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Recruiting Update: 1-31-08

Thursday, January 31, 2008 by Tim

With signing day fast approaching, most of the content in this space over the next week will be related to the class of '08 (and then, of course, obsession with the class of '09 begins). With the commitment of J.T. Floyd, Michigan has only a few prospects remaining.

QBs (Chengelis overview)
Terrelle Pryor will decide on Signing Day between Michigan and OSU, or sometime thereafter with Oregon thrown into the mix.
B.J. Daniels and Justin Feagin are both in town on official visits this weekend. They are considered less highly-touted prospects than Pryor. The two are considered backup plans, though it is likely that Rodriguez would like to take two QBs in the class if he can, regardless of how uber any of the prospects may be.

WRs
Terrance Robinson, to whom I shall henceforth refer as "Skinny Black Sam McGuffie," is a high school QB that Michigan hopes (at this point expects?) to land as a slot WR.
Michael Shaw, a currently-decommitted Nittany Lion, is expected to pick between Michigan and Penn State, who wants him as a running back.
T.J. Lawrence out of Florida is a possibility here as well, but it is not expected that he turns Blue.
Martavious Odoms is another slot possibility.

OL
Patrick Omameh has a pending decision between Michigan, Michigan State, and Cincinnati. He is a sleeper OT prospect.

DE
Detroit's own Nick Perry will pick on signing day between Michigan, Michigan State, Southern Cal, and Miami of Florida. At King's banquet last night, Rich Rodriguez was in attendance, along with the head coaches of Michigan State and Miami of Florida.

Non-recruiting etc.: You may remember the story of Elliott Mealer being injured in an auto accident. Mealer's brother, Brock, has been rehabbing at UM Hospital. He was originally listed in critical condition, and never expected to walk again. He has made great progress, and we wish all the best to him in the future.

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J.T. Floyd becomes a Wolverine

by Tim

As expected, J.T. Floyd has committed to Michigan. Floyd is a 3-star DB from Greenville, South Carolina. His other finalist was Tennessee, to whom he had been committed earlier in the recruiting season.

Floyd (5-11, 185, 4.5) is listed as a safety on Scout, but all indications are that Michigan intends to use him as a corner. This makes him Michigan's second corner in the class, joining Boubacar Cissoko.

He is considered a high-end 3-star, being coveted by Michigan, Tennessee, and several mid-level ACC (is there any other kind?) and SEC teams.

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Recruiting Update: 1-30-08

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 by Tim

No commits yet this week (though J.T. Floyd is expected to pull the trigger for weither Michigan or Tennessee sometime tomorrow).

Scout has this handy commitment tracker, which gives announcement times and finalists (and, less importantly, guru predictions) for the 30 as-yet-uncommitted Scout 300 prospects. Persons of note to Michigan fans:

#1 Terrelle Pryor, choosing between Michigan and Ohio State 12PM on ESPN, 2-6-08(or is he?)
#54 Nick Perry, choosing between Michigan, USC, Michigan State, and Miami 3PM 2-6-08
#160 Terrence Robinson, choosing between Michigan, Wake, BC, and Houston 7PM on local TV 2-4-08
#293 Martavious Odoms, choosing between Michigan, Miami, and South Florida 3PM 2-6-08
#298 Charles Mitchell choosing between Michigan, Missippi State, Nebraska, and Southern Miss 2-6-08

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Shred Rich Rodrigez Night

by Tim

My roommate brought this story to my attention:
Leave it to a minor league hockey team to come up with "Shred Rich Rodriguez Night."

The Wheeling Nailers of the East Coast Hockey League are hosting just such a night on Saturday for their game against the Charlotte Checkers, the Intelligencer of Wheeling, W.Va., reported.

Fans are invited to bring newspaper articles or pictures of the ex-West Virginia / new Michigan coach and feed them into an industrial sized shredder that will be stationed in the concourse at WesBanco Arena.


Though I intend to stop worrying about West Virginia's obsession with the Michigan coach, this one was too funny to pass up.

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Michigan Prospects with Decisions Looming

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 by Tim

Texas Slot WR Terrance Robinson is expected to make his decision tonight, after an in-home visit with Rich Rodriguez (the timing makes this one sound good for Michigan).

South Carolina DB J.T. Floyd visited Michigan last weekend, and was in Knoxville this past weekend. He plans to announce a decision between the two tomorrow. All signs point to good news for Wolverine fans here as well.

South Carolina WR Jaron Brown will announce his decision on Thursday in a press conference at his school. He will pick a hat from Michigan or one of the two South Carolina schools. I am far less optimistic on this one than the other two prospect decisions.

Other guys left? Ohio OL Patrick Omameh, who will decide to reaffirm his commitment to Cincinnati or switch to Michigan, Florida QBs Justin Feagins and B.J. Daniels, and of course Pennsylvania QB Terrelle Pryor (unofficially down to Ohio state and Michigan, but with the recent developments, don't hold your breath).

There will likely be a couple more as-of-now surprising guys that pop onto the radar, but these are the key targets for right now.

etc.. J.B. Fitzgerald considering a switch? He;s in Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit this weekend.

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Weekend Recruiting Update

Sunday, January 27, 2008 by Tim

No new commits over the weekend, but Michigan did get a reaffirmation from Marcus Witherspoon. Additionally, J.T. Floyd visited Tennessee this weekend, and is expected to choose between Michigan and the Volunteers tomorrow or Tuesday.

