Unverified Voracity Recommends Ruffage Comment Count

Brian April 19th, 2013 at 1:15 PM

I'm ignoring this Boston business. Should I have to mention this? Probably not. Rest assured that when the zombie apocalypse comes I'll be here speculating about how it affects Michigan's roster when the starting quarterback bites his center.

Anyway: stuff.

Fritz Crisler's advice to Walter. Eat plenty of ruffage, young man.


This is apparently a new find from user Messenger Puppet. The message board sleuths have identified "Walter" as a missing Brown student Walter Freihofer, who had quite a life. The timing fits: he graduated high school in 1940 and died about a year ago; the letter was probably uncovered as someone was going through his things.

Yes, Wilton. Wilton Speight provides MLive with a picture of him hellaciously stiffarming a hapless fool who dares approach Speight's aura:


That's in an article about Speight's high ranking on ESPN. I was not aware that he'd reclassified after a serious collarbone injury in the first game of his junior season. In general that's a good thing—experience is everything for quarterbacks, who don't approach their ceilings until they're 35.

I should mention that I missed MO LB Kyron Watson in my rundown of Michigan targets in the ESPN 150. He's 100th.

Hated Chad Ford, man, you just don't get it. Hated Chad Ford is mostly a joke about how Chad Ford is all like taking my peoples from me, but come on man:

"His decision to return, considering his age (he turns 21 before the draft) and high draft stock at the moment, is a puzzling one -- I'm not sure his draft stock will ever be higher. A potential first-round pick in 2014."

There are things other than draft stock in life, like being the man on a very good college basketball team.

2014 looms. It appears that Michigan's got a one-year reprieve here from GRIII and McGary. Paste these two items together

"We're like brothers," McGary said. "Coach says we're joined at the hip, I don't think it's that serious. But (part of my decision relied on) what he was doing.

"We just kind of wanted to come back together, make a run at it and play the way we play."

"It was 50-50," McGary said. "I might have been leaning a little bit toward (leaving at first), but I talked it over with my family, and I thought this was what was best.

"I kind of want to be a kid for one more year."

...and you get both guys planning on leaving after next year. This is fine. It gives Michigan time to replace them. It does mean that the 2014 recruiting class will burgeon to at least 5 players, more if there is a transfer or Stauskas blows up into a lottery pick. Or Spike, I guess.

In any case, Michigan's next basketball recruiting class is huge for the continued program upswing. It currently consists of Florida big man Ricky Doyle and Indiana wing Austin Hatch, if Hatch can get back on the court. That's kind of a big if; it seems likely Michigan signs the guy and puts him on a medical scholarship. They'll probably add four additional players: another post-ish guy who will be around (Michigan will have just Doyle, Donnal, and Bielfeldt in 2015), a couple wings, and then a wild card.

Michigan's caught the eye of Milwaukee five-star Kevon Looney:

In an interview with ChicagoHoops.com earlier this week, Looney listed Michigan as one of a handful of schools firmly on his radar.

Looney, who said his recruitment was still "pretty wide open," also listed Michigan State, Tennessee, Florida, Duke, Georgetown and Wisconsin as schools he's hearing the most from.

At 6'9", Looney is a Kevin Durant-style wing with range.

Putting him at the four in Beilein's system would be almost unfair. Let's hope that "Michigan" coming out of his mouth first means something down the road. One and done? Uh… probably. Don't tell Beilein.

Meanwhile, Sam Webb told his WTKA audience this morning that if Trevon Bluiett and Vincent Edwards were to pick today, they would both be headed elsewhere. (I'd guess those destinations would be Butler and Purdue.) That wasn't a lock or anything, but just a feeling from a connected guy. They seem to be leading for Devin Booker despite heavy attention from powers, but Booker isn't rushing towards a decision.

Michigan's going to see their options expand; this AAU circuit will see a half-dozen new prospects on the radar. The three guys mentioned in the previous paragraph are their only current offerees right now. That'll change in the next few months. UMHoops has some additional information on who they might offer.

