[Isaiah Hole/WolverinesWire]

Exit Amauri Pesek-Hickson Comment Count

Seth February 4th, 2019 at 11:59 AM

It appears that Michigan has chosen to part ways with previously incoming athlete recruit Amauri Pesek-Hickson, who spoke to to Rivals' Josh Helmholdt ($).

After the players that declared for the NFL draft date passed, Harbaugh called me and told me that “we might have to go to plan B”. I asked why, and he told me that the spots they have open for the 2019 class they want to fill with DT and DE grad transfers and he wants me to reclassify and come in as a 2020 prospect.

Those of you with a Rivals account can take the link to get more specifics about what Michigan told Pesek-Hickson before they changed their story to the above. Those without can ask a friend with a Rivals account (please don't post paywalled info here; I've done enough already).

UPDATE: Nick Baumgardner of the Detroit Free Press has more details after speaking to APH's father:

At the time of his pledge, Michigan put a plan in place for Pesek-Hickson – who has scored a 30 on the ACT – to bring his grade-point average up during his fall semester at Blue Valley North to make sure there was no doubt about whether or not he’d be eligible to get into U-M academically.

Pesek-Hickson was under the impression from Michigan that prep school would only be an option if his academic situation wasn’t good enough, his father said.

APH was a Ronnie Bell-like prospect, a three-star athlete from Kansas (745th on the 247 composite) and basketball player who only played football for one year, and whom Michigan was looking at as an athletic defensive prospect. Though he played safety in his one high school season, at already 6'2"/215 we expected him to grow into an outside linebacker in the way of Devin Gil.

He did not sign a letter of intent on early signing day with the rest of his class, but it was believed at the time to be only a formality. At the time safety commit Quinten Johnson told MLive that he was holding off to sign with his high school teammates but there was no indication why Pesek-Hickson had also not signed; early reporting on him suggests academics were highly unlikely to be an issue.

It appears that Michigan was in fact slow-playing him while figuring out their numbers, and did not indicate as much to Pesek-Hickson. It's certainly not a good look for Harbaugh and his staff; I'd say this is much worse than the Swenson debacle, which occurred over months and came down to a failure to communicate. In this case Pesek-Hickson seems to have been misled about whether he had a spot in this class and was given two days before Signing Day to find other options. While APH doesn't have to make a decision on Signing Day, his options at this point are probably limited as most schools that might have had interest already have scholarship commitments to the players they recruited instead.

Michigan's need for outside linebackers in the 2020 class is now even greater, and the staff's credibility with borderline recruits remains an issue of concern.



February 4th, 2019 at 12:04 PM ^

Would have to hear both sides of the story to know if Harbaughs credibility is at stake here. Your going off what a 17 year old kid is saying and don’t know the other side of the story 

It may actually be a BS move by JH but we will never know what he really told this kid. He may have been told from the start there is a scholarship if the numbers work but if not we won’t be able to honor and you should keep all options open. People usually tell a story that shows them in a favorable light 


February 4th, 2019 at 12:19 PM ^

In this case I don't see any reason to not believe the player, and this is far from the first time Harbaugh's credibility in these matters has been questioned.


I'm also trying to find the piece Ace wrote in 2015 about how Stanford recruits were routinely processed. Suffice to say in these circumstances Harbaugh does not have the possession arrow.

Trader Jack

February 4th, 2019 at 1:41 PM ^

If that makes you feel better, fine, but we actually know what "the cold hard truth" is in this instance. Michigan decided to process a kid that they no longer have room for, and they've given him very little time to find another landing spot. Sometimes the truth is just the truth and there isn't another side to it.


February 4th, 2019 at 3:27 PM ^

Thanks trader jack. Didn’t realize you had the inside info and have been privy to all conversations between these parties. It seems other reports contradict your theory but we will just go with what you said rather then taking an approach of maybe we should seek to understand all sides rather then condem from one second hand account 

Trader Jack

February 4th, 2019 at 3:36 PM ^

Really? What other, contrary reports are you referencing? I'm getting my information not only from the Freep article, but from Rivals and 247, which all seem like pretty credible places. Do you actually have other information, or do you just not want to believe that the football program you support would engage in this type of roster management?


February 4th, 2019 at 5:32 PM ^

You seem to be doing a good enough job putting your own spin on what you think the truth is. I have no problem understanding that a program I support can do the wrong thing and have even called them out for it in the past.  

What has been reported is not as horrible as Seth made it out to be and in recruiting there is something called a commitable offer which it appears this kid never had.  He did not sign in December which is usually a sign the program or the kid are going the other way. He was told a month ago they wanted him to grey shirt so he is not being pushed out as you suggested just being told to delay it and he does not like that. But of course just putting these facts out there does not make a great story for recruiting sites and making money so instead come out with a story saying just today they told him he doesn’t have an offer

But since you are the only one who knows what has been said between these parties then I guess I should condem JH for pulling such a horrible move 


February 4th, 2019 at 12:20 PM ^

Trying to figure out why this kid is upset. He had no other major offers, right? Michigan is telling him he can go to prep school for a semester, then get a full-ride scholarship. I know prep school can be expensive, but get a loan.

Maybe the message wasn't as clear as it should have been from the coaches, but this kid should be overjoyed, not angry. I don't get it. There are 10,000 high school seniors who would love to have this opportunity. This guy played one year of high school football and hit the jackpot. 


