Other top offers: Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, S. Carolina, Wisconsin
On the heels of last week’s big announcement that USC running back Ty Isaac was transferring to Michigan, Brady Hoke picked up another big offensive talent in four-star offensive tackle Grant Newsome this morning. Despite holding offers from a number of major programs, including Alabama and LSU, Newsome narrowed his list down to two, Michigan and Penn State, and visited both last week. This morning, he tweeted a statement that announced that his decision had been made.
Newsome is ranked pretty similarly among the four recruiting services. All rate him a four-star and Scout ranks him the highest as the No. 20 offensive tackle, while ESPN has him the lowest at No. 25. As far as national rankings are concerned, 247 Sports ranks him the highest at No. 192, while Rivals has him at 199, Scout at 215 and ESPN at 235. They’re all pretty much in agreement about his size as well. Three of the four list him at 6’7″, while 247 has him an inch shorter. Rivals lists his weight as 280, but the other three have him at 290.
Scout lists Newsome’s strengths as explosion, feet, and size, and his areas for improvement as body control and balance, flexibility, and technique.
“Newsome is athletic, strong in pass protection and can get to the second level quickly in the running game,” wrote Scout’s Brian Dohn. “He is good drive blocking and does a nice job in pass protection. He has good length and is able to protect the edge, but does need to refine his technique. Newsome also gets to the second level quickly.”
Newsome is the second offensive lineman in Michigan’s 2015 class, joining Jon Runyan Jr., and is the seventh total commit in the class. With a heavy emphasis on recruiting linemen in the past few classes, Hoke will be able to give Newsome a redshirt and allow him to spend a couple of years learning the tricks of the trade before he’s thrown into action. That’s a good thing.
Michigan now has about eight scholarships remaining in the class, a number that could always go up between now and signing day, and should be set at offensive line.
Below is another installment of Drew’s Mailbag, which will run every two weeks throughout the offseason, answering any questions you may have regarding Michigan athletics. You can submit your questions to Drew on Twitter (@DrewCHallett) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Which [rivalry game] do you want the most if [Michigan football] can [win] only one? – Josh (@josh_muhleck)
Why only one? Shouldn’t Michigan expect to beat all three of Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State next season? This is Michigan, fergodsakes. The leaders and best. The champions of the West. Michigan does not accept anything but first place. Etcetera, etcetera. Yada yada yada.
Okay. Now that that is out of my system, let’s be realistic. The truth is that it is highly unlikely that Michigan will defeat all three of Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State in the fall. The Wolverines are staring up at all three rivals at the moment. The Buckeyes are 24-2 in two seasons under Urban Meyer. The Spartans have won at least 11 games three of the past four seasons, which includes earning an outright Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl victory last year. The Fighting Irish are one year removed from an appearance in the national championship game. And this has all happened while Michigan has managed to have only one season with more than eight wins since 2007. The task of beating all three of its rivals is difficult enough when Michigan is at its peak, having done it only twice since 1991. Not even the biggest Michigan homer can expect the Wolverines to pull it off this year given the current state of these four programs.
To make matters worse, Michigan does not even have the luxury of hosting one of its rivals at Michigan Stadium this season. Instead, the Wolverines must face all three of Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State on the road for the first time in school history. This is a nightmare scenario for a program that has struggled on the road against quality competition. Michigan has lost its last 10 true road games against teams ranked in the AP Top 25. The last road win against such a foe was against No. 2 Notre Dame in 2006. Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State likely will be ranked in the AP Top 25 when Michigan steps on the gridiron with them. The idea that Michigan will end this extended road drought by sweeping them is ludicrous. Michigan fans should consider just one win versus its rivals this year as progress.
If Michigan can beat just one rival this fall, the pick should be the one in Columbus (Detroit News)
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s break down which rival Michigan fans should most want the Wolverines to beat this season:
Notre Dame: Nothing would be sweeter than getting the last word in a rivalry that has all but disintegrated. Notre Dame stuck it to Michigan by notifying athletic director Dave Brandon just minutes before the two teams kicked off in 2012 that the Fighting Irish were putting the rivalry on pause after 2014. This was a shock to Michigan. Earlier that summer, Michigan and Notre Dame jointly announced that there would a two-year hiatus in 2018 and 2019 to allow the schools to schedule some new, fresh competition. It was supposed to be a short recess, not a permanent vacation.
