Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brady Hoke Named Maxwell Club's Coach of the Year

Rhian Sugden
Brady Hoke was named the Maxwell Football Club's Coach of the Year.

Adam Breneman Answers Your Questions

Class of 2013 tight end Adam Breneman
As stated in his "Ask a Question" post, Adam Breneman is a class 2013 tight end prospect out of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania who holds offers from more than 20 FCS schools, including Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Miami (FL). He recently took time to answer reader questions on a variety of topics.

Academics: "I was raised my whole life to put academics first. I realize that at some point football is going to end, and I'll get a job and support a family, and that's the reason why academics are so important to me. There's a lot more to life than just football . . . I'm going to major in Business. Michigan's obviously one of the best academically. They have a great history, a great business school. They might not be on-par with the Stanfords and the Notre Dames and the schools like that, but they're one of the best options academic-wise out there."

NFL Ambitions: "One of my goals is to play in the NFL; there's no doubt about that, but very few people have the chance to play in the NFL. I don't want to take anything for granted. If you just slide by and assume you're going to play in the NFL, you might be in for a rude awakening by the time you graduate college . . . My two favorite players are [New England Patriot] Rob Gronkowski and [Philadelphia Eagle] Brent Celek. He [Celek] is actually the reason I started to wear number 87."

Factors in Recruitment: "When I'm looking at a school, the first thing is academics and where they stand as far as their academic reputation. And then I'm looking at the way I'm going to be used in the offense. I like catching the ball; I like being a play maker - I want to be able to do that in college. And then it's the relationships that you have with the coaching staff. You're going to be around those guys a lot, so if you don't like 'em, it'll make for a long four years . . . Football is football no matter how hot it is outside or how cold it is, but location will play a little bit of a factor. It's not a huge thing but a school that is closer to home will have a little bit of an advantage over a school that is farther away . . . I do look at depth charts; I do look at who they have, but the bottom line is that you're going to have to compete wherever you go . . . ."

Where Michigan Stands: "Right now I'm open to everyone, no matter where they are or what conference they're in. I mean, I have some opinions on some schools so obviously I have some favorites in my mind, but I'm staying open and I don't have a top schools list or anything yet . . . But yeah, let's just say if I had a top schools list, then Michigan would be in it. I really like the coaches, and I think they'll be in it to the end with me . . . When you have guys like the guys who are at Michigan who are trying to recruit me, it says a lot about U of M and how much they want me. Shane Morris is a great example. He's been trying to recruit me just as hard as the coaches are. So when there's an especially developed player like Shane Morris who I know will be throwing me the ball, that's another advantage . . . ."

Adam holds a 3.9 GPA and is currently 6'5'' and 225 lbs. Although he acknowledges that he's a bit "undersized weight-wise" for a tight end right now, Adam expects to fill out naturally and "go into college around 235-240 lbs." His hand-timed 40 yard-dash times range between "the high 4.5s and the high 4.6s." During his discretionary time, Adam enjoys reading - sports books in particular - yet his "favorite book of all time" is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Showing phenomenal perspective throughout the interview, Adam closed our conversation with this thought regarding his demanding schedule and relentless recruitment: "It can be overwhelming and I get stressed out with it sometimes, but then I think about all the kids in the world who dream of being in this position, and I get to live it; it's a reality for me . . . . This whole process is just such a big blessing."

Bonus: Check out Thunder's scouting report on Breneman here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

MGoBlog Diary: Coaching the West Coast Quarterback, by Al Borges

Poster CRex over at MGoBlog reviewed Coaching the West Coast Quarterback, which was written by offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Willie Henry, Wolverine

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry
(image via 247 Sports)
Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry has given his verbal commitment to the Michigan Wolverines.  The 6'2", 270-pounder picked Michigan over Hawaii, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Pitt, Syracuse, and others.

Recruiting rankings:
ESPN: 3-star, #97 DT
Rivals: 3-star
Scout: 3-star, #38 DT
247 Sports: 3-star, #75 DT

Henry earned an offer this past weekend when he took an official visit to Ann Arbor.  He had previously visited Eastern Michigan, Hawaii, and Pittsburgh, and the pick was probably going to be Pitt until Michigan jumped into the fray.  When Michigan came forward with an offer after it became clear that at least a few of their high-profile targets would choose other schools, Henry didn't take long to decide.

The quick defensive tackle boasts a 4.78 forty yard dash, and that is indeed his biggest strength - speed.  I'm particularly impressed with how quickly Henry gets off the ball and penetrates into the backfield.  There are multiple highlights where he sprints downfield when blocking.  Not only does that show his speed, but it also shows effort.  You can't teach speed, and when you combine that with desire, it's hard to stop.  I like how hard he works and the way he celebrates after making good plays.  It's pure excitement, but not the "look at me" variety.

Henry does not come without flaws, however.  He's a very raw prospect when it comes to technique.  He doesn't use his hands well consistently, and too often he allows offensive linemen to get into his body.  As a small-ish defensive linemen, he can't afford to lose that technical advantage.  He also tends to play a little high at times, which will get him blasted out of position against bigger, more powerful offensive lines.  I would also like to see Henry show a little better play recognition.

Overall, I love the offer to and commitment from Henry.  He's exactly the type of prospect that is ripe for the picking at this time of year - an athletic project who, if he pans out, has a chance to be a real difference maker at the next level.  He needs to add weight and will likely redshirt, but his ability to get off the ball and chase from behind makes him a potential TFL machine.  While he reminds me of a slightly larger Terry Talbott (a 2010 commit who never played a down for Michigan), I think Henry has a higher ceiling.  He's likely headed for the 3-tech position that Will Heininger occupied this past season.  I think he even has the ability to play the 5-tech defensive end position, but Michigan should have that position well covered with the other recruits in the class.

Henry is the 24th commitment of Michigan's class.  Glenville is the alma mater of Michigan defensive end Frank Clark, and also the home of fellow 2012 Michigan target De'van Bogard, who is headed to Ohio State.

TTB Rating: 76

Video: President Obama Visits the University of Michigan

It's always satisfying to hear the President of the United States talk about Michigan football and say, "Go Blue!" so here's full video of Barack Obama's address at the Al Glick Field House in Ann Arbor on Friday. Please be advised to stop watching at the 3:18 mark if you're only interested in hearing about Michigan athletics.

Recruiting Update: January 30, 2012

Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep wide receiver Devon Allen (#85)
(image via The Roundup)
ADDED TO THE BOARD (2012, 2013, 2014)
Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep wide receiver Devon Allen, a 2013 prospect, received a Michigan offer last week.  Allen is a 6'1", 190 lb. wideout who claims 4.5 speed but appears not to be a huge breakaway threat.  However, he's an excellent route runner, shifty enough to make somebody miss here or there, and a very good blocker for a wide receiver.  As a junior, he had 44 receptions for 844 yards and 17 touchdowns and 26 carries for 228 yards.  He also holds offers from Arizona (where he's being recruited by former Michigan coach Tony Dews), Arizona State, Oregon State, Purdue, Stanford, and a few others.

Woodbridge (VA) Woodbridge defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, a 2014 prospect, was offered by Michigan.  Hand is 6'5", 245 lbs. as a high school sophomore, so it's likely that he grows into a defensive tackle by the time he finishes high school.  He had 84 tackles and 21 sacks during his sophomore season.

Cleveland (OH) Glenville defensive tackle Willie Henry visited Michigan's campus this past weekend and received a Michigan offer.  He's a 6'2", 270 lb. athlete with offers from Hawaii, Illinois, Louisville, Pitt, and a bunch of MAC (or MAC-level) schools.  You can see in Henry's film that he's an athletic kid with a pretty good motor (witness him chasing down running plays on defense and sprinting downfield to throw blocks on offense).  However, he's a little light, needs to add some strength, and really  needs to learn the fundamentals of defeating blocks.

