Lacrosse Recruiting

Not much in the way of football recruiting info today, so I’ll drop some lacrosse knowledge. Yes, I’m doing a recruiting post for a sport that is not only non-revenue, but not even varsity. Partially inspired by commenters who have filled me in on a few guys to look out for (special thanks to Roger and Old Blue). Quick note: since Michigan’s program is club, it’s difficult to tell which players are actually going to be enrolling in Ann Arbor (the last couple years’ commitment lists seem to have a bunch of guys who never ended up on the team), since there are no letters of intent. The full list (from LaxPower):

ID Div Name Hometown State HighSchool HS_St Position Status College
504 U McGee, Conor Baltimore MD Gilman School MD Goalie R Michigan
737 U Abdelnour, Cy Ann Arbor MI Pioneer MI Goalie R Michigan
978 U Johnson, J.D. Malibu CA Loyola-Los Angeles CA Defense R Michigan
993 U Steenland, Willie Minneapolis MN Blake School MN Midfield R Michigan
1593 U Gualtieri, Andrew Amagansett NY East Hampton NY Midfield/FO R Michigan
1594 U Silver, Harrison Cross River NY John Jay-Cross River NY Midfield R Michigan
1595 U Hrusovsky, Joseph Lake Forest IL Lake Forest IL Midfield R Michigan
1596 U Boshes, Lee Deerfield IL Deerfield IL LSM R Michigan
1597 U Gothelf, Ross Owings Mills MD Owings Mills MD Defense/LSM R Michigan
1598 U Paras, Thomas Lakewood OH St. Ignatius OH Attack R Michigan
1599 U Dauch, Zach Bloomfield Hills MI Lahser MI Midfield W Michigan
1600 U Scadron, Travis Bloomfield Hills MI Lahser MI Midfield W Michigan
1620 U Ives, Joey Newton MA Newton South MA Defense R Michigan
1720 U Asher, Nick Portage MI Portage Northern MI Midfield R Michigan
1762 U Cox, Forrest Alexandria VA Phillips Andover MA Defense R Michigan
1953 U Wells, Adam Lake Orion MI Cranbrook Kingswood MI Goalie W Michigan
2143 U Sklarin, Jeff Atherton CA Menlo Atherton CA Midfield/Attack W Michigan

Conor McGee, G, Baltimore MD
1st team all-Baltimore selection by the Baltimore Messenger. McGee is the only player on the list that is not playing varsity in college, except for one player moving along to a boarding school (where he’ll undoubtedly rock some serious pastels) and one junior. Gilman is a serious lacrosse school (unlike those total scrubs from Brother Rice), finishing the year ranked #1 in the country. McGee received interest from smaller D-1 schools, but opted for the big-university experience at Michigan. According to the LaxPower database, he’s the nation’s top goalie that will head to a club program.

There is, oddly enough, a ton of video of McGee available, most likely stemming from the fact that his high school program is teh rulz:

There are also non-embeddable Gilman highlights out there if you’re interested.

Cy Abdelnour, G, Ann Arbor MI
Since Conor McGee was the top goalie in the nation to go club, it may be expected that the Wolverines would let several other goalies slide through their grasp before picking up another in the class. That’s not the case, however, as Pioneer’s Cy Abdelnour is the second-best goalie in the class of 2009 to commit to a club school, and he’s also going to Michigan (the first goalie headed to a non-Michigan club team is the #1156 overall recruit, headed to Florida State). He had also been recruited by D-3 Adrian. Cy is a Peruvian adoptee whose adopted father was a linebacker at Florida, and though he’s a little guy (5-6, 150), he led Pioneer to unprecedented heights in the state tournament. He was named first-team all-state in 2008, alongside Quinnipiac signee TJ Yost..

