Ole Miss's Petulance Shouldn't Matter To The NCAA

Ole Miss's Petulance Shouldn't Matter To The NCAA

Submitted by Brian on April 10th, 2018 at 1:05 PM

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i don't even own a gun, Ole Miss, let alone the many guns it would take to necessitate an entire rack. what am i gonna do with a gun rack? [Bryan Fuller]

The various single elimination tournaments are over. The spring game is this weekend. And Shea Patterson remains in eligibility limbo a month and a half after Michigan's case for his immediate availability went to the NCAA. Every so often someone asks me if this is a bad sign.

It's not. The delay is entirely because Ole Miss is doing everything they can to continue screwing the 2016 recruits they lied to just before the relevant Signing Day. Michigan gave Ole Miss the whole package before they even sent it to the NCAA; Ole Miss, like the Michigan FOIA department, took every last nanosecond available before filing a reply. Their reply then required a reply:

Michigan’s petition to the NCAA on Patterson’s behalf was sent to Ole Miss, according to standard practice. Ole Miss had the option to not respond but chose to file its objection to the NCAA on March 28. Patterson has since supplied answers to questions the NCAA asked regarding issues Ole Miss raised.

And so we're here, waiting for Shea Patterson and summer. When Shea Patterson is eligible it will stop snowing.

But none of this should impact what looks like a slam dunk. Ole Miss's problem—one of Ole Miss's many problems—is that they didn't just lie to their recruits. They lied to anyone who would listen, planting a series of credulous stories from friendly local reporters. This move backfired spectacularly when Houston Nutt sued Ole Miss, winning a settlement and a public apology for lying about their NCAA troubles. This is literally a thing Ole Miss said in public because of a lawsuit:

“Certain statements made by University employees in January 2016 appear to have contributed to misleading media reports about Coach Nutt,” Ole Miss said in a statement without a specific name attached. “To the extent any such statements harmed Coach Nutt’s reputation, the University apologizes, as this was not the intent.”

In addition to this, Michigan submitted reams of communication between Shea Patterson and various other Ole Miss athletic department employees; five other 2016 recruits seeking immediate eligibility are telling parallel stories to the NCAA.

Ole Miss's NCAA case is over. The NCAA itself has declared that Ole Miss was lying. Hugh Freeze is fired, in part because of Ole Miss's institutional decision to lie about that case. Ole Miss can gain nothing by denying the obvious, and after discovery in the Nutt case it is very, very obvious:

In Mars’ work as counsel for Nutt and, later, the transfers, he revealed Freeze’s misinformation campaign was initiated when Ole Miss received a notice of allegations from the NCAA two years ago. Mars uncovered through text messages, phone logs and interviews, how Freeze and the athletic department launched a plan to mislead media and football recruits — including Patterson — telling them the bulk of the violations involved women’s basketball and track and that Nutt was responsible for issues regarding the football program.

This has been to NCAA court. It has been to real court. Ole Miss has gotten a pie in the face both times. Even the wildly unpredictable NCAA shouldn't be able to screw this up.

The length of time here is more about the unprecedented amount of information that's been submitted here, the likelihood that the NCAA is regarding these six appeals as one larger decision, and Ole Miss's final middle finger to college football before once again descending into irrelevance. If Patterson doesn't get a waiver nobody can ever get a waiver.

Monday Recruitin' Is Still Waiting

Monday Recruitin' Is Still Waiting

Submitted by Brian on December 11th, 2017 at 12:38 PM

Rather thought we'd have a hello post by now

The watched pot in which three potential Ole Miss transfers has failed to come to a boil and boy do I regret this metaphor right now but not as much as the people slowly cooking to death. What?

Anyway: QB Shea Patterson, WR Van Jefferson, and S Deontay Anderson all took in Michigan's comeback win over UCLA. All are expected to end up at Michigan, per Sam Webb and the rest of humanity with an opinion. You should be "amazingly optimistic" about Patterson per Webb; he also has a gut feeling about the other two but "red tape" is going to hold things up a little bit. Anderson will commit to Michigan, per Andrew Vailliencourt, but is waiting to announce until Michigan gets his transcripts and officially admits him. Vailliencourt tracked Anderson down for an interview; he remains optimistic that he and his cohort will be immediately cleared:

Although not officially declared eligible yet for next season, Anderson is highly confident that he will be cleared for next season — as well as both Patterson and Jefferson. The three share a lawyer.

“I’m very optimistic about it,” Anderson said. “We’re still waiting to hear from the NCAA, but they’ve been on our side the last couple weeks about it, so I don’t have any doubt in my mind.”

Jefferson is the only Ole Miss guy who made it up who has not been the subject of a direct assertion he is coming, pending transcripts. He is definitely gone from Ole Miss, per 247 Rebel guy Ben Garrett. And Webb is asserting that you should be optimistic. He's probably in; just not official.

BTW, Garrett is asserting that seven guys are absolutely gone from Oxford with another four on the fence. Greg Little is not one of them. Alas. He's just going to play out his last year and head to the draft posthaste, it appears, and doesn't want to muck around with maybe being eligible or maybe not.

Dual commit Thursday?

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Thursday will be big for headline writers covering M and ND

GA TE Tommy Tremble has set an announce date. Folks who read the header will be unsurprised to find that it is Thursday. Tremble's coming off a visit to UCLA. The Bruins, UGA, Michigan, and Notre Dame are the finalists. Michigan is confident, per Lorenz. Tom Loy says he thinks it's Notre Dame, but it's close. Georgia is just a hat on the table; Tremble's dad was a UGA safety who had a cup of coffee in the NFL. It doesn't seem like UGA has a spot for him.

An enthusiastic gent like Loy thinking it's close is a good sign for Michigan. Meanwhile on the podcast I asked Steve if Michigan might sacrifice a third TE in this class to make room for the Ole Miss transfers. He shot that down, noting that Michigan is going after Tremble very hard. He didn't tip his hand as all in an interview with Rivals.

Also committing Thursday—maybe—is GA ATH Michael Barrett. Per Josh Newkirk, Barrett wants to commit on the 14th, his birthday. Wiltfong has a CB in for Michigan; Barrett is apparently deciding between an ATH offer from Michigan and a QB offer from Georgia Tech. Because he's a GT QB, man:

Michigan's been pursuing Barrett for most of the recruiting cycle—here's an early June post from Lorenz that asserts he's at the top of Michigan's board at RB.  Barrett shouldn't be looked at as a late sleeper Michigan is forced into taking because of misses elsewhere. They've got two backs in the class, they've been after this kid for months. They just like him. He could end up at RB, as a Jaylen Samuels-style H-back, viper, linebacker, or even safety.

Other uncommitted officials

Michigan also hosted two OL over the weekend. Barrett's teammate and GA OL Jalen Goss came up and geared up...

...and still kept everyone in the dark. Nobody's talked to him since. Or before, really. He's a ninja.

