Wilde's expected to go at the tail end of the first round. Quite a comedown from "I'll go to Harvard" to "ain't come to play school."
The good news, such as it is, is that Michigan already has four established defenders in Joe Cecconi, Nick Boka, Luke Martin, and Quinn Hughes and only needs to find a third pairing from Griffin Luce and their three incoming freshmen; if they are so inclined they could also add one of the three 2019-20 commits, all of whom could come in this year.
Dives. Washtenaw County dive bars surveyed. Self-recommending header picture is above. Also:
It turned out that the day that worked best for us to embark on the trip was a random Tuesday at the end of May. “Are dive bars open on Tuesdays?” I texted my friend. “They are if they want to be considered BEST OF WASHTENAW COUNTY,” he responded.
The penguin is in Saline, FWIW.
I guess this is all but official? We've been waiting for an official confirmation, or at least more than one person reporting, on this for a while now:
Jim Harbaugh referenced 2 players leaving Michigan yesterday...I’m told that internet speculation is true: Kareem Walker & Kekoa Crawford are transferring.
As a result we haven't talked about a piece of news since we were waiting to post their respective Exits. /shakes fist at transfer gray areas
Assuming this turns out to be true—and given the way Harbaugh has talked about the RB and WR groups since spring it's almost certainly true—that's two highly ranked guys out the door. Crawford's departure is probably the result of a plunge down the depth chart that saw him omitted from any spring discussion; that plunge down the depth chart is not a surprise given his flatly terrible play in 2017.
Walker flashed promise as a Brandon Minor-esque rage back in limited carries last year and would be an unfortunate loss. He'd publicly struggled with the transition to Michigan but seemed to get things on track last year; it would be really disappointing if he couldn't manage it, and Michigan could help him enough to do so.
Neither departure is likely to have much impact on the field this year; Michigan returns its top two backs and every WR outside of Crawford. Walker's presumed absence could bite next year.
FWIW, I wouldn't start getting worried about O'Maury Samuels yet. Harbaugh's mention of Tru Wilson as the #3 guy on the depth chart was immediately followed by a Samuels mention and a reference to his hamstring holding him back this spring. Meeanwhile, the WRs:
"I feel like our wide receivers have come along," Harbaugh told reporters during the 'Best of the Midwest' event. "Coach Mac has done a great job coaching them. Tarik, Donovan have probably done the best job of anybody in spring practice. Nate Schoenle, Oliver Martin, Nico Collins also did extremely well. Nico was slowed a little bit by a shoulder. Was going for a ball when we were working with pads and hurt his shoulder. He fought through that. I think he's got some real good upside. Those four guys there probably had the best spring."
Those four guys are actually five guys and Crawford is not amongst them. The lines are not hard to read between.
Recruiting rankings matter, and also have a systemic bias. NFL players versus blue chip recruits, mapped:
Blue states have more NFL players than blue chip recruits; red states have fewer. That's part of a thorough Football Study Hall article on recruiting rankings and the draft, and is about as conclusive as possible that the recruiting industry is systematically underrating the Midwest and overrating the south. The south does have more players—only an idiot would dispute that—but the gap isn't as big as the rankings suggest.
UPDATE: Related event:
Stumbled across Saquon Barkley's high school highlights. This punt return is insane (and maybe give a few of his blockers a look as UDFAs!) pic.twitter.com/GRXFBQoHCX
PARIS — Less than 10 miles from the Michigan football team’s palatial hotel in the heart of Paris sits Stade Olympique de Colombes, the host of the 1924 Olympic Games.
The old stadium, now 111 years old, is rickety and considerably smaller than its heyday when it entertained the world’s best athletes. Inside the concrete walls, DeHart Hubbard, one of the University of Michigan’s greatest sportsmen, became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches in the long jump on his sixth and final jump with a bruised heel.