Yet this fall will be the last Michigan-Notre Dame clash for the foreseeable future. Michigan reportedly has locked in its premium non-conference opponents through 2023. None are Notre Dame. With the Big Ten adding a ninth conference game to the slate in 2016, Michigan likely will not seek to add a second premium non-conference opponent. And Notre Dame’s affiliation with the ACC limits its availability. Therefore, a win in September would give Michigan bragging rights over the Fighting Irish for the next decade or two.
Nonetheless, Notre Dames is a non-conference rival. It always is enjoyable to watch Michigan’s quarterbacks torch the Fighting Irish, but the wins have no impact on its goal to win a Big Ten championship. Yes, wins against Notre Dame provide the Wolverines an added boost heading into the conference season. However, the significance of those wins pales in comparison to Michigan’s wins against conference rivals, Michigan State and Ohio State. Plus, unlike MSU and OSU, Michigan has had Notre Dame’s number recently, winning six of the last eight meetings. While Michigan would like to make it seven of the last nine, a win here is not nearly as important is would be later in the season.
Michigan State: In 2007, after a fourth-quarter, comeback win against Michigan State, then-Michigan running back Mike Hart claimed that Michigan State was Michigan’s “little brother.” Yet, since those infamous words were spoken, Michigan State has had the upper hand on Michigan. The Wolverines have suffered defeat in five of the six meetings against MSU that followed. Michigan has not had this much trouble with its in-state rival since before Bo Schembechler first arrived in Ann Arbor in 1969.
Accordingly, Michigan State has seen its stock rise to levels it has not experienced in decades. The Spartans are piling up wins, conference championships, and even their first Rose Bowl victory since 1988. Whether Michigan fans want to acknowledge it or not, Michigan State has become a Big Ten power under Mark Dantonio. Even recruits are taking notice as some of Michigan’s top high school talent has begun to favor the Spartans over the Wolverines. This is a trend that Michigan needs to stop in its tracks instantly. The first step to doing so is to beat the Spartans in East Lansing this season.
Ohio State: No matter how compelling an argument one can make that Michigan State is the most important game on Michigan’s schedule this season, no game is more important than “The Game.” A rival against whom Michigan has had a poor six-year stretch does not replace the rival with whom Michigan has created college football’s best rivalry as the most important on the schedule. Sorry. No chance. Yes, a Michigan win against Michigan State would be quite significant for U-M’s future prosperity, but it will never define an entire Michigan season like a win against Ohio State does.
So, if Michigan can beat only one rival this season, it is Ohio State. No ifs, ands, or buts. Of course, I would not mind if Michigan shocked the world and beat all three.
Should we consider [Michigan football commit] Shaun Crawford as good as gone? –Bill (@BillOffer)
Not yet. Initially, when it was confirmed that 2015 four-star defensive back Shaun Crawford had visited Notre Dame last weekend, it looked grim for Michigan. Brady Hoke has a well-publicized policy that discourages current commits from visiting other schools. The policy is simple, even if it has been misinterpreted repeatedly:
If a Michigan commit visits another school, the staff will no longer guarantee the prospect a spot in the class. This does not mean that Michigan will banish the prospect from being a member of its recruiting class, though, as some have claimed. In most cases, Michigan still will want that prospect to be in its class and “re-commit” as soon as he is sure he does not want to take anymore visits. But Michigan may look at other prospects to fill the new vacancy. Nothing is guaranteed. That is the risk of taking visits.
Despite a wandering eye, Crawford shouldn’t be considered gone just yet (247 Sports)
With Crawford’s visit to Notre Dame, his spot in Michigan’s class was no longer guaranteed. Although this does not result in an automatic decommitment, most Michigan commits who visit elsewhere tend to decommit because their spot is no longer guaranteed anyway. However, multiple outlets reported that Crawford wanted to remain a Michigan commit despite his wandering eye. It appeared he still favored the Wolverines, but did not want to be forced out by a policy he felt was hypocritical. But Crawford had yet to speak with Hoke about visiting elsewhere. Once Crawford had that conversation with Hoke, I expected that Crawford would decommit and that it would be the beginning of the end.
