this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Michigan's 2010 hockey recruiting class will be epic if the kids who have committed stick to their commitments. D Jon Merrill and F Luke Moffatt are generally regarded as the best kids at their position in their age bracket and are potential top-ten NHL draft picks. F Jared Knight is a bit less hyped but would have been an OHL first-rounder if he wasn't planning on going the NCAA route. His size will depress his spot in the NHL draft, but initial indications are he could be anywhere from TJ Hensick to Andrew Ebbett. (I haven't stumbled across anything that indicates how highly regarded Hotchkiss Prep D Mac Bennett, the fourth commit, is.)
The 2010 class will be super mega epic if F Colin Jacobs joins the show. Jacobs is getting oodles of hype...
"Colin certainly has huge upside and is a player we are monitoring closely," said Chris Lepkowski, assistant personnel director for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP), based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "Our program is one that requires the highest level of dedication by the player and his family. We are not only looking for the most highly-skilled player, but a player who has character, can handle adversity, and will be able to effectively manage his time. Colin's on-ice talent is in line with the NTDP's past players."
... oodles ...
Some scouts hype Jacobs as the best American-born player since Mike Modano.
Here is what Alan Caldwell had to say about Jacobs:
"Jacobs is one of the best 1993-born players in the United States. The fact that he went this low means he'll be a tough sell on the WHL. First-round talent if he comes."
If Jacobs doesn't end up in the WHL he's very likely to be with the NTDP. Just an advisory to keep his name in mind.
Oh, so that explains it. Bill Martin talked to the Big Ten Network, explaining that Michigan's basketball program now has the funding for a practice facility:
Now that we're practicing, look out, world.
Just one transfer away from a return. Indiana safety Jerimy Finch was a top-50 player in the class of 2007 who 1) committed to Michigan early in the process, 2) inexplicably visited Indiana with a bunch of his teammates, 3) even more inexplicably decommitted from Michigan and committed to Indiana, 4) decommitted from Indiana and eventually signed with Florida because Urban Meyer was apparently calling anyone on Rivals' top 100 list.
After his recruiting sojourn, we have more numbers: 5) got move to linebacker against his wishes, 6) broke his leg in the third game of the season, 7) pretty much failed out of Florida, and 8) is now transferring back to Indiana.
He's projected to be Michigan's starting free safety in 2010.
The Big Ten Network: feel the excitement! Presented without comment other than the obviously snarky lead-in:
Dance gala to be aired on Big Ten Network
"Performing Iowa: Dance Gala," the University of Iowa's first original non-sports cable TV program for the Big Ten Network, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the auditorium of the UI Art Building West.
No, wait, one comment: damn you, Comcast. This is the last straw.
Speaking of, yet another article that claims a Comcast-BTN deal is imminent:
The Big Ten Network and Comcast â€” the nation's largest cable provider that replaced Insight Communications this year in Springfield â€” likely will announce an agreement in late August, said John Ourand, a reporter for SportsBusiness Journal.
"Both sides are saying they expect something before the football season,'' Ourand said.
An announcement could come in as soon as two or three weeks.
Late August or in two or three weeks? It don't matter to John Supinie of the Springfield Journal-Register! The article does have an interesting suggestion: though Comcast and the BTN always talk about a potential deal like it stands alone, the BTN's association with Fox means that there are dozens of channels and stations and so forth and so on in constant flux between the two media titans.
Side note: a WCHA channel? WTF?
Ha-ha. A reader sent along this lol-worthy State News piece wherein the outgoing sports editors "reflect on years of Spartan sports memories." You know where this is going: the Horror features prominently despite, you know, not actually being a Spartan sports memory in any way. Even weirder:
1. MSU football vs. Michigan, Oct. 1, 2005: Domata Peko's 74-yard fumble return touchdown
1) Michigan State lost that game (obviously). 2) The play referenced here may in fact be the worst call in the history of college football. That sounds bombastic, but not only was Chad Henne's arm obviously hit during his throwing motion, just as obviously going forward at the time, and just as obviously propelling the ball forward before it hit the ground -- making this a trifecta of incredibly obvious items that indicate a forward pass -- but they actually reviewed the incredibly obvious forward pass and called it a fumble anyway. Incredibly obvious missed calls from yesteryear can't compete because they weren't validated by some batty old zombie up in the booth. (The video on the post disappeared, but if you want the relevant section of the NCAA rulebook it's here.) We actually spent the entirety of the remainder of the game bitching about that call, enraging an elderly Spartan fan to the point that he wanted to fight us.