Bealeton (VA) Liberty defensive end Wyatt Teller, a 2013 prospect, was offered by Michigan last week.  He's a 6'5", 250 lb. kid with offers from Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and several other programs.  He also claims a 325 lb. bench and a 400 lb. squat, which are pretty good measurables for a high school junior.


Elk Grove (CA) Pleasant Grove jumbo athlete Arik Armstead committed to Oregon.  The 6'8", 280 lb. Armstead was originally committed to USC, but his older brother Armond, who was on USC's roster, was upset about some issues with the program.  Arik decommitted and has gone on a months long journey looking for another school.  As the season and all-star games wore on, scouts' feelings on Arik started to wane because he insisted on a desire to play defensive end.  At his size he looks like nothing other than an offensive tackle.

Fairless Hills (PA) Pennsbury offensive tackle J.J. Denman changed his commitment from Wisconsin to Rutgers.  Denman had previously been committed to Penn State.  He's 6'7", 305 lbs. and extremely indecisive, apparently, which makes him potentially dangerous if you ever run into him on the street.  My advice: Don't run into him on the street.

Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro running back/wide receiver D.J. Foster committed to Arizona State on Friday.  As a senior in 2011, he had over 3,000 yards rushing and 60 touchdowns, including 508 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in one playoff game.  Saguaro is the alma mater of David Spade, who was born in Michigan.

Old Tappan (NJ) Old Tappan QB/ATH Devin Fuller committed to UCLA on Sunday.  The 6'0", 185 lb. Fuller was being recruited by Michigan to play quarterback at the beginning of the cycle, but then the Wolverines started trying to reel him in as a defensive back.  Fuller, who wants to play quarterback in college, was considered to be Rutgers lean until Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano jumped ship for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  New Bruins head coach Jim Mora must have convinced Fuller he could be the next Michael Vick, despite the fact that Vick wasn't a very good quarterback when he was with Mora's Atlanta Falcons.

Puyallup (WA) Puyallup offensive guard Joshua Garnett committed to Stanford on Thursday.  Garnett was down to Stanford and Michigan, and lots of people thought Garnett would choose Michigan.  Unfortunately, his connections to Michigan - and especially Erik Magnuson - just weren't quite strong enough.  Approximately 83% of voters on this here blog said Garnett would pick Michigan, so you guys are boogers.

Shaler (PA) Shaler Area tight end J.P. Holtz committed to Pitt.  He was once committed to Penn State, but . . . well . . . strange things happened there.  Holtz appeared on Michigan's radar when Lyndhurst (OH) Brush tight end Pharaoh Brown decommitted from Michigan in favor of Oregon, but it was a fleeting romance.

Castle Rock (CO) Valor offensive guard/center Alex Kozan committed to Iowa, according to Sam Webb.  Kozan is a 6'4", 295-pounder who could have filled the hole left by Caleb Stacey's decommitment and played center.  Now Michigan is down to fifth year senior Rocko Khoury, redshirt freshman Jack Miller, and position changers to play center in the fall, with very little depth for 2013.

Cincinnati (OH) Moeller wide receiver Monty Madaris committed to Michigan State.  The 6'2", 190 lb. wideout eliminated Michigan a while ago and was down to the Spartans and Cincinnati.  He had 56 receptions for 1,137 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior.

West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial cornerback Armani Reeves committed to Ohio State.  The 5'9", 185 lb. defensive back followed his best friend, linebacker Camren Williams, in becoming a Buckeye.  The Williams family has essentially adopted Reeves, so it was difficult to see this going in any direction other than toward Columbus.

Van (TX) Van linebacker Dalton Santos changed his commitment from Tennessee to Texas.  Several months ago, I mistakenly typed "Texas" on Twitter instead of "Tennessee" and everyone was like "YOU MEAN TENNESSEE, YOU MORON!!!"  Well . . . who's laughing now?  I was just predicting the future. Santos originally committed to Oklahoma State before flipping to Tennessee, so what I'm taking away from this is . . . he really likes the color orange.

Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep cornerback Yuri Wright committed to Colorado.  The Buffaloes seemed to be his third or fourth choice behind Michigan and Notre Dame, but his tweets about wanting to get laid got him expelled from his private school and dropped by some schools, including Michigan.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tremendous: An Interview with Allen Gant

Adriana Lima

Tremendous  put up a good, candid interview with incoming freshman safety Allen Gant.

2012 Pro Bowl

Charles Woodson will be Michigan's only representative in tonight's Pro Bowl
Tonight's Pro Bowl will be a little light on former Wolverines (rosters here), but not due to poor performance.  New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was selected, but he'll miss the game since the Patriots will be in next week's Super Bowl.  Miami Dolphins left tackle Jake Long was selected, too, but he's missing the game due to an injury.  That leaves Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson as the lone player representing the Wolverines.  Woodson made 74 tackles, 2 sacks, and 7 interceptions for the Packers this past season.

The lone Detroit Lions representative is wide receiver Calvin Johnson, despite the fact that quarterback Matt Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards . . . but Johnson is sitting out the game due to injury, too.  He had 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011.

The game will be broadcast on NBC at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Video: Tom VanHaaren works out with Mike Barwis

Tom VanHaaren, currently of Wolverine Nation  but formerly of MGoBlog and U Recruit, worked out with Mike Barwis recently.  I'm sure it was an experience he will remember . . . but it doesn't look like he enjoyed it very much.

It must be frustrating not to be totally ripped and physically fit.  Luckily, I don't have to worry about that.

What I've Been Reading

The Magician King  by Lev Grossman is a must read for fantasy nerds who enjoy
pop culture references.

Bossypants  by Tiny Fey.  I'm not embarrassed to admit that I love Tina Fey.  The sarcastic and self-deprecating humor that was her forte on Saturday Night Live  and remains on 30 Rock  is apparent in her memoir.  She's just a genuinely funny writer and performer without the vulgarity of Sarah Silverman or the quirkiness of Maria Bamford.  And she doesn't make me think "How the hell did this woman get famous?" like I do when I see Kathy Griffin.  If you didn't enjoy Fey's turn as anchor on "Weekend Update," then Bossypants  isn't for you . . . but if you enjoy her humor and want more, then it's worth the read.

The Magician King  by Lev Grossman.  This is the sequel to a book I reviewed in 2010 called The Magicians.  It continues the story of Quentin Coldwater, a modern-day Harry Potter . . . minus the whole "Chosen One" theme.  Quentin is just one of many magicians who matriculate through Brakebills, a Hogwarts-style boarding school for magicians.  He starts off this novel as one of the four rulers of Fillory, a Narnia-like alternate universe.  He takes on an adventure through worlds and time, mostly because he's bored . . . but his adventure turns into a quest to save magic throughout the entire universe.  I thoroughly enjoy Grossman's writing, but unlike the initial volume in this series, he intertwines the story of Julia, a queen of Fillory who took a different path to royalty than Quentin did.  Julia's story, which takes up probably 25% of the novel, is largely boring and seemingly unrelated until the very end.  Grossman has a way of mixing a fun and exciting fantasy story with gruesome details that make it exciting to see what physical or emotional torment he'll come up with next.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  by Stieg Larsson.  Okay, I'm a follower.  A few months ago, when I was vacationing in the Caribbean, every third person lounging on the beach or around the pool was reading this book.  I had heard bits and pieces about the plot and wasn't impressed, but I thought to myself, "I must be missing something."  After football season I snagged a copy and burned through the 640+ pages in about a week.  I normally like to learn new words or laugh during my reading, but I did neither for this one.  Well, I did learn a few new words, but they'll only ever do me any good if I take a class in Swedish Geography.  I did enjoy the plot and the three-mysteries-in-one nature of the book, but the hype was a little much.  Here's a brief plot synopsis: A disgraced journalist gets hired to investigate the 1966 disappearance of a millionaire's grandniece, and in the process of the investigation, an alternative rock girl is hired to help him out with some computer sleuthing.  Then everyone dies.  (Just kidding about that last part.  Or am I?  I'm not.)

