Ross Taylor-Douglas To Grad Transfer

Ross Taylor-Douglas To Grad Transfer

Submitted by Brian on January 12th, 2016 at 10:39 AM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Bill Greene reports that RB/WR/DB Ross Taylor-Douglas is going to transfer:

Taylor-Douglas bounced between various positions during his tenure at Michigan without ever finding a home; last year he got garbage time carries as a tailback. With a crowded depth chart the prospect of playing time was unlikely next year.

Taylor-Douglas's departure opens up a scholarship for next year. Michigan now has 24 recruits and approximately 17 spots if everyone on the roster right now returns. Obviously that will not happen, so prepare for a number of posts like this in the future.

Preview 2015: Running Back

Preview 2015: Running Back

Submitted by Brian on August 27th, 2015 at 4:21 PM

Previously: Podcast 7.0. The Story.

IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE THREE *YARDS* AND A CLOUD OF DUST

-This preview, two years ago

IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE ANYTHING POSITIVE AND A CLOUD OF NOT EBOLA

-This preview, last year

IT PUTS THE FOOTBALL IN THE GAP OR IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN

Rating: 3

FEATURE BACK Yr. SHORT YARDAGE Yr. 3RD DOWN YR.
De'Veon Smith Jr. De'Veon Smith Jr. Ty Isaac So.*
Ty Isaac So.* Derrick Green Jr. Drake Johnson Jr.*
Drake Johnson Jr.* Ty Isaac So.* Karan Higdon Fr.

This was a straight-up mess for much of last year. De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green had little idea of what functional blocking looked like (understandable after 2013) and a tendency to run at random. If—and this is entirely hypothetical—you were to rewatch some of these runs in detail you may—again, entirely hypothetically—find yourself reduced to screaming Happy Gilmore quotes about being too good for your home and then self-abasing because Happy Gilmore is a very bad movie enjoyed only by children and Ace. Hypothetically.

Late in the year Michigan tried out Drake Johnson and Justice Hayes and that went better, particularly with Johnson. Over the last four games of the season—Indiana, Northwestern, Maryland, and Ohio State—Johnson got the plurality of the carries and averaged 6.0 yards a carry to Smith's 4.7. Johnson had a reasonable day even against Ohio State, with 15 carries for 76 yards… and then he tore his ACL. Again. Sam Webb reported he only got fully cleared on Monday.

So it's back to those other guys, oh and Ty Isaac. Let's try it again, this time with coaching.

ARBITRARILY ORDERED TAILBACK CANDIDATE #1

BLF_7931BLF_7931BLF_7931

HAIR ZOOM 2015 [Fuller]

Last year:

My Bayesian estimation is that Smith has a tiny lead that wouldn't even be worth mentioning except for the fact that I have to talk about someone first.

This year: ditto.

The first arbitrarily ordered running back is DE'VEON SMITH. Your author does admit that the order of this list may contain some meaning. He is of the opinion that Smith is the most Harbaugh-friendly of the guys currently on the roster.

At his best, Smith is a beefier version of Mike Hart. He's got great balance and generally feels like a nuclear-powered icebreaker.

If you're in an offense where the line consistently delivers you three yards, Smith's ability to bash out another two or three with his balance and power is hugely powerful. That turns third and medium into third and short or a first down. It radically changes the percentages you're working with. This is the kind of gentleman Harbaugh made some headway with at Stanford. Going over all my Smith clips from last year is an exercise in YAC YAC YAC, to the point where the times he doesn't scrape out something after contact come as a shock.

[After THE JUMP: Smith downsides and three other arbitrarily ordered guys.]

Spring Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Spring Roster Overanalysis 2015!

Submitted by Seth on February 24th, 2015 at 2:03 PM

We get excited about certain things around these parts. Like fun-to-size ratios. And new official rosters with updated weights. We've had 24 hours to parse the Spring data, and with Brian on the road today it's up to me to see how they've grown:

Things of [a Certain Definition of] Interest:

  • Brady Pallante is a fullback
  • Ross Douglas is listed as Ross Taylor-Douglas, and is back at corner
  • Ian Bunting is up to 6'7/243
  • A.J. Williams is up to offensive tackle size (6'6/285)

Weight Gain/Loss 2000

A reminder of internet policy on weight changes: all weight gain is muscle fiber, all weight lost was fat, and all static weight means fat was replaced with muscle fiber. I've highlighted things discussed after.

Player '11 '12 '13 S'14 F'14 Sp'15 '11- '12 '12-'13 '13-'14 '14- 15

Quarterbacks

Shane Morris     202 202 204 209     2 5
Wilton Speight       230 234 235       1
Alex Malzone           218       N/A

Running Back

Derrick Green     240 227 220 234     -20 14
DeVeon Smith     224 223 220 228     -4 8
Drake Johnson   203 213 212 211 207   10 -2 -4
Ty Isaac         225 240       15

Fullback & Tight End

Joe Kerridge     238 247 244 249     6 5
Sione Houma   221 231 240 242 243   10 11 1
Wyatt Shallman     237 243 239 244     2 5
Brady Pallante         263 276       13
A.J. Williams   282 265 263 260 285   -17 -5 25
Jake Butt     237 250 249 248     12 -1
Khalid Hill     258 255 252 252     -6 0
Ian Bunting         227 243       16

Wide Receiver

Amara Darboh   218 212 214 211 216   -6 -1 5
Jehu Chesson   183 196 195 197 207   13 1 10
Dennis Norfleet   170 169 167 169 168   -1 0 -1
Freddy Canteen       170 176 185       9
Da'Mario Jones     192 198 196 199     4 3
Jaron Dukes     190 200 197 204     7 7
Maurice Ways         195 205       10
Drake Harris       180 176 174       -2
Brian Cole           200       N/A

