Monday, March 31, 2014

MGoBlog: I Left Part of Me Back There, In the Heat

I thought this was a great piece by Brian of MGoBlog  to summarize Sunday's loss to Kentucky.

Hit the jump for Nina Agdal in some bikinis.

Video: Beyer, Ojemudia talk spring ball

Hit the jump for junior defensive end Mario Ojemudia.

Recruiting Update: March 31, 2014

Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (#86) (image via 247 Sports)
Richmond (VA) St. Christopher's cornerback Garrett Taylor committed to Michigan last Monday.

Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius defensive end Dre'Mont Jones was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'5", 250 lb. prospect with offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Ohio State. He's also a 247 Composite 4-star, the #14 strongside end, #294 overall, and the #15 player in the Buckeye State. Jones is quick off the ball but he could be one of those guys who grows into a 3-tech defensive tackle. Michigan has gone after several St. Ignatius prospects in recent years, but the last one they landed was linebacker Jake Ryan in the 2010 class. Jones himself appears to be leaning heavily toward Ohio State.

Merrillville (IN) Andrean linebacker Josh Barajas committed to Penn State. Michigan had been in his top three, but Penn State pulled ahead on a recent visit. This may open the door for a player like Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central linebacker Darrin Kirkland, Jr. to be offered, and Michigan would likely jump to the top of Kirkland's list.

Dallas (TX) South Oak Cliff safety Prentice McKinney committed to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish and Michigan were supposedly his top two, but obviously, the Irish pulled ahead. He has yet to visit South Bend, and sometimes those types of commitments are a little iffy before all is said and done.

Here's a short list of this past weekend's visitors.

I did a scouting report on Lawrenceville (NJ) Lawrenceville School offensive tackle Grant Newsome.

Over at Recruiting Season, I profiled Avonte' Bell, Parker Underwood, Shahid Bellamy, Cameron Lewis, and Thiyo Lukusa. If you have a teammate or player who's a Division I prospect and has yet to be profiled, drop me an e-mail or leave a comment.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

MLive: Heitzman settling in at tight end

Kyle Austin has a piece on redshirt junior Keith Heitzman, who moved from defensive end to tight end for spring ball.

Hit the jump for some pictures of Bar Refaeli.

A video of Kate Upton might make you feel better

Here's a somewhat NSFW video called "The Many Talents of Kate Upton." Try to enjoy.

What I've Been Watching

The Conjuring  is a rare quality horror movie.
The Conjuring. I was a little bit skeptical going into The Conjuring  because it seems like there has been a steady stream of "exorcism" movies in recent years, but I was impressed with how well it was done. Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) and Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) are a husband and wife with five daughters who move into a haunted house in Massachusetts where, naturally, some terrible things have happened in the past.  Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are specialists who take on the task of trying to rid the house of its demons. While I think Taylor is a terrible actress, the story works and there are plenty of moments that make you jump. I also appreciated director James Wan's homage to 1970's horror film cinematography. If you like horror films, this is one of the best I've seen in recent years.

Detachment. This is a star-studded cast (Adrien Brody, James Caan, Bryan Cranston, Marcia Gay-Harden, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, Tim Blake Nelson) but the parts are better than the whole. Brody plays an all-star substitute teacher in the inner city who comes into the school, puts his foot down, connects with his students, and makes a difference - in good ways and bad. I thought it was an overall positive message, and it seems like an earnest effort for stars to try to highlight some flaws in America's youth and education. Overall, though, I thought it was a little cheesy and predictable.

Frozen. This is apparently all the rage among parents and children right now, and I am neither. I still pulled it out of the Redbox one evening due to my curiosity. I will admit that the main draw for me was the voicing of Elsa by Idina Menzel, whom I liked well before John Travolta mangled her name and all the way back to when the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Wicked  came out. I have not made a habit of watching children's movies in recent years, so maybe they're all this way, but there were a lot of holes in the story that were just glossed over. Kids are dumb, so it probably doesn't matter. I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of the character Olaf, a magically created snowman voiced by Josh Gad, whose resume includes The Book of Mormon.

The Heat. There was a time when I thought women on screen (unlike in real life, where I once dated the funniest girl I've ever met) were completely incapable of being funny, but then along came Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, and a few others. I can't say the same thing for the next movie on this list, but McCarthy was hilarious in this video. The plot isn't much, and I predicted the "twist" about a quarter of the way into the movie. But the banter between the strait-laced Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and the rough-around-the-edges Mullins (McCarthy) was worth the watch.

Identity Thief. I held off on watching this movie because people said all the funny parts were in the trailers. Those people weren't lying. Coloradan Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) gets his identity stolen by Diana (McCarthy) and, in an effort to save his credit and his career, has to make a road trip to the Sunshine State and drag Diana back to admit her crimes. Obviously, crazy things happen on the way, including the two funny parts - Diana doing karaoke in the car, and Diana trying to run away from Sandy down the side of the highway. Perhaps the best part of this movie was the presence of Sandy's wife, played by Amanda Peet, who will always have a soft spot in my heart for her superb acting in The Whole Nine Yards.

Inside Llewyn Davis. We all have that friend (or friends) who tried to make it as a singer/songwriter type, and this is the Coen brothers' story of the fictional Llewyn Davis, who bounced around the Greenwich Village music scene in the 1960's. The lead is played by Oscar Isaac, whom I mistook for Drinking Buddies' Jake Johnson with a nose job. It did a good job of portraying the life of a struggling artist, although it's tough to feel sorry for a guy who creates his own troubles. On a side note, Scott Avett (of the Avett Brothers) supposedly auditioned for the role, which would have been very interesting to watch because I love that guy's voice. Also, T-Bone Burnett contributed some of the music, which I suspected when I first heard.

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I always liked Fallon on Saturday Night Live, but he was never my favorite. He always seemed to me like a good glue guy who could do a lot of things well, but he didn't have that magnetic draw like Will Ferrell, Chris Farley, etc. When he got into the late night talk show game, taking over Conan O'Brien's spot on Late Night, I shrugged my shoulders. I literally only watched about two episodes and found it to be a little low budget, the set to be dark and uninspiring, and house band the Roots to be too funky for my tastes. However, since he took over The Tonight Show from ultra douche Jay Leno, I have found Fallon's upgrade in set, budget, and guests to be worth watching most of the time. The Roots are growing on me, and so is Fallon's upbeat attitude. He genuinely seems to be having fun with the experience, which doesn't always seem to be the case with late-night hosts. The show relies too heavily on Rob Ford and Vladimir Putin jokes, the second guest gets short schrift, and Fallon could afford to do some more homework on his guests (he recently asked if Jake Bugg is British or not), but it's fun to watch Fallon's variety show that involves games, impressions, dancing, singing, etc. O'Brien has some musical chops, but Fallon is probably the most talented all-around performer to grace a late night talk show since the genre was created.

Feel free to comment or leave some watching suggestions!

Saturday, March 29, 2014 2014 NFL Mock Draft 6.0

Chris Burke has Taylor Lewan going #17 to the Baltimore Ravens in his Mock Draft 6.0.

Hit the jump for Rosalee Ochoa in bikinis and tight dresses (not at the same time).

Visitors: March 28-30, 2014

Tampa (FL) Plant offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen with his father, John,  (image via My Capture)
Jake Fruhmorgen - OT - Tampa (FL) Plant:
 Fruhmorgen is a 6'5", 280 lb. prospect with offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #7 offensive tackle, #74 overall, and #14 in the state of Florida. He claims a 5.4 forty. Fruhmorgen's father went to Alabama, but Jake is expected to pick soon, and the signs are pointing toward Clemson as the likely destination. Michigan has pursued other prospects from Plant in recent years, including offensive lineman Tony Posada (who signed with Michigan but quit football before his freshman year even began) and running back James Wilder, Jr. (Florida State).

