Got a bunch of events and site business to go over today:
See you in this: We FINALLY got the J-Mo one done and approved and for sale:
— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) July 31, 2015
You have no idea how many conversations can be had about a bracketed 's'. Take the biggest number you could think of, then think of more. In two years we should finally have approval on the Harbaugh Pyramid of Greatness, by which time all of humanity will have weighed in on whether parentheticals are necessary.
See you Friday: We're going to be at Literati at 7 this Friday, doing whatever they do at book readings except this one we talk about Michigan football. But you can totally omit that last bit and sound cultured to your Ann Arbor friends when you say you want to be at this book reading downtown. If they press, it's the story of a lonely and misunderstood middle aged man who returns to his hometown from years of rule by a company that didn't know how to use guards correctly.
Brian will see you in D.C.: Brian will be there next week, speaking at the alumni association's get-together on Tuesday, August 11. While we're on the capital's alumni association club, if you're going to the Maryland game, that will be the association's big annual away tailgate.
See you for homecoming. We've been invited to the big homecoming tailgate with the alumni association, noon to 3:30 before the Northwestern game (10/10). We talked it over and decided not to ever get company polos for it, but we do have plans to wear snarky t-shirts. And to put Brian on stage. You'll find David and me over by the TVs since there are at least three noon Big Ten games.
Football on the decline? Is this a stupid question?
I didn't open any of the threads where this popped up this week (I think somebody had a poll), but BlueBlood2991 was recovering from surgery so he tried to answer it by comparing population shifts and economic changes to high school football participation.
There is of course some correlation, but he explains population shift as the primary factor behind huge leaps in football participation in Georgia and North Carolina. This could be a fallacy: Ad hoc, ergo propter hoc. It could be an effect of money moving into new-build suburban communities, and parents using sports to put their kids in social situations, or the kids using sports to prove their worth to their new schoolmates. Football interest is hard to show in participation except over longer than a decade periods. But who's participating is interesting:
Again, correlation does not imply causation. Less educated families may be poorer, thus less able to afford sports, especially football which does get quite expensive even if your school provides most of the equipment (very few do).
Etc. Alum96 is on to M00N with his previews. MaizeJacket had a counterproposal to my "let's everyone join one conference then dictate terms" plan—I like his "Challenge" idea but like a lot of good ideas it won't happen because teams want to schedule as many games as possible way ahead of time.
Best of the Board:
They don't mention puking on the recruiting trips:
From a story by Bennie Joppru about practicing with Carr. This part comes after four puking sessions:
I went back to the dorms in south quad and started to pack my clothes. "I'm heading back home to Minnesota and I'll walk on and be a Gopher". I knew I couldn't walk out the front on the dorm with my clothes so I threw my bag out the 12 floor window and walk down the stairwell, avoiding the elevator. I got the first taxi I saw and said "take me to the bus station".
I got to the bus station only to find out I was 25 dollars short of a ticket. This was 1998 so CD's were as good as money then and I had plenty. I told the ticket guy if he gave me the 25 dollars I needed for a ticket he could have any 10 CD's he wanted.
Of course he picked all of my favorite CD's, but I had my ticket, no more puking I thought to myself.
Then a man tapped him on his shoulder. For those who don't know already, Joppru is basically what would happen if a blogger had football talent.
Back when they could still get away with selling me the opportunity to play as Denard without paying Denard, EA would make some minor tweak to its NCAA game, maybe add some stupid feature like emails from your mom or mascot teams, and basically sell you the updated roster pack as a new game every year.
Since they're still working out how to make this game while paying the people who make it so valuable, the internet has taken over and done a better job for free. The roster pack is basically going to be this year's game. I'll have a full post on it. All hail those of you who worked on it.
Preposterous Stolen Victories Over Northwestern Now Worth Half
|Not all 50/50s are created equal: @Maryland is looking like 60/40, BYU/Utah the opposite.|
Saturdayedge's annual Big Ten betting prospectus (it's free but only with an email signup – NOW with non-depressing cover!) came out last week. The writing is very cliché, and they seem to be too fixated on recruiting stars, but I always value the betters' perspectives because accuracy really is their prime motivation. That Michigan averaged 5.25 points under the spread (by far the worst in the conference) should come as no surprise, nor that the two rivals, even at home, are the two near-guaranteed losses.
This is something I haven't seen in a Michigan preview in a long time:
Strength – The Running Game: Running backs De’Veon Smith, Derrick Green, Drake Johnson and Ty Isaac can all produce if they get the chance.
He mentions the O-line should be decent and Harbaugh teams always run well, but unless this means "knows how to run into a gaping hole (sometimes)" that seems overoptimistic. He also joins Shane Morris on an extremely short list of people who think Shane Morris might start. Anyway for those who can't corner Jamie Mac on the regular, a free and at least fly-by informed gamblers' perspective on the conference is worth your time.
