In-State Recruiting Battle Update: Best Players in Michigan Edition

In-State Recruiting Battle Update: Best Players in Michigan Edition

Submitted by Seth on February 4th, 2014 at 4:48 PM

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Left: The Perfect Spartan [Fuller]. Right: Drake Harris [Josh Hemholdt/Rivals]

Tomorrow is Signing Day. If you live in the state of Michigan, that means you'll be hearing from your nearest Spartan about their Top 25, better-than-Michigan's (on one of the four sites) class, and how they always get the best player in the state no matter how far the definition of that must be stretched to achieve it.

Previously: The late Lloyd years, and A few of those things that happen sometimes, plus the new Hoke guy seems alright.

2012-'13: Return of the Normal

71426291-5598-e011-a486-001cc494a4ac_original Shane Morris

Left: Burbridge, Funchess and Ojemudia. Right: Shane Morris; yes we got him a better hat.

  Touted Recruits   Head to Head   Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other   Mich MSU   Mich MSU
2012 3 2 1   8 1   2,3,4,5,7,8,11,12,21 1,9,14,25
2013 5 1 1   3 2   1,2,3,6,7,11,13, 17 4, 8, 14

Michigan wins: James Ross, Ben Braden, Dennis Norfleet, Matt Godin, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Mario Ojemudia, Terry Richardson, Devin Funchess, Shane Morris (though extremely early), Wyatt Shallman, and David Dawson

MSU wins: Aaron Burbridge, Jon Reschke, Dennis Finley

Elsewhere: DT Danny O'Brien (Tennessee), OT Steve Elmer (ND)

MSU never got around to offering Jourdan Lewis before that legendary February commitment blitz. In both of these classes once Michigan was done with what they wanted there just wasn't much left.

MSU's solitary victory in 2012 was Burbridge, who tired of Michigan's wait-'n-see approach with his academic eligibility.  Both of State's head-to-head 2013 wins were guys Michigan gave extremely cursory offers after they were already committed to MSU: legacy Jon Reschke, and OT Dennis Finley, a Cass Tech kid who was passed on earlier and then was offered during David Dawson's vision quest.

2014: Maintenance

Mcdowell 1391553 1181830

McDowell/Harris/Marshall

  Touted Recruits   Head to Head   Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other   Mich MSU   Mich MSU
2014 2 0 or 1 1 or 2   3 0 or 1   3,4,8,14 (1?),5,7,10,16,24,25

This year the two mitten rivals had more than a few battles outside of the state. Montae Nicholson had lots of national offers and was a Michigan target until Michigan told him they were filled up at his position in August. Wisconsin DT Craig Evans, who flipped from the Badgers to the Spartans "not because of academics" yesterday, claimed a doubtable Michigan offer. On the flipside Michigan's entire LB class (Michael Ferns, Chase Winovich and Noah Furbush, plus our in-state legacy) and Juwaan Bushell-Beatty held unrequited offers to attend MSU.

But this isn't about that. It's about who owns the State of Michigan. And that is…

Head-to-Head Wins for MSU:

Head-to-Head Wins for Michigan:

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Marshall on the sidelines during Seaholm's late playoff comeback. [Me!!!]
  • WR Drake Harris: Committed to MSU as 2-sport athlete, switched to Michigan when he decided on football.
  • WDE Lawrence Marshall: Committed to OSU, then was thought an MSU lock, then switched to Michigan last spring. "The best players in Michigan go to Michigan" will go in bucket of all-time Sparty trolls. Other offers: Neb, Okla, Ole Miss. Bama and USC interest, but no offers.
  • WLB Jared Wangler: A 2-star with offer from…LSU?--oh right, he's Johnny Wang's kid. Was first a Penn State commit over MSU (also Cincy and Yale), who flipped on the offer to dad's school.

Michigan Commit who Michigan State Didn't Offer:

  • WR Mo Ways: MSU coaches visited, wanted him to camp again before extending their offer. ND coaches came that day too. He took an unofficial to M right after those meetings, got an offer, and pulled the trigger. Iowa, Rutgers were other offers, OSU, NWern were interested too.

Michigan State commits who Michigan didn't offer:

  • ATH (WR/CB) Jalen Watts-Jackson: SMSB camp offer, previously just had EMU and CMU interest. My neighbor's kid plays with Jalen at OLSM, and apparently he was the kid throwing the ball around on my street all the time; I didn't pay attention because I had no idea he was a D-I recruit before it got too cold, so I have nothing to offer.
  • LB Byron Bullough: Is a Bullough.
  • NT David Beedle: MAC offers, committed on offer after SMSB camp.
  • LB Deon Drake: Cass Tech kid Michigan passed on. Knee issues last summer.
  • OL Nick Padla: Illinois, MAC offers. M never showed interest.
  • TE Matt Sokol: Illinois and Wisconsin sent offers, Michigan never got involved.

Guys who went somewhere else:

  • CB Damon Webb: Urban getting the top-rated Cass Tech kid would be like Michigan doing the same from Glenville.
  • OL Tommy Doles: Academic-minded, early on looked like a Michigan lock; seems like there was a mutual parting last spring. MSU was interested, but never in it.
  • If Malik chooses OSU or FSU he goes here.
  • DE Jhonathan Williams: MSU was involved as a two-sport before he committed to Mizzou. ND flipped him in late November. Michigan had an offer in after losing Hand.

