there would have to be some to wash away
In a big departure from previous seasons, when all of the first- and second-round hockey games were available in syndication for local cable systems or networks to pick up, rights holder ESPN is isolating almost all of the regional action on ESPNU.
Only four games that occur at conflicting times will be syndicated this season - none of them from the East Regional that has the Wolverines.
Upshot: those without ESPNU are screwed, especially since the hockey tournament runs concurrently with basketball. To the bars, in large, pitchfork-toting groups.
Rumors kicking. Anyone who's read the comments or any Michigan message board in the past couple days knows there's a rumor about one or two more Michigan OL packing it in floating out there. Do I have any information on this? No, not really. (Would I like some? Yes, please, if you've got it.)
One thing I can offer: a friend of mine was at the open portion of Michigan's first spring practice and talked to Justin Boren, one of the players made available to the media. The friend relayed Boren's impression the line would probably be Ortmann-Boren-Molk-?-Schilling from left to right. And then he said this:
JB said that Mitchell and Ciulla (guys he seemed to really like) had just run out of energy for football. My impression was---though he didn't express this in any specific way--- was that he was unhappy with the coaching changes but felt he really had limited choices. But this was just my sense. Nothing express.
Please don't take this too seriously, but since one of the names being kicked around by random speculators is Boren, I'm officially spooked. Would it make sense to transfer away from two assured years as a starter? Maybe not, but unlike every other Michigan offensive lineman since the dawn of time, Boren's transfer year could be a redshirt season and he would have two to play after.
Meanwhile, everyone's dying. Spring practice hates Carlos Brown. He's out with a broken finger. Potential starting center David Molk was also held out of some practices with a potential case of mono.
Word. Adam Wodon has more on the robotic rut the hockey tournament committee has gotten themselves into. Wodon has more insight into this than any other person person with an inclination to write on the subject and wields his long experience effectively:
It's only in the last five, six years or so that the committee actually sees the "Pairwise Standings," so to speak â€” i.e. the simple listing of teams, in order, of most "Comparison Wins." This was, by and large, a creation of the online community. Prior to this, the committee only ever saw a large printout of all the different individual comparisons. If you are unfamiliar with these individual comparisons, you can see them by going to the "grid" from our Pairwise page, and click on the links.
From the discussions with committee members over the years, it was clear that the committee looked at this pile of individual comparisons, and quickly determined a line in the sand where certain teams clearly deserved to be in. But then it came down to a "bubble" that involved an arbitrary amount of teams, and the committee then compared the teams within that bubble to each other, using the head-to-head comparisons.
Wodon cites the 2003 tournament as a tipping point when the committee went from the PWR as a useful and frequently adhered-to diagnostic tool to the Holy Freakin' Gospel; before that people got switched around frequently to create a bracket that made sense.
Ort. Via Michigan Hockey Net, the game after the St. Cloud game:
Man Ham on the rise. Er.
If you had a Wolverine -- like, a real live snarling animal version -- what would you call it? Probably not "Biff," right? "Biff the Wolverine".... no. Just no.
Well, apparently yes just yes:
Captain Bob Brown is straining to control the vicious beast that will tear the throat out of any Gopher player that comes within 500 yards of him. He is Noted for his Ferocity and Gameness in Battle. He is known by a dark and fey moniker the children of the prefecture are warned not to say aloud. He strikes fear into the heart of the mightiest axeman. He is Biff. Biff, the Wolverine.
We did a rundown of Niagara's games against Big Three And A Half foes earlier today; here's a similar treatment for Michigan's potential second-round opponents. These are common opponents only.
St Cloud's games of interest:
|Michigan played Tech in the GLI final, winning 1-0 in overtime. St. Cloud obviously did better than that; one mitigating factor was the absence of four Michigan players due to WJC commitments.|
|Wisconsin (Playoffs)||W||4-3 (ot)|
|A 3-3 overall record against meh Wisconsin, who Michigan beat 3-2 in the Showcase in a game that wasn't really that close. (Michigan led 3-0 until there were under three minutes left, at which point they gave up a couple sloppy goals.) Four of those games were at home. Total goals: SCSU 16, Wisconsin 14.|
|This was a sparsely attended holiday tourney game at Value City Arena in Columbus, so the teams may not have been full strength due to WJC commitments. St. Cloud played well, outshooting Miami, but didn't get an even strength goal.|
|SCSU faced Minnesota just as they were reaching the breaking point with headcase goalie Jeff Frazee. Kangas played the first game, making 32 saves on 35 shots. Frazee got one period in the Saturday game that ended up a tie, exiting after giving up one goal on six shots. Kangas played the rest of the game. So these results aren't bad. Nor are they particularly good, since Minnesota is a pretty mediocre team this year.|
|In one of the weirdest games I've ever seen, Michigan got outshot 50 to 21 by the Friars and won 6-0. Two periods into the game Michigan had five goals on 14 shots. Providence did something similar against Clarkson, outshooting them 28-20 and failing to score. Woo Providence.|
|Ugly split against one of the worst teams in the CCHA is encouraging, even if Michigan had two uninspired wins of their own versus the Lakers.|
That's it as far as common opponents go. There is another series worth noting: in early February Clarkson traveled to CC and got smoked 5-2 and 6-1. Many factors -- road game, altitude, Olympic ice -- that won't be relevant worked against them then; hopefully that's a sign of systemic weakness against fast teams and not just "arrrgh I can't breathe and why is this rink so damn big"*.
If you're going to Albany and want tickets from the Michigan ticket department, you'll have to call in the next three hours:
The Michigan Athletics Ticket Office will have tickets for the East Regional available today only from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All-session tickets are $82, and there is a four-ticket limit per person. Purchases can be made in person at the ticket office or over the phone by calling (734) 764-0247. Tickets are also available through the Times Union Center (800-30-EVENT) or through TicketMaster (www.ticketmaster.com). Tickets can be picked up at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Update: Not ticketmaster, apparently. Direct link to ticket purchase here.
