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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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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Recruiting Update 6-11-09

2010 Michigan Wolverine Kenny Wilkins2010 Michigan Wolverines Recruiting Board.

Moved PA DE/LB Ken Wilkins to committed. Commitment post. Local paper article. I didn’t really want to, but I’ll have to fisk:

The word on Wilkins? Well, a good source at Trinity who knows the football program well said Wilkins is talented, but isn’t as athletic as  Andrew Sweat, a Trinity linebacker two seasons ago who is now at Ohio State. “He doesn’t have the agility that Sweat had,” the source said.

Wow, a defensive end doesn’t have the same agility as a linebacker. You deserve a medal for figuring that one out, guy.

More Nike Camp recap from Josh Helmholdt in the Free Press. Relevant players include MI QB commit Devin Gardner:

the 6-5, 210-pound Gardner is dual-threat quarterback and many of his best attributes are not showcased in a non-contact camp setting. Still, Gardner showed that he has spent a good portion of the offseason working on his passing. His footwork is vastly improved and even though he still has an atypical throwing motion, he was able to make all the throws and did so with adequate arm strength and accuracy.

Livonia Stevenson’s Austin White took home the MVP honors at the running back position with considerable ease. The 6-1, 185-pound White was nearly unstoppable in the one-on-one portion of the camp, using his speed to outrun would-be defenders. White’s footwork and agility in the drills portion of the camp also solidified his MVP honors.

Although they did not take home MVP honors, Southeastern defensive linemen Johnathon Hankins and William Gholston both had good performances, too. The 6-3, 320-pound Hankins has put a lot of work into his conditioning this offseason and it showed in his performance Saturday. The 6-7, 240-pound Gholston is the state of Michigan’s top ranked prospect and his combination of size, speed and athleticism is hard to find anywhere in the country.

Other standout performers for the state of Michigan included Saginaw class of 2011 wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett, Inkster running backs/safeties Daniel and Nathan Lindsey, Ypsilanti Willow Run defensive tackle Garret Davis, Warren Fitzgerald linebacker Austin Gray, Cass Tech athlete Daniel Easterly, Lansing Sexton quarterback Taurean Jackson and Hartland 2011 wide receiver Matt Poches.

Removed OK AB/WR DeMarco Cobbs. He’s down to a top 8, which Michigan is nowhere near. He also plans to go down to a top five soon, so there’s little room to sneak onto his top list.

2010 OH TE Alex SmithShortly after a visit to Michigan for the Big House BBQ, and slightly opening the door on his recruitment, OH TE Alex Smith (seen at left) has fully decommitted from Cincinnati. Michigan will probably among the favorites to land his signature, as he’s been on campus multiple times. If they’re able to land Smith, it would certainly help with his teammate, LB Jordan Hicks. Hicks is one of the top linebacker prospects in the nation, and plans to graduate early. He has a top 6 list that he plans to reveal in short order. Ohio State and Texas are locks to be on the list, and Cincinnati will probably make it as well. Your guess is as good as mine for the last three.

MD OL Arie Kouandjio has landed a coveted Ohio State offer, and considering how selective they can be with offensive line recruits (though the results may not be there over the past two years), it certainly means he’s kind of a big deal. He plans to narrow his scholarship offers to a top five by the time his senior season rolls around.

Speaking of OL prospects (and one Michigan has a much better shot with), FL OL Torrian Wilson has modified his top 5, removing Tennessee in favor of… FIU? Lol Kiffin and whatnot. Alabama, Stanford, and Miami of Florida are the others in his favorites list, along with the Wolverines.

OH DE Darryl Baldwin is likely staying close to home when he ultimately selects a school. Though that immediately makes one think he’s likely to be a Buckeye, that’s certainly not set in stone. The original quote from his coach was “Everybody across the country was interested in him, but he’s a Midwest guy and he’s leaning towards staying close to home.” That sounds a bit more positive for coaches across the midwest, no?