WOLV talked to Bill Martin yesterday at the wrestling match, and while he couldn't comment on any specific recruits, he indicated that he was very pleased with Rich Rodriguez, and he has been on the road every day during the week, until the visit weekend.

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Drew Sharp Sucks

by Tim

(I know, I know, it's already painfully clear).

Everyone's favorite Michigan alum-cum-hackjob Detroit sportswriter, Drew Sharp, is at it again. On January 12, Sharp wrote a column entitled "Michigan coach must beat Ohio State to nation's No. 1 recruit Terrelle Pryor." A mere 15 days later, with nothing having changed in the recruiting world of either Michigan or Ohio State, he comes up with this gem: "Michigan landing super recruit Terrelle Pryor would be an overrated victory."

"OK," you may say to yourself, "maybe the titles are not accurate representation of the content of the articles." You would be wrong. From the first article:

[Rodriguez] must keep Pryor away from Jim Tressel.

He must do whatever it takes.

From the second?

There will be unbridled exhilaration within Michigan Message Board Nation should Rich Rodriguez secure premier quarterbacking prospect Terrelle Pryor on Feb. 6. Pryor likely will start from Day 1, but it's unrealistic to expect anything but a struggle as he adapts to the college game while the Wolverines collectively adapt to a new offensive philosophy.
Certainly sounds like a situation in which Michigan must do "whatever it takes." Sharp goes on to admit that landing Pryor would be a victory of sorts, but the clear message is that Pryor is not imperative to Michigan's recruiting efforts.

Having come to expect this kind of crap from Sharp, I guess it's no surprise that he would write something so dumb.

Recruiting Gone Crazy

Saturday, January 26, 2008 by Tim

Michael Brewster, he of the Ohio State Buckeye Unofficial Recruiting Team, has assembled a group of his friends called the "Brew Crew." This seems a little douchey, but harmless, right? The latest word from Jeannete, PA, however, is that three members of said OSBURT (Brewster, JB Shugarts, and not-yet-enrolled Jacob Stoneburner) are in attendance at one Terrelle Pryor's basketball game. This, in itself, sounds like a great way for NCAA violations to occur.

Let's learn some rules!
13.02.5 Enrolled Student-Athlete. An enrolled student-athlete is an individual whose enrollment was solicited by a member of the athletics staff or other representative of athletics interests with a view toward the student’s ultimate participation in the intercollegiate athletics program. Any other student becomes a student athlete only when the student reports for an intercollegiate squad that is under the jurisdiction of the athletics department.

13.02.5.1 Permissible Recruitment Activities for Enrolled Student-Athletes.
(a) Off-campus contacts. Off-campus, in-person recruiting contacts that are unavoidable incidental contacts between enrolled student-athletes (or other enrolled students) and a prospective student-athlete are permissible if such contacts do not occur at the direction of a coaching staff member

(d) Unavoidable incidental contact. If unavoidable incidental contact occurs between a student-athlete and a prospective student-athlete (even at the prospective student-athlete’s high school), such contact is permissible, provided the institution had no prior knowledge of the occurrence of the contact.
Certainly there is a very clear violation of the spirit of the law if not the letter. It's hardly "unavoidable" or "incidental" for the players to drive 3 and a half hours from Columbus to Jeannette. Where they got the idea and means to carry it out are questionable, but nothing could ever be proven here.

Then, an insider from OSU Scout affiliate BuckeyeSports.com posted the following:
"They were greeted by high fives and hugs"
When it is pointed out that this would take the players into far less murky waters and straight into the realm of "very clear rules violation," the sentence was removed from the premium board.

The Pryor recruitment gets sketchier and sketchier. The OSU enrolled recruits, were they as confident as Buckeye insiders claim to be, would likely not be pulling out all the last-ditch efforts they could. The further this recruitment drags on, the less I want Pryor. Great player though he may be, there seems to be a lot of smoke in the air for there to be no fire.

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Recruiting Update

Friday, January 25, 2008 by Tim

Rich Rodriguez will be able to sign a full class of 25 (26 including Darryl Stonum), and currently has commitments from the following (alphabetically):


2008 Recruiting Class - 18 Commits
Boubacar Cissoko
CB
*****
Detroit, MI
Cass Tech
Michigan's Lockdown Corner in the class
Mike Cox
RB
****
Avon, CT
Old Farms
A bigger back who may have been wavering
Kenny Demens
LB
***
Beverly Hills, MI
Country Day