You blew it up, didn't you. The strange combination of events that would get Wisconsin into the tournament all transpired, and the Badgers actually bubbled their way up to a #3 seed. This left Michigan in an uncomfortable position. In the interregnum between the games finishing up and the bracket announcement, most prognosticators provided this:
16. Air Force
8. St. Cloud
Which is... bad? Good? Michigan would have the closest regional, be playing the lowest seed in the tournament and the hostile-venue factor is offset by the fact that 1) it got State -- the only team in the country with a winning record against Michigan -- the hell away from M and 2) Wisconsin is a thoroughly mediocre team that's below .500 for a reason. Saturday night I was wondering if I could call it a screwjob or not. I think I settled on "not."
It's all moot anyway, since the committee decided to protect Michigan like a downy soft child:
8. St. Cloud
Michigan State and Clarkson were tied in the PWR, so the committee thought it was okay to switch them and maybe get upwards of 60 people at the regional. So, the three other teams Michigan has to deal with are:
- The CHA autobid team
- The fifth-place WCHA team, one that's never won an NCAA tourney game, and
- the ECAC champ.
Note that none of these teams are #$&*ing North Dakota. It's a really good draw.
Meanwhile, karma has decided it's time to collect on Michigan State's absurdly easy path to the Frozen Four last year. Despite being the #9 team in PWR and thus theoretically entitled to a winnable game against St. Cloud, State has to play the WCHA regular season champ at their rink, which happens to be at altitude. If they somehow beat CC (and since Matt "I think the 1995 New Jersey Devils are the pinnacle of hockey" Shegos isn't reffing, that's not likely) they get, in all probability, #*$@ing North Dakota. They're dead meat.
Tweak. So why is Wisconsin in? Because Minnesota State -- the WCHA team that finished ahead of UW in the regular season standings, has a better RPI than UW, and beat UW head-to-head -- lost comparisons with Princeton and Northern Michigan. MSU lost the Princeton comparison despite beating the Tigers head to head because they lost RPI by about a quarter-game and COP because they were 1-2 in two games against UNO and one against Yale. They lost the Northern comparison because their TUC record was about an eighth of a game worse than NMU's despite having a sizable RPI advantage.
Wisconsin was fortunate to not have these near-random occurrences befall them and will thus get to participate in the NCAA tournament over a team a half-dozen different metrics (winning percentage, conference standings, RPI, head-to-head, KRACH, and the PWR itself, which thunderously awards the WI-Mankato comparison to Mankato) declare is superior.
The result will be another round of BCS-esque tweaks that fight last year's war and lead to some other team suffering a similar fate, instead of a wholesale re-evaluation of the way the system works that injects a #$&*ing
North Dakota Common Sense component into the system.
I don't mind the PWR as a public tool that significantly guides the committee's hand. If it is usually adhered to it provides a powerful check on the infamous "smoke filled rooms" that are commonly trotted forth as the nightmarish alternative to the current system. But it shouldn't override the aforementioned common sense when a clearly (if slightly) more accomplished team is sabotaged by stupid math.
Niagara. Is the first-round opponent, and though they're the CHA autobid and therefore generally considered dead meat, this is not going to be a walkover. Niagara's RPI is .5107, nearly identical to that of a Northern Michigan team that gave Michigan fits the second half of the season. Their non-Atlantic-Hockey nonconference schedule:
You know BG as a middling CCHA team and WMU as ridiculously awful at hockey. Merrimack is the WMU of Hockey East. Cornell is a slightly above average ECAC team; Quinnipac is a .500 ECAC team; St. Lawrence is a bad ECAC team.
Taken together, the results are about what you would see from a middle of the pack CCHA team. Niagara won't be a challenge on the level of Miami or Michigan State or any of the other teams that have shown the ability to really skate with Michigan, but Michigan can lose to Ferris or tie Northern or cough one up against Ohio State -- this is a real opponent.
Further caution in four bullets:
- Niagara is a full-scholarship program with a dedicated hockey program. In their fourth year as a program they got an NCAA bid as an independent and beat 3-seed UNH in the opening round.*
- That year they played Michigan, beating them once and suffering an OT loss with two seconds left.
- The only time Michigan has run across an AH/CHA autobid in the tourney, Mercyhurst had a 3-2 third-period lead before Michigan finally put a couple goals past their red-hot goalie and won 4-3.
- Holy Cross.
Not to be a downer; I just want to clarify that this is not the equivalent of a 1 versus a 16 in the basketball tourney. It's more like a 2-15 or a 3-14, where upsets aren't decidedly uncommon but not unheard of.
Hypothetical second-round opponents. Those unfamiliar with college hockey might look at the second-round matchup, which features conference champ and 21-12-4 Clarkson as the lower seed against fifth-place and 19-15-5 St. Cloud State, and go "huh"?
Well, unlike college football, college hockey has a clear conference pecking order with the WCHA on top, HE and the CCHA fighting it out for second -- this year it's advantage CCHA -- and the ECAC existing as a clear fourth, halfway between the power conferences and Atlantic Hockey. The last ECAC national champion was RPI in 1985. The last time an ECAC team reached the final was Colgate in 1990. Since 2000 only two ECAC teams have reached the Frozen Four. And so on. With all due respect to the league, the vagaries of the PWR are such that drawing an ECAC team is almost always the best possible scenario given your seeding.
Meanwhile, Michigan and St. Cloud have a brief, awesome history. Yost Ice Arena hosted back-to-back regionals in 2002 and 2003; in 2002 Michigan drew St. Cloud in the first round. The teams were not strangers. The year before Michigan had beaten St. Cloud in Grand Rapids. In the process, Michigan's fanbase irritated one of the Huskies' skating cheerleaders, -- no, like, seriously, this is apparently a common occupation for annoying girls in Minnesota -- causing her to offer this quote to the St. Cloud Times:
"The University of Michigan fans are like combining (North Dakota) Sioux fans and Minnesota Gophers fans," said McGannon, a cheerleader for the Huskies. "They're horrible people. It's like they've never seen hockey cheerleaders.
"Their band was o
bnoxious, horrible, not very welcoming at all. Now it's going to be on their home ice and they'll be worse."
The Daily ellipsed out everything between "Michigan" and "they're horrible people," and it was on. St. Cloud brought their skating cheerleaders and skating mascot. The student section brought dollar bills. Anyone who was there for the Friday UNO game, when one... uh... prominent UNO supporter's low-cut tan top was a focal point of misogyny and hilarity has experienced about 10% of the "Molly" barrage.
