The Michigan Wolverines battled reigning NL East choke artists New York Mets to a 4-4 tie yesterday at the Mets' spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, FL. The exhibition game may seem like no big deal, considering it was pre-season game, likely against the Mets' scrubs. However, Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Delgado took to the plate for New York's squad.
Perhaps more damaging for a particular Met was the reputation of pitcher Aaron Heilman. Heilman, a Notre Dame grad, made a bet that he could hold Michigan scoreless for an inning. He failed, and now has to sing "The Victors" in the team's clubhouse.
Update courtesy of an apparent commitment of a key target to a rival school.
Added: PA S E.J. Banks. From Christian Wilson's high school, he is and Ohio State target. KY DE Trevor Foy. He attended multiple Michigan games in the fall. Removed: MI LB Chris Norman. No longer including recruits committed elsewhere without promising info. Edwin Baker if he commits to State.
New Info: MI RB Edwin Baker is apparently committing to Michigan State tomorrow, depending on how much weight you put in this random blog post. If he does, I'll drop him without a new post. PA RB Jordan Hall visited OSU with Terrelle Pryor recently, and it is likely Pryor's decision could influence Hall's. MI OL Zach Matthias was first-team all conference as a Junior. SC DE Chris Bonds lists Michigan in his top 5. OH CB Tony Graham plans to camp at Michigan. OH CB Damien Thigpen actually prefers the RB position, but will play where needed in college.
Commentary: If the Edwin Baker commitment happens, they will have a hell of a start to their class (for State).
If you really want to know about tempo-free statistics, you should really head over to Basketball Prospectus. Anything and everything you would ever want to know about the statistical analysis of basketball is there. Since the Big Ten Wonk left his blogspot home and moved to BP, there hasn't really been a focus on the statistics of Big Ten Basketball lately.
I'm just starting to get into this and I haven't really gone too deep into the statistics. For those of you who like charts (and/or AJAX filled Web2.0 applications) I compiled some basic tempo free stats online. You can see them here. The conference sheet is sorted by Possessions and the U of M sheet is sorted by effective field goal percentage.
If you want a quick crash course on tempo-free statistics, I recommend checking out the tutorial on Big Ten Wonk.
From looking at Michigan's stats compared to the rest of the conference, I'm cautiously optimistic. One of the biggest complaints I had from the Amaker era was the frequency of turnovers, which killed any chance of Michigan winning. Michigan this year is number 3 in the conference in Turnovers per Possession (TOPP on the chart). Another complaint is that the games were boring. Michigan versus Northwestern did not even pretend to be a basketball game as both teams pointlessly dribbled or passed the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock ran down. Michigan is 3rd in the conference in possessions behind only Purdue and Illinois. This does not mean they are good, but it's more a matter of personal preference. I like a smooth, flowing game; the change is like going from Mike DeBord to Rich Rodriguez.
Where Michigan is crashing and burning is shooting the ball. They have the worst effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in conference. eFG% even appropriately weights the benefits of 3pt shots and it still doesn't bring them up. Michigan is shooting about 46% when the median is 50%. There could be a silver lining on this horrible showing. Michigan is 4-1 when their eFG% is greater than 50%. It isn't ridiculous to think that once Beilein gets his players in and really gets the freshman and sophomore class shooting well this team will contend.
Beilein has stopped a lot of the bad the Amaker left him. He just needs to get his players playing his system and things should look up. If Michigan shoots well, they can beat some good teams (see Ohio State). I think most of the pain from this season is coming from square pegs meeting round holes.
I'll try to dig a little deeper through the week and look up some defensive numbers. The spreadsheet is saved on GoogleDocs, so if anyone wants to put together the team table for their (or any) team, let me know and you can be added as a collaborator.
Once you are heading a corporation that has over $15B in real estate assets as well as serving on the boards of many influential equity groups, you get a lot of coin. But the problem becomes finding stuff to spend it on. There has to be some sort of upper limit on the marginal utility of another solid gold toilet. So what is a loaded alum to do?
Hold a killer sex and cocaine party? I only assume.
