the usual tale of a creepy middle-aged guy who couldn't stay enrolled at OSU with massive tax debt ingratiating himself with Ohio State football players thanks to nothing more than a sizeable quantity of derring-do (according to him) and fat stacks of cash (according to everyone else). This one has some added flair: Talbott once told the Plain Dealer he'd spent five years in the minors as pitching prospect, and a business rival actually fired this quote off:
"I have been waiting 20 years for somebody to get him," Godwin said of Talbott. "I am a born-again Christian and wish no ill will. I just want him to stop hurting people."
As IBFC alludes to above, the way it makes OSU's situation worse is it adds another data point to the pile of Buckeye compliance aintgiveadamn and implicates another OSU coach, the unnamed assistant who concerned golf club employees talked to about Pryor's free rounds. If you want the whole picture I'll again refer you to IBFC but it's even harder to see OSU not getting the hammer after the latest bit.
This isn't even hard for reporters. They are heading down to Columbus and people are falling out of helicopters screaming about NCAA violations. They must feel like a guy who sits down at a poker table with a 20 grand minimum buy-in and finds the rest of the table arguing about whether a flush beats a straight. When the Free Press launched the Jihad they had to resort to misrepresenting stuff freshmen said and anonymous quotes from people who had no idea what the rules were, and follow-up stories were nonexistent. This is a feeding frenzy.
[RANDOM AWESOME COMMENT ON PLAIN DEALER STORY:
blah, blah, blah. If the rules are so utterly ridiculous and are ignored by almost everyone, then when you investigate any successful organization you will find minor errors. YOu act like Tressel is the devil or something. He was not actively endorsing this type of activity but you want to feed him to the wolves just the same. How do you follow him around a golf course even if you do know who he is playing with is an evil type? He does have to coach all the other kids plus teach classes, run practices, and I am sure many other things. I am sure he would have been awake 24/7 he would have dealt with it. Just stop making a hard working, successful American out to be something that is not warranted.
Jersey take. I retweeted some guy who mentioned that Adidas's stripe fetish made it awfully convenient that Michigan deployed "legacy" jerseys that looked nothing like anything anyone has ever worn at M but did have stripes out the wazoo. (Also stripey: the Big Chill jersey, but at least that had a breathtakingly ugly historical precedent.) Another guy said "give it a rest," so maybe this is a played out topic. The other option is the guy doesn't know how twitter works—who's following who, buddy?
In any case, the HSR has a structurally ambivalent take. The thing that worries me:
Pro: It's just one game.
Con: Unless the jerseys sell like crazy, in which case it becomes another jersey next year, and so on and so forth. I wonder if in 2012, it will be a retro Schembechler era white jersey for the game at Notre Dame or the game against Alabama.
Pro: Wait, that would be cool.
Con: Yeah, that's the problem. You let your guard down on one thing, and the next thing you know, maize jerseys.
Why would this stop? Ohio State is doing this pro combat thing every year now, and always for the Michigan game. We've taken the first step down a slippery clownslope. "It's not that bad" is the first move towards Idiocracy Stadium.
If only people made rational decisions. The Bylaw Blog suggests the Big Ten get even more militantly anti-oversigning in their own conference so they can tell recruits they won't get cut:
This disconnect between theory and practice is better legislated at the conference level. Far from ensuring the SEC maintains a competitive advantage, it offers a chance for conferences to create their own competitive advantages. While some may call it negative recruiting, there’s nothing morally wrong or impermissible about informing prospects and their parents/guardians that one conference offers more protections to student-athletes than another.
If that idea gained traction, it could turn around the race to the bottom. Imagine if conferences got creative:
- A rule that allowed for an appeal to the conference office when a scholarship is cancelled or not renewed.
- A rule requiring conference schools to renew scholarships within the first week of school, almost creating two-year scholarships.
- A rule limiting the ability of conference schools to refuse permission to contact other schools under certain conditions
If every change is quickly reduced to a national rule, there is no way for conferences to differentiate themselves.
Well, for one, competitive advantage is just one part of why oversigning is annoying/outrageous. Turning the Big Ten into the land of the ironclad offer may help swing a recruit here and there but it doesn't do much to prevent "nefarious" things from happening. For two, for every hockey player who picks college there are four third-round-or-worse draft picks plying their trade in the OHL, unlikely to make the NHL or access the nebulous scholarship packages offered therein (approximately a quarter of OHL players actually use any portion of those packages). Kids and families striving for the brass ring often don't make contingency plans because It Can't Happen To Them. The impact of the policies above would be minimal on the recruiting trail.
Stonum. Stonum got sentenced for his second DUI. He's won:
- two years probation
- a one-year suspended sentence
- mandatory enrollment in a "strict sobriety program"
- a condescending but justified lecture from the judge
The suspended license violation he picked up is dropped if he completes the sobriety program, which includes daily breathalyzer tests. I'd guess that if Stonum doesn't follow every letter of the court decree (he spent three days in jail last summer for not doing so) he's gone; if he does manage to not slip up before fall the ball will be in Hoke's court. He and Michael Floyd can have a chagrin-off.