Another editor cites the first half of a game Michigan State got blown out in; only the girl
who is apparently one of the three Spartan hockey fans manages to name two things that are actual Spartan sports memories that aren't kinda humiliating.
Zing! SI's "Truth and Rumors" is basically a news aggregator that takes snippets from articles and reposts them to SI. Today we have this on GA S Darren Myles:
Coaches from Georgia, Illinois, Marshall, Michigan, Ohio State and Ole Miss were on hand to get a glimpse of junior free safety Darren Myles Jr. and his teammates during opening day of spring football practice at Carver on Monday. Myles, whose marquee scholarship offers are from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Tennessee, enjoyed a productive day at the Nike camp in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday.
A wag in the comments:
So the hot news here is that if your school has a name, they are still in the mix of getting a commitment from this guy?
biminator | 05/06/08, 08:22 AM
Good news, mostly, from wherever in the ether the OHL draft originates from. (It's a conference call.) Both Michigan recruits were picked in the third round, which is right on the border between "secret deal worked out" and "flier." The general impression I've gleaned is that both picks are strongly in the flier category.
Defense recruit Jon Merrill went to Plymouth. Plymouth's GM:
"We had Jonathon Merrill rated as a top defenseman on our list. He is committed to Michigan and the US program, but we'll wait and see. He's not going to be here this year, I don't think, but we'll talk to him and his family and kind of follow the same path we went with Beau Schmitz - just talk to the family as needed and not bother them too much."
Obviously there's no pre-existing deal with Plymouth. They reference Beau Schmitz, a former NTDP defenseman Plymouth just signed, but Schmitz's situation was quite different: he was a Ferris State commit for a while but decommitted and the WOTS is that he was never going to qualify.
OTOH, Merrill's been at just about every Michigan home game since he committed a couple years ago. Bob Miller made reference to "hearing some things" about another Jenks, -- AJ Jenks was a commit supposed to come in with Czarnik and Wohlberg, but defected -- which gives me the willies, but if Plymouth doesn't expect him to show up this year then he's got a choice between one year with the NTDP and going to a Michigan team he obviously would like to play for and the Plymouth Whalers, average attendance: 2,600 fans in a rabidly half-full Compuware Sports Arena. Weird things happen, but they would be weird.
One last bit on Merrill: in the Hockey's Future thread on the OHL draft there is a guy who works for Red Line's junior division, and he shared RLR's scouting report:
Currently rated #1 overall by Red Line Junior in our rankings for the 2008 Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft. In a class by himself as far as Red Line Junior is concerned when it comes to available defencemen his year.
Has all the tools to become a superstar-calibre pro: excellent size, effortless, fluid mobility and a good head for the game. Uses the body regularly. Makes his first pass with authority. Great point shot, and gets it low and on the net consistently. Technical skating is outstanding, with smooth pivots and excellent backward/lateral acceleration. Reads plays well defensively and deftly uses long reach and quickness to cut off available lanes. Knows when to be aggressive in his challenges.
Has already committed to next yearÂ¹s U.S. U-17 National Team.
Again, Jack Jack Jack. There will never be another JMFJ, but Merrill sounds as Jack-like as possible without the scouting report directly stating "Jackson Pollack embodied in a hockey player... is he insane or brilliant? From the chaos comes beauty, and in the edges of understanding is a serenity unknown to outsiders. Liable to kill Ryan Smyth someday."
Meanwhile, forward recruit Jared Knight also went in the third, and he went to one of the two teams you, as a fan of an NCAA hockey program, do not want to see your player drafted by: London. (Kitchener is the other.) Still, Knight was not regarded a flight risk before the draft and the Hockey's Future chatter* on his selection is universally pessimistic about his chances to report. CHL fans think everyone is going to report, so that's a good sign. Knight was apparently the #19 rated player by ISS, with Merrill coming in #6 -- obviously they're not as enamored as Red Line.
