The Great Heisman Campaign: Martin v. Koger

Mike Martin burst onto the scene as a true freshman, getting significant playing time in the defentive tackle rotation alongside Terrance Taylor and Will Johnson. Now, he’ll be the main man in the middle. If he can progress from what he accomplished last year, his increased playing time should give him the opportunity to make a lot of plays for the Michigan defense. The Wolverines will need him to perform if they want to have a competent defense.

When Rich Rodriguez came to Michigan, there was fear that he wouldn’t know how to use the tight end position, since he hadn’t in his years at West Virginia. Kevin Koger, however, managed to be too much of a weapon to keep off the field, and Koger caught a touchdown for the Wolverines against Wisconsin. The Michigan staff collaborated with Oklahoma’s in the offseason, and looks to use the tight end much more this year. With Koger the main man at the position, he could see a lot more action come his way in 2009.

Mike Martin v. Kevin Koger

  • 3 Mike Martin (58%, 402 Votes)
  • 6 Kevin Koger (42%, 289 Votes)

Total Voters: 691

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The poll will remain open for 7 days, closing at 5PM next Tuesday. Have your heart set on a particular candidate? Try to sway others in the comments. The full bracket is visible here.

Other Open Polls:
Forcier v. Patterson.
Stonum v. Roundtree.
Graham v. Banks.
Robinson v. Woolfolk.
Odoms v. Shaw.

Completed 1st Round Poll:
Minor defeats Sheridan, 952-53.
Van Bergen defeats Gibbons, 516-201.
Warren defeats Stokes, 646-113.
Schilling v. Emilien, 487-248.
Mesko defeats Ortmann, 634-85.
Cissoko defeats Toussaint, appx. 460-270.

Posted under Football, Personnel

2009 Opponent Preview: Wisconsin

Wisconsin Offense


Wisconsin started last year with something of a quarterback controversy. Dustin Sherer eventually wrested the job away from Allan Evridge halfway through the year, and kept it until the end. Sherer will be a 5th-year senior in 2009, and redshirt junior Scott Tolzien will back him up. Youngsters Curt Phillips and Jon Budmayr will provide depth.

Wisconsin QBs Passing 2008
Name Comp Att % Yds TD Int Yds/Att
Dustin Sherer 104 191 54.45 1389 6 5 7.27
Allan Evridge 71 132 53.79 949 5 5 7.19
Scott Tolzien 5 8 62.50 107 0 1 13.38
Wisconsin QBs Rushing 2008
Name Rush Yds TD Yds/Rush
Dustin Sherer 49 19 1 0.39
Scott Tolzien 4 13 1 3.25
Allan Evridge 23 4 1 0.17


Sherer was the (very slightly) better passer of the two main guys last year, and if he knows from the beginning that he’ll be full-time starter this year, the situation will probably improve even more. Sherer has a lot of experience in the system, and the Badgers are known for having quarterbacks who are more manager than game-changer.


PJ Hill departs from the “fat Wisconsin running back” position, only to be replaced by John Clay. Clay was the team’s second-leading rusher in 2008 as a redshirt sophomore. He’ll be backed up by junior Zach Brown, with Bradie Ewing getting a couple carries. Incoming freshman Montee Ball will get some carries.

Wisconsin RBs Rushing 2008
Name Rush Yds TD Yds/Rush
PJ Hill 226 1161 13 5.14
John Clay 155 884 9 5.70
Zach Brown 55 305 3 5.55
Bill Rentmeester (FB) 11 50 0 4.55
Bradie Ewing 4 14 1 3.50
Chris Pressley 3 6 0 2.00
Wisconsin RBs Receiving 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
PJ Hill 7 72 0 10.29
Zach Brown 8 47 0 5.88
Bill Rentmeester (FB) 1 3 0 3.00
John Clay 1 2 0 2.00


Though Hill was Wisconsin’s leading rusher last year, Clay is widely regarded the better runner. As long as he can keep his weight down, he can be a pretty productive back. Michigan has routinely been able to stop the fat Wisconsin backs, having more trouble with the speedy guys, so Zach Brown might be a bit more of a danger to Michigan.


5th-year senior Garrett Graham was Wisconsin’s leading receiver in the repeated absence of Travis Beckum, who is the only departing player from the Badgers; receiving corps. Junior David Gilreath, redshirt junior Isaac Anderson, and redshirt sophomore Nick Toon will likely be the primary wide receiver targets.

