well that's just, like, your opinion, man
Last year, Glenn Winston put a hockey player in the hospital, costing him a whole year, and injured a second bystander. Neither victim did anything to provoke the violence, and Winston was fortunate to plea-bargain himself down to a misdemeanor and six months in jail. Mike Rosenberg on that:
Plus, people forget this: Winston was convicted of a misdemeanor. If anything, his sentence (six months in jail) was excessive for a misdemeanor. So I understood why Dantonio reinstated Winston this summer. Yes, it looks awful now. But it made some sense this summer.
"Excessive for a misdemeanor." Rosenberg is downplaying a scary, dangerously violent incident because he doesn't understand that a misdemeanor basically means the jail sentence can't be longer than a year. Six months in jail might be excessive for pot possession. It doesn't seem excessive for endangering someone's playing career.
Remember that Rosenberg wrote an "I'm just sayin'" column after Justin Feagin's situation, citing Rodriguez's decision to recruit linebacker Pat Lazear as evidence Rodriguez doesn't care about the character of his players:
The fact that Rodriguez was recruiting Feagin to West Virginia is telling because Rodriguez took considerable heat for some of his recruiting choices in Morgantown. Most noteworthy: Rodriguez signed linebacker Pat Lazear to a letter of intent even though Lazear had been accused of orchestrating an armed robbery of a Smoothie King store.
"That was a situation that was cleared up before he left high school," Rodriguez said Monday.
Well, that depends on your definition of "cleared up." Lazear pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and received a 10-year suspended sentence for his part in the robbery. He also was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest and 150 hours of community service. And in a previous incident, Lazear had been found guilty of using a stolen credit card.
I guess you could say his situation was "cleared up."
Lazear has not been in trouble at West Virginia and is on the academic honor roll. That same column cites Feagin's high school coach saying that Feagin hadn't been in trouble there only to dismiss that. Rosenberg's thrust is that Rodriguez should have known better than to recruit Justin Feagin, and should never have gone near a guy with nothing on his record other than a dropped misdemeanor and some traffic tickets. If Rodriguez didn't know Feagin was a bad guy, it was because he didn't care to know. The upshot: Rodriguez is unethical.
Here's a similar conversation in the Winston case:
MARK DANTONIO: Are there any issues with this Winston guy?
MARK DANTONIO: Well, he beat up two innocent people, putting one of them in the hospital.
MARK DANTONIO: What's that? I can't hear you. You must be breaking up.
MARK DANTONIO: We're not talking on a cell phone. I am you. We're having a schizophrenic episode. You're talking to yourself.
MARK DANTONIO: I am very public about my faith!
And yet reinstating this guy "makes some sense." The double standard could not be clearer.
Is there any question that Rosenberg would be calling for Rodriguez's job if 15-20 Michigan players had beaten the hell out of innocent bystanders for the second time in two years? Michigan State has had 20% of its entire team involved in unprovoked violence against other students for two consecutive years.
Rosenberg can couch his eminently reasonable opinion in eminently reasonable columnist terms, but the bias is screaming. Mark Dantonio's got a hell of a jaw and a bible on his desk. He's also in charge of a bunch of thugs, and got a Michigan State student injured and, likely, his university sued. This is enough for Rosenberg to gently suggest that Dantonio might need to get his team under control—oh, really? Meanwhile, Rodriguez correctly judging the character of Pat Lazear and immediately dealing with the Feagin situation is enough for the "win at all costs" headline.
This is the fair and balanced person the Free Press thought they'd have investigate the Michigan football program.
More about this on the message board.
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge has been a one-sided affair in its 10 years of existence, with the Atlantic Coast conference emerging victorious in each of the first 10 years. With the Big Ten poised for a great year throughout the conference, there has been talk that this is the year for the midwesterners to emerge victorious.
The First Decade
|Year||ACC Wins||Big Ten Wins|
* Michigan State v. UVA was cancelled in progress in 2001.
