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Posts Tagged ‘UCLA’

New in Blue: 2016 WR Dylan Crawford

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

Dylan Crawford

Dylan Crawford – WR | 6-1, 186 | Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. – Santa Margarita Catholic
ESPN: 4-star, #23 WR Rivals: 4-star, #25 WR 247: 4-star, #21 WR Scout: 4-star, #23 WR
Other top offers: USC, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, Oklahoma, ND, Tennessee, Utah

Michigan’s impressive recruiting class continued on Saturday afternoon with a commitment from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. receiver Dylan Crawford. The 6-foot-1, 186-pounder chose the Wolverines over home-state schools USC, UCLA, and Stanford during the first quarter of the US Army All-American Bowl.

Crawford is a consensus four-star by the four major recruiting sites. All four have him ranked between the 21st and 25th best receiver in the class. Although Rivals ranks him the lowest at his position (25th) they have him the highest nationally as the 115th-best overall recruit in the class. Scout and 247 both list Crawford 131st overall and ESPN has him 179th.

According to MaxPreps, Crawford caught 54 passes for 993 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2013 for St. Francis High School. He transferred to Santa Margarita Catholic for his senior season this past fall where he caught 51 passes for 822 yards and seven touchdowns from four-star Stanford quarterback commit K.J. Costello.

247 Sports ranks Crawford’s best skills as agility and route running, giving him rankings of nine for both, with yards after catch, change of direction, ball skills, and hands right behind with eight each. Size (six) is his lowest attribute, though he’s currently about the same size as Michigan freshman wide receiver Grant Perry, who caught 14 passes for 128 yards and a touchdowns this season.

With a loaded receiving corps returning for Michigan next fall, Crawford will have the opportunity to redshirt and learn from Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh, and Perry before battling for a spot in 2017.

New in Blue: 2015 tight end/defensive end Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Tyrone Wheatley Jr(

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. – TE/DE | 6-6, 260| Manlius, N.Y. – Canisius
ESPN: 4-star, #12 TE Rivals: 4-star, #13 TE 247: 4-star, #13 TE Scout: 4-star, #25 DE
Other top offers: Alabama, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska

The new Michigan coaching staff is keeping it in the family with a commitment from legacy recruit Tyrone Wheatley Jr on National Signing Day. The son of the former Michigan great and current running backs coach pledged his commitment on Wednesday afternoon after a long recruitment that came down to Michigan and UCLA.

Wheatley is a consensus four-star recruit according to the four major recruiting sites. ESPN ranks him as the 12th-best tight end in the class, while Rivals and 247 rank him 13th. Scout ranks him as the 25th-best defensive end in the class. Scout’s Brian Dohn had this to say about Wheatley:

“Wheatley plays tight end and defensive end, but he looks more comfortable and natural on defense. He gets off the ball quickly, but sometimes gets upright too quickly. Wheatley has the size to overpower an offensive tackle, and also can use his speed to get around the edge. In addition, he can run a play down from behind and is versatile enough to move inside and play defensive tackle if he adds the weight.”

While Michigan missed out on top tight end target Chris Clark when he chose UCLA this morning, Wheatley is likely to wind up at tight end. It’s a deep and talented position for Michigan with junior Jake Butt, redshirt sophomore Khalid Hill, and redshirt freshman Ian Bunting. At 6’6″, 260, he has the size to play right away, and he will have a chance to work his way into playing time in Harbaugh’s tight end-friendly offense.

Frank Clark reflects on his past, growing as a leader

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Clark(Patrick Barron, The Michigan Daily)

For many kids growing up in the inner city, sports are a way out. Michigan defensive end Frank Clark is a testament to that.

Clark grew up in Baldwin Village, a section of Los Angeles filled with gangs, drugs, and violence, which served as the setting for the Denzel Washington film Training Day.

Clark’s mom struggled with drug addiction but worked hard to provide for her sons, working several jobs at a time and moving from place to place, Clark recalled. By the time he was a teenager his best friend had been shot and killed in a drive-by, and Clark was in danger of heading down the path toward gangs, drugs, and violence that so many around him had taken.

Training Day was set in Clark's hometown of Baldwin Village, Calif.

Training Day was set in Clark’s hometown of Baldwin Village in Los Angeles, Calif.