Wisconsin Receivers Receiving 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Garrett Graham (TE) 40 540 5 13.50
David Gilreath 31 520 3 16.77
Isaac Anderson 21 286 0 13.62
Travis Beckum (TE) 23 264 0 11.48
Nick Toon 17 257 1 15.12
Kyle Jefferson 14 189 0 13.50
Lance Kendricks (TE) 6 141 0 23.50
Maurice Moore 5 61 0 12.20
Mickey Turner (TE) 4 46 1 11.50
Elijah Theus 2 17 1 8.50
Wisconsin Receivers Rushing 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rush
David Gilreath 25 285 2 11.40
Isaac Anderson 3 21 0 7.00


Wisconsin has used the TE pretty well in the past couple years, and they’ve gotten used to using Graham instead of the perpetually-injured Travis Beckum. He should be a big piece of the puzzle this year. Toon was one of the surprises of the spring, and he may take on a bigger role in the offense this year. He’s the tall split end that’s a complement to the shorter, speedy Gilreath and Anderson.

Offensive Line

Lots of hits here. Guard Kraig Urbik was drafted in the 3rd round of the NFL draft, and tackle Andy Kemp and guard Eric VandenHeuvel are also gone from the front. Returning will be left tackle Gabe Carimi, a redshirt junior who missed part of last year with injury, center John Moffit, another redshirt junior, and redshirt sophomore tackle Josh Oglesby, who filled in for both VandenHeuvel and Carimi when they were injured. True Sophomore Jake Current may step in to play one of the guard spots, with redshirt junior Bill Nagy likely filling the other slot.


The Badgers lost three starters on the front line, which will hurt any team. This is especially true when all three were signed by NFL teams, and one was a third-round pick. Still, the Badgers had injuries last year forcing their youngster to get some playing time, so they won’t exactly be stepping in completely green. Considering the Badgers’ history of turning out great offensive linemen, there will definitely be a step back in 2009, though maybe not as great as it seems.

Offensive Analysis

The Badgers lose a couple important, but likely replaceable pieces. With the QB situation a little more settled, and John Clay likely to be more than able to take over as the leading rusher, the offense could be able to move the ball a bit. The offensive line lost its best player in Craig Urbik, but the Badgers always seem to be able to plug in some new guy and have serious success running the ball. As per usual, they will be a run-run-play action team.

Wisconsin Defense

Defensive Line

Wisconsin loses a few of key players from the front line, with DE Matt Shaughnessy the most talented, going in the third round of the NFL draft. DT/DE Mike Newkirk and and DT Jason Chapman are also gone. Senior DT Dan Moore will return, joined by redshirt senior Jeff Stehle. Redshirt sophomore Louis Nzegwu will be one of the defensive ends, along with 5th-year O’Brien Schofield. The depth on DL isn’t exceptional, but it’s there.

Wisconsin Defensive Line 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack
Mike Newkirk 59 9 4
O’Brien Schofield 40 8.5 5
Matt Shaughnessy 40 8 4
Jason Chapman 39 5 2
Dan Moore 19 3 0
Jeff Stehle 12 2 1
Louis Nzegwu 6 0 0
Brendan Kelly 5 0 0
Patrick Butrym 5 1.5 0
Joshua Neal 1 0 0


The DL was nicked by graduation, and the depth here might struggle to start the year. If Shaughnessy’s pass rush can be replicated without him on one end, and a penetrator in the middle, the defensive line will only take a slight step back. Still, a step back is probably in order.


Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy may not have led the Wisconsin linebacking corps in tackles, but they were certainly two of the most important pieces in this unit. Jaevery McFadden will play his 5th year alongside a pair of new starters. Culmer St. Jean and Erik Prather have the most experience, and the redshirt junior and 5th-year senior are likely the starters.

Wisconsin Linebackers 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Fum Int
Jaevery McFadden 85 2.5 0 0 0
DeAndre Levy 73 9.5 5 1 1
Jonathan Casillas 62 6 1 0 1
Culmer St. Jean 23 0 0 0 1
Erik Prather 18 1.5 0 0 0
Blake Sorensen 14 2 0 0 0
Elijah Hodge 9 1.5 0 0 0
Ryan Flasch 9 0 0 0 0
Tony Megna 1 0 0 0 0


McFadden had the most tackles on the team last year, but Levy was most definitely the team’s best linebacker. Replacing a 3rd-round pick and a free-agent signing will definitely be a significant blow to this unit. If the backups can contribute right away, don’t be shocked, as they’ve both been in the system for a while. However, they don’t have the same NFL hype that the outgoing players did.