Unless you're drafting against me in Draftageddon in which case you should read only preseason award watch lists and ESPN's Top 25 list. Tommy Armstrong's still on the board, Adam!
Not a new pos-bang record:
WD is an internet obsessive, which as an internet obsessive who is friends with many internet obsessives I have great appreciation for. But then, that was a bit much:
The post that currently holds the pos record is 465/0 to the turn-based RPG gif by chunkums. Chunkums is LEGEND. Upvotes go away after a time but I made sure to catch that one when it did so a few years ago.
Etc. Liz, our podcast sponsor, made a Top 5 hottest college coaches, because Liz.
Your Moment of Zen:
This guy does hype videos well.
|Philadelphia, PA – 6'4", 276|
3*, NR overall
3*, NR overall
#45 OG, #15 PA
3*, NR overall
#96 OT, #21 PA
3*, NR overall
#162 OT, #35 PA
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Twitter. Son of—surprise!—Jon Runyan, Sr., Michigan All Big Ten tackle and longtime NFL player.|
Don't let the "none" in other suitors put you off too much. When Jon Runyan, Jr., camped at Michigan in 2013, an offer came. Runyan took approximately 1.5 looks at his dad, Jon Runyan, Sr., and committed. Nobody else had an opportunity to take a crack at him.
All OL take a lot of projection; when Michigan took Runyan the squinting at the future was even more strained than usual. Hoke and staff offered a 6'3", 245-pound sophomore based on his camp performance and the guy next to him in the picture above. Runyan didn't go to many camps—I found a mention of him at a local Nike camp and nothing else—and isn't the kind of player to physically wow you, so recruiting sites filed him as a generic three star and mostly forgot about him.
With Runyan mentions over the past few years generally limited to a sentence or two here and there, by far the most useful item we have is a Tim Sullivan visit to one of his games when he was a senior.
The good news is that Runyan made up about half the difference between the sophomore version of himself and a Big Ten offensive lineman, adding 30 pounds. Sullivan also listed Runyan at 6'5", which is just on the edge of "plausible tackle" territory. Sullivan still saw a future interior OL, one that needed to up the HULK SMASH:
In the run game, Runyan was solid at standing up the opposing defensive lineman, but didn't always get quite as much push out of a player headed to Michigan… has developed the physical attributes needed to become a top lineman, but doesn't always know exactly how to use them. …. too willing at times to deliver a blow with his forearm, letting the defender take control of their individual battle, rather than using his hands to move the defender where he wants him to go. … his positioning and angles left him chasing the linebacker, rather than getting between him and the play, walling off and creating a big hole.
That would be the less good news. There's still a lot of projection there.
Judging by the fact it's followed by an "underclassman evaluation," ESPN's undated scouting report does seem to be based on senior film. Here are a few of the bits that don't seem to feature in every middling OL prospect's profile:
…needs to add bulk while improving playing strength, pop and explosion when run blocking; his quickness, balance and agility allow him to play on his feet and adjust to tight space movement. …nimble feet and hand quickness are assets; sets quickly showing good flexibility; can bend and slide to the top of the pocket … needs to play stouter vs. the bull rush … athletic guy with a quick first step; can handle quick inside movement, protecting his inside gap; … initial pop and surge must improve;… effective trap blocker.
In that evaluation, Runyan sounds like a center, one that Rich Rodriguez would have enthusiastically recruited.
I'm not sure how much credence to lend scouting reports from 247 and Scout, as they are old. Brian Dohn had an evaluation post from October of 2013 that praised his athleticism and feet but notices that he is not 300 pounds. He's trying his best to project:
knows how to position his body and he does a fantastic job of recognizing whom to block, even if it is on the second level. …has the athleticism to play guard and be effective pulling as a lead blocker … His ability to move his feet and sit back in his base in pass protection is already an asset.
He took in a St. Peter's game last year as well, but was scouting a half dozen guys in that game. The resulting post only briefly touches on Runyan, mentioning that he was "solid, but not overwhelming" and offering a back-handed compliment that echoes what Sullivan said: "when he was able to engage the defensive player, Runyan did a good job of finishing the block."
Clint Brewster had a take based on junior film. His numerical evaluations are Lake Wobegone grades in which everyone's above average—it's a ten point scale and I can't remember ever seeing a 4 or lower—and the big question is right there first:
Frame gets a 7, though, so… yeah. Numbers are tough with recruiting because so many people are waiting to yell at you. More text-type stuff:
Runyan has plus athleticism but it looks as if he is still getting used to his body. … Very good footwork for a young player and always takes the right steps. He’s got a smooth kick back in pass protection and has pretty quick feet. He does great job of staying infront of his man in pass protection. …very smart player with high ceiling and great technique.
There's obviously some disagreement here about just how much of a technician Runyan is at this stage. Brewster's instant eval after his commit called him a "pure technician" who "does everything right with flawless technique," which is completely impossible. That was a discussion of a kid who had just finished his sophomore year of high school.
