mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
PA LB/DE Ken Wilkins is a new offer of Michigan's radar from Washington Trinity, the same school that sent Andrew Sweat to Ohio State and Mike Yancich to Penn State. Wilkins' coach says he's more physically gifted than either, or just about anyone else:
"The sky is the limit for him. He's one of the most phenomenal, naturally gifted athletes I've ever been around. He was born with gifts that a lot of people couldn't imagine having."
Wilkins is strongly considering Michigan. Tom Van Haaren got the latest, but first some highlights:
TOM: I don't think a lot of people know about you yet, so tell me about yourself.
KEN: I’m really aggressive, and I’m pretty speedy. I can pretty much do anything on the field. I play a lot of positions. I play linebacker, defensive end, tight end, and quarterback sometimes. I’m just real versatile.
TOM: You live in Pennsylvania, so is the Midwest where you want to play college ball at?
KEN: Distance doesn’t matter to me. I just want to find the best fit for me. I’m going to check out all the schools, and see where I think I fit in the best.
TOM: You're 6'4" and 235 pounds, as a junior. Like you said you play LB, DE, and TE. What are you the best at? What position, and inside that position.
KEN: I’m best at defensive end. I have a real quick first step, and I have a nose for the ball. I can play that hybrid role, the linebacker and defensive end role pretty well too. Schools say I could play both, but I think the hybrid role is best for me.
TOM: You're pretty fast for your size, is that something you've been focusing on, your speed?
KEN: I do parametric, and our school has a speed training coach. We work with him two times a week. I’m gaining weight pretty quick, so I want to keep my speed too. We just started doing that this year, but I can already tell the difference, it’s definitely helping. I can’t wait for next year when it really kicks in.
TOM: You've got offers from almost every school in the east and Midwest. How are you going to narrow this down?
KEN: I just want to see the area, the environment, and the school. What the whole school is about and the overall program. The biggest thing for me is the relationships with the coaches and players, and how I feel around them.
TOM: When do you plan on making your decision by?
KEN: Probably mid June or July. I just want to get it over with before my season starts, so I don’t have to focus on it anymore. I have enough offers that I can make my decision, and be done with it. Once I commit, that will be it.
TOM: Do you already have a good idea of a top 3?
KEN: I don’t really have a top list, but Michigan and Pitt are near top. Michigan was always my favorite team growing up. Coach Gibson has been coming in lately, and I’ve been getting to know him. I also have a good relationship with the Pitt coaches.
TOM: Where does Michigan factor into all this, are they near the top, or at the top?
KEN: If I had to name a leader I would say it is Michigan. Once I go up there, if I like it I’ll pull the trigger and commit. I’m talking to my uncle about it, and I think I’ll be up there in about two weeks. I think I fit what they’re trying to do right now, and the coaches that I do know are all great. Everything about Michigan is great, and I could definitely see myself there.
TOM: What do the coaches talk to you about? What is it that you like about them?
KEN: They’re really laid back. They’re like a good friend, and not a recruiter. I really like that they aren’t pressuring me about the school. Coach Gibson told me that all these schools are good, even if it’s not Michigan, they’re all 5 star hotels, it’s just which one you want to stay at. So it was nice to talk to someone who didn’t try to tell me what to do. He’s like a good friend.
TOM: I saw a play on your highlight film, where it actually looked like you ate someone. Are you one of those guys that just throws his body around, and loves to hit?
KEN: Yeah, I love to hit. I just always played defense, and I find the ball easy. It’s just fun to go out there and hit somebody.
TOM: Have you been in contact with any other recruits? What do they say?
KEN: I built a relationship with some guys from my area, Chad Hayden is one. Most of the guys around me, I’m trying to see if they’ll come with me and play with me.
The evening started with an autograph session during which each coach was scattered around with throngs of people surrounding. The first humorous event of the evening was watching Bill Martin wander around with... fewer people, and at one point introducing himself to a confused little boy for someone to talk to. Rodriguez obviously had the longest line, but listening in on some of the conversations, the coaches were refreshingly honest and down-to-earth in their dealings with the fans.
If you're in the Chicago area you can catch the show your ownself at the Standard Club tomorrow. Details can be found on the Alumni Association website.
Suin' and hopin' and prayin'. More on this Sam Keller lawsuit, which has ignited the college football commentariat in a way that would be surprising if it wasn't May. Darren Rovell says these guys have a case:
I've seen many lawsuits brought about by student athletes in my day and this is probably the best case I have ever seen constructed. I think Keller was smart to go after the video game business instead of the jersey business because I think he can make a better case with the former even though Nike and adidas call up football programs so that they can only produce jerseys with the numbers the stars are wearing each year.
Meanwhile, a law-talkin' reader who works at a class-action firm that works closely with the one Keller has retained says these guys are "pretty big time" and that if they "didn't think this suit had merit, they wouldn't be wasting their time on it." He's gone through the complaint, so let's hand the mic to him. I've bolded some parts for emphasis:
The complaint is pretty thorough and lists several causes of action which all have different remedies, but in general it asks for the following basic things as a remedy:
-Damages- This would include money to compensate for the loss of past earnings/punish EA and the NCAA for their conduct/etc. Now, assuming the court certifies the class (which is a big, big assumption) any damages would be paid out on a class wide basis. So each athlete would be due some percentage of the pot of money at the end, minus the plaintiffs' attorneys' cut. Usually, the class rep (Keller, in this case) would be due a slightly larger percentage to compensate them for time and effort. Like, Keller may be due a couple extra grand. It's not (supposed) to be a huge amount.
-Disgorgement of profits- Meaning that EA would have to give back (to the class) all the money they've made off their illegal conduct. This is generally an appropriate remedy for unjust enrichment suits like this, but I really, REALLY doubt that a court would actually do this to EA. Basically, Keller's asking for this for leverage.
-Destruction of all copies of the offending titles- See my comments on Disgorgement.
-Equitable/Injunctive relief- This is the bit you were worried about in your article. Keller's asking the court to prevent EA from making games in the future where athlete's likenesses are used. If they get this, then we're looking at randomization and the games will suck ad infinitim.