Etc.: UMHoops scouts Michigan's elite camp. Red at one of those alumni things. Brian Kelly can coach a bit. I have no idea if this SBB post means anything but it's long and may mean OSU is lying about something else, or just that Brooks is confused, or that Ohio State can't figure out what's going on in their own department. Via Eleven Warriors, yes that's a sweatervest on a crucifix. Way to go, cooler poopers.
With sixteen commitments now on board it could start to get interesting for Michigan recruiting. They arguably have anywhere between 21-25 spots total for this class, which means they have at most 9 more scholarships available. Here's a look at what could happen next and some notes from a few prospects.
6'6", 265 lbs.
Olson's name popped up later than the other linemen Michigan has been looking at. He has an offer and took in Ann Arbor this past week.
Our flight was delayed so we got in late Tuesday night. We pushed everything to Wednesday, but I have a buddy who's a freshman there so we went out to dinner with him on Tuesday. On Wednesday we met with Coach Mallory, went to the business center, the academic center and met with the academic advisor. They took us on a tour, went to the facilities, the Big House, and Al Glick field house. It was pretty unbelievable, they have the best facilities of any school that I've been to. It's a pretty special place. I got chills walking down the tunnel and seeing the Go Blue across it. The Big House was great.
As I reported last time academics will be a huge factor in Eric's decision. He's done his homework on each school and got to see what Michigan has to offer in person.
The Ross business school is a prestigious place. They talked about the rankings and the opportunities you have from there. I asked how difficult it is to be on the football team and in the business school. They said that Zoltan Mesko did it and he was near the top of his class. With summer classes you can get some of the core classes out of the way.
With the academic side layed out clearly he also got a chance to sit down and talk with his potential position coach.
We met with Coach Funk and talked about his experiences and where he's coached. My school runs basically the exact same offense they want to run, a two-back pound it play-action offense. Their depth chart is a strong point for their recruitment because it's pretty wide open. There's a chance to play early there. Coach Hoke told us that he wants to recruit high character kids and his main focus is to get them a degree.
Since this was Olson's last visit he now has some thinking to do, but he's not sure of when a decision will come.
I've dabbled with the idea of going out to Stanford's camp, but I'm not sure. These past couple days we've been talking about it. We'll make a decision to either commit somewhere or I might go out to Stanford. I don't know when it could happen, could be a week, tomorrow, a couple weeks. I'm honestly not sure yet.
I believe him when he says he's not sure. I think he has it narrowed down in his head, but probably doesn't have his decision yet. That's at least as of when we spoke. If he decides not to go out to Stanford I think that bodes well for Michigan's chances. I'll have more on the offensive line situation further down.
6'6", 275 lbs.
Bisnowaty was making his way through an unofficial visit tour and stopped in Ann Arbor to check out Michigan. The four star lineman's athletic director filled me in on how the visit went.
Adam told me that he really enjoyed the visit. He liked everything very much, and he said that he was impressed with the head coach. The facilities were out of sight, and I know we have nice facilities, but he said it was really great there. I think he's been interested in Michigan for awhile, how can you not be interested in Michigan. Academics are important for him, and our old head coach is friends with one of the new Michigan coaches. He's traveling out to Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Purdue.
These trips were for Adam to gain more comfortability with each program, and to potentially help him make his final decision.
He's hoping to get [a decision] taken care of before the season, but I think he's realizing that might not be possible. He's planning on taking some official visits, and I doubt he'd take all five. His options are pretty open I don't think he's sold on any one over the other.
His athletic director, Mike O'Brien, had nothing bad to say about Adam and thought that any program would be lucky to have a kid like him. He'll probably know more about where he stands with each school once he's done taking his visits.
6'6' 275 lbs.
As you know by now Erik has committed. He told me it would be happening around two weeks ago, he just wanted to take this visit to see everything in person. Now that he is committed he will be putting on his recruiting hat.
It wasn't anything that I expected at Michigan, it was crazy. It was such a cool place and everyone was so nice. I want to get the best players to commit there now so I've been talking to OL Isaac [Seumalo, 4 Star], DT Aziz Shittu, and OL Jordan Diamond. The coaches didn't know much about Isaac because he's from a small school, but they know of him now. If they offer him, we want to play together, so I think he'd be really interested.
Erik was on campus for the jersey reveal, but as I said on Twitter he was NOT allowed to attend the event.
They didn't want to take any chances with any NCAA stuff so I couldn't be in there. I did see some pictures of them and they look good. I'm going to try to come out there for the Notre Dame game with my family and then I'll probably take an official visit by myself for another game.
Magnuson was a huge pick up in himself, but it sounds like he could be a good recruiter for Michigan as well.
6'5", 245 lbs.
I spoke with Pittman's head coach this past week, and since then there have been some rumors flying around. I'll discuss some of what I was told this week here and a little bit further down. First, here's what his coach had to say.
There's four schools that have never really wavered in his top group, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and MSU are the four and the southern schools are in there because they've won National Championships and all that. When it comes down to it though I think that distance might be an issue for him. Brady and Greg have done a great job with him in recruiting. He plans on getting up there sometime at the end of the summer.
The Ohio State mess is not the only factor playing into why Pittman feels strongly about the Wolverines.
I've known Greg [Mattison] and Brady [Hoke} for awhile and think the world of them. Brady at Ball State, we spent a lot of time together. I've worked several camps with Greg at Notre Dame and MIchigan. He's a first class guy.
