January 29th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

Honestly, the best sports blog out there.  And not because I am a Michigan fan.  The level of depth, analysis, and quality really are unrivaled.

Stay classy, MGoBlog


Edit: Shit, I forgot to comment about the actual article.  It's decent, good publicity and such.

coastal blue

January 29th, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

He claims our last back to back top 10 recruiting classes were 2004 and 2005, despite a table right near the paragraph showing our top 10 classes in 2008 and 2009. 

He also claims that not surprisingly, we won 11 games in 2006 due to our recruiting in 2004 and 2005 (You know how freshmen Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Jake Long carried us that season...).  

He then claims that, not surprisingly, we've been to one BCS bowl since 2007 due to our one top ten class...but fails to mention that that BCS bowl came after two 20th+ ranked classes. 

Also, Ohio State is a part of the story, but no mention of their ranking of 25th in 2010. 

Mandel is an idiot. 



January 29th, 2013 at 3:38 PM ^

Your objections are weak and prejudiced. In paragraph order:

If you read the table, it is a table of Rivals rankings, while Mandel manifestly is pulling information from all the major services, particularly Scout. The table isn't his fault.

Not even sure what you're arguing re: 2006. Yes, Henne, Hart and long were key parts of that team; As it happens, the 2004 and 2005 classes were important contributors to the talent on that team. They were not freshmen. Aren't you agreeing with him? Shouldn't you?

Regarding that one BCS bowl: This is Michigan, most of us think we should go to BCS bowl games more than once every five or six years. And he links that problem to recruiting. Why does he need to mention that there were two 20+ classes prior to the bowl? What relevance does that have? Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen, and Junior Hemingway were not a part of those classes, and they were three of the most important people on that team.

Why does it matter that Ohio State had one class that ranked 25th? What does it have to do with the story? When you write at a professional level, you aren't supposed to cram every bit of information available on a topic into a paper and hope it fits; you are supposed to write about a story and address information only as it pertains the focus of the topic. OSU's one bad class is irrelevant--for most of the 00s they hammered us in recruiting, and now that Urban is there they are recruiting very well. Mandel's point? Michigan's right there with them. 

Mandel is a writer. You are a critic. And you went to the article looking for things to hate, rather than actually digesting what was said. If the word idiot applies anywhere, it is not to Mandel for this article.

Everyone Murders

January 29th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

Not to be overly-thankful for someone doing the right thing, but I suspect many sportswriters would have lifted this blog's analysis without accrediting the source.  Also lets us know that Mandel or someone working for him reviews this and other blogs - a credit to MGoBlog and the blogosphere in general.

And overall a nice article to boot.  Thanks for posting!


January 29th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

"Michigan's the interesting one," said national analyst Mike Farrell. "You look at what Ohio State's doing, they got a quarterback [J.T. Barrett] from Texas, a [linebacker] from Georgia [Trey Johnson], they're still dipping down South. Michigan's class, except for the defensive back from North Carolina [Channing Stribling], there's no Southern representation in this class at all. "How's that going to play out? Will they still not be fast enough to compete with SEC teams? We'll see."


Us damned northerners and our inferior DNA which produces little to no fast twitch musculature. The only reason that southerners may be faster is they can't count high enough to measure out 40 yards.




January 29th, 2013 at 1:11 PM ^

On a serious note there is a flip side to the "Ohio recruiting nationally" angle that they fail to mention.  Once Urban stopped looking first at the Ohio kids the way Tressel did he opened the door to Michigan to move back in.  Tressel's philosophy of Ohio first, last and always may not have gotten OSU as many kids from the south but it did effectively wall us off from recruiting here.  Now that the approach has changed the HS coaches have opened doors to us that were closed down here for many years.


Mr. Rager

January 29th, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

I grew up in the South.  The two sides will never agree.  The simple math, from an unbiased source, is:

Nice weather year round is easier on athletes, allowing them to train year round (remember most of these kids aren't from much and hiring a personal trainer / paying for a gym membership is out of the question).  

The opposite works  for Midwestern linemen.  You'll always hear about the "big uglies" of the Midwest but that doesn't mean the South produces none of them.  

It's a weather and training thing, not a DNA thing.  Unless of course you are talking about race.  



January 29th, 2013 at 1:17 PM ^

It's all about mother nature.  If you're a kid in the South, you can play outdoor sports year-round.  Being active on a more consistent basis from a young age produces tangible results later in life.

If you look at the US Track and Field team sprinters, they basically all come from areas with mild winters, with the majority from Florida and California.

