TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
A couple sources are suggesting Michigan fans breathe easy about this potential academic casualty on the hockey team. Michigan Hockey Net:
Not true, according to a source who said there are not going to be any departures from the hockey program due to academic reasons. He did confirm Pateryn will join this fall, but "it's not because we need him to fill a roster spot of a player not performing well in the classroom."
As of now, no one is out. Red made a comment to Blais about bringing Pateryn this year more as a precaution than a realization that they're going to lose someone. There are a few kids that are not stellar students, but as of this morning there had been no academic causalities. Mitera and Summers are definitely coming back. Pacioretty we're still awaiting word on but feel confident he will return.
Spath would later add that everyone should "relax" and there's "no need to panic," with an explanation pending in Rivals' premium Inside The Fort on Thursday.
I'm still a little leery. I doubt Pateryn would want to give up a year of eligibility to be the eighth defenseman, and I doubt Michigan would want him to spend a critical development year getting scratched. On the surface it makes little sense to bring him in this year unless someone taking a regular shift is departing. We'll see. The one scenario that does make sense: Pateryn is sick of waiting and wants to go to college now.
Every year I take a look back at the things I said about various Big Ten teams in their team previews. Last year's efforts:
Only six months later than last year! Next year's preview review is scheduled for January of 2010.
Only six months later than last year! Next year's preview review is scheduled for January of 2010.
I was one of many calling for the complete implosion of Glen Mason's program after a charmed year saw the Gophers finish first nationally in turnover margin despite having no defense:
Minnesota, a team virtually without a defense, managed a whopping 32 takeaways last year and lost an incredibly low three fumbles. Luck was a lady to the Gophers last year and they were still fortunate to finish 6-7. Now the Gophers are installing a spread offense, deploying a quarterback with no experience whatsoever, and continuing to deploy a defense that will not be good at football. This stat will collapse, and with it Minnesota's fortunes.
The season forecast was grim indeed:
They were not. They were outgained by their opponents by 50 yards a game, and the true Lovecraftian depths their defense descended to were masked by an outpouring of opponent generosity that will not repeat. The three best player's on last year's offense are gone. There are no suitable replacements at quarterback, and the run game that has long been the rock Minnesota planted its flag upon has been discarded. ...
There is one conclusion here: disaster.
...and this was what projected as "disaster":
Minnesota blows one of its non-conference games, scrapes a win in conference, and ends up 4-7.
Oops. I meant "Minnesota blows all of everything, loses to a transitional I-AA team, scrapes a win, and Brewster still manages to call it a bowl-worthy season."
This was pretty much dead-on, if not quite apocalyptic enough, but other parts of the preview were wrong. The entire opening section was devoted to mocking Minnesota's decision to dump their most successful coach since that bizarre string of national titles in the Pleistoscene era. A complete evisceration of the program featured:
The gift of gab is the key to Brewster's ascension. He's scandalously light on actual coaching accomplishments but has a reputation as a "monster recruiter." Assuming that he will raise the level of talent Minnesota brings in is a dubious proposition based on fine work he did under Mack Brown's tutelage. Recruiting Vince Young to Texas is an entirely different matter than recruiting him to Minnesota. The Gophers have made a serious misstep by bringing in a neophyte with a rep as a recruiter instead of someone who can spin straw into gold. Because Minnesota, recruiter or no, is going to see lots of straw.
As the Dude said, how are you gonna keep them on the farm once they've seen Karl Hungus? Minnesota may have more natural disadvantages than any other BCS program. The Gophers must compete with the Wild, Twins, Vikings, and Timberwolves in Minneapolis. Hockey-mad Minnesota provides scanty harvests of recruits and a forbidding, polar bear laden climate that hampers out of state efforts. (Minnesota is the only school with a I-A football program that plays second fiddle to hockey.) Since the Earth's poles reversed in the 60s and robbed Minnesota of whatever crazy leyline mojo (@ right) they were working when they were a national power, Gopher football has been one long string of unrelenting failure. Their last Big Ten title was 40 years ago, the longest drought in the conference.* And though they're finally getting their own stadium, for now they are stuck in the antiseptic Metrodome. Even the new place will feel minuscule compared to most other Big Ten stadia at only 50k, and "TCF Bank Stadium" does not exactly scream tradition. There will be a brief burst of interest when the place opens; if (when?) Minnesota's fortunes fail to improve attention will scatter to the multitudinous other options. In the 29 years between that last Big Ten title and the Mason era, the Gophers high water mark is seven wins, accomplished all of thrice and not since 1985. They should take the crappy bowl bids and occasional flicker of excitement provided by Mason and be happy. History indicates that this is as good as it gets for the Gophers.
