Friday Recruitin' Is Not Average

Friday Recruitin' Is Not Average

Submitted by Ace on October 21st, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Tufele, Gay Headline Weekend Visitors

One of Michigan's most anticipated official visits occurs this weekend with the arrival of four-star UT DT Jay Tufele. Michigan, Ohio State, and Utah have long been considered the main contenders for Tufele; Washington and USC have also been mentioned among his top schools of late. Tufele talked up all five programs to 247's Steve Wiltfong and previewed his visit:

“I watched their game two weeks ago, it was amazing,” Tufele said of the 78-0 dusting of Rutgers in Piscataway. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Coach (Greg) Mattison came down to our game last week. He’s pumped. I’m so excited to be down there and see life in Ann Arbor and everything, and get to know all the players and get to know the coaches as well and see what happens from there.”

While Tufele has high praise for all of his top schools, Michigan insiders—namely Sam Webb and Steve Lorenz—have been optimistic about M's chances. Tufele has repeatedly mentioned Tony Tuioti and the Polynesian players on the team when discussing what the Wolverines bring to the table; their presence could help M vault into the lead on this visit.

A player we haven't discussed much here, four-star MS OLB Willie Gay, will also take an official visit this weekend. Gay is an Ole Miss commit, but he told The Wolverine's Brandon Brown this week that a different school is on top of his list:

Having been committed to the Rebels since June 16, Gay seems like a solid pledge but things aren't always as they seem. The 6-1, 203-pounder actually claims another school as his favorite.

"Michigan is my No. 1 school right now," Gay said despite being committed to Ole Miss. "It's crazy right now."

That is quite a crootin twist. 247's Steve Lorenz mentioned the reason that could really be the case: Gay "is currently a non-qualifier" by Michigan's standards, and Lorenz expects off-field hurdles will be too high for Michigan to overtake Ole Miss even if Gay qualifies.

Four-star PA DT Donovan Jeter decommitted from Notre Dame last week. Not long after, he set up a Michigan visit for this weekend. Jeter's post-decommitment quotes indicate he's looking for more than the Irish can offer right now:

“I don’t want to play for a mediocre school,” he said. “I don’t want to play for a team that goes like 7-6. I want to go to a school that plays in the big bowl games or plays in the College Football Playoff. I don’t want to go to an average school because I don’t think I’m an average player. I want to make big time plays on a big time stage.”

That whole article is worth a read; Jeter also mentions that a phone call with Greg Mattison was part of the impetus for him looking around. He felt he was hasty in his initial decision, so I wouldn't expect a committment soon—he plans to choose in December before enrolling early—but Michigan is right in the thick of things, and as long as they keep winning they should stay there.

Lorenz added another name to the weekend visit list in his insider post a couple days ago: three-star TX CB Matt Hankins, an Iowa commit. Michigan offered last month, and Lorenz says Hankins is indeed a take for the staff, though he may not be easy to pull from the Hawkeyes—"as of now" his family wants him to stick with his commitment.

Three-star FL DE Robert Porcher IV is also expected on campus, per TMI. Porcher, the son of the former Detroit Lions DE, is currently committed to Nebraska.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Unverified Voracity Should Run The Option

Unverified Voracity Should Run The Option

Submitted by Brian on October 17th, 2016 at 12:26 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

The best quote. ESPN was offered full and frank access to a Wisconsin DBs meeting before the Ohio State game. This was kind of a questionable decision since ESPN published some takes on OSU's personnel that would seem to have a negative impact on Wisconsin's ability to use said takes. For example, Jim Leonhard's take on Curtis Samuel would seem ripe for Samuel to break tendency:

"You watch him, the thing that he gets guys on is if he kind of goes lazy in a route, don't believe it," Leonhard said. "He'll stem you. He's going to break hard as hell. Everything he's going to do, he's going to be patient at the top of routes. But if he starts just kind of bending into something, he's going opposite. Don't fall for the trap."

I almost always think coach secrecy is absurd paranoia but I was shocked Wisconsin let this get published, especially before the game even happened.

Anyway, at the end of the piece there is a quote directly relevant to your interests:

"You just have to communicate, which you've done a really good job of," he said. "Is that nearly as hard as Michigan last week? Michigan was something new every single snap. These guys are almost the complete opposite. You'll watch the game and be like, 'Damn, they did exactly what we saw.' We'll just have to see early recognizing the formations that they're going to be in, then we'll motion."