Video fluff on FL LB Christian Jones. He still sounds like he’s going to Florida State, so I wouldn’t give him tooooo much thought.

I just added him Monday, but don’t expect GA LB Tyrone Cornileus to stay on the board long. He has a top 3-ish substance without Michigan in it, and he plans to make a commitment within a month.

MI S/LB Daniel Easterly will camp at Michigan in hopes to land an offer from the Wolverines. He hails from the developing Michigan pipeline of Cass Tech.

Removed LA S Ronnie Vinson, who committed to LSU. He spoke early about really liking Michigan, partially due to a connection to Adam Kraus. However, he hadn’t mentioned the Wolverines in a while, and was probably no longer a realistic option.

Added OH twins DT Terry Talbott and CB Terrence Talbott. Michigan has offered both of the brothers (info in header).

This may be weird coming from me, but how about some hoops-related recruiting news? 2009 commit Darius Morris will report to Ann Arbor on June 22 for enrollment in summer classes (info in header).

This update is getting FULL. The rest of the info will be saved for a Monday update.

Posted under Basketball, Football, Recruiting

Weekend Open Thread

Not sure I’ve ever tried executing one of these, so let’s give it a try. Potential talking points:

Let’s get it on.

Posted under Basketball, Football

College Football Live 50 State Tour

Visits Michigan for the “premiere” of the feature today. Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard are planned guests on the set. This entire deal seems to be little more than an attempt by ESPN to get their show shouted out on school-specific sites from every state, but there’s definitely some potential for it to be cool. To see when CFB Live airs near you, check out the ESPNTV website.

In other stories over the weekend…

Softball, Golf bow out. The Michigan softball team, after a stellar season, lost to Florida and Georgia in the double-elimination format of the Women’s College World Series, ending their season. The team returns a strong core next year, as Shortstop Teddi Ewing is the only gaduating senior. Pitchers Nikki Nemitz and Jordan Taylor will return for the 2010 season, with hitters like Dorian Shaw and Angela Findlay providing the offense. The team will probably never have a repeat of the 2005 campaign, when they ripped of 31 straight victories, but next year’s squad should be a fun one to watch.

The Men’s golf team made a dream run into the match-play finals in the NCAA, before falling to Texas A&M in the semifinals. Michigan hadn’t made the NCAA Championships themselves in 12 years, so to make it into the match play rounds, and even win their quarterfinal against Southern Cal, was special for this team. Like their softball counterparts, this team is returning some important pieces as well. Super sophomore Lion Kim headlines a group of returners that should be very strong in 2010. Exiting seniors Bill Rankin and Nick Pumford were the team’s leaders, but other will hopefully be able to step up, and Kim will lead the team to (hopefully) another great year in ’10.

Kelvin Grady, Come on down? Mark Snyder reports in the Detroit Free Press that Kelvin Grady, ex-Michigan point guard, may become Kelvin Grady, Michigan scat/slotback. Grady had discussed playing two sports with the coaching staff of Lloyd Carr, but nothing ever came of the football option. Now, with his departure from the Michigan basketball team, that optino may be back on the table. If such a thing does end up coming to fruition, it shall be interesting to see whether he decides to stick it out on the basketball court for at least one more year, since he’ll still be enrolled in the school.

Barbecuin’. Grills. Meat. Likin’ it. The Big House Barbecue recruiting event seems to have gone off without a hitch. There were no commitments at the time, which is probably slightly disheartening for some Michigan fans. However, the recruiting for a couple Michigan prospects may have hit overdrive, and there could be a decision or two in the coming days. More on that in this afternoon’s recruiting post. Stay tuned for it.

Posted under Basketball, Football, Other Sports, Personnel, Recruiting, Spring Coverage

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Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings 5-31-09

Compare to the previous edition of the recruiting class rankings. After no commits last week (I think one of the first ever since I’ve been doing the rankings), there’s been plenty of action this time around:

5-25-09 Notre Dame gains commitment from Alex Welch.
5-27-09 Michigan gains commitment from Jordan Paskorz.