A bonus prediction was thrown in after the forecast of onfield doom:
Bonus prediction: their recruiting class is no better than a typical Mason effort and Brewster is bounced after four years of Wacker ball. But, hey, at least they'll get two shots at eviscerating a youthful Michigan hockey team this year.
This was doubly wrong: Brewster recruited extraordinarily well by Minnesota standards and the Gopher hockey team sucked. The jury remains very much out on whether the maniacally optimistic tight end expert can do anything other than recruit, but Minnesota's class actually had four-star players in it, some of them from places like Texas and Indiana. At the very least, Minnesota will be interesting in four years instead of dire.
MGoBlog's favorite schtick is taking the previous year's Michigan State preview introduction, slightly changing the details based on Michigan State's season, and predicting a mediocre season that finishes within one game of .500. Check. Michigan State did manage to squeak into a bowl game by beating Penn State in the Big Ten's fiercest rivalry, but a loss to Boston College saw them end up 7-6.
The preview was basically accurate when it came to the offense: Hoyer a "competent game manager in the mold of John Stocco" and "a good bet to be average", Ringer "one of the most talent backs in the conference." The offense in summary: "adequacy is probable." Michigan State was 42nd in total offense, which is pretty adequate. Only a couple things were off. I dismissed Jehuu Caulcrick as a third-and-short specialist with no other useful applications, which sold him short, and there was only a brief mention of JUCO transfer "Devon" Thomas, who would be a first round pick. All in all, though, it was a good effort.
Some things were way off, though:
Delightfully wrong. The firing of immensely entertaining John L Smith came as a blow to pundits and fans across the midwest, especially when a burned Michigan State athletic department tapped a man who seemed to be the eccentric Smith's polar opposite:
Unsurprisingly but much to the chagrin of everyone except Michigan State fans, John L is gone. Into his cowboy boots steps Mark Dantonio, formerly of Cincinnati and Ohio State. He is the antithesis of JLS: a defensive coordinator from a traditional power who is as exciting as toast. JLS spent his offseasons climbing Kilimanjaro or jumping out of planes; Dantonio's summer was highlighted by an appearance in Faith Magazine, which is unfortunately not a Georgie
Michael fanzine but rather a bonafide religious magazine my mother gets. According to Faith, Dantonio has is priorities straight:
Faith is more important than winning to Michigan State University's head coach
If he turns out to be something less than Nick Saban, that's probably a good philosophy to take into the job.
Dantonio didn't slap himself in public, but he did prove to be more weirdly entertaining than Faith made him out to be. Over the course of the year, Dantonio
- installed a clock that counts down to the Michigan game,
- asked how long Michigan State would 'bow down' to Michigan, giving M fans a new catchphrase to stand the test of time, and
- made fun of Mike Hart's height three days after his team had spectacularly imploded and lost.
As theorized in the final link above:
But seriously folks, the one thing the Michigan State program needed was a monomaniacal focus on Michigan. It needed a coach who would install a countdown clock to their eighth straight loss in the series. It needed a man who would stand up and say "you know what, guys? All those other games we play are stupid and we shouldn't try very hard in them." It needed a guy who would teach his resilient troops to follow his example by bitching to the assembled media a full two days after his team blew it again. It needed a man who could forge them into a cohesive unit capable of picking up critical personal fouls at the very worst time possible. See, the problem with Michigan State is that occasionally they enter the fourth quarter of games leading. And Michigan State needs a man who can blow that lead, preferably in really, really painful fashion.
Friends, Mark Dantonio is that man.
