Signing Day Odds And Ends Comment Count

Brian February 2nd, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Kozan vision quest. No one really knows, but my "Kozan" twitter search turned this up:

"Empty-handed I entered the world, Barefoot I leave it. My coming, my going -- Two simple happenings, That got entangled." - Kozan Ichikyo

Whoah.

Depending on who you listen to, Iowa is out or Michigan is out or Auburn is out. My favorite is this guy:

NEILDEVLIN

He's a a high school sports editor for the Denver Post and a huge fan of David Mayo. He also starts every tweet with "Yo." Serious:

Yo: Still waiting on Alex Kozan, Valor Christian, taking his time and hoping to make the right move. Folks are interested. #copreps

A bit earlier he said this:

Yo: High drama, indeed ...as of now, Valor Christian's Alex Kozan still deciding between Michigan and Iowa, meeting w/prep coach. #copreps.

OTOH, Auburn insider buzz is confident. Nobody knows! We'll just have to see what spirit totem Kozan comes back with. I give Auburn the edge because they've got two potential totems.

The final count. An update to the Instate Recruiting Battle posts from back in the summer:

  Touted Recruits   Head To Head   Signee Rankings [Rivals]
Year Mich MSU Other   Mich MSU   Mich MSU
2010 1 3 3   2 2   2, 11, 12, 22 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 18, 19, 24, 28
2011 3 1 2   2 2   4, 5, 6, 7, 19, 25 1, 9, 10, 14, 26
2012 5 2 1   6 1?   3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 21 1, 7, 13, 28

(MSU H2H wins: Maybe Aaron Burbridge, though M seem to have passed because of grades. M: Ross, RJS, Braden, Funchess, Godin, Ojemudia. Technically Norfleet is also a dual offeree but that's stretching it.

"Touted" == got four stars on at least two of four sites.)

This goes here.

scaled[1]

User "grsbmd" for the win.

AJ Williams interviewed. Nice hat.

I'll play too. Top five IMPACTFUL IMPACTORS have been put out by everyone and their uncle, so here's my list in two groups.

INSTANTLY IMPACTFUL IMPACTORS

  1. Ondre Pipkins
  2. AJ Williams
  3. Amara Darboh
  4. Chris Wormley
  5. Joe Bolden

EVENTUALLY EWESOME

  1. Ondre Pipkins
  2. Joe Bolden
  3. Kyle Kalis
  4. Devin Funchess
  5. Jehu Chesson

Sam Webb put out an instantly impactful list with Bolden, Kalis, Pipkins, Williams, and Wormley. I think Kalis will have to wait a year before starting, and Michigan's going to give their WR recruits a shot to impress them. That article has a lot of tantalizing quotes, by the way. BAM:

"I thought [Bolden] was the best linebacker in the state of Ohio for two years now," said Scout.com Ohio analyst Dave Berk. "He has a high football IQ. A lot of times we say that about guys that don't have athletic ability, but Joe has the athletic ability to go with it. He has got great physical size and he can go sideline to sideline. He can be an outside backer or he can be a middle backer. He is a playmaker. … I think Ohio State and Notre Dame whiffed on that one."

Allen Trieu and Tim(!) Sullivan provided lists focused on the best players once the class is done. Both pick Bolden, Kalis, and Pipkins. Trieu then goes with Ben Braden(!) and James Ross; Tim goes with Chesson and Wormley. The Funchess will dominate all. It's the bucket hat.

Speaking of…

Best established meme. Thirty Devins agree:

signing-day_thumb

WE LOVE BUCKET HATS. (L to R: Terry Richardson, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Devin Funchess, James Ross. Via USA Football.)

Kalis location. For now, still tackle:

"Coach Hoke has already let me know, depending on what kind of shape I come into camp in the summer, when I start getting into the groove of things and put the pads on, he's going to let me decide whether I feel more comfortable at the right tackle or right guard spot. It all depends in how I come in and how I feel."

Given Michigan's depth chart at tackle—there is no depth chart at tackle—it may make sense to give Kalis every opportunity to win the right tackle job from Schofield. If he does, Schofield can stay at guard. If he doesn't he's as prepared as possible to sub in in the event one of the starters is sidelined. Even if his long term future is at guard as the most college-ready lineman in the class Michigan has a crying need for him at tackle in 2012, whether it's as a backup or a starter.

Norfleet geared up. Via the social medias:

426933_3178469664312_1342753445_3213552_729113859_n[1]

Happy the guy managed to get an offer he clearly wanted, even if he had to wait for it. I'm betting he'll make that pay off for both himself and M. Hopefully Smith transfers his blitz pickup mojo to him this year.

Dinardo on Kalis. He likes him:

"I don't remember seeing many better high school offensive linemen than Kalis," DiNardo said on the Big Ten Football Report. "Alan Faneca, who played for me at LSU, an All-Pro for a long-time, was a great high school, great college, and great pro player. (Kalis) reminds me of Faneca."