Offensive Line

Jack Miller 263 287 290 297 299 297 24 3 9 -2
Patrick Kugler     287 295 299 297     12 -2
Graham Glasgow     303 308 311 303     8 -8
Kyle Kalis   292 302 304 298 292   10 -4 -6
David Dawson     297 295 296 309     -1 13
Dan Samuelson     283 282 292 289     9 -3
Ben Braden   299 318 319 322 331   19 4 9
Mason Cole       275 292 287       -5
Erik Magnuson   290 285 295 294 296   -5 9 2
Blake Bars   282 291 290 294 281   9 3 -13
Chris Fox     338 310 309 303     -29 -6
L. Tuley-Tillman     300 290 290 309     -10 19
J. Bushell-Beatty         319 319       0

Defensive Line

Ryan Glasgow   294 300 300 296 297   6 0 -4
Bryan Mone       315 312 325       13
Ondre Pipkins   337 315 313 306 317   -22 -9 11
Willie Henry   302 306 297 293 311   4 -13 18
Matthew Godin   270 280 283 286 287   10 6 1
Maurice Hurst Jr.     270 277 282 281     12 -1
Chris Wormley   268 289 292 295 300   21 6 5
Taco Charlton     270 275 275 273     5 -2
Tom Strobel   250 265 268 268 270   15 3 2
Henry Poggi     260 271 270 273     10 3
Mario Ojemudia   223 250 250 251 252   27 1 1
Lawrence Marshall         241 238       -3

Linebacker

Desmond Morgan 220 230 228 232 232 236 10 -2 4 4
James Ross   225 220 225 227 232   -5 7 5
Joe Bolden   230 225 225 231 232   -5 6 1
R. Jenkins-Stone   206 225 221 234 240   19 9 6
Allen Gant   196 212 222 223 225   16 11 2
Ben Gedeon     236 236 240 241     4 1
Mike McCray     237 242 241 242     4 1
Chase Winovich         220 227       7
Noah Furbush         210 217       7
Jared Wangler         219 230       11

Safety

Jarrod Wilson   190 200 202 205 210   10 5 5
Delano Hill     205 205 205 204     0 -1
Dymonte Thomas     190 191 193 191   0 3 -2
Jeremy Clark   191 205 206 205 205   14 0 0
Jabrill Peppers         202 205       3

Cornerback

Blake Countess 176 182 182 183 180 185 6 0 -2 5
Jourdan Lewis     170 174 175 176     5 1
Terry Richardson   154 167 172 170 174   13 3 4
Ross Douglas     176 186 189 186     13 -3
Reon Dawson     170 178 178 175     8 -3
Brandon Watson       185 188 189       1
Channing Stribling     171 176 178 178     7 0

[Hit the jump for discussion on this and other bits I could glean.]

Spring Stuff 2014

Spring Stuff 2014

Submitted by Brian on April 2nd, 2014 at 1:15 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

wait spring football is what again

It's this practice thing that we used to think was super super important because the basketball team was a wet cat and the spring game was in late April. Now we haven't even thought about it because the basketball team is IMPORTANT and also still playing and they've moved the spring game up despite having horrible weather for seemingly the last decade solid.

So… yeah. It is a glimpse into what the football team might be like next year.

So last year's was a constant parade of quotes about how everyone was getting tackled for loss?

Well… no. It is a Pravda-like glimpse weighted by both the program's desire to look good in the absence of actual games and your hope that the next football season will be a fulfilling exercise in fandom.

Consider that hope to be disposed of in a dumpster behind a Five Guys.

All right, then. Let's enter the realm of football with a properly jaundiced eye.

Things To Watch

Will they be a single thing? "Aggression" is the guaranteed defensive watchword every time a coordinator change is made, and "simple" is the equivalent on the offensive side of the ball.

How much of this is standard boilerplate and how much of it is a real problem that Nussmeier is going to solve is pretty much the question for the season. (No, it is not "who is going to start at quarterback?" You are a silly person, person who thinks that.) Lord knows that this site spent most of last year—most of the last three years—blasting Al Borges for not having anything resembling a base offense in his time. Last year's wander from stretch to power to tackle over to inside zone and all things in between was particularly egregious.

It was hardly unprecedented. Michigan never figured out how to run play action off their best play, the inverted veer, never figured out that having mobile quarterbacks run the waggle is just asking them to eat defensive end as soon as they turn around, never figured out what, in fact, they were. Having an identifiable identity is step one towards having one of those offense things.

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Let's try to keep me alive this play, gents [Bryan Fuller]

Is the offensive line… tolerable? Extant? Sieve sieve sieve sieve sieve? I can't say the good feelings are pouring out of spring. This is not a world in which claims that true freshman Mason Cole has a great chance to play the most important position on the line…

…can be dismissed as so much spring hogwash. I mean, yeah, it's almost certainly spring hogwash. But given the situation that buzz comes off as a negative thing about people not named Mason Cole as much as it is a positive one about Cole.

Meanwhile Graham Glasgow, the one returning guy who had a job for the entirety of last season, got held out for a while due to an issue that will also see him suspended for The Horror II, and oh good now I'm thinking about what might happen in The Horror II without Michigan's best interior lineman.

Thinking: try not to do it.

Anyway, injuries have held near-sure-LT Erik Magnuson out and forced Michigan to try a parade of guys probably better suited to play guard at that spot. Reading the tea leaves, the most likely starting line for the spring game reads:

  • LT David Dawson
  • LG Kyle Bosch
  • C [Glasgow placeholder]
  • RG Kyle Kalis
  • RT Ben Braden

And in a perfect world that would remain the line through fall camp except for the insertion of Magnuson. When pinged for offensive line data, Hoke was his usual recalcitrant self but did not seem super enthused all the same:

"The physicalness isn't where we want it yet. I couldn't point out one guy who has been a great finisher.

"Probably Graham (Glasgow), as much as anybody, in some ways. Ben (Braden) is getting better. But we're not near where we need to be."

Not that they could be near where they need to be a few months after whatever that was.

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Here's to this being the "before" picture. [Fuller]

Are Are De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green any diff—. Previous sentence was tackled for loss. Green's been tweeting out pictures of his weight as he strives to get back down to the bowling ball that was the #1 overall tailback in the country to a couple of different services instead of the bowling ball he was last year. Here is a swathe of boilerplate.