J.B. Fitzgerald
LB
****
Princeton, NJ
W.W.P.H.S.-South Campus
Will still take other visits
Taylor Hill
LB
***
Youngstown, OH
Cardinal Mooney
Committed recently
Rocko Khoury
OT
***
Traverse City, MI
West High
Will he look at MSU?
Kevin Koger
TE
****
Toledo, OH
Whitmer
Rumored to be looking around
Mike Martin
DT
****
Redford, MI
Catholic Central
Cancelled a Notre Dame visit. Not far from a five-star.
Sam McGuffie
RB
****
Cypress, TX
Cy-Fair
Superstar RB of the class. Spent a lot of time as a five-star on Scout this year.
Elliott Mealer
OG
****
Wauseon, OH
Wauseon
In a catastrophic car accident earlier this winter.
Brandon Moore
TE
***
Trotwood, OH
Trotwood-Madison
Was a five-star when he committed. He's been on a slide all year with poor production.
George Morales
LS
**
Las Vegas, NV
Mojave
A WTF? offer. A better long snapper (and similarly ifted student) resides down the road in Saline.
Dann O'Neill
OT
****
Grand Haven, MI
Grand Haven
Close to being a five-star. Michigan fans are hoping he's the next Jake Long.
Brandon Smith
S
****
New Brunswick, NJ
New Brunswick
Army game commitment.
Darryl Stonum
WR
****
Sugarland, TX
Dulles
HS teammate of Herron and Woolfolk. Already enrolled.
Kurt Wermers
OG
****
Crown Point, IN
Crown Point
Michigan won a fight against Notre Dame. ND apparently took Braxton Cave over Wermers.
Christian Wilson
HB
****
McKees Rocks, PA
Montour
Currently committed, but a lot of insiders are not expecting him to be a part of this class.
Marcus Witherspoon
LB
****
Absecon, NJ
Holy Spirit
Visiting Tennessee still, but a lot of people still think he could end up in blue.

Michigan currently has 18 commits (out of 25-26 available scholarships for the class). With a commit or two possibly dropping out of the class (signs point to Christian Wilson), Michigan has between 7 and 8 places left to fill. Here are some potential guys being considered (in order of position importance, and then star order.
2008 Recruiting Class - Remaining Prospects
Terrelle Pryor
QB
*****
Jeannette, PA
Jeannette
Nation's #1 recruit. All the stories, etc. are well known.
B.J. Daniels
QB
***
Tallahassee, FL
Lincoln
One of the many suitors for the #1 QB slot in the recruiting class if Pryor goes elsewhere.
Justin Feagin
QB
**
Delray Beach, FL
American Heritage
A second or third tier candidate. Michigan would prefer to have him be the second QB in the class.
Michael Shaw
WR
****
Trotwood, OH
Trotwood-Madison
Currently committed to Penn State. Michigan originally finished second for him, when they recruited him as an RB.
Terrence Robinson
WR
****
Klein, TX
Klein Oak
Another RB recruit that Michigan is looking at as a slot receiver. He plays QB in high school.
T.J. Lawrence
WR
***
Lakeland, FL
Kathleen
Will he look at MSU?
Patrick Omamaeh
OT
**
Columbus, OH
St. Francis DeSales
The Cincinnati commit is coming in for a visit, and could be swayed to turn blue.
Rhonne Sanderson
OG
*
Tampa, FL
H.H. Plant
Michigan competing with Michigan State and Florida State.
J.T. Floyd
DB
***
Greenville, SC
J.L. Mann
He committed to Tennessee as a junior. He predicted in USA Today that Michigan fans would be happy with his decision, but he has Tennessee on an official visit this coming weekend.
Desmond Johnson
RB
***
Yazoo City, MS
Yazoo City
A new guy on the radar, not sure if he'll be scared off by Michigan's other recruits at the position.

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Debut of the 2008 Eligibility Chart

Thursday, January 24, 2008 by Tim

Current scholarship players

2008 eligibility expiration - 13
Doug Dutch
Brandon Harrison*
Tim Jamison
Will Johnson
Brandon Logan*
Mike Massey
David Moosman
Austin Panter*
Charles Stewart
Terrance Taylor
Johnny Thompson*
Morgan Trent
Corey Zirbel


2009 eligibility expiration - 13
Carlos Brown*
Stevie Brown*
Carson Butler
Andre Criswell
Kevin Grady
Brandon Graham
Greg Mathews*
Tim McAvoy
Zoltan Mesko
Brandon Minor*
Mark Ortmann
Adam Patterson*
LaTerryal Savoy


2010 eligibility expiration - 22
Zion Babb*
Greg Banks
Artis Chambers*
Toney Clemons*
David Cone
Perry Dorrestein
Marell Evans*
Obi Ezeh
John Ferrara
Vince Helmuth*
J.R. Hemingway*
Jason Kates
David Molk
Jonas Mouton
Quinton Patilla
James Rogers*
Renaldo Sagesse*
Steve Schilling
Donovan Warren*
Martell Webb*
Troy Woolfolk*
Bryan Wright

2011 eligibility expiration - 31
Ricky Barnum*
Boubacar Cissoko*
Mike Cox*
Kenny Demens*
Justin Feagin*
J.B. Fitzgerald*
J.T. Floyd*
Brandon Herron
Taylor Hill*
Avery Horn
Mark Huyge
Rocko Khoury*
Kevin Koger*
Mike Martin*
Sam McGuffie*
Elliott Mealer*
Brandon Moore*
Dann O'Neill*
Martavious Odoms
Patrick Omameh*
Terrence Robinson*
Roy Roundtree*
Mike Shaw*
Brandon Smith*
Darryl Stonum*
Steven Threet
Ryan VanBergen
Steve Watson
Kurt Wermers*
Michael Williams
Marcus Witherspoon*

*Unused redshirt

Total – 79

Possible new scholarships:
Nick Sheridan
Mark Moundros
KC Lopata

Possible early entry:
Carson Butler
Brandon Graham

Possible unrenewed 5th:
Andre Criswell
LaTerryal Savoy

Update 2-7: New recruits added.
Update 3-30: Justin Boren removed.
Update 6-27: Marques Slocum removed.