The more recent reports indicate a coachable kid who is going to need plenty of said coaching and time in the weight room. He has the genes; he's got a path to reasonable size; it is completely understandable that recruiting sites filed him in the vast pile of offensive linemen who have a chance but only a chance.
Etc.: If Runyan doesn't work out—or if, like, anyone doesn't work out, this will be your most longstanding ARRRGH BRADY HOKE issue. Runyan camped next to Chuma Edoga, future top 50 interior line recruit and USC commit, and Edoga was chomping at the bit to commit. But no offer came.
Why Dave Pearson? Pearson overcame some serious size limitations (he entered college 6'3", 240) to be a reliable, heady starting center in the mid-aughts. He was undrafted and had a cup of coffee in the NFL.
Pearson was actually a weakside end to recruiting sites before packing on the necessary weight to be an OL; Runyan has a head start on him in that department since he'll enter at around 275. Still, acquiring the necessary size and strength will be Runyan's biggest challenge.
Guru Reliability: Moderate. Peripheral OL prospects don't get a ton of attention and a lot of the scouting here is really old. But they're all in approximate agreement and the things they say make sense.
Variance: High. Is OL. Is sleeper OL.
Ceiling: Moderate. Sounds like he's a better fit for a zone system; under Harbaugh he's probably a center and a center only, and one that gets by instead of being David Molk.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Those genes though.
Projection: Is OL, redshirt. Can compete for the starting C job as early as next year; more realistically that will be someone else's job—probably Patrick Kugler. Runyan's first real crack at time is likely to be as a redshirt junior, when he'll be big and strong enough to play for Harbaugh.
"We're Venture Capitalists"
Yesterday's BBQ at the Big House produced a commitment from Sir Patrick Scott and very positive reactions from those in attendance. The highlight was the scavenger hunt that doubled as a campus tour, and since Jim Harbaugh was involved, of course this happened:
— Brandon Peters (@Bpeters2118) August 2, 2015
While Scott ended up being the only commitment, Michigan made significant progress for recruits in several classes. Beginning with the rising seniors, four-star 2016 CO WDE/OLB Carlo Kemp sounds like a distinct possibility to fill a much-needed spot at BUCK linebacker, per Scout's Anna Hickey:
"It was just awesome," Kemp said. "I came in with very high expectations. When we finally got inside The Big House, it was different than anything I had ever experienced. All of my expectations were blown away. I saw the stadium when it was empty, and I can't even imagine what's it's like when it's full. That was my favorite part."
Kemp, who's eyeing an official visit for the BYU game, said the visit "definitely gave [Michigan] an edge" over fellow top schools Notre Dame and UCLA.
Much of the intrigue surrounding the event focused on four-star Detroit King prospects WR Donnie Corley and CB Lavert Hill, who not only made the trip but spoke highly of the program in the aftermath. Hill, who visited with both his parents, certainly didn't quell the rumors he could flip to Michigan soon with the wording of this statement to 247's Steve Wiltfong ($):
“I feel wanted,” he said. “They’re recruiting me really hard with my brother and stuff like that.
“It’s a pretty good school with the academics and football but I’m committed to Penn State right now.”
Wiltfong also caught up with Corley, who acknowledged Michigan is making a move after his second campus visit in a week ($):
Corley’s recruitment as of late was linked to Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee and West Virginia. The Wolverines are surging here.
“Definitely,” Corley said.
“Just everything they’re doing with the team and I can tell how the guys are talking and I talked to the guys, Harbaugh is changing a lot of things and I liked that about it.”
After initially wanting to make a decision before the season started, Corley is now discussing taking official visits before making a choice. It'll be a battle to beat out the four other programs mentioned, especially MSU and OSU, but after looking completely out of it for a long time M looks to have a legitimate shot.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
The first rule of Draftageddon is "you must complain about Draftageddon." The second is "the four people drafting assemble teams of Big Ten players in an effort to seem the best at drafting."
THAT WHICH HAS COME BEFORE
Previously on Draftageddon:
- Adam takes a guy with a ~33% chance to start first overall! Joey Bosa lasts until pick 3! Seth is generally sensible! For him that counts as Heiko-ing, I think!
- Brian takes back to back QBs! Several additional Ohio State players go off the board! 24-12!
- Ace takes Braxton Miller as a QB and then shrugs expansively when he ends up a terrifying H-back!
THAT WHICH IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
THAT WHICH IS HAPPENING CURRENTLY
ACE: Round 12, Pick 2: Jake Rudock, actual quarterback, Michigan
OFFENSE: QB Jake Rudock (U-M), OW Braxton Miller (OSU), WR Michael Thomas (OSU), WR DaeSean Hamilton (PSU), OT Jack Conklin (MSU), OC Dan Voltz (UW)
DEFENSE: DE Joey Bosa (OSU), DT Darius Hamilton (RU), NT Austin Johnson (PSU), OLB Darron Lee (OSU), CB Eli Apple (OSU), S Tyvis Powell (OSU)
[ED: Since everyone else has QBs, Ace has to take one.]
