Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Defense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Defense Comment Count

Ace May 15th, 2015 at 2:06 PM

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense2009 Quarterbacks2009 Offense, 2010 Offense

The series continues with a look back at the defensive prospects in Michigan's 2010 recruiting class. Rich Rodriguez took 16 defenders in the class; more of them failed to make it to the opening kickoff of their freshman year (four) than advanced all the way to Senior Day (three).

I apologize in advance.

Those Who Stayed

Obi Ezeh!

Especially in retrospect, Jake Ryan's recruitment was bizarre. Ryan was the most productive defender on a state-title-winning Cleveland St. Ignatius squad that got plenty of exposure; he played next to Ohio State commit Scott McVey; his highlight tape provided more than a glimpse of what he'd become at Michigan. He looked a whole lot like Jake MF Ryan, minus the flowing locks.

Yet Ryan went unranked for much of the process, and even after a strong senior season only earned middling three-star rankings. Michigan didn't offer Ryan until he took an official visit a couple weeks before Signing Day. Ryan, holding only MAC offers, committed the next day. Reading his profile today makes me wonder if I unwittingly ingested all of the drugs:

Why Obi Ezeh? Ryan is a big, slightly clunky middle linebacker who will easily reach Ezeh's current 245 pounds and may outgrow the position entirely. As a recruit Ezeh was an anonymous three-star in about the same range Ryan is; he was also a sleeper-type pickup who had not been on anyone's radar before Michigan grabbed him. Ryan is praised for his vertical attacking and dogged for his ability to cut through the trash sideline-to-sideline or effectively cover zones; Ezeh's career is ably summed up by those critiques.

Ryan has some assets Ezeh doesn't: a high school career at linebacker (Ezeh was mostly a running back), a head start on the system he'll be playing in, and Greg Robinson as a position coach. Hopefully he'll have some consistency in coaching as well.

Notably, Greg Robinson as a position coach was listed as a positive. Greg Robinson as a defensive coordinator was... not.

Jibreel Black's profile spent a lot of time hoping he'd become at least a poor man's Brandon Graham. While Black didn't come close to Graham's heights, he was a solid contributor his last three years, and he could've been more productive if Michigan's issues with D-line depth didn't force him into a role as a 275-pound nose tackle for much of his senior season. Black is one of many players from the Rodriguez/Hoke era whose career would've benefited from a redshirt year he wasn't afforded.

The career of Courtney Avery saw him go from promising freshman corner to clearly undersized spot starter to senior utility man—he'd finish his time at Michigan with 19 starts, five of them at safety in 2013. Avery was also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, which shouldn't come as a surprise since he flipped his commitment from Stanford to Michigan; his high school coach thought very highly of him:

“He’s the type of kid that if he wants to be president of the United States one day, he will be. I got two compliments I could give him. That’s the first, and the second is if my daughter was 18, she could date him."

"Thanks, Coach. I'm deeply uncomfortable."

[Hit THE JUMP, if you dare.]


Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Offense

Recruits In Retrospect: 2010 Offense Comment Count

Ace May 13th, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Previously: 2008 Offense2008 Defense2009 Defense2009 Quarterbacks, 2009 Offense

It's apparently that arbitrary down time in the offseason when I take a look back at Brian's recruiting profiles for the class that just finished their time at Michigan. In this case, that class is the infamous 2010 group, the last full class brought in by Rich Rodriguez during his time at Michigan.

So, uh, you've been forewarned.

I'll start with the nine offensive players in the class, five of whom were wide receivers. If that sounds like a strange and dangerous way to contruct a roster, you may be a longtime reader of this here blog. Or maybe you just watched the offensive line the last few years. Either/or, really.

We're Really Sorry About The Coaching Thing

As a Pioneer grad, I have no idea how Pioneer won this game.

By the time Brian wrote up Devin Gardner's profile, he'd already enrolled at Michigan and participated in the spring game. The comparison that came up the most in his profile—and, really, the most reasonable one to make at the time—is a pretty good indication of the level of expectation for Gardner's college career:

Why Vince Young? The combination of size, speed, a wonky throwing motion, and the multiple comparisons from gurus tips the balance over to Young, who redshirted despite being the top prospect in the country and didn't come into his own as a passer until he played Michigan in the Rose Bowl—awesome timing!

Guru Reliability: High. Ton of exposure to him. Elite 11 camp, UA game, all that stuff. 
General Excitement Level: Towering. Vast. Expansive. 

Gardner, of course, stayed on track—except for the cameo at wide receiver—by looking like a future star when he took the reins after Denard Robinson's injury in 2012, and while he had some disappointing outings in 2013, those were largely chalked up to the O-line and playcalling. It came off the rails last year for a host of reasons covered so thoroughly they're not worth bringing up again. Needless to say, reading through his profile leaves one with serious what-could've-been feels.

[Hit THE JUMP for Dramatic Cupcake Hopkins and, well, mostly disappointment.]


Hokepoints is On Notice

Hokepoints is On Notice Comment Count

Seth November 12th, 2013 at 10:51 AM


Incompetence on a level that Michigan unlocked against Michigan State and Nebraska cannot be achieved by one man or even one team (MSU is good at defense, and hey, Nebraska did some good things). There's still the possibility that Borges and his charges  are sabotaging themselves, but since that's impossible to prove let's permit that they do in fact wish to progress the ball forward, and parse out how much responsibility lies in the various inadvertent factors.

I thought I'd take us back through a timeline of the events that led to the state of the offensive roster, picking up blame on the way.

