I did not make this headline up
Mott stuff. Get thee to WTKA Friday for an opportunity to participate in their "radio-a-thon" in support of Mott Children's Hospital, where you can Donate For Stuff. This stuff:
Donations are accepted at any level but fans will receive giveaways for donating at the following levels:
$20 donation: a Fathead Teammate Block M (roughly 12”x7”)
$50 donation: a limited-edition Charles Woodson t-shirt made exclusively for this event
$120 donation: a Fathead Junior Big House Mural (17”x30”) autographed by Charles Woodson
$250 donation: four passes to a pre-season scrimmage
$500 donation: two pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to ONE of the following four games: Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State or Minnesota.
If you are a strange, obsessive person—and you are reading this site so you probably are—you might actually find the $250 donation to be value for money on top of the heart-warming altruism. I went to the pre-season scrimmage last year; it was at least as interesting as an actual game against EMU and depending on where you sit it's actually cheaper. Last year featured the quarterback battle; this year will feature an early opportunity to reassure yourself the spring game didn't mean anything about Denard's role in the new offense. You can donate online at WTKA.com.
Over the weekend a bunch of players will return for a swank gala dinner and a golf outing, too, but the press release doesn't have any information about how to crash that. Best bet: show up at the golf course and say you're Alijah Bradley by way of explaining why you're not huge. AnnArbor.com does have details on the big baller packages they're putting up at the gala dinner, but they'll just make you sad you're not rich, unless you are.
That car totally wasn't zero dollars. Thaddeus Gibson did not get a year-old 300M for zero dollars:
BMV records show that former linebacker Thaddeus Gibson paid $13,700 for a 2007 Chrysler 300C that he bought from former Jack Maxton salesman Aaron Kniffin in June 2007.
Why the Dispatch couldn't figure this out before they ran their story is unknown but definitely the internet's fault.
Unfortunately for Ohio State, if you've been on a Michigan internet this morning you've run across three different people running Kelly Blue Book values for a 300M and coming out with a number about ten grand more than the 14k Gibson paid four years after the fact. At the time of purchase the discount relative to KBB value was probably closer to 20k. Again, this Kniffin dude has a choice between declaring the number correct—hello extra benefit—and declaring it incorrect—hello tax evasion. Hopefully we'll get to see whether the inevitable claim about a trade-in is on the up-and-up. If they were 1) giving players sweetheart deals and 2) not idiots, taking rusted out junkers as trade-ins worth 20k would provide some additional level of deniability.
Meanwhile, Chris Spielman is bracing for more:
“I’d be surprised if he’s coaching next year (2011). Why I say that is I think there is more stuff coming out,” the Ohio State legend said.
Spielman also said a bunch of other things, some very touching about his deceased wife, but everyone's focusing on that bit. I wonder if Charles Robinson's "ten of ten" Yahoo is supposedly launching in August is a pile-on? Probably not. Keep it reasonable. This section brought to you by my internal monologue FERRETS
Even if he's a Buckeye, not loving Spielman is a sin. (Via Doctor Saturday.)
Camp: back? When Rodriguez arrived he substantially revamped Michigan's camp, focusing more on individual high-level prospects in a one-day setting instead of just rounding up every football player in Michigan with a few bucks to spare. More than one emailer with connections to the local coaching community has cited that as one of the ways in which Rodriguez shoveled his own grave: while increased focus on college-level recruits may have helped land them individually the coaches who lost camp opportunities were pissed off, downward spiral, etc.
Hoke appears to be bringing back the whole shebang:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke and his coaching staff will host Wolverine Technique Schools this June for high school students (entering grades 9-12) and youth (grades 6-8).
The Wolverine Technique School for high school students will be held from June 19-23, while the youth camp will be held June 24-26 at the University of Michigan. It will mark the 37th year of the high school football camp and third youth camp.
Brady Hoke Gets It. Of course, now when you say Brady Hoke Gets It your withering sarcasm percentage is under 100% and dropping with every instate MAC recruit suddenly hearing from Michigan State.
From a fan's perspective this is probably good. While Rodriguez generally opened up the program the shift in camp philosophy meant there were a lot fewer high school coaches wandering around watching various Michigan recruits and relating impressions back to the peanut gallery. Useful information from camp dropped off considerably the last three years.
I'm not sure how much it will matter this year since it looks like Michigan is going to be well on its way to filling its class a month from now. Normally a few sleepers emerge and get offered, but if Michigan is sitting on 15 commits in June they might start swinging for the fences instead. It'll probably be more meaningful for the class of 2013—presumably Shane Morris will be on hand to make an impression on every junior in the state.
He matured into more of a guard role during his sophomore season and was labeled a “point-forward” because he brought the ball up the floor on most possessions. Definitely an unorthodox type of player with his long loopy dribbles and slow pump fakes but he gets the job the done and finds different ways to score. He has good range but is a better asset when he’s driving to the basket.
More at the link. Dylan also points out that adding Hancock would put him in the Morgan/McLimans/Horford/everybody class, swelling it to seven players. Without attrition that would see more than half the team graduate in 2014. It would also leave just one scholarship in the class of 2013 for Michigan to play with. So it's a bit more complicated than "here's this guy."
Random AD items. MGoShoe rounds up things Dave Brandon said at some sort of appearance associated with the AP. There's not a whole lot of actual new things but this is something to note:
Brandon believes it will be "several years" before the Big Ten goes to a nine-game conference schedule. He said several teams are booked through 2015-2016 and it would be "expensive and problematic" to unwind those schedules.
“I will sell more seats at Yost Arena knowing that we are going to tee it up against our big competitors in the Big Ten,” Brandon said. “We’ll still have a robust nonconference schedule … but at the end of the day, student-athletes that come to Michigan come to win Big Ten championships.”
He might sell a few more seats but it won't be many—Yost already drew capacity last year, and while anyone who's been to Michigan Stadium is familiar with the various tricks used to up attendance figures the additional sales might add up to a couple hundred seats. Also also, don't blame Rodriguez etc etc let's talk about something else.
Officially unofficial. Michigan moving its dominant club lacrosse program to varsity has been the worst kept secret on South Campus for going on a year now, but now the secret is even a little more poorly concealed. A portion of Tim's CCLA recap/MCLA preview:
First, when presenting Michigan Coach John Paul with the conference championship trophy, the announcer said something along the lines of: "probably for the last time ever, Michigan wins the CCLA Trophy." JP played it cool when accepting the trophy, but certainly wasn't in a hurry to deny anything. Following the game, the official @UMichLacrosse twitter account dropped the following:
"Michigan finishes FINAL MCLA regular season with a 103-2 all-time record in CCLA competition."
While it may seem (or ultimately be) inconsequential, it is the first public statement from any official, on-record source that something is definitely going to happen for next season.
Tim's side joint has more.
Since commitments are coming in pairs, Wednesday Recruitin' will make the revolutionary change of also coming in pairs this week. Today: The most recent Wolverine commits, and a look at who might be next.
Mario Ojemudia and Pharaoh Brown Go Blue
The creepy tendency to pick up commitments in twos continues, as defensive ends from Michigan and Ohio committed back-to-back on Friday. First up was MI DE Mario Ojemudia. Local commitment article. GBMW on Mario:
Mario plays with great effort and intensity and is always moving and hustling. Mario has very good quickness and his feet are always moving. He shows good lateral movement with good burst and closing speed. What makes him special is a dynamite first step and an explosive get off.
Some plays he bursts off the line, gets great leverage, and makes a huge play for the FHH defense. During other plays, he relies completely on his speed and athleticism to beat the O-linemen. That’s fine in high school, it won’t translate to the bigger leagues. That being said, just like Royce Jenkins-Stone, I love Mario’s fiery, competitive spirit. He gets really excited when he blows a play up, and that intensity is clearly infectious.
