Thursday, June 25, 2009

Slightly Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week: Kristy Bojazi

I am headed to California for a week. Hopefully Michigan cheerleader Kristy Bojazi is vacationing there as well. Then maybe I can stumble over my words and trip on a crack in the sidewalk while I watch her walk down the street.

Or maybe she'll be drowning in the Pacific Ocean and I can rip off my shirt and leap into the ocean and swim out to her.

And since I'm not a good swimmer, then maybe a hot lifeguard will come save us both.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Michigan Senior Camp (update)

Chelsea running back Nick Hill

The following is a list of seniors who are expected to attend Michigan's one-day, invitation-only camp today. Don't be surprised if there are some more fireworks in the near future. (Highlighted players are confirmed attendees.)

Leveon Bell, RB – Reynoldsburg, OH
Jibreel Black, DL – Cincinnati, OH
Daniel Easterly, ATH – Detroit, MI
Justin Ford, S – Grand Rapids, MI
Devin Gardner, QB – Inkster, MI (Michigan commit)
Jonathon Hankins, DT – Detroit, MI
Nick Hill, RB - Chelsea, MI
Daniel Lindsey, S - Inkster, MI
Nathan Lindsey, S - Inkster, MI
C.J. Olaniyan, DE – Warren, MI
Christian Pace, OL – Avon Lake, OH (Michigan commit)
Montrel Robinson, WR – Southfield, MI
Dan Schneider, TE – Avon Lake, OH
Terrence Talbott, CB – Huber Heights, OH
Terry Talbott, DT – Huber Heights, OH
Earnest Thomas, S – Orchard Lake, MI
Ishmael Thomas, LB – Detroit, MI
Austin White, RB – Livonia, MI

Easterly is a guy who doesn't have a Michigan offer right now. He just committed to Illinois, so despite the pipeline from Cass Tech to Michigan recently, it's unlikely that Easterly would immediately decommit in favor of the Wolverines. But if he does earn an offer, Michigan could be a factor down the road. I like Easterly and I think he could play Greg Robinson's "Spin" OLB/S hybrid or pack on a few pounds and play OLB.

Hankins also doesn't have an offer, but has repeatedly implied that he would jump on board if offered. The problem in the past has been his conditioning. He was upwards of 326 pounds and that had Michigan's coaches concerned, but supposedly, he's down to about 310 right now. If he can maintain that weight and show the necessary athleticism and hustle the Michigan coaches desire, he could earn an offer today.

Hill is another player who would probably commit on the spot if he earns an offer. As much as it would be nice to add a guy who loves Michigan so much, I don't see an offer coming forth at this time. There are more talented guys on Michigan's radar, and recently it seems that Tony Drake is more likely to be a RB than a slot. This class will probably only take three running backs, and if those three RBs are Hopkins, Drake, and Hill, that would be underwhelming. Michigan has strong chances with Eduardo Clements, Austin White, and Cassius McDowell, all of whom are more desirable than Hill, in my opinion (and in the coaches' opinions, since those guys have already earned offers).

The Lindsey twins from Inkster might be MAC-level talents, and an offer to one would probably mean an offer to both. They would probably both jump at the chance to play at Michigan, which would fill up our safety class immediately with middling talent. They might earn offers late in the process, but not today.

Schneider is the teammate of Michigan commit Christian Pace and could get offered if he shows well. It seems that every TE Michigan offers commits very quickly . . . to another school. So there's a shortage of available TEs with Michigan offers out there.

Ishmael Thomas is a 3-star inside linebacker from Detroit Renaissance. I'm assuming Lawrence Thomas, potentially the state's top 2011 player, is Ishmael's brother, since they both play football at Renaissance and are named "Thomas" but I haven't ever seen any confirmation of that theory. Anyway, if they are brothers, it would probably serve Michigan well in the Lawrence Thomas sweepstakes to offer Ishmael; Ishmael already has offers from Indiana, Iowa, and a bunch of MAC schools.