I wish we could blame this whole thing on the old coach. Wouldn't it be the most ironic thing if the great guru of offense was really at fault for Michigan's offensive woes? There are really three things I think we can lay at his feet, in order of importance:

  1. Hired DCs he couldn't work with and made them run defenses they didn't understand, thus dooming Michigan to another coaching transition.
  2. Recruited just one OL in the 2010 class.
  3. Didn't recruit a single tight end or fullback, nor a running back who can block except Smith, whom he didn't redshirt.
    Michigan's 2009-2011 tight end recruits.

Tight End, Briefly

We've had #1 out, and #3 is debatable: Y U NO RECRUIT THE BREAD AND BUTTER OF BORGES'S OFFENSE, GUY WHO INVENTED THE OFFENSE THAT MADE BORGES'S OFFENSE OBSOLETE? I can't blame him for skipping fullbacks or running backs who can block since he had a track record of developing fullbacks from the walk-on program, while his backs, e.g. Toussaint, were recruited to operate in space. I wish he'd redshirted Vincent Smith, or gotten a medical for him.

But I do think he could have seen the need for tight ends even before the abilities of Koger and Webb opened his eyes to that. Rodriguez ignored the position for two years, and when he started looking again it was for the 2011 class that was devastated by Rosenberg and The Process: Hoke and Borges went on the hunt for last-minute TEs in 2011 and came back with Chris Barnett, a vagabond of the type that Michigan typically stays away from. Barnett transferred almost right away; I put that on having just a few weeks.

Tight end is another position that typically requires a lot of development, but Michigan knew by mid-2011 that its 2013 starters would be, at most, true sophomores, and knew a year later that neither of their 2012 recruits were much for blocking. At this point any sane human would not have made the ability of their tight ends to block a key component of their offense.

Offensive Line, Longly

Rodriguez put all of his eggs in the 2011 OL recruiting basket, and Michigan ended up with all their eggs in a project recruit's basket.

As for the OL, the failure to recruit just one offensive lineman in 2010 is the centerpiece of modern bitching. Is that fair? Here's a line from Brian in Mike Schofield's recruiting post, dated June 2009:

"Michigan didn't need a huge offensive line class one year after taking six big uglies and graduating zero, but you never want fewer than three and you always want quality."

So yes it is established MGoPrecedent that fewer than three OL in a class no matter how much meat you have stacked for the meat god is not cutting it.

Offensive line recruiting happens a bit earlier than most other positions. Since they're unlikely to be starting for several years (even redshirt freshmen are pretty rare) OL recruits rightly look for coaching stability more than early opportunity. The 2009 class was narrowing down their lists before the 2008 season, and so on. With that said here's a timeline of Michigan offensive line recruiting:

2009 (recruited in early 2008): Tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, and guard Quinton Washington. This despite a huge/mixed haul from 2008, when RR added Barnum and Omameh to Carr's class of O'Neill, Mealer, Wermers and Khoury. For the record O'Neill left the team in June 2009, and Wermers was gone in July (though his World of Warcraft account was presumably active), so the coaches wouldn't have adjusted to either of those departures at that time. Meat for 2013 Meat God: three redshirt seniors, one a potential Jake Long 2.0, can't do more because there's still six guys from the previous class.

[Fail leaps atop fail, after the jump]


Exit Jerald Robinson

Exit Jerald Robinson Comment Count

Brian December 14th, 2012 at 6:45 PM


this was not a catch

Well, it finally happened: Jerald Robinson has left the team after two years of practice hype did not translate into playing time. Michigan returns Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon, but in non-short-guy receivers the only returning experience is Jeremy Jackson. Darboh, Chesson, and whichever freshmen come in will have to pick it up fast.

Robinson is now the 15th member of the 27-strong 2010 class to exit. The departed:

  • Conelius Jones (never showed up, academics)
  • Carvin Johnson (played a bit, but transferred midway through Hoke year one)
  • Cullen Christian (torched as a freshman, followed Tony Gibson to Pitt)
  • Demar Dorsey (academics)
  • Terrence Talbott (left team before fall for mysterious reasons)
  • Ray Vinopal (same as Christian)
  • Terry Talbott (injury)
  • Antonio Kinard (never showed up, academics)
  • Davion Rogers (never showed up, academics)
  • Christian Pace (injury)
  • Stephen Hopkins (moved to FB, injured a bit, quit football)
  • Austin White (booted off team almost before showing up)
  • Ricardo Miller (gave up football after not finding PT)
  • Jerald Robinson (presumed transfer after not finding PT)
  • DJ Williamson (didn't like football, quit)

What a disaster. Jackson and Dileo are the only WRs left from the five Michigan brought in; Michigan has no other offensive recruits left from that class other than Devin Gardner. There's not much on defense, either: Jibreel Black, Courtney Avery, and Jake Ryan are the only contributors. You are permitted to go poke your Rodriguez voodoo dolls now.

As for the future: Michigan now has a full 25 spots in the current class without anyone else leaving. Lewan is headed to the draft and Michigan's sudden urgency to recruit an additional linebacker or two probably indicates attrition is on its way there, so expect this class to bulge up to 27-28 when all is said and done. Sam Webb suggested on the radio today that Michigan could take up to seven more players from their current total of 21/22, give or take the longsnapper.

I'd expect Green/Dawson/some LB/Delano Hill as four of them, with randoms making up the remainder.


Friday Night Lights 2010: 12-2

Friday Night Lights 2010: 12-2 Comment Count

Tim December 2nd, 2010 at 11:01 AM

For live updates of the games I'm attending, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.