As far as how his recruitment is going to play out, his coach had this to say.
[Se'Von] wants to take a couple official visits. They're going to be game day officials because his intentions are to be a mid-year graduate and enroll early. He's done a lot of homework, he's gone to camps, spring balls, evertyhing. He might be going up to Michigan's camp, we have a couple kids going up there, so he might come up too.
I was told by someone that I trust, and that is very close to the situation, that Michigan a few weeks ago thought they were very close to landing PIttman. Since then I was told that they have slowed things down with him. I don't want to get into too much or speculate but we'll see how it plays out as he gets closer to his graduation, and if he does indeed graduate early. It's not over with him by any means.
Offensive and Defensive Line:
That's a good segue to now talk about where Michigan is at with both offensive and defensive line recruiting.
First the offensive line. With Magnuson committing that gives them a true left tackle and Ben Braden and Caleb Stacey on the interior. Michigan is still in great shape with Illinois OL Jordan Diamond. If you missed it I spoke with his mother about where they're at this past week. He and his family will be visiting Ann Arbor this week for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp, and will also pop in to see the coaches.
Eric Olson and Adam Brisnowaty are fresh off visits as I just talked about. Colorado OL Paul Thurston should be deciding within the next few months and has Michigan in his final group. Someone that hasn't been talked about much is Tennessee OL Blake Bars (6'5", 275 lbs, 4 star), who is originally from Michigan and is still an option. The coaches could potentially offer Magnuson's friend Isaac Seumalo, who happens to be ranked 175th overall in the nation per Rivals.
There is still some drama with the offensive line, however. Ohio State commit Kyle Kalis told me this past week that he is still committed to Ohio State but is listening to other schools. Michigan is one of those schools he's listening to and he could potentially visit. The possible kicker here is that Kalis and recent Michigan commit Tom Strobel are friends. I asked Kalis if Strobel's commitment would have any effect on him and he said, "I'm not sure, maybe." That might sound like nothing, but to me it sounds like Strobel has an opportunity to get in his friend's ear. This could be something to watch as Kalis has said the sanctions on OSU and their potential head coach would matter in his final decision.
You will likely see the final offensive line commits come from this group. What the combination is, I'm not sure yet.
As for defensive line recruiting, this gets a little more confusing. With Strobel's commitment Michigan now has DE Pharaoh Brown, DE/DT Matt Godin, DE/LB Mario Ojemudia, and the aforementioned Tom Strobel. The good thing about these commitments is that a lot of them are versatile and can be moved to different spots if necessary.
Michigan will likely take three more defensive line commitments. That sounds like a lot, but the prospects they're in on are the kind that you have to take. DE Chris Wormley has said openly that Michigan is his leader and I wouldn't expect him to wait much longer before deciding. Outside of Wormley you have DE Se'Von Pittman, DE Adolphus Washington, DT Ondre Pipkins [who should be visiting soon], and DT Aziz Shittu. I'm only going to include these names for now, because these are the kids I think MIchigan has the best shot at landing in the current time.
With what I mentioned about Pittman above I am wondering if that will alter anyone else's decision timeline. For example Adolphus Washington plans on announcing his decision at the Under Armour All American game, whereas Pittman plans on graduating early which means he needs to decide sooner than Washington. Wormley will likely announce before the season, and if he picks Michigan that's one less spot available between Washington and Pittman. If the coaches wait for Washington then it probably means they will not get Pittman.
Pennsylvania RB Greg Garmon told me via text that he will be visiting Michigan on Monday. I'll have more from him soon, or after the visit.
Cali DT Aziz Shittu was mentioned above in the defensive line recruiting, because I think Michigan has a legitimate shot with him. Shittu has a top eleven right now that includes Michigan, Cal, Notre Dame, Auburn, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Florida, Washington, Arizona, and Nebraska. "I might make it out [to Michigan] for the Notre Dame game, those jerseys were dope," Shittu told me. Dope is good. He will probably wait to see how teams perform during the season before making any decisions. Ondre Pipkins has wavered on when he will make his decision, so Ondre's decision could potentially alter where Shittu ends up if he were to pick Michigan.
Pennsylvania DE Noah Spence is still interested in Michigan as well. His father told me this past week that they are just laying low for right now and letting Noah enjoy some time off. He just took the SAT on Saturday. Not a lot is going on right now, but the Michigan coaches did take a visit to his school during the evaluation period.
2013 WR LaQuon Treadwell is teammates with current commit DB Anthony Standifer. Treadwell is hoping for a Michigan offer, and there's a chance he would commit right away if he received the offer. The Michigan coaches plan on watching his film and going from there. Just something to keep an eye on. I'll have more from him later on.
Ohio RB Bri'Onte Dunn has been talked about a lot lately. I've previously reported that he and his father are waiting to find out what happens with the OSU sanctions, and they will definitely have an effect on his commitment. His father told me this past week that they plan on making it out to Penn State as the next stop, and there's also a chance that they will be at the Michigan-Notre Dame night game during the season.
Utah FB Sione Houma did not commit during his visit to Michigan this weekend. He doesn't say much, but he told me that his parents went with him on the trip, and that he could potentially see himself going to Michigan. He will probably wait everything out, and I think distance might factor in here.
