and... i like them? I think I like them.
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.
A Note on Premium Info: No illict 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: 18. By February, probably a full 25.
|Expired Eligibility||Hood, Hall, Van Alstyne, Biggs, Woodley, Oluigbo, Thompson, Barringer, Harris, Burgess, Bihl, Riley, Kolodziej, Rivas, J. Jackson, Ecker, Breaston, Tabb||18|
|Unrenewed Fifth||Possibilities: Sharrow, Campbell, Paul||~3|
Anything not in the "expired eligibility" is a wild-ass guess from me; read nothing into it, I beg you.
1/29: Nothin's going on. Added, uh, QB(?) DT Ronaldo Sagesse, who's from Quebec. Removed OH LB Jermale Hines, who finally committed to OSU. Linked to article on Rashad Mason's trip to Ole Miss.
Update 1/12: Linked to article on IN DT Jeff Boyd: we lead, no offer (academics)... nevermind. Removed commits Jerimy Finch and Marquis Maze. Removed everyone else, basically.
Update 1/9: Removed a fair number of commitments to other schools. Moved CA CB/S Michael Williams to committed. Added NBC's US Army Bowl "highlights" which are less highlights and more "every play." Michael Williams features intermittently, but they're under Mallett (and here: first quarter second quarter third quarter fourth quarter). You'll have to watch Mustachioed Non-Heisman Winner plug Sprint four times, but you can also get in the entire game in like 25 or 30 minutes, which is way less creepy and pedophiliac than watching it live. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. Game fallout: guy who looks like he walked right off the 1988 World Series of Poker set and into the Texarkana Gazett goes OMG Mallett; GBW gushes; ESPN says that Mallett is at least Clausen's equal($) but they aren't "in love" with any of this year's quarterback class -- they still lifted him from #54 to #12, though.
Meanwhile, three Michigan commits -- WR Toney Clemons, S Jerimy Finch, and C David Molk -- featured in another game that no one saw because it was on ESPNU. Scout has a recap. Sounds like Molk did well; Finch has been shooting up Rivals' -- the lone dissenter on his awesome talent -- board for a while now. He's #30 with a bullet in their latest top 100.
Update 12/20: Added IN DE Jeff Boyd and NC DE Kourtnei Brown, linked to articles on Everson Griffen, SC WR Junior Hemingway, TX CB Troy Woolfolk, and KS LB Austin Panter. Removed AZ OL Jaivorio Burkes, IL RB Robert Hughes, and CA LB Malcolm Smith (dropped us). Added TN WR(!) Rashad Mason and MO OL Donald Stephenson.
Needs: Severe. Michigan has three scholarship quarterbacks and hasn't landed a blue-chipper since Henne three years ago. They will probably take two quarterbacks in this class unless someone like Mallet gets a Henson guarantee. Whoever comes in this year will redshirt and then compete for the starting job as a redshirt freshman.
Update: Mallett's commit likely takes us out of the running for all other highly-touted recruits, but I'll leave them on there until I hear otherwise. I'd think Michigan will attempt to pick up a second player for insurance purposes -- Stephen Threet?
Projected Commits: 2.
|Ryan Mallet||TX||*****||Michigan||Rivals #9 for 2007; mention of Texas and M leading; Dallas Morning News article; Star-Telegram article. May have gotten an ultimatim from UT (did, actually). MGoBlog on Mallet; Texarkana Gazette commit story (and a second one). GBW article.|
Running Back / Fullback
Needs: Michigan had a definite need for a fullback that was taken care of early when Michigan's Vince Helmuth commited at junior day. In a class this large you can expect at least one running back even though Michigan has Grady, Simpson, Brown, and Minor in the last couple classes.
Projected Commits: 2, 1 RB, 1 FB.
|Vince Helmuth(FB)||***||Michigan||Brother is former Spartan Chris Baker. AA News article. Saline Reporter article. Commited at junior day. Good at throwing things real far. MLive article; Free Press article; Jim__S: "If there was ever a prospect born to play fullback at Michigan, it's Helmuth. The position demands a hard-nosed, strong and relatively quick player who is happy to not carry the ball. The fact of the matter is that Helmuth doesn't even get many carries at Saline High. He has great bloodlines, being a half-brother of current NY Jet TE Chris Baker. He is a three-sport athlete and has great strength. He was the Division I state champion in the discus as a sophomore, a tough feat in the weight events for an underclassman, with a toss of 185-4 (Terrance Taylor inished second at 178-9. In the shot put he finished third with a put of 55-2 (Taylor finished just behind him in fourth followed by another talented Class of 2007 prospect, Darris Sawtelle, in fifth). Finally, at just 6-1 he is short enough to get the leverage needed to block out of the backfield in the Big Ten. If he grows a couple of inches he could become an outstanding DT or OG prospect."|
Needs: Moderate. Expect two or three. Michigan has LaTerryal Savoy, Mario Manningham, Antonio Bass, and Greg Mathews in the last two classes--a good mix of speed merchants and towering possesion receivers--but should be in the mode of taking at least one receiver in every class.
