this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
That headline was going to be "Porter staying" but then I remembered this was Michigan hockey we're talking about. A positive blurb on the official site of the Phoenix Coyotes, who hold his NHL rights, has this quote from the captain-to-be:
Porter is expected to return to Ann Arbor this fall where he will serve as the Wolverines team captain and try to help capture the school's first NCAA Championship since 1997-98.
"I want to finish up my fourth year at Michigan, finish up school, get my degree and then hopefully after that sign with the Coyotes," said Porter.
Standard Michigan hockey paranoia applies, but when the team that holds his rights says he's expected to return you can ease up on the Xanax. Porter is apparently doing well with the Coyotes, playing on a high profile line with Gopher and former fifth overall pick Blake Wheeler:
While Coyotes prospects Martin Hanzal and Blake Wheeler continue to grab headlines (deservedly so), the third member of that line, Kevin Porter, is quietly putting together an equally impressive performance this week.
Though Porter was expected to return, a verbal confirmation of that is always nice to have. The other departure threats also seem likely to stick around. Chad Kolarik has always been regarded an extremely good bet to return. There's some chance Mark Mitera might go -- and that would be disastrous -- but the Ducks don't appear to be making a move to sign him yet. So... um... yay? Jack hardly seems like an early departure at all, so an offseason of losing only Cogliano seems like a pretty good one.
The number one sign you're a Michigan hockey fan: the premature loss of the best defenseman ever and your projected number one center qualifies as "a good offseason." But we've got a Swede!
Stripe versus Swoosh. Fight! Yesterday the university announced that, effective next year, the primary athletics sponsor was switching from Nike to Adidas. This is not something I particularly care about, at least not to the extent that it matters more than $7.5 million per year, nearly double the previous deal. If Adidas put in the best bid, I'm perfectly happy to dump Nike. There's an undercurrent of discontent with the move out there I find odd after the introduction of the controversial Bibby McPiping jerseys that were universally panned and then immediately forgotten about.
Well, the piping's still there and it still irritates. Unfortunately I can't find the exact quote, but something Uni Watch's Paul Lukas said about that one horrible weekend when Florida, Virginia Tech, and a few other teams wore asymmetrical Nike eyesores featuring one neon sleeve stuck with me: the truly grating thing (other than, you know, the uniforms) was that Nike seemed to regard itself as the show, not the teams they sponsor.
What bothered me about the piping was not the piping itself but the fact that Miami had identical piping-bib-woo jerseys done in different colors, as, I'm sure, do several other teams. Nike tries to play this off as a structural necessity required to prevent their space age jerseys from accidentally sending players to the moon or something, but I've seen a lot of shirts in my time -- people just love wearing the things -- and I call bull. Universally identical piping was a Nike branding technique subtle enough to rope Michigan in. I'd rather be Michigan than a Nike school that happens to wear maize and blue. So, insofar as I care for reasons other than "the athletic department gets money they can rule the world with," I support the devil we don't know here.
Internal UPDATE! The Free Press with more delicious details:
There is a "most favored nation" clause in the contract that will keep Michigan as Adidas' top college deal.
Nice! NDNation is throwing a hissy fit; they signed a ten year, $60 million contract in 2005 (Michigan's is the same money over eight years) and are upset about the MFN status and the fact that Michigan is getting "33%" more than ND did. That's what you get when your engineering school sucks ass.
McGuffdate. USAToday w/ Rivals content:
McGuffie still undecided
Sam McGuffie, the nation's top all-purpose back, took a visit to Michigan last week. The 6-foot, 188-pounder has yet to make his college decision, but said he's getting close.
"The recruiting process is getting very overwhelming, but there will be a decision in the next few weeks," McGuffie said. "Michigan has been my favorite for a while, followed by USC, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Florida (in no particular order).
"I want to enjoy this process and not make it so pressure-packed."
That Sunday-next decision referenced in Monday Recruitin' appears to be off. It's encouraging that "Michigan has been [his] favorite for a while," but A&M folk are suddenly confident and the public opinion of the internet is rapidly switching. So... yeah. I kind of have to back off earlier confidence. I wouldn't call it unconfident -- I still think he ends up at Michigan -- but this reversal is pretty frickin' weird and I don't know what to do with it. FWIW.
It appears two sorts of people read this blog: students and lawyers. This is for the latter:
Coach Carr has only 116 spots available on his team and he wants you to be part of it. The 2nd Annual Michigan Men's Fantasy Football Experience will be held on August 2-3, 2007. Proceeds will benefit the "Men of Michigan" Prostate Cancer Research Fund at the University of Michigan. Our goal is to advance awareness, research and treatment of the most diagnosed cancer in American men.
We will conduct two-a-days practice installing offensive and defensive schemes coached by the Michigan coaching staff. Participants will attend a typical team meeting in Schembechler Hall, review actual practice film, and suit up in the Michigan Stadium team locker room. You will have your own locker at the Big House and receive an authentic Nike game jersey.
