Friday Recruitin' Snaps Footballs, Fingers Comment Count

Ace June 8th, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the commitment of Scott Sypniewski, the new ESPN rankings, the status of Jordan Wilkins, and much more.

Hello: Scott Sypniewski

Edited but probably NSFW, because Lil Jon

As you know by now, Michigan offered and accepted a commitment from Ottawa (IL) long snapper Scott Sypniewski on Wednesday, sparking a rather mixed reaction followed by a reaction to the reaction, if you follow. Like Brian*, you can put me down for "thoroughly perplexed," especially given the timing of the offer—even if there's a potentially pressing need for a long snapper, wouldn't that be determined in the fall (especially given the presence of 2012 preferred walk-on Tyler Tokarsky) as opposed to June?

That said, Sypniewski at least represents one of the top players nationwide at the position, which has seen an increase in scholarship offers recently according to this Rivals article from May:

At least 25 of the 121 non-academies in the FBS ranks have long snappers who were awarded scholarships directly out of high school or junior college. national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell estimates that represents about a 20 percent increase over the last five or six years.

So, at least Michigan isn't alone; the article claims that students of long-snapping guru Chris Rubio earned scholarships to LSU, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Arizona State, and Michigan State (that would be one-time Michigan walk-on pledge Taybor Pepper) last year.

While I'm still not sure it was the wisest move to take a specialist at this juncture, there's one argument against taking Sypniewski that I'll address here: the cries that taking him precluded Michigan from bringing on Laquon Treadwell, Derrick Green or Jordan Wilkins, Kendall Fuller or Leon McQuay, and Joe Mathis. Like, four of those guys.

While Michigan is in great shape for Treadwell, he's the only player among that group that I'd say has a better than 33% chance of becoming a Wolverine, and that figure might be generous for most of those guys. Green keeps popping up in articles that don't mention Michigan($), Wilkins appears to be a strong Auburn lean (more on him later), Fuller has strong ties to Virginia Tech and Clemson, McQuay is a top-flight Florida recruit, and Mathis changes his favorite every time he visits a new school. Not trying to sound overly negative here, just trying to be realistic: getting any two of those players would be fantastic. There's no way in hell Michigan was getting four no matter how the numbers worked out.

In other current commit news, ESPN updated their top 150, introduced the ESPN300, and released their team rankings for the class of 2013. Unsurprisingly, Michigan tops the team rankings; the full list is here, but paywalled, while TomVH's analysis of the team rankings is free, which totally makes sense. Other Big Ten+ teams in the top 25: Ohio State (7), Notre Dame (10), Penn State (14), and Michigan State (22).

As for changes to the individual player rankings, TTB has the full breakdown, as usual. The big movers were Jourdan Lewis, who rose 15 spots and into the top 100, Mike McCray, who fell 29 spots, and Patrick Kugler, who jumped from #123 to #112. In all, Michigan has 15 players in the ESPN300, including 11 in the ESPN150. Shane Morris is the top-ranked commit at #32, which represented a five-spot rise for him.

Also releasing rankings was, the Rivals outlet focused on, um, Ohio. Michigan's Ohio commitments stand out among their position rankings for the class of 2013:

  • DeVeon Smith is the #1 running back
  • Jaron Dukes is the #3 wide receiver
  • Jake Butt is the #1 tight end
  • Taco Charlton is the #1 defensive end
  • Mike McCray and Ben Gedeon are the #1 and #2 linebackers, respectively
  • Gareon Conley is the #3 cornerback
  • Dymonte Thomas is the #1 safety

Call me crazy, but I think the Wolverines are having a good deal of success in Ohio this year. Next thing you know, jerseys will be selling like hotcakes down there.

Quickly: Haven't had your fill of special teams highlight tapes? Good! Here's 2012 walk-on K/P Kenny Allen drilling a bunch of field goals. Jake Butt is invited to The Opening. Shane Morris earns an invite to ESPN's Champion Gridiron Kings event. Matt Pargoff, like Seth on Wednesday, ranks Michigan's top recruiting classes of the last 20 years.