While Beilein wasn't gung-ho about the possibility after Trey's departure…

"I don’t think we’re in a position where we have to use (Trey’s scholarship)," Beilein said. "But if there’s the right situation – last year Caris was more of a redshirt, was going to be."

…they could take a swing at a 2013 kid if one they like pops up. They've got two scholarships available. Assuming GRIII and McGary are gone after this year, if you can get a guy who you think you can be a four-year contributor more along the lines of Caris LeVert than Colton Christian that's a move you may want to make. There's a shaky rumor about Michigan reaching out to former Hofstra commitment Gabe Levin, so they're poking around a bit.

Okay, not just me. I was wondering if what I saw from Delonte Hollowell in the spring game was a hallucination or wishful thinking. Apparently not:

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison indicated there's more to it than that -- that Hollowell had a terrific spring, and could force his way into the rotation come fall.

“I think you probably thought it was rhetoric when we first got here and you heard me say it before -- you’re evaluated every day in practice," Mattison said when asked about Hollowell's start. "The thing that Brady (Hoke) does such a good job of is that we have competitions in practice. Competition means it’s a game.

"How you react in that competition is going to decide who’s going to earn the right to play the next day and be where they are the next day in the depth chart. So that depth chart can change day to day."

Hollowell played in 11 games last season, but mostly on special teams. He played in three games as a reserve defensive back, recording one tackle.

I brought this up on 'TKA yesterday tentatively and got the same vibe from Sam. While Hollowell isn't going to start over Taylor or Countess, hopefully they'll be comfortable enough to put a third cornerback on the field this fall if someone goes down. Now someone get him tweeting again.

Amara to the rescue. Another guy pushing his way up the depth chart is a key one for Michigan's next couple years, what with the receiver depth looking shaky. He's Amara Darboh:

"I knew Darboh was going to catch the ball," Gardner said. "We knew what was going to happen. We were planning to call that play (the day before the game), and Coach Borges just said get it up and give him a chance.

"That's what I did. He performed." …

"He can do everything well," Gardner said. "He can shake guys in the short-range game, and he can go deep."

That bomb was quality: Darboh got a release that gave him space to the outside and adjusted to a less than perfect ball comfortably. That takes skill.

We're Texas. That means our administrators specialize in sounding like twits. Multi-year scholarships are now legal, but the baton is being picked up slowly despite those press conferences in the immediate aftermath of that rule's passage where every coach in the country said they would offer four-year rides. Full numbers are hidden behind a paywall, but the Chronicle of Higher Ed reports that multi-year deals are rare:

Nearly two-thirds of the 56 most powerful Division I public universities now offer multiyear awards, according to a Chronicle review of public records. Yet few of those institutions do so for more than a handful of athletes.

Among the holdouts are some of the wealthiest programs, including the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oregon, and Texas A&M. At the University of Arizona, Georgia Tech, and the University of Louisville, this year's NCAA men's basketball champions, you can count the multiyear beneficiaries on one hand.

Here's the bit where someone from Texas sounds like a twit:

"Who gets a four-year, $120K deal guaranteed at age 17?" Christine A. Plonsky, women's athletic director at the University of Texas, wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle. "The last thing young people need right now is more entitlement."

This is an athletic department that has an entirely separate athletic director for their womens' teams talking about how young people are entitled. I wish I had a magic poverty wand I could wave at people.


Christine A. Plonsky finds herself in the kitchen of Taco Bell. She somehow knows her car is now a 1979 Yugo, her home a double-wide, her husband a machinist. She still makes more than 30k a damn year.


Sing to me, o fate, a tale of entitlement—


Shut up and make me 12 soft tacos.


Anyway. John Infante argues that this sort of inconsistent application of the new multi-year rule is actually a good thing. First, a few numbers he pulled out:

But even colleges that have moved toward the longer agreements have done so modestly. Six institutions signed at least two dozen multiyear agreements this academic year. They include the University of Florida (60), Ohio State University (47), North Carolina State University (40), Michigan State University (30), Arizona State University (27), and Auburn University (27).

But multiyear awards still account for less than one-tenth of all athletic scholarships at most of those institutions.

