Hopson hitting paydirt in Mississippi???

Submitted by Blue in Seattle on July 17th, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Interesting Sam Webb article from DetNews on Michigan's recruiting progress in Mississippi.

U-M in hot pursuit of nephew of Tigers' Thames

Here's a couple quotes from the article,

  • "  Hopson's efforts paid off last week when Thames flew up for the Tigers' six-game homestand. On Tuesday he and his uncle made their way to Ann Arbor for a visit and came away extremely impressed.

    "It was like a dream come true," Thames said of his time at Michigan. "Everything I'm looking for in a college, Michigan had it. Education-wise, everything up there is professional. They know what they're doing. If football doesn't work, they make sure you get your education."  "

  • "  Based on what Thames witnessed in the weight room, he believes the Wolverines know what they're doing when it comes to training, as well.

    "Mike Barwis -- that's an awesome dude," he said about Michigan's new strength and conditioning coordinator. "I'd say about 25 pro football players were there. He was helping them work out. It was awesome. He took me through some drills showing me how they do it up there."   "

To link this to BlueSeoul's diary entry "Should we believe the hype?"  I can say that I've heard of NFL players helping other players work out.  Walter Payton and Jerry Rice had noted workout regimes that were publicised and sought after by other NFL players.

But I've never heard of a College S & C guy collecting NFL players before.  Hell I don't think I've ever read an article about an S & C coach before Barwis.




July 17th, 2008 at 11:09 AM ^

I only remember a Men's Health article about the U. of Miami S&C coach training with former players (Edgerrin James, Kenard Lang, Santana Moss, etc) over the summer. It didn't seem like a huge group, at least not 25.


July 17th, 2008 at 11:43 AM ^

Considering that they're from the area, and wouldn't want to be in indianapolis or DC over the summer, that's not too big of a deal.

Plus, have you ever been to Miami ? Not too shabby in the summer, especially if you're making millions of dollars.

big gay heart

July 17th, 2008 at 11:54 AM ^

How is Thames paydirt? One marginal prospect and suddenly Hopson is "hitting paydirt?" I mean, come on. And, Gittleson, as pointed out, had players come back and train with him. In fact, this goes on at most major programs. Barwis is a really good S&C coach who is a bit crazy. He's become the cause celeb of the new coaching regime. But, some of you are hitting the kool aid waaaaaay too hard.

behind enemy lines

July 17th, 2008 at 12:25 PM ^

Gittleson would have half a dozen guys on campus on a good day in the offseason, not more than half of an NFL roster.  You have to understand the effect seeing not just a few guys, but 25 guys in the gym at once has on a 16-18 year old kid.  They're not going to see that on any other visit.  Barwis is a HUGE boon to recruiting.

It's unheard of, even in Miami.

chitownblue (not verified)

July 17th, 2008 at 12:30 PM ^

That's a straw man. You're comparing one kid's random guess at how many pros were there to a number that you're probably making up for Gittelson and almost certainly making up for Miami.

big gay heart

July 17th, 2008 at 12:32 PM ^

Ok, but he's a novelty right now. He's in the news, in the media, and people naturally want to see what it's all about. Maybe he'll sustain it, maybe he won't. Yeah, he's probably better than Big Git. Look, I'm not saying Barwis isn't a good S&C coach who has had and will continue to have an appreciably positive impact on both recruiting and on-the-field play, but what I am saying is that this Barwis worship has reached critical mass. He'll help M be better, sure, but he's not automatically going to turn every Michigan player into a sinewy beast of achievement. Because, you know, being in shape doesn't totally translate into success on the field.


July 17th, 2008 at 12:44 PM ^

I disagree with BGH. I think the Barwis hype is not high enough. In fact, I think it would be in the best interest of the team to fire RR and just keep Barwis. Barwis will get them so strong and fast that they won't even need a coach. Then, we can use the money we're saving each year to "entice" players to come to UM, a la OSU-Pryor. It's bulletproof.


July 17th, 2008 at 12:52 PM ^

Took some sheen off the Hopson recruiting machine.  Let's see how OK turns out.

Dennis Thames doesn't need Barwis because he's already country strong. \Rod Allen


July 17th, 2008 at 1:30 PM ^

I don't doubt that some guys were believers in Gittleson (given that he was the only S&C coach they ever had in college), and stayed loyal to him into their NFL careers, but I know that we routinely would have guys leave town to prepare for the NFL draft with private trainers. And we'd always hear about how these trainers would improve their speed and strength, which led to the inevitable message-board bloodletting over what we weren't doing to achieve those results.