To stick with the fullback theme, I mentioned on the board this past week that Michigan currently leads for Texas FB EJ Fatu. He doesn't talk much either, but he sounds pretty excited about Michigan. We'll see if he makes it up soon for a visit.
I've gotten a lot of questions about quarterbacks lately. Maty Mauk took a visit to Ann Arbor this past week and Indiana QB Gunner Kiel postpponed his announcement that was supposed to take place on Sunday [the 12th]. From what I was told I wouldn't get too excited about Kiel, but I'm not sure that anyone really knows what's going on. His family keeps everything very close and doesn't leak too much. Both quarterbacks will likely decide soon and Michigan is still in the mix for both of them. If they miss on both then I would expect Austin Appleby to become a real option. He plans on camping and if the coaches like what they see, he could get an offer. I preface all of that with the fact that I don't know what is going to happen with Mauk or Kiel---both keep everything quiet.
2013 instate OL Steve Elmer was offered by Wisconsin. He now holds offers from Wisconsin and Mississippi State. I spoke to his dad a few weeks ago, I just haven't posted the interview yet. That will go up this week.
A pair of new Wolverines and we're back on the front page. Action since last rankings:
6-6-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Josh Ballesteros. Michigan State gains commitment from Tyler O'Connor.
6-7-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Dean Lowry. Notre Dame gains commitment from David Perkins.
6-9-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Isaac Fruechte.
6-10-11 Michigan gains commitments from Tom Strobel and Erik Magnuson. Northwestern gains commitment from Dan Vitale.
6-11-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Dinero Moss.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
ESPN's initial rankings are finally out, so their numbers in the table above have switched to star averages, rather than 150 Watchlist prospects.
Full data after the jump.
[Ed: Here you go: the items in the flesh. They don't like quite as dumb in pads. /alwayslookonthebrightsideoflife]
Brian already put up a placeholder post, but here's the whole deal. OH DE Tom Strobel has committed to Michigan. I was even beaten by a local paper ("smh," as the kids are saying these days):
"Like most people in Ohio, I was raised with a biased opinion against Michigan. However, it occurred to me that there was no justification for my prejudice, besides the fact that it was Michigan. I think it says something that despite my apprehension, Michigan still stood out above the rest. I am confident that I have made the right decision for my future, and I look forward to beginning my college career as a Wolverine."
Here we go:
4*, #24 DE,
4*, 5.8, #36 DE
4*, 93, #14 WDE,
#8 Ohio, #169 Ovr
ESPN is the outlier as far as Tom's quality as a player goes. While he's a solid 4-star to each of the other sites, the Worldwide Leader has him listed as a "meh" 3-star - though he's not far from four. As size goes, he's a consensus 6-6, with weights ranging from 240 (24/7 Sports) to 250 (Scout and ESPN).
Now that ESPN has some player evaluations up, we'll start there:
He is a tall kid with solid bulk and he displays the room to add more good size with time in a college weight program. He gets off the ball well. For a taller kid he displays the ability to play with some bend and keep solid pad level. He uses his hands and reach well to take on blockers and keep some separation. He displays good upper body strength to not only keep blockers from getting into him but to also shed. He is a solid wrap-up tackler.
He's listed as "tough against the run," but needing work becoming more effective playing the pass (though he can bat down the occasional ball). To me, that sounds more like a strongside end, rather than a weakside guy, but what do I know? On a similar note, Bucknuts has considered him as a 3-tech tackle:
Strobel is one I am having trouble with. I have no doubt about his talent. He was at one time a top ten kid on my list. What I am having trouble with is Strobel being a three-technique tackle. I have not seen him up close so I will defer to those who have, including the Buckeye staff which has offered him as a tackle.
If Ohio State's offer for him was indeed at tackle, than he certainly has plenty of room to grow, and it remains to be seen what position he'll play. He was the subject of a Sam Webb column in the Detroit News earlier this spring:
"The first thing that sticks out about him is that he passes the eye test easily," said [Scout Ohio Analyst] Greene. "He is a true 6-6, with long arms, and probably weighs 240 pounds. He could probably carry another 30-35 pounds easily on that frame. I think he has the chance to maybe be great someday. I think he's a guy who is kind of growing into his body right now. He is just 17 years old and has got another year of high school left. I think his best football is three to four years ahead of us."
That speak to his upside down the road, rather than the idea that he's some sort of finished product. Of course, that means he could be a low-floor, high-ceiling, boom-or-bust type, as well. Greene does say that in a non-crazy year, he'd be the best DE in Ohio. Strobel himself speaks on his game:
"I've got a really good work ethic," Strobel stated. "I'm always hustling to the ball no matter what. Even if it seems the play is already made, I'm always going to be there right behind the tackle or I'll be making the tackle. I'm always hustling to the ball. I think that's the biggest thing you'll notice -- hustle."
Sounds like a gritty grit gritterstein, and a hard worker who can be an asset to any program. From a Scout article ($):
Strobel, 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, certainly passes the look test with flying colors. Strobel stood out for Mentor as an intense, big, physical athlete, and one who plays with a high motor, never taking plays off.