UPDATE: I've highlighted the confirmed attendees above; below are some notable additions to the list.

Dalton Barksdale, DE - Detroit, MI
Isaiah Byler, OT - Elyria, OH
Trey DePriest, LB - Springfield, OH
Alvin Fletcher, OG - Muskegon, MI
Josh Harrison, LB - Huber Heights, OH
Delonte Hollowell, CB - Detroit, MI (Class of 2011)
Kofi Hughes, QB - Indianapolis, IN
Braxton Miller, QB - Huber Heights, OH (Class of 2011)
Matthew Mosley, DE - Chicago, IL
Wayne Pettus, CB - Melvindale, MI
Andy Phillips, DE - Lansing, MI
J.D. Pride, QB - Brooklynn Park, MN
Verlon Reed, QB - Columbus, OH
Andrew Schofield, OL - Orland Park, IL
Miles Simpson, S - Independence, KY
Malik Stokes, QB - Philadelphia, PA
Dwight Trammer, LB - Inkster, MI (Class of 2011)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Slightly Attractive Michigan Girl of the Week: This Girl

My girlfriend.
My girlfriend attended the University of Michigan Women's Football Academy recently and we played some catch during a break in the action. For her safety, I will not release her name. I wanted to interview her for this post, but she's rather shy. Luckily, her smiling at me is worth a billion words.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"One step ahead of the grim reaper"

Equipment manager Jon Falk
challenges Mike Barwis in

Michigan's official site has a piece on the coaches' exercise habits. I think many fans are largely unaware of how much time major college coaches spend working per day. Barwis states that they often work 16- or 17-hour days, and I've read about many a coach who regularly sleeps on the couch in his office. These guys barely get enough time to sleep, let alone exercise . . .

. . . which is why it's important for superfans to have this handy dandy guide to where the coaches work out.

Defensive line coach Bruce Tall says, "I have a nice route that goes from State to Eisenhower and I loop back around and end up on Packard."

Linebackers coach Jay Hopson has a different route. "I can't stand running," says Hopson, "but I have to keep the heart going. I'll do a 5K that takes me around campus and back through The Diag, which is a beautiful part of the run and something I look forward to. I don't listen to music. I just take off and start running."

Sadly, Rich Rodriguez and some of the other coaches do the majority of their exercising at Schembechler Hall, which makes it increasingly difficult and potentially unlawful to stalk them.

However, if you're going to stalk them, put on your sprintin' shoes or get out the Schwinn. When I lived in Ann Arbor a few years ago, Lloyd Carr walked out of the Starbucks at State and Liberty. My excuse is that I was only wearing flip-flops (that's right, ladies - only flip-flops), but that dude left me in his dust like I was Minnesota and he was Carlos Brown.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Holmes Onwukaife, free agent

A couple days ago, I reported that Holmes Onwukaife committed to Michigan. There was a Rivals post from one of the mods stating he was committing and confirmation from Tom VanHaaren, MGoBlog's official recruiting resource.

We heard nothing official for a couple more days, and then there's this Onwukaife quote from Josh Helmholdt this morning:

"...the outside linebacker position is full, and they opted me to try the inside linebacker, but I dont think I'm going to."

I apologize for the error in my reporting.

That being said, I did call the switch to inside linebacker, so I've got that going for me, I guess . . .