Four years. Excellent PR move by the Big Ten to move en masse to four year scholarships:

Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Ohio State and several other schools have offered four-year scholarships to prospects in this year's class instead of the one-year, renewable scholarships that had been the norm throughout college sports.

I wonder what enforcement mechanisms exist for that; clearly there have to be some loopholes in case a player does not keep up academically or gets in trouble. Either way, it's more pressure on schools to not cut folks willy-nilly.

I think Purdue may be the lone holdout in the league, but haven't seen confirmation of that.

Etc.: Fairly useless Luginbill quotes. ESPN dudes predict Joe Bolden will see the field fast. Insert complaint about ESPN's focus on the UA game here. Local news article on Ben Braden. The Sporting News wins "most accurate recruiting service" for 2012 for ranking Michigan #2. Mattison on Kalis. Dantonio fuming about the "unethical" poaching of committed recruits. Brian Kelly whiffs down the stretch, too. The class visualized by position and state. Wojo on Signing Day.

Comments

elaydin

February 2nd, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

I may be completely off base, but something is a little off with Diamond's recruitment.

I find it odd that OSU stopped recruiting him after his visit, despite being in desperate need for tackles and not yet having any idea about Dodson or Decker.

Since Urban has never been known to stop recruiting a player, no matter how slim the odds, I think this would mean one of three things:

1. they thought he was an asshole

2. he was recruiting for Michigan while he was at OSU, or otherwise a lost cause

3. He, or his handlers, wanted something

I have no opinion on #1.  #2 seems unlikely since he didn't visit with other UM recruits, and he took a bunch of visits afterwards (he also seemed to be happy with the OSU visit). 

This has an SEC smell to it.

BradP

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

Apparently, Jordan Diamond's HS coach is a Arkansas alum with a history of directing players to the university, so it isn't out of the question that OSU saw the writing on the wall even if Diamond's "handlers" weren't asking for anything.

Really, this is evidence of something I wondered about after Garnett's commitment.

I think the combination of Michigan's depth needs, its profile, and the diligence of its fans might cause a fake interest boost.  When someone like Diamond or Garnett set a decision date off in the future, they aren't going to cut their school list down to their favorite, even if its obvious to them.  Diamond, who is prolonging his recruiting to raise teammate visibility, would have plenty of reason to keep on multiple options listed.

Up until the announcement date, you can expect recruits to get far more Michigan referencing questions than they would say Stanford or Arkansas referencing questions.  Therefore, any recruit who is trying to not give away his choice and wants to be polite and complementary are gonna have far more positive statements about Michigan than the other options.

Blue Durham

February 2nd, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I don't think it is any coincidence that the 4-year scholarship offers are given by the majority of Big Ten at the same time. It seems that this is a unified effort in response to the SEC over-signing. It will be more difficult for them to continue their policies of essentially cutting players.

mGrowOld

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

Why?  Unless they somehow submit to the public pressure and change their ways all this does is make the B1G less likely to adopt their practices but I dont see how it impacts them in the least.

The fact that my club votes in a rule that applies only to my members has NO weight in getting another club to adopt the same rule.  I guess I view it like admission standards - if a school chooses to have higher grade requirements than the NCAA minimum it does not make other schools have to lift theirs does it?

Blue Durham

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

Given a choice between a 4-year offer and a 1-year, renewable offer at the discretion of the coach/school, it is no contest to me.

I am going to choose the school that is going to be equally committed to me (4-year commitment versus the problems and sacrifice a player would have in transferring) versus the unequal playing field that now exists with the 1-year renewal totally favoring the University over the student's interests.

Why else do you think most of the Big 10 schools are doing this, at the same time? This ain't window dressing.

JeepinBen

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:30 PM ^

So your club voted that you'll keep members for 1 year, and then review them. But my club will let them stay all 4 years. You don't think some people would rather have the security of my club?

Hopefully market forces (eg, recruits who say "I'm taking 4 year offers only) make the SEC adopt the 4 year scholly

Blue Durham

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

Thinking a little bit about what mgrowold wrote, perhaps his point is that since the Big Ten schools seem to have a policy that honors the scholarship offer for 4 years, nothing has really changed.

That is true internally, but for head-to-head recruiting against the over-signing and thus player-cutting SEC schools, it should provide an advantage. If and when the SEC has to respond in kind, over-signing and thus cutting becomes much, much more problematic for them.  And I am guessing  that is the point of the 4-year offers (and this would have little impact if the Big Ten did not do this in unison), to take an approach to eliminate the SEC's advantage in exploiting the athletes in a way the Big Ten refuses to do.

mGrowOld

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

Good points all.  I guess my contention is that if today kids will sign with LSU & Alabama knowing that these schools habitually oversign and cut, what makes the B1G think they will evaluate the 1 versus 4 any differently?  As was pointed out to me several weeks ago here on the board - NONE of these kids think they will be impacted by the oversigning, afterall, each of them is special and different.  No way will coach Milesaban ever do that to me.