What we do know: at 6'7", 275, Goss is in the Frey mold as a big, rangy, athletic tackle. He decommitted from Florida in June. (Prescient.) Since he's been to Auburn multiple times and just set a late January official to Miami.  Just based on his visit itinerary—nothing outside of the South except Michigan—this one seems like an uphill battle. If Barrett does commit his pull might be Michigan's best shot with him.

ASU decommit and CA OL Jarrett Patterson is a more likely bet. He's more or less down to UCLA and Michigan. Brandon Huffman caught up with him after his visit, which he said the usual positive things about when not implying that Arizona State players live in a cloud castle with bouncers:

"What stood out most was the football players even spend time with regular students," said Patterson. "Everyone is interconnected and the players are all laid back guys."

UCLA is this weekend and Patterson will decide between the two schools in January. Patterson sounds like a late riser and possibly a candidate to play early:

Sun Devil Source’s Chris Karpman called Patterson “one of the polished performers at this stage of development,” and added, “the coaching that Patterson is getting at the high school level leaps off the film and is going to make for an easier transition to college football than the vast majority of his peers.”

I'd imagine Michigan would take both him and Petit-Frere.

""They're going to need a bigger boat" –Ace Anbender" –Brian Cook

I promised Ace that I would Michael Scott him about this development, the biggest Happy Trails of all time.

The impossible dream has died and committed to Minnesota, where he will team up with Vic Viramontes as PJ Fleck tries to assemble a team comprised entirely of weird MGoBlog recruiting obsessions. No doubt he's trying to arrange a LEVITICUS PAYNE transfer as we speak.

Etc.

Name alert: 2021(!) instate OL Rocco Spindler. You may remember Marc Spindler from his Lions days; that's his dad.

Baumgardner talks to MI OL commit Jalen Mayfield.

FL QB commit Joe Milton dropped almost 100 spots in the latest Rivals revamp; he now sits 189th. Can't argue with that given his stats. Happy trails to CA S Bryan Addison, who picked UCLA. At least now when someone picks UCLA over Michigan it makes some level of sense. Losing guys to Jim Freakin' Mora was a drag.

Michigan will practice at Berkeley Prep in preparation for the Outback Bowl. Berkeley Prep is the home of former Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas... and five star FL OL Nicholas Petit-Frere.

Unverified Voracity Eats At IHOP

Unverified Voracity Eats At IHOP

Submitted by Brian on December 6th, 2017 at 1:03 PM

Shea Patterson and friends watch. It's happening? I mean. Can't throw a rock without hitting someone who says SOURCES are telling him that Shea Patterson is a lock for Michigan and possibly as soon as this weekend. Sam Webb's put in a crystal ball, which he hastens to say is not a Gut Feeling, and here's the Blade's Michigan beat writer:

It's happening.

Probably also happening: Van Jefferson and Deontay Anderson. Both guys are coming up this weekend. Highlights of Patterson throwing to Jefferson in 2016, when Jefferson was a redshirt freshman:

He had 49 catches for 543 yards and was on pace to best that as a sophomore when he dislocated his elbow before the Texas A&M game.

That is likely it despite some overheated reports that up to seven Ole Miss players are interested in Michigan. Taking the three guys above already stretches Michigan's scholarships pretty thin. Anyone who doesn't play tackle is in tough for playing time, and per Rashan Gary's mom Greg Little isn't interested. Gary and Little became friends over the course of their recruitment so that's as good a source as any.

The other guys mentioned haven't set visits and it's unclear that Michigan would be interested in them.

Why wasn't it Cracker Barrel though? For some reason, Harbaugh flying down to see guys he might have on his football team caused the internet to blow up. Harbaugh claps back at Mark Dantonio? Go crazy, guys. Harbaugh does a thing literally all football coaches do dozens of times a year with high school players? Maybe let that one slide.

What do you say, internet?

Ah, still internet I see.

A fairly good defense. Michigan lands four guys in the PFF All Big Ten defense, and three of them return:

Two more guys couldn't have been far off that list given this stat:

Personally, I'd take the CBs who whooped up on Simmie Cobbs over the one who got whooped until he got a safety bracket, but Michigan's guys were probably hurt by a lack of volume.

Add in Rashan Gary to the five returning guys in the above tweets and you've got quite a platform to build on.

Missed tackles: nah. Josh Liskiewitz, one of PFF's Big Ten evaluators, was grilled by Iowa fans because Josey Jewell was omitted from the team above. This spawned an interesting twitter thread in which Liskiewitz defended himself with various stats he'd compiled. The most interesting from a Michigan fan's perspective:

[he == Jewell, FWIW]

Jewell had an 86 grade—which would have made him first team All-SEC or All-Pac12, but finished 9th(!) in the Big Ten. We assume that Tegray Scales, Jason Cabinda, and Ryan Connelly are three of the five guys in front of Jewell, FWIW.

Peters cleared; Black a maybe. Brandon Peters is good to go for bowl practices and the game, per Harbaugh. I assert that he will start. Yes, I assert that. Here's a randomly depressing stat!

Prior to the injury, Peters was 37 of 64 for 486 yards passing in five games, including three starts. He's thrown a team-high four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Sweet fancy Moses.

In other bowl injury news, Tarik Black is back in practice and could play in the bowl game. Harbaugh says he's "leaning towards not doing it," and, I mean... don't. Michigan's in a good spot in the bowl game without him and a potential fifth year is far more valuable than whatever marginal bonus chance at a bowl win he provides.

Good luck, whoever you are. South Carolina has axed their offensive coordinator. Er, their co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. The other guy, Bryan McClendon, is at least temporarily the only cook in the Gamecock kitchen. He is 33 years old and facing down Don Brown with one of the worst offenses in the country. Good luck with that, sir.

FALSE. I love Harbaugh but this is a bad take he should feel bad about:

"My reaction is that there should be more than four teams in the playoffs," Harbaugh told reporters. "Again, I want to reiterate: 8 teams, 12 teams, 16 teams. Sixteen would be ideal in the playoffs."

For one, a team that reached the finals is playing 17 games. For two, the urgency of the regular season is obliterated if last year's Michigan team finishes their season they way they did and still gets in.

Add one fan. ESPN's Sarah Spain has been on a journey across college football to find a team to root for, and she stopped by the MGoTailgate before the OSU game last week:

Saturday morning I headed out to meet one of my hosts for the day, Gordie Fall (named in honor of Gordie Howe), at the famous MGoBus. The tailgate featured craft beer from Wolverine State Brewing Company, loads of breakfast food and, of course, the maize and blue MGoBus owned by Matt and Sara Demorest. While I was there, I learned more about life on campus and the UM scene with Brian Cook and Seth Fisher, of popular Michigan sports site MGoBlog.com. I also met former Wolverines running back Vincent Smith (you may remember him from this), who's now running community gardens in Flint, Michigan, and his hometown of Pahokee, Florida, to increase access to healthy foods, reduce juvenile crime and use gardening-based intervention to curtail violence. Very cool.