Just after I submitted my last pick, SI's Pete Thamel broke the news: I have successfully gamed the system.
“For the most part, it’s going to be H-Back and punt return,” Miller said in a phone interview on Thursday night. “It’s a long process to get back totally to throwing and throwing every day. This is the smarter thing for right now, God blessed me with a lot of talent and different opportunities. I’m going to have fun with that and still score a lot of touchdowns and help the team out and be dominant at that.”
A reminder: H-back, in Urban Meyer's system, is the Percy Harvin position. Miller is as close to a Harvin-level athlete as Meyer has had since Harvin himself. While I'm forced to take a quarterback again here, the magnanimous Commissioner Brian offered the opportunity to release Miller back into the pool and take an additional compensatory selection; I will not be doing that, even with Jalin Marshall still on the board. Miller's potential in that role is too great for me to pass up on; it was one of the main reasons I drafted him in the first place.
So, anyway, an actual quarterback. Many would expect Indiana's Nate Sudfeld to go here, but I'm not convinced he can replicate his 2013 success. Sudfeld benefitted from both Kevin Wilson's wide open, lightning fast system and a great group of receivers (2014 2nd-rounder Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes, Shane Wynn, Ted Bolser) that season. With Latimer, Hughes, and Bolser gone last year, Sudfeld had rough games against the two remotely viable defenses he faced—32/70, 378 yards (5.4 YPA), 1 TD, 1 INT combined vs. Mizzou and Maryland—before injuring his shoulder early on against Iowa. He had Tevin Coleman there to take a great deal of attention off of him and still didn't look all-conference caliber.
Jake Rudock, meanwhile, played for a program that considered Mark Weisman an acceptable three-year starter at running back. Brian's done the research legwork here. Rudock generally looked very good when afforded time and a reasonable gameplan despite working with a substandard group of receivers. He looked less good when victimized by a combination of coaching malpractice and a leaky offensive line. At the very least, Rudock should be efficient; even in a year when he eventually got benched, he posted the third-best passer efficiency in the Big Ten. If a lot of his perceived issues—namely, a propensity for checking down too often—were the product of his GERG-ian environment, he'll thrive under Jim Harbaugh. My guess is Rudock will serve as yet another reminder to Iowa fans that their coaching situation, um, sucks.
SETH: Round 12, Pick 3: Mason Cole, OL, Michigan
OFFENSE: QB Connor Cook (MSU), RB Corey Clement (WIS), WR Leonte Carroo (Rut), OC Jack Allen (MSU), OG Pat Elflein (OSU), OT Alex Lewis (Neb)
DEFENSE: Steve Longa (WLB), HSP Jabrill Peppers (Mich), DB Jordan Lucas (PSU), S Michael Caputo (Wis), CB Will Likely (Md)
Last year's offensive line preview gave Michigan a "1 of 5" for tackle, because in the history of true freshman tackles, the absolute ceiling is for some future superstar to be just okay. Brian even ran down the history of teams forced to put the blindside in the hands of an 18-year-old and found those who got to okay had a five-star recruit on the level of Peppers.
Mason Cole was okay.
Since competent true freshman LTs are so rare we're literally stuck with Laremy Tunsil as the only comparison, here is a list of Michigan redshirt freshman offensive lineman since the mid-'90s who were not obvious liabilities: Jansen, Hutchinson, Backus, Long, Molk, Lewan.
Cole's best years are still in the future, but I'll take last year plus the standard freshman-to-sophomore bump on my line any day.
ADAM: Round 12, Pick 4: Ed Davis, OLB, Michigan State
Round 13, Pick 1: Justin Jackson, RB, Northwestern
OFFENSE: QB J.T. Barrett (OSU), WR Jordan Westerkamp (Neb), OT Jason Spriggs, (IU), TE Jake Butt (UM), C Austin Blythe (Iowa), RB Justin Jackson (NW)
DEFENSE: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), DT Adolphus Washington (OSU), S Vonn Bell (OSU), CB Eric Murray (Minn), LB Raekwon McMillan (OSU), DE Drew Ott (Iowa), OLB Ed Davis (MSU)
My linebackers may not win the hearts of the Michigan faithful, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to add a SAM with pass-rush ability. Davis had 58 tackles, 12.0 TFL, and 7.0 sacks in his first season as a starter; you may remember him from his 6 tackle, 2 TFL performance against Michigan.
In his Hail to the Victors preview, Seth described Davis as "...an attack piece who will rack up a lot of sacks and otherwise match up against tight ends he's more athletic than." If that's what my twelfth round pick can do then that's fine by me. What's most noticeable on film is his lateral quickness, which allows him to easily cover the flat or crash inside to stop the run. He's also fast enough to line up wide and make tackles look absolutely ridiculous.