So what is left for him to do with all of his money? Buy a majority stake in the Miami Dolphins, I guess. Wayne Huizenga will remain the controlling partner until he decides it's time for him to step aside or he is asked to step aside. What this means for the Dolphins? Likely nothing. Mr. Ross doesn't strike me as the Jerry Jones type, but rather he just likes to see his name on buildings.
One last recruiting update before I head off to a land of indeterminate internet access known as "spring break." Over the next week, I'll post if I have access, but otherwise I plan on having Paul go back and post the highlights (read: lowlights) from the home basketball games so far.
Added: TX RB Jazsman Mitchell. A little guy who will probably end up a slot WR if he comes to Michigan. TX RB Hasan Lipscomb. Included because of the impact he may have on Russell Shepard. The two are high school teammates and friends who are both going to LSU's junior day this weekend. Lipscomb grew up as a fan of the Bayou Bengals. LA DT Chris Davenport. Top DT who is attending LSU's junior day this weekend. SC DE Chris Bonds. Michigan is in his top 5.
Removed: TX DE Mike Brockers. Committed to LSU.
New information: TX QB Russell Shepard. He is attending LSU's junior day this weekend. His current girlfriend goes to LSU (not sure why he needs to date someone two years older than him, but I digress). They are considered in his top 3 along with Texas and Michigan. FL QB Eugene Smith. His dad attended Miami of Florida. Various sources have him listed as a pro-style quarterback, despite his 4.65 dash time. MS QB Clayton Moore. He is a pass-run or pro-style QB rather than run-pass. A second team All-State selection as a junior. He may enroll early at the school of his choice. He is also a baseball propect who may opt to play minor leagues instead. PA WR Todd Thomas. He now reports a Michigan offer. MI WR James Jackson. His offer from Lloyd Carr's staff has been reaffirmed. MS WR Dennis Thames. First team All-state selection as a junior. NC OL Xavier Nixon. He is a nimble center for his basketball team. Has relevance to his foot quickness. MS DT Josh Boyd. 2nd team All-state as a junior. MS LB David Conner. First team All-state as a junior. NC S Devonte Holloman. Wants to trim his list to 5 by summer. HS QB. TX S Craig Loston. Michigan is in his top 5.
I have seen a lot of delusional fans in my day, especially when it comes to recruiting. Some people think their school of choice will land every five-star prospect, others foolishly think they have a chance with a given guy (Michigan fans: Pryor isn't signing with the Wolverines. Give it up). One of the most common brands of craziness comes to comparing the relative merits of certain schools. With that, I present today's evidence: Syracuse football fans (apparently they exist) who think their school is more prestigious than Michigan (no, seriously).
I stumbled upon this goldmine when scouring the internets for information on recent OL offeree Eric Shrive. It comes from the Scout free board (I know, not the best place to find level-headed, rational people) devoted to Syracuse, and concerns the fact that several board members think Michigan's offer to Shrive does not mean he is deserving of one from mighty Syracuse.
I don't know what it is but I'm just not feeling it. I don't think getting an offer from Michigan anymore to be considered "a BIG offer". I see Michigan and think West Virginia.
Another goes on to clarify slightly that Michigan is still a big(ish) offer, it's just not as big now that Rich Rodriguez is the coach.
Hard to explain. It's not an offer FROM Michigan per say, it's an offer from Rich Rodriquez. I never viewed West Virginia as being a BIG TIME offer and that's sort of how I view Michigan now. It's Rich Rod.
Rich Rodriguez has been one of the most successful coaches in America, at a place not exactly set up for success (unlike Michigan). Also, YOU'RE SYRACUSE.
All-time record: Michigan 869-288-38 (.747) West Virginia 664-442-45 (.596) Syracuse 670-462-49 (.588)
Record Since Rich Rodriguez has been at West Virginia (2001): Michigan 64-24 (.727) West Virginia 61-26 (.701) Syracuse 33-51 (.393)
If Pasqualoni was the head coach of Miami U would you consider that to be a BIG TIME offer or would you sort of view it in a different light?