*MGoHiveMind! Conspiracy! Dey took our jobz!

Change Of Plans For Wilkins

So, yeah, about TN RB Jordan Wilkins—the four-star back was initially slated to visit Ann Arbor on Saturday, but he'll have to reschedule after realizing that he has to take the ACT that day ($). Wilkins maintains that he wants to see all of his final four schools—Auburn, Michigan, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee—before making a commitment, but this still doesn't bode well. Sam Webb profiled Wilkins in the Detroit News, and Wilkins reiterated that he very nearly committed to Auburn on Monday. Message board rumors also have Wilkins maybe not liking Michigan's depth chart so much, which means this is ominous:

So what are major factors?

"Early playing time and coaches," said Wilkins. "I know I want to play with guys I get along with — that I can come and talk to about anything. I like coaches that I can talk to about anything because my high school coaches right now are like my second parents. I've always been close with my coaches, so that's another big thing.["]

Wilkins would like to have his decision made before his football season starts. My guess is that decision won't be Michigan.

The Wolverines somewhat surprisingly showed up on PA WR Robert Foster's top seven yesterday, joining Alabama, Pitt, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oregon, and USC. According to Foster's assistant coach, via an article by 247's Steve Wiltfong($), he's planning to visit Michigan and MSU this month. Foster also plans to take all of his official visits before deciding, so even if there's mutual interest here, it may be tough for Foster to find a spot in the class. One receiver who may move a little faster is MD WR Paul Harris, who will visit on June 19, according to Tremendous. He's one to keep an eye on.

Tim Sullivan reports that TX DT Hardreck Walker plans to make a decision by the end of the summer, but will continue taking visits, and he plans on taking an official to Michigan ($, info in header). We'll see how this one plays out, since the Wolverines are no longer really in need of a DT unless they decide that Henry Poggi fits best at strongside DE. Even then, shoehorning another defensive lineman in the class could prove difficult.

Quickly: Steve Wiltfong reports that Michigan offered CA ATH Darren Carrington, but there isn't an article to go with the tweet, so for now that's all the info we've got regarding any potential interest or visits. Michigan made the top five for AZ CB Cole Luke along with Notre Dame, Texas, Nebraska, and Cal. Happy trails to Su'a Cravens, who shocked the world by committing to USC. Cravens says he still plans to visit Michigan and his other finalists, but I wouldn't hold out hope for a switch. Don't do this, people.

Quick 2014 Updates

Not as much action as recent weeks on the 2014 front, but IL CB Parrker Westphal did visit campus on Tuesday and came away mighty impressed. He told Tremendous that Michigan is now the school by which he'll measure all of his other visits and he plans on being in Ann Arbor again for the BBQ at the Big House. Westphal is coached by former Michigan CB Todd Howard, who will likely accompany Westphal on his next trip.

Michigan is in line to get a very big visit, and visitor, in GA OL Orlando Brown, son of the late NFL lineman of the same name. Brown told 247's Clint Brewster that he'll visit Michigan on July 14th ($). Brown, who stands at 6'9"(!!), 360 pounds(!!!), projects to be one of the top tackles in the 2014 class.

The Wolverines will also get summer visits from a pair of quarterbacks. IN QB Brent Lyles will camp at Michigan on June 20th($), while OH QB DeShone Kizer plans to check out Ann Arbor again on either the 17th or 21st of this month ($). Kizer is one of two 2014 quarterbacks, along with MI QB Chance Stewart, getting a strong look at an early offer, while Lyles is hoping to break into that group.


Steve Lorenz

June 8th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

Michigan can get Paul Harris. His family seems to favor Michigan. His mom will be the only one with him on his visit though and he said he wants to talk things over with his dad before making any decisions, but Michigan could take the lead after he visits. 