His skill set lends itself to being a SAM in a 4-3 under, which was what I was looking for. In McMillan I have a player who was certainly productive as a true freshman but whom I drafted in part because of his potential (i.e. recruiting profile); in Davis I have a two-year starter and fifth-year senior who's a more known commodity.
My next pick played in the M00N game- on offense, no less. And I made this pick voluntarily! Easily snarkable, and yet a likely record for longest it's taken for a Northwestern player to go off the board. Jackson's not a big back (5'11", 195) but he's quick and his vision is excellent. He's also a reliable receiver, catching 78.6% of passes when he was targeted and averaging 7.2 yards per target.
In 2014 Jackson rushed for 1,187 yards on 4.8 yards per carry despite playing behind a line that ranked 83rd in adjusted line yards and 117th (!) in opportunity rate. He's also the second-leading returning rusher in the Big Ten, behind only Ezekiel Elliott (who understandably went 11 rounds earlier). He put up 162 rushing yards on 33 carries and 106 on 22 (plus 4 catches for 50 receiving yards) against Wisconsin and Minnesota, ranked 29th and 36th in Rushing S&P+, respectively. Those two games were part of his end of season tear, in which he rushed for 100+ yards in six of the season's last eight games.
I can't recreate OSU's offense, but if Barrett's going to be effective he needs a run threat to keep defenses honest. I'm happy to have this one in what looks like an otherwise arid wasteland of Big Ten backs.
[After THE JUMP: CERTAINLY WE ARE OUT OF OSU PLAYERS AT THIS JUNCTURE]
He can keep the helmet. [Photo credit: Scout]
247's Steve Lorenz reports that Michigan has picked up a commitment from three-star Upper Marlboro (MD) Riverdale Baptist cornerback Sir Patrick Scott during today's BBQ at the Big House. Scott is the 22nd commit in the 2016 class and the third at cornerback, joining Antwaine Richardson and Benjamin St-Juste.
To the best of my knowledge, he's the second Sir Patrick to grace the Big House with his presence.
|3*, #57 CB||3*, NR CB||3*, 77, #40 CB||
3*, 87, #64 CB,
3*, #59 CB,
All four sites have Scott off the four-star pace by a decent margin with ESPN the most bullish on his ability. He's got a nice frame for a corner. All four sites list him at 6'1", with three of them pegging him at 170-175 pounds and Scout at 190.
Taller corners often aren't the most fluid athletes, but Scout's free evaluation alleviates those concerns when it comes to Scott:
Scott is a physical, aggressive cornerback who can flip his hips and run with receiver as well as playing press coverage. He locates the ball well and has an ability to close on a receiver. He drives on the ball well and sits low in his backpedal. He needs to add some upper body strength to be able to combat receivers with size. -- Brian Dohn
Areas to Improve
ESPN praises Scott's combination of size and closing speed and goes into detail on his coverage ability ($):
Best when pressed. Is tall and high cut which is concerning vs elite speed and quickness. Flashes quick feet and the ability to turn and run without losing much momentum. Will recover with length and his ability to reach and deflect ball from receiver when a few steps are gained on him. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder using the sideline as an alley. Will adjust well to routes and make a play on the football. Does a good job to transition forward and set the edge in run support or underneath coverage. May not want playing off on an island.
They like him much more as a press man corner than a zone corner, which shouldn't be a major issue considering the direction Michigan's defense is headed.
ESPN also mentions that Scott could be a future safety. Rivals' Adam Friedman thought along the same lines when he saw Scott at June's Riverdale Baptist 7-on-7 tournament, where Friedman said he raised his stock ($):
Scott is a big defensive back with ideal size for a safety. His frame is already pretty filled out and he quickly reacts to what he sees in front of him. As continues to convert from cornerback to safety, Scott is focused on getting out of his backpedal faster. His physicality was impressive as well. Scott's strength helped him knock down passes when receivers already had the ball in their hands.
That's about it as far as scouting goes on Scott for now.
Scott holds offers from Arizona, Boston College, Cal, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, NC State, Pitt, Temple, Wake Forest, Washington State, Wisconsin, and a handful of others.
Riverdale Baptist has produced only one Power 5 commit, 2005 Maryland DT signee Travis Ivey, prior to this class in the Rivals era. This year, however, they've got a talented and spectacularly named pair of rising senior cornerbacks in Scott and three-star Penn State commit Zechariah McPhearson.
No updated stats available.
FAKE 40 TIME
His Scout profile lists an estimated 40 time of 4.65, which gets four FAKEs out of five for saying "estimated" right up front.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
With Michigan moving to more man press coverage, I expect Scott will stick at corner. Making the relatively safe assumption that he'll take a redshirt year or play a small role as a freshman, that would put him in a potentially wide open competition with Reon Dawson, Brandon Watson, Keith Washington, Richardson, and St-Juste for a starting role in 2017.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Barring decommitments or St-Juste reclassifying to 2017—which is a possibility—Scott should wrap up Michigan's cornerback recruiting for the class, especially since ATH Chris Evans could land at the position (though slot still appears to be his most likely destination).