My thoughts on what is likely to happen from here on out: EA is going to fight this like hell because this is basically the survival of their brand. Keller (or, more accurately, Keller's attorneys) know this and will push strongly for an early settlement. EA may be able to make a small concession (like randomizing the state of origin or skin color or whatever) in order to give the settlement an appearance of legitimacy for the court and that might be that. In that case, everyone will get a small amount of money and EA still gets to make their products. The problem with THAT solution is that it leaves EA open for another suit a few years down the road that alleges the same basic things, but I'm sure they'd take that. This is kind of what everyone should be rooting for. The IDEAL solution (as you alluded to) is to make ongoing payments to college kids for their likenesses in the future, but I think we can both agree that the odds of the NCAA signing off on that are somewhere between nil and bupkis.
If they don't settle early, then EA may win on class certification (which is a process that takes a year or so all by itself) and then this all pretty much goes away. But if it gets past that point and Keller can certify the class, then EA is very probably fucked (legal term).
Bottom line: Unless EA can kick this stuff out on a "technicality" within the next year or so, we're very likely going to have some change to the way EA makes their college games. The only question is how big the change will be and how much EA will have to pay out in the interim.
It's always been a fiction that EA wasn't profiting off the likenesses of college athletes, especially after consoles hooked themselves up to the internet and roster downloading became commonplace. The fig leaf of not using players' names doesn't change the fact that it's Mike Hart in the #20 jersey, and that this is an illegal use of player likenesses. Listen to the law-talkin' guy.
If the NCAA has any sense they will use this opportunity to provide players in revenue sports some of the fruits of their labors. Here's an opportunity to provide some level of payment over and above the scholarship money they're already getting. The money comes from an outside source—so it won't cannibalize whatever the NCAA wants to do—and can reasonably be distributed on an equal basis to everyone. I'm betting EA would prefer that to randomizing players entirely if they lose the suit. There is a way to comply with the law that is a win-win and a way that's lose-lose. The NCAA should pick the good one, because in all probability they're going to have to choose.
Unless, that is, EA's lawyers boot up a 2003 version of the game and use John Navarre to option the universe into submission. In that case, all bets are off.
Just don't grow awesome hair, kid. Oklahoma's decisions on which marginal characters to keep and which to ditch are mystifying. Last year, wideout Josh Jarboe brought a gun to school and got expelled. Oklahoma decided they'd still take him but he was on triple-secret probation. Jarboe then showed up on the internet smiling as he rapped about, you know, things that are in rap, at which point Bob Stoops said this:
"Kick a guy off the team for what he says?" Stoops said. The whole Internet culture frustrates Stoops. "We're starting to talk about everything kids say and do," Stoops said. "Now we're in people's homes, in their private spaces."
The probation was so triple-secret that not even Stoops knew about it. The local vultures in the Oklahoma newspapers swooped in and the kid got gone.
Now enter Justin Chaisson, who has issues at least as severe as Jarboe's (warning: link has video that plays automatically; advise you skip it):
Outside the coffee shop, Chaisson grabbed the girl's arm and forced her into the back seat of his sport-utility vehicle, according to the report.
The girl told police Chaisson punched her in the ribs and drove her to the desert before pulling her out of the vehicle. She said that’s when he placed a screwdriver to her neck and threatened to kill her, according to the report.
The reprehensible Barry Tramel, the main vulture mentioned above, has an opinion on this: take him because now we're all cynical and stuff. What's the message here? Just don't show up on the internet screwing around with your friends and we're good? Avoid amazing dreadlocks?* Words are words, man, especially when they're not directed at anyone.
*(Actually, given Johnny Sears this might be a good message: kids, if you have amazing dreadlocks they will bring you naught but misery.)
Etc.: I think I'm a fan of Philadelphia's new MLS team. "Join or Die": I choose join.
Florida cornerback Rashad Knight (right, obviously) recently picked up two pieces of good news: a Michigan offer and four stars from Rivals, where he's the #18 cornerback. After the Michigan offer he declared the Wolverines his leader. MGoRecruitingGuy Tom Van Haaren caught up with him and got the latest.
TOM: When did you get your offer from Michigan?
RASHAD: It was recent, about 2 weeks ago. Right now I have a total of 12 offers though.
TOM: Was it something you expected? Were the coaches in contact with you before hand?
RASHAD: Michigan’s a big school, and I got a lot of hand written letters from them, but I didn’t expect it this soon. I did expect to get one eventually though.
TOM: What coaches have you started to build a relationship the most with?
RASHAD: From Michigan, Rod Smith. I have the nicest relationship with coach Disch from Illinois, we talk a lot.
TOM: You have all offers from up north schools; do you have ties up there?
RASHAD: No, I don’t have any ties. A lot of the north schools want more speed, and they say that I can add a lot. So, I just think it’s because they know that there’s a lot of speed in Florida. UCF recruits me really hard; I get a lot of letters from them. I talk to the coach from USF a lot too, but that’s really it for the south schools.
TOM: Are you comfortable leaving Florida?
RASHAD: Yea, I have no problem with that. My family will probably stay here, and come up for a couple home games, but there’s no problem.
TOM: I saw that you play safety, running back, wide receiver, and you return kicks too. What do you think you play the best, and what do you like playing the best?
RASHAD: I play safety, but I'm good in man to man coverage, which is why a lot of schools are recruiting me as a corner. Offense is ok with me, but I love playing defense.
TOM: What are most schools recruiting you as? How are they saying you can help them on the field?
RASHAD: They’re recruiting me as a corner. Louisville said they want me to play a little offense. They said if I get in real good shape I could play both. Most schools are just for corner though, which is what I like.
TOM: Have you taken any visits yet? Where do you plan on going?
RASHAD: I’ve been to Florida State a couple times. Towards the summer I’m going to Illinois, Vanderbilt, Louisville, and I want to make sure I go to Michigan too. I’m still planning out when though.
TOM: Who’s helping you the most?
RASHAD: My coach played at FSU, but he’s like my high school agent. He does everything for me, and takes care of everything for me. My other coach went to Florida, so they know the process and take care of everything.
TOM: You recently were quoted saying Michigan was your leader, and then retracted that and said Indiana is one of your top schools. Let’s clear this subject. Where do all the schools stand?
