UPDATE: MI 3* WR Taj Mustapha

Submitted by FauxMo on June 23rd, 2017 at 2:03 PM

Not much going on, so I thought this topic might be fun (or better than cigars, Mt. Dew and wine, anyway). Last night, West Bloomfield, MI., 3* WR Taj Mustapha committed to Wisconsin. No Michigan interest, so it doesn't really impact us directly. However, he was apparently an MSU "lock" as recently as a few days ago. Word around town - by which I mean a few comments from random message board posters I read - is that while this may be driven mostly by the turmoil in East Lansing, it also may be the start of a "Blackwell Effect." Apparently Blackwell was key in recruiting Mustapha, and there is some speculation that Blackwell may be poisoning MSU with Detroit-area recruits since his firing. If true, Blackwell could really, really end up being a double or triple curse for MSU in terms of recruiting and more. If they get damaged badly with the higher-rated Michigan kids that are their recruiting lifeblood, what with so little national recruiting cache, they could be in for a prolonged period of disappointment... 

EDIT: MSU lost another recruit tonight to Wisconsin, putting the total at 5 in this class, and 2 in the last 24 hours. This time it was 2* WR AJ Abbott, another West Bloomfield kid, who is ranked #2122 overall and as the 301st best WR in the class... 


Mr. Yost

June 25th, 2017 at 9:33 PM ^

Harbaugh did that...Blackwell is just accelerating the process.

We were always going to put MSU back into the land of little brother. The past year proved that...but it seems like Blackwell is going to make sure it stays that way for a looooong, looooong time.

Very nice.

Image result for according to plan gif


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:12 PM ^

When you say "higher rated Michigan kids" Harbaugh was already hurting them with the 1-10 category. If they get hurt through the 11-25 category their depth is toast.

They are still pulling from Ohio a bit and I was hoping those high mid range kids OSU did not want would choose Cincinnati now with Fickell. If the wheels come off this season and they miss a bowl you may see this class dissolve.

Wisconsin would be my choice before MSU all day long.


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

Wisky has 4 commits from the state of Michigan right now, which is apparently more than they've had in several years combined. ALL of those commits had MSU offers, I think, and all were in that #500 to #1000 ranking range that MSU mostly lives off. This is definitely bad for MSU, regardless of the "why". 


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:13 PM ^

Poisoning MSU? Leading recruits away? I don't know... Person A recruits player. Person A not at that school anymore. Player goes to different school. 

It happens all the time. 


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:23 PM ^

That's certainly possible. But if a player drops a school because their non-coaching recruiting coordinator left, then they had at best a very light attraction to the school. This isn't the head coach or even their position coach; this guy wasn't even on the field coaching. Again, this may have little or nothing to do with Blackwell, or you could be right, but would you be surprised to find out that Blackwell is bitter and speaking badly about MSU to his network of contacts? The dude has already been smeared pretty well in the Detroit media, fair or not... 


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:30 PM ^

Yeah. I mean, kids also transfer right away after committing and that player would in theory have more than a light attraction after signing a LOI after all. So who knows. You said Blackwell was critical in his recruitment so I put him on par with position coach, etc. 

I just struggle with the "speculating on the speculation" that Blackwell is poisoning MSU with recruits.  Mustapha could've just as easily said "eh, Wisconsin is on an upward trajectory and better academically. I'll go there." 

Or maybe Blackwell was really selling the MSU kool aid and now that there's isn't a full court press, clearer minds prevail. 

I just think it's silly to assert there's some backstabbing revenge plot. Mustapha could've just changed his mind. Or could've played his cards close and been really dwelling on this for months without telling anyone. 

It's not as juicy of a plot but IMO just as - or more - likely. 


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:41 PM ^

I don't think it's necessarily backstabbing per se. Honestly, I think they had it coming based off the chain of events. But I do think Blackwell is probably throwing out the "fall guy" stuff.