Projected Commits: 2.
|James Rogers||MI||**||Michigan||Shock camp commitment from total sleeper. Video. Brief article. More video.|
|Junior Hemingway||SC||****||Michigan||Sun News article; Hemingway Hauls In Victory, offer; BP Thread; GoUpState article. article from senior year opener|
|Toney Clemons||PA||****||Michigan||Scout combine MVP; Scout article; offer.|
|Rashad Mason||TN||**||UCLA, M, UL, Ole Miss||Bonafide sleeper, a 6'6" tower who missed his junior year after a severe car accident. Scout article. Another.|
Needs: Severe. Michigan has redshirt freshman Carson Butler and then maybe '05 recruit Quintin Woods--though he could end up at defensive end--over the past two years. That's not enough. Fortunately, there appears to be a trio of instate prospects that will probably get offers sooner or later, plus Steve Paskorz, an early top 100 player from Pennsylvania.
Projected Commits: 2.
|Steve Watson||MI||***.5||Michigan||MGoBlog on Watson.|
|Martell Webb||MI||****||Michigan||offer; ATH WR; MGoBlog on Webb. Scout article; Oakland Press article.|
Needs: Moderate. Expect four or five after Michigan went relatively light last year with only three recruits.
Projected Commits: 5.
|Dave Molk||IL||****||Michigan||Offer, will camp. Scout #91. Probably not going to ND.|
|Mark Huyge||MI||**||Michigan||In ur face. Rivals article.|
Needs: Moderate to severe depending on the eventual fates of Marques Slocum (still trying to qualify) and Eugene Germany (still trying to outrun cops). Michigan picked up a couple of DT prospects (John Ferrara and Jason Kates) in 2005, but neither is highly regarded.
Projected Commits: 2.
Needs: Minor to moderate, depending on where exac
tly Ferrara, Woods, and Adam Patterson end up. Three defensive ends--Van Alstyne, Biggs, and Woodley--graduate, so at least two players should be brought in to replace them.
Projected Commits: 2.
|Ryan VanBergen||MI||****||Michigan||ATH TE; mention on Rivals. MGoBlog on VanBergen; commit article from the Muskegon Chronicle.|
Needs: Moderate. Michigan took four last year but could use another couple in '07 since they had only one in the previous class. The focus will be more on outside linebackers as both Brandon Graham and Cobrani Mixon look like potential MLBs.
Projected Commits: 2.
|Austin Panter||KS||****||Michigan||A JUCO(!). Went to JUCO after being lightly recruited at a tiny 8-on-8 school and is a good student. Has three years to play two. MGoBlog on Panter. JUCO defensive POY. AA News article.|
|Brandon Herron||TX||***||Michigan||MGoBlog on Herron. Same school as Woolfolk.|
|Marell Evans||VA||**||Michigan||Varina (Brandon Minor's school). Commit article.|
Needs: Desperate. Michigan has two California sleepers from the last two classes after Brandon Harrison's move to safety and Jai Eugene's decommitment. Michigan needs corners in both quality and quantity. Luckily, the 2007 class is loaded with both. Michigan may not have to leave the state to fill this position. Two instate blue-chippahs, Ron Johnson and Dionte Allen, have received offers and are expected to end up in the Maize and Blue sooner or later. A third, Cedric Everson from Detroit, is a track superstar who may get an offer over the summer.
Projected Commits: 3, maybe even 4.
|Troy Woolfolk||TX||***||Michigan||Son of Butch. MGoBlog on Woolfolk. Houston Chronicle article.|
|Michael Williams||CA||****.5||M, ND lead||Michigan in top two according to Scout.|
|Ron Johnson||MI||*****||M, ND, USC, Texas||Same school as Terrance Taylor; Rivals #6 for 2007. UV on Johnson from BP. Mondo Muskegon Chronicle article; second article|
|Donovan Warren||CA||****||USC leads M, UCLA, Cal||offer|
Needs: Moderate. Michigan picked up two in the last class, but Jonas Mouton may grow into an OLB. The year before that Michigan got shut out when Nic Harris made a last second 180 and went to Oklahoma. Michigan's already picked up (probable) four-star Artis Chambers; look for one or possibly two more.
Projected Commits: 2, maybe 3.
|Artis Chambers||IN||****||Michigan||MGoBlog on Chambers; RBUAS on Chambers.|
Needs: None. Michigan redshirted punter Zoltan Mesko last year and recruited kicker Bryan Wright. Sam Buckman also came in as a preferred walk-on. No kickers will be offered scholarships this year.
Projected Commits: 0, though if someone wants to walk on they'll take him.