So we've got this: a home regionals game at Yost where everyone is already bonkers. We've added in skating cheerleaders, one of whom has specifically called out the Michigan fans. Now everyone is mocking and holding dollar bills up and chanting and a skating mascot is added to the equation. A skating mascot who, during Michigan's introductions, spends the time skating across the red line and pointing threateningly at various Michigan players. Planet-sized defenseman Mike Komsiarek (then the #6 pick in the draft, now the NHL's toughest player and good "friend" of Elisha Cuthbert) slashes the stick out of the mascot's hands. Cheers all around. The national anthem manages to get itself played without incident. It's about time for a game, yesno?
Issue: at this point both locker rooms at Yost are on the same side of the ice. To exit the arena, the skating cheerleaders and mascot have to pass through the hockey team, currently doing the skate-around thing they do before gathering around the goal to say some sort of team-building thing like "DOMINATE" or "VICTORY" or "PAPAYAS". The cheerleaders exit safely, but the mascot...
I don't know. Maybe he's dating Molly. Maybe the slash was just too much for the already-fragile dignity of a guy in a furry costume. Maybe he was driven mad by the noise and the crowd and thought "what the hell, I'm in a mask." His thought processes will forever remain mysterious. The result? Not so much.
...the mascot gets behind the Michigan goal, then trips whoever happened to be skating by. It wasn't Komisarek. Mistake. The entire team leaps into action, grabbing him and throwing him to the ground just outside the rink. Various members of the team leap onto him, throwing padded punches at a fuzzy costume. The crowd erupts. It is, without question, the best lead-in to a hockey game that has ever occurred anywhere. Michigan wins, 5-3, and the next night Ortmeyer passes to Nystrom who passes back to Ortmeyer and Michigan beats #1 seed Denver and it's on to the Frozen Four.
So we've either got an ECAC team or St. Cloud in the second round. w00t.
Sparty, no! One brief slice of life from the Joe this weekend: after the first period on Friday a friend and I move down into the tony seats in the Miami section. A middle-aged guy in a Michigan State hat sits a row in front of us and a bit to our right. As the teams come out for the second period we are privileged to overhear this conversation:
Sparty: GOOOOOOOOOO HUSKIES!
Companion: I, uh... I don't think they're the Huskies.
[Sparty checks the program.]
Sparty: GOOOOOOOOOO WILDCATS!
The guy did appear to clap with genuine enthusiasm when Red Berenson was announced as CCHA coach of the year, so he wasn't all bad. Anyway, if Michigan gets to play St. Cloud in the second round and there's a random State fan screaming "GOOOOOO WILDCATS," that's probably the dude.
Hello! A brief note for hockey fans on what yesterday's results (which were AWESOME save for
that Miami goal with 3 seconds left and their subsequent OT win):
- UND, UNH, and CC lost, which means Michigan can't be worse than the #2 overall seed no matter tonight's result. All my previous dire warnings about falling to #4 or #5 in scenarios where, like, the other three top teams didn't biff it in their playoffs.
- If ND wins or ties tonight, Michigan will be the top seed even with a loss. But...
- If ND wins or loses tonight they're in the tournament even if Vermont snatches a bid by beating BC. (A loss keeps Northern a TUC and helps out ND's TUC record enough to keep them ahead of Wisconsin.) However, in certain scenarios a tie knocks them out. If ND pulls its goalie in overtime tonight, that's why.
- Most setups have St. Cloud the #8 seed, but it looks split about 50-50 on whether Clarkson (yay!) or Michigan State (boo!) are the #9. I think the key combo for Clarkson is Vermont and Northern winning.
- Even with Notre Dame guaranteeing themselves a bid, Wisconsin can still get in. They need Princeton to beat Harvard in the ECAC final, BC to beat Vermont in the HE final, and Northern to beat or tie ND. (ND still gets in if they lose; Minnesota State gets the shaft there.)
Your rooting interests:
Harvard over Princeton.
Vermont over BC.
if (Vermont over BC && Harvard over Princeton)
Northern Michigan over Notre Dame
Notre Dame over Northern Michigan
Below is the board in all its yellow smiley guy glory. Right now it's really rough. The sites have preliminary top 250 and 300 lists out but at this point they can be wildly inaccurate and should be taken lightly, so a lot of the stars on the list are real shaky. Also, there's a ton of yellows, a few greens, and a few reds, and not many articles yet. I'm working on filling in the gaps, but right now the board probably isn't that useful to the generic observer. Let me fill in the gaps as best I can, starting with the obvious...
Arrrrgh NO QBS AAAARGH. This year's top ranked dual threat QB is Russell Shepard. Unfortunately, he turned out to be the anti-Pryor, committing to LSU a few weeks ago. Shepard had a tendency to think that whoever he had just talked to or wherever he had just visited was the bee's knees, so there's a hope out there he might be one of those guys who has a Shocking Decommit later in the year. Doubtful, given the LSU depth chart (almost as questionable as Michigan's with Perrilloux bound and determined to screw himself up) and Les Miles' status as God of Louisiana For Now. Another high profile guy, Tajh Boyd, went off the board to West Virginia.
Who's left? Lots of kids, most prominently CA QB Tate Forcier and VA QB Kevin Newsome. Both are top-100 types who have spoken favorably about Michigan. Tate, of course, is Jason's little brother and is supposed to be the best of the flingin' Forcier clan (the middle brother is entering his freshman year at UCLA). Newsome showed very well at the Army All-American game. Both maintain they're open to anyone at this point. Forcier seems really interested in Penn State as well, which means 1) distance is not a factor and 2) wooo recruiting against Jay Paterno. Newsome is reportedly looking at VT hard.
Those are the two top targets at this point, with more emerging down the line.
Aaaaaarggh NO DES ARRRRRGH. Yeah. Well... I got nothing for you. There doesn't appear to be a Michigan caliber DE in state this year, at least not yet, and the only guys who have been popping up on the recruiting sites are from unlikely locations like South Carolina, Mississippi, and Florida. It's too early to be freaking out, but the numbers are uncomfortable here.