2015: The Year of Hover Cars and Mr. Fusion

Is next year! Great heavy this is scott.

107_bftfscientist

Power laces: alright!

So far MSU has commitments from OT/DT Kyonta Stallworth, CB Tyson Smith, and Jayru Campbell if he can right himself, but none of those were really Michigan targets. Campbell's Cass Tech teammates RB Michael Weber and OT Joshua Alabi both seem to be MSU leans at this point; again, Michigan hasn't been as involved. The big battle will be over Brian Cole, one of the country's top cornerbacks, and Michigan State seems to be in good position there right now. The other in-stater being fought over is SAM-like object Tyriq Thompson. I reiterate my completely non-professional preference that they offer Brother Rice QB Alex Malzone now.

Michigan Offers Tyriq Thompson

Michigan Offers Tyriq Thompson

Submitted by Brandon Brown on January 17th, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Tyriq Thompson

Position: Linebacker
Ht/Wt: 6'1" / 215 lbs.
Location: Martin Luther King High School (2015) – Detroit, MI
Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin
Ranking: ★★★ .8792 (247 Composite)
FILM

The Michigan coaches were all over the country today checking in with commits and targets but when the dust settled only one new offer was extended, the recipient being linebacker Tyriq Thompson. The in-state product already held multiple B1G offers including Michigan State, the school most people think could provide the most competition for Michigan to reel in Thompson. In a very mature, politically-correct tone, he had a response for that thought. “I think people must’ve forgotten about Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Pitt and NC State.”

Without being able to see him I’m certain he said it with a grin. Despite his rebuttal, one would think that the chance to play at Michigan carries a little more weight for Thompson. A legacy, his father, Clarence, playing defensive back for the Wolverines in the early 90’s.

[Ed-S:

]

Greg Mattison was the coach assigned to visiting Thompson at Detroit King yesterday, and he and Tyriq were able to have the first of likely many in-depth conversations, ultimately leading to the offer. “I’m feeling pretty good about it. I got on the phone with Coach Mattison after he left and he let me know that they really like what I can do on the field and that they want me to come and play linebacker at Michigan.” Tallying 142 tackles as a junior generally pleases a defensive coordinator looking to recruit you. Mattison specifically offered Thompson at the WILL position.

Thompson was able to tackle everything moving during his junior campaign and I asked him about what made him able to rack up such gaudy numbers. “My coaches do a great job with our defense and they put me in a position and expected me to make plays and that’s what I did.” He wasn’t certain but he thought he might’ve tackled more people than anyone in the state of Michigan. “It just might have been the top in the state, I’m not sure. The way I see it though is that I can only get better and I think I can get even more next season.”

As previously mentioned Thompson has a unique connection to Michigan being the son of a former player. I asked him how his dad was feeling after the offer came through and if it would factor into his decision. “I think he’s just proud. He basically just congratulated me. As for him playing there affecting me, not at all. He’s even told me that it’s totally my decision to make and to make the best move for ME.”

With the unique opportunity to look at this from the perspective of a former player, who happens to be the father of an offered prospect, I reached out to Clarence Thompson to get his thoughts. “I think it’s great that he has the opportunity to continue the legacy. Tyriq knows that I’m Maize and Blue through and through, but ultimately he has to make a decision that’s best for him for the following four years.” I also took the opportunity to ask Clarence what stuck with him as a former student-athlete at Michigan that he would promote to any recruit, his son included. “First and foremost the tradition and respect that comes along with being a Michigan football player. The family atmosphere and supportive community is unmatched.” Clarence was proud about where his loyalties lie, but wanted me to stress the fact that Tyriq’s final decision will be his and his alone. You’ve got to respect the informed, fatherly support.

It was very clear that Tyriq and his father have a strong relationship and Clarence has done a good job instilling priorities in his son as evidenced by the factors that will lead to his commitment. “Number one will definitely be education. After that playing time, the bond with the coaches, and the potential to win championships fall in.” Thompson admitted that it will take some time to figure all of those things out. “I can’t really put a timeline on when I’ll commit. I just know I’ll commit when I’m 100% sure about where I want to spend the next four years of my life. As far as my announcement goes I’m not really caught up in the whole, big announcement thing with the hats and stuff.”

Finally, what exactly did Tyriq have to say about that strong relationship with his dad? “Yeah, he’s where I get my cool from.”, followed son-ishly by a laugh.

--------------------------

That last sentence included, there’s a lot to like about Tyriq. He’s a legacy offer which means he understands what it takes to succeed at Michigan. He’s a tackling machine. He’s an in-state kid and gets the passion involved in Michigan’s big games. He has a good head on his shoulders, and fits The Profile(tm) for the kids Coach Hoke recruits. You’d have to think Michigan is in really good shape with him and you know dad is going to be in his ear, but Michigan State offered a long time ago and that always means something to recruits. I picked Michigan for my Crystal Ball prediction with Sparty being the most likely alternative.