Adam was also there! Adam doesn't talk much. Thanks to everyone else's contributions but certainly not ours, Michigan was the pick. Welcome, Sarah. Prepare to be called a Walmart Wolverine despite going to Cornell.

Etc.: More on Dave Brandon The Program's first press conference with chief gobbledygook purveyor Herm Edwards. A timeline of Jimbo Fisher's unprecedented move. John Beilein gets shots up. Chris Collins tells a bald-faced lie in a postgame press conference. It remains impressive how many NU internet people openly loathe the guy who got them their first NCAA tourney bid.

So, About Shea Patterson

So, About Shea Patterson

Submitted by Brian on December 4th, 2017 at 12:13 PM

Image uploaded from iOS
LaQuon Treadwell rebate, come on down? [Bryan Fuller]

Yo. Bolded alter-ego. Get in here.

what

So here's this:

Multiple well-placed sources have confirmed to the Ole Miss Spirit today that quarterback Shea Patterson has been granted permission by Ole Miss to talk to other programs about potentially transferring. Patterson and Ole Miss executed what is termed a "permission to contact" form on Friday, according to those sources. ...

Well-placed sources also told the Ole Miss Spirit that Michigan is probably the favorite to land Patterson, if he does execute a transfer from Ole Miss.

FWIW, Patterson's release bars him from SEC schools and other teams on Ole Miss's schedule the next two years.

What?!

Yeah.

I have questions.

Shoot.

I thought Patterson wasn't immediately eligible?

By the letter of the law he's not. The NCAA automatically grants a free transfer to anyone whose eligibility expires before a post-season ban does, but since Ole Miss just got one extra year only their rising seniors are 100% free and clear to leave. Patterson is going to be a junior.

However, it would make zero sense for Patterson to transfer to Michigan if he did have to sit out a year. If Patterson isn't immediately eligible he'd enter 2019 as a redshirt junior at a school with an entrenched starter who's either in the same class (Peters) or younger (McCaffrey). Therefore we have to assume there's a path to immediate eligibility in the world where Patterson does come to Michigan. This section of the NCAA rulebook that comes immediately before the "if your eligibility is covered by a post-season ban you can transfer free" section might be it:

14.8.2.1 Residence Requirement. The one-year residence requirement for student-athletes may be waived under the following conditions or circumstances: (Revised: 7/24/12) ...

For a student-athlete who transfers to a member institution after loss of eligibility due to a violation of the regulation prohibiting pay for participation in intercollegiate athletics (see Bylaw 12.1.4) or a violation of recruiting regulations (see Bylaw 13.01.1), or for a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I institution after loss of eligibility due to involvement in a violation of the freshman or transfer eligibility requirements for financial aid, practice and competition set forth in Bylaws 14.3.1, 14.5.4 and 14.5.5. The Management Council may waive these requirements only upon a determination of the innocence or inadvertent involvement of the student-athlete in the violation.

I'm not sure what a "loss of eligibility" means in this context. It seems clear that this section is designed to let players leave after specific sorts of NCAA violations, as long as they're innocent of them personally. FWIW, in 2003 all Baylor basketball players were eligible to leave immediately after the Bliss scandal. That's... uh... maybe a sui generis kind of thing, but the NCAA only banned Baylor from the postseason for one year.

In this specific case, Ole Miss's desperate attempt to keep the program together might backfire on them. Safety Deontay Anderson sat this year out and is now petitioning for immediate eligibility—he's even using Houston Nutt's lawyer!—because Ole Miss lied to him about the investigation:

According to Mars, Anderson claims that both Freeze and Bjork indicated that the NCAA investigation would not have a negative impact on the football program and that the bulk of the alleged violations pre-dated Freeze’s arrival, which was proven to be false. Those statements were allegedly made both in a group setting during Anderson’s recruiting visit on Jan. 29-31, 2016, and in private meetings with Freeze, including one instance where his father Michael Anderson implored Freeze to tell the truth about the severity of the allegations and potential penalties.

Ole Miss did not publicly release its first Notice of Allegations until May of that year.

According to Mars, Anderson submitted to the NCAA that he would not have signed with Ole Miss had those statements not been made.

“...in that individual meeting with Coach Freeze on Jan. 31 Mr. Anderson very emphatically asked to just tell the truth about the nature of the allegations and what the implications could be.

“Mrs. Anderson vividly remembers that, and so does Deontay and it underscores how important it was to all these student-athletes and their parents to get a full understanding of what the situation was and it underscores how unconscionable it was for them to be told anything less than the truth.”

If—when?—Anderson gets that waiver that should open the floodgates for the entire 2016 class. If Michigan gets Shea Patterson because Hugh Freeze was lying to everyone and people, including purported journalists, believed him, you will hear the deep rumble of my evil mastermind laugh from sea to shining sea.

Uh... is Patterson going to be eligible? I mean, #1 QB in the class of 2016 decides on Ole Miss?

Patterson wasn't implicated in any of the violations. And Ole Miss hired Patterson's brother Sean immediately after Patterson committed. That, rather than some money to keep mom's lights on, was likely the impetus to go play for Hugh Freeze. These days high-end QB recruits are often from affluent families that can afford the camp-trotting and intensive coaching; the Pattersons were probably focused more on the pot of NFL gold at the end of the rainbow than anything up front.

FWIW, like Devin Bush Sr., Sean is a legitimate football coach. He had analyst/QC roles at LSU and Arizona before his move to Ole Miss, and was a three-year starter at Duquesne prior to that. I'd bet a dollar that if Patterson transfers Sean will come along in a similar non-coaching role.

And you're fine with this?

I think players should be paid. I also think people should follow the rules laid out for them, and advocate to change them if they feel the rules are wrong instead of seeking personal advantage by breaking them under the table.

But what about Peters... and McCaffrey?

The major downside of taking Patterson is what it might do to Michigan's already desperately thin collection of QBs not currently in high school. Brandon Peters had a promising start to his career, and might take badly to Harbaugh importing a guy just when the depth chart opened up for him. While Patterson's a big fish, losing Peters would be a blow. I'm not sure maybe one year of Patterson backed up by McCaffrey is preferable to certainly two and maybe three years of Peters.

Any transfer in would be a delicate situation. Michigan's best approach might be emphasizing that Patterson wants to be a one and done; if that's the case than Peters's situation is basically identical to what it was with Speight around: competing for the job and maybe getting blocked for one more year.

McCaffrey's extra year means Patterson won't be as threatening to him; don't think it would impact him much.

Any other dudes we could pirate away? Especially tackle-shaped dudes? Please tell me there's a tackle-shaped dude.