I can't tell you how many times during the Carr era that we'd be on the other end of that quote, with teams playing Michigan and then stating that M did exactly what they saw on film and nothing else. I love the alternative.

Meanwhile the other side of the ball just got the same makeover. I love that Michigan went out and got Defensive Jim Harbaugh in Don Brown. Michigan's gone from a very simple defense under Durkin to a blizzard of different looks. Craig Ross mentioned on WTKA that a Power 5 offensive coordinator told him that he spent most of BC week just trying to figure out what the hell Brown was doing.

Michigan is now an incredibly difficult opponent to prepare for on either side of the ball.

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Brock Spack's best attribute is his mustache. This is a compliment.

Exit Darrell Hazell. Purdue pulled the trigger on their head coach after nine wins in 3.5 years, and is now on the Lowered Expectations dating scene. Everyone's got a list. Hammer and Rails has one, and here's a sad commentary on where they're at:

Name: Brady Hoke

Position: Oregon DC

Why?: Ya, Oregon isn’t very good right now. Hoke was up and down at Michigan. But, he has head coaching experience and is looking for another head coaching job. Getting back into the B1G isn’t easy, but this could be a chance for him as he could take over a Purdue program in shambles.

Chance: With how Oregon has looked this season, I don’t think we take a chance on him. But his head coaching experience in the B1G makes him appealing a little bit.

At least they're unenthused.

The candidates drawing the most mention seem to be WMU's PJ Fleck, former LSU HC Les Miles, and Illinois State HC Brock Spack. Fleck's probably going to get better offers this offseason and should wait on a less difficult opportunity; Miles is probably a real bad idea since by the time he'd have his players in he'd be close to retirement; Spack hasn't lit it up on the FCS level.

If those aren't the names, Purdue might repeat their Hazell move:

Hazell had been a head coach at Kent State for two years, but he was close to a "close your eyes and throw a dart at the OSU assistant roster" move. It would be uninspiring and very Purdue to replicate their failed process from last time.

Bill Connelly points out that Purdue's only successful coaching hires in the past 30 years have been relative outsiders, and he suggests a selection of creative offensive minds at smaller schools. He's correct. This is the pool Purdue should be selecting from. They need something weird to overcome their talent deficiencies, and they have the financial resources to grab a guy from Tulane or Air Force or wherever.

Personally, I would loathe playing a triple option version of Purdue—never schedule Air Force!—and co-sign this tweet from Jane Coaston:

Ken Niumatalolo may not be poachable after he turned down overtures from BYU last year, but if the problem there was BYU's reluctance to go flexbone Purdue might not have a shot. Connelly mentions Air Force's Troy Calhoun, who's won eight games a year two-thirds of the time at a service academy and gave Michigan all it wanted a few years back, and he seems like a good idea. Willie Fritz ran a deeply weird pistol triple option thing at Georgia State; I mentioned him offhandedly during the portion of Michigan's most recent coaching search where I threw out every candidate who was even vaguely plausible. He'd be a good idea.

In non-option options: Jeff Brohm at WKU has assembled Tiller-esque explosive offenses. I'd at least kick the tires on Chris Klieman, the third-year NDSU head coach who's kept Craig Bohl's train running without a hiccup.

For your sake, Purdue, don't close your eyes and grab a manball retread or an assistant who's operated with an embarrassment of riches. Look to someone scrabbling up from down below.

SLEEPER THOUGH. Charlie Strong.

Michigan assistants? Drevno and Fisch draw mention from Feldman in the Others Receiving Votes section of his list. While I think both guys are good coaches and will be HCs somewhere down the road, neither seems like a good fit for perpetually undermanned Purdue, and both guys can find themselves jobs less likely to end in termination. If Purdue's smart they won't focus on either guy; if either guy is smart they'd wait for something like Maryland or Cincinnati.

Another Endzone excerpt. The Postgame runs a piece from Bacon on Harbaugh's long-term prospects in Ann Arbor:

As one of Harbaugh's closest associates, attorney John Denniston, told me, "Jim doesn't like to recruit. He loves to recruit." If that sounds like hyperbole, you might consider the 22-state, 38-stop satellite tour, which Harbaugh described as "more fun than you can possibly imagine, like a pig in slop."

The only issue on that list that would seem to present a compelling reason for Harbaugh to leave is the health of Michigan's athletic department. When people on the book tour asked me to predict how long Harbaugh would coach Michigan, my answer was simple: It depends on his relationship with the next athletic director.