Signing Day Odds And Ends

Signing Day Odds And Ends

Submitted by Brian on February 2nd, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Kozan vision quest. No one really knows, but my "Kozan" twitter search turned this up:

"Empty-handed I entered the world, Barefoot I leave it. My coming, my going -- Two simple happenings, That got entangled." - Kozan Ichikyo

Whoah.

Depending on who you listen to, Iowa is out or Michigan is out or Auburn is out. My favorite is this guy:

NEILDEVLIN

He's a a high school sports editor for the Denver Post and a huge fan of David Mayo. He also starts every tweet with "Yo." Serious:

Yo: Still waiting on Alex Kozan, Valor Christian, taking his time and hoping to make the right move. Folks are interested. #copreps

A bit earlier he said this:

Yo: High drama, indeed ...as of now, Valor Christian's Alex Kozan still deciding between Michigan and Iowa, meeting w/prep coach. #copreps.

OTOH, Auburn insider buzz is confident. Nobody knows! We'll just have to see what spirit totem Kozan comes back with. I give Auburn the edge because they've got two potential totems.

The final count. An update to the Instate Recruiting Battle posts from back in the summer:

  Touted Recruits   Head To Head   Signee Rankings [Rivals]
Year Mich MSU Other   Mich MSU   Mich MSU
2010 1 3 3   2 2   2, 11, 12, 22 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19, 24, 28
2011 3 1 2   2 2   4, 5, 6, 7, 19, 25 1, 9, 10, 14, 26
2012 5 2 1   6 1?   3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 21 1, 7, 13, 28

(MSU H2H wins: Maybe Aaron Burbridge, though M seem to have passed because of grades. M: Ross, RJS, Braden, Funchess, Godin, Ojemudia. Technically Norfleet is also a dual offeree but that's stretching it.

"Touted" == got four stars on at least two of four sites.)

This goes here.

scaled[1]

User "grsbmd" for the win.

AJ Williams interviewed. Nice hat.

I'll play too. Top five IMPACTFUL IMPACTORS have been put out by everyone and their uncle, so here's my list in two groups.

INSTANTLY IMPACTFUL IMPACTORS

  1. Ondre Pipkins
  2. AJ Williams
  3. Amara Darboh
  4. Chris Wormley
  5. Joe Bolden

EVENTUALLY EWESOME

  1. Ondre Pipkins
  2. Joe Bolden
  3. Kyle Kalis
  4. Devin Funchess
  5. Jehu Chesson

Sam Webb put out an instantly impactful list with Bolden, Kalis, Pipkins, Williams, and Wormley. I think Kalis will have to wait a year before starting, and Michigan's going to give their WR recruits a shot to impress them. That article has a lot of tantalizing quotes, by the way. BAM:

"I thought [Bolden] was the best linebacker in the state of Ohio for two years now," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "He has a high football IQ. A lot of times we say that about guys that don't have athletic ability, but Joe has the athletic ability to go with it. He has got great physical size and he can go sideline to sideline. He can be an outside backer or he can be a middle backer. He is a playmaker. … I think Ohio State and Notre Dame whiffed on that one."

Allen Trieu and Tim(!) Sullivan provided lists focused on the best players once the class is done. Both pick Bolden, Kalis, and Pipkins. Trieu then goes with Ben Braden(!) and James Ross; Tim goes with Chesson and Wormley. The Funchess will dominate all. It's the bucket hat.

Speaking of…

Best established meme. Thirty Devins agree:

signing-day_thumb

WE LOVE BUCKET HATS. (L to R: Terry Richardson, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Devin Funchess, James Ross. Via USA Football.)

Kalis location. For now, still tackle:

"Coach Hoke has already let me know, depending on what kind of shape I come into camp in the summer, when I start getting into the groove of things and put the pads on, he's going to let me decide whether I feel more comfortable at the right tackle or right guard spot. It all depends in how I come in and how I feel."

Given Michigan's depth chart at tackle—there is no depth chart at tackle—it may make sense to give Kalis every opportunity to win the right tackle job from Schofield. If he does, Schofield can stay at guard. If he doesn't he's as prepared as possible to sub in in the event one of the starters is sidelined. Even if his long term future is at guard as the most college-ready lineman in the class Michigan has a crying need for him at tackle in 2012, whether it's as a backup or a starter.

Norfleet geared up. Via the social medias:

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Happy the guy managed to get an offer he clearly wanted, even if he had to wait for it. I'm betting he'll make that pay off for both himself and M. Hopefully Smith transfers his blitz pickup mojo to him this year.

Dinardo on Kalis. He likes him:

"I don't remember seeing many better high school offensive linemen than Kalis," DiNardo said on the Big Ten Football Report. "Alan Faneca, who played for me at LSU, an All-Pro for a long-time, was a great high school, great college, and great pro player. (Kalis) reminds me of Faneca."

Four years. Excellent PR move by the Big Ten to move en masse to four year scholarships:

Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Ohio State and several other schools have offered four-year scholarships to prospects in this year's class instead of the one-year, renewable scholarships that had been the norm throughout college sports.

I wonder what enforcement mechanisms exist for that; clearly there have to be some loopholes in case a player does not keep up academically or gets in trouble. Either way, it's more pressure on schools to not cut folks willy-nilly.

I think Purdue may be the lone holdout in the league, but haven't seen confirmation of that.