It's also not DNA that sees Kenyans and Ethipians dominate distance running.


January 29th, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

Actually, It's almost entirely DNA that explains the dominance of East Africans in distance running events (just as it is for West Africans in sprinting). 

East Africa is mountainous, but so are many other parts of the world.  You don't see world-class distance runners coming from the Andes, Alps, Himalaya, etc.  East Africans happen to have a greater proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers in their legs.



January 29th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

Not a recruiting expert but I think the last two classes were stellar but we still have a couple holes to fill to create a complet team by 2015 and going forward.  I thinke with the following we will be on level with Bama and the SEC.

1) Elite DE pass rushers.  Assuming Poggi stays with us, I think the D-line interior is solidified between Pipkins and Poggi.  OSU has been pulling in ridiculous D-line classes under Meyer.  It would be huge if we could get 1 or 2 QB terrors rushing off the edge.

2) 6ft + shutdown corner.  Hopefully Countess comes back healthy and elite.  With Dymonte I think we finally have that play making safety.  Would be nice to have 1 shutdown corner 6ft or taller that can match up man to man against big recievers.

3) WR U to return.  Early we thought we had Treadwell to fill out the #1 by his junior year.  Unfortunately it didn't pan out.  Of course any of our current recievers could blossom and seem to be underrated, but a 5 star freakish WR would be nice to pull in.


January 29th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

Well they could turn into elite pass rushers, but neither came out of HS with an elite pass rusher pedigree.  Ohio snagged Noah Spence who was a concensus top-10 across all four recruiting sites.  That is an elite pedigree.  You could put a possibly in front of anybody on the roster, but that doesn't mean it will be likely.  If Taco and/or Mario develop into elite pass rushers, then they will have greatly outperformed their expectations.


January 29th, 2013 at 1:27 PM ^

I agree that Michigan still has a few holes to fill.

  1. You are correct about Ohio and their D-Line recruiting being very good. Pipkins and Poggi are gifted, and will help Michigan on the d-line. However, there are two recruits out there in the 2014 class who would push Michigan to elite status:  Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell. Hand is not only the top ranked strongside defensive end, he is the consensus number 1 2014 player in the nation, regardless of position. Getting Hand would be like getting Jadeveon Clowney. However, I'll be surprised if we can pull him out of the south . . . I think he goes to Alabama or Virginia Tech, or possibly South Carolina. McDowell is also very good. Because he is in Michigan, at Cass Tech, he is really almost more important than Hand. It would not be good to lose him to another program, especially Ohio.
  2. Corners can still improve. We're not yet elite, and have work to do.
  3. Same with Wide Receivers. And while we've had some good ones in the past, I'm not sure I'd call Michigan WR U. We have a ways to go there.

I think we're fairly healthy elsewhere. One more year of solid recruiting on the O-Line will get depth and experience to where it needs to be. We definitely need to get back into the pattern of a QB in every class.


January 29th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

Stewart Mandel may be an "idiot," as a previous poster said, but at least he isn't Rosenberg.  Whenever I click a blind link to SI, I always hope that I didn't just give Rosenberg a click.


January 29th, 2013 at 12:57 PM ^

"How's that going to play out? Will they still not be fast enough to compete with SEC teams? We'll see."

It's not that teams and players up north aren't fast enough, Michigan was simply not talented enough up front to play with Alabama. Notre Dame was lacking talent on the offensive line and defensive backfield to keep up with Alabama. It had nothing to do with speed and everything to do with talent


January 29th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

I'm completely with you. That whole prejudice is ridiculous.

The thing is, speed is roughly analagous to talent. When Michigan is "slow," it's not because they are trying to grow slow-moving man-mountain neanderthals that have no speed, it's because they are low on talent, period. When Michigan has talent, they have speed--but nobody ever mentions that. In the 1/1/08 Cap One Bowl, Michigan had speed everywhere on the field because they had TALENT everywhere on the field and seriously outplayed a Florida team that was between national championship seasons (that is, lots of talent there). 

When Michigan played Bama they got punched in the mouth because neither line was very good and both of Bama's lines were excellent. Sure, Michigan wasn't threatening Alabama on the edges when on offense (neither did anyone else) but that's not because Michigan was fielding slow five-stars. It was because their best athletes, apart from ultra-fast Denard, were low-talent guys. We weren't even starting our #1 RB, and the guy who would have been the top receiver in a low-end group (Stonum) was off the team.