“(That was) the road that every typical guy growing up in my neighborhood and inner city Los Angeles was going down,” Clark said. “And the one thing that I had to identify quickly, with the help of my mother, was if I’m any good at doing what I do. And that’s my sports.”

Clark ran track because his mother wanted him to, but football became his passion and his escape. He would walk an hour and a half each way to Inglewood for football practice.

‘You’re good. You don’t need to be in the streets,” his mother told him. “You don’t need to be out in the hood. You don’t need to be out all night. But you do need to recognize how good you are at what you do.”

Once he realized that, and once he started seriously playing football, everything else in life came together. His mom put him on an airplane headed for Cleveland and he never looked back.

“Basically, she made the decision that I needed to move to Cleveland because I needed a better life,” Clark said. “It was her wise decision to put me on a plane…I’m sitting there on this plane just looking around scared for my life, so I ordered some peanuts and Sprite and went to sleep. And I was in Cleveland the next day.”

Clark’s father and aunt were on the receiving end of his move and enrolled him at Ohio State pipeline, Cleveland Glenville High School. There, he excelled at football under the tutelage of head coach Ted Ginn Sr., who served as the father figure Clark had missed during all those years in Los Angeles.

“He continues to play, to this day, a big role in my life,” Clark said of Ginn. “(He) just guides me the right way, and having that person there that understands football, and he’s been around it for so many years, and can guide you and show you the way to go so you can get to where you want to be.”

That place was Michigan, even though the in-state Buckeyes showed some interest in him late in the recruiting process. Clark said he didn’t care much for Ohio State; it was either Michigan or one of the schools back home, USC or UCLA. And he didn’t want to go back.

“One thing about Los Angeles is you’ve got a lot of hate there,” Clark explained. “A lot of people don’t like when you’re doing good and a lot of people don’t want to see you be successful…One thing about it is the neighborhood I lived in, you never knew when you could wake up again. You never knew when you could see another day.”

And he hasn’t been back since.

“Just going there, it isn’t like just walking outside here in downtown Chicago,” Clark said. “It’s like, ‘I’m going to have to walk outside. Hopefully there’s not a drive-by. Hopefully there’s not a shootout.’ That’s the environment that I chose not to go back to. I chose not to go back to my boys in my neighborhood, especially while I’m in college, because they won’t really understand me.”

Clark's mother sent him to Cleveland where he played for Ted Ginn Sr. at Glenville High

Clark’s mother sent him to Cleveland where he played for Ted Ginn Sr. at Glenville High (

As a freshman, Clark showed promise, and it culminated with an interception in the Sugar Bowl to help the Wolverines top Virginia Tech. But that offseason, Clark ran into trouble, stealing a laptop from a dorm room. He was arrested, and because the laptop was valued at $1,800, convicted with a felony that carried a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison and a $3,000 fine. Clark had left L.A. to escape prison or worse and now found himself faced with that possibility in Ann Arbor.

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act allowed Clark to avoid prison by fulfilling probation obligations, and Clark is thankful for his teammates that helped him refocus.

“Just being around the guys, from my early struggles as a freshman, just hearing them talk to me and tell me, ‘Frank, we need you. We can help you. We can seriously use you on the field,’ Clark recalled. “Things like having a person to be there for me, that was a first for me in my life. Coming where I come from, there aren’t too many people like that. There aren’t too many good people like that, people who are genuinely going to be there for you. And those are the guys on my team that were there for me.”

Two players in particular helped point Clark in the right direction. Former Michigan linebacker Brandin Hawthorne took him under his wing.

“He basically told me the ins and outs of making it at Michigan the right way,” Clark said. “Because the way I was doing it at the beginning was the wrong way. There were times when I was like ‘Man, I’m tired. I don’t know if I want to go to that workout. I’m tired, I think I’m going to be late,” and he basically showed me the way to a point where it was like if you’re going to do things right you need to do them right all the time. If you’re going to do things wrong, we don’t need you here. And that’s simply how it went.”

The other was former Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, who led by example.

“I’m sure if you’ve seen him play, (you know) Jordan was leadership on the field,” Clark said. “(He was a) great player. His story speaks for itself. As a walk-on, he comes in and starts for one of the greatest universities in the world. Jordan’s story and everything he’s been through, I just have so much respect for him for that, and that allowed me to listen to everything that he had to say. And I’m still listening to it to this day.”

