landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
This goes out to all those young linebackers out there who have given me your letters of intent:
♪ There was Bell, and a Hill, but I never saw them playing
No I never saw depth at all, 'till there was you.
There were safeties who gained weight, and a JUCO straight from Butler
But they were no Obianna Ezeh, 'till there was you.
Oh there were walk-ons, and converted fullbacks, they tell me,
And sweet freshman "Spinners," and Roh at "Quick"…
There was Ken-ny Demens, and a plush-toy Castor face-wash,
But no other linebackers at all, 'till there was you.
Till there was you! ♫
Linebacker depth: EXTANT!
This is Part III of the thing where I go over the depth chart and predict what will happen if the starter at any given position is hurt for an extended period of time in 2012: Who goes in?, What's the dropoff?, How do things shuffle?
And this time, there's goods here. There's depth in the SAMs and the WILLs and the MIKEs and the macks and the rovers. Whatayatalk whatayatalk: Where'd-we-get-it? With a Greg who knows the territory! With the jacks from the buckeyes, and the bucks from the mitten, and ROLBs from the overlooked, redshirted, 3-star, buck- and spart-passed over huckleberry bin. Whatayatalk, whatayatalk. Ya can talk, ya can talk, ya can bicker ya can talk, ya can bicker, bicker, bicker, ya can talk all ya want, but it's different than it was!
Quickly again. Photos are all by Upchurch unless otherwise noted. Ratings are given in Saturn-punting Zoltans. Think of them like stars except more heavenly. Five is an all-conference-type player (Denard to Kovacs); four is a guy you'd call "solid" (RVB to Demens); three is an average B1G player (Morgan to Hawthorne); two is a guy with a big hole in his game (freshman Kovacs); one is trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for Poole.
SAM (Strongside Linebacker):
In case of emergency: Jake was a revelation last year as a redshirt freshman who as the season progressed kept giving the coaches less and less excuse to yank him. The nature of his position, which rotates often, and the nature of his cavalier game make it hard to quantify the effective difference of an injury here. By design he's the most replaceable guy on the defense; by the magnitude of his effect when he's in the game, there are few, if any, guys on the team who you'd less like to lose. He was far from perfect—his problems holding the edge led to some ugly things in the Northwestern-Michigan State part of the year—however there were also those times when a "running" quarterback would see this crazy freshman coming inside the edge blocker and think to himself "oh I'm so going around that idiot," only to end up flat on his back 20 yards in the backfield. Nothing was more satisfying to a fan base recovering from Passive 3-3-5 syndrome than seeing this crazed high-necked Viking bellowing something unintelligible at fast-retreating Logan Thomas.
Heiko took this
Cam Gordon is the nominal backup, and since the freshman who played ahead of him last year (Beyer) has made the move to WDE, you would imagine the onetime receiver, onetime epitome of ethereal spring optimism at free safety, and onetime 3-3-5 spinner will have finally settled into a useful something. He spent most of last year with a back injury that gives us precious little information on what he might become. So is C.Gordon a junior stunted by position switches, bad fundamental coaching and injury who's now ready to erupt, or a guy with bad fundamentals doomed to be remembered for that one time he was badly cast in the hero role of a box office flop?
What you want are his credentials for a position that rotates like a train of traveling salesmen; what I've got for you is a barbershop quartet of coaches singing songs about him. One thing they don't say is "platoon." Despite his safety pedigree and safety frame versus Jake Ryan's oft hand-down deployment, the coaches haven't indicated Gordon is a situational backup. The SLB in this defense is supposed to be more like a WDE than the other two linebacker spots, and Cam is not that. On the other hand he seems tailor-made for the side-job of the SLB: covering the guy in the slot.
So I'm saying if Ryan goes down, Michigan probably goes with Gordon and eases off the gas a bit, leaning less on pressure and more on coverage from the position. The real drop-off won't be too severe, as there are other guys who can blitz if the SLB becomes more coverage-oriented, and there are rush options extant. The apparent drop-off will feel like when we lost Marcus Ray—the defense is still the defense but that sense that somebody's about to lose an important body organ will be appreciably depreciated. You'll see Gordon plenty either way.
In case of dire emergency: Well like I said this position rotates. Don't know what will happen with Clark, but if he's in at WDE that means Brennan Beyer can easily reprise his 2011 role over here. Mario Ojemudia could be pressed into service. And any of the freshmen linebackers could end up here. Of the four, I picked Royce Jenkins-Stone as the SAM since Bolden already seems to be the two-deep man at Mike, and Ringer was here for spring practice at Mike, and scouting reports say Ross is a coverage-y WLB-type, while RJS has been described as a raw, blitz-loving knife. That's an SLB. It'd be best if he redshirts to learn how to be the second-most aggressive guy on the defense (WDE is the first) while holding the edge.