That confirms Strobel's own evaluation of his motor, and "passing the look test" generally equates with either a finished product, or a guy who has the frame to fill out well for the next level. Since it sounds like he's not polished yet, assume the latter. He definitely has the athleticism to dunk the basketball (and block fools, as pictured at right). He's also tough enough that he played through a cracked trachea(!) in a game last year.
He's an Army Game selection.
He was considered an Ohio State lock as recently as March, and held a Buckeye offer (joining MI LB James Ross MI CB Terry Richardson as players on Michigan's commit list with that distinction). For an Ohio prospect - particularly this long before signing day, that is a Big Deal.
Aside from MAC teams, he also held offers from Stanford and Vanderbilt, the entire Big Ten - there are conflicting reports on whether he'd earned one from Penn State - and some of the higher-end Big East teams (West Virginia, Cincinnati, Syracuse, et al.) Another big name on his list is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
Though he didn't have many non-regional offers, his offer list within the region is about as good as it can get. In fact, it is as good as it can get.
The Scout profile has sophomore and junior stats:
As a sophomore, Strobel made 47 tackles including 10 for a loss and seven sacks.
As a junior, Strobel recorded 37 tackles including five for a loss and two sacks. He also recovered two fumbles.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists Tom with a 4.8-second 40-yard dash time, while 24/7 Sports says 4.90. For a guy whose pass-rushing abilities are dogged in evaluations, but seems to otherwise be an excellent athlete, that doesn't sound too bad. A mere two FAKEs out of five.
The official Mentor account has his Youtube highlights:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Strobel sounds like a guy who can be a big asset down the road, but isn't likely to contribute as a true freshman. Luckily, Brady Hoke has a defensive end obsession, and there will be plenty of guys ahead of him, allowing for a redshirt.
On that note, the defensive ends in Strobel's own class, and the classes in front of him, might make it difficult for him to see the field early on, unless (as predicted by Bucknuts and/or Ohio State's coaching staff) he's a 3-tech tackle in college. SOMEBODY in Michigan's class is going to have to move inside.
Strobel seems like the sort of guy who will burst onto the scene as a redshirt junior or senior, and turn in a surprising All-Big Ten campaign (maybe not first-team, but earning recognition nonetheless).
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Dude, I have no idea. There are thousands of defensive ends on the roster and in this class, and Michigan is in good position for at least a couple more, including Chris Wormley. Somebody is going to have to move. I could see it being Strobel, maybe Matt Godin, or maybe even Wormley, should he end up in this class. Whether any of these guys could be offensive linemen remains to be seen.
At the end of the day, Michigan still needs a nose tackle-type (hopefully MO DT Ondre Pipkins), and sort out positions for all these other guys down the road. With the way this class is being filled out, I don't think it's possible for Hoke and Co. to fit in some of the positions we've been calling "optional," such as quarterback and running back. Without further attrition, there are 2 spots left in the class.
They started close to home, but the Wolverines have started to venture out of Michigan and Ohio with commitments from Illinois (DB Anthony Standifer) and now the West Coast in CA OL Erik Magnuson. As Erik told to Tom a couple weeks ago:
"I just feel comfortable with the coaches, and I know them so well. I feel the program is going in the right direction. I know some of the 2012 commits and I think they're all good players. They're bringing in a good offense, and I want to get out of California. I just feel like Michigan is the right place for me."
Welcome to the fold, young man. For what it's worth, part of that "knowing the coaches so well" stems from their time at San Diego State. Hoke's Aztecs were Magnuson's first offer.
4*, #16 OT,
4*, 5.9, #8 OL
|4*, #24 OT||
4*, 95, #13 OT,
#10 Cali, #85 Ovr
As usual, we will start with the premium sites' takes on his height. This will be quick however, as every single site lists his weight at 275, and only ESPN breaks the lockstep at 6-6, by calling him 6-5. So let it be blogged: Erik Magnusen is 6-6 / 275.
The sites get a little more varied on him as a player, though not by much. Scout and 24/7 Sports think about the same of him, putting him near the back of their top-100 lists, and in the teens among offensive tackles (ESPN is even more pessimistic, keeping him out of their 150 and as the #24 tackle). Rivals is significantly more impressed, unofficially calling him the 8th-best offensive lineman and the #34 prospect at any position in the country.
I saw him at the Stanford NFTC- I liked him. He's big, athletic and seems to have a mean streak (no pads, mind you).
Shurburtt went into a bit more detail in a story on 24/7 Sports:
Magnuson has an excellent frame, good feet and plays with a nasty streak. He was dominant in one-on-ones and looked good athletically moving around in position drills. Combine what he showed Sunday with what he shows on film and there’s a good chance that Magnuson could move up our rankings when they are updated again.
That certainly makes it sound like he's going to be closer to Rivals's positioning than Scout's next time 24/7 updates the rankings. Adam Gorney of Rivals calls him one of the most physical guys he's seen in person:
On the offensive side I think Erik Magnuson is pretty tough. He just embraces the physical side of being an offensive tackle and he's not afraid to compete in a really tough way.
He was named MVP of the Asante Trenchmen Academy ($, info in header), and Rivals provides some highlights from that event. Note the quick footwork out of such a big dude. Picture at right from that event, via Scout.