One target, Brandon Saad, is a goner:
"To go (in the) first round was an honor," Saad said. "I've had a couple of meetings with them already and I'm pretty excited about going there. I've been away a couple of times at camps, but never for very long.
"About this decision, we haven't decided whether I'm going this year or next year. My parents might hold me back to get my life in order. We've been talking to them (the Spirit) about that. I'm going to take a couple of visits up there, see how the mini-camp goes and make our decision based on that."
But, he added, he expects to eventually end up in the Saginaw playing in the OHL and not going the U.S. college-route his 17-year-old brother George Jr. will eventually take when he's finished with high school.
Tyler Toffoli also went in the first round. He is committed to his Junior A team for next year, but it's rare that a first round pick eschews the OHL. Miller regarded him a longshot to start, anyway.
Two other targets Miller called out as guys to watch fell significantly. Kevin Clare, a "very high end defenseman" according to Miller, slipped into the fourth round and went to Erie. Erie is widely regarded to be the Detroit Lions of the OHL. Michigan's top goalie target, Jack Campbell, fell to Windsor in the sixth round. Both are likely headed to college. Bob Miller's OHL draft thread has information on all these kids and more.
*(Sorry to lean so heavily on anonymous message board posters by LOL CHL Canadian teenagers, but media coverage of the OHL draft, especially as it relates to NCAA commitments, hardly exists.)
Shouldn't this check be bigger? I thought it was an iron-clad rule that any check made out for more than $9,999 had to be at least three feet long. Apparently not:
The OHL Draft is coming up this weekend, which is of relevance to Michigan fans because it will clarify where various college-interested recruits stand. First rounders are not likely to end up in college; talented players who slip significantly are. There are a bunch of targets out there but the main guys to keep an eye on are the two draft-eligible commitments, center Jared Knight and defenseman Jon Merrill.
The OHL Prospects magazine has a semi-useful scouting report on Knight:
JARED KNIGHT RC
Ht: 5.09 Wt: 170 lbs 1/16/1992 Home: Battle Creek, MI
Detroit Compuware U16
Scouting Report: Knight is a highly skilled forward who has shown a consistent willingness to play in both ends of the ice. He plays the game a lot bigger than his actual size, competing at a high level game in and game out. He always shows up to play, no matter the situation or the score. He is an excellent skater that possesses speed and quickness. He has that elusive extra gear that he can utilize too.
"Always shows up" is not particularly useful information, but FWIW.
Ht: 6.02 Wt: 175 lbs 2/3/1992 Home: Brighton, MI
Detroit Little Caesars
GP G A PTS PIM
- - - - -
Scouting Report: Merrill is an extremely talented offensive minded defensemen who plays a very high risk, high reward style of game. He is an excellent skater, possessing great mobility and a very smooth and effortless stride. He displays speed and quickness while showing the ability to move in all four directions equally well. His speed and quickness allows him to take away time and space in a heartbeat and his lateral mobility is outstanding.
Sounds like a non-Godzilla version of Jack Johnson.
Bob Miller's latest article on Michigan's recruiting says the current plan for both Merrill and Knight, along with uber-commit Luke Moffatt, a 2007 first-round pick of Kelowna, is to play for the NTDP the next two years, then hit Yost. Both eligible players would be obvious first round selections if not for their plans to go to Michigan. Merrill is ranked the #2 player available by ISS, while Miller says four separate OHL teams guaranteed Knight a first round slot if he would commit to playing for them.
Four Michigan targets are also draft-eligible; I'll relate what goes down with them next week.
A little of the old in and out. Ekpe Udoh remains at large, maybe transferring, maybe not transferring. Meanwhile, Beilein -- get this -- might be tracking down a top-100, four star point guard from California:
Darius Morris is a basketball player recruiting services such as Rivals.com and Scout.com are enamored with, ranking the junior from Windward among the top 100 prospects in the country and one of the top 15 point guards in the nation. The recognition is warranted too.
Michigan knows this all too well, having kept in constant contact with Morris for quite sometime now, even offering him a scholarship along the way. Not surprisingly, the Wolverines are considered the early front-runner to win his services, according to these quotes.