"De'Veon's had a very good spring, Derrick's had a better spring than he did in the fall," Hoke said last week. "Justice Hayes has done some really good things, and I'm really proud of him. Both carrying the ball and in the protection game. It'd be nice to get Drake (Johnson) back and put him in the mix."

Chances are it will be hard to tell much what with the offensive line coming together and folks looking confused, but give me one cut from Green that he probably couldn't have managed last year and I'll be happy.

Is Ross Douglas viable at tailback? I kind of think no if only because the Hoke era has expressed a preference for large men running the ball even if they bring little else to the table other than size. Meanwhile, Douglas's bounce to offense comes in the context of Taylor/Countess/Peppers/Lewis/Stribling, a veritable bounty at corner that Douglas didn't figure to crack any time soon. He's also down the depth chart on offense:

"Justice, De'Veon and Derrick are a little bit ahead still, but I think Ross is giving us a little bit more depth and that's really good for us.

"We'll do this through spring and see how he does, and then make a determination if he'll go back to DB."

This kind of positional uncertainty is never a good sign for a prospect's future. If Douglas was in the mix at corner he'd be at corner. Instead he's fourth at best at tailback and probably fifth when Drake Johnson gets back.

But there is a new offensive coordinator who may do things like see what happens if you give Dennis Norfleet the ball, so you never know.

But that probably means the secondary is loaded, right? At first blush Michigan has more corner depth than I can remember. They return both starters from last year plus a couple of promising freshman who did the really hard part—sticking with your man—last year before wilting at the last minute. And then there's that Jabrill Peppers dude. Douglas's positional vagabondery would not be taking place if Michigan didn't go five deep in solid options at corner.

Wide receiver war. With Devin Funchess entrenched at wide receiver, playing time there is now at a premium. The departure of Jeremy Gallon opens up scads of catches, some of which will go to Funchess and Jehu Chesson. The rest will get spread out. While a number of those will go to Amara Darboh, who was building up steam with his play in practice last year before a season-ending foot injury, Michigan is still being cautious with him. You won't see him on Saturday:

“Right now I feel like I’m 100 percent, but they’re keeping me out,” Darboh said Thursday. “By the time fall camp comes around I should be 100 percent.”

One gentleman you will see, and possibly see a lot of, is Freddy Canteen. The freshman early enrollee has been this spring's easy winner of the Grady Brooks Memorial Spring Hype Award. Almost literally everyone who has gotten practice buzz or been there themselves has come away talking about his quickness and advanced technique. One example of many:

"Running with the ones" is a slightly overrated concept since in the course of a spring or fall practice just about everyone will get their shot on the top team to keep folks motivated and just to see what happens. Even so the Canteen drumbeat has been so consistent that he will be the guy everyone is watching for.

One guy you shouldn't expect anything from: Drake Harris. Harris has been shut down for the rest of spring with a hamstring issue. He had a similar problem for his senior year of high school and at this point it seems like he might be headed for a redshirt with Funchess/Darboh/Chesson/Canteen and last year's three-man class potentially ahead of him on the depth chart.

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I'm looking at the man in the mirror. Middle. Whatever. [Fuller]

And then the weird thing. Jake Ryan, middle linebacker. I'm skeptical Ryan will be able to transition to a very different spot that asks him to read and react and then shed responsibly. If he does manage it, it seems like a part of his barbarian nature will be lost. Ryan is a shocking vertical attacker; middle linebackers are not generally tasked with that. When Ryan has been drafted into read and react situations by defensive alignment, it has gone poorly.

But they're going to try it, and spring will be an opportunity to see what's going on with that.

Safeties: we have them? Michigan was clearly dissatisfied with Thomas Gordon midway through last year, which just goes to show that Brady Hoke was in Muncie or San Diego for the decade of Michigan safety play between Marcus Ray and Jordan Kovacs. Great he may not have been; he was pretty much good enough, and when other guys got in the game the step down from pretty much good enough to not was obvious.

Now Gordon is gone and the list of potential replacements is short (inexplicably so given Michigan's apparent need): sophomores Jeremy Clark, Delano Hill, and Dymonte Thomas. Michigan barely has enough dudes to put together a two deep, and there are few candidates to move from corner. Stribling's 176-pound frame would get him run over; ditto Lewis; they're not moving Countess; Taylor's run support is not a strength. That leaves Peppers (moving him away from boundary corner would be a travesty of justice) and redshirt freshman Reon Dawson, who's super super fast but raw and skinny.

So finding someone to play opposite Jarrod Wilson is an important target to hit with few bullets. Here's hoping Clark wins the job with ease; he's got the most experience.

Can a tight end hit something? One of the underrated problems with Michigan's offense a year ago was the tight end spot's total lack of progress. Devin Funchess proved that as a tight end, he was a good wide receiver; more worryingly, AJ Williams was hardly better despite not being, you know, a game changing receiver. Jake Butt was probably the best blocker Michigan had available, and he promptly tore his ACL. Jordan Paskorz left the program.

So. Michigan will hope Williams makes a step forward and turn to two guys coming off redshirt: Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman. They've also converted former SDE Keith Heitzman to that side of the ball. The freshmen are more H-back types than inline ones; Michigan may end up playing them both places just because they have to. Shallman's flirtation with tailback seems over:

Shallman has taken a few reps at running back this spring, but Hoke said he envisions him as a tight end-fullback hybrid.

Given the depth chart that makes sense. I'll be looking for anything resembling a block out of this crew.

Weather. Let's hope it's nice.

Piles Of Position Moves

Piles Of Position Moves

Submitted by Brian on February 25th, 2014 at 7:15 PM

7991698626_6a3e30f718_c[1]

ROTATE [Bryan Fuller]

Per first spring presser:

James Ross and Royce Jenkins-Stone to SAM. Probably inevitable once Ryan move was announced. Obviously Michigan thinking more along the lines of the Stevie Brown style LB/S hybrid there, as Allen Gant is your other SAM at the moment.

And with this shift comes another:

That means the line shifts towards the tight end and the linebackers away. Instead of this:

Under_medium[1]

Last year 5 was Clark, 3 Black, 1 Washington/Pipkins, 5 Heitzman/Beyer, LB Ryan, W Ross, M Morgan.

