Tuesday Recruitin' Rages Against (Wrong) Machine Comment Count

Ace August 14th, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Today's recruiting roundup discusses the Honey Badger; the latest on Alvin Bailey; scouting reports on Shane Morris, Dymonte Thomas, and Michael Ferns; and more.

Maybe He Just Has Glaucoma, Pawwwwwwl

You might find it unusual that a recruiting post starts off with a story about Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal from the LSU program, but Tony Barnhart's take on the matter is anything but usual. Mathieu reportedly failed multiple drug tests during his time in Baton Rouge, which of course means we should blame the recruiting process. Wait, what?

To some extent we're all guilty for the fall of Tyrann Mathieu.

 When we offer a 14-year old kid a scholarship, we're guilty.

 When we put four or five stars by a kid's name and hang on his every word until he signs on the dotted line, we're guilty.

 When we hold press conferences in high schools for kids to VERBALLY announce where they are going to school, we're guilty.

 When we hold press conferences on national signing day where kids play with hats, signs, dogs and the media turns out in full force and gives the process legitimacy, we're guilty.

 When college coaches tell teenage children anything and everything they (and their parents) want to hear in order to get them to sign because careers and millions of dollars hang in the balance, we're guilty.

 When the sense of entitlement created in high school is allowed to continue in college because winning (and making money) is all that matters, we're guilty.

 When we allow the primary (and sometimes only) goal of these kids to become holding up a jersey with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on a Thursday night in New York City, we're guilty.

 When we in the media go along with the process because we're trying to satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for college football, we're guilty.

I'm all for a good takedown of the current recruiting climate, but please, enlighten me as to how this has anything to do with Tyrann Mathieu. Yes, the "Honey Badger" persona took on a life of its own, but that happened once he was in college. In fact, if you bother to do so much research as clicking on Mathieu's old Scout and Rivals profiles, you'd learn that he wasn't even a consensus four-star. Oh, and he verbally committed in July of his senior year when Les Miles offered him after LSU's camp ($). No waiting until signing day, no press conference, no hats, and certainly no live animals (well, unless you count Les Miles).

If the attention went to Mathieu's head, it was probably the attention that came well after the recruiting process. Or, perhaps, it had nothing to do with attention at all:

We now know that whatever demons Tyrann Mathieu was fighting -- be they the trappings of fame or his difficult upbringing -- he simply could not overcome them. In short, Mathieu's biological father is in prison and his mother could not raise him. He was taken in by a grandfather who died in 1997. Then his aunt and uncle adopted him. The scars were always there.

That's from the same article. I don't think we need to spend too much time digging up reasons that a talented football star repeatedly—gasp!—smoked weed (in college, even!); we definitely don't need to use the fall of the Honey Badger to take on the state of recruiting. If you look hard enough, there are plenty of other stories that could accomplish that end.

But I Had So Many Kid 'n Play Jokes...

FL WR Alvin Bailey is moving closer to choosing a school, telling 247's Chris Nee that he'll probably decide a couple weeks into the season between Florida State, Georgia, UCF, and Michigan ($). Chances are looking, well, not so good:

The Tampa-area prospect once again confirmed that Central Florida is atop his list at this stage.

“They are,” Bailey said when asked if the Knights were his leader. “I feel like it has a great family atmosphere and it is a place I can make a great impact at.”

Bailey doesn't mention Michigan as a school he'll visit again before his decision, meaning it's almost assured that he and his magnificent flat-top will head elsewhere.

Set Phasers To "Effusive"

I've said this before, but I don't think people are properly excited about Dymonte Thomas, who would likely be a top 100 prospect at either running back or safety. According to Thomas's head coach, Ed Miley, he could see time at another position, as well ($) [emphasis mine]:

"We didn't do much with him in today's scrimmage, because we know what he can do, so don't let this fool you at all. He's way better than last year and it will show in the games, trust me," Miley continued. "Today was a day to see what our other guys can do. I spoke to (Michigan assistant coach) Greg Mattison the other day about Dymonte, and we talked about how much better he is this year. Michigan will probably use him as a kickoff returner too, and Mattison said he could help out on offense. Dymonte is on track to graduate early, but the decision hasn't been made about whether he will go to Michigan in January or not. A lot depends on how he feels about playing baseball as a senior, and if he still has thoughts about a pro baseball career. I think Dymonte knows it's all football for him, but we will see how that goes."

It will be interesting to see how Michigan ultimately decides to use Thomas; he might be too skilled and athletic to keep from playing on multiple sides of the ball.

Fellow early 2013 commit Shane Morris, meanwhile, should have no durability concerns if his QB guru, Donovan Dooley, is to be believed:

“Shane would go to his two practices,” Dooley said. “Then come to QBU, which shows his dedication and grind towards being the best in the country. He came to the Silverdome and went full throttle with me.”