Dre'Mont Jones - DE - Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius: Jones is a 6'5", 250 lb. prospect with offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Ohio State. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #14 strongside end, #294 overall, and #15 in the state.

Stefan Claiborne - S - Clinton Township (MI) Chippewa Valley:
 Claiborne is a 6'1", 168 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He could play wide receiver, cornerback, or safety at the next level and will probably be one of the top ten prospects in the state for 2016. He claims a 4.5 forty, a 30" vertical, a 225 lb. bench, and a 365 lb. squat, which are all pretty good numbers for someone his size and age.

Rex Culpepper - QB - Tampa (FL) Plant: Culpepper is a 6'3", 210 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He's the teammate of Fruhmorgen. He is the son of former Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Brad Culpepper, who played college football at Florida.

Steven Frank - QB - Oswego (IL) Oswego: Frank is a 6'4", 190 lb. prospect with no offers right now. As a sophomore in 2013, he had 1,952 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns, along with 5 rushing scores. He claims a 4.7 forty but is definitely a pro-style guy, but he looks like a guy who will have a number of quality offers by the time all is said and done.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

MLive: Roy Manning a big factor in recruiting

Nick Baumgardner put together a piece on Michigan's jack-of-all-trades Roy Manning, who has helped to coach the offensive line, linebackers, and now cornerbacks at Michigan.

Hit the jump for Candice Swanepoel at the beach. (The third picture is glorious.)

Video: "60 Minutes" profile on Greg Harden

Scouting Report: Grant Newsome

Lawrenceville (NJ) Lawrenceville School offensive tackle Grant Newsome (#70, image via
Name: Grant Newsome
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 280 lbs.
High school: Lawrenceville (NJ) Lawrenceville School
Position: Offensive tackle
Class: 2015

Notes: Attends private school at Lawrenceville but originally from McLean, VA . . . Holds offers from Alabama, Boston College, California, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin . . . ESPN 3-star, #26 OT, #275 overall, #14 in Virginia . . . Rivals 4-star OT, #30 OT, #8 in New Jersey . . . Scout 4-star, #20 OT . . . 247 Sports 4-star, #19 OT, #181 overall, #5 in New Jersey

Strengths: Tall with good length . . . Thick upper body, narrow from waist down, which is how I like tackles . . . Good athleticism . . . Good straight-line running speed . . . Quick enough to be an effective blocker on second level . . . Shows enthusiasm for blocking small, quick guys . . . Shows ability to run feet after contact and finish blocks . . . Good lateral quickness . . . Should be an effective zone blocker

Weaknesses: Lacks aggression when pass blocking . . . Keeps hands low and lacks punch in pass sets . . . Opens up hips too quickly against pass rushers . . . Does not show consistent enough motor in finishing blocks . . . Plays high in run game . . . Can get off balance when he chooses not to move his feet . . . Does not use hands effectively control defenders

Projection: Left tackle. Newsome has all the physical skills anyone might want in a tackle - length, size, power, quickness, etc. The mental aspects are where he struggles. I think ESPN has him woefully underranked as a 3-star, but they may be judging him based on his refinement at this stage. Newsome will require some coaching, and not just a little. He needs to lower his pad level, especially in the run game, and he really needs to show more aggression on first-level blocks. For being such a big guy, he doesn't blow people off the ball like he should. That's a concern to me, but I think it has a lot to do with technique and a need to get into a college strength program.

Reminds me of: Logan Tuley-Tillman but without as much aggression. The two have similar body types and similar technique issues in high school, but Tuley-Tillman was a nastier player.

Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Newsome is pretty quiet on the recruiting trail, but he thinks highly of LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, and Virginia. Both of 247 Sports' Crystal Ball picks are in Michigan's favor, and other analysts have suggested that Michigan has edged out in front, too. Michigan has done a good job of recruiting both New Jersey and Virginia lately.

Highlights: Newsome's highlights are available on Hudl.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Video: Jordan Morgan senior day tribute

Thomas Gordon, #30

Thomas Gordon
Gordon attended Detroit (MI) Cass Tech and was a 3-star athlete in the 2009 class, ranking as Rivals' #24 player in the state of Michigan. He committed to the Wolverines on September 26, 2008, over offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Michigan State, and Toledo. Here's a link to my first post on him, the 2009 Countdown post that predicted a redshirt.

Despite a horrible defense in Michigan's 5-7 season in 2009, Gordon remained sidelined while learning the safety position. As what amounted to a 4-2-5 box safety in 2010, Gordon broke out a little bit with 23 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks; his sacks came against Notre Dame and Penn State, but he was underused throughout the year. His redshirt sophomore year saw a jersey number change (from #15 to #30) and the hiring of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who put Gordon at free safety, where he notched 67 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries in what would turn out to be his most productive season. He had another solid season as a redshirt junior in 2012 with 81 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. Some expected him to be a senior captain in 2013, but he got himself suspended for the season opener and saw his overall production drop to 58 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 2 pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble. His senior year included an odd game in which he had 0 tackles and 2 interceptions against Indiana.

38 starts, 229 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 6 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries


People had some doubts about Gordon when he first committed because he was small, pretty inexperienced at defensive back, and lacking in quality scholarship offers. A generic 3-star recruit, he turned out to be perhaps the best Michigan player out of Cass Tech in recent years, a group that includes 5-star William Campbell, 4-stars Royce Jenkins-Stone and Boubacar Cissoko, and several 3-star prospects. (There are a couple young guys on the roster who I'm not considering here due to their youth.) Gordon didn't seem to develop appreciably over the years, but he played pretty consistently throughout his career. He was a solid tackler who was always around the ball, reeled in a good number of turnovers, and finished his career tied for 25th all-time with 6 interceptions (along with Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor, Clarence Thompson, Donovan Warren, Garland Rivers, Mike Mallory, Doug Mallory, and a few others). Michigan's safeties over the last 20 years have been decent at times (Jamar Adams, Tommy Hendricks, Marcus Ray, Marlin Jackson for a bit, Earnest Shazor, etc.), but Gordon combined with Jordan Kovacs for some of the most solid safety play we've seen in Ann Arbor in a long time.

. . . his one-handed interception against Eastern Michigan in 2011. After almost another three full seasons, that's still the lasting image I have of Gordon. Out of a quads formation, EMU threw a double pass as Gordon remained disciplined and looking for something tricky. The ball sailed over the head of the intended receiver while Gordon reached up with his right hand to snag it cleanly out of the air at the goal line. (You can watch the video here.)

Gordon was not invited to the NFL Combine but had an impressive pro day on Michigan's campus earlier this month. He ran a 4.49 forty, showed off a 40.5" vertical, broad jumped 10'5.5", and ran a 20-yard shuttle in 4.10 seconds. Those measurements would have made him one of the top safeties at the Combine. Unfortunately, aside from the interception described above, his play was rarely spectacular. The 5'11", 210 lb. Gordon is limited to safety and doesn't display the playing speed (despite his 40 time) NFL teams probably look for in a free safety, so his best chance is to be a strong safety type who can play in the box a little bit. I've always thought Gordon looks like a good fit in a Cover Two scheme like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used to run, but the explosion of pass-heavy offenses means that the once-successful scheme has been abandoned as a base defense by coordinators who used to run, although it's still used at times. Anyway, Gordon is unlikely to be drafted, but he should get signed as an undrafted free agent and will have a chance to make a go of it. I think he might find himself on a practice squad or maybe an active roster for a few years.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Michigan Daily: Jordan Morgan answers questions in shutdown of Calvin Ridley

You may have heard this, but Michigan's basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Forward Jordan Morgan was expected to struggle with the 285 lb. Calvin Ridley from Texas, but it was the other way around.

