Recruiting rankings matter, and also have a systemic bias. NFL players versus blue chip recruits, mapped:
Blue states have more NFL players than blue chip recruits; red states have fewer. That's part of a thorough Football Study Hall article on recruiting rankings and the draft, and is about as conclusive as possible that the recruiting industry is systematically underrating the Midwest and overrating the south. The south does have more players—only an idiot would dispute that—but the gap isn't as big as the rankings suggest.
UPDATE: Related event:
Barkley was not composite top 100.
"I'm in Paris, better justify my existence." Kyle Rowland of the Blade unearths a cool Michigan story:
PARIS — Less than 10 miles from the Michigan football team’s palatial hotel in the heart of Paris sits Stade Olympique de Colombes, the host of the 1924 Olympic Games.
The old stadium, now 111 years old, is rickety and considerably smaller than its heyday when it entertained the world’s best athletes. Inside the concrete walls, DeHart Hubbard, one of the University of Michigan’s greatest sportsmen, became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches in the long jump on his sixth and final jump with a bruised heel.
“When I was a student, I came in 1976, and I looked at the school records because I was a long jumper, and that’s when I found out the first notion of who he was,” said James Henry, now the co-head coach of the UM women’s track and field team. “Then I found out he was the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. I was enthralled by him. He was my role model.
“He was at the University of Michigan at a time in which blacks couldn't do very much anywhere. I just felt that if this man can make it, I can make it. Making a name for myself by beating his records meant everything to me. That was my drive as a student-athlete to participate at a high level.”
Much more at the link. Now Rowland can file that expense report with a clear conscience.
Paging Mitch Leidner to the Department of Inexplicably Overrated Big Ten Quarterbacks. One mock draft was a hilarious oversight by an overworked intern. Two was worrisome. But now that it appears the NFL draft people are unanimous in asserting this person is a first round pick…
The Pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
The New York Giants passed on the chance to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, but is that a decision they'll regret? Or will fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta be the answer?
If after a season of watching Lauletta and 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, the Giants feel like the long-term answer at starter isn't on the roster, the team could be in good shape to draft a quarterback in 2019. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson nearly declared for this year's draft before surveying the deep group of passers and deciding to return to school. He has the arm, accuracy and intangibles to be considered a first-rounder one year from now.
…it's time to lay very still and sweat profusely, hoping this is a crazy dream.
Clayton Thorson! Sir, I have seen an unstoppable throw-god in purple. You, sir, are no Trevor Siemian. Thorson averaged 6.6 YPA with a 15-12 TD-INT ratio last year. But he's 6'4" and superficially looks like an NFL quarterback, so on the list he goes.
Making this take even nuttier: Thorson tore his ACL in the bowl game and is questionable for the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, Michigan prospects for 2019. Only two Wolverines show up on Athlon's top 50: #2 Rashan Gary and #22 Shea Patterson. Zach Shaw rounded up all the Way Too Early Mock Drafts and those two are the only guys on any of them. This is odd to me since Michigan's cornerback duo was probably the best in the country, at least in terms of passer rating allowed. You'd think one of the two would be a consideration for the end of the first round.
A flip. A development in the slightly less important FBI investigation:
The director of an amateur Massachusetts basketball team affiliated with Adidas AG agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors investigating an NCAA bribery scandal, according to a copy of the agreement made public Friday.
Thomas "T.J." Gassnola entered the plea on March 30 to federal charges that he made payments to families of high school student-athletes in exchange for their commitment to play for certain universities, according to the filing.
NC State seems to be the main school linked with Gassnola, but, uh… Notre Dame(!) is an
Adidas[correction: they switched to UA] school that just picked up two players from Gassnola's AAU team. I will give the FBI one dollar if they sweep the Irish into this. Think of the ND Nation takes.
Wilde take. Quinn Hughes is #5 on this NHL mock draft. Bode Wilde is #17:
17. New Jersey Devils: Bode Wilde, D, U.S. U18 (NTDP)
There are few prospects in this draft who can provide GMs with a skill set as tantalizing as Wilde’s. The big, mobile defender was a minute muncher for a deep NTDP blue line and his explosive first step is drool inducing. You don’t find many 6-2 defensemen with dynamic speed and a blistering shot, which is why GM Ray Shero should add this thoroughbred to his already-dangerous Devils’ attack
He'll be an acid test for the new staff's ability to mold guys, because he's a boom or bust guy on the NHL level because of his tendency to get out of position and cede odd man rushes.
FWIW, Hughes is the only draft-eligible and only college player on this year's IIHF World Championship team.
Etc.: John Infante on the NCAA resurrecting the transfer waiver, which may have been relevant for Patterson. WCBN profiles Hughes. The era in which Orson launches entirely warranted bombs at a Michigan assistant coach is going to be brutal. Wagner and Matthews invited to the draft combine.