Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2011 Offer Board Update

California safety/linebacker Woodson Greer

The 2011 Offer Board has been updated:

Added Woodson Greer (SS).

Brian Miller (TE) committed to Boston College.

Added Melvin Gordon (SB).

Jeff Heuerman (TE) committed to Ohio State.

Added Zach DeBell (OT).

Added Tanner McEvoy (QB).

Added Aaron Lynch (DE).

Added Valdez Showers (CB).

Jabriel Washington (CB) committed to Alabama.

Added Jeff Heuerman (TE).

Kevin Williams (NT) committed to Nebraska.

Added Deion Barnes (DE).

Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (SS) committed to Alabama.

Brennen Beyer (Quick end) committed to Michigan.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2010 Mock NFL Draft

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh

I'm no NFL draft expert, but I wrote up a mock NFL draft a few years ago and got more picks right than Mel Kiper, Jr. That's not to say that I know more than him; all it shows is that it's a complete and utter crapshoot. He got two picks right; I got four.

So since I'm going to be plopping myself on the couch tonight to watch the draft, I figured I might as well toss a few picks out there and see how my random guesses stack up against the experts'.

1. St. Louis: Sam Bradford - QB - Oklahoma
2. Detroit: Ndamukong Suh - DT - Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay: Gerald McCoy - DT - Oklahoma
4. Washington: Trent Williams - OT - Oklahoma
5. Kansas City: Russell Okung - OT - Oklahoma State
6. Seattle: Eric Berry - FS - Tennessee
7. Cleveland: Rolando McClain - ILB - Alabama
8. Oakland: Anthony Davis - OT - Rutgers
9. Buffalo: Jimmy Clausen - QB - Notre Dame
10. Jacksonville: CJ Spiller - RB - Clemson
11. Denver: Dez Bryant - WR - Oklahoma State
12. Miami: Dan Williams - DT - Tennessee
13. San Francisco: Bryan Bulaga - OT - Iowa
14. Seattle: Derrick Morgan - DE - Georgia Tech
15. New York Giants: Earl Thomas - S - Texas
16. Tennessee: Joe Haden - CB - Florida
17. San Francisco: Sergio Kindle - OLB - Texas
18. Pittsburgh: Mike Iupati - OG - Idaho
19. Atlanta: Maurkice Pouncey - C/OG - Florida
20. Houston: Ryan Matthews - RB - Fresno State
21. Cincinnati: Jermaine Gresham - TE - Oklahoma
22. New England: Jerry Hughes - OLB - TCU
23. Green Bay: Brandon Graham - OLB - Michigan
24. Philadelphia: Taylor Mays - S - USC
25. Baltimore: Kyle Wilson - CB - Boise State
26. Arizona: Sean Weatherspoon - OLB - Missouri
27. Dallas: Charles Brown - OT - USC
28. San Diego: Devin McCourty - CB - Rutgers
29. New York Jets: Tyson Alualu - DE - California
30. Minnesota: Kareem Jackson - CB - Alabama
31. Indianapolis: Rodger Saffold - OT - Indiana
32. New Orleans: Daryl Washington - OLB - TCU

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 NFL Draft Preview

Brandon Graham attempting to kill Tim Hiller

Brandon Graham - DE/OLB
Graham is certain to be Michigan's highest drafted player, projected by most "experts" as a mid-1st to early-2nd round pick. At 6'1" and 268 lbs., he's likely too short to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. There are very few 4-3 teams who like to play undersized ends like Graham. He's more likely to be drafted to play outside linebacker by a team that runs a 3-4 scheme. Luckily for him, there has been a recent uptick in the number of teams who run base 3-4 fronts. He has excellent straight-line speed and benches 495 lbs., according to Michigan strength coach Mike Barwis. He suffered from a lack of conditioning and discipline early in his career at Michigan, but the last two years have seen Graham turn into a leader on and off the field. The effort level is there now in a way that it wasn't when he was a freshman and sophomore.
Projection and potential destinations: 1st round between picks 12-29 (Miami, Seattle, New England, Green Bay, Arizona, New York Jets)