June 8th, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

Good info Ace.  I want Kizer to go Blue in a bad way, and not just for the Usual Suspects references.  My brother-in-law works in UT's athletic department and thinks he's the real deal.  It would be great to continue the trend of getting the #1 position players from Ohio into 2014.


June 8th, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

Finally someone said it about our chances with all of these. While the LS is perplexing, you had people acting like we were going to have to turn away Fuller/Cravens/Mathis now, when they probably weren't coming here in the first place


June 8th, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

I completely agree with Ace that this is a lot of worrying about nothing, for just the reasons both of you said.  My question is....what OTHER reason is there to question the offer? If Ace discounts that, yet he's still perplexed, the question is - why? Is there any other possible harm in offering a scholarship other than it uses it up for someone who may want to come here (which if inaccurate, leaves no reason to be concerned about it)?  

I at least understand that objection, even if I'm completely on board with saying it's not something to be concerned about.  What other objections are there?


June 8th, 2012 at 1:25 PM ^

Saying that Michigan wouldn't get four elite level recruits =/= saying Michigan couldn't have used that scholarship spot on a position of greater impact.

The reason I'm perplexed is because there isn't much indication that there's a dire need at long snapper—Glanda has two years left and Tokarsky will be a freshman this year—and unless there's a dire need I don't see a reason to offer a long snapper a scholarship in June, especially when there are other needs (extra wide receiver, strongside DE, even a second quarterback or third tight end) that I think are more pressing at higher-impact positions. It's not like Michigan was going to miss out on Sypniewski if they waited to offer; they were his first offer.

This isn't to say that Sypniewski isn't a good long snapper, or that he won't have an impact. I hope people realize that questioning the decision of the coaches isn't a personal attack on the kid; I'm happy for him and his opportunity to get a full ride at Michigan, just like I'm happy for every kid that gets that chance. Doesn't mean I can't question the logic behind the offer—in fact, many would say that's part of my job. As long as people are civil and don't attack the kid personally, I don't see a problem with having the discussion (this isn't directed at you, M-Wolverine, as much as it is the board at large).


June 8th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

Yes - although we wouldn't have gotten all four of those elite prospects anyway, we'd probably get two, and take two other high-ish rated guys, maybe who aren't favoring us now, or maybe who we don't really know about yet.  Even if we pulled a Norfleet situation, I'd still prefer that over a long snapper. 

The article about more teams offering long snappers doesn't really help me either.  I read it as "Most major programs are still not offering scholarships to long snappers."


June 8th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

Is better than a highly thought of LS. Fair enough. Just not sure I agree. I think if you're recruiting a guy you expect to start that's more valuable than a depth guy. If we get lucky and get two of the guys on that list....that still means there's a spot available for one of the above.  And there was never going to be room for all of the above. So we could still get that "extra" talented WR (though I'd like to get one before we worry about extras...), or a DE (though I have so little hope in Mathis it's looking more like fill in the blank there).  I'm not sure I think a 3rd TE is more valuable than a LS, unless you're flipping someone of great talent.  And though a need, I think another QB is a pipe dream. No one is going to want to come into the same class as Shane. If they're willing, it's someone who's coming for the scholarship and not to compete for the job. Yeah, by numbers we could use one, but we're not any less 2008'd if they actually have to take the field.

So I can see how "depth > LS" at least could be another argument. (Not one often used, mind you on the boards here). I'm just not sure that it's one worthy of meltdown mode. Though that attitude doesn't come from you, but more those who were sure our last 4 slots were all going to 5 stars.


June 8th, 2012 at 3:20 PM ^

Who says the players that they would take at other positions are "leftover players"? It's a numbers game, and any guy Michigan would take at wide receiver, defensive end, quarterback, tight end, etc. is not just going to be filler, but an athlete with a shot at being a major contributor down the line (I firmly believe every single guy in the 2012 class has the ability to contribute if all goes well; it won't happen, but they've all got a chance). I'd rather they pick up potential starters at those positions instead of long snapper.


