landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Michigan's 2017 class grew to five over the weekend with the addition of Covington (GA) Newton WR Jeremiah Holloman. Holloman plays high school ball with 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor and 2017 S Jaquan Henderson, a UCLA commit who is expected to strongly consider joining his teammates at Michigan after a recent visit and offer.
While Holloman is either a three-star or unranked on the recruiting services, his tape suggests he's an early steal for the Wolverines; there's four-star potential here.
|3* WR||3* WR||NR WR||NR WR||NR WR|
Holloman gets cursory three-star ratings from Scout and Rivals and is unranked on the other two sites. Considering the dearth of scouting reports on him, this probably has as much to do with a lack of evaluations as anything else; he should see his rankings climb as the sites get around to looking at his junior film.
Holloman has a solid frame for an outside receiver, listed at 6'3", 190-195 pounds on three of the four sites (ESPN has him at 6'2", 187). He's got a stockier build that helps make him difficult to haul down after the catch.
[Hit THE JUMP for the informative portion.]
Hello. I'm writing these for a bit since recruiting and basketball are going to be most of what goes on for the next month, and by splitting it up we can do a better job at both.
Early Christmas presents, or coal
A couple of recruits high on Michigan's radar are announcing this week. On the 16th, FL LB Devin Bush announces. He says he's already decided, but that didn't prevent Michigan and FSU from dropping in on him with in-home visits last week. Michigan has been supremely confident in Bush's recruitment for a long time, but the departure of DJ Durkin did throw a wrench into things:
"For us it was bittersweet. It was like, ‘dang! We didn’t get a chance to work underneath him,” if he (Bush Jr.) choose (Michigan). But my son hasn’t chosen a school yet. So we’re just happy for D.J. and we’ve had to sit back and see what else unfolds.”
That quote has an air of someone trying to put the cat back in the bag. Uncertainty at DC—every single one of Bush's finalists save FSU has seen their DC depart—has Michigan people a bit more doubtful. Meanwhile Josh Newberg, an FSU mod who is a person to pay attention to, just ballz'd Bush to FSU.
Michigan still thinks they're getting the guy, but significant doubts are cropping up. Allen Trieu has an article in the News quoting Webb heavily that offers the lay of the land.
NJ RB Kareem Walker announces on the 17th. Walker announced that date after an in-home with Harbaugh, and before his official visit to Arizona State this weekend. FSU and Auburn are regarded as the only real competition. The the 247 FSU mods are not at all optimistic($), the main Auburn guy ballz'd Walker to Michigan, and Wiltfong isn't wavering.
That is looking good, but it doesn't seem like it's the 100% lock it felt like a month ago. New Jersey-based recruiting guy Todderick Hunt feels like it'll be Florida State, FWIW, but I'm not sure how seriously to take that when he's commenting on his own article thusly:
Obviously Michigan is the overwhelming favorite and he could very well end up there, but the recent sequence of events has me thinking FSU.
Official visit weekend: commits
Michigan brought in a bunch of commitments: IN RB Chris Evans, NJ DE Ron Johnson, NJ WR Brad Hawkins, IN QB Brandon Peters, FL CB Antwaine Richardson, and TX DT Jordan Elliott. Commit visits are usually no-news events and these were no exception. The most newsworthy thing about any of those guys is that Richardson is no longer enrolling early.
Two of the visits should move a couple commitments from 98% to 99%. Evans had a slight waver as he announced visits to both in-state schools, but none of the three major sites have a report that indicates he actually went to either. Meanwhile Elliott returning with his mom two weeks after he came up for the Ohio State game should further solidify that commitment.
Elliott seems somewhat annoyed he has to keep telling people that Michigan is final answer. This is mostly because Texas folks keep saying there's a chance; in response Elliott's twitter feed is nonstop Michigan boosterism. He is not giving the appearance of a guy who is going to flip again.