The cost for the two day experience is $2,500 per person and includes meals and overnight accommodations at the Campus Inn Hotel where the team stays prior to every home football game. We have an outstanding event planned and we hope you will join us for a memorable experience. You can reserve your spot on Coach Carr's team or receive additional information by contacting FootballExperience@umich.edu
As noted, all proceeds benefit charity. Last year Jon Chait went and reported back with a fascinating look inside the camp and the program. Anyone who decides to go this year is encouraged to offer up their own impressions. There is a guest post waiting for you.
Did we know this? The Chicago Tribune has an article on Alice Cooper's new golf book -- anyone who's surprised hasn't seen Wayne's World. In it, a potentially awesome addition to Mini-Me amongst the B-level Celebrity Michigan fan parade:
Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in East Detroit in 1948 to a family with French Huguenot roots mixed with Sioux Indian "and a lot of Irish." (He changed his name legally to Alice Cooper in the '70s.)
The Furniers had three vital rules: "You had to be a Democrat; you had to be a Tigers fan; and you had to be a [Michigan] Wolverines fan," Cooper remembers.
(Thanks, Chicago Tribune, for specifying that. It's not like we're the Wildcats.) We can't compete with USC, obviously, but I think Mini-Me and Alice Cooper is a hell of a Celebrity Fan Deathmatch tag team.
Hey... great. A helpful commenter points out this chilling quote from BTN president Mark Silverman in a brief AP article that seems rephrased from a press release:
"We're well on our way toward ensuring that roughly half the subscribers to smaller cable systems across the Midwest have better access to their favorite Big Ten schools and teams than anytime in history," Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said in a statement.
Yikes. Way to lower expectations. Hopefully that's just an awkward, easily misinterpreted public statement and not a reflection of revised ambition.
Okay, so Jim Carty responded to the Friday "Les Miles sux" post and didn't even make any uncomplimentary comparisons about my appearance. I feel heelish; well played. But I still think Miles is a tremendous long shot for a hypothetically available Michigan job. Carty offers up the hiring of John Beilein as evidence that the Michigan of the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s no longer exists:
Here's but one example: When it was first suggested Michigan hire John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, the overwhelming opinion among old guard in-state media, and old guard fans, was that Michigan would never approach a coach with a huge buyout, let alone a coach with no Michigan ties and a track record for job hopping.
Time and time again, I was told I didn't know Michigan when I pushed Beilein for the job.
This is not a valid comparison. One: people who said that Michigan would never pay John Beilein's huge buyout were right. Michigan contributed not a dime to it; Beilein and his magic lawyer later got the amount knocked down considerably. Two: Tommy Amaker had no Michigan ties when he was hired and no other candidate suggested or seriously rumored had any. There are precious few Michigan ties around the coaching ranks aside from a couple of NBA assistants. Three: Beilein's job hopping wasn't out of line for any coach working his way up the prestige latter.
The attributes Beilein brings to the job are pure old-school Michigan: an innocuous, genteel public persona. A reputation for cleanliness beyond compare. A focus on fundamentals, execution, and outworking the opponent. The only thing even slightly new school about Beilein is the size of his contract, and Michigan's unwillingness to pay a market rate has been overblown by the media -- primarily Terry Foster -- from day one. Amaker had a market contract when he signed and would have kept pace with his coaching peers if he had achieved any success. His 900k buyout was a "deferred compensation" account he was getting either way. Beilein reinforces the existing stereotypes of Michigan's priorities. They would like to win, yes, but only in a certain way.
Hiring Miles would be a virtual 180 from the Beilein hire, the equivalent of grabbing John Calipari or Bob Huggins. Each has experienced a lot of success with highly recruited athletes; each has been dogged with unproven but persistent rumors about the sort of programs they run; each maintains a sketchy public persona. The problem with Miles isn't that he dropped the f-bomb at an alumni function, it's that he followed that up with intemperate comments about USC and is further whining in the press about how tough the SEC is and how that justifies LSU's candy nonconference scheduling. Maybe the Jerry Springer crowd (w00t cultural references ten years out of date, Simmons has nothing on me) digs his combative style, but dollars to donuts the Michigan athletic department sees it as unprincipled and undignified, especially after last year's Urban Meyer campaigning. Hiring him would be a major departure for the athletic department; the Beilein hire only reinforces that.
This concludes my speculation on the motives and thought processes of others. Personal opinon follows.
Should Miles be given a shot?
I guess he might warrant an interview; I would be disappointed if he was the guy. I assume that LSU and Okie State are the sorts of places that will overlook a lot in the hopes of winning some games, and while Michigan isn't Stanford they do have some standards. If Miles' advantages lie mostly in his willingness to be sketchier than the average bear then he is of little use to Michigan.
