Jimmystats: Shifts in 2018 Recruiting Rankings

Jimmystats: Shifts in 2018 Recruiting Rankings

Submitted by Seth on January 25th, 2018 at 4:12 PM

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Things were lookin’ up for McKeon last year. Is that a thing? [Upchurch]

One of the things I’d like to start tracking better in recruiting data are deltas: how much each player’s crootin numbers move over the course of his recruitment. I’ve been updating my spreadsheets a bunch the last few weeks as the sites put out their final rankings, and I fortuitously backed up the data on New Year’s Day so I have a decent snapshot right now of how much the rankings moved from the end of the season to when the services redid their final rankings for this week.

Unfortunately this doesn’t include the two guys who committed last week, since I grabbed their ratings only when those announcements hit. Wanna see?

RIVALS

Player Pos Stars RR Nat Rk Pos Rk ☆/5
Otis Reese OLB ☆☆☆☆ 5.9—>6.0 42—>56 2 4.76
Aidan Hutchinson WDE—>SDE ☆☆☆☆ 5.8—>5.9 NR—>129 17—>8 4.58
Myles Sims CB ☆☆☆☆ 5.9 79—>103 9—>14 4.49
Jaylen Mayfield OT 3—>4 5.6—>5.8 NR 31-->17 4.25
Cameron McGrone OLB ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 238—>195 19—>16 4.14
Joe Milton DUAL ☆☆☆☆ 5.9—>5.8 189—>200 11 4.04
Mustapha Muhammad TE ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 NR 16—>17 4.02
Gemon Green CB ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 NR 37—>39 3.91
Christian Turner RB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 18 3.90
Taylor Upshaw SDE ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 24—>25 3.85
Ben VanSumeren ATH ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 37—>34 3.81
Vincent Gray CB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 56—>60 3.70
Sammy Faustin CB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 58—>62 3.69
Ryan Hayes OT ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 47 3.62
Kevin Doyle PRO ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 24 3.60
Hassan Haskins RB ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 41 3.60
Luke Schoonmaker TE ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 36 3.52
Michael Barrett ATH ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR NR 3.35
Julius Welschof SDE ☆☆☆ 5.5 NR NR 3.00
German Green S ☆☆☆ 5.5 NR NR 3.00
Ronnie Bell WR ☆☆ 5.4 NR NR 2.95

First a few words on what we’re looking at and how to react to things. The “☆/5” is my own conversion of the ratings and position rankings the sites provide so I can judge them all against each other. It’s imperfect.

Don’t pay attention to small changes in rankings, and the further down they start the larger delta you need to discount. That’s an effect of other guys shooting up the rankings and pushing everybody below them down a bit, not a new opinion on our guy. This is normal and happens every year. You’ll note Rivals didn’t make a lot of changes among their three-stars but fiddles with the guys in the top of the rankings a lot, part of a larger tendency to focus on the headline-grabbers.

Rivals, like the other services, starts stingier with their 4- and 5-star ratings to leave room for the inevitable risers. You can prove this yourself: go on the Rivals database and count how many guys in the 2019 class have a 6.1 (five stars) or 6.0 (highest four-stars). It’s 12 and 35—half as many as any year prior. Rest assured that’ll be more like 25-30 in the 6.1 range and 70-80 who get 6.0s by this time next year. That’s how Otis Reese jumped to a 6.0 while slipping 14 spots in the national rankings—what that means is he didn’t move while data on other guys filled in around him.

[Hit THE JUMP to see where everyone moved]

Friday Recruitin’ Talks Big Tackles

Friday Recruitin’ Talks Big Tackles

Submitted by Seth on January 6th, 2017 at 5:11 PM

Brian is out sick so this is my first shot at one of these. I’m not as plugged in as the other guys so if I missed something important leave it in the comments. Mostly this is going to be Army Game practice stuff.

No Blind Siding

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Michigan target Chuck Filiaga, with normal-sized humans [U.S. Army All-American Bowl, via USA Today]

Let’s start with the good news: Crystal balls to Michigan are still flying in for 4* TX OT Chuck Filiaga, who’s a 6’6/335 pound shot at a starting left tackle that Michigan desperately needs. Filiaga will be at right tackle during the Army Game because his team is full of LTs. His decision, between Michigan, Oklahoma, and Nebraska is scheduled for noon.

Even if Filiaga enters the fold, Michigan is not done recruiting potential tackles. Next likeliest target, 3* OT Mekhi Becton, told Maize and Brew that Michigan remains “definitely high on my list.” Michigan also make the top three for AL 3* OT Toryque Bateman, though grades and the likelihood of other commits coming/sticking makes that seem unlikely now.

Obligatory Najee Section: We are linebackers

You have been a good recruiting follower so you’ve so far managed to refrain from watching the parade of ankleless linebackers following 5* CA RB Najee Harris to various endzones. The recruiting industry is finding him just as slippery. We are now officially past the Flight Aware segment of the recruitment and on to Flight Plan Aware. 247’s Bart Simmons first wrote yesterday that Army Bowl people said they’re flying Harris back home after the game, but then said a source told him Harris had requested a change to the wrong Birmingham:

Per a source, Harris has requested a flight change — asking to land in Birmingham now, instead of back home in California (Oakland). That would put the running back on Alabama's campus by Sunday evening at the latest as an early-enrollee, ending a dizzying back-and-forth between Alabama and Michigan that's worn on for months.