JD Johnson, D, Malibu CA
JD Johnson hails from Los Angeles, where he played at Loyola Academy. He’s a long-stick midfielder/defenseman who was first-team all-league. In addition to his defensive prowess, he was the faceoff man for the Cubs. I couldn’t find measurements on Johnson, but from the video, it appears that he’s much bigger than most of his opponents.

Willie Steenland, M, Minneapolis MN
Steenland was the leader of his Blake School team in 2009, after the departure of 2008’s star player, Dartmouth’s Kip Dooley (who was the Big Green’s leader among freshmen in all statistical categories – please click that link, if only to see Dooley’s outfit). He led his Blake Bears to a fourth-place finish in the state. Steenland was not a consistent scoring threat for his team, but managed to score more than a goal per game over the season while excelling on defense.

Andrew Gualtieri, M, Amagansett NY
Andrew Gualtieri is a midfielder/faceoff specialist from Long Island. For his East Hampton/Bridgehampton team in 2009, he scored 10 (or 12?) goals on the year, and had 4 (maybe 5?) assists. His lack of scoring output leads me to believe that Michigan is looking at him primarily as a faceoff specialist, though some articles on him implied that he ran the offense for the Bonackers. East Hampton/Bridgehampton also sent two players two varsity programs in the class of 2009, with Jared Bowe heading to Delaware and Mark Simmons on his way to Wesleyan.

Harrison Silver, M, Cross River NY
Harrison Silver is a midfielder/faceoff specialist from John Jay High School in Cross River New York, a traditionally strong lacrosse program (1 D-I and 6 D-II players in the class of ’09, in addition to Silver, and 6 D-I and 6 D-III players in the previous class). He earned playing time as a sophomore and a junior, but as a senior, Silver was named a captain for the Indians. He’s a little guy, at 5-9 and 160 pounds, yet still managed to be named all-section (and was a halfback on the Indians’ football squad).

Michigan Lacrosse Joey HrusovskyJoseph Hrusovsky, M, Lake Forest IL
The last name likely sounds familiar to Michigan lacrosse fans, as Joseph’s older brother, Anthony, will be entering his senior season with the Wolverines in the fall (his 5th academic year). Joseph was all-state his junior season, as well as his senior year. He’s a high-scoring midfielder (not unlike older bro).

Lee Boshes, LSM, Deerfield IL
Lee Boshes is a longtick middie/defenseman who is one of the stronger defensive players in the Michigan class.

Naturally, Boshes is one of the team’s captains this season.

“He plays long stick middle,” said Deerfield coach Derrick Tiveron. “And defense. He has done a fantastic job helping us to build our defensive unit.”

Among Michigan’s top recruits, he and JD Johnson are the only players who appear to be defensive specialists. Since Michigan’s program is built around a strong defense, adding top defensive players is certainly a priority.

…and I guess the top 8 recruits is a good enough place to stop for now. If you’d like to share info on any of the guys mentioned (or any of those that I didn’t cover in further detail), feel free to do so in the comments.

Posted under Other Sports, Recruiting

Wolverine Biography: Steve Howe

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been doing some research on the Michigan baseball program and the players in it.  Steve Howe, a name many of you over the age of 30 probably remember a bit more clearly, played for the Wolverines in the late 1970s, and threw a one-hitter in the College World Series.  His pro career started great, but in the end, it was plagued by drug use.

I feel the story is too long to post here, so I’ve posted it over on my personal site. I’ll have an abridged version sometime in February as I build up to next season.

A Tragedy: Steve Howe

Posted under Baseball

Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings 4th of July 2009

Compare to the previous edition of the recruiting class rankings. Action since last rankings:

6-29-09 Notre Dame gains commitment from Chris Badger. Minnesota gains commitment from Zac Epping. Illinois gains commitment from Andy Gallik. Iowa gains commitment from Matt Hoch. Indiana gains commitment from Jibreel Black.
6-30-09 Minnesota gains commitment from Kip Smith. Indiana gains commitment from Marlandez Harris. Michigan State gains commitment from Nick Hill.
7-1-09 Penn State gains commitment from Levi Norwood. Ohio State gains commitment from Roderick Smith. Minnesota gfains commitment from Mark Lenkiewicz. Indiana gains commitment from Matt Perez. Northwestern gains commitment from Paul Jorgenson.
7-2-09 Ohio State gains commitment from Drew Basil.