Clark has come a long way since his freshman year, both on and off the field. Last season, he led the team with 12 tackles for loss and finished second with 4.5 sacks. Now a senior, he’s providing the leadership for the younger guys the way Hawthorne and Kovacs provided it for him.

“I’m the type of leader that you can respect based on work ethic and I have a big voice,” Clark said. “I’m going to talk to players, I’m going to let players know what they’re doing wrong, I’m going to bring players up when they’re doing wrong. I’m not going to bash them, and I’m going to correct players when they’re doing right, because you’re never at 100 percent at the end of the day.

Clark wears a white sleeve on one arm to honor his best friend who was killed when they were kids (Carlos Osorio, AP)

Clark wears a white sleeve on one arm to honor his best friend, Henry Smith, who was killed in a drive-by shooting when they were kids (Carlos Osorio, AP)

“I’m also a great listener and I think every leader is a great listener. I listen and I ask freshmen, ‘Do you have anything to say?’ instead of leaving them out. I ask the coaches after they’re done with meetings or when they say it’s a players meeting, ‘Do you have anything to say?’ I want everyone’s input so I know what I can do on my end of the bargain to make our group as a defense the best defense we can possibly be.”

Listening to Clark speak now, you would have no idea he grew up surrounded by gangs and drugs and is one of the lucky few to have made it out. Now he’s on track to graduate, and whether the NFL is in his future or not, he hopes to devote his post-football career to working in inner cities and trying to help out the kids that he once was.

“I want to work with children from neighborhoods like I grew up in,” Clark said. “Children in poverty-stricken neighborhoods where there’s not a lot of money, you don’t see the fancy cars. I want to work in those types of neighborhoods, where people say, ‘Oh, it can’t be done here’ or ‘Oh, they can’t make it out of neighborhoods like this,’ like inner city Chicago, like inner city Detroit, inner city Los Angeles, inner city Miami, neighborhoods where other people are scared to go into. I don’t fear neighborhoods. I’ve seen the worst. I’ve seen it all. I want to go somewhere where I can show kids like I was growing up that there are other ways out instead of the streets, instead of drugs, and things like that.”

But first, there’s one more season to play, and Clark is ready to put the pads back on and join his teammates for one more Big Ten title push. He says he doesn’t set personal goals for sacks or tackles, but he does have one big goal he would love to be fulfilled this fall: to get his mother, who sacrificed her personal relationship with her son in order to give him a better life, to a game.

“That’s one of my goals for the year,” Clark said. “No matter what happens. No matter what she can and can’t do, one of my number one goals this year is to get my mother down to a game. This is my senior year, my last year, and I think it would be one thing that she’ll really love.

“My mother hasn’t seen me play in a long time. She told me that she’s watched a few games, but not physically seen me play. My mother hasn’t seen me one time in the physical state I’m in in four years. The last time I’ve seen her was almost 10 years ago. So you could say that’s a long time, and just seeing her come to a game – oh, man, probably senior night or something like that, my last game – man, that would be the best thing ever.”

Countdown to kickoff: 89 days

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Countdown to kickoff-89_edited-1

Your bye week Saturday viewing guide

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Michigan’s second bye week in four weeks provides another great chance to relax, get your fall yardwork done, and ultimately get ready for the final five-week stretch of the season. All five of the next Saturdays feature big-time matchups for Michigan, each of which is a must win if the Wolverines want any chance of winning the Big Ten this season. This stress-free Saturday sets up nicely to scout each of the five teams Michigan has left on its schedule with a nice slate of games. Here’s your viewing guide.

Early games

At noon, two Big Ten games are worth at least casually keeping your eye on. They won’t necessarily be good games, but three of the four teams involved are among Michigan’s next four opponents. Iowa hosts Northwestern (12pm, Big Ten Network) in a battle of 4-3 squads. The Wildcats began the season 4-0 and battled Ohio State punch-for-punch in Evanston, but a combination of factors including injuries to several of their top playmakers have them reeling with three straight losses. Suddenly, one of the Legends Division favorites from the beginning of the season is now relegated to playing spoiler.

The most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner, and with Christmas just two months from today, you might be starting to think about what you or that special someone wants for Christmas.