I maintain that you should ignore virtually everything until Harris is literally on campus at one school or the other on Monday, since that is quite apparently his preferred method of announcement. Bama people seem confident, Michigan people seem confident. Rivals had their national analysts weigh in, with votes going 2-1 in favor of the Tide. Harris has denied everything. Look closely at anyone new in your freshman seminar Monday.

Willie Being Silly?

The last round of interviews from San Antonio with MS 4* OLB Willie Gay have convinced reporters that LSU now leads Michigan and Mississippi State for what would be the first life form to ever escape “the Sip.” For their part LSU is taking Gay’s sudden interest very seriously, with Tigers linebacker commit Patrick Queen rescheduling his official to coincide with Gay’s. Sam Webb confirmed that LSU is the stated leader

"Really all of my schools are even. LSU has probably got a little bit high, a little bit. I don't know where I'm going to go yet but LSU has moved up a little bit higher."

…but reported that Gay’s family is still heavily favoring Michigan, and this doesn’t sound like someone who’s moved on:

"They didn't move down,” he said.  “When I went to Michigan it was like, perfect. Everything I ever wanted in a school… academics, I feel like I was at home still (and) the weather wasn't that bad to me. I was cool with the cold weather. I loved it."

Gay called the report that LSU leads “kind of accurate.” Call me a homer but I think this one has a lot of elements of a guy who’s messing with reporters. Michigan does still have to weather an official visit to down-the-street Mississippi State in addition to that to LSU on the 20th. I doubt it’s done.

Wille a Will? Possibly relevant, according to SEC Country LSU is recruiting him at WLB:

LSU is courting Gay as a WILL linebacker to help pad the team’s depth at a crucial position.

If you remember your Wisconsin previews, Aranda’s 3-4 has a WILL that’s a second middle linebacker—think Mike McCray’s job—so no they’re not trying to make him Vince Biegel, but neither are they calling him a slot overhang guy. Michigan has made it clear he would play the multifarious Peppers SAM spot.

Thinking

Possibly unrelatedly, this got tweeted:

Big Nose Tackle Options are Shrinking

You would think if there is only one word in the English language that an uncommitted prospect can put before “Michigan” to erase any doubt about his intentions, it’s “F---.” Well, 5* GA DT Aubrey Solomon dropped just that particular bomb this week in a Periscope to fellow former Michigan commit WR Jeremiah Holloman (now a 4* UGA commit). A day later Solomon apologized on twitter to Michigan fans.

So: we’re done? Not quite. Sam said on his segment today that Michigan is still after him hard, which WTF?

I guess there are two ways to look at it: On one hand perhaps Aubrey was consoling a friend who apparently got pushed out of the class by higher-rated receivers. The other way to look at it is “What is literally the last thing you want to hear from a guy Michigan is recruiting?”. The likelihood of Option B is the likelihood this is officially happy trails. If you’re holding out for the sympathy words excuse, Michigan still has a lot of ground to make up.

That leaves Michigan’s hopes for a guy who can instantly spell Mone next year down to just UT 4* DT Jay Tufele. While Ohio State was a major factor earlier in this recruitment, lately the sense has been that hometown Utah has moved ahead of both Midwestern rivals. Michigan’s former director of player personnel Tony Tuioti leaving to become DL coach at Fresno State could not have helped the Wolverines’ chances. However Tufele told Sam at the Army Game practices today that at least distance won’t be a deciding factor:

“It was never a factor,” he reiterated. “For me going away or going home… it’s either one. It’s just at the end of the day it is going to be wherever best fits me… that’s where I’m going to go.”

While painting the picture of a Ryan Glasgow-like player, Sam noted the relationship with Bryan Mone. Official visits to USC and Utah loom for a now-crucial recruitment that could go a lot of ways. Scout…uh scout Brandon Huffman also chimed in on why Tufele’s a big deal:

Through the first part of the week, Tufele has been the MVP of the defense. He's yet to lose rep in the one-on-ones and when he went against the East interior offensive linemen during Tuesday's practice, he was beating them repeatedly just as he was the O-linemen for the West team. Tufele has a cat-quick first step and grown man strength. Tufele is considering BYU, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Utah.

While BYU and USC are probably placeholders, Michigan has at best as good a chance as the other two, which equals not a great chance.

At least our scouting works. Once again solid Oregon commit Rutger Reitmaier is making everybody’s lists for top performers at the Army practices. 247’s Bart Simmons’s East team update depressingly mentioned two names familiar to Michigan fans this cycle as standout defensive tackles: Reitmaier, and OG prospect Tedarrell Slaton, who’s expected to commit to Florida. Slaton was also the largest prospect in attendance, weighing in at 363 lbs.

The Sabanification of Georgia is Not a Good Development

IMGP4949

After leading for a year for AL 4* WR Nico Collins, suddenly it appears Georgia has made it a game. Wiltfong:

A source close to Clay-Chalkville Top247 receiver Nico Collins told 247Sports this week he thinks Michigan and Georgia are on top.