Mild disclaimer: I’m not going to be super-diligent about checking all 3 rating services, except in the case of new commits or if the “OMG SCOUT 400” is released.

#1 Michigan – 11 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Ricardo Miller WR **** **** 150*
Devin Gardner QB **** **** 150*
Marvin Robinson S **** **** 150*
Jerald Robinson WR **** **** 77
Jeremy Jackson WR *** *** 150*
Stephen Hopkins RB *** *** 77
Antonio Kinard LB *** *** 77
Jordan Paskorz DE *** *** NR
Tony Drake RB *** NR 77
Drew Dileo WR *** NR 75
DJ Williamson WR NR NR NR

Jordan Paskorz (hopefully) gets the defense train rolling for Michigan. Michigan’s got lots of commitments from slightly lesser-ranked guys, limiting their upside for the rest of the class. I’d be shocked if they finish the year at the top of this list.

#2 Ohio State – 5 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 *** NR 150*

No change for the Buckeyes.

#3 Penn State – 5 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Paul Jones QB **** ***** 150*
Adrian Coxson WR **** **** 150*
Silas Redd RB **** **** 79
Mike Hull LB **** **** 77
Luke Graham OL NR *** NR

Penn State passes Notre Dame, as their commit list is far more impressive overall at this time.

#4 Notre Dame – 3 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Chris Martin DE ***** ***** 150*
Alex Welch TE **** *** 79
Christian Lombard OL *** **** 150*
Daniel Smith WR *** **** 78

Notre Dame picks up a pretty good tight end in Alex Welch.

#5 Minnesota – 4 commits
Name Pos Rivals Scout ESPN
Jimmy Gjere OL **** **** 79
Lamonte Edwards Ath **** *** 76
Antoine Lewis WR *** *** 76
Tom Parish QB *** NR 73

Antoine Lewis gets 3-star ranking from Rivals.

#6 Illinois – 3 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Corey Cooper CB **** **** 150*
Chandler Whitmer QB *** *** 150*
Shawn Afryl OL *** *** 69

Nothing new for the Illini.

#7 Michigan State – 2 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Max Bullough LB **** **** 150*
Tony Lippett WR NR NR 78

Lippett still unrated. ESPN ranks him higher than most of Michigan’s commits, which like, wow, you’re dumb.

#8 Iowa – 3 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Austin Gray LB *** *** 77
James Morris LB *** *** 74
Jim Poggi LB NR NR NR

Gray and Morris each get 3-star ratings from Rivals.

#9 Wisconsin – 2 commits
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Konrad Zagzebski LB *** *** 76
Marquis Mason WR *** NR NR

Zagzebski and Mason still the only Badgers holding it down.

#10 Indiana – 1 commit
Name Pos. Rivals Scout ESPN
Andre Kates CB NR NR NR

Indiana grabs JuCo Andre Kates to get on board.

Northwestern, Purdue – 0 commits.

Posted under Basketball, Coaching, Football, Recruiting

Basketball UFR Wrap, Part 1

With the Upon Further Review series, I attempted to dissect the performance of individuals and lineups throughout Michigan’s basketball season. Though I didn’t start until halfway through the year (and didn’t UFR the last couple games), the aggregation of all the data may help us learn a bit more about the Michigan basketball team this season. Once football spring practice is over, I may go back to all the games I didn’t UFR, and get the plus/minus data for every game, which could certainly teach us something about the effectiveness of different combinations. For now, however, I’ll just add up the shooting data for each player over the course of the games UFRed.