MIKE (Middle Linebacker):
In case of emergency: Responding to my size chart in last week's article, TSS started a thread about how Demens, who's listed at 248 on the spring roster (which is a copy of last fall's), has significantly more beef than the rest of the linebacking crew. The image above seems to reject the notion that he's the Carl Diggs among the Brackinses; the variability charts for the 2012 linebackers say he's huge (right, via TSS). So I checked the average listed size for a Michigan contributing linebacker since 1993, and it says he made big:
|2nd (Sophomore or RS Fr)||236||228|
|3rd (Junior or RS Soph)||246||232|
|4th (Senior or RS Junior)||248||233|
|5th year Senior||252||238|
Most of our starters played over 240 in their 4th or 5th years. Over 230 is where it seems the contributors need to be. And when you look at the depth chart for 2012 there are exactly three dudes who seem likely to fit that description:
|Kenny Demens||248||Jake Ryan||230||Desmond Morgan||220|
|Joe Bolden||230||Cam Gordon||222||Brandin Hawthorne||214|
|Mike Jones||224||Royce Jenkins-Stone||215||Antonio Poole||212|
|Kaleb Ringer||219||James Ross||209|
Knock-knock … Orange … yada yada … you have Joe Bolden, the 2012 recruit I am most giggity about, and for good reason. He had the kind of performance as the starter (Demens was wearing that club you see above) in the spring game that makes even the cautious prognosticators say "I think we have something here." Then they pull out the David Harris comparisons.
There's nothing I can really add to the recruiting profile or the lofty expectations except to focus on what he brings to the table right now. That is a guy with freshman-grade Kovacsian play-diagnosis skills that must be tempered by "is a true freshman," plus a lot of range and athleticism that must be tempered by "is probably not strong enough yet to get off blocks." I don't think Demens should be worried about losing his job this year unless he's banged up, however in that eventuality Michigan has something between what Desmond Morgan was last year and a freshman Manti Te'o on hand, and should be just fine. Orange you glad!
In case of dire emergency: The phrase "Who? MIKE JONES!" had a very short meme life on the MGoBoards, and it is the considered hope of every Michigan fan that it should never become the headline of an MGoInjury Roundup or uttered without irony inside Michigan Stadium ever. Before the injury that ruined his 2009 coaches were suggesting he might displace Mouton; alas that seems to have been motivational spring hokum. More hype/hokum was Mattison saying he's an unstoppable speed rusher. We saw Jones a bit while Michigan was killing clock against Minnesota and he looked, um, safety-ish. There is a job for a safety-ish linebacker in this defense—the Will—but there are so many other slight LBs on this roster that tripping the 220-something wire puts you into the mix at middle. I would think before we see Jones start, Morgan would slide down to MLB and Hawthorne become the full-time WLB. While time is running out for Jones, he's not ignorable.
WILL (Weakside Linebacker):
In case of emergency: You can argue about the stars being low for a sophomore whom I already said was at 3 stars when starting as a true freshman—that was at the end of last year and I expect Des should still be improving exponentially as this season goes on. I also predict this year you'll start seeing more Jake Ryan in him, since everyone from recruiting analysts to coaches have raved about grittiness, something we haven't had the opportunity to see much of just yet. If our next Eckstein McGritsalot loses that opportunity, the safety net is the the safety-like Brandin Hawthorne.
If you have the opportunity to give the coaches one suggestion for 2012, please join the MGoCrusade to have Hawthorne deployed as the WLB when Michigan goes to nickel. Until Morgan emerged in the second half of last year, Hawthorne had lain tenuous claim to defense's most open position. Brandon Herron, the beefy Yang to Brandin's Yin, dropped out of the race after the double-fumble touchdown rally and has graduated. Hawthorne was excellent in coverage, knifed into the backfield for a key stop against Notre Dame, and displayed Pahokeeian speed to all parts of the field … except when a blocker came near.
For you Tiger fans, Hawthorne is the Ramon Santiago of this defense. He is great at what he does, but playing him every down is going to expose his weakness against the run. So what does happen if Des goes down? It's probably Joe Bolden, but with more Hawthorne appearances.
In case of dire emergency: Trouble with capital T, rhymes with P, stands for…oh actually we don't know what we have in Antonio Poole except his name lends itself well to the Music Man theme. Really he's a redshirt freshman who was ignored by Rodriguez but picked up quickly by Hoke. His recruiting profile lists abilities of play diagnosis, tackling, and translating of the Facebook pages of CRex's in-laws. Third on the depth chart is where you'd want a redshirt freshman to be. Anyway if you see Poole that means he's better than expected, or that "dire emergency" includes the MLB depth chart too. Same goes for James Ross, who was at one point the highest rated linebacker of the 2012 uber-haul, and may yet have a long career beside Bolden (Orange!), however he's listed in the vicinity of 200 lbs. and would probably benefit from a redshirt more than Ringer, who was here for Spring ball. Since redshirting a consensus high 4-star is a luxury we haven't had around the linebacking parts in some time, I suggest we take advantage of it.
Leave it to the NCAA to get the Penn State sanctions right, yet still find a way to screw it up.
The debate surrounding the—wait for it—unprecedented penalties handed down to the PSU football program has largely hinged on whether or not the NCAA had any jurisdiction at all over this issue, one that at face value went so far beyond football that it seemed inappropriate and insensitive to make it a football issue.* Criminal matters should be handled by criminal courts, so what basis does the governing body of college sports have to essentially decimate PSU football?
Yesterday, Mark Emmert decided to justify his swift and forceful actions by indicting the very culture that funnels billions into the pockets on his organization:
"The fundamental message here, the gut-check message is, do we have the right balance in our culture?" he said. "Do we have, first and foremost, the academic values of integrity and honesty and responsibility as the drivers of our university? Or are we in a position where hero worship and winning at all costs has subordinated those core values?"