#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 – 11 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
Levi Norwood WR NR NR NR

The Nittany Lions grab Levi Norwood.

#4 Notre Dame – 9 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
Chris Badger S *** *** 150*
Lo Wood CB *** *** 78

Notre Dame steals safety Chris Badger from Stanford.

#3 Ohio State – 10 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Andrew Norwell OL **** ***** 150*
Jamel Turner DE **** ***** 150*
Roderick Smith RB **** **** 150*
JT Moore DE **** *** 78
Scott McVey LB *** **** 77
David Durham LB *** *** 150*
Taylor Graham QB NR *** 78
Drew Basil K NR *** NR

Ohio State picks up a bigtime RBin Roderick Smith and kicker Drew Basil.

#5 Michigan State – 7 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
William Gholston DE **** **** 150*
Joe Boisture QB **** **** 150*
Max Bullough LB **** *** 150*
Mylan Hicks CB *** *** 78
Nick Hill RB *** *** 75
Tony Lippett WR NR *** 78
Taylor Calero DE NR NR 76

The Spartans pick up Nick Hill, who had previously been presumed a hige Michigan lean (until not receiving his offer at camp).

#6 Minnesota – 9 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
Zac Epping OL *** *** 73
Mark Lenkiewicz OL NR *** 75
Kip Smith K NR *** NR
Allen Veazie CB NR NR 75

Big week for the Gophers as they snag 3 more commits.

#7 Illinois – 7 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Corey Cooper CB **** **** 150*
Chandler Whitmer QB *** *** 150*
Daniel Easterly Ath *** *** 78
Shawn Afryl OL *** *** 69
Andy Gallik OL *** NR 74
Mark Wilson LB NR *** 76
Dexter McDonald S NR *** NR

Andy Gallik commits to 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

Nothing new for Wisco.

#8 Iowa – 7 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Matt Hoch DE *** *** 150*
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

Iowa picks up

#10 Indiana – 6 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Jibreel Black DT *** **** 78
Xavier Whitaker RB NR *** NR
Andre Kates CB NR ** NR
Logan Young WR NR NR 76
Leneil Himes TE NR NR 74
Matt Perez RB NR NR 74
Antonio Banks RB NR NR 73
Ryan Phillis LB NR NR NR
Marlandez Harris OL 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
Paul Jorgenson OL NR 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 Basketball, Coaching, Football, Recruiting

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Michigan Baseball Fight circa 1912

I’m in the middle of doing some research on the baseball team in preparation for next year’s baseball team and came across a story I felt need to be shared.  This account came from the biography of Branch Rickey (Branch Rickey: A Biography), Michigan’s head coach from 1910-1913.  You may also have heard of him as the man who invented the minor leagues, or broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, or signing the first Hispanic (Roberto Clemente).   Regardless, I found this story too awesome to pass up.  So on to the story:

It was during that [1912] southern trek that he watched a University of Georgia baserunner try to score from second base on a single to center when a strong throw home seemed to beat the runner.  When the umpire yelled “safe,” Michigan catcher Goodloe Rogers spun about and hit the umpire while players swarmed onto the field.

“Rogers was always getting into fights,” said Rickey later, in barely concealed glee.  “I never could find out whether or not he started them, but he was always involved.  We were down playing Georgia.  I was on crutches as a result of a broken leg [a batted ball in practice had fractured a small bone in his foot].  Well, as usual, a fight started around home plate, and I hobbled off the bench and must have prodded several players with my crutches.”

Rogers, the team’s colorful, zany, and angry man – the sort of person Rickey always loved to have on his ball clubs – watched his coach in action.