Update 12/13: Linked to article on LB commit Marell Evans (claims VT and Clemson were interested) and one on JUCO LB Austin Panter (JUCO national DPOY.) Added TN OT Jared McGaha, removed CA RB Curtis Shaw(Washington). Linked to articles on IL DT Josh Brent, FL S/OLB Lorenzo Edwards, FL CB Doug Wiggins, and TX QB Ryan Mallett. Linked some YouTube video of MI WR James Rogers. Linked to article on OH LB Peter Rolf.
Update 12/11: Added CA CB David Ross, a four star without an offer who claims Michigan his "dream school." Removed DE, er, DE Devon Still, who dropped us. Moved KS LB Austin Panter to committed. Linked to article on AZ OL Jaivorio Burkes and one on OT commitment Mark Huyge. Added CA LB Malcolm Smith. Removed some safety chaff. Moved TX LB Brandon Herron to committed. Removed IL DE Martez Wilson, VA CB Cris Hill (dropped us). Added VA LB Marell Evans to committed.
Update 11/30: Wooo! It's back. With the long delay just assume a lot of changes. I've removed a whole host of guys who have committed elsewhere or fallen off the radar and added a separate host, including FL CB Doug Wiggins, OH LBs LeBron Daniel and Jermale Hines, TX LB Brandon Herron, KS LB Austin Panter, CA DT Da'John Harris, and VA CB Cris Hill.
Updates on: AL ATH Marquis Maze, CA RB Curtis Shaw (Michgan and Washington lead), CA CB Michael Williams (still deciding between Michigan and ND), MI FB Vince Helmuth (early enroll), Junior Hemingway (tough mofo, 73 catches for 938 yards and 13 touchdowns, team plays for state championship tonight).
Update 8/24: Removed all quarterbacks, WR Taurian Washington(OSU), TEs Cameron Joplin and Josh Rooks (both NW), WR David Arnold (also NW), OL Lee Ziemba (down to Ark and Aub), a bunch of marginal corners and Dionte Allen (FSU).
Moved David Molk to committed.
Update 6/30: Removed PA S Nick Sukay (PSU), QB Stephen Threet(GT), Dan Herron(OSU), RB Darren Evans (VT), DE Everson Griffen (dropped us), RB John Clay (dropped us, via WBS), WR Mark Dell(dropped us or perhaps vice versa).
Added DE (that's Delaware) DE Devon Still, who says Michigan has offered and leads.
Update 6/15: Linked to David Arnold article and a second -- dude is fast, plus one on commit Vince Helmuths further attempts to throw things really far. Removed SC LB Scotty Cooper (Clemson), S Marshall Jones (USC), CB Marcus Gilchrist (dropped us), OH S Sidney Glover (IU), NC RB Marcus Houston (NC). Linked to article on Mitchell Schwartz. Added MI WR James Rogers as a commit; also moved TX CB Troy Woolfolk to commit. There's very little on Rogers on the internet, but Michigan Elite football has a brief story and some video. Added IL DT Josh Brent. Linked to another one of those big ol' Fox Sports articles and an article on Toney Clemons.
Update 6/10: Added IL OL Dave Molk, who checks it towards the bottom of the Scout 100 and plans to cap for a day. There's also this fantastic, fantastic story. Linked to article on Dionte Allen (will camp) and Marshall Jones (M in top four). Removed Justin Trattou (ND) and John Ditto (PSU). Linked to large thing from Fox Sports that contains notes on MI WR Mark Dell and WI RB John Clay.
Update 6/2: Linked to article on the four major D-I prospects at Warren Central in Indiana, including commit Jerimy Finch, and PittLive article on PA WR Toney Clemons. Removed PA H-back Steve Paskorz (ND); added OK OL Matt Romine, TN LB Chris Walker, CA RB Curtis Shaw. Linked to GBW article on Mallet.
Update 5/24: Added MI OL Mike VanDerBergen, who has a profile with Michigan leading but still is without an offer -- looks like a make-or-break camp for him -- and OH S Diaunte Morrow. Moved Jerimy Finch to committed (sort of). Linked to article on OH CB Jordan Mabin -- much hype for a guy with only one real offer thus far. Linked to an article on CO WR Drew Davis and some Helmuth track exploits and Marshall Jones profile from Scout.
Update 5/11: Removed MI CB Cedric Everson (not listed in his top five) and PA QB Pat Bostick (Pitt), asserted that Michigan leads for IN S/LB Jerimy Finch based on straightforward "Solid Wolverine Lead" head on latest Superprep article. Linked to Scout interview with IL RB Robert Hughes.
Update 5/4: Removed MI LB Chris Colasanti (PSU), added IL DE Martez Wilson, linked to Irish Eyes article with extensive passage on Joseph Barksdale. Linked to article on Brandon Saine -- more track zoomin' -- but it looks like he committed to OSU. Linked to article on OH CB Jordan Mabin, who says that Michigan is in his top three pending an offer. Moved Martell Webb to committed.