If Pasqualoni was the coach at Miami U (which I assume is supposed to be UMiami), it would be a big offer if a) Pasqualoni was one game away from playing in the BCS championship game this past year, and his team had won 3 straight bowl games, including BCS games they weren't supposed to win, and b) Miami had been one play away from being in the BCS Championship game two years ago, and had been to a bowl game for 30 straight years, and hadn't completely sucked recently. One poster starts to grasp the big picture, realizing that, over time and in recent history,
Syracuse football doesn't hold a candle to Michigan football. I would think gameday atmosphere could be a big part of the answer here. I love SU, but it will be tough for them to be considered a big time fb school when there's 30K, most of which straggles in around game time and sits on their hands (when not booing a third-down draw).
Michigan plays in front of 100K at the big house, has a huge athletic budget, the most wins in NCAA history (unless ND has more, but I think it's Michigan), plays in a bigger football conference (even if it's mostly perception) and always seems to appear in the top 25 at some point.
Then others come to drag it back down.
If I were a recruit, I would perceive Michigan to be a great offer for those reasons you listed. That being said, I am not in favor of writers who are supposed to be objective, singling out one offer as being better than another. This is not meant to slam Matt, as I think he does a great job (based on reading the few articles of his Scout provides as free, basically about fringe recruits) .
Sorry, guy. Michigan is a better offer than Syracuse, in much the same way that USC is a better offer than (insert school name here). Now, is it the best choice of schools for a particular recruit? Maybe not. But a bigger offer, it definitely is.
While perusing the opinion section of the Michigan Daily, which I do as some sort of masochistic act, I stumbled on yet another letter to the editor saying that Coach Rod should pay up. It's the third and final letter. I posted my response in the comments there, but I thought I'd repost it over here as it kind of summarizes my opinion on the buy-out kerfuffle.
I believe at this point Coach Rodriguez isn't fighting to reduce his buyout as purely financial matter. If he was worried about paying, the university has some wealthy alums that could easily write a check for the $4M.
At this point, Coach Rodriguez is, most likely, continuing this fight out of principle. When he signed his extension there were promises made to him by Mr. Pastilong some as small as allowing his student athletes to keep their textbooks or an additional graduate assistant. Mr. Pastilong did not come through on his promises and, additionally, siphoned money away from a fund that was supposed to be exclusively for football and put it in the general fund.
Coach Rodriguez did not feel he was getting the respect or the gratitude or the support due to a coach who took middle-of-the-road team and turned them into a national championship contending money maker. Add into that the smear campaign propagated by the WVU administration and the unreasonable threats to his and his family's safety by West Virginia "Fans," it does not appear surprising at all that he wouldn't want to just pay them.
Coach Rodriguez gave WVU seven years and a top tier football team. He changed jobs after they reneged on promises and suffered through death threats and you want him to pay $4M? He has an axe to grind, and it seems to be the American way to grind your axe in court.
If Coach Rod wanted it to be easy and get it done, he would have had it paid for already. He just doesn't want to give his crazy ex-girlfriend a really nice break-up gift after she went through his phone and txted "u whore!!" to all the girls in his contact list.
The Board. Also, if you're worried about Michigan not getting any new commits, while schools like Texas (7), Ohio State (7), and USC (9) are reeling them in, fear not. Michigan should start getting commits around junior day, which will likely happen in mid-to-late March. Due to the transition of the coaching staff, it is happening a little later than usual. Juniors will take in a spring practice rather than a men's hoops game.
Added: MS WR Dennis Thames. His uncle is Detroit Tiger Marcus Thames, and Clayton Moore is his HS teammate. MS DT Josh Boyd. He reports an offer from Michigan. TX DE Jamarcus McFarland. If Michigan is serious about recruiting Texas, he would be a great prospect to nab. AL CB Dre Kirkpatrick. Scout's #1 CB early in the game. Still scrambling to fill more DB target spots. OH CB DJ Hunter. Claims offers from every Big Ten school except Ohio State.
Removed: TX WR Greg Timmons. Committed to Texas.