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk  by David Sedaris.  Acclaimed essayist Sedaris writes a series of stories involving hypocritical animals.  Yes, wild animals and barnyard animals are the vehicles for telling morality tales, using some generally accepted stereotypes about each species.  Some of the stories seem a little forced, and as the book goes along, Sedaris seems to run out of gas.  But the first few tales are worth reading, especially "The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck," which made me laugh out loud.  I wouldn't buy this book if I were you, but if you see it sitting on someone's coffee table or have a couple minutes while browsing at Borders Barnes and Noble, it's worth the five minutes to read a couple tales.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rivals: Koger steps in at fullback, shows his versatility

Outgoing tight end Kevin Koger played fullback/H-back for his all-star squad last week in the East-West Shrine Game, and his position coach at the event praises his attitude and talent.  It's good to see that Michigan guys are making solid impressions at these events.

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Mario Manningham

Mario Manningham caught a touchdown pass for the third straight week, this time on a 17-yard reception in traffic on third-and-15. Coach Tom Coughlin called it an "incredible football play," and the score gave the Giants a 17-14 lead with only 8:41 remaining, eventually leading to their 20-17 NFC Championship game victory over the 49ers. Manningham lined up as the outside receiver on the play, ran up field, slanted in and shielded the over-the-top defensive back with his body as he leaped to haul in the touchdown pass. You could try to visualize that, or you could just watch it here.

Honorable Mention: Whether or not you still hold a grudge towards Jim Harbaugh, one thing is undeniable: he can coach. This year he took a hapless 6-10 San Francisco team - and a franchise that hadn't had a winning season in eight years - all the way to the NFC Championship game, coming up only three points shy of a Super Bowl birth. As stated in the title of an interesting thread on the MGoBoard, congrats to Jim Harbaugh.

Miscellaneous: Carson Butler returns to the New England Patriots' practice squad, making eight former Michigan athletes who are represented in Super Bowl XLVI, which is among the most of any college. Scot Loeffler, quarterback at Michigan from 1993-1996 and quarterbacks coach for Michigan from 2002-2007, was hired as Auburn's offensive coordinator, giving Michigan fans "a strange reason to root for Auburn."

2012 Senior Bowl

DT Mike Martin will be Michigan's only representative in the 2012 Senior Bowl
The 2012 Senior Bowl will be played today, January 28, at 4:00 p.m.

Players who might be of interest to Michigan fans:

OT Mike Adams - Ohio State
RB Vick Ballard - Mississippi State
C Mike Brewster - Ohio State
LB Audie Cole - North Carolina State (from the state of Michigan)
QB Kirk Cousins - Michigan State
DE Jack Crawford - Penn State
DT Mike Daniels - Iowa
FB Bradie Ewing - Wisconsin
RB Dan Herron - Ohio State
QB Ryan Lindley - San Diego State
TE Brian Linthicum - Michigan State
S D'Anton Lynn - Penn State
DT Mike Martin - Michigan
WR Marquis Maze - Alabama (former Michigan commit)
WR Marvin McNutt - Iowa
P Brad Nortman - Wisconsin
WR DeVier Posey - Ohio State
S Trenton Robinson - Michigan State
S Harrison Smith - Notre Dame
DT Devon Still - Penn State
WR Nick Toon - Wisconsin
OG Johnnie Troutman - Penn State
K Carson Wiggs - Purdue
QB Russell Wilson - Wisconsin
S Kyle Wojta - Wisconsin
OG Kevin Zeitler - Wisconsin

Ex-Wolverine Updates: The Class of 2008

Former Michigan running back Sam McGuffie

Former Michigan cornerback Boubacar Cissoko spent the 2011 season (well, in the summertime) with the Detroit Downriver Diesels of the Great Lakes Football League.  His football season came after being released from incarceration for multiple offenses.  He ended the season with 13 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 pass breakup, 1 fumble recovery (returned 10 yards for a touchdown), and 2 kickoff returns for 63 yards.

Former Michigan wide receiver/quarterback Justin Feagin last played college football at Texas Southern University back in 2009.  Since that time he has not reappeared on a college roster, as far as I know.

Former Michigan linebacker Taylor Hill, who left Michigan prior to the beginning of his freshman season, has not played college football since 2009, when he was at Youngstown State University.  He redshirted in 2010, but did not appear on the 2011 roster at YSU.

Former Michigan running back Sam McGuffie spent an injury-plagued 2011 season at Rice.  He only played in 7 games due to a nagging ankle injury, totaling just 38 carries for 158 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown.  He also completed his only pass attempt for 15 yards, caught 9 passes for 72 yards (8 yards per catch) and 1 touchdown, and returned 3 kickoffs for 55 yards.  He will be a fifth year senior in the fall and will battle with redshirt junior Turner Petersen for the starting job.  Check out this article for a nice story about Sam and his interactions with fans.

Former Michigan offensive tackle Dann O'Neill, who transferred to Western Michigan in 2009, started against Michigan in the 2011 season opener.  He was named Third Team All-MAC and will be a fifth year senior in the fall.

Former Michigan safety/linebacker Brandon Smith transferred to Temple prior to the 2010 season, but never appeared on the Temple roster and has apparently ended his college career.

Former Michigan offensive guard Kurt Wermers transferred to Ball State in 2009 after being academically ineligible at Michigan, but he never played a down for Ball State and has apparently ended his football career.

Former Michigan quarterback commit John Wienke threw just 1 pass this season . . . which was thrown to an Oklahoma Sooner.  Which is bad because Wienke plays for Iowa.  He ended the season with a -200.0 quarterback rating based on that 1 attempt.

Former Michigan tight end/H-back commit Christian Wilson just finished his senior year at North Carolina.  He had 10 catches for 107 yards in 2011.  He finished his career with 22 catches for 188 yards and 1 touchdown.

Former Michigan linebacker commit Marcus Witherspoon is out of football after transferring to Rutgers for a short period of time in 2008 and 2009.

Class of 2010 bonus update: Former Michigan safety Carvin Johnson has signed with Hampton University of the Football Championship Subdivision.  He will be a junior in the fall and should be eligible to play immediately.  This is the same school where Marell Evans spent a couple seasons prior to returning to Michigan.

For news on other former players and commits, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rivals: Odoms impresses at Battle of Florida All-Star Game

Lisa Morales
Most Michigan fans probably didn't see outgoing wide receiver Martavious Odoms participate in last weekend's Battle of Florida All-Star Game, so here's a fluff piece based on an interview with his position coach at the event (and a coach who attempted to recruit Odoms to LSU).

Review of 2005 Recruiting: The Wide Receivers

Mohamed Massaquoi turned down an offer from the Wolverines to play for Georgia
Jason Avant, Sr.
Steve Breaston, Sr.
Carl Tabb, Sr.
Adrian Arrington, So.
Doug Dutch, So.

Antonio Bass
High school: Jackson (MI) Jackson
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #5 ATH; Scout 4-star, #9 WR
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech
Scoop: Bass played immediately as a true freshman and was a jack-of-all-trades.  He completed 1 pass for 13 yards, ran the ball 19 times for 81 yards, and caught 8 passes for 64 yards.  However, he suffered a career-ending knee injury during spring practices in 2006.