Yet, according to Rivals’ Josh Helmholdt ($), Crawford stated that he spoke with the Michigan staff on Tuesday night and still is a Michigan commit. Crawford also told Helmholdt that he will continue to look at other schools, which includes a trip to Ohio State soon. It appears that Crawford has gotten what he wanted: to remain a Michigan commit while looking around.
This is good news for Michigan. If Michigan had forced Crawford to decommit, the odds of him recommitting would have been slim to none. Crawford likely would have become frustrated with Hoke’s no-visit policy and disillusioned with the idea of playing football for him in Ann Arbor. Instead, Crawford maintains his commitment with Michigan, which indicates the Wolverines still are the leader for his services. Of course, this could change down the road if Notre Dame, Ohio State, or even Miami (FL) persuades him to make a switch. But this is the life of recruiting. And the odds of this happening would have been much higher if Crawford had decommitted from Michigan.
Plus, Crawford is a commit Michigan wants to keep. Most recruiting services consider Crawford to be in the top 100 of the 2015 class or just outside of it. He is a talented player from the state of Ohio that grew up a Michigan fan. This is not the type of recruit that Michigan can afford to lose right now, especially when Michigan has already lost two other top-50 commits from the 2015 class in running back Damien Harris and wide receiver George Campbell. At the moment, Michigan does not appear to have lost Crawford, but this will be a recruitment we will need to keep our eyes on the next few months.
If you have any questions related to Michigan athletics that you want answered in the next mailbag, please tweet them to @DrewCHallett on Twitter or email them to email@example.com.
Darrin Kirkland Jr. – LB |6-2, 228 | Indianapolis, Ind. | Lawrence North
ESPN: 4-star, #7 ILB
Rivals: 4-star, #6 ILB
247: 4-star, #7 ILB
Other top offers: Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Oregon, Ole Miss, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech
Michigan received its second commitment in a week when linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. pledged his intention to join the Wolverines’ 2015 class on Sunday afternoon. The senior-to-be from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis officially announced his commitment via Twitter.
Kirkland is a consensus four-star recruit rated among the top ten inside linebackers by all the major recruiting services. Rivals ranks him sixth at his position and the 183rd prospect nationally, while ESPN has him seventh and 247 Sports list him seventh. ESPN has him 256th nationally with a grade of 81.
Kirkland recorded 110 tackles and eight sacks in 2013 while earning first-team all-conference and Top 50 all-state honors. Scout lists his strengths as discipline, instincts, and tackling technique, while his area to improve is shedding ability.
In his scouting report, Scout’s Allen Trieu writes, “Very smart, instinctive player who always seems to be in good position and around the football. Takes good angles to the ball, rarely takes false steps and shows good closing ability. Has gotten stronger and thicker over the last year and needs to continue to do that.”
Kirkland reported receiving an offer from Oregon just two days ago and also had offers from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech, and a host of others.
The seventh commitment of Michigan’s 2015 class, Kirkland joins defensive backs Shaun Crawford, Tyree Kinnel, and Garrett Taylor, quarterback Alex Malzone, kicker Andrew David, and offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr.
Alex Malzone – QB |6-2, 200| Bloomfield Hills, Mich. | Brother Rice
ESPN: 3-star, NR
Rivals: 3-star, #16 QB
247: 3-star, #13 QB
Scout: 4-star, #15 QB
Other top offers: Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Miami (OH)
Just days after three Michigan players were selected in the NFL Draft Brady Hoke received a commitment from quarterback Alex Malzone. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native pledged his commitment to the Wolverines on Monday during a visit to campus and announced it via Twitter.