While there’s a lot to love, there’s always room to grow, as well. There’s not a single play in his highlight video where he bullrushes the tackle, or uses his strength to get to the QB. Sometime he plays too high coming off the ball. When you’re 6’6, you can’t afford to give up leverage. His tackling technique needs a little work. All in all, I’m very excited to watch Brown’s future play out.
Brown is long and lean with good change-of-direction skills and the ability to explode into passers. He runs very well (my guess is he would be in the 4.6-4.7 range, since I haven't found any 40 times for him) and should be able to pressure the width of the pocket based solely on his speed.
Also a Sophomore
MI QB Shane Morris broke the seal on the class of 2013(!) last night, picking the Wolverines over - you guessed it - Michigan State. Check out Hello From the Future: Shane Morris for more details on his game.
He looks like a very mature passer. He doesn't panic in the pocket, he goes through his read progressions, etc. Obviously, only highlights are available, but the thing that sticks out to me most is the touch and accuracy he puts on the ball. When a ball need to gets to a receiver in a hurry, he rifles it in there. When he knows he can put some air under a throw, he lays it out there for the receiver to go get it. That's somewhat rare in a young passer, many of whom want to throw the ball 100 mph every time. In that respect, Morris might be even more advanced than freshman Chad Henne or sophomore Denard Robinson.
That's some seriously high praise. Welcome to the fold, young man.
MI DE/DT Matt Godin is the only prospect with a definite commitment planned: He will announce tomorrow at his school from a final list of Michigan (the childhood favorite and current chalk), Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The Flint Journal recently profiled Godin:
“This is what I wanted,” he said of the attention and tedious decision-making processes that accompany his recruitment. “It was my goal to be a top prospect. That’s why I worked hard in the weight room. It’s tough (handling the situation), but it’s what I wanted.”
Conventional wisdom has Godin picking Michigan, but we'll wait and see with everyone else.
MI CB Terry Richardson might be next to commit, as he's moving closer to a decision ($, info in header), and asource told Tom that an announcement could be coming next week, although this tweet was apparently a joke. Either way, Michigan would be in strong position with commitments from his friends Royce Jenkins-Stone and James Ross, whether he draws out his recruitment or not.
Michigan's picking up commitments from TE Devin Funchess and DE Mario Ojemudia could really help Michigan land their teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge. Burbridge, one of the top wideouts in the midwest, has offers from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, but also has reported academic issues that may make it difficult for him to go directly to a 4-year university out of high school.
As for Burbridge's recruitment, he may be close to a decision, and the Wolverines are suddenly right in the thick of things, along with Michigan State, as Michigan "surges" up his list ($, info in header). Tom had the following to say (prior to Mario Pjemudia's commitment, no less):
I will also say that anyone that says Aaron Burbridge is an MSU lock doesn't know what they're talking about. I was told quite a bit this weekend about Mario and Aaron, and if Mario chooses Michigan [ed: Check!] then there's a chance Aaron would follow. He does have grade issues, but I don't think it's bad enough to where Michigan wouldn't take him and hope he makes it. I don't want to say too much, obviously, but there's a chance Michigan could steal those two from MSU.
I spoke with him today and he told me that his final two are Michigan and Michigan State. Those are the two schools he will be deciding between. He also said that he'll be scheduling a visit back up to Michigan in the next two weeks. He's more familiar with MSU because he's been there more, so he's trying to make up for that by visiting Michigan again.
Sounds like Michigan is right in the thick of things. Aaron also told Tom that he's working hard on his grades in order to qualify.
MI TE Ron Thompson seems forever teetering on the verge of a decision. Most expect that if the Wolverines still have room for another tight end, he'll be Blue.
I have very very strong interest in Michigan. Me and my mom and dad are going to sit down and figure everything out, but I'll be visiting on Thursday [May 12th]. I was just excited and at a loss for words when they offered. I feel very thankful and appreciative for the offer. Michigan is at the top of my list.
That sounded like he may have been close to a commitment, right? HOWEVA, he had to reschedule that visit, and Notre Dame, Illinois, and Cincy have suddenly offered (events unrelated). That's made him reconsider an early commitment, and he'll take his time.
Josh Helmholdt runs down some of this guys committing soon, including Godin and Thompson (and, uh, Ojemudia).
Rivals has finally released their initial set of rankings, and current Michigan commits ring in as follows:
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone. #87 Overall.
- MI LB James Ross. #143 Overall.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. #167 Overall.
The other guys who may be making decisions soon:
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. #134 Overall.
- MI CB Terry Richardson. #195 Overall.
For a list of which other Rivals250 prospects are still considering Michigan, check out Tom's Diary.
Come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion of this week's recruiting post!
Though there's still plenty of time to recruit for the 2012 class, Michigan's coaches are continuing their in-state recruiting dominance into the future. 2013 MI QB Shane Morris has become Michigan's first commit in the sophomore(!) class, he told Tom tonight.
First, the size. The sites (except ESPN, which - big shocker - doesn't have any 2013 prospects in their database) agree he's 6-3, and though 24/7 Sports estimates his weight at 190, Rivals and ESPN are within a pound of each other at 183 and 182, respectively. So, 6-3, 183 it is.
The HALOLs you see above are not due to the presence - or lack - of any particular talent, but rather because the recruiting sites are about a year (almost exactly in Rivals' case) from ranking 2013 prospects. We'll start the evaluations in chronological order, starting with a Detroit National Underclassmen Combine following Morris's freshman year:
Morris, 6'1.5 174, won the 9th grade MVP. He had a 28 inch vertical, 8'7 broad jump, ran a 4.60 shuttle...
QB Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) was in a class of his own. The 6-1, 174-pounder has a sensational arm, great vision, moves his feet well and carries himself like a pro. Talent wise, he is far beyond his age group and already has top-notch abilities.
Prepseer took a 1-game sample size and made it big:
Morris wasn’t the stud quarterback that I expected. It was the first time I’ve seen him. He has a decent arm and he runs the offense well–particularly for a sophomore. I don’t think he’s the Div. 1 lock that many fans are proclaiming. He’s not even the best in the CHSL Central. But, he’s only a sophomore and he will get better.
Though Prepseer is a hilariously biased Michigan State slappy, that report was long before Morris committed, so there's no bias present.
Fortunately, the kid's already been featured in a Sam Webb column. First, Scout's Allen Trieu:
"Shane, for a young kid, has a really great arm," said Scout.com Midwest regional manager Allen Trieu. "I saw him as a freshman and that ball came out of his hand with great spin and velocity then... There's still a ways to go, but he has a lot of talent. He'll be a kid that gets attention from all over, not just the schools within a close proximity."
And his high school coach:
[De La Salle Coach Paul] Verska added: "He makes great decisions with the football, he has a very strong arm, and he is learning and getting better every day. As long as he continues to do that I think great things will keep happening for him."
Sound Mind, Sound Body Foundation's program director weighs in, primarily on how experienced he is for such a young guy:
"He has really been exposed to a lot more than your average 10th grader has," said program director and founder Curtis Blackwell. "He plays in one of the toughest leagues in the state in the Catholic League and he has a great coaching staff at DeLaSalle. At the same time he comes from a very strong family background where his mom is very influential and his dad is a middle school coach that coached him in football. He has had a great foundation. Then since the ninth grade he has been working out and a part of all of our programming here in the inner-city."
So what has Shane gotten out of the SMSB camps?
"I felt like it helped me out tremendously," he said. "It helped me out with my confidence. I feel I am a leader and so I'm going to lead everyone. That's what you're supposed to do as a quarterback, supposed to be the main leader on the field, and that's what I feel like I'm doing with this team."