FL RB Demetrius Hart

Last Week: Pregame Dee fluff. DP was at risk of forfeiting games in which WR Chris Gallon played, but he was proven to be eligible. Dr. Phillips crushed Oak Ridge 45-0. First, the video:

Now, the gory details:

Hart, a senior speedster who has orally committed to sign with Michigan, scored four times on runs from scrimmage, and also took a short pass 38 yards to the end zone and added a 68-yard punt return TD in another signature performance for an ever-humble star.

"Congratulations to my O-line, they've been working hard," Hart said of his performance. "That's the fruit of their efforts. It was a team effort, not just me."

Hart rushed for 129 yards on 18 carries and totaled 286 on runs, receptions and returns.

Hart is now the single-season scoring record-holder for Central Florida, as well as career. He will be invited to the US Army All-American Bowl on Thursday (at the start of 'A' lunch, of course). Official stats below come from the Dr. Phillips website.

Demetrius Hart 2010
Game Rushing Receiving Returns
Opponent Result Att Yds TD Avg Rec Yds TD Avg Ret Yds TD Avg
Edgewater W 48-7 20 79 2 3.95 1 8 0 8.00 3 47 0 15.67
Osceola W 49-7 19 98 3 5.16 3 47 0 15.67 2 23 0 11.50
Olympia W 49-0 17 224 3 13.18 5 68 1 13.60 1 20 0 20.00
Cypress Creek W 52-0 14 168 4 12.00 1 7 0 7.00 3 24 0 8.00
Boone W 45-0 18 142 3 7.89 5 132 1 26.40 1 0 0 0.00
Evans W 62-6 8 178 3 22.25 1 5 0 5.00 3 57 0 19.00
Oak Ridge W 56-28 21 126 3 6.00 4 37 1 9.25 1 5 0 5.00
Gateway W 59-0 11 190 5 17.27 0 0 0 - 2 36 0 18.00
Freedom W 56-13 23 229 3 9.96 2 26 0 13.00 4 34 0 11.33
West Orange W 49-6 11 121 4 11.00 4 24 0 6.00 2 69 1 34.50
Regular Season 10-0 162 1555 33 9.60 26 354 3 13.62 22 315 1 14.32
Olympia W 52-3 14 118 2 8.43 1 93 1 93.00 1 4 0 4.00
Oak Ridge W 45-0 18 129 4 7.17 2 71 1 35.50 2 86 1 43.00
Playoffs 2nd Rd 32 247 6 7.72 3 164 2 54.67 3 90 1 30.00
Totals 12-0 194 1802 39 9.29 29 518 5 17.86 25 405 2 16.20

This week: Dr. Phillips hosts Seminole Ridge in Round 3 of the State Playoffs next Friday.

FL OL Tony Posada

Last week: Plant blasted Newsome 52-23 in Round 2 of the State Playoffs. Article 2. No mentions of Posada.

This week: Plant hosts Countryside in Round 3 of the State Playoffs.

MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer


Last Week: Pregame Fluff 1. Pregame fluff 2. Game preview. Plymouth fell to Lake Orion 13-21 in the State Championship Game. Fluff on how Beyer got the team there:

"From not winning a playoff game to coming within one game of winning it all is quite an accomplishment," said Beyer, after his team lost to Lake Orion, 21-13, in the state final at Ford Field Saturday. "I love all my teammates, but there is no question this was a disappointing loss. I really felt we could have played better."

There's even mention of getting ready for Ann Arbor:

He plans to speak with the Michigan coaching staff in the coming weeks to get a better understanding of how he can best prepare himself for the rigors of Big Ten football. "I know I will be hitting the weight room, but I will want to get a (training) plan together," Beyer said. "I just want to be able to contribute as best as I can next season."

This week: Plymouth's season is over, they finished 11-3 and State runners-up.

FL CB Dallas Crawford


Last week: Pregame fluff (in which it is revealed that Crawford is the county's all-time leading passer). Pregame fluff 2. South Fort Myers beat Naples 28-21 on a last-minute TD pass from Crawford:

“He did what Sammy does,” Crawford said about his favorite target. “That’s what we live for. We practice the two-minute drill every day. That’s what we wanted. They gave us a shot, and we completed our task.”

He had an impressive day statistically, as well:

Crawford finished with a season-high 339 yards passing and four touchdowns.

That came on 14/21 passing, though he also threw two picks (just his second and third of the season). Dallas also rushed 12 times for 65 yards. There are four quarters worth of video in the above-linked article, so check it out. Here's the fourth:

Postmortem from the other side, and a couple more game columns. Dallas also gets a shoutout for his production.

Dallas Crawford 2010
  Passing Rushing Defense
Opponent Result Comp Att % Yds Yds/Att TD Int Rush Yds Yds/Att TD Int TD
Estero W 49-7 6 7 85.71 156 22.29 2 0 3 30 10.00 3 1 0
Cypress Lake W 39-0 9 10 90.00 118 11.80 1 0 6 24 4.00 2 0 0
Bishop Verot W 35-3 18 23 78.26 299 13.00 4 0 9 12 1.33 1 0 0
Gulf Coast W 49-7 12 16 75.00 277 17.31 3 1 11 34 3.09 1 0 0
North Fort Myers W 34-0 7 13 53.85 88 6.77 2 0 5 38 7.60 0 2 1
Baker W 41-0 3 5 60.00 61 12.20 0 0 1 28 28.00 0 1 1
Fort Myers W 43-10 10 13 76.92 144 11.08 1 0 12 38 3.17 2 0 0
Riverdale W 39-3 6 8 75.00 138 17.25 2 0 11 88 8.00 1 0 0
Mariner W 50-7 6 8 75.00 151 18.88 2 0 3 29 9.67 1 0 0
Regular Season 9-0 77 103 74.76 1432 13.90 17 1 61 321 5.26 11 4 2
Barron Collier 33-2 11 14 78.57 163 11.64 1 0 7 -21 -3.00 0 0 0
Naples 28-21 14 21 66.67 339 16.14 4 2 12 65 4.41 0 0 0
Playoffs 2nd Rd 25 35 71.43 502 14.34 5 2 19 44 2.32 0 0 0
Totals 11-0 102 138 73.91 1934 14.01 23 3 80 365 4.56 11 4 2

This week: 11-0 South Fort Myers hosts Bradenton-Southeast at 7:30 on Friday in the Regional Championship game (Round 3 of the State Playoffs).