Mario Manningham
High school: Warren (OH) Harding
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #45 overall, #5 receiver; Scout 4-star, #7 WR
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Ohio State
Scoop: Like Bass, Manningham earned immediate playing time.  He had 27 receptions for 433 yards (16.0 yards per catch) and 6 touchdowns as a true freshman.  In his sophomore season of 2006, he grabbed 38 passes for 703 yards (18.5 yards per catch) and 9 touchdowns.  And as a junior, he really blew up with 72 receptions for 1,174 yards (16.3 yards per catch) for 12 touchdowns, including a school record 97-yarder from Ryan Mallett.  He finished his career with 137 receptions for 2,310 yards (16.9 yards per catch) and 27 touchdowns.  He also had 31 carries for 176 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and 1 punt return for 17 yards in his career.  In four seasons with the Giants, Manningham has 160 receptions for 2,315 yards (14.5 yards per catch) and 18 touchdowns.

LaTerryal Savoy
High school: Mamou (LA) Mamou
Ratings: Rivals 3-star; Scout 4-star, #35 WR
College: Michigan
Other notable offers: Mississippi, South Carolina
Scoop: Savoy redshirted as a true freshman in 2005.  As a redshirt freshman in 2006, he caught 1 pass for 7 yards.  In 2007, he again caught 1 pass for 9 yards.  During his redshirt junior season of 2008, he started one game and caught 4 passes for 38 yards (9.5 yards per catch) and 1 touchdown.  As a senior in 2009, Savoy made 12 receptions for 158 yards (13.2 yards per catch).  For his career he caught 17 passes for 212 yards (12.5 yards per catch) and 1 touchdown.  He was not drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and has not played in the NFL.

Andre Amos
High school: Middletown (OH) Middletown
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #25 WR; Scout 4-star, #30 WR
College: Ohio State
Other notable offers: Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue
Scoop: Amos redshirted as a true freshman in 2005.  He played backup cornerback in 2006, making 9 total tackles, making 1 interception, and breaking up 1 pass.  As a redshirt sophomore in 2007, he made 3 total tackles.  Amos missed the entire 2008 season due to injury.  As a fifth year senior in 2009, he made 12 total tackles and broke up 1 pass.  He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and has not played in the NFL.

Nyan Boateng
High school: Brooklyn (NY) Lincoln
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #20 WR; Scout 3-star, #38 WR
College: Florida Cal
Other notable offers: Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska
Scoop: Boateng played in five games as a true freshman in 2005, grabbing 4 passes for 77 yards and rushing 2 times for 16 yards.  He sat out the 2006 season at Florida for discipline reasons.  He then transferred to Cal, where he sat out the 2007 season due to transfer requirements.  As a redshirt junior in 2008, he made 29 catches for 439 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and 5 touchdowns.  During his fifth year senior season in 2009, he caught 13 passes for 191 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and 2 touchdowns.  He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and has not played in the NFL.

Kevin Cousins
High school: Richmond (VA) Huguenot
Ratings: Rivals 3-star; Scout 2-star
College: Penn State
Other notable offers: N/A
Scoop: Cousins redshirted as a true freshman in 2005.  As a redshirt freshman in 2006, he caught 1 pass for 8 yards.  While he was on the roster for both the 2007 and 2008 seasons, the injury-plagued Cousins didn't play another game for the Nittany Lions.

Eric Huggins
High school: Conway (SC) Conway
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #77 overall, #8 WR; Scout 4-star, #11 WR
College: Oklahoma Newberry College
Other notable offers: Clemson, Florida, Florida State, USC
Scoop: Huggins redshirted as a true freshman in 2005.  He did not play in 2006 and transferred to Newberry College.  He caught 6 passes for 88 yards and 1 touchdown in 2007.  As a redshirt junior in 2008, Huggins caught 9 passes for 97 yards.  He left the team prior the 2009 season.

Selwyn Lymon
High school: Fort Wayne (IN) Harding
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #72 overall, #7 WR; Scout 5-star, #5 WR
College: Purdue
Other notable offers: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Scoop: Lymon sat out the 2005 season.  He started 12 games in 2006 and caught 33 passes for 580 yards (17.6 yards per catch) and 3 touchdowns.  In 2007 he caught 40 passes for 450 yards (11.2 yards per catch) and 2 touchdowns.  He was kicked off the team after the season for getting caught drunk driving, after which he entered the 2008 NFL Draft.  He went undrafted and has not played in the NFL.

Mohamed Massaquoi
High school: Charlotte (NC) Independence
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #29 overall, #4 WR; Scout 3-star, #19 WR
College: Georgia
Other notable offers: Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Scoop: Massaquoi played in 13 games as a true freshman in 2005, grabbing 38 passes for 505 yards (13.3 yards per catch) and 2 touchdowns.  In 2006 he caught 30 passes for 366 yards (12.2 yards per catch) and 2 touchdowns.  As a junior in 2007, Massaquoi caught 32 passes for 491 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and 4 touchdowns.  In his final season of 2008, he caught 58 passes for 920 yards (15.9 yards per catch) and 8 touchdowns.  He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and has caught 101 passes for 1,491 yards (14.8 yards per catch) and 7 touchdowns in the NFL.

Rendrick Taylor
High school: Bennettsville (SC) Marlboro County
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #16 WR; Scout 4-star, #13 WR
College: Clemson
Other notable offers: Alabama, Florida State, South Carolina, Tennessee
Scoop: Taylor played sparingly as a backup wide receiver in 2005, making 9 catches for 69 yards (7.3 yards per catch).  He followed that up with 12 catches for 152 yards (12.7 yards per catch) as a sophomore, but he missed half the season with a broken arm.  As a junior in 2007, Taylor caught 25 passes for 259 yards (10.4 yards per catch).  He redshirted in 2008 due to injury, and then in spring 2009 he made the rare move from wide receiver to fullback.  As a fifth year senior in 2009, Taylor started 3 games at fullback, rushing 13 times for 37 yards (2.8 yards per carry) and catching 8 passes for 53 yards (6.6 yards per catch).  He was not drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft and has not played in the NFL regular season.

Biggest miss: Mohamed Massaquoi was the only Michigan offeree to find particularly successful.  He has made a decent professional career for himself (despite some injuries) with the Cleveland Browns and had the best college career of any of the non-Michigan guys.

Biggest bust: Selwyn Lymon was the highest rated recruit and the only 5-star of the bunch.  While he did have a decent couple seasons at Purdue for a young player, his off-the-field behavior really derailed what could have been a very good career.

Best in class: DeSean Jackson went to Cal and had 2,423 receiving yards to go along with 22 receiving touchdowns and 6 punt return touchdowns.  So far in the NFL, he has 4,085 receiving yards and 21 receiving touchdowns.  He has also rushed for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus another 4 touchdowns as a punt returner.

Attractive Michigan Girls of the Week

If you have any other pictures of girls wearing Michigan gear, drop me an e-mail.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Meet Terry Richardson

Amanda Gift

TomVH put up an interview of Terry Richardson over at Wolverine Nation.  An excerpt:
Q: What are you least excited about for college?
A: The crazy fans and learning how to deal with them.
I would like to personally apologize for searching through Terry's mail and spraying manure-scented perfume on the letters from MSU.

Ask a Question: Amara Darboh

Amara Darboh
(image via Ongo.com)

Four-star wide receiver Amara Darboh is expected to sign his LOI for Michigan on February 1st, which will also be his birthday. I'll be having a conversation with him on January 29th, so leave a question in the comments section below if you so desire, and I'll do my best to get it answered.