The big fish is of course Greg Little, the former five star who was PFF's third-highest-graded SEC OT as a true sophomore. Little has given no public indication that he's on his way out, has no connection to Michigan, and doesn't have a brother in coaching that helps explain why on Earth he'd go to Oxford. He is in that 2016 class that might be set free, though, and if dude is thinking about heading to the NFL after 2018... I mean. It could happen! Shut up.

We've received some intel that Michigan is interested in one of Ole Miss's wide receivers. Sophomore AJ Brown, PFF's top-rated SEC WR, led the conference with 75 catches for 1200 yards this year and is also in that 2016 class; junior DaMarkus Lodge caught 41 balls for 700 yards and is definitely free and clear to transfer as a rising senior. We think it's Brown but aren't clear on that. (Correction: we think it's Van Jefferson.) While Michigan has a lot of upcoming talent at WR they have maybe one established outside WR in Donovan Peoples-Jones and could not turn up their nose at Brown.

Michigan has no other spots of glaring need and doesn't have a lot of room to play with—this recruiting class is going to be smallish—so it's unlikely they go after anyone who doesn't directly address QB, WR, or OT.

Is this actually happening? These things get talked about all the time and they never ever happen.

This one looks like it's actually happening. Patterson and the WR in question are tentatively scheduled to be on campus this weekend. That's much farther than these rumors usually get.

Unverified Voracity Talks Batnipple

Unverified Voracity Talks Batnipple

Submitted by Brian on July 25th, 2017 at 4:06 PM

Nov 21, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Marcell Harris (26) reacts against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Exit these guys. Florida took a couple of hits in the secondary, one more important than the other. The important gent is returning starter Marcell Harris, who will miss the 2017 season with a torn ACL. That knocks Florida down to 3 returning starters on D—sounds familiar—and robs them of their best safety. Florida has talented guys waiting to step up but they're green:

Sophomore Jeawon Taylor and freshman Quincy Lenton, who were injured this spring, could be options to step in for Harris, but new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon could get creative with his roster.

Starter Duke Dawson is slated to be the next big thing at cornerback, but he has played safety and nickel during the first three years of his Gators career. Like Harris, he's a veteran leader who understands the position and has proven versatility that could prove valuable considering the circumstances.

In that same light, sophomore Chauncey Gardner was solid last year. He played in all 13 games, starting three at safety with 36 tackles and three interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown. He's slated to start along side Dawson at corner but is certainly an option to move around if Shannon chooses.

The other hit is Chris Williamson, a second-year 3.5* cornerback. He's transferring. That removes an option in the UF secondary.

Another recruiting hire. A second former member of the SS Rodriguez jumps aboard:

Rick Neuheisel, proto-Harbaugh. This is terrific story from Rick Neuheisel in an excellent Jon Solomon article on coach paranoia in the aftermath of Wakeyleaks:

One year at the Pac-12 coaches’ meetings, Neuheisel wanted to increase the conference’s travel-squad numbers (60 players per team) closer to the Big Ten and SEC limits (70 players).

But Neuheisel knew he was toxic, especially in a room with so many big egos, such as Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh and USC’s Carroll. So Neuheisel had then-

Oregon State coach Mike Riley pitch the idea.

“Mike is the nicest guy in the world, so he pitched it to the ADs and we got 70,” Neuheisel says. “Had Rick Neuheisel pitched it, we’d still be at 60. No one looked at Mike Riley and ever thought there was a hidden ball trick going on.”

Harbaugh now faces this same paranoia at Michigan. He maneuvers through the NCAA rule book, such as taking the Wolverines to spring practice in Florida and Italy and holding summer satellite camps around the country to look for players.

“He’ll never get any legislation passed he wants,” Neuheisel said. “But if you go get Mike Riley from Nebraska, you’ve got a hell of a chance to get it done.

Keep an eye out for any Mike Riley pronouncements about the correct milk to drink.

Hockey commits. A couple of significant hockey commits in the past week. 2019 F Jack Beecher committed to Michigan over BU, BC, and OHL interest, and hoo boy this guy has some potential:

Other takes from hockey scouting twitter include "elite skater who drives play … lethal shot," "size, soft hands, and rocket shot" and "dominant tools." He's a 6'4" guy who has plenty of room to fill out and plenty of skill when he does. SBN's Jeff Cox:

Johnny Beecher, Elmira, NY, Salisbury School, Left Shot, 6’4”/210 - He’s a big time pro prospect with good size. He has decent to above average hands for a player his size. His stride and ability to protect the puck are both assets. He has that reach that you just can’t teach. He can put a puck out there, pull it back and rip a wrist shot on net. He drives the net and does a good job using his size down low and along the boards. He’s got that extra gear to win a battle along the wall and just separate himself from the defender to get to the slot and get a hard shot on net.

In January Hockey Prospect Dot Com ranked him 3rd in their OHL draft rankings; he fell to 85th because of his NTDP commitment.

Beecher is the first truly big-time recruiting win for Mel Pearson; he'll spend the next two years with the NTDP before arriving in Ann Arbor. Michigan no doubt hopes to latch on to fellow 2019 NTDPer Jack Hughes, a potential top 5 NHL draft pick and brother of incoming freshman Quinn.

The other commit is D Cole McWard, who Chris Heisenberg lists as a 2020. Less out there on him, but here's this tweet:

He's about 6-foot now and will grow.

The worst Freeze since the guy in the batnipple movie. I'm enjoying Dan Wolken unloading both barrels on Hugh Freeze, as it's something it seems like he's been waiting years to do. Now it can be told:

Whatever Freeze was doing to make enemies across the Southeast, it was often hard to distinguish what rival coaches saw as the greater transgression — the program’s loose relationship with the NCAA rulebook or his in-your-face piety.

Coaches who recruited against Freeze didn’t merely roll their eyes at him, and they certainly didn’t laugh, except when it came to the nickname a few called him behind his back: Jimmy Swag.

I could have been calling him Jimmy Swag for years if I had only known this. Alas. Wolken followed that up with another brutal missive:

There’s no reason to be coy here: Whispers about Freeze’s personal behavior have followed him since long before he became a college head coach. But at every stop along the way, it was difficult to do much with those rumors because so many people who were around him on coaching staffs and in athletic departments spoke so highly of him. His public embrace of Christianity, and the genuinely good charitable work he did, provided good cover and an easy narrative for all those glowing national newspaper profiles. Those who doubted his genuineness were written off as jealous or agenda-driven.

Sad thing about Freeze's behavior is it works. Once people believe a thing it takes an unbelievable amount of evidence to change their mind, and usually even that doesn't work.

Meanwhile Mark Schablach has a bonkers story on the sibling knife fight that is the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry:

Robertson had been butting heads with Ole Miss officials for the past several months, since they denied his open records request for an unredacted version of the notice of allegations the Rebels received from the NCAA in January 2016. Robertson wanted the names of the Ole Miss boosters who are accused of providing improper benefits to recruits, and university officials wouldn't release them.