Etc.: Fairly useless Luginbill quotes. ESPN dudes predict Joe Bolden will see the field fast. Insert complaint about ESPN's focus on the UA game here. Local news article on Ben Braden. The Sporting News wins "most accurate recruiting service" for 2012 for ranking Michigan #2. Mattison on Kalis. Dantonio fuming about the "unethical" poaching of committed recruits. Brian Kelly whiffs down the stretch, too. The class visualized by position and state. Wojo on Signing Day.

Unverified Voracity Gets In The Countdown Game

Unverified Voracity Gets In The Countdown Game

Submitted by Brian on August 10th, 2011 at 1:00 PM

INSPIRATIONAL COUNTDOWN IMAGE: 25.

piranha-vs-mouse

I liked the koala, wallaby, and I chilled with a kangaroo a bit. There was a wombat that I quite enjoyed also.
Todd Barry

The floor is not on fire and we need water desperately. Crisler's new floor:

new-crisler-floor

I like it, and not just because there's a charge circle.

Soon to be us. Penn State fans on their version of Special K:

Penn State has been saying for years now that the piped-in commercial music has not compromised in any way the Blue Band's ability or chances to play music in the stands. I'm calling bullshit on that. Since Penn State football became The Greatest Show of Great Shows of Not-Just-JoePa in College Football or something they keep renaming to something worse, piped-in public address music has become more prominent within the gameday experience at Beaver Stadium. They are no longer just snippets of music, or pre-game warmups music when the band isn't even done with Tailgreat. Nope, Penn State now plays full songs over the PA. You know, those raucous, adrenaline-pumping classics like... Sweet Caroline?

And the poll:

image

Penn State fans are not down with the sickness. Ah ah ah ah ah.

Dirty. Boo Nieves did this in an international tournament against Russia: :

Dang. Nieves is consistently criticized for being a "perimeter player," FWIW, which probably means he tries stuff like this all the time instead of bulling his way to the net.

Practice highlight type substances. From Rivals and strictly FWIW since there's no pads:

So there you go.

Rerank. ESPN's latest 2012 re-rank sees Glenn Robinson III at #53 (up from #60) and Nick Stauskas at #85 (from #99). Their profiles don't show any updates, though—wonder if they still think Stauskas is a low-athleticism guy who can't create his own shot or whether this AAU season has changed that. The highlight videos suggest he can get to the hoop.

Mitch McGary is #3, BTW. Come on, Mitch McGary. Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

Also rerank. Scout redid its Midwest state rankings. Your instate top 10:

Rank Name Pos City (State) High School Ht/Wt Verbal
1 James Ross MLB Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Marys 06/01/20 Michigan
2 Aaron Burbridge WR Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison 06/01/80 Michigan State
3 Danny O'Brien DT Flint (Mich.) Powers 06/03/90  
4 Royce Jenkins-Stone MLB Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech 06/02/15 Michigan
5 Terry Richardson CB Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech 05/09/65 Michigan
6 Ron Thompson TE Southfield (Mich.) 06/04/20  
7 Devin Funchess TE Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison 06/05/10 Michigan
8 Dennis Norfleet RB Detroit (Mich.) King 05/07/75 Cincinnati
9 Mario Ojemudia DE Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison 06/03/15 Michigan
10 Ben Braden OT Rockford (Mich.) 06/07/19 Michigan

If O'Brien commits that's seven of the top ten with two of the others guys who wanted to commit but got slow-played because of grades (Burbridge) or undisclosed "things to clear up" (Thompson). They really should have taken Burbridge just to make Dantonio's head explode.

Braden's moved up and threatens to get a fourth star if he performs this fall. Only one That Guy complaint: Matt Godin is #15, which seems low for a guy with his size and offers. He's behind a CMU commit, for one, and Thompson appears to be picking between Syracuse, Indiana, and a late offer from Illinois.

Etc.: Michigan soccer enters this season ranked ninth, which is a vote of confidence in the program after they lost Justin Meram and Soony Saad—AKA all the goals—in the offseason. Hopefully that holds up. Hoke's entire opening presser. Two toned pants: ack.

A Brief History Of Instate Recruiting: Rodriguez And Now

A Brief History Of Instate Recruiting: Rodriguez And Now

Submitted by Brian on May 6th, 2011 at 11:13 AM

A continuation of the Wednesday post that covers the last three years and what's shaping up in 2012. Side note: light day today. Semi-vacation day.

2009: Dominance Type Substance

 CHRISNORMAN8N08150larry-caperwill-campbell-cass

Chris Norman, Larry Caper, Will Campbell

  Touted Recruits   Head To Head   Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other   Mich MSU   Mich MSU
2009 2 8 1   1 4   1, 6, 12, 24 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 20, 25

(MSU H2H wins: Dion Sims, Larry Caper, Edwin Baker, and Chris Norman.)

Michigan State nearly swept the in-state four stars, though some of those were pretty iffy—Jeremy Gainer's offer list read "MSU, Iowa and crap"; Donald Spencer's read "MSU and… MSU." Others could be filed under "just one of those things," like Blake Treadwell being a Spartan coach's son. Others were no longer of interest to Michigan because of their offensive system.