Hit the jump for Nicole Meyer wearing skimpy outfits.

Video: Jourdan Lewis, Delano Hill talk spring ball

Hit the jump for Delano Hill's interview.

Garrett Taylor, Wolverine

Richmond (VA) St. Christopher's cornerback Garrett Taylor
(image via 247 Sports)
Richmond (VA) St. Christopher's cornerback Garrett Taylor committed to Michigan on Monday afternoon. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

He's a 6'1", 188 lb. player who claims a 4.5 forty. As a sophomore in 2012, he had 24 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 interceptions; he also had 14 catches for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns. I have been unable to find stats from his junior year.

ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #7 CB, #73 overall, #4 in-state
Rivals: 4-star, #6 CB, #41 overall, #1 in-state
Scout: 4-star, #36 CB, #282 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 96 grade, #6 CB, #79 overall, #4 in-state

Taylor, who is friends with Michigan freshman quarterback Wilton Speight, visited Michigan last summer after Speight had already committed to the Wolverines. Despite not having an offer from the Wolverines, Taylor maintained interest. When the offer came a few weeks ago, Taylor promptly scheduled another unofficial to Ann Arbor for mid-March. He decided to commit on that trip and announced it via Twitter.

Taylor is a tall, lanky cornerback who can match up well with the bigger receivers he might face. He uses his long arms well to disrupt receivers and to rake the ball out from receivers who might be able to reel in catches against corners with a shorter wingspan. Taylor also has good leaping ability and times his jumps well, so he can be effective in the redzone and on back-shoulder throws. One of his best qualities is his hitting/tackling ability, which makes him a force off the edge and against wide receiver screens, bubble screens, etc. As a tackler I think he might be on par with the likes of Leon Hall or Ty Law, two Wolverines from yesteryear who were tough to run through.

As for negatives, Taylor has some things to work on and is not a finished product. He plays a little high, which slows down his transition time. He also crosses up his feet sometimes, so there are lots of footwork issues. Fortunately, cornerbacks are typically such good athletes that learning footwork is just something that takes time and repetition. Taylor also lacks great speed and reminds me a little bit of safety Thomas Gordon in his gait. Gordon ran a 4.49 at his recent pro day, but he wasn't the fastest safety around.

Overall, Taylor is a quality prospect whose physicality and length should make up for a slight deficiency in speed. He would project to boundary corner in a field/boundary system, although Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison went more with a left cornerback/right cornerback system in 2013. He could also play safety with his size and physicality, but I think he has the natural skills to stick at cornerback.

Taylor is the fifth commit in the class of 2015 and joins Shaun Crawford as the two committed cornerbacks. In a class that is roughly 13 strong right now, I doubt that Michigan would take another corner. The Wolverines have had pretty good success in recruiting cornerbacks lately, and there might be two open spots for the 2015 season after Raymon Taylor graduates and with Blake Countess a potential early entrant into the NFL. Of course, Garrett Taylor will also have to contend with talented young players in the form of Channing Stribling, Jourdan Lewis, and Jabrill Peppers. Michigan has had quite a bit of success in Richmond lately with 2013 running back Derrick Green and 2014 quarterback Speight, to go along with past players like David Terrell and Brandon Minor.

TTB Rating: I will not assign TTB Ratings until the 2014 class is completed. So basically, I'm waiting to see what Malik McDowell does.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MLive: Speight, Canteen turning heads

Fans are always looking for the next big thing, but there's been considerable buzz about freshman wide receiver Freddy Canteen and some pretty positive comments on freshman QB Wilton Speight.

Hit the jump for Denise Milani. It would be a good idea.

Recruiting Update: March 24, 2014

Sumter (SC) Crestwood running back Ty'Son Williams (image via SC Now)
Sumter (SC) Crestwood running back Ty'Son Williams was offered by Michigan. Williams is a 5'11", 200 lb. prospect with offers from Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and South Carolina, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #24 running back, and #313 overall. As a junior in 2013, he had 81 carries for 848 yards and 15 touchdowns, plus 8 catches for 118 yards. Williams has some good speed and decent vision, but sometimes he seems to lack the necessary balance for the cuts he wants to make; he's a little stiff and often seems to be about to fall down.

Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's linebacker Daelin Hayes was offered by Michigan. Hayes is a 6'3", 225 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan State and Tennessee. He missed a large part of his sophomore season due to injury. Hayes is the cousin of Michigan redshirt junior running back Justice Hayes, but he's also teammates with Tyson Smith (class of 2015, committed to Michigan State) and Joshua Ross (class of 2017, uncommitted), so there are pulls in multiple directions. The younger Hayes plays running back, too, but the Wolverines offered him as an outside linebacker.

Charlotte (NC) South Mecklenburg safety Stephen Griffin committed to Tennessee. Griffin picked up the Michigan offer about a month ago but did not appear to be strongly interested.

Glassboro (NJ) Glassboro wide receiver Juwan Johnson committed to Penn State. Johnson is a tall, physical receiver with pretty good speed, so Michigan will have to contend with him for the next several years. Johnson had expressed passing interest in the Wolverines but was not likely to join the class at any point.

Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen committed to UCLA. His pledge was not a surprise at all, but he had made a surprise visit to Ann Arbor the weekend before announcing his commitment. The visit went well but he was always someone who wanted to stay close to home and disavowed the cold weather he would face in Michigan. Some sources have suggested that if Jim Mora, Jr. leaves for another job or if Bruins starter Brett Hundley sticks around for his senior year in 2015, Michigan (and others) might be back in the hunt for Rosen's services. By the time any of that transpired, however, the Wolverines would likely already have a commitment from another quarterback prospect.

Here's a list of visitors who made it to Ann Arbor this past week/weekend.

I did a scouting report on Detroit (MI) Cass Tech running back Michael Weber.

Richmond (VA) St. Christopher's cornerback Garrett Taylor is announcing his college decision at 12:30 p.m. today via Twitter. Most people expect him to choose Michigan with Stanford being the other possibility.

Last week I posted profiles on Trevon Avery, Khari Willis, Dior Johnson, Junior McMullen, and Grant Perry on Recruiting Season.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Michigan is in the Sweet Sixteen!

The Michigan basketball team has made it to the Sweet Sixteen with a 79-65 victory over the Texas Longhorns.

Celebrate with some pictures of good looking ladies!

Grantland: The Spike and Luke Show - Redux

Jordan Conn revisits the 2013 National Championship basketball game between Spike Albrecht and Luke Hancock.

Hit the jump for Kayden Kenzie, a ridiculously attractive blonde.

Visitors: March 21-23, 2014

Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis LB Asmar Bilal and Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central
LB Darrin Kirkland, Jr. on their unofficial visit a couple weekends ago
Rashod Berry - DE - Lorain (OH) Digital:
 Berry is a 6'5", 230 lb. prospect with offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Illinois, Iowa, Kent State, and Toledo. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #31 weakside end, and #685 overall. He also had a kick return for a touchdown last season, a rarity for a defensive end.

Chris Clark - TE - Avon (CT) Old Farms: The big tight end had planned a visit to Michigan for this weekend, but he up and committed to North Carolina last weekend and canceled his other planned visits.

Chris Green - LB - Toledo (OH) Central Catholic:
 Green is a 6'0", 226 lb. prospect who has some quality offers but does not have one from Michigan. He was here for a Tom Lemming event.