Yeah, what is the deal with that? All the Mississippi stuff? If you didn't notice, there's a huge amount of "MS" in the "state" column relative to the first couple years of the board's existence, when Mississippi representation consisted of one kid who went to Michigan's camp and said he liked it a lot, then didn't get recruited by M. This year there are something like a dozen kids who have mentioned Michigan and a half-dozen sporting offers. WTF?
Michigan brought in former USM DC Jay Hopson to be the linebackers coach, and Rodriguez has apparently directed him to recruit the hell out of everyone in that state. It's an interesting gambit. Michigan's long made a habit of picking off random top prospects from states without an instate power (Adam Patterson from SC, Zirbel, Logan, and McKinney all in one year from KY, this year's New Jersey expedition, frequent forays into Indiana, the Gallimore/Campbell recruitments from Missouri), which describes Mississippi to a T. Theoretically, Mississippi is a free-for-all full of top prospects -- IIRC, the state has the best per-capita production of NFL players in the country -- ripe for the picking.
In practice, maybe not so much:
- The place has a weird hold on its inhabitants. The last time Michigan went after a Mississippi player, David Pegues, he chose obvious misery at Mississippi State over Michigan and a bunch of other schools. Five-star wide receiver DeAndre Brown just decided to head to Southern Miss instead of... well, anywhere he wanted.
- It's not like the SEC doesn't know about it. The high profile guys Michigan is going after have already been offered by LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and the like.
- As soon as Hopson and company left USM, the Golden Eagles reeled in their best recruiting class ever.
- The Mississippi school system is widely regarded to be Southeast Asian in its modernity, efficacy, and willingness to proclaim horrible gelatinous animal bits food. Though we've conclusively established this week that Michigan football players are not taking EECS 543 with Satinder Singh (who spent a solid hour scribbling down equations and proofs, then looked up at a classroom full of bewildered Michigan grad students, sighed, realized this wasn't MIT, and spent a month going over stuff so remedial to him we must have seemed like an offensive tackle trying to spell "cat"), since kids from non-third-world school systems are having difficulty keeping up with the coursework required of them, the chances a Mississippi kid flames out seem unacceptably high.
So, yeah, I'm a little skeptical of Michigan's new Southern strategy. Rodriguez's impressive last second haul in Florida mitigates that somewhat; I still think Michigan's signing itself up for leftovers most of the time.
Instate? Argh? Michigan State's strong start was discussed earlier. The executive summary: good job by MSU to sell these guys on State, but probably a short-term thing that will disappear once Rodriguez gets settled. Michigan will keep recruiting the ones they're interested in, especially after Dantonio's relentless assault on Michigan commits last year, and may swing one or two.
The good news is there are still a ton of Michigan targets:
- DT Will Campbell, the #1 player in the state and a Michigan commit.
- OLs Reid Fragel and Zach Mattias. No offers yet but seem likely to get them eventually; there may also be another Michigan-caliber guy or two somewhere in the class.
- Fast little buggers Teric Jones, Cameron Gordon, James Jackson, and Hersey Jackson. There's a frickin' avalanche of spread-O talent in the state this year. Michigan is evaluating all of it; expect these guys to camp and viciously battle each other for offers.
Why is it so slow? Michigan has only one commit and it's late March, which isn't that unusual historically -- maybe one or two guys short -- but in the ever-accelerating world of recruiting, it's a little uncomfortable to see a bunch of guys go off the board without filling any spots. Like the instate thing, this is likely a temporary, transition-caused issue. When Rodriguez came in he had to scramble to fill out a 25-man class at a new school; usually by that time Michigan is almost done with its class and can start focusing heavily on juniors. That luxury was not extended this year and Michigan is getting their offers out there later than many schools. I expect things will pick up. The initial returns on the new staff's recruiting abilities were excellent.
Be sure to read the official mgoblog recruiting philosophy before committing suicide over anything you read here.
A Note on "Stars": These are my guesstimates. Players don't have stars associated with them yet. When the recruiting services add them I'll adjust my ratings. Half-stars appear to provide some additional accuracy. Generally a 4.5 star is a guy solidly in the top 100 on Scout/Rivals/ESPN and really highly rated by one. A 3.5 star is either a guy who is is a 3 on one site and a 4 on the other or a four-star that no one seems particularly excited about.
A Note on Premium Info: No illicit sharing of said material will appear on this site. Players are listed with interested schools in their profiles; this information is public. Commitments are by definition public. Any assertions as to schools in the mix, decision dates, or leaders I will back up with links to public information.
Projected Class Size:
As of right now: 14, with reasonable attrition bumping the number to 17 and a likely transfer or two plus a default level of knuckleheadedness getting Michigan to 20 or so. More detail on the scholarship situation can be found at the depth chart by class.
|Expired Eligibility||Massey, Taylor, Johnson, Thompson, Harrison, Trent, Panter, Logan, Jamison, Dutch, Stewart||11|
|Early Entry||Possibilities: Graham, Butler.||~1|
|Unrenewed Fifth||Possibilities: Savoy, Criswell||~1|
Anything not in the "expired eligibility" is a wild-ass guess from me; read nothing into it.
Update 6/16: Removed SC WR Alshon Jeffery(USC), MI OL Zac Mattias (Wisconsin).
Added TX K Anthony Fera, FL CB Angelo Hadley (via VB), SC OL Quinton Washington, PA OL Adam Gress ($, info in header), VA DE Will Hill, MI RB Zurlon Tipton, AR CB Darius Winston (info in header), SC S Damario Jeffery, LA LB Barkevious Mingo, TX S Rex Burkhead.
Update 6/23: Moved IL OL Michael Schofield to committed. More on Schofield from Varsity Blue and the Sun-Times. Linked to articles on NC S DJ Swearinger, SC OL Quinton Washington, IN OL Zach Martin, OK RB David Oku, PA OL Adam Gress, second on Gress, GA LB Devekeyan Lattimore.
Added TX WR Dwayne Peace.
Also, I'm not sure what to do with "wingedathletics.tk" but it looks like there's some legit info there. Also, a roundup article from Kornblut has some useful info. Zac Mattias committed to Wisconsin; this might be why.