Malzone is rated a three-star by Rivals, 247 Sports, and ESPN and four-star by Scout. Rivals ranks him as the 16th-best pro-style quarterback in the class of 2015, while 247 has him 13th, and Scout 15th. There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks as to when the Michigan coaching staff would extend Malzone an offer. He was named the quarterback MVP of the Detroit Rivals camp in April. New offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier saw him throw on April 28 and subsequently extended an offer. Nussmeier Tweeted his excitement upon receiving Malzone’s commitment.
During the 2013 season for Brother Rice High School, Malzone went 190-of-281 for 2,794 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions, leading the Warriors to a perfect 14-0 record and a state championship. He was the Michigan Mr. Football runner-up to Ithaca quarterback Travis Smith, who is heading to Toledo this fall. Malzone was the only junior among the final four for the award.
Scout lists his strengths as accuracy/consistency, arm strength, and mental toughness, while saying his biggest area for improvement is his size. He’s listed as 6’2″ and 200 pounds. For what it’s worth, 247 lists him an inch taller and ESPN an inch shorter.
In his scouting report, Scout’s Allen Trieu states, “Has the arm to make all the throws. Mechanics can still use polishing, but he has good velocity on his passes, shows excellent timing and is very accurate. Shows the ability to make tough throws into coverage and has great touch down the field. Shows calm under pressure and lead several late game winning drives and has been in big game situations. May not have ideal dropback QB height, but is a gamer and a winner.”
Malzone reports offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Miami (OH), Ohio, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Wake Forest, and Western Michigan, though Stanford and Tennessee expressed interest after his standout performance at the Detroit Rivals camp. He visited both unofficially back in February.
Michigan now has six commitments in its 2015 class. Malzone joins defensive backs Shaun Crawford, Tyree Kinnel, and Garrett Taylor, kicker Andrew David, and offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr.
Mark Donnal | Wayne HS – Monclavia, Ohio | 6’9″, 200 | F
On Friday night, Sam had a chance to watch 2013 Michigan commit Mark Donnal play for Anthony Wayne (Ohio) against Maumee. Here is his evaluation of the recruit Michigan will be getting next season.
Strengths: If Nik Stauskas is the wing shooter that John Beilein craves in his offense, Mark Donnal is the stretch four/five man that the coach is drooling over. Donnal is listed at 6’10″ right now but is closer to 6′8″ with a body that is nearing college-ready. His arms are not extremely long, but he has the length to be a good defender and an adept blocker, and showed that with one huge rejection in the second half. And while Donnal is probably facing guys that are giving up four to five inches night in and night out, Maumee fans wore t-shirts reading “Three 6’6″ Mafia” to acknowledge the trio of 6’6″ big men on the Panthers’ roster.
The Three 6’6″ Mafia’s size, however, was simply no match for Donnal’s inside-out game. The 2013 Michigan signee did the majority of his damage down low early on, posting up in the heart of Maumee’s 2-3 zone and showcasing an array of moves to lead his team to a 34-21 halftime lead with 18 points and eight rebounds. His inside go-to move was a post catch with a quick spin to his right and easy finish on the left hand side of the bucket using nice touch off the glass. He also had one very nice spin to his left that resulted in a beautiful fade-away swish from the elbow. If Donnal can consistently make the shot, he will be nearly unstoppable regardless of who is guarding him.
Mark Donnal (photo by Sean Work, The Blade)
Donnal also proved that he has the muscle to finish through contact and was very comfortable from the free throw line, making six of his seven attempts there despite constant jeers of “OVERRATED” coming from the small contingent of Maumee students that made the trip to Whitehouse, Ohio. By the time it was clear that Donnal would not be stopped, the Maumee cheers turned into “UNDERRATED” chants from Anthony Wayne’s student section, and rightfully so. Donnal missed his only three-point look in the first half, content to do his work in the post, but as Maumee continued to pack in the lane in an attempt to stop him, Donnal simply slid outside and showcased the three-point shot that undoubtedly sparked Beilein’s interest in the first place.