Darrin Kirkland, Jr. - LB - Indianapolis (IN) Lawrence Central: Kirkland is a 6'2", 228 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #7 inside linebacker, and the #205 player overall. As a junior in 2013, he had 110 tackles and 8 sacks. Coming off a visit to Penn State, his recruitment is heating up and other teams are catching up to the Wolverines, so if they want an inside linebacker, it would behoove them to offer him soon. However, Michigan has mostly been courting outside linebackers during the 2015 cycle, so it's unclear whether they plan to take an inside guy or not. Kirkland will actually be visiting on Tuesday of this week.

Tyson Smith - CB - Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's: Smith is a Michigan State commit who's on campus for a Tom Lemming event.

Tyriq Thompson - LB - Detroit (MI) King: I wrote up a scouting report on Thompson at the end of January.

Michael Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: I wrote up a scouting report on Weber a couple days ago.

Jonathan Cooper - DE - Gahanna (OH) Lincoln:
Cooper is a 6'3", 215 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois and Kentucky.

Donnie Corley - WR - Wyandotte (MI) Roosevelt: Corley is a 6'2", 170 lb. prospect with no offers right now. He was also in town for the Tom Lemming event.

Daelin Hayes - LB - Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's: Hayes is a 6'2", 210 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan State and Tennessee. He's the cousin of Michigan running back Justice Hayes.

Lavert Hill - CB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Hill is a 5'11", 165 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He's the younger brother of Michigan safety Delano Hill.

Josh King - DE - Hinsdale (IL) South: King is a 6'6", 250 lb. prospect with offers from Illinois and Iowa. As a junior in 2013, he had 25 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks.

Jalen Martin - WR - Harper Woods (MI) Chandler Park: Martin is a 6'3", 190 lb. prospect with an offer from Eastern Michigan. He attends the same high school as Michigan WR Csont'e York and basketball point guard Derrick Walton, Jr. He also attended the Tom Lemming event.

Ostell Martin - OT - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Martin is a 6'5", 315 lb. prospect with no offers right now.

Martell Pettaway - RB - St. Clair Shores (MI) South Lake: Pettaway is a 5'10", 170 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He was in town for the Tom Lemming event but has had quite a bit of contact with Michigan's staff, too.

David Reese - LB - Farmington (MI) Farmington: Reese is a 6'1", 235 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He's the teammate and classmate of highly touted wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick.

Demetric Vance - WR - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Vance is a 6'1", 170 lb. prospect with no offers at this time.

Devin Waldon - LB - Detroit (MI) East English Village: Waldon is a 6'1", 215 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He is visiting campus on Wednesday.

Donovan Peoples-Jones - WR - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech:
 Peoples-Jones is a 6'1", 170 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He has earned quite a reputation for his athleticism and might be one of the top prospects in the state for his class.

Joshua Ross - LB - Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's: Ross is a 6'2", 190 lb. prospect with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Oklahoma. He's the younger brother of Michigan junior linebacker James Ross III.

Friday, March 21, 2014 2014 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Don Banks put together his second mock NFL Draft, and he has Taylor Lewan coming off the board at #9 to the Buffalo Bills.

Hit the jump for Malia Angelique in appealing attire.

Welcome to the Weekend

Start enjoying the weekend with some good looking women!

Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week: Elle Johnson

Hit the jump for a slightly NSFW picture of Elle Johnson, who is once again this week's Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week.

Graham Glasgow did something bad

Why does Graham Glasgow look so paranoid? (image via Michigan Daily)
Redshirt junior offensive lineman Graham Glasgow, who started all 13 games in 2013, failed to meet "team expectations" and has been suspended for spring football and the season opener against Appalachian State. This is unfortunate for Glasgow himself, but also for the team, since he appeared to be the one sure starter on an offensive line in flux. During the spring up until this point, Glasgow had been playing center, guard, and tackle, and he would almost certainly have started at either center or guard in the fall.

The other options at center are these:

  • Redshirt freshman Patrick Kugler: The 6'5", 295 lb. son of a former NFL offensive line coach (and current college head coach), Kugler was born and bred to be a lineman. Unfortunately, he's young and coming off shoulder surgery. 
  • Redshirt junior Jack Miller: At 6'4" and 297 lbs., Miller technically has the size to be an effective center, but he got blown off the ball too often last year when he began the year as Michigan's starting center. He was sent to the bench by Glasgow, never to return, even when Glasgow had serious issues snapping the ball in his first few weeks. Miller has also been playing some left guard this spring.
  • Redshirt senior Joe Burzynski: The 6'1", 288 lb. Burzynski is a little undersized and has never played regularly at the college level after walking on to the program a few years ago. He has mostly been a backup guard and got a brief chance to play significant time last year before tearing his ACL against Indiana. He has still not returned to full practices and may not be a full go until August.
  • Redshirt sophomore Blake Bars: The 6'5", 290 lb. Bars has been practicing at tackle quite a bit this spring with the depth so poor at that position, but he has been a guard for most of his time on campus. He has snapped the ball a little bit during his time in Ann Arbor, but this would be sort of an emergency move.
  • Sophomore Kyle Bosch: In what would be another desperation move, Bosch came to Michigan prepared to play some center if necessary. The 6'5", 301 lb. Bosch has not practiced at center at all (as far as I know) and is likely to start or at least push for a starting job at guard.
If I had to make a guess right now, I would tentatively say that I expect Kugler to be the starter against Appalachian State. Miller has already had a chance to show what he can do, and we've seen that he has struggled. The more important point there is that the coaches did not give him another chance to get on the field, which suggests to me that they were very unhappy with what they saw.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MLive: Wolverines football carries ever-growing athletic department

Kellie Woodhouse goes in depth on just how important the football program is to keeping the athletic department afloat.

Hit the jump for Jen Selter, who is known for her posterior.

Video: JDK & Rey's "Arcadia" featuring T.J. Duckett

Scouting Report: Michael Weber

Detroit (MI) Cass Tech running back Michael Weber (image via Detroit News)
Name: Michael Weber
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 205 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Position: Running back
Class: 2015

Notes: Holds offers from Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, and Wisconsin . . . ESPN 4-star RB, 80 grade, #20 RB, #227 overall . . . Rivals 4-star, #10 RB, #123 overall . . . 247 Sports 4-star, 96 grade, #7 RB, #73 overall . . . Claims 4.47 forty . . . Benches 305 lbs. . . . As a sophomore in 2012, had 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns . . . As a junior in 2013, had 1,659 yards and 24 touchdowns . . . Has numerous former teammates playing college football, including Damon Webb (Ohio State), David Dawson (Michigan), Jourdan Lewis (Michigan), Delano Hill (Michigan), and Deon Drake (Michigan State)

Strengths: Good size/build for a running back . . . Not too big or too small . . . Shows an ability to get north and south without a lot of wasted time . . . Slashing style of runner . . . Doesn't take a lot of big hits . . . Good long speed . . . Accelerates quickly . . . Runs behind shoulder pads . . . Catches ball well out of the backfield . . Shows good patience in waiting for hole to develop . . . Drives feet after contact . . . Shows a physical attitude when blocking

Weaknesses: May struggle to create on his own . . . Does not have lightning speed . . . Could pick up knees higher through traffic . . . Tendency to carry ball in left hand when going right

Projection: Running back. Weber seems to do a lot of things well, and while he's not the fastest, shiftiest, or most powerful running back in the class, it's hard to find glaring weaknesses. Most of his "weaknesses" are either nitpicks or coachable. Cass Tech is a magnet school that consistently produces good linemen, so it's tough to judge Weber's vision when most of his highlights include his linemen blowing holes wide open. However, if his college team can open holes with any regularity, Weber hits the hole hard and will fall generally forward after contact.