February 4th, 2019 at 12:04 PM ^

Appreciate this. As with a lot of currents of criticism about the football coaching staff around here, I always wonder why it's not possible to pick up the phone and ask them what the story is, or put important questions to them at pressers. I don't necessarily assume that there's a good excuse for this, but ASKING would remind them that there's an independent, somewhat forward-thinking corpus of critical thinkers out there--among them us tax-payers and alumni--who are keen to have them keep it on the up and up. 

I Like Burgers

February 4th, 2019 at 12:18 PM ^

They’d have to have pressers for people to ask them questions. And reporters don’t have the coaches phone numbers. They call the athletic department, and the AD generally gives them the blow off response du jour.

In short, reporters don’t ask because the university makes it so they can’t ask.


February 4th, 2019 at 5:30 PM ^

You're nuts if you don't think almost all the credible beat writers don't have at least one of Don Brown, Jim Harbaugh, Jay Harbaugh, or Partridge in their phone. I promise you, it's not as hard to get a coaches phone number as you think, and a lot of the coaches will casually shoot the shit with reporters to try and gather information about what jobs may be opening up, transfer movement, and other details that they may not be privy to at the moment. Coaches are bar none, the most gossipy and fickle group in the world. 


February 4th, 2019 at 12:19 PM ^

The coaches are forbidden by rule (both NCAA and federal privacy concerns) to speak about recruits.  Once they're enrolled in school, and part of the team, they can talk.  Before they're enrolled, or if they never do enroll, the staff cannot say a single thing.  They can't explain decisions, they can't tell you they're side, and they can't refute anything the kid says - other than in using generalities that can't (hopefully) come back to bite them by having broken some rule.


February 4th, 2019 at 12:33 PM ^

Yes, with the addition that coaches can also talk about a player who signs an LOI to play for the school.  

It's always amazing to see posts about "Why not ask the coaches about player X" who has neither signed nor enrolled.  Or posts about "Why doesn't the coach talk about player Y" who has neither signed nor enrolled.  It's like saying, "Hey, coach, go ahead and commit a recruiting violation by giving a straightforward answer to this question I'm about to ask you."  Why, why, WHY would anybody do something so stupid??


February 4th, 2019 at 12:50 PM ^

This is, if you will permit me, crap, hazy dissimulation at best. Whether coaches can address the specifics or not doesn't mean they can't--shouldn't--be open to public scrutiny about their methods, and about specific cases where it looks like they f*d people over. That's why we have sunshine laws--sunlight helps KEEP people ethical in the first place. And by the same token, coaches should have every chance to present their case. There are ways to address issues without revealing details that might harm athletes in question. 

There's a weird rash of posters here airily dismissing thoughtful arguments, then saying something so cliched and rote as to reveal they are not giving the issue any damned thought at all.

Again, I appreciate Seth et al having the fortitude to speak to this, despite the avalanche of asininity that was possible might follow. It can't only be ugly if Saban or Izzo does it. 


February 4th, 2019 at 1:27 PM ^

Those sunshine laws do not apply to the world of recruiting, but your overall point is fair.  I seem to remember that Harbaugh did eventually comment on how the Swenson situation played out and even took some ownership for the apparent communication gap, as it were.  Perspectives may vary on that.

This is bad look for the program, and I wish Harbaugh would find ways not be placed in situations like this.  If the staff had been upfront on whatever contingencies there were for the scholarship to be available this year, fine.  But the kid's actions do not suggest this, as it is now well past the "early signing day," which has become the de facto signing day, and he is only now exploring options.

Rationalizing that this may ultimately be "better" for him because he'll find another program that he is better suited to, or suggesting that he should be fine delaying his dream of playing major college football for another year while going to prep school, is just that, rationalizations.  It is exactly the kind of thing we would ridicule fans of Alabama, OSU, MSU, etc. for doing.


February 4th, 2019 at 1:52 PM ^

Sunshine laws apply to public meetings.  They're inapplicable to recruiting, so your reference to them here seems like fuzzy thinking at best, and disingenuous bombast at worst. 

But maybe you can give a plausible clarification, so I'll ask.  What sort of explanation do you think the coaches can give that won't constitute a recruiting violation?  Do you have anything more specific than "There are ways?"


February 4th, 2019 at 1:25 PM ^

At this point he could not talk about the recruit because he is still just a recruit. I am sure JH knows what is being said and doubt he would say a lot more. He’s not the type of coach to come out and say look the kid lied we told him months ago or say yes we screwed him over. 

Articles and others in the know said this kid was told weeks ago so guessing the truth is somewhere in the middle 

Tom Bombadil

February 4th, 2019 at 12:22 PM ^

People here criticize the coaches all the time. They just don't like it when you exclusively criticize the coaches while also being a grating, antagonistic, condescending, entitled whiner. I thought to be surprised that you aren't celebrating the marginal increase in our star average but I forgot that you're allergic to being happy, even at someone else's misfortune.


February 4th, 2019 at 12:54 PM ^

Again, it's not Brian. And let's transfer your comment to other contexts: 

"Hey, why talk about this [insert apparent wrongdoing small or large]. Why aren't you blowing sunshine about y?"

Signed, Every politician ever

It's what the press does, Fifth Estate and all, but a lot of us aren't terribly comfortable with the fact.