Early Signing Day Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Early Signing Day Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 21st, 2017 at 10:39 AM

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[Barron]

“Am I late?”

[light laughter]

“Should have come and got me. I was busy doing something. Sorry if I’m late.”

Tell us what you like best about the guys you got on the dotted line.

“Um…the thing I like best…I like a lot of things, but the thing I like best…football players, good students. I think the thing I like best is there’s guys that really wanted to be at Michigan and appreciate what Michigan has to offer. They can understand it both as a football powerhouse and an academic powerhouse. That it provides both of those things.

“Nobody in there that really thinks they’re doing us the favor. It’s equal. So I think that’s what I like the most.

“I like the production in football games. Guys that are record-setters. There’s state champions. Very productive, and they’re productive in the classroom. They’re coming here to get a degree. The parents expect that they will get a very good degree. They’re not going to college to major in eligibility. They understand that they’re going to major in a legitimate discipline. There’s going to be rigor here, and they welcome that. Multiple things I like about this class so far.”

You guys announced yesterday Shea Patterson. What are your thoughts about him coming in and what his role could be?

“To compete. To…like everybody in the program, he has the license and the ability to be a starter. As I told all three of the quarterbacks at the same time, the only thing that’s guaranteed here is an opportunity. If I was the mindset of Brandon Peters, I would say, ‘Brandon, this is how you should think.’ He’s the starting quarterback, he should take this job and run with it and nobody’s going to take that away from him.

“If I was Dylan McCaffrey I would have the mindset of being on the scout team, being the scout team player of the year, now he’s going to get stronger. Doesn’t matter how many quarterbacks are on the roster, nobody’s going to beat him out.

“And if I was Shea Patterson, I would have the mindset of ‘Wait till they get a load of me.’ So all three have the license and ability to be great.”

[After THE JUMP: an MGoFriend stonewalls a minor violation, Hurst’s bowl-game decision, and a bit on some of the incoming freshmen]

Monday Recruitin' Alpacas A Guy

Monday Recruitin' Alpacas A Guy

Submitted by Ace on August 21st, 2017 at 12:11 PM

Cameron McGrone Welcomes You To Football Season

I THINK I'M READY FOR FOOTBALL SEASON.

High school ball is underway for a few of Michigan's commits, including four-star IN LB Cameron McGrone, who killed a guy. McGrone spearheaded a dominant defensive performance in Lawrence Central's 40-6 season-opening victory over a ranked McCutcheon squad that may now be in search for a quarterback whose ribs haven't been smashed into a fine powder.

A pair of Peach State products were also in action. Three-star RB Christian Turner needed only 11 carries to rush for 128 yards and two scores in a blowout win for Buford, while four-star OLB Otis Reese put together a performance that raised his stock in the eyes of Rivals's Chad Simmons:

What is known is that he is a heck of a football player. In game one against Forsyth (Ga.) Mary Persons, he had numerous big hits including one which led to a fumble and turnover. He was around the ball a lot, he was very aggressive, and he is going to be a Rivals100 prospect when all is said and done.

Simmons also notes that Reese has gone completely quiet about his recruitment, which is a little unnerving given his recent visit to Georgia. Michigan, as expected, is going to have to keep recruiting him until the final bell. While Georgia has home-state advantage, Michigan has a couple factors in their favor: freshman DT Aubrey Solomon is Reese's former high school teammate and Reese's older brother plays at Central Michigan.

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

Thursday Recruitin' Reheats Star Debate

Thursday Recruitin' Reheats Star Debate

Submitted by Ace on August 3rd, 2017 at 2:08 PM

There's enough to cover from the BBQ that I'm splitting this edition of the roundup into two parts. Today I'll cover the five recent commits; tomorrow I'll go over the rest.

If you missed them, the five recent Hello posts: Luke Schoonmaker, Nolan Rumler, Stephen Herron, Cameron McGrone, Sammy Faustin.

Sammy Faustin and When Stars Really Matter

Let's start this roundup with the most recent of Michigan's slew of commits, three-star FL S/CB Sammy Faustin. It was quite clear from the comments that many around here didn't see much past this...

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #75 CB,
#876 Ovr
3* CB NR CB 3*, 86, #74 CB,
#730 Ovr
3*, #78 CB,
#870 Ovr

...before passing judgment on Faustin and questioning why the coaches would take such a low-rated player this long before signing day. One of the main arguments against Faustin is one we've made many times here: star rankings really do matter.

They do. There's a mountain of evidence to back up that assertion. Context is key, however. The recruiting rankings that matter are the final rankings, once the recruiting services have as much data as they can gather. Nobody is going back to look at rankings at the time of a player's commitment. 

Faustin hasn't even played his senior season. We already have a couple recent examples of who-dat defensive back commits taken by this staff developing into (or being recognized as) solid prospects by the time signing day rolled around. Josh Metellus was either a two-star or unranked on all four services when he committed in the 2016 class; three sites subsequently gave him the Michigan bump to three stars, while ESPN got fresh eyes on him and rated him a four-star prospect with an evaluation to match. Metellus saw the field as a true freshman, impressed, and should start this year. More recently, Benjamin St-Juste was a literal unknown when he committed—initial camp reports got his name wrong—then starred at The Opening and cracked the 247 top 100.


Faustin is skeptical of your armchair scouting.