Reminds me of: Emmitt Smith. Of course I'm not suggesting that Weber will one day be the NFL's all-time leading rusher, but the slashing style combined with Weber's gait and the way he waves his off hand while cutting just reminds me of the former Dallas Cowboy (and Arizona Cardinal). Additionally, Smith was never the speediest, most elusive, or strongest guy, but he found a way to churn out the yards.

Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Michigan State and perhaps Tennessee had lurched ahead of Michigan when Al Borges was the offensive coordinator and Damien Harris was committed to the Wolverines, but Harris's decommitment and the hiring of Doug Nussmeier have re-energized Michigan's pursuit of the Cass Tech product. There are some who believe that Michigan has a tentative lead over MSU, and I think his favorites in order would be Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, and then Wisconsin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sports on Earth: The Maestro of March

Andrew Kahn profiles the one, the only John Beilein. I thought a basketball story would be fitting on the eve of the NCAA Tournament.

Hit the jump for some Olya Abramovich.

Top 247 for 2015 updated

No offense to Shaun Crawford, but it's getting boring plastering his picture up every time I talk about the 2015 class.
247 Sports updated their top 247 players for 2015, and there are numerous Michigan targets on the list. Former Michigan commits George Campbell and Damien Harris are both in the top 40, and defensive end Keisean Lucier-South has earned a fifth star. Here's what the list looked like last month, and here's the movement for Michigan's lone commit:

- Shaun Crawford dropped from #140 to #148

2. Josh Rosen - QB - California
3. Terry Beckner, Jr. - DE - Illinois
4. Mitch Hyatt - OT - Georgia (Clemson)
6. Josh Sweat - DE - Virginia
9. Kevin Toliver II - CB - Florida (LSU)
12. Iman Marshall - CB - California
13. Justin Hilliard - LB - Ohio
16. Malik Jefferson - LB - Texas
19. Shy Tuttle - DT - North Carolina
21. Tim Settle - DT - Virginia
24. Jashon Cornell - DE - Minnesota
25. Kendall Sheffield - CB - Texas
27. Keisean Lucier-South - DE - California
31. Jalen Dalton - DE - North Carolina

33. Rasheem Green - DT - California
34. Brian Cole - ATH - Michigan
35. Johnny Frasier - RB - North Carolina
37. Minkah Fitzpatrick - CB - New Jersey
40. George Campbell - ATH - Florida
41. Jaason Lewis - ATH - Virginia (UCLA)
47. Jerome Baker - ATH - Ohio
49. Damien Harris - RB - Kentucky
52. DaMarkus Lodge - WR - Texas
54. Jeffery Holland - LB - Florida
56. Jacques Patrick - RB - Florida
57. Juwan Johnson - WR - New Jersey (Penn State)
60. Jarrett Stidham - QB - Texas (Texas Tech)
69. Jake Fruhmorgen - OT - Florida
73. Michael Weber - RB - Michigan
78. Christian Kirk - WR - Arizona
79. Garrett Taylor - CB - Virginia
83. John Reid - CB - Pennsylvania
84. Hjalte Froholdt - DT - Ohio (Arkansas)
86. Clelin Ferrell - DE - Virginia
91. Sterling Jenkins - OT - Pennsylvania
113. Keenan Walker - OT - Arizona
114. Blake Barnett - QB - California (Notre Dame)
118. Ryan Bates - OT - Pennsylvania (Penn State)
120. Drew Richmond - OT - Tennessee
129. Soso Jamabo - RB - Texas
138. Hale Hentges - TE - Missouri
142. Devonaire Clarington - TE - Florida
148. Shaun Crawford - CB - Ohio (Michigan)
149. Marcus Lewis - ATH - Washington, D.C.
151. Darian Roseboro - DE - North Carolina
152. Josh Barajas - LB - Indiana
153. Osa Masina - LB - Utah
155. Christian Pellage - OT - Florida
167. Adonis Thomas - ATH - Georgia
175. Ronald Jones II - RB - Texas
179. Chris Clark - TE - Connecticut (North Carolina)
181. Grant Newsome - OT - New Jersey
226. Jordan Whitehead - CB - Pennsylvania
235. Cameron Townsend - LB - Texas

Video: Training for Sundays - Blake Bortles

Fitzgerald Toussaint, #28

Fitzgerald Toussaint
Toussaint became a part of the 2009 class on April 18, 2008, when he chose the Wolverines over offers from Illinois, Pitt, and West Virginia, among others. He finished the recruiting cycle as a Rivals 4-star, the #8 all-purpose back, and the #239 player overall. His senior year included 237 carries for 2,246 yards (9.5 yards/carry) and 24 touchdowns at Youngstown (OH) Liberty, and I called him the best offensive recruit in the 2009 class. He joined high school teammate Isaiah Bell, a safety who had committed a few weeks earlier (and who eventually transferred to Lake Erie College).

Toussaint's talents weren't needed as a freshman in 2009 due to the presence of Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, and Kevin Grady, so Toussaint redshirted. He battled some nagging injuries early in his career, which helped to prevent him from playing until the Bowling Green game in 2010, where he promptly gained 61 yards on his first career carry before getting tracked down. He followed that up with a 5-yard touchdown run but left the game with a shoulder injury and didn't see significant time for several weeks. He unseated starter Vincent Smith by 2011 and stepped up with 187 carries for 1,041 yards (5.6 yards/carry) and 9 touchdowns, which turned out to be his most productive year. He also had the best game of his career against Illinois when he gained 192 yards, including a career-long 65-yarder. Suspended for the season-opener against Alabama in 2012, Toussaint played in ten games before snapping his ankle against Iowa but never went over 100 yards in any of those contests; he finished the year with 130 carries for 514 yards (4.0 yards/carry) and 5 touchdowns. With a daughter to care for, he considered leaving school early to try to make it in the NFL, but he returned for a fifth year in 2013. He became a bigger part of the passing game (18 catches, 203 yards) but saw some of his carries go to freshmen Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith down the stretch as the coaches searched high and low for a running game. Toussaint finished his senior year with 185 carries for 648 yards (3.5 yards/carry) and 13 touchdowns, but he averaged just 6 carries/game over the final five games.

510 carries, 2290 yards, 4.5 yards/carry, 28 touchdowns
31 receptions, 298 yards, 9.8 yards/catch, 2 touchdowns
1 kick return for 28 yards
1 tackle

Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2011

As I mentioned above, I always had a high opinion of Toussaint. He was Michigan's most elusive running back since at least Mike Hart, and he was faster than Hart, too. Unfortunately, he didn't break nearly as many tackles, and he wasn't blessed with as good of an offensive line. Toussaint looked pretty good as a redshirt freshman, played great as a redshirt sophomore, and then the wheels came off when the offensive line started to take a dive in 2012, which culminated with him breaking his leg against Iowa. He never really got back to full speed, and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald even noted that during their game week. Toussaint broke off some good runs here or there (against Indiana and UConn in 2013) to keep up Michigan fans' hopes, but ultimately, it was a disappointing finish to his career. On the bright side, he finished #18 all-time in rushing yards and tied with Gordie Bell for 10th in rushing touchdowns.