Scouting Report: OL Kyle Bosch

Wheaton (IL) St. Francis offensive lineman Kyle Bosch
Name: Kyle Bosch
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 286 lbs.
Class: 2013
Position: Offensive tackle
School: Wheaton (IL) St. Francis

Notes: Holds offers from Alabama, Arizona, Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford, Tennessee, West Virginia

Strengths: Very good initial punch . . . Violent blocker . . . Finishes blocks well . . . Lies on top of his pancaked opponents, which I love . . . Always keeps head on swivel, looking for another block downfield . . . Keeps a nice, wide base at all times . . . Uses hands well to engage defenders . . . Thick body with good frame to add weight

Weaknesses: Wants to play tackle, but may be a little short . . . Lacks the lateral foot speed to play tackle . . . Gets a little too high sometimes with his first step . . . Needs to improve upper body strength

Projection: Offensive guard

Reminds me of: Jeff Backus

If Rutgers coach Greg Schiano goes to Tampa Bay...

Pennsylvania OL Chris Muller might be
Michigan's best chance to flip a commit
from Rutgers

If, as expected, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, here's a list of Rutgers commits (and near-commits) that Michigan has offered:

New Jersey QB/ATH Devin Fuller - Fuller isn't committed to Rutgers, but many experts think he would be a Scarlet Knight within the next week.

New Jersey WR Leonte Carroo - Carroo is currently committed to Rutgers and likely to stay loyal.

Pennsylvania OT J.J. Denman - Denman just committed to Rutgers a couple days ago after previously being committed to Penn State and Wisconsin.

New Jersey DE Darius Hamilton - Hamilton is not committed to Rutgers, but lots of recruiting gurus thoght it was only a matter of time before Hamilton became a Scarlet Knight.  He reportedly wanted to stay close to home and stick with his high school teammates.

Pennsylvania OT Chris Muller - Muller was rethinking his Rutgers commitment in recent weeks and might consider changing his allegiance.

TTB Ratings: Reason Behind the Ratings

Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison DE Mario Ojemudia made a significant
jump in the new TTB ratings

Yesterday I posted the new TTB Ratings for Michigan's class of 2012 (which I reserve the right to change until after Michigan's recruiting class is completed), and obviously, there were some significant changes for a few players.  A couple kids have moved up or down a few points, but today I'll try to explain the reasons behind the biggest movers.

Ondre Pipkins - NT - Kansas City (MO) Park Hill
Pipkins moved up from an 82 to a 90.  I was impressed with Pipkins' performance in the Army All-American Bowl.  He looked to me to be a little bit out of shape, but I guess 330-pound defensive tackles rarely look like they're in shape.  However, when he had the gas to go 100%, he was a terror.  He also showed good athleticism in chasing down quarterback Chad Voytik and wide receiver Stefon Diggs, causing a fumble against the latter.  Pipkins dominated the high school competition in Kansas City, but doing it against elite competition suggests that he'll be able to have success in the Big Ten, too.

Joe Bolden - MIKE - Cincinnati (OH) Colerain
Bolden moved up from a 77 to an 88.  I was slightly disappointed that Bolden couldn't bring down a few more ballcarriers in the Under Armour All-American Game, but he was the week's best tackler in practice and he was very good at diagnosing plays.  I've always liked his decisiveness and intelligence, but he showed throughout the season and the all-star game that he has the speed and athleticism to be a very good Big Ten linebacker.  He needs to add weight and he would benefit from a redshirt year so he can improve his upper body strength.

Jehu Chesson - WR - St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins
Chesson moved up from a 77 to an 87.  As I consider the future of Michigan's offense under Brady Hoke and Al Borges, I realize the value of a jump-ball guy like Chesson.  He's excellent at high-pointing the ball and catching it with his hands, and that bodes well for his future for Michigan.  He looks like an Adrian Arrington clone, and without another downfield threat on the squad, he could be that guy who can stretch the field as soon as next season.

Mario Ojemudia - WDE - Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison
Ojemudia moved up from a 67 to a 78.  Ojemudia played defensive end/outside linebacker in the Marine game, and his performance wasn't very impressive . . . but since he mostly played defensive tackle in high school, I'm going to give him a little bit of a pass.  One of his strengths is getting off the ball quickly, and without the ball right under his nose, his reaction time was affected negatively.  However, his senior highlight film shows a guy who can use his hands to get off blocks, and he reminds me of the freshman version of Frank Clark.  Those two are very similar players, and Ojemudia looks like he'll be able to fill that weakside end position nicely.

Blake Bars - C - Nashville (TN) Montgomery Bell
Bars dropped from a 71 to a 62.  I wasn't extremely high on Bars to begin with, because he seems a little slow-footed and doesn't seem like a great athlete.  He looks like more of a backup and maybe a late-career starter as a tackle, but now that Caleb Stacey has decommitted in favor of Cincinnati, that might require the 6'5" Bars to play center.  Since he lacks experience at the position and because of his lack of quickness, I think he might struggle inside.

Jeremy Clark - FS - Madisonville (KY) North Hopkins
Clark moved up from a 49 to a 59.  When I first heard about Clark and saw film on him, I thought he might be a big fish in a small pond.  But the more film I saw of him, the more I think he can make an impact at the next level.  He's a lanky kid who gets by on athleticism, so I think college is going to be a bit of a wake-up call for him.  He probably won't be the type who comes in and lights the world on fire.  He'll have to improve his pursuit angles and he'll have to become a more fundamental tackler, but his height (6'4") and flat-out speed should provide a nice athlete on the back end to work with for four or five years down the road.

Kaleb Ringer - WILL - Clayton (OH) Northmont
Ringer dropped from a 64 to a 39.  As you might be able to tell from his original rating of 64, I wasn't too high on Ringer from the start.  However, the more that I have seen and heard of Ringer, the more I'm concerned about him remaining with the program.  I do think he has the physical talent to be a backup, but let's face it - guys from every recruiting class get lost in the shuffle, become career backups, transfer, etc.  My gut feeling on Ringer is that he'll be one of those guys, especially with all the other talent at linebacker in the 2012 class.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wolverine Nation: Exit Interview with Will Heininger

Tierra Lee

I'm not a big fan of the guy doing the interviewing (Mike Rothstein), but I do like the exit interviews Wolverine Nation  is doing.  The subject here is former walk-on defensive end/tackle Will Heininger.  After turning from walk-on into starter, it looks like Heininger's football career will end as he pursues an oppportunity in the business world.

Michigan Well Represented in Super Bowl XLVI

Seven former Michigan athletes are represented in Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played between the Giants and the Patriots in Indianapolis on February 5th.  New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham (2,310 yards and 27 touchdowns from 2005-07), center David Baas (Rimington Award in 2004), linebackers coach Jim Herrmann (65 career tackles from 1980-82) and running backs coach Jerald Ingram (191 career rushing yards from 1979-81) are former Michigan athletes.  New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko (42.5-yard average from 2006-09), Tom Brady (5,351 yards and 35 touchdowns from 1996-99), and Ryan Mallett (892 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2007) are former Wolverines, too.

Tallying only the players, Michigan is in a six-way tie for third on the list of most well-represented schools in Super Bowl XLVI, trailing Boston College (6) and Rutgers (5). (For what it's worth, a BigTen.org article only gives Rutgers credit for four players, putting Michigan and its five acquaintances in the #2 spot.)  With 22 players on the rosters of the Giants and Patriots, the Big Ten is second only to the SEC (23) as the most represented conference.

TTB Ratings Update: January 25, 2012

Kyle Kalis is Michigan's top-rated recruit, according to me.

Within the last several months, I instituted a "TTB Rating" system that is somewhat unique to the site but also broader than the recruiting sites' ratings and more specific to Michigan.  

Below you'll find updated ratings for each player.  The ratings with a strikethrough are prior, outdated ratings.