June 8th, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

An attempt to articulate my final point on the matter:

What the coaches are doing is a very safe, conservative play in taking a long snapper. In my opinion, it's overly conservative and not the optimal way of recruiting, even when things are going very well. That said, things are going very well, and there aren't many pressing needs left in recruiting; the coaches have earned the right to fill out the class however they see fit. I still have every right to disagree with it, knowing full well that I have absolutely zero say in what they do. We're here to discuss Michigan football, after all.

Scott Sypniewski earned his scholarship by being one of the best long snappers in the country. I won't ever try to cheapen that or take that away from the kid. But there's still many other recruits out there who have also earned a scholarship to Michigan; they just won't end up here. There's nothing wrong with that,—you're not going to get or take everybody, obviously—I'm just pointing it out for people who say that making this argument is unfairly belittling to the recruit. This isn't aimed at Scott, just a point about recruiting strategy in general that happens to be brought up by his commitment.


June 8th, 2012 at 7:53 PM ^

... so they are de facto OL depth.  Having one isn't like a kicker or punter; if they're good enough, then you can play them more.

That said, it is true that a long-snapper won't win you a game, but they can lose them.  Having one who won't ever make a mistake is a little better than one who makes a mistake every four years, which is a lot better than a bottom of the barrel guy who makes your kickers work harder and miss more often without snapping it over the holder's head ... but SS is likely only a little better than the top walk-on, and greater differences exist between walk-on WR and the best unoffered WR on Signing Day.

TL;DR: Long-snappers can play OL, so it's not a complete waste, but it's not optimal.



June 9th, 2012 at 5:15 AM ^

Glanda is done this year, I believe.

The LS guru said he will start as a Freshman. It seems Hoke and Co. agree. They wouldn't offer one if they were entirely comfortable with their walk-on situation.

Ohio, ND, and obviously MSU have all put one on scholarship recently. This is a new trend that people should start getting used to now, I'm sure it will happen again at some point.


June 8th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

...doesn't comport with what people believe to be Michigan's recruiting requirements. The problem with that stance is, of course, they have no earthly clue what are Michigan's real recruiting requirements. Instead, their hivemind conventional wisdom version of what are those requirements (since no one has asserted that 1 RB, 1 WR, 1 DB, and 1 DE comes from within The Fort, I'll assume they know as much about this as I do -- diddly squat) causes them to characterize the move as "incomprehensible".

Edit: Ace's answer above is, as expected, reasonable. The problem is that others haven't been reasonable and their responses have clearly gone over the line when it comes to their treatment of Michigan's newest 2013 committed recruit.


June 8th, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

long snapper.  We have back-to-back GREAT classes, with still some slots to give out.  Why jeopardize a big game somewhere down the line (in the next 3-4 years) due to a bad snap?  We already had one long snapper poached, so that would always be a risk if we didn't wrap a guy up.. 

You may not agree with the decision to take a long snapper, but you should be able to understand the thinking.


June 8th, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

A video of field goals on an empty field doesn't necessarily convey to game conditions, of course (plus, we don't know how many misses were edited out) ... but still, Kenny Allen looked pretty good.  6'4" and 210 ... can the kid catch a football?  Hello WR? :-)


June 8th, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

Guy is garaunteed to touch the ball every game (like it or not, we will be punting).  I figure this is a sign of things to come.  Last year our walkon (no scholarship guy) was poached by State.  It also appears to be an emerging trend that long snappers get scholarships.  

LSU, who made it to the national championship game, had a long snapper on scholarship.  Smaller teams have also shown they can screw with their bigger breathen by offering the walkons and pulling them away.  