I hope you guys are right and I'm wrong here but unless somebody at the NCAA grows a pair and stops them I dont see the machine at Alabama to be slowed down by this move in the slightest.

GoWings2008

February 2nd, 2012 at 1:09 PM ^

I just can't help but wonder what's on some of these kids minds when some teams are ending up with 10 or more 4-5 star recruits and a lot of overlapping of positions.  Last I checked, they still only field 11 players at a time and second string doesn't get in that often.  Either these kids think "I can beat out ANYone at my position" and think they have the best shot at starting, OR they're being fed a bunch of empty promises.  At least the 4 yr scholarships may help a bit, but  who knows...

Magnus

February 2nd, 2012 at 11:46 AM ^

I guess I'm having a hard time understanding why there's no depth chart at tackle.  Lewan is the unquestioned starter at left tackle, Schofield was listed as the top backup at both tackles for the entire season, and Mealer subbed in at tackle throughout the season.  That's three guys who have actually played in real life.

Meanwhile, at guard we have Ricky Barnum and Patrick Omameh as the only guards who have played, with Schofield obviously having seen significant playing time there, too.  Chris Bryant is a redshirt freshman guard who didn't see the field last year.

At center we have Rocko Khoury and a redshirt freshman Jack Miller.

So we have 3 offensive tackles who have played, 2 offensive guards who have played, and 1 center who has played...yet I keep seeing the repeated notion that we have no depth chart at tackle.

With that few OL available overall, you could make the case that we don't have a depth chart, period...but I don't see a reason to single out the OT position as being particularly short-handed.

PurpleStuff

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

The offensive line isn't a rotation position.  You just play five guys unless somebody struggles or gets hurt.  We have 5 guys who have started games before, plus a RS senior 4-star recruit who has played quite a bit in his career. 

We obviously had to take a huge class this year to fill holes down the road, but if the worry this year is "If half of our starting offensive line goes down with injury then we will probably struggle unless one of 6-8 freshmen can come in and be serviceable" then that isn't really much of a worry at all, or one that any team can consistently avoid (it is hard to bring back 8-10 starters or keep that many benchwarming upperclassmen on campus).

Magnus

February 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

As someone else said, it's reasonable to expect that at least one offensive lineman will be injured for a significant amount of time, and at least one other will probably be nicked up here or there.  It has happened quite frequently over the past few years (Molk, Dorrestein, Barnum, etc.), so every team is going to have a virtual sixth starter.  Then you need at least one guy to fill that seventh spot.  By the time we get to #7, we're on redshirt freshmen...and when we get to #9, we're on true freshmen (those numbers are based on seniority and not talent).

I don't think we need to fret just yet, but we're an injury or two away from fretting.  It's kind of like the 2010 cornerback situation.  We thought we were going to be okay if everyone stayed healthy, but then Woolfolk got hurt, Turner transferred...and halfway through the year, Floyd got hurt, too.  And things got very ugly because we were starting true freshmen who weren't ready to play.

PurpleStuff

February 2nd, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

I guess what I'm saying is that if any team gets down to #8-9 then things are going to be more difficult.  You also can't lose a guy like Lewan (or Molk before him) without having a dropoff, no matter how ready we presume the backup is.  "What happens if we lose 3 starters on the o-line?" isn't really a worry that any team has a good answer to.  Similarly, we'd probably be fucked if Denard and Devin get hurt, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have a problem at QB. 

Also, those guys who would be coming in are guys like Bryant (with a year in the program), Kalis, or other 4-star recruits.  Worse comes to worse we could also consider moving a guy like Washington back to offense.  Beyond that we have a number of walk-ons who are at least college sized.

While none of these scenarios is ideal, I don't think it is crazy to think we could survive having the best of that large, talented group filling in a little before they are ready.  Anything beyond that would require a pretty catastrophic string of injuries where under almost any circumstances a team would just have to throw its hands up and take some lumps.

 

 

Magnus

February 2nd, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

You're right that a few injuries would put most teams in precarious positions, but I think the main point goes back to the fact that we didn't recruit the offensive line well during the Rich Rodriguez years, particularly in 2010 when Christian Pace (now finished with football) was the only recruit.  While we do indeed have talented guys to fill in for those 5th year/4th year guys who are likely to start, the dropoff is not from 5th year senior to redshirt junior, or redshirt junior to redshirt sophomore...the dropoff goes immediately from senior to freshman.

Injuries are bad, and we all know that.  That's not really the news here.  But when you don't recruit consistently at the position, it creates a great divide between the haves and have-nots.

