Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Michigan Tuesday: Coach Wheat To The Jaguars

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We had questions yesterday that were answered later in the day.   Coach Wheat is now heading back to the NFL to coach Denard Robinson and the other Jacksonville Jaguars running backs.   Jacksonville doesn't have an OC, so maybe Coach Wheat's responsibilities will expand in his new role.   Mgoblog suggested yesterday that when Coach Wheat signed his contract to come back to Ann Arbor that is was only going to be a two year deal as he was looking to get back to the league. 

This is a loss for the Wolverines from a recruiting and a coaching stand point.  Michigan will have to look for new candidates pretty quickly.   Also get used to other programs and NFL teams fishing from Jimmy's pond.   This will happen every year. 

Good luck to Coach Wheat!

So who is next?  Mike Hart and Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher are the obvious candidates.   Mike has coached RB's at Eastern and Western Michigan and is now at Syracuse.   He does have a bit of bad blood with Harbaugh that may or may not have been resolved.   There are also a few questions if he is a top recruiter.

There seems to be some "smoke" around the Thomas Wilcher "fire" coming to Ann Arbor.   We are not sure if Jimmy's interest is in the RB role or to join his non-coaching staff.  This would for sure check the Detroit recruiting box that would be lost from Coach Wheat.

  • Jimmy, Don Brown, and Coach Partridge visited Aubrey Solomon yesterday.   Jimmy brought his daughter so he could play with Aubrey's sister.   Aubrey's mom called it the best visit ever!   Some Georgia insiders also added crystal balls to Michigan yesterday.   At this point, it seems to be an Alabama - Michigan race.   Still hard to believe after that video came out. 

  • 4-star Penn State OG commit C.J. Thorpe is planning to visit Ann Arbor this weekend.  I wouldn't hold my breath on this one, CJ's father played at Penn State, though he did play with Michigan DB coach Mike Zorich, who did an in home visit with Coach Drevno last night.   We will see if Jimmy can flip this talented offensive lineman.

  • If you didn't hear, the visit from Brandon Sebastian CB was cancelled last weekend.  Not sure which side cancelled or the reason.   Hopefully, this means that Michigan is going to fill his spot on one of the offensive or defensive lines.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Michigan Monday: What Is Going on With Coach Wheat?

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One of the things Michigan fans loved when Jimmy was hired was that he brought in Michigan and Detroit legend Tyrone Wheatley as RB coach.  Coach Wheat's bigtime jobs were at Syracuse and the Buffalo Bills before he got to Ann Arbor.   During those roles he worked for head coach Doug Marrone, who is now the head coach at Jacksonville.

On Saturday night, news broke that Coach Wheat was going to be the next running backs coach for the Jaguars.  That report seems a bit premature as Sam Webb reports that he is looking at that job and other Power 5 roles.    Reports are that Coach Wheat interviewed for the Western Michigan head coaching job but Tim Lester was selected.

We also learned this weekend that Coach Wheat's contract expired last week.  So what is going on here?  I have a couple of thoughts:

1. This could be a negotiation tactic and Coach Wheat might want a larger role and more money at Michigan.   With Pep Hamilton, I don't believe there is a larger role currently on the Michigan staff.

2.  Maybe the coaching styles didn't mess and he was told to look around.

Either way, it seems like a strange situation as Coach Wheat is a very good recruiter and his son of course is still on the team. 

I hope he stays while he looks for a good OC or head coaching role. 
  • Looks like David Dawson is transferring to Iowa State. 

  • Michigan State picked up Pioneer 4 star LB Antjuan Simmons commitment this weekend.   They also offered Michigan RB commit Kurt Taylor.  Kurt fell to a two star recruit on Rivals.

  • Yesterday was a good day for NFL Football,  I hate when officials are too involved in a football game.  During the first half of Cowboys - Packers game it looked like the officials had the Packers and the points.    The officials were also the difference in the Steelers - Chiefs game as well with the holding call on the two point conversion.  (which was probably the right call)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Michigan Friday: New Recruiting Board With Updates

Since Michigan picked up one guy from their board and lost one, it's time to update it for the final stretch before the 2/1 signing day.  