Big men aren’t usually adept from beyond the arc, and even when they are, their shots are generally not pretty. That is simply not the case with Donnal, however, as his smooth stroke looks like that of a guard’s. His catch-and-release shot is very quick, he gets plenty of air under his feet when he shoots, and his shooting motion is as pure as I’ve ever seen from a big man. With the pick-and-roll featuring so prominently in Beilein’s offense these days, expect Donnal to be involved heavily in pick-and-pop actions, which are so difficult to defend with a big man that can shoot.
His athleticism was also on display in the second half when he threw down two rim-rattling alley-oops and then had a beautiful drive and monstrous dunk late in the game that left the whole backboard shaking until Anthony Wayne regained possession on the other end. Donnal is certainly not a great athlete, but he has enough bounce to scare you. He also runs the floor well and has great hands in transition, but his speed will never be a huge asset.
Along with his overall scoring touch, Donnal did a great job gaining inside position when shots went up on the defensive end and showcased a soft pair of hands, cleaning up every board that was within his vicinity. He wasn’t overly aggressive on the offensive glass, but his defensive rebounding was very advanced. On a couple occasions, Donnal also showed off some nice handles for a big man and even tried leading the break once or twice a la Mitch McGary, but stopped that when he turned it over one time and heard it from his coach.
Donnal’s court vision was another plus, as he was able to find the open man on the perimeter on a couple occasions when the inside was congested, leading to a couple assists. He was also featured prominently in the press-break late when his team was struggling to get the ball over half court. He used his vision and height to make a couple very nice outlet passes that led to easy press breaks.
Weaknesses: It is really tough to find any weaknesses in Donnal’s offensive game at this point. Three of his six misses were from deep, and one of those was a half-court heave at the buzzer. Every shot he took looked like it was going in, and most did.
Donnal is rated 99th nationally by ESPN and 107th by Rivals
The biggest thing Donnal will have to improve on-court is his defense. He never stood out as a defensive liability on Friday night, but he didn’t show the aggressiveness I would have loved to see on that end and only recorded one block. Donnal mostly sat at the bottom of Anthony Wayne’s 2-3 zone and was rarely challenged inside, but there were a couple occasions where his feet plodded and he was blown by or shot over by smaller guys. He didn’t record a single foul in the game, which shows me that he needs to be a little more assertive in going for blocks when he can.
There were also a couple of decision-making gaffes that Donnal will have to improve on in college. He turned the ball over three times in this game and will need to know when he can make the fancy pass or lead the fast break and when to slow things down, all which are easily taught.
Outlook: Donnal will arrive in Ann Arbor this summer welcomed by a jam-packed front court that already features Jordan Morgan, Mitch McGary, Jon Horford, and Max Bielfeldt. There is no question that Donnal brings a unique skill set into the equation, and one that especially Beilein covets, but at this point I would guess he redshirts to have a full year of college under his belt. It’s entirely possible that Donnal could work his way into the rotation, but a year in the weight room and practicing against experienced big men could do wonders for his game on both ends of the floor. After that redshirt year, Morgan will be gone, McGary could very well have developed enough to leave early, and Horford and Bielfeldt will be a redshirt senior and a redshirt junior, respectively. Donnal should really be able to work his way into the lineup at that point and should be the starting four or five (depending on who else Michigan signs) by the time his third year rolls around, at which point I expect him to be one of Michigan’s leading scorers and a force in the Big Ten.
Now that Michigan’s season has drawn to a close, the second season has ramped up to full steam. Recruiting is pretty much non-stop these days, but now that the coaching staff is able to devote the vast majority of its time to pulling in the best class possible, it’s a frantic race for the Feb. 6 finish line. That’s the day of National Signing Day, when all letters of intent have to be signed and submitted and become binding. But before we get there, several All-American games exist to showcase the top talent on the national stage. Some of the players are already committed, while some choose to make their announcements live on national television during the game. Still others opt to wait until National Signing Day to pledge their commitments. Here’s a look at the games and the current Michigan commitments that will be playing in them, as well as the targets that Brady Hoke’s staff hopes to lock in within the next month.
Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 | 5pm EST Under Armour All-America Game | St. Petersburg, Fla. | ESPN
The Under Armour All-America Game is ESPN’s version and features the Black (Highlight) team and the White (Nitro) team. Team Highlight is coached by former NFL head coach Herm Edwards, while Team Nitro is coached by Steve Mariucci.