Michigan will run more of this:

Over_medium[1]

Upshot is the MLB gets significantly more protection, the WLB has to be able to take on more blocks (everyone has to take on blocks) and the SAM can be a lighter player as long as the three-tech and SDE create trouble when single-teamed.

This is a significant change, as you can see by everyone flopping about on the depth charts. While it's not switching to a 3-3-5 and back six times in three years, it does signal uncertainty.

A move to the over does make the Ryan move make a bit more sense but either DE spot is probably a better location for him unless he's suddenly a savant.

Heitzman to TE. With Henry seemingly locking down three-tech that potentially bounces out one of Strobel/Wormley/Godin to SDE, where Brennen Beyer is probably your starter anyway. Heitzman gives Michigan a shot at blocking someone, anyone, and won't be missed.

This would be a good time to remind you that Hoke told the gathered folks at the Detroit Athletic Club that Jake Butt would be back by game three; even if that's a weirdly specific prediction this far out given Jake Ryan's recovery timeine that would be about right.

Shallman to H-back. He wasn't already at H-back?

Ross Douglas to RB. Supposedly had been running there on the scout team and impressing. Michigan does need another bullet there with the loss of Rawls and Toussaint and no recruits filling in the gaps, and meanwhile Ross was at best sixth on the CB depth chart. Kind of doubt he makes much impact this year with Hayes presumably a lot like him and more experienced.

David Dawson to (left) tackle. I'd been telling people Dawson was likely to be the G/T tweener thrust outside by a lack of depth, but even I thought he'd be assigned right tackle duties since he's 6'4". Nope. According to Hoke, the current and incredibly nominal first team line reads Dawson-Bosch-Glasgow-Kalis-Braden.

Erik Magnuson is all but certain to side into that LT spot when he returns, leaving Bosch and Dawson to duke it out on the right. You can read Dawson on the left as an endorsement since that's the most important spot, or you can read Braden on the right as an endorsement since they may expect him to start and want to get him settled in at the position he'll play.

The other guy to watch out for is Patrick Kugler, who could bounce Glasgow out to one of the guard spots and give Michigan some depth.

Logan Tuley-Tillman is out right now, FWIW.

Unverified Voracity Goes One On One

Unverified Voracity Goes One On One

Submitted by Brian on August 13th, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Yes. Fun. Annual best CTK is just four minutes of the Michigan drill:

Countdown to Kickoff 2013: Day 21 - The... by mgovideo

Notables:

  • Lewan buries Keith Heitzman on the first rep; Heitzman comes back and does much better against Schofield on the next one. Not entirely unexpected.
  • Rawls absolutely runs over Ross Douglas on a rep, causing both guys to pop up and jut chests at each other threateningly.
  • Washington looks good on both his reps, though he gave some ground on #1.
  • Ross sheds very well on his single rep, as does Jarrod Wilson. Wormley does not and immediately gets a coach in his face repeating "escape, escape, escape" to him.
  • A rather large-looking Mike McCray has interesting reps separated by 30 seconds or so. On the first one, Kyle Bosch drives him way out of the frame. On the second, he dumps Blake Bars to the ground and makes a tackle.
  • Taco stands up Jake Butt, RB darts by, Mattison exclaims "HE WENT OUTSIDE THE CONE" in an effort to claim that one for the D.
  • Strobel does a good job against walk-on Erik Gunderson.
  • Jeremy Jackson locks up Richardson and waltzes him downfeld. Not a huge surprise, but an indicator as to why it's going to be hard for Richardson to get on the field this year.
  • Pipkins wins a rep against Glasgow with authority.

Omar comin'? Frank Clark gets the CTK treatment:

Countdown to Kickoff 2013: Day 22 - Frank Clark by mgovideo

Clark says he'd be competitive with Devin Gardner in a 40 yard dash… but not Denard. He says he 268, not 277, but a CTK a few days later they say he's 274. I dunno, pick one.

Also available: Aaron Wellman may get results, but does he sound like a gravel truck? Maybe a little. Jeremy Jackson's Day 18 is mostly a look into weirdass Navy Seal exercises like "kick a pole and wiggle forward on your butt" and "rub sand on your head." Jake Ryan is running and whatnot.

Hail Brady. Oh man Michigan's head coach has the same opinion on uniformz as sane people do:

"(The uniform issue is) bigger than it should be," Hoke said Monday during a radio interview with FoxSports' Jay Mohr. "But we’re traditional, and we have such a great tradition and legacies, we’re going to be staying pretty much standard.” …

“We had one uniform we wore once that we won’t wear again,” he said. "It’s something that you’re always trying to have that excitement with your kids, and that’s part of it."

Is that the ghost number outfit, the No Rain bumblebee one, or… actually the Sugar Bowl uniforms were hardly different from the usual and fine.

The times, they have changed. Ohio State picks up a 2015 PG commit from AJ Harris, a 5'8" kid who I'd never heard of. A quick check of the UMHoops page for him reveals nothing but a lot of scouting from various AAU tournaments, so that's why: no one had mentioned him in connection with a Michigan offer. This is interesting for a couple reasons:

  1. It likely removes OSU from the Jalen Brunson chase, but Harris is a AAU teammate of Luke Kennard.
  2. Harris's commitment was "shocking" because as of two weeks ago he said Michigan was at the top and he wanted to be Trey Burke.

Harris told Eleven Warriors that "it's true, I did want to hear from Michigan," but Michigan is focused on a half-dozen high profile targets. So… Ohio point guard picks Ohio State because Michigan showed no interest. Remember when the basketball program was 1-6 in the Big Ten? No? I don't either.

Meanwhile in silly things said on the internet:

What could make it sweeter? Beating out Michigan for a prospect that two weeks ago wanted to emulate Trey Burke.

To beat the man, the man has to be in the ring, or at least cognizant of the fact there is a ring.