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Dann O'Neill Participates in ESPN Chats?

by Tim

Impossible to confirm if it really is O'Neill, but this is and interesting tidbit from ESPN's Senior Bowl chat yesterday:
Dann O'Neill (Grand Haven,MI): Mike, I'm committed to michigan right now to play tackle this fall. Any advice on preparing myself the rest of the winter for a season in big time college football?

SportsNation Mike Pollak [ASU C]: Get your mind focused on working hard and be coachable. When you are at this level, you will be expected to work harder than you ever thought possible.

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Want a Badass Michigan Motorcycle?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 by Tim

Here's your chance.

For those of you interested in TV shows about building motorcyles, you're in luck:
Watch “Big Blue” being built on Discovery Channel’s American Chopper January 31 and February 7. Check your local listings for time.

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Michigan Coaches Strike Back

Sunday, January 20, 2008 by Tim

Calvin Magee left WVU, in part, because he felt that he could not be taken seriously there due to his race.

This sort of story is probably partially true (notice how immaturely WVU fans and administration have acted through the entire ordeal), and partially "if you're going to come up with stupid bullshit, I'll fire back with something that is at least plausible, if no more true."

At this point, Michigan coaches could just stop dignifying a lot of what West Virginia fans and administration, etc., are doing and saying with this sort of response. However, it's been over a month of dealing with this shit, so they can be forgiven, at least this once.

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The Pryor Obsession Continues

Thursday, January 17, 2008 by Tim

Michigan really needs this kid. (In Michigan's favor, what other school can say they'd be screwed without him?)

An article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review states what has essentially become common knowledge by this point: Pitt is not a factor.

"Pitt's out, period. I won't go there, for sure," Pryor said. "I get false stuff said about me all the time. I'm used to it."

Pryor already took an official visit to Ohio State and said he counts Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Louisiana State, Oregon and Penn State among his finalists.

"I want to play in a college town, a facility that has 100,000 and is packed," Pryor said. "That's how I want to do it."

Stadiums of schools that Pryor has stated he is still interested in (Capacity, and average percentage of capacity per game in '07)
  1. Michigan: 107,501 (103%)
  2. Penn State: 107,282 (102%)
  3. Ohio State: 102, 329 (103%)
  4. Louisiana State: 91,600 (101%)
  5. Florida: 88,548 (101%)
  6. Oregon: 54,000 (109%)
Only the Big Ten schools have over 100,000 seats, though all schools have consistently "packed" stadiums: Oregon is the outlier on the high end, with 109% of capacity (58,845 per game), but its stadium is also half the size of Michigan's.

By this criterion, all but the Big Ten schools (and maybe LSU or Florida, but probably not, especially because LSU got involved really late) are eliminated. This follows the conventional wisdom at this point, by which Pryor is down to Michigan and OSU, with maybe PSU sneaking in close.

From this list of three, Columbus is certainly not a college town ("college town" != "town with a college," and even still Columbus is a big city). State College is a very nice college town, though it is in the middle of nowhere. Ann Arbor is slightly less of a college town, but it is accessible to the outside world as well (and is only 20 minutes from DTW).

Taking into account only the factor stated in the article, it seems like Michigan and PSU are the best destinations, though of course, it is expected to be a UM/OSU decision.

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Rodriguez Responds to Allegations

by Tim

Toledo Blade
Link
I've said it before and I'll say it again: if there was a real basis to the rumors, why would a source inside WVU's athletic department insist on remaining anonymous?

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Shred Rod

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 by Tim

By now, the story of Rich Rodriguez sneaking into WVU's athletic offices to shred every file known to man has become well circulated. However, its veracity has yet to be proven. Aside from the fact that West Virginia apparently allowed Michigan's head coach access to all its files (of which there were no backup copies), this story seems to be sketchy.

What motivations are in play here?
Why is Rich Rodriguez motivated to destroy scholarship and community service information of West Virginia's football team? There is no readily apparent reason he would do this.
Why would someone from West Virginia's athletic department leak the story on condition of anonymity if it were true? Speaking anonymously appears to be a smokescreen to drag Rodriguez's name through the mud without repercussion.
The West Virginia motivation to do anything negative to Rodriguez has been established by this point (down to new Michigan WR coach Tony Dews having to tell the PRINCIPAL(!) of his son's school in West Virginia to stop mistreating the son).

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Pryor Visit Date Set

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 by Tim

Terrelle Pryor (never heard of him) has set up his official visit to the University of Michigan. Originally, he had intended to visit the weekend of February 2, but now it appears as though the visit is taking place this weekend. The reasoning behind this switch is unknown. Some claim it is because of a conflict with Jeannette's basketball schedule, though others perceive it with cautious optimism that an in-school visit by assistant coaches went well. Michigan is Pryor's only visit currently set up. Michigan fans are chomping at the bit to welcome Pryor, imploring their fellow Wolverines to attend the basketball game against Iowa (undoubtedly a part of any official visit weekend), and even setting up a Welcome Pryor Block Party.

Conventional wisdom has Pryor choosing between Michigan and Ohio State, with Duke and Oregon also finalists. However, also mentioned in the article is Pryor's addition of LSU as a team under consideration. Terrelle is currently unsure which other schools he will visit.