He added he thinks will be the Bulldogs and not the Wolverines that ultimately sign the four-star recruit.

That would indeed be an upset of greater magnitude than turning around Isaiah Wilson, since Collins made multiple visits to Michigan on his own dime. He’ll announce on national signing day.

The Dawgs showing some bite on the recruiting trail after Kirby Smart’s first season ended 8-5 in the Liberty Bowl has caused some people in our community to wonder what’s going on down there. The answer is that it was far more extraordinary that Richt had Georgia at merely Lloyd Carr level in the Age of the SEC. Georgia is twice the recruiting ground of any other SEC state save Florida, and in-state rival GT is less of a threat than Michigan State is to us. Plus, Athens is gorgeous, admittedly as nice a town/campus as Ann Arbor; I can personally attest that their gameday atmosphere is unreal. And Georgia's not a bad school either.

I’m sure some Bama stuff is going on there, but the real reason they’re a threat to Michigan now is because Michigan has chosen to invade SEC territory and compete against the best the SEC has to offer.

Scouting Updates on Committed Recruits

Sam Webb did a feature this morning on WTKA on the Michigan guys he’s watched and spoken to down in San Antonio, and while I couldn’t get the Audioboom recording to work  MGoUser ColelsCorky kindly summarized it on our board. Among tidbits in there that weren’t mentioned already, Ambry Thomas looks like an early contributor, Deron Irving-Bey is unrefined but also Young Taco-like off the edge, and Tarik Black has been a “revelation.” Huffman’s scouting report agreed on the last:

The Michigan commit has consistently made plays all week and impressed with his smooth route running for being a bigger framed kid. He has shown good, reliable hands and ball skills as well.

Sam and Josh Newkirk caught up with Black on Wednesday and asked him to name his (homer) pick for top cornerback he’s faced, which offers us a nice segue into MI 4* CB Ambry Thomas:

“I’m not being biased or anything like that cause he’s a Michigan commit. But I do think he’s the best corner out here.”

Adding: “He’s a technician, a long ranging guy and has a lot of speed. You've got to work him to get open.”

Another Michigan recruit who could challenge for early playing time, DE/DT Donovan Jeter got a new eval from Brian Dohn, and it sounds like one of those that could accompany a ratings bump:

Final Thought: Jeter offers position flexibility, which is a great thing for a staff and a player. He can be a defensive end, particularly on the weakside where he can use his length and quickness in his first two steps, or he can add weight and strength and move inside. His body can easily handle 290 pounds, and keeping his quickness is not a concern. His hand speed will also allow him to be successful on the interior of the defensive line.

At 6’6/261 Jeter seems large enough to be in the mix for some standard-down spelling of Chase Winovich as a more Taco-shaped WDE, or Rashan Gary’s backup at SDE immediately. Since Gary is expected to take off some of Hurst’s load at tackle this year, the Anchor position has plenty of snaps available.

The Distant Future 2018

After talking up SEC football 6’6 NJ TE Elijah McAllister told Steve Wiltfong he grew up a Michigan fan and that Michigan has been in contact. I may have posted that just for this quote:

“I liked the SEC culture, everyone is great down South. Growing up in New Jersey, a lot of fast-moving people, not everyone is nice. Down South everyone is nice.

MGoBlog’s official Southern correspondent BiSB reports that “Bless your heart” is actually Tennesseean for “F--- you!”, but as we noted above that doesn’t necessarily mean they hate you.

Exit: Jordan Elliott

Exit: Jordan Elliott

Submitted by Seth on January 28th, 2016 at 11:21 AM

Oh right, we should report this. In least surprising decommitments not involving Penn State recruits whom Michigan leads for:

Decommit = exit post but this one's been heading that way for several weeks. It does make that weird exchange with a Texas247 guy who wouldn't believe his Michigan commitment even weirder.

FWIW this one is more Antwaine Richardson than Rashad Weaver: the coaches wanted him in the class, as evidenced by Harbaugh flying in for an in-home visit a week ago. Elliott is expected to visit and commit to Texas this weekend, the fourth (and presumably last) school he has committed to during the process.

Take as further evidence that "commitment" can mean vastly different things to different people, and that it is foolish to presume another party has the same meaning as you. This is also the flipside to continuing to recruit a nominally filled position in the class; Elliott made comments to Sam Webb ($) in November that made it seem like he was certain to stick. With no 2015 NT and just Mone and Pallante left after Glasgow graduates, Michigan badly needed at least one and hopefully two nose tackles in this class. If they'd stopped with Elliott they'd be in a bad spot right now.

The Michigan coaches moved on last week, securing a commitment from former PSU commit Michael Dwumfour; they remain in pursuit of another NT type in Californian Boss Tagaloa.

Crutin.

Thursday Recruitin' Gets Bad Info

Thursday Recruitin' Gets Bad Info

Submitted by Ace on December 10th, 2015 at 2:13 PM

Attrition, Expected and... Not So Expected

In a move that should surprise no one, three-star in-state ILB David Reese announced his decommitment from Michigan yesterday so he can find a program that will allow him to enroll early:

The coaches assuredly saw that coming. That wasn't the case with the decommitment of three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes over the weekend, per 247's Clint Brewster ($):

The de-commitment came as a huge surprise to Michigan as coach John Baxter just saw Viramontes and reported back to Harbaugh that the visit went extremely well.