“When the brawl was over, there lay B.R. flat on his back near home plate, his leg in a cast sticking straight up in the air.  On of his crutches was found in the Georgia dugout.  The other was in the stands.”

That’s too awesome.  The catch just turns and punches an umpire?  The coach hitting players with his crutches?  Baseball just isn’t what it used to be.  Michigan tied that game 2-2 in 11 innings.  Both teams had trains they had to catch, and the game was called without a winner. AJC article ($).

Posted under Baseball

Baseball Summer Updates: 4th of July Weekend Edition

Happy America Everybody.

SummerBall ranks top 25 Summer teams.  While this seems like a dubious task that amounts to nothing, it’s interesting none the less.  You can see their list HERE.  Michigan players show up on the following teams:  #10 Wareham Gateman (LaMarre), #12 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (Burgoon), #25 Lima Locos (Toth, Wood, Brosnahan).

From the Cape.  The Cape Cod League has been plagued by rain this season, postponing a total of 33 games so far.  Pitching is still dominating the league with the few games played so far.  Ryan LaMarre is batting .167, good for 6th best of the Wareham regular starters.  Their top batter is only batting .265 while the team average is around .191.   LaMarre has moved from the lead off hitter to around the 6 hole.

Burgoon on the other hand is still dominating.  He’s only pitched 9.1 innings this season, but he’s struck out 17.  He does have an 0-1 record, but hey, he still hasn’t given up an earned run.  His 5 saves still leads the league.

Lima Locos.  Toth has been half of the offense.  And that’s not necessarily a good thing.  The Locos are only batting around .215 as a team, near the bottom of the Great Lakes League.  Pitching has been fairly solid.  Wood and Brosnahan have both done well as relief pitchers the last 2 weeks, each having a couple of shut out appearances.

Alexandria Beetles.  Things haven’t been so good for Michigan in Alexandria. Vangheluwe continues to struggle. His ERA has come down from 9.31 to 7.71 over the last 2 weeks. I guess that’s good news. Matt Miller has struggle a bit too, but he has taken over the teams closer role with 3 saves. His .288 OBA and 4.50 ERA aren’t particularly flattering. Tyler Mills made his debut with the team since the last update.  So far he’s 2 for 9 with a pair of doubles and 4 RBI in limited action.

Valley League.  Brandon Sinnery is having some bad luck with the Winchester Royals.  In 3 starts, he’s 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA.  He’s struck out 18 in 18 innings of work, but just can’t get the run support.  Matt Gerbe has cut his ERA down from 36.00 to only 9.69 thanks to a move back to the bullpen full time.  His OBA is still .368 and 9.69 still isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination.

Meanwhile, at Fort Royal, the impostor posing as Jeff DeCarlo continues to pitch beautifully.  His ERA is just 2.00 in 6 relief appearances stretching 13.1 innings.  I can’t remember DeCarlo ever having a stretch in Ann Arbor where his ERA was less than 6.00.  Also with Forth Royal is Kevin Krantz.  Krantz is splitting time at third but may be winning more time.  He’s batting .292, good for 5th on the team.  His defense has also been

Leesburg Lightning.  Good things continue with the Leesburg crew on the mound.  Alan Oaks is 1-0 in 4 starts with a 3.98 ERA.  His 11 walks to 15 strikeouts ratio is something to work on.  Dufek has 4 saves in 7 appearances stretching 6.1 innings.  In that time he’s struck out 11 and not given up a run.  Eric Katzman finished up his summer classes and got a late start to the Florida Collegiate League season.  So far he’s made 1 start and 1 relief appearance.  The start went pretty poorly, but it might have been part of brushing the rust from his arm.  He’s gave up 2 runs on 5 walks in 3.2 innings pitched in the start.  Sounds like a normal “Evil Katzman” start.  Once he gets back into the groove, he should do better.  Chris Berset hasn’t seen much playing time so far.  He’s made it into 4 games but has yet to get a hit.