IIRC OSU and MSU were amongst the schools that promised all of their football folks would be on multi-year scholarships, which clearly isn't happening. Meanwhile, Michigan doesn't even appear on this list of moderate adopters. On the other hand, Infante mentions that Illinois is giving out multi-year deals to virtually everybody.

Infante's argument:

Recruits are beginning to understand their power in the negotiation as well as the tools they can use to get the best deal. Hopefully as the market in recruiting and athletic scholarships continues to mature, more recruits and schools will understand their bargaining positions. This encourages the best situation for athletes: when the agreement they sign is the same one that both they and their coach intend and understand.

Contrast this with setting scholarships at any one length. Under the old one-year maximum, coaches were flat out lying to prospects and their families. They would say that a one-year agreement was really for four years, and that as long as the athlete stayed eligible and out of trouble, the scholarship would be renewed. Then when the athlete was injured or did not live up to expectations, the grant-in-aid would be nonrenewed.

Requiring four- or five-year scholarships creates a similar situation. The coach assures the athlete that they have a four-year agreement, because look, there it is in a written contract. Then when the athlete does not pan out, the coach begins looking for ways to get out from under the commitment. That leads to deliberately confusing scholarship agreements and team/department rules which are inconsistently enforced.

As long as the guarantee remains in place—and the roster spot occupied—even when a guy is booted, that's about all they can do. But it'll be interesting to see if recruiting reporters start asking kids about the details of their "offers." Is Illinois explicitly using a longer-term promise as an incentive? Is, say, Western Michigan guaranteeing four-star commit Chance Stewart four years, and is that why he's headed for the MAC instead of the Illini? Shouldn't Da'Shawn Hand demand any school he signs with guarantee him four years?

It feels like a lot of stakeholders in the recruiting game are trying to downplay the existence of the multi-year rule. That can't last, and then things get interesting.

Etc.: Sap on Russell Davis. Baseball still cruising. Desmond Howard counter-sues photographer guy. Burke #1? With Marcus Smart out, maybe? Probably not. Rothstein on Gardner.



April 19th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

Are you pro innocent people getting blown up or con innocent people getting blown up? We won't know unless you tell us. (Also, what is our depth chart at QB and Center during the Zombie Apocalypse?)

I would hope we don't any immediate basketball scholarships for just a body. If we can find someone like Caris, sure. But not because we're worried about not having a full roster.  This run has done something Beilein hasn't had to deal with yet...having a hot program, where he can have highly ranked guys coming to him, rather than him having to find them before they blow up.  He can fill those positions with top end guys.  Will we get Kentucky's haul? No, and we don't need to, that's not going to be us. But scholarships opening up + National Championship game should = great recruits down the line when the guys in high school watching us become seniors and are picking a school.

And one of those guys really needs to be a top 25-30 big man, because we went from very good to great when Mitch stopped being just a freshman and started looking like a guy who was ranked top 5 for awhile there. And now Beilein doesn't have to jump through hoops ot get them; he has a lot more to offer.


April 19th, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

But just because Spike had one hot half doesn't mean he's still probably not a career back-up with hopes of maybe starting his senior year, depending on how PGs leaving and being recruited falls. Because it'll probably take Walton as much time as it took Trey to take over the starting spot. And you're already recruiting the next Morris/Burke/Walton to take over when he's done. In a perfect world you get them so they spend their freshman year as the backup; but more likely you're replacing one with the other. Embrace advancing as a program, where you don't have 6'4" power forwards, and guys who are either going in the lottery or were talked about for the lottery are leading you to the Final Four.


April 19th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

Really left any holes. Or definitely if Mitch or Glen had left. But we're not going to play that many guys, and if anything finding minutes for everyone seems like a challenge. Which is an awfully nice problem to have. 

Now if we can't get any of those guys we might have some holes that need immediate filling next year with Mitch, Glen, and Morgan all leaving. And if anyone else goes (because they blow up or just want more playing time somewhere else). But hopefully we've got some guys locked down at that point.