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Recruiting with Coach Rod

by Tim

Several Michigan fans have expressed concern with Rich Rodriguez's recruiting prowess, based on the classes he was able to pull at West Virginia, and the prospects he is in on now at Michigan. Is Rich Rodriguez a bad recruiter? Are players who would fit Rodriguez's system simply not as highly-rated?

First, Coach Rodriguez's recruiting situation at West Virginia is not at all similar to what it is (and will be) at Michigan. WVU's recruiting class for the current year is ranked 53rd. However, this includes the decommit of 5-star Josh Jenkins (at least partially because of Rod's departure), and some recruits who were likely to commit to West Virginia following Rodriguez to Michigan (which includes LB Taylor Hill, and is expected to include D.J. Woods in the near future). West Virginia's 2007 class was ranked 18th, and 2006's class was tied for 56th. This was all despite top-ten finishes during that span.

Moving to Michigan, the in-state talent pool will be greater, as will national recruiting prowess. West Virginia was able to recruit primarily in the East, mostly northern, but with a few Floridians and a couple pulled from the South, along with some players from Ohio. Michigan regular gets commitments from players in Texas, California, the east coast, and all over the Midwest. In this case, the prestigious name of Michigan can only help in recruiting, despite the fact that West Virginia has been more successful (or at least as successful) in the past 3 years.

Another concern among fans is the current caliber of recruit that Rich Rodriguez is working, even with the added advantages of being at Michigan. 3 to 4-stars such as Taylor Hill, D.J. Woods, and Terrance Robinson have become the hot names of late in Wolverine recruiting circles. There are several factors to take into account here. First, Rodriguez must fill a need for slot receivers in his offensive scheme, as Michigan is almost utterly lacking in that category. These slot-types are not as desired nationally, as their use is not important to all offensive styles. Secondly, it is late in the recruiting process. This has a two-fold effect: Rodriguez must play catch-up with most recruits, who he hasn't had an opportunity to be in contact with as Michigan's coach (which puts him more than a year behind on most kids). Also, this late in the recruiting process, many highly-rated players are already committed. Despite this, Rodriguez was able to secure the commitment of high-4-star S Brandon Smith. Only 8 5-stars on Scout remain uncommitted (Michigan already has a commitment from a 5-star in Boubacar Cissoko):
  • Terrelle Pryor had eliminated Michigan before they hired Rodriguez. Now they are considered to be in his top 2.
  • Julio Jones and Deandre Brown are big (6-4 and 6-6.5(!), respectively) wide receivers. There is not much need for them on Michigan's roster.
  • Omar Hunter had Michigan as his leader at one point, but then committed to Notre Dame. After reopening his commitment, he is considered a Florida lock.
  • Rahim Moore would be a nice player to have, but he has not considered Michigan since last summer.
  • Jamie Harper is expected to stay within the state of Florida, and Michigan already has 2 RB commitments (plus a fullback if you consider Christian Wilson still committed).
  • Josh Jenkins felt betrayed by Rodriguez when he left WVU.
  • Brandon Harris never considered either Michigan or West Virginia.

Rodriguez's primary recruiting job this year was to re-recruit the players already on Michigan's roster that could be of use in his new offense (which didn't necessarily mean Ryan Mallett, though he would likely have been the starter in 2008). Also, Rodriguez needed to keep Michigan's recruiting class intact, which he has done perfectly thus far. Finishing the recruiting class with players that fit his offensive system (which Michigan's current roster is lacking), and hopefully snagging a highly rated player along the way (Terrelle Pryor) are next in line in terms of priority. Don't judge Rodriguez's recruiting abilities until the first class that is all his, next year.

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Commitment, Attrition

Monday, January 14, 2008 by Tim

Cardinal Mooney LB Taylor Hill has pledged to become a Michigan Wolverine. Hill had pledged to Oklahoma early in the recruiting process, then switched his commitment to West Virginia days before Rich Rodriguez left for Michigan. What does this mean for New Jersey commits Marcus Witherspoon and J.B. Fitzgerald? Time will tell. Word on the street, however, is that Fitzgerald pressured Hill to commit to Michigan on their simultaneous visits to Michigan State over the weekend.

Mario Manningham is officially going to ply his trade in the NFL next year. Good luck to him.

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A Response!

by Tim

On Saturday, you may recall that I took offense to the very poorly-written article appearing on the Free Press website, written by one James Jahnke. I e-mailed my response to Jahnke, and he was kind enough to to provide a prompt reply:
Thanks for the note, Tim.

I’m at work right now and don’t have time to read that post on the blog. (I did skim it, however. Embarrassed to be in the same state? Ouch.) But I’m guessing it says pretty much what all of my other e-mailers have been saying.

You should know that I was asked by the Freep Web editor to write that column as a counterpoint to the why-Pryor-should-go-to-Michigan column that ran on the site a few days earlier. I reckon that if the site editors properly packaged them as a point-counterpoint, the vitriol would have been reduced a little. Instead, people think I wrote that on my own initiative, which isn’t true in the least.

Anyway, I regret doing it for several reasons. First, I’m not a columnist. I’m a copy editor. In hindsight, to ask a copy editor to write a column during a 30-minute break in his “normal” shift was unfair. It prevented me from putting sufficient thought into my points and crafting them into a suitable fashion. I admit that the column, as it ran, was shallow. Oh, well. I won’t make such a mistake in the future.

Hope your blood pressure isn’t off-the-charts on account of me,
JJ

He's mostly just making excuses (but what else can he do with such a bad article?), but fairly straightforward, and I certainly appreciate that he took the time to respond.