When Mars advised Tyner about the call Freeze made to the escort service, he told him that he'd shared the phone records with Robertson.

"Steve is obsessed," Mars said Tyner told him.

"Had anybody in this state done their job, I wouldn't have had to do it," Robertson said. "It got to the point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of it. I was willing to pass the baton to someone, but no one was willing to take it."

Robertson filed a complaint with the Mississippi Ethics Commission, which ruled in his favor earlier this month.

This random fan has been FOIAing Ole Miss for months so he can write a book named "Flim Flam," which is being published out of state. This is a hatred to respect.

Etc.: Michigan-Rutgers features in the Blowout Matrix. Entertainingly goofy early signing complaints from the expected corners. SUH THE DESTROYER.

Obligatory Freeze Takes

Obligatory Freeze Takes

Submitted by Brian on July 21st, 2017 at 11:41 AM

freeze

Prevail and Ride

I was going to write about Hugh Freeze today, but then I realized I'd already said most of the things I think about this kind of stuff. There's a post from a few months back specifically on the Ole Miss situation, in which the world's worst burglars decided to steal college football's biggest diamonds:

1. Brazen. Ole Miss's problem is that they made it blindingly obvious. People are dumb but they ain't stupid, and when a nobody with one year of college head coaching experience shows up in Oxford and acquires

  • the #1 player in the country
  • a five-star offensive tackle from Florida, and
  • most egregiously, a five-star wide receiver from Chicago

it's just a matter of time before the walls cave in. Nobody in the history of Chicago has ever thought to themselves "Yes! Mississippi! Especially the bit where not having a plantation owner as a mascot is controversial!" …

2. There are only two options for Hugh Freeze. Option A, which is by far the more likely, is that he was fully aware of what was going on from the drop and is a brazen liar. The alternative is that he is so impossibly naïve and delusional that he thought his very presence was sufficient to turn around the history of Ole Miss football. The Machiavellian interpretation is kinder, but this is a guy who compared Ole Miss's struggles to Jesus's trials on the cross so it certainly could be the latter.

Point for the brazen liar theory after an FOIA request from Houston Nutt turned up a call to an escort service. Freeze tried to pass off as a misdial; his athletic director conducted a broader search and turned up a "disturbing pattern." But also points for naiveté and delusion. All theories are correct.

Freeze's most laudable trait was his stupidity. Enough guys like him mucking up the works with Wile E. Coyote plots and the amateurism edifice will collapse on itself.

A more general take on folks who are publicly confrontational about their faith or goodness or your lack thereof was written after Penn State's awful scandal ground its principals into dust:

Just lug the damn refrigerator. Stop telling everyone how great of a job you're doing of pulling the refrigerator. Maybe someone will notice, maybe not, but once you start talking about it yourself your self-regard starts chipping away at the core.

If Penn State had not been posited as a Grand Experiment, it's possible that one of the four adult-type substances who could have put Sandusky's second career to a stop a decade before it did would have had more regard for the possibility children would be raped* than for what people would think about them. It's too late for all of them, perpetrator and victims alike, now. But to me the lesson is to shut up about yourself and get on with it. It will help you not make terrible mistakes because you are trying to preserve what people think about you in the face of what you really are.

Freeze spent the entirety of his tenure tweeting out psalms about what a good refrigerator-lugger he was, the best refrigerator-lugger, really. His dissolution is the least surprising public humiliation of a smarmy doofus since Jamie Horowitz a few weeks ago. Horowitz fell prey to the iron "you're doing dirt if you invoke your kids as a shield" law merely by surrounding himself with their photos when it came time for a NYT photographer to capture his inner essence. Freeze straight up used his as a shield so he could get holier than thou about satellite camps, of all things:

"I'll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband," Freeze said when asked about vacation time. "I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. ... I think we work very hard, I don't think working hard is an issue. If you're asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot."

I immediately think "deranged sex criminal" whenever anyone does this and suggest you do the same.

Freeze schadenfreude roundup! Don't act like you're above it. Dan Wetzel:

There was never a concern for an injured party – be it Houston Nutt or all the recruits and their parents who the misdirection was designed to fool. They were the ones conned into sticking with the Rebels, led to believe everything was fine, when in truth bowl bans and sanctions that will crush competitiveness were coming. They were sold a false promise.

Freeze didn’t care about them, let alone Houston Nutt. Pumped up on hubris, he couldn’t do the simplest things – say he was sorry, tell the truth, admit his mistakes. He thought he could lie and preach his way through that one, too.

Geoff Calkins with the ONE SENTENCE PARAGRAPHS OF DOOM:

The record shows Freeze presided over a football program that committed numerous NCAA violations.

The record shows he called at least one escort service and likely more.

The record shows he did all this on his university-issued cell phone.

The record shows he did it while tweeting daily Bible verses.

The record shows that Ole Miss will now be in the awkward position of appearing before the NCAA and defending the integrity of a program whose coach just resigned because of moral turpitude.

The record shows a rise and a fall that will be remembered in these parts for a very long time.

Was Freeze a fraud?

Let's let him answer that.

“Because of Him, you don't need to fear unrighteousness," he recently tweeted. "It’s our delusion of righteousness that we should fear.”

Also:

Meanwhile Dennis Dodd manages to go too far:

Let's start with this being the single most embarrassing moment in the history of Ole Miss athletics.

If that history started with Freeze's hire this would still be incorrect. Ole Miss announced they'd stop playing "Dixie" at games last year.

Unverified Voracity Admires Punt

Unverified Voracity Admires Punt

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2017 at 1:09 PM

Let's watch a punt. This is a Big Ten blog, after all. This is incoming freshman Brad Robbins:

And that's a 5.0 hangtime punt. I'm a little surprised Robbins was headed to Nevada before Michigan had a scholarship open on Signing Day. Seems like a potential Zoltan Mesko.

Rise of the nooners. Michigan/Air Force will be at noon on BTN, the fourth 2017 home game at which toe will meet leather at God's time. The only remaining home dates without times are Michigan State, which seems fated to be a night game despite everyone save TV thinking that's a bad idea, and Minnesota. Minnesota is November 4th. In the past that's meant both participants would have to sign off on a night game, and despite changes to the TV contracts that clause appears intact. Manuel:

“The only difference is, the Big Ten and television can assign us to a primetime game [before November] and it’s not our option. In November, we have the option if we choose to do so. I don’t anticipate that choice being made.”

I would anticipate Minnesota being noon or 3:30 as well.

As a person who likes to watch a lot of college football this is an excellent development. YMMV.

Ready to roll. Steve Lorenz has a piece on Michigan's incoming linebackers that features this piece of good news on Drew Singleton:

He is 100% healthy and ready to go for fall camp according to two sources I spoke with on Monday and Tuesday. Because of his lock status as a recruit and his knee injury, he may be the most under-talked about prospect the Wolverines signed in the 2017 cycle.