Personally, I believe that they do. Okie State was like a slightly better version of Minnesota when Miles was there, and his consecutive two loss seasons at LSU are fairly impressive but are built on a Saban-collected gold mine of talent. While Carty's right that dismissing those results out of hand is excessive, I am disturbed by the widely held opinion amongst SEC fans that Miles is the stupidest coach in the conference. Even LSU fans seem kind of unimpressed.
LSU seems to be a ramshackle train of enormous talent that implodes on a regular basis because it is lax, undisiciplined, and plain dumb. Take Miles away from the ridiculously fertile recruiting grounds of Louisiana and slap his hand when he tries to import guys who can't spell "cat" in three tries and visions of Michigan State dance in front of my eyes. My personal preference is for either a proven tactical expert like Jeff Tedford or someone who will just recruit his ass off. What, exactly, is Les Miles good at? He must be good at something, but I don't know what it is.
Update 7/8: Linked to articles on IL QB John Wienke (a second; video interview), PA WR Vaughn Carraway, TX S Keanon Cooper, AZ CB Marc Anthony, NJ S Brandon Smith. Video of MI CB Boubacar Cissoko. Added TX DE Damion Squire. Linked to Arizona blog post w/ mentions of AZ CB Marc Anthony, AZ TE Dion Jordan, and AZ OL Zach Schlinck. Linked to articles on VA WR Deion Walker, OH OL Zebrie Sanders, IL DT/OL Garrett Goebel, PA CB Jared Holley, IL QB John Wienke. Removed IL DE Glen Foster (Illinois).
Editorial Opinion: A less eventful week than last, which featured three commits and a bunch of guys off the board. Youtube has some stuff, though. New QB recruit John Wienke:
And five-star cornerback Boubacar Cissoko:
MGoBlog scouting report: damn, that kid's legs move fast.
TX S Keanon Cooper has Minnesota(!?) in the lead at the moment, but hasn't visited anywhere except relatively local Texas Tech and has Michigan in the pack slightly behind:
Growing up, Cooper admits he used to follow Texas Tech and Michigan and loves the tradition at Ann Arbor. "Michigan is always competitive and play against top competition every week," Cooper said. "The coaches are great and they have been there a long time."
With Wisconsin also high on his list, it's evident Cooper doesn't mind leaving home for college. Despite another team leading, that's a relatively positive update to me, as it further indicates the Big Ten is a likely option. And the last kid from somewhere other than Minnesota that chose the Gophers over Michigan was... um... I don't know. Someone very confused.
PA WR Vaughn Carraway still maintains a Michigan lead, but I am somewhat skeptical he ends up in this class. Despite a rumored push from Michigan State, it still seems likely that instater Fred Smith ends up committing relatively soon; with three recruits last year and Stonum already in the fold, a sixth wideout in two years is unlikely unless it's someone like Jonathan Baldwin. If Michigan would take Carraway as a defensive back he could still find a spot in this class, but...
Early on some schools were recruiting Carraway for cornerback as well, however he says that now everyone wants him at wide receiver. "A lot of schools told me that it was up to me and I like playing receiver more," he said. "I like having the ball in my hands and getting it into the end zone."
...I don't know if either player or school thinks that an option. The Michigan lead is slight and he has attractive options like Tennessee, for a given version of "attractive" that does not include the uniforms. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Carraway end up elsewhere eventually.
AZ CB Marc Anthony has a top three of Michigan, Cal, and Nebraska:
"It's a big football program and I love their tradition," Anthony said of the Wolverines. "They are known for their defense and I did really well at their camp. They offered me afterward and told me they can see me playing as a freshman. I plan to learn everything I need to know because my goal is to play as a true freshman."
Anthony appears to be Michigan's top cornerback target at the moment; earlier he had named Michigan a solid favorite.
Meanwhile, PA CB Jared Holley has a Michigan offer; this recent article doesn't mention Michigan at all.
OH OL Zebrie Sanders is a longshot:
Sanders, ranked No. 34 in the Midwest by Scout.com, said he favors Georgia slightly over Florida and UCLA and those three lead solidly over Clemson and Michigan. All of his favorites have offered.
Offensive linemen are getting thin on the ground. In-stater Deontae Pannell has an offer and a top three of Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State but says Michigan trails the other two; Arizona guard Zach Schlinck is supposed to think highly of Michigan. Other than that there are a bunch of guys who have talked highly about Michigan but don't seem offer-worthy and guys Michigan has offered who don't seem particularly interested. One or two more linemen would be nice, but Michigan might have to wait for the fall to pick up a late-emerging senior.
I removed VA WR Deion Walker last week, but he does plan on making an unofficial. If he expresses further interest, I'll re-add him.
Whoops! McGuffdate! He was announcing his college choice on Sunday; now he is announcing next Sunday on the same show Daryl Stonum announced his choice. It's essentially down to Michigan and Texas A&M; there were some reports that A&M was making a last-ditch attempt to sell him on being an Aggie. There's some low-level internet panic; I'm unmoved. McGuffie should be a Wolverine in a couple weeks.