Update 4/28: Removed AL CB Phelon Jones(Miami), MI QB Justin Siller(dropped us), NY QB Mike Paulus (ditto, due to Mallett), and VA QB Peter Lalich (UVA). Moved Ryan Mallet to committed. Also linked to Texarkana Gazette article on his commitment, a second Gazette article, and an article on Josh Oglesby -- M in top six... er, then removed Oglesby after he committed to UW.
Update 4/9: Linked to article on MI LB Chris Colasanti. Removed OR DT Myles Wade, who dropped us and CA QB Chris Forcier(UCLA). Linked to meatnormous article on NY QB Mike Paulus. Added FL LB Ronnie Lillard. Linked to article on MI OL Darris Sawtelle -- sounds like it's Tennessee before too long (er... I mean "it's Tennessee, period") and article on MI DE Ryan VanBergen -- yes, a DE.
Also: added OK RB Gerald Jones.
Update 4/5: Added OLs Lee Ziemba (AR) and Jaivorio Burkes (AZ). Linked to article on Brandon Saine's track exploits. Linked to Scout article on IN RB Darren Evans that claims a leader... Mississippi State? Uh, okay. Michigan still in it; no offer. Linked to note on SC LB Scotty Cooper that says he is going to make an unofficial visit to Michigan over spring break and brief Scout article on IN WR Adrien Robinson. Moved Ryan VanBergen to committed.
Update 3/29: Added CA RB Marc Tyler. Linked to (fairly content free) John Clay profile -- he's good. Also found an unexpected bounty of interesting information at HornFans. Check IBFC for some analysis of Ryan Mallet's situation; there's also a huge post on Clay from one of the proprietors of WisFootball.net. More Mallet: opening it up?
Still Texas and Michigan only? It is the mystery.
Update 3/28: Removed CA CB Courtney Viney(UCLA) and SC S Mark Barnes(has dropped us). Linked to mondo Muskegon Chronicle article on MI CB Ron Johnson. Michigan is named as the favorite within. Added a link to the (surprisingly professional) Piqua HS website -- that's Brandon Saine's school. Linked to video of OH RB Dan Herron and Rivals roundup article with mentions of MI TE/DE Ryan Van Bergen and MI CB Chris Rucker.
Added MI DT Ryan Wheat and MI OL Darrell Davis-Budnaro based on the latest JimS opus.
Update 3/24: Added SC LB Scotty Cooper, who has an offer. Linked to SunshinePreps.com video on Darren Evans, Adrien Robinson, and Jerimy Finch. Removed SC CB Gary Gray (dropped us; probably SoCar soon). Linked to article on Darris Sawtelle and one on Greg Little.
Not credible enough to add to the board, but some UV2 on Saine from the Bucks indicates that they aren't confident at all and expect him to be a Wolverine soon. His BP thread also has similar pessimism.
Linked to a large roundup article on Fox Sports with information on WI RB John Clay (UW #1 right now, Texas would be with an offer, still interested in Michigan), CA CB Michael Williams (Michigan and ND are his leaders), MI DT Joseph Barksdale (nothing new), MI OL Darris Sawtelle (leaders are M, Tenn, USC -- probably decides early), NJ LB Manny Abreu (claiming an offer from M -- added to the board).
Update 3/15: Linked to IL OL Miles Stroter article. Added FL OL James Wilson and MI TE Cameron Joplin. Linked to Josh Oglesby article that is sure to cause conniption fits. Linked to Toney Clemons article. Linked to Rivals piece with content on MI QBs Stephen Threet, DeMarcus Grady, and Justin Siller, plus an initial top five for NC WR and blue-chippah Greg Little that does not include Michigan. Added VA QB Pete Lalich, who has been offered. Added AL CB Phelon Jones.
Update 3/8: Linked to article on CA CB Michael Williams that says Michigan is in his top two. Added PA WR Toney Clemons. Linked to Scout article on MI LB Chris Colasanti and one on IN LB Jerimy Finch. Added MI TE Martell Webb, who has been offered. Linked to Scout article on IL RB Robert Hughes.
BP thinks Brandon Saine just picked up a Michigan offer, BTW.
Update 3/3: Linked to UV on AZ OL Kris O'Dowd. In sum: his brother says OSU leads and that he didn't click with Michigan. The fact that "BigBroO'Dowd" hasn't ever posted before is a red flag, but he's made six coherent posts and I find it difficult to believe someone's spoofing the Buckeyes about an Arizona lineman. Call it UV3; I buy it.
Added MI QBs Justin Siller and Stephen Threet; linked to free Mike Paulus article; added VA DB Davon Morgan, a teammate of Brandon Minor last year. He's been offered. Also added NJ DE Justin Trattou, CA CB Michael Williams, and OH CB Marcus English, though this Scout article on English where he lists Louisville, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pitt implies that he's probably a plan B type.