At the Badgersport 7-on-7 in Pittsburgh, he was named "Best Young Arm:"
Not only was Morris an effective passer over the weekend, but he exudes the confidence and leadership you look for out of the quarterback position.
He also impressed Scout's Scott Kennedy in New Jersey ($):
"[I]t was obvious he had a big arm to go with his frame. He has good mechanics as well, and I was doubly surprised to find out that the biggest kid on the field was only a member of the Class of 2013."
"He reminded me a little of how it was with Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike at these events last year... Gunner and Zeke are going to be Top 5 quarterbacks this year, and while I’m not ready to say Morris is going to be there next year, he certainly has all of the tools to be."
Morris grew up a Michigan fan and modeled his game after Tom Brady (I'm sure most Michigan fans approve). It's so early that it's tough to know a whole lot about him, but "arm strength," "size," and "potential" are clearly going to be in his corner. Also, he's a lefty, so I'm fully in support (before all you evil righties wipe us out).
Michigan offered Shane on March 28th. He also held offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Toledo. If that sounds light on the offers, keep in mind this kid can't sign with a school for almost two years. Waiting to commit would have seen plenty of top schools with pro-style offenses jump into the fray. He had interest but no offers from Stanford and Tennessee.
If you're into Mark Dantonio schadenfreude (and you really should be), there's a story on Rivals's Michigan State affiliate about how Shane is at the top of MSU's list for 2013 ($, info in header).
Rivals provides sophomore numbers in convenient table form:
Passing Year PA PC Yds TD Int 2010 (So.) 180 102 1,150 14 5
Scout says 1139 yards. That's good-not-great, but... dude's a sophomore, and almost certainly a first-year starter. It would be a 130.44 passer efficiency by the NCAA calculation.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals is the premium site providing the time, and it's a good one for a pocket passer: 4.63. They also credit him with a 4.6 shuttle time. For a kid who's not expected to be much of a runner in college, that seems a little FAKE, to the tune of three out of five.
There are also 7-on-7 highlights.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Shane Morris is going to be a really good football player. However, he's got plenty of time to develop into his potential.
When he's a freshman, Denard Robinson will be a senior, and Devin Gardner will be a junior (or redshirt sophomore). Russell Bellomy will be a sophomore (or redshirt junior). With three QBs with at least a year in the system before Morris, he's got a chance to take a redshirt year. Following that redshirt year, Devin Gardner will likely take over for Denard as the starter. Following Devin's graduation (he could even leave school after his redshirt junior year and still graduate), there will be a hot competition between Bellomy and Morris for the job, and I predict Morris will win it.
Let's try this again. When he's a freshman, Devin Gardner will be a senior or redshirt junior. Russell Bellomy will be a junior or redshirt sophomore. With two capable QBs on the roster (and likely another a year ahead in the class of 2012 - see below), Morris will redshirt, then either compete with Bellomy and 2012 Prospect X to take over for a Gardner that leaves early for the NFL, or gets another year of seasoning to do the same with Gardner's swan song in maize-and-blue.
He has NFL size, he has an NFL arm, and he'll be playing in an NFL offense. I think there's no question that Morris is the next in a long line (briefly interrupted) of successful pocket slingers at Michigan. All-American honors are not out of the question, and an NFL future is likely.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
More than what it means for the 2013 class (about which we currently know very little), is what Morris's commitment means for the 2012 class. He probably committed to Michigan with the knowledge that the coaching staff will not pursue a highly-rated passer for next February.
The coaching staff could take a lesser-rated guy, but it almost makes sense - with a numbers crunch already looming in May the year before Signing Day - to not take one at all, opening a slot for other positions. Shane told Tom that the coaches are thinking otherwise, but his commitment certainly opens that door down the road.
The Rivals top 100 came out yesterday and there seemed to be a lot of confusion about the lack of midwest prospects. The complete 250 rankings are now out and it's looking a little more balanced. Here's a look at the top 250 prospects that Michigan is still in on with a little commentary as well.
|Overall Ranking||Position & Name||State||Star Ranking||Summary|
|#1||WR Dorial Green Beckham||MO||5 Star||Without an elite QB like Zeke Pike in this class don't get your hopes up.|
|#4||DT Eddie Goldman||DC||5 Star||Goldman still lists Michigan as a school of interest, but there won't be much to go on until he visits.|
|#6||DT Ellis McCarthy||CA||5 Star||McCarthy has expressed interest in Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed on the west coast.|
|#8||WR Stefon Diggs||MD||5 Star||Michigan is still in the conversation, but until he visits there might not be a lot to go off of.|
|#13||DE Noah Spence||PA||5 Star||Spence lists Michigan as a school of interest, but it will take a lot for them to reel him in.|
|#15||OL Andrus Peat||AZ||5 Star||Andrus' brother Todd committed to Nebraska in the 2011 class. I would be surprised if he picked Michigan.|
|#19||QB Gunner Kiel||IN||5 Star||Kiel took a visit to Michigan recently. He's very quiet as far as media attention. I have a feeling a school like Oklahoma has a good shot with him.|
|#28||OL Kyle Murphy||CA||4 Star||Murphy has expressed a lot of interest in Michigan. They have a decent shot, but again I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed on the west coast.|
|#29||DT Tommy Schutt||IL||4 Star||Schutt hasn't mentioned Michigan in awhile. If they can get him to visit they might have a chance, but it looks like they're on the outside for now.|
|#31||OL Zach Banner||WA||4 Star||Banner has expressed a lot of interest in Michigan, and plans on taking an official.|
|#32||WR Durron Neal||MO||4 Star||Just received a Michigan offer, we'll see how much interest he has.|
|#34||OL Erik Magnuson||CA||4 Star||Magnuson is very interested in Michigan, they have a good shot.|
|#37||ATH Devin Fuller||NJ||4 Star||Fuller has been relatively quiet lately, but he has maintained that he will visit Michigan in the summer. We'll know more once that happens.|
|#45||OL Jordan Simmons||CA||4 Star||Simmons has a lot of interest in Michigan. He's taking things slow for now. He has genuine interest in Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed out west.|
|#48||DE Ifeadi Odenigbo||OH||4 Star||Odenigbo has Michigan on the outside of his top group that includes Ohio State, Stanford, and Notre Dame. He plans on taking a visit to Ann Arbor in June, so we'll see if that changes anything.|
|#55||RB Keith Marshall||NC||4 Star||Marshall has Michigan in his top ten, but I believe he'll end up staying down south.|
|#60||DE Tyriq McCord||FL||4 Star||Just received a Michigan offer. I haven't spoken to him yet about where he's at.|
|#61||DE Se'von Pittman||OH||4 Star||Pittman has expressed interest in Michigan, and it seems like there's a shot.|
|#65||DB Deon Bush||FL||4 Star||Early on Bush had expressed some big time interest in Michigan, but it seems like that's slowed down. I wouldn't be surprised to see him stay in Florida.|
|#67||DT Jarron Jones||NY||4 Star||Jones is committed to PSU, but recently told an ESPN analyst that he still plans on visiting Michigan in the summer.|
|#72||QB Zeke Pike||KY||4 Star||I'll just keep him on here because it's not signing day yet.|
|#74||ATH DJ Foster||AZ||4 Star||DJ just received a Michigan offer. Oregon is probably his early leader, but he said he would like to visit Michigan.|