Defensive Backs

The Badger secondary should be stacked. The team only loses Allen Langford, and though he was a good player, the experience that another year in the system and game time earned by the other players should improve their play in 2009. Redshirt junior Jay Valai returns at strong safety (with backup by 5th-year Aubrey Pleasant), and 5th-year Chris Maragos, a Western Michigan transfer, took over at free safety by the end of last year, replacing classmate Shane Carter. The corner positions will likely be manned by redshirt junior Niles Brinkley and redshirt sophomore Mario Goins.

Wisconsin Defensive Backs 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Int
Jay Valai 57 4 1 0
Allen Langford 47 1 0 2
Chris Maragos 45 0 0 1
Niles Brinkley 40 1 0 4
Shane Carter 37 0.5 0 2
Aubrey Pleasant 26 1.5 0 0
Mario Goins 20 1 0 0
Antonio Fenelus 13 0 0 0
Prince Moody 9 0 0 0
William Hartmann 7 0 0 0
Devin Smith 6 0 0 0
Kevin Claxton 5 0 0 0
Tyler Holland 3 0 0 0
Andrew Lukasko 1 0 0 0


There is a ton of experience returning in the secondary for the Badgers, and a pretty good wealth of talent, as well. Several of the Badgers have started games at their positions, even the backups. This should be a very strong unit for the Badgers, and their pass defense, which was 24th in efficiency last year, could improve.

Defensive Analysis

The front lines for Wisconsin are weaker than the secondary, which looks like it will be obscenely good this year. If the pass rush can keep up without a few key pieces up front, opposing teams could have trouble moving the ball through the air. Fortunately for Michigan, the run game is their strength, and that should be the (relative) weakness of the Badger D.

Special Teams

Specialists Phillip Welch, a redshirt sophomore kicker, and Brad Nortman, a true sophomore punter, both return for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Kicking 2008
Name XPM XPA % FGM FGA % Long
Phillip Welch 39 40 97.50 20 24 83.33 52
Wisconsin Punting 2008
Name Punt Yds Avg
Brad Nortman 66 2761 41.83


Welch was pretty good last year, and considering it was his freshman year, he could continue to improve. The case is the same for Nortman, though he was slightly below-average in the Big Ten in net punting last season.

Overall Analysis

The Badgers have some rebuilding to do on the front lines on both side of the ball. For a team that molds itself in the classic Big Ten model of running the ball and stopping the run, that could be a problem. However, most everywhere else looks to be a strength, with receivers on the offense and secondary on the defense being the crowning achievements. Will Wisconsin make a slight move away from the classic pounders to take advantage of team strengths? Given my opinion of Bret Bielema, I’m inclined to say no, but he can’t be that bad of a coach, right?

Posted under Analysis, Football

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The Great Heisman Campaign: Odoms v. Shaw

Martavious Odoms burst onto the scene last year as a true freshman. He led Michigan in receiving yards, though he didn’t end up scoring a single touchdown through the air. His first touchdown as a Wolverine instead came on a punt return against Purdue. Odoms looks to be Michigan’s top option at the slot again this year, though he’ll have several more teammates at the position as well.

Michael Shaw struggled through 2008 with some lingering injuries, but still managed to make a mark in Michigan’s backfield. He finished third on the team in rushing yardage, and is a very quick player who can make a difference both from the backfield and the slot. If Shaw can remain healthy, he could break out behind Michigan’s improved offensive line in 2009.

Martavious Odoms v. Michael Shaw

  • 2 Martavious Odoms (62%, 458 Votes)
  • 7 Michael Shaw (38%, 284 Votes)

Total Voters: 742

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The poll will remain open for 7 days, closing at 5PM next Monday. Have your heart set on a particular candidate? Try to sway others in the comments. The full bracket is visible here.

Other Open Polls:
Cissoko v. Toussaint.
Forcier v. Patterson.
Stonum v. Roundtree.
Graham v. Banks.
Robinson v. Woolfolk.