Travis Smith in Texas.  Travis leads the Brazos Bombers in starts this season, but they haven’t been overpowering.  He’s 0-3 in 6 appearances (6 starts) including today’s game.  Via bvbombers.com:

The Bombers were able to keep McKinney off the board the rest of the game with great pitching and defense, but were unable to muster any run support for Smith, who dropped to 0-3 with the loss.

Smith gave up one run in the top of the first. The Bombers lost 0-1. Tough luck there.

Prospect League.  Garrett Stephens is currently hitting .244 for the Richmond RiverRats, good for third on the team.  His 14 RBIs are 6th in the League.  John Lorenz doesn’t qualify for stats in the league, but he has been getting more starts at third lately.  His average is up to .250.  This week he went 3/12 with 3 Rs and an RBI.

Coley Crank in Alaska.  Coley continues to do most of the catching for the Anchorage Bucs and is batting .203 so far on the season.  He does have 13 RBIs on the season, good for 3rd on the team.

Matt Broder’s team site is horrible.  I know he’s got 1 W and a 3.00 ERA as of today’s leader board.  Take it as you may.

Players still MIA:  Bryce Aspinwall, Mike Kittle, Nick Urban, Jake McLouth, Vinnie Sarafa, Vinny Losorelli (we have 2 Vinnie/Vinnys on the team? Are we in New Jersey?), and Adam Arbour.  I can’t find anything on them yet.

Posted under Baseball

Baseball Links: July 4th Weekend Edition

I’ll get to the current players in a post out either today or tomorrow.  A few things to catch up on with the alumni first. -FA

Hall of Fame.  As mentioned a few weeks ago, former UM shortstop Barry Larkin is being inducted into the College Hall of Fame tonight in Lubbock, Texas. From the initial release in May:

Michigan’s Barry Larkin was a two-time first-team All-American shortstop. He was the first two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and in 1983 he was the Big Ten Postseason Tournament MVP. He twice led the Wolverines to the College World Series and finished his career with a .361 batting average.

Former Michigan coach Branch Rickey is also being inducted in the “vintage class.” His accomplishments aren’t really for his college resume as they are for baseball as a whole. Rickey was a key part of getting Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier. Breaking the color barrier at the highest level opened the door for desegregation at every level of baseball including college. For what its worth, he was 69-31-4 as Michigan’s head coach from 1910-1913, and coached players like George Sisler.

Chris Fetter threw his first two professional starts.  In his first start at Class A Short Season Eugene Emeralds (GO EMs!), he lasted just 2 innings giving up 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, and 3 K.  His second start went 5 innings with 1 ER, 3 H, and 6 K.  He gets his 3rd start of the season tonight.  It’ll be against the same team he faced last time as the two teams close out a 6 game series in Eugene.

Chris Getz steals home.  Former Michigan player Chris Getz stole home for the White Sox during a game against the Cubs (which makes it even better for me) on June 28th.

With Wise at the plate, Getz broke for home as Zambrano began his delivery of a pitch that sailed outside and past catcher Geovany Soto. The stolen base made it 4-0, and on the very next pitch, Zambrano hit Wise.

He becomes the 4th player this season with a straight steal of home, 8th player to steal home overall.

Jake Fox gets first career homer in Detroit.  While I may not like the Cubs, I guess I can root for Jake Fox.  The former Wolverine knocked his first career home run against the Tigers on June 26.  Fox is making his second stint with the major league club this year after hitting .409 with the AAA Iowa Cubs.  You’d have to think the Chicago front office will be looking to relieve some of that salary by the end of the season and make room for Fox as a full time starter in the outfield (I don’t see him overtaking Ramirez at third anytime soon).  Then again, how long can he hold up a .903 OPS?