That said, this year saw four players who Michigan wanted and seriously could have used go to Michigan State, more than the previous six years combined. Only one—Norman—was a Ren/SE kid. Michigan's instate recruits were three Cass Tech kids and Inkster's Cam Gordon; with the exception of Michigan getting the #1 kid in the state this looks like a complete reversal of The Natural Way Of Things.

2010-2011: Even Footing

anthony-zettelwill-gholston-prombrennen-beyer-2

Anthony Zettel, Will Gholston, Brennen Beyer

  Touted Recruits   Head To Head   Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other   Mich MSU   Mich MSU
2010 1 3 3   2 2   2, 11, 12, 22 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19, 24, 28
2011 3 1 2   2 2   4, 5, 6, 7, 19, 25 1, 9, 10, 14, 26

(MSU H2H wins: Mylan Hicks, Will Gholston (2010); Ed Davis, Lawrence Taylor (2011))

The last two years were a wash. Michigan State picked up four more head to head battles, all of them for Ren/Southeastern kids. Michigan won a few, mostly Cass Tech kids. The state continued to bleed talent outside its borders.

2010 was odd because three of the four-star prospects in state were quarterbacks. Michigan won the derby for Devin Gardner, then Robert Bolden picked Penn State; Joe Boisture was left over for State. By the end of the year it was clear he was massively overrated, and he's already left the program. Gholston and Hicks were in bad places for Michigan recruiting; Max Bullough was a legacy. CJ Olaniyan also picked Penn State. A bit farther down the list Michigan made a bad choice by taking Austin White over Nick Hill and inexplicably ignored eventual Iowa commit Austin Gray. Their on-again, off-again recruitment of Jon Hankins (and his presence at SE) eventually turned him off; he went to Ohio State and contributed there his first year.

Last year the top player in the state was again a Ren kid who went to State. DeAnthony Arnett flirted with instate schools but always seemed headed elsewhere; he ended up at Tennessee. Anthony Zettel was a lifelong Michigan fan that Rodriguez/turmoil/etc eventually blew. The next four guys ended up at Michigan; further down Michigan lost SE's Ed Davis to State and Jacob Fisher to The Process.

2012: Hokeamania

We don't have rankings yet but a head to head scoreboard will suggest some things.

royce-jenkins-stoneMARIOOJEMUDIA10MP150james-ross-olsm

Royce Jenkins-Stone, Mario Ojemudia, James Ross

Michigan commits: Ben Braden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, James Ross, Devin Funchess
Michigan leans: Matt Godin, Mario Ojemudia, Ron Thompson, Dan O'Brien*
Tossups:
MSU leans: Aaron Burbridge
MSU commits:

*[O'Brien maintains Tennessee as his leader but Michigan is currently second with MSU nowhere in sight; if he stays instate he will be at M.]

The Natural Way Of Things returns.

With both schools seeking pro-style offensive players and running 4-3s on defense the evaluation gap has evaporated. Southeastern and Renaissance have no D-I players; even if they did, the "hurts my heart" guy got fired and the "Will Gholston lived with me" guy was hired by (surprise!) Michigan State to be a video coordinator. Those two factors were at play in six of the ten head to head battles Michigan State won over the last four years, and most people who follow these things closely think a couple of the exceptions are iffy. Tyler Hoover probably didn't actually have a committable Michigan offer and Michigan seemed to back off of Sims after they got wind of he and his dad's involvement with a laptop theft ring.

Hoke walked into a situation closer to those Michigan experienced at the beginning of the time frame covered here: Michigan has a number of very good regional recruits but few that are being recruited nationally. Of those guys two are at Cass Tech and a third is best friends with the guys at Cass Tech, leaving Danny O'Brien the only guy notching offers from way across the country who isn't extremely predisposed to head to Ann Arbor.

Still, Hoke locking down guys who should go to Michigan is an accomplishment. Michigan's downfall started when they failed to take advantage of the record bumper crop of 2007, losing "locks" like Ronald Johnson, Joseph Barksdale, and Dionte Allen and failing to swing any of the guys who were "locks" to other schools. Michigan lost CJ Olaniyan, Jon Hankins, and Dior Mathis two years ago. Last year Anthony Zettel escaped to Penn State, Jacob Fisher to Oregon, and DeAnthony Arnett to Tennessee. Those sorts of losses were far less frequent in the early part of the time frame here—from 2003 to 2006 Michigan missed on one top-three Michigan player they offered. Further down the list they had a similar strike rate.

Michigan lost its grip on instate recruiting late in the Carr era and failed to reassert it under Rodriguez. That was a combination of a run of talent at schools featuring guys who were going to funnel their guys to State come hell or high water, State legacies, and some guys on the margins of four stars. Without that confluence of factors, MSU was pretty much just MSU.

So: the question?

It seems likely Michigan will get seven or eight of the top ten-ish players instate. This is indeed unprecedented. In the long long ago when the Natural Way Of Things held, the state didn't produce enough talent for Michigan to offer the top five players, let alone the top ten. When it suddenly started producing buckets of talent huge chunks of it fled. So, like, Hoke uber alles.