. . . his high school highlights. Aside from perhaps Sam McGuffie, Toussaint had some of the best highlights of any running back prospect Michigan has brought in over the last decade. Don't get me wrong - he had some great moments in college, too. But his combination of speed, power, and agility in high school was reminiscent of Barry Sanders. Check it out for yourself if you don't remember:

Toussaint was not invited to the NFL Combine, which was understandable after he totaled just 1,162 yards in his last two years and averaged under 4.0 yards/carry during that stretch. However, he had a pretty impressive pro day last week when he turned a 4.49 forty, 24 reps on the bench press, a 6.59 three-cone drill, and a 4.10 shuttle. Out of the running backs invited to the NFL's event, his forty time would have tied him for #9 at the Combine, his bench would have tied for #3, his shuttle time would have been #4 - and he would have blown away the competition at his position in the three-cone drill (the top performer was Bishop Sankey with a 6.75) and finished #5 out of all the prospects invited, regardless of position. This is not to suggest that Toussaint will get drafted, because production matters more than testing times, bench presses, etc. But I do believe that NFL scouts and personnel guys will note Michigan's poor offensive line and Toussaint's recovery from his gruesome leg injury on their way to inviting him to sign as an undrafted free agent. I would not be surprised to see him playing in the NFL for a few seasons.

Monday, March 17, 2014

247 Sports: Thomas Gordon talks pro day

Outgoing senior safetyThomas Gordon talks about his pro day, waiting for the draft, and what he expects out of the safeties in 2014.

Hit the jump for a girl wearing lots of green (or not very much green, depending on how you look at it). Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Recruiting Update: March 17, 2014

Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy quarterback David Sills on his Michigan visit
Orange Park (FL) Oakleaf linebacker Shaquille Quarterman was offered by Michigan. He's a 6'0", 239 lb. prospect with offers from Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, and several others. As a sophomore in 2013, he had 94 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions (1 for a touchdown), 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries. He was the teammate of 2014 Michigan linebacker offeree Darrion Owens (Miami).

Avon (CT) Old Farms tight end Chris Clark committed to North Carolina. Clark was not expected to make this early of a decision, and he had scheduled a visit to Michigan for this coming weekend, which has now been canceled. Outside of Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., Clark appeared the most likely tight end to commit to the Wolverines, so now that title falls to Missouri's Hale Hentges or Georgian Jalen Wilkerson, neither of whom is likely to wear the winged helmet. I would imagine that the Wolverines will be sending out some new offers at the position soon.

Here's a list of visitors who descended upon Ann Arbor this past weekend. The big name was quarterback Josh Rosen, who is arguably the top quarterback in the 2015 class. While he insists he enjoyed the visit, it sounds as if he'll still be committing to UCLA on Thursday. Sills (pictured above) looks like a more likely option, albeit perhaps not by much. Ohio linebacker Reagan Williams has not been offered, but the coaches are looking at him as a potential tight end.

Last week's profiles at Recruiting Season  included 2015 prospects David Moorman, Joshuwa Holloman, Alex Malzone, Jayru Campbell, and Carter Masek.

Sunday, March 16, 2014 2014 NFL Draft rumors - Taylor Lewan worthy of #1 pick

Gil Brandt believes that Taylor Lewan is one of nine players worthy of being picked at the top of this May's NFL Draft.

Hit the jump for Yana Yatskovskaya's outrageous body.

Self-Indulgent Post of the Week: The Bachelor season finale

Juan Pablo Galavis (image via Bachelor Burn Book)
Here is where I submit my man card and admit that I've been a pretty consistent watcher of ABC's The Bachelor  over the past few years. I consider it a somewhat fair trade-off for making my special lady watch hours and hours of Michigan football games and listening to me rant and rave about Rich Rodriguez's failure to recruit more offensive linemen. And on top of the whole "fairness" aspect, it's not so bad to watch 25 or so attractive females prance around in bikinis and tight dresses to try to win the heart of the hunk du jour.

That "hunk" for the 2014 rendition of The Bachelor  turned out to be Juan Pablo, a single father of Venezuelan heritage from Miami. Juan Pablo won many Americans' hearts with his panache and sense of humor during the 2013 season of The Bachelorette, when Desiree let him advance several rounds before axing him. It didn't hurt, of course, that he's Latino and could appeal to the ever-increasing Spanish-speaking market in the United States.

For perhaps the first time ever (though I haven't been watching the show since its inception), the show went down in flames as Juan Pablo started to piss off a bunch of bachelorettes/contestants down the stretch. The first real signs of trouble appeared when Sharleen, a 29-year-old opera singer from Heidelberg, Germany, left the show early because she couldn't find a cerebral connection with the Spanish-speaking jock. I have known my fair share of opera singers, and they are all well educated and cultured. I have also known my fair share of athletes, and, well, let's just say they don't tend to be the most thoughtful bunch. However, the disappointment and surprise Sharleen showed because she couldn't connect intellectually with Juan Pablo was both sad and comical.

Then there was Andi, the 26-year-old assistant district attorney from Atlanta. She thought she had found a "great love" in Juan Pablo . . . until she spent the night in the fantasy suite with him and realized that he was self-centered and didn't ask many questions about her. After several weeks of dating a dwindling number of women, alas, he couldn't tell her what religion she practiced. The horror! The next morning she summoned him for a meeting and removed herself from the show prior to the rose ceremony, incessantly berating him for saying "It's okay" when she said she was leaving. She also claimed he said she made it that far "by default," but he insisted he didn't know what that word meant and had said she "barely" made it.

In the season's final barrage, there was 32-year-old Clare, a hairdresser from Sacramento. In my opinion, Clare was the most physically attractive girl on the show, but there wasn't a whole lot going on upstairs. On their final date, when no cameras and no audio could catch it, Juan Pablo allegedly said something like "I don't know you all that well, but I really liked f***ing you in the fantasy suite." She was upset but after a heart-to-heart with him later that night, she felt reassured that he was interested in her. During the final rose ceremony a day later, she came marching across the sand in a beautiful gown only to be told that Juan Pablo didn't see a future with her, implying he had chosen the other remaining bachelorette/contestant. Rather than taking it in stride, she shoved him away when he tried to hug her goodbye and yelled at him for not being a real man, saying she would never want him to be the father of her children. If he had got down on his knee and proposed, she would have said yes. Because the 50/50 proposition went against her, she insulted him and stalked off.

Last Monday was the season finale, and Juan Pablo was accosted from all angles during the After the Final Rose episode. Host Chris Harrison seemed miffed that the guy he hand-picked to be The Bachelor had not told the winner, Nikki (a 26-year-old pediatric nurse from Missouri), that he loved her. Clare hoped that her verbal assault would somehow empower other women to stand up for themselves, advice that will surely be heeded by the plethora of females who find themselves losing on the final round of Bachelor-like dating shows. Andi proceeded to make fun of Juan Pablo's accent and say she "wanted to strangle him" when he kept saying "It's okay." (I wonder how a long a male assistant district attorney would keep his job after saying in front of millions of people that he wanted to strangle a female game show contestant for saying "It's okay" in a foreign accent.) Kelly, a 27-year-old "dog lover" from Georgia, took the most irrelevant potshot at Juan Pablo; in a separate interview, he had made the mistake of saying that he wouldn't approve of a same-sex version of The Bachelor, and poor Kelly somehow found it surprising that there are human beings in this country who aren't 100% in favor of same-sex everything when she herself had been raised by a same-sex couple. Harrison, meanwhile, spent the last few minutes of the show alternately making fun of Juan Pablo and getting quite chummy with the new Bachelorette, none other than the wannabe strangler/accentist Andi.

All this is to say that it is at once riveting and tiresome to watch people who are so delusional. From educated women who so terribly misjudge ignorant and self-centered men; to ignorant women who let fairy tales (you know, all those fairy tales from childhood that include television cameras and 24 other women)  cloud their judgment; to television hosts who get offended when their chosen guests don't play their roles exactly as expected. Who's to blame for all this drivel on our televisions?

Me, and viewers like me. And for that I want to strangle us.

Video: Big Ten Tournament - Michigan 72, Ohio State 69

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Campus Union: Top 10 quarterback competitions to monitor in spring ball

No, Michigan's not on the list, but here are Chris Johnson's top ten quarterback battles going on around the country.