We have been told that Viramontes was given bad information from a member of his camp that Michigan wouldn’t give him a shot at quarterback and he would immediately be a fullback or linebacker, which is completely false.

'Crootin!

Sam Webb discussed the Viramontes situation extensively on his radio show Monday; alum96 was kind enough to write up a summary on the board that's well worth reading. The upshot: while Michigan wasn't expecting Viramontes to leave the class, they don't consider him a must-get—they'll continue to pursue him but at this point there are other uncommitted prospects who are higher priorities.

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

Unverified Voracity Discusses Swoosh Stuff

Unverified Voracity Discusses Swoosh Stuff

Submitted by Brian on July 8th, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Nike-Michigan-Lockup_native_1600

I don't get it. I mean, I get it: when Seth said he wanted to do a post about what Adidas inflicted on us I was like YES THAT. A combination of incompetent Germans and a weak or nuts AD was literally not a pretty sight over the past few years. I don't get the WOO NIKE half of that:

"We certainly heard it from fans a fair amount, 'when's Nike coming back?' " says Scott Hirth, co-owner of the M Den, Michigan's official athletic retailer. "There's no two ways around it, and there's no way to sugar coat it. Adidas and football success didn't go hand in hand, and we can't dispute that.

"I think for a lot of fans, it's a feeling of 'Michigan's the best, Nike's the best, Michigan should be with Nike.' "

A shirt's a shirt to me. A jersey is a jersey until it becomes two halves of a jersey flopping in the wind. Nike is no stranger to fashion disasters itself. A lot of people are super happy about this because they owe brand loyalty* to a company that probably makes much of its stuff in literally the same buildings other apparel companies do. So it's a bit weird.

*[I reserve brand loyalties for places they really matter: tortillas. Mission forever. If you bring Azteca into my home I will bludgeon you with them and then kick you out.]

But whatever man, I'm happy you're happy. For athletes it's a different story, of course: the gear is important, especially shoes. And Nike seems to have reputation there that is worth something.

If it makes them happy and a bunch of other people happy, that is a good thing to do even if it does not grow the bottom line as much as possible. The athletic department isn't a profit-driven enterprise, so what should it drive to? Making its stakeholders happy. This appears to do that.

And it might not even leave money on the table. I wonder what metrics Hackett is using when he says this:

Jim Hackett has no problem saying that Michigan's new apparel deal is the largest in the country, topping any other collegiate apparel contract.

Hackett, speaking with a handful of reporters on campus Tuesday, said Michigan would have netted the country's largest apparel deal from Nike, Under Armour or Adidas, but ultimately opted to return to the swoosh.

I wonder because of that reportedly bonkers Under Armour offer to Texas, and reports that Nike was coming in under the other two companies. If other company X is willing to offer more to Michigan they will probably offer more to someone else as well. Not because they're worth more than Michigan. Because it's worth more to company X to have something approximating Michigan.

We'll find out soon enough, and I bet he's right in some way or another since they're going to release numbers next week. I mean, you'd think so. It's common sense. I am going to apply that now.

He's got an average of being excellent. Last April a mailbag post contained a rundown of the various negotiations Michigan executed during the Brandon era. The results there were not pretty:

  • Brady Hoke was hired and then paid top ten numbers,
  • Michigan was stuck in a different division than OSU (with a crossover game),
  • Michigan got an unpleasant home/road split in the 14-team league,
  • Notre Dame punked Michigan when they ended the contract,
  • Mitch McGary did not have his suspension reduced despite the NCAA changing their rules about pot tests
  • Al Borges was offered a 300k raise.

Since Hackett has arrived he has hired Jim Harbaugh for far less than he would get from an NFL team and locked down a Nike contract that can be plausibly called the biggest in the country. What do you think about THAT, Bastian Schweinsteiger?

not-bad

I agree: not bad at all.

Maize. Maize is not blinding yellow. It is not regular yellow. It is an orangey yellow. It is like the image that leads this post. If Michigan actually starts wearing maize that would be nice.

A jumping man. Nike's Jordan thingy is part of their deal with Michigan. I made an offhanded comment about it in the news post about the deal and got several "NO, SERIOUSLY" replies in the comments and on twitter about it. More detail is available at MLive:

According to a Nike spokesperson, Michigan basketball will become the fifth program outfitted by Jordan Brand. The Jordan Brand currently outfits North Carolina, Georgetown, California and Marquette in men's basketball and North Carolina and Georgetown in women's basketball.

That is a weird—but exclusive!—grouping of teams to join. It includes a team that just locked down Jaylen Brown, who repeatedly said he'd play at an Adidas school. Good job, good effort, Adidas.

Anyway. If any logo on a thing can get recruits to sign up for something it appears to be this logo. I think cold, hard cash works better, though.