Nate Johnson adds self to above list
[Shelley Mays/The Tennessean]
Michigan also had a handful of uncommitted prospects. TN WR Nate Johnson dropped for M about the instant he arrived. Ace's Hello post covers him in detail, including a couple of excellent explanations for why 247 is high on him while others aren't:
Then the season came and Johnson validated his camp performances and was just unstoppable. It was a crime that he didn't win Mr. Football. He played with a quarterback that he had been with for years and their offense was crazy good (undefeated with very few close contests) but Johnson made it tick. He's one of the best route-runners in the country, has great hands, fantastic body control and he has a much bigger catch radius than his 5-11 size would suggest. He's also added good weight and strength as he's progressed in high school. At this point, he reminds me some of Christian Kirk down at Texas A&M in terms of body type.
That's a free post with plenty more at the link. With the flood of impressive late offers (Penn State, Miami, Tennessee and Michigan just last week) maybe other sites take another look. Scout hasn't even ranked the guy, which is kind of boggling since he had over a thousand receiving yards in both of his last two years in high school and was committed to a Power 5 school for months.
While numbers are getting tight now, Sam Webb says Michigan might take another wideout. It won't be FL WR Eddie McDoom(!), who committed to Oregon on an official this weekend. We are of course all devastated to lose such a name but if it can't be Michigan, Oregon seems appropriate for a fast guy named MCDOOM. Oregon's up to 25 commitments but has just two WRs and still has room for CA WR Dylan Crawford. They're in on a couple other WRs; if one of those guys drops then it might be time to talk about Crawford getting pushed over to M.
Delance on campus
Things are looking up for TX OT Jean Delance, who has been a major priority for Harbaugh and company for months now. Delance was popularly thought to be favoring Texas, but now the buzz is that it's a Michigan-LSU battle. Steve Wiltfong reports that he's close to putting in a crystal ballz($) for Michigan… and that he's close to putting a ballz for LSU. Dangit, Wiltfong.
Let's read too much into a tweet with a colloquial phrase in it, shall we?
Ann Arbor it's been real see you all again! 〽️ pic.twitter.com/qLMzO7ALKM
— Jean Delance (@JeanDelance74) December 13, 2015
Delance told an LSU site that he was planning to be committed by January, so it's one of those three teams, period, and with Texas on route to RichRodding Charlie Strong it looks like Texas is suddenly playing from behind.
Read between the linebackers
The considerable, if indirect, debate between the various recruiting sites as to how hard Michigan is recruiting CA LB Caleb Kelly has been resolved by Kelly himself:
As for his recruitment, Kelly said he has not talked with Michigan since his visit, which he thought was strange so he hoped to get in communication with them soon. Oklahoma remains a serious contender and he said the Sooners have not stopped their aggressive approach to recruiting him.
Kelly seems to like Michigan more than Michigan likes him. I would not expect Kelly to end up at Michigan unless there is a 180 by the coaching staff.
Meanwhile, vibes are still mostly good with FL LB Jonathan Jones. He took his official visit this weekend as well, and while this is not a great quote when you think you're leading for a guy…
Jones was accompanied on the trip by his mother and she came away equally impressed.
“She said my decision just probably got a bit harder,” said Jones. “It's a great school and she said there are great people. If I went there she would feel very comfortable.”
…later he said he "most definitely" thought about committing on his trip and even the Notre Dame side of this thinks Michigan is the likely choice. He's got a visit to Duke next weekend, and plans on a Signing Day announcement.
Bush and Jones are Michigan's clear top targets. They must be supremely confident in both to all but invite a David Reese decommit and go forward with few or no obvious other options save TX LB Dontavious Jackson on their board.
Cornerbacks moving things around
CA CB David Long, a Stanford commit most people don't think will end up at Stanford, did not make a planned visit to Washington this weekend. UCLA and Michigan have "a little more of his attention" according to Rivals' Adam Gorney. Meanwhile the 247 mods at Washington were recently all but guaranteeing Long flipping to the Huskies. 'Crootin'.
Long told Scout that Michigan hiring Lance Anderson away from Stanford would "give them the upper hand," but that he doesn't think Anderson would take the DC job if offered.