Not delightfully wrong. Michigan State's defensive line wasn't great but I gave them a "1", citing their awful defensive tackles and shallow defensive ends. This on the man who would become known as the (hur) "sackmaster" is particularly off:
On the other side, juniors Brandon Long and Jonal Saint-Dic will attempt to hold off JUCO transfer Michael Jordan. Long and Saint-Dic's sell-by dates have expired. Both were mediocre recruits -- Long picked MSU over a selection of MAC schools, Saint-Dic was a lightly-regarded JUCO -- who couldn't bust into a crappy defensive line in two years of trying. Long retains a bit more upside as a true junior, but he'll be a vastly undersized defensive end if he starts. Either projects to be bad.
St. Dic had ten sacks, though I should point out he was overrated by the Musbergers of the world: six of his sacks came against the wretched passing offenses of Bowling Green, Pitt, and Notre Dame and he only had four sacks in conference play. He had only three TFLs outside those sacks. He didn't warrant a nickname.
But Michigan State did finish 14th in sacks and 30th in rushing defense thanks in large part to its front seven. I gave both the DL and the linebackers ratings of "1". Oops. How could I not, though?
Everything you need to know about the Spartan linebackers in three handy sentences:
Every college football team has one - a 200-pound starting linebacker with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, clinically diagnosed hyperactivity, classical piano skills and absolutely no interest in sports. On second thought, Jon Misch has to be the first. ... Misch was the surprise of spring ball, and he enters fall camp solidly entrenched as the starter at strong-side linebacker.
Every indicator indicates that Jon "Samurai" Misch is going to suck and suck hard. He was a two star recruit out of metro Detroit power Orchard Lake St Mary -- no reason he'd be overlooked like a guy from Houghton or Guatemala or something -- who was credited with a 4.7 40 at 195 pounds. That 40 has not improved:
The 6-foot-2 Misch - who gleefully weighed in Tuesday at an all-time high of 207 - runs the 40-yard dash in 4.89 seconds.
He had one other offer: Eastern Michigan. Now he's a starting linebacker at 200 pounds as a redshirt freshman. Not only that, a starting strongside linebacker! If he's not awful I'll eat my hat. Hidden upside: slight but real chance he flips out and gets a bunch of personal fouls for ninja kicking various people in the head.
Misch got booted out of his starting spot by promising freshman Greg Jones; on the weakside redshirt freshman Eric Gordon supplanted the disappointing SirDarean Adams. There were no indications from the coaches or the reporters covering the team that either could or would happen.
One of the persistent annoyances with doing these previews is the emergence of stars that no one even mentioned in the preseason. Most previews take the relentlessly positive fluff put out by coaches (remember this from Lloyd Carr...
Johnny Sears has had an outstanding fall. ... He made some great plays on the kickoff. He's a guy that plays without any fear. He's a very tough, hard-nosed player, and I think he's really matured at the corner.
?) and regurgitate it without providing any critical evaluation, so it's impossible to tell when a player is actually likely to break out and when he's just getting a preseason confidence boost before he gets burnt. And how are you supposed to predict when a Saint-Dic or a Greg Jones or a Devin Thomas comes along without any actual information? I don't know. That's why I use big sweeping heuristics, I guess.
So, yeah, I broke my own iron-clad rule and said MSU would go 4-8, though I was "tempted to consider Michigan State's inherent Michigan State-ness and predict one massive upset that gets them within a game of .500." That is my bad, as they say.
Indiana and Iowa
...were not previewed due to time constraints, as they had rotated off Michigan's schedule.
...was also not previewed, which was no doubt a major reason the Wildcats were this close to an
upset before a late avalanche of turnovers did them in.
Michigan went into this offseason with one open spot on the blueline after Kevin Quick bought a "Swedish Credit Card Inspector" t-shirt and Carl Hagelin fell for it. However, they'd signed two players to LOIs. Probable late first-round pick Brandon Burlon is definitely coming in. Greg Pateryn, however, was expected to cool his heels in the USHL one more year unless someone bolted.
Fargo Force Head Coach/General Manager Dean Blais tells WDAY 6 Sports that two of the players he was counting on this fall have chosen to play elsewhere. Garrett Clarke has opted to play with a Canadian Junior Hockey Team, and Greg Pateryn has chosen to skate for the University of Michigan. Pateryn has signed with the Wolverines and had expected to play a season in Fargo before joining Red Berenson's team, but because of a need at the U of M, is now projected to see playing time for Michigan.