He's a pretty good pass blocker, but has said himself that he'd like to improve on his drive-blocking. It's natural for high schoolers to be good at one or the other, so once he gets into a college weight program and adds some strength, his run blocking should improve. More from Magnuson himself, via Scout ($):
"I work harder than anyone else. I have good footwork from playing basketball and I'm real aggressive and physical with my opponents. I am further along as a pass blocker than I am in blocking in the run game, though. Opposing coaches have said they notice my athleticism and speed despite being my size."
“Erik's a very athletic and aggressive player,” said Sovacool. “He's a really big kid too and he hits all the benchmarks that you're looking for in a football player, especially at offensive tackle. He's all of 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, but the difference between him and other kids his size is that he can run. He's also a guy that isn't afraid of the weight room and has a little bit of an edge to him, which I think recruiters like as well.”
That size listing is a serious outlier, but the coach is likely just overstating weight, and Erik might be a little shorter than his listed 6-6. He's been named to the US Army All-American Bowl, and he's mentioned enrolling early (he's a very good student, and was all-academic in his league as a junior).
He's a big true tackle who can play on either side of the line. There's no mention of his long arms - typically considered necessary for left tackles at the next level - but based on pictures and video alone, it doesn't seem anything is amiss. As somebody who's most comfortable as a pass blocker in high school, starting at left tackle is likely.
He's not the physical freak of a Jake Long is (but is anybody? [Ed-M: Lewan, so far]), but he has the attributes needed to succeed at the next level.
As a West Coast product, Erik's offers were a Pac-12 who's who: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington, and Washington State. Only Arizona State and USC didn't extend him the scholarship opportunity (though in a video interview he states that USC is the only offer he lacks).
He's not just a regional prospect -- Cincinnati, Miami (YTM), Notre Dame, and Oklahoma offered.
Offensive linemen don't have any stats. However, he's performed well enough each of the past two seasons to earn All-League recognition, per his Scout profile. He's also earned all-Academic honors (as mentioned above), which is nice both because having intelligent dudes is never a bad thing, and because OL is one of the more brain-intensive positions on the field.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the premium sites list a 40 time for Erik. In the Rivals video linked above, you can see that he's not quite as fast or quick as the offensive lineman he's "racing" in the ladder/running drills, but speed isn't necessarily his game, either. I'm assuming that, as a relatively slender OT prospect, the 4.9-5.1 range is most likely. This gets five FAKEs out of five.
His impressive Youtube highlight:
As he pointed out himself, he's not the strongest run blocker at the point of attack, but that will improve as he adds mass. What he does show is good agility in pass blocking, as a pulling lead blocker, and in getting downfield blocks. He also has a basketball highlight reel.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
So, this guy is a serious player, right? Although offensive linemen almost always redshirt, Michigan's depth at offensive tackle is pretty light for 2012, and Magnuson has mentioned potentially enrolling early. That could mean (depending on who else ends up in Michigan's recruiting class) that he's immediately the most likely OL candidate since Mr. Plow to make the 2-deep as a freshman.
In that season, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield will be redshirt juniors, and as long as they stay healthy (and depending on what depth develops among backup tackles), Erik will hopefully still be afforded the chance to redshirt. Either way, in his second year on campus he should get a bit of playing time as a backup as he prepares for the following season.
In 2014 Lewan and Schofield will have shuffled off the collegiate coil - hopefully as Picks 1 and 2 in the NFL draft - and Magnuson will be one of the players with a chance at a starting spot. He'll either lock down one of the tackle positions, or get heavy time as a backup. By the time he's a senior or redshirt junior, I think Magnuson is a lock to be a starter. He has all-Big Ten potential, and if he lives up to it, 2nd or 3rd-team All-American honors are a possibility as a redshirt senior.
The recruiting sites certainly think highly enough of Erik to place him in that spectrum (24/7 Sports is going to move him up in their next re-rank, and Rivals has already anointed him as a top-40 prospect in the nation).
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
This is a huge weight off Michigan fans' shoulders. A true left tackle is finally on board. That said, weak tackle recruiting classes over the previous two years (Tony Posada and Chris Bryant of the 2011 class seem more like guard or right tackle prospects, and center Christian Pace was the only lineman in 2010's crop) means that Michigan is in dire need of at least one more tackle. That would preferably be one that could play on either end of the line, such as IL OT Jordan DIamond. Another highly-rated interior guy would be nice as well, but is not nearly as necessary.
Away from the offensive line, defensive tackle is now the only remaining priority. At least one highly-rated wideout is important, and a quarterback and running back would be nice. Other than that, remaining scholarships (assuming there are some) can be spent on prospects that the coaching staff really likes, regardless of position.
Piling on. It's bad when Adult Swim is on your case:
Different kinds of one thing. Braves & Birds makes a good point about oversigning:
The teams that have the greatest incentive to oversign are the middle class or lower class programs that struggle to recruit top players and therefore have to make up with quantity what they cannot acquire in quality. Thus, we would expect that the most successful teams in the conference would not oversign because they don’t have to do so. Therefore, looking at results and recruiting quantities is a fool’s errand because Pennington is not normalizing for program status. In other words, if Florida signs 85 players over a four-year period and Ole Miss signs 105, we wouldn’t expect Ole Miss to have a better record because the extra players will not trump all of the other advantages that Florida has over Ole Miss.
