Unverified Voracity Wants Stanford To Go Away

Unverified Voracity Wants Stanford To Go Away

Submitted by Brian on May 10th, 2017 at 1:15 PM

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GO AWAY

Early signing react: meh? I'm generally opposed to moving up the football signing period because it does little other than accelerate decisions that could use some more time, but adding a 3-day window in late December is a nothingburger. Almost all firings happen immediately after the regular season, so the chance players get locked into the wrong coaching staff is minimal. (Assistants can leave, of course, but they do that in the immediate aftermath of the February signing day now and will continue to do so.)

There is some clarity for soft commits and guys who are about to be processed: even Erik Swenson would probably get the hint if Michigan did not send him a LOI in December. That's a minor positive.

More important for Michigan is an ancillary change:

Northern teams could benefit, since in conjunction with the new date, the NCAA includes a rule that prospects will be allowed to take official visits (paid for by the school, and accompanied by a parent or high school coach) in April through June. This allows schools in cold climates to show a different, warmer side to top recruits.

I don't think the weather is the biggest thing for Northern teams. Kids from the South do understand that summer exists, I imagine. The biggest thing is just getting kids on campus. Talent is concentrated in the south, and many kids try to get decisions out of the way before their senior years. That change makes taking a trip to Ann Arbor much easier financially.

Also in slight boosts, Stanford might be hurt by the change:

For Stanford, an early signing period could indeed be catastrophic. It would face a situation in which talented, smart players want to sign early and take advantage of strong academics and be a part of the burgeoning football program, but could not allow them to sign because they are still far from clearing admissions. Those players, not willing to wait around, would lock up spots at other schools and Stanford's recruiting would take a hit.

These days virtually every player Stanford takes is a guy who would otherwise be a strong candidate to end up in Michigan's class. I keep waiting for them to implode, but nah.

There's also another NCAA proposal in the works that would slightly tighten up oversigning restrictions:

The legislation would limit to 25 the number of prospects whose aid is initially offered in the fall term of an academic year. Current rules limit to 25 the number of prospects allowed to sign from Dec. 1 through May 31.

A prospect whose scholarship paperwork specifies that he’ll be offered aid in the second or third term of an academic year may count toward the current academic year or the next year.

Transfers and walk-ons count. That ends "blueshirting", wherein a player does not sign but is promised a scholarship immediately on arrival. Blueshirting is a way to dodge these signing limits. This would make the 25 cap have more teeth, though early enrollment makes it a soft cap.

Michigan took advantage of that softness the past two years, taking 26 and 30 kids. They backdated six kids from the 2016 class and five from the 2017 class so that their initial counters in both years were exactly 25. They're now out of room to do that so 25 should be a hard cap for them this year—not that they're expected to get there.

Withdraw! Withdraw! ESPN had a draft conference call yesterday to plug the fact that they're televising the NBA combine—wonders never cease—and both guys on it were pretty blunt about what Michigan's two potential early entries should do:

Goodman: “The NBA guys I talked to said, ‘Moe Wagner, come back.’ It’s great that he played well at the end of the year, but it was a small sample size and they said, ‘He’s got good upside, but come back and become a better rebounder, become a better defender.'”

Fraschilla: “Neither (Wilson nor Wagner) is physically ready for the NBA. … DJ is really interesting because he’s the quintessential ‘3 and D’ big guy right now. He shoots threes and he’s got great length to defend. But even he got bullied inside. DJ could get drafted in the first round, late, but he ain’t playing in an important NBA game for at least a couple of years.”

We had an animated Slack conversation about this yesterday: Wilson would start his clock earlier if he entered this year, and some second round picks are getting guaranteed contracts these days. But if Fraschilla's right and he's going to spend a couple years not even playing that gives him a relatively narrow window to establish himself before he'd be a free agent. If the financial argument is relatively close, Wilson may want to spend a year playing for a Big Ten title and NCAA tournament run than hanging with the Fort Wayne Mad Antz or watching from the bench.

While we're on basketball rostering stuff, Rivals' Corey Evans talks to OH SF Jerome Hunter:

Michigan: “Me and coach Saddi Washington, we are real close, too. I talk to him pretty much every day about life. I like Michigan. They have good facilities and good academics."