Everyone envisioning a gaping hole on the top line can take a breath: this is not necessarily Max Pacioretty, the lone first-round pick who hadn't publicly stated he would return, signing with the Canadiens. In the accompanying video, Blais says Red called him up last week and told him one of his players didn't make it academically, so Pateryn was coming in.
But someone's gone. It's not necessarily a defenseman, since Chris Summers could slide up to forward. Let the speculation begin; watch for a CHL signing in the near future; I just hope it's not one of the freshmen.
Update 6/9: Linked to articles on OH OL Chris Freeman, FL RB Jamaal Berry (second), FL S Jonathan Scott, AZ DE Craig Roh, SC WR Alshon Jeffery. Noted Scout header that says M leads for FL LB Brandin Hawthorne.
Added FL WR Jeremy Gallon, then moved him to committed. Also added FL S Mike Jones, NV DE Keenan Graham, MA OL Brennan Williams, SC S DJ Swearinger, TN LB Greg King, LA WR Kenny Bell.
Removed OH LB Dan Fox (ND), IL WR Kraig Appleton (dropped us), CA RB Dasarte Yarnaway (not recruiting), TN OL Alex Bullard (ND), OH WR Patrick White (MSU).
Editorial Opinion: Michigan just held a one-day camp for a host of prospects, but no movement came out of it. Michigan appears to be holding on offers until they finish their full camp, which will be this weekend. At this one-day camp the focus was mostly on Inkster WR/S/LB Cameron Gordon, a four-star with only a few offers yet, and an array of three-star-ish offensive linemen. Expect a wave of offers to go out during and after Michigan's summer camp; a couple commits should follow.
And hey, he's a weird name: Tate Forcier. The California quarterback showed up and performed. WTF, right? Well, rumors persist that Kevin Newsome is asking schools to continue recruiting him. Whether that's the product of Michigan's continued pursuit of Forcier and FL QB Eugene Smith or vice versa is unknowable, but be advised that the quarterback situation is not put to bed yet.
As for the gentlemen who were excised: White, Fox, and Yarnaway didn't have offers. Appleton's turning into a pretty big recruit -- LSU is involved with him and he's from Illinois -- and Michigan probably had an offer out, but I don't think anyone's too concerned with wide receiver, especially after Jeremy Gallon's commit this week. Bullard, OTOH, is an offered lineman who isn't going to Michigan. He never seemed like a strong possibility after naming ND, UT, and UF his top three in an article from a month or two ago, but did take an unofficial.
NOW IS THE TIME ON RECRUITING [DAY] WHEN WE FLORIDA.
FL RB Jamaal Berry reiterated how impressed he was with Ohio State in a couple articles. He plans on visiting Michigan...
"I'd also like to go to Michigan and see what they're like," Berry said. "They need some running backs and it would be a good opportunity to play early. I like how they are another school with good tradition and are known for being a running team."
...but that seems like an uphill battle.
Meanwhile, FL S Jonathan Scott has Michigan in his top three. Weird, because:
"I think if I went to Michigan it would be fun to play against my brother [sophomore corner James Scott]," he said. "That's a big rivalry (against Ohio State) and a great game. I haven't really talked to him about how he'd feel about it, but Michigan is a big-time offer so I'm sure he'd be cool about it.
"I really like coach Rich Rogriguez," he said. "He is coming from West Virginia and was able to make them an elite program, so I think he'll be great at Michigan too."
South Carolina and LSU are the other two schools he seems set on visiting officially; childhood favorite Florida State does not appear interested.
Another Florida safety worth keeping an eye on is Orlando Edgewater's Mike Jones. Jones has a weird pair of leaders for a guy from Orlando:
"I really like Michigan a lot. I like Notre Dame too. They are my top two schools.
"Michigan has always been good. They have a huge fan base with a big stadium. It's crazy. I have not been up there yet and I will go there this summer or maybe the fall. I think I fit in with their defense from what I know. I can fit in just about anywhere because there is versatility to my game.