Seasons Complete

FL QB Kevin Sousa

Lake Nona's season has ended with a 1-9 record. Sousa finished with 125/226 passing for 1936 yards with 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Rushing, he had 120 attempts for 835 yards and 6 touchdowns. For a full game-by-game stat breakdown, check out last week's FNL post.

MI RB/Slot Justice Hayes

Hayes missed most of his senior season with a broken wrist. Grand Blanc finished 7-4 and lost in the second round of the State Playoffs to Lake Orion.

MI WR Shawn Conway

Seaholm's season is over, with a 4-5 record. Conway finished the year with about 22 catches for 375 yards, and11 kick/punt returns for 393 yards.

MI OL Jake Fisher

Traverse City West's season is over, with a 6-4 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs. Fisher was 1st-Team All-District as a defensive end.

OH OL Jack Miller

St. John's finished the season 11-2 with both losses to Toledo Whitmer (in the second in Round 3 of the State Playoffs). Miller was also named 1st-Team All-District, and the District Lineman of the Year. Also 1st-Team All-State.

OH DE Chris Rock

DeSales's season ended at 5-6 with a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.

TX LB Kellen Jones

St. Pius X's season finished with a 10-3 record and a loss in the second round of the TAPPS playoffs. Jones finished with 110 tackles, 25 for loss, and 7 sacks, to go along with 3 fumbles forced, 2 recovered, and a punt block.

OH CB/S Greg Brown

Fremont Ross's season is over, with a 9-2 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs. Brown was named All-District, and All-State at WR. Coach comments:

"Greg Brown had an outstanding year," Kidwell said. "He could have easily been the offensive player of the year, too. We attacked people all over the field with him."

Brown had 20 catches as a receiver for 460 yards and four scores. His yardage was 10th all-time on the Ross single-season receiving list. He added 450 yards on the ground rushing on 58 attempts, adding seven more scores.

Yay Greg Brown.

MI CB Delonte Hollowell

Cass Tech finished the season 12-1 with a loss in the State Semifinals.


Fri - er - Saturday Night Lights: All Star Games

Fri - er - Saturday Night Lights: All Star Games Comment Count

Tim June 22nd, 2010 at 1:37 PM


A trio of 2010 Michigan commits participated in All-Star games over the weekend. The Brothers Talbott played for Team Ohio in the annual Big 33 Classic against Pittsburgh, while preferred walk-on Baquer Sayed (#4 at right) was on the East team in the Michigan High School Football Coaches' Association All-Star game. Paul and I took in the MHSFCA game in person, and I watched the Big 33 on NFL Network.

East-West Game Report

The MHSFCA All-Star game was without many of Michigan's best players (ironically enough). The likes of Nick Hill and William Gholston from Michigan State didn't play in the game, and the Wolverines' quartet of Ricardo Miller, Austin White, Jeremy Jackson, and Devin Gardner all enrolled early, so they couldn't play. Gardner in particular could have made this a much more entertaining game to watch. The QB play was iffy at best.

The East team had nothing going offensively in the first half, finishing with 7(!) yards of total offense and giving up a safety. The West took advantage, building a 16-0 lead going into the break, courtesy of two Chris Robinson (Ovid-Elsie - Grand Valley State) touchdown runs. Field position played a huge factor, as the East team rarely even made it into opposing territory.

After halftime, however, the East offense came alive, partially due to a little more aggressive play calling. While pass plays functioned as scramble drills in half one, they became part of a functioning offense in the second with Jason Fracassa (Sterling Height Stevenson - Northwood University) able to move the ball through the air. The East scored 20 unanswered points with Fracassa touchdown passes to Eric Cogan (Petersburg-Summerfield - Saginaw Valley State) and Torico Searcy (Warren Mott - Grand Rapids CC) before a last-minute West penalty allowed East coach Jim Sparks (Clawson) the opportunity to forgo a game-tying field goal to go for the win. Jeremy Langford (Westland John Glenn - Michigan State) lined up in the I-formation and sealed the victory for the East.

With such a sloppily-played game, few players truly impressed, but Spartan-bound wideout Tony Lippett (Detroit Crockett) was HUGE in comparison to the rest of the All-Stars. West running back Chris Robinson was somewhat impressive behind a sketchy offensive line, and West QB Jordan Beachnau (Holt - Grand Valley State) showed very good elusive abilities in traffic. I was not impressed at all by Jeremy Langford.

Photo Gallery

Sayed Report

Also impressive was Michigan's lone representative in the game, Baquer Sayed. He was routinely open on the occasion that a pass play was called, but he was often missed (either the quarterback threw a bad ball or didn't throw it his way at all , often because he was running for his life) or interfered with. On top of one key pass interference drawn, he caught 3 passes for 45 yards, with a long reception of 22 yards. He was thrown to two other times, but both passes were uncatchable.

Big 33 Game Report

The Big 33 Classic annually pits some of the best in Ohio against some of the best in Pennsylvania. A number of college commitments participated (Pitt led the way with 10 commits, though Ohio State and Penn State each had 4), and like the Michigan game, it was a defensive battle for much of the contest.