New Information: CA QB Tate Forcier. Maryland may have him as their #1 QB target. He will start considering Michigan once the Pryor situation is resolved. PA OT Eric Shrive. He now reports a Michigan offer. MI RB Hersey Jackson. After a dispute over a 40 time listed on GoSpartans.net, I asked Allen Trieu of MichiganVarsity.com. He said Jackson ran a 4.6 at a camp last summer. Updated accordingly. TX WR Josh Gordon. Added a 4.5 40-yard dash time. NJ OL Khalil Wilkes. His dad played for Rutgers. NY DE Andre Civil. He wants to stay in the northeast for his college ball. Unless he develops into a four or five star prospect, he is on the verge of being dropped.
If Feagin is not ready to start next season, what will RR do with the offense? I know he likes to have the QB run, but Steven Threet and David Cone are slow.
While Rich Rodriguez does indeed like to have a quarterback who can both pass and run the ball, he is too good a coach to suddenly become a failure if the talent on the team doesn’t sync with his mission. In 2005, West Virginia started Adam Bednarik at QB, and Pat White didn’t take over until Bednarik went down with injury (Bednarik now chills out with a headset on).
In 1999 and 2000, Rich was the offensive coordinator at Clemson. (This is prior to his years with Shaun King at Tulane, when King set an NCAA record for passing efficiency, the most commonly cited evidence that Rodriguez can run an offense with a dropback QB). In 2000, Woody Dantzler started at the quarterback position. In the NFL, Dantzler was most known for a Hesterian kickoff return touchdown while playing for the Dallas Cowboys. He was a run-pass talent, and the Clemson offense in 2000 looked a lot like West Virginia’s in 2007.
In 1999, however, Clemson had an incumbent starter by the name of Brandon Streeter. Streeter was not the athlete that Dantzler was, but went into the season expecting to start. As it turned out, the two quarterbacks ended up sharing time under center (or in the shotgun, as it were). Streeter was the starter, but Dantzler played as well, and the two had a similar number of passing attempts. I believe (but am not sure) that Streeter was injured at various points during the year. Danztler played in 10 games, starting 6, and Streeter played in 8, starting 7.
1999 Clemson QB
1999 Clemson QB
When Dantzler was in, he was able to run. When Streeter was in, he was not forced to run all that often. So, if you’re curious as to what a Rich Rodriguez offense with a less mobile quarterback might look like, take a gander at Streeter highlights from 1999.
Of course, Streeter was a fifth-year senior and Dantzler a junior. For Michigan in 2008, redshirt and true freshmen are expected to carry the load. If Threet starts, the schemes might be 1999 Clemson, but the execution will probably be much worse.
When Pat White went down, West Virginia was screwed. It happened against South Florida and Pitt. Can Rodriguez not use a backup quarterback effectively?
I think the issue is not that Rodriguez can’t use a backup quarterback, but rather that West Virginia’s backup quarterback, Jarrett Brown, was not ready to carry the team offensively. In the long run, I think this won’t be a huge issue for Michigan, as the name itself should help draw more talent at the QB position beyond one starter-level talent and a bunch of crappy career backups. Evidence of this is available in Michigan’s 2007 season, where Ryan Mallett may not have been completely prepared to handle the load, but at least the Wolverines had a talented player to step in when Chad Henne went down.
For the immediate time frame, this is far more of a potential problem. Michigan has 2 current scholarship quarterbacks in Steven Threet and David Cone. Incoming freshman Justin Feagin will enroll in the fall. Depth in general (much less quality depth) will be a big issue for Michigan this season. Expect current players like Carlos Brown and/or Brandon Minor to get practice reps, if only for emergency game situations.
Thanks to Clemson site Tiger Memories for the source files of those videos, and my apologies for the watermarks on them.
The injury Chad Kolarik sustained in the third period against Lake State on Saturday is hamstring-related, according to Antoine Pitts of the Ann Arbor News.
Kolarik is expected to be out until the final round of the CCHA playoffs, assuming his rehab moves along according to schedule. Kolarik is certainly going to be scratched in Michigan's next two series, against Michigan State and Ferris State.