Update 2/26: Added IN WR Adrien Robinson, NJ OL Matt Bush, NY QB Mike Paulus, FL WR Leonard Hankerson.
Removed TX RB Bradley Stephens (A&M).
Linked to article on Joseph Barksdale that also mentions his teammate Zach Easterly, who has been added. Linked to article on Dionte Allen: he's been offered by FSU and mentions a top two of FSU and Michigan.
Linked to some credible-ish message board speculation. Also: introducing 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. Anyway: three links to Unverified Voracity. Some guy says we're in good for Finch but not Evans from Warren Central: two stars. Semi-frequent BP poster unionfutura details the RoJo situation and lays out Michigan's advantages in full: three stars. Confirmed inside Colerain dude Honor & Glory says OSU leads for Clifford: four stars. 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.
I find it exceedingly difficult to say things about teams that are performing in a negative fashion... sort of. It is, in fact, exceedingly easy to flip out and kill stuff. What's difficult is writing something that you can come back to in a week or two and not feel a hot flush of shame at every overheated, overreacting sentence.
So... yeah, hockey and basketball coverage has been light lately because strings of curse words, impreciations directed at referees who probably aren't Satan or even communist, and general incoherent gibbering do not make for fine reading. At least not in depressing bulk. Suffice it to say that I haven't really enjoyed a Michigan sporting event since the end of the Wisconsin basketball game. Things kind of go like that sometimes. Here's an attempt to say something rational.
Tommy Amaker shouldn't be fired if you care about being fair. When he arrived going on five years ago, the program was in shambles thanks to Steve Fisher, Ed Martin, Tom Goss, and (especially) Brian Ellerbe. Within months of his arrival he had booted Avery Queen, Maurice Seawright, and Dom Ingerson--all of whom were nasty people who couldn't even play basketball--and was faced with a roster consisting of Lavell Blanchard, Bernard Robinson, Jr., and... well, there is no "and." What he was faced with was a rebuilding job epic in its scope.
And build he did, at least at first. An 11-18 team and pending NCAA probation didn't prevent Amaker from recruiting Daniel Horton, Lester Abram, Chris Hunter, and Graham Brown--a class on par with any of Ellerbe's in terms of talent and far better in terms of arriving on campus and staying for more than half a season. The next year he went 17-13; the year after Michigan was 23-11 and won the NIT. Michigan was on the verge of relevancy... until someone pissed Jobu off.
What's followed in the last two years has been a epidemic of smiting from above that makes Angry Michigan-Safety-Hating God look like a rank amateur. Michigan fans spent most of last year watching Daniel Horton and Lester Abram watch two walk-ons watch Dion Harris attempt to get a shot, any shot. This year it's Abram and Harris watching Horton. Throw in some extended absences from Brent Petway (both years), Graham Brown (last year), Jerrett Smith (this year), Courtney Sims (about every other game, mentally), and Chris Hunter (both years, including the latest blow: a partially torn MCL that will probably end his career) and you have a nigh-insurmountable pile of bodies worthy of Pol Pot. Game, set, match to Angry Michigan-Basketball-Hating God.
So it's totally irrational to call for Amaker's firing. (Not that anyone of note is, I believe.) Take Ager, Walton, and Neitzel away from Michigan State and do the Spartans make the tournament? Doubtful. A healthy Michigan team is cruising towards the tournament instead of stumbling around like an Izzone member about to get some Ba up in his face. This is progress. This is a five-year sweep that shows upward mobility at every milestone if you control for AMBH God-smiting and the like.
Here's the but: But.
Even though I think you'd be hard-pressed to find many calling for Amaker's head, you'd have an even tougher time finding anyone who was anything approaching optimistic about the future. Graham Brown, Chris Hunter, Daniel Horton, and possibly Lester Abram are gone after this year. Amaker's failure to recruit anyone who looks to be more than an iffy role-player in the past two years leaves Michigan 2006 with two posts--still-sushi-raw Brent Petway and soft Courtney Sims--and one unprepared, turnover-prone point guard--Jerrett Smith. Ron Coleman is an okay Big Ten player; he is an awful Big Ten recruiting class. The talent pendulum has reached its apex. This is our "good" year.
The thing is, this really isn't Amaker's fault. He had Al Horford committed. He had Joe Crawford committed. He had Malik Hairston and Tory Jackson about to commit. All were diverted at the last second by people less than captivated by Amaker's turtlenecks and refusal to guarantee playing time and the presumptive NBA contract that came with it. The state of Michigan's tendency to produce basketball players fathered by lunatics isn't his doing, but it is his problem. It would be dextrous coach indeed who could recover from such a sudden shift in the current. Nothing that's happened over the past two or three years can be pinned on Amaker. He can't be fired. It wouldn't be fair. It would cause outcry.