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Rich Rodriguez interview on WOLV

Sunday, January 13, 2008 by Tim

Here's the interview:

Here are some comments from the always-classy WVU fans, who are clearly stalking Rich Rodriguez, seeing as how this video hasn't been linked anywhere yet (the comments have been removed due to profanity and lack of class, the standard WVU responses):
I hope his son grows up to be a gay exotic dancer. With a name like Rhett, he's well on his way. Did I say his wife's skin looks like leather?
"I plan on being here for a long time." - WHAT A JOKE!

You realize how he throws promises out like bubble screens. He just PROMISED these 2 douchebags that meatchicken would score another goal. ROD THE FRAUD strikes again!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enjoy the honeymoon dickrod. It won't last long.
yea dick rod you to face bitch

LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS

O-H-I-O MUTHERFUCKERS

I'm beginning to learn that WVU fans are about as classless as it comes.

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Hockey?

Saturday, January 12, 2008 by Tim

Highlight.

Rich Rodriguez interview coming tomorrow.

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Where Should Pryor Go?

by Tim

Detroit Free Press writer James Jahnke claims it is in Terrelle Pryor's best interest to sign with Ohio State.

Jahnke makes one key assumption in his argument: The #1 priority for Terrelle Pryor is making it to the NFL. Nothing else even matters (I think we're begin to see wherein lies the stupidity of this column). He ignores several other factors, such as immediate playing time (which he admits is in Michigan's favor), and friendship with other commits (which he states to be in Ohio State's favor). By the way, every other school is eliminated from contention by Jahnke (while this may be the general consensus in the recruiting world, completely omitting other options - such as Oregon and Duke - is vastly oversimplifying the problem).

Terrelle Pryor is a Vince Young-like talent, and the consensus #1 player in the country (ESPN's consistently terrible rankings notwithstanding). Jahnke believes that Ohio State is the correct choice for Pryor, because Michigan will not be able to adequately prepare him for the NFL.

He’s a quarterback in the mold of Vince Young, tall and mobile. Given the depleted state of the Wolverines’ depth chart, the Jeannette, Pa., product would be the first-stringer the moment he signed on the dotted line.... Rich Rodriguez’s zone-read offense is tailor-made for Pryor. But what will that do for him at the next level? West Virginia quarterback Pat White – Rodriguez’s former pupil -- is a terrific college player, but his best bet for an NFL future is as a cornerback or kick returner. Granted, Pryor has better physical tools than White. But NFL teams will be skeptical of a QB coming out of a zone-read offense, no matter how talented he is.
Let's compare the talents of Vince Young (former NFL rookie of the year at quarterback) and Pat White (future NFL kick returner), and determine which one of the two is more like Terrelle Pryor (note: even Jahnke did not say "he's a quarterback in the mold of Pat White" - despite trying to put him on the same level as White):
  • Vince Young was 6'5", 200, with a 4.4 dash time coming out of high school. Pat White was 6'2", 180 (both rather generous), with a 4.5 dash time. Pryor is 6'6", 225, 4.4 dash. Which one is he more like? (I'd vote for Young)
  • Vince Young was the #1 recruit in the country his senior year, a five-star quarterback. Pat White was the #53 quarterback in the country, a two-star who attended West Virginia primarily because Rich Rodriguez was the only coach who promised him he'd play QB. Terrelle Pryor is the #1 recruit in the country, a five-star quarterback. (Young? check)
  • Vince Young ran the zone-read in college. Pat White ran the zone-read in college. If he attends Michigan, Terrelle Pryor will run the zone-read in college. (OK, they're all the same)
The talent level isn't the only area where Jahnke is way off, however, it's offensive style, as well. He states that Pat White rarely drops back, so Pryor's game film for NFL scouts would be lacking. While it is true that Rodriguez's scheme operates mostly out of the shotgun, there are some misrepresentations in this point as well. Rodriguez does have his quarterback drop back occasionally. In addition, Vince Young (drafted #3 overall) rarely dropped back in college. He ran a similar offense to what Michigan will be running in the near future. The final point on offensive scheme is the lack of downfield passing by West Virginia. This can easily be explained by talent. Vince Young's arm != Pat White's arm. #1 Quarterback recruit != Guy who was offered as a safety by every other school. Even still, Pat White's long in the Fiesta bowl was 79 yards. Jahnke assumes that Ohio State's offense is adaptable to adding the zone-read, while assuming that Michigan's offense is not adaptable to anything but the zone-read.
The other advantage for a quarterback avoiding a straight-up zone-read offense is longevity. Every time Pryor runs the ball, he risks blowing out his knee. He would, of course, also run at OSU, but not as much as at U-M. You can get hurt in the pocket, too, but it’s much safer in there than out on the edge, trying to juke safeties and linebackers diving at your legs every play.
Prove it. Give me any study, ANY empirical evidence that shows quarterbacks are hurt more often outside the pocket than in it. Pat White's sole injuries in 3 years at WVU are a case of turf toe and a broken thumb. Vince Young went 2.5 years at Texas without getting hurt once. Chad Henne, on the other hand, who only leaves the pocket at gunpoint, managed to shred a knee and a shoulder this year. Great analysis, Jim.