I mean, honestly, do we all really think that Dantonio and other prominent staff members had nothing to do with the bad stuff going down in EL? They're pushing it all on Blackwell, and despite the faults of Blackwell himself, he has every right to be pissed about being the complete "fall guy" as if he was their only recruiter and taught them all how to be bad kids or bring in bad kids. It's not like he was a rogue staffer who was acting completely on his own accord and recruiting guys that he wanted without the direction of Dantonio or others.

I mean, again, he was just a "staffer." He's not even a position coach. These are the guys that get blamed for bad things. See: Louisville/Rick Pitino and the $40K per year "staffer" who somehow apparently has the funds to support a brothel on his own income.

It's a bunch of bull, man. The coaching staff should be let go. MSU is wasting their time if they are keeping hope that Dantonio can bring this program back to life and only hurting themselves long-term. The damage is done in the recruiting front more than anything else, and high school programs, the ones they often recruit out of, fully believe Blackwell was the "fall guy." Not every coach will prevent their kids from going to MSU, but they still have to compete with the bad culture/atmosphere surrounding the program that is going to be a negative recruiting tactic against them for even MAC level programs ON TOP OF this Blackwell stuff. They're screwed as long as this staff is in place.


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:44 PM ^

Agreed. I guess I just don't buy that Blackwell was the only guy who did bad things there. As if he was the reason for their downfall. I think he most likely acted without direction regarding the "destroying evidence" part, but that was it. Blackwell is not running the ship there. He's only a staffer. And because of that, I think he has every right to feel a little burned by this situation. Even if he deserves to be off the staff, so does Dantonio. And, as I said in one other post, so does Rick Pitino. Dantonio isn't Rick, but both situations are typical "fall guy" stuff. Blame the staffer for everything. Always the staffers.


June 23rd, 2017 at 4:55 PM ^

I think MSU has done a pretty good job of poisoning the well themselves.

Seriously, with the extent of bad news for 6 months that borders on lack of institutional control, how can a parent or even a HS coach endorse MSU as a choice for a kid? Good to see kids choosing Cincy or UW or elsewhere.

Everyone Murders

June 23rd, 2017 at 2:45 PM ^

Monica Lewinsky has grown into a remarkable woman, and has been a strong and eloquent advocate against internet bullying.  She also got seduced by an older and incredibly powerful man, which is true of countless women over the years.  Her biggest sin was bad timing - getting implicated in such a story just as the 24 hour news cycle was beginning, and just as the internet became the public square.

Consequently, I'm not a fan of using her as a punchline.

Those curious should check out a couple of her recent speeches. 

/ steps off soapbox /


June 23rd, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

I downvoted you for upvoting me for downvoting a kiss ass who upvoted you. And unless someone else jumps in here soon, you and I are caught in an infinite regress, and thus are, as Jean Paul Sartre once wrote, "totally fucked." 


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:28 PM ^

Anyone remember where that coach was from that talked to Sam Webb discussing the "Blackwell Effect?" He was adamant that none of his kids would be visiting MSU, and other schools/coaches were in the same boat. Not only that, but Sam didn't even ask the question and the coach was basically like "Hold up, turn that mic back on. I have something I HAVE to say." This is a big deal.

And this coach, I believe, was from out of state. I could be wrong there, but their problems from what I've gathered are more Intergalactical than just purely Regional. I don't see how Dantonio is going to be able to find the guys he needs to get MSU back to a non-fireable level if he isn't already toast from the events of this past year.


June 23rd, 2017 at 8:46 PM ^

That's an interesting point, which is why MSU is doubly screwed.  If there are that many HS coaches keeping their players away from MSU, Mork will be forced to either take low-talent players at the low end of MAC level or take risky kids who can't get in or are kicked out of legit programs, which would only get them in more trouble.

The only way out may be to dump Mork and all his staff.  Not sure MSU can bring themselves to do that after bringing them so much satisfaction vs. UM in the past.  Which is fine by me.  When I get up in the morning and see the smoke from the fires burning further north in EL then I know everything is right in the world.