Here is But #2: Joe Dumars would probably fire Amaker. He would be polite about it, but he would say something along the lines of "we appreciate the hard work you've put in to get us to this level and acknowledge the bad luck you've had, but you're going to have to go coach the Pacers now." And he would get away with it, because he's Joe Dumars. Joe Dumars walks on parquet water.
But we don't have a Joe D. As a result, we'll be watching Amaker twist in the wind for a while longer, not at fault for the losing, until his fireability reaches mortal levels. At least, that's what I think will happen. I'd like to be wrong.
Beckett says: $0.25 ^^
Michigan has received a verbal commitment from safety Artis Chambers from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Apparently he had this wicked sweet dunk when he was a 5'8" freshman, a tall tale confirmed by this mysterious biographical squib that mentions the windmill throwdown and also offers the critical information that Chambers enjoys chicken and golf. Don't we all. Except the part about the golf.
...and this is the part where I wake up the next day and see that Johnny has already googled the hail out of Chambers, referenced the chicken and golf thing, and found this beauty of a photo--it appears to be Chambers and an offensive lineman crooning something like "The Time of My Life" at some sort of public gathering. Good times. Seriously, just go over there and check it out, since it's exactly what I was in the midst of doing last night before going to bed.
If you don't care about Michigan football enough to click a link: Chambers appears to be one of the top prospects in Indiana and thus will likely end up a solid four-star and could slide in at the bottom of a top 100 or two. An early offer is always a good sign.
(Note: I disagree with Johnny's assessment of the safety situation in a couple ways: Indianapolis Warren Central's Jerimy Finch could play linebacker and Ronald Johnson could play corner, so I don't think this closes any doors. Also, the cavemen at Buckeye Planet are muttering positively about Clifford after writing him off earlier in the year--not conclusive but not good, either.)
The hot blog groupies ("Hot Blog Groupies" was a much better joke when I could accompany it with a link to Google showing no results, but that's life) should be rolling in any minute now, I guess. A lot of people found the pretty graphs to be interesting, which is good since they took more time than I thought they would. The third down stuff was supposed to be a sanity check/proof of concept for the stats database and my php skillz... but I wanted the graphs to look a certain way (the red/green) not facilitated by the software package I was using. Thus I had fun with line intersection algorithms. Yay.
Anyway, a selection of the blogosphere's finest chimed in with their own analysis. Braves & Birds highlighted several graphs of interest, including Miami's horrific third and short performance. Burnt Orange Nation and Section Six took a look at local favorites Texas and NC State, respectively. Paul W took a look at Georgia's performance. EDSBS's take-home lesson is what it always is: "Jeff Bowden sucks." Aye.
Favorite reaction, though, was that of He Is Manpundit(!), who derided all the effort that went into making said graphs and then... um... made a graph of it:
I won't address the content of the assertion -- dude is outvoted badly -- but I will make fun of his intelligence: he screwed up his axes. They should be reversed. Typical.
You could probably start referring to the "Michigan Basketball is Michigan State Football and Vice Versa" thing as "eerie" if Michigan were to beat MSU tomorrow, officially kicking off a Spartan season of infinite pain, sending the RCMB into a conniption fit, and causing Brent Petway to chang his IM screenname. The good news is that Dion Harris and Jerrett Smith are expected to play, but Abram is still out and blah blah blah Refs Izzo blah.
My opinion? Well... Michigan State is ill-suited to go all Iowa/OSU on us and bomb away from three: they're tenth in the league, ahead of only Minnesota. If Harris can go full speed Michigan will have a shot, but MSU is one of those teams that understands how to guard Sims (remember: the key is to try)--without Harris playing well we're screwed. Officiating will be huge again. Will the refs call this game as tightly as they did the first one? Will MSU refuse to change the way they play? Can Paul Davis look any more like a pale 6'11" Eeyore? Find out Saturday!
One additional bit of basketball news: last-ditch 2006 recruit Patrick Beverly was recently named to the Roundball Classic roster and elicited the following praise from Adidas honcho Sonny Vaccaro:
"Beverley was not even on the top 100 list for McDonald's,'' Vaccaro said. "He was one of those non-entity guys who didn't get a big-time name in the summer. He was good last year, and his high school was good. But the kid was still a mystery. This is a kid from Chicago, not from rural Tennessee or Mississippi. The only one I can think of to compare him to is Dwyane Wade.
"Beverley is the best-kept secret in the country. All over America, he is the singular guy who has put himself in an all-star game. All these guys that people recruit and he was going to [Toledo], and now he has a list of major schools that are after him.''
That list is Arkansas, Michigan, St. John's, and Virginia... plus Indiana, but now that Mike Davis is officially resigning (and not doing so until season's end) you can scratch the Hoosiers off the list. Bonus ewwww note: Four Ohio State recruits are playing in the game.