It's very rare that you'll see two separate games start with 2-0 scores in an entire year, much less one day, but that was the case Saturday, as Pennsylvania took that advantage all the way into halftime. Missed field goals from both teams (including onetime Michigan preferred walkon-turned-Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear of Team Ohio) and generally sloppy play limited the scoring, and quite honestly, fan enjoyment of the game.

After halftime, the game opened up somewhat, as Pennsylvania QB Anthony Gonzales (Liberty - Pitt) threw a pair of touchdown passes, one to PSU-bound Alex Kenney (State College) and another to future teammate Andrew Carswell (Sto-Rox). Ohio was not to be outdone, as Ohio State commits Verlon Reed (Marion Franklin) and Christian Bryant (Glenville) scored TDs. Reed's came on an 80-some-yard scamper, and Bryant's was a 26-yard reception with less than a minute on the clock to put Ohio up for good.

I was impressed with the performance of Alex Kenney and Andrew Carswell from Pennsylvania. Carswell should be a big target for Pittsburgh in the coming years. Wisconsin-bound Mannesah Garner (Brashear) was a terror on the defensive line, though he's expected to be a wideout in Madison. The surprise star of the day was Rich Gray (Woodland Hills) who's headed to Kent State, of all places. He was constantly in the Ohio backfield, and if he can stay on top of his conditioning, the Golden Flashes have uncovered a serious diamond in the rough.

A few Ohio players impressed as well. Verlon Reed and Christian Bryant showed good athleticism, though Reed couldn't pass the ball well at all, and Bryant looked lost in coverage at times (in man, he let Andrew Carswell get free by about 15 yards for one of Pennsylvania's touchdowns). JT Moore (Youngstown Boardman - Ohio State) got good pressure on the quarterback as well.

Talbotts Report

Michigan's representatives in the game, brothers Terry and Terrence Talbott, had mixed results. For the record, their jerseys both said "Talbott"—the organizers probably figured that 6 inches and 75 pounds would be enough for observers to differentiate between them.

Terry had one sack (@ 2:59 in the video below) and a couple other QB pressures, but no other real production. Terrence had a fumble recovery on special teams, one pass breakup and a couple tackles. Terrence was also responsible for one of Pennsylvania's touchdowns, however, as PSU commit Alex Kenney ran a streak down the sidelines, finding himself  a step past—and a lot bigger than—Talbott.

Big 33 Video

That wraps up Michigan commits' All-Star performances for the year, and Friday Night Lights will go into hibernation until late August, when the Class of 2011 gets its time to shine.


A (Brief) Interview With Baquer Sayed

A (Brief) Interview With Baquer Sayed Comment Count

Tim June 17th, 2010 at 2:13 PM

It's a doubleheader Saturday for Michigan's Class of 2010. The Big 33 All-Star game takes place in Hershey, PA with Michigan's Talbott brothers playing for the Ohio Team. Taking place in East Lansing is the Michigan High School Football Coaches' Association All-Star game at 3:30PM. (The game will be aired on TV on Comcast 900 on Monday at 7PM and Tuesday at 8:30AM.)

Though Michigan doesn't have any scholarship players participating in the game, a number of other Big Ten schools do (Ohio State, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Indiana). Michigan's sole player in the game is preferred walkon Baquer Sayed. I caught up with him and East coach Jim Sparks at media day for the game.

Baquer Sayedsayed_trieu.jpg

Tim: When are you getting up to Michigan?

Baquer: I'm moving up there in like two weeks.

Tim: Why did you pass up scholarship offers from MAC schools to walk on at Michigan?

Baquer: Family-wise [the media guide says Sayed is one of 9(!) kids in his family], and school, and degree, and everything. It's made up for by the school. If the NFL doesn't work, Michigan's better than all those offers I got in the MAC.

Tim: How would you describe your game?

Baquer: Speedy, long-ball quickness.

Tim: What can we look forward to seeing from you on the field Saturday?

Baquer: Just getting the ball and going in a scoring. Catching the fades over the corners, that's what I like to do.

East Head Coach Jim Sparks (Clawson High School).

Tim: You're running a spread offense on Saturday. Is it more run-focused or pass-focused?

Sparks: What kind of coach would I be if I told you what we're going to do? I'm just gonna say "yes."

Tim: Am I gonna see Baquer Sayed catch some passes though?

Sparks: Yeah, I would expect him to. He's a tremendous athlete, and that's why we run the offense that we do. We have so many athletes that the trick to the spread is just get those kids the ball in space and let them do their thing.

Tim: He told me he likes to go up and get the fade. Is that what you see in him?

Sparks: It's a huge part of his game. He's serious. I told him after you interviewed him that I've never seen a kid that has the ability to adjust to the ball and go up, and play that deep ball the way he does.

Thanks to Baquer Sayed and Coach Sparks for taking the time to talk to me. Here's Baquer's highlight video, for a taste of what to look forward to on Saturday:


Friday Night Lights: Ohio North-South Game

Friday Night Lights: Ohio North-South Game Comment Count

Tim April 27th, 2010 at 4:38 PM

High school All-Star games have started up once again, with Round Two consisting primarily of in-state or state-v-state contests. The Ohio North-South High School All-Star Game took place on Friday, with five future Wolverines participating.

The South team (featuring Jibreel Black and the Talbott brothers) defeated the North (featuring Courtney Avery, Antonio Kinard, and Jake Ryan) by a score of 23-20 in Ohio Stadium on the campus of Ohio State.

The Performances

jibreel black.jpgFrom a Michigan perspective, DL Jibreel Black (at right, file photo) was the top performer. He was named the defensive MVP for the winning squad, and made big plays when it mattered most:

Wyoming's Jibreel Black had two sacks to stop a North drive in the fourth quarter and help the South to a 23-20 victory in the Ohio North-South Classic Friday night at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Black was named the South's defensive MVP.