“When I was a student, I came in 1976, and I looked at the school records because I was a long jumper, and that’s when I found out the first notion of who he was,” said James Henry, now the co-head coach of the UM women’s track and field team. “Then I found out he was the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. I was enthralled by him. He was my role model.
“He was at the University of Michigan at a time in which blacks couldn't do very much anywhere. I just felt that if this man can make it, I can make it. Making a name for myself by beating his records meant everything to me. That was my drive as a student-athlete to participate at a high level.”
Much more at the link. Now Rowland can file that expense report with a clear conscience.
Paging Mitch Leidner to the Department of Inexplicably Overrated Big Ten Quarterbacks. One mock draft was a hilarious oversight by an overworked intern. Two was worrisome. But now that it appears the NFL draft people are unanimous in asserting this person is a first round pick…
The Pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
The New York Giants passed on the chance to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, but is that a decision they'll regret? Or will fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta be the answer?
If after a season of watching Lauletta and 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, the Giants feel like the long-term answer at starter isn't on the roster, the team could be in good shape to draft a quarterback in 2019. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson nearly declared for this year's draft before surveying the deep group of passers and deciding to return to school. He has the arm, accuracy and intangibles to be considered a first-rounder one year from now.
…it's time to lay very still and sweat profusely, hoping this is a crazy dream.
Clayton Thorson! Sir, I have seen an unstoppable throw-god in purple. You, sir, are no Trevor Siemian. Thorson averaged 6.6 YPA with a 15-12 TD-INT ratio last year. But he's 6'4" and superficially looks like an NFL quarterback, so on the list he goes.
Meanwhile, Michigan prospects for 2019. Only two Wolverines show up on Athlon's top 50: #2 Rashan Gary and #22 Shea Patterson. Zach Shaw rounded up all the Way Too Early Mock Drafts and those two are the only guys on any of them. This is odd to me since Michigan's cornerback duo was probably the best in the country, at least in terms of passer rating allowed. You'd think one of the two would be a consideration for the end of the first round.
The director of an amateur Massachusetts basketball team affiliated with Adidas AG agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors investigating an NCAA bribery scandal, according to a copy of the agreement made public Friday.
Thomas "T.J." Gassnola entered the plea on March 30 to federal charges that he made payments to families of high school student-athletes in exchange for their commitment to play for certain universities, according to the filing.
NC State seems to be the main school linked with Gassnola, but, uh… Notre Dame(!) is an Adidas[correction: they switched to UA] school that just picked up two players from Gassnola's AAU team. I will give the FBI one dollar if they sweep the Irish into this. Think of the ND Nation takes.
Wilde take. Quinn Hughes is #5 on this NHL mock draft. Bode Wilde is #17:
17. New Jersey Devils: Bode Wilde, D, U.S. U18 (NTDP)
There are few prospects in this draft who can provide GMs with a skill set as tantalizing as Wilde’s. The big, mobile defender was a minute muncher for a deep NTDP blue line and his explosive first step is drool inducing. You don’t find many 6-2 defensemen with dynamic speed and a blistering shot, which is why GM Ray Shero should add this thoroughbred to his already-dangerous Devils’ attack
He'll be an acid test for the new staff's ability to mold guys, because he's a boom or bust guy on the NHL level because of his tendency to get out of position and cede odd man rushes.
There's no way around the fact that Michigan has too many guys coming in to fit on one hockey roster. I'm not sure if this is in fact oversigning since hockey is not a headcount sport so you can split scholarships. Some incoming commits might be on half or a quarter scholarship; a few are probably pure walk-ons. And it's common to offer guys a "yes, but" in which they might come in in year X or might have to take another year in junior, depending on what ravages your roster sustains.
So: Michigan has six seniors who will definitely exit. Four are forwards; two are defensemen. Two of those forwards (Porikos and Roos) are probably not getting much, if any scholarship money, FWIW. They open up a roster slot but not a scholarship one. Cooper Marody has also left for the NHL.