1) Aubrey Solomon - I hate to have him #1 after that video came out last week.  I didn't even include him on the board last time.   I still think Michigan has an up hill battle here but it seems his mom is strongly in Michigan's camp and was very upset over the video.   Recent crystal balls have been heading to Michigan and the Michigan coaches will visit him next week.   Aubrey plays a position of huge need and a 5 star player.   I'm still a little torn here and would be pleasantly surprised if he ended up in Ann Arbor.

2) Nico Collins - I also hate when Michigan is the leader for a guy for nearly a year.  It never seems to work out for us if they don't publically commit.   There are rumors Nico is a silent, but there were also the same rumors for OT Wilson.    Jimmy was scheduled to do his in home with Nico yesterday but the birth of his child opened the door for Coach Wheat and Drevno to make the visit.   Which means Jimmy still has his in home left.    The latest trends has Nico heading to Georgia, which is not a good sign.  

3) Willie Gay - Is a great LB and some believe he could step into the Peppers role next season.  There is a bit of buzz from Willie about LSU during Army week.  Michigan has a 4 star LB directly in their backyard who they aren't paying any attention to, so it's Willie or bust for this spot.  There could be some admission issues here as well and getting at guy out of Mississippi is not easily done.  Coach Partridge was expected to visit Willie yesterday.

4) Jay Tufele - This recruitment may still be open.  Jay would be a huge pick up at a position of need for the Wolverines.  Jay will take a few trips this month and probably will be a NSD decision.   Michigan will need to put the full court press here but it's going to be hard to pull him from out West.   Right now Michigan has zero crystal ball predictions on 24/7 which is not a great sign.  Coach Mattison was planning to visit Jay on Wednesday.

5) Mekhi Becton - Is a 6'7 345 pound OT prospect.  I think Jimmy would take Becton over another DB if that is an option.  They might take both! 

6) Brandon Sebastian CB who is currently committed to BC is visiting this weekend, if he has committable offer, he should jump on it this weekend.  

I wonder if Michigan will start recruiting Oliver Martin again if Nico starts looking like a lost cause.   Oliver is looking at MSU and ND right now and I think his heart is in Ann Arbor. 

Michigan needs a DT and missing out on both Jay and Aubrey seems to a very good possibility.    Like I have mentioned before, I hope they have a plan B for that position.    I actually don't feel very confident about any of the top 4 guys on the board.

  • The Pep Hamilton hire is now official.   Michigan gained a Pep and lost a Pep this week.   I hope he passes his recruiting test and hits the trail today!

  • In some what of a surprise move, it seems Wisconsin DC Justin Wilcox is the #1 candidate for the Head Coach job at CAL.

  • The buzz around Coach Wheat and WMU has seemed to have died down.

  • Clemson OT Jake Fruhmorgen has decided to transfer and may look at Michigan.  He was a 2015 recruit and will have to sit out a year.  I remember his name during that recruiting cycle, I also believe he took an un-official visit to A2.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Michigan Thursday: Will WMU Fish Out of Jimmy's Pond?

When I heard PJ Fleck was leaving for the Golden Gophers, my first thought was which Michigan assistants would interview for the Western job.   

It seems that Michigan has two assistants that are or could be in the interview circle.  

#1 is Tyrone Wheatley:  Coach Wheat is known as a great recruiter and RB coach.  He is a legend in Detroit, has NFL playing experience, and also coached in the NFL.   I think this would be an interesting choice but his lack of a coordinator role might make this jump to big of one.

#2 is Tim Drevno who of course is Michigan's OC and just signed a 5 year $1M a year contact with Michigan.  Tim has been up for other head coaching roles and I believe would be a serious candidate if Western interviews him.   I think Tim will leave Ann Arbor in a couple of years for a head coaching job anyway, so why not WMU?