Mike Cervenak & Bobby Korecky named AAA All Stars.  Former Wolverine Mike Cervanak, UM ’99 was named to the AAA All Star Team out of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (International League).  This is the 2nd consecutive time he’s been named to the AAA All Star team, but last year he was unavailable as he was called up with the Phillies just before the game.  Bobby Korecky, UM ’01 also made the roster (although for the Pacific Coast Leauge).  He’s 2-1 with 12 saves for the Rochester Red Wings (as well as 5 appearances at the major league level this year).  You can catch them on ESPN2 on July 15th during the Pacific Coast vs International League All Star Game.  The game is slated for a 10:05 EDT start, as its being played in Oregon.

Putz, Richards, and Hill do their thing on the mound.  None have been particularly noteworthy, nor very good of late.  It happens.

Posted under Baseball

2009 Opponent Preview: Ohio State

Ohio State Offense


Terrelle Pryor supplanted Todd Boeckmann from the starting position at Ohio State by the middle of last season, and will retain the starting role in 2009. It’s the backups that are more iffy with the loss of Boeckmann. Joe Bauserman is a 500th-year redshirt sophomore who played baseball a few years before coming to Ohio State. True freshman dual-threat Kenny Guiton will provide some depth.

Ohio State QBs Passing 2008
Name Comp Att % Yds TD Int Yds/Att
Terrelle Pryor 100 165 60.61 1311 12 4 7.95
Todd Boeckmann 57 93 61.29 620 5 2 6.67
Joe Bauserman 3 6 50.00 22 0 0 3.67
Ohio State QBs Rushing 2008
Name Rush Yds TD Yds/Rush
Terrelle Pryor 139 631 6 4.54
Joe Bauserman 3 16 0 5.33
Todd Boeckmann 23 8 0 0.35


If Pryor goes down, the Buckeyes are Screwed-with-a-capital-S. Bauserman can throw the ball, of course, but Ohio State is going to have to rely on the playmaking ability of Pryor without a Beanie Wells-esque back. The top of the QB chart is very high, the depth is scary bad.


Beanie Wells bolted for the NFL after a junior year that was beset by injuries. Redshirt sophomore Dan Herron and true junior Brandon Saine will take over as the principal running backs, with a few players providing depth. Jamaal Berry, an incoming freshman, is a 5-star recruit, but will start the year in the doghouse after being arrested on a felony drug charge this spring.

Ohio State RBs Rushing 2008
Name Rush Yds TD Yds/Rush
Chris Wells 207 1197 8 5.78
Dan Herron 89 439 6 4.93
Maurice Wells 39 129 0 3.31
Brandon Saine 26 65 1 2.50
Marcus Williams 2 11 0 5.50
Joe Gantz 1 3 0 3.00
Ohio state RBs Receiving 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Chris Wells 8 47 0 5.88
Maurice Wells 6 42 0 7.00
Brandon Saine 3 37 0 12.33
Dan Herron 6 29 0 4.83


Herron should probably become the featured back, as he’s the slightly bigger and tougher of the two main options. Saine, on the other hand, is the speedier guy (who may excel in spread sets more). The Buckeyes will likely go for a bit of a thunder-and-lightning setup. If Berry is able to clear up his legal issues and participate this fall, he could be the heir apparent for OSU.


“The Brians” are gone, and Dane Sanzenbacher will be the Designated White Receiver in Hartline’s stead. Ray Small is a slot option who has been in and out of the doghouse several times during his Ohio State career, and his status is unclear at this point. Sophomore DeVier Posey will likely step up and become the other wideout starter. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s WR Taurian Washington has been a ghost in Columbus. At TE, Jake Ballard will be the key option to not use.