Donovan Warren - CB/S
After Graham, nobody is guaranteed to get drafted. Warren hurt himself with a couple slow 40 times, although his game speed was better than the reported 4.68 he ran at the NFL Combine. He's run so slow, in fact, that some teams have suggested Warren might fit better as a safety in the NFL. Warren left Michigan after his junior season, but his production was less than one might expect from a "shutdown" Michigan corner. He's a solid tackler with average ball skills. He offers no additional skills as a return man and, for the most part, doesn't have the athleticism to be a big threat on interception returns. His upside is low, but he performed well enough on the field (although not necessarily in workouts) to warrant a late round pick. If he plays cornerback in the NFL, I think it has to be for a team that plays a good deal of Cover 2. Otherwise, he's a free safety in the making.
Projection and potential destinations: 6th round (Tampa Bay, Chicago, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New England, Minnesota)

Zoltan Mesko - P
Mesko is generally considered to be the second-best punter in the draft. He gets excellent hangtime, which prevents him from outkicking his coverage. I always wondered if the rugby-style punts that Rich Rodriguez employs would hurt Mesko's ability to be a straight dropback punter, and for whatever reason, his workouts for pro teams have reportedly been subpar. Those two things might not be related, but it's interesting to consider. He was voted captain of Michigan's team in 2009, so he's likely not a Mike Vanderjagt-like bonehead of a specialist. His lack of kickoff experience might hurt him in the eyes of some general managers. On the plus side, he did 16 reps on the bench press at 225 lbs.
Projection and potential destinations: 7th round (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Miami, Denver)

Brandon Minor - RB
You will find no bigger fan of Brandon Minor than me. I love the way he runs the ball, his power, and the way he finishes runs. He also has underrated speed. Unfortunately, he rarely stayed healthy at Michigan, which hurt his production and surely NFL personnel people have flagged him for his injuries. Minor averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in his final two college seasons and he's an excellent pass blocker. I don't think NFL teams will spend a draft pick on a guy who spent so much time on the sideline, but if he somehow stays healthy, Minor is the type of guy who I could see having a 10-year NFL career. He reminds me of former Tennessee Volunteer and Detroit Lion Shawn Bryson, although Bryson had better speed.
Projection: Undrafted

Stevie Brown - SS
Brown came to Michigan as a cornerback/free safety tweener. By his senior year in 2009, he was an undersized strongside linebacker because he couldn't cover in open space. He's too indecisive to play free safety in the NFL and too small to play linebacker, but he could be a special teams contributor and backup strong safety on an NFL roster. His ball skills are somewhat lacking, but he ran a 4.55 at Michigan's pro day and he brings some kick coverage skills to the table. He is a solid tackler in limited space and he can be an effective blitzer, so I see him as an in-the-box safety type.
Projection and potential destinations: Undrafted (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Arizona, New York Jets, Baltimore)

Mark Ortmann - OT
Ortmann has excellent size at 6'6" and 295 lbs. He was a solid but unspectacular starter at left guard and left tackle in his final two years. He has long arms and decent mobility, and I always thought Ortmann would turn out to be an above average player. However, he's not the mauler that NFL general managers might be looking for. Even mediocre Michigan linemen have always been given a shot at the next level, so I expect Ortmann to get some looks. But ultimately he lacks the mobility and athleticism to play left tackle, and he lacks the strength and size to play right tackle. I could see him hanging around for a few years on practice squads or as a backup, but I don't see him being an NFL starter at any point.
Projection: Undrafted