He also asserts that all three incoming LBs could be on the two-deep this fall, which is good news for them and maybe less than good news for the extant linebacker corps past the starters.

Good luck with that. College football twitter set a new record for most "that's a bold strategy, Cotton" references yesterday after Ole Miss responded to their latest NOA by saying 1) we're super guilty and 2) Hugh Freeze is not responsible.

Why is Ole Miss going to these incredible lengths to protect Hugh Freeze?

What the Rebels are going to the NCAA Committee on Infractions with later this year is the kind of defense a school might mount for Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or John Calipari. It is a full-fledged document of support for Ole Miss’ football coach, unequivocal in its admission that major violations occurred but unwavering in its denial of Freeze’s responsibility for any of them.

Ole Miss’ institutional decision to pursue this strategy is puzzling. While Freeze has had some shining moments in Oxford, he’s 19-21 in the SEC and is nobody’s definition of irreplaceable. Yet the school is taking the path of most resistance in defending him, and by doing so, potentially risking the total destruction of its football program for the foreseeable future.

Hugh Freeze draws a lot of water in this town, NCAA.

Poor ol' Barney looks set up to be the fall guy:

“It’s not right,” Loyd added. “It is a betrayal of him. Do I think Barney’s been made a scapegoat? Yes. Based on what I’ve seen and know, they set him up. ‘You are the most unsophisticated, the most expendable, and, tag, you’re it.’ But I have to say, I’m his advocate in this.

“Barney’s thinking is, ‘We were all in this together – what happened to me?’ They were a team, and a team doesn’t abandon their own on the field of play. It’s also not the Ole Miss way.”

Barney Farrar was the guy Laremy Tunsil was told to see in the text messages released on Tunsil's instagram on draft day last year. Told to see by Ole Miss's Assistant AD of Football Operations. Totally without Freeze's knowledge. Uh huh.

It remains a mystery why Ole Miss wouldn't throw Freeze overboard and try to mitigate the damage. His best skill is credulously accepting commitments from guys his boosters bought. Surely whoever's at Arkansas State can replicate that.

Grabbin' grad transfers. Brendan Quinn on Michigan's entry into the grad transfer market:

For a program like Ohio, this is an atomic loss. There is no replacement. There is no recruit that Ohio can discover in the forests of Neverland who will walk in and average 15.9 points and 6.5 assists per game. The roster is not built for attrition, let alone its best player picking up and leaving as a graduate transfer.

Phillips declined an interview for this story.

Beilen, meanwhile, told me he spoke to Phillips twice during the transfer process. At one point, he recalled telling Phillips: 'I just hate how this is happening." Beilein feels for Phillips because Beilein sees himself in Phillips. This is the little guy getting screwed.

It is also, though, the reality of college basketball in 2017.

Simmons was strongly considering attending Ohio State. Other Big Ten schools were circling. Beilein was faced with a dilemma.

"He was going to go to one of our competitors, probably, if he didn't come to us," Beilein said.

It's bad for the lower reaches of D-I but good for the players, and teams who have to fill unexpected holes annually. At this point the grad transfer rule is all but sacrosanct. These days trying to restrict a transfer in any way comes with it a media outcry and a hasty retraction; trying to do away with grad transfers would cause a huge blowup. It is what it is.

Hockey is too random. There's such a thing as too much unpredictability, and hockey has it.

Goalies and defensive systems got a lot better; goals plummeted; games turned into a bunch of coinflips. Hockey is now the most random major sport:

continuum

Shots and possession don't turn into goals enough. The only solution is to embiggen the nets; otherwise goalie dominance will continue and the NHL playoffs will remain almost totally random.

Etc.: Scouting Akrum Wadley. Jim Harbaugh has a fan. Midlevel Big Ten teams are about to be irritated by Cincinnati. Via Mike Rubin, more on Flin Flon. M players had a month off to be humans. Now that's over.

Dumb And Stupid In Oxford, Miss

Dumb And Stupid In Oxford, Miss

Submitted by Brian on February 24th, 2017 at 12:31 PM

1. Brazen. Ole Miss's problem is that they made it blindingly obvious. People are dumb but they ain't stupid, and when a nobody with one year of college head coaching experience shows up in Oxford and acquires

  • the #1 player in the country
  • a five-star offensive tackle from Florida, and
  • most egregiously, a five-star wide receiver from Chicago

it's just a matter of time before the walls cave in. Nobody in the history of Chicago has ever thought to themselves "Yes! Mississippi! Especially the bit where not having a plantation owner as a mascot is controversial!"

Meanwhile the players in question were barely trying to hide it.

ChJ67vnUkAAhoib

Ole Miss was dumb and stupid and now they're going to be set on fire.

2. There are only two options for Hugh Freeze. Option A, which is by far the more likely, is that he was fully aware of what was going on from the drop and is a brazen liar. The alternative is that he is so impossibly naïve and delusional that he thought his very presence was sufficient to turn around the history of Ole Miss football. The Machiavellian interpretation is kinder, but this is a guy who compared Ole Miss's struggles to Jesus's trials on the cross so it certainly could be the latter.

3. The more pay-for-play scandals that happen the faster this edifice crumbles. If your main interest in the future of college athletics is dismantling amateurism that no longer makes anything resembling sense, the best case scenario here is that Ole Miss goes nuclear on the rest of the SEC and anyone else they have dirt on. This may be in process already:

Ole Miss, per multiple sources, possesses a recording, and has given the SEC a copy, of (Leo) Lewis’ mother asking Ole Miss for money and detailing incentives she received from other programs, including Mississippi State.

The fact that college football players get money and cars and whatnot is an open secret, but "entire SEC and half of ACC caught violating NCAA rules that everyone thinks are dumb" is the kind of thing that might finally bring the sham of amateurism—both its motivations and the NCAA's current ability to enforce it—down.

4. Dumb and stupid, for real. Ole Miss publicly challenged members of the public to provide evidence that they had violated NCAA rules. They had assistant coaches and associate athletic directors involved in direct cash payments to players and recruits. They ruined their credibility with the media by floating a bunch of outright lies that the more credulous people covering the team related uncritically:

(The same point from #2 stands for those who related it: they can either be hopelessly gullible or bought and paid for by their access.)

These days it takes a school standing up and begging to be punished for that to happen. Ole Miss volunteered. It might have been worth it, but don't be surprised when people dance on your corpse even if you got killed for something that should be legal.

5. Almost everyone does it. I have seen group texts between members of a previous Michigan recruiting class discussing the sudden shift of a player they thought they would get to a Southern school. "They bought his mom a house," per those texts. That revelation was followed by a variety of exclamations. Another recruit simply texted "money talks" when asked about his sudden change of heart.