2009 Summer Camp visitors

Monday - June 15, 2009
Marcus Beaurem, WR - Sterling Heights, MI
Greg Brown, CB - Fremont, OH (Class of 2011)
Ashton Broyld, QB - Rochester, NY (Class of 2011)
Calvin Caldwell, CB - Greenville, SC (Class of 2011)
De'Shon Dixon, RB - Flint, MI
Chris Frost, WR - Mathews, NC (Class of 2011)
Justice Hayes, RB - Grand Blanc, MI (Class of 2011)
Ronnie Howard, Jr, RB. - Sharon, PA
Bill Ivan, OL - Charlevoix, MI
Jeremy Jackson, WR - Ann Arbor, MI (Michigan commit)
Cornelius Jones, QB - Spartanburg, S.C. (Michigan commit)
Edwin Limmitt, RB - Warren, MI
Andrew Marcotte, OT - Williamsburg, VA
Kyle McAvoy, OL - Bloomington, IL (Class of 2011)
Luke McAvoy, OL - Bloomington, IL (Class of 2011)
Justin Moss, DE - Canton, MI
Drew Phillips, RB - Boaz, AL
Jewone Snow, LB - Canton, OH
Alexander Waters, CB - Hoover, AL
DeVante Woods, RB - Fremont, OH
Matt Zakrzewski, LB - Traverse City, MI
Anthony Zettel, OG - West Branch, MI (Class of 2011)

Bobby Swigert and Kurtis Drummond, Class of 2010 safeties who have been offered, both visited unofficially on Monday.

Tuesday - June 16, 2009
Dakota Anderson, TE – Xenia, OH
DeAnthony Arnett, WR – Saginaw, MI (Class of 2011)
Courtney Avery, DB – Lexington, Ohio (Stanford commit)
Marcus Beaurem, WR – Sterling Heights, MI
Trey Bennett, WR – Alexander City, AL
Tyler Brause, QB – Bucyrus, OH
Eduardo Clements, RB - Miami, OH
Garret Davis, OL – Ypsilanti, MI
Tevon Eatmon, TE – Bucyrus, OH
Kyle Foster, WR – Ann Arbor, MI (Class of 2011)
Kris Frost, WR – Matthews, NC (Class of 2011)
Christopher Gallon, WR – Oviedo, FL (Class of 2011)
Devin Gardner, QB – Inkster,MI (Michigan commit)
Justice Hayes, RB – Grand Blanc, MI (Class of 2011)
Nick Hill, RB – Chelsea, MI
Bill Ivan, OL – Charlevoix, MI
Shaquille Jefferson, DB – Lexington, OH
Percy Johnson, LB – Madison Heights, MI (Class of 2011)
Taiwan Jones, WR – North Branch, MI
Daniel Lindsey, RB – Inkster, MI
Nathan Lindsey, RB – Inkster, MI
Ricardo Miller, WR – Orlando, FL (Class of 2011)
Wayne Pettus, CB – Melvindale, MI
Drew Phillips, RB – Boaz, AL
Jerald Robinson, WR – Canton, OH (Michigan commit)
Terrence Stevens, DB – Inkster, MI
Johnathan Taylor, WR – Inkster, MI
Vorheese Zanders, WR – Inkster, MI
Anthony Zettel, OG - West Branch, MI (Class of 2011)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cornelius Jones, Wolverine

Spartanburg High School athlete Cornelius Jones committed to become a Michigan Wolverine on Monday night. Since he received an offer from Michigan in January, he claimed that the Wolverines were his leader. Jones finally visited Michigan's campus early this week for the Wolverines' summer camp and committed before he was to leave on Tuesday morning.

It's been difficult to track down specifics on Jones's statistics. Supposedly, in his first year playing quarterback in high school football, he threw for 1,100 yards and rushed for 656 more yards. According to this page from Maxpreps, Jones had only 1 passing TD and 11 interceptions. (EDIT: Jim Stefani's site says this: "As a junior QB, he completed 89 of 185 passes (48.1%) for 1,020 yards and 2 TDs and had 226 carries for 736 yards (3.3ypc) and 7 TDs") That doesn't look very promising, but I don't know how much to trust Maxpreps. Those statistics seem incomplete, and I wouldn't be surprised if (i.e. I'm hoping) those two categories were flip-flopped.

I have been unable to find video of Jones, so I won't offer much of a scouting report. According to Rivals, he threw very well at camp on Monday; he doesn't have the strongest arm, but he was accurate and threw a tight spiral. I'm guessing he has some fundamentals to work on, considering his junior year was his first year playing quarterback.