The argument that Michigan is a weird place, relatively speaking, that does things differently than most athletic departments is one that you can get a lot of traction with since it has the benefit of being true. There's no other major program in the country that would have a serious undercurrent of panic in its fanbase at the prospect of a man who went 12-34 in the MAC ascending to the head job. In other places, guys who win one of four games at non-BCS schools and are immediately followed by another guy who is so successful he springboards to a better job within three years are put in charge of special teams and forgotten about. But Michigan treasures loyalty, continuity, and propriety above all. So when Jim Carty says this...
Overall, Michigan is a unique situation. Don't underestimate how much that will matter.
It's a place where the next coach will not only need top-tier football coaching and recruiting skills, but a background that shows he can navigate an elite academic institution. It's also a place where hundreds of former players are actively involved with supporting the program. Those players, and Carr, will have a voice at the table.
...he's right. Mike Debord does have a shot at the job despite his unpalatable resume.
Too bad he's talking about Les Miles, who does not and, even if he does, should not. "Michigan is a unique situation" is not an argument for your most successful collegiate coaching alumnus, a guy who is currently at major SEC program that just got done hosing Notre Dame. Miles is the obvious 1A candidate based on his resume. Most places would snap him up without blinking. But Michigan is a unique situation and Miles is, um, unique too.
First of all, the guy has a verbal diarrhea that fits in at Michigan about as well as John L Smith controlled his emotions. This very week Miles said a bunch of intemperate things about the Pac 10 on a radio show that stand in marked contrast to Carr's reticence to do anything that could be construed as campaigning during the Michigan-Florida election window last December. A few months ago he told an alumni gathering that LSU has "a new rival in fucking Alabama," which is not only a sentence that can change directions radically based on punctuation ("we have a new rival in fucking: Alabama!") but the sort of public utterance that would cause the Michigan establishment to get woozy and collapse, Southern Belle style, into Mary Sue Coleman's arms. All it took for Gary Moeller to get fired was one bad night at a restaurant. Les Miles has bad nights twice a year.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. When Mike Gundy replaced Les Miles as coach he instituted, um, something other than anarchy:
"Several players said the day [new OK State Coach] Gundy replaced Les Miles as head coach he established guidelines that players attend class, be on time for team meetings, adhere to workout routines, represent the program well and play hard."
Nine kids thought these were ridiculous guidelines and left the team. And though CoachRatings.com is anything but scientific, the difference between Carr and Miles is illuminating. Carr scores a 9 of 10 and is described as a "mentor/role model" or "well respected" by eight of ten rankers; the other two went with "assertive." Miles scores a 4.4, the worst of any coach on the site save Rich Brooks and 0.5 points lower than John Mackovic, a man who had a full-scale revolt on his hands at Arizona. Five of eight players described Miles as "corrupt." Corrupt. Not mean or stupid or smelly. Corrupt.
So, yeah, it's pretty ironic that Carty links a Motown Sports Revival post and bashes it for being unrealistic. (Especially because the MSR post is explicitly presented as one man's wish list.) Rich Rodriguez has "never worked with the sort of academic restrictions he would have at Michigan," but the Okie State-LSU doubleheader qualifies Miles. Anyone with a "passing knowledge" of Bobby Petrino's background and personality knows he's not a fit for the Michigan job, but a guy who can't go two months without embarrassing himself and his school is AOK.
Lloyd Carr may not be in a position to designate his successor a la Bo, but if he says "over my dead body," that guy is out. I have a better chance of being Michigan's next head coach than Les Miles does. But it is a "unique situation," according to Carty, and Miles' "unique qualifications" make him a strong candidate. There are things that are wrong at 90 degrees to right -- orthogonal wrong -- and then there are things that obviously dropped in from a mirror universe. This is the latter. Stick to selling delcious sandwiches, Subway Jim.
So, yes, TX WR Darryl (or Daryl) Stonum has committed to Michigan. There is oddly little out there on him for such a highly touted recruit. I couldn't find anything interesting and freely available. What we do know: Stonum, a teammate of '07 recruits Troy Woolfolk and Brandon Herron, is one of the best wide receiver recruits available in a deep year for the position. Rivals ranks him the #9 WR, the #6 player in Texas, and the #54 overall prospect. Scout is a little bit less enthused, ranking him the #15 wide receiver and the #94 overall prospect. ESPN's still assembling their list, but has him on their Top 150 "Watch List." Standard scouting excerpt:
...He is silky smooth for lack of a better term. ... Has fluid hips for a taller receiver and is a smooth route runner who doesn't have to gear down a lot when going into and coming out of his breaks. He is tall, has long arms and good leaping ability. ... His size creates mismatches versus man-to-man coverage, and he has learned how to use his frame to shield defenders. His hands are soft and reliable. His top-end speed is excellent for his size, and he shows a second gear along the sideline.