In doing so, Emmert opened up the NCAA to—very fair—criticism about the sheer hypocrisy of the above statement, and that criticism extends to the penalties themselves**. Slamming "hero worship" when the NCAA extravagantly profits from—to take one small example—NCAA Football video games that advertise "a deeper game for a deeper devotion," is remarkably tone-deaf. The NCAA doesn't make their money from "academic values", but from fanatics (it's called March Madness, for chrissakes) who sanctify figures like JoePa and Coach K and Woody and Bo and the athletes upon whose backs this empire is built. The NCAA asking us to suddenly find perspective is like TMZ chastising their readers for caring too much about the lives of people they don't actually know; it's a nice sentiment coming from precisely the wrong source.
What I find more remarkable, however, is that the NCAA had the proper basis to levy these sanctions sitting right in front of them, and instead they took the hypocrisy route. It's simple: Penn State gained a massive, long-term competitive advantage by keeping Sandusky's heinous crimes quiet.
Why did Joe Paterno, when confronted with clear-cut evidence of Sandusky's sexual abuse of Victim 2, decide against alerting the Department of Child Welfare? It wasn't to cover for a friend; it's been well-documented that Paterno and Sandusky weren't exactly close off the field. No, this was a football decision, one that kept up Paterno and Penn State's untarnished image while avoiding a scandal that—even if Paterno did the right thing and reported Sandusky—would bring an enormous amount of negative attention to the program and potentially threaten Paterno's job status.
In March of 2002, when Mike McQueary reported what he had seen in the Penn State locker room to Paterno, Penn State was coming off back-to-back five-win seasons. Paterno was 75 years old, reaching the point where questions abound about his ability to run a successful football program, if he could retire with dignity before PSU would be forced to push him out the door. I can't claim to know the motivation behind the cover-up, but the timing of the 2002 allegations could not have been worse for Paterno from a football perspective.
Instead of facing the situation head-on, Paterno and Penn State kept quiet, and Penn State's program turned around; from 2002-2011, the Nittany Lions went 83-43 with two shared conference titles and two BCS bowl appearances. I have a hard time imagining that Penn State would have compiled such a lofty record while dealing with sexual abuse charges against their former defensive coordinator. I'm guessing JoePa thought much the same.
When looking at the issue from that perspective, the NCAA had little choice but to bring the hammer down on a Penn State program that gained an enormous, decade-long competitive advantage by covering up crimes of a most despicable nature. The scope of the penalties, which almost certainly doom PSU to a decade or more at the bottom of the college football barrel, are just given the severity of the crimes committed*** and their on-field consequences. While I commend the NCAA and Mark Emmert for coming through with these penalties, I have no earthly idea why they decided to base them on hypocrisy when there was such an obvious and justifiable alternative.
*The other point of contention was the potentially disconcerting precedent set by Emmert. To that, I'll say this: when do you expect something remotely close to the PSU situation to arise again? And, if we're unfortunate enough that something similar does occur, would it not merit the same level of action? I don't believe Emmert will exercise this executive power even for cheating as severe as Miami's or UNC's.
**Spencer Hall and Drew Magary, most notably, fell on the "scathing" end of the spectrum.
*** I'm referring to the cover-up, not Sandusky.
watchu talkin' bout, Penn State?
Well, I was wrong about Penn State implosions not having a direct effect on Michigan's roster: OH CB Ross Douglas decommitted from Penn State two seconds after the sanctions were announced, got an offer from Michigan today, and committed about two seconds after he got it.
Douglas is a four star at three of the four recruiting sites; at 5'10", 180 he's more in the Courtney Avery mold than the lanky guys Michigan's already acquired. More details in an INFORMATIVE UPDATE forthcoming.
#21. Does a lot of tailbackin' in high school. via
|3*, #42 CB||4*, #22 CB, #222 overall||4*, #30 CB||4*, #25 CB|
Ross is a four star to everyone but Scout; no one puts him in the top 200. FWIW, Ross was in the initial 24/7 top 247, right at the tail end. He's probably just outside it right now.
Given his size, which is listed at 5'10" and gives off a vibe of generosity, the rankings imply his skill level is high but the height puts a cap on his ceiling. The level of disagreement here is far smaller than for, say, Gareon Conley, who is either awesome or not awesome depending on who you listen to.
ESPN's evaluation backs up the high floor, low ceiling guess:
Plays and pursues fast but lacks ideal top-end speed and does not project to be lock down cover corner in college you want to leave on an island. Shows a good nose for the ball and is at his best playing the pass in front of him. Displays good footwork and balance as well as closing burst. Lacks a tight, fluid waist and doesn't always look smooth in transition when locked down in man but he can recover with burst and proper inside positioning to make a play on the ball. Does a good job using his hands and leverage in tight coverage. Aggressive and effective in press; will reroute and take away the inside release. Competes for the jump-ball when challenged deep in one-on-one coverage but can struggle versus taller receivers. We didn't see great leaping or ball skills. This is a solid second level defender.
Douglas attended the Columbus NTFC at which David Dawson and Malik McDowell drew raves, and did well for himself:
4. Ross Douglass, CB, Avon (Ohio) High School – The defensive back group in Columbus was very strong and had a lot of depth to it. On this day, Penn State commit Ross Douglas was our pick for the top player of the talented group. He doesn’t have the height and length that is ideal in a corner prospect but he was the most fluid and natural defender in coverage at the event.
Douglas has great feet, flips his hips with ease and he also has some make-up speed to recover in tight spaces. The only thing he seems to be missing is that prototype height.