I've talked to a bunch of people close to the program and heard some pretty astounding things, mostly about the dying days of previous regimes. These people were willing to tell me about players nearly getting in fistfights with coaches after the Gator Bowl that ended Rich Rodriguez's tenure. They've also asserted that Michigan recruits are consistently flabbergasted by the amount of money being thrown around to their compatriots, and that was one reason Brady Hoke's no visit policy could not stand: it was costing Michigan commits thousands of dollars.

Again, I don't think it's wrong that players take a life-changing amount of money in exchange for a valued skill that could cease to exist at any time. I don't think it's wrong that boosters gave him that money. The player in question has a shot at the NFL with some value already banked. He made the right choice.

I do think that everyone would be better off if the system was exposed for what it is and we could all be adults about it. Recruits currently have access to an unofficial and constrained pool of secret money that is far less than they would have if the doors were thrown open, and it's long past time to do so.

6. What grinds the ol' gears. You've got pinhead Pete Finebaum ranting in the national media about how Jim Harbaugh is doing something unethical by attempting to hire a decade-long NFL veteran coach because they may or may not get a 2019 quarterback out of it. Finebaum says nothing at all about the rampant under the table payments in the SEC.

You've got sanctimonious ass Hugh Freeze going on about how Jim Harbaugh is making him take time away from his family because Harbaugh wants to run some satellite camps. At the same time Freeze's program is overwhelming any satellite camp advantage that may exist by simply handing people checks.

If you're Harbaugh how do you not fire back?

Unverified Voracity Underestimated The Power Of The Mississippi State Legislature

Unverified Voracity Underestimated The Power Of The Mississippi State Legislature

Submitted by Brian on January 19th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

Going to be a dodgy year on the OL. Steve Lorenz reports that Grant Newsome has a "minimal" chance of playing in 2017. That is not good. If that's the case you just about have to slide Ben Bredeson outside and run with something like Bredeson/Kugler/Cole/Onwenu/Somebody.

You'd think the leader to be Somebody would be redshirt sophomore-to-be Nolan Ulizio. Ulizio didn't look particularly good when he got in this fall; I've heard that he had mono and was down to 260 at one point. He bounced back during the fall but only to 280. He could surge forward once he gets to the right weight.

A bountiful draft. The NFL's website names Michigan the team poised to send the most talent to the NFL draft:

Early rounds: EDGE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley
Middle rounds: TE Jake Butt (injury), WR Amara Darboh, OT Erik Magnuson, RB De'Veon Smith
Late rounds: OG Ben Braden, WR Jehu Chesson, LB Ben Gedeon, DT Ryan Glasgow, S Delano Hill, OG Kyle Kalis, CB Channing Stribling, S Dymonte Thomas

I'd be surprised if Braden and Kalis got picked but everyone else has a real shot of going off the board. Charlton appears to be surging up draft boards to the point where debatably silly things are being said about him:

This is a draft with Myles Garrett in it, so that's a thing.

Harbaugh stories. Chase Goodbread collects them from Michigan players at the Shrine game:

"One time, he told us as a kid he got hit by a mail truck and was in a cast, and was still playing football with it. Then they had to rebreak it -- I can't remember if it was his foot or his arm -- because he kept playing on it and made it worse. I mean, who gets hit by a mail truck? It could only be you, coach Harbaugh." - DB Dymonte Thomas

Screaming works? 538 tracks penalties by which sideline they're thrown on and the results are not encouraging if you're the kind of person who believes people are in charge of things for a reason:

lopez-sideline-1

lopez-sideline-2

This is NFL data and so not directly applicable to college, but you'd think college refs would be even more susceptible to these sorts of things since they're drawn from a wider pool and are probably less capable on average than NFL refs.

So: the defense gets called for "aggressive" penalties ("unnecessary roughness, personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, and horse-collar tackles" per the article) 30-40% more often when there are people complaining nearby.

Meanwhile the holding graph is very strange since the effect inverses once you approach the goal line. The only mechanism there is revenge(!) as side judges who are now far away from the screaming maniacs exact their price. Maybe it evens out for holding.

Not that anyone calls holding anymore. This was one of the main takeaways from the Film Room broadcast of the national title game: Alabama scores thanks to an edge block on which a defender is yanked to the ground; someone exclaims that is a hold; the assembled coaches all laugh about the fact that nobody calls holding any more.

Tracing Michigan's ground game issues. De'Veon Smith is performing impressively at the Shrine game practices:

One of the best players at the East-West Shrine this week has been Michigan running back De'Veon, Smith and he had a tremendous practice on Wednesday. ... Both his route and the blocking earned Smith some a lot of praise from the coaching staff. In the team scrimmage, he also broke off a few chunk runs, weaving his way through defenders with quickness, balance, and vision.

Scouting sources told WalterFootball.com that Smith could be the best offensive prospect on the East team, and he has had a tremendous week to help his draft stock.

Also:

It would be nice if Michigan's problems were because of Smith since he's out the door and Michigan has a number of guys who look like viable replacements; I don't think that's the case, and his rising draft stock concurs. Michigan has a major build job on the offensive line to undertake. Related: TTB has a breakdown of the guys who Michigan recruited and their destinies.

I guess this is fine. Football is set to get a slightly early signing period:

The Division I Football Oversight Committee is moving forward with a proposal that would open a 72-hour signing period for high school recruits in December. The timeframe would correspond with the current December signing time for junior college recruits.

But the committee isn’t recommending an early-signing time for recruits in June.

That "early" period is still after everyone's season, so most of the coaching changes will have already transpired. I didn't like the rumored June signing period since it was inane to lock guys in before they could take official visits and before the firing season.

While the June date didn't make it, an artifact of those earlier discussions may have wormed its way through anyway:

As part of the committee’s proposal, rules on official visits for recruits would also be modified. Recruits would be allowed to take official visits from April-June of their junior years, two months earlier than initially proposed.

That's good for Michigan, which will be able to get early-deciding kids on campus more easily now.

Midterm CSB rankings. Michigan-relevant players ranked by the NHL's central scouting board:

  • F Josh Norris: #46
  • D Luke Martin: #67

...and that's it. Mike Pastujov, who was hyped as a potential first-rounder, is not on the list. The cavalry is not coming next year.

Shooting a gun with no bullets in it. There is a Mississippi state senator who thinks he has a magic wand:

Mississippi Rep. Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia) has proposed a new House Bill that would surely benefit Ole Miss’ current recruiting woes: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Fairness in F.A.C.T Investigation Act of 2017.

Lamar, a former Rebels walk-on running back from the early 2000s, is pushing a bill giving the NCAA one year to complete its investigation once it notifies a school of possible rules violations, according to a report from WCBI News.

NCAA: "Or what?"
TREY LAMAR:  "Or I shall name a bill at you a second time!"

This is not how state government works, Trey Lamar. FWIW, various coaches at AFCA project that Ole Miss will find out their fate in 2-3 months, and that it will not be pretty. Or it will, because NCAA.