RASHAD: I don’t really have a top 5 for sure. I’m still open, but I would have to say that right now Michigan is at the top. I still want to take a look at everyone though. Michigan is just a good school, and I would have to say right now they are probably at the top. I just want to make sure I see everyone.
TOM: Do you have a timeline for when you want to make your decision?
RASHAD: I might take it to signing day. My coaches told me to make sure I’m comfortable, and build relationships. When I go take a look, I want to make sure I feel comfortable on campus, and the atmosphere. I also want to see if there’s a chance for me to play early, that’s important.
And by "ate" I mean "popped a little rubbery thing in my mouth, made a face, spit it out, spent a good two minutes trying to cut it into pieces, gave up, and looked it up on Google where I was horrified to find out it was a barnacle oh and by the way Wikipedia says they taste like 'rubber dipped in ammonia.'"
Softballin'. Michigan's perpetually successful softball team won the Big Ten this year and gets to host a regional. They're the #5 overall seed. Details:
Michigan is joined by regional No. 2 seed Notre Dame, No. 3 seed Cleveland State and No. 4 seed Miami (Ohio) in the double-elimination event. Michigan opens regional play against Miami [Of Ohio (Not That Miami Of Ohio) –ed] on Friday (May 15) at 7 p.m. following the Notre Dame and Cleveland State opener, which begins at 4:30 p.m.
Five to ten bucks gets you in for the day each of the three days; weather is supposed to be gorgeous.
(HT: Michigan Sports Center.)
Grinding it out. The Realests have a new project called "Lost Lettermen" wherein they track down college stars of yesteryear and let you know what they're up to. Marcus Ray is trying to break into coaching:
Being a GA is tough because of the grind and the low pay. Especially being 32 with a family. I really miss my family. They still live in Columbus, because I did not want my wife to relocate without the proper security. She is the backbone of our family. It will be a rewarding experience in the end though. I break down opponent's game film, recruit high school players, create scouting reports, as well as coach the safeties. Last season I didn't do as much hands on coaching, but as a result of some changes on our staff, I have become more like a position coach.
Ray was going to be a Michigan GA until Carr's retirement; he guarantees he'll be one of the hottest DB coaches on the market this year and hopes to latch on at a MAC school.
THIS IS A TERRIBLE LETDOWN. Denard Robinson finished third in Florida's state 100 championships. See for yourself, and marvel a bit at the internet:
To be fair, Robinson got beat by a guy who smoked the Florida state record. And he got off to a terrible start. I think we should revoke his scholarship. Or maybe shoot him.*
*(KIDDING, Mrs. Robinson! Kidding!)
Way to focus. Someday I hope to meet the man who writes Free Press headlines and call him a nasty name. (I'm leaning towards "obtuse twit" at the moment.) Darius Morris and Matt Vogrich participated in an all-star game called the "Academic All-American Classic". To get in you have to have a 3.0 GPA, which while not stellar is less depressing than most high major prospects. Michigan has two kids smart enough and good enough to be in this meaningless game. They had the usual amount of fun that is had at meaningless all star games. The Free Press headline?
U-M recruits hotdog in final game
Here's a tiny nofollowed link you shouldn't click on.
He strikes again! Speaking of Free Press Headline guy, he translated this noncommital statement from once and future transfer Steven Threet…
Threet said he has no indication what will happen in fall camp but figures the tipping point will be decision-making, which gives Sheridan a chance to play.
"I feel like Tate has a good opportunity coming in early with the extra reps in the spring and that should be beneficial," he said. "But Nick does a good job of executing the offense the way they want it to be run. People may point out the physical things Tate or Denard may have at a physical advantage, but a lot of time at quarterback in this system comes down to decision-making."
…into "Threet gives starting nod to Sheridan." To me that quote is a standard boilerplate "Both teams played hard" answer. Nine of ten obtuse twits evidently disagree.
I can't seriously believe Sheridan executes the offense the way the coaches want it to be run…
…unless Threet means they've given that side of the ball a cigarette and a blindfold. Sheridan's decision-making last year was not a strong suit. Remember the desperate, insane heave that was intercepted late in the first half against Utah and proved to be the margin of victory? Even in Sheridan's opus to date—the reasonable performance against Minnesota—he threw two first-half passes that definitely should have been intercepted. Why am I even spending time on this? The chances Sheridan takes a snap over a healthy Forcier are 0.001%. Seriously, people.
(HT: Doctor Saturday.)
In the spirit. It's OT season on the message board, so it may as well leak in here. Some guy at the Chicago Tribune "gorged himself" in Ann Arbor for three days and reported back with rapturous praise. Unfortunately, the restaurants visited consisted of…
- Cafe Zola, where he eats Zingerman's challah
- Sweetwater's, where he has coffee
- Monahan's, a place owned by a guy who used to be a partner at Zingerman's
- Zingerman's… again
- Zingerman's Bakehouse
- Blimpy Burger
- Dominicks, where he has a $21.40 jug o' drink
- Zingerman's Roadhouse
- Zingerman's Roadhouse… again
- Zingerman's Creamery
- The Dexter Cider Mill
- Zingerman's Roadhouse… again again
There is the slightest hint of a pattern here. Seven of the twelve places food is consumed are Zingerman's owned and nine are at least vaguely affiliated. This isn't a newspaper article, it's an advertisement.
I don't have the antipathy for Zingerman's that my girlfriend—who once flew into what can only be described as a conniption fit after seeing a Zingerman's catalogue that huffily advertised "Indonesian" cinnamon when 1) that's not actually cinnamon, but cassia, and 2) it's cheaper and widely regarded as inferior—does*, but I do think it's overrated based on reputation. Just like, I'm sorry to say, Blimpy Burger, which is certainly not "cheaper than food." The motto should be "where the yelling makes up for fries softer than Sam McGuffie's head, except not really."
There are plenty of awesome restaurants in town (Logan, Eve, Red Hawk, various sushi huts, Seoul Garden if you like dangerously authentic Korean, Angelo's if you like hollandaise sauce and you're a commie if you don't, and, hell, NYPD sells a killer slice) as long as you avoid Main Street; this guy went to exactly zero of them. And it's not like he was going the cheap route. Look at all the Zs above. I give this a FAIL.
*(Her take: "Assholes like this are why Zingerman's exists." Did I tell you?)