DB: Ross Douglas, 5-10, 179, Avon (Ohio)
Breakdown: It was Douglas' ability to cover in the slot that grab the eyes of the coaches. He is very quick and showed an understanding of zone coverages.
And Barton Simmons responds to a question:
Douglas is awesome he's just a little bit undersized.
Helmholdt on the NIKE camp:
Douglas is so consistently clean in coverage that you almost forget he is out there. Not hearing your name called is a good thing at the cornerback position, and the public address announcer is not saying "Douglas" very often. The 5-10, 175-pound prospect is not a flashy player. He stays in great position in relation to the wide receiver throughout routes and makes throwing the ball in his direction very unappealing. Douglas has all the speed he needs to stay with receivers and his technique is near flawless.
We're getting a picture here. It's a picture of Courtney Avery.
FWIW, he attended The Opening, and told Allen Trieu($) that he plans to enroll early:
"The plan right now is to graduate early. I'm on track right now. I'm taking a summer class and I'm doing very well in it, so I'm on track to do that. They said if I come in and just bust my tail, there will be an opportunity for me and that's exactly what I'm going to do."
No reason that plan would have changed, unlike his plan to go to Penn State. Douglas said he was "120% solid" to PSU in April, but the situation changed slightly after he said that.
Douglas obviously had a Penn State offer. Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Tennessee also offered. Michigan and other regional powers had not checked in with offers but they didn't have much time: Douglas pulled the trigger on his PSU commitment in February and was on the market the second time for all of a day.
* 38. Ross Douglas, defensive back, Avon – Douglas (5-10, 180, 4.4) was a third-team All-Ohio pick in Division II. Douglas helped Avon reach the Division II state title game. As a junior, he carried 175 times for 1,019 yards and 15 touchdowns and added 10 catches for 150 yards and another score. On defense, he had 40 tackles, 13 pass break-ups and one interception.
Yes, that is Bucknuts ranking him the #38 player in the state.
FAKE 40 TIME
4.4? FOUR FAKES!
You'll be surprised that the soundtrack is RAWK instead of rap. I was, at least.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Douglas's commitment gives Michigan a whopping four cornerbacks in the class. Douglas is the second short guy (Jourdan Lewis is the other) to go with tall guys Channing Stribling and Gareon Conley. Meanwhile, only JT Floyd exits after this year. Michigan is loading up at corner.
So it might be tough for all of these guys to see the field… except when it's not. Cornerback is a spot with three starters these days, and Michigan is preparing for the days when they'll take on some future NFL quarterback in a BCS bowl. I get it. I remember Football Armageddon. I like it.
Michigan has three distinct corner positions:
- Field corner: plays to the wide side of the field, often against the best WR the opponent has to offer. Less run support responsibility.
- Boundary corner: plays to short side of the field. Usually a bigger guy better on the edge.
- Nickelback: plays over the slot. Has safety help virtually all the time. Priority is underneath routes and quickness. Doesn't have to be tall.
Douglas seems like a nickel, Lewis a field corner, and the other two boundary corners unless one of them turns out to be really really good in which case he can play field corner and flapjacks for everyone.
At nickel, Douglas has to deal with one year of Courtney Avery and a couple of Delonte Hollowell; after that he has a surprisingly clear path to a starting-ish job. I think Michigan would prefer it if they had two bigger guys on the outside, but the emphasis placed on that third corner spot is obvious… and reassuring.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Here's your upshot: Michigan is done save for a receiver they hope will be LaQuon Treadwell.
Douglas's commitment all but erases any chance Michigan will go after a Penn State transfer who has more than one year of eligibility left. They want to add a receiver, they probably will get Treadwell, and they are already banking on attrition to get the 24 guys currently budgeted on campus. They're preparing for a reasonable level now, but adding further guys would be pushing it*.
Exception: if Frank Clark's stuff escalates into a career termination event Michigan may look to a Zettel to nerf the damage.
*[Obligatory oversigning note: Michigan is not going to sign guys they don't have room for because of Big Ten rules, and they converted all their scholarship offers to multi-year. The risk here is pissing off a kid you promised a scholarship to, whereupon he goes somewhere else. That's an order of magnitude less cynical than the Alabamas of the world. But it is something less that perfect moral rectitude and makes me a little uncomfortable.]
[Programming note: Ace is at a Big Day Prep Showdown event today and will be reporting from that. Recruiting roundup will be tomorrow.]
Jamie Morris breaks the record. Via WH, the 1987 Minnesota game:
Also Michigan gives up a 98-yard touchdown run.
FOOTBAW. Also from WH, the 1998 shutout of Penn State. Try to watch the first minute of this without punching something and thinking about FOOTBAW:
Keith Jackson, man.
UPDATE/BONUS: Fumble recoveries, man.
Luck be a lady tonight.
Your tears are so yummy, Scott. Run, don't walk, to ND Nation and imbibe the thread "An emo rant: I'm still not over the Michigan loss" if the suffering of other tribes stirs even the barest tremors of pleasure in you. You will not be disappointed:
I was there...
and the worst part for me was the 45 min it took to wade through 100,000 rabid fans screaming and singing the entire time.
I had perfect seats right under the press box on the west side with my best friend who's a UM fan. There were so many head-banging letdowns during that game: The last drive, Denard continually throwing the ball up for grabs the entire game and having UM come down with it every time, Denard fumbling and then picking it up and running it in for a TD vs Rees having the ball just fall out of his hands in the Red Zone...