The ACC's fluctuating membership is to blame for the different numbers of games played during different years. Still, that conference came out on top each year, regardless of how many games were played. So, that's how the Big Ten did in the first 10 years of the Challenge, but how did Michigan do?
|1999||@Georgia Tech||W 80-77|
|2000||Wake Forest||L 60-71|
|2003||NC State||W 68-61|
|2004||@Georgia Tech||L 68-99|
|2006||@NC State||L 67-74|
|2007||Boston College||L 64-77|
Before you lament the Wolverines' losing record (3-5) in the event, it's important to note that every single Big Ten team except Michigan State has a losing record in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. In fact, the Wolverines are tied for 3rd-best record in the event among Big Ten teams.
So, is the Big Ten a strong contender to finally break through in 2009? Let's take a look at the matchups (home teams bolded):
|Big Ten Team||ACC Team||Date & TV|
|Penn State||Virginia||Tonight, 7PM, ESPN2|
|Purdue||Wake Forest||Tues, 7PM, ESPN|
|Northwestern||NC State||Tues, 7PM, ESPNU|
|Indiana||Maryland||Tues, 7:30PM, ESPN2|
|Michigan State||North Carolina||Tues, 9PM, ESPN|
|Iowa||Virginia Tech||Tues, 9:30PM, ESPN2|
|Illinois||Clemson||Wed, 7:15PM, ESPN|
|Minnesota||Miami||Wed, 7:15PM, ESPNU|
|Michigan||Boston College||Wed, 7:30PM, ESPN2|
|Wisconsin||Duke||Wed, 9:15PM, ESPN|
|Ohio State||Florida State||Wed, 9:30PM, ESPN2|
Georgia Tech does not play for the ACC this year.
The Big Ten has home-court advantage this year, and strangely, the only two games that won't air on basic cable both take place in ACC arenas.
The ACC and Big Ten have already squared off a few times this year, with North Carolina topping Ohio State and Wisconsin beating Maryland. Things looked a whole lot rosier for the Big Ten prior to the weekend, where Michigan, MInnesota, and Michigan State all suffered unexpected losses. The Only Colors gave the odds for all the games, and it ain't pretty, with only Michigan, Purdue, and Ohio State favored to win. Still, with 11 games left to play, and the Big Ten as strong as ever, there's no reason to give up hope quite yet.
Preview of Michigan's opponent, the Eagles of Boston College, will be coming later in the week.
No, you don't get a pony. This Notre Dame coaching search is going to go exactly like the last three: everyone is going to get all hyped up about a wide variety of downright laughable names and they'll settle for someone not coaching at a power program. Unfortunately, the guy they "settle" for might be Brian Kelly—who ND Nation is hilariously opposed to—since there are exactly zero other major jobs opening up this year and Kelly has no buyout.
But, still, come on people:
Will Bob Stoops be Notre Dame's next head coach?
No. Brian Hanley of the Chicago Sun-Times, I will bet you any amount of money that he will not.
On Nov. 15, the Sun-Times first reported Stoops' interest in the job that will be vacated when Charlie Weis is fired after the Irish's regular-season finale today at Stanford.
The South Bend Tribune, citing a ''university source,'' reported Friday that Stoops is the first choice of ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
That goes for you, too, David Haugh of the Tribune. Stoops can be ND's first choice all they want. They won't get him. Is Notre Dame going to pay Weis's huge buyout and somehow raise Stoops's already enormous salary beyond Oklahoma's ability to match it? I mean, look at this contract Stoops just signed:
Football coach Bob Stoops had his contract extended through the 2015 season and will make $3.675 million this coming season. His new contract includes an annual raise of $250,000, a $700,000 stay bonus each July and an additional one-time $800,000 bonus in 2011. If Stoops remains through all seven years, he will make more than $4 million a year in the final five years of the contract and make nearly $5 million in the the 2011 season.
Stoops is second only to Pete Carroll in total compensation and has a six-year contract that makes him virtually impossible to fire. And is Stoops going to be more successful at Notre Dame than he is at a place he's already turned into a national power? You'd have to be a lunatic hung up on the idea that Notre Dame being good 20 years ago is somehow relevant.