Booker and Johnson do things. Elsewhere in basketball recruiting news—we are downshifting from occasional roundups as football season starts—Devin Booker releases a top five of Michigan, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, and Florida. The latter two are not reputed to be strong contenders, especially Florida. Booker told Scout that he's set up officials with the other four schools and pull the trigger "whenever I feel whatever schools is right for me" and that he's not even sure he'll visit Florida.

You are rooting for Indiana decommit (and Kentucky legacy) James Blackmon to pick the Wildcats, as they seem to be the biggest threat at the moment. Indiana blog Inside The Hall thinks Blackmon is all but locked up for the Wildcats, so we've got that going for us. The primary way things could go pear-shaped if Blackmon takes Kentucky off the table is if Michigan gets a commit from Trevon Bluiett and Booker looks at Stauskas/Irvin/LeVert/Bluiett as a higher hill to climb than Michigan State's roster.

Also, Ypsi PF Jaylen Johnson, who recently took a visit to Michigan, is profiled by the Louisville paper:

“I love his activity,” Meyer said. “He’s athletic, he’s long, and he’s so active. He’s such an aggressive rebounder, one of those who is always fighting for position early. I love his feel for the game as a rebounder.”

Meyer thinks Johnson will end up at Louisville, so expect him to cut Louisville from his list immediately. YES I AM STILL BITTER.

Finally, touted 2015 PF Carlton Bragg plans a visit:

We talked about it a little,” Graves said. “I think Carlton would be a three, stretch four because he has the jumper to be 6-9 just like a forward that runs the floor, like a hybrid. We haven’t talked x’s and o’s but they can see him in their system, especially with the three’s that they shoot.”

Bragg is open at the moment; Ohio State will be a major player.

They were almost ready to throw in the towel last year. On the OL, that is. Apparently the debate as to whether to redshirt Kyle Kalis was being had within the walls of Schembechler Hall as well as without:

"It sucked," the redshirt freshman offensive lineman said Sunday. "It sucked. So many times, I was close to going in, but they didn't want to burn my redshirt.

"Everyone wants to play, and it sucks (when you don't get to). And I was mad about it."

So many times I was like "why aren't they playing Kalis." At least we know now there was much debate about it.

Prepare for WJC departures. The United States of Hockey handicaps the National Junior Evaluation Camp field, which includes four Michigan forwards. Chris Peters projects that Compher ("One of the better centers for most of the camp… really strong when playing a bottom-six role and playing an aggressive, grinding two-way style") and Copp ("A prime candidate to play the fourth-line shutdown role the U.S. will so badly need to succeed") will make the roster, while Motte and Nieves are question marks. Nieves's evaluation is pretty much the thing:

Nieves is one of those guys where if he finds that missing piece to his game, he could be really good. With size, speed and some truly remarkable puck skills, he’s got a lot of the tools going for him. He just couldn’t seem to finish the play out with the right decision or buy himself time when he needed it. That led to poor shots or turnovers and that’s going to be tough to do at the WJC level. The speed and skills are there, but I think he needs some more work.

Right now he's Milan Gajic, a guy who looks like he's got every skill you could want but doesn't put it together to blow up. He's got some more time to break out of that rut.

Meanwhile, Motte is sounding like something not very much like the midget puck wizard I'd assumed he would be:

Motte showed good quickness and some skill in a solid camp performance. He had some good two-way play and worked really well when playing with Compher and Fasching in the middle parts of the camp.

He might grab a lower-rung spot, especially if the brass thinks his long familiarity with Compher would make a good pairing.

Are they related to Wiz Khalifa? I don't know what this means.

For Gallon, there’s an added bonus there: He and Gardner are extremely tight. “Closer than Phineas and Ferb,” as Gallon puts it.

I am old.

Etc.: Big Ten building spree reaches 1.5 billion dollars. No M-OSU night games on the docket according to Jim Delany. Chengelis wants to futz with the tunnel. Michael Bradley profiled. Penn State fans no likey Hoke after the Wangler decommitment. Moeller and Lou Holtz break down The Catch.

Ondre Pipkins is ready to eat… metaphorically. The center battle should be decided this week.

2013 Recruiting: Ross Douglas

2013 Recruiting: Ross Douglas

Submitted by Brian on May 21st, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas

       
Avon, OH – 5'10", 180
       

Ross%20Douglas%20Avon_2[1]

Scout 3*, #55 CB
Rivals 4*, #241 overall
#22 CB, #14 OH
ESPN 4*, #33 CB, #22 OH
24/7 4*, #23 CB, #16 OH
Other Suitors PSU, Nebraska, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Northwestern
YMRMFSPA Courtney Avery
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post from yrs truly
Notes PSU decommit. Early enrollee. Semper Fidelis game.

Film

Senior highlights:

 

 

 

Hey, look, it's a corner-sized corner. Ross Douglas is about the same size as Blake Countess and Raymon Taylor, ie not huge, but not tiny. Along with Jourdan Lewis, Douglas comprises the (relatively) low upside, low downside section of the corner class. Unlike Reon Dawson and Channing Stribling, who could be anything from awesome to perpetual special teamers, Douglas is likely to be a contributor but not an out-and-out star.

That's not to sell the kid short. He has physical skills. Douglas first popped up on radars when he showed out as a 5'8" rising freshman(!)—ie, basically an eighth grader—and put up a 4.54 40 at a Rivals camp geared towards underclass kids. A few months later he replicated the 40($) en route to being named "combine king" at a similar event. A year later he'd picked up that Tennessee offer($) and was running 40s a tenth faster. He picked Penn State($) almost a year before signing day, decommitting when the NCAA broke out the flamethrower. 24 hours later he'd picked Michigan.

Michigan has acquired a slightly bigger and more advanced version of Courtney Avery. (Both were mostly offensive players. Douglas got two years as a defensive back while Avery barely played defense in high school.) Almost everyone describes him as a quick, hip-flipping fiend, with a couple guys making explicit comparisons to Avery. Scout's Bill Greene does as part of an extensive scouting report($):

WHAT TO LIKE: …pure speed athlete … He can run and jump with the best of Ohio's top defensive backs… skill set is more than adequate, and all he lacks is game experience at the position

WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS: At 5-foot-10, or 5-foot-11, Douglas is what he is. He is not a long-armed, tall cornerback. …

WHAT ARE THE INTANGIBLES? … I feel safe in saying there are zero character concerns with Ross Douglas. He comes from a great family, with his father being a retired air traffic controller, while his mother is an associate dean of students at Case Western. An older brother is currently enrolled in medical school. … I don't know what the ceiling is for Ross Douglas a player, but I suspect it is pretty high. I do feel comfortable saying he is going to do everything he can to reach that ceiling, and he should be a player Michigan fans can be very proud of.