Hit the jump for Tiffany Jimenez in a red bathing suit.

Visitors: March 14-16, 2014

Richmond (VA) St. Christopher cornerback Garrett Taylor
(image via 247 Sports)
C.J. Conrad - TE - La Grange (OH) Keystone:
 Conrad is a 6'5", 225 lb. prospect with offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pitt, and Syracuse, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 tight end, and the #208 player overall. He recently named Kentucky as his leader, but offers from bigger programs could very well have an impact him, including one from Michigan. He also visited Ann Arbor for the Ohio State game last fall. As a junior in 2013, he had 59 receptions for 924 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Justin Hilliard - LB - Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier: I did a scouting report on Hilliard earlier this offseason. He has recently pulled in an offer from USC, and he took a junior day visit to Notre Dame, which left a good impression. His top group consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa (where his older brother signed last month), Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.

Alex Malzone - QB - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Malzone's interest in Michigan has been well documented, and he has visited Ann Arbor numerous times. The 6'3", 200 lb. prospect has pulled in offers from Pitt and Wake Forest in recent weeks, but it seems pretty clear that he would jump at the chance to wear the winged helmet. Michigan is looking for a quarterback in the 2015 class, and it's pretty clear they'll have to expand their search because the four current offerees are unlikely to end up playing for Michigan.

David Moorman - OT - Northville (MI) Northville: Moorman is a 6'5", 275 lb. prospect with offers from Cincinnati and a handful of MAC schools. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #46 offensive tackle, and the #394 player overall. Moorman has been making the rounds to Big Ten schools (Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin) but so far hasn't been extended any big-time offers. I would not expect the Wolverines to offer on the visit, either, but he may be worth watching down the road if Michigan strikes out on other targets.

Josh Rosen - QB - Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco: Rosen is a 6'4", 205 lb. prospect with offers from Cal, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, and USC, among others. He's a 247 Composite 5-star, the #1 pro-style quarterback, and the #5 prospect overall. I did a scouting report on him back in January. He has set his decision date for March 20th, and he is widely expected to choose UCLA unless Michigan gives him a reason to delay or alter his choice.

David Sills - QB - Elkton (MD) Eastern Christian Academy: Sills is a 6'3", 180 lb. prospect who holds a Michigan offer but has been committed to USC since February of 2010. The Trojans also received a commitment from quarterback Ricky Town in January, who is unanimously considered a superior player. Sills has two class of 2014 teammates (wide receiver Freddy Canteen and safety Brandon Watson) who enrolled early in January, so that may be a draw for Sills, who is a 247 Composite 3-star, the #21 pro-style quarterback, and the #483 player overall. I recently did a scouting report on 2015 quarterbacks, and Sills came in at #18 out of 20 players being courted by Michigan.

Garrett Taylor - CB - Richmond (VA) St. Christopher: Taylor is a 6'1", 188 lb. prospect with offers from LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, South Carolina, Stanford, and Tennessee, among others. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #8 cornerback, and #92 overall. Taylor played against Michigan freshman quarterback Wilton Speight in high school, and he may be the most likely offered cornerback to commit to the Wolverines.

Reagan Williams - LB - Jackson (OH) Jackson: Williams is a 6'3", 232 lb. prospect with offers from Indiana, Purdue, and a few MAC schools. He's a 247 Composite 3-star, the #18 inside linebacker, and #472 overall.

Jonathan Berghorst - DE - Zeeland (MI) East:
 Berghorst is a 6'2", 210 lb. prospect with no offers at this time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

MLive: Hoke on board with Nussmeier - Two running backs are better than one

Brady Hoke talks about the importance of having multiple guys who can work out of the backfield.

Hit the jump for some pictures of Tianna Gregory.

Welcome to the Weekend

Celebrate the weekend with some fine looking women after the jump.

Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week: Elle Johnson

You're going to have to hit the jump for this picture of model Elle Johnson, since it's rather NSFW.

Video: Hoke talks spring ball, offensive line, and quarterbacks

Meta: Building a new website

I mentioned this last night on Twitter, but I am in the process of building a new website, which will convert my Blogger site to a Wordpress blog. The problem is that I have no clue what I'm doing. I am decently intelligent when it comes to technology, but not enough to code HTML. Furthermore, the free themes at Wordpress are pretty terrible, and the premium ones aren't much better. So if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments, via Twitter, or through e-mail. Thanks, and Go Blue!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

MLive: Brady Hoke - Shane Morris isn't ready to be the starter

There's been lots of talk this offseason about sophomore Shane Morris pushing fifth year senior Devin Gardner for the starting quarterback job, but Brady Hoke doesn't seem to think Morris is ready.

Hit the jump for a well endowed blonde.

Video: Joe Bolden talks spring practice

2014 Michigan Pro Day Results

Safety Thomas Gordon had perhaps the most impressive Pro Day
DB Courtney Avery: 36.5" vertical

DT Jibreel Black: 29 reps on 225 lb. bench

WR Jeremy Gallon: 39.5" vertical, 10'10" broad jump

LB Cameron Gordon: 4.65 forty, 36" vertical

S Thomas Gordon: 4.49 forty, 40.5" vertical, 10'5.5" broad jump, 4.10 twenty-yard shuttle

OT Taylor Lewan: Only participated in offensive line drills

WR Joe Reynolds: 37.5" vertical, 10'5" broad jump

OT Michael Schofield: 9' broad jump

RB Fitzgerald Toussaint: 4.49 forty, 24 reps on 225 lb. bench, 6.59 three-cone drill, 4.10 twenty-yard shuttle

DT Quinton Washington: 26 reps on 225 lb. bench

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Boiler Room: Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon

Here's Matt Waldman's scouting report on Michigan's very own Jeremy Gallon.

Hit the jump for a few pictures of Melanie Iglesias.

Video: Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith interviews

Hit the jump for DeVeon Smith's interview.

Jeremy Gallon, #21

Jeremy Gallon
Gallon committed to Rich Rodriguez in June of 2008 and had some pretty good accolades, claiming Player of the Year in Florida during his senior year. He was a single-wing quarterback at Apopka (FL) Apoka, so moving to slot receiver (and eventually outside receiver) was a fairly significant position change. His junior year entailed 1,613 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground, along with 1,071 passing yards and 8 touchdowns. He was a Rivals 4-star, the #11 athlete, and the #151 player overall and participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he was limited by a groin pull but still grabbed a 34-yard pass from quarterback Tajh Boyd.

I expected Gallon to play as a freshman, but I guess the position change was a little much for him initially. There were problems catching the ball and holding onto the ball, and Michigan had the likes of Martavious Odoms, Roy Roundtree, and Kelvin Grady that season. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Gallon played a little as a slot (4 catches, 49 yards, 1 touchdown) but contributed more as a punt returner (10 punt returns for 43 yards; 27 kickoff returns for 589 yards). In the unforgettable 2011 version of Under the Lights against Notre Dame, he grabbed 2 passes for 78 yards, including a leaping touchdown and a 64-yard catch-and-run to set up the winning touchdown; he finished the season as the second-leading receiver, behind Junior Hemingway, totaling 31 catches for 453 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had his best year as a punt returner with 19 returns for 192 yards. Gallon had a mediocre beginning of the 2012 season, but he really took off once Devin Gardner took over for the injured Denard Robinson at quarterback; Gallon made 49 catches for 829 yards and 4 touchdowns as a redshirt junior. Gallon, who wore #3 to begin his career and switched to #10 before the 2011 season, was awarded the Desmond Howard #21 Legends jersey prior to the 2013 season and responded with 89 receptions for 1,373 yards and 9 touchdowns. His 89 receptions rank #2 all-time at Michigan (behind Braylon Edwards's 97 in 2004) and his yardage total ranks #1 in school history. He had three magnificent games during his senior year. The best was a 14-catch, 369-yard, 2-touchdown, record-setting performance against Indiana; another was an 8-catch, 184-yard, 3-touchdown game against Notre Dame; the final one was a 9-catch, 175-yard, 1-touchdown outing against Ohio State, which included an 84-yard catch-and-run at the beginning of the game.