Jahnke's final point is the fact that he doesn't believe it is in Pryor's best interest to start right away (ignoring the fact that this is one of the things Pryor is looking for in a school). It would serve Terrelle better to play spot duty behind Todd Boeckman than to start at Michigan. Never mind that the Wolverines also have other quarterbacks. Steven Threet, incumbent or not, was a four-star player, and currently the odds-on favorite to start next year - perhaps even if Pryor comes to Ann Arbor.

Is this how far sportswriting in America has fallen? Trying to ignore the facts and influence recruits to attend the school of your choosing? I'm embarrassed to be in the same STATE as James Jahnke, let alone the same profession. It's no coincidence that a search for "Jahnke" on freep.com asks if I meant to type "junk."

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Rich Rodriguez at Michigan Hockey: Photo Album

by Tim

Pictures uploaded to Facebook because I have yet to figure out the optimal way to do a pictures post. Score-O was first intermission (he did not score), interview was second intermission/beginning of third period.















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Hockey coming tomorrow

Friday, January 11, 2008 by Tim

A ton of hockey stuff coming tomorrow, including:
  • Highlight
  • Tons of pictures
  • Interview with Rich Rodriguez
Be patient, children.

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Jim Delany and Mark Silverman Letter to Big Ten Fans

by Tim

Dear Big Ten Fan:

We know you have watched with interest and not a little frustration our efforts to gain broad distribution for the Big Ten Network on the Midwest's major cable systems. While we currently have agreements with over 180 cable operators, DIRECTV and DISH Network, we have yet to reach agreement with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter or Mediacom.

In late December, we submitted to Comcast our most recent proposal that illustrates our strong willingness to reach an agreement. We are awaiting their response, which we have been told is coming soon. We've addressed their issues on cost as well as each of their other concerns. We are hopeful that our flexibility will result in a reasonable deal for both parties that accomplishes the goal we have had from the outset: to provide Big Ten fans more coverage of their favorite teams and sports than ever before.

Over 30 million homes across the country (more than 60 million people) currently have access to the network. It is our hope that an agreement with Comcast will succeed in bringing significantly more subscribers - particularly in the Midwest - the high-quality, in-depth Big Ten programming that these many millions of people already enjoy.

Once we learn of Comcast's decision to carry the network or not, we will communicate that as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience as we work through this process, and will continue our efforts to bring this high-quality programming to you.


With best regards,

Jim Delany
Big Ten Commissioner
Mark Silverman
Big Ten Network President

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Michigan Stadium Construction Prevents Spring Game

Thursday, January 10, 2008 by Tim

Not only will graduating seniors at UM not have the ability to graduate in the Big House, but the construction that is currently underway will also prevent Michigan from hosting a spring game in the nation's largest football stadium, as well.

Fans of the Wolverines were excited to get their first look at the 2008 squad this spring, with a return to the tradition of hosting a spring game. Rodriguez's West Virginia teams took part in the yearly tradition, and the Michigan headman was expected to have his new team face off in the Big House.

The unavailability of Michigan Stadium won't necessarily preclude the Wolverines from having any spring game, however. There is still the possibility that Michigan could have their inaugural spring classic at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. For Field will be unavailable on April 19 and 26th, as Team Michigan of the AAFL will be playing home games on those dates, but the field is not in use on April 12th. The Michigan open spring practice (not game) took place April 14th last year.

The possibility of a spring game in Ford Field has both positive and negative aspects for the Michigan football program. In terms of negatives, this makes it significantly more difficult, if not impossible, for many students to attend the game. Additionally, it prevents recruits from being able to experience the Big House for the first time. On the other hand, a spring game in Detroit allows easier access for many (right on I-75), and since the previous spring practices weren't too well attended, maybe the on-campus location wasn't such a big deal in the first place. Additionally, those who were concerned about Rich Rodriguez's ability to recruit Detroit may be comforted by the fact that his squad will be exposed to citizens of Motor City firsthand.

What do you think? Feel encouraged to comment.

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Hockey?

by Tim

Highlight.

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Strength and Conditioning Upgrades

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 by Tim

Michigan's change in the coaching department is not limited merely to the new headman, Rich Rodriguez, and his coaches, but Director of Weight Training Mike Barwis is now a Michigan man, bringing his support staff with him.

Blue Steel

Not only is Barwis's philosophy different from outgoing S&C guru Mike Gittleson, but his equipment is as well. Rumors of Michigan's purchase of $600,000 circulated shortly following Rodriguez's introduction as UM's head coach. Confirmation comes in the way of an auction, held this Sunday at Oosterbaan fieldhouse. The Michigan Athletic Department is selling off all of Schembechler Hall's old gear.

Barwis is known as an intense motivator, who expects nothing less than the best from his players. Ryan Mundy, ex-Michigan and West Virginia YAC-ceding safety has experience in the programs of both Gittleson at Michigan and Barwis at West Virginia. Mundy thought Barwis's program was much better:
As far as the strength and conditioning program is concerned, Mundy says West Virginia’s program is much more intense than Michigan’s. Other players that have transferred to West Virginia have said similar things in the past, explaining that at some other places the players coming into the program are physically bigger and more explosive. West Virginia develops it.

“Down here we do a lot of Olympic lifts – squats, power clings, hang clings and things like that – and I hadn’t done that type of stuff since high school,” Mundy said. “I had to get my body back used to doing those types of movements. As far as the practice down here we run after practice and we never ran after practice at Michigan.”