Nick Boka, Joe Cecconi, and Brendan Warren are all draftees entering their final year of eligibility. NHL teams often try to sign those players since a player who stays four years at college can become a free agent. Warren probably hasn't done enough to warrant a contract; Boka is iffy; Cecconi probably has.
Michigan also has a few underclass departure threats: Luke Martin and Will Lockwood were second round picks and Quinn Hughes is about to go top ten—possibly top five. Lockwood got hurt the second half of the year and Hughes seems unlikely to bolt immediately, if only because he's a wee gent who could use a second year in Ann Arbor before attempting to crack an NHL roster. Martin is tough to tell since he's not much of an offensive threat.
Michigan needs somewhere between seven and ten guys unless this year's Michigan Hockey Summer is especially severe.
Since the last time we looked at the 2018 class, Michigan lost Mattias Samuelsson to WMU, Alec Regula to the OHL, and Gustaf Westlund to Ohio State. They plugged in probable top 15 draft pick Bode Wilde at D so the D losses won't hurt Michigan much. Westlund is a '97 with 34 points in 54 USHL games and is probably not a huge loss.
FWIW, I remain skeptical that Kenny Johnson is actually going to play for Michigan.
The three longstanding commits in the class who are still in it are all midlevel prospects; they're not sure things but they come with some reasons for optimism. None figure to have much immediate impact.
Randl drives action
Jack Randl is in his second year with the USHL's Omaha Lancers. He's got 32 points in 49 games, which is sixth on his team. A couple caveats: he's second in goals and he's the top 2000-born player on the team; only one of the guys in front of him is even a '99. HS-age guys who are close to a PPG in the USHL project as scoring line players, at least down the road. He's a bit borderline in that department. Possibly helpful: a hockey analytics guy named Will Scouch compiles numbers for the draft and Randl leads everyone in the USHL or CHL in % of goals where he either scores or has the primary assist.
1) Jack Randl - 82.6% 2) Andrei Svechnikov - 82.1% 3) Tristen Nielsen - 73.9% 4) Serron Noel - 72.2% 5) Ryan O'Reilly - 72.2% 6) Sampo Ranta - 72.2% 7) Blade Jenkins - 70.7% 8) Hunter Holmes - 68.8% 9) Filip Zadina - 67.7% 10) Allan McShane - 67.4%
In communications this week, Ole Miss told the NCAA it basically had nothing to add.
"There is nothing new here," Bjork told CBS Sports. "We do not oppose the student-athlete competing right away if the decision is based on accurate information, NCAA bylaws, applicable waiver standards and relevant case precedent."
Patterson's attorney, Tom Mars, concluded, "Therefore, the case is ready to be decided. The timing of the NCAA's decision is a matter of the staff's discretion, so there is no timetable for when a decision will be made. I'm confident, however, that the staff will not take any more time than is necessary to come to the right decision."
Either way we'll know soon—but it had better be a thumbs up unless the NCAA wants a ton of awful PR for no reason. It's not like there's going to be a spate of free transfers from schools that get in trouble and lie about it—currently that list of schools stands at just Ole Miss.
…according to the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, part of the investigative report released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot’s terse “Abort” at 187 mph was met with a historically sensible, procedurally correct and potentially fatal response.
“No. Not above —” the copilot said, referring to takeoff speed. Then: “(Expletive.)”
What the captain felt in his hands, and the copilot had no way of knowing, was that the two-engine jetliner was not going to climb. The yoke “felt heavy, like there was a stack of bricks on the nose,” he told investigators, and so he immediately did exactly what pilots are trained to avoid.
Tough sell for transfers; transfers a tough sell. Per Josh Henschke, South Dakota transfer Matt Mooney has dropped Michigan from consideration. This is not much of a surprise since he should be able to find 30 MPG somewhere else.
The only other transfer currently associated with Michigan is Robert Morris SG Dachon Burke, but 1) Burke is a sit one, play two kid with 2) a 102 ORTG in the NEC. I don't know what ORTG a sit-one-play-two low-major guy would have to have to be appealing given that Michigan currently has one open 2019 scholarship, but it's not 102. It's probably 130. Anyone talking about Burke seriously hasn't looked at Michigan's roster.