Completed 1st Round Poll:
Minor defeats Sheridan, 952-53.
Van Bergen defeats Gibbons, 516-201.
Warren defeats Stokes, 646-113.
Schilling v. Emilien, 487-248.
Mesko defeats Ortmann, appx. 640-90 (numbers not final).

Posted under Football, Personnel

Hoops Recruiting: Tim Hardaway Jr. Goes Blue

Florida SG Tim Hardaway, the son of former NBA player Tim Hardaway… uh… Sr., has committed to Michigan’s basketball class of 2010. He is a spot-up shooter who has a smooth stroke from the outside. I would posit a guess that Michigan is looking for at least a true wing in this class, likely a scorer along the lines of Mt. Pleasant’s Trey Zeigler or Casey Prather from Tennessee.

Alas, I am an ignoramus when it comes to basketball recruiting, and I direct you to UMHoops for further education.

Posted under Basketball, Recruiting

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Recruiting Update 6-29-09

2010 Michigan Recruiting Board.

PA QB Malik Stokes (younger brother of 2009 signee Je’Ron Stokes) visited Michigan for summer camp, and though he didn’t leave with an offer, picked one up from the Chippewas when he continued to the CMU camp. Central coach Butch Jones is a former RR assistant, and if Stokes ends up selecting the Chippewas, both brothers will be in the state of Michigan together. Malik also has said that the Michigan staff will keep him in mind in case something happens with either of the existing commits.

Removed FL RB Roy Finch, who committed to Oklahoma. It will be interesting to see if this might have an effect on CA RB Brennan Clay, who is also committed to the Sooners. Obviously, Oklahoma has room for 2 running backs in the class, but Clay might be slightly turned off by another prospect (and a similar one at that) at the same position. Clay’s Michigan ties to QB Tate Forcier may give the Wolverines chance to get back in the sweepstakes for his services.

2010 FL WR Quinton DunbarFL WR Quinton Dunbar plans to take one of his officials to Ann Arbor. He also intends to visit West Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida. He won’t make a comitment to any school until National Signing Day. (Photo courtesy of SoFlaFootball).

Be ready to remove PA WR Alex Kenney. ThaRinger.com reports on what is perhaps the least aesthetically-appealing website in history that Kenney will likely commit to Penn State early this week. This is not all that surprising, since Kenney is from State College and his parents reportedly work at PSU.

SC WR/DB Nick Jones visited South Carolina over the weekend along with his high school teammate, RB Marcus Lattimore. While Lattimore is likely long-gone for the Wolverines, Jones continues to list Michigan among his favorites.

MN OL Seantrel Henderson visits both South Carolina schools, and doesn’t mention Michigan among his “offers that stand out” to Phil Kornblut.

2010 NY DE Dominique EasleyRecruiting fluff on NY DE Dominique Easley. The Wolverines are on his offer list, but he didn’t offer up anything else about Michigan in the article. Easley, who plans to trim his current list of schools down to 5 or 6 by the end of the summer, is pictured at right.

MD LB Josh Furman will take one last visit this summer, to Michigan (info in header). He’s already been to a few other schools, but Ann Arbor is the only visit he plans to take before his football season starts back up.

Georgia has secured a commitment from a teammate of FL LB Jeff Luc. LB Deon Rogers had mostly MAC-level offers… and Georgia saw fit to offer him and accept a commitment. This is likely only relevant to Michigan because of how it might affect the Luc recruitment. Even that has seemed to hit the back-burner lately, as Luc news hasn’t been flowing as freely as it was earlier in the spring. Michigan is expected to be one of Luc’s officials, and getting a top-ranked prospect on campus always gives the team a chance to land them.

OH LB Jordan Hicks has trimmed his list to 6, and Michigan is not among them. It was never particularly likely that the Wolverines would get into his recruitment, since he seemed to favor Ohio State, Texas, and USC very strongly from the start. I’ll leave him on the board for now, since his teammate, TE Alex Smith, seems to have a pretty strong interest in Michigan (Duane Long ruminates on his likelihood of getting a Buckeye offer, as well). However, don’t expect Michigan to have a great chance at Hicks.

Removed FL LB Javarie Johnson, who committed to Miami of Florida over the weekend.