The "quotes" link goes to a premium Rivals story; suffice it to say that this LA Times blog post ends "it appears as if everyone is trailing Michigan at this point." If Beilein can reel the kid in Morris would be his highest-rated recruit ever.
(For some reason the embedding on these MGoBlue videos doesn't seem to work on the site sometimes; if you can't see anything above, here's a direct link.)
Speaking of Michigan S&
C, a couple readers forwarded along this remarkable passage from the Sports Illustrated vault:
O.K., Mel. Let's give it a try. How about...Greg Skrepenak, enormous offensive tackle, University of Michigan? "The bottom line on Greg Skrepenak, in my opinion, is that he wasn't the true dominant lineman he should have been," says Kiper. "He's not a strong lineman; he's 315 pounds. 320. but he's not doing the 25 reps |he's not bench-pressing 225 pounds the requisite 25 times], he's not attacking and burying people at the line of scrimmage. He only did 16 reps at the scouting-combine workouts, but the problem is at the strength program at Michigan, where they do a lot of machine lifting instead of free weights.... I think Skrepenak will be better once he gets in the NFL than he appears now, which means that someone like the Bears, picking in the latter part of Round One, could be interested in bringing in a guy like that."
Here, Mel was right on: Skrepenak went at the top of the second and took a while before breaking into the Raiders' starting lineup. (He's now the chairman of the Luzerne County board of commissioners, BTW... another life sadly wrecked by the Michigan football program's callous disregard for its players.)
It is always so. Most criticisms of drafting and recruiting rankings boil down to -- as SMQB eloquently puts it -- "Experts suck because Tom Brady," using anecdotes in place of research because research is hard and yammering away is easy. But, like... research:
I've seen versions of these graphs for anything that has a draft -- there was an especially good one for the NHL that I, regretfully, cannot locate -- and they all look remarkably similar: a logarithmic dropoff from a super-high starting point.
Hey... Buzz Bissinger! That was pretty crazy, huh? I've read a lot of stuff about it, but I'm really waiting for Rock M Nation's opinion.
Highlights. They're cut kind of crappily -- can't see the play develop -- but for anyone who missed the Minnesota game:
I love "hey... if you want to watch this game, it's on after this show. So stop watching RIGHT NOW."
Agreed. The band had a pretty bleah year in the first year post-Nix, culminating in a Cirque Du Soleil show against Ohio State that seemed straight out of that episode of Coach in which Hayden T. Nelson battles the dastardly band director who cares about nothing save jazz and tidy formations. The Hoover Street Rag is the bando blog of record and suggests some of the bleah is actually intentional:
From what I've heard from shows this year, as well as comments left on this blog, is that the sound is being explicitly suppressed in the interest of such contrasts and "quiet sections."
A couple years ago my tickets were around the 20 on the non-pressbox side. At that point, the band was on the same side of the field I was, and I couldn't hear them at all, which substantially detracted from the gameday experience. It was awful. Is there anyone in the stadium who objects to actually being able to hear the band? The HSR says turn it up...
There is a simple fix for all of these problems: Play louder. We know it is possible; it's not like all the volume graduated last year. Playing louder would allow more of the students to hear the band, let them stay together on the Victors, and allow everyone to enjoy more of the halftime performances. The MMB did sound more balanced and rounder this year but it was at a significant and noticeable expense of volume. Row 80 does not care about legatos and mezzo pianos. Row 80 only cares about why their faces aren't being peeled off by the first note of M Fanfare.
...and I agree.
Strong is good. Behind the Net has an interesting article on the USHL, the only Tier 1 junior league endorsed by USA hockey and the premiere college feeder league out there. Fully 10% of the NHL used to play in the USHL, and the league is now basically on par with Canadian Junior leagues, which means that kids interested in both college and the NHL now have a viable pre-college option that won't stunt their development.
While on hockey recruiting, three kids signed letters of intent just before Thanksgiving. Two, Robbie Czarnik and David Wohlberg, are forwards set to replace the departing Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik. Czarnik is a high-end prospect who might go in the first couple rounds; Kolarik is more of a mid-round prospect.