Current Michigan commits:
#9 – LB – Mike McCray II (White)
#12 – QB – Shane Morris (White)
#17 – DT – Henry Poggi (White)*
#55 – OG – David Dawson (White)*
#57 – OG – Patrick Kugler (White)*
#72 – OT – Logan Tulley-Tillman (White)
#22 – S – Leon McQuay III (Black)
#1 – WR – Sebastian LaRue (White)
#4 – WR – Laquon Treadwell (White)
#78 – OT – Cameron Hunt (White)
#3 – WR – Alvin Bailey (Black) – Former Michigan target, committed to Florida
#32 – RB – Ty Isaac (White) – Former Michigan target, USC commit
#6 – CB – Cam Burrows (White) – Ohio State commit
#7 – ATH – Jalin Marshall (White) – Ohio State commit
#7 – CB – Gareon Conley (White) – Ohio State commit, former Michigan commit
#8 – TE – Marcus Baugh (White) – Ohio State commit
#97 – DT – Joey Bosa (White) – Ohio State commit
#34 – LB – Alex Anzalone (Black) – Notre Dame commit, former Ohio State commit
#60 – OT – Colin McGovern (Black) – Notre Dame commit
#70 – OT – Hunter Bivin (Black) – Notre Dame commit
#32 – LB – Trey Johnson (White) – Announcing commitment to either Ohio State, Florida, or Tennessee
As you can see, Team Nitro (White) has the majority of the players relevant to Michigan, so that’s the team to pay the most attention to. Of the uncommitted targets, Michigan isn’t in great position for any of them. McQuay was at the Wolverines’ Outback Bowl practice, but had this to say about where Michigan stands. He will make his decision known during the game. LaRue is an interesting one since he was committed to USC, but just decommitted. He reportedly wants to hear more from Michigan and has formed a bond with current Michigan commit Mike McCray. Hunt, a Cal commit, recently announced that he’s re-opening his recruitment and was offered by Michigan, but that was before David Dawson re-committed to the Wolverines, so it’s unclear as to whether the staff would take another offensive lineman. Treadwell seems extremely unlikely at this point. He favors Ole Miss, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, but with recruiting, you never know.
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 | 1pm EST U.S. Army All-American Bowl | San Antonio, Texas | NBC
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is traditionally considered the nation’s premier high school all-star game and is in its 13th year. It has featured eventual Heisman Trophy winners and more than 200 eventual NFL players. This year, the West team will wear yellow and the East team will wear black.
Current Michigan commits:
#87 – TE – Jake Butt (East)
#73 – OL – Chris Fox (West)
#27 – DB – Jourdan Lewis (West)
#14 – DB – Dymonte Thomas (East)
#27 – RB – Derrick Green (East)
#5 – DB – Kendall Fuller – Former Michigan target, Virginia Tech commit
#10 – LB – E.J. Levenberry – Former Michigan target, Florida State commit
#21 – S – Su’a Cravens – Former Michigan target, USC commit
#24 – RB – Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State commit
#9 – CB – Eli Apple (East) – Ohio State commit
#35 – K – Johnny Townsend (East) – Ohio State commit
#69 – OT – Evan Lisle (East) – Ohio State commit
#76 – DT – Michael Hill (East) – Ohio State commit
#72 – OT – Steve Elmer (West) – Notre Dame commit
#1 – RB – Greg Bryant (East) – Notre Dame commit
#74 – OL – John Montelus (East) – Notre Dame commit
#26 – LB – Doug Randolph (East) – Notre Dame commit
#88 – WR – Corey Robinson (West) – Notre Dame commit
#9 – LB – Jaylon Smith (West) – Notre Dame commit
#44 – LB – Mike Mitchell (West) – Announcing commitment to either Ohio State, Oregon, or Texas A&M
#17 – WR – James Quick (East) – Announcing commitment to either Ohio State or Louisville
Unlike the Under Armour game, Michigan’s four commits playing in this one are split between the two teams. Derrick Green is the big one to watch since he is reportedly leaning towards Michigan. He fueled speculation on Wednesday by posing for a photo with the four Michigan commits and then went on a Rivals chat and said Michigan does hold a slight lead. Ohio State and Notre Dame both have a number of commits playing in the game as well, and there are a couple that are making their announcements live during the game and have Ohio State among their finalists.