Kyle Kalis - OG - Lakewood (OH) St. Edward's: 95 95
James Ross - WILL - Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's: 92 94
Ondre Pipkins - NT - Kansas City (MO) Park Hill: 82 90
Joe Bolden - MIKE - Cincinnati (OH) Colerain: 77 88
Jarrod Wilson - FS - Akron (OH) Buchtel: 89 88
Jehu Chesson - WR - St. Louis (MO) Ladue Horton Watkins: 77 87
Erik Magnuson - OT - Carlsbad (CA) La Costa Canyon: 87 87
Tom Strobel - SDE - Mentor (OH) Mentor: 79 85
Royce Jenkins-Stone - MIKE - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: 86 84
Terry Richardson - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: (85) 80
Mario Ojemudia - WDE - Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison: 67 78
Amara Darboh - WR - West Des Moines (IA) Dowling Catholic: 80 77
Devin Funchess - TE - Farmington Hills (MI) Harrison: 75 75
Chris Wormley - SDE - Toledo (OH) Whitmer: 73 73
Ben Braden - OT - Rockford (MI) Rockford: 65 71
Matt Godin - SDE - Novi (MI) Catholic Central: 65 70
A.J. Williams - TE - Cincinnati (OH) Sycamore: Inc. 69
Sione Houma - FB - Salt Lake City (UT) Highland: 69 66
Drake Johnson - RB - Ann Arbor (MI) Pioneer: 73 65
Allen Gant - SS - Sylvania (OH) Southview: 59 63
Blake Bars - C - Nashville (TN) Montgomery Bell: 71 62
Jeremy Clark - FS - Madisonville (KY) North Hopkins: 49 59
Kaleb Ringer - WILL - Clayton (OH) Northmont: 64 39

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Marell Evans shines at NFLPA All-Star Game

The Wolverine's Andy Reid did a piece on Marell Evans, who played in Saturday's NFLPA All-Star Game.  Evans was a guy whom I pegged for a good amount of playing time this past season, since he was one of the older guys on the unit and had the size that some younger guys lacked.  Unfortunately, he couldn't get his transfer eligibility in order and didn't play a down during the season.  I wish him well as he pursues a pro career, though.

Video: Michigan seniors prepare for the NFL Draft with Mike Barwis

2012 Players All-Star Classic

Cornerback/safety Troy Woolfolk will be participating in the
Players All-Star Classic on February 4
The Players All-Star Classic will be played in Little Rock, AR, at 4:00 p.m. on February 4.  Cornerback Troy Woolfolk (spelled "Woolfork" on the PASC roster) will be playing for the North, and linebacker Marell Evans has received an invitation to play as well, but he has not yet accepted.

Here's a list of other players from around the country who might be of interest to Michigan fans:

TE Garrett Celek - Michigan State
DT Erik Lattimore - Penn State
WR Derek Moye - Penn State
CB Troy Woolfolk - Michigan

WR Jarrett Boykin - Virginia Tech
OG Jaymes Brooks - Virginia Tech
WR Toney Clemons - Colorado*
OT Blake DeChristopher - Virginia Tech
OT Taylor Dever - Notre Dame
S Eddie Whitley - Virginia Tech

*Played for Michigan in 2008-09 before transferring

Sam Sword Answers Your Questions

Hailing from Saginaw, Sam Sword joined Michigan as an inside linebacker in 1994, became a starter in 1995, and then "never looked back." Sword graduated as a national champion and the 3rd leading tackler in Michigan history (265), a distinction he still holds. His college statistics included those 265 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception.  Sword later spent four years in the NFL with the Raiders and Colts and now resides in Palm Coast, Florida, while teaching kids life lessons through his emerging youth football and conditioning programs. He recently took time to give us an update and answer a few questions posed by TTB readers.

On youth programs: "I want to give them some of the training that I had at Michigan, like the winter conditioning-type drills. I want to talk to them about mental toughness to help prepare them. We always said at Michigan that it's 90% mental and 10% physical, so if you can get over that mental hump, you can do anything you want to do. And that doesn't just apply to athletics; that's in life. We're also going to talk to them about finances, and the ACT, the SAT to get them prepared for college and just see where it goes...hopefully it's the start of something good."

On being a Michigan Man: "Looking back, my decision to go to the University of Michigan was just the best decision that I've made in my life. Michigan took me from an immature kid, and then all the lessons that Lloyd and the coaches taught me and learning from my teammates - it taught me how to be a man, a man of integrity. That means doing things the right way even when people are not watching, and being accountable to your teammates and your family. It was just special...I want my kids to get that education. I tell my son, it's about the knowledge that you're going to gain; we want him to go to Michigan."

On keeping tabs on Michigan Football: "I always watch. Man...the guys that are going to be graduating this year went through all sorts of adversity; adversity builds character, and what a way to go out. And now Michigan's back on track, back to where we should be."

On keeping up with former players: "...I talk to a lot of the guys, Larry Foote, Marcus Ray, Chris Singletary, who's still there; I talk to Lloyd. I got a chance to see Lloyd a couple months ago. He was in Daytona at a quarterback club, so I got to spend some time with him. We're always family. Even if we don't keep in touch as much as we should, when we see each other, it's all love and that's what it's all about."

On the 2011 Michigan defense: "They played with a passion. You have to give credit to Greg Mattison. He understood what a Michigan defense should play like, and the kids did a great job...the thing about a Michigan defense is that you try to get eleven hats to the ball. When you get a lot of people to the ball, you create turnovers, and Coach Mattison knew what a Michigan defense was all about and embraced it."

On difference between relationships in college and the NFL: "In the NFL, it's more of a business, and players have families and kids, so the comradery isn't the same, but some of the guys I still keep in contact with, but not as many as my college days. There is no experience like college..."

On having the "best name for a Michigan linebacker, ever:" "(Laughs) There are a lot of great names at the University of Michigan. If that's how your readers feel, then it's an honor."

Monday, January 23, 2012

AnnArbor.com: Michigan seniors prepare with Mike Barwis

Kayden Kenzie

Mike Martin, David Molk, Ryan Van Bergen, Kevin Koger, Mark Huyge, and Steve Watson are training with former Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis to prepare for the NFL Draft (article plus video).

Ask a Question: Adam Breneman

Class 2013 tight end Adam Breneman out of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania holds over 20 offers from Division I schools, including Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Miami (FL). He also has an offer from Michigan, which I figure he'll be giving ample consideration since he has a 3.9 GPA and an emphasis on academics. I'll be talking with Adam this weekend, so feel free to leave any questions for him in the comments section below. For more information, check out Thunder's scouting report and Adam's interview with Ace.

All-Star Game Recaps

Kevin Koger caught only one pass for eight yards in Saturday's East-West Shrine game, but he impressed during the week leading up to the event and is the first player mentioned in a Sports Illustrated article identifying the game's 10 best practice performers. Koger played fullback and H-back for the West, notching a key block on Tyler Hansen's quarterback draw touchdown run and showing some awareness by picking up a botched snap exchange. SI writer Tony Pauline has this to say about the four-year starter:
"Koger was lost for much of the past three seasons in a Michigan offense that had little use for a tight end, but he displayed NFL ability in a big way. Koger was a dominant blocker all practice long, stopping opponents dead in their tracks. He made a terrific 25-yard reception down the seam in scrimmage, displaying natural pass catching skills. Koger lacks the foot speed to be a true down field threat, but at a position that's thin on talent in April's draft, he could be the biggest sleeper of them all."
SI's list of practice standouts also praises Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater and Michigan State wide receiver BJ Cunningham. Junior Hemingway wasn't mentioned in the article, and he didn't get to play in the Shrine Game, either, due to a hamstring injury. Koger's West team won the game, 24-17.