|#86||DE Adolphus Washington||OH||4 Star||Washington recently told me that he's wide open and really likes what the Michigan coaches are about. He'll be a package deal with teammate WR Dwayne Stanford. Ohio State may be tough to beat.|
|#88||DE Greg McMullen||OH||4 Star||Ohio State will be tough to beat for Greg as well. Anything can happen though with the NCAA investigation looming.|
|#93||WR Dwayne Stanford||OH||4 Star||Same situation as Adolphus Washington.|
|#96||WR Jordan Payton||CA||4 Star||Committed to USC, but will be taking looks at other schools. Michigan is a school that he really wanted to hear from.|
|#103||OL Max Tuerk||CA||4 Star||He spoke very highly of Michigan, and it seems like they have a shot. It's California though so he may end up staying closer to home.|
|#124||RB Bri'onte Dunn||OH||4 Star||Fresh off a visit to Michigan, Dunn is watching the NCAA investigation very closely at OSU. There's a lot that could happen here.|
|#130||OL Evan Boehm||MO||4 Star||Says he has interest in Michigan and would like to make it up for a visit. Until then I wouldn't get excited.|
|#134||WR Aaron Burbridge||MI||4 Star||Burbridge was just in Ann Arbor with now Michigan commits Devin Funchess, Mario Ojemudia, and James Ross. He will be back up with his mother within two weeks. He'll be choosing between Michigan and MSU. Michigan has a real shot.|
|#136||ATH Davonte Neal||AZ||4 Star||The Michigan coaches stopped in Scottsdale to check out Davonte this past week. No offer yet, which is surprising. I think he'll end up staying out west.|
|#137||OL Paul Thurston||CO||4 Star||Thurston actually just took a trip to Ann Arbor. I think Michigan has a very good chance here.|
|#139||DB Wayne Morgan||NY||4 Star||Morgan's coach has told me that Michigan and Rutgers are at the top of Wayne's list. Michigan has been making a surge, and I wouldn't be surprised if they have taken the lead over the hometown Scarlet Knights.|
|#140||DT Jaleel Johnson||IL||4 Star||Johnson was just offered by Michigan and plans to visit relatively soon. He's starting to gain some attention from Ohio State. I think Michigan has a real chance here.|
|#152||OL Kyle Dodson||OH||4 Star||Dodson has seen his recruitment take off with offers from Alabama and Auburn recently. He still maintains that Michigan is one of his top schools. I think they have a good chance.|
|#184||RB Greg Garmon||PA||4 Star||Garmon should be visiting Michigan in the next couple weeks. They are in the top three with UNC and Penn State, but I think Michigan is behind both.|
|#187||DB Armani Reeves||MA||4 Star||Reeves will be narrowing his list down soon, but has said that Michigan will be right in there. I think he has some schools in mind that stick out, and I also think Michigan is in pretty good standing right now.|
|#191||OL Shane Callahan||CO||4 Star||Callahan has mentioned Michigan as one of his favorites, and I think there's a good shot here.|
|#194||WR Amara Darboh||IA||4 Star||Darboh has told me that he's intrigued by Michigan, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him pick elsewhere.|
|#195||DB Terry Richardson||MI||4 Star||Terry could be deciding as early as next week. With his friends on board Michigan has a really good shot.|
|#209||OL Jordan Diamond||IL||4 Star||Diamond has been public with how he feels about Michigan. He plans on taking his time with everything, but Michigan is in great shape.|
|#222||DT Danny O'Brien||MI||4 Star||There's been a lot of questions about Danny lately and where he's at with Michigan. I think Michigan has backed off of him a little bit, but I'm not sure why.|
|#231||DT Tom Strobel||OH||4 Star||Strobel has said he wants to visit Michigan. If he does then they have a shot. Ohio State might be tough to beat.|
|#242||OL JJ Denman||PA||4 Star||Denman has Michigan in his top group and has said he really likes Michigan. I think they have a good shot with JJ.|
|#246||DT Ondre Pipkins||MO||4 Star||Pipkins really likes Michigan, has connections with former Michigan players, and still has relatives living there. Michigan has a very good chance with Ondre.|
By my count that's 45 prospects in the top 250 that Michigan is recruiting and has somewhat of a chance with. Before you ask, yes I'm surprised that Chris Wormley isn't in the top 250. That seems weird.
I think Michigan has a realistic chance with a good amount of these top 250 players. Among those are:
DT Ondre Pipkins, OL JJ Denman, OL Jordan Diamond, DB Terry Richardson, OL Shane Callahan, DB Armani Reeves, OL Kyle Dodson, DT Jaleel Johnson, DB Wayne Morgan, OL Paul Thurston, WR Aaron Burbridge, OL Erik Magnuson, and OL Zach Banner.
In the aftermath of Darius Morris's decision to stay in the NBA draft Michigan has a scholarship open, and along with German Patrick Heckmann here's a second candidate to take that spot:
Luke Hancock is still weighing his options and could transfer from George Mason basketball, according to a report by Steven Goff of the Washington Post. Hancock, who was rumored to be transferring last week, has spoken to new coach Paul Hewitt several times as he is making up his mind, George Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor told Goff. … Sources told SB Nation that Hancock is considering trying to transfer to Michigan as well as Virginia, the latter of which had previously been reported.
Hancock just finished his sophomore year. After pulling a Blake McLimans (going to prep school after getting zero offers) he managed to convince GMU to offer him and rewarded their faith by becoming the CAA freshman of the year in 2010. Last year he was an efficient, somewhat low-usage scorer (54% from two, 36% from three, 81% from the line with a shot percentage around 19%) who got to the line quite a bit. His 60% true shooting rate would have been second on last year's Michigan team behind Jordan Morgan, and his statistical profile indicates a guy who is creating a lot of opportunities, not just absorbing them efficiently. He played about 70% of Mason's minutes and led the team in assists despite being described as "6-5 swing player" most places. Unfortunately, he also led the team with a Courtney Sims-like 21.5 TO rate.
While all of these are CAA numbers and should be taken somewhat skeptically, Hancock had 18 points on ten shots and a 5:1 assist to turnover ratio in GMU's opening round tourney win over Villanova. (He missed the OSU blowout due to illness.) Against VCU he had a tougher time, with just four points in a 79-63 loss in the CAA playoffs; he went 0-5 from the field in a regular season win but was 10-10 from the line and had seven assists. He played well in most of Mason's games against the meat of their schedule—Old Dominion, NC State, Duquesne, and Harvard mostly.
Hancock would sit out next year and have two to play, so Michigan's looking at Heckmann now, Hancock, a random late-emerging 2012 player, or banking that scholarship all the way to 2013. If Hancock wants to come I'd probably take him. He fits Michigan's offense, gets to the line, and hands out assists. He's a proven college player who will almost certainly be better than the freshman and sophomore years of whoever they might grab with Morris's scholarship in 2012 or 2013. Unless they really like Heckmann he seems like the best way to make lemonade out of Morris's departure.
Now he just has to decide to transfer.
|Detroit, MI - 5'8" 162|
|Scout||3*, #40 CB|
|Rivals||3*, #25 CB, #7 MI|
|ESPN||4*, 79, #15 CB|
|Others||3* to 247.|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post.|
|Notes||Cass Tech (Campbell, Jones, Gordon, etc.)|
Delonte Hollowell is archetypical in many ways. He committed to Michigan before anyone else in his class (doing so before the previous signing day), he's a cornerback best described as "beyond tiny," and he comes from Thomas Wilcher's Cass Tech program. He is the median Cass Tech recruit.
This time around the recruiting sites were less enthusiastic, at least eventually. Though Hollowell started off in the Rivals 250 by the end of the season he'd dropped to a three star everywhere save ESPN, which tends to rate 'em and forget 'em unless you show up at the Under Armor game.