Quinn on Rahk. MAAR's development is probably the second-biggest key for Michigan this year behind that of Mo Wagner:

"For two years now, I've seen a great evolution in his game," Beilein said. "I want to see much more. He's capable of being a superior athlete."

A few things need to happen.

Abdur-Rahkman's jump shooting needs to improve. He raised his 3-point percentage from 29.3 percent (12-41) to a respectable 36.5 percent (31-85) from his freshman to sophomore year, but another jump could elevate Abdur-Rahkman among the best guards in the Big Ten.

His playmaking also needs to improve. Despite playing in 21 more games than LeVert last year, Abdur-Rahkman finished with 13 fewer assists for the season. His 3.7 assists per 100 possessions ranked below Duncan Robinson and Kameron Chatman. While his 27 turnovers in 1,001 minutes played were impressively meager, they also speak to a lack of facilitating for others.

Ian Boyd on OSU. This piece went up before the Wisconsin game and looks fairly prescient right now. It's SBN's Ian Boyd on certain flaws that OSU has demonstrated so far this year:

So if the Buckeye run game were stopped or slowed?

An opponent that knew how to line up against Urban Meyer’s arsenal of formations and variations on option run schemes would undoubtedly have a chance to force this particular team into some obvious passing situations.

The Buckeyes have had 40 TD drives so far this season and 14 of them (35%) required 10 plays or more. They’re very used to having to grind their way down the field with the run game and if you stopped up the works they’d be forced to rely more on their passing game.

Venturing back up to our handy chart, we notice that against the three toughest opponents on Ohio State’s schedule that Barrett threw 63 passes for 394 yards at 6.3 yards per attempt with five TDs and a sole INT. He’s been good at avoiding turnovers, though that may be partly due to simply not throwing many passes in the first place, but simply hasn’t been that threatening throwing the ball. If not for the four touchdown passes he threw to big Noah Brown in the red zone against Oklahoma, those numbers wouldn’t be too impressive either.

Barrett had a good second half against Wisconsin and managed to get OSU to 23 points in regulation. It was a struggle the whole way, though. Michigan's defense is another level up from Wisconsin's; that game gave me great hope that Michigan can turn the Game into a defensive slugfest.

Illinois week. The Illini probably won't be much of a challenge—they got outgained by Rutgers last week and Michigan is a whopping 35-point favorite. But it is an opportunity to point out Illini Board, which is a good Illinois blog/community. Their take on Rutgers:

Because this is just year one. The idea is 2019, with Michigan in Champaign, with the roster rebuilt, and that defense taking the ball away from the Wolverines and stopping them on fourth and one. I flipped the switch to rebuild mode last week, so watching this game in rebuild mode, it was great to see those plays from Milan and Watson. Bodes well for the future.

Remember the Minnesota game in 2008 when we outgained them something like 550-310 yet we lost because we kept turning the football over? That was a few months before I started the blog, but if I was blogging that fall, that game would have been my first “Turnovers Are Football” post. So many times, being on the wrong end of turnovers cost us.

And today, being on the right end delivered a win.

Lovie Smith is the most credible head coach they've had in a while, but it's going to take a long time to get out from underneath the Beckman denouement.

We've been there. Georgia lost to Vandy and their irritating athletic director hasn't crossed the line to get axed, so Get The Picture is feeling pretty gloomy:

It dawned on me leaving the stadium Saturday that one thing is really missing from Georgia football — it’s not fun to watch.  By that, I don’t mean losing sucks.  It does, of course.

What I mean is that watching a Georgia game feels like more of a chore these days than entertainment.

Man, did I write a column or two like that a few years back. It must be frustrating to be UGA and always be good but seemingly never be great—oh right, we know what that's like too. Throw in the fact that Ann Arbor and Athens are almost the same city and the UGA and Michigan fan bases are the most golf-apparel-friendly ones in the country and the parallels go deep between the two schools.

Anyway, this season is super fun and let's be sure to savor it.

Desmond Morgan gets into coaching. He's a GA at Wayne State:

Q: What are some of your responsibilities at Wayne State as a graduate assistant?

Morgan: One thing that’s been really interesting is that playing at Michigan, I was really used to the Division I level, where there’s resources and funding. There’s almost a paid position for everything.

At the Division II level, the resources are very limited. The money isn’t there. Something that I learned quick is that you’re not just a GA who helps an assistant. You do a bunch of other things on top of it.