Update 5/12: Linked to video on MI QB Devin Gardner LA QB Munchie Legaux, articles on CA RB Brennan Clay (second), MI DE Will Gholston (and TN QB Barry Brunetti), FL CB Rashad Knight, PA DE Kyle Baublitz, OH LB Jewone Snow, OH LB Jordan Hicks, FL LB Christian Jones, FL RB Eduardo Clements, PA DT Sharrif Floyd (video interview), MD RB/LB Zach Zwinak (and teammates, also more), OH WR commit DJ Williamson, CT LB Khari Fortt, MI CB Mylan Hicks.
Headers on FL CB Spencer Boyd.
Removed TX QB Jeremy Johnson (Baylor or WVU).
Added FL CB Josh Fulton($), FL CB Tony Grimes, NC DE Fre'shad Hunter($), SC OL Eric Mack (more on Mack; HT JCCW), PA LB Ken Wilkins, FL LB Zachary Allen($, more), MD OL Arie Kouandjio, FL CB TC Robinson, TN LB Justin Maclin($), FL CB Merrill Noel, FL DT Richard Ash.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. I even updated it this week. Many links, but not a whole lot of news. One good thing for Michigan fans currently apoplectic about the rankings that make NO SENSE but very ANGER—why have I gone into EPINION MODE—is this top 100 list from TSN. I'm not sure how it was compiled, or how credible it is versus the Scout/Rivals lists that have built up a reputation over the years, but who cares when it says this:
26. Ricardo Miller
31. Devin Gardner
90. Marvin Robinson
That is more along the lines of what I am talking about, sir.
TX QB Jeremy Johnson dropped us in favor of Baylor or WVU, which okay. I know he had an "offer" but given how many offers Michigan has out at the moment that's no way to tell how seriously Michigan was pursuing him.
FL RB Eduardo Clements hasn't left the board yet, but he favors Georgia, FSU, and Miami. He mentioned Michigan was a school of interest after their offer and is, I believe, still contemplating a visit; I'd be very surprised to see anything come of it.
Quick Commit Now
CA RB Brennan Clay is this year's Sam Montgomery: a guy who isn't shy about telling you who his leader is, or changing it every 15 seconds. I'd virtually written him off a couple times already this year. So, naturally:
"I loved playing with [Forcier]," Clay said. "I love the players on the team and I love the Michigan coaches. I enjoy talking with [Wolverines head coach] Rich Rodriguez and [quarterbacks coach and area recruiter] Rod Smith. Honestly, they would be my top school if I had a top school. I just really like that program."
Clay shot up the rankings after an extremely impressive camp performance; USC is still holding off but virtually everyone else has put their name in for Clay. Oklahoma is the latest. Expect Clay to wobble several more times. I have moved him from red to yellow, FWIW.
MI CB Mylan Hicks started the year as a guy who looked like he'd pick up offers from Michigan State and a few other middling Big Ten schools, with Michigan's interest contingent on a summer camp performance. Well, Michigan offered a month ago and Hicks just racked up a combine MVP performance:
His nickname is “Clamps” and Hicks lived up to it today. He began the day by measuring in at over 5’11 and running a 4.49 forty (on a hurt hamstring), one of the top times on the day. He then set the bar in the shuttle with his 4.23, which was later equaled by Arnett. 1-1s was what he came for though and again, he impressed me as he did at the Columbus 7-7. This kid is confident, aggressive and cannot stand giving up completions.
Alabama and Notre Dame were mentioned as potential future offers; Hicks is seeming like a higher priority by the day. Conventional wisdom has Hicks favoring Michigan State, but that might be an artifact of his high school, which sent a couple kids to MSU last year.
Also of note from that combine was the offensive MVP: 2011 MI WR DeAnthony Arnett. Arnett is in a neck-and-neck battle with Detroit Ren linebacker Lawrence Thomas to be the state's top player next year, and he's already got a Michigan offer.
I'm sure I mentioned a new offer for FL CB Rashad Knight last week. Knight quickly put Michigan on top of his list, but that was a header-only nugget of information. A little more detail is now available:
“Michigan offered me today,” Knight said. “My coach let me know. They called and offered. Then, I got home and it was in the mail. I always liked Michigan. One of my favorite players is Desmond (Howard). Since (Rich) Rodqiguez has gotten they have really recruited Florida hard. I like the coaches. I would say they are my leader at this point. I will try and get there this summer. I will go see a few colleges like Illinois and Michigan. This is a big one for me.”
But not so fast my friend…
"I also really like Florida State. They have not offered me yet. They want to see my come to their camp this summer.”
Michigan's in a good spot here as long as Florida State doesn't offer. If they do… eh… that's probably where he's going.
Rivals has handed out all its three stars, leaving only one Michigan commit unranked: OH WR DJ Williamson of Warren Harding. That means he'll probably get two stars because of a lack of film. Erk? Eh… this is actually a a case where you can argue Michigan's uncovered a diamond in the rough. Williamson isn't going to camps or combines, wanted Michigan from the start, and doesn't care about his rankings. He's a wildcard.
He's also pretty fast:
…meet overall MVP Deaver Williamson won the 100 and 200 and anchored the winning 400 and 800 relays.
"I'm trying to push my team to get win a sixth straight Trumbull County Championship. It feels good to win," Williamson said after the 200 where he grabbed his one leg. "My leg cramped up a bit. I'm glad it happened near the end."
This is the second article from this paper to call Williamson "Deaver," but a couple commenters are adamant it's actually "D'Aver," FWIW. I'm sticking with DJ.
Offer T-Shirt Gun
At this point I envision Rich Rodriguez is in possession of one of those pneumatic t-shirt hurling devices you see at sporting events, except he's gotten Barwis—who is also MacGuyver, apparently—to soup that thing up to the point where it can chuck stuff into low earth orbit. He fills it with offer letters, laughs maniacally, and begins shooting, mostly at Florida.
Offers have landed on the doorstep or heads of the following:
- SC OL Eric Mack. Mack has a top four of southern schools and favors Auburn; this isn't likely to be relevant.
- A host of Pahokee kids: DT Richard Ash, LB Zachary Allen, and CB Merrill Noel. This brings Michigan's Pahokee offer count to five (WRs DeJoshua Johnson and Chris Dunkley are the others). Relevance? Ash is likely to stay south, but Allen and Noel could be names to watch. All have meh guru ratings but some impressive offers.