Fortunately my friend was very gracious in victory, as I would have been had we won. But it still makes me ill when I think about it.
My brother's response after the game summed it up perfectly
"I don't know where to start cleaning up. Firs I sh*t myself I was so happy. Then I threw up all over the carpet."
Oh, man. I have to sit down after that.
He came with the power of LAW and gave unto newspaper reporters. Are you wondering what the only lawyer in America thinks about the Penn State sanctions? Wonder no longer:
On Sunday, Buckner filed a blog entry (read it here) stating that he is "extremely concerned about the possible NCAA sanctions and urge the organization to comply with its existing processes and procedures to address the Penn State sexual abuse scandal."
Further, he wrote that sanctions could "potentially violate federal and state notions of due and fair process" because, among other reasons, Penn State did not violate an existing NCAA rule, and the NCAA is not following existing procedures available to other schools.
He's got a blog now. Batten down the law-hatches.
Even more PENN STATE~! So the thing about the sanctions that is truly painful is that the roster restriction doesn't start for two years. The bowl ban is now, the scholarship reductions are now, but the roster cap of 65 does not come into effect until 2014. But since it's open season on PSU players and what's left of their 2012 recruiting class, PSU is likely to be way, way below their hypothetical maximum this fall, and then they've only got 15 slots to try to bring that up to par next year, and that's when the roster cap kicks in. Penn State has six years of extreme restrictions. Which… wow.
Q: assuming academic-fraud-laden and booster-runner-employing North Carolina gets charged with LOIC can Mark Emmert level a similar punishment? I think that's the test case for those theorizing about the New Era Of Enforcement. What went down at UNC seems as egregious a violation of NCAA principles as what happened at Penn State, though not the principles of basic human decency. If Emmert agitates for a similarly harsh, long-term punishment of the Tarheels, then I'll believe in the new era.
I'm on the fence as it is. Emmert is clearly trying to repair some of the things that suck about the NCAA. Under his watch they jammed through the ability to offer multi-year scholarships (barely) and were only thwarted by the Indiana States of the world when they tried to offer an additional stipend to the athletes. IIRC, both of these pieces of legislation took some arcane-but-direct route that got them through the legislative process without exposing it to votes involving the Indiana States until their only resort was the override process. That required a supermajority of 5/8ths to knock down the legislation and that is the only reason (THE OPTION TO OFFER!) multi-year scholarships got through. A majority was against it.
So, yeah, rail on the NCAA because you're Drew Magary or Charlie Pierce and railin' is your speciality, but really what we're railing at is the rickety structure trying to accommodate schools that spend millions of dollars annually on a bonfire called college athletics with the major schools that can build thousand-foot tall statues of Charles Woodson intercepting that pass against MSU*. When the big players try to lurch slowly towards a more equitable distribution of their massive revenues, the small schools cry "level playing field" with a straight face and knock it down. That's the real issue, and the only solution is to hack big football schools away from Indiana State.
Anyway, Emmert seems to be ramming things through the NCAA without regard to anything except how he can Get Things Done, and the things that he wants to get done are good changes. He can't help it that he's not a dictator.
Paterno statue position paper. Should have left it up, but removed the "educator, coach, humanitarian" text under his name. Just let people look at as they would.
We've got a poll. The writers have taken it upon themselves to replicate the preseason polls the milquetoasty Big Ten has done away with. Results:
1. Wisconsin (19 first-place votes)
2. Ohio State (5)
5. Penn State
1. Michigan (16 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (7)
3. Nebraska (1)
Michigan wins the championship game on 11 out of 24 ballots. If only it was slightly under 50% for the Rose Bowl this year. The inexplicable Will Gholston Hype Train continues, as he's the pick for defensive player of the year. Kawaan Short and John Simon are like "WTF I have beaten many blocks in my career page me when Gholston does yes I still have a pager also Tamagotchi."
The Elite 11 is a ridiculous thing now. You may not be following this closely, but there are now 25(!) quarterbacks at the Elite 11, which is, like, too many quarterbacks. Not only is your name silly but it results in events like this:
The third day of 7v7 began at the Elite 11 in which each quarterback takes eight throws. The duration of the day spread across a seven hour time frame makes for some strikingly different conditions. The early afternoon groups contend with a stiff ocean breeze that typically dies down late afternoon and into the evening.
Even more ridiculous was a redzone event where the QBs threw four times. Take all Elite 11 rankings with a grain of salt, as they represent little data made big. Shane Morris did well according to all observers, but did not make the camp coaches' Elite 11 list.
Isn't he doing this whenever he walks down a street? Will Campbell's Dukes of Hazzard fail magically transmogrifies into…
Michigan senior defensive tackle Will Campbell accepted responsibility for a civil infraction of blocking a sidewalk Monday morning in the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Be narrower or pay $300 in fines or court costs. Campbell also has a sentencing hearing for misdemeanor destruction of property coming up. My punishment spidey-sense suggests this is a stairs-type offense that shouldn't impact his availability for football games.
Nevermind. The "Valley of the Sun Bowl" is no more. In its place:
The bastard child of the Fiesta Bowl, the Insight Bowl, will now shed its technocratic shell and become known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Please insert immediately obvious jokes about a field rigged with sprinklers and booby traps designed to take games into overtime here.
I hope other people are driven as insane by the idea people would go to a sports bar and cheer for a tie, or that someone could be watching the Detroit Randoms try a last-ditch Hail Mary down a touchdown and say "the only thing that could make this better is… OVERTIME" instead of "the only thing that could make this better is winning 68-0 and being at a place where the food comes on, you know, plates." I hate the fake BWW people so, so much.