He showed out at a lot of camps, drawing praise for his "ability to cover in the slot", and "effortless" hip-flip. At something called "HSPD" he was a "pass breakup machine"; at a Nike camp Mark Givler said it is "fun to watch" Douglas do drills because "his backpedal is outstanding and he flips his hips as well as any DB in the state."

At that Nike camp he drew strong praise($) from Josh Helmholdt: 

8. CB ROSS DOUGLAS, AVON, OHIO

Douglas is so consistently clean in coverage that you almost forget he is out there. … The 5-10, 175-pound prospect is not a flashy player. He stays in great position in relation to the wide receiver throughout routes and makes throwing the ball in his direction very unappealing. Douglas has all the speed he needs to stay with receivers and his technique is near flawless.

With that take it's no surprise Rivals is the most bullish on him. 247 was also impressed that day:

On this day, Penn State commit Ross Douglas was our pick for the top player of the talented group. He doesn’t have the height and length that is ideal in a corner prospect but he was the most fluid and natural defender in coverage at the event.

Douglas has great feet, flips his hips with ease and he also has some make-up speed to recover in tight spaces. The only thing he seems to be missing is that prototype height.

ESPN is a dissenter here:

He plays and pursues fast, but lacks ideal top-end speed and does not project to be a lockdown cover corner in college you want to leave on an island. He shows a good nose for the ball and is at his best playing the pass in front of him. He displays good footwork and balance as well as a good closing burst. He lacks a tight, fluid waist and doesn't always look smooth in transition when locked down in man, but he can recover with burst and proper inside positioning to make a play on the ball. He does a good job using his hands and leverage in tight coverage. He's aggressive and effective in press. He will reroute and take away the inside release. He competes for the jump ball when challenged deep in one-on-one coverage but can struggle versus taller receivers. We didn't see great leaping or ball skills.

Scout is kind of in the same boat. There's a lot of "good" in their profile:

STRENGTHS

Backpedal Quickness

Change of Direction

Hip Flexibility

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Size

Good athlete with good feet and quickness. Good speed and ability to run downfield with receivers. At his size, bigger receivers may give him trouble. He will have to get stronger in college. Played more offense than defense in high school, so he will have a learning curve for corner, but is a smart, coachable kid with the athletic tools you need in coverage. - Allen Trieu

Ah, the always-funny "size" area for improvement. No one should ever give me access to Scout's database, because I'll immediately add things like "number of arms" to everyone's "areas for improvement."

It was more of the same at the Semper Fi game. Semper Fi is Yet Another High School All Star game. While no one's really sure if the Army game or UA game is #1, Semper Fi is definitively #3. It does represent a higher level of competition for everyone who shows up, though, and is the most recent scouting we've got for Douglas. That scouting is MOTS, for the most part:

  • Scout: "…made it hard for any ball thrown his way to make it to the receiver. He never lost sight of the ball or his man. … physical at the line of scrimmage and also [able to] flip his hips and run in coverage. …showed speed to make up ground late on a deep ball.
  • 247: "Douglas does not have outstanding size, but he’s got good hips and feet, can change direction well and has excellent recovery speed."
  • Rivals: "…downright giddy over the chance to compete with top-level competition. When he was forced to rotate out of drills, he immediately begged to get back to the action. He was fundamentally sound and had his moments of greatest [sic, no idea], but his spirit and competitiveness helped him stand out.

The idea. You have it.

But wait, there's more: in addition to Douglas's physical skills, you have that "is an awesome dude" statement from Greene above. His coach strongly backs that POV:

"… I promised [Hoke] one thing that Ross Douglas will never do: he'll never embarrass Michigan's football program, ever. He's a top-notch athlete and he's got great character and he comes from a tremendous family. … In addition to that, he's worked extremely hard on his technique. He works on his craft harder than anybody probably I've ever coached."

Helmholdt chimes in($) by calling him "very smart" and "very instinctual," so the above the neck stuff all seems to be there. The Rodriguez-mentioning moratorium is temporarily lifted so we can compare the 2010 class—down to ten guys of 27—to these Hoke classes in which everyone shows up and stays around unless they get injured.

 

 

Etc.: Like dang near every other DB in the class, he's been told that nickelback is where he'll get his first swing($)—in this case where he got his first swing since Douglas enrolled early. He has apparently lost that battle to the six-foot-plus thumper Dymonte Thomas.

Upon his commitment:

Coach Hoke told me all the defensive staff raves about me," Douglas said. "They are bringing in four corners this class and they brought in four [defensive backs] last class, so they just want me to compete. They said there is a lot of opportunity at Michigan."

Why Courtney Avery? Smallish cover-oriented nickelback from Ohio who mostly played offense in high school.

Douglas has several things on Avery, though: an inch or two, two years of experience, three quarters of a star (Avery was a consensus three-star), and a number of good-but-not-elite offers. While Avery has struggled whenever he's been asked to move outside, Douglas has enough upside to project him as a potential field corner.

You could go Blake Countess here if you're being optimistic, but the scouting reports on Countess were rapture. Douglas's are a couple notches down from that. Maybe split the difference between Countess and Avery?

Guru Reliability: Exacting. Camps, healthy, played the position for a couple years, All Star appearance, basic agreement save ESPN's fire-and-forget take.

Variance: Low-plus. A slight amount of uncertainty about his experience at corner, but two years as a starter there is barely less than a full-timer would have at this point. Has whatever the opposite of character issues is.

Ceiling: Moderate-plus. Is never going to be tall or Charles Woodson. Has enough skill to be a solid contributor.