Carton's HS has great jerseys that Michigan should try to copy, too
Especially since… In the aftermath of Michigan's Final Four run, Beilein has started hitting up a bunch of top 50 guys. Michigan appears to be recruiting in the expectation they'll have two spots and they would like those to be a combo guard and a wing. With Duke folks still banking on Joe Girard, it's recently-offered IA CG DJ Carton who now seems like the most likely big-time combo addition. Carton's recruitment is nearly an entirely intraconference battle, with Marquette the lone school outside of the Big Ten drawing much mention.
Carton has four CB picks to Wisconsin on his profile but Wisconsin 247 guy Evan Flood seems like he's trying to let the locals down easy, saying that if he had an idea of where to flip his pick he'd flip it away from the Badgers. Guard depth is cited as a problem—a dubious assertion given Wisconsin's guard play and recent recruiting. Meanwhile Henschke seems fairly close to a Michigan crystal ball.
Nunez doesn't hit rim. Some highlights:
Much shorter reel than Castleton's but that form is so pure.
#7 Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom decommitted from Harvard and is apparently choosing between BC, Michigan, and maybe a year in Europe. No news since Jeff Cox reported that a week ago.
#17 Bode Wilde. Will be a freshman in AA next year, also after decommitting from Harvard. Hopefully he and Wahlstrom are bros.
#154 Jack Randl. That makes Randl a late pick if he actually goes.
Michigan's other draft-age commits—Calen Kiefiuk and Jacob Semik—are not listed. That's not a huge surprise for either given their USHL numbers, though Semik has some peripheral stats that look pretty good. (More about that later.)
This class was hurt pretty badly by the uncertainty about Red Berenson; Pearson's tried to fill it in with various overagers as he seeks to bridge the gap between Hughes and Norris to the 2020 group. Flipping Wilde will be a big help there; a one-and-done from Wahlstrom would also be real nice. Also…
Obligatory Jack Hughes mention. Hughes draws a New York Times(!) profile. Most of it is stuff you're already familiar with if you follow Michigan hockey. A section at the end definitively states that he won't accelerate (boo), but then broaches the possibility of the #1 pick in the draft spending a year somewhere other than the NHL:
Hughes is undecided about where he will play after he is done with the National Team Development Program in 2019. He is considering college hockey and the junior ranks in Canada. “We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. He’s just a kid,” said Jim Hughes, who now works for Pat Brisson, the top agent whose clients include Matthews, now a Maple Leafs star, and other N.H.L. players.
One other possibility is a year of pro hockey in Switzerland, where Matthews played, on Brisson’s advice, before being drafted. Going directly to the N.H.L. after the 2019 draft could be a stretch unless Jack Hughes adds plenty of pounds and bulk over the next 18 months.
That's not going to happen, right? When's the last time that happened? I don't even want to think about it. They'd still give the Hobey to Jimmy Vesey.
Exit fun guy. Alas: 2020 hockey recruit Antonio Stranges signed with London. May he have better luck than previous Michigan decommits. Fellow touted 2020 recruit Andrei Bakanov signed a tender with the USHL's Cedar Rapids after not making himself available for the OHL draft and is on track to matriculate. Bakanov has some stats:
Bakanov, a six-foot-two, 192-pound forward, spent the 2017-18 season with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, totaling an impressive 112 points (57G, 55A) in 77 total games between the program's HPHL schedule and U16 AAA schedule.
“Cedar Rapids has a great history of producing tremendous players," Bakanov said. "The plan that Coach Carlson provided my family and me not only for on ice development , but also developing as a student and person, far exceeded our expectations. I was able to see a game on my visit and the support of the fans for the team really excited me."
If he scores at a decent clip in his draft-1 year in the USHL he'll be a first round candidate.