A Brief History Of Instate Recruiting: Late Carr Era

A Brief History Of Instate Recruiting: Late Carr Era

Submitted by Brian on May 4th, 2011 at 3:56 PM

The recent spate of instate commits and the buzz that Michigan has two or three more likely on the way in the near future caused me to wonder if Michigan hypothetically pulling eight of the top ten players in the state was unprecedented in the star era of recruiting. As almost always happens when I do something like this it got long, then got longer, and then I split it into two parts. This part covers the late Carr period from 2003 to 2008*; tomorrow's bit will cover what happened under Rodriguez and how Hoke appears to be doing so far.

*[By the time Carr announced his retirement in late 2007 Michigan had acquired all the instate prospects they were going to. Rodriguez didn't lose any, so there aren't any ambiguities there.]

2003-2004: The Old Boss Is The Old Boss

lamarrwoodleyjake-longWILLJOHNSON1
Lamarr Woodley, Jake Long, Will Johnson (with hair!)

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2003 4 0 3 5 0 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 13, 17
2004 3 2 1 4 1 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 4, 5, 10, 13-16, 25

(MSU H2H win: TE Kellen Freeman-Davis.)

Yea, the long long ago when Michigan had a half-dozen four stars on an annual basis and Michigan picked who they wanted unless they were a bit weird. In 2003 Michigan locked down the top eight with the exceptions of Illinois-bound Lonnie Hurst and Purdue-bound Doug Van Dyke and Garret Bushong. Bushong would later find fame as the "'we run this place" [Ed-M: link was broken, hope I got it right] guy; Van Dyke would have some sort of freakout and leave school to work construction; Hurst had three career catches after a nice freshman year. Meanwhile, Michigan State's haul consisted of Kaleb Thornhill, Derek Outlaw, and a couple of guys who didn't make the top 25. (One, Will Cooper, was a former Michigan commit who didn't qualify.)

The next year was much the same. Michigan got five of the top eight. The escapees did not have Michigan offers and didn't do much in college. Carl Grimes had seven career catches; Justin Hoskins transferred to CMU from Notre Dame; Dwayne Holmes bounced from TE to DE and finished his career with a 14-tackle season.

This year did see instate #10 Kellen Freeman-Davis pick MSU over a Michigan offer; in college he dropped the "Freeman" and was honorable mention All Big Ten as a senior. You may remember him as a two-way player—he was a pass-rush specialist DE, too. Michigan's main whiff in this class, though, was physical freak Vernon Gholston. Michigan was tardy with an offer and lost him to Ohio State, whereupon he turned into a monster until people started testing him for steroids.

This period and the many years before it in which recruiting rankings weren't as codified represent Michigan fans' opinion of The Natural Way Of Things. Michigan gets who they want. When they pass over a four star sort they're generally right about it. Every once in a while something slips through their fingers, but that's life.

2005-2006: The Great Wasteland

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Brandon Graham, Patrick Rigan, Antonio Bass

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2005 3 0 0 1 0 1, 2, 3, 7, 12 4, 5, 8, 11, 13
2006 1 3 1 2 0 1, 6, 11, 12 2, 3, 4, 15

This period of relative fecundity was followed by a couple years in which no one wanted anyone. In 2005 only three players picked up four stars and it's not like the offers defy that. #4 Ryan Allison had a smattering of mid-level BCS offers of which MSU, BC, and Wisconsin were the best; #5 Andrew Hawken had only MSU, Wisconsin, and Indiana; #6 Evan Sharpley ended up at Notre Dame, but this was during the Great Willinghamming when a Notre Dame offer was more indicative your ability to caddy than anything else. The rankings were largely borne out—thanks to Antonio Bass's mysterious leg explosion only #3 Terrance Taylor and #11 Otis Wiley were all-conference-ish players.

2006 was probably worse. After Brandon Graham the top three players in the state were Charlie Gantt, Eric Gordon, and Patrick Rigan. All went to Michigan State. Michigan didn't offer any, and neither did anyone else. Gordon had one other BCS offer, that from Missouri. Rigan had one from Indiana. Gantt had Duke and UNC. While Michigan screwed up their talent evaluation by taking Obi Ezeh and Quintin Patilla over Gordon, it's not like there were a bunch of other schools who were vying to prove Michigan wrong. Talent evaluators were again validated: other than Graham, Gantt, and Gordon the only player to start in at a BCS school was Ezeh, and we know all about him.

These years sucked, but Michigan got everyone they wanted and picked off a few sleepers here and there. That their sleepers were not useful may have been the first sign of the degradation the program was to endure over the next half-decade. "Trust the coaches" was no longer in effect. The Natural Way Of Things seemed to be, however.

2007: Disaster

ronald-johnson-rivalsdionte-allen-scoutjoseph-barksdale

Ronald Johnson, Dionte Allen, Joseph Barksdale

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2007 2 1 10 2 0 10, 12, 19, 23, 25 7, 21, 24, 27

The next year Michigan rebounded massively with 13 four-star-or-better guys. Michigan got all of two: #10 Ryan Van Bergen and #12 Martell Webb. Michigan State did worse with one. While both would eventually reclaim four-star QB prospects from the class when Keith Nichol and Steven Threet transferred home, Nichol eventually ended up a WR and Threet a Sun Devil. Everyone else was all like "I'm GTFO."