"Notre Dame is a smart school and you need grades and better be able to handle the academics. They have a great fan base. I love coach (Korwin) [sic] Brown. I would like to play for him. He's a real fiery guy."
This one also might be a bit of an uphill battle. Jones' father is an old teammate and good friend of Brown. FWIW: Edgewater is the school that provided Michigan with Greg Mathews.
All I've got on this is a header, but it's an encouraging one:
Michigan, USF -- One & Two for Pahokee LB
That's about FL LB Brandin Hawthorne, a teammate of incoming freshman WR Martavious Odoms. That's good -- other than USF, Hawthorne also has offers from Tennessee, Kansas State, and a few others BCS schools -- but Hawthorne plans on visiting a bunch of camps around the south in the coming months. It sounds like he's sniffing around for some big offers closer to home; would not be surprised if Michigan's lead here is temporary. For now, though, that's nice.
A note on rankings: Rivals is revamping their rankings again and two recruits too big hits: both Kevin Newsome and Jeremy Gallon dropped out of the top 100. Gallon's hit was not a big surprise -- 5'8" -- and Newsome apparently had a rough NIKE camp. The company line on that is Newsome was attempting to shorten up his delivery and once he works through some issues with that he will be a combination of Dan Marino and Godzilla. We'll see, I guess. The whole reason Newsome started the year as a top-20 prospect was an excellent performance at the Army All-American camp; now he's one of two.
One last item: remember Larry Caper, the Michigan State commit who caused some minor rending of garments from Michigan fans when he wasn't offered? Dude just got the boot from the Rivals 250.
Voting is now closed in the first round of the Woodson regional. Your winners:
80.5% of vote
58.6% of vote
60.7% of vote
Chris Wild's paint masterpiece, Jason Minor's blueprint (which, I must confess, was one of my favorites), Bryan Rosenbaum's montage [note: apologies to Bryan, who I dubbed "Ben" earlier -ed], and Eric Jaffe's foray into the realm of coaches old are eliminated. Sad fugee faces for all.
Steinberg, with the largest percentage of votes in favor, will take on Menzies in the next round; the other two will go head-to-head. Obviously.
Spartanburg quarterback Jones gets offer from Michigan
What about Beaver/Newsome? This Jones guy is a rising junior. And this is how he got his offer:
Cornelius Jones hasn't played a down for the Spartanburg Vikings varsity football team yet, but Michigan has seen enough to offer him a scholarship.
The junior quarterback received his first offer Tuesday, after Vikings coach Freddie Brown sent the Big Ten school a five-minute video of Jones from a scrimmage.
That is a hell of a five-minute video. The article mentions that Jones hasn't played forSpartanburg in "a couple of years" because he "got in some trouble"... what kind of trouble can an eighth-grader get in? Don't answer that.
Burl Ives. The NHL draft approaches, and Red Line Report ranks incoming blueliner Brandon Burlon one of the top ten available. Okay, it's #10, but still:
Brandon Burlon rounds out Red Line's top 10 list. There's not much buzz about him, but we feel he'd be a solid choice anywhere after No. 20. He's got great feet and a mean edge. He's as fundamentally sound in his own end as any defender in the draft, and we think he's got some untapped offensive potential as well.
Yost Built has a little more on Burlon and notes Greg Pateryn is projected by one Sabres site as a potential fifth-round target. Not bad for a guy who was promised very little scholarship money.
Stones. Michigan's baseball team may have received some unexpected good news in the MLB draft, when two draft-eligible juniors fell to the fifth round. Jason Christian, rated at about the end of the third round, was picked by the As. He's widely expected to sign and the relatively small drop probably won't affect that.
Zach Putnam, however, has to be disappointed after he fell to the second-to-last pick of the fifth round after widely being projected as a sandwich pick or even a late first-rounder. Juniors usually sign because they lose their leverage if they return, but Putnam's drop might motivate him to return. Baseball America:
The Indians finally put Zach Putnam out of his misery, taking him with the penultimate pick of the fifth round. If the Indians put him in the bullpen, expect him to move quickly with his fastball-splitter mix. However, Putnam might prove to be a tough sign this low. Suffice it to say he's had an enigmatic career when it comes to scouts, who seem to like him less than his performance would indicate.