He said nearly identical things (minus the academics) about OSU, Xavier, and Pitt; Evans says it's "anyone's guess" where he lands but most of the chatter at Spiece was about Michigan.

OH PF Pete Nance draws some lofty comparisons in this Andrew Kahn article. Michigan has a guy in their corner in his recruitment: Pete Hassinger, Jon Teske's former coach and a guy who has coached Nance on the AAU circuit:

Hassinger has gotten to know Beilein well over the past few years and admits he is biased towards the Wolverines. “It’s a great basketball program and great university. You come out of there with an unbelievable degree; it’s so prestigious.”

Nance "doesn't want to post up 50 times a game," sooooo... yeah. /waves

Five out. Kevin O'Connor writes about the evolution of the NBA 5, and it looks very familiar. Al Horford, a center and career 35% 3-point shooter, is the focus:

“[Al Horford’s] value to this team — you can’t describe it. It’s bigger than the stat sheet.” This was Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, speaking after his 53-point performance in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Washington last week. Thomas got all the glory. Statistically, Horford was ordinary, scoring just 15 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and handing out three assists. But Horford was anything but a big-money bystander: The center’s play beyond the box score was an example of the immense impact stretch 5s can make across the league, even when they aren’t posting lofty numbers.

In previous eras, contenders relied on big men as a consistent source of offense. But in the new league, the most important thing someone like Horford can do for his team is to space the floor and make plays when he needs to. Young bigs across the league could learn a lot by watching Boston’s big man.

It is not a coincidence that Derrick Walton, who was terrible inside the arc as a sophomore and junior, had a huge uptick in his ability to get to the basket with the advent of Michigan's all stretch five lineups. Any center Michigan put on the floor, whether it was Wagner, Wilson, or Donnal, was not a person you should leave open from three. Pick and pop became a bigger facet of the offense than it had been under Beilein and the lane became a cavern.

Hopefully Nance (and Mo Bamba) are perusing this article as we speak.

Wayne Lyons 2.0? Michigan is looking for a grad transfer or two, and they've apparently settled on a target:

Wiggins started as a nickelback in 2014, missed 2015 with an ACL tear, and was sparingly used a year ago. Michigan is apparently set at the various spots Wiggins might fit in at but they have nothing but true freshmen behind the projected starters and could use a dime back a la Tyree Kinnel a year ago.

I'm still a little puzzled they didn't go after one of the tackles on the market. Must not have liked their film at all.

Yes please. I can't actually read this article because I don't subscribe to "Columbus Business First" but apparently OSU is considering a 4k seat rink for its hockey programs. This would be a massive improvement over the current situation where OSU plays in their basketball arena, which is almost as empty as your average NCAA regional game is.

Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are all sporting new coaches who should be an improvement over the previous regime's performance during the Big Ten era; OSU appears to be fixing the biggest problem with their program; Notre Dame joins next year. Big Ten Hockey is set to go from a joke to a powerhouse. And they even fixed the playoff system (for the most part)!

The problem. Think of all the stuff ESPN televises. Surely no one live event is a significant part of the whole, right?

On the flip side, ESPN’s costs for content have skyrocketed to well over $7 billion a year, more than any competitor, according to projections from Boston Consulting Group and SNL Kagan. That compares to $5 billion by Netflix and $4.3 billion by NBC. Rights to “Monday Night Football” alone cost ESPN $1.9 billion a year, not to mention hefty deals with the NCAA and NBA.

More than a quarter of ESPN's rights fees are for one game a week, for one third of the year. And those games are chosen before the season! That is nuts. [HT: Get The Picture.]

Etc.: Spread offenses make more cornerbacks appear. Channing Stribling on Michigan's fractured locker room and repairing it.

Unverified Voracity Says Good Job, Butch

Unverified Voracity Says Good Job, Butch

Submitted by Brian on February 8th, 2017 at 1:57 PM

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The Daily has a book. It is a collection of their coverage from the 2016 season, and it's cheap at just $7.50. Marvel at things Peppers does, grapes that have been removed from existence, and the appallingly excellent skin of the youths who insouciantly bring it to you!