Michigan botched the recruitments of Joseph Barksdale, Mark Dell (who didn't even get offered because Michigan was after Zion Babb and Toney Clemons, although FWIW Clemons was highly ranked), Ronald Johnson, Dionte Allen, and Chris Colasanti. They wisely avoided Taurian Washington and Cedric Everson and never really had a shot at Nichol, who didn't fit Carr's offense, or Darris Sawtelle, a third generation Vol. They filled in their class with sleepers who did not pan out. Meanwhile, Michigan State grabbed #27-ranked Kirk Cousins.

The end result for Michigan was the infamous class that's been dissected ever since. Four years later it's clear this was the moment when Wile E. Coyote ran off the cliff. While the legs still pumped a while longer, inexorable gravity was now in control.

2008: Transition

fredsmithMike-Martin-ccnick-perry

Fred Smith, Mike Martin, Nick Perry

  Touted Recruits Head To Head Signee Rankings
Year Mich MSU Other Mich MSU Mich MSU
2008 4 1 3 3 2 1, 2, 7, 8, 11 5, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17-20, 25, 26

(MSU H2H wins: Fred Smith and Tyler Hoover, though Hoover is disputed.)

Michigan maintained most of its gains in the evaluators' eyes the next year with seven four-stars and a number of additional guys with solid BCS offers. Michigan grabbed their usual number of four stars. They passed on Jonas Gray in favor of Mike Cox, lost Nick Perry to USC, and lost Southeastern WR Fred Smith in a "shocker"—yes, people can be surprised by high schoolers with hats on the table—that was the first indication Detroit Southeastern had been colonized by Spartans.

When Rodriguez came aboard he had to re-recruit Mike Martin; everyone else stuck around. Gray is in about the same place on Notre Dame's depth chart as Cox is on Michigan's. Smith decided he liked ham more than football and is now a fullback or something. Perry was a freshman All-American but has only played part-time since because of concerns about his size.

While Perry represented the continuing bleed of talent outside state borders and Smith was a harbinger of things to come, this wasn't too far off the early years. The problem was that instead of getting great players at the top Michigan's guys blew up: Boubacar Cissoko hates cabbies and Dann O'Neill was massively overrated and transferred to WMU. Meanwhile, Michigan ignored Mark Ingram and Keshawn Martin, and probably passed on Hoover. Michigan was got no one of note from the bowels of the Michigan rankings except for the occasional interior OL.

But whatever combination of bad luck, bad scouting, and bad recruiting affected Michigan in 2007 and 2008 was nothing with the rain of hellfire* Michigan would experience in 2009.

*[I believe this is called "the hard sell."]

Unverified Voracity Mimics Dhani

Unverified Voracity Mimics Dhani

Submitted by Brian on February 3rd, 2011 at 1:45 PM

kellen-jones-bowtie

Kellen Jones M bowtie FTW.

Improving the not LOI. Compliance people complain to each other on twitter about people who abbreviate the "National Letter of Intent" as "LOI" instead of "NLI." Apparently there are other LOIs. You have been warned.

In any case they should be heavily reformed. Right now they're one-way binds with silly timing that have created a cottage industry of kids who attempt to reserve their spot by being "committed, but open." Paul Johnson's opinion of this is similar to Artur Boruc's about corn:

What I’d like to see happen, but I’m probably by myself: if you have 85 scholarships, and you can sign 25 a year or however many you have. When they commit, they sign the papers and you stop. It would stop all the verbal commitments and all the hats. The guys who weren’t ready wouldn’t commit. You’d call their bluff. They couldn’t make their reservation. We’ll talk to kids all the time, juniors right now, who are committing. We’ll say ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’

“Oh coach, I’m open.”

[HT: Get The Picture.]

I'm not really sure what the argument against early signing is. The way it's set up now everyone scrambles to get their class locked in on Signing Day, so someone like FL WR AJ King who has his scholarship pulled by Purdue is in a tough spot in his attempt to find a landing place. If he was signed, he'd be signed and hijinks both ways would be seriously reduced.

The Bylaw Blog has a few other suggestions, one of which I've made in this space before: the NCAA should implement a "no contact" agreement. That piece of paper would be non-binding but would allow the school specified by the player to contact the kid without restriction… and make it a violation for anyone else to. Official visits would also be off the table. That's a verbal commitment that actually exists and would help coaches figure out who's serious and who's just making a backup plan.

Heart-hurting. Remember that video of the Detroit Renaissance coach declaring Michigan's treatment of former Ren players "hurt his heart," thus explaining why Michigan couldn't get anyone out of there no matter what? Raise your hand if you're surprised that Ren's Lawrence Thomas recited the entire negative recruiting playbook:

"Why not Michigan? They had problems. There were some past experiences with other Renaissance players that I didn't like. Plus, Rich Rodriguez sent an assistant to our school to recruit me. He wouldn't even send the defensive coordinator, just an assistant. Then we'd hear that Rich Rod would be in Florida recruiting."

The Renaissance players were Andre Criswell, a last-second addition at FB who never saw the field and was kept on as a GA after leaving the team before his fifth year, and Carson Butler, the insane tight end who finally ran out of chances towards the end of Rodriguez's first year. Butler was treated so badly he stuck up for Rodriguez during the jihad. Michigan did as well by those kids as they could given the latter's hatred of nerds, be they in the wrong dorm room or playing for Notre Dame.