Here, I spend 8 to 10 hours a week making sure highlight films are done on Friday nights, and we do all of the importing, editing and transcribing of the film. We help coaches with their daily responsibilities, like making copies, making sure meetings are set up to be run.

Juan Harris is single again again again again. The enormous IA DT decommitted from Indiana after three separate Iowa commitments. I can't wait to see where this rollercoaster goes. Hopefully back to Indiana twice more.

Etc.: The Big 12 probably isn't expanding because the TV networks will pay them not to. This might seem like a fiasco but could it actually be a bit of Machiavellian brilliance? What went wrong under Hazell other than everything. Nigel Hayes visited Gameday to protest not getting paid. Fred Jackson is the head coach at Ypsi High now. Indiana's struggles in the redzone dissected. The playoff looks all but set, so of course things will implode over the next month.

Brian Kelly Blames Things Dot Com. Recommend Go Iowa Awesome's weekly "Hybrid" column. Harbaugh eats a steak.

Monday Recruitin' Says Hi Hi Hi

Monday Recruitin' Says Hi Hi Hi

Submitted by Brian on February 16th, 2016 at 2:13 PM

Hello a third time, Mr. McCaffrey

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Ace's Hello post can be found here, and is ver' nice:

a big strong quarterback who has electric reset ability with his feet, meaning when he goes from one target to the next he wastes no time. He resets to number 2 better than most college quarterbacks. Dylan has a great smooth delivery.

He's a top 50 player to everyone except Rivals because of course; Rivals has him just outside their top 100.

McCaffrey told Sam Webb that it would take something "super traumatic" for McCaffrey to even consider a decommit. Hopefully Harbaugh doesn't broach the idea of practicing over spring break until after Signing Day. McCaffrey also has a #1 target as he dons his recruiter hat: yep, MI WR Donovan Peoples-Jones.

FWIW, Wiltfong lists a bunch of guys who may join McCaffrey in the 2017 class. I'm not sure where either of these reads comes from, but it's clear he's in contact with the coaching staff:

It’s going to be a small class for Michigan in 2017 after signing 29 in what turned out to be the nation’s No. 5 recruiting class this past cycle according to 2016. … Michigan may take just one receiver in 2017.

Unless there's unexpected attrition from the senior class Michigan should have 18 to give at a minimum, and then there are a number of potential fifth-year guys that could exit. With the NFL and playing time transfers I expect Michigan at least gets to 25.

And finally, McCaffrey's commitment gives us the chance to catch up with immaculately-coifed Denver sportswriter Neal Devlin, who we last encountered during Alex Kozan's vision quest.

Jungle beats, Kurt Taylor style

Let us observe a drill:

Man, Taylor is a compact little dude. Chance he gets compared to Vincent Smith: high.

Let's just glory in this enormous dude for a sec

I don't think his name will come up in connection with Michigan but this is too amazing to let slide:

Juan Harris, DT, West Union (Iowa) North Fayette
Juan Harris is an interesting guy. As we head into the spring of his junior year, he has already decommitted twice and had three different commitments, all involving the same school – Iowa. He's currently committed to the Hawkeyes and appears to be solid but all of that off-field drama distracts from the more important fact that this kid is a beast. At 6-4 and a weight that varies between 365 and 400 pounds, Harris has nimble athleticism and more mass than most offensive linemen can handle.

Somewhere in the fields of Iowa there is a 400-pound defensive tackle who has already committed to the Hawkeyes three times and recinded it twice.

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Nobody has to make America great again; it never ceased being great.

SIDE NOTE: Ace reminded me that Williams is the guy who we thought Mike Onwenu was being confused with when news first broke that Onwenu was playing at 370, because if anyone at SMSB was 370 it was Williams. Onwenu is still made of some superdense alloy.

More Wilson react

Sam Webb caught up with NY OL Isaiah Wilson after his unofficial. Wilson has backed off Michigan as his leader, at least publicly. Things still sound pretty good:

“They made great impressions.  Everything about them was genuine and inviting.  They’re all on a mission.  There is not any nonsense going on over there.  I was with Ahmir Mitchell, Kareem Walker, who I’ve played against, and Khalid Hill.”

A summer decision is a possibility if Wilson thinks he's seen enough. He doesn't have anything upcoming listed on his 247 profile yet, FWIW. He's already been a number of places.