If you’re a golfer or if you’re buying a gift for your dad, brother, cousin or friend who is a golfer, I’ve got the perfect gift idea: a custom scorecard holder from Stanley Mayhem. These are all fully handcrafted and customizable and make a truly unique gift for the golfer who has it all.

The guy who makes them, Greg Dibble, uses only genuine leathers and has many different styles and colors for you to choose from. You can choose the lacing, stamping, and pretty much whatever you want to make it a one-of-a-kind gift.

Several tour pros, caddies, and top amateurs around the world use Greg’s custom scorecard holders and you can too. Simply click the Stanley Mayhem logo above or follow this link to take advantage of Maize and Go Blue’s special 10 percent discount. Keep in mind that since these are all completely hand made, you’ll want to get your order in quickly in order to get it in time for Christmas.

Following the Iowa game, Northwestern has Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan state in three consecutive games before finishing the season at Illinois, so beating Iowa is a must-win for the Wildcats to be assured of bowl eligibility. But that’s easier said than done in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes won the last matchup at home and are always tough to beat at home, especially in late fall when the wind starts whipping.

Iowa has shown to be pesky this season, playing Michigan State and Ohio State tough each of the last two games, so while neither of these teams is likely to win the Legends, Michigan will have to get through both of them – on the road – to have a chance.

The other noon game to keep an eye on is #24 Nebraska at Minnesota (12pm, ESPN). The Cornhuskers may be the Legends Division favorite at this point, but as Derick described on Wednesday, they have beaten just one team this season that has a winning record (4-3 Wyoming). The other four have come against winless Southern Miss, FCS school South Dakota State, and Big Ten bottom feeders Illinois and Purdue. The one team with a pulse Nebraska has faced, then-16th ranked UCLA, stomped the ‘Huskers 41-21 in Lincoln.

Minnesota is coming off a big win at Northwestern with head coach Jerry Kill taking a leave of absence. The Gophers likely don’t have enough in the tank to hang with Nebraska, but after last weekend’s big road win they’ll at least be playing with confidence.

Outside of the Big Ten there aren’t really any other big early games worth watching. Wake Forest vs #7 Miami (12pm, ESPNU) and #16 Texas A&M vs Vanderbilt (12:21pm, ESPN3) are the only others even remotely good, the latter because the Aggies are a potential bowl opponent.

Afternoon games

The afternoon slate features a few games worth watching, most notably Michigan State at Illinois (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2), only because the Spartans are Michigan’s next opponent. It’s not likely to be much of a battle as MSU’s top-ranked defense should be able to handle Illinois’ offense that was held to just 25.5 points per game against Nebraska and Wisconsin the past two weeks. Conversely, Michigan State’s offense, which hasn’t been much to talk about this season should be able to move the ball and score against the Illini’s 98th-ranked scoring defense which allows over 32 points per game. The Spartans shouldn’t have much trouble beating Illinois, but it will be a good chance to get acclimated with them if you haven’t seen them play yet this season.

Outside of the Big Ten will feature a few solid matchups worth paying attention to. Tennessee visits #1 Alabama (3:30pm, CBS), #2 Florida State hosts NC State (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2) and #9 Clemson visits Maryland (3:30pm, ESPN). Tennessee isn’t likely to pull off the upset in Tuscaloosa, but the Vols have shown some fight this season under Butch Jones, including last week’s win over #11 South Carolina and taking then-#6 Georgia to overtime earlier this month. Similarly, Florida State shouldn’t have trouble dispensing of NC State, but an unranked Wolfpack squad has beaten a ranked FSU team four times since 2005, including a 17-16 upset last season. Florida State is coming off a huge primetime win at Clemson and faces #7 Miami next week, so this could be a classic trap game. Finally, the team that was on the losing end of that Florida State win last Saturday, Clemson is licking its wounds as it travels to College Park to face a 5-2 Maryland squad. The Terps, however, were blasted by FSU (63-0) and last week by Wake Forest (34-10).