A recent change in the draft rules allows teams that draft college juniors to retain their rights until a couple weeks before the next year's draft. (High schoolers have to be signed by August 15th.) If Putnam thinks he's been shorted, he could return to Michigan in the hopes he has a wicked pissah of a senior year and either forces the Indians to shell out considerably above slot or watch him re-enter the draft (and hopefully go much higher). His situation bears watching, which is more than you could say before the draft.
Meanwhile, the Indians went Michigan mad, drafting Adam Abraham with the 411th pick and Nate Recknagel with the 591st. Cislo and Fetter were not drafted; Mike Powers went in the 31st round to the Mets. We'll know about everyone's fate by August 15th.
Raise a glass to the NCAA hockey rules committee. In marked contrast to the constantly blundering football committee, they've made every effort to improve the game. To wit, the rules changes for this year:
No change after an icing. As per the NHL rule that everyone loves.
Limited-application shootout. When I heard college hockey might be considering the addition of a shootout, I was pretty leery. The Pairwise is so jittery and shootouts are so random that instituting them would add even more weirdness to the NCAA's selection criteria. But this seems okay:
In a release from the NCAA today, it says the rules committee has voted to maintain the current game structure of 60 minutes, followed by a five-minute overtime, but individual conferences are allowed to use a shootout at their discretion.
The shootout could be used to award points towards the league race, though any game decided by a shootout would go into the record book for NCAA Tournament qualifying purposes as a tie.
I'm still not a big fan of the idea -- seems gimmicky -- but if those are the rules any grumbling I have is minor.
All games have two referees now. This one I'm not so sure of. The CCHA had zero competent referees at last count and will now have twice as many incompetent ones. OTOH, cutting down an incompetent ref's responsibilities should edge him towards competence, or at least consistency. We'll see how it goes.
All faceoffs are held on faceoff dots. This is a minor change but a good one. Those faceoffs right inside the blue line have always bothered me. Your reward for winning one is the puck outside of the zone and a dump-in. Now those will be from the proper dots inside the zone, and winning one will lead to a scoring chance. More chances == always good.
Only in Ohio. Ha-ha:
A Cleveland-area principal says he's embarrassed his students got proof of their "educaiton" on their high school diplomas.
Westlake High School officials misspelled "education" on the diplomas distributed last weekend. It's been the subject of mockery on local radio.
Etc.: You remember these?
Mike Barwis had one, and some wolves.
Continued from yesterday.
RHP Tyler Mills
Mills was Michigan's Gatorade player of the year and was the highest-rated recruit M picked up according to PerfectGame. Despite that, he may be the player with the least information available. High school stats:
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior right-handed pitcher started 6-1 with a 1.50 ERA, recording 75 strikeouts in 51 innings at the time of his selection and leading the Oilers (24-3) to a third consecutive Saginaw Valley League championship and a berth in the Division II postseason regional tournament. A returning First Team All-State selection, Mills, also an outfielder, had produced a .426 batting average, 33 runs scored, 30 RBI and five home runs through 27 games.
LHP Bobby Brosnahan
Brosnahan will almost assuredly redshirt after undergoing Tommy John surgery just seven innings into his senior season. That sounds like a sure way to use up a scholarship on a guy who's never going to contribute, but these days TJ surgery has a super-high success rate. It just takes forever to recover:
Tommy John surgery is considered one of the major advancements in sports medicine in the last quarter century. The New York Times reported in 2007 that the surgery has an 85 percent success rate and that one in seven pitchers in the major leagues had the surgery.
"I'm not worried about it. The surgery has been around for about 30 years ... they've got it down to a science," Brosnahan said. "Most of the guys they repair now come back stronger.
"Nobody likes to have it, but if you work hard through rehab you can come back better than ever."
Before the unfortunate pop in his elbow, Brosnahan had the requisite silly numbers, going 8-0 with an ERA of under one as a junior. Kentucky, Michigan State, and "some southern schools" were interested.