GAMBLING! ESTABLISHMENT! AND SO FORTH! Ole Miss is being investigated for hijinks in the recruitment of Laremy Tunsil, a five-star OL who walked right into their starting OL. Tunsil was just arrested for domestic assault against his stepfather, who apparently took whatever cash was on offer from TMZ for photos.

His stepfather says the incident happened because "Tunsil exploded on him for voicing his displeasure about the college star hanging out with sports agents," a story so implausible Michigan could have come up with it in the immediate aftermath of the Shane Morris incident. Dollars to donuts the stepfather has flipped on the kid after gently guiding his recruitment.

Minnesota, 1988. Via Wolverine Historian:

The weather was un-good.

Well, when you lay it out like that… MLive has a slideshow of Brady Hoke's old coaches and where they ended up. I'm sure we've addressed it before, but yikes man:

  • OKAY: Greg Mattison stuck in Ann Arbor as the DL coach. Roy Manning is at Washington State. Doug Nussmeier is Florida's OC.
  • IS THAT A REAL PLACE? Dan Ferrigno is at San Jose State with Al Borges. Darrell Funk is at Akron. Jeff Hecklinski is at Colorado State-Pueblo. Doug Mallory is at Wyoming. Mark Smith is at Florida Tech. Fred Jackson hasn't landed yet, if he's going to stay in coaching.

Hoke's coaching tree is comparable to Lloyd Carr's minus Brady Hoke. Woof.

I am in favor of this. Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis retired a year ago and has been brought in as a "senior adviser" at Michigan. We are just Joe Parker and Bruce Madej away from The Expendables: Athletic Department Edition.

De Carolis brought in Hutch and was well-loved at Oregon State, FWIW.

Another guy. Former UConn OC TJ Weist has been hired at Michigan as an "analyst," which probably means he'll break down tape and help with gameplanning:

Weist is not a Michigan assistant, which means he's not an active recruiter and his coaching duties will be limited by NCAA rules.

"T.J. has a wealth of coaching experience and will be an excellent addition to our staff," Harbaugh said in a statement. "He has shown the ability to develop countless NFL caliber wide receivers over his career and has immense knowledge of the collegiate game. He will be a great asset to our program."

Weist is a former Jack Harbaugh guy and Michigan native, so this is an obvious fit. Michigan appears to be spending its money on having a good football program instead of… not that. This will help happiness, and help make more money.

Etc.: MI/WV SF Miles Bridges says he wants to visit Michigan again. Kentucky though. More decals with Sap. OSU LB talks trash on Twitter. "Split zone" from James Light. Also this is a really cool and sneaky coverage in which a corner plays man press for about ten yards before bailing on his WR in an effort to trap the QB into a bad throw.

Jimmystats is Committing Earlier

Jimmystats is Committing Earlier

Submitted by Seth on April 22nd, 2015 at 11:06 AM

recruits

Follow the end of the 2016 line so see where previous classes stood at this point in the process. bigking it makes clickger.

This is gonna be a lot of data and not much analysis that comes from it. Anecdotally, recruiting in the period before this changed dramatically as fans involved themselves in the process. To have a guy like Henne locked up a year out was weird for 2004; Kevin Grady, who pledged to Michigan the summer before his junior season, was unheard of.

The question was has the timeline of committing changed significantly from then to now, or did the thing settle down? I also wanted to see what went on with the other recent transition classes: was 2015 dramatically different from 2011, or 2008?

To answer it I gathered the commitment dates of Michigan freshman recruits since pledging became something reported on the internet (class of 2004). The result was the above chart showing a slightly greater emphasis on getting more commitments around signing day of the last class, and that May-July period between spring and fall practices.

Also under Rodriguez and more so under Hoke, Michigan began taking more guys over a year out from Signing Day. I would expect that to remain thing but not to any great extent. I'll be able to say more once I've gotten the national data to some semblance of sense.

Are they committing earlier to Michigan? On the whole, yes, except for transition classes for obvious reasons.

michigan avg commits

Taking a mean day is misleading because there are definitely certain periods (summer, near singing day) when commitments bunch. The Greatest February Weekend in the History of February Weekends that built the 2013 class was not repeated, but the 2014 class signed so early that Hoke's last two classes were half-full by now.

You'll note the classes after coaching transitions were also set forward from those a few years out. That is a reflection of the recruiting cycle stretching well beyond a year out. Harbaugh's 2017 class has begun before 6'6 tight ends who camp have ratings—or should—but that isn't a new reality.

Was the 2015 transition class like other transition classes? Your memory is saying "there were never so many decommits" and your memory is correct:

transition classes

I showed with stars where the last coach retired/was fired/mutually parted ways, and the new one hired. Football seasons began about 175 days out. From there you can see the 2015 class falling apart as the team did, while the greater uncertainty of Rich Rod's 2010 just stagnated the growth of the class. Carr's retirement went relatively smoothly.

The 2015 class was also off to a much stronger start, including 5-stars in George Campbell and Damien Harris over a year before NSD, whereas the 2010 class was built under the shadow of Rosenbergmadeupagate. The 2008 class largely came together during the 2006 season, and in its aftermath.