Blue In NC

April 19th, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^

I agree.  And I think the 2014 class (rather than 2013) is the way to go.  UM has plenty of depth coming back but will likely lose 3 or 4 guys next year (including 2-3 in the frontcourt).  It looks like we have a stretch 4 in Donnal but we really need two big guys between the 14 and 15 classes.  I hope that Beilein can recruit the bigs like McGary.  Maybe McGary's run has shown bigs that they can be successful in Beilein's system (of course, he seems to adapt his "system" to the talent availability so that shoud not be an issue anyway).

Edit: I did forget about Doyle in 14.  Still one more big in 14 would be nice.

Hardware Sushi

April 19th, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

I know that Mike Knuble, of early '90s hockey teams and NCAA-leading goal scorer his senior year, was offered a 4-year scholarship from Red in 1990.

I never saw the LOI or written scholarship, but I know Red wanted Knuble badly and Knuble was seriously considering juniors (as he was born in Toronto but partially grew up in Grand Rapids). The 4-year offer, even for career ending injury (which I guess is know called a medical scholarship), was a huge factor in Knuble coming to Michigan.

I don't know how my story jives with the recent change to 1-year max scholarships, but I am positive about my side of the story. Have heard it firsthand (although it's not like I can call Knuble and ask him).


April 19th, 2013 at 5:42 PM ^

I don't know how my story jives with the recent change to 1-year max scholarships,

It's the other way around. Scholarships officially could only be for one year at a time until recently, when they were allowed to be guaranteed for four years.

Red probably promised him that he'd have the scholarship for four years no matter what (which I think is SOP at Michigan anyway), but technically I think he had to renew it each year.


April 19th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

I know that most of those aren't guaranteed in that they usually require the student to maintain a certain GPA, but "guaranteed" athletic multi-year scholarships have some strings attached. From the article in the Chronicle:

But multiyear contracts are not exactly a blank check. As a precaution, some institutions have added language to their agreements requiring players to meet a broader set of responsibilities to keep receiving their aid. Those stipulations, which in some cases include academic or behavior guidelines that are stricter than those for one-year awards, are intended to give institutions an exit clause should players not meet their basic obligations. Those moves have encouraged some institutions to make more multiyear offers.

EDIT: Ms. Plonsky has an annual salary of $363,348. That's more than the AD at Colorado-Boulder makes. (Source: http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/the-university-of-texas-at-austin/christine-a-plonsky/242385/)


April 19th, 2013 at 3:43 PM ^

If I'm a 17-year old high school kid and I'm negotiating with 50-something year old businessmen, I'd like some representation. Ditto if my kid were in that position.Just sayin'...

Count me solidly in the 'bout-damned-time camp of the green-lighting of four year scholarships and even some level of I-can-buy-a-car-with-it-tomorrow compensation for players, but let's just cut to the chase of making men's college football and basketball a straight up minor league system with contractual agreements and stipulations and the whole shebang.

The emperor has no clothes; its not ameteur sports.

Finally, I apparently love me some hyphens today. Carry on.


April 19th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

I'd love to see how multi-year scholarships are enforced as contracts.

"What that you say there, third year player who wants to jump to the NFL? You still have another year on your scholarship contract and we're going to hold you to it." 


April 19th, 2013 at 4:52 PM ^

That said, should I be worried about 2014 recruiting? Seems like we're not really in great position with any top-level guys and I think we can expect McGary and GRIII to be gone, while it's plausible to wonder if any of Irvin, Stauskas, and Donnal may be good enough to go pro too. Just fearing a freak talent-cliff

Dan Freihofer

April 22nd, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

To all who may be worried about Crisler's letter having been defaced with a red pen... 

I'm the "Crab" to whom the scribbler refers.  Dad sent that note - a photocopy of the original Crisler letter overwritten with red pen - to me when I was playing at Dartmouth in the 1970's. I sent it 20 years later to my son Will when he was playing football at Holderness School in NH. Now 10 years later Will's roommate found it in his apt. And put it on Facebook. Pretty cool

Rest assured the unblemished original is in good hands and safely framed in our Freihofer football shrine (of sorts).

Dan Freihofer