RHP Kevin VanGheluwe
VanGheluwe is also injured, and real scary-like:
"His (right) arm was discolored," Collins said. "It was like if you held it out of a car window and lost circulation. His dad (Mark VanGheluwe) took him to get examined and they gave him some medication to disperse the clot. He contacted (U-M coach Rich) Maloney and he told them to come immediately to U-Hospital. On Thursday, he had surgery to break up the blood clot and they said his muscles were pushing against the rib cage on that (right) side. I was told it was a normal case to remove that top rib on that side. And that was done Friday. Both were successful."
Jesus. As a junior, he had some wicked impressive stats:
VanGheluwe was 11-2 with a 0.79 ERA last season. He also hit .454 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI. He was named to The Detroit News first team All-Metro and to the All-State Dream Team by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association.
High school stats are, as always, totally meaningless. But this guy from some little Michigan newspaper says...
He is one of the best prep baseball players I've ever seen (maybe the best) and here's hoping for a full recovery.
...and he's seen literally dozens!
Elsewhere, an Indians blogger who appears to know his drafting like whoah singled him out as a guy who might be an excellent late pickup:
6'2" and 205' and a University of Michigan signee he was all-state as a junior and had a 21-2 mark coming into his senior year but he had blood clots in his right arm and had a rib removed this off-season and so is out for the entire season.
Dude... rib removed... you don't think? Nah.
His coach, and a bit on his skillz:
"He's still growing," Kuppe said of the three-year starter. "I think what's most impressive is that he's gotten better all three years, and he's going to keep getting better."
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound ace has four pitches in his arsenal, including a fastball that he can dial up to 89 mph and a curveball that hits 79 mph.
Unlike Brosnahan, VanGheluve should be ready in the fall.
RHP Brandon Sinnery.
Michigan has now hit for the cylce at New England prep schools, picking up players in basketball (Courtney Sims and Kendrick Price), hockey (many; Max Pacioretty is the current hotness), football (Mike Cox), and baseball (Sinnery). Hopefully Sinnery is closer to Patch than Sims.
Though the other offers Sinnery received don't exactly seem impressive -- Vermont and Manhattan, with Elon and Florida Atlantic mentioned among the suitors in contact -- the articles on him state specifically that his scholarship is a full one. Baseball teams have only 11.7 scholarships to offer and often carry many more players than that*. A full ride is something usually reserved for the Putnams and Abrahams of the world.
PerfectGame.com rates him an 8.5 on their ten-point scale. 8 is "mid-round pick and definite D-I prospect"; 9 is "top ten rounds, top D-I prospect." Their scouting report:
Brandon Sinnery is a 2008 RHP from Worcester Academy, residing in Franklin, Massachusetts, with a 6'4"/170 pound frame. Lean and lanky frame, projectable body, short circle arm action, good arm speed, solid mechanics, FB [fastball] has life at 86 mph, solid CB [curveball] with bite at 71 mph, CH [changeup] has sink and fade at 74 mph, pounds the zone, good student
They rate him the #3 pitcher in Massachusetts. He is purported to have four pitches, and his mom likes him:
His pitching repertoire is impressive - a fastball in the upper 80s, along with a curveball, changeup and splitter. But his mother has been more impressed with the lessons he has learned off the mound.
"We've seen him lose with dignity, and seen him win in very difficult pressure situations," Donna said. "It's been interesting to see the life lessons that have come out of baseball."
A right handed pitcher for Worcester Academy (42K's, 7BB's, 0.88ERA, 5-1 record with 2 saves, 30 2/3 IP, 12hits), he was selected to the 1st Team All League-Central New England Prep School League.
"What sets Brandon apart from others who have talent is his determination, focus, and the ability to perform under pressure," said Peter Kostacopoulos, his 2007 Varsity Baseball coach. "These are the qualities that define success and give some athletes a competitive edge. I am sure that Brandon will continue to combine his baseball abilities with his personal qualities to ensure himself continued success in the future."
Maloney called him "wiry" and specifically said that he could be good "with development"; a redshirt may be in order.
I dunno, man, and it doesn't sound like anyone does, either. There does not appear to be a Putnam or an Abraham amongst the recruits, but they again locked down the best guy in the state and picked up three guys from elsewhere who should contribute.
Jeremy Gallon, an electron-sized wide receiver from Florida, has just committed to Michigan. He's the #74 prospect in the country to Rivals but only a three star (and the #132 player in the southeast) to Scout; other offers were from Auburn, Iowa, and a bunch of non-Big Three Florida schools. Informative update coming.