Last time against State, Kolarik had an assist and was +1 on Saturday. He didn't take a penalty either night. According to the stats, he was not a huge factor in either game, but he is certainly an important player for the Wolverines. He is tied for 2nd on the team in +/- (with Mark Mitera), and is second in points with 43.
Will Kolarik's absence hurt the Wolverines? Michigan would like to sweep State, though his absence will probably be one of the factors that prevents that from happening. Ferris, despite being a lower-tier CCHA team, managed to sweep Miami this weekend.
Even without Kolarik, Michigan should lock up the #1 seed in the CCHA tournament. The first-round bye will give Michigan a chance to get some rest, and Kolarik should be able to return by the Championship round.
Even without Kolarik, Michigan should be able to have enough success to lock up a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and are still likely to get the overall #1.
The board, which no longer has "debuts!" in its title.
Added: PA DT Levi Brown. A 1-technique tackle prospect, and HS teammate of DE prospect Braxton Isaac.
Removed: WV QB Craig Crawford. He has stated he does not want to play QB in college. He has also heard from the West Virginia staff, but not Michigan at all. TX QB Tyrik Rollison. No apparent mutual interest between Michigan and Rollison. He has claimed a list of 3: Oklahoma, Texas, and A&M. MI TE Mitch Kessel. It doesn't appear he will become a D1 prospect. MI OT Christian Brandt. He won't be a high-D1 prospect.
Additional Information: MI RB Hersey Jackson now has a reported 40 time of 4.8. He'll be a fullback if he wants to play high-D1. Russell Shepard has been named the #1 prospect in Texas (ahead of current Longhorns QB commit Garrett Gilbert). Craig Loston is #3. Not sure why this video from Rivals is free, but it is, so enjoy. Shepard talks about his favorites, his work in the community, and other interesting facts. Dorian Bell reports a Michigan offer. Craig Loston 5 stars (up from 4). He will probably be one of the top safeties in the nation next year. He hasn't mentioned Michigan much, but he has talked about attending the same school as his cousin Russell Shepard. OH OL Chris Freeman from Trotwood Madison is the cousin of OSU LB Marcus Freeman.
An article in the International Herald-Tribune yesterday should go a long way to assuage the fears of Michigan fans who fear that Rich Rodriguez intends to ignore Michigan's storied history, and do things the way he's been doing them his whole career.
Last week, several members of the 1969 Michigan team that upset Ohio State spoke with members of the 2008 Wolverines. Bo's first team has more in common with Rodriguez's, in that both squads serve(d) under a new coach who came from outside the program. A culture shock of hard work is being implemented today, just like in '69. I was fortunate enough to hear from Dan Dierdorf and Richard Caldarazzo, and their stories were great. One can only imagine how much the players appreciated it.
This weekend, there will be a meet-and-greet featuring more than 200 past Michigan players and their families. 700+ members of this party are expected to attend the basketball game on Sunday against Ohio State. Rich Rodriguez will speak at halftime, primarily to introduce his staff.