- PA LB Ken Wilkins and TN LB Justin Maclin. Decent offers for both—more impressive for Maclin—and what sounds like genuine interest.
- Yet more Florida corners: Tony Grimes and Josh Fulton. Don't know much about either yet; Grimes appears to be in the midst of the proverbial "blow up"; I believe OSU has just offered.
- Aaand NC DE Fre'Shad Hunter. Hunter's first name makes me think it's just a matter of time before football recruits are named after made-up words in Dune: Arrakis Smith, Sardaukar Jones, Imperial Pashtun Robinson.
All of these guys have good rankings or offers for the slightly worried.
Not So Much
Varsity Blue saw this quote on FL LB Christian Jones and saw hope…
"Everybody wants to know if they can get him away from FSU," said Tom Oliver, Lake Howell's coach. "Christian's dad wants him to look for what's best for him. He's open."
…and I just saw a guy obviously going to Florida State.
Etc.: CT LB Khari Fortt interview mostly discusses Penn State, which makes sense because apparently they lead. MD RB/LB Zach Zwinak is noncommital, as is PA DE Kyle Baublitz. OH LB Jewone Snow plans a return visit. Long profile on PA DT Sharrif Floyd, who's had a rough go of it. Yet more Gardner video, and highlights of LA QB Munchie Legaux.
MGoBlog's community is like a bear crossed with a piranha crossed with, naturally, a wolverine: noble, powerful, mean, vicious, and capable of turning an unwise traveler into bone within 15 seconds. Perhaps the most common interaction on the message board is this:
n00b: I say something n00by. Maybe I've been infected by Rome or Bayless or whatever and I have a "take" which I "bring strong", i.e. overreact to something.
Old Guard: You are wrong in these seven ways, which I will explain to you in a fashion 150% as condescending as you deserve.
At this point there's a fork. Some people take it personally and resolve to hate the "cool kids" or whatever. Other demonstrate coachability.
Examples of this process often concern recruiting, because recruiting is something you can get really worked up about without having any information whatsoever. The latest came in the aftermath of LA WR Drew Dileo's commitment, about which I was lukewarm. Others were somewhere between lukewarm and hysterical, which annoyed people less prone to questioning, which caused arguments to erupt, which caused everyone slightly on one side to become very much on one side or the other for purposes of the argument, which led to this diary from ShockFX…
Question 1: How do I deal with Michigan recruits dropping places in the rankings?
A) Bitch about them dropping for being already committed.
B) Fret about not having any top 100 recruits in May.
C) Get enraged that Rivals sucks at ranking players and isn't fair, then shamefully realize my last post was demeaning Rich Rod for offering 'middle of road' WRs, where middle of the road is determined using rankings like Rivals. Oops.
D) Point out RR track record in excelling with recruits that are low ranked, and hell, it's only fucking May, these kids are juniors in high school and this addiction is borderline pedophilia even to the greeks/spartans (the ancient ones, not the rollerbladin' brahs in the EL).
E) Just D.
…which led to this message board thread…
so I wonder, in light of the diary that is the self test, what is okay for us fans to pay attention to recruiting wise that isnt crossing "The Line?" What do you consider crossing the line?
But how much is too much? Because when I read things like this, a WLA post from our friend ShockFX, and others like it, it's clear that people think a line exists. This is a recent mgoblog thread about recruiting and "the line."
…which led to this post you are reading right now. Here we are. I liked the bear/piranha/wolverine metaphor. Did you?
There are two separate lines of questioning I'd like to address and will do so separately. Line one:
At what point do you cross the line from being a passionate fan who follows recruiting to being a creepy guy?
A hilariously/awfully outdated post on the general ethics of following recruiting still holds true even if it chose literally the worst possible example:
2. Do not disparage recruits except in extraordinary circumstances.
This goes quadruple for uncommitted recruits--a recent flagrant example on Rivals occurred when someone posted some idiocy about how he doubted Justin Boren's "love for Michigan" because he hadn't committed yet. Boren committed soon after and then expressed his love for Michigan. How do you feel now, anonymous internet moron?
Except for that, though, the post stands up remarkably well for something I wrote four years ago. Just don't do anything that you wouldn't do if the 300 pound heaving mass of mobile death was standing in front of you. I don't think many people come anywhere near that, but there are some.
Speaking of Facebook: whenever a recruit or player post something that seems newsworthy as his status, people immediately report it on message boards across the internet. This is followed by a round of recriminations by people who don't like the idea because it's a violation of privacy or something*. The above-cited thread has an example of this:
I refuse to look up recruits on facebook/myspace because that is just over the top, i do wonder sometimes why we are allowing for so many wr recruits to commit, and i do pay attention to the stars on rivals but i dont complain about it here at mgoblog.
Which… uh. Either you're the kind of person who has 2000 friends because you're a football player (or blogger) and auto-approves anyone who adds you, or you're the kind of person who has 200 friends because you add that guy you met at that party one time. Either way, you don't have an expectation of privacy when you post "GOING TO COMMIT TO MICHIGAN WOO" as your status, or when you trash talk a goat.
If it's on the internet, it's public. There is undoubtedly someone employed by the Michigan athletic department right now whose main task is to beat this fact into athlete's heads.
What you absolutely should not do is annoy someone. Back to Maize 'n' Brew:
Some people obviously think it's not crossing any line to post on a recruit's facebook page. A recent post on Anthony Lalota's page says "Good luck tomorrow - from Tony in Columbus - Go Blue." Does this seemingly innocent wall-post cross this mythical line? What if that wall post had said "Yer gonna suck for 4 years, go blow - ha. buckeyes4lyfe"?
Wall Post A: No. I think it's a little weird that you're seeking out the ability to toss meaningless yay go yay words at someone you don't know, but whatever. That's probably the kind of interaction you'd have with LaLota if you met him IRL. Wall Post B: Yes. Obviously.
From a media standpoint, I regard anything directly relevant to a player's football career as fair game but won't report on irrelevant things unless they're harmlessly awesome like the above goat trash-talk. I like Facebook's ability to humanize football players like that. Johnny's posts at RBUAS were greatly improved by the addition of various slice-of-life photos gathered from Facebook. It's a delicate balance best undertaken with a sense of respect for the subject, and I'm sure there will be various incidents that make it seem like a bad thing. It can be a powerfully good one, too.