Stoops, for the record, has no past connection to Notre Dame, has never described it as his "dream job" and has no apparent reason to leave the lucrative juggernaut he's built in Norman for a gig that's eventually swallowed up three straight coaches with winning records and January bowl games on their resumés.
By my count, Stoops has only publicly denied his interest in ND twice so far -- only eight or nine denials short of Urban Meyer's tally, meaning Stoops will remain in the mix for no good reason for at least another week before Cincinnati's Brian Kelly emerges as the clear frontrunner.
Stoops taking less money—not necessarily a cut, but you have to believe Oklahoma will have the wherewithal to match or better any ND offer—to move from a national power to a program that hasn't contended for a title in over 15 years would be, to say the least, unprecedented.
Teams farther to the right are more effective passing the ball. Teams towards the top pass more. The line is a simple linear regression. The graph takes sacks into account, but not interceptions. This makes Michigan's reticence to throw as much as you might expect given the yardage spread more understandable. I wonder what this would have looked like with David Molk available all year?
Inking David. Here's David Terrell talking about his tattoos:
They hate you! Donovan Warren sort of announced he'd return for his senior season but will apply to the draft, and new cornerback commitment Cullen Christian has a mildly stomach-churning take on that:
Christian said junior Donovan Warren, Michigan's best corner and his host during his official visit last week, spoke of exploring his NFL options this offseason.
"I honestly think that Donovan's going to try to mess around and go to the league," Christian said. "He told me personally he might mess around."
"Mess around" is an odd way to put it, but the upshot: Warren's senior season will hang in the balance until the draft deadline passes. If he gets a second-day grade, he's probably back.
How it went down. Jimmah's black eye, revealed:
Harbaugh. Well… yeah… hopefully this won't be relevant. If Michigan's in the market for a coach in the next few years, though, the #1 topic will be Jim Harbaugh and his stupid, stupid mouth. For what it's worth, Harbaugh's father:
“I think he’s very, very happy at Stanford and Stanford is where he wants it to be,” Jack Harbaugh said. “But I would say this that still Michigan is the place that he loves, the place that for him was his foundation. It’s where, the five years he spent there, his education there at Michigan and his associations with Bo and the other coaches on the staff, that’s the place that he will always call home.”
I'm willing to forgive and forget, should it come to that.
Showcase seeya. Last weekend's College Hockey Showcase is the last one that Michigan will host. Next year's edition will be the last, period. However, this is not the end of Michigan's series against Minnesota and Wisconsin. In fact, there appears to be some sort of official(?) Big Ten conference-type substance on the horizon, as was suggested by Lake State's coach before the season started:
"We have one more year after this and that's it,'' MSU coach Rick Comley said. "I think it's run it's course. Wisconsin did not want to extend the Showcase. They want to get Ohio State involved and they prefer a Big Ten Conference.'' …
"My preference would be to play (Minnesota and Wisconsin) twice (each season),'' said Comley, who is not in favor of a Big Ten league at this point. "I think we could declare a Big Ten champion. It would require a reduced number of CCHA games, which I'm in favor of.''
If that comes about, good. The Showcase has always been a missed opportunity. I've hardly ever attended it because of Thanksgiving, and having virtually no student section for two of the biggest games of the year always struck me as dumb. More games against Minnesota and Wisconsin at less inconvenient times = win. Moving OSU-Michigan to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is a personal disaster.
The most logical way to make an unofficial Big Ten conference would be to drop WCHA/CCHA conference schedules down to 22/20 games—enough to play everyone twice—and use the extra six games for the Big Ten. Michigan would play 20 games in the (hypothetically 11-team) CCHA, 10 against Big Ten opponents (MSU/OSU games would be either Big Ten or CCHA, not both), the GLI, and get two random nonconference games. That would be it except in years in which Michigan goes to Alaska, when they'd have an opportunity to play another two games. Maybe that's too steep a cost in nonconference scheduling. The other option is to not play Michigan State or Ohio State four times and just count those games in both sets of standings, but that would cut out two games against State every year, something that no one wants.