Excuse me if this is shitty; it's been a long time since I've done one of these. 9:06PM The tipoff is won by Michigan. Coleman actually does something worthwhile, drawing a foul in the post. He then ruins it by going 1-2 at the line. 19:10 1H Michigan comes out in man defense, Iowa gets an offensive rebound and nails a three. Ron Coleman travels on the way back up the court. 17:33 1H Manny Harris makes a strong drive to the hoop, and bricks an ugly pullup jumper. Udoh goes over the back on the rebound. 17:00 1H Michigan forces Iowa to throw up a shitty three at the end of the shot clock, and Udoh finishes at the other end with a dunk. Then, the other way back down, he fumbles a rebound, ball to Iowa. 15:55 1H Manny Harris plays weak defense on an Iowa drive to the hoop. If he just stands his ground, it's a charge. 14:57 1H Michigan's defensive rebounding has been awful. Fortunately, "dribble" was not near the top of Iowa's agenda, whereas "walk" was. Commercial break. 9:14PM Back to the game. 14:33 1H Kelvin Grady banks one in. As bad as Michigan's shooting has been at times this year, it is refreshing to see players who look like they have a fucking clue on the offensive end of the court. Michigan compensates with giving an easy dunk to Iowa. 13:27 1H DeShawn Sims airballs a wide open 3-ball on the fast break. 12:52 1H Michigan scrambles because Manny Harris tries to go for a steal. Ekpe Udoh has to go out for a block attempt in the corner, leaving nobody in position to get a rebound if the shot is missed. It isn't. 11:36 1H Really bad call by the officials giving the ball to Iowa on an out-of-bounds call. Michigan deserves to lose it, I guess, based on the shitty idea by Manny Harris to get in the air under the basket. Commercial Break. 9:21PM Back to the action. 11:25 1H Michigan goes for the trap, and gets good pressure on the ballhandlers despite not forcing the turnover. 11:00 1H Shot clock low, Freeman hucks one and gets lucky. Anthony Wright tosses it out of bounds. It seems Michigan can't just make one mistake, but rather must compound said mistake to put selves in a hole. 9:30 1H Gibson gets whacked on the offensive glass. No call. They can't get a defensive rebound to save their lives. 8:32 1H I think this is a makeup call. Manny Harris is nominally fouled going for the rebound on a shot that would have ended Michigan's chances. 8:12 1H Todd Lickliter takes the ball away from Jevohn Shepherd, who is trying to save it out of bounds. CJ Lee looks the gift horse in the mouth by immediately traveling. They can't even utilize Iowa's mistakes to their advantage. 6:57 1H Seemingly a bad call on an Iowa travel. Oh well, Michigan needs all the help they can get. TV Timeout. 9:30PM The action starts again. 6:42 1H Michigan turns it over immediately again. They haven't scored in 7+ minutes. 5:43 1H Many Harris is stripped going up for a 3, Tony Freeman returns the favor by turning it over on the fast break. 5:27 1H After a quick TV timeout, DeShawn Sims finally gets Michigan back on the board. Kelly answers with a 3 for Iowa. 3:45 1H Terrible call giving Michigan the ball on a play out of bounds. TV Timeout. 9:38PM Back in the house. Holy god is Iowa's stadium empty. It's like 10 times worse than Crisler. 3:36 1H Michigan finally hits a 3 (after 7(?) attempts). DeShawn Sims gets Michigan back within 9. 2:54 1H Deshawn Sims gets the rebound after Iowa forces a 3 at the end of the shot clock. He is fouled on the play. Michigan has some signs of life. Michigan returns the favor, with Ekpe Udoh fouling on the rebound of DeShawn Sims's hookshot. 2:06 1H Iowa gets an easy dunk with 1 second left on the shot clock. At least Michigan is defending well enough to force them to use all the clock. Sims brick a three on the other end. 1:25 1H Johnson airballs a trey for Iowa. Manny Harris Harris is whacked on a left handed runner, and Zack Gibson pulls it down while abosorbing a foul. He'll shoot two. 0:53 1H An Iowa player performs the funciontal equivalent of airballing a layup, hitting glass and not coming close to anything else. Harris fouls on the rebound. Michigan eventually gets the ball back for the last shot of the half. 0:09 1H DeShawn Sims with a... curious... shot with 7 seconds left on the shot clock. Iowa boards, and runs back to brick one last three pointer of the half. Michigan trails 27-16 at halftime.
This is painful to watch; second half not being blogged.
Pre-spring depth chart. Not sure about a couple guys' current status (Jason Kates), or if other guys are going to continue through the spring (Carson Butler, David Cone), so they're included for now. Red highlights indicate last year of eligibility, blue highlights indicate potential early-entry after 2008, and green highlights indicate guys who could be leaving the team for other reasons (either before or after 2008). Next substantive update coming after Spring Practice.
1. As a general question, evaluate your recruiting class. Is it more or less what you expected, were you pleasantly surprised or horribly, horribly disappointed? Were your team's needs adequately addressed or will you be starting a two star running back at center next year? Considering the coaching change, Rich Rodriguez did a great job both locking up Lloyd's recruits and getting some new commitments, especially from players who will fit his system (i.e. slot receivers). A couple of big needs went unfilled or inadequately filled. Those would be the quarterback (pending the commitment of Terrelle Pryor to some other school), and defensive line, especially at the defensive end position.