If you're in town you can stop by the Maynard building and avoid shipping costs. There's also something in the draft copy about bringing them a pizza from NYPD so you can see all the things they stole from road games but that's CLEARLY a joke so please don't do that and also don't tell me what it is afterwards. (Operative theory: Michigan State's dignity.)

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[Bryan Fuller]

Not a starter, technically. PFF lists the best returning players in the Big Ten. Michigan has a member of the DL land at #3 despite graduating all four starters, and you already know who it is:

Michigan’s defensive line was so loaded in 2016, Hurst was technically not considered a starter. This year, however, he is the clear leader of the unit, as three likely top 100 picks will be moving on to the NFL. In terms of production amongst his returning peers, Hurst has no equal. His 34 total pressures in 173 pass-rush reps last season ranks him first in pass-rush productivity among 2017 defensive tackles, and his 18 run stops on 155 run downs ranks him eighth in run-stop percentage within the same group.

Expect a lot of "where did this guy come from!?" next year as Hurst's increased snap total results in some silly numbers.

Everyone quote tweet tonight. About a dozen people on my timeline quoted this Bruce Feldman tweet to let their followers know it was a good idea:

They are not wrong. Hoke plucked Willie Henry, Ryan Glasgow, and Frank Clark out of obscurity; even the touted recruits he grabbed frequently outperformed their rankings. Chris Wormley(composite #129), Taco Charlton (#132), and Mo Hurst (#258) are all potential first-round NFL draft picks. There were some busts in there, but Hoke recruited seven of the eight guys on Michigan's best-ever defensive line.

I'd take him back in Ann Arbor as a DL coach if that wouldn't be super weird. In this instance, Butch Jones's weird tendency to get the Lloyd Carr band back together is not clinically insane.

Early enrollment is a thing. College football already has an early signing day of sorts:

The 2017 recruiting class seemed to have less late drama than years past, and that could have something to do with the growing number of early enrollees. Among the top 50 prospects in this class, 26 were midyear enrollees, which included 11 of the 15 five-stars. And of the top 150 prospects, 54 enrolled early.

Michigan had a whopping 11 guys enroll early, a program record. The large numbers of Michigan seniors ready to graduate and start prepping for the NFL draft full time created a bunch of openings that freshmen gladly filled.

Haves vs Have Nots: Fight! It's going to be a short fight. Michigan has some analyst spots to fill, as they usually do, and they're going after this gentleman:

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday that Hawaii DC Kevin Lempa met with Michigan over the weekend about a "non-coaching" position in Ann Arbor.

Lempa already resigned as the Warriors' DC to take a 'worse' job once before, when he departed the islands to be a DBs coach at Boston College in 2002. He's in his mid-60s so this won't be a play to move up at Michigan if it does indeed happen; it would be about dollars and the opportunity to participate in Championship Football(tm).

FWIW, Don Brown is the connect here. Lempa was on his staffs at Maryland and UConn.

OL exit... MSU OL Thiyo Lukusa has left MSU's program, reportedly to retire. Lukusa played last year as MSU tried to find any combination that would work and was widely expected to compete for and probably win a tackle spot. Not good for the Spartans as they try to pick themselves up after a 3-9 season.

And it might get worse, with rumors flying that a number of other MSU players are off the team. Nothing definitive yet but there is a lot of smoke out there.

...OL entrance? Cal starting left tackle Aaron Cochran plans a grad transfer, and he was definitely a part of a thing that did things:

Cochran was an integral part of an offensive line that paved the way for a nationally ranked offense and numerous school records the past two seasons.

Everyone's nationally ranked, sir.

Anyway, Cochran is enormous at 6'8", 350, and has 16 starts under his belt at a Power 5 team. Cal was third in adjusted sack rate last year so he can't be horrendous. He only pops up once on PFF, but it's an encouraging note: he graded out well in Cal's loss to Washington, the #5 sack rate team last year. He is vaguely draftable per NFL Draft Scout.

Isaiah Hole reports that Michigan is "actively seeking" guys who could help them out but hasn't decided to pursue any particular player yet, including Cochran. If Michigan has the spot it would seem like a no-brainer to add a Pac-12 starter, even an iffy one, at a position of yawning need. Do they have it, though? Right now they're two over their scholarship limit. (Publicly, anyway. It's likely that Michigan knows of a couple departures already.)