I would not be surprised to see the Wolverines continue recruiting the quarterback position. Uncommitted players like Munchie Legaux, Jeffrey Godfrey, and A.J. Derby are still out there, although Legaux and Godfrey's interests have fallen off and Derby has never seemed that thrilled with the Michigan offer. But Jones had stated a couple months ago that the Wolverines were recruiting him as an "athlete," not necessarily as a quarterback. At 6'2" and 197 lbs., he's a guy who could end up at safety or even linebacker; he also worked out at wide receiver at the camp on Monday.

I would also keep an eye on in-state schools like Clemson and South Carolina. Jones's coach stated that Jones looked in-state first but didn't get any offers, so he started searching outside the state. Nothing I've read about Jones indicates that he's still searching for those offers, but if he has a good senior season and the Tigers or Gamecocks see something they like, that could be a factor down the road.
(Picture via

Monday, June 15, 2009

Holmes Onwukaife, Wolverine

The commitment of Jordan Paskorz a couple weeks ago set off a Domino effect in Michigan's recruiting. The OLB/DE from Pennsylvania preceded a commitment from OLB/DE Ken Wilkins (also from Pennsylvania), which preceded a pledge from the newest member of the 2010 class, Holmes Onwukaife. Onwukaife is another LB/DE, albeit from Cedar Park, Texas, not the Keystone State.

Onwukaife played defensive end in a 3-4 scheme as a junior, meaning he was lined up on the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle much of the time. According to his coaches, he will switch to OLB in the 3-4 scheme, meaning he'll be playing more in open space and getting a clearer lane to the quarterback. Even as a DE last year, he racked up 50 tackles and 9 sacks. According to this Rivals article, Onwukaife is being recruited by Michigan to play OLB.

All those things being said, the Wolverines are beginning to run into the same issue at OLB (the "quick") as they are at wide receiver on offense; there is such a glut of talent (unproven talent, but talent nonetheless) that some of these guys must be headed for a position change or a decommitment. Not only does Michigan have commitments from Paskorz, Wilkins, and Onwukaife, but incoming freshmen Craig Roh and Anthony Lalota have been told they'll get a look at the Quick, and UM veterans Brandon Herron, Marell Evans, and Steve Watson are all currently vying for playing time at the position. That's eight guys fighting for one spot in 2010.

I'm wondering if the coaches also see an opportunity for Onwukaife to play inside linebacker. He's too small to play DE, so he's some sort of linebacker all the way. In watching his video, I don't really see a ton of potential as a rush linebacker. I think he would get consumed by good offensive tackles, and his first step isn't quick enough to beat those guys to the outside consistently. Onwukaife does a good job of disengaging from blockers and not taking them head on. He also has some very raw athleticism; he has an ability to chase down players from sideline to sideline and a crafty ability to sidestep blockers.

On the flip side, Onwukaife does what too many superior high school players do - he tackles with his arms. Instead of running through the ballcarrier, he makes contact only with his arms and tries to twist the runner to the ground rather than bury him into the turf. This is a technique that can be taught, so it's not a huge concern, but considering all of the failed arm tackles we saw at Michigan this past year, it's something that needs to be corrected before he sees the field in college. As I said above, I also question the quickness of his first step. On top of those things, Onwukaife also seems to loaf at times. Judging from his body language, I don't think it's laziness - I think he's a split second slow at diagnosing plays and since he was playing out of position, he seemed to be thinking too much, rather than reacting. But most of his faults seem to be technical, meaning that a couple years of learning should head him in the right direction.

All things considered, I believe Onwukaife could end up at inside linebacker. The lack of inside linebackers and the glut of outside linebackers make me think so. I don't know how Onwukaife would react to playing in the middle and diagnosing plays from that position, but he has the athleticism and the body to play at the second level. He's an intriguing prospect to me because he's so raw - he could be great or he could never see the field. Here's hoping it's the former.