The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; most will eventually fade off the list and go to Duke or Michigan State or something.
Player is a longshot. Either they've declared someone else a leader publicly or popular opinion holds that they're likely to go to another school.
Either no opinion or Michigan is one of a fairly even group of chasing schools. Players in this category maintain no leader or change their leader frequently. The default category for players that we don't know much about yet.
Players who have Michigan in a small leading group or have Michigan as a tenuous favorite. Should be regarded as a good shot, not a slam dunk.
Player is either a verbal or is expected to be one sooner or later. Players with this designation are 65%+ to be Michigan commits.
Needs: Severe, desperate, desperately severe and desperate. David Cone apparently is not panning out, -- he was behind a walk-on last year -- which leaves Michigan with two freshmen and no one else. Michigan needs at least two dual-threat quarterbacks to run the Rodriguez system after picking up Justin Feagin last year, who's fast but may not be a QB.
Projected Commits: 2, with maybe another one or two guys being brought in at WR being promised a shot at QB.
Update: Michigan has two strong prospects in the fold and is unlikely to reel in another, but given strong interest from a couple good prospects I've kept them on the board until we're officially dropped.
|Kevin Newsome||VA||****.5||Michigan||BP thread. USA Today article. Local newspaper commit article. Track video, article. Rivals AMP piece.|
|Shavodrick Beaver||TX||****||Michigan||Offer. ESPN note. MGoBlog on Beaver. Post-commit ESPN quote. Rivals AMP piece.|
|Tate Forcier||CA||****||PSU, M, Oregon, others||Brother of former UM QB Jason. Offer. Many impressive early offers. Personal site; stats. ESPN note.|
|Mywan Jackson||FL||***||open||Offered as an athlete/QB, probably will be given a shot and then moved if he ends up here. Video.|
Running Back / Fullback
Needs: Minor. With Shaw and McGuffie and Cox in the last class, Michigan can afford to go light this year. They'll probably take one RB (Cass Tech's Teric Jones turned in the fastest 40 of anyone at the Army All-America camp), with a second slot being reserved only for a can't miss sort.
Fullbacks? Maybe one, actually. Michigan didn't take one a year ago and the Rodriguez system likes to have a pounding dive threat for its triple options a la Owen Schmitt. Ohioan Zach Boren, legendarily tearful at the idea his older brother Justin would go to Ohio State, is now a rising senior and probably fits best here, though he might have a place somewhere on D.
Projected Commits: 1-2 RB, 0-1 FB.
|Teric Jones||MI||***.5||Michigan||Cass Tech (Cissoko, Campbell.) Fastest kid at Army combine. Video. MGoBlog on Jones. ATH WR.|
|Fitzgerald Toussaint||OH||****||Michigan||Youngstown Liberty (Isaiah Bell). MGoBlog on Toussaint. Vindicator article.|
|David Wilson||VA||****||M, VT, UVA, UNC, Clemson||Offer. Roanoke.com article.|
|David Oku||OK||****.5||M, FSU, Tenn lead Ill, Neb||Rivals #20; video. Scout article; local news article. Interview; second. DetNews article.|
|Tavon Austin||MD||****||open||Offer. Baltimore Sun article, second.|
|Vincent Smith||FL||***||open||Offer. Pahokee (Martavious Odoms)|
|Jamaal Berry||FL||****.5||OSU leads UF, others ong>||Offer. Video. Article. Scout article.|
|Ronnie Wingo||MO||****.5||open||Army All-Combine team. Highly rated, but we seem uninvolved.|
|Zurlon Tipton||MI||**||open||major sleeper impressed at M one-day camp.|
|Hersey Jackson||MI||***||CMU, Cinci, others||Video. After a lot of early hype now seems like he may not be Michigan caliber.|
Needs: Moderate. Michigan did pick up four in the last class, including blue-chipper Darryl Stonum and a couple of exciting jitterbug sorts, but the spread demands at least three guys on the roster at all times and Rodriguez has shown a predilection for bringing in as many little speedy buggers as he can get his hands on no matter the situation.
Projected Commits: 3.
|Bryce McNeal||MN||****||Michigan||Offer. Video. Scout article. GopherHole interviews: one, two. Down to two. Fluff. Detnews article. GBW article.|
|Jeremy Gallon||FL||***.5||Michigan||Offer. Slot waterbug. Single wing QB in HS. Rivals article. Apopka preseason #1. Profile. MGoBlog on Gallon. Video versus Edgewater, Lake Brantley, and Eustis. Postgame interview.|
|Marlon Brown||TN||*****||M one of 15||Hulking, high profile guy. Video.|
|Shaquelle Evans||CA||****.5||UCLA leads LSU, ND, USC, others||Offer. LA Times article, will visit.|
|Dion Sims||MI||****||M, MSU, OSU.||Father an M employee. ATH TE, LB, DE... only tentatively here. Offer. Detnews article.|
|Cameron Gordon||MI||****||M, MSU, Minn||ATH S. Rivals article, Scout interview.|
|Braxton Lane||GA||***||M, UF, USC, Aub, UGA||Offer. Scout article.|
|Terrelle Mitchell||GA||***||M, SoCar, Florida, Rutgers, others||Offer, M lead(?).|
|Todd Thomas||PA||***||M, Pitt, Miami, BC, WVU||Offer. Basketball article. BP thread. PPG article, interview.|
|Jamal Patterson||GA||****||open||Offer. AJC article, second.|
|Kenny Bell||LA||****||M, LSU, Miami, others||Offer.|
|Rantavious Wooten||FL||***||LSU leads M, Miami, UGA, WVU||Video. GatorCountry thread. Scout article.|
|Willie Haulstead||SC||***||M, LSU, Miami, UCF||Rising player.|
|Dwayne Peace||TX||***||M leads Kansas, A&M||Camp offer. ATH DB.|
|Jheranie Boyd||NC||****||Clemson leads M, SoCar, others.||ESPN article, RP thread. Seems like a longshot.|
|Josh Gordon||TX||***||M leads big||Houston Lamar. All-Army Combine team, impressive performance. Would commit if offered.|
|Steadman Bailey||SC||***||SoCar, Tenn, Auburn, M, others||No offer yet... might not get one.|
|Shawne Kersey||NJ||***||M, Rutgers, BC, Wisc, WVU||Also had an impressive performance at the Army combine.|
Needs: Minimal. Michigan will enter 2008 with six tight ends on the roster, only one of whom is a senior, just in time for Rich Rodriguez to bring a TE de-emphasizing spread to Ann Arbor. While Rodriguez will probably take advantage of the athletic abilities possessed by Butler, Moore, et al, he's probably not going to bring in any new guys here unless there's a couple positions switches from the existing group or he brings in a guy like Sims who might outgrow wide receiver.
