Note: I've extended the number of posts listed on the message board at the request of some users. Also, the eye-burning white sidebar problem should be fixed. Lo siento.
Arriving. Incoming hockey recruit Chris Brown is Michigan's highest-ranked NHL draft prospect this year at #29 on the CSB's list of North American skaters. This corresponds to a solid second-rounder and brings with it inevitable questions about whether or not the player in question will actually play college hockey. Brown's answer:
"I signed a national letter of intent and I'm sticking to my word," Brown said. "I can't turn down an education like that and attending that school is a once in a lifetime opportunity. What happens, happens in the draft, but that'll be down the line."
There's even a bonus quote implying Brown is thinking long term:
"I'm excited to live (in Michigan for what will be) seven years, but Texas will always be home through and through," Brown said. "
A lot of kids say that and (understandably) change their minds later when someone offers them hundreds of thousands of dollars to, but there's also another class of kids with no plans on staying the full four and it's always nice to hear a well-regarded prospect falls into group A.
Making a move. Most of the discussion at tackle has focused on the upperclass duo of Ortmann and Dorrestein being pushed by redshirt freshman Patrick Omameh. A little-regarded recruit would like to say not so fast, my friend:
Question: Who has impressed you at right tackle out of the guys?
Coach Rodriguez: “It’s been a battle. Pat Omameh has been there, Perry Dorrestein has played on both sides. Schilling (has played guard and tackle) but the guy who has a pretty good spring so far is Mark Huyge. He’s a guy that’s played guard, he’s played on the left side and right side. He’s practicing like he wants to take that job. It’s going to be wide open. The competition will continue in August.
For now, Huyge's actually displaced Dorrestein and Omameh as the extremely nominal first team guy. Given how much we've heard about Omameh and Dorrestein's functional play last year I think Huyge stepping up to play with those guys is a good sign. At the very least he's turned himself into a potentially useful player and increased the chances Michigan finds a solid starting five on the line.
Huyge was the second and final member of Michigan's disastrously small OL class from two years ago, but if he steps up and establishes himself a starter that class will have an impressive track record. The other member is potential four-year starting center David Molk. Molk was a solid four-star; Huyge was a guy Michigan located at camp and offered midway through his senior season, snatching him from the MAC. Having him pan out is a bonus.
Theory: Michigan had moved to a zone running game the season in which Molk and Huyge were recruited. While Michigan's current run game is somewhat different than the DeBord-installed zone stretch, it prizes the same sort of things in its linemen: mobility, second level blocking, and quick thinking. That could be a reason they have an advantage over older linemen recruited for a different style of running.
Also broached in that Rodriguez press conference was the idea of adding a player or two before fall:
Question: Is there any chance of adding any scholarship players before the fall?
Coach Rodriguez: “Yeah. We signed 22, so we really have three spots that we can sign with this year’s class coming up. We’ll wait and see in the next couple of weeks or month and see if anything happens.”
I have no idea who that might be other than a late-qualifying guy who didn't sign with anyone, a la Tank Carradine, or one of the rare JUCO transfers who Michigan will admit. Chances anything comes of this are low.
BOOM. Ryan Mallett is probably going to start for Arkansas this year, and good luck with that. He's also in the running to be probably the tallest punter in NCAA history, and the guy tutoring him is a blast from the past:
Arkansas special teams coach John L. Smith has no doubts about Ryan Mallett's ability to be a college punter. "If he were not a quarterback and could spend more time working at it, he could probably be a heck of a punter, maybe even punt at the next level," Smith said.
The entire state of Michigan just gave that paragraph the middle finger.
Also, I know Petrino and Smith are homies and all, but you put your special teams in the hands of this man?
This may be more interesting than that year Arkansas had a punter who would do yoga before the snap.
Lockdown. Michigan's making the spring game a big recruiting weekend and there's a good chance a couple commits drop. One guy to keep an eye out for is TX RB Stephen Hopkins, who named Michigan his leader according to Tom and is making quite a trek to see campus. A&M, Nebraska, and a number of other Big 12 schools not named Oklahoma or Texas have offered Hopkins; he's a Minor sort.
Also—and you can file this under meaningless Facebook stuff—but a reader reports that Dior Mathis is urging folks to head out this weekend. He'll be in attendance; no one expects a commit or anything but it's trending positive with his recruitment.
Etc.: SI's Richard Deitsch, in town as a Knight Fellow, on the new AnnArbor.com thing. MVictors scores an excellent interview with Nick Sheridan; also sports a sweet new Brown Jug favicon. Michigan Stadium is amongst the sites being considered for a USA World Cup bid; commenters are skeptical the field can be wide enough.