General Excitement Level: Moderate. Should be a contributor and will at least be solid depth. Could be a fine starting option; seems unlikely to be a war daddy.

Projection: Despite the early enrollment a redshirt could beckon. Douglas seemed behind not only the starters but a couple vets in spring at both field corner (boundary seems out of the question for him as a freshman) and nickel. More likely, Douglas gets special teams time and the occasional snap on defense this year.

Next year it's probably more of the same. Michigan loses only Courtney Avery. Competition for playing time will be fierce. The best bet for PT in year two is for Douglas to become a preferred option to Dymonte Thomas on third and long. Tough road, that. It is totally great that a guy like Douglas is the option off the bench in case someone goes down. That's a luxury right there.

Given the emergence of Thomas and Countess having the field corner spot on lockdown for the next year or two, that redshirt looks pretty tempting.

2013 Recruiting Wrap: The Defense

2013 Recruiting Wrap: The Defense

Submitted by Ace on February 7th, 2013 at 3:58 PM

PREVIOUSLY: The Offense


Dymonte Thomas

Following up yesterday's breakdown of the 2013 recruits on offense, here's a look at Michigan's defensive class—click each player's name to see their original commitment post:

Name Position State Rivals Scout 24/7 ESPN
Henry Poggi DT MD 4 4 4 4
Maurice Hurst Jr. DT MA 3 4 4 3
Taco Charlton DE OH 4 4 4 4
Ben Gedeon LB OH 4 4 4 4
Mike McCray LB OH 4 4 4 4
Jourdan Lewis CB MI 4 4 4 4
Ross Douglas CB OH 4 3 4 4
Reon Dawson CB OH 3 3 3 3
Channing Stribling CB NC 3 3 3 3
Dymonte Thomas S OH 4 5 4 4
Delano Hill S MI 4 4 4 3

And now, some superlatives:

BEST POSITION GROUP: Linebacker

This class is pretty evenly spread across the position groups—an argument could be made for pretty much any group on the field. In an effort to avoid giving all of the awards to Dymonte Thomas, I'll go with the linebackers here. After 2012's big haul, Michigan only needed a couple of linebackers in the class, and they filled their two spots with a pair of very solid prospects in Mike McCray and Ben Gedeon.

The lone linebacker spot the 2012 class didn't cover was on the strong side, and McCray's size (6'4", 230 lbs.) and athleticism make him an ideal fit there. Gedeon, meanwhile, is a stellar athlete—he also starred at running back for Hudson—who should be able to cover the field sideline-to-sideline from the weakside linebacker position.

Honorable Mention: Safety, Cornerback

BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Strongside DE

There isn't one, and that's the only hole in this class on the defensive side of the ball. After Michigan brought in three SDE-types in 2012—Matt Godin, Tom Strobel, and Chris Wormley—there wasn't a major need, especially with in-state standout Malik McDowell firmly in their sights for the 2014 class.

MOST LIKELY TO START FROM DAY ONE: Dymonte Thomas

Defensive highlights start at the 4:22 mark.*

It's distinctly possible that no member of the 2013 class starts on defense next season, and that's a very good thing for Michigan. If one will, however, it's safety Dymonte Thomas, a dominant force in the state of Ohio at both running back and safety for the last three seasons. Michigan has to replace Jordan Kovacs, and if Jarrod Wilson isn't ready to step in at free safety, it's likely that Thomas Gordon will play there while Thomas slides in at strong safety.

Thomas may be the best pure athlete in the class—if he wanted, he could've easily been a four-star running back recruit—and he brings a very physical presence to the secondary. He should be an asset in run support off the bat and he has all the tools necessary to be solid in coverage, as well. Down the road, I think Thomas will be an all-conference—or even All-American—player, and it may be tough to keep him off the field this fall.

Honorable Mention: The only other play I see having a shot to start this year is Taco Charlton—he's an impressive player and the weakside DE spot is open to competition. That said, I don't see that happening unless Michigan gets hit by the injury bug.

----------------
*Also of note: those are junior highlights. His senior reel is well worth a look.

SUREST THING: Dymonte Thomas

See above. Frankly, I'm surprised Scout was the only service to rank him as a five-star.

Honorable Mention: Henry Poggi. Poggi may not be a superstar—he doesn't always explode off the ball on film—but he seems like a guy who should at least be a solid starter down the road.

BOOM OR BUST: Jourdan Lewis

I've seen cornerback Jourdan Lewis play in either a game or camp setting over a half-dozen times at this point, and he's an outstanding athlete who could conceivably contribute in the return game or even at receiver. When he played across from current Wolverine Terry Richardson as a junior, I thought Lewis was flat-out the better player—he's a little taller and is extremely good at making a play on the ball. After giving him a closer look this year, however, I noticed a couple holes in his game:

There are a couple major concerns I have with Lewis, however, that were on display on Friday night. He does rely on that recovery speed far too much in man coverage—if OLSM's quarterback had thrown that hitch on time, for example, I don't think Lewis would've been able to break up the pass. Then there's run support, where Lewis is very limited by his small frame; at his size, he has to be completely committed to throwing his weight around and tackling with proper technique, and I don't see that at this point. He tends to dive for an ankle-tackle and shies away from major contact—there's a stark contrast between him and Webb, who's both bigger and more willing to lay a hit.

Lewis has all the athleticism necessary to be a very good cover corner, but he's going to need to add some weight, embrace the physicality of the run game, and refine his coverage skills if he wants to be a major contributor at cornerback. If that doesn't work out, he could flip to offense and be a playmaker in the slot, so his versatility gives him a lesser chance of flaming out, but there's no guarantee he'd stick there, either. I think Lewis is a prospect with a high ceiling, but he's going to have to work to get there.

Honorable Mention: Maurice Hurst Jr.—the athletic big man could wreak havoc on the interior, but he's got to learn to play low.