Another one to at least flip over to during commercial breaks is #10 Texas Tech at #15 Oklahoma (3:30pm, FOX). The Red Raiders are a surprising 7-0 and the Sooners’ only loss of the season was two weeks ago at the hands of Texas. Both of these teams are potential bowl opponents if Michigan either gets a BCS at-large bid or limps through the rest of the season falling to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl or Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

Evening games

The evening set of games features several ranked foes squaring off. The one that most pertains to us is Penn State at #4 Ohio State (8pm, ABC). The Nittany Lions had a week off last week after beating Michigan, while Ohio State got an unexpected fight from Iowa. With two weeks to prepare, could Penn State pull off a big upset in Columbus? The big play threat of Christian Hackenberg throwing to Allen Robinson and the rest of Penn State’s receivers is sure to test Ohio State’s beleaguered secondary, but the Buckeyes will look to put pressure on the freshman quarterback. Expect a close game in what’s likely to be Ohio State’s final test before visiting Ann Arbor on Nov. 30.

The biggest battle of the day will be #12 UCLA at #3 Oregon (7pm, ESPN). The Bruins lost to 13th-ranked Stanford last week and will be looking to bounce back in Eugene against the high-powered Ducks.

Two other games feature battles of ranked teams: #21 South Carolina at #5 Missouri (7pm, ESPN2) and #6 Stanford at #25 Oregon State (10:30pm, ESPN). Missouri is the surprise of the SEC this season, but a team many feel is overrated at fifth in the BCS standings. South Carolina is coming off a disappointing loss at Tennessee, looking to pull off an upset of its own and stay in the SEC East race. Stanford got upset by Utah two weeks ago and now finds itself a game behind Oregon State and Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. If UCLA is able to upset the Ducks, this game could either put Oregon State in the conference lead or leave a three-way tie, and both teams still have to play Oregon in the final month of the season.

Michigan Hoops Preview: UCLA Bruins

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

#15 Michigan v. UCLA
Wednesday, Nov. 23
7:30 p.m. ET
4-1 Record 1-3
66.0 Points Per Game 68.0
55.6 Scoring Defense 71.8
124-for-265 (46.8%) Field Goal % 98-for-234 (41.9%)
97-for-236 (41.1%) Def. Field Goal % 103-for-212 (48.6%)
35-for-114 (30.7%) 3-point % 23-for-74 (31.1%)
29-for-89 (32.6%) Def. 3-point % 31-for-60 (51.7%)
47-for-75 (62.7%) Free Throw % 53-for-73 (72.6%)
9.4 Free Throws Made/Game 13.3
32.4 Rebounds Per Game 34.0
30.4 Opp. Rebounds Per Game 31.5
12.6 Assists Per Game 14.0
11.4 Turnovers Per Game 13.3
5.0 Steals Per Game 8.5
3.4 Blocks Per Game 5.5
G – Tim Hardaway (16.6)
G – Trey Burke (12.2)
Leading Scorer G – Jerime Anderson (13.7)
G – Tyler Lamb (10.5)
F – Jordan Morgan (4.6)
F – Evan Smotrycz (4.4)
Leading Rebounder F – Travis Wear (5.3)
C – Joshua Smith (5.5)

Michigan closes out its trip to Hawaii on Wednesday evening against the UCLA Bruins in the consolation game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. UCLA fell 72-56 to 14th-ranked Kansas on Tuesday night.

The Bruins are now 1-3 on the season with losses to Kansas, Loyola Marymount, and Middle Tennessee. The lone win was a 92-60 thumping of hometown favorite Chaminade in the opening round of the Maui.

UCLA was ranked 17th to start the season in the AP poll, but turned in lackluster performances against Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee to start the season, promptly pushing them out of the polls.

After losing Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee to the NBA (what NBA?), the Bruins are led by guards Jerime Anderson, Tyler Lamb, and Lazeric Jones.

Anderson is averaging 13.7 points per game so far this season, and scored 14 against Kansas on Tuesday night. Lamb is averaging 10.5 and had his best game of the season so far against Kansas, pouring in 15 points.

Overall, the Bruins are allowing opponents to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and 52 percent form three-point range. That bodes well for Michigan, a team that likes to shoot threes. UCLA’s guards are talented, but don’t have the experience and shooting prowess that Duke’s guards provided, so Hardaway and Burke should be able to hold their own.

In the third game in three days, it may come down to whichever team has enough gas left in the tank and I like Michigan’s chances of playing a half court game and solid defense to emerge from Hawaii with a third place finish in the tournament.