There are two kinds. The first kind (as practiced by Houston Nutt): "maybe if I sign everyone who can play football enough of them will be eligible for me to keep my job." The second: <imperial march> SABAN </imperial march>.
Here's a graph from Brian Fremeau that gives you an indication of just how few kids enroll at Ole Miss relative to the rest of the nation's top 25 recruiters:
Nutt is way down at the bottom with VT, who no one ever talks about; South Carolina, USC(?), and Auburn a bit higher up, then a big band of average followed by places that do not bother with academic issues either because they are morally opposed to skeeze (no one) or don't have to bother (everyone). You'll note LSU and Florida amongst this group. Teams towards the bottom can plausibly argue that their oversigning is less harmful because it consists of signing guys who aren't going to be eligible instead of shoving kids in good standing out the door.
Meanwhile, an SEC partisan is fussin' about Big Ten fans complaining about the competitive advantage provided by oversigning:
Is there some advantage? Sure. SEC teams from 2002 through 2010 averaged 3.42 signees per victory. Big Ten teams average 3.11 signees over the same period. Hardly the night and day difference one would expect.
But while oversigning isn’t the magic bullet Big Ten fans would want you to believe, things like local talent base, tradition and spending serve as tried and true differentiators.
We at MrSEC.com aren’t fans of oversigning. As noted above, we would have no problem if every school went to a hard cap at 25.
But the argument that oversigning is the difference between the SEC and the Big Ten? Well, that doesn’t hold water. And as you can see above, that argument doesn’t even hold water when you make comparisons within the same conference.
Ole Miss throws that entirely out of whack, as do a number of mid-level strivers that are rooting through any large-ish kid in the south to see if any of them can play football.
Meanwhile, I haven't seen many (or any) Big Ten fans say it is the difference between the SEC and the Big Ten. This whole thing is a red herring, anyway: the institutions most publicly against oversigning are Georgia and Florida. Ability to identify skeeze does not stop at the Mason-Dixon line.
It's an obvious advantage that's built on perverse incentives, which is reason enough to get rid of it, differences between conferences be damned. For an SEC fan to rabble rabble about how it's not that big of an advantage on the field misses the point in stereotype-fulfilling fashion.
Terrelle Pryor's lawyer. Is Jackie Chiles:
"It was probably good for Terrelle to meet persons like myself, African-American lawyers, very successful -- quote, unquote," James said. …
"Irrespective of how harsh and idiotic we think some of the NCAA rules are, they are still on the books," James said. "They had slavery for all those years. Those rules are still on the books, and the courts uphold them."
James then ranted about the NCAA and its enforcement process.
"You've got a captured system here in college football. It's mandated, dictated, the student-athletes have no rights. They have no relief."
That is all.
That is not all. Bombs continue to drop on Pryor from all angles. Random NFL GM:
“We spent a lot of time this year going through Cam Newton(notes) and Ryan Mallett’s(notes) personality,” an NFC general manager said. “I haven’t done all my homework on Pryor yet, but my initial impression is that if you line all three of them up and just talked about trust and reliability, Pryor is dead last. Like not-even-out-of-the-starting-gate last.
“And it’s probably only going to get worse.”
Some guy in an otherwise pretty kind Dispatch story:
"People are terrified," Davis said. "They want to really examine the kid as a person, because the stories you hear on the grapevine are not stories that excite you - stories about his leadership, how his teammates respond to him, how he was handled at Ohio State."
And Thayer Evans wrote a story I linked in the sidebar that says an 18 year old male enjoyed having girls send sexy photos to him. I've been on the Terrelle Pryor-emotional-problems bandwagon so long I remember when it was just me and some nuts from Penn State message boards and even I think Evans went a bit too far:
Pryor’s focus consistently led back to one thing: himself.
And while some may foolishly believe Pryor’s statement Tuesday that his decision to forgo his senior year at scandal-ridden Ohio State was out of “the best interests of my teammates,” the truth is that he did it out of selfishness. He did it only to escape being investigated by the NCAA and to try to salvage what’s left of his bleak future.
Well… yeah… but you write for, like, organizations, man.
(Also, Dispatch lol:
The best part about this is the cooler poopers are doing it to themselves.)
Do not read if you are only going to make a tedious argument that shows you don't understand statistics. Bill Connolly, purveyor of Football Outsiders' other college football ranking system and Football Study Hall author, previews Michigan. There are many numbers and a discussion of just how good Michigan's offense was last year (as per usual, advanced stats == fawning) that people who would like to restrict their sample size to four first-half drives against Wisconsin won't like:
If only Michigan had been able to play defense. Despite a slight fade as the season advanced, the Wolverines' offense was incredibly successful in 2010, posting huge point and yardage totals on a series of stellar defenses. Their Adj. Points tell the tale -- against a strong slate of defenses, the Wolverines produced at an incredibly high level for each of the first nine games of the season before a combination of injuries and fatigue (and, possibly, lack of faith in the defense) set in. Michigan still averaged 28.9 Adj. PPG over their final four games, with only two below-average performances against Purdue and Mississippi State.
I'm not sure where Connolly's getting the idea Michigan blitzed on almost every passing down, however. Even if he has numbers for this I kind of doubt them, since I tracked rushers for the Indiana UFR and came up with a ton of 3 and 4 man rushes. If that's charted I wonder if the 3-3-5 threw someone off.