Keeping the hype contained. Charles Matthews is profiled by Brendan Quinn, and John Beilein would like to keep expectations reasonable.

Beilein is careful not to preordain Matthews. One of the grand traditions in college basketball is for the redshirt player -- the one no one gets to see -- to be billed as a team's best player. Beilein avoids the pitfall.

...by turning into Fred Jackson:

"He's probably a combination of Hardaway and Glenn Robinson III. That's a good combination to have."

But fast!

Frustration, defined. John Gasaway's Tuesday Truths column from before the MSU game:

Big Ten W-L Pace PPP Opp. PPP EM
1 Wisconsin 9-1 63.2 1.08 0.93 0.15
2 Purdue 8-3 70.3 1.12 0.99 0.13
3 Maryland 8-2 68.4 1.09 0.99 0.1
4 Northwestern 7-3 66.7 1.07 0.98 0.09
5 Michigan State 6-4 66.7 1.06 0.99 0.07
6 Michigan 4-6 63.3 1.14 1.13 0.01
7 Minnesota 4-6 68 1 1.01 0
8 Indiana 5-6 67.2 1.1 1.11 -0.01
9 Iowa 6-5 70.5 1.04 1.07 -0.03
10 Nebraska 4-7 68.4 1.04 1.09 -0.05
11 Ohio State 4-7 68.2 1.04 1.1 -0.06
12 Penn State 4-7 69.9 0.95 1.01 -0.06
13 Illinois 3-8 66.1 1 1.1 -0.1
14 Rutgers 2-9 68.8 0.85 1.02 -0.17

Michigan's offense is as good as anyone in the country in conference play. They have the same points per possession as Villanova, WVU, Kansas, and anyone in the ACC not named North Carolina (1.16). Only the Pac-12 has teams doing better on offense. Even a meh defense gets Michigan into the tournament with ease.

Or you could boot them for Houston, just sayin'. The Big Twelve has voted to dock Baylor a quarter of its annual payout until such time as "proper institutional controls" are in place and vetted by a third party. That's about six million dollars a year and is probably sufficient to get what the Big 12 wants out of them. But you could, I dunno, boot Baylor from your conference for cause and add a school in a much bigger media market? That's both ethical and a financial win.

FWIW, this is a measure of revenge for Art Briles in a mutually-assured-destruction sense. He tried to bilk some money out of Baylor with a lawsuit, causing the Baylor regents to assemble a pile of texts (and submit them to court!) that definitively expose Briles and former AD Ian McCaw as the worst kind of one-dimensional B-movie villain:

When a female student-athlete reported that a football player had brandished a gun at her, the court paperwork said, Briles texted an assistant coach: "what a fool -- she reporting to authorities."

In another case, a masseuse asked the team to discipline a player who reportedly exposed himself and asked for favors during a massage, the document said Briles' first response was, "What kind of discipline... She a stripper?"  ...

In one text exchange, after a player was arrested for assault and threatening to kill someone, the paperwork said Briles texted athletic director McCaw that he had just talked to the player, who said Waco police had agreed to "keep it quiet." Briles promised to ask Shillinglaw to check in with a local attorney.

"That would be great if they kept it quiet!" McCaw allegedly replied. He is now the athletic director at Liberty University in Virginia.

Briles had to drop his lawsuit but the revelation of what actually went on was probably a spur for the Big 12's financial penality. In his accidental way Briles actually did some good here. So he's got that going for him.

Etc.: Various croot profiles include Joel Honigford, Cesar Ruiz, PWO and Air Force decommit Sean Fitzgerald, and fellow PWO Jared Davis. Lorenz picks some underrated Michigan recruits. Hugh Freeze is mad that other schools mentioned the obvious thing they should mention about Ole Miss. Vincent Smith profiled by MGoBlue. More mock drafts.

Jimmystats: The Fate of Early Enrollees

Jimmystats: The Fate of Early Enrollees

Submitted by Seth on February 17th, 2015 at 1:15 PM

Brian buzzed me last week with a recruiting question on early enrollees:

1) Are EEs less likely to redshirt?

2) Are EEs more likely to start as freshmen? Underclassmen?

3) Are EEs more likely to be all-conference? Drafted?