Informative Update: I'd actually gone out and collected items of interest on Gallon earlier this week after he named Michigan his leader in a Rivals article, so this is relatively quick.
At Apopka -- the Orlando Sentinel's #1 team in the state for 2008 -- he is a old-school single wing quarterback, which took a little getting used to:
"I was confused. I was like, no quarterback? What kind of offense is this?" Apopka running back Jeremy Gallon. "But then as the days went on and we started to play ... I started to like it."
He's variously listed as 5'8" or 5'9". Yes, he is another one of those guys.
Gallon has a super-weird disconnect between his Rivals rating, which is about as high as a 5'8" kid not named Noel Devine will ever get, and those offered up by Scout (as mentioned: meh) and ESPN. ESPN rates him a 77, also meh, and says($):
Ideally, he is a scatback/slot receiver/corner candidate with outstanding speed, quickness and change-of-direction skills. He is undersized, but compensates with his movement skills and toughness as an overall player. Has great feet and is really slippery as a runner-- is very tough to get a clean shot at.
The evaluation is can be summed up as "nice but electron-sized and thus limited." His offers -- Michigan, Auburn, Iowa, Kansas, and some others, no attention from the instate powers -- line up with the skeptical view.
Why is Rivals so high on him? This article gives an indication. Prepare for some gushing:
Rivals.com recruiting expert Barry Every got a chance to evaluate Gallon and loved what he saw.
"He's a cross between Noel Devine and Chris Rainey," said Every. "He's super quick, his change of direction is probably in the top 1/10th of the top 1 percentile. He's got good speed. He's magic with the ball in his hands. He could make a great punt returner. He could be receiver, cornerback and possibly a running back."
Jeepers. Some choice quotes from his coach:
"He really plays every position," Darlington said. "He plays quarterback for us but we run the single wing offense so our QB is really like a tailback. In 14 games though, he completed 65% of his passes. He was 6A [largest classification, btw -ed] player of the year in our area and he was runner-up in the state. He runs a 4.4 and he power cleans 300 pounds." ...
"Any college that's seen him has been flabbergasted by him," Darlington said. "But nobody has seen him. A lot of the bigger schools don't come by here, I guess because we're out here in the middle of the state."
Despite the limited recruitment activity, Darlington is sure that Gallon has high end potential and he should know. Darlington has coached players such as former Miami standout and current New England Patriot Brandon Meriweather.
"When he runs, he doesn't look like he's running very fast but nobody can catch him," Darlington said of Gallon. "He's very wiggly. He's a lot like Percy Harvin. He's got amazing hands. You can throw the football at him from anywhere and he catches with his fingers. He just snatches it out of the air like a baseball."
Percy Harvin, Noel Devine, and Chris Rainey: this serves as your explanation. A little more from his coach:
In Apopka's second-round playoff victory against Edgewater, Gallon rushed for 257 yards, caught a touchdown pass and covered Edgewater's best receiver the whole game.
"Jeremy Gallon may be the best player that's every played at Apopka," Darlington said of the school that was home to NFL players Warren Sapp and Brandon Meriweather.
And, what the hell, one more:
"This is the same staff that had (former North Fort Myers star) Noel Devine at West Virginia last year," Darlington said. "I think that's what they're thinking with Jeremy, to move him around and find different ways to get him the ball. He's a special athlete and he's a great fit for what they're going to do on offense."
Gallon is only 5-9, 165-pounds but is one of Apopka's strongest players. He led the team in six of eight categories and had the third highest point total in school history in the "Super-Darter" test, which measures strength, speed, agility and endurance. His led his team in the power-clean lift and had a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds.
You get the idea.
Gallon is the second receiver to commit and will likely be joined by two or three more with Michigan thin on receivers during their transition to the spread 'n' shred; one of the two running back recruits will also get a look in the slot. He's Michigan's first commit from heavily-scoured Florida in this class and Michigan's fifth Rivals 100 recruit.
Now... uh... maybe some linemen or something? (TN OL Alex Bullard picks Friday but most expect it to be Tennessee.)