Yessssssss. EA has agreed to give up NCAA licensing exclusivity as part of an anti-trust class-action lawsuit. The contract lapses in 2014. Bizarrely, it stipulates that EA won't re-acquire an exclusive license for "at least five years." If your position now is so crappy you're paying out a class action lawsuit settlement why would it be better in five years? I don't know.
Anyway, this opens the door for football games from other people that may not suck and may get EA to actually fix its product. A lot of folks in the comment thread were skeptical about the economics of just putting out a college football game, but I figure someone's got to take a swing. Also one guy put out a call for a CFB game akin to Football Manager. Working title: "Brian was never heard from again."
Etc.: Bonus news that will depress Penn State fans: top basketball recruit Brandon Austin decommits. UNC stuff gets incrementally worse. Luke Winn on transferring up in college basketball. Former Penn State player twitter roundup. Penn State punishment comment fallout. BHGP podcast w/ the original BSD mafia (Chris Grovich, Kevin… uh… I don't know his last name) on the Penn State stuff. The city of Grambling is saucy, yo.
This was inevitable, I guess. Jib your sail and batten your hats:
I am filled with a moderate distaste, so these are probably good as far as alternate uniforms go. I rank them above the infamous MSU bumblebee jerseys. So we've got that going for us unless the gloves…
…look like that. That brings out the uniformz tag.
Upside: no helmet frippery. No numbers, either, but oddly the announcement says the Alabama uniforms will have them. It's just the rest of the season that won't:
Last season's practice of placing the player numbers on the famed winged helmet will be suspended after the season opener in Dallas.
Michigan will wear its traditional home and road uniforms for the remainder of the regular season.
No six uniform changes this year, though the "regular season" leaves the door open for Commemorative Bowl Things.
BONUS: They're adding an American flag to the back of the helmet just to clear up any confusion about Michigan football's patriotism.
Zero details on this yet but a Frank Dominick Clark shows up on a 14th District Court preliminary exam list with a charge of "Home Invasion" in the second degree:
CLARK, FRANK DOMINICK
PRELIMINARY EXAM - JG SHELTON
LEWIS, DOUGLAS E
HOME INVASION - 2ND DEGREE
Slight possibility this might be some other Frank Clark—google did not turn up confirming evidence of his middle name—but there were some rumors going around some weeks back about Clark being in some sort of trouble so the chances this is a mixup are very low.
The charge is serious…
(6) Home invasion in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $3,000.00, or both.
…but is probably similar in nature to the Marvin Robinson issue that drew an identical charge and is in the process of turning into a misdemeanor of some variety.
Frank Clark is accused of stealing a MacBook Air from Stockwell Hall, according to police.
I don't think he should have allegedly done that.
The Saline Police Department arrested University of Michigan starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint in Ann Arbor Saturday night on charges of operating a vehicle while impaired, according to Detective Don Lupi.
Details are still forthcoming. DUI is usually a suspension-level offense even for a first-timer, so Michigan may have just lost its starting tailback for a slightly important game. A reminder: Stonum's enforced redshirt was after two DUIs and repeated failure to do what the court told him to. Toussaint's not in the same boat.
last time: irrelevant. this time: apt metaphor
The bomb. Mark Emmert dropped it, and dropped it with unprecedented speed. The actual penalties are harsh but along the same lines as they usually are: bowl bans, scholarship reductions, and fines. Penn State's ban is four years, their scholarship reductions are 10 a year for four years, their roster limit is 65, and their fine is staggering. Penn State also vacates all its wins from 1998 to 2011, erasing Paterno's name from many record books.
This is all very terrible, and let's think of the victims.
Now let's think about football with our reptile brains.
Can we poach Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? A standard corollary to any bowl ban is to waive transfer restrictions on players whose eligibility expires before the ban does. This makes the entire Penn State roster fair game. Furthermore, John Infante says the NCAA is "considering waiving [the] scholarship limit" for schools that accept PSU transfers, something they have officially declared now. The catch is they'd have to pay that scholarship back the next year. In any case, that doesn't apply to Michigan, which is still trying to get up to a full complement of 85 after the Rodriguez attrition fiesta. Right now they've got 78 on scholarship.
The last remaining catch is the Big Ten's intra-conference transfer rule, which was recently nerfed from not being able to offer a scholarship at all to this:
The Big Ten altered its transfer rule within the conference, starting with the 2011-12 season. The new rule allows transfers to receive a grant-in-aid from their new school, but reduces their remaining athletic eligibility by a year. That penalty could have been waived if Wisconsin did not block him [Jared Uthoff] from Big Ten schools.
Penn State has lost the power to block transfers at all, so it may be a free for all not only for various Big East schools but also Michigan itself. Delany has taken some time out from crushing coaches' heads, Kids in the Hall style, to mention the Big Ten is likely to throw the floodgates open:
Both current Penn State players and incoming recruits will be able to transfer and be eligible immediately. Although a transfer within the Big Ten could result in some penalties, league commissioner Jim Delany said Monday that the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors are leaning toward allowing such transfers with no penalties.
The answer here appears to be "yes."