He added, “He's a machine. Machines don't get tired.”

Shane Morris, Fall 2013, somewhere deep below Schembechler Hall: "I know MANBALL."

Michigan's latest commitment, 2014 OH LB Michael Ferns, has also come in for the coaching praise treatment in recent days. The Wolverine's Andy Reid caught up with a rival high school coach ($):

"He's very athletic. He's a great kid from a great family, and he has played very well, and he did great against us a year ago. He can do a lot of things. He played some fullback, running back. Offensively, he has good hands, but defensively, I think, is his strong suite [sic], and I believe that's what he's been recruited for. He has good size, range, speed. He finds the ball. Some kids have all the measurable, but they can't find the ball - but he's always around it. He makes a lot of plays for them.["]

Recruiting guru Jim Stefani dug up combine numbers from last summer that put Ferns squarely on his radar for the top 2014 prospects ($):

Ferns first came to my attention in June 2011 when I was perusing the results of a combine that was held in western Pennsylvania. As I was going through the list of combine attendees and making notes of ones who could have future D-I potential, the figures for one particular freshman stood out - Ferns, who measured in at 6-2 ½, 218 with a 4.72 forty and 4.29 shuttle.

These numbers were not just impressive, but virtually off the charts when it came to a high school freshman.

Yes, please.


According to 247's Clint Brewster, 2014 TN OL Alex Bars, younger brother of current Michigan freshman Blake Bars, will visit campus for the Air Force game ($).

Chantel Jennings reports from Cass Tech's intrasquad scrimmage that 2014 prospect Gary Hosey is being looked at as a running back, not a linebacker, by Michigan ($). Deon Drake is generally regarded as having the highest ceiling among Cass Tech's rising junior linebackers, so this may be Hosey's best chance of landing an offer.



August 14th, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

That Mathieu article is completely ridiculous. I mean I get how the current recruiting climate could put a lot of pressure on kids, and that a rough upbringing could make people more prone to act out, but all he had to do was not smoke, after 2 seperate warnings, before a previously scheduled drug test. He's an idiot, it's his fault, and there's no way around that.


August 14th, 2012 at 12:56 PM ^

Let me get this straight-

Everyone is guilty for putting recruits on pedestals and enabling/coddling them...and the basis of his article is blaming everyone else, thus erasing personal accountabilty and scapegoating the process.  




August 14th, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

Barnhart's argument is silly, but yours is equally so. Many people, including football players, smoke weed without huge hurdles or other environmental reasons to do so. They just do it because they're young and it's there. To suggest that Mattieu's history is why he smokes weed is taking the same logical leap, with the same result.

And it wasn't that he smoked weed once. It was that he repeatedly failed drug tests, as if he didn't think there would be consequences for his doing so because he's the fucking Honey Badger. Which I think was Barnhart's point. He just did a really shitty job of making it.



August 14th, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

I think Barnhart is trying to say that we fill kid's heads with an inflated sense of who they are and therefore what they can get away with, thus causing them to fall from their privileged spots in society.  Of course, they wouldn't have those priviledged spots if people didn't follow college football with the passion that they do, so really it's a wash. 


August 14th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

I agree that Dymonte has been overlooked big time. He hasn't really camped, so we don't hear as many things about him to be excited about. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on where they rank him as far as exciting prospects. I think he has to be right up there with Shane for me. I love me a good defensive back ("I love me a good DB" just sounded wrong), and when you factor in Thomas's ability to play other positions at a high level, I mean, do I need to continue?

Obviously, I don't know Dymonte personally, so I can't say how important baseball is to him. I think though, for him, if he commits to playing college football at Michigan, he can go on to doing big things at the next level. He is a major talent.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 15th, 2012 at 7:50 AM ^

Wilson was mine also. In fact he was my favorite recruit to choose UM since RR's first class. I really have high hopes for the guy and like the poster above, can't wait to see a Wilson Thomas tandem at safety...Maybe they can even bring Lewan's tandem bike out of retirement and whip around campus on that.

True Blue Grit

August 14th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

Most scouts have rated his cover skills average, and not even the best cover guy on the L.S.U. team last season.  Yes he has a nose for the ball and a big-play ability on special teams.  But, I don't think LSU will miss him that much this season.

On the much brighter side, I love reading the glowing reports about Dymonte Thomas and Michael Ferns.  Whenever you get a special and gifted athlete like Thomas, it makes a ton of sense to find multiple ways to use their talent.  That's why I like what we're doing with Devin Gardner.  With the situation at WR, we really could use him on the field.