It's hard to fault that assessment. Hollowell really is tiny—he measured in at 5'8.3" at the Army combine a year and a half ago—and of late Cass Tech recruits have proven a bit overrated. Since his early commitment prevented everyone save Central Michigan from offering we don't have much to dispute those fairly mediocre rankings. What's more, the Army combine performance that landed him on the All-Combine team and got him an early fourth star was frankly underwhelming. While he benched a lot of weight and jumped high he also ran a 4.88 40, which tied for 40th amongst participants. (If that sounds awful, the top time was a 4.55. Subtract at least two tenths to get a FAKE equivalent.) His shuttle was in the same range. Those seem like more important indicators than a bench press for a high school corner.
It's not all bad, though. Though Rivals dropped him to a three star it was by the smallest possible margin. The guy one slot ahead of him got that star. ESPN did think well enough of him to give him a fourth star. And it seems like he's got the intangibles down:
During his presentation, Rodriguez told the story of deciding which of two unnamed prospects to offer last year.
“I said, 'I want to take him,'” Rodriguez said. “The coaches said, 'Why do you want him?' I said, 'I was at the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp and I watched the one-on-ones and that guy was trying to get in the front of the line and that guy was trying to hide in the back.' I want the guy that wants to take every rep against every guy, who’s not afraid to compete.
“So we took that guy, and I’m glad we did because he’s going to be a great player.”
Hollowell was at the SMSB camp last year, and those who know him say that sounds like him.
Of course, Justin Feagin also had the intangibles down, caveats, etc., etc. An assessment of that camp says Hollowell "regularly stepped up" to battle eventual Vol DeAnthony Arnett but did not come out on top often.
The median Hollowell scouting report reads "Despite his size, Delonte Hollowell's size despite should be taller his size Y U NO taller despite his size." Delonte Hollowell is not a large person. Examples from Rivals($)…
"Delonte Hollowell has a lot of upside and athleticism despite being small for a cornerback."
…from the Army Combine…
Delonte Hollowell may have not been the biggest corner, but he was one of the strongest competitors. Hollowell benched more than his body weight 19 times, while posting a 33 inch vertical.
And from ESPN($):
Has a well-defined, deceptively strong body but does have marginal height and could struggle to defend the jump-ball versus today's taller college receivers.
You get the idea.
At this point we've got a very small corner who's not that fast or quick at this one combine and you might be wondering WTF. Well, maybe that combine was a bad day or something because every subjective assessment says he's not quite as quick as Dior Mathis but there's no shame in that. Rivals scouted a game of his and came away calling him a "taller, thicker" version of the even more diminutive Mathis..
When not talking about his height ESPN sounds generally impressed($):
If Hollowell had a bit more size he would likely be considered a top national cornerback prospect. ... Has a tight, fluid pedal and transitions smoothly in and out. Sharp and direct out of his breaks with good burst; can decrease receiver separation quickly. Does a good job reading the quarterback and jumping routes in zone schemes and can mirror tightly with his fluid hips and turns in off-man coverages. Very effective in press and bump-and-run coverages as well.
A lack of top-end speed is their other main complaint; they figure that combined with his height limits him to a nickelback and underneath corner. That assessment was echoed by Sam Webb($) when he saw Hollowell at the Army combine:
This aggressive youngster is at his best when he can get his hands on receivers. … At this stage of development he isn’t as adept at playing off of receivers as he is up on them. A few times he stayed in his back pedal too long, giving the receivers too much of an advantage. By the time he decided to turn and run the receiver had achieved far too much separation for him to make up. As a mid 4.5 to 4.6 guy he won’t make a living hawking guys down from behind. That said, when he could get up on guys and bump them a bit, he had no problem staying with virtually everyone he covered.
Similarly, Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher praises his jam:
"He's a good pressure cornerback," coach Thomas Wilcher said. "He has good feet and hands, and he jams the receiver."
Touch The Banner also knocks Hollowell's lack of "elite athleticism and speed" but likes his hands and adjustments when the ball is in the air. The chorus is in harmony.
Etc.: Photo gallery. Rivals checked him out as a junior($) they said he does "a good job of turning and running with receivers down the field, and appears to be an aggressive tackler." Another Wilcher quote: "He's aggressive, tough. He's smart, good head on his shoulders."
Why Brandon Harrison? Like Hollowell, Harrison was a super-quick, tougher-than-you-think 5'8" guy who lived on the 3-4 star borderline as a recruit. If you ignore the Army combine numbers in favor of the scouting assessments, Hollowell is also that guy.
Why not Cissoko? Hope about his situation, mostly. There are small cornerbacks and then there are the Cissokos and Harrisons and Hollowells of the world. By the time Cissoko saw the field it was clear that whatever his recruiting rankings were they were too high—put him up against a 6'3" guy and he might as well not be on the field. Harrison, on the other hand, had the luxury of playing inside as a nickelback. This largely protected him from downfield doom against the Michael Floyds of the world.
With three other cornerbacks in his recruiting class, two in front of him, and a couple more guys coming in next year Michigan should be able to protect Hollowell from a Cissoko-like fate. Michigan has also moved back to a 4-3 under with a dedicated nickelback for spread teams and passing downs—they've revived the Brandon Harrison spot just in time for this YMRMFSPA.
Guru Reliability: High-ish. Heavily scouted player who attended a bunch of camps and was healthy. Only "-ish" because of a significant spread in rankings.
General Excitement Level: Meh. I can't get over Hollowell's obvious physical limitations and the parade of Cass Tech guys who need a ton of coaching before they can be effective in college, if they ever get there. He's got a role, but it will be a limited one achieved only after a few years in the program.
Projection: Almost certain to redshirt and will probably sit on the bench for another couple years as Avery and Countess and maybe a couple other guys suck up the available snaps at corner. As a significantly more polished but probably no taller upperclassmen his best bet is to replace fellow Cass alum Thomas Gordon as the nickelback three years from now.
Everyone assumed that because it showed up on I-94 somewhat near Ann Arbor (it's close to the airport) that Michigan fans were responsible for it. But if you know anything about Paul Reiser-penned billboards in Michigan you know that Michigan State fans love 'em. Example one:
At this point we cannot act like we have been there because we haven't.
It's almost as if there's some billboard company with spare inventory run by Spartan Paul Reiser. Reader Section 1 finds SPR:
The idea actually came from a Michigan State alum, who also happens to be the local sales manager for CBS Outdoor advertising.
About 10-12 of the boards are expected to be put up around the state, most with sponsor names on them.
Two are already in place -- on northbound I-75, north of I-94, and another in Grand Rapids. There's also one coming to the Lansing area, and the rest will be located in metro-Detroit.
"I have several State alumni and State fans that work for me," said Tom Carroll, vice president of the Michigan Region for CBS Outdoor. "The billboard is our response to Michigan State getting snubbed."
Section 1 went so far as to call up Bob Brown, another Michigan State guy who used the close-your-eyes-and-don't-think-of-Iowa billboard to express "frustration," and ask him who was behind the billboards. They refused to answer, saying only that the buyer was anonymous. Why they'd be so reticent now when they'd embraced their role as the state's key purveyor of stupid sports-themed billboards is unknown. It's probably not the sudden onset of shame.
Unfortunately for Spartan Paul Reiser, his kid sold him out. An emailer relates:
I put a pic of the billboard up on my Facebook page, and got a response from a [high school] classmate who is a Facebook friend of mine – Brad Carroll. He said his dad had created the billboard, and had shown him a mock up a couple weeks earlier. At the time I thought nothing of it, other than that his dad was a Michigan fan.
In the aftermath of the Section 1 post the emailer deduces that Brad is Tom Carroll's son. The googles confirm by turning up a CBS Outdoor Detroit Facebook page that only people with the last name Carroll have bothered to like things on, one of whom is a Brad who matches the biographical information elided above. QED.