As for the class as a whole, Michigan is now at 22 commits with 14 scholarships currently open. The scholarship situation was covered in detail in a June mailbag; between unrenewed fifth-year seniors, yet-to-be-announced medical scholarships, expected attrition as the depth chart becomes more clear at certain crowded position groups, and attrition from within the class itself, Michigan should have room for their current commits and 3-6 more.
Areas of need include wide receiver, tight end, WDE/BUCK LB, defensive tackle, and one more offensive lineman. Top individual targets include five-star NJ DT Rashan Gary, five-star CA OLB Caleb Kelly, four-star MD OG Terrance Davis, four-star TX OT Jean Delance, four-star NC OT Landon Dickerson, four-star WR Ahmir Mitchell, four-star ILB Devin Bush Jr., and PA TE Naseir Upshur.
No, seriously: football.
Look at the calendar. Look what tomorrow is.
It has been so long, and I've forgotten half of what I knew at the end of last season, but there is football on the horizon. And just like that, our daily fantasy partner Draft Kings has released their big—and I mean BIG—NFL Millionaire Maker contest.
You don't get to argue anymore; if you've got your account with DK already—and by now you should—you are getting in on this. If you don't have an account, and you're at all interested in trying this out, go set up your account, get a free HTTV copy while you're at it, and then get in on this. You know more about football (football!) than any person has any right to, and you have until almost the middle of September to get your team right.
- $10,000,000 prize pool.
- First place wins $2,000,000
- Enter for just $20
- Top 125,700 scores win money guaranteed
- Starts on Sunday, September 13th at 1:00 PM EST
- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 9 spots. 8 players and 1 defense.
- Roster Format: 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex and 1 Defense
Thanks to the most contrived controversy since Capcom tried to lead parents into revolt against Mortal Kombat, you cannot draft Tom Brady. You can get Kirk Cousins for $5,000, but why do that when you can get Chipmunk Kirk Cousins for like a quarter of that?
So You're Saying...
As expected, four-star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley made his way to campus on Wednesday with his parents, and he told 247's Steve Wiltfong the visit helped Michigan's cause ($):
While Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee and West Virginia have been regularly mentioned as top contenders, Corley tells 247Sports that he wasn’t really feeling Michigan under the old staff, but Jim Harbaugh and the new group are quickly turning that around.
“My mindset was not really Michigan, even when they hired the new staff, but going up there it seems like a great place to be,” Corley said.
Corley will be back in Ann Arbor for the BBQ at the Big House on Sunday. While there's a lot of ground to cover against Michigan State and a recently surging Ohio State, Michigan looks to have at least an outside shot now, which is a far better position than they'd been in previously. With M also getting more involved in Lavert Hill's recruitment, it appears the program's relationship with Detroit King is on the mend.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, EVERYBODY. They've let Tim Beckman out of his tiny pool, gently removed the arm floaties, and put him in front of reporters. Let's see how that's going!
DID YOU THROW THE BALL OR NOT AHHHHH
Illinois kept this person because he led their football program to a better than average performance for them, which is usually why you keep a football coach. Funny ol' world.
OKAY BUT SERIOUSLY. Whenever I see Tim Beckman put in a low-pressure situation and asked softball questions he looks like a dog that doesn't know whether you're going to throw the stick or beat him with it. How does this person get past a job interview, let alone a Head Football Coach job interview?
That is a high pressure situation in which questions like "why on Earth would we pick a guy with one good season in the MAC with an outlying turnover ratio to coach our team?" get asked. Was the answer Illinois sought "uh, team performance leads to excellence in all our endeavors"? Did they not notice when he repeated that when they asked him what he wanted for lunch?
Help me understand. I do not understand.
Also at Big Ten Media Days. Harbaugh finna get himself shivved bae*:
— Sean Churchill (@SeanChurchy) July 31, 2015
Also, and always, Beckman.
*[I think? I may have just said "Harbaugh I fart on myself" in teentwitterese.]
Also also at Big Ten Media days. Never let it be said this is not journalism.
"Saade is a self-taught taxidermist and says that the job can actually be quite lucrative." Got a lot of dead chipmunks around the house. Dunno why. Mother keeps saying something about mah sleepwalking. Mother says she don't wanna say when I ask why such a thing would happen. Mother says waste not want not. Mother don't remember which team won that crazy overtime game from a few years back on account of her blackout. Mother is pretty sure though. Mother is always right.
Mother says this is how it's always been and how it always will be, mother and the chipmunks and the always recovering on-side kicks and never ever havin nobody named Braylon she knows about, no nothin. That ain't even a name she says. Who ever heard of a name like that. Who ever heard of that.