Michael Shaw tried to turn some NFL heads while playing in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game in Tuscon, Arizona last week. His Stars (East) team was defeated on a late touchdown from the Stripes (West), 24-21, but Shaw gained 29 yards on seven carries in the game, including a 16 yard run. In an interview with the Tuscon Citizen, Shaw spoke positively of Rich Rodriguez, saying that he expects his former coach to compete well against Oregon and USC in the Pac 12. He also spoke about his running style and what he's trying to prove to NFL scouts.
"I want to show them that I'm an every-down back. I have speed, but I don't want speed to be my crutch. I love to run inside. I love to be physical."
Martavious Odoms caught one pass for 23 yards in the Battle of Florida All-Star Game. His South team, coached by Miami Hurricanes legend Howard Schnellenberger, was rolled, 51-3, by Bobby Bowden's North squad. Marell Evans was scheduled to compete in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, but no statistics appear to be available for him (EDIT: According to Evans's Twitter, he made 9 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup. -Thunder).

Recruiting Update: January 23, 2012

Lakewood (OH) St. Edward's TE Sam Grant could be Michigan's
next commitment for the 2012 class
ADDED TO THE BOARDS (2012, 2013)
Dadeville (AL) Dadeville defensive tackle Rod Crayton was offered by Michigan.  He's a 6'2", 290 lb. nose tackle type with offers from Auburn, LSU, Penn State, and several others.  Kids from the deep south rarely escape the gravitational pull of SEC schools, so don't get your hopes up.

Lakewood (OH) St. Edward's tight end Sam Grant decommitted from Boston College.  He was committed in only the loosest of terms, since virtually everyone knew that he was looking for better options.  But when you're a program like BC, you have to let your higher level prospects have a little bit of freedom to explore other schools.  The 6'4", 240 lb. tight end has shown interest in Arkansas and Oklahoma - and visited both - but most recruiting gurus expect him to choose Michigan in the very near future.

West Roxbury (MA) Catholic Memorial cornerback Armani Reeves decommitted from Penn State.  The 5'9", 185 lb. Reeves had been committed to the Nittany Lions for several months, along with teammate and best friend Camren Williams, a linebacker.  Williams committed to Ohio State a few days ago, and now Reeves will choose between the Buckeyes and Wolverines.  Head coach Brady Hoke made an in-home visit to Reeves on Sunday night, OSU head coach Urban Meyer will visit on Monday night, and Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison will visit Reeves on Tuesday evening.

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison cornerback Cam Burrows, a 2013 prospect, committed to Ohio State on Thursday.  The 6'1", 195 lb. defensive back had long been considered a lock for the Buckeyes.  Burrows is in the early running to be the top player in the state of Ohio.

Washington (D.C.) H.D. Woodson cornerback Kenneth Crawley committed to Colorado on Sunday.  Crawley had previously been committed to Tennessee, but decommitted a few weeks ago.  He briefly flirted with the idea of visiting Michigan.

Waco (TX) Waco cornerback Will Hines decommitted from Missouri.  And then he committed to Arkansas.

Columbus (IN) East quarterback Gunner Kiel switched his commitment from LSU to Notre Dame.  The 6'4", 220 lb. Kiel probably made a smart move here, because his pledge to LSU was confusing from the beginning.  LSU is a run-oriented offense with a coach not known for developing quarterbacks.  Meanwhile, Notre Dame has produced several solid quarterbacks over the years, including Joe Montana and Joe Theismann.  Unfortunately for Kiel and Notre Dame, the more recent products have been solid college quarterbacks who have turned into NFL busts.

Monrovia (CA) Monrovia defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy switched his commitment from Cal to UCLA.  He had just committed to Cal at the beginning of January, but beloved recruiter Tosh Lupoi left Cal to coach at Washington, which obviously upset several Cal recruits.  UCLA has sucked for a long time, so this seems like a bad move on McCarthy's part.

South Bend (IN) Washington running back David Perkins committed to Ohio State.  He had previously been committed to Notre Dame.  Perkins was considered to be an option for Michigan at running back when Bri'onte Dunn re-committed to Ohio State, and now both targets are in Columbus.  The 6'2", 225. lb athlete will likely compete at linebacker for the Buckeyes.

Cincinnati (OH) Oak Hills offensive lineman Caleb Stacey changed his commitment from Michigan to Cincinnati.  Stacey is a 6'4", 280 lb. guard/center and his stated reason for flipping to Cincinnati is a desire to play closer to home.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Brophy Football: Developing a QB with Jim Harbaugh

If you have some time on your hands, you can watch Jim Harbaugh give a tutorial on developing a quarterback.

Caleb Stacey, ex-Wolverine

Cincinnati (OH) Oak Hills offensive lineman Caleb Stacey decommitted
from Michigan on Saturday in favor of the Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati (OH) Oak Hills offensive lineman Caleb Stacey decommitted from Michigan on Saturday and committed to the Cincinnati Bearcats.  The 6'4", 280-pounder said that he wanted to stay closer to home.

It's hard not to guess that Stacey's decommitment resulted partly from Michigan's other pursuits along the offensive line.  Stacey was Michigan's lowest rated commit, and even though he was the only one that many pegged for center, he might have thought that the road to playing time would be a difficult one.  Because let's be honest - no kid thinks that Cincinnati is a better football team or that his chances of making it to the NFL are better as a Bearcat.  Of course, it's certainly possible that he's telling the truth about distance from home, but there are likely other reasons, too.

Michigan now has 23 commits in the 2012 class, four offensive linemen, and zero kids who are likely to play center.  While this does open up the possibility that Michigan could take two higher rated offensive lineman, such as Puyallup (WA) Puyallup OG Joshua Garnett and Chicago (IL) Simeon OT Jordan Diamond, it also means Michigan is dangerously thin at the center position for the future.  Aside from two seniors (Rocko Khoury, Ricky Barnum), the only player on the time with a bead on the center position is rising redshirt freshman Jack Miller.  Unless Michigan can pull another center in during the 2012 class, the 2013 center position will consist of a redshirt sophomore Jack Miller, inexperienced position changers from guard or tackle, and any freshman from the 2013 class.

For other updates on former Wolverines and former commits, check out the Ex-Wolverine Encyclopedia.

Mark Dantonio is a dick

I refuse to post a picture of Mark Dantonio.

By now many of you have heard about Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio's strange outburst during the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association clinic a couple days ago.  Michigan wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Hecklinski was in the middle of speaking about Michigan's recruiting method when Dantonio interrupted with "Okay, here's what we're going to do.  We're going to get other people up here.  We're going to talk about more than the University of Michigan."  Later, he said, "How many guys got a guy who's going to play in the Big Ten?  One, two - so the two guys can go back there in the corner and talk about that.  All of us right here, we're going to talk about recruiting for everybody.  Let's go."

Numerous accounts have been shared regarding how it went down and it appears there is some confusion about what Hecklinski was there to do.  Some accounts have suggested that Hecklinski was supposed to be taking part in a panel discussion and, therefore, had overstepped his allotted amount of time in talking about Michigan.  Others have suggested that Dantonio had been given 15 minutes to talk and Hecklinski, who was filling in for head coach Brady Hoke due to Hoke's attending the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award ceremony, was also supposed to have 15 minutes.  The latter scenario seems more reasonable, since I doubt the event planners would give one in-state Big Ten program 15 minutes to talk and the other in-state Big Ten program only 5 minutes.

What does not seem to be in question is the fact that Dantonio was out of line by interrupting Hecklinski.  Having attended several coaching clinics in several states, I have never  seen a presenter get interrupted by another presenter.  It's the event coordinator's job to make sure that the presenters are keeping on topic and finishing their presentations in a timely manner.  It's not uncommon to hear "Two minutes, coach!" coming from the back or the side of the room or to see the event coordinator hold up five fingers or two fingers.