"Trust the coaches" can be a lazy deflection. Between Jim Harbaugh and Don Brown, though, it's hard to question these guys when they identify a player they want early. At the very least, we should let the process play out a little further. Sometimes it only takes a day; read Scout's post-commitment writeup on Faustin and tell me where you think he should be ranked:

Faustin, who passes the eye test with prototypical size in the secondary, is a versatile defender who does a great job of reading and reacting from his cornerback position. Once dissecting the play, Faustin turns heads with the ability to burst out of his back pedal by pushing off his back foot, flashing impressive acceleration in the process. This is a kid who also shows decent technique for a cornerback of his stature.

Faustin is one who does not shy away from physicality either. Once finding his lane to the ball carrier, Faustin closes on the ball in a hurry while also playing under control. There are times when he loses track of his tackling technique, but for the most part, Faustin is a sound tackler in space who strikes with good pad level. He is not the most explosive kid and can work on his flexibility, but does not have much of a problem flipping his hips and readjusting. Faustin is a defender who provides that pop at the point of attack.

For a safety who'll cover the slot, that's a pretty ideal evaluation. It jives with the junior film, which doesn't look like that of the #78 corner in the country. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown caught up with Tom Lemming for a scouting report, and this one also sounds like it's meant for someone better than a middling three-star:

"Faustin is one of my 'Other Players to Watch' in Florida," Lemming said. "He's 6-2, 175 pounds and has legit 4.5 speed. He has good range, quick hands and loose hips and does a very good job of playing the ball. He needs to add weight and strength but is an exceptional athlete."

In related news, recent tight end commit Luke Schoonmaker got a 14-spot bump in Scout's tight end position rankings, added a three-star ranking from Rivals, and got evaluated by ESPN, which now has him as the #19 in-line TE in the country. There's plenty more in last week's roundup.

If you're going to star-gaze without watching the film, I recommend at least waiting until February.

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

Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths

Friday Recruitin' Coaches Up The Youths

Submitted by Ace on July 28th, 2017 at 2:41 PM

BBQ Visitors: McGrone Ready To Commit

The annual BBQ at the Big House takes place this weekend; in fact, some visitors are already on campus. As usual, it's one of the biggest visit weekends of the year, and it should produce at least one commitment. Four-star IN LB Cameron McGrone, who recently shot into the top 50 in 247's rankings, is visiting and will then announce his decision on Monday at noon between Michigan, Notre Dame, and Indiana, per TMI's Evan Petzold.

The Irish were seen as Michigan's biggest competition but the Wolverines have all the momentum; they have the last 19 picks on McGrone's Crystal Ball, including those from Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, and (most tellingly) Irish247's Tom Loy. It'd be a shock if McGrone went elsewhere, so expect a lot more on him in this space come Monday.

Along with many current commits, some top 2018 prospects will also be on campus this weekend. The notables, culled from 247's Steve LorenzTMI's Brice Marich, and The Wolverine's Brandon Brown:

  • Top-100 MO DT Michael Thompson, who has Michigan in his top five but looks to be leaning towards in-state Mizzou at the moment.
  • Four-star CA S Bryan Addison, who Lorenz believes is M's top safety target in the cycle. USC is the favorite but this is his first visit to campus.
  • Four-star TX OT Rafiti Ghirmai, a longtime target despite being somewhat off the radar who may be a tough pull from Texas.
  • Three-star FL CB Sammy Faustin, who Lorenz says M "quietly lead" his recruitment with Don Brown spearheading the effort.
  • I usually don't take much note of visits by current commits, but in the case of Emil Ekiyor, who's coming off a visit to Alabama, his is worth mentioning.
  • Four-star MO DE Ronnie Perkins, an Oklahoma lean and perhaps M's top defensive end target, is a maybe as he's looking for transportation to Ann Arbor, per Lorenz.
  • Lorenz reports that Michigan is also expecting top-100 MD DE Eyabi Anoma, who plays for Biff Poggi at St. Frances, to be on campus this weekend. TomVH subsequently reported, however, that Anoma plans to visit Maryland. Crootin!

Michigan may not add to the 2018 class this weekend beyond McGrone, but if they can make progress towards solidifying Ekiyor's pledge it'd be a successful BBQ. A big visit for Thompson is high on the wish list, too.

Meanwhile, there's a star-studded group visiting from the 2019 class, which I'll cover after the...

[JUMP]

Hello: Luke Schoonmaker

Hello: Luke Schoonmaker

Submitted by Ace on July 25th, 2017 at 10:16 PM

Michigan picked up a commitment out of left field—or, more accurately, the right coast—this evening when Hamden (CT) Hamden Hall tight end Luke Schoonmaker announced he'll be a Wolverine.

He's flown almost entirely under the radar; two of the four recruiting sites don't have profiles for him, and the other two have one article and zero scouting reports between them. He's apparently held his Michigan offer since participating in last month's Sacred Heart satellite camp.

Schoonmaker is the 11th commit in the 2018 class and the first at tight end, a position of significant need.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, #78 TE,
#1748 Ovr
NR TE NR TE 3*, 86, #32 TE,
#762 Ovr
NR TE

At the time of this writing, Schoonmaker doesn't even have a Rivals or ESPN profile. I'm assuming 247 and Scout have given his film a once-over since there are no in-person game or camp reports; the former has him as a middle-of-the-pack three-star, the latter essentially left him unranked.

Schoonmaker apparently doesn't lack for size. Both 247 and Scout list him at 6'6", 225.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]