Gladwell bits. So last week I referenced Malcolm Gladwell's disappointing ad hominem directed at a critic of his recent book and, by proxy, a few well-meaning bloggers. Along the way I mentioned David Berri, the doctor of economics who's the best argument going for meathead anti-statheads who want to dismiss the whole enterprise of refining the statistics meathead anti-statheads use constantly.
I bring it up again because—surprise—a bunch of serious sport statisticians have taken a look at Berri's latest work and found it full of holes. By age 24, QB playing time is largely based on performance. Though there is some preference for highly-drafted quarterbacks, it's small relative to performance. I'll let Pro Football Reference provide the requisite sarcasm:
What is clear to me, though, is that performance matters. A lot. I know this is a shocking finding in a performance driven business like the NFL.
Also a shocking finding: David Berri has vastly overstated his case in an effort to get attention. This is catnip for someone like Gladwell who loves pointing out "Outliers" or "The Tipping Point." Sports statistics would be far better off if Berri took an interest in misrepresenting crocheting, and if Gladwell would accept the idea that sometimes people paid huge amounts of money to determine something aren't totally wrong.
(HT: Football Outsiders.)
Etc.: I like Clay Travis, really I do, but his take on the Rodriguez situation—the thesis is Michigan should manipulate the NCAA investigation so that it results in major sanctions, allowing them to fire Rodriguez—is literally the dumbest thing I have ever read about Michigan. Gregg Doyel just wrote something! Drew Sharp exists! This is a meaningful statement! I leave the destruction to Braves & Birds.
In Belichick-related stuffs: John Harbaugh went for a fourth and five with his team trailing that both announcers thought was a must-punt situation, got it, and won the game. Sometimes the right call works out, eh?
Doctor Saturday surveys the latest ham-handed attempt by the BCS to convince you that the BCS isn't stupid. It is amazing how tone-deaf public relations firms are.
A few days ago, Chris Brown of Smart Football posted an anonymous high school coach's negative opinion on Charlie Weis's recruiting mojo. It's interesting, if slightly preposterous from the Michigan fan's perspective. Weis spent his first three recruiting classes punching Lloyd Carr in the face, beating Michigan for large sections of his team en route to racking up the highly-rated recruiting classes that had Notre Dame fans making giddy little charts about how much they would own once the stench of Willingham passed.
When Rodriguez came in, Michigan's recruiting moved away from Weis's in geographical, cultural, and tiny-bastard terms, but what head-to-head battles did go down were still slanted in Notre Dame's favor. This year, Michigan lost out on cornerbacks Lo Wood—once a heavy Michigan lean—and Spencer Boyd. There were no other head-to-head battles. Last year Michigan managed to pick up OT Michael Schofield, but a variety of other recruiting battles went Notre Dame's way. Weis consistently recruited out of all proportion to his achievements.
So this seems a little funky…
Notre Dame has officially offered one of my linebackers, but no one from Notre Dame has ever spoken to the kid nor has anyone from Notre Dame ever returned any of my calls. …. Geewhiz Charlie, that’s not exactly the way to get a kid to choose ND over other BCS schools — and then you offer him blind without so much as making contact with any coach? No. That’s not the way to go about the business.
…and then Rich Rodriguez gets thrown in at the end…
Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech, and others all recruit about the same way as Cincinnati. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Michigan . . . they recruit like Notre Dame.
…and everybody gets ornery.
I don't know about the interpersonal relationships Rich Rodriguez has with every coach from sea to shining sea. I do know that Rodriguez reeled in a class that was nearly top five after his first year at Michigan and a number of parents from that class have taken to the internets to defend the beleaguered coach from accusations that he makes his players work too hard. I also know that Rodriguez and company fired off a thousand "offers" this spring, and those offers may or may not mean anything.