*(This is mostly a feature of premium message boards, since people on those message boards take their cues from the moderators and the moderators want to discourage people getting information straight from the source for obvious reasons.)
Why do people keep crushing my face on the message board?
Because you're annoying. (Not you, specifically, guy who posted the thread.) In an information surplus economy people want things that are clear, to the point, informative, original, and/or entertaining. If you're posting in a near-illiterate pidgin or continually overreacting to minor news events people are going to get their dander up. You're wasting their time, and on the internet that time could be spent watching keyboard cat play someone off.
This is valuable time.
I get the frustration when someone posts something that has none of the above positive qualities, but I also get the frustration of the n00b when everything that does not meet exacting standards of netiquette gets the piranha treatment.
The answer is probably for everyone to just take it easy, man. This will probably not happen.
APR. The NCAA has released all the APR information for this year and Michigan's doing quite well, thanks. HOWEVA, I am a bit concerned Michigan's football numbers will dip over the next few years. The four-year rolling numbers:
That's a steady decline as the Carr years waned and attrition increased. The APR issues two points per student per year, one for being academically eligible and one for not leaving, and Michigan's suffered a lot of premature departures.
Boren, Mallett, Manningham, and Arrington are in those 2008 numbers, but many others aren't accounted for yet: Threet, Clemons, McGuffie, Babb, Horn, Chambers, and Kates all left the team after the 2008-09 school year started. I'm not sure if Slocum and Patilla, who left over the summer, are counted, and I don't know if Taylor Hill's extremely brief tenure as a Wolverine—a couple weeks at most—will be held against Michigan. And if I had to bet I'd put my money on Carson Butler coming up a few credits short of his bachelor's in Nerd Massacre Engineering. (Andre Criswell left the team but not the school, and I'd bet he's got a degree, so he shouldn't count.)
Upshot: the transition period is going to hurt Michigan's APR standing just because of the sheer quantity of transfers, and we can expect that 947 to dip considerably next year. I don't think it'll get into the range where Michigan is seriously flirting with sanctions… but I'm not 100% sure or anything.
Another team to watch is Tennessee, which has an APR a point higher than Michigan's and has just suffered ten Kiffin-induced departures.
Meanwhile, penalties are now in full effect and have clubbed basketball teams at OSU, Purdue, and Indiana with scholarship reductions. Indiana is obvious and OSU's addiction to one-and-dones makes them a logical candidate, but Purdue? I guess they just went through a transition period. Ohio State is probably going get to hit next year, too, with Anthony Crater's transfer and the departure of caveman BJ Mullens for the NBA draft.
Can complaints about this thing being a paper tiger stop now? That's one traditional power and two teams that were in the NCAA tournament last year getting hit with the meanstick. Yes, small schools get punished more heavily but that's because they don't have the resources to support the high-risk players they're recruiting. They should concentrate on kids they can graduate. Myles Brand:
"The truth of the matter," Brand said, "is that if you're going to participate in high-level intercollegiate athletics, you have to provide for academic opportunities for the students. And that's not inexpensive."
Word. Anything that diverts more money, Lebowski, to the people actually on the field instead of the people on the periphery is good.
One downer is the ability to absorb penalties into your year of suck. Indiana lost two scholarships but got the NCAA to agree to these hijinks:
IU anticipated the two-scholarship penalty announced today and took it last season. Purdue did the same with a one-scholarship penalty.
Michigan did something similar under Amaker: hit with a one-scholarship reduction for four years, they crammed three of those into the first year and got out of the last two. Schools shouldn't be allowed to take their penalty whenever it's convenient for them; they should have to take it at a uniform time, convenient or no. Allowing IU to put their two-scholarship penalty towards a year when they already knew they'd be terrible is no punishment at all; the same goes for Michigan conveniently backdating their penalties into a year where they were three scholarships short anyway.
One inexplicable horrible thing though. The good doctor highlights the strangest APR case of the year:
The worst APR score in the country belonged to South Florida, which was also below par in basketball and baseball, but the Bulls avoided scholarship penalties in football by applying for a waiver ... which they received for the second straight season despite an eight-point drop (909, down from 917) from a score that was already eight points below the mandated 925 last year.
WTF? How can a team get a waiver one year, fail to improve their score, and get another waiver? I have an email in to the NCAA's website; we'll see if they respond.
Clarification. A few UV's back I asked whether Pryor was actually booted from OSU's spring game for talking trash. I didn't think he did but wasn't 100% sure; since then several emailers have confirmed that answer is "no."
Sherman-Williams will be crushed. I'm sure I've bitched endlessly about the horrific charging calls that floppy white guys get all the time in college—unless it's Zach Novak, for some reason. It turns out I'm not crazy and the NCAA wants to do something about kids showing up directly under the basket with the opponent already in the air… sort of:
The recommendation on play under the basket won't call for a restricted-area arc painted in the lane as the NBA has, but it prohibits a secondary defender from establishing position in the area from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. A defender must establish position outside that area to draw a charge or player-control foul.
This sounds frustrating in practice, albeit less frustrating than the current setup. Basketball refereeing suffers from a lack of clarity already and, when possible, rules should be adjusted to be black and white. That goes double for college. An NBA-style no charge circle is black and white. This is pretty vague.
Also, one of the guys quoted in the story is named Dick Hack. He's chair of the men's committee and athletics director at New York-Maritime and sounds like he either leapt out of noir novel or Idiocracy. Various cocktails to you, sir.
Then we'll build this awesome hotel. The coaches poll took a look at the criticisms leveled at it and is considering two bold steps:
- Not releasing the votes in the final poll.
- Keeping the identities of the voters secret.
Wait… what? Is Kim Jong-Il in charge of this thing? These are bold steps in exactly the wrong direction. Over The Pylon's already pulled out the flamethrower so I'll just quote them:
So for the coaches poll to have any "credibility" to begin with, we, as fans, are asked to assume that coaches will be informed, participatory, and non-biased. And the only way to ensure that's happening is to ensure that the public can see exactly how these non-biased informed voters are voting. More transparency is the answer.