As per usual, Michigan State fans are responsible for the stupid billboards. Stay your wakizashi and carefully tell the guy with the katana to go get some ice cream: your honor is restored.
Hoke's Glorious Kingdom, Which is His / Angela Cesere|AnnArbor.com
April in the D is overrated, but I can't complain about May in Michigan. As I write this I'm sunburned from the year's first sail, half-comatose from the first grilled burger, and spamming F5 on the MGoBlog home page so I don't miss another victorious recruiting battle. This being Michigan of course the week came with one rain storm, one frost, and two fuuuuuuuuuuu's, but today the sun is shining, the uber alleles are replicating, the warring has ended, and general sentiment feels our winter of discontent can be made glorious by this son of Hoke.
Last week's Diary of the Week made the state of Michigan football analogous to morning; maybe spring's more like it.
The week has also seen a few hands take their turns at analyzing recruiting rankings. Before they came out I was goofing with my own attempt at such but…yeah, lots of work, that. What I do have however is a comprehensive Big Ten recruiting database started. First comparable,
Percentage of recruits from in-state from 2002-2011:
Some of these are thrown off by the few schools that sign a substantial amount of JUCOs (Minnesota, Purdue, MSU) but if you pull them it doesn't change much of anything above.
Percent of players from source:
Are you surprised? The Ohio State homegrown number really stands out. What struck me was that the numbers are so low across the conference. This makes sense if you think about the relative populations of these states, kind of. Less populous Iowa had to leave the corn fields, while Ohio State can run a McKinley-style front porch recruiting campaign. What it doesn't gel with are the general perceptions of teams that "win with homegrown talent." Ohio State can say that but Wisconsin – even after dominating on the home front – still must travel abroad for most of its players.
Like this but with free cars
As for Michigan State, their hypothesis is that John L. Smith went out of state while Dantonio "got it." Let's test that:
- JLS (2003-'06): 23.36% recruits from Michigan (M: 27.16% in that time)
- Dantonio (2007-'11): 44.55% recruits from Michigan (M 21.24% in that time)
Seems to be right. The classes:
* Morris Watts was interim H.C. for the last three games of '02 after Bobby Williams was fired. JLS arrived right after the bowls. The '03 class was mostly Bobby's.
** The Michigan recruiting was mostly done by Carr; Rodriguez added five players, all from out-of-state.
There's nothing substantially different about Michigan from late-Carr to RR, except the huge in-state recruiting year in '02. If there was a "he cares" meme going up it was based on disparity. Dantonio's 2011 class looks like it went "national" but really he moved even more heavily into Ohio. So let's see that:
Percent of Recruits from Any Big Ten State:
And Michigan's regional recruiting by year (with how M finished the previous season):
|Year||In-Region||Previous Year's Result|
|2002||85.71%||8-4 / 6-2, lost 45-17 to Tennessee in Citrus Bowl|
|2003||58.82%||10-3 / 6-2, def. Florida 38-30 in Outback Bowl|
|2004||59.09%||10-3 / 7-1. lost 28-14 to USC in Rose Bowl|
|2005||56.52%||9-3 / 7-1, lost 38-37 to Texas in Rose Bowl|
|2006||52.63%||7-5 / 5-3, lost 32-28 to Nebraska in Alamo Bowl|
|2007||40.00%||11-2 / 7-1, lost 32-18 to USC in Rose Bowl|
|2008||54.17%||9-4 / 6-2, def. Florida 41-35 in Citrus Bowl, New Coach|
|2009||40.91%||3-9 / 2-6, no bowl.|
|2010||70.37%||5-7 / 1-7, no bowl.|
|2011||70.00%||7-6 / 3-5, lost 52-14 to Miss. St in Gator Bowl, New Coach|
Recruiting is a perception game, not just numbers, but you can clearly see how perception has affected Michigan's out-of-state recruiting. However the top chart seems to equate winning periods with success and vice versa. Look at Purdue in the Orton/Kirsch era as opposed to after. See Minnesota under Mason as opposed to KILL FIGHT WIN! See the Dantonio Effect at MSU. But I don't think you can take this and declare "Big Ten recruiting wins championships." Take Indiana: they got over 40% from elsewhere when they sucked in the early 2000s, and just 20% from elsewhere today.
What you see is two years of DiNardo riding post-Randel El fame until his teams were so bad the XFL wouldn't take him back had they still existed. Indiana recruits locally because few people outside of the footprint would consider going to Indiana when they can sign with a Mid-Major and win some football games once in awhile. Ohio's in-region numbers are driven by their ridiculous in-state rate. Penn State's is low because they exist outside the Midwest and use Maryland, Jersey, and the D.C. area like we use Ohio. All this chart really shows, without knowing the context for each team, is possible evidence of strategy:
- Looks like they took it outside: Zook, Brewster, JLS, Rodriguez?
- Looks like they focused inside: Dantonio, Tressel
The evidence isn't strong enough to claim either as fact. So one last chart:
Percent of Big Ten-Bound In-State Recruits Who Chose School X: (numbers are for that school's own state):
Here strategies become slightly apparent. Ferentz may fill his roster with non-Iowans but only after he makes sure virtually every Iowan who can play for a Big Ten team will play for his. Wisconsin and Minnesota also stand out for keeping talent home. Most of the Minnesotans who weren't Gophers were Badgers. Of the 28% of Big Ten cheeseheads who don't end up at Wisconsin, 9% went to rival and neighbor Minnesota, 6% went to Indiana, which probably means they didn't have an offer, and 5% went to Northwestern, which is close to Wis. population centers and a better school and also probably a place for kids Wisconsin didn't want.
Indiana takes what it can. Penn State accesses the Atlantic States but can't protect its West from hemorrhaging talent all around the conference. Michigan State since '06 is heavy into the 3-stars Michigan didn't want (and the 4- and 5-stars Michigan did want). Ohio State and Illinois are homebodies because they are state schools for very populous states. Purdue and Northwestern draw from all over, though the Boilermakers have seemingly shifted away from bothering with their home state in favor of being players in Chicagoland and all around the conference.
Then there's Michigan. Big school in a shared state, we get only a quarter of the in-state talent. It's apparent from this why it's so important to compete in Ohio and around the country: the presence of a sibling makes the Iowa/Wisconsin home-first strategy impractical. I leave the rest of the conclusions to you; on to the diaries.
Whatever your boss wants you to be doing right now, it can wait while you check out this Diary of the Week-winning set of recruiting maps, updated by Rescue_Dawn. This time he broke up the maps into commits, (red), Offense offers (maize) and Defense offers (blue). The bigger the circle, the higher profile the recruit according to the services. It went up before Standifer got his offer but otherwise it's up to date.
But wait, there's more: Thanks to Deep Under Cover you can now contribute to a Google version of this, a sort of Google Wiki Mappy Thing (Internet, it's time for new words; we used up your words):
It is an empty slate, so get cracking.
Bumped from the boards to the diaries, and then from there to the front page this week was Gopherine's piece on Recruiting Bias and Accuracy, who got the Black Heart Gold Pants guy to pony up the data from the recruiting to NFL study* to check out whether under-scouted players outperformed their recruiting rankings.
Of course, the chart doesn't disprove my mildly paranoid belief that Midwesterners are consistently being slighted by the jerks on the coasts, so let's call this a win.
Note that the Midwestern 5 star recruits underperform the mean. This has no impact on the claim (5 star recruits can't be underrated), but it's interesting nonetheless. Really small samples for 5 stars is all the explanation I need.
* UpUpDownDown said something about Iowa Running Back Hating God visiting him in the night with a Walkman and Van Halen?
: Dammit. by Zone Left.