Carlos Brown - RB
Brown was one of the most hyped members of Michigan's 2006 class due to his speed, but the production on the field never really matched the hype. While he has the speed to outrun even NFL players, Brown rarely makes it past the second level of defenders. In 20+ years of watching Michigan football, I can't remember a running back that seemingly went down with as little contact. Brown stops his feet on contact and almost never gains yardage on second effort. He does have good hands and could be a third down back, but to me, he's not a first- or second-string back. His ceiling seems to be as an end-of-the-bench, situational back who might be able to return an occasional kickoff.
Projection: Undrafted

David Moosman - OG
At 6'5" and 292 lbs., Moosman is a little small to be an offensive guard in the NFL. He needs to pack on some weight to have a chance. Moosman started 23 of his last 24 games at Michigan and split time between guard and center. Unfortunately, the team's struggles with him at center hint that a future snapping the ball might be out of the question. I think he's strictly a guard prospect. Moosman is decently athletic and was rarely beaten at the guard position. He's not someone who will wow you with his strength, but he has solid technique and he battles. To have a chance at sticking in the NFL, he needs to play for a zone running team like Indianapolis, Atlanta, or Washington.
Projection: Undrafted

Players are listed in order of their likelihood to be drafted, as determined by yours truly.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 Spring Game Visitors

Dallas Crawford (#4) visited from South Fort Myers, FL

The following class of 2011 players visited from around the nation to see Michigan's spring game held on Saturday:

DeAnthony Arnett - WR - Saginaw, MI (offered)
Deion Barnes - DE - Philadelphia, PA (offered)
Da'Shawn Bell - RB - Inkster, MI
Brennen Beyer - DE - Plymouth, MI (Michigan commit)
Greg Brown - CB - Fremont, OH (Michigan commit)
Chris Boles - OL - Toledo, OH
Shawn Conway - WR - Birmingham, MI (Michigan commit)
Dallas Crawford - CB - South Fort Myers, FL (offered)
Vincent Croce - DT - Olney, MD (offered)
Ben Duffie - DT - Eaton, OH
AJ Fox - K - Youngstown, OH
Demetrius Hart - RB - Orlando, FL (offered)
Trey Heren - QB - Saline, MI
Andre Hodge - LB - Matawan, NJ
Shawn Hoover - DT - Pittsgrove, NJ
Antoine Pozniak - LB - Oak Ridge, NC
Carl Roberts - OL - Cleveland, OH
Marques Stevenson - RB - Lake Orion, MI
Dwight Trammer - LB - Inkster, MI
Kendall Walker - LB - Cincinnati, OH
Jordan Walsh - OL - Glen Ellyn, IL (offered)
Sammy Watkins - WR - South Fort Myers, FL (offered)
Jamie Williams - RB - Hamilton, NJ
Kody Woods - OL - Indianapolis, IN
Anthony Zettel - OL - West Branch, MI (offered)

These class of 2012 prospects were also in attendance:

Drew Harris - RB - Exton, PA
James Ross - LB - Orchard Lake, MI

Most of Michigan's incoming class of 2010 was there, too. In addition to the seven early enrollees, other players were:

Courtney Avery - CB
Jibreel Black - DE
Drew Dileo - SR
Chris Eddins - DT (walk-on)
John Haarer - TE (walk-on)
Antonio Kinard - LB
Jordan Paskorz - DE
Marvin Robinson - S
Davion Rogers - OLB
Jeremy Ross - K (walk-on)
Jake Ryan - OLB
Baquer Sayed - WR (walk-on)
Ray Vinopal - S
Ken Wilkins - OLB
DJ Williamson - WR

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brennen Beyer, Wolverine

Who cares about Brennen Beyer (#7)? I think #4's knee is bending the wrong way. Who does he think he is? Joe Theismann?

Plymouth High School (Plymouth, MI) defensive end Brennen Beyer committed to Michigan on Thursday evening. Beyer is a 6'4", 215 pounder who had offers from Michigan State, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, and UCLA, among others. It seemed as thought Notre Dame was his #2 school, although the race wasn't very close. He's the #18 defensive end to Scout and a 4-star prospect on their site; ESPN and Rivals haven't ranked him at this point.