So… this was not a situation likely to produce a commitment even if Rodriguez showed up with every assistant he had, and one that would likely have continued under Hoke. Similarly, when Taiwan Jones complains about a lack of attention from Michigan during his visit to the UConn game he's complaining as a guy who had been a MSU commit for months already and who Michigan never even considered offering.

This continues the theme from these Blue Chip articles in the News since the beginning of time: Michigan commits asked about State say something short, polite and vague, State commits asked about Michigan rant about a lack of respect, and the guys towards the bottom of the list submit a tear-stained questionnaire because neither school thought they were good enough. This will happen next year, and the year after, and so on and so forth.

Adventures in re-evaluating wins. So… how about not losing to Iowa by twenty points? Yeah, got a whole new sheen on it today, that does.

I mention it by way of inserting this "Fran-graph" from BHGP:

fran15_medium Michigan's at the top and you can see the extreme focus on the rim or the three point line in Michigan's field goals. BHGP's Horace E Cow explains:

In men's basketball in the NCAA this year, players have made 34.5% of threes and 48.2% of twos.  The average value, then, of a three-point attempt is  3*.345 = 1.04, and the average of a two is 2*.482 = .964.  This fact has led many college (and pro) coaches to the reasonable conclusion that  three-point shots are better bets than two-point shots, and that their teams should take as many threes as possible (Todd Lickliter was one of these coaches, actually). 

Not all twos are worth less than threes, though: shots at the rim are usually made at a very high percentage (60-70%) and thus the average dunk or lay-up is worth 1.2-1.4 points, much more than the average three.  Putting  these two facts together (threes are better than most twos, but dunks are better than threes), coaches have developed what could be called a "hollowing-out" strategy on offense: threes and dunks are encouraged, anything in between in discouraged.

My first experience with this line of thinking was watching some Kentucky game back in the day when Pitino was coaching them and hearing the announcer go on about how Pitino loathed shots just inside the arc. Beilein's system is the logical extension of that thinking. Michigan's makes against Iowa: 14 threes, nine layups/dunks, and ten anything else.

If you can get it to work it's great, and it's not a strategy that seems to have a ceiling. One of this year's other proponents of the dunk-or-deep strategy is #1 and current opponent Ohio State. Because they have Jared Sullinger they aren't launching as many threes but both their 2PT% and 3PT% are off the charts—they're in the top ten in both nationally. They've got four guys who take a large volume of two-point shots, and two of them are shooting a Jordan-Morgan-like 59%. Ohio State's distribution isn't quite as extreme but it's essentially the same thing.

The slight difference between the programs is the ability to recruit Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas every damn year.

BONUS: Do you like slow? You'll love tonight's basketball game.

180 update. Media 180, Signing Day edition:

And I'm not even looking at the Free Press, which remains dead to me. I can only imagine the tiny drawings of angels.

I like the one that says there's more toughness now. That's definitely true. Being not tough was the problem, not the secondary being old enough to drive only if they all stood on each other's shoulders in a huge trenchcoat. Also that's the same guy who wrote about the "impossible expectations" driving Tate Forcier away. Pete Bigelow needs to make up his mind about toughness.

[Disclaimer section: Hoke did an okay job, but nothing that should push opinions either way. Not going into the year down eight kids is good. Losing Willingham to Central Florida(!?!?) is pretty wack, but being in a position to say that's wack is impressive since Michigan was nowhere with that kid before Mattison showed up. Losing Jake Fisher makes the tackle depth chart terrifying. I also don't understand telling Rivals 250 receiver Devin Lucien, a guy who was seriously looking at Stanford and silently committed to Rodriguez during The Process because he liked Michigan's academics, "defense or GTFO." Even if you don't want Hakeem Flowers, Michigan had room for another five players and has no receivers in this class.

Meanwhile, most of the guys picked up were of the low-hanging fruit variety: guys who were committed to Indiana or Minnesota or Vandy and didn't have a ton of other confirmed Big Ten options (Heitzman, Carter, Taylor, Bellomy) or guys who had been openly coveting Michigan offers (Poole, Rawls, Taylor again) but didn't get them until later. TX TE Chris Barnett is the exception.

This class is a wait-and-see sort of thing. We won't know if these late pickups were players RR and other Big Ten schools misevaluated or warm bodies for a while, and we won't know about Hoke's recruiting prowess until the 2012 commits start rolling in and he's competing against Ohio State. Not that Rodriguez won many battles against OSU.

On the other hand, a quarter of the class won't fail to show up or wash out by the end of spring like the last RR class so that's cool. Snatching Frank Clark away from MSU despite his existence in close proximity to Ted Ginn is promising. Also: kicker. Hoke uber alles.]

    Etc.: Thomas Rawls may be a member of the Jackson family. The awkward Hoke-Rodriguez video. Going back to the 4-3. Michigan finishes 21st in the Rivals rankings. Hoke's got 8 years before the deck stacks against him significantly. Don't play the Hoke "toughness" drinking game. Nutt greyshirt hijinks.