Would we even want to poach any Penn State dudes? Like specifically defensive linemen? And maybe a tight end? A quick glance at the roster reveals a few guys who could shore up weak spots: DT Jordan Hill was honorable mention All Big Ten and Michigan could really use him at either NT or 3-tech. Anthony Zettel is a touted recruit from Michigan coming off a redshirt… but taking Zettel complicates Michigan's efforts to get 24 guys into its 2013 class since his eligibility does not expire after this year. In general, Michigan's looking for the equivalent of fifth-year transfers in basketball. Guys who might be of interest:
- WR Justin Brown, a senior who was PSU's second-leading receiver with 35 catches last year.
- DT James Terry, Devon Still's backup last year and a guy who will probably move into the starting lineup if he doesn't flee the blast radius.
- DT DaQuan Jones, another backup last year. He's entering his junior season and would require taking the 2013 class down to 23.
- Maybe some tight end but it's tough to say who. PSU's most experienced returner is Kevin Haplea, who had three catches last year and is listed at 248 pounds.
- While it's hypothetically possible an OL could transfer, no one's coming in to play backup tackle, so what's the point?
PSU's very good LBs are seniors but with Michigan returning three starters and grooming an army of youngsters behind them it's doubtful M is the most attractive place should any of them want to transfer.
Would any of these guys even want to leave? When this happened to USC, the Trojans suffered a half-dozen transfers, but the guys who left were universally backups. (That link also includes Seantrel Henderson, but he was a recruit let out of his LOI, so that's maybe not the best example.) It's doubtful any of the PSU seniors will abandon a sure starting gig for uncertainty elsewhere with coaches who haven't thought about you since you were a recruit. They're weighing certainty and loyalty over a one-year cameo somewhere else. Anyone expecting PSU's starting 22 to defect en masse is going to be surprised.
The carnage will be greater with younger kids, who haven't had as much time to develop a fondness for PSU and State College and are staring down the prospect of never going to a bowl again. This doesn't help Michigan much since they want a quick-fix quasi JUCO thing that won't force a player out of the next recruiting class. Few of the players PSU has brought in over the past few years seem worthy of sacrificing that spot. Maybe Zettel, maybe CJ Olaniyan. Past that you're looking at a legion of three-stars and two-stars, guys who don't fit Michigan's positional needs, etc.
Would Michigan even pursue these guys? Probably not. Brady Hoke was recruiting in California or the MAC when these guys were on the market. It would be a surprise if any were on his radar. They might also feel icky about raiding PSU, and they are very confident in their recruiting and evaluation.
On the other hand, you've got an honorable mention All Big Ten DL out there who might enjoy a Rose Bowl…
What about poaching guys who haven't showed up on campus yet? PSU's 2012 LOIs have been invalidated but Urban Meyer already picked PSU's bones clean before signing day. PSU's got one Rivals 250 guy, WR Eugene Lewis. Do you want him or LaQuon Treadwell? Right.
Meanwhile, PSU's 2013 class has the nation's top TE, but Adam Breneman just blew out his ACL. They've also got a touted SDE type in Garrett Sickels who briefly listed Michigan before committing to PSU. Michigan is not the team who will take advantage of the explosion.
Michigan is unlikely to go after anyone who would have eligibility after 2012 but could be interested in one-and-done transfers. Their most obvious needs are WR, TE, and DL, and Penn State has one third-WR type and a couple of starting-ish DTs available. Michigan may look into acquiring Jordan Hill or James Terry. More likely is that the trail of refugees heads to Big East schools.
With the talk of a potentially impending commitment from Laquon Treadwell, Tremendous noted that he might be the most highly touted receiver recruit in Michigan history (extending only to the modern recruiting era, of course).
The prompted me to look at the actual recruiting history of Michigan and fill out a Hall of
Fame Highly Touted roster, ie the most highly regarded players to sign Letters of Intent to Michigan from 2002-2012. Players are ranked only on their recruiting stature. If a player was ranked at different positions by multiple sites, I tried to go with the site that ranked them highest. Without further ado, your Michigan 5-Star Recruiting Hall of Highly Touted.
Michigan’s newest members of the Hall of Highly Touted
Quarterback - Ryan Mallet-(90 points)
Was ranked behind Jimmy Clausen as the number 2 QB in the 2007 class and top 20 overall on three sites. Saw action for an injured Chad Henne during his true freshman season before transferring to Arkansas after Lloyd Carr retired. Was a third round draft choice of the Patriots.
Running Back - Kevin Grady (80)
A consensus five star and top 5 RB in 2005. Showed signs his freshman year after becoming Michigan’s first early enrollee but injuries, legal trouble and the presence of Mike Hart all restricted him from matching his on field results to his profile.
Wide Receivers - Mario Manningham (71) and Antonio Bass (69)
Manningham was Michigan’s most productive wide receiver to come after the 2002 class, twice earning all Big Ten and was a 2nd Team All American in 2007. Was drafted in the third round and made a crucial catch in the Giants Super Bowl win last February.
Antonio Bass saw limited action as a true freshman in 2005 before blowing out his knee in the spring of 2006. Was never able to play again.
Tight End - Will Paul (68)
Scout considered him the #2 Tight End in 2003. Played defensive tackle and fullback at Michigan.
Other skill position - Darryl Stonum (67)
Consensus Top 75 player and Top 15 wide receiver in the 2008 class. Set the single season kickoff return yardage record in 2009 and had a decent 2010 season before a fourth alcohol related incident ended his Michigan career last year.