These things are in the eye of the beholder. I'm guessing the coaches at Trotwood-Madison and Chaparral don't share that opinion. And I know "Coach Ox," the Louisiana high school coach who emailed the blog in the aftermath of Carvin Johnson's commitment to tell us that we had a good player on our hands, sent another email about Rodriguez, unprompted. Here it is:
My feelings for RRod are exactly the same as Carvin's coach said on Rivals - if you are a real high school coach (i.e. you know football) from a real program (i.e. you coach players who will go on to college) and you need help or anything, RRod will bend over backwards for you. Not everybody likes HOW he coaches, but he loves coaches who coach HOW he does.
And here's Carvin Johnson's coach from that Rivals thread Ox references:
The thing I like most about him is him as a person. When other coaches and myself made the trips to WVU in the past to see them practice, etc. he treated everyone of us with nothing but respect. This is rare in big time college football.
So… some coaches like other coaches, and some don't. It's about the numbers. I wouldn't take an anecdotal aside too seriously. Michigan pays attention to the players they are seriously interested in, and offers a bunch more beside. The results were fine when Michigan wasn't dealing with the aftermath of a 3-9 season and a whole lot else besides.
|Last week's ballot|
Hastily compiled for the second week in a row, so be constructive with your feedback.
Florida finally beat the hell out of somebody, which had been holding them back with a schedule comparable to the others around them. That (annoyingly) sets up a 1v2 battle in the SEC championship game.
Everything else is pretty straightforward. Penn State and Oklahoma State are basically the same, resume-wise, having lost convincingly to their toughest opposition, but Oklahoma State also dropped a game to Houston, dropping them more.
The end of the poll is muddled as always, so help me out down there.
Marquette 79, Michigan 65
Alabama 68, Michigan 66
Michigan (3-2, 0-0)
Michigan fans hoping to lean on the success of the basketball team to fill the void left by a subpar football season might have to re-think things. The Wolverines, favored to win the Old Spice Classic, went just 1-2 in the event, falling to Marquette and Alabama after beating Creighton in round 1. Time for everyone to adjust some expectations.
When the 3-point shots aren't falling, this team is going to have some difficulty beating teams with comparable talent. Even when Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims both have decent performances, a third player will have to step up with a good game in support. Against Alabama, it looked like Manny was the only one who had any interest in winning the game. Though they may not have the talent of this year's players, CJ Lee and David Merritt were able to pull the team up by its bootstraps and gut out some wins. Somebody needs to step up for this Michigan team and fill a much-needed leadership role.
Of course, this is basketball, not football. Simply losing a couple games isn't going to mean that the Wolverines are removed from national contention. However, it's a pain to see such glaring weaknesses exposed this early in the season. John Beilein is known as one of the best coaches in America for a reason, and he should be able to help the team bounce back. Hopefully, that can come sooner rather than later, since Boston College definitely won't be an easy out on Wednesday.
- Darius Morris really seemed to struggle in the past two games. Hopefully, he can learn quickly how to adapt to the mental requirements of this level of basketball. Playing LLP more at the 1 and easing Morris in a bit might help... except for the fact the 2-guard has no depth. Stu Douglass can shoot the hell out of the ball, but Marquette exposed his lack of quickness on Friday.
- Anthony Wright continued to show why he shouldn't get as much playing time as he does. Every time he gets the ball, he wants to shoot. Most of those times, he misses.
- DeShawn Sims is lacking consistency at this point in the year, but he shows flashes of why he has potential to break out and become a major NBA prospect. I don't think much more needs to be said about what the other superstar, Manny Harris, means to this team.
- The free throw shooting wasn't particularly bad against 'Bama, but it was a horrorshow earlier in the weekend. Michigan was a great free throw shooting team last year, so hopefully this is just a speed bump that the team can get through.
- Not a ton of bench players, beyond Douglass, Gibson, and Wright (grumble grumble) got much playing time. Even Matt Vogrich only got a few minutes in the last two games. Michigan's bench needs to be able to bring out a couple contributors if this team is going to have any success.
- On that note, Michigan was pretty bad last year coming of short rest. Part of that was likely due to lack of depth. Hopefully, the weak efforts against Marquette and Alabama were partially related to a lack of game shape, with no practice time in between to recover. That would give Michigan much more upside.