MD S Lorenzo Waters has received a Miami of Florida offer. At this time, he appears to be favoring Wake Forest, Michigan, and the Hurricanes.

Removed GA S Alec Ogletree, who committed to Georgia.

Removed FL CB Lorenza Wood, who, as predicted, committed to Notre Dame on Friday.

Posted under Football, Recruiting

The Great Heisman Campaign: Robinson v. Woolfolk

Terrence Robinson is a redshirt freshman from Klein Oak, Texas. After expecting to contribute last fall, having injuries keep him off the field the entire time was not an easy task for this competitor. He was a quarterback in high school, though at Michigan he will play the slot. With Michigan having more than one slot receiver available (and a young quarterback), Robinson will probably be seeing his fair share of passes come his way.

Troy Woolfolk is a junior defensive back who has played mostly corner in his Michigan career, but is expected to contribute at safety this year. He is the son of Michigan legend Butch Woolfolk, and Michigan fans certainly recognize the speed that probably entails. Woolfolk is entering his first year as a major contributor, after playing mostly special teams in his first two years.

Terrence Robinson v. Troy Woolfolk

  • 4 Terrence Robinson (56%, 323 Votes)
  • 5 Troy Woolfolk (44%, 253 Votes)

Total Voters: 576

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The poll will remain open for 7 days, closing at 5PM next Sunday. Have your heart set on a particular candidate? Try to sway others in the comments. The full bracket is visible here.

Other Open Polls:
Mesko v. Ortmann.
Cissoko v. Toussaint.
Forcier v. Patterson.
Stonum v. Roundtree.
Graham v. Banks.

Completed 1st Round Poll:
Minor defeats Sheridan, 952-53.
Van Bergen defeats Gibbons, 516-201.
Warren defeats Stokes, 646-113.
Schilling defeats Emilien, appx. 486-248 (numbers not final).

Posted under Football, Personnel

Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings 6-28-09

Compare to the previous edition of the recruiting class rankings. Action since last rankings (caution: there was a ton. Michigan is the only school that didn’t get a commit or 4):

6-21-09 Iowa gains commitment from Austin Vier. Indiana gains commitment from Xavier Whitaker.
6-22-09 Wisconsin gains commitment from Frank Tamakloe. Northwestern gains commitment from Trevor Siemian.
6-23-09 Ohio State gains commitment from Taylor Graham. Wisconsin gains commitment from Jake Irwin.
6-24-09 Illinois gains commitment from Dexter McDonald. Wisconsin gains commitment from Dallas Lewallen.
6-25-09 Notre Dame gains commitment from Andrew Hendrix. Notre Dame gains commitment from Blake Leuders. Michigan State gains commitment from Joe Boisture. Indiana gains commitment from Ryan Phillis. Purdue gains commitment from Charles Torwudzo. Purdue gains commitment from Jeremy Cornelius.
6-26-09 Penn State gains commitment from Evan Hailes. Notre Dame gains commitment from Lo Wood. Minnesota gains commitment from Matt Eggens. Iowa gains commitment from Mike Hardy.
6-27-09 Northwestern gains commitment from Rashad Lawrence. Purdue gains commitment from De’Ron Flood. Purdue gains commitment from Ryan Isaacs.

By the way, if one thing can be said for ESPN, it’s that they really bust their asses to rate kids as quickly as possible after they commit to a school. They don’t always get it done (see: Williamson, DJ), but for the most part, they at least put in the effort.

#1 Michigan – 15 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Ricardo Miller WR **** **** 150*
Devin Gardner QB **** **** 150*
Marvin Robinson S **** **** 150*
Jerald Robinson WR **** *** 77
Ken Wilkins LB *** **** 77
Jeremy Jackson WR *** *** 150*
Christian Pace OL *** *** 150*
Jordan Paskorz DE *** *** 78
Stephen Hopkins RB *** *** 77
Antonio Kinard LB *** *** 77
Drew Dileo WR *** *** 75
Tony Drake RB *** NR 77
Courtney Avery CB NR *** 73
DJ Williamson WR NR *** NR
Cornelius Jones QB NR NR 77

No change for Michigan.