Meanwhile, MI CB LaVert Hill's recruitment has also gone full 'crootin' after months during which he was reputed to be the most locky lock on Michigan's board despite a nominal commitment to Penn State. So:
- Hill likes DJ Durkin and his departure shook up Hill's recruitment extensively. Webb reports that Greg Jackson will be key, and that his brother will vouch for the guy all day.
- Despite the uncertainty, Hill took his official visit this weekend. This marks the 750th time Hill has been in Ann Arbor this year, for which he receives a tiny pewter tree from the mayor's office.
- He's now planning to take all five visits, with UCLA and USC on the docket. He has already been to Tennessee and Michigan; MSU is other team scheduled to get a visit.
- Hill and MI WR Donnie Corley are now planning to announce on the same day. Corley was set to announce on the 18th but now that's off the table. That's probably good for M since they're believed to trail a couple schools in his recruitment. Corley claiming there is "a significant chance" he and Hill are a package maybe not so much.
After the visit Wiltfong did re-iterate he still expects Hill to end up at Michigan, but he had backed off on his certainty that would happen. Rivals is reporting that Maryland is trying to get in, which isn't a huge surprise.
Prepare another 2017 Hello post, Ace, and then another maybe
Michigan picks up a commitment from 2017 GA WR Jeremiah Holloman, a teammate of 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor. Tim Sullivan catches up with him:
The 6-3, 190-pounder is a three-star unranked within the state or at his position, but has plenty of physical potential. He won the Georgia 6A state title in triple jump this spring with an effort of 47 feet, 5.5 inches. He also placed sixth in both the long jump (22-0.25) and high jump (6-4). …
"Basically on the outside, I'm a big, dynamic player," he said. "I'm speedy with the routes, nice precision with my routes. I can cause a whole bunch of threats from short routes to going deep or jumping over corners. I'm just a threat on the field."
Ace will elaborate with a forthcoming Hello post. Meanwhile Michigan has offered a third 2017 player at Covington: GA LB Jaquan Henderson, a UCLA commit. He was also offered by Michigan's staff and in the aftermath of Holloman joining up Chad Simmons, Brice Marich, and Steve Lorenz all indicated a flip was somewhere between a real possibility and imminent.
TX DE Jeffery McCullough didn't include Michigan in his top five. He was always a longshot. As mentioned, FL WR Eddie McDoom(!) committed to Oregon.
Michigan will poke around Montana State transfer QB Conor Prukop, but most expect him to end up plugging Oregon's odd and ongoing hole at QB. Mattison and Partridge stop in on NJ DE Rashan Gary. NJ WR Donald Stewart has been trending away from M for a while but he had an in-home recently and may be back on the radar. TX RB Rakeem Boyd, an A&M commit, may visit in January.
Michigan had an in-home with AZ DE Connor Murphy, who plans a visit in January. He still seems very open.
Michigan has only recruited late-rising Thompson's Station (TN) Independence WR Nate Johnson for a few weeks. Among the flurry of recent scholarship offers to Johnson, however, the Wolverines' stood out the most, and he committed yesterday while on his official visit.
Johnson had previously committed to Purdue over the summer, but as he accrued major offers during a breakout senior season—one that culminated in a state title—he opened his recruitment back up. Johnson is the 21st commit in Michigan's 2016 class and the third at receiver, joining Brad Hawkins and Ahmir Mitchell.
|NR WR||3*, #98 WR||3*, 72, #170 WR||
4*, 92, #40 WR,
3*, #88 WR,
Johnson's rankings cover quite a spread; he goes from unranked on Scout to a top-250 four-star on 247. That'll happen with prospects who break out late in the process; we'll see where he winds up as the recruiting services take a harder look at him following his Michigan commitment and strong senior year.