The most recent defining example of "fast" vs "slow" is that OSU-Florida BCS championship where OSU got annihilated. Supposedly because they were slow. Well, it's true that their fastest offensive player got hurt after running a kick back for a touchdown (he ran it slow--if he had been faster he wouldn't have gotten hurt!). And it's true that their offensive line was porous. But it's not like Florida was that much of an upgrade over Michigan in NFL talent that year; Lamar Woodley, David Harris, and Leon Hall among others were all fast enough to become defensive mainstays in the NFL. But don't call that Michigan team "fast."

"Speed" is an excuse for the weak-minded. Talented players have a strong tendency to be fast; talented teams are fast teams, under-talented teams are not as fast. 



January 29th, 2013 at 4:01 PM ^

ND was lacking everywhere.  Their vaunted D-line got run over by Bamas NFL level o-line.  But using Bama (best recruiting and coached team in the SEC over the past 5 years) vs. ND (a solid but incredibly lucky and overachieving team in 2012) as the basis of comparison is not a fair nothern football vs. southern football guage. 

The biggest difference between SEC and the rest of the country in my opinion is not overall speed...this is a myth.  It's the speed of the big uglies in the trenches on the d-line.  There are 4.4 - 40 speed guys at WR and cornerback at every big time program.  It seems, however, that the SEC has a monopoly on 300 lb monsters on the d-line that run a 4.6.

LSU and Bama most noticeably and South Carolina and Florida to a slightly lesser degree seem to have d-lines that can control the flow of the game.  The ND front 7 that was supposed to be SEC level proved not to be.

Meyer it seems is trying to build his team around that dominant D-line philosophy he had at Florida with his recruiting at OSU now.  Hoke seems to be building around a monstrous O-line haul, but I am sure being the old d-line coach he is, he would love to bring in 5 star talent there as much as any coach in the country.

Point being, it seems the "SEC Speed" meme does hold some water when looking at the D-lines.  They just have freaks up front that OSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, and other northern schools don't seem to grow at home, as evidence by Meyer going south.  Must be something in that bayou water or soul food. 


January 29th, 2013 at 1:00 PM ^

The mention by (as well as the ESPN one noted above) are simply more evidence that MGoBlog really is a primary go-to site nationally for comprehensive information and analysis regarding University Of Michigan athletics, and that is something the entire community here can be proud of really.

As for the article itself, this quote struck me:

"They do a great job recruiting in the offseason -- identifying kids early, making offers early, and that definitely pays off," said Helmholdt. "They feel very confident in their evaluations of kids."

In addition to the relationships, the forward planning aspect that Hoke and the staff involve as part of their process is one of the things that make me feel confident we're looking at some excellent times ahead for the program. They are always keeping an eye to the future and to their anticipated needs and making early evaluations and contact does ensure at least some relative continuity in terms of the overall level of talent as well as where it comes from. Strangely enough, there are companies in the Fortune 500 that do not workforce plan with this level of foresight.


January 29th, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

A very good article - a couple more years of good recruiting and it should be a two horse race again. One point the article made is that Hoke is not recruiting much in the south. I hope he starts looking down there for some of our recruits.  We didn't do too badly with some kid from Florida who had a little bit of speed.


January 29th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

Mike Valenti dared callers yesterday when he said Michigan is not elite like OSU!  He said no recruiting service has Michigan #1, and then he rattled off Rivals, 247 and ESPN.  Me thinks he cherry picked his recruiting services...or he was just being a dingbat...or both.

Sometimes I wish there was an intelligent Michigan caller on that station that also yells back at him whenever he goes off on one of his Bill O'Reilly-type bullying tirades.  I'd do it, if I actually listened to the show in more than bits and pieces (because that is all I can stomach until the WTKA goes live again).


January 29th, 2013 at 1:27 PM ^

He cherry picked his information!?  Well I never would have thought that!  And even with Rivals, 247, and ESPN, how can he make his point?  Rivals has us #6 and like 20 points behind Ohio at #4.  Looks pretty similar to me.  247 has UM at 7 and Ohio at 5.  247 composite has UM at 4 and Ohio at 2 (and it should be noted that Ohio has no 5 stars on the composite).  ESPN has UM at 5 and Ohio at 4.  Where in any of the even cherry picked data does it say UM isn't elite.  If Ohio is elite by these measures, then so is UM.  He's just crying for help, trying to grasp onto any little straw that might suggest that his hated rival is doing anyting but leaving his team in the dust.  It's quite pathetic.  And he'll never debate a level headed UM on air because they screen all the callers and he cherry picks for MSU trolls saying they're UM fans.