Another guy I would have looked at is Pep Hamilton if I was making the decision for Western. With him taking the Michigan job (even though it hasn't been officially released), I think this is probably a long shot.

Western is a much better job now that they are ranked and just played in the Cotton Bowl.   I wouldn't be surprised if they paid a coach over $1M a year, which is pretty high for a MAC school.  

You would think Western would need to move fast with signing day a couple of weeks away, but it seems that are taking their time to make the right decision.

  • Jimmy and his wife welcomed another child on Wednesday.  His name is John Harbaugh, which is obviously named after his famous Uncle.  Congratulations to coach and his entire family!

  • Jimmy is visiting WR Nico Collins today and using his 1 and only in home visit.   Today is the first day after the dead period. 

  • Michigan Basketball dropped another Big Ten game last night.  I have little to no interest in this team right now. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wolverine Wednesday: Peppers Heading To The NFL

We knew it was coming.  How could it not be?  When you have a chance to be drafted in the top of the first round, you have to go pro.   Jabrill Peppers one of the best athletes to ever play in the Big House has decided to forgo his senior year and head to the NFL draft.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Peppers said. “I’m choosing between cementing my legacy as a college player and starting my pro legacy. It’s something you dream of when you were a kid. I was torn between the two.”
Peppers said he ultimately came to a decision this weekend while visiting his family in his native New Jersey. He informed Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh of his decision in a meeting in Harbaugh’s office on Monday. “He thanked me and told me it was a pleasure to coach me,” Peppers said. “I told him it was a pleasure to play for him. He molded me for the next level, that’s how he operates. He runs his program like an NFL team. He’s done more than enough to prepare me for this moment.”

Congratulations Pep and thank you for coming to Ann Arbor when many top recruits in the country were not even considering playing for Brady Hoke.

  • Jake Butt said his ACL surgery was a success.   I hope he has a quick recovery and gets picked in the first round.

  • OSU just had a de-commitment from a 4 star WR Tyjon Lindsey.

  • Jimmy was at the Vandy - UK basketball game last night.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Michigan Tuesday: Hey Pep, Your Up Next

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Of course, I predicted that Michigan would just look for a WR coach to replace Jedd Fisch.   Jimmy again surprised me and hired one of the most regarded offensive coordinators in the business.   ESPN is reporting that Pep Hamilton the assistant head coach of the Cleveland Brown has accepted the Jedd role at U of M.

Pep was Jimmy's OC at Stanford and stayed on and was the OC for David Shaw.  The Colts came calling and he had a couple of good years for them before getting let go during an Andrew Luck injury year.    When Hue Jackson took the Browns job he hired Pep as the assistant head coach and OC role.   The Browns were pretty terrible this year, but Pep did turn Pryor into a pretty good WR, which is pretty rare at his stage of his career.    Hue also didn't want Pep to leave but I'm guessing he feels he has a better shot at a head coaching role under Jimmy then he does in Cleveland. 

  • Teammate of Tarik Black and current BC commit, CB Brandon Sebastian will take an official to Ann Arbor this weekend.   If there is a committable offer on the table, I wouldn't be surprised if he flipped this weekend.

  • That was quite a NC game last night.   Clemson looked like a fish out of water in the first half but found it's game in the second half and it's quick tempo and 99 plays clearly made the Alabama defense tired.   Glad to see the Evil Empire get beat.

  • There are some rumors floating around that Coach Wheatley might be a candidate for the WMU job.

  • I have no idea what is going on in Aubrey Solomon's recruitment.  After the video that was released, I thought there was zero chance he would be coming to Ann Arbor.   There seems to be some Michigan momentum since that video was released and Aubrey called the coaches to apologize.  His final 4 are Michigan, USC, Georgia and Alabama.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Michigan Monday: The Empire Wins Again

Some people around Ann Arbor believe Urban Meyer and OSU are the evil empire.  They are a rival but at the end of the day they are a Big Ten team in the same division of the Wolverines.   We don't like them but Urban has never built anything like Nick Saban has at Alabama.    Yes, Urban has a win over Nick in the playoffs and a NC trophy at OSU, but nobody reloads like Alabama does every year.