Another thing you may notice is the complete lack of Michigan State prospects on the rosters for these three games. Of the Spartans’ 15 current commits, only two are rated four stars by Rivals and the rest are three stars.
Apparently you can’t congratulate a friend on twitter…
For us fans, bloggers and media-types, Twitter is a valuable way to learn real-time news and connect with the athletes we all watch. But for those athletes and other celebrities, it’s a terrible invention that always seems to create controversy and get them in trouble. The rise and popularity of Twitter over the last couple of years has necessitated the NCAA adding social media bylaws into its recruiting rules, one of which was apparently broken by Roy Roundtree last night.
Roundtree tweeted the above congrats to Trotwood, Ohio linebacker Mike McCray who verbally committed to Michigan yesterday. Roundtree also attended Trotwood, and while he was not in high school at the same time as McCray, it’s highly likely he knew him from his association with the program over the last few years. Nevertheless, it’s considered a secondary NCAA violation.
While not a huge deal in and of itself – secondary violations of this sort happen all the time at every school – Michigan needs to tread lightly considering the probation brought on by Rich Rodriguez’s practice violations.
The exact same situation occurred last week when Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert tweeted a potential recruit, but an NCAA spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that those types of violations are considered “isolated” and “inadvertent.”
It’s a trivial rule, especially when a kid is congratulating another kid for making a big life decision, but the NCAA obviously feels that it has to police the public thoughts of college kids. I have no problem with Roundtree’s case, but Twitter is a problem in the case of recruits such as Yuri Wright and others.
Don’t trash talk through Twitter to counter someone who says he’s tougher than you…
Michigan center David Molk set off a minor fire storm last week with some comments made to the AnnArbor.com about his NFL Draft stock. Molk took offense to NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who said Molk is a “finesse” player and that will hurt his draft stock.
One of these guys was the Rimington Award winner
“He never played against me,” Molk said. “I don’t think a finesse player has ever had defensive linemen quit during a game; quit and give up because you’re hurting them. I don’t think a finesse player has ever done what I do, which is just ground kids out of the hole.”
Mayock might do well to remember Molk’s Sugar Bowl performance, essentially playing on one leg after hurting a foot in pregame. He can also reportedly squat over 700 pounds and bench close to 500. That’s one tough and strong SOB. He probably won’t get drafted in the first three rounds, but it won’t be because he’s a finesse player.
But that wasn’t the only thing that ticked Molk off. He also said that he didn’t like that Wisconsin center Peter Konz was ranked ahead of him and was a first-team All-American. He says that he’s better than both Konz and Ohio State center Mike Brewster.
“I have skills he (Konz) doesn’t have,” Molk said. “Obviously my strength is far better, I’m faster, I would say I’m smarter. Obviously, he’s an intelligent person, I’ve talked to him, but I just think I have a technique that’s unmatched (by him).”
About Brewster, he added, “He’s nowhere near me as a player.”
Brewster took offense to the comment and tweeted “If they are talking then you are doing something right. And Molk, keep my name out of your mouth…”
Molk knows first hand how much better he is than Brewster. Molk’s teammate, defensive tackle Mike Martin, dominated Brewster in Senior Bowl practices. The numbers at the NFL Combine didn’t hurt Molk’s case either. Molk ranked second among all players with 41 bench press reps, compared to Brewster’s 29 and Konz’s 18.
Molk may end up getting drafted below both Konz and Brewster, but one thing is for sure: whichever team does draft Molk will be getting a steal. You really can’t fault a guy for being confident in himself, especially an offensive lineman where a mean streak is often appreciated.
As everybody knows, Michigan is tri-Big Ten champions with rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. It took rooting for Ohio State on Sunday afternoon and a heroic effort by Buckeye senior William Buford to send Michigan into a frenzy for capturing a share of its first title in 26 years.