#2 Penn State – 10 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Paul Jones QB **** ***** 150*
Adrian Coxson WR **** ***** 150*
Evan Hailes DT **** **** 150*
Silas Redd RB **** **** 79
Mike Hull LB **** **** 77
Kyle Baublitz DE **** *** 150*
Miles Dieffenbach OL *** **** 150*
DaQuan Jones DT *** **** 77
Tom Ricketts OL NR **** 77
Luke Graham OL NR *** NR

Evan Hailes and DaQuan Jones brings Penn State right on the cusp of passing Michigan in the rankings. Scout is in love with their class, for what it’s worth.

#4 Notre Dame – 8 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Chris Martin DE ***** ***** 150*
Blake Leuders DE **** **** 150*
Alex Welch TE **** **** 79
Andrew Hendrix QB **** *** 150*
Christian Lombard OL *** **** 150*
Daniel Smith WR *** **** 78
Bennett Jackson WR *** **** 77
Lo Wood CB *** *** 78

The Irish have a big week, grabbing 3 commits. Andrew Hendrix, Blake Leuders, and Lo Wood are more than enough to push the Irish past Ohio State.

#3 Ohio State – 6 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Andrew Norwell OL **** ***** 150*
Jamel Turner DE **** ***** 150*
JT Moore DE **** *** 78
Scott McVey LB *** **** 77
David Durham LB *** *** 150*
Taylor Graham QB NR *** 78

Taylor Graham fills the void at Ohio State’s QB position.

#5 Michigan State – 6 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
William Gholston DE **** **** 150*
Joe Boisture QB **** **** 150*
Max Bullough LB **** *** 150*
Mylan Hicks CB *** *** 78
Tony Lippett WR NR *** 78
Taylor Calero DE NR NR 76

The Spartans poach Joe Boisture from Boston College. Boisture is considered the best pro-style QB in the state.

#6 Minnesota – 6 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Jimmy Gjere OL **** **** 79
Lamonte Edwards Ath **** *** 76
Antoine Lewis WR *** *** 76
Matt Eggen OL *** *** 76
Tom Parish QB *** *** 73
Allen Veazie CB NR NR 75

Matt Eggen commits to the Gophers.

#7 Illinois – 6 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Corey Cooper CB **** **** 150*
Chandler Whitmer QB *** *** 150*
Daniel Easterly Ath *** *** 78
Shawn Afryl OL *** *** 69
Mark Wilson LB NR *** 76
Dexter Mcdonald S NR *** NR

Dexter McDonald joins the Illini.

#9 Wisconsin – 6 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Konrad Zagzebski LB *** **** 76
Marquis Mason WR *** NR NR
Frank Tamakloe S NR *** 150*
Bryce Gilbert DT NR *** 74
Jake Irwin DE NR NR NR
Dallas Lewallen OL NR NR NR

The Badgers pick up 3 commits during the week. They pass the Hawkeyes with a couple more quality guys at the top.

#8 Iowa – 7 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Austin Gray LB *** *** 77
Louis Trinca-Pasat DE *** *** 76
James Morris LB *** *** 74
Mike Hardy DE *** *** NR
Jim Poggi LB NR *** NR
Anthony Ferguson DT NR *** NR
Austin Vier QB NR NR NR

Mike Hardy joins the recruiting class for Iowa.

#10 Indiana – 6 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Xavier Whitaker RB NR *** NR
Andre Kates CB NR ** NR
Logan Young WR NR NR 76
Leneil Himes TE NR NR 74
Antonio Banks RB NR NR 73
Ryan Phillis LB NR NR NR

The Hoosiers add Xavier Whitaker, and he becomes their highest-rated commit. Should Northwestern be ahead of them? Not quite yet.

#11 Northwestern – 4 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Shontrelle Johnson RB *** *** 77
Rashad Lawrence WR *** *** NR
Trevor Siemian QB *** NR 79
Collin Ellis LB NR NR 77

A decent QB joins the class for the Wildcats, along with a target for him to pass it to.

#12 Purdue – 4 commit
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
De’Ron Flood TE NR *** 74
Charles Torwudzo WR NR *** NR
Ryan Isaacs DE NR NR NR
Jeremy Cornelius WR NR NR NR

Oh my! A commit! Or 4.

Posted under Football, Recruiting

The Great Heisman Campaign: Graham v. Banks

Brandon Graham is widely considered the most physically-talented player on the 2009 Wolverines. He is also probably the best player, and a big season could propel him into the first few rounds of the NFL draft. Graham was 8th on the team in tackles last year, but 1st in both tackles for loss and sacks (in which he also led the Big Ten). Graham has been a thorn in opposing quarterbacks’ collective side since he burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2006.