PurpleStuff

February 2nd, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

I view 2010 as more of a calculated risk.  We needed to go heavy on defense, knew we had quality young guys on the roster in Lewan, Schofield, Omameh, and Barnum, and I think the intention was to go heavy on the line the following year to make up for it.  Between recruiting with the axe at his neck and the firing/transition/late hire, that obviously didn't work out as planned.

At the end of the day though you can only have so many guys.  I'm much happier being able to take Diamond and/or Kozan because Posada and Pace are no longer with the program.  Same goes for the rest of this year's haul, who wouldn't have a spot available if some random RS sophomore was holding down a scholarship.  There's also an enormous difference between a random freshman thrust into the lineup and being able to pick the best of 6-8 talented guys (and even then only in the case of a multiple injury emergency).  The thought of putting one such guy into the lineup, surrounded by talented veterans, isn't something that is going to keep me up at night.

Magnus

February 2nd, 2012 at 5:35 PM ^

We're just going to have to agree to disagree.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  If you look at the 2010 class, it was a waste in so many ways:

http://touchthebanner.blogspot.com/p/ex-wolverine-encyclopedia.html

Eleven of the guys who signed on NSD two years ago are already gone.  Eleven!  You can't keep a program going with things like that.  It wasn't a calculated risk.  It was a complete gamble, and Rodriguez (and the program) lost because of it.

PurpleStuff

February 2nd, 2012 at 6:11 PM ^

You want the guys who aren't going to play to transfer (as long as you stay out of APR danger).  There is a reason the SEC forces guys out and keeps signing big classes.  We also paid the price for keeping marginal contributors around for 5 years at the end of Coach Carr's tenure (an extra corner in the 2006 class may have made a much bigger impact than a guy like Carl Tabb did in 2006). 

Do you really think we are going to pay a price because Austin White and Ray Vinopal aren't here any more?  If a guy like Cullen Christian isn't starting or is behind guys in his own class and younger, I'd much rather see him go and pick up Blake Countess a year later.  We don't need a bunch of older linebackers who aren't as good as Jake Ryan and Desmond Morgan filling up the roster.  Recruiting is a numbers game designed to find 22 guys for the top of the depth chart.  If you've got that (and we certainly do) then you hopefully can cut the fat and keep bringing in new blood to start the process over again.  If those 11 guys were still here we would have to dump the same number from the current recruiting class.  That is just bad business.

And the program just won its first BCS bowl in over a decade with a team that is still very young.  If this is what losing feels like, please bring on as much as possible. 

Magnus

February 2nd, 2012 at 6:44 PM ^

No, what I'm saying is that the OL recruiting (I'm not talking about DB's) was lacking in numbers.  We have consistently recruited cornerbacks (it's just a bunch of them washed out/got injured), but we haven't done so with offensive linemen.  That's why we have 4 redshirt seniors, 2 redshirt juniors, and a bunch of young 'n's.  We're not feeling it just yet, because the upperclassmen are not the ones who are lacking in numbers.  

But in 2013 - if Lewan sticks around - we'll have a 5th year senior at LT, a redshirt sophomore at LG (Bryant), a redshirt sophomore at C (Miller), perhaps a true sophomore at RG (Kalis?), and a 5th year senior at RT (Schofield).  Obviously, that's two years away, and there might be some changes in there...but the entire middle of the offensive line is going to be VERY young, with the potential to have to replace the LT, too.

The success of an OL is heavily dependent on the experience at the position, so we'll probably be okay in 2012...but when 2013 gets here, things might get shaky.  And if we struggle up front, you can look at the 2010 and 2011 classes and see why.

M-Wolverine

February 2nd, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

So not as worried about tackle. Just know that the right side is going to become extra important when we have a future lefty QB, so steering some talent that way isn't a bad idea.

And Norfleet wins best dressed recruit, hands down.

biakabutoucan_sam

February 2nd, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

Don't like the Diamond news, but I'll with old judgement until his announcement. The Norfleet surprise yesterday softens the blow at least, nice NSD treat.

Dantonio meme is amazing, get that guy a pizza trophy.

MichiganAggie

February 2nd, 2012 at 12:13 PM ^

"We went and made them four-year scholarships and we'll see where that all goes with the NCAA and some addendums with how you'd lose a scholarship," Hoke said. "Obviously, you quit football, you're not going to be on scholarship."

Hoke suggested the other option could be two-year scholarships.

"I think some time, they are either going to go and make it two-year deals and not four," he said. "They were four a long time ago and you decided you didn't want to play anymore, you were still on scholarship. That's not fair to the school.

"I always thought the one-year renewables were fine because I don't remember guys that their scholarship was taken because of athletic performance. It was something socially. It was something academically."

Hoke's got class.