That is pure joy, pure exuberance by a group of underdog college kids ending a two-and-a-half decade drought, accomplishing the main goal it set out to achieve. But that didn’t stop ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb from raining on their parade. On his radio show on Monday, he criticized Michigan’s share of the title because the Wolverines didn’t play Wisconsin twice.
He does have a point that, in a perfect world, all teams in a conference should play the same in-conference schedule, but he’s off base in saying that because Michigan didn’t play Wisconsin twice it didn’t deserve a share of the title.
Michigan beat Wisconsin by 18 in its one meeting in Ann Arbor and Wisconsin went an unusual 5-3 at home in conference play, losing to Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa. Michigan went 4-4 on the road in Big Ten play – the same as Michigan State – so a Wisconsin win would be far from certain. On the other hand, Michigan’s other one-play teams were Iowa, who it lost to on the road, Nebraska, who it beat by 16 on the road, and Minnesota.
Michigan State didn’t have to play Illinois or Northwestern twice – two teams it lost to in its only meeting – as well as Iowa and Penn State. Ohio State didn’t have to play at Purdue, who it barely beat at home, or Iowa, Minnesota, or Penn State.
Obviously, each of the three missed out on potential losses by not playing an equal schedule, but that’s the conference’s fault, not Michigan’s. At the end of the day, the banner will be raised, the year 2011-12 will be added to the record books, and the 16 members of the Michigan basketball team will go on as Big Ten champions regardless of what an ESPN talking head says.
No sleep til Brooklyn…
Michigan and West Virginia agreed to a basketball game in the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York next season as part of the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival. It’s the only game not featuring a regional team – the others being Princeton vs. Fordham, Long Island vs. Seton Hall, and Manhattan vs. South Carolina.
A rendering of The Barclay Center in Brooklyn
This is definitely intriguing for multiple reasons, the obvious being John Beilein’s first matchup against his former school. Beilein put West Virginia basketball on the map, taking the Mountaneers to the Elite 8 in 2005, falling to Louisville in overtime.
Secondly, Michigan has a huge alumni and fan base in greater New York city and this will give them a chance to see the Wolverines in action. The only other opportunities are when Michigan plays in either the preseason or postseason NIT, the last being the 2008-09* season when Michigan beat UCLA and lost to Duke in Madison Square Garden.
Finally, it will be a good opportunity for Michigan to play a quality non-conference opponent on a national stage. There will be plenty of fanfare about the new arena, which is bringing the NBA’s New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn, and a Michigan win on that stage would only help with recruiting.
The Ohio takeover…
As mentioned above, Michigan got its 14th verbal commitment yesterday when Trotwood, Ohio linebacker Mike McCray revealed his intentions to play for Brady Hoke and co. McCray is a four-star, currently rated the 44th-best overall player by Rivals. You might remember Trotwood as being where some guys named Roy Roundtree, Michael Shaw, and Brandon Moore hail from. It’s a perennial power in western Ohio and Michigan is building itself quite the pipeline.
Michigan now has five commits from Ohio for the 2013 class, four of them currently rated four stars. Add those to the nine incoming freshmen from Ohio and one has to wonder what Jim Tressel is thinking right now, watching guys who he used to have in his pocket fleeing the state for “that school up north.”
The recruiting surge over the last month has been unheard of and has everyone talking about Michigan. Even Michigan State fans are starting to fear the return of the big two and little eight (ten).
* Michigan did play two games in Atlantic City, N.J. last season, but that’s not exactly in New York city.
Michigan had a great recruiting weekend by picking up eight commitments on Saturday and Sunday, but we’re still not done talking about this year’s recruiting class. You know, the players who will be suiting up for the Wolverines this fall, some of which will see the field come September. We’ve already profiled the offensive line, the running backs, thereceivers and tight ends, thedefensive line, and thelinebackers. Today, we culminate our recruiting profiles with the final position group – the secondary. Two of them are consensus four-stars and the other two consensus three-stars. They have an average position rating of 38. Let’s take a look.