Context provides heavy sarcasm on "non-biased" and "informed," BTW. The BCS should step in and declare those moves unacceptable if the coaches' poll wants to remain part of the BCS formula. The only thing worse than having biased voters participate in the critically important selection process is having secret biased voters.
Etc.: Sam Keller's suing EA and the NCAA for copying the likenesses of players without paying them. I hope he wins as long as the solution is to pay the players a little bit and not randomization, but if he wins I bet they go with randomization. I don't have a strong opinion on this Daniel Hood thing—he was convicted of rape at 14 and now a Tennessee football recruit—but lean towards think it's okay.
note: all email addresses below are intended to be fake, but I didn't test them or anything. suggest you don't use them.
Extremely sane and not at all prone to crying on the bench after tragic loss Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor told extremely impartial and totally tough-as-nails interviewer Kirk Herbstreit something obviously true yesterday:
Pryor: "I really want to be like a great quarterback. People tell me I can't throw and this and that, and I'm not that good and I'm overrated and all that."
Pryor: "A bunch of people. Michigan players e-mail me and stuff."
Herbstreit: "Come on, are you serious?"
Pryor: "Yeah man."
Video if you want it. This is obviously true. But who is the culprit? MGoBlog's three primary suspects:
Motive: Michigan's lone player in the business school is marketing a TOTALLY LEGITIMATE scheme which isn't even a scheme at all, really, but just a sure 100% foolproof ways to make the moneys.
Subject: "l@@k! 1mpr0ve yr threwing motion no foolsies"
I am Mr. Boltan Tesko, Accounts Manager, of Abbey National PLC Bromley Rd Branch. I have an important business proposition for you.
On December 12th, 2008, a contractor with the National Fotoball Legue, United States, Bill Parcells, made a limited time (Fixed) offer for twelve calendar months, valued at US$ 17,350,000.00 (Seventeen Million Three Hundred Hundred and fifty Thousand Dollars only) in contracts for any quarteback to throw
Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, that there is no throw. TO throw we teach you throw for sum of US$ 3,500,000.00 which is leave you profit of US$14,000,000.00.
There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by the attorney and with my position as the Manager with my bank will guarantees the successful execution of this transaction.
Awaiting your urgent reply.
Thanks and regards.
Motive: Exploring a transfer.
Subject: So I hear you can't throw.
Body: Here's the deal: as soon as I completed my paperwork to transfer to Arizona State, Dennis Erickson drove into a volcano.
They've replaced him with Tom Osborne and moved me to fullback. I hear you can't throw and have emotional problems. Is this true? If so, do you want to be roommates?
PS: Please don't say yes and then throw Tressel into the sun.
Subject: prepare to get dropped
yo yo yo yo, check it:
pryor you ain't nothing
you at a place where there's no one to compete
i shake steve brown like he was concrete
bauserman, boeckman, guiton who dat
you get hurt they put in the wildcat
me? stuck behind sheridan, yeah, you lucky
otherwise mich gets rid of the monkey
white like mcguffie but with mad skillz
one more concussion i give him frog pills
my head's fine, clear like cristal
five yard ropes when i get the ball
THAT'S FEBREZE PEOPLE
Previously: S Vlad Emilien, S Thomas Gordon, CB Justin Turner, CB Adrian Witty, LB Isaiah Bell, LB Mike Jones, LB Brandin Hawthorne, DT Will Campbell, DE Anthony LaLota, DE Craig Roh, OL Michael Schofield, OL Taylor Lewan, and OL Quinton Washington.
|Inkster, Michigan - 6'2" 211
|Scout||3*, #82 WR|
|Rivals||4*, #36 WR, #233 overall|
|ESPN||78, #63 ATH|
|Other Suitors||Michigan State, Iowa|
|YMRMFSPA||Jason Avant, or maybe Prescott Burgess|
|Hello: Cameron Gordon|
|Notes||Teammate of 2010 QB commit Devin Gardner|
Of all the recruits in Michigan's 2009 class, Cameron Gordon is the one with the most uncertain position. You'll note he's been filed under the skill recruits here and that both Rivals and Scout have him listed at wide receiver. However, Gordon's rangy linebacker frame brings the conversation back to his potential on defense time and again.
Here's an example:
Moving down to Nos. 8 and 9, Inkster's Cameron Gordon flip-flopped positions with Grosse Pointe South tight end Reid Fragel thanks to his impressive defense for the Vikings. At 6-2 and 215 pounds, he has impacted a number of games with bone-jarring hits while playing linebacker or strong safety.
ESPN says coaches on both sides of the ball will "fight for him" but spends most of its scouting report focusing on his defensive talents:
Could potentially tip the scales at the 215-range making defense a strong possibility. You would never now he was a flashy wide receiver when watching him pursue the football as a hybrid safety/outside linebacker. He chases plays down with good range, burst and intensity. A strong tackler who displays good upper-body strength dragging down ball carriers from behind. Covers a ton of ground quickly with little wasted motion. Has a long stride and can make plays sideline-to-sideline.
They do mention the one consistent complaint about Gordon's skillset, saying top-end speed is a "question mark" and he lacks "great initial burst with the ball." He's the opposite of Jeremy Gallon.
"Cameron has great tools," said Trieu. "On offense, his size and strength create matchup problems, plus he has good hands. On defense, he finds the ball well and is a big hitter. His only drawback would be that he isn't a true burner as far as the receiver position goes. That would limit his potential on offense. I think he could play either position well in college, but it will likely come down to what a particular school needs. If I had the luxury of choosing, I'd want him at linebacker."
Cameron Gordon, Inkster- had a quiet day but was still efficient because he opened the field up for other receivers by drawing double coverage every play. He's so big and fast but I was most impressed by how hard he runs every possible route.
More from NGS:
Cameron Gordon, Inkster- Gordon is just too physically gifted for the high school level and he's just as good of a OLB/safety as he is a receiver. He gave Gardner a huge block 40 yards down field on the long TD run, he made a heck of a play on his INT, and his 42-yard catch displayed great hand-eye coordination.
Gordon's stats were nice on offense (49 catches for 863 yards, almost 18 per) but eyepopping on D: 126 tackles, five sacks, and five interceptions. Judge for yourself in this highlight reel featuring plays from both sides of the ball:
(Yes, that's Devin Gardner doing the throwing.)