I also sincerely doubt Dantonio would have interrupted another head coach.  As a young-ish assistant coach (Hecklinski graduated college in 1997, meaning he's probably about 37), the 55-year-old Dantonio probably thought he could bully Hecklinski.  And he did.  The news is already a fairly big deal (Google "Mark Dantonio" and the first hit is "Mark Dantonio cuts off Michigan assistant"), but imagine if he had interrupted Brady Hoke or Bret Bielema or Joe Paterno.  It's tough to imagine, because it wouldn't have happened.  Of course, Dantonio is no stranger to attempting to bully people who are younger than him.  How can any Michigan fan forget him making short jokes about Mike Hart?

Multiple accounts have confirmed that the exchange between Dantonio and Hecklinski was very awkward and that you could hear a pin drop in the room for several uncomfortable seconds.  Dantonio, who already seems to be falling behind Hoke in relationships with high school coaches, did not help himself and his program by putting on such a display.  Michigan fans generally seem to be offended by Dantonio's comments, and Michigan State fans are likely saying "That's awesome!"  Many high school coaches in Michigan probably lean one way or the other toward U of M or MSU, and some of those present might not have been swayed by the incident.  But anyone without a strong allegiance would likely be put off by Dantonio's behavior.

Let's not ignore the fact that football coaches live in a testosterone-filled, male dominated world.  These coaches did not get to these points in their careers by being followers and pushovers.  Behind closed doors many coaches are different than their public personas suggest.  What's disconcerting about Dantonio's behavior is that he doesn't seem to know when he's in public and when he's not.  In my experience, people aren't rude in public and nice behind closed doors; it's the other way around.  So if Dantonio is willing to be a jerk in front of several hundred high school coaches, those high school coaches ought to be able to figure out what he'll be like if they send their players to Michigan State.

Overall, this event seems like a black eye for MSU and Dantonio and likely has little to no effect on Michigan and Hecklinski.  Nobody is going to look down on Hecklinski for the way he acted, even if he did go over his allotted time.  The only significant windfall that could come from this event is a bump in respect for Michigan's coaches over MSU's, as if that weren't already the case.  Brady Hoke and his staff have earned rave reviews for their relationships with local coaches.  Rich Rodriguez was maligned for his failure to connect with local coaches, and Dantonio benefited from that, earning in-state respect almost by default.  But in comparison to Hoke and his staff, Dantonio was already falling behind . . . and this incident won't help him.  In the 2012 recruiting class, Michigan already has the top four and six of the top seven prospects in the state, according to the Detroit News.

The last tidbit comes from a respected poster on a Rivals message board:
Wanna know why MD was so upset? He was upset before it ever started, because for the SECOND year in a row, the moment you walk in the building there is a huge table spread out with all of UM's camp and clinic info, brochours, practice visit info, etc. A grand spread. And for the SECOND year in a row, MSU's table is small and stuck off to the side in a corner. Buddy said the entire MSU staff was PISSSSSSED the moment they arrived yesterday, and they bolted out of there as soon as they were done today. The UM staff, meanwhile, is still there mingling with the HS coaches and putting on a very nice representation of the U of M. In fact my buddy got to sit with Funk all alone and shoot the shit about OL coaching for a half hour last night. 
After losing the Big Ten championship game, getting passed over by the Sugar Bowl for Michigan, and getting left behind while Brady Hoke gets invited to national coaching award ceremonies . . . it seems like Dantonio might be feeling a little bit inferior.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Seaholm Highlander: Shawn Conway's Untold Story

Heidi Klum

If you ever wondered what happened to Birmingham (MI) Seaholm wide receiver Shawn Conway, the 2011 Michigan commit who disappeared from Michigan's radar . . . well, he's in Chico, California, at the old stomping grounds of Aaron Rodgers.

East West Shrine Game

Tight end Kevin Koger will be playing in next Saturday's East West Shrine Game

The East West Shrine Game will be played on January 21, 2012, at 4:00 p.m. and will be aired on the NFL Network.  Only seniors are invited to the game, and it's typically a chance for under-the-radar prospects or kids who have "something left to prove" to show their talents on a national stage and in front of some pro coaches and scouts.

Participants who might be of interest to Michigan fans:

Robert Blanton - CB - Notre Dame
Danny Coale - WR - Virginia Tech
B.J. Cunningham - WR - Michigan State
Gary Gray - CB - Notre Dame
Joe Long - OT - Wayne State
Nick Sukay - LB - Penn State

Miles Burris - LB - San Diego State
Austin Cassidy - S - Nebraska
Chris Greenwood - CB - Albion
Junior Hemingway - WR - Michigan*
Aaron Henry - S - Wisconsin
Marcel Jones - OT - Nebraska
Kevin Koger - TE - Michigan
Al Netter - OT - Northwestern
Dan Persa - QB - Northwestern
Shaun Prater - CB - Iowa
Markus Zusevics - OG - Iowa

*Inactive due to hamstring injury

Ex-Wolverine Updates: The Class of 2009

Shavodrick Beaver (pictured here in his days at Tulsa) is now at Midwestern State, which is a real place.

Former Michigan quarterback commit Shavodrick Beaver sat out the 2011 season after transferring from Tulsa to Midwestern State, which is in Beaver's hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas.  Midwestern State's starting quarterback, Brandon Kelsey, had 1,951 yards passing and 967 yards rushing.  Beaver will be a redshirt junior at MSU in fall 2012.

Former Michigan safety Vladimir Emilien sat out the 2011 after transferring from Michigan to Toledo.  He does not appear on the Rockets' roster, but has confirmed that he's at Toledo and will be a redshirt junior in fall 2012.

Former Michigan kicker commit Anthony Fera was 14/17 on field goals for Penn State this season with a long of 46 yards.  He also punted 64 times, averaging 42 yards, and handled the kickoff duties.

Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier transferred to San Jose State this past season and seemed to be in line for the starting quarterback job next fall.  However, he left SJSU in recent weeks due to "personal and financial reasons" and his career might be over.

Former Michigan defensive tackle commit Pearlie Graves left Texas Tech in late September.  He was reportedly transferring, but has not reappeared elsewhere, as far as I know.

Former Michigan running back and cornerback Teric Jones left the program last offseason due to a knee injury.  He remains a student at the University of Michigan.

Former Michigan defensive tackle commit DeQuinta Jones finished his junior year at Arkansas.  He played in all 13 games, making 19 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack.

Former Michigan defensive end Anthony Lalota transferred to Rutgers, but has since quit football altogether.  He practiced at tight end with the Scarlet Knights.

Former Michigan wide receiver commit Bryce McNeal caught 1 pass for 8 yards at Clemson in 2011 before transferring.  He is now at UConn and will be eligible in fall 2012 because he already had his bachelor's degree.

Former Michigan quarterback commit Kevin Newsome left Penn State after being buried on the depth chart behind Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden.  He has not yet announced a transfer destination.

Former Michigan wide receiver commit Dewayne Peace is now at Houston after leaving Arizona because of legal troubles.  He spent 2010 at Blinn Community College (made famous by Cam Newton).  Peace started one game for the Cougars in 2011 and played in 11 total games, making 13 catches for 105 yards (8.1 yards per catch) and 0 touchdowns.

Former Michigan wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes left Michigan this past season and transferred to Bowling Green State University, where his brother Malik will be a redshirt freshman quarterback in 2012.  Je'Ron will be a redshirt junior and eligible to play for the Falcons this coming season.

Former Michigan cornerback Justin Turner left Michigan in 2010 and transferred to Scottsdale (AZ) Community College to play football in 2011.  He played 11 games there and made 47 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 interceptions, 17 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.  Here are his highlights from Scottsdale Community College.  He is committed to play for Hawaii in 2012, where he will be a redshirt junior.

Former Michigan cornerback signee Adrian Witty played in 12 games for Cincinnati in 2011 as a backup cornerback and special teamer.  He made 15 tackles, broke up 1 pass, and forced 1 fumble.  He will be a redshirt sophomore this coming fall.