MGOSCOUTED STAMP OF APPROVAL: Taco Charlton

When I drove down to Pickerington to see defensive end Taco Charlton's Central squad take on crosstown rival North (and fellow commit Jake Butt), I expected to see a raw pass-rushing specialist. Instead, I saw him play an instrumental role in keeping North running back Godwin Igwebuike (Northwestern commit) well below his usual numbers, sacrificing his personal stats to key on the run—and he still came up with 1.5 sacks:

Despite having a reputation as a pass-rush specialist, Charlton was instrumental in limiting Igwebuike on the ground, finishing with ten tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was largely tasked with keeping contain, and I don't recall a single instance where a running play got outside of him if it went to his side. While he sometimes allows offensive linemen to get their hands into his chest off the snap, he did a solid job of engaging and using his hands to shed blocks. He played a very disciplined game against the run, showed off a very high motor—especially impressive since he also moonlighted at tight end and on special teams—and always seemed to end up around the football.

As a pass-rusher, Charlton showed off more of a power game than what I've seen from him on camp film, getting his hands inside the blocker and bull-rushing to great effect. He still has that impressive speed around the edge and got pressure on a couple of speed-rushes, but for the most part he went right at his blocker—likely due to his contain responsibilities against the run.

Charlton has also really begun to fill out; Michigan lists him at 6'6", 249 pounds after he enrolled early, and he's got the frame to easily get up to the 270-pound range without losing his impressive quickness. I think he could factor into the weakside DE rotation as soon as this fall, and down the road he could be the edge-rushing threat that Michigan has lacked at DE for some time.

Honorable Mention: Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill. I've covered Lewis; Hill wasn't a guy I really focused on while watching Cass Tech since he was a long-time Iowa commit and there were so many D-I prospects on the field, but it wasn't hard to notice him anyway—he always seemed to find his way to the football and was a solid tackler once he got there.

SLEEPER: Channing Stribling 

When cornerback Channing Stribling earned an offer—and subsequently committed—at Michigan's camp over some more highly-touted prospects (including eventual teammate Reon Dawson), he was a complete unknown despite coming from a football powerhouse at Matthews (NC) Butler. He was immediately pegged as an underrated sleeper, and after a senior season spent making big play after big play, it seemed like he was on the verge of making a huge leap in the recruiting rankings.

That never quite happened—Stribling ended up as a three-star across the board, so the sleeper label still fits. At 6'2", 170 pounds, he's very tall for a cornerback, and his playmaking skills were on display all year—in one game last fall, he had two receiving touchdowns, a defensive touchdown, and a kickoff return for a touchdown. If Stribling can fill out his frame and refine his coverage skills, he could be a very good corner; he's also extremely raw, and maintaining the quickness to cover college receivers at that height is no easy task.

Honorable Mention: Delano Hill

Thursday Recruitin' Talks About Practice

Thursday Recruitin' Talks About Practice

Submitted by Ace on January 3rd, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Today's recruiting roundup covers the various All-American bowl practices, the latest on Derrick Green, and (debunked) rumors about a commit taking visits.

Say "Tease"


L to R: Jourdan Lewis, Dymonte Thomas, Derrick Green, Jake Butt, Chris Fox

Michigan has four commits at the Army All-American Game and many are wondering if they'll soon have a fifth after VA RB Derrick Green jumped into a picture with them (above, via). Green conducted a live chat on Rivals yesterday, reiterating that Michigan is his top school, holding a "small" lead over the field—Auburn, Tennessee, Miami, Florida State, and USC. He also got the Fred Jackson Seal of Approval for this quote:

Comment From Guest
Who would you compare your running style to?

Derrick Green: I compare my running style to a combination of Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and Trent Richardson

Green mentioned the possibility of committing within the next week or so—though not at the Army game itself—but also stated a desire to take his two remaining official visits even after he commits; if his choice is Michigan, he'd obviously have to talk that out with the coaches.

FL S Leon McQuay III is set to announce on Friday and the sense from insiders is that Florida State—the presumed pick—and USC both hold an edge on Michigan, and quite possibly Vanderbilt does as well. If he holds off on making a decision, which Sam Webb has mentioned as a slight possibility, then the Wolverines could have hope; as it stands, not so much.

Matters are looking better for CA OL Cameron Hunt, at least if Patrick Kugler is to be believed:

Hunt will take his official visit to Ann Arbor on January 11th.

Michigan is out of the running for for Wisconsin commit Marcus Ball, according to 247's Evan Flood. The Wolverines were pursuing Ball as a linebacker.

[For practice reports on the commits and more, hit THE JUMP.]

Monday Recruitin' Hits The Road

Monday Recruitin' Hits The Road

Submitted by Ace on November 26th, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Today's recruiting roundup surveys the landscape as several coaches are fired and the rest prepare for in-home visits, recaps Michigan commits in their state playoffs, and more.

One Final Note From The Game

There's no official word on Conley's status, but don't expect him to be considered a commit for much longer. The question of whether or not he could find himself back in the class eventually is more difficult to answer; his situation isn't the same as David Dawson's or Pharaoh Brown's—Conley was up-front with the coaches about his desire to take visits. We'll have to wait and see if the coaches decide to treat his case differently.

And Now Let's Never Talk About The Game Again

Good? Good.

In-home visits with recruits begin this week, and some very interesting names have emerged as players who will host Michigan coaches, including one we haven't seen in a while:

Yes, that Ty Isaac, one-time top running back target and current USC commit. While there's no indication that he's wavering on his commitment, Lane Kiffin's job security has come under fire—especially in the wake of a derp-tacular finish to the Notre Dame game—and it's worth noting that recruits must approve of a visit before a coach can drop by; Isaac is at least willing to listen to Michigan's latest pitch.

Does that mean anything in regards to VA RB Derrick Green? I doubt it. Green's other presumed top choices, Auburn and Tennessee, have now both fired their head coaches—in Auburn's case, they just cleaned out the entire staff. That leaves Oregon, Miami, and Ole Miss as Michigan's top competition. Oregon doesn't fit Green's stated desire to play in a pro-style offense and Miami has the Nevin Shapiro cloud looming over their program. It's possible Green chooses Ole Miss out of a desire to play in the South, but that's a major step down in program quality compared to Michigan.

[For more planned in-home visits, a wrapup of last weekend's playoff action, and more, hit THE JUMP.]