2. Who were the big catches in your recruiting class? Name two players matriculating to your school whose existence everyone else in the Big Ten will curse for the next four years. Sam McGuffie is the obvious choice here, do to his already-existing reputation if nothing else. Another (less obvious) choice is Justin Feagin. He'll play the most important position on the field for at least part of this next year, then maybe take over as a starter, or split time with someone else later in his career. He is a speedy guy, and even if he isn't a supreme athlete, he'll be someone that opposing defensive coordinators have to specifically gameplan against (which is something Michigan rarely has on offense).
3. You can't win them all. Maybe some slick talking carpetbagger schmoozed his way into your living room, sold you a set of ginzu knives made out of tin foil, and walked off with your wife and your star recruit. Perhaps an in-state lock who grew up with [Insert University Here] posters on his wall and your coach's face tattooed on his arm decided to go elsewhere for reasons no one seems to understand? Did your recruiting class lose someone big on signing day, who was it, and was your school able to yoink someone else to cover his loss? Michigan lost Nick Perry to USC, and (probably) Terrelle Pryor to Ohio State, Penn State, or Oregon. These two hurt pretty bad, because they were big positions of need, and Michigan got nobody to cover Perry, and only 2-star safety Justin Feagin to cover Pryor. Michigan almost expected Perry, because he was an in-state Michigan fan, and Pryor hurts more, because Michigan has nobody on the roster who can do what he does.
4. There's been a spirited debate about this whole "Coaches' Code" among the members of the Big Ten coaching fraternity. Do you believe this exists or is it a line being floated by the guys who couldn't keep their recruiting classes together? Bonus points for declaring your coach a poacher or a poachee in creative fashion! Joe Tiller is an idiot. Every coach in the conference tries to poach recruits, some are just unsuccessful. Mark Dantonio went after every single Michigan commit, Iowa pulled John Weinke from Michigan, etc. Rich Rodriguez is not even close to the only poacher in the conference, he's just probably the best one.
5. Finally, who's the slickest, smoovest, most Billy Dee Williamsesque recruiter in the Big Ten? Who's the worst, most incompetent, "trip over the flat tire on his Yugo" recruiter in the Big Ten? Best: Rich Rodriguez. When you see the recruiting class he could retain and put together in less than two months, you have to give this guy a ton of credit. Worst: Joe Tiller. There's a reason this guy needs to make up excuses for his incompetence. He might not have the worst class in the conference, but the way he went about making excuses for it tells the whole tale.
In happier hockey news, the team took 3 points from Miami over the weekend, returning them to the top of the CCHA (now with a guaranteed CCHA playoff bye), and the country. They face off against Lake State for 2 games in The Old Barn this weekend.
Sadly, no more WOLV games until the CCHA playoffs. I'll keep you updated.
Expect a lot of these this early in the recruiting season, as we try to figure out who will and won't be serious prospects. After the UM junior days, it should settle into a weekly or bi-weekly thing. On to the updates:
Added: MI QB Thomas Gordon. He'd be a major fall-back guy or position-switch candidate, but if he got an offer, he'd probably like Michigan. TX WR Greg Timmons. He's from super-safety Craig Loston's school. TX DE Mike Brockers. Need to find more DE prospects. He's from a strong recruiting area. NY DE Andre Civil. He's a four-star-ish prospect who was as-yet only interested in Syracuse and Rutgers. VA CB Damien Thigpen. He is a good-to-great prospect who consistently lists Michigan in his top lists. Still need to find more good CB prospects.
Removed: OH CB C.J. Barnett. He committed to Ohio State, and it's hard to pull early commits from the Bucks, particularly when they commit this early. CA S Patrick Hall. Committed to USC.
Analysis: This early in the game, it's still difficult to determine who is and isn't a serious prospect with mutual Michigan interest. I still need to unearth more D-Linemen and corner prospects. Michigan is really getting into the Houston area, so they get a little more leeway, since I'll assume Michigan may be able to pull prospects in a pipeline-style way.