For personal bookkeeping and as a rudimentary "open issues" system:
- Turn the raw numbers graph red and green for consistency
- Add the year the stats were taken from on the header
- Add a legend
- Fix the ugly scrollbars on IE
- Make the graph change on selection instead of focus-loss in IE.
- Fix the y-axis on efficiency graphs so that it goes from 0-100.
Expanding Existing Stats
- Incorporate "third and zero" into the distance graphs.
- Calculate a "first down conversion rate."
- Look into redoing the smoothing so each point has a certain amount of data behind it.
- Calculate an "expected conversion rate" for each team based on their distance distribution and their divergence from this--essentially the red/green proportions in numeric form.
Totally Different Stuff
- Find the success rate of 'desperation drives' of various lengths and use them to beat the don't-punt-with-a-chance-to-kill-the-game thing into the ground.
Cool But Unfeasible
- Conversion rates based on an individual player's third down attempts (Reason: insufficent data.
- Exploration of Michigan's "scoring offense" phenomenon (insufficient data).
And I'm always soliciting ideas in the comments or email.
Hello persons from around the Internets. For context on the below, see Part I for an extensive discussion of what exactly is going on here (warning: math) and Part II for some examples of why I think this is a useful exercise.
(Performance note: generating these graphs is a dynamic process, so they can take several seconds if no one else has looked at the requested data recently. Cached ones should come up immediately.)
First: Third down efficiency. The thick line in the center is the NCAA average (e.g., approximately 68% of third and ones were converted last year). There is a second line that represents an individual team's third down efficiency. Where there is a gap between the lines that gap is filled in with either red or green depending on whether it is "good" or "bad". Being above the line is good for offenses--you convert more often. Being above the line is bad for defenses--you are converted upon more often. You want to see a lot of green in these graphs.
Second: Third down distance distribution. Again, the line in the center is the NCAA average and the thinner line is the individual team's. Green is just "above"; red just "below," since there's no clear distinction on good or bad based solely on what side of the line you're on.
Third: the raw numbers. The following graph shows the underlying data used to construct the first two. Each bar represents one yard line. Blue segments are failed conversions. Red segments resulted in first downs.
(A note on reproducing these graphs: feel free. Right click and "Save As" to get a static copy that won't break if I decide to change the URL... which I might. Please drop a link. Also: if the idea of maize and blue on your site is revolting, you can give me two other colors (specified in hex--ie, #A30924--, please) and get pretty team-color-appropriate ones.)
Quickly! One of these thing expires: Maize 'n' Brew has a brief Minnesota preview. A must win for the tournament.
Also, if "onepeat.com and its assorted detractors" was a message board thread, The MZone just locked it: dresspeat.com. Perfect.
Matt Glaude has all your CURLING ACTION covered, and I'm not linking this in an ironic fashion. I thoroughly enjoy curling. Yes, you're permitted to stone me because I'm a witch, but only if you scream "sweep" while doing so.
I'm late on this, but we officially have coaches: the aforementioned Steve Szabo is the linebackers coach and former UW secondary coach Ron Lee* has been brought in to coach cornerbacks. Szabo was discussed yesterday; Lee is an interesting choice. Brett Bielema decided not to retain him after the overmatched Wisconsin secondary distintegrated last year, but before that he directed a couple of good units featuring Scott Starks and super-walkon Jim Leonhard. He was a candidate for the Virginia DBs job:
Groh has spoken to a handful of candidates for both openings, including former Wisconsin assistant Ron Lee.
The former Washington State star was in charge of the secondary at Wisconsin for the past three years, but was not retained by the program after legendary Badger coach Barry Alvarez announced his retirement.
Bert Bielema, who will officially replace Alvarez on Feb. 1 when a five-year contract starts, awarded the secondary position to his close friend, former Minnesota assistant Kerry Cooks.
In addition to coaching at Wisconsin, Lee spent two years as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at San Jose State (2001-2002) and eight years prior at Colorado State (1993-2000). While at San Jose State, the team was third in the nation in interceptions.
I was kind of sorry to see him go, but I wouldn't call him a huge loss.
The DBs may have been out of position, but that's what happens when your best CB tears up his ACL 6 mos before the season starts and isn't 100% and your #2 and #3 CBs are freshmen. Even the best of secondary coaches would have a difficult time with that. I thought that he did a pretty good job, all things considered. Not sure that I like that idea of him coaching at Michigan.
Everyone I knew connected with the program thought highly of his skills as a coach.
Wisconsin's DBs were not out of position at all this year. Bell couldn 't run and the other guys are freshmen and their technique just needs work.
I was a little surprised he wasn't asked back. I think he is solid.
By all accounts, he was a good coach. Coordinated a fine seondary two seasons ago. You have to give him some credit with the Auburn game. The Badgers were pretty green in the secondary, and the best returning player was hurt (Bell). However, after the game "slowed" down for them, and they got a break before Hawaii, and before Auburn, I thought the secondary played well.