The third is where it gets interesting:
Pateryn may not necessarily be playing for the Wolverines next year. Berenson and associate head coach Mel Pearson both said he might need another year in the USHL and may potentially be coming to Michigan for the 2009-10 season.
Michigan currently has seven defenders on the roster and none graduate next year; Michigan also has a commitment from St. Mike's defender Brandon Burlon. (St. Mike's is the Toronto prep school that sent Michigan Andrew Cogliano and Louie Caporusso.) Burlon is getting high praise from the scouting community. Kyle Woodlief:
...it was big Joe Colborne, a strapping pivot from Camrose in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and Brandon Burlon, a strong, mobile blue-liner from the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, who grabbed our attention. ...
As for Burlon, he did more to boost his stock than anyone in British Columbia last week, and we suspect he'll join a pair of fellow St. Michael's Buzzers alumni, Andrew Cogliano in 2005 and Brendan Smith in '07, as first round NHL picks when teams convene in Ottawa next June.
Burlon is ultra-smooth and the prototypical two-way defender in the post-lockout NHL landscape. He defends beautifully in his own end, seemingly never making a mistake in either his puck movement decisions, coverage down low or play diagnosis. He's big enough and competitive enough to duel against the big boys in front of the net and mobile and savvy enough to sniff out and breakup plays and lead quick-strike transition attacks, turning defense to offense in a heartbeat.
That does not seem like the kind of guy you leave in junior or fail to sign when you get the opportunity to. Burlon's listed as an '08 by Heisenberg while Pateryn is an '09. So what's the deal with Pateryn signing but not Burlon?
Burlon appears to be keeping his options open if a spot does not materialize on the Michigan blueline. By not signing a letter of intent, Burlon can go to another school should he need to. If Michigan loses a defender, he'll come in. Next Q: will Michigan lose a defender?
Probably. No Michigan first round draft pick save Eric Nystrom has stayed for four years. The new CBA gives teams a powerful incentive to sign college prospects by the summer after their junior year. Mark Mitera was the 17th pick his draft year and has really come into his own as Michigan's #1 defender. He's probably gone, and Burlon will show up in '08. Pateryn is likely to stay in the USHL another year and join the '09 class unless Michigan loses a second defender. The chances of that are low despite Chris Summers' status as a first round pick himself. He's a smart kid...
"It was tough at first," he said, "but my parents and a lot of my teachers were always real supportive. Everyone helped out. We had mandatory study time on our road trips. My parents always said my grades had to come first, and to have their support meant everything."
In the end, the time away had little, if any impact on his grades and Summers finished on the Milan honor roll all four years.
...and spent last year bouncing from defense to forward and back. The Coyotes will likely let him develop another year.
Update: Chris Dilks of WCH clarifies the Burlon situation:
Actually, Burlon wasn't able to sign a letter of intent because in order to do so, the school has to be able to show where his scholarship money is coming from, and a school can't say, "wel
l this guy is going to leave early for the pros, so our recruit will take his scholarship money". The money either has to already be available, or be in use by a player that won't have eligibility next year. Pateryn signed because he's an in-state kid that is going to be using very little scholarship money. Burlon is closer to a full scholarship so he'll have to wait for Mitera to leave before he can sign
In any case, I wouldn't worry about him not coming to Michigan.
I did not know that.
Best Ever. If you happen to know any Buckeyes well enough to be in the awkward position of exchanging gifts at holidays, I cannot recommend anything more strongly than this shirt:
There is also a Michigan State version. Tellingly, Michigan is omitted. Take that, Harbaugh!
Open house. The Big Ten Network's embarked on a barnstorming tour of the midwest; yesterday they stopped in at Michigan. There is an unrevealing story from the Free Press; more interesting is a Daily article from a few days ago with some increased detail on the negotiations:
In the next few weeks, Silverman thinks the network will sign with several cable and satellite distributors - Time Warner, Dish Network and Charter - but he won't count on Comcast.
"I need to consider Comcast as hoping, not expecting," Silverman said. "I will know more in the next couple of weeks about Comcast. That will be one that will go very close to the launching."