Beyer grew up a Michigan fan and wanted to jump when the Wolverines were the first program to offer. But he and his parents made a smart, calculated decision to visit some other schools and not make a rash choice. In the end, though, his heart was in Ann Arbor.

Beyer is being recruited to play the Quick end position currently held by Craig Roh. He's only 215 lbs. right now, but you can see in his legs and torso that he has plenty of room to fill out. He joins a long list of other players who will be vying for playing time in 2011, but ultimately, he'll likely redshirt as a freshman. I expect him to stay at the Quick end position because he has quite a bit of natural ability as a pass rusher, but he could also play tight end or inside linebacker if the situation calls for it.

Beyer has excellent explosion off the ball. He's tall, long, and has good straight-line speed. He generally has good pad level. Beyer almost always initiates contact and uses his hands well to deflect blockers. He plays with a somewhat reckless manner in which he finds the ball and then goes all-out to chase the play down, even if he's on the backside; he's the definition of a high-motor player. For the most part, he diagnoses plays quickly.

As with almost every high school player, he needs to get bigger and stronger; he should be at least 235-240 lbs. before playing in college. Beyer is overaggressive at times and gets himself out of position. Has a tendency to turn his shoulders, allowing blockers to get into his chest. He does not drive his feet when making contact with the ballcarrier; stronger runners will gain extra yards after contact. He needs to refine his pass rushing moves, because he uses virtually no technique aside from his speed. Beyer rarely uses his strength to overpower blockers or deliver a strong initial blow. He also needs to work on his three-point stance; his athleticism could be maximized by getting his butt a little higher and using gravity to get off the line a split second quicker.

In many ways, Beyer reminds me of Craig Roh. Both are long, explosive, and relentless. Both are somewhat susceptible to taking the run game head on. Roh was a little more refined coming out of high school and, despite being a little bigger, has a little more athleticism. Roh will be a junior by the time Beyer arrives on campus and, presumably, he'll be backed up by a fifth year senior Brandon Herron and a variety of sophomores and redshirt freshmen (Jake Ryan, Davion Rogers, Ken Wilkins, Jordan Paskorz). Barring a rash of injuries, defections, or position changes, Beyer will likely redshirt in 2011 and have a real shot at contributing in 2013 after Roh graduates.

TTB Rating: 82

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2011 Offer Board Update

The 2011 Offer Board has been updated.

Added Matt Hegarty (OT).

Added Savon Huggins (SB) and Terrell Chestnut (CB).

Added Corey Marshall (DE).

Christian Westerman (OT) committed to Texas.

Added Brandon Phelps (CB) and Anthony Chickillo (DE).

Kris Harley (NT) committed to Virginia Tech.

Added Darian Cooper (NT).

Added Demetrious Nicholson (CB).

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Lloyd Carr Experience

Lloyd Carr at Rackham Auditorium

One of the reasons I haven't been posting much is that I've been preparing to take a couple trips, including one to Michigan for this past weekend. The event was the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club's 150th reunion, a gathering for the university's oldest student organization. Yep, I was in the Glee Club in college.

Without venturing too far into the events of the weekend, a banquet was held on Friday night at which former U of M head coach Lloyd Carr spoke. The emcee of the program was Bob McGrath, who you might be familiar with if you've ever watched Sesame Street. The evening's announcer was Carl Grapentine, whose voice you might be familiar with if you've ever attended a Michigan home game. Both McGrath and Grapentine are former members of the UMMGC. Carr not so much.

This is my second close encounter with Coach Carr. The first came when I was walking down State Street as an undergrad. He walked out of Starbucks at the corner of Liberty and State ahead of me. I followed him as inconspicuously as I could, but the only way I would have caught him would have been if I were incontinent and searching for a bathroom. I always walk faster in those situations. Anyway, he ducked into Nickel's Arcade and I can only imagine he was crouched around the corner waiting to clothesline his stalker. Afraid of the impending whiplash, I crossed the street and headed across the Diag.