4) Are EEs more likely to stick around as 4th and/or 5th year Seniors?

I hear a lot about the benefits of being an EE; you get on campus early, you get to start working out with the team trainers and players, start taking classes, etc. I think Clemson has something crazy like 12 EEs this year and I can't imagine that hurts their team development. I'm just curious if it actually gives any empirical advantage to those who do so.

Thanks and Go Blue!

Steven Z

I don't have national data, but I've got the early enrollees in my giant spreadsheet (see "EE" column). I'm pretty sure of things since 2008, but before that I had to rely on Michigan's press releases from signing days and spring games.

The list:

2015: Malzone, Cole
2014: Speight, Canteen, Harris, Cole, Mone, Ferns, Watson
2013: Douglas, Butt, Bosch, LTT, Taco, Dymonte
2012: Ringer, Bolden, Wilson
2011: Greg Brown
2010: Gardner, White, Hopkins, J.Rob, J.Jackson, Ricardo, Pace
2009: Forcier, V.Smith, Campbell, LaLota, M.Jones, Hawthorne, Vlad
2008: Stonum
2007: Mallett, Helmuth, Chambers
2006: C.Brown, Boren
2005: Kevin Grady

Just from reading that list you'll notice transition years have relatively few of them; a healthy Michigan probably has six or seven guys enrolling in January each year. You'll also note a lot of guys who left for one reason or another.

1) Are EEs less likely to redshirt?

Yes. 32% of EEs redshirted as freshmen versus 65% of those who enrolled in fall (those who never enrolled not counted). They obviously came to play.

2) Are EEs more likely to play early? Yes, but they're less likely to play overall. Here's the average number of starts per their season in the program for players who would be eligible*. Notice the difference?

EEs2

* "Would be eligible" means I've removed redshirt (including medical), and transfer years, and 5th years of guys who never redshirted. Those lost to attrition otherwise are counted.

That is wow. It is extremely weird for there to be as many starts for true freshmen as for third- or fourth-year players. This shows that early enrollees are more likely to play as freshmen, but were progressively less likely to be starters each season thereafter.

You also can see the average start numbers per eligible player are rather low.

It's more accurate to say you find out what they are much earlier. Notably, NONE of the early enrollees to earn starts at Michigan redshirted initially (the 11 starts by a 5th year are all Gardner's).

It's also worth nothing that it wasn't the same guys contributing to those columns. Your true freshman EEs with more than 3 starts were Mason Cole (12), Jake Butt (8), Tate Forcier (12), and Darryl Stonum (10). Those guys—for reasons of injury, Denard, or temporal existence—contributed just 8 starts to the sophomore column, which is filled instead by Boren, Vincent Smith, and Jarrod Wilson.

3) Are EEs more likely to be all-conference? Drafted?

That seems to be much more relative to their talent, but we'd need national data to make that assumption. One day I'll add NFL draft information to the big spreadsheet; maybe we'll discover something then.

4) Are EEs more likely to stick around as 4th and/or 5th year Seniors?

As you probably guessed from the above chart, they are way LESS likely, and from the data it appears that's mostly because they're flight risks. Even if you figure all of the current players make it to graduation, early enrollees at Michigan have an average of 1.92 (!) lost seasons of eligibility out of the four they get, compared to 0.82 for fall entries.

This remains true even if you remove all the guys currently on the team. Here's a breakdown of the % of former players (from 1993 class to 2014) who stuck around X amount of years by when they enrolled:

Seasons at M—> 5 4 3 2 1 DNQ
Fall enrollees 39% 30% 10% 10% 7% 4%
Early enrollees 4% 29% 17% 17% 33% n/a

That is stark. A good third of early enrollees left the program after just a year, and the hits kept on coming. When you total up all the eligible seasons of enrollees lost to various types of attrition, the EEs were particularly likely to be giving those seasons to other schools:

% of Season Lost To: Fall Early
Transfers 44% 72%
Medical 20% 9%
Dismissed/Behavioral 14% 15%
Gave up football 10% 2%
Unrenewed 5th 8% 2%
Early NFL 4% 0%

Of the 37 early enrollees, six played out their eligibility and 13 are currently on the team. Three losses were natural attrition (Mike Jones was an unrenewed 5th, Hopkins gave up football, and Pace was a medical loss), and three were dismissals (Forcier, Stonum, and Austin White). That leaves 12 transfers: Boren, Mallett, Helmuth, Chambers, Emilien, LaLota, Ricardo, J-Rob, G.Brown, Ringer, Bosch, and Ferns.

