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.

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News Roundup

You have the offseason to thank for these essentially content-free posts.

The Rimington Award, given to the nation’s top center, has released its watch list for the 2009 season. At this point, it’s basically little more than a list of returning starters at teams of note, bu David Molk is on it, so pay attention we will. Molk is one of only 5 sophomores on the list, and if the offensive line makes the huge leap that most Michigan fans are expecting (more on that next week), he could stand a chance to make it through a couple rounds of cuts. (HT: DocSat)

Rivals gives a little fluffery on incoming freshman running back Teric Jones. Jones’s track exploits (10.99 100m) are discussed, along with his efforts to bulk up with past-and-future teammate Thomas Gordon, using workout techniques that they learned from Mike Barwis. Jones will be a slot/RB at Michigan.

As was expected, outgoing WR Toney Clemons will transfer to Colorado, where he is a better fit for the offensive system. Clemons was put in a really tough spot last year, forced to play a slot role that he didn’t really fit in. Best of luck to him in the future, and may he find other white rappers with whom to make dorm room videos.
D.Cone Goin In For Life.

I encourage all who can to make it out to the Softball Super Regional tomorrow at Alumni Field. The game takes place at 8PM, and tickets are available at the Michigan Ticket Office. If you’re unable to make it out, you can watch on ESPN.

Posted under Football, Other Sports, Personnel

Kurt Wermers Leaves Michigan

Rich Rodriguez announced to the press at the Griese and Hutchinson Charity Golf event that Kurt Wermers will no longer be a member of the Michigan football team. The Personnel HQ has been updated accordingly.

Rodriguez also mentioned that “a couple guys” might be leaving the team soon, a statement that most people assume to refer to Kevin Grady, who has to serve 7 days in jail for violating the terms of his probation.

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Free Press FAIL

I’m not going to pin this on Mark Snyder, because if he wrote the headline, I’d be surprised, but “Ex-quarterback Threet gives starting nod to Sheridan in spread offense” is really, really not what’s going on in this article:

“I feel like Tate has a good opportunity coming in early with the extra reps in the spring and that should be beneficial,” he said. “But Nick does a good job of executing the offense the way they want it to be run. People may point out the physical things Tate or Denard may have at a physical advantage, but a lot of time at quarterback in this system comes down to decision-making.”

Is it just me, or does that quote have a whole lot more “Hey, I’ll be impartial and not endorse anyone. Now leave me alone and let me go to Arizona State” than “I decree that Nick Sheridan shall be the starter” ? I’d have to go with a lot more of Option B. Before the internets go crazy on this, look at what Threet actually said, and not so much the headline of the article.

Of course, most Michigan fans at this point are willing to endorse Tate Forcier for obvious reasons:

But honestly, whichever quarterback wins the job, be it Forcier, Sheridan, or Denard Robinson, that’s my guy. Primarily because I don’t have a say. People criticized Rich Rodriguez (and perhaps rightly so) for starting Sheridan over Threet last year, and while Threet may have been better, he certainly wasn’t head and shoulders above Sheridan.

All that’s left is the waiting…

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Ex-Wolverine News

The NFL Draft has come and gone, which means I don’t have to worry about the NFL for another year. Only Terrance Taylor (4th round to the Colts) and Morgan Trent (6th round to Cincinnati) were drafted, but 7 other ex-Wolverines signed rookie free agent deals. Here’s where they ended up:

Carson Butler – Green Bay
Doug Dutch – Washington
Sean Griffin – Seattle
Brandon Harrison – Indianapolis
Will Johnson – Baltimore
Tim Jamison – Houston
Mike Massey – Cleveland

Best of luck to all of them in their NFL careers.

Another former Wolverine has found a destination: Steven Threet has announced his intentions to transfer to Arizona State, where he will sit out a year, then have 2 remaining seasons of eligibility. Good to see Threet has landed on his feet, and it sounds as though he’s parting with the program in a more… reasonable way than other defectors

Posted under Football, Personnel

Wolverines in the 2009 NFL Draft

I generally try to stay away from NFL-related stuff, because quite frankly, I really don’t care.

HOWEVA, boring offseason is boring offseason, so let’s take a look at the draft prospects for Michigan’s relevant players. The draft is sometime this weekend, I guess. I think it starts tomorrow.

Terrance Taylor, DT
Going into 2008, Taylor had what was probably the rosiest-looking draft resume on the Michigan team. His production sagged somewhat during the course of the season, as Michigan’s defense imploded (this will be a common theme). He also had something of a reputation as a lazy player going into 2008, and though Barwis probably worked that out of him, the season certainly didn’t help him out. He will always be limited somewhat by his height, but he has very good strength, and is pretty effective against the run. Taylor projects as a late first-day or early second-day pick.