Anyway, Connolly's takeaway is "I hope they don't turn Denard into Brad Smith that one year they tried to make him a pro-style quarterback": since they don't like Nebraska as much as everyone else and their system looks at recruiting rankings that drastically overrate Michigan (attrition) they're hinting the FO Almanac will have Michigan at or near the top of the division.
WTF? I know we're supposed to be taking the high road and all but seriously, if anyone could be expected to jovially bomb Ohio State in the paper it's Mike Hart. Mike Hart:
"I really think Jim Tressel is a great coach," Hart said. "I hate the school, I hate Ohio, can't stand them, but I think he's a great coach. Whatever happened didn't make him a better coach. The players were doing wrong, and (Tressel) broke the rules, which obviously is wrong, but it's not like he was giving them steroids to give them a competitive advantage."
Guh. Multiple other former players say they "genuinely feel" for the other players caught up in this situation who have nothing to do with it, which seems a little much. We're concerned about Ohio State walk-ons and kickers now?
Etc.: Laurinaitis and the Real Girl. Wetzel hears call to argue why OSU's violations aren't as bad as USC's, argues that OSU's violations are worse than USC's. The Wolverine Blog searches for breakout players.
Tomorrow at 8 PM Adidas and Michigan and Notre Dame will have an under-the-lights unveiling of the uniforms both will wear when the first night game in Michigan Stadium history goes down. That's odd: marketing 101 is "when you have bad news, release it on Friday at 5 PM." Michigan is treating their great unveiling like they're firing their coach for massive NCAA violations.
On the other hand, maybe it's not so odd. Yesterday the M-Den momentarily posted what looked like the official thing:
If that's what you're deploying, 8 PM isn't late enough. Broadcast the announcement from the Chinese factory where they'll be made at 4 AM Eastern.
The M-Den twitter feed later posted a three-part item expressing regret for the "mistake" that obviously failed to address whether or not those were the real McCoy. They likely are. Tom pointed out the close-up teaser image has the exact same M the mistakenly posted jersey does. If they're different, they're not much different.
Tomorrow we'll enter the ranks of schools that dress up like clowns for a little bit of money from a shoe company. Notre Dame will as well. I'll make some sarcastic comments, privately think anyone I see wearing one of the jerseys is a total sellout, and move on. This September we'll watch Clownz Faceoff 2011 and life will go on. It's not really a big deal. Everyone does it, and traditionalists sigh, and recruits say they're excited.
So why does this make me want to buy a shotgun, rocking chair, and lifetime supply of lawn fertilizer?
Well, there was a way to do this that would not give people hives. It did not require the assistance of a crack team of uniform designers, and it didn't have stripes conjured from one of their fever-dreams.
The numbers on the helmets (and the different wing pattern on them), block Ms on the socks and shoulders, and overall retro stylings of the mid-60s (like gray face-masks) would have provided a distinctive, historically accurate look. (Doctor Saturday pointed out that it would have been a look from an era when Michigan and Notre Dame were in one of their periodic snits, but whatever.)
It wouldn't have been much different. It would have been cool, though:
It would have been a genuine callback to another era of Michigan football. They could have brought out some former players, celebrated a Rose Bowl win, whatever. If they're going to do that in the Franken-uniforms they'll have to bring out a nighmarish assemblage of Horace Prettyman's arms and shoulders stapled to Bill Yearby's torso and head; the lower body will be a cyborg entity from 2211 that shoots postgame celebration laserz. The legs will stop at the knees because bony undead horror robots of 2211 come hovering or they don't come at all.
This bothers me because it makes it obvious that honoring the program's past doesn't crack the top several reasons they'll put the stripes on this fall, falling behind at least "money," "making Adidas happy," and "allowing Dave Brandon to 'create the future'." My money teat is easy to milk, but not that easy. I won't put on a Big Chill shirt with an Arby's logo on it and I'm not buying whatever that is above.
This makes me an old man but it also strikes me how stupid the corporate culture Dave Brandon comes from is. At a consumer-facing, mid-sized, publicly-traded corporation it's all about three months from now when you report your numbers and the stock price goes up or down and you're a hero or an idiot. Once companies go public they slowly lose the distinctive characteristics that made them successful in the first place and become a collection of generic suits*. The suits get paid exorbitant amounts of money to trade long-term goodwill for numbers that will allow another set of suits to increase the exorbitant amount of money they are getting paid.
The best example of how this doesn't have to happen is privately-owned Chik-Fil-A, which is still closed every Sunday for religious reasons and is so loved by Southerners that when the corporation bought the naming rights to the Peach Bowl it was generally regarded as an improvement. These are correlated factors.
These days a lot of tech companies are remaining private longer than they would have in the past—Facebook is the best example—in order to avoid the relentless make-your-numbers effect of being a public company. It seems like Michigan is announcing its IPO Friday night.
*[Once you get to the behemoth side of the scale you can maintain identity via monopoly: Google and Apple are distinctive entities that appear to have ethoses (ethii?) other than making money hand over fist; they can probably have these because they are making money hand over fist.]
(HT on the 60s uniform picks to "cutter," denizen of Michigan messageboards everywhere.)