Within all that you can see how critical a few weeks in winter were. Rodriguez weathered a bit of attrition and finished his class with, if not all he needed (ahem, defensive backs), several players who'd become long-term starters in his system. While we waited for Dave Brandon to get maximum Dave Brandon is Handling This time during The Process, the 2011 class went on a roller-coaster, and Hoke, despite being a fantastic recruiter, was given too little time to add everything he needed.

Event (days to NSD) 2008
Carr->RR
2011
RR->Hoke
2015
Hoke->JH
Coach search begins Nov 20 (78) Jan 6 (27) Dec 2 (64)
New coach announced Dec 17 (51) Jan 11 (22) Dec 30 (36)

On the Data

You can have it here:

A lot of this was from the 247 database, which was from Rivals' database, which was wrong in a lot of spots (for example they give dates they don't know for the 2004 class as 7/8/2003). In the process of tracking down the real dates I asked the guy who covered Mike Hart most closely and got a bonus story for us:

hart story

So thanks John L.!

Monday Recruitin' Goes Too Far

Monday Recruitin' Goes Too Far

Submitted by Ace on February 16th, 2015 at 1:38 PM

no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no

Have a seat over there, Rivals.

ANYWAY

Four-star Detroit King WR Donnie Corley will be a senior in high school this fall, so it's somewhat reasonable to discuss him in this forum, unlike whatever's going on above. Corley, arguably the top 2016 in-state prospect, has Michigan outside his top five; the coaches will get the opportunity to work on that when he visits for tomorrow's MSU game, per 247's Steve Lorenz ($).

Corley won't be the only top in-state player in attendance. Four-star Cass Tech OG Michael Onwenu, who just added an Alabama offer, will also visit tomorrow, per Scout's Allen Trieu ($). While he didn't give a date, three-star Cass Tech S Demetric Vance also told Trieu he plans to visit Michigan this summer ($). Vance recently received offers from Tennessee and Michigan State; it wouldn't be a big surprise to see Michigan follow suit.

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

Unverified Voracity Got A Job Just Yesterday

Unverified Voracity Got A Job Just Yesterday

Submitted by Brian on February 6th, 2015 at 12:35 PM

nli_0[1]

DON'T DO THIS

WEBER FIASCO DEFCON 1. The damn day after Mike Weber signs a LOI to Ohio State, running backs coach Stan Drayton leaves for the Bears. Weber:

Tony Paul:

The timing of this move is odd, to put it mildly.

John Fox was named the new Chicago Bears coach in early January, and much of his coaching staff was in place shortly thereafter. It seems curious Drayton would be making the move only after Weber signed his letter of intent to play for Ohio State.

UCLA pulled a similar stunt with their DC. Roquan Smith managed to find out before he used the fax machine, but you have to think that maybe some of UCLA's defensive commits would have looked around if UCLA had announced when they knew about it a month before signing day. Just more of the usual crap.

Recruits! DON'T SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT.

DON'T SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT

I mean, if you're a random three star and they say sign this paper or we're moving on, go ahead. If you're a big deal, do this:

The NCAA last fall began allowing football prospects who plan to enroll in January to sign financial aid agreements with college programs as early as August 1 of their senior year. The agreement, which allows the college program to have unlimited contact with the player and publicly speak about him, binds the school to the prospect, but not the prospect to the school. So there's nothing to dissuade a situation like that of Josh Malone, who signed financial aid agreements with four schools before ultimately signing with Tennessee.

Sign a financial aid agreement. It's like the LOI, except backwards, and that makes schools hate it. Instead of stuff like this happening to you, you can have hilarious quotes like this apply to your situation:

"You're basically taking the word of the kid," Mallonee told the AJC. "That's part of the issue."

Yeah! A kid who might drop a school for no reason or sell a school a false bill of goods. Damn kids. Always doing mean things with all the power they have.  

Meanwhile. Can't say I'm surprised about this.

Upshot. Could this lead to Weber flipping back to Michigan? Maybe. Schools can release players from LOIs.

Institutions are now empowered to grant a full and complete release from the NLI at anytime. To do so, an official Release Request Form must be initiated by the prospect and submitted to both the NLI office and the signing institution.

There's also an opportunity to appeal when school refuses to release a player, a process that ND signee Eddie Vanderdoes successfully went through a few years back. I'm unclear on what, exactly, this means as part of the Vanderdoes case:

The victory for Vanderdoes comes after a rather lengthy (and sometimes public) spat with Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly, who allowed Vanderdoes to enroll at UCLA, but refused to release him from the letter of intent he signed with Notre Dame in February.

Kelly can't prevent a guy from enrolling wherever he wants, and there appears to be no partial release from a LOI. The Bylaw Blog post on the topic implies that this was a straight-up win for Vanderdoes after Kelly refused to release him.

In any case: OSU could release him if the publicity gets bad enough, or Weber could decide to go somewhere else and attempt to appeal. If he did not win that appeal he would have to sit out his freshman year and he would lose that year of eligibility, making him a true sophomore in 2016.

Weber would have to want to pursue that, of course. It's possible he gets over it.