As a junior Stonum had 47 catches for just under 1100 yards and 14 (or 16, depending on who you listen to) touchdowns despite missing a couple games with an ankle injury. By the time he committed he had offers from USC, Alabama Florida, Oklahoma, Florida State, etc., etc., etc.
So: another no-question big time recruit who chose Michigan over a host of available options. With Stonum aboard, look for Michigan to press for a commitment from instater Fred Smith soon. Michigan State is wooing him with the promise of playing time on their crappy, crappy team and has even brought in Tom Izzo to promise him Trannon-esque basketball playing time and a drop out of the 2011 NFL draft. If he picks Michigan, that will do it for WR recruiting unless PA WR Jonathan Baldwin, who will make a late decision, picks Michigan.
Rook profiles. A couple incoming freshman have been featured in recent days. PA WR Toney Clemons was the focus of an article in RISE:
"He's a kid who really hasn't reached his full potential yet, and that's a scary thing," says Hill, a former Pitt defensive back who completed his third season as head coach last fall. "We have yet to see the best of Toney Clemons. He's a kid who always steps up to the challenges."
Track has been a similar success story for Clemons. As a sophomore, he captured the WPIAL Class AA title in the long jump (20 feet, 10.25 inches) and finished second at state in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.74, one-tenth of a second behind Nate Kiss of Windber Area.
As a junior, Clemons captured WPIAL titles in the long jump (21-5) and 110 hurdles (14.61). He also won state in the long jump (23-2) and 110 hurdles (14.36).
My favorite revelation: Toney's mother is named "Tonie". I really, really, really want his father to be "Tony." Because then they would be these guys:
The Wichita Eagle profiles JUCO LB Austin Panter:
"My first couple days in the weight room, I saw Rose Bowl this and Rose Bowl that," Panter said. "And then I realized all the guys in there that I saw play on TV last year. Practicing with a Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Shawn Crable, it's not so much overwhelming but very exciting."
What, no Zoltan love?
Thanks, MSC. Interesting article on the President's discretionary fund has this revelation:
Coleman ordered up two new public service announcements to run on TV during Michigan football games after receiving complaints about the old announcements. "People had been screaming at me about how rinky-dink our public service announcement looked,'' she said, and she agreed, calling it an "abomination.''
The new announcements cost $220,298, but were well worth the cost because they projected a first-rate image of the university, she said.
Mary Sue Coleman is the baby daddy of "Space, Bitches." For this, we are eternally grateful.
One of these receivers is not like the others. Braylon's bowling thing came off; the media asked questions; Braylon responded:
What did wearing No. 1 mean to you at Michigan? It meant a lot. If you look at the Nos. 1 of the past, they always were the guys that were held to the highest standard. They're always the guys, in crunch time and big situations, that would get the ball. Anthony Carter, the David Terrells, the Tyrone Butterfields, Derrick Alexander. People were looking to these players.
Um... okay? Butterfield's greatest contribution as a Wolverine was dropping a third down pass against Virginia, giving Michigan time to hit Mercury Hayes on the last play of the game to open the Scott Dreisbach era.
Ex-Bucks. Four OSU players have left the team in recent days. One was a walk-on DT, but the others all had scholarships: DEs Walter Dublin and Ryan Williams and corner EJ Underwood. The Dispatch article says that Underwood was the only player expected to push for playing time this year; anyone have more detail?
The Matrix... decides! Scout is temporarily free until July 4th, so I can bring you this quote from Sam McGuffie:
We asked Sam, did you feel comfortable at Michigan?
"Definitely ... everyone here made me feel at home here, like I belong, like family ... I've got (Ryan) Mallett sitting here with me right now."
As far as announcing a college decision, McGuffie said:
"I'll be ready to say something when I get home."
When asked for a timetable, he said:
"I'll probably get something set up for next week."
I'll bet dollars to donuts he's a Wolverine within two weeks. Obligatory youtube:
Etc.: IBFC returns with a post on the nasty things Corwin Brown and Jim Harbaugh have been saying. Et tu, brutes? The Hoosier Report is covering the BTN mucho: Delaney gets his wig on straight again; more details on the launch. Solon summarizes everything I've ever thought about Erin Andrews on Addicted to Quack.
Update 7/1: Linked to video of OH TE Kevin Koger, note on VA LB Marcus Dowtin, article on IL OL/DT Garrett Goebel, PA TE Hubie Graham, PA LB Shayne Hale, PA WR Jonathan Baldwin, KS LB Arthur Brown. Added IL QB John Weinke. Removed FL OL Matt Patchan (dropped us), VA WR Deion Walker (dropped us), NC RB Brandon Barnes (NC State), VA QB Mike Glennon (NC State), OR DE Ethan Johnson (ND), GA S Jamoris Slaughter (ND), WI OL Kevin Zeitler (Wisc), VA LB Marcus Dowtin (UGA). Moved MI OL Rocko Khoury to committed. Also: Khoury commit article.