How do they do that?  Are they just better coaches and can develop talent like no other program? 


Saban learned early in his college head coaching career that recruiting is the lifeline of any D1 program.  He left MSU because it was too hard to recruit against Michigan, OSU, ND, etc.   He left for LSU which was the only program in a talent rich state.    He had a cup of coffee in the NFL, where he couldn't recruit a QB and left for the Alabama job.   A job that Rich Rod had turned down (isn't that hard to believe now). 

Each year, other programs take Alabama assistants for bigger jobs and each year those other teams don't get better and Alabama keeps rolling on.   

An example of that happened this weekend.   Najee Harris has been committed to Alabama for nearly two years.   He took a few official visits and many had thought Michigan was in serious competition for the talented RB's services.   Michigan insider Sam Webb even predicted last week that Najee would end up in Michigan's class.   Sam is a good guy and his predictions are usually right more then they are wrong.   So to give him the business, when he makes the wrong prediction is a bit harsh.   (there are some folks on the internet that tied Sam's Najee information and a subscription flash sale to him miss leading the Michigan fan base on Najee for more subscribers.  I don't believe he would ever risk his reputation to do that).

Najee doesn't really talk to the services and doesn't tweet.  He also wouldn't give any confirmation on where he was going.  He didn't want a circus but that is exactly what it became and he even miss lead the media on information.   He ended up flying to Alabama on Sunday and will enroll there.   So be it, I hope he enjoys the game tonight.   Probably to witness another win and trophy for the empire.

  • All of Michigan's early enrollees are now in the system and officially Wolverines.   That list includes:  Tarik Black, WR  - Ja'Raymond Hall, OT - Donovan Jeter, DE - Jaylen Kelly-Powell, S - Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE - Ben Mason, LB - Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR - Cesar Ruiz, C - Benjamin St-Juste, CB - Ambry Thomas, CB and J'Marick Woods, S.

  • Jimmy has been telling recruits that Cleveland Browns assistant head coach, former Colts OC, and former Stanford OC Pep Hamilton will be joining his staff in the role Jedd left.   I see this as a very positive hire if it does come to fruition.

  • OSU is having another incredible recruiting class and they had plenty recruits on display on Saturday at the Army AA game.  Tate Martell is OSU QB in this class, he is quick and fast and seems to be a very good runner of the football.   He is not tall and think he is shorter then his 5'10 listed height.   Many compare him to  Johnny Football which seems to be a good comparison.   It will be interesting to see if his height makes it difficult to play QB at OSU, I wouldn't be surprised if he became a slot WR before his career is compete in Columbus. 

Michigan did get positive news during the game when 4 star Chuck Filiaga picked the Wolverines.   Chuck is a 4 star to all the services and right around the 14th OT in the country.   This was a huge pick-up for the Wolverines and Chuck will get a chance to play right away with the depth issues on the offensive line next year.  

Chuck is 6'5 and 326 pounds with long arms and huge hands.   He is considered a guy that is D1 ready and could contribute right away.  Chuck is the sixth commit on the offensive line, that includes Caesar Ruiz, Kai-Leon Herbert, JaRaymond Hall, Andrew Stueber, and Joel Honigford.   Herbert is taking a number of officials in January and is a big threat to de-commit before signing day.  

Chuck's offer list included:  Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, BYU, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Ole Miss, South Carolina, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC, Utah, and Washington.

This is a very important commit for the Wolverines and #27 in the class.   Michigan probably has 3 more spots available (minus any de-commits).   Michigan needs a DT and maybe one more offensive lineman, the last spot could be a WR or CB.    The recruitment of Nico Collins and Jay Tufele look to be headed to a 2/1 or signing day decision.