Projected Commits: 0.
Needs: Moderate. You always want to take at least three, IMO, even when you took six the year before, and since the class of 2007 has just two players, one of whom was a real flier, Michigan will again be looking for a lot of bodies here. Fortunately, there are somewhere between 2-4 instate linemen who are Michigan caliber.
Also lurking, at least as much as anyone his size can lurk, is Trotwood-Madison OL Chris Freeman. Michigan raided Trotwood for three players a year ago, of course, and might have the inside track on him. Freeman's very Michael Oher: enormous even for an OL (he's 6'9"!) and sushi raw, having played only four football games in his life.
Projected Commits: 3-4.
|Mike Schofield||IL||****||Michigan||MGoBlog on Schofield. Sun-Times. Varsity Blue.|
|Marcus Hall||OH||****||OSU leads USC, Ill, 'Bama, M||Cleveland Glenville. Scout, and again.|
|Chris Freeman||OH||****||open||Offer. Trotwood-Madison (Shaw, Moore, Roundtree). BP thread, Scouting Ohio video. Bucknuts article. Daily Mail article.|
|Brennan Williams||MA||****||M, BC, PSU, Stan, UVA||Offer. Childhood favorite.|
|Chris Watt||IL||****||M, Ill, ND, others||Offer; guard prospect. Scout article. GoVols article.|
|Zach Martin||IN||****||M, UK, ND, Ill, Pur||Offer. Father played at UK. Scout article.|
|Andrew Carter||FL||****||FSU leads M, SoCar, others.||Plans visit.|
|Morgan Moses||VA||****||open||Offer. RP Thread. Article. Crush blocks!|
|Adam Gress||PA||****||M, WVU lead PSU, UVA||Offer. Scout article; second.|
|Quinton Washington||SC||***||Bama, Tenn, Clemson, SoCar, Miami, M||"Also a factor." Article.|
|Everett Benyard||CA||****||M, ND, USC, UCLA||Childhood M fan who claims M still #1. ESPN 150 watch list.|
|Nick Ash||TX||***||KU, Neb, M, TT, others||BBQ visitor.|
|Jeff Fantuzzi||MI||***||open||Junior day visitor; may or may not be offerable.|
|Blake Graham||PA||***||M, WVU, others||No offer yet.|
|Khalil Wilkes||NJ||***||M, ND, PSU, others||No offer yet.|
|Logan Massengagle||TN||***||MTSU, UGA, M||No offer yet. Will camp.|
Needs: Moderate. Last year Michigan got a good prospect in Novi's Mike Martin and has three rising sophomores who saw playing time. An early commit from 2009 five-star Will Campbell helps a lot, but Campbell insists he's going to take all five official visits -- he's pretty soft. Michigan probably needs one more DT.
Projected Commits: 2.
|Will Campbell||MI||*****||Michigan (soft)||Committed at M summer camp during his junior year, then dominated the Army Combine. Currently #23 overall to Rivals. Video interview. Detnews article.|
|Corey Adams||AZ||****||open||Offer. RP thread.|
Needs: Severe. One commit in the last two classes at a position with two starters is asking for trouble. Even if a linebacker or tight end moves here, Michigan still needs quantity and quality. So the lack of names below? Scary.
Projected Commits: 3.
|Chris Bonds||SC||****||M, USC, ND, Other USC||Offer. Scout article. M in leading group of seven.|
|Craig Roh||AZ||****||M, USC, ND, UCLA, others||USC lead; will visit. Article.|
|Sam Montgomery||SC||****||tentative USC, LSU, Miami lead||Offer. Originally from Detroit, sort of. ESPN article.|
|Anthony LaLota||NJ||****||UVA, PSU, ND, UF, M||Not recruiting much yet but seems interested. Scout article. Rivals article, Terry Bowden breaks down film(!).|
|Keenan Graham||NV||****||USC leads UCLA, M||Done blowed up recently; offer, will visit.|
|Will Hill||VA||***||M, SoCar tenative lead||Offer.|
|Jason Ankrah||MD||***||M, PSU, Tenn, VT||Offer.|
|Tyrone Ezell||PA||***||M, Pitt, OSU, PSU||No offer yet.|
|Josh Boyd||MS||***||>M, most of SEC, USM||Offer. Impressive set of early offers. Scout article.|
|Fletcher Cox||MS||***||M, most of SEC||Scout article. ESPN profile.|
|Kadeem Custis||PA||***||M, WVU, others||ATH OL, DT. Scout article.|
Needs: With four players, all of them highly rated by one service or another, in last year's class and a returning starter with three more years of eligibility Michigan can afford to take it a little easy here.
Projected Commits: 2.
|Jelani Jenkins||MD||*****||open||WaPo article. Video.|
|Frankie Telfort||FL||****||open||Offer. ATH S.|
|Devekeyan Lattimore||GA||****||M, Clemson, Okie State, others||Offer. Takkle profile. AJC article.|
|Jordan Barnes||IN||****||M leads Ill, Bama, Wisc||Offer. Father played with ex-MSU HC Bobby Williams, now with 'Bama.|
|Barkevious Mingo||LA||****||open||Offer. Scout interview.|
|AJ Fenton||PA||***||open||Spring visitor.|
|David Conner||MS||***||MissSt, Miss, M, others||Offer?|
|Brandin Hawthorne||FL||***||M leads USF, UL, UT, WVU||Offer? Pahokee (Odoms).|
|Greg King||TN||***||open||No offer yet.|
|Jeremy Gainer||MI||***||open||possible camp offer.|
Needs: Major. This might be a slice of MGoBlog paranoia, but with college football moving ever more strongly to the passing game it seems like you should regard the corner spot as the realm of three starters. Michigan has Donovan Warren returning, Boubacar Cissoko incoming, and then things get dodgy. The two-star running back recruit who's also 6'4"? The guy who came in at WR and is bouncing back and forth between the two positions as we speak? The unheralded legacy recruit? JT Floyd?