Ohio State Receivers Receiving 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rec
Brian Robiskie 42 535 8 12.74
Brian Hartline 21 479 4 22.81
Dan Sanzenbacher 21 272 1 12.95
Ray Small 18 149 0 8.28
DeVier Posey 11 117 1 10.64
Brandon Smith (TE) 8 79 0 9.88
Jake Ballard (TE) 5 73 0 14.60
Rory Nicol (TE) 6 60 2 10.00
Lamaar Thomas 4 29 0 7.25
Ohio State Receivers Rushing 2008
Name Rec Yds TD Yds/Rush
Brian Hartline 3 17 0 5.67
Ray Small 1 -1 0 -1.00


Ohio State has been just fine replacing starting wide receivers en masse several times over the past few years, but the talent level in the wings this time around doesn’t appear to be quite as high as it had been in those reloadings (both Brians were NFL picks). If Small can keep his spot on the team, the receiving corps is much better, so Ohio State fans should root for him to get his ass in gear. The OSU tight end position rarely sees the ball, so expect Ballard to mostly block.

Offensive Line

Alex Boone, he of the infamous drinking exploits, is gone from the left side of the line. Also gone is guard Steve Rehring. Mike Brewster, a true sophomore, will return as the starting center. Some Guy is a redshirt junior and will play left guard. At left tackle, sophomore Mike Adams will probably replace Boone. The right side of the line is intact with redshirt junior Bryant Browning at guard and redshirt senior Jim Cordle at tackle.


The offensive line was a constant source of headaches for Ohio state fans last year, so unless something unexpected happens (I don’t believe in “addition by subtraction”), it can only improve marginally. Some Guy was going to be Michigan’s best lineman last year, so his presence in Columbus should upgrade the interior line. This should be a minor step back for the OSU offensive line (which, considering last year’s line, may be scary), but with the progress of Pryor, and less emphasis on pounding the ball, it shouldn’t hurt them too badly.

Offensive Analysis

The Ohio State offense is likely to live and die with Terrelle Pryor. The offensive line won’t be good enough to run the ball straight ahead without the threat of Pryor bootlegging off of it, so he’ll have to make plays running and passing the football if the Ohio State offense is going to have success. Lucky for the Buckeyes, he’s a very talented player. If he gets hurt, however, this could be an ugly, ugly offense to watch. The wide receivers are good, but not as much the playmakers they have been in the recent past. The running backs are good as well, but nobody’s going to worry about them leaving college early.

Ohio State Defense

Defensive Line

The Ohio State Defensive line returns every single player from last year except starting tackle Nader Abdallah. Cameron Heyward has played both tackle and end during his time in Columbus, and will be one of the starting defensive ends. He’ll be joined on the outside by linebacker convert Thaddeus Gibson, a redshirt junior. In the middle, redshirt senior Doug Worthington will start alongside the only newbie, junior Dexter Larimore. There is plenty of depth for the Buckeyes as well, with Nathan Williams and Lawrence Wilson on the edges.

Ohio state Defensive Line 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Fum Int
Cameron Heyward 36 4.5 3 0 0
Doug Worthington 34 5 1.5 0 0
Nader Abdallah 33 6 1 0 0
Thaddeus Gibson 26 9 5 1 0
Nathan Williams 18 4 2 0 0
Lawrence Wilson 18 2.5 1 0 1
Dexter Larimore 15 3.5 2 0 0
Rob Rose 10 3 1 0 0
Todd Denlinger 7 0.5 0 0 0
Solomon Thomas 3 0 0 0 0


The DL should be very good. Only losing one starter, and replacing him with an experienced backup, is every coach’s dream. The pass rush and run-stopping abilities of the defensive line should be comparable to last year, if not even better (though last year’s pass rush was only OK). Scarier still, note that only Worthington is a senior. If this line returns intact again in 2010, they should be very, very good.


Marcus Freeman and James Laurinaitis are gone to the NFL, leaving redshirt junior Ross Homan as the only returning starter. Redshirt senior Austin Spitler is expected to take over in the middle for Laurinaitis. Junior Jermale Hines did much of his work on special teams over the past two years, but may be able to step into a role on the defense. Brian Rolle is in a similar position. Redshirt junior Tyler Moeller is more widely expected to take a starting role than those two, however.