Also: articles on OH RB Michael Shaw (also a RUTS post), PA WR Jonathan Baldwin, OH TE Kevin Koger. Added AZ S Jarrell Barbour, GA LB Devonta Bolton, MI OL Deontae Pannell. Moved IL QB John Wienke and TX WR Daryl Stonum to committed And... wow... linked to thread at a Michigan message board in which the mother of PA FB/LB Christian Wilson asks a bunch of questions and gets some good answers and some appalling juvenility.
Editorial Opinion: A lot of movement this week. Section by section.
Commits Elsewhere. A lot of guys went off the board. Some (Walker, Barnes, Patchan) kind of mentioned us a couple times but were never strong possibilities. Glennon, Dowtin, and Zeitler all camped and showed some genuine interest. Glennon and Zeitler both decided to stay close to home; Dowtin picked Georgia. Those seemed unfortunate earlier in the week, but with the commits of Wienke and Khoury it's no big deal. Dowtin is a nice prospect but Michigan has a lot of potential linebackers on the board. Slaughter plays a position of need, safety, and picked Notre Dame "over" LSU and Michigan, but never visited anywhere other than ND, the equivalent of Stonum picking Michigan "over" USC and Florida. It would have been nice to get him, though. He's a mid-four star. Johnson seemed a huge longshot, then camped for most of the week and got everyone's hopes up. On his way back home he stopped by and committed to ND, one of his pre-camp rumored leaders. That's life, I guess.
Hail Hale. A welcome article from the Pittsburgh Trib-Review:
On Sunday, Terry Smith said, Hale called and told him to cancel their scheduled unofficial visits. They had planned trips to Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State this week, to Rutgers next week and to Alabama and Florida in the third week of July.
Apparently, Hale also is dead serious about wanting to go to school with Cameron Saddler, Gateway's 5-foot-6, 165-pound multi-purpose back and return specialist. They have vowed to attend the same school and it's no coincidence that three of Hale's finalists â€“ Michigan, Virginia and WVU â€“ have offered scholarships to both.
"I think he's tired of this whole process," Smith said, "and didn't want to waste time visiting places he wasn't going to go."
"I think he's tired of this whole process," Smith said, "and didn't want to waste time visiting places he wasn't going to go."
The other finalist is Ohio State, long presumed to be Hale's leader. This should put us in good position to land the duo. Hale had previously named a top three of OSU, Michigan, and Florida, so we should have an edge against OSU (we've offered Saddler) and the Virginia schools (he liked us better before). Though West Virginia and Virginia might be more attractive to Saddler, as they can promise the electric midget playing time at RB and WR that Michigan probably can't, we do have a major hole when it comes to kick returns with Steve Breaston's departure. It'll be interesting to see how this all falls out; we're in much better position than we were a week ago.
Garrett Goebel. Notre Dame's windfall on the defensive line appears to be helping us with IL DT/OL Garrett Goebel. Previously down to Michigan, OSU, and ND, he's now cut ND (or they've just filled up, whatever) and has visited:
How did the visit go?
"The visit was really good ... I hadn't been to Michigan before."
"I got a tour of facilities, I met with players and with the coaches. I got to talk to Coach Carr ... he's a cool guy."
"I'm visiting Michigan again soon. This time I'm bringing my parents. I think it'll be July 10th."
What other visits have you made?
"I've visited Ohio State -- I've been there twice."
Do you have a top 2-3-4-5?
"It's Ohio State and Michigan."
The return trip w/ parents July 10th is a good sign for a kid I, personally, had written off as a Buckeye. He plans on deciding sometime this summer; if you were of a hopeful frame of mind you could envision the July 10th visit as a lets-make-sure-this-is-where-I'm-going-to-school sort of thing. But that would be the happiest fairy-wonderland sort of thought process.
FWIW, Bucknuts -- until recently, the Scout OSU site -- insider Steve Helwagen pegged Goebel at "65-35" for OSU in a recent chat; he also had this exchange:
Kasaun (Jun 27, 2007 12:43:03 PM)
Goebel said he's taking his mom to Michigan. I think he's in maize and blue
SteveHelwagen (Jun 27, 2007 12:43:35 PM)
That could be. Not sure if she was at OSU. Maybe she wants to see both close up and help him decide.
Helwagen also calls Koger 50-50 between OSU and Michigan. The Blade has an illuminating article on him that does not, unfortunately, illume where he's likely to go to school. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to pick, I would hesitantly choose Michigan because the OSU depth chart isn't actually any better since Jacob Stoneburner is a frickin' TE -- seriously -- and they use one while we use two. That combined with the Kogers' longstanding Michigan fandom makes me think we still have the advantage. We'll see though; he seems very much in play.