That's the first indication negotiations with any one provider are more strained than others and probably a good sign. If Time Warner, Dish, and Charter agree to carry it on basic, a price will be established and Comcast's holdout will seem untenable.
The Hoover Street Rag went on a field trip and reported back. The network remains uncompromising on expanded basic:
There are LOTS of negotiations currently going on, and again, deals on this kind of thing get done very late. Or as Mr. Silverman put it "very, very, very, very late." Mr. Silverman also noted that if he has his way, he would prefer not to be negotiating, but that is not the case. It is the position of the network that it should be broadly distributed on extended basic. Not on a sports tier, not on digital. It should be part of your 70 basic channels you get with your monthly cable bill. He went on to note that the Network is willing to negotiate on every single other point but they will not move on the extended basic part.
Also, HSR didn't get a parking ticket. Nice.
Oh, yeah, that guy. After a brief, intense burst of Beilein mania things here have settled back down into the status quo of mostly ignoring the thing that causes us pain. Beilein's recruiting hasn't been particularly newsworthy after the commitment of Syracuse center Ben Cronin -- he's focusing mostly on under-the-radar types, which distresses some -- but Nathan Fenno sheds some light on how things are going in an interview with our new savior:
Q: Would you like to add another player to the 2008 class?
Beilein: We would like to take an 08. And if we find two kids we like in 08, we'll take them. We're going to plan on seeing who we recruit first. If we don't get what we think is the right fit, then we'll move onto 09.
But we have some guys we think maybe the right fit. We might get three weeks into practice and say, 'Anthony Wright is this guy. Let's wait until 09.' We're gathering information.
Q: What sort of reponse have you recieved from recruits and their coaches?
Beilein: Two things I'm very happy with. No. 1, I think a lot of the young men have an appreciation for Michigan and the Big Ten, the University of Michigan, they know that name. The other thing is how many people have enjoyed watching West Virginia play the last three or four years.
We have an awful lot of high school coaches who have followed us. It's easier to get a recommendation from them to their player. Even though they may not know a lot about Michigan, they have seen West Virginia on television a great deal in the last couple years. There's a connection there I didn't didn't expect and I'm happy.
I expect another recruit no one is salivating over with to round out '08, then hope for some higher profile types once Beilein starts turning Michigan into a non-laughingstock.
Yorgen borgen flurgen forward. The Ann Arbor News profiles incoming Swede Carl Hagelin, a 6th round pick of the Rangers:
Hagelin captained Sodertalje SK in the J20 SuperElit Sodra, leading the league with 24 goals and 31 assists in 40 games. He sees himself as an offensive energy player who shouldn't take long to adjust from the 100-foot-wide Olympic-size ice sheets in Sweden to the 85-foot-wide rinks used mostly in North America.
"The rink is so much smaller, so it will be a different kind of game for me," Hagelin said. "Much faster, more physical game. I'm pretty fast and I think I can use my speed a lot."
There is also a profile on Shawn Hunwick, the new Mike O'Malley.
Etc.: We already knew this, but Bass is out this year. The article doesn't state it, but his return is highly improbable. Mallett will be "difficult to beat out" as the #2 QB; no redshirt coming. Maize 'n' Brew previews Notre Dame. Pickin' On The Big Ten ramps up a season preview.
Ute up. Michigan's scheduled a replay of that 10-7 anti-classic against Utah for next year. The Utes will slide in to an open date September 20th, completing Michigan's schedule like so:
Sept. 6 MIAMI (OHIO)
Sept. 13 at Notre Dame
Sept. 20 UTAH
Sept. 27 WISCONSIN*
Oct. 4 ILLINOIS* (HC)
Oct. 11 TOLEDO
Oct. 18 at Penn State*
Oct. 25 MICHIGAN STATE*
Nov. 1 at Purdue*
Nov. 8 at Minnesota*
Nov. 15 NORTHWESTERN*
Nov. 22 at Ohio State*
(Stolen from Varsity Blue.) Lame. No offense to Wisconsin, but when Wisconsin is your best home game and there aren't even any other contenders your home schedule sucks. And Utah is a less extreme version of Boise State: they're tougher than the usual non-BCS fare but good luck getting anyone to acknowledge that. So you get the credit of beating Eastern Michigan with a significantly raised level of risk. I know scheduling is hard and all that; Utah is still a nonconference opponent with little upside.