The solution seems fairly obvious, long snapper gets a scholarship.  As for taking him at this juncture, the class is pretty much done and we're only saving space for a few more people.  No sense in making the kid twist in the wind and risk losing him if someone else offers first.  Coaches decided they were taking a LS on scholarship and they went out and got one of Rubio's top students.  Yes there are only 25 schools offering guys scholarships, but Rubio only produces so many top students every year.  It doesn't matter if there are 1000 long snappers out there, if there are only 5 really good ones and and 25 BCS schools are willing to offer scholarships to long snappers, you need to move early on your target.  

One other thing to remember is that long snappers are preferred walk ons.  Meaning at least one coach goes out and looks them over, then tells one "If you come to Michigan, you make the team".  Hoke isn't wandering around the Diag in search of some kid he thinks can do it.  The only thing that has changed is now we tell them "If you come to Michigan, you make the team, and get a scholarship.".  There is an increase in schools offering long snappers and thus our coaches now do not appear confident they can lure someone here as a preferred walk-on.  I'm not going to complain until I see massive holes in our depth chart at the same time we're carrying 6 scholarship long snappers.  


June 8th, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

He is not guaranteed to touch the ball every game.  Some long snapper is guaranteed to, but it might not be him.  Remember Gibbons?  He was an Army All-American kicker, and he couldn't beat out walk-ons for the job for a couple years.  Just because we offer him a scholarship doesn't mean he'll be the guy. 

This is why this bothers me.  Long snapper is not like QB where a scholarship guy >>> a preferred walk-on guy.  Tyler Tokarski is a year older than him - and could easily be our guy until he graduates.  That means we spent a scholarship on a long snapper who doesn't get the job until he's a senior.  Not worth it. 


June 8th, 2012 at 2:05 PM ^

A long snapper is going to touch the ball every game.  Does that make you happier?  

As for the rest, you're missing the point.  The point is the market value of long snappers is evolving.  

6 years ago it was: A good long snapper had a bunch of walk on offers, he picked one and went there.

It has now become: A good long snapper has a bunch of walk on offers, and some full rides.  He naturally picks the full ride. 

The argument is not "walk on vs scholarship".  The argument against offering this guy a scholarship is that:

"We can get a long snapper who is midrange and doesn't have any full ride offers to BCS program.  We can take him and make him work as well as a good one would have to give a full ride to.  In the meantime we get an extra scholarship."

The counter argument is:

We get more value out of having a top, scholarship, long snapper than we do out of a spare [insert posistion of choice here].

We're not arguing walk on versus scholarship, we're arguing what level of a long snapper to purchase.  

High profile programs like LSU and Notre Dame seem to for for the latter argument.  People supporting the latter argument also seem to be increasing.  So we'll see what the result is 4 years down the road when we compare the long viability of the classes Hoke assembled versus someone else.  


June 8th, 2012 at 2:43 PM ^

It's no guarantee, but there's no guarantee Morris is our QB either.  I don't see what the problem is recruiting a guy we intend to have play a lot, vs. a 3rd string QB or whatever that we never expect to see the field. Who's going to have more of an impact? A guy who gets those plays every game, or a career back-up?  If it's not about recruiting a career back-up, then we're back to the "we really are going to get 5 more 5*'s to commit.

And the scholarship thing is the trend-


"Ten years ago it would have been unusual, but right now it's not," said Rubio, who estimated Sypniewski had worked with him 30 times. "Then I had about four snappers go to college. This past year, I had 75, and half were on scholarship."

(You don't need to go to the link...that was the only interesting part. Fair use and all that)

If anything, last year might have shown them that if you want a long snapper of quality, you're probably going to have to offer a scholly to guarantee getting them. Otherwise you may be losing them to someone who will.


June 8th, 2012 at 6:13 PM ^

Yeah, that's not all that compelling to me, sorry.  LSU and ND may have taken a LS on scholarship, but it could have been a leftover scholarship near or after signing day, like what MSU did with Pepper.  I'm not against that since you're only other option with that scholarship is to leave it open for a year and use it in the next class, in which case the LS is only really occupying 3 years of scholarship instead of 4.  But even then, I think the difference between the scholarship snapper and the walk-on small enough that the scholarship can be best used elsewhere. 