On to Michigan's #1 prospect in 2009, TX QB Russell Shepard. Texas was considered to be his early favorite. Earlier this week, the Horns accepted a commitment from pro-style QB Garrett Gilbert. This a) takes up a depth chart spot at his position, and b) may indicate where Texas is looking to go with their offensive style in the future (i.e. non-running QB). Texas also held its first junior day this weekend (the second of two is the 23rd, for day 2 of their spring practice). For those who are unaware, junior days at Texas might as well be known as "commit days." In 2008, 9 of the Horns' 20 prospects committed at their first junior day. Shepard attended the junior day on Sunday, but did not commit (though Texas did get 3 verbal pledges - and many expected that he might have pulled trigger). Shepard's non-commitment means he isn't quite sold on the Longhorns, which is good for Michigan and all Shepard's other suitors.
“I would say Texas is still up there, but Michigan is really at the top of my list, especially if they don’t get (2008 top recruit) Terrelle Pryor,” he said. “I feel like I could go there and play right away.
Martavious "Tay" Odoms, a 5-8, 170 slot receiver from Florida, has committed to Michigan. Odoms was expected to sign with the Hurricanes of Miami on a track scholarship. His 40 time is reported at 4.45, but he is a track athlete, and is likely speedier than that. He will also run track at Michigan.
Odoms is an inside (slot) receiver, and a little one at that. He is Michigan's 24th signed player in 2008. As promised, I see his floor as 2 (he is very short, and his track speed might not translate well to the football field in college), and ceiling as 4 (he is speedy, but his height will always be something of a limitation).
The author also goes on to snidely (attempt to) rip Rodriguez for his recruiting tactics (covered here) and the document shredding incident, which mysteriously disappeared when it became painfully obvious to everyone except WVU and OSU fans that Rodriguez did nothing wrong.
Worse still, Rodriguez' recruiting antics over the past few weeks have offended the entire conference. There is considerable speculation that what he has done may be working against him. Recruiting ethics, plus missing documents at West Virginia, have raised red flags across the country.
Note: Not sure on the credibility of this, because it's not sourced at all, and the Post-Gazette website has no mention of it. Plus, the guy who wrote the article seems to be really dumb.
Could be a depth player if Michigan wants a 3rd QB who won't scare of '10 recruits (or he can switch positions)
A couple of his teammates will be heading to Ann Arbor. He is probably Michigan's if they want him.
Instate QB Mike Schaaf (6-7, 225) from Saginaw Arthur Hill is not a dual-threat guy, but he is a better baseball prospect than football. It's always possible that a prospect like this comes to Michigan for the baseball, and participates in scout-team football as well.
Michigan doesn't have a pressing need for TEs in this class with a lot in the previous two classes, and a decreased importance in the spread offense. They might take one, but I see some of these TE prospects switching positions if they want to go Blue.
Michigan has the Trotwood-Madison connection in their favor for this huge OT prospect, though he is the cousin of OSU LB Marcus Freeman. He claims to be wide open and will unofficially visit the reigning champs. Dangerously close to being dropped.
Not a big-time prospect, but he has good size. Tackle project.
Michigan Spring Game visitor
Obviously, there will be a lot more OL prospects added, likely including some instate sleepers. Michigan's 2008 OL class was huge, but with attrition, they are still a guy short, even before graduation.
At this phase in the recruiting cycle, the class will probably be about 22 prospects (for the most updated numbers, check out the Eligibility Chart), broken down as such: 2 QBs (Kevin Newsome, Shavodrick Beaver) 1-2 RBs (Teric Jones/Fitzgerald Toussaint, 1 more) 1-3 WRs (Teric Jones/Toussaint maybe 1 more slot, 1-2 outside) 1 TE 3-5 OL (1-2 outside, 2-3 inside) 2 DTs (William Campbell) 2-3 DEs 1-2 LBs (1 inside, 1 outside) 2 CBs (Justin Turner) 2-3 Ss (Isaiah Bell)