Man, that creeps me out.
Projected Commits: 2.
|Justin Turner||OH||****.5||Michigan||Massillon (Shawn Crable). ATH CB. BP thread. MGoBlog on Turner. Commit article.|
|Dre Kirkpatrick||AL||*****||open||Offer, plans M visit. Scout #1 CB.|
|Darius Winston||AR||*****||M leads Clemson, Texas, others||Arkansas decommit. Rivals article. Video.|
|Gabe Lynn||OK||****.5||open||Offer. Negative note from ESPN.|
|Brandon McGee||FL||*****||OSU leads many||ATH QB, WR. Offer.|
|Darrell Mason||OH||***||open||BP Thread.|
|Angelo Hadley||FL||***||M, Aub, UGA, Clemson, UNC.||Offer.|
|Marsalis Teague||TN||***||open||Offer, ATH S, WR.|
|David Gordon||OK||***||OK, M, TTech||Offer. Will visit.|
|Travis Hawkins||MD||****||open||Offer. Video. WaPo article. RCMB thread.|
Needs: Moderate. Jonas Mouton is an OLB and Jerimy Finch can't decide what he wants on his Big Mac, let alone which school he wants to go to, leaving Michigan with Steve Brown, Michael Williams, and Artis Chambers across the last two classes
Projected Commits: 2.
|Isaiah Bell||OH||***.5||Michigan||Youngstown Liberty. MGoBlog on Bell. ATH OLB. Good combine performance. ESPN article.|
|Darren Myles||GA||****||open||Offer; AJC article; second, ESPN hype. VolsExtra article.|
|Jonathan Scott||FL||****||M, LSU, FSU||Offer. Normally a guy listing M in the top three would get a green, but not so much. Scout article.|
|Vladimir Emilien||FL||****||M, OSU, others||Offer. BP thread.|
|DJ Swearinger||SC||****||Tenn leads Aub, UGA, others||Offer. Teammate of SC DE Sam Montgomery. Scout article.|
|Mike Jones||FL||***||M, ND lead Wake, Aub||Offer. Orlando Edgewater (Greg Mathews).|
|Dennis Thames||MS||***||Miss St leads M, LSU, M, others||Nephew of Detroit Tiger Marcus Thames. Scout article; second article. Offer.|
Needs: KC Lopata will be gone by the time this class arrives on campus and recruited K Bryan Wright has been relegated to kickoffs, so they might look for a kicker. Punter is covered by Zoltan Mesko for another two years.
|Anthony Fera||TX||***||M, Oregon, LSU, PSU, OSU||Offer.|
Projected Commits: 0, though if someone wants to walk on they'll take him.
A reminder: the Star Scale for Rumor Credibility.
- 0-star: incoherent ravings.
- 1-star: clearly biased speculation without backing.
- 2-star: Some guy saying something on some board that claims insider info due to a chance occurence.
- 3-star: Information from someone less established as an insider but a frequent poster who seems sane and useful.
- 4-star: recognized insider-type person with no ax to grind who has established his bonafides on past recruits.
- 5-star: actually verified by an article and a quote from the player, a family member, or a coach.
So. Cutoff is two stars... sometimes three. Played by feel. In the future there will be denotations as follows:
UV: the information in sum(star rating).
Links will be provided so you can judge for yourself; posts that will fall into the memory hole will be copied for posterity.
Update 3/31: Added NJ DE Anthony LaLota, OH RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, AZ DE Craig Roh (offer, USC lead), CA OL Everett Benyard, CA WR Shaquelle Evans, SC QB Stephon Gilmore (article header), FL S Frankie Telfort.
Removed KS LB Jaydan Bird (OK), OH FB Zach Boren (just a feeling), TX S Craig Loston (dropped us).
Update 4/21: Added FL RB Jamaal Berry, FL DT Antwan Lowry, FL QB Eugene Smith, and FL RB Vincent Smith based on this Sam Webb article in the Detnews. Added MD CB David Givens (though I think he's a longshot), OK CB Gabe Lynn, PA DE Kadeem Custis, GA WR Braxton Lane, IN OL Zach Martin($), TX QB Shavodrick (hur) Beaver($), PA LB AJ Fenton, AZ DT Corey Adams, TN OL Alex Bullard.
Removed FL WR Duron Carter, who we don't appear involved with, FL QB Aaron Murray (UGA), VA RB Damien Thigpen (Tenn), MD CB David Givens (OSU), PA RB Jordan Hall (OSU), PA LB Dorian Bell (uh... OSU).
Stuff lifted from Varsity Blue: not getting OH OL Marcus Hall (Glenville, no surprise), mildly informative item on SC S Devonte Holloman, piece with quote from FL DT Antwan Lowery, VA QB Kevin Newsome's myspace page... encouraging!
Moved OH RB Fitzgerald Toussaint to committed.
Update 4/28: Various things on FL QB Eugene Smith, including a wild brawl and profile, 7-on-7 video. Linked to video of MI WR Hersey Jackson and OH OL Chris Freeman, articles on AZ DE Craig Roh (from VB), TX WR Josh Gordon, IN QB Morgan Newton, OK RB David Oku, MI WR James Jackson (plus OSU speculation), GA QB Donovan Tate, a couple interviews with MN WR Bryce McNeal, note on CA WR Shaquelle Evans. Moved VA QB Kevin Newsome to committed. Added NC WR Jheranie Boyd, SC DE Sam Montgomery (ESPN), NC OL Xavier Nixon, MI LB Jeremy Gainer.
Apparently we just offered OH OL Corey Linsley, but I'm not adding him because I'd need to make some sort of super-nefarious Eduardo if I did; ticketed to OSU. (Update: he committed.) Removed LA DT Chris Davenport (dropped us), MN WR Fritz Rock (no mutual interest).
