Michigan's longest-standing commit is no longer one:
— Erik Swenson (@Eiek77) January 20, 2016
While that's a surprise it's less of a surprise since this week people started putting their name next to the assertion that he would not end up in the class. Mike Spath said so in a post on attrition; Wiltfong did the same at 247; Webb concurred. With Northwestern and Nebraska possible landing spots, academics are obviously not a problem.
Swenson committed to Brady Hoke's Michigan sometime during the Truman administration and hasn't wavered or visited elsewhere; like Rashad Weaver and Kiante Enis this appears to be a case where Michigan re-evaluated the players' talent after their senior season and did not like what they saw. Let's talk about how we feel about that, with the caveat that we are working with incomplete information here since neither side is offering much detail on what went down.
Editorial opinion on decommitting guys based on talent
Michigan's suffered a number of decommits this cycle. Some were not Michigan's choice, others are because of academic concerns, and a few look like Michigan straight-up pulling offers from committed recruits because they prefer other players. To date players in the latter category appear to be Enis, Weaver, and Swenson.
This could be anywhere from completely legit (Harbaugh tells them they may have to find another landing spot if things don't work out) to not great (this is not communicated). There's a post on the board from a gentleman claiming to be two degrees of separation from a recruit who consciously uncoupled from Michigan, and it was more or less the former:
He said the coaches meticulously laid out who his competition would be, and explained to him that they weren't done recruiting the position yet. Harbaugh also told him that his scholarship to one of the best academic institutes was absolutely still available to him, but he would need to work his ass off to see any playing time. Said recruit has decided that while academics are important, playing football is his true passion and wants to see the field sooner than later. He would rather fine tune his game on the field and get better.
Despite the parting of ways the recruit seemed fine with the overall result, as he got a ton more interest after "Michigan commit" was appended to his resume.
Enis and Weaver were probably given a heads-up a couple months ago. Enis made an official to Indiana in December; Weaver scheduled an official to Temple in November. In any case they are likely to find schools that are a better fit for them and have fine college careers.
This doesn't really bother me. These days "commit" is used about as accurately as "literally" and Harbaugh has adapted to that situation. If you want to visit, visit. Michigan is going to recruit as if commits don't exist, just like everyone else does. It can be infuriating for players, coaches, and fans as order and structure break down but that's life. I've never really railed about that practice; it's shipping guys out mid-career without a degree, against their will, that rankles. I don't think Michigan will be doing that and certainly hope they never do.
However, Swenson's situation is considerably more sketch. He has not made a peep since his commitment and was tweeting about signing with Michigan as late as January 3rd. Webb says "don't be surprised if a little mudslinging happens." Swenson took the high road, but if someone pops off after a LOI is safely faxed I won't be surprised, nor will I have much to say other than "seems accurate."
If Michigan was going to pull Swenson's scholarship it should have at least warned him about the possibility during the season so he could make a backup plan. That doesn't look like the case and it appears Michigan has pissed some people off. Not a good look.
If he wants to play and does land with the Wildcats or Huskers, he's probably better off. Michigan looked at senior film and decided he would not play.
I wouldn't want to go to a school that thought I wouldn't play and wouldn't tell me that; I would expect them to tell me that. By November at the latest.
This isn't so much a rug being pulled out from under someone as an order for a rug being canceled. Michigan does have to get more organized with this stuff going forward. Setting someone adrift approximately three weeks before Signing Day—the news took a week or two to get out—isn't enough time for them to find the best landing spot.