Sometimes I think I ain't sleep-murderin no chipmunks but I know better than to say so.
You know, for a turkey that's on the lam there seem to be a lot of photos of it in the same place. God, I wish this had happened when I was in college.
If I could fight a turkey on my way to discrete math I would be so happy.
"Do not try to approach the turkey," she said. "We've gotten calls from people who have been trapped and unable to move because he's cornered them."
The symptom. It's hard to blame Devin Funchess for his occasional lackadaisical play last year. If I was suffused with ennui it's hard to imagine what he was going through. But that's the thing about coaching: it is your job to get people to play to the best of their ability. Brady Hoke did not do this, and Funchess was the best example last year.
Here is confirmation of that from what's annually the best thing to come out of Big Ten Media Days, Mike Spath's article where he offers anonymity in exchange for real talk:
"They had a guy that on paper was just a nightmare because he was so tall, and big - he was supposed to be a tight end but they played him at wide receiver [Devin Funchess] - and man all week our coaches just kept saying, 'We've got no one that can match up with him. No one that can stop this kid.'
"It was motivating and I was foaming at the mouth, but I built him up into this goliath that was going to take my best effort, and he took a lot less than that. He didn't seem to care at all about helping his quarterback out.
"Everything about him was half-speed. It was sort of like what they used to say about Randy Moss - when he knew the ball wasn't coming his way on a play, it was like he wasn't even out there."
Randy Moss made it work, and Funchess ended up a second-round pick. But you read that and it's just like… I knew that. And I knew that it didn't come from Funchess, it came from the program.
Ferentz finally under the gun. Matt Hinton surveys the situation at Iowa, which is still technically part of the same conference Michigan is:
“It’s been five years now of unremarkable football, is probably the best way to put it,” says Marc Morehouse, who took over the Hawkeyes beat at the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 1999, the same year Ferentz arrived in Iowa City, and who has seen more than his fair share of unremarkable football. “I’ve covered Ferentz since he’s been here, and the ‘hot seat’ concept has come up in the past, but I’ve never taken it seriously. … I’ve never bought into it, but this year, even in November, even in January after [the bowl game], I’m buying into it. OK, this is a real hot seat now. This is a hot seat year, no question about it.”
Ferentz has doubled down here by letting his starting quarterback depart for a team technically in the same conference. If Rudock does well and Iowa remains Iowa-esque, Ferentz will go from "can't afford to fire" to "can't afford to keep" in a flash.
All of this makes for a fascinating alternate history in which Michigan goes with the coach Lloyd Carr recommended if they were making an external hire. Things probably go better for a while. Does Ferentz take better advantage of Michigan's ability to recruit? Are they again that kind of 8-4, 9-3 team that Michigan was for big chunks of the 90s?
The end of civilization. Not with a bang but with a pun.
— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) July 31, 2015
Etc.: They promise to actually pay attention to the illegal men downfield rule this year. Now I like it when the Onion writes something about Michigan! A whopping 37% of top-100 players who aren't one-and-done transfer. Kellen Jones has been to Michigan Oklahoma Clemson Wisconsin Tampa Panama Mattawa La Paloma Bangor Baltimore Salvador Amarillo...
file [Bryan Fuller]
ONE OF US
Harbaugh: "As excited as I've ever been for the start of football season." Why? "I say that every year."
— Max Cohen (@MaxACohen) July 31, 2015
Q. I think it's always interesting how Ohio State and Michigan refer to one another. Brady used to call Ohio State "Ohio" and Urban calls them "the team up north" or "the rival." Do you have a special adjective for your opponent, your rival?
COACH HARBAUGH: No. Ohio State in particular? Just Ohio State. But great to see everybody this morning. Glad everybody could be here. Wonderful turnout.
Q. How much have you learned from Paul Chryst and Mike Riley over the years?
COACH HARBAUGH: So much. That's one of the exciting things about coaching in the Big Ten and knowing so many of the coaches. As you mentioned, Mike Riley, head coach at the Chargers when I was there, also Paul Chryst was a coach there and the staff. And some other connections. Jerry Kill who -- a lot of competition with my dad. My dad has always said that Jerry Kill is one of the best coaches that he's ever coached against. Pat Fitzgerald, had a chance to spend some good time with him in Ann Arbor this summer. Really appreciated. Came over and was keynote speaker at our football camp. So a lot of friends in the Big Ten Conference.
Q. I wanted to obviously focus, there's been a huge impact on your life in the days of Schembechler. Will you kind of incorporate those things that you will definitely keep in your system and maybe some of those aspects no way, I'm not going to do it the way that Bo Schembechler did it?