Johnson should be destined for the slot at Michigan. He's listed at 5'11", 170-175 pounds on three of the four sites; ESPN gives him an extra inch.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]
— Brice Marich (@BriceMarich) December 13, 2015
Michigan gained their second commitment of the weekend in the form of 2017 WR Jeremiah Holloman, a Covington (GA) Newton teammate of 2017 RB commit Kurt Taylor. Holloman, who's currently unranked on the recruiting services, is the fifth Michigan pledge in the 2017 class and the first at receiver.
I'll have a complete update on Holloman tomorrow; the full commitment post for Nate Johnson will be up early this afternoon.
Michigan has acquired a commitment from TN WR Nate Johnson. Johnson came out of nowhere, as it was just two days ago that he set up a visit. Johnson is the definition of a late-rising prospect: after decommitting from Purdue in November, he picked up offers from Miami, Tennessee, Penn State, and Michigan.
Johnson's a four star on 247; the other sites have him a three star save Scout, which hasn't ranked him yet. More after the basketball game.
Things from the past. AC1997 this week decided to do one of those regular “What are the Michigan basketball alums up to?” posts. Only thing to add to it is that Darius Morris hasn’t caught on with anyone this year because he’s hurt, via his Twitter.
AC added at the end that he’d like someone to do the same for hockey. I give you three guesses who took him up on that. Not Blueline, that’s Adam. Not Center Ice, but where is Center Ice lately—like I see him on twitter and that’s it. C’mon it’s hockey it’s easy.
Things that should stay in the past. Before The Query, MGoBlog was doing fine. You could log in, log out, post things, read things, and even neg things. Then a part of the system once thought dead and buried started getting hits. Super-expensive servers across the nation were suddenly taxed to their limits, unable to deny a request to reconstruct pages that hadn’t been cached since “At least it’s not [the year we went 7-5]” was thought to be some kind of wise perspective.
We have found the culprit: Maize.Blue Wagner has been sifting through the nether regions of MGoBlog, posts with zero previous views because what you see was downloaded from its original blogspot page. Wagner has created a summary of all the things Brian wrote ten years ago this month, plus one thing Jon Chait (!) wrote.
Things from the future? Prior to Ace’s recruiting roundup we were thinking of posting an eagle’s eye view of the class going into the dead period. Then the venerable alum96 wrote it in the diaries. He has some sound opinions on guys who might not remain in the class considering some of the shopping they’ve been doing. I like Michigan’s chances of getting David Long more than alum does and don’t really know where Nordin/grayshirt is coming from (I mean I know the board it’s coming from but not sure where that’s coming from).
Best of the Board
HOW WE GOT IT BETTER THAN THEY
MGoKev found an old story on the origins of “Who’s got it better than us?” You can click to find out, or just believe me that it was the line Jim Harbaugh yelled upon emerging from a vat of electrified spilled chemicals during a lab test to create a superhuman. Yes, Jim Harbaugh is a Marvel character; go ahead and doubt me.
BYRD FINALLY GETS THE BIRD
Maryland’s stadium is now “Maryland Stadium” after they finally decided that being a bad president for a long time didn’t make up for being a major segregationist. Coincidentally the student who led the petition to change it was also named Byrd. JLo nailed it re: missed opportunity:
BECAUSE THEY ARE A PESTILENCE
A guy who lives in Columbus wanted to know why we hate Michigan State so bad here.
- They are actually about half the state and bunch together in certain places.
- The biggest hive of Michigan State fans isn’t the blog with the best content or the recruiting site with the best information; it’s the Red Cedar Message Board, which has more per capita trolls than any place on the internet. That is both a reflection on the makeup of their everything-hating fanbase, and a driver of it.
- Their media are unbearable and ubiquitous in town. Until recently they owned all the local sports talk radio and filled those seats with Mike Valenti and Pat Caputo, both of whom will spend more time ripping or trolling Michigan than on content related to Michigan State. And they have Graham Couch.
Basically imagine those Bucks except they hate everything and you most of all.
Etc. Two good gift ideas. Dakota Prukop is surprisingly the name of a potential grad transfer QB, and not a character in the new Star Wars movie, though his tape reminds me a lot of Forcier. A 4-team playoff is not the best model; 6 is. Watch video of the bust. The Dab.