Michael Shaw, a RB and teammate of TE commit Brandon Moore, may have been on the verge of committing to Penn State until Jay "Nepotism" Paterno struck, sending Nit message boards into a veritable tizzy:
The four-star tailback had intended to make the trip to Happy Valley this weekend to take a tour and visit with the members of the Penn State coaching
staff that were on campus, but a change of plans will have him visit at a later date.
"Me and my dad were going to fly down to Penn State, but with Coach (Jay) Paterno, we never got it officially confirmed," said Shaw. "I called coach Paterno, and my dad sent coach Paterno some messages, and coach Paterno said that it would just be best for us come in July."
Since Paterno's already presiding over a passing offense that hasn't seen the top half of I-A since he took the reigns, internet people were understandably upset. Run Up The Score says NSFMF:
In the end, things will probably be fine. According to Shaw's high school coach, who stopped by FOS for a chat last night, Shaw will likely commit to Penn State later this summer. However, this screwup (and there's no other word for it, really) certainly let Michigan, Clemson, and Nebraska back into the picture. Does that sound like a good sign for a young running back â€” which Penn State needs more than just about anything else â€” who has repeatedly said his dream school is Penn State?
Good enough for me: Shaw now considered a longshot.
Jonathan Baldwin. Any potential ND lead remains just a rumor, though the same goes for any potential Michigan lead. A recent newspaper article on Baldwin lays it out:
Baldwin's list of scholarship offers is awfully impressive. Two weeks ago, Baldwin had trimmed his list of schools down to six - Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida, Miami, Southern California and Pitt. But on Thursday, Baldwin said three more schools are back in the race, Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia Tech.
Baldwin says that right now, no school has an advantage over another. In fact, Baldwin isn't afraid to admit that he is still getting comfortable with the fact that some of the grandest names in college football want him to be a part of their program.
Sounds like any decision is a long way off and that any favorite at this point would be a slight one.
Christian Wilson's mom. Of all the message boards in all the internets the mother of H-back/LB recruit Christian Wilson could have ended up to ask questions about the Michigan program, she had to pick SackCarr.com. Yick. At least it appears that Mom is sold:
My son is a 08' recruit who likes Coach Carr. I know you can't beleive everything you hear and read, but I am concerned if he commits and Carr retires, what future he will have there.
I'm a mom so I won't claim to be football savvy, but I do have pride in my son and the Michigan Reputation which is why i would love my son to be a Wolverine.
Any advice or thoughts?
The concerns are two-fold: potential Carr retirement and the lack of an H-back in the Michigan offense since BJ Askew got drafted by the Jets. She actually got some good advice from a couple posters until some 14 year old started in with the usual "WHY AREN'T WE AGGRESSIVE CARR IS A LOOSER" etc etc. I mean... you claim to be a Michigan fan and a recruit's mother comes to you in the hopes of assuaging some doubts her son might be having about the school and you start ripping on the coaching staff. Nice. Anyway, other than that, the upshot appears to be that Wilson favors Michigan:
I loved it. I'm biased though. I am a Sales Director and have sales reps who cover the State of Michigan, so I would be able to see my son when on business trips. I like the size and the hospital development is fantatstic. (I work in Pharma distribution) I feel in love with UM the first day I was there. It's the spirit of the school, you can't help but love it!!!!
On the recruitment side, all coaches and staff as well as the academic advisor really impressed me. I think my sons fear is living up to the Michigan reputation and wanting to do well in all aspects. Sports and academics. It's a big decision. That is why I came to many of you for some advice on H-back. He is nervous about living up to the expectation, but I guess what kid wouldn't be for any position they play.
Wilson himself debunked a report that had Clemson and UNC leading; sounds like all signs point to Michigan here as long as the family decides Wilson has a place on the field. Quick, someone whip up a Shea/Askew highlight reel on Youtube.
This is madness... THIS IS RECRUITING! I guess it's good that Scout has decided to one-up ESPN's top 150 and Rivals' top 250 with a whopping top 300, but I don't think the rankings have much in the way of fidelity once you get down that far. FWIW, Michigan commits on the list:
- 20 Boubacar Cissoko
- 80 Dann O'Neill
- 94 Daryl Stonum
- 109 Brandon Moore
- 144 Mike Martin
- 160 Marcus Witherspoon
- 172 Kurt Wermers
- 227 Elliot Mealer
That's every recruit save instate guard Rocko Khoury and Wienke, a nice haul thus far.
Full board can be found here. Stonum update coming soon.
A commitment, but not from that guy. Top 100 wide receiver Daryl Stonum
decides tonight around midnight Eastern; this commit is from Illinois quarterback John Wienke:
GoBlueWolverine just got of fthe phone with Tuscola, Ill. quarterback John Wienke (6-3, 210).
"I committed to Michigan late this morning!"
"I just felt the most comfortable there."
After camping at Michigan and then visiting, he said, "Everyone was just so nice to me there, I just couldn't see myself anywhere else."