Michigan will take on Boston College on Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Previews of the Challenge and the Eagles coming up later this week.
I didn't manage to put up a preview, so we'll liveblog instead. For all your previewing needs, check out UMHoops. Game is on ESPN at noon. Read the Chaos Mitigation Post if you're wondering why your post isn't showing up. Inkster is on FSN Detroit at 1, so we can talk about that during breaks in the game, or if it gets overly frustrating. Other topics are OK, but please try to stay on topic as much as possible, because I'm modding this bad boy solo, and it's really tough to sift through comments.
Michigan 83, Creighton 76. Michigan 3-0
Bullets only, since it's a holiday. Hell, I'll even make them holiday-themed.
I'm Thankful For:
- The win. It seemed like it wasn't going to happen for a while there, as I was tearing my hair out in frustration. It would not have been a happy holiday if Michigan hadn't pulled this one out.
- Manny Harris. Just one rebound away from another triple-double. At the end of the game, I wanted Michigan to chuck up a bad shot, just so he could get the offensive rebound and acheev dream. It looks like he and Evan Turner are going to battle all year to see who can finish with more triple-doubles. At least Harris isn't likely to get the quadruple-double by turning it over all the time.
- Zack Novak. Dude. Novak rules. End of discussion.
- A talented rotation. Michigan only played 6 guys extensively, bringing Stu Douglass off the bench. However, Morris is a talent upgrade over last year's walkons, and it probably helped Michigan win this game.
I'm Not Thankful For:
- The officials. I'm not going to idiotically accuse them of actively conspiring against Michigan, but they missed a ton of calls, and it seemed like most of the big ones went against the Wolverines. If the NCAA wants to hire me as their referee czar, I'm available. Couldn't possibly be any worse than the guy doing it now.
- Creighton's hot shooting. The Blue Jays, despite all their turnovers, managed to stay in the game ecause they shot the ball very well, particularly in the second half. They're a damn good team, and don't be surprised to see them in the NCAA tourney.
- Lack of substitution. After the 6-man rotation, there was very little playing time for backups. That won't fly later in the year, and Michigan needs to get some of these guys game-ready.
- Zack Gibson. He made his requisite gumpy plays, but didn't play enough to have the opportunity for his requisite awesomely athletic play to make you forgive him.
- Free throw shooting. What the hell? Michigan was awesome at the line last year. Hopefully most of the struggles can be attributed to not getting a lot of games in early in the year. If not, expect free throws to cost the Wolverines at least one game this year.
- Away-game atmosphere. AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein told me that there were approximately equal numbers of Michigan and Creighton fans in The Milk House, but it definitely sounded like Creighton was the home team. Michigan fans at the next two games (and in general, but that's a story for another day) need to step up the intensity and support their team.
The winner of the Marquette-Xavier game will face our Wolverines tomorrow at noon. Preview upcoming when we know who the winner is (at the time of publishing, Marquette leads Xavier in the first half).
|WHAT||#15 Michigan v. Creighton|
November 26th, 2009
|THE LINE||Michigan –5*|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
The Wolverines venture outside the friendly confines of Crisler Arena for the first time this year, as they take on the Creighton Blue Jays in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.
The Wolverines have been tested far less than their opponents (and most teams in Division 1 ball), playing only two games on the year so far, and one of those coming against Division II Northern Michigan. Neither team came within 20 points of Michigan.
Manny Harris is still fighting his hamstring issue. He will play against Creighton, but is not 100%. Since playing is a good way to prevent that hamstring from becoming stiff, I would expect him to play extensively unless the game reaches a garbage-time situation. Morris-LLP-Harris-Novak-Sims will likely be your starters until further notice.
Creighton will be the first big challenge that Michigan has faced this season, according to John Beilein. Coach Beilein is good friends with Creighton coach Dana Altman, so he's familiar with the Bluejays, and what they try to do on both ends of the floor. As the head coach at West Virginia, Beilein faced Altman and Creighton in the 2005 NCAA tournament, emerging with a 63-61 victory.