ESPN doing Hatch things. Hatch things:

Hiring various people for 'crootin' and 'lyzin'. Michigan announced they've hired longtime college coach and Harbaugh family associate TJ Weist as a "senior offensive analyst." Weist was the WR coach at Michigan in the early 90s, when a guy named Desmond Howard was hanging out, and was most recently the OC at Connecticut.

This analyst position is not a full assistant job, so Weist won't be able to work with players directly or recruit. He'll do film, find tendencies, and advise. Usually when established coaches take these jobs they're short-term gigs before something opens up elsewhere.

Michigan's also hired Gwendolyn Bush as "director of player development." Bush is the mom of Wayne Lyons, the fifth-year Stanford transfer who's supposed to be landing in Ann Arbor.

This has led to a couple of assertions that Michigan is getting down and dirty. If so, let's be clear why: it's not because Michigan wants a defensive back who will be around for one year. It's because Bush was—uh—"team mom" for South Florida Express, a high-powered 7 on 7 outfit that launched the careers of Teddy Bridgewater and Geno Smith, amongst many others.

SFE won the national 7-on-7 championship, which is apparently a thing that exists now, and got profiled in SI, etc etc.

Meanwhile, Lyons. The Lyons transfer thing has broken loose from the paysites and made the Mercury News:

Stanford coach David Shaw on Wednesday enthusiastically described all 22 players who signed letters of intent as part of another well-regarded recruiting class. He was slightly less eager to discuss a player who might be leaving the program.

Cornerback Wayne Lyons is reportedly considering a transfer to Michigan, where he would play one season (as a graduate student) for former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh.

"For those guys going into their fifth year that want the opportunity to play someplace else,'' Shaw said, "I've never said no, never tried talk anybody out of it.''

Lyons started seven games last year for Stanford's kick-ass defense. Michigan doesn't really need a defensive back but they've got a slot if Joe Kerridge isn't guaranteed a scholarship (and since it's highly likely someone leaves the team before fall that's probably moot anyway). May as well fill it with a quality player.

Michicon Valley. SJSU hires a familiar name:

Then they did the thing:

SAN JOSE -- San Jose State officially announced two of its coaching hires on Thursday, with Al Borges being named offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and Dan Ferrigno the special teams coordinator/tight ends coach.

Greg Robinson is of course the DC. It will be… interesting to see how SJSU does this year. I predict bad.

Meanwhile in offensive coordinator hires that Michigan fans are extremely skeptical of. Tennessee is actually, officially doing their thing:

DeBord has never coordinated anything approximating a mobile quarterback and couldn't even find a position coach job after leaving the NFL, instead landing at Michigan for an Olympic sports administrator thing. Let's see if he can submarine Butch Jones's 80 recruits per year.

Dabo's very particular. This private bathroom thing is a thing.

I've heard worse ideas. BYU signed a guy who's never played football before. Does this sound like an idea on par with hiring an Olympic Sports Administrator to be your offensive coordinator? Not so fast my friend:

That's no moon. Unless it's orbiting a planet. Then it totally is.

Etc.: In case you were considering taking Dave Zirin seriously about anything ever, you probably shouldn't. Vegas odds for the hockey national title are bonkers. Iowa wasn't real happy with the Higdon flip.

Signing day interviews with JayHar, Baxter, Jackson, and Wheatley (Jr).

Tu Quoque, Dear Diary

Tu Quoque, Dear Diary

Submitted by Seth on February 6th, 2015 at 11:11 AM

On Wednesday morning, under pressure to do so in time to headline a Signing Day ceremony at his school, Cass Tech running back Mike Weber decided on Ohio State over Michigan by the slimmest of margins. On Thursday, Weber's position coach and lead recruiter for Ohio State left for the Chicago Bears. Weber:

Weber

He also removed all references to Ohio State from his profile.

Michigan fans jumped on this because it's in our interest that every recruit and coach of a recruit and parent of a recruit believe Urban Meyer a slimy salesman (he's not). Ohio State fans jumped to defend it by characterizing Drayton's departure as a surprise to everyone including Drayton, and equating it with signing a junior transfer quarterback after Gentry's LOI was in.

When Ohio State does something shady (or not shady but treated as such in the weird morality of college sports), Ohio State fans will be the first to tell you that everybody does it. They're right to a degree, but the degree is the difference between how much heat the Earth radiates into space, and the Sun. Regardless of whether Urban knew Stan Drayton was leaving beforehand, or if Drayton knew he'd get the job until then, what's clear is they didn't let Weber know the coach he was committing to was likely to walk away as soon as they had his signature on the dotted line.

Purposely fraudulent or unbelievably unfortunate timing, the real lesson here is that coaches are free to make the best decision for themselves, and players are manipulated into signing away that liberty.

And for nothing. Signing Day, really, is only the first day of a period that stretches through April that schools may receive official commitments, in the form of a "Letter of Intent." That letter is merely a non-compete agreement in which the school the player signs with provides nothing in return. The scholarship offer is a completely separate deal.

Since Weber already sent in his LOI, his choices are to stay at Ohio State, wait a year for the LOI to expire then transfer and wait another year, or ask Ohio State to release him, in which case he still has to wait out a year under NCAA transfer rules CORRECTION: would be free to choose any school. Ohio State can hold him to the LOI, or release him only to schools they choose. They can also rip away his scholarship for just about any reason.