Games included: Iowa III, Purdue II, Iowa II, Minnesota I, Northwestern II, Michigan State, UConn, Purdue I, Minnesota II, Wisconsin II, Ohio State II, Northwestern I, Ohio State I, Penn State I, Illinois II, Iowa I, Indiana, Illinois I, Oakland, Wisconsin I, NC Central

Individual Players

Stu Douglass
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 2 0/1 1/4 5/7 0/4
Midrange 0/3 3/4 1/2
3-pt 3/16 19/51 16/31 0/1

The overwhelming majority of Stu’s shots came from the outside (which is not surprising at all). What is somewhat surprising is how infrequently he jacked up bad looks. Expect his chart to look pretty different next year, as the departure of every point guard currently on the roster will force Stu to play a little more point.

Zack Gibson
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 1 0/7 7/9 12/13 1/5
Midrange 2 2/4 2/4 3/5
3-pt 1 0/1 3/11 6/12

The casual Michigan Basketball fan can’t hate Zack Gibson enough (and there are a few legitimate reasons to not like his game), but he is actually a pretty darned good player at times. He can be a defensive liability, which obviously isn’t indicated on this chart, and he’s never going to dominate anyone offensively, but he is the quintessential role player.

Manny Harris
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 10 7/41 17/33 27/29 9/37
Midrange 3 0/20 11/25 2/5 5/15
3-pt 1 7/43 18/42 5/8

The striking thing about Manny’s chart, especially in relation to everyone else on the team, is his shot selection. He shots a whole hell of a lot of bad looks. The reasons for this are multiple, and some are Manny’s fault, whereas others aren’t. Things that are his fault? Obviously, he needs to improve his recognition of what he’s getting himself into as he drives the lane, and not go for it, or dish after driving. Even when he gets up in the air, he can get enough hangtime to hopefully pass out. He also shoots a lot of poor 3-pointers, though he seemed to develop a touch for making them towards the end of the year (sadly, not encapsulated in this chart). Things that aren’t his fault include having to carry the load on offense, getting stuck with the vast majority of the team’s last-second chucks to beat the shot clock, not being able to draw a foul call to save his life (those are in the chart as “1” attempts, even though many of them were definitely deserving of a call). With a hopefully improved roster next year, some of the external factors will go away completely or be reduced, and Manny could really improve his offensive efficiency.

CJ Lee
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 2 1/1 1/3 5/6 0/1
Midrange 0/1 1/2 0/2
3-pt 0/2 3/20 3/12

He was never meant to be an offensive player, and his (in)ability to consistently shoot bears out why.

Laval Lucas-Perry
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 3 0/8 2/3 5/8 1/18
Midrange 0/3 2/7 3/7 0/1
3-pt 2 3/9 17/40 11/29

After a blazing start to the season, he hit something of a wall (as did the other two freshmen), shooting more and more poorly over the course of the season, with a few excellent games mixed in. Next year, he’ll probably have to play more of a slashing PG-type role, which he actually did very well at times this year, to the point where I was begging for it in certain games toward the end of the year.

Zack Novak
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 5 3/3 3/3 1/6
Midrange 0/1 1/3 1/2 0/2
3-pt 4 8/21 15/41 10/25 0/2

I will repeat again that all three freshmen had their hot games and slumps. Novak is probably the most prone to this, because he was playing a position in which he was a physical underdog in every game, and was getting the hell beaten out of him on a regular basis. Next year, hopefully Cronin, Morgan, and McLimans will be able to give the team a little more size on a consistent basis, and Zack will be able to move to a more natural position.

Jevohn Shepherd
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 4 2/2 1/3 1/1 2/9
Midrange 0/1 1/2
3-pt 1/7 1/2

I don’t think I went an entire UFR of a game Shepherd played in one time this year without making the following statement: “Quintessential Jevohn Shepherd. He shows off his great athleticism and stunning lack of basketball ability all at once.”

DeShawn Sims
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 8 7/22 26/49 41/44 8/24
Midrange 4/17 26/57 9/11 1/3
3-pt 1 3/7 8/35 4/9

Among shots that fans can reasonably expect him to make (that is, those graded “2” or “3”), he shoots ridiculously well. He also did a much better job than the team’s other star, Manny, of choosing his shots wisely. He would take big post defenders out toward the perimeter, or post up smaller mismatches. Sims has one more year to get even better, and with more big men on next year’s team, hopefully be entirely dominant next year.

David Merritt
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 1/1 1/2
Midrange 0/2 0/1 1/1
3-pt 1 4/10 1/5

At one point late in the season, he was actually leading the team in 3-point percentage. Like Lee, this sort of analysis isn’t going to make him look like a great player, because he does so little on offense.

Kelvin Grady
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 2 4/7 0/2 0/2
Midrange 1/2 0/1
3-pt 1/6 10/32 4/16

This graph surprises me, because Kelvin was one of the few players on this team that I was absolutely convinced would make the shot any time I saw him shoot an open 3. His loss will be lamented, because it hurts Michigan in terms of PG depth (currently: none).

Anthony Wright
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Lane 1
3-pt 1/2 1/5 2/4

Man, I’m so over talking shit about Anthony Wright. His awesome performance in the Oklahoma game is not charted here, but he actually wasn’t as much of a “see the ball, shoot the ball” player as I’ve criticized him for (at least not in the second half of the season, when his minutes dropped off, which is what I’ve charted here).

Eric Puls
Quality 0 1 2 3 F
Midrange 1/1 0/1
3-pt 2/3

One hundred million dollars of awesome. Puls made his first like 5 three-pointers, which also happened to be his first 5 field goal attempts. If he can get Barwisized in the off-season (seriously: have him work out with the football team), he could contribute down the road, because dude can certainly shoot.

Posted under Analysis, Baseball, Basketball, Misc.

Kelvin Grady Leaves Michigan Basketball Program

Sad, I really liked Grady. Sure, he could be a defensive liability, but dude could definitely handle the rock (and shoot it some, too). It’s going to be an interesting situation in the backcourt next year, with all of Michigan’s point guards leaving. AD release:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein announced Thursday (April 2) guard Kelvin Grady (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids HS) has made the decision to leave the Wolverines basketball program and transfer to another school. Grady has not yet made a decision on which school he will attend.

“Kelvin has asked for his release from the program and we will grant that to him,” said Beilein. “Over the last two years, he has been a positive influence in helping build the foundation of our program. He is a wonderful young man on and off the floor. We wish him nothing but success in the future.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience both as a student and as a player here at the University of Michigan, but I feel I need a fresh start,” said Grady. “I love this university and want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates and everyone else who has supported me over the past two years. However, I have decided to explore other academic and playing opportunities at this time.”

In two seasons in Ann Arbor, Grady played in 64 games with 33 starts. He averaged 4.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Maize and Blue.

Posted under Basketball, Personnel

Oklahoma Wins; Season Over

Michigan succumbed to the Sooners, but for some reason I’m not mad. It wasn’t our year yet. Our two best players had foul trouble for most of the game, leading to lots of playing time for Walkons, Canadians, and Anthony Wright.

Speaking of whom, dude killed it tonight. Even if he reverts to Anthony Wright 2007-08 next year, I still don’t think I can make fun of him again, because he was a stone cold sniper in a tournament game. For Michigan. Anthony Wright. Seriously.

It’s a small miracle Michigan got to this point, much less gave a #2 seed one hell of a game. However, there’s a reason Blake Griffin is basically the consensus player of the year. He’s a damn good ball player. There’s also a reason opposing fans hate him, on top of the “beating the hell out of their team” thing. He acts like a bitch, is one of the cockiest players to ever not draw a taunting technical, is ginger, etc.

Getting to the NIT was a lofty goal for this team at the beginning of the season. Making the tournament was absolute gravy, despite what many people expected after wins over UCLA and Duke. Getting to the second round was just short of unbelievable, and we ran into a decent team with the best player in the country. So be it. Michigan in the tournament is crazy enough.

A more comprehensive basketball season wrapup is coming later next week, then you may return to your regularly-scheduled footballcentric programming.

A los barcos, hemos quemado.

Posted under Basketball