Your Moment of Zen:
As always, click the links/stills to open each GIF in a lightbox.
The first real hint that Spike Albrecht would exceed even the most unreasonable expectations came in the second game of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when he threaded a left-handed bounce pass between two defenders to hit Glenn Robinson III in stride from halfcourt. Michigan's bench leapt in unison—we thought, at the time, out of shock, but in retrospect perhaps they knew before the rest of us that Spike was far from done.
Two weekends later, Spike introduced himself to the hoops world at large with his 17-point outburst against Louisville. In the years since, that performance has become less stunning, which is remarkable considering he's only been a full-time starter when injury struck the guy in front of him.
To say Spike made the most out of a limited skill set is to sell him short, because he had serious skills. This is not a pass I've seen anyone else make, certainly not in a college game, and he pulled that out as a freshman in the second weekend of the tourney. It came seemingly out of nowhere—as, quite freqently, did Spike:
Spike's greatest asset was his audacity. He'd launch a shot from a foot inside the halfcourt logo because he could do that. Once he hit such a shot and then did the Sam Cassell big balls dance; if Cassell didn't have full ownership of that move, it could've been Spike's most fitting signature. One of his greatest highlights started by accident and ended with him acting like that was the plan all along:
Despite the above, Spike appeared in constant control. He'd dribble donuts through a defense until an opportunity presented itself. He'd find that extra half-foot of space required to get off his patented one-handed granny layup. He'd leave the center no choice but to respect that damn granny layup and commit a moment before Spike would drop a deft pass to the man the center had left all alone. He'd pick your pocket or your passing lane, then lead a highlight-worthy fast break. He'd weave through the defense and dish off a pass to a player he couldn't possibly have seen:
And, yes, Spike did the proverbial gritty stuff. In his second-to-last game, a rote blowout of Houston Baptist, he didn't hesitate to lay out for a loose ball—as he'd done so many times before—landing on two bad hips that were in even worse shape than we thought. The whole team ran over to pick him up. He shook it off as if it was nothing, then gave us one last spectacular play:
When Spike was on the court, odds were he'd put a smile on your face. He was just as likely to do so off the court:
If there's a player that embodies why we watch the college game, it's Spike Albrecht. While his career ended too soon, it contained more than we ever could've imagined.
[Editor's Note: This ran as the game column after last year's win over Ohio State. When I started thinking about writing a Spike career obit it occurred to me that I was just going to rewrite this.]
2/22/2015 – Michigan 64, Ohio State 57 – 14-13, 7-8 Big Ten
Basketball from the perspective of an Andre Drummond or a Shaq is a simple thing. You come into possession of the ball. You hold it between two fingers, bellow something designed to induce a flight or fight response, survey the various and sundry "flight" responses, and dunk explosively on anyone who chose… poorly. If someone tries to do the same when you are on defense, you fling him into the nearest body of water.
Later, you have a snack.
Basketball from the perspective of Spike Albrecht is a multi-dimensional differential equation in which almost all answers are emphatically wrong ones. To avoid being postmarked to Lake Michigan, Albrecht has to swoop through the lane several times to induce dizziness in the opposition and then find the one local minima that will result in a shot instead of an Ent-shaped man flexing.
He does this regularly.
When he's really dialed in the result has a Globetrotter feel. A few games ago there was a brief referee discussion after Albrecht was fouled and the refs tried to determine whether it was on the floor or not. The thing is: they were probably right it was a pass. It looked like a pass. It felt like a pass.
It felt like a pass that was off by a little bit so instead of just hitting the backboard it grazed the rim. It felt like this for two diametrically opposed reasons. One, whatever it was that Albrecht was doing did not in any was resemble a shot, at least as far as shooting has been understood since World War II. Two, when Albrecht flings balls at the basket like that they're usually a lot closer to going in.