Tim Waymen

July 17th, 2008 at 1:55 PM ^

From what I understand Gittleson was sort of a pioneer in his heyday. The thing is that his methods have become outdated and he was kept around too long. But it seems like you could also blame Lloyd for allowing players to coast.

Re: recruiting in the South: The article about Thames really sums it up well.  It talks about how family bonds tend to be very important in Mississippi so players don't really want to leave their families.  This might have something to do with the fact that Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country, right along with West Virginia. (The two states are very different, and yes, racial demographics does have a ton to do with cultural differences between the two.)

The fact that Thames' uncle plays for the Tigers seems to help a lot. 

chitownblue (not verified)

July 17th, 2008 at 2:38 PM ^

So you observed, or reported on, the number of NFL players that train at the University of Miami.

chitownblue (not verified)

July 17th, 2008 at 2:45 PM ^

OK, so where is the number of NFL players training at Miami quantified in any way?


July 17th, 2008 at 2:52 PM ^

Jim Tressel once sucked a male stripper for oatmeal money. I don't know where I read that at this moment. But I've read several things in the past. Go find the info yourself. I'm obviously right.

behind enemy lines

July 17th, 2008 at 3:01 PM ^

"Jim Tressel once sucked a male stripper for oatmeal money.

I don't know where I read that at this moment. But I've read several things in the past. Go find the info yourself. I'm obviously right."

No.  I'm obviously wrong because he says so.
Anyway,  I admit when I'm wrong, and I am.  I just found this from an article in 2005:
"From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET on weekdays, Hurricanes strength coach Andreu Swasey trains 17 to 20 players who could fill out a Pro Bowl roster."
I do remember reading about their workouts pretty long before 2005 when the whole thing was becoming a tradition at Miami and the numbers were much smaller.  I ASSumed that was still the case.  My bad.
Anyway, 25 is a huge number and I stand by my assertion that this will be big for recruiting.

chitownblue (not verified)

July 17th, 2008 at 2:59 PM ^

OK, the link doesn't work. But, if you google "NFL Players training at university of miami", it will provide you with an article that cites a group of over 20 NFL players in Men's Health. Your inability to cite any source for an assertion you made makes me believe that you were, actually, making your number up.

behind enemy lines

July 17th, 2008 at 3:03 PM ^

"Your inability to cite any source for an assertion you made makes me believe that you were, actually, making your number up."


I'll say it again.  Sorry, I'm obviously wrong about current numbers.  I know what I read, though, and I wasn't making anything up. 

chitownblue (not verified)

July 17th, 2008 at 3:04 PM ^

Further, players cited in this article by name: Frank Gore, Vilma, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss, DJ Williams, Roscoe Parrish, Kenard Lang, William Joseph, Ed Reed, Alex Rodriguez, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Bubba Franks, Will McGahee, Edgerrin James. It even says "No camp attracts more NFL talent".


July 17th, 2008 at 3:07 PM ^

"The cocksure mentality has even lured outsiders like Walker, a No. 1 draft pick out of Florida State, and New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, a first-rounder from Michigan State, both of whom have become regulars." I only quoted that because it said "cocksure"

Casa Grande

July 17th, 2008 at 11:34 PM ^

All of the Barwis buzz - talking about all of the NFL players or NFL players in waiting coming to work out with him... once the NCAA starts getting a whiff of that kind of P.R., they'll come up with some dumb rule to make that illegal. Schools could then use it as a "recruiting tool." You know, like they did with the rule about Media Guides. Yeah - kids are gonna come to your school because of your Media Guide. Whatever. But your S & C coach showing off his street cred... that may be too much for the party poopers at the NCAA. I hope not, but it seems they pretty much dump on everything else that could be considered ANY way to attract kids to a school. Don't believe me? Go to the M Athletic Dept and see if you can get a signed football or basketball to raffle for your favorite charity. It'll take weeks if not months and you have to sign an NCAA compliance form stating that nobody in middle or high school who is an athlete will receive the ball - because that could be a recruiting tool to make kids want to go to your school. So it's not a reach to think they'll look poorly on all of the hype about who's hanging around the weight room. But I hope not.