Offensive Line - Stephen Schilling (73), Justin Boren (72), Kyle Kalis (69), Brett Gallimore (61), Dann O’Neill (58)
Schilling was a sixth round pick in the NFL draft. Boren took his plow and his family values to Ohio. Kalis pulled a reverse Boren and abandoned the Buckeyes and will be a freshman this season. Gallimore switched to defensive line without making much of an impact on either side. O’Neill transferred to Western Michigan after a redshirt season.
Defensive End - LaMarr Woodley (85) and Tim Jamison (69)
Woodley finished his Michigan career with a consensus first team All-American season in 2006 followed by a second round pick in the NFL draft. He was Scout’s #1 ranked defensive end in 2003 and Rivals’ #3 inside linebacker.
Tim Jamison was a top eight defensive end to both services in 2004 but had an under-the-radar career at Michigan. Despite not winning any major postseason awards and going undrafted, Jamison posted the two highest EV season for a Michigan defensive lineman not named Brandon Graham, and has spent three years in the NFL with the Houston Texans.
Defensive Tackle - Marques Slocum (78) and Ondre Pipkins (69)
Marques Slocum only spent a season in Ann Arbor after earning a five star rating from Scout in 2005 but his internet legend will live on forever.
Pipkins comes to Michigan with high expectations of replacing Mike Martin as a true freshman. Hopefully his football career is as great as Slocum’s answers to the quiz.
Linebacker - Brandon Graham (83), Jim Presley (69) and Joe Bolden (61)
Brandon Graham may have suffered through some of the worst defenses Michigan has ever fielded but he did his part to live up to recruiting expectations. Despite ending up on the line, Graham was rated by all the services as a five star linebacker in 2006. Graham was the only player on this list that was ultimately selected in the first round of the draft.
Jim Presley was a four star Top 75 linebacker recruit in 2003 who never was able to cut it academically at Michigan.
Joe Bolden enters his freshman season with Michigan as a consensus four star.
Safety - Prescott Burgess (90) and Jonas Mouton (68)
No Michigan recruit has come with higher ratings than Prescott Burgess. Rivals saw him as the #1 safety in the country in 2003 and Scout saw him as the #3 linebacker. Burgess wasn’t a total bust but never earned more than Honorable Mention All Big Ten and was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft.
Like Burgess, Mouton ultimately saw his career at Michigan come at the linebacker position. Mouton was up and down at Michigan but was selected in the second round of the draft.
Cornerback - Donovan Warren (74) and Boubacar Cissoko (59)
Warren had three solid seasons before going undrafted as a surprise early entry. Coming out of high school, Warren was considered one of top five corner backs to both Scout and Rivals.
Cissoko paired with Warren to start the 2009 season before legal issues saw him kicked off of the team. His legacy lives on as Teric Jones, Delonte Hollowell and Terry Richardson all committed to come from Cass Tech to Michigan, none of which cracked 5’10.
Defensive line was easily the most competitive position with seven players missing the cut that were rated higher than peers who made it other positions. Chad Henne, Gabe Watson, Will Campbell, Craig Roh, Shawn Crable and Devin Gardner were notable names who were higher than other but not high enough at their position.
Of the 22 players on the list, seven went on to get drafted by the NFL, eight failed to finish their career at Michigan, five finished their career at Michigan without being drafted and Kyle Kalis, Joe Bolden and Ondre Pipkins are yet to begin their careers.
Lloyd Carr brought in nearly all of those players, with between 2 and 4 players from each class from 2002-2007. The 2008 hybrid class had three players on it, none of whom ultimately contributed substantially. In his first full class, Brady Hoke has three new additions to the list and Kyle Bosch and Patrick Kugler are all poised to knock Gallimore and O’Neill from the list once they ink their names in February. If Treadwell ultimately signs then he will knock off Antonio Bass and potentially move in front of Manningham depending on where the final ratings land.
Boubacar Cissoko is far and away the lowest rated player on the list (once the 2013 players join). His consensus value is 59 points. After his spot the two 2013 lineman and Joe Bolden are the lowest rated players, in the low 60s. Everyone else on the list is at least 67 points. Overall Most Touted Recruits are Prescott Burgess for the defense and Ryan Mallett for the offense.
Yes. They still. Even though the Michigan Hall of Highly Touted is a mixed bag tilted more towards busts than wins, I am a still a firm believer that recruiting ratings matter. The important distinction is that recruiting is a volume game, not an individual game. There is still a low rate of individuals living up to their recruiting hype, but if your team is deep with talented players, you should do pretty well.
The recruiting rankings return this week with Northwestern(!) making a big move up the board. Also, the fallout begins from the Freeh Report and the teams at the bottom begin to fill in their classes. Changes since the last rankings:
7-8-12: Notre Dame picks up Alex Anzalone. Minnesota picks up Chris Wipson.
7-9-12: Nebraska picks up Johnny Stanton.
7-12-12: Iowa picks up Jon Wisnieski. Northwestern picks up Matt Harris. Minnesota picks up Jordan Hinojosa. Indiana picks up Danny Friend.
7-13-12: Tre'vell Dixon decommits from Nebraska. Northwestern picks up Jayme Taylor.
7-17-12: Northwestern picks up Anthony Walker Jr. and Brett Walsh. Purdue picks up Parker Cothren and Myles Norwood.
7-19-12: Ohio State picks up Taivon Jacobs.
7-20-12: Purdue picks up Johnny Thompson.
7-21-12: Greg Webb decommits from Penn State.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.