I found out Kenpom's added an "MVP" feature in their box scores because Albrecht locked it down against Ohio State. And, well, yeah: Albrecht out-dueled future top five pick D'Angelo Russell:
- Albrecht: 16 points on 12 shot equivalents, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 0 TO
- Russell: 16 points on 17 shot equivalents, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 steals, 5 TO
Choosing your favorite Spiketrotters play from this game is difficult: the swooping layup past Amir Williams? The assist he wrapped around after faking the swooping layup so convincingly he momentarily fooled himself? The pinpoint, Brady-worthy fade pass to Bielfeldt off the pick and roll? Slipping in for one of his trademarked Very Sneaky Steals to seal the game?
I dunno man, I like 'em both, and I also like both the others. Watching that kind of performance from Albrecht is like a virtuoso slot receiver performance or a hat trick from one of the 5'8" puck wizards Michigan used to collect like pogs back in the day. It's disproportionately fun.
Movies pack their sportsbits with various people overcoming handicaps for a reason. People watch sports instead of those movies for a reason: it's so much better when a script is nowhere near the proceedings. Not that you could script items like we saw yesterday.
P: "So the little guy, he does what?"
W: "He swoops by a seven-foot dude and flings it up underhand from the baseline! And he makes it! A lot!"
P: "The littlest guy on the court. Shooting one-handed grandma free throws on the run against guys a foot taller than him."
P: "I can't decide whether to fire you or shoot you."
We're all pretty eh on this season, willing to give a guy with eight NCAA tourney wins in two seasons a mulligan when his best two players end up on the shelf after a massive pile of unexpected NBA attrition, but not particularly eager to watch Michigan lose a bunch of games. There's no storming the barricades like football, just a desire to fast-forward to next year.
Albrecht paused that thinking a few minutes in yesterday, giving us something to grab on to now, instead of next year. That thing is man versus space bear, with man improbably winning.
[After THE JUMP: a few bullets from the original post that are no longer relevant.]
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball senior guard Spike Albrecht announced today (Friday, Dec. 11) he has elected to step away from the court for the remainder of the season. He will concentrate on his continued recovery and the rehabilitation process following bilateral hip surgery this past summer.
"This has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make," said Albrecht. "After taking a hard look at what is best for me, and this team, I will be stepping away from the game that has meant so much to me.
"I am so thankful for what Coach Beilein, the assistants and the medical staff have done for me during my career and in particular over the last year while I was dealing with this injury. I just have a little more to go and I really need to take the proper time to finish my rehab.
"The University of Michigan has provided me and my family so much, I don't really even have the words to express my gratitude. This place is truly special and I hope I was able to leave just a little bit of a mark during my career. I cannot thank Wolverine nation enough for all the love and support they have shown me throughout my four years here. Forever and always -- Go Blue!"
"This has been an agonizing decision for Spike, especially at this juncture of the season," said U-M head coach John Beilein. "He has done so much to get back to this point, but his long-term health is what is most important now and in the future. We want only the best for Spike.
"He is a tremendous young man, who has had a very special career. His important role in our 2013 NCAA Tournament run and his incredible performance in the national title game were straight out of a storybook. His sophomore year we would not have won the Big Ten title or made a second straight trip in the Elite Eight without him.
"He has proven time and time again what heart and determination can do. Even last year, he played through so much pain, but held the team together and guided us through tough times."
Albrecht played in 115 career games for the Wolverines. A two-time team captain, he was named Michigan's co-MVP last season after starting 18 of 31 games and posting a career-best 7.5 points per game.
As a freshman, he played in all 39 games and helped U-M reach the Final Four for the first time in 20 years as well as tie the school record for wins (31). It was his 17-point performance in the national title game against Louisville that will see him remembered for years to come.
Albrecht guided U-M to a second straight Elite Eight appearance as a sophomore as the Wolverines lost on a last second-shot to Kentucky to miss a second straight Final Four. That same season, he played in all 37 games and helped the Maize and Blue to its first outright Big Ten title in 28 years.
He would be eligible to take a medical redshirt and return next year, but from the way they’re talking about this it seems clear his career over-over. It is a tribute to Spike how much that utterly sucks.