Basically, Hoke just drafted a kicker in the 10th round of his fantasy football draft.  Best case scenario he has the best kicker in the league (which big deal) and the realistic scenario is his kicker isn't much better than everyone else's and he's scratching his head for a WR when his starter gets hurt. 


June 9th, 2012 at 7:40 AM ^

Have you scouted available long snappers in the class of 2013 who are living in the State of Michigan? That's a real question. I said this in the other thread, but the financial difference between in-state and out of state costs is huge. If there was a decent to good high school long snapper from somewhere in Michigan, who wanted to go to Michigan badly, I think the Michigan coaches would go that route. Oh wait, that's exactly what they did with Taybor Peppers. He is from Saline, ranked only slightly below Scott, and was going to come as a preferred walk-on. But even in-state, the cost was $25K a year. Versus free at Michigan State.

As a parent of one kid in college, with two more a few years behind, this is huge. I can't afford $25K, let alone $50K. I don't want my kid saddled with loans, nor do I want to remortgage the house. The financial reality of the huge cost of a college education makes it necessary to offer a scholarship to a good long snapper. I realize this is blasphemy to Michigan fans, but if my kid had a choice between a free ride at Michigan State, Ohio, Illinois, Northwestern, or to have well over $50K in debt from MIchigan, there would be no real choice. They'd be going where it was free.


June 8th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

My biggest question would be why you turn away players like Pocic and McGovern where you could teach them (or one of the other elite lineman) how to LS.  This is essentially giving out a scholarship to what is probably a great kid, but why not take a concensus top 100 lineman and among the 9-10 kids on the line in just the last few classes, I am sure that one of them could learn master this requirement with some training/attention.  That also puts a kid in the middle up in the 6-4/6-5 290+ range in the middle of the line on special teams vs. a kid who may be lucky to hit 260 ever.




June 8th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

For the same reason you don't take an extra linebacker and say "well we'll just teach him to run the ball if we're thin at RB." Sure it could work, but he will likely not be as good as a player that already displays a gift at RB. I realize it's long snapping we're talking about and it's a small part of a small part of the game, but the 0.5 sec difference between an converted center that is adequate and a kid who is elite may save you a couple blocked punts and maybe a handful of shanks because the punter got rushed over the course of his career. That's as much impact as a lot of recruits make and the variance is probably smaller than other positions (just my gut feel). 

I have no problem taking a scholarship LS if it's a position of need. The class is pretty much wrapped up as far as needs go and we'll still have 2-3 spots for "best available," which is realistically more than we'll need in terms of top recruits left on the board. I can see that it seems early to offer a LS, but if you see a need and find a player you like to fill it, you might as well do it before someone else takes him. I think the opportunity cost here is realistically a 3* guy that statistically has less impact then an elite long snapper has.


June 8th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

Well, we told you there were only so many opening left, but we'll take you and you can compete for a position, but if it doesn't work out, we can train you as a long snapper.

If they really wanted to be here, they'd be here.  It's just more of the idea that any great recruit who's considering us was coming's not like he might have picked LSU anyway. (I mean, wasn't it Ohio State after us...? What makes anyone think he was coming here if only we let him?)


June 8th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

I don't think there would be nearly as much discussion about this, if it were one of the 1st 5 schollies that were offered.  For those that are criticizing UM coaching staff for this, they know what they are doing, moreso than we do

Wouldn't be surprised at all, if we have some sllent commits that fill our need areas

And, I wouldn't shut the door on Cravens either.  He has expressed his desire to visit Michigan among others.  I think he was getting tired of the recruiting process




I gave my love a chicken, that had no bone..............





June 8th, 2012 at 4:47 PM ^

he has a pretty good idea of who might be seriously considering us and that we are likely or not likely to get.  I refer you to "a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush."