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Brian January 26th, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Okay, he's enrolled. Now strike! Devin Gardner finally managing his early enrollment has spurred not one but two columns echoing a theme from this blog. It's "please God, no more freshman quarterbacks." Angelique Chengelis:

So former Inkster star Devin Gardner has enrolled at Michigan, and the potentially next great quarterback will participate in spring practice and compete for the starting job this fall.

Operative word: Compete.

And the Daily's Andy Reid:

So, Devin Gardner is officially on campus — but be careful what you wish for, Wolverine fans. He’s not the answer for next season.

I agree with both takes, as is obvious anyone who's been reading this site's annoyingly persistent demand to redshirt Gardner if at all possible. I've read a couple other evaluations of Gardner's recent play that jive with what I though I saw in the later editions of the MGoCreeperVan's Gardner highlight videos: his throwing motion degraded over the course of the year from the very pro-style delivery I saw in Inkster's opener against Pioneer to the shotput pushing motion that was more prevalent in the state championship game. I don't think Gardner got a lot of dedicated QB coaching at Inkster and will probably need a year of constant correction to get his mechanics back to the point they were at when he was the #1 QB in the country to Rivals.

Is it really not that bad? I basically share the same opinion most people seem to have about this Michigan class: it's short on blue chips and—on paper—the worst recruiting class since Kelly Baraka and Reggie Benton were the highlights of the lame 2001 group. In terms of production on the field, Lloyd Carr's last two classes are probably worse for reasons that aren't anyone's fault, but at least when those kids were in high school people thought they were pretty good.

But actually it might not be that big a deal. This was created by a Rivals poster elegantly named "Stinky P1nky" on the 21st. [Update: FWIW, the poster in question first put this chart on The Mainboard.] It is thus a tiny bit dated but the changes since then are small and the resulting chart is an interesting one:

consensus-recruiting-rankings

Michigan's class is #11 nationally if you average out the four major services that do these things, though I'm not that familiar with MaxPreps's rankings. (They're probably a little better than that now since the Black commit temporarily bumped them a spot on Scout and Rivals, but then again they'll probably fall by signing day as they're almost full and other teams have more room to add players.) Notre Dame is just behind M and probably dropped after losing a couple of high profile recruits, one of whom is a four-star defensive end from Indiana who goes to a Catholic high school. Harbaugh can recruit a little bit.

This doesn't take class sizes into account very well and thus probably overstates the class quality, but at the very least it's a lot of solid players who will help Michigan solidify the roster, banish walk-ons to the scout team, and put them on a talent footing at or above the Wisconsin-Iowa range in which it's obviously possible to have an excellent team. If and when Michigan gets back there and the maelstrom of negativity surrounding Rodriguez subsides, a recruiting bounce would have them back at their traditional level. And last year's class, the first that Rodriguez was wholly responsible for, certainly indicates that is where Rodriguez would like to go.

The fudge factor. Now to throw some cold water on the above positivity with a seemingly unrelated Notre Dame commitment. A relatively anonymous TE/OT from Kentucky named Tate Nichols is committed to Stanford, but then backs off and switches to Notre Dame. His rankings then:

Two of the three main recruiting sites considered Nichols a tight end recruit and as such didn't slot him very high. Both Scout and Rivals tabbed Nichols as a 2-star tight end recruit with Scout considering him the 52nd overall TE. ESPN did list him as an offensive lineman, giving him 3-stars, a 75 grade rating, and a ranking as the 101st overall offensive tackle recruit.

His rankings now:

Update: These were his rankings on Saturday when he committed. Today, Tuesday morning, Scout has changed him to a 3-star offensive line prospect and the #71 overall OT recruit.

Would this have happened if Nichols switched his commitment to Kentucky? I seriously doubt it. But when it's Notre Dame or Michigan picking up a who-dat type recruit that guy tends to grab stars almost instantly. This year Michigan saw it with Carvin Johnson, Jake Ryan, and, to a lesser extent since he's still two stars on Rivals, Ray Vinopal. All of those guys were unranked or two stars until their Michigan commit prompted a re-evaluation.

That's not to say that the guys who got bumps didn't deserve them, but it's obvious that committing to a primo school causes the sites to re-evaluate your game. San Diego State commits are not afforded this privilege.

Speaking of Jibreel Black. Useful: Touch the Banner has a scouting report in which Brandon Graham gets name-checked. Useless: remember these guys?

dingle-berry

Apparently part of the Rodriguez rebuild is getting a couple of defensive linemen whose names combine in a funny way when they're on the bench: Michigan has just recruited guys named "Black" and "Ash." They should go the whole nine yards and invite Ball State running back Brandon Kish to walk on and then have poker pro Tony Ma hang around on the sidelines.

Wait, so now you're mad your guy didn't get hit by an elbow? Via UMHoops on the twitter is this weird incident from the Purdue game:

Kramer was defending on the left wing in front of Michigan's bench when Laval Lucas-Perry swung his elbow high, forcing Kramer to bob out of the way.

Seconds later, Michigan called a timeout and Kramer walked toward Purdue's huddle motioning to his arm and patting his elbow. That was likely directed to the officials.

Apparently, Kramer also told coach Matt Painter. Painter -- spouting mad -- then appeared to go toward Michigan's bench. He was held back by official Steve Olson, who had his hand on Painter's chest. Painter appeared to be jawing at Michigan assistant coach John Mahoney. Mahoney came over to Painter and appeared to pat him on the back and then walk away.

And by "incident" we mean "non-incident." Was this on TV? I don't recall this, though I admit that for a good chunk of the second half I was not paying super-close attention. I imagine a gritty gritadillo like Kramer spends a lot of time dodgy elbows that want to go where his craggy, pore-laden gritface happens to be. A little hissy from your coach about not actually getting hit is a little weird even if he got clocked last year. He's Gritopher Gritmer: he likes elbows in the face. Makes him feel alive.

Side note: Mahoney is the assistant who got T-ed up last year. He's yappy.

It's a matter of national security. The Detroit News reports back on their efforts to FOIA something from MSU about the Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown:

Most details of the altercation at the Rather Hall dormitory, however, were blacked out on the document. Officials cited sections of the FOIA law that protect an individual from unwarranted invasion of privacy and legal proceedings in an ongoing criminal investigation as reasons why most of the information was withheld.

Officials also declined to reveal details of six 911 calls made around the time of the incident, video surveillance footage in the dormitory, results of polygraph tests and taped interviews with players.

This is not surprising given the lengths to which universities go to avoid FOIA compliance, and I said earlier that the four additional departures from Michigan State's team seemed like a stiff price to pay. I do wonder if some of the big names returning to the team (Cunningham and Dell, mostly) might be the beneficiaries of a double standard that Michigan State would not like to see in the public eye.

Also: six 911 calls. !!!

Meanwhile, two more Spartans have been charged. They are DT Oren Wilson and perpetually troubled walk-on Myles White. White 1) was involved in the first PREWB, 2) just plead guilty to public urination, and 3) is now involved in PREWB II. Surely this must be the end for him. He's a walk-on. I track because I fret: Myles White is incoming Michigan tailback Austin White's brother.

Wilson started all last year as the NT, FWIW.

Small disaster apparently averted. Depending on what you believe, 2010 hockey recruit Jacob Fallon either got the boot or voluntarily left the NTDP, thus throwing his immediate future in flux and opening up a possibility he would play in the CHL. That is apparently not going to happen. Fallon has latched on with the Indiana Ice of the USHL and will presumably be in Ann Arbor next year unless Dean Lombardi drafts him and then kidnaps his mom.

Good work, Nike. This kind of stuff is why I'm glad Michigan got away from Nike:

new-msu-logoThat's a before-and-after of the Michigan State logo. New guy is pissed off because he looks dumb. Might go knock around some electrical engineers for variety.

Michigan State fans are not happy if a poll on The Only Colors is any indication. Opinion is currently 7-86(!!!) against. Required PREWB-related photoshop can be found at The Wolverine Blog.

Comments

GOBLUE4EVR

January 26th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

should learn not get so up close and personal with the players hes defending if hes going to bitch about almost taking an elbow to the face... i saw the "almost" elbow and there was rumbling from the crowd over it... LLP has every right to the space around him and can clear out if he wants to... it was a lot like last years play: LLP catches a pass, as he catches kramer gets tight on him, LLP turns to see the rest of the floor and holds the ball above his head, as he turns his elbow almost clips kramers face...

bronxblue

January 26th, 2010 at 12:28 PM ^

Every team has a player like Kramer - huge fan favorite at home because his bleeds sand and pebbles and hated on the road because he is mildly talented but grabs, trips, and "bodies up" the other team's best player all game. Personally, I can't stand the kid after he made that statement about not getting revenge, just wins, since nobody who watched that game thought Manny was purposely trying to injure Kramer or "get back" at him. It made him sound petty and whiny, the type of kid who acts tough but relies on the refs to protect him from any real repercussions. I didn't see the near-elbow, but I've seen enough Purdue games to say that Kramer's gameplan resembles the dry-humping my dog receives at the dog park, and will probably lead to a couple more gritty elbows to the face.

GOBLUE4EVR

January 26th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

playing basketball in HS and if a guy decided to guard me that like, damn straight he was taking an elbow to the side of the head or the jaw... i'm not a dirty player, but i want that guy to think twice before he does it again... and i give kramer credit for still doing even though he had his nose borken... what i don't like is when he bitches to the refs because he almost got hit again and a perfectly legal play... its almost like what frank thomas used to do when he was up to bat. pitcher throws inside on him and he jumps out the way like it nearly hit him on the nuts, but in all reality the ball was 4 feet from hitting him...

dahblue

January 26th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

I don't understand why Painter would be upset/surprised. He coaches his team to play a very physical defense, bumping/rubbing the ball handler. It shouldn't be a shock that his players catch the occasional elbow (or in this case, come close to catching). If it's a concern for him, maybe he should stop pressing the ball. I wish there were an A2 rematch this year.

bronxblue

January 26th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

Recruiting rankings are kind of like the USNWR - they are great for defining classes generally, but are far less accurate ranking within those groups. Thus, if you have a top-5 class, you are doing well; trying to divine who is #4 and #2 is far more difficult and based on subjective determinations. Same goes teams down the list - UM has a top-25 recruiting class, in line with teams like Miami (YTM), FSU, ND, etc. It is clearly not a top-10 class, but it is also in the top 3-4 in the Big 10 and still one of the better classes above the Mason-Dixon line.

But how the players stack up in high school is just one component of collegiate success. It also comes down to coaching, training, scheme, etc. As long as UM is able to maintain a certain competency in recruiting - top 25-30 nationally trending up with more 4* and 5* kids - I don't read too much into the recruiting services and their rankings.

bronxblue

January 26th, 2010 at 12:32 PM ^

I'm amazed with the new logo because Nike usually shows some innovation and creative design in their products, but that Spartan looks blockier and less-defined than the one they already have. Given, MSU tends to change its uniforms on a somewhat-consistent basis, but usually it is some form of an upgrade visually.

FgoWolve

January 26th, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^

Obviously I wouldn't be surprised if Nike had some creative input, but a decision to change the school's mascot logo would be solely that of the school right? If MSU truly gave Nike carte blance to just change their OWN school logo, Sparty's mouth would probably be shaped like a swoosh, and the shade of green would be neon. I think Nike just gets to license whatever the school tells them they can, i.e. this new logo.

UM Indy

January 26th, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

from Indiana did not go to a Catholic high school, went to Zionsville, but point still well-taken that they have lost their share of recruits. For Harbaugh to pull this kid out of suburban Indianapolis, he must have sold the sun, the girls and kicking USC's ass. Not too difficult a sell now that I think about it.

Captain

January 26th, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

jamiemac

January 26th, 2010 at 12:41 PM ^

Baraka was part of the 2001 class? Damn, I now feel old. Well, older.

I like this class. Lots of depth in key places we need. Not to mention a great haul from Ohio.

GOBLUE4EVR

January 26th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

heading to media/picture day with my dad in 2001 when the news of baraka getting popped again just came out... and that was days after LC said that he was going to keep his scholarship but was going to be suspended for that entire season for his first issue with the law...

maizenbluedevil

January 26th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

Wow that new logo is horrible!!!

I actually feel sorry for them.

That is really, really bad. Whereas the old incarnation is, quite obviously, a helmet, the new one just looks like a bunch of shapes.

I bet if you took a random survey on the street, showed people the new logo, and asked them what they were looking at, most would not recognize it as a helmet or it would at least take them awhile to figure it out. That's not a good thing as far as logos go.

If I was a Sparty fan, I would buy up tons of the current shit while it's still available because there's no way in hell I'd purchase anything with that new monstrosity on it.

Sgt. Wolverine

January 26th, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

It looks to me like the purpose of the MSU logo redesign was simply to make it look angry. But while anger certainly fits the criminal history of the football program, I'm not sure it's a good idea to incorporate that into the logo...

umuncfan11

January 26th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

Just wanted to quickly verify. Mitchell White is the walk-on defensive back of the White brothers. Myles White is on scholarship as a wide receiver. So he might have a little more leeway than a walk-on.

el segundo

January 26th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

Someone at West Virginia has a sense of humor. Given that these two fellows have consecutive numbers. In any roster organized by number, they will be forever paired as "Dingle/Berry."

On a somewhat related note, when I was in college, long, long ago, someone on the football team had the surname "Love." His number? 69, of course.

matty blue

January 26th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

i saw the play at the time and commented on it to my girlfriend, as in "too bad laval didn't connect with that pussy."

i read the quote from umhoops yesterday, am reading it again, and it still makes absolutely no sense to me. painter was mad about...what? that his guy tried to force contact, then complained about almost getting contact? i just don't get it. and what, exactly, did kramer say that pissed painter off so much that he needed to be restrained? "hey coach, i almost got elbowed?"

fuck them both. i thought i liked painter, but suddenly he seems like a whiny bitch.

and yap away, mahoney. keep on those bastards.

BostonWolverine

January 26th, 2010 at 2:07 PM ^

While there is a shortage of 4-5 star players, there are also more players dubbed as "sleepers" than in the past (Ryan, Carvin, Vinopal). Also, we got the best punter in the class, but he's not gonna get that fourth star.

If those alleged sleepers pan out, this could go down as an absolutely outstanding recruiting class. And RR looks like he's got the keenest eye for talent since Simon Cowell. If they don't, then we'll see.

Ernis

January 26th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

So sleek and curvy. Not quite voluptuous, but effeminate enough. Wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers, is what I'm trying to say.

Don

January 26th, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

I'm off my MGoBlog game today too, I guess... what the heck is USNWR?

United States Navy Weapons Research?
United States National Wildlife Refuge?

markusr2007

January 26th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

Some of Michigan's recruits may indeed be overrated. But at some point some of these 3-stars player have to emerge. Christ, Mark Ingram was a 3 star (Scout) running back out of Flint and won the Heisman trophy. Pat White was a 2-star (Scout) and Steve Slaton was a 3-star (Scout), and both were Heisman candidates.

TimH

January 26th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

Disappointing to hear that about the White kid. I expect better from my fellow Stevenson Spartans. Perhaps it is due to the teachers there...such as Craig D. Barker.

BILG

January 26th, 2010 at 9:57 PM ^

I was actually really excited about this recruiting class and didn't realize I was in the minority on this. Even putting aside the team's performance the last two years, this would still be a good class under "normal" circumstances. I believe in strength in numbers and we definitely filled up the class. Further, positions of need...secondary and linebacker were addressed. Of course I would love to see a classic 4 or 5 star middle linebacker in the class...but all in all it was a solid group with lots of speed and athleticism. When I see guys like Marvin Robinson, Cullen Christian, and Josh Furman coming in to fill holes in the secondary, my sense is RR did hit his targets. I have no doubt the offense will be spectacular over the next couple years with all the skill players and finally some experience at qb and familiarity with the system. The fact that we pulled in so many defensive recruits (15 of the 26) and are still in the running for Parker and Knight is really exciting to me. If we can somehow pull in these last two and fit them into the class, this would really be a stellar class given need in terms of position and numbers....not even mentioning how the past two years' performance were working against RR throughout this entire process.