Creighton has a deep roster, with 10 guys getting extensive playing time so far this season. Four players have started every game for Creighton: wing Darryl Ashford, center Kenny Lawson Jr., and guards P'Allen Stinnett and Kaleb Korver. Korver (the younger brother of Creighton alum Kyle, currently with the Utah Jazz) is a sharpshooter, and Beilein noted that he has an excellent presence on the court.
They have two offensive styles that they can playing, with a passing-oriented offensive set, as well as a Memphis-style dribble-drive offense. The diversity in Creighton's playbook makes them a difficult team to prepare for. Through 3 games, they have been good at shooting the ball and not having it taken away by the opposition, and have been bad at getting to the line and rebounding on defense. They shoot a bunch of threes, and are a similar team to Michigan, perhaps with a little less size in the reserves.
UMHoops talks to Creighton blog The White and Blue Review. Sounds like the Bluejays are pretty banged up already this year. While you're at it, check out WaBR for the latest on Creighton. Check out my Old Spice Classic overview. Special thanks goes to PaulVB, who was the MGoPresence at Beilein's press conference yesterday.
I'm going back-and-forth on whether I'm willing to have a CiL chat during the game tomorrow. Cast your votes in the comments, I guess.
Cullen Christian Goes Blue
As everyone has been expecting for some time now, PA CB Cullen Christian picked the Wolverines yesterday, adding a much-needed defensive back to the class of 2010. The announcement itself had been planned for weeks, and although it took a little longer than expected, the result is unsurprising. Local article. (Christian image via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
For the record, The US Army All-American Bowl will select a player from Penn Hills next week. Christian and WR/S Brandon Ifill have both been nominated, and I'd imagine Christian is the choice as he is rated better by every recruiting service. And since there wasn't room for it yesterday, here's part 2 of Cullen's junior highlight video:
Who Will Fill the Class?
With Christian's commitment and the news that 2009 FL CB Adrian Witty will join the team this winter, there are only a few more spots available in the 2010 recruiting class. Next week's recruitin' update will be an overview-type post, but for now, let's look at a few of the guys who are still possibilities.
FL WR Kenny Shaw has narrowed his list to Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, and Florida State, with Georgia having an outside shot at him. He will announce his decision on Signing Day. [Source: ESPN, though they've apparently made it their corporate mission to not get a single inbound link, so whatever]. Florida State is still on top, but Michigan may have moved into second after an enjoyable visit ($, info in header/speculation).
CA WR Kenny Stills, one of the many visitors to the M/OSU game, will announce his final decision on December 1st. Michigan is probably on the outside in this one, but at least we'll know soon, right?
TX DT Jatashun Beachum enjoyed his Michigan visit, but it sounds as though he's unlikely to decommit from Arkansas. This is a disappointment, since it sounded before the Michigan visit like a decommitment from the Hogs was basically just a formality. Further updates coming as that situation develops.
MD LB Josh Furman has narrowed his list to two, with a decision date set ($, info in header). The narrowing is news, but he's been planning to announce at the Maryland Crab Bowl for some time, and there's been no indication of a change there. No word on the final two, but Michigan and Virginia Tech were announced as his leaders last week, so it's probably them... and Scout confirms all the information in one convenient header.
CA S Sean Parker told MGoBlog's own Tom VanHaaren that he plans to officially visit Michigan. Rivals confirms. Parker was supposed to be a heavy Notre Dame lean, but recent events are obviously concerning.
CA S/LB Tony Jefferson enjoyed his Michigan visit, but not even the afterglow is enough to move the Wolverines into his top 2. UCLA and Oklahoma are still on top for him, and he's going to "consider [Michigan] the rest of the way." Not the most promising update in the world. (Jefferson pictured at right via the Detroit News).
[Update: News article does say that "ESPN speculates he will choose the Wolverines," but that's contradicted by the direct quotes linked above and should be taken with a grain of salt.]