This correspondent's opinion: the rumor was that Michigan's offer came late because Gordon was insistent he was a wide receiver, and once he started opening up like so…
"I feel I am a football player, so it really wouldn't stop me from going to a school if I had to play defense,” Gordon said. “This is my first year playing safety and I really like that position, too. I still am a receiver, but it's not something that will hold me back from going to a college.”
…Michigan promptly sent him a letter. Or once Michigan sent him a letter, he started opening up. Though neither linebacker or wide receiver is particularly deep right now, a quick glance at the recruiting board shows five WR and zero LB commits. Most analysts think his potential is higher on defense, where a lack of hot burning speed won't hold him back as much.
When Gordon committed I thought he had a 75% chance of remaining on offense, but the WR recruit flood has changed my mind. I think Gordon's headed for linebacker in six months or a year. In a futile attempt to forestall RCMB posters from posting things like "Rodriguez LIED, Cam Gordon DIED lol I'd hit it" let's point out that Michigan was explicit that they were bringing him in as an athlete (link ibid):
“(Michigan) offered me,” Gordon said. “They mostly said how they want to sign me and that I’ll be able to play both sides, just depending on what side is best for me to play for their team."
Right now that side appears to be defense; Michigan has a couple of possession receivers in the works and should be fine until the wide receiver cavalry shows up next year.
Why Avant or Burgess? Bulky 6'2" wide receiver who will push 215 and lacks deep speed == Avant. Rangy linebacker who needs to put on 20 pounds, switch positions (sort of) and probably struggle with the mental part of being a college linebacker for a while == Burgess.
Guru Reliability: Low. One major outlier amongst three votes and it appears that the sites have rated him at a position he's probably not going to play in college.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Two of three services say "eh," and the position uncertainty strikes me as a guaranteed waste of a year at WR.
Projection: Moves to linebacker halfway through his freshman season and hopefully hasn't burned his redshirt by then. Then he'll have one more year to wait behind Mouton before challenging for that OLB spot. Tough to say whether he'll be better than Jones or Hawthorne or Demens by then.
Yeah, it's him. At least some of the coach twitter feeds are written by low-level marketing flacks, but Charlie Weis' is legit:
I, personally, am working on Nevada, our first opponent, this week; Michigan, our second opponent, next week; and Michigan State, our third opponent, the week prior to Memorial Day. Go Irish!
(FTR: That's two tweets conjoined.) Charlie Weis, personally, is on the case. Unlike all those other times people use the word "I".
Coach Cobra Kai. Hopefully Michigan will get to the point where this isn't a hypothetical situation:
That's part of the locker room door; as Michigan Football Saturdays points out it's not too far from that to "sweep the leg." Maybe we can be Bill Simmons' favorite college football team now.
Also, I'm pretty sure I know exactly which default photoshop gradient was used to do the effect there.
Kickin' up dirt. JoePa broached the topic of Big Ten expansion—he's in favor of it and name-dropped Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers as possibilities—sending everyone into the usual tizzy. Jim Delany said "eh, not so much" and life continues on. There's not much more to add than the usual, but I would like to address this:
Adding a twelfth team to the conference implies, in the minds of most, a move to a two-division structure not unlike that of Big 12, ACC, and SEC, all of which hold
moneymoneymoneygrabchampionship games before declaring a champion. So what would the divisions look like?
That's We Will Always Have Tempe, which is frequent OSU gadfly poguemahone's new joint. WWAHT then goes through a bunch of scenarios that all point to the same thing: there's no division that makes geographical sense and hardly one that makes competitive sense.
Q: why do we have to have divisions? As we've seen in the Big 12 of late, sometimes you get the second-best team in the conference sitting at home crocheting asterisks to put everywhere as a far worse team shows up to get blown out.
If you add another team you can then add another conference game without running up against the horrible realities of math, and then you can just play everyone except two other teams and have a championship game between the top two. It would basically be like what we've got now except with a championship game on the end of everything. Sometimes this would be pointless, but I think it's better than the alternative of having the Michigan-OSU division and then a Penn State-someone else division unless that someone else is Notre Dame, which is not happening.
Score. The Daily scores an exclusive interview with Threet with a bunch of interesting stuff and one major typo: a "Feagin" where a "Mr. Plow" should go. For the record: Justin Feagin has not left the team or transferred. The rumor persists because the Free Press quoted from it on their blog*, linking to a Yahoo reproduction of the interview that hasn't been corrected like the original has.
Items of media interest:
- The Free Press "blog" is, ironically, the exact sort of blog media people always complain about: it adds exactly zero to the content it lifts and doesn't even have the decency to blockquote the material so it's obvious the content is not Free Press content.
- The Daily killed the Threet transfer story, absolutely wasting every other media organization out there, and the interview is the cherry on top.
- …and they're pissing away a good chunk of the linkjuice and hits by allowing the syndication of it to UWire and therefore Yahoo.
To the interview itself: Threet directly addresses the "inconsistent like always" comment, downplaying it, and says point blank that he didn't think he'd keep the starting job with "the way they run the offense" but that it's hard to say for sure. Here's the kicker:
S: What does Michigan need to do to make sure last year doesn’t happen again?
T: They need to make sure that everyone is putting the work in to getting better at executing their job. There were a lot of times last year where maybe one guy didn’t do his job at 100 percent, and that’s the difference between a touchdown and a three-yard loss. Working together like that is especially important offensively. Defensively, you can get bailed out sometimes, but offensively it really does take all 11 guys.
The whole thing is well worth reading.
Zoom! More to file under "Denard Robinson is made of dilithium":
Dauntia Dotson, Adrian Witty, Cassius McDowell and Denard Robinson sent the crowd home contented by running a school-record 40.82 -- the second-fastest time in the country this year, to win the Region 3-4A title.
''I think we can go 40.50, maybe even faster,'' Witty said. ``Who knows? It's our work ethic. We don't want to lose. This means a lot because we broke our own state record twice this year.''
You'll note that Witty is also on this blazing fast relay—good news for his prospects at M—as is Deerfield Beach junior running back Cassius McDowell, who says Michigan leads.