The entire defensive line for his team performed exceptionally, despite giving up mass along the front lines:

Every bit as deserving of the honor were the South's quick and nasty defensive linemen, who worked over the North's huge counterparts in dictating the tone of the game. North quarterbacks were on the run all night, resulting in turnovers and impossible third-and-long situations.

"From watching practices I wasn't sure whether we'd be able to handle them up front," South coach Mark Crabtree of Dublin Coffman said. "Our guys on the D-line are not gigantic, but they're powerful and explosive and play with a mean streak. We were really hard to block, and we gave our offense some pretty good opportunities."

The honor is double for Black then, who managed to be the best player on a defensive line that was so disruptive. That article incorrectly credits his two 4th-quarter sacks to Indiana commit Harrison Scott. The O-Zone offers high praise for Black:

Defensive lineman Jibreel Black (Cincinnati Wyoming) won the Defensive MVP with at least three sacks and as many pressures.

“It feels good,” Black said. “I’ve been working hard in the offseason to get ready, and it just paid off today. I tried to come out in the second half and make some plays for my team and get the win.”

The star of the night, however, was Jibreel Black. He was constantly in the backfield and pretty much controlled the entire second half. He’s not the biggest guy (6’2” 255) in the world, but then neither was Brandon Graham. And when pressed for what was going to happen the next time he plays in the Horseshoe as a Wolverine, Black didn’t hesitate to answer.

“I’ll be doing the same thing,” he laughed. “Pryor better watch out.”

Comparing him to Brandon Graham = yes plz. If he has the same work ethic as #55, he could be a special player in Ann Arbor. Una vez mas:

Jibreel Black is good. Pretty darn good. Unfortunately he’ll be suiting up for the Maize and Blue this fall. He had 2 key sacks on the last drive against the North and was the South’s Defensive MVP.

Black wasn't the only future Wolverine to show his stuff, however. In fact, despite all of Michigan's commits in the game playing on the defensive side of the ball, one of them managed to make it into the endzone:

He made the score 23-12 before North linebacker Antonio Kinard had a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:36 left in the game.

No other Wolverine commits are mentioned in the articles recapping the game, but an MGoPoster did take in the action and reports back:

Courtney Avery- Played CB. Didn't start. Good in pass coverage, needs to work on some tackling.

Jake Ryan- Played ILB. Good hitter. Big kid. Did not look comfortable in pass coverage. Did not drop into his zones well. Was just staring into the backfield

Antonio Kinard- Played OLB (similar to Roh last year). 2 pt stance on the LOS. Listed as 220 lbs, looks skinny though. Played with good discipline and had an INT return for a TD when the QB was hit as he was throwing, the ball went right to him and he showed good athleticism to catch it and take it back 40 yards for a TD.

Terrence Talbott- Played CB. Did well in coverage. Looked like he made a couple breakups.

Jibreel Black- The South D played a 3 man front. He started at LDE. In the 2nd half he moved to NT and then RDE. He made a huge stop on Erick Howard on a 4th and 1 when he slanted inside the RT and hit Howard in the backfield. He had 3 1/2 sacks in the 2nd half...and probably 3 more QB pressures. As a NT, he ate up Jeff Myers (2 star recruit going to Toledo). It wasn't even fair. He will remind people of BG when you look at him. Has a great first step and a great motor getting after the passer. Had some trouble at the point of attack when the ball was run right at him.


The South MVP was Ohio State QB commit Verlon Reed... who completed as many passes to the opposing team as he did to his own team (one, for ten yards). He did run for a 37-yard touchdown, however. One source says he wasn't the MVP, but that's probably wrong.

The North team MVPs were Wisconsin WR commit Chase Hammond and WVU LB commit Jewone Snow. Eleven Warriors was there, and has a more Buckeye-centric recap of the game.

Up Next

The Big 33 Ohio-Pennsylvania Classic takes place June 19th in Hershey, PA. Michigan has no players on the Pennsylvania roster (CB Cullen Christian dropped out of the game), but both Talbott brothers and Jibreel Black are listed on the Ohio roster.

On the same day, the Michigan East-West All-Star game takes place in East Lansing. No future Wolverines on scholarship are participating (all of them have already enrolled in Ann Arbor), but walkon WR Baquer Sayed will take part. There may be another walk-on or two on the rosters that we don't know about yet.


2010 Recruiting Class: 1,000 Foot Overview, Defense

2010 Recruiting Class: 1,000 Foot Overview, Defense Comment Count

Brian February 17th, 2010 at 12:20 PM

I'll be embarking on a project similar to last year's recruit profiles in the near future, but that effort will last into the summer—the final profile last year (Tate Forcier) didn't go up until June 25th—and some words about how Michigan did will be far less timely then.

The other side of the ball was examined last week.

Defensive End

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

jibreel black We'll throw quick end in here, too, and why not? Seemingly half the defensive recruits in the class said they were recruited to play the spot. Michigan has plenty of needs elsewhere so this intrepid reporter is going to put Jordan Paskorz, and only Jordan Paskorz, here. Antonio Kinard and Davion Rogers will be filed as linebackers; Ken Wilkins is already pushing 250 and will be filed as a strongside defensive end.

On Paskorz: he is a generic three star to the world, a guy who gets 5.6 on the Rivals scale—5.7 is a high three star, 5.6 a middling one—and had offers that reflected that. Michigan's main competitors were Pitt and Virginia. He won't have to play much until he's a redshirt sophomore—that's when when Craig Roh backup Brandon Herron graduates—and we're unlikely to see him until then.