Wienke's other finalists were Iowa and Illinois. Though it's a weak year for quarterbacks, he is an Elite 11 selection. Rivals rates him a three-star and the #17 QB in the country; Scout hasn't ranked him yet. Google engaged; will update with relevant information.
Update: I don't have anything truly informative, but there's plenty that's entertaining. UK was on Wienke early in the year, but once actual schools with actual football programs got involved the Wildcats understandably went out the window. The reaction:
1) Tuscola (Ill.) quarterback John Wienke got an offer from Michigan, Illinois and Iowa in the past three days, so any chance that UK can land him is thrown out the window. Wienke was supposed to go to UK's camp in a week or so, but that seems questionable now. Despite being the first to offer him and the fact UK is in the SEC has meant very little to the 6-foot-5, 215 pound gunslinger. [sic sic sic, jesus people, you have schools down there, don't you?]
I dunno, I just found the idea that a recruit would think to himself "I know Michigan is a national power, but at UK I could lose by multiple touchdowns to Florida and Tennessee... SOLD!" funny.
Wienke lead Tuscola to a 14-0 record and its first ever state championship in anything last year, throwing for nearly 3000 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions. In the final they faced heavily favored Aledo, #1 in their division. The result:
Tuscola's John Wienke threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns Friday afternoon to lead his team to a 35-20 victory over Aledo in the Class 1A state championship game at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus.
Wienke was 20-32. Reviewers were all impressed:
To be honest, this was the first time I got a chance to see Tuscola play this season. Man alive, they were impressive. They had a distinct size advantage over Aledo, and used it to pop everything in a green jersey. At the same time, the Tuscola passing game had a day for the ages.
I say the passing game because â€” to me at least â€” it seemed like equal parts John Wienke and his receiving corps. Broc Winn turned a pair of 10-yard curls into long touchdown receptions. Wienke checked down to his fourth receiver to find Nick Hanke on the 80-yard touchdown pass that put the final nail in Aledo.
Was I ever impressed by Tuscola jr. QB John Wienke. Then I find out he is 6-4, 207 and I'm thinking this Class 1A kid is going to be a Division I prospect next season.
Hell, even the Illinois General Assembly was impressed:
2 WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3 Representatives are pleased to congratulate the Warriors of
4 Tuscola High School on winning the 2006 IHSA Class 1A Football
5 Championship; and
6 WHEREAS, At Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois, the
7 Warriors defeated Aledo High School in a 35-20 victory to claim
8 their school's first State title in any sport; and
9 WHEREAS, Tuscola quarterback John Wienke passed for 384
10 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the team to this moment; and
11 WHEREAS, Through hard work and determination, the Warriors
12 pulled off a stunning victory, and fans of the team yelled
13 until some lost their voices, excited over this impressive
14 accomplishment; ...
11 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
12 NINETY-FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we
13 congratulate the Warriors of Tuscola High School on their first
14 State championship and look forward to many more.
Boilerplate congratulations, maybe, but the "some people even lost their voices" is endearingly weird. Additional endearing weirdness can be found in a general assembly resolution specifically praising the Weinke family that hilariously lists the many and varied athletic accomplishments of John, Judson, and Johanna Wienke before dryly noting that "proud siblings" Jenna and Jason exist but have no other distinguishing characteristics whatsoever. (The existence of these resolutions has caused a friend and former resident of the state to spend the last fifteen minutes on Google attempting to discover how much these people are paid so that she can declare it to be far too much. UPDATE: It turns out it's just gone from 57k to 63k; there is an appalled person next to me who is now looking up Illinois teacher salaries.)
Since he won a state championship with his school, Wienke was given the opportunity to answer "Griese or Grossman?" by the Sun-Times, the Bears being in something of a quarterback quandary at that point. Wienke chose... wisely:
1 John Wienke
Junior, Tuscola, Class 1A champion:
"Brian Griese is more consistent because he's been [in the league] longer, so Brian Griese is better to go with. He's more of a veteran and he's used to the big crowds and games. With Rex Grossman, I don't know if he's just not getting used to things."
Weinke's recruitment started a little slowly, as he got scholarship offers from a few non-BCS schools and Kentucky, a BCS school in name only. Then he attended the Colorado NIKE camp, winning MVP honors and picking up offers from Colorado, Iowa, and Purdue. A few weeks later he attended the Michigan camp, impressed, and got his offer. Of the camp quarterbacks, Wienke was the first choice. Offers are still pending to OK QB Nathan Stanley and MI QB Brendan Kay; now they'll only get them if Michigan decides to take another quarterback (a possibility).
Editorial Opinion: Wienke was on the upper end of reasonable expectations for a quarterback to come in in 1 A.M. (anno Mallettus). Though
the recruit sites don't seem high on him yet, he appears to be on the upswing with the Elite 11 invite and might end up a high three star. In a weak year for quarterbacks nationwide, a good pickup.