For a nearly-obsessive look at Mike Barwis, check out Go Blue Michigan Wolverine, and try to ignore the fact that he's practically illiterate.

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Michigan Hockey on Internet Free Tonight

Tuesday, January 08, 2008 by Tim

WOLV's broadcast of Michigan Hockey will be available for free on MGoBlue tonight. The link is on the front page. The Wolverines hit the ice at 7:35 for exhibition action against the USNTDP. The NTDP boasts future Wolverines F Chris Brown, F Robbie Czarnik, F Kevin Lynch, F A.J. Treais, and F David Wohlberg.

Friday's CCHA game against Western Michigan will also be carried on MGoBlue by WOLV.

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Dean Hood

Sunday, January 06, 2008 by Tim

Dean Hood's WF Bio

Hood runs a 4-3 defense at Wake, and his teams have been successful comparative to their recruiting rankings, especially in the past two years. None of Hood's defenses (or Wake's teams, for that matter) have had a four-star recruit, let alone a five-star. Hood has taken mostly two-star recruits, with the occasional three-star, and turned them into not only respectable, but actually good units.

Wake's 2007 team, after losing several starters off a great 2006 squad (including 3-star turned-NFLer John Abbate), was 27th in total defense, without facing any 1-AA teams to pump up the stats. 2006's team was more lauded, but was actually worse, 45th in the nation in total defense.

One area in which Wake has excelled is forcing turnovers. Though turnovers are somewhat random occurrences, if a team consistently forces them, there has to be some schematic or style element that helps cause them (this is particularly true of interceptions, which is where Wake's defense gets the majority of their takeaways). In 2006, the Deacons gained 31 turnovers, good for 10th in the nation. 2007's team gained 35, 3rd in the nation.

These gains between 2006 and 2007 were made despite the team losing 6 starters on the defensive side of the ball. This includes John Abbate, an early entrant who led the team in tackles.

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Coaching Staff

by Tim

Rodriguez's staff is still being completed, but as of now we know (or assume) the following:

Offensive Staff
Coordinator/RB Coach Calvin Magee, QB Coach Rod Smith, and Line Coach Greg Frey are following Rodriguez from Morgantown to Ann Arbor. UM holdover Fred Jackson will also be on the offensive staff. West Virginia's WR coach Tony Dews is still questionable, but those in the know expect him to come along. Magee will apparently step back from RB coaching duties, with Fred Jackson taking them over.

Defensive Staff
Coordinator Jeff Casteel has agreed to stay on Bill Stewart's staff at West Virginia. Safety Coach Bruce Tall and Secondary Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Tony Gibson, however, are heading to Michigan. It is expected that Michigan's DL Coach Stripling will be rehired, as Bill Kirelawich is staying at WVU. Michigan will need a new coordinator, in addition to a linebackers coach. Wake Forest's Dean Hood has coached with Rodriguez in the past, and is being mentioned as a potential DC, for the 9th and final spot.

Others
West Virginia's Mike Barwis is expected to become Strength and Conditioning coach at Michigan, taking over not only football but all men's programs. His wife, Autumn, would then be named as director of strength training for women's programs.

Since Hood is a new name to most Michigan fans, more will be coming on him soon.

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Capital One Bowl post-mortem

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 by Tim

I didn't want to say it, for fear of a jinx, or looking like an idiot when we got obliterated, but for some reason I just had a feeling that Michigan would be able to knock off Florida. The talent that Michigan had all year was finally able to put together a completely healthy effort, leaving the 2007 season with a major "what if?" for Michigan fans. Notes:
  • I was talking to some Florida fans before the game. The UF Athltic Department tells the fans what color to wear for each game, and they manage to get (mostly) everyone wearing either blue or orange. In two years of teeling everyone to wear the same color for every single game (no confusion excuse), how is it possible that Michigan is unable to get a uniform crowd, even for a maize out?
  • It's not all positive for Florida fans, though. They really showed off their SEC speed in getting the hell out of the stadium with 3+ minutes left in the game (after the first failed fourth down conversion).
  • How is it possible that Michigan ticket sales were cut off because they ran out, yet the stadium was still 80% Florida fans? Something in bowl ticket distribution definitely needs to be adjusted.
  • The Michigan band's halftime show was a mixture of a few songs from their various crappy halftime shows this year. At least they know how to make more than 5 different formations unlike the Florida band. Speaking of which, how awesome would it be for one of the band formations to be a shape of Michigan?
  • I didn't hear any talking heads spouting about SEC speed after the game. How about Morgan Trent chasing down OMG HEISMAN SHOE-IN 2008 Percy Harvin from behind, coming all the way across the field. Of course, all will be forgotten by the National Championship game, regardless of who wins that one (unless OSU just houses Louisiana State).
  • Great scheming, both offensively and defensively, by the coaches. If only DeBord had called games like this all year long. On a similar note, word on the street is that coach English will be named DC at Louisville. Good luck to him in the future.
  • Pat Forde is really dumb. I've heard people criticizing him consistently for the past couple years, but only recently started reading to see what the big deal is. They were right.
  • Players leaving? Rumor and innuendo are all that is out there, but among impact players, Manningham, Mallett, Taylor, and Arrington are the only ones consistently cited. Hell of a showcase game for Arrington if he decides to leave.
Pictures from the game (maybe) coming when I get back to Ann Arbor.

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