I'm more an old comedy man myself, but even Philosopher Kings are down for puffin' up the pillows, breaking out the good Grechetto, and getting into a good ol' fashioned seminar on Why do we watch football? Plato, according to WatersDemos:
Football is our way of observing our own ideal cities in speech. It engages all three elements of the soul, and teaches us that only proper ordering of the soul can lead to success. In this case, the reason element is represented by the head coach, who (hopefully) is akin to a football philosopher king. Second, you have the courageous/spirited element, i.e., the players, who hopefully are akin to football warriors. Finally, you have the desire element, represented by the fans, whose generally unrealistic and limitless demands really belong on the bottom of this pyramid (with some exceptions of course).
Read, and become a better man for it.
Eye of the Tiger read some tea leaves and described four plausible scenarios for the 2011 season, revealing the fears and hopes of this great unknown.
- 10-2: A weakened Big Ten sees Michigan return to the Rose Bowl, though he admits this is unlikely.
- 9-3/8-4: Progressive improvement over the season, maybe with a win over reeling Buckeyes?
- 7-5/6-6: A different kind of mediocrity, which is one or two injuries to the O-line away.
- 5-7 or worse: It takes years to build up from one of the worst defenses in the country, but ruining one of the best offenses can happen much faster.
My Mom is the only other family member to go to Michigan. On State week she puts on maize and blue and ribs my MSU siblings about had they only studied harder. Without her I never would have pursued my career, gone to my school, met my friends or my wife. She has read (and unsolicitedly copy edited) almost anything I've ever written. In the words of Mr. Slocum: i love her i think she da realest bitch alive.
Also I lost money on Stately Victor. So I chose a bad weekend to take a semi-vacation. Every time I hopped on my phone to see what was going down, Michigan was picking up a DE commit or Ohio State was seeing its troubles expand or Michigan State fans were having entertaining meltdowns or the OHL draft was somehow giving Michigan commitments instead of stealing them. You think it's just a random weekend in May and surely the only thing you're going to miss is nothing. Not so much. But if that's going to happen every time I'm out of pocket I'll be in the Yukon until August even if we pick up some suspensions along the way.
It all started with dozens of cars over a decade. The Dispatch reports Ohio State is looking into their players' tendency to buy cars from one guy with the usual level of signed memorabilia in his office and at least one very interesting sale:
Public records show that in 2009, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with less than 20,000 miles was titled to then-sophomore linebacker Thaddeus Gibson. Documents show the purchase price as $0.
Unfortunately for people wishing to see OSU bombed into the stone age, the Dispatch found that "nearly half" of the cars are on record as being sold for less than the Blue Book value, which is a way of saying it seems like there's a reasonable distribution of prices when that price isn't no dollars. That's unless the cars in question are all blinged out yo—the Dispatch only knows make and model.
However, in addition to all these sales this Kniffin guy also loaned Terrelle Pryor the cars he was driving when he was pulled over three times in loaners. It's extremely implausible that the NCAA won't be able to put together another finding of improper benefits. It was also implausible that Pryor could get away with the car hijinks and he did.
Ohio State compliance is putting up a brave face, but privately the prospect of Kniffin and his 130k in IRS debt facing down the law for misreporting sale prices for these cars has to be foreboding. If there's a choice between jail and confirming documents that would expand the scope of OSU's trouble to include a lack of institutional control, skeezy guy in undisclosed state will no doubt take the latter.
Still need that smoking gun to turn up, unless OSU's crack compliance storm troopers investigating car purchases and letting that Gibson thing slide is it. Ohio recruiting guru and OSU partisan Duane Long:
What about Pryor? I mean, every dealership owner is totally cool with letting me test drive their personal automobile for days on end across state lines. Especially when I was in college. Apparently that’s when I was most trustworthy. That story is believable right?
Now we find out it’s not just star players, it’s a bunch of players AND their families. Good Lord.
Don’t fret Buckeyes because this stuff was already cleared by OSU compliance. Whew!!! I knew they were on top of this. Sure they missed years of players cashing in on items that we would cherish our entire lives but are trivial to the players in exchange for tattoos and cash. But buying cars, they were all over it. Color me relieved, except for one thing. I saw a post asking one simple question, If all of this was cleared already then why the INTERNAL investigation? Hasn’t there already been one? Hasn’t it already been cleared? So what if the Dispatch thinks it’s a big deal. The answer to the Dispatch article is “It’s already been cleared”. Case closed. Story over. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead we muttered under our breath like Latoya Jackson’s mousy voice “we cleared this” and then contradicted the value of that entire “clearing” by announcing our internal investigation. That is ridiculous. Doing this internal investigation is a big announcement to the world “Yeah we didn’t really clear anything and we would hope you guys wouldn’t notice”.
It beggars belief that 50 different Buckeyes all got a legitimate deal with one particular salesman who has provably given Terrelle Pryor rides no one else would get. Maurice Wells' mom bought a car in Columbus. She lives in Maryland. So did Pryor's mother and brother, who live in Pennsylvania. The NCAA should be able to ask anyone with eligibility to prove they're making the payments the notes claim they are with permanent ineligibility the alternative. There's clearly enough circumstantial evidence to suggest what went down was rife with illegal benefits. If they don't they're making a mockery of their enforcement process at a school that's already done a better job of that than USC.
The car thing brings options approaching nuclear into play. Basketball players are involved and violations uncovered could stretch back a decade to when Maurice Clarett and Marco Cooper told ESPN they were given loaner cars and sweetheart deals. If the NCAA uncovers an ineffectual see-no-evil car accounting system in the wake of that very public accusation, pairing that with Tatgate makes for the worst NCAA violation in a long, long time.
BONUS: Texas fans are running a strong second to Michigan when it comes to e-outrage about this stuff. Burnt Orange Nation campaigns for a show-cause—their third post on the subject—and Barking Carnival opens up both barrels as well. A sniff of Switzer is a red cape to Longhorns.
Other possibility: Malletts be Mallettin'. Ryan Mallett's father dropped a dual bombshell as he tried to explain why his kid transferred away from Michgian, saying that Lloyd Carr told Mallett to transfer and Rodriguez didn't pursue Mallett as hard as he should have. The latter quote:
“Ryan’s the one who called (Rich Rod),” Jim Mallett continued. “He said, “Can I talk about the offense?’ And then he told me, ‘Daddy, (Rodriguez) never looked me in the eye.’ He never visited with the family, he didn’t talk to us. I never met the man. But hey, it wasn’t a fit. Let’s move on.”
This set off another minor war between the Rodriguez and Carr factions vying to determine which of them was incrementally less of an asshat over the last three years. There is another possibility: this is just a self-serving remembrance from the sort of guy who promises "revenge" on Miami for not drafting his kid. For one, Rodriguez never looked Mallett in the eye because Mallett was in Arkansas, not Michigan—unusual behavior for a player planning on staying at Michigan. For two, Carr told Mallett to transfer plenty before he'd even retired. I believe Carr told Mallett to GTFO, but it wasn't because he was looking out for his player.
The team. The team:
Also the team.
Stonum suspension redux. Darryl Stonum has been suspended "indefinitely" for his second DUI, which is better than the rumor I got in my inbox that he had gotten the heave-ho but seemingly not much better. Stonum had a breakout 2010 and could have done so again as a focal point when Michigan went under center; now he could be out for anywhere from a couple games to the year. Michigan could hypothetically redshirt him, FWIW.
I wish I had something to offer about how serious the on-field repercussions would be but it sounds like that's up to Stonum's actions over the next few months. A second DUI is a serious offense.