173 receptions, 2704 yards, 15.4 yards/catch, 17 touchdowns
17 carries, 97 yards, 5.7 yards/carry
0/1 passing
32 kickoff returns, 658 yards, 20.6 yards/return
47 punt returns, 333 yards, 7.1 yards/return
8 tackles

Second Team All-Big Ten, 2013
Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, 2012
#21 Legends jersey

Gallon's career spanned two coaching staff with significantly different offenses and visions for him. Listed at 5'8" throughout his college career, he measured in at the NFL Combine a shade over 5'7". Viewed exclusively as a slot receiver and returner by Rich Rodriguez, he turned into an extremely productive, record-setting split end and flanker for Brady Hoke. I think one of the most surprising things about Gallon was the way he developed as a receiver and turned into a jump ball hero despite being smaller than virtually every cornerback he faced. I liked him as a recruit because of his strength and running ability, but once Rodriguez was fired, I wondered how Michigan was going to get him the ball without using bubble screens. They found a way, though. I found myself at times thinking, "Just get the ball to Gallon" because he was more productive than the running backs and less prone to turnovers than Devin Gardner. I ranked Gallon #3 in the 2013 Season Countdown and said he would end up with 75 catches, 1,200 yards, and 10 touchdowns. At the time some people thought I was overestimating his production, but I actually undervalued him in receptions and yards, and I arguably could have ranked him #2 (behind Taylor Lewan and ahead of Devin Gardner). He now has the school record for yardage in a season, set a Big Ten record with his 369 yards against Indiana, and is #2 in Division I history with that yardage performance, behind only Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards and his 405 yards.

Gallon has good acceleration but questionable long speed, evidenced by his 4.45 time in the forty at the NFL Combine. As we have seen numerous times throughout his career, he can get run down from behind. Furthermore, his size will limit him from catching on with some teams, although he plays bigger than his 5'7", 184 lb. frame would indicate. He also proved to have very large hands at the Combine. I think Gallon will get drafted somewhere around the 5th round in May's NFL Draft, but I have a hard time comparing him to anyone who has had a great deal of success recently in the NFL. Tavon Austin is small but faster than Gallon. I also think Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers has better long speed, but that might be the best comparison I can derive. I think Gallon will stick around in the league for several years, but he probably won't be more than a #3 guy and perhaps a contributor on returns.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grantland: Is Jimmy Fallon really comedy's cutting edge?

There's a dearth of football news out there right now (partly because Michigan's basketball team has seized the limelight), so here's an article on Jimmy Fallon's new gig on The Tonight Show. I liked Fallon on SNL but didn't care for his Late Night  show, but his new role taking over for Jay Leno has been a very pleasant surprise.

Hit the jump for Nina Eckert working out.

Video: Doug Nussmeier talks spring practice

Monday, March 10, 2014

MLive: Talking wide receivers, defensive backs, and defensive line

Nick Baumgardner takes mailbag questions on the wideouts, the defensive backs, and the defensive linemen.

Hit the jump for Caitlin Rice in various stages of undress.

Basketball Video: Michigan 84, Indiana 80

Recruiting Update: March 10, 2014

St. Joseph (MI) St. Joseph defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher (via Twitter)
New offers have been slow to come by over the past couple weeks, so there's not a whole lot of action other than some pretty good unofficial visitors over the past three weekends. There are currently 75 offers (that I'm aware of) extended to class of 2015 prospects.

Stephenville (TX) Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham committed to Texas Tech. Stidham had once been thought to be a Baylor lean, partly because Baylor head coach Art Briles used to be the head coach at Stephenville, although that was well before Stidham was around.

I wrote another batch of scouting reports on 2015 quarterbacks (LINK), in which Stidham was #2 overall of the signal callers Michigan had been contacting.

A small group of 2016 and 2017 visitors were in town this weekend (LINK) to watch the Wolverines basketball team beat Indiana.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

MLive: Delano Hill, Dymonte Thomas continue to rep at safety

One of the biggest question marks on the team going into the 2014 season is the safety position, which lost one starter, his primary backup, and a frequently used senior. Nick Baumgardner looks at the safety position.

And if you hit the jump, you will be looking at SI swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen.

Meta (sort of): Introducing Recruiting Season

(image via MHSFCA)
In my vast interest in college recruiting within the state of Michigan, I started a blog called Recruiting Season, which focuses on in-state recruiting. This started late in the 2013 calendar year, and I soon realized that I didn't have the time to devote myself 100% to both Recruiting Season  and Touch the Banner. The math doesn't quite work out, does it?

With that in mind, I want to open Recruiting Season  up to aspiring writers, bloggers, or simply fans who are interested in a blogging partnership. I do have an interest in participating with the blog to an extent with some scouting reports, rankings, general information, promotion, etc. However, if there are readers out there who would be interested in compiling names, information, highlights, etc., then please let me know by e-mailing, commenting, Twitter, etc.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grantland: In Defense of Kate Upton

Molly Lambert of Grantland  defends Michigan (and Detroit Tigers) fan Kate Upton, who has received some backlash nationally for some stupid reasons. Personally, I think Kate Upton might not be the most beautiful model out there, but she does have a girl-next-door quality and seems to be the type of girl you might want to hang out with and play beer pong.

Hit the jump for some pictures of Kate.

Visitors: March 7-9, 2014

Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary defensive back Tyrece Speiaght
Michael Weber - RB - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech:
 Weber is a 5'10", 205 lb. prospect with a top group that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. He's a 247 Composite 4-star, the #11 running back, #109 overall, and the #2 player in the state.

Aaron Mathews - WR - Clairton (PA) Clairton: Mathews is a 6'2", 175 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. This will be his first college visit. As a sophomore in 2013, he had 1,010 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a running quarterback, but he is likely to be recruited as a wideout going into college.

Martell Pettaway - RB - St. Clair Shores (MI) South Lake: Pettaway is a 5'9", 185 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He will probably one of the top several in-state prospects for his class. He has said that his current favorite is Michigan State.

Tyrece Speaight - CB - Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary: Speiaght is a 5'10", 173 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He claims a 4.5 forty and a 10.7 time in the 100 meters. He attends the alma mater of Doran Grant (Ohio State), Dante Booker (Ohio State), and Lebron James (who went somewhere and did something, I think).

Carter Dunaway - TE - Bloomfield Hills (MI) Brother Rice: Dunaway is a 6'5", 205 lb. prospect with no offers. He's the son of former Michigan tight end Craig Dunaway and the younger brother of Jack, a 2015 defensive end prospect. Carter visited earlier in the week.

Corey Malone-Hatcher - DE - St. Joseph (MI) St. Joseph: Malone-Hatcher is a 6'3", 205 lb. prospect with no offers right now. As a freshman in 2013, he had 63 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and13 sacks. He was named a Maxpreps Freshman All-America. It's still early, but the buzz around him suggests he will be one of the top few players in the state for 2017.

Donovan Peoples-Jones - WR - Detroit (MI) Cass Tech: Peoples-Jones is a 6'1", 170 lb. prospect with no offers at this time. He is generally considered to be one of the top few prospects in the state for 2017 and could play receiver, cornerback, or safety at the next level.