Tufele top four

Defensive tackle is a huge need in 2017 and Michigan doesn't have a lot of top names on the board right now; one of them is UT DT Jay Tufele. Tufele told Oregon's 247 site that Michigan is in his top four along with Utah, USC, and Ole Miss(?!), though an Oregon offer could change that.

Unfortunately, he does not have a visit to Michigan on the docket; he does expect to take his recruitment close to Signing Day, giving Michigan an opportunity to impress on an official.

Baron back on the market

Five-star TX LB Baron Browning has decommitted from Baylor. He didn't offer Scout any sort of top list in the aftermath. He is scheduled to hit up a Texas junior day in the near future, FWIW; Michigan will continue to recruit the guy through Signing Day just because.

Top four for Samuels

FL CB Stanford Samuels III is at Flanagan, where Michigan picked up three players a year ago. He's got a top four consisting of M, Clemson, FSU, and Georgia. Going to be tough—Samuels, like Devin Bush Jr, is an FSU legacy—but they did get Bush.

The NTDP, for football

An extensive article on IMG Academy notes that they cannot offer scholarships to in-state players, so any FL guy you see on the roster is paying like 70k for the privilege. Meanwhile it doesn't seem like a year or two in Florida is having much impact on recruits' final destination:

Most believed Florida, Florida State and Miami would get inherent advantages in recruiting players from IMG, specifically the Seminoles. Former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, was IMG’s head coach in 2013 and 2014.

Three signing classes later, the same amount of IMG athletes (three) have signed with the Seminoles as Ohio State. That said, FSU and Miami are tied with the Buckeyes for the most IMG signees.

Just two other programs — LSU and Notre Dame — have signed more than one athlete from IMG in this three-year stretch. The Tigers reeled in receiver Davis and cornerback Smith, while the Irish got running back Tony Jones Jr. and safety Spence Perry.

Florida has signed no one from IMG Academy after defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, a Gators commitment, flipped to Florida State on national signing day last week.

That isn't much bias since a lot of the kids are close to Florida anyway. In this it's like hockey's NTDP, which has been in or near Ann Arbor for the duration of its existence but has mostly seen its kids go back to where they came from after they're done. By the time a lot of the IMG kids play a down for the school they'll be committed or en route to doing so.

Michigan offers underworld robot, also other new names

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Deommodre Lenoir is not a fan of Zoidberg

  • CA CB Deommodre Lenoir is interviewed by Washington mods in a break between rounds. He's got a Michigan offer and tentatively plans a visit; he seems to be leaning towards leaving the state. Washington is a serious contender, and I'm not just saying that to forestall a duel. Apparently nicknamed, yes, "Clamp Clampington." Do want.
  • LA S Todd Harris picked up an offer. Normally offering a top 100 kid from Louisiana* would be an exercise in futility, but Harris told Lorenz that "there's just something different about Michigan" and would like to take a visit. He also says he wants to "compete for a starting job immediately," something Michigan can absolutely offer.
  • Michigan, along with MSU and Oregon, offered previously unknown MI OL Phil Paea, a guy with no articles at any recruiting site until just recently. At 6'4" Paea is probably destined to be a guard. Trieu says this one will be "tough" for Michigan, with Oregon a "dream school." Possible he's related to NFL DE Stephen Paea, who went to Oregon State, and is from a West Coast family.
  • This might not be a new offer but it's new to me: TX RB Eno Benjamin is planning a visit on March 8th. Benjamin is a top 100 guy to Scout and just outside of it on the composite. The visit is part of a Midwest swing through M, OSU, NW, Iowa, and… uh… Kansas?
  • Michigan is also moving up the list of FL RB Kyshaun Bryan. Bryan attended Heritage with new Michigan tight end Nick Eubanks; he's transferring to St Thomas Aquinas for his final year. He tells Lorenz that Eubanks is "honestly like a brother" and that he's setting up a spring visit. SEC schools are the competition. Bryan was also interviewed by Scout and seems to have a tentative top four of M, UF, FSU, and LSU, although Florida hasn't talked to him recently.

*[An aside on the LSU-football-might-not-exist thing: it's brinksmanship balderdash that will have zero impact on any recruit this cycle. LSU, the institution, has been strugglingfor abit now and it just does not matter to instate recruits. Meanwhilethe state goverment isn't going to let their flagship institution close for a semester.]

Etc.: Scout, er, scouts TX DT Marvin Wilson. Potential grad transfer QB Taysom Hill decides to stay at BYU(!). Happy trails, I suppose.