On Friday night, Coach Carr spoke for about fifteen minutes. Approximately 800 people had arrived at Rackham Auditorium to hear him speak. Part of his speech was about his connections to the Glee Club, but much of it - as one might expect - was about football.

Coach Carr told a story about former UMMGC director Willis Patterson, who directed the group from 1969 to 1975. When Carr was head coach, he invited Patterson to teach his players how to sing "The Victors," Michigan's fight song. After ten years of teaching the team the song, Patterson once said to Carr, "You know, those players just aren't very good at singing that song."
Carr responded, "Well, who's teaching them?"

According to Carr, each year Patterson would arrive with a play drawn up that he thought Carr should run. When relating the story, Coach Carr said, "And as little as I know about singing beautifully, Willis knows even less about football."

After the jokes ended - and there were plenty of them - Coach Carr settled into speaking about football. He spoke extensively about surrounding himself and hiring people who were passionate about football. He said that was the most important thing he looked for when hiring and recruiting. While he spoke extensively about being passionate, I couldn't help but think about all the criticism he's taken over the last few years for the "demise" of the football program. He's been accused of "losing his fire" for the game and been blamed for recruiting players who couldn't handle Rich Rodriguez's tough new regime.

I have no idea whether Coach Carr lost his competitive edge. Just because he spoke about "passion" doesn't mean he was passionate in the last few years of his career. But what I've always admired about him was the way he acted in public and supported his players. He acted with class. He refused to campaign for a shot at a national championship in 2007. Outside of his office in Schembechler Hall, he had a table with a dictionary and a stack of note cards; anytime a player wanted to speak with him, they had to find a new word and write the definition on the note card. This is a man who was interested in developing young men and setting an example, not just churning out good football players.

Even before I saw him speak, Coach Carr was a man for whom I would run through a brick wall. That feeling was only strengthened by seeing him speak Friday evening.

At the end of the evening, the UMMGC's accompanist hopped on the piano bench and started playing "Varsity" and "The Victors." The Glee Club's current conductor, Dr. Paul Rardin, directed 430+ Glee Club alumni in a powerful rendition. Toward the end of the song, Dr. Rardin stepped down into the crowd and pulled Coach Carr onto the Rackham Auditorium stage. The evening ended with everyone in attendance, including Coach Carr, pumping their fists in the air and singing "Hail, hail, to Michigan, the champions of the west!"

It was a great evening.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I came across this video created by The Wolverine Blog, and it made me wish the season started today. This was such an exciting day for Michigan fans, even if it was only Western Michigan.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Programming note


As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting much lately. There are several reasons, so I'll share in the off chance that you're interested.

First, I have a few trips coming up in the very near future. As a high school teacher, I have to do lesson plans and grading to make up for the time that I'll be missing. This is sucking up much of my time, since my first upcoming trip coincides with the end of the quarter and, therefore, I need to grade every paper prior to leaving.

Second, I have been making a concerted effort to work out more. I've been spending 1.5 hours at the gym six days a week in an attempt to burn off some extra body fat that accumulated when I was eating too much fast food during football season. So far I've lost 13 lbs. The goal is 30. (I'm pretty embarrassed by the above picture, but I thought posting such a flabby photograph of myself might inspire me to get into better shape.)

Third, I've been so busy watching the NCAA basketball tourney that my leisure time has been diminished a bit on the weekends.

Fourth, I've taken on some additional duties at work, not only in the teaching realm but coaching as well. We're undergoing some staff cuts (for example, the 9th grade football program has been eliminated for budgetary reasons), and I've taken on some administrative duties as a teacher.

Anyway, more frequent posting will resume when time allows.

Go Blue!