Etc.: Fired Alabama DL coach Bo Davis talks to AL.com, attempts to spin a tale about how his firing was for one violation of the bump rule, cumong man. Analyst Rick Finotti gets the head job at DIII John Carroll. Dumb, but important. The playoff is good. Willis Ward and the track captaincy. Recruiting rankings are getting better because of Hudl. Yost, 1946.

Unverified Voracity Is A Pretty Bear Indeed

Unverified Voracity Is A Pretty Bear Indeed

Submitted by Brian on December 8th, 2016 at 2:51 PM

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WOOP [Eric Upchurch]

Exit Shane Morris. Per Tom Van Haaren, Shane Morris will pursue a graduate transfer. CMU is the most likely destination.

Morris never lived up to the titanic hype that his arm strength generated when he was a high school junior. First, a bout of mono his senior year put him behind the development curve; second, Al Borges finished the job. An inexplicable start against Minnesota in 2014 resulted in a probable mild concussion, setting off a firestorm of controversy Dave Brandon's incompetence stoked until it resulted in both his and Brady Hoke's firing.

Morris will, but shouldn't be, remembered mostly for that. He was a Michigan kid through and through, to the point where he played slot receiver in the spring and was happily a lead blocker on sweeps. It didn't work out at M; here's hoping he goes Thomas Rawls at CMU.

We were already banking on Morris's departure in our recruiting calculations, so that won't affect the size of the class.

PFF's All Big Ten team. Michigan folks:

  • Offense: Amara Darboh ("highest-graded run blocker among Big Ten receivers ... 2.65 yards per route run average ranks second in the conference"), Khalid Hill, Erik Magnuson (2nd), Mason Cole (2nd).
  • Defense: Taco Charlton ("absolutely dominant force in Big Ten play"), Ryan Glasgow("posted four sacks and 14 total pressures to go with nine total defensive stops" in final four games), Maurice Hurst(2nd), Mike McCray("24 total pressures on just 77 reps"), Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling (2nd), Jabrill Peppers (as a slot corner), Delano Hill(2nd).

Peppers was obviously the punt returner; Jordan Glasgow was their All Big Ten special-teamer. Entertainingly, OSU punter Cameron Johnston was the ABT punter and was graded out at –13.8 before the Michigan game. PFF hates specialists, like any red-blooded American.

You'll notice a few omissions: Mackey winner Jake Butt, Chris Wormley, and Ben Gedeon. Wormley scored around +31(!), basically level with Charlton and Hurst and a hair behind Glasgow. He got left out because of Jake Replogle's existence and some guy named Steven Richardson from Minnesota. Butt got a bunch of pass blocking minuses(?!) and didn't have the same kind of receiving impact he did a year ago. (If we're being honest, he should have won the Mackey last year; getting it this year is a bit of a lifetime achievement award.) Gedeon was +12, so he was on the verge. There were a ton of good linebackers in the league. 

So you're saying there's a chance. Jabrill Peppers made an appearance on the Dan Patrick show ("THAT'S RIDICULOUS," exclaim Ohio State fans, "MALIK HOOKER SHOULD HAVE MADE AN APPEARANCE ON THE DAN PATRICK SHOW"), and on that show he denied that he'd made an NFL decision:

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Patrick asked Peppers -- who is eligible for the NFL Draft this year -- why he would stay at Michigan?

His answer?

"To get a degree, to try to finish some unfinished things here, to keep getting better at my craft," Peppers said. "I don't know, man. I've got a tough decision to make."

I... no. I am not taking this seriously, but I appreciate Peppers making it sound like a hard choice. FWIW, Peppers also said he'd vote for Deshaun Watson for Heisman.

This is probably fine. Buried at the end of an Ole Miss press release about Hugh Freeze dumping his offensive coordinator:

No word about the "assistant athletic director for football operations," John Miller, who directed Tunsil to talk to Farrar about getting some more money.

I throw many shades at uniformz so only fair to acknowledge the flipside. These are gorgeous.

I miss playing Alaska-Fairbanks, for the 8-0 wins Friday and inexplicable 2-1 losses Saturday, and for the two free games Michigan got whenever they went up there. Also I cannot figure out how to buy this jersey.

Knives out for Butch Jones. 247's Travis Haney has a feature article featuring an absolute ton of people slamming Butch Jones as not up for it:

“You talk about the time and place to say something like that - and that is not what our fans wanted to hear,” one Tennessee administrative source told 247Sports, referring to the “champions of life” comment. “That will never go away. That soundbite will never go away.” ...

“It’s like he doesn’t think he should be there,” [another] source said. “It’s like he doesn’t think he belongs. And that permeates through the program. Everyone feels that.” ...

“The culture is a disaster,” said someone who works in the football building.

There are many more quotes from different people; even the supportive folk on the record are mostly talking about how Jones's accomplishments, such as they are, have not been fully appreciated. Add in Jalen Hurd's highly unusual midseason transfer and it looks grim for the future of the Jones regime. Regardless of the veracity of the claims in the article the number of people saying those things, even anonymously, for publication gives off a strong Rich Rodriguez vibe. He has problems of his own making, and now that he's down in a hole the rest of the program is digging for him.

This is of tangential interest to Michigan fans because of two things: Marcus Ray's bizarre insistence that Jones should have been the man instead of Harbaugh and Jones topping that hot take by hiring Michigan Olympic sports administrator Mike DeBord as his offensive coordinator. The parallels between Tennessee's breakdown of culture and discipline and those of the late Carr era are obvious.

More Butch Jones. Tennessee just got a commit from Trey Smith. Depending on who you listen to Smith is the top OL and possibly the top player in the country. Tennessee's sales pitch?

wut

As Get The Picture points out, their real sales pitch was "we will give your sister money to be executive assistant to the head coach." At least Michigan hires actual football coaches.

Also knives out for someone you may know. Also in bad-idea coordinator hires:

I confess that I thought hiring Brady Hoke might not have been the worst idea in the world—look at his track record with under-recruited Michigan DL. It turned out to be... unhelpful. At least. It's possible that he took over a unit so far away from competence that he was doomed either way; it is extremely unlikely anyone will take that chance. Tell you what, though, whoever hires him as a DL coach is not wrong.

The Counterfactual. The #1 alternate universe of the past ten years in college football: what if RichRod takes the Alabama job? Nick Saban goes... somewhere. Michigan hires... somebody. He probably still fails extensively. John Talty looks back at one of the most fascinating coaching searches in CFB history.

Etc.: Excellent scouting report on Will Lockwood, one of the bright spots on the hockey team. A major reason Willie Taggart got the Oregon job: Jim Harbaugh. Lane Kiffin still the frontrunner for the Houston job. Me, I'd just hire their DC. Assistant salaries skyrocket, they have the money to pay players, etc.