Tim Jamison, DE
Jamison tantalized Michigan fans for four years by looking nigh-unblockable each spring, then failing to produce when the season rolled around. His reputation as a gameday no-show over the years (fair or not, he never produced to his potential) might haunt him. Jamison, like Taylor, has gotten in much better shape since the Barwis train rolled into Ann Arbor, and he might be a late-round pick that surprises people down the road with his production. Jamison looks like a late-round pick or perhaps a free agent.

Morgan Trent, CB
Trent went from fairly serious liability in 2006 to steady performer in 2007 (and a hero of sorts in the Capital One Bowl, as he famously ran Percy Harvin down from across the field and 15 yards back), and back to a liability of sorts in 2008. How much of his return to non-greatness was due to a lack of cohesion among the defensive coaching staff, and an inability to teach players the necessary techniques? Trent has blazing sped, but doesn’t really have great flexibility in his hips. As a big hitter, he’ll probably fit well in a cover-2 scheme. It seems that Trent will be a late-rounder or free agent.

Sean Griffin, LS
NFL teams need long-snap specialists, and Sean Griffin was one of the few who was invited to the NFL combine (let’s disregard that he was one of the few Wovlerines there, as well). I would be shocked to see a long-snapper be drafted, but a team will likely pick him up as a free agent, where he’ll hopefully man the position for yeasrs to come.

Carson Butler, TE
Incapable of blocking without committing a hold (contrary to Mel Kiper’s assertion), Butler is still a physical specimen who, unfortunately, could never get a grasp on the mental aspects of the game. He struggled so much at tight end as a redshirt junior that he was moved to defensive line halfway through the year. And let’s not forget about the disciplinary issues. He might get picked up as a free agent by some team hoping they can teach him how to behave and block. His physical tools certainly warrant giving him a second look.

Will Johnson, DT
I think Johnson will be the surprise of this sparse draft class for Michigan. He was a steady performer as a senior, though he didn’t do anything exceptionally well. He’s slightly undersized for the DT position, but too big to play the DE position. With his record-setting strength, he might be able to stick somewhere as a backup DT or a DE in the 3-4 scheme. Still, I thin kthat if he makes a team’s roster at all, it will be the first step to a productive, if never flashy, NFL career.

Brandon Harrison, S
Harrison has good speed and loves to lay big hits on guys. He is also 5-9 and not Bob Sanders, which will make NFL teams wary of him. He is yet another victim of the 3 coordinators in 4 years issue, meaning he’s never really learned any one scheme very well. If he can make it onto a training camp roster, he’ll have to impress in order to stick in the NFL.

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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

Toney Clemons Leaves Michigan

Junio-to-be wideout Toney Clemons has left the Michigan football program, as I speculated when he was absent from practice Saturday. Clemons cited a desire to play in a more pro-style offense, where he feels he would get more opportunities to catch the ball and make plays. Perhaps most importantly, he didn’t try to slam the coach or school on the way out, simply citing his philosophical differences.

He intends to transfer to a school in one of the other BCS conferences, where he’ll sit out for a redshirt year before returning to the field in 2010. Clemons was one of my favorite recruits a couple years back, and I was already rooting for him to become a difference maker on the field. I’ll continue doing the same at his new destination.

Scholarship count and depth charts updated in the Personnel HQ.

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Steven Threet Leaves the Michigan Football Program

After being the subject of rumor for the past week-plus, Steven Threet has officially told the press that he plans to transfer from Michigan. Threet was the starting quarterback for large portions of 2008, and was actually quite successful when healthy. It’s a shame to see the young man leave, but you really can’t blame the kid, as he really wants to play, and do so in a scheme that fits his skill set.

The Threet transfer probably does mean one positive thing for Michigan fans: that Tate Forcier has looked good enough in the training program and volunatary QB-WR workouts as to pose a significant threat to Threet’s starting position. Of course, it also means bad things, like “Michigan only has 2 quarterbacks between safety and Nick Sheridan.” The QB depth situation becomes almost as bad as it was last year, though the second option (likely to be Denard Robinson) is a step up from either Sheridan or Justin Feagin.

This clears out the depth chart somewhat for a class of 2010 prospect to find it quite appealing (Devin Gardner, come on down!), but harms Michigan in the short term. Wherever Threet ends up (rumors have said Eastern Michigan, under former Michigan DC Ron English), I certainly wish him the best of luck.

Posted under Football, Personnel, Recruiting, Spring Coverage

Sam McGuffie Leaves Michigan

…and there was much sadness.

Freshman running back Sam McGuffie has announced his intentions to transfer from Michigan. McGuffie was Michigan’s 2nd leading rusher on the year, but missed parts or all of several games with concussions. He received his unconditional release from Michigan this morning, according to both pay sites.

McGuffie-and-Michigan never was a perfect fit after the departure of Lloyd Carr and the pro-style system, and McGuffie will likely transfer somewhere closer to home that is a better fit for his skill set. His injury history and family issues are reported to be the reasons for his departure from Michigan.

Varsity Blue wishes McGuffie the best of luck with whatever he plans to do in the future. Scholarship count will be updated accordingly.

Posted under Football, Personnel