COACH HARBAUGH: Pretty much -- if we could do it the way Bo did it that would be something to aspire to. Not a day goes by really where I don't think about Coach Schembechler from the time I leave my house to go to the office -- I live about five houses away from where Bo lived. And no matter which way I take to work, whether it's Devonshire or Geddes or Stadium, I'll often think well Bo probably took this right on to Washtenaw or took this left onto Hill. I know he took this left onto State Street and parked my car and walked by his statue. Daily. I go to my office. I've got a picture of Bo -- there's a picture of Bo and myself when we were at the Rose Bowl in '87. And, yeah, so it's to have his work ethic, to run the program like he ran it, yeah, those are things to aspire to.
[After THE JUMP: Harbaugh was far more detailed about where he lives than his team.]
Hello! We've been fortunate enough to have John Kryk, the Toronto Sun's NFL columnist, write for HTTV these last few years. Kryk is an invaluable resource when it comes to the early days of college football and has applied that expertise to a book about the intense rivalry between Fielding Yost and Amos Alonzo Stagg around the turn of the 20th century.
What follows is an excerpt from that book detailing Willie Heston's seventh-year-senior season, and the fights it set off.
Willie Heston (right) returned for a fourth and final season as a Wolverine in 1904. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a law degree in the (then) requisite three years, he studied literature in a tag-on semester.
Amos Alonzo Stagg -- the University of Chicago’s head football coach, athletic director, faculty head of physical education and self-appointed cleanser of Midwestern college sport -- disapproved. Although Stagg had had players at UC who similarly squeezed out every drop of eligibility, and he himself had played sports for six years at Yale (and even suited up for the Maroons in their inaugural 1892 season), he couldn’t resist slamming Michigan and Heston in the Chicago Evening Post on September 27: “The maroon coach cited the case of a rival institution that had a graduate return to take a post-season law course [sic] so that his great value could be utilized in the football eleven this fall.”
Stagg’s hypocrisy aside, this was after all Heston’s seventh season of college football, after three previous at a California teachers college now known as San Jose State University. But that experience at San Jose Normal never counted against Heston’s four years, presumably because of the conference rule that discounted any experience a student might gain at a college whose academics, or even just its football, were of a particularly low order. The conference arbiter, Clarence Waldo, in these years tabulated the Big Nine’s official list of colleges that did make the academic or football grade, and evidently San Jose Normal did not qualify.
Despite being injured in an elevator in St. Louis that summer, Heston probably was healthier in his senior season than he’d been since 1901. As Michigan’s opponents lamented.
In Michigan’s third game, a 95-0 obliteration of vastly overmatched Kalamazoo College in just 40 minutes of play, Heston might have rushed for more single-game yards than any running back before or since, at any level of college football. “As usual, Willie Heston’s performance was the headliner of the matinee,” the Michigan Daily reported. “A review of the game shows that the captain advanced the ball during the afternoon 515 yards — considerably more than a quarter mile.” Heston continually broke away on long gains and scored six of Michigan’s 16 touchdowns, four on runs of 65, 70, 85 and 65 yards.
How fast was Heston? The fastest man in the world in 1904 just happened to be a fellow UM student — Archie Hahn. At the Summer Games in St. Louis that year, the “Milwaukee Meteor” became the first man to win the Olympic sprint double: gold medals in both the 100 and 200 meters. Back then there was a 60-meter dash too, and Hahn won a third gold in that race. Two years later, Hahn won the Olympic 100 metres again. In 1901 he had tied the world record in the 100-yard dash (9 4/5ths seconds) and set a world record of 21.6 seconds in 200-meter straightaway dash, a race long since discontinued.
Michigan’s nationally respected track and field coach, Keene Fitzpatrick, doubled as the Wolverine football trainer. He marvelled at Heston’s breakaway speed and had this idea to help Hahn with his: pit the two men against one another in 100-yard match races on campus. Fitz did so some 200 times. Heston led Hahn at 30 to 40 yards every time. “At that point,” Heston recalled, “I could hear him go by.” Heston occasionally pressed Hahn to the finish but never beat him.
By 1904 Heston had refined his abilities as a running back that would have made him a standout in any era. His stiff-arms were viciously effective, with either arm. At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, he was stout enough to be an effective inside power runner. Perhaps best of all, and to a “remarkable degree” as a Michigan sports historian wrote in 1948, Heston was able to “maintain his feet” upon being hit, or leaping, or spinning, or making a harsh cut. “Willie Heston always ran low, with a wide-spread, pumping knee action. He had a cat-like ability to land on his feet, no matter how hard he was hit, his legs still driving forward.” He was unafraid to hurdle sprawled players, or low-charging tacklers — such as Eckersall in the 1903 UM-UC game. Heston first coined the phrase that became a mantra for running backs in the first half of the 20th century: “Use your searchlights and jump the dead ones.”
By 1904 Yost had tired of defending Heston’s strong play on the other side of the ball. Asked by a reporter in October if Heston was as good on defense as he was on offense, Yost “without thinking” quipped: “Why, really, I don’t know. None of my backs has made a tackle this year.”
[After THE JUMP: "a long ton of meat and bone and the thing moved with an average velocity of about eight yards a second"]