Things might be getting better. The South Bend Tribune drops this in a fluff job about ND AD Kevin White's diabolical scheduling genius:
-So taken was Michigan by the potential recruiting aspects of the Irish playing off-site games in talent-laden Texas, Louisiana and Florida, the Wolverines are pursuing home-and-home arrangements in Florida and Texas to boost Michigan's recruiting.
If that ever comes to fruition, nice. About the worst opponent I can imagine Michigan signing to a home-and-home from either of those states is Texas A&M, and I would love that matchup.
At least we're not Penn State (God, how many times have I said that over the past decade?), who have scheduled Coastal Carolina, Arkansas State, Temple, and EMU over the next couple years. Their most interesting games those years are against Syracuse. There are two TBAs... hopefully they are filled with something interesting.
Butler did or did not do it but has returned. Same Free Press article says that...
Tight end Carson Butler likely will be returning to the Michigan football team.
U-M coach Lloyd Carr said in Chicago last week that he would have a final meeting with Butler late in the week to determine his status. Carr said he wanted to make sure "it's the right thing for our team first of all." A person with knowledge of the meeting said it went well. Butler is expected to be with the team when the players report for training camp today.
From a purely football standpoint: awesome. We need tight ends like whoah. Mike Massey will probably be okay, but Butler had clearly passed him by midseason and Michigan's new zone game often calls for two tight end sets. Butler's return is found money. The questions are now:
- What did Butler do during his time off the team? Hopefully run precise routes and work on his hands; hopefully not sit around watching William Shatner roasts.
- Is he out of the doghouse? He's on the team. Even if he's been diligent this offseason will he be permitted to play? Previously I speculated about a Pierre Woods-esque benching that, while perhaps justified by off-field stuff I'm not qualified to comment on, hurt the team on the field. Butler was thiiiis close to getting the boot before the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, on double-secret probation with Germany and Arrington, and has stairs to run if he's going to make it back.
Though Butler's back, his actual return to the field remains murky. I'd be surprised to see him before EMU.
Omar Hunter, this is your life. Notre Dame has been negative recruiting the hell out of Michigan ever since Charlie Weis showed up on campus. But now we have a nuclear weapon:
A Notre Dame defensive lineman has been arrested on a misdemeanor charge of propositioning a prostitute.
Derrell Hand, 20, was arrested during a prostitution sting by South Bend police, the South Bend Tribune reported on its Web site.
Notre Dame: the place so awesome that football players have to solicit prostitutes to get action. The poor, poor regular schmoes in their senior-year dorm musicals don't have a chance.
Actual journalism is being committed over at Western College Hockey, which took in the Select 15s -- an annual prospect/camp showcase of the country's best 14 and 15 year old hockey players -- and reported back. This is of interest because two Michigan commits attended. WCH on the pair:
Jon Merrill(Little Caesar's(MI)): Easily the best player at the camp. He's 6'3, but skates like he's 5'9". Very smooth with the puck. Excellent in the defensive zone. Does a great job of picking up his man in the defensive zone. ...
Jared Knight(Compuware): Never really got things going offensively. One of the faster skaters at the camp, and can get to top speed very quickly. Extremely quick release on his slap shot, and still gets good pace on it.
Jon MF Merrill? Maybe? Probably not, but it's worth noting that Merrill's commitment has been in place since the beginning of last year. That's around the same time Michigan offered one JMFJ.
Merrill and Knight will report to campus in 2010 assuming they don't get picked off by Major Junior en route.
Hey, FGCU fans! Reed Baker is coming to your cittttay! (If it's even a city and not like a town or a hamlet or three fishermen who play whist on Sunday nights.) Get your shirts! Not that they're still in the store! Challenge contest: what does FGCU stand for? No looking it up.
Etc.: Lacey talks about the Maize Rage revival (no permalink, sorry). MVictors recaps Jamie Morris talking about the Harbaugh thing on WXYT. McGuffie is Lemming's #10 player in the country. Woo? AP article on Carr comments has some info I hadn't seen elsewhere.