Ohio State Linebackers 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Fum Int
James Laurinaitis 130 7 4 0 2
Marcus Freeman 84 9.5 3.5 0 0
Ross Homan 67 6 1 0 0
Jermale Hines 31 2 0 1 0
Brian Rolle 21 0 0 0 1
Tyler Moeller 18 3 0 0 0
Austin Spitler 11 0.5 0 0 0
Etienne Sabino 6 0 0 0 0
Andrew Sweat 5 0 0 0 0
Mark Johnson 2 0 0 0 0


There are plenty of viable options for Ohio state at linebacker, though it’s difficult to predict they’ll be as good as a pair of guys who went in the NFL draft. Still, Ohio state has shown that they can find and develop linebackers, turning out stars year after year. There’s no reason to assume that, with a strong defensive line in front of them, this year’s crop won’t be at least acceptable, though to ask them to replicate the work of Laurinaitis and Freeman might be a bit much.

Defensive Backs

Corner Malcolm Jenkins left early for the NFL draft, along with Donald Washington opposite him. Redshirt junior Chimdi Chekwa got more than enough playing time last year to get him accustomed to being a full-time starter in 2009, and the other vacant position will be filled by senior Andre Amos, who missed much of lsst year with injury. The safeties both return, and seniors Anderson Russell and Kurt Coleman are good ones.

Ohio State Defensive Backs 2008
Name Tack TFL Sack Int Fum
Kurt Coleman 78 4 1 4 0
Anderson Russell 67 0 0 2 0
Malcolm Jenkins 57 4 1 3 0
Chimdi Chekwa 30 0 0 1 0
Shaun Lane 27 0 0 0 0
Donald Washington 22 0 0 1 1
Nate Oliver 8 0 0 0 0
Aaron Gant 7 0 0 0 0
Jamario O’Neal 3 0 0 0 0
Nick Patterson 1 0 0 0 0


Despite losing a pair of drafted players, the OSU secondary looks loaded as usual. The corners look to be the relative weakness. However, there is enough top-end quality to go along with the depth to make this a position of strength for the Buckeyes.

Defensive Analysis

The only possible weak spot on the Ohio State defense looks to be the linebackers. The DL and secondary return almost entirely intact, though the secondary took a slightly bigger hit than did the front lines. Expect this to be a standard excellent OSU defense, which we’ve become accustomed to over the years. The DL didn’t excel in getting to the QB last year, so the option-action pass might be a pretty good offensive strategy to use against them.

Special Teams

Ryan Pretorious and AJ Trapasso both depart Columbus as multi-year starters. Stepping up to fill their void will likely be redshirt seniors Aaron Pettrey at kicker and Jon Thoma at punter.

Ohio State Kicking 2008
Name XPM XPA % FGM FGA % Long
Ryan Pretorius 38 39 97.44 15 19 78.95 50
Aaron Pettrey 1 1 100.00 7 8 87.50 54
Ohio State Punting 2008
Name Rush Yds Avg
AJ Trapasso 58 2390 41.21
Jon Thoma 2 55 27.50


Pettrey was a part-timer at kicker last year, and showed off his leg on long-distance kicks. He should be very good. Thoma, however, didn’t excel in his playing time, limited though it may have been. At best, he’s an unknown quantity for the Buckeyes.

Overall Analysis

There’s a reason that Ohio State is near the top of the preseason Big-10 picks every year. Jim Tressel and company really know how to build a program, and routinely have tons of dpeth on defense. Despite losing a few key layers from that side of the ball, they should take a lateral step more than a large step backwards, with backups ready to step in, and a very strong defensive line. Offensively, the Buckeyes had trouble for much of last year, and without Beanie Wells (who, to be fair, they didn’t have for much of last year) and some of their offensive linemen, there could be more trouble on the way. Pryor is key to moving the ball for the Buckeye offense.

Posted under Basketball, Football

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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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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