Welcome to Michigan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ken Wilkins, Wolverine

The University of Michigan football team picked up a commitment today from OLB/DE Ken Wilkins, who hails from Trinity High School in Washington, PA. Wilkins grew up as a fan of Michigan but had never visited until the BBQ at the Big House over Memorial Day weekend. Apparently, Rich Rodriguez does BBQ like Kelly Brook does bikinis, because this is the third recruit who was wooed into the fold by that event (Jordan Paskorz and Christian Pace are the others).

Depending on whom you believe, Wilkins is either 6'3" and 244 lbs. or 6'4" and 225 lbs. . . . or some combination of the two. I'm going to pretend that he's 6'3 1/2" and 234.5 lbs. just so I can make everyone happy, but I'm 6'3" and 234, and he doesn't look as big as me (although I'm sure he's a much better athlete than me). He's also listed at a 4.61 forty yard dash, which is a lie if I've ever seen one. Pat White ran a 4.55 at the NFL Combine, so you're telling me a high school junior DE is just .06 seconds slower than White? Not a chance. Anyway, He made all-state as a junior when he racked up 89 tackles, 11 quarterback sacks, and 2 touchdowns on defensive returns, so that's positive.

According to recruiting services, Wilkins is being recruited as the "quick" OLB/DE hybrid for Greg Robinson's defense. I would not be surprised if Wilkins grows into a full-time defensive end. Not only does he already have good size, but he lacks the fluidity and change-of-direction skills that I think are necessary for dropping back into coverage.

In watching video of Wilkins, I noticed several things. First of all, he's not afraid to hit. Once he latches onto a ballcarrier, ballcarrier goes BOOM. He also seems to have good play recognition; he's not a player who seems to make bad reads but then compensates by overwhelming athleticism.

Unfortunately, I see more negatives than positives in regards to the "quick" hybrid. As I said above, Wilkins lacks agility in open space. I think Big Ten running backs and tight ends could have a field day if he's expected to cover them in pass routes. His three-point stance begins with his butt too low, meaning his first movement is straight up instead of bursting forward; he can beat offensive linemen and tight ends with pure strength, but that won't be the case at the next level. If he expects to be a good pass rusher, he'll need to play lower and work on disengaging from blockers. He does not use his hands well to fend off linemen. He has good straight-line speed for a defensive end, but not so much for a linebacker. He also does more hopping than shuffling and occasionally tries to leap over blockers and tackle ballcarriers after leaving his feet. Many of these issues are technical and can be corrected, but he has a lot of them.

Overall, I think Wilkins can be a productive player at the next level, but it won't be for a few years. His potential is evidenced by offers from WVU, Illinois, NC State, Wisconsin, Pitt, and North Carolina, all good-but-not-great programs. But I wouldn't expect him to emerge until he's at least a junior. If he hits any kind of growth spurt, I think we'll see him playing inside as a defensive end with his hand down.

(Image via

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dann O'Neill, ex-Wolverine?

A random poster on MGoBlog reported that Dann O'Neill has quit football; Brian from MGoBlog basically verified the original poster's story, so it looks likely that O'Neill will no longer be a Michigan Wolverine football player. This is currently just a strong rumor and has not been officially announced by Rich Rodriguez.

Coming out of Grand Haven, MI, in 2008, Rivals ranked O'Neill the #49 player and #10 offensive tackle in the country. He was listed at 6'8" and 291 lbs. and looked like Michigan's next monstrosity of a tackle.

Then along came Rodriguez. Rumors from practices suggested that O'Neill had a lot of refining to do to his technique and wasn't improving as quickly as many would have expected. Current rumors swirl that he just lacks a passion for the game; I don't know the validity of the rumor, but if you look at his pictures, he always looks sad. Not mean like I'm-going-to-eat-your-children-Mr.-Defensive-End. Not happy like I'm-going-to-eat-your-children-Mr.-Defensive-End-and-yum-they-will-be-tasty. Just perpetually sad like Jake Gyllenhaal.