FL CB Tony Grimes and DE Clarence Murphy both enjoyed their visit to Ann Arbor, and I think the headline "Michigan on Top in Hollywood Hills" ($, info in header) is a pretty good indication of where the Wolverines stand with both prospects. Rivals confirms ($, info in header) for Murphy.
[your editor dips in for a moment…]
For what it's worth, on Monday's WTKA recruiting roundup, Sam Webb said he had a "gut feeling" on four players: Christian, Grimes, Murphy and Furman. For those unfamiliar, Webb's gut is the place he puts information about silent commitments. Christian has already dropped and Grimes and Murphy are a formality; if Webb is right about Furman and that potential rule change those four guys would close out the class.
Snake-Oiling The Irish?
The last time Notre Dame switched coaches, Michigan pirated away DE Jeremy Van Alstyne and CB/S Brandon Harrison from Ty Willingham's last class. Weis has been crushing Michigan's head in recruiting since he was hired. So can Michigan repeat the feat when Weis is fired two seconds after this weekend's game against Stanford ends?
Probably not. There are two kids in the class that Michigan finished second for, but FL CBs Lo Wood and Spencer Boyd are generic three-star sorts and Michigan isn't going to throw one of their generic three-star cornerbacks overboard, or pass up on Grimes, for them. Notre Dame's got a couple of good linebacker commits but they're both from North Carolina and had no interest in Michigan before they committed. Five-star CO DE Chris Martin has been a soft commitment for a while but he's had no interest in Michigan and Weis's firing isn't likely to sprout any. Michigan didn't make IN DE Blake Lueders's top five the first time he cut it down.
The only other player in Notre Dame's class who seems like even a slight possibility is IL OL Christian Lombard, but Lombard committed to Notre Dame at the Army Junior Combine and is likely a true believer who isn't even going to look around. (Side note: Lombard was a consensus five-star at that combine and Rivals now has him a meh three star. Ricardo Miller should have a "what happened to our recruiting rankings" pity party with him.)
In sum: Michigan and Notre Dame did not got head-to-head much this year and Michigan has better options at the spot where they did and ND won, so Weis's axing isn't going to be fruitful for the already-crammed recruiting class.
OH TE Alex Smith officially decommitted from Cincinnati last week, and Michigan was in the small group of schools he was still considering. Alas, he chose North Carolina yesterday, meaning his tenure on the recruiting board is over once and for all.
SC WR Nick Jones, who Michigan had offered, committed to South Carolina. Michigan was never hot on him, and I imagine he was mostly offered for leverage on Marcus Lattimore.
FL RB Demetrius Hart missed his playoff game last week because there was a controversy over whether he lived in the appropriate school district to attend Dr. Phillips.
John Magrino, Dr. Phillips athletic director, said OCPS determined Hart should sit until administrators can study allegations brought by Olympia that he lives in Pine Hills, not the DP school zone.
"He was assigned to our school from day one as a ninth grader and we’ve never had any reason to question that until today,” Magrino said.
Dr. Phillips managed to squeak out a 23-22 victory over Olympia without him, and he was cleared to hit the field against Apopka this weekend. Apparently, the mere challenge by Olympia's principal has been seen as a bush-league move. Hart is considered a heavy Michigan lean, although he wasn't able to make it to Ann Arbor for a visit last weekend.
ESPN's On The Trail (no link) reports that FL DT Tim Jernigan, who holds a Michigan offer, is only likely to consider Florida and Florida State.
Michigan has their eye on AZ QB/P Jordan Morgan. He's been invited to the Army All-American Combine in San Antonio.
Etc.: MI CB Dior Mathis is an Army All-American, along with MSU Commit Joe Boisture (which is odd, because he was so awful this year that his high school team benched him). That's an Army player each of the past four years for Cass Tech, with two picking the Wolverines (though Boubacar Cissoko didn't exactly turn out as expected). Fluff on the high school coach of GA DT Michael Thornton and LB Tyrone Cornileus. Michigan pipeline Pahokee faces an unceremonious exit from the state playoffs.