The strongside guys have a bit more to recommend them. Jibreel Black (right)and Ken Wilkins are 4/3 star tweeners (e.g., one of Scout or Rivals has them at four, the other at three). Wilkins hails from the same high school that Ohio State recruit Andrew Sweat and Penn State recruit Mike Yancich attended, and his coach believes he's more athletic than either:

"He is an unbelievable physical talent," Dalton said. "And he is only going to get better. I have had some great players here, but nothing like Ken physically. I am not saying he is going to be better than Yancich and Sweat, but he is the most physically talented player I've had."

Black, meanwhile, was a guy Michigan was hot after all year but could never get on campus until late January. By then he'd already committed to Indiana (where his brother had an excellent season) and Cincinnati (which is approximately three minutes from home). He's got the same body type as Brandon Graham, albeit without most of his hype. The insider-type folk say, and Michigan's dogged pursuit implies, that whatever the guru folk thought Michigan wanted Black badly.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B+. They got about the right number of bodies to fill out two thin spots on defense and I like the long term potential of both strongside guys. A blue-chip would have been nice.

Impact This Year?

Hopefully little, but given the depth chart at SDE it seems like either Black or Wilkins will have to burn a redshirt as a backup unless Anthony LaLota got a lot bigger during his redshirt year.

Defensive Tackle

The Gentlemen Of Leisure

Michigan missed out on a true nose when Jonathan Hankins picked Ohio State. They did grab two promising three-tech recruits in Terry Talbott and Pahokee's Richard Ash. Both have size issues: Talbott is currently around 240 and is a guy some observers thought would end up at defensive end. According to Rod Smith, Ash is now over 300 pounds; given his recruitment that seems more like a problem to be fixed than a solution to Michigan's nose tackle issue. Teams backed away from Ash when he showed up to Florida's camp overweight.

On the other hand, both have talent. Talbott almost defected to North Carolina late; when Tim went down to catch a Wayne game this fall he was a wrecking ball in the backfield. He's an excellent, disruptive fit for the penetrating defensive tackle spot he's slated for. The teams backing away from Ash after his weight issues, meanwhile, were USC and Florida. Ash has upside for Barwis to extract, and he's got a host of Pahokee folk up here to help him adjust. If he puts in the work, Michigan will have a guy who could play for Florida's defensive line.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B-. No nose tackle is a downer. Michigan will have one guy there next year if Mike Martin moves unless Ash can actually handle that weight. Outside of that, though, both recruits seem like they might be underrated.

Impact This Year?

Assuming the RVB move, Michigan will have a veteran two-deep at defensive tackle but Talbott and Ash will be next in line after that. If there's an injury, one or both might be pressed to play. I imagine Michigan will try to redshirt both; they might not be able to.


The Gentlemen Of Leisure

davion-rogersDavion Rogers needs to eat a sandwich 

A late flurry of offers and a little snake oil turned this position group from a gaping sore into… well, a considerably less gaping sore. Late additions Davion Rogers and Jake Ryan are just three star sorts, but given Michigan's situation before they hopped aboard they're welcome. Rogers is a 6'6" birdman of a linebacker/DE prospect who everyone, including me, will compare to Shawn Crable. Michigan pirated him away from WVU once Doc Holliday left. Early in his career he'll probably play the weakside linebacker spot occupied by Jonas Mouton currently; if he puts on enough weight we'll see him at quick.

Ryan popped up late after an Omameh-like senior year where he grew two inches and twenty pounds and outplayed Ohio State commit, teammate, and fellow linebacker Scott McVey en route to a state championship. McVey was playing with a busted shoulder, FWIW, but Ryan is a heady kid who actually played linebacker in high school—a rarity for Michigan of late—and is at least a reasonable prospect to start in a year or two.

A couple players may end up at spinner, the strongside linebacker/safety position last occupied by Stevie Brown, but for right now the only guy in the class this blog places at the spot is uber-athlete Josh Furman, AKA Dhani Jones 2.0. Furman was a ridiculously productive safety and tailback in high school who hit camps and dropped electronically timed 4.3 40s. Scout thinks he's awesome; Rivals again goes "meh." He's clearly got a ton of upside.

Antonio Kinard got a super-early offer and committed to it, but did little during his senior season to assuage concerns he was an iffy bet. He, too, might end up at quick but will be filed a linebacker for the moment.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

C-. The late pickups salvaged this grade but the emphasis is on "salvage." The only inside linebacker Michigan picked up in the last class was Isaiah Bell and the guys in the class before that are gone (Witherspoon and Hill), seemingly locked into special teams forever (Demens), and JB Fitzgerald. Michigan needed numbers here, and they ended up with numbers, but they also needed a blue chip or two and they did not get one. Furman is a recruit you can get excited about, but that's 1/4.

Impact This Year?

Redshirts for everyone, in all likelihood, except possibly Furman. Even Furman will have to beat out two guys with almost two years of experience in fall camp if he's going to win a job.


The Gentlemen Of Leisure

Michigan will bolster its roster with four cornerbacks this fall. They come in two flavors. Flavor one consists of short three-stars from Ohio. They are Courtney Avery and Terrance Talbott. Avery was a prolific, tiny high school quarterback who only moonlighted on defense. He made first team All-Ohio and chose Michigan over a Stanford decommit not because of grades but because he wanted to stay closer to home. Talbott is the other Talbott's brother and struggled through injuries most of his senior year but has received positive reviews from local observers. There's some reason for optimism on both.