Nowhere have I ever read a report that O'Neill was challenging for playing time. The tackles vying for time have always been Mark Ortmann, Perry Dorrestein, Patrick Omameh, Ricky Barnum, and Mark Huyge. Considering that Omameh and Barnum are both in the same graduating class as O'Neill, perhaps O'Neill didn't think he would get a fair shake. Regardless, if Barnum and Omameh both stick around, it's quite possible that O'Neill would have remained a depth player.

That being said, offensive line depth now becomes an issue again. Michigan's offensive line was thin last year, but we pulled in three good offensive linemen (Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, and Michael Schofield) to add to the six signees from the class of 2008. With Kurt Wermers and apparently O'Neill washing out so soon in their careers, the net gain from the 2009 class is essentially only +1. O'Neill's departure would leave us with twelve returning scholarship players to go with the three 2009 recruits, giving us a total of 15. Perhaps Barnum is more likely to stay outside at tackle now, which might necessitate further recruiting of interior linemen in the class of 2010.

Potential depth chart for 2009:

LT - Ortmann (5th), Dorrestein (RS Jr.), Lewan (Fr.)
LG - Schilling (RS Jr.), Barnum (RS Fr.), Washington (Fr.)
C - Molk (RS So.), Khoury (RS Fr.), Mealer (RS Fr.)
RG - Moosman (5th), Ferrara (RS Jr.), McAvoy (5th)
RT - Huyge (RS So.), Omameh (RS Fr.), Schofield (Fr.)
(Picture via

Monday, June 1, 2009

Christian Pace, Wolverine

The effects of the BBQ at the Big House this past weekend are starting to show. Not only did Michigan pick up a commitment from offensive lineman Christian Pace on Monday, but linebacker recruit Ken Wilkins has set an announcement date for next Tuesday.

Pace is a 6'4", 260 lb. interior lineman from Avon Lake, OH. Rivals has him listed as the #5 offensive center and a 3-star prospect. Pace has been a supposed Michigan lean for a while, and the Wolverines beat out Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan State, among others. Pace also has a teammate at Avon Lake High named Dan Schneider, a tight end who has earned offers from Colorado, Florida State, and Pitt, among others. Schneider attended the BBQ and though he doesn't have an offer from Michigan, he could earn one down the road.

Here's a weird quote from Rivals' commitment article:

"As for playing time, they've got that real good center – David Molk – but they told me both of their guys will be out of there when I am a freshman and it will be open competition."

This quote doesn't make sense. At first glance, it looks like the coaches must be recruiting him as a center. But incumbent starter Molk will be a redshirt sophomore in 2009, meaning he'll only be a redshirt junior when Pace arrives on campus.

That must mean the Wolverines are recruiting him as a guard, right? Starting guard David Moosman is a fifth year senior and . . . wait a minute . . . Steve Schilling will have one year of eligibility remaining when Pace gets to Ann Arbor.

Either the coaches were lying, or they meant there would be an open competition when Pace is a redshirt freshman. The latter makes more sense to me. Both Moosman and Schilling will be gone by then, and players like Ricky Barnum, Rocko Khoury, and Quinton Washington will be vying for the starting guard spots. True freshmen rarely play on the offensive line and if Pace truly is 6'4", he's a little bit tall for center. So I'm guessing the coaches are looking at him primarily for guard.

Looking at film, he's athletic enough for guard. He plays tackle in high school, but many top linemen do because it gives them a chance to collapse one whole side of the line. Pace does an excellent job of finishing his blocks; the running back is sometimes seven or eight yards downfield and Pace is still latched onto his man. When he gets a pancake block, he often just lies on top of his man, which is demoralizing for a defensive player. He drives his legs and doesn't just use his mass to move smaller defenders.

When releasing to the second level, Pace plays a little high. He can probably outmuscle players on the second level, but the problem lies in a lack of agility when linemen get out in open space and play too high. Playing lower will give him more power, but it will also give him a better opportunity to stay in front of those smaller, quicker linebackers. He also needs to work on lower body strength, as he gets stalemated by smaller players at times. But that will certainly be addressed as his body fills out and he enters a college strength and conditioning program.
Picture via