The recruits are finally starting to get wise. Roquan Smith is still unlikely to end up at "Michigan University," but he was moments from sending in his LOI when news (that reporters meant to embargo until after Signing Day) broke that his coaches might not be there. Because he waited, he can now take another week to consider his options.

A Florida commit's father yesterday explained why his son is holding off too, tweeting "…Florida making too many coaching changes this is not a game it's my son's life." He followed up in response to angry idiot-who-tweet-at-recruits fans with the central moral question:

ccjefferson

It's not, except in the warped morality of the NCAA and its apologists who think "amateurism" means players shouldn't be entitled to the same rights as every other citizen.

Signing Day is a total boondoggle. Recruits who have any sort of leverage should never sign a LOI, and should never feel pressured to commit on Signing Day. They should ask to sign a financial aid agreement only.

Meanwhile the NCAA should look at allowing players to transfer and play immediately if their head coach or primary recruiter leaves the school. It would prevent players from getting bait and switched, give coaches more job security, and ultimately plateau coaching salaries as schools come to value longevity instead of flashiness in their hiring of them.

How Karan Came. Michigan did get a highly rated running back in the class. Brian already linked to it in yesterday's recruiting post but if you missed it, Karan Higdon's coach is a MUST READ for anyone interested in how this process plays out:

I immediately called the Michigan football office and spoke with a secretary.  I told her that there was a running back in Sarasota that may be worth a late look and she advised me to send and email with his profile.  I sent his recruit profile and his HUDL highlights.  I was contacted almost immediately afterwards and spoke with Chris Singletary.  The first thing he asked was what type of kid is Karan and what his grades were.

Meta: Cumong! Brian's eye dialect for "come on!" has an origin. That diary is way more investigative and thorough than you thought it was when you saw it floating on the sidebar all week.

It also got me thinking about just how old this site is, and some of the other characters from Brian's section to be immortalized in these pages. Like "UNACCEPTABLE!" guy. And the narratively adorable moppet from the first great MGoBlog game column. That kid is probably in an English lecture right now. Which reminds me: happy 10th birthday, MGoBlog, belatedly (it was December 4).

Softball is Fun and Has a Woodson.

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Sierra's gloves are purely hypothetical by now. Photo: The Californian

Softball has been initialized. This year's team will have to overcome the graduation of a great class, but returns shortstop Sierra Romero and three candidates for best pitcher in the nation. South Bend Wolverine has your full preview, to which I'd like to add my take.

A great pitcher pretty much owns in softball, and Michigan is filthy rich in them. The lefty/righty combo of Haylie Wagner and Sara Driesenga could easily be the best duo in the country if both seniors regain their forms after somewhat disappointing (for them) 2014s. Sophomore Megan Betsa is due for a season on par with the best of the Wagner/Driesenga era. They also added the top pitching prospect in the nation in Tera Blanco out of California. Like Driesenga, Blanco is as dangerous at the plate as on the mound.

And there's Romero. As a sophomore, Sierra was one of three finalists for softball's version of the Heisman. Most of that is her Cabreraian bat, which is already bopping out national records. My favorite of those: Career Grand Slams—the NCAA record is nine; half-way through her Michigan career Romero already has seven (tied for third all time with 2005-'08 Wolverine Samantha Findlay).

Last year Sierra also finished tied for seventh all time for walks in a season with 67, 20 of which were intentional (the most you get is about 250 plate appearances so that's quite a lot of walking). Since Michigan graduated her protection and two top-of-the-order bats, we could end up seeing that number skyrocket if Coach Hutch doesn't find some hitters to fill the bases ahead of Romero and clear 'em behind her. If she does, this is a national championship team.

A Special Hell for Terrible Michigan Coaches

There is a place where they man-block with Patrick Omameh, run Denard Robinson under center, and never use counters. In this place they run a 3-3-5 defense that only ever rushes three and tells its middle linebacker to line up a foot in front of the guard whose job it is to put the middle linebacker in that spot. When they punt, and they punt quite often, they only use two gunners, because that's what NFL rules say.

No, this place isn't some nightmare mashup of the worst parts of the last six years of Michigan. It is called San Jose State.

  • Offensive coordinator: Al Borges
  • Defensive coordinator: Greg Robinson
  • Special Teams coordinator: Dan Ferrigno

I know I shouldn't watch. But I have to.

Etc. The first quadralingual med student to play for Michigan. We're gonna press.

Your Moment of Zen:

Signing Day Liveblog

Signing Day Liveblog

Submitted by Brian on February 4th, 2015 at 1:31 PM

FL RB Karan Higdon: flips from Iowa to Michigan
CT TE Chris Clark: inexplicably chooses UCLA
AL CB/QB Keith Washington: flips from Cal to Michigan
MI RB Mike Weber: sticks with OSU
GA LB Roquan Smith: picks UCLA

TN WR Van Jefferson: 1:30? 3:45? Vision quest? 
FL DE Shelton Johnson: 3 PM
NY TE/DE Ty Wheatley Jr: 3:15 PM
CA CB Iman Marshall: 4 PM 

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