Greg Banks has bounced around on the defensive line, playing both end and tackle during his time in Ann Arbor. The redshirt junior from Denver will probably play strongside end and some tackle this season. In his playing time last year, Banks tallied a half tackle for loss to go along with his 5 total tackles.

Brandon Graham v. Greg Banks

  • 1 Brandon Graham (98%, 473 Votes)
  • 8 Greg Banks (2%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 482

Loading ... Loading ...

The poll will remain open for 7 days, closing at 5PM next Friday. Have your heart set on a particular candidate? Try to sway others in the comments. The full bracket is visible here.

Other Open Polls:
Warren v. Stokes.
Schilling v. Emilien.
Mesko v. Ortmann.
Cissoko v. Toussaint.
Forcier v. Patterson.
Stonum . Roundtree.

Completed 1st Round Poll:
Minor defeats Sheridan, 952-53.
Van Bergen defeats Gibbons, appx. 503-199 (numbers not final).

Posted under Football, Personnel

Prospects Drafted Update

UPDATE: PerfectGame has since redacted their declaration that Dennis has signed with the Rays.  I’ll work this into another post later in the summer so it’ll show up on top.

Consider this the first update on the status of our incoming freshmen.  Starting with the highest draft picks:

Daniel Fields (6th Tigers):  He is still unsigned by all indications, but he does have until August to make up his mind.  Much of the rumor mongering I’ve heard is the Tigers are expected to throw a 6 figure signing bonus at him, which doesn’t particularly bode well for Michigan.

Derek Dennis (10th Rays):  We’ve got conflicting stories here.  MLive reported on the 18th that Dennis was offered a trip to Tampa to take batting practice with All Star caliber third baseman Evan Longoria.  Dennis was quoted then saying he was leaning toward college and unlikely to be swayed by the trip.  The article claims:

Dennis said he is considering taking the trip, but added the strategy is not likely to work…

A career .438 hitter at Forest Hills Central, Dennis technically has until mid-August to make his decision. But after mulling over his options with his family, he said he wants to attend Michigan to pursue a degree in sports science or meteorology.

Then comes rumors this week from PerfectGame that he has in fact signed with the Rays (HT: commenter Ballfan).  They don’t have details on the signing like they do for many of the other players, but it is unlike PerfectGame to jump the shark on these sort of things.  Perhaps the trip to Tampa swayed him?

Patrick Biondi (35th Tigers): Sounds like he’s in with Michigan no matter what.  He was recently interviewed by the Press & Guide with quotes like this:

“I wasn’t too concerned about the draft because I had let them know that I was planning on going to U-M,” said Biondi, “but obviously it’s a great honor to be drafted and it’s exciting to be drafted by your hometown team.”

The 2009 Draft was never the main prize.

Biondi will be eligible again after his junior season in Ann Arbor and that’s when things could get interesting.

So yeah, sounds like a Michigan lock.  I’ll update as I hear things.  Getting accurate information on draft signees doesn’t come with many solid sources, at least not easily found ones.

Posted under Baseball

Ex-Player, Current White House Fellow

MGoBlue reported today about the recent appointment of 2001 Volleyball captain Annie Maxwell being appointed to the White House Fellows program.  While this isn’t quite sports, its great that ex-student athletes actually showing the “Michigan Difference ™ ” and that those NCAA student athletes “going pro in something other than sports” commercials aren’t a total load of crap.

For those of you unfamiliar with the White House Fellows program, the White House press release reads as follows:

The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.”  This unique position in our nation’s government encourages active citizenship and service to the nation.  The Fellows also take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, military operations, and current affairs.  Community service is another important component of the program, and Fellows participate in service projects throughout the year in the Washington, DC area.  Since 1964, over 600 outstanding American men and women have participated in the White House Fellows program, each chosen because of their extraordinary leadership ability and service to others.

Maxwell is currently the Cheif Operating Officer of Direct Relief International, the non-profit group she began working for right out of Michigan.  MGoBlue also points out that Maxwell is following in the footsteps of current UM Regent Kathy White who served as a White House Fellow in ’01-’02.

Congrats to Annie Maxwell, and good luck in Washington.

Posted under Other Sports

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