Only the first two of those transfers wound up helping Power Five programs, though Bosch and Ferns still have the opportunity to do so. Mallett and Boren would have been guaranteed starters on the 2008-forward teams. The rest seem to be guys who were buried on the depth chart and realized it early.

What have we learned?

An early enrollee is more likely to care extremely about early playing time. They chose Michigan in part for an immediate opportunity to start, thus raising the likelihood of early playing time. However they are way more volatile in attrition.

Your expectations of an early enrollee from Michigan's smallish sample is that you'll find out right away if he's going to be either a long-term starter or a non-major contributor. A lot of these guys come to compete for an open spot, and either win it or move on.

Early Enrollees Are Ready To Go

Early Enrollees Are Ready To Go

Submitted by Brandon Brown on December 20th, 2013 at 10:44 AM

In just about two weeks the Wolverine football family will grow by seven members. Bryan Mone, Michael Ferns, Mason Cole, Freddy Canteen, Brandon Watson, Wilton Speight, and Drake Harris will arrive in Ann Arbor on January 5th. As all seven young men prepare for the next chapter of their academic and athletic lives the winds of change have them anxious and excited.

Bryan Mone feels a little like the lost member of this recruiting class for the simple fact that he hasn’t been around as much as the others due to living in Utah. Mone also isn’t much for the spotlight and doesn’t do a lot of interviews or partake in social media like a lot of the other commits. Mone is set up to room with Scott Sypniewski a long-snapper already on the roster. At this point in time Mone is just ready to get on campus and do anything he needs to do to get on the field, even though he doesn’t know exactly what that is yet. Mone told me he’d like to wear #90, which should be possible as it’s currently not in use.

After flipping from Michigan State, Drake Harris has become one of the more popular commits in the 2014 class simply because of his seemingly unlimited potential at wide receiver. At 6’4” he has the kind of speed and size that can blow the top off of a defense, something that has been missing a bit in recent years. Harris missed most of his senior season with an injury so his level of anxiousness may be even more elevated than the rest. Harris will room with fellow incoming early enrollee Wilton Speight where to two hope to grow their chemistry. Harris says he hopes to do everything he can to earn the #1 jersey but believes he will start off in the #4.

Speaking of Wilton Speight, he told me he is coming to Ann Arbor with a chip on his shoulder. As a 3-star recruit he comes in a class behind Michigan native and golden boy, 5-star Shane Morris. That alone is enough to motivate him and he’s been working out non-stop and eating right trying to prepare anyway he can before starting a more regimented college workout and diet plan. He plans to hit the ground running with his offseason conditioning and lifting program as soon as he arrives. Look for Speight to rock the #19 in Ann Arbor just like he did in high school.

High school teammates Brandon Watson and Freddy Canteen were unsure of who their roommates would be, but both assumed it would be each other. Watson will arrive on campus at 6’1” and 190 lbs. which is bigger than I thought he was. He confirmed that he has definitely grown since any of his recruiting profiles were last updated. Watson plans to sport the #4 which will be available with the departure of Cam Gordon. Canteen didn’t have much to say but he did tell me that he was unsure of exactly what he will do as far as workouts, diet, and studying goes but he’s just ready to get to work.

Leaving the warmth and heading up north to the cold, Mason Cole can’t wait to get to Ann Arbor. The coaches haven’t told Cole what they want him to do as far as weight gain, working out, or what specific position he’ll play on the line, but he said simply, “It’s go time.” once he’s there. He just wants to get there and work out, get in shape, and study non-stop. Right now Cole is at 6’5” and 275 lbs. and he said he’d like to be at about 290 by the time fall camp rolls around.

Cole’s roommate, Michael Ferns was the only early enrollee I wasn’t able to talk to but I’d assume he’s very happy this day has almost arrived since he was the first commit of the class all the way back in August of 2012. If I do end up hearing from him I’ll add it in.