We're going to need a bigger ark. Michigan picked up a pair of WDE commits over the weekend from Ohio's Pharaoh Brown and Michigan's Mario Ojemudia, bringing their 2012 class to ten guys all from Michigan and Ohio, all offensive linemen or front-seven defensive players. This would be Brady Hoke self-parody if every guy in the class didn't sport the offer list of a guy at least on the 3-4 star borderline, but they all do so it's just good stuff. Michigan has 17 slots right now and can push that to 19 by not offering a couple of guys fifth years; with a reasonable amount of attrition they'll be looking at a class of 22 or more.
They seem to lead for Matt Godin, Chris Wormley, Terry Richardson, Anthony Standifer, and Jordan Diamond. They'll probably grab two DTs from the Pipkins/O'Brien/Day/Johnson group, which brings them to around 17. The five remaining scholarships go to:
- Mystery QB
- Mystery RB, Preferably Blue Chip, Thx
- Hypothetically Qualified Aaron Burbridge or Mystery Outside WR
- Mystery OT Probably From California
- Mystery OT
If they end up whiffing on any of the guys counted in the class it will probably be Wormley, at which point Michigan will put the full court press on the touted SDEs who veritably litter Ohio this year and, given the way things seem to be going, get one.
Michigan's problems, such as they are: getting the second WR it seems they need, finding a true safety, and smushing MI TE Ron Thompson in. If they bloat this class up to 25 they can add Thompson, another safety, and another WR without squeezing out that fifth OL.
That's asking for six kids to leave the team before February. I can glance at the Depth Chart By Class and easily pick off six guys whose absence wouldn't be felt but that's somewhere between rude and skeezy. While Michigan won't put themselves in a situation where they sign a bunch of guys and then say "medical scholarships for everyone," the best interests of the program are now aligned with certain guys leaving it. That's uncomfortable.
Tell me something I don't know. Rivals initial top 100 is a bit light on Midwesterners and, as usual, over-represented by the Texas/California/Florida triumvirate. I'm working on a larger post about this but:
- From 2000-2006 Texas, Florida, and California supplied 35% of NFL draft picks. From 2007-2010 they supplied 34%.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 48 players from those three states.
- The Midwest (MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, PA) supplied 17% of NFL draft picks.
- This year's Rivals 100 has 15 players from those states.
I haven't looked at enough data to see what the issue is but my bet is consistent overrating of Big Three players at a the near-uniform expense of everyone else. Some of this is inevitable unless you expect the Rivals guys to figure out which half a Montanan is going to get drafted every year, but if you suck out the odd NFL player from the ignored Great Plains and New England states you should be overrating the rest fairly uniformly. That hasn't happened so far this year.
Caveat: it's possible that the good players in the big states get scouted sooner, leaving the rest of the nation to catch up. That would mean the final Rivals 100 would be less Big Three biased. I'm not sure yet, which is why there's a post in the works.
Etc.: Brandon Burlon's departure is official. Michigan's solar car hits the NYT. They're going to paint the imaginary no-charge circle on the floor. Beilein thinks that helps but I'm not sure since their defense is built around charges, not blocked shots. Hockey's endzone nets are stupid.
There's been some chatter about Terry Richardson's upcoming announcement being a twitter prank from Royce Jenkins-Stone but 247's Steve Wiltfong reports that Cass Tech coach Tom Wilcher says Richardson will "probably make his decision this week." With Ross and Jenkins-Stone in the boat, Michigan is the presumed favorite.
Bryson Cianfrone, Max Domi
If you're a Michigan fan, Saturday's OHL draft was the Best OHL Draft Ever. This isn't exactly a high bar to leap, but not only did Michigan commits plummet well into the "what the hell, why not" range* but Bob Miller of The Wolverine reports Michigan may have actually picked up(!) a commitment instead of lost one:
A very valued source reports this morning that Bryson Cianfrone's selection in the third round of yesterday's OHL draft instead of the first round position he should have held may be due to a commitment to the University of Michigan. Cianfrone is smaller in stature and large in talent. Seen by many as a lock for the first round, he fell to hometown (Toronto area) Brampton in the third round.
The third round is not quite what-the-hell territory but that drop is significant. I poked around some OHL mock drafts published before Saturday, and all had him in the top ten because he is "explosive." Yost Built has more details. As a small, skilled Italian center from Toronto the comparisons to Cammalleri are inevitable, but Miller says he's more of a Shouneyia—a playmaker. I'm not sure how reliable this site is but it says Cianfrone will graduate in 2012, which means he could be a very young freshman next year if he so desired.
The other possibility is that Cianfrone really wanted to go to Brampton for some reason and he'll sign. We'll see. If Cianfrone is really ready to go in 2012 that means one fewer year cooling his heels and indicates he's the kind of student who puts a priority on his education.
Meanwhile, while Max Domi did go to Kingston like everyone figured he would, the second thing everyone thought he'd do—reconsider the college thing for the OHL and his dad's old teammates—hasn't happened yet. In fact, the younger Domi tweeted he'd be at Michigan yesterday:
@jjmarks16 naw man im not playing for kingston... heading down to the ushl and playing for inde i think
@jjmarks16 ya man im heading down to michigan u in 2 years
Doug Gilmour also said his first round pick wasn't going to report:
“I spoke to Tie and his ex-wife Leanne (recently) and their decision is to go elsewhere right now,” Gilmour said. “But this is junior hockey and there could be changes. If he wants to play in this league, it's kind of up to us. I'd love to have him.”
If that seems insane to you, remember that the OHL now gives you a compensatory draft pick one slot lower if you don't get your first-rounder signed. They may think it's worth the flier that Max doesn't take to the USHL since the cost isn't that steep.
So is that, like, a commitment? We're past the OHL draft and so there's no reason to say you're going to Michigan unless you're… like… going to Michigan. If so that would put Domi in the 2013 class with Compher, et al. (Note: I had erroneously assumed Domi was a 2012 prospect earlier.) If only hockey had developed an intricate hat dance rite that marked a prospect's passage into commitmenthood. Then we would know and pester Chris Heisenberg to update his spreadsheet.
In any case, the possible additions of Cianfrone and Domi in 2012/2013 would create a huge logjam at forward. Those two would bulge Michigan's forward corps to 17 in 2013, and while you have to expect some attrition there aren't a whole lot of early departure types on that list save Boo Nieves (who would be a sophomore) and maybe Alex Guptill (a junior). Two years is a long time to keep 17 kids in the boat, though, and Domi and Cianfrone are still liable to wriggle out.
Bonus Random Scouting
Since the world gets scouted for the OHL draft it provides an opportunity for Michigan fans to figure out just what kind of player they can expect at Yost in a couple years. A few bits on Evan Allen:
Silverstick MVP. Absolutely punishing hitter that plays with a mean streak. Did a great job of overwhelming the Marlies in their lone meeting this season. Very solid skill set, and obvious point producer. Most likely going to be a part of the USNDP team.
“Speedy forward who competes at a very high level. Possesses a very good shot with a pro-style release.”
“Reads the play in the offensive zone well. Extremely dangerous in the goal scoring area. If my team needed a goal, this is the guy I want with the puck on his stick.”
“Good north/south skating prospect with excellent acceleration. Not afraid to go to the tough areas of the ice to score. Another player that improved his overall game by playing Major Midget this season.”
Miller also reproduced the OHL media guide descriptions of Domi, Compher, Cianfrone, and Guertler. Save Compher, They're all small, skilled, and explosive.
*[Motte, Compher, Allen, and Talcott were all drafted after the tenth round and only Allen went to a team (Windsor) with any rep for picking off Americans with college commitments. Michigan target Gabe Guertler went in the sixth but if Michigan really has commitments from Cianfrone and Domi I can't see how they can cram him onto the roster, too.]