Update 5/2: Moved TX QB Shavodrick Beaver to committed. Subsequently removed all QBs except for Tate Forcier and Eugene Smith, who are downgraded to red, and SC QB Stephen Gilmore, who was moved to safety.
Linked to video of FL RB Jamaal Berry, interview of MI WR Cameron Gordon, articles on MI WR Cameron Gordon, MS S Rod Woodson($, downgrade to red), OH OL Chris Freeman, VA RB David Wilson, TX QB commit Shavodrick Beaver, note on FL WR Steadman Bailey (downgrade to gray). old articles on NJ DE Anthony Lalota.
Removed SC S Stephen Gilmore (dropped us).
Light posting today. While I don't particularly crave college basketball, I'm not a communist who won't spend all of today watching the opening round.
Spring Practice. Michigan's now producing its own internet video on, uh, the internet:
Relativity. The statement "I was a cage fighter" is never not surprising. Unless it comes from a guy with an eyepatch, maybe. Revised statement: the statement "I was a cage fighter" is never not surprising coming from a guy without an eyepatch. But in terms of how surprising the surprise is when someone says "I was a cage fighter," this ranks pretty low:
"Barwis was a cage fighter. He was 36-0 and never missed a match. He was telling us about 50 different injuries and never missed a match, and some of those injuries probably would have ended my career."
Well, yeah. Of course Barwis was a cage fighter.
Blow it up. A biglong study purporting to dispute the legitimacy of recruiting rankings recently appeared on something called "omninerd" and got some play around the blogosphere, especially with the group of folks headed by the Wizard of Odds (who is, not coincidentally, an Official Journalist; Official Journalists always but always love dumping on recruiting sites) that take every opportunity to declare recruiting rankings bunk.
It was a crap study and SMQB destroyed it capably:
If you didn't know better â€“ or if, like the author, you assume a normal distribution in which most of a sample falls into the median ranges (two and three stars) and narrows at either end â€“ you'd think this data suggests the "star system" is random, and not much more predictive of elite success than pulling prospects' names out of a hat.
We do know better, though, and so, it seems, does the author, who did begin late in the article to look at the number of prospects within each "star" category. Unfortunately, he didn't get very far at this crucial distinction, only comparing the number of five-star designations awarded by each of the two services in question over the last six years, and failing to compare these numbers with the number of prospects in other star levels because "the necessary data isn't available."
Still, even without this information, he goes on to make conclusions based on the raw numbers and the assumption of normal distribution: the data is not "biased high" toward the four and five-star end of the scale as it should be if those labels were accurate predictors of success; there's an "abnormally large number" of 0-star outliers on the all-America teams; and finally, in the "Concluding Comments," the author writes,
...the prospect rankings exist with the sole purpose of predicting the likelihood a player [will] succeed at the generalized college level. Accurate rankings should take these factors into account and still show a much greater percentage of 5-star recruits making the All-America team than 0-stars.
- - -
with the clear implication that the rankings in question have failed to accomplish that purpose. ...
Five-star prospects were about three times as likely to earn an all-America vote than four-star prospects, five-and-a-half times as likely as a three-star prospect, eleven times as likely as a one, two or zero-star prospect. If the setting was 'random; â€“ if the rankings were worthless â€“ every level would show roughly the same 1 in 59 odds of producing an all-American. Three, four and five-star prospects all fared better than that, the top two much better than that. Zero, one and two-stars were not close. If you pay attention to the distribution of the star rankings, the results are nothing like a bell curve.
So that's that, basically. I would like to add the following objections to those voiced by SMQB:
- "All American" is a stupid metric. AA status is frequently a product of media hype and not necessarily actual ability, especially on the lines and in the secondary. Second, there are plenty of kickass players who don't make the AA team, and restricting the study to just All-Americans provides a major sample size limitation. Better would be all-conference teams from the BCS conferences, preferably coaches, and definitely for more than one year.
- Sample size. One year is not a good sample size.
- Kickers and punters are included. Recruiting sites pretty much throw up their hands about specialists, never ranking them higher than three stars; this is a major distorting factor.
The big kahuna is the one that SMQB tackled, though: there are like 25 five star players and nearly 1000 three-stars.
All this is totally invalid for Terrelle Pryor -- henceforth known as The Next Marcus Vick until such time as he opens a can of whoopass on Michigan, whereupon he will be known as Daddy Make The Bad Man Stop -- who is a headcase we didn't want anyway and will undoubtedly be a team cancer that will metastasize in the Buckeye bloodstream and cause the entire state to implode one day, leaving nothing but a foul smell and a sixth Great Lake, which we will call "Lake Steve".
OMG LOL. The Daily published reports of psychology professors flaming each other in the aftermath of the AA News piece:
The Michigan Daily obtained an e-mail message yesterday sent by Bill McKeachie, professor emeritus of the psychology department, to the entire department, saying he was "aghast" that Prof. Paris would allege academic misconduct by Hagen. He called the allegation "a crazy destructive thing."
"I did not reply to those reports, I never said a disparaging word about John, and I did not write the story in the Ann Arbor News," Paris wrote. "If being concerned about academic integrity in the department, and following standard procedures for reporting those concerns, 'burns my bridges' at UM, it will be unfortunate, but I chose to follow my principles about teaching at UM. I can live with that, and hope my colleagues can also."
Aaaaand this is why old people + computers == bad news:
Theresa Lee, who chairs the Department of Psychology, said she thought McKeachie might have sent the e-mail to the entire department by mistake, hitting "Reply to all" instead of "Reply."
Ah, "reply to all," the feature you should have to take a three-credit independent study course on before your email client is allowed to have it.
Hockey update: further fiddling with You Are The Committee reveals that even an 0-2 flameout by ND does not necessarily result in a Wisconsin bid if the right team (Princeton) wins the ECAC. There is also the possibility of a third team from HE making its
way in via autobid. Two teams out of the tourney right now meet in one semifinal, the winner taking on the UNH-BC winner for all the proverbial marbles. So there are many paths to a friendly Madison regional, none of which occur if Michigan doesn't win at the Joe.
Etc.: More spring practice.
That is all.