Cullen Christian needs no ball security

Flavor two consists of blue-chips anyone and everyone wanted who held preposterously long press conferences. Cullen Christian is the #3 corner to Scout and in the Rivals 100; he picked Michigan over Ohio State and many others after a long period of favoring Michigan. 6'1" and physical, Christian's YMRMFSPA is a holy lock to be Marlin Jackson. Demar Dorsey you may have heard about. He picked Michigan over Florida State and USC after being a Florida commit for over a year. He's the #12 player overall to ESPN and a four-star to the other sites.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

A. Four players, two of them blue-chips, at a position of crying need.

Impact This Year?

One of these kids is guaranteed to play unless JT Floyd takes a huge leap forward. A second is likely to find his way into a nickel package. If one of them is really good right away, you could see him start immediately and Troy Woolfolk move to safety. Michigan will probably redshirt one; the other three will have to play.


The Gentlemen Of Leisure

marvin-robinson-seeexy We'll put Marvin Robinson (OMG HALFSHIRT) here because he's likely to play the box safety* we've been discussing extensively. Robinson is the defense's Ricardo Miller, a hyped-to-the-moon Florida prospect who seemed likely to be a five-star (or thereabouts) only to experience a precipitous drop in ranking. Robinson's drop came after a few camps he participated in. In the aftermath, Rivals gurus trashed his coverage ability and said he was a linebacker and nothing else. He still held on to a fourth star, though, and fielded offers from Ohio State and several other power programs before going with the Michigan program that had led for him seemingly forever.

The class rounds out with two sleeper-type prospects. I'm considerably more bullish on Carvin Johnson, who apparently avoided the combine circuit entirely this summer, was the best player on his team, and prompted an unsolicited email of praise from local coach (not his) when this site's initial take on him was "meh." He also won the MVP award in a state championship game his team lost by a billion points. Late LSU interest was not reciprocated.

Ray Vinopal is the kind of recruit that everyone on the internet hates on, prompting articles in which he declares a desire to prove everyone wrong and press conferences where Rich Rodriguez justifies signing the guy. The internet is not necessarily wrong, though. At the time of his commitment Vinopal was a who-dat with no recruiting profile despite his presence in Ohio power Cardinal Mooney's secondary. He apparently picked up a couple of good offers late (Wisconsin was the biggest) but the heuristics indicate a marginal contributor.

*(MGoBlog is officially adopting "box" and "deep" as its chosen lingo for Michigan safeties in what appears to be a permanent 4-4 front similar to that Virginia Tech runs. The way Michigan aligns apparently does make the deep guy the "strong" safety but since that goes against the popular conception of free and strong, it's confusing.)

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

B-. One blue chip is nice and Carvin Johnson seems like the good kind of sleeper. Would have liked a true deep safety with more than two stars, but one of the cornerbacks could move back once the

Impact This Year?

If Robinson had managed to enroll early, as planned, we'd be anxiously observing him in the hopes he could lock down that box safety spot in spring. Things did not go to plan and we'll be anxiously waiting on his arrival instead. Even so, Robinson's main competition at the position he's slated for consists of a walk-on and a converted wide receiver. I don't think he'll start right away but Michigan isn't going to be able to redshirt him and he may find his way into the lineup by midseason.

Johnson and Vinopal are likely redshirts.


The Gentlemen Of Leisure

With Zoltan the Inconceivable exiting to a long and lucrative NFL career, Michigan needed a replacement. They took a pass on in-state punter and reputed Michigan fan Mike Sadler, who ended up at State, to chase WI P Will Hagerup, who had offers from all over the country and was the highest-rated punter at Rivals. (He's the #4 K but the specialists in front of him are all placekickers.) After a few visits, Hagerup picked Michigan and its wide open job over Wisconsin, Ohio State, and others.

Preposterously Early Letter Grade

A. Hagerup is either the country's top punter or in the top three to all ranking services.

Impact This Year?

Unless Michigan's offense is so awesome it never punts, Hagerup will be deployed this fall.

All Things Collected And Told

Numbers. That's the most important thing this class brings. Even if there are twice as many sleeper types as you'd like to see in an average Michigan class, getting two guys for every spot on the defense minus a few here and there puts Michigan in a position where the first guy off the bench when a starter gets dinged isn't a walk-on. He'll be a freshman, probably. But you can't recruit juniors.

And it's not all sleeper sorts. Michigan picked up two touted corners with blue chip offers, grabbed a linebacker from Virginia Tech, locked down Marvin Robinson's abs, and grabbed a collection of defensive linemen with considerable upside. It's a below average class, but it's not that far off. And given the context, it's fairly good.

A preposterously early letter grade: B+. For the class as a whole: B.


Friday Night Lights 2009: A Recap

Friday Night Lights 2009: A Recap Comment Count

Brian February 15th, 2010 at 11:14 AM

This year Tim and Paul went on journeys across the state in search of anyone willing to sign a letter of intent for a program that went 3-9 the year before but still had wings on their helmets. They even went into Ohio to find asylum-seeking young men. Sometimes their quarry was injured or irrelevant or playing a game at the same time as another player of interest, but they persisted. 

When they returned it was with stunning high definition video invariably set to Explosions in the Sky, which makes some sense because they tend to write ten minute songs. In other ways, it makes no sense. But it makes sense for the site.

Paul put together a recap:

I realize it's just high school football highlights but I was strangely moved by it. Most highlight reels are just highlights. They give you the impression that if a player gets tackled, it's at least twenty yards downfield and after he kicked a guy's head off. Then they show up and usually they are just people. Here they're just people.

BONUS of a literal variety. Paul and Tim and Tom did a lot of work on original content this year and I told them that I'd set aside some time on the beveled guilt button to your right for them. This is a good time. All donations this week go directly to them.