I think it's a good move.
He is a very nice guy, very personable. Very positive comments about him from his players. I was sorry to see him go.
I thought he was above average as a position coach. My guess is he didn't bring as much to recruiting as BB would want. He recruited new new territories to the Badgers, but never really got many kids to visit/sign.
damm good coach. as the coach of the DB's on the maniac. i spend a lot of time watching his group.
his kids got better. that's the bottom line.
There are a couple of "meh" assessments as well. I know little about either coach, but the fact that we got rid of a special teams coordinator (Mike DeBord, who went to OC) and a defensive backs coach (English, who's DC) and hired a linebackers coach and a cornerbacks coach is interesting. Clearly English is going to retain responsibility for the safeties and some coked-up mad scientist grad assistant who wants to lose us the Iowa game with crazy punt formations is going to deal with the special teams--or, more likely, a combination of coaches already on the staff. (Maybe we could block some damned gunners this year? No? Just asking.)
Overall, I'm pleased. We retained Loeffler, got rid of Herrmann, and found a young, charistmatic defensive coordinator who was pursued by three NFL teams and hired by Lovie Smith. Neither new coach has any connection to the Michigan program--thus they are likely to be the best candidates available. We have a linebackers coach with eons of experience.
The downsides: a retread at OC who has impressed nowhere and uncertainty in special teams. I'll take it. So will Vijay, who has an excellent assessment of the changes for your perusal.
(*Not related to Ang Lee, presumably**.)
(**I assume that some wag somewhere has done a clever who's-on-first with Ang Lee's name, right?
Abbot: Hey, stranger, what's going on? What's your name?
Lee: Ang Lee.
Abbot: Why? All I did is ask your name.
Lee: Well now I'm Ang Lee because you're racist.
Yesterday I muttered about math and explained some stuff. Today I try to convince you this is interesting.
The Strange Case of Florida State
Florida State was a team with a bear of a defense and an intoxicated duck of an offense, right? Well... not on third down. Check the Castor and Pollux act:
That's a significant amount of green in each graph--unsurprising from the defense, palpitation-causing from the offense. Despite the doublemint action directly above, I do not mean to suggest that the Florida State defense (generally regarded to kick seven kinds of ass) is hardly distinguishable from the Florida State offense (a unit that actually could have used the services of Wyatt Sexton this year). No sir, I object. What we're missing here is the second component of third-down efficiency: your tendency to get in manageable distances. It's here that two additional graphs bring the difference between the two Seminole units into stark relief:
Yow! Jeff Bowden's criminal misuse of Booker and Washington is illuminated for all to see: so many passes clunked uselessly to the ground on early downs that that approximately 20% of the Florida State offense's third downs were full third-and-tens, more than double the national average. They only got in third and one half as much as a Hypothetical Totally Average Team (HTAT).
Conversely, the Florida State defense's pedestrian performance on third down is okay in the overall scheme of things, since there is evidently a significant amount (seven kinds, even) of ass-kicking going on on first and second down. Look at all that red on third and five or less. Look at all that green from third and ten to fifteen.
My thinking has suddenly become very clear on this case, man.
Conventional Wisdom Isn't Always Unwise
These days, it's hard to tell whether the spread is more popular in college football or the San Fernando Valley. As a result, much is adone about it from the dredges of the blogsphere to the vulcanized-rubber towers of the people who actually get paid to write. Invariably much is made of the spread's strengths and weaknesses. Continually cited is the spread's difficulty in short yardage and goal-line situations, but one would figure this goes hand in hand with increased efficiency in the middle distances the classic dink-and-dunk spread offense is designed to get on every play. So a hypothetical spread team's efficiency graph would look considerably flatter than the nationwide average, starting out subpar from 1-3 yards but then beating the average in the middle distance.
What's the quintessential spread team? Hyyyaaaarrr!!! Texas Tech, matey! Well, check it out:
Avast! The conventional wisdom... is right on? There's a first time for everything, I guess. Similar results can be seen in the offenses of Illinois, Northwestern, Hawaii (sort of), Michigan State (sort of... the MSU offense is too good to be held down much but has a big ugly red spot right at third and one), Oregon, Miami (Ohio), and Purdue. Indiana and their spankin' new spread offense defies this trend, as do a few other teams recognized as spread specialists, but in general it appears that they are the exception rather than the rule.
Quantified Later, But...
I'll try to put a number on this in the near future, but I'd be surprised if any team in the country has a better pair of
Stergers efficiency graphs than Ohio State:
That is a lot of green. No doubt OSU was helped on offense by the candy-soft defenses it opposed, but that OSU defense faced a wide array of the country's most powerful offenses and still came out on the good side of things no matter what situation you put them in. Hallelujah: nine of those guys are gone. Un, er, -halleluja: the green field of the offense returns mostly intact.