June 23rd, 2017 at 3:12 PM ^

Honestly, Michigan isn't really their lifeblood.  Sure they can ill afford to miss on players like McDowell, Lawrence Thomas and such to have long-term success, but their immediate survival is Ohio.  The Blackwell stuff hurts, no doubt, but a strong Cincinatti with Fickell could be an equal hindrance to their future prospects.

Mr Miggle

June 23rd, 2017 at 8:31 PM ^

They could have paid to get another coach with a higher national profile, but their most reliable path to success is recruiting well near home. I expect Fickell to do a good job of fending off 2nd and 3rd tier Big Ten schools. Kentucky is also looking like more competition for those Ohio players MSU has relied on.


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:29 PM ^

If you ask any sparty they will tell you that Mike Ditonio is really good at turning low rated prospects into NFL players.



June 23rd, 2017 at 3:29 PM ^

The crazy thing is the majority of comments I have seen from that fan base think this.
You for sure don't want 5* recruits that are going to get dismissed from the team or just refuse to be coached.
But you will not be good if you have a team full of 2 and 3 stars.
Sure, you will find a diamond in the rough sometimes. However, you won't make an elite team that way.

CRISPed in the DIAG

June 23rd, 2017 at 4:07 PM ^

The narrative post-signing day was "we are going to CONTINUE to recruit high-character guys." As if that was the plan all along. It was a message meant to stay ahead of the looming Title iX shit storm and subsequent downturn in national recruiting rankings. We've always coached up average talent (just ignore the higher rated players who got in trouble - they we never really part of the program).

Someone made a huge point upthread: MSU's current problems will not only bleed over to the in-state guys but also 3* guys cast aside by OSU. It will be a good opportunity for programs like Kentucky or Cinci to get back to an 8 or 9 win level.


June 23rd, 2017 at 8:58 PM ^

Reading your post, it's interesting to contemplate how coaching and program changes can herald an uptick or downturn in a program's fortunes.  MSU benefited heavily from the M coaching changes post-Lloyd.  Cincinnati's coaching change may benefit similarly in taking advantage of MSU's misfortunes.  There's almost no need to negatively recruit, all the negative stuff is hanging out there plain to see, plus Fickell has the rings and local visibility that Mork doesn't.  Fickell couldn't ask for a better situation to start his head coaching career.


June 23rd, 2017 at 3:25 PM ^

Mike's problem was when he went after the high ranked kids. Because we all know high ranked equates to entitled kids with character problems. They literally think every 3 star they get will out work the 5star kids.
Moreover, they also think the character issues started with blackwell, who took star ranking over character. Which is comical, they seem to forget that Ditonio run teams have always been filled with guys that have had character issues and many many run ins with the law, with really no disciplinary actions from ole Mike. . The only thing that has changed is that in the past the violent actions, that went unpunished by Mike, were always in the physical violence spectrum and not sexual violence.


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:32 PM ^

Seems like every article and thread that has come out recently regarding MSU's upcoming year is pointing to disaster... hopeful optimism isn't even a reality at this point, I'd say 2-3 wins would be an impressive season with the depth they currently have


June 23rd, 2017 at 2:48 PM ^

Obviously depth is the biggest issue, but I think it's underrated how little time coaches actually get to spend with the players before the season.

Bowl practice is just as important as fall camp because once finals are over, the rules are pretty loose (see 2015 UM improvement between OSU and Citrus Bowl). So they missed bowl season and spent all of spring camp not knowing who was even going to be on the team. Even a great coach with great athletes would struggle with that. 


June 23rd, 2017 at 3:15 PM ^

I've seen AMAZING optimism from fans. Not sure where they see it, talent and depth on both lines is horrendous, the top WR is gone. Best two linebackers gone. And they lose a few starters from a secondary that was already horrible.

Not sure where exactly they think the improvements are coming from. But I've seen predictions in the 7+ win range.